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The little book with BIG resources!

A Simple Bedtime in Three Easy Steps

We all know that kids have different sleep needs and those needs change as children get older. Some kids settle down easily at night while others require a little more help to get asleep. Each kid is different and their needs change over time.   Ruth, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad shares her tips for a simple bedtime!  Take a look.

simple bedtime

A Simple Bedtime in Three Easy Steps

As a parent of three, I have a little bit of everything in my house.  My oldest is very independent and falls asleep at the drop of a hat and will sleep hard through the night. My middle child has challenges with night terrors and needs a little more support to get to sleep, and my youngest is a night owl and would probably stay up all night if I let her.

Both my girls require a little bit of extra effort to get to sleep at night. Many parents with multiple children or even just one can probably relate to this dilemma. I am here to share some ideas to help your kids settle down at night. Food for thought, any strategy that you might try will take time. You will want to give it a few weeks before you try a new one I order to be sure if the strategy works for your child and your family or not. Here are some things that you can try.

Tip 1: Establish a regular bed time routine

Set a regular routine, which is not overly rigid but has enough predictability that your child knows what to expect. An example routine may look like: bath/shower/change into pajamas, brush teeth, reading/story time and sleep. Choose a general time frame for your child to be asleep. The time you choose is based upon how much sleep they need versus your family routine. The sleep foundation provides general parameters for sleep needs based upon age.

Tip 2: Add daily exercise

If your routine isn’t working maybe your child has too much pent-up energy and they need an opportunity to burn it off before they can settle to bed. Offer your child a change to exercise in the early evening. You can go for a daily walk, visit the park or even do something active at home. A favorite in our house are kid’s yoga, dance videos on Youtube or the trampoline. An extra 20-30 minutes of exercise per day helps them to settle down. Check out Cosmic Kids Yoga or Just Dance videos on Youtube.

Tip 3: Try calming activities

When you are nearing bedtime, it helps you give your child time to relax and calm before bed. Calming activities are different for each person. Some people like to read, others like a bubble bath and so on. Kids need calming activities too sometimes. Younger kids typically are trying to avoid going to bed for a variety of reasons but to help them relax you need to find something they enjoy. It could be anything from a quiet game, playdoh, soft music or even an audio book to name a few. Try to avoid things that would rev them up like jokes, loud music, scary movies and blood pumping video games too close to bed time. Save those activities for earlier in the day.

From iFamily to Yours,


Measuring Wellness: Why Scales Aren’t Always the Best Way to Track

We all know the battle with the scale!  We watch as the number creeps up and the number creeps down.  But, is the good old scale really the best way to track your wellness?  Connie, from our iFamily Mom & Dad Squad gives us her take on why scales aren’t always the best way!

measuring wellness

Measuring Wellness:

Why Scales Aren’t Always the Best Way to Track

Scales are evil.  I almost threw mine out of the window this week.  I got a very harsh reality check from the scale.  One that I needed.  I am of the mindset that life is too short to be crazy strict with your diet.  If I want a cookie, I eat a cookie.  I just generally try not to eat 5 cookies when I want one.  Everything in moderation.

Lately, I have let moderation go and have been overindulging.  It was this that led to the nightmare weigh in this week.  In the past, a rough weigh in would have led me to excuses.  I would have blamed a lack of exercise or too much water, or my thyroid issues and the fact that I was stressed all summer.  But this time I decided to take a completely different approach to my nightmare weigh in.

I’m using it as motivation.

I needed a reminder to eat better and get back to life in moderation.

If our weight was determined by only the amount of exercise we get, I would be thin as a rail.  I love the gym, and the feeling of a good workout.  Unfortunately, there is a whole lot more that goes into it than that.  Not only is healthy eating important for weight loss, its vital.  It’s more important than working out.  And it is hard.  It shouldn’t be, but it is.  Cookies are delicious.  As are cupcakes and candy bars and chicken nachos (don’t even get me started on chicken nachos).

It used to be that a bad weigh in would send me reeling.  I would start beating myself up for eating anything other than veggies and chicken.  I would go on some harsh fad diet that I wouldn’t be able to stick to and throw my metabolism all out of whack.  Once I even decided I would only eat one meal a day until I lost 20 pounds.  You can guess how that turned out.

It took me a long time to figure out that the scale didn’t define me.  I have stuck with my workouts and possibly even over trained a little bit.  I am as fit as I have ever been, and stronger and more muscular.  All of these things are what is important.

Fit looks different on everyone

Did I need the scale to remind me to stay on track with my eating?  I did.  But I didn’t need it to tell me whether or not I am healthy.  I am healthy and active and constantly improving.  I am not perfect when it comes to my diet or anything else for that matter, but I am always working.

Often, I also have to remind myself that while this weight is higher than its been in a long time.  It looks so much different than the last time the scale read this high.  There is more muscle involved, less fat.  More workouts and less nights out.

There are changes coming.  I am back to tracking my food, making sure I eat something every 3 hours and eating more whole foods.  Hopefully these changes will create the change on the scale that I would like.  But even if they don’t, and for whatever reason I am stuck here for a bit, I am okay with that.  I am healthy, and I am happy and I am comfortable in my own skin.  So, take that Scale!

From iFamily to Yours,

 


5 KC Parks to Fall in Love with This Autumn

Erin, with the iFamily Mom & Dad Squad shares with us 5 of KC Parks for you to FALL in love with this Autumn season!

kc parks

5 KC Parks to Fall in Love with This Autumn

Fall is the perfect time to check out a new park or visit an old favorite!  I love October for many reasons but one reason being in KC you can get away with picnics and outdoor parties at the park with beautiful weather! There are so many awesome parks in our awesome city! We’re counting down the 5 best parks in the KC area! Which one is your family’s favorite?

Variety KC Parks

Several park locations in KC are adapted so that children of all abilities have a safe place to play.  Smooth surfaces, adaptive swings, fencing, ramps on the play equipment, stainless steel slides and roller slides, sensory activities involving musical chimes and drums.  Located in Independence, Leawood, Olathe and Tiffany Springs,

McCoy Park

Nice park with shelters for rent, playgrounds, spray ground, tennis courts, horseshoe pits. Located in Independence, MO. across from the Truman Library.

Loose Park

Well known park in KC with 75 acres of beautiful and historic land.  Fantastic rose garden, picnic areas, large shelter house for parties and events, and a playground with a sand pit the kids will love to dive in to! Spray ground open May 27th-September 4th. Located on Wornall Rd.

Shawnee Mission Park

1600 acre park includes 120 acre lake with boating, fishing, swimming, sail boarding, a giant off-leash dog park with 53 acres of land for your furry friend to run, picnic areas, shelters, playgrounds, Theater in the Park, archery and disc golf. You can even rent paddle boats, canoes and fishing boats!  What more could you ask for? Located in Shawnee Mission, KS.

Drum roll please…..

The number one park in KC has to be Penguin Park!

Kids LOVE the gigantic animals including a penguin, giraffe, kangaroo, and an elephant.  They have a separate area for the little ones to play and tucked away behind the park are some great walking/biking trails with a pond for fishing and watching geese. Located on Vivion Rd in Kansas City North.

Also worth mentioning:

Fleming Park

English Landing Park

Antioch Park

Dagg Park

Waterfall Park

The “Castle” and “Pirate” parks

Little Mill Creek Park North

 

Happy Park Hunting!

From iFamily to Yours,

 

 

 


Amplify Your Workout With These 15 Songs to Get You Moving!

What’s rhymes with workout?…  Playlist!  Well, not really.  But the two definitely go hand in hand.  Connie, From the iFamily Mom & Dad Squad is here with some Workout Wednesday motivation and a new playlist for you!

workout songs

Amplify Your Workout With These 15 Songs to Get You Moving!

When it comes to working out, there is one thing I can’t do without and that is a good playlist.  I was running one day and my iPod died.  And then I almost died.  My motivation definitely did anyway.  There is nothing better than a solid playlist ringing in my ears to get me pumped up and ready to go.  For the sake of genuine honesty, I wanted to let you all get a glimpse inside my iPod.

Now I am warning you, my taste in music can best be described by some as eclectic. Others may describe it as old lady/pop princess and still others may say I have no taste at all.  But, to that I say, to each her own.  I am going to set my iPod to shuffle and without any editing, I will tell you the first 15 songs that come up.

Give these a whirl on your next workout!

#1 Bill Medley-The Time of my Life from the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack

#2 Pitbull—Don’t Stop the Party

#3 Flo Rida—I Don’t Like It, I Love it

#4 Beach Boys—Kokomo

#5 Wheatus—Teenage Dirtbag

#6 Meghan Trainor—All About that Bass

#7 Corinne Bailey Rae—Put Your Records On

#8 Nate Dogg and Warren G—Regulators

#9 Brad Paisley—Beat this Summer

#10 Train—Play that Song

#11 Tech N9ne—The Waitress

#12 Jake Owen—Beachin’

#13 Lady Antebellum—Compass

#14 Abba—Waterloo

#15 Eli Young Band—Saltwater Gospel

Now, there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to this list, no set genre, no set era, no set anything.  And to me, that is the beauty of it.  And also the fun.  As I have learned from experience, it keeps me motivated and on my toes if my music is always changing.  So I update a lot and try to add things to my iPod that aren’t constantly overplayed on the radio.  And I know, some of you reading think I’m super out of touch for still having an iPod, but again, to each his own.  I don’t like to rely on Wi-Fi and cell phone signal to stream my music.  Besides, what Pandora station is going to play this variety for me?

My point is simply this:  Music is Motivating.

And you can’t count on your gym to play good overhead workout music, because, well, let’s just face it, what I think is good may not be what the next person enjoys.  Listen to what motivates and moves you!

Turn it up and get your sweat on!

From iFamily to Yours,

Connie


Unique Kansas City Playgrounds That Are Worth The Drive

If you’re looking to add a little variety to your playdates, read on!  Ruth, from the iFamily Mom And Dad Squad has provided us with a list of 4 Unique Kansas City Playgrounds that are well worth your drive!  Take a look…

kansas city playgrounds

Unique playgrounds that are worth the drive

As a Mom of 3, I am always looking for something new to do. I have a range of kids ages 9, 6 and 3.  Sometimes it’s can be hard to find activities that accommodate all their interest levels and needs. Parks are a fun way to keep kids active and socializing. This summer I spent some time seeking out new parks.  These are the ones that I have found to be the most unique and kid approved!

Frisco Lake Park 

1100 E Dennis Ave, Olathe, KS 66061

This park has features for kids and adults! It features a trail that wraps around a lake that includes built in exercise equipment with directions for a quick work out every few yards. Or if you are seeking some relaxation, there are a few bench swings along the walk, shelters and even the option for fishing. And I cannot forget to mention the pirate ship themed playground designed for the younger crowd. All around this park has something for everyone!

Listowell Park 

12037 W 71st St, Shawnee, KS 66216

This park features a pirate ship themed playground prefect for elementary age kids. There is access to a ball field, 2 roller hockey rinks and a walking trail, if you’re looking for something more relaxed. This park is a favorite for our family on International Talk like a pirate day!

Barrier Free Playground

290 Grant Ave, Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

This playground is designed for kids with special needs. There is a fence around the perimeter to help parents with kids that may like to run. A variety of swings, climbing equipment, padded ground and interactive musical items are included to engage children at a variety of levels and needs. Themed around the state of Kansas, the park features a large bison, teepee and boat which can prove to be a history lesson in itself. It’s a great place for fun photo-ops!

Lions Park 

300 W Morse Ave, Bonner Springs, KS 66012

This is by far the most interactive park I’ve found. It goes beyond your standard playground. There is a simple playground for kids ages 2-5, a large structure with climbing ropes, slides, and tight rope walk geared toward older kids, a small merry go round, a bridge and an outdoor electronic game system. The game system has a few choice modes for play and kids run around the area taping and seeking lights. This park is great for developing a variety of motor skills of all kind. The best part is that all parts are easily within a short visual range from the shelter and a rocking bench swing that parents can use.

Enjoy!

From iFamily to Yours,


Make Yourself A Morning Mom!

Some mornings are just plain hard.  Hard to get out of bed, hard to mom, hard to anything.  You are not alone!  Make yourself a morning mom with these great tips from Liz, with our iFamily Mom Squad!

Make Yourself a Morning Mom!

Do you have those mornings where the blankets have taken them as one of you and you would do anything to turn the clock back 2 hours?

I recently have been trying daily to make myself a “morning person”. I have had my struggles it’s and not something I really enjoy doing, but I love the feeling of having woke early before anyone else. The feeling I love even more is getting ahead of the day before I hear the pitter patter of feet. I want to share some snooze- proof tips on making waking up easier than ever before.

Give yourself a reason to wake up early:

Plan to do something you love during your early mornings. My favorites are getting in a workout, reading a few pages of a really good book and enjoying my coffee alone. The night before I layout my clothes and my at home workout program is in the DVD player ready to press play. I am a nursing mama to a 3 month old so my pump and my book waiting for me. And most importantly the coffee cup is sitting under the Kurig ready to press start.

Every night before bed consciously decided to have a positive morning experience.

Move Your Alarm Clock Across The Room:

If you haven’t already, try moving your alarm clock as far from your bed as possible. This will force your body out of bed and to get moving. Motion creates energy and this movement will help you naturally wake up.

Another idea is to buy an old fashioned digital clock. This will help from grabbing your phone and start the mindless scrolling on Facebook (guilty).

Start your day with mindless activities:

Doing a few mindless activities will give your body time to wake up. Go straight to your bathroom sink, brush your teeth and splash some water on your face. This simple activity will increase your wake up motivation to start your day.

Feeling even a little dehydrated can cause fatigue, so make sure you hydrate yourself first thing every morning to get your body and mind going. Try drinking warm lemon water in the morning to help flush the digestive system and hydrate the body. Lemons contain Vitamin C and drinking it in the morning gives the body a chance to absorb these vitamins and provide a little immune boost. Have you ever heard the quote “I exercise before my brain knows what I am doing”? Yep, this is the best time to get that workout done when you are in the mindless phase.

Don’t wait to try this! Start tonight by moving your alarm clock across the room, setting a glass of water on your nightstand and commit to your early morning rising! Try just waking up a few more minutes each morning and set the tone for a more peaceful, organized and productive day.

From iFamily to Yours,

 


The Newlyweds Guide To The First Few Years

The wedding bells have rung, Now what!?  Here is Sarah, from the iFamily Mom Squad, with her Newlyweds Guide to the First Few Years!  Take a look…

newlywed

A Newlyweds Guide to the First Few Years…

Summer is almost over and it seems that most of the summer was spent at weddings, wedding showers or engagement parties! This got me to thinking that all you newlyweds out there may need some advice from someone who has been there!

Seems like the most amazing moment in your life doesn’t it? You have walked down the aisle, you had the most expensive cake that you will ever eat and shuddered as some just ate the icing and threw the rest away. You opened all the presents, the thank-you cards are addressed and sent.

Now what?

You are sitting on the couch with this person with whom you had it all figured out just a few weeks ago and bam! You don’t know what to do now! It’s called the coming down; suddenly your single friends are a little more hesitant to hang out with you. Your married friends are so happy for you both and “let’s do dinner” or “movie night at our house” seems to be the norm. Plus they just announced that they are pregnant! Which really means in bed by 9 and it really isn’t the same when you host a “mock”tail party. A caveat; I am no expert. My only expertise is that I was a newlywed once and maybe picked up a few things along the way. And maybe this will sound nothing like you and your spouse and that’s fine too. Still, read it for just the humor and the fact that you can laugh at all the poor souls that are going through this while you are out at the new club opening with your husband in tow!

Remember when

…you were just dating and the question at every family holiday was “when are you getting engaged!” “You know, you aren’t getting any younger! What are you waiting for?!” You could laugh them off and look into your spouse’s eyes and laugh as you are pinning wedding ring designs to your secret Pinterest board. Well now comes the question; “When are you guys going to have a baby!?” “You know, you aren’t getting any younger! What are you waiting for?!” Here is your first tip: DON’T RUSH THINGS. I know you aren’t getting any younger, I know that your biological clock is no longer ticking, it is now banging so loud in your head that you can’t sleep at night. Just like you did before; laugh it off. Spend time with you and your spouse, if babies are in your future, you will NEVER get this opportunity again so enjoy it. Travel to places that you have never been, redecorate the house together, go see an afternoon movie—just go see a movie! And if that biological gong is still going off, get a dog, a puppy if possible. One sleepless night of taking the whining puppy out every two hours will shatter that thing within a day.

So what?

Some little elves on a break from the North Pole came down and rebuilt that biological clock (gong)? Talk about it; make sure you are all on the same page. And then talk about it with a close friend, preferably one that has already had a baby. Let them tell you how it was for them and what to expect. I would bet you a jar of pickles and a tub of ice cream that you don’t know everything about it! And then you can start trying to have a baby.

Here’s your second tip:

DON’T RUSH IT! I am the biggest control freak, I just knew that I could plan everything out: when I would get pregnant, which would lead to when I had the baby (not in July—too many holidays and birthdays) which would mean that I would need baby showers in February and May taking the most pictures at the one in February because you are still in the “glow” and not so much in the “I am ready for this child to come out of me—somehow—I don’t care how!” phase (Every woman gets there, don’t even try to tell me you don’t!) But you know what all that planning does? It makes for a really rough time when that timeline doesn’t work out. Even worse when it doesn’t happen in two months, in 8 months, in a year. You feel worthless, like you have no idea what you are doing and how to fix it. What if there is something wrong? What if I am not making the right decision? You know why that happens? Because this is exactly what motherhood is like! Get used to it kiddo—this is your life for a really long time! It will happen and if it doesn’t there are plenty of other options to make sure that your little family is complete. They just may not be as you planned it.

The world works in mysterious ways…

It takes all kinds of kinds to make it spin round. All along the first years of marriage be thankful for what you have. Once the pitter patter, by the way whoever said that never had kids, I have never known my children to pitter patter at anything! It used to be that silence was golden to me, now silence means that there is a jar of finger nail polish all over the little sister and the dog and the walls. Anyway, when little ones come it is going to be harder for you to remember to be thankful—not that you aren’t, just you will be busy trying to do everything else.

From iFamily to Yours,
 

Fun Things To Do When Your Little One Is Sick

Having a sick kid is never fun!  Ruth, from the iFamily Mom Squad, shows us how with a little creativity and a lot of TLC you can make sick time for your little one a little easier for everyone.  Take a look…

fun things to do when your little one is sick

Fun things to do when your little one is sick

It can be a challenge to keep a sick toddler happy when they aren’t feeling well. Short from the usual chicken soup and a movie, what else can you do? You could pull out a board game but it probably won’t hold attention long. You could teach them to write a sonnet, but that’s probably a bit too hard.  What about buying them a pile of snacks and gifts? That isn’t really practical and will appease them for about 5 minutes.

Here are a few ideas to keep your kiddos happy when they’re not feeling their best!

In our house crafts are a winner.  They don’t really care what kind. Hand them a piece of paper and water colors or crayons. Anything they can create with works well. Kids love making their own projects. ALL BY THEM SELF! The best part is they will come up with their own plan, no directions needed.

Another option is a sing-a-long dance party if they are up for it. We love to dance around and sing in the living room. I will play a variety of songs and we have a great time. It’s fun and exercise for Mommy too!

Play dough is always a huge hit. If the prepackaged stuff is dried out, or you simply don’t have any..there is an alternative. You can make some homemade dough.  There are many recipes online but I prefer recipes that are baby safe since we all know kids like to put things in their mouths. I found a recipe on the website powerfulmothering.com that has a great recipe for cloud dough that is edible for little ones. The ingredients are simple, flour and cooking oil. I switched mine up for texture and with a sensory component using coconut oil and sprinkles for fun. Then we mix it all together and it becomes very malleable so they can mold with cookie cutters or containers with lots of fun! If you want to see the full recipe check out HERE.

Options for keeping you little one happy at home are pretty much endless with the click of the internet. These ideas can get you started. What else have you tried at home?

From iFamily To Yours,

 


6 Super Easy Potty Training Tips!

When it comes to potty training success, timing and preparation are key!  If you think your little one is ready for the task it’s time to get started!  Erin, from our iFamily Mom Squad is here to help with her 6 easy potty training tips!

Potty Training

6 Super Easy Potty Training Tips!

I am excited to share with you guys that my youngest son, who is 2 1/2, is fully potty trained!! No more diapers in this house! Yes!!! Still wiping bottoms? Yes, BUT we are going to be saving quite a bit of money by not using diapers AND the overflowing landfills will thank us!  I wanted to share with you a few things I learned along the way that will hopefully help you when it comes time to train your little one.

Wait until they show signs of readiness

If there is one thing you take away from this post, THIS is it.  Trust me, it will be much easier and faster to potty train a little guy or gal who wants to do it!  So, how do you know they are ready?  If they stay dry for 2 hours or longer, show interest in you going to the bathroom or start talking about going in their diaper or letting you know they have to go.

Use underwear

You may want to skip pull ups and go straight to underwear unless they are in the swimming pool.  In my opinion, underwear worked better for us because when he has an accident, he feels that “yucky” feeling and hopefully doesn’t want to feel that again.  With pull ups, they might just want to keep going potty as if they were wearing a diaper.  Also, you take into account the cost of pull ups versus underwear. Seems like a no-brainer to me!

Pro tip:Get them EXCITED about potty training by taking them to pick out their favorite character underwear or color/design!  Little Joey won’t want to pee or poop on Thomas the Train!!

Rewards  

Set your child up for success! Small rewards such as stickers or small candies right after they go in the potty is an excellent motivator for 2 and 3 year olds.  We made a sticker chart and if he went potty a certain number of times with few accidents, at the end of the week we took him to the toy store to pick out something special.

Don’t expect perfection  

They are still young and learning. There WILL still be accidents.  Don’t make a huge deal or punish your kid if he has an accident. Focus on rewarding the times he makes it to the potty.

Preparation is key

When your child gets up in the morning or a nap, take them straight to the potty.  Don’t ask them if they need to go just take them to the potty every 2 hours or so. The asking part can come later.  Before you leave the house, pack an extra change of clothes, underwear, socks, wipes, and a plastic bag to put wet clothes in. Also, right before you leave, sit your child on the potty.

Pro tip:If you have an area outside your main bathroom that you hang out such as your living room or family room, place a little potty chair in that room so that when he has to go, he doesn’t have to go running upstairs or down a long hall.

Don’t stress

It’s going to be ok.  It’s only going to make it more stressful on you and your child if you try to rush into potty training and stress over it. I promise you, this too shall pass.  Your child won’t be 22 and pooping in his pants!

 

From iFamily to Yours,

 


Back To School Crockpot Meals

Ready, set, here we go!  Back to school means back to alarm clocks, homework and after school practices!  Some nights it’s hard to find time to fit in a home cooked meal for your hard working family.  Crockpot meals can be a real lifesaver!  Bridgette, from our iFamily Mom Squad, is here to share some of her favorites.  Take a look…

Back To School Crockpot Meals

Back to School Crockpot Meals

Yes, you read that correctly, everyone is getting ready to head back to school already!  I don’t know about you, but when we were in traditional school, that first week was so chaotic! Between getting up on time, making last minute triple checks and remembering what time the bus comes…. Dinner would be the absolute last thing on my mind. I couldn’t think about spending hours cooking subpar food that we had already had two days ago. Which is why I fell in love with crockpot meals, slow cooker meals, dump meals or whatever you want to call them. They truly make dinner time much easier and less of a hassle.

For those first two weeks back to school, consider dinner made! These 10 crockpot meals are delicious, easy and can feed a crowd or be packed for lunch!  Get out your notepad and start making your list!

Cheesesteak sandwiches

This easy recipe from Lauren Greutman is one of my favorites! I also substitute the beef for chicken at times. All the gooey cheese and veggies are seasoned to perfection and definitely make. Simply toss everything in before you head out to grab the kids and it will be ready right in time for dinner!

Ingredients:
2 green peppers, sliced
1 onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 – 2 1/2 lbs. thinly sliced steak (I used top round)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 envelope dry Italian dressing mix
1 cup water
1 beef bouillon cube
6 slices of provolone cheese
6 hoagie rolls

Classic Pot Roast

The pot roast can be used in so many ways with so many different sides. You can make it into tacos, burrito bowls, roast sandwiches and more! This recipe from Don’t Waste The Crumbs is one of the best! I personally brown my roast before placing it into the crock pot. Place your roast in the pot in the morning… cook it on low for a meal that is sure to please everyone!

Ingredients:
1 chuck roast (3-4 lbs)
1 lb baby carrots (or carrots, cut to about 1″ pieces)
1½ lbs potatoes (any variety, cut into about 1″ pieces if necessary)
4 Tbsp homemade dry onion soup mix
1 batch homemade cream of mushroom soup

Chicken Fajitas

Tacos, fajitas and any TexMex really, are pretty much staples in my house lol. Chicken fajitas are one of the quickest to make in my opinion. These fajitas from Cooking Classy are great! ( I don’t use the honey in her receipe)

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes with green chilies
1 red , orange and green bell pepper, julienned
1 large yellow onion , halved and sliced
4 cloves garlic , minced
2 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
3/4 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp honey

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala

Over the past few years, my family and I have fallen in love with more dishes from India, the Middle East and Mediterranean. One our favorites is chicken tikka masala! It is cheap, can feed our whole family for practically two days lol! This recipe from Table For Two definitely takes the cake!

Ingredients:

8 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, or about 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.) – cut into 1.5″ cubes
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1: 29- oz can of tomato puree
1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp Garam masala
1 tsp tumeric powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp salt, or to taste
3/4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-3 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on your heat preference
2 leaves bay
1 cup heavy cream
3 tbsp cornstarch
Lemon juice from half a small lemon
Chopped parsley or cilantro, for topping

BBQ Chicken

Chicken is a go to meat in our house. It is can be used in just about anything! BBQ chicken is perfect for nights that you just want to chill out and not worry about who is getting messy when heading out to do family things. This recipe from Family Fresh Meals was one of the first BBQ chicken recipes I tried. Even my husband approved of it!

Ingredients:
2 lbs boneless, skinless  chicken breasts
1 cup  BBQ sauce
1/4 cup Zesty Italian dressing
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
salt to taste

Cheesy Chicken Penne

Two words, cheese and noodles! Do I need to say more? This recipe from The Slow Magical Cooker is the perfect dish for kiddos and cheese lovers!

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 (10.5-oz) cans cream of chicken soup (don’t add water)
½ cup chicken broth
¼ tsp. pepper
½ tsp. dried leaf tarragon (can substitute oregano or thyme here)
1.5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 small sweet yellow onion, diced
Add at the end
1 cup sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1 lb. penne pasta (cooked according to package directions on the stove-top)

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Nothing is better than getting a bowl of hot soup during the cold months! Chicken tortilla soup has been my favorite soup for years and I don’t see anything changing that lol. This recipe from Cooking Classy is definitely what you will see me eating once that frost kicks in! Don’t forget the sour cream and extra cilantro!

Ingredients:
2 1/2 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth (4 1/2 cups)
1 (14.5 oz) can petite diced tomatoes
1 1/4 cups finely chopped yellow onion
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper , to taste
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (14.5 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups frozen corn
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Chicken Teriyaki

This is definitely my oldest favorite! Anytime I ask the kids what we should have for dinner, Phoenix is pretty much guaranteed to say Teriyaki chicken! This recipe from Rachel Cooks is probably the reason she loves it so much! I make this about once every 10 days… she can’t get enough! I love that it doesn’t require a ton of ingredients!

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds, or about 3 large, boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch + 1/4 cup water
rice or quinoa, for serving
sesame seeds, for garnish
sliced green onions, for garnish

Beef and Potatoes Au Gratin

This is definitely a man’s meal lol. Meat and potatoes are a classic combo.  Add in cheese… well I mean it’s cheese! This recipe from The Magical Slow Cooker is actually on our menu for tomorrow!

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground beef (plus a touch of salt and pepper to season)
3 lbs. peeled russet potatoes, sliced a ¼ inch thick (about 7 cups total after being sliced)
1 cup thinly sliced white onion
1 tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. parsley
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp. pepper
3 cups shredded sharp cheese
½ cup chicken broth (or beef broth

Chicken Cacciatore

Coming across this recipe, I was hesitant at first.  I’m not a huge pasta fan and my husband doesn’t always trust my Pinterest recipes ( I have failed a lot of them).  I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed this one!  Once again, it’s noodles so the kids will love it. For mine, I make sure the veggies are chopped really small so my picky eaters won’t object. This recipe from Heather at Passion For Savings has my husband’s favorite pasta dish! Plus it doesn’t require a lot.

The best thing about these meals is that not only can you dump it and go, you can even make them in advance and freeze them! Whenever I am on my P’s & Q’s, I have a freezer stocked full of meals that I can dump in the crock pot and go on with my day.

As you get ready to head back to school, take a load off with these easy meals that will help you get into the swing of things!

 

From iFamily to Yours,