Monday, February 28, 2011

Review: Chore Charts from Goalforit!

I have been checking out this new site and wanted to tell all you moms out there about it as well.

Goalforit is a great website that offers charts for goal setting, chores, and behaviors as well as a way to make lists.  You can set up a chart for each child as well as yourself.  The kids will like to click on their own personal chore chart and put a heart or a star next to their completed chore.  Each chart can be customized for each child's chores and decorated towards their own interests. 

Tween/Teen Chore Chart

Younger Child Chore Chart

 All of the charts are user-friendly and easy to set up or make changes as needed.  I also like the To Do List option for keeping track of things that I need to accomplish.  It is great for making a list of items needed to plan a trip, or big home projects, or even upcoming blogging topics!

The only downside is that you have to have the internet in order to access your personal charts.  For younger children this may take some parental help.  As always, it is important to supervise your children while they are on the internet.  It would be nice to have the option to print off the charts if you didn't want to have your children on the computer. 

To help make your kids excited about doing their chores check out goalforit and set up their very own chore chart today!  The best part is that it is FREE and SO EASY to use!  I highly recommend this website as a way to relieve some of the responsibility for handling the chores in your home.  It allows the kids to check their chart and see what needs to be done for that day!

This review is my honest opinion and I wouldn't review anything that wouldn't benefit my family.  But, you must know that I was compensated for this review.  Thanks to Goalforit for the opportunity to review their website!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Things I Love - Chore Boy

Things I Love...

This is my feature where I get to share something that I just love. Since you are my friends, I like sharing things I love with others. It could be anything from a new product, food, recipe, song, image, to a person and everything in between. This will be something I am completely doing on my own, without pressure or compensation from a company, author, PR/Marketing firm, friend, business owner, etc. This will just be something that makes me happy and I want to share it with you. Enjoy some love!

Today's love is.............................Chore Boy Scouring Cloth
Doing the dishes is NOT one of my favorite chores.  I jumped for joy when we got out first dishwasher after we were married.  I grew up with the job of doing the dishes and my mom always used the same materials to wash the dishes:  Dawn dishsoap (I wouldn't use anything else), Handiwipes and Chore Boy Scouring Cloths.  So, you can say, my mom introduced me to the Chore Boy idea.  I've been on my own for many years and still use the Chore Boy for my dishes as well as other cleaning.  They are tough to find at stores though.  So, since my mom shops at the local small town grocery store, she has the store owner order a case for me.  That way I am sure to always have plenty of them on hand.  Yes, I could order them on Amazon, but I love that I can order them direct from the store.  They last me forever and are my favorite thing to use when I do the dishes.  If your store doesn't carry them, don't hesitate to ask the store mananger to get them in stock for you!  Each package comes with 2 cloths and they are very reasonable at around $2/box. 
Isn't it funny how things we used growing up, influence our decisions as adults?  Are there products that you now use because your mom used it while you were growing up like makeup, soaps, certain brands of food, or cleaners?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Money Saving Tip

I LOVE flavored coffee!  But, flavored coffee costs more.  I tried buying the generic flavored coffee, but it just wasn't any good.  My favorite coffee is Dunkin' Donuts French Vanilla, with Folgers French Vanilla close behind.  But, as fast as we go through coffee in this house, it was very costly to buy only the flavored coffee.  We figured out that by mixing regular Folgers with the good flavored stuff was a perfect match.  I get the big can of Folgers and then purchase my flavored coffee and mix them 2/3 Folgers and 1/3 flavored.  It is perfect and saves us a ton of money.  I watch for sales on the Dunkin' Donuts brand and then combine with coupons and then it makes for an even better deal.  I have found that Walgreens and Target are the stores most often to run sales on the DD coffee.  This past week, Target was also handing out DD coupons at the checkout. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Things I Love - My Treadmill

Things I Love...

This is my feature where I get to share something that I just love. Since you are my friends, I like sharing things I love with others. It could be anything from a new product, food, recipe, song, image, to a person and everything in between. This will be something I am completely doing on my own, without pressure or compensation from a company, author, PR/Marketing firm, friend, business owner, etc. This will just be something that makes me happy and I want to share it with you. Enjoy some love!
Today's love is.............................My Treadmill
This Christmas my hubby finally gave in to my constant begging and surprised me with a treadmill!  He consulted with my cousin and got the exact same one she has.  The Nordic Track T5.3 zi with iFit!  I love it!

It has all the features a treadmill needs:  incline, varying speeds, distance and calorie counters,  a book holder, pulse reader, and preset workouts for calories or distances.  I love to put the iPad in the book holder and hook it up to the speakers and watch an instant movie on netflix.  It makes the workout go so much faster when you are watching a good movie.

Thanks to my hubby for getting me this awesome treadmill!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hints Do Work

Last week, while shopping at JC Penney, I walked by this purse and it just jumped out at me and I stopped to look it over.  I LOVED it.  I snapped a photo of it and thought, What the heck?  I sent it off to my husband with the message....Love this's at JCP.

I never used to ask for specific gifts and just thought my husband would know what to get me.  But, lately, I've realized I don't need much, but there are definitely things that I would like, so why not ask for them.  I asked (begged) for the treadmill and finally got it.  I've mentioned some other things before and they have arrived, so I took the chance that maybe the purse would find its way to me via Valentine's Day or our anniversary which is coming up.

Well, the purse came for Valentine's Day and I can't wait to start using it.  Doesn't it make you feel like spring is coming?  It is big enough to lay a wine bottle inside of it (yep, it came with a bottle of my favorite wine inside) and has some nicely placed pockets inside as well.

So, it never hurts to give those little hints once in a just may get what you asked for. 

If you like this purse too, check out  the Nine and CO Demure Satchel.  It comes in Adobe Rose (mine), Black and White.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Chuckle For Your Day

UPDATE:  We are having such a winter warm-up, that we are having fog....such thick, dense fog that school was first 2 hours late and now CANCELLED, due to fog and slippery roads.  So, day 2 of No School for the winter is upon us.  Is it too early for wine???????

This week, here in Iowa, we are having a winter warm up.  I expect that by the end of the week, most of the snow will be gone.  They are even predicting a high of 60 degrees by Thursday!  60 Awesome!  Of course, then there is me....traveling a place where it is colder....*shakes head*...what am I thinking?????  See this post for why I am going north.

We are used to the snow and cold here, but many places south of us have been inundated with snow and cold.  They are not prepared to handle the snow and have had quite a mess to deal with.  Hopefully this photo will give you something to laugh at today!  Remember, "Phil" says Spring is coming soon!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

You Can Feel the Love

In honor of Valentine's Day, I wanted to share a couple quotes that I just fell in love with.  May you feel the love of friendship,the love of family, the love of a child, or from the love of your life today!  You can feel the love when you read these!

Thus let me hold thee to my heart,
And every care resign:
And we shall never, never part,
My life - my all that's mine!
Goldsmith - THE HERMIT

Sing, for faith and hope are high-
None so true as you and I-
Sing the Lovers' Litany:
"Love like ours can never die!"

Friday, February 11, 2011

Things I Love - The Middle

Things I Love...

This is my feature where I get to share something that I just love. Since you are my friends, I like sharing things I love with others. It could be anything from a new product, food, recipe, song, image, to a person and everything in between. This will be something I am completely doing on my own, without pressure or compensation from a company, author, PR/Marketing firm, friend, business owner, etc. This will just be something that makes me happy and I want to share it with you. Enjoy some love!

Today's love is.............................The Middle
I became of fan of ABC's THE MIDDLE during it's first season last year.  I DVR'd each episode and watched them on days off or after the kids went to bed.  No one seemed interested in watching them with me.  Then all of a sudden this year, one night when I was at a meeting, the rest of the family watched THE MIDDLE and they LOVED it!  So, we have gotten the entire first season from Netflix and DVR the episodes from this season. 

The show features the Heck's, a regular midwestern family that most of us can relate to.  Patricia Heaton is just fabulous as Frankie, the mom.  My kids love Brick, the quirky, elementary-age child.  So many times while watching the episode, my husband and I will look at eachother with that look of "oh my gosh, that is so us".   If you haven't seen this sitcom, you must check it out on Wednesdays at 7:00 PM on ABC.  I GUARANTEE you will get your laugh on!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Cold Getaway

Today I made a decision to take a weekend getaway.  No, I am not taking a flight to somewhere warm.  No, I'm not going to lay in a hotel room and order room service all weekend.  No, I am not going to a spa and getting pampered for a weekend.  Instead, I am driving 7+ hours north, where it is colder, and spending a good share of my weekend outside in the cold.  Why, you ask?  Because my niece, Jena, asked me to!

Next weekend I am traveling with my beautiful 21 year-old niece to Walker, MN for the 32nd Annual Eelpout Festival!  What is an eelpout, you ask?  Well it is a fish that lives in Leech Lake in Walker, MN.

Beyond that, I really don't know much about the fish or the festival.  I know hundreds of people go out on the lake, cut holes in the ice and drop in their line to catch this particular fish. There are prizes and all sorts of fun to go along with it.  But the key all takes place OUTSIDE in the middle of WINTER in NORTHERN MINNESOTA!  

So, why would I go?  My nephew and his wife live up there as well as my cousin and her family.  I don't get to see them as often as I would like.  My niece asked me to go and I actually had a weekend that was fairly easy for me to get away.  The hubby said....Go!  So, I am going!

I will NOT be taking part in the Polar Pout Plunge like my niece and nephew will be.  I will be sitting in the VIP seats to get a view of the action though!  The rec center raises money by having the jumpers take pledges for the priviledge of taking the plunge into the freezing water!  Doesn't it look like loads of fun? NOT! Sorry, Jena! I will be there to hand you warm clothes after you get out of that FREEZING water!
My cousin is the President of the Walker Area Rec Center and is in charge of taking these awesome photos of this fun part of the festival as well as many other things I am sure. 

So, even though this isn't my idea of relaxation or the "ideal" getaway.  I am actually excited to spend the weekend doing something different and out of my comfort zone.  I bought some warm snow pants and those handy hand warmers today.  I am totally looking forward to hanging out with my nieces and nephew and my cousins and aunt and uncle.  I have NO DOUBT that memories will be made and who knows....maybe the sun will even shine a little bit!  Plus my hubby gets a weekend all alone with the kids and away from me!  How fun is that???

For more info about this great getaway check out

Monday, February 7, 2011

Recipe: Slow Cooker So-Easy Sloppy Joes

Last week I opened up one of my Betty Crocker newsletters and found this recipe in it.  I printed it off and thought it would be perfect for our Super Bowl gathering.  The sloppy joes were a hit except they were a little spicy for me.  Although, today, I had some leftover for my lunch, and I enjoyed them more.  They were super easy to make just put in the crock-pot and let them be.

Slow Cooker So-Easy Sloppy Joes
From Betty Crocker

3 lb. lean ground beef

1 cup chopped onions

1 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 (12-oz.) bottle chili sauce

1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon pepper

16 sandwich buns, split

1.In large skillet, cook ground beef, onions, celery and bell pepper over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until beef is thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.

2.In 3 1/2 to 4-quart slow cooker, combine ground beef mixture and all remaining ingredients except buns; mix well.

3.Cover; cook on low setting for 4 to 6 hours.

4.Stir; spoon beef mixture into buns.

Makes 16 sandwiches
I frequently find excellent, easy-to-make recipes inside my Betty Crocker emails.  If you haven't signed up to receive them, you should definitely check them out here.

Energizer Battery Winner

Today's winner of the Energizer Max batteries....

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:


Timestamp: 2011-02-07

Congrats to Megan!

Megan said...

Yea! Sign me up! ;)

Megan, I will be contacting you shortly and you should be receiving your batteries very soon!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Things I Love - Sending Cards

Things I Love...

This is my feature where I get to share something that I just love. Since you are my friends, I like sharing things I love with others. It could be anything from a new product, food, recipe, song, image, to a person and everything in between. This will be something I am completely doing on my own, without pressure or compensation from a company, author, PR/Marketing firm, friend, business owner, etc. This will just be something that makes me happy and I want to share it with you. Enjoy some love!
Today's love is.............................Sending Cards
At the beginning of the year, I read on another blog (can't remember which one) about 52 Weeks of Letters.  It was an idea to get back to personal letter writing by sending one letter to someone each week of the year.  As I read that, I thought, I already do that for the most part, but I send cards.  I LOVE buying just the right card and sending it to someone, either to let them know I am thinking of them, to make to laugh, or to just say how important they are to me.  I know how much I love receiving mail that isn't a bill or junk.  I love knowing that someone took 5 minutes out of their day to write me a note.  Yes, email can do that too, but to actually receive a hand written letter or card in the mail is truly priceless. 
I remember as a child sending letters to my cousins who lived far away.  I wish I would have kept all those letters that we wrote back and forth.  I also love reading books that use letters to tell the story.  It makes it so much more personal and fun to read. 
I have a box that I keep all my cards and it separates them by category.  So, if I need a get-well card, birthday card, or just a make-you-laugh card, I know right where to look.  I love stopping into Hallmark and stocking up on cards.  Sometimes I have just the person in mind for the card and just need to wait for the right moment to send it. 
I love sending cards to people and hoping that I can bring a smile to their face when they open it up!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Is Your Child A Huggable Hero?

I wanted to let you know about a program the Build-A-Bear company is offering. Each year for the past eight years, Build-A-Bear Workshop, through its Huggable Heroes program, has searched for and recognized young leaders who make positive contributions in their communities or around the world. This year, ten Huggable Heroes, between the ages of eight and 18, from the United States and Canada, will be selected and honored for their good deeds. Each of the ten Huggable Heroes will receive a prize worth $10,000 ($7,500 in the form of an educational scholarship and $2,500 from the Build-A-Bear Workshop Foundation to be donated to the 501(c)(3) charity of each Huggable Hero’s choice). In addition, the Huggable Heroes will win a trip for themselves and a parent to St. Louis, the home of Build-A-Bear Workshop World Bearquarters. During their visit, the 2011 Huggable Heroes will meet each other, be honored for their good deeds and participate in a photo shoot for the 2012 Build-A-Bear Workshop Huggable Heroes Calendar.

 A recent survey shows that today’s youths are more in touch with the needs of their communities than ever before. In a poll conducted by Build-A-Bear Workshop®, 98 percent of the 400 young people responding said it is important to help others.   As adults, we know how important it is to contribute to your community, but if you have a child contributing, that is something to be proud of. 

“Our Huggable Heroes program was born of the desire to encourage and reward young people to give back to their communities,” said Maxine Clark, Build-A-Bear Workshop Founder and Chief Executive Bear. “While the monetary prize provides an incentive, it also represents an investment in both the causes these kids support and their education so they can continue to cultivate their leadership skills and achieve even bigger goals.”

Throughout the years, Build-A-Bear Workshop has heard thousands of amazing stories of young people who do things both big and small to help improve other peoples’ lives. Some of last year’s Huggable Heroes included inspiring young leaders like:

Charles R. from Castleton, New York, who started Literacy Education for All People, a multi-year initiative to help reduce illiteracy and increase literacy education and awareness on local and global levels. Through his initiative, he has distributed more than $6 million worth of educational supplies, both in the United States and abroad.

Alaina P. from Lake Country, British Columbia, who founded Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan, an organization that raises funds to educate girls in Afghanistan. To date, she has helped raise more than $137,000 through silent auctions, bottle drives and other events.

And Melissa M. from Mililani, Hawaii, United States, who is president of Kids Helping Kids with Diabetes, an organization that educates, raises funds for research and provides support services to people with Type I diabetes. Melissa has collected more than $121,000 in funds and grants which she has donated to the Hawaii Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Anyone, ages eight and above, is eligible to nominate a candidate (and kids can nominate themselves) by clicking HERE or by picking up an entry form at participating Build-A-Bear Workshop stores in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Nominations will be accepted through Feb. 28, 2011.
Entries will be narrowed down to 75 semi-finalists in March and to 25 finalists by the end of April. Ultimately 10 new Huggable Heroes (eight from the United States and Puerto Rico and two from Canada) will be selected to join the ranks of more than 100 other amazing youths from the previous seven years.

This is an excellent way to recognize a young person in your community who knows the importance of unselfishly helping others.  Fill out an entry form and turn it in before February 28, 2011!

The Day After the Blizzard

At 5:00 AM my husband and I both woke up at the same time.  I was cold, but thought it was because I hadn't turned on my side of the heated mattress pad (yes I know I am spoiled...thanks Mom!) Then I realized my head was cold.  Pat had already leaped out of bed, knowing before me what was wrong....we had NO HEAT!  The temperature in the house was 56 degrees which is pretty cold for us.  We usually keep it at 68 degrees.  I know lots of people keep it at 62 degrees, but again, I'm spoiled and don't like to be cold in my own home.  So, Pat ran downstairs to see what was up and tried to get the furnace back in action.  He also flipped the switch on the fireplace and got that going.  With the fireplace going the rest of the morning, we were able to get the house to 64 degrees.  The repairman came, and guess what, he flipped the switch on the furnace and it started right up.  How frustrating!  He said, there is nothing I can do when it is working, I need to see it not working, so off he went.  He told me to call him if it happened again.  So, off went the fireplace, and I got busy with getting ready to head into town to get groceries.  I had check the temperature in the house and it was up to 68, so the furnace was working.  Just as I was about to go out the door, the temp was back down to 65....not working again.  So, I phoned the repairman again and of course, they were out on another call.  So, I left the door unlocked and told them to let themselves in (thankfully in a small town, I can do that).  By the time I got back home, I could tell they had been here working and left again.  Within 5 minutes they were back and within another 5 minutes the furnace was fixed.  Thankfully it was an easy fix and shouldn't cost us a lot of money. 

This lesson taught me a lot about our needs.  We need warmth, but I noticed this morning, that I was comfortable in the 64 degree house.  I didn't need the house at 68 degrees to be comfortable.  I'm not saying I won't always want the house at 64 degrees, but how much money could we save by even turning the furnace down 2- 4 degrees?  Plus, I also learned that our fireplace can heat the house if needed.  We have lost power here before for a significant period of time and it is comforting to know that we have a fireplace to keep us warm even if we lose power (there is a way to start it without power, but don't ask me how to do it...that is my hubby's job).  I am also so thankful that this didn't happen during the raging blizzard just the day before.  It wouldn't have been as easy to get a repairman and the wind would have made it much harder to keep our home warm.   

How many people in our community can't afford to run their furnace whenever they want?  How many children are cold at night when they go to bed?  I was shocked that our children never woke up this morning complaining of being cold.  I don't even think they would have noticed if we hadn't told them the furnace wasn't working.  Tonight, as I sit in my warm house, I am thinking of those who are cold in their own homes and cold outside because they don't have a home.  I am grateful for all we have been blessed with and pray for those who need to be blessed with warmth. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Our 1st Snow Day of the Season

Last night our area, along with many other states in the midwest, were hit with our biggest snowstorm of the season - and maybe a record snowstorm for some areas.  I think we were hit with about 10 inches of snow, but it is hard to tell with all the blowing and drifting going on.  This was the scene outside our front door last night.  It was definitely a blizzard out there!
Surprisingly this was our first snow day of the season.  By this time last year, we had already had seven snow days.  Luckily, tomorrow is just a 2 hr late start, so hopefully that won't change in the morning!

We had a very enjoyable and lazy day around here.  Even Pat stayed home from work.  We made a big breakfast of waffles, sausage links, eggs, and hashbrowns.  Then Pat started to dig us out.  Thankfully a friend came with his tractor to finish the job, there was a lot of snow out there!  Bennett and Reagan painted pictures while Patrick played video games.  The boys did some homework and Bennett organized his football cards for the 100th time (his new fascination).  Reagan and I played Candyland and I even got a little nap in!  Tonight we watched a few episodes of our favorite show, THE MIDDLE!  If you haven't seen it, check it is hilarious!  We are ending the evening with an epidode of HAPPY DAYS and then it is off to bed.  

A successful snow day with no squabbles or complaints of I'm bored!  I can't say our next snow day will go so smoothly, but the first snow day of the year is always special!  Now tomorrow I have to go get groceries.  Having everyone at home all day means less food in the house! :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Thanks to Susan at THE CONFIDENT MOM posting this.  It was just what I needed to hear!  I thought maybe you could use this today too!

TODAY could be one of the best days of our entire lives.

TODAY could be the day our patience overtakes our impatience - for good.

TODAY could be a day we make memories my children will laugh and talk about for 50 years.

TODAY could be a day God uses us to change someone's life - forever.

-Author Unknown

What are you going to do today?