Menu for 8/31 - 9/6


We're having a pretty easy week, cooking wise, except for Lulu's belated b-day dinner (the chicken fried steak et al).

BLT's
Chicken fajitas w/all the fixin's
Sloppy Joe's , corn on the cob
Crock pot pork roast w/potatoes & carrots
Potato cheese soup loaded w/veggies, watermelon
Breakfast for dinner- Finnish Oven Pancakes w/ berries
Chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, green beans, salad


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Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Safe Sunday, Quotable Sunday

It's important to talk about it. You raise awareness. But you can also prevent it (child abuse) by not letting it be a secret. Chris Witty.

Today I am highlighting a site that has both articles and links to other resources in the quest to bring awareness to the sad and unnecessary reality that so many children suffer through.

If we spread the word and let it be known we will not ignore or put up with Child Abuse, and pass on any information we can regarding Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness we can make a difference. We will make a difference.

RightHealth
has resources including doctor reviewed articles that will help you determine the different types of abuse, if someone is being abused as well as what to do, where to go, who to turn to if you suspect abuse as well as information to distract yourself or other potential abusers.

Please feel free to share your stories, stats or anything else regarding child abuse including cut & pasting this or one of my previous posts. Link back to this blog and then add your own link so we can spread the word far and wide we will no longer tolerate abuse.

Child abuse does not go away, but 90 percent of child abuse is preventable. Karen Adams.




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Seeking the perfect cell-phone

Dawn and I just got new cell phones from AT&T. I got a samsung eternity, but I'm not thrilled. I love the touch screen, but the sounds and graphics aren't great. In fact, the sound is down right poor. Does anyone know anything in a comparable price range, similar features, but better quality? Touch screen isn't necessary but I like it, full keyboard a must, and music and video is a big thing for me. Also, what -dont- you like and why? Thanks in advance!
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Boys are so gross- what is the fascination with poop?

Ugh. There is no doubt, boys are different (aside from the obvious) than girls.

So Dev was giving Ian his bath, letting him splash around and having a good old time.

He holds up his finger to her and she's like eww Ian that is nasty what is it and he said it's only poop Auntie Devon.

Being the smart aunt that she is she calls for his mama! Who was *positive* it was I don't know boy soap scum or something.

They ask him where it came from and with a big old grin he tells them "out of my butt".

Now there is no other poop or traces of it anywhere in or around, just the finger.

While some kids like to pretend they are digging for gold, apparently my grandson is quite pleased to be digging out his rear-end for poop.

Gag me, that is just eeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwwwwww or as Dev likes to say "Ian, that's d'nasty!"

Is it any wonder I prayed and prayed for girls?

*Naturally, lots and lots of antibacterial soap and Germ-x and Lysol and Clorox were used.
We blog about these things so you can enjoy laughing at us without having to go through them yourself.
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Green Tea Bundt Cake formula

We wanted to make a recipe using green tea when for a review, so Kyra found a recipe for some white chocolate and green tea truffles with candied ginger- the recipe itself (followed exactly) was a flop as far as being the right consistency although it would make a great filling in a molded candy, but it tasted soooooo good that we didn't want to toss it.

Genius moment came when we were letting it drip off the spoon- it would make an amazing icing on some cake or cupcakes. We like individual sized things for our tea parties so decided on mini bundt cakes and found a package of French Vanilla cake mix. On a lark I told her to brew another cup of tea and use that in place of the water. Oh. My. Goodness.

Absolutely, this was one of my better ideas. The batter tasted delish- yeah yeah go ahead and call the raw egg police on me, we buy pasteurized. They smelled heavenly while baking and when she took them out she took a little snitchel of one that had puffed a bit over the edge. Called us to come taste and we literally stood there burning our fingers and mouths devouring the first one. They were so moist and tasty, they truly did not need a glaze or icing.

You can't quite place your finger on what makes it so much better than usual, but it is that subtle something that people instinctively know makes you a fabulous cook or baker. They aren't sure what it is you do differently than others who make the same dish, but they know there is something that makes yours stand out.

We were good with the rest and let them mostly cool, then thinned out the oopsie into a glaze and poured it over the cakes. Divine! You keep going back for more even though you swore you wouldn't.

Honestly, while we had basically steeped the tea in heavy cream mixed with sugar because she was making the candy next time we make these I will make a regular glaze using skim milk, steeping the tea in it when it is scalded for a while then add the vanilla and sugar and I think it will taste just as great without all the calories.


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New trend in (mom) blog giveaways- what's your take?

I've noticed a new trend lately in (mom) blog giveaways and I have to say that with this second round of giveaways I like it less and less.

What am I talking about? you ask yourself with a raised brow.

The trend of about 8 blogs all offering the same prize.

Now, a lot of bloggers host the same type of giveaways, I've done it myself, and it is good for the companies (exposure), the bloggers (traffic, products to review) and for the entrants, lots of chances to win some great prizes.

The type of giveaway I am talking about is different, though, and don't that I have seen make it very clear to those not in the know that it is a creative presentation and there is ONE prize that all of the entries from all of the blogs are pooled together and chosen from.

I get how it is great for the sponsors- hey how cheap I get exposure on 8 different blogs who make them come to my site etc.

I get how it is great for the bloggers- they each get the products to review and they get the traffic and they get new followers and better stats, as well as links to each other.

I am having a very hard time seeing how it benefits the entrants. Sure some of the prizes are pretty great but there are a LOT of hoops to jump through and your chance isn't anywhere near as good as you might think.

For example I was going through the back to school giveaways being run this way currently and just to make clear what I mean:

8 different blogs are hosting these giveaways and I have nothing against the blogs themselves or the sponsors so am eliminating the identifying info.

Here are the rules cut and pasted almost verbatim (again, I xxxx'd out identifying info) from one of them:

To Enter

Mandatory entry: Sign up for the xxxxxxxxxxxxx. Then leave a comment telling us what email you used to sign up.

Mandatory entry: Take a look at some of the other xxxxxxxx offered at xxxxxxx. Then tell us what one item you would like to own.

Extra Entries:

None Bloggers get and extra entry for every e-mail they send out linking to this giveaway cc xxxxxxxxxx (be sure to leave a comment for every person you e-mail, for example if you e-mail 10 different people leave 10 different comments)

Subscribe to my blog
Follow me on twitter tell me your twitter ID
Blog about the giveaway include a link to me for five extra entries
Tweet the giveaway (every time you tweet you get an entry) Link to the giveaway please!!!
Add my button to your blog/blog roll
Dig, Stumble, or fav me on Technorati (two entries for each one)
Leave a comment for every entry

The contest will run until xxxxxxxxxxxxx. The winner will be selected by www.random.org from entries in the FORM


To run it down for you:

Mandatory: company gets
Guaranteed sign up for newsletter.
Guaranteed traffic for sponsor as you must visit and find what you like. 1 entry
Extra: blogger gets (at least some- usually quite a few)
Visitor to their blog
Subscriber 1 entry
Twitter Follower 1 entry
Blog posts with links for blogger and company 5 entries
Tweet the giveaway, 1x each no limit say once a day Aug 8-24 = 2o entries & more that many links
Add button/Add to blogroll 2 entries
Digg, Stumble, Tech fave 2 entries each = 6 entries

This is potentially 36 entries (more if you tweet more than once a day) PER BLOG, so

36 x 8 = 288 if not more.

The odds are pretty astronomical and I am not saying they aren't worth doing, I am just saying for the potential payoff, I am not sure I'll be entering as many as I have lately.

It is an AWFUL LOT of work and an heckuva lot of entries for ONE PRIZE and quite frankly I think if most people broke it down and realized exactly how much time and effort they were putting into these creative presentations there would be a lot less of them entering or maybe only doing the mandatory entries unless it is something really amazing like a computer or a car.

The bloggers also get links on their sites from the other bloggers (which is a good thing, for them) and raises all of their rankings. Which if you are a blogger looking for sponsors is kind of a big deal.

Again- It's fine for the bloggers and especially the companies- they all get tons of exposure and visitors but I am thinking it is not so great for the entrants. To do all of these things on all of the different blogs takes quite a bit of time (at a minimum several minutes for each blog if you do each entry) and for some of us who know there are other games in town- the odds are better if we stick with the blogs who each offer their own prize instead of just one. Also, puts me in a better frame of mind about the sponsors (not cheap). Let's face it, the more people who get and love the product the better.

I realize that by stating my feelings on this I am going to once more not win any popularity contests or get the sponsors who choose to do business this way but I am okay with that. I know that with time and effort and consistency with honesty, truth and effort I will be known for recommending only quality goods and services and of course for speaking the truth when it needs to be spoken.

I am coming from the perspective of both a blogger and a sweeper/entrant, as many of you know sweeping, contesting and entering is a fun and profitable hobby for me and I am kind of wondering if I am perhaps jaded because of it.

I would really love to know what y'all think. I really appreciate it. Thanks tons. Don't forget- by commenting you get an extra entry into all of my giveaways.
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Menu for 8/24 - 8/30


Here's our menu for this week, in no particular order.

Easy Steak Stroganoff* over mini farfelle (bowtie pasta), salad
*OMG this came about because the "good" steaks were way too tough and holy guacamole is it ever good. Dev even took it for lunch and Dawn ate for breakfast today.

Homemade Meatball Subs, pineapple salad

Chef salad w/ham & cheese w/choice of dressing; whole grain crackers

Sweet & sour chicken, stir fry vegs, brown rice

Vegetable egg rolls, Asian salad

Perfect pot roast w/all the trimmings

Breakfast for dinner: french toast; fresh fruit

Anything good cooking at your house?
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Free Chick-Fil-A & chance to win $50 GC!

Hey guys, another great freebie.

Join Chick-Fil-A's fan club and if you're one of the first 250,000 to sign up they will mail you a coupon for a FREE sandwich!

Plus, you could win a $50 Chick-Fil-A gift card!

18+

I just got one so it is good as of this posting.
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Safe Sunday- Blue Ribbon Awareness

Please link to us then add your link to posts about child abuse prevention and awareness. Working together, we can make a difference. It can be anything to do with child abuse- your story, statistics, resources or whatever you like. If you can't think of anything, feel free to snag this or one of my other posts on Safe Sunday or even just post a link telling your readers they can find out about Safe Sunday here. Thank you so much, it is very much appreciated. And heck, if nothing else it gets you another link for your blog which leads to higher ranking. ;)



BLUE RIBBON AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

Share the Message … Children Deserve to Be Safe

Before today is over, 3 CHILDREN WILL DIE from being abused. At least one of them will be a baby - less than a year old. They other two probably haven't yet celebrated their 5th birthdays. More than 510 other children will be physically abused today and another 270 will be sexually abused. In total, over 2,700 children will be abused today.

Tomorrow - the horror starts all over again, just as it does everyday.

Child abuse is an American epidemic. And yet - children continue to die everyday. Other children continue to be hurt. And, as they grow up - studies show that they will most likely abuse their own children, perpetuating the cycle of violence.

A blue ribbon is the international symbol for Child Abuse Prevention. The color blue was chosen to represent the bruised and battered bodies of the thousands of children that are abused everyday. It serves as a constant reminder that all of us have a responsibility to help keep children safe.

Click here to find out about this campaign as well as various resources and what you can do to help.


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Swapping and sharing lunches- for all the right reasons.

As a parent, I know that my kids have and will continue to swap and share parts of their lunch with their friends. Yes, sometimes if I've spent an hour making a fancy-schmancy bento full of fruits and veggies and they swapped for a bag of Cheetos it can be a but annoying, but kids are kids and there is nothing I can do about it.



I can, however, tell y'all about a virtual sandwich Swap 'n' Share Program.



Luckily, Hellmann's® and Best Foods® Mayonnaise has teamed up with musician and actor Billy Ray Cyrus to encourage people of all ages to celebrate their favorite childhood ritual and join the virtual Sandwich Swap 'n' Share program to raise money for Feeding America®, the nation's leading domestic hunger-relief charity.



For every sandwich created as part of the virtual Sandwich Swap 'n' Share program on Facebook.com/hellmanns, Hellmann's® and Best Foods® will donate 7 lunches[1] to Feeding America®.



Did you catch that? 7 LUNCHES! for every sandwich created. How awesome is that?



If that isn't enough to get you to click over right now, you just might win something, too! Each sandwich created will automatically enter you for a chance to win a $250 grocery store gift certificate.[2] And for every friend on Facebook®[3] that you share your sandwich with, Hellmann's® and Best Foods® will donate an additional 7 lunches to the charity.

[1] 7 lunches equals a $1 donation Hellmann's® will make to Feeding America® to provide meals to Americans at risk of hunger. Up to 700,000 lunches.

[2] No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Sandwich Swap 'n' Share Sweepstakes is sponsored by Conopco, Inc., d/b/a Unilever. Open to legal residents of the 50 U.S. & D.C., 18 & older. Begins 12:00:01 p.m. ET on 8/19/09 & ends 11:59:59 a.m. ET on 10/30/09. For official rules, visit the Hellmann's® page at www.facebook.com/hellmanns or www.facebook.com/bestfoods.

[3] Facebook is a trademark of Facebook, Inc.



Even without the incentive and chance to win, this is a wonderful program and I hope that you will spread the Hellman's and the word. You can feel free to add me to your facebook friends (Sherry Conrad)* and share your sandwich with me.

* If anyone can tell me how to put the link for people to join me on facebook here on my blog I would be eternally grateful- must be the idiot proof version.



I received no compensation for this post. I am sharing this opportunity for you as a member of MomSelect. For helping to spread the word I receive 1 entry into a giveaway that all members who blog about this giveaway receive.

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W/W, Putting food up, Freezing fruits and veggies, Preserving summer

Even though we don't can, there's no reason we can't have summer-fresh foods any time of the year. A little bit of work and a freezer and you can preserve the awesome flavors at the peak of freshness.

This is just a small sampling of what we've been up to lately.
Cucumbers and a bit of onion makes a simple freezer pickle that is as delicious as it is easy.

Almost 20 lbs of peaches in our market bag gets peeled and sliced then mixed with a light sugar syrup and we'll be eating delicious desserts in the dead of winter that bring summer a little bit closer.




First you make a roux, add the trinity (peppers, onions and celery), lots of good chicken, sausage and of course okra and you've got some awesome gumbo.



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Oven Baked Roux

If you're like me you simply lack the patience to make a good roux. While I could buy some, it is so easy to make in the oven that I prefer to make up a large batch and freeze some for later.

Easy Oven Baked Roux

Ingredients
  • Equal parts Oil - coconut, canola, vegetable, sunflower, etc (a lighter oil)
  • Flour
Cooking Directions
  1. For this batch we used 6 cups of each.
  2. It doesn't get much simpler, basically you whisk together really well in a heavy oven proof pot- some people swear by cast iron but we used the Emeril set I won in a recipe contest for Kyra.
  3. Bake in a 400 degree oven, whisking every 15 minutes until it is that nice caramel-ly color that makes a great roux.
Simple, I know, and while it takes longer than stove top you avoid the constant stirring and it comes out perfect every time.



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Menu for week of 8/17 - 8/23

This week is back to school so we've got a couple of easy meals- some already in the freezer.

Chicken and sausage gumbo (start with my easy oven baked roux) served with rice, watermelon

Portobello "burgers" with all the fixings, corn on the cob, freezer pickles

Pork tenderloin, buttered noodles w/Parmesan, steamed carrots, warm peach cobbler with ice cream

Yummy eggplant ziti bake (again- everyone LOVES this), salad w/choice of dressing

Meatloaf, potato salad, sesame green beans

Breakfast for dinner- breakfast burritos with eggs, vegs, cheese, salsa and hash browns, fresh fruit

BBQ ribs, coleslaw, Casey's special potatoes

What's for dinner at your house this week?
.

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Back to School Giveaway - Girl



Note from GeekyMommy (since she is in a hurry to run to work)

So, thanks to money not doing what I wanted it to, I am not moving into the place I wanted. So, what do I do with the money I had saved for the deposit? Save it for the next place? Use it to pay for glasses, dental bills, groceries, phone? Of course not, sillies! I blew it all! I have decided to sponsor some back to school giveaways, and I hope you like them. There is one for a little girl, one for a little boy, and one for a college student. Anyways, I have to run so I will let mom fill you in on the rest. Best of luck!





Naturally Geeky Mommy wouldn't forget about the girlies.



Packed inside a pink plaid backpack the winner will find:



$5 Target GC

1 pencil Box

1 pkg pencils

1 pkg colored pencils

2 pk gluesticks

1 bottle Glue

1 pkg Disney Princess Stickers

1 box Crayola Crayons

1 Hello Kitty Notebook

1 Fiskars scissors with eraser blade cap

1 calculator that looks like an ipod

1 pk Peanuts tissues

1 Hello Kitty lunchbox

1 Hello Kitty Snack/drink set

1 Hello Kitty Gel Ice pk

1 box Annie’s Organic Bunny Graham Friends

1 pk each fruit roll-ups, fruit gushers and fruit by the foot, fruit roll up stickers

2 pks Disney Mixed Fruit

2 pks fruit snacks

1 Curious George fruit snacks

3 Quaker Chewy granola bars

1 pk pb&j crackers

2 Quaker Mini Delight rice cakes



This giveaway is open to anyone 18+ in Canada and the US as Geeky Mommy is paying for the shipping herself.



You may enter once daily from now until Labor Day, September 7th at 11:59pm CST.



Main entry- Tell me what you love most about school. *This MUST be done first for any other entries to count.* After the first entry, you only have to say enter me or something like that.



Optional entries- see sidebar for the necessary links if they aren't right in this post.

Follow my blog - 1 entry

Follow me on twitter dddiva - 1 entry

Tweet this giveaway. Can be done once daily. Leave link in comments.

Subscribe via a rss feed.

Subscribe via email - must be verified

Comment on any of our older posts (not giveaway) and let me know which one you commented on- 1 entry for each

Comment on any of the posts on our food/bento blog and leave a link 1 entry each

Fave us on technorati or really any social networking site- stumble, kirsty, digg, etc... and leave a link- 1 entry for each

Add our button- 3 entries- leave link where we can find it- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Add our link to your blog roll - 3 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Blog about this giveaway- 5 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Fave me on Technorati and leave your user name.

Add your own giveaways or ones you come across (if they aren't already listed) to our perma-link and leave a comment then come back here and let us know- 1 entry each

Add a link to any social media and leave a link.

Enter any of our other giveaways and leave a comment with which one(s).



Good luck!

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Back to School Giveaway - Boy



Note from GeekyMommy (since she is in a hurry to run to work)

So, thanks to money not doing what I wanted it to, I am not moving into the place I wanted. So, what do I do with the money I had saved for the deposit? Save it for the next place? Use it to pay for glasses, dental bills, groceries, phone? Of course not, sillies! I blew it all! I have decided to sponsor some back to school giveaways, and I hope you like them. There is one for a little girl, one for a little boy, and one for a college student. Anyways, I have to run so I will let mom fill you in on the rest. Best of luck!



Geeky Mommy also put together a nice little package of back-to-school goodies for a boy that she'll pack up in a Navy blue backpack and get sent out to the winner.



Inside you'll find:

$5 Target GC

1 pencil Box

1 pkg pencils

1 pkg Crayola colored pencils

2 pk gluesticks

1 bottle Glue

1 pkg Cars Stickers

1 box Crayola Crayons

1 Cars Notebook

1 Fiskars scissors with eraser blade cap

1 calculator that looks like an ipod

1 pk Peanuts tissues

1 Cars Lunchbox

1 Cars sandwich box & drink container set

1 Cars Gel Ice Pk

1 box Annie’s Organic Bunny Graham Friends

1 pk each fruit roll-ups, fruit gushers and fruit by the foot, fruit roll up stickers

2 pks Disney Mixed Fruit

2 pks fruit snacks

1 Curious George fruit snacks

3 Quaker Chewy granola bars

1 pk pb&j crackers

2 Quaker Mini Delight rice cakes



This giveaway is open to anyone 18+ in Canada and the US as Geeky Mommy is paying for the shipping herself.



You may enter once daily from now until Labor Day, September 7th at 11:59pm CST.



Main entry- Tell me what you love most about school. *This MUST be done first for any other entries to count.* After the first entry, you only have to say enter me or something like that.



Optional entries- see sidebar for the necessary links if they aren't right in this post.

Follow my blog - 1 entry

Follow me on twitter dddiva - 1 entry

Tweet this giveaway. Can be done once daily. Leave link in comments.

Subscribe via a rss feed.

Subscribe via email - must be verified

Comment on any of our older posts (not giveaway) and let me know which one you commented on- 1 entry for each

Comment on any of the posts on our food/bento blog and leave a link 1 entry each

Fave us on technorati or really any social networking site- stumble, kirsty, digg, etc... and leave a link- 1 entry for each

Add our button- 3 entries- leave link where we can find it- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Add our link to your blog roll - 3 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Blog about this giveaway- 5 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)

Fave me on Technorati and leave your user name.

Add your own giveaways or ones you come across (if they aren't already listed) to our perma-link and leave a comment then come back here and let us know- 1 entry each

Add a link to any social media and leave a link.

Enter any of our other giveaways and leave a comment with which one(s).



Good luck!
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Study Break Giveaway














Note from GeekyMommy (since she is in a hurry to run to work)

So, thanks to money not doing what I wanted it to, I am not moving into the place I wanted. So, what do I do with the money I had saved for the deposit? Save it for the next place? Use it to pay for glasses, dental bills, groceries, phone? Of course not, sillies! I blew it all! I have decided to sponsor some back to school giveaways, and I hope you like them. There is one for a little girl, one for a little boy, and one for a college student. Anyways, I have to run so I will let mom fill you in on the rest. Best of luck!


If you saw our pic here you know Geeky Mommy got a little carried away with the back to school shopping. Actually, she intentionally bought extras for our readers. We believe in paying it forward whenever possible and we've been incredibly blessed and want to share.


This Study Break Giveaway would be perfect to send to your college student as a nice surprise, although of course it really has things that anyone can use and you don't have to be or even know a college student to win.


$5 Target GC

$5 Starbucks GC

****************************

8 Microwavable meals-

2 Velveeta shells & cheese

2 Kraft Easy Mac’s

Hamburger Helper- 2 varieties

Chef-boy-ar-dee- 2 varieties

****************************

1 pkg Jack Link’s Original Beef Jerky

1 Tropical Fruit & Berry Trail Mix- Archer Farms – brain food!

3 Chewy Quaker Granola Bars

1 pkg Lance Variety Sandwich Crackers

2 90 calorie packs Quaker Mini Delights

2 Types Emerald Trail Mix – breakfast & berry blends

1 pk Cheddar Cheese Pretzel Combos

1 Movie Size Skittles

1 Movie Size Swedish Fish

1 Movie Size Nerds

********************************

1 Mead 5 Star Student Planner

1 Sharpie Highlighter

1 4-pk Sharpie Mini’s

1 pk (2) Mechanical Pencils

1 Composition Notebook

1 Travel Sewing Kit

1 dustpan/brush

**********************************

These goodies will be packed in a large green all-purpose basket.


This giveaway is open to anyone 18+ in Canada and the US as Geeky Mommy is paying for the shipping herself.

You may enter once daily from now until Labor Day, September 7th at 11:59pm CST.

Main entry- Tell me what you love most about school. *This MUST be done first for any other entries to count.* After the first entry, you only have to say enter me or something like that.

Optional entries- see sidebar for the necessary links if they aren't right in this post.
Follow my blog - 1 entry
Follow me on twitter dddiva - 1 entry
Tweet this giveaway. Can be done once daily. Leave link in comments.
Subscribe via a rss feed.
Subscribe via email - must be verified
Comment on any of our older posts (not giveaway) and let me know which one you commented on- 1 entry for each
Comment on any of the posts on our food/bento blog and leave a link 1 entry each
Fave us on technorati or really any social networking site- stumble, kirsty, digg, etc... and leave a link- 1 entry for each
Add our button- 3 entries- leave link where we can find it- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)
Add our link to your blog roll - 3 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)
Blog about this giveaway- 5 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)
Fave me on Technorati and leave your user name.
Add your own giveaways or ones you come across (if they aren't already listed) to our perma-link and leave a comment then come back here and let us know- 1 entry each
Add a link to any social media and leave a link.
Enter any of our other giveaways and leave a comment with which one(s).

Good luck!
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Safe Sunday- child abuse awareness and prevention 8/16

Childabuse.com has the slogan prevention through awareness, which is of course what we are trying to promote here with Safe Sunday.

Tons of info including online tests and an online course, all geared to recognizing the signs and breaking the cycle.

IMO the most useful page, from whence you can get to anything is the LINKS page.

It is not shameful to need or ask for help, what is shameful is to know it is wrong and not do anything about it when the information is available.

Please spread the word- anything that has to do with awareness, prevention, personal story, whatever. Child abuse is tragic, and it is preventable if we work together.

If you don't know what to say feel free to use my links, the point is to get the word out that there is another way.

Please link to this post then add your link.

I know this is not a "fun" meme or linkup, but if it makes a difference in a single life it is worth it.

Also, feel free to add the Mr. Linky to your site, I made it public so anyone could snag it.

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Our little bounty from Collins Orchard.

We went to Collins Orchard again, but this trip wasn't as fruitful (pun intended) as last time. We did okay, though.
Ian had fun since they had a little puppy there.

There was only one small section of trees that were ready to be picked, but they weren't fabulous. We got enough to freeze, but none were pick from the tree dribble down your chin fresh. Not sure why they wouldn't let you get the other varieties as some looked in better shape, but oh well.
This was the rest of our haul- all told with the peaches it cost just over $40. Not the cheapest produce we've ever gotten, but it is yummy.



We met up with Casey and Derek- they left covered in sand tics. No charge for those.

.
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Easiest ever freezer pickles

Easiest Ever Freezer Pickles

Ingredients
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 2 cups Water
  • 1 cup Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 5 cups cucumbers, sliced thin (non-waxy, skins on)
  • 1 small onion peeled & sliced thin
Cooking Directions
  1. In a small heavy saucepan bring sugar, water, vinegar and salt to a boil. Turn off and cool down.
  2. Mix cukes and onions and place in small freezer containers, about 3/4 full.
  3. Cover with cooled liquid then put lid on.
  4. Freeze until needed.
  5. Defrost and enjoy.
These are awesome, easy and wonderful eaten with just the slightest bit of ice crystals.



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Geeky Mommy goes overboard Wordless & Mostly Wordless Wednesday


While the pic itself doesn't need explaining, the reason for it does- Geeky Mommy took the Geekazoid to get what she needed for back-to-school. And got a wee bit carried away. This is after Dev and Ian put their stuff away.

You, my lucky readers, will be the ones to benefit. Yes, that is our fave Hello Kitty- don't worry, we also got something for the boys. Even some snackage and brain food for the older crowd- it would make a great gift to send to your fave college student, but heck, it is really good for anyone!

Once she has a chance to sort through the goodies and get a few packages together Geeky Mommy will be putting up some giveaways, so check back soon to enter for your chance to win.



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Saving money on back-to-school shopping.

I know a lot of y'all are in the same boat that we are- less income but still have the same bills to pay and of course it's time for back to school and that means back to school shopping.

With 4 girls I've come up with a few things to help make the extra costs easier over the years- especially when several of those years were spent as a single mom.

One of the bigger expenses is clothes. Now I know a lot of people buy their kids whole new wardrobes every year for back to school, but I've rarely been able to do this and even when I had the money I mostly chose not to for a variety of reasons.

For the most part, they always had perfectly good things left that still fit.

A good thing to do is go through their clothing and see what is still wearable, any rags toss immediately.

Then check for anything that might need repairs- buttons sewn on, seams ripped, stains out* etc. and set them aside. If you aren't the type who can or will fix them get rid of them- donate or pass along to someone you know who can use them or whatever. You totally don't need the clutter of an I'll get to it someday, maybe, if the heavens align just right and hell freezes over pile. If you will fix them, now is the time to do it.

*If you can't get out a stain and the garment can't be bleached or bleach doesn't work, Rit Dye color remover is a godsend.

Anything that doesn't fit, pass along, whether you give away, donate, freecycle, sell, whatever.

See how many complete outfits you have and what you need to fill in with. Sometimes a couple of cute tops and trendy accessories are all it takes to have them looking stylish and up to date.

Swap with friends and family, let them know you gratefully accept hand me downs, shop at thrift stores, yard sales, Craigs List, freecycle etc. If your kids balk at hand-me downs use the it's better for the environment green argument- whatever works, right?

If they REALLY want something special, say this is the budget, you can either get less or save up for the expensive variety. Do NOT go over what you can afford.

I know some people use the everyone else has it, etc. argument. If they are only fitting in because of what they wear, those are not true friends and the minute they have an opinion of their own they will be shunned from the group anyways and you'll be in debt for nothing.

It's not too soon to plan ahead- as the seasons change things are deeply discounted and I can frequently get really, really nice designer things for the same or less than I can get something at the (overpriced here) Goodwill next year. Try your best to guess the right sizes, sure, occasionally you'll get the wrong one but there will always be someone, somewhere who is grateful to have it.

That all being said, don't forget to enter the Cookie's Back To School Giveaway if you qualify to help with their wardrobes, including uniforms. See the details here.

Now that my kids are older and know how freakin' many books they have to carry, a guarantee around here at least is that one backpack will NOT last the whole year. Jansport has a great guarantee- they will repair or replace it for free. Yippee! There are other extremely well made products on the market, Land's End is another that comes to mind. Invest in them! You will not regret it once they are out of the lower grades. Regardless, while it is in transit another needs to be available. If last years backpack is still functional then do not feel the need for a new one the first day of school.

Same with lunchboxes- although I'll be the first to admit, we have several and are always looking for more, especially those that can be used for bento. Yeah, it's an obsession. I'll be doing a review shortly on a new very green lunchbox that we're thrilled with. My girls were never fond of school lunches (except in Manchester, NH) and all of us (and now Ian) get bored with me making the sos all the time, hence the bento and other nifty containers and lunch ideas. You can expect some really fun posts very soon on some of our better ideas.

If you don't qualify for free and reduced prices, bento works out cheaper than buying.

Have your child ask if there is a microwave available- some schools have them and some don't. If so, this can be great for leftovers- even tv dinners have healthier and cheaper options than buying school lunches. If there isn't one, a quality wide-mouth thermos is a good investment.

A reusable water bottle or thermos is a cheaper, better option for the environment than buying or bringing individual beverages although I admit to using juice boxes sometimes for convenience, if I think the kids need the fruit or laziness. Also wonderful for field trips when they have to pack disposable lunches. Even the juice boxes or water bottles are a better than soda or sugary drinks and according to them the milk they can buy is beyond gross.

As far as school supplies- cherry pick! Staples 1cent sale, the super deal at Kroger, the loss-leader your drugstore has, the 10 cent notebooks, whatever your area has. The stores have them to get you in the door hoping you'll get the rest of your supplies while you're there. If you need to save money, don't do it. Take the time to get the best deals in each store in your area, this saves a bundle.

I hope some of these tips help save you a little money. What do you do to cut costs on back to school shopping?
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Menu for week of 8/10 - 8/16

We're going to the pick-your-own orchard tomorrow am so the veggies are apt to change depending on what looks good. Peaches for sure will be on the menu.

Crock pot- corned beef dinner w/veggies, salad w/choice of dressing, bread or rolls

Spaghetti and meatballs, garlic bread, pineapple salad

Baked or grilled chicken, roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, salad w/choice of dressing

Leftovers- either corned beef sandwiches or Reuben's for those that like them, chips

Perfect Pot Roast; crescent rolls; salad w/choice of dressing

Breakfast for dinner- waffles, sausage links, fresh fruit

Chicken wings with several types of sauce- buffalo, teriyaki, Oriental  and garlic something or other (Ki makes these so not sure), veggies and dip

What's on your menu this week?


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Safe Sunday 8/9 Break the Cycle - Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse.

For today's safe Sunday post I thought I would tell y'all why we think it is so important and we're doing everything we can to spread the word- don't forget, you get 10 extra entries into my Amazon/PayPal/OLS giveaway if you link to Safe Sunday. Yes, it matters that much.

My friend Trina from A Blessed Mommy of 6 was physically and mentally abused as a child and placed into foster care as a teen, as was her sister. Even though the abuse continued while she was in the system, Trina grew up to be a productive citizen and leads a pretty good life all things considered although there are times I wish she had a little more self-esteem. She's working hard on it, though, and getting so much better and stronger and developing feelings of worthiness.

Here sister was not so fortunate. She turned to drugs and guys and had 4 children of her own, who, unfortunately could not fill the void that is lacking in her and she in turn did what she knew which was abuse and allow others to abuse them. Long story short, to keep those children out of the system Trina and her husband fostered then adopted those children even though they have two children of their own, one of them who is severely physically and mentally handicapped.

Why would this family living on one (cops) income take on such a huge responsibility? To break the cycle. They could no more let their nephew and nieces continue to be abused or have them split up than they could give up one of their biological children. In Trina's own words, those kids did nothing to deserve this and they deserve a chance at a decent life. We are going to do what we can to help see that they grow up knowing that nothing that happened was their fault and that life isn't supposed to and doesn't have to be that way.

It is not easy, it is not without its drawbacks and setbacks, and financially it is majorly rough on them and the whole family has had to make sacrifices but every one of them feels, with that deep down in the gut knowledge, that it was the only thing they could do.

This is my small way to show Trina how much I admire and respect what she's doing and how much I appreciate the life she's giving those children, a life they most likely never would have known otherwise.

If you or someone you know is being abused, or you suspect it, please seek professional help.

You can find more information here:

Child Welfare Information Gateway http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/whatiscan.cfm

CDC Child Maltreatment Prevention http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/cmp/default.htm

Friends National Resource Center http://www.friendsnrc.org/

Childhelp http://www.childhelp.org/home

Please, get the word out if you can. You can give your own testimony, stats, numbers, cut and paste my post, anything at all so we break the cycle and let these kids know it is not their fault, and it does not have to be that way. Thank you so very much, I really appreciate it. And remember, you can get 10 extra entries just for linking to this post on your own blog and spreading the word, then add your link here. I made the Mr. Linky public so you are welcome to post it on your own site, we're trying to reach as many people as we can.

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FREE CHOCOLATE

Taking a break from the back-to-school posts to remind you to get your FREE CHOCOLATE!
For anyone who doesn't know, the Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act is sending out up to 4 coupons per household for FREE CHOCOLATE on Fridays until the end of August. That means you can get your choice of M&M's, Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, Dove and more- and if you are a heretic- kidding people- I mean non-chocolate lover, you can even choose Skittles or Starburst.

They are giving out 250,000 per Friday, so go on over HERE and sign up now! and they'll send you the coupons in the mail.

With any luck at all the coupons will come when the kiddos are back in school and you can hog them all yourself- I mean dole them out judiciously.

Have a FABULOUS Friday everyone.

And yes, Devii, I know you will devise a slow and painful death for me if I dare not share with you my little sweethound.
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Back to school bash- what do you want to see?

Hey guys, we're getting everything together for the back-to-school bash and are planning a series of posts, reviews and even a few giveaways. We've got what we think are some interesting and useful posts lined up but what I really want to know is what you all want.

Bento, lunches, breakfasts, making the mornings easier and organization are some of the topics we've got covered.

What are your challenges? Is there anything you would like to see us cover that we haven't mentioned? Any resources you want give a shout out to (can be your own)?

Just leave a comment and we'll do what we can to accommodate you.

Thanks. Don't forget to get those entries in for the kick-off giveaway of $25 Paypal or amazon or the 1yr prem membership to OLS.

If anyone else would like to have us review your products and/or offer our readers a giveaway, email me and I'll be happy to see what we can do to help you out.
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Win Amazon, PayPal or 1 year Premium OLS membership

I've been hinting about a back to school bash and I've got several reviews lined up as well as a couple of giveaways thrown in for good measure.

To kick things off the little divas and I have decided to offer 1 winner their choice of the following prizes- $25 in their PayPal account, $25 Amazon E-GC OR a 1 year membership to OLS (Online-Sweepstakes) a $30 value.

That's right, your choice of a guaranteed thing or a years worth of chances to hit the big one. I know which I'd choose, but then I know how much I win. ;)

I want to make this one fun and interesting (for us) so any entries that say pick me or I really need this I'm so poor and I never win anything ad nauseum will be disqualified.

This giveaway is open to anyone and (1) winner will get to choose their prize. Ends August 31, 11:59 pm. Winner will be emailed.

Ready to jump? Here are the hoops:

Main entry- may be done 1x daily- tell me something you love or hate about getting ready for back to school, going to school or why you're glad you're out of school. (Sensing a theme here?) Pretty much anything about school, each of your entries must be different.

Optional entries- see sidebar for the necessary links if they aren't right in this post.
Follow my blog - 1 entry
Follow me on twitter dddiva - 1 entry
Tweet this giveaway 1x daily You can use this, just copy and paste:
Win Amazon, Paypal or 1 year OLS premium membership http://twitter.com/dddiva/status/3149279355
Subscribe via a rss feed.
Subscribe via email - must be verified
Comment on any of our older posts (not giveaway) and let me know which one you commented on- 1 entry for each
Comment on any of the posts on our food/bento blog and leave a link 1 entry each
Fave us on technorati or really any social networking site- stumble, kirsty, digg, etc... and leave a link- 1 entry for each
Add our button- 3 entries- leave link where we can find it- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)
Add our link to your blog roll - 3 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)
Blog about this giveaway- 5 entries- leave link where we can find it (leave a separate comment for each)
Add your own giveaways or ones you come across (if they aren't already listed) to our perma-link and leave a comment then come back here and let us know- 1 entry each

***Anyone who does a post on their own blog and links back here for Safe Sunday recognizing and preventing child abuse, then adds their link to the Mr. Linky will get 10 entries- we really think this is important, so major suck-up points, can be done once each Sunday.***

I know that is a lot, but it is a lot of chances to win and you are only required to do the one main easy entry- you don't even have to visit another site- which is enough to win. The extras may better the odds in your favor and I know will be worth it to some and not to others.

The little diva's and I thank you for stopping by and wish you the best luck in the world and sprinkle you with lucky pixie dust.



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On a quest for the perfect hair removal system. HELP ME!

Being a girl means that there are things we do to beautify that men couldn't possibly begin to understand. One of the biggest pains in the arse is hair removal.

It squicks me out so badly to have any form of stubble or whatever during regrowth that once I went to ripping the suckers out I never went back to shaving or depilatories.

The girls, however, haven't developed a tolerance for the torture devices yet so we've been through the gamut of affordable options.

We've come to the following conclusions.

Creams and such like Nair and Veet are... pretty good to okay to meh to OMG I've got a disease. The results are short lived- 3 days max at best if you are gorilla woman and they can get pricey. Any skin sensitivity at all and this is not an option as the nasty red welty look lasts longer than the smoothness. Not terribly expensive but in the long term if you add it all up it's not cheap either.

Waxing is messy at home, expensive at salons and it hurts, especially in the sensitive areas like bikini and underarm. Some professionals are better at it than others which is why celebs will find one they love and keep them on retainer- if I could afford to do this I probably would. Well, if I could afford that I'd probably just get the permanent laser done but let's face it, neither I nor (most of) my readers can justify the cost as we have many other obligations for our money.
Usually it is a pretty good job, especially if you have it done by a professional BUT there are always some that grow back faster than others and/or are missed entirely. And you have to grow it out to a certain point before you can have it done. None of us were overly impressed with the cold wax strips.

Disposable razors and razors with replaceable blades- gets pretty spendy if you don't buy the cheap-arse ones that rip your legs to shreds as you are forever buying the darn things but most of us can afford this option as it is done a bit at a time. Really, it's a case of you get what you pay for and when you are buying for 4 daughters who have to shave with every bath or shower (daily) it adds up. And it feels REALLY nasty when the stubbly buggers are growing back.

Way back in the day mama got me an Epilady when they first came out. That's the one with the coils that rotate and yank the hair out by the roots. I won't tell you it didn't hurt because that would be a damn lie. But. While it takes a while (the first few times especially) the results were mostly good and it lasted a lot longer than shaving or depilatories and they were soft when they grew back. While it is supposed to last for up to like 4 weeks it was a weekly process. The reason I stuck with it was because again- no nasty stubble and over the long term the regrowth meant finer hairs and quite a few large areas that never grow back again. The bottom half of my shins have no hairs whatsoever and haven't for years- same with most of my thighs.

When poor Epi croaked I moved on to a Gently Gold. This did the same thing as the Epilady (yanked the hair out by the roots) but used rotating rows of tweezers and was somewhat less painful. Results were basically the same and it did a decent job- maybe missed a few more hairs or a couple more broke off at skin level but for the most part nice smooth legs. The girls actually tried these and only the mini-diva can handle the pain. I don't want to call the others wimps (well I have, and to their faces) but I think it's a matter of what your tolerance for pain is and also how sensitive you are.

I've had numerous Gently Gold's they seem to last a couple of years with weekly use, then they slowly get less and less effective.

This last time when I realized Goldie was getting close to kicking the bucket I did a lot of research and read so many reviews my eyes started to bleed and I ended up going with the Braun 5270 Silk-epil X'elle Body System Epilator. I am going to cut and paste to show you what the benefits are supposed to be-

  • Smartlight - A spotlight which helps you capture even single stray hairs resulting in ultimate smoothness
  • SmartStart Head - This head helps make your start in epilation easy
  • SoftLift system, part of the epilation system, lifts and guides the shortest and flat lying hairs to tweezers. It helps remove the shortest hairs that wax cannot capture
  • Active Massaging Rollers - 4-way moving massaging rollers stimulate skin with micro-pulses before and after hair is removed to minimize pulling sensation

With over 700 reviews on Amazon it was the highest rated epilator at 4.5 stars (and a lower price than Goldie) I went for it as the reviews that were not positive were all basically from wimps like the girlies and dealt with the pain factor. Plus, it was cheaper than Goldie and had more features that looked like they addressed my concerns. I do really like the light.

That being said what a waste of Amazon GC's that I got with my Swagbucks*.

It hurts more than the Gently Gold but less than the Epilady.

It breaks a LOT more hairs off at the skin level than either of the others.

Your legs are NOT as smooth and silky- they don't grow back AS STUBBLY as if you shaved, but there are a few patches. EVERY TIME. I've had it since I went on vacation to mama's and I can honestly tell you I'm not the least bit impressed. Since Goldie is on life support and I can't afford a whole new system YET- saving up those Swagbucks, though *grin* what I am currently doing is using the Silk-epil and then going over it with Goldie. Yes, double time and it is not as fast as shaving at the best of times as whatever system you use you have to go over each area numerous times to make sure you get all the hairs and of course you will still miss some. If you've reached 40-itis, though (needing old lady glasses to see up close) then you know what I mean when I say it's easy to think you got them all when you haven't.

All of the epilators do a good job on the underarms. That could be because I have maybe half a dozen hairs that ever try to grow back (again, years and years and well better than a quarter of a century of use is the reason for this and makes it totally worth it to me). It used to OMG HURT LIKE A MOTHER, but now it is nothing to me. If you can get past the initial few times it gets less and less painful, whatever area you are going over.

I'm on a mission to find THE PERFECT hair removal system. That would be my dream review. There have been a few giveaways that have the laser technology that you use at home but they are all pricier than I can afford at the moment. And. I would not want to shell out that kind of money until I knew someone that was actually using it and getting real results not the website testimonials. Again we're talking hundreds and hundreds and while I know that's a lot if- and that's a big if- they did what they said then you can bet your bippy I'd be saving my wins and pennies.

The two that I've seen the most press on are the TRIA and the Silk'n. Both respond to the pigment so are for people with dark hairs and light skin *pick me, pick me* hehehe my body hair has always been MUCH darker than the hairs on my head. Go figure. Thanks, genetics.

I'm so jonesing to try one of these- now that would be a dream come true for me- hear that laser people? I'm your perfect candidate and let's face it if your product does what it says you will NEVER have a more loyal advocate. I've got a big mouth and I know how to use it!

For now, the quest continues, in the meantime I'll keep on yanking and ripping and saving, but honestly if any PR reps for hair removal companies see this- I would so love to work with you. I'm willing to "bare it all" and show the results week after week after week on this blog and/or your site to get something that actually works.

What do you use? How effective is it? Cost? Thanks a gazillion!

*Swagbucks has changed somewhat since I wrote this review, but it is my favorite search and win because while I have won on the others, whenever you take the time to do them in just a few minutes a day you are getting some points and they add up quickly - only 45 needed to get a $5 Amazon GC and now you can even use them to get money into your PayPal account. Can't beat that. If you haven't signed up yet, please consider signing up under me- that way we both win.


Search & Win
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