Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Story of God and All of Us winner!

Congratulations to Sandy! Her entry was selected as the winner of the A Story of God and All of Us, the companion book to The Bible series on History.

An e-mail has been sent to the winner.

Thanks everyone for entering and be sure to check out the other current giveaways in the upper right sidebar.

Eggland's Best - a giveaway


Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? It makes it a
great time to reevaluate the foods you feed your family, so you can feel confident you are feeding your family nutritious foods to help them grow.

Did you know that all eggs are not created equal? When compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland’s Best eggs contain:

· 10 times more vitamin E
· Double the amount of omega-3’s
· Twice the amount of vitamin D
· 3 times more vitamin B12
· 25% less saturated fat
· 38% more lutein


Courtesy of Eggland's Best, I had the opportunity to plan a little brunch. I decided that to make it 'eggs-tra' 'eggs-cellent' I would make most of my dishes themed around the egg. I also wanted dishes that I could make ahead and have ready to assemble and serve - who wants to be busy in the kitchen when your guests are arriving and hanging out - not me!

Egg, Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

Deviled Eggs

Open Face Egg Salad Sandwich

Crustless Quiche

Hard Boiled Eggs (colored, of course!)

Cucumber Salad

Beer Bread

Fruit Salad
Egg Cut Out Cookies


I got creative with building my cookie plate and added a flower cookie on top of the eggs, to make it look like a flower with multi-color petals. I love the effect!


If you are looking for more inspiration in planning a brunch (or breakfast, lunch or dinner for that matter), there are several great egg recipes at Eggland's Best Website - like the Breakfast Burrito and the Sunny Side Breakfast Pizza.

Want more Eggland's Best?

Like them on Facebook.
Follow them on Twitter.
Check out their Pins on Pinterest
Sign up for their newsletter.
Get their e-cookbook - available for free to their Facebook fans, through 4/15/13.

Giveaway

Courtesy of Eggland's Best, I have a gift pack to giveaway to one A Busy Mom of Two reader. You can ask your readers to comment on which Eggland’s Best recipe is their favorite for the chance to get a gift pack. Giveaway ends April 16th.



The gift pack will include:

· (1) coupon for one free dozen Eggland’s Best eggs
· (1) ceramic mixing bowl
· (1) egg-shaped wooden cutting board
· (1) whisk
· (1) bowl scraper
· (1) ceramic mug
· (1) eco bag


Giveaway will remain open through April 16th. Giveaway is open to residents of the US only. One winner will be selected through Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


No compensation was received for this post. Eggland's Best provided coupons, information, and two gift packs - one for me and one for the giveaway. All opinions expressed are entirely my own or that of my family.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Easter Traditions

It is so hard for me to believe that Easter is just around the corner. Maybe the challenge is the snow day that the kids had on Monday. I have always associated Easter with the start of spring. The start of new life (and renewed life).

Holidays seem to be a time of tradition for me. When I was a kid, I can remember my grandparents taking us to an Easter egg hunt. Of course, coloring Easter eggs is a fun activity that is typically reserved to Easter. I can remember getting a new spring dress and shoes for Easter, and even on a few occasions a new hat too. Easter menus include ham and scalloped potatoes (although, I don't eat those, so I'm not sure whey I would associate that) and of course, colored eggs. Easter morning always included the hunt for the Easter basket and the yummy chocolates and chocolate eggs.

Most years, we have taken the kids to an Easter egg hunt, although some years cold weather and schedules seem to make this hard to do. I've chosen a new dress and sandals for my daughter to wear for Easter, my son isn't into the clothes, so he'll make do with something he has. We colored our Easter eggs last week. The kids always want to color a lot of eggs, but I am the only one that eats the hard boiled eggs, so we have to balance their desire to color with how many eggs I can eat! We enjoy using a white crayon to write a message that magically appears when the egg is colored.

The menu for Easter has evolved over the years. We generally go to one of my aunt's houses for the holiday and everyone brings a dish to share so the selection will vary, but the constant of course is the ham.

Brian Hendrickson, Curemaster for Hormel Cure 81 ham brand, has a few tips for you when it comes to ham:

Know your Numbers: When purchasing ham for a large crowd, such as Easter dinner, count the number of guests scheduled to attend. It's a good idea to get about a pound of ham for every 3-4 people. Don't forget to estimate a little extra for unexpected guests, and everyone's favorite - leftovers!"
As Simple as Heat & Serve: Hams are typically sold as a fully cooked product, so when preparing, all you need to do is heat it until the ham is hot throughout. A good gauge is when the ham reaches about 140-145 degrees. It's a simple protein solution when you are pressed for time.
A Ham for Every Occasion: In recent years, various cuts and flavors of ham have been introduced, making it a great option for entertaining or a weeknight family dinner. Hormel Cure 81 ham items are available pre-diced or pre-cubed for an easy addition to your morning omelet, or in ham steaks that are great to throw on the grill.

My husband doesn't like ham though, so I also will sometimes bring an alternate entree with us to the meal - usually a pasta dish (he is Italian, afterall!)

How do you celebrate Easter? Are there recipes that you make every spring? Does your family participate in any charitable programs?

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am completing this post as a participant in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger program. Hormel Foods provided some product and some of the information for this post.


Samples and Freebies

Requested:
Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream
Scott Extra Soft Free Roll

Received:
Vaseline Spray & Go Moisturizer coupon
Nature Made VitaMelts
Lipton Tea samples and coupon


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus ticket giveaway winner!

Congrats to Rikki Lynn! Her entry was selected as the winner of the circus ticket giveaway. An e-mail was sent to the winner.

Thanks everyone for entering and be sure to check out all of the other giveaways that are currently active.

Super Why Live: You've Got the Power! - Akron Civic Theater


Super Why Live: You've Got the Power!
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 6:30 PM
Akron Civic Theatre

Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power! is coming to the Civic for the first time ever! Based on the top-rated, Emmy-nominated preschool TV series that airs on PBS KIDS everyday across the U.S., Super WHY Live brings entertainment and education together in a live show unlike any your family has seen before. It is sure to be unforgettable.

Super WHY Live was written by Super WHY creator Angela Santomero, with music by Jack Antonoff, of the Grammy-nominated band “fun.” The show is produced by S2BN Entertainment (Yo Gabba Gabba! Live, Spider-Man on Broadway, and Rock of Ages: The Musical) in association with Out of the Blue Enterprises.

For an extra special experience, You’ve Got the Power! Party Packages offer premium seats and a meet & greet with your favorite characters after the show.

Super Why VIP packages through TicketMaster ONLY!

Ticket Information
$24.75 - $34.75
Available at the Box Office or through Ticketmaster.

Giveaway!
One A Busy Mom of Two reader will win a 4-pack of tickets to see Super Why Live: You've Got the Power! at the Akron Civic Theatre on Tuesday, May 7th at 6:30 pm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway will remain open through April 15th. Giveaway is open to residents of the US only. Winners will be selected through Rafflecopter. The winners will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

No compensation was received for this post. I received the tickets for the show, courtesy of Akron Civic Theater. All opinions expressed are entirely my own or that of my family.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

It was a good weekend. We hosted a game night at our house and otherwise, just spent time as a family. I didn't get to many of my goals for the weekend, but sometimes those things can just wait.

Dinner plans were changed up a bit last week, so we have some meals that we moved forward to this week. It happens, we go with the flow. Sunday was going to be potato soup, but since we were out and about, my husband suggested dinner out and we went. I might just fit that in on Friday for lunch, since we are all home.

Sunday
cereal
grilled ham and cheese
dinner out

Monday
Shrimp/Scallops

Tuesday
Spaghetti and Meatballs

Wednesday
Pizza - Relay for Life Fundraiser

Thursday
Chicken and Eggplant Parm

Friday
Tilapia Vera Cruz

Saturday
cereal
sandwiches
TBD


Breakfast is cereal or oatmeal each morning. Lunch for the kids is either the school lunch or usually a couple of times a week they pack. Lunch for my husband and me is typically sandwiches, frozen meals or leftovers.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Bible Series on History Channel - a giveaway



I remember reading about this new mini-series in the newspaper a few weeks back. It has already started, but I am certain that there will be a chance to catch up!

We’re proud to announce The Bible Series premiering on History Channel March 3rd 2013 Sundays at 8PM!

From Executive Producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes The Bible — an epic 10-part miniseries retelling stories from the Scriptures for a whole new generation. Breathtaking in scope and scale, The Bible features powerful performances, exotic locales and dazzling visual effects that breathe spectacular life into the dramatic tales of faith and courage from Genesis through Revelation. This historic television event is sure to entertain and inspire the whole family!

Last year, we did a Bible Study with a small group and it was very interesting. You start to become rather familiar with the stories and it is surprising how reading it and talking through it with others can not only make you see details that you missed, but can also give you a new perspective on something familiar. I have to imagine that this mini-series will have a similar effect of making the familiar new again. I always think it is interesting to see how those that you have pictured in your minds eye while reading a book actually appear on screen - someone's vision of what they look like, how they hold themselves, etc.

How familiar are your? Check out the app below to test yourself! Take the quiz below and see how you do.



Have you been watching this new series? What do you think so far?

Giveaway!
One A Busy Mom of Two reader will receive a copy of one of the official The Bible companion books below! (Prize will be chosen randomly from the book titles below!)

• A Story of God and All of Us (HARDCOVER)
• A Story of God and All of Us (REFLECTIONS)
• A Story of God and All of Us (YOUNG READERS)
Giveaway will remain open through March 28th. Giveaway is open to residents of the US only. Winners will be selected through Rafflecopter. The winners will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



No compensation was received for this post. Information for this post, including the app and the book for the giveaway, were provided by the History Channel in promotion of the new mini-series. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.


Cooking Planit Spice Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Ronnette! - the winner of the Cooking Planit Spice Giveaway, hosted by A Busy Mom of Two.

Don't forget, there are plenty of chances left to win on other blogs. Check out the giveaway post for a matrix of other blogs hosting the giveaway.

Brookside Chocolate Deal at CVS - week of 4/7, print coupon now!

According to the ad on CVS.com, the Brookside Chocolates will be on special the week of 4/7 at 2/$6. Pair that sale with the coupon, worth up to $2.50 on a bag of Brookside Chocolates on the CVS site for a great deal.

2 - Brookside Chocolate (I think I will try the Dark Chocolate A├žai with Blueberry and the Dark Chocolate Pomegranate)

- $2.50 CVS printable coupon, up to $2.50
- $2 Brookside Chocolate Mfg coupon

Total $1.50 OOP for two bags of the Brookside Chocolates.

So, print the coupon and hang on to it for this special deal that is coming to CVS in two weeks.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

DIY - Doll Carrier

The other week, my daughter asked me if she could have some string from Daddy's office. Wondering what she might need string for, I asked her. She told me that she wanted to make a carrier for her dolly. First, I thought that she was rather creative to decide that she could use string to make a carrier. Then, I told her that instead of string, we should make one together out of fabric. I told her that we could go shopping in a couple of days to get the material for the carrier. When Sunday afternoon came and we were ready to head to the store for fabric and groceries, she wrote out a list to bring along. (I just loved this list - that first item is fabric, can you guess the others?)

It was then that I decided, I might want to have a plan before I shop, rather than figure it out on the fly. I quick search of the internet and Pinterest, yielded me lots of different carrier photos, but I couldn't really find a pattern or directions. There were some shops that were selling patterns and some that appeared to use a book, that of course, my library didn't have. So, as any industrious person would do, I started measuring my computer screen to get the 'relative' dimensions, which then I scaled up and added a seam allowance to. I drew it on a piece of paper that wasn't quite the right size and then transferred it to the funny pages.

So, I had a pattern and that gave me an idea of how much fabric I would need. I opted to skip batting - which it seemed that several of the carriers were made with. I had planned to use buttons to secure it, but eventually opted for Velcro, with button accents at the points of connection.

At the store, I told her that she could choose two fabrics - one for the inside and one for the outside. I wasn't really sure how much I would need, but I went with 1/2 yard of each fabric - this was probably a lot more than I needed, but it is always nice to have some extra fabric on hand for future impromptu projects. She also chose a quilting quarter for the pocket. The fabric in total cost me about $5. In addition, we picked up four buttons and some thread (turns out I had some purple already, but it didn't seem worth the effort to return a $1 spool of thread, so I have added it to my collection). That was about $3 in total. As I mentioned, I decided to go with Velcro, but my husband picked that up for me and we have a lot left.

I folded my fabrics near the end, allowing just enough to fit the pattern. Using the skills I learned in 8th grade Home Ec, I pinned the pattern to my fabric and cut it out. I had to cut two of the pieces - the inside and the outside.

Then, I cut two long strips at about 5" wide to make the straps. Then, I cut out the pocket. I cut it square and sewed it into shape.

I decided, based on pictures, that I would sew the straps in at the bottom of the carrier, so with right sides together, I sewed around the outside of the carrier body leaving the bottom open for turning it and securing the straps. The planner that I am, I failed to sew on the pocket ahead of time, so the stitching is visible on the 'inside' of the carrier - not a big deal, but a cleaner project would have had the pocket sewn on before joining the pieces. The, I flipped the carrier right side out and sewed on the pocket.


To make the straps, I used my iron to press a 1/4" seam on the one side and then folded the other side to just past middle and then folded over the side that I had pressed, making sure that I covered the unfinished edge from the other side. I ran a stitch on each side at about 1/4" from the edge and then ran two that worked out to be about 7/8" from the edges. This secured it and made them look 'strappy'.

I inserted the straps into the bottom of the carrier and folded in my edge, sewing it across with a 1/4" seam allowance.

Then, using Velcro dots, I 'sized' the carrier to fit a dolly and my daughter. I had intended to create button holes and attached buttons, but the Velcro seemed to work well, so I switched from the sticky dots to sewn on Velcro. Then, I added button accents.


She loves her doll carrier. She uses it to carry her dolly when she is busy doing other things and can't be bothered to actually carry the dolly. I must say, that for no pattern, I am very pleased with the results, it's not perfect, but is perfect for her.


This post shared at Works for Me Wednesday and Homemade By You and DIY'ers link up.

Update: I have been asked about dimensions. I didn't use a real pattern, but sort of used a guide and then adjusted. Here is a sketch of relative dimensions. So, you can see that it is about 3 times as tall as the tail is wide, etc. This will allow the most flexibility to you to figure out the sizes for your own child. The straps were cut at about 5" wide and finished were about 2" wide, so you can use that to see that the tail is about 5" wide finished on mine.


Menu Plan Monday

What a busy, fun weekend!

Friday started with a family movie night. After sifting through several 'classic' films, trying to find one that was okay for a 6 and 9 year old to enjoy, we settled on Defending Your Life.

Saturday was Zumba, Soccer, Mommy-Daughter day with lunch and Miss Spider's Tea Party Ballet - including a book signing by the author of the book, another family movie night with Cutting Edge - there are a lot more not nice words than I remember, but maybe I have seen it on TV too many times.

On Sunday, I did a little work on my closet - I figure if I can find 5 items that I haven't worn in a year, every few days or each week, in a few weeks I will have it cleaned up and organized. Plus, I found some things that I hadn't worn but should be, and put them back into rotation already! Sunday night was the They Might Be Giants concert for my husband and I. We met some friends for the show and it was a good time. Later than normal night for me, but still a good time.

Sunday
cereal
Corned Beef Hash and Eggs
Crescent Dogs

Monday
Eggs and Pierogie

Tuesday
Lemon Chicken Pasta

Wednesday
Chicken Patty Sandwiches

Thursday
French Bread Pizza

Friday
Shrimp and Scallops

Saturday
TBD

Breakfast is cereal or oatmeal each morning. Lunch for the kids is either the school lunch or usually a couple of times a week they pack. Lunch for my husband and me is typically sandwiches, frozen meals or leftovers.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


St. Patrick's Day has always been a 'fun' holiday. How can it not be? There are parades, rivers are turned green, there is food, there is beverage, there are Irish jigs.

When I was a child, I went to St. Patrick's Elementary School - I had a connection from a young age. I remember wearing green and people having buttons and shirts that said "Kiss Me I'm Irish". When I headed off to college, St. Patrick's Day was a day marked by Green Beer and lots of community parties.

I really don't recall St. Patrick's Day being associated with a particular type of food until my fourth year of college. I was dating a man that lived in another state and I had headed over to visit for Spring Break - the aforementioned college traditions led to us having a spring break after my sophomore year that was conveniently scheduled over St. Patrick's Day each year. We went to one of his friend's houses for dinner and she made a great dish of corned beef and cabbage. It was delicious. I had enjoyed both corned beef (with noodles) and cabbage (in cabbage rolls) as a child, so they weren't new to me, but having them together for St. Patrick's Day was new.

Now, as an adult, I can't really say that I have any St. Patrick's Day traditions of my own, unless you count wearing green and up until last year bringing something to daycare for the green buffet - frequently, cut out Shamrock Cookies or Finger Jello. I am however, a big fan of corned beef, so this year, I am going to make up some corned beef hash and fried eggs for breakfast or lunch. (I'm thinking lunch, only because I don't normally eat that much food at breakfast - plus Sunday is the only day that I have a bowl of cereal and I enjoy it while reading the paper.) I will likely be enjoying it alone - although, I might convince my son to give it a try, he is more adventurous and likes easy over eggs.

Do you have St. Patrick's Day traditions? Do you eat any St. Patrick's Day themed foods?

If you are in need of some ideas, Hormel Foods has put together a full menu of St. Patrick's Day themed dishes for every meal of day.

Breakfast:
Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast Sandwiches - they make theirs green with spinach, not like the green eggs that my kids and I enjoyed a few years back. I think that sounds more appealing to me.
Cheesy Hash - add bacon and cheese to Hormel Mary Kitchen corned beef hash for a restaurant-like breakfast dish.

Lunch:
Sausage and Pepper Pasta - this delicious sounding dish uses Hormel Natural Choice spinach asiago chicken sausage (I have to look for that, it sounds delicious and would be great on the grill).
California Confetti Pizza - this vegetable pizza adds green with the addition of Wholly Guacamole.

Dinner:
Ultimate Roast Beef Sandwich - this recipe takes a bowl of stew and turns it into a sandwich.
Harvest Pork Roast - a classic meat and potato dish.

No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am completing this post as a participant in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger program. Hormel Foods provided some product and some of the information for this post.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Clouds by Robin Jones Gunn

A while back, I read Sisterchicks in Gondolas by Robin Jones Gunn. After reading it, I decided that I wanted to check out more of her books. My most recently completed book by her was Clouds. Clouds is part of the Glenbrooke Series - I have not read any of the others - it was #5 of 8. I do not feel like I missed out on anything by not having read any of the others, but really, the only way to tell if I did will be to read more! As it turns out, Glenbrooke is not 'in' the story until near the end of this book, further reason to support my theory that I didn't miss anything.

The story tells the tale of Shelly Graham. She is the daughter of the local preacher and moved away from home 5 years earlier to pursue her dream of being a flight attendant. She always wanted to be able to travel and see the world. When the airline does some downsizing, she requests a transfer home and returns to her parent's house. When her sister moves to a cabin, they decide to share and further their relationship as sisters. Getting closer to her sister allows Shelly the opportunity to travel and see more of the world. Their first trip is to Germany. There, she runs into the former boy next door and her first, and only, true love. As the fates would have it, she also meets his fiancee, whom he only recently became engaged to. A trip with the two of them to the towns where her family is from, leaves her with mixed feelings. Returning home, she has a new perspective on life and what she wants to do with it. Is it to late for her to live her dreams? Will she ever get the chance to let Jonathan know how she really feels?

I'd tell you more, but then reading it wouldn't be as much fun!

I really enjoy the storytelling that Robin Jones Gunn provides. She does a great job developing her characters and I simply love that they get the chance to travel to new locations and live and experience it almost like locals. It allows me to experience a new location, vicariously and I must say that this story has me wanting to head back to Europe again - my family is originally from Austria/Germany and I still have relatives there. I have only been once, when I went with my family as a senior in college and it was a great and memorable experience that I was fortunate enough to share with my parents, my siblings and my grandma. There is a Christian based backbone to her stories, which is present but not pushy. In both books that I have read by her, not only are the characters well developed, but we get to watch them grow through their faith and their travels.

I definitely will look to read more books by Robin Jones Gunn. I am debating on the Glenbrooke Series, whether to move forward from where I am or to start from the beginning.

You can learn more about the author and this book through the links below:

Robin Jones Gunn website
her Bio
Clouds

No compensation was received for this review. A complimentary copy of this book was provided by Waterbrook Multnomah through their Blogging for Books program. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cooking Planit - Spices Giveaway!

I mentioned last week that I would be participating in the Cooking Planit Spice Giveaway. Guess what! My turn has finally arrived.


Now, you have a chance to win an awesome spice set, sponsored by the great people at Cooking Planit, that includes 26 of the most commonly used spices, with a retail value of over $100!

Don't forget, after you enter here, check out the grid below and find the other 50 participating bloggers and enter to win on their site too. Remember to check back each day - there will be two new giveaways starting across the blogosphere each day.

What's included in the spice set?

Top 26 Spices Every Kitchen Should:


Photo by Emily Wilson

• Ground Cumin
• Basil
• Saigon Cinnamon
• Bay Leaves
• Smoked Paprika
• Thyme
• Garlic Powder
• Mediterranean Oregano
• Onion Powder
• Rosemary
• Nutmeg Powder
• Red Pepper Flakes
• Coriander Powder
• Cayenne Pepper
• Ground Cloves
• Chinese Five Spice
• Turmeric
• Curry Powder
• Yellow Mustard
• Pennsylvania Pepper
• Cardamon Powder
• Cajun Seasoning
• Allspice Powder
• Hill Country Chili Powder
• Ginger Root Powder
• Manzanillo Mexico Seasoning

Have you checked out Cooking Planit yet? Available for your iPhone/iPad for access on the go or in the kitchen, they also have a website. They feature recipes for dishes, and for full meals. The recipes show you the ingredients and the tools needed to recreate the dish in your home. The recipes include both prep and cooking directions. Making a meal? They even help you time things, so that it all finishes at once. Use the website or app to select dishes and build a grocery list.

The photography is amazing, it makes your mouth water.

Want to see for yourself? Check out this recipe for Crispy Chicken with Lemon-Caper Sauce. I think that this will hit the menu plan soon!

Giveaway!
Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter to win! (don't forget to check out the other giveaways!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Below is a matrix of participating blogs:

        2013 GIVEAWAY PARTICIPANTS:

StartStopFlight 1Flight 2
13/6/133/12/13SophistisheField and Feast
23/7/133/13/13The Wicked NoodleThe Cooking Planit Blog
33/8/133/14/13The Aliso KitchenSlow Down & Savor
43/9/133/15/13Chicago Foodie SistersJessiker Bakes
53/10/133/16/13My Happily Ever After the EndThe Food Yenta
63/11/133/17/13Notes from Maggie’s FarmFood Fash
73/12/133/18/13My Kitchen AddictionsWhat Jew Wanna Eat
83/13/133/19/13Bite Sized BlogNicole’s Nickels
93/14/133/20/13A Busy Mom of TwoFood Squeeze
103/15/133/21/13Kasey’s KitchenKitchen Concoctions
113/16/133/22/13Daily Ups & PoundsLisa Cooking
123/17/133/23/13Ditch the BoxHuppie Mama
133/18/133/24/13Hungry HutchFood Fetish
143/19/133/25/13Cook the BlogThree Diets. One Dinner
153/20/133/26/13Sugarfoot EatsGear Live
163/21/133/27/13CopyKat RecipesThe Mouthy Housewives
173/22/133/28/13Burnt AppleThe Butterfly Mom
183/23/133/29/13The Mama ReportAncestral Chef
193/24/133/30/13A Food Centric LifeWe Like To Cook!
203/25/133/31/13Dixie Chik CooksBaby Boomster
213/26/134/1/13Unorganized Mommy of 3Much Ado About Fooding
223/27/134/2/13Better with ButterThe Primlani Kitichen
233/28/134/3/13Mother Would KnowCalifornia Country Gal
243/29/134/4/13Yi ReservationNY Foodgasm
253/30/134/5/13ME RedoneCreative Cullinary


Don’t want to wait, you can buy your own custom spice set from Spices Inc.


No compensation was received for this post. Cooking Planit has provided information for this post and will be providing the Spice set for the giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cirque Ziva, featuring The Golden Dragon Acrobats coming to Akron Civic Theatre

Cirque Ziva, featuring The Golden Dragon Acrobats
Sunday, April 21, 2013 3:00 PM
Akron Civic Theatre

The Golden Dragon Acrobats have been recognized as the preeminent Chinese acrobatic company in the United States. The Golden Dragon Acrobats hail from Cangzhou, Hebei province, in the People’s Republic of China and have toured the United States continuously since 1978 to international acclaim. Its members are athletes, actors and artists who have studied and trained for their craft since early childhood. The group averages 200 performances each year and has toured through all 50 states and in over 65 countries across the world.

They practice the rigorous art of Chinese Acrobatics, an art form that first became popular in China 2,500 years ago. The 25 acrobats are athletes, actors and artists who have trained since childhood. They will amaze you with acrobatic feats they perform using their bodies and simple props including everyday objects like plates, jugs, bicycles, umbrellas and more.

I have always been intrigued by the various Cirque shows - the acrobats amaze me with their strength and their precision. I can't wait to check out the Cirque Ziva when it comes to town.

Tickets:
Adult - $35.00/12 yrs and Under - $25.00
Adult - $25.00/12 yrs and Under - $15.00
Adult - $20.00/12 yrs and Under - $10.00

You can purchase tickets online through the website or at the Box Office.

Giveaway!
Courtesy of Akron Civic Theatre, one A Busy Mom of Two reader will win a family 4-pack of tickets to check out Cirque Ziva on Sunday, April 21st at 3 pm.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway will remain open through April 9th. Giveaway is open to residents of the US only. Winners will be selected through Rafflecopter. The winners will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

No compensation was received for this post. I received the tickets for the show, courtesy of Akron Civic Theater. All opinions expressed are entirely my own or that of my family.

Where's the Hot Water?

I can't explain the why, but for some reason, getting hot water in the shower in our bedroom is nearly impossible. As I am sure many do, we would turn on the water and let it warm up while getting prepped for hopping in. Problem was, it only warmed up, never got to the point of being hot water. Even as the shower progressed, it didn't seem to get warmer. The second person showering seemed to have an advantage. By the time they hopped in, it was actually a pretty warm shower.

Over the years, I have tried several things. If I run the dishwasher or the washing machine shortly before a shower, that usually helps, but I can't always be doing this. Sometimes the water is warmer if I run our tub first and then the shower, but that feels a bit like a waste.
A while back, by complete accident, I found a solution that seems to work consistently. I have actually been able to take hot showers instead of warm showers (I am first most mornings). On that morning, I had reached in and turned on the shower and when I hopped in, it was relatively cold. I reached for the handle and discovered that I had not turned it all the way on. When I did - voila! - hot water. I thought that was nice. So, the next morning, I intentionally only turned the handle on about 3/4 of the way, got ready and moved it to fully on right before stepping in - hot water! I don't know why draining the cold water from the pipes on a warm vs hot setting allows for the overall shower to be hotter - I just know that, at least at my house in my shower - it WORKS!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents BUILT TO AMAZE


The Circus is Coming to Town!

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents BUILT TO AMAZE is coming to the Covelli Centre on April 5-7, 2013. This is a BRAND NEW show for the circus and it kicking off the Midwest tour with Youngstown!

What makes this even better is that it is coming during Spring Break - what a great way to celebrate the time off with the kids than taking them to the circus.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Baile®y presents BUILT TO AMAZE! produced by Feld Entertainment, is performing for eight shows at the Covelli Centre April 5 -7, 2013. This particular engagement falls during Youngstown area school’s Spring Break Vacations, so make sure you are spending your Spring Break Staycation with US!

Andre McClain, Ringmaster and America’s favorite cowboy takes the Ringling Bros. reins and accompanied by his horse Comanche, leads his Built To Amaze! funny and mischievous super circus supervisors, to construct The Greatest Show On Earth. A fantastic design with more than 110 of the world’s best performers representing 17 countries along with 95 exotic and domestic animals will be assembled, creating never-before-seen heart pounding performances. Ringling Bros. is thrilled to introduce nine-time international award winning comedic animal presenting duo Alex and Irina Emelin of Russia. Also new to Ringling Bros. is the Tower Tumblers, a troupe of competitive aerial athletes from the Ukraine who launch themselves from trampolines to scale, repel and pass through a three-story high translucent tower. Ringling Bros. brings a spirited and fiery competition of basketball with the next generation of whirling unicyclists, the legendary King Charles Troupe hailing from New York City!




PERFORMANCES:
Friday, April 5: 3PM, 7PM
Saturday, April 6: 11AM, 3PM, 7PM
Sunday, April 7: 11AM, 3PM, 7PM

TICKET PRICES:
Circus Celebrity: $70 VIP: $35
Price level 3: $18
Price level 4: $14

$12 tickets to Opening Night, Friday 4/5/13 at 7PM - Not valid on Circus Celebrity or VIP seats.
$12 KIDS tickets to all performances! - Not valid on Circus Celebrity or VIP seats.

HOW TO GET TICKETS:
1. Covelli Centre Box Office
2. http://www.ticketmaster.com/venueartist/41866/1788389
3. By phone at 800.745.3000
**phone and internet purchases may incur a charge.

FREE ALL ACCESS PRE-SHOW--
BUILT TO AMAZE! opens with the All-Access Pre-show where all ticket holders are invited to join the fun and meet the BUILT TO AMAZE! international cast of performers as they prepare for the show. The Ringling Bros.® Ringling Girls and Barnum B-Boys encourage kids to participate in a tug-of- war and kick off what will soon become an insane battle of girl power versus boy power in BUILT TO AMAZE! Audiences also can pick up some hip dance moves during the dance party, try on custom designed costumes, learn circus skills like juggling from the famous Ringling Bros. Clown Alley and even have the opportunity to witness and win a one of a kind masterpiece created by Asia, Ringling Bros. very own painting pachyderm!

Giveaway!
You could win a family 4 pack of tickets to the Friday, April 5th, 3PM show at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Giveaway will remain open through March 25th. Giveaway is open to residents of the US only. Winners will be selected through Rafflecopter. The winners will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be selected.

No compensation was received for this post. Information about the show and the tickets for the giveaway were provided by Feld Entertainment. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

What a wonderful weekend! There wasn't anything specific that made it wonderful and there were some frustrating points to it, but all in all, it was just a nice weekend and I feel like I accomplished some things. Plus, the weather yesterday, just made it that much better.

I took another step in my effort to declutter this weekend and I cleaned out my bathroom drawers this weekend. They have a tendency to catch a lot of stuff and it was time to clean it out. I got rid of some old makeup and set some unopened stuff aside to donate. I collected several buttons that come with clothes and put them away - I think I need to create a basket of buttons to keep them all in - without all the extra packaging. Most of them, I have no idea what they are for, but it is always good to have a variety of spare buttons for when you do need one. I also officially put away the remaining snowmen decorations that were out. I didn't pull out the Easter decorations yet, but will need to do that soon.

I made a doll carrier for my daughter. I am pleased with how my 'no pattern to start with' doll carrier turned out - I will share the project with you, just need to put some finishing touches on the carrier. The best part is that my daughter loves it.

Sunday
cereal
leftovers
Turkey Roast

Monday
Homemade Pizza

Tuesday
Pork Chops

Wednesday
Mexican with friends

Thursday
Spaghetti & Meatballs

Friday
Fish fillets and Popcorn Shrimp

Saturday
Buffalo Chicken Rolls


Breakfast is cereal or oatmeal each morning. Lunch for the kids is either the school lunch or usually a couple of times a week they pack. Lunch for my husband and me is typically sandwiches, frozen meals or leftovers.

This post shared at Menu Plan Monday.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

New Crystal Light Liquid

I am trying to lead a healthier lifestyle and one aspect of that is making sure that I drink plenty of water. Generally, I love water and have no problem drinking it, but after a while, you want something with flavor and from my vantage point, some meals simply just don't go well with plain water. Take pizza for example, maybe it is because it is one of the few meals that I associate with soda, but plain water never seems quite right with pizza. I just need some sort of a flavor, something other than plain water. With new Crystal Light Liquid, I can enjoy a flavorful, 0-calorie drink.

Crystal Light is excited to announce a fabulous new addition to its drink mixes – 0-calorie Crystal Light Liquid Drink Mix. With delicious Crystal Light Liquid, you don’t have to sacrifice. You can have the best of both worlds – breakthrough flavor with 0 calories. The portable drink mix comes in six delicious flavors and makes it easier than ever for women to indulge their taste buds without the calories.

Available in Strawberry Lemonade, Blueberry Raspberry, Iced Tea, Mango Passionfruit, Peach Bellini and Pomtini flavors, Crystal Light Liquid puts a new, modern twist on the classics.

Crystal Light Liquid
is available in 1.62 fl. oz. multi-serve bottles with 24 servings

Crystal Light Liquid is:
- 0 calories
- Sugar free
- Sweetened with a blend of non-nutritive sweeteners
- Gluten free


I tried both the Peach Bellini and the Mango Passionfruit flavors. I enjoyed both of them. I think that next I will try the Blueberry Raspberry or the Strawberry Lemonade.

I will say that I was a little bummed at first that the Crystal Light Liquid Peach Bellini didn't have the same sparkle that I get from their Crystal Light Mocktails Peach Bellini. I still love the flavor though, and I found the solution in the Mixology recipe section on the Crystal Light Liquid page:

Virgin Peach Bellini

Ingredients:

1 squeeze Crystal Light Liquid Peach Bellini
8 oz chilled sparkling water

A festive cocktail-esque drink without the guilt.

I also really like how easy they are to take with you. The little bottles are the perfect size to fit in your purse, for a shot of flavor in your beverage on the go.

Have you tried new Crystal Light Liquid? What is your favorite flavor?

No compensation was received for this post. A sample of Crystal Light Liquid and information about the product was provided by Kraft for the purposes of this review. All opinions expressed are my own or that of my family.

Ellie by PV Body - save 20%!

The other night I was watching the Biggest Loser. It was Makeover week and I noticed that along with makeover week, they start wearing different stuff at weigh in. The men have stopped taking off their shirts and the women have switched from saggy, baggy to fitted. The thing that is most noticeable is how much better they look.

It got me to thinking how much better I feel when I am wearing clothes that fit right. When I wear saggy, baggy clothes, I tend to have a lower body image. Now that is not something that happens or that I think about when I am relaxing at home, but I do think about it when I am going out, going to work, or working out.

Last month I mentioned that I had gotten some new work out clothes through PV Body. At the time, they were sending outfits from assorted lines, but now they have launched their own line called Ellie. Now that I work out in a group exercise class several times a week and walk on a fully lit track, I feel that I need to wear clothes that are both comfortable and fit. The clothes that I received from their February collection are just that.

The pants were a pair of black capris with a bright pink waist band - they hit me mid-waist and are fairly fitted. That is a good thing - I have a pair of capris that are really flared and I always manage to catch my water bottle on my pants leg during spinning class, which sends the water bottle across the room and leaves me having to clamor off the bike to retrieve it during recovery. In general, I like the way that a fitted pant also helps me remember to pull my abs in while walking or running. It helps me maintain my posture. Plus, I feel like the fitted pants show off my curves - sure they are more generous than I prefer, but I feel better about me when the clothes are fitted (fitted not tight).
photo courtesy of PVBody
The shirt is perhaps one of the softest workout shirts that I own - I love it. It is a soft pink color. It is a longer cut - that works for me, shirts that are too short make me look extra wide - because they make me look straight from the top to the hip. Again, the shirt I chose is a little bit fitted - not tight, fitted. I really like it. It seems to move with me and doesn't get twisted or pull up as a work out. Having worked out in front of a mirror now, I realize that some of my less fitted shirts seem to leave me with skin showing when I am stretching and doing some of the exercises.

Ellie is "a fitness apparel brand that marries fashion and quality!" Join their Fit Fashionista Club and for only $49.95 / month (click here when you sign up and Save 20% on Ellie! - making it only $39.96). With the Fit Fashonista Club you receive two pieces (any price) from that month's collection. Order by the 7th of each month to choose your own, or they will select an outfit for you. Of course, you can always buy pieces on their own, without joining the club.

I love that they update their designs each month and because they are their own designs, I have less chance of finding myself wearing the same workout clothes as the woman next to me (that happened one time at Zumba - I felt a little uncomfortable, because of course, I felt that their outfit fit them better that mine did). I also like that their clothes wash up well, they are washer and dryer friendly.

Why don't you check out Ellie and find workout clothes for your style and fitness activities.

Want to check out their product line for yourself and get 20% off? Use this link to learn more and

Save 20% on Ellie!



No compensation was received for this post. I am an Ellie Ambassador. When you sign up through my link, I will get a credit for your purchase. I was provided with a set of workout clothes, so that I could share my honest opinion on the product. All opinions are my own or that of my family.