Fun Spring Break Activities for You and the Kids


Your calendar says Spring Break. Do you think a great time to relax and recharge or what am I going to do everyday with the kids?  I asked all my favorite moms what their go-to activity is over Spring Break. Click on the pictures from more information about the activities.

1. Plant Magic Jelly Beans to see what they grow they next day! -Annmarie, mom of Pax age 5 and Pyper age 4

magicbean-SeeJaneBlog 2.  Library trips or bookstore visits for browsing and/or buying some new books or just reading- especially on rainy days. When the sun is out, gardening- Charley loves to help dig holes and water flowers! – Courtney, mom of Charley, age 3

20 PICTURE BOOK_the book diaries

Gardening with Kids _ Craftionary

3. I pick a theme and do activities around it (one a day) to create an at home camp. Here’s one we did for fairies: Fairy Fun. We also do Easter activities like color eggs and make peep houses. -Nina mom of Norah age 8, Finn age 6 and Aidan age 4

Peeps Houses by Yesterfood 2
4.  I like to bake with the kids. The more hands on – the better. It usually ends up messy – but I let them taste things along the way and then the finished project. It takes a while, and helps fill up space with a sweet reward at the end. -Lindsay mom of Cole age 4 and Amelia almost age 3


You can click here to read a previous post I wrote about Spring Break Activities I love to do: Spring Break Vacations Maureen, mom of Olivia age 3.5

Thanks to my fabulous and creative mom friends who shared their go-to spring break activity for this post. Thanks to See Jane Blog, The Book Diaries Blog, Craftionary, Les Petites Presents, Yesterfood, and Become a Better Baker for their fun activities!  Are you home with the kids either this week or next week?  What do you have planned? Day trips, craft activities, games?  Leave me a comment and let me know.  Happy Spring!

My Friday Favorites 03.27.15

 FF pink green brown
Tick, tock, just a few more hours until the weekend, and for me Spring Break!
Let’s jump right in and talk about all the things I am loving this week.

On TV – #DidHeCheat Shonda Rhimes has gone back to the basics with Grey’s Anatomy for the past few weeks. I know what some of you are saying – you still watch that show?  Yes I do! And if you loved it when it first started, you would like the direction it is going in now. Interesting cases about patients we care about. Lots of action in the on-call rooms (Owen and Amelia!?  Even though I am not happy that Amelia and James from Private Practice didn’t last, I am happy that Owen can finally kiss someone without hot grate steam all over him.) Hanging out in the back hallway on the gurneys talking about Izzy, George, and when Callie was straight!  When Meredith called Derrick and another woman answered her phone, she kept asking “Who is this?” And the only answer she could come up with is the same answer Addison Montgomery came up with when she met Meredith in the Season 1 finale.


“You must be the woman sleeping with my husband.”

greysanatomy_meetaddisonThat brings us to last night’s episode. Did he or didn’t he? I guess it doesn’t matter what we think, just what Meredith thinks. It also didn’t take Hunt long to show his short temper to Amelia (helloooo this isn’t Cristina, take it down a notch. And did anyone else forget he lives in the trailer?)  My final thought: Alex Karev is still my favorite!

On the Page –  Real Simple Magazine is celebrating 15 years.  The subscriber cover for April 2015 is a celebration of years of Real Simple. So many of these covers I remember keeping for months just because I loved the way they looked!  The single lemon on the Back to Basic Cleaning issue, The No Cost Makeover with the apple green wall, Organize Your Life with the turquoise and orange boxes, How to Save Money all Year Long with the granny smith apples  – all of these lasted on my desk for inspiration for months after they came in the mail.  I have subscribed to this magazine for many years and it is always one that I renew, without even a question.  


On the Computer- This article has shown up on my Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds recently.  The Costs of Parenting: Stay Home or Return to Work? A Personal and Professional Decision With Financial Implications. This is a conversation I have had with many friends lately. Is there a way to balance work and home so I am happy with what I am doing in both places?  Am I making enough money to even justify having a job outside of the home, or is my paycheck going to childcare?This article gives the hard facts (dollar signs) of what it costs to raise a child and how it will effect your paycheck.  I also love that they chose a man for the picture. Warning: Contents of the article may be slightly depressing. Click carefully. 

Costs of Parenting

In the Kitchen- I have been eating a lot of roasted butternut squash lately (I know it is a fall veggie, but I buy it organic frozen to enjoy all year.) I searched the web to find some recipes with my new favorite go-to ingredient. I found Fusilli with Mushrooms and Roasted Butternut Squash from Primavera Kitchen. Looks great doesn’t it?  Not only does it have butternut squash AND pasta (yum) but it has my other must-haves when reading a recipe -the words EASY and DELICIOUS!


On my Pinterest Boards-  I started following this board on Pinterest this week – Post-Its.  The pin I like most on this board led me to this blog Five Ways We Love to Use Post-It Notes from Eighteen25.

post-it notes from eighteen25

On My Wish List-  How great would these lime green office accessories by Poppin look on my desk? Their tagline is work happy.  I would if I had all these supplies!

lime green desk supplies by poppin

On my Twitter Feed- @theorderexpert Brighten up your office with this collection of decorative file folders!

Decorative Folders from the order expert

What are some of the things you are loving this week? Leave me a comment and let me know what made your Friday Favorites list. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.

The 500th Comment Contest Winner

It has been quite awhile since my friend Courtney won The 500th Comment Contest, so long in fact, that I actually already have the winner for the 600th Comment Contest! (Insert a bunch of embarrassed emojis here!) I have owed Courtney her prize forever and I finally gave it to her this past week, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

My Color-Coded Life_comment contest winner2

I included a nip of whiskey, Baileys, my Irish Coffee recipe and a few Thin Mints is a shamrock bag. I hope Courtney and her husband are able to enjoy a nice Irish Coffee! Read here for all my Favorite Irish Coffee Recipes including my own: The Best Irish Coffee Recipes.

Congrats to Courtney for making the 500th comment on my blog and winning The 500th Comment Contest. Thank you for being a faithful reader, Facebook “liker” and all around encourager for me to keep blogging.

Wondering what other prizes I have given away?  Check out the following:

The 100th Comment Contest 

The 200th Comment Contest 

The 300th Comment Contest 

The 400th Comment Contest 

Next up, congratulations to Cassie for making the 600th Comment. Prize to come, in a much more timely manner!

Thanks to everyone for reading.  Want to win a fun prize? Well you have to start making comments on my blog! Here is to the next 100 comments.

My Friday Favorites 03.20.15

Hope everyone had a fabulous week.
Here are all the things I am loving! Enjoy!

On TV – This week I started watching the new Netflix show The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  When I read about it, I knew it had all the ingredients to be great. Tina Fey, Robert Carlock, Jane Krakowski, and Ellie Kemper- how can you go wrong with this combination?. They do not disappoint. There are many laugh out loud moments in this comedy about a young woman who moves to New York after being held captive in a bunker for fifteen years.  


On the Page –  Country Living April 2015  a collection of antique stoves, an updated farmhouse reveal, decorating with neutral colors, tasty recipes, and the reoccurring “What is It? What is it Worth?” are just a few of the reasons I keep flipping through this issue. 

country living april 2015

On the Computer-  I am completely guilty of taking a stack of photographs, throwing them in a decorative box and saying, “ok – those are organized.”  Just because they are out of sight and out of mind does not mean they are organized!  Check out How to Organize Photos from Organizing Made Fun

how to organize your photos

I absolutely love #5 on this list.  It’s so true, get rid of photos that you don’t want.  I read this tip in Anthony from Sex in the City’s voice, channeling the scene where Carrie crosses off the 76th guest on her wedding invite list.  “Cut throat — I love it. I hope you’re that decisive when it comes to the location and the dress.”  If the photo is of poor quality, a bunch of people you don’t even really know (college party), ex- boyfriends (really, no need) just be cut throat!  Toss them out! 


On my Pinterest Boards-  I have been very dedicated to prepping meals ahead of time so I am making healthy choices and we can still have family dinners even when my husband and I are working all day.  I found this pin on a new board I am following: Best Blogger Recipes.  The pin took me to a great site New Leaf Wellness and the post 17 Freezer Meal Prep Sessions That Will Change Your Life.  You know me – I love discovering things that will change my life for the better!  

 Prep Sessions from New Leaf Wellness

On the scoreboard – March Madness is in full effect!  I love the NCAA Basketball tournament and look forward to filling out a bracket and watching all of the high stakes games.  This year my alma mater is a #1 seed.  I have them going all the way, even beating Kentucky in the final game!  The last time they won was in 1985, maybe thirty years later they will win the grand prize again.  Good luck to the Villanova Wildcats! V for Villanova, V for Victory!


What are some of the things you are loving this week? Leave me a comment and let me know what made your Friday Favorites list. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. 

Using Kitchen Items to Organize Your Life

HHH ginghamInspired by an article I read in HGTV Magazine’s March issue, today’s Helpful Hump-day Hints show how I use everyday kitchen items to organize my life.

I’ll start with the most obvious – coffee mugs.  I have a ton of coffee mugs (it is the go-to teacher gift, people must think we love telling ourselves we are the “world’s best” or “#1″ each time we sip our java.)  I’m also extremely guilty of purchasing new mugs that I think are cute, even though I absolutely do not need anymore at all!

This adorable owl mug serves a different purpose in our house.  It is the home of the lost toys!  Anytime I find some small piece to a game, puzzle, or princess somewhere around the house, I put it in this owl mug.  When I hear “Mommy, I can’t find….”  I point to the owl mug.  Sometimes I see my daughter checking it all on her own. When we are doing a big clean up, the stuff in the mug goes back to its rightful home.

owl mug _my color coded life

Currently in the owl mug are Elsa’s crown, Anna’s boot, an acorn from The Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game, the letter N, and even a Ninja Turtle accessory. (Pax’s mom – if you are reading this and he is saying – “Mommy I can’t find”….. it’s in the owl mug! We have it!)

lost toys_mycolorcodedlife

My next coffee mug organizer is my favorite apple green polka dot mug which holds my sharpie collection.

apple green mug _mycolorcodedlife

I even use a coffee mug at school to hold my sharpies, dry erase markers, bookmarks for my students, and my glasses. My kids know they can use the stuff in the mug, but everything (except the bookmarks) must be returned. Things heard in Room 415: “Who has Ms. Mullin’s green sharpie?  It’s not in the mug!”

school desk _mycolorcodedlife

My classroom colors are orange, apple green (of course) and some shades of aqua and navy.  I also have a chevron theme going on.  When I saw this orange chevron bowl in the kitchenware section of Target, it jumped off the shelf and into my cart.   It’s perfect for holding paperclips, thumbtacks, and rubberbands.

desk accesories 2_mycolorcodedlife

You know what I do not do a lot of in the kitchen?  Bake bread.  Do you know what I do spend time doing? Measuring out medicine, cleaning medicine cups at the sink and pouring water to wash it all down. Even though I do have a place for all our medicines in our linen closet, there are some go-to night time Rxs that I keep all together in my fancy Williams-Sanoma-I’ve-never-baked-a-loaf-of-bread-in tin.

bread tin_mycolorcodedlife

Cough medicine, TheraFlu, and a thermometer all fit perfectly and can be stored away in a cabinet, or in my case, right on top of the refrigerator.

bread tin 2_mycolorcodedlife

On my vanity in my room, I keep an egg cup.  The jewelry I wear most often I keep in it so it’s easily accessible. This way I can just grab and go when getting ready, instead of digging through my larger jewelry box that has all the necklaces, bracelets, and earrings I have ever owned.


You can read a post I wrote once before about egg cups and why they make an unusual, but great engagement gift here: Egg Cups Aren’t Just for Eggs. 


The last item isn’t necessarily a “kitchen” item, but mine began piling up in the kitchen before I thought of a good use for them.  What am I talking about?  All of the tin lids to my mason jar candles.  Even when my candles aren’t lit, they still make a room smell great, so I never put the lids back on them.  I couldn’t figure out what to do with these and they started piling up in my kitchen cabinets.  Finally, I realized they were like mini trays and could corral smaller items.  Here I have a travel size lotion and hand sanitizer that I keep in our bathroom.

jar top trays_mycolorcodedlife

Do you use any everyday kitchen items to help you keep your life organized?  Leave me a comment and let me know.  I love hearing about new ways to use things already lying around the house – especially if it helps makes things neater and simpler! Thanks for reading!

Using Kitchen Items to Organize Your Life _ CCL

I want to send out a special thanks to my colleague, Christy Chang, for taking the beautiful pictures in this post. 

The Best Irish Coffee Recipes

St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, partly because I enjoy a good cup of Irish Coffee! Here are a list of my favorite Irish Coffee Recipes.

The Original Irish Coffee

original irish coffee

picture from

Bailey’s Irish Coffee


picture from She Knows

Buena Vista Irish Coffee

Buena Vista Irish Coffee

picture from Pop Sugar

Irish Coffee Sundae


picture from HGTV

I had to include this, even though it is not coffee, but look at these Irish Coffee Cupcakes!

Irish Coffee Cupcakes _cakeblog

picture from The Cake Blog

Click here for my Irish Coffee Recipe

From our family to yours, wishing you a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow this St. Patrick’s Day!


My Friday Favorites 03.13.15

 FF apples grn
The weekend is almost here – only a few hours to go!
Here are all my favorite things this week.

On TV – My husband and I finally started and caught up on Empire. LOVE. Who will inherit it all? Cookie told Lucious the harsh truth this week: “You just don’t want to die alone.” (Now let me go call my bodyguard, like Whitney Houston.)


On the Page –  House Beautiful March 2015 -  with it’s bright color palettes and floral arrangement accents, this issue is all about spring.  I entered the “Name this Paint Color Contest.”  I had two ideas for this shade, and after I submitted one, I realized you could only enter once! The name I entered was Monet’s Gardens and the one I wish I had entered was Pop of Pistachio.  What would you name this green hue? Click here to enter: House Beautiful Name this Color Contest

House Beautiful March 2015


Name that Color Contest _ House Beautiful

On the Computer- Check out this ultimate Bucket List of travel destinations: 10 of the Most Colorful Places on Earth from PurewowBreathtaking photos that make you wonder – am I looking at a painting or do these places really exist?

Golden Sea Luoping China “Golden Sea” Luoping, China. Picture from Purewow

On my Pinterest Boards-  It’s no secret that St. Patty’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I love the Irish sayings and blessings that talk about luck and good fortune.  I found these adorable printables  on The All Time Favorite Printables Pinterest Board which was pinned from The 36th Avenue. Aren’t they perfect March decorations?

St Patricks Printables_the36thavenuepicture from The 36th Avenue

In the Kitchen – From one of my favorite food blogs, here is the recipe I will be making this weekend to serve on March 17.  Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie.  Recipe makes 6 servings. Weight Watcher PointsPlus = 9 per serving.

Vegetarian-Shepherds-Pie_Scrumptious Pumpkin picture from The Scrumptious Pumpkin

On My Playlist – Madonna’s new album Rebel Heart came out this week.  I have been a Madonna fan since elementary school, so I had already pre-ordered the album through iTunes.  I have been playing it in the car to and from work each day and some tracks on it remind me a lot of my all-time favorite Madonna album “Like a Prayer.” Billboard Magazine ranked Madonna’s albums from her worst to her best.  I am sure it was a hard assignment, but I have to agree with them on many of their order choices.  World tour tickets go on sale Monday!


On My Twitter Feed – Glamour @glamourmag 5 ways to freshen up your home–and get more organized–just in time for spring.

spring_organizing_ideasHope you had a great week.  What are you reading, watching, pinning, and enjoying? Do you have an ultimate travel Bucket List? Leave me a comment and let me know the things you are loving this week.  Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading!

Happy 3rd Birthday My Color-Coded Life

CCL_3Thank you for continuing to read My Color-Coded Life.  I hope it has helped you out in some way, large or small, to organize or find systems that work for you. Am I the most organized person in the world?  No, I am not.  I’m just trying to hold it all together while working and taking care of my family and home. At this three year mark of blogging, I want to take a moment and thank my wonderful husband who helps keep our family and home together every single day. I could not do any of this without him and the fact that he tolerates me taking pictures and blogging to the world is another huge bonus! I first started this blog as a creative outlet for myself, but am so pleased at how many of you have joined in as faithful readers and commenters. Happy 3rd Birthday to My Color-Coded Life and THANK YOU for stopping by and reading.

My Friday Favorites 03.06.15

FF pink green brown
Happy Friday!  Here is my weekly round-up of my favorites for this week.  Enjoy!

On TV –  I have finally caught up on a lot of shows. Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, Chicago Fire & PD, SVU and How to Get Away with Murder (the ending did surprise me! My husband and I thought it was Bonnie for sure.) Still on our DVR: Empire and Suits. My pick this week is a show that I started on Netflix this summer and am now watching the current (last?) season live. Hart of Dixie. Although they have been through hook-ups, break-ups, and other boyfriends and girlfriends, this week Zoe and Wade reminded us of why we fell in love with them in the first place.  Zoe asks Wade to stop flirting with every woman he comes across and we get to see these two characters at their funniest.

Hart of Dixie Zoe and Wade

On the Page –  HGTV Magazine March 2015. Kitchen items to organize your whole house, such as a lazy susan for your nail polish, muffin tins to keep small craft items, or latte bowls for desk accessories (I have a orange chevron bowl on my desk at work for paper clips.)  Fun decorating tips, Flea Market Flips, and my favorite the High / Low List (perfect for those who like the look of expensive things, but don’t want to break the bank.) I’m reading this issue cover to cover. 


On the Computer- I found this great post about how to organize your reusable bags. I am so tired of my bags being stuffed into one another, piled up, and creating a general eye sore in my kitchen, the trunk of my car and even my classroom. Project Organize your ENTIRE LIFE How to Store Reusable Bags from Modern Parents Messy Kids is just the motivation I needed to organize this messy area of my life.

Storing Reusable Bags from Modern Parent Messy Kidspicture from Modern Parents Messy Kids 

On my Pinterest Boards-  I’ve been trying to decide how to display these map magnets. I know I want them in our master bedroom since we have a map theme going on in that room.

map magnets

Off to Pinterest I went! I found this pin on the board Frugal Living: Dollar Store and liked the idea of displaying them on trays.  The pin led me first to Mod Podge Rocks which led me to the origin of the magnetic trays on Simplicity in the South.  I then circled back around and followed all of Simplicity in the South’s boards on Pinterest! DIY, Maps, House Makeovers, Organization – it seemed to make a lot of sense to follow her! 

Magnetic Map Trays
picture from Simplicity in the South 

In the Kitchen - I had a craving for fish tacos this week and I experimented to figure out how to satisfy the taste I was looking for while still sticking to my Weight Watchers Plan. I came up with two options.

First – 1 flour tortilla, grilled tilapia (half of a medium size piece), shredded cabbage, 1 tablespoon of corn & chile salsa from Trader Joe’s, yellow and orange peppers (tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted.) Weight Watcher PointsPlus = 5 

Second – 1 flour tortilla, grilled tilapia (half of a medium size piece), shredded cabbage, 1/8 of an avocado, 1/8 cup of black beans, 2 tablespoons of Cilantro Lime Sauce (see recipe below.) Weight Watcher PointsPlus = 7

Cilantro Lime Sauce from Cocina Marie – delicious!  I divided the amount of mayo in half and added more greek yogurt to bring WW point value down. In addition to the tacos, I have used it as salad dressing and as dip with chips.

Cilantro Lime Sauce by Cocina Marie

picture from Cocina Marie 

On My Wish List –  I first noticed this great skirt on Jillian Harris’s instagram, which led me to PartySkirts by SKOT. Of course, I was drawn to this bright green hue. Skirts come in three lengths: full, lady length, or short and in a variety of bold colors such as red apple, teacher’s pet purple, and my favorite below, “highlighter.”

PartySkirts by SKOT

On My Facebook Newsfeed- Look what color Better Homes and Gardens says is a soothing color to paint your bedroom. I guess my knack for decorating and color palettes started all the way back when I was 5, when I picked out my first color to paint my childhood bedroom.

bhg_apple bedroom

In My Scrapbook- I am wishing for spring, but the weather is set on staying with winter for now.  Here is one of my favorite pictures of me and my mom.  She would have been 81 yesterday. 

mom_maureen _ pgt

Hope your week was fabulous.  What are you loving this week? Leave me a comment and let me know what you are cooking, reading and pinning.  Have a great weekend, and thanks for reading!

New Year’s Resolutions – 2 month check-in

NY Resolutions

Today is March 1 and a great time to check in on my New Year’s resolutions. In all honesty, I’m not one who usually makes resolutions.  When I started thinking about it at the end of last year, I began writing A LOT of things down. When I looked at my crazy list, I laughed and thought, well this could be a recipe for disaster! No need to set myself up to fail. I started to look for trends to see if maybe I could identify bigger categories to focus on.

Here is what I came up with:

BE HEALTHY – this came from

  • 1 cup of coffee a day that I brew – no spending $$$
  • back on Weight Watchers – lose weight
  • start an exercise routine

BUILD RELATIONSHIPS – this came from

  • more family time
  • more “me” time
  • unplug more

How am I doing?

I have only had one cup of coffee a day, each morning at 5am on weekdays and between 6 – 7am on weekends.  I brew it myself (I set the coffeepot up the night before to automatically brew a half hour before I get up.)  Proof of this is that I still have my coffee shop gift cards I got for Christmas! When I am tempted to pour the second cup, I drink hot water and lemon instead.

 hot water and lemon

I started back on Weight Watcher on Martin Luther King, Day.  It’s too hard the first few weeks of January when holiday leftovers, sweets and other tempting and delicious things are still in the house.   I did the Weight Watchers program once before and was successful in taking off the weight I wanted and kept it off for four years. This time around, I am still counting “Points,” but trying to make healthy choices about what I am eating.  This means not buying processed food (which isn’t healthy, but keeps you in your point range.)  I keep thinking about my larger goal: BE HEALTHY, not the subcategory of lose weight.  The result is more fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and in five weeks I have lost 8.8 pounds.

I have yet to start exercising.  I finally had to admit to myself that reading Fitness and Feta does not count as working out.  This has always been the biggest weakness in my life.  I just don’t like exercising and I never can seem to find the time to fit it in.  I do not like gyms and have never figured out a successful “at home” work-out routine.  I loved yoga when I was pregnant, but have always been intimidated to try it post-baby.

In true teacher fashion, I will grade myself.
For my first resolution of BE HEALTHY, I am giving myself a:


It’s very easy to get into the routine of your day and forget about your loved ones around you. I think it is even easier to forget about yourself.  So far this year my husband and I have gotten a babysitter three times, not because one of us is working, but so we can do something just together.  In the almost four years since our daughter was born (minus our anniversary every year) this was unheard of!  We are also working on “quality” family time.  At home, I am making a bigger effort to do more things with Olivia.  It’s easy to slip into the habit of doing things around the house while she’s playing and keeping herself busy.  These moments do not have to be monumental activities and projects (remember – I am not trying to set myself up for failure!)  Reading a story together, a small craft project, having her help me cook in the kitchen, doing a puzzle, are all small things that add up to great quality time together.

The relationship I have with myself is almost always on the bottom of a long color-coded, category organized to-do list (if it makes the list at all.)  To work on this I have set my alarm 45 minutes earlier everyday.  This gives me time for just me every morning (while I’m enjoying the one cup of coffee I get.)  I read, look at magazines, or sometimes work on this blog. I have a stack of books I want to read (some re-read) this year. It has really made me feel better about starting my day.  At first, I tried to combine it with my “unplugged” resolution, but realized that some of my magazine subscriptions are on my ipad, I like working on blog posts – basically life has technology and it’s hard to work around it!

books to read

That brings us to the last on the list – “My Life, Unplugged.”  This one is probably also in the “lose” column, with only exercise falling below it.  The ways I am trying to remain unplugged are ensuring I have a good work / home life balance.  I do not check work email until I arrive at work each day (unless it is snowing and we may get off!)  I also do not check it all weekend.  My Weight Watcher tracker is on my phone which has caused me to have my phone at the dinner table.  I am trying to “point” out everything before hand so I’m not tempting to be looking things up while preparing or eating our meals.

For my second resolution of BUILD RELATIONSHIPS, I am giving myself a:

Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?  How are you doing on the two month check-in?  Do we have any of the same resolutions?  Leave me a comment and let me know.  I’ll do another follow up on May 1st.  Have a great day and thanks for reading,