How to Survive the Chaos When Your Husband Leaves Town

How to Survive the Chaos When Your Husband Leaves Town

Ever since my kids were babies, my husband has worked a job that requires him to leave town periodically.  With no family in the area and having just moved in when my first was born, I had zero people I could turn to for help.  It was incredibly challenging to be the sole parent 24/7 for them and the experience gave me an amazing respect for single parents.  I don't know how they manage to maintain their sanity with all of the demands of day and night parenting without a spouse to fall back on.  When your husband leaves town, how do you keep chaos from taking over your lives?  Can you make it to the end of the day without have a nervous breakdown induced by a two year old who decides that the fish really wants to swim in the toilet bowl?  Now that my kids are teens, things have gotten a … [Read more...]

Rosemary and Cheddar Cheese Straws and the Beauty of Puff Pastry!

Rosemary and Cheddar Cheese Straws and the Beauty of Puff Pastry!

This post has been sponsored by Pepperidge Farm but all opinions are my own. Everyone has their own unique entertaining style.  Some people choose elegance, fine china and flutes of expensive champagne.  Some people choose takeout and football.  I tend to fall somewhere in between.  I like the food I serve at parties to LOOK elegant and complicated but to be incredibly easy to make!  After my recent experience at the Pepperidge Farm Game Night Party, I have decided that Puff Pastry is definitely my new favorite party food! At the recent Pepperidge Farm party, we were treated to an amazing array of foods from Stacie at Divine Lifestyle, and her husband.  I was truly amazed at the versatility that the Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry offered.  There were both sweet and savory dishes … [Read more...]

Brown Bag Microwave Popcorn Helps You Save Money and Eat Healthier

Brown Bag Microwave Popcorn Helps You Save Money and Eat Healthier

I would like to know how I have grown into a relatively intelligent adult without knowing that you can make microwave popcorn using a plain brown paper bag.  Seriously...I am stunned!  The other day I stumbled across a post on The Snappy Gourmet that showed how to make Italian Brown Bag Microwave Popcorn.  I admit, I was skeptical.  Surely, it wasn't as easy to make this as she showed, right?  WRONG! I always have popcorn kernels in my pantry.  I have a hot hair popcorn popper that I drag out periodically to indulge our popcorn needs.  I also buy the occasional box of microwave popcorn for the kids because heaven forbid they have to do anything other than push a button to make popcorn.  I try to buy the 'natural' varieties since those weird chemical things in there kind of scare me. … [Read more...]

Movies for Teens: How do you Know Which Ones are Appropriate?

Movies for Teens: How do you Know Which Ones are Appropriate?

As of less than one month ago, I am officially the parent of two teenagers.  It's a rather scary thought, to be honest, and I seriously hope I don't screw it up somehow.  There are so many external factors that influence how our teenagers mature and very few of them do parents have any actual control over.  Teens get so much of their knowledge from peers, books, TV and movies that it's a wonder any of them become productive adults nowadays.  Have you seen what Hollywood is throwing at us left and right? Trying to decide which movies for teens are appropriate has become very difficult. I tend to be a fairly liberal parent but I still want to know what they are watching. When I actually sit down and check out some of their favorite YouTube stars or glance at their top teen sitcom choices … [Read more...]

Grocery Shopping Tips for Healthier Eating

Grocery Shopping Tips for Healthier Eating

I bet I'm not the only one who ate way too many Christmas cookies last month.  Every time you turn around in December, there are cookies, eggnog, and other delectable goodies just begging for you to eat one...or three! This month, my pants are definitely a little more snug than they used to be.  As a result, I am looking at my grocery shopping habits to try and make some changes.  If healthier eating is on your agenda this year, you may have to make some changes to your grocery shopping procedures if you want to succeed on your weight loss journey.  Here are a few simple changes you can make to your grocery shopping for healthier eating this year. Grocery Shopping Tips for Healthier Eating 1.  Don't go hungry.  You hear this one all the time and it is very true!  Going to the grocery … [Read more...]

Homemade Cajun Spice Mix for your next Mardi Gras Recipe

Homemade Cajun Spice Mix for your next Mardi Gras Recipe

I grew up in New England and the most exciting 'ethnic' food I remember having as a kid was pizza.  For those of you who are not familiar with New England cooking, to say it is bland is a bit of an understatement.  Don't get me wrong....I love New England clam chowder and homemade baked beans and my mom's pot roast.  But they aren't making my mouth scream "WOW...spicy!".  When I moved down to Texas after college, my taste buds went through a bit of culture shock!  Suddenly I was inundated with jalapenos and shrimp covered in Cajun spice mix and it was like my mouth died and went to heaven!  If you love jalapenos as much as I do, check out my Baked and Stuffed Jalapeno recipe! Cajun food has become one of my all time favorites in terms of flavor.  Gumbo, etouffe, crawfish, … [Read more...]

Tips for Raising a Well Rounded Teenager

Tips for Raising a Well Rounded Teenager

As my children move into high school and we start thinking more and more about college, I find myself worrying about raising a well rounded teenager.  Academics have never been a problem for my kids.  I am incredibly lucky that both my children were accepted into the gifted program early on in elementary school and good grades come fairly easily for them. So, what's the problem?  As my kids get older,  the schools are starting to push more and more challenging materials at them.  You think that's a good thing, right?  But the track they were heading down had them in college level courses by their Junior year in high school.  I decided to start putting on the breaks on this 'academic rigor' they were pushing us towards.  I began to realize that it is just as important to raise a well … [Read more...]

Cranberry Almond Donut Recipe for a Valentine’s Day Treat

Cranberry Almond Donut Recipe for a Valentine’s Day Treat

This donut recipe contains affiliate links. I am pretty sure that the smell of warm, yummy donuts is about the best aroma on earth.  We live right near a Krispy Kreme donut bakery and the kids love getting them on a Saturday morning for a special treat.  I decided to try my hand at making homemade donuts as a pre Valentine's Day breakfast. The donut recipes I came across online all seemed very simple so I bought myself a donut pan on Amazon and got to work!  If you would like to treat your kids on Valentine's Day (or any day!) I highly recommend you try out this donut recipe! The batter for this donut recipe was incredibly easy but I did add WAY too much batter to the pans. As they baked, these homemade donuts looked more like muffins as they rose up out of the pan and … [Read more...]

Toxic Soap Ingredients You Need to Avoid

Toxic Soap Ingredients You Need to Avoid

Washing hands keeps you healthy, right?  That's what all the doctors tell us.  But what if washing your hands actually makes you sick? Have you ever looked at the back of your bar soap package and read the list of soap ingredients?  Do you recognize any of them?  Are they words you are familiar with or are they chemical names you can't pronounce?  If you have sensitive skin or are concerned about the beauty products you expose yourself to, understanding soap ingredients is incredibly important.  Is your bar soap neon green?  Does it make the entire bathroom smell like freshly cut grass or some other ridiculous sounding smell?  Chances are, those products contain soap ingredients that are probably not all that healthy for you. Today, I am heading over to my local soap crafter to buy some … [Read more...]

Orange and Ginger Simmering Spices

Orange and Ginger Simmering Spices

Remember right before Christmas when you were baking all those luscious cookies and candy?  Remember how warm and inviting your house smelled?  The aroma of cinnamon and cloves that wafted up from the oven as your pumpkin pie or snicker-doodles baked inside?  I love that smell.  There is something so cozy about a house that smells like something delicious has just come out of the oven.  Of course, if I want to fit in my pants, the holiday baking has to come to an end eventually! Never fear though....your house can still smell good! With these heavenly orange and ginger simmering spices, your house can continue to smell divine even though you are making salads instead of cookies! These simmering spices use no essential oils and are added to a pot of simmering water on the stove.  … [Read more...]