Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Review: Prayer Walk

Prayer Walk by Janet Holm McHenry is one of those books that will open your eyes to the power of prayer and something as easy to do as walking down the street.  Complete with a study guide and everything you need to put together a group in your community or church this little book is packed full of inspiration and real life action plans for a prayer walk in your life.

I realized that if I simply change the music I am listening to on my orchard evening walks they could become prayer walks. Something as simple as quiet thoughtful prayers can be added to my day.  How are we praying for our families, our churches, and our communities. G_d doesn't ask for much just for honest simple prayer.  I love they way Janet talks of the Lord's Prayer and of the solitude of our prayerful journey.  Intermingled are bits for the physical aspects of this walk; warm ups, stretches, cool downs, etc.  There is even a 30 day challenge in the back of the book , set up with check boxes for you to mark off the days as you complete them as well as a great study guide.
The Epilogue of the book is very reflective as this edition was a 10 year anniversary edition.
I hope to share this little treasure with more of my mom friends and possibly put together a prayer walk group or event. What a powerful message a community event could put out there.
I highly recommend this book to any woman wanting to strengthen their prayer time as well as their physical exercise.

*** I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my opinion. No other monetary compensation was given and all opinions are mine and mind alone.  Amazon link below is an affiliate link through Amazon Associates were I receive a % of sales of any linked product on my blog.****

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Girls for Change and Yahoo! Challenge

The following is a post sponsored by Yahoo! Every time someone clicks here to make Yahoo! their homepage, they're showing their support for Girls For A Change.

I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

What a great opportunity we have as a web community to show our support for "Girls For A Change" in their mission to empower girls to get involved in social issues and community problems including  gang violence and  self esteem issues.  GFC organization works locally and nationally to help girls gain key things in their lives : self-efficacy, authentic relationships with volunteers/ coaches,  skills for social change, and confidence to make the changes with those skills.

Yahoo! has agreed to donate $10 for each person who goes to this link and follow the instructions to change their home page to Yahoo! before July 1st.

Will you join in the challenge? I did!

I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

**This blog post is part of a paid opportunity through Clever Girl Collective, links and basic information was provided to me, however opinions are mine and mine alone.***

Monday, June 27, 2011

And the Winner is: Cheesy Skillet Goody Bag

I guess that should read "and the Winners are", since we have two lucky people.
Stephanie D'Anquilla   and Heather S.
you are the winners of the Velvetta Cheesy Skillets Goody Bags.
Please contact me with your mailing address and we will get your packages sent out as soon as possible.

I hope everyone has a great day and enjoys dinner with the family tonight!

Meal Deals

One of the biggest things that have helped in my mission to feed the family on $20 a day is $5 Friday Specials at Safeway. 2 weeks ago, Safeway had Tyson Chicken strips on special Friday only $5.00 a bag. This is one thing that Cameron loves and having those on hand makes life a lot easier.  Also watching the clearance section for meats is a great savings tool… I picked up ground chicken breast on clearance and was able to make a quick variation on sloppy joes. 
Coupons have also helped make it possible to use a $20 a day menu.  I watch Facebook and twitter for hints to see which stores have the best deals and combinations of coupons.  While extreme couponing has been all the rage lately I am far from an extreme couponer. I am aware of deals and so far have been able to see savings of about 45% on my grocery bill. These savings make it possible to get things that I wouldn’t always get.  An example would be Sunday afternoon (6/26/11) I headed to Wal-Mart and Safeway to do some grocery shopping.  Wal-Mart take competitor coupons (even the Catalina coupons) so I was able to get 2 bags of Tyson Chicken strip for 6.43 a bag. (Not a screaming deal but a good deal none the less). I also picked up a couple things for an upcoming Zhu-niverse Ice Cream Social all using coupons. (I used 14 coupons at Wal-Mart for a total savings of $17.50). Once we were done at Wal-Mart we drove across the highway to Safeway and matched coupons to get some really good deals including crackers, hot dogs, chicken sausage, and 2 more bags of Tyson breaded chicken.  I again hit the clearance section in the Deli meat section and scored 3 packages of Foster Farms Grilled Chicken and Deli Chicken lunch meat.  This weekend’s special included buy 2 get 3 free Oscar Meyer’s Lunchables, so we picked up 5 Lunchables for our busy week ahead, for only $1.00 each.  I found a pretty good deal on Coca-Cola  2 liter bottles, $0.99 plus deposit if I bought 4, since that is in my opinion a really good deal I picked up 4 bottles of Coke Zero.
I highly recommend following couponing websites and blogs on Facebook or twitter, these blogs usually post deals and deal scenarios for the Sunday coupon slicks Saturday evening and then throughout the week.  Remember double coupons in weekly ads from Safeway are a great additional savings tool. Also keep your Catalina coupons don’t just throw them out. They come in really handy, especially at store such as Wal-Mart where competitor’s coupons are accepted.
The other recommendation I can give it store rewards cards. Safeway, Fred Meyer’s, Kroger, Walgreens, Albertsons, and Rite Aid all have programs that I use. Check with your local store to see what kind of program they have. Also check out sites like and to print or add coupons to your store club cards. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Velveeta Cheesy Skillet Party Review and Giveaway

We were selected to host a House Party gathering featuring Velveeta Cheesy Skillet Dinners.  I prepared 3 of the 4 dinners and we added salad as a side dish.  I chose  Ultimate Cheeseburger Macaroni, Zesty Nacho , and Chicken and Broccoli. To save time since I knew I was going to make 3 of the dinners I pre-browned the ground beef. I used a vegetarian meat replacement for the Ultimate cheeseburger macaroni  and 2 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts for the Chicken and Broccoli.   We have 6 people for dinner and everyone was able to try each of the dishes.   While my family is spoiled (according to them) by my home cooked pasta dishes they each had a favorite. Cameron my oldest liked the zesty nacho dish while Nathan preferred the Ultimate Cheeseburger Macaroni.  My Dad liked the Chicken and Broccoli one but was open to all three of them. Mike my husband unfortunately  wasn't a fan of any of them.  I assumed the dishes would end up being salty as Velveeta tends to be salty, but they weren't.
I love the fact they are easy to fix and are essentially one dish meals.  For me as a mom I would prefer more vegetables in the dishes but that could be easily fixed by adding half a package of frozen vegetables or fresh if you have them. 
House Party events are great , everything you need is included in the box and in this case I was given a $5 Wal-mart gift card to purchase the meat with.  My local Wal-mart is not a Super Wal-mart so I saved the card and picked up the meat at Safeway on sale.  Each guest received a bright yellow Velveeta  Cheesy Skillets reusable tote bag, a magnet wipe off sheet (great for leaving notes on the refrigerator), and a coupon for $1.00 off the purchase of a Velveeta Cheesy Skillets dinner.   Since I did not have enough guests to hand out all the goodies 2 lucky readers will receive the same goodies my guests did.
The Tote is perfect for trips to the grocery store or like I’m using it today, a trip to the park with the boys.

Giveaway begins June 22, 2011 and ends June 26, 2011 midnight pacific time. Winner will be announced June 27th.
To enter Follow  “Unionvale Mom’s Spot” with Google Follower and leave a comment telling us which Velveeta Cheesy Skillet you would like to try.

Extra entries:
1.     1.  Sign up with House Party and leave me a comment
2.     2.  Follow me on twitter and leave a comment with your twitter handle
3.       3. Tweet this giveaway and include the Hashtag #Cheesyskillet and mention @unvlmom in the tweet. Leave a comment with the link to the tweet. ( can be done one daily for a total of 4 extra entries)
4.      4.  Like  Unionvale Mom’s Spot on FB (use the link here on the blog) and leave a comment.

P         This prize package doe not include the Cheesy Skillet dinners picture in the above shot.
This review is provided from a House Party event and all opinions are our own personal review, no additional monetary compensation was given. The prize package is remaining items from the Event and was provided as part of a House Party Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Party. Shipping Charges are being paid for my Unionvale Mom's Spot blog owner and not House Party or Velveeta. This giveaway is a U.S only due to shipping costs. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

10 Pantry Essentials: Herbs, Spices, Seasonings, flavoring, etc...

Since the Pantry Essentials post was such as hit last week I decided to head for the cupboards and find my top 10 Herbs and Spices. Easier said then done...

#10  Paprika:  a simple little spice that lately I seem to be using a lot more of. I actually emptied the little container this afternoon making baked beans.

#9  Vanilla:  the real stuff. I buy a bottle of pure  vanilla extract from Costco about once a year and that is about how long it lasts.

#8  Cumin:  this is a newer favorite for me. I've always had a container of it in my cupboard but never really used it much until this past year... Chicken, rice dishes, just about anything I seem to cook lately can use a touch of cumin.

#7  Sesame Oil: I love homemade hummus and have found that I can get away with not buying tahinni if I have Sesame Oil on hand... I also use it for Cabbage Salad,  Chicken stir fry, and most of my wok cooked dishes.

#6 Basil:  while I prefer fresh Basil, I keep dried Basil in the cupboard as I use it so much sometimes it is just easier to use the dried variety.

#5 Oregano:  again, I prefer fresh but dried is so easy to store and use.

#4 Onions/ Chives:  last season the boys and I worked with Salem Harvest, a wonderful local non-profit that harvests fields for local food share programs. Each volunteer keeps 1/2 of what they harvest for themselves if they choose.  We did a red onion harvest and I brought home about 40# of red onions. I chopped and dried a lot of them and have been using dried onions and chives in a lot of dishes since the fall.  Fresh chives are always good but dried seems to work well too. Besides they both store so well in recycled Parmesan cheese shakers.

#3  Salsa Mix:  Unfortunately I can't tell you the brand I bought last year at North Plain's Garlic Festival, but it was a huge value.. I haven't used half the container even though I use it for a lot of dishes and a quick salsa dip... 

#2 Garlic: Anyone that knows me , knows I love garlic.. I have my own source for it (My Mom grows it..) I dry chopped garlic to save, I also have minced canned garlic that once opened lives in the fridge. 

#1 GOH mix:  G.O.H mix is a blend my Mom came up with and sells under the Herbie Etc... label at local events. Garlic Onion Herbie is a course ground mix that replaces so many things. It is a low sodium seasoning for soups, eggs, rice dishes, a quick dip or dressing mix, a pasta topping, the list could go on... Yes I'm partial to it and yet if you click on the above link it will take you to her Facebook Page, if you are local and have made it to North Plain's Garlic Festival you might even know what it is, if not stop by the Festival this year and try some.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

10 Pantry Essentials: What's on your list?

I've been thinking about this for a while and since our   31 Days to Better Blog assignment is a list I thought this would be the perefect opportunity to share my Top 10 Pantry Essentials, the things that must be in the pantry.

10. Chili (my boys and my husband love chili, they will eat it plain, with noodles, over burgers or hot dogs, and even as a sandwhich like a sloppy jo)

9. Pancake mix (homemade mix or store bought it really doesn't matter, just as long as Nathan and Mike have pancake mix to make breakfast)

8. Brown Rice (the boys love chicken and rice casserole, stir fry veggies and rice, or homemade rice pilaf. Back in February I bought a 15# bag of brown rice at Costco so we will have rice for a while)

7. Tomatoes (diced, stewed, sauce, paste, etc... I try to keep at least 2 cans of each in the pantry and if the garden does well this year I will have homemade tomatoes in the pantry instead of cans.)

6. Corn (canned corn seems to be one of those things that I can always add to something to make it go a little farther)

5. Broth: (chicken, beef, vegetable, turkey, again as long as I have broth I can create just about anything.. I use broth instead of water to cook noodles, rice, potatoes, etc.. Whenever I cook meat in the crockpot I always turn it into broth after the fact and process the jars in my pressure cooker.)

4.  Whole Wheat Flour (I try it bake with whole wheat instead of white as often as I can)

3. Oatmeal (Basic oatmeal for breakfast, oatmeal patties as a chicken patty replacement, and ground oatmeal for flour.. )

2. Jelly (I make batches of jelly all summer including apple, plum, cherry, and peach so the boys have jams and jellies for their peanut butter sandwhiches)

1. Beans  (Black beans, chick peas, kidney beans, again a couple cans of each I can always throw beans into whatever I am fixing to add some fiber and protein.)

What are you pantry essentials?