Easy Maryland Style Crab Cakes

As most of you know I am from Baltimore and even though I️ recently attempted going Vegan ( I️ haven’t given up on that just taking a PAUSE) I️ LOVE crab cakes. Actually I️ LOVE seafood period! So I️ wanted to share my quick and easy crab cake recipe! So here’s what you need :

  • 1 pound of Real crab meat (preferably lump or back fin)
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 tablespoon Mustard
  • 1 egg
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of Old bay seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon Mayo
  • Oil

Prep time 10 mins, cooking time 15 mins

One of the very first steps you want to do is to check your crab meat for any shells. I simply dump the entire jar into a bowl and feel through to make sure all shells are discarded. Once that’s done I personally like to massage my old bay season into the meat.

Next add the remaining ingredients to the mixture: beaten egg, mayo, mustard and bread crumbs

Once your ingredients well mixed, you will form your mixture into a patty. Most of the time you can get 4 big crab cakes or shoot for 5 nicely portioned ones. Once this step isn completed, I let them sit in the refrigerator for at least a hour. This allows them to set and prep for easy cooking and avoid falling apart.

After your hour is up, it’s time to fry. Now I typically use minimal oil, I don’t even cover the entire frying pan as you can see in the picture below you only need enough oil to toast the crab cakes. The goal is to cook them without them being overly oily.

I recommend frying them for about 3-5 mins on each side or until they are golden brown. After frying each side I let them cool on a paper towel, this also allows for excess oil to drain.

Once they are done simply add your favorite side or make a delicious crab cake sandwich. Growing up in Baltimore eating crab cakes was as common as eating eggs for breakfast! I️ love them I can literally eat them every week. Well I hope you enjoy this easy recipe as we all know I HATE cooking but this is such a simple meal I don’t mind making these for family and friends. Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Girl Power!

Last sunday we were invited by the Raleigh Little Theater to see one of our favorite books come to life, Grace for President. If you’re not familiar with the storyline it is based around Grace, a little girl that learns about the Presidential election process and the fact that there has never been a female president. With this new discovery Grace, instantly starts her political career and runs in the schools mock election.

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The book was brought to life in a musical form by some amazing actors. Most were in high school!

The cast did a wonderful job, the audience was engaged and really enjoyed the jokes as well as the songs.

After the play we had the opportunity to meet the cast and snag some autographs. I thought it was so important for Elle to get this experience as well. Especially since she can be shy at times.  This was my opportunity to help her engage on a deeper level.

 

Elle was very hesitant to ask for autographs, but I knew that she would have regretted not taking this opportunity.

I hope that this play will give Elle the acting bug! She’s so talented but she’s still in her shy stage. I’m not exactly sure what to do to help her overcome her fears, besides constantly reminding her how talented she is and how she needs to share her talents with others.

It was pretty cool to have a chance to chat with TaMaya’s (Grace’s) mom after the show, she told me how shy she had been when she was little as well.  So maybe hearing this story will also inspire Elle to test the waters in the acting world.  

Be sure to check out some upcoming events, here are some that I’m looking forward to checking out:

  1. Cinderella  December 1-17
  2. Little Shop of Horrors February 9-25
  3. Beanstalk the musical March 16- April 1

If you have any advice for getting your kids to come out of their shell  or any personal stories of overcoming shyness, please comment below, until next time…..

XO,

Meka

Homemade Naan Pizza

As many of you know, I’m not the biggest fan of cooking! But when you have 4 kids and a husband to feed you pretty much have to make it work. One of my kids favorite dishes besides pasta is PIZZA! So today we are sharing our favorite Naan Pizza.

Start off by preheating the overnight to 350 degrees . Ingredients include the following:

  • Garlic Naan Bread
  • Cheese
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Tomatoes
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Garlic Salt

Add sauce to your liking on the bread, we recommend covering the entire bread and leaving about a inch sauce free for crust purposes

After adding your sauce, you want to add a little garlic salt for flavor. If you’re unable to find the garlic naan bread you can add more garlic salt or garlic powder for flavor.

Next up is CHEESE! Now this recipe can work for a vegan lifestyle as well. Simply add your favorite vegan cheese instead.

After the cheese is layered, proceed with your favorite toppings. In this case, Elle decided to use tomato, spinach, and mushrooms. Maveric and Jagger are happy with plan cheese pizza. I love letting the kids help with cooking because for some reason, when they help they eat more. Go figure…. Once you’re done with topping, place your pizzas in the oven for 16 mins.

If you prefer a crunchy crust, you can leave them in for an extra 4 mins.

Nothing beats a fresh pizza with fresh toppings! And I’m the words of Elle this helps us save money and it’s fun to make your own.

This concludes our Cooking with the Harrells segment, hopefully I can find the strength to come up with another fun recipe to share with you all!

Until next time…..

Xo,

Meka

Farmer’s Market Adventures

So recently I have been battling the urge to go VEGAN! Yup vegan and YES I too watched What the Health!  Although I have done 30 day Vegan challenges, nothing is harder than fully committing.  As of today I am not vegan, I have however, given up meat.  The main items I’m having a hard time getting out of my system are seafood and CHEESE.  Also milk, not as if I’m drinking the milk but milk is in so many normal items I use on a regular basis like, Pringles! Why exactly is milk in a plain can of Pringles?!  I have really been reading labels and to be quite honest the best thing for me to do is head over to the farmers market and just buy fresh veggies.

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Last weekends trip to the Durham farmers market really made me want to explore more of what my local market has to offer.  I have pretty much found my favorite “fast food” meal and if you follow me on Instastory you know that it’s zucchini and sautéed spinach.  Growing up in Baltimore it was normal for us to go to the market to purchase everything from fresh doughnuts to deli meat.  And going to the Supermarket  (grocery store) is where we purchase everything in between.

WebImage16I was  so inspired to add more fresh flowers to the house as well, even though I have a bit of   “black thumb”.  Nothing sets the tone more than fresh flowers at the dinner table, so I’m going to give it a try more often.

WebImage19 One thing I really love about visiting farmers market’s are the small business vendors, like this delicious lemonade stand.  It wasn’t too sweet, very refreshing and delicious.  Anytime  I can spend with the kids and create fun memories are always a plus in my book.  After walking and exploring we decided to grab some pizza ( not vegan, SUE ME HA!)  then we headed to our next destination….. Charlotte.

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I will eventually fully convert into the Vegan lifestyle but I’m taking it one day at a time.  This is my journey and I will share with you all along the way.  Until next time…..

XO,

Meka

Fall Family Fashion

Even though I was born in the summer, FALL is one of my favorite season’s!  Thanks to our friends at Tea Collection the kids are ready for cooler days.  I really love dressing the kids in coordinating styles.

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As we all know Elle is the fashionista of our crew, she has been dressing herself since age 3!  She has always loved clothes and especially shoes, my husband and I have are constantly encouraging Elle to express her style and be confident with herself.  How CUTEEEE is this cape Elle is wearing! I wish I could get one in my size.

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Maveric is so care free and energetic, I love nice slim fitted pants for him and layers are key to success when dressing boys!

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Since Jagger is in his independent TERRIFIC 2’s stage I love comfy athletic gear for him, because he’s either in mud, throwing rocks, tinkering or constantly running.

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At this stage Axel’s role is to just be the hunky chunk of cuteness that he does so well, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my kid! Comfy sweats, a cute little sweatshirt paired with our favorite moccs are our go to this fall.  I just love being a mom to these 4, they are a ball of fun!

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As for me, nothing beats a nice white tee, ripped denim, a cute duster and comfy block heel boots!  I absolutely love the florals in this cute duster from Pink Blush it’s the perfect mommy look that’s also functional when you have to chase after a VERY active two year old.

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These are just a few of our staple looks for fall, besides boots what are your go to pieces?

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Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Library Adventures

A few weeks ago the kids and I ventured downtown to check out the re-opening of the Central Library.  It was everything I could imagine and more.

IMG_3113 The Children’s section was out of this world, it’s set up for play and reading.  I love that they have items that will entertain toddlers and school aged children.  I’m not sure who had more fun, the big kids or Jagger.

IMG_3106 From the reading nooks, to the computers, I recommend going in with a game plan or you will get a bit overwhelmed.  I will be honest, I was a tad bit nervous taking Jagger, all I could think about was the stereotype of a library and the fact that you have a librarian saying Sssshhh but this is the complete opposite.

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They have story time, an auditorium, a cafe, a teen section and a PARKING DECK and so much more!!!! There are so many levels that we didn’t even have a chance to check out the entire library.

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One really neat thing, is that kids can get their own library cards starting at age 4 and up.  Maveric was so happy to check out his first book on HIS card!  This was such a cool Mommy moment.  Elle has been getting books with her card for a while, now she’s pretty much a pro so this is a pretty sweet memory for us.

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I totally plan on going back so that I can truly soak in all the Central library has to offer, until then please make a family trip downtown, you won’t be disappointed! Until next time….

XO,

Meka

A new way to play and learn!

*The following post is sponsored by Osmo, all opinions are my own*

IMG_2975 If you’ve been following me for awhile then you know that I do not allow the kids to have screen time during the week.  Well that has recently changed, thanks to our friends over at Osmo  We were given the opportunity to try out our very own Osmo kit and couldn’t wait to dive into the new adventures.  We have been using it for about 3 weeks now and I love the activities.  It’s not your normal screen time and that makes me happy.  With Osmo the kids are able to utilize their imagination, spell, code, become better at math and so much more!

 

After opening the package, Elle and Maveric eagerly created their profiles. The kids have been so excited to play with their new Osmo set that they have literally facetimed family members just to show them how amazingly fun and innovative the activities really are!

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The kids instantly fell in love with Mo, and his way to truly gage and encourage them to be creative and enjoy the journey.   The Monster kit so far is Elle’s favorite because she an artist at heart, however, it helps Maveric to step outside of his comfort zone and try new things.  They really get a kick out of Mo and his antics.

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Each item that the kids draw, Mo will magically pull them into his world of adventures.  The kids love seeing their drawing come to life and the interactions are priceless.

 

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I am so excited to purchase some of the other activities like the coding!  I have been trying to get Elle involved in more STEAM activities, so this is going to get perfect.  Also I am extremely excited that the just announced the new Iphone kit!  Now I don’t have to worry about the kids fighting over who’s next and it’s perfect for traveling.   FullSizeRender (35).jpg

We are totally digging Osmo and it will be on our holiday wish list this year. Finally a toy that truly inspires, and engages.  In the meantime, continue checking our Instastory for live in the moment reactions to our Osmo, trust me Mom, Dads, Grandparents you will LOVE IT!!!!!!!!  Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Kool Kicks Made Easy!

*The following post was sponsored by Easy Kicks, all opinions are my own*

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I don’t know about you, but I HATE shopping (now).  When I was younger in my 20’s I loved it.  I loved going to the mall, planning out my wardrobe for the week and “shopping til I dropped”.  As a mom of 4, my time is extremely VALUABLE! Anything that can make my life easier I am here for it, and that’s why I absolutely wanted to partner with Easy Kicks!  Easy Kicks is the only sneaker club subscription box that allows parents to easily shop for their fast growing kids.  IMG_2818

Since easy kicks is backed by Nike, they are able to offer various styles at an amazing deal!  Seriously your choice of cool Nike and Converse delivered to your door each month for only $20?! IMG_2824

Sign up is so easy all you have to do is the following 4 steps:

  1. Sign up and pick your kicks
  2. Wear your kicks out and return them
  3. Order new kicks
  4. Repeat steps 2 & 3   

IMG_2825Check out more details on how this works here  

The kids were thrilled when their new kicks arrived!  Details are so important to me and Easy Kicks didn’t let us down when the shoes arrived they were individually labeled with each kids name!

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Because Easy Kicks makes it so EASY for you, they include a prepaid return bag, in our case Elle’s shoes were a little snug so we got to utilize this option and we look forward to the process!

 

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In addition to all the personalized items, Easy Kicks also sent cute stickers, because what kids doesn’t like stickers?

One thing I love about Easy Kicks, it that they either donate used shoes to kids in need or recycle them into playgrounds or sports fields with the help of Nike Grind.  I can’t think of a better deal, seriously! Cool shoes, free delivery, personalized experience, and donations to a great cause! Sounds like a total winner in our books and I know you will absolutely love this program for your child(ren)!

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This weekend the boys put there shoes to the test and we got several compliments!  We couldn’t wait to share the program with everyone that asked where we snagged our cool kicks!

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Keep an eye out on our social media, because you will see more ways we are enjoying the Easy Kicks program! IMG_3056

Until next time,

XO,

Meka

 

Raising Readers

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We’ve teamed up with IncrediBundles  to share our love for raising readers!  As a child I can honestly say, that I never had anyone sit down and encourage me to READ!  Reading has never been one of my favorite subjects, I was thankful enough that my high school had mandatory summer reading list, thank God for Cliff’s Notes (no judgment).  I’ve always known that I would make sure my kids loved reading and that I encouraged my little ones to become avid readers.  When we had our baby shower for Elle I remember asking for gently used books instead of cards so that I could start her library.  That was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and it’s created reading monsters in the Harrell house!

Speaking of baby showers or gifts for babies in general, Incredibundles offers some pretty cool gift bundles for any occasion.  We were able to choose a bundle that best fit our family and since we’ve been collecting books for over 8 years, I decided to create a bundle for the kids.

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They offer a variety of bundles, anything from toys, books, diapers, bath products, and organic items.  My goal was to get as many new books as possible and I was able to throw in a teether and stacking cups for Axel.  I love that you can truly create cool custom gifts at any budget.  Free shipping is given for all bundles that are $49 or more so for me, it only makes since to start my budget at $50.   Check out all of the awesome bundles here .

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One thing I love about my mother in law is that she is a retired educator as well as an advocate of early childhood literature!  So of course she was thrilled when our new books from IncrediBundles arrived.

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Here are some tips that we feel are very necessary to help jump start your child to becoming reading machines:

  1. Start as early as in the womb.  Sing, read, talk to your baby!! This also helps with early language development.
  2. Make it a family endeavor, take time out for family reading together. 
  3. Utilize your public library, there are so many amazing toddler and preschool programs.  This is such a special trip for our kids with their Nana.  They also meet so many new friends at our local library. 
  4. Keep books available at a kids level! We like to keep them in the car, in baskets throughout the house and on their bookshelves.
  5. Utilize the art of story telling.  Talk about your childhood adventures, our kids get a kick out of this!  They always want to hear more stories of their Nana, Papa and Dad’s childhood memories.
  6. Talk to your child at dinner, yes TALK!! No distractions, ask open-ended questions and truly engage with them.

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Thanks to Incredibundles for allowing us to share our reading rediness tips!  Share the gift of reading with someone you love. Check out this awesome giveaway and enter to win by clicking the link below!

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Happy reading and until next time…

XO

Meka

 

 

 

#KidGoals with Gymboree

Summer’s officially OVER, and I don’t know about you but I feel like it really flew by.  I mean we are already wrapping up Elle’s first week of school.  I can hardly believe that Elle is in the 3rd grade.  This year Maveric will be off to Pre-K and since Jagger is 2, we are letting him attend preschool twice a week.  Although it’s only half days, I am all in my feelings about Jagger venturing off to school.  Yesterday, Jagger’s teachers came by to do a home visit and we discussed our goals for the year.  It really resonated with me how important it is to have attainable goals, not only with my self but with the kids as well.  .

 

We have been given the opportunity to partner with Gymboree and share our #KidGoals for the school year and Gymboree really came through with some cool gear just in time for back to school! Here’s a snap shot of a few of the pieces, each of the kids have their own style and especially since I have 3 boys, it’s so important to get durable staple pieces that will last and be able to pass down to the next “little bro”

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My little fashionista Elle, is all about the emjoi’s, currently her goals for 3rd grade are to knock those EOG’s out of the park! It’s funny we just started school and she’s already thinking about end of grade testing! My personal goal for Elle is to come out of her shell and show her secret talents of singing and dancing in  PUBLIC!  She’s awesome and we just want to support her dreams in anyway possible.

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Maveric is off to Pre-K and we are so excited for him,  if you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting him, you know he’s a BALL of energy and one of his favorite places in to release energy is at the playground!  His goal for the school year is to play, eat lunch and go to music class!

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My personal goal for Maveric is to master his penmanship and continue to indulge in his love for music!  Music lessons are coming soon…. I love mixing classic looks with fun looks so pairing this cute monster button up with these awesome joggers just made sense!  He’s always running, jumping, and climbing so we need his clothes to be durable and functional.

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As I said earlier, Jagger is headed to preschool and we are thrilled!  Since he’s doing his  speech therapy he’s been having more phrases.  I am so proud of him so my personal goal for Jagger is to  meet new friends and use his words more.  We call him the professor because he’s so serious and extremely analytical.

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Boy moms know how much their boys loveeeeee trucks, so of course we went with the truck theme for Jagger.  My boys are absolutely obsessed with them, the joggers are so cute and I loved the yellow and blue details at the ankle.

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Last but obviously not least, was baby Axel.  He will still be home chilling with Mommy and Daddy so his goals are to stay cute and keep hitting milestones.  He’s rocking his awesome onsie because well he’s AWESOME! We are so excited about the school year and looking forward to all of the memories to be made.  And thanks to Gymboree our kids remain stylish!  What are your kid’s goals this year?  Cheers to a happy school year!!!

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Don’t forget to capture as many memories as possible! Stay tuned for a giveaway!!!

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Until next time….

XO,

Meka

Mommy Uniform

Mommy Uniform…. we all have them, weather it’s your favorite leggings paired with the perfect tee, your favorite workout gear that you wear when you’re not working out or it’s your favorite dress with your most comfy pair of flats.  Today I’m sharing my uniform for this weekend.

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A simple black dress paired with some cool kicks !  This bodycon is super comfy and what I love about it most, is that it’s easy access for nursing Axel! Snag one hereFullSizeRender (21)

I always love to wear a nice denim jacket or in this case a chambry because I am ALWAYS cold!  I found a similar version here  Some how I managed to pair an entire outfit from Forever 21… yes I still love finding pieces there regardless of my age.  Even the baseball cap and choker came from there.  Oh well I absolutely love cool caps, especially when you’re having a bad hair day!  In my case I just did a good conditioning last night and I didn’t want to put a lot of stress on my hair so I threw on a hat and pulled my hair through the strap.  Take your pick of cool satin baseball caps here 

FullSizeRender (25) Lastly a good mommy uniform has to have some cool kicks!  I was able to snag these for only $19.99 during a recent Reebok sale! Currently they are $39.97, still a good price in my eyes!  Check them out here

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My style is more about COMFORT! Weather I’m chasing after my boys, driving Elle to practice or hitting the road, this look will never let me down! Stay tuned for the next Mommy Uniform share.  What’s in your closet? Be sure to share you Uniform must haves below!  Until next time……

XO,

Meka

 

Cooking with Kids

*The following post is sponsored by KidStir, all opinions are my own*

This weekend the kids and I hung out at home for some much need “mommy rest”, however, we were able to have some fun thanks to Kidstir.  In case you’re not familiar with Kidstir, it’s a cool subscription box that sends kid friendly cooking utensils, as well as monthly recipes straight to your doorstep.  IMG_2681

Elle and Maveric were super excited, they scanned through the cookbook and agreed on making Watermelon Cucumber smoothies.

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I love that the recipes are so kid friendly and they really make it exciting for the kids.  Elle and Maveric really took pride in creating these smoothies without any help.  I was basically there to capture the memories and assist with the use of the Ninja.  First step was cutting 2 cups of water melon, Maveric of course was the first to volunteer to complete this task.

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Elle completed the second step of peeling and deseeding the cucumber.  This cute veggie peeler was a gift from kidstir and it’s so safe for them to use.  I couldn’t believe how easy it was for Elle to peel.

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After gathering all of the ingredients the kids were able to blend and taste!  The recipe took no more than 15 minutes and that’s with me taking pictures.

All in all the kids gave it 3 thumbs up!  I have to say I truly enjoyed watching them work together creating these smoothies.  I personally look forward to making the next item on our list.  Stay tuned for S’mores Shakes! IMG_2684

Be sure to snag a subscription box for your family, trust me you won’t be disappointed.  It’s totally worth the $15.95!  You can easily choose from 3 options: 1-5 kits: $15.95/kit,   6-9 kits: $14.50/kit or 10-12 kits: $12.95/kit.  Click the link below to get started.

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Until next time,

XO,

Meka