All things motherhood and more!

Posts tagged ‘shopping’

Rodeo Fun! Mutton Bustin Anyone?

Photo Credit: rodeohouston.comIt is RODEO time in Houston. Every year this time the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is in town for a few weeks. It usually is here during spring break so it becomes one of our day trips as a family. If you have never been to something like this it can be an all day event. Not only do they have a carnival with tons of rides, games and food vendors but there is also over 480 retail vendors with everything like cowboy boots, candy, jewelry, scented candles, furniture, clothing, kitchen gadgets, etc. They also have a kids zone with fun exhibits, rides and interactive activities. Want to see an egg hatch live? They have it! Want to see them milk a cow? They have it! Want to walk around thousands of pens full of stinky pigs, cows, horses, chickens, etc? They have it! They also have livestock auctions and competitions.

The big event is the rodeo and concert held inside Reliant Stadium. They always have a concert after the rodeo that features a headline singer or group. Although I am not a huge country music fan I am impressed with the A list of stars that have sold out shows each year like Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, and Reba McEntire. The rodeo itself includes bucking horses and bull riding, chuck wagon races, barrel races, the calf scramble, calf roping, etc. One of my favorites by far is the “Mutton Bustin”. The announcer actually puts it the best when he says “this is the part of the show where we strap our kids to farm animals and call it entertainment”. If you have never seen it you have to watch the video below. Basically it is a  child around 5-6 years old wearing a heavily padded vest and helmet  put on the back of a sheep, told to grab on to its wool, and then hang on for dear life when the gate opens. As the sheep runs across the pen the object is to see who can stay on the longest. Over the years I have seen a few kids with tears but the majority have huge grins on their faces and are pumping their fists in the air with excitement after they take that dive to the ground.

What is your favorite thing about a rodeo?

Tips for Perfect Cookie Dough

Raw cookie dough in cookie clumps.

Image via Wikipedia

After seeing this article on Yahoo today I certainly am putting “cookie making with the kids” on my spring break list! I think everyone has their favorite cookie and certainly we all want to sneak a taste of the dough even though we have been advised against consuming products with raw eggs. Who can resist? And who doesn’t like the smell of fresh-baked cookies? I mean they make candles with that scent because we love it so much!

Although the perfect cookie for me is the pre-packaged cookie dough in the store that you just pull out of the package and bake, I do sometimes venture to make cookies from scratch. Most people will have the ingredients for baking cookies on hand and these are easy ingredients to stock up when on sale or you have a coupon.

This article gives some really simple tips in the way ingredients are mixed as well as other suggestions of how to get your cookies to come out consistent and how to adjust the recipe to your personal preference for the perfect cookie. This is instructions for a basic a chocolate chip cookie dough but it also has suggestions of variations for the same basic dough so we can get creative!

Check out the article HERE and let me know what cookies you are going to be baking soon!

Choose Your Email Name Carefully!

As a customer service phone agent I have heard all kinds of email addresses. There are however many people reluctant to provide their current email because something they thought what cute or sexy is now embarrassing to say to a complete stranger. Most people will use their name or a nick name. Some even have emails that refer to their favorite hobby like crafts, sports, books, movies, etc. Then there are those who think that “sexyman4u”,”urluvbuddy” or even “grannygrannybobanny” is a great idea until they are providing it to someone they don’t know or even worse in a professional setting such as a job application. Most customers I speak with want their confirmation email or shipping notification for their order so they feel obligated to supply an email address. Usually there is the awkward pause and then they spell it for you like you won’t notice what it is really saying but seriously…..I CAN READ! I do like the customers that own up to it and just say it with pride and have nothing to hide.

My advise is to pick an email address you feel comfortable giving to everyone. You can certainly obtain a separate email address for times you don’t want to give out your main email. Many email providers offer a way to link multiple email addresses together to receive and view them from one main email account. There are hundreds of free email services from G-mail, Yahoo, Hotmail, AIM, and so many more if you search the internet.

This brings me to safety for our children. We have been trying to keep up with our children’s interest in technology and one thing we are big on is their privacy and security. When using the internet and other sites requiring email addresses it would be better to have an email name that does not have your child’s name in it. Have them pick an email address that refers to their favorite book, movie, cartoon character, stuffed animal, nick name, etc. Get them involved in personalizing a fun email name for themselves. If you are like us you may also want to have their password!

What do you think about email address names?

Cash vs Debit Card?

Photo Credit: budgeting.thenest.com

I thought the introduction of Visa/MasterCard debit cards was genius! I hated carrying around and writing checks, carrying cash or using my credit card for purchases only to have to write a check to pay off that amount from my checking account later. Having quick access to those funds makes my life simpler for certain, but does it also have its drawbacks?

The other day my kids had asked if I had any money and I realized that I usually carry less than $5 in actual cash at any time. I always rely on my debit card. It also got me thinking about experiences in the past that maybe I should have learned a little more about the pros and cons of cash vs debit cards.

First we have been victims of identity theft. Around Christmas one year we found someone had spent almost $1,500 fraudulently from our account. Thankfully the charges were flagged immediately at our bank because they were coming from Canada and not where we live so they shut down our debit card access. This was both good and bad. Certainly no further funds were taken fraudulently however we had no use of our cards for transactions we normally use like gasoline purchases. We had to rely on checks and cash until our new cards came in. We also had automatic payments assigned to those cards which we then had to contact those companies to set up a new payment option. By using our debit cards as much as we did it put us at greater risk of identity theft. Although we still use them we are more cautious about where they are used.

The second thing we learned about debit cards is they mean nothing when you have no power! During Hurricane Ike everything you wanted required cash. Checks were not even accepted because there was no way to verify funds. So even if I had a million dollars in the bank there was no way to access funds. Thankfully many stores and gas stations had power restored within a few days either by the electric company repairs or a power generator. Those few days without any power around town made many people realize how vital an emergency supply of cash is.

The third thing is I have been somewhere and had a purchase that was only a few dollars and without cash I had to use my debit card. Stores are charged a fee for card purchases so I am not doing them any favors by making them pay a fee for my small purchase. If I had a little more cash it would be a better option in those situations.

I am sure there are plenty of other pros and cons of both debit cards and cash. I certainly still like the convenience of the debit card but know that cash cannot disappear completely without effecting our lives at some point!

Which do you prefer to use? Debit Cards or Cash?

Fresh Bread Every Day: Easiest Recipe!

Photo Credit:artisanbreadinfive.com

I am a pro at making bricks instead of bread! My family loves homemade bread but even using a bread machine it was not always coming out the best or consistent. I also could not find a recipe that was simple enough to want to do every day. We have been trying to build a food supply and find things that we can , stock up on, store and easily make meals with. This was my dilemma because bread is one food that we felt was important to have as part of our food storage and learn to make it ourselves for times when it was necessary and not just for fun.

We had a friend at church show us an simple to make bread recipe and I couldn’t believe just how easy it is. This Artisan Bread recipe only requires 4 ingredients so anyone wanting to stock up on supplies this would be perfect to add to your food storage. You make it in a large batch and can refrigerate the remainder of the bread to use later in the week. Of course you can always do a 1/2 batch if you prefer. What is fun is you can also experiment with this bread and incorporate just about any flavor combination by adding mix in’s. I have tried Garlic Parmesan, Jalapeno Cheese, Italian Herb, Garlic & Green Onion, and 3 Cheese before but there are so many others you can try if you are creative. It can be fun to let your children help knead in the mix in’s. Although I have never tried it this recipe can be used for pizza dough, rolls and more.

Making the actual mix is also very easy so even first time bread makers can do it. The original prep is just adding and mixing. Then it will sit for about 2 hours to rise. You can then bake some of the bread at that time if you want or put the dough in the refrigerator. This does not require a bread pan but actually bakes on a flat baking sheet. If you have a stone pizza pan those work great too!  For future use during that week you simply pinch off the amount of dough you want and let it sit on the baking sheet for about 1/2 hr until it reaches room temp and it is ready to bake. You don’t even have to take the time to shape it pretty because you can literally just plop it down on the pan and bake it. Let’s be honest too, it can be pretty but it is getting cut and eaten in no time so does it really matter for most occasions? This smells amazing and I promise you will want to make more than one loaf each time.

I am posting a website here for this Artisan Bread that has the recipe, instructions and great step by step photo’s. You do not have to use the brands they list and certainly any large container with a lid will work too so just keep it simple with what you may already have!

Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

What’s with that Commercial?

  1. You know a commercial is played to often when you know the jingle and find yourself singing it often. That is good advertising on their part because even if you don’t need their services you still recall their product from the jingle.
  2. What is with the commercials that have just a weird spokes person or character that just won’t go away? I won’t name any specific commercials but we all find those that are just annoying or even a little on the weirdo freaky side. Those companies just keep making more with that strange annoying spokes person or character. I guess the same could be said for off the wall weird or inappropriate slogans.
  3. How about the commercials that are just so hilarious or otherwise awesome to the point that you really didn’t even pay attention to what the commercial was selling? Some go to huge lengths to make sure the commercial is so outgoing that they lose sight of making sure their product is featured. We have laughed at dozens of commercials and even talked about them later to only realize we have no idea if they were selling jeans, beer, or car tires.
  4. Why are some commercials aired on specific channels at all? We saw a commercial for life insurance for seniors while watching a UFC fight one night. It just seemed really weird place to advertise that. We also have seen mens products advertised on mostly women’s channels and vice versa. I’m just saying if you want the biggest bang for your buck advertise where you will have the biggest audience for your product.
  5. The commercials targeting children just don’t seem as subtle anymore.  Some just come right out that if your parents love you they should be buying you this. Thanks for making us have to say no to yet another useless product. Let’s be honest they want it because it looks so awesome on the show but it really isn’t as fun when they get it and will only use once or twice.
  6. Do we really need “that much” truth in advertising? There are just some things that we can leave a little more vague instead of going into full detail please.  Hemorrhoids’, E.D., and feminine odor problems may have numerous products available but when watching TV with the kids that may not be the most appropriate time to be hearing about them.
  7. Do we really want to see commercials anyway?  No. We love to record things to watch later so we can fast forward through commercials. The only exception to that is the Super Bowl where we actually sit down to watch the commercials ON PURPOSE!

What are  your feelings about commercials?

 

Headache? Reach for the Peppermint Oil!!!!!

Photo Credit: doterraoil.com

We as parents will certainly have a few headaches come our way. Some are related to sickness itself but others will just come from stress. I have always relied on the usual tactics of medication, hot showers, cold packs or sleep to get rid of a headache that often provide little help or take forever for the headache to finally go away.

Years ago as I was walking through a high-end department store on my way from the parking lot into the mall I was stopped in the cosmetic section by a woman giving free samples of peppermint lotion. She swore this would help with any aches and pains but especially headache  and stress relief. I took the sample because it was free and as you all know I like free. I used it and was pleasantly surprised at the results I got with my first headache. Of course when I went to see about purchasing this same lotion I realized I would have to take out a  small loan to afford it so I decided it was not going to become a part of my headache fighting regimen after all!

Fast forward many years later where I have some friends telling me about their new excitement for essential oils and all the health benefits they offer. I being the natural skeptic that I am smiled politely but really didn’t pay it much attention until I had my next headache and I remembered the peppermint lotion I had used years ago. Having  that good success in the past I contacted my friend who is now a DoTERRA Product Consultant and told her to order me some peppermint oil. Best decision in the world! Not only does it smell good but it has a warming sensation that helps soothe and the natural oil helps alleviate pain.

I promise to post more about other oils we use another time however since I had a horrible headache last night and was reaching for the peppermint oil to find relief I thought I would share this today. I now have my whole family in love with peppermint!

Although there are many companies that offer essential oils I will have to admit I like everything I have heard about this company DoTERRA because their oils are Certified 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade. They offer a variety of oils and oil blends along with other products containing oils for a variety of needs. You can visit the website for the DoTERRA Product Consultant to inquire about their products or discuss ailments you may want help for.  Click HERE for more information.

Do you used essential oils?