Saturday, March 28, 2015

Rice Krispie Easter Egg Treats

 I thought it would be fun to make an Easter treat we hadn't done before. We turned your typical rice krispie recipe into Easter eggs with a hidden surprise in the middle. You'll also need some plastic eggs (1 per child is fine). If you have any fun spring-like sprinkles or candy decorations, grab those too.

I used the regular rice krispie recipe:
6 c rice krispies (off brand is what we used)
1 bag of mini marshmallows (my bag was 10 oz)
4 Tbsp butter

Melt the butter then add the marshmallows, stirring until melted. Stir in the rice krispies.

From there, I took the pot of goo & put it in the middle of the table with spoons for all the kids to be able to work on this at the same time. The kids had already sprayed their plastic eggs with some non-stick cooking spray so they were ready to go.

We discovered quickly that adding a little crisco or cooking spray to their fingers helped the sticky rice krispies not to stick to their fingers so much.

You want to pack rice krispies into both sides of the egg. If you have any little bits of candy lying around, you could put a piece in the middle. We had been to an egg hunt this past weekend, so the kids had some candy sitting around to use. You could skip this step though.

Once you have both sides filled, push the egg together. You want enough inside that it makes it tough to close but you don't want too much where it won't close at all. The kids would snap the eggs shut, then they opened them back up.

This is what it looked like when they opened it back up. They slide out of the eggs effortlessly.

If you have any sprinkles to add, this is where you want to shake some on. We happen to have some that I got marked down last year after Easter. ;)

Tada! Susan displaying one of her finished eggs!

rice krispie easter egg treat, recipe, easter, dessert

I think we got a good dozen and a half out of this. The kids had a lot of fun making these cute treats!

Friday, March 27, 2015

$1 Regal Summer Movies

If you have a Regal Cinema near you, check out this summertime movie deal for your family! They show 2 movies a week where admission is only $1 per person (check the website for times & locations). Movies are usually G or PG.

Here is the list of movies by week:

Week 1-
  • Nut Job
  • Annie
Week 2-
  • Earth to Echo
  • The Boxtrolls
Week 3-
  • Paddington
  • Turbo
Week 4-
  • Rio 2
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
Week 5-
  • Mr Peabody & Sherman
  • The Book of Life
Week 6-
  • The Night at the Museum- Secret of the Tomb
  • Penguins of Madagascar
Week 7-
  • The Lego Movie
  • Dolphin Tale 2
Week 8-
  • Muppets Mosted Wanted
  • Alexander and the Very Bad Day
Week 9-
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • The SpongeBob Movie

Have you ever participated in this program? Years ago it used to be free but you still can't beat $1 per person for a movie theater experience!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

And the winner is. . .

First off, thank you to all who took the time to enter Melody's giveaway of a Lilla Rose Clip! I wish I could give you each one!

But our winner is Wendy! 

Check your email!

For everyone else, hit up Melody to host an online party to earn free Lilla Rose Products. She is awesome to work with and quick to respond to email.

Lord Heritage HomeSchool Office

As a homeschooling family, we are required to keep a log of our schooling. I recently had the chance to review HomeSchool Office from Lord Heritage.

HomeSchool Office Review

HomeSchool Office (HSO) is a web based program that allows you to schedule not only your homeschooling but also your daily home schedule and appointments. You even have the ability to print off schedules, attendance and transcripts! You can access the schedule via your computer, android or apple devices (only via the web, not app related). Not only can you track your current schedule, but you can keep track of your childs progress from year to year.

HSO operates off of a POWER acronym.

Plan- This is the section where you set up your goals and objectives for each student. You plug in their specific info like grade as well as how many hours or days they need to log for their school year.

Order- This is the area where you schedule specific lessons, detail what you want done when (down to the hour), spell out to-do lists (that have nothing to do with school even such as bill paying! And it's all printable)

Work- Here you can manage to-do lists and where the students can log in to check their assignments.  If for some reason they didn't complete something, it can be pushed forward to the next day here.

Evaluate- This is the section where grades & and attendance are kept track of.

Report- This is the area where you can customize your reports. You can also generate transcripts, quarterly reports to include attendance, all in printable format.

When I first logged in, I went to the Team page where I entered each of my children's info. You can even personalize it down to your address, other teachers your children may have (such as from a co-op) and even your friends contact info.

From there, I admit it got overwhelming. There are instructions on setup and a place you can submit questions. Support abounds which is wonderful. But for our family, this planner was just too complex and way more than we needed. I was intending to use it for 4 of my children but it took too much time to implement it so I only used it for 1 child during the time of review.

You have the ability to color code each of your children which makes glancing at the schedule easy when each of them is assigned a specific color. When you have a bunch of kiddos, this function comes in handy!

When building a report, you can select a ton of details to be included such as quarterly start & end dates, attendance, goals & objectives, etc. When entering grades, you have the option to choose if you want them weighted or not.

While I appreciate their Biblical foundation to report building and can appreciate all the options HSO offers, it just wasn't a fit for our busy family. For us, less is more. This program gives you the ability to assign lessons at specific times of the day but we are laid back and my kids do their work in no specific order so we couldn't utilize this function. I would've liked the option for a generic subject and ability to repeat an assignment after only being entered once such as "math" do 1 lesson a day as several of my children's subjects are assigned simply doing 1 or 2 lessons a day. I don't have time to enter specific assignments for all my children in all their subjects. But that is just a personal opinion. For someone who has the time to enter specific info and loves meticulous record keeping, HSO would be a perfect fit!

Pricing is $79 for an annual subscription. You can also try out a free 30 day trial!

HomeSchool Office Review
Crew Disclaimer

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

SweetLeaf- Organic Stevia Sweetener

I recently had the chance to try out SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener thanks to Moms Meet.

SweetLeaf has many products from their powdered sweetener as well as their flavored liquid drops.

First off, if you aren't familiar with Stevia, it is an ALL natural sweetener! But the best thing about Stevia is that it doesn't affect your hypoglycemic index! (aka, it doesn't affect your blood sugar like sugar does). I know there are "sweeteners" on the market that state the same claim, but those are only chemical sweeteners that are cancer causing. Stevia is something you can grow on your own and thus is very safe & healthy!

• SweetLeaf Organic Stevia® Sweetener is a Certified Organic, zero-calorie
sweetener made from high-quality stevia leaves.

• With a delicious taste that is sweeter than sugar, SweetLeaf Organic
Stevia Sweetener is perfect for sweetening hot or cold beverages,
cereals, baked goods, desserts, fresh fruit, yogurt, and more.

• SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener is gluten free, and contains no
artificial ingredients, calories, carbohydrates, or glycemic response,
making it ideal for people managing their blood sugar or calorie intake.

• One packet of SweetLeaf Organic Stevia Sweetener is as sweet as two
teaspoons of sugar.

I also had the chance to try out these sweet drops! A great way to flavor enhance your water. I have a soda stream so I would make some carbonated water and add a few sweet drops to flavor my water. Closest thing you can get to soda!

The stevia packets I added to smoothies I made as well was greek yogurt. The liquid drops were great in coffee. In fact, I even added them to tea as well. The peppermint mocha was great in brownies & hot chocolate. The pumpkin spice was good with some tea or muffins I made.

If you are looking for a HEALTHY alternative to sugar, Sweet Leaf is the way to go!

Connect with SweetLeaf-

 I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

Lilla Rose Clip Giveaway!

You can imagine in our household there are a LOT of hair accessories! 6 of us girls with fairly long hair, well yes, you will find ties & clips all over the place. I was recently contacted by Melody to try out a Lilla Rose hair clip.

If you've never heard of this product before, Lilla Rose Flexi Clips are not only a hair clip but a beautifully designed piece that comes in a variety of sizes and colors. You choose the size based on your hair thickness and type of style you want to use it for. The 7 sizes go from mini to mega.

Unlike some hair clips, the Flexi Clip is all one piece so you don't have to worry about losing parts.

The Flexi Clip is strong and durable, made from metal parts casted in zinc or brass. They hold up to a LOT! Each month a new design is introduced. And if for some reason after ordering your clip and you don't like the size, they offer a 90 day sizing guarantee so all you have to do is email them and they will gladly exchange your clip.

Melody offers a special to all her first time customers, buy 3 items and get 1 free! She also LOVES to do Facebook parties. They are so simple for the host. She will take care of setting up the event and all you have to do is invite friends. You get an hour of girl time with hairstyle tips, a flexi clip giveaway and Lilla Rose product demonstrations, all the fun without having clean up your house to host a party! The host even gets to earn free & half price products after $100 worth of sales.

Here are photos of my girls & I wearing this clip. I often found it "missing" when I went to use it because one of my girls snagged it to wear! We all loved how simple it was to do up our hair and it held it really well too!

My sweet 3 yr old even rocked the clip!

So are you ready to order and/or win your own clip! Stop by Melody's site to check out all the clips and order your own. Don't forget to check out her Facebook page as well!

a Rafflecopter giveaway I was provided a flexi clip free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write an honest review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are my own and those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Alphabet Song Game

My preschooler loves to sing her ABC's and has been actively working on learning to recognize each letter. She was excited recently to be able to review Alphabet Song Game from The Critical Thinking Co.

Alphabet Song Game is available as a windows download. It can also be put on Apple and Android devices. I received this as a windows download which was very easy and quick to install on my laptop. (You need to have Windows 8, 7 or Vista).

The game opens with a simple click to the icon on the desktop. Once the game opens, you have an option to choose a lesson about uppercase letters, lowercase letters or mixed case letters.

As your cursor highlights a lesson, a box on the right hand side gives a description of what the game entails and how many letter choices there are in that game. Each lesson gets progressively more challenging. Also on this screen you can see the score your child got for each lesson. Keep in mind though it only keeps track for one child so if you have multiple children using it, the score that is shown is from whoever last did that lesson. My preschooler as well as my nephews both used this program and I didn't bother keeping track of who had what score.

Once you click on a lesson, a screen pops up with a gal on the one side and the letters coming on the screen as she sings the ABC song. Once she's done singing, you then have letters displayed on the screen. Depending on the lesson you are on will determine how many letters to choose from. In the higher lessons, some of the letters will also be displayed backwards or upside down.

The goal is for the child to click on the letters in the correct order. As they click on the correct letter, it then goes up top with the other letters until the entire alphabet is up top. One thing I noticed is if they clicked on the wrong letter nothing happened. I would've liked some sort of sound to be heard when they chose the wrong letter so they knew it was wrong. Otherwise my daughter sometimes thought she wasn't using the mouse correctly or wasn't hitting the button to click on it not knowing she had chose the wrong letter.

This game can be played in just a matter of minutes. My 3 year old asked to play it several times a day. My nephews ages 3 and 5 also played this. Even though it's a simple game, it really does help them learn to identify their letters through repeatedly playing the game. While my daughter hasn't gotten too far into the upper lessons yet, I can see how in time she will eventually need the more challenging lessons. Just in the time she has used this game, I can see she is able to identify her letters much more quickly compared to before she used this game.

I loved the simplicity of the game and that she is able to do this on her own! It's also available free at the time of this writing so go check it out!

Connect with The Critical Thinking Co. via:

Critical Thinking Company Review
Crew Disclaimer

Friday, March 13, 2015

Trisomy Awareness Month

March is national Trisomy awareness month, with the 13th specifically set aside for Trisomy 13 awareness day. Perfectly fitting since this is the 3rd month, and Trisomy 13 consists of 3 of the 13th chromosome, aka 3-13.

For those not familiar with any of the Trisomy diagnosis', there is Patau's Syndrome which is Trisomy 13, Edwards Syndrome which is Trisomy 18 and Downs Syndrome which is Trisomy 21.

My sweet Noah had Trisomy 13 which is the rarest of the Trisomies & always fatal. This occurs in approximately every 1 in 10,000 live births. Statics are hard to gather on the actual rate of occurrence of Trisomy 13 as 95% of these babies are miscarried early on or stillborn (which makes Noah's Story even more amazing at how he defeated the odds!).

The 13th chromosome is responsible for the development of the body's major organs. Since we are only to have 2 of each chromosomes, this obviously has major impact on a Trisomy baby, mainly affecting brain and heart development, though there is often many other abnormalities as well (this can vary with each trisomy baby). This condition is not hereditary nor caused by genetics or anything we did and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent this from happening as it takes place upon conception.  In the words of science, it's a "fluke". Of course as a Christian, I know it wasn't a fluke as God doesn't make mistakes. I don't know why Noah was chosen to have this condition but he was and I look forward to the day I reach Heaven to finally see the big picture.

Though I wouldn't have chosen this path for my son, I am thankful for all I have learned, and continue to learn, from Noah's brief life here on earth (after all, he is still living, just at a different address than mine!) I am thankful for the friendships I've made from walking this road that I wouldn't have had the chance to form otherwise. This journey has been hard, I miss Noah fiercely and I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the grace of God.

If you have a minute today or anytime during Trisomy awareness month, think of and/or pray for the many families & their precious children who have walked the path of living with Trisomy 13. I say living because even though our children are healed & perfect in Heaven, those of us left behind are forever changed & will always have a piece of our heart missing until the day our children coming running into our arms when we reach Heaven.

I Love you Noah!!!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Money Making Gas Deals This Week!

Ok, ya'll know I LOVE deal shopping! I have to share with you this weeks money making gas deal at Giant!! And if you don't have a Giant, I feel bad for you as all last summer I earned FREE GAS due to money-making gas deals. Check out these details for more specifics on how to do these gas deals.

What is the difference between a gas deal and a money making gas deal? A gas deal is one in which you earn so many points for buying the qualifying amount of deal. For example, earn $.40 off a gallon of gas for purchasing 5 items. These items are of varying prices so for example, you could potentially pay $15.00 but only earn $10.00 in gas.

A money making gas deal is one in which you pay for example $7.45 for products but earn $10 in gas! You just made $2.55! Sometimes my gas deals break even in that I paid $10 for groceries but I earned $10 in gas. Those I also consider good in my book as I would need to buy $10 of gas no matter what, so why not get food AND gas all for that same $10!!

So today was one of my money making Giant runs. Here's the photo of everything I got:

-17 bags of Hanover Veggies 3/$5
-10 packs of Lender's Bagels 2/$3
-8 Dole Shakes 2/$2

Here's the gas deal section for this week:

In addition to the gas deals, I also used a few coupons. I had 8- $.50 off for the Dole Shakes which got doubled to $1 off (you may have to search for the coupon on there). While the sugar & oranges weren't gas deals, I also had coupons for those. Using a coupon in Giant's circular, you can get the sugar for $1.49. There is also a coupon in the circular for the oranges making them $3.88 plus there is a coupon in today's Sunday news coupons for $.50 off which got doubled to $1.00 so I only paid $2.88 for the oranges (normally priced $6.88!) There was also a coupon in their circular for an extra $.10 off a gallon if you spent $50 or more.

Let me give you another hint, the reason why I have 4 Dole Shakes paired up with 1 bag of frozen veggies in the photo is because it's a great way to pair up different items for the best savings (you need 5 items for each $.40 of gas points earned, you can mix & match however you like).

4 Dole Shakes = $8
1 bag Hanover= $1.67

Use 4 Dole Shake coupons which takes $4 off the $9.67 making that gas deal only $5.67 for $10 worth of gas!

In total this was my bill:

Granted, the $56.71 includes the oranges & sugar. Without those 2 things, I spent $52.34 in gas deals. See the lower part of the receipt? That is how many gas points I earned today in gas deals!!!! I can get up to 25 gallons worth.  So that means I earned $72.50 in FREE gas!!!  ($2.90 x 25 gls= $72.50) 

But WAIT there was even more savings going on!! I have a Savingstar account and they had a deal that if I spent $12 on Dole Shakes, I can get $4 cash back!! So factoring that cash back in, I paid $48.34 in gas deals which means I MADE $24.16 today! 

So to sum it up, I paid $48.34 today for $120.84 worth of products! (food & gas) If you aren't shopping gas deals, what are you waiting for!?! 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Koru Naturals

Have you ever heard of Emu oil before? Neither had I until recently when I was introduced to Koru Naturals. I had the privilege of reviewing 2 of their many products, Emu Oil and New Zealand Pure and Simple Lanolin Cream.

Koru Naturals Emu Oil & Lanolin Cream

Who is Koru Naturals?

Koru Naturals is a New Zealand based company that specializes in all natural products that are not tested on animals. Many of their products are for skin care, hair care and general health care well being. They utilize naturals products such as manuka honey, lanolin, tea tree and rose hip oil just to name a few ingredients. 

What IS Emu Oil?

Ok, if I am being straight forward, Emu Oil is basically, bottled fat from an Emu! HA! Sounds crazy BUT if you do the research on the health benefits of Emu Oil, you won't laugh at how this awesome oil can benefit your health!

Australian Aborigines have been using Emu Oil for, well, a very long time! It can reduce inflammation, heal muscle aches, treat burns & eczema, helps hair loss & hair regrowth, fade stretch marks & even reduce wrinkles just to give a few of the many examples of health benefits. You can even use it in your hair as a natural conditioner as well as a way to tame frizzy, curly hair.

Emu Oil is a thick, non-smelling oil that you need to shake before dispensing. It contains vitamins & essential Omega's 3 and 6. A little goes a long way when dispensing it from the pop top. I decided to mainly use this as a facial moisturizer since it said it reduces wrinkles. Not that I have many of those yet, but I do want to reduce the few I have around my eyes. Especially during winter time, it's SO easy to get such dry skin. I admit I have been loving using this as my daily facial moisturizer! I apply it in the morning after my shower. I've had no problem applying makeup on top of it. My skin has felt so soft and I do believe the "smile wrinkles" around my eyes have decreased a bit. I'm anxious to see if they continue to decrease with further use. Unlike most moisturisers there is NO fragrance or scent with this oil which I appreciate. 

I have also used some of this oil on my cracked heals and chapped hands. It is also a great carrier oil to use for essential oils (which I also used a few times with my lavender essential oil).

What is New Zealand Pure and Simple Lanolin Cream?

This Lanolin Cream is a very mild, yet pleasantly smelling lotion that is non-greasy but has the ability to soak into the driest of skin very quickly. Lanolin is a natural sheep woil oil that moisturises and softens skin. This lotion also contains shea butter which I'm a huge fan of. It comes in a small tub with a twist off lid that you dip a finger into to dish out lotion to apply to your skin.

Let me tell you, this came in handy during our very dry winter! We are huge hand washers especially over winter time to avoid illnesses (and as large as our family is, we've been healthy all winter mainly due to hand washing.) With that said, dry hands come with frequent hand washing but this amazing cream has helped heal cracked, dry hands! 
Just one example of dry, cracked hands the lanolin cream helped!

Most lotions contain a fragrance that irritates dry skin. This wonderful lotion had the opposite effect! As soon as we applied it to dry, cracked hands, it gave not only a soothing feel, our hands looked and felt immediately better!

I also applied this cream nightly to my cracked, dry heels before bed and it made a world of difference! Koru Naturals also suggested using this cream for preventing diaper rash. While my diapered baby hadn't had a rash during this review, it did give her soft tooshie and maybe helped prevent any rash the few times I tried it out on her!

My final thoughts? Emu Oil & the Lanolin Cream are awesome! Research it online as I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at all the health benefits! Also check out other products from Koru Naturals. The crew reviewed several of their products.

Connect with Koru Naturals:

Koru Naturals Review
Crew Disclaimer

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Just Be YOU!

I came across this on Facebook recently and thought it was a good reminder and encouragement!

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
Romans 12:2

Friday, February 20, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Treats

I love making themed food for holidays. One of my more popular desserts for St Patrick's Day is my Minty Pudding Parfaits and Shamrock Pretzels. Both are easy enough to make along with your children!

Minty Pudding Parfait, St Patty's day treat

  • 1 – 4.5 serving size White Chocolate Instant Pudding Mix
  • 1 – 4.5 serving size Chocolate Fudge Instant Pudding Mix (or vanilla flavored)
  • 4c. milk
  • 5 drops of green food coloring
  • ¼ tsp. peppermint extract
  • 15 Mint Oreo Cookies (or regular Oreos will work just as well including off brand too)
  • 1 tub of Cool Whip
  • 1 Chocolate Bar to make chocolate curls for garnish (optional)

In two separate bowls, prepare each of the two pudding mixes per the directions on the box: Mix with 2 cups of milk. To the white chocolate pudding add 5 drops of green food coloring and ¼ tsp. of peppermint extract. Mix well. Refrigerate to set.

While the pudding is setting, put about 15 Oreos in your food processor and grind until you have pretty fine crumbs. If you don’t have a food processor put the cookies in a sealed plastic baggie and crush with a rolling pin to get your crumbs. (Good job for the kids!) Set aside.When the pudding is set, take half of each bowl of pudding and put it in a separate bowl. You should now have 4 bowls: 2 bowls of chocolate fudge and 2 bowls of green white chocolate.

Use a knife to draw a peace sign in the Cool Whip. This is my little tip for dividing it up into three mostly-equal parts. Take one of those parts and add it to one of the bowls of chocolate pudding. Mix well. Take a second part of the Cool Whip and add it to one of the bowls of green white chocolate pudding. Mix well. You should now have 4 bowls of pudding: 1 dark chocolate and 1 light chocolate; 1 dark green and 1 light green. You’ll have ⅓ a tub of Cool Whip left, too. Time to assemble!

Put a spoon in each bowl of pudding, the Cool Whip, and the cookie crumbs. Let’s put these babies together! Line up your wine glasses or whatever cups you’re using. Start with a heaping spoonful of cookie crumbs in the bottom of each glass. I used my fingertips to sort of flatten out the top. I didn't really press it down and pack it in, just kind of made the top smooth so I’d get a mostly-flat line between my layers.

Then one color at a time, layer in your puddings. I layered mine like this: dark chocolate, dark green, light chocolate, light green. You can mix it up anyway you’d like! After every layer I used the back of my spoon to smooth out the pudding. My suggestion is to start in the middle and sort of push the pudding to the outside edge (remember you want to be able to see the lines of each layer from the outside of the glass), then once you have the whole layer spread out to the edges use the back of your spoon to smooth out the top as best you can. Keep a few paper towels nearby to wipe up any smudges along the rim of your glass. Doesn't have to be perfect!

Once you get all the puddings layered in your glasses top it off with the remaining cookie crumbs.

Then use that last ⅓ of the Cool Whip tub to add a dollop on top of each glass.

Use a vegetable peeler or small grater to create chocolate curls with your chocolate bar and sprinkle on top for a pretty garnish if you’d like!

If you’re not a big mint fan just omit the Peppermint Extract. You can even use Pistachio Pudding which is already green! This recipe is easily adaptable for any holiday. Just match the pudding colors with the theme of your celebration.

This is another treat my children enjoy making!

shamrock pretzels, st patty's day treat

The original instructions I saw were to place all the pretzels together, then place the candy in the center and place in the oven to melt. Maybe Hershey Kisses would've worked?? But these green candy wafers didn't work like that. So I decided to come up with a better way to make this work. I melted the green wafers alone with a little bit of shortening then drizzled them on the pretzels. I did both the filling in the whole thing & just placing candy in the center. Both ways worked to hold the pretzels in place, so it's all a matter of preference. But they do look pretty good wouldn't ya say??

To make this you need mini pretzels and sticks. If they are too long, just break the sticks in half. Place a piece of wax paper on a cookie sheet and arrange your pretzels like the pictures above. Melt the chocolate (could use white chocolate with green food coloring if you can't find green melting chocolate). For a slightly smoother melt, add a little bit of shortening (like crisco) or paraffin wax, melt either on stove top, mini crockpot or in the microwave (but make sure you only melt it a little at a time & stir after each time until it reaches the right consistency). Drizzle on the pretzels however you like & let harden. 

Do you have any traditional St. Patrick's Day treats or foods you like to make? If so, leave me a comment, I am always looking for new ideas!
Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved