Friday, August 31, 2012

Mega Swagbucks Friday

What is Swagbucks? It's my favorite place to earn free stuff.
How does it work? The most basic answer: Sign up. Search the web. Get stuff.
Is there a catch? Nope. Not that I have encountered.

     I have been on Swagbucks for about six weeks now. I have earned enough Swagbucks (free points) to purchase four $5 Amazon giftcards. There are other things to purchase too, but I pretty much keep Amazon in business, so that works for me. Other things you can "buy" with your Swagbucks include gift cards, books, Android/Apple apps, makeup, jewelry, electronics and much more.
    How do you earn these Swagbucks? You can earn four a day just for logging into the toolbar you can install, answering a poll question, and skipping through the special offers (you have no obligation, just skip through to the end). This takes me about a minute each day. Other Swagbucks are randomly awarded by using their search engine. I have a widget at the bottom of my blog that can randomly give you a code for Swagbucks too. On the Swagbucks homepage, there are also video clips, tv clips, and special offers that can help you earn. I usually just stick with the basic four and the searching. The best website I have found to explain everything is Swaggin101. They tell you everything you need to know about Swagbucks.
     If you are interested in Swagbucks, today is a great way to join. Fridays are MegaSwagbucks days. This means Swagbucks are awarded more freely than other days. The amounts are higher and they happen more often. Start Swaggin...

Search & Win

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Pinteresting Review: Burp Cloths (My Lazy Way)

     Do you need a quick and easy baby shower gift? Or maybe a gift to take with you when you take the new Mama a meal? This Pinteresting Review is for you.
    When Big E was born, we received two adorable embroidered cloth diapers to use as burp cloths. Those became my favorite burp cloths. They were cute, big, and absorbent. When I saw this pin on Pinterest, I figured I'd make some for Little E. This way, she wouldn't have to use those with Big E's name on them! Not that it really matters; they just spit up all over them.
     Anyhow, the directions given seemed pretty easy. But, I'm lazy when it comes to sewing. I'm especially lazy about ironing and folding over hems before sewing so I made this a little easier for my sake...and yours too if you choose to make your own. I even added something a little special to the bottom to really finish it off...Thanks to a friend's mom for the idea!

Materials Needed:
Prefold Cloth Diapers
Fabric of choice
Coordinating Ribbon
Binding/Edging

  • Wash and dry the diapers and the fabric. This will prevent shrinking later.
  • Measure about how long your diapers are and cut strips that length and 5-8 inches wide (depends how wide you want your middle strip). This is the lazy way, don't leave room for hemming. My diapers were all between 18-20 inches after washing.
  • Cut two strips of ribbon for each diaper.
  • Lay fabric down on the center of the diaper. Lay ribbon over the edge of the fabric and pin. This way you don't have to hem the fabric since the edges are hidden under the ribbon! Sew a zig-zag if you chose a thin ribbon, or two straight stitches if you chose a wider ribbon. (See picture above)
  • Add the binding to the short edges to hide the edges and prevent fraying. (See below)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Menu Plan Aug 26-Sept 1

     I'm so proud of myself for going to the gym everyday last week. I think starting off the day with a workout makes you think of what you are eating for the rest of the day. And, it sure makes you thirsty so you drink a lot of water. I've been logging my progress on myfitnesspal which also keeps track of your calories taken in and out. My workout buddy found me on there, so she can make sure I keep up with it too!
    In an effort to stay on track, I've been having to rethink some of our favorite meals. I'm trying to make them healthier and less processed. Sometimes, I find it impossible to change and some things are easy. I've found several food blogs which focus on "Real Food." If you know of any, send their link my way. Here's the plan for this week...

Cookout w/Friends: Grilled burgers, make your own salad bar, fruit salad with honey lime dressing, corn on the cob
Salad: spinach, grilled chicken, veggies
Tacos: ground turkey and black beans, homemade whole wheat tortillas, and homemade MexiRice
Grilled Chicken Legs and Garlic Smashed Potatoes
Broccoli Chicken StirFry with Brown Rice
Homemade Pizza: using Beer Batter Pizza Dough
Breakfast: Omelets, Toast, Fruit

Linked up to OrgJunkie's Menu plan Monday

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pinteresting Review: Chick-Fil-A Nuggets

     I think every one of the pinners I follow pinned this recipe claiming to taste just like Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets. I had high expectations after reading all the comments after the post. My favorite suggestion was to make these with a Sister Schubert dinner roll wrapped around them to taste like chicken minis. Well, I couldn't find the Sister Schubert dinner rolls, so I can't vouch for that, but I did make the nuggets.
    First, you soak the chicken bits in a milk and egg mixture for a while. This helps moisten up the chicken. Then you throw the nuggets into a bag of flour and seasonings. Finally, you put them in a vat of peanut oil. I used the fondue pot to keep the oil at an even 375*. Don't judge me. I had to test the pin and compare to the real thing.
     The result was a very tender, moist chicken nugget with crispy and sweet exterior. Delicious as it was, it did not taste like Chick-fil-a's nugget. I might make them again, baking them next time, because they were very tasty....though it will be a while because with the powdered sugar, I don't think that is the healthiest way to prepare nuggets! Although, you could argue it's healthier than the restaurant's chemical filled version.
Here is the link again to the recipe should you want to try them for yourself.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Menu Aug 19-25

     We are going on week two of eating out of our pantry. Last week, we did pretty well. We didn't eat out until the weekend when traveling for birthday celebrations demanded it.
     I did go to the store in preparation for this week. I had to buy the basics including fresh fruits, frozen veggies, milk, and bread. I'm hoping to get a bread machine sometime so I can try my hand at making my own sandwich bread. I'm not sure if it will ever be able to replace the convenience of premade, presliced bread. I really want to find a bread that I love with no added sugar. I'm still looking, though the Trader Joe's white whole wheat sandwich bread is pretty close.
    Anyhow, here is the menu for this week:

Dinners:
burgers and fries, grilled corn on the cob, salad
cheeseburger macaroni, fruit, broccoli
spicy chicken stromboli, fruit, broccoli
chicken alfredo pizza w/ bacon and sundried tomato
homemade chicken nuggets, fruit, mashed potatoes
pizza balls, fruit, green beans

Breakfasts/Snacks:
fruit,yogurt & homemade granola parfait
eggs (omelets, scrambled, etc)
oatmeal
cereal
toast
Larabars

Linked up to OrgJunkies Menu Plan Monday

Monday, August 13, 2012

Menu Plan August 12-18

     The theme for this week's menu plan is "Use What You Have." When I started to look at what I already had to plan what I needed to buy, I realized there wasn't much to buy. I might even be able to go two weeks with what we already have! I might have to go buy some milk, but other than that I think we should be set. When I realized this, I'm thinking it's almost and experiment to see how long I can go...or how creative I can be. I'm starting to realize that I need to simplify this whole meal planning idea anyhow. We don't need to have a big, fancy dinner every night. There is nothing wrong with having a plain simple grilled cheese every now and then. In fact, Eden would think that was the best meal ever!

Dinners this week include:
State Fair junk food (the Spaghetti Ice Cream was delicious!)
Chicken Casserole
Rice and Beans
Chicken Veggie Fajitas
Burgers and Fries
Mongolian Chicken, Brown Rice, Veggies
Omelets and Toast

Snacks include:
LaraBars
Yogurt with fruit/granola
fruit
applesauce
Cheese and crackers or whole wheat pretzels
Peanut Butter Balls
Strawberry Ice Cream

linked up to OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday

Chicken Tikka Masala

     It's Secret Recipe time again. It feels like it has been a while since I've taken part, but I really only took a month off. I was pretty excited when I received my assignment for this month: The Haggis and the Herring. I've run across this blog a couple of times before or read posts from others who have made their recipes. I dug right in to picking a recipe, and it didn't take me long to find one I wanted to make. In fact, I picked the second recipe I looked at. I thought it was too easy to pick after only looking at two, so I kept looking just to make sure. Really, I knew I had to make the chicken tikka masala though. Dan and Meredith have posted so many great looking recipes that I will be trying my hand at a few others in the coming weeks. Some include Blueberry Coffee Cake, Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole, and my husband would be very disappointed if I didn't try his favorite dish: Chicken Vindaloo.
     On to the Tikka Masala. This is what I always order at an Indian restaurant. I've bought the premixed stuff at the store and I'm always so disappointed that my craving isn't met that we have to go to a restaurant to make up for the not so good stuff from the store. This is as good as any restaurant. Seriously. It's a little time consuming, but it's totally worth it. I think this may be the best dinner I have ever made. Jonathon said that is what he wants for dinner on his birthday.
     I pretty much followed the recipe as written, except for one change so I won't retype the recipe. I didn't intend to make a change, but I couldn't find a serrano pepper at the store. One was sold out, and the second didn't carry them. I put a few green chilies in instead. Jonathon added more to his plate to make it more spicy. I like to taste my food, so I didn't add extra.
     I made this with homemade naan and brown rice. Try the homemade naan. It's so good! If you still have room for more goodness, I recommend a Strawberry Lassi for dessert.







Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pinteresting Review: DIY Pull-Ups

     This pin for DIY cloth training pants is all over Pinterest. It was pinned so many times, and so many people commented on the original post that the creator made an etsy site to sell the training pants! I have a three year old, so naturally, I had to review this pin.
     We are done with potty training during the day. We have been for some time. We were only buying pull-ups to use at night, and most nights they were dry too. The pull-ups were irritating to the skin, so much that I asked the doctor about it. She knew exactly what I was talking about. So, if all kids are getting this irritation, why aren't the makers of training pants changing their irritating chemicals? Who knows, but now I have a new solution. These cloth trainers you can make yourself. Or....you could buy premade cloth trainers
at around $15 a pair! No, thank you.
     I made six pairs of these "pajama underwear" as we call them. I spent about $22 for the Gerber training pants, 1/4 yard PUL fabric, and 1/2 yard flannel. I got the fabric at Hobby Lobby. Like I said, I made six pairs, but I have enough fabric left over that I could probably make six more.
     I followed the directions from the original post, so I won't re-type them. Follow the link to see her post, which includes pictures for each step. Cutting out the pattern, was the part that seemed to take the longest. I used two pieces of flannel and one PUL for each pair. Once I had all the pieces cut, I could make a pair of underwear in about 15 minutes!

     So....do they work? Well, mostly. Like I mentioned above, we are only using these at night. They are not completely waterproof, but they do prevent huge messes. Smaller messes= pajamas and the sheet under here are damp, but not completely soaked. We have been limited beverages after dinner and making sure to potty before bedtime, so it's getting better. When Ezra gets older, I'll make some smaller ones to use for her potty training, but might hold off on the nighttime use of these until there is a little more control.
     Opinion? I think if you covered the entire training pant with the PUL fabric, it would be more waterproof. This is essentially what the fabric was intended for...covering cloth diapers. ..and it would also cost a lot more.That fabric costs about $15/yard. Also, even though it would be more bulky, adding more than two layers of flannel would add more absorbency. 

Special Note

For the present, anonymous comments are not allowed at Robin, Restored due to the large number of spam comments that make it through Blogger's spam filter. I'm sorry about those of you who comment as Anonymous and sign your names. I'll try later to enable the function again.
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