Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Adventures of Smitty: Interview with author Anna Deskins

Looking for a new book to read to your children? Here is a brief interview with Anna Deskins, telling us about her new children's book, Adventures of Smitty!

Tell us about it.It's the story of a magical island of little creatures called Smilies and the mischievous little main character, Smitty.

He's such a naughty boy. Haha! All the moms and kids I've shared it with have been giving me such a wonderful reaction. I cannot believe it. I have to tell you how excited I am to finally have a life-long dream come true. Writing The Adventures of Smitty was really about finding a story that I would want to read to my children at night. It has to be exciting but not scary so that my two daughters can go to sleep. Basically, I was looking for that perfect blend to read to my kids at night and decided, "Why not try writing my own?" We've had a lot of changes in our life recently, so I want to make sure that when I put my daughters to sleep that they feel safe. I have short chapters because I know how busy we moms are but if you can just sacrifice 5 minutes at night reading to your kids, it makes a world of difference. Your kids will never forget it. And although we're running around the whirlwind of life, our kids grow up so fast, and that time that we'd rather finish watching what happened in our favorite soap opera instead of reading to our kids will never come again. I hope that The Adventures of Smitty and books like it help moms do exactly that.

Where can we get a copy of "The Adventures of Smitty"?

Right now, it's available online by going to: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/94655 You can also visit my website: http://www.annadeskins.com/ where you can read more about my writing process, my recommendations for other books and my own adventures in Mommyhood. I'm so grateful for your support and the support I'm getting from so many wonderful moms who dream of writing children's books one day too. Writing The Adventures of Smitty has been such an emotional experience for me, a true journey as I was going through so many changes while writing it. It's truly been a blessing in my life. It, along with my daughters, and that guy upstairs have really pulled me through a challenging time.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Stanley Home Products: Essentials Feet TreatMint Foot Lotion review




Essentials Feet TreatMint Foot Lotion by Stanley Home Products is honestly one of the best foot lotions I have ever tried!



Often times, my feel will ache at the end of the day. I decided to try out this Feet TreatMint foot lotion to see if it really did soothe away the aches with its menthol and peppermint ingredients.


I rubbed it into both feet...which is a challenge for me because my feet are so ticklish... (but, I endured) and within minutes, the soreness and achenes were gone! Completely gone. Then, I decided to try it on my 10 year old son. He was saying that his feet were hurting from basketball practice. After all of the screaming and laughing (I guess he got tickle feet itis from me), he said that his feet no longer were hurting either!



I do not promote anything that I do not truly like...I would give this a try if I were you :) It may not work for everyone the same, but as for me and my son...we are hooked :)



If you would like to order a bottle: click here



Wednesday, September 28, 2011

10 best strategies for de-cluttering and organizing toys in the playroom!



Calgon, take me away! Remember that TV commercial with the woman who just could not take the stresses of life anymore and just wants a hot, relaxing bath to take her away? Ever feel that way about your child’s bedroom or playroom? Yeah… we all have a time or two!

Here are ten tips to help you de-clutter the bedroom/playroom. Hopefully after you get it cleaned up, you will have time for that hot bath!

1. Pick up all the little things.
Go through the room with a plastic track bag and throw away all the stray papers and little plastic pieces that do not seem to belong to anything. Throw it all away.

2. Get rid of all the McDonalds toys.
Happy meals are a wonderful thing, but all those little toys add up quickly. If your child is anything like mine, the toys end up scattered around the room and never even played with again. You can throw them out, give them away.

3. Find a home for all of the stuffed animals.
Who needs five hundred stuffed animals? Apparently, our children do! Find them a home on a shelf, in a container or on top of a dresser. I have learned the bed is not an ideal space for all of them to live because it can be harmful to the neck and back of your child when they sleep.

4. Storage!
Purchase three drawer storage units to keep off of the small toys. This will help keep them off the floor.

5. Dirty clothes search…
Isn’t it funny how dirty clothes (especially sox in my house) never make it to the hamper? Go through the room and collect all of the dirty laundry and put it in its proper place.

6. Organize the closet.
If you do not have shelves in the closet, you may want to go and purchase some type of organizational closet unit. The wire racks that you can screw into the closet walls work wonderfully and are sturdy enough to hold games and toys.

7. Give unused toys away.
This is something for you to do with your child if they are old enough to understand what you are doing. Go through all of the toys together and get a box of toys that are no longer being played with to give away to other children who are in need. Find an organization or Church in your area that you can donate them to. While you’re at it, go through the clothes and do the same thing!

8. Clean it up.
After everything is picked up off the floor, dust and vacuum the space. It will give it the finishing touch!

9. Disinfect
After the space is picked up and cleaned, go through and disinfect the toys that you are keeping, door knobs, light switches and remote controls.

10. Have a yard sale.
This is another way to clean out your toy space. All of those McDonalds toys can be put into little zip top bags and sold in a yard sale. All of the little micro cars that have ended up between your toes…say bye, bye to them too. Sell it all and make some money!

Now, it will be up to you and your child/children to keep this space all nice and clean. I have taught my son that after he plays with one toy, it needs to be put back before he can play with another. You may be thinking: yeah, right lady, you don’t know my child.
Well, you’re right, I don’t but our children are very smart and can be taught how to accomplish this with some direction and persistence from us.

Now, go clean up that play space so you can take your hot bath! :)





Participants must include the following disclosure as a footnote of their post:
“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate,
click here.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Product review: Stanley Degreaser



I recently received a bottle of Stanley, Degreaser from Stanley Home procucts.

The first thing I used it for was to de-grease my pots and pans. I followed the directions on the bottle and mixed it into separate container. I have to say it works wonderfully! It immediately cut the grease from my pans and I was able to get them clean quickly.

There are many other ways to use this wonder soap, you can use it for: Baked on grease, in the sink, drain or garbage disposal, on grease spots on fabric, as a laundry booster, for general cleaning or on garden tools.

Each requires a different formula to work properly, but the directions are all listed on the back of the bottle.


To learn more about Stanley Home Products, you can visit their website.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Time to bake with apples!



Now that the weather has cooled off a bit, it has gotten me into the fall spirit! I have even noticed some of the leaves starting to change color! Yey!



I love the fall! I love cool weather, colored leaves, falling leaves, cool breezes and baking! Having the windows open and fans blowing brings a smile to my face...in addition, having something good baking in the oven during this fall experience is a wonderful thing!



Today, I put together an article filled with apple recipes. Each recipe had apples as the star! There are recipes and recipe links listed through the article and then a list of 5 more recipes at the end. Oh, and don't forget to flip through the slide show on the left under the picture of cinnamon apple bread!!!!


Hopefully, this will get you into the mood for fall! Just click the link blow titled apple recipes.







Thursday, September 8, 2011

Its pumpkin time!



September often brings cool weather, pretty colors and pumpkins! Pumpkin picking, pumpkin carving, and pumpkin baking are all fun things we do with the sweet squash!

If you are a pumpkin pie freak...like me, you start making pumpkin pies at the slightest sign of fall :)


There is nothing like using fresh pumpkin to make pumpkin pie. If you have never done that before, I encourage you to try it this very year! Here is an article I wrote yesterday that will explain how to puree a pumpkin.


I have also included recipes for you to use your newly pureed punkin! (yes, that was intentional...not a typo)





And because you are my loyal blog readers, I am going to include more pumpkin recipes in this post just for YOU :)











After you read the article I attached, be sure to scroll down to the end. There you will find a list of 5 more pumpkin recipes!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fall foliage!


I was browsing through my pictures the other day and found some great fall foliage shots I took right from my back yard!


The unfortunate part: the reason I found them was because I was clearing pictures off my old, dying computer!







The fortunate part: I took some really pretty pictures and they made me smile :)



So, I am going to share them with you today! I hope they make you smile too! When i think of fall, I think about the pretty colors of the leaves, pumpkins, baking pies, Thanksgiving and Pine Sol!




Pine Sol? Yes, Pine Sol! I open up all the windows and clean my house with it. The smell is fabulous!!!!



If you are now in the "fall" mood and are yearning to bake, here are a couple of my favorite fall inspired recipes:






Smile! Happy Baking and Happy fall!

Monday, August 29, 2011

I love apples!



Apples are my favorite fruit...they always have been, even when I was a little girl!






I loved apples so much, I decided when I was about 7 or 8 that I was going to name my first daughter Apple! Yes, I know....



Her name was going to be Apple Cree. Thankfully our tastes change when we grow up. Imagine if I had actually done that? I could hear the teasing now...Apple Tree, Apple Tree! Oh my!






I still enjoy apples. I like to eat them raw, bake with them and even cook with them. I like apples so much, I have written an article about them :)






Please click to read: Learning about apples



There are apple based recipes listed at the bottom of the article :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Cupcake Shoppe in Raleigh




We decided to take a trip to, The Cupcake Shoppe located at: 104 Glenwood Ave. in Raleigh, NC.

We drove over there from Capital Blvd. and it only took about 12 minutes. However, once we got there, we had a hard time finding a parking place :( We wound up finding a spot on the street and paid to park. No big deal...we put 4 quarters in the parking meter, figuring 1 hour would give us enough time to enjoy a cupcake...and it did :)



They had a nice selection of cupcakes. I chose chocolate with peanut butter butter cream, my son chose a red velvet with cream cheese topping and my husband chose a carrot cupcake with cream cheese icing.







In addition, we ordered a cup of coffee. The total of our bill came to $10.75. Thankfully, they offer free water ;)


We did enjoy our cupcakes and the service was wonderful! The place is small, quaint and clean. All in all it was a pleasant experience.





I have to interject: we all agreed that mom (me) makes the best cupcakes in the world!






If you would like to read my article about The Cupcake Shoppe and view more photos, please click the highlighted links!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

My dads cookbook...Pol Martin: Supreme Cuisine






This book, Pol Martin: Supreme Cuisine was copyright in 1993.
My dad is a chef and this is one of the books he used to learn some techniques and recipes. He gave this to me and I will cherish it always.

I have to say, the recipes included in this book do range from beginner to advanced. However, if you are looking to make dishes that will impress, Supreme Cuisine will be a great addition to your cookbook collection.

This is one book I will never sell or give away. To be quite honest, I may not even loan this one out either. I love how it has little hand written notes in it from my dad and added loose papers where he wrote things down.




We should all have something special like this that will always remind us of our parents! If you don't, ask your mom, dad or grandparent to hand write some recipes for you. Then, you can pass them down to your children later in life :)




To read more about this book and see some pictures please click on this article: Supreme Cuisine cookbook

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Back to school...packing the lunchbox!




Can you believe it is August already? Where did the summer go? If you have children, it is time for them to head back to school. Yes, it's waking up early and coming home hungry time again too!




This post is dedicated to those of us who will be packing those lunchboxes again. I have been thinking about some quick and easy lunchbox ideas.




We can prepare a few things ahead of time to make our mornings a bit easier and save a few dollars too! Here are my ideas:





Lunchbox snacks:



Instead of buying prepared muffins, make your own. You can either make them from scratch (basic muffin recipe) or buy a bag of muffin mix from the grocery store that will cost less than $1.00 (you will get 6 regular sized muffins or 12 mini muffins from this bag).




Place 1 regular sized muffin or 3 minis in a zip top, plastic bag or a plastic storage container and send your child to school with something homemade with love.




Looking for a healthy cookie? Try these: No bake walnut cookies. These can be made over the weekend and can be stored in an air tight container for the week!




Lunchbox meals:



Lunchables are a great way to send your child to school with an easy meal. However, they can get pricey! Instead of buying them, make your own!




Using a plastic Tupperware (or any other container) fill it with Ritz crackers, sliced cheddar cheese, pepperoni slices and slices of turkey (all cut small enough to fit onto the cracker). Pop in a fruit drink or small bottle of water and your child will have an enjoyable lunch.




If you are a sandwich type of parent, you can prepare your child his/her favorite sandwich and add to it one of the homemade snacks and a drink and they will be all set.




One thing you may want to invest in are small packages of mayo and/or mustard for your child to add to the sandwich before they eat it. No one likes soggy bread :(




Lunchbox drinks:



Personally, I am all about sending a bottle of water as a drink. However, there are other options. Kool Aid has these drink tabs that your child can add into a bottle of water that will give it flavor and fizz.

You could also send instant iced tea or lemonade mix in a plastic bag or container for your child to add to the bottled water.






For more snack ideas:













Monday, June 27, 2011

Testing out my new signature



This is strictly a test! I wanted to see how my new signature looks in my blog posts now :) I like it!






Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ten time saving tips to make your life as a busy mom easier!



Have you ever wished and maybe even prayed for more hours in your day? I know for me, my wish consists of a personal chef that could come in and prepare three meals a day for me and my family! Oh, wouldn't that be such a blessing? (picture blank stare and cheesy smile here)

I would like to help all of the busy Mom's out there who have also felt this way a time or two. Here are ten time saving tips that may help you:

1. Become friends with your crockpot (slow cooker).
Put your food into the crockpot in the morning before you start your day, turn it on low and allow it to do the cooking! (This may be the closest we will get to having that personal chef cook our dinner for us).
A great book to purchase is: Fix It and Forget It cookbook. This book is packed full of crockpot recipes! They even have a Christmas version :)

2. Save time by saving on the mess. When you do have to cook dinner, line your pans and baking dishes with no-stick foil. The clean up is a breeze! No washing every pan!

3. Invest in a Keurig coffee maker. Instead of waiting for your old, standard coffee pot to brew your morning coffee, invest in the Keurig and make the one cup that you need. It will be done in a flash!
Instead of having to buy the individual coffee pods for the machine, purchase the tool that allows you to use your own coffee.

4. Make breakfast for dinner. This is a super fast way to make dinner. Not only that, it is an inexpensive way to make dinner too. Who doesn't like breakfast for dinner????

5. Use that dish washer! Don't waste time washing the dishes, silverware and cups after each meal. Just rinse them off and put them into the dish washer. Run it once a week. This will not only save you time after eating, it will save money because you will be using less water.

6. Have a McDonald's night. It does not have to be McDonald's, but designate one night a week when you make a trip to the drive through instead of cooking dinner. For us, our drive through night is the night that my son has basketball practice.

7. Drive through Starbucks for your coffee. If you prefer to purchase your morning coffee, drive through your local Starbucks instead of going in. While you wait in the drive through line, you can check your email on your smart phone and kill two birds with one stone.

8. Go for a walk during your lunch hour. If you are having trouble finding time to exercise early in the morning or late in the evening because you have too much to do when you get home, go for a walk during your lunch hour. Bring your lunch to work (if you work outside of the home) and go for a walk afterwards...what else are you going to do?

9. Bring paperwork to your children's sporting practices. If you have a stack of magazines you need to read, a book you have yet to finish or a stack of coupons you need to clip, bring them with you and go through them while you wait for your children as they are having a sporting practice during the week.

10. Cook on Saturday. Prepare and even cook your meals for the week on the weekend. When you are ready to prepare dinner during the week, this will save on prep time. Just pop your frozen meal into he oven and go about your business.

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Starbucks blogging program, for a gift card worth $30. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” (make sure you link to http://starbucksmobile.socialmoms.com/about)





Monday, June 6, 2011

Baked goods at the North Raleigh farmers Market!



Last week was very productive for me. For the first time, I sold my baked goods at a local Farmer's Market! I baked for 2 days straight, in addition to my regular daily tasks. I love to bake! I had my Italian music playing and had a very relaxing 2 days :)


I went to the North Raleigh Farmer's Market. Being my first time there, I did really well! My friend/neighbor, Amanda and I shared a space. We sold about 3/4 of what be brought.



We are planning to be there again this Saturday too!



I am going to bake up what sold the most last weekend, which was: banana breads, crumb cakes, cookies and a variety of shortbreads. From what I was told by the other vendors, it was a slow day at the market. So, I better really gear up for a busy time this week!



If you live in the Raleigh area, please stop out and visit our space! To see what other items are being sold at the market, please click the link: North Raleigh Farmer's Market

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Farmer's Market: a place to teach children about eating healthy! (club mum)





It’s time to reap nature’s bounty: fresh flowers, succulent fruits and a rainbow of bright vegetables! Why not head to your local farmer’s market to pick up the best local, seasonal produce? Want to give your kids a head start on good nutrition and get them to love their veggies? Want to teach them about farmers, growing seasons, and variety? Now's your chance! Make a trip to the farmer's market something to look forward to! Get them involved in picking out the vegetables they want to eat! Where else can you enjoy a day outside while learning about where your food comes from? Find out more at: http://www.themumclub.com/farmers-market/.

How do you teach your kids about local food and produce? Join the conversation at Club Mum, and share your insights! You could be rewarded, just for speaking up and sharing! You’ll discover a community of moms just like you, sharing their own top tricks. Club Mum's resident bloggers all contribute their own unique perspectives on raising kids and making sure kids eat healthy and grow up great!


For lots of great food, fun and family-centered ideas on www.themumclub.com!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coffee tips and recipes!



Ever walk into a Starbucks and find yourself momentarily confused as to what to order? It's OK, really! Here are some basic tips to help you out on your next visit:



If you prefer making coffee at home, here are some recipes for you:


Making coffee (this was the first article I ever wrote for Examiner!)











For more great coffee recipes, look for additional inks within each article!




Enjoy the flavor of coffee in your food too? Enjoy these:


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Children's laptop giveaway!






Yes, you read it correctly, I will be giving away a child's laptop and a variety pack of Betty Crocker fruit snacks!

Now through May, the “Win & Give” campaign provides as easy way for kids to give back. Kids in the U.S. have an opportunity to instantly win a laptop from specially-marked packages of Betty Crocker Fruit Flavored Snacks. For each laptop won, Betty Crocker Fruit Flavored Snacks will donate a laptop to a child in Africa. It’s that simple.






I have been chosen to give away the same prize from this blog!

Winners of the giveaway will receive:
-An XO laptop
-A box of assorted Betty Crocker Fruit Flavored Snacks

To learn more about this giveaway:
http://www.winonegiveone.com/

Here is how it works:
Have your child comment (you can type it in) to this blog post how he/she/your family gives back to their community. The most inspirational "give back" story will be chosen as the winner. Also, please include your email address in the post. If it is not included, you will not win. We have to have a way to contact you if you are the winner!




Thursday, April 21, 2011

Club Mum...easy weeknight meal for children



I have written about this before, but Club Mum is a great place to go to find out new tips and information about children and the way they eat!

To get a recipe for Children's Pita Pizza, you can visit the site this week!

For more great recipes and time-saving tips from Moms who know what it's like, come stop by Club Mum, and discover a community of moms just like you, sharing their own top tricks. Club Mum's resident bloggers all contribute their own unique perspectives on raising kids and making sure they eat healthy and grow up right!

If you're a mom in the know, you can join Club Mum too, and pass on your own secrets and words of wisdom! Not only that, but you could enter to win rewards, just by contributing to the discussions: Just by commenting by “liking” something on the Club Mum site you could win up to $100 instantly! Or if you share your best mom secret in our “Topic of the Week”, you can enter to win a $250 American Express Gift Card! Check out the rules and more details at www.theMumClub.com/official-rules/

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Copy Cat Easter Recipes



Easter is coming! Here are some of my favorite Copy Cat recipes for you to try! Instead of having to go out to eat your favorite foods, you can save money and make them at home!



In the mood for a Maple Nut Blondie from Applebee's? I have that recipe for you!





How about a Starbucks Frappuccino? I have that one too!



Take a look at the article and choose from your favorites!


Happy Easter!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Extreme Couponing!


Have you seen the new show on TLC entitled, "Extreme Couponing"? If you have missed it, here a link where you can get an idea of what it is all about: Extreme Couponing Video


Basically, they taped people who are very extreme in their couponing as they sought out coupons, clipped them and went shopping while using them.


All of those who were on the show, saved an extreme amount of money using coupons. For example, before using the coupons the grocery bill may have been $800 and after coupons they would only pay $6.


It can be done. But, keep in mind that most of these individuals have stock piles of food in their homes. Some turned their garages into mini grocery stores, complete with shelving units and all!


In addition, some would purchase 30 or 40 of all the same items and get them for free or close to it. It was not as if they would take their weekly grocery list and go by that in order to save these large quantities of money.


I have to say that the show did encourage me to do better with my grocery spending. I do not plan to have a mini grocery store taking up my garage space, but I do have a very well stocked pantry, baking pantry, fridge and freezer.


For example, this week I visited Lowe's Food and purchased: 1 tub of sour cream, 4 oranges, 2 large containers of bubble bath, 1 container of shampoo and 1 protein bar. With coupons coupled with sales and clearance items, I spent only $4.32 for everything!


I think I'm doing pretty good!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rt 1 Capital BBQ...THE place to eat!


There is a new restaurant that has opened just outside of Raleigh, NC in Wake Forest. US 1 Capital BBQ offers the best BBQ I have ever tasted!




I enjoyed this place so much, I wrote an article all about it!








Check it out as soon as you can!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Potatoes!


So far this week I have focused on potatoes! They are so versatile! You can use them for any meal: breakfast, lunch or dinner! You can also use them to make snacks such as chips. Sweet potatoes make great fries and casseroles. Here are several articles I have written about potatoes:








As you look through these recipes, be sure to scroll to the bottom where you will find more potato recipes to click on!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bang Bang shrimp


Sometime last year I posted a recipe for the famous, Bone Fish Grill: Bang Bang Shrimp. (If you have no clue what I am talking about, click this recipe: Bang Bang Shrimp)


I made the shrimp along side of balsamic vinegar broccoli... which I got from the Bigger Loser cookbook (I'll post that soon).
:)
I once again got rave reviews from the family. I suggest trying this dish! To lessen the fat, I used low fat mayo and Smart Balance oil. Still, by no means is this shrimp a low fat dish!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pillsbury Birthday recipes


Happy March! Yes, today is March 1st and in Raleigh, NC last night, it sure lived up to its name and came in like a LION!

However, today is a beautiful day filled with sunshine and cool breezes!


In addition, I got an email from Pillsbury today with a link to Birthday recipes they claimed they put together just for me! Even if they didn't it was a thoughtful way of saying Happy Birthday!


So, I would like to share the recipes with all of you, my wonderful blog readers!


I hope you enjoy them too!


If you are a March baby just as I am, here are some Birthday recipes from me to you!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I won a scarf!


I sure did! I entered a contest on my friend NatCraftandPhotos blog and I won!

Natalie made this beautiful scarf herself! I do have to say that all of her work is crafted with excellence.

If you click on the highlighted link above, you can take a look at her work for yourself :)


Thank you, Natalie!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Valentines Day recipes


Instead of going out and spending too much money this Valentines Day, how about making something sweet for your sweetie? Homemade gifts are always so thoughtful and to me, they mean more than something store bought. Give it a try...you might just start a new Valentines Day tradition!

Try this: One of you make the dinner and the other make the dessert!








Sweet desserts!










Fudge sauce - perfect served over ice cream or brownies


Cheesecakes!














Marscapone cheesecake - award winning!


Cookies!
Have a happy and blessed Valentines Day!




Thursday, February 10, 2011

Win a Hotwheels prize pack!



Are you a fan of Hot Wheels? Do your children need just one more car or race track? Enter my contest and win a Hot Wheels prize pack! The pack includes:

· 3 Hot Wheels Baseball hats
· 3 Hot Wheels T-Shirts
· 5 boxes of the participating Big G cereals
· A complete set of the limited-edition Hot Wheels pullback racers
· A Stunt N’ Dunk Hot Wheels racetrack

General Mills has so graciously provided this prize pack for the winner of this contest! Here is some information about General Mills:

Big G Cereals Ramp Up Breakfast Table Excitement
with Exclusive Hot Wheels® Pull Back Racers
Custom-Designed Hot Wheels Pull Back Racers
Available for a Limited Time in Specially-Marked Packages

MINNEAPOLIS – (Jan. 27, 2011) – Consumers’ need for speed will be met at the breakfast table as Big G cereals announced today that four custom-designed, special edition Hot Wheels® pull back racers are now available in some of America’s favorite breakfast cereals. One racer will be in specially marked boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch® (17 oz.), Cookie Crisp® (15.6 oz.), Lucky Charms® (16 oz.), Cheerios® (14 oz.) and Reese’s® Puffs® (18 oz.) cereals.

“Partnering, once again, with an iconic brand like Hot Wheels through this in-pack promotion is a great way to help families spend quality time together,” said Tara Johnson, assistant promotion marketing manager for General Mills. “Many parents have childhood connections to Hot Wheels and we’re excited Big G cereals are bringing together Hot Wheels enthusiasts of all ages for wholesome fun.”

“Exclusivity and customization are very important to today’s highly engaged consumer, which is why we’ve worked with Hot Wheels to create limited edition pull back racers that are only available in select Big G cereal boxes,” said Johnson.

Big G cereals are pleased to support families by providing both entertainment and nutritious breakfast options. Cereal is one of the healthiest breakfast choices parents can make, giving families yet another reason to feel good about choosing Big G cereals. Ready-to-eat cereal has fewer calories than most other common breakfast options, while also being nutrient-dense and many varieties are low in fat.

To learn more about the benefits of Big G cereals, visit http://www.cerealbenefits.com/. The Hot Wheels® racers will be available in specially-marked packages while supplies last.

About General Mills Big G Cereals
General Mills Big G cereals have led many cereal health and nutrition initiatives. In 2005, General Mills guaranteed every Big G cereal contained at least 8 grams of whole grain per serving. Today, Big G cereals, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Honey Nut Cheerios and Fiber One, comprise America’s number one source of whole grain at breakfast, and more than 20 Big G cereals deliver 16 grams or more of whole grain per serving. General Mills currently delivers almost 37.5 million whole grain servings per day with Big G cereals.

About General Mills
One of the world's leading food companies, General Mills operates in more than 100 countries and markets more than 100 consumer brands, including Cheerios, Häagen-Dazs, Nature Valley, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Green Giant, Old El Paso, Progresso, Yoplait, Cascadian Farm, Muir Glen, and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills had fiscal 2010 global net sales of US$16 billion, including the company’s $1.2 billion proportionate share of joint venture net sales.










To win this Hot Wheel prize pack, just do a recipe search on my blog and leave a comment on THIS POST as to what one of my recipes is your favorite. Do this by: February 17th.



I have chosen several recipes that are my favorites and the first person to choose one of my favorite recipes as their favorite recipe will be the winner!



After the winner is chosen on, Saturday the 19th, they will be contacted for their mailing address so the prize can be sent to them.

So, in order to win, your email address must be posted within your comment.

Have fun!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Club Mum



If you are a mom, you may enjoy this site: The Mum Club.
Here you can find tips, tricks and how to's from other Moms! You can also share your own tips.

The site was developed to boost our days and help us spend more quality time with our families.
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Topic of the week... Heart healthy recipe secrets!





Check out this video: Buy in season and save!

Making pizza with my son

Today was one of those days and tonight one of those nights! As I wondered, "What to make for dinner that is quick, easy and everyone will enjoy", I sifted through the freezer and fridge for ideas. Then, it came to me... Chicken Parmesan Pizza!

I decided to ask my son if he would like to cook with me. We often bake together but I usually take care of cooking our meals. He thought it was a good idea so we got to work.


We had a great time together! He is quite the cook! He spread, cut, poured and sprinkled with such ease and talent!


He showered while the pizza baked and I threw together a sauteed spinach side dish.

It was a great time spent bonding in the kitchen and I do plan to invite him to help more often!
Here are a few other recipes you can make with your children:

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Smoothie gone bad...


Oh, my goodness, last night I tried a new smoothie recipe and it was not good at all! I drank it because I did not want to waste the fruit, but I will NOT be making this one again!

I had a brilliant idea to make a coffee and cream smoothie. Now, this would not have been such a bad idea if I had used pumpkin puree with the coffee, but I used cherries and a dab of pineapple juice b/c there was no sugar in the coffee.

It would have been good if it did not have the coffee in it. Here is what I did (I do not recommend you try this recipe):



1 cup coffee, prepared with milk

1/4 cup pineapple juice

10 frozen dark cherries

3 frozen strawberries

1 banana

3 ice cubes

I blended everything together.

The coffee left a bitter taste in my mouth. If I had put sugar in the coffee it would have been better, but then I would be drinking all that sugar.

So, after my husband and I drank it anyway, he said: "I know what would be good, use sweetened condensed milk in it!" Oh, yeah and that would defeat the purpose of a healthy smoothie...is what I told him :)

Anyway, just thought I would share with you. We all makes mistakes you know!?

Smoothie recipes that ARE good:

Pina colada smoothie recipe

Basic fruit smoothie recipe

I have several more smoothie recipes coming out this week on my: Raleigh Budget Fitness Examiner channel

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

My new hair cut




Every so often I make a sudden decision to get all my hair cut off. Sunday was the big day. So, I left a message for Sheila at A Finishing Touch salon, off Trawick Rd in Raleigh. When she got in on Tuesday (because they are closed on Monday) she called me back and we set up my appointment for today!




She is fabulous! I showed her a picture and she cut it just the same! I did not get it styled so I let it dry by itself. You KNOW you have a great cut when it dries by itself and looks good!




Way to go Sheila!




You can give her a call today: 919.878.5811

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Applepie.org



Did you know that there is a website dedicated to only recipes for apple pies? Neither did I until a representative emailed me about it!

You can find just about any kind of apple pie recipe you are looking for.




From sausage apple pie to blueberry apple pie, you will find a recipe that you like!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Great new blog!


Here is a great blog that is brand new! Spend Less, Shop More


By following this blog, you will stay updated on all kinds of great deals! For instance, the latest post is: Four Free Candy Bars at CVS


Prior to that, a post about: $5 Starbucks gift card for $1 was posted.


The author, San Antonio Budget Grocery Examiner, Jennifer King, consistently publishes, posts and tweets awesome articles and tips to help you save money on your groceries!


Please consider following her today :)


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Easy casserole recipes


Now that the Holidays are over, maybe we can relax a little bit, right? NO! Now it is time to get back into our regular routines with family, work and school...


Here are some easy casserole recipes that you can make for quick weeknight meals or make ahead for a relaxing weekend:










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