Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cinnamon & Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

I was in the mood for some cinnamon sugar yumminess a little while ago, so I looked this up on Pinterest.  It went so fast I almost forgot I had made it until I came across the picture on my phone ;-)
 
 
Cinnamon & Sugar Pull-Apart Bread

Dough:
2 3/4 c plus 2 Tbsp. flour
1/4 c sugar
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (1 packet)
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbls butter
1/3 c whole milk
1/4 c water
2 eggs (at room temperature)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Filling:
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
4 Tbls. butter, melted until browned

*In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 cups of flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Put aside.
*In a small sauce pan, melt the butter and milk. Once the butter is completely melted take off the burner and add the water and vanilla. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes or if you have a thermometer and want to be super tricky, wait until the mixture cools to about 125 degrees.
*Pour the milk mixture into the large bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. Whisk together the eggs and add to the batter. Keep mixing. Add 3/4 c of flour and mix well. The mixture will be very sticky which means it's perfect.

*Place the dough in a medium greased bowl. Cover with wrap and let it sit in a warm place to rise for about 30-45 minutes. Once the dough has doubled its size, knead in 2 Tbls of flour. Cover the dough again for another 5-10 minutes.
*While the dough is rising you can start on the filling. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Set aside.
*Brown the butter in a small saucepan. Should take about 5-8 minutes. Once browned, take off heat and set aside.
*Once the dough is ready, roll it out on a floured surface. Brush the butter on the the dough and add the sugar mixture. Make sure everything is covered.
*Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into six equal strips.  Stack the strips onto of each other and cut six equal squares.
*Place squares side by side in a bread pan and pre-heat the over to 350 degrees. Cover the dough for another 10-15 minutes to rise.
*Bake in the over for 30-35 minutes. The outside of the bread will be a dark golden brown. (Side note: I had to put a small pan on the oven shelf underneath the bread pan because the sugar started to boil over.)
For step-by-step pictures, check out the original post at I Heart Food & So Can You.

I linked up at Delicious Dish Tuesday and What's Cooking Wednesday:
Full Time Mama
whats-cooking-wednesday-image

Monday, April 29, 2013

NBC’s Share and Tell Blog App and Eco Prize Pack GIVEAWAY!! (5/3) *Closed*

*The following materials were provided for me to share with my readers by NBCUniversal's Share and Tell.  I was not compensated for this post in any way.


Did you know that for every pound of new goods produced, 71 pounds of waste are generated during manufacturing? This Earth Week, NBCUniversal is partnering with the sharing site yerdle to help you minimize your impact on the planet by sharing your stuff. One person’s stuff is another person’s story!

Here’s how it works. 1) Join or host a Share & Tell Party (click the “Join the Party” button in the app below).
2) Post your stuff to share with friends. Discover other items that are up for grabs.
3) Tell the story of your sharing experiences on your favorite social media site. #ShareandTell.


What is yerdle? Yerdle is the new mission-driven California Benefit corporation that’s out to help people share with their friends rather than buying things new. On yerdle, friends post items they're willing to give away or loan, search for items they're looking to get, and nab the things they want. Simple.

Why Host a Share and Tell?Protect the planet, save money, give gifts to your friends and find things you want. Hosting a Share and Tell means inviting your Facebook friends to share things you want. Parties can either be hosted in-person or online, it’s up to you!


THIS IS A QUICK GIVEAWAY!!  IT ENDS THIS FRIDAY, MAY 3RD!!

Giveaway:

Congrats to comment #53, Debby!!

One of my readers is going to win:One Green is Universal canvas tote bag (made from recycled cotton)
... along with two of the items below (chosen at random)

- Planet Ocean DVD
- Green is Universal T-shirt (made by Alternative Apparel)
- Green is Universal colored pencil kits (made from recycled newspaper)
- Green is Universal Vapur water bottles (BPA-free)
- Green is Universal hardboard cover spiral bound notebook (not pictured)
- Green is Universal burlap FEED bag (not pictured)
 
To enter to win, please leave a comment with results from the How Are You Green? Eco Quiz.in the bottom right corner of the blog app.  Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

Extra Entries:
(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)
*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on
twitter.
*Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on
Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Friday, May 3rd, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

"Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach..." book Review and GIVEAWAY! (5/15) *Closed

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned below for free in hopes that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
About the Book:
Oh sure, we've all heard the story of Jonah and the Whale a hundred
times. But have we heard it from the perspective of the whale who experienced that history-making event?


Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I'm Gonna Throw Up! imagines how that great sea creature from the incident might tell his side of the story, helping kids ages 4 to 8 discover a creative way of learning about that guy who was supposed to go to Ninevah.


The "Parent Connection" feature (inside the book) will help moms and dads take the story further with scripture references and tips on how to talk with their children about what really happened.

About the Author:
Troy Schmidt has writing and video production credits ranging from assignments with Disney (The Mickey Mouse Club) and Nickelodeon to Max Lucado's Hermie franchise. He is currently the lead writer for The American Bible Challenge hosted by Jeff Foxworthy on the Game Show Network. Troy and his wife have three sons.


The series:
This is just the first in a series! Other books available include Hey God, Can You Stop the Rain so I Can Get off Noah's Smelly Ark? and Hey God, I'm Having an Awful Vacation in Egypt Thanks to Moses!

My Review:
You know it's a good book when the kids want to read it again!  :-)

Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I'm Gonna Throw Up! is definitely as fun and silly as it sounds. The kids really enjoyed the humor along with the comical illustrations.  I have to admit I even got a good laugh from it, but my favorite part was the message of trusting and obeying God.  The author, Troy Schmidt, does a wonderful job at working the message into the story so the kids can enjoy it and learn from it all at the same time.

I also appreciated the 'Parent Connection' feature at the end that walked me through how to discuss the story with the kids.  There was even a little activity for the kids experience what it might have been like to be inside a whale, which they thought was great!

I'd highly recommend Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I'm Gonna Throw Up! to anyone who wants to tell the story of Jonah to their kids in a new and fun way.

Please visit the following sites to learn more about this book!


Twitter: @troyeschmidt

Buy It!
Available May 1, 2013.
This book is just $9.99 and will entertain you and your kids! Available here.

Thank you to FlyBy Promotions and B&H Kids for providing me with Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I'm Gonna Throw Up! to review and another one to give away!

Giveaway:

Congratulations to comment #10, Alexis!!

One of my readers is going to be blessed with their very own copy of Hey God, I've Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I'm Gonna Throw Up!  To enter to win, please leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

Extra Entries:
(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)
*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on
twitter.
*Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on
Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Best of Warner Bros. Mother’s Day Movie Night Blog App and GIVEAWAY!! (5/12) *Closed*

*The following materials were provided to me to share with my readers through Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release of the Best of Warner Bros. Mother’s Day Movie Night App. I was not compensated in any way.

We think that most can agree... Moms are the best - and they do a lot for us! Now it’s time to return the favor and celebrate this Mother’s Day by giving mom the movie night she deserves! Celebrate Sunday, May 12th in the best way possible by spending quality time with your family and watch one of YOUR favorite classic films! Watching a classic flick together tells the story of a different time and place, and is the perfect opportunity to catch up and share stories with your family... tell them something that they never knew about Mom!

Here's a little fill-in-the-blank to get you thinking of what the perfect Mother's Day would be like:

I had fun filling this in!  My all-time favorite musical was a tough one, but a definite favorite is Singing in the Rain! :-)
 
Below is the WB Mother's Day Movie Night app which has the following:
Guess-the-Scene Game! - How well do you know the silver screen’s most famous love stories and sing-a-longs? Play the Guess-the-Scene game to test your knowledge on the world’s greatest films! The quicker you pick, the more points you score. Ready? Action!
Words in Film! - Select your mood and let quotes and images from film express how you’re feeling!
Movie Night Conversation Starters! - Watching a classic flick together is the perfect opportunity to catch up and share stories... this Mother’s Day make it a point to connect with your family and give them a chance to learn something about mom they never knew! Here are some conversation starters to get you started.



And now for the GIVEAWAY!

Giveaway:

Congratulations to comment #14, imbigwillie.

One of my readers is going to win one of the following Blu-rays:
*A Star is Born (1976) (Blu-ray)
*Cabaret (1972) (Blu-ray)

(Prize will be chosen randomly)

To enter to win, please leave a comment below with your results from the "Guess-the-Scene" game in the app above OR tell me your favorite romance or musical flick from when YOU were a kid. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

Extra Entries:
(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)
*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on
twitter.
*Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on
Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Open to U.S. residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Sunday, May 12th, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Making Gardening Fun for Kids: Plant Indian Popcorn!

Although there are many more fruits and veggies that could be fun for kids, I'm going to finish my "Making Gardening Fun for Kids" series with my kids' favorite, Indian popcorn! 
 
1. Simple Picking:  Kids will enjoy picking the popcorn because it's so easy!  The stalks tend to be short, or 'kid size', and little ones can easily walk along pulling ears of popcorn off.  If you have competitive kids, make a game out of it!
2. Husking: Like Opening Presents: With Indian popcorn, husking each ear is like opening another present and finding something new and beautiful inside.  The kids find a lot of joy in this step of harvesting as they light up and excitedly show you the 'pink and purple' ear or the one that is 'all gold'! 
3. Grouping Families: The popcorn gets bundled into groups of three's to dry, or little 'families' to the kiddos. The kids can spend hours going through the ears of popcorn looking for three that are the same size and coordinating colors.  These little 'families' spend a lot of time together so they need to have a lot in common ;-)
4. Shelling: When the popcorn in dry and ready to shell, the kids become more than willing to make their little thumbs sore to see who can shell the most!  The best part is popping up a batch to enjoy while they're busy at work.
5. Gifting: After all the work that the kids go through, it's fun for them to have a chance to share their harvest.  A bag of Indian popcorn, bundled with popcorn seasoning, hot cocoa and maybe some chocolate in a popcorn container makes a beautiful and delicious gift for teachers! :-)


This is the last post in the "Making Gardening Fun for Kids" series.  To visit the rest of the posts, click here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Watercolor Painting at the Library

It was National Library Week last week and one of the activities our library had was a watercolor bookmark class for all ages, so the kids signed up.
 
These are the two bookmarks they had to choose from.  They both chose to make the 'bee' one.
 
I somehow cut off the top of both their heads while taking pictures...I'm going to blame it on my phone ;-)





 
 
Their finished bookmarks!  I helped a little with staying within lines and blending, but the kids did most of it on their own...even the writing!

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit Go Graham Go and the WW HQ.

Please be sure to enter my Current Giveaways. You can find the links in the sidebar! :-)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

Rich saw this posted on facebook and made sure to show it to me, so I figured I'd make it...even if it sounded HOT.  Surprisingly it wasn't hot at all and maybe could have even used more hot sauce!


Buffalo Chicken Pasta Bake

1 16 oz. box Penne pasta, cooked and drained
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts; cubed and cooked
1/2-1 C. Franks Hot Sauce (I used 2/3c.)
1 C. Ranch dressing
1-2 C. Shredded cheese (Colby Jack or Cheddar)

1. Preheat oven to 350* and prepare a deep baking dish.

2. Mix together hot sauce and ranch. In separate bowl, mix chicken, pasta and cheese. Pour sauce over all and mix well.

3. Pour everything into prepared baking dish, sprinkle with cheese (if desired) and bake for 20-25 min
 
This recipe originally came from the facebook page, What's Cooking?
 
I linked up at Delicious Dish Tuesday and What's Cooking Wednesday:
Full Time Mama

whats-cooking-wednesday-image




Monday, April 22, 2013

"Mother India: Life Through the Eyes of the Orphan" DVD Review & GIVEAWAY! (5/8) *Closed*

*I was provided with a copy of this DVD for review and was not compensated in any other way. Any opinions expressed are my own.
 
Mother India Synopsis:
Winner of “Best Short Documentary” at the 2012 San Diego Christian Film Festival, "Mother India" is a compelling documentary that chronicles the adventure of 25 courageous orphans living as a family along the railway in Tenali, India.  "Mother India" brings to light the struggles faced daily by over 31 million orphans in India and the challenge of rescuing them from a life of begging and addiction.

Mother India", is the work of first-time filmmakers David Trotter and Shawn Scheinoha. “India is growing in both population and industry, but few people know that there are over 31 million orphans in this nation,” commented Trotter (Executive Producer, Director). “Each of these young lives is much more than a statistic. Every one of them has a name, a face and a story.” Scheinoha (Executive Producer) added, “We’re not out to just tell a tragic story. We’re focused on raising awareness and changing lives.”
 
My Review:
I don't watch a lot of documentaries, but when I do they always amaze me with facts.  The films I've watched in the past amazed me with interesting facts, but Mother India amazes with sad facts.  The film shows how two men live with homeless children in India and give a first hand view on how the children just barely get by.  It's heartbreaking to see some of their day-to-day struggles and listen to the children talk about the abuse, sex, drugs, AIDS, etc. that they live with on a daily basis. 

Mother India is very well made and definitely does what it was meant to do...move people.  It moved me to tears and it also moved me in a way to want to do more.  I will definitely be praying for these children and the millions more that are living in this way and hope to do more in the future.  

Mother India is an eye-opening film that everyone should see.

For more information about Mother India, please visit the website at www.motherindiafilm.com.

Buy It!
Mother India: Life Through the Eyes of the Orphan releases on DVD April 23rd.  It will be available at Family Christian Bookstores for $14.98 or at amazon for $13.48.  There is a special offer going on right now as well!  If you pre-order Mother India on amazon, you can receive TWO FREE books!  Check our the details here.

Thank you to Word Films for the opportunity to review Mother India and for an extra copy for one of my readers to have the chance to win!

Giveaway:

Congrats to comment #12, amylynn73.

One of my readers is going to be blessed with their very own copy of Mother India! To enter to win, please leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

Extra Entries:
(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)
*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on
twitter.
*Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Open to U.S. Residents 18 years and older. Giveaway will end Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

*Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of this DVD for review and was not compensated in any other way.  Any opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, April 19, 2013

"Evolution of Music" by Pentatonix

If you haven't seen this yet, you should! This group is very talented!! I could definitely listen to them all day.  I've always enjoyed A Capella :-)
Here is the breakdown of the songs they cover in this medley:
11th Century
"Salve Regina"
1600s
"Canon in D" – Pachelbel
1800s
"Symphony No. 5" – Beethoven
1910s
"Danny Boy" – Frederic Weatherly
1920s
"Old Man River" – Jerome Kern & Oscar Hammerstein II
1930s
"Minnie the Moocher" – Cab Calloway
1940s
"Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" – The Andrew Sisters
1950s
"I Walk the Line" – Johnny Cash
"La Bamba" – Ritchie Valens
1960s
"Stand By Me" – Ben E King
"Barbara Ann" – The Beach Boys
"I Want to Hold Your Hand" – The Beatles
"Respect" – Aretha Franklin
1970s
"ABC" – The Jackson Five
"Bohemian Rhapsody" – Queen
1980s
"Celebration" – Kool & The Gang
"Don’t Stop Believin'" – Journey
"Thriller" – Michael Jackson
1990s
"U Can’t Touch This" – MC Hammer
"Baby One More Time" – Britney Spears
"Say My Name" – Destiny's Child
"I Want It That Way" – Backstreet Boys
2000s
"Hey Ya" – Outkast
"Drop it Like it's Hot" – Snoop Dogg
"Crazy" – Gnarls Barkley
"Hips Don't Lie" – Shakira
"Single Ladies" – Beyoncé
"I Kissed a Girl – Katy Perry
"Bad Romance" – Lady Gaga
"I Got a Feeling" – Black Eyed Peas
2010s
"Baby" – Justin Bieber
"We Found Love" – Rihanna
"Some Nights" – fun.
"Somebody That I Used to Know – Gotye
"Gangnam Style" – PSY
"Call Me Maybe" – Carly Rae Jepsen

Crazy Coincidence Between the Kids, Cats and Canines

It took me up until a few weeks ago to make this connection, but the kids, cats and dogs all have names that start with either 'B' or 'M'!  It's a nice even combination of 'B' and 'M' names too and it was totally unplanned!  Actually all the kids and animals were named by either Rich, me or the kids.  Here's the breakdown of the names and their origins:

Kids:
*Morgan: named pimarily by me as it's a name that I always liked.
*Blake: the only boy name Rich and I could agree on.

Dogs:
*Bear: named by Rich
*Mattie: named by me

Cats:
*Busch: named by Rich
*Mittens: named by Morgan

See!  All purely a coincidence...or evidence that we all think alike? ;-)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Chick-fil-A Leadercast and a GIVEAWAY!! (4/28) *Closed*

I was provided the following materials by Chick-fil-A to share with my readers and was not compensated in any way.


What is Chick-fil-A Leadercast?
Chick-fil-A Leadercast is a one-day leadership event broadcast LIVE from Atlanta, GA to hundreds of locations around the world on May 10, 2013. Strengthen your leadership by simplifying your life. SIMPLY LEAD.

Full. Our lives are full of things that we think will grow our businesses and increase our influence. We are busy - and that may, unknowingly, be holding us back. What if there was potential impact in simplifying our lives so our leadership could thrive? Leading in a complex world requires simplicity to cut through the clutter. Saying NO to what may seem good could help increase your capacity to live your life to the fullest. Join us at Chick-fil-A Leadercast as we learn to Simply Lead.



2013 Chick-fil-A Leadercast Promo from GiANT Impact on Vimeo

Speakers for this year's event include:
 • Jack Welch, Former Chairman and CEO of General Electric
• Andy Stanley, Best-selling leadership author and communicator
• Mike Krzyzewski, Head men's basketball coach, Duke University and Team USA
• John Maxwell, Best-selling author and leadership expert
• Dr. Henry Cloud, Best-selling author and leadership consultant
• LCDR Rorke Denver, Navy SEAL and star of the 2012 movie Act of Valor
• Sanya Richards-Ross, 2012 London Olympic gold medalist, track & field
• David Allen, Best-selling author of Getting Things Done and productivity expert
• Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of State (2005-2009), via exclusive Simply Lead video interview


Doesn't this sound like a great leadership event with a great line-up of speakers!?  On top of that I have the opportunity to offer my readers a GIVEAWAY!! :-)



Giveaway:

Congrats to comment #19, BlessieNelson!

One of my readers is going to win the following:
*1 Copy of John C. Maxwell’s new book: The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth
*1 Chick-fil-A Leadercast Exclusive Audio Download Card, which includes access to audio segments from past and present events!
*3 Chick-fil-A Digital offer cards for a free Chick-fil-A Sandwich Entrée of your choice.


To enter to win, please leave a comment below with your results from the "What's Your Leadership Style" quiz in the app above OR tell me your favorite (from the app), or a personal, Lead Simply Tip. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

Extra Entries:
(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)
*Subscribe to my blog in the upper left hand corner.
*Follow me through Google Friend Connect
*Follow me on
twitter.
*Tweet this giveaway and leave the URL in your comment
*Follow me on
Pinterest
*Pin an image from this post to one of your boards
*Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post and let me know which post.

Giveaway will end Sunday, April 28th, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.

First Run of the Year!

I finally made it out on my first run of the year yesterday!  I usually run at night, but I've been starting to workout more in the late morning/early afternoon, so at about 10:30 I headed out.

I was initially only going to go either 1/2 mile, or 1 mile if I was feeling really good, so when I got to my 1/2 mile point and still felt good, I thought "Why not go for 2!"

I don't know about other runners, but I love running into the wind.  I get warm super easily and I love how cooling the breeze is...think of a dog sticking it's head out the car window and that's the kind of joy I get from running into the wind.

Here's a visual:
 
Anyways, I always feel great with the breeze in my face, and I should have known better that when I turned around at the end of the mile, and the wind was going to be at my back, that running was going to get tough!
 
That last mile was a struggle...and of course that's when I got ALL the traffic!  (You know 3 cars out in the country is A LOT!)  I even waved to the one I knew and he looked at me like I was a stranger... I must have looked as aweful as I felt. :-/
 
I thought about stopping and walking, but I'm no quitter!  When I made up my mind to go 2 miles, I was RUNNING both miles!  Even though it was tough, it felt amazing to finish!  It'd been since the kids started school in the fall when I ran last, so I was quite proud that I made it that far on my first time out.
 
I knew I was going to be sore today and boy am I!  Running works muscles that even advanced workout DVD's don't seem to touch.  This kind of pain is the best kind though...my abs, obliques, glutes, thighs, shins and calves are ALL sore!  I currently waddle when I walk, but it feels great! ;-)

Making Gardening Fun for Kids: Plant Potatoes!

Potatoes are a surprisingly fun vegetable to grow in your garden.  We've grown basic white potatoes and sweet potatoes and they're equally fun to harvest in the fall.
 
1. Work together: We've figured out a system over the years to harvest the potatoes as a family. We each have a job: Dad digs, Mom carries the dead plants to the compost and the kids take turns spotting and carrying potatoes to the container.  It's a good way to feel close as a family when everyone is working well together. :-)
2. Dig for treasure: Whether the kids are watching as someone else digs, or they're digging themselves, it's exciting to find the 'treasure' (potatoes) and it never gets old!  Each time they spot more potatoes they light up and shout as if they've found gold.
3. Play in the dirt:  I've mentioned the joy kids get out of playing in the dirt before, but it's worth mentioning again.  Allow them to get dirty, find worms and bugs and maybe even make little worm and bug families!
4. Size differences:  Kids like going through and finding the BIGGEST potato and the itsy bitsy baby potatoIt's not only fun, but learning how to sort sizes is educational too! :-)
 
5. Fun food: Potatoes make all sorts of fun foods, but the kids' favorite would have to be French Fries!  It's easy to make them healthy just by baking them instead of frying.  Baked Sweet Potato Fries are THE BEST! :-)
 

This is the third installment of my "Making Gardening Fun for Kids" series. Click here to visit the previous posts.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Flooding

This is our local swinging bridge and the park on the other side...as you can see the park is completely under water.  The bridge was closed because the water was dangerously close to the bottom of it the day before.

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit Go Graham Go and the WW HQ.

Please be sure to enter my Current Giveaways. You can find the links in the sidebar! :-)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Delicious Beer Bread

Have you ever been to a Tastefully Simple party and just LOVED the beer bread but couldn't part with the money to buy it.  After having to buy the beer to make it, that loaf of bread would be like $7!!  That's more just about any meal I make!  LOL!  Well, this loaf of bread is pretty yummy itself and probably only around $2.  It's great with dips and spreads (especially the spinach and artichoke kind), but I like to make it to go with chili and soup too!
 
Beer Bread
*3 cups flour
*4-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
*1 teaspoon salt
*3 Tablespoons sugar
*1 12 ounce can/bottle of beer
*4 Tablespoons butter (melted)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.

2. In large bowl, combine flour, sugar and beer.  Mis just until blended.  Scoop into prepared baking pan.  Pour melted butter on top of loaf.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until bottom of load sounds hollow when tapped.

*The original recipe came from allrecipes.com.

I linked up at Delicious Dish Tuesday and What's Cooking Wednesday:
Full Time Mamawhats-cooking-wednesday-image

Monday, April 15, 2013

Home Run, the movie, Opening in Theaters this Friday, April 19th!!


Do you remember the review and giveaway I did of the novelization of this movie not too long ago?  Well, it's actually going to be in theaters THIS FRIDAY!  If you don't remember my review of the book, here is a little reminder of what it's all about: 
 
About Home Run
Baseball all-star Cory Brand knows what it takes to win in the big leagues. But off the field, with memories of his past haunting him, his life is spiraling out of control.
Hoping to save her client's career and reputation after a DUI and a team suspension, Cory's agent sends him back to the small town where he grew up. Forced to coach the local youth baseball team and spend eight weeks in the only recovery program in town, Cory can't wait to return to his old life as quickly as possible.
As his young players help him experience the joy of the game, Cory discovers his need to find freedom from his past and hope for his future … and win back the love he left behind. With this unexpected second chance, Cory finds himself on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption.

Home Run is based on thousands of true stories. It is a powerful reminder that with God, it's never too late... freedom is possible!



I'm SO excited about it and truly wish I had a location near me to be able to go and see it!!  (The fact that there is a Third Day song in the trailer is pretty awesome too!)  There are over 400 locations across the US and Canada, so there is very likely a theater near you.  You can check the locations here.

Home Run is getting such great endorsements!  If I haven't convinced you to see it, just read what others are saying:

"Home Run reminds us of the power of forgiveness, the richness of redemption, and the wisdom of trusting God to revive us."
 - Max Lucado
, Pastor and Best-Selling Author
 
"A film of great hope."- 
Rick Warren, 
Pastor and Best-Selling Author
 
"Home Run shows us that a change is possible by turning to God's power."
 - John Baker
, Co-Founder, Celebrate Recovery
 
"Home Run depicts that even though most adult problems come from unresolved childhood issues, through a relationship with Jesus Christ we can break generational curses and establish a legacy of God's love and live a victorious life!" - Mariano Rivera, All-Star Pitcher
 
On top of all those endorsements, it also received the Family Approval Award from the Dove Foundation!
 
PLEASE take time to see it if you can!!  The more people they get opening weekend, the longer it can stay in the theaters and the better chance that it can get into other theaters as well!   (Hopefully a theater near me!!) :-)

"This Is Our Time" DVD Review & GIVEAWAY! (5/1) *Closed*

*I was provided a copy of this DVD for my honest review and was not compensated for this post in any other way.
 
About the film:
"This Is Our Time", distributed by Pure Flix, follows the post-collegiate lives of five friends connected by their strong belief in God who all long to make a meaningful difference in the world. But when tragedy strikes the close-knit group, their friendship and their faith are tested in ways they never imagined.
 
This is an inspirational film about what it really means, and what it really takes, to follow the call of God in your life. “The experiences the characters in THIS IS OUR TIME face are the kinds of real-life ups and downs, successes and devastation, all of us encounter in living life,” said Lisa Arnold, the film’s writer, director and co-producer. “I wanted to tell a story that would resonate with young people just stepping out into the world to make their mark that would help them see that no matter the circumstances they face, God is always with them, loving them, guiding them.”

The movie tells the interwoven stories of Luke (T.J. Dalrymple) and Alé (Erin Bethea), who marry right after school and move to India to serve as missionaries for Embrace A Village, a ministry that cares for those afflicted with leprosy and their families; aspiring financier Catherine (Kate Cobb), who joins a prestigious financial institution determined to make an impact on corporate America; Ryder (Matthew Florida), who lands an impressive job in social media and can’t wait to use the powerful medium for a greater good; and Ethan (Shawn-Caulin Young,) seemingly the odd man out, who struggles to find his God-given-purpose and feels sidelined by God.
 
“What they all come to learn is that it never really was their time,” Arnold said. “It always was, always is, God’s time.”



My Review:
This Is Our Time has a storyline that is really easy to fall into and enjoy watching.  I love the interaction between the friends.  It seems quite natural, almost as if they're such good friends in real life. There were times where I laughed at their little jokes between one another and other times where I cried when life got a little rough and they wondered what God's plans were through that situation.  It truly is a wonderful movie and very inspiring!

The main message of the movie has to do with following God in His purpose for our lives.  I have to admit that I often wonder if I'm doing what God meant for me to do.  I don't doubt that I was meant to be a stay-at-home mom through the kids' early years, but now that the kids are in school I often wonder if I'm suppose to be doing more outside the home.  It's something that I pray about often.  For now, I find contentment in the fact that I'm blessed to be available for my family when they need me :-).
 
This Is Our Time would be a wonderful gift for those graduating from college!  With jobs being hard to find, I can see that many grads may not be doing what they planned to do, which would make this movie a great fit for them!

Buy It!
This Is Our Time releases on DVD, for $19.99, and Blu-Ray, for $22.99, on Tuesday, April 16. It will be available nationwide at Family Christian Stores and most Christian online and brick-and-mortar retail stores nationwide.

Please visit the following sites to learn more:


Thank you to FlyBy Promotions and Pure Flix for the opportunity to review This Is Our Time and for an extra copy for one of my readers to have the chance to win! 

Giveaway:

Congrats to comment #51, Cassandra!!

One of my readers is going to be blessed with their very own copy of This Is Our Time! To enter to win, please leave a comment below. Please be sure to leave your e-mail address, so that I can contact you if you're the winner!

Extra Entries:
(1 extra entry per method. Leave a comment for each.)
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Giveaway will end Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 at 11:59 EST. Winner will be chosen shortly after and contacted via e-mail. The winner will have 48 hours to respond otherwise I will have to choose a new winner.



*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Family Fun: A Movie, Micky D's and the 'Mart'

We have yet to go on a family vacation with just the four of us.  It seems like something else has always come up to go with other family and we've just never made it.  So, when opportunities pop up to have family time outside the home, even if it isn't a vacation, we go for it!
 
This particular time, we spent the last morning of the kids' Spring Break going to a free movie, Hotel Transylvania.  I like to check Plugged-In movie reviews before taking the kids to movies to make sure they'll be appropriate and it had a decent review.  After seeing it, I have to admit it was quite cute! :-)

The kids also had gift cards to Wal-Mart from Christmas!  (As you can see, we don't get out much, since it's been over 3 months!!)  Anyway, they had quite a bit, so they bought themselves toys....
 
...and wanted to help get Mattie a little something too!  They helped pay for her new carrier (the other one we had was borrowed) and a new duck toy...which she has already broke ;-)
 
The last little bit of our family time was going to McDonald's.  The kids' grandparents had given them money to get Happy Meals for Easter, so we used that to finish up our morning of activities.
Some day we'll make it on a family vacation, but for now I kinda like the little bits of family time that we can sneak in.  It may not have been much, but it was memorable for us! :-)

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mischievous Mittens

Rich and I were sitting in the living room catching up on each other's days after he got home late one Tuesday night, when he says something along the lines of "Your cat is a pain."  (We have a tendency to do that thing where the kids/animals are automatically the other spouse's when the critter/kid has been acting up, even though they all technically belong to both of us.) 

So I proceed to ask Rich which cat.   I assume he means Mittens, or 'Mitt' for short, but on a rare occasion he pretends that Busch is mine.  (Not that she is well behaved, he just knows how much I don't care for her evil-spirited ways and would give her away in a heartbeat if she were 'mine'.) 

He confirms that he is referring to Mitt and I ask what it is that he did that was so bad.  Rich goes on to tell me he's always a stinker, but lately he's been breaking eggs in the barn.  My immediate thought, was "No way!  Cats can't break eggs!" (I'm thinking more traditional ways that cats might try to break an egg...cats don't have opposable thumbs and their mouths are too small to go around a large egg, right?) 

But of course I know that Rich has a reason for thinking that Mitt is doing this, so I hear him out.  He says he can't say for sure, but he thinks the cat is rolling the eggs out of the nest and off the bales of hay so they'll fall and break.  Ingenious!!  (For a brief moment I'm kinda proud that this is 'my' cat as I'm thinking "I sure have one smart kitty!") 

My proud moment is short-lived, though, since I know those eggs are for our consumption, not the cat's.  In the end, Rich informs me that he thinks he's fixed this situation with Mitt.  He built up a barrier around the nest, so Mittens can no longer roll the eggs out.  Good thing we humans are still smarter!! ;-)  (So now Mitt can go back to being 'our' cat... at least until he causes trouble again...)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Blake in a Box

My brother helped Blake create this from a box from my birthday.  How should we paint it?  Should he be a candy bar?

For more Wordless Wednesday, visit Go Graham Go and the WW HQ.

Please be sure to enter my Current Giveaways. You can find the links in the sidebar! :-)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Live Q and A about Sudden Heart Failure TONIGHT!

The Q and A about student athletes at risk for sudden heart failure goes live at 7:00 PM EST! Make sure to come back and participate tonight if you have questions! You can participate RIGHT HERE:

Garlic and Herb Pull-Apart Biscuits

Over Easter weekend my mom had made some awesome pull-apart bread that I wanted to try for myself.  Unfortunately, I didn't have all the ingredients, so I combined a few recipes to come up with something similar.  It tastes good, but I'd like to keep experimenting...cause it's kinda fun! ;-)
Garlic and Herb Pull-Apart Biscuits
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
2/3 cup milk (I soured it with vinegar)
********
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon basil
3 garlic cloves

1. In a small bowl, combine, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.  Cut in 1/2 cup butter until the mixture resembles course crumbs.  Beat egg with milk and stir into dry ingredients.

2. Turn onto a floured surface and knead several times.  Roll out and cut into 12 equal pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball and set aside.

3. Melt 1/4 cup butter and stir in the parsley, rosemary, basil and garlic.  Roll each dough ball in the butter mixture and place in a 9 inch round cake pan.  Drizzle any remaining butter mixture over the dough balls.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until baked through.  Serve!

(If you would like to try the original recipe that I derived this from, go here.  It's yummy!)

I've linked up to Delicious Dish Tuesday, What's Cooking Wednesday and Melt in Your Mouth Monday:
Full Time Mama

whats-cooking-wednesday-image

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ultimate Blog Party 2013 #UBP13

Ultimate Blog Party 2013
 
Hi!  I'm Kristie...if you hadn't already guessed that from the title of my blog. ;-)  Welcome to Kristie's Notes!
 
Let me introduce you to my family:
My husband, Rich, and I.
My kiddos, Morgan and Blake, who are 6 and 5.
 
 
A little bit about me:
I'm a stay-at-home mom and I enjoy baking, trying new recipes, crafting with the kids (and by myself at times), cross-stitching, exercising (good thing since I like baking!), gardening (mostly veggies) and, of course, blogging!!  We live in the country on 5 acres and have a variety of critters, including 2 dogs, 2 cats and currently 4 steers (cattle) and 6 chickens.

Meet our menagerie:
 
The newest addition, Mattie the Morkie.
Bear
 
Mittens
Busch
Four steers
The chickens...when they were actually cute! ;-)
 
I hope you've enjoyed visiting me here at Kristie's Notes!  Please stop by again soon and feel free to follow me through:
 
*Google Friend Connect (in the sidebar)
*E-mail (in the sidebar)
 
 


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