Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving last minute hints (or help!) for fantastic entertaining!

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving is off to a fantastic start!  I've been in my kitchen baking biscotti, scones and croissants all morning!  But I wanted to share a few resources (courtesy of some of my favorite go to magazines for everything household) for you in case your cooking doesn't go according to plan later today or you just need some last minute ideas ...




Your top Turkey Day problems solved! View a recent live chat with Real Simple food editors.


Follow this breakfast-to-bedtime plan and you’ll enjoy all the best parts of this holiday with none of the guilt.


 31 Easy Pie Recipes
Make your holiday meal complete with these festive, decadent desserts


Wow your table with these variations from Cooking Light on the 5 best-loved dishes on the Thanksgiving table: turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies, and pie.  Pick a dish from each category and you've got the ultimate Thanksgiving day menu consisting of classic recipes with delicious tweaks.



MyRecipes.com talks turkey with advice for how to buy, cook, and carve your Thanksgiving bird.

 


Get inspired to create a Thanksgiving celebration your guests won’t forget with table settings that cater to your coastal style, and more.




Meet the farmers who are producing our favorite Thanksgiving foods, from heritage turkeys and heirloom potatoes to vine-ripened cranberries, farmstead flour, and exotic mushrooms. Delicious recipes and a local buying guide, make this an indispensable resource for any cook who realizes that the ingredients truly do make the meal.



Makeovers for Thanksgiving Leftovers
Here are few new ways to enjoy your Thanksgiving leftovers



The holidays are right around the corner and now is the time to take care of the improvements you've been procrastinating about all year long. From dead doorbells and jammed doors, to caulking the bath and replacing broken tiles, here are our top quick fixes, and all the information you need to get the job done right.

Read more...

Are you in line for those Black Friday sales yet?

This Black Friday is proving to be different than any other.  With stores opening on Thanksgiving to get a jump on Black Friday sales, planning your shopping has gotten even more complicated!  Do you skip dessert to get in line for the deals at Target (that opens at Midnight)?  Or do you start camping out right this very minute (yes, before your turkey is even cooked!)?  Well, I've got news for you, you're too late, unless you are reading this post from a tent camped in front of your local Target.  Yes, last night I saw people already camping in tents in front of our Super Target.  (I apologize for the picture above - I was trying to be covert about taking a picture!).

What Black Friday sales will or won't you be hitting this year? 

Below is a list compiled by CouponSherpa.com to give you the inside scoop on the sales this year.

Kmart has taken the lead this year, opening at 6 a.m. Thanksgiving Day. Toys R Us pulls into second place with a start time of 9 p.m., one hour earlier than 2010. Walmart takes third, opening at 10 p.m. on Turkey Day.

Doesn't anybody "Respect the Bird" anymore?

For those willing to brave crowds on a turkey-filled stomach or rise well before dawn, here is a list of opening hours for 15 major merchants, along with a special deal each is offering. Keep in mind that hours are subject to change and some states don't allow stores to open on Thanksgiving Day. For a comprehensive guide to Black Friday store openings and hours, check out CouponSherpa.com.

Ace Hardware - Midnight Friday
Enter to win a Craftsman 5-drawer Tool Center.


A.C. Moore - 5 a.m. Friday
Free $10 gift card to the first 50 customers.


Bealls - Midnight Friday
First 100 customers per store have a chance to win an iPad2, $250 gift card or $5 Bealls Bucks.


Best Buy - Midnight Friday
Best Buy will distribute entry tickets up to two hours before midnight.


Half Price Books - 7 a.m. Friday
First 100 people per store receive a tote bag and $5 gift card.


JCPenney - 4 a.m. Friday
Free collectible Disney snow globe, while supplies last.


Kmart - 6 a.m. Thanksgiving
Earn 20 bonus points for every $1 spent (twice the normal amount).


Macy's - 4 a.m. Friday
Shop online all day Thanksgiving.


Office Max - 6 a.m. Friday
Save $15 on a $100 VISA or MasterCard gift card.


Kohl's - Midnight Friday
Receive $15 Kohl's cash for every $50 you spend, through Nov. 27, with coupon from Black Friday flier.


Old Navy - 9 a.m. Thanksgiving and midnight Friday
Free Kodak Easyshare Sport waterproof digital camera bundle with $40 purchase (while supplies last).


Rite Aid - 7 a.m. Thanksgiving (at select stores) through 11:59 p.m. Friday
$10 reward when you buy a $50 Home Improvement gift card.


Sears - 4 a.m. Friday
Pick up a Real Deal Coupon Book with over $3,000 in savings that start Nov. 27 (while quantities last).


Sports Authority - 5 a.m. Friday
First 80 people in line at each Sports Authority receive Bonus Bucks valued between $10 and $500.


Target - Midnight to 11 p.m. Friday
Learn about unadvertised deals by texting "MORE TVs" to "Target."

Read more...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Moments of Meditation to Help You Survive the Holidays

I don't know about you, but the holidays are overwhelming me this year.  I just feel like I'm never going to catch up!

I've been a huge fan of Yoga and Meditation for years.  I just love that feeling of peacefulness after.  Unfortunately these days I just don't have the time to catch a Yoga class or sit down for a meditation session as much as I would like. 

Jeff Cannon author of The Simple Truth has put together the below guest post just for OC Mom Activities readers to help us make use of those spare moments in your day to center and ground yourself everyday during the craziness that is the holidays!

Moments of Meditation for the HolidaysThe Holidays are a time of joy and fun.  It’s a time for family and friends, holiday parties and of course the shopping.  But it can all get a little overwhelming no matter how much you enjoy them.  It’s why sprinkling your Holidays with a bit of meditation can be a good thing for you, and those around you.  Don’t worry you don’t have to set aside a half hour of solitude to enjoy the benefits of meditation.  You just have to take a breather from time to time as a way to maintain your equilibrium and enjoy the holidays the way YOU want to.
Here are five easy tips to do just that:

Breathe Deep

The key to real, ongoing relaxation is found in your breath.  It can calm you, lower your blood pressure, reduce your anxiety and keep you grounded no matter how quickly your world is spinning.  If you feel agitated, draw a full breath slowly into your stomach.  Feel your stomach expand for a slow count to eight.  Hold it for a count to two and slowly exhale it for another count to eight. Feel the air enter and then leave your body and focus on the sensation of your breath.  Take a few deep breaths to ground yourself when you first feel yourself start to spin.  Call it a mini-meditation and enjoy the calm it brings. 

Morning Meditation
There is no better time to set the pace of your day than when you first wake up.  Before you get out of bed in the morning, take a few minutes to notice your breathing. Put one hand on your stomach and take a few deep belly breaths.  Smile, as you feel your stomach rise and fall with each breath.  Don’t just jump into your day, give yourself the two minutes you deserve to balance your morning, steady your thoughts and guide your day in the right direction. 

Shopping Break Meditation
When your wits are at their end take a moment to sit by yourself.  Place your feet flat on the floor with your hands on your thighs.  Take a deep belly breath in, and feel your skin expand against your clothing.  Slowly count to eight on each inhale and each exhale.  Feel the calm start beneath you scalp and move down to your shoulders.  Identify each point of stress and take a moment to allow your inhale to wrap around it, relax it, and take that stress away as you exhale.  Use your three minutes to breathe in positive, relaxing energy, and breathe out negative stress. 
 
Mindful Eating

This is a path to power over your food and your stress.  Instead of just jumping in and trying to finish your meal before you’ve even started, take a moment.  Become aware of the food before you.  Notice the shape, color and texture of it.  Become attuned to your body, the way you salivate, the way you anticipate enjoying it.  Notice the taste, the texture, and the different sensations you feel when you eat.  Take the time to look around and become aware of the service around you.  Notice the place setting, the staff and the d├ęcor.  Appreciate and enjoy what you have before you rush back into your day.

Don’t Lose Yourself
During the Holidays family, friends and work associates want to rejoice and celebrate.  It’s what the holidays are all about.  Just don’t forget that you also need to spend time rejoice and celebrate your own self.  It may sound silly, but don’t feel like you have to do everything at your own expense.  Schedule time out for a quiet cup of tea to reflect on last year and think about the new one.  Make sure you schedule time to connect with yourself so that you don’t lose the most important person in your life to the Holiday shuffle.

Remember, the holidays are supposed to be a fun and joyous time.  If you ever feel they aren’t, STOP, BREATHE, and BALANCE yourself to enjoy the love of the seasons.

More about Jeff: 
He was a fast-track entrepreneur with a portfolio of successful businesses, who had published two books with McGraw Hill, produced documentaries and ran his own public relations agency.  Then it all came to a crashing halt at the end of 2009.  One day, he woke up on a hospital bed recovering from a ten hour surgery that removed six of seven brain tumors on his parietal lobe.

Jeff spent the next four months watching his brain reboot itself.  From dreams filled with unmoving black and white textures, to waking up to vivid flashes of memories, he witnessed his senses, and his body slowly came back on line.  A long time devotee to martial arts and yoga, he spent the next year applying his knowledge of Western science and Eastern philosophies to his recovery and his health.  He learned firsthand how the brain is hard wired just as it had been 40,000 years ago.  More important he learned how it could be reprogrammed through such practices as meditation and mindfulness.

Today he still has one tumor in his head that has miraculously stopped growing since his new beginning.  He now works with individuals and groups with a process of personal evolution he calls the Simple Truth.  His mission is to empower, enable, and ensure others live their own Simple Truth through the lessons he learned.

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Monday, November 21, 2011

Supplementing with #VitaminD for the Winter Months #CBias

Being a crazy busy Mom, it's easy to forget to take care of ourselves.  With shorter day and less sunlight we really run the risk of being Vitamin D deficient (especially if you leave for work early in morning and come back after dark!).  And who has time to eat the perfect diet, right?  Being Vitamin D deficient can cause all sorts of health problems from depression, fatigue, lowered immune system to other health issues.

With the way our food is grown these days the foods we eat contain less of the essential nutrients our bodies need.  Taking supplements to bolster the missing nutrients has become just the way it is these days.  I wish I had time to grow my own fruits and vegetables to have then vine ripened, but unfortunately that just isn't practical for most people anymore.

Taking a few minutes to stock up on an extra Vitamin D supplement to help prevent some of the winter blues (among other things) is so important.  I take a regular multi-vitamin, but having the extra boost for the Winter months when I'm not out in the sunshine so much is important.  Benefits of adequate Vitamin D seem to go on forever, Googled it lately?  I was shocked to realize how many different aspects of health Vitamin D really has an effect on.

I'm a creature of habit and when it comes to vitamins I'm even more so.  Buying vitamins from brands I trust is the only way I'll go.  Nature Made vitamins have been around for as long as I can remember and their quality is one I will trust to include in my medicine cabinet.  The prices are always great and you know you are getting a supplement you can trust.

Recently I had the chance to participate in s shop for Vitamin D by Nature Made to stock up and was thrilled because I already have a number of Nature Made supplements in my medicine cabinet.  You can follow along on our trip here on Google+ .

Absorbing some extra sunshine on our way home and noticing the trees are finally changing here in Southern California.
I chose to purchase the gel capsules because I have always found those easier to take.  I have to admit though that I hoped that the pretty blue lid on the bottle might mean that capsules would be a gorgeous blue, but I was wrong.  They are a small little yellow capsule - which in all honest is fine - I just love the pretty blue cap...

Do you change up your vitamin regime for the Winter months? 


Note:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.   #CBias #VitaminD.  But the opinions expressed above are completely my own and the product is one I already love and purchase the brand frequently.

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And the Pinkberry winners are...

If you are one of the below...  Email me asap (OCMomActivities (at) gmail (dot) com)! 

And stay tuned because I'll have another not to be missed giveaway coming up in the next few weeks!  Trust me.  You won't want to miss it!

The first winning comment is:

Amber, November 16, 2011 10:50 PM
Plan with chocolate chips-yum!
The second winning comment is:

The Sherman Four, November 16, 2011 9:31 PM
My fav combo is original with strawberries!

Read more...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Delicious Mommy Time for the Busy Mommy! #CBias #delmonte

It's safe to say I don't have nearly enough me time.  Between working full time and the other chores of life - I frequently get so busy taking care of everything else that I forget to take a few minutes for me.   I get up early every morning.  Very early.  4:15 am to be exact so that I can get a full work day in before picking the kids up at school.

Recently I took a few moments to take some me time and create a delicious snack using the new Del Monte Peaches with Cinnamon & Brown Sugar.  The snack sized Del Monte fruit cups are a staple in our house because they work as a great addition to the kids lunches.  I frequently use the mandarin cups to add to salads when I'm looking to add pizazz and color.  Honestly I hadn't really thought about going beyond that but jumped at the chance to create something new and fun for me.  The Del Monte with Cinnamon & and Brown Sugar sounded like a fantastic combo.  I went back and forth with warming the fruit cup and drizzling over vanilla bean ice cream or creating a pastry.

Not having much fee time in my schedule I knew I wanted to create something I would love but would also be something I could pack up a scaled down version in a small container and send with the boys to school. 

I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do when I headed to Walmart.  Follow along on the trip and baking with pictures and cooking instructions on the Google+ story here. I'd thought about baking them inside croissants for a yummy fruit pocket, warming and drizzling the peaches over vanilla ice cream.  But I found these fantastic puff pastry shells in the freezer section and knew that was perfect.  I filled the puff pasties once they were done cooking with the Del Monte Peaches with Cinnamon and Brown Sugar and re baked for a couple of minutes to warm the peaches. Add a little whipped topping another dash of cinnamon and I felt like I had channeled the inner pastry chef.

After the kids is when I have my "me" time these days.  I've always loved baking and taking time to create a delicious treat is in itself a treat to me!

Once my treat was done I sat down to catch up on some of my favorite tv shows that I don't get to watch when the kids are up.  And the next day I had several left over to warm up and enjoy after sending one in each of the boys lunches.

What do you do for "me" time?

Note:  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias  #delmonte The opinions and recipe are completely my own, but you're welcome to recreate on your own!  :)



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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Candy Cane Peppermint Sugar Scrub - Homemade

It's that time of year... you know, the one where you become overwhelmed by the amount of candy canes that have over taken your life!  Just about everyone I know is looking for ways to cut corners but not feel like they are cutting corners.  Try this delicious (smelling, but don't eat it!) Peppermint Sugar Scrub as a great gift for friends and neighbors.  Be sure to leave yourself a jar for those moments when you decompress and have a little you time this holiday season!

Peppermint Sugar Scrub
Ingredients:
  • An empty jar with a lid (or you can use these cute little tins pictured above)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 6 candy canes/peppermint candy (approx ¼ cup), finely crushed into a powder
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 6 drops peppermint essential oil (optional)

Pour the granulated white sugar and crushed peppermint into the jar. Put the lid on the jar and shake it to mix thoroughly until the ingredients are well blended. Pour the liquid ingredients into sugar mix. Put the lid on the jar and shake it to mix thoroughly until the ingredients are well blended. Label the jar as desired.
Note this post original posted in 2010 here on this site.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

What is behind that door?

When the boys and I got home from Disneyland I found this sign on the closet door.  Apparently my husband started some shopping.  He seems to think this will work but I on the other hand am very unsure about this.  I waited all day for the boys to get home from school to see their reaction.

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Mint Cookie Filled Parmadillo Cake - Birthday Fun!

I've started a new tradition of making fondant cakes for the kids birthdays.  Each time I try something new and try to kick it up a notch. 

Life has been absolutely crazy around here with both my husband and I working full time and trying to manage a calm household in the middle of moving, new school and everything else.  Creating an amazing cake was one thing I was determined to not let slip.  I started planning well over a month before his birthday and his request was clear - he wanted a Parmadillo Cake.  It's a character from Viva Pinata in case you weren't familiar.

My trademark filling has become the crumbled mint oreo mixed with vanilla frosting.  Add some purple fondant and a little free hand frosting decoration and there you go!  One custom birthday cake. 

I'm definitely not a professional, but the kids don't care and they LOVE being able to come up with their own cake designs.  Now if I could just find a cake to make to crumble up some of that Halloween candy we have laying around...

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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are we doing a dis-service in our parenting?

As I sat there listening to my oldest sons fear about making a mistake, I realized that we are doing our children a dis-service. 

With all of the touchy feely parenting and teaching going on these days I believe a critical component of growing up is being glossed over and lost for this generation.  Plain and simple - they don't know how to lose.  Instead of the old school A, B, C, D and F, our children get a numeric "fluffy" grade.  Instead of 1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place there is a trophy for all, frequently without scores at games being kept.

I understood and appreciated this for awhile, but now as my kids have gotten older it has become painfully apparent that they are so afraid of losing that they are anxiety messes at times.  I would call myself the ultimate mother bear, so protecting my children comes number one to me, so it isn't easy to say I want to see my children not succeed at something, but I see that it is an important trade off to help them build crucial character for being successful adults.

Children these days don't know what it is like to "lose" because they don't have the experiences of losing.  But what I feel is far more important about losing it not that - losing, it's the ability and experience in picking yourself back up and trying again with a spirit of there is always another chance.

It broke my heart when I realized this.  It's so important that kids have the chance to learn about failure in a safe nurturing environment so that when the time comes (because inevitably everyone will fail at something) they have the self confidence to pick themselves back up and try again without being completely paralyzed by the failure.

Listen to every billionaire out there and they will tell you that in the real world you will have doors slammed in your face and you will make mistakes.  It's not the mistake that defines success, it's the determination to get back up and try again that will determine the success.

With our children growing up in economic times like this we need them to have a persistence and keep trying attitude that will ensure they become successful.  Another word for it might just be entrepreneurial spirit...

Do you have any parenting insights you'd like to share?  We are all on this journey together, I'd love to hear them and share them if you'd like to include them in a guest post!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Who ya gonna call? - Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday... Who ya gonna call?


It was a Ghostbuster Halloween around our house this year!  These costumes got more comments and more requests to take pictures than I have ever seen.  The boys loved wearing them to all of the different Halloween Festivities we attended because they just plain loved their costumes too!  :)

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

All Natural First Aid Remedy

I'm always on the lookout for more natural remedies - especially first aid remedies.  Recently I received a sample of Omyst to try out and almost as if on cue I received a nasty cut on my thumb.  I grabbed the Omyst (and my camera to take a picture first of course).  I must admit that it does sting a briefly but it did seem to speed the healing, but the added benefit of being 100% all natural is just what I was looking for in my cabinet.

I've since tried the First Aid spray on cuts and scrapes that both my boys have had and they both admit it stings a bit (I'm sure this is from the alcohol solution) but it is very brief.  Since I warn them ahead of time - they don't freak out and are ok with it because it goes away so fast.

Omyst is loaded with Calendula, yarrow, plantain and wild roses instead of the other synthetics you find in ointments.

For more information about pricing and where you can find Omyst go here.

Note: No compensation was received for this post but the product was received to facilitate the writing of the post.  The injury described above was a painful yet timely coincidence.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Cirque du Soleil Iris makes a home in Hollywood

Cirque du Soleil Iris at the Kodak Theater is beyond amazing.  I hadn't seen a Cirque du Soleil show yet (always wanted to, just haven't had the chance yet) and this one far exceeded all expectations I had.  I knew that the show would be a spectacle full of breath taking acrobatics, but there just aren't words to explain how truly awe inspiring this it was. 

Iris was designed just for the Kodak Theater in Hollywood and will never go on tour, so the experience is unique and has multiple nods to it's Hollywood home.  Tickets range in price from $43 up and I can assure you that for this Cirque du Soleil the higher up seats are just as good as ones low down because the show makes full use of the height of the theater.  This is definitely one to take the kids to for exposure to the performing arts mixed in with a bit of Hollywood dazzle.

There are more special effects than I can even begin to explain, but I was floored to hear that some eight video projectors for the main screen, six for the rear projections and four above the stage for special effects.  This begins to explain how some of the tricks of the eye were created, but leave you dizzy thinking about how many working pieces there are to this masterpiece.

One of the best tips I have heard about the Cirque du Soleil show is to not try to follow the story line too much - just go with it and enjoy the beauty of what the show is.

Below is one of my favorite scenes from the show from the contortionists.

Cirque du Soleil Iris is making a permanent home at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood (year round except for Oscar time of course).  So make your plans and be sure to see it (purchase tickets here or call 1-877-943-IRIS).  Want to feel like a real celebrity?  Pay for the valet parking at Kodak Theater(less than $20) and your sure to feel like you too just picked up a golden statue. 

*Note: No compensation was received for this post - but I was invited to attend the show to facilitate a review.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Miss Piggy Has a Few Things to Say... - Wordless Wednesday!

It's a double Wordless Wednesday!  Well... kind of.  I'll let Miss Piggy do the talking!

Love the Muppets! 



Are you ready for the new Muppets movie coming to theaters November 23rd?

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Birthday Fun at Our House - Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday ... Birthday fun at our house 

My kitchen is now known as balloon central. :)


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Monday, November 7, 2011

Pinkberry Giveaway and Grand Opening Freebies!


Who doesn't love Pinkberry right?  Well, what's better than Pinkberry?  FREE Pinkberry of course!  To celebrate the opening of the newest location here in Orange County, at the Brea Plaza (go here for location information - located at Imperial Highway and the 57), they are offering FREE small frozen yogurts to guests who go between 5-9pm on November 17th, 2011!  Yum! (note limit of 1 per guest)

And what's adding a cherry on top?  I have TWO $5 giftcards to giveaway to readers of this site! 

Giveaway will end Wednesday November 16th, 2011 at 12 midnight pacific time. A winner will be drawn using random.org and I reserve the right to draw another winner if I am not able to get mailing address information in a timely manner. Giveaway is only open to residents of the contiguous US. Please ensure I have a way to contact you to notify you if you have won
Here's how to win:

Mandatory first entry:
Tell us in a comment your favorite PinkBerry Combo (this entry is allowed once per day)

Additional Entries:
 ->Bonus 5 entries! Become a fan of my new site PlanetMoms.net on Facebook

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Friday, November 4, 2011

The Circle of Life Never Ends Around Our House - Desperate Housewives Style!

I swear I was caught in the middle of a reenactment of the most recent episode of Desperate Housewives.  You remember when Gabby and Bree were in the car and the frog got loose and was hopping all over the car.  Yeah, well that was me earlier today. 

It all began with an innocent trip to the local garden center.  The entire time we were there Brett was non-stop reminding me that he doesn't ask for much and hasn't been asking for a pet.  And I mean the ENTIRE time.

I decided to buy a couple plants and we loaded up the shopping cart.  At the checkout there were cute little frog statues that sit on the edge of flower pots.  To pacify Brett I told him I'd buy him one.  Happy as a clam he was naming it and planning where to put it.  Little did we know we already had a stowaway.

I loaded the plants in to the back seat of my car to keep them upright for the way home.  Something jumped out of the plant and scared the daylights out of me.  I screamed (not because I was scared, but because I was freaking out how to catch this thing).  It hopped around the car and it hit me almost immediately that I had just watched the Desperate Housewives episode where Gabby and Bree had the same problem of a frog hopping around the car and they were trying to catch it.  So I start laughing at the irony of it all.  Brett runs back in to the garden center to see if they have something we can catch it with while Kyle and I keep an eye on it and see if we can find something in the car to trap it in.

I find a small party favor sized play-do container and manage to trap the frog under it and sneak the lid on.  Laughing the entire way home I can't stop thinking about how we at least already have a terrarium for him (former praying mantis home).

As I type he is nestled in the terrarium with the light on and oh yeah... a brand new waterfall.

Oh the joys of being a mother of two boys...

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Norwegian not Swedish Meatballs - Hillshire Farm #GourmetCreations #CBias

Norwegian meatballs are a family tradition in our house.  As far back as I can remember we'd have the meatballs at Thanksgiving dinners and Christmas Eve dinners.  It's taken me a long time to master making fantastic meatballs the way my mother did.  I'm always looking for ways to increase the flavor of them because I can't seem to duplicate them exactly the way my mom made them.  

I recently participated in a shop for Hillshire Farm Gourmet Creations sausages and I immediately knew the bacon and beef smoked sausages might be exactly what I had been looking for to perfect the recipe.  We were celebrating my husband's birthday and this is one of his favorite dinners so I knew this was the perfect time to test out the new recipe.  After dinner tonight it was clear that both kids and my husband agree that the meatballs I made tonight were beyond amazing.  The strong flavor of bacon and smoky flavor came through and added the taste I was looking for in the family recipe.

Now I'm about to share a secret family recipe with you.  No kidding.  It is sacred in our household.  Follow along through each step of the shopping and cooking with pictures and other tips on the Google + album here.  Have a question on how to cook a certain part?  Comment below this post with it and I'll answer!

Norwegian (NO not Swedish!) Meatballs
Ingredients:
1 cup Bread Crumbs
1 cup Milk
2 tsp each Ginger, Mace, Nutmeg, Salt and Pepper
4 pounds ground beef
2 packages of Hillshire Farm Gourmet Creations Beef and Bacon Sausage
Butter
Flour
Milk
Beef Bouillon

Directions:
Mix Bread Crumbs, Milk, Ginger, Mace, Nutmeg, Salt and Pepper in large bowl.  Grind sausage and meat until smooth.  Mix in to large bowl with bread and milk mixture.  Mix well (you'll most likely need to use your hands).  Roll in to meatballs and cook in pan.  Rotate each meatball twice to ensure cooked all the way through.  

Once you have cooked all the meatballs, use the left over "drippings" in the pan to make the gravy.  Add flour to absorb all of the oil.  Mix in milk to bind them together.   Add more milk leaving over low heat and allowing to thicken.  Add beef bouillon to taste.  

And enjoy!  Remember - they are Norwegian Meatballs (don't you dare call them Swedish Meatballs!).
(actual picture of my dog begging for meatballs - notice he is licking his lips!)

Our family enjoyed it so much tonight that the dog was begging for some!  I made plenty so there I used some of the extra to prep the lunches for the kids in small containers.  The meatballs also freeze really well and are frequently even better the next day after soaking in the gravy overnight.

Think this sounds delicious?  Yes, it sure was.  Please post a comment here if you try them out - I'd love to hear about it!

*This shop has been compensated as a part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.  All of the product and shopping opinions above and on the Google + story are completely my own.  And the recipe above is based on a family recipe.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

We Have Disneyland Grass!!!

I know.  I know.  You are probably wondering why I am profiling a picture of grass in a blog post.  Well, this just isn't any old grass.  This is the newly laid sod in our backyard, which on it's own is very exciting, but what is even more exciting to me?  Well, the sod truck's first stop of the day was at Disneyland that morning.  We were stop number two.  And yes... that means we have Disneyland grass in our backyard now.  Or at least it's close right?  (Don't burst my bubble)

I'll be selling the grass clippings on eBay after we mow it for the first time.  Kidding.  Maybe.  We'll see.  (Any takers?)

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