Friday, September 24, 2010


I have always loved getting flowers, for birthdays, anniversaries or for no reason at all, but I know many women find them to be a waste of money, so I wanted to put this out there . . . where do you stand? Do you want to receive flowers, or would you rather be given the money to buy yourself something? I'm still a traditionalist . . . give me roses any day!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Five Fun Family Vacation Activities Your Kids Will Love

Five Fun Family Vacation Activities Your Kids Will Love
1. Flying a Kite on the Beach
2. Camping in the backyard
3. Please Touch Museums - kids love these!!!
4. Tour the Crayola Factory and get some goodies
5. Waterparks or Sesame Place
About Williamsburg Tourism
The Williamsburg area – Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, VA – is one of America’s favorite family destinations, with adventure around every corner. Experience more than 400 years of American history and culture brought vividly to life at hands-on historical sites and world-class museums; share thrills and entertainment at exhilarating theme parks; discover unique finds and bargains, and enjoy outdoor activities in scenic parks, byways, nature trails and waterways. Whether it’s traveling backing to the 17th and 18th centuries, or forward into the 21st, the Williamsburg area offers vacation fun for all ages. can view the discussion page here too :)
Fun Family Vacation Activities

Visit Williamsburg

I wrote this blog post while participating in the Williamsburg Tourism and TwitterMoms blogging program for a chance to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ragu Sauces - Yum!

To help make sure your kids get the veggies they need (and the meals they love) Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce now has 2 servings of veggies in every half cup! Available soon in major retailers nationwide, the healthy, great tasting Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional pasta sauce that is already a kitchen staple has a new, naturally thicker recipe.

Healthy, delicious and now with a naturally thicker taste the whole family will love, Ragú® Old World Style® Traditional Sauce is a perfect component to pulling together quick and tasty meals during this busy time. And Ragú® wants you to be among the first to try out their great new recipe! To be one of the first to taste Ragú® with 2 servings of veggies in every half-cup visit them on for more details.

Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Ragú® prize package in exchange for this post. No monetary exchange took place

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

10 tips

I love to eat healthy foods that don't taste healthy, so this is a very fun challenge for me, and I am very excited to share my tips with you:

1. Make Pumpkin Zuccini Bread (or muffins). The kids won't know they're eating veggies. It tastes like a delicious bread or muffin, and not like zuccini or pumpkin!

3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped walnuts

1. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs and sugar. Add pumpkin, butter and vanilla. Combine dry ingredients; gradually add to pumpkin mixture and mix well. Stir in zucchini and nuts. Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until breads test done. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove to a wire rack.

2. Instead of coffee and tea full of sugar, try this drink. It's apple juice (you can try sugar free or no sugar added), cinnamon syrup and a little whipped cream on top (low fat). You heat up the apple juice, add the cinnamon syrup and top with whipped cream. It's a great alternative to coffee full of sugar and heavy cream.

3. Use applesauce instead of oil in recipes like these applesauce muffins:
1 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour,
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
2 egg, lightly beaten
2 cups unsweetened
1 cup butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In a 1-pint glass jar, layer 3/4 cup flour, oats, sugar mixture and remaining flour. Cover and store in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.
To prepare muffins: In a bowl, combine the egg, applesauce, butter and vanilla. Stir in muffin mix just until moistened. Fill greased muffin cups three-fourths full. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes our clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

4. Try using veggies to make dessert, like these sweet potato orange cup recipe that I'm dying to try:

3 large sweet potatoes (2 to 2-1/2 pounds), peeled and cubed
1 can (6 ounces) orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup half-and-half cream
2 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup chopped pecans
4 large oranges, halved
32 additional miniature marshmallows
Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan or Dutch oven; cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and cook for 25-30 minutes or just until tender. Drain. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sweet potatoes, concentrate, sugar, cream and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in 3/4 cup marshmallows and pecans; set aside. Remove pulp from oranges, leaving a shell. (Discard pulp or save for another use.) Spoon sweet potato mixture into shells. Place four marshmallows on top of each. Place in a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 8 servings.

5. Instead of indulging in soda and sugary drinks make your own out of fresh fruits and ice. Make your kitchen a smoothie bar where your kids will want to come and get a healthy drink, and so will their friends.

6. If you have picky eaters at home, sometimes throwing everything together is a way to get them to eat foods they wouldn't normally eat - like this breakfast casserole:

o 1 pkg.Regular Flavor Jimmy Dean Pork Sausage
o 10 eggs, lightly beaten
o 3 cups milk
o 2 teaspoons dry mustard
o 1 teaspoon salt
o 6 cups cubed bread
o 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
o 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
o 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
o 1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped (optional)
o 1/2 cup thin-sliced green onions (optional)
Preheat oven to 325 F. In large skillet, cook sausage over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until thoroughly cooked and no longer pink. In large mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, mustard and salt; stir well. Distribute half the bread evenly in a buttered 9" x 13" x 2" baking dish. Sprinkle with half the pepper, half the cheese, half the sausage and half of each optional ingredient. Repeat layering using remaining bread, pepper, cheese, sausage and optional ingredients. Pour egg mixture evenly over casserole. Bake uncovered for 55-60 minutes, or until eggs are set. Tent with foil if top begins to brown too quickly.

7. Replace snacks like gummy bears, peach rings, sour patch kids etc with real fruit. I think fruit is just as satisfying (if not more) than processed sweets like these. Your kids may actually prefer a peach or raspberries to gummies. It doesn't hurt to try.

8. Add Oats and nuts to cookie recipes. I try to keep my sweets low in sugar and high in fiber when I can, so this is a great way to make cookies and sweets healthier, like these chocolate oatmeal walnut cookies pictured below:

9. Instead of cooking with the entire egg, try egg white only recipes. The yolk of an egg is where most of the cholesterol is, so if you are trying to limit cholesterol intake try egg white recipes, and egg white noodles like no-yolk.

10. Replace all pasta with wheat pasta. It takes a few extra minutes to cook since it's so dense, but the health benefits are worth it. It has more fiber than white pasta, which is much needed to keep your body healthy.
I hope you enjoyed my ideas, recipes and especially my photos. Happy Healthy Eating! :)

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and WeightWatchers SmartOnes blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

ten tips for a cleaner, greener home (and earth)

Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products are made from plant-derived ingredients and essential oils instead of harsh chemicals, so you can clean like the dickens yet your home still smells like a garden. I think these sound like great products and would love to try them in my own home, but until I have that opportunity, we find other ways to have a clean green home.

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day

Clean, Green Home

First on our list is saving paper. Our printer normally prints on only one side, which for some documents is fine, but for others, it's a waste of paper. So we decided to configure our office printer so it prints on both sides of the page, to save paper and limit waste!

Second did you know that electronics draw electricity when plugged in, even when they aren't on? This is why it's a great idea to unplug items at night like the TV and DVD player, or the computer and printer. It may not be a noticable difference on your bill, but it's helping to limit wasting energy

Third you can re-use bags. We get a ton of plastic bags when we go grocery shopping, so we've decided to save them and re-use them as lunch bags. Many stores are now rewarding shoppers for re-using bags, or for bringing their own bags, such as CVS and other stores!

Fourth is try not to waste water. When we were young my mom taught us to turn the water off while we brushed. I've heard this saves nearly 5 gallons of water each day. When you think of all the countries without running water, it should make you appreciate it more, and not waste it.

Fifth suggestion is to Run a full dishwasher whenever possible. The dishwasher probably uses the same amount of water regardless of how full your machine is, so doesn't it make sense to clean the most dishes possible with one load. This limits the amount of water (and energy) wasted.

Sixth idea is Install a programmable thermostat. My husband and I bought one about a year ago, and sadly have not installed it yet, but my husband learned in a home projects course that this can save a lot of money. We had more selfish reasons for buying it like wanting a warm house to come home to in the evening, and keeping the kittens cool in the summer months. :)

Seventh tip is use lemon juice next time you need a good clean. I've heard that the acid in lemon juice dissolves buildup and dirt on wood, and tarnish on silver. I think I'll give this a try next time i need to polish my silver, if I have any.

Eighth ide is try to make your own cleaning products from ingredients you probably already own. For furnituer polish mix 1 cup lemon juice with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp water; lightly apply to furniture using a soft cloth. Let sit for a couple of minutes, then buff. Voila - natural, and easy and leaves a great scent and polish behind!

Ninth is a way to cut down on air pollution - two ways actually. Teach your kids early on that taking fewer cars is better for the environment. On top of this, teach your kids where oxygen comes from (plants) so that they can learn that trees are good for the environment, and that we need to protect them.

Finally, my tenth tip is buy organic - fruits, veggies, meats etc. In most areas you can find grocery stores that have organic sections, or find a local farmer or butcher that offers organic products. I've had organic fruits and meats and the quality is far superior to others. Not only does it taste better, but you are supporting farmers who don't use pesticides and harmful chemicals, which is a wonderful thing.

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and Mrs. Meyer’s blogging program, making me eligible to get a $30 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here