Monday, April 29, 2013

Homemade Meatloaf "Cupcakes"

This past April Fools Day, I really wanted to make the meatloaf cupcakes to trick my son... but..I never got around to it that day so I ended up doing a random surprise dinner day lol. When I put the plate of food in front of him, at the table, he says "whaaat?? cupcakes??" and later went to tell me they looked weird and wondered why we were having them...They do look pretty unappealing for a sweet cupcake lol But it was still humorous and fun to make!

*Very simple too. You just mix your ground beef mixture as you would any meatloaf, and place the meat into foil cupcake liners, bake til cooked through and top with seasoned (or colored for extra fun) mashed potatoes! You could also top with a cherry tomato to look like a cherry ;) Or maybe add super tiny cut chives as "sprinkles" TI put my mashed potatoes into a sandwich baggy and cut the tip so I could pipe it like frosting. This was slightly difficult because my mashed potatoes had a few extra chunks! (Tip: Make sure you potatoes are cooled before you place in baggy-You can place back in oven to warm the potatoes.)





Saturday, April 27, 2013

Earth Day 2013

For Earth Day a few days ago, me and my lil man made some fun crafts!

1st we made Shaving cream Earth art, by covering a cookie sheet with shaving cream and adding green and blue food coloring droplets throughout and letting lil man stir it around. Then he placed a circle shaped paper on top of the shaving cream and it made the Earth!! He then glued the Earth to a paper and drew pictures around, of what he was happy the Earth gave us.  
 The art below on the left is my sons, mine is on the right :) )




 Next we made a tin can drum by placing a cut balloon on top and adding decoration to it..stickers, ribbon, ect. He made the drum sticks from pencils with pom poms on it. Super cute!








4/26/2013 National Pretzel Day!

Yesterday, April 26th was National Pretzel Day!!! So this post was suppose to be uploaded yesterday, but a few hours late will do :)

I found an easy homemade pretzel recipe over at Marin Mommies that we made and the pretzels came out amazing!

   Pretty simple! To make Homemade Soft Pretzels you need:
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg + a few teaspoons water for egg wash  (or olive oil)
  • Salt for sprinking
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Dissolve yeast in 1/2c warm water. Add honey and salt and mix. Stir in flour until a dough forms. Place dough on a floured surface and knead til smooth. Cut pieces of dough and roll into long cylinders. Twist into the pretzel shape then bush with premade egg wash or olive oil and sprinkle with salt. You could also sprinkle cinnamon sugar for a sweet treat! Bake in oven for about 10 minutes or until golden. Let cool some when done, eat warm. Delicious!

Makes 6-8 soft pretzels depending on size. I made 4 bigger pretzels with cinnamon and sugar on (a little dry by taste great dipped in a little honey!) ant then my son made 2 "8" shaped in cinnamon sugar, then we did 5 smaller pretzels sprinkled with sugar and Parmesan cheese (my favorite!). A total of 11! A great afternoon snack. This is for sure a recipe I'll keep!






Friday, April 26, 2013

The Berenstain Bears 3Disc Review

Another great movie to review from ChildsPlay communications....


The Berenstain Bears, a childhood memory into the form of a DVD collection! The Berenstain Bears live in Bear Country, a place filled with love, loyalty and humor. It's packed with life lessons and community values. As a child, I loved growing up with The Berenstain Bear books and when they became a TV show, I loved to watch! I always enjoyed seeing brother and sister bear playing together so nicely and how brother bear always sticks up for his little sister. It's so sweet and a fun show to watch.

I loved watching each video in the collection. I think they make good points and helpful situations to teach your lil one about.  Me and my son made a marathon of it and watched them all back to back :) 3 hrs worth of The Berenstain Bears.This would make a great gift for any little kid or kid at heart ;)

   In The Berenstain Bears DVD Collection, it contains 3 DVDS-15 episodes worth including Celebrations, Bear Country and Homework Help, all 50th Anniversary Editions.


The Berenstain Bears runs 165 minutes and can be watch in English or French. The DVD has auto play which means it will automatically play the whole program from the main menu. It can be purchased at Walmart stores for $29.99


 This post is made possible by Phase 4 Films and ChildsPlay Communications, in which I received the video to review. No compensation involved.

Book Reading

I'm proud to admit I have read a total of 5 books in just this month!!! That's huge for me.. I love to read but I don't always have the time to... Until recently, I've been having free time in the mornings, twice a week, finding myself in a cafe, book in hand, and sipping on some specialty drink. I've had a lot of great reads, but the two that have been my favorite this month are "Bread & Wine" and "Beatrice Munson".

   In the past, my book reading consisted of mostly "self help" type books, or inspirational ones... much like Joyce Meyer's books, or uplifting life connections. But lately, I've branched out and I've been finding I enjoy fictional novels. I love the feel of wanting to keep on reading, because you spend so much time in the book that it becomes a part of you. The characters are brought to life in your own imagination and eventually you begin to see those characters in real life; The similarities in people around you that seem to fit the descriptions in the book. I love it.

   Right now I'm in the process of reading "Change Your Words Change Your Life" by Joyce Meyer ... a book I picked up from the library because I was just aching for a new read, and didn't have a lot of time to search through the books so I settled. And then a new book came in the mail to review... "House on Plunkett Street" by Lorena Bathey, the same author who wrote Beatrice Munson! So I'm happy to read that soon :)

   Reading books is great for the soul. Since I've been reading so much, it's peaked my sons interest to work harder on his reading, so he too, can read the big story books. It's a great motivation.

Are you reading any great books right now? 
{Recommendations welcome! :) }

Thursday, April 25, 2013

belVita Breakfast Biscuit in Blueberry Review

I picked up a box of belVita Breakfast Biscuit's in Blueberry flavor, at our local Grocery Outlet for only $1.99!! A great score because they regularly retail for $3.69...I wish I still had some @Influenster belVita coupons, I could have gotten it for super cheap! But that's ok, $1.99 is a steal and these Blueberry ones are DELICIOUS! I think I might even like them better then the Cinnamon Brown Sugar ones!

  Blueberry belVita breakfast biscuits contain 18g of whole oats. 3g of fiber, 8g of total fat per serving which is 1 pack (4 biscuit crackers), B vitamins and blueberry's. belVita does not contain high fructose corn syrup It's packed with nutrition to sustain your energy all morning.

   I ate me a pack this morning for breakfast, along with a coffee (which I never usually drink but needed a kick for today) and It tasted pretty darn good :)

belVita comes in 5 different flavors:  
And can be found in several grocery stores at the retail price of $3.69 for a box of 5 packets of 4 biscuits.




Find belVita on Facebook and Twitter, as well as their website

MVP & MVP2 Movie Review

How's everyone's day going? Mine has been surprisingly good!  In between getting laundry done and the sun shining, I wanted to share some movies with you. ChildsPlay Communications sent me these movies to watch & review, and me and my son made a fun movie night out of them!  
{Also be on the watch for my review on The Berenstain Bears movie collection!}

MVP "Most Valuable Primate" is a movie about a monkey named Jack who belongs to a research lab and can speak through sign language. When he learns the lab wants to sale him to another company, he makes an escape and finds himself lost in the frozen northlands. Jack befriends two teens who build a relationship and bring a positive turn in each others lives.

I enjoyed watching MVP. I loved the connection Jack made with the kids; The teens had been having a rough time in school, since their switch from California to Canada, trying their best to fit in, but cruel peers made a difficult transition for the two. The girl gets teased by her classmates, for being deaf and having a speech impairment, and the boy gets made fun of by the other mates on the hockey team, about being from California and playing too good. When Jack showed up, life got easier and more enjoyable for the teens. Jack became good friends with the girl, which grew her self esteem and lead her to build friendships with her classmates, and he joined the hockey team with the boy, helping them win almost every game of the season! There was a lot of laughs and awws...a great heartfelt family movie!!

MVP runs 93 minutes and is rated PG for some mild language. You can watch it in English, French or Spanish. The DVD contains downloadable activity, behind the scense documentary of "The Chimp's a Champ: The Making of a Star Hockey Player", a feature-length audio commentary by Director Robin Vince, Jamie Renee Smith & Kevin Zegers and the trainer, Carol Lillie. MVP is available for purchase at Walmart for $9.99

MVP2 is the continuation of MVP, with Jack still the main character but this time he gets recruited to a hockey team and finds himself leaving because he was framed and of course, nobody would believe a monkey over a lying hockey player. So Jack found his way into the allies of Seattle, WA. and sees a boy who is skateboarding. The boy is an escape orphan who could really use a friend in his life. Jack once again brings positiveness to the life of a child and great things happen from there on! Skateboarding competitions, a new chance on life, and more..another great family movie! I would recommend both MVP movies to family and children age 5 and older. They contain good morals and teaching experiences. Makes for a great family movie night.

MVP2 runs 87 minutes and is rated G. You can watch it in English, French or Spanish. The DVD contains a downloadable activity kit, behind scenes skateboarding featuring Bob Burnquist, extreme skate stuff, outtakes, and cast biographies. MVP2 is also available for purchase at Walmart for $9.99
 

 This post is made possible by Phase 4 Films and ChildsPlay Communications, in which I received the video to review. No compensation involved.

Ricotta Stuffed Conchiglioni Shells

Ricotta stuffed conchiglioni shells was a new dinner experiment for me! 
I've never stuffed pasta lol. But I had the meal idea in my head and put it to work.


I first cooked up some hamburger meat, drained off the grease and seasoned it with pepper, Cajun, garlic and onion.Then added ricotta cheese and some olive oil to moisten it up. Along with some cayenne pepper hot sauce for an added flare. On the side, I boiled the conchiglioni pasta shells to prepare for stuffing. Making sure to flip them lightly with a fork, to make sure bottom side isn't sticking and to make sure they're getting cooked all around.


Once conchiglioni shells are cooked through, I gently poured them into a colander and rinsed them in cool water. I layered each shell, side by side, in a lightly greased glass pan and began stuffing one at a time, with the ricotta/meat mixture. Once filled, I poured on traditional flavored pasta sauce and sprinkled Parmesan cheese across. Placed in the oven to warm up and enjoy!!

 Sided with sauteed asparagus and my failed, yet delicious, attempt of pinterest cheese balls.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

For Women Only - Book Review

For Women Only is written by Shaunti Feldahn, on all the things you need to know about men and their life.

I had a really hard time liking this book. It was hard to enjoy, and I felt anger inside because I feel the book can be misleading. Not all men are the same, though yes, quite a bit are, but to the ones who are completely different then most of what is said in the book, it makes them look bad. In For Women Only, Shaunti writes of a character in her novel she has been writing, describing him as "a devoted churchgoer and godly man, and a successful business man. But he struggled with his thought life, especially the visual temptations that beckoned from every corner, from the secret traps of the internet to the overt appeal of the miniskirt walking down the street. So, in short--and this is what shocked me--I discovered that instead of being unusual, my character was like almost every man on the planet. Including the faithful husbands I was interviewing." I see that she says "almost every man" but women reading this are going to take it and in turn, put it toward all men. My husband was upset to read that, on page 3 "Even happily married men struggle with being pulled toward live and recollected images of other women" he disagreed with that. I am not fond of reading things like that either because a lot of the men in my past have shown me that to be true, which caused a lot of trust issues for me which in turn, caused problems for me in trusting my husband. He has been working so hard to show me that is not true, and to read in this book that it is, just doesn't sit well with me. It quite frankly, made me want to throw the book down and never look back. I continued to read and found the more I read, the more it bored me. I guess it just wasn't the kind of book for me. I feel like a lot of what was said, are things we as women should see and pick up, just by being with our men for years upon years. But one thing I did enjoy to read was that in a survey taken by men, a question was asked: "What is the one thing that you wish your wife/significant other knew, but you feel you can't explain to her or tell her?" and the answer from hundreds of men responded "How much I love her." That is just the sweetest thing. I also liked a word from one of the men Shaunti interviewed. A man who had been married to his wife for more than 25 years said "There is no relationship with the woman who catches your eye. With your wife, you have a deep and long and meaningful relationship. There is no competition there. Yes, your mind may make the observation that this other woman is twenty years younger and has never had two kids. But that is all it is-an observation. And that observation is immediately offset by other factors, such as the fact that you love your wife!" This is a greater way to look at the situation, that love can overcome all obstacles, and observations are nothing but mere realizations of people all around us.

You can find more information on For Women Only and other books by Shaunti Feldahn by visiting http://www.shaunti.com/ and you can also read the 1st chapter of For Women Only HERE.


*This review is made possible by the Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group via Blogging for Books,  
by providing me a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions my own.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Beatrice Munson Book Review



Beatrice Munson is written by Lorena Bathey, about a neighborhood in Vista Heights where everyone was always the same ol' bore, stuck in their routines and non exiting lives.  The main character is built on a woman named Marissa Lyons who finds that an old classmate from high school, who she disliked for dating the guy she was in love with, moves across the street. She worries she will have to relive the memories of high school when her new neighbor, Beatrice Munson, moves in. But it was just the opposite of that. Beatrice brings lots of love and hope to the neighborhood, bringing everyone together and brightening their worlds.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Beatrice Munson! I do have to say, from first impressions, I think it could have been given a better title, but the title doesn't even matter after you read such a good story! It was as if I was watching a chick flick movie, filled with drama, love and happiness. I loved the closeness in the neighborhood, that brought everyone together and that their tight knit friendships made them always their for one another. Each of the women in the neighborhood all realized they got into the flow of life and forgot about themselves. The didn't take chances to stop and smell the roses or feel alive. Beatrice became the angel in their lives, helping them see life differently and embrace their inner self.

One thing I didn't like was between Chapter 13 and Chapter 14, I felt the author jumped ahead in time as if she needed to shorten her book...I just wish there was more emphasis on the time between, because I loved reading it so much! :) You can definitely tell the book was written by a woman based on the characters lol..The romanticism was breathtaking. I loved the celebration of life, family, friendships and total togetherness. How everyone worked together, forming their lives around one another. There were times I was brought to tears while reading. Some very touching parts.

I felt I could relate with Marissa in ways of not being able to trust. Some of the things I read were also things I myself needed to hear. I will share a few quotes from the book:

"But don't push happiness away because you're scared that it actually might end up hurting you. The beauty of loving is that you have to take chances to find real love. It is the critical component of love and loving. You have to take a leap of faith that it will work. It's the perfect example of hope."

 "it's the way we respond to such gifts that is up to us. We decide if our past hurts and pains are going to overshadow what is occurring right this moment." 

I love those. These quotes are pieces of the book I will hold on to and cherish.

Another great book I definitely recommend it to all the women out there! Some men might like it too! :)

You can find more information about Lorena B Books on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dickinson's Towelettes Review

Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes are made with Witch Hazel and Aloe, to soothe your skin as it cleanses and rejuvenates. It gently lifts the dirt and impurities from your pores and nourishes the skin in the process, making it suitable for even the most sensitive skin types. Each individually wrapped towelette cloth is 5"x 7", made with interlocking mesh material made to trap the dirt and oils, as well as a layer of botanical extracts to tone and protect your skin.

   These towelettes are great for after workouts, while you're on the go, spending the day at the beach, or just feel like you need to freshen up. They have a slight scent of witch hazel but feel so soft on your face. I love that the witch hazel will help refine the pores to keep your face blemish free and that it will lock in the moisture your face needs, helping soothe irritations. I found the towelettes to be really helpful for an after workout freshen up, to keep my face feeling clean until my nightly shower.

  You can find Dickinson's on Facebook  as well as their Website. The Dickinson's Original Witch Hazel Oil Controlling Towelettes sell for a retail price of $5.99 for a box of 20 towelettes.



The above product was provided by Influenster as a part of my Sugar n' Spice Vox Box to review. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Woolite Sampling with Crowdtap

   I received a kit of Woolite laundry samples with Crowdtap to share with the people around me. Woolite is a great laundry detergent that helps keep your clothes looking brand new and keeps them from fading.  I used the detergent recently and didn't notice a drastic difference, but in the long run I hope my clothes stay looking fresh.


Have you used Woolite? What do you think about it?

If you sign up with Woolite, you can receive a Dollar off to purchase Woolite Detergent!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Pinterest Cheese Ball FAIL

I came across a neat recipe on Pinterest for super easy and delicious cheese balls. 
All it called for was string cheese, milk, and bread crumbs!

Sounds easy enough right?!

So you chop the string cheese into bite size pieces, dip them in milk and bread crumbs 
and bake in the oven at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes.


 

These are how my Cheese balls came out:



*MAJOR FAIL*
 But they did taste good!


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our PAASt Easter Egg Dying Party

   I know it's a little late but I'm just now getting around to going over the photos lol... Here are some shots of our Egg Dying party we had using our PAAS & Heinz Kit we received.







Lovin my cute lil cracker carrot bags! The kids had a lot of fun dying Easter eggs and eating snacks! We also did the fun foam egg decorating like you see above! Great day for a great PAAS Easter egg dying party :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bread & Wine Book Review!

Bread & Wine a love letter to life around the table with recipes, is written by Shauna Niequist and an excellent read, might I add! I loved her book so much, I look forward to reading her other two books: Bittersweet and Cold Tangerines. She is an excellent author and I just love how she ties recipes into her life stories.

   Not only did I take several recipes away with me, while reading, but I also experienced the sense of hope and happiness. Shauna writes stories of her time spent around the table, bringing together the ones she loves, in family and friendships... Everything she mentioned on the togetherness of the people who mean the most to her, I want for my life. I want the close family that laughs together. I want the strong friendships that can share everything with each other. It was nice for me to read "that it doesn't take a decade, and it doesn't take three times a week." to make that happen! That her strong friendships were based on three years. I haven't had a real friend since high school... so this gave me hope that it can happen.

 "God knows more then I know, that he sees what I can't. that he's weaving a future I can't even imagine from where I sit this morning."

   I enjoyed how Shauna shared her ups and downs of conceiving. I could relate to her some, not because I've miscarried or hadn't gotten pregnant...but because I've wanted baby #2 for so long and life circumstances just haven't let that happen yet. Being patient is one of the hardest things we can do and I understand that. I love how on page 57, Shauna's friend, Emily, was supportive in her life circumstance; giving her a gift of goggles and saying "When you feel like shattering something, I'll be right there with you. We'll put on our safety goggles. I'll help you break something, and then I'll help you clean it up." What a great friend to have. There were so many other pieces of this book, on Shauna's struggles with conceiving and things she went through, that I was shocked I could relate to. I took a TON of notes that I wanted to use in this post, and explain how touched I was, but I'm finding it really hard to put my heart onto paper (or internet for that matter) this time.

"you just have to take one step, and that when you do, the next one will appear."

  I loved her analogy on children growing up, that she can see the big and little in her five year old. She wrote, "It's like Michelangelo chipping the block of stone to free the sculpture inside: the grown up boy is in there, furled tightly like a bud on a branch, unfolding ever so slowly and then sometimes all at once."  This made me tear up because I know exactly what she means. My son is five and there are days when he seems so grown up and doesn't need me much...but also the days when he seems so tiny and I want to surround him in my wings. Watching our children growing up is such a bittersweet experience, but every minute and every step is all the bit worth it.

    Some of the recipes Shauna has shared in her book, that I would like to try are the: Blueberry Crisp, Breakfast Cookies, Annette's Enchilada's, Magical White Bean Soup, Bacon Wrapped Dates and Gaia cookies. As I make these, I will be sure to share her recipe and how they turned out!

   I could go on and on with how good reading Bread & Wine was, but then I'd end up quoting the entire book! I highly recommend you read it. I don't think you will regret it. It's an amazing book and I am proud to say I read it!

As of April 9, 2013, Bread & Wine is available for purchase in stores and online! 
You can also listen to a Free Audio Chapter or read a Free downloadable/printable sample.


This post is possible by Handlebar Publishing and Zondervan for providing me a book in exchange for my honest review. No compensation for this. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Cleaning with Soft Scrub Toilet Care

Soft Scrub 4-in-1 Toilet Care is a toilet bowl rim hanger that stays in place, cleaning the toilet, fighting the toilet ring stain, and preventing future buildup!
The cleaning formula sits inside a plastic cage of 4 balls, allowing the water to activate the cleaner with each flush. The toilet cleaner lasts up to 4 weeks, and as it the weeks go by, the balls begin disappearing, so you know, once they're gone, the cleaner is gone too! Soft Scrub 4-in-1 Toilet Care comes in two different scents: Alpine Fresh (which contains bleach) and Sapphire Waters (which is the one I received to review).

(Photo on the left is pre flush, 
photo on the right is in mid flush)



Clipping the Soft Scrub 4-in-1 Toilet care cleaner onto your toilet is simple. You just follow the instructions on the back of the package and have a clean toilet for weeks!


It works amazingly well. I've had my cleaner in our toilet for just over 3 weeks and I'm on one and a half balls and my toilet has been staying clean and ring free! You can find the Soft Scrub 4-in1Toilet care cleaners at Walmart for just under $2.00!! Great deal.

Soft Scrub is holding a Sweepstakes where One lucky winner will receive $1,000, while 250 second place winners get to try NEW Soft Scrub® 4-in-1 Toilet care for FREE! You can enter that sweepstakes HERE.

AND TWO amazing readers will win their very own coupon to purchase any Soft Scrub product. Enter through the Rafflecopter below... Good Luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Colgate Optic White Kit Review

The Colgate Optic white products are made with a high impact formula
that is said to give you whiter teeth in 5 days.  
 But I found it to be better for my bathtub...


 The Colgate 360 Optic White Powered Toothbrush  has special polishing bristles to polish away stains and cleaning hard to reach places. It has a dual action head, cheek and tongue cleaner as well as a non slip handle with the comfort of a nice squishy gel piece. The retail price for this is $2.99 a brush.


Brushing with the Colgate Optic toothpaste comes in 3 different flavors: Sparkling Mint, Cool Mild Mint, and Enamel White. I didn't notice much of a difference in whitening though.. My teeth aren't that discolored to begin with so maybe that's why? My husband has really white teeth and every time he uses whitening stuff, it actually makes his teeth yellow lol. Kinda odd. Anyway, the toothpaste is a fresh mintyness, and bubbles in your teeth, letting you know it is getting into the crevices and getting all clean. It retails at $2.99 for a 4oz tube.

 
The Colgate Optic mouthwash is designed with a dynamic foaming action to get in those hard to reach places and contains polyphosphates to prevent future stains. It is alcohol free and available in Sparkling Fresh Mint to freshen breath as it whitens. I find this mouthwash to be is disgusting.  It has a terrible flavor, much like you're gargling peroxide with baking soda haha..It didn't have the mint taste I'm use to and it bubbles up like crazy, continuously, leaving your mouth feeling gross. It's retail price is $2.99 for an 8oz bottle.

Since I didn't enjoy using these products, I found a new use for them! I felt bad about wasting, so I used the Colgate Optic toothpaste AND the Colgate Optic Mouthwash to clean out my tub! I squirted the toothpaste on a scrub brush and got to scrubbing. Once I completely scrubbed out the tub, I rinsed and poured some of the mouthwash in for extra cleaning. I figured, these are made to clean your teeth and get them pearly white...why not make my tub pearly white! lol it worked pretty good too! And it left a nice minty scent throughout my whole apartment!








The above product was provided by Influenster as a part of my Sugar n' Spice Vox Box to review. All opinions are my own.