Friday, March 29, 2013

Gardening is On My Mind

It's March and I have been thinking about this year's garden and decided to write a post for Northern Cheapskate called "Time to Start Planning Your Garden", so please go check out that post and leave some comments about when you typically start your garden.

I also wanted to share the other gardening posts I have written in case you are looking for something else or have a little more planning to do. Please enjoy reading through the 15 posts about gardening that I have written about in this post.
Or check out all my posts on Save Green Being Green with the Label "Gardening" or "Plants".

Thursday, March 28, 2013

GIVEAWAY and Review: What I Wish I Knew at 18 Book

My Thoughts: 

It is starting to seem like it was a long time ago that I was 18, but I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I think one of the strong points this book has going for it is the approach to writing and how it is written to as if the author were having a conversation with the reader. There are 109 pointers that the author shares with the readers that are all about 2 pages in length, so it can be a book that is put down and picked up whenever it is convenient or if they just want to see what he has to say about a specific point. I could see this as being given as a graduation gift, although at 18 I am not sure how much time I would have taken to sit down and read it. Maybe, I can't really say. I think it is easier to think back about what you wish someone would have told you, but the issue really is are you ready to hear it (from a person or a book). If a young adult does pick up this book, there are several pointers that will probably stick in the back of their mind and help guide them.

Find More Information Online:

About Dennis Trittin
Dennis Trittin is a successful investment manager, educator and mentor committed to helping young adults reach their full potential. Now retired from managing over $30 billion in assets, he devotes his life to promoting leadership and life management on a global basis. Trittin serves as an advisor to several charitable groups and as a speaker with national and local educational and community organizations. Dennis and his wife Jeanne are parents of two young adults and reside in the Seattle area.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

Thrifty Thursday: Turn a Window in to a Picture Frame

This window picture frame has actually been in our home for a long time, a very long time in one form or another. When we updated the window in one room, we had this great little window leftover that we re-purposed into a picture frame. I simply gave it a whitewash paint effect (I wanted to keep the weathered look but give it a more uniform color) and taped some picture in on the back side.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: 3 Year Old Picture Taker

From time to time I hand over my point and shoot camera to the kids and let them have fun taking pictures. I was surprised by the pictures my 3 year old son took. He actually had some interesting shots of his car transporter toy.

Review: CORE Foods

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed these and appreciated having a compact full meal that was ready to go. I read the instructions that said to drink 2 full glasses of water while you water and that is a must. You need to drink the water to help wash it down otherwise it will stick to your mouth and teeth, but I thought it was perfect to get me to drink 16 oz. of water right away in the morning. One of these meals is equal to a bowl of oatmeal and the meal weighs 3 oz. 

Since I have been eating as clean as possible, as much as possible, I have am most concerned with a couple nutritional facts and that is the fiber and protein content. In one of the meals the protein content is 11g and the dietary fiber content is 6g, both of which are good for a meal. If you are concerned about fat content, you will be less impressed because these meals all contain nuts and flax, but those are good fats! 

I also appreciate that these meals last up to 6 months frozen, 2 months in the fridge and 1 week on the go. You can eat them at room temp or from the fridge. If they are frozen, you just need to unwrap and un-thaw for 10-15 minutes and it will be ready to eat. I used my 3 meals from frozen and tossed them in my gym bag and brought along to eat after my training.

From CORE Foods:
CORE Meals are a fresh, full bowl of raw oatmeal to go. Eat like a bar, drink water, and you'll be satisfied for hours! Made from 7 whole, raw, 100% organic, tested Gluten-Free ingredients. The whole foods in CORE Meals provide powerful, stable energy. With a controlled, fully balanced ratio of calories, complex carbs, lean proteins, and healthy fats, CORE Meals are loved by athletes for pre/post workout meals and depended upon by busy moms and adventurers.

On a quest to get to the bottom of human nutrition, our founder Corey Rennell trained with elite athletes, researched the biology of food and lived with 12 tribes from around the world. Remarkably, he discovered the most profound and consistent things we know about nutrition are REALLY SIMPLE. At CORE, we apply this enduring wisdom to make convenient, healthy, food. Inspired by the inherent reciprocity of the traditional people Corey lived with, CORE Foods is anot-for-profit B Corporation, with 100% of profit being reinvested in food, community, and the planet. We believe that healthy food is a human right and we strive to separate food from profit in the way we do business.

GIVEAWAY and 50% OFF Code

Show your kids that the Easter Bunny Has Been to Your Home/Yard/ Wherever you want!

For less than $10 anyone can be a hero to children by catching the Easter Bunny 'in the act'. Catch him here - Catch him there - Catch him ANYWHERE!  In three simple steps, iCaughtTheEasterBunny can turn a typical Easter into something spectacular. Catch The Easter Bunny TODAY!  CLICK HERE to try it FREE! and SAVE 50% on your purchase with this code - 50% off code:  BUNNY2013 

Find out more information:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given a promo code to promote this service and giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own. No monetary compensation was received.

Try It Tuesday: Paper Plate Lamb Craft with Shapes

Is March really going to go out like a Lamb after coming in like a Lion (in MN) and being a Lion most of the month?

Well, in case you had joined us in making our Lion Paper Plate Crafts that we did at the beginning of March, then you will enjoy making this Lamb one as well.

For this paper plate craft project I decided we would take a different twist and also learn about shapes. I cut out all the shapes in advance for my son:
  • 4 rectangle (legs)
  • 1 oval (head)
  • 2 half-circles (ears)
  • 1 circle (nose)
  • 1 heart (mouth)
  • 1 triangle (tail - forgot to add this one until later)

All you need for supplies is a paper plate, construction paper, scissors, glue, cotton balls and googly eyes (optional, you could just draw on eyes, but we all know how much we love using googly eyes at our home.)

I first had my son glue on all the shapes. This makes it easier to know how much space you need. After they are glued on you can have them glue on their cotton balls. If you don't want to use as many cotton balls you can pull them apart to fluff them up.

Very Proud of His Shapes Sheep!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Make It Monday: Herb Crusted Tilapia & An Easy Rice Pilaf

Time for another tasty clean eating recipe that is delicious for dinner. Both recipes together will serve 4 people, with VERY generous portions of the rice pilaf bed.
Herb Crusted Tilapia
4 Tilapia filets
2 pieces of toast or dry bread, process in to crumbs
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp lemon pepper
1/8 tsp sea salt
Olive Oil Spray

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Mix bread crumbs and all seasonings in a bag or bowl
  • Rinse filets under tap water and then toss in crumb mixture
  • Spray baking sheet with olive oil spray and place filets on top
  • Top with remaining crumb mixture and lightly spray olive oil on top of crumbs
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until fish is flaky 

Easy Rice Pilaf Recipe made in a rice maker
1 1/2 C brown rice
1/2 C black rice (this is not wild rice)
1 C broth
3 C water
1 bag of frozen carrots and peas or mixed vegetables

Make rice according to rice cooker instructions to make 2 C of brown rice.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pinterest Foodie

I have been eyeing up this recipe for Lasagna Roll Ups with Spinach and Turkey from Clean Eating Magazine for a long time. I only took so long to make it because I find browning meat to be tedious, which is why I am a big fan of all the Slow Cooker recipes I share with you. I used Parmesan cheese on top instead, thought it gave it more of a punch of flavor over mozzarella.

I was out of a few things to make the original Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Treats from The Idea Room, so I used Cheerios instead, and well I had white chocolate chips instead of butterscotch to use, but I promise the rest was the same. My family RAVED about these and my husband said I need to add it to my list of regulars to make.

This was a Clean Eating Tuna Casserole Recipe that came from I thought it could have used a little more salt and pepper, but other than that it was a tasty recipe that was filling and loaded with tuna and veggies.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Turn an Onion Bag in to a Pot Scrubber

Re-use mesh vegetable bags by wadding it up for use as a pot scrubber, some larger bags may need to be cut up to make several scrubbers. I used a tiny zip tie we had laying around to secure it together on the backside.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Great Serengeti Waterpark

GIVEAWAY and Review: TREAT Card and Gift Set

Are you looking for the perfect personalized gift for someone? 

Are you like me and thinking about Teacher Appreciation Gifts now?
(FYI - It's the first week in May!!!!!)

Or maybe you want a really special gift for Mother's Day or Father's Day? specialize in personalized unique cards that you can send directly to the recipient. Now you can send a gift with your card as well and right now there is FREE SHIPPING (a $5.99 value). You can choose to send a gift card from $10-$200 and it prints right inside the card, so it won't be getting lost. Or you can choose to give a gift of a personalized gift of a mug or easel art. 

What a GREAT idea!!!

Now you can send someone a card AND a gift or gift card from the same retailer and it's a real personalized card, not just some message typed on the bottom of a receipt. Now, who can you think of that would love a personalized gift like this from

Enter Rafflecopter Form Below

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I will be given a package of 3 cards and 3 mugs for the purpose of review and promoting this product from No monetary compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Try It Tuesday: Paper Plate Pirate

Do you know what I love about Paper Plate Crafts? You already have a good sized circle for a head of something, no cutting involved, they are pretty sturdy and paper plates are inexpensive. It keeps the cost down and saves a step.

Recently, we did a Preschool at Home Pirate Theme and this is the paper plate craft we did that I mentioned in that post.

Supplies Needed: paper plate, paint, fabric scrap (headwear), pipecleaner (earring), construction paper (eye patch), googly eye, dot markers (nose and mouth, or just use a marker or paint), black marker, and glue

Directions: Paint the plate and let it dry completely before gluing or drawing on anything. Cut fabric scarp so it fits the top of the head and hanging over to resemble pirate headwear and glue in to place. Twist pipecleaner in to a circle to resemble a hoop earring and glue in to place. Cut out an eye patch shape and glue in to place. Draw on ties for eyepatch with a marker. Glue on googly eye. Using a dot marker (or paint or regular marker), draw on a nose and mouth..

Monday, March 18, 2013

GIVEAWAY and Review: Shutterfly 5x5 Photo Block



I have been thinking lately how I want to change up our family room or our living room, but the only problem is the layout of the room doesn't allow for me to re-arrange furniture. So, when I get this bug to re-decorate I need to do by changing out pillows, artwork and other accessories.

Shutterfly offers several options that will allow you to update the look of a room and personalize it with photos at the same time. Prints on stretched canvas are very popular right now and Shutterfly offers a large variety of New Canvas Prints Designs. I really like the idea of the Classic Baby print, I did something similar with photos for my children, but this would be easier to do without having to line up pictures correctly behind a matte and includes text as well.

Another way to quickly update the look of a room without additional supplies is with Wall Decals. Shutterfly offers an extensive selection of New Wall Decal Designs. I absolutely love that these wall decals are available with photos. I Sooooooo want the superhero set for my son and the flower power set for my daughter.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

I will be receiving a 5x5 photo block from Shutterfly for the purpose of reviewing the product and promoting Shutterfly's Home Decor products. No monetary compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Make It Monday: Cranberry Coconut Muffins

Time for another clean eating recipe! Once you start eating clean and get your pantry reflecting your clean eating lifestyle, it is easy to just keep eating this way.

Cranberry Coconut Muffins  makes 18 muffins
2 C whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 C raw sugar
1 C vanilla yogurt
1/4 C coconut oil, melted
3/4 C orange juice
1 C fresh cranberries, minced
1/2 C unsweetened coconut
1 tsp vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Prepare muffin cups with oil spray or liners
  • Mix together cinnamon, flour and soda in a small bowl
  • In a large mixing bowl, blend together egg, sugar, yogurt, coconut oil, juice and vanilla
  • Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredient and mix
  • Stir in cranberries and coconut
  • Pour in to 18 muffin cups
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes
  • Enjoy!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

A Leprechaun's Visit

 You may want to click on it to make it bigger to print off, but here is what it says (I wrote it to work with the trick my daughter had planned with painted candy to look like gold to lure a leprechaun to our home.)

Poem from a Leprechaun

Candy painted to look like gold
Is a trick that will not be told
This lil leprechaun you did not fool
I hope you have learned more than this at school

Tis silly kids that played this trick
Too much of this candy will make you sick
So, I give to you my favorite sweets
Rainbow colored and flavored treats

Until next year, when I will try again
And see if you’ve grown smarter then
Maybe a leprechaun you will trap
But you better be quick and do not nap

Friday, March 15, 2013

Even More Pinterest Inspiration

This is my hair in the picture, but I followed the instructions from Oh So Pretty The Diaries. This was a fun up-do idea! I will use this again!

My daughter wanted to see if leaving her tooth in a different location would result in a different present from the Tooth Fairy (read all about that in my Tooth Fairy Post & her recent social experiments). The idea for this one came from Filth Wizardy.

I thought this was a neat picture, so I had to try it for myself.

 My daughter asked for some special valentine hair, so I replicated this idea from

And get a load of these delicious treats I made for Valentine's Day. The recipe for the Whoopie Pies came from What's Cooking with Ruthie, but I used Red Velvet cake mix instead. And the raspberry chocolates idea came from Lauren Conrad, but as you can see I used white chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.

Love these Shamrock Hairclips that were inspired from Potlucks on the Porch (and the one without rhinestones is a pin - my son had to have one too!)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thrifty Thursday: Birthday Freebies

March is my birthday month!!! And with that comes a bunch of freebies and discounts in my email (mostly.) If you have signed up for birthday clubs from businesses you can generally expect them to email them to you at one of 4 days, so be checking your spam mailbox.

Those days are:
* 1st of the month of your birthday
* Exactly 2 weeks before your birthday
* Exactly 1 week before your birthday
* On your birthday

Here is the list of BIRTHDAY FREEBIES that I have received (mostly via email) this year:

* Applebees - Free Dessert Shooter
* Arby's - Free 12oz. shake with any purchase
* Ben and Jerry's - Free Scoop of you favorite flavor AND $3 off a cake
Benihana's - $30 credit (some restrictions apply)
* Buca di Beppo - Free Birthday Brownie Sundae
Buffalo Wings Wings - Free Snack Size Wings
* California Pizza Kitchen - Free Dessert with entree purchase
* Chammps -  Free Dessert with any entree
* Chili's - Free Birthday Sundae
* Cold Stone Creamery -  BOGO Creation
* Culver's - Free 1-scoop sundae
* Dairy Queen - BOGO Blizzard
Famous Dave's - $10 off $20+
* Godfather's Pizza - Free Mini Pizza
* Kwik Trip - Free 16oz Karuba Coffee and Glazers Donut
* Landry's Select Club - $25 Birthday Credit (I actually bought this dining club years ago and it paid for itself the first 2 visits.)
* Noodles- Free Bowl of Noodles
* O'Charley's - $5 off $20
* Old Country Buffet - BOGO adult entrees
* Papa Murphy's - Free Coookie Dough with Pizza Purchase
* Pizza Ranch  - Free $5 towards food
Starbucks - Free Birthday Drink
* T.G.I. Fridays - Free Dessert with entree purchase
* Tony Roma's - Surprise (need to print it off to find out, but I am not using it so I didn't waste my ink/paper)

* Redbox - Free Rental Code
* Mokasha Yoga (Minneapolis) - Free class on birthday

* Aveda - Free shipping and sample with $25+
* Betty Crocker - Free ebook AND 20% off online store
Crabtree and Evelyn - 15% off (online and in  stores)
Delia's - $20 off $50+
* Lancome  - Free 5 Shadow Palette and Lipstick and free shipping with $49+ purchase
* Macy's - Free Shipping Code (no minimum purchase required)
Melissa and Doug - 15% off an online order
Office Max - $10 off $50+
* Old Navy - $10 off $50
Origins (postcard) - $10 off $10+ AND (email) $10 off $25
Victoria's Secret - $10 off $10+

Reward Programs
* Disney Movie Rewards - 100 Bonus Points
* Kellogg's - Bonus Points (up to 100 points)
* Swagbucks - Free 50 Bonus Swagbucks

* Wilderness Resort and Waterpark - $25 off stay during birthday month

Be Sure to pay attention to expiration dates, some may expire on your birthday, the end of your birthday month or a week or two after your birthday.

Of course I only use a small percentage of these, but it is nice to know what is out there.

If you want to receive these, do to their websites and see if they have a birthday sign up on there. Some places have the sign up on their website, others you have to sign up in person.

Also, if you go to local places on your birthday be sure to ask (or call ahead and ask if you want to know in advance) if they will give you anything on your birthday. Free dessert is usually the common offer, but I was once offered a free shot of tequila at a local Mexican restaurant (I turned it down, not a tequila shot fan.)

This was LAST YEAR'S list, if you want to see other things that are out there.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Minnesota Zoo

Minnesota Zoo in the Winter

Try It Tuesday: Paper Plate Leprechaun

I have another fun paper plate craft to share with you just in time for St. Patrick's Day. 

Supplies needed: paper plate, washable paint (I used orange, yellow & white to make a flesh color), paint brush, googly eyes, yarn, dot markers (optional) and construction paper.

Directions: Paint entire paper plate on the convex side of the plate and allow to dry. Glue pieces of yarn on top of the head. Glue on a hat & bow tie (I cut them out for my preschooler) and googly eyes. Use a dot marker to make the nose and mouth.

Check out my Other Paper Plate Crafts:
Coming Soon! Pirate!

GIVEAWAY and Review: JJ Heller's Album "LOVED"

Today the new album by JJ Heller titled "LOVED" has been released and I have had the opportunity to review this album and the video below for "Who You Are".

My Thoughts
This song and video is so incredibly beautiful and powerful. After I watched the video for the first time and learned about what the song is about, I can't listen to it with tearing up. I cannot imagine losing a child; I do not want to imagine losing a child. But people do and the world around them continue when their's has stopped or stalled. I can't even type up my thoughts here without having my eyes welled up with tears.

With song titles such as "Who You Are", "I Believe", "Stay", "For You" and more, you know that this is going to be an emotional CD that will touch hearts. These songs are going to be a sense of relief to people who think they are alone in their emotions and know that someone else feels the same way.

You can learn more about JJ Heller and her music online at:

About JJ Heller's LOVED
When JJ Heller and her husband/co-writer, Dave, began writing for their sixth studio album LOVED, life looked a few shades darker, more painful and confusing than it had during the work on their work of the recent past. Over the past few years, the duo steered much of their material toward the whimsical and simple joys of life, love and new parenthood. But, when confronted by illness, death and broken marriages within their community, the Hellers chose to stay true to the weight of their season of life when crafting lyrics this time around.




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.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Make It Monday: Slow Cooker Turkey Pad Thai

I just love using my slow cooker, don't you? You are going to love that this recipe will help you use up some leftover turkey too! (Think post-Thanksgiving!) Plus this is a Clean Eating Recipe too! You could make it gluten-free by using gluten free pasta.

Slow Cooker Turkey Pad Thai Recipe
1/2 C hot water
1/4 C raw sugar
2 T rice vinegar
2 T low sodium soy sauce
1 T chili garlic sauce
1 lime, juiced
2 C leftover turkey, cubed
2 C broccoli slaw, packed
1 C bok choy, chopped and packed
1 C napa cabbage, chopped and packed
1/2 C cilantro packed
1/2 med. onion, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 scallions, chopped
8 oz. whole wheat organic linguine

  • Combine water, sugar, vinegar, garlic sauce and lime juice in a slow cooker and stir to dissolve sugar
  • Stir turkey in to sauce to cover
  • Add broccoli slaw, bok choy, cabbage, cilantro, onion, garlic and scallions and stir to mix
  • Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours
  • Make linguini as per package directions just before serving
  • Toss with slow cooker mixture
  • Serve and Enjoy!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Thinking About A Colorado Ski Vacation?

Vacationers looking for an off-the-beaten-path Colorado getaway with all the frills of a major resort should head to Crested Butte, an historic town tucked away in the Colorado Rockies Elk Mountain Range. With its affordable accommodations, gourmet restaurants, cozy pubs, and eclectic shops, Crested Butte attracts a devoted legion of repeat visitors year-round! Crested Butte Lodging & Property Management Inc. offers a large selection of quality lodging in Mt. Crested Butte. Choose from studio condominiums to 4 bedroom condominiums in prime locations including ski-in/ski-out or walking distance to the slopes.

At Crested Butte Lodging & Property Management, we understand the quality of lodging can make or break your vacation. We have carefully evaluated and inspected each property and have categorized our accommodations to further help you make your lodging selection. We want you to come to Crested Butte, Colorado to relax and have fun – not hassle with your accommodations. We promise a vacation you’ll never forget!

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    • Properties include Columbine, Buttes, and Crested Mountain
  • Three Seasons
  • Crested Butte Lodge & Hostel

All other properties are 15% off!  Hurry and book now before availability runs out!  Or, call 888.412.7492 for personalized service.

This is a promotional email that I received no monetary compensation for. I am only receiveing the chance to enter to win a stay at the the resort. There is no guarantee I will receive anything at all.