Archives for October 2015

Fall 2015 Time Change: It’s Time To “Fall Back”

I hate falling back. The 2015 time change happens on November 1st at 2:00 AM. That means, you need to set your clocks back by one hour. That also means that going forward, it’ll be light before 6 AM and dark by 5 PM.


The Fall 2015 time change can suck it. I will be counting down the days to the Spring 2016 time change.

In the meantime, there are some household chores that need to be done! I’ve put together a list of 5 chores that you probably forget about until things start to break, beep, or need to be replaced. But if you bookmark this page and do them every time the time changes, you’ll never forget them again!

The Fall 2015 time change is coming this weekend, and we get an extra hour of sleep! Here are 5 overlooked and forgotten household chores to do when the time changes.

Fall 2015 Time Change Chores To Do

  • Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors Don’t wait until the detectors start chirping to change the batteries! Change the batteries when you change your clocks and you’ll know that the detectors are properly working. I went through my house and counted them all, and bought enough batteries for the year specifically for this task.
  • Change the air conditioning vent filters This is a task I never thought about until last summer when we thought our air conditioner was going out. We checked the filters, and they were absolutely disgusting…air couldn’t get through them at all! So we decided to change the filters every time we changed the batteries in the detectors.
  • Reverse the direction on your ceiling fans  Sounds silly, but doing this will help you keep the temperatures in rooms with ceiling fans at the right temperature. When you “spring ahead” in the Spring, the fan should rotate counter clockwise to cool the rooms.  In the Fall when you “fall back”, the fan’s direction should be switched to clockwise to pull down the warm air. Think of the money you will save on your home’s heating and cooling!
  • Flip your mattresses This task is a tedious one, but can help with the longevity of your mattresses. If you have mattresses that are not supposed to be flipped, you can rotate them.
  • Check your pantry, fridge, and medicine cabinets for expired products Time to purge! Get rid of any expired food or medicine. As you are doing this, you may want to have a notepad handy to note items that need to be replaced. There’s nothing worse than getting a migraine and realizing that your migraine medication is gone.

There are many other tasks you can include on your semi-annual list of to-do’s with each time change. You can clean out your kids closets and toys, rotate your winter/summer clothing, check to see if you have any vehicles or appliances that need repairs or maintenance, and start your spring cleaning list of chores.

So what chores would you add to the list? Don’t forget to do these five things on Sunday after the Fall 2015 time change!

It’s National Chocolate Day!

Happy National Chocolate Day!

Every year on October 28th, people everywhere celebrate their love for chocolate on National Chocolate Day. So I thought I’d share some of my favorite chocolate recipes with you…

This is the #1 most viewed recipe on my blog, and it’s full of chocolate.

Wondering when National Chocolate Day is? I'll tell you here, as well as sharing lots of yummy chocolate recipes including cookies, pudding shots, coffee, & more!

Yep, it’s my Holy Cow Cake. And yep, you really will say “holy cow!” after taking the first bite!

Wondering when National Chocolate Day is? I'll tell you here, as well as sharing lots of yummy chocolate recipes including cookies, pudding shots, coffee, & more!
My sister-in-law’s recipe for Browned Butter & Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies sounds very gourmet and hard to make, but they’re super easy to make and always a MAJOR crowd pleaser! Make two batches, they’ll both be gone and people will be asking for more.

Wondering when National Chocolate Day is? I'll tell you here, as well as sharing lots of yummy chocolate recipes including cookies, pudding shots, coffee, & more!
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, anyone? This recipe has cold, fall morning written all over it!

Wondering when National Chocolate Day is? I'll tell you here, as well as sharing lots of yummy chocolate recipes including cookies, pudding shots, coffee, & more!
This recipe for Chocolate Pudding Shots isn’t for the kids, but people love ’em!

Wondering when National Chocolate Day is? I'll tell you here, as well as sharing lots of yummy chocolate recipes including cookies, pudding shots, coffee, & more!
And this adults-only coffee is a perfect dessert or sweet treat after the kids go to bed.

Wondering when National Chocolate Day is? I'll tell you here, as well as sharing lots of yummy chocolate recipes including cookies, pudding shots, coffee, & more!
Get the kids involved in the kitchen! I’ve got a few make-your-own Easy Bake Oven recipes, including the kids favorite – this one for chocolate cake.

So how will you be celebrating National Chocolate Day? We are going to be making a chocolate cookie recipe that we got in our Happiest Little Baker box!

Wondering when National Chocolate Day is? I'll tell you here, as well as sharing lots of yummy chocolate recipes including cookies, pudding shots, coffee, & more!

Halloween Safety Tips For Keeping The Kids Safe While Trick-Or-Treating

The countdown to Halloween night is on! The kids are bugging me relentlessly about “how many more days” there are until they get to trick-or-treat. And while it’s fun to see ghosts and goblins and fairies and princesses running around asking for candy, it also can be a dangerous time. I mean think about it, you never know who’s door your knocking on or what kind of people you may cross paths with.

Halloween Safety Tips

I don’t normally take unsolicited guest posts, but when Crime Wire asked if I’d be interested in sharing this infographic with Halloween safety tips, I decided to take a look. And it’s got a ton of great information on it, so I thought it would be helpful to pass it along to you, too.

Do you take to your children about Halloween safety? We always trick-or-treat with the kids, and of course tell them not to run into the street, not to go to houses that don’t have lights on, etc. But there’s more to it than that, and these Halloween safety tips are a good place to start.

Trick-or-treating is a fun time, but can also be dangerous. Keep your kids safe by sharing these Halloween safety tips with them and by being involved.

You’ll also find additional Halloween safety tips here. What tips would you add?

Looking for some Halloween inspiration? You’ll find tricks and treats on my Halloween board on Pinterest.

Chicken Pesto Pizza (Loaded With YUM!)

Pizza. Pesto. Cheese. Bacon. These are a few of my favorite things. So when I found this pin for Garlicky Kale and Chicken Pizza, I knew we had to try it.

We tried it, and it was good, but it was kinda blah.

If you love pizza, why not make your own at home?! This Chicken pesto pizza is loaded with YUM...bacon, kale, garlic, mushrooms, and alfredo sauce. Kids love it!

So I took everybody’s advice for what would make it better – maybe some alfredo sauce, bacon, mushrooms….less chicken, more kale and pesto – and re-created the pizza again. This chicken pesto pizza is really delicious. It’s also very simple to make!

Chicken Pesto Pizza

If you’re all kinds of fancy, you can make your own pizza dough as instructed here. If you take shortcuts and save yourself time when you can, do what I do and stop at Trader Joe’s and get ready made dough. Often times, your local pizza parlor will sell you dough too! If you love pizza, why not make your own at home?! This Chicken pesto pizza is loaded with YUM...bacon, kale, garlic, mushrooms, and alfredo sauce. Kids love it!

Follow the instructions on the package, and while the dough is resting, you’re going to saute your garlic and mushrooms with your bacon and a little bit of olive oil  for a few minutes. Then add in the kale and cook until it wilts. After that, throw in the chicken and some alfredo sauce and mix it all up. It can rest there until you’re ready for it.

If you love pizza, why not make your own at home?! This Chicken pesto pizza is loaded with YUM...bacon, kale, garlic, mushrooms, and alfredo sauce. Kids love it!

Next, roll out the dough and put it on a pizza stone in the oven or directly on your outside grill. Cook it until it starts to get brown, about 8 minutes or so.

If you love pizza, why not make your own at home?! This Chicken pesto pizza is loaded with YUM...bacon, kale, garlic, mushrooms, and alfredo sauce. Kids love it!

Take it off, and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Add a bunch of pesto to the crust. According to my family, you can never over-pesto anything. Then add all of your chicken mixture to the top of the pizza and top with mozzarella cheese.

If you love pizza, why not make your own at home?! This Chicken pesto pizza is loaded with YUM...bacon, kale, garlic, mushrooms, and alfredo sauce. Kids love it!

Terrible picture, I know.

Throw it back in the oven or on the grill another five to ten minutes, and boom! You’ve got the best Chicken Pesto Pizza you’ve ever tasted.

If you love pizza, why not make your own at home?! This Chicken pesto pizza is loaded with YUM...bacon, kale, garlic, mushrooms, and alfredo sauce. Kids love it!

Now if you’re like me and want the actual recipe, here’s the recipe for my Chicken Pesto Pizza.

Chicken Pesto Pizza (Loaded With Kale, Bacon, Garlic and More!)
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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • Premade pizza dough (or you can make your own - get the recipe here )
  • 3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounces bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 2 cups kale, chopped
  • 8 ounces of mushrooms
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, cubed or shredded
  • 1 cup Alfredo sauce
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 small jar of pesto (or make your own!)
  • 2-1/2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Let the dough rest as instructed on the dough package. Lightly flour your work area and knead the dough for no longer than 5 minutes.
  2. Line a baking sheet or a pizza pan with foil and spray it with cooking spray. Spread pizza dough onto the pan, using the palm of your hands and fingers to stretch it out to about a 1-inch thickness. It totally doesn't have to be perfect.
  3. Bake in a 400 F oven or on the grill for 8 minutes; remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes.
  4. While the dough is cooking, prepare the chicken mixture. Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet; add garlic and bacon and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  5. Add the kale and mushrooms to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, or until wilted. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Add the chicken and Alfredo sauce and stir until mixture is coated.
  7. Brush the pesto on to pizza dough. Add the chicken/kale mixture to the top, and top with the mozzarella cheese.
  8. Bake until cheese is bubbly and dough is thoroughly baked (about another 10-15 minutes.)
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http://mommyofamonster.com/chicken-pesto-pizza/

We’ve tried to cook it both ways: on the grill and in the oven, and it’s delicious no matter how you do it. Our newest favorite thing to do though is to grill pizzas, and we’ve been getting pretty creative! So if you have any more fun ideas, please send them my way.

You could also cut this into squares and serve it as a tasty appetizer. It won’t last though so you might want to make 2!

If you love pizza, why not make your own at home?! This Chicken pesto pizza is loaded with YUM...bacon, kale, garlic, mushrooms, and alfredo sauce. Kids love it!

If you have a pizza recipe that your family loves that you’d like to have featured on Mommy of a Monster, find out how here.

Get Your Kids Healthy & Active With Fuel Up to Play 60!

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of California Milk Advisory Board. All opinions expressed are mine.

Are your kids active? Do they make healthy food choices? Learn more about the Fuel Up To Play 60 initiative, which encourages kids to learn healthy living!

 

When we were kids, we came home from school, grabbed a snack and did homework, and immediately ran outside to play. We biked and played chase and walked all over the place. It’s not that way anymore. Nowadays the kids come home and get on the computer or tablet. They don’t want to go outside! But with Fuel Up To Play 60, they’ll learn how fun playing outside…away from gadgets…can be.

Fuel Up To Play 60

Fueled (see what I did there?) by The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), which represents California’s more than 1,500 dairy families, Fuel Up To Play 60 empowers students in California to take action to improve nutrition and physical activity at their school and for their own health. It was created by the National Dairy Council® (NDC) and the National Football League, in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Are your kids active? Do they make healthy food choices? Learn how the California Milk Advisory Boards supports the Fuel Up To Play 60 initiative, which encourages kids to learn healthy living!

It’s also the nation’s largest in-school wellness program creating real transformational change in more than 73,000 schools nationwide! That’s so impressive and shows how well this initiative works.

So what’s it all about? It encourages youth to consume a healthy diet, one full of  low-fat and fat-free dairy products, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and whole grains while also getting outdoors to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. The goal is to get kids to want to implement positive, lasting changes for themselves and their schools andinspiring their friends to do the same.

Sounds great, right? I bet you’re wondering if your California school is involved. Schools that would like to apply to receive funding can apply for a grant of up to $4,000 during the school year. Also, funding eligibility for the 2015-2016 school year is held through a competitive program designed to support schools that implement plays from the 2015-2016 edition of the Fuel Up to Play 60 Playbook.

Fall 2015 Fuel Up To Play 60 grant applications are open to California K-12 schools interested in supporting health and wellness initiatives through November 4, 2015. For more information on Fuel Up to Play 60 and to sign up an eligible school, visit FuelUpToPlay60.com.

Are your kids active? Do they make healthy food choices? Learn more about the Fuel Up To Play 60 initiative, which encourages kids to learn healthy living!

Does the Fuel Up To Play 60 initiative work? As a result of the program, 38 million students are eating healthier diets and making healthier lifestyle decisions.

I’m a huge proponent of having kids help cook and take a part in meal preparation. They’re more apt to eat it if they make it. So I thought it would be fun to share a few of my kids’ favorite after school treats!

These Kid-Approved Crispy Kale Chips are the #1 most requested snack at the Hoage House.

Are your kids active? Do they make healthy food choices? Learn more about the Fuel Up To Play 60 initiative, which encourages kids to learn healthy living!

These Peanut Butter Apples are easy and the kids love to make their “apple pizzas.”

Are your kids active? Do they make healthy food choices? Learn more about the Fuel Up To Play 60 initiative, which encourages kids to learn healthy living!

And these Nut Free Chocolate Power Balls are a make-ahead treat the kids can grab and go, or are good for a breakfast-on-the-go, too!

Are your kids active? Do they make healthy food choices? Learn more about the Fuel Up To Play 60 initiative, which encourages kids to learn healthy living!

I also support our school, who is a participant in the Fuel Up To Play 60 initiative. This year, I headed up the Walk To School Day event to help show my support, as well as get the kids thinking about the importance of physical activity.

How do you get your kids to Fuel Up To Play 60? I’d love to hear about ways you get your kids excited to be active and eat healthy!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of California Milk Advisory Board.