My 3 Monsters: June 2016

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6.27.2016

Road Trip Essentials

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GetPackin #CollectiveBias


Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
Hi guys!  Temperatures officially reached 120 here in Phoenix last week so, like everybody else, we're gearing up for some summer road-tripping.  It's time to get out of Dodge, folks! The older our kids get, the easier it is to hop in the car and head out on an adventure, but I remember the days when I dreaded road trips.  It felt like we had to pack up everything we owned and, no matter how hard we tried, something vital was always left behind.  We have experienced the GOOD {laughing, playing, and family bonding}, the BAD {bickering, car seat tantrums, and non-stop hunger}, and the UGLY {bed wetting, motion sickness, and night terrors} in the course of our travels -- and lived to laugh about it!  Today I'm sharing my Road Trip Essentials with y'all to hopefully make your summer vacay a little easier.

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Mondelez Road Trip #GetPackinSweepstakes


Essential No. 1 A Well-Stocked Snack Bag.



Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
Nothing keeps spirits up in the car quite like the right choice of treats.  Our perfect combo is a little bit of chewy and fruity {SWEDISH FISH Soft & Chewy Candy}, a lot of crunchy {BELVITA Sandwich Breakfast Biscuits}, some peanut butter {NUTTER BUTTER Cookies}, and melt-proof chocolate {OREO Cookies}. Throw in some whole foods like apples and raw almonds and a cooler full of water bottles and you've got everything to keep the whole family happy! 


Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
Opt for single-serving packs when you can to simplify on-the-road snacking. Throw some small paper cups into the snack bag for serving snacks out of family-size containers to avoid spilling in the car.  My kids used to love the little paper cups with riddles printed on the sides!

Essential No. 2 A Detailed Plan.



Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
Years ago we took a 10-day cross-country road trip to attend a family reunion in Nauvoo, IL.  Our oldest was 7 at the time and our youngest was 4.  With three days of driving there, three days of driving back, and only four days at our actual destination, I knew we needed to make the journey part of the fun.  That took loads of planning!  Four different hotels in four different cities we had never visited before. Driving directions and maps for each leg of the journey {since smart phones weren't even invented yet}. Sites to see and fun places to stop along the way.  Meals for each day {since we were trying to stick to a pretty tight budget}.  It was a lot.

I created a Road Trip Binder for that trip that worked beautifully and helped make the smoothest, most memorable road trip our family has ever been on.  I have continued to use it over the years and I love it!  Y'all can download the printable pages here to create your own.  In addition to the daily planning page pictured above, you will find a weekly overview page that is especially helpful for longer trips:


Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
The Packing List page helps me make sure we have everything we need:


Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
There is also a cutesy cover page because, why not?


Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
Place the printables in page protector sheets and keep them in a binder.  Print out any maps or directions you might need {in case you aren't getting phone service?} and put them in the binder as well.  This way all your important information -- hotel address and phone numbers, reservation confirmation numbers, notes and reminders -- are all in one handy place!


Essential No. 3 Good Old Road Trip Entertainment.



Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
I know, I know.  We have smart phones now.  And iPads.  And iPods, DVD players, and video game systems.  I'm not anti-technology, but when it comes to road trips I am a firm believer in the oldies, but goodies -- Dots and Lines, the ABC game, License Plates, Tic-Tac-Toe, etc.  We like to try and unplug -- just a little -- while we spend time together in the car.  It takes me back to my childhood.  I like to print out several game pages and laminate them or place them in page protectors.  The kiddos can use dry erase markers to play over and over again. The game pages are also available with my other Road Trip Planner printables


Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
Cross the license plates off as you see them on the road.


Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
Before you leave, draw lines on the map to show your route.  The kids can color in each state you pass through to show your progress along the way.  You can find many more printable road trip games and other tutorials here


Essential No. 4 A Sense of Humor!



Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
Some trips are a breeze.  Some are brutal.  Last summer on our road trip to the family cabin in Montana we: lost air conditioning in the van one hour into our first full day of travel; rested in a hotel for 3 hours while it was fixed; had a tire blow out later that night, one hour from our day's destination while our 16 year old was driving; found out our {never used} spare tire was shredded and unusable; were transported to our second hotel of the day by Highway Patrol; hit a bird that got stuck in the grill of the car; and had another tire blow out on Day Two of our journey home.  We could have been miserable.  We could have cried. At times we considered turning around and going home.  Instead we laughed.  A lot.  Every misadventure added to the hilarity.  Sometimes you just have to be willing to laugh -- and adapt the plan.  And eat all the OREOs in the hotel at midnight.

Ready for a road trip?!  Hopefully we haven't scared you off.  Whether you take months to plan the perfect trip or you hop in the car on a whim, one trip to Walmart will get your snack bag all set. Be sure to look for a coupon booklet on the display in your local store to save on these delicious snacks and more!


Four Essentials for a Perfect Family Road Trip from my3monsters.com -- It's not what you might expect!
What will you pack in your road trip snack bag this summer?

Happy travels!

Amy



6.20.2016

Raspberry Baked French Toast

Hi guys!  It's been a while since I shared a recipe around here, but do I have a winner for y'all today!  We've made a couple of variations of this Baked French Toast recipe for events around here lately and it is ALWAYS a hit.  Not necessarily a traditional "french toast", the result is somewhere between a breakfast dish and a bread pudding that will knock your socks off with yumminess.

Delicious Raspberry Baked French Toast -- a cross between a traditional breakfast dish and a bread pudding that will knock your socks off from my3monsters.com
Normally we make a plain version of this recipe {sans raspberries} served with homemade buttermilk syrup and my family INHALES it.  We served it that way at our daughter's graduation brunch a few weeks ago and it was the star of the buffet table.  The plain version is also delicious with fresh strawberries and whipped cream on top.  

Delicious Raspberry Baked French Toast -- a cross between a traditional breakfast dish and a bread pudding that will knock your socks off from my3monsters.com
For Father's Day yesterday, I tried something just a little bit different.  My husband is a huge fan of the raspberry bread pudding at Kneader's, so I thought it might be fun to try baking the berries into the french toast and topping it with ice cream to mimic the vanilla sauce they drizzle on top.  It did not disappoint!  The end result was very similar to the Kneader's version and would be equally suited for brunch or dessert.


Delicious Raspberry Baked French Toast -- a cross between a traditional breakfast dish and a bread pudding that will knock your socks off from my3monsters.com
It just takes a few minutes to prepare.  Begin by cutting a loaf of french bread into bite-sized cubes.  Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl.  Then gently toss the raspberries with  a little flour.  


Delicious Raspberry Baked French Toast -- a cross between a traditional breakfast dish and a bread pudding that will knock your socks off from my3monsters.com
Spray a 9x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray.  Place the bread cubes in the bottom of the pan.  Top with raspberries and douse the whole thing with the egg mixture.  Gently stir to make sure all the bread gets coated in liquid. Let sit for at least 30 minutes before baking so the bread can soak up all the liquid.

Yesterday we tried baking it in the crock pot for the first time and it turned out perfectly.  By cooking it in a slow cooker I was able to prepare it when I woke up and have it ready and waiting for us when we got home from church at noon.  No waiting!  See the slow cooker variation on the recipe below.

Bake french toast at 350* for about 30 minutes {or in slow cooker on LOW for 3-4 hours}.


Delicious Raspberry Baked French Toast -- a cross between a traditional breakfast dish and a bread pudding that will knock your socks off from my3monsters.com
Serve warm french toast with a scoop of ice cream and enjoy!!


Raspberry Baked French Toast

1 loaf french bread, cubed {approx. 8 cups}
2 C. raspberries
1 Tbsp. flour
6 eggs
1 1/2 C. milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 C. sugar
vanilla ice cream {optional}

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut french bread into bite-size cubes and set aside.

Place raspberries in a bowl with flour and gently toss to coat.

In a mixing bowl whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar.

Spray a 9x13 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.  Place bread in bottom of pan.  Top with raspberries.  Pour egg mixture over bread and berries.  Gently stir to coat bread evenly.  Allow to sit at least 30 minutes before baking.

Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown and center is set. Serve while warm with a scoop of ice cream on top.

** Plain French Toast Variation:  Omit berries and flour.

** Slow Cooker Variation:  Spray crock of slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Layer bread and berries in four layers {1/2 of bread, 1/2 of berries, remainder of bread, remainder of berries}.  Pour egg mixture on top and stir gently to coat.  Cook on LOW 3-4 hours.


Enjoy!!

Amy



6.18.2016

FREE Patriotic Printables

Hi guys!  Are y'all getting excited for the 4th of July in a couple weeks?!  We are, for sure.  I'm sharing some hand lettered Patriotic Printables over at Lolly Jane that would be perfect to decorate your home for the big day. 

Darling Patriotic Printables -- free downloads from my3monsters.com available at Lolly Jane.
We even created a version for all our Canadian friends, since Canada Day is on July 1st.  My husband is a Canadian and they have some seriously impressive national pride.  I love it!  Because I adore my options, each print comes in two sizes and two colors.  Hopefully everyone will find something they like.

Darling Patriotic Printables -- free downloads from my3monsters.com available at Lolly Jane.
Head on over to Lolly Jane to download the files.

Have a great summer!

Amy


6.04.2016

Vintage Floral Party Printables

Hi guys!  I shared these fun Vintage Floral party printables on Lolly Jane a few months ago, so I thought it was high time I shared them here with y'all as well.  Before my newest neice was born, we hosted a shower for my little sister.  I designed the invitations along with a small set of coordinating party printables that would be lovely for any kind of get-together from baby or bridal shower to birthday party.

Darling Vintage Floral party printables at my3monsters.com
Every great party starts with a great invitation, in my opinion.  It sets the mood for the whole party and gets people excited about coming.  Of course, you may not be hosting a baby shower so I included a version that says "Bridal Shower" and a version that just says "Celebration" to cover all the bases.   To personalize the templates, simply open the file in a photo editing program like Photoshop, or on a website like PicMonkey and add your own information. in the blanks. 

Darling Vintage Floral party printables at my3monsters.com
Invitations are kinda' my forte, but I tend to get overwhelmed with all the other details when I plan a party or shower.  The coordinating printables take away that stress.  You can download and print water bottle wrappers, cupcake toppers and straw flags to coordinate with the theme.  Just add an arrangement of fresh flowers to create a simple, beautifully coordinated luncheon or get-together.

Darling Vintage Floral party printables at my3monsters.com

Darling Vintage Floral party printables at my3monsters.com

Darling Vintage Floral party printables at my3monsters.com


Darling Vintage Floral party printables at my3monsters.com
All the files can be downloaded here and printed for your personal use.   Hopefully they will take some of the stress out of your next girly get-together!

Have a great day, friends!

Amy


You might also like these other party invitation printables:

Darling Vintage Floral party printables at my3monsters.com


Darling Vintage Floral party printables at my3monsters.com

Darling Vintage Floral party printables at my3monsters.com

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