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.