Disclosure: I received products for review purposes only. Any opinions are honest and are my own.
We planned a train party for my son's 3rd birthday. This is such a fun theme. We found our paper products, Thomas stickers, table cloths, adorable train track table runners, train centerpiece, Thomas favor pack for the pinata, a red divided tray, and train suckers for cupcake toppers at Oriental Trading Company.
I didn't really have a theme as far as food was concerned. Just good food that would be enjoyed.
It was a really hot day so it was nice to have a cold offering. The jello cups were a hit and were easy to make. In keeping with the train theme, I layered green, then red, then blue jello in each cup letting each layer firm up in the fridge before making the next layer. I chose green, red, and blue since they are common colors from Thomas and his Friends.
Loving this red serving tray from Oriental Trading Company. I'm sure I will use this a lot when entertaining. And look at the train track table runner peeking through. So cute!
I set up an art table for everyone to decorate their loot bags. You can really see the train track table runner here. It might be my favorite party decoration ever and it makes a great table weight holding the table cloth down in the wind. The train centerpiece was perfect for the art table. And the train tickets came in the favor pack. I just set them on the table for kids to put in their loot bags. So much cute stuff all from Oriental Trading Company.
Full view of the awesome train track table runner.
Our pinata was so heavy with candy and party favors that it only took one blow to bring it down. The kids didn't care. They excitedly gathered up candy and Thomas toys (from the favor pack from Oriental Trading Company) to fill their loot bags.
I decided on cupcakes because they are so easy and I knew these train suckers from Oriental Trading Company would make great cupcake toppers. Look at the detail, they are amazing. They came individually wrapped and in tiny bubble wrap too so that they wouldn't break during shipment.
Red and blue cupcakes to fit in with the Thomas theme. I made this cupcake recipe with vanilla frosting which was delicious, but the icing started melting quickly in the heat.
1, 2, 3 birthday candles!
Blue icing bliss... What more could you want?
I love these straw art creations the boys made. I cut up a bunch of straws and gave them some tape and let them create. They loved it.
This is a really easy formula that I came up with for making gravy from the flavorful broth that is left after slow cooking meat.
1/4 cup water
4 Tbsp. flour or 2 Tbsp. corn starch*
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups broth (leftover from roast chicken or beef, when cooked in a crock pot there is a lot of broth)
1. Mix 1/4 cup water with flour or corn starch.
2. Pour broth into skillet.
3. Add water-flour mixture.
4. Cook and stir on medium heat until thickened.
5. Salt and pepper to taste.
*Use flour to make a cloudy gravy and corn starch to make a clear gravy. Use half as much corn starch as you would flour b/c corn starch has more thickening power than flour.
We spent some time traveling and visiting family a couple of weeks ago. My husband got up early one morning and took the early risers to see the lake.
We had a great time at my 20th class reunion. I love this silly picture. They had a great photographer, Creative Edge Photography.
Best cast picture ever. This tough little guy continues to amaze me. He caught lots of fish, rode the 4-wheeler, and ran rampant on Grandpa's new play-set.
So much fun playing on Grandpa's playground!
My Dad started building this amazing playground two years ago for his grandkids and finished it this summer. The boys had so much fun playing with their cousins.
You are amazing Dad!
Our first tomatoes of the season.
Getting the cast off on his birthday!
Looking a little unsure after the cast came off. It didn't take long for him to get back into the swing of things though.
We celebrated a big 7th birthday. Wow, 7 seems so big.
I baked Zucchini Chip Cupcakes for an extra camp snack on his birthday. The boys said they all sang Happy Birthday.
One of our silkworms came out of its cocoon and started laying eggs.
The boys were fascinated.
I have been collecting a list of reliable giveaway linkys on other blogs for some time now and have been using these linkys to list my blog giveaways. You can use the list to find giveaways to enter or to list your own blog giveaways.
If you know of other blog giveaway linkys I am happy to add them to the list, but they must be consistent to remain on the list.
I love Giveaways
Look What Mom Found
Sweet Deals For Mom
Frugal and Fabulous
The Mother Load An Apron Full of Giveaways
Money Saving Mom
Mommies with Cents
Cha Ching Queen
Mission To Save
Baby Loving Mama List Your Giveaways
To Be Thode Thursday Giveaway Linkup
Linda's Lunacy Thursday's Giveaways
Hen's Clutch of Giveaways - A Hen's Nest
Windy Pinwheel: In Search of the Perfect Giveaway
Frugality is Free
Mom Saves Money
Sweeping Saturday - Mommy's Hangout
Mama to 5 Blessings
I just read this article Three Ways to Add Healthy Fats to Your Diet and thought it was worth sharing. I have used coconut and olive oil for a long time, but never thought of using flaxseed oil. I sometimes add ground flaxseed to baked goods but I have never tried flaxseed oil.
The article shares the benefits of all three oils and if you have never tried coconut oil, I would give it a try. It is more readily available than it used to be. You can now find it in most grocery stores and even Sam's Club. I like to use melted coconut oil in baked goods instead of canola or vegetable oil. In fact I rarely buy canola or vegetable oil anymore.
Coconut oil tastes really good in baked goods too. I made one of my favorite recipes coconut oil brownies twice this summer for family and friends at parties and each time the pan was emptied and lots of compliments came my way. (I made a double recipe in a 9 X 13 pan and increased the cooking time to 30 minutes.)
I sometimes order coconut oil from Vitacost. In fact, I have a large 54 oz. jar of it in my kitchen that I use frequently. They have sales often too. I think I bought it during a buy 1 get 1 free deal. I looked and they do have flaxseed oil and even flaxseed oil capsules which might be a really easy way to get Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. There are many sources for purchasing healthy fats, but if you do shop at Vitacost and use my link you will receive $10 off your purchase of $30 or more and I will receive a $10 credit.
Reading this article was a good reminder for me to eat some healthy fats. I even sprinkled ground flaxseed over my Greek yogurt this morning for breakfast. What are your favorite recipes and tips for incorporating healthy fats into your diet? I would love to hear them.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are referral links.
Linked up at Create with Joy
I love this recipe for several reasons. It is so easy to make and can even be made ahead and chilled or frozen until ready to bake. (If frozen, give it some time to thaw in the fridge before baking.) In addition to being super easy to prepare, it's delicious. Goes well with salad and breadsticks. This is an easily portable meal for pot lucks and meal trains too.
16 oz. Penne Pasta
24 oz. container ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 & 1/2 (25-28 oz) jars meatless pasta sauce
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.
2. Combine the egg, ricotta cheese, and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese.
3. Spread about 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce in a greased 9 X 13 pan. , and
4. Top with a third of the cooked pasta, half of the ricotta mixture, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1 T. Parmesan cheese, and 1 1/2 cups pasta sauce.
5. Repeat layers of pasta, ricotta mixture and mozzarella cheese.
6. Sprinkle with 2 T. Parmesan cheese.
7. Top with remaining pasta, sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese.
8. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F. for 45-50 minutes or until heated through. (Serves 12)
Linked up at Create with Joy
I made a double batch of these cookies for our big 4th of July party at my parent's house. I filled the cookie tray three times throughout the day and each time the cookies vanished. I received many compliments on these cookies which were delicious. They are a variation of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. Honestly, I like these even better.
2 ¼ c flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c butter (2 sticks softened)
¾ c sugar
¾ c brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
1. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl.
2. Combine in your mixer bowl:
3. Beat at low speed until creamy.
4. Slowly add flour mixture and continue to beat until combined.
5. Hand stir in chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
6. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper
7. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
8. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheet. (12 cookies per sheet)
9. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes. Remove cookie sheet from oven and let cookies rest on cookie sheet for 1 to 2 minutes. Then remove cookies to cooling rack.
Recipe makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Linking up at Create with Joy
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science teacher turned food blogger. I love God, my family, and food. You can usually find me in the kitchen preparing family friendly, homemade recipes and taking lots of pictures.
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