Monday, August 31, 2015

Slow Cooker Chicken

School is back in session and it might be hard to get back in the routine of after school meals. Well, make them quicker by having chicken already cooked and waiting in the fridge to add to a salad for your lunch. Just place your frozen chicken in a slow cooker with a small amount of water for 6-8 hours on low.

Here is a full work week of dinner ideas to add pre-cooked chicken to is:

Friday, August 28, 2015

Each Day Too Short...

I can't believe how fast summer has gone by. I know I had many more things I wanted to do and time has just escaped me. I love to experience my life and everything it has to offer. I have been trying to really reflect this summer on doing things that will result in some happiness and letting go of the things that take time away from pursuing. It is relationships and devoting time to those relationships that make me happy.

As you have probably have noticed, this summer my posts on this blog have been fewer and I have done a very limited number of reviews. I have decided I need to be very selective and evaluate whether I really need something or it will be something that will enhance my happiness through experiences within relationships. I don't want to own things just to collect them and so I have learned to do some letting go of this aspect of my blog. There still may be some, but I am being very selective. I have also decided to get back to more of why I started this blog,which is to empower and teach people. I blog because it makes me feel good to share with others, but it had become a chore and caused distress that I was putting upon myself. I don't need to see certain number in stats, I am releasing myself from that as well.

I am making time for the things that matter to me by releasing myself from those things that really do not and it is a journey to recognize which is which.

This is a picture I took on my last anniversary weekend with my husband when we went to the cabin and went on a guided muskie fishing trip in Northern Minnesota.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Opportunity for Moms to Earn Extra Money from Focus Pointe Global

Disclosure:This is a promotional post for which I have will be given a gift certificate for posting. All content was provided to me.

For moms, it can be tough to make extra money, especially when balancing work, kids, pets, and whatever else life throws your way on a daily basis. There are bills and school supplies and school clothes to buy plus all the money it costs for after school activities and don't even get me started on the cost to take a family vacation. Some moms turn to selling used items on eBay or having a garage sale, but have you ever thought of participating in focus groups or other market research opportunities?

Did you know the products and services you and your family use every day come to market as a result of marketing research? How would you like to influence what products you are purchasing and learn about new products that may be coming on the market, Companies rely on the opinions of consumers like you to test their products, evaluate TV programming, weigh in on social issues, conduct mystery shops, and participate in mock juries, to name a few.

In the U.S., there are 75 million mothers, all of whom influence 85 percent of their household purchases. With all that buying power, it stands to reason that companies turn to marketing researchers to make sure that their products are meeting your needs and expectations. They want to know what you think, what your family thinks and hear about what your needs and wants are. Our needs and wants is what drives purchases and companies want to know what they are.

Registering to participate in focus groups is a painless process. One of the top companies conducting opinion research is Focus Pointe Global, a national company with a location in Atlanta. They have an interactive website for their panel members at, where you can register and fill out your profile. Once that is done, you will almost immediately receive an email invitation to take a screener survey to see if you qualify for a particular research study. The studies are on a wide variety of topics, including baby products, social issues, taste tests, appliances, beverages, cell phones...just about anything you can think of. Participating in a focus group or product tests is a fun and easy way to earn some extra spending money - from $75 to $100 for only a couple of hours of your time.

Another way you can participate in marketing research is online or by phone. Focus Pointe Global conducts webcam focus groups, telephone interviews, online surveys, online communities, and a lot of other methods as well. They even have an online product review program, where you are sent a product to use (and keep!) and you write an objective review on the company's website. Whether you are able to participate in marketing research in person at the Atlanta research facility or by going online, there are a lot of opportunities to make some extra money and have fun while doing so! Go to to register.

This could be just what you have been looking for to help supplement your family's income and get bills paid for or help you save up for a trip or a special purchase or perhaps make it possible to afford after school activities for your children,

Wordless Wednesday: Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary in Green Bay, Wisconsin

Monday, August 24, 2015

Tex-Mex Corn and Quinoa Salad

 I just love that I can use spinach and cilantro from my garden in this salad. We had a ton of cilantro this year because it was a hardy re-seeder.

Tex-Mex Corn and Quinoa Salad
1 1/2 C Quinoa
1 11 oz. can Jalapeno Corn (it's just corn with jalapeno & green peppers in it, look in the Mexican food section of the grocery store)
1 15.5 oz. can Mild Chili Beans
C Cilantro, chopped
2 C Greens, chopped (I used spinach)
1/2 C cheddar cheese, shredded


  • Cook quinoa according to instructions
  • Allow quinoa to cool before mixing
  • Mix together remaining ingredients
  • Enjoy!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Those Who Inspire....

This is a photo I took from our balcony at the Vero Beach Hotel and Spa in Florida. We had a wonderful time that that resort and would highly recommend it. Vero Beach is absolutely gorgeous!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Clean Eating Strawberry-Watermelon Sorbet

Summer is upon us and I have been making efforts the last 2 weeks of school to have snacks and treats on hand that my kids will enjoy but contain no added sugars and are not fried. I have continued this through out the summer ( know summer is almost over by the time I am sharing this.) I have made potato chips (just potatoes & salt) and my dehydrator has been working non stop making fruit leathers, banana chips, pineapple "candy" and \jerky. I do plan to make some apple chips soon too, as well as granola bars and chocolate almond date protein balls. Of course we do have packaged snacks around, but I am trying to depend upon them less and less. My family does seem to gravitate towards anything homemade. When I made this sorbet recipe (I used to make this all the time when I ran a bed and breakfast and people LOVED it!!) I doubled the recipe so that I have a lot of this frozen treat in the freezer for us, plus I had half a watermelon to use up.

Clean Eating Strawberry-Watermelon Sorbet
6 C fresh watermelon
2 C fresh  (or thawed) strawberries
1/2 C water
1 tsp. stevia
2 T lemon juice

Puree all ingredients in a food processor and place in an airtight container. Allow 24 hours to freezer before serving. Scoop out of container and enjoy. Or if you want to "fluff" it you can break it up with a fork, or "smooth" it by placing the frozen mixture in a food processor before serving.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Where Music Meets the Ocean...

This picture is a long-time favorite of mine, but by long-time I mean it will be a long-time. :) As I only took this picture of my son running in the ocean on Vero Beach, Florida about a year and a half ago. There is just something so innocent about this picture that I love.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

FREE Lowe's Build and Grow - Thor's Chariot

This is the final Avenger's Build and Grow Clinic at Lowe's. It is Thor's Chariot. My son has been working hard at making the previous 5 and has all his creations lined up on his dresser and has his patches all ready to be ironed on a t-shirt we bought. I will have to share you the final line up of all the wooden Avengers toys and his fun t-shirt with all his patches on.

This Lowe's Build and Grow will be at 10am on Saturday, August 22nd.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Repurpose Idea to Make a Travel Art Container

My kids are long past the wipes stage, but somehow I still had a couple of these laying around. They are not past the coloring and drawing stage. So, for our recent trip to the West Coast, I made up these travel packs for them with a set of markers and a handful of crayons. You could easily fill up a box of crayons without the markers, but I knew my kids would want markers and used the extra space to add some crayons in case they wanted to use both.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Clean Eating Pina Colada Popsicles

My children have been gobbling these up this summer and I am happy to let them. There is no added sugar and they are getting some nutrients and protein from these popsicles compares to the ones I could buy in the store.

Pina Colada Popsicles
1 C pineapple juice
1 C pineapple
6 oz. plain greek yogurt
1 C coconut milk
1 T unsweetened shredded coconut


  • Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until mostly smooth, the coconut will still have some texture in the mixture.
  • Pour in to your popsicle molds
  • Freeze solid
  • Enjoy!

Friday, August 7, 2015


Another Oregon coast pictures........we have just returned from seeing the Washington and Canadian (Vancouver) coast area so I will have pictures to share with you from there soon, but this one is from last summer. I thought it was just awesome to see the fog lifting this late morning at the beach.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

4th Graders Get in Free at National Parks!!

Starting this Fall, every 4th grader can get in free (their families INCLUDED) to national parks in our great nation. This is a new initiative by the National Parks Service and they are just offering this to 4th graders and their families right now. Learn more about the program in this link.

But the awesome thing is that MANY national parks already have free admission, so just check out the Park Locator and look at what the admission fees are, there just might not be any.

Look at the rates if you are getting this free pass (normally it's $80/family) to make sure it is covered. Special tours are not covered by this and parking fees may not be covered.

Or just pay attention to when the next National Park Week it (it is usually in April) when they also offer FREE admission to everyone.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fun Stitching on a Baby Blanket

I decided to try out my new sewing machine and all these new FUN stitches I have that I never did before (I used to have a very basic sewing machine but will be giving it to my daughter as a gift).

I made this for my new nephew and thought it would be fun to made a double sided baby blanket and then add decorative stitching on the top and bottom edges.

If you have never made a double sided blanket before, just cut out your fabric (2 pieces) 1/2" larger on all sides. Pin the right sides together and stitch a 1/2" straight seam using a regular stitch and all 4 sides, but leaving about a 2" unstitched gap on the 4th side. Pull your fabric through the gap so that the right sides are out. Fold in the edges of the gap and pin in the place.

I did my decorate stitching on this 4th side so that the gap was stitched closed, then also did it on the opposite side.

In case you are wondering, my new sewing is this Singer 7256 Fashion Mate 70-Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine. I am just loving it so far!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Easy Mexican Brownies

These are oddly addicting.You are first going to taste the gooey chocolate and cinnamon but then get a follow up hit of spice from the cayenne pepper. Don't worry, it's not too spicy, it has just enough kick. And remember that milk will lessen any spice, plus tastes great with a brownie.

Easy Mexican Brownies
1 box 13x9 pan brownie mix (make as directed, adding ingredients as listed on the box)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
Powder Dusting
1 T powdered sugar
1/4 tsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
up to 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (add according to taste)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Make box brownie mix as directed, adding to it the vanilla, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon
  • Bake as directed on the box (usually about 25 minutes)
  • Allow to cool completely
  • In a small dish, whisk together all powder dusting ingredients
  • Sift ingredients over the cooled brownies and serve.
  • Enjoy!