Lumberjack Party

Lumperjack Party

Its a total winter wonderland here in SLC this week. So I figured its the perfect time to revisit Olivers Lumberjack party for his 1st birthday. Originally posted January 28th, 2016.

My little Oliver Jack is a winter baby, which was great when I was 9 months pregnant and a burning inferno, but not so great when planning a 1st birthday party.  The freezing temperatures outside really limited my options for a birthday party.  But I decided to embrace my inner hibernation mode and what better way than with Cozy flannel and comfort food; the key ingredients to a Lumberjack themed party.  It was a truly special day surrounded by our loving family and friends to Celebrate Oliver.  He slept through half of it because naps never work out the way you hope on party day.  But watching him with his cake was delightful.

 

How to throw a lumberjack themed party

I fell in love at first site with these invitations from Lauren Haddox designs on Etsy, she also made a gorgeous set of printables that I couldn’t resist.

Invitations

I loved that she has matching address labels that made these invites crazy cute from start to finish.

Decorations

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A couple of weeks before the party we took a little trip to the park to collect pine cones.  Which saved me about $20. But If you just want to buy pinecones, you can here. (Amazon affiliate link)

For the burlap runner you can find it here. (Amazon affiliate link)

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You can find this lantern here.(contains Amazon affiliate link)

You can find wood platters here. (contains Amazon affiliate link)

 

 

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Decorations ideas:

  • Pine cones
  • Wood stumps
  • Flannel
  • An axe or two
  • Flannel bunting
  • Lanterns
  • Mini pine trees
  • Kraft paper
  • Burlap

Food

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Chili Bar Toppings:

  • Cheddar cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Jalapenos
  • Fritos or corn chips
  • Hot sauce
  • Corn bread muffin
  • Tater-tots

 

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Waffle Bar Toppings:

  • Chick-fil-a party platter, perfect for chicken and waffles.
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Raspberries
  • Pineapple
  • Blueberries
  • White and milk chocolate chips
  • Whipped cream
  • Toffee bits
  • flavored syrup
  • Peanut butter
  • Bacon bits

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Dessert Bar:

  • Stout Chocolate Cupcakes, complete with mini ax
  • Assorted sugar cookies
  • S’more Pops
  • deconstructed Chocolate Covered Cinnamon Bear

Drinks

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Beverages:

  • Hot Chocolate Bar complete with “adult add-ins”
  • Iced Tea and Lemonade for my fave: an Arnold Palmer
  • Mimosa punch
  • Water
  • You can get these paper straws here. (Amazon affiliate link)

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You can find this to die for cake stand here. (Contains Amazon affiliate link)

Baby bear cake topper here. (Contains Amazon affiliate link)

Lego Lumberjack cake topper here. (Contains Amazon affiliate link)

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Oliver’s cake didn’t turn out like I had hoped, but that is what happens when you leave things to last-minute. I had a vision of delicious cream cheese whip layered between gorgeous fluffy giant pancakes.  To save myself time I ordered the pancakes from local breakfast joint we love. On the day of the party we picked up the to-go order and headed to the venue.  I was really sad to find that they gave me their small pancakes instead of their large.  I had to improvise and the good news is, Oliver Jack didn’t mind.  It tasted amazing!

I loved this party theme so much I want to throw a lumberjack party every winter.

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xoxosarah

Credits

photographer: Anissa Vegh PhotoNV

Printables:   Lauren Haddox designs on Etsy

Balloons: John with Balloon Architects 

Savory Oatmeal with Ham Bacon and Peas

Savory Oatmeal is Amazing

Savory oatmeal is amazing, I PROMISE!!! Dont be afraid! Its not weird!  It’s satisfaction in a bowl.

While I was making this recipe for the first time, my cousin April popped in. I said to her “PERFECT TIMING! You can try my carbonara inspired oatmeal. It has bacon, ham, peas.”  April replied with a very quick “that sounds weird.”  I had to laugh because her words are the quintessential reaction I get when I tell people about savory oatmeal.  But every person who has been lucky enough to try savory oatmeal at my house has changed their mind.

So let me calm your concerns about savory oatmeal and walk you through it.  Do you like Rice or polenta? Both are grains and usually served as a savory dish.  I dream of the polenta topped with marinara and cheese that I order at a local brewery called Redrock. It is so freaking good.  And I wowed my co-workers one day when I made them a creamy bowl of polenta topped with bacon and a slightly yokey fried egg on top.  I also grew up with my mom making chicken and rice with cream of chicken soup added in.  To this day it is on my top five comfort foods.

Oatmeal easily replaces the polenta or rice in any of these examples

Try it. And get back to me with “you were totally right!”

Carbonara Inspired Savory Oatmeal with Ham, Bacon, and Peas

I have attempted to make pasta carbonara a few times and I have to say its a little complicated.  Since I try to make my oatmeal as easy as possible, for this recipe I “dummed it down” for myself and for you guys too. Because who has a ton of time in the morning? I definitely do not.

This recipe is super easy and so satisfying.  I simply make savory oats in the Instant Pot, replacing water with Chicken stock. 

While the oatmeal is cooking, I sauteed ham, bacon crumbles and frozen peas until the meat sizzled and the peas were nice and tender.

Once the oatmeal is finished I added a turn of my salt and pepper grinders, butter, and mozzarella cheese.

Put 1 cup of oats in a dish, top with the ham, bacon, and peas. Then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

My mouth is watering just typing this.  So without further ado her is my carbonara inspired savory oatmeal with ham, bacon, and peas.

Carbonara Inspired Savory Oatmeal with Ham Bacon and Peas

Ingredients

  • 1 c steel cut oats
  • 3 c chicken stock
  • 8 oz ham, cubed
  • 4 oz bacon crumbles
  • 6 oz frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1/4 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 c Parmesan cheese, shredded

Instructions

  1. I simply make savory oats in the Instant Pot, replacing water with Chicken stock.   While the oatmeal is cooking, I sauteed ham, bacon crumbles and frozen peas until the meat sizzled and the peas were nice and tender. Once the oatmeal is finished I added a turn of my salt and pepper grinders, butter, and mozzarella cheese. Put 1 cup of oats in a dish, top with the ham, bacon, and peas. Then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  2. Place steel cute oats and chicken stock in Instant Pot. Set to steam for 10 minutes.
  3. While oatmeal is cooking, saute ham, bacon crumbles, and peas on medium heat until peas are tender.
  4. Allow the Instant Pot to naturally vent for an additional 10-15 minutes. Then turn vent to "venting." Once Instant pot has completely vented, remove lid. Add in butter and mozzarella cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. top oatmeal with ham, bacon, and pea mixture and sprinkle with Parmesan.

If you want to try other savory oatmeal check out my Bacon and Gouda Oatmeal recipe here.

White Chocolate Oatmeal Recipe

About This Recipe

Happy Friday! or more accurately HAPPY FLOAT MY OATS FRIDAY! Im so excited to share with you this White Chocolate Oatmeal Recipe. I haven’t posted an oatmeal recipe for a couple of weeks because I have been complete obsessed with my Hot Cocoa Oatmeal. So obsessed, that I couldn’t bare to make any other kind of oatmeal for weeks. You can find my hot cocoa oatmeal recipe here.  You are welcome in advance.  In a couple of weeks, when you too are finally over your inevitable hot cocoa oatmeal love affair, come back here.  Because creamy, light, white chocolate oatmeal is the perfect rebound.

Oatmeal for Dessert

Yesterday I started telling my friend about this little gem of a recipe. She said “sounds like a dessert.”  For the record, a lot of my recipes do border on dessert.  I mean hot fudge Sunday oatmeal isn’t even border line, its a full on dessert.   Since I love dessert, oatmeal is a better way to satisfy my sweet tooth than with say a cookie or brownie.  Steal cut oats are a good source of protein, soluble and unsoluble fiber, and vitamins and minerals.   One cup of cooked oatmeal has about 170 calories.  The white chocolate cocoa mix adds about 90 calories.  Then add in the toppings and you still have a meal under 500 calories. A meal that stays with you longer and satisfies that sweet tooth.

White Chocolate Oatmeal Recipe

This Instant Pot white chocolate oatmeal recipe is super easy and has the perfect hint of sweet, creamy white chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 1 c steel cut oats
  • 3 c almond milk
  • 1/2 c Stephens Gourmet White Chocolate Hot Cocoa Mix
  • 1/4 c whipped cream
  • 1/4 c berries
  • 2 tbsp. white chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. buttermilk syrup to drizzle
  • 1 tbsp. granola

Instructions

  1. In an Instant Pot / pressure cooker add oatmeal and almond milk. Lock lid in place. Turn vent to "sealing." Press the STEAM button and set timer to 10 minutes. Once finished, allow to vent naturally for about 10 minutes. Then turn vent to "venting."
  2. Stir cooked oatmeal, then add in white chocolate hot cocoa mix and stir.
  3. top with whipped cream, fruit, drizzle with butter milk syrup, and sprinkle with white chocolate chips and granola.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Activity Tool Box for the Creative Kid

Positive Parenting Hack

I had no idea what kind of parent I was going to be before I had Oliver. and I definitely didn’t know what positive parenting was. I just knew I wanted to be a good mom.  Then I became a parent and I have realized that wanting to be a good parent isn’t always enough.  Parenting is hard.

I just didn’t understand all the ways that it is hard.  Sure, sleepless nights, diapers..yadda yada.  I had no idea I would spend a significant part of my day trying to negotiate with an unreasonable tyrant and just how many messes a 3 year old can make in 10 minutes.

The Solution

Redirecting Oliver’s behavior in a positive direction can be difficult.  My first instinct is to just say “stop that” and “don’t.”   But every time I take a deep breath , give my self a mini pep talk,  and then actually take the time to guide his behavior in a positive manner, it works out far better.

Which is why I started compiling a basket of positive activities for him to do when he is in an especially mischievous mood.  I added paint, crayons, colored pencils, scissors, play dough and flash cards. But very quickly this basket became a “hot mess” of chaos sitting on top of my fridge for all to see.  It bugged me every time I looked at it..

So I found these awesome little stackable caddy organizers on amazon to create the perfect activity tool box for my creative kid. (Disclosure: affiliate link above. {JUST TRYING TO SUPPORT MY FAMILY}).

I love having all of these activities in one place.  Its so easy to pull this out when I need that positive direction and say, “which activity do you want to do?”

This is my favorite mommy hack to date.  And the best part is that eyesore on top of my fridge is a distant memory.

These organizers are awesome because they stack together and you can even get a rolling cart bottom. I think my office/craft room needs a few.

For all you parents out there, I hope this idea helps you get a few more moments of peace, it has for me.

Hot Cocoa Oatmeal

Is it just me or does hot cocoa sound amazing right now?! I pretty much want hot cocoa around the clock from now until March. I was planning out what I wanted to do for #FloatMyOatsFriday but I kept being distracted by my desire for Hot cocoa. Then BAM, the two ideas converged. How have I never thought of this before? Delicate, creamy, chocolate oats topped with fluffy marshmallows and whip. So dreamy! And since my Husband Juice is always talking about how he doesn’t want to “drink his calories” this little gem makes that hot cocoa bender a little less disastrous for the waist line. You are welcome!

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Hot Cocoa Oatmeal

  • Prep Time: 5h
  • Cook Time: 10h
  • Total Time: 15h

Ingredients

  • 1 c steel-cut oats
  • c almond milk
  • 1 c water
  • 1/4 c hot cocoa mix
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. salted butter
  • whipped cream for garnish
  • mini chocolate chips for garnish
  • mini marshmallows for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place oats, almond milk, and water in Instantpot and seal. Set to steam for 10 minutes with the vent closed.
  2. After the 10 minutes, let the Instantpot sit for an additional 10 minutes to allowing to vent naturally. Then switch to venting.
  3. Add in hot cocoa mix, brown sugar and butter. Stir until combined. Garnish and enjoy.

Baby Henryk Birth Announcement

With baby Henryk fast approaching 3 months, I have to post his Newborn pics before another day goes by.

I have been a busy momma with two kids and I started back to work from home when Henry was 1 month old so forgive me for being behind and going with an adorable birth announcement from Shutterfly instead of designing my own.

Being Baby Henry’s Mom is an incredible blessing. Whenever my heart is just bursting with joy, which is all the time when I have this little guy in my arms, I think “How did I get so lucky?!”  Two beautiful and healthy little boys.

There are also quite a few moments where I think…”Oh Cuss!  I’m outnumbered.”  (Anyone notice the Fantastic Mr. Fox reference?)  In honor of Mr Fox, Juice and I have decided to change all of our swear words to “CUSS” to avoid problems down the road with Oliver’s preschool and all of the Grandmas in our life.

Now behold total cuteness:

 

 

Photography by Mary Clark DMC Studios

Florida Layered Salad

Pregnancy cravings are a roller coaster.  One minute I want mashed potatoes and pineapple, the next minute I have a burning desire for Sour Patch Kids.  Pinterest should be avoided if at all possible, 5 minutes in and I want so many different things all at once its dizzying.

At the grocery store I end up buying very strange meal combinations like strawberry ice cream and salad with peas and beats, to be eaten simultaneously or Chinese food and a crepe. Couple that with “pregnancy brain” and my poor husband hasn’t eaten a cohesive meal in months. I end up halfway through making dinner before I realize I forgot the other half.  But at least I have a few go-to meals that I almost always have the ingredients for on hand and not coincidentally are on my most craved list of 2017, such as….drum roll please …..

Florida Salad.

Like so many of the yummy recipes in my go-to arsenal, I originally got this recipe from my long time Boss Starla. Crisp, fresh salad greens, sweet peas, celery, savory bacon, diced ham and boiled eggs, topped with a creamy, thick dressing and shredded cheddar cheese.  It’s no wonder that I crave this salad all the time. I made just one minor adaptation to Star’s recipe, I add ranch mix to the dressing. Some fresh chives would be killer as well. But I just go with what I have on hand. I have no idea why its called Florida Salad. But regardless, this layered salad is a must. You can make it the night before and it always disappears at any gathering.  I also love this salad in the winter because the ingredients are easy to find year around.  

Florida Layered Salad Recipe

Refreshing, crisp, and savory layered salad recipe. Great salad year around.

  • Prep Time: 20m
  • Total Time: 20m

Ingredients

  • 6 oz lettuce, chopped
  • 4 oz baby spinach
  • 1 1/2 c celery, diced
  • 1/4 c bacon crumbles
  • 4 eggs, halved and sliced
  • 8 oz ham, cubed
  • 1 1/2 c frozen sweet peas, thawed
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 c mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. ranch dressing mix
  • 1 c cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 c green onions, finely diced

Instructions

  1. With stand or hand mixer, beat cream cheese, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing mix until smooth. Set aside.
  2. In a trifle dish, layer lettuce, spinach, celery, bacon crumbles, eggs, ham, green onions, and sweet peas.
  3. Spread prepared dressing evening over the salad.
  4. Top with shredded cheese.

My French Experiment: Baking with a 3 year old.


Baking with my 3 year old was not something I had any intention of doing anytime soon.  I know of other moms  who occasionally let their kids help them bake cookies, but it always seemed to me to be a bigger pain than it was worth.

But couple month ago I had a lunch play date with my lovely friend Ingrid. I was a little apprehensive about meeting at a Chic-fil-a play place because the only other time we had ever been to one, it ended with him at the very tippy top of the play tunnel, refusing to come down. The horror of having to climb up through the clausterphobic, gooey tunnels to drag him down is not something easily forgotten. But I decided that 6 months was a long enough banishment and to give him another chance.
While our children played, we got to catch up and I got to vent about how my once amazing eater has digressed into a ridiculously picky one. She recommended a book called Bringing up Bebe.

Im so glad she did. The basic premise of the book is that an American journalist in Paris notices some pretty big differences between American and French children. She sets out to figure out why French babies almost unanimously sleep through the night by 8 weeks, have good manners, and even eat pretty much anything their parents eat. In France, there are no special kids menus at every restaurant.

I really loved the book and a new perspective. I was shocked to learn that in France its pretty normal for a three year old to bake with very little supervision.

After reading about the confidence it helps foster, I decided to accept that it might be a huge mess and give it a try anyway. I even used the French Yogurt Cake recipe she mentioned in the book.
So on a cold Sunday morning I gathered the ingredients and let Oliver and my niece Sia bake. They were really into it and had so much fun. It really wasn’t anywhere near the disaster I thought it would be. There was very little mess and it was nice to have an engaging, positive activity with these littles. Im definitely be doing more baking with my little guy.  My favorite part was that while Oliver swears he doesn’t like raspberries, after baking with them, he actually gave them a try.






DIY get well gift cold flu season

DIY Get Well Gift for Cold & Flu Season

It seems like everywhere I turn someone is sick; work, childcare, family, & friends.  Its that not so lovely time of year we fearfully refer to as cold and flu season. I unfortunately succumbed to the germs myself last  week and could have really used one of these “DIY Get Well Gift for Cold & Flu Season.”  Now on the mend, I am hoping to spread get well cheer.

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These little gems are the perfect gift to make ahead and have on had this time of year.

Start with a cute mug or teapot. I found these adorable mugs at West Elm today and I picked up this little teapot on clearance at Target a while back.

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West Elm Textured Mugs

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Things to add:

  • honey
  • lemon  (fresh lemon, bottled lemon juice, or True Lemon)
  • cough drops
  • travel tissue
  • tea bags
  • Emergen-C packets or organic effervesce drink mix
  • lip balm

 

 

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Just arrange everything in the container of your choice and give it to your favorite “sickies!”
You could even make several at the same time and keep on hand. Thats where the True Lemon would be perfect.

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On a side note, how cute are these tiny honey bears?!

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Comment below with any additional things I need to add to my list and when a cold or flu does hit, I hope you and your loved ones a speedy recovery.

xoxosarah

S’more Bites with Halloween Candy

Halloween Candy Smore Bites

Halloween candy s’more bites are a super quick treat to make and the perfect way to use up that Halloween candy. These are also a great treat to bring to a Halloween party.
What sets these s’more bites apart is the gourmet graham crackers I get from the Tulie bakery here in Salt Lake City, Utah. A world of difference in the taste and texture department!


Each cracker is about 3 inches square so I quartered them. Making each bite perfect for one marshmallow.


I then cut up an assortment of candy into smaller pieces. My favorite topping is Almond Joys.


You don’t need a fancy torch, I just lined a baking sheet with parchment, added the crackers and marshmallows, and toasted them in my over on broil. It took about 3-5 minutes to get a nice golden top.


Press the candy down into the toasted marshmallow, being sure to get it down in the gooey melted part!

You can serve these warm or cool like I did last night. I let them cool down for a few minutes, added a lid and took them to a party.

I want to hear about your s’more bites so leave a comment with your favorite S’more topping or where to find gourmet graham crackers in your area.

xoxosarah