Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Poofy Pet!

Mattie gets brushed daily and this is what she looks like afterwards...poofy!  We had to start putting a clip in her hair so she can see too.  We're loving being able to see her cute little eyes :-)
 
 
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, July 23, 2013

Zucchini Scramble

Our zucchinis have started coming!  I'm still waiting for the overabundance that we usually have, but for now I'm enjoying them as they come.  This is a new favorite dish that I came across last year and could eat it daily I like it SO much!  Delicious!  (It helps me use up eggs too!)
Zucchini Scramble:
*2 to 3 small zucchini (about 1 lb), sliced (I use 2 medium)
*1 medium onion, chopped
*2 Tbsp butter
*salt and pepper to taste
 *6 to 8 eggs, beaten
*1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I use 1 cup)

In a skillet, saute zucchini and onion in butter until tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add the eggs; cook and stir until set.  Sprinkle with cheese.  Remove from the heat; cover until cheese melts.  Yield 4-6 servings.


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









 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Storing & Finding Legos Made Fun & Easy with BOX4BLOX! Review & GIVEAWAY! (8/7)


*Disclosure:  I received a BOX4BLOX to help facilitate my review.  I was not compensated for this post in any other way and all opinions are my own.



Blake absolutely LOVES creating things with Legos!  He has many of the affordable Lego sets that are fire related in the Lego City collection...along with several other random Lego sets.  With all the Legos in one little container, sometimes it can take longer than we'd like to make things due to the time it takes to find all those tiny little pieces!

That's where the BOX4BLOX has become a HUGE help for us!  Not only is cleaning up more fun, but finding the little Legos is SO much easier because BOX4BLOX automatically sorts the Legos.  We no longer have to dig through the box for hours, or make a huge mess by dumping the Legos on the floor, to find the right one. 
Blake also seems to enjoy making his own creations more now.  He usually enlists my help while following directions to make what came with the set, but when I'm not available he makes all sorts of random fun things.  Since we've had the BOX4BLOX, he can find what he wants and has really taken off with his own creations!

Take a second to watch the video to see how the BOX4BLOX works:



If you watched the video, you notice that they say to try to put the smaller pieces through first and leave the large ones for last.  We discovered that this part is very important if you want it to sort correctly, because the large pieces keep the smaller ones from being sorted.  I'd have to say this was the only downfall of the BOX4BLOX, because I never think that much when I'm cleaning.  LOL!  The video also mentions you can tip and shake it here and there to help the smaller pieces make it to their destinations...a big help when you're not paying attention to those bigger pieces while cleaning. :-)

I highly recommend BOX4BLOX to anyone who wants to save time and energy cleaning up and building with Legos! :-)

Buy it!: BOX4BLOX can be purchased on amazon.com for $39.95 with FREE Super Saver Shipping. 



GIVEAWAY:

Congrats to comment #10, noreen!

One of my readers is going to win their very own BOX4BLOX!

To enter to win, please leave a comment below telling me about the Lego lover in your life. 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.)
*Like BOX4BLOX on facebook.  (For every 250 likes, they'll give away a FREE Box4Blox!)
*Follow @Box4Blox on twitter.
*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
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*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, August 7th, 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, July 19, 2013

Get the New, Life-changing book, "Open"! Blog App and GIVEAWAY! (8/7)

*Disclosure: I was provided with the following information to share with my readers in promotion of Thomas Nelson. I will be provided with a copy of "Open" for this post.
Get inspired and energized with this new, life-changing book, Open, by Craig Gross, available now wherever books and eBooks are sold.

Doesn’t it feel great when you find a book that really inspires you? Something that really gets you motivated to live and love better?

Author and speaker, Craig Gross, is helping men and women all over the country do just that. In his new book, Open, Craig is letting you discover a life of freedom, confidence and success by being honest and transparent with people you truly hold dear.

How would getting more "open" benefit YOU in your life and relationships?

Hear why Craig believes this message of "openness" for FAMILIES is so important:
"Open" is for families because "Open" is for everyone. Yes, accountability is helpful for individuals; it can help men become better husbands and fathers and women become better wives and mothers, and accountability can help young believers grow into a more mature faith. But beyond showing the individual benefits of accountability, "Open" shows that an honest, forgiving, caring, consistent, and respectful dialogue within a group dynamic--including families--serves only to make that group stronger and closer together. Your family relationships are forever and will outlast all others--why not make them open? - Craig Gross, author of Open

About the author:
Craig Gross is an author, speaker, pastor, and revolutionary. He shot to prominence in 2002 when he founded the website XXXchurch.com. Craig is the author of nine books. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, with his wife, Jeanette, and their two children, Nolan and Elise.

Endorsements Received for Craig Gross's book, Open:
"I don't say this often, but this book is a must read." Jefferson Bethke

"Open is one of the most relative and practical books on accountability I've ever read. Craig takes many routes, through stories from pop culture and his personal journey to help lead you to a life thats Open." Josh McCown NFL Journeyman
 
Special Offer:
**For anyone who preorders the book via ThomasNelson.com before the street date of July 30, Thomas Nelson are also offering a special freebie pack. Visit ThomasNelson.com to learn more**


GIVEAWAY:

Congrats to comment #8, kmcgrew213!

One of my readers is going to win a signed copy of Craig Gross's new book, "Open"!

To enter to win, please leave a comment below telling me your results from the "How Open are You?" quiz in 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 Wednesday, August 7th, 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, July 18, 2013

Milk Jug Clothespin Holder

 
I had noticed a while ago that my old clothespin holder, that came from my parents', was starting to fall apart and I was going to need a new one.  Well, it lasted about a month after that, then this happened:

So, I started working at making a new one!  First I washed out a milk jug, then filled it with water and stuck it in the freezer.
 Once it was froze, I drew lines, with a permanent marker, for the slit to hang the jug on the line...
 ...and the hole to put the clothespins in.  (The lines may have went on easier before it was frozen...it was tough drawing the lines through the frost.)
 I then used a utility knife and cut along all the lines. 
Once the lines were mostly cut, I stuck the milk jug in a grassy spot in the sun for the ice to melt.
 After the ice melted, I finished cutting a couple spots I missed...

 ...then covered the edges of the opening with duct tape to prevent any sharp edges from catching me when I reached in.  I think it'll also help it hold up longer....but if not, it sure is an inexpensive, quick little project to do again!
 FYI:  The last milk jug clothespin holder was around for YEARS.  I've had it for probably seven years and my parents used it for several before then.
 
As I already mentioned, this is super simple and quick to do.  I love that I was able to reuse the milk jug for something super useful.  (I do laundry every other day and also hang up the kids' swim stuff often through the summer.)  I also love how easily it stores!  The fabric clothespin holders would flop around, but this sits up solid and straight.  The handle on it makes it super easy to grab quickly on the way out the door to the clothesline too!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Water Play

At the Splash Pad
 Down the Slip-n-Slide
 In the Sprinkler
Also on some friends' Water Slide that I didn't get pictures of...they're having a blast in the water this summer! :-)
 
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, July 16, 2013

Sweet Potato Baked Goods!

Remember this monster sweet potato?
Well, this sweet potato was still going strong stored in our basement a month ago.  I used up every other sweet potato and kept dreading trying to use this HUGE thing up!  I finally decided to cut a portion off, slice it up and bake it with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper...like I had done with most of the rest of them.  It turns out that HUGE sweet potatoes have NO flavor and I knew we wouldn't be having it with any more meals...but I could boil it up and bake with it!
 
These are the recipes I tried, minus one that I messed up...those brownies tasted like what I would think dark chocolate play-doh would taste like...edible, but I wouldn't recommend them!  LOL!  Thankfully these recipes turned out DELICIOUS!  I highly recommend making them soon! :-)
 
 
Sweet Potato Bread:
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup water
1 cup cooked and mashed sweet
potatoes
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I didn't use these.)
 
1.Combine sugar and oil; beat well. Add eggs and beat. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture alternately with water. Stir in sweet potatoes and chopped nuts.
 
2.Pour batter into greased 9x5 inch loaf pan (or 2 small loaf pans). Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for about one hour.
 
This recipe for Sweet Potato Bread was found on allrecipes.com
 
Honey Sweet Potato Biscuits:
1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons raw honey
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon melted butter

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into 1″ pieces. Place the sweet potato in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to boil until potatoes are soft, approximately 25 minutes. Drain the water and purée the potato either by mashing, ricing, or placing in a food processor and pulsing until smooth.

Measure out 3/4 cup of sweet potato purée and chill in the refrigerator. The remaining sweet potato mash can be saved for alternate uses or frozen for biscuits at a later date.

Preheat oven to 425º F. Mix the 3/4 cup sweet potato purée with the buttermilk and honey. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and the salt, stirring to mix. Add the butter. Using a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour until crumbly. Incorporate the sweet potato mixture until a soft dough is formed.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it lightly. Roll the dough 1″ thick. Using a 2″ biscuit cutter, cut out rounds, as close together as possible. Place the rounds on a baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with the melted butter.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until tops are just turning a golden brown along the edges. Remove from oven. Serve warm with extra butter and honey, if desired.


Makes 12-14 biscuits.

This recipe was found on Food For My Family

I linked up at Delicious Dish Tuesday and What's Cooking Wednesday:

Full Time Mama









whats-cooking-wednesday-image

Monday, July 15, 2013

EquityLock Protector Plan and Home Improvement Giftcard GIVEAWAY! (7/24) *Closed*

*Disclosure: The following information was provided to me to share with my readers in promotion of EquityLock Protector. I will receive 6 months of EquityLock Protector plan for this post.
Fire up the grill, dust off your hammock and prep your pool because summer is here!

It’s the perfect time to relax, chill with friends, and enjoy the sunshine. There’s no better way to unwind than with the peace of mind that no matter come rain or shine... your home and appliances are covered, just in case!

Typically, homeowner insurance policies don't offer help when your appliances break down. With the EquityLock Protector plan, you'll safeguard up to $50,000 of the value of your property and ensure your six most essential appliances are protected, including:

- washer
- dryer
- refrigerator
- microwave
- dishwasher
- range/oven/cooktop

Each of your appliances will be protected (up to $1,500 per 12-month period) including repair or, if necessary, replacement.

This summer, get your peace of mind LOCKED!




GIVEAWAY:

*Congrats to comment #7, kmcgrew213!

One of my readers is going to win the following: 
• 6 months of EquityLock Protector (usually $79.95 a month, that’s over $470 in total value) FREE
• $15 EquityLock Home Improvement Cash (cash card to use at all good home improvement stores) FREE


To enter to win, please leave a comment below telling me your results from the "Are Your Appliances Locked?" quiz in 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 Wednesday, July 24th, 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, July 12, 2013

Backyard Camp Out 2013

We had been trying to camp out since this kids got done with school, but for various reasons it just wasn't working until this past Friday.
 
 
Our 'camp'.  The kids slept with us in the big tent, but they liked the idea of the little one being set up to play in. :-)

Rich spent time playing with the kids while I prepared the food to bring out, then I played with the kids while he cooked the hot dogs.  Blake and I were mastering our version of whatever game this is suppose to be...we may have even been playing it right! :-)
 
Morgan practiced throwing the football into her little tent before I switched things up and played Frisbee with her.

Time to eat!  Hot dogs, chips, cheese and watermelon!  Yum! :-)
 The kids enjoyed hanging out and telling 'ghost' stories after they were done eating.  Blake told me a short 'ghost' story..."There were two kids.  A monster got them.  The end!"  LOL!  Gotta love their innocence! ;-)
 
 Couldn't camp out without S'mores! 

We had several visitors throughout the night between the cattle, chickens and cats. Plus my parents stopped by with some friends before going to Music in the Park.
 
This was definitely the most interesting visitor...Fireflies/Lightening Bugs!  The kids had a BLAST running after them and Rich and I each caught them one for them to see.  Unfortunately I couldn't get a picture of them lit up, but the kids each got a chance to hold one and LOVED it!
 
We also had some neat views that night.  The sunset...
 
...what I think is called a "Powered Parachute"...

 ...and fireworks ALL AROUND!  Morgan loved it all SO much that she asked if we could camp in the back yard this weekend every year. :-)

 After cleaning up a bit and brushing teeth, the kids and I settled in to read.  I couldn't figure out how to get a picture of us reading, so I just got a pic of the three of us together.  We were so overtired that these pictures made us laugh so hard we cried!
 
We then read by flashlight and settled into our spots to sleep...and that is when the real excitement began!
 
I think Morgan and Blake fell asleep fairly quickly and I may have too for a bit, but I kept hearing the breeze blowing the cover of the tent.  I lay there trying to sleep and listening and wondering why I didn't remember the cover flapping around so much when we've camped in it before.  After a couple hours of barely sleeping, it finally hit me...we didn't tighten it!  Of course I then wondered if I wanted to get up because then I might as well run in and use the bathroom, but if I didn't then I'd lay there awake...and since bathroom already crossed my mind I decided I better get up.
 
Well, tightening the cover (and using the bathroom) made a huge difference in the noise and I fell asleep.  (By this time Rich had come to bed too.)  Next thing we know something attacks the tent!  We see the shadowy outline of the body and two pointy ears of a cat!  Rich swatted the side of the tent and it took off...for a while.
 
A little while later, a cat attacks the tent AGAIN!  (We're pretty sure the kids were touching the sides of the tent in their sleep, which was probably really interesting to the cats.)  This time Rich gets up to get rid of it and 'bathroom' crossed my mind again, so I figured I might as well go.  As I go through the house, and pass my bedroom, I see the bed and long for some 'real' sleep, but I can't abandon my family in the tent...plus I heard scurrying in the ceiling and knew that would just keep me awake in the house anyway.
 
So, it's about 4:00 am and I think I'll at least get a few hours of sleep.  I may have dozed off for a bit when I hear some nasty raccoon-like growling then hear Bear yelp.  I tell Rich he HAS to get up and check on Bear.  (Poor guy...pretty sure he had slept through it.)  Anyway, he gets up and finds that Bear is fine and figures he tried crossing his fence-line and got a shock going after the raccoon.
 
At this point you think there really couldn't be much else, except for the fact that the cattle caught site of Rich and start bawling to be fed!  Thankfully that only lasted a little while and I slept for maybe another hour before the sun starting warming the tent into a sauna...plus I needed to get up to get the kids some breakfast and dressed before my parents came to get them at 8:30.
 
As I couldn't sleep through the night I kept thinking how tired I'd be and how awful the next day was going to be.  I have to say it really wasn't that bad!  I laid down for a bit while Rich took off to drive the fire truck in the local parade, but maybe slept for a half hour and was fine.  My parents said the kids were fine too.  So, as rough as the night was, it all ended up being okay and we have some super fun, and funny, memories of our 2013 Backyard Camp Out! :-)
 
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