A few months ago, near the beginning of my pregnancy, I had the pleasure of visiting our local Dream Dinners for a blogger dining experience. I had a great time at the event, getting to make the meals was super easy and it was a ton of fun seeing blogging friends and catching up while making the meals. The whole time I couldn’t help but think how the event would have been perfect for a baby shower or baby sprinkle.
When you sign up for the Dream Dinners experience you get the opportunity to pick a date to visit the store, a variety of dishes (the menu changes each month) and number of servings. On the date of your visit you get to join others in prepping your meals. At the end of the two hours you’ll go home with your meals ready to go into the freezer for whenever you are ready for a quick and delicious meal with all the instructions ready to go. You can choose to do this experience on any of the open sessions, invite friends along or schedule a private session for just you and your friends.
Okay, okay… so, maybe the idea of prepping dinners doesn’t sound super thrilling to you. I get it. When I have to cook dinner I don’t especially love the process. But, what I do love, is going to a place where everything has been prepped for me and I don’t have to do any of the dishes! Check out the organization skills… gotta love the good use of a label maker.
The cost of the meal includes all of the food items that you can follow to the recipe or decide to customize by leaving out ingredients that picky eaters may not enjoy. It also includes the packaging and cooking instructions. There are additional sides and meals already prepped and ready for purchase in the store as well. I bought a few sides and breakfast meals to throw in our freezer at home in addition to the meals I made at the event.
So, how does it all taste?
It was great! The whole family really loved the meals that we tried and the instructions were super easy to follow. My husband actually made all three meals the days that we ate them and didn’t have any problems following the instructions. He isn’t a novice in the kitchen, but there is no way he’d have been able to whip up the Chateau Chicken with Almond Butter Sauce on his own. In addition to the Chateau Chicken I tried Arroz Con Pollo and Limoncello Shrimp with Coconut Rice.
Note: Dream Dinners does have some availability in customizing a recipe or two by leaving out an ingredient you may or may not like. But, it isn’t super customizable when it comes to items that are gluten, allergy or meat free. Check out the site’s Health and Nutrition FAQs for more info on this. The menus are available on-line as well, so you do get quite a few options in what meals you and your family would like. In addition, the packaging includes lots of plastic bags and aluminum. While much better than a frozen meal at the grocery store, it isn’t the most eco-friendly.
When I was in my first pregnancy I worked about 25 hours a week and I had maybe a 15 minute commute. I also didn’t have a toddler. I prepped for the baby coming by making a LOT of frozen meals. As a matter of fact, I was prepping large portions of spaghetti and meatballs for freezing the whole beginning stages of labor. The meals were so fantastic the first month of our kiddo’s life.
This pregnancy has been….well, different. I have a full time gig, commute 1 hour each way and a toddler. Not complaining, I love my life. But, the idea of spending my little free time prepping meals for after the baby arrives is not super appealing. A showering of pre-made meals sounds like the perfect baby shower or baby sprinkle for someone who may have most of the baby gear all ready to go.
Read on to find out how to throw a Dream Dinners baby shower!
Our little family has three different views of holiday light shows. Me, I’m in love… going to see lights was one of my favorite things growing up. I remember being a teenager and driving up to the highest hill in my tiny little town to look out on the city full of lights. It is awe-inspiring to me. My husband on the other hand doesn’t understand it. Now, mushrooms growing out of a tree stump is the most exciting part of his day, but holiday lights that twinkle and glow? He just thinks about how cold it is or how hard it must have been to put out all of the lights. My son is just now at the age where he seems to enjoy them.
When it came to deciding whether or not to go to the Oregon Zoo for ZooLights this year, me and the kid won out! And, I am pretty sure the hubby had just as much fun as we did. The whole family decided to head out to ZooLights for the Media Night and had a brilliant time!
We went on a week night at it was not too busy. The train line was pretty long, but it was my son’s favorite part of the whole thing. Personally, I loved the tunnel of lights! So pretty.
The coolest part about the Oregon ZooLights? It isn’t all “Christmas” themed! There are lots of animal lights, fiction story lights, and more. It was nice to enjoy the lights for the holiday without being inundated with Christmas. It also works out for the after-holiday crowd to still be able to enjoy the lights even though Christmas is over!
ZooLights runs until January 4, 2015. The lights open up at 5PM. However, you can get your tickets as early as 4PM. Check out the Oregon Zoo ZooLights info page for more information.
The Oregon Zoo provided my family with tickets to attend ZooLights media night this year. All thoughts are my own.
(Say that ten times fast!)
ClassPass is a fitness membership program that allows members to try several different types of classes and studios in the area. The ClassPass in Portland just launched mid-November and I was asked to try out the membership this month. Just when I was trying to push myself to work on my fitness more this opportunity landed in my inbox… I couldn’t say no even if I wanted to!
I’ve not been thrilled about group fitness classes in the past and was very nervous reserving my first class. But, the experience was awesome and I can’t wait to go again. My goal this month testing out ClassPass is to try as many different studios as I can fit into my schedule both to see how the process goes and to try out new-to-me fitness styles.
I signed up for Candlelight Yoga at The Art of Movement on SE Divsion in Portland. The later start time was perfect for my work schedule and the idea of doing yoga surrounded by candlelight sounded incredibly relaxing. It was an all-levels class which worried me at first because I am most definetely a beginner. I had nothing at all to worry about. The instructor was fabulous about suggesting (and showing) different moves that might be better for beginners and then working her way up for the class members who needed more of a challenge. She also took care in suggesting different moves to avoid back pain, wrist pain, knee pain… etc.
Checking in was a breeze. Since it was my first time at that location I had to sign a standard release, but my name was on the list and I didn’t have to explain that I was part of ClassPass.
A big thank you goes out to ClassPass for giving me the opportunity to try out their services. I will try some more classes and post again about my experience near the end of my month!