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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't miss out! Spectacular September give-aways over at My Preschool Daze

To show appreciation for educators in all areas of the field, from public to private to homeschool, from pre-k through college-level, I am hosting some contests on my blog. I have some great Etsy sellers on board to donate prizes a teacher would use and appreciate.

This past week I had two winners of a nice Hip Notions Tool Belt. Congrats Julie and Jamie! 

 This week's give away is a nice little set of learning games from Etsian "Time to Teach Kidz". Please visit her shop and tell her you found her on my blog. ;) You can find her on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/people/teachkidz33

And don't forget to drop by my education blog at www.iteach16kids.blogspot.com to enter to win. Deadline is Sunday the 29 of Sept.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Caramel Banana Pie

 We had a homecoming meal at church yesterday and there is always such good food! Church dinners are the best dinners around. Such a variety of items to fit even the most picky eater. And there is always something new being offered up on the buffet table.  So it's a lot of fun to sample and taste-test all the new flavors and dishes. Yesterday did not disappoint.

 There were two new dishes I tried; one was a slaw of some sort with pineapple chunks but I missed the recipe on that one. The other is a delicious pie made by my pastor's wife, which I did catch, and am posting now. Good. For you.

 Drum roll please...Caramel Banana Pie. Or as Pennywisecook.com calls it, Banoffee Pie. Her recipe is so good and simple, that I will now direct you to her blog to test it for yourself. She also tells why the pie was called Banoffee and where it originated from, so it's kind of neat to get in a little culture and trivia to boot.
The only differences one might make in her recipe is to use already-caramelized sweetened condensed milk instead of cooking the can of SCM 2-plus hours until it turns into caramel. The cost of using the already-made caramel stuff might out-weight the amount of time spent cooking, as one tiny can of Nestle's La Lechera dulce de leche set me back close to $5.00! Geez, that's pretty pricey. And using an already-made graham cracker crust cuts a little off the prep time.

 So without further delay (because I know you're wanting to make this recipe for your very own), here is the link to the pie:

Dinner in a Dash: Rotel Dip

Ok, so I am cheating a slight bit tonight and posting a crock pot recipe. The reason for this is that assembling the ingredients really does happen in a dash. Then you just let the crock pot work its magic. :) Although this is really an appetizer, my family likes to eat it as a fast meal.

Crock Pot Rotel Dip
 All you need is:
1 pound of ground sausage or hamburger meat, browned and drained
1 loaf of Velveeta cheese
1 can Rotel tomatoes

Take your browned beef or sausage, the cheese, and Rotel tomatoes and
 put them in the crock pot on low for 3-4 hours. Serve the dip warm with tortilla chips.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Preschool Daze: Spectacular September Blog Give Away

My Preschool Daze: Spectacular September Blog Give Away:    I am so excited! I have had around 8 GREAT ETSY SELLERS who have been kind enough to agree to send me items to give away on my blog! Eac...

Product review: Rimmel's 25 hour-Lasting Finish Foundation

  I have been stuck in hot, humid TN for too long. Don't get me wrong; I love TN. Can't think of any other state I'd want to live in except maybe North Carolina...or Virginia...or Massachusettes. Okay, so I do like a few other places. But I love the TN mountains, the trees, the green all around. But man, in the summer, an 85 degree day can feel like 110 degrees and the humidity hits your face like a soggy sponge as soon as you leave the air conditioned comfort of home or vehicle.

 I also work in a daycare and we spend a good portion of our day outside. Now we don't stay out when it's too hot, mind you, but too hot for my body is pretty much year round, every day. I kind of go to extremes...when I'm hot, I'm SWELTERING. And when I'm cold, I'm FREEZING. So when everyone else is enjoying the playground, I am roasting. And there goes my makeup. :( So annoying! UGH! Why bother, you know? Well, last week I reviewed a product called Sweat Block Pads, which you can find in another post. And they seem to be helping cut down on the sweat factor. But I wanted to get some good makeup too, and see if that helps. I went to my local Walmart (where else?) and cruised the makeup aisle. I read labels as fast as my husband and 8-year old would let me, and decided to try the Rimmel based on one thing...the label says it lasts for 25 hours. Wow, there aren't even that many hours in a day so this stuff MUST be great, right?!!

 I picked out the lightest color I could find (Ivory 100, which still looked dark to me, a very ivory kind of gal), and brought it home. Truthfully, I don't know the price because I lost the receipt and didn't care about the price as long as it performed for 25 hours. So I'm not much help to you there. ;)

 First thing I noticed is how dark the makeup appeared in the tube, but when I got it on, it wasn't dark at all. And the smell is very heavenly...light, clean, some sort of lemon-ish scent perhaps. I like the scent a lot. The texture felt kind of heavy until I started spreading it out, then it felt more light-weight.

 I barely sweated since I've been wearing this all week due to a little cold snap that we suddenly decided to have. But it seems to stay on pretty well. How it would handle in severe heat and humidity I'm not sure, although the back of the tube says it's sweat and humidity-proof. Now as to it lasting 25 hours...well, when I remove my makeup at night on a pad, there is a lot of foundation on that pad so I am feeling like it is lasting on most of my face from 6:30 am until 10 pm (the normal skin zone anyway). But the oily zone, if you're like me and have one, will appear shiny after 2-3 hours. I can't ever find a makeup that controls shine the way I'd like. But recall, I bought this one to last, not necessarily to stop my radiant glowing.

 So far I am satisfied enough with the product that I would likely purchase it again. But I'd like to hear from ladies who have worn it in extreme heat and humidity and see what you think.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Sweat Block: part 1 of the product review series

  Today I'll be posting a product review on my blog. There are three new products (well, new to me) that I am trying and I will give my honest opinion on here as I have time. I don't get reimbursed or compensated in any way for these posts (although I'd gladly do more reviews, dear sponsors, who just might be reading).

The first product on my review list is called Sweat Block.
Sweat Block pads are like baby wipes, each sealed in its own pouch. The goal of a sweat block pad is pretty obvious. But what ingredients are they made of, are they easy to use, and most importantly, do they actually work?

 I purchased my box of Sweat Block pads at my local Walmart at a cost of about $7 for my pack of 5, which is a 5-week supply. The only active ingredient listed is 14% aluminum chloride.  Now I don't usually spend money on things which I consider frivolous (and yes, it seems as though $7 deodorant might fall into that category), but when you are desperate, you will try just about anything. 

 I have always been a hot-natured person and unfortunately, this nature likes to manifest its ugly self right onto my face. Even when I was a tall, skinny-minny, 117-pound high school senior, I was hot-natured. My outdoor senior photos were shot at Fall Creek Falls State Park, and in them, there is a lovely shine, eh, glow, on my face. :(  I tend to be miserable beyond belief in the muggy TN summers we have, and even in the freezing winter, I can still break a sweat. I attribute it to a mixture of weight gain, nerves, and likely hyperhidrosis, which I'll probably get checked out one day. 

   So back to the pads...the instructions are simple: you wait until a time when your sweat glands won't be very active for 4-5 hours (such as overnight) and you press, not rub, a fresh pad onto clean, dry skin. So after my shower on Sunday evening, I went for it, and tore open the first pad. Only I did something a little differently (and I am certainly not endorsing trying this at home) but I pressed a bit onto my face first. Then I used it on my under arms and other spots prone to sweat when I'm standing on the playground at work. Now let me make it clear also that nowhere on the package does it say to use anywhere except the under arm area. So what I did could have been disastrous considering I have developed so many new allergic reactions to various soaps and lotions this past year. But I am sick of intense sweating and I did it anyway. I figured the worst that would happen is I'd swell up, break out into a rash, and look like the teacher from the Black Lagoon on my first day in my new classroom come Monday morning.

  I felt a tingling, tightening sensation on my skin after use, but it wasn't really unpleasant or unbearable. The package warns one might experience itching after use, which I was kind of scared of, because these new allergies have caused me to have insane daily itching in the past year. Lo and behold, I never experienced any itching from using the product.

 So that's the low-down on the application. But how does it work?

 I spent Monday morning in my new classroom at work. I was a bit nervous in anticipation of the new class and how the day would go. I could feel my body heating up, but I didn't feel like I was sweating a lot. We took our classes out on the playground to play before the mid-day heat kicked in. It was only in the low 80's and not particularly muggy, but even still, I will break a massive sweat on the playground. I mean massive...and my face gets the brunt of it with my makeup sliding off and making me look clammy and sick within minutes. Not on Monday. I sweated a bit on the playground but overall, it wasn't horrible as usual. I caught myself dabbing my face a bit once or twice, but I wasn't pouring or dripping, which is always a good sign.

 This is day 2 and I'm off work, sitting home blogging (er, I mean, studying, yeah studying), so its nice and cool inside and my Sweat Block hasn't gotten a full workout today. But tomorrow will be another day in my busy pre-k classroom and a fun trip to the playground. I will see how the next few days goes and keep you posted. 

 Meanwhile, let me hear from you. Have you tried Sweat Block and how did it work for you?

Come back later on in the week to see my reviews of Hard Candy's Sheer Envy Skin Perfecting Primer and Rimmel's Lasting Finish 25-Hour Foundation.



Monday, September 9, 2013

Dinner in a Dash "Chicken and rice"

Here comes another easy, tasty, and fast dinner.

                                                     Chicken and Rice

You'll need:
2 cups prepared Minute Rice
1 small can cream of chicken soup
1 small can cream of broccoli, celery, or cheese soup, your choice
1 large can chunk chicken breast, undrained
salt and pepper to taste

  Start by preparing 2 cups of Minute Rice as directed on the package. While the rice is cooking, mix together the remaining ingredients in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently. When the rice is cooked and fluffed, add the hot chicken soup mixture and mix well.

 That's it!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Reading Eggs Free 5-week trial!

As I was sitting in the doctor's office this morning reading Parenting magazine, I saw an ad for a new web site called Reading Eggs. It was colorful, very graphic-intense, and immediately caught my eye. You see, I have a child who is encountering some trouble reading this year, and the appeal of flashy game sites lures her in, whereas I want her to learn something from the games she's playing. So I am always willing to test a web site and see if she likes it and if she grows from it.

   Well, Reading Eggs tossed me the bait and reeled me right in! They are offering a free 5- week (yes, you read it right...5-WEEK) trial.  You can try this amazing offer at http://readingeggs.com/try . Let me also quote a bit from their website so you can get an idea of what they claim to provide:

A Breakthrough In Learning To Read!

Reading Eggs Will Teach Your Child To Read In Just Weeks! Register For Your FREE 5 Week Trial Now.
Reading Eggs provides a comprehensive range of online reading lessons, activities and ebooks that teach kids aged 3-13 the core literacy skills needed for reading success.

Featuring colorful animations, catchy music, sing-a-longs and heaps of exciting rewards, Reading Eggs makes learning to read fun and motivational for children. 

Take advantage of our FREE 5 week trial and see how your child’s reading improves with Reading Eggs!

Proven Reading Results

  • Over 90% of parents have noticed an improvementin their child’s reading ability since using Reading Eggs
  • Based on solid scientific research
  • Used by over 2 million children (and counting!)
  • Developed by expert educators with 20+ years’ experience
  • Money-back guarantee

Why Children Love Reading Eggs

  • Over 512 interactive games, motivating rewards and songs
  • Makes reading fun – kids want to learn
  • One–on–one lessons match your child’s ability
  • Detailed assessment reports show and recognize progress
  • Suitable for children aged 3 – 13
  •  -from  www.readingeggs.com, Blake Elearning, 2013
I plan to give this site a try. If any of you test it in your home or classroom, please come back here to blog about your experiences.


Monday, September 2, 2013

"Dinner in a Dash" Series

   It can be frustrating to try to whip up a fast and filling dinner on a weeknight (in between soccer and gymnastics and piano and church and scouts and homework and housework and baths and dog-walking...well, you get the picture). I love to eat and I am a big fan of comfort foods, but who has time to spend hours baking and layering and chopping? Maybe on a Saturday afternoon but definitely not Monday-Friday in my home.

 So this month's challenge is to find tasty dinners that can be made in a flash, and if they please children and husbands and are filling, that's an A+ in my book. With this in mind I'm starting a new series on No Place Like Home called "Dinner in a Dash". I'd love to have you share your best easy dinners on here, too. So feel free to post a recipe in the comments box. ;)

Hearty Nachos

**This filling is just as good as a burrito, served in a warmed flour tortilla.

1 pound ground beef, browned and drained
1 package dry taco seasoning
1 can Rotel, mild or hot, your preference
1 can re-fried beans
tortilla chips 

Toppings of choice: shredded cheddar or fiesta blend cheese, sliced olives, chopped jalapenos, sour cream, salsa, chopped green onions, diced tomato, etc. 

While ground beef is browning, chop any toppings needed (and warm flour tortillas, if making burritos instead of nachos). Brown beef until no pink remains, then drain ground beef. Stir in 1 can Rotel, 1 pack taco seasoning, and 1 can re-fried beans. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Spread tortilla chips on plates and call in the crowd. :) Start by spooning the hot ground beef mixture onto the chips, and then top with any veggies, cheeses, etc. that you like. 

From skillet to table in only ten minutes, feeds a hungry crowd, and can be personalized to please even the most picky eaters in your house, this take-off of Taco Bell's Nachos Bell Grande is a favorite in my kitchen.

photo credit: Tojosan via photopin cc