Personal Style with JC Penney Back to School

Back to school shopping at JC Penney. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAh! My baby is totally growing up! He’s my first-born.  He’s who I figured everything out with.  He’s who made me a mother and who delights me every day.  It has been amazing to watch him grow and to figure out his own style.  I was pretty apprehensive about back to school shopping with him this year.  I can’t pick anything out for him anymore.  Everything requires his approval or he flat-out won’t wear it.  I am ok with him defining his style, but he’s a fan of licensed character shirts and I am just not.  I was worried about how we would compromise and if I could take a step back and let him create his look. We took a trip to JC Penney to pick out some back to school clothes. It went far better than expected, especially because JC Penney carries some of our favorite brands like DC Shoes, Nike, and Vans. We were excited to get to share his personal style with JC Penney for back to school shopping.  This kid is a true individual and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Here are a few things that make him special: This blue blanket is a trusted member of our family. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHis blue blanket still comforts him greatly.  But we are starting to try out being without it.  (Trust me, it’s not going far. My husband and I sleep with our own afghan every night). He’s a pretty brave little boy.  And has the sweetest heart.  When we started working on going without a pacifier, we told him it was time to pass it down to his baby brother.  He didn’t even flinch but wrapped it up in a cute little package for his brother and never looked back.  He was a child model. Very briefly. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe had a very brief stint as a child model with a large display in our local department store. But he never turned in to a diva. I think it helps that he doesn’t even remember this… My boy has always been a music lover. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe has always had a love a music and never hesitates to share his passion with us. He’s really not in to being a front man, though (this photo was taken in the privacy of our back yard for my eyes only).  He’d prefer to make the music and work alongside a band. My little Ghostbusters fan. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe ain’t afraid of no ghosts.  He's always been so great dealing with his food allergies and asthma. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe is an absolute trooper with his asthma and food allergies. From time to time he will voice his displeasure but for the most part he just handles it.  This kid is so dang cool.  Big brothers are the best. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe’s the best older brother.  My little long haired Boy Scout. He sometimes gets flack for his hair but he doesn't let it bother him. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comStyle wise he keeps his hair long.  And it is his decision. He tells us it is his trademark and he wants to keep it that way. I totally stand behind his decision to wear it long. He understands that not everyone will like it and is gracious when people mistakenly call him a girl. He is my little Cub Scout and enjoys being part of the pack and earning badges. He’s a good friend and a great example of acceptable behavior (most of the time).  Selfie with mom. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe will almost always indulge me in a selfie.  Back to school shopping at JC Penney with my stylish boy. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe has definite opinions about how he wants to dress.  And lately he has been “dressing up” a bit. When he wants to look nice he will go and pick out a woven button up shirt. And I couldn’t say no when he picked out a clip on tie from JC Penney.  I mean what kid in elementary school doesn’t need a tie?  He also asked for a suit but I had to draw the line somewhere. Cool kicks for back to school. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comLike me, this kid does not shy away from color and enjoys the neon.  Plain black t-shirts will never go out of style. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHe picked out some great pieces from our shopping day at JC Penney.  These plain t-shirts were on sale for $6.  They will go with everything.  And he is great at posing for pictures.  Back to school shopping at JC Penney. #thatsmykid #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comPlease note that he is giving himself “rabbit ears.”  It is the newest form of photo bomb. We were able to agree up on a few character t-shirts.  I told him that he could pick out 2 character t’s and we ended up with only 1.  YES! We had only one minor stand off when he tried to pick out rolled up jean shorts.  NO.  Just no. But these camo shorts are totally his style. We ended up with a bunch of fantastic items from JC Penney, that he and I both agreed on, and still showcases his personal style. I can’t wait to see how he handles this next grade and all that comes with it! I am so looking forward to see how he handles all the things that maturing brings. I have no doubts that he will handle it all with class, style and maybe a few fart jokes.

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JC Penney had everything we needed to head back to school in style.  From skate brands to cool basics, we had plenty of choices to foster his individual style.  And I love that JC Penney wants to celebrate kid’s individuality and self-expression through fashion.  And you can celebrate your own child’s super star qualities.  Use the hashtag #ThatsMyKid on your photos and they might be shared on the JC Penney Facebook page.  Find out all the info here.

When It Fits, You Feel It. http://www.jcpenney.com/backtoschool

*Disclosure: Compensation was provided by JC Penney via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and not indicative of the opinions or positions of JC Penney.

Parmesan Zucchini Recipe and the Pompeian Pledge

Parmesan Zucchini.  Makes a great side dish.  Super tasty! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis is one of my favorite vegetable side dishes ever.  I remember my mom calling me a few years ago and telling me I had to make this Parmesan Zucchini recipe.  So I did and it has become a staple in our diet.  It is super easy and it is total comfort food and I think you need to have this in your recipe box too. This post is sponsored by Pompeian.  August is National Olive Oil month and Pompeian is encouraging you all to take the Pompeian Pledge, where you swap butter for olive oil in your everyday recipes.  At first I didn’t get it.  I couldn’t figure out why this would be a campaign.  But then I realized that I basically took that pledge 7 years ago.  When my oldest son was diagnosed with food allergies, I had to teach myself how to cook in an entirely new way.  Because of the milk protein allergy, butter was out.  So I only used olive oil in my cooking and other oils in my baking. Olive oil is the only thing I saute with and I even use it to finish a sauce with, in place of butter. I am glad to share a favorite recipe with you and have you maybe learn a different way to do things in the kitchen. 
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Parmesan Zucchini recipe.  It is super simple and a great side dish! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis recipe uses only a few ingredients but they are flavorful. Zucchini and sweet onion, some garlic, and of course some (a lot) of parmesan cheese.  I was excited to try out this OlivExtra blend from Pompeian which is expeller pressed safflower Oil infused with extra virgin olive oil. This oil is really great for sauteing due to its high smoke point.  The expeller pressed method means that the oil is extracted without the use of chemicals (yeah!) and it is naturally gluten-free and non allergenic (yeah!).

Prepare your veggies so they are all ready to cook. That way I don't get distracted and burn something while I am chopping something else.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI like to get all my ingredients ready before I start any cooking.  I’m not suggesting that you too may be easily distracted, but one too many times I have tried to start cooking the onions, only to find them burning while I am trying to slice my zucchinis.  Trust me, it’s better this way.

Pompeian OlivExtra - blend of Safflower and Olive Oil.  Take the Pompeian Pledge and use olive oil in place of butter in your dishes!  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEven though I use olive oil instead of butter in all my cooking, I was excited to learn that there might be better oils for me to use based on what I am preparing.  I’ve never had safflower oil in my kitchen before and really liked it. It is high in Omega 9 monounsaturated fats (I’ll be honest, I don’t really know what that is but it sounds super important) and is a good source of Vitamin E.  Pompeian also sells a grapeseed oil which I totally have to get and try now too.

Pompeian OlivExtra, a blend of Safflower and Olive Oil is perfect for sauteeing veggies thanks to its high smoke point.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI make this parmesan zucchini recipe as a side dish on nights when I am making a pretty simple protein.  During the school year, I tend to bake a lot of chicken.  It can get boring so the side dishes really need to shine.  The whole family loves this one and I know your family will too.  Start by adding the safflower/olive oil blend to the pan.

Sautee onions in a blend of Safflower oil and Olive Oil for a really high smoke point. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSoften the onions, stirring often to prevent browning. When almost cooked through, add the minced garlic and give it a quick stir.

Sautee zucchini with onions and garlics to create a delicious side dish! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAdd your sliced zucchini to the pan and give it all a stir so the zucchini can get coated in the oil.  Then try to spread the zucchini out in to a single layer as much as you can to try to ensure even cooking.  Just do your best here, some always cook way faster than the others. Total overachievers. 

Top sauteed zucchini with shredded parmesan cheese.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhen the zucchini is just about ready, top with large amounts of parmesan cheese. 

Cover you pan to help the parmesan cheese melt faster.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comToss a lid on your pan to help in the melting of said cheese.  And plate when melted through. 

Easy Sauteed zucchini recipe.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo yum!  The garlic and onion add so much flavor to the otherwise pretty boring zucchini (Sorry zucchini.  No hard feelings right?) FYI, this is also really great reheated for lunch the next day.  Or breakfast.  

pompeian logoSo go take the pledge! Visit the Pompeian Facebook page to pledge!  1,000 fans who sign up will be randomly selected to win free movie redemption codes or bottles of olive oil.  Plus every week, 5 other fans will win a Pompeian prize package.  Throughout the month of August, Pompeian is partnering with movie theaters across the country to swap the butter on the popcorn with olive oil! Not sure what the conversion between butter and olive oil is?  Check out this handy chart

Sauteed zucchini with onions and garlic and finished with parmesan cheese.  #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI just know you are going to love this recipe.  The idea for this recipe is not one I came up with.  I did however come up with my own measurements as this recipe was told to me over the phone in a very vague way.  It is never my intention to not give credit where credit is due. If you know the creator of this recipe I will gladly add their info, so please pass it along to me!

Parmesan Zucchini Recipe and the Pompeian Pledge

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP plus 1 tsp (reserved) Pompeian OlivExtra Safflower Oil infused with Olive Oil
  • 1/2 sweet white onion, chopped
  • 3 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese (or more, or less - the choice is yours)
  • Maldon sea salt, to finsh

Instructions

  1. Prepare your veggies first, chop your onion, slice your zucchini (trying to make the slices a similar size so they cook evenly) and crush your garlic.
  2. In a large skillet, add 1 TBSP Safflower Oil infused with Olive Oil and heat.
  3. Add onion and cook until softened.
  4. Add crushed garlic and cook, stirring often, for about 30 seconds.
  5. Add zucchini and stir to coat. If needed, add an additional 1 tsp of oil.
  6. Spread zucchini out to as close to a single layer as you can.
  7. Stir often to prevent the onions and garlic from burning and to rotate the zucchini.
  8. When zucchini are cooked through but not soggy, add parmesan cheese.
  9. Cover the pan with a lid to help the cheese to melt through.
  10. Once cheese is melted, serve immediately.
  11. Sprinkle with Maldon sea salt to finish.
  12. Serves about 4. (or 1 - don't judge me)
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/parmesan-zucchini-recipe-pompeian-pledge/

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pompeian.

Taste of Nature Tasting Party #realtastesgood

6 yummy varieties of the @tasteofnature bars!  #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHow exciting for you!! This is the first sneak peek of the fun creative retreat Lauren and I put together in Palm Springs a few weeks ago!  I can’t wait to share the rest of it with you!  This year’s retreat took place in a private home and we knew we would need to have snacks for the girls.  It’s always so hard to please everyone but we knew that since we would all be in bathing suits most of the weekend, the girls would want something healthy, but delicious, and super easy to eat throughout our busy itinerary. Taste of Nature bars proved to be the perfect snacking option!  We decided to welcome everyone to our fun, inspiring weekend with a little tasting party.

@tasteofnature are perfect road trip snacks and to have on hand for girl's weekends! #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comA good hostess always knows exactly what she is serving to her guests.  My co-host Lauren and I sampled them on the way to Palm Springs.  These bars are the perfect road trip food.  They are sweet, thanks to the dried fruits (but with no artificial sweeteners and are under 200 calories), crunchy (they use whole nuts and other quality ingredients) and are certified organic and vegan and non-gmo.  That’s a good snack! I plan on keeping one in my purse so I always have a healhty snack option when running around with my boys.

@tasteofnature tasting party #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe set up a little display of the Taste of Nature bars.  We made sure the girls knew that there were plenty for them all weekend long and to remember which flavors they loved for later.

Chit chatting with friends at a @tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe girls arrived and began getting to know each other (we had 8 people total and for some, it was the first time meeting each other!). As the weekend was cocktail themed, we made sure that the bar was set up when they got there, but most gals wanted to try out the bars and make sure they had a little something in their stomachs before imbibing.

Friends at my @tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMost of the girls hadn’t heard of the Taste of Nature bars before so they took their time reading the packaging and learning about the brand.  And of course trying all the different flavors. Locally, I can find Taste of Nature bars at Mother’s Market and Wholesome Choice.  To find them at a natural-focused store near you visit their store locator.

@tasteofnature tasting party in Palm Springs.  #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEveryone picked their favorite flavors.  Mine was California Almond Valley.  So good!

@tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTammy liked the maple.

DIY Painted Paddle Ball for my @tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe set out some DIY painted smash ball sets for the girls to play with in between snack bars.

@tasteofnature tasting party. #sponsored #realtastesgood #CleverGirls // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThese bars were awesome and I’m glad I got to share them with my creative ladies! Taste of Nature believes that #RealTastesGood and keeps their products free from artificial flavors, fillers and chemicals. Shouldn’t everyone have that mission when creating products?  They should. But all snacks are not created equal. The bars come in 6 flavors and cost about $1.99 per bar. We sent some of the leftover bars home with each girl so she had a healthy snack option when she got home.

Thank you Taste of Nature for providing snacks for our retreat!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Feeling at Home Even Outside

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hot Shot® Insecticides.
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Wasps keep us from feeling at home even when we are outside.  #ad #hotshot // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis is the face of a kid who hates bees and wasps.  Several summers ago, the kids were playing in the street in front of our house with my husband.  Suddenly, I heard a blood curdling scream all the way from where I was inside. I went running outside to find my sweet, precious baby hysterical.  A bee had stung the palm of his hand.  What kind of jerk would sting my baby?!  My husband and I spent the next five minutes fighting over the best way to remove a stinger from his hand.  I was right. Duh.  And we spent the next hour trying to calm him down and convincing him that he was going to have to go back outside again at some point.  It was touch and go for a while. Every time any kind of flying bug flew past, his post traumatic stress kicked in and we had quite the scene on our hands.  We moved to a new house a year ago and the bush that we have to pass every day, to and from the car, is a wasp magnet.  I really feel like it caused my son a fair share of anxiety. No one wants to feel afraid to leave their house.  And no one wants to feel afraid to come home.

My hiding place is outside. And I want to feel comfortable while I'm relaxing. Wasps do not make me relax. #ad #hotshot // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe truth is, I’m not fond of bees either.  I’ve been known to cause quite the scene myself.  My favorite place to be when it is warm outside is “mom oasis’. And being that we live in California, it is warm pretty consistently. My husband and I dream of a day when we can build our dream loggia.  Some people dream of their dream house.  We dream of our dream patio set up.  Until then, “mom oasis” is my little retreat to read magazines and find some quiet time.  Until the bees start to get all up on the plants that surround “mom oasis” on two sides… Nothing rips you out of your relaxed state faster than something buzzing your head, am I right?

Hot Shot Wasp and Hornet spray to help us feel more at home in the outside areas around our house. #ad #hotshot // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAlthough I know that bees, wasps and hornets all have their place in our world, I just don’t need them cohabitating with me.  For some reason our house is prime real estate for wasp nests. If we don’t take care of them right away, they end up in the kitchen.  And if I can’t take care of them in the kitchen, they end up in the rest of the house and my boys and I have to leave until Dad can come home and save the day.  The wasps that live in this area seem to be a little bit magical.  I can’t figure out how they get in to the kitchen. They do not come in when we are going in and out of the back door.  The sliding glass door is always closed and there are no other openings, that we can see, for them to enter through.  These wiley little bugs should be hired by the CIA. It is not cool.  We have to take care of the nests immediately when we spot them or they come a’calling in the house. We keep Hot Shot® Wasp and Hornet Killer in a cupboard in the garage so we always know where it is.

Getting rid of wasp nests so we feel more comfortable at home. #ad #hotshot // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy poor husband gets the job of killing the nests.  We’re never sure how that will go.  Will it anger a whole tribe of wasps and they will want some sort of retaliation against my family?  All I know is they seem to case my house.  When I am sitting at the dining table, I often see a wasp fly up to the sliding door and literally fly around the frame, as if looking to see how he can enter and steal my soul. I’ve seen them do it at the kitchen door also.  So we risk my husband’s life (not really, he’s really smart and would never endanger himself) to ensure that we can live in our house without looking over our shoulder for flying fiends.  I am so grateful for products from Hot Shot® Insecticides. They are effective in providing solutions for us to keep insects out of our home and giving us a little piece of mind. There was a time when I used glass cleaner with ammonia to kill ant infestations.  Someone in my family, who shall remain nameless, – my husband – thought insecticides were full of too many chemicals and didn’t want them in our home.  But glass cleaner just didn’t do the trick, so I turned to the Hot Shot® solutions. I kind of consider them part of the family.  Funny how my husband never tried the glass cleaner on the wasp nests…

My hiding spot is “mom oasis.” Do you have a hiding place?  Hot Shot® Insecticides is holding a fun Facebook contest right now.  They want to see where you hide to get a minute to yourself or where your kids hide when they want a quite moment to read. Take a photo and upload it to Facebook for a chance to win a weekly prize. Or you could win the Grand Prize and go hide somewhere much more glamorous!

  • Sweepstakes starts August 1st and ends August 31st
  • EACH WEEK (4 Total Winners) $100 Visa® Gift Card
  • GRAND PRIZE (1 Winner) – $1,000 American Airlines® gift card, $1,000 Marriott Hotels® gift card, $2,500 Visa® Gift Card to spend on your trip
  • Official rules: https://uicsocialmedia.com/rules/hidingplaces/

Now I need to go find out if I am eligible to enter the contest because that Grand Prize sounds amazing!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hot Shot® Insecticides.

Yoobi for Back To School Supplies

Yoobi Fun Day at the Grove. When you purchase Yoobi at Target, Yoobi donates a school supply to a US classroom in need!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comA few weeks ago my boys and I were invited to Yoobi Fun Day at The Grove in Los Angeles.  By now I am sure you have all seen this bright brand on the shelves at Target.  But what you may not know is that for every Yoobi school supply that you purchase, Yoobi supplies a US school in need with a supply too.  Although some schools have already started, plenty are still a few weeks off.  Consider purchasing Yoobi for your kid’s back to school supplies!

Consider Yoobi school supplies this year for back to school.  For every Yoobi item purchased at Target, Yoobi donates one to a US classroom in need.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhile the products are well designed and inspire creativity, they also help with a current problem in the American school system.  99% of teachers purchase classroom supplies with their own money and spend on average about $500 a year.  Yoobi aims to help ease that burden and expect to help more than 30,000 classrooms by 2015.  Yoobi offers more than 80 different items and all are under $10.  They are sold exclusively at Target stores so it almost couldn’t be easier to help out our teachers. 

Yoobi Fun Day featured a giant blow up twister game! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThe Yoobi event was awesome and included arts and crafts and some super fun, interactive experiences.  Like this blow-up, huge twister board! We were excited to come out and support this amazing brand.  I hope you will consider them when purchasing your back to school supplies!

Yoobi Fun Day at The Grove brought out several celebs. Even some celebs came out to support this awesome brand.  (Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Yoobi)

Shop online for Yoobi or purchase at Target.

*This post was not sponsored.  Although they invited us to the event, I really feel like this is an easy way to do a little something for our struggling school systems.  The intention behind Yoobi is amazing and it makes me happy to support it and share it with you.