Just a blog about my adventures and mishaps in life.
Expect things like recipes, art, ways to save money,
fashion, creativity, beauty, babbling and randomness.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Elf on the Shelf


   We had Fred Snow, our Elf on the Shelf, show up last year and he was a big hit! There are tons of ideas on the internet of ways for your elf to get into trouble, here's what Fred did!
(In no particular order).

The first day that Fred arrived,
he watched the movie that he came with.


Photo shoot with Cat Woman.



The fun part was seeing all of the photographs
that he took that were on the camera.


Sometimes Fred just hides.
Not everyday has to be crazy creative!


Fred playing a board game.


I guess Fred couldn't find the crayons. That's ok, Fred. Mommy couldn't find them either.
P.S. Fred is a magical elf which means he can make markers work while the cap is still on.


Fred wants us to help him build a house. He even picked out which one he likes best!


Fred LOVES to spell out messages in candy!


Shhh! Fred's had a long night.
(cucumbers and duck were printed off the internet)




I guess Fred likes seafood. Naughty little elf.


Personally, I think Fred has an unfair advantage.

No biggie. Fred just updating the countdown to Christmas.


Not a good idea, Fred! I hope it's "catch and release"!
(goldfish crackers)


Aww, Fred built a snowman....and now he's roasting it.


The army men are tired of Fred's antics!


Yin-yang bear doesn't feel too good.


Fred made Nathan a paracord bracelet with his picture
on it so he won't forget him until next year.


Getting ready for some Monday night football!
(check out Fred's jersey!)


"Snow" Angels!!
 I guess the kitchen needed cleaning anyway...



Nathan was sleeping peacefully.
He woke up and saw Fred on the landing with a sign
pointing to the mirror.
Silly Fred!


Mom forgot to turn the heater up
so Fred crocheted himself a tiny scarf.


I think Fred has the upper hand here...


Elves LOVE peppermint!


Fred made us a toilet paper tree!
We left it up all month.




Fred sat in the tree on Christmas morning and watched everyone open presents.
The next day, he was gone!

Friday, August 15, 2014

School at Home is Not Homeschool (or so I've been told).

Week one of school is finally over! We both really like the new curriculum.

We've now started our 5th year of school at home and looking back I can say that it's been very challenging.

There are so many times that I wanted to rip all of my hair out and then run from the house screaming! (I'm sure Nate has also had this feeling).

And then there are those times when he does something really amazing and I look at him with just a tiny bit of tears in my eyes and know that I taught him that. Not some stranger, me. I taught him to read and to love reading, I taught him how to count, and after many frustrations how to multiply, I taught him that AZ became a state on Valentine's Day in 1912.

Over these years I've also learned just as much as he has. Not only have I relearned so much History and Geography, Science, and Art that I'd forgotten but I've learned, (am learning), patience, that imperfection is not only ok but necessary and best left uncriticized (in fact, it should be praised), and that sometimes a soft voice and a short break are more important than anything that the lessons could teach.
People always say they don't know how/why I do it...
How can I not?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Morning Star Farms Veggie Burger Review


*bzzagent is a word-of-mouth media channel that helps connect consumers with brands, companies and marketers to harness the power of honest opinions. In most cases, I have received a free product to try and give my honest opinion about. I received the products I'll be talking about from bzzagent.


Another fun campaign from bzzagent. First, let's talk about veggie burgers.
I. don't. like. them.
Haha! People say they taste like cardboard. I don't know if I would describe them that way but they definitely don't taste right.
So, I'm not a vegetarian, and I don't like veggie burgers. But...I decided to join the campaign anyway, and here's what I've learned.

I received a coupon from bzzagent for a free product from MorningStar Farms. There were quite a few different flavors to choose from at my local Fry's including a "Chik'n" and breakfast line. I picked the Mediterranean Chickpea Burgers. On sale for $3.49 for a box of 4.


(Looking back, I wish I would have included a ruler in the pic to show you how thin these are.) 110 calories and 4.5g of fat per patty is pretty good, but keep in mind that if you have a hearty appetite you're gonna need two of these babies. Even with two patties, the calories are low, but the fat is creeping up into a high zone, especially considering that you'll be eating other things (like a bun) with these burgers.


The recommended cooking instructions say to microwave, pan-fry, or bake. So I put them on the grill. lol Such a rebel!
I grilled them straight from frozen for a few minutes on each side at medium heat. I got some nice looking grill marks and also a bit of a crispness to the outside. You can see all of the texture in these burgers in this pic.


I was in a hurry to make dinner on this particular night so I just grilled some organic carrots and threw some brown rice in the rice cooker. I also made a simple tzatziki sauce for the burger since it had already had a Greek flair.

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe:
Peel, seed, and chop 2 cucumbers and put in a food processor with 1-2 containers of plain Greek yogurt, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 the juice from a lemon, 1 tbsp fresh dill, 3 cloves garlic. Blend until smooth-ish. Refrigerate for about an hour.


Now let's talk about taste. Personally, I noticed the texture more than the flavor of this burger. The texture was very interesting, it was almost like the inside of a processed chicken nugget but with a whole chickpea every once in a while. I make it sound bad but it was actually pretty good. I didn't think that the patty itself had a whole lot of flavor but I only had one on my bun and I told you earlier that these are thin. My husband had a double patty and he like the flavor a lot.
I think that if I were a vegetarian I would love these as an alternative to meat. They have a unique flavor and awesome texture. Personally, I doubt I'll buy them again, I'd rather have a good chicken or portobello burger.
But that's just me...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Burt's Bees Skin Care Line


*bzzagent is a word-of-mouth media channel that helps connect consumers with brands, companies and marketers to harness the power of honest opinions. In most cases, I have received a free product to try and give my honest opinion about. I received the products I'll be talking about from bzzagent.


I was so excited when I landed this campaign, I love Burt's Bees!





The bzzkit was great, as is the norm from my beloved bzzagent. :)

The products that I received are from the Intense Hydration line. There are several products in this line ranging from $9.99 to $17.99.

The Facts:
Clinically proven to hydrate
Reduces appearance of lines and wrinkles
Dermatologist tested and noncomedogenic
99% natural
probiotic technology
Can be found just about anywhere


As far as my personal experience, I should start by letting you know that my skin is unpredictable and pretty sensitive. Even B.B. cream makes me break out!
That being said, the products did feel a bit heavy on my face and, after about a week of use, I had a lot more congestion (blackheads), especially on the upper part of my cheeks. My skin felt greasy to the touch, not a good thing.
Keep in mind though, my skin is weird. I have several friends who use these products and love them.
I have 9 samples left from the pic above. If you'd like me to mail you one, just leave a comment below and email me with your address. After you've tried it, come back and let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Quick & Easy Weeknight Meals (freezable)


I just love knowing exactly what I'm going to make for dinner and exactly how long it's going to take during those hectic week nights.
Don't get me wrong, I love to cook from scratch, but I have a husband and 3 boys to feed and with all of the other things going on during the week I just don't always have time to slave over a hot stove.

But I still want to make healthy meals...

This ongoing dilemma is what inspired my post.

Have you ever heard of those boxed meals that come with "everything" you need to make dinner? I purchased one made by Banquet:



The package says that it serves 4. . . 4 what? It definitely didn't serve 4 of my family members! I also noticed that everything looked very processed and preserved, I mean even more so than most packaged food. It actually tasted pretty good but I knew I could do better.


My version of one-dish week night meals:

You'll need a few key ingredients to make several different versions of these casseroles. I literally made one of these meals every day for a week and no one got tired of it.

Let's start with one basic recipe:

What you'll need

1 big can Cream of Mushroom (or Cream of Chicken)
1/3 cup milk
1 - 1 1/2 cup frozen chicken
Powdered biscuit mix like Bisquik or Jiffy
1 - 1 1/2 cup frozen veggies
2/3 cup shredded cheese (optional)

Dump the creamed soup into an 8x8 pan and mix in the milk. (I use disposable pans for easy clean up.)
Mix in the chicken, then the veggies.

Mix in the shredded cheese and smooth it out.
Stop here and wrap tightly with foil if you want to freeze it, then you can put it in the fridge the night before cooking to let it thaw and proceed to the next step.
Mix your biscuit mix according to directions for drop biscuits. It's ok if it's a little lumpy.
Spoon the biscuits evenly on top of your mixture.
Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until biscuits are browned and cooked through. You can sprinkle shredded cheese on top during the last 5 minutes of cooking.





Another version of this one-dish meal is to start by adding a layer of mashed potatoes to the pan, mix chopped, cooked ham and veggies with country gravy and layer on top of potatoes, then add your biscuits on top.


My twist on chicken fettuccine alfredo
Add cooked noodles of your choice to one jar of alfredo sauce in your pan. Mix in one can of very well-drained tomatoes, 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese, and 1-1 1/2 cups cooked chicken. Add some dried basil or other Italian seasoning if you'd like.




Add refrigerated breadsticks to the top.




Or try this one:
Cooked noodles, cheese sauce (or cr. of chicken), crumbled sausage, veggies, shredded cheese, refrigerated biscuits on top.





The possibilities are endless!

Variations:
Use canned crescent rolls or biscuits.
Use shredded chicken, beef, cooked ground beef, sausage, bacon etc for your meat. Just make sure it's always cooked meat.
Use cream of chicken, cream of potato, cream of mushroom, cream of broccoli etc. or a combination.
You can also use several other types of sauces or gravies including spaghetti or alfredo sauce.
Any frozen or canned vegetables can be used including broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc. or a mix.
Add cooked noodles or rice to the mix.

You can make a bunch of these dishes in advance, (minus the bread), and freeze them for a whole month of ready-to-make meals.

More to come.

What are your favorite combinations?