Dec 062016
 

I have received information and materials from Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., McNeil Consumer Healthcare Division. The opinions stated are my own. This is a sponsored post. 

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WinOverWinter #CollectiveBias

how-to-freeze-your-favorite-foods

Time seems to be a commodity that is in ever-shortening supply these days. Especially this time of year when the holiday are quickly approaching. Because of that, we often don’t take the time to eat right and often opt for quick and simple solutions when it comes to dinnertime. That option isn’t always the healthiest. But with just a little pre-planning, you can make a variety of dishes that can be prepared beforehand and stored in your freezer which you can reheat quickly and enjoy when the time is right. Not only will this save you time when your week gets hectic, it will also cut down on your intake of take-out and fast food, making you a healthier and happier person.

Here are some tips for simple freezer meals that will let you enjoy a home-cooked meal without the time usually needed to do so:

Know What Not to Freeze
Before you freeze any of your dishes, make sure you know what kinds of foods won’t lose quality and consistency during the freezing process. Some foods don’t hold up to freezing temperatures. For starters, you should never freeze dairy or cream-based ingredients, such as milk or sour cream, yogurt, or cottage cheese as it will often crystallize and separate into its components upon thawing. If you are going to be freezing cream-based soups, be careful with how it tastes when it is reheated. You also want to avoid certain fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruit, cucumbers, watermelon, and lettuce. Cooked eggs are another food that will lose its consistency after freezing. If you want to freeze potatoes, they should either be raw or be mashed potatoes. Continue reading »

Nov 282016
 

Teaching your Children to Help Out Around the House

small-disclosure

Does it seem like your house is never clean, despite wasting your day away picking up? Chances are you have kids! Children tend to be messy, both when playing and even eating. It can be frustrating as a parent to be responsible for all this mess, especially if your children are getting older. Instead of following those kiddos around, constantly picking up their messes, try getting them involved in the cleaning process instead. Here are some great tips you can use to help teach your child to help out around the house.

One Toy Rule

Start with the one toy rule. Not sure how this rule works? Basically, each child gets to start with one toy to play with. It can be any toy in the house, but that’s the only toy they’re allowed to have out. Once they’re done playing with their toy, they need to put it away before they can grab something else to play with. This will help keep your house clean and toy-free so that there’s not an overwhelming mess by 9 am. Continue reading »

Nov 152016
 

how-to-stay-hydrated-when-you-hate-water

Whеn іt соmеѕ tо a ѕwеаtу wоrkоut, wе lоvе a wаtеr brеаk rеwаrd аѕ muсh аѕ thе nеxt fіtnеѕѕ fіеnd. But аѕ the mеrсurу rіѕеѕ, іt’ѕ mоrе іmроrtаnt thаn еvеr tо fосuѕ оn оur fluіdѕ аll day long. Aftеr аll, wаtеr іѕ thе mоѕt еѕѕеntіаl nutrient оur ѕуѕtеm nееdѕ.

While іt’ѕ truе a tаll glаѕѕ оf wаtеr іѕ the bеѕt knоwn wау tо ѕtау hуdrаtеd, thеrе are рlеntу оf аltеrnаtіvе орtіоnѕ іf уоu dоn’t lіkе thе tаѕtе оf tар оr couldn’t bе bоthеrеd wіth bоttlеd wаtеr. Surе, уоu саn іnfuѕе plain оle drіnkіng wаtеr wіth flаvоrful fruіtѕ lіkе lеmоnѕ аnd raspberries. But you саn аlѕо rеасh for ѕоmе оf thеѕе wаtеr-rісh fооdѕ аnd fluіdѕ that kеер thе H2O bаlаnсе juѕt rіght—аnd wоn’t requirе so mаnу trірѕ tо thе wаtеr сооlеr!

How to Stay Hydrated When You Hate Water

Eat It Up

Whо ѕауѕ уоu саn’t have уоur wаtеr—аnd еаt іt, tоо? Aссоrdіng tо thе Inѕtіtutе оf Mеdісіnе’ѕ rесоmmеndаtіоnѕ wе ѕhоuld еаt 20 реrсеnt оf оur dаіlу wаtеr іntаkе. Sоuр, yogurt and oatmeal аrе аll grеаt fluіd-fіllеd fооdѕ, but these ѕummеr-frіеndlу fruіtѕ аnd vеggіеѕ саn аlѕо hеlр wіth hуdrаtіоn. Nеxt tіmе уоu’rе fееlіng thіrѕtу, ріlе these on уоur рlаtе.

1. Wаtеrmеlоn

In the wоrld оf thіrѕt quenсhеrѕ, wаtеrmеlоn wеіghѕ іn аѕ a mаjоr соntеndеr. Based оn іtѕ nаmе, іt’ѕ nо ѕurрrіѕе thіѕ fruіt is mаdе up оf 92 реrсеnt wаtеr! But іtѕ ѕаlt, саlсіum аnd mаgnеѕіum іѕ whаt makes іt іdеаl fоr rеhуdrаtіоn, ассоrdіng to a 2009 ѕtudу аt thе Unіvеrѕіtу оf Abеrdееn Mеdісаl Sсhооl. Thе ѕummеrtіmе staple іѕ аlѕо a gооd ѕоurсе оf роtаѕѕіum, vіtаmіn A аnd vіtаmіn C. Continue reading »

Nov 022016
 

Hello!!  As some of you may remember my daughter is on the dance competition team this year.  Yay!!!!   One of the things that makes life easier is a dance duffel bag with a clothes rack, so this dance mom started shopping.  And then had a heart attack at the prices!!!  There is basically one main company that makes these and this momma is not paying $150 or more for a bag!!!

So what’s a momma to do when buying does not work?  I make my own with the help of my dad 🙂

brandi1

This is the almost finished project.  I still need to paint the pvc pipe.  Notice our cat Sassy checking it out lol.

So the first thing I did was order a rolling duffel bag.  I ordered a 26 inch duffel bag.

Continue reading »

Oct 172016
 

dollar-store-diy-jack-olantern-treat-buckets

Like everyone’s kids, my boys each come home from trick or treating with a ginormous bag of candy.  Even after the parental candy tax, they still end up with more candy than they could ever possibly eat. Despite all that candy, every year I insist on getting them each a little sweet treat of my own.  I give it to them on Halloween morning and it’s always just been a fun little way to get them excited about trick or treating that night – especially when Halloween falls on a school night. It’s something that my mom always did for my brother, sister and me and we were kids and I have always made sure to carry on the tradition.

These Jack O’Lantern Treat Buckets are inexpensive, really easy to make and make a perfect little treat to give to your kids, neighbors, friends or even send in with your kids to school to give to their classmates.

Jack O’Lantern Treat Buckets

Here’s what you need:

  • 3pk small white metal buckets (Dollar Tree)
  • Green metallic ribbon
  • Black and orange craft paint
  • Paint brush
  • Paper plate

dollar-store-diy-jack-olantern-treat-buckets1

Continue reading »

Oct 112016
 

Super Simple Halloween Treats1

If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I am a major Halloween lover. I am always scouring the interwebs for fun & festive snack ideas for my kids around this time of year. I love seeing their faces when I surprise them with a fun Halloween treat. Sometimes I have the treats ready when they get off the bus from school and other times I like to whip up something for family movie night.

We try to sit down as a family every Friday night and stream a movie on Netflix, so this past Friday my family munched on these spooky Halloween treats while we watched our movie. These treats are beyond simple to make, especially if you opt for pre-made rice crispy treats.

What you need:

  • 12 Rice Crispy Treats
  • Edible Eyes
  • 12 oz White Chocolate or White Candy Melts
  • Sandwich bag
  • Parchment paper

Continue reading »

Oct 022016
 

candy-corn-play-dough-recipe

Did you know that you can make your own play dough?  My kids have always loved it and I make my own pretty regularly – for home and some to send into the kids classrooms. Recently I decided to make candy Corn play dough for my kids to play with here at home. What a fun fall craft!

The 2 main ingredients I used to make the playdoh were cornstarch and hair conditioner. I know it sounds unbelievable and I was definitely skeptical at first, but it really works!! Some of the recipes I have read about on play dough say to use 2 parts cornstarch to 1 part conditioner. I think that’s going to depend on what type of conditioner you use. I used the VO5 brand and I found that I needed close to 2 1/2 cups of cornstarch with 1 cup (8 oz.) of conditioner. So the exact measurements are going to depend on what type of hair conditioner you use. Just play around with your ingredients until you get your desired texture.

This recipe will yield approximately 3 cups of candy corn play dough.

Candy Corn Play Dough

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 parts cornstarch
  • 1 part hair conditioner
  • Yellow food gel
  • Orange food gel

candy-corn-play-dough14

Here’s what you do:
1. Add 2 cups of corn starch to a large mixing bowl. Pour 1 cup of hair conditioner into the bowl and stir with a spatula until the mixture forms into a ball. Continue reading »

Sep 202016
 

Fingerprint Pumpkin Craft

I got invited to a Halloween party this year and want to bring a little gift for the hostess.  I hate showing up to a party empty handed, so I ended up making this really easy fingerprint pumpkin for her.  It only took a few minutes to make and I think it came out really cute. I had most of the supplies to make it on hand, but if you don’t already have them around your house, you can pick up everything you need for just a few dollars.

I am actually so happy with the way it came out that I am considering making a few more for the kids to give to their grandparents this year. Nana and Papa always love homemade gifts like this.

Here’s what you need:

  • Orange craft paint or stamp pad
  • White card stock or craft paper
  • Small picture frame (You can get them at Michael’s for $1)
  • Pair of Googly eyes
  • Craft glue
  • Black marker
  • Green craft foam or green marker
  • Scissors

Continue reading »

Sep 132016
 

diy-pumpkin-spice-candle

Anyone who has ever been to my house knows that I almost always have a candle burning. With a house full of boys, sometimes there are not-so-great smells lingering in the air that just need to GO!  Candles are a quick solution for those yucky boy smells and they work fast, which is why I love them so much. Within a few minutes of lighting them, the smell is usually gone.

Now that the chilly weather has arrived here in New England, I have embraced all things pumpkin and decided that a pumpkin spice candle was just what my house needed.  Even better, I decided that I spend way too much money on candles and wanted to try my hand at making one myself.  So I did.

DIY Pumpkin Spice Candle

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups soy wax flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon liquid vanilla candle scent
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Long waxed candle wick
  • 8oz Mason jar
  • Long wooden skewer or pencil
  • Glass measuring cup

diy-pumpkin-spice-candle1 Continue reading »

Sep 062016
 

Hello!!!!! It is September. What does that mean?? Fall is approaching, pumpkin spice everything, back to school and HELLO ALLERGIES. I do not know about you guys in Massachusetts, but in Illinois when September hits look out allergies!!!! And Literally on Sept. 1 my sons nose was turned on like a faucet.

So what does this all natural momma do. Break out her all natural remedies.

brandi1

How many people love this vapor bath stuff, whatever brand it may be that you use. Well I am one of those mommas, but since I am now and essential oil momma, I make it myself!!!!! Continue reading »

Sep 052016
 

How To Save Money Without Coupons

Do you want to save more money on items for your household, but don’t want to spend time clipping coupons? There are ways to save money without spending your whole day with scissors and paper. Check out some of these ways to save money without coupons.

#1. Look at the Ads

This may seem like foreign language to some, but you can save money by looking at the ads in a newspaper. Some grocery stores and big box stores even have their ads online, which means you can look anytime you’d like.

#2. Save up for the Item

When you put an item on a store card, you may feel as though you’re saving money but there’s a catch. You will be paying interest on your credit card, which in return does not help you save money. You can save money without coupons by paying cash for items. Cash is king when you want to save money and not pay interest on anything.

#3. Buy Online

Although some people like to support the local economy, you can save more money by buying online. A lot of stores offer free shipping online and this can help you save something as simple as gas money. Know exactly what you’re going to buy and stay on budget. If you can’t trust yourself and think you will spend way too much money, get an accountability partner to ensure you’re not spending more money than you are supposed to. Continue reading »

Aug 222016
 

Tips to Improve Interaction on Twitter

Twitters’ true value is engagement, while sure the search engines index it and you will have a Google Page Rank for your Twitter profile, without interaction you are wasting your marketing time. It is super easy to get intertwined with Twitter and being a broadcaster. When you have blog posts scheduled to go out live, content to get out there on a regular and your feed is full of information, you are half way there to improving interaction on Twitter.

Getting the content out there is not as tedious as working to improve interaction; after all you want your followers to engage with you because it reaches a wider range of viewers. When someone @ replies to you, their followers get to see your name and read the conversation. Having that interaction with people on Twitter helps to build your online brand, personal character and shows that you are a real person seeking to engage with others.

Twitter tiles

As a blogger on Twitter, it’s all about building the person behind the brand because people want to follow bloggers who keep it real, are approachable and maintain a loyal interaction online. If you are seeking to improve interaction on Twitter, then please follow the below tips to ensure your interaction increases on a steady basis: Continue reading »

Aug 182016
 

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BTSSpirit #CollectiveBias

Homemade Slime #recipe #craft 1

Have you guys seen the new Ghostbusters movie yet?  I took my twelve year old and two of his friends to see it the weekend it came out and we loved it – not that I had any doubt that I would.  The original Ghostbusters (from the 80’s) is my ALL-TIME favorite movie, so there was no chance I was missing the new, updated version.  It has an awesome, and I do mean awesome, cast and definitely lived up to the hype – oh and I’ve seen it three times already.

Since we’re such big fans of Ghostbusters, I decided that I need to make some homemade ectoplasm (slime) for the kids to play with. Slime, goo, gunk, glop, ooze or whatever you’d like to call it, this creation will please boys (and girls) of all ages. It’s incredibly easy to make and only requires 3 ingredients!

The combination will create chemical reaction that can be fun for a hands-on educational experiment. Chemical bonds form as you mix the ingredients. The molecules stick together and become polymers which create the slimy texture. The formula is also non-toxic and, when kept in an air-tight container, it can last years. It’s not recommended for consumption, but it won’t harm those little ones who just can’t help but try and taste it.

You Will Need: Continue reading »

Aug 082016
 

Back to School Morning Routine Hacks

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Tyson Foods, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #JDgreatdays  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Guys, it’s happening – back to school that is.  The kids are going to be out there waiting for the bus before we know it and trust me, I know how chaotic school mornings can be.  It’s important to find ways to cut back on the chaos and make everyone’s lives a little easier and I believe I’ve found the secrets to a smooth morning.

1. Lay out clothes the night before.
Picking out clothes seems like something that shouldn’t take more than five minutes in the morning, however, when you’re in a hurry it can take forever. If you take five minutes the night before and lay out yours & the kids clothes, you will eliminate having to worry about it in the morning.

2. Set the alarm for a few minutes early.
Try getting the family to wake up at least 10-15 minutes earlier than normal on school mornings. Kids can be slow getting around because they are struggling to get used to a routine, so getting up a few minutes earlier will give them a little more time to wake up and get going. This might mean sending the kids to bed a few minutes earlier as well. Continue reading »

Aug 012016
 

8 great grilling hacks

As summer is here, it’s time to dust off the outdoor grill and get busy.  My friends at Scotties asked me to share my favorite soft summer moments that make me slow down and savor this wonderful summer season.  Without a doubt, having cookouts with friends and family tops the list. I love hanging out with good company and enjoying some great food while I’m at it. You don’t have to be a gourmet “grillmeister” to enjoy grilling and produce an amazing summertime meal. Check out these 8 great grilling hacks to help you out.

Super clean. Although, not the most favorite part of the process, but a necessary one after each use. Keep your grill covered and then break out the grill brush and give it a good scrub so you have a great grilling surface all times.

To marinade or not marinade? Take a few extra minutes in the morning, and simply add a nice marinade or a brining liquid to your proteins. Then, save time when you get home and fire up the grill. Make sure to use a little cooking spray or olive oil over the grates to help prevent sticking. Marinades high in sugar, like some barbecue sauces, tend to burn and stick, so be careful.

One tool to do it all. You really only need one good long pair of tongs for all your grilling needs. Keep it handy and keep it clean in between uses and it’s all you’ll need. Continue reading »

Jul 262016
 

Helpful Things I Learned from MacGyver

MacGyver is one of the best guys when it comes to “life hacks”! There are so many great things that I learned from MacGyver; he really does give out some of the best tips and tricks! Some of these can really come in handy, others are just really clever, and some I can’t believe are even real. I suppose this is kind of tribute to the master…In today’s day and age we’re all pretty obsessed with life hacks and MacGyver was the OG of life hacks! If you’ve ever needed to remove a stripped screw, unlock a door from the outside, or turn a chip bag into it’s own bowl then this is the post for you. If you’ve never needed to do any of those things this is still the post for you, you’ll likely rest A LOT easier knowing that you CAN do all of these things just like MacGyver!

Remove a Stripped Screw

You can use a rubber band placed over the top of a stripped screw to remove it without the screwdriver slipping!

Never Leave Home Without a Swiss Army Knife

Okay so maybe leave it at home when you go to the airport but other than that you should have one. It’s got everything you need for all kinds of situations! Continue reading »

Jul 262016
 

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Scott100More #CollectiveBias

How To Make Overnight Guests Feel at Home

I love, love, love having people come to stay at my house – whether it’s just for one night, a week or even longer. My husband is one of seven and since a few of his siblings have relocated over the years, sometimes when they come “home” they need a place to stay. I am the first one to raise my hand when one of them needs a place to stay. My brother in law, his lovely wife and my super cute 1 year old nephew are regulars at my house and I get so excited whenever they tell me they are coming up. They live in Astoria (Queens, NY), so since they are fairly close, they come back to Massachusetts pretty often.

When they (or anyone else) stay at my house, I want them to be comfortable and feel completely at home. Just a few extra touches here & there can really make your overnight guests feel special.

1. Clean and/or Pick up your house.
Give your house a good cleaning. If your house is already clean, go through your house room by room and get rid of clutter. I am a parent and that means that there are toys all over the place. Take an afternoon to pick up all of those things laying around and put them back where they belong. Why not get the kids involved while you’re at it? I do!

How To Make Overnight Guests Feel at Home3

In addition, I always use having overnight guests as an opportunity to cross things off of my to-do list. Have a doorknob that’s wiggly and needs for the screws to be tightened? This is the time to get those little things done. Continue reading »

Jul 112016
 

7 ways to prevent and treat poison ivy

Summer is here, which means you might be spending more times outdoors. Whether you are hiking, camping, or gardening, your chances of running into poison ivy are likely, so knowing how to protect yourself from this poisonous plant is important. Instead of spending the summer itching from head to toe, take a look below at 7 ways to prevent and treat poison ivy. When you keep these tips in mind, you can keep yourself itch free and enjoy summer in the way it is meant to be enjoyed!

1. Remember the old saying, “Leaves of three, leave them be.”
Poison ivy is easily identifiable by the three leaves, a red stem, and vine like characteristics. However, poison ivy may lack one of these traits which may lead you to assume the plant is safe. Instead, keep the rule in mind that if a plant has three leaves, leave it be. Don’t touch it and instead play it safe.

2. Use a prevention spray.
Head to your local gardening center or Amazon where you can find poison ivy killing sprays. This is perfect for banishing poison ivy from your yard without having to touch the plant. If you notice any in your yard, treat it quickly before it has the chance to spread.

3. Cover legs and hands when working in the yard.
Wear long pants, sleeves, and gloves when working in the yard. This way should you come in contact with poison ivy, the oils from the plant won’t have the chance to touch your skin. Immediately remove and wash the clothing in hot water when you come indoors. Continue reading »

Jul 052016
 

Cinnamon Rolls the easy way

We all have been there. You open the fridge door and there are those delicious little packs of cinnamon rolls staring at you. But it is 95 degrees with 90% humidity and you really do NOT want to turn the oven on. Oh but those cinnamon rolls look soooo goooood….. Well I have your solution…..

Grab your waffle maker!!!!!!!

cinnamon rolls waffle iron

Pre heat the waffle iron. Once heated put on your cinnamon rolls and press the lid close. Give it a good push close to smash them down a little. Continue reading »

Jul 042016
 

Easy Frozen Dog Treats Recipe

Are the dog days of summer getting you down?  I personally love the heat, but I know that some people feel the exact opposite.  If you are that hot, imagine how your pro dog must feel underneath all that fur.  We keep our dog, Milo, inside in the air conditioning as much as possible, but of course we have to take him outside multiple times a day to do his business. I always feel so bad for him when he comes in from being outside on a super hot day. He comes in panting really bad and instantly runs to the coolest spot in the house to cool off quickly.  On days like that, I like to give him a homemade frozen treat to help him cool off.

These frozen dog treats will not only help them get cool fast on those super hot days, but they will love the combination of chicken and blueberries in them.

Here’s What You Need

  • 1/4 Cup homemade unsalted chicken broth or canned unsalted chicken broth
  • 1/4 Cup water
  • 1/4 Cup blueberries

You Will Also Need:

  • A silicone rectangle ice cube mold
  • Measuring cup

Continue reading »