Breaking the Cycle of Ordering Out!

Breaking the Cycle of Ordering Out!

I have a serious problem…. I order out, at least 4 nights a week….

Every Sunday I sit down to plan a grocery list. After a weekend full of chips and salsa, pizza and Thai food, all I want is to plan healthy meals to cook for my entire family, Sunday through Thursday. Simple enough, right?

I work hard at planning my meals. I always go to for great healthy filling, delicious recipes, then I scour through cookbooks to search for healthy meals. Once I have my list complete, I feel on top of the world!

Sunday night: a healthy meal is on the table.. there is always whining from the kids, but it’s only Sunday and I am soooo motivated that I can take it!

Monday night: After a full day of running around, taking kids to school, checking off the to-do list, picking kids up from school, enforcing homework, playing nerf guns with Kace… I don’t totally feel like cooking, but I will. There will be a LOT of whining, but I can get through it because it’s only Monday, I have to suck it up!

Then Tuesday comes… same routine.. rushing around, after school play dates, running Livia to musical theater. Kids are whining from the second they walk in the door about Kace being too loud, or wanting to watch youtube, or Kace taking all of clothes off and trying to pee on the couch. The idea of cooking gets more and more daunting…. I can feel my heart rate speed up just thinking of trying to cook while Kace is climbing on top of the counter tops trying to smack me in the face with a spatula and Livia and Violet are whining because they don’t want to eat whatever it is I’m making… thats when I give in. Favor to the rescue!

Wednesday night: I think about cooking for a brief moment, but after guitar lessons and soccer games, all while toting my two-year old mini monster around, Favor or UberEats is sounding pretty good.

Thursday night: Its almost the weekend so… why not just order out?

Friday and Saturday: HAH! Def not cooking.

Then Sunday repeats!

I have created a vicious cycle of not only spending too much money ordering out, but wasting perfectly good groceries! It has to stop! I need help-lol! Hold me accountable! This week I am going to stick to my meal plan! I WILL cook one meal that the whole family will (be forced to) eat Sunday through Thursday.

Here is what I’m making:

Sunday- Skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, and grilled corn on the cobb.

Monday- Grilled Chicken with arugula and warm chick peas. This is going to be a tough one to get the kids to eat it, but it will be Monday and I will be motivated enough to stick it out!

Tuesday- Tacos! I know its not the healthiest thing ever, but the kids will eat it, and I can make it into a Taco salad for Kevin and myself.

Wednesday- I’m going to go with “Southwest Soup”, a family recipe that is super easy, and I can get all 3 kids to eat it. Livia will whine about it, but she’ll eat it! You basically dump chicken breasts, chicken broth, 2 cans of black beans, 2 cans of corn, 4 cans of Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilis, chili powder cumin, and salt in a pot and cook it! Shred the chicken and serve with a little sour cream. Easy peasy!

Thursday- Turkey meatballs with marinara sauce, and a salad. I mayyyy give in and let the kids have peas for a side, because the griping over salad may drive me up the wall!

WISH ME LUCK!!! Tune in on instagram stories (@stephikruse) every night to see how it goes down :).



Holy Guacamole!

Holy Guacamole!

What is the one food you cannot resist? Some people love desserts, some people are chocolate fanatics… For me, the food that I absolutely cannot resist is guacamole!! Who’s with me??

With today being National Avocado Day, I thought the best way to honor that magical fruit (yes, fruit), would be to share my favorite guacamole recipe. I have toiled for years, with hundreds of different recipes for this heavenly treat. It’s taken countless hours, lots of burns from hot jalapenos, and LOTS of taste testing, to finally come up with the perfect combination of fresh ingredients for my WORLD FAMOUS guacamole.  Okay, maybe not world-famous *yet*, but it will definitely leave your guests (or yourself) shouting “Holy Guacamole!!!!!”


3 avocados
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro


In a large bowl, add the peeled avocado and lime juice. Toss to coat, then mash. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix it up with a little tender love and care ;-).  Build up the will power to let it sit for at least 30 minutes to give the flavors time to blend together, and Voila!!! You now have a crowd pleasing, amazingly delish, homemade guacamole to make all your dreams come true! (At least that’s how I feel about it).


** for those that like it extra spicy, add more cayenne!



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Kace is UNO!!!

Kace is UNO!!!

Well, it’s official.. my little baby is 1! To celebrate this special milestone, we decided to have a fiesta, (this theme gave me the perfect excuse to expand upon my love for all things cactus!). In attendance: lots of Kace’s baby besties, some of his big kid favs, and my mom was able to come in town to celebrate!!

Kace and Mimi

I know that Kace wont remember his first birthday, so it may be silly to go overboard.. but, I love to entertain and going overboard is my middle name 0:-). There were three main things to consider for the party:

  1. How to entertain the babies
  2. How to entertain the big kids
  3. How to entertain the adults

To entertain the babies, I had some of Kace’s baby toys out and about (i.e. walker, ride-on toy, bouncer, and typical baby toys). I also had little maracas for each little one to play with and to take home as a party favor! I think the babies actually really liked the maracas.

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Maracas were found here.

For the big kids, I rented a bounce house (a small price to pay for hours of fun). I had a babysitter out by the bounce house so parents could relax a little. To keep them nice and cool in our crazy Dallas heat, I had a little inflatable cactus cooler filled with fun juice barrels and freeze-pops.

Get this inflatable cooler here.

We also kept bubble wands outside for the kiddos to play with. I knew they may get bored of the bounce house, so we had pin the tail on the donkey… and when all else fails …let them play with balloons! Good old fashion kid fun!!


**The only thing with balloons rolling all around is that the babies were obsessed with them too.. so that was somewhat of a fail on my part- next baby party, I may skip the balloons!


To entertain the adults, we rented a margarita machine!! What’s more fun than that? lol!! For some extra fun, I put together a little “photo booth” so everyone could get a festive pic. Believe it or not, almost all the items for the photo booth are items I already had from other parties, or decorations from around the house– I hoard!

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Sombrero, taco piñata, serape blanket, fringe curtain, tissue flowers, cactus pillow, mustaches, serape.

I think everyone had some photo booth fun…

The Food:

We set up a little taco bar, complete with homemade brisket, pork carnitas, and all the fixings. We also made some guacamole, and picked up some pico de gallo and salsa from our favorite local restaurant- Mia’s Tex Mex Kitchen!

I ordered Kace’s smash cake, larger round cake, and cupcakes from Susie Cakes. Not only is their cake absolutely delicious, but they will work with you on customizing your cake, so it’s perfect for your party’s theme! To tie the cupcakes in with the theme, I found some adorable cactus cupcake toppers on amazon, linked here!

Kevin made some spicy chocolate ice cream, with dolce de leche woven in. In case I haven’t shared that with y’all before, one of Kev’s hobbies is making ice cream (hence, my massive pregnancy weight gain), so he always comes up with something fun for the kiddo’s birthdays. He also made a traditional vanilla bean ice cream.


Time For the Main Event:

What every parent at their 1 year old’s party can’t wait for… SMASH CAKE TIME!!! We stripped him down to his diaper, and put a bib on (more because the bib matched our fiesta theme so perfectly that I had to put it on him). We put a sparkler candle on the top– I was hoping it wouldn’t scare him. It didn’t at all!! I don’t know what made him happier, the sparkling candle or everyone looking at him and singing to him!

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The little banners on the front of the high chair were handmade. I had all that fabric so I cut strips of it and tied it onto twine. The “UNO” banner was made from canvas, glitter letter stickers (hot glued onto fabric), and I cut the little cactus out of green felt!

Once the candle burnt out, we sat the sweet little cake in front of him. I was so curious.. will he eat it? Is he going to spit it out? I’ve mentioned on Instagram before that Kace has issues with textures. I thought he may like the icing, but might spit the cake out due to texture. Boy, was I wrong! He got one taste of that cake, and destroyed it!! It was so cute, he couldn’t eat it fast enough! He also had lots of his friends “helping” him ;-).


No Party is Complete Without a Piñata:

Piñatas always make me nervous, but the kids love it, so I gave in and got one! It was stuffed with dumdums, clappers, and bouncy balls! We lined the kiddos up according to height. The shortest kiddos got to take a whack at it first. Kevi even held Kace up to “hit” it as well ;-). When it finally busted, hardly any candy fell out and everyone was crying– it was kind of a disaster. I ran in to grab the leftover candy and just threw it out in the yard for them all to chase after (it worked).

** When I was cleaning up the piñata mess, I realized that the stuffing wasn’t taken out-lol! I had my mom stuff it, and she didn’t know there was stuffing inside… no wonder hardly any candy fit in there-lol!!

Party Favors:

For the babies, I found those cute little painted maracas (pictured earlier) on amazon. The majority of the party decorations were ordered from amazon.. I seriously don’t know what I would do without it-haha!

For the big kids, I had planned on the piñata stuffings, bubble wands, and maracas as being the party favor, but my mom made me realize that wasn’t enough. On my last target run before the party, I snagged some Mike and Ike’s (fiesta colors right??), and glow bracelets and put them in plastic baggies with the maracas for an official party favor!

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Fun and festive! 

Overall, Kace had a blast! He got to see his sweet friends, play with maracas and try to eat balloons, and got a belly full of yummy cake!! I think all in all the party was a success- at least I hope! haha!




…..Extra Party Details:

Kace’s Get Up:

Sombrero- I ordered a pack of mini plastic sombrero, and I fancied Kace’s up a little with a hand-cut cactus and some pom pom trim that I had at the house! find the plastic sombreros here. I actually found the ones I used at Hobby Lobby– 6 for $2.99.
Shirt- Black t-shirt was purchased at Hobby Lobby for $2.99. I have a good friend with a cricut machine that cut out the letters and cactus for me to iron on Kace’s shirt!
Cactus shorts- Found at The Gypsy Wagon in Dallas. Similar here and here.
Splatter mocassins- Freshly picked — This link has them on sale!!

Shop my fiesta outfit:

Dress- Shopbop— on SUPER sale!!
Mini sombrero- I found mine at hobby lobby for only $4.99, but for convenience sake.. here is a link for online purchasing.

Party stuff:

Fiesta banners
Decorative paper fans
Fiesta table runner
Mi Casa Su Casa Doormat
Cactus napkins- I found these at different boutiques around Dallas, but I found links here, here and here
Cactus marquis light
Green Dresser: We have actually had this dresser for years. I purchased it several years ago at a consignment store for $55. It was originally dark brown.. it has been different colors over the years and different paces in the house. Most recently, I painted it bright green to go in Kace’s “southwest-feel” baby room! We brought it downstairs for the party and it served as our “drink station”.

Nice, France: Day 2

Nice, France:  Day 2

Woke up on day two, and headed to breakfast solo while Kevin was off to meet with a fellow shoulder doc for the morning. The hotel had a cute little breakfast set up, complete with croissants, fresh baguettes, jam, honey, eggs, sausage, assorted cheeses, prosciutto, and most importantly… espresso. While I enjoyed my breakfast, I planned our day’s itinerary so we would be ready to take off as soon as Kevin was back from his meeting.

The Plan: First, we would walk through the beautiful Parc du Chateau, along Port Olympia, over to Le Petit Marais (a trendy area off the beaten path from the tourist-heavy area) and that’s where we would have lunch. When Kev got back,  a few hours later than expected, we did exactly that.

The hike up to Parc du Chateau was steep, but beautiful. We had to stop several times just to gaze out at the Promenade des Anglais ( famous stretch of beach) in awe…

We strolled through the beautiful park, imagining how fun it would be to have the kids there! We meandered through winding trails down to Port Olympia, where beautiful boats were docked and cruise ships come in and out.

Port Olympia

Just as we were approaching the end of the port, it started to rain, so we ducked into our intended lunch spot, Déli Bo for a very late lunch. It was the cutest coffee shop/bistro that had great sandwiches, salads, and sweet treats. IMG_3171We sat out on the covered patio and enjoyed a delicious Niçoise salad, while watching the rain come down. We ended our lunch with some delicious little desserts. Just as we paid the bill, the rain stopped. We were able to stroll down Rue Bonaparte, to Rue Bavestro, and Rue Lascaris. The 3 streets were recommended by The Lonely Planet, and did not dissapoint. They were filled with cute/trendy boutiques and cafes.

Afterwards, we wandered Back towards the historic area of Nice, AKA Vieux Nice. We strolled along the Promenade du Paillon. A long stretch of  jungle gyms and reflection pools, perfect for families. All of the jungle gym equipment was designed to look like different sea creatures. It is the perfect spot, if you are visiting Nice with Children, to stop and enjoy! Even without kiddos, it is worth the walk-through.

After that, we headed into Vieux Nice for gelato at one of Nice’s finest spots, Finnochio.

Finnochio was located in a square area that reminded us of a piazza in Rome. There were street musicians playing the most beautiful music and we sat and took it all in! It was the perfect finish to our second day. At this point it was about 7, and the jet-lag was hitting us both. We decided to head back to the hotel and call it a night. Eze, France tomorrow!!!





The Details:

Where We Went: Parc du Chateau, Port Olympia, Petit Marais, Promenade du Paillon, Vieux Nice

Where We Ate:

  1. Breakfast at Hotel Nice Exelsior
  2. Late lunch at Déli Bo- excellent!
  3. Gelato at Finnochio- Must try! go for the passion fruit (steer away from the mint)

Where we slept: Hotel Nice Exelsior

What I Wore:

Dress- Free People

Sandals- Hinge

Purse- Jcrew (sold out, linked similar)  Similar 1 , Similar 2

Earrings- Bevello