Friday, May 29, 2015

Asian Zucchini Slaw and Review of APlusChef Spiral Slicer

Asian Zucchini Slaw
1 med-lg zucchini (shredded or use a spiralizer)
1 large carrot, shredded
2 T rice wine vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp soy sauce


  • Shred both zucchini and carrot and toss together
  • Mix together vinegar, oil and soy sauce
  • Pour over zucchini mixture and toss.
  • Allow to set in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving
  • Toss again before serving
  • Sprinkle sesame seeds on top, if desired.
  • Enjoy!

My Thoughts:

I really love using the  APlusChef Spiral Slicer Bundle. It comes with the spiral slicer, a storage bag, cleaning brush as well as a ceramic peeler. I own another one of these, but I had to have one to use at our cabin. I love that I can make fun and interesting meals using this product. I love to make zucchini noodles and serve them raw as a slaw or cook them and serve spaghetti sauce over the top. I also like to use it to make a cucumber salad. It's just a simple spiral slicer that is easy to use but people are always impressed by the looks of the food I serve them when I use this.

Review: Gold Pigeon Easy Magnetic Closure Sports/Water Sandal

My Thoughts:

It's summer!!!! Which means time for sandals and my son only had one pair of flip flops leftover from last year that still fit and needed some new sandals. He LOVES these Gold Pigeon Easy Magnetic Closure Sports/Water Sandal that I got for free to review (no monetary compensation was recieved). I ordered them in a size 1 so he would have a little room to grow in them and hopefully not grow out of this summer and possibly have to use next summer. These are very heavy duty and the magnetic clasp (which he thinks is the most cool thing ever!) is strong but is still easy enough for a child to open and close. The soles are nice and thick that he can run over wood chips and gravel and doesn't feel them through the soles, plus they come off quickly and easily so he can get out any wood chips or stones that got in his sandals. He has worn these for so many things already, both on land (grass, trails, driveway) and exploring in lakes and streams. My daughter really wants a pair for herself (they do have pink), but she is outgrowing the largest size they have and I don't really want to invest that much in a sandals she might outgrow before the end of summer.

Buy Gold Pigeon Easy Magnetic Closure Sports/Water Sandal on Amazon!

Product Description: *Easy & Secure Magnetic Snap Lock Closure *Fully Adjustable Padded Straps for Perfect Fit and Comfort *Convertible Heel Strap for Wearing 2 Ways *Shock Absorbing Mid Sole for Cushioning and Flexibility *Slip Resistant Out Sole Wet or Dry *Water Prove with Quick Dry Lining

#ad Review: Greenwald's All-Purpose Citrus Cleaner

My Thoughts:

I had a chance to review Greenwald's All-Purpose Citrus Cleaner for free. No monetary compensation was received. I typically like to have replacement products on hand so that I am never out of things, but the problem with that is that it takes up a lot of space. Greenwald's All Purpose Citrus Cleaner comes with a re-useable squirt bottle and six water soluble cleaner packets. You can view the video below how you make the cleaner, but it really is super simple. You just add warm water and the cleaner packet and the outside of the cleaner will dissolve as you shave it up. That's it! I now have 5 more "bottles" of cleaner on hand that are not taking up the space of 5 bottles and I am not causing more bottles to be produced or recycles.

Product Description:

  • It's more powerful than the average cleaner purchased and discount stores. It removes the toughest dirt and grease while leaving a light fresh citrus scent.
  • It saves money. Because when purchasing either the kit or the refills (note: this promotion is for the "kit" that also contains a 6 pack of refills) it's 30-70% less than competing products.
  • It saves a ton of space. Each dissolvable refill makes a 32 ounce spray bottle and each refill fits in the palm of your hand. You can store gallons of cleaner refills in the size of a cigar box. You can store an entire arsonal of cleaners in a drawer. It frees up cleaner closet or under the sink space.
  • It's environmentally friendly from the standpoint that you're not purchasing a new plastic bottle every time you need a new bottle of cleaner. You recycle the existing cleaner bottle that you have. This means less plastic bottle trash (5 times less or more) that goes to local landfills let alone less trash you deal with.

#ad Review: Legend Rashguard Shirt

I was very excited to review this Legend Rash Guard. I read the info on how to pick out sizing and I ordered a Medium, which is what I normally would wear. It fits perfectly snug. The picture collage below is showing me wearing it in 3 different activities: yoga, canoeing and a treetops rope course. I love that the length is long and it stays in place. I do not like when something creeps up on me, but this does not do this. The length is a huge asset to this rashguard because I can stay active and not worry about exposing any part of me. It was very comfortable. Comfortable another to wear all day to multiple activities on a girls weekend.

I just love this shirt. I was sent it to review on my blog, but I would buy it again in another color. I like black but not for sunny activities. Right now it only looks like they offer a short sleeve on in black. They do sell this on Amazon in a long sleeve in both a black and gray color and I think a long sleeve would be awesome for biking or running in the spring or fall.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Our Favorite 12 Accelerated Books at .4 Level

Animal Habitats by Peter Sloan
Bess and Tess by Susan Blackaby
Big Brown Bear by David McPhail
Big Egg by Molly Coxe
Bugs! by Patricia McKissack
Clifford Makes a Friend by Norman Bridwell
Gifts for Gus: Sounds of G by Peg Ballad
I am Lost! by Hans Wilhelm
My Camp-Out by Marcia Leonard
My Trip to the Zoo by Mercer Mayer
Rain! Rain! by Carol Greene
We Play on a Rainy Day by Angela Medearis

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

10 FREE Summer Camps & Classes for Kids

There are a variety of Summer Camps out there for FREE for kids. Yes, I did say FREE camp!  None of them are overnight camp, but you can provide your children with activities and socialization (and some learning too!) during the day.

  • Maker Camp by Google - There may be a location near you that is providing this program, or you can do the program online. Check out the website to find out more info and look for locations.
  • Bass Pro Shops FREE Family Summer Camp - A variety of camp experience including archery, casting, crafts, smores and more.
  • Apple Store Camp - My daughter did one of these camps last year. She did the iBook camp and had a blast learning about it and creating her own story. You do not need to have any Apple products to do this camp, they provide them for use while they attend.
  • Microsoft Young Developers - I don't know much about these classes but you can better that I will be keeping my eye out for classes that will be of interest to my kids. It looks like one of the camps teaches them about coding.
  • American Girl Events - Some events are FREE, but some do have a cost associated with them. Check out what is available on their website. Not all activities are available at each locations. We have done some of the free craft activities at the Mall of America location. Some other events include a book club, shows, dining events, hair styling tutorials and more!
  • Vacation Bible School - In my experience, church's do not require for you to be members in order for your children to attend their VBS. Many VBS programs are free or have a nominal fee or will ask for donations. Call or check the websites or nearby churches to see what is offered.
  • Summer School - So, this may not be camp, but often a child can attend summer school even if they are not required to do so. Check with your school to see if it is offered and if it is a free program or if any fees are associated.
  • Library Summer Programs - Many library have free classes, shows and activities during the summer. They are usually only 1-2 hours long. Check with your nearest libraries to see what they have planned. Remember, you can go to libraries in other communities as well. You might not be able to check out books unless they are part your library system, but you can still attend their programs. Be sure to find out if you need to reserve a spot at a particular activities. Library programs can be very well attended.
  • Places to Go Camping for FREE - this is a good place to start to see where you can take your family camping for free. There are locations in every state
  • Summer Camp at Home - You can read all about how I planned an overnight "traditional" camp experience for my daughter with another friend and two of her daughters in my post about MOM Camp. I also plan to do some day camp themes at home with both of my kids and have created pinterest board to gather my ideas, feel free to follow my boards and do these same cay camps at home.

Also be sure to check with your local park and recreation department, community education and ECFE (if you live in MN) programs because they often offer classes and camps for a low cost.

Don't forget to check out some other FREE printables from my blog:

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Teacher Appreciation: Bowled Over!

Ready for one last Teacher Appreciation and End of the Year Teacher gift? How about a certificate to go bowling. I bet they could use some fun after a long year teaching our kids. Bowling is a great idea because they can use the certificate for a date night, a night out with friends, or to take their kids out.

Feel free to print off this printable or any others that I have shared this month and I did share a lot of them. I will have one more for you, but it will be next month. Don't worry! Next month is next week!!!! Can you believe it is the last week in May. My son has already finished preschool (on to kindergarten next fall!!) and my daughter is done next week. I am so looking forward to summer break with them.

I really want to spend more quality time with my kids and you see a decrease in the number of blog posts. I am hoping to still post once daily M-F, but I have decided that many of the giveaways and reviews I have done will be put on hold this summer. There is fun to be had with my kids and I can't do that if I am on the computer so much, but I will still have tutorials, crafts, and thrifty tips and recipes, and field trip pictures to share with you

Monday, May 25, 2015

Happy Memorial Day!

Thank You To Our Military and Veterans. Our Country depends upon you.

Friday, May 22, 2015

FREE Microsoft Youth Spark Camps

Did you know that Microsoft offers FREE Youth Spark Camps? They are starting the first week in June at the Mall of America location in Bloomington, MN. If you live near another Microsoft location you will want to check out their events to see their schedule and sign up.

The first week of June the camp is Smart Game Coding for 8 and older. The second week it is the same camp but for 11 and older. So far they have Smart Game Coding and Smart Game Design camps listed for these 2 ages groups during different weeks in June & July.

Learn more about Youth Spark Camps and Register TODAY here.

It does say that camp is 4 consecutive days for 2 hours each and parents/guardian must stay in the store for the duration.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Teacher Appreciation: Student Letter

Every year I write an email to the principal at my daughter's school and tell him all the ways I appreciate all of the teachers that she had that year. I never ask what he does with that email, if he shares it with those teachers mentioned or if they have any idea that a parent spoke highly of them to their boss.

This year, I still sent an email but thought I wanted to have my kids main teachers hear it from the kids themselves. My email last year did include items my daughter told me that were impactful to her, but this year I want to know the teacher hears it from the child. I think it is good for teachers to hear the ways they have made an impact on a child. It may be something they don't even think is a big deal that turns out to me the most meaningful or provided the best learning opportunity for a child.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

15 AR Books About Swimming (.5-1 pt each)

My daughter is on swim team and loves it. This was her second year on swim team and as she invests more of her time, energy and heart in to the sport  while at the pool she has also wanted to learn more about when she is just hanging out. Reading is such a great way to encourage children to learn more about the things they are passionate about. There are a lot more books than this that are .5-1 points, but these were her favorites that she read this year.

Gold Medal Swim by Jake Maddox (1 pt book)
Dash! Crash! Splash! by Brock Turner

Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey

Queen of the Pool by Jan Weeks

Michael Phelps by Sarah Tieck

Surprising Swimmers by Emma Ryan

Berenstain Bears Phenom in the Family by Stan Berenstain (1 pt book)

Splash It Swimming by Trudee Romanek

Samantha the Swimming Fairy by Daisy Meadows (1 pt book)

You Can Be a Swimmer by Alix Wood (1 pt book)

Olympics by Mark Stewart

Michael Phelps: Anything is Possible by Meish Goldish
Swimming by Cecelia Minden (1 pt book)

Swimming by Bernie Blackall
Swimming and Diving by Christian Ditchfield

Monday, May 18, 2015

Teacher Appreciation: It's Been a SWEET Year

You will remember seeing this printable when I told you how easy it was to make labeled Candy dishes for teachers last week. I had my daughter pass out these cards with that gift, as well as these truffles to all her individual subject teachers (phy. ed, technology, music, art and High Potential Program).

This year I have been all about the easy gifts. I just spent my time making up printables and printing them out. In other years we spent more time making the gifts. Some years you just need to prioritize what you want to do, and this year I just didn't have the time for lots of homemade gifts.

We gave this for teacher appreciation week, but this would make a great end of the year gift too!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

FREE or Cheap Movies for Kids This Summer

All of these locations are in MN, but you can check to see if they have locations in your area.

Marcus Cinema (Rosemount, Oakdale and Shakopee)
Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays at 10am
$2.75 Popcorn  and $2.75 Fountain Drinks

CEC Theatres (Owatonna)
Wednesday at 10am

Regal Cinemas (Eagan)
Tuesday and Wednesday at 10am
$1/ Admission

Muller Family Theatres (Lakeville)
Wednesday and Thursday at 10am

Theatres at Mall of America (Bloomington)
FREE Family Flicks on Saturdays at 10am
FREE Toddler Flicks on Tuesday at 11:30am $4 special concession package available

Elko Speedway Drive-In (Elko)
Wednesday - Car Load Night for $10
Thursday - 2 for 1 Night
Friday - Family Night KIDS FREE

Paragon Odyessy
Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday at 10am

And of course, remember that you can always check out FREE movies from you local library and Family Video also offers FREE kids/documentary/exercise videos to rent for free.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review: NeeBooFit Resistance Bands

My Thoughts:

I really like that this contains 6 different resistance levels because many others I have looked at contain less than that. My biggest draw to these NeeBooFit Bands is that they are compact and still over a very good strength workout without having to invest in weights that take up a lot more space. I brought mine to our cabin (of course I didn't take any pictures while I used them up there, I forgot, sorry) and we just don't have the space or desire to have a weight set up there but we do want to be able to work out beyond running and yoga, so these fit the bill perfectly to help us get in a strength workout.

They can easily be thrown in your suitcase to being along with you when you are traveling in case the hotel gym does not have weights or the gym open hours timing doesn't work for you or you just don't want to work out in front of others. I think these would be a great workout addition to someone who lives in a small apartment and doesn't have space to have a weight set. Also, because they are 12" bands, the movements are more compact as well and you do not need a lot of space to use them.

I did like the range of resistance levels, I am more likely to use Heavy or X-Heavy most often, and occasionally Medium, but my husband likes the XX Heavy and he can use the XXX Heavy at times too.

Product Description:

About the Product:6 Different Resistance Levels - Other sets only have 3-5. Ours is the only complete set on Amazon!
12"x2" Loop Bands - Most of the other bands are 10". 12" means more options while still a good fit!
Carry Bag Included - So you can bring all 6 bands with you. Bag is high quality, not just mesh.
Made of Eco-Friendly Natural Latex Rubber - Premium quality tested for strength and endurance.
No Risk! Guaranteed For Life - Full satisfaction or we will give you a complete refund, no questions!
Exercise Booklet Included - Also more exercises available online.

I was sent the above product for free. No monetary compensation was received. All thoughts, opinions and photographs are my own.

Teacher Appreciation: Good Hands with you!

Hand sanitizer seems to be one of my GO-TO teacher gifts. I see it on school supply lists, so they must use it. I bought a container from Bath and Body Works and attached this printable that I made. Go ahead and print it off and use it too!

Otherwise, check out the other Hand Sanitizer teacher gifts I have given:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

End of the Year Coach Gift

It's the end of the year and you may be looking for creative ideas for little gifts to give coaches and teachers. How about this one? You could print the above picture off to use for a coach gift, or use the idea for a teacher gift. We gave these to the swim coaches for Christmas. How perfect is that?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Teacher Appreciation: Restaurant Gift Certificate Printable

It may be a little corny to make a clever printable to include with a gift certificate when I could just give them a certificate, but I am ok being corny and clever.

We gave this to my daughter's main teacher with a gift certificate to a restaurant in the town that she lives. Hopes she likes the idea.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Pottery Teacher Platters & Teacher Appreciation Cookies

This is a cookie platter that my son made for his preschool teacher for Teacher Appreciation week. He glazed in to look like Earth (since we had been talking about space at the time) and stamped Teacher Heather in to it. I helped him make and decorate sugar cookies to give her on top of the platter. We included the printable below that you are welcome to print off too!

He made this by slabbing out the clay and putting it on a plate mold. He used a fork to make the details around the edges.

Another couple pottery teacher platters and a bowl are below, that my kids made their teachers for Christmas.

These are the platters my children made for their teachers for Christmas. They both used the same platter mold and place slabbed clay in it and glazed it with fire brick glaze. My daughter stamped in A++ Teacher and drew in an alligator. My son used a starfish stamp (since his teacher is a star) and stamped teacher in it. My son wanted to fill his with candy for his teacher, but my daughter decided to fill hers with pens and pencils for her teacher.

This last one is a simple waxy bowl that they used slabbed clay and cut out a circle of clay and shaped it inside a metal bowl and made the wavy edges. My daughter made this for her art teacher (and art club advisor) and decided to fill it with glue sticks. She said they were almost out of glue sticks and thought that would be very appreciated. She came home and was very happy that she gave the teacher glue sticks because she said the teacher was really excited to get them.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thrifty Teacher Appreciation Gift - Thanks for Helping Me Polish My Skills

My daughter this gift was a super fun one to give to her teacher. For this one I had her hand write a note that said "Thank You for Helping Me POLISH My Skills" and wrapped up this fun nail polish set that includes 2 colors.

We also included a letter, which I will be sharing later in the month with you.

This is a really inexpensive gift and if you are like me and giving teachers multiple gifts over the week, the cost of the gifts can add up. Plus this one is super easy and you can quickly get it ready to give.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Easy to Make Candy Dish plus a Review of Kitchen Supreme Liquid Chalk Markers

These Kitchen Supreme Liquid Chalk Markers are very easy to use. We just got these in the mail today and I just love that they some with a set of labels to use. I got these for free to do a review of them and was very pleased with this review came up because I had already bought these glass canisters and had planned to to chalkboard paint on them with chalk, but this was SO MUCH EASIER! The pictures I included are of the Candy Dishes my kids made for their teachers for Teacher Appreciation gifts.

There on instructions on each marker on how to get them started, which basically is just pressing the felt tip (a couple extras of those are included) for a bit then shaking until the paint absorbs in to the tip. You need to do them with each one with probably takes less than 10 minutes to do the first time. I had the kids write on the label when it was flat and then we peeled it from the paper and stuck it on the glass canisters.

The markers so say they can be used on glass and white boards or any non-porous surface, so I can't wait to try these out on other surfaces. They go on liquid and you should make sure you wait until they dry before handling over the chalk. The chalk will dry and doesn't rub off, but you can easily wash it off with water. They are so easy to use that both my preschooler and third grader used them on their own.

My other plan was to tape and area and use blackboard paint, then write on it with chalk. Both are much more messy and time consuming than this. This only took a minute to make a thoughtful gift!

We gave the teachers these DIY candy dishes along with a printable card I made. Feel free to use it too!

I was sent the above product for free. No monetary compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own.