Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Coming Soon, a movie night for the boys thanks to #JuneDairyMonth

Ice Age Continental Drift Only In TheatersThe boys are so excited to see Ice Age 4 in the theaters when it comes out, but what they don't know is Mommy scored the tickets thanks to our recent shopping trips to Safeway during the #JuneDairyMonth campaign. 

June Dairy Would you love to earn tickets? it is easy, just spend $40 on tagged dairy products at your local Safeway affilliate during June and you will receive a Catalina printed coupon with a code number. All you have to do is go to the Rewards website and enter that code, print your tickets and you are ready to go. What is even better, you can use your coupons and the new just for you personalized savings program to stretch that $40 and get even more value.
I know when something sounds too good to be true, but this is that easy. What is even better is the $40 can be accumulated and it prints on your receipt how much you need to spend to earn the voucher, better still you can earn more than one Movie voucher .
To make the deal even sweeter, some of the products with labels aren't things you would consider dairy but are near the dairy section.

I made the decision that this year the boys are ready to enjoy the theater experience more and we will be seeing several movies this summer thanks to my blogging. Several of the movies are being kept secret and several are earned outings for projects we have worked on.

$10,000 Mammoth Money SweepstakesIf you are planning a night out at the movies, plan ahead and eat before you go. That way the kids are less likely to ask for as many treats. Need some easy meals to fix for movie night, check out Easy Home Meals on their website or Easy Home Meals on Facebook , look what I found on their website. Worth the stop over.

Ranchers Reserve

I try to stock up on value packs so I have so extras on hand that are easy to make ahead and fun for the summer BBQs as well as nights out.

What summer movie plans do you have?
  • movie tickets

    • I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Safeway #CBias #SocialFabric

    Saturday, June 16, 2012

    Garden of blessings

    fresh radish
    Thursday afternoon my youngest came to the kitchen door holding a bundle of radishes. I asked him where they came from and he plainly said, the garden... They were volunteers from our compost pile last year...
    Those radishes got me to thinking about the other greens in the garden.  So Friday afternoon I picked more greens from the garden (again, mostly volunteers) including several more radishes for the greens, red root, spinach (planted this year), basil (planted this year and hoping it does well), and mint from the pot on the patio. I added to that some Kale I picked up at the local Farmer's Market and made a light lunch of sauteed greens and quinoa in coconut milk. Was a nice light lunch, we even added some Peach/ Pineapple Salsa for a little added flavor.  
    quinoa and coconut milk

    Such a simple dish but a huge blessing from the garden. 

    Thursday, June 14, 2012

    Summer Smoothie Season helped by Awesome Deals at Safeway #JuneDairyMovies

    Summer time means fresh fruit and vegetables, but it also means busy days that need fast breakfasts that are filling. How about some smoothies.
    My family loves smoothies and I loving be able to make a variety of smoothies that help each person. I am also excited to be using the Safeway just for u personalized savings program to do my shopping. If you haven't signed up for personalized savings yet it is really easy, you can do it online or at your local Safeway or Safeway affiliate store and immediately start saving 10-20 % on average and more.
    So with all those savings I love being able to pick up fun things to make smoothies with including Silk Coconut Milk, Silk Almond Milk, regular Milk, Fage Greek Yogurt,  Simply Orange juice, and sometimes even a not so healthy treat like Drumstick ice cream treats. I am still on the edge about making smoothies with greens but as the summer continues I may try it. 

    So each morning when the boys want a smoothie I have options.  I love combining the Greek Yogurt , milk alternatives, and  fruit with a splash of orange juice to create a protein filled, low fat smoothie.

    I love  creating a variety.
     How about Chocolate Almond milk,yogurt, and Chocolate Peanut Butter. This combination works best to make ahead and freeze or add ice, it is like a peanut butter cup ice cream shake.
    My new favorite: Orange and Mango juice, Coconut Milk,Greek Yogurt, and homemade pineapple (it is actually zucchini canned in pineapple juice). Again ice helps but with this variety it is pretty thick.

    Cameron enjoyed the "Pineapple smoothie as a morning breakfast during PBS morning shows. 
    The next idea was to use the blender drink bottle and take it on the road. Worked out great. I can take my smoothie with me to run errands, head to the park, etc... I even put it in the freezer while we did some stuff around the house and then took it out as we left the house.

    Ice Age Continental Drift Only In TheatersAnd the best part of this smoothie adventure, we scored a voucher for free movie tickets to see Ice Age Continental Drift when it hits theaters and the boys are crazy excited.  Here's the deal, purchase $40 in select Dairy products at Safeway or an affiliate store and received a Catalina voucher with a code to get your tickets during #JuneDairyMovies Month.

    • “I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Safeway #CBias #SocialFabric”

    Sunday, June 10, 2012

    Post Champions for Kids helping support Literacy in our Community. #PostCFK

    Bowls of Hope
    We were first introduced to the SIMPLE service Projects with Champions for Kids back in August with the Elmer's Bag it Forward program then at Christmas and through out the beginning of 2012. We love these projects so when we heard the Champions for Kids had a new project Post Bowls of Hope we were eager to get started. I kept thinking I wanted to do something more than just a simple food drive to donate to the local food bank, it was time to think outside of the box. (pun intended).
    The boys are participating in the local Library Summer Reading program and I thought this would be a great way to do our project. Why not donate to the Summer Reading program? Our local community has a high number of children that participate in the Free Breakfast / Lunch program at the local school, even during the summer, however that still leaves the weekends and snacks. Cereal is a great snack and perfect for weekend breakfasts. So, the boys and I decided we would collect donations of boxed cereal for the #PostCFK project
    Our local Walmart has a large section of the cereal aisle dedicated to Post brand cereals, so we picked up two extra boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats the family favorite around here to start the donation drive off.

    We started off the donation box with the Buy 2 give 1 idea but we ended up buying 3 and donating 2 to the box. 
    I printed up a sign for the side of a tote box where donations could be left.
    I took the box with me to our local homeschool co-op used curriculum sale where I had hoped to get a couple boxes, I also took the box to a local Mom's group clothing swap where I got a couple boxes donated. The majority of the donations came from Ladies Night Out , an evening activitiy where local Moms and Mom businesses could meet each other and interact. 20 boxes of cereal later my tote bins were filled to over flowing and my heart was bursting know that we would be helping local families in a little way.
    I am so excited for the opening day of the Summer Reading Program on June 13th where I will be able to bring a small bit of help to families in the community and help support local literacy at the same time. This is not the last project we will do, I love to do what we can to help our neighbors and the community even something as simple as a box of cereal and as the summer goes on we will work with the local gleaners to harvest farm fresh produce and donate it to local food banks and soup kitchens.
    Check out our entire photo journey HERE on Google+
    Bowls of Hope

    Get social with Post and Champions for Kids on Twitter and Facebook :Post Cereal on Facebook,  Post on Twitter ,  Champions for Kids on Twitter , and   Champions for Kids on Facebook

    I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric

    Lunch Dates are always fun especially when you check out something new.

    Looking toward Downtown Portland from the Ross Island Bridge
    When I learned to drive I spent tons of time driving to Portland to check out new places, now that I have 2 kids and live in the Willamette Valley I don't get to Portland as often, but for a lunch date with my oldest I'll go a little farther to check something new out.

    Clay's Smokehouse 2932 S.E. Division St, Portland, Oregon

    This past Friday, Cameron and I ventured into S.E. Portland to check out Clay's Smokehouse Grill a local BBQ restaurant specializing in onsite smokey barbecue. Clay's Smokehouse is a welcoming spot along SE Division that boasts a fun decor and amazing Happy Hour deals.

    From their website a bit about the owner and chef:

    Chef Michael Slyman received his formal education serving his apprenticeship with Westin Resorts at Hilton Head Island, in South Carolina. But he mastered the barbecue as a youth working at his uncle's rib house in Oklahoma.

    $5 menu for Happy Hour was a good sign as we arrived. By the time we got to Clay's Cameron was crazy hungry and would have eaten whatever I put in front of him.

    We checked out the outdoor seating but decided it was too chilly for outdoor seating (summer in Oregon doesn't always mean sun, we had a thunder storm and rain off and on all day)
    Inside the restaurant we were greeted by a neat wall chalkboard with the specials, fun decor, and a warming atmosphere.
    In typical small restaurant style we were offered glasses of water and menus right off the bat. I appreciate the little things in a small setting.
    We ordered off the Happy Hour Menu after seeing that the prices were so close to the Children's menu.

    Cameron ordered the Brisket Sliders and chips while I ordered the Chicken Basket with cole slaw and homefries. When we received our food I noticed the familiar basket instead of the plate for my order. I used to work in a short order restaurant and remember those baskets because they were easier to clean up then the plate. I'm sure Clay's uses Cash & Carry for the simple things that make it easier to a small local business.

    We also tried their Red Bean and Grilled Vegetable chili, it was too spicy for Cameron so we brought it home for Daddy's dinner in a small plastic lidded container just the right amount to add to a burger for Daddy.  
    Finally we added a Mud Pie for dessert, I wasn't sure if Cameron had anymore room for dessert but turns out this kid can find room when offered a Mud Pie.
    We ended up spending under $30 and that included a root beer and a lemonade. This was more than I usually spend on "lunch" but this was a date and the quality time with my little dude is more valuable than a fast food lunch any day.

    After lunch we made a quick trip to visit my older sister who was watching her granddaughter so it was a added bonus. On our trip home I let Cameron watch the GPS for traffic updates and I gave him the camera to see what he else he could find, well he found a hidden tree house along Barbur Blvd. It was pretty cool and I bet it has some of the best views in the city being high above the highway and set out over the hill a little.
    We also stopped at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge as Cameron was getting ansy in the van and needed to stretch our legs. We will be making a field trip and returning to the refuge later in the year, but for now our date was a lot of fun, we enjoyed a new to us restaurant and had good quality time together. 

    You can check out our full adventure in photos here.
    Clay's Smokehouse #cbias

    • I am a member of the Collective Bias™ Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #CBias #SocialFabric

    Sunday Scripture 6/10

    The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.
    Psalms 121:8

    Such a powerful message this week, simple yet says so much

    Have a wonderfully blessed week!

    Saturday, June 9, 2012

    Cheese Please, who knew there was so much to learn

    I was invited to learn about cheese and experience the new Murray's Cheese Shop  at the Burlingame Fred Meyer in Portland recently.
    I've had a variety of cheeses in my life, but never really understood cheese. I along with other local area bloggers got a lesson in cheese, cheese and whine pairings, all while enjoying the newly renovated Fred Meyer location at Burlingame. The Burlingame Fred Meyer on Barbur Blvd is the oldest standing Fred Meyer location. It was opened in 1950, and today still have the vintage sign out front welcoming customers along Barbur Blvd in Portland, Oregon.

    On a Lovely end of May Spring day these flowers added such a nice touch to the tables. Reminds me that I really need to work on my flower garden so I can have fresh arrangements on the table more often.

    We had a plate with 5 cheeses , a spot of Hood River Honey Comb, and Quince Paste. Each cheese offered a different flavor, texture, and feel. We started at 12 o'clock on the plate with the La Tur a pasteurized Cow, sheep and goat milk cheese from Piedmont, Italy. Honestly, it felt like cheese cake without the sweetness.  Next at 2 o'clock on the plate was a Sartori Pepper Bellaavitano pasteurized Cow  cheese from Plymouth Wisconsin. This is a grate and crumble cheese meaning it can be grated or crumbled and is an interesting replacement for a basic Parmigiana cheese.  Our third cheese, Tumalo Farms Pondhopper a pasteurized Goat cheese from Bend, Oregon; this cheese was also in the bag of goodies we were sent home with so I enjoyed this semi-hard cheese with a tangy flavor for a few weeks after. Moving around the plate to 8 o'clock is an Aged Manchego, a pasteurized sheep cheese from Castilla-La Mancha, Spain.  This is a "Cheese 101" staple according the experts. I have to agree with the description as a nutty, caramel flavor.  Finally another Oregon cheese, the Rogue Creamery Caveman Blue from Central Point.  I will be totally honest with you, until this tasting I was NOT a fan of blue cheese. We tasted it along and it was very salty but not too funky. Next we added the Honeycomb to a bit of the blue cheese and surprisingly it totally changed the texture and flavor of the cheese..

    After the cheese tasting we mingled and talked with several of the employees including Amy Pitzer the Cheese Master. She has an amazing ability to figure out what cheese someone is describing and also gave up some great ideas for sandwiches with some of the cheeses we sampled. She also pointed out the amazing deals during  the Burlingame Grand Opening on what else, cheese. These prices are good through June 16, 2012 and include a Parmigianon Reggiano for $6 off per pound, Buy 1 Get 1 free on Crave Brothers 8 oz. Fresh Mozzarella, BOGO Margaux Mini Brie, save $7 per pound on Cave Aged Gruyere and several others.

    We received a wonderful bag of goodies to take home and create with including a cheese cutter, a slate stone with slate chalk to sample cheese and label it, crackers, 2 cheeses, and a salami.  I got home earlier enough that evening to have the boys sample the cheese with some crackers (I'm saving the crackers from the bag for another day). I was surprised that Cameron my picky eater actually enjoyed both of the cheeses.

     The next day I created a simple sandwich for a late breakfast. I used a Whole Wheat Sourdough from Great Harvest Bread, thin slices on the Tumalo Farms,  Pondhopper , baby spinach , grape tomatoes halfed, and a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar.  I love simple sandwiches with lots of flavor.

    We also tried adding the Aged Manchego to grilled cheese sandwiches and found the flavor it added to really make a basic grilled cheese a whole lot better.

    Thank you to Fred Meyer and the Murray's Cheese Shop for hosting this amazing event and for the gift bag full of cheese, goodies, and a bottle of wine.

    Tuesday, June 5, 2012

    Mommy Fashion done vintage thanks to eShakti

    I was blessed to receive an email inviting me to review for eShakti an online clothing co based in Washington state. Since the co is in Washington I decided to give it a go, besides I haven't had a brand new dress in a long time and with lots of graduation activities as well as a couple summer parties I decided it would be fun.

    I narrowed the selection down to 6 different dresses before I should my husband and my youngest son. The boys then helped me narrow it down to the one in all the pictures. I had the length changed to mid calf to give me a little more length and I am so glad I did.
    I ordered the dress on May 25th and received the dress on May 30th.  The package arrived in a small DHL envelope and honestly I wasn't sure how a dress to fit me would fit in such a small package, but it did.

    As soon as I opened the package I took a quick mirror shot on my phone. My husband and the boys all immediately liked the dress.
    I love that it is cotton, unlined, and has side pockets that I can put my phone or camera in and have it handy.
    I also love the vintage styling of the dress and I am so glad I had them lengthen the dress to mid calf length.

    Cameron got a lesson in photography and took a series of photography of me in the dress. I selected 1 of the pictures and retouched it for a more vintage look and am still loving the dress. Funny thing is I have already selected 2 more dresses, a skirt, and several tops I would love to add to my waredrobe. Thanks to this dress I am feeling a lot better about dressing up and not just hanging out in jeans and a t-shirt all day. Sometimes Mommies need a little help to remember that idea. Nice clothes can be comfortable and functional. 

    If you struggle with finding something that fits as much as I do, you have to check out eShakti. Their customizing feature along with a large selection of styles and colors makes this company an answer to this Mommy's search for style and comfort at a realistic price.
    I added my own accessories to the dress, a simple pearl bracelet, slip-on white wedge shoes, and a vintage beaded purse that I have had stashed in a collection for years and wanted to use it with something.  eShakti has a line of accessories but since I already had these I decided to just get the dress this time around.

    From their website
    :eShakti is a unique women’s apparel store online that allows custom changes in the style of the garment – sleeve, neckline, length can all be changed by the customer to her preference.

    eShakti’s custom capabilities allow shoppers to easily tailor any item to their specific requirements ensuring a flattering fit and unique look. Built-in online customization tools allow women to modify original fashions to fit their size, shape and personal style. Unlike traditionally-tailored clothing, eShakti’s incredibly quick turnaround time allows customers to receive their custom-made look within a week of ordering!
    Many of the pieces available are reminiscent of the past, combining feminine details and dressmaker finishes for today's modern woman. Dresses, skirts, tops, cardigans, jackets and scarves are available in a wide array of fabrics and colors ranging from size 0 to 26W and Custom.

    The internet allows us to be extremely customer-centric by enabling the buying to be inter-active. Shakti means power in Sanskrit. eShakti therefore means the power of the Net. We believe the internet empowers customers and helps companies be customer-centered.

    Follow eShakti on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest 

    I received the dress pictured in exchange for my opinion and review of the company and dress. No other monetary compensation was received. 

    A savings program designed for you: just for u

    Recently I joined13 other local bloggers for a day hosted by Safeway Regional office to introduce the new Safeway just for u program.









    I carpooled with another local blogger Tina Kelley the Mad Hatter Mom, actually she drove ….


    We were greeted with an amazing breakfast spread and got to meet the other bloggers as well as some of the Safeway executives, some who had been with Safeway for over 40 years. DSCN2943

    We were introduced to the just for u savings program and to the local president Steve Frisby who talked about the program and the rollout of the program. Steve has been with Safeway for 41 years and was an amazing host.DSCN2949

    I was privileged to hang out with an amazing group of bloggers.


    We were treated to an amazing spread for breakfast and  lunch. By the way if you ever see Buffalo Chicken Salad in your Safeway deli you HAVE to sample it, needless to say it was amazing!DSCN2950

    After lunch we were given a chance to put what we had learned about the program into practice at the Oregon City Safeway.


    We rode over to the Safeway store in a tour bus which gave us a chance to visit some more with the staff and the other bloggers.

    DSCN2967After a brief press conference including  local media, we began our shopping with the new program.

    I have to say , the carts at this store where perfect for carrying my large “purse” which is actually a Thirty-One gifts All in One organizing tote, perfect for carrying my coupons, planner, netbook, phone, etc…


    Since I  didn’t know we were going to be shopping, I was totally shopping on the fly; I did manage to save34% using personalized savings, clickable coupons, club card savings, and a couple of clearance finds in the meat section.  DSC_0055

    I love the personalized deals, these deals are based on my shopping history and are offers the system knows I can use.  We also found out at least in our  region, we will continue to have  double coupons for paper coupons and those deals can be stacked with club card savings or personalized deals for even greater savings.

    DSCN2972Since the event in May, I have been averaging 37-54% in savings every trip with one recent trip my savings were 67%. They say the average customer will save 10-20%, but will a little extra planning greater savings are possible,   especially with the Safeway app on my phone.  I highly recommend going to Safeway.com and setting your account up, better yet visit your local Safeway store and find the just for you station where an associate will help get you signed up and you can even print your savings list.



    Thank you Safeway for hosting me and fellow bloggers and for blessing my family  with gift cards and Safeway branded goodies.