Monday, June 30, 2014

Try It Tuesday: Contact Paper Update

I have to tell you, this has been on my to-do list for a long time. I even bought the contact paper one time ended u[ using it for another project and had to buy new contact paper. When I bought new contact paper, I bought this 2-pack of contact paper by Laura Ashley on Amazon for under $10. I used about 2/3 of one roll, so I suspect there will be another project in my future where I use this contact paper.

So you can see the before the picture (click on the picture to enlarge it) you can see the the veneer in bay window has peeled away (that to some spilled water and kids peeling at it - darn kids!), and then the veneer cracked all across where the window is attached to the wall leaving a crack line across the whole thing. Structurally, everything is ok, but ascetically it was not, so I put down some contact paper to cover it up.

This pattern works great in my old Queen Anne Victorian home. Contact paper is so easy to apply to shelves or anything. You can easily remove it as well. I think it is such an improvement that literally took me about 10 minutes to do and leaves me wondering why I didn't do this so much sooner.

Make It Monday: Coconut Flour Drop Biscuits

So, here it is. The recipe for Coconut Flour Drop Biscuits that I made and served with the Clean Eating Sloppy Joes Recipe. They are quick and simple to make and have a wonderfully light coconut flavor to them. They are high in fiber but grain free.

Coconut Flour Drop Biscuits

3/4 C coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 eggs
1/2 C butter, melted
1 packet stevia
1/2 tsp sea salt


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Sift together flour and baking powder
  • Mix together flour mixture with everything else using an electric mixture
  • Allow to set for 5 minutes
  • Drop by spoonfuls on to a baking sheet, I used a 1/4 C ice scoop
  • Bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown on the bottom and starting to brown on the top.

Here is a picture of them with the sloppy joes in them. Yum! Such a tasty meal. My daughter doesn't normally like sloppy joes when other people make it  but really loved this clean eating version I made.

Here you can see that I put them on a silicone baking sheet (not need to spray then) and what the scoops looked like.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: InstaNatural Leather Cleaner and Conditioner

Today I am going to tell you about my review of InstaNatural Leather Cleaners and Conditioners. They sent me all three products. One is a Leather Cleaner, another is a Leather Conditioner, and the last product is a combo product of cleaner and conditioner in one bottle. The top picture is of all 3 products and the sponges or rags that they come with.

This first set is the individual bottles of Cleaner and Conditioner. I really like the microfiber cloth that comes with the cleaner and I really like the trigger bottle as well. Although, on my bottle it said one was stream and one was spray and both ways it would stream, so I had to work quickly to keep it from dripping when I using it on the chair back pictured below.

The conditioner I applied directly to the foam sponge and worked it in and buffed it.

So, this is a chair we have had for years, but very early on when we bought it one of the cats decided to use it as a scratching post. I thought I would see if I cleaned and conditioned the leather and buffed it if I could buff out the discoloration of the scratches. It worked. Of course I still have the pocks and scratches there (thankfully they didn't puncture through the leather) but after using these products they are less noticeable. I am wishing I had done this years ago.

Product Description from InstaNatural

1) Leather Cleaner - Great for cleaning all types of leather, vinyl & plastic. Comes in an 18 oz spray bottle. It gently and safely cleans ALL types of leather surfaces, including purses, shoes, sofas, chairs, car seats, etc. Comes with a free microfiber towel for cleaning.

2) Leather Conditioner - Apply this to restore and bring back the luster of your leather surface. Works great after you have cleaned the leather and not only does it restore your leather, but it also prolongs the life of your leather surfaces. Again works on all types of leather, vinyl and plastic surfaces. Great for shoes, saddles, purses, sofas, chairs, car seats, etc. It's made from high grade polymers and is completely non-toxic. We belive it's one of the best conditioners on the market. Comes with a free applicator pad.

3) Leather Conditioner and Cleaner - This is our 3-in-1 product. It cleans, conditions and restores your leather back to its original state. This is one of our newer product. It also comes in an 18 oz bottle so it should last you a very long time. It's great for cleaning and conditioning your leather products in one step. Just apply the product on the leather or the applicator pad and wipe away.

This picture is from using the 3-in-1 product of Conditioner and Cleaner. I do like having one product all in one bottle which means I don't have to purchase 2 different items so it saves me money, plus it saves on steps. I took this old leather Coach purse of mine and applied it and cleaned it and buffed it. The leather is not softer and shinier and any discoloration from scratches has been buffed out.

I was happy with all the products and plan to use them on other leather items in our home and on the seats of our truck.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

New Canning Labels from Lovable Labels and 10% OFF!

Do you enjoy canning? I DO! Every year I can a couple different things and switch up what I make. Usually I make Strawberry Freezer Jam and use canning jars to store them. I also recently shared a recipe with you for Canned Pear Sauce and I like to make either a pear sauce or an Apple Sauce every year. And just over a week ago I shared with you my recipe to make Strawberry Rhubarb Compote. Yum! We are going to have good eatin's all winter long. But I don't just preserve food for myself. Every year I pick a couple new items to can that I will give to the grandparents of my husband and myself and give them as Christmas gifts to them. I can't wait to give them their Christmas presents this year with this beautiful Canning Labels from Lovable Labels.

Both pictures in this post are from Lovable Labels. I want my canning to look so nice too! Below I have included a coupon code so you can get 10% off canning labels (or ANYTHING from the Lovable Labels website). The original price for the canning labels is $14.95, but you can get 10% off that!

The labels in 3 different styles (jar toppers, jar labels or write-on) and in 4 different patterns (country, dotty dots, mayan, and flower power.) I think I will choose the Write-On Labels in Flower Power Pattern. I am not sure what else I will make and because I rotate what I make every year.

Quantity and Dimensions:

Jar Toppers: 24 Labels per pack
4.7 cm x 4.7 cm (1 7/8" x 1 7/8")

Jar Labels: 28 Labels per pack
6.73 cm x 3.05 cm (2 3/4" x 1 1/5")

Write-On Labels 45 Labels per pack
6.73 cm x 3.05 cm (2 3/4" x 1 1/5")

10% Off Coupon Code: JessicaSMLB1

Come back Next Month after I receive my labels and I will post my review and host a GIVEAWAY for one Lucky Reader to WIN their own set.

"BOYHOOD" Premieres on July 18th

My husband and I are pretty excited to go see the movie BOYHOOD which will be premiering in select theatres on July 18th. If you are in the Twin Cities Area, you can see this movie at the Landmark Lagoon Theatre in Uptown. Check out the trailer below and see what you think of it. I think it is amazing that this movie was filmed over 12 years! We get to watch this child grow up in a matter or hours and see just what his life was like.

SYNOPSIS: Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater's BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and

Patricia Arquette as Mason's parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, BOYHOOD charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before. Snapshots of adolescence from road trips and family dinners to birthdays and graduations and all the moments in between become transcendent, set to a soundtrack spanning the years from Coldplay's Yellow to Arcade Fire's Deep Blue. BOYHOOD is both a nostalgic time capsule of the recent past and an ode to growing up and parenting. It's impossible to watch Mason and his family without thinking about our own journey.

You can find out more information on the BOYHOOD movie website.

Fitness Friday: 5K Foam Fest Discount #FoamFanatics

I am here as your very own Foam Fanatic (yup, that's what I am) to tell you about this fun race I will be doing in August in Minnesota (it's going on in Milwaukee tomorrow!!!) It is call the 5K Foam Fest.

Going to try something a little different from a typical mud run and do a run that is all about soap and bubbles! Ok, so there may be some mud depending upon your location but there is still a lot of foam and fun! There are still challenging obstacles and you get a t-shirt, medal, a photo and a beverage all included in your entry fee.

There are tons of locations and my coupon code is good for ANY LOCATION that you can still register for!

It's a family fun event, so come enjoy the FESTival! There will also be a foam pit, inflatable obstacle course and bounce house. They even have activities for the kids at heart! Like our Skyfall, Big Baller, and Wrecking Ball!

So, here is what you have been waiting for!! The $5 OFF Discount Code is:

Anyone want to join me in racing in MN on August 9th?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Tour de Fat Bike Tour

Coming up on Saturday, July 26th is the Tour de Fat sponsored by New Belgium Brewery. This bike tour (it's short, don't worry about it being a long strenuous event) has been on my "race" bucket list for quite a while now but I have had conflicting events the past couple years. They are touring to 10 different cities, including Minneapolis where we will be participating.

This event occurs in one month! So get it on your calendar now and get registered! It is FREE event, but they are collecting donations that benefit local Twin Cities non-profits. Proceeds from beer sales also benefit local non-profits. So, it's a feel good event!

The Tour de Fat is a family-friendly event. There is live music, dancing, interactive sculpture and performances. You can find out more information and the line up of performers by clicking on the city you want to attend on the Tour de Fat page.

As of right now, you have missed the tour in only Washington DC and Durham, NC. You can still make it to the tours in the Twin Cities; Boise, ID; Fort Collins, CO; Denver, CO; San Francisco, CA; San Diego, CA; and Tempe, AZ.

Thrifty Thursday: FREE Passes to Earth to Echo on July 1st

My family and I just attended an advance screening of Earth to Echo at the Mall of America last night. It was such a great movie and I can't give anything away, so you just have to see it for yourself. You  can see it in the theaters starting July 2nd when it open OR.......

Attend at Advance Screening for FREE!!!

Attend an advanced screening of this summer’s exciting new sci-fi adventure movie EARTH TO ECHO! Go to and enter the code ECHOMSP701 to download up to four free passes to see the screening (while supplies last). Please be advised that seating will be first come, first served so it is recommended to arrive early.

This advance screening will be at ShowPlace ICON on July 1st at 7pm.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

GIVEAWAY and Review: Wusic Portable Dual Power Bank with LED

My Thoughts:

The Wusic Power Bank with LED has been a lifesaver when we are traveling. Ok, maybe not literally a lifesaver, but you know what I mean. There are 2 instances in which this product has been very helpful to us. The first is for when we go to our small rustic cabin that has a limited amount of outlets. It is a 3 hour drive there and the kids (and us) rely heavily on them being able to use their tablets to entertain them on the long drive, but when we get there there isn't always an outlet to charge it in, plus our cabin is up north where we get spotty cell service, if any, which is a heavy and fast drain on the battery when it is trying to find service. It's great to have this to plug something in to for a charge and not have to worry if we have electricity or not.

The other instance we use it for is when my husband travels for work, which he does monthly. While he is flying he likes to watch movie on his tablet or listen to music on his phone, but sometimes they have been in use all day and not recharged and he will not have enough battery power 2 watch 2 entire movies on his flight or listen to music the entire time. It used to be that I would get a text saying he landed and was out of battery so he might not reply if I text back. Well, that is certainly not the case anymore. Also, the LED light is a great feature to have when he is on the plane as well. LED lights draw such a small amount of power that it is a great add-on feature. We can use it as a back up flashlight at the cabin as well.

Plus it is great that this is a dual power bank, so you can charge 2 items at one time. No need to be choosy, charge them both!

Product Description from Wusic:

Phone Battery at 1%? Get to the wusic charger!

- 7800 mAh battery capacity.
- External Samsung SDI Battery Core
- Built in LED flash light
- Good for for Iphone 4 -5/C/S, Ipad Air/mini, Galaxy S3/S4/S5, Note 3, Nexus 4, HTC One,
Droid, Moto X, Ps Vita, Gopro, Most Smartphones, Tablets and Mobil USB Devices
- Dual USB to charge two devices simultaneously
- Smart MCU touch system

Device Speciļ¬cations:
Model No: W1301
USB1: DC 5V/2.1A
USB2: DC 5V/1.0A
Input: DC 5V/1.0A
Battery Type: Lithium
Weight: 181g
Size: 96.3mm x 63mm x 24mm
Capacity: 7800 mAh

To Find Out more about Wusic Online:



a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wordless Wednesday: LARK Toys

A trip to LARK Toys in Kellogg, MN has been on my bucket list of things to do with the kids for a long time and we have finally crossed it off.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review: OOFOS Sandals #feeltheOO

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I was skeptical when I took this review of OOFOS shoes that they were going to be as awesome as they sounded, so I thought it would be interesting to find out. I looked at my choices of colors and styles and decided on a black pair of original OOFOS. One of the requirements for this review was to take a video and pictures of the first time you put on the shoes. I figured there had to be something to that, but until you actually step in to them you have no idea. You do #feeltheOO . Towards the bottom of this post is my trying on the shoes right after they were delivered (and I was back from the pool). Seriously, the video speaks for itself.

But I do want to add that I chose to wear these shoes while my daughter and I went to rummage sales in our little town city-wide rummage sales and typically by the end of our sales, my feet are tired and sore and my back feels our of whack. That was not the case. We did 55 rummage sales in 3 1/2 hours (lots of walking back & forth from the truck) and my feet felt great at the end. I was amazed! And my back was just fine. These are my go-to shoes this summer! I might need to buy them in another color now so I have variety.

I have been telling people non-stop about these shoes since I got them. Often people will point out that it looks like I got a new pair of sandals and then I tell them about the first time I stepped in to them and could #feeltheOO. I had my husband gently slide his large feet in to mine and it first he felt nothing because he was sitting and I told him about how I first stepped in to them and how they felt so he figured you must have to stand in them to #feeltheOO. He immediately said he needed to get a pair but commented that they probably don't have them in his size. Good news! They carry them up to s sz. 14 (his size) for men! A couple days later my daughter asked is she could try my shoes on since she had her my husband talk about wanting to get his own pair. So, she stepped in them and promptly asked if they made them in kids sizes. While they do not make them in kids sizes, the women's sizes do go down to a size 4. Wow! She is a sz. 3 and I think a size 4 will be just fine for sandals. Guess I will be buying 2 pairs of OOFOS for the family.

And what's awesome is that my readers can all get FREE SHIPPING when they purchase their own pair of OOFOS. Just use code: CREWnorth

Product Description from OOFOS:

What is OOFOS footwear?

- OOFOS footwear is powered by our innovative and proprietary OOfoam technology combined with our patented footbed design
- A unique combination of a proprietary foam compound and an innovative foot-bed design resulting in a glorious sensation that has to be felt to be believed

Leader in the Recovery Market
• 37% shock absorption than any other foam material currently being used in the footwear market.
• Each step OOFOAM disperses your body’s impact to the side of the shoe, rather than coming up back through your body.
• Allows the body to recover after athletic activity. Endurance athletes in particular benefit from the well-designed massaging footbed.
• Countless testimonials on our social media from people who have found relieve from plantar fasciitis and other foot pain thanks to wearing OOFOS.

Recovery Shoes not “flip-flops”
• OOFOS footwear are not sandals or flip-flops. They are shoes that integrate a revolutionary foam technology that makes yOO feel better!
• Flip Flops are a generic term for a style of shoe that are sold everywhere. In many instances some “flip flops” are not recommended by the medical community due to issues some consumers have come to develop with their feet. OOFOS footwear actually offers benefits to the consumer.
• Yes, our styles of footwear were launched in a thong style, a slide style and a clog. The reason for this was it was the most economical way to deliver product to our consumers so we could allow as many people as possible to experience the OOFOAM technology and appreciate the great benefits of our footwear.

- OOFOS are made from our proprietary OOfoam technology- meaning it is the only material like it in the world

- Feel the cushion and arch support. Long lasting cushioning and support. Doesn’t break down with wear
- Wet surfaces- great traction on water surfaces
- Shoes made of closed cell foam that prevents anything from penetrating the material, Machine washable

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Try It Tuesday: Crayon Melt Art Project

This was a fun project that was on my kid crafty bucket list for quite some time. Then, someone gave my daughter a set of crayons and canvas board for her birthday and I knew we were going to embark on this project very soon. I did have canvas board on hand and extra crayons so that my son could do the project as well. This top single Crayon Melt Art Project is my son's creation.

These 2 Crayon Melt Art Projects are my daughter's creations using the crayons and canvas board (pictured below) made by Crayola. For my son's, he chose from a variety of crayons we had in a pencil case and the canvas board was something I bought from Michael's craft store.

I am not sure how much these Crayola branded items cost, but I do know I made under $1 a canvas board from Michael's and the crayons my son used were leftover (probably ones I paid 25-cents at beginning of the school year.)

 I started out by putting some duct tape on the back side of the canvas board and attaching it to a piece of cardboard that is larger than the canvas board.

Next I had each kid line up their crayons on the top of their canvas board. I then taped it down. I had used packing tape, but that slightly melted from the heat gun, so you may want to use duct tape there too.

Then I mounted it on their easel and let them use my Darius Heat Tool (I bought this on Amazon a while back to make Melted Fabric Flower Headbands.) I imagine a hair dryer that gets pretty hot could work just as well.

It doesn't take long for the wax to start melting and spreading down the canvas board. If you look at the picture below you can see that I add some scrap paper to put underneath the cardboard and going in to the easel tray to keep from having wax drip where I didn't want it.

When you have your desired amount of melted wax drips, just let it sit for a while. The wax will harden within a couple minutes and you can then handle your project and display it.

I decided I wanted to spruce up the top, so I let the kids pick out some ribbon from my supply and I hot glued it to the top.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Earth to Echo in Theatres July 2nd (See the Trailer!!!!)

Official website:



Synopsis: In Relativity’s PG summer family adventure movie, Tuck, Munch and Alex are a trio of inseparable friends whose lives are about to change. Their neighborhood is being destroyed by a highway construction project that is forcing their families to move away. But just two days before they must part ways, the boys begin receiving a strange series of signals on their phones. Convinced something bigger is going on, they team up with another school friend, Emma, and set out to look for the source of their phone signals. What they discover is something beyond their wildest imaginations: a small alien who has become stranded on Earth. In need of their help, the four friends come together to protect the alien and help him find his way home. This journey, full of wonder and adventure, is their story, and their secret.

EARTH TO ECHO is a PG action adventure movie opening in theaters nationwide 
on July 2, 2014.

Review: Velocity 2.0 Marble Mania Toy

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

My kids are always excited when we get a package to review, even more excited when the package is in a large box. The first question they always ask is "who gets to review this one?" and when I say it's for the kids I am met with many cheers. Well, this was a big package for the kids and I had so much excitement in the house that they weren't willing to wait more than an hour for me to be ready to help them get this set up.

We had the opportunity to review Velocity 2.0 Marble Mania. I have included several picture showing the both on both sides, as well as all the pieces laid out and a picture of my children with the finished piece. Plus as a bonus I included a video of showing Velocity 2.0 Marble Mania in action.

We have had Velocity 2.0 set up for about a week now and my son still goes in to the family room and plays with it a couple times a day. The set includes 300+ pieces and VERY detailed instructions. The instructions were so great! They go piece by piece telling you want to put in place. All the pieces are labeled with a number so you can easily identify the correct piece, although after a while you know which size gray block is #9 or #12 without looking at the number. You do want to make sure you follow the directions exactly because they are in the order they are in for a reason. If you miss a step you won't be able to build upon it and you will have to re-read the instructions to see what you did wrong before you can proceed further.

The first thing the instructions tell you to do is to lay out all your pieces and group them together. There are lots of little bags of pieces to open, so this is a very helpful step. All of my pieces were included and there was a half dozen extra pieces of some of the most abundant pieces. The only bummer we had was that the batteries (included) that is in the flashing disk died very quickly. I am guessing it was somehow turned on in the package and ran down the batteries. The kids saw it work for about a hour as we worked on setting it up and then it no longer would turn on. They are ok with that because the flashing disk is just for show, it isn't turned on by marbles or anything.

The kids have been having a lot of fun with it. My 8 year old daughter started putting together the set on her own but then after a few pages she asked for help (there are 40+ pages of steps), then I stepped in and began working on it and enlisted the help of my 4 year old to hand me pieces.

My kids do want to take it apart and see what kind of other creations they can make with it, but they do thinks it is pretty cool the way the toy is intended. They do the same thing with building block sets where they follow the initial instructions and then want to use their creativity to play with the toy more. I can't wait to see what they come up with. This toy is going to provide hours of distraction and enertainment.

Product Description from The Learning Journey International:

This new Marble Mania set in the coaster series features two exciting hand cranked marble lifters that allow children to send marbles into the twisting and turning tracks at a high velocity. The set has more than 300 pieces that will engage kids in the building process for hours on end! Requires two button cell batteries (included). Colors may vary. Ages 8+ years.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Make It Monday: Clean Eating Sloppy Joes

Today I will share you a recipe for clean eating sloppy joes. You do need to make sure you read the label on your worcestershire sauce because some do contains HFCS and/or hydrogenated oils. 

Come back next week and I will be sharing the recipe for the Coconut Flour Drop Biscuits I made to serve my sloppy joes on, or you can serve them on big leaves of lettuce too!

Clean Eating Sloppy Joes

2 pounds ground beef
1 med onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 6oz cans of tomato paste
2 T water
2 T apple cider vinegar
2 T worcestershire sauce (be sure to get organic, as traditional as HFCS in it)
2 tsp. mustard
1/4 tsp. cloves
4-6 packets of stevia (depending upon the level of sweetness you like)
salt and pepper, to taste (optional)


  • Brown hamburger with onion and garlic on the stovetop
  • Mix together tomato paste, water, vinegar, sauce, mustard and stevia in a 3 qt. pot
  • Stir browned beef mixture in to the tomato mixture inside the pot
  • Cook at med heat for 30 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Fitness Friday: Race Signs

These are all signs I made using my #Disneyside Posters to have fun support posters when my friend Caitlin and myself went to a local half marathon to support friends running it. We had a really good time and are already making plans to have even more fun as cheerleaders and supporters.