5 Tips For The Perfect Spring Mantle

Today’s post is sponsored by Acorn Influence and it’s advertiser, SC Johnson.  That just means that I get a little something for writing a unique article that readers can enjoy and that SC Johnson can stand behind.  If you’re decorating your mantle for Spring, I hope you find it useful. #SmellsClean

Spring Mantle TipsUntil I moved into my apartment last year, I’ve had a fireplace everywhere I’ve lived for my entire adult life.  Having a mantle to decorate has just been a part of my routine.  I knew the first time I walked my apartment that I would add a mantle to the wall at some point.  Finally, just before Christmas (like, literally Christmas Eve) I got myself together and built a mantle.  The kids and I have had fun decorating with little things here and there, but my Spring mantle setup is my first real chance to decorate for the seasons.

Use the colors of the season, whatever those might be to you.  Spring makes me think of bright vivid greens and small wild flowers that grow in the lawn before the first cut of the year.  Instead of going crazy with colors, I stick to one or two primary colors, use varying shades, and add black and white accents.

Spring Mantle

Mix old with new.  If you buy all new decorations for each season, you’ll spend a fortune!  I pulled down my Christmas wreath, the same one that was also my Halloween wreath and a Spring wreath before that, and wrapped it with some messy burlap type material, added flower springs, repainted my white monogram and done.  I invested a total of $5 and about 15 minutes.  Plus, when I’m tired of it, or ready for something new, I will just pull it down, repainted the monogram, cut off the burlap and change it up again!

Incorporate scent into your décor.  No matter how pretty a place may be, if it smells bad, you won’t want to be there.  Scent has a HUGE impact on our perceptions and memories of places and times in our lives, and with the massive variety of scents available in the Walmart air care aisle, there is something for everyone and every season.  Glade has several candle options that not only smell great when lit, but smell great all the time!

Spring FlowersLayer textures to create visual interest.  I pulled down some of the flower sprigs and burlap-like material from my wreath to add some depth to the mantle and a little visual interest.  The burlap material has a little shimmer to it, so to balance that out, I added the glass containers with shattered green glass shards.

See something you like?  Copy it!  There is no shame in reproducing a picture in your own home from a book, magazine, or website.  Seriously.  When photographers publish images of designs (or when I post pictures of crafts, etc), we know people are going to copy it.  In fact, that’s what we hope for!  Don’t copy it and take credit for the design, but make it yourself and tell everyone where you got the cool idea.

Spring-Mantle-Where-To-Buy

How do you decorate for Spring?  Do you have a mantle you change out decorations on each season or are you a “year round” look kind of decorator?

Posted in Crafts, For the Home | 11 Comments

Problem: Mom is sick. Solution: Family movie night!

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.

Family Movie Night with Netflix

We all know how it goes when mom doesn’t feel well… The world comes to an end!  Well, not exactly.  It does usually mean that everyone needs mom more than normal.  Being a single parent makes things even more interesting.  Who takes care of mom and everyone else?  Mom, of course!

Mom was feeling pretty rough this weekend. After sleeping at a birthday party Saturday (yes, that did really happen), I wanted to do nothing more than park myself on the couch and not move.  The only way to make that happen was with a Family Movie Night!  One of my favorite things in my apartment?  My Smart TV.  What makes it the most awesome?  Netflix.

The kids and I parked on the couches, pulled up Netflix, checked out recent releases in the “family” category and settled on Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2.  We were all big fans of the original, and the sequel didn’t disappoint.  I got some rest, the kids got some entertainment and we all got some “together” time.

What do you do when mom goes down?  Do you like to snuggle up with your kiddos and watch a movie or do you have another trick up your sleeve?

Posted in Entertainment | Leave a comment

Making Tournament Snacks? Grab This RO*TEL Coupon!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #JustAddRotel #CollectiveBias

Rotel 2  (2)Great Savings on RO*TEL at Walmart!

Are you creating a big snacking spread for the Big Tournament? Looking for ways to spice up game day and save money at the same time? #JustAddRotel is the perfect way to spice up your favorite recipes. From guacamole to pot roast sliders, adding a can of RO*TEL makes a traditional game day recipe into something extraordinary. Use RO*TEL, cheese and ground sausage for an amazing dip or try mixing in black beans and corn for a chucky black bean salsa!

Click this link http://cbi.as/4wqx  to print a Walmart coupon where you buy 3 cans of RO*TEL, you will get 1 can free!

Rotel 1  (2)Hurry, this coupon expires on April 6th and is only while supplies last!
Be sure to look for RO*TEL in either the Pasta or Hispanic aisle in Walmart!

How do you use RO*TEL?  Dips, Chili, sauces?

 

Posted in Food | Leave a comment

Where Does He Get That Energy?

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it’s advertiser, Purina® Pro Plan®.  All opinions are mine alone.  #ProPlanPet #CollectiveBias

Fenway Chasing Tennis Ball in Water #ProPlanPupTo say that Fenway is an active pup would be an understatement.  That Border Collie never stops!  He’s true to his roots with the desire to run and herd, and will even herd the kids if they run around with him outside.  He will play ball longer than any one human can tolerate and is always ready for a walk or a run.  His energy knows no bounds!

Fenway #ProPlanPup

Fenway and Mom #ProPlanPup

Well, almost never.  I can get him to lay down on the couch or bed for about a minute, then he’s up and moving again.  We practice “sit” and “stay” a lot.  He’s had “come” down for a while.  “Roll over” is the newest task we’re trying to master, but he’s a little resistant to being on his back, plus he’s a big boy and that’s a lot of fur to flip around.  My kids really want him to learn “roll over” because they think it’s funny to watch him wave his long, spider legs up in the air as he uses them to propel himself from one side to the other.

#ProPlanPup

When Fenway came to live with us, he came with a bag of tennis balls, two soccer balls, a food bowl and a bag of Purina® Pro Plan®.  Being a big, active boy, Fenway needs a food that fits his active lifestyle and isn’t full of fillers.  My boy needs meat!  I know it and Fenway’s previous owner knew that too!  That’s why we’re a Purina® Pro Plan® family.

The first ingredient in Purina® Pro Plan® dry formulas is meat – Real chicken, beef, lamb or salmon!  Fenway loves the Shredded Beef.  It’s his favorite!  Purina® Pro Plan® was the first dry dog food brand to use and be founded on the idea of real meat as the #1 ingredient to help promote total body health.  Every high quality ingredient is chosen for a specific purpose.

Fenway Eats ProPlan #ProPlanPup

“Can I have it now, mama?”  I have no proof of this, but I swear that Purina® Pro Plan® is what keeps Fenway’s coat as shiny as it is.  Fenway’s previous owner swore by it too.  I so glad we stuck with Purina® Pro Plan®.  We use our shopping trips to PetSmart (the only place we shop for our pet supplies) to practice “sit”, “stay” and other commands.  Ultimately I not only want Fenway to know my commands and to obey them, but to be able to do it when distractions abound.  The staff at our PetSmart has always been friendly and welcoming when we come in together.  Fenway can be a little “bull in a china shop” sometimes, but he’s quick to settle down after a friendly pet or a little treat from the cashier.

Shopping at PetSmart

Want to make the switch for your pup?  Visit the Purina® Pro Plan® MyPLAN website to get your dog’s MyPLAN recommendation and a rebate offer for a free bag of Purina® Pro Plan® Dry Dog Food (4-6lbs, up to $18.99.) Good only in U.S.A. A.P.O’s, F.P.O’s. Void where taxed, prohibited, restricted. Allow 6-8 weeks for shipment. LIMIT ONE REQUEST PER INDIVIDUAL, ADDRESS, or EMAIL ADDRESS. Offer expires 04/30/2015. See full terms.

Does your pet know basic commands or have any cool tricks?  Fenway can give wonderful hugs and loves to shake hands.  What tricks do your pets do?

Posted in Life in General | 1 Comment

Salted Caramel Apple Whiskey Cocktail

Salted Caramel Apple Whiskey MamaMommyMomIt 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!

Salted Caramel Whiskey Crown Royal AppleFirst 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!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Salted Caramel Apple Whiskey Cocktail
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Drinks
Serves: 1 drink
Ingredients
  • 2 ounces Crown Royal Regal Apple Whiskey
  • 1 ounce Salted Caramel Coffee Syrup
  • 4 ounces 100% Apple Juice
  • Caramel Syrup (optional)
  • Sea Salt (optional)
Instructions
  1. Start with an ice cold glass.
  2. Pour in Salted Caramel Syrup, Whiskey and Apple Juice.
  3. If desired, drizzle rim with caramel and sprinkle with sea salt.

 

Posted in Recipes | 15 Comments

Toddlers and Tiaras – The State Pageant Edition



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.

Pageant DayI’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.

Yoplait Greek 100 as a Snack10 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.

Pageant Interview Outfit2:30 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.

Pageant Winner6:00 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)?

Posted in Life in General | 2 Comments

Quick and Easy Coffee Crusted Steak

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it’s advertiser, McCafé coffee.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.  #McCafeMyWay #CollectiveBias

Coffee Crusted Steak MamaMommyMom

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.

McCafe Breakfast Blend

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.

Coffee Crusted Steak Ingredients

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.

Coffee and Steak

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.

Coffee Crusted SteakIt’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!

4.0 from 1 reviews
Quick and Easy Coffee Crusted Steak
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Not your typical steak, a coffee crusted steak has a fantastic, unique flavor even a non-coffee lover will love.
Author:
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  1. Mix the coffee grounds, Garlic Salt and Pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Press your steak into the mixture to completely coat the steak.
  3. Turn oven on "broil" setting.
  4. In an oven-safe skillet large enough to hold both steaks, not touching, heat your olive oil over high heat.
  5. Once the oil is hot, add the steaks to the pan.
  6. Cook on high heat for 2-3 minutes until the steak seared out the outside and has released from the bottom of the pan.
  7. Cook the second side and additional 2-3 minutes.
  8. Transfer your pan to the oven.
  9. Broil the steak on the top rack for 3-4 minutes.
  10. Flip the steak and broil for an additional 3-4 minutes.
  11. If you prefer your steak medium or less, adjust the broiling time accordingly. Your steak will cook very quickly under the broiler.

 

McCafe at WalmartIf 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!

Posted in Food, Recipes | 12 Comments

9 Last Minute St. Patrick’s Day Crafts and Activities

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 a sentimental keepsake, you could go with these handprint shamrock canvases...

Shamrock Handprint CanvasHave a little one that loves to dress up?  Pair this awesome beard from No Time For Flashcards with a hat like this one from All Kids Network and your little leprechaun can look the part.

Kids in the Kitchen has this wicked looking green slime recipe… my kids would LOVE it!

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!

And while you’re at it… you should make her leprechaun binoculars too!

Are you doing something cute of fun with your little leprechauns this year?  If you have a favorite craft project for the holiday, share it with us on Facebook!

Posted in Crafts | Leave a comment

Water, Water Everywhere – Chit Chat

IMG_1706I’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.

IMG_1708I 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.

IMG_1714I 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?

IMG_1730It 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.

IMG_1755The 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.

IMG_1757Fenway 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?

Posted in Life in General | Leave a comment

Operation: Smile Brighter

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Colgate® Optic White® Express White.  All opinions are mine alone.  #OpticSmiles #CollectiveBias

Operation Smile Brighter

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.

What Causes Stains on Teeth 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.

Does Coffee Stain TeethI’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!

Brush with Colgate Optic WhiteI 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.

Where To Buy Colgate Optic WhiteI’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?

Posted in Beauty & Fashion, Health/Wellness | 12 Comments