It’s Officially Fall And No-Carve Pumpkins Are In Season

Mini Cactus Garden Pumpkins

I’m having a pinch me moment. Goodness, I just love those! My name is the byline of an article at Real Simple (insert scream and happy dance), along with photos and tutorials for 7 amazing and easy, no-carve pumpkins I crafted. I’ve dreamt of this day; the day when my work was featured in Real Simple, a reputable and outstanding site and magazine! It’s a good reminder for me, and us all, to always dream big, do our best, and never give up, even when it feels like everyone else is doing it better and faster.

Now, about those pumpkins. It’s officially fall, which means it’s time to bring out the pumpkins. My house has been covered in pumpkins for several weeks now, and honestly every pumpkin looks as good as the day I bought it and crafted it. Okay, I did have caution tape around these pumpkins for fear my kids would ruin them before I could take photos of them. But, I’m happy to report they have been out in the open for several weeks where balls, feet, backpacks and toys are nearby, and they have survived wonderfully!

It’s hard to pick a favorite of the 7, but the DIY spider webs and thumbprint monsters definitely make the top 3! Even if you don’t particularly like to craft, there’s a no-carve pumpkin for you and your family. The materials are affordable, accessible, and they are simple to make – easier than carving if you ask me!

So, set your carving tools down, and opt for one of these no-carve versions instead.

 

Family Favorite Recipe: Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

creamy chicken enchiladas-family dinner

When we ask our kids what they want for dinner, 9 times out of 10 they say Creamy Chicken Enchiladas. It’s not low-fat or dairy-free (sorry, not sorry), but it’s creamy goodness worth making every once in a while. We even found a way to sneak more protein and greens in this dish, so you can justify it even more!

Try it this week – your family will love it. You can make it ahead of time to save time during the dinner rush, and bake it when you get home. Trust us, you will want to lick the dish once everyone devours it.

creamy chicken enchiladas-family dinner

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
adapted from Colorado Cache
5-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped or shredded chicken, cooked (boil)
  • 1 cup green chile salsa (we use Herdez brand)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • corn tortillas
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup chopped spinach (cut off stems and chop into little pieces)
  • 3/4 can black beans
  • 1.5 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • avocado, chopped green onions or guacamole for garnish

Directions:

Step 1: Combine chicken, green salsa, black beans and spinach in a bowl and mix well.

Step 2: Mix salt (not more than 1/2 tsp) with 2 cups cream in separate bowl.

Step 3: Warm a griddle and place tortillas on top to warm, so they soften and you can roll them.

Step 4: After you soften the tortillas, dip them in the bowl of heavy cream coating each side, and fill them with the chicken mixture. A full spoonful should be enough to fill each tortilla.

Step 5: Roll and place each filled and rolled tortilla in a 9×13 ungreased baking dish. Fill the dish as best you can – we lay them vertically in a tight line, and then we have enough chicken mixture and tortillas to fill the dish with 4 more horizontally (on top of the vertical ones).

Step 6: Pour the remaining cream over the enchiladas. Sprinkle with cheese

creamy chicken enchiladas-family dinner

Step 7: Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, or until it bubbles on all sides. Garnish with guacamole, green onions or sliced avocado, and make sure to pour more of that cream sauce on top!

 

creamy chicken enchiladas-family dinner

We know it’s not an Italian dish, but Buon Appetito.

Battle School Germs With Homemade Hand Sanitizer With Essential Oils

natural hand sanitizer for school germs with essential oils

Let’s face it, back to school means it’s back to our kids being in a petri dish of germs. New germs every day in the classroom, on the playground, in the lunchroom, etc. We have a simple and convenient way (it’s a portable keychain) to help all you parents fight the germs – a homemade hand sanitizer with essential oils. If you want to skip the homemade part of this project, just buy the portable hand sanitizer bottles (with the sanitizer already in it) and customize the bottle with fun stickers! Kids would love to do this for themselves, and make others for friends! Friends don’t let friends spread germs.

Step 1: Make the sanitizer. Mix all the ingredients below together in a bowl.

Ingredients:

  • Aloe Vera  (the clear, non-scented kind, organic and 99% aloe vera is best), 1 cup
  • OnGuard, doTERRA essential oil, 25 drops
  • Water, 1/4 cup (witch hazel works here, too)
  • Vitamin e oil, organic, 1-2 tsp

Step 2: Fill the portable containers with the sanitizer. We did it teaspoonful by teaspoonful. We saved and filled containers that were previously filled with hand sanitizer, but if you buy new bottles, you can use it, or put in another container (and use in the office, or at home), and then fill it.

Step 3: Remove any label from the bottle.

Step 4: Remove the rubber keychain, and add paint and/or fun stickers to the bottle. Happy Planner at Michaels had amazing stickers! It would be fun to use monogram stickers, too.

Step 5: Apply Mod Podge over the sticker design. Repeat once the first layer is dry.

Step 6: Put the rubber keychain back around the bottle, and then attach to your childs backpack, and tell them to use it at school. Obviously it’s not for ingesting, and remind them of that!

natural hand sanitizer for school germs

IMG_5342natural hand sanitizer for school germs with essential oils

natural hand sanitizer for school germs

On Guard is a doTERRA proprietary blend of oils including Wild Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, and Rosemary that contains protective immune benefits, cleanses hands when soap and water are not available, and kills germs on surfaces in the home. They have an awesome cleaning concentrate that we love, too!

 

 

The information we share is based on our research and personal use with doTERRA Essential Oils. We are not physicians, and this recipe has not been approved by anyone but us. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

This post contains an affiliate link.

KIND Snacks For Kids: Less Sugar, More Fun For Moms And Kids

low sugar snacks for kids

We are that snack happy family. At any given time, you can find us with fresh-cut fruit, nuts or nutritious packed bars in our purses and cars. For some reason, we are always hungry on-the-go. That snacking mentality was passed along to our kids, and they love snacks just as much as we do. In fact, we often try to avoid those inevitable hangry meltdowns when we’re out and about having fun with healthy snacks. But, it’s hard to find healthy snacks that are easy to pack, low in sugar and something that our kids will actually eat.

With 8 kids between the three of us, we try to avoid sugar high’s as often as possible, otherwise we are like a circus coming to town. And, not a good circus – a loud, meltdown-ridden, whiney one. According to a recent study*, we are not alone. In fact, 64% of parents want to limit the sugar in their children’s snack. When there’s less sugar, it’s more fun (and healthy) for everyone. Well, we’re happy to share that snacking for kids just got a lot more yummy, fun and nutritious with KIND Snacks new granola bar for kids! We packed our KIND Kids Bars for a recent playdate at the park. It was a win/win – our kids loved them (and we have some picky eaters in our crew), and we enjoyed them, too! They are gluten free, so we couldn’t help ourselves. Plus, with 5 grams of sugar or less, no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, how could we not eat it? Our kids loved the chewy peanut butter and chocolate flavor best, but ate them all, including the chewy chocolate chip and chewy honey oat!

low sugar, yummy granola bar for kids

low sugar, yummy granola bar for kids

low sugar, yummy granola bar for kids

low sugar, yummy granola bar for kids

low sugar, yummy granola bar for kids

low sugar, yummy granola bar for kids

low sugar, yummy granola bar for kids and moms

Whether you’re looking for an easy, low sugar item to pack for lunch or snack at school, or perhaps your kids need that nutritious boost of energy to make it through fun playdates, try KIND Snack bars for kids. They make it in our grocery cart every time we visit the store, and we don’t feel bad about it at all!

snacks for kids

low sugar, yummy granola bar for kids

*This poll was conducted by Morning Consult on July 12, 2018 among a national sample of 1,001 parents with children ages 5-12. Results from the survey have a margin of error +/-3%.

KIND Snacks sent us some delicious bars for this post, free of charge. We’re so happy they did! All opinions are honest, and our own. No other type of compensation was received. Thanks for supporting the companies that support j. sorelle. We ate KIND bars, even before this post.

Back To School DIY Squeeze Coin Purse

retro-vinyl-coin-purse-treat-yourself

This post gave us that nostalgic, warm and fuzzy feeling, because we were reminded of our childhood. We crafted with the retro oval squeeze coin purses our grandparents, aunts and uncles (and even us) used to carry loose change in. It’s a throwback to our past, because we always love a good retro find. Plus, school is (almost) back in session, and these coin purses fit easily in or on backpacks for our kids to bring loose change for yummy bake sales. We also made one funny adult version (visit our Instagram to see what it says here), because we wanted in on the coin purse fun, too.

This project will take less than 30 minutes, and you can customize it any way you like, such as adding a monogram, funny phrases, emojis, etc. It makes great classroom gifts, or cute gifts for friends. We used our Silhouette CAMEO electronic cutting machine for $-related phrases. If you don’t have one, you can always buy permanent vinyl stickers. It’s a one-step project – design and cut vinyl lettering, and then add it to the squeeze coin purse.

Materials:

ka-ching-retro-squeeze-coin-purse

retro-vinyl-coin-purse-treat-yourself

retro-vinyl-coin-purse-treat-yourself

retro-vinyl-coin-purse-treat-yourself

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