Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The {Not Just} Homemaking Party

Welcome to the Homemaking Party! Seems I'm running behind in everything this week. But that's ok, we can party anyway!

Linking with:

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Make Your Own Cookies & Cream Extreme Ice Cream #SunsOutSpoonsOut #Ad #Cbias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SunsOutSpoonsOut #CollectiveBias

Do you love experimenting with different ice cream toppings and mix-ins? If you do, you'll love the idea I came up with last weekend. Our family was spending a special day together and I wanted to make a fun treat to help celebrate. My Cookies & Cream Extreme was a hit from young to old---and it all started with a carton (ok, two cartons) of Blue Bunny vanilla ice cream.

On Saturday, Jamie and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary! Other than the first few years when we just had one or two kids to send to grandma's for the night, we've always celebrated our special day as a family. After all, with all the ups and downs and craziness the past 17 years has brought, the kids are a major part of what has cemented our marriage. Sometimes we do something "big" like go camping or brave Chuck E. Cheese's for the day, and sometimes we do something small---like stay home, play in the pool, and eat ice cream!

Lynzie, Elisha, and I found Blue Bunny vanilla at Walmart in the freezer case. It was on rollback for $3.50---a great price for our favorite, good quality, ice cream brand. I especially like buying Blue Bunny because it comes in plastic containers, rather than cardboard, so they don't fall apart when they're half empty.

There was also a demo going on over the weekend where the demonstrators were showing how delicious peaches pair with the vanilla ice cream. Cainan tried some out and thought it was great! 

It's super easy to prepare my Cookies & Cream Extreme ice cream flavor. I started by making up a concentrated coffee mixture with about three times the amount of coffee I'd normally use for the amount of water used. Make sure to let it cool in the fridge for about an hour before using it so it doesn't melt the ice cream. I then softened the ice cream on the counter for about 15 minutes and, in the meantime, prepared my chopped pecans and cookies. 

Cookies & Cream Extreme Ice Cream
1 container vanilla ice cream
4 TB concentrated coffee
1/2 c. fudge ice cream topping
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. roughly chopped pecans
24 chocolate sandwich cookies

Prepare the coffee concentrate and let cool in the fridge at least one hour. Let the ice cream soften on the counter about 15 minutes. While the ice cream is softening, chop the pecans and cookies. Scoop ice cream into a large bowl and add all the ingredients. Use a large sturdy utensil to mix it up well, using chopping motions to keep the ribbons of peanut butter and fudge from mixing in all the way. Cover the bowl with foil and freeze at least three hours for hard ice cream. 

I can't think of any better way to spend my anniversary than to enjoy it with our whole family. This life is such a blessing and I don't want to miss a minute of it. I want the kids to have great memories of fun childhood family times. 
How will you use Blue Bunny to make memories this summer? Let me know your ice cream mix-in ideas in the comments below!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Living a Confident and Active Lifestyle with Caltrate® Bone & Joint #Caltrate3in1 #ad #cbias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone and should not be taken as medical advice. #Caltrate3in1 #CollectiveBias

When I was a little girl, my family was very active. We loved to spend time at the river---fishing and looking for rocks and Bigfoot. We took week long camping trips---my brother and I running all over the campsite making up adventures. Days at home were spent outside, exploring the yard and playing in the sprinkler. There was no internet then and no way to take our Nintendo outside the house. Man, I miss those days!

Jamie and I have not done as well with providing this kind of active, outdoorsy life for our own kids. We both work jobs that require us to be online a lot and that keeps us tied down to the indoors a lot more than we'd like. Still, we are making more and more of an effort all the time to pull away from our screens and get out and be active with our kids. We have lots of parks and walking trails in our area. One of our favorite places to get outside and run around is the Pea Ridge battlefield park. It's got some great walking paths and lots of early American history.

The older I get, the more concerned I become with developing and maintaining an active lifestyle with my family. I worry that my body will give out before the part of me that stays motivated to be active does. One way to build confidence is by taking new Caltrate® Bone & Joint Health. One daily tablet provides my body with the ingredients for bone and joint health, strength and flexibility. It contains UC-II which is a collagen that supports healthy cartilage and is not processed by high heat or chemicals. Caltrate® Bone & Joint Health also contains Calcium, Vitamin D3, and extra minerals for bone strength and flexibility.

I found Caltrate® Bone & Joint Health at Walgreens in the Joint Care section. Right now, you can save $5 off Caltrate® Bone & Joint Health with the in-store instant value coupon book.

Yesterday, Liam, Avalon, and I played baseball in the front yard. It was so nice getting out and tossing the ball with him---especially since his three older brothers are probably getting too old to want to toss the ball around with mom. (That, and they'd probably take out my face when they chuck it back at me.) Having sporty fun with my kids is a blast when I'm not worried about health issues.

New Caltrate® Bone & Joint Health may help you stay active and confident about your health. Do you have concerns about bone and joint health? Let me know in the comments below. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple and Provolone

Today was Doctor Who day at the library so Lynzie and Michael dressed up as Doctors #10 and #11. Super fun!

Big Family Frugal

I've got a new linkup on my new blog, Big Family Frugal! It starts every Friday. I hope you'll stop by!

My mom is sharing a great recipe she enjoyed over the weekend at my aunt's house. Enjoy!

Grilled Teriyaki Chicken with Pineapple and Provolone
4 chicken breasts
Teriyaki sauce
Provolone cheese slices
small can of pineapple slices
Prairie Dust (salt & pepper mix)

Marinate the chicken in a plastic zip bag with Teriyaki sauce for 4 hours. Sprinkle with "Prairie Dust". Grill on low for 1 hour. Place cheese slices and grilled pineapple on top and leave on grill until cheese melts.

Thanks for linking up! Tell your friends!

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Mad Tea Party 2015 ~~ Featuring Alice and the Mad Hatter and Plenty of Sweet Treats

Yay! It's finally arrived! The day of the big, multi-blog Mad Tea Party, hosted by A Fanciful Twist. I participated last year for the first time and was on pins and needles this spring to see when she'd announce the date for this year's. (See last year's party here.) I've had so much fun picking out pretty dishes and delicious treats to set out for my party. I've even got a giveaway for you all at the end of the post! It's going to be a wonderful party so make sure you visit Vanessa at A Fanciful Twist starting Saturday morning to see all the unique ideas from tons of your favorite bloggers.

Last night, a little bit of magic sparkled into our house in the form of a gloriously mad tea party---right in our living room! It was a party fit for an Alice, with a few fun surprises hidden amongst the tea and treats.

I heard the squeals of delight and came running in to find Alice reaching for this plate of goodies. It's awfully hard to resist sweet creme wafer cookies when they appear in one's living room so invitingly!

When Alice picked up the bottle labeled, "Drink Me", she saw a flash of light and a little man in a funny hat popped out to greet her. She remembered him from a dream she'd once had---she'd called him the Mad Hatter, for he was forever changing his mind and making senseless remarks.

"What day of the month is it? he said, turning to Alice: he had taken his watch out of his pocket, and was looking at it uneasily, shaking it every now and then, and holding it to his ear." ~Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Chapter Seven

Alice, being just a tiny little thing, did not quite know what to say to this. Instead, she continued to examine the delightful things around the table.

She found a surprise of cucumber treats and jelly-filled sweets. "Curiouser and curiouser!" cried Alice (she was so much surprised that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English)." ~Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Chapter Two

"Soon her eye fell on a little glass box that was lying under the table: she opened it, and found in it a very small cake, on which the words "EAT ME" were beautifully marked...

So she set to work, and very soon finished off the cake." ~Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Chapter One

"Suppose it were nine o'clock in the morning, just time to begin lessons: you'd only have to whisper a hint to Time, and round goes the clock in a twinkling! Half-past one, time for dinner!" ~Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Chapter Seven

As Alice made her way around the table, she found luscious Lemon Tea Cookies beckoning from a pretty pink biscuit jar...and a strangely familiar pig baby peeking out from a fruit basket.

"Here! You may nurse it a bit, if you like!" the Duchess said to Alice, flinging the baby at her as she spoke...Alice caught the baby with some difficulty, as it was a queer-shaped little creature...there could be no mistake about it: it was neither more nor less than a pig, and she felt that it would be quite absurd for her to carry it any further. "If it had grown up," she said to herself, "it would have made a dreadfully ugly child: but it makes rather a handsome pig, I think." And she began thinking over other children she knew, who might do very well as pigs, and was just saying to herself "if one only knew the right way to change them---" ~Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Chapter Six

"Now it's time to pour the tea," said the Mad Hatter. "Do you take cream in yours?" The Hatter poured Alice a cup and, as she sipped, she felt herself becoming quite sleepy. She laid her head down on the table and began to dream of daisy chains and white rabbits and other beautiful things...

I had a lot of fun putting together our Mad Tea Party and now I'm extending the fun to you! Check out the Rafflecopter widget below to enter to win an Alice and Mad Hatter prize package. The giveaway will remain open until 12 AM Central on Sunday, July 12th. Make sure to tell your friends and visit the other Mad Tea Partiers at A Fanciful Twist, beginning Saturday morning, July 11th.

Enter to win an Alice and Mad Hatter prize package including:

  • Your choice of one 5 Postcard Set from AFancifulTwist on Etsy (value $6.50)
  • An Alice in Wonderland sticker booklet
  • Two Alice's Adventures in Wonderland decorative tags

For some interesting reading on the "real Alice", check out my book review of, Alice I Have Been.  a Rafflecopter giveaway Linking with:
Beverly's Pink Saturday
Welcome to the Weekend
The Creative Collection @ Craft-O-Maniac
Creativity Unleashed
Sunday Linkup at ARWB

How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Period

Talking to your daughter about her period can be a little intimidating. A lot of moms aren't sure how to approach the subject and struggle with how much information is too much to give. I've found that sticking to the facts in a positive way keeps communication open with my girls. It also helps to buy them their own products before they're actually needed and stash them away for when they are. This week I picked up a few things for Selah and made her a small gift basket.

When I first discussed her cycle with her, Selah had a lot of questions. I approached it in a positive way and didn't use phrases like, "I'm not ready for this" or "Why can't you stay a little girl?" This is a sensitive time for preteens and I don't want to give her any reason to think the changes she's going through are anything to be embarrassed or ashamed of.

I put everything together in this pretty basket and then showed her how it would be her own special basket in the bathroom cupboard that everyone else would have to stay out of. It's easy to pull out on the weeks she needs it and then store away in the cabinet until the next month.

Selah is excited about her new products. The fun colors and designs on the packages make her excited to use them and because I'm not freaking out, she's not either. I'm looking forward to this next stage of her life and I think she'll move into it with grace and maturity.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Celebrating Independence Day with Walmart Family Mobile #Save4Summer #ad #cbias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #Save4Summer #CollectiveBias
My budgeting responsibilities the last few months have involved a delicate balancing of fun family activities and saving money for the England trip Lynzie and I are taking in September. While I've wanted to throw every extra sent into our travel fund, I've also wanted to make sure we're making memories here at home. With Independence Day coming up this weekend, I want to make some special treats and you know Jamie is going to want to take the kids to buy a load of fireworks! (Lighting a $50 bill on fire and watching it burn isn't as exciting, I guess...) One thing that has really helped free up more money each month is the switch we made to Walmart Family Mobile.

At only $29.88 per month (for the first line), we are paying about 1/4 of what we did with our old carrier. The new 4G LTE service gives faster and more consistent data service than 3G broadband, including better media streaming and reliable access to data-intensive apps. This means I can download movies and music a whole lot faster with the 4G LTE network and my husband loves it because he can watch Netflix on his phone.

Jamie's mom will be here for our 4th of July celebration so we're planning some fun things. Jamie loves to take the kids to buy a bunch of fireworks---a few traditional ones, and several ones we've never tried before. When I was a kid, I loved sparklers the best, but our kids seem to like the colorful fountains more. I'm planning some great barbecue food and a couple desserts like our traditional "4th of July Pie" and maybe some red velvet cupcakes too. It's nice to have more money in the grocery budget since our new phone plan is helping us save.

I found the LG Leon at Walmart on a rack dedicated to Walmart Family Mobile phones. Walmart Family Mobile service is $29.88/month (for the first line) and includes an Unlimited Talk, Text, and Data service plan, including up to 1G of 4G LTE data. Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to http://cbi.as/ax84 or your local Walmart for current pricing.

When you go buy your phone, make sure no matter which phone you choose, you grab the Starter Kit to go with it. You will use this to activate your phone in the store or online. Your store may require you to pick up a card similar to this one and take it to the counter to retrieve the actual Starter Kit.

This Independence Day, I'm thankful for the health and happiness of my family. I'm thankful we can spend great times together making memories and I'm thankful for the options Walmart Family Mobile provides to help me keep our essential household costs manageable. How will you celebrate the 4th of July this year? Let me know in the comments below!
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