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Christmas Cranberry Chutney

Heather —  December 4, 2013

Christmas Cranberry Chutney

This is a simple recipe, yet the resulting chutney is so full of flavor and colorful!

Enjoy!

Nan’s Christmas Cranberry Chutney

2 cups fresh cranberries

2 cups sugar

3 Tbls. water

1 apple, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped (I slice very fine in cuisinart)

1 Tbls. orange rind

1 cup orange juice

1 cup raisins (use golden)

1.2 teas. ground ginger

1/4 teas. ground cloves

cook cranberries, sugar and water for 5 minutes over medium heat. Then add all ingredients and continue cooking at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring often. Let cool. As this cools, it will thicken. You will get about 3 cups of chutney.

Cranberry Chutney

This goes very well with ham. Place into jelly jars and share with friends and family!

Little Budding Artist

Little Budding Artist

Looking for a fun and educational gift for a child?

As a homeschool mom, I’m always on the lookout for items that can be used time and time again, in new and creative ways, and this writing, drawing and playing easel from Step 2 is perfect!

The vertical easel is technically for kids 3 and up (because of some of the small pieces made to place on the boards) But, this little handsome guy keeps wanting to play with it and draw!

Now, with the two sides, a big and little brother can both have a “piece” of Easel. There is a chalk board on one side and a magnetized dry erase board on the other side. When we put it together, it did take a strong shove to get all the pieces aligned, but once in place, it felt very sturdy. The Easel is simple to clean, with smooth plastic and storage bins that come off to clean as well. It is lightweight and can be moved from one room to another for use easily.

A nice addition to a  childs room or toyroom.

Take a look at the All Around Easel for Two on Step2.com.

Now, what is new out there for Moms AND kids that is fun?

My teenager puts it together for me!

My teenager puts it together for me!

Check out this Canopy Cruise Wagon! The adorable two-seater wagon is a wonderful item to make mom’s life easier, while allowing the kids to have a good time.

step2 wagon drink holders

I really like this lightweight yet sturdy wagon. The wagon has space for two children to be safely buckled in and shaded from the sun while going for a ride. I wish I had one of these when my daughter was younger! My daughter loved the little built in cupholders for little ones drinks and storage for snacks.

Emma checks the wagon out

Emma checks the wagon out for her younger cousins!

Yes, at age 7 1/2, Em is too big for this wagon! I let her sit in it though, to show how sturdy this wagon is! I think this would be a good wagon for a, say 1 1/2 year old to a 6 year old. The wagon was not hard to put together, with very few pieces and the canopy portion comes off for storage. The wagon handle also folds down under the wagon for easier storage and taking in the car.

I think this would be a nice way to take the kids to the beach, the playground…just makes it a little more fun when you have more than one child. Using this, they won’t feel “stuck” in a stroller, but more like they are on a grand adventure!

Check out the Canopy Cruise Wagon from Step2.com.

 

*I am a Step2 Review Mom and I did receive the above products for review. I received no additional compensation and I have given my opinion.

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Christmas Cranberry Chutney

Heather —  December 13, 2012

Christmas Cranberry Chutney

This is a simple recipe, yet the resulting chutney is so full of flavor and colorful!

Enjoy!

Nan’s Christmas Cranberry Chutney

2 cups fresh cranberries

2 cups sugar

3 Tbls. water

1 apple, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped (I slice very fine in cuisinart)

1 Tbls. orange rind

1 cup orange juice

1 cup raisins (use golden)

1.2 teas. ground ginger

1/4 teas. ground cloves

cook cranberries, sugar and water for 5 minutes over medium heat. Then add all ingredients and continue cooking at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring often. Let cool. As this cools, it will thicken. You will get about 3 cups of chutney.

Cranberry Chutney

This goes very well with ham. Place into jelly jars and share with friends and family!

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Bite Size Brunch

From a Mother’s Day celebration to a weekend brunch with friends to a springtime gathering, eggs are a tried and true favorite ingredient.

Did you know that sometimes even Moms can be wrong?

Seriously! Well, not My Mom of course, I am referring to me. When I first began our family quest to eat only whole, natural and organic foods, I did not realize that some of the tried and true brands I had used in the past would still work for us.

A perfect example includes Land O Lakes. Until I sat down and really looked at their website I was unaware of how many nutritious options they carry for eggs.

In fact, right around the corner at my local grocery store I am able to purchase Land O Lakes® All-Natural Organic Eggs. The price is reasonable and oh so convenient. And, I feel great about serving my family eggs, which are full of protein and no animal by-products, no antibiotics and no chemical additives. A few other options, such as Land O Lakes® All-Natural Eggs pictured, are available as well.

eggs

So, now I want to celebrate! How about a Mothers Day Celebration with an Egg Inspired Party?

(Yes, those burned eggs your kids make you for Mothers Day are priceless, but let’s talk about some delicious Brunch choices that you can serve at any time of day, really.)

A Spring Menu with the bite size nutritious treats below, simple, vibrant fresh flowers and some colorful drinks make a perfect Mothers Day Brunch.

I was recently visiting family and I tried out some of the inspiring recipes I found for adorable bite size egg dishes. Really, they were all so easy to make and lasted well, and the kids felt good…not all full of sugar!

Breakfast mini bites

Breakfast Biscuit Bakes smell sooo good!

I strongly believe that fresh, quality products will make delicious meals. I am glad to see Land O Lakes offering these eggs!

I tried the following recipes, with a few small adaptations (for example, I just used my own homemade biscuit dough). All are available on the Land O Lakes website:

All the mini bites plate so well, also!

breakfast Biscuit Bakes plated

Such pretty little bites!

For some sweet ideas for decor and maybe dessert, visit the Land O Lakes test kitchen.

Want to win an amazing Egg Brunch Pack?? Look at this!

Spring Brunch Prize Pack

A premium gift package (valued at more than $100) including an On-Ice Deviled Eggs Server, Mini Muffin Tin, Two-Tier Server with Plates.

Okay. So enter via rafflecopter below. Good luck!
Continue Reading…

wholly guacamole

You all know I love Wholly Guacamole! My favorite is the organic version, of course!

Overall, as a mom of teenagers, I feel I need to be able to pull out chips and dips to support the kids and their friends. Serving Wholly Guacamole and Garden of Eatin chips, makes me a cool mom…serving healthy snacks that the kids love.

Anyway, when I heard that Wholly Guacamole is participating in a “Get on the Shelf” promotion with Walmart, I thought,

“Well, it’s about time!! People trying to shop to save money should have healthy choices, too”!!

If you agree, go vote!! Hurry, voting ends April 4th

Vote in Get On The Shelf

Then…look for your favorite Wholly Guac and Salsa at Walmart, I hope. PS: new flavors are coming, too!

*I posted this to share and received no compensation. I am a proud Guac Squad Blogger.

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Maaman Aacua Review and Giveaway

Heather —  September 9, 2011

How gorgeous is she?? I love her eyelashes:)

How gorgeous is she?? I love her eyelashes:)

Have you ever bathed a teeny baby? Did it scare the heck out of you? I remember how carefully I held and bathed and wrapped up my first child. I was so afraid I would break him!

I was so glad my Mom was with me to help hold him and guide me. To this day, I remember how we had a little yellow spongy babytub liner placed on the counter and a soft, snuggly towel at the ready.

I also remember my next child…the wild one. The child I chased around the living room, trying to get at least a towel on that kid!

Fast forward twenty years and I find bathtime a breeze and Mama isn’t chasing anyone. But, I am looking for healthy, natural and organic solutions for all my children’s needs. Green, reusable, sustainable is important to me.

Out of the blue, I heard about Maaman Aacua through Moms Meet. What a genius idea! This baby towel combines all the things I wanted for my each of my children. What a great product for new parents! I immediately wanted one to review for my new little niece. (The adorable one pictured above:)

The maaman aacua is a 4-in-1 bath towel that triples as an apron, baby wrap, and toddler bath wrap. This modern, stylish special design allows you to have your hands free while you bathe a baby, while the same design can easily wrap up a toddler.

How adorable and functional is this?

On top of that, the aacua is made of soft, absorbent, 100% cotton. One-size-fits-all (newborn to 35 pounds), and you can choose from natural or white, with five bright trim colors: orange, green, yellow, teal, or pink. It retails for $42.

So what did the new parents think of it?

“hey! the towel is awesome! how cool of a story of the lady that invented it!”

This company is on the right track!

I appreciate the statement on their website:
“maamam aims to improve our lives as parents by creating unique products that are modern, functional, and most importantly safe for our children. Founded and operated by mothers, maamam is a private company that strives to achieve social, ethical, and environmental sustainability”

We are all really impressed with all of maaman’s products. It is nice to have things done right!

maamam-banner-1

This is definitely a company to watch to find useful and adorable baby and child products. The aacua would make a fantastic baby shower gift or gift for the new mommy!

Find them online at:

Want to win one for your little bundle?

maaman and Moms Meet have graciously offered to let me do a giveaway~hooray!

A winner will be chosen on September 15, 2011. I am opening this until Sept. 17th due to a mistake I made in closing comments!! I apologize to anyone who had trouble entering.

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.
The kids!

The kids!

With four children over the age of 15 around here, my husband and I find ourselves having loads of talks about lots of issues.

Often we are addressing the little day to day issues that are important to our kids. Like, they need jeans, or a ride, or a better phone plan…

Sometimes, we spend time talking about more important issues like dating, future plans, and our faith. I am the worst for talking about deep subjects while driving. The kids joke they’d much rather ride with Dad for fewer lectures…but that Mom is on time!

Anyway, I think as parents my husband and I do a pretty decent job talking openly about anything with our kids. I do think I did a crummier job with my oldest, as far as paying attention to the things that were important to him.

Now, I’m on my fourth 15 year old, Haha. So, it gets easier to keep track of what’s up!

I really enjoy talking to the kids about things on my mind, like should they wear this or play that or wear contacts, etc, so I was surprised to see the results of a survey from the Bausch + Lomb “Daily Talk Program” that showed that:

“ moms felt least prepared to talk to their children about makeup (33%) or to talk with a child who wants to forego glasses for contact lenses (21%).”

I wonder why some parents may not feel prepared talking about things like makeup and contacts. With my kids, this was easy because I wear contacts, so I know a lot about them. I suppose that helps.

All my boys wear contacts and it was an easy transition for them to move from glasses to contacts. Now, they tend to wear both. This year, though, I mentioned contacts to my daughter, as she is doing cheerleading. She was perfectly happy with her glasses, but I was worried she could get hurt while doing her sports, so we talked about trying contacts.

I feel that kids will be ready to try out contacts at all different ages. For a few of my kids, I felt they were ready to be careful with using contacts and taking care of them at early “tween” ages, while I made one kids wait and prove to me they were ready to be responsible for the contacts (and their eyes).

For my daughter, playing a lot of sports, contacts just make sense. I also think sometimes, contacts can improve kids self-esteem. I think all my kids look good in either glasses or contacts. But, if a kid needs a boost in self-esteem, I don’t see any reason to not try out contacts.

Now, I had already considered contacts for my daughter when I read that Bausch and Lomb had a new type—the daily disposables. I agreed to try them out with my daughter as I think that is a nice happy medium for a tween or younger teen. With the dailies, you do not have to worry so much, whether or not kids are being responsible with the contact solution and such.

I will note, I have always checked with our optometrist to see if contacts are a good fit for my children.

You can see the Soflens daily disposables site and learn more about contacts for your kids here: http://bit.ly/nwJpLU

“I wrote this review while participating in a Test Drive by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Bausch + Lomb and received Soflens daily disposables to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

How to Have A Heart For Your Kids

Heather —  September 3, 2011
mommyandem

Do you know the joy of having a heart for your kids?

We hear all the time that children are a blessing, a gift from God, our most precious possession.

And, when they are new, aren’t we so careful with them? We spend so much time just looking at them, loving them, teaching them, praying for them, thanking God for them.

And, for most of us, even as they get older, we continue on, loving, teaching, praying. Sometimes just looking at them and being happy for the fact that they are in our lives.

But, other times, we begin to take them for granted. Our culture does not cherish our children. Our culture tells us we can do things faster and thus, better. Even our child raising. We worry about what we should be doing with them. We become busy, tired…in a worst case scenario, our children become a burden. We forget to praise God for the simple fact that we have children.

In the middle of all that, we can lose our heart connection with our children.

Sometimes, this can happen in small ways. Some days I can look at a particular child being rebellious or such and it stops me in my tracks and I think, shoot, “I don’t have that child’s heart right now. What is going on?” I need to stop and think. And pray.

Only, some days I don’t stop and think…or pray. Now that I am getting to be an “old” mom, I often remember to stop and regroup. When I was younger, not so much! Suffice it to say, we all survived.

However, I wish I had owned Rachael Carman’s new book, “How to Have a Heart For Your Kids,” when I was younger.haveaheart

Why do I like this one, especially? Between you and me, I have gotten two books this year in the midst of all my school plans that stopped my racing mind and reminded me of why I homeschool. This is one of them.

Carman speaks from her own experience as a mother to seven. Seven. Also a national speaker, she has spoken to homeschool mothers over the years on the topic of How to Have a Heart for Your Kids.

In this pocket size, hardback book, she wraps up all her wisdom into five chapters and presents it to Mothers with a beautiful cover and an easy to remember acronym:

  • H – Have a heart for the things of God
  • E – Enrich your marriage
  • A – Accept your kids
  • R – Release them to God
  • T- Teach them the truth

Here are a few excerpts from the chapters I enjoyed:

H- Having a heart for the things of God: “My beginning point was to realize just how much I needed him”

E – Enrich your marriage: “It is from watching their parents marriages that our children learn trust, sacrifice, loyalty, teamwork, forgiveness…perseverance, joy, diligence,…it is from our marriages that they learn grace.”

A – Accept your kids: “Genuine acceptance of our kids means a radical change of perspective-a paradigm shift. It means seeing our children as gifts.” And, Your kids were sent right on time, on purpose, “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14)

R – Release them to God: “That’s what it means to train up a child in the way he should go-to help him go in the way that God directs.”

T – Teach them the Truth: “You must live truth every day and in front of your kids. It is not enough to breathe life into hundred and thousand-year-old stories, no matter how factual and inspiring. Your personal and daily example will either negate or reinforce what you read.”

I found the book a delight to read and finished it very quickly. I then went back and underlined some things I liked and wanted to remember for myself. Her narrative voice IS really just like talking to a friend in the kitchen, which I liked so much. And she gets right to her point and uses lots of scripture and stories to support her ideas. She really doesn’t do any “fluff.”

Trust me, this is a book worth reading. The cost is minimal, $13. I like that the book is hardback, because I can see pulling this out and re-reading portions for years to come. You can purchase the book on the Apologia site.

See what my crewmates have to say about How To Have a Heart For Your Kids

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I received How to Have a Heart For Your Kids, from Apologia through the TOS Crew for review purposes. I have given my honest opinion.