Oribel PortaPlay Convertible Activity Center

This post is in partnership with Oribel thanks to The Motherhood. I received product in exchange for this review. This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for supporting Kara in the Kitchen!

June is going to be 7 months old tomorrow! She is at the age where she is grabbing everything and exploring the world around her. oribel-portaplay-convertible-activity-center-karainthekitchen-com-1I knew I wanted to give her an activity center for Christmas, so when this opportunity came about, I was so excited! Oribel’s PortaPlay Convertible Activity Center is the perfect gift for new or expecting parents. oribel-portaplay-convertible-activity-center-karainthekitchen-com-1-3June is in love with all of the different toys to play with on the top. She is using the PortaPlay in the lowest setting. It has a bouncy seat that rotates 360 degrees and legs that are adjustable in height as your child grows. oribel-portaplay-convertible-activity-center-karainthekitchen-com-1-4 Once your baby has grown out of the PortaPlay, it transforms into an activity table! I love that this will be a toy we won’t have to pass on once June grows out of it. It will grow with her as a budding artist :) You can purchase a roll of paper and stools for the activity table separately. oribel-portaplay-convertible-activity-center-karainthekitchen-com-1-5 I LOVE this aspect of the PortaPlay: the legs fold down for easy storage. Genius! oribel-portaplay-convertible-activity-center-karainthekitchen-com-1-2The PortaPlay is available on Amazon.com here: Oribel PortaPlay Activity Center – Forest Friends

Check out Oribel’s Porta Play video for all of the features:

Simple Advent Calendar Garland to #LIGHTtheWORLD this Christmas!

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Kara in the Kitchen! #LIGHTtheWORLD - karainthekitchen.comEvery Christmas season, we always want the focus to be on the birth of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. So many times, though, we get caught up in the busyness of the season. Running errands, making cookies, wrapping gifts, attending parties, shopping, cleaning, the list goes on and on. Before we know it, it’s Christmas Eve! #LIGHTtheWORLD - karainthekitchen.comThis year, to help my family stay on track and remember who the Christmas season is about, we are joining with people all over the world to #LIGHTtheWORLD! For 25 days in December, we will look on the back of our advent garland and see what the day suggests doing to serve others. To make our super Simple Advent Calendar Garland, I bought this cute garland at Target and printed out the advent calendar here. For Family Home Evening, we cut out the dates and the girls matched them to their corresponding numbers. I taped the twine to the brick with Scotch tape and arranged the numbers with the mini clothespins. I’m all about easy during the holidays!#LIGHTtheWORLD - karainthekitchen.comIt has been awesome to have conversations with our daughters about service. I shared with them that a woman came and asked if she could take my cart after I’d put my groceries and baby in the car. I was doing the awkward, “Should I run and leave my baby alone or leave the cart here?” debate in my mind. She saw my dilemma and helped! Then when I was by myself with all three of the girls at Costco, a woman parked next to us helped load up the trunk while I buckled the baby in her seat. I thanked her profusely and we talked on the drive home about how she saw a need and served us, and now we need to do the same for those around us. I am so excited to focus on serving others this Christmas season as Jesus Christ did. If any of you would like to come to church with me on the 4th for that advent day or on any Sunday, let me know! I’d love to go with you :) #LIGHTtheWORLD - karainthekitchen.com Head over to Mormon.org for more inspiration, videos, ways to serve and #LIGHTtheWORLD this Christmas season!#LIGHTtheWORLD - karainthekitchen.com

Click on the picture below to buy the garland at Target: 

Cranberry Fluff Recipe

This side dish is always present at my family gatherings for the Holidays! We have it at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I first got my hands on the Cranberry Fluff recipe when I signed up to bring this to a Ward Christmas Party in 2006 or 2007. I still have that recipe, hand written by Robin Leishman, and pull it out every year at this time!Cranberry Fluff Recipe - Kara in the Kitchen Cranberry Fluff is sweet, delicious, and mysterious. It is highly addictive and you will find yourself grabbing more to put on your plate! This recipe takes some planning, because the cranberries need to soak in sugar overnight. Then the whole fluff has to chill for at least one hour, so plan ahead for this one! You won’t be sorry :) Cranberry Fluff Recipe - Kara in the KitchenThe original recipe calls for nuts, but we don’t use them. On the side dish spectrum, it definitely falls on the dessert side of things. We make it in place of a Jell-O salad which really isn’t a salad at all, right? You’ve got your pineapple, marshmallows, cranberries, and whipped cream. Magical! Cranberry Fluff Recipe - Kara in the KitchenHere is the recipe (note – we usually double this):

Cranberry Fluff Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 bag cranberries, frozen
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
  • 1 16 ounce can crushed pineapple in its own juice
  • ½ package miniature marshmallows
Instructions
  1. Grind cranberries in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Stir in the 2 cups of sugar and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, whip the heavy cream until semi-stiff peaks form. Chop the nuts (if using) and drain pineapple. Stir together the cranberry mixture, pineapple, nuts, and marshmallows. Gently fold in the whipped cream.
  3. Chill at least 1 hour and serve.

 

Apple Bacon Biscuit Dressing or Stuffing Recipe

I found this dressing recipe in a Williams-Sonoma catalog years ago. I ripped it out and saved it for years, then finally made it for the past two years at Thanksgiving. The only problem is that the original recipe called for mushrooms, and I don’t like those. So, I decided to substitute apples from my grandpa’s tree and it made the perfect stuffing! I know, you can’t technically call dressing stuffing if it wasn’t cooked inside the turkey, but I do what I want :)Apple Bacon Biscuit Dressing Recipe - karainthekitchen.comThe first time I made this, I made the biscuits from scratch. The next year I used freezer biscuits. It tasted exactly the same both times. So do yourself a favor, save yourself some time, and use freezer biscuits! Apple Bacon Biscuit Dressing Recipe - karainthekitchen.comHere’s the recipe:

4.0 from 1 reviews
Apple Bacon Biscuit Dressing
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Twelve 4" cream biscuits, cut into 1½" cubes
  • 1 pound sliced bacon, cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 yellow onions, diced
  • 5 celery stalks, diced
  • 8 ounces tart apples, sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups chicken stock
Instructions
  1. Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread biscuits out on baking sheet. Toast until lightly browned, 25-30 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  3. In a deep sauté pan over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisy, 7-9 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Pour off all but 3 Tablespoons of the fat. Over medium heat, cook the onions until translucent. Add the celery, apples, parsley, sage, and thyme, cooking until the celery and apples are soft (about 5 minutes).
  4. Transfer onion mixture to a large bowl. Add bacon to bowl, season with salt and pepper. Add biscuits and 3 cups of the chicken stock, stirring to combine. If the mixture looks too dry, add the last cup of chicken stock. Otherwise, leave it out.
  5. Transfer dressing to a baking dish. Cover with foil or lid, bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil or lid and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the dressing is lightly browned. Enjoy!

Apple Bacon Biscuit Dressing Recipe - karainthekitchen.comI love the salty bacon married with the sweet-tart apples. It’s a match made in Thanksgiving heaven! Next to turkey, mashed potatoes, and covered in gravy, it’s to die for! I would eat a big scoop of stuffing alone for lunch in the days after Thanksgiving.  Apple Bacon Biscuit Dressing Recipe - karainthekitchen.comYum! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season surrounded by good food and the ones you love!

FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket

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

FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket 1

Since we live in sunny California, I thought this year I would make Easter Beach Buckets for my daughters instead of traditional Easter baskets. I have this incredible memory of a trip that I took to Hawaii when I was about nine years old. It was Spring Break and my dad was based in Honolulu. The whole family flew out to meet him and we stayed for a week-long vacation. Easter was happening while we were there, and as young children I remember my siblings and I were very concerned about the Easter Bunny being able to find us! What if he left our baskets at our house? What if he didn’t know we were here? I remember my parents assuring us that the Easter Bunny would find us. Sure enough, on Easter morning, Mr. Bunny had left three different colored buckets in the living room for my brother, sister, and I. We were ecstatic!

FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket-1-5-karainthekitchen.com

I wanted to recreate that for my daughters and give them a bucket full of items that they can take to the beach with them! Walmart has everything you need with many different themes:

Walmart Easter Aisle - karainthekitchen.comWe went with FROZEN because we still love it in this house! Have you seen the new short, FROZEN Fever? It plays before the new Cinderella movie in theaters. It’s so cute! Here’s my latest short:

A video posted by Kara Miller (@kara_j_miller) on

For the FROZEN Easter Beach Buckets:

A water bottle to stay hydrated, flip-flops to protect their feet from the hot sand, a fan to keep them cool…

FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket 1 4

a giant bubble wand, sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun, panties to put on after they rinse off in the outdoor showers, a jump rope just in case…

FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket 1 3

washcloths to brush the sand off their feet before they get in the car, and eggs filled with jelly beans that (hopefully) won’t melt!

FROZEN Easter Beach Bucket 1 2

I hope you’re inspired to make your own take on a traditional Easter basket now! Which characters are your children’s favorite?

Hallmark Northpole Holiday Gifts

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

Hallmark has the cutest line of gifts right now! They’ve made a Northpole movie (see the trailer here), and you can find Hallmark Northpole merchandise at Walmart. Our store has a whole special section just for Christmas items over by the Garden Center.

karainthekitchen.com.JPG

A video posted by Kara Miller (@kara_j_miller) on

I also found a small section of the snowflakes by the greeting cards.

karainthekitchen.com.JPG

This morning, our little elf had a gift for us…well, my girls! Bizzy brought us the Once Upon A Northpole Christmas story book, Find me Santa Snowflakes, and Magic Snowballs :)

Karainthekitchen com  1 of 1 5

Ada showing off her gifts!

Karainthekitchen com  1 of 1 2

The girls were SO excited to find their presents waiting for them this morning! Love these little bed heads :)

Karainthekitchen com  1 of 1 4Karainthekitchen com  1 of 1 3

This will be such a fun tradition to start with my girls, reading Once Upon A Northpole Christmas with them every December. It’s such a sweet story.

Karainthekitchen com  1 of 1 6

Ada & Lola immediately took their treasures and put them in their purses :)

Karainthekitchen com  1 of 1 7

The Find Me Santa Snowflake lights up so that Santa can find you no matter where you are staying on Christmas Eve!  If you hold down the button for 4 seconds, it will stay lit for 4 hours!

Karainthekitchen com  1 of 1

The snowballs are just plain fun. They light up and are a blast to have a pretend snowball fight with. Since we have rain here, but no snow. It’s like we have a little bit of the Northpole here with us!

Check out a cute video about the city where Santa lives here: http://youtu.be/hCnimwpWvUs