If you’ve got a bunch of candy, chip, and cookie odds and ends hanging around the pantry, this Kitchen Sink Bark is a great way to use it up!  It comes together in a snap and the kiddos will love it!

Kitchen Sink Bark Post Image

Oh, friends.

I know I’ve said this before, but kids are so hard.  I’d love to say that I’m that fun, carefree mom that loves staying up super late with the kiddos, enjoying the Summer nights and throwing schedules out the window but good grief.  No.

For the past week or two, I’ve let Jon David sweet talk me into staying up past his bedtime, which I have discovered is not healthy for my brain.  Then yesterday he got in trouble and had his electronics taken away for the day and had to go to bed early.  It was like 8:15 pm and both kids were in bed.  Lucy had been throwing toddler tantrums all day, Jon David had been knowing all the things all the day and for the love of Pete, we were DONE.

And I know.  I knooooow.  I can’t tell you how many well-meaning emails I get telling me that I need to appreciate it now, soak it ALLLLLLL in because one day the kids will be big and the house will be quiet and empty and void of chubby baby toes and sticky countertops and refrigerator drawings. I appreciate those emails.  So much, truly.  But I ALSO know that to live to SEE that day, I need to have my brain intact.  And in order to have my brain intact, THE KIDS NEED TO GO TO BED.

So there we were.  Both kids in bed before 8:30.  I could have cried with joy.

Kitchen Sink Bark Post Photo

As my husband and I sat there looking at each other, I realized that we don’t spend nearly enough time talking about how awesome we are. Kids are hard.  Life is hard.  We kick butt at all of it.

Home cooked dinners and prayers and bill paying and toy buying, ice cream scooping and walk taking, story reading and cartoon movie watching — we do every bit of it.  Good grief, sometimes kids think WE are ruining their lives and I’m thinking “seriously?  You embarrassed the life out of me at the grocery store, my cute jeans don’t fit me because of this thing called CHILDBIRTH, and what I’d REALLY love to be doing is eating chips for dinner in front of the TV. Which would be tuned to Bravo.”

But we cook nutritional meals and eat around the table while we talk about hypothetical situations like what we would bring if we were stranded on a desert island or what candy we would eat if we could only choose one for the rest of our lives, because that is what you do for kids.

So last night, my husband and I talked about all the ways we are awesome.  We patted each other on the backs.  I think I might have shook his hand in congratulations a few times, I don’t know, this Summer has made me delirious.

I made margaritas and we ate M&Ms.  We watched movies on Netflix with adult language and violence. We said, “we are the bosses.  Our kids need to go to bed early more often so we can talk about how awesome we are at making humans.”

Honestly, it’s how every Saturday night should go, I decided.  You should try it.

Just a thought.

Kitchen Sink Bark Picture

This Kitchen Sink Bark is something you could make for the kids or totally hoard for yourself.  The thing I love about it is that  you can use up all those bits and pieces of cookies and chips and candies hanging around in the pantry  — if there are broken pieces in the bottom of the bag, even better!

This stuff is so fun for a party, a teacher gift, or even using up Halloween candy to make a fun neighbor gift this Fall. Or you could eat it after sending the kids to bed early.  Whatevs.

Just melt some Almond Bark and get sprinkling!

Kitchen Sink Bark

Ingredients

  • 16 oz chocolate or vanilla almond bark
  • Variety of chips, pretzels, candies, cookies, or even crackers
  • (I used rainbow sprinkles, pretzels, mini Oreos, gummi bears, and Swedish Fish)

Instructions

  1. Line a large baking sheet with wax paper.
  2. In a microwave safe bowl, melt almond bark according to package directions. Spread evenly over wax paper lined baking sheet.
  3. Sprinkle candies, chips, etc over the bark while it's still melted, gently pressing some of the larger pieces into the bark so it will stick. Place in the refrigerator until firm.
  4. Using a sharp knife (or clean hands), break the bark into pieces.

Enjoy and have a happy Monday!

Happy Friday!

Lucy

I am so ready for the weekend.  Only a few more weeks left until school starts (which I am both looking forward to and dreading), so these last few weekends of Summer are bittersweet.

Can you believe Jon David will be in FOURTH grade?  It seems like just yesterday I was crying as we prepared for kindergarten.  As we approach his 10th birthday and Lucy’s 2nd birthday this Fall, I constantly remind myself how quickly time passes and how soon Lucy will be in school and I will be home alone again.  There are days that I long for quiet — especially since Lucy started cutting her 2nd year molars.  But looking back, my time home with Jon David was such a special time, so I try not to get caught up in frustration and exhaustion.

But for the love — the tantrums need to stopppp.

Lucy is at such a fun age, but she’s also at that stage where she thinks I need to hold her constantly.  And as much as I’d love to, she’s big and heavy, so after toting her around and doing things one-handed for a bit, I physically need a break.  And when I try to set her down, she stiffens up and remains in the sitting position, while trying to cling to my neck. It’s kind of hilarious.  Oh kiddos…I swear I raise the most stubborn kids of all time.  Sigh.

Last week I spent a few days in Charleston, South Carolina with Shelly from Cookies and Cups.

Shelly and me

She’s one of my best friends in the whole world, and I hadn’t seen her in over a year, so I was so happy to have a few days together.  We met through our blogs about four years ago, and it’s so funny when we travel and people ask where we are from.  When she says “New Jersey” and I say “Arkansas” we always get funny looks or asked if we are sisters.  It’s too hard to explain that we met online through our websites (plus that sounds weird), so whatever.  I told her we need to just start agreeing that we are sisters so people will stop acting like it’s so weird.

The distance is honestly not such an issue — we text every day.  I am taking Jon David to New York for his 10th birthday in September and Shelly is bringing her two boys to the city to hang out, so I’m really looking forward to that — our kiddos have never met (except for over Facetime).

Charleston

We did a ton of walking in Charleston and took advantage of the free trolley to get to the Calhoun Mansion, Rainbow Row, and Battery Park.  I fell in love with the old houses there — so SO much character everywhere you look!

rainbow

We had a good time peeking through iron gates into private courtyards and imagining who might live there and what the house must have cost.  Is that normal?

jail

We also went on a haunted jail tour. The jail was operational from 1802 – 1939 and was easily the creepiest place I’ve EVER visited.  I ended up screaming bloody murder during the tour…right in Shelly’s ear.

Also, I was the only person who screamed. So..there’s that.

We ate TONS of good food.  We visited Jestine’s Kitchen, Kaminsky’s, The Peninsula Grill, Cupcake Down South, Bakehouse Bakery Cafe and Dixie Supply Bakery and Cafe — all SO good.  We stayed at Planter’s Inn, which was in a great location and was really nice.  We did have an issue with the restaurant (that was located under our room) running the vacuum at around 3 am.  After the second night of being awake for hours in the middle of the night, I complained (I felt bad but OMG I was exhausted) and the hotel was so nice about it.  We came back later to champagne in our room and a certificate for two free breakfasts on the house, which was so appreciated.  We both had a nice breakfast together before heading to the airport, which was nice.

I just finished reading Wizard and Glass, the fourth book in the Dark Tower series.  So good!  I’m reading a few other books before I pick back up on that series — the books are long, so I like to read some others on my list in between.  My husband and I have been finishing up Season 2 of Game of Thrones.  So obsessed.  My husband gets so confused about who is who and who is fighting who, but I love it.  It’s like a puzzle!  In other news, I’m such a geek. Tyrion Lannister for life!

Breakfast Fondue Photo

I made you breakfast fondue!  Perfect for a lazy weekend morning, don’t you think?

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation

I’m reviewing Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation — you NEED this in your life!

Caramel Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies

Caramel Filled Chocolate Chip Cookies — my family LOVES these cookies.  All cookies need caramel in the middle.

No Bake Recipes

Be sure to pop over to Food Fanatic where I’m sharing TEN of my favorite surprise inside treats.  Number four is calling my name!

That’s my week!!  Tell me about yours — what are you eating/reading/watching?  Who do you want Andi to pick on The Bachelorette??

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

I don’t know how it goes at your house, but around here, my kitchen is the busiest room that exists. Not only do I love to bake, but I cook dinner for my family every night — so it always seems to be the place where my family gravitates. Whether Lucy is banging pots and pans, my husband is describing his day at work or Jon David is telling me about his latest Minecraft quest, I love the cozy feeling of us all being together.

My love of cooking and our time in the kitchen seems to have rubbed off on Jon David — One of the best morning of my week is Saturday when we snuggle up and watch Food Network. I love that it’s family friendly programming and that it’s something we can both have fun with. He loves learning about cooking and he always picks his favorite dishes for me to make. One show we are particularly excited about right now is The Kitchen, hosted by Katie Lee. Although I love her guests and recipes, I can’t keep my eyes of her APPLIANCES! LG sponsors The Kitchen and supplies — including a Door-in-Door™ Refrigerator that I dream about. Not even kidding, that refrigerator is beyond fabulous!

LG’s motto is “Life’s Good in the Kitchen” and I couldn’t agree more. Our kitchen is the hub of my home, where the best talks and the most love happens. When I want to visit with my husband or get the kiddo talking, there’s no better way than inviting them in while I frost a cake or brown some ground beef for dinner. There’s something about the smell of food that gets people talking, isn’t there?

If you’re passionate about your kitchen, and passionate about appliances in particular, you’re in luck. LG is giving you an opportunity to win the LG Door-in-Door™ Refrigerator for yourself! If you haven’t taken a look at this gorgeous thing, pop over and take a peek. The Door-in-Door™ section is designed for quick trips to the fridge — when you just want to grab a drink or favorite snack. The LG Door-in-Door™ Refrigerator is a magnetically sealed section that allows you to quickly grab what you want instead of digging through the entire fridge. No more moving the eggs and butter around to grab a bottle of water. Hooray! This is always a great spot for storing condiments like ketchup. Because for real, is my house the only one that can never find any ketchup?

Another thing? The freezer section features separate drawers with FOUR different temperature settings. Perfect for separating meats and ice creams. I need this in my life!

Make sure you head over to the Make sure you head over to the LG Facebook page to enter to win the new LG Door-in-Door™ Refrigerator! It’s as easy as coming up with a fun caption for a scene in an LG appliance commercial. You’re totally funny and creative enough to win!

Last but NOT least, how is life good for YOU in the kitchen? Whether it’s a favorite recipe or memory, I want to hear about it!

Good luck, friend!

LG Home Appliances are your partner in creating memorable cooking experiences and “Life’s Good” moments in the kitchen.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LG. The opinions and text are all mine.

This Breakfast Fondue is a fun and creative way to celebrate this Summer!  Let the kiddos help put their favorite fruit and donut holes on a stick, then whip up a simple chocolate sauce and get dipping!
Breakfast Fondue Photo
I’m going to preface this by saying that this is the exact type of recipe I expect to take heat over. Chocolate sauce, donuts, breakfast, worst mom in the land, blah blah blah…  Can someone please tell me WHY we care so much about what other people’s kids eat, what time they go to bed, which bed they sleep in, and how much screen time they get?

If we are being honest here, my kids have me completely overwhelmed 99 percent of the time.  Unless your children are in mortal jeopardy or severe emotional distress, I don’t have time to worry about their sugar intake.  Who does?

Screen time overwhelms me too.  It’s a constant fight around here.  All the iPods and Playstations and Netflixes, for the love.  I take one screen away and there are fifty others waiting right behind it.  Most of the time I do a good job of setting limits and priorities but sometimes toddlers are hard and stuff needs done and I blink and then Jon David has been on a screen most of the day.

Do not judge me, madams.  He’s still breathing, unmarked, and has a love for the Lord.  As long as we have those three in check, I think everything will come out in the wash.
Breakfast Fondue Image

So, this breakfast. Perfectly acceptable for kiddos and adults alike.  We are kind of in an end-of-Summer slump around here, where school is right around the corner and you realize that you never did anything super awesome all Summer and you feel like the worst parent ever. Which means that I’m frantically planning afternoon outings for Sno-cones and frozen yogurt and thinking up special breakfasts.  Because almost 10-year olds eat everything in sight and toddlers are ONLY quiet and happy if they are eating, so win/win.

That’s why this Breakfast Fondue is PERFECT! Let the kiddos help you skewer their favorite fruits and donut holes on a stick, whip up this simple chocolate sauce in the microwave, and you’re set!  You’ll have an epic mess to deal with later, obvi, but I’m always willing to trade a mess for a few moments of peace.

Breakfast Fondue Post Picture

As you can see, I used lollipop sticks instead of actual wooden skewers.  The sharp skewer ends aren’t safe for littles, but if yours are older you may want to go the skewer route.  Cheaper. If you want, pour the sauce into small jars or cups and place several skewers inside each cup.  Super cute and fun way to serve these up, and no fighting about dipping if everyone has their own!

Enjoy!

Breakfast Fondue

Ingredients

  • For skewers:
  • Lollipop sticks or wooden skewers
  • donut holes (or even mini donuts)
  • Assorted fruit: bananas, grapes, melon, strawberries
  • Chocolate fondue:
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5 TBS honey

Instructions

  1. Skewer your fruit and donut holes and set aside.
  2. Make fondue: In a large microwave safe bowl, combine chocolate chips and cream. Microwave for about 3 minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir until smooth. Stir in honey, adding more if sauce is too thick. Divide into four small cups or jars and serve.

Notes

Makes four servings. Fondue can be prepped ahead and stored in the refrigerator, just heat to melt before serving.

Have a very happy Wednesday!