Friday, April 30, 2021

Dare to Share #466

It is Friday night, and you know what that means.. 
It is time to Dare to Share! 

Well we made it through another month.  I don't know how but we are only a month away from summer, and in the final stretch of school.  The end of April also means that it is my son's birthday (the star of my Cooking with Kyle posts, and many of the featured parties)  and the NFL draft. As you may know I am a huge Ohio State Buckeye fan so I have some interest in who is going to the NFL.  I find it kind of ironic, but as I am typing this very sentence another Buckeye was selected in the draft.  

This week was a bit crazy at school, so I was only have to write one blog post.  

My daughter and I finished another week of Every Plate meal kits.  You can check out the recipes we made this week and what we thought of them here.

If you would like to see the meals as we make them, my fun Dollar Tree finds, or just what happens in my every day life come follow me over on Instagram

Well it is time to get this party started, so link up and HAVE FUN! 

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Thursday, April 29, 2021

More meals from Every Plate

If you saw in one of my recent posts we recently tried out a meal kit. I decided to try Every Plate, because it was extremely affordable and had a great intro deal.   We liked the first box so well, we decided to continue.  These are our meals from our second box.  

When you open the pack you find all the ingredients you need (except for a couple of pantry staples) tightly packed with giant ice packs.  Everything is fresh and cold when it arrives. 

Our first meal this week was Apricot Dijon Chicken Legs with roasted carrots and lemon garlic couscous. My daughter and I have not had couscous before and were not sure if we would like it or not.  This meal was a customplate where we could have switched out the carrots to brussels sprouts. We decided to stay with the carrots, because we had brussels sprouts with one our meals last week. While eating this dinner we realized we were not couscous fans, but  we also found out the apricot dijon chicken legs were AMAZING! 


Many of the meal choices have you cooking your entrees and sides on the same cookie sheet/pan.  This is what the chicken looked like right before I added a apricot dijon glaze. 


I can not rave enough about this chicken leg, it was SO GOOD!  We both loved it, and it was pretty easy to make. 

Our second meal was Sweet 'N' Tangy Cherry Meatballs with garlic mashed potatoes and roasted zucchinni.  I really wanted to try this one because I love cherry flavor. We liked this meal quite well, but probably would only occasionally eat it because my daughter is not a fan of red meat. I think I may make the cherry glaze and experiment with it on other meats. 

Our last meal of the week was Broccoli Cheddar Bisque.  The base the soup was similar to the Loaded Baked Potato Chowder we had last week, but with different extras mixed in.  We also had garlic bread to dip in the soup. We were given a packet of hot sauce top the soup with but we left it off because neither my daughter or I are big spice fans.   

Box #3 has arrived.  I will soon be sharing a few more meals.  

I'm trying something new.  We made a video of our unboxing of ingredients if it works.  

Are you interested in trying Every Plate.  Here is a coupon for $20 off your first box. They are very affordable, and cheaper than eating out. 
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Friday, April 23, 2021

Dare to Share #465

It's Friday night, and you know what that means.. 
It is time to Dare to Share!

How is it Friday already?  This week flew by for me.  We are already down to only 7 weeks of school left before summer vacation.  

If you walk into a Dollar Tree this week, it feels like summer.  They have out their summer party lines. There were so many cute items it inspired me to start a series of summer party posts.  Cute pink flamingo were everywhere, so the first post in the series is Summer Party Ideas - Pink Flamingos

I was also going through some old posts on one of my blogs when I came across a special one from seven years ago.  My son has Aspergers. When he was 14, he started to really feel different from the other kids. Back then I wrote a post about our conversation because I felt it might help someone else who knows/loves/teaches someone on the spectrum.  Now that I actually teach special ed, I feel this post is still very timely.  You can read it here What I told my son when he asked, "Am I disabled"

Well it is almost midnight so it is time to get this party started.  Link up and HAVE FUN! 

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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Summer Party Ideas - Pink Flamingos

This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

I stopped by the Dollar Tree today I was so excited to see an entire aisle dedicated to summer.  They had pretty much anything you could think for a summer party, such as luau items, tiki items, fruit themed items, and PINK flamingo items.  There were so many flamingo themed items it gave me idea. Why not show ideas for a pink flaming party.  I will be sharing several summer party themes over the next couple of months so stay tuned for more summer ideas.   BTW I found and  bought the letterboard and flamingos today at the Dollar Tree too.  

A big section of the aisle had colorful summer themed signs. I instantly fell in love with several of them. 

Apparently there are flamingos in paradise.. 

I think these signs are cute. While I only occasionally have a fruity drink, it is 5 o'clock somewhere. These signs would look for a beach/tiki theme. 

I found this flip flop shaped flamingo sign, and two small flamingos, and then I noticed how many flamingo items there actually were.  

They have a flamingo dinnerware set with plates and bowls.  There flamingo serving trays, and large serving bowls.  I found paper plates, straws, decorations, dish towels, and chair cushions. You could even wear a couple different kinds of flamingo glasses on your face.   There was not enough room in the cart to show all of the flamingo party items I found. 

Are you looking for a giant flamingo cut out?  They have it.  They also have these super fun flamingo tiki signs.  

I liked these signs so much, they came home with me.  

You can find all of these flamingo items, and a lot more like these 13.5" plastic flamingos on and have your items sent free to your local store. (look in summer party section) 

Here are a few more great flamingo items you might also find perfect for your summer party. 

How about a Jumbo Inflatable Flamingo Pool Float for only $9.99

A set of 6 large Luau Plastic Yard Glasses

Flamingo Custom Banner (52" x 17")

A set of 12 inflatable flamingo drink holders

What type of party is your favorite summer party?  

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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Dare to Share #464

It is Friday night, and you know what that means.. 
It is time to Dare to Share!

Another busy week here, both at school and at home.  At school we were doing some of our state mandated testing, and I was subbing for several teachers throughout the days. At home we made our last two meals from our Every Plate box, and I have been busy working on updating the blog and started a new business. 

First, I will share what updates I made to the blog.  At the top of my blog you will see links to my pages. I am slowly updating them.  This week I changed my deals and coupons page, to products I love. I had a hard time keeping  up with changing deals and coupons.  Most of the things on that page was out of date. I have changed the format of my page, and now it is about the stores, apps and things I truly love and share about with all my family and friends in real life and online.  

The other big news is I have started a new business.  I am busy working on things behind the scenes on a printable business.  Since I love to plan parties, and I am also a school teacher, I am very familiar with printables.  My shop Dancing Unicorn Designs will be open soon.   

I do have a question though if you I can pick your brains... if you were looking for a printable, what would kind of items would interest you most?  Please let me know in the comments.  

I post two new blog posts this week.  

In my post Our Experience with Every Plate, I shared how it went with our first meal kit box. We had three very different meals and I talk about each of them. If you are considering trying a meal box, you will want to read this post.  

In my second post Easy Copycat Olgas Snackers, I shared an easy snack idea that is a popular item at a restaurant here in Michigan.  They were yummy and disappeared fast. 

I better get this party started, it's a bit after midnight.  Link up and HAVE FUN! 

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Easy Copycat Olgas Snackers

If you are from Michigan, you probably know what an Olga's Snacker is.  If you are not from my state, let me give you a little bit of history about this yummy snack.  

Olga Loizon founded a popular chain of restaurants that serve recipes she was inspired by when she went to go visit family back in Greece in the 1960s.  While in Greece, her three young children tasted a souvlaki, which is a pita bread sandwich filled with meat and veggies.  They loved it so much, she was inspired to try and sell it when she went back home to Michigan. For two years she tested different recipes to improve the bread until it was perfect. (It is GOOD!)  She started making the sandwiches with her secret recipe bread and called them Olgas.  Her specialty called the Original Olga is made with seasoned beef, lamb, tomato, sweet onion, and homemade Olga sauce.   She needed to find a location to sell her Olgas.  She found a small 10 x 10 space in Birmingham, Michigan.  She needed to get a loan, which was not easy for a woman back in 1970. She was the first woman to receive a business loan at her local bank, and she was able to start her first restaurant.  She handed out free samples at first, because her food was not yet well known.  Her Olgas were a hit, and she quickly grew from one tiny location to a chain with over 25 locations.  In addition to her special bread, she started serving side dishes that would also become well loved items on the menu.  One of those side dishes were the Snackers.  

Olga Loizon died in 2019 at the age of 92. She was so well loved that a foundation was established in her honor and legacy.  It is called Olga, A Life Wrapped in Love.  It gives financial grants to women entrepreneurs in Michigan who show the same passion and ambition as it's namesake did. 
I just found out about the foundation while looking up something on the website. Pretty cool, huh.  Finding this out makes me like her food even more.  

I had dinner at Olga's Kitchen  last weekend.  I know there is a giant letter D made from two zucchini fries that stuck together, but it is the only picture I have.  I did not know I was going to write this post at the time.  I just thought it was funny finding my boyfriend's initial in my fries.  In this picture you can see my grilled chicken Olga, the special sauce, and what is left of my salad and fries. We had the snackers for our appetizer, and they were already in my belly. 

I recently found a tub of swiss almond cheese at Aldi, which is a very close dupe to the cheese served with the Snackers.  Mini Naan bread, while not exactly the same as Olga's specialty bread is a pretty good substitute.  I am pretty sure I bought the seasoning salt at the Dollar Tree

If you would like to see what Olga's original snackers and other items look like, I am linking the menu here.  This is not a sponsored post for Olgas, the menu just has really good pictures.  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
Cut the Naan bread into triangles 

Brush olive oil on the bread, and sprinkle with the seasoning salt.  Olga's version of Snackers also have crushed red pepper, but we left it off our version.  

Bake for 5-7 minutes.  Turn the Snackers over, and add a little more olive oil and seasoning.  Put back in the oven and bake about 5 minutes more. 

Served warm with Aldi swiss almond cheese 


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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Our experience with Every Plate

I have been thinking about trying a meal kit for quite awhile. It never seemed like the right time. When my kids were younger, I thought they were too expensive, and might not have food my children would like to eat.   Recently I had a conversation with a couple of my teacher friends, one was the teacher who I subbed for during her maternity leave.  She was telling us that she had received a meal kit after the baby was born.  She really liked the convenience, but was not sure if it was the right one for her and her family. The other teacher mentioned a couple of plans she thought might be a better fit.  One of those she  mentioned was Every Plate, and said it was one with a very affordable price.  When I got home that day, I looked into it.  She was right, it was cheaper to get a meal kit for three meals than it was to go out to eat once.  I asked my daughter if she would like to give it a try, and she said yes!  We ordered our first box,  which was scheduled to arrive a week later. 

On the day it was supposed to arrive, I received an email from the company.  It said they had received word that there was a slight delay during shipping, but they were working hard to get it to my door as soon as possible.  They assured me it was packaged in such a way it should be okay for an additional couple of days.  They also told me if there were any problems at all, to call customer service and they would help solve any issues.  There was nothing to worry about though. The next morning I received notification that it had been delivered.  I contacted my daughter who promptly brought it in, and put everything in the refrigerator while I was at school.  Inside the box was a thermal bag, then inside the bag were 3 large ice packs. One on the top and bottom of the food and one between the produce and the meat. 

Under the first ice pack was a box of produce, and other miscellaneous ingredients for our chosen meals. We also had an extra drink in the box, with a card that said here is a free gift to try. 

Under the box of produce, was the meat for our chosen recipes sandwiched between two more ice packs. They were packaged in tightly sealed packs, and the right amount for our 2 serving meals.  

The meals were chose were Chicken Sausage Penne with Pink Sauce, Loaded Baked Potato Chowder, and Balsamic Glazed Pork Chops with Zucchini and Potatoes.  We both wanted our first meal to be the pork chops. (you can chose chicken as an option instead of pork for a small upcharge) 

I am already seeing an unexpected positive thing happening with receiving this meal kit.  I am spending more quality time with my daughter.  We decided we should work together to make these meals. She has been preparing and cutting the produce, while I have been cooking it at the stove.  Not only does working together cut down on time to to make each meal, we are both invested in the outcome.  WOW! We do not normally eat a lot of pork chops, but we both agreed this meal was DELICIOUS!  We ate every single bite. 

Our second meal was Chicken Sausage Penne with Pink Sauce. We also liked this meal. There are a few minor tweeks we would make though, if we were to try it again. It had a bit too much sausage for our tastes, and not quite enough cheese. We have even talked about trying a meatless version on our own with the recipe card. 

Our last meal was the Loaded Baked Potato Chowder with Bacon and Cheese.  They did send a jalapeno to add, but we chose not too since neither one of us like jalapeno. While making this chowder, I was a bit concerned because it called for an entire onion.  The onion they sent us was pretty big, and I can not eat a lot of onion.  Instead of putting in the full onion, my daughter put in 3/4 of it instead.  I rarely make soup from scratch, but this one was easy and ready in less than an hour.  This recipe was another WOW!. We both agreed this recipe was a keeper, and we will be making it again. It was flavorful, and cheesy just the way we like it.

Out of the three meals we tried, we loved two, and liked one. Pretty good stats. That is definitely a reason why we are going to try another box.  

This is not a sponsored post.  I am sharing about Every Plate because we had such a good experience, and I think others will like it too.  If you would like to try Every Plate you can choose plans with 2 servings or 4. You can also choose how many meals you would like to receive for the week, 3, 4, or 5.  My daughter and I are doing the smallest plan 2 servings, 3 days a week because that works best for us.  

Do you think you would like to give it a try?  Here is a link to a $20 off credit for your first box.

I would love to hear about it if you decide to try it! 

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Friday, April 9, 2021

Dare to Share #463

It is Friday night, and you know what that means..
It is time to Dare to Share! 

Well I am back in school this week. It really was not that bad of a transition. I am back as a regular building sub, and have been in a classroom everyday for different reasons. We didn't have a virtual day this week since we had Monday off, but it didn't seem too bad because we had beautiful weather all week. 

Even though we were back in school all week, I was able to work on a blog post.  I posted things you should always buy at the Dollar Tree. In this post, I shared a lot of pictures and great deals you can find on a lot items you frequently use.

 If you follow me on Instagram, I did share a little bit about our first meal with Every Plate. I shared some pictures and our thoughts about our meal.  I will be writing a longer blog post soon, but until I then be sure to check out more over there. 

Well it looks to be about that time to get this party started.  Link up and HAVE FUN!! 

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Things you should always buy at the Dollar Tree

It is no surprise if you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I LOVE the Dollar Tree. I even recently became an affiliate because I spend so much time there, and love sharing about all the fun things I find.  While at the store recently, I realized how many every day items I always go to buy at the Dollar Tree, before I go anywhere else.  Here are the items I recommend you check out.

*This site contains affiliate links. I will be compensated a small commission if you buy anything through my links.


The Dollar Tree is the definite place to go if need a gift bag. They have an entire wall of amazing bags of all sizes, themes, and designs.  They have birthday bags, wedding bags, baby shower bags, holiday bags and more.  You can buy giant bags for only $1 that can cost several dollars at other stores.  


Instead of paying high prices on wrapping supplies, the Dollar Tree has big selection of wrapping paper, gift boxes, ribbon, tissue paper and bows. I would much rather only spend only a $1 on something that is going to be ripped and thrown away after opening. 


Greeting cards is another item that I always look for at the Dollar Tree, especially if it is for a younger person who cares a lot more about the gift than the cards that come with it.  Dollar Tree carries Hallmark cards for all occasions. The heartline cards are 2 for $1.  There are some specialty cards and other cards that are $1 each, but even at $1, a lot cheaper than other stores. 


I always go to the Dollar Tree for party supplies of all kinds.  There are two aisles dedicated to party supplies, not only to do that have many colors to choose from, they also have many themes. 

Recently the party aisle has expanded to include baby shower items, wedding/engagement party items, party favors, back drops, photo props, specialty balloons and more. (I have an upcoming post with a lot more info on the party supplies that will be posted shortly. 


Every Dollar Tree now has a crafter square with a variety of craft supplies.  While not all Dollar Trees have the same size Crafter Square aisle, you can find paint, paintbrushes, small canvases, wood to paint, yarn, and lots of miscellaneous items. I always check for craft supplies at Dollar Tree, before paying higher prices at the regular craft store. 


I check the book section on every single visit. I have found some amazing finds for only $1. I especially love their cookbooks. If you would like to see some of my book finds, I wrote about them in post about cookbooks here.  I have also recently found, best sellers, craft books, design books and celebrity biographies.


You can save a lot of money buying cleaning supplies at the Dollar Tree.  I love their 6 pack of scrubbing sponges and dish brushes.  


Cotton balls, Q-tips, and cotton rounds can really add up if you buy them at the big box store or drugstore. They don't have to though, because the Dollar Tree has large size packages of them for only $1.

I buy all of my toothbrushes and toothpaste at the Dollar Tree.  They carry brand names, often in multi-packs for a fraction of the cost.  If you are traveling, they also carry many travel appropriate toiletries and containers. 


Did you know that the Dollar Tree carries brand name make up?  While you might not find everything you need, you can find Wet n Wild, and ELF all the time, and occasionally Maybelline, Flower and Hard Candy. I also really like the LA Colors brand that is the store's main brand. 


While I do not have a picture of the face mask section, I buy all of my faces masks at the Dollar Tree.  I am sharing this picture of the Oh K Hyaluronic Acid with Vitamin B3 and Sea Kelp Hyrogel Mask because I am very excited about this find.  After I bought this mask and loved it when using it, I found out it is sold at Meijer for $6.99. Score! I got mine for only $1.


If you have longer hair or girls, you must stop by the hair accessory aisle.  I get everything I need for my hair for a low price, and they are frequently name brands like Goody and Scuncii 

Here is a closer pic of some of the name brands that are a much higher price at big box stores. 


Dollar Tree has a large selection of contact in several different styles. I like to use it as drawer liner or in the fridge.  While I have not seen it in my store, they sold a chalkboard version not too long again. 


You can't go wrong buying storage containers at the Dollar Tree.  They have many different styles, colors and sizes.  My store was a little low on stock in this picture, but the spring and summer storage lines are really good this year.  The spring colors are pink, peach and light gray, and the summer bright blue, teal, and bright pink.  You can see many of the options on here

The Dollar Tree has good quality florals cheaper than the craft stores that change throughout the seasons. I love the bright colors of the summer line this year.  



I have to pack my lunch to school every day, and there a food containers of all shapes and sizes in multipacks perfect for my lunchbox.  They even carry name brand products like Rubbermaid and Betty Crocker.  


If you ever need glassware, you can find what you need at the Dollar Tree. Stemware for a dinner party, they have it.  Margarita glasses for Cinco de Mayo, they have those those. (heavy duty amazing ones)  Decorative jars, or mason jars, they have them too.  


Many items from their kitchen aisle are currently in my kitchen.  I love their strainers, and mixing bows with handle. I have serving and cooking tools like spatulas, tongs and scissors. I have their measuring cups and spoons.  I also use their cutting boards, paper towel holders and so much more.


I hit the candy aisle quite often.  I stop there when I want to have a variety of candy to decorate  cupcakes, gingerbread houses, or special treats.  I hit this aisle before movie night, road trips or just want a snack. The bags are a little smaller than the regular store, but that's okay because so is the price.


I also hit the snack aisle.  They carry regular size chip cans,  Chex mixes and even brand name cookie mixes like Betty Crocker.  Do you like ice cream? If your Dollar Tree has a freezer section, you can find portion size containers of Snicker Twix and other brand name flavors of ice cream. 


One of my favorite things to buy at the Dollar Tree are the seasonal items.  It is the perfect place to find basket fillers, stocking stuffers, and even holiday decor. 

This year I was missing a box of our ornaments when I wanted to decorate for Christmas.  Instead of worrying about where they were I decided to decorate our tree with Dollar Tree buffalo plaid and red truck ornaments.  I think it was one of my favorite trees to date. The missing ornaments did eventually turn up after I had already decorated the tree, so they stayed in the box this year.  

One last thing that I love about the Dollar Tree.  If you are trying to find something and you can't find it at your store, you can order it on the website and have it shipped to your local store for FREE.  I had a really good experience when I have ordered and currently ordering again because I need a certain item for a craft that I am making that recently sold out. 

What are you favorite things to buy at the Dollar Tree? 
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