Friday, December 28, 2012

eMeals -Meal Planning Made Simple

Meal planning can be such a hassle.I can't tell you how many times we have ordered a pizza or eaten out because I didn't have something planned for dinner. I received something in my email that I thought might help me or any of you who have had the same issues.

eMeals, the online leader in meal planning, offers weekly meal plans that offer families a way to save money on their grocery bill. 

eMeals offers over 50 delicious meal plans and corresponding grocery lists every week based on food style preferences, family size and the current sales at selected grocery stores.  Dinner menu plans include classic family meals, low-fat, portion control, low-carb, gluten-free, vegetarian, clean eating, paleo, and the natural and organic plan. For more information, please visit

Now,if you are like me and always seem to be in need of a few new recipe ideas,this could be very helpful. Having the meal idea,grocery list and sales all ready for me in the same place would make me that much more likely to actually make a new meal. This would save me time searching for recipes,writing lists and searching  ads for the best prices. All I would need to do was check the kitchen for the things I already have and go.

Not only would this make life just a little more simple,but it could help me save a little too.I tend to impulse buy or overspend eating out when I could make meals for a few days if I bought smart. Having this already written out for me would mean I would have less of those grab-and-go days.

Who knows,I may even drop a few pounds if I follow more of these home cooked plans instead of so many greasy,calorie laden fast food items I am used to.

*I will receive a trial membership to eMeals as compensation for sharing this post.No other payment was received and all opinions are my own.

My Family Christmas

The first of our gatherings this year was held at our home and consisted of my sisters,mother and grandmother.My middle sister had to work but her boyfriend brought her children so we could still visit with them.

 I mentioned before that I was ordering the dinner,or at least the biggest portion of it.I ended up making a turkey and stuffing,cookies,a Butterfinger cake and pasta salad too. the meal turned out pretty well considering we were all running behind that day. I was still icing cookies when guests started to arrive,my grandmother forgot the deviled eggs and stuffed celery at her house and my sisters family was about an hour late..ugh,what a day.

When we finally settled down to eat, we had 5 of the 6 grandchildren sitting at my kitchen nook.The baby was eating with his daddy in the living room,but they were all there anyway. The older kids love being able to eat whatever they want. Normally they don't have as much freedom,but during the holidays it is always an "eat whatever you want" theme.

We exchanged gifts in a flurry of chaos,so I didn't get too many pictures of that.I did manage to snap a few here and there,but not nearly what I wanted. the older kids got gift cards and money this year so they only had a few gifts to open. The younger ones had a blast ripping through theirs and enjoyed playing with their toys after.

Even with the delays and issues,we all love getting together and spending time as a family.I am really close to my niece and nephews and love being able to see them whenever I can.

Demolish the New Year with SWAT Fuel

With only a few days left before a new year begins,now is the time to get in gear and get things done. From taking down the holiday decorations to preparing for spring,we all have something on our to-do list. The big question is,how long will it stay there?

I tend to be a slow starter. I have good intentions,and usually a well-written plan,but when it comes to actually getting going,I procrastinate like a champ. One of the biggest reasons for me is energy. When I have something that I have to do right away,like getting the kids off to school or paying bills, I have no problem.Once those things are done for the day,however,it seems so much easier to just relax and do nothing than to get started on that list of chores.

I was recently introduced to a product called SWAT Fuel that is supposed to help with this. Designed by Dan Olesnicky M.D.,a SWAT team physician and police officer in Palm Springs, SWAT Fuel is a line of products geared at helping you be all that you can. Designed to meet the needs of military,law enforcement,firefighters and anyone else with the Warrior spirit,these products were born out of a need for a better way to fuel the body.

These specially formulated nutraceuticals are intended to do just that. From the 40 caliber High Speed Multivitamin to the 9mm Thermogenic Fat Burn Formula,even the name says tough. These supplements are formulated to keep you on the move and help you reach your goals by working harder,faster and stronger than before.

In addition to working with each user to meet their goals, SWAT Fuel is an American product. Not only are the products made in the US,but ten percent of profits go to charities benefiting Medical Research,Law Enforcement,EMS,the Military and more. What a great way to give back to others while working towards a better you!

This is not your everyday vitamin. If you are just looking for a dose of calcium or  a little pick-me-up,this is probably not for you. However,if you are looking for supplements to get ripped, fuel your body and help you reach your fitness goals, then visit the site to find out more.

***All opinions on my blog are my own and may not be the same as anyone else..that's why they are mine. This is a sponsored post and I will receive a monetary payment for sharing it with my readers. No other compensation was received and my opinions are not influenced by any form of compensation.

Christmas with the In-laws

Our family has too much going on for the holidays and that always means multiple gatherings and events that we have to participate in.We have members on one side who don't like members on another so we have one for my family and one with my husbands.

This year,as always,we went to my in-laws to exchange gifts and have dinner. I made a cookie plate to take and we grabbed a delicious Edwards Pecan Pie to take too. My mother and father-in-law made a nice ham,potatoes with beef and ham gravy,macaroni and cheese,sweet potatoes,rolls,vegetables and chocolate cake.

The food was good,though a little sweet and everyone got their fill by the end of the day.We had a good time and a nice visit with the kids.

 The kids were excited to open presents,so we did that after eating. The girls received new Lalaloopsy dolls,make-up and craft kits and more.

The boys received books,Batman and Captain America Lego sets,Beyblades and an outdoor ball throwing set.

The darling husband  lucked out with a new light for his truck that has a radio and alarm,a work light with mount and an air compressor. I received a Farberware pan set and beads for the Pandora bracelet

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Butterfinger Cake Recipe

I have had several people ask me about the Butterfinger Cake I always mention in my posts,so I thought I would share it with you.The recipe is simple and you can adjust it to your liking.

You will need

One pudding in the mix cake mix in your favorite chocolate variety (I use chocolate fudge)
One container Cool Whip (any variety is fine but works best with original)
One jar caramel topping (found by the jelly section or the ice cream) I use Hersheys
3 full size or 8-10 snack size Butterfinger candy bars
13x9 inch pan

1.Transfer cake to serving tray or leave in pan if you slice it directly from there when you eat it.You will not want to move it after the next step.

2.Warm the caramel topping, either put the jar in a bowl of hot water,or put in the microwave for a few seconds.You want it to be pourable,but not overly runny.Remove jar,open and stir well.

3,Insert  a skewer or small paring knife into the center of cake.Insert straight down to bottom of pan/dish and pull slightly to the side.Pour a small amount of caramel into the slit until the caramel  reaches the top of the cake.Repeat the process all over the cake .You will want to space out your inserts all over the cake to allow the caramel to soak into as much of the cake as possible.I usually end up with about 20 small slits filled with caramel.this should take about half  the caramel at first.Allow cake to sit for about 15 minutes and pour more caramel into the same slits again.You should have small holes filled with caramel at this point.Use the remaining caramel to pour along the outer edge of pan/cake so that it drizzles down the sides.Put in fridge for about 10 minutes to set.

Spread Cool Whip to taste across top of cake.I like to use the whole tub to give a nice layer,but you can adjust this to your liking if you don't care for too much .Sprinkle the crushed Butterfinger over the Cool Whip Layer to cover entire cake.Slice and serve.

I love this cake.It is inexpensive to make for a BBQ or picnic and easy too.You can vary your cake in many ways by using a different topping-Heath Snickers,and Reeses are good,or you can use chocolate Cool Whip.Try using peanut butter topping instead of caramel with Reeses instead of Butterfinger,or Butterscotch topping and Snickers.Mix it up,any way you go it is a great dessert.My step daughter even asked for this for her birthday next year-well a layered version with white cake instead of chocolate.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Coupons For The Apocalypse

Just thought I would share some deals from my inbox again.Stock up while you can!!

Fighting Zombies all day can be a real headache:
You're gonna want something to do on those long cold nights:
Don't forget the kiddos, they're our only hope at repopulating the earth:
When your husband is out slaying the walking dead, he needs to smell good:
I hear blood stains are hard to get out of clothes:
And you certainly need to wash off the Zombie guts before dinner:
Snacks. Snacks. And More Snacks. Fighting Zombies is hard work!
Keep the putrid smell of Zombies out of your house (or what's left of it):
Fido and Fluffy can defend the homestead while you're scavenging for food:
Leaves and berries can be bland, sweeten them:
If you take to the seas to escape the Zombie herd, you'll need this: 
Doesn't this stuff last forever?
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate:
Where else are you going to store the food you scavenge?!
You do have one of those camp coffee makers right?
And last but not least, you gotta look and smell good in the new world!

I am sharing this as a member of Escalate. No compensation was received.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Almost Ready For Christmas

Christmas is only a week away.That means time is quickly counting down to finish those last details before it gets too late. If you are anything like me,you probably still have something to do. I am just about finished with all my shopping,and all the gifts so far are wrapped and under the tree,but I am not finished yet.

I have a few gifts on the way and I am working on the mix jars,coffee spoons and other items I am making.I plan to finish those in the next couple of days so I have plenty of time to make cookies and candy too. I am not able to do as much as normal,so we ordered our dinner from a local deli and will be picking it up on Saturday.I guess I should say one of our dinners,since we will be having several between us.

My family will arrive Saturday morning.My sisters and their families,mom and grandmother will all be coming for a meal,gifts and cookie exchange.I am making several kinds of treats including peppermint bark,gingerbread,sugar and peppermint cookies,a few varieties of dipped spoons for coffee and hot cocoa, a yummy Butterfinger cake and whatever else I throw together by then.

On Sunday we will go to my husbands parents home for their dinner and gifts before coming back here to finish whatever isn't ready for our own Christmas traditions at home. My youngest son will go to his fathers family for their first Christmas together ever,so he is excited for that.He will come home late on Christmas Eve to spend the rest of the time with us.We normally give the kids a gift the night before and the rest on Christmas morning.We don't cook a dinner ourselves because we have so much left from our various gatherings,but we will have a big breakfast and spend time playing with gifts or planning our day.

Somewhere in there we might find time to go see lights or throw in a visit or two that wasn't mentioned.The kids have school parties and events and my daughter has Girl Scout obligations too so it will be busy for us the new few days.

What about you? Are you all ready for the celebrations or just ready for it to be over? What is still on your list to do before the day arrives?

America,What Have We Become

By now,everyone in the country knows about the people who were killed in the school shootings last week.It seems like everywhere you look it is on the news,Internet or radio. We talk about it and mourn for the losses,but do we really stop and think about what this means for us as a country?

What has our world come to? Even if you are one of the people who don't care about the rest of the world,what has happened to our country? When did we become afraid to be human? When did we transform into a place I am no longer so proud to be from?

I remember being a little girl and not worrying about what lurked around the corner. We played with our friends and never worried that one of them might one day snap. Of course there were jokes about this one or that one being a little off their rocker,but the actuality of it happening never even crossed our minds. We didn't know anyone who had mental issues. Our classrooms weren't guarded and their weren't locked doors to keep out the danger.

I remember watching news about war in other countries and thinking how sad it would be to live in fear,but knowing that wasn't how life was for us. We would see something on the news about a missing child or found body and everyone would look around in shock and horror. When they started putting faces on milk containers and showing "Stranger Danger" videos at school, I,this is getting serious. Little did I know,that one day my children would live in a world where they weren't safe anywhere.

I remember reading about Anne Frank in school and wondering how in the world people could be so sick and twisted. Now,you pick up the paper,or log onto Facebook,and see horror after horror splattered across the screen and all I can think is why? Why do children bully and torture one another until one of them decide life is no longer worth living? Why do we insist on hate and anger when it serves no purpose other than to fuel the fire of ignorance that is rapidly taking over our world? Why is our first thought always that we are glad it didn't happen to us?

America used to be a country where you knew your neighbor would lend a hand with repairing a broken window or keeping an eye on the kids while you ran to the store.American children used to run the streets until well after dark and our mothers didn't bite their nails in worry that we wouldn't come running back home for dinner. Americans used to hold their heads high and be proud of what we were,not ashamed of the things that happen right on our doorsteps every day. Being an American used to mean that you pulled together in tough times and stood tall against all odds,not killed one another in the streets and schools and filled our children full of hatred.

I am proud to be from a country where people have choices. I am grateful to those that have,and continue to give and risk their lives for us to be free. I am happy that I was able to grow up in a world that I can look back on and wish for now...but ...

I am saddened to see the world crumbling around me. I am ashamed to watch our lives go from loving and carefree to watchful and wary. I am bothered that we can allow this and not fight to recover something of what we used to be. I am afraid that our children will not finish growing up the way a child should..happy and loving..caring and content... not looking over their shoulders for the next evil that awaits them.

What have we become?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Old Navy Sample and Share

Are you a member of Crowdtap? Crowdtap is an online network of everyday people where you get points for giving your opinion. If you are like me,you are probably thinking,oh no,not another survey site. Crowdtap isn't a survey site,you only answer one question at a tie.You can share promotions,join in discussions and apply for sample and share opportunities to earn points too.

Recently,I was chosen to participate in the sample an share for sweaters from Old Navy.When I applied,I didn't know I was going to have surgery so soon,and I wasn't able to go myself. I decided to share the provided coupons with my cousin and grandmother so they could visit instead.

They went to to different stores at different times on different days.Both of them were thrilled with the selections available and were excited to get a new sweater for the winter season. They both said customer service was excellent and they had no issues with selecting their new gear,except for deciding which one to get of course!
                               Hers is just like the one on the coupon.Must be a popular selection!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Surgery Update-Check Out My Screws

As you know I had foot surgery about three weeks ago.It has been terribly boring doing nothing but sitting in bed and I am about to go stir crazy.I have had nothing to do but work on my blog,catch up on email and shop.Okay,I will admit that I didn't get much of the first two done,but I did knock quite a few things off my Christmas list while sitting here.You would think it would be a vacation of sorts not being able to walk.I have to have someone bring me everything and don't have to cook or clean.It was nice for the first few days but now I am over it and just want to be out of this bed!

Anyway the point of this post was to show you my screws.My doctor told me I would have 2 big screws,jokingly he said from Home Depot,but I had no idea how big they really were.I feel a bit like a robot with chunks of metal permanently screwed into my bones.

I go back Friday to have the stitches removed and see how it is doing so wish me luck! Maybe I can finally try to walk without the knee walker I have been stuck on for weeks now!

Have You Ever Ordered Christmas Dinner?

For the past few years,since my step-father died,I have been hosting holiday dinners at my home. I can't say this has always been because I wanted to do all the work,but more often because I was able to do it where others weren't. This year,because of my surgery,I will not be able to stand and cook for hours on end. I talked to my mother and grandmother and we decided it would be better to just order a dinner fully cooked from somewhere.

That said,I have no idea where to actually order the meal. I know the grocery stores here make whole meals,although I am not exactly sure what comes with them. Someone mentioned to me that they also do made to order meals at some restaurants like Bob Evans or Golden Corral,but although I eat at both places,I don't know anything about them when it comes to ordering to go.

I guess I will be calling around for dinner details later today to see what I can find for a nice,but not too expensive,family meal.If any of you have done this before,ideas or suggestions are welcome.We have a Kroger and a Carnival Foods here as well as Walmart.There are also Bob Evans,Ponderosa,Golden Corral and KFC options as far as I am told,although the last wouldn't have turkey or ham like we normally have.

I do have a turkey in the freezer,so I am thinking of ordering a ham with the meal and just baking the turkey ans stuffing myself. What do you think? There may be some other option that I am not aware of,so even if you tried somewhere not mentioned,I would still like to know about it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Trim Your Tree with Kmart

Tomorrow is December 1st.Can you believe that it is almost Christmas already? It seems like I was  shopping for costumes not that long ago,yet it is already time to start decorating for the Holidays.We have some decorations that go up every year like my singing reindeer and Santa village,but one thing that changes from year to year in our house is the tree.My husband prefers a tree that is all different colors with random ornaments and lights everywhere.I prefer a matching tree with two or three colors and everything coordinating.We couldn't find a way to please us both every time,so we just take turns.One year he gets to do the random chaos and the next we do controlled and pretty.

This year I noticed that we could use some new ornaments for the tree.It seems like some get broken every year and I didn't have all the ones I wanted. I figured this was the perfect chance to try the gift card I received to visit the Kmart Christmas Shop, and I was excited to see what I could find.I have been a fan of Kmart for years,so I am familiar with their prices and products.I love to see what they have for each new season,but for some reason have never really shopped there for Christmas decorations.I guess that is probably because I have to drive a longer distance and never have the time.

I was surprised at the variety of items available in the Kmart Christmas Shop.Not only did they have a ton of ornaments to choose from,but they had a variety of other items too.I noticed some great deals on trees,lights,window clings and more,and they were normal prices too,not just sales or clearance items.

From stockings to tinsel,there are many great items at the Kmart Christmas Shop.Be sure to swing by and see for yourself how many fantastic deals there are!

***I received a gift card as a member of Smiley360,no other compensation was received.All opinions on my blog are my own and may not be the same as anyone else..that's why they are mine.

Friday, November 30, 2012

New Batman Power Attack Figures

Having two boys,I know all about super heroes and the things that go with them.My boys have been collecting action figures,posters,clothing and anything else they find with their favorite characters on them,for as long as I can remember.My oldest has changed favorites a number of times,but my youngest has been a Batman fan since he was just a little thing.Since we have such a Batman addict in the house,when I was offered the chance to invite a few of their friends and have a Batman party,I knew we had to do it.

We were sent a big box of supplies including plates,cups,napkins,balloons and goody bags for our party.Some of the boys live in the neighborhood and came early so we ate as they arrived and they played with their goody bag treats while we waited for the others.The boys had juice,crackers,chips and pizza bagels to eat,followed by some Batman themed desserts before we started checking out the new toys.

We received a selection of Batman Power Attack figures to share with our guests.There are several different collections in the Power Attack series like Lava Mission,Swamp Mission and more. There was such a large variety that all the boys were able to find one that they liked with ease.We did have a little issue when everyone wanted the Robin figure, so we ended up drawing numbers and picking that way.They were all satisfied with the results and everyone ended up happy.

The new figures were very nice.Each 6-inch figure comes with a weapon and  belongs to a specific group.The costume designs and colors are vibrant and unique to the characters.The figures are nicely built and held up well to a ton of crashing and banging when the boys played with them.We were also sent a few of the deluxe figures to use for raffle prizes.These highly articulated poseable figures also come with weapons and they each perform a signature move for super fighting action.

The guests all went home with a Batman balloon,treat bag and their action figures so they were all very happy boys.Especially the ones who won raffle prizes because they had two new toys! My boys have since mentioned wanting other figures for Christmas,and I have had 2 conversations with parents who didn't attend  the party asking where to snag some for the Holidays.These are sure to be a big item on Wish Lists this year!!

*All party items were provided by my sponsors at Mattel,as a member of Mom Select,to help me host a fabulous party! A big thank you to them for all the help. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Tune In for Oprah's 90 Minute Segment on LINCOLN

Make sure you tune in this Sunday, December 2nd at 9:00pm on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network for a 90-minute special episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter" 

Oprah Winfrey talks with Academy Award winners Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field about their collaboration on the feature film “Lincoln” in a special 90-minute episode of “Oprah’s Next Chapter” airing this Sunday, December 2 (9-10:30 p.m. ET/PT) on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

In a full circle moment, Winfrey meets Spielberg at DreamWorks Studios in Los Angeles in the same studio building where she first auditioned for him for her role in "The Color Purple." In an intimate sit-down interview, Spielberg shares with Winfrey the process of creating “Lincoln” and how he was moved to tears during filming. They are then joined for a rare interview with Day-Lewis for a fascinating conversation about his first-time collaboration with Spielberg, his yearlong immersion into the life of Lincoln and how together, with the rest of the esteemed cast, they created a “sacred space” on the set. Later, Winfrey shares in a heartfelt conversation with Sally Field from her new home in California.  Field talks about the emotional depths she tapped into for her role as Mary Todd Lincoln, how she fought for the part and her immediate connection with Day-Lewis.  She also opens up about being plagued by self-doubt, her pride in parenting a son who is gay and the joy she welcomes as she enters the next chapter of her life.

*I was not compensated in any way for this post.I am sharing information provided to me as a Disney Blogger.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Decorating for Christmas

I am decorating for Christmas a little early this year.I have no idea if I will be walking by then,so I wanted to get my tree up before I go in for surgery.This was a huge process because I needed to move my computer and desk into my bedroom.In order to do that,I had to rearrange my room to make it easier for me to get to the bathroom.At least we have our own bathroom and shower so I don't have to go far or wait for the kids to get out of there.

Once we finished moving everything in those rooms,I was able to put up the tree.Last year we bought a white tree with lights so I didn't have to mess with that.My husband and I take turns decorating the tree,He likes a ton of different colors all thrown together,while I like a matching tree with just 2 or 3 colors.He likes real trees,I like artificial.He prefers an array of mismatched ornaments and I like mine to match the lights and bows or ribbons on the tree.

My children help hang the bulbs and spread the tree skirt.They like putting gifts under the tree too.I am pretty sure that's because they want to feel or shake them to see if they can tell what they are.I usually let them put gifts for my nieces and nephews under there and keep their gifts hidden until Christmas Eve.

Post Surgery Torture

My IV marks..I ended up with 4 of them by the time I went home the next day.

Well,it has been a little over a week since I had surgery.The week was a blur of pain and trying to sleep,which was a torture in itself .I finally went in Wednesday to get the post surgery wrap removed and get the first of two casts put on.

The two incisions where the screws are

My foot looked pretty gruesome,but hopefully it will heal soon.The x-rays say the bones are doing fine and the screws aren't having any issues so far,which is good.

This is where they did most of the work.They removed a cyst,drained fluid,filled the space with bone graft and screwed the ankle and foot together.They also removed some scar tissue and rebuilt the tendon with membrane.

I was able to choose my cast color.They had about 15 colors ranging from plain white to black but in the end I went with bright green.It was festive enough to fit in with the holidays and bright enough to draw attention.I figured maybe,at the least, if I forget and try to step or walk,the flash of bright green color will remind me not to.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Disney Movies Make Great Childhood Memories

When I was a little girl,my grandparents always made sure to include a Disney movie in our gifts.Of course,we would get other things too,but we always knew at least one of the wrapped packages contained a movie. Usually we would get one of the classics like Beauty and The Beast or Cinderella,then we would get whatever new film had been released recently.We knew that if a new Disney Movie was available, then we would be sure to have it on the next holiday.

Sitting down to one of the Top Disney Movies was always a treat for us as kids.My sisters and I would decide which movie to watch,grab blankets and pillows from our rooms,and head to the living room to pig  out,and watch movies.We would watch all the previews and advertisements at the beginning while my mom made us snacks.Usually we had something like popcorn or chips with dip,while other nights she would mix us a delicious Chex mix or bake yummy cookies.Finally,we would all settle down and watch the film,sometimes laughing or crying along with the characters.

Now that I am a mom,I see my kids doing the very same thing.Every time one of them buys or receives a new Disney film,they head into the family room with pillows in hand.Just like when we were small,they all pile together and ask for a snack so they can settle down and enjoy the movie.Just seeing them all lined up together brings back so many memories of my childhood.

When I noticed that my children were following in my footsteps with their love of Disney films,I knew it was a good idea for us to to join the Disney Movie Club.As a member of the club,I keep up on all the new releases,I can grab the old favorites when they are brought out of the vault,and I can redeem the points I earn for cool prizes too.Not to mention I the savings I get by buying multiple movies at a time

With the Holidays already upon us,continuing this childhood tradition is once again in the front of my mind.As I finish making my list this year,I will be sure to add a movie or two for the kids and their next movie night!

Disclosure: "This sponsored post was made possible by SheHeard. I have been compensated for my time and work on this campaign, however all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own."

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why A Business Degree Will Help You With Your Stay-At-Home Business

Being a stay at home mom can be such hard work. I have heard from so many people that they think stay at home moms have it made. I have found that people employed in the "real world" always think you don't do anything just because you are at home all day. They have no idea how much there really is to do between house duties, errands, kids and other obligations. The work can be endless, the hours are never ending and there is no pay. As a stay at home mom you have to be a cook, nurse, coach, teacher, referee and more, all while still trying to be mom when they need it.

If that isn't bad enough, here I am doing all this,and working to run a home business too. I figure if I am going to be able to stay home and spend time with my family, then I still need to find a way to contribute income to our household. I can't very well expect the bills to pay themselves, or my husband to pick up all the slack while I stay home.

If I thought it was hard to do all that, imagine my surprise when I decided to sign up for a business degree program so I could earn my degree in my spare time. Not that you really have any spare time as a mom,but I decided if I am going to really make any money, I have to fit it in somewhere. I have arranged my schedule to work school into my day no matter how hard it gets.

The classes are online, so at least I don't have to worry about travel time or costs. I am still home with my children, so I don't need daycare or a babysitter either. Doing the classes this way gives me the flexibility to take the courses as I want to. From course to course,semester to semester, I am in control of my requirements and my schedule. This eliminated those hectic days of trying to rush to class or missing a day of school because of a sick baby. I can do the courses during nap time, while the kids are playing, or just wait until they go to bed at night. I can even change this from day to day when I need to. As a mom, I know not everything works out the way we want it to and what works today might not work tomorrow.

If it weren't for the benefits of having a degree, I wouldn't take on so much at once. I would wait until later which,knowing me, would probably never come. I can't really say I want to be doing all this, but when I think of the changes for my family, I know I need to. By having a degree I will be able to handle more of the business myself. I will know more about managing, marketing and the things that will matter to me on a daily basis. I can use my degree to improve sales, increase my target area, and in the end, make more money.

Going to school online has so many benefits, it's not at all hard to see why so many people do it. There are many classes to choose from,the pace is up to you and you can do it from anywhere that has Internet access. If I can find time and a way to squeeze this into my schedule, then anybody can. It only takes a minute to start the rest of your life. Take a second today and see what an online degree can do for you.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Introducing Pinypon and Our Party

My daughter is a fanatic for anything cute and little.She loves small dolls,accessories and play sets the most and has a huge collection of them.This weekend I was able to introduce her and her friends to a new kind of doll called Pinypon at our very own Pinypon party!

We invited some of her friends from school and a few of the girls from the neighborhood to come and discover these new dolls with us.Reagan and I made treats like Hot Chocolate cupcakes and 2 kinds of cookies.

                 The girls all had a snack while we waited for everyone to arrive and get settled.

Next we talked about Pinypon dolls and how they are so fun to play with.Each doll can be broken down into individual parts so the faces,hair,clothes,purses and more are interchangeable.The dolls have two different faces and when you turn the head you have a whole new look.The other face is hidden behind the hair so you can't even tell until you take them apart again.

                                    One of my daughter's friends from school with her Pinypon doll and the Caravan raffle prize.

We hid numbered cards around the rooms and each girl had to find one.They picked their Pinypon by choosing a doll each.We went in order starting with the girl who found the card with #1 on it.The girls wrote their names on their cards after they had all gotten a doll and we dropped them in a hat and drew out a card.

One of my neighbor's has a daughter who won a  Nenuco Newborn Doll.The doll has a sippy cup and uses the potty.Intended for ages 3-6,this was a perfect fit for her.She loved it and couldn't wait to open it.Her mom said she has carried it around every day since so I guess it was a big hit.

Each of the girls at the party received a certificate for participating in our fashion show.I added their name and the name of their doll so they could have a personalized souvenir to keep.I have to admit our show became chaos very quickly.The girls couldn't wait to take apart their dolls and rearrange or trade parts.They all loved adding the push-in pieces to make beautiful hair and clothing accessories too.

All in all we had a great time.I love being the first to know about a fun new toy,game or other item and getting to show the other kids and parents how cool it is.I can spread the word,the kids love having parties all the time and the other moms know who to ask for the newest craze when they need to buy a gift.

You can find Pinypon on Facebook, and Twitter or check out the site for fun activities,games and more!

* I was sent all the items mentioned as a member of  Mom Select in order to host a fantastic party.No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

The Walking Dead

Like many people I know,my house is full of Walking Dead fans.My oldest son loves the show and my husband and I watch it too.We have been following it since the beginning,so we never miss a week,even if we have to record it and watch it later.I have to admit,I didn't want to pay the extra for the DVR service,but it has come in handy many times when I would have missed an episode.

This season is a bit fast for me.They skipped over a large gap between leaving the farm and taking over the prison.Laurie went from pencil thin to full term pregnant basically overnight and somehow Andrea was ill and being tended to by Michonne.

I expected someone to die in the prison,but didn't see it being the way it happened.My son bought the books and he tells me things ahead of time,which I hate.The show doesn't follow them exactly,but you have a basic idea of the plot.I figured there would be an issue with Laurie and the baby trying to give birth in a prison with inmates and zombies all around..I didn't see it coming when it did though.That was a sad scene.Poor Carl had to shoot his mom and then didn't even have anyone to comfort him after.Truthfully.wouldn't she still be alive,just passed out from pain and shock.Women have survived worse but I guess she wouldn't have been able to make it anywhere all cut open like that.

Andrea and Michonne are in the community with the Governor until Michonne decides to leave and Andrea doesn't..I expected Andrea to go with her,especially considering the way the books go,but that is not how it happened..or at least not yet.Of course,Andrea doesn't know he has a zombie daughter locked up in his home either.

I won't tell you what I think will happen,but I will say I see a few surprises on the horizon.If you watch the show,who do you think will be standing at the end? Will they all die? Who else is still out there somewhere and just how many more zombies are there?

Our Pumpkin Carving Chaos

I try to do special things for my kids whenever I can so of course,we had to carve pumpkins.Instead of being smart and grabbing a carving book or kit,I let them look online for the designs they wanted.Each of them had a big pumpkin for carving and smaller ones they decorated with the push-in pieces-sort of like Mr Potato Head parts.

My daughter wanted the zombie crawling from the first season of The Walking Dead.It took forever to do and you couldn't tell what it was in the light but here it is in the dark.

My youngest son wanted the King Pig from Angry Birds.This one wasn't as hard,but was freehanded from a coloring page because I couldn't find a printable template.

My oldest son drew his own design.This is his representation of the Governor and Michonne from The Walking Dead.I carved it from his drawings and this is what we ended up with.

This was a lot of work and time.I spent hours trying to make them perfect,which never happens,but the kids were happy with them anyway.

The Circleville Pumpkin Show

If you live in Ohio,you have probably heard of the Circleville Pumpkin Show.Every year thousands of people come to our little town to go pure, pumpkin crazy.The festival is like any other small town street fair,only bigger and with a whole lot more people.The stands are full of pumpkin themed creations from food to clothing and more.I loved these carved pumpkins made of Styrofoam.They were between $20 and $60 each, but were really nice.
I don't get into the hype of it all,but I do like to eat festival food.Packed full of fat and calories,there is no better place for a nice,greasy snack.We walked past stands selling pork,beef and chicken along with a ton of  drink stands.I kept seeing signs that said Swiss fried cheese.I didn't know exactly what that was,but I decided to try it anyway.I paid $3.50 for a piece about 4 inches long.I shared it with my husband and we decided it was good,but not really worth the cost for one piece.
                                           Along the way I saw these. Aren't they beautiful!
Of course my husband had to grab a sandwich full of shredded steak,peppers and cheese but I still couldn't find what I was looking for.After about an hour of searching,I was about to give up when I finally saw the stand selling them.Deluxe Ribbon Fries..yum!

Baking Pumpkin Seeds

I tried something new this year when my kids wanted to taste baked pumpkin seeds.I had never tasted them before,but my  husband said they were good,so of course the kids had to try them.

I looked online and found a recipe for cinnamon and sugar seeds,so I saved the ones from the kids pumpkins,and decided to give it a try.I followed the directions and even took them out a few minutes early.My oven must be too hot or something because they were too done and had that charred taste to them.We ended up throwing them away but it was fun to try anyway.

GIfts of Hope with Plan International USA

I just thought I would share something that came in my email today.With the holidays coming,people tend to be in a giving mood and this looked like a great way to spread some love.

Gifts of Love is an organization that provides services to those in need.You select which gift you want to give  by reading what it is for.They have things from medical care to baby blankets,school supplies, clothing,food and more.They even have options like animals,a beehive and plants to help them continue to have a food supply or classes to teach them to farm or how to cook the foods.

This would be a great family project.Selecting a gift to give together teaches children about charity and giving and it makes you feel nice too.

Cooking Shows That Can Help You Spice Up Your Family Meals

Over time, my family gets incredibly tired of eating the same boring meals for dinner. They are always complaining about having a certain meal too often, or wanting to try something new. For me, this turns into a very time consuming problem. I don't mind making a tasty, new dish for them to try, but I have a hard time deciding what to make or finding recipes that I am certain will turn out well.

It is very easy to select a recipe out of a random list and make it for my family. I have done this countless times from cooking sites, friends and family members or cookbooks. The biggest issue for me in doing this is that you cannot always tell how a recipe will look by reading it. Even though, as adults, we all know that you can't judge the taste of something by the way it looks, try telling that to three very picky children. It is a time  proven fact, if it doesn't look good to them, they will not even want to taste it. It really becomes a battle when you want them to eat a full serving.

While this may not be a big deal to some, we have a rule that you eat what is cooked for family meals. Breakfast and lunch are usually at different times for us all with work, school and other obligations in the way, but I refuse to waste my time cooking a meal and throwing away money on groceries by making something that won't even be eaten. To simply select a new recipe at random and hope it turns out well is really not an option for me anymore. I prefer to at least see a photo or watch something being prepared to get a full idea of how it will work for my family.

Recently someone suggested that I sign up for Comcast TV Service so I could take advantage of all the amazing cooking shows featured. They pointed out that this is a way for me to be able to watch as a meal is prepared and get a good idea of how it will look in the end. Not only can this save me time in tracking down new and interesting recipes ,but it can also save money by avoiding those meals that nobody wants to eat. Then I would just need to decide which shows work the best for me.

I am a huge fan of the competition shows like Master Chef and Hell's Kitchen, but they aren't really what I need for detailed cooking. They show great food, but don't show enough of the actual cooking process to allow me to make those recipes. I want something that will show me step by step how to make something and what ingredients to use while it is prepared. I can take notes as I go and try the recipe myself later. This is also a great way to pick up on special techniques and tricks that you just can't get from a written recipe. Rachael Ray's Week in a Day has great kitchen tips to make cooking easier. Seeing that entire process makes it easy to recreate it later, or at least attempt to.

Shows like Everyday Italian, with Giata De Laurentiis, Extra Virgin,or Symon's Suppers, with Michael Symon, tell you what they are doing, as they do it. I can see how the food looks at each step and what the end result should be. I love recipes that allow you to cook without perfect measurements. I watched a video for an amazing looking french toast topped with strawberries grilled in foil with orange juice and zest ,balsamic vinegar and honey. It was topped with fresh whipped cream and just watching it prepared made me want to run out and grab some fruit. I imagine this would work with other berries too, like raspberries or blueberries.

Of course, I can always take advantage of the offered DVR service and record all the shows I want to see. This means I could still follow my normal schedule, set the shows to record, and view them when the time is right for me. I could watch the show and cook along at the same time by stopping and starting the episode as needed and I wouldn't even need notes. I could just scan the episode to check the needed ingredients, and get started.

Either way you go, watching the cooking shows really could save me time, money and maybe even a little sanity.