May 30, 2010

Refreshing Ice Tea

The supermarkets and corner stores are all loaded with ice tea this time of the year.

In fact, ice tea drinking has become so popular, it is kept pretty much stocked up all year round from what I have been noticing.

And much of the bottled stuff tastes pretty good.

But I think it can get pricey - especially this time of the year when we really consume it.

I have made my own ice tea off and on over the years and have tried many different ways of doing it.

My most favorite, and the easiest is the way we go about it now.

I pick a bright sunny day and fill a gallon jug with water - just an empty water one will do - doesn't have to be glass - the frosted plastic jugs work great.

I fill it to about 2 inches from the top.

Then I put 9 tea bags in it - leave the tags hanging outside.

The plastic top snaps right back on.

Set it in the sun for about 4-5 hours, or leave it overnight if the sun is unavailable.

Carefully remove the bags so they don't break apart in the jug.

Use a funnel to add the sugar - about 12 teaspoons for the whole jug.

Since the tea is warm from the sun, the sugar dissolves right off with a couple of shakes.

Chill and serve over ice - not too strong and not too sweet like the pre-made ones tend to be.

And it costs so much less too.

The sun "brews" it perfectly so no extra energy or work required to make it.

So far this season, I make a jug about every other day - we really love our tea!!

May 24, 2010

Is Gardening Good Exercise?

We all know that is takes 30 minutes of exercise in order to gain the most health benefits from it.

But is gardening considered on par with walking or biking is my question.

I was pleased to find that it is just as good, and can even offer more benefits in different areas,

Areas such as increased flexibility from all the stretching that gardening offers.

It builds strength in the
legs, buttocks, arms, shoulders, neck, back and abdomen. The tasks involved in gardening use a variety of muscle groups.

The joints are also strengthened with gardening tasks, and what is really good about it - there is no jarring of the bones - which you really begin to feel as you get older.

So the best thing about gardening is you get a full body workout - stretching, weightlifting, and a moderate cardiovascular workout - all in one!

And since most of us garden for the pleasure of it, the exercise it just an added benefit!

May 23, 2010

Ice Cream Indulgence

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Dove Ice Cream. All opinions are 100% mine.

I will never forget the first time I had a Dove Ice Cream bar.

We had only been married a couple of years - it will be 28 this year - so they have been around a while.

The store was having a special on them, and we just had to try them.

Mind you now, it was the middle of winter, but that didn't stop us from enjoying them while passers-by were amused by the two crazies in the car eating ice cream on such a cold day.

It was love at first bite for the both of us, and whenever they were on sale again over the years, we treated ourselves to their deliciousness.

Then we reached middle age.

And we had to watch how much we "treated" ourselves.

But wouldn't you know - as if Dove was reading our mind, they created little bite-sized treats called Dove Ice Cream Miniatures.

At 70 calories each they are the perfect treat to have when me-time is calling.

They are a mini escape when ice cream is needed.

Like when we come in from the gardening and it is so hot - man, they are so good!

And Dove is having a "My Mini Moment" contest right now where there are 3 mini-grand prizes up for winning.

They are celebrating me-time and are encouraging women to submit their favorite mini-escape.

I know what mine is - how about you?

Visit my sponsor: “My Mini Moment” contest

May 21, 2010

Gardens Are In

The vegetable gardens are finally planted for this season.

Since we have raised beds for them, they tend to dry out faster than the "in ground" ones do.

So the daily watering has begun.

I am hoping the plants get some good growth on them before the really hot weather arrives.

Establishing deep roots is the goal for right now, so that water is quite important.

I have read both that early morning water is the best and that evening watering is the best.

The morning one offers the plant a good long drink before the heat of the day, and the evening watering revives them after the heat.

We have always chosen the evening, but if anyone can honestly tell me the morning is better, I would love to hear about it.

May 20, 2010

A Great Find

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Linens 'N Things. All opinions are 100% mine.

A few years ago I was searching for a specific kind of rack to hang my paper towels on the wall.

I had finally had it with the cheap plastic ones that kept breaking, and I didn't have room for one of the stand-on-the-counter style of holders.

I was very lucky to find just what I was looking for at Linens 'N Things.

And since that day, whenever I was looking for something a little different than what the department stores carried, I would always go there and find the perfect piece for the kitchen, bathroom, and even the outdoors.

Well, that was until about a year and a half ago.

The Linens 'N Things store closed in our area, and I was pretty bummed.

But I have just found that they are now online - and they still have all those great hard to find home decor items that I love.

And they are offering a special to their bloggers and all their readers.

That means you and me!

From now until June 1, 2010, they are offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders over $26.00.

In order to take advantage of this offer, you will need the Coupon Code: MOMBLOG.

If you are having a hard time finding the perfect home decor piece, then this may be the place for you too.

And the free shipping sweetens the already good deal you will find there!

Visit my sponsor: Linens 'N Things

Found a Flat

Yesterday I posted about the non-existent vegetable flats of plants for planting in the garden.

Well, I had some success with the Big Boy tomatoes and the Sweet Green peppers.

I really didn't want any big tomatoes, just cherry ones as I seem to have better luck with those ones reaching maturity.

Will have to stick with the larger ones for this year and hope for the best.

We couldn't find any cucumbers, so those will be going in as seeds.

Cuke plants are easier, but seeds have worked in the past, so we will give it a try.

Green beans are always put in as seeds, and we got some of those yesterday too.

The only splurge I made was for a pot of Sweet Basil.

One plant for $3.00, but it has always been one of my favorites, and once dried, I use it on many things.

I may pick up some basil seeds next time and put them in pots in the garden.

That way I can bring them inside towards the fall as they will never reach maturity from seeds in the ground now.

Hopefully today I can get the plants in the ground - I just love to have a garden!

May 19, 2010

Security and Independence

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Medical Guardian. All opinions are 100% mine.


This nifty little device has given my Mom the added security of still being able to live independently.

She took a fall over three years ago and ended up breaking her hip.

She was in the hospital and rehab for a very long time, as she is a diabetic, and healing is a lot slower for her.

She called me when she was able to get to a phone, but I live over an hour away and couldn't be there to help her right away.

She ended up calling my aunt who came and then called emergency - she spent a lot of time on floor as it took her a while to get to the phone.

When she went back home after all her surgeries and rehabs, we were all quite worried about this happening all over again.

That's when we discovered the Medical Guardian device that has brought peace of mind to her and most especially to us.

She wears it at all times on her wrist - even in the shower.

She has had to use it couple of times when she's had some minor falls, and it was a relief to us that she had it.

The response was immediate and she was impressed with the caring help she received from the responders.

She ended up moving into an apartment shortly after her original fall, and the first thing she did was have her alert system set up.

The customer service made it very easy for her and took care of everything to make sure it was working properly.

She still has her independence and this added security allows her to continue with quality life.

Visit my sponsor: Medical Alert System

In Search for Vegetable Plants

Okay, I know it has been a few years since we have had a vegetable garden, but I seem to be running into a problem with finding the plants.

It's not that there are not any available - they are everywhere - the supermarket, hardware store, and even the shopping centers like Walmart.

I am just curious - what ever happened to the "flats" of plants?

The little six-section container that held six plants and they usually cost about $2.00 - $3.00 each.

They are non-existent!

All I can find is a pot with a single plant in it, and it costs $3.00 for one!

There are tons of those, for every plant - tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, and all the others.

At that rate I will have to take out a loan to buy vegetable plants for my garden.

Had I known they were going to be so expensive, I would have started seeds earlier this year.

It's way too late for that now.

There is one more place I am going to check for them, but if I can't find them, I am going to have a pretty skimpy looking garden with only a few plants in it.

So much for frugal - the meager harvest and all the work - it almost doesn't make any sense to even have a garden!

May 17, 2010

Delicious Pizza

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Freschetta. All opinions are 100% mine.

man taking a bite of pizza

We knew it was going to be good, and we were anxious to try it.

I am not a big fan of frozen pizza.

I made my own for years as I couldn't find any that were worth buying in the supermarket.

That was until a couple of years ago.

The store was having a sale on a new kind of pizza and we decided to try it as it looked pretty good on the box.

Well, we loved it.

It was a self rising pizza made by Freschetta and it was a keeper - when they were on sale we ate them.

So when I saw the new style of pizza that they have come out with, the Freschetta FlatBread , I couldn't wait to try that one too.

I must admit, one of my favorite things about the self rising style is the thick crust - it is so good.

But my husband is a big fan of thin crust pizzas, and he was even more anxious than me to try it.

We purchased the meaty Italian style one and the four cheese one.

And they were delicious!

Even my son asked when we would be having them again.

I think the only problem I am going to have the next time we buy them, is what style we should get.

Even though the flat bread is excellent, I still crave that thick self rising one

I think one of each should do it just fine!

If you are interested in saving on trying any style of Freschetta pizza, then you can find a $1 coupon here.

Bon appetit!

Visit my sponsor: Freschetta Pizza

May 16, 2010

Garden is Coming Along

Today was one of those very busy days physically, and the best way to describe it is how my grandmother would have put it:

My rear end is dragging.

And that is an understatement!

I am determined to put in a vegetable garden this year - it has been about four years since I have had one.

I have two raised beds that I use for them - I put what I want in one of them, and my husband decides what he wants to put in the other one.

I probably should have taken "before" and "after" photos - the weeds and dried leaves and pine needles were atrocious after all that time.

And I know where I got that poison ivy a few weeks back.

There it was in it's very "new growth" form - running along the edge of the raised bed.

I gave it a wide berth today and decided that that garden was not the one I was going use.

Any way - all the weeds have been evicted from both gardens, they were both turned and composted manure was added to them.

Tilling them with a rake and then smoothing them out was the final step.

We had to remove several large branches from some old pines that were creating quite a shade cover since the last time we planted.

Our area of New England is considered "frost-free" as of 5/31, so we will hold off on the planting for a bit.

But we can certainly go shopping for our plants - I can't wait!

May 10, 2010

Benefits of Yogurt

No matter how much I proclaim it's benefits, my husband will not let even a small taste of yogurt past his lips.

Even with all the varieties and flavors available, he just can't bring himself to eat those live bacteria or "worms" as he puts it.

Since we are filled with tons of bacteria on the outside and the inside, I figure adding a few more good ones to help out the ones on the inside has got to be a good thing.

Several other reasons to eat this "health food":

The calcium and vitamin D in the milk that is used to make yogurt is good for strong bones and will help prevent osteoporosis.

It may help to reduce high blood pressure as some studies have found with certain dairy products.

The proteins in the yogurt make you feel fuller quicker and longer, which makes it a great for a healthy snack.

The live cultures stay in the gut and help prevent a variety of ailments such as constipation, lactose intolerance, and colon cancer.

They also enhance the body's immune system to ward off infections.

Some pretty strong reasons to make yogurt a part of a healthy diet.

It lasts for a while in the refrigerator, so stocking up when it is on sale is a wise thing for your pocket and your innards.

May 8, 2010

A Fun Field Trip for Kids

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Lunchables. All opinions are 100% mine.

The best part of a school field trip for kids is to have fun learning something new.

And even if some parts of the trip are fictional, it opens the kid's minds to new and creative ways of thinking.

And sometimes kids just love a good scare - especially from an alien, as seen in the above video.

Lunchables is sponsoring a contest that is titled: Field Trips For All

Anyone can nominate a deserving classroom for this contest and of all the nominations, 50 classrooms will be chosen for an educational field trip.

With the economy as it is, school budgets are being tightened and less funds are available for field trips.

56% of the school districts across the nation will be eliminating field trips all together.

Kids love hands on learning and this is a great opportunity to nominate a student or classroom that you feel would benefit from this experience.

My youngest is graduating next month, and my grandson is still a baby, so I am thinking of nominating one of my kid's favorite teacher's classrooms for this contest.

They were both fortunate to have Mrs. Sanborn as a teacher in elementary school, and she contributed much to their learning in those early years.

Good luck to all the classrooms and students who get nominated, and best of all - hope the winners have a great time!

Click Here

Visit my sponsor: Field Trips For All

American vs. Greek Yogurt

I have a small container of yogurt each morning for breakfast.

I usually purchase the Activia brand and the french vanilla flavor is my favorite.

I heard on one of the morning shows that most of them prefer the Greek style yogurt because it tastes so much better.

Of course this got my curiosity, so I checked on them at the supermarket.

I ended up purchasing a vanilla flavored one and couldn't wait to try it later that day.

I noticed how thick and creamy it appeared to be so I rechecked to make sure I purchased the fat-free version.

It had a tangier, almost sour taste than my regular kind, but as I took a few more small spoonfuls, it began to grow on me.

Since it was so thick, and had no fat in it, I wanted to find out how they accomplished that.

I learned that Greek style yogurt is a strained yogurt - all the extra water is removed from it which makes it more dense and creamier.

The American style is not strained - the water is kept in it which helps to dilute the tangy flavor.

I will definitely purchase the Greek style again and will eat it as a treat now and then.

It is more expensive than my regular yogurt, so I will wait for it to go on sale.

They are becoming more popular in the supermarket, so hopefully the prices will come down on them as time goes on.

May 7, 2010

Supplement Reviews

I just found a helpful site that is worth sharing.

Supplement News has reviews from real people for many of the common vitamin supplements.

It also gives the pros and cons for these products.

I like that all the info is in one spot to help us make informed decisions about what we are putting into our bodies.

Win With Walking

Yeah! I have won a free song download!

I have posted several times about tracking my steps and logging them on the Beewell Breast Cancer site.

Each evening I input my mileage, and it automatically posts it to my Facebook page also.

Well, last night I won a free song download.

I will claim it this morning and then put it on my new cell phone.

This is a win-win situation - for the waistline and the ears.

And it's all free!

May 6, 2010

Going Mexican Tonight

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hormel Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.

macro of nachos and tortillas

My family just loves a good Mexican meal, but that wasn't always the case.

Years ago, my kids would cry at the thought of having to eat a meal that contained any kind of chili or refried beans, and the complaints would be quite numerous.

Along about the time they became teenagers, things began to change in a drastic way.

Their tastebuds finally began to recognize the good taste of a variety of foods - and Mexican became one of their favorites.

They couldn't get enough nachos, or chili, or tacos, or burritos, and the list just goes on.

I also have always loved it, but the beans just never seemed to agree with me - especially as I have gotten older. So when hormel came out with a No Beans Chili - I was too happy!

I could make our favorite meals and indulge in them too - and the food was healthy - no trans fats or artificial ingredients.

One of the kid's favorites is such a simple dish to prepare, and when I serve a salad to go along with it, it covers all the food groups which is always a concern for me.

We call them Nachos, and it goes like this:

Spread tortilla chips in a glass baking pan or a cookie sheet would work too.

We then spread a can of the no beans chili over them, and put some salsa on top of the beans.

We cover the entire creation with shredded Mexican cheese, and bake it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is thoroughly melted and the chili has warmed through.

After looking through several of the recipes on the Hormel Food site, I am anxious to try some of the other delicious looking meals they have featured.

I didn't realize Hormel made so many different products - many that I have used through the years.

They have been a trusted brand for my family and I will continue to look for that familiar label on other products as well!

Visit my sponsor: Hormel Chili

Blanching Fiddleheads

I posted a couple of weeks ago about searching for Fiddle Head Ferns.

We return to our usual spot each year to collect them, and this year has been no different.

They have arrived earlier due to the warmer spring weather we have been having, I am sure.

On my photo blog, I posted about how to recognize to right kind for eating and how to cook them.

Since they are a very seasonal treat, in the past we have cooked and frozen some to enjoy them a bit later in the year.

Once thawed, they become very mushy - and they all fall completely apart even though they still taste just as good.

This year, we decided to try something different for freezing them.

We blanched them in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then put them in ice water to cool them down before putting them in plastic freezer bags.

Their green color was still just as bright, and they look really good in the freezer.

I will cook them as I do other frozen veggies when I prepare them for a meal a couple of months down the road.

I am quite anxious to see how this method works. From what I have read, it sounds like it might be just the answer to the mushy frozen fiddleheads.

May 5, 2010

Love That Baby

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux's Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

the hand of a baby boy

Hard to believe that my new little grandson is almost five months old.

His joyful smiles and laughing eyes certainly warm his Grammy's heart, and giving him a big hug is the best!

He is recognizing people and things now and watching him grow is as much fun as it was watching his Mom grow all those years ago.

He has been a pretty healthy baby, just as his Mom was, and that is always a relief for new parents.

He has even managed to avoid a diaper rash so far.

From what I have been reading though, if a baby has any food allergies, it can show up as a diaper rash.

And he is just beginning to try some foods in his diet.

I will have to tell my daughter about Boudreaux's Butt Paste, as it is a new product that works really well in the treatment and prevention of diaper rash.

It is a zinc based product which creates a barrier that protects the tender skin.

It comes in a convenient foil pack as well as tubes and a big 16 oz. jar.

On their website, they offer a free sample.

The frugal Grammy in me will be requesting one of those for sure.

Gotta keep that little baby happy if a diaper rash should appear!

Visit my sponsor: Boudreaux's Butt Paste