Be Series Shirts from Cents of Style!

(**Disclosure, I received my shirt free to facilitate my review and story, however all thoughts and opinions are my own. I may receive a commission if you click on the links below and make a purchase.**)

You know when you were a kid and adults told you that it didn’t matter what other people thought, that you should be who you are, and who cares about what others say or think?

Well, I tell my kids that all the time, especially the bigger one. Because really, Shakespeare was right. “To Thine own self be true”.  Be you. If others don’t understand, it is their loss.

That brings me to my point- When I was a kid (like Junior High Age), I wasn’t popular. I didn’t like the same things that other kids did. I read a lot (my grandmother was a librarian!), I did crafts, I liked school. I was weird, but  I tried so hard to fit in. It was hard, and it sucked.

As I got older, I realized that there was so much more to life than just the little bubble of “popular kids”. In High school I met friends who loved me and were like me. And those friends were the ones I had in mind when I donned my “Be Weird” shirt the other day. I wore it with a pair of leggings (these to be exact).

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Me and the littlest weirdo snuggling. (photo taken by the big kid)

I want my two little weirdos to know that it’s ok to be who you are, enjoy your hobbies, read, play, be a good person! It doesn’t matter if you like the same stuff as everyone else, you will find friends and they will love you for who you are!

If you aren’t “weird”, it’s ok! Cents of Style has a great line of “Be” Shirts! This weekend the  Be Series Graphic Tees are only $15.95 + FREE SHIPPING w/code BESTORY


My shirt is so comfy, I even wore it to the Y to work out a few days later!

 

I got lot of compliments on it, both times I wore it! You can celebrate your “Be”! Still, Brave, Just, Uncommon, True, You, Strong, etc.! This weeks installment of Fashion Friday from Cents of Style are these awesome BE shirts! You can check out the deal here. These shirts would make a great gift!

Practical Ways to Help New Parents…

Having had two kids, I can tell you that nothing is more helpful than having food to eat in the first few weeks after giving birth. Having a baby is stressful, especially if it’s your first. You can take all the classes in the world, do as much prep, but when it comes down to it, you spend the first few weeks tired, stressed, and weary.

Having a few extra hands and a hot meal you can eat one handed (especially something you can eat while breastfeeding) is worth it’s weight in gold!

Recently a friend and his wife welcomed their little girl. Hubs made up a batch of his new baby calzones. He makes them for everyone of our friends that is having a baby. They freeze well, re-heat quickly (and well), and you can eat them one handed.

Thanks to Kasandrinos Olive Oil and UsFamily Guide for the opportunity to sample this olive oil for free! I’m not usually a big Olive Oil fan, Kasandrinos Olive oil has a light flavor that works really well in Calzones! I also like that it has an easy to pour spout inside the bottle!

We use the Pizza Crust Recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Anything. You can find the recipe here.  One Pizza Crust makes 4-6 small calzones.IMG_2064.jpg

As the dough rises, we prep the rest of the ingredients. Sauce, cheese, meats, veggies.

I use canned tomato sauce and add Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, a pinch of parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper. No added sugar.

Some of the most popular ingredients around here: pepperoni, sausage, onions, bell peppers, ground cooked beef, sliced chicken breast, goat cheese, mozzarella, bbq sauce (instead of tomato sauce), cheddar cheese, ham, green chilis, meatballs (I usually make them little or slice them up), pretty much anything in the fridge!

Once the dough is ready, it is portioned out, rolled and then the magic happens!

For small/hand held sized calzones, use 1/2 cup cheese/toppings and 2-3 T. of sauce. Fold over and crimp the edges shut, and place on a cookie sheet that is either sprayed with Pan or use a silicon baking mat. I have these and I love them!

Larger Calzones need almost double the amounts above.

Bake at 450 for 10-20 minutes, depending on size.

Before and after baking!

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Here is the result of a few hours work. They were delivered the next day, ready to be frozen and enjoyed at the new mom and dad’s leisure!

If cooking isn’t your “thing” here are a few other ways to help the new parents in your life:

  • Bring them their favorite coffee drink, and something to eat.
  • Offer to hold/watch the baby while they take a shower/take a nap/have 5 minutes alone.
  • Fold/put away their laundry.
  • Wash their dishes.
  • Take out the trash, or if trash day is the next day, take their cans down to the street (then the next day, stealthily put them back).
  • Be there. Honestly, it can be lonely if you are a new parent. It’s not like you are taking your new baby all over town. You are just trying to get the hang of having a new family member. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to come hang out with!

Kasandrinos and Us Family guide provided us with a free bottle of olive oil in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated.

Incredible Deal on Mastercard Gift Cards at Staples (and an Amazon GC Giveaway!)! #StaplesEZr

file3331271364663.jpgYou know I love a good Gift Card Deal! Right now through April 29, 2017 when you purchase $300 or more in Mastercard gift cards at Staples you will receive a $20 Staples gift card by rebate. See store for more details, find your local Staples here. What is great about this deal is you can choose different denominations of Mastercard Gift card to reach the $300.

There are so many great ways to work this deal!

  • Use your points or cash back credit card to purchase the gift cards for a double dip! Our American Express Card gives us 5% cash back when we shop at office supply stores.
  • Pick up gift cards in smaller amounts ($25) and give to your child’s teacher to help with supplies a few times before the school year ends. Did you know that teacher appreciation week is coming up??
  • Great for sending to college students or for graduation gifts!
  • Use the gift cards to stay on budget for gifts and online shopping! Because you can shop in store or online with gift cards, it’s a great way to triple dip (use a cashback online shopping website like ebates or Topcashback to redeem your gift cards. You will earn even more cash back!).

Right now, you can enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Stock up on essentials for upcoming spring break, or buy yourself something nice! Click here to enter (the Rafflecopter may not be mobile friendly).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This is a sponsored post, thanks to Tatu Digital Media for including me on this awesome offer and giveaway! All opinions are my own!

Legoland for only $30 on 4/29/17!

img_1693Looking for a good deal on Legoland Tickets?

Check this out!

The Carlsbad Education Foundation (CEF) is hosting their annual ‘Celebrate Carlsbad Day™’ at LEGOLAND® California Resort.

  • What: Specially-priced $30 LEGOLAND tickets
  • When: Saturday, April 29
  • Time: Enjoy extended Park hours 12pm-8pm

LEGOLAND will donate a portion of the event proceeds to the Foundation to support district-wide science initiatives for students at all CUSD Schools.

 To purchase tickets online, visit www.CarlsbadEd.org

This event happens once a year! If you are looking to do a frugal trip at Legoland, check out this post about doing Legoland on a Budget here.

Recipe: Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash Casserole

file000382147880.jpgWe love Garlic. It’s a good thing that hubs and I both like it, because otherwise this recipe wouldn’t go over too well.

This is my spin on the Spaghetti with Garlic White Wine sauce found here.  It appeared in hubs Facebook feed one day several months ago, he sent it to me, and we’ve been tweaking it to make it our own ever since.

To make it a little healthier, I added in 1 large spaghetti squash. If you’ve never cooked one, I write about it here. It’s super easy to cook, and it’s very yummy

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 large white onions, cut into quarters and layers separated
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 T butter, divided
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced (you can use more or less)
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1/2 T Thyme (I usually have it dried in my spice cabinet, but if you have it fresh, use 5-6 springs)
  • 1 c. Grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 c chicken broth (or pasta water)
  • 1 large spaghetti Squash
  • If you want to add pasta to this dish, you’ll need 1/2 lb spaghetti, 8-10 cups water (to cook pasta), and salt (to salt the water)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Prep spaghetti squash (scoop out the stringy parts and seeds) and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

Toss cut up onions in oil, salt and pepper. Bake in a baking dish covered for 20-30 minutes, uncover and bake an addition 10-15 minutes.

IMG_3202.jpgAfter the squash is done cooking, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, or until it’s easy to handle. Scoop the “meat” out and set aside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baked onions, cooling, along with the butter needed to finish the recipe.

After onions are done baking, set aside.

If you are cooking pasta, start the water to boil and cook pasta as directed.

Zest and juice the lemons, set aside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heat half the butter in a skillet. Once melted, add the minced garlic and cook on medium for 5-ish minutes until fragrant (watch out, it burns really easily). Add red pepper flakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3200.jpgAdd Lemon juice and wine, turn up the heat for a few minutes. You’ll want to cook off the alcohol, so about 5-10 minutes at medium high heat. Add the baked onions.

Add 2 T. chicken broth (or pasta water), and the remaining butter, and the Thyme. Once the butter is melted, turn off the heat.

Add the spaghetti squash and/or pasta into the skillet, and gently toss to coat. Add lemon zest, and half of the parmesan cheese. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more chicken broth or pasta water a little at a time.

Top with any additional cheese, thyme, and/or pepper flakes.

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Here is an extra step that makes it a little better (IMO) but isn’t needed: Place skillet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese on the top is brown and bubbly.

I have made this recipe with both pasta and spaghetti squash.  This last time I made it, I used only 1 serving of whole wheat spaghetti, mostly because I prefer the way it turns out when it has the pasta water in it, instead of the chicken broth.

*If you are a vegetarian, feel free to substitute in veggie broth.

**This recipe can be made with GF pasta.

 

Freebie Roundup!

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It’s that time again! Let’s dive into spring with some new samples!

Free Color Sample of Kelly-Moore Paint (these samples are great for small projects, like painting wooden craft kits)

Free Sample of Natures Design Supplements (They have a limit of two samples per household!)

Free Bottle of Diet Standards Prenatal DHA

Free Samples of Seni Pads & Briefs

Free Sample of Naked Essentials Jerky Bites or Kibble
Free HydroMassage Massage on April 15th-22nd

Free Comic Book Day on May 6th

Free 2017 National Parks Entrance Days (there is only 1 National Park in San Diego county- FYI)

LEGO Monthly Mini Build – Free LEGO Race Car

If you are going to be near a Penzey Spice store tomorrow, here is an awesome freebie! Free Penzeys Embrace Hope Spring/Easter Mini Gift Box In-Stores

Another program that I love is Social Nature. They offer coupons for free natural products in exchange for honest reviews. I’ve sampled many really tasty products, including Ezekiel products (they have yummy high protein English muffins).

Here is my post all about how I score free stuff, beyond finding cool samples like these online. There are a lot of programs that are looking to share full size products with you for free!

 

4/11/17- Meal Plan!

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So I’m a day late… Mr. was sick yesterday, paired with the first day of spring break and I was toast by 11am! That being said I picked up some cheese, milk, and veggies yesterday. We’ll be good for the rest of the week!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos have started eating a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! This week is spring break, so I’ll be cooking lunch at home or we’ll have a picnic/sack lunches if we are on the go (but we may have pizza out- I haven’t decided). Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D:Everyone was in bed by 7:30! We had soup and grilled cheese sandwiches

Tuesday:

  • D:  Bean, Rice, and cheese bowls (they also have caramelized onions and peppers) We had these last week and they were soooo good, and super easy. I caramelized a bag of onions and peppers in the crockpot, made rice with broth in the rice cooker and added cheese and a can of Ro*tel Tomatoes to a can of refried beans.

Weds:

  • D: Roasted chicken with veggies (made in 1 pan- very easy!)

Thursday:

  • D:  protein pancakes, eggs, and sausage (maybe fruit salad(

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D: Salsa Chicken (it’s a complete meal with veggies and quinoa!)

Sunday:

  • D:Leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first.

We went to the Zoo today with friends, and I made sure to fill up our snack backpack and bring our drinks!