DIY Little Hands Key Chains

Okay let me first start by confessing...I hate hand painting activities. Like seriously despise it. It's just so messy, time consuming, and down right annoying. But what I do also hate is that I am missing out on documenting my child's teeny hands and feet because of my loathing for body parts covered in paint. If you are like me and hate painting hands, have no fear! This is a SUPER SIMPLE  and an extremely NON-MESSY activity!

When trying to come up with unique Father's Day gifts that didn't include bags of chocolate and grilling, it seemed that all my Pinterest results had some sort of body painting. While scrolling through the endless DIY gifts, my 4 year old son was looking over my shoulder and saw mini hand print key chains and he desperately wanted to make some. So as any mother would do when faced with those big watery blue eyes staring up at you, I loaded him up in the car and ran 45 minutes to the craft store to gather all the supplies to make these little cuties!

If you have a chance to grab the materials a head of time, it would make the activity a lot easier. Especially if you are obsessed with Amazon Prime like I am. You can get everything you need on there. The reason I mention this is because I had to travel to three different craft stores, the furthest being 45 minutes away from my house, to get the Shrinky Dinks plastic sheets you need. Apparently they are very hard to find in stores because they went out of style along with Lisa Frank and Beanie Babies.

First things first, get your wee-one, roll up their sleeves and pre-heat the oven to 325º. While the oven is pre-heating, set out what you need. You'll need a sheet of Shrinky Dinks, the crystal clear ones are the best for this activity. Acrylic paint, I used Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint and found that it is one of the cheapest, comes in so many different colors, and cleans up easily. You will also want a paint brush, and Mod Podge with a gloss finish to seal in the paint. If you are turning these into key chains then you will also want key rings and jump rings.

While the oven is pre-heating and you have all your materials out, you want to start by painting a thick layer of pain on your child's hand. This paint, if painted in a thin layer, will dry too quickly to transfer to the Shrinky Dinks plastic sheet. So glob it on!

Once you have ensured a thick enough layer has been painted, gently but firmly place your child's hand on the plastic sheet. You can get a few hand prints out of one sheet if you place them with that in mind. Have your child hold very still as you press each knuckle down to ensure there are no gaps in the paint

After removing their hand, go ahead and wash the paint off their hands. No sense in leaving them there to sit with paint on their hands ready to grab numerous surfaces! See, my paint-phobic side is showing. 

 If there is a small smudge just wet a paper towel or q-tip and wipe it up!

Once their hand is squeaky clean, use a sharpie and write their name and age (or any thing you want) next to the hand. Then use a pair of scissors and cut out an outline around the hand. When cutting you want to leave about 1/4" border around the hand and a bump between the middle and ring finger to be able to hole punch it. 

Once the hand is cut out, use a single hole punch, or if you're like me and only have a 3 ring hole punch - just slip the bump you cut out under one of the punches.  You want to make sure you punch the hole before shrinking it in the oven, as the hole will shrink down as well and fit perfectly with the key ring. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil and place the plastic hand, paint side up, on it. Bake it for 1-3 minutes, following the directions on the Shrinky Dinks package. DO NOT FREAK if you see it start to move and twist. It should lie back down flat in a minute or two. If you do see that it's shrinking (it should shrink down to 1/3 the original size and 9x thicker) and it is not laying down flat but starting to curl, you can take a plastic spatula and gently press it down. Once it's flat (aprox 2-3 min) take it out and lay it on a flat surface to cool.

Once it's cool you can place the jump ring through the little hole and attach the key ring. Then you want to use a paint brush and brush on a layer of Mod Podge over the painted side. This will help seal on the paint and keep it from getting scuffed or scratched. Let it dry. Once the Mod Podge turns from white to clear, it is safe to wrap up and give to your loved one!

Since I am a very visual person, here are the items (and links) to where you can buy them!


SHEET PAN Chicken Fajita's

Okay guys, I'm going to have to make this a quick post today. Yesterday we overcame a blizzard that dumped over TWO feet of snow on us, which means a day full of shoveling and snow blowing. Okay, I have to clear this up before my husband reads this and gets into a tizzy. I am not actually shoveling or snow blowing... he is so I can't take the credit for it. Instead I am inside with a Golden Retriever, Stella, who sinks up to her chin in the snow and a son who would rather play in the sink. Oh, right and nursing school. Always studying for nursing school.

That being said, during the storm yesterday I took the opportunity to meal prep for the rest of the week. On Monday I made Bacon & Egg Potato Hash for my morning meal prep, and yesterday I made SHEET PAN Chicken Fajita's. Seriously, this is one of my favorite recipes! It is so easy and not only great for meal prepping but for when you are having people over and need to make something to go along with that pitcher [gallon] of margaritas!

All you need are a few veggies, some chicken [you can also use steak or shrimp] and ONE sheet pan! Oh and some seasoning too! I used Jerk seasoning that I got in Jamaica back in January, but you can use any sort of seasoning that you like. Or none at all if you want the freshness of the veggies to shine through. Me, not so much. I like to cover the taste of veggies as much as possible.

And this will go PERFECTLY with homemade guacamole! Again, another simple and fresh recipe that is clean and pairs magically with a margarita! 

Servings: 4-6 (depending on the crowd)
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Overall Time: 30 Minutes

Whatcha Need:
2 lbs  Chicken Breast - cut into long strips
2 Green peppers (cut into slices)
1 Red pepper (cut into slices)
1 Yellow pepper (cut into slices)
1 Orange pepper (cut into slices)
1 Sweet onion (cut into slices)
1/4 cup seasoning (Jerk, taco, whatever you would like!)

Whats Cookin' Baby:

1. Preheat oven to 400º
2. Take all the cut veggies and place them evenly in a large sheet pan
3. Layer the chicken strips over the veggies
4. Sprinkle the seasoning evenly over the entire sheet pan
5. Place in oven until chicken is cooked through
6. Once the chicken is done, stir up all the veggies and chicken and serve!

Whole30 Bacon and Egg Potato Hash

Hi. Wow. It's been a while since I have been around my little corner of cyberspace (I've mostly stuck to Instagram lately). It's not that I have forgotten about it, but I am in my final days of nursing school (54 to be exact), which has consumed my life for the last two years. 

I feel the need to update you on everything that has been going on over the past few months, but I think I will save that for another post. I know you're all dying to hear about my trip to Jamaica with my husband and the trip I took with my son .... without my husband, and my brandy-new quartz countertops we installed due to a itty bitty kitchen fire! But I will save those for another post. 

I am here today, not to share about my luxurious vacations, but about FOOD!  I have been contemplating switching up my blog a little bit when I finish nursing school (remember that's in 54 days). Although I love cooking, I don't want all my posts to be about that. Unfortunately, all my life has been about lately is school and feeding myself and my family. However, that will soon change (refer to the number of days above that I have left). 

Okay, so what was I intending this post to be about? Oh, right this delicious recipe. Okay, so one thing I will update you on is the fact that I have started Whole30. You might be like I was a few weeks ago, and think "huh??" when someone mentions Whole30. Here is a quick snapshot of what it is: clean eating, no processed foods, no breads, legumes, ect. lots of protein, veggies, potatoes (yes WHITE potatoes!!), no dairy, and so on. Sure it sounds restrictive butttttt.... there is NO and I mean NO counting involved! No counting calories, no measuring, just eating until you're full. I will leave it there for now, if you want to learn more, Pinterest is a wealth of information.

That being said, this is a wonderful Whole30 recipe that has everything I love. BACON. POTATOES. EGGS. Yup, it's something you would order down at the local greasy spoon and feel guilty about. But not anymore. I make this and feel satisfied and proud I made a good decision food wise. I mean come on, I could have had a cinnamon roll right?

The real reason you're here, though, is to find out how to make this incredibly easy and equally tasty brunch style breakfast! This is one that you can make in small single portions or enough for a Sunday brunch with friends and family. Either way, in 15 minutes you will be pleasing not only yourself but everyone round the table. Or if you're like me, you make this huge meal and meal prep it for the entire week! Yeah, I was never good at sharing. 

Servings: 6
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

Whatcha Need:

3 Russet potatoes - diced
1 Sweet onion - diced
1/2 lbs locally raised bacon - diced (see a theme yet??)
6 locally raised eggs (not diced!)
Salt/pepper to taste
Paprika - a healthy sprinkle
Parsley -for presentation 

What's Cookin' Baby:

1. Preheat oven to 400º
2. In a cast iron skillet on Low-Medium heat, add the potatoes, bacon, and onion
3. Sprinkle salt/pepper/paprika
4. Stirring every few minutes to keep the potatoes from sticking
5. Once the potatoes are cooked through, create a little well for each cracked egg to nest in
6. Pop in the oven until the egg whites have cooked though


See, I told you that was simple! And what is great is that no oil or butter is needed since the pan gets greased from the bacon! And what is even better is the fact that this dish can be customized in so many ways! Add veggies, swap bacon for sausage, sweet potatoes for white potatoes, ect. The possibilities are endless!

One Pot Chicken Pot Pie Pasta

Can you believe it's September already? Although I am sad to see summer gone I am happy to see Fall make its appearance. Okay, let's be real, I'm in nursing school so I actually didn't see much of summer. A glimpse here and there when I looked up from my text book and glanced through the window. I would take Fall over any other time of year. I use to be a huge winter person. Being up here in the arctic, I mean Maine, there is so much to do in the winter. I use to ski and snowboard and all that jazz. But the older I get the more I have come to despise winter. Skiing and snowboarding will break the bank, the ice on my driveway will break a hip, and I loath dressing in 17 layers just to get to your destination and be sweating your gonads off.
Fall, oh Fall how I love everything about you. I love the crisp air, no humidity, changing leaves, scented candles, and I love most of all the delicious meals I can cook. Not just regular "I can eat all summer long meals" but those that are warm and comforting. Those that make amazing leftovers to bring to class to make all your classmates jealous. Yes, comfort food. 
So today, in early September, I bring to you a combination of two comfort foods all blended together in one pot! Yes one pot, not multiple dishes to wash, just one. This One Pot Chicken Pot Pie Pasta  has everything you want. It's creamy, meaty, and pasta-y. And it re-heats wonderfully. And one of the best parts about this dish is that you can hide veggies in it well. My two main men in the house don't particularly  like veggies, but with this dish I was able to get carrots and celery in there. Although they could see it, they were so covered in the creamy goodness that they couldn't taste it. Total win in my book! 

Prep Time: 10 Min
Cook Time: 20 Min
Total Time: 30 Min

1Lb Chicken breast cut into 1" pieces
1 Lbs fettuccine
1 Medium white onion - diced
3 Large carrots - cut in small round slices
3 Stalks celery - cut into small pieces
3 cloves garlic - minced
2 Tbs olive oil
1/3 Cup flour
3 Cups milk (you can use lesser fat milk if you'd like)
4 Cups chicken broth
2 Tbs fresh parsley - chopped
Salt / Pepper to taste

How To Cook
1. Using a dutch oven, or a large pan, sauté chicken in the olive oil until not longer pink along with the carrots, onion, celery, and garlic on medium heat. 
2. Once chicken is cooked and vegetables are soft, thoroughly mix in the flour until evenly mixed. 
3. Add in milk, chicken broth, parsley, salt/pepper and add pasta and bring to a heavy simmer. Then reduce heat to a slow simmer
4. Stir every few minutes to keep pasta separated and from sticking to the bottom. 
5. If using a dutch oven, take off heat when pasta is slightly under cooked - as it will continue to cook in the Dutch oven. 

Serve Immediately 

Recipe adapted from Whole and Heavenly Oven

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Being that I am knee deep in nursing school, I need meals that are going to be easy with little clean-up. To be honest, I actually made this soup this past winter during break. I had this bright idea to make a ton of freezer meals at once so I would have them throughout the year. Well, to be honest, today was the first time I dug into them! But I am so glad I had them handy.

I have been swamped with pharmacology homework and this was the week I decided to potty train the worlds most stubborn child. Yeah, he knows how to use the toilet, but will hold it for 13+ hours instead. Insert eye roll. So I needed an easy meal that was quick but also didn't heat up the already hot house!

There are so many variations of this and so many other freezer type meals you can do. But this is one of my favorite. I am a sucker for anything chicken and tortilla. 

2lbs Chicken breast
2 Cups frozen corn
14oz can black beans 
28oz Diced tomatoes 
(you can add in some with green chilies if you like)
2tbs taco seasoning

Greek yogurt, tortilla chips and cilantro to top

So here is the hard part.... you either dump it all in a freezer bag for later and freeze OR dump it all in a crockpot now and cook for 6 hours on low or 3 hours on high.

Shred chicken once it's cooked then top with the delicious toppings of your choice!

21 Day Fix
Serving1.5 cups (some will be broth/topping )
1/2 G
1Y (with tortilla chips)
1R (with greek yogurt)

One Pot American Chop Suey

So, if you're not from New England you would probably call this Goulash or American Goulash. Well up here in Maine its chop suey and man oh man is it good! If you're looking for a meal that you can throw all in one pot and have it ready in 20 minutes, this is it ladies and gents! 

Some nights I just want a hot home cooked meal without all the extra dishes and without having to run to the store to grab obscure ingredients. I know I always have the fixings to make this right in my pantry and I'm willing to bet you do too....just go check!

You literally throw this in the pot and cook! It's a guaranteed family approved meal!

Okay this is where it gets fun! You can throw any veggies you want in here! Mix it up or keep it simple!

1 Lbs Elbow pasta (or any sort of short pasta)
1 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
2 Cups water
1 Lbs Ground beef
1 Green pepper
1 Onion
1 Glove garlic
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
salt/pepper to taste
Chives for presentation 

How to Cook
Take a pot such as a dutch oven or a deep sauce pan and place on high heat and brown the meat.

Once the meat is about half done throw in the onions, green pepper and garlic and cook until the meat has finished browning, then throw in the seasoning.

Add in tomatoes, pasta, and water.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and cover the pasta for 20 minutes or until the pasta is done to your liking. Stir occasionally so the pasta doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot!


Fresh and Easy Guacamole

I woke up this morning with a hankering for some guacamole. Or perhaps I just wanted chips and I needed and excuse to eat them. Either way, I had some ripe avocado on the counter so I just quickly whipped this up!

A few years back I would have never tried to make guacamole because I thought it was so hard! That was until I visited Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in Cozumel. They make it to order right in front of you! So I intently watched them make it table side while I was slugging back my third margarita and realized I could do it at home. A few ingredients and BAM it's like you're own little Mexican fiesta in your mouth. 
And if you're like me and don't eat guacamole with anything but chips, try making your own oven baked chips!

3 Ripe Avocado's
1 Shallot (or 1/2 red onion) chopped
10 Cherry tomatoes (quartered) OR one large tomato
1 Clove of garlic
1/2 Lime juiced
1/2 tbs chopped cilantro
Salt/Pepper to taste

Mix it up!
This is the easy part! Just scoop out the avocado add it to the bowl. Chop up tomatoes and shallot, mince garlic, juice the lime, sprinkle salt/pepper and cilantro and mix it all up! If you like it chunky then don't mash up the avocado as much. If you like it creamy then keep smashing them until you get to the consistency you like!

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Chicken

I think I've been on a chicken kick lately. Probably because I'm busy, or perhaps lazy, and it's just so versatile and easy to make. Whatever the case may be, this is one of the easiest, customizable and delicious ways to make chicken. And what's even better? You will have chicken for dayyyys!

So for you meal preppers, I know who you  tupperwaring, baggie filling, fridge packing are.... this is the perfect recipe for you. One night you can have roasted chicken with potatoes the next it can be chopped and made into chicken salad or stuffed between two tortillas with loads of cheese for a chicken quesadilla! 

All you need is a skillet that can go from stovetop to oven (cast iron or stainless should be just fine), a whole roasting chicken and whatever herbs and spices you like. Oh and an oven. That would come in handy too. 

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Chicken
1 Roasting Chicken (pictured was 6.8lbs)
3 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs Dried rosemary
1 Tbs Thyme 
4 Cloves garlic
salt/pepper to taste

Let's Get Cookin'
Preheat the oven to 375º and place the skillet on the stove and drizzle with  2 tbs of oil on high heat

Pat dry the chicken and use the remaining oil to rub over the chicken then cover both sides with herbs, placing the garlic inside the chicken

Place chicken, breast side up, in the hot skillet for 3-4 minutes. It will sizzle and thats good!

Place the skillet with the chicken in it, into the oven on the middle rack. Let it cook for 1 hour.

Once the hour is up, turn the oven off and leave the chicken in to finish cooking! 

(If you have a self-cooling oven like mine, turn the heat down to 300º, otherwise it will suck all the hot air out and the chicken won't finish cooking.)

Once the chicken has reached an temperature of 165º, take it out and enjoy! 

Essential Oil Allergy Buster

Oh the joys of spring time. Runny nose, itchy eyes, itchy ears, and sneezing. Seasonal allergies are no joke and finding a something that doesn't either make you sick, drowsy, actually works, and won't break the bank is hard to do! 

I have tried over the counter meds and prescription meds to no avail. Nothing worked. That's when I turned to essential oils. Mixing three simple oils together and rolling them on or diffusing them in the house or car has changed my world! Since using them I no longer have ANY symptoms! I was that girl in town with the red eyes and always sneezing. Now I can sip my wine at the wine bar not having to worry about having a plethora of tissues or sneezing so hard I spill my glass. 

3 simply essential oils is all it takes to be symptom free!

Equal parts of each

Carrier Oil:
If you were to just add the oils straight to your skin, it might be a little much. So you want to have a carrier oil to dilute it. I use either grape seed oil or sunflower oil. You can use olive oil if you'd like or if it's all you have. 

For my 10ml bottle that I carry in my purse I do 3 drops of each then fill the remaining space with the carrier oil. Apply 2x a day (or more if necessary) to your temples, wrists, and behind your ears.

If using my diffuser I do one drop of each.

Not only are these three oils great for allergies, they are amazing to have on hand for bee strings (place lavender on the sting and there won't be any swelling or pain), lemon for your water, and peppermint for nausea. There are so many ways to use essential oils that the list is endless!

Interested in trying essential oils? Contact me or visit Young Living! Sign up and become a member and receive 24% off each and every order.