Have you been running around town like a crazy person this season? I know I’m not the only one who has said “Yes” to attending too many holiday events. Although I usually enjoy the time I spend at these special events and the fab people that attend, exhaustion kicks in and I find myself wanting more time for myself and family.
Since I usually overbook myself, I typically do holiday shopping (or any shopping besides for groceries) online. This year I have braved the crowds and have done some shopping at large retailers. Surprisingly, it has not been too bad. I haven’t had to endure long lines due to stores being short staffed or stores having a low inventory on the items I am looking for, which is a holiday shopper’s dream, right!?
Speaking of dreams, we have been in need of new bedding for a while now. My desire for more time for rest–good rest–led me to make a trip to Sears to find the perfect set of new sheets. I thought maybe if I get new bedding, the rest that I do get, will be more enjoyable and beneficial. We made it a family trip to the store, but when we arrived I realized both of our daughters had fallen asleep, which meant I needed to make my shopping trip as quick as possible. Luckily, I was able to easily find exactly what I wanted. Checking out was just as quick because prior to heading to the store I connected my checking account to the CurrentC app. Doing so allowed me to whip out my phone and easily scan a QR code to complete the transaction. Using the app had me back in my car with my husband and girls in just a few minutes.
Convenience at the Pump
The best thing happened on our way home from the mall! We stopped at Exxon Mobil for a quick fill up and before ever exiting the car, we initiated payment via CurrentC. After getting the desired amount of gas the transaction was completed through the app all while sitting in the car. Talk about convenience! Stopping at a gas station during the winter months in Columbus can be daring. Cold winds bite every part of you the second you step out of the car. It’s not unbearable, but it sure is inconvenient to be outside of the warmth of the car longer than you have to be.
In a previous post I shared how to use CurrentC, which is a free mobile app that is a mobile wallet, currently in beta and available only in Columbus, Ohio. Users can use the in-app location finder to see what retailers near them accept payment through CurrentC. Folks outside of Columbus should keep an eye out for the national roll out of the app. (You can read my post on how it all works here.)
I love the concept of the app because it takes the place of carrying several loyalty cards, clipping coupons and checking/credit cards and gift cards. App users can use their checking account to via the app at any merchant that accepts payment through CurrentC. Anything that can save time and money is worth using.
What could you use more of, money or time?
We have been blessed to not have had to deal with a lot of sicknesses in my home. Even the more common illnesses like the flu and the common cold hit our home at most three times a year. I am so thankful rarity because being sick or having sick little ones is a drag; however, when the sicknesses do come, treating one person in our house is the absolute worse-our four year old. Why is it so difficult to get some kids to take medicine?
My three year old almost loves to take medicine. In fact, she will make herself cough and falsely claim her stomach hurts to try and convince us to give her medicine. On the other hand, we have the worst time trying to give her anything besides food and a gummy vitamin. She refuses anything that remotely looks like medicine. We have tried adding medicine, when necessary, to her food and drinks and every single time, she figures us out! As parents we end up at our wits’ end and give up.
Last year a group of moms at our homeschool co-op introduced me to essential oils. They shared all the many benefits of using the oils which convinced me to try just a couple: lavender oil and OnGuard oil, a blend made specifically by DoTerra. I quickly found out how effective these oils are and since then I have used a total of six oils faithfully to help my family stay as healthy as possible: Lavender Oil, Peppermint Oil, OnGuard, Melaleuca Oil, Lemon Oil, and Breathe.
Oils I Regularly Use
My family drinks a lot of water, so when sickness comes, it isn’t hard to drink only water to flush out toxins, which is necessary for quick recovery. Water and oils (sounds like an oxymoron, right?) are my absolute go-to’s. The second I hear a sniffle or cough from one of the kiddos, I grab a handful of my oils.
These oils can be used in numerous ways, but I’m sharing only the ways I have used them for myself and my family.
- Sleep/relaxation aid
- Stress/headache relief
- Fever reducer
- Constipation relief
This oil is a combo of wild orange, clove bud, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary oils.
- Cough suppression
- Immune boost/support (especially when kids will be or have been around other children)
- Household cleaning agent
- Dry skin
- Facial toner
- Household cleaner
- Stress/headache relief
- Sore throat relief
- Runny nose
- Respiratory complications
How I Apply
Essential oils are potent, so although they usually come in small bottles, not much is needed to get the job done. For most applications I use 2-3 drops. Depending on the oil, I will use it along with a carrier oil like coconut oil to avoid skin irritation.
Below are ways I have applied essential oils for effective use:
- Add drops to bath water (used to fight colds and fevers)
- Rub on bottom of feet (I do this with most oils as it is extremely effective)
- Rub across forehead (especially for stress, headache or fever relief)
- Add to vaporizer water
- Rub on front and back of neck
- Rub behind the ears
- Rub on temples
Before using essential oils, you should read and compare several oils to see which ones will work best for you and your family. I am so grateful that some of the frustration of administering medicine to our oldest is behind us. Prayer and these fab oils keep us moving! Stay healthy!
Is getting your kids to take medicine a challenge in your house too?
Once a month for the next year I will receive FREE Krispy Kreme Doughnuts! Krispy Kreme Doughnuts have been my favorite doughnuts since I was a child. The gas station around the corner from my childhood home would get a fresh delivery of them around 10:00pm every night. Sometimes my mom, sister and I would sit in the car, waiting for the Krispy Kreme truck to arrive. We would save the doughnuts for the next morning’s breakfast. Thinking about it makes me laugh, but these treats are just that good!
Why I Am Getting Free Doughnuts
Krispy Kreme has just opened it’s third store here in Columbus. This third location is five minutes from my house. When I learned that this store was going up, I KNEW I wanted to be at the grand opening. I read all about the event’s details on the official KK website and was prepared to be there. Well, this past Tuesday at 4:00am, I woke up, freshened up and drove to the new store for its grand opening. When I arrived about 4:45am there was a nice size line wrapped around the building. It was pretty quiet and calm and most definitely, chilly.
A photo posted by MommyWifeLife–Teri Watters (@mommywifelife1) on
I got in line and soon found out I was the 80th person (later became the 79th) to join the crowd–just the news I wanted to hear! The first 100 were guaranteed to win doughnuts for a year. The very first person in line, who was a slim built man in his 30’s, won a prize of free doughnuts every week for a year–that’s a LOT of doughnuts! The first 150 people in line also received a commemorative shirt.
After the clock struck 6:00am, the store officially opened and the smell of doughnuts and coffee overwhelmed us all. Take a look inside:
Winners of the doughnuts for a year received a punch card and were allowed to receiver their doughnuts for the month that day. I took advantage of the deal by getting a dozen original glaze and added a couple more dozens of the same on top of that. Krispy Kreme doughnuts are a favorite amongst family and friends, so I got extra to share.
You normally won’t find me in many grand opening lines or Black Friday shopping crowds, but I thoroughly enjoyed the grand opening experience Krispy Kreme offered to Columbus. Now to have self-control and avoid the place until it’s time to use my free doughnuts card.
Have you ever stood in line at a similar event?
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MinionsAtTarget #CollectiveBias
Family time in our home almost always includes snacks, blankets on the floor and a kid-friendly film or show. Spending that time together helps us to unplug from the world and connect and build memories with each other. My preschoolers are fans of Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 and have viewed both countless times. One of the reasons they love the films is the inclusion of the little yellow guys, better known as minions. Minions are funny, have their own language and unpredictable, which is why kids everywhere are fans. On December 8, the Minions movie will be available for everyone to have in their home. Target is making sure families have the opportunity to get the Minions movie and then some. When you pre-order the Blu-Ray/DVD Metal Pak Deluxe Edition of the Minions movie online, you will also receive a $5 gift card. Your copy from Target will include 40 minutes of exclusive content! Whether choosing to get the movie shipped to your home on the release day or picking it up at the customer service desk, this option offers great convenience for us busy folks.
I have shared several times on the blog about my love (almost addiction) to shopping at Target. It’s both a blessing and a curse to live 4-5 minutes minutes away from the store. I’m pretty sure I know at least 3/4 of the regular team members.
You and I both know one can get practically anything from Target, which is why I love visiting. I’m a one-stop-shop type of shopper, especially when I am preparing for a party or family night. I can always count on them to have most of the items I need for a great event, which is why I headed there to get all my supplies for a minions movie night.
What’s a movie night without snacks? Although I don’t consider myself the most crafty mom on the block, I thought it would be fun to create a snack that was inspired by our lovable animated minion pals.
Minion Inspired Popcorn Balls
Stove-popped popcorn is one of my favorite snacks, so snacking on some is a must when I’m watching a movie with the family. Since we are in high anticipation of the Minions movie, I thought it would be a treat to have minion inspired popcorn balls for the kids to enjoy.
Getting a decent looking minion face on the popcorn balls was a little tricky and took some creativity. I knew, however, whatever I came up with, the girls would love simply because it was a minion. If you’re game for things to get a little messy, get the kids involved so they can make their own minion popcorn ball!MINION INSPIRED POPCORN BALLSYields 12Write a reviewSTOVE-POPPED POPCORN
POPCORN BALL MIXTURE
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil (you can use vegetable or canola oil if desired)
- 1 cup Market Pantry popcorn kernels
ITEMS NEEDED FOR DECORATING
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/3 cups water
- 1/2 cup Market Pantry light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- black licorice (package of standard size and the nib size)
- large marshmallows
- gray/silver decorating food gel
- blue cupcake wrappers
- POPCORN: In a large pot and on medium-high, melt coconut oil. Oil should cover the bottom of the pan. Once melted, add popcorn kernels. Continuously gently move the pot to ensure kernels are evenly heated. Once a kernel pops, cover pot with lid and continue to move the pot around until the majority of kernels have popped. Set aside in bowl.
- POPCORN BALL MIXTURE: Combine sugar, water, light corn syrup, vinegar and salt in a saucepan. Cook on high heat until mixture boils for 4-5 minutes or reaches 255 degrees fahrenheit. Stir in vanilla.
- POPCORN BALLS: Pour popcorn out on a cookie sheet and pour syrup mixture over the popcorn, coating every piece. Allow the popcorn to cool. Place cupcake wrappers in cupcake pan and set aside. Grease hands with coconut oil and form popcorn into balls. Place balls into the cupcake wrappers. Lightly cover and cool in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes to speed up the firming process.
- MAKE MINIONS: Cut marshmallows in half or thirds, depending on the desired eye size. Cut licorice (standard size) in half long ways and trim an inch off to form headband for googles. Cut licorice (nibs size) to form eyes and stick them onto the sticky side of the cut marshmallow. Add headband to the popcorn ball, followed by the eyes. To finish the goggles, outline the eyes with gray or silver decorating gel. To add hair, cut licorice into small pieces.
- The popcorn balls should be sticky enough to act as glue. If more “glue” is needed, use the decorating gel.
If you’re excited about the Minions movie, pre-order your copy of the Minions movie at Target.com! If you’re looking for other licensed Minions items for your movie night, you can find tons at your local Target. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook to stay in the know!
What are your favorite movie night snacks and recipes?
I received this product from Air & Water for review purposes. All thoughts expressed are 100% my own.
Why am I just discovering the ease of meal prep with a pressure cooker? All my years of cooking I have been overworked and deprived. As a child I remember seeing big pressure cooker pots sitting around in the kitchens of family members, but never did I see them in use. Over the Thanksgiving holiday I used a pressure cooker for the first time and I have used it every other day since.
Sweet potatoes are my favorite food to cook with during the holidays. There are many ways to prepare them and they are simply delicious (and healthy, depending on how they are prepared). I had the task of taking both sweet potato pies and casserole to our family’s Thanksgiving dinner this year. I decided I would skip the big pots of boiling water on the stove and cook the sweet potatoes for both dishes in my digital Fairwind FWPC6L Pressure Cooker.
Features of the Cooker Pressure
- Indicator beep at end of cycle and when removing or closing the lid
- Digital screen
- Keep warm function
- 6 liter pot
- 8 Preprogrammed multifunctions
- Stainless steel finish
- Easy to clean
- Lightweight and can be easily stored
- Includes rice measuring cup, 2 serving spoons & a stainless steel steam rack
Watch it in action:
It’s that simple to use! There are plenty of pre-programmed functions, so your cooking is really as simple as pressing a button. The On-demand Pressure function was best for getting my sweet potatoes soft and tender for mixing for the sweet potato casserole.
Since my initial use I have cooked sweet potatoes, cabbage, chicken sausage and potatoes, and two cornish hens in my pressure cooker. All my meals were completed in under 20 minutes! I had great joy in prepping the food, tossing it inside the pressure cooker and walking away until I heard it beep to indicate it being done–very little work. All of us with busy lives live for quick and delicious meals, right?
If talking about cooking made you hungry, here’s the recipe for the sweet potato casserole that I’ve shared at Thanksgiving meals for the past three years. It is said to be a copycat of a national steak house franchise. I’ve never eaten this particular dish at that restaurant, however, this side dish delicious and is comfort and dessert in one bite. Pin the recipe for later!
Sweet Potato CasseroleSWEET POTATO CASSEROLEServes 6This is a great side dish for any meal, but especially holiday meals.Write a reviewPrep Time5 minCook Time45 minTotal Time50 minINGREDIENTS
- SWEET POTATO MIXTURE
- 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs (well beaten)
- 1 stick butter melted
- CRUST TOPPING
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/3 butter melted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook sweet potatoes in pressure cooker (or boil) with skin on for 15 minutes. Remove skin from potatoes and add to a large mixing bowl. Mash potatoes and add/combine the sugar, salt, vanilla, eggs and butter in mixing bowl. Pour into a buttered baking dish. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, nuts and butter for crust. Sprinkle the crust mixture evenly on the top of the sweet potato mixture. Bake in oven for 30 minutes. Allow the dish to set before serving.
This post may include affiliate links. See disclosure.
Have you ever used a pressure cooker? If so, what’s your favorite meal to prepare while using one?
This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure here. Some products were received for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.
What should be on a homeschooler’s Christmas list? I’ve discovered these great items and put them together in this homeschooler’s holiday gift guide so you too can discover and share these items with your little learners, creating fun-filled days of learning.
A Homeschooler’s $50 And Under Holiday Gift Guide
Delta Character Chairs
If you’re raising avid readers, then great books and a cozy corner is a must! If your child doesn’t get excited about diving into a book, add their favorite characters to the mix. Delta offers both club and upholstered chairs with characters that kiddos love and sized perfectly for children ages 1-5 years old. Their club chairs ($29.99 at Target.com) are available in Cars, Frozen, Minnie Mouse and Ninja Turtles. The upholstered chairs, like the one pictured above, (currently $47.99 at Target.com) are available in Frozen and Paw Patrol. You can grab yours at Target.com. If you’re looking for the Paw Patrol style you’ll have to order online and choose store pickup at your local Target store.
I received the Delta Chair as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scouts program.
Mama May I Story Starters
The Mama May I Story Starters kit ($25.00 at Educents.com) inspires children of all ages to use their imagination and create awesome stories. Get your learners enthused about creative writing and storytelling with this classic tool. Each Story Starters kit comes in a tin box which includes:
- 4 Six-sided topic wooden dice
- Moleskin notebook for writing a story
- Symbol key
- Play instructions and suggestions
This kit would make a great stocking stuffer and can last for years to come. Want ideas on how to play? Check out my full review of the item.
Highlights Puzzle Buzz Club
Puzzle lovers, like my children, could sit for long amounts of time with Highlight’s Puzzle Buzz Club (Regularly $5.95 per book, plus $2.98 S+H). This club is kids ages 4-7 and includes:
- 2 new books every four weeks
- 32 pages of fun for quiet time or for sharing with friends
- Mazes, word games, codes and more activities
- 3 sticker puzzles in each book
Highlights is currently running a great promotion for you to get the first two books free! Click the link below to take advantage of the deal.
Receive 2 FREE books + a free tote with every Puzzle Buzz purchase at Highlights.com
Highlights Top Secret Adventures Club
Yep, another Highlights Item has made my list. I grew up with Highlights and their brand has been consistently providing great resources and fun to children for years. The Highlights Top Secret Adventures Club is for cool kids ages 7 and up who are curious and, of course, adventurous. Readers can “travel the world” through each book which includes:
- Mission Assignment Letter
- 32-page Puzzle Books
- Villain Cards
- Fact-filled Country Guidebooks
- Case File storage Portfolio
- FREE World Map and Passport with Visa Stickers
- FREE Mission Tag and Spy Ring
The Top Secret Adventures Club books are regularly $13.95 per kit every four weeks, plus shipping for $2.95. There’s a special going on to receive a kit for FREE plus 99¢ for shipping.
Melissa & Doug Tabletop Puppet Theater
Turning cardboard boxes into cars, boats, and puppet theaters for puppet shows excites my daughters more than a lot of things. Like most children, they love using their imaginations AND putting on shows. If you’re kiddo does too, Melissa & Doug have the perfect tabletop theater ($49.99 on Melissa & Doug) to allow your kids’ imaginations run wild. If you’re familiar with Melissa & Doug then you know you can count on their toys to be made of top quality materials that last.
After long days of learning, kids can wind down by playing their Nintendo 3DS. Animal lovers will love the Petz Beach by UBISOFT ($11.46 on Amazon.com) where they can explore sandy beaches while learning about a couple dozen breeds of dogs, several breeds of cats, plants and insects.
What’s on your Christmas list for your classroom?