Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's that time of year again...

Monday night I went grocery shopping with my daughter, and came home to a Christmas tree in my living room.Yay! I had been asking the hubby when we were going to get our tree this year, but he likes to wait until the last minute for things. I like to get my tree as early as possible. It just doesn't feel like the Christmas season until the tree is up.

So Tuesday night, this momma had a glass(or two) of wine and decorated the tree. Every year I get sentimental over the ornaments that the kids have made. I snapped a few pictures of my favorite ones. A photographer I am not, so these pictures are not the best. I snapped them quickly with my Ipad, so the quality is poor, I'm aware of this. I just really wanted to blog about my favorite holiday decorations. Clicking on them will make them bigger.

I have a thing for snowmen. Ever year I pick at least one new snowman ornament. This is my absolute favorite snowman.


I have 3 of these guys, fun little snowmen playing in the snow


This is my newest snowman, bought last year at Kohls.I absolutely love Kohls Holiday selection, I can always find something that I need there!


Of course, I love all the homemade ornaments from the kids over the years. A few of my favorites...

My daughter in 2nd grade. She's 14 now.


My son made this in Kindergarten. I love it, mostly because it looks like you would expect an ornament a 5 yr old made to be.


I made this one with the kids in 2005. It was such a fun project, I have made it over the years with my daycare kids.


I love this one, it was a gift from one of my favorite daycare moms years ago.


Did I mention my love for snowmen?


Thursday, November 29, 2012

I need a reason to dust, I admit it!

I'll admit it, I hate to clean. I hate dusting and mopping and scrubbing fingerprints off my walls. I'm not saying I don't clean, because i do, but its not something I look forward to doing.

I had a call last night for someone looking for daycare and they'll be coming to meet me tonight. I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but my first thought was "Gee, I really should dust before they come over". Yes, that right, I need a reason to clean. Please don't judge me.

One thing I don't mind doing is mopping because I have a really great Freedom Mop from Libman. So when I do have to clean, the first thing I do is mop. But when the floors are clean, I notice how there are dirty finger prints on the walls, so I'm forced to scrub them. Surprise! I don't care for that either, but its something I try to do every time I mop. Mostly because I have kids here all day and they are messy, and we have light colored walls.

I'm not a slob, really. I do my basic everyday cleaning with vacuuming(easy!) and sanitizing toys for the daycare. My kitchen counters and dishes(I hate doing dishes too by the way, thank God for the dishwasher!) are cleaned through-out the day and sanitized too. I'm kind of a germaphobe when it comes to cleaning the kitchen.

I don't know what it is about the dusting that I don't like. I will swipe the top of the TV and notice how dirty it is sometimes, and think again, "Wow, I really have to dust this crap soon". But then the thought fades when a kid yells or needs something. The dust is always there when I get back, waiting and taunting me.

I'd love to be more on top of all this housekeeping stuff. My grandmother would roll her eyes at me if she heard me say any of this out loud. I have memories of being a child, walking into her home and the first thing you could smell was lemon pledge. The smell still reminds me of her. She was always cleaning something it seemed like.

Sigh, maybe for Christmas, Santa will bring this busy mom a cleaning lady!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Back to blogger

I just spent an hour of my life switching all my recent blog posts from to this blog on Blogger. Why? I don't really know. I used to blog a lot before, and I always used Blogger so I thought it would be a better platform for me. I couldn't figure out how to add content on the blogs. I could add a post, but I couldn't figure out how to add images anywhere. It really frustrated me, so I came back here.

So here I am.

I am a PR friendly blogger, I like to blog about my life, write reviews and recipes. I also love to be able to recommend great products to my readers. I have a review coming up that is very interesting, and I have a great giveaway opportunity to go with it...just in time for the holidays!

I'm also a mom of two kids and I blog about what its like to be a thirty-something mom to a tween and a teen. I'll give you a little doesn't get any easier as the children get older! Being a parents is ever changing, with every stage coming with its own set of challenges. Sometimes a mom just needs to vent and ask "Why me?!"...

I also like to enter contest and win things. Coming soon, I'll be posting daily deals and easy to enter contest that I find online that anyone can enter. Entering and winning contest seems to be my addiction. The very first thing I won online was back in 2006, when I won a $150.00 gift card on

After that, I started entering every contest I could find. I found a great website, where they have a great list of tons of contest. I also won $1,000 from radio a few years ago. Anyone can win! You just have to keep trying.

So that's a little about me. Stick around, I promise you won't regret it :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Black Friday Shopping....Online!

I'm a big fan of Black Friday shopping. I love getting the good deals on what I want to buy for the holidays. What I don't like is the crowds. I hate how rude and pushy people can be. And don't even get me started on finding parking in the crowded stores! I've been staying home more and doing a lot of my shopping online.

A lot of my favorite places to shop online have some great deals this year. Some are even getting a jump start on Black Friday and starting their sales early! I can't even explain how excited this makes me, because its almost embarrassing.

A great website that has everything I need in one place, has thier Black Friday adds online already. This year, their sale start on Thrusday with site busters that run from 6am to 4pm, while quantities last.

Click here to see the Black Friday add!

Some of the great site busters include:

Paula Deen 15-PC cookware Set for $89.99
$100 off LG 47" LED 108P HDTV $599.99
9" Multi-touch Android Tablet for $89.99
50% off Vivitar DVR 508 HD Camcorder for $19.99
Fujifilm FinePix AX550 Digital Camera - Black $49.99

How great are those deals!??

They also have some great Black Friday deals that are on sale from Thursday through Saturday! These deals include:

Samsung 32" LCD TV just $329.99
50% off Craftsman Tools and Christmas and Holiday Items
Craftsman C3 2-Piece Lithium-Ion Drill and Impact Driver Kit just $89.99
Garmin Nuvi 40LM 4.3" Touchscreen GPS w/Lifetime Maps just $89.99
Essential Home 5 PC Dining Set just $99.99
Medal Sports 48 In. Air Powered Hockey Table just $39.99
57% off Northwest Territory 10 ft. Screenhouse just $29.99
BBQ-PRO 4-Burner Gas Grill just $139.99
Android 7” Galaxy Tab 2 with Wi-Fi (Titanium Silver) just $177.99
Activision Skylanders Giants Starter Packs just $49.99
50% off Jaclyn Smith Rocker Recliner just $149.99
50% off Northwest Territory 20in Firepit just $37.50
Call of Duty - Modern Warfare 3 - Xbox 360 for $29.99

There are so many great deals, and the best part is you can shop from home! I don't know about you, but I love shopping in my PJ's.

If you aren't familiar with, you need to check them out! They are a website where you can get everything you want in one place, from baby items to grocery items and everything in between. You order online and you have the option of having it delivered or you can pick it up at a Kmart near you. How great is that? Most of these Black Friday deals have free shipping too, which makes shopping online so much better.

Happy Shopping!

Wordless Wednsday

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Homemade pie crust, with pictures

Yesterday, I made my pie crusts for Thanksgiving and then threw them into the freezer until Wednesday night. Pie crust is so so so easy to make! Here is a step by step guide, with pictures(click to enlarge). Yes, I took pictures every step of the way, as I made pie crusts...don't judge me ;)

First things first...the ingredients. There are 5 simple ingredients in a pie crust. I use butter, but you can use lard instead.

  • 1 1/4 cup of flour, plus extra for rolling surface
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 stick of cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • ice water
Mix the dry ingredents into the food processor. Pulse a few times, and then add the cut butter.

Pulse a few more times, until the butter is cut into the flour mixture. Then slowly add ice water, until it looks wet and crumbly. Don't worry if you add to much, you can just add more flour, but pour the water slowly.

Dump out onto a floured surface, and form the dough into a ball.

Now roll your dough. Make sure your rolling surface is floured, and you may need add extra as you roll it out. Start at the middle of the ball and roll outwards.

Now place your dough into your pie tin. An easy way to do this is to roll the dough onto the rolling pin...

...and unroll it into your pie tin.

Crimp the ends with your fingers and trim the extra dough. Poke with a fork a few times to give it some air holes and your done!

Cook at 350 for about 20 or so minutes, until its golden brown. Cook a little longer if you are making a crust for a cream pie, to make sure its cooked all the way.

This is really so simple and takes minutes to make. The worst part is the clean up.

I make these ahead of time and freeze them in plastic bags. Then I'll pull them out the day I want to make a pie and they will taste like I just made them.

For the top crust on the pie, make the crust the same way. Before you roll your top crust on top of your pie, brush the edges with water. Crimp the top crust onto the bottom on before cooking. Cut a few slits on the top for air holes and brush with egg whites for an egg wash. This will make the crust golden brown. For an apple pie, I add a little cinnamon and sugar on top of the egg wash before baking.


Monday, November 19, 2012

My favorite side dish recipe, broccoli casserole

Thanksgiving is just a few days away! Yippee! I've already got my menu planned and one of the side dishes I'm making is broccoli casserole. This is so freakin' yummy, I'm looking forward to it almost as much as the turkey.
What you need for this recipe is:
  • broccoli, steamed
  • croutons
  • butter, melted
  • cream of mushroom soup
  • cheddar cheese
This is so easy to make. I usually make it the night before to save time on the big day. First thing you do is steam the broccoli. While it's steaming, melt just enough butter to coat the bottom of a casserole dish. I do about 2 tablespoons. Next add the croutons on top of the butter, in a thin layer.

On top of the croutons, add the broccoli. I usually add a whole bag of broccoli. Put the cream of mushroom soup on top of the broccoli. I use condensed soup from a can, and don't add any water...just the soup. Then put a layer of cheese on top. You can either use shredded or brick cheese, both work really well.

Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes, or until its hot and bubbly. I keep it covered the whole time I'm cooking it, but you can remove the cover and put it back in for a 5 minutes to brown the top.

This such a good dish. I make it every year at Thanksgiving and I make sure to make a big dish so I have leftovers!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Green Mountain Coffee® Wellness Collection

I love to try new things, and one the best ways I've been able to do that is by being a bzzagent. I've been a bzzagent since 2006, and I've been able to try a bunch of new products, for free!

The newest campaign that I have joined is for Green Mountain Coffee® Wellness Collection. This collection is really neat. It features two new coffee blends, an Antioxidant Blend and a Focus Blend. They are both have a medium-roast-taste, which is just perfect for me! The Antioxidant Blend is a good source of antioxidant vitamins C and E, while the Focus blend contains 50mg of L-Theanine per serving.


I was excited to try these because I am a big coffee drinker. I have at least 3 cups in the morning, and often more throughout the day. I thought this was a great idea because I'm going to be drinking coffee, so I might as well get some extra benefits from it...right?

In my bzzkit, I was lucky enough to get 3 packs with 4 samples of the coffees! Today I sampled the focus blend. It was really good, with no bitter aftertaste. I'll admit I was a little worried that these would taste different, but they really didn't. I love Green Mountain Coffee, they never disappoint! 

You can visit Green Mountain Coffee website to learn more about these new coffee blends.
If you are interested in becoming a Bzzagent and be the first to know about exciting new products, check out!

Disclosure: I am required to tell you that I am a BzzAgent. I received free products from to test and review. All opinions in this blog are my own :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Uh oh, someone's busted.

Who keeps playing with the water, I asked myself.... Not even potty trained and already causing a mess in the bathroom :)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another weekend gone, but there was pie

Ahh, its Monday again! November is already almost half over. Somebody please tell me, where did the year go?!

This weekend went by way to fast, like most of them do. Friday was my birthday, but in all reality, it was just a normal Friday. Saturday, we had a nice big dinner and Sunday I did pretty much nothing. It was nice to get caught up on some reading and I finally got to watch Magic Mike, so it had it high points.

Laundry was done, dishes were cleaned and floors were mopped. That was the extent of my weekend. I did make a yummy pie on Saturday. Apple pie is a favorite here, but we aren't having it on Thanksgiving, so I made one on Saturday. I have a great recipe for apple pie, I'll share it below.

I like to make everything home-made when it comes to pie. Crust is super easy. The easiest way to make a crust is to use a food processor. If you don't have a food processor, it's still pretty easy. For the crust:
  • 1 1/4 cup flour, plus extra for rolling dough
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ice water
In a food processor, mix the flour, salt and sugar. Pulse it a few times. Add butter and pulse until it's all incorporated. Add water slowly, until a dough forms. Use a bowl and a pastry or dough cutter if you don't have a food processor. Put the dough on a floured surface, and make a ball out of it. Throw it in the freezer to get cold while you work on the rest of the pie. Make two if you plan on making a pie with a top crust.

I like to use two different kinds of apples for pie, just to switch it up a little bit. I like to use a sweet kind mixed with a more tart one. I usually use a few Fuji or a Gala apples and a few Granny Smith. That's just what we like, experiment and find what works for you.

For the pie, peel and core the apples. Cut them into slices and put them in a big bowl. Add 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/4 cup of brown sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of nutmeg and 1 tablespoon of flour. Toss it all together and let it sit for about 15 minutes. While it's sitting, I roll out the dough

On a floured surface, roll out the dough and add it to the pie tin. Press down gently and poke a few holes in it with a fork. Now to pre-cook. There are a few ways to pre-cook a pie crust so it doesn't poof out of the pie tin. You can use beans to keep the crust in place. If you don't have beans(I never do), you can use an oven safe dish or pot that fits into your pie tin. Anything oven safe that fits works. Cook at 350 for about 15 minutes then add the apples.

Dab the outer pie crust with water. Add the top crust and press the edges together either with a fork or with your fingers to seal the pie. Add a little egg wash on top to make the shell nice and brown. I add a little cinnamon and sugar to the top crust too and then cut out a few steam wholes. Cook at 425 for 15 minutes, then at 325 for about 45 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and you see the yummy goodness coming out of your steam wholes.

A crumb top is easy and good too. For that I use:
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 3 tablespoons of melted butter
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
Mix all of them together in a bowl with a fork and add to the top of the apples. That's all. So easy, and so good!

I have a lot more recipes coming up for the holidays. This is defiantly one of my favorite times of the year!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

And then, my kids grew up

I was looking at baby pictures today and a thought hit me. My kids are growing up, and they are doing it way too fast!

When you are a new mom, its hard to imagine your child as a teenager. You anxiously await that first smile, the first tooth, first steps....ect. You can't wait for them to sit up on their own, or to start to walk and talk. But what you don't think about when your child is up all night crying from teething, is how your going miss this time so much. Sleepless nights, tantrums, potty training...its not always fun that's for sure.

When you have babies, you hear so often to cherish this time when they are young. They grow up fast, its true. Too fast in fact. You'll miss the days when mommies kisses made the boo boos better or just a cuddle made the tears stop.

My babies are 12 and 14. I have no idea how that happened because I'm pretty sure I  was just a teenager myself and now I'm attempting to raise 2! And let me tell you....its rough! If you thought being a teen was hard, wait until you are trying to raise one.  I was a horrible teenager, given way to much freedom and way to little supervision. Now I'm trying to raise my kids to be productive members of society that will grow up, get great jobs and be able to survive on their own.

Somehow along the way, my oldest got the idea that its OK to blow off homework if you don't feel like doing it. And my youngest seems to think being a hoarder is a great way to live his life, and refuses to throw out anything when he cleans his room. I have no idea if I'm making the right choices when I discipline them. I can only hope they grow up with a minimal amount of scaring from my parenting mistakes.

Now that they are getting older, nothing is getting easier but it is changing. My oldest babysits, so sometimes she's responsible for other little humans...kind of scary. My son still needs a lot of help with his homework, but he's at the age now where he will start to want to do more of his own thing. Its hard to let go, that's for sure.

I still remember taking each child home from the hospital. Of course I knew they would grow up, but I didn't think it would happen this fast. Time flies people! I know you hear this way to much, but don't take a single moment for granted. One day you'll blink and your 8 pound baby girl will be taller than you and thinks she's has the answers to everything. Sigh...

I'm just feeling a little nostalgic today I'm afraid. Looking at baby pictures will do that to a person. And while I do miss my kids being little, and as hard as it is sometimes, its great to see them grow. To see them mature and make good choices. I just sometimes miss when a hug and band-aide made all the pain go away.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Sunday Breakfast, Homemade Cinnamon Rolls

Weekends are a great time for baking. One of my favorite Sunday breakfasts has to be homemade cinnamon rolls. They are pretty easy to make and taste so much better than the ones that you pop out of a can. They do take a little practice and a few hours from beginning to end, but they are well worth it.

I've been making these a few times a month lately. Not to long ago, I won a great prize pack from @RedStarYeast that included 36 packets of yeast, so I've been doing quite a bit of baking!

For these cinnamon rolls, I use:
  • 1/2 warm tap water
  • 1/2 cup warm milk
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 stick(1/3 cup) butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 cups of flour, plus extra kneading surface
  • 1 packet (1/4 ounce) of yeast
Working with yeast can be tricky. I think a lot of it has to do with having everything warm. I use hot tap water, and that works well for me. For the milk, I scald it and let it cool until feels warm to the touch. Neither the water or milk should be cold.

First thing I do is dissolve the yeast in a small bowl of warm water. Stir it until all the yeast is dissolved, you will see bubbles start to form...this is what you want to happen. Next, in a large bowl, mix milk, sugar, melted butter, egg and salt. Add 2 cups of the flour, and mix until smooth. Add the water and yeast mixture, then the rest of the flour. Mix until the dough is easy to handle. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough for 5 to 10 minutes. This is the fun part! Kneading dough is easy, but if you don't know how to do it, YouTube has a bunch of great videos. If the dough becomes to sticky, add more flour and keep kneading. Place dough in a well greased bowl and cover it with either plastic wrap or a cloth, or even a paper towel. Leave in a warm place and let it sit until it doubles in size. This can take an hour to an hour and a half.

When its done rising, pour dough onto a lightly floured surface again. Punch it down and roll it flat into a rectangle shape. I use a pizza cutter to trim the edges so it's a perfect rectangle. Now for the filling. I use:
  • 1/2 melted butter
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • raisins or walnuts
Spread melted butter on the dough. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Add raisins or walnuts if you want them. I personally love raisins in my cinnamon rolls. Starting at the long end of the rectangle, roll the dough tight and press ends together to seal. Cut into 12-15 slices and place them in a buttered 13 x 9 inch pan. I sprinkle some left over cinnamon and sugar on the pan before I add the dough.

Let them rise again, in a warm place for about an hour, or until they double again in size. Cook at 350 for about 1/2 hour. Cool completely then frost with a homemade glaze, that I make while they are cooking. Glaze is so easy and so much better than anything you buy in a store. What I use is:
  • 3 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup of milk, plus more as needed
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Put the softened butter in a mixing bowl(I love my Kitchen Aide mixer for this!) and add the powdered sugar. Mix on low-speed until is well incorporated, then add milk slowly until it looks wet and shiny. Whip on high-speed for a few minutes then add vanilla. Keep mixing until all the sugar lumps are gone. If glaze is to thick, add a little more milk. This is also makes a great butter cream frosting, you just add less milk for a thicker frosting. Once you make this, you'll wonder why you ever bought frosting at the store!

I make these the night before for breakfast. These are perfect a lazy Sunday morning breakfast that everyone will love.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Copy-Kids DVD, a Review and a GIVEAWAY!

I recently got the opportunity to review a really neat product. Its called Copy-Kids and its a DVD series designed to get very young children excited about eating fruits and vegetables in a really fun and neat way. I decided to watch it with the younger kids in my daycare during snack time.

Yesterday during snack time, I put in the DVD and watched it with a few of the children. I wasn't surprised that they really enjoyed it. They giggled and laughed and when they saw all the different foods the children were eating, they asked for some too. We had a snack of apples, blueberries and cucumbers ready as we watched. I think that the best part was watching the children get excited to eat the same foods that they saw on TV.

When I told the parents about our snack time entertainment, they were all supportive and excited themselves to learn new ways to get their kids excited about healthy eating. I'm pretty sure I'm going to loan this out to a few different families.

All in all, I thought this was a cute and entertaining DVD. The kids I had here loved it! They watched it and pointed at the TV asking for apples and cucumbers when they saw the other kids eating them...mission accomplished! I also recommended to the parents of my most picky eaters, becuase we all know someone with a picky eater, don't we?

More about Copy-Kids: Not only is this a fun DVD for kids, it's also won three awards in children's excellence from Dr. Toy , MACT and from Parent Tested, Parent Approved. For the parents, it also features an interview with pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon, MD, FAAP, author of Good Food Today, Great Kids Tomorrow. He talks about childhood obesity, suggests ways that parents can get their children to make healthier food choices, and explains why Copy-Kids is such a powerful idea.

Copy kids is such a great learning tool, it been approved by the USDA and added to their Education and Training Materials Database for pre-school nutrition! You can watch a preview of the DVD below or by going to the Copy-kids website.

Seriously, how cute is that?

Want to buy your own copy?

It's available for sale at and it's priced at $19.95. The running time is 115 minutes. You can also connect with Copy-kids on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and you tube.

Win a copy!

Fill out the rafflecopter belwo to win a copy of your very own!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

disclaimer: I was sent a complimentary DVD for review purposes, but all opinions in this blog are my own :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Being in Hurricane Sandys' path is not fun!

I was born and raised in New York state. No, not NYC...but a very rural part in Upstate Ny. A little fun fact: I've only been to NYC once in my whole life and I was to young to remember much about it. I just have small memories of two tier red buses, and I'm not even sure if that's something I remember or something my mom told me about. I'd love to someday go back. Anywho...

The news of Hurricane Sandy has been pretty scary. We live far enough upstate that the flooding wasn't an issue for us, but we were being told our city was in a state of emergency. We were expecting high winds that could knock trees down, falling on power lines and causing wide-spread power outages. The winds would be coming from a different direction than our area is used to, causing stress on the tress. This would make them more likely to fall when the huge wind gusts hit. Scary stuff.

So being the responsible mom that I am, I made sure we were stocked up on the essentials: bread, milk, water, and wine. Check! All stocked up and ready to go.

School was let out early yesterday. My son came home, and played outside with friends for 2 hours. The weather didn't start to get bad until closer to dinner time. We did get the huge wind gusts that they called for. My whole house was shaking and rattling. It was pretty scary, if I'm going to be honest. But we didn't lose power. We did however, lose a shutter.

Our only casualty of Hurricane Sandy

I was sitting here, playing on the computer, when I heard a big ripping sound and a crash. My first thought was my stroller that I had neglected to put away had flown over the fence, and hit something. When I looked outside, I see a lone shutter sitting by my van. I wasn't sure if it came off of our house or a neighbor's at first.

Where I live, we the worst weather we get is snow storms and ice storms. We don't normally get hurricanes this far up north. We get the tail ends with rain and some wind, but never before have we had a state of emergency before the storm even hit. I'm glad it's over, that we are all safe, and the only casualty we had was one very old shutter.

We are praying for those affect much worse than we were. NYC and every other place affected are in our thoughts and prayers today as they start to clean up and survey much worse damage than I even want to imagine.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Dinner, Yummy Pot Roast

I love Sunday dinners. When the weather cools down, I always get the urge to bake yummy desserts and cook big warm meals. One of my favorite meals to cook is pot roast. I have a few secrets that I've learned over the years to make it fall apart tender and oh so good!

First thing you need is a cut of beef. I usually buy a chuck roast at the grocery store. This works great for pot roast because you cook it of a long time, so it breaks down the fibers in the meat and makes it so tender. Its also not an expensive cut of meat, so it can be budget friendly too.

Here's my secret ingredient: onion soup mix. Sounds simple right? It is. Put the roast in a big pan with a cover, or use a crock pot. Fill the pan water, about half the roast should be in water. Then sprinkle with the onion soup mix(which is just instant beef bouillon and dehydrated onions) on top, with some salt and pepper. Then add carrots, potatoes, celery and onions to the water around the roast.

Here's another secret. Cook the meat at a high heat. I start the roast at 450(yes, 450) for one hour. Then, shut your oven off. Let the roast sit for 1 hour. Flip roast over, and cook again at 450 for about 45 minutes. Again, turn off heat and let sit for 1 hour. Flip the roast over again, and cook at 300 for another 2 hours. I like to flip my roast over, to make sure both sides are getting cooked in all the good liquid. You may have to add more water during the cooking process.

If you use a crock pot, I do the same thing, but I keep it on high for hours, and near the end, turn it down to low for a few hours. This roast does take all day to cook. I start at noon and we eat at 6 pm. But it really is worth the wait. Your house will smell so good and I may or may not pick at the roast while I'm flipping it...shhh!

I usually serve this with mashed potatoes and gravy made from the dripping in the pan, along with homemade sweet rolls. Perfect Sunday dinner.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday, a day late

This picture cracks me up. Of all the toys at the shops in Downtown Disney, my son picks a pop gun. And shoots pooh. Sorry pooh bear!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Green Halloween

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. The weather starts to cool down and we begin the holidays, starting with Halloween. As a child, I remember how excited I would get when it neared the end of October, how fun it was to dress up and have parties to celebrate. Back in the day, we could even wear our costumes to school...that was probably what I looked forward to the most. Well, that and trick or treating of course!

Now I'm an adult and I have kids of my own. I still love Fall and I love how excited my kids get for Halloween. But as a parent, I worry about my kids. I worry about their health, future and the future of thier environment. That's why this year, I'm doing what I can to help make our Halloween Green. I'm participating in Green Halloween® Blogfest to help spread the word.

There are so many ways we can make Halloween healthier for our kids. Instead of bringing candy to school for class parties, a good alternative is maybe send some stickers, pencils or fun rings in a baggie for each child. Pass out healthy natural alternatives to candy like Stretch Island Fruit or Endangered Species Chocolates. My personal favorite is the new Unreal Candy. Its really so good without all the extra junk that's in most candy.

If you child get to much candy(not that they would ever admit such a thing exists!), some fun ideas are to have a candy trade or start a tradition where the Halloween fairy comes and collects all the extra candy. One thing we always to is ration out the candy. After I check it over, I keep it all in a cabinet and we only eat a few pieces, a few times a week. This is not always a good idea though, because I seem to have a sweet tooth and end up eating more candy than the kids...oops!

We can also be green this Halloween by sharing our costumes with friends. Over the years, we've done this often and its one of my favorite ways to save money on costumes. We also make decorations for around the house with the kids. I did this a lot when my own children little, and also with the children I have in my daycare. We can decorate the house and have fun at the same time. One year we grew our own pumpkins, and shared the extra with friends.

I like to do what I can to help the environment and keep my kids healhty. Even small things like using a recycled bag to collect candy or walk instead of drive when trick or treating can help. Getting family and friends involved makes it even more fun. Because, to me, that's what it's all about in the end...making sure the kids have a fun night they'll remember for a long time.

Monday, October 22, 2012

And in the end, it was all worth it....

Friday marked a milestone of sorts for my oldest child. After 2 long years(and 2 months), she had her braces removed. Big deal right? Well to us, especially her, it was.

She got her first tooth at 6 months old. Pretty normal. When she was 5, she started loosing her baby teeth and getting her grown up teeth. She lost her teeth one right after the other, sometimes 2 at a time. This, along with fact that she's a tiny little thing, made her have some horrible crowding issues. There just wasn't enough room in her little girl mouth for all these big teeth. The result was not pretty:
My babies teeth, pre-braces.

She hated her teeth, and there was no way we wanted her to have to go through her teen years, and possibly the rest of her life, with her teeth so messed up. So we scrimped and saved, and found a great orthodontist. Our dental insurance was no help at all, and from what I'm told, that seems to be the norm. We were told she would need braces for 3+ years and that she needed 4 teeth pulled. We were assured they could be fixed, but it would take time. They ended up moving really quick, and after 2 years and 2 months the braces came off.
That's a $6,000 smile right there ladies and gentlemen.

It's mind-blowing right? Her smile was so worth all the time and effort, and yes, money, it took to make it perfect. She was so excited, she choose to go to school after her appointment so she could show off her new teeth.

It was a great way to end the week.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fridays Yummy Recipe: Layered Chicken Wing Dip

I may have mentioned a time or two that I love to cook. One of my families favorite game day recipes is Chicken Wing dip. And yes, it's as good as it sounds! This is a simple and quick recipe, the best kind if you ask me. It's also something I can make without a lot of planning because the ingredients are things I usually have on hand. Ingredients are:
  • Chicken breast, boiled and shredded
  • Cream cheese
  • Ranch or Blue cheese dressing
  • Chicken wing sauce
  • Shredded cheese, I use Cheddar/Monterey Jack blend
First thing I do is boil chicken breast. While that's boiling, I put a layer of cream cheese on the bottom of my pan. The cream cheese needs to be room temperature. If it's not, a few seconds in the microwave makes it super easy to spread. Second layer is shredded chicken.

My food processor works great for this step. Then I add the chicken wing sauce and about 1/2 cup of shredded cheese to the chicken. For measuring the sauce, I start with about 1/8 cup of sauce and add a little more at a time until it's just spicy enough. This layer goes on top of the cream cheese. Then a thin layer of ranch or blue cheese dressing. Top with just a light layer of cheese. Bake at 350 for about 1/2 hour, or until it's all bubbly and delicious.
This makes enough to share with all your friends. It's perfect for parties or get togethers. We make this ever year for our family BBQ's and birthday parties. One thing I love about this is you can make it as hot or mild as you want. I'm not a fan of super spicy foods, and the cream cheese and ranch dressing help cool it down. I serve them with tortilla chips, perfect for dipping.

Serve on a better plate with tortilla chips for a great game day snack!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When Dad's in Charge of Wardrobe, A Wordless Wednesday Post

When dad is in charge, as long as it's clean, it matches. Extra points if they were to actually fit the child.

My first Wordless Wednesday post. Enjoy ;)

Monday, October 15, 2012

And the weekends gone....

It seems like I went to bed on Friday and woke up on Monday morning. Where did the weekend go to? Does anyone know?

Friday ended on a sour note. Two phone calls from the kids schools are not the best way to end the week. Seems someone thinks that homework is optional this year. Hmmm. Seems to me not doing homework is a great way to get your phone taken away. I don't think I'll ever understand what goes through a child's head sometimes.

I was so looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend. I have no idea what happened. All I know is it went by way too fast. Saturday was a busy day filled with laundry and dishes, track meets and boy scout merit badge day. Sunday I woke up to the hubby shampooing the carpets in the daycare area. This actually made excited! I had to order a part for my steam cleaner, and it finally came on Friday. I was more excited than anyone should be to clean my carpets.

But you see, once we started cleaning, I couldn't stop. So that meant we moved all the toys around once we had the carpets done. What should have been an hour tops, ended up being an all day project. After moving things around, I notice that I have a big open space on my wall. It was really bugging me, so I ordered some cool classroom posters and a weather bear to fill the space. I can't wait to see the kids faces when they walk in and see the new daycare room. I'm expecting looks of confusion mixed with excitement.

Now that everything's clean I'm doing a bad thing. I'm thinking about Christmas. Its only October and I'm thinking about where we are going to put the tree and what color lights we should put on our porch. I haven't even gotten pumpkins yet for Halloween, and I'm already thinking of Christmas. I blame the hubby for making me clean.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Why I love Fall, Reason Number 918

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. I love it all. The cooler weather, the leaves changing colors and the excitement of the upcoming holiday season.

The cooler weather always makes me want to cook hearty meals and bake stuff that makes my house smell heavenly. It doesn't take much to get me in the mood to cook. I'll take any reason to make home made treats and yummy desserts. We had an awesomely hot summer here, but I'm so ready for the cooler temps.

I just recently found out that according to , October is National Pasta Month. We love pasta here so I decided to make a yummy Ziti goulash yesterday. And let me tell you, it turned out great and was really delish!

I also made some home made cheddar and garlic biscuits. Secretly, I maybe only made the Ziti so I would have an excuse to make yummy biscuits. They are so easy to make, and taste just like my favorite restaurant ones. I make them from scratch, so my recipe doesn't include any Bisquick mix.

The recipe I use is:

2 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 cup butter
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
¾ cup cold milk

First, I mix all the dry ingredients. Then, I use a tool called a pastry or dough blender to cut the butter into the mix. Then I add the cheese.


The milk comes next, and then I use my big spoon to make dough balls on my cooking sheet.


Cook at 400 for about 15 minutes. I check on them, and when they are looking almost done, I take them out and brush some melted garlic butter on top. Then its back into the oven until they are golden brown.


They taste so good. I could eat these with every meal but then I'd probably have to buy new clothes and who has money for that? My recipe makes 16 biscuits. I double bag them in freezer bags, and save whats left for the next time I get a craving for yummy garlic goodness.

Please do not judge me by my crappy photos. A photographer I am not!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Online shopping makes me happy

I admit it, I love to shop. I've been known spend hours on the weekends at the mall, walking around going from store to store. I even drag the hubby along to hold all my shopping bags. He may not enjoy it as much as I do, but he's a good sport, most of the time.

But sometimes I just don't have time. Holiday shopping has become a chore I have come to dread. It gives me anxiety attacks to even think about the crowds at the stores. Not to mention how mean people get. I mean, who really thinks its OK to snag items out of someone else cart because you want the same thing? Its not OK, people! And the lines...don't get me started on the check out lines. I'll never understand why a store has 35 check out lanes and only 5 open. I can already feel the stress....

I'm already stressing a bit about holiday shopping and saving money. Online shopping has become such a big help when it comes to getting what I need without having to fight the crowds. But this doesn't mean you won't see me out on Black Friday. Its a sad and kind of scary tradition I have with a good friend. We get up way to early to save lots of money, get pushed around a little in the crowds then go out to eat. Its fun, but exhausting and I may or may not grab a nap when I get home!

In the past couple of years, I've been doing more and more holiday shopping online. One website I've really come to like is . They have everything I need, from groceries to pet supplies and everything in between! The best part is, I can shop online, and if I'm going out later on I can pick my order up at a nearby Kmart. For free. How cool is that? has everything for a new mom too. They know how hard it is when your out shopping, going from this store to that store and waiting in super long lines. They have awesome tools to help with everyday errands, like a list center and personal shopper. You can also save with Shop Your Way Rewards and refer a friend. Whats better than saving time and money?

Mom to Be

disclaimer: this is a sponsored post, but all opinions on the blog are my own.

Monday, October 8, 2012

A run of bad luck

I swear lately, I'd have no luck at all if it wasn't for bad luck.

I run a day care out of my home and my income depends on having my spots filled. In just the past 2 weeks, I've had 2 spots open. One because mom is moving, the other because dad lost is job. Yeah, it's sucks for the dad too, but at least he gets unemployment from his job.

I did get a phone call from a mom looking for daycare.  We met, talked but I wasn't feeling good about it from the beginning so wasn't to surprised when mom called tell me they choose another daycare. In fact, I was kinda of relieved in a I dodged a bullet kind of way. A 2 year old, never had a sitter, ever, let alone been in daycare, never naps without nursing to sleep, and his whole schedule would be flip flopped for 11+ hours of care a day....yeah, um, no thanks. I would have been willing to try, but I wouldn't have been looking forward to it.

So I put an add in the paper and so far, no calls. It's really starting to make me depressed. With the holidays coming up, I'm always stressed out, this is just making it worse! Wheres a good pity party when you need one?! Things seem to go from bad to worse somedays. All I can hope is that business picks up soon and be thankful for all the good things I have.

Now, to turn my sob story and hopefully my luck around. I'm going to look on the bright side of things and hope my string of bad lucks ends soon.

A good start to my week so far was the two great prizes I recently got! Yesterday, a $50 card from an instant win game came in the mail. Today, my favorite big white truck pulled up outside. Fed-ex dropped off two memory foam pillows I won a few weeks ago. Things can only get better from here....right?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Yesterdays Art Project

I love Autumn. Its one of my favorite seasons. I love the smell of the air, the cooler weather, and that it's the start of the holidays! I use Fall as a time to do fun crafts with the children focusing on the changing season and Halloween.

Yesterday, we did a fun Halloween craft. We used paint and glue and crayons, does it get any better than that? The kids had fun and it was a simple, easy to do with a bunch of kids project. I tried to snap pictures...not an easy task with little hands wanting to help. Here's the best I could do:

 First, we started with a plain piece of black construction paper. The we used white paint to make our ghost. This was a fun part for the kids. Anything that involves paint on our hands or feet is always fun! I painted their hands and had them put a hand-print on the paper. We did a similar project last year, but we used our feet as ghosts. It always gives us a case of the giggles to have paint where it doesn't belong!


 While that dried, we colored! I found a cute pumpkin template on line. I saved the picture in my files, and then used my picture printing thing-a-Maiga to make wallet size pumpkins. The kids colored them and I cut them out.


 Now comes the glue!


 We glued the pumpkins on the paper. Anytime we get glue out, the kids have so much fun. Its always interesting to see where they'll put things when they have the chance to be creative.

Our finished product. That's a baby hand, so I had the fun of coloring and gluing his pumpkins on. It turned out cute. The children had a fun. We also talked about what a pumpkin is called when we carve it, and how we like to make silly faces on our pumpkins at home. We talked about the shape and colors of pumpkins, and looked for objects around the daycare that were the same. We also talked about trick or treating and what we want to dress up as this year. All in all, a simple, easy project that led into a lot of other fun and learning through play opportunities.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hello World

Well, here's my new blog. Lets see if I can remember to blog more often now!

A little about me, I'm a wife, mom, daycare provider, and much more! My days are filled with the pitter-patter of up to 12 little feet running all over my home. I spend most days wiping noses(and other body parts), washing hands, doing crafts, making meals and trying to coax children to nap. It's a great job, most of the time.

With two children of my own in school(a tween and a teen), my evenings are spent reminding them to do homework and clean up after themselves, cooking meals for my family and doing laundry. Lots of laundry. I do work outside the home on weekends, and its my lifesaver! I get to leave the house, alone, talk to grownups, alone, and spend time with people I didn't marry or give birth to. Its great. Every mom needs some me time, working is something I look forward to doing. That right there should tell you just how crazy I am!

I'm also addicted to winning stuff and entering contests. There are worse things to be addicted to than winning cool stuff, that's for sure! I am often on twitter and Facebook when i get a free second. I stay up way to late entering sweeps online. Want to know a secret? I've been known to buy a product just because it has an instant win game on the package. Sad, maybe, but when I see those magic words...WIN INSTANTLY!...I'm a sucker and buy it.

I blogged a lot years ago. Then I stopped. Then I started again. Then I stopped. It's an ugly pattern I'm trying to break. I'm going to blog this time about what I love most: my family, cooking, working with kids, and of course free stuff!

Lets see how this works out! I hope I can stick to it this time.