Friday, October 31, 2014

Last Minute Halloween Drink Ideas with Old Orchard Drink Mixers #ad

Are you having a Halloween Party this weekend? Did you remember fun and creative beverage ideas? If not, you can quickly run out to Wal-Mart and buy a couple of Old Orchard Mixers. They were $1.99 a piece. We sampled both the Margarita and Strawberry Daiquiri flavors, but there is also Pina Colada available as well (just not at the store I was at). I was given free coupons (note: disclosure) to purchase these items in order to have a sampling and review them and have an early Halloween party.

 Vampire Slush
(aka Strawberry Daiquiri)

1 Can of Old Orchard Mixers Strawberry Daiquiri Frozen Concentrate
1 Can of Water
3 Cup of Ice Cubes

Directions: Blend in a blender until Smooth, if alcohol is desired then add a 1/2 Can of Rum instead of the water.
 Witch's Brew Drink
(aka Margarita on the Rocks)

1 Can of Old Orchard Mixers Margarita Frozen Concentrate
2 1/2 Cans of Water
Ice Cubes to Serve

Directions: Mix concentrate and water together. If alcohol is desired, mix in 1/2 can of tequila in place of 1/2 can of water. Use ice cubes when serving "on the rocks".

I used this neat ice cube tray with skulls and cross bones for a fun Halloween accent.

Since we were sampling them with kids, we chose to do them all without alcohol, but the cans says you can add a 1/2 can of alcohol to the mix. The "on the rocks" recipe was what I figured out how to make it that way by tasting it as I added water. The recipe on the can is for it to be blended, but I really wanted to use these fun ice cubes and have something not frozen.

These were super easy to make drinks with and everyone wanted more. The can says that it serves 6, but I thought it would be more like 4 drinks. Although, they were very flavorful so I think if you added another can of water and another cup of ice cubes to the daiquiri you could make that in to 6 drinks, or maybe it is just that I had big glasses. LOL! The margarita with the directions as I wrote them did serve 6.

Also, I wanted to know that the can are recyclable, so you have not extra trash.

While I was looking at the Old Orchard website, I did see they have Iced Coffee frozen concentrates that I think I am going to for sure have to look for and try too!

But before you head out to buy your Old Orchard Mixers! don't forget to print off a coupon!!!! They currently have a $1 off 4 frozen concentrate mixes that you can use. 

Reading Bright Start! from Nemours Children's Health System

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a webinar sponsored by Nemours Children's Health System to help educate bloggers and the public about their new program called Reading Bright Start! They sent me the above Reading Readiness swag bag to use at home and encourage literacy skills among my children (note: disclosure). Now, this webinar wasn't that new of information to me as I have done ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education, it's a MN Dept of Ed. program) with my kids since they were infants. I started reading to my kids the same day I brought them home from the hospital and made a routine our of reading before nap time and bedtime. I nursed both of my kids for the first year of their life and it was the perfect opportunity for them to listen to me read. I had their full attention while they were nursing and when I had my second born, my older child would hold the book for me while I read to both of them.

We still read with my kids before bedtime, even my 8 1/2 year old. If they still want you to read to them or with them, DO IT! It won't be long before they might say they don't want you there an you don't want to look back wishing you had read to them more. Not only are you reading to them, but you are giving them sensory input by touching them while you sit/lay next to each other. Some kids are very sensory in nature and find it calming to be touched while they are learning and for some kids being touched is one of their love languages and they are receiving information that they are loved and cared for while they are also learning words and increasing their vocabulary. There is SOOO MUCH good to come from sitting with your child or grandchild and reading to them.

But we didn't read at bedtime, nap time, or during nursing. We read all the time. I have books in each our cars (don't tell me you are bored while we are driving somewhere! read!) When they were really little we had those little waterproof bath books we read to them, and we had a couple of books (an Alphabet one and Nursery Rhyme one) that we read while they ate in their high chairs. We encourage literacy every chance we get because it is so important to helping them become good students and having an opportunity at more success in many facets of their lives. It's no wonder that my preschooler is sounding out short words already and my 3rd grader is above reading level for her grade.

Now that I have shared with you a bit about how literacy is important to our family, I also want to tell you more about how you can use Nemours Reading Bright Start! online program to help your family. You don't need to live in an area where Nemours services to use there online resources, plus it's FREE! Their website is targeted towards providing literacy tools to help children between the ages of 0-5 reach reading milestones. They have 8 separated sections based on different age groups from birth through age five to help you learn what skills you can be working on with them and milestones they should be reaching during this age group. Each of they sections includes milestone information for  motor skills and language and cognitive skills, as well as a section on helping at home and another on warning signs, as well as fun ideas for books to be reading this age group. This is the 5 year old page (since I have a new 5 year old.)
One of the more interesting tools I found on the website is the Preschool Reading Screener for ages 3, 4, and 5. At the end of the screener you are provided instantly with the results and an action plan on how to help your child develop their literacy skills. I think this is particularly useful if you are unsure of where your child is at or if there is no screening in your area before they start kindergarten. It is important that we help equip children with foundational early literacy skills so that we can set them up for possibly future success in school.

This is a picture of a slide in the  Nemours webinar I participated in that I found particularly interesting that says "If a child is not reading at grade level by the end of first grade, that child only has a 10% chance of reading at grade level by the end of fourth grade." WOW! That really struck home to me since I have a preschooler and 3rd grader. I go in to volunteer in both of their classrooms and see how some of the third graders are really struggling with reading and if they are struggling with reading they are likely to be struggling with other subjects as well and I see how important it is that I am in volunteering with the preschoolers and reading to them.

Just check out the list (in the green box) that states what other types of negative consequences there may be for children who are struggling with their reading and not reading at grade level. I bet some of you didn't think that problems with reading can result in some of those consequences, which is why it is so IMPORTANT that we encourage early literacy skills in our youth before they enter school and give them foundational skills that they will continue to build upon.

This is a little chart I have seen in an area library and after this webinar I thought it was such an impact to see visually what it looks like to read to your child 20 minutes a day. Imagine how many words will be in your child's vocabulary if you started reading to them at birth. Don't fret over if you didn't start reading to them at birth, just start reading to them now. Check out the Reading Bright Start! website to get ideas for books and learn about early literacy milestones that your child should be reaching.

Happy Halloween

Review: Santamedical Electonic Pulse Massager

My Thoughts:

The chiropractor I see (infrequently) uses an electronic pulse machine (not sure on the kind), so I was excited to be able to review the Santamedical Electronic Pulse Massager because I like the idea of helping

This is a very powerful unit. Start out at 1 and wait a full minute for it to cycle through if you are doing one of the "Auto" choices" before moving up. When you are choosing between the different "Auto" modes it will do different kinds of pulses and some will be much stronger than other and you could be very surprised if you turn it up right away and then it changes to a different sequence. I have used this on a variety of different bod parts and they do not all receive the impulses the same so don't assume because you are a 3 in one area that you will be in another area. The unit goes up to "10", starting out at "1". The highest I ever felt comfortable using was a 3.5 on my IT band, most areas I could not go over 2. I tried to feel what higher sensations felt like and I was not willing to try anything higher than a 6. So, if you are looking for an electronic pulse massager than is powerful, you will certainly find that this one is. I did find that my muscles that I used it on felt relaxed after using it, so it does seem to be effective. I also like the portability of the massager.

Product Description from Santa Medical:

Santamedical electronic pulse massager features microcomputer controls therefore you can easily adjust massager with available six automatic programs and three diverse styles of modes. The device has dual channel system; hence it can easily work two areas at one time. Recomended by doctors, this is best handheld tens massager in the market. Buy with Confidence, Santamedical unit is FDA approved. Quality - Santamedical unit is designed with quality and durability in mind. Our factory is ISO-9001 certified. It conforms to international medical standards of excellence in manufacturing

Six Auto Modes (stimulation programs), , Fully-adjustable Speed & Intensity, High Frequency stimulation to relieve pain 4 Attachment pads included, Power: DC 6V (4 AAA batteries included) Best unit for Stress, Muscle Soreness, Stiffness, or Chronic Pain. The Simplest Tens Pulse Massager Is Also the Most Advanced LCD shows massage style, intensity and time remaining. Three selectable massages Small and Lightweight - At only 5.3 Oz, is no bigger than a remote control, , this unit packs enough power to thoroughly massage your body, but can travel with you anywhere you like.
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.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Taco Guacamole

I thought I would try this in a pinch because we were at the cabin, where I have a limited amount of seasonings on my shelf there, and forgot to buy a packet of guacamole seasoning. What I did have was an extra packet of Taco Seasoning that cost 35-cents. I used only 1/3 of the packet to 2 avocados and it made a wonderful guacamole with a light taco flavor and lots of avocado flavor. So, instead of spending $1.00+ on the guacamole seasoning, it only cost me 12-cents for part of a taco seasoning packet. I know it's not a lot of money, but every little bit saved helps.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Portland's Haunted Pizzeria - Old Town Pizza

Old Town Pizza in Portland, OR

Fantastic pizza! Plus an interesting story, of course we edited the story to what we wanted the kids to know and what we thought they could understand.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Manicure Ideas

I have had a little fun this month playing around with Halloween manicure ideas. I was trying out a few things so I could share them with my daughter and some of her friends as they had a crafty Halloween playdate.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Jack O' Krispies

I am usually such a fan of Halloween and have so many decoration up and we do so many activities and projects, but this year things have been way busy and chaotic but I make time so that my son and I could make these Jack O' Krispie treats (actually the name came from a friend whom I had given one to and she called them this and I like it, so that is what they are!)

Jack O' Krispies
6 C Crisp Rice Cereal
1/4 C Butter
10 oz. Marshmallows
Red and Yellow Food Coloring
6 Tootsie Rolls
12 Green JuJu Candies
Wilton Icing

Directions: Melt butter and marshmallows in the microwave until butter is melted and marshmallows are double in size. Stir in food coloring to create an orange color. Stir in cereal. Allow to cool slightly before handling. With greased hands, shape in to 12 pumpkins. Cut Tootsie Rolls in half. Press Tootsie Rolls and Juju Candies in to place while the treat is still warm. Decorate with icing when treat has cooled.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Laurie Berkner Solo! Concert in the Twin Cities

My kids were so excited were able to go to the Laurie Berkner Solo! Concert at Beth El Synagogue in the Twin Cities to post a review. I mentioned in my review post of "The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band" CD, her latest CD release, that we have been Laurie Berkner fans for about 5 years now and this was such a fun activity to do with my children. I love being able to include them in helping me review when it is possible. During the time we talked with her during our short Meet & Greet after the concert, she mentioned that she has a Christmas CD and you better believe that will be something we are getting. The CD is called A Laurie Berkner Christmas CD. Maybe St. Nick will even bring it for the kids.

Her next concert will be on November 8th in Boston, MA where she will be performing with special guest Susie Lambert and she will continue to perform around the East Coast in NY, PA, NC, NH and NJ through February and then finishing up her tour in California in April.

Just wanted to give a little plug for Beth El Synagogue (which is a beautiful worship place and place to attend a concert) - they will be having a "Little Mermaid" dinner theatre in November on November 22nd and 23rd. Tickets are only $10 and $5 and that includes the dinner and show. You can order your tickets here.

When we entered, we bought the kids some egg shakers so they could have even more fun shaking things up at the concert. We were given a program and some picture postcards (the kids got their postcards signed by Laurie with a personalized message.)

My daughter just showing off her items she had. She was excited to be there and anxiously waiting for the concert to start when I took this picture.

This is a collage of pictures I took during the concert. All the kids there seemed to love when all the beach balls came out and they got to hit them in to the air to each other and have a party. My son couldn't help himself but get up and dance around to "Shake Your Body Down" and shake everything out. He just loves that song! My daughter was constantly adding to the concert by shaking her egg shaker and my husband felt disillusioned when he heard her sing Laurie has a "Pig on Her Head". He has heard me sing this tune MANY times to my kids over the years and changing the words and he thought I made it up. I never claimed to have made it up, but I guess he never heard anyone but me sing it to the kids so he thought it was made up by me.

This short little video I took of is when Laurie was singing "Bottle Caps" to the kids after asking my son what his favorite songs were. He told her "Bottle Caps", "Cookie Bakers of the Night" and "Shake Your Body Down". My daughter told her that her favorites were "Cookie Bakers of the Night", "I'm a Mess" and "Rocketship Run". I thought it was so cool that she just started singing to them while she signed their cards and our CD, The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band.

It was so awesome that we had the chance to meet her. Although this sets the stage with the kids that they might expect that they always get to meet the artist after the concert. LOL! She was so great with the kids (would you expect any less from a kids musician?) and she asked my daughter if she was getting to old to listen to her music and my daughter told her she wasn't (my daughter is 8 1/2 and I love that she still loves Laurie Berkner music, plus I do too!) and Laurie gave her a little hug and said "I like you!" That just made my daughter light up and I thought it was such a sweet moment.

This is my favorite picture I took at the concert when we met her. It looks like my son is having a stare-off with Laurie and my daughter in the middle wondering what she is supposed to do and feeling awkward. That is totally not what is happening, I just happened to snap the camera at this moment.

After we left and were on our way home, my son reminded me he wanted to ask Laurie what her favorite song is. So, Laurie - If you happen to read this - What is your favorite song?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Athleta Unleash the SHE 10k Run

 A couple weeks ago I ran the Athleta Unleash the She 10K with a good friend of mine. Even though I had done a couple of half marathons last year, I had not done another 10K since I first started running 3 1/2 years ago; it's been almost 3 years since my last 10K, well, at least an official 10K race. Sure I have run a 10K distance several times (although not really much in the last year either since I had IT band issues.)

Anyways, earlier this year I told you about the Wild Irish Run that I did with her and was with her as she completed her first 5K. Well, this run was another running milestone for her and she completed her first official 10K race. I am so proud of her! And so happy I can be along with her for this journey. Next up for us will be a new milestone for both of us as we complete our first Indoor Triathalon.

I have to admit I am quite nervous about it and needed someone to be nervous with me to get signed up or I would keep putting it off. This Indoor Triathalon will be on November 2nd, so soon! We signed up the night after finished the 10K, still coming off from that runner's high and feeling good about stuff. I just need to get this first triathalon out of the way and see what I think so that I am more comfortable doing more of them.

The top picture is when we had just finished the race and were still smiling. :) So happy that my friend gets me and understands I have a need for race selfies. Ha!

Anyways, I wanted to say a bit about this race and the course. I hand picked this race for us because I wanted my friend to have an awesome 10K race experience. For us, it was a little bit of a drive to get to it, but that is really the only thing that wasn't ideal. I can't control the weather but we ended up with wonderful running weather in the mid-upper 40s with full sun. I picked this race because the 10K and 5K were limited at a total of 2500 entrants. I didn't want an overwhelmingly large race for her. Plus, when I looked it up, it looked like a flat course and it was! Flat and mostly paved trails. Oh, I also need to mention I picked it because it was an all women race. I had never done an all women race before, but I know sometimes it can be intimidating running next to men as well. Also, this race gives $5 of every race entry directly to MOCA (Minnesota Ovarian Cancer Association).

So, if you are looking for a really nice 10K race next fall, check out the Athleta Unleash the SHE 10 and 5K in Blaine. The race is also complected in Rochester on April 26th next year (not sure what the course is like), as well as in Ann Arbor, MI.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Use a Cork as a Picture Stand

I wanted these hand painted decorative tiles (that tutorial is coming next month!) and wanted them to be able to stand up on their own, so I thought I would hot glue some wine corks on the back. The bottom you can see that I glues them about a 1/2" from the bottom. I didn't need to modify thecork in any ways, just glue it on and then when you stand it upright it leans back slightly on to the cork and stands up the tile.

Review: Eco-Discoveries Multi-Surface Spray Cleaner

My Thoughts:

I like when I get asked to review cleaning supplies because it forces me to clean my house and clean more of it at one time so that I can test out a product on a variety of surfaces. This time I am reviewing Eco-Discoveries Multi-Surface Spray Cleaner. It arrived in a box with the starter kit which includes the bottle, trigger, and small bottle of concentrate. That small bottle of concentrate is added to the bottle after you have added water to it. I love the idea that they are having us mix it at home with our own water because we don't have to pay increased shipping fees for the added weight of water. Who wants to pay to ship water? I certainly don't.

I tried out the cleaner on the floor, counter and mirror. I was really curious to see how it worked on the mirror (it says it works on glass) because you don't often see that counter cleaners that also claim to clean glass. It worked great! No streaks! Now you only need one cleaner for all your surfaces.

Also worth noting is that there is no scent at all from the cleaner, so this is great for those who do not want added scents or fragrances.

Product Description from Eco-Discoveries:

EcoDiscoveries’ Multi-Surface cleaner is a safe and effective solution for cleaning the many surfaces of your home. Its plant-based surfactants are powerful and diverse enough to clean up almost any mess on almost any surface. Oh the possibilities! Safe has countless sides.

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.

GIVEAWAY and Review: Terro Wasp and Hornet Killer

This product, Terro Wasp and Hornet Killer, is not something you would typically see on Save Green Being Green, but I hope you understand that we are all shades of green and for different purposes. Personally, I hate wasps and hornets and while I take precautions to not expose my kids to sprays when I use them, but I do use them because I want them dead and gone. I was particularly interested in this spray because it is supposed to spray up to 20 feet and we have an area at our cabin where there is a nest that is my the 2nd floor loft window we can't reach without a ladder and do not have one that big there. I also like that it foam because it expands around the nest and you can see exactly how much is covered.

I took a little video that I hope you will watch of me trying to use it (while I am video tapeing, sorry I am not the greatest at multi-tasking those two things) for the first time.

Product Description from Terro:

Wasp and hornets painful stings strike fear in many, but there is a safe and effective way to kill these dreaded pests TERRO® Wasp and Hornet Killer is an easy-to-use entrapping foam spray that coats nests for a complete kill. For outdoor and indoor use, the aerosol can has a powerful jet spray that can reach nests up to 20 feet away, keeping the user a safe distance away from the nest . The entrapping foam kills wasps and hornets inside the nest as well as any returning.

Wasp and hornet nests are often found outdoors under eaves, near windows, doors, patios, carports and outdoor play areas. Indoors, nests are commonly found in attics. TERRO® Wasp & Hornet Killer can be used anywhere nests are built and where food is not exposed.

To prevent wasps from entering your home, spray around areas where they can enter, including gaps around outdoor plumbing and vents, cracks or crevices in foundations and along sills and ledges.

The best time to spray is at sunrise or dusk when insects are least active. Stand a safe distance from the nest and spray the opening of the nest until soaked and then spray the rest of the nest. The entrapping foam will remain on the nest to kill insects that return. Wait at least 24 hours before removing the nest.

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.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Cabin Plants

I took these pictures with my phone, so they aren't the best quality. I just wanted to share some pictures of the beautiful plants at our new cabin. It's fall now and everything is going to die back, but I can come back this winter and spring and see what is going to pup up all around us.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Turn a Counter Top into a DIY Chalkboard and Shelves

This post has 2 projects in one. The first one I will tell you about is the DIY Chalkboard I made with the kids from a leftover piece of countertop (after we did the bottom project.)

As I have mentioned in a previous post, we bought a cabin up north and it was pretty much ready for us to bring our stuff in to it with only a few projects (thankfully!) so some of those projects have been creating spaces outside for the kids to play and encourage them to be outdoors even more.

The picture below show what the leftover piece of countertop looked like. It was a cheap countertop that was clearanced out at Lowe's because it was already cut to size (and either returned or cut wrong). I used Chalkboard Paint Spray that I bought from Lowe's ($6) and painted the entire front side, which would have actually been the underside of it as a countertop.

Then I let the kids help me apply some fun colored duct tape, that they had in their stash, around the edges to seal the wood and over the ledge to cover the paint edges and make it look nice. We bought some Crayola Chalk that is actually a rectangular shape that so it doens't roll off the ledge.

The kids think it is fun to be able to play school outside!

The picture below is how my husband made shelves to go alongside our over the range microwave. Originally in the house there was this HUGE exhaust fan over the stove, but it shorted out and was broken, so we replaced it with an over the range microwave with exhaust. The only problem was that this former exhaust was so big that we couldn't find a microwave big enough to fill it, so we added shelves instead.

My husband bought the piece of counter top because it was the perfect surface for storing oils, spices and more on because it was washable and then we wouldn't have to paint anything (we even put leftover contact paper in the back on the wall). Because the countertop was the same type of material he was looking for to make the shelves and the fact that it was deeply clearanced (where he would had had to pay regular price for the sheets of this material) it was not a huge expense.

And as luck would have it, the leftover piece after he finished making the shelves was the perfect size to make the above chalkboard.

Review: Miss Oops Lace Tube

My Thoughts:

I was sent the Miss Oops Lace Tube to review. They sent me it in the color Beige, but it also comes in the colors white and black. I am wishing I had the black instead because I like it to blend more and I have many black tops and a couple of them can have a bit of a low neckline. Instead of not wearing the tops or having to deal with pins, you should try out the Miss Oops Lace Tube. Mine is in a size M/L and I would say it fits more like a L. I wore it over the top of my bra, as there is not support in it. It is simply a lace tube with elastic. It does exactly what it sets out to do and add more coverage and add visual interest. The top I was wearing below was a jersey material and I thought it helped to dress up my outfit. I like the idea of this product a lot and would love to get a black one as well.

Product Description from Miss Oops:

Need a little extra coverage but would still like a little "peek-a-boo"? Then Miss Oops unlined stretchable lace Tube is for you. It is made like a tube with elastic at the top and bottom to keep it in place. Sold Individually. S/M - sz 32-32", M/L - sz 36-38", L/XL - sz 40-42", 1X - sz 42 -44", 2X - sz 45-48", 3X- sz 48-50" If you wear a D cup, you might need to go up a size. Comes in black, white or beige Lace. Introducing Tube Lace, a stretchable lace band worn around the breasts to transform an existing top into an eye-catching masterpiece. Tube Lace” couples modest cleavage control with the sexy appeal of lace. Tantalizing and tactful, all in one product! Try Tube Lace in black, white, or beige to oops-proof your entire wardrobe.

Find Out More Information about Miss Oops Online:

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.