Butternut Squash Soup with Organic Squash from Hometown Harvest

Butternut Squash Soup with Organic Squash from Hometown HarvestButternut Squash Soup is something I really enjoy eating. It is not a dish I have ever tried making. When I got my Hometown Harvest bag I found a nice sized organic squash tucked inside. Originally I thought, I will chop this up and sauté it with some olive oil and zucchini. My friend however challenged me to step outside my cooking comfort zone and make a soup using my [more]

Host an Eggcellent Easter Party with Oriental Trading!

Host an Eggcellent Easter Party with Oriental Trading!Easter is almost here! Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and families are gathering for some good ol' fashioned Easter fun! Make your Easter the best yet with these excellent eggcellent party decorations and crafts from Oriental Trading!  What I love about Oriental Trading is that I can put a party together easily without spending a ton of money.  I hung up the Light Blue and Lilac Paper Lanterns to add a pop [more]

Captain America The Winter Soldier: A Must See! #CaptainAmerica

Captain America The Winter Soldier: A Must See! #CaptainAmerica   Captain America The Winter Soldier is the number 1 movie in the nation and the film with the largest April box office! And for good reason too. From start to finish Captain America is packed with action, drama, and a little comedic relief.  Chris Evans, Samuel L Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson are exactly what you would expect- awesome. I will admit I wasn't always team Black Widow, especially as a kid, [more]

Our Disney World Vacation: Making Memories

Our Disney World Vacation: Making Memories After sharing with you all How to Make the Most of Your Disney World Vacation I wanted to follow that up with a more personal post. Again it took me awhile to sort through the pictures I wanted to use remember I took over 1500 and also to put into words how amazing our trip was. I still don't feel like this post can do it justice, the magic of Disney [more]

Celebrate Spring with Oriental Trading!

Celebrate Spring with Oriental Trading! Spring is finally here! After a crazy winter we all needed a little sunshine. To shake off the winter cold, we got together with some friends for an afternoon of celebrating Spring and getting crafty with fun products from Oriental Trading! After a quick lunch, I set up for our crafts and hung a few decorations just to brighten up the place. Who said you have to only decorate for birthday [more]

The Muppets Most Wanted Review and More Free Printables! #MuppetsMostWanted

The Muppets Most Wanted Review and More Free Printables! #MuppetsMostWanted  The wait is over, Muppets Most Wanted is finally in theaters!   I could say a lot about this movie. We all laughed, the adults exchanged knowing glances for certain puns and jokes, and at the end of it we were all singing and thankfully it was not "Let it Go" Bottom Line: this movie was GREAT and we want to see it again. And no I wasn't bribed with a briefcase of [more]

Author Archives: Ashley

Butternut Squash Soup with Organic Squash from Hometown Harvest

Butternut Squash Soup is something I really enjoy eating. It is not a dish I have ever tried making. When I got my Hometown Harvest bag I found a nice sized organic squash tucked inside. Originally I thought, I will chop this up and sauté it with some olive oil and zucchini. My friend however challenged me to step outside my cooking comfort zone and make a soup using my squash.

Hometown Harvest, local organic produce in DC MD Va

I always get nervous with a new recipe. If you screw it up then dinner is ruined and if you’re a perfectionist like me you feel like you are a terrible person! 

Despite the apprehension and fear I was about to waste a beautiful squash I rolled my sleeves up and got cooking.

Butternut Squash Soup
A delicious and healthy take on a classic.
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200 calories
46 g
0 g
1 g
6 g
0 g
387 g
375 g
17 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
387g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 200
Calories from Fat 12
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g
2%
Saturated Fat 0g
2%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 375mg
16%
Total Carbohydrates 46g
15%
Dietary Fiber 12g
47%
Sugars 17g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
1021%
Vitamin C
47%
Calcium
22%
Iron
26%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 Spanish Onion (chopped)
  2. 6 Cloves of Garlic (chopped)
  3. 5 Medium Carrots (chopped)
  4. Chicken Broth
  5. 1 Large Squash (diced)
  6. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  7. Thyme
  8. Basil
  9. Garlic Powder
  10. Sea Salt
  11. Pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat olive oil and sauté the onion, garlic, and carrots until tender
  2. Add the squash, chicken broth, thyme, basil, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper to taste.
  3. Simmer until tender
  4. Puree with a stick blender until smooth
beta
calories
200
fat
1g
protein
6g
carbs
46g
more
Teachable Mommy http://www.teachablemommy.com/

I think it turned out great! The family loved it and asked for seconds so I would call it a success. 

Butternut Squash Soup recipe

One of the fun things about having Hometown Harvest as a sponsor is I will be pushed to try and create new recipes. I am looking forward to the challenge!

What is your favorite Squash recipe?

 

Host an Eggcellent Easter Party with Oriental Trading!

Easter is almost here! Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and families are gathering for some good ol’ fashioned Easter fun! Make your Easter the best yet with these excellent eggcellent party decorations and crafts from Oriental Trading! 

Easter decorations, spring decorations, oriental trading decorations, easter decorations

What I love about Oriental Trading is that I can put a party together easily without spending a ton of money. 

I hung up the Light Blue and Lilac Paper Lanterns to add a pop of color to our party. Looking for a specific color? Most are available and even patterned ones as well. These decorations are quickly becoming a favorite of mine. I will say the best way to hang them is using fishing line and tying at least 3 strands to the lantern. 

Easter decorations, spring decorations, oriental trading decorations, easter decorations

These vases are filled with the Acrylic Blue Ice Vase Fillers and the Colorful Spring Flowers Pinwheel Craft Kit. These make a great centerpiece for the main table, food table, or just sitting on the coffee table. 

Easter decorations, spring decorations, oriental trading decorations, easter decorations

 

As you know I try to be eco-minded in my life. Parties are no exception. A hot trend in the eco industry are paper straws. They can be recycled and even if your local facility cannot process them, they will biodegrade. Oriental trading offers an assortment of colors and styles, including these Hot Pink and Turquoise Striped straws. 

Easter decorations, spring decorations, oriental trading decorations, easter decorations Easter decorations, spring decorations, oriental trading decorations, easter decorations

What is party without crafts and bubbles? 

Spring Brights Bubble Bottles and the Easter Decorating Stamps are great not only for party fun but also as egg stuffers. I am a big fan of non-candy filled Easter eggs, and you know what? The kids do not even miss the candy, they love finding little gifts inside the eggs instead. 

Easter decorations, spring decorations, oriental trading decorations, easter decorations

Easter decorations, spring decorations, oriental trading decorations, easter decorations

Oriental Trading Easter craft, easter craft ideas for kids

Our first craft was the Easter Picture Frame Kit. Easy to do for just about any age and they make great gifts for family. Have your pictures ready ahead of time before the craft or you’ll be that mom…yeah I was that mom. 

Oriental Trading Easter craft, easter craft ideas for kids

Oriental Trading Easter craft, easter craft ideas for kids

Oriental Trading Easter craft, easter craft ideas for kids

She decided to demo how this will look with her face in it!

Oriental Trading Easter craft, easter craft ideas for kids

Oriental Trading Easter craft, easter craft ideas for kids

Naturally, baby brother had to do it too. 

For us, Easter is not only about the fun but remembering the sacrifice and promises we have from Jesus. Oriental Trading has a great selection of religious themed crafts for Easter and other holidays. I chose the Color Your Own “Jesus Gives Us New Life” Flowerpots. We used regular markers, glitter glue, and the Easter Decorating Stamps to bring these flowerpots to life. 

Oriental Trading Easter craft, easter craft ideas for kids

Oriental Trading Easter craft, easter craft ideas for kids

Oriental Trading Easter craft, easter craft ideas for kids

I got in on the action too, why should the kids get all the fun? 

Oriental Trading Easter craft, easter craft ideas for kids

 

To learn how to make the pinwheels and see another fun Spring craft check out: Celebrate Spring with Oriental Trading

What is your favorite Easter tradition?

 

*I am a blogger for Oriental Trading. I received free products for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

Captain America The Winter Soldier: A Must See! #CaptainAmerica

captainamerica252ebf76418156

 

Captain America The Winter Soldier is the number 1 movie in the nation and the film with the largest April box office! And for good reason too. From start to finish Captain America is packed with action, drama, and a little comedic relief.  Chris Evans, Samuel L Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson are exactly what you would expect- awesome. I will admit I wasn’t always team Black Widow, especially as a kid, but man that girl kicks some butt and I love it. Whenever a franchise adds a character I always doubt it a little. Anthony Mackie, Falcon, was a great addition to the team. His character was well rounded, respectable, and the perfect fighting partner for Steve. Those wings are vicious, in a good way. 

The Winter Soldier was filmed nearby in Washington DC. It sets the stage for an old school battle for the safety of the country and touches on some of the other national security issues that have been talked about all over the nation. Not only are the plot lines juicy but the depth of character, which Marvel is so good at, is there. The audience can empathize with Steve, Natasha, and even dare I say Fury? 

Nick Fury warns Captain America not to trust anyone, and that means everyone including S.H.I.E.L.D. As if a double crossing wasn’t enough, Steve has to face off against a foe that has a haunting history, The Winter Solider. Along the way are a few surprises (especially if like me you avoided IMDB) and moments when you think it’s all going to be destroyed. The climax is one of the best ones I have seen since the Avengers and Thor The Dark World.

For anyone who thinks Captain America is too vintage, this movie will blow that perception out of your mind. He can take out an elevator full of bad guys and never lose the charm that makes him endearing to generations.

Everything comes to a head when Steve faces off against the Winter Soldier who is acting on orders from someone unexpected. Steve must choose between his life and his ideals. The question remains, can he save them both?

Captain America The Winter Soldier is exceptional in every way. It has been awhile since I saw a movie where I left having no words. I was so excited and loving it all I could say was: That. Was. Awesome. 

Bottom line: Go see this movie and stay through the credits!

One of my favorite scenes

Captain America The WInter Soldier

The Captain dominated the screen

Captain America The WInter Soldier

 The Winter Soldier was filmed in my backyard in Washington DC. I know a lot of wished we were out running on the mall during filming!

Captain America The WInter Soldier

 

For your favorite superhero print out these fun activity and coloring sheets

Captain America The WInter Soldier Activity Sheets, Captain America free printables Captain America The Winter Soldier Activity Sheets

Captain America The Winter Soldier Coloring Sheets, Captain America Free Printables Captain America The Winter Soldier Coloring Sheets

Extended Clip:


See Captain America The Winter Soldier in theaters now!

 

 

Our Disney World Vacation: Making Memories

After sharing with you all How to Make the Most of Your Disney World Vacation I wanted to follow that up with a more personal post. Again it took me awhile to sort through the pictures I wanted to use remember I took over 1500 and also to put into words how amazing our trip was. I still don’t feel like this post can do it justice, the magic of Disney is something that you have to experience for yourself. But I do hope if you are a Disney lover this will remind you of “home” and if you have not yet experienced the magic of Disney that this will bring some Pixie Dust into your life.

Making Memories at Disney World

As soon as we announced to the kids we were going to Disney World they could not wait. To help with the “is it time to go to Disney yet?” I made a cute countdown calendar that my girl was in charge of keeping up to date. I’m not sure who was more excited, me or the kids? All I know is when that sign said ZERO days we all cheered. 

After touching down in Orlando and riding the Mickey bus aka The Magical Express we pulled into Art of Animation and the kids jaws hit the floor. The larger than life characters, massive Nemo themed pool, and our Lion King suite were amazing. We dropped our stuff and caught the next bus to the Magic Kingdom. 

Art of Animation Resort

The Art of Animation resort is amazing. The details are awesome!

Art of Animation Resort

 Hangout with Squirt and the rest of the Nemo crew at the massive reef pool!

For me, you have to start your Disney vacation in Magic Kingdom. Walking down Main Street USA to the castle, makes me grin just thinking about it. This trip aside from being my first in many years was all about my kids’ first time at Disney World. Experiencing Disney as a child is astounding, being able to relive that amazement and watching your children discover the magic is so heart warming. I cannot even find the words to communicate how I felt watching them take it all in.

Walking through the entrance and out onto Main Street USA I thought their hearts were going to burst. The Celebrate a Dream Come True Parade was just starting, and they got a great place to stand. Their eyes were wide as they watched beloved characters ride by, waving, dancing, and singing. The ones who were walking came right up to them and gave them high fives and hugs. After the parade we continued on to the castle. Stopping to see the iconic Walt Disney and Mickey statue The Partners Statue with Cinderella’s castle in the background. It all gleamed in the sun, like a beacon of imagination. 

Magic Kingdom Parade, Disney Parade, Stitch

My children’s faces, the smiles, the laughter. It was a pure joy that is so rare to experience in this world. 

And it wasn’t just the kids experiencing the magic. One of the most magical things about Disney to me, is you don’t have to be a child to feel like one. I felt like a kid again, just as wide eyed with wonder as they were. Trying so hard to see and take it all in. 

My 4 year old loved every minute of every day. He was amazed at everything and just had the biggest grin on his face all day. It was hard for him to contain his excitement every time he met a character. Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Jake, they were all real and he could hug them as much as he wanted. The little charmer didn’t mind one bit tagging along with big sister to meet the Princesses. After all, what handsome pirate doesn’t like a beautiful lady? 

Disney Making Memories

First ride on the Monorail, he was in heaven!

Speaking of pirates. While in Adventureland stick around after you ride Pirates of the Caribbean and you just might meet everyone’s favorite captain, Jack Sparrow. He offers lessons to would be pirates and asks them to join his crew if they past the test. Each child receives something special from Jack at the end. The Pirates League is also nearby, where your pirate can get dressed up to sail the seven seas. 

Pirate Show at Disney World with Jack Sparrow 

Both of them loved learning how to be a pirate from Captain Jack. Left Right Punch em in the stomach!

For my Princess, I knew we had to do the Bippity Boppity Boutique. What little girl or big girl for that matter wouldn’t want her own personal Fairy Godmother? The Queen and King stopped by each little girl’s station to greet them and gush over their preparations for the ball. This smart mama scheduled a fast pass for her to meet Rapunzel her favorite in the Princess Fairytale Hall right after finishing up in the Boutique. I don’t think she stopped smiling and gushing over meeting Rapunzel for the rest of the trip! 

Bippity Boppity Boutique, Rapunzel Disney World, Fairy Tale Hall

Don’t let the glitter fool you, my girl is also a dare devil. She jumped at the chance to ride ALL the thrill rides. Dinosaur, Tower of Terror, Test Track, Everest, you name it. Not just once mind you, but at least 3 times each! She even lost her tooth on Everest! Don’t worry it was already loose. A wonderful Cast Member in the shop right next to the castle help me put together a special surprise for her from the number one fairy- Tinkerbell. 

Disney Memories

She now tells everyone if you want to lose your tooth, do it at Disney Tinkerbell is the best toothy fairy EVER! 

The friendliness of the Cast Members, the atmosphere, the food, the littlest of details, all make your trip the most magical in the world. It’s hard to not talk about everything we did and ramble on like an excited person on speed. Here are some pictures highlighting other magical memories!

Baby Giraffe, Animal Kingdom, Disney World Animal Kingdom, Safari

Loved catching this little guy who is the picture for joy on the Kilimanjaro Safari in Animal Kingdom. 

The Festival of the Lion King at Disney World, Simba

I cannot be at Disney World and miss the Festival of the Lion King! Love the show and the kids got to get up and dance with the monkeys!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

 My first time being in Disney World for the Food and Wine Festival. Amazing food! And wine too!

Be Our Guest Restaurant, Beauty and the Beast Castle

Be Our Guest Restaurant, The Grey Stuff

The Grey Stuff is delicious now you don’t have to ask the dishes! Couldn’t help myself ;) 

Boo to You Halloween Parade Disney World

 Mickey Mouse at the Boo to You Halloween Parade. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party was so much fun. Dancing with villains, the headless horseman, special character meet n greets, and more. Totally worth it!

Hollywood Studios, Tower of Terror

Tower of Terror at Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios, Lights Camera Action Stunt Show

First time seeing the Lights Camera Action Stunt Show. This show is great for the whole family. And if the area looks familiar, it use to be a part of the backlot tour.  

We cannot wait to start planning our next family trip to Disney World. Not a day goes by without the kids asking when we are going back! Okay okay, I’m also begging to go back too! I can’t help I will always be a Disney Kid at heart!

As Mickey Mouse says “See Yah Real Soon!”

Walt Disney World

Celebrate Spring with Oriental Trading!

Spring is finally here! After a crazy winter we all needed a little sunshine. To shake off the winter cold, we got together with some friends for an afternoon of celebrating Spring and getting crafty with fun products from Oriental Trading!

Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading

After a quick lunch, I set up for our crafts and hung a few decorations just to brighten up the place. Who said you have to only decorate for birthday parties? I love any excuse to decorate my space. I used cute paper lanterns to hang behind the kids. Craft parties can be pretty too! First craft was the Ceramic Planter. 

Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading

Supplies:

Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading

Someone was excited to get started!

Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading 

I love the serious faces. They are working hard to make these cups perfect.

Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading

Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading

I think it’s awesome how each one is so different. You can see their personalities for sure.

Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading

The kids are excited to go to the local garden shop and pick out flower seeds to plant. I am going to set mine in our kitchen window.

It would’t be Spring without flowers. These adorable flowers are easy to put together and can be used to decorate any room in the house. Best part, you don’t have to worry about remembering to water them. I’m really bad about that!

Colorful Spring Flowers Pinwheel Craft Kit

Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading

 Here you can see the Lilac and Light Blue Paper Lanterns. 

Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading

Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading

Spring Crafts for kids, spring crafts from oriental trading, spring decorations, spring decorations from Oriental Trading

For the vases, I used Acrylic Blue Ice Vase Filler to dress it up. There are a variety of colors available for any holiday or occasion.

Next week catch some of our Easter party featuring fun stuff from Oriental Trading, including crafts, decorations, and party favors.

Don’t forget to enter to win the $250 Easter Fun Weekly Giveaway!

 

 

*I am a blogger for Oriental Trading, the products were given to me to showcase on the blog. All opinions are my own.

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