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50 Inexpensive At-Home Date Night Ideas

Derek and I hardly ever go on dates outside of our house. It's typically really hard to find people who are willing to watch our kids, and when we do, we feel like we need to rush the date and get home as soon as possible. There is also the fact that you have to pay a babysitter, which I'm not opposed to doing, it's just for more reasons than one, a lot easier for us to have at-home dates instead of leaving the house.

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With coronavirus still in full swing and people not really knowing when it will be completely okay for them to have a babysitter come over, and to actually leave and go on a date, I thought I'd share 50 at-home date night ideas for you to utilize during this time at home, and beyond. Pretty much all of these ideas involve ordering in, or going and getting take-out as step one, unless otherwise mentioned. 

  1. Dinner and a Movie
  2. Card Games: Some of our favorites are Uno, Phase 10, Spit, and Rook
  3. iPad Games: Download a bunch of games on your phone or iPad and have fun playing them back and forth with one another. Some of our favorites are hangman, connect four, bowling, and the dot game. 
  4. Backyard Fire: Fire pits don't need to be expensive. You can gather a bunch of bricks and stack them in a circle, or buy an inexpensive one for $30-$50. Roast s'mores or hotdogs, and cuddle after you put the kids to bed! 
  5. Play Board Games: Some of our favorites are Scattagories, Boggle, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, and Risk.
  6. Make Dinner Together: Make a new recipe that you typically wouldn't make for your kids 
  7. Make Dessert Together: Already ate dinner with the kids? Once they're in bed make dessert and turn on a movie!
  8. Play Question and Answers: Look up a bunch of random questions online, and take turns going back and forth answering them. This could be great if you have a spouse who isn't very chatty. 
  9. Have a Backyard Picnic: Get food to go, or make something in the kitchen, and hangout on a blanket in the backyard and eat together!
  10. Paint Night: Find a painting video on youtube, and then go out and get the supplies you need to make it happen. Dollar Tree has a lot of paint supplies, along with Michael's. Don't forget your coupons!
  11. Watch a Movie Outside: If you have a projector you can setup a sheet and your favorite movie and watch outside when it gets dark! 
  12. Lay Out in the Hammock and Watch the Stars
  13. Have a Food/Drink Tasting Night: Get a few fancy root beers, or cookies from different cookie shops, or different cheeses or meats, and sample each one and talk about which ones were your favorites and why. 
  14. Listen to a Podcast: Follow up with discussing what you liked and what you didn't
  15. Have a Video Game Night: We have the Super Nintendo with all the old games pre-loaded on it! It would be fun to see who can beat who at the old school games!
  16. Have a Fondue Night
  17. Have a Bookclub for Two: Get two copies of a book, read them separately, and then discuss what you liked and what you didn't on your date night. 
  18. Have a Living Room Campout: Bring the sleeping bags inside, make s'mores, and even turn on the fireplace for a little ambiance.
  19. Have a Snowy Night Party: If there is snow outside, put the kids to bed, make a snowman together, have a snowball fight, and when it gets too cold, come inside and have hot cocoa by the fire and warm up to a movie!
  20. Play Twister!
  21. Plant a Garden: Always want to plant a garden but haven't gotten around to it? Make it into a fun date night!
  22. Have a Spa Night: You can do some facial masks, get rid of those nose hairs, and even throw in a massage if you want! 
  23. Do a Workout Together: Hit up Youtube for some workout videos, and then make a healthy dinner or do some meal prep together afterwards!  
  24. Pull out the Photo Albums: Take out your old photo albums and look through all the pictures together. 
  25. Plan a trip: Pull out your computers and each take 30 minutes planning your dream vacation, and then share your ideas with your spouse. Even if you don't take the trip, its still fun to see what each of you come up with!
  26. Assemble a Puzzle Together: Get a fun puzzle off of Amazon and spend the night putting it together! 
  27. Tackle a Home Improvement Project: Paint a room or lay some new floors (make sure it's relatively small and easy so that you can finish it in a night and feel good about yourselves)!
  28. Play card Games
  29. Paint Mugs and Plates: There is a place in Utah called Color Me Mine, where people paint pottery for date nights. You could easily recreate this from the comfort of your home. 
  30. Play Yard Games Together: There are so many fun options like Corn Hole, Ladder Golf, Kan Jam, Spike Ball, or even make an oversized yard game like Jenga!
  31. Get Dressed up for a Fancy Dinner: Put on a nice dress with full hair and makeup, and have your husband get in a suit and tie, and have a nice candlelit dinner at home!
  32. Learn a TikTok Dance: You don't have to actually post it, but we all know this would cause plenty of fun and laughter. 
  33. Bake a Fancy Cake Together: Hone in your cake decorating skills and try to make a great tasting and beautifully looking cake. Cakes by Courtney has tons of tips and amazing recipes. 
  34. Have an Ice Cream Sundae Competition: Who can make the best looking, and best tasting sundae? Get all the fixings at the store and find out!
  35. Do Yoga Together: Similar to doing a workout, but a lot less sweat. 
  36. Binge a Season of your Favorite Show: Some of our favorites are The Office, Brooklyn 99, Friends, and Seinfeld. 
  37. Have a Dessert Only Dinner: Get a bunch of your favorite treats and watch a movie while you eat. Turns out when you're the adult you don't have to have your real dinner first. 
  38. Watch the Sunrise/Sunset: Wake up early, or stay up late, and watch the sun come up or go down together. 
  39. At Home Escape Room: There are tons of escape room games on amazon that you can purchase so you don't have to make up your own, and it will be a lot more fun and challenging than a normal board game!
  40. Guess the Food: Pick a bunch of foods from your pantry/fridge. Blindfold your spouse and see if they can guess each food. 
  41. Get Crafty with the Kids Art Supplies: Pull out all your kids supplies and see who can make the best... anything. 
  42. Learn a New Game: Grab a new game you've never played before and figure it out together
  43. Try Deep Frying Everything: Look through your pantry and try deep frying things, Oreos, chocolate, string cheese, etc.. 
  44. Take Online Personality Tests
  45. At-Home Prom Night: Dress up for prom and play all the best songs from the year you graduated high school. 
  46. Watch a Comedy Show Online
  47. Tie-Dye T-Shirts: Tie-dye is making a huge comeback right now anyways. Get some white shirts, and a tie-dye kit and make a night of it!
  48. Backyard Olympics: If you're competitive The Creative Bite has a ton of backyard games you can play. Compete against your spouse and see who is the winner!
  49. Take French Lessons: It is the language of love after all ;) 
  50. Make Pottery Together: Mold some clay or try one of these pottery wheel kits for kids, and see what you can come up with! 
Do you have any fun at-home date night ideas that you love? I'd love to hear them in the comments below! 

Zion Wildflower Resort: Glamping Near Zion National Park

One thing our family is interested in doing this summer is still making time and space for vacations and trips, despite everything going on in the world right now. The best way we can practically do this is by camping, and focusing our trips on nature and the great outdoors. 


Derek and I have lived in Utah for six years (three when we first got married, and three more since moving back in 2017), and have never been to Zion National Park, or any of the National Parks in Southern Utah. 


We have friends who just opened the most amazing glamping experience: Zion Wildflower Resort, and are planning on heading down next month for a little anniversary getaway without the kids. The Zion Wildflower Resort is beautiful, and our friends didn't miss a single detail when creating this space from the ground up. Even though we're not visiting for another month, I wanted to give you guys a preview of the resort so that it can be on your radar, and so that you could book a stay for your family.

Lodging Options at Zion Wildflower Resort:
When you book your stay with Zion Wildflower Resort, you have three lodging options. The first option is the large canvas tent that comes with a King size bed, two twin sized beds, and comfortably sleeps four people. 


The next option is the covered wagons. This is such a fun experience and gives a little nod to our Utah heritage. There are two options: one that sleeps four people with a king size bed and two twin size beds. The other wagon option has a king size bed, and two twin size bunk beds, and allows you to sleep six people. 



Finally, there are four different bungalow options. The bungalows are essentially mini houses built on the property, and the four styles fit a wide variety of guests. There is a two bedroom option with a king size bed and a queen size bed that sleeps four people, another bungalow option has two queen size beds and sleeps four people, the third option has a king size bed along with a full on full bunk bed, and then there is a single king size bed option for two people. 


What Amenities are Offered at Zion Wildflower Resort:
There are so many fun things to see and do while you're at the Zion Wildflower Resort. Not only do you get to experience and lodge in the great outdoors, but there are fun activities for the entire family to enjoy. There are oversize yard games, plenty of outdoor space for yoga and other exercise. There are large fire pits to keep you warm and cozy with your family at night, along BBQ pits, and even painting activities provided at the office. 


If you're not staying in one of the bungalows, there are luxury bath houses available for guest use. Each bath house has multiple private bathrooms inside that have a sink, vanity, toilet, and shower, that are fully lockable for privacy. There is no wifi available on the property to encourage unplugging and connecting with those you're with, but the property does have strong LTE cell coverage so that you can still be connected to family and make phone calls/text messages as needed. 

How Far Away is Zion Wildflower Resort from Zion National Park?
The best part about Zion Wildflower Resort is getting to be a quick 15 minute drive from Zion's National Park. If you're going to be visiting Zion this summer and need a place to stay, take advantage of the amazing rates and wonderful lodging opportunities that Zion Wildflower has to offer. The benefit to Zion Wildflower is getting to extend your time at Zion into the great outdoors where you can rest and unplug from a day of hiking and exploring, and still be outdoors experiencing all that southern Utah has to offer. If you're looking for a way to unplug from the hustle and bustle of life, and be one with nature, you're not going to want to miss out on this wonderful luxury camping opportunity. 

Zion Wildflower Resort is currently booking for the 2020 season. They have contactless check-in to ensure all their guests are safe and healthy, and are ready to provide you with the ultimate camping experience this summer. To learn more about room rates and availability, head over to their site today!

Also be sure to follow @ZionWildflower on Instagram to stay up-today on all the latest building and property updates, and all the fun as this summer season gets rolling!

Social Distance Summer Schedule

Two years ago, almost exactly to the day, I wrote a post about our weekly summer schedule. That post is the most popular post written on my blog with over 42,000 page views. That post gets high traffic this time of year, but since things are looking a little different this summer, I decided to adapt the post a bit for you, and give you some ideas on how you can make the most of this summer for your children, even with the current climate in the world. 

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I want to preface all of this with the fact that I don't think you need to do one of these things every single day. If you find yourself bored and want to do something, use this as a guide. I honestly don't believe in over structuring summer. How many of us look back on our own childhood and think, "I'm so glad my mom used a block schedule the summer of 1999 and that I learned about the Spanish Inquisition and long division..."  (Not throwing shade at people who LOVE doing this kind of thing, I'm just not that kind of mom, and know I don't have the energy to keep up with anything like that!)

I'm all for routine, and finding a natural rhythm and pattern in our days, but I think the second we start telling ourselves life has to be done one way, and it needs to be that way every single time, it's when we find ourselves burnt out, stressed out, and disappointed by false expectations. I hope this post can serve as a great guide to help you with ideas of things you can do with your children, but in no way make you feel pressured to do any of these things. 

Make it Monday:
Monday's are a great time to get our crafting on! We're fresh from the weekend and feeling fun and motivated right? I love getting little paint kits from the Target Dollar Spot, or Dollar Tree. I also love just getting a bunch of random crafts supplies like paper, paint, beads, string, glue, popsicle sticks, and letting their imaginations run wild! 

Learning Tuesday: 
I am not a workbook/school work every day of the summer kind of mom. However, you could take a day a week to do a fun story time or music class with your kids. Let them pick a topic that they want to learn more about and make a mini lesson on it. If your child struggles with a certain subject, you could take 20 minutes a week to work on that with them. In our house it would be numbers with Kinsley and writing with Kyle. I don't want them to lose a lot of ground in those subjects over the summer, so those might be the things I decide to work on IF we are feeling up to it. 

Water Wednesday:
One of my very favorite things to do with my kids is fill up a kiddie pool with water, throw them and their plastic toys inside of it, and let them have a ball for hours in the backyard. I plan on doing this weekly when we move. Other fun things could be water blobs, water balloons, squirt guns, running through the sprinklers, slip-n-slides, and any other water game your children love!  

Adventure Thursday:
Adventures are harder this summer with splash pads likely staying closed. Things I hope to do are hikes, nature walks, nature scavenger hunts, scenic drives, and any other thing that gets us outdoors and exploring!

Foodie Friday:
I really want to get Kyle cooking more in the kitchen this summer. We bought him a kid's cookbook, and are working our way through it currently. You can cook with your kids, go out for ice cream or shaved ice, or do a family date night and eat somewhere new you've never been. 

Super Saturday:
This is a great day to do something as a family since the work week is over. Go on a camping trip, to the drive-ins, have a BBQ, game night, or sleepover in the backyard. The sky is really the limit. Whatever you do, do it together as a family!

Sundays: 
I did not include this on my graphic, but Sundays are a day where we go to church (depending on when they open again), or we do church at home with our kids. Then we just relax and spend most of the day at home laying pretty low. It's a reset day for us where we just take time to be together as a family with no real agenda. 

What are your plans this summer? Do you like doing small things with your kids each day, or stick to a more structured schedule? I'd love to hear what works for you in the comments!

Be sure to follow along on Instagram @thehappyflammily to stay up to date on all of the latest from us!

Vegan Mango Lentil Dal

We've been trying lots of new recipes this week since we decided to do a week of vegan eating. We've found a lot of great family friendly vegan recipes, and this mango lentil dal has been one of our favorites so far. I got the original idea for this recipe from Fried Dandelions, but adapted it a little bit to speed up the cooking process a bit and meet our family's preferences. 

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What is a Dal?
Dal is a phrase often used in Indian cooking and refers to a dish made with beans and pulses, particularly lentils. We went through eight years of marriage never cooking lentils, but this last year have tried many recipes and have come to really love them. It always seems intimidating to cook with something new, but lentils are a great protein source, cook easily, and can be the base for many delicious recipes. 

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Can you cook with canned mangos?
The original recipe for this Dal called for fresh mangos. They're super tricky though because they need to be the perfect amount of ripeness or they taste awful, and cutting a mango is not my idea of a good time while trying to get dinner on the table. We used canned diced mango in this recipe and it turned out really great. I haven't tried fresh mango to compare, but no one in our home was opposed. Just make sure to drain off all the liquid before cooking. 

What to serve with Mango Lentil Dal?
We loved serving this over some white rice. If you're looking to up the nutritional value you could totally use brown rice, or even quinoa to serve with your Dal. My kids tend to do better with white rice, which is why we went for that, and figured their was plenty of protein and nutrients in the dal to make up for whatever we were lacking with our rice. 

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Ingredients:
1 cup dry white rice
1 cup dry red lentils
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 onion diced
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
15oz can diced mango, drained
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Directions:
In a small pot, prepare your rice to package instructions. 

In a medium pot add your lentils and 4 cups of water. Bring water to a boil, and then lower the temperature and allow to simmer with the pot partially covered until most of the water is absorbed and lentils are tender. About 15-20 minutes.

In a medium skillet, heat your oil, and then add in your onion, garlic, and all of your spices. Cook until the onion is tender and the spices are fragrant. Add in your diced mangos, making sure to drain all the liquid from the can before adding to the onion and spice mixture. Heat all the way through for 1-2 minutes. 

Once your lentils are cooked and most of the water is absorbed, add the onion and mango mixture to the lentils and stir to combine. Serve over rice, and enjoy!

Summer 2020 Backyard Preview

After not having a backyard for the kids to play in for an entire year, we're totally taking advantage when we move into our new house in five weeks, and we're going to be outside every single day. One of my favorite things to do with the kids last summer was put them in the kiddie pool and all their favorite toys and just let them play for hours on end. 

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We have a lot of fun, inexpensive, and easy DIY projects planned for the inside of the house, but we really want to take the time to get settled through the rest of the summer, and really just enjoy the backyard space first before we do anything else to the house. We've never really had patio furniture, or a hammock stand for the hammock that we've owned for nine years and have never used, so we're really looking forward to making this outdoor space our own. 

Patio Furniture Set: I love the brown color of this set, and the more modern vibe that it gives off. I also really love that it isn't too expensive, with the entire set coming in at under $400. We won't be making any major purchases before we move into our home, but this will be one of the first things we get! 

Buffalo Plaid Outdoor Rug: We have a large paved patio under our pergola out the back door, and a rug will make the space feel a bit more cozy. I'm a sucker for all things buffalo plaid, and this blue color screams summer! 

Fire Pit: This has been a major house goal in the last two houses we've owned, and we never made it happen. We might not get to it this summer, but I love this one from Home Depot. It's pretty inexpensive, and you can hook up a propane tank to it, so you don't have to worry about having woon on hand!

Hammock Stand: My friend bought Derek and I a hammock from Guatamala nine years ago when we got married, and we've still never used it. I'm getting Derek this stand for Father's Day this year, and for the first time in nine years, we will hammock. 

Kiddie Pool: This is basically the cheapest fun you can buy for your kids all summer, and this will be a top priority once we're moved in. I actually prefer the hard plastic ones from Walmart, but have lined to an inexpensive inflatable one form Target if you're in the market! 

Water Blob: I've wanted to try one of these giant water blobs with the kids for ages and think they look so fun! This one you fill all the way with water and it doubles as a slip n slide, but also sprays water too. I can just imagine Kinsley screaming with joy for hours on this thing. Sorry in advance neighbors. 

Hose: Not the most impressive home purchase, but super necessary for the yard (for toys and otherwise). Word of advice, don't buy the cheapest hose they sell. Derek and I have been burned by many cheap hoses in the past... this is one of the few things in life we splurge on! 

How to Clean Your Oven (Six Simple Steps)

Several months ago I made some muffins, and when I went to put the pan in the oven, it slipped out of my hand and spilled batter everywhere, including inside our stove. I cleaned up as much as I could, and then figured I do a self clean cycle on the oven and we'd be fine. Until I realized that despite our house being built in 2017, the ovens are not self cleaning ovens. I didn't even know they still made ovens that did not self clean at this point in time. 

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At that point I washed my hands of the situation and decided to figure out my problems when we moved out of here. Well we move out in five weeks, so I decided now was as good as any to get this oven situation figured out. If you need tips on how to clean your non-self cleaning oven, let this be your guide.

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Cleaning Supplies to Clean a Stove:
Dish Soap
Baking Soda
Dish Sponge
Scrub Brush
Straight Edge Razor
Chisel

Step One: Get the inside of your stove wet. I used a dish sponge loaded with water, and then squeezed the water into the oven and onto the door. I got about 3-4 sponge fulls of water in there before calling it good. 

Step Two: Squirt dish soap and sprinkle baking soda everywhere. I took the bottle of dish soap and squirted it very liberally all over the door and the inside of the oven, and then sprinkled lots of baking soda all over the dish soap. I let is sit an absorb and work it's magic on all the grime for a good 10 minutes. 

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Step Three: Scrub the oven down with your scrub brush. I took my scrub brush and worked in a circular motion all over the inside of the oven and the door. I did this for about 5-10 minutes, really working hard to break apart as much of the grime and caked on debris as possible. 

Step Four: Wipe everything down with a wet rag. I took a rag and got it wet with super hot water, and then wiped out as much of the baking soda and soap as possible. I think I used a total of three rags to get everything wiped out and cleaned. 

Step Five: Bust out the razor blade and chisel. Scrubbing did remove a lot of the debris, but there was still so much stuff caked onto the door and the bottom of the oven. Derek disassembled a bic razor to remove the blade, and I rubbed that all over the door. It did an amazing job at breaking up all the little specks and didn't leave any scratches on the glass.

The bottom of the oven was basically unphased by the razor blade and we had to use more extreme measured, a chisel. Again, I ran this back and forth on all the black caked on spots until they eventually came off, and again, it left no scratches on the surface. 

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Step Six: Use a dry towel to wipe out all the leftover dust and debris. When I was done with the chisel and razor blade I wiped everything out with a dry towel, and then swept the floors to get everything actually cleaned. The glass door was looking a little streaky so I wiped that with Windex and then it was done!

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This entire process took me less than an hour and really wasn't that bad at all. It's funny how something I had been dreading for months really wound up being a stress free process once I finally did it!

I do realize that the stove is still not perfect. I could probably get the corners better, and there is stuff trapped between the glass on the door that I'll never be able to get, but it is still 100 time better than what it was!

Do you have a self cleaning oven, or an oven like mine? Do you have any tips or products you love for cleaning the inside of your stove? I'd love to know in the comments below! 

Don't forget to follow me on Instagram @thehappyflammily to stay up to date on all the latest things happening over here! 

Vegan Family Menu Plan May 18-22

I have been basically the worst eater during quarantine. As a result I just haven't felt the best. While I don't identify or subscribe to any one diet type, and typically don't eliminate any certain foods (aside from beef and pork which I'm intolerant to), I do feel my best and most energized when I do eat plant based meals. 

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In 2019 I went vegan for six weeks and felt amazing. I'm assuming life got in the way or someone waved ice cream in my face and it went downhill from there? Anyways, I've eaten far too few fruits and veggies during quarantine thus far and am just doing a little vegan reset week to get a little pep in my step, and hopefully continue the trend of incorporating more healthy foods into my diet again. (I'm seriously the worst eater, anyone else relate?) 

If you're in the market for five vegan kid friendly dinner ideas this week, I've got you covered. Since I know people will ask, I plan on eating oatmeal for all my breakfasts (with diced apple, peanut butter, chia seeds, and frozen blueberries), and refried beans quesadillas for my lunch each day. The kids typically eat cereal for breakfast, and we pick up lunches from the school in the afternoon for them. These dinners listed below will be eaten by the entire family. 

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Vegan Chili Cheese Tater Tots by Cadry's Kitchen: This will be an easy weeknight meal. We plan on simplifying the dinner by using canned vegetarian chili instead of making it from scratch, and then bringing the rest of the ingredients together for an easy kid friendly dinner. 

Kid friendly vegan breakfast recipes. Vegan recipes for picky eaters. Vegan recipes for kids’ lunch box. Kid friendly vegan meal plan. Kid friendly vegetarian pasta recipes. Vegan family dinner recipes. Vegan family meals. Easy weeknight vegan dinners. Plant based meal ideas. Easy vegan meal ideas. #vegan #plantbased #dinners #kidfriendly #meals #weeknightmeals
Mango Lentil Dahl by Fried Dandelions: We love Indian in our house and knew I had to try this recipe the second I saw it. We plan on simplifying it a bit by using organic canned red lentils we bought at Walmart, along with a can of diced mango! It will make dinner time a lot easier!

Kid friendly vegan breakfast recipes. Vegan recipes for picky eaters. Vegan recipes for kids’ lunch box. Kid friendly vegan meal plan. Kid friendly vegetarian pasta recipes. Vegan family dinner recipes. Vegan family meals. Easy weeknight vegan dinners. Plant based meal ideas. Easy vegan meal ideas. #vegan #plantbased #dinners #kidfriendly #meals #weeknightmeals
Vegan Potato Carrot Mac n Cheese by The Right on Mom: I've been wanting to try a vegan mac n cheese recipe for ages. This will be our first time cooking with nutritional yeast as well. I'll definitely have to report back and let you know how our kids did with this! Planning on serving with a side of broccoli!

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Oven Baked Taquitos by Nora Cooks: This is a pretty normal meal for our house, although I do plan on making a vegan cashew sour cream to dip them in. Another first that I'm excited to try!

Kid friendly vegan breakfast recipes. Vegan recipes for picky eaters. Vegan recipes for kids’ lunch box. Kid friendly vegan meal plan. Kid friendly vegetarian pasta recipes. Vegan family dinner recipes. Vegan family meals. Easy weeknight vegan dinners. Plant based meal ideas. Easy vegan meal ideas. #vegan #plantbased #dinners #kidfriendly #meals #weeknightmeals
Baked Tofu Buddha Bowl by Glue and Glitter: My kids actually really like tofu, so I'm not too worried about this meal. We've had Buddha bowls in the past and as long as I put all the kids food separately on the plate and not touching they'll eat it with no problems ;) 

Does your family have any plant based meals that you love? I'd love to hear about them in the comments. Be sure to follow along on Instagram @thehappyflammily to see how these meals turn out for us this week!