Frugal Novice

Style & Substance: Kelly Moore Bags


Note: I received a bag to facilitate this post. I was not compensated monetarily; affiliate links are included in this post. All opinions are honest and are my own. 

I am a purse loyalist. I’m not one to switch bags to coordinate with various outfits; I find one I like, and I stick with it for a long time.

I’m also pretty picky about what purse I carry. It needs to:

  • look good – this is something I’ll have with me day in and day out, so I want it to be something I’m pretty thrilled with.
  • have plenty of space… but not be a big cave that everything will get lost in. I love organization (in a way that clearly reaches nerdy levels!) and a cluttered bag would drive me nuts.
  • be durable – as I mentioned above, I’ll have it with me pretty much all the time, which means it’ll go to baseball practices, dance rehearsals… and it’ll be subjected to my three children at any given time. So yeah, durability is key.

In my search for an ideal bag, Kelly Moore has been a brand on my radar for a while now. Many of my friends have talked about their love of the brand, and if you haven’t seen them before, Kelly Moore bags are pretty stinkin’ gorgeous.

We all know the old adage, though – form follows function. Do Kelly Moore bags hold up? I selected the Monroe, and put it to the test(s):

It’s definitely a great looking bag – I love the rich, saturated color and the high-quality finish – and there are many ways to wear it. Above, you can see I’ve got shorter straps on my shoulder, but it also comes with an adjustable shoulder strap.

That’s not all, though – the front pouch on the bag is actually removable, so you can have a small cross-body purse AND the larger bag to carry separately. This is my favorite setup:

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Quick & Easy (& Healthy!) Meal Ideas

We love to eat dinner together around the dining table as a family, but sometimes it can be really hard to make it happen. In an effort to do this more often than not, we’ve realized we need to find meals that are realistic to make on a busy evening. It can be easy to think we’re stuck with cereal or salads night after night, but there are a lot of options for dinner that won’t cause you to spend the whole evening in the kitchen. Check out these great meal ideas:

Check out Meals Easier (and Healthier) Than Boxed Mac and Cheese

by Tend Editor at Mode

Red, White & Bacon


I’m a Denny’s ambassador, and this post is a part of that compensated partnership. All opinions are honest and are my own.

With summer right around us, we’ve got several patriotic holidays coming up – Memorial Day in May, and of course Independence Day in July. To top that off, Independence Day: Resurgence will be in theatres June 24, and Denny’s is celebrating with a limited-time menu full of red, white and blue bacon dishes you’ll definitely want to try.

“Our ‘Red, White & Bacon’ menu is a tasty tribute to an all-American favorite with new, modern flavors and higher-quality ingredients to take our bacon celebration to the next level,” said John Dillon (@DillonJohnW on Twitter), chief marketing officer for Denny’s. “The renewal of this delicious diner staple goes hand-in-hand with the return of another Denny’s classic – the ‘Red, White & Blue Slam®’– brought back in celebration of ‘Independence Day: Resurgence,’ hitting theaters this summer. Stop by and salute these two favorites to satisfy your ultimate bacon cravings!”

I don’t know about you, but in our house bacon is an ingredient that reigns supreme, so we get pretty excited about a menu in which it’s celebrated. And it’s not just bacon, folks… they’ve got new thick-cut Honey Jalapeño Bacon, a sweet and spicy upgrade sure to make bacon lovers rejoice.

Check out the items on this great limited-time menu, and be sure to stop in to try them before they’re gone:

  • Red, White & Blue Slam® – As bacon makes it ultimate return to the menu, Denny’s is bringing back another classic to celebrate “Independence Day: Resurgence.” This all-American dish features two buttermilk pancakes made with blueberries, topped with sliced fresh strawberries, cream cheese icing and whipped cream, served with two eggs cooked to order, hash browns and a choice of two bacon strips or sausage links. This is shown in the photo at the top of this post – it looks delicious, doesn’t it?
  • New Honey Jalapeño Bacon Slam® – Try this sweet and spicy take on a Denny’s favorite with two strips of the finest honey jalapeño bacon, two eggs cooked to order, two pancakes and hash browns.
    Honey Jalepeno Bacon Slam

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infanttech smarttemp Bluetooth Thermometer for Infants


Note: My sister-in-law received an Infanttech Smart Thermometer to facilitate this post. 

If there’s anything you can remember from the early days of parenthood, it’s probably the overarching feeling of needing to protect your baby in every way possible.

When your child gets sick for the first time, it can be a totally overwhelming feeling. And every degree of fever can be an added level of stress. I can remember several times setting my alarm to wake up periodically through the night to check the kids’ temperature and see if they needed medicine.

The infanttech smarttemp is wearable technology in a different way than one might traditionally think of it; it’s an adhesive thermometer that connects via Bluetooth to your smart phone.


  • Smarttemp is a smart Bluetooth thermometer designed for children where a parent can track body temperaturecontinuously in real time through their smartphone.
  • Get alerts when the temperature rises beyond the threshold and 
  • Receive medicine reminders when it’s time for another dosage.
  • Parents can also share the temperature graph with their Doctor
  • Easy placement underarm with adhesive pad (included)  Can be used for up to 24 hours at a time and is not a one time use.

The smarttemp is easy to use – just download the free smartphone app, place the thermometer under your baby’s arm with the included adhesive pad, and monitor your baby’s temperature from your phone. You’ll receive alerts if your baby’s temperature rises, so you can have the comfort of knowing your baby’s temperature is being monitored even while you sleep.



You can find the smarttemp on the infanttech site, at Kohl’s, or on Amazon, too.


Three 20-Minute, Family-Friendly Meals


We are almost always busy in our house, and I’m sure many of you can relate. Because of this, we’re always on the lookout for quick, healthy, and delicious meals our whole family can enjoy even on the busiest of nights. PastaFits has graciously given me three 20-minute meal recipes to share with you today that I can’t wait to try!

Easy Campanelle

Easy Campanelle with Greens and Pancetta


  • 6 oz. campanelle
  • 8 oz. mustard greens, tough stems removed, roughly torn or chopped
  • 6 oz. pancetta, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup/1 oz. sliced garlic
  • 4 tsp./~½ oz. lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp./1 oz. toasted pine nuts


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the campanelle according to package directions. Two minutes before its ready, add the mustard greens. Cook for the last two minutes. Drain and reserve.
  2. Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until the fat has rendered and the meat is golden and crisp. Add the garlic and cook until aromatic and starting to brown.
  3. Toss with the reserved pasta and mustard greens. Heat through and drizzle with lemon juice. Divide between 4 bowls and sprinkle with pine nuts.

Reinvented Beef Stroganoff

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Chicken Tacos with Spicy Avocado Tomatillo Sauce


In doing our menu planning for the week, Brian and I were reminded of a favorite recipe that we haven’t made in a while – chicken tacos with spicy avocado tomatillo sauce. I added it to our menu for the week, and decided it was perfect timing to share with you, too.


We make tacos quite a bit in our house, but we can tend to fall into a rut of ground beef, shredded cheddar and lettuce. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the classic taco fare, but we’re starting to have more and more fun coming up with a variety of taco fillings – and this chicken taco with avocado tomatillo sauce is a winner. It is so, so good.

How good, you ask? The kids complimented me on the chicken. They ate the chicken without complaining. At all. 

I know, I know – now you understand how amazing this recipe is.

It’s pretty, too, isn’t it?



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When Sick Gets Real


As a parent, there’s not much worse than looking at your child feeling miserable.


We’ve been really thankful that our kids rarely get sick – but when they do, we want to do anything we can to help them feel better. When we feel like Sick Just Got Real™, we head to Target and stock up on medicine, like:

  • Infants’ and Children’s Advil® provide unsurpassed fever and pain relief(1) , and contain ibuprofen, the medicine pediatricians use most for their own kids’ fevers(2) (for ages 6 months -11 years)
  • Children’s Robitussin® provides soothing action and cough control with some formulations lasting up to 8 hours (for ages 6-12 years)
  • Children’s Dimetapp® provides great-tasting cold-fighting power and is the #1 pharmacist recommended brand for children’s cough & cold symptoms(3) (for ages 6+)


If the kids are battling a cold, we let them sleep in our room; we make a comfy bed on the floor with plenty of pillows to prop them up; I run a humidifier in our room and also have the kids spend time in steam by running the shower hot. I also set alarms on my phone to get up periodically through the night and check temperature.

What do you do to make your kids more comfortable when they’re sick?  Well, you can start by having Pfizer products on hand! I’m giving away a Pfizer prize pack, and it’s super easy to enter for a chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 Among OTC pain relievers.

2 Based on a survey of doctors.

3 Source: 2015-16 Pharmacy Times and U.S. News & World Report.

Peanut Butter Stuffed Chocolate Covered Pretzels


This week’s recipe is SO simple but it’s also one of my very favorite treats I’ve ever made, so it seemed perfect to share for Mini Chef Mondays. My kids love these, and think it’s a lot of fun helping me make them.

What is this treat, you ask? Imagine eating a Girl Scout Peanut Butter Patty/Tagalong, and it being even better.

Yup, friends. I’m confidently proclaiming that these are better than Girl Scout cookies.

Peanut butter stuffed, chocolate coated pretzels. SO good.

I mean, chocolate and peanut butter? Amazing. Chocolate and pretzels? SO good. All three together? Perfection.

We were immediately hooked, and I think you will be, too.

The recipe just requires two ingredients:


Melt the chocolate almond bark in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Make sure not to overheat the chocolate or it will seize up. You can vary the amount for this recipe easily; I used one square and was able to cover 20 pretzels.

Dip each pretzel into the melted chocolate and place it on wax paper to dry.


Eat. And try not to eat them all in one sitting.


Good luck with that.




I am hosting Mini Chef Mondays along with 10 fabulous bloggers! Read how Mini Chef Mondays started, plus how to link up!
Join our facebook group to find even more recipes and share recipes too!

Get featured and follow us too!
  • Pinterest: Each post/recipe linked up will be added to our Mini Chef Mondays board
  • Instagram: Use our hashtag #MiniChefMondays so we can repost your mini chef
  • Twitter: We retweet every post with #MiniChefMondays

Be sure to check out each of their Mini Chef posts as well!

  1. Frozen Yogurt Fruit Bark Recipe // Courtney’s Sweets
  2. Ham & Egg Cups // Momma Lew
  3. Yogurt Dipped Frozen Banana on a Stick // Baby Loving Mama
  4. Bacon Egg and Cheese Pretzel Bites // We’re Parents
  5. Tips for Planting a Kids Vegetable Garden // Eating Richly Even When You’re Broke
  6. Pastelillos de Carne (Puerto Rican Meat Turnovers) // Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps
  7. 18 Mother-Child Bonding Activities // Step Stool Chef
  8. Broccoli Mac and Cheese Bites // Vegging at the Shore
  9. Slow Cooker Philly Cheesesteaks // O’Boy! Organic
  10. Chocolate Milk Mini Fudge Pops // Can’t Google Everything

Captain Obvious Runs… and I mean RUNS… for President


No matter what your political ideology, I think we can all agree that this has been a tumultuous election season. That’s why there’s someone who’s keeping it simple:

Captain Obvious is running for President the only way he knows how….by actually physically running. And running. And running.

He’ll be providing satirical commentary on what has already proven to be an “interesting” election year. Sometimes you’ve gotta laugh so you don’t cry, amiright?

You can follow Captain Obvious’ run on the “Captain Obvious Runs For President” microsite where you can watch what states he’s run through. You can also grab some merchandise, and share content. is supporting Captain Obvious during his race because they believe in simplicity as much as he does – and he’ll need a place to sleep at night. They’ll be providing him with running shoes, socks, shorts and everything else he needs for his run.

So, this political season, let’s follow the KISS adage – keep it simple… err… smartypants! Follow Captain Obvious as he runs for president, one step at a time. Find out more about his campaign, and follow him on Twitter, too!

Memories Lost: Avoiding a Wedding Photo Disaster

Wedding photos laid on a table. Studio shot on wooden background.

You and your beloved are planning the celebration of your lifetime together, a day that will provide amazing memories for years to come. After the ceremony, dancing, wonderful food, and time with friends and loved ones, the most lasting part of the day (aside from the marriage!) will be the wedding photos.

Choose Wisely

Expect to pay at least $1,400 for photography services for the day. A reputable wedding photographer knows their craft, but you’re also paying for their limited number of work days available in a year. Cutting the budget too much can bring low-quality results, or even worse, an con artist who will give you horror stories instead of the stunning photos you want. Wedding photographers with a strong track record of professionalism and high quality results are in demand; fees might be $2,100 and up.

Ask about their camera and lenses, plus backup plans in case of equipment malfunction. How do they handle low-light or bad weather situations? Is there an assistant to help capture all the festivities?

Other questions to ask: What are their scheduled hours, and are they available for additional time? Do they carry liability and indemnity insurance? What’s the number of weddings they have photographed? Can you view results from at least three of the weddings they’ve shot?

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5 Ingredient Chicken Pesto Pasta Salad


The recipe I’m sharing with you today has been a favorite in our family for years now. It’s delicious, and it is one of the absolute easiest recipes ever! This chicken pesto pasta salad has always been a hit at parties, so I knew it’d be perfect to make as part of our Easter brunch – and it’s a perfect recipe for little ones to help with, too!

As the title indicates, there are just five ingredients in this recipe. You can make your own pesto, and we have in the past, but there are lots of great pre-made pestos available that are perfect to use in this pasta salad.


Boil your pasta per instructions. While the pasta is boiling, drain your chicken and pour it into a small sauté pan; cook it on medium low heat for about 5 minutes, breaking it up into small pieces while it cooks. You’re basically just cooking out some of the moisture. If you are weirded out by using canned chicken, you can use a cup of shredded white chicken instead. The canned chicken really works great in this recipe, though, and saves you a ton of time.

Pour your pasta into a big bowl, and then have your chicken and pesto ready.


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