Monday, January 31, 2011

Tuesday Blog Hops!!

Here are the blog hops I am participating in this week...hop on over and join in the fun!!


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Must Have Monday! Stauffer's Original Animal Crackers


Everyone has some sort of "go to" food that they can't live without. Mine are Stauffer's Original Animal Crackers. I have bought a 14 oz bag at Walmart, Dollar Tree, pretty much anywhere since they have been around for a while...since 1871! They give me that sweetness without hardly any fat. I like to munch on these when I am dieting. Dieting you ask? Yes!! 16 crackers have only 2 grams of fat with no saturated fat :) Also, Stauffer's delivers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on all of their products.

I do 15 minute cleanings where I move at a very fast rate tidying and these are so nice to grab when I get my hunger pains. It is extremely easy to burn off the few fat grams and calories very quickly. I have lost 15 lb so far (along with my cleaning exercise) Gotta have them!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Special Time Sunday! Board Games

As we grow, we tend to sometimes forget about the little things in life. Our children are here to remind us of those things :) Want something fun to do on a Sunday afternoon? How about blowing the dust off of those old board games!

In our house, we have a Family Game Night every other Friday evening, but Sunday is an awesome time to host one since everyone tends to be together on Sundays.

Here is a list of some of my all-time fave games that work well for adults as well as kids :)






Scattergories: Can't say enough about this game....buy it, just trust me on this one!!!







Uno Attack: I bust a gut every time I play this game. There is just something hysterical about listening to your children's laughter when someone gets hit with a ton of cards during their turn.







Upwords: A twist on the classic scrabble game.







Monopoly Jr: Doesn't take as long as regular Monopoly, but still gives you that " That's right...I own property" feel ;)










The Price is Right DVD Edition: This one is cool because it the "not so new" version before Drew Carey. You play it on the TV by way of DVD, but is kind of retro when you see the prizes they offer during the game.









The majority of these games I have purchased at our local Goodwill for $2 or less!! A nice "inexpensive" night of fun!!

Swap a Recipe Saturday!! Brownie Snowmen


Brownie Snowmen

Once again, I am pulling my all-time fave winter person out for his closeup...the snowman!! I found this cute recipe on familyfun.com

Brownie snowmen are fun, but you can also make other shapes for different days.

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 ounces semisweet chocolate
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Cookie decorations: confectioner's sugar, fruit leather, frosting, and M&M's Minis

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 350. Line a 17 1/4 by 11 1/4 by 3/4-inch jellyroll pan with aluminum foil so that it extends 2 inches beyond the long sides of the pan. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of the foil-lined pan.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter and the chocolate in a microwave on high for 1 to 3 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Cool at room temperature for 20 minutes.

In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at medium-high speed, beat the eggs and sugars for 2 to 3 minutes. Beat in the chocolate mixture and vanilla extract until blended. Beat in the flour and salt just until combined.

Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with fudgy crumbs. Cool in the pan set on a wire rack.

Using the two ends of the foil as handles, lift the brownies from the pan. Cut them into snowmen or other festive shapes with cookie cutters.

Decorate with frosting and candy (dust snowmen with confectioner's sugar, then use frosting to attach a fruit leather scarf and hat and M&M's Minis eyes and buttons). Makes 12 to 24 Brownie Snowmen, depending on their size.

KIDS' STEPS: Kids can mix and measure ingredients, crack eggs, cut out the brownies, and decorate them to look like snowmen.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Frugal Friday! Be Social



I am always looking for savings; online, magazines, etc...I found this small article in AllYou magazine, December 17, 2010 issue.

The AllYou Ultimate Savings Handbook

(Step 5)

Be Social

Take advantage of exclusive deals offered by popular retailers through social media outlets.

Facebook-To score exclusive Facebook discounts, "like" your favorite stores, as well as websites that offer enormous arrays of retail bargains, such as simplybestcoupons.com and shopathome.com. You get updates as soon as the sites post new coupons.

Twitter-Sign up at twitter.com, then use the "Find People" button to see if your go-to retailers tweet sale updates and coupons. For exclusive offer, follow "@Earlybird," or use twitter.com/bargainfeeder and twitter.com/shoplocal.com, which sends deals from various sources.

YouTube-Although not as commonly used for online shopping as Facebook and Twitter are, the video site is picking up its share of e-tailer bargains. Look for deals on your favorite brand's YouTube channel. Popular ones include Dell, QVC and Target.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Things to Make Thursday! Recycled Light Bulb Snowman


I love anything snowman!!! The wonderful thing about snowmen is that you can keep them out after Christmas (until the snow melts) These would also make gorgeous tie-ons to gifts! I found this project on Allfreecrafts.com and thought I would share it with you.

The painting is all done with a toothpick and cotton swab. It's a good idea to wipe your bulb with a little white vinegar to remove any oils that may be on the surface. Have the kids wash their hands before handling the lightbulb.

Recycled Snowman Lightbulb

Material:

Small Globe Lightbulb (bulb area almost the same size as a standard bulb)
Glass or Metal Paint (acrylics), Blue, Red, Black and White
Black Felt
Christmas Ornamental Scraps
6 inches of Black Ribbon
Cotton Swab (Q-tip)
Toothpick

How to:

You will need a circle of black felt, that is between 2 1/2 and 3 inches across. This circle can be a little crooked, in fact it looks much sweeter with a little jagged hat. Cut a small circle in the centre of your felt circle, a little smaller than the socket of the lightbulb. The felt will stretch when you pull it over the light socket.

Paint the socket of the bulb with black paint, using a cotton swab. Allow this paint to dry completely. Using a cotton swab, dipped in blue paint, add one dot for each eye, another cotton swab dipped in black paint for the nose and then wet a clean cotton swab, dip the wet swab in red paint, then in white and mix together on the swab. Gently dab a few dots to create the cheeks.

Using a toothpick dipped in red paint, paint a mouth and another toothpick dipped in black paint to add a few scribbled lines above the eyes.

Glue your strip of black ribbon, to the sides of the socket (the ribbon ends will be hidden under the hat), gluing all the way up the socket and at the top of the socket (see photo), pinching the ribbon together at the top of the socket. You need this extra secure for your hanger to remain in place. Allow the glue to dry completely before you continue.

Add a little ring of tacky glue around the socket edge, where it meets the bulb and pull the hat over the socket, down to the bulb. Press the felt hat brim against the tacky glue and allow to dry.

Once the glue is dry, using tacky glue add a few embellishments to the front of the hat. This not only looks pretty, it disguises the socket of the lightbulb. Everything is secured to the bulb using tacky glue only and it works perfectly.


Copyright © 1999-2008 Susan Spatone All rights reserved. Published with permission from CraftAtHome.com

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What to do Wednesday! Arm Wrestle


Have kids looking for something different to do today? How about Arm Wresting?!!! I have taken another entry from the "101 Things to do when there is nothing to do" list. If you decide to go against them, be sure to go easy on them, unless you have a husky teen wanting to participate. This will actually build strength in your arm while playing!

Arm wrestling is a sport with two participants. Each participant places one arm, both put either the right or left, on a surface, with their elbows bent and touching the surface, and they grip each other's hand. The goal is to pin the other's arm onto the surface, with the winner's arm over the loser's arm.

Competition can lead to bickering so make sure to let the kids know that this is just for fun :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Tips Tuesday! More in the Kitchen


I am continuing the Spring Cleaning in the kitchen. Here are some more tips!

Sink

For a shiny white sink, cover with paper towels saturated in bleach. Let stand for 30 minutes; then rinse thoroughly with cool water.

To dissolve grease in a clogged drain, pour 1 cup salt and 1 cup baking soda down the drain followed by a kettle of boiling water.

Stainless Steel Sinks
You can make them really shine with club soda or white vinegar.

After normal use, wipe with a damp cloth and dry with a soft cloth.

To deep clean, wipe with a solution of ammonia and water or dish detergent and water. Dry thoroughly to avoid spots.

For water spots or hard water buildup, wipe with white vinegar and flush well with water, then buff with dry cloth.

Treat rust marks by rubbing with lighter fluid. Then wipe clean with a liquid cleaner.

Blender/Food Processor

Fill the container halfway with hot water and a couple of drops of dish detergent. Cover and blend; rinse and dry.

Electric Can Opener

Loosen dirt with a toothbrush and run a paper towel through the cutting assembly. Then spray with non-stick vegetable spray.

Garbage Disposal

Keep it smelling sweet by grinding citrus rind. Or use the discarded baking soda after it has absorbed odors in the refrigerator.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Must Have Monday! Duraflame Electric Heater


I am absolutely in love with my Duraflame Electric Heater that my dad got for my husband and I this Christmas (thank you Daddy :)

I have 2 working fireplaces in my home, located on 2 separate sides of the house; our Great Room and Living Room. I really wanted something for my bedroom though. Basically, I wanted to create some ambiance for when I was relaxing in my room. This little stove is not only adorable, but you can use it with or without the heat on. Flip one switch just for the soothing flames, flip another to add the heat :) It is very light weight and just plugs right in! Very inexpensive as well :)

So if you want that cozy feel for reading a book or lounging...check these out!!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Special Time Sunday! Visit a Real Working Farm


Looking for something to do with the kiddies on a weekend? How about visiting a working farm! I'm not sure about in your area, but where I live we have a real working farm called The Spring House.

Take a tour....many working farms will allow you to tour the barn and milking area. During our tour, they even let us take a turn at milking a cow for a few seconds. Mark that one off of my bucket list!!

Sample!!! Most farms have a place where they sell their items; pies, cheeses, etc...

At our local working farm, they have a restaurant on the premises where they serve delicious home style dinners. Take a walk around inside and sample some of the best cheeses around! The milk and chocolate milk made right at the farm is their specialty! They also sell homemade baked goods, salads and have a small store with handmade items. This place reminds me to much of Amish Country!

This farm is made specifically for the kids :)

Outside of the restaurant, they have a large man made hill with a metal slide in the center that you can sit on a potato sack and take a ride down.

Sandboxes? No, they have corn kernel boxes :)

Tractors to climb on, large wheels to crawl through and a baby calf right on the property to pet (remember to use hand sanitizer) They also have a few different cutouts that you can stick your head through for a photo op of when you visited "The Spring House"

On a nice day, you can eat a picnic lunch in the landscaped yard. Don't forget to go inside for a big scoop of their many flavors of ice cream! On a rainy day, walk through the lunch line and pull up a chair for a game of checkers!!

A great idea for young and old :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Baked Snowballs


Since we are in the dead-center of winter, I thought it would be nice to post a recipe that falls under that category. I found this recipe at familyfun.com

Beyond fun, these meringue-topped ice-cream treats are pure magic - they stay frozen even while baking in a hot oven.

Ingredients:

12 vanilla or chocolate wafer cookies or six 1/2-inch-thick slices of your favorite cake
6 scoops of your favorite ice cream
3 egg whites at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and Maraschino cherries

Instructions:

Break each cookie or slice of cake into several small pieces and divide them evenly among six 3-inch ramekins, pressing them into the bottom of each. Fill each ramekin with ice cream, using the back of a spoon to smooth it level at the top. Place the ramekins on a cookie sheet in the freezer while you prepare the snow (meringue).

Heat the oven to 500ยบ. Place the egg whites in a medium-size bowl and whip them with an electric beater set at medium-high speed until they resemble soap bubbles. Add the cream of tartar and continue beating until soft peaks form (now it will look like shaving cream). While you continue beating, add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and then the vanilla extract. Continue beating until shiny, stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes. Now you have your snow!

Remove the ramekins from the freezer and spread the snow meringue over the top of each with a spatula, taking care to completely cover the ice cream. This "blanket of snow" is what insulates the ice cream, keeping it cold in the hot oven. Bake the snowballs on the cookie sheet until the tops are golden brown, about 1 to 3 minutes. Watch them carefully; they brown quickly. Garnish the snowballs with chocolate syrup, sprinkles, and cherries, and serve. Makes 6.

Frugal Friday! Get Books for FREE!!!


I recently became a member of BookSneeze.com and am absolutely loving it!!

If you like to read, go to BookSneeze.com and sign up! You can choose one book at a time to read just by agreeing to write a review on your blog and then write a review on a site such as Amazon.com. There are books added weekly and a lot of great ones to choose from! I have gotten 2 books so far and have one on the way. A great way to keep up on your reading without putting out a fortune for the book :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wonder What To Do Wednesday (Oops..did Thursday yesterday)! Rock, Paper, Scissors


Can you guys believe that I had the days mixed up and listed the "Things to Do Thursday" on a Wednesday?!!! I have never made that mistake before...oops!!

I guess I will just go backwards today and list my Living Day to Day...Wednesday Blog. I found this awesome list online:

101 Things to Do When There's Nothing to Do. The first item listed is:

Play "Rock, Paper, Scissors"

Believe it or not, there are many people out there who have never played this game, or even heard of it. Here are the game play rules:

Each of the three basic hand-signs (from left to right: rock, paper, and scissors) beats one of the other two, and loses to the other. The players count aloud to three, or speak the name of the game (e.g. "Rock! Paper! Scissors!"), each time raising one hand in a fist and swinging it down on the count. On the third count (saying, "Scissors!") the players change their hands into one of three gestures, which they then "throw" by extending it towards their opponent. Variations include a version where players use a fourth count — "Shoot!" — before throwing their gesture, or a version where they only shake their hands twice before "throwing." Others prefer a five count cadence by saying "Says Shoot!" or "And Shoot!" before throwing their gesture. The gestures are:

Rock, represented by a clenched fist.

Scissors, represented by two fingers extended and separated.

Paper, represented by an open hand, with the fingers connected (horizontal).

The objective is to select a gesture which defeats that of the opponent. Gestures are resolved as follows:

Rock blunts or breaks scissors: that is, rock defeats scissors

Scissors cut paper: scissors defeats paper

Paper covers, sands or captures rock: paper defeats rock

If both players choose the same gesture, the game is tied and the players throw again.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Things to Make Thursday! Recycled CD Snoman


I found this awesome recycled into a craft item at allfreecrafts.com.

Recycle a CD and a juice can lid ornament in this Christmas craft to make a snowman ornament.


CD Snowman

Supplies:


discarded CD
juice can lid
chenille stems - one brown, one red
two plastic eyes
small piece of orange craft foam or felt
three buttons
white spray paint
black permanent marker
small piece of fabric or yarn to use as a scarf
two small pom poms
glue gun
CD Snowman

Project Instructions:

1. Spray paint the CD and a juice can lid on both sides in white paint. Let dry.

2. Glue the eyes, and a small triangular piece of craft foam for the nose, to the juice can lid. Make a series of dots with black permanent pen to represent the snowman's mouth.

4. Cut a length of red chenille stem to fit around the top of the juice can lid, extending down a little less than halfway. This is top of the ear muffs. Glue a small pom pom on each end of the chenille stem to finish the ear muffs.

5. Glue the completed snowman head on top of the CD.

6. Tie yarn, cord or a small strip of fabric around the neck as a scarf.

7. Cut a brown chenille stem in quarters. Take two pieces and twist one around the other to form a stick arm, as shown on the photo. Repeat to make the other arm. Glue the arms in place on each shoulder area.

8. Glue three buttons down the front to finish. If desired, add a loop of cord to hang.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tips Tuesday! The Kitchen


Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I have already started my Spring Cleaning. I came across some great tips for the kitchen!

Oven

To clean up spills, sprinkle immediately with salt. When the oven has cooled, brush away the burnt-on food with a damp sponge.

Or sprinkle with automatic dish washing powder, cover with wet paper towels, let stand for a few hours, then clean with a damp sponge.

Refrigerator

To eliminate smelly odors, keep an open box of baking soda, a small bowl of charcoal (from the plant store) or a piece of cotton dipped in vanilla extract in your refrigerator.

To prevent mildew, wipe down the inside occasionally with white vinegar.

To clean underneath the refrigerator, tie a sock around the end of a yardstick.

Dishwasher

Dip a damp rag in baking soda to clean up any inside spots.

For odors, sprinkle baking soda in the bottom and let stand overnight.

For film on dishes and the inside of the dishwasher, put a bowl with 1 cup bleach in the bottom of the washer. Run through the wash cycle but do not dry. Then fill the bowl with 1 cup white vinegar and run an entire cycle.


Polished Aluminum Appliances


Keep them clean with baking soda.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Must Have Monday!! Purex 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets


Everyone has something that they absolutely cannot live without. After receiving a sample of Purex 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets, I was hooked!!! This awesome invention has one load's worth of laundry detergent, softener and anti-static, all in one sheet!!! Drop it in and you are on your way. No worries about messy powdered detergents or sticky liquid detergents. The detergent is released during the wash cycle. Once the wash is complete, transfer the sheet along with your clothing to the dryer. The stripe on the sheet is heat activated by the dryer to soften and remove static. The scents available are:

Spring Oasis, Tropical Escape, and Pure & Clean.

Although the Spring Oasis is the scent that came as the free sample, I absolutely love the scent of the Tropical Escape! The best part is that usually, there is a coupon somewhere that can be used, either in a package of the laundry sheets or in the Sunday newspaper!

Give these babies a try...they are a must!!

Special Time Sunday! Tea Party


Looking for something special to do with your kids on a weekend? How about having a real-life tea party!

Invitations
Cut out invitations in the shape of teacups and write on your information, such as:
Join Us for a Spot of Tea! Wear only your best hats and gloves.

Food
Bake mini cakes and cookies! To make mini cakes, bake a regular 9x13 cake as per the directions. Once cooled, take cookie cutters such as hearts, circles, etc...and press down into the cake...instant mini cake! Snickerdoodles are a great cookie for this occasion :)

Drink
Kids not big tea fans? Make a mix of ginger ale and white grape juice.

Decorations
Be sure to lay out the lace tablecloth and for this one occasion, finally dust off your wedding china! Your kids will get a real kick out of being important enough to eat off of it :)

Don't forget your camera!!

**To see our real life tea party, swing by my blog: My Life is a Reality Show...
http://www.dedeshortking.blogspot.com

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Swap a Recipe Saturday! Snowman on a Stick



I found this adorable "winter" appetizer (or even breakfast item) on familyfun.com :)

These banana-based snowmen are decidedly more tropical than the frosty variety, and kids can assemble their own if you prepare the fruit for them.

Ingredients:

Bananas
Grapes
Carrot
Apple
Bamboo skewers
Mini chocolate chips
Pretzel sticks

Instructions:

For each snowman, you will need three thick slices of banana, a grape, a sliver of carrot, and a triangular piece of apple. (Tip: Poke a hole in the apple piece with a bamboo skewer first to make assembly easier.)

Have your kids slide the fruit onto the skewer, then use the carrot slivers for noses, mini chocolate chips for eyes and buttons, and pretzel sticks for arms.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fun Idea Friday! Winter Games


There's no need to get cold feet about spending a winter day outdoors. Instead, bundle up and follow your kids to the nearest drift for a snow pile of fun. Here are seven winter games to get your family started.


JUMP SNOW HURDLES
Lightly pack a bunch of basketball-size snowballs and then use them to build a course of hurdles to jump over in a round of follow the leader.

ROPE TOW
Team up for a slip-sliding variation of tug-of-war. Tamp down a wide, shallow trench in the snow to serve as the mid line. Then, take up positions at the ends of a long, thick rope and let the tugging and towing begin. Whichever team pulls the entire opposing group over to its side of the trench wins.

FLAG IN A SNOW STACK
Tie a white cloth to the end of a short stick or around the bowl of a wooden spoon. Then, give each child a chance to hide it by staking it anywhere within a predetermined set of boundaries. Keep track of how long it takes for the rest of the group to find it. Whoever hid the flag that takes the longest time to spot wins the game.

STRIKE OUT
For this pitching contest, first mound up snow to create three bases and a pitcher's mound. They should each be about 2 feet high and 20 feet apart. Next, build a tin can pyramid on each base. The challenge is to knock down the stacks in order from first to third base by throwing snowballs from the pitcher's mound. The child who succeeds with the fewest pitches wins.

HAT TRICK
Once you've built a plump, frosty snowman to stand sentry in your front yard, make a game of topping him off in style. Take turns trying to land a hat on his head by throwing it Frisbee style from 10 or so feet away.

GET ON A ROLL
Pair up for a contest in which the object is to finish with the biggest snowball. The contest ends when the teams can no longer roll their entries or when you run out of snow.

POWDER-PUFF FOOTBALL
All you need are two teams of three or more people to play, along with a spray bottle filled with a mix of water and food coloring to mark the playing field (a large rectangle with a center line should suffice). The teams line up at opposite ends of the field (the North and South poles) for a kickoff. Once someone on the receiving team catches the ball, he tries to move it back across the defense's goal line by running with it or passing it to a teammate. Play stops if the person with the ball is tagged by an opponent or slides out of bounds. The teams then face off again on the spot. After four tries, or a touchdown, the ball goes to the other team. The game ends when either team gets cold.

I found these great ideas at familyfun.com