Works For Me Wednesday: Packing Snacks

We were traveling for Thanksgiving and needed to pack some snacks. Of course we needed snacks. Who travels without snacks? Nobody I know.

Anyhow, I typically just throw all the snacks in a reusable grocery bag and toss that in the car. Then, by the end of the trip, we’ve got majorly crushed snacks. Whomever gets the last baggie of chips is actually having to pour them into their mouth.

This trip, I got smart. I grabbed an empty Tupperware container (Yours doesn’t have to be actual Tupperware. I just seem to have a plethora of Tupperware containers. That happens when you host a big party.) and put all the snacks nice and neat inside. Don’t they look lovely?

The best part – no smashed chips or Oreos. Everything stayed perfectly whole.

Now, I know this isn’t a brilliant idea, but it’s something I’d never thought of and it works for me. So, I thought I’d share.

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Pumpkin Dip

It’s fall ya’ll!! Well, the calendar says it’s fall. The temperatures in the ATL currently are not supporting that fact. However, we must move on. It is time for pumpkin. We must enjoy the pumpkin in the fall!

One of my favorite ways to enjoy the pumpkin – PUMPKIN DIP. That’s right. I said PUMPKIN DIP. Now, maybe you’ve heard of pumpkin dip. If you have, you are in the minority. I am always amazed by how many people are shocked and amazed by the delectable treat. And, a TREAT it is. I’ve been known to just stand by the bowl and just dip, dip, dip.

You need some pumpkin (duh!), an 8oz cool whip, ginger, cinnamon, and powdered sugar.

Dump it all in a bowl and whisk away until it’s all combined.

That’s it. You’re done. Seriously, could it be any easier?

Pumpkin dip is best if it is made at least twelve hours before it’s served. Twenty-four hours is even better. The longer it sits, the better the flavors blend. Mmmmm… so yummy.

I serve my pumpkin dip with ginger snap cookies. I’ve also seen it served with tart apples. I plan to offer both at my next gathering.


  • 8 oz cool whip
  • 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (more or less can be used according to taste)
  • Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Chill until time to serve.

Pumpkin Dip – I LOVE IT!

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Works For Me Wednesday: Making Sweet Tea While Traveling

I was traveling this weekend and staying in a hotel. This is not a huge deal, but it’s not something I do often. It’s not something I’ve done since I stopped drinking Diet Coke (well, all sodas) in February. My normal routine when staying in a hotel is having a Diet Coke each morning while I’m getting ready. See, I don’t drink coffee so I need my caffeine somehow. I’ve replaced my caffeine at home with slightly sweet tea. I mean, you can’t really even call it sweet. It’s barely got any sugar in there. Just enough to take the edge off the bitter. So, I had to figure out how I was going to get my tea while at the hotel without running out to a fast food restaurant every day. I came up with a plan.

After I worked out… Yes, I worked out EVERY day I was away. I know. You are amazed. You are in awe. Remember, I’m Losing It! people... I went to the breakfast they had set up in the lobby. I DID NOT get any food. Well, I got a banana. That’s not food. That’s like a side item. I got two cups of hot water and two sugar packets. I had brought tea bags with me. I’m very picky about my tea. When I got back to the room, I grabbed the ice bucket and filled it up. I was now ready to make my slightly sweet tea.

I brewed the tea in the two cups while I showered. It was just the right strength when I was done.

I then FILLED the cup from the hotel room with ice and poured the tea over it. I had my slightly sweet tea for my morning pick-me-up.

As I drank my nice glass of tea down, I would just keep adding ice and more of the hot tea.

It worked for me.

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Yes, I stayed at the Hampton, but they didn’t pay me to have their logo in the picture. I just couldn’t avoid it.

WFMW: Chocolate Ice Cream..Also Known As Bribery

I’ve got MANY MANY MANY pictures just like this one. The Princess and a chocolate ice cream cone. She LOVES some chocolate ice cream, especially if it’s from Bruster’s. I mean LOVES it. Like she would do anything for it. She would even hold out her finger to get it pricked so the nurse could test her blood. So, when the nurse had to prick a second finger on Monday, I promised her ice cream. I promised her Bruster’s ice cream. Ya, I bribed her. Does that make me a bad Mommy? Na, I think it makes me smart and resourceful. I know what to do to get the results I need.

I’m sure you never bribe your kids – right?

Chocolate ice cream – it works for me – EVERY time.

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Disney Tips: Your Backpack

This post originally ran in 2010, and I’m giving it a facelift in July of 2013. EVERYTHING in this post is still true! I’ve been to Disney many times since I originally wrote this and still take the time to make sure my backpack is stocked appropriately. 

Disney Tips: Your Backpack from

We’re heading to see The Mouse this weekend. Actually, we’re going to spend four days with The Mouse on a Disney Cruise and then a couple days in the parks. Are we excited? YES! Are we ready? NO!

Side note: My Sweetie seriously put his back out over the weekend. As in ER on Monday and has been FLAT on his back in the bed ever since. Please pray that he has some relief so we can actually go on this trip. We’ve got major drugs at work, but prayers would be better.

Anyhow, I mentioned on Twitter/Facebook that I had pulled out the “Disney Backpack” in order to get read for our two days in the parks. A couple of friends asked what I put in said backpack so I thought I’d share with all of you too. Let me qualify the list that’s about to come with the fact that I am a serious Type A personality (if you haven’t figured that out from the blog – duh!) and a planner. I plan EVERYTHING! Even if I don’t plan it on paper, it’s planned in my head. So, some (uhum – My Sweetie) would say that I carry too much with me in the parks. Of course, that is until we need something that is in the backpack, and I save the day.

You need to start with a backpack that is comfortable for you:

Below is the backpack we took on our honeymoon to Disney. Yes, we honeymooned at Disney. This backpack served us well for many years, but was retired as the Disney backpack two years ago.
Disney Tips: Your Backpack from
Last year, we used a new backpack. It is MUCH lighter, but doesn’t have as many pockets. I felt okay moving away from so many pockets because I no longer had a toddler and could take a minute to find exactly what I wanted. When you have a toddler(s), the quicker you can get to what you need, the better. Therefore, the more pockets, the better.

Disney Tips: Your Backpack from

Here’s what I keep in our “Disney Backpack”:

  • Baggie w/spare socks for each member of the family
  • Baggie w/spare panties for Princess and Mommy (who has Crohn’s and always has spare panties)
  • (Until she was five, I brought a spare outfit for the Princess. In a baggie of course. Used it almost every day.)
  • Butt cream – Princess never seems to wipe well when on vacation. Probably that horrible toilet paper.
  • Baggie w/Princess’ lanyard of trading pins
  • Light up thingy for night-time fun. (You can sometimes get these at the Disney Store before you go on your trip. They are usually cheaper there than the $10 your going to pay at the park. Princess buys her own. I refuse to pay for lights.)
  • Pouch w/Benadryl, Tums for Princess & parents, Bug bite cream (sensitive skin child), Tylenol/Motrin for Princess & parents, lipstick for mommy, lipgloss for Princess
  • Small First Aid Kit – alcohol swabs, bandaids, Neosporin
  • Sunscreen
  • Extra baggies – Gallons in case it rains. Sandwich for leftovers from breakfast buffet – those grapes will come in handy later in the day.
  • Autograph book and pen  Note about the autograph book – we get a new one each year. They  sit on her bookshelf in chronological order. She likes to go through them and see who she met each year.
  • Any lists we’ve made for the day
  • Snacks – at least two for Princess, one each for Mommy and Daddy
  • I start the day with at least two water bottles.
  • Camera – actually, that’s usually in my pocket Update: Does anyone carry a camera anymore. Now, it’s just my phone.
  • Wallet – I carry our room key, my ID, our insurance cards, one credit card, some cash – this is also in my pocket
  • Hand sanitizer

In addition to the Disney backpack, I pack a “Rain Bag” that gets taken to the park if there is a chance of rain. It was always with us when we had a stroller as it just got hung on or put in the stroller. Now, we are choosier about when we take it as it goes on someone’s back. It has saved us twice now.

Here’s what I keep in our “Rain Bag”:

  • A few more gallon baggies – just in case.
  • A raincoat/poncho for each person.
  • At least one umbrella.
  • A set of extra socks for everyone.

We learned a lesson about the socks. You can get soaked, but if you have dry socks to change into, all is right with the world and you can keep on going. The rest of you will dry. Your socks – they stay wet. Update: My friend J went to see the mouse and made the choice not to pack extra socks. See how that worked out for her here.

So that’s the Disney backpack. It DEFINITELY works for me. It has for twelve years.

Is there anything you carry into the parks that I didn’t list? Share with us please!
Update: Be sure to check out the comments for some great ideas. Some I added to the above list.

And, for all my friends heading down to see The Mouse this week, my friend OhAmanda did a great post yesterday on getting ready to go to Disney. You should check it out!

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Works For Me Wednesday: Brinner

We love “Brinner” at our house – that’s breakfast for dinner in case you didn’t know. I used to consider it wimping out on dinner. Taking the easy way. However, it’s become something that I actually meal plan for. I pull the bacon out of the freezer with the intention of using it for “Brinner.””

Typical “Brinner” at the House of Hills consists of scrambled eggs (with a bit of cheese), bacon or sausage and …..


We love us some pancakes at the House of Hills. The Princess eats them with just butter. My sweetie cuts them into strips and dips them in warm syrup. I used to drown mine in syrup. Now, I just give it a bit – I’m Losing It! you know. I’m currently using the pancake recipe that I got from a recent issue of Food Network Magazine. It’s fun and there are lots of variations.

Do you have a favorite pancake recipe? I’m always looking for a better one.

The best thing about “Brinner” is that it makes my family smile. And My Sweetie never fails to tweet about, which means he’s a happy man.

“Brinner” – it works for me.
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Works For Me Wednesday: Baby Wipes

I haven’t had a diaper wearer in the house in about five years. Praise the Lord! However, I still regularly by baby wipes. Why? Because they are an amazing invention.

They are portable. – Just grab a pack and it can go to the pool, on a picnic, to the park, outside… anywhere.

They are nice to sensitive skin. – The Princess has very sensitive skin. Anything with harsh chemicals or something rough will aggravate it. Baby wipes don’t bother her.

They can be cheap. – When you use your coupons correctly, you can get baby wipes for practically nothing.

They are already wet. – So, when you’re at the Braves stadium at the top of the top deck and covered in melted Dippin Dots, you don’t have to walk down a bazillion stairs to go wash your hands. Not that I would know anything about that scenario.

I keep a pack of wipes in the car, in the “outings” backpack, in the pool bag, and in my kitchen so I can grab it and take it outside when cute little girls are eating chocolate popsicles and become covered in said chocolate.

Baby wipes – they work for me!

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Works For Me Wednesday: Using Cups to Fill Freezer Bags

I love freezer cooking AKA once a month cooking AKA batch cooking. It feels SO good to have a freezer full of food for either my family to eat or to be able to pull from for people that need meals. However, a freezer can become full VERY quickly if you don’t use your space well. There is nothing worse than cooking a ton of food and then not having anywhere to put it.

That’s why I LOVE LOVE LOVE Ziploc (and yes I’m a brand snob on this one) freezer bags. You fill them up, push out the air, smush (love my technical terms) them flat and then lay them flat in your freezer. They stack GREAT. And, once they’re frozen you can even stack them like books on a bookshelf for even more room in the freezer.

The hardest thing about using a freezer bag is getting things like chili into the freezer bag without making a HUGE mess. They don’t exactly hold the shape you need. A few years ago, I started using this big purple cup to help me. I line the cup with the baggie and pull the edges out over the sides. Then, I use a soup ladle to transfer my chili, or soup, or whatever into the baggie. It doesn’t fill the baggie all the way up, but it fills it enough that when I pull the baggie out, what’s already in there will hold it upright.  Then I finish it off, lay it flat, smush out the air, and put it in the freezer.

My big purple cup – it works for me!

Just an FYI: I think I got my big purple cup at Walmart years ago. They sell them every year in various colors. This is the only big purple cup that survived the great purge on 09 when we got rid of everything we don’t use regularly. All the other big purple cups were in the garage sale. But, I had to save just one for my baggies!!

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Works For Me Wednesday: Chick-fil-A Chicken Nuggets

The Princess recognized the Chick-fil-A sign by the time she was a year old. Seriously! She called it “Bawk Bawk” until she was two. We’d pull into the drive thru and I’d hear “Bawk Bawk Mommy! Bawk Bawk!” I hated to hear her give that one up. I still remember the day she asked for chicken instead of “Bawk Bawk.” Sigh…

We live in the suburbs of Atlanta, the home of the chicken sandwich. We each Chick-fil-A A LOT!! When she was a toddler, it was at least once a week. Now, not as much. But we still love the Chick-fil-A!!! The restaurants are always clean. They always have nice people working there. One time, I was at a Chick-fil-A with my sister-in-law and our three toddlers. It was not exactly a relaxing meal. What made it AWESOME was that the MANAGER of the Chick-fil-A was coming around and refilling all the moms’ drinks. They totally got that a toddler mom couldn’t hop up and get herself a refill, so they did it for us. AMAZING SERVICE.

The best thing about Chick-fil-A is…um.. the CHICKEN. It’s so yummy good. And, the nuggets look and taste like REAL chicken. Because they are REAL chicken. So much better than some of the other fast food joints. The best thing about chicken nuggets at Chick-fil-A. The chicken nugget tray! The nugget tray quickly became a family favorite for any gathering where toddlers were going to be present. (Although the adults eat their share too.) We have had MANY a nugget tray at the House of Hills.

Here’s what I discovered. Sometimes you have a few leftover nuggets and you really don’t want to eat more nuggets the next day since you over indulged on the nuggets that day. Guess what?! THEY FREEZE WELL! Like, really well. Once we discovered that, we discovered that the Princess likes them cold and without ketchup. Well, that means they can go in the LUNCHBOX!! We’re always looking for something different to go in the lunchbox since I have a child that doesn’t do sandwiches. I know – unAmerican. But, she doesn’t eat them.

Now, I buy a small tray of nuggets every six to eight weeks and freeze them in 8 nugget snack baggies. All the snack baggies get thrown in one big gallon freezer bag. Every Monday, I pull out at least one snack baggie of nuggets. That gives me two lunches for the week as she only eats four nuggets at school lunch. (This would be because she spends the majority of the time talking. No idea where she gets that from.) The Princess is happy. I’m happy. It’s a win win.

Chick-fila-A chicken nuggets – they definitely work for me.

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Disclosure: Chick-fil-A did not ask me to write this. I was not compensated in any way. The House of Hills just has a love for the chicken nugget.

Works For Me Wednesday: Muffin Meatloaves

So, last week I was in charge of the meat portion of dinner for my small group. We were doing a potluck, but since it’s always at our house, I always volunteer to do the meat as that’s the hardest thing to transport and keep the right temperature etc. I wanted to make meatloaf. I also wanted to make apple cake since I had tons of apples.

I got home from work and got the apple cake in the oven. Then, I looked at the clock. There was NO WAY meatloaf was going to be cooked in time for us to eat at 7. Panic! Then I remembered I had seen somewhere about cooking meatloaf in a muffin pan! Brilliant! That would seriously cut my cooking time!

Then, I got to thinking. (I do that sometimes.) If I made more than I needed for that night, I could put some in the freezer. I love putting stuff in the freezer for later. It makes me happy. So, I decided to pull out some more ground meat to make a bigger batch. I discovered that I only had ground pork. No more ground beef. I said, “Whatever,” and thawed it really quick. The result was AWESOME!

Here’s the recipe that evolved that night. It’s starting point was a Kraft Recipe that I had from FOREVER ago.

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 box Stove Top Stuffing Mix
  • 1/2 cup quick oats (or more if too wet)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup + additional BBQ sauce (your favorite) – Could use ketchup
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Mix everything together in a big bowl. Using a scoop (I used the large Pampered Chef scoop), fill muffin cups almost to the top. Press the tops so they are flat. Add additional BBQ sauce to the top of each muffin cup.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes.

Makes 24 Muffin Meatloaves

Muffin Meatloaves – they certainly worked for me! And, dinner was ready on time!!! Oh, and those extras I was going to put in the freezer. Ya, that didn’t happen. They were so good, they all got eaten except three for My Sweetie’s lunch the next day.

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