Gooey Oreo Cake Bars

Tuesday was our first official day of summer.  All three of my kids are finished with the school year and are home with me for the next 10 weeks!  I try my best to balance activities, family time, play dates and even allow for quite a bit of unscheduled, unstructured free time.
Did you hear that people, FREE TIME!?!?!
Wouldn’t you love to just have a bit more of that in your life?
I would!
My kids, not so much…
It seems that it’s during their free time that sibling squabbles, major mess making, or the “I’m bored” complaints occur.

When the first day of summer began with lots of coloring (on themselves)

and LOTS of mess making,

{This is what my children will be using to wipe with for the next month}

 I knew it was time to pull out a couple of my summer tools….

The first is the “I’m Bored Jar.”  After scouring the Internet and racking my brain, I managed to come up with over 50 activities that do not require my time or attention.  Yes, everything in this jar can be completed INDEPENDENTLY! Here is the catch, each child can pick from the jar only once per day. They MUST DO whatever it is that they pull out of the jar.  If I hear, “I’m bored”, after they have already done their I’m bored activity, it’s an automatic chore.
Hey, I’m always in need of some extra help around here and I would hate for my sweet kiddos to have NOTHING to do.

My second summer tool is Dessert!  Yes, a little something sweet keeps me and the kids happy :) I bake with my kids and I bake often during the summer months.  There is always a barbecue or a potluck that NEEDS a good dessert at the table.  These Gooey Oreo Cake Bars are the perfect treat to bring because they are soooo EASY and take no time at all.  You should definitely put them on your “Must Make” list for this summer!

Gooey Oreo Cake Bars
1 box Devils Food Cake Mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
16 Oreo Cookies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with foil and grease with butter.
Place cake mix, butter and egg into a large bowl, and mix until well combined.

Press cake mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan.

Top with Oreo cookie pieces.

Pour sweetened condensed milk over cookies.

Sprinkle milk chocolate chips over the top.
Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Allow to cool for about 10 minutes then run a knife along the edges to loosen from the foil.
Once cooled completely, remove foil from pan and cut into squares.


And there you have it, two of my best Summer Survival tips, just in time to kick off your summer :)

source:  I’m Bored Jar inspired by Shabby Beach Nest
Oreo Cake Bars adapted from Picky Palate

Citrus Soaked Apple Slices

We just got back from our first ever family trip to Disneyland!

Our youngest Drew finally reached the magical height of 40 inches so we thought it was the perfect time to make the trip down to the Magic Kingdom.

Things were not looking so magical though when the moment we arrived at our hotel, Drew was struck by the flu!  Fever, chills, shakes and aching all over, the only thing Drew wanted to do upon our arrival was take a nap.  Thankfully, I had prepared for the worst.  Children’s Motrin, Tylenol, Benadryl and cold medicines had all been packed in the car “just in case”.  After giving Drew some medicine to bring his fever down, he was back to his silly self within an hour.  So off we went…

2 days at Disneyland, 2 days at California Adventure, I day at Legoland, 5 nights in a hotel with 3 small children.  I really wasn’t sure what to expect but I can honestly say that we had the best time ever!!!

Taking the kids to Disneyland and experiencing it through their eyes truly was magical.  Watching their faces, their reactions, their little eyes lighting up, it was incredible!

For one solid week, Kevin did not go to work, the kids did not attend school, I did no laundry or dishes or carpooling.  Our one and only responsibility was to each other, to embrace each moment of togetherness and to have fun!  And that we did!

We arrived home happy and exhausted late Thursday night.  The harsh reality set in when I was struck by the flu two days later…

I’m on my way to recovery now so I thought I would share this delicious apple snack with you…

Citrus Soaked Apple Slices
2 apples (I like Gala)
1 large orange
1 small lemon

Juice the orange and the lemon into a glass dish.  Set aside.

Cut the apples into thin slices.

Place the apple slices into a shallow glass dish.
Pour the orange/lemon juice evenly over the apple slices.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.


My kids love these apple slices too!
Perfect for an afterschool snack as well as a too much sugar at Disneyland detox :)

source:  adapted from Lets Talk Fitness







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