Author Archives: Deanna Michaels

Cheap gift ideas for her

Great list of cheap gift ideas for her! Perfect for your friend, sister, mom, coworker and they are all under $10 and on Amazon Prime!!! #frugal #gifts #giftideas #presents #budget #christmas #birthday #mom #sister #presentforher

I use affiliate links in my posts. If you purchase through them I receive a small portion of sales. Check out my disclosure for more info.

It can be hard to find Christmas presents on a budget – especially if you have a long list of people to buy for. Cheap is probably not the best word, maybe frugal or budget friendly is better but I have a list of cheap gift ideas for her!

The her might mean mom, sister, friend, or co-worker.

Each of these gifts are $10 or under and they are all available on Amazon prime (or were when I put it together 😉 )! Hooray for affordable gifts that you don’t even have to leave your house for.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?

Cheap Gift Ideas for Her:

1. Mugs. I love having my tea in a cute mug. There are a lot of cute mugs out there. Check out some of these on Amazon. This pink Do All Things in Love mug, or this on that says Always be Joyful in Hope. Of course there always something like this with polka dots. Target and Walmart should have some cute options in the store as well.

2. Coloring Book for Grown Ups. Countless options out there, so if you know a specific interest you could probably find a book to go with it. There are also a lot of basic coloring books. Check out these two to get you started.

3. Colored Pencils. These would be great to accompany the coloring book. Check out this brand to get top of the line pencils. There is a small set available for under $10. Or you could always go with this package from Crayola.

4. Scarf. A blanket scarf, infinity scarf, or a light weight shawl wrap scarf are all fun options.

5. Socks. Here are some cute owl socks, this pack has geometric shapes, some wool socks, or these that have foxes on them.

6. Wood Sign. You could go inspirational like this or this, get something for the coffee lover, book lover, or use it to tell your friend just how much you love them.

7. Journal. Bullet journals are super popular so something like this would be appreciated or else a hardcover banded journal. You could also go for a more inspirational cover like this or this.

8. Pens. A 12 pack of assorted colored felt tipped pens would go great with the journals or even by themselves – list making will be a lot more enjoyable. 😉

9. Soy Candles. Soy candles are a little more expensive but they are better for you. Here is a woodwick candle, a Mrs. Meyer’s peppermint candle, and a vanilla rose candle.

10. Chocolate. Everyone needs a chocolate stash, right? Be the favorite and replenish your friends. Here are a couple options. If you have a Trader Joe’s I love their chocolate bars. Or check out the natural section of your grocery store for brands like Endangered Species, Alter Ego, and Green & Black.

11. Tea or Coffee. I’m not a coffee drinker but if your friend is, buy local or gourmet coffee beans or ground coffee. If they are a tea lover, a new box of tea is always fun. I enjoy Yogi (one of my favorites is this), Stash (I love this one), and Tazo.

12. Relaxation. Have you ever used a head scratcher? We bought one a few years ago and they feel amazing. This set comes with a back scratcher too. If your friend is a bath lover you could also do bath salts.

13. Books. My sister recently read this book by Emily Freeman and said it was amazing. I read this missionary biography a couple years ago and was inspired by it and I read Unbroken last year and LOVED it. Check out this post for more ideas.

14. Gift Cards. In can be hard to spend money on ourselves, so a gift card is a little guilt free spending splurge. Some ideas are you local bookstore or coffee shop, a favorite fast casual restaurant, Target, Starbucks, or Amazon.

15. Slippers. Don’t laugh, but I bought my first pair of slippers a couple years ago. Super cheap soft soled ones and I wore them out! Last year my husband got me another pair with rubber soles so I could toss mine. I’m a slipper convert for those winter months.

16. Nail Polish. Stuff the slippers or mug with a few little extra items. Some non toxic polish would be a fun little extra.

So, what are your favorite cheap gift ideas for her?  Any well loved, budget friendly ideas I should add to my list?

If you are looking for more help on your gift lists, be sure to check out these posts:

Great list of cheap gift ideas for her! Perfect for your friend, sister, mom, coworker and they are all under $10 and on Amazon Prime!!! #frugal #gifts #giftideas #presents #budget #christmas #birthday #mom #sister #presentforher Great list of cheap gift ideas for her! Perfect for your friend, sister, mom, coworker and they are all under $10 and on Amazon Prime!!! #frugal #gifts #giftideas #presents #budget #christmas #birthday #mom #sister #presentforher

New Mexico Style Pizza

This New Mexico Style PIzza is an amazingly tasty twist on traditional pizza. Salsa verde makes the base of the sauce and so many flavorful toppings. Must make soon! #pizza #pizzanight #mexican #texmex #salsaverde #cilantro #supper #chicken #turkey #leftoverturkey

I use affiliate links in my posts. If you purchase through them I receive a small portion of sales. Check out my disclosure for more info.

I have an amazing pizza recipe for you today. It’s a little bit different. In fact, you’ve probably never made or even eaten one quite like it. What exactly is it? New Mexico Style Pizza! Think Mexican pizza with a twist.

My mom found this recipe when I was growing up and I recently had to email her and ask for it, because I had to make it. :-) It’s been made several times in my house over the past few months. It was even a hit with company.

Salsa verde and a little lime juice make the perfect sauce. Then we top it with chicken, corn, green onions, and cheddar cheese. After it comes out of the oven sprinkle with cilantro and top with sour cream if you’d like. (Though it’s just as good without the sour cream.)

See what I mean? It’s unique and full of flavor.

I think this recipe would also be a great one to use up some of that leftover turkey on. Swap the chicken for turkey and your family won’t even think of Thanksgiving as they eat this.

If you are looking for a pizza crust recipe, check out this one that I have. Pizza dough is super easy and forgiving. Plus, making it means you can get your preferred crust thickness. You could also buy refrigerated pizza dough (Trader Joe’s sells one) or a prebaked crust.

This New Mexico Style PIzza is an amazingly tasty twist on traditional pizza. Salsa verde makes the base of the sauce and so many flavorful toppings. Must make soon! #pizza #pizzanight #mexican #texmex #salsaverde #cilantro #supper #chicken #turkey #leftoverturkey

New Mexico Style Pizza

5.0 from 1 reviews
New Mexico Style Pizza
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup salsa verde (see notes for more info)
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon oregano
  • 1 cup cooked chicken
  • ½ cup frozen corn, thawed
  • ½-1 cup cheddar cheese (or a mix of cheddar and mozzarella)
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream (optional)
  • Pizza dough (or a large crust)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Mix together the first 5 ingredients.
  3. Roll out pizza dough (I do a 14 inch circle), place on pizza stone, and spread with the sauce mixture.
  4. Top with chicken, corn, green onions, and cheese.
  5. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and top with cilantro and sour cream (if desired).
  7. Cut into 8 pieces and serve.
Notes
The original recipe called for a lot more sauce, so feel free to double the sauce ingredients if desired. We found that ½ cup of salsa verde was the perfect amount for one pizza.
This New Mexico Style PIzza is an amazingly tasty twist on traditional pizza. Salsa verde makes the base of the sauce and so many flavorful toppings. Must make soon! #pizza #pizzanight #mexican #texmex #salsaverde #cilantro #supper #chicken #turkey #leftoverturkey This New Mexico Style PIzza is an amazingly tasty twist on traditional pizza. Salsa verde makes the base of the sauce and so many flavorful toppings. Must make soon! #pizza #pizzanight #mexican #texmex #salsaverde #cilantro #supper #chicken #turkey #leftoverturkey

Best Gifts for a Preschool Boy

These are the best gift ideas for a preschool boy. They are all my sons FAVORITE things. Great ideas for every budget.

I use affiliate links in my posts. If you purchase through them I receive a small portion of sales. Check out my disclosure for more info.

Oh preschool boys. I have one of them in my house right now and they are a lot of fun and can be super sweet and cuddly but they are also loud, messy, and a lot of work. My preschool boy loves to explore and experiment – and in the process ruin things! What are the best gifts for preschool a boy?

These guys definitely keep moving, but given the right toys can sit down and work at a project for a long time. I’ve put together a list of the best gifts for a preschool boy – and all of them are ones my son LOVES! Scooting and biking he has a blast with but he’ll also sit down on the kitchen floor and put together puzzle after puzzle.

Best Gifts for a Preschool Boy

1. Scooter

At 4, my son has been scooting for several years now and can be quite the daredevil. I think learning to ride a scooter helped him learn to bike ride without training wheels easily too.

2. Train Set

Trains. Is there anything else to say. We have tracks at home and when we go to children museums he still goes right for the train table.

3. Dinosaurs

My kids are obsessed with these creatures and we have quite the assortment of dinos at our house. They often make an appearance with the train tracks.

4. Construction Trucks

We can spend hours watching trucks at a construction site and he loves taking his trucks into our yard and creating his own work site.

5. Puzzles

I’m always surprised how much my preschooler loves puzzles – but he can sit there and do one after another.

6. Bike

If it helps him go fast, my son is all over it. He’s always asking to ride bike.

7. Sandbox

The perfect place to put those construction trucks to work. 😉

8. Books

Books about their favorite subjects are always a hit. In our house that means books all about trains, trucks, and dinos with a few other favorites mixed in.

9. Coloring/Art Supplies

The perfect thing to get creative with and practice drawing trains and dinos. If you are brave by some paint. It’s a little messy, but my 4 year old loves it.

10. Building Kit

My guy also loves using a hammer and helping his dad with projects. This kit is similar to the projects that Lowe’s used to offer and he loved.

11. Games

Games with parents and siblings are a favorite. These are the ones that my son says are his favorite – and he really does pick them out the most frequently. Hiss is his number one pick.

12. Bug House

Thankful for my little guy who likes bugs! That means I don’t have to mess with them. :-)

13. Lego Duplo

When they get going, my preschool boy can spend hours playing Duplos with his sister.

What are your ideas for best gifts for a preschool boy? Anything I should get for my son that he’ll love?

If you are looking for more help on your gift lists, be sure to check out these posts:

These are the best gift ideas for a preschool boy. They are all my sons FAVORITE things. Great ideas for every budget.These are the best gift ideas for a preschool boy. They are all my sons FAVORITE things. Great ideas for every budget.

These are the best gift ideas for a preschool boy. They are all my sons FAVORITE things. Great ideas for every budget.
These are the best gift ideas for a preschool boy. They are all my sons FAVORITE things. Great ideas for every budget.

Gifts for the Home Cook

Great gift ideas for the home cook! These will be perfect for lots of people on my gift list. Ideas for every budget too.

I use affiliate links in my posts. If you purchase through them I receive a small portion of sales. Check out my disclosure for more info.

I spend a lot of time in my kitchen and I’d love this gifts for the home cook! I’m all about quality over quantity when it comes to gadgets and love cooking from scratch. If you are good of enough friends with the person (maybe even a family member) in your life that spends a lot of time in the kitchen, you’ll probably have a pretty good idea what sort of items from this list they’ll enjoy.

For even more ideas, be sure to check out these 3 posts where I share my favorite kitchen appliances, tools, and gadgets:

Gifts for the Home Cook

1. Measuring Spoons

Every home cook needs a set of stainless steel measuring spoons that range from 1/8 teaspoon to 1 tablespoons. A lot of sets skip the 1/8 teaspoon, but I use it all the time.

2. Measuring Cups

These are a splurge the home cook might not purchase for themselves, but are so handy. I’ve had handles fall of of several cheaper sets of stainless steel measuring cups.

3. Good Quality Foods

A lot of times, a home cook on a budget won’t splurge to try imported products or excellent quality stuff that’s more expensive. A gift is a perfect way to get the explore new foods.

Think vinegar:

or olive oil:

or spices:

or salt:

4. Fun Kitchen Towel

Look for something that fits their style and would make them smile. Check in your local Target and Wal-Mart too! My favorite cute dish towels actually came from our local bookstore and from Pottery Barn.

Or check out these adorable (and affordable) towels from Hobby Lobby:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Cutting Board

Good quality cutting boards – something I still need to purchase. The cheap plastic ones dull my knives so quickly. If you go with plastic, make sure it’s at least well made!

6. Aprons

I don’t use apron often, but I like having one when I’m cooking things that will be splattering grease or when I’m in nice clothes.

7. Decor

Again, know your recipients style – but there are lots of fun options out there. Shop online and don’t forget about Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, and Target stores.

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8. Assorted Cheeses

Give your home cook some fun ingredients they normally wouldn’t splurge on. Trying and using cheese is so much fun.

9. Pizza Stone/Steel

Everyone at least needs a ceramic pizza stone. I’ve broken a few pizza stones over the last years, so someday I want to try a pizza steel!

10. Knife Organizer

I’d rather have a few knives than an entire block of them. This is on my wish list for storing them safely:

Or else one of these drawer knife holders.

11. Cookbooks

I know there’s such a thing as too many cookbooks, but a new one can be a lot of fun! Here’s a few ideas to get you started:

What are your favorite gifts for the home cook?

If you are looking for more help on your gift lists, be sure to check out these posts:

Great gift ideas for the home cook! These will be perfect for lots of people on my gift list. Ideas for every budget too. Great gift ideas for the home cook! These will be perfect for lots of people on my gift list. Ideas for every budget too.

Mandarin Salad

This easy mandarin salad is a delicious salad dinner option that's husband approved. We love the crunch of chow mein noodles and the sweetness of the pineapple. Yum!

I use affiliate links in my posts. If you purchase through them I receive a small portion of sales. Check out my disclosure for more info.

Salads are one of my favorite things to eat! In fact, I don’t think there can be too many salads in your repertoire. Who knew a plate full of fresh produce can yield so many different flavors? This Mandarin Salad is a fun one – crunchy chow mein noodles and juicy pineapple! Yum.

We’ve been making this recipe for over 20 years! When I was a kid, some friends made this salad and we loved it and requested the recipe. Growing up, we simply called this Mandarin Salad, “Mrs. Bowen’s Salad”. 😉

I know we think of salads as health food, but salads can actually be full of not so great ingredients. This salad is a bit of a splurge with an ingredient I don’t buy for anything else – chow mein noodles! But considering it’s just a topping – I’m okay with it.

Besides, this salad is a fun twist on the typical salad flavors and is one of my husband’s favorites.

These are the noodles they have available at our Wal-Mart. Maybe a health food store would have something a little better.

Mandarin Salad

Mandarin Salad
Recipe type: Salad
 
This is a delicious and unique salad you'll want to add to your meal rotation.
Ingredients
Almonds
  • ¼ c. sliced almonds
  • 1 T. sugar (I omit the sugar)
Salad
  • 1 head romaine or green leaf lettuce
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 large can pineapple tidbits, drained well (can substitute fresh)
  • 3-4 cups chopped cooked chicken breasts
  • chow mein noodles
Dressing
  • ¼ c. oil (I use olive oil)
  • 2 T. sugar (I use a pinch of stevia)
  • 2 T. vinegar
  • 1 T. snipped parsley (or 1 t. dried parsley)
  • ½ salt
  • dash pepper
  • dash Tabasco sauce
Instructions
Almonds
  1. Cook almonds and sugar over low heat until the sugar is melted and almonds coated. Cool and break apart. (Note: I simply lightly toast the almonds with no sugar)
Salad
  1. Wash and tear lettuce into small pieces.
  2. Place salad ingredients into separate dishes for a build your own salad meal (our preferred method) or toss together all salad ingredients except for the almonds and chow mein noodles. Top with chow mein noodles, dressing, and almonds right before serving.
Dressing
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small mason jar. Shake well and refrigerate until serving.

This easy mandarin salad is a delicious salad dinner option that's husband approved. We love the crunch of chow mein noodles and the sweetness of the pineapple. Yum!This easy mandarin salad is a delicious salad dinner option that's husband approved. We love the crunch of chow mein noodles and the sweetness of the pineapple. Yum!

Gift Ideas for the Female Fitness Lover

Gift ideas for the female fitness lover

I use affiliate links in my posts. If you purchase through them I receive a small portion of sales. Check out my disclosure for more info.

Surely we all have a female fitness lover in our lives. That means we need gift ideas for a female fitness lover. Maybe a mom, sister, friend, right? Or maybe even yourself. :-) I never really thought I’d call myself a fitness lover, especially a runner, but over the last year I’ve organized my life where exercise has become a priority. Now I actually enjoy my my running days and my strength training days. I’m even in the middle of training for a half marathon, thanks to a sister for bringing it up and being a partner in crime.

Even though it’s only October, this is also the time of year when a lot of us have gifts on our minds. Coming up with ideas of our own wants and also planning on what to buy for people on our lists. Hopefully this post will help your brainstorming gift ideas for the female fitness lover for not only Christmas but also for birthdays and any other occasion. :-)

Gift Ideas for the Female Fitness Lover

1. Headband

I bought a ponytail headband last year and I’ve loved it. I have to wear my ponytail lower than I typically do, but it’s worth it to keep my ears warm. Make sure the runner in your life has something to protect their ears.

And when the weather is hot, one of these sweat headbands would be handy:

2. iTunes Gift Card

This will let them load up their devices with new music to keep their minds in a happy place during those intense workouts.

3. Race or Competition Entry Fee

Races and competitions aren’t free. In fact they can be crazy expensive. Pay the registration to an event on their wish list.

4. Snacks

Intense exercising can make for an intense appetite. Extra nutrient dense, and portable food is always a handy idea.

5. Wireless Earbuds

6. Gloves

7. Layering Pieces

A new pullover, jacket, or shirt.

8. Belt

9. Arm Band

It’s nice to not have to hold your phone in your hand and risk dropping it.

10. Running Lights
Keep your runner safe with LED or reflective light or gear. These would be handy for those early morning or late night runs.

11. Dumbbells

I love having a light set and something heavier.

12. Water Bottle

Stainless steel insulated water bottles are always great. Here’s one I thought looks great:

13. Cookbook!

I have to know, what’s your favorite fitness gear? Who’s the fitness love in your life?

If you are looking for more help on your gift lists, be sure to check out these posts:

Gift ideas for the female fitness lover

Can’t Afford a Vacation? Ideas for Family Fun on a Budget

How to have family fun on a budget even when you can't afford a vacation. Get out there and make memories with your kids.

During summer and fall months, Facebook and Instagram feeds are filled with pictures and stories of amazing looking family vacations.

“Some years the budget doesn’t allow for a short trip let alone the vacation you’ve always dreamed of taking your kids on. It might be easy to feel mom guilt over not being able to give your kids that trip – but there’s no reason to!!! Instead, focus on the all the areas that you can have fun as a family on a budget!

If your children are young like mine, you can easily find lots of ways to have fun without going anywhere. If you are excited about the awesome year you are going to have staying home, it will rub off on your kids. If you are down and upset about not going on vacation, that attitude will rub off on them.

Here are four ways you can have fun with your family on a budget this year:”

Click over to Money Saving Mom to read the rest of my guest post.

I’d love to hear, what are your favorite ways to have family fun on a budget? Are there any free events I need to look for in my area?

How to have family fun on a budget even when you can't afford a vacation. Get out there and make memories with your kids.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe. These cookies are buttery, thin, chewy and oh so good!

I associate memories or people with a lot of foods. These Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies are one of the recipes that we made when I was growing up that my mom got from her mom. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, and molasses cookies are always the first recipes I associate with my grandma and they are all delicious.

These are a fun twist on a traditional chocolate chip cookie. Perfect for when you want something a little different extra or maybe even just want to feel healthier about your dessert indulgence. (Because anything with oatmeal has to be healthier, right?!)

When I made these this last time my husband commented, “You know, normally I think oatmeal ruins a chocolate chip cookie but these are actually really good.” If you know Shaun’s love of a good chocolate chip cookies, that’s saying something. Besides, I really don’t think you can have too many cookies in your repertoire. 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Delicious oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. These cookies are buttery, thin, chewy and oh so good!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cups flour
  • 1 t. soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 c. butter
  • ¾ c. brown sugar
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 t. hot water
  • 2 c. old fashioned oats
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugars.
  2. Add eggs, water, and vanilla. Mix well.
  3. Combine 1½ cups flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix well.
  4. Add oatmeal and combine. Add up to an extra ¼ cup of flour depending on your dough consistency.
  5. Stir in chocolate chips.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes.
  7. Makes 2 - 2/12 dozen cookies.

 

Bring your favorite chocolate dessert to Roxana’s home baking #chocolateparty and win amazing prizes from Imperial Sugar®Gold Medal Flour®Safest Choice™ Pasteurized Eggs and KitchenAid®

Super yummy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. This recipes came from my grandma and the cookies and a thin and chewy perfection.

Make Memories with Your Kids on a Budget

Walking the beach! Just because you don't have money for a vacation doesn't mean you can't make memories with your kids! Here are great ideas for turning the little moments into big ones!

Do you ever fall into the mindset that memories are made from big (and often expensive) events? If you are a mom living on a tight budget, that can cause a lot of stress and overwhelm. We want our kids to grow up having fun memories of their childhood and we worry about our limited funds. Is it even possible to make memories with your kids on a budget?

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Take a minute to think back to your childhood and the things you remember. Sure, there might be a big thing or two that comes to mind, but I bet that there are many little traditions and memories that stand out. I remember a snowman named Annette, playing in “mini Lake Superior”, breakfast in bed, and a Fisher Price cassette player with a speaker and microphone that my family had to put up with in the car on a 14 hour drive.

Especially when your children are young, they don’t need fancy and elaborate. Most of the time they enjoy little (and often free) things just as much. We put expectations on ourselves that our children don’t have.

So instead of expensive, fancy, and elaborate I challenge us to find the small things and make the most of them.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Just because you don't have money for a vacation doesn't mean you can't make memories with your kids! Here are great ideas for turning the little moments into big ones!

Make Memories with Your Kids on a Budget

Make the Little Things Big:

Birthdays

A large party isn’t a have to. Start traditions they’ll look forward to each year that will be easy on your pocket book. Birthday balloon, streamers, breakfast in bed, picnic, special dessert, free family outing. Those are just some ideas to help you start brainstorming.

Vacations

Don’t feel guilty about not being able to take your kids to Europe or Disney World. Instead, make memories closer to home. Take day trips to near by cities or state parks. Most likely there are plenty of things in a couple hour radius that your family has never had time to explore. Stock up on snacks and favorite treats when they are sale to enjoy on these trips.

Take a few afternoons to explore your own town and the community events, museums, and parks it offers.

Family Night

Don’t just play a game. Turn it into a “family fun night”! Have homemade pizza and ice cream or another kid pleasing meal. Pull out a few games, put away all the phones, maybe even grab a couple of cheap prizes from the dollar store and your kids will have a blast playing all the table games in your house.

Movie Night

Movie theaters are fun but they also can be pricey to bring the entire family to. Rather, have a movie night at home. Like with the game night, turn it into something fun! Make movie tickets for everyone, have a double feature, pop a big batch of popcorn, make sure everyone has full water bottles, and find snacks and candy on sale so everyone can have their favorite. Sit on couches or bring out blankets and pillows and take over the living room floor.

Errands

Going grocery shopping? Grab a kid or two and bring them along. Make a detour to the park or let them pick a little something extra out at the store. Have them help you pull items from the shelf and put it in the cart.

Is there a doctors appointment? Bring a book to read aloud in the waiting room with your child. Or bring a coloring book and see how excited they’ll be that you want to color with them.

Chores

There are a few people out there who actually enjoy chores. I’m not one of those! Thankfully, my kids are young enough that cleaning still excites them. In fact, my older two fight about who gets to vacuum. Instead of cleaning solo, slow down and offer to let a child be your helper and work together. It might take longer (and not be as thorough) but you are training your child and connecting with them.

Meal Time

Play restaurant. I remember doing this as a kid and my children have started doing it. Take supper up a notch by setting a fancy table and lighting some candles. Have the kids make place cards and menus. Take turns being the server. You could use fun conversation starters and everyone can practice using their best manners.

What are your favorite ways to make memories with your children?

 

Just because you don't have money for a vacation doesn't mean you can't make memories with your kids! Here are great ideas for turning the little moments into big ones!

Italian Layer Dip

Oh my goodness. This Italian layer dip is amazing! Definitely drool worthy and it’s also super easy and can be made in advance. It really can’t get much better than that.

Basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. All things I love and then when combined with creamy ricotta cheese it becomes over top. No pasta or heating of the oven makes this tasty Italian recipe perfect for all months of the year.

This appetizer is refreshing, creamy, and light. Serve on top of bagel chips (or thinly sliced baguettes toasted in the oven is what I normally do) and you have the perfect combination. Ideal appetizer for a summer party, small group, cookout etc or you could serve it with a nice salad and you’d have an ideal meal for a girls’ night.

To make ahead, combine the ingredients for the base and store in the fridge until ready to use. Do the same with the topping (storing in a different container). They can remain in the fridge for several days. Before serving, spread the base on your plate/platter and make sure to use the slotted spoon to scoop the tomatoes on the top.

In case you are wondering what to do with the rest of the container of ricotta, don’t forget about Easy Skillet Lasagna (again, perfect for summer since you don’t have to turn the oven on)!

This easy and oven free Italian Layer Dip is amazing! Perfect start to any meal. This will be a favorite.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Italian Layer Dip
 
Ingredients
Base
  • ½ cup ricotta cheese (full fat is thicker and holds up better)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • ⅛ t. salt
  • 2 T. fresh parsley, minced
  • 2 T. grated Parmesan
Topping
  • 3 roma tomatoes (1 cup) deseeded and diced
  • 2 T. finely chopped red onion
  • 2 T. chiffonade basil
  • ⅛ t. garlic paste
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • Additional basil for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan
Instructions
Base
  1. Combine the cheeses until smooth.
  2. Stir in salt, parsley, and parmesan.
  3. Spread on the bottom of a plate or pie pan.
Topping
  1. Combine all topping ingredients in a bowl. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Let sit for an hour.
  3. Using a slotted spoon to let as much of the liquid off as possible put on top of the cheese layer.
  4. Garnish with additional basil and freshly grated parmesan.
  5. Refrigerate until serving.
Notes
Serve with bagel chips or thinly slices baguettes that you toast in the oven.

To make ahead, combine the ingredients for the base and store in the fridge until ready to use. Do the same with the topping (storing in a different container). They can remain in the fridge for several days. Before serving, spread the base on your plate/platter and make sure to use the slotted spoon to scoop the tomatoes on the top.

This easy and oven free Italian Layer Dip is amazing! Perfect start to any meal. This will be a favorite.
This is a yummy appetizer! Italian Layer Dip is perfect for any party. Easy and no oven necessary.