Showing posts with label Tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tips. Show all posts

Friday, January 30, 2015

5 Things that NEVER should be re-heated

Growing up I would definitely say my mom was a saver. Nothing in my house went to waste, especially leftovers. My mom can turn some leftover dishes into some pretty awesome meals, who do you think taught me this popular recipe switcheroo? However, she also would save and re-heat everything! Not just about everything, EVERYTHING!!! So I compiled a list of the top 5 things that I think should never even be attempted to be eaten a second time.
5. Scrambled Eggs

Would my youngest eat this re-heated no problem? Sure! Is it just gross and wrong, yes. There is something about re-heating scrambled eggs that just makes them rubbery, less flavorful and just gross! Trust me.

4. Chili Cheese Fries

I use to work at an A&W and loved their chili cheese fries... when eaten fresh. This is something that has to be eaten almost immediately after being made. Just  imagine eating it a day later and reheated in a microwave, its as gross and mushy as it sounds (I promise.)  I want to know if this can even be considered a french fry the next day? 

3. Oatmeal

Have you ever left oatmeal (or cream of wheat for that matter)  out too long and it's gotten that gross film across the top? Imagine eating that throughout the entire dish. I think I'll pass on the slimey leftover hot cereal today, thanks. 

2. Hamburgers

Enough said.
1. Macaroni and Cheese

I don't know what it is about this dish, somehow it's just not the same re-heated. I don't have a problem with other pasta dishes, or even Mac and cheese from scratch, just this one. If there is ever any left over in the pan, it always goes straight to the garbage and not to a tupperware container!

I almost didn't do a bonus this top 5 series but I obviously changed my mind. Besides at this point I almost have to, since every other top 5 has a bonus thought. 

My husband hates soggy bread, he is very sensitive when it comes to wet bread. For example we went to a family members house who served us 2 day old subway sandwiches once, I almost became a widow that day, he seriously almost died. So I will say in our house my husband does not care for not only left over sandwiches but anything that could involve soggy bread, such as enchiladas, burritos, french toast and sometimes even pizza.
What can you not stand re-heated? 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Planning the Chaos

One major tip that helps me manage much of my chaos is a little old fashioned; it's a day planner. I use a day planner to help me stay semi sane, it helps me be where I need to be and helps me stay on task. I know I could use my phone but, its not the same. I can't easily write down, plan or look up stuff. Finding the right day planner can also be tricky. I don't like the little check book size ones because they are too small. I'm also too cheap to buy the big huge nice and fancy ones. The Homemaker's Day Planner is perfect for me and my needs.

First of all I love how the monthly tabs are separate from the week tab. Why? Simple, I like to use a butterfly clip or paperclip to help me keep my place for the current week.  Usually other planners have the month, then each week broken down. So when I open up to this week, but need to look at the month as a whole I have to un-clip and flip to find it. When its separate I can look at each month as a whole to help get quick ideas of what the month is like, or to count if it's the 3rd Wednesday of the month and so on. As a side note I know some people rip out pages when they have passed them, I don't for several reasons. One main reason is it helps me track at the end of year how many dr appointments I went on so I can track mileage and cost for my taxes. Quite often I have to look back to see when I last did something or if I missed something. Hence why I clip to easily get to my current week, but still need all my past pages for reference purposes.

The very front of the homemakers day planner has a year breakdown for this year and next year. I love this so when my kids came home in September with dates I needed to remember for next year but I don't have next years day planner yet I can jot it down. Then when I order my next years day planner I can transfer the dates. Plus I can highlight or mark plans for trips or things that I need to keep in the forefront of my mind.
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I also love how each week has a place for tasks. Sometimes I need to make a list of things that need to happen in general during the week. Like call the dentist, buy a light bulb for the fridge, or take something back to the store. Sometimes I have things that don't need to be scheduled exactly on a certain day, but need to be done in general.

I love the menu part of each week too. I usually plan 5ish meals a week and will switch them around during the week, but overall I like to have the week planned for meals. This helps me make sure I have all the ingredients and helps things run more smoothly. Some days we have piano at 4:30, scouts at 6, I have church responsibilities at 7 and my husband is working late. Those days are great for one of my quick meals like grilled cheese and tomato soup. Other days I have nothing scheduled and I can plan a more elaborate time consuming meal.  Knowing what my schedule is like, while looking at my grocery store circulars for sale items then writing it down helps lesson the chaos at home. Not to mention this helps save money on groceries or gas money for too many grocery store trips. Less hungry whiny kids plus non-stressed mom plus saving money equals much happier family dinner memories.

The back of the day planner has tear out grocery lists. I love this! For instance when I realized I needed a new battery for my fit bit, I wrote it on my list. When my son realized he ran out of cream cheese for his bagels he can add it to the list. This way I don't go to the store 5 times before I remember to buy either items, It's right there for me to see.

Its that time of year where my January is already starting to fill up. Kids basketball, husbands work seminars, church functions, school activities are adding up and its time to write them down so I don't forget or over extend myself. I am using the homemakers daily planner and love it. It saves me so much time knowing what is going on when.  Click the picture above or go to to purchase yours.  Now the next tip is to not loose your planner, because when that happens I feel like I lost my whole brain somewhere!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tips For a Tonsillectomy For Your Kids- Day 5-7

Days 5-7 went by slowly for me. Only because my son felt great, but still couldn't be too active. Around day 7 is when the scabs fall off, also being the highest risk of bleeding days. The more he gets his heart rate up, the more risk of bleeding he was. Those days were mostly about keeping my son on the couch. He is so active just when he had to use the bathroom he couldn't just get up and walk over, he had to jump off the couch and run to bathroom. On the way back he treated the toys on the floor like they were hot lava and hop scotched his way back summersaulting back to his sitting position. This was no easy task.

I mostly handled it by gaming it up. That's right I played more Mario Kart and Mario Bros in those few days than I have in the past few years combined! Not to mention, watching Pokémon, Spiderman, and several card games.

Kadan did really well eating. We started with soft rolls torn into tiny pieces than moved to mashed potatoes. Then he did some frozen go gurts, and spaghettio's. By day 5 he was ok eating spaghetti with no sauce and scrambled eggs. By day 7 he was fine with peanut butter and jelly, chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. After day 7 he was pretty much up to his normal picky diet.
Overall it ended up being a good pleasant experience. We had no problems, and enjoyed spending a week bonding together doing nothing but eating junk food and being couch potatoes. What 7 year old wouldn't want that?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Tips For a Tonsillectomy For Your Kids- Day 3 & 4

Days 3 and 4 the doctor, nurses and friends all said were going to be the worst. I was gearing up for it. I made sure every 3 hours on the dot I would alternate his Tylenol and Motrin. I tried to keep him hydrated best I could. Honestly, my son did fine. I know every kid is different and mine is a trooper.

There were a few moments where I noticed he got quiet and just kind of sat there watching a movie. At that point  I would ask him, "Is everything ok? You just got really quiet." He would then tell me it hurts a little. Not a lot, but more than before. I would make him a slushie, and check the time. Usually that happened right before he was due for some more medicine. He did say he was more uncomfortable than day 1 and 2, but not in real pain, thank goodness. Since he was eating, sleeping, and drinking that played a big part in it.

When he went to bed on day 4 I didn't give him any more meds till he asked for it or needed it.

Keeping my son from being too active was hard. To keep him down so he wasn't jumping around too much I decided to do something fun. The girls bought and wrapped him 2 movies before his surgery that they had picked out. 1 of them was the first Ice Age. We had them all except the first one. My son went through an Ice Age stage about when the 2nd one came out on DVD, so he has a passion for them. Under the circumstances I decided to have an Ice Age marathon. Normally sitting around watching 4 movies back to back would be a no go, but what else were we going to do?

We had popcorn, my son had popsicles, Dad may or may not have fallen asleep, in the end it was a fun day.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tips For a Tonsillectomy For Your Kids- Day 2 with Slushie Recipe

Day 2 went well. Since my son had stayed hydrated and ate some he was doing well. My son was too small for liquid loratab (not that I woanted him it.) We made sure that every 3 hours on the dot we rotated Tylenol and Motrin. Even at night we took turns sneaking in his room and giving him some. Just so he would be in as little pain as possible.
 I did ask him to rate his favorite things to eat. Although he said he was in no pain, he did say some things felt good and better down his throat.

1- Slushies
My son said his favorite and the best thing for him was slushies. When I spoke to other people another women told me the same thing. Slushies were her favorite too. Now a slushie is different than a snow cone. Here is how you make them.

First take a double popsicle like this one and microwave it for 10seconds.

Then I used the cup I was about to pour it in and smashed it up a bit.

Then you add the smashed popsicle with a little bit of Sprite till it's the consistency you want. I sometimes added Gatorade with this as well. I made sure the color of Gatorade matched the color of the popsicle to hide it a bit.
Since my girls always wanted what their brother had I always gave them the orange ones. Since he couldn't have any citrus I avoided the orange popsicles. Realistically they were probably so mild it wouldn't have mattered, but I just gave them to the girls instead.
2. Ice Cream Sandwiches
I bought the small sammies ones from Smiths (Kroger) since there were double in a box. He loved them and they were just the right size. I wish I would have bought 2 boxes of these, cause in the week to follow we ended up buying 2 more boxes. 
3. Ice Cream
I know this is pretty much the same, but he said it felt the best. Luckily I have the best sister ever that once bought me an ice cream maker. That way I could make them from scratch and control the sugar. Once I even made him one with Nequick to make it "chocolate" and snuck some protein powder in it.
Those were his top 3 favorites. He did also like fudgesicles, snow cones, and half frozen Gatorades. I would put a Gatorade in the freezer for an hour or two, then the fridge to also make them slushie like. For dinner that night he had some mashed potatoes.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tips For a Tonsillectomy For Your Kids- Day 1

 Is your kid about to have his or her tonsils removed? Then I suggest reading my posts about my son's tonsillectomy. Before my son had both his tonsils and adenoids removed I tried to find articles with tips on making it easier for both me and my son, and found hardly anything.  Besides what my Dr's office said and a few Dr"ish" websites about the facts I still felt in the dark. I did talk to a few people who had this done to themselves or to their children for some information, but never quite felt ready. I actually had a panic attack the night before. So I am blogging about our experience to help a few mom's out there hopefully not have a panic attack like I did!

Keep in mind every Dr, patient, and hospital are different. Not everyone has the same experience. All you can do is prepare for the worst and hope for the best in these kind of situations.

Before I talk about the day of the surgery let me tell you about the night before. That is when I freaked out and pretty much broke down. I went to run a few last minute errands so my son could pick out some of his favorite popsicles, ice cream, drinks, and things like that. As I was pulling up to the gas station (so I wouldn't have to do it early the next morning) I got a phone call. I knew the hospital would be calling to let me know what time we were to arrive for surgery, so I was glad to finally get this call. Even though it was 5 O'clock and I already had my husband and my mom call twice each wondering what time to plan on, this call wasn't the one I thought it was. It was the office saying they hadn't received my paperwork. What paperwork? Well, apparently they emailed me some forms. Which I knew, I just assumed I was suppose to fill them out, print them and bring them in with me. I didn't realize it was a link for an online form that the anesthesiologist needed to look at the night before, and that he would be there in an hour to look over the paperwork.  Aaagh, I'm not only 30 minutes away from home, but will need to unload melting groceries, start dinner, change a diaper, and I had a responsibility through my church that tied me up Wednesday nights. In the end I got it done, and I ended up finding someone to take my place at my church.   The point of that rant is if you are suppose to fill something out before hand, do just that, fill it out before hand. That way you don't have a breakdown and find yourself crying in your bedroom during dinner. Even the Queen of Chaos has a breaking point- weird I know.

At the hospital with our tonsils.

On to the day of the tonsillectomy. Around 6:30 PM the night before we finally were told what time our surgery was scheduled for. One thing I hadn't realized was no food or drink after midnight! Not even a sip of water in the morning. I can promise that would be hard for even me. I didn't even let my son brush his teeth in the morning because I was afraid he would swallow some of it. We brought a spare change of clothes with us because I had heard even though they give them something to wear, some kids wet themselves while on the anesthesia. When we arrived, of course the nurses and staff were fabulous. My son really enjoyed teasing and interacting with them.

The whole thing went by in half the time I thought it would. Maybe it was a good day, maybe I was lucky, who knows? All I can say is it took a little over 4 hours from setting foot in the building to my husband pulling up the car to the front.

In my mind I assumed they would put him to sleep with us and bring him back still sedated. I was shocked that we parents stayed in the same room the whole time. They took my son away awake and brought him back awake. I was happy to hear that they put his IV in after he was asleep, because that was one of my concerns. They don't take it out till right before being released though, just in case they need it again. That part kind of freaked him out, but only for a second. The nurse was real good about taking off the bandage carefully so that when the IV came out it was so quick he barely saw anything till she put a clean bandage over it ninja like. I told him before hand it wouldn't hurt, it would just be uncomfortable.

After with no tonsils.

Since I was told that day 3 and 4 was the worst I figured if he asked to eat, I was just going to let him. On my sons first day he ate 2-3 of those soft Hawaiian rolls. He just tore off little itty bitty pieces. He ate that in addition to the yummy cold treats he had picked out the day before.

Overall day one was a success. Mostly tiring from lack of sleep the night before and waking up early to prep and get to the hospital.

1. Make sure you have everything to go in advance.
2. Try to get as much rest before hand as possible.
3. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and let your kids ask questions.  (I always let my kids voice their concerns and questions to the doctor or nurse themselves.)
4. Eat a big dinner the day before. Cook their favorite meal.
5. Make sure you have plenty of cold treats, soft foods and medicine before hand. That way you don't have to run to the store.
Bonus- I had my son write in his Journal before, after and a week after the surgery. It was kind of fun to see what was going though his mind.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Toilet Bowl Hard Water Stains Fix

A while back I posted about my gross toilet. When we bought our house it had just sat for a few months giving the upstairs bathrooms toilets hard water stains. I tried everything. I tried, CLR, Lime Away, white vinegar and baking soda, bleach and good ol' weekly elbow grease. My friend Tawny from Tawny's Tid Bits talk to a janitor at her work and suggested something acidic. I almost went to a local janitorial supply store to request just that, until I solved the problem with no out of pocket cost.
One very late night at book club apparently everyone but me knew how to fix the problem. The solution is to just use a pumice stone or really fine sandpaper. I grabbed some sandpaper out of my garage, and voila problem solved. I couldn't believe after fighting this for over a year it only took a few minutes to fix. More surprising was it didn't cost me any extra out of pocket cost.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Marriage Goals

 Marriage & Relationship Goals
I love when I come across a fellow LDS blogger by random "accident." It's fun to stumble across people with similar beliefs and goals in mind. I just barely came across Life With Amberly & Joe. I am excited to be following along with her blog. She also has a series where you set monthly goals to help improve and strengthen your marriage. I loved this idea, so I decided to participate.
As I started to think about what can I (or we) work on I couldn't help but think of my "Letter to the Newlyweds" post. At the bottom of the letter is states how important couples reading is. We were doing really good over the summer and then when school started the chaos crept in. So my goal for the month is to have it every night. Whether it's before we start that movie together, or a quick thought together while we are in the bathroom together, I don't want to miss a day. I need every ounce of daily strength I can get to get through some days, this can only help!
Even though the first day of October is next week, that gives me a week to get things in order and start a better habit. Not to mention get my husband on board ;)


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Letter To The Newlyweds

A long time ago I wrote a funny letter that I use to give to newlyweds with there gift. When my brother got married recently I thought I would share it with them. Only I couldn't find it and had to start from scratch. This time it didn't come out as funny, but more serious. I thought I would share it on here for others to enjoy or learn from. Although let me warn you when you get to #8 I open my mouth and my religion pops out. I get very churchy and Christian. Which I won't apologize for but just warn of, just in case. If it offends anyone (Because now days religion tends to be the source of much contention) I will probably say something I say too often, "I'm over it." No really I am. Hopefully someone out there will get some inspiration from a lesson I have learned the hard way.  The fun part about posting it was adding links to some of the past memories. So here it is my letter to the newlyweds...
Dear love birds,
I thought I would share some lessons we have learned along the way, some the hard way others not so much. Enjoy...

1. If you can’t get upset at your spouse when she runs over a 2 ft rock wrecking the driver side of the car or when he gets a huge speeding ticket, then why freak out over the little things.  Too often we overlook the bigger things more than we do little things. Don’t waste precious time fighting over the toothpaste container or toilet paper rolls. A family friend of mine, who is now a widow, once told me she looks back wishing she hadn’t wasted such valuable time fighting over menial things.

2. Pick your battles. Just be happy the other replaced the toilet paper roll at all, instead of getting upset that its going under, not over. Just be happy the dishwasher got filled, not upset how it got filled. There is a positive in almost every situation, find it.

3. Jobs, dishes, and cars come and go, and accidents happen.  Try to be supportive when someone is looking for a job. Garage doors can be fixed, but knowing your spouse wasn’t upset over your car in his brother in laws garage door is so much better. Dishes will break, so either buy plastic or look at the opportunity to buy new! Being quick to forgive can assure that one day the gesture will be returned. Not to mention sometimes I think we are hard enough on ourselves, the added guilt never helps!

4. A home is what you make of it. Whether it’s your car, a tent, a hotel room, condo, apartment or a house, as long as you are together that’s what counts. Pillow fights in hotel rooms, sheets hung to make bedrooms, and cooking all your meals with just a skillet are all memories helping build your love. Make the best of each situation instead of complaining and hoping for a new one, make the most of it.

5. Make your own set of rules, especially when an argument arises. Just knowing that from the beginning you have both agreed upon a set of rules or guidelines can relieve anger or stress. That way you can focus on the heart of an issue and not name calling and degrading each other.

6. Remember you are stuck with your spouse FOREVER! Sometimes you have to put hobbies, jobs, kids and other things on the back burner to a certain extent to keep your flame going. You have a long journey ahead, so do what you have to in order to keep your marriage strong. Take time off work, get a sitter, or learn something new together. Just remember  as time goes on your spouse will always be there for you, if you are always there for them.

7. Recently I received this great advice (Which you could make a rule if you wanted ;) Don’t approach each other with why. “Why did you or didn’t you… “ Try using the word how. “How can I help,” most importantly “How can I help you become the person you want to be.” If we can help the other person we often can get what we need worked out or taken care of along the way. I’m pretty sure that’s what we call service ;)

8.Last but not least is couples time. Some people call it pillow talk, but I think there needs to be more than just that. Starting with prayer. Pray together! One day couples prayer will turn to family prayer, and even after that make sure to continue couples prayer daily. It doesn’t matter how busy you are, you ALWAYS have time for prayer. No matter how late my family is running that extra 2 minutes to say a prayer before we leave the house is worth it EVERY TIME!

Also Couples scripture reading will also help strengthen your marriage. And who doesn’t want that? When Steven and I first were married we did our reading out of “Eternal Marriage Students Handbook,”  we included it in your gift.  We also have done straight scripture reading or the Ensign. Our newest favorite is Preach My Gospel. I love it because A- I didn’t go on a mission so my husband gets to share that with me and B- it's meant for couples. For couples or companions who are teaching the gospel. Which is what we are doing with our children, teaching them the gospel. Wait till your family grows a bit till you bust it out, especially because you are probably are tired of reading it so much from your mission.

Overall no matter how much homework, cleaning, or other duties and callings you have, you will be blessed if you take 10-15 minutes a day to do couples reading together. That is shorter than an episode from Netflix! Taking time for that will help you be blessed at work, school and everywhere else!

I loved Steven so much when we first got married, now 9 years later I look back realizing I had no idea what love was, because I love him so much more than I ever thought possible. I look forward to the bumps in the road in the future so that I can experience even more love for him.

I hope the same for you two!
Love, your sister, Jennifer

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Leaving Kids Behind...

When we went to Hawaii we had to leave 3 of our 4 kids with loved ones. Of course this is the longest I have ever left any of my kids behind. I was so worried. I typed up every little thing about each kids favorites, foods, and routines. I was mostly worried about my 2 year old. What would my kids do with out me for a whole week?
Turns out it was more like what will I do with out my kids for a whole week?! Everything we did I couldn't help but think how my kids would love it. They were just fine with out mom. Now there were a few things I did to make this a lot easier, besides leaving them with family that I trust completely.
I wrapped presents for each kid for each day I was gone. I labeled each one for each kid and each day of the week. Of course they had little reminders about being good on them. Granted I bought all the items at the dollar store. Some of them were a package of 6 bubbles for a dollar wrapped individually for each kid.

The kids loved them! The "sitter" had to set a time each day to open them, otherwise they tried to get into them first thing each morning. I had in my mind that they would get opened at a time of desperation each day, but it worked out better this way.
The kids really enjoyed having something special from their mom and dad every day, and the "sitter" appreciated something that was time consuming.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Traveling on an airplane with kids

If your about to travel with kids in a plane make sure you're ready. Sometimes stressing over the plane ride lasts longer than the actual plane ride. Being prepared can help. It won't smooth out all the wrinkles, but at least you'll have an iron and ironing board ready to go. (Yes that's one of my husband lovely analogies).

1. Start out by making sure to read the fine print. Know what the policies are for liquids, baggage, carry on, and so on. All to often we assume or remember the last time we flew. Things change often as do policies from one airlines to another.

2. Plan ahead. Hopefully we are all familiar with the liquids policies. Less than 3 oz, in a ziplock bag, and has to come out of your bag for security check. Make sure you place things like this, your laptop, etc. at the top of your bag. I also always bring an empty water bottle. That way I can fill it up for free after I pass security.

In line to go through security.

3. Anytime someone asks me for advice on flying with kids I remind them about going through security. This sometimes stresses me out more than the actually flying part. You have to take off your shoes, belt, and jacket. All while holding a baby, taking down your stroller, pulling out liquids and your laptop, and trying to avoid the unfortunate pat down. Here are a few security tips:

   A. Make sure that all loose things in your pockets or stroller are in a bag of some kind. This prevents forgotten things from prior adventures, or things falling out when folding up your stroller.

   B. Make sure all baby food is in it's own separate ziplock bag, and that you take them out for security. If the baby food is less than 3.4 oz (like the half size plastic ones) than you should be OK. If you are taking the regular size baby food jars they are allowed in "reasonable quantities." They may require one parent to have a pat down as well if they can't or don't check all the baby food as a "threat."

   C. I also make sure I empty my pockets into my bag before going through as well. Usually as I leave my house for the airport I put all the last minute things in my pockets. 

  D. Make sure to arrive early enough that you don't feel rushed through. Especially with kids or if all of a sudden you have a huge long security line.

4. Kids love new things. I highly recommend a trip to your local dollar store before any kind of travel. Kids are always entertained longer with things they have never seen before. New coloring books and cool crayons are great. I am sure browsing around you will find plenty of cheap cool things to get. You can even wrap them up to make it more intriguing for the kids. Especially for longer flights. They could open a present for every hour while traveling.

5.When we flew I was very apprehensive to fly the 6 hour red eye with a 7 month old. I wanted to buy enough ear plugs with some treats for everyone on the plane. I know some people have done this and I think it warms some people up to being more tolerant. I thought it was cute. Then my husband reminded me that our daughter was a passenger on the plane with a right to cry. As unfortunate as it may be, it's not the end of the world. Whether you want to take the compassionate road or the tolerance road, that's your choice. (As a side note, my baby did great! Hardly made a peep, and I saved all that money, and should have saved the stress as well).

Bonus-  Don't forget to bring earphones, especially for longer plane rides. At first I thought I was being more smart by bringing smaller more compact ear buds. A 6 hour flight with complementary movies sounds really nice, till your ears hurt from ear buds being in them too long. Make sure you look at the length of your flight when deciding whether to bring headphones or earphones. Short flights you may not even need them at all.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Freeze Dried vs Dehydrated with Thrive Life

I was excited to sit down with Heidi and talk about Thrive Life, which was once Shelf Reliance. I love their new name and the way they have branded their products. Each letter in thrive has a different color that goes with a color coded category. As a person who loves to organize and loves smart marketing schemes I love this part. Thrive has over a 100 different products to purchase.
Thrive life is a great source for emergency preparedness products. One of the main things I spoke to Heidi about is there freeze dried foods. Not only meant for emergencies, but for every day use.
How is freeze drying different than dehydrating?
Dehydrating is done at a very high temperature and takes a long time. Not only does the product shrink in size, but loses nutrients.
Freeze drying happens within hours of being picked and happens quickly. Freeze drying not only locks in the nutritional value but the flavor, size and color. Because they stay the same size, it makes it nice when adding freeze dried food to a recipe. Freeze drying removes more water than dehydrating giving the food a longer shelf life. Most Thrive  products last 25 years unopened, and average 1 year after being opened. They even have a place for you to write when you opened it. That way you don't question if it's still good and you know how long you family goes through it.

One product I was intrigued by was their spices. I was always told that spices don't have a long shelf life. I love and use cilantro and basil a lot. The idea of it lasting 25 years unopened and 1 year opened is very appealing. A must have for my food storage.
On top of all the basics Thrive has sauces and express meals. The shelf life of the express meals and mother sauces are 10 years. I love the idea of quick meals and soups. I always like to have quick meals for days I'm not in the mood to cook, or haven't gone shopping.
They have so much to offer for people building their food storage. I asked Heidi where she recommends starting.
1- Top 10 meals.
Make a list of the 10 things you cook the most and start there. Buy the ingredients for those meals first. Either splurge and buy all 10 meals worth of food or start with just what is needed for 1 meal.
2- The Q.
Thrive has a great way to get what you need little by little. Just like your Netflix Queue you make a list of what you want and need. You can customize your Q in several ways. Then you set a monthly budget, and receive items from your Q right at your door.  Rachel from recommends taking the money you save from price matching and using it towards building your food storage supply.
3- Host a party.
If you host a show you get all kinds of deals and products.
Heidi (Thrive Life Consultant) & Jennifer (Queen of Chaos)
Needless to say Thrive Life has countless products and yummy foods for you. They also offer free cooking shows and a testing room at their warehouse. This was the yummy part. I got to try so many different foods. I can see how versatile many of the foods are. The fruits were one of my favorites. Heidi gave me some pineapple to take home and share with my family. They are too yummy to share with the kids, they are hidden in my secret stash.  I also love the yogurt bites. I am ordering some for the next car ride to snack on for sure!
I highly suggest getting in touch with Heidi to learn more about what Thrive has to offer you. Not only are Thrive's products cheaper if you go through a consultant, but she can help you get the most out of your products. She sometimes has giveaways and free classes of her own so make sure to  follow her websiteblog, pinterest, facebook or twitter.
I just scratched the surface of what intrigued me personally the most about Thrive. I am sure as I use and love their products more I can share more in the future. Make sure to get in touch with Heidi for a more in depth conversation of what she and thrive has to offer.
If nothing else let your mouth water as you go through their yummy catalog.
Heidi has donated a  pantry can of freeze-dried sliced strawberries to give away. Use the rafflecopter below for your chance to win. When the giveaway ends the winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email, or I will have to pick a new winner. I hate having to pick a new winner, so make sure you respond to my email.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Keeping Kids Distracted While Running Errands

Keeping kids entertained while in long lines, grocery shopping or at appointments is part of the job as a Mom. Sometimes it's easier than others, always depending on the mood of both ourselves and our kids. Here are my top 5 favorite ways to keep my kids from annoying me, each other or other people while out running errands.
Click on picture for more pdf's

1. I-spy
This one is my classic go to game. I always take turns starting from youngest to oldest to make sure everyone gets a turn picking something. You pick an item in your head and say, "I spy with my little eye some thing that is _____." Name a color like purple. Then everyone guesses which purple thing you spied till the name the item you were thinking of.
As a variation sometimes I'll say who can count 10 stars, or find 5 things that are square or so on.
2. Who can _______.
Who can stand on 1 foot for 15 seconds?
Who can pat their head and rub their tummy?
Who can touch the cart with only their pinkie?
Who can touch the _____ with only 2 thumbs? With their elbow? With their nose?
Who can tiptoe down this isle?
Who can walk backwards till we get to the milk?
Etc, etc, etc
3. Progressive Story
When waiting in lines progressive stories are perfect. Usually I start the story and we each take a turn telling a part of it. The best way to not cause too many problems is I tell the story and just ask the kids certain questions like names, towns, they ran into _____, went to ______, used his _____ weapon to defeat the evil________. You get the idea.
4. Grocery Games.
I try things like, "Who can find the grapes first," or I give each kid something to look for. 1 kid looks for canned peas, the other looks for cans of corn. For short trips sometimes we make a chant of the  items on the small list. I'll let kids help hold the list and mark things off. Sometimes I take a picture on my phone of the list just in case something happens to it.

5. Alphabet Game.
Basically we play one of two ways. We look for each actual letter in the alphabet from A to Z on signs, license plates, etc. Or we look for anything that stars with the letter, like apples for A, bananas for B, and so on. Sometimes we do it together other times we see who can get to z first.

Bonus- When I'm trying to stick to a budget I use a calculator so I can see exactly how much I am spending. Sometimes I let my 7 year old be in charge of calculating how much I have accumulated. He feels like a big helper and I stay on budget.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Week 2- Is Eating Healthier More Expensive?

We previously got some great advice from Christy on eating healthier. Now it's time to go shopping, and replace our kitchen with better food. Wait isn't eating healthier more expensive? I hear this all the time. Yes pre packaged foods are cheaper, but they are just that CHEAP! If you are what you eat, then why do we eat such crap? Sometimes it's convenience and other times it's cost. I want to show you that eating better isn't always more costly.

1- Buy Things In Season
Yesterday I encouraged everyone to buy more fruits and veggies. They are cheapest when purchased in season. Be aware of what is in season and where is it grown. A few months ago a 10lb bag of potato's were $.99. At that price my kids were eating potato everything. Baked potatoes, funeral potatoes, hash browns, potato soup and tons more. Here are some charts of when things are in season.


2- Price Match

There are lots of websites to help you price match. They do a lot of the leg work for you finding out where the best deals are. Then you go to a place that price matches like Wal-Mart and price match. Now I know sometimes these "cheaper" places don't have as good of quality produce, but the nutrients in the food don't change. Just make sure to plan on eating them quicker. I recommend using a website like
 3- Budgeting
When replacing unhealthy foods for healthier options, we are also replacing where money is being spent. For example instead of white rice buy brown rice. Instead of paying for chips, soda and candy buy dehydrated fruits, nuts and juice. Yes some healthier options do cost more money sometimes, the idea is to spend the money elsewhere not in addition to.

4. Cook More

Go out to eat less and cook more. Fast food and going out to eat adds up fast. Especially if you are trying to choose wisely from a menu. I'm amazed at how sometimes a salad for 1 person can be $7 or more. For that cost I could make a salad for my whole family. I know, I know, Café Rio and Olive Garden have a really yummy dressing though! Did you know that for the same price you can ask to buy just the dressing? Its true, next time ask your favorite restaurant how much for their salad dressing to go is, just be careful on portion control.

Do more cooking at home. Spend time cooking together as a family, not only is it more fun, but it encourages healthier eating in our kids. I am amazed when I find out how little some people eat as a family, and how much fast food they buy.  My husband and I joke often about when we first got married all I could cook was Mexican food. It was what I grew up on and loved, even when we went out to eat I chose Mexican food. So each year of our marriage I chose a new food to focus on and learn. The first year was chicken. Ways to buy it, prepare it, cook it and so on. Then I did ground beef, steaks, fish and this year is pork. One year I did cakes, that was a yummy and fattening year ;) Just like exercising, try new things. With the Internet (and pinterest) who needs a library of cook books? You can look up almost any recipe, or what to cook based on what ingredients you have on hand.
In the end eating healthier isn't always more money. Besides if you don't take care of your body now, you'll spend more in health bills in the future. Plus foods that actually fill you like lean protein may cost more, but you won't find yourself snacking as much because you are actually full. Tomorrow we will talk about healthy snacks and curbing cravings.