Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year, welcoming New Challenges

As 2012 approaches, I am looking forward to new challenges.
I don't like resolutions, but I do like to think about goals.
This coming year, I want to improve my blog content as well my general writing.  I am also going to work on interacting with my readers as well as my favorite blogs.
What are your goals and thoughts for the new year?


Monday, December 26, 2011

Sharing in a season of Blessings #CFKDisney #cbias

Earlier this month I shared with you that we were going to participate in Champions for Kids by filling stockings to share. Well last week, Cameron and I delivered these special stockings to a local Domestic Violence Resources Center, Henderson House. We decided to donate our stockings to Henderson House to let the recipients feel gentle love and kindness rather than violence for a little while in their lives.  

From their webpage, I thought this said a lot about Henderson House
Our mission is to provide safety, shelter and services to empower women and children in their recovery from being victimized by domestic violence and/or sexual assault. We work to promote change in the societal conditions that allow oppression and all forms of violence against vulnerable populations to exist, by providing direct services, education and outreach.

Sometimes we forget to look outside our own little circle and remember that people need to feel safe and loved. 

Follow our entire journey here  with our Google + photo story.

You can follow Champions for Kids projects on Facebook or get involved in up coming projects by following their website

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all my friends and blog followers. Thank you for your support of the blog

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Oral B and Crest race with Cars2

The party began as Thanksgiving dinner for the family, but little did the kids now that after dinner they were is for a healthy and fun surprise. After dinner we brought out goody bags filled with Crest and Oral-B stages toothbrushes, tooth paste, flossers, and Cars gummy vitamins. I had also added some Cars2 stickers as well as Cars themed Christmas Ornaments to color. The boys all explored their bags and then we put on the movie..All the kids and the adults sat down together to enjoy the movie...We laughed a lot, and the kids loved coloring the ornaments and decorating the bags with the stickers... The younger boys explore the flossers and the fun Cars themed toothbrushes. 
We were so grateful to MommyParties/ MomSelect as Crest/ Oral B for the new tooth brushes, toothpaste, and movie.  My boys have since shared more of the goodies with other friends as well as shared the movie as well.  I was very excited when Cameron decided we should include a set of the Disney themed items in our Christmas Stockings we filled as a community service project this last week. 
In addition to that, I use 1 set of the coupons we received to pick up a couple extra toothbrushes so that we can share the lessons/ trivia with our Youth Group when we get back together in January. 

I received a potion of the products mentioned in this post as part of the MommyParties program in exchange for hosting a party to share the products and a write up here on the blog. No other monetary compensation was received.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Some awesome deals I found for you

Social Spark has a new program with deal I get to share with my readers. Here are the ones I thought deserved a spot on the blog today.

Leave a comment if you would like to see more deals like this and I will make it a regular spot

Monday, December 19, 2011

Preparing our home and hearts for the Holidays #DisneyCFK #cbias

As the Holidays get closer and the craziness sets in, the boys wanted to decorate the fence. We had been blessed with a gift of 12 artificial wreaths with red bows attached. As the boys worked on the fence, we talked about what we can do for others this holiday season. Money is tight but that doesn't mean we can't help in some way.  We came up with a couple ideas and Thanks to Champions for Kids we are going to donate 2 stuffed stockings to the local Woman and Children's Shelter.

This year we were blessed by a dear friend who has a small field of Douglas Fir trees who let us get 2 trees for the house. The boys picked out a small tree for their room and we found a larger tree with lots of character. Knowing that someone cares is always a good feeling and that is one of the things that led me to Champions for Kids  and their message. I want the children that receive these stockings know that they are more than just material gifts, they are gifts of love and joy.  I am trying to teach my boys that the season is more about giving and love then about receiving gifts, it is about the joy that comes from friends and family and not about all the pretty paper, and it is about caring for those around us weather we know them or not.

C and I headed out to Walmart to shop for stockings for the shelter.   We had a couple of ideas in mind as we headed out, but really didn't have a list. We couldn't decide if we were going to fill  stockings for just boys or what, so as we were driving we talked about it, deciding to do 1 boy stocking and 1 girl stocking. Being the Holiday Season the we didn't park in our usual spot, we ended up on the opposite side of the store..

Cameron went to work picking out some awesome Cars and Disney Princess themed things to fill the stockings with.

We found these adorable little bottles of soap in Disney characters along with Hot Wheels, a watch, and a Night light in Cars 2 theme, as well as a package of stickers. We included a toothbrush and toothpaste as well to promote a happy healthy child. We also filled a stocking with Disney Princess theme and included  a Disney Princess toy, lip gloss, soap,  a watch , a toothbrush , toothpaste,  Disney Princess flossers, and stickers.

 Cameron and I had a blast shopping for someone else and filling the stockings was a blessing as well. We thought about the child that would receive this gift and prayed that these gifts would be received and be a blessing to that child.

We will be delivering the stockings this week and will share the rest of the story with everyone just as soon as we delivery them. In the mean time, remember that every child is special and you can be a Champion in their life.

“This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias.”

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cookies, Cakes, and Pastries oh my

Did you know December 9th is National Pastry Day. I didn't until just recently.
In honor of a wonderful yummy Day, I thought I would share a couple yummy treats.

Oatmeal Applesauce cookies and Hazelnut Lace.

For the Oatmeal Applesauce cookies I used homemade applesauce and 1/2 date sugar.

For the Hazelnut Lace I used Torani Hazelnut syrup instead of the liquor  I am really thinking of piping in some Hazelnut Cream Frosting into the first batch of the lace as I made them a little big.

 I used fresh local Cranberries and Clear American Zero Calorie Flavored Water (Tangerine and Lime Flavored) instead of plain water to add a hint of citrus flavor.

Kiddo helped me with the baking this morning in exchange for a no school day, what he didn't know was the whole time we were working on these he was reading (the recipes), doing math (we made a double batch of the Oatmeal Applesauce cookies), and science (the chemistry of combining ingredients and what happens)

I am so thankful for for having an awesome assortment of recipes.  If you haven't used them lately check it out. You can search by ingredients that you have on hand or by recipes.

This post was written for SheSpeaks however this is a non sponsored post. All recipes are available on and linked accordingly.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vintage Spool Ornaments

This year I really wanted to focus on homemade decorations and a more "green" holiday.  I have a stash of old wooden thread spools and thought it would be fun to hang them from the tree.
Nathan didn't think they would look good plain so we decided to jazz them up a bit. Not sure how it was going to turn out , I only pulled out 8 of the spools... I tried to get a good variety.

Using out stash of Elmer's 3D glitter glue we started adding glitter to the spools instead of thread. The green spool screamed green glitter.

Between Nathan and Mommy we glittered all 8 of the spools in no time.
I love the way the glitter sets up on the spools.

One thing we had to do as they were drying was turn them every so often to keep the glue from puddling.
The natural wooden spools create a nice contrast to the glitter.

I am still trying to decide on a hanger for the spools once we get our tree, I will either use a bead and ribbon to hang them or strategically space them on a garland.

This post is not a sponsored post, just something Nathan and I were playing around with and enjoying the Elmer's products we have been introduced to.

Friday, December 2, 2011

iMemories saving old video to new technology #PreservingMemories #cbias

Looking through boxes of old odds and ends I found a couple VHS tapes from Junior High and High School. Luckily I still have a working VCR but there really is no guarantee it is going to last, so I wanted to save these memories, especially since the building where most of these were shot is no longer standing.  

photo from The Oregonian 11/2009
A little back ground, when I was in the 8th grade I was a photographer.. I love all things camera and loved playing with lighting and contrast. When the all school play came along , my photography teacher asked me to take some black and white shots of the play. I showed up ready to take some standard shots, little did I know that photo assignment would forever change my path.  It may sound cliche' but I really didn't know anything about theater, and I hadn't really given it a second thought, until I met the director/ Drama teacher.. Shelly Cole was a force to be reckoned with and she knew what you were capable of and what she expected. If you chose not to do that , well get out of her way and let her find someone who would.  She asked me if I knew anything about lighting and foolishly I said, "yes" not realizing she meant stage/ theatrical lighting not photography lighting.  From that moment forward I was whole heartily involved in the theater.
During my freshman year, I performed in class, but mostly  assistant directed or did lighting in some capcity for every production we did, I also wrote storylines and scripts for a couple things; one of which was found on a VHS tape title "Murder Crimson Beach High".
If I remember right, it was a project for not only Drama but also our Freshman Language Arts class.
Fast foward to 2009 when we found out the school district had made the decision to tear down the building formally known as J.B. Thomas Jr. High and before that it was Hillsboro High School. The building had been built in 1928 and was no longer considered a viable structure for the school district.  A few people collected pictures of the building in its final days but I wanted to preserve the memories I had from my 6 years of theater inside those walls.
I knew as soon as I accepted the opportunity to work with iMemories this would be the perfect project, saving the memories even if the video is over the top silliness

The boys and I took the VHS tape to The UPS store in McMinnville and had the staff help us ship it off to iMemories in Arizona.

The process was easy. Simply ship them the tape and they would take care of the rest.  They scanned the video and even tried to include some parts of the tape that were worn.
Once they were done scanning the tape I received an email letting me know my videos were online for viewing.  It took a little over a week to get them all scanned and a day or 2 after for them to all show up in my account.

Once the clips were in my account, I could then arrange them however I wanted, even clip and rearrange sections of the video.
The ordering process was very smooth once I had the clips placed in a gallery and a DVD created.

We had one minor issue, but a quick email to customer service cleared that up and I was able to order the DVD with overnight shipping. I ordered on a Monday mid day, and received notice Tuesday afternoon that my DVD would arrive on Wednesday.

The DVD arrived and included screen shots of the movie clips on the cover (front and back) as well as the DVD itself.

Overall this was a fun journey and I hope the first on many more as I continue to find more of the old VHS tapes from my years in theater.

Get the whole journey Here in our Google Plus Album

The UPS Store on Twitter and Facebook

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias, the experiences and story are my own although the memories included on the DVD are shared among some very special friends. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Torani Syrup adding flavor to your holiday #dessert #SSTorani @SheSpeaksUp

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family on Saturday at our house. I decided since we were going to get the nice dishes out, I would serve dessert in style and thanks to Torani syrup and some other pantry basics we had a wonderful Hazelnut Parfaits topped with turtles. 

 The Recipe:
Chocolate pudding (I used a large box)
1 1/2  cups half and half
1 pint Heavy Whipping cream
1/4 cup Torani Hazelnut syrup
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
Pretzel Turtles   The recipes all called for square pretzels but I used traditional knot style and it was fine.
In a bowl mix the pudding and half and half.  Mix on medium to make sure all the pudding mixes with the half and half. (about 2 minutes). Finish off the pudding with about 1 minute on a higher speed to add  a fluffier texture.
Scoop about 1/4 cup of pudding into parfait glasses (we used some old crystal we have that reminds us of s fruit cup on a stem.)

In the same bowl (washed out) mix on high speed the heavy whipping cream until peaks form, fold in the Torani Hazelnut syrup and the chopped hazelnuts. top each pudding cup with generous scoop of whipped cream

Top with a Pretzel Turtle , chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes, serve, and enjoy.

SheSpeaksbuttonThank you to SheSpeaks and Torani Syrup for 2 bottles and coupons to try other flavors in exchange for this blog post and recipe.  The recipe is my original creation. 

For other recipe ideas be sure to follow Torani Syrup on Twitter or Facebook

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Motorola Photon, a Sprint phone for me??? #Cbias #MotoCalyp

Kiddo and I ventured to the local Sprint store to check out the newest phones on the market, especially the new Motorola Photon and similar devices.

Dakota,  a friendly young man  who was prompt and knowledgeable greeted us. When I explained I was on a research mission and wasn't looking to purchase today, he was more than willing to answer questions and turn off the sales pitch.

He turned on the display model of the Motorola Photon and mentioned the screen response and resolution as selling points. I was actually impressed with the screen resolution.

He also mentioned the on board memory at 16 gigs, that is a crazy amount of on board memory or at least that is what I thought at first, then I thought about it for a while; with an 8 mega pixel camera and the Android OS a person that was a serious phone user could actually use that kind of space fairly easily, but don't worry the expandable memory allows for an additional 16 gigs of space for a total of 32 gigabytes of memory.

Another feature that caught my attention is the 720p resolution HD video camera as well as the front facing video feature for video chatting.

A full range multimedia phone with 4G capabilities this phone is definitely set up for a trend setter.

The phone is available in stores and online through various retailers with a Sprint contract.  Sprint has an unlimited plan that with the Data premium will run about $110 a month plus taxes with a contract.

I wanted to compare the phone to something else to get a better idea if the phone was really all that. I had Dakota show me another Motorola phone, the Admiral.A couple things stood out, the resolution of the screen was not as good, it does have a full QWERTY keyboard rather than touch screen, a 5 Megapixel camera rather than 8 Megapixels, 4Gigabyte on board memory, etc.. The list goes one.

I checked local stores to see who else had the phone and was able to find the same phone for a similar price at Radio Shack.  If you are interested in this phone, I would recommend checking the local Sprint store, Radio Shack,  possibly Walmart or Target.

On a personal note, while I love the features of this phone, I am currently on a non contract program and absolutely love it, however I would be tempted to switch for this phone if the monthly price wasn't more than double what I currently pay for unlimited service.

Motorola PHOTON 4G an 8 MP camera and 16 Gigs on board memory, @Sprint has it! #Calyp 

Check out our full photo story on Google+

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #cbias, all opinions are my own, online research was done on various tech sights as well as online retailers.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Don't fall in to the winter blues #VitaminD can help you too #cbias

Fall is here and with it comes windy, rainy, gray skies. Some days I feel just like that tree in the center of the picture, like I'm being blown over by the clouds.  One thing that has helped battle the fall/ winter dull drums is vitamin D. In Oregon we spend most of the fall and winter surrounded by gloomy weather so we don't get our daily dose of vitamin D from the sun.  Although the sun provides the majority of our vitamin during the fall and winter it is almost impossible to get the daily dose so a supplement is a way to go.

Thankfully I can get a good source of vitamin D in Nature Made Liquid Softgels.  For most adults a daily recommended dose of Vitamin D is 1000 i.u. but for those that have issues with seasonal gray days (that is what I call it) 2000 i.u is a good recommendation.  This has become my daily dose especially since I am on the heavier side and my body has trouble absorbing the vitamin D I get from the sun.  I also don't drink a lot of milk so I don't get it that way either.  Over the years I have read several articles that hint to Vitamin D helping with cardio vascular health as well so adding vitamin D to my regiment is a major priority for me.

For convenience I tend to shop at Walmart here in McMinnville. and was very happy to find the Nature Made Liquid Softgels Vitamin D 2000 i.u. bottles on the shelf and reasonably prices.  I got a bottle with 250 liquid softgels for $12.88  which ends up being  about $.08 per pill.

top pill = Costco brand bottom = NatureMade
  I did a side by side comparison on the ones my husband gets from Costco and found you can't tell the difference. Since Costco isn't as convenient for me and I can't seem to get out of Costco for less than $250 the price comparison doesn't seem that important.

Check out this informational video about Vitamin D Deficiency and let me know what you think.  I want people to learn all they can so they can be more involved in their own health.

Feel free to check out the rest of our journey to health with the photo story over on our Google + page
Nature Made Vitamin D Shop

This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. All experiences and opinions belong to the author.

The author of this article is not a medical professional and is only sharing experiences , you should seek the advice of your own medical professional before changing or adding supplements to your regiment.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Suburbs

Thanks for the guest post by Jonathan Curtis
One of the reasons I finally agreed to move to the suburbs is the safety aspect. When we lived further into town, I was always a little concerned for my safety. While my city isn’t one of the worst as far as crime rate is concerned, it definitely has its share of petty crime. Now that we’re in the suburbs, I mostly rest easy. However, the suburbs are not immune from crime of any sort. This is why we have www.homeSECURITYfamily.COM. We know that our home is being watched all the time and that if there does happen to be a burglary, we’ll be notified. The knowledge that there will be a physical alarm if a door or window is open allows me to relax while I’m at home, and knowing that there is a break-in while we’re away we’ll be notified ensures I can breathe a sigh of relief while traveling or at work. We are definitely cutting back these days, as many people are, but we’re not going to be cutting our alarm service. It’s definitely worth the price—which, incidentally, is very affordable. It’s the equivalent of one dinner out per month!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful for you cards with Elmer's Craftbond and 3D #gluenglitter Pens #cbias

The boys and I made thankful turkeys during craft time this week for part of our homeschool craft time, so when the chance to make Thanksgiving cards came up I thought that would be another great craft for us. 
Kiddo and I headed to Walmart to pick up a few supplies including Elmer's Craftbond gluespots, Elmer's 3D Classic Glitter Colors Jumbo Pens, Elmer's Craftbond Sparkle Glue shimmers, and neutral cardstock. 

 We also shopped around for holiday decorations for an upcoming bazaar I will be working at.  We found the adhesive without a problem, but had to look a little harder for the cardstock.

 I didn't want to buy 12 x 12 as I have a ton and knew the project would be easier for all of us if I used 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock. We finally found a reasonable package in the office supply section. 
Shopping at night was a new experience for Kiddo, we usually shop at Walmart after church on Sunday or Monday mid morning. He wasn't sure about the dark and rainy parking lot, but was content once we were back in the van and ready to head home. 

Thursday morning we got up and collected all our supplies to make our Thankful for you cards.
Here is a list of the supplies we used.
8 1/2 x  11 neutral cardstock
Elmer's Craftbond gluespots
Elmer's 3D Classic Glitter Colors Jumbo Pens
Mrs. Grossman's velum stickers
Sizzix large Maple Leaf die 
Creative Memories (c) Tag punch
brown calligraphy pen

I try to keep my crafts simple now as I am usually working with my 2 boys.

We took the 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock and cut it in half (8 1/2 x 5 1/2)
Next fold the piece in half so your card is 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 with the hold along the top.

We used the Elmer's Craftbond gluespots to place the large leaf die on the card and added a vellum leaf sticker.

Using the Elmer's 3D glitter glue pens we wrote each person's name across the large leaf. 

We wrote on the tags .... "I'm thankful for you because...". The boys will write a personal note to each person later. 
 We glued the tag inside the card, where the boys will write their note to each person. 

These Thankful cards will be place cards for Thanksgiving dinner with my family hosted here at our house. Kiddo and I had a lot of fun making them and I know Cameron will have fun writing inside each card when he comes home.

For step by step instructions and to view the rest of the photos check out our google + album 

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Elmer's #gluenglitter #collectivebias #CBias all opinions and ideas are that of the writer.