by gillian claire: April 2017



Hey Look, I Cooked! / Blue Apron Review

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Blue Apron, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
     I  really  do not like to cook and in fact I do not actually cook much at all these days. I used to do the majority of the cooking in our family but Aaron has taken on that role and I couldn't be happier about it. Sometimes on social media I'll see people posting about making an "easy" dinner and you guys I seriously am always thinking, "that is more involved than my  elaborate  dinners..." That's the extent that I cook. 
     I've been seeing people order these Blue Apron boxes all over the place so I was really excited to get a chance to work with them and try them out for myself. They describe themselves as a "fresh ingredient and recipe delivery service that helps chefs of all levels cook incredible meals at home." Sold.
(And hey, if you've been interested in trying Blue Apron as well, use my link to get $30 OFF your first purchase!)

Here are a few cool facts about Blue Apron that I didn't previously know:

+ All ingredients are GMO free.

+ Their meat has no added hormones and no sub-therapeutic antibiotics.

+ Blue Apron offers a "Freshness Guarantee" on all ingredients and will replace anything that arrives looking subpar within the first 7 days.

+ They use sustainably sourced seafood.

   I was really impressed with our box. It included all of the ingredients necessary for 3 meals. Everything was neatly packaged and also kept cool and insulated. This box probably sat on my porch for a few hours and everything, including the meat, was still cold! Asher had a lot of fun digging into the box with me and seeing some foods he knew and many that he didn't recognize.

All of the recipes Blue Apron sent sound amazing but I decided on the "Za'atar-Spiced Chicken" first because I love anything with lemon and couscous.

Here are all the lovely ingredients as they came packaged. Everything comes in the exact portions you need which honestly is so nice. I love that Blue Apron takes away the grocery shopping + measuring aspect of cooking! This makes the process even easier for someone like me who is whiney about cooking.

My cute little helper ready to go!_MG_9585-2_MG_9583-2
The directions were extremely straightforward and helpful. I will say that this recipe was a little more involved than I anticipated but the meal was also "fancier" than I expected. I did have to google "how to mince a shallot," and I also set off the fire alarm twice, but the house didn't burn to the ground and I kind of shocked myself that this turned out so well in the end!

This picture where I'm cooking the chicken is really  something to write home about because even when I used to cook, I cooked mostly vegetarian. I squealed a little when I had to touch the raw chicken but it wasn't as bad as I feared and it was so nice that the seasoning for the meat was already premixed and ready to go!

     Voila! You guys, are you impressed? It turned out so  picture perfect and it tasted amazing! The sauce that I made at the end was seriously so delish and made this meal just perfect. I've even been scavenging some leftovers from the fridge as I worked on this post.
Do y'all like to cook? I feel like I never meet girls who don't love cooking so tell me below if you are like me!
Have you been wanting to give Blue Apron a try? You can use my link to get $30 OFF your first purchase which is an awesome deal!


Simple Ways to Have Fun with the Family!

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by the Goldfish brand but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

     This is definitely the busiest season of family life for us so far. Even though Roman and Asher are both in school now, it hasn't seemed to slow anything down! Just being a working mom and taking care of two wild and rambunctious growing boys seems to be enough to wear me out each and every day.

     We have always relied on simple ways to connect as a family. There is so much pressure on parents to spend a lot of money and attend exciting planned activities to give our children a happy childhood, but I have found that kids don't need much to have fun and feel loved. Here are 6 simple, inexpensive things that have been my go to ways to have fun with my kids over the years!

1. Take a Drive: Going for drives has always been a thing for our family. I think it started when Roman was a baby and we realized on weary nights that a nice long drive at night would put him to sleep much faster and easier! Now that we live in Colorado, drives are even more enjoyable and fun because, well mountains - duh.

Sometimes the kids scoff a little about the idea of going for a drive but getting them out of the house almost always puts them in a better mood. One trick to pulling this off is bribing the kids with a fun snack. Sometimes I stash away something like these little Grab and Go Goldfish crackers to whip out when it's time to get out of the house. Goldfish are a HUGE staple in our family (um the Xtra cheddar is my absolute favorite) and these little personal sized cartons somehow make them seem even more appealing to my kids! 

2. Movie Night: Throwing a movie night is basically parent-code for having an excuse to lay down all night, right? Sometimes we'll rent a RedBox movie or look for one we haven't seen on Netflix, put together some easy snacks and veg out in front of the TV all night. Asher is the expert at making a "bed" for us on the living floor which consists of dragging out all the blankets and pillows in the house. :) If you want to take it up a notch, you can take movie night to the $2 movie theater and smuggle in some snacks (here's where those Goldfish come in handy again!) for a really inexpensive night out!

3. Go to the Park: This is always a super easy/simple entertainment option. We have our favorite parks and kind of mix it up between them to keep it fun. Sometimes we go on an "adventure" to try out a new park that we've never been to! If you live in a larger suburb or city, playground options are never ending and always a surefire way for the kids to have fun.

4. Restaurant Play Place: Restaurant play places are parenting gold you guys. You don't have to feed your kids fast food for dinner to go either. (Although no shame in that game.) I usually let my kids get an ice cream or sometimes I just grab a coffee and let them play!

5. Neighborhood Walk: Taking a neighborhood walk is one of our favorite things to do. I think the old saying that fresh air is good for you definitely holds so much truth. Both of my boys are extremely talkative little guys and they love having my undivided attention on a walk when I have nothing distracting me. Sometimes I walk in between Roman and Asher while they are both talking to me a mile a minute and I honestly can't hear a word they are saying, ha!

6. Dance Contest/Party: We love to dance and we've gone through many different dance phase over the years. We used to have "dance parties" where we all jumped on the bed together and this has kind of morphed into "dance contests" where both of my boys create dances to perform on the bed and I judge. It's pretty hilarious and always so much fun! They really like when I make videos on my phone so that they can check out their movies. Yes, I let the kids jump on the beds. You only live once!

We honestly live a very simple life and luckily both of my boys enjoy doing all of the simple things I've listed in this post. I've found that the little moments in motherhood are the most important and always end up being my favorite memories as well. What simple ways do you have fun with your family in the busy seasons? Please share!
Thanks to Goldfish for sponsoring this conversation! Head over to their Pinterest Page and YouTube channel for more fun family ideas!



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