Monte Cristo Sandwiches

I’m kind of a foodie. Not a chef by any means, but I binge watch the Food Network and love eating out at restaurants. There are a few particular menu items I always try if they’re on the menu … 1) bread pudding 2) any chocolate type cocktails 3) cobb salads 4) monte cristo sandwiches. Since I can’t eat out for every meal, I’ve attempted to learn how to make my favorites at home and I’ve finally hit the jackpot with monte cristos! I’m so very excited to share this recipe with you – it’s heavenly and perfect for brunch!


Sandwich Ingredients
  • 1 loaf Challah bread (or Texas Toast)
  • 8 oz deli turkey
  • 8 oz deli black forest ham
  • 8 oz Swiss cheese
  • 5-8 cups vegetable oil
  • 3 cups white flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 eggs
Sandwich Directions
Slice the Challah bread into thick slices and build your sandwich with one slice each of turkey, ham and cheese. Set aside. Pour the oil into a large pot or pan – this is what you’ll be frying your sandwiches in. You can also use a deep fryer, I suppose, I just don’t have one.
Now, the batter (inspired by this recipe). Blend together flour, salt, baking powder, water and eggs. Scoop a tiny bit of batter and drop it in the oil to make sure it’s hot enough, the batter will sizzle and fry when it’s ready. Dredge your sandwiches in batter and place them in the oil to fry – only a few seconds on each side. Remove with tongs and place on a paper towel lined plate to absorb extra oil.
Jam Ingredients
  • 7 cups rhubarb, diced
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 can blueberry pie filling
  • 2 small boxes of raspberry Jell-O
Jam Directions
In a large stockpot, boil rhubarb, sugar and pie filling for 10 minutes. Add Jell-O and stir well. Transfer jam into mason jars or these plastic freezer ones, allow the jam to cool to room temperature and then put one container in your fridge for devouring and the rest into your freezer to thaw for use later.
Serve your sandwiches with a scoop of jam and sprinkle of powdered sugar. They’re amazing and I’m sure you’ll love them as much as we do!

This post was originally published on the Baby Gizmo Blog.

How To Plan a Simple Birthday Party

So, your little one is having a birthday! Are you excited? Stressed? Reminiscent? I’m usually all of the above – excited for a celebration in honor of one of my most favorite people, stressed about the planning and execution of a party, and reminiscent about their actual birth day. Yeah, that last one always gets me a little extra as I flip through birth photos and relive the extreme joy and pride I felt the day they were born and I first held them in my arms.

Let’s pause there a take a peek at the little cutie who is turning two on August 9th …

max birth to 2014 comparison:: weeping, so in love, ALL THE FEELINGS :: Mostly LOVE!!!

Then I remember that 20+ people will be arriving at my house soon and I need food and favors and games and what if Max has a pre or post nap meltdown in the presence of his guests? And and and … yeah, parties can feel a little stressful.

So, this year, for his second birthday I decided to simplify things and chill out. Parties are for mamas too, right?

Anyways, here are my few tips for simplifying your child’s birthday party!

Plan a Simple Birthday Party(1)Choose a Theme Early

I bet you thought I might say, don’t even worry about a theme, but that’s not the case. I’m a big believer in themes because they can guide your location food plan and more. Most of all, choosing a theme early allows you to slowly collect decor, watch sales and work on DIY projects without the pre-party scramble.

This year, Max is having a shark party. We decided on it this past Spring and having so much extra time has allowed me to pin many ideas, order his invitations with a promo code, find Shark slippers for one of his gifts (love Costco!) and snag some sharktastic decor during our beach trip. Had I waited until the last minute to pick a theme I would have missed out on most of these things!

Pick a Non-Home Location

No one will be knocking at my door this year! We’re having Max’s party at the park so my only set-up is a picnic table of food! Soooooo simple! No vacuuming or making sure the dishes are done for me. Yippee!

The park is probably one of my favorite non-home locations for a birthday party. Other non-home locations can cost a pretty penny (i.e. the children’s museum, bounce place) so my other non-home favorite is a grandparent’s house or backyard. Let them be the shining star and host with you – I’m sure they’d be absolutely honored to take on such an important role in your little one’s celebration.

Encourage a Specific Gift

Birthday celebrations can be fun with no gifts … especially for younger children who don’t have the patience to open presents. Or, make things really simple by asking guests to simply bring a favorite book. Even better, help your child choose a charity and ask guests to bring a contribution for that. You can even tailor it to their interests and “re-gift” peanut butter and jelly to the food bank or dog food to the local animal shelter.

Be Focused With Food

Gone are the days when you can simply serve just cake and punch! But are they really? No, no they are not. Even if Pinterest tries to convince us otherwise. You can absolutely go simple and note that simply “dessert will be served” on the invitations. But, if you’d like to offer more, consider having a 9am party and serving breakfast or a bedtime gathering with a combination of sweet and savory snacks – almost like a kiddo happy hour! One of my best friend’s hosted a favorite things party for her son’s first birthday and simply served an assortment of his favorite foods. It was random, delicious and simply! Plus, she didn’t have to worry about leftovers getting eaten!

What are your tips and tricks for planning a simple birthday party?

Truly, as long as your child feels loved – no matter the location or gifts – they’re sure to cherish their birthday party! Sometimes simplifying things allows everyone in the family to focus more on the special person rather than all the hubbub related to hosting a big event. Agree?

This post was sponsored by Silhouette. Stay tuned for details about this fabulous product and a neat DIY! No compensation was received, but I did receive product from the Silhouette team.

Style File /// Maxi Mama

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 5 photo 1 photo 3 photo 4Parade Day – maxi + scarf, TJ Maxx /// sandals, thrifted Saltwaters /// jean jacket, high school vintage (which was why I was so excited to get an upgrade from my recent StitchFix!) /// sunglasses, Kate Spade /// diaper bag purse, c/o Lily Jade /// bracelets, Kate + Linny

Could this be my favorite outfit of the summer? Perhaps! I wore it to the Lakefair Parade – an annual hoorah in our little city – and there is just something so perfect about maxis in the summer. We snacked on subs as the sun set and then my ever faithful mama snuck me around the corner for a few outfit photos :) Thanks, Ma!

Parades are Dominic’s nemesis so I usually give him a waiver on the outing. The kid’s Mimi and Aunt Kiki are always in on the adventure though. Yes, yes – they’re awesome and my best friends. Well, Dominic is awesome too – just not when it comes to parades. He can’t be awesome at everything now can he? Kind of like I’m not awesome at yard work. To each his own :)

Jemma loved the princesses and marching bands and Max could see the horses from a mile away. Smiling, happy kids equals a successful event in my book so parades will continue to be a summer tradition for us all.

Now, the BIG NEWS! Lily Jade is giving away a diaper bag via my review over on Baby Gizmo – don’t miss it! The Elizabeth in Camel is lovely, amazing, functional — basically, perfect.



Watching /// so many documentaries, even more than I shared here. Latest was Food Matters, Henry VIII and End of Watch (that last one wasn’t a technical documentary, but it was real life ish). And now I’ve started The Vampire Diaries because Fall television can’t come soon enough! I’m most excited for the return of Scandal and the new How To Get Away With Murder.

Searching /// for any and advice about Yellowstone! We’re planning a trip for next summer and I’m REALLY excited! I went when I was in 1st grade and still have the best memories of it. It’s seriously the greatest blessing to have a mom and sister who are both teachers and thus have the summers off.

Missing ///

Growing /// in my endurance. If my knees weren’t bothering me so much I would almost say I enjoy running.

Ignoring /// the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Total lie. I’m not. I ordered shoes for Max, Jemma’s birthday present and a little something for myself … plus a pair of my favorite jeans in a smaller size because my original pair were from shortly after Max was born. Best of all, I first logged into Ebates and then Nordstrom because right now you get 10% back on any Nordstrom purchase – WOOHOO!

And a few links worth sharing …

As Long As You’re Living, My Baby You’ll Be

sleeping Max 72214

Oh Max, my baby. My little man. I look at you and smile. And tear up. And chuckle. And feel all sorts of awe for the blessing you are to me.

Today I rocked Max before settling him into bed, all 35 pounds of him. He is long. His legs extend beyond the arm of the chair, and they’re almost chubby as the day he was born. We do not fit in the rocker, and yet, every day we do. His little body curls around me and he stares into my eyes and whispers “one more milk” – his phrase for “pop the top on this mama fountain”. I always wanted a nursling who could communicate with me about milk. And here he is. On the brink of two, just 13 more days, and the most perfect little boy I could have ever dreamed of.

Oh yes, he pulls his sister’s hair and pesters me beyond belief with his constant (and I do mean CONSTANT) need to be by my side – but it’s just him. It’s Max. My Max. It’s his billion emotions that sway from gritted teeth anger to uncontrollable laughter to pretend superheroes moves to bouncing – everywhere. He’s mine and I shall keep him no matter how big and boisterous he grows. And I’ll rock him for as many days as he’ll allow me to – soaking up every moment, breathing his sweat and holding this little baby of mine close, oh so close, to my heart.

What To Tell the Butcher When You Order a Quarter Beef

quarter beefI had no idea what to name this post … “How to Butcher a Quarter Cow”, “Ground Beef and Everything Else”, “Fill Your Freezer With a Happy Cow” … well, you see what I landed on. Either way, this post is all about beef cuts and what to expect if you ever purchase a quarter (or just double this info for a half) of a happy cow!

We’ve purchased a quarter of a cow the last 3 years, because 1) We like beef 2) I like knowing where my meat comes from and 3) We call these happy, healthy cows – the kind that graze and are treated humanely.

Plus, at $3.29/pound – I can’t beat the price.

Now, our beef isn’t technically organic meat. The farm our cow comes from is just a family farm that raises 2-3 cows each year. They’re grass fed until the final few weeks before butchering, then they get a  bit of grain in their diet because it marbles their meat. 

The $3.29 is calculated on what they call hanging weight. Hanging weight is the final weight before the beef is butchered into various cuts. Our quarter cow totaled 161 pounds and cost us $531. It will last us all year thanks to our deep freezer.

Once you commit to purchasing a share of a cow you’ll be given a range of what it will weigh after butchering. Then the butcher will call you with exact details and ask some specific cut questions. This baffled me for quite some time as I didn’t know exactly what to do with each cut or how much of what cuts we would need. Now, on round three, I’ve narrowed down our favorites and figured I should share.

So, for a quarter cow this is roughly how the conversation with the butcher went …

A half beef is divided into the front quarter and the hind quarter. The front consists of chuck steaks, pot roasts, rib steaks, short ribs and soup bones. The hind consists of ground beef, top round, bottom round, t-bones, top sirloins, tender loins, flank steaks, sirloin tip, rump roast.

They’ll ask for packaging purposes what thickness you’d like for each steak, typically 3/4 in to 1 in. We prefer 3/4 inch. Also, what weight you would like for each package of ground beef, we opt for 1 pound packages, but if you have a large family you can easily request 1 1/2 pound or 2 pound packages.

They offer soup bones or stew meat – if you don’t want them they’ll keep them for dog bones and such. We always take them for bone broth and we request that the stew meet be ground into extra ground beef packages.

The bottom and top round are usually tougher cuts so they’ll offer to cube them (tenderize). This is where we got smart and we asked for these cuts to be cut as thin as possible to use for carne asada or rouladen.

We always forgo the rib steaks and request that it stay a rib roast also called a standing rib roast for our Prime Rib Christmas Feast. This is usually one big roast, but we ask that it be cut into two because we all like the salty outer crust from the Prime Rib recipe and having two roasts gives us more outside pieces.

For the short ribs they’ll offer a flanken cut, like for Asian short ribs where there is a circle of bone with a little bit of meat surrounding it. Instead, we ask for the larger, chunky short ribs and we braise them in the oven.

If there are any cuts you are unsure of or don’t know how to use, you can always ask that they just be ground into ground beef. Typically for a quarter you’ll get 25-30 pounds of ground beef. You’ll see below that we had our stew meat turned into ground beef which gave us quite a bit of extra.

This is what it looks like once delivered. Our quarter beef included — 5 packages of rouladen/carne asada, 49 packages/pounds of ground beef, 2 packages of soup bones, 3 top sirloin steaks (2 steaks in each package), 2 packages of short ribs, 1 sirloin top roast, 2 packages of T-bone steaks (2 steaks in each package), 3 pot roasts, 1 rib roast, 1 rump roast, 1 package of tenderloins and 1 package of flank steaks.

quarter beef packaged

Over the next year I’ll be sharing our favorite recipes for each cut, I’ll do my best to update this post so they all show in one place. I’ve learned a lot about preparing meat beyond ground beef and have officially awarded myself a homemaker badge for “beef knowledge”. It’s like Girl Scouts, but for moms!

Stay tuned for …

  • Carne Asada
  • Crockpot Pot Roast
  • French Dip
  • Shepard’s Pie
  • Beef Barley Soup
  • Crockpot Enchiladas
  • Crockpot Lasagna
  • Braised Short Ribs
  • BBQ Beef Sandwiches

Tree Top Play Date

This post and the play date I attended were both sponsored by Tree Top. It was an honor to join in the fun and I’m excited to share with you about the details! #TreeTopPlayDate

On Tuesday, Heather invited the munchkins and I to a super fun playdate with the Tree Top gang. We met up in Portland to share lunch, play, craft and best of all, sip mama mocktails! It was a real treat – there’s nothing like spending time with a gaggle of mom bloggers who understand the urgency of the perfect Instagram photo :)

Oh, and there were complimentary mini massages for the mamas! Tree Top knows how to party!

Hang tight through my photo dump and then I’ll be sharing the delicious mocktail Heather created especially for this event. It’s divine and I just may be planning to make a whole pitcher for evening sips!

photo 2We started our play date with a stop in the restroom – because when Jem’s gotta go, she’s gotta go and that warrants a round of bathroom selfies. Obviously.

photo 3Jem and Max fully approved of the play date location – love indoor playgrounds!

photo 4The star of the day! Tree Top Fruit Full in Strawberry and Mango! YUM!

tree top lunchOur delicious lunch – fancy sandwiches and salad for mamas and classics for the littles.

photo 1I loved Tree Top’s craft just for the kids – fruit and veggie animals! There were some really creative creations!

photo 3Jemma’s turtle in the works. Max opted to continue playing rather than craft, go figure :)

photo 4Stacey of The Scenic Life /// Jana of Merlot Mommy /// Marlynn of Urban Bliss Life /// Denise of Healthy Disney Family /// Alicia of Britches and Boots /// ME! /// Sarah of Repeat Crafter Me /// Heather of Heather Loves Food /// Stephanie of Crafting In the Rain /// Meg of Happy Kids, Inc

photo 5The last time Alicia and I saw each other I was pregnant with Max and her youngest wasn’t even on her way yet!

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for …

photo 2Strawberry Mojito Mocktail

Recipe by Heather Cheney of Heather Likes Food


  • 10 mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 of a fresh lime
  • 1/2 cup Strawberry Tree Top Fruit Full
  • 1/2 cup Club Soda


  • Place mint leaves, sugar and lime wedge in a glass.
  • Use a muddler or back end of a large wooden spoon to crush the mint and lime and dissolve the sugar.
  • Fill glass almost to the top with ice.
  • Pour Fruit Full smoothie over the ice, followed by the club soda.
  • Garnish with an additional lime wedge and add more sugar to taste.

So, if you’re pregnant, nursing, hosting a baby shower or just craving a spritz-y cocktail – this mocktail featuring Tree Top Fruit Fulls is for you! It totally hits the spot and will become a favorite recipe for sure!

It doesn’t surprise me a whole lot that we all loved the mocktail, Tree Top has always had delicious products. Our family buys their huge containers of apple juice on the regular, nothing compares. Plus, my sister recently started dating a pretty neat guy who works at a company that picks and processes Tree Top apples. How cool is that?!?

Anyways, true to form, Tree Top has given us mamas another great product. Tree Top Fruit Full isn’t just another juice, it’s a shelf-stable smoothie currently available in two flavors – strawberry and mango. It is 100% fruit, has 3g of fiber, no high fructose corn syrup and no added sugar. Boom! Just how I like it. Most important, it tastes delicious! Straight from the container the mango was my favorite, but them I started sipping the mocktail and strawberry is pretty fabulous too! Guess I’ll have to keep both stocked in the pantry! Tree Top Fruit Fulls are simple (no blender needed!), balanced with healthy ingredients and perfect for the whole family – mamas, dads and kiddos all approve!

Thanks again Tree Top for such a fun event! Jemma was truly inspired by the fruit art part of our play date and has demanded that I recreate it at home the last few days! Here’s here spider creation from this morning!

spider fruit art

10 Minute Housekeeping

If you’re anything like me, sometimes it is so freakin’ overwhelming to wake up in the morning with 64,000 chores calling your name. Lately, I’ve been breaking things into more manageable bites and have seen a wee bit more success and organization ’round these parts. Wee, as in a little. But in order to encourage myself on to bigger and badder housekeeping efforts, yes, badder, I have to start somewhere!

10 minute housekeeping

Without further ado, I bring you ten 10 minute chores that can easily fit into a day or two of your regular happenings …

  1. Wash the shower curtain /// I have this fabric shower curtain, which I love, but it does need to be washed every few months. I do a splash of soap, splash of bleach, press start on a cold wash and it comes out super fresh!
  2. Vacuum the couch cushions /// Can anyone say “Cheerios”?
  3. Reorganize the under sink cabinet /// Is your under sink cabinet a catch all for random cleaning supplies and reusable bags? Ours is!
  4. Dust photos /// The tops and little ledges catch dust like no other. Dust those babies up!
  5. Freshen your mattress /// Gather sheets for washing and while the mattress is clear freshen it up!
  6. Cleanse the fridge /// Sadly, if you’re me this may take more than 10 minutes, but it should only take 10 minutes if I stay up on it. Pull expired food, wipe down shelves with a vinegar rinse and add a new box of baking soda to keep things fresh.
  7. Clean bath toys /// Not the most fun project, but a good one to keep the mold away and our babies healthy + happy.
  8. Paperwork sort /// I have a catch all space on my desk and it gets overrun with coupons, reference papers and more. I actually love to organize this space, recycle some, file some and add other pieces to my to-do list so they can move off my plate.
  9. Assess the pantry /// Another chore I “enjoy”. Looking in the pantry, dreaming up meals and saving on groceries as we eat through the pantry stock.
  10. Wipe baseboards /// Uh. Dominic always brings this up and I prefer to look over it. But, if I tackle one room at a time, they should stay dust free!

What bits of housekeeping can you accomplish in 10 minutes?

Just remember, the appearance of your home isn’t a true reflection of you. That’s the most important thing to keeep in mind about housekeeping. xoxo

Style File /// The Next Best Fix

Eek! It was a happy, happy day when my third Stitch Fix box arrived. I can’t wait to show you all what I got AND what I kept :)

stitch fix round three

Not familiar with Stitch Fix? It’s a personal styling company perfect for busy mamas who don’t have time or energy to search for quality, timeless pieces for their closet. It arrives in the mail whenever you want – monthly, quarterly, once a year – no long-term commitment, no membership fee and you can easily return whatever you don’t choose to keep in the prepaid envelope. The concept (and the treasures in each box) is brilliant!

Best of all, a real person works on your behalf to choose each item in your fix! I’ll share my note from my stylist – you’ll see exactly how much time and effort was placed into choosing my items. So, here’s the stesp by step of how Stitch Fix works …

  1. Complete a style profile here, it takes about 15 minutes to notate your size, style preferences, budget, lifestyle, etc. You can even submit the link to a style board on Pinterest!
  2. Schedule the date you want your fix to arrive – depending on how busy they are, it’s usually about a month out from when you complete your profile.
  3. A Stitch Fix stylist reviews your profile and hand selects 5 pieces just for you!
  4. Your fix ships, you get to try on each piece in the comfort of your home and then return whatever you don’t like or doesn’t fit. They even include a styling guide for each piece to give you ideas on how to put together outfits with your fix items.
  5. Once your box ships you’re charged a $20 styling fee, but that fee is applied to anything you choose to keep so you really don’t lose.
  6. After you make your final decision you complete a simple checkout online – marking what items you are keeping and giving feedback on everything you received. Was the price right? The size? The style? And then a blank box to add specifics like “too tight on the tummy” or “how did you know this color would look perfect on me!?!” If you keep everything in your box you save 25% off everything! Cool bonus, right?

Alright, now … a peek at my fix!

coral blouse

Filbert 3/4 Sleeve Popover Blouse by 41Hawthorn

Loved the color and the fit – plus, the sleeve details were just too darling! AND, breastfeeding accessible which I noted on my style profile as being my preference for the majority of the pieces in my fix.

striped dressRenya Racerback Striped Maxi Dress by Renee C

Super quality material – loved the drap-y fit at the waist. Super flattering and as you can see VERSATILE! Above it’s paired with two other pieces from my box …

Cosette Crochet Detail Knit Shirt by Ezra

Beautiful detail, great length and well, I wear black often so a pretty black tee is good by me. Plus, I’m starting to prefer scoop necks over v-necks these days.

Kalie Distressed Denim Jacket by Mavi

How did my stylist know I’ve had my eye out for a new denim jacket? My current one is a lighter denim and from my high school days. This one. THIS ONE. I’m absolutely in love! It’s as soft as butter, lightweight while still being structured with just the perfect amount of stretch. It was a little more than I’d normally spend, but I know I’ll wear it often and have it forever so … justified.

green pantsKaleigh Ankle Biter Skinny Jean by Kensie Jeans

Emerald green skinnies welcome to my life! Again, great structure, fun color, stretch and mom-rise (also known as – no tummy roll or peekaboo bum). Paired with the Ezra black top and Mavi jean jacket.

I fully intended to keep ONE piece from this fix as a little summer treat, but I just love everything. I never thought that would happen! And, since I get 25% off if I keep the whole box it seemed silly to return one or two pieces. And if I had to return something I don’t even know what I’d pick! I know the jean jacket was my favorite and I see myself wearing the dress a lot so those were the front runners. But then the other three were tied I suppose …

I want to share my note from my stylist to give you an idea of how they pay attention to detail.

Hi Gretchen! I am so happy I have the opportunity to be your stylist today. We have so missed you! It’s been about a year since my last Fix! In this Fix, I wanted to focus on classic and flattering pieces that I hope will fit your style. I could not find a kimono style cardigan but I will continue to search for this style in future fixes. I had specifically asked if there was a kimono in my budget when I scheduled this Fix. I am loving colored skinnies for Summer, so I included the Kensie green ankle biter jeans for you to try. Pair the denim with the Ezra crochet detail knit shirt. Be sure to layer a black camisole underneath since it’s a little sheer. I know you wanted to see a scoop neck maxi, so I included the Renee C striped maxi dress. It is made in the USA, and very comfy. If you need a second layer during a cooler night, just ad the Mavi distressed denim jacket. I cannot wait to hear how you liked everything! xoxo

I know, I know – it’s like my stylist and I are totally friends! I’m so pleased with everything she chose for my Fix!

I earn a referral credit if you begin your Stitch Fix through my link – so if you’re curious, sign up here. The worst case scenario is you spend $20 on your styling fee. Best case, you find a piece or two (or five!) to complement your closet and amp up your mama style! And remember, the styling fee applies to whatever you keep.

There is no doubt in my mind that Stitch Fix gets better and better as the stylists learn more about you. Take a peek at my first and second Stitch Fix boxes if you like. I can’t wait to see what treasures my next box holds – I scheduled it to arrive right before my birthday in October!

Perfect Pop Meets 12 Documentaries

Date night wouldn’t be complete without popcorn! But not just any popcorn, I’m talkin’ about the #perfectpop! A special thanks to Pop Secret for sponsoring my chitter chat about movies and my fave snack today!

Once the littles are in bed and before Dominic starts snoring on the couch* we often tune into a bit of TV. For years we’ve categorized our television viewing as his, hers and ours — and these days, ours is almost always a documentary.

With our favorite snack in hand and a cozy blanket (we’re totally quilt and afghan people, are you?) we scroll through our movie queue and delve into history, scandal and others lives. It’s a decent way to end the night — learning something new, being traumatized by secrets and generally being fascinated.

perfect pop documentaries

For your enjoyment, here is a collection of our movie watching selfies …

date night selfiesWhy is the reverse camera always so grainy looking?

Now, I’m sure you’re wondering two things … 1) What documentaries do we love? and 2) How on earth do we eliminate fights over who burned to popcorn? Never fear, I’ll tell ya :)

First up, documentaries. Here’s what we have recently loved …

  • Blackfish /// Horrifying, but true. This film follows a few Orca whales in captivity. Walk away – You’ll never visit Sea World again.
  • The Lone Soldier /// Not technically a documentary, but based on a true story. This movie tells the story of a group of Seals in 2005 on a mission to capture a Taliban leader. Walk away – Tears, appreciation and questions as to what would have happened had the saved civilians not been backstabbers.
  • America the Beautiful /// Ever thought beauty in the US is misconstrued? This is the documentary for you! Walk away – How do we teach our children about true beauty?
  • More Business of Being Born /// The sequel to Rikki Lake’s The Business of Being Born. After having children, Dominic and I both enjoy birthy statistics. AND YOU GET TO SEE THE FARM! Walk away – birth is soooooo cool.
  • Being Elmo /// The man behind Sesame Street’s Elmo! So interesting and somewhat sad on how consuming this character was. Walk away – Career life balance is a true battle.
  • Surviving the Cut /// Our brother-in-law is currently in Ranger School and this film gives an inside scoop on the process. Walk away – WE COULDN’T BE PROUDER OF YOU AARON!!!
  • Death on a Factory Farm /// An undercover expose at a pig farm. Incredibly heartbreaking, but it’s foolish to go about eating blindly not knowing how food arrives on our plates. Walk away – Every time Dominic sees a pig he now comments that he wants to start a safe, happy place for pigs to be raised and properly butchered.
  • Titanic’s Final Mystery /// Did you know there is a pretty scientific reason to Titanic’s sinking? Me either! I learned so much from this documentary! Walk away – Science is way over my head and it’s a miracle more cruise ships haven’t met their fate at sea.
  • The Greater Good /// Vaccines, immunity, reactions and the pharmaceutical world. Very eye opening and thought provoking, especially for parents. Walk away – It’s kind of scary how money influences the healthcare system.
  • Marilyn in Manhattan /// I’ve always loved Marilyn. Such an interesting peek into her life. Walk away – pretty lives aren’t always happy lives.
  • Farmeggedon /// This quote sums it up and ties in well with some of the other documentaries we’ve enjoyed, “If the people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson Walk away – Wanna buy an island and start a commune?
  • Inside Chipotle /// All the Inside clips (they’re about 20-40 minutes long) are REALLY interesting. Chipotle is our favorite one though! Walk away – When is Chipotle going to start delivering? We’re hungry … right now!

And now, the perfect companion to every documentary … Pop Secret popcorn. But it’s not just any bowl of popcorn, it’s perfectly popped popcorn; the kind that isn’t burned or leaves too many unpopped kernels at the bottom of the bowl. Yuck, yuck and yuck.

pop secret and movies

Here’s how you save the day by savin’ the popcorn …

Download the Perfect Pop app on your iPhone (make sure you’ve got a 5+ and have iOS 7+). It’s free, so no reason to wait! Do it now so you’re ready for your next documentary viewing!

Next, put a bag of Pop Secret in your microwave and enter the suggested cooking time from the packaging. Take note, this app is designed to work perfectly with Pop Secret popcorn, not necessarily other brands.

Turn up the volume on your iPhone. Point the phone’s speaker towards the microwave and keep within 3 feet.

Start the microwave, and then start the app.

pop secret trio

The app does all the work! Perfect Pop listens to the pops and notifies you when your popcorn has reached perfection!


During our documentary date nights you won’t be hearing, “Great! There’s black pieces!” or “Why did you ignore the popcorn AGAIN?!?” … at least not around here :) Hallelujah! Now we can spend more time choosing interesting documentaries and less time worrying about the perfection of our popcorn. It’s taken care of!

Final tid bit of advice … serve your Pop Secret Homestyle popcorn with a small bowl of chocolate chips. The mix of salt, butter and chocolate followed by a cold sip of water is divine!

popcorn and chocolate chips

Download the Perfect Pop app stat and share your favorite Pop Secret flavor and documentary in the comments – I’m eager to know both!

*Dominic has been heading to the gym every day at 5am for the last few months, so by 9pm he’s tired, by 10pm he’s out cold!