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Saturday, December 1, 2012

How we spent our November....

The first week of November found us in Florida, where my son & I spent several wonderful days at the beach with my Aunt ~ it was relaxing, restorative, and perfect.  Exactly what we needed!






Early morning walks on the beach, searching for shells & watching the sun rise.  Then some pool time - the weather was perfect - mid to high 70 degree temps!  Spent our afternoons shopping or watching movies in the condo.  We ate breakfast one morning at our favorite place - Another Broken Egg.  And ate dinner out once - takeout from Tijuana Flats (for me & D), and The Crab Trap (Aunt Anne's pick!).  The rest of the time we ate things we brought from home or picked up at Publix down there.  Then it was time for more swimming at the pool, before D & I took a sunset walk on the beach.  We had so much fun!

Once we came home,  we celebrated D's 9th birthday.  Where has the time gone?   We had a small party at a local fun center - two of his best friends were able to come, but one other friend got sick and couldn't come play.  So the three boys played laser tag, made their way through the laser maze, and played lots of games.  Then we had queso & chips plus pepperoni pizza for dinner in the cafe.  Way too much fun!




Next up - David graduated from the first part of his Junior Master Gardener class.  He will finish the second part of the class next Spring & be a certified Jr. Master Gardener then! : ) 



Then it was time to get my canning groove on....

a small list of what I got done this Fall ~ blueberry cinnamon jam,  cherry almond preserves (won 2nd prize at the county fair this year!), carrot cake jam, pear butter, Christmas jam (Strawberry/Cranberry), and pickled cranberries.  Also canned some bananas and some butter!







I put up dozens of jars - but I'll probably give alot away for Christmas gifts!

So you can see that we stayed really busy this November.  Tomorrow we head to Stone Mountain to play in the Snow, then go tubing.  After a quick dinner we'll watch the nightly Christmas parade and check out the seasonal shows.  I'll have a full review up here later this week.  If you are in Atlanta, Christmas at Stone Mountain is not to be missed!

Glad to be back here blogging - and hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! (ours was quiet but nice!)


 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Zaycon Meats are amazing! Bacon, Chicken, Ham & more!

Zaycon offers the freshest meats you can buy and it's sold in bulk, so you can split the packages with friends, or repackage them and freeze them yourself! They offer their incredible deals across the country, so everyone can sign up. If they don't have an event near you - sign up anyway! Once they get a good number of people signed up in a new area, they start offering events there too!


The next event they have is the Bacon & Ham event.   The bacon deal is 30 lbs (in two boxes - each has two 7.5 lb pkgs of hickory smoked bacon - super easy to share with a friend or two!) for $3.29 a lb. - such a great deal!! The ham deal is two individually packaged 10 lb hams for $3.29 a lb. Again - this is perfect for sharing with a friend - you each get a 10 lb ham and you each save a bundle!!   They also offer deals at various times throughout the year on fresh meat and produce, for example - fresh boneless, skinless natural chicken breasts (our favorite!), bing cherries, fresh strawberries, Wild Alaskan-Caught Sockeye Salmon, Wild Alaskan True Cod Fillets, and more!  It is worthwhile to register so you can see what events are coming your way!

With Zaycon, you order online, then on the day of the event, you drive through a local church or other pick up spot to have your order loaded right into your car - quick & easy! If you use my referral link, I get a small credit when you purchase, so I'd be grateful if you'd click through here to sign up! : ) https://www.zayconfoods.com/refer/zf118657   and you'll need to enter my referral name, which is aimeeransom.

Thanks!!  Let's all save money on great, natural foods!


Giveaway ~ Safees Traffic Reflectors



First, my apologies to my sponsor, Safees Traffic Reflectors.  They sent me samples and reflectors to give away just before my Nana passed away, and I've been SO lax in getting this posted.  Blogging has been difficult to get back to, but I'm getting there.   Thanks for being patient with me, y'all!

Halloween is almost upon us.  Kids love to trick or treat in the dark, but parents worry! Even if you are out with your kids, you worry about the cars driving through your neighborhood.  Can they see your kids?  Or if you have little ones who get on the bus in the dark each morning - can the drivers headed out to work see them?  Does your family walk at night? How visible are you to the drivers on the road?  One more thing to worry about, right Moms?

Here is some information from Safees ~

On average, a pedestrian is killed in a traffic crash every 120 minutes. Almost two-thirds of pedestrian fatalities occur when the light condition is either dark or dark with street lights.

No matter how well a driver thinks he can drive, the fact is that visibility is severely impaired in the dark. Pedestrians, bicyclists, skaters and others not driving a vehicle are at great risk to be hurt simply because they are not clearly visible to traffic.  In order to reduce traffic accidents and make our children and ourselves safer on US roads, Safees is introducing hard prism traffic safety reflectors to the USA.


Safees are hard prism reflectors that are attached by a simple pin to your clothes at knee or thigh height. By letting the Safees swing freely, facing traffic, it will reflect oncoming cars’ headlights and increase your visibility, alerting drivers to your presence on the road and giving drivers more time to stop or steer clear,  avoiding accidents.  Check out this video to see Safees in action!  It is amazing to see how low visibility is without Safees.  Be prepared ~ you will be shocked at the difference they make!

Did you know that Scandinavian countries have the best traffic safety records in the whole world and reflectors are household staples?   In fact,  in Sweden every school child wears one and traffic fatalities involving children are the lowest in the world (WHO: Global Status report on Road Safety).  Why don't we in the US use them? 

Safees are super-easy to wear -as I mentioned before, you just clip or pin one on you or your child at knee or thigh height on the side facing traffic. That is where a car's headlight will hit, making them shine brightly in the night!  You can buy a clip for the reflector on the Safees site for only .75.   We will be wearing ours on Halloween and any other time we are out at night - it's such an easy way to stay visible and safe!  Your kids will love wearing them, because they come in a variety of shapes, colors and interests!  (I've chosen to show the soccer ball, bear and owl,  but there are plenty more on the website!)

Safees are manufactured in Finland and are CE and Lloyds certified.  Safees adheres to all relevant ISO standards as well as meeting the very high EU standards for environmental consideration; no waste is produced when manufacturing Safees and, naturally, Safees are themselves 100% recyclable.  :0)

Safees can be attached to anyone moving around in traffic: pedestrians, cyclists, horses, strollers, pets, skaters, etc.   This is one of my favorite products of 2012 - it's affordable, easy to use, and will help keep you and your kids safe!

Safees are available at www.safees.com. They are $6 each and come in wide variety of fun designs and colors, as I mentioned above.  Discounts are available for schools and nonprofit organizations.   Also,  for Just Kidding Around Atlanta readers, use code Safeesbacktoschool2012 for 15% off at www.safees.com.  

Now for my giveaway!  Safees has generously provided a pack of three assorted Safees plus clips for each. You only need one per person, so you will get enough for three people!  Since this is running late,  I can't guarantee they will arrive in time for Halloween, but the time change is coming up soon.  That means it will be getting darker earlier and these will be a great winter accessory for your family!  There are two mandatory entries via rafflecopter, and then several options to get extra entries.  I will draw the winner on Sunday night and notify them by email.  Thanks for stopping by, and good luck!  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

FREE Small Premium Roast Coffee at McDonald's this week!


FREE PREMIUM ROAST McCAFÉ COFFEE ALL WEEK LONG

ATLANTA AREA McDONALD’S SAY THANK YOU TO CUSTOMERS WITH A FREE SMALL PREMIUM ROAST COFFEE

McDonald’s celebrates national coffee day all week LONG

Enjoy a FREE Small Premium Roast McCafé Coffee at Participating McDonald’s September 23-29

ATLANTA, GA. (Sept. 17, 2012) – Next week, participating McDonald’s restaurants in Atlanta will say “Thank You” to consumers and celebrate National Coffee Day by offering FREE small Premium Roast McCafé Coffee the week of Sept. 23-29.

“Serving hot, freshly brewed coffee is a universal way to show appreciation and we’re thrilled to share our Premium Roast McCafe Coffee with customers for free,” said John Tamasi, Atlanta area owner/operator. “No strings attached – just visit a participating McDonald’s and enjoy a FREE small coffee at one of our 277 restaurants in the Atlanta area.”

Coffee isn’t just for breakfast anymore, according to recent findings by the National Coffee Association. Daily coffee consumption soared by seven percentage points in 2011, moving coffee solidly ahead of soft drinks, according to the 2012 National Coffee Drinking Trends report.

Atlanta area consumers can pair their free Premium Roast McCafe Coffee with 2 for $3 Egg McMuffins or Fruit & Maple Oatmeal for $1.99.

A week of Free Premium small Coffee at McDonald’s is happening at participating restaurants across the Eastern United States – from Maine to Miami. Consumers can enjoy a free small Premium Roast Coffee, made with 100% Arabica Beans at any Atlanta area McDonald’s restaurant.
 
 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Giveaway & Review ~ Combat Source Kill Max Ant Bait & Ant Gel

Let's kill some ants!!
Remember my post about Diatomaceous Earth for pest control?  Well,  I still love the stuff, but with the amount of rain we've had the last few weeks,  I can't keep up with sprinkling it outside to keep the nasty little ants and spiders out of our home!  It has to be done often,  which I don't always have time to keep up with.  That means ants & spiders have enjoyed the break from DE.

Luckily,  I got a great box of Combat Source Kill Max products in the mail to review,  just in the nick of time to deal with another buggy problem area!  Katie's bathroom has been seeing a steady line of ants through her window. They climb straight up the side of our house (two stories) to get in there!  I've tried the diatomaceous earth in that window,  but they just kept coming in.  So we shot a big line of the new Combat Ant Gel along the seams of the window sill and guess what?  Almost instantly,  the ants were GONE!  I was extremely impressed by how well this worked! So easy, too.

The Combat Source Kill Max Gel is in a preferred food form for ants, so they will take it to their colony and feed the queen & larvae.  It works within hours and lasts up to one month.   This is the first specially formulated ant gel available!

The Combat Source Kill Max Ant Baits kill ants quickly, without messy residue and odors.  It destroys the queen and entire colony! These are also child resistant.   Ants enter the bait station,  carry the bait back to the nest, and pass it on to the colony.

These products work FAST and are very effective!

AND you can enter to win your very own Backyard Bash from Combat!  They will award one winner $1000 to hold their own party plus an assortment of Combat products to make sure ants won't be a problem at the party!   Just learn how to kill ants  by watching a quick video, then enter the contest!

So how do you enter to win your own box of Combat Ant Gel?  Check out the Rafflecopter widget below for a few easy ways to enter my own giveaway!  Contest ends on 9/14/12!

The 44th Annual Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain!

Hey y'all!! So excited to share the details of the Yellow Daisy Festival at Stone Mountain Park! We attended the festival often when I was growing up - I haven't been in about 12 years, so I'm really excited to be going tomorrow with my son and my husband.  : )  I'll have some great pics to share soon!! If you live in or near Atlanta - you MUST come - this festival has so much to offer!!!

Information below is from the SMP press release...

Dates & Times: Sept. 6 and Sept. 7, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sept. 8, 10 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 9, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Location: Special Events Meadow at Stone Mountain Park

Price: Free; Parking is $10 for one-day permit


Stone Mountain, Ga. - Celebrating its 44th year, Stone Mountain Park’s Yellow Daisy Festival features more than 450 artists and is consistently voted one of the nation’s top arts and crafts shows by Sunshine Artist Magazine’s annual “200 Best” survey. This year’s show will be held September 6-9 at Stone Mountain Park’s Special Events Meadow.

The Yellow Daisy Festival features more than 450 crafters and artists from across the U.S. The artists are selected from a pool of applicants by the Yellow Daisy jury to display their distinctive handmade work in categories including pottery, fabric, painting, jewelry, sculpture, fiber, photography, fine arts, and traditional arts and crafts.

The annual celebration attracts an estimated 200,000 shopping enthusiasts to the four-day event. The festival is a tradition for multi-generational shoppers searching for unique works of art.

“Each year it is amazing to see how many people have made it a tradition to come out to the festival,” said Janet Bell, Stone Mountain Park special events manager. “We see packs of grandmothers, mothers, daughters, neighbors and best friends coming together dressed in their yellow daisy outfits seeking that hot craft item of the year. They even get here before the festival officially opens at 10 a.m. to begin their shopping…and we don’t stop them!”

New for 2012 is the selection of two featured artists, rather than the traditional one artist. Featured artists have their work prominently displayed on all Yellow Daisy Festival marketing and promotional materials.

“Selecting two artists to feature is new for us. With so many quality crafters attending this year’s Yellow Daisy Festival, we wanted to better represent the various mediums of art,” Bell said. “The art selected features a beautiful textured painting of various women’s shoes called ‘Classy, Sassy, Comfortable, Fun’ and the other, a jewelry charm, called ‘A Charming Event’, features a woman sitting in a garden of yellow daisies and made of real flowers.”

Rosa McMurtray, creator of the “Classy, Sassy, Comfortable, Fun” art piece, originally from Zaragoza, Spain, creates beautifully textured paintings in her Decatur, Ga. studio and was selected as a featured artist in her first year attending the Yellow Daisy Festival.   "I was actually very emotional when I found out my work going to be featured for Yellow Daisy,” McMurtray said. “It is really an honor and I am flattered.”

Traveling from Madison, Miss. is the equally talented Mamie Herron. Herron, the creator of the “A Charming Event” charm is known for her creative and intricate charms, necklaces and bracelets and was selected as the other featured artist.

In addition to the unique arts and crafts, the festival offers festival food including the popular Happy Belly food truck. Soon to be featured in Travel Channel’s upcoming series “Mobile Meals,” Happy Belly serves up tasty dishes with locally grown organic ingredients. Other foods available include Sonny’s BBQ, Chick-fil-A, TJ’s Kettle Corn and more.

Throughout all four days of the Yellow Daisy Festival, there will be live entertainment on the festival’s main stage including Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins and NBC’s “The Voice” contestant Jordan Rager. Mullins, known for his 1998 hit single “Lullaby,” will perform Friday from 4:30 - 6 p.m. and Rager will perform Thursday from 4:40 - 6 p.m. Steel Magnolia, Country Music Television’s “Can You Duet?” winners will perform Saturday from 5:45 - 7 p.m. Singer-songwriters such as Dylan Altman, writer of Jake Owens’ “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” and others will perform Thursday from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. The festival main stage will feature 15 other live performances from bands such as the Yacht Rock Review, REMakes and Peachtree Station.

New this year, T.Rumble and the Kidz will be rapping up a storm of kid friendly songs in the festival’s Children’s Corner. The Children’s corner will also provide crafts, entertainment and face painting.

The Men’s Den is a great venue for the gentlemen and sports fans coming to the event that don’t want to miss the big game. The Men’s Den is outfitted with recliners and big screen TVs showing fall football.

Shoppers can stop by the Humana tent, the festival’s presenting sponsor, for free giveaways and to enter for a chance to win a Stone Mountain Park annual pass package good for four Mountain Memberships. Additionally, guests can stop by the Ford Experience Tour and check out the latest Ford vehicles and technology. The attraction offers skill competitions, interactive vehicles and the opportunity to win prizes, including a new Ford vehicle of your choice up to $30,000. Guests can also visit the Texas on Tour exhibit which features an experiential virtual trip to the Lone Star state and a chance to win a free Texas vacation.

For more information on the Yellow Daisy Festival, please visit www.yellowdaisyfestival.info. Listed in Frommer’s 500 Places to Visit with Your Kids Before They Grow Up and cited by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as one of “35 Natural Wonders in Georgia You Must See Before You Die,” Stone Mountain Park is located 16 miles east of downtown Atlanta. To get to the park, take I-285 to Exit 39B, Hwy. 78 East. Stone Mountain Park is Exit No.8 on Hwy 78. More information regarding Stone Mountain Park attractions and hours of operation is available at 770-498-5690 or by visiting www.stonemountainpark.com.



Monday, September 3, 2012

Trying to get back to living....

Well, after losing my Nana,  the last month has been pure hell.  Can't even try to sugarcoat it.  Constant tears.   But my son started 3rd grade August 6, and it was a whirlwind month of busyness and getting back to our school year routine.  And it's time for me to get back to the business of blogging.  I  have SO much to share - two giveways right off the bat later this week, and info about the Yellow Daisy Festival coming up this weekend. And recipes - I've been cooking and baking a lot - it's a form of therapy for me.  Good stuff coming!  So please,  be on the lookout for new things!


Friday, July 27, 2012

I lost my Beloved Nana...


I'm so sorry for the delay in drawing winners for my contests.  We've had a really tough week.  My Nana has been very ill for several months with congestive heart failure as well as a very aggressive brain tumor.  Even though she was 90 years old,  I really thought we'd have her for a little longer.  She started declining quickly last week,  and passed away this Wednesday, with several of her kids surrounding her bedside.  It happened much too fast, and her passing has broken my heart.  I'm so thankful I could make a quick trip down there with my brother on Monday to say goodbye.  She was not concious,  but I believe she knew we were there. 






She is the one who taught me how to cook& bake.  She shared her recipes with me, and I loved sending her cookbooks! She has some from the church I worked at, and some that I found when shopping or traveling.  She taugh me how to can and preserve fruit.  It's funny, I just worked on two upcoming  blogposts for watemelon jelly and cherry preserves, both of which I made at Nana's several years ago while she made her famous Christmas Jam.  We loved canning together!  She grew up poor, was a single mom of 6 for a time,  but was the strongest,  most determined woman I ever met.  She will be greatly missed by her 6 kids,  10 grandkids, 20 great-grandkids, and 4 great-great grandkids....

Anyway,  I wanted to explain the delay.  I just drew the winner for the mealsbytheweek.com giveaway, and I'll do the same for Purex soon.  (Check the posts for winners)  Please bear with me - I've also got a few upcoming giveaways that will be a bit delayed.  And if you pray, please keep my family in yours as we travel for her funeral tomorrow, and adjust to life without the matriarch of our family.  She really kept us together.  I miss her so much already. 

xoxo ~

Monday, July 16, 2012

QUICK Purex Detergent Giveaway!!


Hey guys!! Thought we should start this week off with a quick,  awesome giveaway!  I am loving Purex's new Triple Action Detergent.  It works so well in banishing stains, and the Natural Elements detergent has an amazing fruity scent that just cheers me up while I do my laundry!  It smells so good!!  They also have a Mountain Breeze fragrance, and a free and clear version, too. 

Purex is my only brand of choice these days, and it is NOT because I am a Purex Insider.   I am a couponer, so the best deal will usually have my heart.  Sometimes that is Purex,  sometimes not.  But what I love about this brand is that it works well,  they have Liquid Detergent,  UltraPacks as well as those nifty Triple Action Sheets!  I am all about choices, lol!  But it also has to do what it says, and Purex does! : )  My clothes consistently come out looking fantastic - I've even found that most stains don't require pretreating. 

So one lucky winner is going to get TWO coupons - each for a FREE bottle of Purex Triple Action detergent (up to $6 each).    All you have to do is check out the Let's Be Honest videos from Purex.  You may have already seen them.  They are hilarious!!  They uncover some of the absurdities of life - like paying way more for so-called "premium" detergent,  missing socks,  book club, finding "me" time as a mom, and more!!  Each one is about 25- 30 seconds long.  Watch them,  then come back and leave a comment below telling me your favorite of the videos.  My favorite?  It's a toss up between Current Events & Lost and Found!

Want a bonus entry?  Enter my Mealsbytheweek.come giveaway below- just scroll down to find it, and enter to win a nice 4 week menu planning subscription! Then come back to this post and leave a second comment below saying you did so!   MAKE SURE YOU LEAVE ME YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS IN THE COMMENT ~ NO EMAIL LISTED, I'LL DRAW ANOTHER WINNER.  Easy Peasy! 

Contest open to US residents only.  It's a quickie ~ this contest ends at 12:01 am on July 19.  I will draw a winner from eligible entries,  and notify them by email.  That person will have 24 hours to get back to me with their mailing address! I'll mail the coupons to winner within 5 days of receiving their address.  (Coupons expire 12/31/2013 so you can use them now or save them for later!!)  As always,  I am not responsibel for lost/damaged/stolen mail once I deliver prize envelope into the care of the USPS.  
Good luck, y'all!

Disclaimer:  I received coupons from PUREX to keep or give away.  My participation is voluntary, and my opinions & experiences mentioned above are 100% completely my own!

Update: 

The winner is Elysabeth, comment #2! Yay!! Congrats!!



Monday, July 9, 2012

Parched? Try a Mo-tea-to for a refreshing drink!



I swore off regular soda almost 5 years ago, and kicked my diet soda habit when I did my 12 day juice fast back in March.  So it's been tough finding a new drink I like.  Mostly I've ordered half cut tea  (1/2 sweet tea, 1/2 unsweetened tea).  I love it.  We also like Arnold Palmers - 1/2 unsweetened tea, 1/2 lemonade. 

Two weeks ago Publix had Crystal Light on B1G1 sale, and I had coupons! So I got their new mocktail Mojito flavor to try.  I mixed up one sleeve of the powder in a huge pitcher of ice water.  I filled a glass with ice,  then about 2/3 of the way up with unsweetened tea.  I filled it the rest of the way with the mojito-flavored water and WOW!! It is a little sweet, a little sour, a little minty - but all the way amazing.  It definitely quenches your thirst, too.  I'm in love! : ) 

Update, as of 7/27/14 - I no longer drink half cut tea or Arnold Palmers.  This drink is still wonderfully refreshing and is an occasional treat.  I like to make it in our Vitamix with extra ice for a slushy drink. Delish!
If you can't find Mojito flavored Crystal Light, you can get it on Amazon:
What's your go-to drink in the summer?




Mealsbytheweek.com Giveaway & Review!!

Happy Monday,  y'all!!  Hope your week is off to a great start.  Things are pretty good (not to mention HOT!) here in Atlanta.  I've got a great website review to share with y'all today, plus a wonderful giveaway that will help you and your family have great dinners together this summer!

Have you checked out mealsbytheweek.com?   It's an easy to navigate site that gives you a week's worth of dinner menus each week,  based on your local store's sale.   Some of the choices available:  Whole Foods,  Trader Joe's,  Super Target,  Walmart, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Publix and more.   There's also a generic store menu that will work for most stores, and a 400 calorie menu with all dinners at about 400 calories. 

I love that you can customize your weekly menu - if you are going out for a night or two,  or have a few meals already planned,  then you can choose to "skip" meals on the menu.  Or if you are like me, and there is a meal you don't particularly like ( I don't eat seafood, so cross off any fish or other seafood for me, lol!) you can choose to take that off, and substitute a family favorite there.   By skipping that meal,  the shopping list will reflect that change and remove the ingredients you'd have needed to purchase!

You also choose how many you're cooking for - 2, 4, 6 or 8.  This is great - if you are only cooking for two,  your recipes and shopping list will change to reflect that.  Got a big family? Same thing - the recipes and shopping list will change for you!  Once you've decided to keep/skip your choice of meals, and chosen how many you're cooking for, hit I like it at the bottom of the page and print the shopping list.  SO easy!  The entire site is very user-friendly.  The meals are balanced, they include yummy sides, and even feature a weekly leftover makeover - a dinner made with leftovers,  but in a new way, so it doesn't taste like leftovers!

Taken straight from the website, here are the goals of mealsbytheweek.com ~

"My goal is simple – create menus based on what is on sale at the grocery store that week. Build simple recipes that can be prepared in a short period of time, or that use a slow cooker so that you can come home to a waiting meal. Use leftovers to create other meals that don’t taste like you’re eating the same thing. Make the most of minimally-processed food so that growing bodies get the balanced nutrients they need to be healthy. Create shopping lists to make the trip to the grocery store as efficient as possible. And – most importantly – get families back to the table and talking to each other again."

The prices for mealsbytheweek.com vary depending on the length of your subscription.  They are very fair though - for 13 weeks, you can get your weekly menus and shopping lists for only $15 total. (the best deal, as you get 1 free week, and the other 12 are only $1.25 per week!) That is cheaper than a nice meal out, right?  Even better - the wonderful folks at mealsbytheweek.com have given me a code to share with you that will give you 50% off that price. (Code is good only on the 13 week subscription)  Keep reading for the code....

What I love about this service is that it will save you time and money - you don't have to plan your menus which is a HUGE timesaver, and the menus you receive utilize ingredients that are on sale at your favorite store!  Use coupons combined with your favorite coupon site (mine is southernsavers.com) to save even more!!  The ingredients are healthy and easy to find - you don't have to have any weird ingredients hanging out in your pantry to put these meals together!  : ) 

Check out a sample menu here!  So far,  I've only been able to try a few of the side dishes,  because my groceries for two weeks were already purchased when I started my subscription.  I'll be shopping this coming weekend, and next week,  I'll be using the menusbytheweek.com menu to plan my family's dinners!  We really enjoyed the ones I tried, especially a crispy potato pancake - yum!!

So,  about that 50% off code, and a giveaway....

If you are ready to get started,  visit the site, pick your store and the 13 week subscription option, and enter code 50DealJP256.   This 50% off code means you will get the 13 weeks worth of menus for $7.50!  Huge, huge deal, y'all!

And if you want to win a FREE 4 week subscription,  just enter my giveaway through the rafflecopter widget below! You can sign in through Facebook, which means it is easy to enter!!  If you don't see it,  click "read more" or  " A rafflecopter giveaway" - whichever link you see!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Diatomaceous Earth - new favorite pest control product & more!

I recently read up on a product that is new to me... Diatomaceous Earth, or DE.  Never heard of it?  I'm not surprised! I had never heard of it either, but after I found it over and over on various sites, I did some research! 

I was looking into pest control options since the ants & spiders have been awful this spring/summer.  This product kept popping up in my searches!  Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade 10 Lb is a non-toxic pest control product that is mined in the US.   It's made from the fossilized remains of planktonic algae called diatoms, and has microscopic super-sharp edges.  These tiny sharp edges cut into the bodies of pests that walk through them, including slugs, ants,  fleas, bedbugs, mites, ticks, roaches, silverfish and more, causing them to dehydrate and die.   It comes in 4 lb, 10 lb, 25 lb or larger bags, and is a powedery substance that is extremely light-weight.   It looks like powdered clay. 

There is no poison to spread, and it is not harmful to your pets or your family.   You will want to wear a dust mask when you apply it as the dust can irritate your eyes, nose, lungs and mouth. It is a drying agent, so wash your hands after using it!  It can be applied to plants in the garden, and the lawn for pest control, too. (don't apply to blooming flowers though - you don't want to kill those helpful bees!)  Make sure you purchase the food grade DE,  not the kind used in swimming pools.

Have fleas on your pet, or in your home?  You can use it on your carpets and even rub it into your pet's coat to get rid of the fleas.  I read that it is also an ingredient in many cat litters.  For our ant & spider issues, I've sprinkled it around the walls and on window sills and it is working like a charm!  The steady line of ants I usually see by the garage door has disappeared - yay!  It does take a few days to work, so be patient.  Reapply DE as needed after rain.

I wish I'd bought a duster like this Pest Pistol Mini Duster to use, but I'd seen a comment on a message board that said you could use a water bottle with holes punched near the top as a makeshift duster.  Thinking I'd save some money, that is what I did.  It works,  but I'll be purchasing the one below as soon as I place my next amazon.com order - it looks alot easier!  I also bought a pack of dust masks at the dollar store to use when I put it out. 

It's also used as an anti-caking agent.  I read that many people add DE (remember - use only food grade DE!)  to their long term storage buckets of grain and other foods.  Here's a site with more information on that!  It's got other purported uses and benefits - just do a google search if you want to find out more.  I'm thinking it will get a lot of use at our home just to keep the bugs away from my home and garden, and to add to my vacuum packed grains and flour!  It's something I wanted to share with y'all because I think it's a fabulous alternative to expensive poisons for your household - I'm all over the natural, non-toxic alternative!

Let me know if you've heard of DE before, or used it, and what you think of it - your comments are always very appreciated!

(There are two links to the products I've gotten (or will be getting, in the case of the duster!) from Amazon included above.  Google affiliate ads may show up in posts too!)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Geyser Towers at Stone Mountain Park ~ perfect for 100 degree+ days!

I always share the fun happenings at Stone Mountain Park during the Holiday season, so you know how much I love SMP.  This time I want to tell you about their brand new SUMMER attraction ~ Geyser Towers! 

I took both kids earlier this week to see what all the buzz is about.   When you get to SMP,  you'll purchase a pass that lets you do most everything there, with the exception of the "Ride the Duck" attraction - that costs extra.  When we arrived,  we decided to do the other attractions first,  with Geyser Towers last.  That way the kids wouldn't have to traipse around the park wet!

First up was the Great Barn.  That has always been one of David's favorites.  Four stories of climbing  slides, games, trampoline floors, and more.  There are soft foam balls you can shoot at other players, plus nets and bridges to climb and cross - this place will wear your kids out!! There are plenty of seats for mom and dad to rest and watch,  or you are welcome to climb up there with the kids and play. 




Next we headed over to the Yogi Bear 4D movie ~ SO MUCH FUN!  We always love the Polar Express 4D movie each December,  but this movie is awesome!! All I will say is ~ prepare to get WET!

Then it was time to jump on the Scenic Railroad for an open car ride.  The breeze was nice, and it was a chance to see the beautiful scenery around the base of Stone Mountain.   Did you know that Stone Mountain is the world's largest piece of exposed granite?   

 I had a cute picture of the kids on the train to put on here,  but it will not transfer from my phone to my computer.  : (

Then we shopped.  It was HOT outside.  David was very happy to discover that he could stuff a teddy bear (a la Build a Bear) in the toy store, so he picked out a soft fuzzy brown bear.  : )  We stopped by the Candy Kitchen to watch them make Buckeyes, and sampled some delicious fudge.  YUM!! Plus, it was a nice place to cool off for a few minutes inside.

I tried to get him to go on the Sky Hike & Camp Highland Outpost,  but he has my fear of heights, and he decided against it.   But these are both family-friendly adventures that most kids will love!

We wanted to play Mini Golf,  but it was so crowded by the time we got over there (after the train ride).  Next time we'll hit that up first!

Finally, we ended up at Geyser Towers.  This is the newest attraction at SMP.   We stayed there the longest, for sure.  Katie & I stayed dry on a bench beside the towers.  David had the best time climbing up and down,  all the while being squirted or sprayed by the water features throughout the structure.  It's the perfect place to spend a hot summer day! 

 Just be sure to keep cold drinks handy so you and your kids can stay hydrated! (And don't forget sunscreen, and a change of clothes!)  Most important - you must have close-toed shoes to play in Geyser Towers, so no flip flops!




Sitting in that net (above) was one of David's favorite places in Geyser Towers - especially when the 
"geyser" would blast out of the ground underneath and wet all the kids in there!


Kids run up and down the various "tunnels", then climb the tower at the right. 


My sweet boy, climbing back up!


Water comes spraying out from all over the place, soaking unsuspecting kids!





Here he is after a long, fun play session in Geyser Towers.  See the Great Barn behind him?  It is HUGE!

We had a wonderful day at Stone Mountain.  If it hadn't been so hot,  we might have tried to stay til the evening to see the Laser Show.  But, we're wimps, so we ended up heading home to the cool A/C! 
We'll have to go back to Stone Mountain Park soon to play in all of the fun attractions they have to offer!! Aren't we Atlantans lucky to have such a fun oasis (and one that has 3200 acres of fun!)  in the middle of the metro area?     : ) 

Check out all of the details on the hours, attractions etc. here

You can follow SMP on Facebook too!

Disclosure:  Stone Mountain Park provided us with complimentary passes to visit the park in order to review Geyser Towers, and all opinions are completely my own!


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Pioneer Woman's Olive Cheese Bread ~ Amazing!!



One of our most favorite recipes came from Pioneer Woman's Blog.  Love, love, love her!  I make this yummy, cheesy olive bread to go with pasta dishes, and also for potlucks and parties.  It is always GONE fast!! It is creamy, rich, a little salty, and gooey/cheesy ~ the perfect bread as far as I am concerned!

Over Memorial Day weekend, we had the usual hot dogs and hamburgers cooked on the grill.  I bought more hot dog buns than we used though, and the extras were going stale fast.   Katie is working fulltime this summer, so it was just me & David at home.  We both love olives, and I thought that making a smaller batch of olive cheese spread on the two extra buns would be a great way to use them up!  Was I ever right!  I think I liked it more on these individual serving size buns than on the larger loaves that I slice up!

Here's the original recipe, straight from Pioneer Woman's first cookbook.  You can use it on whatever bread you have handy!!

Olive Cheese Bread

1 14.5 oz can black olives, drained

1 six oz jar green olives (pimento stuffed), drained
2 green onions (I didn't use)
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c mayonnaise - real mayo, no substitutions!
1 lb grated monterey jack cheese  (I usually make this with colby jack)
1 loaf crusty french bread (or bread of your choice!!)
Preheat oven to 325. Roughly chop black olives. Do the same with the green olives. Slice green onions then chop them roughly. In a large bowl, combine the butter, mayo, cheese, olives and onions. Stir until throughly blended. (per PW - at this point, grab the nearest cracker and take a taste, repeat as needed, lol!!)

Slice the french bread in half lengthwise, spread the olive cheese mixture in an even layer on each half. Bake 20 -25 minutes, until cheese mixture is thoroughly melted and beginning to turn light brown and bubbly. Cut into diagonal slices and serve immediately!!  If you use hotdog buns like I did,  just scoop the spread into the middle, and bake as directed.

Helpful hints:
Can make cheese/olive mixture up to 2 days in advance, store tightly covered in fridge. Or spread mixture on bread and freeze , tightly wrapped for up to six months. Thaw before baking. Also super-good on crackers!

Variation - substitute drained, chopped artichoke hearts and grated parmesan for the olives and jack cheese - yum!

You have to try this - even if you don't like mayo!  David hates it - but he LOVES this bread!  Let me know what you think, ok?! : )

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Free O magazine subscription!!!



Hurry!!! DailyFeats is offering free 1 year subscription to O, The Oprah Magazine  So excited to get mine!


Here's how to get this amazing freebie ~

LIKE O, The Oprah Magazine on Facebook

Go to the“Random Acts of O” tab at the top of the page.  Pledge to read a book ~  choose from several on the list.

Choose Redeem Rewards (or send it as a gift) for a free 1 year subscription to O Magazine.

You'll get a code via email to use to redeem your free subscription.  (code expires after 2 weeks so don't forget to use it!)

This offer is for new subscribers only.  It is valued at $54!!!

Yay for fabulous freebies!   : )



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dry Idea Giveaway

Good evening!!  Hope your week is off to a great start.  Mine is - we're getting back into real life after 4 wonderful days by the beach  (I'll have a post on that shortly!) 

Today I've got another giveaway for you.  The folks at Dry Idea have a new product they want me to share with you!


Dry Idea AdvancedDry Antiperspirant & Deodorant offers superior protection from wetness & odor.  It's available in three forms:  Roll on,  Clear Gel, and Invisible Solid.   The Roll-on offers 24 hour protection,  fast drying MicroCotton Formula,contains Vitamin E, and is hypo-allergenic.  It's available unscented, or in Powder Fresh and Cotton Dry scents. The Roll-on is available in a 3.25 oz size.

The Clear Gel comes either unscented or in Powder Fresh scent, in 3.0 oz.  It offers 24 hour protection,  goes on clear, and is hypo-allergenic.

The Invisible Solid offers 48 hour protection from odor, 24 hours from wetness in 2.6 oz size.  It has Clinical Level Wetness Protection.  It's also hypo-allergenic.   They are serious about keeping you fresh and dry, y'all! It comes in unscented,  Powder Fresh with odor absorbing minerals, and Cool Burst with Air Conditioning Effect.  You can find out everything you want to now about Dry Idea products here!

I received the Roll-on in powder fresh scent to try.  I have to be honest,  I am not a fan of roll-on deodorant OR powder scented anything.  But I do like that the sample they sent me actually does what it says!  It really does keep you dry and fresh, and that is a product I can feel good about buying AND sharing with my friends.   Here in Georgia, it  is hot and humid for about half of the year - so a girl wants a product that keeps you feeling fresh.   Dry Idea does that for sure! I will be trying the Invisible Solid in the Cool Burst scent next.  I think I'll like the solid form much better, and the scent too! : ) 

Disclaimer:  Dry Idea provided a free sample of their Advanced Dry Roll On so I could review it.  My participation is voluntary, and my opinions, as always, are my own! : )

Now on to the contest:  It's via rafflecopter, so it's easy to enter!  There are two required entries,and lots of chances for extra entries!! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Giveaway: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island DVD

Hey wonderful people!! Guess what?  My Katie is now a high school graduate!! We are so very proud of her!! The last few months I've been very limited in how much time I've had for blogging, but now that the excitement and activities of graduation are over,  I will be back with lots more great stuff!

I'll do a separate post on the graduation soon, but first I have to share this awesome app and giveaway!
Warner Brothers just released Journey 2:  The Mysterious Island on DVD & Blue-Ray.  Don't know much about this movie?  Here ya go:

Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson, The Hunger Games) finds a hidden signal that he believes will lead him to his long lost grandfather (Michael Caine, Miss Congeniality).  With the help of his new step father (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Scorpion King), Sean finds a map and starts his adventure which leads him to Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens, High School Musical) and the island of Atlantis!  Sean and his friends battle giant bees, killer lizards, a volcano of gold, and electric eels to escape the lost city and make their way home!

And there is a fun app to go with it!  Check out the fun things you can do:

Activities: Choose Your Own Adventure! Spin the wheel to get your own personalized adventure! Will you brave the wilds of Family Movie Night or map your house and have your own treasure hunt!



Quiz: Would You Survive The Mysterious Island!? Are you a Wilderness Warrior or a Timid Trekker? Take the Mysterious Island quiz and find out how you would fare in the outback of Atlantis!



Warner Brothers is giving one of my readers a DVD of the movie!  YAY!  I'm gonna make this a really easy contest to enter.  Just play with the app, (click on Choose Your Adventure & Would You Survive in the graphic above to play) and then let me know what your favorite activity is!  Do this by leaving me a comment below this post, and make sure that you put your email in the comment so I can contact you if you're my winner.  No email listed,  I'll draw another comment.  So be sure to include it!
( I always enter contests listing my email as:   jane dot doe at gmail dot com to escape spammers...feel free to do the same!)

UPDATE:  Congrats to the winner of this contest ~  Sarah!! : )
The only requirements they have given me: winner must live in the US, and address must be a street address, absolutely no P.O. Boxes.  Contest ends on June 18th at 12:01 am.  Winner will be notified by email, and I must hear back from you within 24 hours, or another winner will be drawn.  DVD will be mailed via UPS or Fed Ex from sponsor. 

I am not being compensated in any way for this post,  sponsor provides DVD prize, and I'm not required to participate,  I just wanted to share this great giveaway with my readers!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Giveaway ~ Post Honey Bunches of Oats!




My family loves cereal!  So much so, that I usually have at least 10-20 boxes in my stockpile.  I buy it on sale/with coupons when it's cheap so we always have plenty on hand for easy breakfasts, snacks and sometimes even for dinner!

So you know I was really excited when I was asked if I'd like to try Honey Bunches of Oats AND give away coupons for FREE boxes ~  of course!!  My kids were ecstatic when the package arrived - they LOVE Honey Bunches of Oats! It was immediately opened for an afterschool snack! They loved that Post has added even more granola bunches into each box.  This is a snack I feel good about letting my kids enjoy with skim milk.

Here is what I've learned about this (yummy!) cereal: 

It's a combination of four nutritious grains - Wheat, Oat, Corn and Rice
There are crispy flakes AND crunchy granola bunches in every box
Each serving has 10 grams Whole Grain
6 grams sugar (3 grams less than Honey Nut Cheerios)
Heart Healthy choice with 0 g Trans Fat, 0 g Saturated Fat and 0 mg Cholesterol
Provides 9 essential vitamins and minerals

We've been enjoying Honey Bunches of Oats for years, and will continue to do so.  How about you?  Does your family like this yummy cereal?   Would you like to be one of my winners?  Two lucky readers will each receive coupons for two free boxes of Honey Bunches of Oats, up to $4.49 value each!  Click on the read more link to enter via Rafflecopter!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sr. pics & a freebie for Atlanta friends

SO sorry to have been absent the last month.  I can honestly say that Katie's Senior Year has kept me busier than I could have ever have imagined.  There has been so much to do, so much to pay for, lol, so much to prepare for!  One of the best parts of Senior Year was getting Katie's pictures taken this Spring. 

 Ummm, well - first,  let me tell you about the bad experience with the school photography company last Fall.    All I can say is they were AWFUL.  Truly.  Her drape/pearl senior pic was really bad - they had her hair stuck under the pearls, and it was so messy looking.  There was no way to fix that or airbrush it. And the casual photos - the poses were terribly unflattering.  I have a beautiful girl, and I wanted her pictures to show that.  They didn't, and  I was so mad.  You look back on your Senior picture forever!!  It's in your yearbook, and will one day show up on your nametag at class renions, lol.  So you want a beautiful picture. I was really ticked when they sent the proofs with the price list - almost $300 for the smallest package - really?!  There was no way we would be buying those pictures!

Luckily,  I have a very sweet friend (hi Gaye!!) whose daughter is a photographer. Elysabeth & her husband Jeff own J and E Kapas Photography here in the Atlanta area.  Elysabeth put together a Senior photo shoot for Katie on the Marietta Square.  She even had a plan to recreate the drape/pearl picture - yay!  At the end of March we met in Marietta, where she and Jeff took some really beautiful pictures of my baby girl.  Since we live over an hour away from them,  Elysabeth did a lot of the follow-up work via email,  which was really wonderful.   A few weeks later we met to pick photos for printing, and take home the actual photos.  Jeff did an extraordinary job with the special effects.  We purchased a CD to go with our package, and Jeff had worked his magic on there.  We had black and white versions of each picture, sepia toned copies, black and white with color tinting, special lighting effects, and more - it was fantastic!  I was so happy with these pictures. So allow me to show off some of my favorites and let me know what you think!! 

 












As a special bonus just for my readers, J and E Kapas Photography has a free gift for you!!  You will receive 1 8x10 & 8 wallets FREE with ANY photo package purchase. That's a $22 value,  free! Just mention my blog when you book your photo shoot! :-) Thank you,  Elysabeth & Jeff!!

They will happily photograph your weddings, birthdays, newborns, maternity or family pictures - you name it!  They are really creative and good at what they do.  If the perfect shot requires them to shoot from the ground, they will - no problem! Finding the perfect doorway, or the perfect brick wall for a backdrop -consider it done!   Seriously, I can't say enough good things about them.  They were a godsend when we facing the prospect of really bad Senior pictures from the school!  If you are in this area, I  highly recommend them.   You can reach them via email at jandekapasphotography@gmail.com.


Disclaimer:  J and E Kapas Photography offered us a photo shoot and CD at a reduced rate in exchange for a blog review ~  and all opinions are honest and my own! I love the job they did and the work they put into making these pictures so good.   They are also providing a free offer to any of my readers who mention this blog post and purchase any package from them.