my life homemade


12/13/17

Create the Perfect Reading Space for Winter

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

It's the most perfect time of year when the weather becomes frosty, the kitchen is overflowing with treats and desserts, and spending time with family and friends is something we all look forward to. The holiday season is upon us and that means it's time for shopping, baking, and entertaining. Plus, not to mention all the preparation before hand. That means lots of cleaning, lots of wrapping, and lots and lots of shopping. Sometimes, just thinking about what all I have to do, I get exhausted and need a few minutes to relax. So, this year I vow to take a few minutes, either each day or a few days a week,  for myself.

Plus, having two boys, 3 if you count my husband, and 3 dogs in the house, I am always on my toes. Add in my everyday list of things to do and the now ever growing holiday list, I am already exhausted and haven't even officially got started yet. But, I love how I was able to create a space in my home to create the perfect reading space and how Glade® products are able to keep my home smelling amazing and just perfect for this time of year.


I have a space that is completely unused in my boys' playroom. It's not actually in their playroom, but is a small sitting area just off the side of it. A loft type space between the bedrooms and the playroom. It never gets used and has been just wasted space for a while now. I wanted to do something special with it, but wasn't ever sure exactly what to do. Then, the idea hit me that I needed to create a space where I could read and relax without having to go to my bed or in the living room. But, not just any space, I needed to create the perfect reading space. Plus, I wanted it to reflect the season and fill it with essentials for a winter reading space.


The space I wanted to use has one full wall and one short wall that has two small windows, but is completely open on the other two sides. It is open to the hall between the bedrooms on one side and the playroom on the other. So, I knew I couldn't fill it with too much furniture but it really didn't need it. I just grabbed my oversized chair from our living room. Yes, I removed our currently used furniture for my new space. But, that's okay, it was taking up way too much space in my living room and it really didn't need to be in there to begin with, so it worked out perfectly.


To create the perfect reading space for winter I just needed a few things. It doesn't have to be much and you don't need to spend a fortune either. Most of the items I needed I had around the house. What I didn't have, like the Glade® Tree Lighting Wonder jar candles, I got from my favorite local Kroger marketplace. To get started to re-create your own reading space simply find a spot in your home that you can transform. Grab a comfy chair and end table and follow these 6 simple ideas to help you relax this winter and take some time out of your busy holiday schedule for yourself.


Idea #1: Candles and Scents
The best way to set the mood in your winter reading space is the right scent and smell. Now that the holidays are officially here, I cannot wait for all the scents and smells the holiday's bring. Cookies and treats, candy canes and even the tree, I love all of it. Glade® Jar candles are amazing to help recreate the scents winter brings with their limited edition fragrances like:
  • Tree Lighting Wonder™
  • Cozy Cider Sipping™
  • Candy Sprinkling Joy™
  • Frosting With Love™
Your home and your new reading spot will be filled with the perfect winter scents that you will love and you'll never want to leave.


Idea #2: Warm and comfy blankets
I don't know about where you live,  but sometimes here in the south, it gets just a little bit chilly outside. I love it when it's cold. The colder the better for me. But, when I want to relax and take a few minutes to myself, I love to cuddle up with a warm and snuggly blanket to help keep me a little bit warm. I keep a few of my favorite blankets on hand in a woven knitted basket right next to my big comfy chair, ready to grab and get cozy with.


Idea #3: Snuggly pillows
Even though I put my favorite oversized chair in my reading corner, I added more pillows to create an even more soft and fluffy space to help relax. I always seem to relax more when I am comfortable and these pillows do the trick. Plus, when you are not using the space, they make for perfect decorations.


Idea #4: Your favorite books and magazines
What is a reading space without your favorite reading materials. My choices change often. Sometimes I am ready to dive into and get lost in an amazing book. One that I cannot put down. Other days I just want to grab my favorite magazine and see all the latest and greatest home decor ideas. But, it's always best to keep your favorites ready to go. My free time is limited and I do not want to waste any bit of it searching for something to read.


Idea #5: Warm drinks
This is a must for your winter reading space. Hot cocoa, hot coffee, hot tea, any warm drink will do. Especially if it's served in the perfect winter mug. I could drink hot coco any time of the year, not just in winter. But I love it even more when it's a bit chilly out. It warms my insides and soothes my soul and helps me relax even more.


Optional Idea #6: More scents and smells
Glade® PlugIns® air fresheners are another great way to bring the scents and smells of winter and the holiday's in any part of your home. The PlugIns® air fresheners last up to 30 days when on the low setting. That way you can enjoy the scents of the holiday's all month long in any room of your house.

With a house full of messy, and stinky boys, this is not an option but a necessity. It's a win-win situation for me. My house is filled with the scents of frosting and candy and I don't have to smell my pets’ slobber and drool or the boys, well boyness.


Be on the lookout for Glade® Holiday Limited Edition Fragrances on display at your local Kroger store now!

12/12/17

Winter Seafood Bisque

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

It's winter time, but living in Texas it's hard to tell. With the way the weather is here, it could change in an instant. We can go from having 20 degree days with ice and snow to 70 degree days with sunshine in the matter of 24 hours. No joking. Our state is confused! But, when those much antipated 20 degree days do hit, there is nothing better then a delicious, warm bowl of seafood bisque. Whether for a family dinner, a holiday party, or even just for lunch, Louis Kemp® Crab Delights® Flake Style helps me prepare a meal that everyone will love.


Wanting to change up our traditional go to recipes for our annual holiday family lunch and to add something different for the winter months on our daily menu, I decided upon a seafood bisque made with Louis Kemp® Crab Delights® Flake Style to create a soup that hits the mark. You'll love it and it's very simple to make. Louis Kemp® Crab Delights are made with premium Wild Alaskan Pollock fillets that make a perfect addition to your bisque. Plus, Alaskan Pollock is the most abundant certified sustainable fish species. Louis Kemp® Crab Delights are are gluten-free and a good source of protein.


Ingredients:

  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 1/2 cup minced shallots
  • 4 TBSP minced garlic
  • 6 cups of seafood stock
  • 1 & 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 package of Louis Kemp® Crab Delights® Flake Style
  • 1/4 cup cooking sherry
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, as needed for garnish
  • Fresh and flaky baguette loaf
How to make:


1. In a large pot, melt butter. Mix in garlic and shallots and saute until soft over medium heat; about 7 minutes.
2. Stir in flour and cook and stir regulary for 2 minutes.
3. Slowly pour in 1 cup of stock, whisking to break up lumps.
4. Pour in remaining stock. Whisk until completely mixed.
5. Turn heat up to medium high and bring to a boil.
6. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15min.
7. Add cream, mix, and return to a slow boil.
8. Add tomato paste and cayenne pepper and blend completely.
9. Reduce heat to low, stir in crab and cook about 5 more minutes.
10. Stir in sherry, salt, and pepper. Heat for another 2 minutes.
11. Ladle into mugs or bowls and serve with a side of flaky baguettes.


This bisque is perfect to cook up in a large pot to share with family and friends on cold winter nights. It makes a lot so you'll have plenty to share. Pack it up and take on the go for potlucks, luncheons, and get togethers or whatever this holiday season brings. 



I found the Louis Kemp® Crab Delights® Flake Style at my local Walmart in the refrigerated section near the meat department. Click HERE to grab your $1.00 off coupon to purchase your crab delights now!


12/11/17

Holiday Movie Night Dinner Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #GrabSomeCheer #CollectiveBias

The holidays are here and it's the most the wonderful time of the year. It's the perfect time for families to get together, friends to re-connect, and for us to give back and help those who need it most. But, with so much going on, it's hard to plan, let alone host, a party to actually get everyone together. I know for me, most of our immediate family lives close by, so no need to plan for out town guests and that's a plus. But, it means that with all our busy schedules, it's harder to find that extra time.

However, it is extremly important for me to find that time to do so. That is why I planned a movie night dinner party for my family using Coca-Cola™Gold Peak® Tea, and Pagoda frozen appetizers. It makes for a perfect weeknight, or even weekend, get together meal and movie night. 



Movie night is a big deal in our house and now that the holidays are here, we love gathering around the television after a busy day and watching our favorite holiday movies. Especially the classic ones like Rudolph and Frosty. They are the best and can always bring our family together. Since I know all our schedules are super busy between our sports practices, choir practices and then my nieces gymnastics and after-school activities, finding time is always difficult.

So, once I got everyone's schedule, I invited them over for a week-night dinner party to watch our favorite movies together and celebrate the holidays. With a delicious dinner with easy chicken fried rice and Pagoda frozen appetizers on the menu I headed straight to my local Safeway to get everything I needed for our fun holiday movie night dinner. 



Being that I invited everyone over on a weeknight, my time was very limited. I relied heavily on the fact that Pagoda frozen appetizers allowed me to provide delicous food without spending all day in the kitchen. Who has time for that anyway?!?! I want to spend time with my family, not in the kitchen. Along with the Pagoda frozen appetiziers, I made a simple chicken fried rice as the main dish. It was simple to put together and took no time at all to put together. 

To decorate, I wanted to keep it simple but fun. I wanted to make sure we focused on the time we had, not the time it took to decorate and set up. I used some fun and festive winter reindeer, that I am absolutely in love with. These make amazing decorations and could be used all winter long. I added a few scented pinecones, to add some wintery scents to the air. Lanterns and winter trees completed the decorations. It was simple to set up and everyone loved the decor. It was perfect! 


For each place setting, a dinner plate, appetizer plate, and a bowl, accompined a cloth napkin wrapped with berries, tea glass, and silverware. The rattan charger added a bit of that wintery, rustic feel to complete the look. It was simple to create. Just stack your plates at each setting to give it that "I worked all day to set this up." But, in reality, it took 5 minutes to get this look.



I live in Texas and tea is a must at any meal here. Gold Peak Tea is my favorite and of course I served this up to my most favorite guests for our special dinner. 




As soon as dinner was ready, we gathered around the table and got right to eating, family style. We talked about our day and what has been going. Just catching up with each other and enjoying the company. It was a perfect family dinner and I didn't miss a single bit of it. 

Homemade Easy Chicken Fried Rice


Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rice (do not use instant rice) I use long grain rice.
  • 1 pound of chicken breast. Cooked and shredded. Optional: marinate ahead of time.
  • 2 TBSP of minced garlic
  • 1 small while onion, diced
  • 1 small bag of frozen peas and carrots
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 TBSP of sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup of soy sauce
How to make:



1. Cook 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water according to package directions.
2. Heat sesame oil in large saute pan. Add onion, garlic, and peas and carrots and cook about 7 minutes.


3.  Crack eggs into mixture and scramble with veggies.
4. Add rice and chicken and combine.
5. Add soy sauce and stir until mixed.
6. Remove from heat and serve.

Pairs perfectly with Pagoda frozen appetizers. 


As soon as dinner was over, we moved into the living room to let our food settle. While we relaxed, the kids got busy decorating wooden holiday ornaments for our tree. This allowed the kids to stay busy while I clean up from dinner and get everything ready for our movie and dessert. 


I popped some popcorn and set out chocolate chip candy cookies with Coca-Cola for an after dinner treat. After the kids were done with their ornaments, I turned on the TV and settled down with everyone else. The classic movies are perfect because they are not too long and since my kids tend to have a short attention span, these give us the perfect amount of movie time before they get distracted. 






Plan for your holiday movie night dinner party with Pagoda frozen appetizer, Gold Peak Tea, Red Baron Pizza, and Coca-Cola products from your local Safeway. Plus, you can find everything you need to get you through the holiday season. 


Rather head to the theater for a movie night out instead of in??? Right now when you shop at your local Safeway/Albertsons store you can get $5 towards a movie ticket, with $10 purchase of participating products in one transaction. Shoppers will receive a code on the Catalina receipt and will be directed to the Fandango site to redeem the movie ticket reward. Hurry, offer ends 12/31/17. Click HERE for more information and details about this offer. 

11/13/17

Thanksgiving Lunch Perfect for Kids

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

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. I love being with my family and friends and enjoying a delicious meal, watching the parade on TV, and catching up with the lastest family conversation. But sometimes, after spending all day in the kitchen cooking all that amazing food, food that I know my family will love, my children decide that it is the perfect day to choose to not like a single item on our menu. 

Instead of fighting the inevitable battle, Jason's Deli comes to the rescue. With one picky eater and one that will eat anything, actually creating a dinner that they will both enjoy is sometimes difficult. But, with a whole house full to entertain and feed, the best solution for this is the new catering for entertaining packages from Jason's Deli.


The new catering for entertaining packages are perfect for Thanksgiving lunch or even dinner. They are free from dyes, artificial trans fats and flavors, processed MSG, and high-fructose corn syrup which make them perfect for serving kids. Plus, Jason's Deli serves Simply Orange that I can use to create a delicious orange juice smoothie that pairs perfectly with the Kid's Party Package

Orange Juice Smoothie



Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Simply Orange Juice
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 banana; cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Approx. 2 - 3 cups of ice.


Directions:

  1. In a blender, pour in all ingredients.
  2. Mix until smooth and ice is all crushed. 
  3. Serve in cups. Add a fun straw. 




To order, I went online to Jason's Deli and in just a few simple steps, lunch was all ordered and ready to go. Plus, Jason's Deli offers free delivery from 4-6 pm on weekdays and all day on weekends. Customers must use the code FDSC when ordering online.



Now that our meal is taken care of, I get to work creating a fun table to keep them busy before, during, and after lunch. We usually eat our Thanksgiving meal for lunch, that way we can go back for seconds and thirds and sometimes fourths all day long. Keeping my two boys entertained that long is a task, plus adding in their cousins and other young family members, I needed something to keep them entertained all day long. I created this lunch table perfect for all the kids with an area for games and crafts that can easily be cleared off for food and then back to crafts again.


The main focus of our table was the delicious ham and cheese and turkey and cheese sandwiches from Jason's Deli. Plus, the carrots, apple slices, organic apple juice, potato chips, ranch dip, and Simply Orange.








I set each place setting with plates, napkins, and orange juice smoothies. Those turkey plates were just ready to be filled up with turkey sandwiches and sides to be gobbled up.



A kids' table should be fun and functional and be filled with items that can be played with and not just for decoration. Because, telling a 3 year old to not touch the cute plush turkey is just a little hard to do. So, for my kids table, I used a fun turkey and his friends mixed with containers of school supplies and mini plaid pumpkins.


For activities to keep them busy, I set out crayons, colored pencils, and markers along with fun Thanksgiving themed activity sheets. From tic-tac-toe, to coloring a turkey, and even make your own dinner sheet, these will keep them busy for a while. When they get bored with these, kids can play Thanksgiving Bingo and even a create your own turkey craft.



Jason's Deli's new catering for entertaining packages are perfect for your next party or gathering, not just for the office. With 4 new packages all served with the same hospitality and reliability that is expected of the Jason's Deli brand. Plus, Jason's Deli offers free delivery from 4-6 pm on weekdays and all day on weekends. Customers must use the code FDSC when ordering online.
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