Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Purex Baby Review, Giveaway & Sweepstakes.

****The Winner was chosen with Random.org for 
2 FREE product coupons for Purex Baby Detergent is:

Jennifer Marie 

Please respond to my email within 48 hours to claim your prize.



***Giveaway ends Monday January 7th @ 12:00pm. Thank you.

Purex has developed some great products in the past and as a Purex Insider, I get the opportunity to try them out and share my thoughts with you. I love trying new products and I love it when I find out that they work great! 

I make my own laundry detergent at less than $1.00 a gallon but I always keep an eye out for a great deal and on a great product also. 

 Purex Baby detergent is to be gentle on baby's skin but tough on baby's messes. Although I can't say I have tested this product on baby clothes, (just the hubby and I for now :-) ) I can say that it works great on our towels and other laundry. I am a believer in this product after trying Purex Free & Clear detergent. Love the scent and that this detergent is safe for all washers from high efficiency to top load washers. Any product that is tough on baby stains or any stains for that matter, while still gentle on skin, is a winner in my book. 


Quick recap:

  • Sensitive for baby's skin
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Dermatologist-tested formula
  • Bright, white clean with gentle baby-inspired fragrance




Now for the fun part.

 I am giving away Purex Baby to my readers! 

To enter share my giveaway on your Facebook page and stop back here to leave a comment and let me know that you did. 

Good Luck. 

Plus, you can enter the Purex Baby sweepstakes in addition to my giveaway by clicking here. 

Congratulations....

The winners of my Purex Plus Oxi giveaway have been announced... Was it you? 

Find out here. 


Christmas Money.

A few ways to earn extra money for Christmas or anytime. 

I have been a freebie fanatic and deal finder for a long time, saving money anytime with the help of coupon blogs, deal sites and cash back websites but my favorite thing about it is sharing the deals with my friends and family. The holiday season is the best time to earn cash back and deals with so many companies pushing for sales. One question I always get asked is how do you get all the cash back? 

I thought I would do a post just on the ways to earn cash back and a few extras. All of these include my referral link but if you prefer to sign up on your own just search the site in Google. All of these sites are completely free to sign up! 


 My favorite cash back apps:

Endorse (cash back on everyday purchases such as milk, ice cream ect...)  

Ibotta - (Earn $5.00 for signing up) everyday purchases. 


My favorite sites for cash back on your online shopping purchases:

Ownza ~ great site for cash back especially Amazon. 
I can send you an email invite if you would like to sign up!




Sites to earn a little extra cash just for using their search engine:

Swagbucks - You can redeem these for Amazon giftcards. 


Daily deal sites:

SneakPeeq Get $10.00 today for signing up! 



Living Social - Get $5.00 for signing up! 




Great deal site for our furry friends:



Let me know if I missed any great sites for deals and cash back! 


Monday, December 17, 2012

7 Days & Homemade Dog Treats

Still counting down each day & finishing all the last minute preparations for the holidays! I am usually ahead of schedule and save the baking for the last week. 


 I have seen several different recipes for homemade dog treats on Pinterest so I thought I could make a batch or two Ginger (our chocolate lab mix) and a batch to use as gifts for our furry nephews! As I am typing I realize that all of our siblings have boys! 

Well, boys of the furry variety anyways! :-) I don't have a dog bone shaped cookie cutter just yet so I just made them round! I don't think the dogs will care. Now that I have them baked, I am off to make the gift tags. I will share the finished product soon! 

I think Ginger, Duke, Hank & Titan will be happy pups this Christmas! 




 The recipe choices are endless but I narrowed it down to these two. 
 The first is a super easy two ingredient recipe. 


Homemade Dog Treats
  •  2 cups of whole wheat flour 
  • 2 jars of babyfood (4 oz jars) 

  Mix the ingredients together, roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut to desired shape.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

Bake at 350 for 20 - 25 minutes. 


Pea-Mutt Butter Dog Cookies

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cups hot water


      Mix the dry ingredients together then add the water & peanut butter, roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut to desired shape.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

    Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes. 





Get Ready...

Get ready for a new giveaway... 




Saturday, December 15, 2012

9 Days & Snickerdoodles.



Short and sweet today, I hope everyone has a great weekend! This time of year tends to be so busy, be sure to take some time to sit back, relax and enjoy this holiday season with your families. 

 We will be sitting back to enjoy one of my favorite funny holiday movies. The Griswald's Christmas Vacation lol. It may not be the best movie but it sure is a good laugh! It is a holiday tradition for us now! :-) 

 What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? 

Friday, December 14, 2012

10 Days & Chocolate Covered Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls.

The countdown to Christmas continues. 10 days until Christmas = baking cookies! 

Pinterest is full of new recipes and I have made it a goal of mine to actually try some of them! Today I decided to try these chocolate covered Rice Krispie peanut butter balls. I found the recipe on Pinterest and you can also find it on Praying Twice by clicking here. I adapted the recipe a little and used dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. 

Let me just say, they are yummy! 

Before the chocolate. 


Getting ready. 






All done! Trying not to eat them all at once! 

Chocolate Covered Rice Krispie Peanut Butter Balls ~ Yum!

You will need the following:

2 cups peanut butter
3 cups Rice Krispies
3 cups of powdered sugar
¼ cup melted butter.
2 bags chocolate chips (Any type of chocolate melted, I used dark chocolate chips, about 2 bags.)

I put all the ingredients into the bowl of my Kitchen Aid mixer and mixed. Then formed the dough into balls and dipped in the melted chocolate. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and pop the sheet in the freezer to cool them.   

Saturday, December 8, 2012

17 Days & Burnt Cookies.

As I promised yesterday... 


 Burnt Cookies and the pizza delivery guy. You may be wondering why burnt cookies and the pizza delivery guy are mentioned in the same sentence. 

 Let me rewind a bit, growing up I would bake cookies at home with my Mom, Sister and sometimes both Grams. All of us together baking and talking gives me so many great memories, as well as some funny ones. 

One year we were baking and time gets away from you sometimes, so we ended up burning a bunch of the chocolate chip cookies. I don't remember them being completely black but I remember the bottoms were pretty burnt. I am not positive how old I was but I am guessing around 7 or maybe 8. 

 The pizza delivery guy comes to the door and my Dad jokingly says, give him all the burnt ones. Mom always gives all the delivery guys/girls a little gift around the holidays! Well, I took my Dad's advice, not knowing any better at that age. I gave the pizza guy the burnt cookies. 

 I am sure he just loved that little holiday surprise. 



Getting ready for some cookie baking! 


 Do you have any funny holiday baking stories? 

Friday, December 7, 2012

18 Days....

We don't have the Elf on a Shelf just yet but I love the fun of the countdown to Christmas! I am making my list and checking it twice just for what kind of cookies I want to make. I don't make anything fancy, just the classics. My Mom & Sister & I used to bake every year with my Gram. Sometimes both Grams. Mom had always bought in bulk when it came to sugar, flour, salt and powdered sugar. So much so that she put everything in a coffee can size container and we lined them up on our table/counter or prep space. I will always remember one particular year when we were all mixing up batches of cookies and the containers were lined on the counter. One of us, (not mentioning any names) just happened to us salt instead of sugar in one batch. Yes SALT! We all got a good laugh out of that when my Dad took a bit into the first cookie. :-) I will have to tell you about another cookie baking memory, involving burnt cookies but I am going to save that one for tomorrow. 


We usually baked a bunch of classic recipes and way too many haha. 

 Chocolate Chip Cookies
 Gingersnaps
Cocoa Cookie Sticks
Soft Spiced Cutout Cookies
 
I am sure there are a few more, Mom you will have to help me out on that one?? Oh and those Damn Nut Rolls. Yep, that's what they are called. This was my great Gram's recipe and every year she made them they weren't just nut rolls, they were oh those Damn Nut Rolls. Of all the Christmas cookies we made, those are the ones I remember most. 

 For this year, I am thinking Snickerdoodles, Spiced Cutouts and maybe Chocolate Chip. We started a little baking last week when Mom & I had a playdate with M. 



What kind of cookies do you make? 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Family Dinners and A Fruit Project.

Our Sunday family dinner this week consists of a Pampered Chef Open House. Tis the season for busy schedules and a lot of parties so this week we won't have our usual family dinner. Like I said before, it seems to be a biweekly event or close to it, especially the busier times of the year. December is a busier time usually so anyways, this weekend the guys are hunting (usually) and the girls are cooking/baking. 

My Mom is a Pampered Chef consultant and loves to cook and bake. It is a perfect fit for her. I love the idea of keeping it quick and simple (especially weeknights) just to be sure the family can be together at the dinner table each night. The big one is always make a meatloaf in the microwave in about 20 minutes using the Deep Dish Baker. I love mine! Plus always trying to find quick and easy things that we can make on a busy day ect... At the Open House, we will all be trying dips and more, including this tasty Hot & Cheesy Bruschetta Dip


I will leave you with another simple "fruit project". 

 Apple Fish. 

I used...
Apple Slices
Raisins
Celery 
Carrots 
Yogurt (just to hold the eyes on) 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Countdown Begins... Grinch Smoothies.

Finally it's here, December 1st! I am not normally the person who says "I can't wait for..." I truly believe in living in the moment and enjoying each day as if it were your last. But for some reason, this past month, I have been counting down for December and everything Christmas! It may have something to do with the fact that I have been watching too many holiday movies and searching Pinterest for too many holiday ideas! The tree is up, house is all decorated, and now it's time for everything Christmas. 

I recently won a giftcard from FedEx and American Express for Small Business Saturday to promote shopping local and supporting small businesses. This was in addition to the promo American Express offered (if you "shopped small/local" on Nov. 24th and used your American Express card you could earn a credit of $25.00 back on your statement) so I was searching online for where to use it! More on that in a minute. 

There are so many great local small businesses around us but I figured I would shop for something we actually need. That is exactly what I got, $25.00 worth of veggies, fruit, eggs and milk from The Market. 


Counting down to Christmas, I love the idea of everything holiday/Christmas themed. Today was a Grinch smoothie. Yum. Everyone's version of a smoothie is different, as is mine every time I make them. They are never the same, usually just whatever fruit I have that needs used up, or what I bought through the summer and threw in the freezer. It also depends on what yogurt I have fresh or frozen and what I am hungry for. I also try to add some ground flax seed or some oatmeal to it too. 



The "Grinch" Smoothie

2 slices of Pineapple (I had mine in the freezer from this summer, you could use a handful or two of chunks instead)
1 big bunch/handful of fresh spinach (perfect for the green grinch color. 
1/2 cup or 3/4 plain yogurt. I used Stoneyfield Organic today. 
About 1/4 cup Oatmeal (give or take a little) 

Feel free to add a little aguave nectar, honey or your sweetener of choice. 
Mine was sweet enough with the pineapple.  

Just toss it all in the blender and there you go, you have yourself a Grinch Smoothie. 

The great thing about smoothies is you can pretty much add or replace anything you would like. Like I said, mine is different every time. 




As I mentioned above, I also shopped local for Small Business Saturday and took advantage of the free $25.00 credit on my American Express. I searched on the site for local businesses participating and I found our local bookstore Read's Ink on the list. My Mom & I decided to stop in and check out their selection. So many great books but I was on the hunt for a specific cookbook, the new Rachael Ray My Year in Meals! The owners kindly ordered it for me! I just picked it up this week! Now I have to decide which recipe to try first! 





What is your favorite holiday theme food/drink/snack? 


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hat or No Hat?

That is the question. Pinterest is a great place to find ideas, sometimes I find too many ideas. I love the holiday projects and crafts. Although, I am really not a crafty person but I love to see what other people create. If it is simple enough, I will try it. I have been searching for a few simple crafts for my niece and nephew (M & B) and I love to stick with a holiday/Christmas theme. Lately we have done mostly fruit projects as M calls them, but I may try something different tomorrow. 

 Anyways, back to the hat or no hat. My latest (simple) craft, is this snowman. 





I just used three boxes and wrapped them with wrapping paper with the white side out. I just happened to have a make your own snowman kit my grandma gave me a few years ago so I used those pieces for the nose, mouth, pipe & scarf. But you could just draw the mouth on and roll up a piece of orange paper for the nose. 

Now back to searching for tomorrow's craft. Although I know I better have a fruit project lined up because that is the first thing M will ask when she gets here. Maybe I can find a good craft and side track her with a good fruit smoothie. She loves to make those too, I just have to remind her not to leave the spoon in the blender. :-) Yep, that actually happened. B will be happy with whatever we choose, he pretty much loves everything haha. 

 What are your favorite simple kids holiday/winter/Christmas crafts? 




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Fruit Project


Busy day today so I thought I would share with you another fruit project. I mentioned before about making these adorable and simple edible projects with my niece. I love the fact that they are usually semi healthy for her and always fun to make. Did I mention I found this idea on Pinterest of course. 

If you would like to make this adorable Palm Tree Fruit Project you will need...

One or two kiwis (depending on how thick you slice them)
One Banana
One Tangerine

That's it! 

As you can see you slice the banana in half lengthwise and then cut into smaller chunks. Slice the kiwi and peel the orange and split the pieces. Then just lay it out. Take a picture and then your done. Oh haha, you don't have to take a picture! Have fun with this project and stop back and let me know how it turned out. 


The finished product.


You can see our last fruit project here. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Biscuits and Sausage Gravy & Christmas Trees.

In this house, the weekends usually bring a big breakfast. Everything from pancakes to egg sandwiches and this weekend I wanted to try biscuits with sausage gravy. I picked up some fresh sausage at the local Market Friday, I usually buy all our meat from a local farm several times a year so my freezer is always stocked. For this, I just wanted to have some fresh meat already thawed, and I had a giftcard to the Market! 

 I searched for different recipes online and there are always so many to choose from. I also called my Mom and our conversation may have consisted of a few questions about how to make sausage gravy. Now remember I am a newbie cook! Just learning here. 

Biscuit Recipe: 

Ingredients

  • 3 cups Flour
  • 4-½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • ¾ teaspoons Cream Of Tartar
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ¾ cups Butter, Cold
  • 1 whole Egg, Slightly Beaten
  • 1 cup Milk
Preheat oven to 450 F.
Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in cold butter. Mix egg and milk in a small bowl then pour into the dry mix. Stir together with a fork. Combine all the dry mix with the wet mixture until it forms a soft ball.
Turn out onto a floured counter. You can use a buscuit cutter, but I just dropped like cookies with a spoon on trays.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden.


Sausage Gravy Recipe:  
1 pound fresh sausage
3 tablespoons shortening, or bacon drippings
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Heat the 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil in a skillet . I used my cast iron skillet. Add the sausage and cook until cooked through, break up sausage.

Remove the sausage and drain, reserving the fat. Return 3 to 4 tablespoons of the fat to the pan. (If you don't have enough grease, add more bacon grease or butter to make up for the difference.) Add the flour and whisk, allowing the flour to brown and form a dark roux. Keep whisking and pour in the milk. Whisk out the lumps. Return the sausage to the skillet and you can add in any herbs you'd like. Simmer the gravy until it thickens.


 It was a relaxing cozy weekend at our house and I am happy to say my hubby LOVED breakfast! I am often trying new recipes or trying to make things healthier a little at a time, so let me just say there aren't very many times he LOVES what I have made. Don't worry, he is very sweet about it, but I can just tell. :-) So this breakfast goes down in my daily journal and recipe binder as a keeper! 

 We also finished the rest of our Christmas decorations and our tree this weekend. I am always curious about everyone's Christmas trees. Do you do a set color/theme or do you mix and match ornaments? We mix and match. Since I was little, we get new ornaments every year. As "newlyweds" (I still like to call it that although it's 8 years this year) I always pick up ornaments when we go to gift shops on vacation or find a new personalized one each year. I love opening that ornament box each year and seeing all the different trips we have taken or all the different memories that go with each ornament. Including our first Christmas ornament and our first trip to Disney! 


Our first Christmas ornament. 

A special ornament that was on my Great Gram's tree. 

Another special ornament that belonged to my Mother In Laws tree. She passed away 3 years ago. 

From our trip to Maine with my parents! 

From our 2nd Honeymoon, to Disney. 

Our trip to Deleware! 

This one was from our wedding! Notice all the Winnie the Pooh, I am a fan haha. 




If you would like to see the original recipes, the links are as follows:

4 Weeks to a More Organized Life - Day 11.

Update on day 11 of 4 Weeks to a More Organized Life. 

 I have always been mostly organized. I am a list maker, planner and scheduler but sometimes as we all do, I tend to go off track a bit. So when Money Saving Mom started this recent challenge, I thought why not! 

 Incase you are just tuning in, this is what happened in the past 10 days. 

 Day 1
Pick up the main living area of your home.

Day 2 
Do a quick clean of your refrigerator.

Day 3
Quick Clean of your freezer.

Day 4
 Clean under beds and furniture.

Day 5
Clean under couches/cushions ect...

Day 6 
Quick clean and sweep your vehicle.

Day 7
Sweep the main living areas of your home.

Day 8
Wipe all the door handles in your home.

Day 9
Wipe all the light switch plates in your home.

Day 10 
Wipe down all the light fixtures and ceiling fans in your home. 

 Day 11
Clean our your silverware drawer, including all those little crumbs that somehow sneak in there. 

In with all of those smaller things our daily goals were to make a list of 5 to 10 things for that week and try to accomplish on or two each day. 

 My list this week isn't too bad! I did a quick clean of the silverware drawer and made my list for the week. I want to get started on my household binder! 

You can join in and see the rest of the ideas/goals here


Laundry and the usual are of course included. And this is what happens when I cough drop goes through the washing machine, thankfully in a Ziploc bag. It's all liquid now! 


 

 Are you participating in this challenge? How are you doing? 



Sunday, November 25, 2012

Even Better.

I mentioned a while ago about my excitement for a new cookbook! I was counting down for the arrival of a cookbook from my favorite food blogger from Dinner A Love Story. 


I follow this blog and I love it. Always so many great ideas and stories that go together with the concept of "It all begins at the dinner table". Something I truly believe and love. Like Jenny, I believe that no matter what happens in your day, the best time to talk and regroup with your family is at the dinner table. Since I was a little girl, no matter where we were going that evening or who was busy with something, we always sat down together as a family at the dinner table. Now that I have a house of my own, my hubby and I follow that tradition and we always sit down at the table, turn the tv/radio or whatever off and eat. 

 My parents had also started a little dinner time ritual of saying our hi & low points for the day. So as we are all sitting down to dinner, we go around the table and say our hi point for the day, and our low point. You have to have one of each & you can't use the same one as anyone else. It is a fun way to get a quick idea of what the family has done that day. 

 Anyways, back to my excitement! I have been keeping an eye on Jenny's book signings but none local just yet! So... my hubby got me this awesome cookbook and today he surprised me with something even better. A bookplate for in my cookbook signed by Jenny Rosenstrach! Could it get any better??? No! Jenny even wrote a little message...

If you haven't checked out her blog and cookbook yet, you can check it out here.

Fruit Projects

My niece and nephew love their playdates with Aunt C. I am always searching Pinterest for more ideas of projects/crafts and other super simple ideas for things to do with them. 


 I had found this on Pinterest a while ago and when my niece was here for her playdate, we decided to call our project a fruit project. So from then on, she always wants to make a fruit project. So I have pinned a few too many projects! 

 This week's project was a caterpillar. I love these fruit projects because they usually involve foods that I already have, usually semi healthy and they can help make it and eat it for easy clean up! Now I didn't have the pretzel sticks for this one so we had to improvise. But Bananas, Peanut Butter, Grapes and Mini Chocolate Chips. So simple. 
I found this over at Little Page Turners and M. loved it! 


Feel free to share any great fruit projects you have made!