Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chicken, Cauliflower & Mushroom Pasta Recipe


I had originally picked this recipe to make for dinner last week because it looked like it was semi healthy, but then I started cooking it and as the cream cheese melted into this gorgeous white cream sauce I instantly felt guilty. So to make myself feel better I added Parmesan Cheese. Hey, don't judge. I eat my feelings sometimes...so what. But if you want to omit the Parmesan it will still be just as fabulous and you wont feel as guilty as I do right now. Yup.


Chicken, Cauliflower & Mushroom Pasta

Ingredients

12oz box of Vegetable Pasta
2 Chicken Breasts
Fresh Spinach-as many handfuls as you'd like
8-10 Mushrooms, sliced
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of Garlic
1/4 head of Cauliflower cut into bite sized pieces
2/3 cups cream cheese
1/2 cup of Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 cup chicken broth
Oregano
Basil
Onion Powder
Cayenne Pepper
Salt & Pepper

Directions

Boil 4-6 cups of water for your pasta
While you wait for the water to boil thinly slice the chicken into strip. I typically cut the breast in half then slice from there. It's almost like you get twice as much that way (almost).
Preapare all of your veggies. The spinach is really easy to cut if you roll up a bunch and slice it.
The mushrooms I leave slightly big since it's the kids favorite part of the meal.
And the cauliflower should be a wee bit smaller then bite sized.
Now that you have the prep out of the way lets start cooking!
Start cooking your pasta
Cook the chicken on medium-high heat in about a teaspoon of olive oil. Once cooked set the chicken aside and use the same pan for your veggies.
Start with your cauliflower since it will take the longest to cook, then add in your mushrooms and garlic.
Now it's time for the goodness, the cream cheese. Just plop it in but make sure to turn the heat down so you don't burn it. You want to slowly melt it so it's becomes a creamy sauce.
Slowly add in your chicken broth and stir
Add in all of the seasonings to taste
And lastly your lemon juice, spinach and Parmesan cheese.
You can squirt more lemon juice over your pasta if you find the 1/2 tablespoon isn't enough. It's always better to follow the less is more rule with lemon because you can't take away the lemon juice if you put too much on but you can definitely add more if you'd like to.
Give it all a good stir and stir on top of your pasta, or you can mix it all together to coat your pasta.

Enjoy!

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Day of School

First day of school! Wake up! Come on. First day of school!! Sorry, I couldn't help myself from a little Finding Nemo quote, especially since this was pretty much how our first day went. I had my alarm set for 5am and the kiddos came running in at 4:54am telling me to get up! Darn them for not letting me get those last six minutes of sleep.

To say the kids were excited would be an understatement. There was no nervousness and no worries, just pure excitement. The first day of school is always so magical and I will never tire of seeing my babies excitement over learning. Enough rambling and onto the good stuff....the photos.

I still can't believe my baby, my first born is in 4th grade!
Or that my baby girl is in 1st!
I especially can't believe my last born is in Kindergarten


Three kids, all in school, full day and it's still so surreal to me. I knew this day was coming, I've been gleefully excited about it and now that it's here I'm a wee bit sad. My babies are growing up so fast and it's wonderful and sad at the same time.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

BlackBerry Q10 with Verizon Wireless

* I am part of the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program. A device was provided to me with three months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the device. All thought and opinions expressed therein are my own http://ad-for-verizon.com/ *

I have been using the new little BlackBerry Q10 for a few weeks now and I gotta say it's definitely a learning process. I haven't used a push keyboard in a long time, four years to be exact. The last push keyboard I had was my LG slide phone and while that phone was awesome it had it's drawbacks.
Getting side tracked, I am not here to reminisce about past phones, I'm here to fill you all in on the BlackBerry Q10.



So far I have to say the size, well it has it's good side and it's bad. Okay maybe not necessarily bad per say, more like a downside of it. Here's my thoughts.

Good:
I really love the compact size because just like every thing else everyone thinks bigger is better. That is not always the case and this phone is a perfect example of that. It's a rocking little phone and just using it once it will prove it to you.

Bad:
The downside, I'm so used to bigger phones that just getting used to the smallness of it, especially the screen is an adjustment. But the most important thing is the size of the phone doesn't take away from how powerful it really is.

I am looking forward to brining you more updates and sharing my thoughts on this sweet little phone.




Monday, August 12, 2013

Back to School Shopping with Old Navy

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Old Navy. The thought and opinions stated below are all mine.

Old Navy is my go to store when doing a massive clothes shopping. A huge relief for me is that I am almost always guaranteed to find something I like. To this day I have never walked out of an Old Navy empty handed. Not only do they have current fashions for both adults and kids BUT they also have amazing specials and sales all the time. Right now is the Back to School Sale where tons of clothes are just $10 and under. Oh yes you read that right, clothes for $10 and under. Do you have any idea how many outfits you can buy at that price!



Having three young kids all in school full time is not only going to be a first for me, but living on a single income can be hard at times, it can also be a little stressful when attempting to shop for them at the same time. Now my daughter, she loves shopping and we can do some damage together so I'm not worried about her but bringing the boys with me? Yeah they have zero interest in the magic of shopping. So I decided to make it a Mommy and daughter day filled with shopping, special treats and together time. We ended up going on tax free day which was an added bonus plus they were having a $5 tee and tank sale (score)! Even with our local Old Navy being under construction they handled the mass amount of guests with ease. So what did we manage to get? Let me break it down right quick.



For my daughter: Three t-shirts and a pair of jeans
For my oldest: Three t-shirts
For my youngest: Four t-shirts and a pair of jeans
In total we got 10 t-shirts and two pairs of jeans. The Avengers shirt was $10 and Darth Vader shirt was $7.99 the rest of the t-shirts were all from the $5 section, the jeans were on sale for $10 (that's half off people) and since it was tax free weekend I saved there AND they had a spend $50 get 10% automatically taken off your total special running. All in all I only spent $70 and I saved $70. Having a big chunk of my kids wardrobes for school done and ready to go is a huge relief off my shoulders and one of many reasons that I love Old Navy. I mean seriously, where else can you get such cute, affordable and versatile clothes.


Old Navy's Back to School sale is going on through August 14th. You can take a picture of your kiddos on the Old Navy runway (located in your local Old Navy) for a chance to appear on the Old Navy website and enter the Multiply Your Style Sweet Sweepstakes!


My daughter is a huge fan of Sam & Cat and would love to meet them. If your kids are fans as well it's super simple to enter to contest just head on over to Nick.com/OldNavy and fill out the form and whala you are entered to win some fabulous prizes such as....
One lucky winner will receive a trip to LA for four, a $1000 Old Navy shopping spree with Jennette McCurdy (Sam) and Ariana Grande (Cat) AND $500 to live it up in LA!
Seven lucky winners will receive a $500 Old Navy Gift Card!

Old Navy wants to see your kids start the school year looking stylish at great prices. Visit your nearest Old Navy for a back to school sale between August 1st and August 14th with great fashion under $10. Take a picture of your kids in store and share using #MyONStyle for a chance to appear on the Old Navy website or enter the Multiply Your Style Sweet Sweepstakes! For Official Rules and details, go to www.Nick.com/OldNavy.


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Old Navy. The opinions and text are all mine.

Friday, August 9, 2013

5 Reasons I Will Not Be Seeing Elysium

Since the first moment I caught wind about this movie it has put me off. Call me judgmental (I prefer opinionated but potato po-tah-toe) but it just bugs me. It's the same as when you get those gut feelings that something isn't right or something will go wrong, I have them about movies sometimes. Totally normal people.


Let me count the reasons I will NOT be seeing this movie.

1. At first glance all I can think of is um hello Matrix ripoff much?
Seriously even in this brief three minute video all I see is Matrix references. End of world type scenario, the elite run the world (machines run the world). Alone, one man must save the world.



2. The whole plug, camera, AI, whatever that is in the back of the head?

Okay so maybe it's the whole Matrix similarities that are bugging me so much about the movie and I should just change this to the one reason I will not be seeing this movie, it is a reason for me, but the biggest similarity that is painfully obvious??? A GIANT plug in the back of someone's head!

3. Matt Damon

No matter how awesome of an actor he is, he is not a badass...I repeat he.is.not.badass. The being covered in tats while I normally find insanely hot but uh yeah not on him. Don't get me wrong, I'm not totally hating on Matt because he has that boy next door cuteness to him and he does have some good movies like Dogma, that was an excellent movie, Chasing Amy was another good one, Glory Daze, Oceans 12 I just find the character very out of his realm.

4. Because of reason three I find his whole character a little comical and I just can't take him or the movie seriously.

5. Jody Foster

I'm sorry to all the hardcore Jody fans but she's always irked me. I am not a fan of her acting. I know she's been around for ages (not knocking her age cause that would just be rude, btw she does look fantastic in the trailers) and has gotten many awards and she is beloved by her people, I am just not one of those people.

There you have it folks, my five reasons on why I will not be seeing this movie.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Agent Magic Investigates a fun interactive children's app

I was provided an ecode to facilitate my review.


FINALLY a fun interactive family friendly iPad app for children! Seriously I cannot tell you how long I have been on the hunt for an affordable children's  app that my kids will enjoy using and actually learn something from. Yeah there are tons of non education apps out there for our children but finding a truly educational, fun, and interactive app is not as easy as it sounds. Let me introduce you to Agent Magic Investigates Punky Dunk & the Goldfish by FamLoop

My youngest totally photobombed his sister LOL
My daughter drew those strawberries in this screen shot.

Agent Magic is the cute little mouse (you see him on the screen n the pictures above) who takes you through the story and all of the interactive parts to the app. Consider him like your guide through the story. 
Let me name off a few things my daughter and I love about this app.
1. It keeps the kids attention! 
2. Recording the kids voices so they can hear their answers...pure genius. I think that may be one of my daughters favorite things about this app.
3. Creating their own detective badges
4. Being able to draw to answer questions and having your answers be incorporated into the story
5. The app brings the kids into the story instead of just reading the story. 
My absolute favorite part about this app? Everything. No really combine our list above and that is why I love this app for my kids. By bringing the kids into the story and making them a part of it you capture their attention and bring out their imagination. FamLoop refers to this type of story telling as dialogic reading. When I first saw that I had no idea what it meant so I looked it up. The definition of dialogic reading is "Making reading a story into an interactive experience by asking simple questions and talking about the pictures in a storybook". FamLoop does this perfectly with  Agent Magic Investigates because where other apps may ask the questions, heck even children's shows do it (Dora the Explorer ring a bell?) with  Agent Magic Investigates the kids get to hear themselves after they answer the question. This may not seem like a big deal but for little one's knowing they were heard and being acknowledged, even if my an electronic device is big, especially while learning!


My final thoughts....at $2.99 this app is a steal and a must have for your children. My five year old and my six year old both love it so I think it's safe to say between 4 and 7 is a good age range. There are so many beneficial things to this app that I and my kids love that I think any child that loves to learn will love as well. 

Technology is something we use every day as adults, whether it be a cell phone, a tablet, a desktop PC or a laptop, most of us will use at least one these throughout the day. We use them in front of our kids therefore it is a part of our childrens lives as well. I encourage you to allow your children the opportunity to use these divides as well but more for the learning experiences as opposed to games with no educational value for them. 


Disclosure: I was provided I was provided an ecode to purchase this app to facilitate my review.
No other compensation was made. All thoughts and opinions stated above are my own.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffin Recipe


This past weekend after we all went out to dinner as a family I grabbed the boys and ran across the parking lot away from our truck and over to Barnes & Noble. My husband thoroughly confused got in the truck and pulled up along side me asking what the heck I was doing. I am very random like this, you'd think he's be used to it by now LOL and I had been stuck inside all day and wasn't ready to go home so I wanted to browse some books. Hence running like a maniac over there. Makes perfect sense right? Why am I telling you all of this useless knowledge? Because it led to me buying two recipe books. They were on sale so I couldn't pass them up. One of the books I picked up was Veggie Kids, a book specifically for vegetarian children. I love veggies and so do the kids so it's as if the book was calling my name. One of the first recipes I came across was for Blueberry Muffins and I knew I had to make them. But trying to stear away from white flour and trying to go for overall healthier options I changed it up a wee bit to call it my own.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins



Servings:
16 muffins

Ingredients:
3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 sticks of country crock butter
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2/3 1% milk
Grated rind from one Lemon
1 1/2 cups FRESH blueberries (none of this canned stuff here people)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line your muffin tins with paper liners
In a large mixing bowl combine your flour, sugar and baking powder
Rub the butter into your dry ingredients (don't laugh but you want to kind rub/roll it in as opposed to mixing/squishing it in so it looks still clumpy)
In a small bowl mix the egg, yolk, milk and lemon rind
Pour the egg mixture in to the large bowl of dry ingredients along with your fresh blueberries and GENTLY mix the ingredients together until everything is combined into a nice dough
Take a semi heaping tablespoonful of dough and fill each cup.

Bake the muffins for approximately 30 minutes. Mine cooked for exactly 30 minutes and were cooked to a perfection but different altitudes may require different cooking times.

*Note...If you are looking for those super sweet muffins like the one's you would buy in the store prepackaged and full of crap these are not them. These are fresh homemade muffins where most of the sweetness you will get is from the blueberries since it's not drowning in sugar. I personally enjoy these much more then store bought one's. And seeing as my kids already devoured six of them I am going to say they agree with me.

*Tip for the lemon rind...we all know how annoying it is to go through all that work only to find a pea sized amount of rind on the grater. Take a fork or knife and slide it in between the grooves to get out some of the rind that is stuck. You can also lightly tap it on a cutting board or on a paper towel on the counter to get more of the rind loose.