Ultimate Homemaking Bundle Sale including my Slow Cooker Freezer Plans!


Being a mom and homemaker is hard.

There’s no question that you love your family like crazy and you’d do anything for them, but we all know it can be an exhausting job.

Our job is so important, and we really want to do it right.  But so often, we end up feeling discouraged and even like we’re failing.

Maybe you wonder how you can keep up with it all and still have the energy to be the kind of mom, wife and woman you want to be.

Being a mom is never going to be stress free.  But what if you had more (and better) tools to help make it stress-less?

That’s why I’m excited to tell you about something very special happening right now called The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle 2016.

It was created to give you a huge number of amazing, high-quality resources to take some of the stress, overwhelm and difficulty out of homemaking and mothering.

To make you feel like you’re winning more often.

And to bolster you in the work you’re doing, because every awesome, hard-working mom deserves a little help sometimes.

The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes 93 hand-picked eBooks, eCourses, and printables, on topics that matter to moms such as:

  • organization, routines & creating a cozy home
  • recipes, grocery shopping and meal planning
  • budgeting and saving money
  • motherhood (no matter what age your kids are)
  • cultivating a strong marriage
  • faith (for you & your kids)
  • and even self-care (like exercise, weight loss, life planning and coloring books!)
  • and much more…

Including my Slow Cooker Freezer Plans Volumes 1 & 2!

Vol-1+2-book.jpg white background

You have a full year to download the eBooks and printables and take the online eCourses, and everything you’ve downloaded becomes part of your permanent library, so you can go back to it whenever you need it.

Plus, it comes with these FREE bonus offers from companies who know what homemakers need and want. Some are 100% free; other are yours for the cost of shipping only. You’ll get:

  • FREE Mrs. Meyer’s Dish Soap, Mrs. Meyer’s Multi Surface Spray, Grove Collaborative Spray Bottle, Grove Collaborative Scrubber Sponges and FREE 60-day VIP trial with FREE shipping from Grove Collaborative ($30 value)
  • FREE Online Class from Craftsy ($29.99-$69.99 value)
  • FREE Kids Discovery Box from GreenKidCrafts.com ($24.95 value)
  • $15 Gift Certificate to InkWELL Press ($15 value)
  • $15 Credit to Hope Ink Shop PLUS Two FREE 8×10 Art Prints with Any Purchase ($71)
  • FREE SPOT Treatment for Acne & Eczema OR a $15 Gift Certificate from Bloom Naturals ($15 value)
  • FREE 90-Day Pro Membership to ListPlanIt.com ($30)
  • FREE 1-Year MollyGreen.com Membership ($29 value)
  • FREE Hand Massage Routine Videos from Melt Couples Massage ($24 value)

It’s available for just 6 days – from now until Monday, May 2nd, 2016 at 11:59pm EST. That’s why the Ultimate Bundles team can offer so much, because they only have permission to sell it for such a short period of time.

The total value is an astonishing $1000+ (plus over $300 in bonuses), but you get it for just $29.97. That’s 97% off what it would cost to buy everything individually!

Learn more or get your bundle now!

 

If you think getting all those homemaking & mothering helps for less than $30 sounds like a steal, then make sure to go HERE to see exactly what it includes and grab yours before this deal ends!

This post contains affiliate links.

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Easy Soup Toppings Bar Ideas

Bear Creek soup toppings buffet

Soup is one of our favorite meals. I didn’t think we could like it any more than we do until we added a soup toppings bar.

We’ve had a lot of snowy weather lately. One day for lunch, I pulled a packet of Bear Creek Creamy Potato Soup from the pantry. I decided to add a bunch of topping options to go along with the soup.

Bear Creek soup with toppings

Next to the pot of soup – we aren’t too fancy around here – I put small bowls of different toppings:

  • Bacon bits
  • Shredded cheese
  • Diced green onions and diced red onion
  • Oyster crackers
  • Croutons

All those toppings made the soup even better. For some reason, I’d never had croutons in soup before. That is a great combo!

The toppings bar is a really easy way to add to your soup lunch or dinner. I just pulled things from the fridge and pantry that I had on hand.

Bear Creek Soup Mix

We chose Creamy Potato for our soup lunch, but Bear Creek offers quite a few other flavors too. These are great for kids who want to make a meal. Or for adults who want something quick. Making a pot of soup is really quick with Bear Creek.

Bear Creek toppings bar

What are your favorite soup toppings?

 

 Bear Creek Country Kitchens began over 20 years ago with one goal in mind: to create home-style soups that will satisfy every appetite.  Combining high-quality ingredients and a special blend of spices, Bear Creek soups are delicious and easy to prepare. 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bear Creek Soups. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Have you ever really tasted canned tomatoes?

Red Gold product cutting supplies

Canned tomatoes are a staple ingredient for me, and for most of you too.  I have a whole drawer in my pantry dedicated to various tomato products.

But somehow, I’d never given much thought to the differences in quality of those products.  Until now.

Red Gold sent me a product cutting kit to test their whole, peeled tomatoes against Hunt’s brand.  I took a bunch of photos so you can see the difference.

Red Gold can open

The first thing I did was open the Red Gold can.  The photo above is exactly as it was when I opened it.  Four nice looking, whole tomatoes were near the top.  The media (juice) looked red and I noticed a good tomato scent.

Red Gold tomatoes in pan

I poured the Red Gold tomatoes into the provided pan.  All the tomatoes were whole and looked very good.  There was one tomato that was much smaller than the others, but overall they were uniform in size.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's can open

Next I opened the Hunt’s can.  This is exactly what it looked like when I opened it.  I couldn’t see any whole tomatoes at the top of the can.  The media (juice) looked thick and red though.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's in pan

I poured the Hunt’s can into the pan.  There were a few whole tomatoes, but many were squished.

Red Gold product cutting side by side

Above is a side-by-side photo so you can see the differences.

Appearance ratings:

On the Red Gold score sheet, there are five different ratings for appearance.  Each is rated on a scale of five, with 1 being poor and 5 being extraordinary.

Red Color of Tomatoes

The brighter the hue of red, the higher the score.  I gave both Red Gold and Hunt’s a score of 4 on this.

Uniformity of the Size of Tomatoes

The less variation in size, the higher the score.  I gave Red Gold 5 on this.  Hunt’s earned 3.  It was hard to tell if the Hunt’s tomatoes were uniform in size, because many of them were squished or in pieces.

Tomato Integrity

The more firm the tomatoes look, the higher the score.  Red Gold earned 5.  Hunt’s earned 2.

Amount of Peel and Seeds Present in Sample

The less peel and seeds, the higher the score. Red Gold earned 5, because I saw no peel or seeds.  Hunt’s earned 1. On of the Hunt’s tomatoes still had most of the peel on it. Another had a significant amount of peel.  I also saw many seeds in the Hunt’s.

Media

The red and thick juice is the media. The better the color and consistency, the higher the score.  This is the only indicator that Hunt’s may have edged out Red Gold.  Hunt’s media was very thick and red, almost like tomato sauce.  I gave it a rating of 4.  Red Gold’s media looked good, but it is a bit thinner and lighter than Hunt’s.  I gave it a score of 3.

Flavor ratings:

The final two ratings on the score sheet are for flavor.  For this rating, a tomato from each can is cut in half.  Notice the appearance, then taste for flavor.

Red Gold cut in half

The flavor of Red Gold tomatoes is very good.  It’s bright and not far off from a fresh picked tomato.

Red Gold product cutting Hunt's cut in half

Hunt’s tomatoes did not taste good.  I was pretty surprised by how badly they tasted.  There was a distinct metallic taste.  They tasted like an old can.  Not good.

Intensity of Tomato Flavor

The more tomato flavor, the higher the score.  Red Gold earned a score of 5.  Hunt’s earned a score of 2.

Attributes

Tomatoes should taste garden fresh without any off notes.  Red Gold earned 5 here.  I could easily eat a plate of these by themselves.  I gave Hunt’s a score of 1.  They just really weren’t good.

Score totals:

Red Gold – 32

Hunt’s 17

I was very surprised at the difference between the brands.

Red Gold is Non GMO certified and uses a Non-BPA Liner for their cans.  Both of these add to the quality of the tomatoes.

Have you ever tried Red Gold tomatoes?  The next time you open a can, take a bite before adding them to your recipe.  I’d love to know what you think.

Disclosure:  Red Gold sent me the product cutting kit.  I have been compensated by Red Gold for this post, however all opinions are my own.

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National Soup Month with Bear Creek Dry Soup Mixes (and a giveaway!)

Bear Creek Soup with a cozy fire

The first part of our winter was so warm and nice.  We had to turn the heat off in the house on Christmas day so we could enjoy a fire that morning.

Now that we’re well into January, the weather has shifted.  It’s 12 degrees outside right now, with snow in the forecast for tomorrow.  Brrr!  No wonder some smart person set January as National Soup Month.

I love any kind of soup.  Paired with a salad or warm bread – or paired with a fire in the fireplace – soup warms both body and soul.

Bear Creek Soup Mix

I’ve shared Bear Creek Soup Cups with you before.  But I also really like their soup mixes that make a whole pot to share with the family.  These are wonderful for stocking the pantry, so you can have soup anytime you need a quick lunch or dinner.  My youngest son is home with a bad cold today, so I’ll be making the Chicken Noodle Soup for his lunch.

Bear Creek Soups are so easy to make and they only take minutes.

Bear Creek Soup

Last week we had Creamy Chicken Soup by the fire while it snowed outside.  The Creamy Chicken Soup has small shell pasta in it, so it’s filling as well as being warm and tasty.

Giveaway on Instagram

Bear Creek Foods has another giveaway for you this month!  Submit a photo on Instagram showcasing you all bundled up in your winter gear for the chance at a winter warm-up, a month’s worth of Bear Creek Dry Soup Mixes!  Tag Bear Creek (@bearcreekfoods) and use the hashtags #NationalSoupMonth and #WinterWarmUp

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bear Creek Soups. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Veggies and Marzetti Dip Make the Best Party Snacks (and a $50 Gift Card Giveaway!)

Marzetti dip

My youngest daughter put this vegetable tray together for a family gathering the Sunday after Thanksgiving.  And then I caught her snitching a taste while I shot photos 🙂

All of Jim’s family came on Sunday so we could share a meal together.  Usually, we are the ones who make the drive to see them, so it was really special to get to host.  We moved our kitchen table to the dining room to make space for all fifteen of us to sit together.

table for 15

I snapped this photo on my cell phone before everyone came in.  I remember thinking I should take another photo once everyone was seated, but I totally forgot.

In the empty spot in the kitchen, where the table usually sits, we put a card table.  It was the perfect place for the veggie tray to sit – between the kitchen and family room.  A lot of veggie munching took place while we waited on dinner.

The veggie tray made a great appetizer before the meal, especially since this gathering came at the tail-end of the Thanksgiving celebrations.  We’d all eaten plenty of pie and stuffing.  It felt good to fill up on veggies.  They are colorful and fun and taste great dipped in the Ranch Dip.

Mia cut strips of red and yellow bell peppers, celery sticks, broccoli florets and she piled up baby carrots and grape tomatoes.  Marzetti® Ranch Dip took the center spot on the tray.

Everyone loves that dip!  I always get compliments on it when I serve it.  The flavor goes perfect with the veggies.

Giveaway!

Marzetti dip and vegetable tray

Marzetti® is giving away one $50 Visa Gift Card.  To enter, just leave a comment sharing your favorite vegetable to dip in Marzetti® Dip.

You can find Marzetti® on Facebook .

Marzetti party veggie plate

 

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Marzetti® Veggie Dips. The opinions and text are all mine.

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A Home Tasting Meal Where Ever You Are – Bear Creek Soup

Bear Creek lunch with book

It’s not always possible to actually eat at home.  I do my fair share of packing up food to go.  My youngest daughter takes her lunch three days a week to classes, where she has access to a microwave.  And Jim works in an office, so he likes to keep some easy meals handy there.

One quick and easy meal that also has a taste of home, is Bear Creek Hearty Soup Bowls.  These are so easy to toss in your bag in the morning.  Fixing the hot bowl of soup is as simple as adding water, stirring and heating.

If I can have a warm bowl of soup, along with a good book, that is a taste of home for sure.  I love to read while I eat.  That equals comfort for me.

Bear Creak Soups

There are four varieties of Bear Creek Hearty Soup Bowls.

Cheddar Broccoli – Thick and creamy broccoli soup with a blend of rich cheeses

Creamy Potato – Rich and creamy potato soup with a delicate blend of herbs and spices

Cheddar Potato – Savory cheese flavor with a blend of spices and rustic potatoes

Creamy Chicken with Rice – Rich and creamy home-style chicken soup with hearty rice

Bear Creek Cheddar Potato

All of them make a good meal away from home (or even at home!)  And pairing the soup with a good book makes it even better.

Bear Creek Country Kitchens began over 20 years ago with one goal in mind: to create home-style soups that will satisfy every appetite.  Combining high-quality ingredients and a special blend of spices, Bear Creek soups are delicious and easy to prepare.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bear Creek Soups. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Easy Changes for Health – Kefir Smoothies

kefir smoothie

 

My favorite way to get healthy is to make small changes that add up for a larger impact.  I’m not inclined to sign myself up for a marathon, but I have started walking nearly every morning.

It’s unlikely that I’ll do a complete overhaul of my eating habits (although I did try the Whole 30 once).  I’d rather make small changes that are easier to keep up with.

One of those things is adding kefir to my snack rotation.

What the heck is kefir, you may ask?

First, let me just say that it actually tastes pretty good.  The description I’m about to give you may turn you off of trying it, but stick with me.  Despite the description, I do enjoy these smoothies and I think you will too.

Kefir is fermented milk.  It’s a little like a thin, drinkable yogurt, but it’s not yogurt.  It’s possible to make kefir at home, but I haven’t tried that.  Instead, I buy Lifeway brand.

lifeway kefir

 

I’ve found it at Walmart, Meijer, Costco and Aldi.  Aldi has the best price on the quart size bottles.  Costco carries the individual bottles at a price just a bit more than Aldi.  (This post isn’t sponsored, by the way.  I’m just sharing a product I’m loving.)

Kefir comes in plain or various berry flavors.  I prefer the flavored.  Actually, I’m not brave enough to try the plain.  I even add to the sweetness of the berry flavor by blending half a frozen banana with it.  Of course, the flavored varieties aren’t quite as healthy as the plain, but I think it’s a lot healthier for me.  The reason, is I’d never drink the plain, so I’d miss out on the health benefits altogether.  At least with the flavored type, I get all the good probiotics and other goodness, even if it does come with a bit of added sugar.

Benefits of kefir

Because it’s fermented, kefir is full of probiotics – many more than are found in yogurt.  This is a real boost for gut health, but it also brings a lot of other benefits too.

This article goes into more details on the benefits, but here’s a quick list for you.

~ The probiotics are good for you gut and can help restore good bacteria after illness.  It’s also good for people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

~ It boosts your immunity to viruses and infections.

~ It builds bone density.

~ Some studies show it helps both allergies and asthma.

~ People who are lactose intolerant can usually drink kefir with no problem.  In fact, there’s evidence to show that it will help people who deal with that.

~ There have been lab studies that show kefir fights cancer in animals.

~ There are only about 100 calories per cup.

It’s been easy to swap out my morning or afternoon snack for a kefir smoothie instead.  I just blend half a frozen banana with 1 cup of kefir.  If I don’t have the banana already frozen, I add a cube or two of ice to the blender.  Easy!

I’d love to know if you’ve tried kefir and what you think of it! 

 

 

 

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Oreck Steam-It Giveaway!

I have wanted a steam mop for a while now.  We recently had the grout on our tile floors in the kitchen and entry way color sealed.  The grout was stained and it drove me crazy.  Color sealing it made it look new again.

The only problem was that it has to be cleaned with water only.  No cleaners. No vinegar.  Just water.

There are 6 people living in this house, not to mention neighbor kids and others who come in and out.  And I’m in the kitchen cooking a lot too.  There is no way that water only with a regular mop was going to get it for us.

So when I got the chance to try the Oreck Steam-It, I was very excited.  Is it crazy to get excited about a mop?

I love this thing!  The floors looks great.  Even the bathroom floors that still have stained grout look great.  The grout isn’t perfect, but it’s so much cleaner than it was.

The steam mop is easy to use and light weight.  You fill it with a small funnel:

After you put the water in, turn the Steam-It on and it heats in less than a minute.

There are two different mop covers – a fuzzy, fluffy one and a less fuzzy one.  (How’s that for descriptive?)  I like the fluffy one, because I feel like it gets into the grooves of the grout better.  I’ve gotten great results with both though.

I debated on showing you this picture, because it makes it look like we’re a family of pigs living in this house, but here’s what the mop cover looked like after doing all the floors in the house.  And I didn’t think they were *that* dirty, but it shows that the Steam-It really is cleaning the floors.  This was the second time we used the Steam-It.  Each time, I think the floors get cleaner and cleaner, which is a good feeling.

The mop cover may look nasty, but my floors look amazing!  And I love that the covers can be thrown in the wash.  They come out looking clean again too.

Did I mention that I love this steam mop?

You can use the steam mop on other types of flooring too.  I’ve used it on our vinyl floors as well.  And I even steamed the top of my glass top stove.  The photos of that didn’t come out very well, but it did make the stove top look fantastic.

Oreck is going to give a Steam-It to one of you!

The winner must reside in the U.S. 48 contiguous states.  Giveaway closes on Friday night 7/13.  Winner chosen by random drawing (using And the Winner Is…plugin).

Mandatory first entry:  Visit Oreck.com and tell us one thing you learned about the Steam-It.

Optional second entry: Follow Oreck on Facebook.

Disclosure: I was given a Steam-It steam mop to try by Oreck.  All opinions are my own.  Oreck Corporation provided the prize for the sweepstakes but is not the sponsor of the sweepstakes.

 

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Soap Suds and Dirty Dishes

Being in the kitchen isn’t all about cooking.

There’s the clean up too.

And the messy hands from dealing with raw chicken or onions or any number of other ingredients used in a recipe.

When Lysol asked me to try out their new No Touch Kitchen System, I was happy to do so! I liked the idea of not having to pick up the soap bottle when my hands had just been in meatloaf mix.

It works just like the no-touch systems found in some public bathrooms. Put your hands under the sensor and a squirt of soap is dispensed. The kids thought this was fantastic!

I also used the No Touch Kitchen System for washing a sink full of dishes. Grab a dirty spoon or plate and let it trigger the dispenser, then run it under hot water. It’s a lot less messy than picking up the soap bottle with wet hands.

Lysol is giving away a No Touch Kitchen System with a year supply of soap!  [Read more…]

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All I Want for Christmas is… Holiday Gift Ideas for Eat at Home Cooks


I firmly believe you do not need the latest and greatest in kitchen equipment to be a good cook.  However, there are a few essentials and some fun items that are nice to own.  Since Christmas is coming, I thought I’d share some ideas with you.

Stand Mixer

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 8.56.07 AM

KitchenAid 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer is very similar to the one I’ve had for 18 years.  Mine is still going strong. I use it several times a week.  It was a huge splurge (one of the only black friday items Jim has ever purchased) but it was so worth it.  Right now on Amazon the black mixer is $50 less than the white.  That could change quickly,
but that’s a great savings.

Pizza Steel

dough joe pizza steel

I ordered the Dough-Joe pizza steel last winter and it has been such a fun purchase!  This thing make awesome homemade pizza.  It transformed our pizza nights.  The pizza steel goes in the oven and the temp gets cranked as hot as it will go.  Pizzas bake in about 6 minutes and the crust is perfection! I explain how to use the steel in this post.  If you’ve ever wanted to improve your homemade pizza, this is the way to go.

Pizza Peel

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.21.48 AM

If you’re using a pizza steel then you need a pizza peel in order to transfer the pizzas in and out of the oven.  I use this Epicurean Pizza Peel.  The pizza peel and steel together would make a fantastic gift for the cook in your life.  Or for yourself.  Or even as a family gift.  We’ve had so much fun together on pizza nights.

Slow Cooker

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.00.59 AM
Hamilton Beach 33967 Set ‘n Forget 6-Quart Programmable Slow Cooker is a great option if you’re in the market for a new slow cooker.

Ice Cream Maker

Screen Shot 2015-11-24 at 9.06.32 AM


Cuisinart ICE-21 Frozen Yogurt-Ice Cream & Sorbet Maker  I have two of these and I love them.  They enable my ice cream habit. Yum!

Non-Stick Skillet

skillet

I did some work with Swiss Diamond a few months ago.  They sent me a covered skillet to try and I have loved it.  I find I reach for it all the time.  It’s heavy, it cooks evenly, it’s non-stick.  It’s a bit of an investment, but this is a work horse and worth the money.

This post contains affiliate links.

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