The Busy Giffs: March 2018

March 28, 2018

Muddy "Bunny" Mix

Easter is so early this year! I feel like it usually happens much later in April.  So late sometimes that we are enjoying our Spring break week down the Cape and celebrate Easter down there! But this year... so early.  I'm actually really excited about it not being during vacation week because that means my family will partake in the holiday tradition we have and head to my grandmother's house with so many of my family members.  Because we have such a large family, we set it up like a big pot luck every holiday.  Each person volunteers two or three items, things get put out on the table, and then everyone gets to enjoy without any one person doing too much work.

Every holiday, we end up bringing a dessert to these gatherings. My kids love spending time cooking and baking and sweet treats are their favorites. We decided to whip up a super simple Easter recipe this year and we call it Muddy BUNNY Mix!

muddy buddies, easter, spring, easy recipe

We started with a basic Muddy Buddies recipe straight from the Chex box.  Tyler wanted to add in some miniature marshmallows and Easter M&Ms so it became Muddy BUNNY mix!

Tyler was obsessed, eating it by the handful.  It's such a simple dessert-- I'm excited to keep tweaking it for new holidays!

What's your go to dessert recipe for Easter?

xo, Heather

March 19, 2018

Meal Prepped Meat, Egg, and Cheese Breakfasts

So fun fact-- I've lost close to 20 pounds in the last few months.  It's a combination of medicating my thyroid, watching what I eat, and cutting back on carbs and sweets. It's been a conscious choice but I'm also not starving myself or denying myself things I love.  Prepping ahead of time has been so helpful.  I used to meal prep on Sunday nights but found I got bored with the food.  So now I prep a few things but also throw things together last minute for some variety.

In an average day I eat eggs or have a shake for breakfast; and deli meat, cheese and hard boiled eggs or a protein and steamed or sauteed veggies for lunch or dinner.  Honestly, just cutting out the carbs has been the biggest thing for me.

Mornings are quick for me. Often the kids wake up while I'm getting ready and want snuggles and who am I to say no to snuggle requests? I always end up leaving 10 minutes later than I planned because I just want to stay with the kids as long as I can. AS much as I love my shakes, I can't have them every day or I get bored so I started prepping breakfast egg muffins. Sometimes I use the cupcake tins and sometimes I use a cake pan and just cut servings.

It's super simple and if I cook them Sunday night I can eat them for a few days.  They make great breakfasts, they pack super well for lunches, and even work as a protein packed piece of dinner.

10 breakfast sausages, cooked and cut, or 5-8 pieces of bacon cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup diced peppers and onions
6 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350* and spray down cupcake pan or cake pan with non stick sp
Saute peppers and onions in a frying pan over medium heat.
Divide into cupcake tin cavities or spread over the cake pan.
Repeat with the cooked and crumbled breakfast meat.
Sprinkle shredded cheese in the same fashion.
In a bowl, whisk the eggs. Add some milk or cream if you'd like.
If using cupcake tins, divide the mixture among the tins. If using a cake pan, pour over the pan, being sure to cover all the peppers, onions, meat, and cheese.
Place into oven.  Takes from 8-15 minutes depending on whether you are using cupcake tins or a cake pan and your individual oven temps. Be sure to check every few minutes and remove when the eggs are fully cooked through.

I love grabbing a quick slice in the morning, making mornings so much easier!

xo, Heather

March 15, 2018

Saving Money for A Trip to Build A Bear

When you are little, numbers don't hold the same value. To many little kids $100 is enough to feed the world so when my 6 year old daughter said she wanted to save up her money to go to Build A Bear, I wasn't expecting much from her.  I told her if she raised $20 I would bring her.  And she worked her butt off. Asking to do extra chores (which she never got paid for previously), and negotiating via "If I do.... will you give me $1?" was both entertaining and productive.  She would tell others she was saving up to go and would smile from ear to ear as they handed her a dollar to add to her savings.

I watched with pride as she counted the money she earned. The day she hit the $20 was amazing. She was beaming with pride so we made plans to go a few days later. We've been before but this trip was special.  She saved for it.  She was looking at prices and deciding what to get. I told her that she could pick her bear with her money and I would buy her two outfits.  When the doll she wanted was more than $20, she negotiated again, asking for me to pay for the extra part of the bear and buy her one outfit.  Deal.

Build A Bear has always held a little magic for me.  Both David and I worked there, at separate times, and it was him wearing his Build A Bear shirt at a bar that made me first notice him, so a trip to Build a Bear always makes me smile. 

In the grand scheme of things, it's just a stuffed bear. I easily could have purchased it for her without any issues but there was so much value and magic in her working so hard for it. Did I mention that now that she's saved up for Build A Bear, she wants to save for another Disney vacation?

xo, Heather

March 12, 2018

40 in 4 Update

I kind of love this 40 in 4 but really not sure if I'll get it all done. I'm already a year in and not making much progress. I think I had some lofty wishes and some I'm not super interested in anymore so maybe there is still hope.

So since the last time I posted, I have two new items to check off, bringing me to a grand total of  6. Ha! I'll need to step it up if I want to get this all done in 3 more years!

2. Have my palm read.
For my 32nd birthday, we went out to lunch and then visited the Regina Russell Tea Room in Quincy. I've always been a bit skeptical but wanted to do it anyways and I'm so glad I did.  The guy knew some awesome things and made some comments that just clicked.  And not overly generic ones that I found meaning in, but real honest, directed comments... it was crazy and I really want to go back!

16. Begin working on an administrator's license or a PhD.
I was officially accepted into a program where I will get my Principal's license. We were supposed to start last week but with the weather it's been bumped but it's been started so it still counts! Based on the program I will be done with classes in October and will be able to receive my license after I do my practicum hours. 

So two more checked off-- why did I pick so many big things to put on my list? Oh well, I'll keep trucking along...

xo, Heather

40 in 4:

1. Run a 5k
2. Have my palm read.
3. Weekend in the Vineyard with my family.
4. Buy a bicycle.
5. Wear a bikini to the beach, no cover up.
6. Put my toes into the Pacific Ocean.
7. Go back to Disney
8. Go to Universal Studio
9. Get a job in Higher Ed
10. See another Broadway play
11. Fit into a size 8.
12. Travel to Europe, ideally London or Rome.
13. Get another tattoo (or two).
14. Be debt free, minus student loans and mortgage.
15. Put away a 4 month emergency amount.
16. Begin working on an administrator's license or a PhD.
17. Take a photography class.
18. Travel somewhere tropical.
19. Go camping.
20. Get professional head shots for the blog.
21. Sew Emma a matching dress for her and her dolls
22. Consider selling the custom shirts I've been making for the kids...
23. Take a cooking or baking class.
24. Take a cake decorating class.
25. Go to Ireland.
26. Find a local church to belong to/Baptize Tyler.
27. Get out of the minivan.
28. Take a calligraphy class.
29. Participate in Restaurant Week in Boston or Providence.
30. Go to Disney Land.
31. Work on our kitchen: backsplash, new desk, new table...
32. Buy a jacuzzi and redo the back deck.
33. Fence in our yard.
34. Landscape.
35. Finish the basement.
36. Attending the NYC Thanksgiving Day Parade
37. Create a real vegetable garden for an entire season/year.
38. Spend the day at the spa, getting pampered.
39. Splurge on our 10 year anniversary.
40. Save $10 for each accomplished task and spend it on something extravagant.

March 8, 2018

American Girl Cafe - Boston

After Emma discovered and fell in love with American Girl dolls when we went to New York, our family started heading to the local American girl for lunch and to check out the new doll of the each each January.  It's a great "girl day" for us. In addition to my daughter and myself, my mom, both of my sisters, my aunt and my grandmother all went to lunch.  Count it... that's 4 generations! How lucky are we that we have that still? There's only 74 years between Emmalee and her great grandmother, so I hope that she gets to have so many more years of memories with her.

Have you ever been to an American Girl Cafe? Honestly, the first time we went, I had pretty low expectations. I know, I know... for a company that makes such amazing products, I doubted their lunch.  I assumed it would be expensive and bland, because, let's be honest, more "character" things are.  I was so pleasantly surprised.

American has a great menu. Like a really great menu.  The meal includes a starter and the entree, and is only $16.50 plus applicable tax in the Natick store.  I spend that on a meal when I go out with my husband so it's a great price! Drinks range from $2.25 for hot tea to $5 for a Specialty Shake. Desserts range from $4.50 to $6.50, but they do offer 2 desserts that serve up to 6 people for $21- I need to try one one day!

We ordered tons of food.  From starters like fruit fondue, warm pretzel bites, hummus and pita, and warm artichoke dip to mozzarella sticks and chicken noodle soup, there is something for everyone.  Emma ordered the ever popular chicken tenders. One of my sisters ordered a turkey club sandwich and my other sister ordered a Herb Salmon, perfect for her pescatarian lifestyle.  I splurged on a grilled chicken sandwich with caramelized onions and a few others grabbed the Warm Bacon Dressing with a spinach salad. The meals are attractive to both kids and grown ups. All of them were delicious and we were passing plates back and forth the whole meal.

Dessert is super fun too! They have great prices so again, we all ordered different things and shared.  I didn't even get pictures of everything because we ate them too fast! They have the classics like an ice cream sundae, and how cute are the 3 mini cones!?, but I went with a Chocolate Chip cookie sundae and ohhhh man... so good. Emma's dessert was the cutest.  It came with 2 cupcakes, one for her and one for her doll, plus frosting and toppings to decorate them herself!

I love how included the dolls are! We got a high chair for both the dolls with us that day, plus doll sized plates and coffee mugs! If you don't have your own doll, they have dolls and Wellie Wishers that you can borrow for the meal so everyone can feel included.

After lunch we did some shopping, using up our Christmas gifts cards and had such an amazing trip! It's such a great way to spend the day with the women in our lives.

The local Boston store has tons of amazing events coming up in the next few months and I can't wait to head back up for a little more mommy and me time!

xo, Heather

March 7, 2018

How Is It March?!

Do you ever wonder where whole months of time go? Okay, well... not actually not remembering it but I make all these plans and next thing I know, it's 4 weeks later and I've accomplished nothing.

Well, I guess it hasn't been nothing...

We've been doing so much dance. With Emma competing now, we are super busy! More practices, weekends spent at competitions, and we spend more time fundraising to help pay for it all! I love, love, love her dancing but it's definitely made the weeks fly by quicker lately.

I turned 32! Yikes! I had a great birthday lunch and saw a spirit reader with my closest family and friends. It was so fun!

And my job has just been amped up.  I took on 3 adviser positions this year, not realizing I'd be switching positions a month into the year and between learning how to do my job AND balancing all the advisor responsibilities, some days it's hard to breath at work.

I have gotten so much dental work done. I know... weird to talk about... but after going years (and I mean yeeeeeears) with dental insurance it's quite a process to get my teeth back where they need to be.  As much as I have anxiety about the dentist, it feels so great knowing I'm on the right track to be healthier and set better examples for my kids.

Speaking of healthy-- I've lost 20 lbs since Thanksgiving! I'm still getting ultrasounds on my thyroid bi-monthly and taking a daily dose of my thyroid medicine, but again, it feels so great to see and feel the changes in my body.

I have a ton of things to write about so hopefully I'll be back soon!

xo, Heather

40 in 4 : A New Update

With the big changes in my life, I've been able to knock off a few more things! 4. Buy a bicycle. I'm so excited about this one. ...


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