Friday, March 26, 2010

Blueberry Cobbler

If you are ever in the mood for a dessert that you don't have to feel too guilty about, this is one to try. There isn't too much in it that is bad for you, and all the good stuff in the blueberries should more than make up for it, right?

I've made this several times, and it's been wildly successful every time. Let's just say, it never gets to sit on the counter until it gets thrown out like the apple pie my husband brought home from the grocery store last week. Is it possible I've ruined him forever? Could it be that he is so spoiled by homemade that anything less isn't nearly good enough? If that is the case, it's not a bad thing. It just means I am that good.

Maybe someday if you're nice enough, I'll share my apple pie recipe. Until then, this will have to do.

In a bowl, combine the following until it gets nice and crumbly:
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 4 tbsp butter, room temperature
Then add the following:
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk

Filling:
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 cups blueberries (can use frozen, just decrease water to 1/8 cup)
Stir sugar, cornstarch and water together in large saucepan, then add blueberries. Cook on medium until thickened, stirring frequently.

Pour hot filling into baking dish, top with crust mixture and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes until top of crust is golden brown and set fully.

Serve with vanilla ice cream. That is, if you want to share. ;)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Vistaprint

I adore this website. Simply adore it. I found it many, many years ago while looking for business cards for my work as a doula. I found those, obviously. And over the years, I have found many more things there. Turns out they don't just print business related items....they print just about anything you could think of. I've ordered custom birthday invitations, photo holiday cards, fridge photo magnets, my youngest baby's birth announcements and more.

Over the years, I have ordered a lot from them. All the fun stuff and lots and lots of business cards.

www.vistaprint.com

The best part is that once you sign up on their website, they will start sending you emails. And something is always free. Literally. You have to pay for shipping, but you can often get many things for free. Whenever you order something, they recommend other things you might like...and I'll admit, this process has become a tedious one for the site. Overload is a good word for it. I wish there was a way to just skip it all honestly. But then, I've become very familiar with this company over time and know what I want, and know that I don't need most of the things they offer in those recommendations.

After you process an order, they will again offer you things. These are cheap without adding any more to the shipping cost. You never know what they will offer, but sometimes it is a good deal. And sometimes it's something you didn't know you needed it until they threw it out there for you. Ahhh, the marketing genius.

If you're in the market for personalized or printed anything, check them out. Could save you a bundle.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Allergy Meds

I heart clearance racks. I heart end caps stuffed with random leftovers. I heart a deal. And, boy oh boy, did I find a good one yesterday.

I was at Target for my regular shopping, when I came upon an endcap in the health/beauty/medications section. And there they were. HUGE, ginormous bottles of my allergy medication, the generic for Zyrtec. 350 pills in each, a whole entire year's supply....75% off.

I kid you not, $9.74 a bottle. Woot woot!

A few weeks back, Target did a special with club store sizes of items at discount prices. Not all these bottles were sold obviously. And here they were, waiting for me to find them. Yay!

This stuff is pricey, usually runs me about $10 a month, assuming I get generic. Considering I have children who suffer from chronic allergy problems, two of which are old enough to take this medication now, I got me two bottles.

If you take this medication, it might be worth a stop over at your local store. You might have to search for the clearance sections and dig through the piles on the endcaps, but it is so worth it. Even my dear husband was impressed this time.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hotslings

I have a bit of baby fever today. It's only appropriate that I mention one of my most favorite baby things here today. Something I discovered when my second baby was a toddler and hardly ever used with my third. I got rid of it, since I believed my baby having days were done. But then I had my fourth, and this particular item became a life-saver. A fabulous life saver. A really fabulous life saver.

I spoiled myself and splurged on the pattern I wanted. Chocolate brown and teal with a funky floral pattern. LOVE this.

www.hotslings.com/baby_slings/designer_collection/zoie

I love, love, love this. Slings are something that take a bit of getting used to if you've never used them, this is true. But once you do, you will fall in love with them. When my youngest was a brand new thing, he practically lived in it. He was happy, all snuggled in his nest, I had my hands free, and I didn't have to lug around strollers and car seat carriers.

I got mine cheaper than retail (of course!), buying it through ebay. Oh, is that ever a story for another day, ebay. I believe I spent $35 on it, and let me tell you. Best $35 I ever spent. I still use it with him now, and he is 18 months old.

Did I mention how fabulous it is?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crockpot Chocolate Cake

This is one of those lazy day recipes, where you just throw the stuff together. Then let it cook. And enjoy the fact that your entire house will smell like chocolate all day long. Happy times. It's not fancy or sophisticated. Best enjoyed scooped out of the crockpot into a bowl and topped with ice cream.

Everyone in my house gave this one two very enthusiastic thumbs up.

- 1 box chocolate cake mix
- 8 oz container of sour cream
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup oil
- 1 package instant chocolate pudding mix

Spray crockpot with nonstick cooking spray. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, pour into crockpot.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Yogurt

I love coupons. LOVE them. Especially for things I use. Especially for the things that I use all the time.

My littlest one is a scrawny boy, he's not much of an eater. If it is possible to be a vegetarian at 18 months old, he is it. One thing he does love, though, is yogurt. Can't. Get. Enough.

Since my oldest was a baby, there has been yogurt made specifically for babies, with mild flavors, not artificial preservatives, flavors or sweeteners, and made from whole milk. A few different manufacturers make it now, so there is a bit more variety than there was a few years ago.

Horizon Organic has started making yogurt for babies too, and I have to say that I love this stuff. Mostly I love it because he loves it, and will almost always eat the entire container without spitting it all over me. He mostly loves it, I am sure, because the flavors are a little non-traditional. They add not just fruit, but veggies to it. Hence, my boy loves it. Who else would like vegetable flavored yogurt? His favorite is the banana sweet potato.

http://littleblends.com


Here's the link to their website, which of course, has a coupon. :) Since it's new, it is still a little hard to find, but worth looking for. Inside every package I have ever bought has been a coupon. Happy boy, happy mommy.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Crayola

I recently discovered this website, and wondered almost instantly why I had not thought of looking at it earlier.

www.crayola.com

It is full of all kinds of project ideas, crafts, games and more. There are previews of upcoming products and online specials. But by far the coolest thing about this website is the Lights, Camera, Color section.

I was referred to it by a friend on Facebook and the kids fell in love with this application within seconds. You upload a picture of your own, and this transforms it into a coloring page. You can add fun little details to the pictures. And print them out at home. It's fantastic.

The catch is that you have to have a code to use Lights, Camera, Color for the first time. (Just about everything else on the website is free). There are specially marked packages of Crayola products with the codes, or you can find them online. I became a fan of Crayola on Facebook and was given the code that way initially. After using it as much as we have, my access to the site was extended to a year.

Happy Coloring!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lemon Cheese Pasta

So while I was away from home, I spent a lot of time watching TV. There isn't much else to do when you are sitting in a hospital, really. At some point, we happened upon one of the food channels. Some show, by some famous host was on, though the names of both escape me at the moment because, really, I wasn't paying too much attention to the TV at the time. It was mostly background noise, something to spark distracting conversations.

But then whoever that chef was made something like this. And all of a sudden Dad showed some interest in eating what they were making. And I mentally began to take notes. I'm sure my version isn't exactly what they made on TV, but it's pretty darn good. I made it once before I left, and he ate. He even claimed to have liked it, at least it was better than hospital food. I have made it once since being home, and all the kids ate it. That's saying something, I guess.

"Better than Hospital Food" Lemon Cheese Pasta

Pasta (I prefer whole wheat penne for this one)
Lemon (or prepared lemon juice)
Butter
Egg
Salt
Pepper
Garlic Powder
Milk
Fresh grated parmesan cheese

Cook a pound of pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside in colander. In pot, melt a stick of butter, add 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper. Mix with 1/4 cup lemon juice, then add 1/2 cup milk. Add an egg, stirring to break up and mix in to sauce thoroughly. Bring to boiling, cook until you can tell egg is set. Reduce heat, add 1 cup of the cheese. Add pasta and combine, heating through. Transfer to serving plates and sprinkle with cheese.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Busy Work

I am sharing another website I love today. This one has saved my sanity on more than a few snowy days. It is a site full of learning activities, alphabet lessons, printable worksheets and coloring pages for preschool aged children. And it's totally free to use.

www.first-school.ws

It's a great resource for parents of young children. There are categories for just about every season, holiday and special event imaginable. There are worksheets for the letters of the alphabet. And coloring pages. Lots of coloring pages. I let the kids pick a theme, then help find pages they are interested in. Each child gets their own customized packet. And they are far more likely to sit and work on the pages they pick out than any other workbook or coloring book.

If your little ones are running you ragged, try this site out. :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Etsy

I love this website. It is a platform for individuals to peddle their goods, to make them available for all the world to see and fall in love with. Everything listed on this site has to be handmade. Crafts, jewelry, clothing, and more. The layout of the website takes a bit of getting used to, made slightly more difficult by the fact that each and every seller dictates how they present their goods. But it's worth getting used to.

http://www.etsy.com/

I've purchased things from sellers there for friends, and have never been disappointed. I have been perusing the site in search of all things related to owls, since that is the theme my little girl wants for her birthday. Owls. Really. I know, right?

One of the things I have recently found on the site are die cuts and paper crafts. I love to scrapbook, but don't have the time or money to spend what one needs to in order to fully enjoy the hobby. Fancy die cut machines are hundreds of dollars, thousands by the time you buy the cartridges. But here, on etsy, you can find die cuts of anything. For pennies. Love that.

Mostly, I love that this website makes it possible for creative people to share their gifts with the world. The online nature of it makes is possible for smaller niche items to be made and sold than would ever be possible at traveling craft fairs. And, really, isn't that the point of creativity? To make things that are different and unique?

My apologies in advance if you find this site irresistible. :)

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