Monday, October 31, 2011

Tenzi Review/Giveaway-CLOSED

 A few weeks ago I was contacted by Steve from Tenzi to review this new game. I received the game a few days later. It looked easy, but fun! Everyone gets 10 dice and the first person to get all their dice on the same number wins. Yes, very simple...which might make you think this is a quick game and then the fun is over, but you would be wrong.


                                         
  The first day we played the game we had some friends over and we all sat down to play (the game is for 2-4 players). We played a few rounds of just seeing who could get all their dice on the same number first, which was fun...but then we explored different ways to play the game. There are so many different variations of the game , and that really makes this game a lot of fun. Everyone gets 10 dice and the fun is endless. If you like fast paced games this game is definitely for you.

   I loved not only the fact that this game can be changed up , but the fact that is very easy to play at almost any time. For instance, like I said we played with 2 friends, but Isaac and I also love games that just the two of us can sit down to play together and this is definitely one of those games.  Just the other day I took it over to my parents house and my mom and I sat down to play and we had a lot of fun, she actually requested that I bring it back the next time I go over. Also the ages on the game are for 7 and up, but my 3 1/2 yr old loves playing this game with me! Although we normally use 5 dice and don't use any of the variations, but its still a blast.



 My only complaint about Tenzi? I wish it came with more dice, I know thats silly....but here is my reasoning, it comes with 40 dice, 10 each of 4 different colors.... well we have already lost one blue dice and one black dice. So, now when we play the game we have to either use 9 dice each or if we play with 2 players we are stuck using the red and white dice. So I wish it came with maybe 12 of each color, just for that reason...and maybe this is only a problem we have in our home, but we tend to loose game pieces a lot! :-/

  Tenzi is for sure a game that I would buy to play , I actually would possibly purchase another set for our home  so that we could have more than 4 people playing at once. You can purchase this game at Tenzi's website for just $14.95. These are packaged perfectly for stocking stuffers! One of you can win your very own set of Tenzi just by filling out the entry form below.  I will leave this open until Monday Nov 7th.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Myachi Battle Paddles review/giveaway-CLOSED

 Myachi combines the fluid hand motions of martial arts with the old school fun of Hackey Sack. The ONLY rule is "no palms allowed", after that anything goes! You can learn some of the cool tricks, or just toss it back and forth with your friends. "Its all about looking good and having fun!" 


 The Myachi movement began  in 1999 when Steven Ochs, a stockbroker, quit his job, sold everything he owned and bought a mobile home and a sewing machine to become the Myachi Man! After years of effort and thousands of miles of travel this worldwide phenomenon began. 


 As a company, Myachi is dedicated to instilling the virtues of discipline, respect, patience, confidence and passion. By focusing on these virtues in a way that is fun, healthy and active their hope is that the values and lessons of Myachi can help build stronger communities and individuals .....and one's sick reflexes and hand-eye cordination. ;-)


  Myachi for years has simply been the hand sack alone. Now they are launching their battle paddles. After teaching the game to thousands of people the creators of Myachi, or the Myachi Masters, learned two things.
 1) Little kids have little hands
 2) A larger surface area makes it easier to catch a Myachi.

 Battle paddles can be worn on both hands and used by one player while performing tricks alone, or play with 2 or more players and battle it out 1 on 1 or make teams.

  What we thought of Myachi Battle Paddles:  We were sent 2 paddles and a couple Myachi's.
We broke them out and put them on to play. First Aaron and I tried them out together. His hand is a little small (he is 3 1/2) but it fit well enough and he was able to play.
                      We played for about 20 minutes and in that amount of time he was able to figure out how to catch and toss the myachi back and forth with me. We both enjoyed it a lot, and since we had never tried Myachi before it was exciting everytime we caught it :) We had to take a break to come inside and get warmed up, but he did not want to take off the paddle. He sat on the floor and watched a show, but kept it on the whole time.
                                Then later this afternoon my hubby had one of his friends come over so they could try them out. They both laughed at me at first and a few times in the beginning they said it was a silly game...but within 15 minutes they were having fun and beginning to loosen up and trying some tricks and said "well, now this is ok". I think thats man code for "this is really fun, but I am too cool to let it show". ;-)
my hubby trying some tricks

                             
a toss amongst friends


So, we enjoyed Myachi. Its definitely a fun game to play with your kids and I see it as being really popular among kids ages 10-13 or so. I have an 11 yr old cousin and I am highly considering purchasing this for him for Christmas. Although  I think this is the age range that would appreciate it most, I do think it is good for younger kids as well, like I said earlier my 3 yr old loved it! And again, once the "big kids" loosened up they really enjoyed it as well. I found when playing with Aaron that if I "tried" really hard I messed up a lot, but if I just loosened up and had fun with it it was pretty easy....which is what I think will make it so easy for younger kids to catch onto. Kids are so carefree that they will just go out there and have fun with this. Also if you check out their youtube channel you can see more tricks and games to try.

So how can you get your own Myachi Battle Paddles?  You can be a part of the Myachi Battle Paddle Project by going to this site and making a donation to help fund the manufacturing process of the battle paddles. If you make a donation of $25 or more you will receive a custom kickstarter mycahi, two battle paddles and a myachi original handsack, this is a $30 value. You can do this up until Wednesday Nov 2nd.
And one of you can win a Myachi Battle Paddle set (2 paddles and one myachi handsack) simply by filling out the form below. You will have until Monday 11/7 to enter. Thanks for following and good luck!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

  When I think of fall one of the first things that comes to my mind is Pumpkin! I don't just mean pumpkins, as in going to the pumpkin patch and carving it to sit on your front porch (although that sounds like a great thing to do today), I mean baking anything that involves pumpkin! To say I ADORE pumpkin would not be an overstatement. I don't think that I have ever ate anything with pumpkin in it and not enjoyed it.

   Every Thursday evening we have a Bible Study at our home. I love to entertain and to fellowship with other believers so this is honestly one of my favorite nights of the week. Yesterday though was such a busy emotional day for me...if you read yesterdays post you know half of how my day went. Unfortunately last night another instance came up where again I felt my character was assumed to be something it definitely is not. It turned into a day where I thought about just giving up the world of blogging...but thanks to so many of you who had sweet, positive words to say I am pressing on :) And I am clinging to God's truth in Phil. 4:8 And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion of me, but God knows my heart and His opinion of me matters much more than anyone else's. (Just somedays that is hard to remember) So anyways...between the emotions of my day and working on my boys Halloween costumes the day slipped away, so I needed a quick recipe for dessert.  My mom told me that she had seen Pumpkin Brownies, where you just add a can of pumpkin to brownie mix. Well I was a little nervous to try this without having a recipe that said this was ok to do. SO off to Pinterest I went. I pulled up 2 different pins and what would you know...they were the exact same recipe done by two different bloggers, so I took it and made it. It was not box mix, but still so easy.

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies

Yield: 24 small brownies
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 whole egg
2 egg whites
1 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Line an 11″- x 7″-inch pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine pumpkin puree, eggs and oil until smooth.  Set aside.
In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, spices, salt and brown sugar.  Add to the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips.
Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until passes toothpick test.  Cool completely before cutting.

I made these exactly how the recipe said to, except for my pan size. I do not own an 11x7 pan so I used a 10x10 and baked them for about 17 minutes. They were yummy! The pumpkin flavor was not quite as strong as I would like, but they were still good. They were worthy of going back for 2nds to those that were here last night :) 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Wee-Sing review/giveaway


 Wee Sing is an internationally recognized name signifying wholesome, educational, and entertaining children’s product. The brand was created over 30 years ago by Pam Beall and Susan Nipp, mothers and elementary music teachers, when they realized traditional children’s songs were being lost in our culture. Over the years, multiple award winning titles have been produced including songbooks, cassettes, CDs, coloring/activity books, and videos.
   Wee Sing materials enrich the cognitive, physical, and social development of young children. Through songs, chants, movement, and rhythms, children can gain the readiness skills of language development, coordination, auditory discrimination, body awareness, rhythmic proficiency, and self confidence.


About 2 weeks ago we received a package in the mail from Wee-Sing full of some fun items for our family to try out. 


 The first cd that we tried out was the WeeSing and Pretend. This cd is so much fun! We have listened to it so many times since receiving it and we have a blast everytime. The cd is full of different animals and other fun things that you get to pretend to be. Aaron and I love listening and pretending together with this.  


You can be a dinosaur

Our favorite is Mikey the Monkey, first he






swings from the branches

he peels and eats a banana 
and of course he has to scratch his fleas, and make silly faces.

We really have a lot of fun with this cd, in all honesty it has become one of our favorite things to do together. We get to run around, act goofy and just laugh together. I love watching Aaron use his imagination and this cd definitely allows him to do that very well. (I also feel like I have had some type of workout after doing this)  ;-)

The next cd we listened to was the Wee-Sing Halloween. As I have mentioned before we don't really celebrate Halloween, but this cd is cute. Each cd also comes with a book that has the lyrics to the songs and some other fun things included. In the Halloween book there is a recipe for popcorn balls so we made these and it was a lot of fun, and a yummy treat that we all enjoyed.



Shortly after we received these we went on a little road trip so we took the WeeSing in the Car and Wee Sing for baby along with us. We really enjoyed both of them. The WeeSing for baby was put in when Micah started getting restless and it did soothe him, so that made the drive more enjoyable for everyone.


The last thing in our box was a WeeSing dvd called Sillyville, we put the dvd in and of course Isaac and I had to chuckle. The movie was made in 1989 so it brought us back to what tv was when we were kids, how things have changed :) We all loved this dvd though. And the word love is not an exaggeration. We watched it once and the next day Aaron was constantly talking about Sillyville and Sillywhim (the main character in the movie). Since then we have watched it several times. Aaron loves all of the songs and the hand movements that go along with them. The story line is great too! It teaches a wonderful lesson while having fun.  And it is something that sticks with your kids. The other day Aaron and I were playing in his room with his cars and little people, and he says "Hi, Posha" (Posha is another character in the movie) and he goes on to quote about 2 minutes of the movie. I just had to laugh :)





So we are really enjoying all of our WeeSing items and I know you will too. You can purchase them at their site. And one of you can win the WeeSing and Pretend cd by filling out the form below. I will leave this open until Thursday Nov. 3rd. Thanks for following and good luck!

Discouraged

 So I just got on here to put up a new review/giveaway to see some very discouraging posts by an "anonymous" reader. She/he was very rude, called me "self righteous" and a bad parent. WOW! I am very taken back right now and I don't really know how to respond.  (oh they also commented on how bad my grammar is) on that note, I have never claimed to be an amazing writer, I am just trying to share what is on my heart.
   As for being self-righteous... (this was in response to a post I had put up about modesty), I am in no way calling myself out to be better than anyone else, I am stating what I know God wants from me and what He wants from Christian women and I am aiming to fulfill that. I never said I was perfect, I fail as often as anyone else. And in terms of my parenting, I never claimed to be perfect on that either, but I am trying again to do as God would have me do. (this was in response to a post about my child being yelled at by a random lady in the store). I know that my children are not perfect, none of us are. I can guarantee you that we work very hard trying to teach our kids what God would require of them. Yes they make mistakes, my oldest is 3 1/2! They are learning how to do life and we are teaching them to the best of our ability, kids will be kids and no matter what no one is EVER right to tell my child that he deserves getting hurt! That is hateful and that is certainly not what God would want from us.
   So all this to say, I am not perfect and I have never claimed to be. I pray that I am making Jesus proud with my life, but I know that I will not always succeed at that. My blog also may not be perfect as far as grammar, but I can promise I will always be real with you. Also...this is a blog, you are not required to read it or follow me, that is a choice. If you do not like what you see , please just simply move on and keep your rude comments to yourself.... if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pigamoose Winner

Thanks to everyone who was a part of this giveaway. Random.org chose # 45, congrats to Nicole Bell. I will email the creators of Pigamoose your information and you should be getting a special package in the mail very soon. Remember everyone can go to Pigamoose.com and purchase one for someone special in your life or donate to someone in need. Thanks again!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest post and a giveaway-CLOSED

 Today's post is from a friend of mine who I went to college with and she has begun to sell a product called Shakeology. Shakeology is a:  patent-pending daily nutritional shake helps your body gently eliminate toxins more efficiently while allowing for better absorption of the essential nutrients you need. A proprietary blend of digestive enzymes and prebiotics helps your body progressively eliminate the toxins that build up over time from eating today's highly processed foods.
 I was sent a sample of the Chocolate Shakeology and I really enjoyed it. I added a banana to the powder and then blended it with ice and water. I felt full afterwards and didn't feel a need to eat anything else until close to lunch time. If I were not nursing it would have lasted me longer ;-) I was also sent one of the Shakeology mixers and it is great, I used it for this and now I use it when I make my smoothies , but I am very tempted to become a user of Shakeology :)  I was also sent an extra mixer and a pack of the Chocolate and one GreenBerry for one of YOU to WIN :) All you have to do is fill out the form at the bottom of this post.

 Practical Nutrition Tips—One Step At A Time
From The Happy Health Coach

Alarm sounds at 5:30am. With any luck I set the coffee pot to brew automatically the night before--my morning lifesaver waits. So begins a day of blur that consumes the week, before I can blink July becomes October.  Rumors say time flies faster when the babies arrive but life for everyone is busy.
Common time management mistake: not blocking off some time to take care of our bodies, a necessity to ensure gusto for tackling the days to do list. Health continuously gets pushed to the bottom of the list; it’s easily forgotten that the body is the vehicle used to accomplish the higher priorities.  If we don’t take care of our own health first we can’t give our best to the other people who are taking precedence over healthy living.
Making healthy changes shouldn’t be overwhelming, one small change at a time adds up! Since we require our bodies to keep up with our date books, families, friends, school, work, pets, home and to do lists, fueling it with proper nutrition is a beneficial starting place for inching your health to the top of the priority list. It’s a broad subject so lets focus on practical tips that you have the power to apply in your busy bee life today.

#1. Know The Need
Calories are energy--our bodies need this energy to get through the day. Caloric needs vary and it’s fair to say that most peoples caloric need vs. caloric intake is off since 1/3 of Americans are overweight or obese according to the CDC. Create a calorie balance by keeping track of what you are eating and expending for calories. Golden nugget for the day: check out www.myfitnesspal.com for a free, easy to use food tracker that provides a terrific website and smart phone application. It will give you a guideline for caloric need based on your individual goals: weight loss, maintenance or even weight gain. Track your food (before making any changes to your nutrition) for one week to see how you are doing with your calorie balance. 

#2.  Analyze The Data and Presto Change-o
Weeks over: evaluate your intake. Figure out what improvement you can start with. For example: “Instead of having my afternoon latte from Starbucks (empty calories), I will pack a green tea, a piece of fruit and a few almonds.” That change may not save you calories but rather than consuming empty calories you will be fueling your body with important nutrients. This inventory from tracking your food gives you the power of knowing and now you can start making realistic changes throughout your day that work for YOU.  You’ve got the power.

#3. Be prepared—“A goal with out an action plan is just a wish”
Now that you know:
a.       What you should be taking in for calories vs. what you actually take in for calories.
b.       You have picked a small change you want to focus on making.
It’s time to plan and prepare for making that change. For me, going to the grocery store is like taking a field trip. I love stocking up on proper foods, favorite snacks and picking up ingredients for new recipes. Make sure you grab the foods that you need to have on hand that will allow you to have success in reaching your new goal. If you are heading out for the day, pack a cooler and include your snacks. Avoid having to make an unexpected stop at a junk-food-filled convenient store or a fast food joint.  By packing a cooler with snacks you ensure good fuel for your body and probably save a little money too!

#4 Nutrition Simplified
Easier than packing a cooler of food for the “on the go” days is to incorporate a healthy shake into your day. Improve your nutrition drastically by adding a drink packed with super foods and nutrients from all over the world: Shakeology.  This is my drink of choice because it is all natural, has no added sugars and has over 70 ingredients that come directly from whole foods from all over the globe. It is complete nutrition and can be used to increase your energy, assist with weight loss and increase your intake of important vitamins and minerals. My husband doesn’t like vegetables; he will drink his shake so I know he is getting the same (or better!) nourishment. It’s the healthiest meal of my day and convenient to grab on the go. Learn more about Shakeology at http://myshakeology.com/happyhealth



If you are ready to start working toward healthy living by starting with your nutrition here’s the action plan:
1.      Go to www.facebook.com/thehappyhealth coach to find more encouragement for healthy living and keep up with my posts!
2.      Get your free account at myfitnesspal to track your food for the week
3.      After you have your food inventory, pick a realistic change to make in your routine
4.      Prepare for the change—make sure you have what you need for the change on hand
5.      Take your step, make your change
6.      Learn more about what Shakeology could do for you


*this will stay open until Wed Nov 2nd

A

Monday, October 24, 2011

Tasty Brand Organic Snacks Review/Giveaway-CLOSED

 Last week we received a package in the mail filled with these treats! We were so excited because they actually arrived about 20 minutes before we were leaving our house for a 2 hr drive to get away for the weekend. I always have snacks on hand when I am going to be out for awhile with the kids, and I love having snacks that aren't filled with a ton of yucky ingredients! SO I unpacked the box and quickly snapped off this picture and threw the goodies into a bag..and off we were.

 Since Aaron knew we had these goodies with us it wasn't but about 20 minutes into our trip before he asked for some fruit snacks. SO I handed  him a bag, and was anxious to hear what he thought. I honestly was a little apprehensive, more about the fruit snacks than anything else that we were sent. Why? Well we have tried several different brands of organic fruit snacks...because in our house fruit snacks are a staple! Aaron loves them...and I would be lying if I said I didn't have fond feelings for them as well. SO in my venture to have foods in our home that are better for us we have never been able to find an organic fruit snack that we like. They all seem to have this weird texture to them and the taste is often worse than the unusual texture. So...I am pleased to say that we absolutely loved these fruit snacks! The texture was a little different than other fruit snacks, but nothing gross by any means. And the taste was wonderful. We were sent a variety of flavors to try and we liked them all, but I think our favorite was the Sport snacks. They have an organic cane sugar coating on them that was delicious! All of the fruit snacks are made with real fruit juice, are gluten free, vegan and contain 100% daily value of vitamin C.
   The next thing we tried were the organic Cereal Bars. I honestly was very excited about these. They come in two different flavors....and they happen to be two of the most enjoyed flavors by the adults in our house! :) One is Pumpkin Spice, and I absolutely love anything and everything pumpkin, & the other is Carrot Cake, my husband is not a  fan of cake, but he adores Carrot Cake! So we tried these (we did share with Aaron) and they were a huge hit with all 3 of us. Tasty Brands cereal bars are completely kosher, full of whole grains, they contain sweet potato & dates in the dough and are a great source of 6 B vitamins.  And like I said taste great!!
   Lastly we tried the cookies. My boys ate all of the vanilla cookies without me :( And said they were amazing! I will just have to trust them... I did get to try some of the chocolate chip though and I really enjoyed them., both my hubby and Aaron said the vanilla were better, so I can only imagine how good they were. The cookies are also kosher, they are sweetened with agave, they also have sweet potato baked in and they come in 100 calorie packs.
   So we absolutely loved these snacks and I am so very thankful to the two moms that made it their mission to create healthier options for our kids. There are only a limited number of stores that carry Tasty Brand products as of now, but you can order directly from their FB page , which is exactly what I did :) Tasty Brand will be our new choice of snack.
  One of you also will now have the chance to enjoy some Tasty Brand products for free! All you have to do is fill out the form below and Tasty Brand will send you a package valued at $25. Good Luck and I will leave this open until Tuesday Nov 1st.

Winner of Ander-Monroe Designs

 Thanks to everyone who participated in this giveaway! Random.org has chosen #101, Christina Anne Dall you are the winner of a $15 gift certificate to Ander-Monroe Designs. Congrats and Enjoy!!! Everyone else, remember you can purchase any of her wraps by contacting her! They are all so cute and affordable, I promise you will not be disappointed!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Amazing Happenings

 This past year has been full of changes , all good changes! God blessed us with the birth of our 2nd son, Isaac was blessed with a new job~ a job that he actually loves! And things changed as far as our Church home. In January our home church went through a split. This was honestly one of the hardest things I have ever gone through as I am sure many others felt the same way. I had been attending this church with my family since I was 14, so it had been almost 15 yrs. And they were the most life changing 15 yrs of my life ( I was in High School, I gave my life to the Lord, I went away to college, I got married, I worked with the youth and our first son was born). SO I became very fond of my church family, I imagined my children growing up in this church and so on. However when it came down to lots of prayer and seeking God we knew that we had to leave and just seek God's face as to where He would have us.

    A few short weeks later we found ourselves with over 100 other past members of our church meeting in a banquet hall gathered for a Bible Study and this began one of the greatest adventures we have ever been a part of. Over the weeks and months this group of people continued to grow not only in numbers but in vision.  Within several months we found ourselves renting out what used to be an old apple plant (where Musselman's Applesauce was made) meeting for worship service and we are now recognized by the state as a church.

    Although all of these things are great, the greatest thing about all of this....is that God is right at the front of everything going on here. We as a body of believers recognize that the church is not the building, it is US! So the church is doing it's best to reach out to the community, its all about making connections and bringing others to understand the Love of Christ! Thus the name of our church  Connections Community Church. Yesterday we had Plant Day, we opened up the building to the community so they could come in and see the changes made and what we are doing there. We had a chili cook off, a car show, inflatables for the kids and much more throughout the day. I don't think any of us knew what to expect, but I think we were all blown away by the numbers that showed up...and not only showed up but stayed throughout the day and then joined us again today for worship!  I know I for one am still just in awe of what God did this weekend! And I very , very much look forward to what is going to happen in the years to come through the body. God can do AMAZING things , and it is good to be used by Him and to have such wonderful fellowship with others who love Him,
Ryan & my hubby grilling

Meg, me, & Cherie

my lil guy playing the bean bag toss

inflatables


the band

I was in charge of the cake walk, Liz won one and we chowed down :)

Aaron and some girls getting ready for the puppet show





Making Scarecrows

 This fall has been a lot of fun with my oldest boy. He is 3 and its the first year that he has become really excited over the idea of dressing up for Halloween. In our home, we don't "celebrate" Halloween, we do let our boys go Trick or Treating and dress up, but thats the extent. Everything else is for fall. Aaron has really wanted to decorate for Halloween because he sees our neighbors doing it, but we have stuck to pumpkins and scarecrows. Even when it comes to dressing up we have some rules, nothing scary or "gross". SO this year Aaron told me he wanted to be a scarecrow for Halloween (which he actually changed his mind today~good thing I am a procrastinator and haven't started his costume yet). So sticking with the scarecrow theme, we did this little craft last week :)

yellow cardstock, a toilet paper roll, glue , a popsicle stick, a cupcake liner and markers
   I gathered up some supplies from around the house, and we got to work! :)  This was so easy, took things that I bet most of us mom's have around the house and Aaron loves it!

   First I put slits in the side of the toilet paper roll where the arms of the scarecrow would be and stuck the popsicle stick in.then I took the yellow cardstock and cut slits all around it to look like hair, glued that on and then ontop of that we glued the cupcake liner to work as a hat. Then I gave Aaron the markers and he drew on the face :)

So thats where I was going to end the craft, but Aaron said the scarecrow needed clothes. SO I took another cupcake liner and cut out a shirt and we glued it on and then I took some of the scrap cardstock and made pants :)  Oh....and of course the scarecrow needed a crow....

ok, don't laugh at my crow. I know it looks more like a chicken, but i had no black cardstock & i never claimed to be an artist ;-) 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stuffed Chayote Squash

  I feel like the weekends are a good time to take a break from the giveaways and share about the other things that are going on in our home. And, in our house the weekends start on Fridays, because the hubby works 4 day weeks! :) So today I am sharing a recipe with you that I actually made last Friday.

  It all started about a week and 1/2 ago when my mom and dad went to the DC area for the day...just because :) I love them, they are so cute! My parents have become this couple over the past 5 yrs or so that I just adore! Don't get me wrong, I have always loved my parents, and over the past 10 yrs my relationship with them has grown tremendously....but over the past 5 yrs their relationship has just become this relationship that you look at them and you know they are crazy about each other! I love that! :) So anyways.... that day they decided to go to Trader Joe's and Wegmans because we have neither. We all have a deep love of Trader Joe's and whenever we are near one we go....but Wegmans was a new experience. My mom calls me while they are in there and she said "Wegmans is this store that carries all the things we see on the cooking shows and say 'I've never heard of that'" so, she said she was going to pick me up some random things and bring it home for me to cook with. So the next day we went to there house...and she gave me 3 Chayote Squash and a Taro root...now I will be honest, the Taro root I have not used yet, I should do that before it goes bad. But I found a recipe for the Chayote Squash that I was really excited to try out.
  If you've never seen a Chayote, this is what it looks like:




                                        









  • Preheat oven to 350
    Cut squash in half, lengthwise
    .Steam until just tender

  • Saute onion in the oil. Add garlic and parsley after onion is soft and transparent. Stir in sausage, breaking it up. Add rosemary. Cook for 15 min., pouring off excess grease.


  • Moisten bread with the milk. 
  • Squeeze out liquid. Add bread and cheese to meat mixture.
  • Scoop out squash, leaving a shell. Chop pulp coarsely. Add to mixture. Stuff squash shells, piling filling high. Place in lightly oiled baking dish.

  • Bake for 20 min. until heated thoroughly. Drizzle with a little salad dressing. Serve hot or at room temperature.
  • (we did forget to top with the salad dressing...I had it, just forgot, but it was still wonderful!)


  This was rather easy to throw together and it was DELICIOUS! We all loved it, including Aaron. I served it with fish...I almost made the Chayote as a meal in itself, because it had meat and veggies in it...but I am glad I chose to serve fish with it, because the Chayote alone wouldn't have been enough...maybe it should have been, but we loved it so much that it wasn't. The fish I chose to make was simple, just something my mom used to serve a lot while I was growing up... you just take flounder fillets and coat them in flour, cornmeal, salt and pepper mixture and then cook em in a little oil on the stove. So simple and so good, so good in fact that I had them on the table a few minutes before the squash was done...I left the kitchen and when I came back in there was 1 piece of fish left (I had made 3)...Aaron had ate 2 pieces! SO Isaac and I had to share the last one...maybe thats another reason we ate so much of the squash ;-)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pigamoose Review/Giveaway-CLOSED

 You are probably asking yourself, "what is a pigamoose?". Well, I was doing the same thing a couple weeks ago when I was contacted by the company....but over the past week and 1/2 we have got to know our pigamoose and the company who created him and we are in love!


  Pigamoose , as your probably guessed, is part pig and part moose.
 The creators of Pigamoose are husband and wife team Alex and Camille Barnett. Here is a little of what Alex has to say, about where the inspiration for Pigamoose came from.... When I was born, like so many first-time parents, my mom wanted to give me something special, something that would be unique, something that — in keeping with the times — would be different. So she decided to make me a stuffed animal with her own hands. Using fabric matching that on the wall in my room, she began the creation process.

The result was special alright. It was plaid. It was almost three dimensional. It looked to be part pig and part moose. It was … Pigamoose.

And, even though, like many young children, I was given a number of stuffed animals by friends and family, Pigamoose was my favorite because Pigamoose was first, Pigamoose was unique and Pigamoose was made with love.

Well, it’s more than forty years later, and I am grown up. But Pigamoose still is my favorite (although we don’t get to run around the house together as much as we used to). And now, my wife, my family and I want to share Pigamoose with the world. Because every little girl and boy should have a Pigamoose – fun, unique and made with love


    Pigamoose arrived at our house early last week and I decided to give him to our youngest, since our oldest has so many stuffed animals already. So I handed Pigamoose over to Micah 
and he seemed to really enjoy him. One thing that I love about Pigamoose, is that he has a textured feel to him  & Micah seemed to enjoy that as well. Pigamoose now goes to bed with Micah, and every morning I find Micah in there playing with him very contently. He seems to enjoy him a lot, and even my oldest says that Pigamoose is "cool". 

   Now, Pigamoose is not just another stuffed animal to buy for your kids or someone you know. Pigmoose has a much greater cause! This is what Alex and Camille have to say, about why Pigamoose is so important.
 Pigamoose loves all kids no matter how big, how small, or where they come from. In fact, Pigamoose’s favorite thing about kids is that there are so many different kinds of kids in the world who can be Pigamoose’s friends. And Pigamoose’s number one priority is to bring joy and happiness to children all over the world.


But, it’s a big world, and Pigamoose needs help. That’s where you come in.

PURCHASE WITH A PURPOSE:
Pigamoose has joined forces with Homes for the Homeless, because homelessness is a poverty issue that disproportionately affects children. Recognizing this, Homes for the Homeless has adopted a family-based, child-centered, education-focused approach to all its programs and services, and, Pigamoose is eager to help these children in need and their families.

So, now, when you purchase Pigamoose for that special child in your own life, you also can purchase a Pigamoose as a gift for a child within the Homes for the Homeless program who is in need of that unique, plaid, heartfelt TLC that is Pigamoose’s specialty.

Pigamoose knows there’s nothing that lights up a room like the smiling face of a happy child. And, with your generous and thoughtful gift, you can help Pigamoose light up the world.


 I love this! What a wonderful cause and such a great way that we can help those in need. :) You can choose to buy a Pigamoose for someone special in your life , or donate one to someone who has a greater need..or both by going to www.pigamoose.com.  And one of you will win a pigamoose , just fill out the form below. Good Luck!  This will stay open until Wed. Oct 26th.

Winner of the Wat-taah giveaway

 Random.org chose # 75 for the Wat-taah package and that goes to Karriean Warr. Congratulations and thanks for following Open Hands. I will contact Wat-taah and your package will be in the mail soon! Enjoy :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Winner of the Tru-Kid Skincare giveaway

  Thank you to everyone who entered. Random.org chose #125 Erin Sluka, congratulations Erin, I will send you an email shortly :) Remember if you didn't win you can purchase any of there products at trukid.com

Finding time to stay organized as a busy mom~Guest Blogger Melanie Sands


 A few weeks ago I was contacted by Melanie Sands who has wrote the ebook, 7 Easy Ways to keep an organized home. She sent me a copy of the ebook to read and asked if I would be willing to promote it to my readers. I took the time to ready it and several times thought "Why didn't I think of that?". Since then I have already taken several of her tips and implemented them into my routine and it has honestly made life easier! I would highly recommend this ebook to you! Here is a post that she wrote just for you! 




Finding Time To Keep The Home Organized As A Busy Mom
Being a mom and keeping our homes organized does not always prove to be an easy task. With family distractions, commitments, unexpected mishaps, even with the best of intentions some things just never seem to get done ‘Sigh.’ But there are some ways to make it easier.

Do a list of what is important in your home on a weekly basis. This for you could be anything from the washing, to cleaning the bathroom, making the beds, to getting lunch boxes ready or, scrubbing the taps with an old toothbrush if that’s your thing. Prioritize this list in your weekly schedule. Do not get distracted into other jobs that are not on your list. You can always add to your list the following week or change things around.

Set specific jobs to certain days of the week. You will then know each day what you need to do and how long you will need. Making it easier to allocate the time to actually do it. Put larger tasks on a day that doesn’t involve the kids’ soccer team coming over snacks! Don’t try to do too much every day. That is the sure fire way to actually not getting much done at all. By the end of the week you will be surprised how much you have completed from your list; by simply following your list. Keeping organized especially as a busy mom is a matter of setting do-able goals and being realistic with your time.

Get your children involved. Don’t wait to find the free time to get things done because you know that’s not likely to happen. Make being organized a fun time with the kids. Try ‘a racing game’ for putting their toys away. Guessing ‘which closet the clothes belong in’ on wash day. ‘How many bubbles can they create in the sink’ while cleaning it ;) Give them fun rewards and they will be even more eager to help you.

If your kids are much younger then make the time to do your household jobs when they’re having a morning sleep, attending nursery or, having a play date. But yes I know you may be thinking ‘I like that as my time.’ So then split the time up. Tell yourself the quicker you complete your jobs the quicker you will get your time. There is no point taking that bubble bath if you’re just going to be thinking about the ironing pile you have avoided all day, right?

With kids it’s never going to be easy but as moms we have a natural ability to multi-task. Ok you may not think so but you do it every day. If you create your list right, use the time you do have wisely, involve the kids rather than try to work around them, you will be amazed how much you will get done.

Something that’s made a huge difference in my family was creating a system for all the many things we had to do as a busy family. I love to organize but life can get crazy with the housework, kids activities, appointments, homework - wow overwhelm! So I learned through trial and error, books, and professional organizers what does and doesn’t always work; especially with a family.

My system means I am able to keep everything organized on a daily basis in only a few minutes a day. It has saved me so much time, even money (that’s always a big plus!) and certainly made my life easier. I started to help others do the same – becoming the ‘go to girl’ for organization.  I soon realized it was time to put it all together in one handy guide so it could benefit other families.

The ‘7 easy ways to keep an organized home for the busy mom lays out in detail how to organize your week in such a way that it keeps you organized no matter what comes up. It is quick and simple - my kind of plan. But best of all it does work. You can actually start today and be seeing changes in your home by tomorrow. Take it from a busy mom it can help you too.

Warm Regards
Melanie Sands

Ps... What are you waiting for? It’s just $10 plus I have added a couple of free bonus checklists with the guide to help kick start you to simplifying your organization in the least amount of time.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ander-Monroe Designs review and giveaway-CLOSED

 A couple months back I discovered the wonderful WAHM company that is Ander-Monroe Designs. Alicia is a momma of two that makes pretty things for us girls. When I first saw her "Shabby Wraps" , I was in love...but a little fearful as to whether or not I could "pull off" the shabby look. Since I liked them so much and the price point was good I decided to order one.  It arrived about a week later, and I had to try it on right away. I LOVED IT!! (seriously for the first week I had it, I think I wore it everyday) So...I decided to order another ;-)

 I soon learned (because I was stalking Alicia's etsy page almost everyday) that there are so many different "styles" of shabby's. Alicia makes everything from Game Day Shabby's to Leather and Lace Shabby's. If you visit the Ander-Monroe etsy shop you are bound to find something that you like. There is something suitable for the babies to us adults.

  Since I was admiring this new find so much I wanted to contact Alicia about doing a review and a giveaway for one of my fans. Alicia was so kind and more than willing to work with me, and so we could show you some more variety she sent me two more Shabby's to try out! So... I have tried my best to get some pictures of me in the shabby's. My hubby was kind enough to take one for me, but the other's I have done while he is at work...so bare with the bad photo taking ;-)
you can wear a shabby to church or work
shabby's are great for keeping your hair back while baking


they are great with curly hair 

or straight :)
 Like I said, I really do love these! And I really think you will too. You can purchase any of her shabby's at her site, and if you don't see something you like, but give her an idea she will do her best to provide something perfect for you! One of you will be lucky enough to win a $15 gift certificate to her etsy shop, just fill out the form below & good luck! I will close this next Monday, Oct 24th.