Friday, May 28, 2010

A great indoor/outdoor toy for toddlers

Our daughter recently celebrated a birthday and she received a Jumpolene!  Essentially it is a miniature trampoline that can go indoors or outdoors and is made for toddlers/preschoolers.  The two little girls have had a blast with it already and the price point is nice too - only $40!  I am sure you can find it cheaper even on sale or at the end of the season on clearance.  It will make for many hours of enjoyment I am sure.  It also holds up to 120 pounds so it should last for a long time!

It works in the house, and isn't so big that it takes up the whole room.
It is perfect for outside!
And can even be used as a playhouse or a fort!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Daily Devotionals

Whether you are spiritual or not,  I think a thought of the day, prayer of the day or something to make us reflect as we begin or end our day can't hurt anyone. I have recently been introduced to some good books for this purpose. 

In my Yoga class my instructor reads from The Mother's Daily Prayer Book and
Tao Paths: Good Fortune (another reason Yoga is good for body, mind and soul) I really enjoy the readings from both of these books.  They are short, to the point and really give you something to think about and strive for as you live each day.  As with all books, you probably won't like all of the daily readings. Some may seen a little "out there", but I think there is still something that you can take away from it to make your day a better one.

We also have the Growing and Learning Day by Day daily devotional at home that we read to the kids from time to time.  This book also has a short paragraph with a daily lesson for the day in the terms that a child can understand and learn from. 

I highly recommend all the books.  If you have any favorite daily devotional or self-help books I would love to hear about them!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Oriental Chicken Salad

Homemade oriental chicken salad is one of my favorite lunches to make for myself.  It is easy, refreshing and pretty healthy!

This is what you need:
Chicken breast
Mandarian oranges
Chow Mein Noodles
Light Asian Toasted Sesame dressing

I usually grill a chicken breast and then cut it into pieces.  Add the chicken to the lettuce.  I chop up almonds into little pieces and add them to the salad.  Top with the oranges and chow mein noodles and lastly add the dressing.  It is filling and light at the same time.

According to The Daily Plate, it calculates to 303 calories, 14g of fat, 2g fiber and 23g of protein.  If you want to add more fiber you could add some chick peas too.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Personalized Necklace

On a recent mother/daughter trip with my sisters and Mom I purchased a mother's necklace.  I have been looking at them for a while and I finally found what I was looking for - and a price that I was happy with.  My sister got one as well and we are both very happy with the quality and time put in to them.  The artist made them for us as we browsed the rest of the art festival.

If you are interested in any of their designs, take a look at their website -

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

30 Ways to Make Your Life More Simple

I found a link to this article and thought I would share this list of 30 ways to make your life more simple.  I have already done some of these and currently do some. But I did find some things that I will defintely be doing in the near future.  I love any self-help tips.  With just a small change your world could be dramatically different - and for the better.

How will you make your life more simple?

30 Ways to Make Your Life More Simple

1. Resign from a commitment you’re not passionate about.
2. Stop trying to be perfect.

3. Implement a basic cleaning schedule.

4. Sign up for automatic billpay.

5. Automate a portion of your investing.

6. Clean out your media collection and keep only the items you love.

7. Plant perennials that will automatically bloom next spring.

8. Clean out your purse or wallet.

9. Put a paper shredder next to your mail spot.

10. Wind your wardrobe down to pieces that work together.

11. Delete any social networking accounts you don’t actually use.

12. Add your number to the do-not-call list.

13. Create a car maintenance schedule and post it somewhere you’ll see it.

14. Design a filing system that you can stick to.

15. Start your day with a healthy meal.

16. Turn your phone off when you need quiet time.

17. Invest in a programmable thermostat.

18. Set one good goal, and go achieve it.

19. Record your good “shower” ideas and then implement them. (Don’t we all get our best inspirations in the shower?)

20. Write to a friend with (gasp!) pen and paper.

21. Set limits on your bad habits, and reward yourself when you stick with them.

22. Stop trying to be a saint and indulge yourself every once in a while.

23. Pay off your credit card debt.

24. Avoid watching commercials and reading advertisements.

25. Rediscover the pleasure of reading purely for enjoyment.

26. Plan two weeks of delicious meals ahead of time and skip the nightly grocery run.

27. Go to your doctor for a preventative checkup.

28. Remember the joys of doing nothing.

29. Single-task as much as possible.

30. Learn to ask for help.

(Thanks for 30 great ways to simplify our lives! For more inspiration from check out 4 Simple Ways to Make the Most of Your Day and 4 Ways to Fight “But I Might Need It Someday” Syndrome.)

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Perfect Caddy

My sister introduced me to this picnic caddy  as she used it all the time in her home and at their cabin.  I have been on a mission to find one since we saw hers and she finally found it for me at Cosco!  The best part - it was only $14.00!  It is so perfect for eating outside or even eating on the main kitchen table.  It holds all of the items you need - plates, napkins, utensils, salt/pepper, even cups! So you don't have to make so many trips bringing each item to the table.  The kids can even help you fill it up for the meal.  I am so excited she found one for me - she also had to get one for my other sisters and Mom as we were all longing for one once we saw how well it worked.

On these nice spring evenings you can't help but want to eat outside.  The bugs will be here soon, so we have to enjoy it while we can. 

Our caddy is all ready for grilling and eating on the deck tonight!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Creamy Cauliflower Purée

I tried a new wonderful receipe for cauliflower purée the other night and I was very impressed.  The taste was amazing, it is a great way to get in more vegetables and I am pretty sure if you didn't tell the kids they were eating cauliflower, they would think it was mashed potaotes.  I tweaked the recipe a little though - I used a mixer instead of a blender (this left it a little chunky but I wanted it that way), light sour cream instead of buttermilk and garlic powder instead of the gresh garlic. Hope you enjoy!

The recipe is from Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes

Creamy Cauliflower Purée

A perfect low carb alternative to mashed potatoes with a creamy buttery taste and less than one point. If you don't have buttermilk, low fat sour cream also works great.

Servings: 4 • Serving Size: about 3/4 cup • Calories: 93 • Points: .5 pt
1 medium head cauliflower, cut up into florets

4 cloves crushed garlic

1/3 cup 1% buttermilk

salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp light butter spread (I used Brummel and Brown)

Steam or boil cauliflower and garlic until soft. Drain, add buttermilk, light butter, salt, pepper and purée with a hand blender. If you don't own a hand blender, you should consider getting one. It is one of my most used gadgets in my kitchen, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. A regular blender would work fine as well.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Calendar Pages

As an avid scrapbooker, I tend to preserve almost all of our memories in some way.  I was introduced to calendar pages when I was working at a scrapbooking company.  For those of you that don't know what they are, they are scrapbook pages that have the calendar template printed on them.  But, just as soon as I got hooked they discontinued the pages and I had to find another way.  My sister started using calendars by making her own with a word template and then printing them off and adhering them to a regular scrapbook page.  I have since adopted her version of the calendar page and it works wonderfully!

I love calendar pages because it makes it easy to capture those everyday moments that happen right in front of you.  As soon as they happen, I have my calendar page hanging in my kitchen to journal the word said, the funny thing the child did, milestone reached, etc. I have done them for each child until they are around 2 1/2 or 3 years old.  It is so great to have the page filled each month and so fun to look back at previous year's pages as well.  It doesn't need to be fancy.  You could even use a regular calendar to journal the memories.  It is just another way to capture those little things in life that make it so precious. 

Here are a few examples of the calendar pages used in my scrapbooks.  I found some calendar paper at a local scrapbook store that I use as the background and then just put the calendar page on top, embellish the the page a little and it is complete!  If you don't want to scrapbook the calendars there are many other options to keep them too - put them in a folder, 3-ring binder, etc. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Neat homemade art projects

I received an email from one of the blogs I follow, Excellence in Early Childhood Education, and it had wonderful art ideas that I thought I would share:

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Stinky kitchen dishcloth?

There's nothing worse than a stinky kitchen dishcloth!! I hope I am not the only one that notices a little stench from my dishcloth every once in a while. I have tried quite a few different kinds and brands of dishcloths and I finally found one that works. A close friend of mine introduced me to the Tupperware Microfiber Dishcloth and I am hooked. I have been using them for about 6 months now and I haven't noticed a stench at all! It is a little smaller than I would have hoped but it still works great. This is one of those items that I spent a little more to get a product that REALLY works and lives up to what it says it will do, so it is worth a few extra dollars.

To order the dishcloths you will need to contact your local Tupperware distributor or go through the website.

From someone who washes down their counters and tables literally 10+ times a day, I am a very happy customer and I highly recommend these dishcloths.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


I have been blogging for a few years now and I just recently created a book of the posts from our family blog.  I was looking for a way to save my posts as the blog has almost turned into an ongoing digital scrapbook.  A friend of mine introduced me to which is a website that takes all of your blog entries and bounds them to a book for you.  It is very similar to the digital scrapbook experience but easier and with less options.  I am so excited to have the book!  The process to create the book took less than 5 minutes and was less than $50.00.  If you want you can get a soft cover book or just the digital file to make it even less expensive. We have been reading through it and re-living the great family memories of the last few years that were captured on the blog.

If you are looking for a way to preserve your family memories and pictures and you don't want to get into scrapbooking either tradionally or digitally, I think blogging might be something you will want to try.  You can create a blog in just minutes and there are options to set it private so that only you will be able to view it and it won't be searchable, etc.  It could be your very own personal digital journal.  So many of us spend hours a day in front of the computer, so having a digital journal makes it easy to log on and jot down the happenings from the day or week.  Blogging is free too, so you don't have to pay to preserve your memories and pictures.  You will never regret having captured all the special moments in your life!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Aquadoodle pen

Have you ever needed to do a mass mailing?  Invites, thank yous, fundraiser letters, etc. In the past 6 months we had to do a few mailings for the kid's school and church fundraisers that we are helping with.  When I started to get everything ready for the first mailing, I thought about what I was going to use to close the envelopes.  I wasn't about to lick all the envelopes shut and I didn't know if I could bring them to a post office to have them run through a machine? And I didn't have any stickers I could use. So, I decided I would try the aquadoodle pen.  It worked WONDERFULLY!  All I had to do was fill the pen with water, and run it over the adhesive strip and close.  If you don't have one or haven't seen one, the link and image is below.  The kids use it with their aquadoodle pad and mat.  It is basically a plastic pen that holds water and then simulates a marker on the mat/pad. I am sure people that do mass mailings all the time have a better tool but this didn't cost me a thing, I already had it in the house and it couldn't have worked better!

It would be perfect for sending out graduation announcements, wedding invitations, thank yous, etc.