Friday, March 23, 2018

Need a yummy chicken recipe? Well here it is . . .

I found this Bang Bang Chicken recipe a while ago and have been making it regularly ever since.  My husband is a picky eater (and so are my kids #heavenhelpme), and he rarely has seconds, except for when I make this recipe.  I don't put the sauce on my kids' chicken, because like I said, they are picky, and I just tell them these are chicken nuggets and they love it.

I serve with rice and broccoli and it is always a hit around here.  When I mentally can't handle coercing my kids to eat, I make this meal.  I hope you and your family enjoy this recipe as well.  I always find that I have to double the 'breading' ingredients.  This recipe feeds my family of four just great, with leftovers (sometimes), which I use on my salad the next day.


Bang Bang Chicken

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Some tips for avoiding getting sick

To make a long story short, my son was admitted to the hospital last weekend.  I had the flu a couple of weeks ago, then my daughter got it, then my son.  His lingered and ended up turning into a very serious sinus infection and periorbital cellulitis around his left eye.  Thankfully and luckily he is on the road to recovery now, but he had to be monitored closely, have IV antibiotics, nasal sprays, etc. 

His doctor told me that we usually don’t get sick by breathing something in, we get sick from being out in public and touching things and then touching our eyes, nose, or mouth.  It’s so important to wash hands often, especially before eating.  He also said that germs tend to stick more to our shirts for some reason, so when kids have been at school all day (along with washing their hands right when they get home)  have them change into a new shirt.

I am already a bit of a germaphobe, and its hard not to become extra paranoid about germs after your child becomes hospitalized because of sickness, but my son's doctor also stressed that we can't stop living life.  When we have challenges in life, it makes life more precious.  It's true, it's part of life.  Our trials make us stronger and that's why we are on this planet.  So try not to be paranoid about germs but just create some habits that will keep you and your family free of a few more germs.

My kids are already in the habit of washing their hands when they walk into the house, but now they will be implementing the new rule of also changing their shirts.  I think it's a great precaution to take.  The flu and bugs out there this year are extra harsh, so let's do all we can to keep ourselves and our little ones healthy. 

Even outside of the flu season, these are good habits to adopt.  Also keeping hand sanitizer in the car and having them use that when they hop into the car (and still washing hands when they get home) is another good rule-of-thumb.  I keep a small bottle in my purse too, and use that when we can't get to a sink for some reason.

With all the laundry we Moms do, it can also be really easy to forget to wash our kids' coats on a regular basis. Coats are hung in the mud room all the time and they are just not as visible when we are thinking about laundry, simply because they are not in the hamper with everything else we have to wash.

Make a little sticky note or set a reminder on your phone to wash them at least once a week because they can be a real magnet for germs.  Think about it.... the playground at recess, runny noses being wiped on the arms of their coats, and they wear them everywhere and every single day in the winter.   Let's live life to the fullest and let's fight these germs at the same time!!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Slow Cooker Taco Soup Recipe

During the colder months, I love making this taco soup.  It is really easy to make and delicious too.  If you have left overs you can freeze them to use on a cold day where you don't feel like cooking.

This one is a favorite to make on Halloween.  Let's face it, Halloween is a busy day full of class parties, costume parades, and trick or treating.  By dinner time kids will be anxious to go out trick or treating and you won't have to rush yourself to get dinner on the table.  Start this soup in the afternoon and it will be ready to go before your goblins head out to go trick or treating.


Slow Cooker Taco Soup Recipe

  • 1 lb. cooked/browned lean ground beef or ground turkey, speason with salt and pepper while cooking on stove
  • 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups frozen corn (or 1 15 ounce can)
  • 2 cups black beans (or 1 15 ounce can)
  • 2 cups red kidney beans (or 1, 15 ounce can)
  • 1 package of Ranch seasoning mix (Or use homemade ranch recipe below)
  • 2 TBL Taco seasoning
  • 1 small onion, chopped
Optional Ingredients:
  • Green onion
  • Cheddar or colby jack cheese
  • Tortilla chips or Fritos
  • Sour cream
Place all ingredients (*except for the optional ingredients*) into a slow cooker (crock pot), and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Don’t drain the canned corn or beans, the juice from them are the juice for the soup.

To give a nice finish to the soup, sprinkle with the optional ingredients; shredded cheese, a sprinkle of green onion, and a dallop of sour cream.  You may also sprinkle crushed tortilla chips on top when serving, or just serve tortilla chips or Frito chips on the side.

Homemade ranch seasoning:

  • 1 teaspoon dried chives
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Monday, May 29, 2017

The best sunscreens

I love a GOOD, SAFE, sunscreen.  Here is a site where a research team has spent months working to find the best sunscreens out there on the market.  They focus on making sure there is enough SPF and no harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, and octinoxate. The sunscreens they recommend are good smelling, easy to apply, they stay on, and truly protect skin from harmful UV rays.  

Check out their recommendations by clicking here.

Also, I'm always a fan of the EWG (environmental working group), and they always have good recommendations as well.  I wouldn't buy sunscreen without checking the EWG site, as once I bought some baby safe Banana Boat before I knew about EWG...  Later, when I discovered EWG, I found that the baby sunscreen I had used on my baby was one of the dangerous sunscreens.  So always check!  Here is that link.  Enjoy and stay safe in the sun!  

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Ditching plastics and . . . the water bottle of all water bottles!

There have been many reports about the dangers of plastics and how its best to reduce exposure to them as much as possible.  Plastics are dangerous because they leach chemicals into our food and water, even plastic products which are labeled 'BPA' free (bisphenol A) are not as safe as first thought.  

BPA, which mimics the hormone estrogen, has been linked to a long list of serious health problems (cancer, diabetes, obesity, infertility, heart disease, developmental problems, ADHD, and the list goes on).  The latest research reflects that many of the chemicals used in BPA free plastics are just as (if not more) dangerous as BPA and contain synthetic estrogens as well.   

I wanted to created a safer, healthier home in regards to plastics. Water bottles always came to mind first when I’d think about cutting out plastics, but I could never find one that was 100% plastic free that I liked.

In the past, I used plastic water bottles but then I switched to glass ones, however, they still had some type of plastic on them - like a 'BPA free' lid or spout.  I had two of them and they both broke and I wanted something more durable and completely plastic free.  I have been on the hunt for the perfect water bottle for a long time for both myself and my kids.  

Here is the really embarrassing part.... my kids were WAY overdue (blush, blush) on graduating from sippy cups - ages 5 and 7 (cringe).  They love going to bed with a sippy when they get thirsty during the night, and they love bringing their water on the go.  I love that that sippys don’t leak or spill, but I don't love that they are plastic or have plastic parts.  So . . . I have done my research and found the bottle of all bottles!  

Introducing Pura! They are 100% plastic free and the cool thing is that they convert (with interchangeable tops) from bottle, to sippy, to straw, to a sport top (for kids and adults) to seamlessly transition with your children through the different stages of life.  They even have silicone sealing discs that are used as a lid to change the bottle into a snack carrier.  Their motto is ‘One Life . . . One Bottle’.   They are made of food-grade stainless steel and the spouts are made of silicone- which are really convenient to drink from and are considered safe. 

I found these online and I first ordered one for myself (I bought the 22 oz insulated bottle) to make sure that I liked it and that the stainless steel didn't give off a weird taste - and it didn't whatsoever.  

I loved it so much that I then got the 11 oz. straw bottles for my kids.  These bottles are easy to carry and grip because they have silicone sleeves on them (some of them come with the sleeve and others don't- but you can order the sleeve if the style you want doesn't come with one).   My kids and I are totally loving these and you can too - check the Pura bottles out here

When I first started reading about the dangers of plastics, I got thinking.... its not just about water bottles..... my kids are eating off of plastic dishes and using plastic utensils too.  So, I tossed them, later realizing I should have recycled them (oops, cringe, blush), and thats when my kids began using the adult ceramic plates and normal utensils.  My kids felt proud to be “so big” to be able to use the Mommy and Daddy plates and I felt so much better because I knew they were no longer eating with un-safe products.

Finally, I replaced our plastic food storage containers with glass ones (Pyrex).  The lids are still plastic, but I feel that’s ok because it not containing the food, it’s just creating the seal.  Also, I try not to run the plastic lids through the dishwasher because the high temperatures in dishwashers cause plastics to leach more - so I usually just hand wash them.

So, please learn from me:  Don't let your kids use sippy cups past the toddler stage (like I did), ditch the plastics in your home, recycle your old plastics (like I should have - cringe), and do your research too so that you are aware of just how dangerous using plastics can be - it's great motivation for ditching plastic.  Oh, and order some Pura bottles soon.


Friday, August 12, 2016

I took my kids to H & M today and we got two 15% off coupons for recycling, here is what we did.... Earlier, I was going through my storage closet and found two bags of old sheets I no longer use. 

So, we hopped in the car and brought them in to H & M to get our coupons. If you bring in a shopping bag size of any kind of cloth (old clothing - any condition, old sheets, rags, drapes - anything!) you get a 15% off coupon for your entire order. You can bring in up to two bags at a time and get two coupons. They recycle it, so that is why it does not matter what condition or what kind of cloth it is. Get the details on their recycling program here.

Then we started school shopping and I was going to use one of my coupons but remembered my Retail Me Not app- which I highly suggest.  I checked it and currently there is a coupon for 20 percent off your entire order when you spend $60+.  We were back to school shopping so of course we were going to spend at least $60.  This coupon ends this Sunday, August 14th, so hurry!

Since I used the Retail Me Not coupon, I was able to use that and save my recycling coupons for next time (they are good for one year).  Back to school shopping is in full swing, so I suggest you do this too (recycle and get the Retail Me Not app, which can save you so much- check it at every store you go to before you buy).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

How to get all the toys in a McDonald's Happy Meal set...... without buying Happy Meals!

My kids (and my husband and I too) LOVED The Secret Life of Pets movie. McDonald's happy meals currently have little miniature stuffed animals as the 'toy' in the meal, and they are adorable!
I took the kids to McDonalds and they were loving the Secret Life of Pets toys and wanting to go back again to get more. Sorry kids, we're not eating that many happy meals to get all of the toys in the set. So..... my husband came up with an awesome alternative . . . he found the whole set on eBay for around $23, which is much less than buying that many Happy Meals.
So . . . the next time your kids want the whole set of a happy meal toy set, check eBay! You're welcome ;)