Sunday, October 15, 2017
Most people who know me know that I love cooking as much as I can from scratch. Sometimes though, like today, I had to give myself a little pass. It has been a horribly busy week with no relief in sight. Cooking is usually my way to de-stress and wind down but the thought of cooking this week just made me feel more exhausted. On nights like these, I can still offer my family some delicious comfort food, but in a way that makes my evenings a little bit easier. Growing up my Mom had four kids to feed on a single-parent's budget. She was never able to serve us the choice cuts of beef (in fact, I really can't ever remember a night where we actually ate "real steak") but every once in a while, she would treat us to a cube steak dinner and it was one of my favorites. Tonight I decided to treat my family to their own cube steak dinner with a recipe I cooked up that included some great ways to cheat and still get that home-cooked flavor!
Thursday, October 12, 2017
All of the kids in our house recently started the "Book It!" program and it's now off to the races to see who can read the most chapter books and earn themselves some Pizza Hut! My Science-loving daughter, Eva never has to be encouraged to do extra reading and when I heard about the new Lucy's Lab series from Skyhorse Publishing (who sent me the books pictured above at no cost to facilitate this review), I knew there would be no doubt she would enjoy these books. If you have a Science-loving kid of your own, you won't want to miss these delightful and humorous new books that open up a window into the fascinating world of Science!
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
Our weather has started to change here in West Virginia from hot, sticky temperatures to cool breezy nights. It's always sometime during the month of October that I drag out all those plastic totes, one after another, from the basement and complete that seasonal task of changing over all our Spring and Summer clothes to Fall and Winter. This year, along with changing out my daughter Eva's clothes, I decided it was time for her bed to have a little seasonal makeover of it's own! For all my blanket and bedding needs, there's no other company that I turn to other than Berkshire Blanket. They were excited for the opportunity to share a twin set of the bedding pictured above, at no cost to facilitate this review, and I'm excited that I get to share how you can give your own bed a makeover with Berkshire Blanket!
Sunday, September 24, 2017
As a little girl I remember watching my aunts can. They would sit around snapping beans, peeling fruit, and talking about life together as they worked. I've always admired them. I respected the way they cared for their families and always got the sense that, to them, canning wasn't a chore, it was truly a labor of love. Preserving food was a way to save some extra money and to forego runs to the grocery stores in the cold winter months. Why eat produce from a store when their families could enjoy fresh summer peaches all year long! I recently made the transition from full-time out of the house working Mom, to full-time in the house working Mom (and homeschool teacher to my youngest three). I decided this was the perfect time to let go of my fears (I always had it in my head that canning was a difficult process) and to embrace a way of food preservation that dates all the way back to the 1800's. It was time to learn canning; and it turned out to be so much easier than I expected! Fresh Preserving sent me the canning products pictured above, at no cost to facilitate this review, and not only am I going to share with you how you can begin canning fresh food in your own home, but I'm teaming up with The Fresh Preserving Store and Thrifty Nifty Mommy to giveaway a Fresh Preserving Kit as well!
I love getting my hands on fresh ingredients! When I am able to buy from our local farmer's market - that's even better! The kids and I now make a trip to our local farmer's market a weekly part of our regular grocery shopping. With all of the summer tomatoes and peppers I decided it was time for my daughter, Eva, and I to set apart an afternoon for some salsa making.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Disclosure: I received the item pictured above at no cost to facilitate this review.
When I was waiting to welcome my first little one to the family, the number one need item on my needs list was a travel system. Not only did I want an infant carseat, but I wanted a product that allowed me to snap the carseat directly into the stroller, but also transitioned for me to use the stroller alone as my child grew. Back then, I turned to Graco to meet all of my carseat/stroller needs, at a budget I could afford, and it's a company I'd still choose again. Today I've got a closer look at one of their highest rated travel systems, the Graco Modes 3 Lite LX Click Connect Stroller Travel System!
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Now that we are a homeschooling family, I'm always searching for activities to make learning and discovery fun and captivating. I concentrate on finding supplemental materials that allow my kids to set down the books and use their hands for one-on-one interaction with Science and Technology. Whenever I'm stumped on where to discover new material, I always turn to Discover With Dr. Cool, who provided me the products pictured above at no cost to facilitate this review! This educational company supplies an endless amount of options in STEM activities that will make any kid fall in love with Science!
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Step2 recently released NEW Disney Pixar© Cars 3™ toys and they are AWESOME! Miranda from Thrifty Nifty Mommy just had the chance to check out the Disney Pixar© Cars 3™ Ride Around Racer™ and she's got all the details on this new ride-on from Step2. Be sure to check out her full review to see Lightning McQueen in action!
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Every now and then a product comes along that my family and I not only love, but a product that I thoroughly enjoy sharing with ya'll. OppoSuits provided me the suit, pictured above, at no cost to facilitate this review, and I have been blow away by this fun and memorable suit. From the stye, to the quality, to just how well this suit fits my son, there's nothing about this outfit that I haven't been wow'd by! If you love dressing your child in clothing that brings out their confidence, look no further than OppoSuits!
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by LunchSkins, HarperCollins Publishing, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, & Berkshire Blanket. All opinions are my own.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
For some parents, getting kids to participate in educational activities, much less enjoy them and want to participate, is no small task. In our home, Eva (age 9) is always ready to learn, but the other three can take some poking and prodding. Our family made the big leap into homeschooling this year (more about that in a post coming up later), and I wanted to find some educational games that I could incorporate into our weekly activities. I check out one of my favorite places for board games, Winning Moves Games, and found two in particular that I just had to have! (Games pictured above provided at no cost to facilitate this review) Our entire family is getting in on the board-game-learning; and having fun while we do it! I know you're kids will love these games just as much as mine do!
Friday, July 7, 2017
Our Southern Style loves books! We also love learning and I have one particular kid, Eva, who loves all things Dinosaurs! I'm always looking for educational books to add to our home library and found fun and exciting books not only for my 9-year-old, but also for all my kids at Quarto Knows.They provided me the books pictured above (plus a few more that you'll find below), at no cost to facilitate this post, and I'm excited to share so many new dinosaur books coming soon to places wherever books are sold!
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Hot Ash Stoves, iZZi Foods, Thermacell, Goosefeet Gear, IceMule Coolers. All opinions are my own.
Just a couple weeks ago, Ben and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. For some of you that's baby years and for some it seems miles away. We've been through a lot in those 11 years but one thing is for sure; life has brought us closer together, shown us how fast the years go by, and that some days (unlike how Captain and Tennille would have us believe) it's taken more than love to keep us together (lots of our faith, family, and determination go a long way!). A couple weeks ago, my husband said the most romantic thing I've ever heard, "Babe, if you wanna go down the river...I guess I'll go down the river too". This is a pretty big step coming from a guy that grew up near Detroit. But he's grown to love everything the country life has to offer and this year we decided we'd truly get away. Get away from technology. Get away from the hustle and bustle of town and people. Get away from everyone and everything but each other. Our perfect getaway included an overnight kayaking trip down the Shenandoah River, and some great new outdoor gear that helped to make our adventure perfect!
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Disclosure: This trip was sponsored by VisitWV, Country Road Cabins, and Ace Adventure Resort. All opinions are my own.
"Wild and Wonderful". "Almost Heaven". There's so many things that come to mind when I think of my home state, West Virginia. It's where I got my sense of adventure, my love of the mountains and the river, and my inspiration for all that southern cooking. Though the rest of the world runs at a break neck pace, time slows down in West Virginia. I"m a wife and a mom now, but I haven't lost my love for adventure and I give a lot of credit to growing up surrounded by it. There's so much beauty and fun to be found in West Virginia and because adventure is always better with friends, my husband and I grabbed one of our favorite couples (you might recognize Chris, my Gone Girls counterpart!) and headed to the southern part of the state for a mountain getaway filled with rock climbing, repelling, and ending with a climactic white water rafting trip down the Lower Gauley River! Looking for a memory-making trip this Summer? Grab some friends and find the adventure of a lifetime in West Virginia!
Sunday, May 21, 2017
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.
My kids loved the first chapter in the story of MAX and when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment contacted me about sharing the second installment of this heroic tale, I knew it was something my family and yours would love! Not only do a I have a sneak peak into who MAX is saving next, but keep reading 'cause I've got your chance to win a copy of your own!
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
Okay, I admit it, as much as I love being outdoors, I'm also a sucker for movies. I'm not sure if it comes from acting on stage in dramas and plays throughout my high school years, or due to the fact that growing up, movies were a special treat, but I'm pretty sure one of the main reasons I love a good flick is simply that I work hard. I work hard, my husband works hard, and our plate is often pretty full. My mind is usually thinking about, "Did I accomplish what I needed to today?" "What did I forget to do?" "What do I need to do tomorrow?" "Do the kids have any activities this weekend?" Everything from household chores, to the kids, to work, to my husbands small business runs through my brain on an almost continual basis but I have found two ways to tune it out. One is being outside, and the other is getting lost in a really good movie!
Wednesday, April 12, 2017
If you computer screen could talk, you would hear my high pitch squeals of delight at the fact that the seasons have officially changed. Spring is finally here and Summer ahead of it! It's no secret to anyone who knows me that I love the outdoors and whether my family likes it or not, I'm always dragging them off to one adventure or another. The hubs needs a new pair of hiking boots (because I've got a couple hikes up my sleeve this year) and we found a pair of boots that, from the moment he sunk his feet in them, provided him equal levels of comfort and support. Add the fact that they make any amateur look like a professional and you have the perfect pair of men's hiking boots ready to hit all the trails this season! Forsake provided me the Hiker (pictured above), at no cost to facilitate this review, and I'm here to tell you that if you are looking for a men's hiking boot to make your next adventure perfect, you're gonna want to keep reading!
Sunday, April 2, 2017
As I have grown older there are a few things I have come to appreciate more and more; craftsmanship and keepsakes. As a child I remember watching my grandfather fell a tree, so that he could mill the wood, and then use it to craft every piece of furniture you could think of. Today, my house is filled with those tokens of his love and hard work, everything from rocking chairs to shelves, tables, even a lap and candlestick. It's not just the beauty and the quality that I appreciate, but it's the knowing that though there will come a day when he is no longer on the earth with me, I will always have reminders of times with him, memories sealed in the furniture that he made, that I will one day pass to my own kids. There are many things in our home that will come and go but I try to invest as much as I can in products that will not only last a lifetime but will carry significance long after I'm gone. My youngest son, Levi was very much in desperate need of a toy box and when I found the Wooden Toy Box I instantly fell in love with what I saw. Wooden Toy Box sent me the personalized toy box, pictured above, at no cost to facilitate this review. If you have a child that could use a toy box, a hope chest, or even a gorgeous box to keep their pillows and blankets in, the Wooden Toy Box is the perfect way to house your child's special belongings and give them a special keepsake to treasure for years to come.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Eva is my reader. She is always looking for new and exciting books to read and is always excited when a package from Sky Pony Press shows up at our door. It either means books for her or books that she can read to her younger brothers, so either way, she wins. This time the packaged happened to be just for her with two brand new adventures, received from Sky Pony Press at no cost to facilitate this post, that are just as fun and colorful to read as their covers. If you are looking for new books for your older reader (ages 7 - 9) these are two great stores you'll want to check out!
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Monday, March 13, 2017
I always thought when I had a daughter I'd be up to my elbows in nail polish, sparkly hair bows and Barbies. I should have known the moment Eva came roaring into this world, loudly letting everyone know that she had arrived, that my girl wasn't going to be the typical princess. She lives to spend her days outside digging for treasure or dinosaur bones. When given the choice between joining dance or a sport, she chose Karate. She gets excited to learn new things and create new inventions of her own. She loves to let her imagination run wild whether she's drawing, painting, or reading a book. Unlike most kids, I never find her in front of the TV. Being her Mom has been one of the greatest adventures of my life! She is fiercely independent, never apologizes for being herself, and stands up for what she believes in. She is a different kind of princess altogether and I love her for it. Though she's easy to love, she's not so easy to shop for! If you have a Tomboy of your own you understand the struggle of gifts like I do. Whether it's birthdays or Christmas I'm always wracking my brain trying to come up with gift ideas for Eva. I've finally put together a list of 5 gifts I know your Tomboy will love - because mine loved every single one!
Thursday, March 9, 2017
If Macaroni & Cheese were a food group, my son Elijah would be more than content. I'm convinced he would eat it every day if he could. Baked Macaroni & Cheese will always be one of those classic comfort dishes and one that my family is always excited to devour. It makes for a great meatless meal or (if you are in the carnivorous group like my family) is the perfect side dish for burgers and dogs. We ate ours this week with slices of fried ham. This baked macaroni & cheese recipe gives you the creamy noodles and cheese and is topped with a buttery crust. Yum! I'm about to help myself to a bowl of leftovers!
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
The first time I made Lasagna, it was right after I'd gotten married. My husband and I were having one of my old college friends over for dinner and she had said in passing that Lasagna was her favorite dish. She arrived "mid-sauce" and was quite perplexed. Apparently, she had never had Lasagna where the sauce was made from scratch (do people really just use spaghetti sauce?). I however didn't know any other way to make it. Over the years I've added and tweaked until I put together what I think is the Best Ever Lasagna! My husband definitely agrees - he was eating leftover for breakfast yesterday and the kids never pass it up! It's a full-flavored dish that's definitely a bit of a labor of love - but worth every minute!
Friday, February 17, 2017
I don't know about you, but for our house, this has been the worst winter for sickness. It seems like every other week someone is coming down with something. This week was no different. Both Levi and Elijah were home sick with viruses. There might not be any magic medicine I can give them that will make it all go away, but I can make a pretty magical pot of Comforting Chicken Noodle Soup. Whether you're sick with a cold, or just in the mood for a bowl of down home deliciousness, this chicken noodle soup is where it's at! This one pot meal is enough to feed our family of six (plus have leftovers for lunch the next day)!
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Disclosure: I received the item pictured above at no cost to facilitate this review.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Over the years of reviews there are several products that I've continued to use on an almost daily basis. My Glasstic bottle happens to be one of those products; so when they contacted me about reviewing another Glasstic with their newest feature - personalization - I knew there was no way I could turn them down. Glasstic allowed me to choose any water bottle and customize it myself, at no charge to facilitate this review, and I'm here to tell you that not only do they still have the same incredible product, but personalizing it and making it my own was simple and fast!
Friday, February 10, 2017
I was never a huge fan of fish growing up but one seafood dish I always loved was my Mom's salmon cakes. There's still something about frying them up in my own kitchen that takes me back to those days watching her cook. I created my own recipe for Salmon Cakes, which I've been making for years now for my own family. Even the kids eat these up! There's never leftovers when it's Salmon Cakes for dinner. This recipe includes a little kick with added jalapeno (don't worry - it's not too spicy - if my four-year-old can handle it, you'll be just fine)!
Tuesday, February 7, 2017
Did you know that 26 million American's have hearing loss caused by noise? Did you also know that this type of hearing loss is 100% preventable? The NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports that "As many as 16% of teens (ages 12 to 19) have reported some hearing loss that could have been caused by loud noise ** In this technologically driven culture, if your kids are anything like mine, they are never too far from electronics. From iPods, to hand held game systems, tablets, and phones there is always something to connect to. Though I try to steer my kids, as much as possible, to unplug, I also believe it's important to teach them to create healthy time limits on electronics. Music however, is always allowed in our house! I have longed to find a pair of wireless headphones for my kids and without a doubt, I believe when I found Puro Sound Lab headphones, I found the best pair on the market! Puro Sound Labs sent me their Studio Grade Children's Bluetooth Headphones (pictured above) at no cost to facilitate this review. If you are in the market for headphones for your children, the look is over! **Information provided in the Your Guide To Healthy Hearing by Puro Sound Labs and Hearing Health Foundation
Thursday, February 2, 2017
If you live on the East Coast near DC, no doubt you remember the huge snowstorm we had last year. I know my back still remembers it at least. We got over 30 inches of snow and were doomed to never see the likes of fresh bread and milk again. You see, where I live in West Virginia, snow means the world stops turning. At the mere mention of snowflakes, shoppers rush to our local grocery stores to clear the shelves of every item known to man. Schools cancel, and we all hunker down for the end of the world to happen. We're also not well known for our ability to plow around these here parts and last year's storm in particular was no different. The snow plows couldn't handle our main roads, much less have the time to clear our back roads and side streets. After that particular storm, my family didn't make it out of our development for three days. I remember I was giving my arms and back a break from hours of trying to shovel out our vehicles (as if there was even anywhere we could go) when I looked up and saw the National Guard coming down the road to our aid. I didn't know when we'd get another storm like that one, I just knew the next time I wanted to be prepared. DMOS must have heard my cries because they answered my snow shovel prayers and sent me the Stealth Shovel, at no cost to facilitate this review. If you need to invest in a good shovel - this will be the last one you ever need!
Monday, January 23, 2017
At the end of 2016 one thing was clear; there were certain habits I wanted to change and specific ways of living that I wanted to accomplish. I knew that if I wanted to come out of 2017 a winner, I needed to reorganize my life a little. I've never really not been unhealthy and I readily admit I've been blessed with good metabolism but after years of working full-time and raising four kids, somehow "me" time and exercise got put way back on the back burner. I wanted to do something for myself, and get back in shape, and for me, there's only one way for that to happen - put myself on an early morning running schedule. Probably the only thing I hate more than waking up in the morning is being cold so I knew right away, I was going to need something to motivate me not only to get out of bed in the morning, but to keep me warm on my new adventure to a better me. When I came across Vander Jackets, I knew I had to check them out and could barely contain my excitement when my own Vander Jacket, pictured above and provided at no cost in exchange for this review, arrived in the mail. If you're a runner, or if you're hoping to keep up your 2017 New Years resolution you won't want to miss checking out all this jacket has to offer!