Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Free ebook: I Love Green Smoothies

Well, I've mentioned before that I love smoothies, and I add organic baby spinach to pretty much every one of my smoothies because really you can't taste it and it's always good to get more dark leafy green veggies.

These smoothies of course always end up looking a little "green." Someone once suggested that they were Shrek smoothies, so if you need a way for your kids to think it's cool that they're green, that's one way. My two kids have liked all the smoothies I've made, pretty much (MW doesn't seem to like blueberries, of all things, so isn't as interested in those ones).

So you can bet I was pretty excited about the ebook that is free today: I Love Green Smoothies - 50 Recipes To Get You Started Drinking Your Way to a Sexy, Slim, Youthful You!.

As I've mentioned before, you don't need a Kindle to get these ebooks. You can read them with the Desktop app or app for Android or IOS. Get it now even if you might not use it right away. You don't want to miss out!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Amazon Deals for Mom, 2/25/13

Amazon is running another 15% sale on select baby items. All you need to do is select items from the sale and enter in 15BABY15 when you check out. There are some great items, some of which aren't often on sale.

One of the most popular car seats around is the Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat. This is a great deal at only $166 after the discount and free shipping.

It's easy to install and one of the highest rated for safety. Also, it can hold a child up to 30 pounds. Now that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your child rear-facing till two years old, a seat like this prevents the need for another seat before they're ready to go front facing.

I know some parents would say, "But the baby gets too heavy to use the carrier by the time they're 9 months old!" This is true, but you don't actually have to use the carrier. Just leave the carrier in the car attached to the base once they're too big to be carried around. Problem solved.

Need a stroller/car seat system? Consider the Chicco Cortina KeyFit 30 Travel System. This is also part of the sale and is available in five colors.

If you need a convertible seats (seats that can be rear facing or front facing) and are interested in top of the line, the Peg Perego Convertible Car Seat is a great choice and you'll save big if you're not picky on color. The beige seat with the discount saves you $50! It must be well liked, since 57 out of 61 reviewers gave it 5 stars (and it has an overall rating of 4.9).

There are tons more baby stuff on sale as well, including many strollers and car seats, so if you're needing any baby stuff, now's the time.

Friday, February 22, 2013

5 Favorite Things of the Week - 2/22/13

This week I was thinking about the things that I love, and I thought about writing an individual post about them, but I figured why not put them together in one post. This will be a fun weekly post every Friday of my favorite things from that week:

  1. Zachary Chocolate-Covered Marshmallow Eggs. Have you guys had these? They are seriously addictive and so delicious. The chocolate melts in your mouth and is definitely the real stuff. I've always loved chocolate and marshmallows, so of course I love these. Plus they're only $1 for a dozen at Walmart. They come in foam egg crates too. So cute! They're only around for Easter so try them while you have the chance.
  2. Via
  3. H&R Block online tax program. TurboTax and H&R Block online each have their own advantages and disadvantages, but the last two years I've gone with H&R because they're less expensive and it works! I so love doing my taxes online. What would we do without the Internet?
  4. Hebrew National Hot Dogs. These hot dogs are the best. If you haven't tried them (and you do eat hot dogs) I highly recommend them. They are more expensive than other brands for the most part, but their taste is just amazing. They are not only kosher (not that that matters to me), but they also don't have any fillers, by-products or artificial anything. I find myself more full than with other hot dogs, and did I mention the flavor? Seriously, delicious.
  5. Pineapple, Banana, Coconut Smoothies. Yeah, they're that good. Mmmmm ...
  6. Minecraft. It's a game with simple graphics but lots of fun possibilities and takes a lot of creativity. It's a fun activity to do after the boys are in bed. I admit, I'm a geek girl at heart :P.
What were your favorite things from this week? Please share in the comments!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

(Expired) Two Free Recipe eBooks: Cookie Indulgence and 101 Bread Pudding Recipes

I'm always on the lookout for free ebooks. Remember, you don't have to have an ebook reader to get these freebies. They can be read on computers or through Kindle apps for Android and IOS. Here they are:

101 Bread Pudding Recipes (Secret Recipe Archive Series) is the perfect recipe book if you love bread pudding and features recipes like caramel bread pudding and pumpkin bread pudding with pecans.

Cookie Indulgence: 150 Easy Cookie Recipes features the traditional cookies along with the unusual. Looking for a cookie that you haven't tried? You're sure to find inspiration with this FREE ebook!

Thanks to Happy Money Saver and Books on the Knob for sharing!

Pinapple, Coconut, Banana Smoothie

My very favoritest drink is pina coladas. I love them with a passion. When I was a kid, my mom and dad would buy those frozen Bicardi pina colada mixes and we'd have pina coladas as a dessert (minus the alcohol, of course). Whenever I go to restaurants, I pretty much always order one.

But I've had trouble duplicating the drink at home. This pineapple smoothie isn't the same as a real pina colada, but this tropical smoothies recipe is so good it definitely tastes like a dessert. And as you know, I love me some smoothies and pineapple smoothies are like heaven in your mouth.

Now the quality of this smoothie with pineapple will depend on the quality of ingredients. When choosing a pineapple, find one that is sweet and juicy. If you've never had a fresh pineapple before, you're in for a treat. A good pineapple tastes as sweet as candy and is oh so good.

As for the coconut milk, you'll want to get one from the refrigerated section near where you would find organic milk and other milk alternatives (almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc.) which should be next to the regular milk section. The milk here has a stronger coconut flavor than the ones you'll find in a can or on the shelf.

So here's the recipe:

Pineapple, Coconut, Banana Smoothie

1 cup coconut milk
1/2 of a fresh pineapple with skin cut off and cut into chunks (leave the stem on for extra healthy goodness, assuming you have an awesome blender that can blend it up :)
1 banana, medium to large
6 to 10 ice cubes

Put coconut milk, pineapple, banana and ice in the blender in the order given. Blend till smooth. Enjoy immediately.

And if you're craving something sweet, smoothies with pineapple are a great way to help with the cravings without resorting to candy, chocolate, or ice cream. So skip the cookies and blend up your dessert!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Get Free Android App + $1 MP3 Amazon Credit

Right now you can get the Android app Wubbzy's Train Adventure for FREE (usually $1.99) and as an added bonus, you'll get $1 MP3 credit along with it for FREE. So get a free app and then choose a free song. This is a great deal whether you want the app or not (and the app is 4.6/5 stars).

Get it the deal while you can! This won't last forever :).

Thanks, Happy Money Saver and Clip and Follow, for sharing!

Free iPad App: Miss Spider's Bedtime Story

So when my son turned 4, we got him an iPod Touch. I know what you're thinking: "Who gives a 4-year-old such an expensive gift." But there are some caveats, the first being that we got a used one so it was a lot less expensive (and we put an Otterbox cover on it, so over a year later, it's still in great condition).

The second reason we decided on it was we wanted to get him one of those educational products like the LeapPad, but between the cost of accessories, batteries and games, we were able to get the iPod (with a lithium ion battery) and there are tons of free apps that are fun and/or educational.

So every once in a while, there are apps for the Apple family of products that usually cost money that are made free. The nice thing about these apps is you don't actually have to own the item in order to get them free. For example, right now there is a free iPad app available, Miss Spider's Bedtime Story, that's usually $4.99, but right now it's free (though that could change, so don't wait!). Don't have an iPad? No problem. Get it today and if you get an iPad someday, you'll already have the app. All you need is an Apple ID.

This is a great app to keep on your iPad in case you need to keep the kiddos busy or to share with them at bedtime.

Thanks, Freebies 4 Mom and Mobile Savvy Mama, for sharing!

Review: Vitamix Blender

So I'm a bit of a smoothie enthusiast. I love just sticking stuff in a blender and ending up with a delicious drink that is yummy and full of good things for you.

So back probably 6 years ago or so, I was frustrated. I would put things in my blender (can't remember what type now but it was one of those $50 blenders you buy at super marts) and if they were too frozen, they wouldn't blend. I would actually have to thaw them out in the microwave in order to make the smoothie and there was no way I could have ice in there, and what was the point of the smoothie if it wasn't cold?

Enter the Vitamix blender. Best thing ever to happen to smoothies.

Where Did I Buy It?

I bought my Vitamix from Costco because they would have someone come to our neighborhood Costco every couple months to demonstrate them. They were cheaper than anywhere else and came with a 7-year warranty. Still, all-in-all, it came to a whopping $400 (after I believe a $100 discount)! Wow! Yeah, I was that desperate for a blender THAT ACTUALLY WORKED.

So now that I've owned it for a couple of years, what do I think? I LOVE IT! Yeah, it's true that it's expensive, and I don't know if it's worth the cost or if there are cheaper blenders that work as well, but I do love knowing I can put whatever in there and it will be smooth at the end. Oh, also, it's so much cheaper than buying a smoothie at Jamba Juice et al (and hey, you don't have to change out of your pajamas to do it!).

But Does It Do More Than Make Smoothies?

As for the other things that it can supposedly do, like make soups and chop up vegetables, I'm not sold. I've tried chopping up onions and green peppers in it and

Monday, February 18, 2013

$5 Taste of Home Sale through February 25

Looking for new recipe books to give you fresh ideas for dinner? How about a homemade pasta maker? Taste of Home is having a BIG sale on their site selling things for only $5! Here are some of the items that I would I would love to get with this sale:

Everyday Slow Cooker & One Dish Recipes 2011
325 scrumptious recipes for your slow cooker, skillet or oven–it’s like getting 3 cookbooks in one!
Meal-in-one convenience with lots of casseroles and one-dish meals

Regular Price: $24.99
Sale Price: $5.00

Pasta Maker

Make your own pasta right at home.

Regular Price: $49.95
Sale Price: $5.00

Just One Pot cookbook

This cookbook has more than 320 recipes, and as the name implies is cooked in one pot, so dinner is simple and easy. Yummy!

Regular Price: $16.95
Sale Price: $5.00

Comfort Food Diet Cookbook 2011

This is a great book for someone trying to cut calories while still eating traditional comfort foods. I know I would love it :).

Regular Price: $24.99
Sale Price: $5.00

The best part about this sale is you can stock up on a bunch of cookbooks and then give them as gifts throughout the year. Most women welcome a fresh set of recipes and you could cater the book you choose to their favorite things to make, whether slow cooker meals, desserts, or comfort foods. Word of caution, though: Perhaps avoid the "light" and "diet" books as gifts. You wouldn't want to imply that the recipient needs to lose weight, LOL :D.

Thanks, HappyMoneySaver, for sharing.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Amazon Deals for Moms: 2/15/13

Looking for a way to get some exercise in with little children? After having MW, my mother-in-law bought me a jogger stroller. Best thing ever! I was able to fit the car seat carrier into the stroller and take MW for a walk or a jog.

One thing I would recommend when looking for a jogging stroller is to be sure that it can have either a fixed wheel or a swivel wheel. You need to wheel to be fixed when you're jogging or else the whole stroller will shake uncontrollably, but you want it to be able to swivel if you're just going for a walk so you can easily go around corners without having to pick up the wheel and move it. The one I have has a lever that makes it easy to switch between these two modes.

Right now Amazon has jogging strollers and bike trailers for up to 30% off. Here are some of the best options:

The Schwinn Turismo Swivel Single Jogger is one great option if you're looking for a single stroller. Right now it's only $140, at 30% off. Users rate it at a 4.4/5, so it's well liked by those who've bought it. It even has built-in MP3 speakers so you can hook up your player to the stroller and keep your child entertained with you're jogging. If you need a double stroller, the same jogger, Schwinn Turismo Swivel Double Jogger, is available in a double version as well.

InStep also has their own version of the jogger stroller with the InStep Swivel Wheel Jogger. You can find a double jogger stroller as well. Rated at 4 out of 5 stars, some versions of this stroller come with MP3 speakers and faux lambskin seats.

Of course, another great way to get exercise with little ones is with a bike trailer.

Rated at a 4.9, a great option is the Schwinn Trailblazer Single Bike Trailer at only $91.

A less expensive option, though still rated as a 4.5, is the InStep Sync Single Bicycle Trailer at only $63.

Of course, double trailers are available as well from Schwinn and Instep if you have two little ones to be hauled around. Bike trailers are also a great option if you want to take your kids to a park that is close by as a well to get out of the house.

Though weather might not be ideal right now for jogging or bike riding, you should take advantage of the prices now, which will undoubtedly go up once the weather warms up.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Cutest Valentine's Day Video Ever!

I just found the cutest Valentine's Day video and I had to share. Here you go: What kids think about love and smoochies:

Aren't they the cutest!

What Valentine's Day Means to Me

Image via Flickr by Illusive Photography
When you think of Valentine's Day, what comes to mind? Is it Cupid and his quiver of arrows? Red roses, boxes of chocolates, heart-shaped jewelry?

These things certainly are associated with Valentine's Day, but to me today is more than just about showing your sweetheart how much you love them. I'd like this day to be about showing everyone how much you love them.

There are many types of love that exist in this world. There's the romantic love you feel for your sweetie, the parental love of a child, familial love of a sibling or parent, and friendly love of a close friend. 

How My Mother-in-Law Shows Love

Image via Flickr by butterflysha
All of us love receiving fun mail—a card, a letter, a package. Something that you can open and enjoy reading rather than just junk mail or bills. This was especially true when I was a kid before the prevalence of computers, the Internet, and cell phones. It was exciting ... especially if there was a present or money inside. 

Since we got married almost 11 years ago, that's not so expected. With email and texting, most of my communication takes place electronically. No need for stamps. No delay for the recipient to get what you sent. And yet on almost every holiday, in the mail I find a card from my mother-in-law wishing us a happy birthday, a merry Christmas, a happy Valentine's Day, and even a happy Thanksgiving (yes, they make cards for that. Who knew). 

I always thought it was kind of a waste. A waste of money for the card. A waste of stamps to send it. But after being married over a decade, I realize that this is her way of showing she cares for us. It's the time she takes to pick out a card, pay for it, write a message inside, and send it with enough time to reach us before the holiday. It tells us that she's thinking of us and loves us. Sometimes she'll include pictures from our last trip or pictures of her and her husband. It means a lot to her to send those cards, and it means a lot for us to send some back to her. 

It may be a little thing. We may just throw the cards away after reading them (and we may not). But she uses it to connect with us.

What Love Can We Show on This Valentine's Day

Is there something we can do on this Valentine's Day to show our love? Not just to our one true love, but to everyone? It may be too late to send a card this year, but even just a quick text to say, "You are a dear friend. Thanks for being there for me" may just lift the spirits of a friend who is feeling unloved. Writing on a Facebook wall, "Hey, friend. How are you? Let's make plans for next week" may help someone feeling lonely. You never know the impact of a quick message of love.

Share Love Freely

Image via Flickr by vmiramontes
What I've found over the years, though, is that we should share love and admiration for others freely. Don't be reserved thinking that the other person will be put off by that expression or think you strange. It's possible, but that shouldn't stop you from sharing. Nine times out of 10, their hearts will be lifted by what you say. Your friendship will grow and you'll both feel a little more joy. 

With family, saying I love you to your family members is great, but you know what means more? Saying why you love them. For Valentine's Day this year, my husband took nesting boxes and put my gift in the smallest one. On each box, he took a sticky note and wrote a reason he loved me—one for each year of our marriage. Opening a present is wonderful, but knowing things about me that made him happy he married me meant more than the present alone. I can keep those sticky notes and read them again and again. I feel much more loved today than I did just from the present.

Take the time to share with your siblings, parents, and children what it is about them that you love. What qualities do you see in them that you wish you had? What things about them make you smile and make you want to be with them?

What about your friends? Often we take friendship for granted. Why not tell your friends why you're so glad you know each other and what makes them a great friend. Don't be afraid to tell a friend you love them. 

Share Love with Everyone ... Even Those You Don't Know


It's easy to share love with those you know and love dearly, but what about those you don't know? In Matthew 22:37-39, it reads, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

So who is your neighbor? Anyone you see and come into contact with. According to Jesus we should love our neighbors as we do ourselves. I think "thyself" could be interpreted to mean your family. Do you love your neighbors like you do your own family—your own household? If not, what can you do for your "neighbors"?

It could be simple as a smile. It could be paying for someone's groceries behind you. It could be dropping cookies off at a neighbor's house that you don't know. 

When it comes to loving those around you, for me it's about treating others how you want to be treated. The typical golden rule. It's not treating others how you are treated. It's not treating others like you're worried they will hurt you. It's about finding Christ's love and showing it to those around you.
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
"For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
"Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
"Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
"When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
"Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."'
Matthew 25:34-40 

So for this Valentine's Day, let's share more love into the world. And if I haven't told you lately, I love you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Hearty Oatmeal Applesauce Pancakes

Looking for a way to make pancakes heartier? Pancakes are definitely a family favorite, whether for breakfast or dinner, but if you're trying to find a way to make them better for your family, here's one delicious way:

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup quick cooking oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 to 1 tsp cinnamon (depending on preference)
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk

  1. In a large bowl, mix together both flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together applesauce, sour cream, egg and vanilla. 
  3. Combine applesauce mixture with flour mixture and milk till just mixed. If possible, let stand 5 minutes before cooking pancakes (I used the time to clean up the mess I made ;).
  4. Use a 1/4 measuring cup and scoop onto a heated griddle (lightly oiled. I used coconut oil, though if you look at the picture, I used way too much. Whoops :P). 
  5. Once golden brown on one side, flip and cook other side till golden brown. Note that these won't bubble like typical pancakes.

So now that I've covered how to make them, let me just say that these were SO GOOD! I was doubtful about the sour cream (not a big fan), but you don't taste it at all. The oatmeal gives it a great texture and adds something more to the pancakes. I added blueberries to some and that was pretty good too. I bet these would be great with some sliced bananas as well. 

(And yes, I need to do better about taking pictures, but I was too busy enjoying them to stop and take pictures of it.)

Monday, February 11, 2013

(Expired) Hot Deals on Amazon: Heart Pendants for Valentine's Day

This deal is now over. Hope you were able to find something while it was still on :).

Still not sure what to get the woman in your life for Valentine's Day? Check out Amazon's sale on heart pendants going on today. The best part? FREE 1-day shipping, which means there's still time to order and receive it before the big day.

Whether you need a gift for a wife, girlfriend, friend who's a girl, daughter, mother or grandmother, there are many pendants to choose from that are beautiful. Here are some of my favorites:

For those looking for something a little different, the Sterling Silver Black Diamond Heart Pendant Necklace is a beautiful design that pulls away from the typical colorless diamond pendant. For only $75, this pendant is available 50% off.

Another great option is the 10k White Gold Diamond Double Heart Pendant, available in both white gold and yellow gold. This pendant is available for 70% off—only $100 instead of $345. What a great deal for a beautiful pendant.

If you're looking for something with color, consider the Fuchsia Swarovski Elements Heart Pendant. Besides the color shown here, you can choose between aurora borealis and red pendants as well.

I think that the one I like the most, though is this 14k Rose Gold over Sterling Silver Open Heart Pendant that says "You hold my heart forever." How sweet is that. You can choose between rose gold plated, yellow gold plated and sterling silver, and it's only $20, which is 60% off!

Of course these are just a few choices available. Check out the sale and order soon. These deals are only good for today, February 11.

Pin It button on image hover