Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
We had a super yummy dinner last night. Cajun Chicken Pasta is one of the yummiest go-to meals that my family does. And today, I am being generous enough to share the wealth. I would love for you guys to try it and report back to me and let me know how much your family enjoyed it. WARNING! This does have a kick, so to make it kid friendly, remove a small portion of chicken and veggies before adding spices, and then continue as usual, adding a little bit of cheese and cream to the kids portion to make a super simple NON spicey sauce!
3/4lb rotini, cooked
3 cloves minced garlic
1kb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 bunch green onions
2Tbs Cajun Seasoning, or to taste
1tsp black pepper
1tsp cayenne p3epper
8oz heavy cream
1 bell pepper, julienne
8oz fresh mushrooms, quartered
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese,grated
Cook pasta according to package. Drain; set aside.
2. Melt butter in a large skillet over med-high heat and brown chicken, about 6-8 min.
3. Add garlic, onions, peppers, and mushrooms cook 3-4 minutes. Add in spices. Stir to coat ingredients with spices; cook for 5 min.
4. Stir in cream and let simmer 5 min. then stir in Parmesan until melted and evenly distributed.
5. Stir in cooked pasta and serve immediately. Top with additional Parm if desired.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Who doesn't love a new pair of shoes? I know they are a big hit in my house, and the most recent addition to our never-ending shoe collection is a gorgeous pair of navy blue Pedipeds sneakers for my 3 year old. When we pulled opened the box to take the shoes out, Henry went wild! He thought they looked so cool and was so excited that they were HIS shoes.
Of course we all want our kids to be happy, but the real test of a shoe's worth comes from the Mama stamp of approval. Well, these definitely have mine! I've never seen tennis shoes that were so easy to put on. There is a generously long velcro strap that you undo and then the "laces" are actually elastic! no worrying about contorting little toes to get them in and no smooshing teeny heels to set all the way down on the shoe; these were a breeze! There is, what Pedipeds calls, a FLEX ZONE on the sole of the shoe that is where the shoe has the most bend. This means no stiff soles, and no awkward breaking-in period. From right out of the box these fit like your favorite pair of tennies! I have to say though, my favorite feature of the Pedipeds entire line is their removeable insoles. You can add up to 4mm worth of insoles to shoe, for a snug fit. Then, as your child grows, you simply remove the extra inserts and the shoe grows with your child! What parent doesn't love a longer lasting shoe?!
If the Mama stamp isn't enough for you, then maybe you'll listen to the American Podiatric Medical Association. Here is a small excerpt from the Pedipeds website on the exact recommendations of the APMA. "According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, "Allowing the youngster to go barefoot or to wear just socks helps the foot to grow normally and to develop its musculature and strength as well as the grasping action of the toes." Doctors also recommend that children first learning to walk go barefoot or wear soft flexible shoes. Walking around barefoot is not always practical, as little feet need protection from rough surfaces and dirty floors. Soft-soled shoes provide the health benefits of being barefoot, with the added protection of a padded sole.
Officially recognized by the American Podiatric Medical Association as contributing to better foot health, pediped™ footwear is a smart choice for parents concerned with the long‐term development of their children's feet. pediped™ has been awarded the prestigious APMA Seal of Acceptance for both its Originals ™ and Flex ™ lines in support of their many beneficial attributes that promote quality foot health including soft cushioned leather soles, a wide toe box and soft leather uppers.
"As babies' and toddlers' feet begin to develop, a soft, pliable shoe, such as pediped™ footwear, is essential to not only provide the foot protection, but also enough mobility for the foot to properly form. pediped™ Footwear has been awarded the Seal of Acceptance by the American Podiatric Medical Association because of the product's high podiatric standards."
Ross Taubman, DPM - APMA President
Now, let's review. Adorable shoes, APMA approved, easy on, easy off, flex sole, and inserts to help them grow with your child. What isn't there to love! If you want to purchase the perfect Pedipeds for your little one then head over to Pedipeds' website and get to shopping! They have a special selection of Make-A-Wish styles that are the perfect buy for the holidays. I can't wait to get our next pair!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
When I found out that I was going to get to put one of Flying Colors Baby ultra soft Kicky Pants bamboo shirts on my little one, I was ecstatic! I've used bamboo inserts for cloth diapers before and the fabric is pure heaven, so soft and silky, and I couldn't wait to try it in clothing form. The baby blue polo shirt has defiantly lived up to my expectations, and then some. The fit is nice and snug, but with this lush fabric it doesn't feel tight on baby's skin. He looks like ultra cool preppy baby.
This shirt is great by itself, but my first thoughts were layering. This would be great under over-alls, or a cute winter sweater with the collar sticking out. There are tons of fashion options for your little one with this adorable shirt.
All of Flying Colors Baby clothes are just as high quality, and just as versatile. Aside for the Kicky Pants bamboo clothing I am also very partial to the corduroy jacket by Jean Bourget. It's the perfect thing for little ones like mine who live in cold climates.
And what's better than high quality clothes except high quality clothes at an amazing price? Right now Flying Colors Baby is having one heck of a sale for the holiday with items up to 30% off! And if you can believe it we have a promo code for an even better bargain than that. Right now with code fcdl20 you get an additional 20% off plus FREE SHIPPING!! You can't beat that so hurry over to their site right now and see what you can snatch up for bargain prices!
Head on over to Busy Mom for a chance to win the same shirt that my cutie is wearing!
I made a quick run to Wal-Mart last night and noticed that all of their live trees outside are free. I know, 99.9999999999% of us have our Christmas stuff up by now, but, if by some strange chance, you don't have your tree up yet, swing by Wal-Mart and grab a free one!
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said to them, Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born today in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.
And they came with haste, and found, Mary, Joseph and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Monday, December 22, 2008
My first blog award has been bestowed upon me by the lovely Erin at the Mom Buzz. She thinks I'm FABULOUS! And I think she's pretty fantastic myself! To claim it, there are a few rules. I have to admit my 5 addictions and then pass it onto another 5 blogs…
Hello, My name is Heather ("Hi Heather!") and I am addicted to…
1. My gorgeous boys
2. All things Twilight
5. Plucking my eyebrows
And now, I pass this award to:
1. No Time For Flashcards
2. Daisy The Curly Cat
3. A Womb At The Innsane
4. From Mellisa's Desk
5. 3 Kids And Us
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Darn this winter weather. Crazy crazy stuff. Peoria was the latest victim of the ice storm, and our power has been out for 2 and a half days. We ended up staying in a hotel last night after attempting to brave the first night with a micro-mini heater, and this morning our power was back on! Grab Bag will be back in the full swing of things before you know it!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
If you have a skinny minny child, like I do, then you know that getting pants to fit them right is a constant struggle. The pants are either too short in the legs and fit them in the waist, or they are the right length but swimming in the waistband. I've tried the kiddie belts before and while they work, my son doesn't like them rubbing the front of his belly, and he is also potty trained, so that's just another, "Moooom" I have to hear when he needs to go to the bathroom. Well, guess what? This is a problem NO MORE! Yup, no more. No belts, no huge waistbands, no more problems.
A wonderful momprenure has invented the solution for all our droopy drawer dilemas - the Dapper Snapper! This ingenious little product is made of stretchy waistband material with metal snaps so that you adjust the size. You simply place it through the back belt loops of your little one's pants, bring it around and snap to the tightness you need. It's so easy and so convenient. Once it's on you're done, there is no undoing and redoing with bathroom trips or diaper changes. The best part, for me, is that the Dapper Snapper was made for moms by a mom. No one understands a mother's need more than another mother. Michelle saw a need and she has met it with the Dapper Snapper!
And now, not only can you be happy because their pants aren't falling down, but they can have fun with it too. Michelle has introduced new Snapcessories! These cute little accessories snap right onto the Dapper Snapper to give it a personalized look. They have everything from monkeys (my favorite!) to cupcakes, butterflies to basket balls. Now your little one can enjoy their Dapper Snapper as much as you are!
So, don't deal with droppy drawers anymore. Fix it in a snap with the Dapper Snapper!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I think you already know the basics. I'm 25, my name is Heather. I have been married to my Hubby for nearly 5 years and in that time we have produced the 2 most beautiful boys there ever were.. no, really. Just look.
This is Henry. He is the one I describe as my 3 year old "hell on heels". He never stops. NEVER. It's very tiring sometimes. But, he is such a smart boy, and his energy can be infectious, when it's not being utterly exhausting, and he loves his brother and loves making him laugh which can make a mama's heart melt quicker than butter in a 475 degree oven. He is my big boy. My bubby. The one I tell he is the handsomest Henry there ever was, and I love him more than any other 3 year old on the planet. Our lullaby is Baby Mine from Dumbo, and now he sings it to his brother. Such a sweetie... when he's not being a typical 3 year old terror. My Henry.
And this is Luke. My baaaby. My chunky monkey, for obvious reasons. I call him my laugh factory because, well, he's pretty much always laughing. He is such a goof and always trying to imitate his brother (Lord help me!). He loves music more than any child that I've ever seen at his age. He dances to it, he sings to it, he falls asleep to it, he even head bangs. Yes, you read that right. He loves giving kisses and hugs and snuggles, but he also likes being a stinker and shaking his head no and laughing when you ask for any of those. Like I said, stinker. He is more layed back than Henry, but also more demanding. Because of his love for music we have a few different lullabys. I sing Stay Awake from Mary Poppins, and that's his favorite, but his close second is one that I made up for him called Your Lullaby . I've debated on recording myself singing it and posting it, because it really is the perfect simple lullaby. But this is about Luke, not me, so that's him. My big little boy, my booger butt, my chunky monkey, my booger bear. My Luke.
Have you had enough of my jabbering yet? Yes? Oh, well, too bad. I'm still talking. Let's get back to you listening and me talking, shall we? Great! So, I've lived in Alabama almost my entire life and we just recently moved to Illinois because of the Hubby's job. I like it up here. The cold is harsh but mostly bearable. I love the snow. Talking googly eyed, mushy muscles, could stare at it all day long, love! The hubby, however, is not quite so infatuated with it. The pretty snow has worn out it's welcome for him. So who knows if we'll stay in Illinois, or head back to Alabama, or go somewhere totally new!
I don't have many hobbies, but at the same time I have alot of them. I named this blog Grab Bag Reviews because I feel like that's how my head is. You never know what you're going to pull out of it, and part of that is due to the ever changing list of "constants". That's probably an oxy moron because, really, how can something be a changing constant.... but then again with phrases like invisible ink, and hot chili, and easy labor I don't feel like such a big offender. But anyway, oh yea, did I tell you I ramble a lot and like to go off on tangents? No? Well, now you know. So anyway, I have found interest and talent in a lot of different types of tasks. The unchanging constants in my hobby life are photography, reading, and music. Those 3 have been a big part of my life for years. Sometimes I don't have the energy or time to keep up with them like I should, but they are always close to my heart.
Then there are the hobbies I've picked up and tried, and then never really tried again. Like crocheting. I kind of sucked at it, but I wasn't totally hopeless. Either way, I'm not doing it anymore because it made my hands hurt. Then there is scrapbooking. I didn't care for it, although I love doing graphics work. I think I like photos themselves too much to clutter them up with scrapbooking doodlies. Other things I've tried and not kept up: working out (HAHAHAHA), cross-stitching (which I'm good at, and do like on occasion but it's hard to engross myself in something so long term), writing (I don't have the focus to do much more than a blog, and, as you can see, sometimes that is a challenge!), sewing (I need a sewing machine to continue this), and who knows what else I've tried that I can't remember.
I have obsessions too. It had been a very long time for me, but then the Twilight Saga ignited my obsessive side that had since died with Hanson. Yes Hanson. What of it punk?! *ahem* So I love Twilight - the books, the movie, I have a cell phone charm, 2 shirts, and I've made I can't tell you have many graphics. Oh you wanna see?? Perfect! Lovely, aren't they? *sigh*
Ok, enough Twilight. I'm sure there isn't a person who knows me that isn't sick of hearing me talk about it. Like I said, obsession.
And yep, that's me. Not everything, but the cliff notes of my adult life. I hope this gives you a bit more insight into who I am and why I do what I do. There is tons to comment on, so I'm open! I'll leave you with a pic of me and the Hubby! My favorite wedding picture.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
It has been 5 years since Metallica has released a new studio album. Death Magnet is the pet project that die hard metal fans been salivating over for those 5 long years. And I guarantee you, it does not disappoint! With drum beats and guitar solos reminiscent of their earlier music stylings, this album brings back the old Metallica, the one the fans fell in love with! If metal had roots, this would be Metallica digging those musical roots into the ground and pulling up some damp, pungent, healthy earth. Well, welcome back guys!
With a new producer it seems as though Metallica has found their inner 80s rockers again, the product of which are long head throbbing songs, not one under 5 minutes long (most closer to the 7 or 8 minute mark), and a throw back to their earlier hits with songs like The Unforgiven III. This album is a perfect mix of the head banging soon-to-be classics and truly melodic feeling songs that even make my 1 year old bounce up and down.
There is a death theme supposedly set throughout the album, but it was hard for me to makeout. Maybe a few more listens and more concentration are needed to discern the dark meanings behind some of the lyrics. The husband and I already discussed one line in track 4, The Day That Never Comes in which Hetfield states "love is a four letter word". I came to the conclusion that he was musing that love is nothing more than a word. I strongly disagree with him phylosophically, but musically this album is a strong one.
This album's tough lyrics, and moshpit worthy beats are sure to inspire many an air guitar artist to pickup right where Metallica's earilier records left off. Death Magnet feels like it should have been released in the early 90s, wiping the slate clean of the country-rock sound of Load and the open wound sound of St. Anger. So, now, metal fans everywhere can come out of hiding and once again raise their hands with the symbol of rock and roll and give theirselves over to these new songs with as much ferver as they did in the 80s. Long live Metallica!
Monday, December 15, 2008
This leads me to wonder, are the big department stores really being hurt by the economy, or, perhaps, the "strange" new conscience that has made an appearance in the collective American mindset. I mean, can the mega corps really be victims at all? The poor pitiful rich guy sitting in his mansion having to, what, cut an extra trip to the Hamptons out of his schedule? Or is it the family who has invested their money in a new product idea, and after selling successfully, on a relatively small scale, can for the first time actually take a vacation? Hmmmm, which one evokes more emotion? With all the talk of raising our consciousness and helping our fellow man, it would only make sense that we would first see the product of those changes here, at home.
Now, am I completely ready to "pledge" only buying handmade or mom-made? Well, to be completely honest, I can't. Not financially. I still make rather frequent trips to Wally World (or Gates of Hell, as it is referred to in some of my circles) because finances require it, but then I've always been a Wal-Mart kind of girl on some level. I love a good bargain. I have, however, made a lot of changes in the products that I buy, and I am definitely buying more of our goods from smaller businesses. And if it came down to a corporate bail-out or a mompreneur bail-out, well, I think you can guess where my multibillion dollar check would go.
So, what do you think? Am I just off my rocker? Is my mind running off on crazy tangets, when the real reason is just that the economy sucks, plain and simple? I dunno. You tell me!
Friday, December 12, 2008
Who would have known that a teeny bopper vampire book would reach the mini-van set? The book and now movie that spans the age gaps has inspired an in depth website expressly for the Twerds who have the privilege of answering to the name "Mom". TwilightMOMS is a website dedicated to the Twilight books and Twilight movie(s) for mother's, from the perspective of mothers. The information on the website portion of TwilightMoms is always up to date with the latest book/movie scoop and they have even scored some much coveted interviews with the cast members from the Twilight movie!
The forum portion of the site is truly a comprehensive Twilight world! The site is so easy to navigate and no matter what you're looking for it's here. There are in depth discussions of each book, individual chapters, and the series as a whole. You can marinate over the symbolism kept up through out the series, or play one of the many games and adopt your favorite character, scene, or quote. The movie discussions are always a buzz, but the moderators are very particular at keeping things clean and family friendly. This is one place where you won't find the stars being bashed or their personal lives scrutinized. And what a relief! If you want smut, read a tabloid, if you want good hearted discussions with other moms who have fallen in love with Twilight, head over to TwilightMOMS! It's the mature way to be a Twi-Hard!
TwilightMOMS has been getting noticed on a rather grand scale of late! They were mentioned on the red carpet at the movie premiere of Twilight by Jennie Garth, the wife of Peter Facinelli who plays Carlisle in the movie. She was quoted as saying "There is a whole club called Twilight Moms. I feel like a junkie that's about to get my fix of Edward and Bella right now." This quote was later featured on the In Style website. So, go ahead, it's COOL to be a TwilightMOM!
The TwilightMOMS was world started a little over a year ago by mom Lisa. She was desperatly hoping that she wasn't the ONLY TwilightMOM and so the journey began. The site has grown fast and strong, and I attribute this to the professional manner in which the site has been operated. Well, all the pretty pictures of Robert Pattinson aren't so bad either. (Can I just say I swoon for his fwoopy hair? *insert school girl giggle*) This Wondermom went from knowing Myspace and Google at best, to now operating one of the TOP Twilight websites!
With their name in lights, their own list of Twilight gear, and even the cast of the Twilight movie sending them "Happy Birthday" wishes, there is nowhere for this wonderful site to go but up!
GIVEAWAY! TwilightMOMS is sponsoring this giveaway. One dazzling Grab Bag reader is going to recieve a TwilightMOMS tee shirt!! (logo says "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle is the Hand That Rules the World"
How to enter: Head over to Busy Mom and enter!
Everyone loves a cute shoe and recently there has been a new big buzz about Monkey-Toes. I've always loved them. They are really some of the cutest designs out there, just check out a few of these styles, including the ladybug maryjanes that Suri Cruise was seen wearing on Oprah. Suri Cruise is the daughter of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes and when Oprah featured a short clip of Suri wearing these adorable Monkey-Toes ladybug shoes, sales started going through the roof! So I wanted to say a big CONGRATS to Jenny Ford the creator of Monkey-Toes!
If you're interested in buying these adorable shoes for your little ones you can find the ladybug style ON SALE right now at Skimbaco for $29.99!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The 3 Rs are no longer known as Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. In today's day and age Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle are the new Rs on the block. My family has been taking steps over the last few years to reduce our carbon footprint and increase the amount of organic and recyclable products we bring into our home. So, needless to say, when I found out that Goody Green Bag was going to be sending me one of their ultra cool reusable bags to review I was ecstatic!
When I first opened the package the bag struck me more as a handbag than a grocery bag, and I felt a little twinge of sadness that it would be holding my milk instead of my wallet. The bags fold down into a little clutch shaped pouch and has a nice tight velcro closure keeping everything in it's place and holding the bag compact so that it is easier to store. When I opened the bag I was stunned by the size. It's very tall and, unlike most of it's competitors, has long handles that make it perfect for slinging over your shoulder. I commented to my husband that for a mother of 2 this is especially useful, because, when I go out with my boys, I don't have a spare hand to hold my bags! There is also a really nifty pouch on the front that is large enough for your wallet, but I used it for my receipts!
As if the aesthetically pleasing points of my Goody Green Bag aren't enough, it's tough to boot! Their website says it will easily hold 2 gallons of milk along with other groceries, and this was absolutely the case. The ultra lightweight feel of the fabric had me convinced there was no way that claim was possible, but this sturdy bag blew my doubts out of the water. It not only held my 2 gallons of water (side by side no less!) but also 4 cans of soup, and a bottle of mayonnaise, all without breaking a sweat. My shoulder gave out before the bag did.
One of the most amazing things about the Goody Green Bag isn't just it's appearance or strength, but the bag itself is recyclable. So, in the event that your bag becomes unusable you don't have to worry about throwing it in the trash. Just head over to the recycling bin, say your sad farewell, and even in your parting you are in keeping with the 3 Rs. Goody Green Bags are trendy, functional, durable, and eco-friendly. I have to say that these are definitely some of my new favorites and sure to be every mama's best friend!
GIVEAWAY! Goody Green Bag is sponsoring this giveaway. One lucky Grab Bag reader is going to receive a Goody Green Bag of their choosing!!
How to enter: Head over to Busy Mom to enter!
Does your little love have a favorite book? For my youngest that book is Busy! by Annie Kubler. He sits on the rug for endless amount of time just flipping from page to page, back to another page, and then to another. Busy! is a great action book that starts with movements like walk, push, reach, and then ends with interactions like kiss, share, and laugh. Each adjective has it's own adorable picture that little one's will just love!
The absolute best part of this book is how you and your child can act out each word together. This will keep a baby, and even an older child who has trouble sitting still, interested for the entire length of the book! Along with keeping your child active, and giving their attention span some exercise, this Busy! teaches good things like sharing, brushing your teeth and hair, giving, and caring for others. Busy! is so simple it's great for even the youngest toddler, but it has so many positive aspects you'll be reading it for years to come!
Annie Kubler has published many other wonderful children's books. Some of those are Waiting for Baby, My New Baby, and My First Signs. With such a helpful variety of books I strongly recommend that you treat your kiddos to an Annie Kubler book!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
My youngest son turned 1 year old on October 21st. *sniff sniff* Ok, holding the tears back. We had just moved from the deep south all the way over to the midwest, and had no family around for his birthday. So, before we moved we had an impromptu first birthday party with my parents where he opened all of his presents. Well, tell me what parent is going to let their child's actual first birth DAY pass without a single present? Not this mama!
We were still in the thick of unpacking and trying to get our house organized enough that it was liveable so I ran out to Target to see what I could see. Target has a great selection of toys, but for my little music lover, when I saw the Parents Bee Bop Band, I knew it was THE gift! 5 toys in 1, the drum is also the holder for the instruments, and there are enough different items that he can share with his brother. It was a winner! I grabbed it off the shelf and practically hid it in my coat, running to the register, so no one would steal this wonderful find from me. (Ok, so maybe that's a bit of an exageration, but I didn't want anyone to take it!)
This mini band was a huge hit with both boys from the moment they saw it. My youngest's favorite is the Xylophone Ladybug and my oldest loves the Drumsticks and, now that it's Christmas time, the "jingle bells", as he calls them. This set really is so cute! The colors are vibrant, and they're all made of a very sturdy plastic, except for the bells whose legs are a nice pliable plastic. It's so much fun for the kids to make their own music, and with the plethora of insturments included everyone in the family can be in the band at the same time! The fact that the drum is also the holder is a wonderful bonus! This makes cleanup a breeze, and even easier to store. We have a little spot on our bookshelves where it fits perfectly, but even sitting on the floor beside a toy box it won't look out of place.
For a retail price of $22.99 this Bee Bop Band is also a really great bargain! And if you buy it online at Target right now you also get free shipping! Be sure to order yours in time for Christmas!
My friend Lee over at MySentimentExactLee just posted a great review and $50 gift certificate giveaway for FuzziBunz brand cloth diapers! This is another great brand of cloth (along with Green Acre Designs that I did a review on here) and an amazing prize to boot! Everyone should enter!!