It may only be Tuesday evening, but every week has felt incredibly long lately. Some of the guys at work have been talking about this new Crown Royal flavor that’s been out for a bit, but is incredibly hard to find… apple. I am not a big fan of whiskey in general, but the guys were speaking so highly about it that I had to find a bottle. I went on a mission, and after a few failed attempts, success!
First off, yes… it is delicious straight over ice. But as I was sipping it, I decided to get wild and crazy and make a cocktail. With a little tweaking, it was perfect… a definitely a little more refined that drinking straight whiskey (but I do recommend trying it over ice as well.)
This cocktail is smooth, sweet and just a bit savory… like a salted caramel apple!
Why do I do this to myself? I continue to subject myself to tiny divas in rollers, a better wardrobe than mine and more makeup than I wear in a month. (sigh) I guess it’s because my daughter wants to be a queen. Not a princess… a queen.
I’m thankful that my niece does pageants. Her my, my sister, kind of runs the show when it comes to my daughter on (and leading up to) pageant day. My only real tasks are: show up on time and come loaded up with snacks. Divas get hungry. I need to keep the princess – I mean, queen – happy if I want to see her win a tiara. And trust me… with the amount of money going into these things, I want to see her win.
10 AM – We raid the fridge for snacks before leaving the house for the day. We’ve got to be on site at 11 AM. Choices are not super limited, yet she still goes for my Yoplait Greek Whips 100. She snags both my Strawberry Cheesecake and Vanilla Cupcake flavors. I can’t complain too much… I do have quite a few in the fridge, plus I know the smooth creamy texture will make it seem like a real treat for her, all the while I know it’s a healthy option to keep her belly full.
11 AM – We’re on site and ready for rollers. The rollers have to sit, so there’s a fair amount of thumb twiddling that happens now. We break out the snacks. She starts in on the Vanilla Cupcake and it’s not long before I have a small contingency of divas trying to take my Yoplait Greek Whips 100!
1 PM – Hair is still up, but it’s time to get some makeup on. First on the agenda is her interview, so we keep it “light”. And by “light”, I mean more makeup than I wear in a week or two.
1:40 PM – Hair is down and we are dressed for interview. She’s skittered off down the hall and I don’t see her again until 2:30.
2:30 PM – More down time. She doesn’t go on stage again until 4 pm. I hang back with her for a bit, have a cup of Yoplait Greek Whips 100 myself (Strawberry Cheesecake), she plays Minecraft and I knock out a few levels of Candy Crush. Don’t judge.
3:30 PM – I leave my wannabe-Queen in the capable hands of my sister and go find my spot in the audience.
4:00 PM – The show starts. Division II (ages 7 & up) wannabe-Queens are modeling on stage for beauty, outfit of choice and theme wear (nautical). We’ve got a few breaks for various talent showcases, but overall the next hour and a half goes pretty quick… at least for me. My daughter and my sister are running through outfit, hair and make-up changes at the speed of light.
5:30 PM – It’s all over but the crowning. We’ve got a brief break while scores are calculated and then we see who wins what and who goes home with a crown.
6:00 PM – Not a queen this time, but much more than just a Princess to me! She placed third in her age group and took home a few side awards of her own (Best Dress, Best Outfit of Choice, and Best Hair). There were quite a few tears shed when she didn’t come off stage with with big full round crown, but also an important life lesson restated… you can’t always win everything.
A few days later, the sting of loss has worn off and the only thing she’s worried about is when the next pageant is and why I don’t have more of that yogurt in the fridge (and why can’t we have a puppy… and why is the sky blue… and can she spend the night with Madi this weekend… and…)
Grab a coupon from Publix to try Yoplait Greek Whips 100 for yourself. Indulge in amazing flavors without feeling guilty.
Yes, pageant days are incredibly long for the little divas and for moms too. What do you think about pageants? Does it make a difference in your opinion that we only compete in “natural” pageants (meaning no fake anything – hair, tan, nails, teeth, etc)?
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it’s advertiser, McCafé coffee. All opinions are mine and mine alone. #McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias
I love a good cup of coffee in the morning. I also love a good cup of coffee mid-day, in the evening, at night… you get the picture. Hit that search box over on the upper right side of the Mama.Mommy.Mom. home page and search “coffee”. I stopped counting after 40 posts. Coffee is so comforting to me, and while I am trying to limit my intake for the sake of my teeth, I will still have my daily dose of comfort one way or another.
Search “coffee recipes” on Pinterest and you will find more than your fair share. And I’m not talking about brewed coffee recipes either. There are plenty of tasty ways to enjoy coffee that have nothing to do with a mug. For example, take steak. Most people don’t associate coffee and steak with each other, but I have had some amazing coffee crusted steak in the last year and I decided I needed it in my life again. A quick trip to Walmart to grab some McCafé coffee for my steak crust and I was well on my way.
I live in an apartment, so I don’t have a grill. That doesn’t mean I can’t have an amazing steak though! If you’ve never cooked steak in the oven, you should try it. You may find that you prefer the oven to the grill (I do!) The trick to an amazing steak in the oven is to sear the steak on the stove top first. If you use an oven safe pan, you can go straight from the stove top to the oven and safe yourself a little clean up.
Crusting a steak is easy. You need four things: a steak, a crusting mixture, a little oil and high heat. For my crusting mixture, I chose to use McCafé Breakfast Blend ground coffee. I like that the flavor is full, but not bitter. There are 8 flavors of McCafé coffee to chose from, so if you want something with a bolder flavor, you could use that instead. Once you’ve seared your steak and have a nice crust going, you’re only going to need a few minutes in the oven under the broiler to finish off your steak.
It’s important to let your steak rest for about 5 minutes after coming out of the oven before you slice it. You want the juices to redistribute. It’ll give you a more tender, more juicy steak. The coffee crusted steak pairs wonderfully with steamed veggies for a delicious, balanced meal in less than 15 minutes!
Not your typical steak, a coffee crusted steak has a fantastic, unique flavor even a non-coffee lover will love.
Author: Jamie Rippy
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2 servings
2 Sirloin Strip Steaks (or any other cut of your choice)
½ cup McCafé Coffee grounds
1 Tablespoon Garlic Salt
½ Teaspoon Ground Pepper
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Mix the coffee grounds, Garlic Salt and Pepper in a small bowl.
Press your steak into the mixture to completely coat the steak.
Turn oven on "broil" setting.
In an oven-safe skillet large enough to hold both steaks, not touching, heat your olive oil over high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the steaks to the pan.
Cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes until the steak seared out the outside and has released from the bottom of the pan.
Cook the second side and additional 2-3 minutes.
Transfer your pan to the oven.
Broil the steak on the top rack for 3-4 minutes.
Flip the steak and broil for an additional 3-4 minutes.
If you prefer your steak medium or less, adjust the broiling time accordingly. Your steak will cook very quickly under the broiler.
If you want to try my Coffee Crusted Steak or any other coffee recipe on your list, you can pick up one of the 8 flavors of McCafé coffee available at your local Walmart. McCafé coffee is made with 100% Arabica Beans, harvested from the rich soils and mountainous regions of the foremost coffee-growing areas of the world. McCafé coffee is available in both ground bags and coffee pods.
McCafé helps me start my day by giving me a little bit of comfort before jumping into my hectic world. What’s your favorite way to enjoy coffee? Do you have an amazing recipe using coffee that I just *have* to try? Share it with us!
If you’re anything like me, you always have grand plans but you seem to get sidetracked while taking care of those little leprechauns you call your children. So, St. Patrick’s Day has snuck up on you. You’re ill prepared. You want to do something with your kids for St. Patrick’s Day, but what?!?
I’ve got you covered! I’ve scoured Pinterest to find easy St. Patrick’s Day crafts and activities you can do with your own little leprechauns, most of which you probably already have the materials handy for.
If you want something super simple, Housing a Forest has a basic paper plate shamrock… great for the young leprechauns. There’s glitter! Who doesn’t love glitter?
Living with a princess? If you have a daughter, who isn’t? She can rock out St. Patrick’s Day in her very own crown. Rainbow, optional.
The Teacher Wife has a great little activity that makes kids think about what they have that’s a real value in their lives… so much more than gold! These are the sorts of projects that are fun to tuck away and share with your kids when they have kids of their own.
Crafty Morning has kind of made my day with these End of the Rainbow Twirlers. I want to make about a dozen to hang outside – year round!
I’m sitting in my office debating whether or not to let my kids get a hamster. It has nothing to do with water, but that’s where I am today. Where was I over the weekend? On the water! The weather has just started to warm up a bit (though Spring in NC tends to be a bit bi-polar, so I’m sure we’ll still have plenty of days with highs in the 30s and 40s) and the lake was calling.
I nestled myself into a cozy blanketed bundle – it was a bit windy – and enjoyed riding around on the lake, watching the wildlife and taking pictures. It was nice to be out of reach for a few hours and just enjoy the sounds of the birds, the water lapping against the side of the boat and the “plunk” of lures hitting the water.
I love looking at houses. Big ones, little ones, some that are new and some that are on the verge of being a pile of scraps waiting to be reclaimed. This old place has seen better days. I like to imagine what i could to with them if I had an unlimited budget and access to the necessary resources. I also wonder what the inside looks like. Was it cleaned out or is it full of old treasures?
It wasn’t fair to leave the kiddos or our four-legged friends out of have fun, so Sunday called for a trip to the pond to let our kids and our “kids” enjoy the warm weather too. Fenway is a water beast. He loves every minute of it, no matter how cold the water is.
The way he snaps at the balls in the water makes me think of an alligator. He would drop one, grab another, drop that one and then finally decide which one he was bringing back to the shore. He tried to bring back more than one at a time, but it didn’t work out too well for him. There’s nothing quite like the smell of wet dog mixed with fishy water.
Fenway looks mean, doesn’t he? He’s not. He’s the sweetest boy ever! I’m looking forward to more warm days on the horizon, and despite the fact that he’s willing to jump into 60 degree pond water (but hates a nice warm bath!?), I know Fenway is looking forward to Spring too.
Does your family have favorite outdoor activities you can’t wait to get back into? My kiddos are already asking about the US National Whitewater Center and Tweetsie Railroad. What activities and places are you looking forward to enjoying as the weather gets warmer?
The last two years have been full of transformations for me. I’ve lost around 50 lbs, become much more active than I used to be, made a multitude of changes in my personal life (separation, a new home, a boyfriend – just to name a few) and I am far happier with myself and who I am than I have ever been.
One thing still bothers me though… While I love seeing my smaller body in pictures, I tend not to smile as brightly as I once did. My teeth look so yellow! I imagine most people don’t notice, but I do. It’s time to make a change. I want to look at pictures of myself enjoying my new life and I want to be happy with what I see.
As I’ve gotten older and life has gotten busier, I find myself leaning more and more on old friends… Coffee, tea, soda and wine. Life is tiring, and I enjoy the comfort and pick me up I get in a glass of coffee or a can of soda. And when life does slow down, there is nothing quite like relaxing with a glass or sweet tea or having a glass of wine with dinner. I know all of those indulgences have stained my teeth through the years. TIP: Drinking staining beverages through a straw can help reduce the staining effect on your teeth. It won’t stop staining all together, but it will reduce it.
I’ve tried other products and methods through the years to whiten my teeth, but they’ve all been either too messy, too time consuming or just too complicated. I don’t have time or space for anything else complicated in my life, but brushing? I do that every day already. Less hassle makes Colgate® Optic White® Express White perfect for me. Whiter teeth in just 3 days by brushing? Sign me up! In combination with paying more attention to what I induldge in, how I induldge in it (see the tip above about using a straw) and brusing more frequently than twice a day, I hope to see major changes soon!
I found an array of Colgate® Optic White® Express White products in various sizes on a huge aisle display at Walmart. Easy enough! Colgate® Optic White® Express White Toothpaste has 2 times more of the professionally recommended whitening ingredient (vs. Colgate® Optic White® Sparkling Mint Toothpaste), making it a quick solution to my yellow teeth problems.
I’m a few days into the process and I already feel more confident about my smile. I’m looking forward to seeing my smaller body and my brighter smile in pictures as I make and capture new memories with my kids, my boyfriend and our friends & family. I cherish the photos I have of my life and I want to look back at them and be happy with what I see. Seeing myself smile, and smile bright, is important to me.
How do you feel about your smile? Do you show your teeth confidently, knowing they are health and look their best, or are you hiding your stained teeth like me?
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it’s Energizer Eco Advanced. All opinions are mine alone. #BringingInnovation #CollectiveBias
When most people think “green” or “eco-friendly”, they also think “more expensive” and that’s not necessarily the case. There are quite a few simple changes you can make in your every day life that will not only make for greener living, but will also save you a few bucks!
1) Ditch paper plates. You can buy inexpensive, shatter-proof plates at places like Walmart for a few dollars. They will last virtually forever and take just a few seconds to wash by hand or can be tossed in the dishwasher with your other dishes. You save money by not buying paper plates week after week and you save the environment by keeping paper plates out of our landfills. When the occasion calls for paper (like a party – let’s be practical), opt for plates made with recycled material.
2) Say goodbye to paper towels, at least most of the time. I have kids, I get it. There are some messes that need to be wadded up and tossed in the trash, but for day to day tasks (like drying your hands after washing, etc), paper towels are just a waste! Just like paper plates, paper towels are expensive, they go fast and they fill up our landfills. I use bar towels most of the time (white or tan) and you can buy a pack of 6 for about $5. I probably have 15 or so. I use them for just about everything, then just toss them in the wash with my other towels.
3) Pay attention to your energy consumption. This is one area where you have nothing to loose and only savings on your energy bills to gain! How many rooms in your house have lights on right now, but there’s no one in them? How many chargers are plugged into your wall that don’t have devices actively charging attached? If they’re plugged in, you’re consuming energy. Turn off lights when you leave a room and unplug those unused chargers. For battery operated devices, opt for recycled batteries like the new Energizer Eco Advanced batteries (the first batteries on the market to use recycled batteries/materials) and make sure to turn off devices or remove the batteries when not in use.
4) Make your own cleaners and/or laundry detergent (tutorial below!). A 68 load liquid detergent runs between $10 and $15 dollars. You can make about 4 times that much for under $5. It’s safe, you control the chemicals, it cleans really well, is safe for HE washers and it saves you a ton! You can also make our own all purpose cleaner for about $1 verses the typical $4 bottle from the store. Mix a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and distilled water. You can add a few drops of essential oils for scent.
5) Shop thrift or re-Purpose before you shop new. Yes, thrift shops can be full of junk, but they can be full of treasures too! You can often find new with tag clothes at a fraction of the tag price, great deals on furniture pieces and home decor items and you can pick up mix-match pieces from time to time to make things like this great treat stand or other awesome crafts (check out all of the inspiration you can find on Pinterest!) Shopping thrift or re-purposing items you already have will save you money and keep all of that awesome stuff out of our landfills.
**See the tutorial for DIY Landry Detergent below!**
Starting with your pot and your bar of Fels Naptha, you need to get the soap into meltable pieces. The easiest way to do this is with a veggie peeler, straight into the pot. Think of it as shaving a block of cheese. It will take you a few minutes, but it’s worth it as the soap will melt quicker this way. If you don’t have a peeler, you can use a grater or simply shave the bar off with a knife. Both of those options result in slightly larger pieces of soap, thus taking longer to melt.
Once you’ve shaved down your bar of Fels Naptha, add 8 cups of water to the pot and give it a stir. You’re going to bring this to a simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the Fels Naptha soap is completely melted.
Once your soap has liquified, add in the Borax, Washing Soda and an additional 8 cups of water. Stir until mixed and continue to simmer until everything has dissolved and you have one cohesive liquid. Once that has happened, remove the mixture for the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
Once the detergent has cooled enough to handle, split it evenly between your containers. At this point, you will then fill the remaining space in each container with water. Seal your containers and shake them vigorously to mix.
You will need to let your detergent ‘cure’ for about 24 hours before use. You’ll notice it thickening as it sits. Use 1-2 tablespoons per load (based on the load size).
You can learn more about the new Energizer Eco Advanced, Energizer’s longest lasting alkaline ever by visiting BringingInnovation.net or pick up a pack to try for yourself (just like I did!) at your local Walmart. PRO TIP: Don’t wander around the electronics section for 20 minutes like I did… just look for the convenient Battery Centers near both entrances. You’ll find that Energizer Eco Advance is available in both AA and AAA.
Enter the GuiltFreeEnergy Giveaway – $1,000 in Gift Cards!
Your typical milkshake is probably better suited for Summer, but these… these milkshakes are good all year long! Not quite suited for the kiddos, these Strawberry Milkshake Shots are for the 21 and up crowd, but you could make the kids their own by leaving out the vodka.
They aren’t very potent, but that’s by design. They’re so fun to drink, and tasty too. Keeping the alcohol content low lets you enjoy quite a few of these Strawberry Milkshake Shots without worrying about over-indulging.
This post is sponsored by Netflix. As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I receive complimentary Netflix streaming. We were Netflix customers for years before becoming members of the #StreamTeam. All opinions are mine and mine alone.
Yesterday was a snow day for most of us here in NC. Another snow day. There are some school districts around us that have been out for almost 2 weeks. For a Southern state, this is way more winter weather than we’re used to seeing. We don’t have weather that keeps us out of school for two weeks. Well, we didn’t.
The kids did enjoy getting out in the snow for a bit yesterday. It was excellent snow for packing snowballs and building snow men. We only got a few inches, but between the kids and the dogs, they tore it up! The kids built 4 or 5 snowmen between our yard and the neighbor’s, then chased each other around with some massive snowballs. But, being Southern, we don’t last too long out in the cold… even the kids. Within an hour, they were done. They were all done.
The sad part of NC snow fun is that it takes us longer to get dressed/get undressed and clean up the mess than we typically stay outside. Go figure. Once the kids shed their wet duds, they split off in pairs (we had neighborhood kids over too) and all headed off for warmer entertainment. Two of the girls settled in for a Netflix marathon of Ever After High, so I broke out a box of cool goodies our friends at Netflix sent us to help them have their own little viewing party!
Of course my daughter’s thought bubble say “Omg!” That’s her general attitude most of the time – be it dramatic, exasperated, ecstatic or otherwise. The girls played with fortune tellers, story cards and other fun goodies (like Ever After High dolls!) and even acted out some of the scenes from the show. It was super cute, and of course they had no idea I was watching them. Parents have to be stealthy.
Speaking of parents… remember your favorite fairytale characters? They are parents too! That’s how Ever After High came to be… a boarding school for teens destined to follow in their famous parents’ fairytale footsteps. Only this is high school, and that spells drama. Some, like Apple White, Daring Charming and Blondie Lockes, embrace their “happily ever afters,” while others, like Raven Queen and Cedar Wood, choose to rewrite their stories — which could change the fate of every one else at school.
Are your kiddos over Winter or are they craving more of the white stuff? Mine are done and done, anxiously awaiting the warmer weather of Spring – which in NC feels a lot like Summer! What do your kiddos enjoy watching or doing inside to beat the boredom of Winter?
I woke up on time this morning, early even. Woke up the kids, jumped in the shower, shuffled everyone around to ensure we were ready to head out the door ahead of schedule (yay!). Then my phone rang. It was the school… “Due to the inclement weather, school will be operating on a 2 hour delay.”
What?! What inclement weather? Then I looked outside..
Where is Elsa? She and I need to have a little chat. It’s late February and this is the South. We should see one big event a year, my kids should miss a few days of school max. Bing, bang, boom – now give me my 70 degree weather. But no. No, no, no. My kids did not see a full day of school last week, and as it looks now, yesterday may have been their only full day this week. Heaven help me. Plus, I need milk and bread. Legitimately. Do you know what snow in the South does to our grocery stores? It’s like going into a war zone. A milk and bread poor war zone.
Seriously, y’all. I need groceries and the thought of going to the store scares me. How long can my kids live off frozen nuggets and apple juice before child services gets involved? I think I have a chicken breast and pasta sauce too. Maybe we’ll make it (after I hear “I don’t want that” about 15 times.)