Friday, December 23, 2011

Another Not-So-Boring Blog Review ~ Kashi Bars

 I was chosen by Moms Meet/ Mom Ambassadors to share Kashi TLC Granola Bars with my mom friends.  

I took the bars into MOPS and they were grabbed up before the meeting was over.  I did test them on my kids and hubby, as well.  The kids {almost 4, at the time, and around 20 months} didn't seem keen on the chocolate covering at the bottom.   I think it was the messiness of it.  Older children & adults would probably know to keep the wrapper for a holder to stay mess free. I personally didn't care for the flavor of the varieties they sent because, if I am going to eat chocolate, I want real chocolate.  Whatever coating used to cover the top, pales in comparison to the real thing.  But I feel that way about all of these bars, regardles of the brand.  
For sharing this product with friends, they also sent us a box of cereal and the Soft Baked Strawberry Bars.

The TLC Soft Baked Ripe Strawberry bars went over much better with my kiddos and I didn't mind eating a bite to finish, if needed.
I was the one that ate most of the cereal and I liked the fact that it wasn't so sweet but still tasty with nutritional value.
If you have a blog and are looking for a program to help sample new products with your circle of moms, I recommend trying to get involved with Moms Meet.  
You never know what you will come across to try!
All photos courtesy of Kashi.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas card from Shutterfly Preview

I just created 15 free cards on Shutterfly because I was chosen to host a House Party from   I also made a calendar, too.  All photos were taken by the great Karissa Barber.
The House Party benefits for the hostess were not stellar like they have been for other products I have hosted but I do like the freebies they gave myself and the guests.  There have been many great deals out there this year for free photo cards and I can't wait to compare these to the others I have received.

5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Can't wait to get each project in the mail!
Thanks for looking.
By sharing this photo, they will be sending me a $10 credit.  Just so you know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Magnetic Chalkboard with Memo Clips ~MOPS Creative Activity

Our MOPS~Mothers of Preschoolers~ group meets every Tuesday during the school year.  We have a "Creative Activity" or craft every other week for the most part.  We average 80-100 women which makes the task slightly difficult of finding & creating a craft for that many people to complete within 15 minutes, at lots of different levels of crafting ability, tons of different tastes, and did I mention on a super tight budget?  What one person, 10 people and 100 can create differ greatly.
But, to say all of that, I am excited to share what we did as our first real creative activity.  
I am giving all the steps in case 1.) You wanted to make more yourselves. Super easy and inexpensive gift for teachers, coworkers, etc. 2.) Other MOPS Creative Activities ladies might want an idea for their group.
So, first, the final product:

And, now, how we got there.
Neodymium Magnets {SUPER Powerful!}
Large Burner Covers
Can Black Matte Spray Paint
Quart Black Chalkboard Paint
Crop-a-Dile to poke the holes and a metal file to file holes
Wide Ribbon
Chalk to season/prime.
200 Clothespins
I decided to glue the magnets on because they were so tiny I feared they would get lost. And they were so strong, if the board was slightly touched, they all snapped together like a mousetrap or domino affect, which Jesse found quite funny!
100 ribbon loops to hang the chalkboards with!
I used 3 kinds, honestly, because I bought the first 2 striped ribbons from Stampin' Up to coordinate with the Designer Series Paper and under estimated the amount I needed. 
I pre-cut, knotted, & sealed the loops with glue. I knew it would take a lot more ribbon if they tied the knot themselves {budget}.  And frustration isn't fun for those that don't like to tie ribbons.  Also, time is always a constraint. 
I cut the paper to be glued onto the clothespins from a retired pack of Designer Series Paper.  It is double sided so there is a choice of designs but they all coordinate along with matching the ribbons.  
3/4" X 2 3/4" strips times 200+.
I packed them in groups of 8 kits for each table to make sure everyone had enough supplies and they are easy to find.  I emptied them into our little black buckets for ease of delivery to each table the morning of MOPS.

I only have 1 Crop-a-Dile, so this is another step in the prep process that had to be done at home.  Since the ribbon I chose was wide, it took 3 holes. Then it left sharp edges, so I filed them with a metal file.
I lined them up in a box and spray painted the sides matte {to match the matte-ness of the chalkboard finish}.  Just turned them 3-4 times to hit all the side.
Ready to roll the chalkboard paint on!
1 coat.
Painting complete.  Now all stacked and ready to take to MOPS. 
The coordinating factor is my fave part of this project.  Oh, and the usefulness.  :) 
I hope the ladies at MOPS @ the Mall enjoy them!
Note: If you desire to know the location these supplies were purchased or you are a MOPS C.A. person and want to know Cost-Per-Person, please message me.  Happy to help!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

She shouts, Style, where are you, Style? Giveaway Alert

"Where are you, Style?" 
Just like the great blog entry you are going to read over at Family Musings, I too often lose Style due to mommyhood, busyness, or plain laziness.
I look at my wardrobe and think..when did I become that dowdy mom I swore I never would be?  
Little losses to the enemy called casual comfort..literal baby steps and it's gone before you know it!
It doesn't help that when you are home all day, why would you put on the dress and the pearls?  I may love all things retro but I am not June Cleaver around here on any given Tuesday.  In fact, you better call before you stop by my house because I am probably not decent for company.  ;)  haha
I recently went to a NKOTBSB concert, and that is New Kids on the Block with Backstreet Boys. 
{I swear review is coming soon!}
I had to go shopping for a top and jewelry so I wouldn't feel like I was dressed to go grocery shopping.  I joked that it was "Ladies' Night" and I wanted to feel and look it!
2 weeks and 7 stores later, I finally had the look I wanted. 
Apparently, unless you want to spend $$$, they aren't making much for a fuller figured gals that doesn't resemble a tent or a knit least that was how it was for me over the course of my shopping week.
So here we are after the concert, tired but elated! 
 And I think looking like some pretty hot mamas, if I do say so myself.  ;)  
This is Ashley and we went to our first NKOTB concert together in 1990.  
21 years later, here we are again and having a blast!
So if you, too, are in need for a bit of spicing up, at least in the jewelry department like I was, take your shot at the awesome giveaway over at Family Musings!  
$100 for an amazing online site called
So between you and me, I hope one of us wins! 
Good Luck and thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I'm a No-Bake Cookie Snob

Yes, I am a No-Bake Cookie snob, at least according to my husband.  
He loves them and he jokes that they are just "too beneath me to make".  
Yes, I do aspire to try more difficult, elaborate cookies while I channel my Inner Martha.  But today I thought we would give him a treat.

I used the recipe for No-Bake Cookies from which is a GREAT recipe site, if you haven't already joined them!
Jesse and I made them together and that also made it fun.  I let him pour in the ingredients. I took care of stirring while boiling on the stove and then let him mix in the final ingredients on the counter.  He is old enough and done this enough to know not to touch a hot pan.  Then he used the cookie scoop and dropped them onto the wax paper.
The jury is still out if these would make to a Christmas Cookie party platter by me, but since my hubby loves them, it was time to indulge him..after all, I am embarrassed to say, this is the first time I have made them for him in the 7 years {almost in 2 weeks} we have been married.  
Actually, this may be the first time I have actually made them at all.   
I grew up baking but my mom tends to make the more difficult recipes, too. 
Like mother, like daughter. :)
 He should be home soon for the approving nod but I think they are pretty tasty...for No-Bakes. ;)

What is your favorite cookie recipe?

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Bun in the Oven

Though we out the picture on FB last week, I realized I had yet to put it on here.
The Official Release on The Dearie's Not-So-Dailies:
Abigale is...
Made with My Digital Studio from Stampin' Up.
New Baby {or Babies as Jesse insists now} due February 23, 2012.
Lilypie Maternity tickers

Friday, July 22, 2011

A Few Firsts Around Here

Just a few random firsts around here.

First sucker

Second Sucker and she's a pro!
First time doing the Cow Appreciation Day for Chick-fil-A.
Camera was out of batteries or I would have taken better pictures.
First time we tried to make Strawberry to come later!
After watching Matilda make her own sandwich, Jesse ran into the kitchen to make his first PB & Jam sandwich by himself. Growing too fast.
 First Bad Boo-Boo, Goose Egg.. Here is the story in case you missed my post on FB: While in the bathroom, Jesse came in & informed that Abigale had a P.U. diaper. She came in sans-diaper with him following saying he had wiped her & how could he put the diaper on her. After I really got her cleaned up and put the diaper on her, she bent over & I pulled up on her diaper which seemed riding low. In that same movement, it sent her and her forehead into the tile, giving her first goose egg. Great, Mother of the Year. So then Jesse informs me her P.U. is on his carpet & I realize that SHE had taken her diaper off and he was just trying to help. Geesh. 

 That was our last couple of weeks.  You are caught up for now.  
How was yours..anything interesting happen in your world?
  Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Foodie Friday~ {Quickie} Cookout Chili

Ever wonder what to do with those leftover burgers or hotdogs from the cookout?

We were blessed to have friends from out of town come over for July 4th lunch.  We grilled out and had a great time together.
Then we had 3 leftover hamburgers and a couple of hot dogs.  We had also grilled with my mom and had half a package of smoked sausage grilled and waiting for it's future in the fridge.
Then the idea popped in my head.  Why not try to make a chili with these bits of meat.  John was on-board to experiment so off I went and it came out great!

Ingredients for {Quickie} Cookout Chili:
  • 3 hamburgers already grilled [and seasoned] chopped
  • 1 hotdog, grilled & chopped fine
  • half a package of smoked sausage [that comes like kielbasa], grilled and diced 
  • 1 can of rinsed & drained red beans
  • 1 can of rinsed & drained black beans
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes {I used Hunt's version because it was BOGO}
  • 1 can of rotel tomatoes & chili
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • a pinch of red pepper flake
  • 1 tsp of coriander {it was called for in a Tyler Florence chili recipe once so I always use it now}
  • S& P as needed
  • Combine and let simmer low-medium for as long as you like.  The flavors are there right a way but come together even better if you let it meld together for awhile.
The smokiness from the charred meats made this a hearty chili, different from what we normally have.
I think it would work for whatever grilled food you had leftover and great way to give them new life, instead of just warming them over.
 If you try it, let me know!  Grab a spoonful & Enjoy!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

First movie trips, Breakdowns and the Reality of Her

Hmmm..where do you start.  
She is definitely a girl.  
She often lives up to the princess moniker we sometimes give her in love or in jest.
When she wants something, she wants it NOW.
She came out of me screaming at the top of her lungs, stiff as a board, her eyes wide open and not much has changed.
She doesn't care to be held, even when she was younger and I was still nursing her.  It was almost a fight in the end so I finally gave up at 13 or so months.
She will win any staring contest you try with her.  Like stare a hole right through you.  Try it.
I never bought it when people said their child held their head up in the hospital.  I would now.  Abigale never did the squishy baby, snuggle-down-in kind of thing.  We would try to push her head down to our shoulder or chest and she always felt like she was pushing away.  Still does.
I can remember two times in her life that she has rested her head on my chest and she was sick both instances.  I oddly cherish those moments I can steal the lovin'.
She is often inconsolable which is frustrating and can make you feel like you are not a good mom..after all, aren't you supposed to be their go-to comforter?
We joke that she is like the Hulk, you wouldn't like her when she's angry.  I secretly wonder if the steroids they gave me about a month before her birth really do have anything to do with her personality.
I realize she is almost 18 months and some of those traits are typical for her age.  But, since I only have one other child and the experiences of raising him to compare her to, her personality comes as a bit of surprise sometimes.  I know, don't compare them.  each child is different.  yeah yeah.
So today we went to see a free movie at the only nice theater in town.  Thank goodness mom went with me!  They were playing the Pirates That Don't Do Anything from Veggie Tales.  
Jesse was going to love it and he is fairly good in the theater.  {Loved Cars 2, by the way!}
It was Abigale's first movie in a theater.  She started wrenching within 10 minutes.  
At 15 minutes, she was screaming despite the popcorn, gummy bears, and yes, even Junior Mints I was trying to feed her.  So I left Jesse with mom and went out to the lobby.  
People might have got into the theater for free but they still wanted to enjoy the movie. 
I realized my mistake was that I was holding her. She was fine sitting on the bench with me but the holding, trapped feeling is what she didn't like.  
After about 30-40 minutes, I went back in and Jesse was sitting on mom's lap so Abigale would now have a seat.  So we tried it again and it went much better for the last 10 minutes of the movie.
Why does it take us so long to get things sometimes?  You would think I would know my own child by now.  But I think I am getting to know her more and more.
I look forward to meeting the person she is going to become.
Tonight, she was screaming long after Jesse was asleep so we went in to get her.  We let her come back out and totter around.  She kept bringing me random clothes to put on her in funny places.  I complied because, frankly, it was the first time she had done this, outside of her love of shoes and putting them on.  {Is that shoe-thing just in women at birth?}
And here is the outfit she "asked" to wear and played in for a good 10-15 minutes at least.
I could just see her little personality oozing out.  
I could see flashes of the future dress up time to come.
I look forward to meeting that future Abigale. 
But until then, I am going to enjoy the gift of her at this age. 
This gift God has entrusted me with...
{More for fun}
So lady like, right? 

Tonight Abigale is modeling a too-small jammy as her base, Jesse's USA shorts, 1 red water shoe, his jammy shirt as a necklace, his swimming trucks and YES underwear on her head.  A lovely assemble of her own choosing!
Fashionistas Look Out!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Encouragement, Perspective, and a little Giveaway

{The giveaway is done but the post is a good reminder to keep.}
Where do you go for encouragement?  My friends are where I turn.  And my mom.  And my husband.  I am blessed to be surrounded by a crowd of people who are gifted in this.  
If they are not, frankly, I would rather not surround myself with negative people...  
Life is too short and living life to it's fullest potential is too important. 
Encouragement is a powerful thing.  
I am so privileged to be a part of a MOPS group at my church.   During the school year, every Tuesday is filled with encouraging talks on applicable subjects along with practical Bible study by an amazing teacher.  It is a time for us to get together and encourage each other to be better moms, wives, and women of God.  I wouldn't be the same without the influence of these beautiful women! 
{Shameless plug, we start back August 30th, if you are local.  If not, please find a MOPS group in your area!  You will not regret it!  I have found some of my closest friends in that group.}
I had the opportunity to be a part of a review giveaway program through Dayspring and the incourage product line. They really do have some beautiful stuff.  
This is the fun whimsical item that I picked out.
Photo courtesy of Dayspring and incourage.
 It arrived packed extremely well.  A massive box, lots of balloon type packaging.  You can tell they are used to shipping fragile items at Dayspring.  
This guy isn't delicate, thank goodness, he is all medal.  It came with 3 magnets, as pictured.  The idea being you could put pictures or invites or whatever memos you might need to remember.
When I opened it up, there is a very large over-sized loop on the back to hang it from the wall.  
When I first saw it, I briefly thought it was an easel.  Obviously, it isn't but it left me wishing it would have had that option rather than just hanging on a wall.
Other than not meeting my unrealistic expectation-on-a-whim, it is a delightful product that will make a lovely addition to our master bathroom. 
I am secretly hoping for some love notes of encouragement. ;)

However, here is what happened to mine:
Can you see that?  That is a pen left on the counter, grabbed by a little boy, who found he needed to trace the circle magnets and leave me some doodles, as well.
Admittedly, I was saddened when I saw the pen marks all over the once-pristine shiny board.
But then I had to quickly step back and re-read the bottom line message of this product.
Count Your Blessings.
Count is as a gift that I have a mobile active 3 year old that thinks every doodle is precious and life is his canvas.  
Will I try to clean it off.  I might.  But perhaps I might leave it as a reminder that life moves pretty fast, I am so blessed and doodles don't last....
So I want to encourage you to look at those little messes as blessings or gifts every now and then.  Before you scold, remember that it won't last and tomorrow they will be gone.   Faster than we can even imagine.
And I bet I will miss those little surprises of art he leaves behind.
Now for the Giveaway!

For one lucky reader,  you will win a $20 credit to purchase whatever you like in the incourage product line!
To enter, all you need to do is #1. follow me and #2 leave a comment below telling me that you have done this.
And if you want to tell me what encourages you, that would just be a nice little bonus for me!
Super easy!
Contest ends July 5th @ 9 pm.
Good luck!
To adhere to the FTC requirements, I wan to tell you that DaySpring gave me the free product to review and all opinions stated are my own.