Posted by Melissa Erickson on June 15th, 2013
When was the last time that you got to enjoy an Orange Julius? A few months ago the kids got hungry while we were shopping so we decided to stop at the food court for a snack. That is when I noticed the Orange Julius. We never stop there because I usually have a dinner at home planned and we are always running late. This time we were at the mall and looking for a snack and it hit me… My kids have never had an Orange Julius!
When I was my kids age I would get together with friends and take a bus to the mall. We would spend the day wandering around the mall, looking for other kids we knew (or meet new boys), buy makeup, and eat food that we never got at home. I still remember the first time I had an Orange Julius. A friend of mine had tried one before and wanted me to try one. It became one of our favorite stops at the mall. It was sweet and creamy but it also had a little tartness so it was not too sweet.
Very rarely do my kids give me recipes but this one was great! One of my kids made this recipe at school and immediately started begging to make it again at home. This recipe gives you the ability to make an Orange Julius right in your own home and it is perfect for a hot summer day. The recipe was brought home from school 2 weeks ago and we have made it already two times. Trust me though, they have begged for it everyday!
Homemade Orange Julius
- 6 ounces frozen orange juice concentrate (1 small container)
- 1 cup milk (lower fat milks and soy milk will work)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 12 ice cubes
Are you ready for the most simple recipe ever!?!
Throw it all in the blender, blend, and pour into glasses.
Makes 4 servings
Posted by Melissa Erickson on April 30th, 2013
April is National Grilled Cheese Month and I have been trying out some awesome grown up grilled cheese sandwiches! It has been a very cold April here in Wisconsin so we were still eating a lot of soup and we all know about the love affair between soup and grilled cheese!
Grilled cheese is the prefect canvas for food fun. You can add herbs, spices, meat, vegetables, and even some peppers to really liven it up!
No matter what I try and love, I always come back to my favorite…
Multigrain bread, 1 slice of American cheese (the good deli kind), 1 slice of mozzarella, 2 slices of bacon, and 2 slices of tomato.
*Warning – If you put the tomatoes on and cook the sandwich with them inside they turn to molten lava and you can burn your mouth.
I cook the sandwich openface so the tomatoes get a little warm but there is no fear of lava.
As I have gotten older my love affair with grilled cheese has had to be scaled down. I can’t have a lot of dairy now and gluten is not my friend. Thanks to Udi’s I don’t have to worry about the gluten!
I recently received some samples of Udi’s Gluten Free Foods Whole Wheat Bread, Millet Chia, Omega Flax and Fiber, and White Sandwich bread to help me celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month. I love bread with some texture and flavor so it was a real treat. My kids loved the white bread. I rarely ever buy white bread for them so they enjoyed it.
What is your favorite grilled cheese? And what Udi’s bread would you pair with it?
Posted by Melissa Erickson on April 29th, 2013
Have you been to Target lately? They are once again selling the “Retro” Big G cereal boxes! The special edition classic packaging is from the 1950’s, ’60s and ’80s. Every time these packages come out they make me smile. They remind me of a simpler time. A time when my only worry was how much fun I could have outside before it got dark and I had to go inside.
For a limited time you can relive your childhood by heading on over to your local Target® store’s cereal aisle and pick up the Big G cereal in their “Retro” themed packaging. Participating Big G cereals include: Cinnamon Toast Crunch® (16.2 oz.), Lucky Charms® (16 oz.), Honey Nut Cheerios® (17 oz.), Cheerios® (18 oz.) and Cocoa Puffs® (16.5 oz.)
To help celebrate the event, Big G has team up with Hasbro®, offering a $5 coupon on Clue® Vintage, Scrabble® Vintage, Parcheesi® Vintage or Risk® Vintage board games at Target! You can collect all 5 different throw-back packages that each include a $5 coupon for these vintage Hasbro® board games; available exclusively at Target® while supplies last.
My kids love board games but we hate how raggedy the cardboard boxes they come in can get. I have a closet full of games with broken boxes (some with taped together corners) and a plastic bag full of pieces that have fallen out of the boxes. We also love going to Target. We always go in for one thing but then just wandering around looking for new products. When we saw the vintage board game boxes we fell in love. They are made out of wood and are perfectly sized and labeled to fit on a bookshelf. We had already bought the game Risk, now we have Parcheesi, soooo I guess we will have to get the whole line of them! Not that I have a shopping addiction or anything… I just need the whole set for the bookshelf!
One lucky reader will receive a Retro Big G Cereal prize pack that includes 2 boxes of participating Big G Retro cereal, $10 Target gift card, and 1 Hasbro Parcheesi® Deluxe Vintage board game.
Disclosure: Free products for review, prize pack, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.
SAVE with coupons! Go online & print a coupon for $1 off 2 General Mills cereals before you head to Target!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Posted by Melissa Erickson on March 1st, 2013
I finally bit the bullet and bought a new car! I have been driving a Ford Expedition XLT Eddie Bauer 4×4 with 3rd row seating for 4 years. Yes, I did list everything! I really wanted you to get the full idea of how much gas I was going through!!! Now that I am driving 30 miles every day just to get to the office and back plus driving around to show houses…. It was costing me $500-$600 a month in gas!!!
When I looked at the numbers I realized that if I wanted to spend that much money I would rather spend it on a newer car at least! Plus add on that it would look cooler to clients!
So we headed out to the car lots in the search of that mythical vehicle that would make me happy. I had soooo many things on the list of wants that I did not think it was going to happen. I wanted 4×4 or AWD yet still be good on gas, enough room for my clients and open house signs, the ability to see out of it (I am under 5 foot tall so that really is an issue), and of course it had to be pretty! Now do you see why I said mythical?
I looked at small SUVs but the ones I saw were either not 4×4, not good on gas, or looked cheap inside. Then I was shown a crossover and I was just about to buy it when I realized that the salesmen must have forgotten my insistance on 4×4 or AWD because he brought me a front wheel drive. I do way too much driving on busy highways and country roads and Madison, WI gets quite a bit of snow!!!
Over and over people kept telling me that what I wanted was a Subaru. I assured them that they were wrong and I would not be buying a Subaru! I was actually getting sick of people saying it because it kept happening. When I thought of Subaru I pictured a hippy… and that was not me!
After I caught that the salesman had brought me a front wheel drive and was about to leave he raced back to me with a hot looking sporty car that looked like nothing I would ever buy. I would look at it and think it looked hot but I would never buy it. I am a mother! I need more room! I need to be sensible!
…and then it happened
The salesman got me in the car for a test drive… It WAS a hot car! It had enough room when you think about the fact that my kids are teenagers and we seldom ever need everyone in a vehicle at once. The kids actually said, “Wow, it is bigger on the inside… just like the Tardis!” The trunk is big enough to hide maybe 3 bodies! Did I mention what a hot car it is!?! Oh yeah, and it is AWD.
Well, I got it last night and so far, I am in love!!!
Posted by Melissa Erickson on February 26th, 2013
I don’t know why I do not make this recipe more often! I always forget about it until I have a pile of apples that no one wants to eat any more. My family either gets sick of eating apples or the apples are not as crunchy any more so they won’t eat them. As much as my family loves this recipe, I really should make it more often!
Posted by Melissa Erickson on February 17th, 2013
Are companies using Twitter to it’s full potential? Most companies do not understand how to use Twitter as a marketing tool. Twitter is full of people that want to talk about what they just bought, where they just went, and if they had a good or bad experience. There are just as many people that want to hear all about it. So why aren’t more companies becoming active on Twitter?
Posted by Melissa Erickson on February 16th, 2013
I can not tell you how many times parents have asked me what they can do to get their kids in the bath without it becoming a big battle. When my girls were little I would make it a fun and relaxing time for them. We had bath toys and games they would play with but their favorite bath time fun was when I would make them Bathtub Paints. What could be more fun then finger paints made out of soap in a place that is easy to clean up?
Posted by Melissa Erickson on February 13th, 2013
If you have been visiting us for awhile you have probably heard all about our awesome Peanut Butter Playdough. It is a huge hit with kids and adults alike! Kids love playing with their food, and let’s face it, some kids eat their playdough already even if it is not edible!
There are many kids that can not have peanuts so I wanted to share another edible playdough recipe that will be safe for kids with peanut allergies.
Posted by Melissa Erickson on February 11th, 2013
I know, I know… I made all these promises that I would be better at keeping this site upto date but then I realized that I needed more than that. It just was not enough. If there is one thing that having this blog has taught me, it is that I can get way more opportunities than I ever thought that I would and I can determine my own success!!!
When I started this blog I was “just a stay at home mom”… like many of you. Don’t get me wrong… I do not look down on stay at home moms at all! In fact, I truly know first hand how hard it really is. I also know that part of the problem is how some people look down on you and how some days… you look down on yourself.
I loved being a stay at home mom but as the kids got older and went to school I felt like I needed more. I was no longer busy caring for them all day so I needed a hobby. I had my first site back when Geocities was giving everyone free websites. We had moved across the country and it was the perfect way to let people back home still keep up with what was going on in our lives. So when I thought about a new hobby it did not take long for me to realize that I would like a new site. Then my love for kids and family helped me come up with the idea for this site.
This site has given me the opportunity to meet some incredible people and make great friendships. It has also given me the chance to try out fun new products and go on amazing trips. The perks really are great! My kids love when a package is at our doorstep. It is like Christmas over and over again! The bill problem is that it made me hungry for more. I wanted to do more. I was always talking about other people’s products and other people’s businesses… but what about me!?!
I know…. SHUT UP already!!!
Sooooo long story short (or even longer), I went to school and become a Realtor®! Today is my one month anniversary and I am loving every minute of it! It was keeping me very busy though, so I was once again ignoring you wonderful people that helped me start this great journey!!!
Life is getting back to normal again though so I am back!!! AGAIN!!!
Posted by Melissa Erickson on November 4th, 2012
The 3rd annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day is this coming Saturday, November 10th! I really hope everyone makes a point to get out there and check out your local toy store. I don’t know about you but I find something magical about small local toy stores. They always carry the most creative and fun toys! Big box stores are good for large amounts of whatever the hot toy of the season is but my kids were never into those.
My kids liked the out of the ordinary and creative toys. When my girls were little we had a small local toy store near us that specialized in educational toys and it was our favorite place to shop. My girls knew that a trip there meant that we would leave with a huge bag of fun things to do. Some of my kids favorites were kits that taught you how to knit, make soap, make sand art, and create your own perfume. They loved the butterfly garden so much that we had to keep buying more so they could watch butterflies emerge from their cocoons over and over again. You just can’t find the same kinds of toys in a bog box store.
Shopping at locally-owned businesses is so important for our communities. Big box stores send their money back to corporate offices and who knows where else. When you spend money at a local business a large portion of that money stays right there in the community where it belongs. Instead of paying for a new corporate jet you are helping a local family provide for their kids.
If you are unsure about local toy stores that are participating in the Neighborhood Toy Store Day you can check out YourNeighborhoodToyStore.org and find an American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA) member near you. Share the love and joy this holiday season by shopping local!
In celebration of National Toy Store Day, I was sent some great toys as an example of the awesome toys that can be found at local specialty toy stores. Being part of Team Mom means that I get some really hot new products to try and this time was no different. My kids LOVED them!
As soon as I opened the box my kids grabbed for the Tenzi game and wanted to play right away. They loved the fun and fast paced game. It is one of those games that puts everyone on a level playing field so even my youngest could have fun and not feel at a disadvantage. It also keeps getting played which is big! I have a closet full of games that the kids stopped liking after a few times.
The second toy I was sent is so much more than a mere toy! My kids have always loved making friendship bracelets and creating different designs. They were very excited to see that the LoopDeDoo would allow them to make friendship bracelets that look like they payed a lot for them at a store. There are so many awesome looking designs and they are super easy to make. The LoopDeDoo comes with a complete instruction book and even a DVD so there is no guess work when you are learning. My favorite parts are that it comes with everything you need to get started right away and it stores it all inside so there is no mess!
Don’t forget that the 3rd annual Neighborhood Toy Store Day is this coming Saturday, November 10th so get out there are find some awesome toys!