Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Alba Botanica Advanced Natural Sea Elements Eye Makeup Remover Review

Hello again!

Today I have a review on some eye makeup remover by Alba Botanica.

It is the Advanced Even Natural Sea Elements eye makeup remover (4oz).  I found this in the Target clearance section, and the clearance price on this was cheaper than the regular price of the eye makeup remover I normally buy.  I saw that the regular price of this was somewhere near $9.00, which is no where near what I'd spend on eye makeup remover, so I purchased it.  I read really good reviews about it online when I got home and was anxious to try it out.  

Here's a quirky little tidbit about me: I LOVE to read labels of products.  Sometimes I even make my husband read them to me if I just bought something at a store and I'm the one driving home.  Weird I know, but anywho.  Upon reading the label of this eye makeup remover, it claims to be non-greasy, as well as tough on waterproof makeup ("with one swipe" I believe it says).  I was excited to see that it was not tested on animals (YAY!) and also made with 100% vegetable ingredients.  It does make it a point to advise the consumer to shake it before each use.

I have been using it for more than a month now and really liked it... at first.  It did a great job.  I did however find it to be very greasy (contrary to what the label says), which is okay with me.  Once I take my makeup off at the end of the day, I hop in the shower anyway, so no big deal.  Here is my main beef with this product: Just last week I started using a new *waterproof* mascara and this eye makeup remover barely does a thing as far as removing it.  In order to get it moderately off, I have to use multiple cotton squares and continuously add more and more remover and my lashes are still full of mascara.  (Note: I do shake it before each use as directed).  I feel like it isn't good to have to rub my eyes that much each night just to use this product.  I don't know if this is a bi-layer product like some other removers that separate and that's why you have to shake it, but this does not do the job.  One of the bi-layer removers I refer to is Lancome Bi-Facil eye makeup remover.  I have a little travel size bottle of that and tried that after the Alba Botanica didn't work.  The Lancome was easy breezy, so I have stopped using the Alba Botanica and switched to the Lancome.  (Note: I received the Lancome Bi-Facil as part of a gift and it is about $27 for the full size bottle, which is even more than I'm willing to pay.  I have found that Neutrogena's Oil-Free makeup remover is comparable and a lot more affordable). 

I am certainly glad I did not pay full  price for this eye makeup remover.  While I did like it at first when I wasn't using waterproof mascara, now that I am, it is pretty much useless to me.  I still like it's "green" properties, but I since the product doesn't serve its purpose, it's not enough for me to give it a positive review.  Sorry y'all.  

To see my YouTube video review of this product, please click here.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Emjoi Emagine Epilator Review

Hello all!

Today I have a review for you on the Emjoi Emagine Epilator.  One of my good friends thought I was reverting to some archaic period in time when she heard I was purchasing an epilator.  I don't consider myself to be a hairy girl, but I am very fair skinned, so when I shave, the fast regrowth is pretty noticeable.  I have spent the majority of my hair removal days shaving, but have waxed on occasion too.  I just found waxing to be too pricey, and I'm not really skilled enough to do it myself and do a good job.  I did a LOT of research on epilators before I decided on the Emjoi Emagine.  The Emjoi Emagine is one of the larger models; it has 72 tweezer heads that rotate to pick up and pluck out hair from the root.  I purchased it from for close to $70.00.  While I find that expensive, I figured that once I bought several packs of replacement razors or a few trips to the salon for waxing, this thing pretty much paid for itself and would inevitably save me money.  I read so many good reviews and did research on how to prepare your skin for epilation (by exfoliating!).  I thought this was going to be the end all be all to my hair removal needs.

I was super psyched when I received it and waited until after I showered and exfoliated to try it out.  I was apprehensive about the pain because in general, many people said it was quite painful.  Having had two tattoos and recently given birth, I figured it would be a walk in the park.  I was surprised at how it really was painful.  Nowhere near childbirth on my pain scale, but it made my eyes water and it wasn't something I ever really got used to.  I used the epilator on my legs, underarms and bikini line.  Holy Toledo, my first run at my underarms was AWFUL.  It hurt so bad, and the ache/sting didn't go away when I was done.  It was a good 24-48 hours before my pits felt back to normal.  But they were smooth!  To my amazement, my bikini line was the least painful area I epilated.  While I didn't expect to have 100% hair removal (I was prepared after reading reviews), I was fairly satisfied with the results.  Plus I figured it would get better the more I did it.  I did a touch-ups every couple of days and had little to no regrowth for about a week.  I have been exfoliating nearly every day during my shower to prevent ingrown hairs.  However, within the last few days the hair on my legs has started to come back with a vengeance.  My legs LOOK and FEEL terrible.  They are itchy, red, bumpy, and irritated.  I can see little black dots where the hair is trying to grow back.  Between the redness, bumps, and black, my legs look even worse than they did when I was shaving.  I am now concerned that it will take my legs a LONG time to get back to 'normal' if they do at all.  I am extremely disappointed with the results from the Emjoi Emagine Epilator.  When I did research prior to purchasing this, I did see a handful of reviewers who noted a similar [bad] experience like mine, but I figured I wouldn't end up being one of those, but naturally I did.  I have followed the instructions to a T and even taken great care in exfoliating and keeping my legs moisturized.  I can't say I did anything wrong, it just did not work for me.  Unfortunately I will be returning this item and going back to shaving with my razor.  While I won't get smooth legs for a week at a time, at least I won't have unsightly and painful legs for days on end. 

To see my YouTube video review of this item, please go here.

A picture of the irritation on my leg.  It really doesn't do it justice.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Gerber Graduate Puffs Cereal Snack Review

Hello fellow Mommy's and Daddy's! 

Today I have a review for you on Gerber Graduates Puffs.  A good friend of mine has a son just a few months older than mine and after seeing him eat Puffs, I really wanted to get them for my son Andrew.  However, when I went to the store, I saw on the packaging that babies are typically ready for Puffs when they are crawling, which Andrew wasn't.  So I went home empty-handed.  :(  Wouldn't you know, just a few days later, Andrew started crawling, and one of the first things I did was go get a container of Puffs!

There are a variety of flavors: Vanilla, Banana, Sweet Potato, Apple Cinnamon, Blueberry, and we went with the Strawberry Apple flavor.  They are star-shaped little pieces of puffy cereal about the size of my thumb nail.  Despite my excitement for Andrew to try these, I was also quite hesitant, as he has only been having bottles, oatmeal cereal, and pureed fruits/veggies up until this point, and I was concerned he might choke on them.  I put them on Andrew's high chair tray and he grabs them and puts them in his mouth.  He REALLY likes them.  In fact, I only put them out for him one at a time, otherwise he'll end up with three Puffs in one hand trying to get them all in at once.  :)  When they get to his mouth, they dissolve pretty quickly, which eases my concern about choking.  When the puffs get wet, they also get sticky and mushy.  Sometimes I will find sticky, mushy puffs that missed his mouth in the seat of his high chair.  I am one of those moms who likes to try whatever my baby eats, so naturally I popped one in my mouth.  They are pretty good tasting for baby food!  It is a cereal SNACK though, so I definitely don't recommend making a meal out of theses.  VERY surprising to me, the serving size is 77 Puffs, but I have never come close to giving him that many in one sitting. 

These run around $2.00 per container, which I don't think is too terrible, but if you are a Sams Club member, they sell a 6-pack variety of Apple & Banana flavors for $9.98!  Can't beat that deal!  I am looking forward to purchasing some of the other flavors, and would definitely recommend Gerber Graduates Puffs for those of you starting your kiddos on finger foods for the first time!

To see my YouTube video review of Gerber Puffs, please click here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Rubbermaid 2-Quart Carafe Review

Another product review!

Today's product under review is the Rubbermaid 2-Quart Carafe.  I am a big fan of the 'on-the-go' drink mixes that come in the pitcher packs.  Now that I seem to only be able to find Crystal Light in the 2-quart sizes, I was on the hunt for a 2-quart carafe to make and store my drinks.  I stumbled across this Rubbermaid carafe in Target, but searched for it on and found it for cheaper, so I purchased it there.  (FYI - I have since found it in Meijer for cheaper than Amazon if you are interested.)  It is big and bulky in my opinion, in the wrong areas.  I really can't find a decent place to keep it in my fridge.  It is too wide at the base for me to fit it in the door, and too tall to fit on the shelf, rendering it pretty useless, unless I lay it on its side, which I am reluctant to do in the event that it leaks.  It claims to have a "leak proof seal", but I wouldn't like to test that out and find I have sticky drink all over the inside of the fridge.  Additionally, there are two spouts to pour out of: one is open, and the other one is partitioned, so that if you have ice in the carafe, it won't pour out when you pour the drink.  I find both of the spouts to be too wide, and regardless of which side I use, when I pour, the drink splashes everywhere.  The first and only drink I have made in the Rubbermaid carafe is the Crystal Light Mocktails Appletini, and this carafe REALLY retains the smell.  I finished the drink and washed the carafe several weeks prior to doing this review, and the smell of the appletini is still quite strong inside.  My last and final complaint, is that this is not BPA-free.  I tend to buy BFA-free plastics to store food/drink in, and I didn't realize until after purchasing this, that it is not.  Overall, I would not recommend this product.  I was really excited to find a carafe sizable enough to make my drink mixes, but my expectations were not met.  Maybe if you have a huge refrigerator and you don't mind now having a BPA-free carafe, this would be okay for you.  I don't have any idea how to solve the issue of the splashing when pouring.

I previously was using a Takeya 360 Carafe, which is just a little over 1-quart capacity.  Other than it not being large enough to make the drink mixes, I have had none of the issues with this carafe that I've had with the Rubbermaid.  In addition, the Takeya is BPA-free!  Overall, I like the lid/pouring portion of this carafe better than Rubbermaid's, and I have frequently turned it upside down to shake up my drinks to mix them, and never had an issue with leakage.  The size is perfect and fits multiple areas of my fridge.  While it isn't big enough to make the 2-quart drink mixes, I will just do a little math and scale it down to make 1/2 the amount so I can continue using this carafe.

To see my YouTube video review of this product, please click here.

Rubbermaid 2-Quart Carafe on
Takeya 360 Carafe on

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Semi Di Lino Diamante Cristalli Liquidi Illuminating Hair Serum Review

Well is that a mouthful or what?  Good thing I don't talk about this product too much, otherwise I'd be winded!  Many many years ago....maybe 6 or 7 years ago, I was at the salon getting my hair done, and my stylist used this product on my hair.  It smelled great and made my hair feel silky, smooth, and lightweight.  Knowing that it would probably be more expensive to buy it from the salon, I went in search of it online.  I can't remember if I bought it from eBay or Amazon, but I purchased it off one of the two.  I have been using it on and off since then.

This Cristalli Liquidi illuminating hair serum comes in a substantial 1.69oz glass bottle with a pump dispenser.  As I mentioned before, it has a great smell to it; it smells like an expensive salon product (probably because it is).  My hair is quite long and a little of this stuff goes a long way; hence how it has lasted me all these years.  Maybe one or two pumps does this trick.  I just pump it into the palm of my hand, rub my hands together and work it through my straightened hair.  I got rid of the box so long ago, and can't even be sure it was in English, so I'm not sure the variety of ways you can use it.  I have only used it after straightening my hair to seal the cuticles and smooth any flyaways.  I concentrate it on the ends of my hair and just a quick pat near the crown of the head so my hair doesn't look greasy.  I really like how my hair feels after I apply it.

My only complaint with this product is the price.  Right now you can purchase it on for about $25.00.  I seem to remember paying more than that, but it was too long ago for me to be sure.  Even so, that's pretty steep for such a small bottle, although it has lasted me a LONG time.  In the years since I purchased this, I have found other 'drugstore' haircare products that smooth as well as this in my opinion, for a lot cheaper.  If I had endless cash to frivously spend, I would probably repurchase this item, but until that happens, I'll be using the cheaper alternatives.

To see my video review of this product click here.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Skindinavia No More Shine Makeup Finish Spray Review

(Some of you may have seen my video reviews of products that I have posted here on my blog, however, I have decided to start doing a written review to go along with my videos.  This is my first!)

Skindinavia No More Shine Makeup Finish Spray (Oily Skin Formula) 2oz
Let me start off by saying "I am a makeup junkie."  They say the first step is admitting you have a problem.  Well there ya go.  I am willing to try just about every product out there, barring that it isn't ridiculously expensive and it's not made of something foul like animal poop.  I had heard about this Skindinavia No More Shine Makeup Finish Spray from a couple other beauty gurus that I follow.  I am cursed with oily, and therefore shiny skin, so when I heard about this product, I was quite interested to try it out.  I had an Amazon gift card and found a 2oz bottle of it on that I was willing to use my gift card on.  I was quite excited to receive it and try it, because in addition to the claims of it reducing/eliminating shine, it also claimed to help keep your makeup stay put for up to 16 hours!  Woohoo! 

I was surprised to learn when I received it and read the bottle prior to using it, that you're supposed to use it both before and after you apply your makeup.  I have been using the spray each day for about a month now. I really like how refreshing it is to spray on my face and kind of gives you a dewy look.  The mist is really fine and I don't feel like I'm shooting myself in the face with a Super Soaker each time I use it.  Maybe my face is just too darn oily and is beyond help, but sadly this Skindinavia spray has not kept my shine and oil away.  It does however help my makeup stay put!  As a stay at home mom, I pretty much NEVER have makeup on for 16 hours a day, so I can't speak to the claim of if it works for that long, but by the end of the day when I'm 'taking my face off' my makeup still looks pretty spiffy.  (Minus the shiny T-zone).  Some of the other things I love about this product are:

  1. It is NOT tested on animals.  Big YAY to that!
  2. It is oil free.  No need to add more oil to this oil slick.
  3. It doesn't stain clothing.  Not that I already don't have baby barf on my clothes, but it's nice that if I get a little crazy with my spraying that I won't add more stains to my clothes. 
  4. For all of you contact wearers and sensitive eye folks, it is eye tested!
  5. It is doesn't really have a smell.  It doesn't claim to be fragrance free, but the smell (if there is one) is really light. 
Unfortunately, this product is a little too expensive for my budget.  As I mentioned earlier, I bought the 2oz bottle, which is small, but I didn't want to go with the huge size not knowing if I would like it.  I'm not sure how the price is if you buy directly from them or a beauty retailer, but on Amazon, which I find to be generally cheaper... the 2oz bottle will run you $14.50, the 4oz bottle is $29.00, and the 6oz one is $39.00.  (Note: these are Amazon's prices as of this posting.  Prices are subject to change).  It does make financial sense to purchase the large size, as the cost per ounce is less, but I really can't justify spending almost $40.00 for 6oz of spray.  

Overall, I like the spray, although it does nothing to aid in my shine banishing mission.  While I can't afford to continually buy this product, I would recommend it. 

To see my YouTube video review for this product, please click here.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Recipe: Mediterranean Salad

As a military spouse, I am a member of a fun group called Recipe Club that meets once a month and everyone brings a dish that relates to that month's theme.  Yesterday, our recipe club's theme was Mediterranean.  I am an all-American, very simple tastes, type of girl.  Cheeseburgers, Pizza, Pasta, nothing too fancy.  I normally don't eat Thai or Mexican or Mediterranean foods.  I stick with what I know.  Of course I headed straight to Pinterest to hunt for a recipe and came across this one

I was able to find all the ingredients in my tiny little town and went for it, thinking it would be something I might even like, and I did!  I LOVED it, in fact!  I did make some deviations from the original recipe, so I will post my version here:

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (1-pound) box Israeli pearl couscous (or any small pasta)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
In a medium saucepan, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the couscous and cook until toasted and lightly browned, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Carefully add the stock, and the juice of 1 lemon, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the couscous is tender, but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the couscous.
In a large bowl, toss the cooked couscous with the remaining olive oil, remaining lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper and let cool.
Once the couscous is room temperature, add the fresh mint, basil, and almonds. Toss to combine and serve. 

My notes: I simmered my couscous for 9 minutes and had no liquid to drain off of it, so I just went straight to my serving bowl.  If the fresh herbs aren't available in your area or you just don't have it on hand, leave them out.  I sampled my dish prior to the adding of the final ingredients once it was at room temperature, and it was DELICIOUS as is.  If you checked out the original recipe from Giada, you'll see it included dried cranberries.  I was not interested in that in the least, nor did I have them or want to purchase them specifically for this recipe, so I omitted them.  Still awesome. 

I feel so great about this recipe!  It is fresh, and pretty simple, even for an amateur like myself.  I feel even better about it, due to that it's something outside my regular comfort zone, and I loved it!  Thank goodness for recipe club, otherwise, I might not have tried this!

Another Video Review and New Youtube Channel

Hello friends ~

I have another video review for you today.  This one is for Olay Blackhead Clearing Scrub.

In addition, due to the amount of video product reviews I am doing, I decided to create a separate YouTube Channel for these videos.  You can find them all here:

Jenn's YouTube Review Channel

I decided not to post the video review here as well as link to the youtube channel, so if you are interested, check out the channel! 

Please subscribe!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Makeup Review: Maybelline Define-A-Lash Mascara

Here is my first video review for you on Maybelline Define-A-Lash Mascara
in the color Very Black.  Enjoy!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Dipping "Sauce" for Steak

My husband and I were looking for a steak 'sauce' alternative and I found this one.  I made it a little healthier with the substitution of a few ingredients, and this recipe makes PLENTY.  If you are cooking for two, I would definitely cut this in half.  This was way too much for just my hubby and me, but it was so darn good.  Don't be put off by the soy sauce... you'd be hard pressed to tell it's in there, and if you did, it's not overpowering.  The hubs is not a fan of soy sauce at all and he loved the steak dipping sauce just as much as I did.  Granted, with a whole stick of butter, it certainly isn't healthy, but you can make it a little less terrible by using Splenda and low sodium soy sauce. 

Dipping Sauce for Steak

  • 1/2 C. melted butter or margarine
  • 1 TBSP. brown sugar (we used Splenda)
  • 1/3 C. soy sauce (we used reduced sodium)
  • 10 TBSP. water

In bowl, combine brown sugar, soy sauce, and water.  Microwave on medium until warm, then stir until brown sugar is dissolved.   Add melted butter and mix until combined.  Serve in little cups with steak.  Dip & enjoy!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


If you're like me, then you're a big fan of coupons and getting good deals.  

Today you can print a $10 off $25 dollar Yankee Candle Purchase here!  I just found out today that you can use these coupons at retailers like Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Ulta, or Kohls.  I personally contact my local Bed, Bath, and Beyond today; they said they do accept the Yankee Candle manufacturers coupons, but they cannot be combined with Bed Bath and Beyond's store coupons (20% Off, $5 Off $15, $10 Off $30, etc).

There are lots of new coupons to print from

Also, there are some you can stack with Target's Printable Coupons and potentially get items for free or under $1.00!

Here are some info/tips that I've come across in my coupon adventures:
  • Although Walmart's website states that they accept competitors coupons, the fine print is that they don't accept competitors coupons that have a specific amount off (i.e. $.50 off).  They only accept competitors coupons that list a product being a specific price, or B1G1 Free for a specific price). 
  • When on, you can change the zip code in the top right corner to view and print different coupons.  Some popular ones are 90210 and 77477.
  • Many grocery stores will double (and sometimes triple!!) coupons!  Be sure to check with your local grocery for the specifics.  Here in Northern Virginia, Wegmans will double manufacturer coupons up to .99 (some exclusions and limitations apply)!  I was bummed that I only discovered this recently and will be moving to an area with no Wegmans stores.  :(  Harris Teeter also doubles manufactures coupons up to .99.  During certain weeks, they will have triple coupons (up to .75 I believe), and/or super double coupons (up to $1.50).  Sometimes the coupons will coincide with eVic specials, so keep your eyes peeled and you can get some great deals!  
  • As briefly mentioned above, you can usually 'stack' manufacturer and store coupons and use both to score a nice price!  

Happy Couponing!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Taste Test Review: McDonald's Sweet Tea vs. Dunkin Donuts Sweet Tea

As a born and bred Florida girl, I'm no stranger to sweet tea.  With both Dunkin Donuts and McDonald's offering their large sweet teas for only a $1.00, I couldn't resist.  I had McDonald's yesterday and Dunkin Donuts today.

Let it be noted that I'm truly bummed that I didn't get a photo of my McDonald's tea yesterday, but I didn't know then that I'd be doing this blog so soon.  Both McDonald's and DD are about the same size, and I do like Dunkin Donuts cups better (I like to see my tea!)...however, when it comes down to taste, McDonald's wins.  Initially, both are really sweet, tasty, and lip smacking.  However, as you can see from this picture, I'm only a teensy bit down on my cup and it has already lost its sweetness.  Very disappointing.  Luckily it was only $1.00... no harm no foul.  But now you know.  If you want a sweet tea where the sweetness lasts through your very last sip, go with McDonald's.  Sorry, Dunkin Donuts; lots of improvement needed. 

Maybe my DD tea disappointed was an isolated incident.  Have you tried both and liked DD better?  Comment below and let me know!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Shower Is MY Hour

[Hello friends ~ 
Sorry for my little hiatus.  My parents were in town visiting us for a little over a week and we have been quite busy!  They left this afternoon and I'm hoping to do better at keeping up the blog!]

As a new mom, I feel like I get very little "me" time.  I spend all day home with my baby while my hubby is at work, and I do get a little break then, but we still have bathtime, nursing, getting dinner for ourselves, etc.  Not much free time in other words.  I am on the late shift for showering at night, as the sound of the fan in the bathroom helps put baby to sleep.  We are moving to Ohio in a little over a month, and I've been trying to use up and go through assorted products that I've been holding on to, in hopes to not have to move extra stuff.  I get a lot of free samples from sample websites, and I usually stock up on new things and old favorites when Bath & Body Works is having a sale.  Despite my yearning desire to climb into bed at the end of the day, I have dubbed my shower time, my in-home spa time; hence The Shower Is My Hour.  Unless I hear the baby crying (in which case I will hurry out) I take my time and use my special bath and body products.  It is so luxurious to treat myself each night, evening if it's just for an hour or less.  I hope to be able to continue this routine for many years, but we'll see what happens.  ;)  

For all you new moms and moms-to-be.  It is REALLY important to make time for you, as to not lose your sense of self.  Even if you are a stay-at-home mom like myself, it's a rough, although rewarding 'job', and you deserve some "me time".  Whether it's shower/spa time, going for a run, updating a blog, or uploading photos, MAKE TIME FOR YOU!  :)

In one of my upcoming blogs, I plan to do some product reviews/favorite beauty products out of my stash that I've rediscovered.  See you then!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Homemade Granola Bars & Money Saving Recipe Shopping

I found a wonderful recipe via Pinterest the other day that I was stoked to try.  It was for five-ingredient peanut butter granola bars.  I am trying to eat healthier, less processed foods now, but I've been finding it hard to satisfy my sweet tooth without some chocolate candy or packaged cookies.  Enter this recipe.  Here is my take on the homemade granola bars:

4 C. Rolled Oats
2 TBPS Chia Seeds (optional, but a VERY healthy add-in)
1/2 C. Unsalted Peanuts, chopped
3/4 C. Peanut Butter, melted
1/2 C. Honey

Optional Add-Ins I Used
Mini Chocolate Chips
Flaked Coconut
Diced Dried Plums (Plum Amazins)

In a large bowl, combine oats, Chia seeds, and peanuts. Add honey and mix to combine. Add melted peanut butter and mix until moistened. Fold any add-ins into the mixture. If the mixture is still too dry, add more peanut butter or honey a little at a time until moistened.

Press into a 9x13 inch pan.  Chill in refrigerator for an hour.  Cut into bars and enjoy!

If you so choose, you can also bake these.  I did not bake mine, as I was afraid it would turn out more crunchy instead of chewy, but I may try baking it next time, just to see.  If you do decide to bake them, preheat your oven to 350 degrees prior to mixing the ingredients, and grease your baking pan!  Bake for 20-25 minutes.

This was my first attempt at these, and they don't stay into bars too well, but they are AMAZINGLY delicious!  And I don't feel guilty about eating them since they are fairly healthy.  :) 

As a shopping tip, I'd like to share that I purchased most of my ingredients from Whole Foods.  They have containers that you can 'scoop your own' nuts, grains, etc., and pay by the pound.  In general, I think that is an expensive way to buy food, however, it's great for buying ingredients for a recipe that you don't normally have on hand, and would otherwise not be using.  I bought just enough oats, peanuts, and chia seeds to make this recipe.  I actually ended up with close to 6 cups of oats for $2.59, 1/2 cup of raw peanuts for $0.64, and 1/2 cup of Chia seeds for $0.70!  (The rest of the ingredients I had at home).  It would've cost me a lot more to buy a full size can of oats and peanuts alone.  Just something to consider next time you prepare to make a recipe!  Enjoy!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Open Faced Cheesy BBQ Joes for 2

This recipe may soon be a Monday night dinner staple!  Adapted from this recipe.  

My husband and I are somewhat picky eaters, so we did away with can of diced tomatoes as well as the jalapenos and jalapeno juice and it was EXTREMELY tasty!

1lbs ground beef
1/3 C. barbeque sauce
3/4 C. ketchup
1 TBPS. Worcestershire sauce
2 slices Texas Toast
Shredded cheese for sprinkling
  1. Brown ground beef over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes or until beef crumbles and cooked through; drain and return to skillet. Stir in ketchup, barbeque sauce, and Worcestershire sauce.  Cover and cook 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare Texas toast according to package directions. Serve beef mixture over Texas toast; sprinkle with cheese.

Vicks VapoRub on Feet for Cough?

Ever heard that one?  I've been suffering from a cold for over a week now.  I think I'm pretty much over it except for that pesky cough at the end which can linger for a while and gets worse at night.  After an hour of coughing and keeping my husband and our baby awake with my hacking, I decided to give it a shot.  Unfortunately, it did not work for me.  I tried it two nights in a row, thinking it didn't work the first night because I had already put lotion on my feet.  However, no such luck.  If you've tried it, has it worked for you?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dry Erase Menu Board

This project was another Pinterest inspiration.  I've seen several variations of the menu board; the one I linked above, dry erase ones that hang or are magnetic.  I had the intention of doing a dry erase board with magnets to hang on the fridge, but I ran into two obstacles: 1) I couldn't figure out how to attach my magnets to the back of my frame (hot melt glue does not work, FYI) and 2) if I could have attached them, the magnets were not strong enough to hold the weight of the frame.  So alas, I have used the stand on the frame and have the menu board set on our kitchen countertop.

I'm going to bypass the step-by-step directions and supply list on this one, as you can really do as much or as little with yours as you'd like.  I bought my frame at Michaels... it's like a mini-poster frame where all four sides pop off.  Besides my frame I used a sheet of scrapbook paper cut to fit the frame, letter stickers, and cute cooking stickers.  Dry erase markers DO work on glass, so write away!  I love this particular project because it's a great way to plan your meals for the week!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

DIY Reusable To-Do List

I whipped up a crafty little project today, which was an inspiration of a combination of two ideas I saw on Pinterest.  Here is my reusable To-Do List:

Here is your supply list:
  • Clear plastic picture frame (Mine is 5x7 and I got it at Walmart for $0.95)
  • Sheet of scrapbook paper cut to fit frame
  • 2"x2" post-it notes
  • Ruler
  • Paper cutter (or scissors if you have steady hands!)
  • Pen, pencil
  • Embellishments for your frame (stickers, bows, etc.)

  1. Start by cutting your scrapbook paper to the size of your frame.  I chose a 5x7 frame so I could put two post-it notes, but you can use a 4x6 frame and use one larger post-it, or a bigger frame, and so on.
  2. Use a ruler to evenly space your post-its on your paper.  You can make some light markings with a pencil.  
  3. Make a box around the stack of post-it notes by making dashed lines, dots, or squiggles. 
  4. For your title, you can write it in pen, or use letter stickers.
  5. Slide your paper into the frame.  
  6. If you wish, you can embellish your frame with stickers or bows (which I plan to do once I get to Michael's to get some cute stuff!)
  7. Write your To-Do reminders on the post-it notes and stick them in the boxes on your frame.
  8. Peel off and discard once the task is complete!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Today's Wisdom

Took this photo today with my macro lens.  Makes me feel like I haven't lost my touch.  :)

Spring Cleaning: Clothing Purge!

It's almost that time again, if not already.  That's right!  Time to clean out those closets!  ...for me it was more like clean out the closet, dresser, and additional storage tub.  I try to go through my clothes at LEAST once a year to decide what I want to keep and what needs to go.  I love to hang on to things as long as possible, but my husband and I are moving this summer and I would hate to cart a bunch of clothes unnecessarily across several states to clutter our new home.  Going through clothes for me is like going to the dentist; I don't like to go, but it needs to be done.  My main reasons for my dislike of my annual closet cleaning are 1) hanging onto clothing with sentimental value, regardless of if it fits, 2) most of the clothes I get rid of, I get rid of because they're too small, and 3) I paid good money for my clothes, only to do away with them now.  Here are my tips for a successful and mostly pain-free clothing purge:

  • If you can't remember the last time you wore it, put it in the "To - Go" pile.  No need to try it on.  Chances are you won't be wearing it anytime soon.
  • If the item looks like it's straight out of another decade, again, put it in the pile.
  • Feel free to try each item on or don't, but you need to make a decision on whether to keep it or toss it.  If it's been at the back of your closet or bottom of your dresser drawer for the last year and you aren't excited to find it... another item for the pile.  
I like to separate my clothes into three piles: 1) to keep, 2) to donate, and 3) to trash.  I know there are many people out there who are less fortunate who would really benefit from my gently used clothing, so I try to donate as much as possible.  My go-to donation station is Goodwill, or a thrift store of my careful choosing.  However, if the clothes are too worn, have stains, etc., I try to salvage them as dust rags/cleaning cloths, otherwise, they get tossed.  Here are the last two of my bags to take to Goodwill. 

As much as I dread my annual clothing purge, I feel a lot better once it's done.  I feel accomplished, organized, and philanthropic knowing I'm helping someone else by donating my clothes.  Once I've decided what to keep, I organize my closet and hang my clothes by 'dressy-ness'.  My casual tops go together, and my dressy tops go in another spot, while dresses and dress pants go together.  If you're going through your dresser as well as I did, I have everything out by the time I'm done.  I refold what I'm keeping and put it neatly away.  Happy Cleaning! 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Pockets (Needs Improvement)

Tonight I tried out a recipe I found on Pinterest, adapted from Jenna's Journey's recipe.  My family eats chicken at least once a week so we're always looking for new recipes to keep things exciting!  These looked good: chicken, cheese, cream cheese, bread... what's not to like?  

Cheesy Chicken Pockets (My Version)

Servings: 2

2 [thin] boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 block of lowfat (or fat free) cream cheese
1/2 C. shredded cheese (whatever flavor you have on hand)
2 TBPS bacon bits (optional)
1 can of Pillsbury seamless dough sheets
1 TBPS butter or margarine (melted)(optional)
Breadcrumbs for topping (optional)

Boil chicken until cooked and tender.  Meanwhile, set out block of cream cheese to soften.  Preheat oven to 350.  Once chicken is cooked, shred with a fork.  Mix together shredded chicken, cream cheese, shredded cheese, and bacon bits.  Separate dough sheets into two and spoon mixture onto one end.  Cover and seal the dough sheets.  Brush the tops with melted butter and top with a sprinkle of breadcrumbs (optional).  Bake for 17-20 minutes until lightly browned and crispy.  

Here was the result:

How it could be improved:

- WOW these were big!  ...each one was P'Zone sized, for all of you who are familiar with those.  Next time I would cut the seamless dough sheets and make four smaller ones instead of theses two large ones.  I had leftover chicken mixture which wouldn't fit in these two.

- Half a block of cream cheese was WAY too much for the amount of chicken I used.  On the original recipe where I got the idea from, she used an entire block of cream cheese, but she used bigger chicken breasts, so I cut the amount in mine in half for my first attempt.  Next time I would use 1/4 of a block and see how that turns out.  

- This may sound weird, but I didn't really like the boiled chicken 'taste'.  Next time I will cook the chicken in the crockpot to get it prepped for shredding.  

This has the potential to be a really great dish!  Not the healthiest by any means... although you could certainly tweak it to make it better for you, if you want.  I am disappointed that my first recipe post on here wasn't a total success, but what can you do?  If I try the recipe again, I will make adjust as I described above, and I am optimistic I'd enjoy it much better.  Feel free to comment and leave your suggestions for this recipe.

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Hello all!  My name is Jenn and I'm 26.  I'm a first time mommy to a sweet two month old baby boy (as well as a spoiled, fluffy kitty named Pooh), a proud U.S. Air Force wife of 4 years, and an only child to the greatest parents on the planet.  I've been in the working world since I graduated high school and only recently stopped to be a full time mom.  However, I'm finding out that being a full time mom IS a full time job, just without the monetary compensation.  But I'll accept smiles and special moments.  :)  My favorite hobby is photography, I take more pictures than anyone I know.  You can check out some of my stuff here.   

I started this blog to share my experiences with mommy-hood and becoming a domestic diva as a stay-at-home mom; I hope to share with you crafty projects and recipes... both the successes and failures ...hence the title of my blog.  :)    At this point, I don't know how frequently I'll be able to post blogs (given the new baby!) but I'm going to put in a good effort!