Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Easy Dinner Bowtie Pasta Using Leftovers

Now that school  is back in session its time to get on some better schedules and routines. It also means busier days. That's why I like recipes that everyone in my family likes that are quick to make, filling and use things I almost always have on hand. This is one of my favorites because I often throw in whatever left over proteins I have left over from prior meals. My favorite is chicken and Hormel pepperoni. Sometimes we eat it just plain, or sprinkle it with real bacon crumbles. Today I tried it with Hormels cubed boneless ham, and it was so good. My husband said he likes it better than when I do pepperoni. This ham is great to have around because I can throw it on a salad real quick, or my girls will snack on it, sometimes they even dip it in ketchup and eat it for part of their lunch. 

Here is my pasta recipe. Please remember I don't usually measure and sometimes just add random things depending on my mood or what I have. So I tried really hard to pay attention to how I actually made it.

Bowtie Pasta Dinner
Bouillon cubes
Bowtie Pasta
Heavy Cream (or half and half)
Italian seasoning
Corn Starch
Shredded Italian Cheese or Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
Optional: ham, chicken cooked and cut, cut up pepperoni, etc

First I boil a pot off water with 1-2 chicken bullion cubes.  Then when its boiling I add bowtie pasta. Obviously you could use any pasta, but this one seems to be a family favorite.

Then when the pasta is about 75% cooked I drain most of the liquid and add a pint (or so) of heavy cream. I have used half and half before, but heavy cream seems to be best. At this point I lower the stove to medium and stir it often so the milk doesn't coddle. Also add 1-2 T of Italian seasoning.

Then I take 2 Tablespoons of corn starch and mix it in a separate bowl of water. This makes it smooth, versus pouring it straight in and getting all lumpy. Then I add this and my choice protein to the mixture. This time I did Hormels cubed ham.  Stir frequently till the pasta has absorbed most of the liquid and has thickened. 

Once you remove it from the heat add a bag of Italian shredded cheese, or a mixture of parmesan and mozzarella cheese. This is one of the few meals all 6 people in my family enjoy, so we make it often. Enjoy!

In the spirit of full-disclosure, I’ve partnered with Hormel Foods as part of the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger Program. Throughout the year I’ll be receiving product, coupons, giveaways and promotions. However, no payment was given or expected for posting about the program, and as always, all opinions given here are fully my own 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Easy Ideas for Pioneer Day or Just 'Cause it's Yummy

Only in Utah is the 24th of July a holiday. It's pioneer day. On July 24, 1847 Brigham Young entered the Salt Lake Valley after traveling with many pioneers from Nauvoo, IL. In Utah it's a holiday. They have the Days of 47 parade, rodeo, fireworks at all different locations and plenty of fun things to do. Here are some fun easy idea's to make your day a little easier.

Are you entertaining friends at your house for a bbq and some fireworks? There are several ways you can go. Easy, fast and yummy or you can take your time and make something delicious to impress. When I want something stress free but still can be enjoyed by all I like to get Lloyds bbg shredded beef. It's so easy to cook, serve and eat. Plus it tastes as if I spent hours cooking it.

One of Hormels recipes that I found on their Facebook page was this bacon wrapped cheesy avocado. It has my 3 favorite things, avocado, cheese and bacon. If your are bringing a dish to share at someones house why not impress with this yummy dish?

Click picture for recipe

Last but not least are for those that are going to need to pack some hearty snacks to keep kids full while going to and from parades, ball games, or other fun events. I think our family favorite is apples with with Skippy's new dark chocolate peanut butter spread and celery with Skippy peanut butter. This also is my mom after bedtime treat. 

Hope everyone has a happy and safe Pioneer Day!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Making Your Own Crayons

One of my easy go to gifts for holidays or kids birthdays is a coloring book or printed coloring pages with homemade crayons. It's a great way to get rid of some of those nasty, old, broken and sad looking crayons you have laying around.

Step 1: Break up pieces of crayons into muffin cups. If you have bakeware in cool shapes you could do it straight in them, but I don't so this is how I do it.

Step 2:Put them in the oven on the lowest setting.

Step 3: When they are liquidey then pull them out.

Step 4: Then I pour the muffin cup carefully into the shaped container. These are ice cube trays I picked up at Ikea for a dollar. I have used jello jigglier molds as well, but they don't pop out as easy, but are great for seasonal gifts.

Step 5: Let them cool down.

 Step 6: Then just pop them out and voila! cool crayons!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Free Summer Reading Programs

One of my favorite things about summer is I feel like I get more reading done. It's a great time to spend more time reading with our kids too. Did you know there are lots of summer reading programs out their that reward you kids for reading? I decided to make a list of all the ones I knew about or could find. Here they are for your enjoyment.

Barnes & Noble has a great summer reading program where you read 8 books, fill out their reading journal and then turn it in for a free book. My kids love this one, and you don't have to wait till the end of summer to submit it. Once you have achieved it go get your free book. Plus the sooner you do the better choice of books you have, since they are first come first serve. Don't worry though, last year we went the last of August and my kids still had a hard time deciding. Click here for more info.

The Utah State Fair gives away a free entrance ticket, soft drink and a ribbon to kids ages 6-12 for kids who read 10 books. You have to hurry up on this one, it has to be mailed in by July 25th in order to receive it. Click here to print out your form and for full details.

summer reading challenge

Scholastic has a summer reading program where you can track your kids reading and enter sweepstakes. It's great for the older kids to do themselves cause they earn badges, online prizes and can even record reading at your school.It's designed for kids to keep track them self, my son navigates it better than I do.

Utah's Governor has a summer reading challengethat is also a popular one. Most libraries usually have forms to fill out on this as well, if not click here for the website. This one you just track your reading time through the summer then either fill out and mail the Family Progress Card or report your summer
reading online at www.governor.utah.gov after 9/1/14. Last few years my kids got a free happy meal from McDonalds for doing it.

Photo: We love how The Doctor's Closet. transformed her son's nursery into a dreamy space to read. Don't miss the reveal on the blog, and ENTER TO WIN a $100 gift card to create a book nook of your own! http://bit.ly/1xIrx8U

Pottery Barn Kids has a list of books that if you ready any 8 of the books on the list, then you can go into their store and receive a book (while supplies last.) This one also expires soon, July 31st. So run to the library and see how many books you can read with your kids. The list has some classics like, Paddington Bear, Olivia, and Corduroy. Click here for a print out off all the books to choose from. Here is the link for more info or for a list of some of their other store events.

Half Price Books wants you to record your minutes read totaling 300 minutes, that's approximately 15 minutes a day for June and July. The cool thing is you get $5 bookworm bucks, the bummer thing is there isn't one in Utah. So this one is or my out of state followers. Click here for locations.

Pizza Hut's Book It program also has a summer program. Just read 5 books then submit online or mail in their form to be entered to win some cool prizes like gift cards, Diary of a Wimpy Kids books and more. They also have some fun Instagram challenges just search #BOOKITSummer and join the fun.

This one I am not as familiar with but it's Sylvan's Learning Book Adventure. After your kids have read a book they can take a quiz earning points. Then those points can be exchanged for prizes. I'm not sure the kind of prizes, but I'll have my son go online today and take a few. Cool thing is that this one appears to be year round! Go to www.bookadventure.com for more information.

If you didn't already know this, than it's your lucky day. Chuck E Cheese has a list of rewards calendars you can use at home, then take in and get free tokens. One of their rewards calenders is a reading chart. Read every day for 2 weeks and you can get 10 tokens. Chuck E Cheese is a great place to run a round on a super hot or even rainy day. You don't even have to order food, just go in get your free tokens and play. Click on the picture above to print yours out.

That's all the ones I can think of or find. Check out your local library as well, sometimes they have fun reading programs, story times and other adventures to support summer reading.

Can't find any close enough to you? Don't panic and just create your own at home. Just use the Chuck E Cheese Calendar or make your own for your kids to trade in for rewards. You could go to the dollar store and buy some tickets and cheap trinkets. For every day they read or book they read they can get a ticket that gets traded in at the end of the week for some of your cheap toys and trinkets. The best way to encourage reading is to do it yourself and in your home!

Did I leave one out of the list? Just leave a comment below with the information.

Monday, July 7, 2014

You Want to What?

I have decided to officially announce a big change in our family's life....
No, I am not expecting! Really was that the first thing that popped into your head? We'll have to talk about that later ;)

Many of you know I have always loved the performing arts. I actually love to be the one performing the arts. That's right I love to act! My husband asked me once what I always wanted to do growing up. Not what I told people I wanted to do, but deep down inside what I really wanted to do growing up. I had to think about it. Really as silly and naive as it sounds I always wanted to be an actress. The logical side of my brain always said that wasn't possible in real life so I had to pick something else.

Over the years through different jobs, going to school and kids in the back of my mind I have still always wanted to act. Every time I get the urge or desire I have prayed about it and always felt the time wasn't right. Earlier this year I got that feeling again and decided to ignore it. After 2 weeks of it almost consuming me I decided to pray and talk to my husband about it. This time I actually got a different personal confirmation, that it was finally time!

Although when I finally decided to move forward I actually lost my voice that week, weird huh? So my sweet husband called a few family friends for me to get some info on acting in the state of Utah. After some research and time I can honestly say I am know an actress. It's weird to say it sometimes, but I am getting use to it. Although as I tell people this there are the 2 main questions I get:

1- Is there anything to even do here in Utah?

Um yes, there is, tons actually. No they aren't always feature films or tv shows, and there is even more than just LDS films as well. Sometimes they are shorts, or documentaries, sometimes even student films or youtube shows. Overall there is always lots of things going on.

2- Is there any money in that?

The answer is for the most part, yes. Sometimes there is and sometimes there isn't depending on the job. Although the more I get asked this the more I think, "Isn't it rude to ask someone what they make?" When you tell me you got a new job, I don't ask you what you make? Why is it that because you chose to be an actor that it's ok for everyone to know what you make? I know people are curious to how it works, so I will say it differs greatly. It all depends on the budget for the film.

I do get asked what I have done. I think 16 Stones was a favorite so far. I also did my first voice over job last week for a short on the Batman shooting in Colorado, looking forward to that.

On Set of 16 Stones

The fun part is since I started doing some stuff here or there my son has started to show an interest. I am a little picky about what he submits or auditions for but so far he has had a lot of fun. Here is the link to a promo he did. FYI if you don't want to see anything scandalous or bloody start it 1:24 and you still won't miss him. http://vimeo.com/96359553

So as part of our year of firsts we can say we acted for the first time this year. What have you done for the first time this year? Write up a blog post, add my Year of First button, and add the link here. I will check posted posts to make sure you have my button and that what is posted is legit and a first!

Queen of Chaos Year of Firsts

Monday, June 16, 2014

Tumm-E Yummies ColorVibe Run and Fun

So for part of my year of firsts we did a color run as a family. We had so much fun running in Cache Valleys Color Vibe 5K sponsored by Tumm-E Yummies! I was surprised at how well the kids did. Every time they got a little tired they would see the color throwing part up ahead and get a little boost to keep running.

I was so glad I gave them the white bandannas, cause it helped the color to not get in their mouths. Plus the sunglasses they got in their race packets helped as well. Although the glasses were a little big, so if your kids has a small head maybe bring your own?

They loved to hang out in the crowd while the DJ played music afterwards. They had so much fun doing the color throw and dancing around, hitting the bouncing beach ball and having a place where they could act like a bunch of crazy kids!

I can't wait till next year, and either can they. They loved it! I also loved the seat covers that Tumm-E Yummies sent me, they were so helpful for the ride home.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Tum-E Yummies & Color Vibe 5k Giveaway

I am so excited for the race this weekend, I can't wait. I also can't wait to announce the winner for the race this weekend. I loved some of the ideas you shared for how you would color your world for the race. Using random.org the winner is...

#4       2ManyBells

"One way I encourage my kids to run is to have a yummy destination point. We live 1/2 from a Great Harvest & smoothie shop. When we up it to 1 mile, we park at the store, run home and back to the shop. It seems to motivate them more. 
I definitely think you should run with goggles for the race!"

Make sure to send me an email (utahqueenofchaos@gmail.com) within the next 48 hours so I don't have to pick a new winner. I hate doing that! Don't be shy share your pictures with me from the race this weekend or any other Color Vibe race. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tum-E Yummies Color Your World & Color Vibe 5k Giveaway

One thing I have been wanting to do is spend more time running as a family. What better way to motivate everyone than with a Color Vibe 5K? These are the most fun races out there. Plus for once you get to give your family an excuse to get dirty!

Since today is Cinco De Mayo I figured what better way to "spice up your life" than by putting together our own family's Color Your World Kit. I went to the store to grab some fun, hands on and bright things to do as a family in prep for the race. 
One thing I knew we would need for the race is some fun, bright colored socks. That way we can stand out and put our best foot forward.

Then I got some white T-shirts. You can find these just about any store.  I love looking at peoples before and after pictures from Color Vibe races. Starting out with a white shirt is the best way to show off all the fun from the race.
Also if you have lots of hair like me or blond hair like my daughter I suggest using a bandana. Getting chalk out of your hair is probably the hardest thing in the end to clean up. I had a hard time choosing between these white bandana's and the all white ones. My girls liked these ones better, so that's what I went with.

Then I got some fun fabric markers so we can make our own designs, fun saying or put our names on them. I'm excited to do this as a family. I will be sure to post pictures of the finished product when I announce the winner of the race.

Another colorful favorite for me are window markers. I love strolling up in our van with bright colored and encouraging windows. I also use them on mirrors to help encourage the kids while training or on the morning of the race.

One of my kids favorite most colorful drinks are Tum-E Yummies. They love these drinks. They were so excited when they sent us some of their favorite drinks and are sponsoring us in the race.

Want a chance to win your own Tum-E Yummies and 2 tickets to the Color Vibe 5K on May 24, 2014 in Cache Valley? Make a comment below of what you would do to color your world for the Color Vibe 5K. Bonus entry for sharing on Facebook or twitter. Just comment that you shared. Giveaway ends May 17, 2014 at midnight.

Also check out some of the other race locations and color your world kits here.