This Month's Featured Resources...

Revolutionary WarScrap Crafting Lego History Latin Calendar

Thursday, May 28

I Could Write a Book (Margaret Whiting)


Summer brain drain....we school year-round, so my kids don't have as much opportunity to experience this phenomenon.  (Yet, every time the math books come out, they experience temporary amnesia...)

Some of the reading programs that are local to our home area :
  • Half-Price Books Feed Your Brain reading program
    • They can earn $5 to spend on anything in the store once each during June and July.
  • Barnes & Noble Imagination Destination reading program
    • Completed reading logs may be exchanged for a free book.
  • Pizza Hut Book-It summer reading program
    • Complete the book form to win prizes.
  • Chuck-E-Cheese Rewards program
    • Completed reward charts may be exchanged for free tokens.
  • Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge
    • Log reading minutes to enter sweepstakes.
  • your local library's summer program
    • varies by library system
    • online reading program with printable prizes
  • Exodus Books Reading Challenge
    • earn gift cards to Exodus Books

Some of the kids' favorite books come from :

Mom's Summer Challenges :


Tuesday, May 26

Shoop (Salt & Pepa)

Tiny Steps Tuesday : Sodium

Most of the salt we eat every day is "hidden". Roughly 80% of the salt we eat is hiding in processed foods like bread, crackers, and breakfast cereals, and prepared ready meals or take-out. Only 20% comes from the salt we add while cooking or at the table.



How to add flavor without adding salt

There are many other flavorings you can add to your foods to delight your taste buds, without raising your blood pressure.
Why not try:
  • fresh, frozen or dried herbs
  • onions
  • garlic
  • shallots
  • chiles
  • ginger
  • cinnamon
  • lemon juice
  • pepper
  • vinegar
  • red or white wine, cider or beer
  • spices - but check the label to make sure that they only contain low levels of salt (or sodium) - such as Mrs. Dash

Take it to the Next Level

 Explore the relationship between sodium and hypertension, as well as how salt affects your thyroid.  You might be surprised at what you discover...

Friday, May 22

Ready to Go (Republica)

Travelling is a blessing.  It's a joy.  It's a fantastic journey!  But when things go sour, being on the road presents its own set of problems.  You've probably been stranded in your car before...whether from a flat tire or a traffic jam...but what if disaster struck on a car trip?  Would you be prepared?

Things to Consider
  • Gas - Try to always keep at least half a tank of gas in the car.  This is an important preparation for evacuations, after disaster fuel shortages, and if you get stuck in a snow storm. That gas is going to keep your car moving for safety, waiting for recovery, or as a source of heat.
  • Entertainment - We have a box of games and books that lives in the backseat of the car.  These are rotated every so often.  If you do not have 'car entertainment,' you may consider putting a couple of books into your emergency stash.
  • Storage - It's probably a good idea to put everything into one bag or plastic tote so that it is all together and easy to find when you need it.....which you hope you never will.
  • Rotation - Due to temperature fluctuations, anything left in the car is going to go bad a little bit quicker.  Be sure to rotate your water and food every six months, so that you're not facing an emergency situation with spoiled supplies.
Things You Should Have in Your Car
  • Anti-freeze/coolant (gallon)
  • Battery powered crank radio/extra batteries
  • Blankets (two or three, for a small family)
  • Bright-colored cloth (preferably red)
  • Camera or cell phone (to take photos of vehicle damage)
  • Can of motor oil
  • Compass
  • Cones, warning triangles and emergency flares (keep in the trunk)
  • Empty gas can
  • Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • Fuses
  • Quarters/change for tolls/meters
  • Jack for tires
  • Jumper cables
  • Road atlas, maps
  • Paper towels
  • Pocketknife
  • Rags
  • Sealant for small leaks in tires
  • Shovel (folding)
  • Snacks (high density / high calorie items, like granola bars)
  • Spare tire
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Tool box with screwdrivers, wrenches and a small hammer (keep this in glove compartment)
  • Tow rope
  • Trash bags
  • Water (a gallon or more, or one of those LifeStraw type bottles)
  • Windshield washer fluid

Thursday, May 21

Freezer Cooking 101 : May

Crab and Pasta Casserole

Qty
Ingredient
Directions
4 oz
Spiral Pasta
uncooked
1 cup
Onion(S)
chopped
1/2 cup
Fresh Mushrooms
sliced
1/2 cup
Green Bell Pepper(S)
chopped
2
Garlic Cloves
minced
1/2 cup
Butter
1 8 oz pkg
Imitation Crabmeat
1/4 cup
Sour Cream
1 tsp
Salt
3/4 tsp
Basil Pesto
1 cup
Cheddar Cheese
shredded

Directions:

  • Cook macaroni according to package directions. 
  • Meanwhile, in a skillet, sauté onions, mushrooms, green pepper, and garlic in butter until crisp-tender. Remove from heat. 
  • Drain pasta; add to vegetable mixture. Stir in crab, sour cream, salt, and basil. 
  • Transfer to an 8 inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. 
To Freeze:

  • Cover with foil and freeze.
To Bake :

  • Remove from freezer and thaw in refrigerator.  
  • Allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.  
  • Bake at 350°F for 55-60 minutes.

Moroccan Turkey Patties & Brown Rice

Qty
Ingredient
Directions
1 lb
Ground Turkey (Lean)
2
Garlic Cloves
minced
1/2 cup
Onion(S)
chopped
1 Tbsp
Paprika
1 tsp
Cinnamon
1 tsp
Cumin
1 tsp
Allspice
2 Tbsp
Coconut Oil
1 tsp
Salt
2 Tbsp
Parsley
dried
3 cups
Brown Rice
cooked

Directions:

  • Cook brown rice according to pkg directions. 
  • Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine turkey, garlic, onion, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, 1 tbsp coconut oil, parsley and salt. 
  • Form into 6 patties. 

To Freeze :
  • Place patties in a freezer bag with parchment paper between each patty so they don't stick together when thawing. 
  • Place 3 cups of brown rice in a freezer bag and place both patties and rice in the freezer.
To Bake :
  • Remove patties and rice from the freezer and allow to thaw in the refrigerator.  
  • Once thawed, heat 1 tbsp coconut oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. 
  • Add the turkey patties and cook on each side until no longer pink in middle. 
  • Meanwhile, heat rice in the microwave until heated through.  
  • Transfer rice to a platter and top with the patties.

Freezer Tips

If you want your food to keep, you'll need the right supplies.  Plastic containers and foil baking pans are reusable and keep well.  Freezer storage bags are easy to store in the pantry, but you will want to double up the bags (especially if you're freezing soup).  Finally, use a good permanent marker to label the meal and date.

Tuesday, May 19

Relax (Frankie Says)

Tiny Steps Tuesday : Get a Hobby

Having a hobby is a good way to spend some of that extra free time either doing something productive, learning, experiencing, making money, or just simply having fun.  It can greatly improve your quality of life. 

Suggestions for Hobbies

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Drawing
  • Exercise
  • Playing An Instrument
  • Playing Games
  • Blogging
  • Volunteering
  • Working On Cars
  • Cleaning
  • Traveling
  • Sports

 Take it to the Next Level

So you found a hobby that you really enjoy, and now you want to turn it into a profession.  DON'T.  You always hear "do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life."  There's some truth to that, but you still need a hobby - something outside that field of work.  If you take your hobby and try to turn it into your primary money-maker, you will eventually burn out, and then need to cultivate a new hobby.  If, however, you like collecting hobbies...go for it.