Setting up a Family First Aid Kit!

file0001924831000.jpgWhen you have kids or are accident prone (like I am), a comprehensive first aid kit is a must. After so many years and iterations, this is the first aid kit that works best for our family.

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Before!

Earlier this week, I set to clear out any old/expired ointments, medications, bandages (they don’t expire, but they can become… unsticky), and re-organize. The kids were asleep, so it was the perfect time to get started. I did have one helper. Fiona. Her idea of help was to jump into the first aid box whenever it was empty.

A few years ago, we started off with a pretty well-stocked First Aid Kit, which you can see in the photos is the black, cloth, zippered pouch.  Since we take it camping with us, I’ve also added tampons (They have practical first aid uses as well), Arnica cream, extra scissors, hemostats, and hand sanitizer. It lives under our bathroom sink, and is easily accessible in case of emergency. It’s great- I’ve replaced stuff as we’ve used it, but it’s really not an “All you need” when you are accident prone.

 

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The aftermath!

 

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I love both of these products!

In addition,  we need burn cream, stuff for bruises, Wart Remover kit (little boys!), Cold Calm, Oscillococcinum (for flu like symptoms), Arnicare (which is awesome for leg cramps), a temporal scanner thermometer, Ben Gay (Don’t Judge!), CBD oil products, Rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide (not shown), and exam gloves (which are great for stuff besides cleaning up owies). For that, I turned to a Sterilite plastic shoe box without a lid- I’m sure it broke years ago.

Once all of the old/gross/expired stuff was disposed of safely, I scrubbed out the box, labeled it, and repacked it. Because this box does not have a lid on it, it’s kept on the top shelf of the linen closet.

I really want to thank the awesome folks at Boiron for hooking me up with free products at last weeks Wow Summit. I love their products! I have been a fan for years. I bruise like a grape, so Arnicare gel and roll-on are life.

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My Helper, Fiona!

Talkback: I’d love to hear what’s in your family’s First Aid kit! If you don’t have one, now is your chance to grab a plastic tote and get started!

 

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Mark your Calendars- Saturday is FREE MUSEUM DAY!!

Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 10.18.52 AM.pngHooray, It’s back! This is one of the kids favorite “holidays”, free museum day! If you’re looking for some adventure on Saturday, September 22, check out the event website here, and pick a museum!

Luckily for us here in San Diego, there are TONS of museums for us to chose from. One thing that I like about the site is that it shows you which museums are free every day. So if it’s something that appeals to you and your family, you can chose to go another day and not have to fight the crowds.

This event is taking place all over the US, so regardless of your location there should be a few participating museums near you!

 

Talk Back: Which museums are you interested in visiting? 

 

4 Free Things That Aren’t Worth It…

file3211250724024.jpgI’ve been meaning to write this article for a while, and while we were on our way to meet friends for lunch and playtime, we drove past Little Caesar’s, which was giving away free pizza and sodas today from 11am-1pm.  The line was down the sidewalk and around the corner. There were probably 100 people in line.

Like many of you, I subscribe to several money saving magazines, blogs and newsfeeds. Every one of them has at least once every few months an *exciting* article on “Free Stuff” and how you can save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Some of these freebies, well, are not useful, or actually free.  Before you say, “Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”, I am of the belief that when writers offer advice, it should be tested, useful and one shouldn’t have to go out of their way to obtain a free item or service.  If I have to drive for 2 hours for a free sample or service, it is no longer free (especially with gas at $3.53/gallon in my neighborhood!), or if I have to wait in line for 3 hours for something that’s valued at less than $30, it’s not worth it. Yeah, my time is worth $15/hour, especially if I have to leave the kids with a sitter (which costs about $15/hour most of the time).

Here are a few suggestions that I see time and again that are not really “free”.

  1. Free WiFi: Awesome.  Free internet is great. But if I have to leave home and go to bookstores, coffee shops, restaurants and libraries, any time I want to surf the net, that’s not free.  I have to spend money on gas and potentially have to buy something (in the case of coffee shops and restaurants).  That also means any time I want to surf the net, I have to leave my house.   My suggestion- Shop around for the best deal on internet service and/or plan errands or trips out of the house where your can access free Wi-Fi along the way. 
  2. Unlimited texts from your PC: I love to text.  Its great to shoot off a quick reminder or check in with someone when you are on the go. One magazine I read suggested, “Sign up for a free email account with google or AOL and as long as you have access to a computer, you can text any mobile number (and receive texts) through your account for free.” But… When I’m not home (or at a computer), I can’t do that.  Most of the time when I text, I’m not at home, and that is the same for many adults. So, this may not be a super freebie for everyone. My suggestion: look into inexpensive cell carriers or an unlimited texting package that you can afford.  Or- don’t text!
  3. Makeup Application: Now at day spas, most do offer complimentary makeup application after a spa service ($$), however, at department stores, the idea behind the makeup application is that you will buy one of the products that are used on you. Not buying anything is.. well, crappy.   Also,, VERY IMPORTANT: People stick their dirty fingers in the makeup testers that are used to do those free makeup applications.  People also put the lipstick on their mouths, and mascara on their eyelashes with the tester wand instead of using the disposable applicators. People have cooties, and pink eye and herpes. EWW.
  4. Godiva Chocolate Rewards Club.   The local Godiva shop doesn’t participate, so I spent 15 minutes signing up and validating my email for no reason.  However, I can just walk into my local See’s candy shop and get a free piece of candy (and my kids each get a free piece too- Godiva only gives candy to grown-ups).  No club, no sign ups and the kiddos get a sweet treat too! Now I did include the link in case you want to check it out and see if your local shop participates.

 

Remember- just because something is free, doesn’t mean  that you have to go out of your way to obtain it.  There are a lot of freebies that I signed up for, but later wasn’t able to redeem them, so in the end, I could of spent that time with my family or friends, instead of chasing down a freebie.  Ya’ll know I love a good birthday freebie (see my posts herehere, and here).

Talk Back: What are your favorite freebies?

Recipe: Colonial Chowder

stemarie_1650sfortentrance.JPGMy mom found this recipe in a local paper years ago in a column called “Making it Light”. The basic gist of the weekly article was to take crazy fat and calorie laden recipes healthy.

The problem becomes that that a lot of the changes that are made are so super drastic that the food no longer resembles the original recipe.  Since both recipes are published within the article, my mom was able to combine parts of each recipe to make something tasty and healthier than the original. I don’t have a link or a photo of the article or the original recipe, since it’s been over 20 years.

Without Further Adieu…. Colonial Chowder

Ingredients:

  • 2 T. Butter
  • 4 slices of bacon, finely diced (or you can use 1/2 cup of pre-cooked bacon crumbles)
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 large yellow onions, diced
  • 4 ribs of celery, diced
  • 3 large carrots, diced
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 tsp. of each of the following: basil, oregano, thyme, sage
  •  Bay leaves (I usually use 2-3)
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1.5 cup frozen corn, or 1 can rinsed and drained salt free corn kernels
  • 1 can cream-style corn
  • 1 can evaporated milk
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. In a large stock pot, melt 1 T. butter, and cook bacon.
  2. Add chicken and cook chicken until no longer pink.
  3. Add onions, and cook until translucent (about 5 minutes)
  4. Add remaining carrots, celery, potatoes, and chicken broth. Cook over medium heat, until potatoes are soft.
  5. Add both types of corn, and milk. Cook over medium/low for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Add Salt and pepper as needed. Serve with Cheddar biscuits.

This recipe serves 8-10, freezes well, and makes great leftovers!

This recipe is naturally gluten free. It cannot be made vegetarian/vegan.

Family Recipe: Aunt Linda’s Mess

file8721293943264.jpgAunt Linda’s Mess, this recipe has been in my family for at least 50 years. When I was a kid we ate it at least once a month. My mother was born on her Aunt Linda’s birthday.  Aunt Linda and her husband live in Minnesota, where the majority of my mother’s family still lives today.  This dinner is what is referred to in the midwest as a “hotdish” and is frequently prepared in an electric skillet. This recipe serves 6-8 with a side dish, like a green salad, or steamed veggies.

This cheesy delicious mess is a great meal for kids and grown ups alike.  I’ve modified it a bit from it’s original form (which calls for Velveeta and canned mushrooms).

I’m not sure if Aunt Linda invented this dish or if she inspired this dish- and no one knows why it’s called a mess.  It reminds me of a cheesy stroganoff. Regardless- No one can say no to this dish!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1C chopped mushrooms (fresh are better, but you can used canned mushrooms if you prefer- just remember to drain them!)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup (you can use low fat/low sodium if you prefer)
  • 1/2C+ shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 carton sour cream (or plain Fat free Greek yogurt)
  • 1 package cooked spaghetti (you can use any kind of pasta or macaroni- you want 6-8 cups of cooked pasta)

Directions:

  1. Brown and crumble beef.
  2. Add onion and mushrooms. Sauté until onions are transparent and mushrooms have softened (about 10 minutes).
  3. Add canned soup and cheese.
  4. Cook until the cheese is melted.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the sour cream.
  6. Add the cooked, drained pasta and toss to coat the pasta.

You can omit mushrooms if you don’t care for them. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if there are any vegetarian or vegan work arounds for this recipe, since it’s mostly meat and dairy products!

I’ll be posting more family recipes over the next few weeks.

 

100 Business Cards from Vistaprint- Just $5!

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 12.34.57 PM.pngI’ve talked to quite a few people over the past week who have started a new business or endeavor this year.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 12.46.10 PM.pngNew businesses mean time for new business cards! And if you aren’t in need of business cards, they have some really great mom/parent cards that list your contact info, kids names, and any allergies. Great for handing out when you meet moms and kids you “click” with at parks and playdates!

Vistaprint has a great sale right now- 100 Business Cards for $5.00 (plus shipping, which starts at $6.99). There are Pearl business cards and Square business cards available. And if you need anything else, you can click here and get 40-50% off your purchase on many other items!

I took advantage of this deal to re-order my cards. I’ve been giving a lot of them out lately!

Day After Christmas Traditions- Helping Others!

file0001189581306.jpgOne of the things that I like to do on Boxing Day (that’s the day after Christmas), is to clean out the fridge. It seems like a strange time to do it, but I like to end the year being able to start fresh. Here is a list of stuff I’ll be doing today:

  • Clean out the fridge and toss/recycle/compost (I have a friend who takes compostable stuff for her bin) the unwanted/expired stuff and containers.
  • Go through the oft neglected kitchen cupboards and pull out kitchen gadgets and stuff we don’t use. Figure out whether to integrate them into daily life or donate them. I’m in a Facebook group that brings neighbors together, so I’ll probably post the stuff there before I take it to AMVETS.
  • While doing laundry, I’ll pull out the kids clothes that is started to get outgrown. I’ll also pull out clothes from their drawers that don’t fit/they don’t wear and separate into two piles: pass along to friends and donate. I did my clothes a few weeks ago. I’m still waiting for husband to do his….
  • I’ll also go through the linen closet too. I donate old towels and sheets to the local animal shelter.
  • On the sly, I’ll go through the kiddos toys and pull out the ones that don’t get much play. We’ll donate those. The toys that are broken, missing pieces (oh hi, every puzzle in our house!), or are just junky will get tossed.
  • I usually start entering the tax info I have into Turbo Tax today, but I started last week, so I’m all caught up. I keep a manilla Folder in my desk with the tax year written on it, and I toss tax paperwork and receipts into it as we  get them, so at the end of the year, it’s not a huge rush to gather everything for tax time.

I’ll also be doing the meal plan for this week, as we were busy with family yesterday.