Easter Brunch Recipes

Easter is a diet-free day in our home. You can just check your calorie-counting ways at the door if you plan on coming to my house on this special spring Sunday. Wear your comfy pants and bring your appetite, there’s going to be some serious feasting and foodie-ing.

Between the obligatory basket-candy tasting, the crushed decorated hard-boiled eggs that need to be eaten, and the giant ham that boils in beer for hours on the stove, you better believe that there will be ample eats for everyone. Of course, if I had to pick just one standout meal on Easter (and why would I?!), it would be brunch. The big annual morning egg hunt leaves everybody feeling hungry and energized, and a big meal (complete with eggs, of course!) is just what the Bunny ordered.

We’ve rounded up a few favorite breakfasty brunch recipes for your Easter planning pleasure. May your hearts and plates be full.

Hard-Boiled Egg Chicks via Julie Blanner

Carrot Cake Waffles via Healthy Seasonal Recipes

Bunny Fruit Platter via Worth Pinning

Italian Eater Bread via Bake With Christina

Cheesy Bacon Spinach Frittata via Joyful Healthy Eats

Overnight Eggs Benedict Casserole via Baker Bettie

Easter Bunny Shaped Rolls via Plated Cravings

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Rise and Shine: How to Stay Motivated in the Morning

My kids are early risers—to put it mildly. They’re usually up before the clock strikes 6 (ugh) giggling and yelling and competing for my undivided attention. Yes, it can be exhausting and exasperating. But it’s real life. Moreover, it’s #momlife, and it’s hard to stay mad at those sweet, eager faces—even at 5-friggin’-45 AM. (Okay, maybe I resent them a little at that unfathomable hour. I mean, it’s still dark outside for crying out loud!) Nevertheless, I get out of my delicious king-size bed to tend to their wants, needs, and whims. (It must be nice to be two and four.)

There’s no sugarcoating the fact that it truly stinks to be abruptly woken from a peaceful sleep by an absurdly energetic toddler. (How do they wake up with so much instantaneous joie de vivre?!) I used to try to bribe them to climb into my bed and get a few extra zzz’s or I’d turn on the TV in my room and hope they’d get sucked into some Disney Junior. Sometimes it worked for fifteen minutes. Usually, it didn’t. But, at the beginning of the year, I resolved to “become” a morning person—to train myself to stop hating the wee hours and to kick-start my days with purpose, focus, and even a begrudging smile. It hasn’t been the easiest learning curve, and I’ve had a few not-so proud moments (“GO BACK TO SLEEP, YOU LITTLE DEMONS!”), but I have to say, overall, I’ve really started liking my revamped morning routine. Instead of “slothing” my way through the 5 to 7 AM parenting shift, I’ve carved out some extra time to accomplish the day’s goals.

I’m sharing my top 10 tips for defeating the morning fog and embracing the AM for all my fellow sleepyhead baby-and-toddler mamas out there. So brew a cup—or rather a carafe—of caffeinated goodness, pull up a chair, and get reading!

Drink All the Coffee
You know those “hilarious” coffee cups that feature descending lines that say “shhhhh,” “almost there,” “now you may speak.” Yep, that’s me. The very first thing I do when I come downstairs is brew a pot of coffee. (I really should figure out how to set the timer for auto-brew.) My kids know to back off their requests until I push the big button and the aroma of ground beans starts to fill the air.

I think the effectiveness is 50 percent mental. Which is why I’ve started brewing half-caffeinated, half-decaf pots every morning in attempt to lower my intake, and, um, you know my blood pressure too.

And Also Ice-Cold Water
Don’t like coffee? No worries. Fill up a big tall glass with ice, water, and a squeeze of lemon, and slowly drink it down. Hydration is the answer to everything (okay, almost everything), and this refreshing drink will get things moving. While you’re at it, splash some cold water on your face and pat a little under your eye area if you’re lids are still hanging heavy.

Make an Actual Breakfast
I don’t eat breakfast. I’ve dabbled with smoothies, but I just don’t like eating at 6 or 7 AM. Of course, my growing babies are “starving” the second they get up out of their beds. I admittedly rely on toast or frozen waffles in a pinch. But when it’s extra early, I’ll make something that requires a little more time and effort, like baked banana bread or buckwheat pancakes. The kids like to help and get in on the action, and it’s an easy way to create a meaningful moment and memory as a family. I can’t think of a better way to start the day as a family… besides sleeping.

Flood the House With Light
Like I said, my kids frequently rise before the sun. But the second I see a glimmer from outside, I open the blinds and windows and let in as much natural light as possible. Seasonal affect disorder is a real thing, and some Vitamin D is the best cure for winter-morning cabin fever.

Rely on Screen Time
You gotta do what you gotta do, Mom. I want to keep “busy” in the morning, but I also want to avoid playing with my kids no the floor the second I’ve gotten up. It takes two or three cups o coffee until I have the patience to make believe and practice pretend. So put on some ABC Mouse or an educational TV program and plop the kiddies down for 30 minutes or an hour. Or more, when necessary. No judgment here.

Bring Out the Designated “Morning Toys”
I try to encourage independent play whenever possible—especially in the morning. That’s why I bring out the designated building blocks. They emerge for a limited time only in the AM, so the kids are excited to use them while they’re out.

Get Cracking on Work
I find that since I’ve started this routine, my mornings are my most successful time of day. The kids are not complaining, they’re fed, they’re entertained, and I have a bonus hour to get so much accomplished. It feels so good to get those emails out, tweets scheduled, posts written, and pins pinned at 6:30 AM—so much checked off the to-do list so early in the day! Win-win.

Stretch, Mediate, or Exercise
Once the kids are settled, take 10 minutes to stretch out your tired body, mediate quietly and reflect on the day, or get a quick cardio workout in, if possible. Get your body going and your blood pumping.

Take a Shower
I know this should be a given, but sometimes it’s not. We’re so busy taking care of the people around us—getting the kids’ teeth brushed, dressed, and fed, that we can easily forget to put ourselves together. Steal 15 minutes when the littles are busy for a brisk shower. You’ll feel so much better for it!

Get Out of the PJ Rut
My four year old goes to Pre-K in the morning, so I’m forced to get him out of pajamas and into real-life clothes. But I used to neglect doing the same for myself and my daughter. We’d roll up to nursery school drop-off in our finest, er, sleepwear. Get the ball rolling and make sure everyone is dressed—yourself included—first thing. It’ll motivate you to get out of your rut.

Escape the Mayhem
The kids are off from school next week (ah!), and that means the usual routine is interrupted. I find that these are the times that getting out of the house matters most. So stick to a schedule, get the kids dressed (see above), and escape the house. Go to Starbucks or the diner for an early breakfast—or hit Target (it’s open early). An outing does the body, mind, and soul good. Even if you’re still not a morning person. (I’m a work in progress too!)

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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Sweet Ways to Show Your Love

Happy Valentine’s Day, lovies (a bit early)! I used to dread this holiday back when I was in high school… and then through most of college, as well. I never seemed to have a boyfriend on February 14, and I remember feeling totally hopeless. (Oh, the dramatics of adolescence and young adulthood!)

I met my husband in my early twenties and things turned around. We celebrated big the first few Februaries we were together, and then settled into a more subdued V-Day routine. Now that we have kids, it’s become less about “us” as a couple and more about “us” as a family. In fact, I fully admit that I love this holiday way more with little ones at home. They’re so appreciative of every sweet gesture—and let’s face it, they’re pretty easy to please (one heart-shaped cookie and you’re a Valentine’s Day hero in my kids’ books.)

Of course, I enjoy spoiling them with little trinkets and sweet activities on Valentine’s Day, but why stop there? Spread out the sweetness and enjoy this whole “month of love.” I have a few simple ideas for showing just how much you care today, tomorrow, and happily ever after.

New Pajamas: Nothing says “snuggle up” like a sweet new pair of pajamas. I snagged these “loved” jam-jams for my tiniest Valentine at Old Navy just a couple of day ago, and I think she’ll be pretty much living in them all month.

I’m crazy about the eight cozy sleep sets below for little ladies and mini gents. Loaded with red, pink, and happy hearts, they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day and beyond. No worries that there’s not enough time to order online—I picked a few that should be available at a local mall near you!From top left to bottom right: Hanna Andersson Heart-Print Pajamas, $30 / Gap Sunny-side Hearts and Bacon Pajamas, $ / Old Navy Mom + Dad Pajamas, $8 / Gap Love Monster Pajamas, $27

Top left to bottom right: Old Navy Heart Breaker Pajamas, $13 / Gap Eye Heart You Pajamas, $15 / 3. Gap I Dig You Pajamas, $ / 4. Hanna Andersson Skywriting Pajamas, $30

A Sweet Breakfast: Fret not, you don’t have to be a Pinterest-maven in order to make a super sweet and craftily cute breakfast. All you need is a heart-shaped cookie cutter and you’re officially in the business of love. Since V-Day falls on a Tuesday, chances are you won’t have a lot of time to whip up something more complicated than toast or frozen waffles. A little strawberry jam on heart toast, and my kids will be delighted.

Everyone Says I Love You/ Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse/ The Day It Rained Hearts/ I Love You, Stinky Face

Pick Up a New Book or Read an Oldie: Hop to your local store and snag a book about Valentine’s Day, like “The Day It Rained Heart,” or “Happy Valentine’s Day Mouse,” an addition to the beloved “If You Give” series. Or, go with a classic about love, like “I Love You, Stinky Face,” about a mother’s unconditional love for her child. “Everyone Says I Love You,” is a sweet pop-up that teaches kids to say the phrase in multiple languages.

Top left to bottom right: Heart-Man Craft via The Resourceful Mama / Race-to-Count-the-Hearts Game via Mom Inspired Life / Conversation-Heart Bingo via Create Craft Love / Emoji Heart Craft via Housing a Forest

Get Your Craft (or Game!) On: Glitter, construction paper, and safety scissors. Get your hands—and floor—dirty (and sticky!) and enjoy the process. And don’t worry if you’re not artistically inclined, it’s about spending quality time together.

Lady & the Tramp/ Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown/ The Princess Bride/ Beauty & the Beast

Watch a Movie Together: Curl up on the couch with a big blanket and some popcorn and chocolate (or perhaps a whole pizza pie!), and enjoy a family-friendly flick about love. You can’t go wrong with an animated Disney classic like Lady & the Tramp or Beauty and the Beast. Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown will get the kids excited about the special day. Or if they’re a bit older, introduce them to The Princess Bride. Snuggling encouraged!

 

Bake a Treat Together: Get out the mommy-and-me aprons and bake up a goodie for two. I love these organic mixes from foodstirs! They send you a complete kit with all the dry ingredients and creative tools you’ll need to make something truly special—and sine they carefully source their ingredients, I feel good about indulging my sweet tooth and spoiling my little loves. The company’s mission is to bring families together for quality hands-on fun. And if that’s not what Valentine’s Day is about, I don’t know what is.

This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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How to Make Olaf Pancakes

As a busy working mama, I cherish my weekends with my family…especially the Saturday mornings we get to spend together. There is nothing quite like waking up a little early to fix myself a steaming cuppa Joe while I wait for my babies to sleepily shuffle out of their rooms. By then my hubs has usually started to whip up breakfast and, more often than, not it’s a big old batch of his delicious pancakes.

Frozen panackes

Being that it’s still all Disney Frozen all the time for my little girl, we decided that a Disney Frozen themed breakfast complete with Olaf pancakes would be a fun surprise for her! And how lucky are we that Bounty Prints Featuring Disney Frozen products are available? They were just what we needed to set off our themed breakfast. The prints are just darling, of course, but being that it’s Bounty, we know we can trust them to tackle any mess! Not only is Bounty two times more absorbent than the leading ordinary brand, but that means the roll can last 50% longer. Score! Thanks to Bounty, our breakfast clean up time time was quick and, most importantly, FUN!

pancake mix

 

Olaf face

But first, let’s start with how to make those Olaf pancakes I mentioned…Mix up a batch of your favorite pancake batter. Next, fill a squeeze bottle with the batter. My husband, being the breakfast maestro that he is, used the batter filled squeeze bottle to free form create Olaf’s face. The Bounty Prints Featuring Disney Frozen that adorned our napkins proved to be all the inspiration he needed! And the paper towels helped me clean up after him. Bwah!

Olaf pancakes

Frozen breakfast

messy face

After that we used cut up bananas and strawberries, as well as chocolate chips and bacon pieces to bring Olaf to life. As you can see, our little Disney Frozen lover couldn’t have been more thrilled with her special breakfast. By adding extra little touches like bow bedecked milk bottles, complete with icy colored straws, and Bounty Prints Featuring Disney Frozen, everything at our Disney Frozen breakfast table was perfectly on theme!

Our friends at Bounty want to give one of you a fun prize to encourage you to get a little messy with your kids on your Saturday mornings! One person will win a prize pack of Bounty prints featuring Disney Frozen, snowflake cookie cutters and fun Disney Frozen items like a water coloring book, Frozen sing-along, Frozen Northern Lights book and Frozen-themed ice cream maker! This prize pack is valued at approximately $100!

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Overnight Oats Recipe

overnight-oats

Ah, breakfast… “The most important meal of the day.”

I know it may sound like the ultimate cliché, but it’s equally accurate. And it’s never a truer statement than when I’m traveling with my family. With busy days of packing, skiing, sightseeing, and carrying heavy equipment (did I mention the skiing?), our foursome needs to fuel up with a nutritious, filling breakfast each morning before we hit the snow and tackle the slopes.

But even when we’re staying in a suite, lodge, or rental, cooking a homemade meal in the early hours isn’t always a realistic option. We don’t have a lot of time to eat up before we gear up. So we need something healthy, wholesome, quick, and convenient—and that’s why we love Quaker Overnight Oats. With a little planning and even less prep work, I can give my family an awesome breakfast before our boots meet the powder for the day .

Overnight Oats Recipe

After an exhaustively exhilarating “downhill” day, before collapsing in bed, I fill four mason jars with individual batches of overnight oats for us to eat together in the morning. The recipe is simple: it’s just a ½ cup of oats to a ½ cup of milk, add the desired toppings, and set it in the refrigerator overnight. We switch things up by changing the toppings—strawberries, blueberries, sliced bananas, peaches, crushed walnuts, almond slivers, yogurt, honey, maybe even a few chocolate chips. You name it; my eager eaters and I will try it! The prep work takes mere minutes in the evening, and we get to reap the delicious rewards of my not-so-laborious labor the very next morning.

Overnight Oats Recipe

Delicious and wholesome, overnight oats taste best when they’ve been in the fridge for a full eight hours—or more—soaking up all that liquid goodness and turning into ooey-gooey deliciousness. I also like using the Old Fashioned Rolled Oats for texture and frozen fruits because they release even more sweet juices into the oats as they thaw. (Yum!)

Usually we try to sit down together for a few minutes with our breakfasts before we head off on the day’s ski adventure. Other times, we take our mason-jar masterpieces to go. Either way, we’re kick-starting our day in a happy, healthy, and wholesome way—which really is important—because, no doubt, it’s going to be an active one!

Mini Ski Racers

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are our own.

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The Best Pumpkin Recipes for Fall

I just love how magical summer is…I really do! The lazy days…the barbecues…the getaways. It’s tough to beat summer’s charm right? That being said, it still can’t quite equal fall in my book. I’m an Autumn girl through and through…and pumpkins have a lot to do with my love affair with the season. I know it’s a tad bit cliché, but I’m totally the girl who runs to Starbucks the second I hear my beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte is out. Can someone say pumpkin recipes? Mmmmm!

And my pumpkin obsession doesn’t end with coffee cravings…Whether I’m headed to the pumpkin patch with my kids or putting together my fall tablescape, pumpkins are never far from my fall thoughts. And since I’m willing to bet I’m not the only pumpkin’ lovin’ girl out there, I decided to round up some of my favorite pumpkin recipes for fall just for you!

psl

Pumpkin Latte…If you’d rather tackle the PSL at home, we have you covered with this super easy recipe! Don’t be fooled by the word “recipe.” Haha! It literally take just a few minutes to whip up your own pumpkin latte right from the comfort of your own kitchen.

pumpkin shake

Pumpkin Bourbon Milkshake…This is my kinda boozy shake. In fact, the girls over at Take Time for Style have a slew of delicious boozy shakes recipes, including their strawberry rum milkshake, but this one just might be my favorite! The flavors blend so beautifully.

pumpkin recipes

Pumpkin Brownies…Jazz up an ordinary brownie mix with canned pumpkin and you won’t believe how much more special they taste. This baking hack is a super simple way to add some pizzaz to your brownies this fall and they would be great to serve at your next game day function!

Fall-Pumpkin-Oatmeal-Pancakes

Pumpkin Oatmeal Pancakes…And don’t forget breakfast. Go full on fall with your flavors for your first meal of the day. Mom Endeavors has the right idea with her pumpkin oatmeal pancakes recipe! I like pumpkin in my pancakes even more than blueberries…and that’s saying a lot!

So, as we move toward fall, I hope you’ll enjoy trying out these yummy pumpkin recipes. Your loved ones will thank you…Trust me!

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3 Easy Meals for Back To School

Sometimes kids are picky eaters. It can make you absolutely bonkers. During the busy school year, you don’t have as much time to cater to those individual needs. That’s why I love food from Three Bridges. Their pastas and sauces are made with simple, honest, and better-for-you ingredients so there is zero guilt when you’re cooking for your family. Three Bridges equips you to cook a gourmet, nutritious and delicious meals in minutes that the entire family will enjoy. I used Three Bridges to create three entrees; Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, to show you how easy it is to craft up incredible food with little ingredients and little time. You can also check out their website for dozens of other yummy recipes.

For Breakfast: easy back to school breakfast three bridges

I made a pesto scrambled egg with a side of meatball sausage. Put some oil in a pan and crack the egg. Let it cook for a few seconds as if you’re cooking it sunny side up. Then add some of the Three Bridges pesto sauce. Scramble the egg in with the pesto and voila! Lightly cook your sausages until they are warm and you’ve got yourself a powerhouse meal in 5 minutes. You can add pesto to any style of egg you desire.

For Lunch:easy back to school lunch three bridges

Cook Three Bridges Three Cheese Tortellini according to the package. Chop some veggies like carrots, broccoli, and tomatoes to make a tiny salad. Or for your older kids, throw in some baby kale or spinach. Marinate in some oil and vinegar then toss the tortellini in with the vegetables. Add some pesto sauce and shaved parmesan. This makes a great lunch, hot or cold, and even your pickiest eater won’t complain about this tasty meal. The best part about this is that it’s very travel friendly. You can pop it into a container and make any school lunch complete. And aren’t these plates cute? They’re from Slimware, and are designed to help with portion control. Genius!

For Dinner: 

easy back to school dinner three bridgesI loved the idea that Three Bridges has for a “lazy lasagna”. You can make it in about an hour and it makes fabulous leftovers.  I had extra meatballs from my breakfast and decided to make the tortellini with Three Bridges Heirloom Marinara sauce. I emptied the entire package of sauce into a pan to let it warm. Then I added in my meatballs, and after a few minutes, added the cooked tortellini. This is a dinner fit for kings (and queens, and princes, and princesses!)

3 Meals with 3 Ingredients

Three Bridges makes families feel great about their back to school meal routine as their products are made with better ingredients like hormone-free cheeses and cage free eggs. They never use any artificial ingredients, colors, preservatives and never add fillers which makes for healthy, stress free, tasty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

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How to Make Breakfast More Fun for Kids: #BigGPets

Breakfast is not exactly popular in my house. Just getting my kids to put anything in their bellies in the morning is a struggle. So, I’m forever trying think up creative ways to make breakfast more fun. Nothing warms my heart more than sitting down with a hot cup of coffee and chatting with my kids over breakfast. It’s the perfect way to start to the day. That being said, if I don’t keep it interesting, they’re way less likely to want to take a beat and partake in that family time.

big g cereal

Like all mothers, I’m all too aware of just how fleeting the time is that I have with them. I feel like in the blink of an eye I’ll be sending my babies off to college to start their adult lives and I’ll forever miss all that sweet chatter that I was blessed to start my day with. To say I’m committed to making breakfast fun is an understatement. They’re going to give me that quality time and like it! BWAH!

pets 3

pets 2

So, how am I inserting all that fun into our morning routine do you ask? By adding activities to the equation. Take our favorite General Mills Big G Cereals for instance…They’ve teamed up with the dynamic new comedy The Secret Life of Pets and right now in specially marked boxes of Big G classics like Honey Nut Cheerios, Cheerios Multi Grain, Lucky Charms, Trix and Cocoa Puffs you can find character collectibles based on the sweet, yet rebellious Max (a pampered terrier mix), Duke (a massive mutt), Snowball (the leader of the flushed pets), Buddy (a sarcastic dachshund), Gidget (a naïve, but gutsy Pomeranian) and Chloe (a pleasantly plump cat).

pets

If you haven’t seen this immensely entertaining film, I highly suggest you head to the theater! It’s original, exciting all-audience kinda ride. You have to check out this immensely entertaining video featuring the character collectibles…

mia the dog

When I saw these little guys I immediately knew that my kids would have a blast with them. Not only will these furry friends probably end up gracing their backpacks, but they’ve always wondered what our pets are up to when we’re not at home, so we set up a scene with one of the scenarios they came up with. After painting a cute DIY doghouse, they set the stage…They imagined one pup shaking his head while a frisky pup, like Mia here, went to town on their cereal. Haha! And the best part? They had FUN at breakfast!   Mission accomplished!

pets 1

pets 4

breakfast cereal

I would love to hear what you think your pet’s doing when you aren’t at home. Use the #BigGPets hashtag and tag us at @momtrends so we can reshare your pet’s antics!

Compensation was provided by General Mills.The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of General Mills.

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Three Easy Breakfast Ideas

If you’re anything like me, your mornings are beyond hectic. You have to get yourself and the kids ready which takes up enough time on its own. Being able to spend a ton of time cooking breakfast is probably a luxury you don’t have. But it’s so important to send them off to school with full bellies. And being that we’re in the home stretch for the school year, you’re probably just trying to get through the next couple of months until everyone can take a breather this summer. So, I decided to round up three easy breakfast ideas that your family will surely gobble up!

banana yogurt pops

Banana Yogurt Pops…As the weather warms up, the kids will definitely appreciate nice cold treats…and who says breakfast can’t taste like a treat? BonBon Rose Girls came up with the yummiest looking breakfast pops. With Greek yogurt and granola being the ingredients, you can’t go wrong handing one to your kiddo in the morning.

overnight oats

Overnight Oats…Just like laying out their clothes, making their lunches and packing their backpacks the night before makes life easier for you, so does making breakfast. Our overnight oats recipe is tasty, nutritious and requires zero prep time in the morning. Anything you can do to make the morning routine more seamless right?

Bacon-Breakfast-Potatoes

Breakfast Potatoes…My kids definitely have more productive days when they’ve had a hearty breakfast. This breakfast potatoes concoction from Sunny Sweet Days would do the trick quite well. You could even swap out the bacon for ham or just forgo the meat completely. Eggs are a nice source of protein on their own!

Disclosure: We were not paid for this post.

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