Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ranch Style Pretzels Recipe

Today I walked into my kitchen and found this.


A split down the middle, opened bag of broken pretzels. Further down in my snack bucket I found some of its cousins in a ziploc bag- poor forgotten pretzel sticks.

For the love of snacks. For the love of my grocery bill this summer. Can we please quit wasting food? I mentioned in a post earlier this week that one of my favorite things to pack when we go to ball games is pretzels. So I decided to go ahead and prepare a fun twist on this snack for this weekend's games. 

Ranch Style Pretzels.

I bet they don't last past today, it's rainy.  It just takes 4 simple ingredients. 



I didn't have a full bag of pretzels, so I added popcorn to mine after I baked. Also, I ALWAYS mess up and grab the wrong Ranch mix. This one tastes just fine. Enjoy!

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Ideas for Fundraising and Surviving Extracurricular Activities


Extracurricular activities can be expensive. Not only the cost of the activities, but the cost of going to the games, concessions, and other expenses that may arise.

My son has been involved in sports since he was in 1st grade. My daughter has been in ballet since she was three. He is now 13, she is 7. To be honest, the cost of these activities are very hard on our budget. Especially lately. My son this year decided to narrow his sports down to only one and focus on basketball. He was asked to play on a summer tournament team. The estimated cost is around $1000. The cost includes practice gyms, uniforms, coaching fees, tournament fees, and insurance. Hello, I lost my major source of income the minute school was out. The teacher I sit for does not bring her baby for me to watch during the summer months. Imagine that.

So rather than sell my kidneys, plasma and my children’s vital organs in order for him to live out his team’s aspiring dreams of NBA stardom. I get creative.

I created a board on Pinterest called Fundraising of course and started my research. I needed something that he and possibly even his team could get involved in. After all, if these boys want to play I think they are old enough to work along with us parents to reach that goal.

Here are a few ideas that I passed along to the team mom for possible use now and in the future.

1. Sonic Community Cards- sell for $5 each 100% profit. Each card has a minimum value of $17. 
Who needs a card or ten? These make great teacher gifts! I can mail. 

4. Restaurant nights. Below is a list, certainly not all inclusive. Most of these you don't have to be present for, you just make sure the word is out that your team/organization is holding the fundraiser and either send a flyer or have them mention your organization to get a percentage of the before tax ticket value. You will of course need to organize and consult with your local restaurant manager beforehand for arrangements.
Applebee’s
Arby’s
Cheesecake Factory
Chili’s
Chipotle
Fuddruckers
Outback Steakhouse
Panda Express
Panera
Red Robin
Subway
T.G.I.Friday’s
On the Border
Papa John’s

5. Banner- Sponsor banners. Get 10 logos for the banner at $100 each... Bam $1000. Get the banner company to in kind donate with their logo then you are not out of pocket any money..

6. Big item donation/raffle. ex: iPad, vehicle, Playstation, etc.

7. Host a tournament

8. Carwash

There are a lot of fantastic ideas on my Pinterest board, but probably our best resource was right under my nose. In addition to #1 above, I already crafted Spirit Flip Flops for proud sports moms and girls who play sports. So, I used my Facebook and Instagram to get the word out and my fingers got busy. See my FlipFlop board or my Facebook album for more of my work.  So far my son has raised about $200 on just FlipFlops alone. (I keep $5 of every $15 pair to reimburse myself for expenses)  Let me know if I can make you a pair or three! 


How do I keep actual game attendance costs at a minimum? Obviously, there are a few expenses that are beyond control like spectator tournament entry fees. So far these have been up to $7 per person per day- two to three day tournaments. Ouch. I can control expenses such as concessions and food. I am a sports bag Moma. Snacks and drinks are ready to go. Some of my favorite snacks to pack are pretzels, crackers, grapes, string cheese and bottled water. 



Another thing that I am preparing for are the out of town tournaments. Offers.com has excellent go to savings and rebates on hotels. I will definitely be utilizing these savings. What about gasoline? Do you have a local supermarket that partners with a fuel center to save at the pump? I do. I earn 3 points for every $50 I spend in groceries in a single or multiple transaction before tax at my local Reasors grocery store. This is a 3 cent savings per gallon at the pump, with no limit as to how much I can accumulate. The points expire after 60 days though.

These are only a few of my fundraising and money saving ideas as a sports mom. Maybe some of these ideas can help your team, club or organization out.  I would love to hear other frugal suggestions and ideas that you have tried.


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Disclosure: I am not being compensated by Offers.com, Reasors or any of the restaurants mentioned in this this post. Portions of this post may appear as a guest post on the Offers.com blog at a future date. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Love Dare For Parents Book Giveaway



Do you remember the movie Fireproof? The one in which Kirk Cameron was a fireman and fought to save his marriage? The movie was based on the international best-selling marriage book The Love Dare by authors Stephen and Alex Kendrick. 

The Kendrick brothers have teamed up again to bring The Love Dare for Parents. 

The Love Dare for Parents, a 40-day journey of “dares” challenging one or both parents to understand, practice, and communicate Christ-like love to their children. Easy to read and work into a busy schedule, The Love Dare for Parents is designed to “turn the hearts of parents to their children and turn the hearts of children to their parents” (Malachi 4:6) so that moms and dads can more fully enjoy and delight in their children while maximizing the positive impact they have on their lives long term.

Each day brings a promising key verse from Scripture, a biblical principle about love that applies to parenting, a specific challenge the parent does for the sake of their child, and space to journal thoughts and reflect on what happened that day.

My husband and I actually began this book together this past Sunday. I'll be honest with you, the journey for us is very intimate and private. Every parent has its strengths and weaknesses when it comes to parenting. I was even surprised when I took the online assessment. We both look forward to the daily dares, and want to be more Christ-like in our parenting. 

I wanted to share with my readers that we are going through this 40 day journey, so that you remember us in prayer. I also thought it only fair to bless one of my readers with their very own copy of this book now rather than wait until after we finish it. I want to pray for you as take the dare. 

The mandatory entry is easy. Answer this question: Are you ready to take the dare?


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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Icon Media Group for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”
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Friday, June 27, 2014

Today's Post: Foodie Friday at OkWB, Summer Salads

Today at Oklahoma Women Bloggers,  I am sharing a few of our nest's favorite Summer Salads. When the temperature starts climbing and activities start increasing I begin looking for quick and cold go to recipes. Be sure to head over to the post and leave a comment.





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The Story of "The Star-Spangled Banner" Review


America will celebrate its 238th birthday next Friday. How do you celebrate? Me? With food, family, friends and fireworks of course.

There is always one song played on this day that reminds us of our independence. The same anthem that is played every time our grand ole' flag is raised before sporting events, when a medal is won, or when our troops from battle return. The Star Spangled Banner.

I was recently asked to review the book The Story of "The Star-Spangled Banner" written by Patricia A. Pingry.  This book,  in less than 200 words, tells the story of how the words to our national anthem came to be written. Above all, it teaches basic flag manners. Remove you hats and place your right hand over your heart. I think young and old alike need to be reminded of these basics at times. The board book is beautifully illustrated and the story takes you back in time. The pride you feel is amazing.

The book is recommended for ages 2 to 5, but I love these books for my 7 year old because she reads it herself.

Our children are never too young to learn and the learning never ends. You can get your very own copy of this book through Ideals Books, Amazon or your local Christian book store.

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Ideals Books for providing the book for this review. I will not receive monetary compensation for this review.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The LEGO® Movie Giveaway



Everything is Awesome!

Have you seen The LEGO® Movie yet. We haven't. It's on our Summer movie bucket list for the last week in July. Our popcorn buckets are ready.

I have AWESOME news. One of my readers is getting their very own blu-ray copy of the The LEGO® Movie.

The LEGO® Movie, the first-ever, full-length theatrical LEGO® adventure, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller is an original 3D computer animated story that follows Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.

Chris Pratt (Moneyball) stars as the voice of Emmet. Will Ferrell (The Campaign) stars as the voice of his primary adversary, President Business, an erudite, anal-retentive CEO who has a hard time balancing world domination with micro-managing his own life; while Liam Neeson (Taken) voices the president's powerful henchman, known as Bad Cop, who will stop at nothing to catch Emmet.

Starring as Emmet's fellow travelers are Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby), as Vitruvius, an old mystic; Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games, Emmy nominee for 30 Rock), as tough-as-nails Lucy, who mistakes Emmet for the savior of the world and guides him on his quest; Will Arnett (Emmy nominee, 30 Rock), as the mysterious Batman, a LEGO minifigure with whom Lucy shares a history; Nick Offerman (NBC's Parks and Recreation) as a craggy, swaggering pirate, obsessed with revenge on President Business; and Alison Brie (Community) as a sweet, loveable member of the team, with a powerful secret.

With The LEGO® Movie app you can get into the AWESOME Lego action by pressing the "record" button and making your very own mini 6 second LEGO GIF video. Then you can share to Twitter and Facebook. Videos instantly get posted to YouTube for everybody to enjoy!
xxxx

Now who wants this movie? All you have to do is let me know on the easy Rafflecopter entry form that you visited the app. Bonus entries are available. 

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Disclosure: Each household is only eligible to win The Lego Movie Blu-Ray via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. No P.O. Boxes. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. Special thanks to Warner Bros. Home Entertainment for providing this giveaway. I will not be compensated financially or by product for this giveaway. It's for FUN and because I LOVE my readers!
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Father's Day 2014

We spent our Father's Day a little different this year. Miss K and I were in Wilson with my Daddy and Jason and B were at home together. B went to church camp last Wednesday and since K and I were going to Wilson on Thursday after I finished my work for the week the kids gave Jason his Father's Day card on Tuesday night- the last night we were together as a family. (that was a long explanation)

Of course as always I tried to be a bit creative. So I dressed the kids up in their "activity" gear and grabbed my camera. Here is what we came up with.



Truth.




And of course a picture of me and my Daddy. The first man who ever loved me, kissed me, held my hand...the man who started it all.


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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Help Name the New Snickers Bar! #SnickersVote #Giveaway


Snickers wants your help in deciding the name of it’s new chocolate bar!

My favorite candy bar is surprise....a Snickers Bar. I am teaming up with Snickers and Partners Hub to bring one of my blessed readers the following fun Snickers Vote app and we’ll give you a Snickers Voting Prize Pack that includes a SNICKERS bar, A SNICKERS BITES pack, a SNICKERS Almond bar, a SNICKERS Peanut Butter Squared bar, a SNICKERS Rockin’ Nut Road Bar, and a pair of movie tickets! 


A delicious new SNICKERS® Bar is coming. It has more peanuts, more caramel, and more chocolate. It has more of everything people love most about SNICKERS – except nougat and a name. Mars Chocolate North America has announced that for the first time consumers will have the opportunity to help name the newest product from SNICKERS!

The as-of-now unnamed bar includes a single delicious layer of crunchy roasted peanuts and smooth caramel perfectly blended and enrobed in milk chocolate. And fans get to name it. Consumers can visit the SNICKERS Facebook page (www.facebook.com/snickers), through June 13, 2014, to choose from one of five possible names:

SNICKERS Go Nuts
SNICKERS Xtreme
SNICKERS #MoreNuts
SNICKERS Nuts Galore
SNICKERS Nuts!




The new bar will be out in stores in 2015! I voted Snickers #MoreNuts- I love hashtags.

Now, who wants a Snickers Prize Pack? All you have to do is vote and share their favorite in the comments section as your giveaway entry. Bonus entries are available. All entries will be collected on the easy Rafflecopter form.

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Snickers and PartnersHub for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I will not receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Each household is only eligible to win One (1) Snickers Voting Pack with an assortment of Snickers Brand products and two (2) movie tickets. via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification. USA entries only.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

Today's Post: Foodie Friday at OkWB #ChocolateGravy

Today I am writing the Foodie Friday at Oklahoma Women Bloggers. I am sharing my Chocolate Gravy recipe, the story behind it, and what may the beginning of how the next generation will carry on this tradition.

Here is the recipe. Now head on over to OkWB and read the story. Be sure to comment!

right click, save/print

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Thank You. Memorial Day 2014

Thank you. Thank you for giving your life. Thank you for sacrificing your life every day. Thank you for giving your time away from your family. Thank you for defending mine and my family's life.

Happy Memorial Day 2014!!


Floral Haven Cemetery- Broken Arrow, OK




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Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Elf on the Shelf®: A Birthday Tradition NEW Products

As you know, last year Santa granted special permission for the scout elves to visit their families to celebrate their birthdays. If you remember, Malia Peppermint Pattie paid our nest a visit first on my 39th birthday. You can read all about that visit here.  The Elf on the Shelf®: A Birthday Tradition became a BIG hit with my family. Especially our littlest Crow. She's only 7!

Now, the creators are so excited to announce the following new birthday products:


The Elf on the Shelf®: Birthday Countdown and Game
& The Elf on the Shelf®: Birthday Chair Decoration Kit


The Birthday Countdown and Game includes TWO ways to celebrate birthdays North Pole-style! Each kit includes a display-ready felt wall hanging with a delightful, 28-pocket Advent-style calendar for counting down to the big day! Simply place the cupcake in the pocket that represents how many days are left until the birthday arrives, and each morning the child can move the cupcake ahead, one-by-one until the big day. When the birthday arrives, simply flip the board over to play the Birthday Game – a North Pole favorite! Children will wear a blindfold and take turns trying to place special birthday candles on the giant cupcake.

In the book, The Elf on the Shelf®: A Birthday Tradition, scout elves love to decorate special chairs for birthday girls and boys – and their creativity is limited only by their imagination (and the supplies they have to work with). The Elf on the Shelf® Birthday Chair Decoration Kit gives scout elves an extra hand when a birthday comes around! Each kit includes everything a scout elf needs to design a birthday seat that will delight any birthday girl or boy on their big day. The chair can be customized with the child’s name and age, if desired.

Our birthdays begin in the Fall, so I have to put these things away until then, but I did pull out the countdown and game and let my little Miss see it. The workmanship is of great quality and detail. The colors very bright and cheery. Exactly what I would expect from the North Pole.



She is so excited to add this to her/our birthday traditions. Just wait until she sees the chair decorated! I am saving that one for a Scout Surprise other than my own creativity. Thank you The Elf on the Shelf® for coming up with products and ideas to help make life easier as we make more memories with our scout elf. 

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to The Elf on the Shelf® for providing the products in exchange for this review and post. Opinions are 100% my own and not influence by any monetary compensation.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Rockin' Refuel Review & Giveaway

As the weather warms and  everyone becomes more active, it's always great to find a new protein beverage. Rockin’ Refuel is a line of protein beverages made with real milk designed to help everyday athletes build lean muscle. It is made by Shamrock Farms, a nationwide dairy located in Arizona.  Rockin’ Refuel is developed to provide those looking to stay in shape with a great tasting and more natural way to develop lean muscle mass.



Rockin' Refuel sent our family 7 bottles of their great tasting protein milk beverages. We all loved the taste, but my 13 year old athlete dominated over the drink. The drinks arrived the week of 8th grade basketball tryouts. His first year of school ball. We live in a huge school district. About 130 boys tried out. 32 spots for 3 teams were filled. He made it.  WooHoo!!! When he got home both days from school, he carbed up and drank a Rockin' Refuel. Then again after he finished with his tryout for the night.



The flavors they sent us are chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. His favorites are the Chocolate Muscle Builder and Recovery. Why chocolate milk? Based on recent research, chocolate milk is shown to help people recover after exercise. It helps refuel exhausted muscles, making energy available nearly twice as effective as commercial sports drinks. As a mother, here are the things that caught my attention: NO high fructose corn syrup, 20 g of protein (muscle recovery), natural electrolytes, low in fat, full of flavor, made with real milk and 9 essential vitamins.

After reading those nutrition guidelines, I was very eager for my young athlete to drink Rockin' Refuel over some of the other leading sports drinks. Especially, if the protein is going to help fill him up. 

Rockin’ Refuel is made up of world-class athletes, respected organizations, and top-level universities and high schools that demand the best. That’s why they don’t settle for anything less than the right kind of protein beverage for their training needs. To find out which Rockin' Refuel is right for you, go to this link.

You can order Rockin' Refuel online or find a store near you. The drinks are also at your area QuikTrip, Wal-Mart and 7-11 stores. 

Which one of my readers wants their own Rockin Refuel protein milk beverage? Rockin' Refuel is sending one of you a case (12) of  MUSCLE RECOVERY CHOCOLATE ASEPTIC



  • 20g high quality, natural protein
  • 2:1 carbs to protein – optimal ratio for muscle recovery
  • 100% great tasting, real low fat milk
  • Excellent source of protein and calcium (not found in traditional sports drinks)
  • Lactose free
  • Shelf-stable
  • NCAA compliant
How cool is that? All you have to do is answer the following question. What SPORT do you/your family member that will be drinking this protein milk beverage participate in? 

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Rockin' Refuel for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
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