C2E2 – Fun for the whole family

Posted by Jess on May 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

I have been contributing to my friend Kim Moldofsky’s blog, The Maker Mom, for a while now but this might have been the funnest contribution for the whole family!



Kids Costume Parade Participants Duplo & Lego area Props from the movie



Fast Food that’s GOOD

Posted by Jess on May 19, 2016 in Food

OMG I am a huge fan of fast food! Well…not the drive-thru kind but the microwave meal kind. I found these awesome breakfast burritos by Sweet Earth Natural Foods a while ago but just discovered these handy-dandy microwave meals. I am not vegan but I don’t eat any dairy so sometimes it’s easier to look for vegan meals. The biggest problem I have found is that most of the time no dairy means no gluten. At least in terms of frozen meals. Problem…I love gluten…give me all the gluten you don’t want…just no diary please.


SweetEarth General Tso's TofuI happened to purchase this one and another at my local Target store. They have a large selection now. Not all are vegan so if you are vegan, watch what you purchase :)

This was so good!!! So very very good and I am hoping good for me. Basically, I am saying run out and get them if you like delicious things!

And thank you to Sweet Earth Natural Foods for bringing deliciousness into my life!


Mason Jar Fairy

Posted by Jess on Mar 30, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Who wouldn’t want a fairy in a jar?

I used this amazing video as a guide to make my own fairy in a jar. Well its for Ruby but…

Supplies I used:

Wide mouth 16oz mason jar

Pink tissue paper

Elmers School Glue

Silver Glitter

Flicker LED Votive Candles

I wanted to use supplies I had at home so I used pink tissue paper, a wide mouth mason jar and Elmers glue. I purchased the silver glitter and Votive Candles from Dollar Tree. I also searched google for fairy cut out template images and printed it on regular white printer paper. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would work with the really thin printer paper and the pink tissue but I think it turned out awesome. The tissue paper is a pain in the butt to work with and I ripped it many times. I only used glitter on the front of the jar because I was impatient and wanted to make sure it was going to work before I put in too much effort. image2 (2)



This is what the jar looks like with the lights on. Not too glamorous looking :)


Aiden and I may have taken the fairy idea a little too far when Ruby thought it was a real fairy and we told her we caught it in the back yard. She said she is going to just take a little look at her when she is sleeping. Hopefully we don’t hear screams in the middle of the night when she sees a very flat paper fairy.


2 – Ingredient Hamantaschen

Posted by Jess on Mar 28, 2016 in Recipes


2 Ingredient Hamantaschen – does that sound impossible?

Not if you use already made pie crust and melted chocolate.

In our house we have peanut, tree nut and dairy allergies so making pretty much anything dessertish can be challenging. As we couldn’t find any Hamantaschen safe for us I decided to try and make my own.

I love to bake BUT I really don’t like making cookies. Not sure why but its just not my favorite. I tried to find any shortcuts that I could to make it bearable for me and taste delicious. I had an extra pie crust from making an amazing coconut milk pumpkin pie recently so I figured why not give it a try. 2016-03-20-at-082242_25911233786_o


I rolled out the dough as it was in a rolled up sheet. I didn’t flatten it anymore then it was already. I took a circle cookie cutter and cut out circles.







While I was doing this I took some chocolate chips and bark and melted it very slowly in the microwave (30 seconds and then stirred). It probably took a total of 2 minutes. I then put a little dollop in the middle of each circle and attempted to make 3 points. This proved to be more difficult then I thought it would. Please don’t judge the shape…its the end result that counts!

It was so simple they were made and baked within 30 minutes. Both kids and husband said they were yummy. We even had some extra scraps and chocolate to make our own little creation.



Aiden’s 9th Birthday Party – Star Wars

Posted by Jess on Mar 23, 2016 in Birthday

It has been so long since I’ve blogged its crazy….

But this party was too StarWars-tastic not to blog about.


Aiden requested a sleep-over for his birthday. UGH was my first thought. A sleep over…does anyone sleep? I’m happy to report all went very well. Of course the kids were loud and of course sometimes they were way too excited to listen but it was awesome. Either that or I’m still exhausted from them only sleeping for 4 hours. But hey…that’s more sleep then when you have a new baby :)

Since I wasn’t sure if all the kids would want to sleep over, we had a sleep-under from 6pm-9pm with the option of sleeping over and getting picked up at 9am.

We played many games to keep the kids busy and entertained in hopes of little to no unassisted light saber battles.

Steve and I created a schedule so the kids could see all the cool things we had planned and to keep us on track as the night and exhaustion continued.  Here is a link to the schedule.

OK let me step back for a second. One word….PINTEREST! If you have yet to discover it but like to create fun and creative things but need a little inspiration, Pinterest is your place. I created this board and used at least a version of a lot of the pins that I pinned.

I made these seriously cool invitations. Well, at least a version of them. I thought they turned out really neat and Aiden LOVED them and that really is what counts. Although I will say they took a lot longer to make then I thought and I ended up sending out a save the date so I could finish them without completely freaking out.

Steve is part of the 501st Legion which is a worldwide organization of Star Wars fans that make up the world’s largest Imperial costuming organization, spanning the entire United States and 59 other countries. This amazing group does everything from children’s hospital visits and fundraisers to baseball & hockey games. This is a group of truly dedicated individuals who put a lot of time and effort into making amazing costumes and sharing them with the world. We were very lucky to have 3 of the guys join us for Aiden’s birthday. They suited up and took many, many pictures with the kids. This is how the kids were all greeted when they walked through the front door for the party.


Back to the schedule of events!

We started with Jedi tunics which are super simple to make and the kids love them. We bought a bolt of muslin unrolled it to about 18″ and just cut it straight up. Leaving the top fold in the fabric. Then I cut a “V” In the fold and that is where the kids heads went through. Then used some scrap felt and cut strips and used those as belts for the tunics. Super easy except we used pinking shears which is basically the zig zag scissors and those were a little difficult for the kids to do themselves. It was a quick project and that way any of the kids that didn’t wear costumes had a quick one to wear for the rest of the party. 

What do you need with a Jedi Costume? Lightsabers of course! We used some pool noodles which were a little difficult to find in Chicago in January so our amazing friend Patti Duncan shipped them to us. Thanks Patti!!! I bought some little red dot stickers from the dollar store and we gave the kids red and black electrical tape plus some silver duct tape to decorate their lightsabers however they wanted. I printed out a few ideas for the kids just to help give them inspiration if they wanted it. We pre-cut all the noodles in half and wrapped the initial silver duct tape just because duct tape + kids seemed like a bad idea. Especially 9 kids and duct tape! They turned out really cute.


Because of the mess/area needed for some of the projects we did with the kids, we tried to switch off between our basement and our dinning room. That way we could clean up and stage the next event while the current event was going on. Which is why we then moved to the dinning room for pizza. Needed time to clean up the lightsabers and tunic stations to make room for the Ultimate Lego Star Wars Competition.


Aiden came up with a few ideas of things he wanted the groups to build and Ruby got to judge them. The kids had a fantastic time with the Legos and ended up asking for more time multiple times. I finally had to stop them as the ice was melting from our next activity….Free Han from Carbonite.


For this activity we took different shaped containers and put Han figures in them with water and froze them overnight. I went to our local Walgreens and asked the pharmacy for syringes which they gladly gave up when I told them what they would be used for. Then I went to the dollar store and bought toothbrushes, and other things to help them try and get Han free. The only rule was no hitting the ice…you had to use water to get the ice to melt and could the toothbrushes to help free him. This took FOREVER!!!! Even the kids that figured it out quickly still took forever. By the end the kids were enjoying it but also done. I would recommend doing this in a smaller scale…maybe not freezing him all the way or doing it in the summer. They still enjoyed it though.

While I was monitoring and cleaning up spilled water from the Free Han from Carbonite game, Steve was busy setting up probably the kids favorite activity, Jedi Training!


I know, Jedi Training sounds amazing! The kids put on a storm trooper helmet with their eyes covered and attempted to hit the remotes (the thing that shoots lasers blasts on the millennium falcon when he is getting his first Jedi training in the movie a New Hope) with lightsabers. The remotes were made out of balloons hanging from the ceiling.

Dessert! This was actually the kids favorite part. I found a star wars game on clearance at Target and used the little pieces that came with it to put on top of the cupcakes I made. These doubled as a goodie bag item. I used a black edible marker and made storm trooper faces on the marshmallows and put them on skewers. Skewers went into the cupcakes and wallah an easyish star wars birthday dessert! I also made tie fighter snacks with oreo thins that come in individual 100 calorie packs, regular marshmallows and a little frosting. Stick em together and you have tie fighters.

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While I worked on feeding the kids, again, Steve worked on Shoot a Trooper. I don’t know about you but we have a lot of nerf guns and a lot of star wars figures. We combined the two and made a game called Shoot a Trooper. I’m guessing you can figure this one out on your own.

Our last activity before the end for some or movie/bedtime for others was to create an LED lightsaber and do trivia. The trivia didn’t go over so well. I didn’t realize that some of these kids hadn’t seen star wars before so that made the trivia impossible for them. Back to the LED lightsabers…these were my husbands brain child and they were awesome! Again they went into the goodie bags after they were done. We took clear straws, slid an LED inside one end of the straw and taped on the battery. We left them going and one of the LED lightsabers that Aiden made lasted a couple weeks without going out.

We finished the night with pj’s, sleeping bags and A New Hope. The best part of the night was listening to them talk and laugh as they tried to go to sleep in the same room together. It was pretty adorable in a 9 year old sort of way.


Here is a link to all of the pictures!



Not Bruce but George Hornsby’s Hard Cider

Posted by Jess on Oct 25, 2012 in Hard Cider


I picked up some Hornsby’s Hard Cider in Crisp Apple at the local Jewel today. To be honest the only 2 kinds I found were this one and the newish Michelob Ultra Light Cider. I decided to go with Hornsby’s. I’ll be honest, I kinda wish I had taken a better look at the Michelob. It said light so I’m guessing it probably has less calories then the Hornsby’s (180 for 11.2oz).

When I first popped the cap off I noticed that it smelled disgustingly sweet. So sweet that I looked at it again to make sure I didn’t somehow get non-alcoholic apple cider, which by the way I HATE! Nope…5.5% alcohol in this puppy. At first I wasn’t much of a fan. Its really sweet and with a fairly mild flavor..but as I’m drinking (I got a phone call and have now almost finished the bottle) its pretty good.

To sum up…Hornsby’s Hard Cider isn’t a favorite however its not bad enough that I wont buy it if its the only option.

If you found this post helpful please comment 😉


Hard Cider Reviews

Posted by Jess on Oct 10, 2012 in Hard Cider

I’ve been on a cider kick since we went to England in 2010. I had my first cider or, maybe I should say the first cider that I really liked at The Cavern Club in Liverpool. It was Magners Irish Cider on tap in a glass with ice. Every time I think about that cider I get thirsty. I’m not sure if it was just the atmosphere, being on vacation or the company I was with but it AMAZING.

Since then, I have been on the lookout for good ciders. And I have found many, many ciders that are yummy.

Be on the look out for more information then you will ever want to know about each and everyone that I have tried and am now required to try.


Deals of the week

Posted by Jess on Feb 4, 2010 in Uncategorized

My friend Michelle and I have been passing deals back and forth this week and I decided it might be nice to put them all in once place so everyone can use them. They are mostly food related but I will post anything I can find that I think will be helpful.

Win Free milk for a year! Even if you don’t they are sending out coupons to the first 125,000 entries received for a free half gallon of chocolate milk with the purchase of a gallon of regular milk. Why Milk

Get an awesome Coupon Book With $30 worth of coupons in the new Home Made Simple Coupon Book

Thanks to site Freebies4mom for proving the information on these awesome deals!

Will post more later…


My 2 year old

Posted by Jess on Jan 23, 2009 in Uncategorized

Wow how time flies when you are having fun. Aiden turned 2 on January 9th and seems to have turned into a new child at times. He is way more demanding, more verbal, and says “no” a lot more and in a much different way. He has grown up in so many ways and is still my baby in others. He still wants me to sing him farashaka before bed and he loves to snuggle. Plus I know he is still my baby because he will still give me a million kisses if I ask for them. He has grown up a lot though because he has no interest in listening at all most of the time which isn’t that much different from before but now he smiles as he ignores what you requested. He still loves the Backyardigan’s but his new loves are soccer and anything to do with pirates. He is obsessed with both. He loves taking about, watching and doing anything that has to do with either. In fact he just brought me a pirate eye patch that I have been requested to wear. Now I have two. One time I made the mistake of showing him how funny I looked with one over both eyes. Now I always get two :)

He still loves most food but I think he would eat pizza all the time. He would also drink milk 24 hours a day if we would let him. We just got back from his 2 year check up and found out that he is now in the 25th percentile instead of the 10th which he has been in since he was born. I am so excited. His height is now 33 inches and he weighs 26 pounds. Its so exciting to see him growing so much. We can try peanut butter now, we can give him skim milk instead of whole milk, we are supposed to limit his milk to 16oz which we have never done. Its another new milestone in his life and that makes me excited and also sad cause my big boy isn’t my baby anymore.

Aiden is such an amazing little monster (as I like to call him most of the time) and I can’t wait to see what new adventures he has in-store for me now that we get to spend some more mommy Aiden time together.

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Top 10 Reasons Why I NEED a Snuggie

Posted by Jess on Jan 11, 2009 in Uncategorized

The top 10 reasons why I NEED a Snuggie

10. It comes in 3 colors
9. You can eat snacks in it
8. It has extra large sleeves
7. Its made of super soft fleece
6. My feet are never covered with a blanket and a Snuggie is super large so it will cover them.
5. I need to use the phone, can’t with a blanket. Its too hard to get your arms out.
4. A blanket slips and slides all over and doesn’t stay on.
3. I want to hold Aiden and/or Solo without a blanket getting in my way
2. You can wear it to sporting events

And the #1 reason why I NEED a Snuggie…..

1. It will protect my lap from the burning hot mac laptop.

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