Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving recipes!!

Happy Thanksgiving Week!! 
We are finally to the busiest time of the year, the holidays. Thanksgiving week is my favorite. I love Thanksgiving because there is no pressure to buy the best gift or attend a million gatherings. It is a day for wearing sweats, watching football, listening to the kids play, taking naps, looking through the newspaper for the Black Friday deals and being thankful for all that we have. We usually go out for Thanksgiving dinner with my sister, her family and my mother, but dinners at restaurants can be so expensive. We decided that this year I would host Thanksgiving. There I began my hunt for dinner ideas. I came across a few that I want to share with you all! 
I by far am no Giada De Lauentiis or Martha Stewart. I burn everything when I bake and only usually cook meat and vegetables or potatoes. I don't do casseroles, they scare me. Both my grandmothers were excellent cooks and bakers and my Mom is a great cook as well. That gene skipped me and went right to my younger sister. I remember going to my Grandma Woodard's (my mother's mom) house every Thanksgiving and she would have the turkey all the fixings and homemade pie. Some of my fondest memories are of the holidays with my family. I miss those days. 
This year I thought I would look at good 'ol Pinterest for the spice or brine for the turkey. I have a habit of being afraid of spices. I found a recipe that I think will be subtle but give it some taste. 

We all know that desert is the most important part of Thanksgiving dinner, right? I found a Pumpkin Bar recipe that my grandma had made on a few occasions. I love that my Mom has all her recipes and can share them with me and my sister. Only, I will probably have my sister create them and I'll just eat! Try this pumpkin bar recipe if you are over the pumpkin pie standby. The recipe in the photo is my grandma's original in her handwriting, priceless! 

1 Cup Flour            
1/2 tsp 
1 tsp Cinnamon   
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Nutmeg  
Sift all together

In a separate bowl combine:
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Shortening
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 Cup Pumpkin

Then Combine all ingredients and beat at a medium speed for 2 minutes. 
Bake at 250 degrees for 25 minutes. 

Ice with Carmel Icing. 
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp Butter
4 tsp Milk
3/4 tsp Vanilla
Use Sugar to thicken
Who doesn't love a good drink during the holidays? I don't drink alcohol but my family has a "signature drink" that I remember my Mom, Grandma and all my aunts used to drink. Take it back old school and try this Brandy Slush recipe, she says it's the best! 

Boil 7 Cups Water and 
2 Cups Sugar 

Add 4 Green Tea Bags
1-12 oz. Lemonade
1-12 oz. Orange Juice 
2 Cups Brandy Liquor of your choice
Once you are ready to drink add 7 up or Sprite to each glass. Enjoy! 
Finally, after all the festivities are over and you have turkey for days, what do you do with it. I know I get tired of soup and sandwiches. So I combed Pinterest and found a great 
 Jalapeno Popper Baked Turkey Sandwich recipe. You combine turkey with Kings Hawaiian rolls, cream cheese and jalapenos. I for sure will be making these. 
1 Package King's Hawaiian Jalapeno Rolls
4 oz. Cream Cheese softened
Sliced Turkey 
6 Colby Jack Cheese slices
6 pieces of Bacon cooked and crumbled
1 large Jalapeno chopped
1 stick Butter
1 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
Separate rolls and slice in half. Spread each roll with 1 tsp cream cheese. Fill rolls with turkey, 1/2 slice cheese, bacon, and chopped jalapenos. Place prepared sandwiches in 9x13 inch pan. In a small saucepan, melt butter and spices over low heat. Pour melted butter mixture over sandwiches in pan. Top with panko bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. 

Hope you all have a bless Thanksgiving and get to spend time with your families! 

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Saturday, November 11, 2017

What's In My Bag??

I love a good walk through someone's bag. I enjoy seeing some of the random items that people actually carry along with them everyday. I'm not sure if mine is that interesting but let's give it a try. 

My bag is Michael Kors and from TJ Maxx. I am waiting to hit the lottery so I can share my new Louis Vuitton bag... TJ Maxx is a great place to find name brand items for a fraction of the price. 

1-  Kate Spade wallet: I purchased this beauty from Poshmark. I have had my eye on one for weeks but paying over $100 for a small size wallet is not in my budget. I love Poshmark. The site offers gently used or new items from an average joe like me. I have a closet on Poshmark and love selling my items on there. I think I snagged this wallet for $60. The wallet holds 6 credit cards, 2 slots for miscellaneous, a money slot and one for change. I love it because I often carry a messenger bag for quick trips to the store so this great to fit in a small carrier bag also. 

2- Kate Spade change purse/card holder: I also purchased this on Poshmark for $40. I love it because it holds my credit cards, as you can see but can be used as a change purse as well. This is great if you are out and about and only want to carry some cash, your license and change. 

3- nail file: Of course, what woman does not have a nail file in their purse. I always remember my grandma carrying a nail file and filing her nails constantly. Mine is from Sally Beauty Supply.

4- NYXX Butter Gloss (angel food cake): I have a love hate relationship with these Nyxx butter glosses. They have so many great shades that you can purchase at at drug store. I hate the smell of most glosses and lipsticks so I tend to not wear any. But these are too good not to. I find them comparable to the Tarte glosses but for the fraction of the price! I purchased this at Target for $4.99.

5- Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment: I can't live without this stuff! It is amazing. Like I said I really dislike glosses, lipsticks and anything on my lips, but this stuff is amazing. It is so smooth that you can't tell you have it on. All of the sugar products have an SPF of 15 which is great for when you are outdoors. The formula contains humectant which prevents moisture loss. I also have the sugar scrub which is great for when you get out of the shower and to use before bed. The treatment I have is sheer but they also come in tinted. 

6- Soap and Glory Hand Food: For those that know me, know that I do not like lotions. I have a phobia of anything slimy, dirty or constricting on my hands. (weird, I know!). But this stuff is the best. It is a non-greasy Shea butter hand creme. It contains notes of bergamont, mandarin, rose, jasmine, tangerine and strawberry. The smell is wonderful. If you haven't used Soap and Glory products, you should check them out at Ulta. 

7- Purell Hand Sanitizer: Now I know what some of you are thinking, sanitizer does not prevent germs and washing is the most effective way to eliminate them. I totally get that, but I hate touching shopping carts, doors and other public places that others have touched. You just never know where their hands have been. So hand sanitizer is a must in my bag. I choose the unscented kind. 

8- Lens wipes: These little gems are great for cleaning glasses, iPhone, computer monitors and anything that contains glass with a high resolution. I get mine at Walmart. 

9- Sea Band: My little guy has become car sick. This was something that happened out of the blue a few weeks ago. In two different occasions, he got sick during fairly short trips. I think we have narrowed it down to motion sickness when playing games on his Ipad, but I don't want to take any chances so I purchased a Sea Band and it seems to be working. My sister recommend this to me since my niece and nephew got car sick a lot and the band seemed to help. The Sea Band gives a natural relief and can be used numerous times. You can purchase it at any drug store or on Amazon. 

So there you have it, not that interesting but a few good items that you may want to try. 
Not shown is: 
My iPhone
A reusable snack bag for Mason's snacks that is machine washable
Mason's snacks

Now it's your turn, what's in your bag??

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Favorites!!

Well, its Friday again. As a stay at home Mom, Friday's aren't as exciting as they used to be! Everyday runs into the others. Today, I am excited to share some of my favorite deals + steals. I love a good deal and almost always use a coupon for everything I purchase. I love finding a product that is almost comparable to an expensive one. Most of the time, the products or goods are better than the expensive one. This will be a series of mine during the holiday season. You can just click on the the name of the brand I am featuring and it will take you to their site. 

1. I love H&M. When it closed at Eastview Mall, I was devastated. They have cheap trendy clothes for everyone in the family. Today, if you shop pants, they are up to 50% off for the entire family. Great for early Christmas gifts. The closest one to me now is in Syracuse but they do not carry any household items. I love the children's line. Joggers are as cheap as $7 and trendy shirts for little one's are usually packaged in twos, which is a bonus if you are shop on a budget! But what I am really excited about is finding all the deals in the H&M Home department. I am shopping for holiday items these days. The trend now is that retailers are offering sales before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is great if you shop early. Go check it out today! 

2. My second favorite today are retailers that almost always have deals + steals every week. These retailers are great places to find deals for the entire family.  Carters, Osh Kosh B'Gosh, Gap, and Old Navy are a few favorites that I can always find discounts. They usually have some sort of coupon online or in the store. Another fun deal tip is to shop there factory stores. Factory stores have deeper discounts. 

  Today Carters is featuring 50% off the entire site and store on holiday items! That is huge if you are looking for outfits for holiday pictures. Plus, you will get an extra 20% off a $40 purchase with the code: HOLIDAYS. 

Osh Kosh B' Gosh and Carters are sister stores, if you didn't already know that. Which means their coupons can be used at both stores. So if you do not have a Carter's coupon, but you have an Osh Kosh B' Gosh one, you can use it at Carters (fun fact)! This retailer is having the same sale as Carter's today: 50% off the entire site or store on holiday items and 20% off a $40 purchase with the code: HOLIDAYS. 

Gap is my favorite retailer for clothes for myself and Mason. If you are cardholder, you will receive coupons in your email almost every other week. This makes it helpful being on a budget. Like I said before, I love the factory stores because you can find discounts on almost every item and it doubles with a coupon. Today, the Gap is offering 40% off online and 50% off in stores. Also, with the code: FFCARD you can get free shipping online. Another great advantage to shopping Gap, is that they offer Gap cash. For every $50 you spend from now until 11/28 you will receive $25 in Gap cash!! That is like receiving FREE money, that's how I look at it! Just in time for holiday shopping. 

Old Navy and Gap are sister stores as well, along with Banana Republic and Athleta. However, you can not use coupons for another store at a sister store. But you can use any one of these cards at a sister store. So if you have your Gap card with you on hand, you can use it at Old Navy and Banana Republic. Today, Old Navy is offering 30% off your online order and even on clearance items!! That doesn't happen often. I can always find something on clearance that I need. Old Navy also offers Super Cash they call it, like Gap. Until 11/28, you will receive $10 in super cash for every $25 you spend! The BIGGEST deal today at Old Navy....Some items are $5 WHAT!!! I'm glad I stumbled upon this today. There are a few winter pieces that I need for myself. Check them out! 

3. This favorite is probably every women's favorite, Target!! I can never walk out of Target without spending less than $100. I have had refrain from going there because it gets me in trouble every time. If you are like me and like to shop from home, shipping is fast and easy. Also, I have used the shopper feature at Target. You shop online, purchase the item and the store will have it ready for you within 24 hours to pick up. My local store almost always has it within a couple of hours. This guarantees you have that item for purchase. I also like using my Redcard, to receive 5% off every purchase, which always helps. Have you used the Cartwheel app?? It is great. Click on a category and it has discounts for items. Today, for every $40 you spend on clothing, shoes and accessories for the family, you will receive a $10 gift card to use later! 

4. My favorite place for beauty items is Ulta. Ulta has everything from designer brands such as Too Faced, Bare Minerals, Benefit and Clinique to designer fragrances from Kate Spade to Yves Saint Laurent. If you sign up as a beauty insider, you will receive the monthly flyer in the mail that usually has a $3 coupon. They have deals every week in store. I'm not much on spending a lot on makeup. I can usually find a makeup that I like such as Cover Girl, Maybelline or L' Oreal But the great thing about that is, Ulta carries all of them. So you can splurge on a lipstick from Bare Minerals and buy your eyeliner from Cover Girl. I buy all my Clinique products at Ulta. They have more of a selection and you aren't bombarded with a consultant like at the mall. Fun fact: I used to work for Clinique and I still secretly wish I never left! Also, I love designer fragrances but I for sure can not bring myself to pay the outrageous prices. I love that Ulta offers roller balls in almost every fragrance they sell. I am a hoarder of roller balls. They are fairly reasonable in price and you can control where you place it. Not like a spray where most of it goes in the air. Today, if you shop online you will receive free shipping on any purchase over $35!! 

5. My fifth favorite for this Friday is the Groupon app. We love Groupon. You can find everything on it for a discounted price. It is no secret we love Canada and Niagara Falls. I think Joe and I have stayed at every hotel there and mostly because of a Groupon deal. The app is a free download for any smart phone device. You can also access Groupon online as well. If you sign up online, they will tailor the deals to places in your area or the closet city. You can always access other areas as well. They offer deals on items such as custom holiday cards, things to do, beauty, restaurants and places to stay. We have stayed at four star hotels, received dinner for two and breakfast for two the next day for under $200!! TODAY ONLY: Use code TEN and receive $10 off a Groupon of $11 or more!! 

I hope you enjoyed my favorites this week. Leave me a comment if you have any questions or any deals that you like! 

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

October and Halloween!!!

H A P P Y   H A L L O W E E N !!!
Anyone that knows me, knows I am not a fan of Halloween. As a child, I would stay back at my Grandma and Grandpa's house and hand out candy rather than dress up in costume and go trick or treating. Weird, right? I just have never been into costumes and I literally am scared of the dark. I hate horror films and anything scary. This all changed when I had my son. Since he was two, he has been super excited for Halloween, this year especially. I have adapted to his excitement and have tried to make it the best for him. That's what we parents do, right? 
Since the beginning of October, I have tried to incorporate Halloween or pumpkins in some way. We didn't make it to the Pumpkin Patch this year, but he didn't seem to mind. We decided to purchase pumpkin stickers from Michaels this year instead of carving. They were super cute and a lot less mess. This is where I should insert a picture and like the new blogger that I forget to take a pic before I took the stickers off today. Opps. 
This year we decided to try the Fall into Canandaigua celebration that the local merchants have in the city. It was great! Merchants were handing out candy, animals and a parade. We will definitely go next year also. Mason was Batman because he didn't want to be too scary during the day he said. He was saving his other costume for Halloween night. I just pulled together some things he had in his playroom. Fun fact deal: I like to buy Halloween costumes the day after Halloween when they are 50-75% off. They are great all year round to play dress up in. I try to purchase some that are a bigger size if I really think they are something he would like. This Batman costume was one of those.

 Mason is obsessed with Halloween, I thought I would make an entire day out of it! I decided to decorate the table and leave him some little things to play with all day. I picked up the cupcakes from Walmart along with the tablecloth, confetti, bat finger puppets and spiders that hung from the chandelier. Our Walmart has a great bakery and always come through with our requests. He came out in the morning and said this was the best Halloween ever!! 

For Halloween, we had a little Werewolf.  Mason was going back and forth since September saying he wanted to be a zombie, then a ghost and finally a werewolf. I ordered the costume on Amazon for $12!! My kind of costume! It was super cute! I painted his face with paint from Walmart. The jeans were old and small on him so I cut holes all through them and he wore his boots for shoes. The Halloween bag is from Pottery Barn Kids. Another fun fact deal: I like to stalk Pottery Barn for after holiday deals as well for clearance items and save for next year. I love Pottery Barn but their prices are high. Halloween night we always go trick or treating with my sister, the kids, and my Mom. My niece Gabrielle was a Zombie girl and my nephew Talon was Jack Septiceye. We decided to go to the upper side of the city this year. Our neighborhood is sparse with people that hand out candy so we thought we would try another section. It was GREAT!!! The houses were decorated and one even had a haunted house. Mason got way more candy than he should ever consume!!

Gabrielle and Talon
Picture by Shannon Kesel Images

                                                           Haunted House
                                                         Haunted House

Besides Halloween, we have been trying to do some school work with Mason since he is not attending Pre-school this year (that post later). I found a curriculum online and have tried to stick with that. He seems to take things more seriously when Joe shows him or has him do a task such as writing, or counting or ABC's. We have been saving those tasks for when Joe is home at night and during the day, we do arts and crafts. Ironically, Joe is the more laid back parent but Mason wants to do more curriculum based with him. Whatever works, right? Joe is finishing up the customers that still needed their driveways sealed. We are hoping this is the last weekend for that before we start with the madness of the Christmas tree farm. Other than that, we enjoyed some nice weather for a few days and rode bikes and took some walks around the neighborhood. November starts our crazy season so we tried to rest in October!!