Jan 30, 2010

Blog Makeover Reveal and Original Sprout Giveaway

My blog is officially made over and I love it!  Diana did a great job.  So to celebrate this momentous occasion, I'm giving away a 12 oz bottle (the BIG bottle) of Original Sprout's Miracle Detangle, a $25 value! 
Just to let you know, this awesome detangler is great on big people hair too.  It leaves it sooo soft!
To be eligible for this giveaway:
Follow this blog 
Simply tell a friend about this blog and leave a comment about it.  You're on your honor for this one ladies.  I don't care if you text, tweet, email or tell someone face to face.  Just leave me a comment saying something like "I told a friend about your blog".
Become a fan on Facebook, link to me from your blog, or add this blog to your blog roll and leave me your blog URL in a comment.  If I'm already on your blog roll (you know who you are), thanks a million and just leave me a comment if you're interested in this give away.
Don't forget to leave your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win.
You have until February 7th to enter and I'll announce the winner the next day.  Remember, the more people that read this blog, the more I can host great giveaways so, help me help you.  I get nothing out of it except the fun of researching and writing this blog and making your day by giving you some free stuff that I know you'll love!

Jan 29, 2010

Old Navy Jacket in a Packet

Many thanks to Blue Hydrangea (a beautiful blog!) for leading me to this light-weight rain jacket from Old Navy they call a "Jacket In A Packet".  You pull the jacket out of the little pouch and the pouch winds up inside one of the jacket's side pockets.  Ingenius!  It's on sale now for only $19.50 (both in-store and online) and available in several bright colors.  I just ran out and picked myself up one and loooove it!
I had an awesome, light-weight, hooded rain jacket from Land's End for about 7 years that I absolutely loved.  Here in SoCal, when it rains, it's not necessarily cold, so I didn't need anything too heavy.  Well, they don't make it anymore and I had to get rid of mine last year when I realized it was literally falling apart.  Since then, I've been looking for a suitable replacement with no luck...until today!!!  Isn't the blogosphere wonderful?!  Of course, my timing is a little off since all of the heavy rainstorms are over.  At least I'll be prepared for the next downpour.  Bring it on.

As I type this, Diana is working on my blog makeover.  Can't wait to see what she's coming up with! 

Jan 27, 2010

Blog Makeover (Yeah!!!)

I just wanted to let you know that very soon, my blog will have a whole new look, thanks to Diana at Custom Blog Designs.  Since I started this blog back in September, I've received so much positive feedback from all of you that I decided it was time to invest a little more into making this blog one of the best (and a little easier on the eyes).  Once it's finished, I'm celebrating by having a fabulous give away.  Remember the very first product I blogged about????  That's ok.  You can refresh your memory here.

So tell all your friends and check back in a few days.  See you soon!!!!!!!

Jan 23, 2010

Funny T's

There are a lot of websites out there that sell funny T-shirts, but this site made me laugh out loud.   It's called Snorg Tees and they have tees on sale for as low as $9.99.  Check out a couple I like.

And my personal favorites:

Thanks to Cheri at Confessions of an Overworked Mom for reviewing this site!

The Good Kind of Bed Head

I don't know about you, but I find it extremely annoying when actresses on TV or in movies get out of bed in the morning with the perfect head of sexy, tousled hair.  When I wake up, the back of my head looks like someone snuck into my room at night and went at it with a brillo pad.  Now, I know TV and movies aren't real, well...except for about half of all TV shows now, but it still bugs me how witchy I usually look first thing in the morning.  (But isn't it great how our babies are still so happy to see us. Ah, motherhood!)

Well, I discovered the secret to waking up with smooth, untangled locks in the form of a pillow case.  The secret is SATIN! (or silk but it's much more expensive and satin works just as well.)  Just sleep on a satin pillow case and not only will it preserve your hairstyle and prevent tangles, but it will also prevent the damage and breakage that can happen when your hair catches on the fibers of your pillow case as you toss and turn.

I went searching for a store that sells just a single satin pillow case with no luck.  So, of course, I turned to the internet.  Betty Dain Creations, Inc. makes satin pillowcases in a variety of colors that you can buy without spending oodles of money on an entire satin sheet set.  I bought a three-pack through Amazon for $20.24.  The silk pillowcases made for the same purpose can run you $75 and up.  Or, you can just take a trip to China and pick up a few there. Ha ha.  In hindsight, I should have checked Sally Beauty Supply because I think they sell them there also.

Since I bought three pillow cases, I put one on each of my daughters' pillows.  Since they shower at night, I usually have a heck of a time combing through their hair in the morning, made all the worse by the fact that we're usually running late.  Ouch!  I curled my daughter's hair in ringlets using a spiral curling iron (very time consuming), and thanks to satin and some L'Oreal Elnett Hair Spray, the curls lasted for 3 days.  

The pillow cases are machine washable and feel oh-so-nice on your skin.  It's a great way to bring a little luxury into my not-so-luxurious life.  Now, if I could just get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.  I know, I'm a dreamer. 

Jan 15, 2010

DIY Energy Bars

I love the concept of the energy bar.  A tasty, portable meal-in-a-bar, chock full of nutrition along with just enough carbs, protein, and a little fat to keep you moving and satisfied.  What I DON'T love is commercially made energy bars that are basically glorified candy bars with ingredients like tropical oils, high-fructose corn syrup, or in the low-carb varieties, sugar alcohols (they can do a number on your digestive system).  If I'm gonna eat a candy bar, make mine a Milky Way, please.

Then, there are the "all-natural" energy bars with nothing but wholesome goodness in them, but a price tag that I just cannot stomach.  (Although, Trader Joe's does have the best prices out there.)

I was watching an episode of "Shark Tank" (LOVE that show!!) one day and a guy came on wanting the Sharks to invest in his custom-made energy bar company.  I checked out his website and loved the concept of choosing from a variety of high-quality, whole ingredients and having someone make an energy bar exactly to my taste, but again, the price tag was CRAZY!  I mean, my kids need to eat too!  So I thought, "I know a thing or two about cooking and nutrition.  I should just make my own!".

Now, this is NOT a cooking blog, and I never thought I would be posting a recipe, but, I love this idea so much, I just had to share it.  I did a quick internet search, and found an energy bar recipe that is easily customized to anyone's tastes and so easy to make, even a cooking novice can create the energy bar of their dreams.  Seriously, its just mix the wet ingredients, sift together the dry, combine and then fold in the chunky stuff.  It also costs far less than any bar you can buy and provides much more nutritional bang for your buck.

The recipe makes quite a bit, so I'd half it the first time, just to make sure you like it and don't waste ingredients.  I like to think of this recipe as a foundation from which to build.  You could pretty much add whatever you want, or experiment with quantities of ingredients to your heart's content.  It's similar to a cookie recipe, but unlike cookie dough, the batter is simply to bind the chunkier ingredients together.  This is what it looks like after it's mixed and pressed into a 13x9 baking pan.

 Once baked, let them cool and then you can cut them into squares or bars, individually wrap them in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for a week or two, or in the freezer for up to three months. I grab one whenever I don't have the time to eat breakfast and it seriously lasts me until lunch. 

(this picture refuses to center!!!)

Home-Style Bike Snack Bar Recipe

JoJo's modification of George's Bar

  • 1/4 cup canola oil (you can also use melted butter, or natural PB)
  • 4 large eggs; beaten (or 2 whole eggs and 4 whites)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk powder (or protein powder)
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup sugar (or honey, brown sugar, or Splenda for baking)
  • 2 cups chopped dried fruit (raisins, dates, currants, dried berries, dried cranberries)
  • 2 1/2 cups nuts; chopped (walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pecans, cashews, sunflower seeds)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips or M&M's (I prefer mini)
  • 3 Tbsp whole flax seeds (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 pan. Beat together eggs and oil, sift together dry ingredients except fruit. Add flour to eggs, combine, then stir in fruit, nuts, and chips. Spread evenly in pan, bake 30 minutes, they are still soft when done. Cool, cut into 24 pieces, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or freeze.

Original recipe from recumbent-bikes-truth-for-you.com, modified by Me.  
Have fun!

Jan 8, 2010

Sweet Jelly Lip Gloss

Ok, I admit it.  I'm addicted to lip gloss. I'm not sure how many I have, but however many that is, it's not nearly enough.  Even when I wear lipstick (which is hardly ever), I have to glossify my lips or I feel undone.  There are a lot of fabulous glosses out there, but since this blog is all about affordable faves, I though I'd share with you my favorite drugstore gloss, Rimmel London Sweet Jelly Sheer Lipgloss.

(Although the label pictured reads "jelly gloss", the real label says "sweet jelly" in large letters.)

Two things that bother me about inferior gloss is when it is either too sticky or not quite sticky enough to stay put and evaporates away after 10 seconds of wear.  Sweet Jelly is thin and never goopy or sticky and stays put unless you kiss your baby a bunch right after applying it (I have that problem).  It is NOT a long-wearing gloss and doesn't pretend to be, but it's sweet, fruity scents make it a pleasure to apply over and over again.

Sweet Jelly Lipgloss comes in 10 cleverly named shades/scents that are pigmented enough to be noticeable, but still light and sheer, not shimmery.  I hate shimmery!  I'm into pink right now so my favorite shade is Candy Floss (see above).  There are several sites where you can get a free sample (like FreeStuff.com) but at around $2.75 a tube, it's not exactly a big loss if you don't like it.

A word of caution:  Although I've never had this problem, some reviewers of this gloss complained that the cap did not stay on and gloss leaked out inside their purse, so make sure to screw the cap on tightly!

Jan 4, 2010

Nine Hundred Napkins, Please!

One of my favorite comic strips is Baby Blues.  It's like Jerry Scott follows my family around taking notes.  I'm not authorized to post the strip here, but one of my all-time favorites is No. 17 on the "Things That Don't Seem Unreasonable Unless You Have Kids" List, which is the restaurant with the 900-napkin limit.  Ha!  Just like the adorable Baby Blues family, at the end of a meal with my kids, the pile of used napkins on the table resembles Mt. Vesuvius.

At home, we used to use plain old cheapo paper napkins from Costco.  Typically one wipe of the mouth or hands and the napkin would be discarded and we'd reach for another.  Since the cheap paper napkins have the absorbency of a small piece of cardboard, we'd always go through at least 3 or 4 napkins per kid, per meal.  That really adds up to a lot of trash, not to mention, quite a bit of money over time.

The other day, I was in Target browsing (always an expensive activity) and saw a 12-pack of Room Essentials cloth buffet napkins for $9.99.  I then had quite the epiphany.  If I switch from paper napkins to cloth, I'll be saving the planet, saving money, and saving space in our trash can, all at the same time.  LOVE IT!!!

After a few days of using our new cloth napkins, I still love it. They take up hardly any space in the washer, and, unlike paper napkins, can be rinsed, rung out, and then double as washcloths to clean up the baby who always manages to get food on the back of his head (How???).  An added perk is that my girls and I feel quite fancy sitting down to dinner and placing a white cloth napkin on our laps.  My boys (including my husband) couldn't care less.

I haven't looked for cloth napkins at Walmart or Smart & Final, but I would imagine they carry inexpensive ones as well.  If you find some for less than Target, please leave a comment and let the rest of us know.

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