Home Maid Simple: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Book Review: The Worldwide Dessert Contest: Enhanced Multimedia Edition

The Worldwide Dessert Contest: Enhanced Multimedia Edition by Dan Elish

About the Author: (From his website) 
- Dan Elish is the author of the novel Nine Wives (St. Martins Press, 2005) and The Misadventures of Justin Hearnfeld (2008), both published by St. Martins Press. Dan is also the author of Born Too Short, Confessions of an 8th Grade Basket Case, which was picked as a Book for the Teenage 2003 by the New York Public Library and won a 2004 International Reading Association Students' Choice Award. He has also written several other novels for young adults including, The Attack of the Frozen Woodchucks, 13, The Worldwide Dessert Contest, Jason and the Baseball Bear, and The Great Squirrel Uprising. "13," the musical for which he co-wrote the book with music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown ran on Broadway from September 16, 2008 through January 4, 2009. In his career, Dan has also written non-fiction books for young adults, scripts for kids' TV shows (in particular Cyberchase (PBS)), music and lyrics for six musicals, funny corporate videos, and played piano for various Off-Broadway productions. He has received fellowships and scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, and is a member of the Dramatist Guild. Dan lives in New York City with his wife, daughter and son.

About the Book:
- "Publishers Weekly" raves: A little bit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with a dash of Homer Price's donut maker, this novel pays homage to the longstanding rapport between children and sweets. John Apple longs to win the Worldwide Dessert Contest, but all his delicious desserts have a penchant for changing into something else at the last minute. The way he overcomes this difficulty and takes first place involves a search for the greatest chef in the world, the defeat of the thieving title-holder of the contest and a run-in with a judge who has, thanks to John, a caramel apple bonded to his cheek from their last encounter. Elish writes with a sure hand of this sugary world, his tongue squarely in the area of his sweet tooth. For his ability to praise desserts in an endlessly original fashion, he deserves a blue ribbon

My Thoughts:
- I loved this book. I rarely read books on the computer, but this one you must read on the computer, or reading device, like the Kindle (of which I don't own).  The music is upbeat, fun and takes me back to my high school musical days. As Applefeller tries hard to create the best dessert worldwide, he constantly makes something else. Finally with the help of Ragoon, who speaks in iambic rhymes, he is able to create a non-changing dessert. The end will surprise you though!  Not only does this book bring the story to life with music and lyrics, but it teaches a lesson as well.

You can purchase the book for Kindle on Amazon for $9.99

The Secret World Of Arrietty

The Secret World Of Arrietty
Coming to theaters February 17th

Have you seen the trailers for this?  It looks like such a fun movie. We're big fans of Disney and Studio Ghibli over here.

Residing quietly beneath the floorboards are little people who live undetected in a secret world to be discovered, where the smallest may stand tallest of all.  From the legendary Studio Ghibli (“Spirited Away,” “Ponyo”) comes “The Secret World of Arrietty,” an animated adventure based on Mary Norton’s acclaimed children’s book series “The Borrowers.”

Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler), a tiny, but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (voices of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty (AIR-ee-ett-ee) remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to “borrow” scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn (voice of David Henrie), a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty’s family from the home and straight into danger. The English language version of “The Secret World of Arrietty” was executive produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, and directed by Gary Rydstrom. The film hits theaters Feb. 17, 2012.

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the most influential and admired filmmakers working in animation today and is a major figure in the Japanese cinematic landscape. His films have inspired moviegoers and colleagues around the world, from Pixar's John Lasseter to fantasist Guillermo del Toro to Chinese director Tsui Hark, and consistently top the box office in his native Japan.
Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, a top animator at Studio Ghibli, was responsible for the animation in a signature scene in “Ponyo,” in which Ponyo runs atop ocean waves.
English language voice talent director Gary Rydstrom is a seven-time Academy AwardĂ’ winning sound designer/mixer (“Terminator 2: Judgment Day”). He joined Pixar Animation Studios as an animation film director in 2003.  His directorial debut for the studio was the Academy Award®-nominated short film “Lifted,” and he directed the short film “Hawaiian Vacation,” which was released with “Cars 2” in June 2011.
Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall are highly successful producing partners whose films, separately and together, include “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “E.T.,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” the Indiana Jones films and the Jurassic Park films. In total, Kennedy and Marshall have earned 11 Oscar® nominations.
English language screenplay writer Karey Kilpatrick’s credits include “Spiderwick Chronicles” and “Over the Hedge,” which he also directed (with Tim Johnson).

Tuesday Tip - Crayon on Walls

Have you ever stopped and looked around your house, specifically at your walls, and went "WHOA!, what happened there?"  You suddenly find that just about every wall from 2 feet down is covered in crayon.
Yeah, that happened to me this week. I couldn't believe I let it go that long. I'm sure I could blame it on the dining room remodel, being pregnant, trying to get kids to actually sleep at night, etc. But in reality, 5 minutes with each wall and I could've had them cleaned ages ago. We've all got 5 minutes!  Granted, if you've let yours go as long as mine, to get it all clean, may take your whole day. That's the price of procrastination.
I recently read that WD-40 will remove crayon from walls. I had a can in the cleaning cupboard, so I figured I'd give it a try. The worst possible outcome would be that it did nothing.  To my joy, it actually worked. Sadly, it only takes off crayon; no pen, pencil, marker, or little dirty handprints.
Nice right! It even wiped off pretty easy. 

This here's my favorite though
See if you look right near the top center to the left of the face, you'll see CTR. CTR stands for Choose The Right. I'm so glad my kids thought to write CTR on the wall, they must be learning something, right?
As you can see, the crayon came off, the pencil stayed. I also learned that if the crayon is under something else, say like lotion smeared on the wall, the WD-40 will do nothing. Sigh.

If you know of any way to remove pencil, pen and marker, I'd sure love to hear it!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Looking for Charity Sponsors

Come the end of March I will be participating in this wonderful blog hop hosted by I am a Reader not a Writer, Reading Away the Days, and Reading a little bit of Everything.

I've chosen to feature the Children's Alopecia Project as my chairty. 
I am looking for businesses to sponsor a giveaway here on Home Maid Simple to help get the word out about the Children's Alopecia Project.  There is no minimum prize value.
If you would be interested in sponsoring the giveaway please contact me at

Menu Plan Monday 1/30

With our brand new pantry, I've been surprised to find a lot of ingredients I didn't know I had! It's so nice to be able to see all my food. So this week, I'm cleaning out the ingredients, and keeping our grocery budget on the low!

Monday - Chicken Bacon Guacamole Quesadilla's

Tuesday - White Bean Soup with Garlic
Wednesday -  Santa Fe Chicken Salad
Thursday - Family Dinner at my parents
Friday - Dinner out. We're going on vacation!
Saturday - Up in the air. It's either dinner out, or stopping by my parents on our way home.
Sunday - Pasta

What are you dining on this week?  Please come back Friday for our new Foodie Friday link up to add any recipes you've tried!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

DIY Drum Light

For awhile now we felt our dining room needed different lighting. The dome light just didn't give adequate light. In fact I kept it off more often than on, because it made so little difference, and I saved the money. 
While browsing pinterest, I came across this DIY Drum light tutorial over at From Gardners 2 Bergers.  Although I really liked how she made her drum light, she also linked over to another tutorial at The Keylor Family.  I felt my talent for craftiness was best suited with The Keylor Family's tutorial. 
Once the dining room remodel was accomplished I decided to add my finishing touch, with a DIY drum light, in pure hopes we'd get much more light in the room then the current fixture.  A trip to the thrift store for a hanging chandelier, then to Hobby Lobby for the biggest Embroidery Hoops (23 inches)available, plexiglass, and some muslin and I was ready to begin.
The materials, and partially put together.

Covered in fabric.
The hard part came next. Figuring out how to hang the light inside.  Through a collaborative effort with Mark we got this.
A piece of wood sandwiched between a section of the light, and resting under the embroidery hoops. Our first attempt was wire hangers, but they weren't sturdy enough.
And finally the light was hung! In my personal opinion, it's pretty awesome!  Mark thinks it's a little too big, and in truth it could be smaller, but hey it gives us a lot more light now!

I don't want to leave you just hanging there, so here's a grand look at our finished dining room, complete with a DIY drum light!

I'm linking up with To Sew With Love's Crafty Saturday Party

Friday, January 27, 2012

SneakPeeq Winner

Leah Clark
You won the $25 gift card to Sneak Peeq.  A fun shopping experience with items you've never seen!! 

Cook'N Rceipe Organizer Winner!

Waddoup and What's Going Down
You're the winner of the Cook'N Recipe Organizer Software
I have no way of contacting you, so please respond to this post within 48 hours! Thank you!

Foodie Friday Link Up

Welcome to another Foodie Friday hosted by Home Maid Simple and Simple Living with Diane Balch.
We'd love to have you link up your recipes, so we can all enjoy some different foods!
This week I'd like to share my Cranberry Wassail recipe with you. I know I posted it last year, but it was in correlation with a giveaway. Plus, this is what won me a recipe contest with Old Orchard, and it was just featured in their email newsletter this week (it makes me all kind of giddy thinking about that!)
Cranberry Wassail
64 oz Old Orchard Cranberry Naturals Original
6 oz Old Orchard Frozen Apple Concentrate
1 Gala Apple, peeled, cored and sliced
1 Orange, juiced
1 Orange, sliced
2 Cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp Allspice
In a large pot, mix all ingredients together. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, let simmer about 20 minutes. Serve warm. You can either pull the fruit pieces out, or enjoy with the wassail. The kids escpecially had fun seeing apples and oranges inside their drinks. For large holiday parties, I suggest doubling the recipe. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Princess Bathroom

In the midst of our dining room remodel, I've been trying to create a spa like bathroom for the Princesses.  I've decided it's time to resort to pinterest again, because I'm stumped. This is what we have so far.
As you come down the stairs to the kid area, I've got their cute bathrobes ready to grab to head up to a bath, and easily accessable to put away after the bath. This is probably my favorite thing so far!

Just inside the bathroom I've hung their bow holder within reach so they can do their own hair. I want to get some cute towels, but it's on a budget waiting list.

And this is what I have to work with. I'm just stumped. It's an odd bathroom, and not much place for anything.  Now I think it would be fun to paint it pink, but since we are adding a boy to the family, we've got to keep it a little more gender neutral.

Now here's some inspiration I'm getting from pinterest

These signs would be fun
Source: etsy.com via Beverly on Pinterest

I Love these colors, and the towels on the door.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What am I up to?

I bet you're wondering what exactly I'm up to.  I've spent a good portion of the last few days getting our kitchen and dining room reorganized. I've got a whole cupboard and one shelf in another cupboard that are empty. I don't know what to do with them.  I'm sure I'll find something and things will continue to get moved around until I'm comfortable with where it's all at.  But for the most part the reorganizing is done. The last thing I have to do is decorate. Since the walls are brand new, I'm leaving the hanging of things to Mark. I'd hate to mess up his hard work, so I'm letting him put the holes in it. Nice of me huh?
So I am now in the process of creating our new lighting. This was a pinterest inspired idea, with a diy tutorial from another blogger.
What you're seeing is the mid process of my own drum pendant light. Using 23" embroidery hoops, sheets of plexiglass, fabric and a pendant light from the DI.  This light when done will have cost us less than $30!  To buy one of these, this size would have cost upwards of $100.
I just hope I can have the patience to get that fabric on nicely, without messing it up. 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 1/23

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well - if one has not dined well"
-Virginia Woolf

Oh I loved coming across that quote today (today's inspiration from Happy On Purpose by Diana Fletcher).  Besides fitting right in with Menu Plan Monday, I think it's true. Food should be enjoyed. We shouldn't rush our meals. We should take the time to enjoy them, savor the flavors, and get to know our dining companions (namely, our family!). 
Yesterday, I pulled out some cookbooks with the Princesses and we made our menu for the week.  Here's what we'll be enjoying.

Monday - Pasta and sauce, with veggies on the side. Chocolate chip muffins per Princess V for dessert
Tuesday - Leftovers from the weekend
Wednesday - Personal Pan Pizza's per Mark
Thursday - Taco's and Burrito's
Friday - Mac and Cheese and Ice Cream Cones per Princess C
Saturday - Pork Chops, probably using the same Hoisin and Honey sauce from the ribs per Mark
Sunday - Lasagna per Mark

It's looking to be a good week of enjoyable foods for all!  What's on your menu? 
I'm linking up with Organized Junkie

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Book Review: Rebirth by Dave Longeuay

Rebirth by Dave Longeuay

Synopsis (from goodreads):  Fleeing his father’s anti-Semitic organization, Charles Devonshire, journeys into the most volatile land-grab in history—Palestine. Charles pursues a beautiful but mysterious librarian, Gladia, who introduces him to the elaborate Jewish underground. While joining their plight to reestablish a homeland, he falls in love with her and faces painful challenges within their culture gap. In the midst of battling the hostile inhabitants who also laid claim to Palestine, he searches for clues of his own troubled past. Can Charles pursue love, uncover his family secrets and avoid being trapped in the middle of the world’s longest feud?

My thoughts: This is by far one of the best historical fiction books I've read in a long time. History is my passion. Learning about the past so we can change our future is something we should all do. Rebirth touches on the very emotions of human nature. I wanted to cry with Charles as he learned who he was and his heritage.   I wanted to give hugs to so many of the characters in this book, to let them cry on my shoulder and cry with them. Everyone knows about the Holocaust, but I think very few know what happened to the Jew's afterwards, and the struggles they continued to face as they found a home of their own.
Dave's ability to incorporate a fictional love story around such a tumultuos time period, and pull on the readers heartstrings, is a gift. I am now anxiously awaiting the sequel Reborn. 

You can learn more about the book and author by visiting this link www.rebirthofisrael.com

*I was provided with a copy of Rebirth for my honest review. If you would like me to review a book, you can contact me at familyroom2@gmail.com

Amazing Deal on Vacuum's


Have you heard of the deal site The Foundary?  This has probably got to be my new favorite deal site.  All your home essentials with daily deals up to 70% OFF! 
I recently purchased some really cute tote boxes for the baby's nursery.  Not only did I get a great deal on these, but I I ordered them Tuesday, and got them today! Talk about fast shipping.  Oh and speaking of shipping, they use standard shipping costs, $5.95 for orders under $75 and $9.95 for orders over $75.

So let's get to the point of posting this (besides that I think you should go check them out!).  Today, and for the next 2 days there is a vacuum sale going on! Bissell vacuum's for way below retail costs, with the same shipping costs I mentioned above. I know we could use a new vacuum and I may go take advantage of this deal.  I'm looking at this refurbished Cleanview II for only $47! Normally this would be $99. For $99 my 6 year old vacuum does just fine. But for $47, well that just might be doable.
Don't miss this sale!  I've seen items sell out fast at the Foundary and I expect this deal will be one to go quickly.  We all need vacuums, and we all need to save money! 
*I was not compensated for this post. I did receive a $20 credit from Klout Perks, but was not required to post about my experience. I only promote products and websites that I think will benefit my readers.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Foodie Friday (with linky!)

Foodie Friday
Welcome to another Foodie Friday hosted here on Home Maid Simple and at Simple Living with Diane Balch.

Mark's favorite meat is pork, but I don't buy it very often. It is more of an indulgence when we do. Last week I found some Pork Riblets on sale, and decided they fit in the budget. I had no idea what to do with Riblets though, so I began browsing pinterest, and found this

Hoisin and Honey Pork Riblets
Oh they looked divine, and they sure tasted good as well!

Hoisin and Honey Pork Riblets (recipe from Smitten Kitchen)
3 1/2 pounds pork of spareribs, halved crosswise, preferably by a butcher, and cut into individual ribs
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced and mashed to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 teaspoon English-style dry mustard
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar

In a kettle of boiling salted water simmer the ribs, covered, for 30 minutes and drain them well.
In a large bowl whisk together the honey, the soy sauce, the garlic paste, the hoisin sauce, the mustard, the vinegar, and black pepper to taste, add the ribs, and toss the mixture well, coating the ribs thoroughly. Let the ribs marinate, chilled, for at least 1 hour or overnight.
Remove the ribs from the marinade, arrange them in one layer on the oiled rack of a foil-lined broiler pan, and broil them under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat, basting them with the marinade, for 3 minutes. Turn the ribs with tongs and broil them, basting them with the marinade, for 2 to 3 minutes more, or until they are browned well and glazed. Discard the marinade

My favorite part of this dish, is that my 5 year old loved them! She ate two whole racks all by herself.   Princess V is a very picky eater, so it completely surprised us. I'm still unsure if it was the taste she liked, or if it was just fun using her fingers (I did not cut my ribs apart, I left them as a rack). 
We'll be using this recipe again for sure. It may not always be on riblets, but the sauce will be good on chops as well. 

What recipes have you tried recently? Link up below!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Remodel update

I know you've all just been dying to see wha's going on in the Dining Room!  Gosh it's been awhile since I last shared our progress with you. Last I left you, we had the wallpaper removed, and the sheetrock up.  Since then we've plastered, painted, put the pantry shelves in and hung the pantry doors. Check it out!

Hmm, I think someone prefers I leave him out of the pictures, lol. But since I can't paint (remember baby in the tummy), he's stuck being showcased.

Sorry for the dark pictures. The flash on the camera went out, and I'm not sure if it's fixable yet.

Today I mopped the floor, which has already made a big difference in what this room looks like. I believe Mark's plan for the evening is to put up the trim, and perhaps fix the floor (did I tell you about that? Hot iron on a vinyl floor don't mix).

If all goes as planned, I should be able to spend tomorrow rearranging dishes and food, and making the room all pretty. I may head to the craft store to get the items for the pendant light as well!

Shine Your Light

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Imagine the Impossibilities

Thistlewood Farm
I came across this blog post, and decided I would take the challenge. I wasn't sure at the time what my impossible would be, and had to give it some thought. It took me a week or two, but I've finally decided on my impossible.
My sister, without knowing about the challenge, asked me this weekend "Are you ever afraid to do anything? Do you do it anyway?" 
YES! Aren't we all afraid of something? Her question was a good jumping off point for me. What am I afraid of trying? Will I attempt it anyway?  This year I will!

One of my biggest fears is changing a car tire. When I have to drive long distances I worry that a tire is going to blow and I'll have to figure out how to change it, or be stranded. Last year as I drove frequently to my parents I was constantly checking tire pressure to make sure that that would never cause a blown tire.  During the fall something happened, not sure what, to cause one of our tires to be almost completely depleted of air. Hubs told me it was getting low, but he didn't seem all that concerned so I decided to run my errands and then put air in it. When I stopped and saw I was practically riding the rim I about freaked. I didn't have change for the air machines (they really should be free!), and so I just took myself to the car shop and had them fill all my tires.

Right so after all that rambling, my fear is changing a flat tire. My Impossible challenge this year is to learn how to change a flat tire. It will be good for both me and my sanity as I drive. I'll probably always be afraid of a tire blowing on the freeway, but at least I won't have to add to that fear with not knowing how to change it. 

What are you afraid of? Will you try it anyway? I challenge you to try something new this year. Turn your Impossible into a Possible!

Flirty Aprons Flash Sale - 30% OFF


Today only (1/18/2012) you can get 30% off the Scarlet Blossom Apron
Use code SCARLET30 at checkout

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cook'N recipe Organizer Review and Giveaway

If you've been following the blog here lately, you may have noticed an influx of recipes and food related posts. It may have something to do with this pregnancy (I'm always hungry lately) or it could be from all the baking I did throughout the holidays. Whatever it may be, I've started collecting more and more recipes from all over the place. My cookbook cupboard is not getting any smaller, and my food board on pinterest just keeps growing.
I've found a great new software to organize my recipes into one spot. Cook'n Recipe Organizer has so many cool features! You can capture recipes right off the web, or type up your own recipes. You can view the nutritional value of each recipe, create menu plans, and print off a grocery list. You can also make your own recipe book and print it out too!

Already I've created a recipe "book" for recipes we've tried and love, and one for recipes I want to try in the near future!
So far the only problem I've come across is the grocery list. It allows you to type in any extra items you may need. I needed diapers and knew I'd probably forget if they weren't on my list. When i went to print the list though, diapers wasn't on it. I'm sure there's something I need to do different to make it work right.

Overall I really enjoy this software and plan on getting my cookbook cupboard cleaned out some. I'm even starting to think of making recipe books for family this next Christmas!

Cook'n Recipe Organizer is an $80 value and I'm giving it away to one lucky reader! All you have to do is like Cook'n Recipe Organizer on Facebook. Then come back here and leave a comment with your favorite recipe and a way to contact you.
Giveaway is open internationally! Will end on Jan 24th. Winner will be emailed and given 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Good luck, and happy organizing!
Cook'n Recipe Software
*I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Mom Blog Society. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. (http://momblogsociety.com

Monday, January 16, 2012

Menu Plan Monday 1/16 and GIVEAWAY!


This week on Menu Plan Monday, I used Cook'N recipe organizer to plan out my menu's, save new recipes from online, and add some of my own.  I'm really enjoying this new software. After creating a menu, it will automatically create my grocery list, and tell me the nutritional value of each recipe! Review and Giveaway coming soon!
This week's menu
Monday - Asparagus stir fry over leftover rice
Tuesday - personal pan pizza's (this has quickly become a family favorite!)
Thursday - Hamburger Helper

Saturday - Breakfast: Bacon, Egg and toast cups. Dinner: leftovers
To enter the giveaway for your own Cook'n software (an $80 value), Go here and Like Cook'n software on facebook, then leave a comment with your favorite recipe and a way to contact you!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Frugal Living Challenge


The last few days in this challenge are things I personally don't struggle with or are things I've already implemented in my life. I decided to combine them into one post as I just don't have much to say on any of them.

Day 8 - Learn to Control Impulse Spending.  Personally I don't really care to go shopping. Unless of course there is a specific item I am buying. Going shopping just to shop, gives me anxiety, and I can get grumpy fast. Basically I don't even go window shopping, because I just don't see anything I need or want, because I haven't thought about it previously. If you struggle with impulse buying, my suggestion is to stop window shopping. Then before you go shopping, make a list/plan of what you need.

Day 9 - The 30 day list. I love this idea, and I think it could help a lot of people with impulse spending. Basically if you go to purchase something, instead write it down on a list. Mark the date that you wrote it down. After 30 days, see if you still want that item, how important is it to have, do you really need to spend the money on it?  You'll probably find a lot of items being crossed off to never buy.

Day 10 - Stop spending money to impress others.  Or in other words, stop trying to keep up with the Jones.  Be happy with what you have. When you look around at others, are you impressed by what they have? Or are you impressed with who they are?  I'm guessing the majority of us look more at a person's actions then we do at the stuff they have when we evaluate them as a person. We may want what they have, but we're not going to hold that against them if they are consistantly nice, and doing service for others. On the other hand, if we are only worried about getting the next big electronic device, and don't take the time to give a smile to a passer by, take a meal to the mom who just had a baby, or can just be happy being us, we may find we lack friends, and close relationships. We minimize our own happiness, and people don't want to be around sour people who can change the way they look at their life.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Book Review: Storee Wryter Gets a Dog

Title: Storee Wryter Gets a Dog
Author: Barbara Carducci

About the book (from Amazon):  Storee's ideas for her writing often come from her many adventures. And when her friend, Kyria, talks her into getting a new puppy, Storee gets some great ideas for her next book while she and her cat, Critique, have fun watching her puppy learn to become a trained therapy dog. Join Storee as she learns to train her puppy to be helpful and soothing. Watch as Storee visits a classroom of special needs children, using her dog to reach out. And have fun with Storee as she gains new experiences certain to help her create her next bestseller! But most important of all, find inspiration for your next masterpiece as you read Storee Wryter Gets a Dog.

My Opinion: I enjoyed reading this book to my girls. It would be a great book for young readers to learn about training dogs, as well as starting the imagination for their own stories. After we finished reading it, I asked Princess C (3 years old) to tell me a story. She made up a cute story about a mom named "Andelina" who was a princess and then a queen.  With more stories like this one, we can help our kids look inside themselves to find their creativity. At the end of the book there has been space left with 2 writing prompts to get children creating their own story. I love when books go a little beyond being just a good story, to help kids succeed and progress!

You can purchase a copy of Storee Wryter Gets a Dog from The Young Voices Foundation, a mentoring program for young writers, K-12, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and on www.storeewryter.com.

*I received a copy of this book for my review. All opinions are my own. The opportunity came to me through Business 2 Blogger; where businesses and blogs get together!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Frugal Living Challenge - Days 6 & 7


Day 6
How living frugally, and being healthy can effect each other. I'd never really looked at it this way, but after reading Andrea's post, I agree. Keeping our body, mind and soul healthy helps us live a frugal lifestyle. As well as living frugally can help us keep our body, mind and soul healthy. I loved this quote from her blog:
When our minds are idle and disengaged we begin to seek fulfillment in external things 
How true is that! So what can we do to keep our minds from being idle? I don't know about you, but my mind always seems to be racing from one thing to another. I've got lists of things I need to do in my home that are constantly running through my mind. These range from cleaning lists, to daily routines with the girls. I'm also constantly evaluating the space in my home and rearranging furniture in my mind (since my body won't let me actually move it right now).  I could sit and dream of the things I like, purchases that might make me happy, but I'm being honest when I say I don't. So I guess my mind isn't very idle, and I'm happy. In general I'm a very happy, optimistic person.
It's really funny (and sometimes frustrating), when I show Mark a craft I want to make. He looks at it, and says that's cool. Later, I will find him browsing the internet for the same "craft", but already made.  Yeah it would be easier to purchase it already made, but I really enjoy having something for both my mind and hands to do.  For example, later this month I'll be making a Drum light for our new Dining Room. Not only will I have something to do that will keep my mind busy, I have also found a tutorial that will keep it at a cost cheaper than buying one brand new.  For more tips on keeping your body, mind and soul healthy while living a frugal life visit this post

Day 7
Make a plan to de-clutter.  We all have clutter, and for most of us it's probably the clutter of stuff. Overtime we accumulate items that than get stored, put away for a rainy day, or we just bought because we like. For some of you your clutter may be in your diets, or your cyber space. Yesterday's challenge was to make a plan to de-clutter. My clutter is found throughout my home. Especially with our Dining Room Remodel, the clutter has become more apparent recently. Here is my plan.  Once the Dining Room is finished, I will begin the de-cluttering process in the kitchen. I'll be going through each cupboard and getting rid of anything I don't need, or use regularly. Everything is going to be rearranged, and I hope the space we've added with the pantry, will allow the room to look more simple. 
From the Dining Room I'll be moving on to the baby's room. It's a disaster zone. We still have 3 months before baby boy is due, and his room has become a catch all. Everything I want to get rid of, or need to go through, has been tossed in there. We've even shut the heater vent in that room, and kept the door closed (hey no need to heat our stuff!).  It's a mess, and quite frankly, I feel ashamed at myself every time I walk in there with yet another item.  Most of the items in this room are my pre-pregnancy clothes, clothes that no longer fit the Princesses, boxes of things to donate, and a bunch of my sewing/craft items. When I get to this room I plan on using this brilliant idea, found through pinterest.

I love this! I mean having one place for everything that needs to leave your house, it's just brilliant. Especially the library box!  I'm still trying to figure out a place to put in our home, but once things are a little more settled down, I'm sure I'll find an easy place, that won't be in the way.
To read an interview with Courtney from Be More With Less, click this link

Foodie Friday

Welcome To Foodie Friday!
Home Maid Simple has teamed up with Diane at Simple Living to bring you a new weekly blog hop.
Each week we will be posting a recipe.  We'd love to have you all join us by linking up your recipes below.  

I love food. I've mentioned it before, but I have a hard time making the same recipe twice, even if it was amazing, because I always want to try something new. Pinterest hasn't helped with this food love either.
In fact, my first recipe for you comes from pinterest

I bring to you this week
Chick-Fil-a nuggets 
(original recipe found here)
My recipe has been altered for a dairy and nut allergy!

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
6 eggs
4 cups flour
6 TBS powdered sugar
6 tsp salt
3 tsp pepper
canola or vegetable oil

Cut chicken into bite size pieces. Whisk eggs in large bowl. Add the chicken to the eggs, and let marinate in the fridge for about 2 hours.
Mix flour, sugar, salt and pepper in another large bowl.  Heat about 2-3 inches of oil in a pan over medium heat until when you sprinkle water on it, it sizzles. Once the oil is ready, remove the chicken from the egg mixture and coat in dry mixture. Do about 10 pieces at a time, depending on size of your pan.  Add coated chicken to oil, and cook until golden brown. We checked the largest piece of chicken in each batch by cutting it in half  to make sure it had cooked all the way through.  Serve with your choice of sauce. I personally prefer some BBQ, but the kids like Ketchup and Ranch.

We'd love to see what what's cooking up in your kitchen. Link up a recipe below!