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Posted on November 30th, 2016 by Uncategorized

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Posted on November 27th, 2016 by Uncategorized


A Handful of Fun Group Date Ideas!

Posted on November 19th, 2016 by Uncategorized

Man helping girl to stand on the ice rink outdoors

 

It’s so important to get out on dates with your significant other, and it’s always great to spend some time with friends, too, so why not combine them and go on a double date?¬†Now, dinner and a movie is a fun activity, but it’s not all that creative. Try out something different next time, and I’m sure everyone will love the novelty!

My husband and I love double or triple dates. It’s so fun to get together with friends and have a larger group to chat with. Since I’m always trying to come up with creative ideas for activities to do with our friends, I’ve decided to put together a list of what we’ve done or what sounds like fun in order to help out any of you also looking for some new ideas!

-Hiking

-Ice Skating

-Pottery or art class

-Cooking class

-Game night

-Theme park trip

-Bowling

-Golfing

-Trivia night

-Sports game

-Garage sale shopping

-Museum

-Aquarium

 

Honestly, the list could go on and on, but I’m sure you’re tired of scrolling by now. ūüėČ Try a couple of these out and get creative with some other ideas; there are so many great options for activities on websites like Groupon or Living Social, too. And that way you can save some money on a date that you may not have thought of on your own!

What are some of your favorite group date ideas?


The Cheapest Way to Unclog Drains

Posted on November 18th, 2016 by Uncategorized

Baking soda with vinegar, natural mix for effective house cleaning

I didn’t realize just how controversial the baking soda and vinegar method for cleaning drains was until I started in on doing some research on it. It seems that the age-old solution for fixing a clog is something that causes some debate. Some believe that the baking soda and vinegar doesn’t do anything, while others believe that it does everything.¬†I actually found the outraged comments on a few different blogs to be quite amusing, and they inspired me to try out the method myself. Well, the comments and partly the fact that one bathroom sink hasn’t been draining for about a month now inspired me…

The trick is the hot water. And that is what I think is left out of some instructions, which leads to negative results. So make sure that you have a pot of boiling hot water ready to go, and hopefully it will work for you!

The method:

1. Pour a pot of boiling hot water into your drain

2. Mix together a solution of one cup baking soda and one cup of vinegar

3. Pour that mixture into the drain

4. Shut the drain plug and wait about 5 to 10 minutes

5. Finish up with another pot of hot water

As long as there isn’t some object stuck in your drain, this method should do the trick! The bubbles from the baking soda and vinegar should loosen up the gunk in the drain, and the hot water should take care of minimizing the grease and wash it all out.

Thankfully, this worked for me, so I can now use that sink again, woo hoo!

Let me know if you’ve used this method with any success, I’d love to hear about it and any variations you may have.

 


Sign Up for Mashed Potato Duty This Thanksgiving!

Posted on November 17th, 2016 by Uncategorized

mashed potato

 

I’m always so startled when holidays creep up on me. (Where did the 4th of July come from? How is it already Halloween?!) But this Thanksgiving has really snuck up on me fast. I still can’t believe that it’s not September so how are we already nearing the end of November?

I’m afraid that time has somehow sped up in the past couple of years. It feels like New Years Day was just a little while ago, and I still catch myself writing out 2015, so I really have no idea how I’m going to get in the ‘2017 mode’ in the next month and a half.

Anyways, enough about my distorted sense of time. Let’s talk potatoes.

Mashed potatoes are my most favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner, and this one recipe is the best that I have tried. It’s super simple and really creamy. The cream cheese makes these potatoes so smooth and flavorful, you’ve got to try it!

Ingredients

-5 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

-1 cup half and half (or whole milk)

-16 ounces plain cream cheese, cut into pieces

-Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions

-Boil the potatoes until they become fork-tender, about 15 minutes

-Drain and then move to a very large bowl and mix briefly on a low setting with half and half and the cream cheese until incorporated

-Add seasonings to taste (I always add a little garlic salt and parsley, but you can keep it simple with the salt and pepper)

 

Done! In hardly any time at all you will have the creamiest, tastiest mashed potatoes ever. Go ahead and make them for dinner tonight , and then sign up for mashed potato duty at your Thanksgiving dinner this year; all of your family members and friends will LOVE this recipe, and you’ll love how simple it is.

Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments!

 


5 Minute 5 Dollar Pesto Gnocchi

Posted on November 16th, 2016 by Uncategorized

Gourmet traditional Italian pesto in glass jar with wooden spoon. Basil, nuts, olive oil and parmesan recipe. Vintage wooden table background. Rustic style and natural light.

Do you want a dinner that takes less than 5 minutes to get on the table and isn’t cereal or a microwave burrito? Something inexpensive, too?

Try Pesto Gnocchi.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking one of two things. Either “what is gnocchi?” or “how on earth do I make it in 5 minutes?”

For the first question, gnocchi is a type of soft dough dumpling usually made from potato. I’m not sure if it officially qualifies as a type of pasta, but it tastes like pasta, and is usually found in the pasta section in a vacuum sealed package. It is basically heaven on earth. It can be paired with marinara, pesto, alfredo, or just some butter and salt.

Second question. In addition to being so dang delicious, gnocchi is also my favorite because it cooks in literally 2-3 minutes. All you have to do is bring your water to a boil and plop them in, then let them boil for about 2-3 minutes (or until they all float to the top). Because you know exactly when they’re done based on whether they’re floating or not, it’s really a fool-proof dinner.

Now for the pesto. If I was asking you to blend up the basil and pine nuts I’m sure that the pesto sauce might taste fresher and better than the kind I like to make from a seasoning packet, but I guarantee you it would take longer than 5 minutes to get it all made. The kids are screaming, everyone’s hungry, you have places to be.

You do not have time to deal with pine nuts right now.

You need a Knorr Creamy Pesto Packet paired with your gnocchi. The Knorr brand is my favorite, and I like the creamy type better than the original, but any type works!

Ingredients:

Gnocchi

Pesto Packet

Milk

Olive Oil

(amount of each depends on the pesto packet brand and how many servings you’re going for)

Directions:

Cook the gnocchi as instructed on package, usually you boil the water and add the gnocchi.

Let the yummy little dumplings boil for about 2-3 minutes or until they float to the top.

Drain the gnocchi and set aside.

While the gnocchi is cooking follow the instructions on the pesto packet. Most often you just whisk together the pesto powder with the milk and oil and let it come to a boil.

After it has boiled remove it from the heat and pour the sauce over the drained and cooked gnocchi.

Seriously, that is all there is to it! Just some boiling and mixing and viola! Dinner is served. Your family will think that you are an Italian Chef with this fancy dish that is sort of hard to pronounce, and you can just toss out the packets and be excited that it only took a couple minutes from start to finish!

Next time you head to the store make sure to stock up on some packages of gnocchi and a bunch of those pesto packets, and you’ll always be ready for a last-minute but still delicious dinner.

 

Try this out and let me know how it goes for you! :)


Inexpensive Fall Date Ideas

Posted on November 12th, 2016 by Uncategorized

autumn kiss, young loving couple in the park with falling leaves

Park Picnic

The leaves are changing colors and most parks are at their most beautiful state so take your dinner to the park instead of eating at your dining table, or meet up during your lunch break.
Haunted House
For those of you that can stomach having creepily costumed people jump out at every corner, head to a haunted house! This is an especially fun group date because there is obviously safety in numbers.
Caramel Apple Making
There are lots of simple recipes out there, or you can always try out something gourmet if you’re feeling up to it. Make sure that you’ve got a good sized work space and lots of candy toppings and you’re set for a sweet date.
Football Game
It’s Football season! Take advantage of that by heading to a game in your area. It doesn’t have to be an NFL game to be fun; check out the times that your local high school is playing and head over there!
Scary Movie Night
My idea of a scary movie would probably be the Haunted Mansion, ha! So I’m all for popping up some popcorn and snuggling up to watch Eddie Murphy. If you’re braver than me turn on a legitimate horror movie and curl up on the couch together!
Pumpkin Patch and Carving
What is Fall without visiting a pumpkin patch? Grab your guy or gal and go pick out a pumpkin that you can carve together! Roast the seeds for a yummy snack afterwards.
Fall Festival or Corn Maze 
There are lots of festivals around this time of year, and there are lots of local family-owned ones that are relatively inexpensive as well! Whether it’s just a few food trucks and some games or a full corn maze it’s lots of fun to get outside and enjoy the chilly weather.
These are just a handful of ideas for Fall dates, do you have any that you love? Let us know in the comments!

 


Color Changing Flower Science Experiment!

Posted on November 6th, 2016 by Uncategorized

Crazy scientist. Young boy performing experiments

 

It’s science-experiment time again! I love having fun hands-on experiments to do with kids to get them excited about science. If they can have the chance to have a fun experience with science, they’re more likely to view it positively and perform better in that subject! And who knows, the fun experiments they do as kids may spark an interest and inspire them to go into a science field later on!

This experiment is so easy you’re going to love it.

Materials:

White Flowers, (carnations, daisies, roses… they all work. Carnations are probably your least expensive option though)

Clear drinking glasses or vases,

Food coloring dye,

Water

 

Directions:

Fill up each glass with water and add a few drops of food coloring, enough to dye the water a deep and bright color.

Stick one flower into each glass of colored water, and watch them over the course of a couple days. It wont take long at all for you to see the flowers change to the color in the glass.

Explain to your kids that water is taken up through the stem of the flower and distributed into the petals of the flowers! By dying the water you are able to see exactly how long it takes for the water to travel, and where it travels to! (That’s a good enough explanation for younger kids, though you can always look up more information for a more detailed discussion with your older or more curious kiddos.)

BONUS FLOWER FUN

Now this is something I just learned, and I am so excited to try it! Instead of just putting the one flower into one color, why don’t you try putting it into two colors? Now how do you do that, you may ask? Simply use a knife to split the stem in half, and place each half into a different color. (Brilliant. Why have I never thought to do that myself?!)

Ask your kids to come up with a hypothesis for what will happen to the flower when you do the two colors. Will the whole flower turn to be a mix of the two colors (for example, if the two colors are blue and red, will the flower turn purple?) or will the colors be split exactly down the middle?

 

Let me know what happens! I’m excited to hear about your flower-dying experiments!


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