Monday, August 31, 2009

Garden update....

Is it Monday already??
Well the weeds have about taken over. I can barely get in there now. It's a sad sight. I did find 2 more zucchini though among the vegetation.
I am hoping that a few squash and/or watermelon might be lost in there as well.
A girl ca dream right?!?!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Zhu Zhu Pets Review and Giveaway!

Zhu Zhu Pets are fun, interactive hamsters that talk, move and even navigate their way around their own habitats. And the best thing about these pets? No mess and no fuss…just hours of interactive play!
I was very excited to be selected by MomSelect to do this review and giveaway.
When the Zhu Zhu Pets package arrived and I saw all the boxes and pieces that needed to be put together I was quite intimidated. I will admit that I display signs of ADHD when trying to follow kid-toy directions! But I made it a goal of mine to do this project all by myself. Well, I did get my husband to help with one tiny part, but I did the rest on my own. It took me roughly 60 minutes to put all the pieces together from start to finish. I consider that fast because I did it while both of my kids ( 5 and almost 2) were in my face! They were very excited for me to finally finish. They did get sent to play upstairs so I could have 15 minutes of set-up time all to myself.

Zhu Zhu Pets are for ages 4 and up, but my 22 month old son seemed almost ready to enjoy this toy as much as my 5 year old daughter. I say almost because in the beginning I am sure he thought the hamster ( which he called a mouse) was in fact real and was looking over his shoulder to keep it in his view. I don't blame him though, the way Mr. Squiggles scurried about was very realistic!
My 5 year old let her imagination take over as soon she was left to play. She thought it was one of the best toys she has! She loves the hamster and thinks all the add-on sets are really cool.
I was impressed at how realistic the hamster was. The way it moved and scurried around it's surroundings reminded me of when I was little and had real hamsters. The little noises it makes are very funny. I think this is a good alternative to a live hamster- and no messy cages to clean!
You can make your hamster kingdom as big or as small as you would like. You are able to purchase add-on sets to expand or change your kingdom.
Since no toy on the market is perfect; I will list a few things I was not impressed with.

  • The connector clips do not stay clipped. ( this was the only thing my husband helped me with because I thought I was doing it wrong when I wasn't). I might have to try to super glue them in place.

  • The hamster can get lots of hair ( we have a cat and dog) entangled in its wheels which will cause it to move slowly or not at all. You just have to untangle/clean it and the hamster is ready for action again.

  • The garage doors won't stay on and the top of the garage pops off very easy. My kids finally just took the top off and left it off. This too can probably be fixed with some super glue!

With those being the things that stood out to me I would like to say that I ( and my kids of course) loved Zhu Zhu Pets. I have never seen a toy like it before and I enjoyed watching the kids play with this.

If you would like the chance to win a Zhu Zhu Pet hamster and slide/ramp set please do the following:

**MAIN RULE (this must be followed or no other entries will count!) Log onto the Zhu Zhu Pets website and tell me what add-on set you would like and who you would give it to.

1 extra entry-subscribe to my RSS feed (or let me know that you already have) in a separate comment.

1 extra entry- follow my blog

2 extra entries- Write a post in your blog linking to my blog about this giveaway ( 2 comments please)

2 extra entries- Comment on a non-giveaway post my blog. ( 2 comment please)

1 extra entry-Follow me on Twitter. ( sidebar access)

1 extra entry-Tweet about this giveaway (be sure to include the link in your comment so I can check!) you can do this once a day.

Please be sure to separate your entries in the comment box.

*This giveaway will close on September 10th at 11:59pm of and the winner will be announced by the afternoon of September 11th. The winner will be chosen by using from all valid entries and will be contacted via email. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me before they forfeit their prize. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Banana-Zucchini Muffin Recipe

Well I finally made the muffins I have been talking about for weeks!
They turned out pretty good. They were very moist!
I needed one more banana but I only had 2. They probably would have been a touch sweeter.
I also added cinnamon, vanilla, ,raisins and wheat germ.
Miles loves them. I like them. Matt does not hate them and Amara does not even know I made them!

18 muffins ( recipe also here )
1 cup zucchini, grated (I leave the skins on and use the food processor)
1 1/2 cups
bananas, mashed (about 3 bananas, I leave it a little lumpy)
1/2 cup
unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 teaspoons
baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons
baking soda
1 1/2 cups
whole wheat flour
1 cup
quick-cooking oatmeal
1/2 cup
walnuts, chopped
1/2 teaspoon
1.Oven at 350°F.
2.Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.
3.Mix banana and zucchini. Add brown sugar, egg and applesauce. Combine well.
4.In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, oatmeal, salt and walnuts.
5.Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring until just combined.
6.Bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
7.Let rest for 5 minutes, and then cool on rack.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Garden update....

The weeds have officially taken over. I am sure this was my post last time I updated!
I did venture into the mess of weeds on Saturday though. We have had tons of rain and cool temperatures all week long.
Somehow I found a HUGE zucchini and 2 normal sized ones. I have been threatening to make a bread and or muffins so I might as well do it already. I will use the huge one since they don't taste as good as the smaller ones to me. I wonder if there is any truth to that?
My last attempt at a zucchini bread was probably at least 3 years ago if not longer. It was not pretty. It looked good, but tasted just the opposite. I will let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kettle Cuisine Soup Winner....

allysona--please contact me within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen

Monday, August 17, 2009

Garden update....

Not much to update this week. Same old story. Weeds, weeds and more weeds!!
I am too embarrassed to take a picture to show the horror. Maybe next week.
My husband thinks that it was a complete failure and that there is no need to try next year. I beg his pardon. This only makes me want to try harder next year. I know where i went wrong. Kind of. The whole weeding issue. Maybe I can hire a kid and pay him $10 to weed the garden. I will look into that.
I am happy for the quality time I spent with Amara in the garden. I learned that she can make up a song on the spot about anything. I learned that she does not like to pull weeds for more than 10 minutes at a stretch. I at least have a few HUGE zucchini to show for all the time and effort(ha) I put into it. A handful of edible strawberries and green beans and peas too. I probably should not hold my breath on the broccoli and the bell peppers have yet to make an appearance either.
I will have many fond memories of my first attempt at an organic garden!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Emergency Operation DeClutter--AGAIN

Here we go again.
Amara and I are some cleaning fools today. Matt and I have plans to go out tonight and have a sitter for the kids. So you know what that means. It's time to clean up. Again. Same old story. We clean. We dirty. We clean again. The cycle goes on and on. The good news is. It should not take that long. The kitchen is just about done and only takes me 20 minutes tops.
We might not even go out due to a sick child, but we might as well act as if we are going out and get the job done already.
OK, I have procrastinated enough. Back to the grind!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday (kind of)

My husband decided to give the kids haircuts . Miles' looks fine and it is hard to mess up. Amara on the other hand. I don't want to talk about it. It's growing on me and it will grow out, right?!?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Jessilyn82 is the winner of the Zola Acai Juice and Smoothie Giveaway!!


Please contact me with your mailing address in the next 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen

*True Random Number Generator Result: 36

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bake Me a Wish Giveaway @ The Mommy Files

Head on over to The Mommy Files and check out her new giveaway.
It's a very decadent Bake Me a Wish cake called: The Triple Chocolate Enrobed Brownie Cake.
You won't believe your EYES!!

Garden update....

The garden has produced more green beans and one more zucchini! I am just hoping that the bell peppers decide to make an appearance sometime soon. I can wait I guess. I really have no choice. I have also given up on picking weeds. No point. They have taken over and I might as well get used to it!
We had lots of thunderstorms last week that pretty much trashed the garden. It probably looks really bad to someone that does not know that there are actually edible vegetables growing there. The weeds and all the uprooted weeds and plants and tons of dirt everywhere. Looks beautiful to me though since it's actually producing some produce. ( not a very funny joke).
Hopefully I will spot some bell peppers soon, I really want to make some salsa from my own garden. I might try my luck at some zucchini bread or muffins this week. The last time I tried it did not go so well. It was undercooked I think. I am certain that Matt ate it anyway. He eats whatever I cook, no matter how unappealing or undercooked apparently!
If you know of a healthy and easy zucchini recipe you would like to share I would love to try it out!

Friday, August 7, 2009

News You Can Use...."Green Laundry"

I will be the first to admit that I might call 4 times a "load" of laundry. That' s not a real load and it is very wasteful, sometimes you only need 4 things I right?!?! Even so it's something I am currently working on. I came across an article in Well Being Journal the other day that gave same useful tips on "Green" Laundry. Here are a few from the article:

  • Do full loads of laundry-conventional washing machines can use up to 40 gallons of water per wash ( oops!)

  • use a cold rinse since this saves on energy and will lower greenhouse emissions.

  • Line dry if possible or invest in a drying rack instead of a carbon emitting dryer.

When choosing a laundry detergent:

  • Pick a detergent that lists all the ingredients

  • Choose fragrance-free-the perfumes used to scent them might contaminate drinking water.

  • Purchase detergents that is 2-3 times concentrated. ( I do this currently-woo hoo!) This saves energy, packaging, and cost.

  • Buy detergents that are formulated to perform in cold water.

So it looks like I have some work to do! Maybe I should just buy duplicates of my favorite items of clothes!! Sound good to me! Do you have any tips to share about greening up your laundry procedures? I would love to hear about them!
For the full article please click here

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Healthy Family Updates

Amara had a dental visit this week. It was her 3rd time going. I am very proud of her! Her teeth are doing great. I was also glad that she kind of enjoys going to the dentist ( I do too). She always gives the hygienist the biggest hug you have ever seen. You would think she sees her every 6 days, not every 6 months!
There was not a lot of scrapping to be done on her pearly whites. She brushes twice a day. Every few days Matt or I will give them a scrub as well, just to remind her how it's done. Although she clearly is doing wonderfully without us (tear). We floss her about once a week ( probably less, but we are working on that).

Even though we do all of those things I am sure a lot of her teeth's health has to do with the food she eats ( or does NOT eat). All of those apples, bananas and milk we feed her are doing some good! It still amazes me how many young children's teeth are bad due to the foods their parents allow them to eat. Sugary pops, candy and junk food all the time are bad for their teeth, health and bodies in general. Anyway....... Miles brushes his own teeth too. He won't let me help him most of the time. He has the time of his life mimicking his big sister while she brushes her teeth-it's the funniest thing! If you want more information on keeping teeth healthy check out this site: TEETH -lots of good info for parents and stuff for kids as well! Keep on brushin'!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Kettle Cuisine Review and Giveaway!

The Kettle Cuisine story begins with impeccable scouring. We go the extra mile to find top quality suppliers for all of our ingredients. What other soup company would insist on using natural proteins raised with no antibiotics or growth hormones?

I was lucky enough to be able to sample some of these amazingly tasty and HEALTHY soups. They arrived at my doorstep in a cooler to keep them nice and frozen! The first soup I tried was Organic Carrot & Coriander Soup. I was not sure what to expect, but all I can say was I was off to a great start. This soup was awesome! Nice and creamy with just the right amount of spiciness that I was not expecting. This was my favorite of the soups I ate. The Three Bean Chili was delicious as well. It's gluten free and all natural. Tons of flavor and spices that hit the spot! I would love to have this on a cold winter afternoon for lunch! On to the Tomato Soup with Garden Vegetables--I was amazed at how many vegetables were packed into this soup. It was loaded with zucchini, squash, green beans and more! I am sure this soup counts for at least 1 serving of vegetables, if not more. I loved it! And Last, but certainly not least, Chicken Soup with Rice Noodles. I have never been a fan of chicken soup. I am not sure why. That does not keep me from recognizing a good chicken soup...simple ingredients paired with just the right spices makes this chicken soup one that I will be coming back to. I really love how natural and fresh everything is. The chicken soup is made with chicken raised without antibiotics on a vegetarian diet. That reason alone would keep me coming back to this brand!

For the fresh produce that we peel and cut in our kitchen, we search out farmers who share our concern for good, wholesome food. And, we purchase our cream from local dairies right here in New England. Our high quality standards extend to all of our ingredient sources - the tomato packer whose perfectly ripe tomatoes go from field to pack within 6 hours.

I really like that a lot of Kettle Cuisines soups are low fat and low in calories. you can eat a bowl for a light snack or pair a bowl with a hearty salad and a piece of whole grain bread for a great meal and be satisfied. The founder and President of Kettle Cuisine; Jerry Shafir came up with the idea of making gluten-free soups after learning that his daughter had to eat a gluten-free diet. What a great success story!

The soups are easy to prepare. You just pop them in your microwave for 3-4 minutes and that's it! The box and bowl are both recyclable too. I really enjoyed participating in this review and I urge you to try this soup for yourself.

The fine people at Kettle Cuisine are offering a giveaway of a total of 10 soup cups! Pick 2 varieties and you will receive 5 of each.

  • MAIN RULE (this must be followed or on other entries will count!) Log onto Kettle Cuisine website and tell me 2 soup cups that you want to try.

  • 1 extra entry - subscribe to my RSS feed (or let me know that already have) in a separate comment.

  • Sign up to follow my blog.

  • 1 extra entry - write a post in your blog linking to my blog.

  • 1 extra entry - write a post in your blog linking Kettle Cuisine site.

  • 1 extra entry - follow me on Twitter. (sidebar access)

  • 1 extra entry - tweet about this giveaway (be sure to include the link in your comment so I can check!)

*You have 7 chances to enter...Please be sure to separate your entries in the comment box.*

This giveaway will run through 11:59 pm of August 18th and the winner will be announced by the afternoon of August 19th. The winner will be chosen by the from all valid entries and will be contacted via email. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me before they forfeit their prize. Giveaway is open to US residents only.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Garden update....

The time has come again. Monday garden update! Exciting stuff.
I have zucchini. I guess I had no idea what I was looking for so I might have been able to make this post last Monday. I am not sure what I was thinking. I know that zucchini are heavy so they should be low to the ground or actually on the ground. I was looking for them to be hanging off the plant ( think green beans) DUH! I found a huge zucchini just chillin' in the dirt. I am sure if I entered it in a contest that it would win. Hands down. It's large. My family was excited too. Lots of cheers and squeals from the kids and a high five from Matt! I think he has been feeling bad for me since my garden up until now has been a huge disappointment. That's only partly true. Yes, I wish I produced more goods, but the process was actually fun and I have been learning a lot and teaching some as well ( to my family). I might have mentioned that this summer is not a very warm one for growing things either. We have friends that are farmers and they have not been happy with their crops growth either. I probably should not compare my little garden to a farm with acres, but I think you get my point. The moral of this post is that I might actually know what I am doing. I cannot control the weather. I am kind of excited to do this again next year. Since I am an experienced gardener and everything. I will earn my green thumb status!! I need to go and plan our menu for the next few days....I can finally add zucchini to a few meals
Anybody have any easy recipes they want to share?!?!