Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Top 10 2015 Housewife Eclectic Posts


I can't believe 2015 is drawing to a close. It was a year full of up and downs for our little family but one of those major ups was Housewife Eclectic. We had have so many wonderful experiences as a family because of this little space on the internet and I hope we can continue bringing fun new recipes, crafts and book reviews for a long time to come. These 10 posts were the most popular ones in 2015 and I agree! They are some of my favorites! 

10. Star War Cereal Treats

9. Honey Sesame Chicken

8. How to Make Amazing Wings from Frozen Wings

7. Copycat Chili's Skillet Queso 

6. Bacon Guacamole Grilled Cheese

5. Vegetable Lo Mein 

4. No Churn Cake Batter Ice Cream

3. Emergency Car Kit with Printables

2. DIY Minion Shirts

1. Three Cheese Baked Ziti

I can't wait to get started on posts for 2016! Happy New Year!
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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Monster Jam Giveaway!


This year I am taking my girls to Monster Jam for the first time and they are so excited they can hardly stand it!  We are offering a giveaway for 4 tickets to one of our readers.  Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see the giveaway. Plus there is a discount code too!
Monster Jam roars into the 2016 season with a points-based series, showcasing the best lineup of Monster Jam vehicles that deliver what fans want to see most… more trucks, more racing, more freestyle, more donuts, more wheelies, more action!

MORE MONSTER JAM will be making its 2016 debut at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake on January 22 & 23 with #MoreMonsterJam Action Than Ever Seen Before!
What is Monster Jam
The widely popular Monster Jam tour is heading back to the Vivint Smart Home Arena (formerly EnergySolutions Arena) in Salt Lake City for three events on Friday January 22 & Saturday January 23, 2016 for an explosive new competitive points-paying endurance showdown, featuring more of what the Monster Jam fans have been asking to see #MoreMonsterJam!
Unlike any other Monster Jam show seen before, this exclusive showcase of endurance, versatility and extreme driving skills will feature the best Monster Jam truck line-up ever highlighted by more racing, more freestyle, more donuts, more wheelies and more action… #MoreMonsterJam! Fans will also be treated to all-new competition vehicles such as thrilling Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs as they rip through the arenas during aggressive head-to-head racing action.Monster Jam truck
Headlining the tour will be eight of Monster Jam’s fiercest athletes, which will represent each Monster Jam race team featuring Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters, and Monster Jam ATV’s – with each Monster Jam athlete competing against one another in seven different endurance competitions driving these three different motorsports vehicles to earn valuable points during each new event discipline and pushing their machines to the ultimate limit!
Monster Jam Teams
Grave Digger®: Morgan Kane
Max-D®: Colton Eichelberger
Scooby-DooSM: Bailey Shea
El Toro Loco®: Kayla Blood
Monster Energy: Coty Saucier
ZombieSM: Tyler Groth
New Earth AuthoritySM: Travis Groth
Blue Thunder®: Tyler Menninga
As always, Monster Jam provides unparalleled fan access with the “Party in the Pits” pre-show experience in Salt Lake for die-hard fans to come to the arena early on Saturday to view their favorite trucks up-close, meet the star athletes for autographs and take photos! Pit Pass required for entry; purchase price $10
WHEN:
Friday, January 22nd – Event Time – 7:30 PM
Saturday, January 23rd – Pit Party scheduled from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
** Saturday 2PM event ticket and Pit Pass required for entry
Event Times – 2:00 PM & 7:30 PM

WHERE: Vivint Smart Home Arena – 301 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
TICKETS: Ticket prices are $25, $30 (Gold Circle) & $45 (Front Row)
Kids (ages 2-12) tickets only $10 each for select seating
Pit Passes available for $10 each for all ages
Tickets are now on sale and available to purchase online at www.smithstix.com, charge by phone at 800-888-TIXX or visit the arena box office.
**Above ticket prices are advance purchase only; all tickets are $2 more day of show; Tickets subject to convenience, service and handling fees.

Discount!

Use the code BLOG to get $5 off per ticket.  This code works on the $20 and $25 tickets ONLY!  Limit 8 per order.  Valid online online.

Giveaway!

I have 4 tickets to giveaway to one lucky Housewife Eclectic reader!  To enter use the Rafflecopter below. 
Good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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My Favorite Books of 2015


2015 was a little all over the place when it came to reading for me. I read fiction, non-fiction, murder mysteries, romances in both Young Adult and Adult genres. I had a lot of fun exploring new authors and even found two authors I liked so much that I read literally everything they wrote in 2015. Here are my top picks from the year! 

Maeve Kerrigan Series
2015 was the year I fell in love with Jane Casey's novels. I read all of her books this year, from her first novel to the Maeve Kerrigan series and even her young adult series. The Maeve Kerrigan books are hands down my favorite mystery novels I have read in a long time. Kerrigan is a likeable character who is good at her job. She stands as a tough but feminine female in a man's world and she does it well. She isn't superwoman, she is intensely flawed in her personal life that leads to some frustration from the reader, but it is part of what keeps you reading. Each book could stand on its own as a separate novel, but the are parts of her personal story that flow from book to book. The author is good at explaining any previous information so that you could easily read one book without having read any of the previous.

The other characters are likeable even with they are making mistakes. DI Josh Derwent is obnoxiously sexist, but is hilarious and always on his toes. Part of me loves his personality in this series because it makes him the perfect police partner without feeling like he is a potential romantic partner. He is fiercely loyal to Kerrigan and they make a great crime solving team. Kerrigan seems to get used to him and learn to play off him as the series go, so they become a funnier and funnier partnership.

These are murder mysteries for sure, there is talk of blood and crime scenes and the very messed up serial killers they end up catching. I wouldn't recommend them to anybody who isn't up for that. I usually classify it as Law and Order SVU in a book, but set in England. There is also quite a bit of hard language in them, enough that I wouldn't recommend them to my extremely conservative mother, but they are still easily one of my favorite series of all time. They are page turning, captivating books with a few laughs and a few heartbreaks and a lot of police work.
The Rose Garden
I read The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley and loved it but for some reason it took me a couple years to pick up another book by her. I read three of four of her books this year and I really liked all of them but I absolutely adored The Rose Garden. Time travel between now and the past, a Jacobite rebellion, romantic entanglements and a twist at the end. It is a delightful book and a fun read. 


Pivot Point
When you are faced with a life changing decision, wouldn't it be nice to see what the results of your decision would be before you made the choice? Addison is able to see each potential future when she is faced with choosing which parent she wants to live with after her parents divorce. Will knowing the future help her or just make it harder? 

This book and its sequel, Split Second, were both delightfully good. All sorts of twists and turns with just the perfect touch of paranormal. If you love Young Adult Paranormal books you need to check this one out! This is also the book that spurred me to read the rest of Kasie West's books this year. A lot of romance, but a lot of fun! 

Fairest

The Lunar chronicles not only puts a modern day on some of your favorite fairy tales, but it combines them into one story. Cinder is the story of a cyborg Cinderella who falls in love with a prince. Scarlet is the story of Red Riding Hood as a pilot. Cress stars as Rapunzel, a programmer trapped in an orbiting satellite. Winter is the story of the Evil Queen's stepdaughter slowly being driven crazy by refusing to control people with her Lunar gift. 

If you have read CinderScarlet, Cress and Winter from the Lunar Chronicles, but haven't picked up Fairest yet, DO IT! This fantastic prequel is Levana's story and it really helps you understand her and the background of The Lunar Chronicles. It had me feeling bad for Levana in the beginning and then she truly started to show her colors in the end, turning into the Levana we all hate. It was fascinating to watch it happen. I think I even place Fairest above Winter in my favorites this year! 



The Jewel
If you love Dystopian literature, check out The Jewel. For those living in The Jewel life is full of money and parties but for some reason all of the women are barren. Women like Violet from The Marsh live in poverty and are trained to do one thing, be surrogates for the women in The Jewel. Violet doesn't want to be a surrogate but choosing to refuse is choosing death. Which choice will she make? This book freaked me out, in the way you want a book to freak you out.  You are so involved in the story you are starting to imagine it happening to you and then you freak out way. I really liked this one!

What was your favorite read in 2015? 
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Monday, December 28, 2015

Open-Faced Crockpot Pesto Chicken Sandwiches



Crockpot meals are the best, and the best crockpot meals are extra simple. Such is the case with these Open-Faced Crockpot Pesto Chicken Sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS
2-3 chicken breasts
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic salt
salt and pepper
1/4 cup pesto
English muffins
shredded mozzarella cheese
sliced tomatoes

PREPARATION

  1. Prepare chicken by placing the breasts in a crockpot with oregano, onion powder, garlic salt, and salt and pepper. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  2. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the crockpot and shred. 
  3. In a medium bowl, combine chicken with pesto.
  4. Prepare the sandwiches by cutting open English muffins. Place the chicken/pesto mixture on the English muffin, and top with sliced tomato and shredded mozzarella cheese.
  5. Place all sandwiches on a cookie sheet and broil for about 3 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.

This is about as easy as it comes. The sandwiches are filling and enjoyable year round. They also go great if you have a favorite side dish or salad.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Doctor Who Christmas Jar

Have you seen as many Christmas villages in a jar as I have this year? I think they are absolutely darling and I wanted to make a fun one with my daughter this year. It started out as a normal craft project, but like it normally does, the geek was too strong and took over. I present the Doctor Who Christmas Jar.
You will need:


 My 7-year-old had a blast making this with me. Dump in the snow, add the house and trees. Pull the pen part out of the pen and then unscrew the tube from the Tardis. Add the Tardis to your snow and it looks like The Doctor has just popped in for Christmas dinner. There are lots of other little Tardis options you could use, but this one is just the perfect size! Once the holiday is over, put your pen back together!
Have a Whovian Christmas!
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Four Holiday Garlands

The holidays are coming quickly upon us. If you haven't started decorating for your Christmas party, don't worry, these four holiday garlands are gorgeous and so easy to make!

 
 Which of these is going to be the star of your holiday party?

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

10 Ways to Remember Baby's First Christmas


There is something magical about baby's first Christmas. I have had a newborn and a 8-month-old at Christmas time and both times they have been a holiday to remember. With my first, she was so brand new at Christmas time and we had such a struggle with her eating at first that my mind was all consumed with her at Christmas time and I didn't do very much to commemorate her first Christmas. I did have her picture taken with Santa and a few pictures of her in a Santa hat but that was about it. 

When my next little one was born in April, by the time Christmas came around we were well established in all of our routines so I started looking for fun an cute ways to remember her first Christmas and a few ways to remember her sister's first Christmas even though it was years later. 
 These ornaments are some of my absolute favorite. They show so much of my girls, my seven-year-old made the comment that one days she was going to take her ornaments and I don't think I am EVER going to be ready for that. I love them so much.
 1. Baby Hat Ornament. You have probably seen this idea floating around Pinterest and for good reason. It is a darling idea! The best part of this idea is that if you have kept these little items from your baby, you can make this ornament even years later. All you need is a extra large ornament, your baby's hospital hat, a hospital ID bracelet and some other small piece of paraphernalia, in this case a bracelet.
 Roll the hat up into a little tube and insert it into the ornament. Shake the ornament up once the hat is in there to get it to open up a little more, Add the ID badge, I found the best way to do this was to put it in long ways and slightly bend the edges until it was all inside. Add an ornament hanger and you have a true memento.
 2. Ultrasound Ornament. What if you have lost your baby's hat or if like me, you didn't get one? My second baby was born at a warm time of year and I never got a hat for her. I came up with the idea of using one of her ultrasound pictures instead. I trimmed around the ultrasound until it could be mostly open in the ornament and then I rolled it loosely and fit it inside.  I then added a hospital badge and the pair of socks the nursing staff gave me at the hospital after she was born, but if you don't have those things, just an ultrasound image would be darling too!
 3. Handprint and footprint ornament. These ornaments are really easy to make and hold such a dear place in my heart. I have found it is easiest to use the extra large ornaments for these ones too. For a little tiny baby, it is easiest to do while they are eating or asleep, for my older baby, I stuck her in the high chair with a treat and did her footprint while she was munching away. These ornaments are fun because you can do them with older children too. The hand print below is actually my 7-year-old's. I have something similar of her when she was a baby, but I never got around to turning it into an ornament.
 When you are making an ornament for a little baby, if you use the jumbo ornaments there is plenty of room to do a hand print on one side and a footprint on the other. Use a foam brush to brush paint onto their hand or foot and then hold it firmly and roll it onto the ornament. Allow to dry completely and add an ornament hanger!
 4. First Pair of Shoes. One of my family's traditions is to turn baby's first pair of shoes into an ornament and hang them on the tree. If their pair is a soft shoe, using a large needle to poke a hole in the shoes, thread with ribbon and hang on the tree. If the first pair of shoes you are using are a hard sole lace shoe, simply tie the laces together and hang them on the tree. My first daughter was born in winter so her first shoes are teeny tiny. Since my other daughter was born in summer, hers are a lot bigger since apparently I don't believe in putting shoes on them when it is hot outside. ;)

 5. Mistletoes. Brush your little one's toes with green paint and then press them onto a small canvas. Finish off the footprints with tiny red bows and the words Mistletoes.
 6. Reindeer. Brush your baby's foot with brown paint and press it onto a canvas. Allow to dry and then add a dab or red paint for a nose and use a brown marker to add antlers and eyes. I love this version because it is so easy to add older siblings.
 7. Santa. I actually did this one with my older daughter because she was feeling left out of the Christmas painting fun. Brush their hand with red paint and press onto a canvas. After the red dries, paint over the fingers with white paint and outline the beard with a marker. You can add eyes and a nose too.
 8. Christmas Tree Hands. Brush your little one's hands in green paint and press onto a canvas. After the green dries completely add little ornaments with red dots of paint and a star with yellow paint. After the red and yellow paint dry use a black marker to draw between the ornaments to make it look like a garland. This is also a really easy one to include older siblings in. I love having a big tree and a little tree. If you used a bigger canvas you could have lots of trees.
I love all of the little hand print canvases and they take hardly any work. Just remember to occupy your baby or do it while they are sleeping so they aren't so wiggly! 
 9. Ornament photos. Lay a baby in a basket full of PLASTIC ornaments. You can do this with a sleeping newborn or a older child who is playing with them. It makes for such a darling and sweet photograph.
 10. Christmas Lights and Santa Hats. These are some of my absolute favorite pictures to take. Take a strand of clear Christmas lights and plug them in, add a Santa hat and you have the makings of a seriously cute picture. I like to turn the lights on first and then put the Santa Hat on so the baby is distracted and leaves the hat on. It is best to have a plain and simple background. If You don't have backdrops, think of doing it on your made bed or against a plain wall in your house. You want the focus to be on your little one!

I love creating these special Christmas memories with my little ones because I know one Christmas they aren't going to be so little anymore.



Which one will you make with your baby this year?
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