Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Top Things to Do with Kids in Oklahoma over Spring Break

Top Things to Do with Kids in Oklahoma over Spring Break
Spring break is coming! Do you struggle with what to do with your kids over spring break? Here's a list of my top family-friendly activities if you're spending spring break in Oklahoma.

1) Oklahoma Aquarium - Jenks

The Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks would be a fun afternoon outing for the family during spring break. I think it would be hard to make a whole day of it, but you could definitely hang out there for several hours.

During spring break, the aquarium has special events including shark feeding, a beaver and otter show, and a sea turtle meet-up. The spring break schedule can be found here. If you're in the area around lunch, there's a restaurant called Los Cabos nearby that has great Mexican fare.

2) Oklahoma City Zoo

You can never go wrong with a visit to the Oklahoma City Zoo. I would suggest getting tickets for the Elephant Express tram rides. It's a great opportunity to get a break and just ride and look when your children (or adults!) have tired legs so that makes it well-worth the additional cost to me. 

During spring break, you can go to the daily animal feedings and keeper presentations. Be sure to check the schedule when you check in. The zoo has plenty of petting zoos and animal encounters to keep your little ones busy. You can bring a cooler with your own food or drinks or the zoo has a cafe on-site.

3) Sam Noble Museum - University of Oklahoma, Norman

The Sam Noble Museum of Natural History on the OU campus is one of the overlooked kid's activities in the Oklahoma City metro area. During spring break, the museum has special activities for kids all day long, including daily scavenger hunts, face painting, shows and crafts. The spring break schedule can be found here

I've been here for school field trips a few times and there's always plenty of room to roam around and lots of hands-on activities as well as a kid's play area. If you're hungry, there's a cafe in the museum's lobby or you can head over to Campus Corner and visit one of the many restaurants, including Which Which Sandwich, Pepe Delgado's, or Hideaway Pizza.

4) Arbuckle Wilderness - Davis 

Arbuckle Wilderness Animal Safari is one of our favorite day trips. Located about 60 miles south of Oklahoma City, Arbuckle Wilderness is a drive-through animal safari where you can see many different species all in one place. Be sure to pick up some animal feed at the office because you will want to feed the animals. 

You can easily get through the park in an hour or so. At this time of year, the petting zoo is not open but it's still worth a trip. You can visit their website here to check hours and directions. While you're in the area, stop by the Turner Falls Park and check out the waterfall. The fried pie shop is also along the same stretch of road. And a few miles down the road in Sulphur, you can check out the Chickasaw Cultural Center

5) Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium

Located near the Tulsa International Airport, the Tulsa Air and Space Museum & Planetarium would be a great spring break outing for the family. Admission to the Air and Space Museum includes one Planetarium show but you can purchase tickets for additional planetarium shows if you'd like. 

When you drive up to the museum, you'll immediately notice the airplane that is parked outside between the museum and the planetarium. This is the MD-80 discovery center and it's a must-see if you're in the area. You can actually go inside and it's a flight theater that features a hologram. The museum also has a kid's play space area that is a hands-on flight simulator. While you're in Tulsa, you might as well stop by Tally's Good Food to get some good food.

Related blogs:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Entryway Makeover Reveal

Entryway Makeover Reveal

Today, I wanted to share the entryway makeover that I teased about a couple weeks ago. I'm really happy with how this project turned out. Although I loved the things I had in here before, I think this is a big upgrade to the area.

First, the console cabinet is something I got a few years ago at a local furniture store. I fell in love with it the minute I saw it. It's the perfect place to display some of the crystal and elephant figurines I have. It has LED lights inside, which is a nice touch. I have not been able to get a timer to work with the LED lights so I leave them on 24/7.

I've also had the picture on the wall for a few years. I really like the metallic "keys" inside the glass panes.

I got the gold candelabra for Christmas. It did not come with the pillar candles. I got a set of battery-operated LED candles on They come with a remote that you can use to set the candles to come on at a certain time and go off at a certain time. The LED lights can either flicker or stay solid. I have my candles come on every day at about 4:30 pm and they say on for 8 hours. (Options are 4 hours or 8 hours.)

Emily and I put together the little flower arrangement with supplies from the local craft store. It's simple but I love the pop of cream with all the blue and gold.

I can't decide if the carved nesting boxes or the blue vases are my favorite part of this arrangement. Or maybe it's the mercury glass bottles?

Noah helped me get some pictures in the entryway. I certainly appreciated all his help.

I think Noah likes the new decorations too. He knows where the remote to the candles is hidden and he likes to turn them on early sometimes.

I'd always been a little unsure what to do with the open area at the bottom of the console cabinet. It's so low that it's hard to find anything that will fit and not get lost in the shadows. When I was shopping for Christmas, I found these white platters and bowls that I thought would be perfect to brighten up the area.

The platters are pretty huge, but I think they make an impact. I'm sure I'll find an opportunity to use them when I'm entertaining. I love the pretty beading along the edge.

The rug is also new. The rug I had was red and it didn't really match with the blue color scheme. I think this muted blue wool rug is perfect. It does require a non-slip pad underneath it, which is annoying to say the least. But it's worth it. So, that's what I've got.

I hope it's given you some ideas that you can use in your space. I've linked some of the products that I used below (some affiliates used.)

Here are links to some of the products pictured in this blog post:

I'd love to see your decorating. Leave a link in the comments and I'll check it out!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Easy Crispy Apple Fritters

Easy Crispy Apple Fritters

The hot and crispy apple fritters at the local donut shop are one of Mike's favorite pastries. He's been asking me to make some at home for quite a while so Emily and I gave it a shot last weekend. Everybody at my house likes recipe testing because they get to eat the results. 

The apples are the real star in this dish. For this recipe, I used Granny Smith apples and chopped them up very finely, even more finely than what's shown in this picture. Then the addition of apple juice and loads of cinnamon really make this recipe WOW.

I think the key to crispy fritters is having the correct oil temperature. Shoot for 375 degrees or medium-high on your dial. The apple fritters will fry up fairly quickly at this temp but they will turn out crispy and delicious.

The apple juice glaze is the perfect little addition to this recipe. You can dip both sides of the fritters or just one. I opted for dipping one side only and they were perfect.

These fritters were a huge hit with my family and I have a feeling they'll be asking me to make these again very soon. They were so easy that I'd be happy to oblige!

Try this recipe today and let me know if you love it, too.

Yield: 3 dozen frittersPin it

Easy Crispy Apple Fritters

Apple juice and loads of cinnamon really kick this fritter recipe up a notch. And it's much easier than you'd think. Try this on Saturday morning and impress your whole family.
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 35 mins


For the Fritters
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp apple pie spice or nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 3 tart apples, finely chopped
For the Glaze
  • powdered sugar
  • apple juice


  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, salt, cinnamon, apple pie spice, baking powder, and sugar. Add in egg yolks, buttermilk, and apple juice. In a small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form then gently fold into fritter batter. Fold in finely diced apples.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together powdered sugar and apple juice into a thin icing consistency. Set aside. 
  3. Heat oil in a heavy skillet to 375 degrees or medium-high. Drop batter into hot oil using a large spoon or metal cookie scoop. Cook until golden brown then flip. Remove crispy fritter onto paper towel to drain.
  4. Let fritters cool slightly then dip into glaze. Dip one side or both!


Best served hot.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Weekly Wrap-up

Weekly Wrap-up
Well, it's been another busy week for us. What about you?

Popular Posts this week

  1. Fudgy Brownies
  2. Weekly Wrap-up
  3. Creamy Banana Pudding

Looking back ...

One of the nice things about this week was the weather! It was windy a couple of days but the pretty spring-like days are just what I like to see. Even my daffodils started popping up. I can't believe how tiny some of my daffodils are! I knew the early-bloomers were going to be small, but I did not think they would be THAT small. The King Alfred-type daffodils are getting ready to bloom soon, too. The picture below is from Monday when the tiny daffodils just started blooming.

Baby Daffodils

We had Noah's Seussical play on Tuesday night. Noah did such a great job but next time I will try very hard to get to the school earlier so that I can get a better seat. Since the play is over, Noah has cut down on watching the Dr. Seuss videos on the iPad, so that's a relief for my ears.

Emily got her phone back recently. She'd lost her phone because of her grades but the grades have improved quite a lot. She also had picture day at school this week. We haven't really done any spring clothing shopping yet so we had to run out one night and find something for her to wear for picture day. I wish I'd snapped a picture before she left for school, but we were running short on time. She looked so cute though. We curled her hair with her Beachwaver curling iron that she got for Christmas. That thing is pretty cool - it rolls the hair up for you. We need to do a review on it so that you can see how it works.

On Saturday afternoon, we went out to Kitchen Lake for a little picnic. We took sub sandwiches from Jimmy Johns, some Cheetos, cookies and M&Ms. Maybe not your typical picnic fare, but it's what I had in the pantry. The weather was nice and not too windy, which was a nice change. There were a few people out fishing at the lake that day. One guy told us that the crappie were biting but we did not see anyone catch any fish (although we couldn't see much of the activity along the banks from our picnic table.) 

I posted the brownie recipe for you, but I'd intended to write up a recipe for apple fritters for you to try. I'm also working on a recipe for a tater tot breakfast casserole that's totally customizable depending on your taste preferences. We like it hot, but I know that's not for everyone.

Probably the biggest news is that I'm moving my blog to Wordpress. That has taken a huge amount of time and effort considering that I have over 700 blog posts, but it lets me have complete control over my website. I've been really limited on certain tweaks with my current blog hosting. So, the design is going to change soon and you might not be able to reach my site sometimes while I get everything moved over. I'm also going to write up some helpful tips for anyone else who is thinking about making a blog.

This picture below is the daffodils in the front flower bed today with the King Alfred-types starting to bloom. I can't wait to see what they look like in another week.

Looking forward ...

Noah has picture day at school this week. I need to check his closet and see if he has anything to wear so that I can plan a shopping trip if needed.

We also have parent/teacher conferences later this week. Both kids are out of school on Friday and then spring break is the following week. We have some fun things planned and we're pretty excited for spring break to get here.

I'm going to be posting a recipe for those apple fritters that I mentioned on the blog and I'm also planning to show you the finished entryway makeover. Noah has been asking me to let him write a blog post so you might even get a surprise. I told him that he needs to learn how to type first though.

Tell me about your weekend! How's the weather been where you live?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

In My Humble Opinion

In My Humble Opinion

My humble opinion today is something that makes absolutely no sense to me and I'm interested to see if other people share my opinion on this one. So, every week day I walk with Noah to the bus stop. It's right around the corner from our house and he could certainly walk by himself but this morning walk gives us an opportunity to talk about the world around us.

As we stand on the sidewalk and wait for the bus, I noticed that one of the houses still has their Christmas decorations up. It's well into March at this point in the year! That makes no sense to me. At least they took down the Christmas inflatable that was still in their yard in early-February. But what about the lights and garland and all the rest of it? We've had plenty of days and weekends with nice weather so that can't be an excuse.

A couple days this week, I went for a walk around the neighborhood after the bus left and I noticed that another house one street over still had Christmas lights on their trees.  There's another house on the corner of my street that still has Christmas lights up on their house? I don't understand it. It's March, people!

The thoughts in my head go like this:

  1. Has something happened to the people who live here? Are they not okay? Has anyone seen them recently?
  2. Is it a military family or a missing person situation where they're not going to celebrate Christmas until their family member comes home?
  3. Do they need help getting their Christmas lights down? Need to borrow my ladder? 
Maybe I need to go over there and ask if I can help? No, I'll just sit here and complain.

Faith in Humanity: 

Now it's your turn. How long do you normally leave your Christmas decorations up? I usually leave mine up at least a couple weeks into January just because I'm busy, but never longer than that!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Fudgy Brownies

Fudgy Brownies
How was your Wednesday?

I was not planning to post about brownies tonight but some things you just have to share.

After Noah got home from school, he helped me whip up a pan of brownies for dessert. We'd done really well getting together all the wet ingredients and he helped me stir it all together. 

Then he was helping me read the recipe on my phone and I was getting the dry ingredients out of the cabinet for him. I'd put the flour in the bowl and was digging through the cabinet looking for the baking soda when a can of baking powder fell into the brownie bowl. The flour went all over Noah - on his shirt, on his face, in his ear!

I'm probably pretty lucky that he wasn't super mad at me since it was all my fault, but he thought it was hilarious! I recorded a little video of him for your viewing pleasure. 

Don't tell me you didn't smile while you were watching that excited little boy.

Despite all the flour we lost, we did end up getting the brownies baked up and they turned out great. They only take 30 minutes to bake so it's perfect for those busy weeknights. 

They are perfect with a tall glass of milk. We were a bit low on milk tonight though so we didn't do that. 

And I can vouch for this one  - they're also very good with a scoop of ice cream and some caramel sauce drizzled on top. Doesn't that look wonderful?

Yield: 12 pieces 

Rich, Fudgy Brownies

These brownies are so rich and fudgy that they don't require any frosting. And they are easy to make in one bowl, no mixer required. How much easier can you get?
prep time: 10 MINScook time: 30 MINStotal time: 40 mins


  • 6 T. cocoa powder + 1 T. oil
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) margarine
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 c. chopped nuts


  1. Mix cocoa and oil. Add margarine and melt in microwave.
  2. Cool slightly. Add sugar and eggs, mix well.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, and salt to the chocolate mixture.
  4. Stir in nuts and vanilla.
  5. Pour batter into a greased 13 X 9 inch pan.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Don't forget to pin this recipe so that you can find it later!

Do you prefer brownies with icing on the top? Or do you think the icing is unnecessary? No icing for me!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Seussical the Musical

Seussical the Musical
This evening, we went to Noah's school play. His class did Seussical the Musical for a very crowded audience of family and friends. Nanny met us for the performance. 

The play was really cute. Noah tried out for a speaking part, but the teacher had so many kids who wanted to be on stage that she just drew names. Noah didn't get a part but he was in the chorus.

 Seussical the Musical program at elementary school

All the kids got to color their own Dr. Seuss hat. I thought Noah did a really good job with his hat. And of course, he picked a blue fish. 

Dr Seuss play

I got stuck on a work call this afternoon and we ended up barely getting to the school on time so we did not get a good seat. Once the play started, I could barely see Noah because he was standing on the bottom row. Whenever the chorus would start singing, a dozen people in front of me would get their phones out and start recording or taking pictures. Every time I would get my camera focused, someone else would put their phone up in front of me. I'm sure I was doing the same thing to the three rows of people at the very back of the cafeteria too. Haha!

Noah with his Dr. Seuss hat

After the program, the music teacher let the kids go get a cookie then I got to get a couple pictures of Noah in front of the stage. He was distracted by all the people and not standing still so I didn't manage to get a good picture but he is so cute anyway!

I know he had so much fun performing and we could not be prouder. Good job Noah!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Creamy Banana Pudding

Creamy Banana Pudding

The Best Creamy Banana Pudding Recipe

Banana Pudding Recipe with sweetened condensed milk and Cool Whip

The other day, Mike requested banana pudding for dessert. I replied, "We just had banana pudding the other weekend!" He didn't care and the kids were all enthusiastically onboard with the idea too. This is one of our favorite desserts and I thought I'd share the recipe with you today. 

I normally just put the banana pudding into one serving bowl and put vanilla wafers around the top but Emily helped me serve these in our fancy parfait cups with some extra Cool Whip on top. I put the leftover banana pudding into a smaller serving bowl for another day.


I always make my banana pudding the lighter way with Lite Cool Whip and fat-free sweetened condensed milk. To me, it doesn't make a big difference in the taste or texture of the dessert. To me, what does make a difference is using generic pudding mix. When I have used generic pudding mix, the pudding is not as thick and creamy so, I always use Jell-O brand pudding.  

If you have any questions about this recipe, please ask in the comments and I'd be happy to help.

Yield: 8 ServingsPin it

Creamy Banana Pudding

This banana pudding is a family favorite. It's what banana pudding dreams are made of and you will not regret trying this recipe today. Your family will thank you!
prep time: 10 MINScook time: total time: 10 mins


  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (8 ounce) container Cool Whip
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1 (3.5 ounce) Jell-O banana cream pudding mix
  • 3-4 bananas
  • 1 (11 ounce) box Vanilla Wafers


  1. In large bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, water, and pudding mix. Mix well. (I put in a bowl with a tight lid and shake to combine.) Refrigerate 5 minutes until thickened. Stir in Cool Whip.
  2. In serving bowl, layer vanilla wafers, 1/2 bananas, and 1/2 pudding. Repeat layers. Top with vanilla wafers. 
  3. Chill a few hours to overnight to let the vanilla wafers soften. 


Use Lite Cool Whip if desired. Garnish with additional Cool Whip and vanilla wafers.

Don't forget to pin this recipe so that you can find it later!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Weekly Wrap-up

Weekly Wrap-up
How are you? Did you have a fun weekend?

Popular Posts this week

  1. Dark Chocolate Mousse
  2. So Ready for Spring
  3. Make-Ahead Lasagna

Looking back ...

With the warmer weather in Oklahoma, it was a lot easier to get up and moving this week. Noah and I got to walk on the sunny side of life several days this week. One morning, we were walking to the bus stop and Noah mentioned that The Sunny Side of Life was a good name for a blog. I looked up sunnysideoflife and the .com name was taken but the owner has not built a website for it. The website I was looking at said they would try to get the website name for me for "only" $69.99 + commission. Hmmm.  Then I looked up thesunnysideoflife and the .com name was available but it's considered a premium site name and it would cost $2595 + $14.95 per year. Wow! I think that's a little bit outside of my budget. I agree that it would be the perfect blog name though. 

Emily's piano lesson was on Thursday afternoon and the kids went over to Nanny's after school. They went to eat with Nanny so Mike and I went to eat Mexican food.  Luckily, we got a good table in a quiet part of the restaurant so, I can't complain. This Mexican place has wonderful grilled veggies. I always get a double order of those for my sides and I just love it.

Enchiladas with Grilled Veggies

On Friday evening, we went to cousin Mason's birthday party. It was really a lot of fun. Emily and Noah always enjoy spending time with the other kids. It was also our wedding anniversary. 

This weekend, we did some recipe testing. I'm going to be posting more about that another night, but here's a little hint.

Granny Smith Apples

I created a Facebook page for my blog. You can go here to visit the Facebook page or you can use the buttons below to Like and Share so that you can get future updates when I post.

Looking forward ...

Noah has a program at school this week. All the students in his grade are doing a version of Seussical the Musical. Noah has been singing the songs and watching videos of other kids doing the play online. We're excited to go see the play.

I have several recipes that I'm going to be posting about this week. The whole family gets into the recipe testing and photography, which I love. The blog has been good for us. I hope you're enjoying reading along.

What's the most fun thing you did this weekend? Baby time! And cooking!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Make-Ahead Tater Tot Casserole

Make-Ahead Tater Tot Casserole
How was your Saturday?

We had a good day babysitting for a friend. We call it baby time. Noah is already asking when we can have baby time again. I totally agree! It was a lot of fun.

For supper tonight, I made a family favorite - Tater Tot Casserole. This is a recipe that's so easy to make but everyone in my family will happily eat it. That's not something that happens around here every day! My kids are pretty good eaters though.

Make-Ahead Tater Tot Casserole on plate

Sometimes I make this with only one can of cream of mushroom soup. A lot of times, it just depends on what I have in the pantry. This is one of those meals that are totally customizable. You could easily add onions to the ground beef or add additional spices. For my family, I like to keep it simple. It's really delicious. 

Tater Tot Casserole

Don't the golden tater tots and melty cheese look glorious? This is a definite must-try recipe!

Yield: 12 servingsPin it

Easy Make-Ahead Tater Tot Casserole

This family favorite is easy to put together and can be made ahead and refrigerated until it's time to bake.
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 45 MINStotal time: 60 mins


  • 2 lbs ground beef hamburger meat
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 (2 lb) package frozen tater tots


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Brown ground beef and drain well. 
  3. Mix ground beef and mushroom soup then spread into greased 13X9 casserole dish.
  4. Sprinkle cheese on top of ground beef. Top with tater tots. 
  5. Bake uncovered 45 minutes. 


Serve with sour cream and/or ketchup.

Don't forget to pin this recipe so that you can try it later!

Make-Ahead Tater Tot Casserole Pin

Have you ever made Tater Tot Casserole? Did you add-in anything else to it? What do you serve it with?

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