Saturday, August 30, 2014

Ringing Brothers and Barnum & Bailey coming back to Salt Lake City

I was given tickets to Ringling Brothers in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. 
I am so excited for the Circus to come to town this year! Last year was my first ever experience at the Circus and we had so much fun. I think the acrobats and the human cannonball were my absolute favorite parts. My daughter loved the silly clowns and the elephants. She can't way to get to see them this year. This time around Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be performing their show Legends. Legends features some fantastic things new this year. You can read more about it below:

Friday, August 29, 2014

10 Amazing Recipes Using Biscoff

There are few things I love more than Biscoff spread. It's like peanut butter, but made with cookies. How does the world get any better than that? Here are some of my favorite recipes made with this amazing spread. I think I need to make them all this weekend! 
  Biscoff Hot Chocolate by Miss in the Kitchen.
 Crepes and Homemade Biscoff Syrup.
 Biscoff Banana Bread by Crazy for Crust.
 Biscoff Cupcakes with Biscoff Buttercream by Baked Bree.
 Biscoff Filled Donut Holes by Kirbie's Cravings.
 Biscoff Milkshakes by The Little Kitchen.
 Baked Biscoff Donuts by Inside BruCrew Life
 Chocolate Biscoff Cupcakes with Biscoff Cream Cheese Frosting by Cupcakes Garden.
 Chocolate Biscoff Whoopie Pies by Gimme Some Oven.
Biscoff Raspberry Crepe Cake by Whipperberry.

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

How to Assemble an Egg Roll

Since we have started our egg roll obsession in our house, one of the questions I get asked the most is how we assemble the egg rolls. Use the infographic below to help in assembling any of our egg rolls including the Eggtastic Egg Rolls, Chicken and Kale Egg Rolls, BBQ Taquito Egg Rolls or yesterday's Steak and Mushroom Egg Rolls
Now get cookin'.
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Steak and Mushroom Egg Rolls

My husband's egg roll obsession continues. This version, a steak and mushroom egg roll, is incredibly tasty. It's a hardier version of a traditional egg roll and is super easy and quick to make.

I'm pretty sure the inspiration for this recipe came from the fact my husband got a new grill and looks for any excuse to use it.

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. thin cut steak
10 mushrooms, sliced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 bunch cilantro
1 package egg roll wrappers

DIRECTIONS

Preparing the steak: it's important to choose a steak cut that is thin. This will allow for faster grilling and easier chewing in the egg roll. If you can't find a thin-cut steak, you can always filet the steak. Season the steak with garlic salt, black pepper, onion powder and a little cayenne pepper. Grill the steak until cooked through (yes, a real steak shouldn't be dead, but for these egg rolls it makes sense for the steak to be medium-well). Remove from the grill and allow to set for two minutes. Then, thinly slice the steak into ribbons about 1/4" wide and 1" long.

Meanwhile, saute the diced jalapeno in olive oil. Toward the end of the sauteing, toss in the mushrooms and saute them as well (you may need to add a little extra oil). Remove from heat and set aside.

Finely chop a bunch of cilantro.

Assemble the egg rolls by placing some steak, mushrooms, jalapenos and cilantro in the middle of an egg roll wrapper. Be careful not to put too much filling in. Fold the bottom point up and tuck under the filling. Next, fold in each side, dabbing the tips with a little water to help it seal. Roll the egg roll the rest of the way up and seal the tip with water.

Cook the egg rolls in hot oil on the stove top until the wrapper turns a golden brown. Allow to set for a couple minutes. Serve with sweet chili sauce.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Letter to My Kindergartner and Our Favorite After School Snacks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias
I have always thought it was a little silly when parents cry when they drop of their brand new kindergartners. It is only a few hours, why all the tears? Last week, as I was getting her backpack, clothes and after school snacks ready for school to start, the realization that my little girl was going to kindergarten hit me full force. I stood in the doorway of her room, watching her sleep while I sobbed. Times seem so different now then they were when I was a kindergartner. What if I things are so different I don't know how to help her?

That night I went looking for the picture of me on my first day of kindergarten and I laughed at what I saw. We are both wearing shirts from the latest Disney movie in our pictures, mine is just Beauty and the Beast instead of Frozen. I may not have grown up with smart phones, tablets and movies on the go, but I did grow up going to school. In realizing that things are more similar than I thought they were, I started a list of things I want her to know before she starts kindergarten.

  1. There will always be mean kids. They were there when I was in school and I am sure you will figure out who they are soon enough. Don't let them make you feel bad about yourself and never, ever let them tell you who you are.
  2. Don't be a mean kid. Sometimes moments will come when you might be tempted to say something mean to get a laugh from other kids. Don't do it. It hurts whoever you are mean to and 25 years later you will still wish you hadn't done it. I speak from experience.
  3. Your teacher can't pick you every single time you raise your hand. It doesn't mean you shouldn't keep raising your hand. Don't ever lose your enthusiasm for learning.
  4.  Be friends with everyone. At the raspberry patch last week, it brought tears to my eyes when the other moms told me how wonderful and inclusive you are. They praised your ability to be friends with all of the kids, no matter their age or gender. Being able to befriend everyone is a great gift. Also look for people who need a friend.
  5. Being kind will always be more important than being cool.
  6. Dream big. That person who tells you that it isn't realistic to want to be a professional artist? Don't listen. You know never know what you can do until you try.
  7. The only time you fail is when you don't try. You don't have to be the best at anything. You don't need to be picked first for kickball. Just try everything.
  8. Have fun. Some of my favorite memories come from when I was in school, just like you are now. Enjoy it. Don't wish school away because then you have to be a grown-up and I promise recess is much more fun.

Another thing that hasn't changed since I was a Kindergartner? After school snacks. There is something about a few hours of learning away from home that makes you ravenous for something delicious to eat. One of our favorite after school snacks is Bagel Bites. Every time we pass them in Walmart she begs to buy "Baby Pizzas."
My daughter's favorite part about them? She can make them almost completely by herself. I usually stand in the kitchen for support and let her make her own snack. She loves being a big kid. Just like I did.
My daughter isn't much of a meat eater and so I love that they are made with 100% real cheese and homemade sauce, to help her get some of that protein she misses out on. 
While she loves Bagel Bites, my favorite snack to enjoy while she eats her baby pizzas is Delimex Taquitos. They are an easy to make snack and give us the opportunity to sit down at the table together after school and talk about the day. My favorite way to enjoy them is with a little bit of Fresh Pico De Gallo. My recipe for Pico is easy to whip up and keep in the fridge for when you have a taquito craving. 

You will need: 
  • 3 tomatoes, seeded and diced. (This means you remove the gooey stuff in the middle)
  • 1/4 an onion, diced small
  • small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 a jalapeño seeded and chopped, seeding a jalapeño takes out most of the heat while leaving the flavor
  • a squirt of lime juice
Mix all together and enjoy with your favorite kind of Delimex taquito or taco. 


Right now you can find coupons for both Bagel Bites and Delimex on Walmart's site, so you are ready for all of those #afterschoolsnacks, because if one thing hasn't changed it is that kids are starving after school!
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Monday, August 25, 2014

Lazy Susan Homework Station

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Office Depot, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #inspirestudents http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
School is back in session this week and with it comes the mess of projects, homework and markers and scissors everywhere. When I was in school, I was always good about keeping track of my new school supplies for the first couple of weeks and then that went out the window and I was always scrambling for supplies when I had a project.  In order to prevent the chaos from descending on us a couple of weeks into school, I whipped up this fun, easy to make but functional homework station to keep all of the supplies in the same place.

You will need:

  • Leftover Cans (make sure to use ones without sharp edges)
  • Washi Tape
  • Lazy Susan (I believe this is a 7 inch one) 
  • Mr. Sketch Markers, PaperMate pens and pencils, Expo Window Markers all found at Office Depot

First make sure your cans are thoroughly cleaned out and free from sharp edges. Start under the top lip of the can and wrap your washi tape all the way around once. Rip the tape off and start again in the same place, just underneath so the seam is in the same place.
Repeat this over and over until the entire can is covered in washi tape. It is easier to use a tape without a geometric pattern, as there is no matching up to do but I think the ones with the geometric patterns are worth the little bit of extra work.
Cover as many cans as you want on your organizer. For me, I needed four different cans, but a fifth one could have easily fit as well. If you want to buy a larger lazy Susan, you could have even more.
Add your school supplies to your organizer. I liked to put markers in one tin, pencils and pens in another, my window markers in one and scissors and glue in the last one.

It has become tradition in our house to buy a package of Mr. Sketch Scented Markers every year for my daughter. We searched every where for them this year and finally found them at Office Depot. They were my absolute favorite part of going back to school when I was a kid and I love that I can pass down that tradition to her. Who doesn't love scented markers?
Our organizer is on our desk, where my daughter can easily get to everything she needs for homework, or just to create her next masterpiece. 
You may have noticed that my homework station includes Expo Window Markers. They are my secret weapon in getting my daughter to do her homework. How? They take homework and learning from a battle to fun. We use them to practice math problems, sight words and writing, all without any complaining, because I am being the cool mom who lets her write on the window.
We first started using Window Markers as a learning tool last year and I have never looked back. Anything that makes her excited to learn is a must in my book. She has to go to school, I might as well help her enjoy it!
Currently at Office Max and Office Depot, you can save $5 off your $20 purchase of select Newell Rubbermaid Brands including Sharpie, Mr. Sketch, PaperMate and Expo Neon Window Markers, while supplies last. To make the deal even sweeter, the weekly deal this week has 12 count Sharpie Fine and Ultra Fine Markers for $6 and select PaperMate Flair's 4 PK's for $4 and use your Office Depot Rewards.
I don't know if she will be as excited for school two months from now, as she is right now, but at least we will be organized and if all else fails, I have window markers in my arsenal.
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Friday, August 22, 2014

9 Doctor Who and Union Jack Projects

In honor of Series 8 starting tomorrow, I thought we would celebrate by looking at some fantastic Doctor Who and Union Jack projects. These are some of my favorite posts on Housewife Eclectic and I absolutely can't WAIT for some of the awesome Doctor Who projects I have coming up for you over the course of Series 8!
 Crocheted Tweed Scarf, Fez and Bowtie.
 Doctor Who Cyberman Onesie.
 Customizable Doctor Who Pinboards.
 Doctor Who Lego Figure Necklace
"The Silence" shirt.
 Doctor Who Tardis Bag Tutorial by Rae Gun Ramblings for Housewife Eclectic
 Paint a Tardis Umbrella 
 Union Jack Rag Quilt.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What Bottle Feeding My First Taught Me About Breastfeeding My Second

I was given samples of Dr. Brown's products prior to writing this post. All opinions and experience are 100% my own.


My first breastfeeding experience was nothing short of a disaster. I nursed a screaming baby every 45 minutes for the first four weeks of her life. I was exhausted, in constant pain from sore nipples, but proud. I was doing it, even though it was hard. I felt felt exhilarated by my accomplishment right up until the moment that my daughter's pediatrician told me when she was four weeks old that I was starving her to death. I remember feeling like I had been punched in the stomach. I had no idea it wasn't working. I had no idea she wasn't getting enough. She was screaming all the time because she was hungry. I remember watching the nurse bring in cans of special formula for our very sick baby and stacking them on the exam table. It felt like a monument to my failure.

Fast forward to my second pregnancy five years later. People would ask if I was scared to go through labor again and I would laugh and say no, because I wasn't. Breastfeeding was what made me break out in a cold sweat. I analyzed my first experience over and over again looking for signs I missed that she was struggling and I read everything I could find on nursing. Now four months in, I can honestly say my little one and I have an incredible breastfeeding relationship. I look forward to the time I spend with just her every day and there is a part of me that is grateful for my first experience because it taught me how to succeed the second time around. I just want to take a second and say that one of my girls was formula fed and one is breastfed and  both my daughters are wonderful, sweet, happy girls. I am not condemning one way or another, I am just sharing my experience. Here is what I learned from my first experience that helped me this time.

1. Make breastfeeding part of your birth plan. I explained to my nurses when I was in labor that my number one goal besides a healthy baby was to establish a breastfeeding relationship as fast as possible. They were so supportive of me and I had my newborn in my arms seconds after she was born. We focused a lot on skin to skin contact and nursing before they had even wheeled me into the recovery room.

2. It hurts, but it gets better. Every thing I read told me that if the baby was latched right then nursing shouldn't be painful. So why did it feel like I was being seared with a branding iron every time she latched on? One nurse said it best when I asked, "You haven't had anything constantly tugging on your nipples before. Of course it is going to hurt, but it will get better." It hurt for awhile, but eventually the pain went completely away, until then I used a lanolin free cream and hard sided breast shields to keep my clothes from rubbing against me.

3. Use cream before you are sore. I picked up cream with my first and started using it once things were sore. With my second I started using it right away to prevent soreness. It was way easier to prevent it then it was to treat it. With my first I used a lanolin based cream but I hated that it stained my clothes and sometimes left greasy spots on other clothes in that same load of laundry. Dr. Brown's formula is non greasy and there is no need to wash it off before feeding.


4. Nurses are not lactation consultants. Most nurses have taken classes and can give you basic help, but what you really need is a lactation consultant. Ask to see one while you are still in the hospital and don't be afraid to go back to one later if you need to. I attribute the great breastfeeding relationship I have with my baby to a wonderful lactation consultant. Lactation consultants are also like doctors, sometimes you need to shop around and find one that fits your personality. The first one I ever saw was bound and determined to get me to use a nursing hold I wasn't comfortable with which just made me more frustrated in the end. I found another one that was more willing to work around what I was comfortable with and it has been wonderful.

5. It is OK to be cautious. With all of the weight issues with my first, I started bringing my second baby in for weight checks on my own when she was about three weeks old. We were able to catch a problem she was having eating while it was still a small problem before it became a huge issue. Most doctor's office or lactation clinics will let you weigh your baby for free. Call around if yours won't.

6. Pumping is not an good indication of how much milk you make. Watch your baby's diaper output very carefully in the first few weeks. If they are gaining weight and having a normal amount of diapers, you are doing fine. If you are still worried about it, most lactation clinics have an appointment where you come in, weigh your baby, feed the baby and then weight them again to see exactly how much they are taking in. I am so grateful for my pump, because it has allowed me to build up a wonderful freezer supply, but it is not what I use to measure how much my baby is getting.

7. Get the right kind of nursing pillow. I tried out several kinds of nursing pillows before I found one I loved. The Dr. Brown's pillow is fuller than others I have tried, so I don't end up shoving extra pillows underneath it or with a sore back.

8. Reusable nursing pads are way softer and more comfortable than disposable ones. While I love disposable nursing pads for some things, nothing beats the soft feeling of the reusable Dr. Brown's pads. I absolutely love them and recommend them to be people as my absolutely number 1 nursing must have. They are soft even against sore nipples.


9. Dressing in nursing friendly clothes doesn't have to be hard. With my first baby, I always used a cover and couldn't for the life of me figure out why you would nurse with out one. Then I had my second, right before summer. The poor little thing hated the hot nursing cover and would scream and refuse to eat anytime I had it on and I can't say I blamed her. For my own comfort in nursing without a cover I began wearing a long tank and a shirt. I would pull the shirt up and the tank down so I could nurse pretty much anywhere with nobody even looking twice. H&M makes absolutely hands down my favorite tanks for nursing and they are usually 2 for $10!

10. Relax. You are doing great. As women we compare ourselves to others way to much. When I formula fed I was convinced everyone was judging me and I would tell any stranger who watched me bottle fed my baby the entire story of why I was bottle feeding her. After my second baby refused to nurse with a cover, I would tell anyone who would listen the saga of why I couldn't cover. In the end I realized it really didn't matter what anybody else thought. I was feeding my baby and that was all that mattered.

Breastfeeding has been both the hardest thing I have ever done and one of the best. It didn't work out for my first, no matter how much I wanted it to, but I am thrilled that this time around it is working. When it comes down to it. We are all good moms just trying to do the best we can.

I was lucky enough to be able to try some of the nursing products by Dr. Brown's. I have found some of my absolute go to products in their line. I will never use another kind of nursing pad, their breast milk storage bags are so easy to use and I LOVE my Gia nursing pillow.
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