Thursday, January 31, 2013

Simple Suppers - Zesty Chili Bake

By Patricia

Do you ever feel like there are some nights when you just want to get dinner on the table with as little effort as possible? Of course you do, but you also want it to taste good and be filling.

I always think that this is where an easy to put-together casserole comes in. This casserole is embarrassingly easy to make, and you might just have everything you need to fix it right in your pantry.
The kids and grown-ups alike will enjoy this. If you make some corn bread with it, you'll have a complete and yummy winter supper.


3 cups uncooked pasta (tubes or spiral)
1 can (15oz.) chili with beans
1 jar (12oz.) chunky salsa
1 can (15oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (15oz.) diced tomatoes
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cook pasta according to package direction, drain. In a large bowl, combine chili, salsa, corn and tomatoes, mix together. Add pasta, and toss to coat.
Transfer to a greased 2 -qt. casserole dish and sprinkle with cheese. Bake uncovered at 400 degrees
for 25-30 minutes.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sweet Treat Valentine Giveaway from Holiday Gifts and Baskets

A gift Basket is the perfect way to send someone a thoughtful gift this Valentine's Day. If they like sweet treats, fresh fruits and even beauty products Holiday Gifts and Baskets has it all. From Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day and into Easter they have many options for sending a gift to family and friends. They are hosting a Sweet Treat Valentine Giveaway for your chance to win one of our beautiful Valentine's Day Gift Baskets valued at up to $60.  The lucky winner can choose their favorite from the four gorgeous basket designs shown below.

Option #1 - Deluxe Fruit & Sweets Valentine Gift

If your sweetie generally likes to eat healthy, then this gift box overflowing with both fruit, nuts and sweet treats is the perfect Valentine's Day gift for him or her.  In fact, it is sized perfectly for two so you can both enjoy the goodness packed inside.  We've filled this gift with all kinds of delectable goodies including 3 Pears (Comice, Red and Bosc varieties),  3 Apples (Fuji and Granny Smith varieties), a couple Heart Sugar Cookies,Chocolate-Covered Cherries, Assorted Valentine Themed Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares, Jelly Belly Deluxe Valentine Mix Candies and Cinnamon Almonds.

Option #2 - Monkey Business Kids Valentine Basket

If you win (or send) this basket to the little monkeys in your life, they'll be swinging from sofa to sofa with excitement.  It is overflowing with a wide array of goodies and fun activities for the little ones in your life.  We've included all kinds of sweet treats including heart-shaped lollipops, a classic kit kat bar, a marshmallow heart that is covered in delicious chocolate, a heart-shaped box of chocolates, traditional Cracker Jack caramel popcorn, red Twizzler licorice candy, Fun Dips candies and Famous Amos chocolate chip bite-sized cookies.  And after they've had their fill of goodies, it is time for the fun to begin!  We've included a puzzle and activity book, two plush monkeys, a small Valentine themed puzzle, a little heart-shaped gift box that is filled with toys, and either silly string or fun dough.  Gift measures 15" x 11".

Option #3 - Sweet Treat Valentine Gift Basket

This gift basket for grown-ups is overflowing with all kinds of sweet treats for any of the loved ones in your life.  It makes a great gift for your sweetie, son or daughter that is away at college, or maybe yourself if you win our contest.  An oval natural willow basket is overflowing with Buttery Shortbread Cookies, Double Chocolate Truffles, Caramel Corn, Ghirardelli Chocolate Bar, Chocolate Fudge Coffee, Cream Filled Wafer Roll Cookies, Cherry Cream Chocolate and Caramel Filled Chocolates.

Option #4 - Fields of Lavender Spa Basket

What woman wouldn't love to receive essentially a day at the spa packed in a basket.  The soothing aroma of lavender takes center stage in this ever popular gift basket. Lavender is known for its calming effects which is why it lends itself so well to our spa-themed gift. We've taken a white reed basket and filled it with all things lavender including shower gel, body bar, and soothing body lotion.  We've also included some single serve Tazo tea packets and Lacy's toffee cookies and finished the entire package off with a lovely purple bow. You can't go wrong with the gift of relaxation this Valentine's Day!

The contest rules:
Enter using any of the Rafflecopter choices available for entry on the widget below. Any of the options are acceptable, and entries per person are limited to the number indicated in the contest form. Entries will be reviewed and duplicate or uncompleted entries will be removed.
Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.  If you have problems using Rafflecopter, be sure you are running the latest version of your web browser and have JavaScript updated.
NOTE - You must complete the specified entry task in order to be eligible to win the contest.  If you hit the green entry button without completing the task, your entry will be thrown out (disqualified from winning the prize).
Contest is open to all residents of the 48 Contiguous States and only to those 18 or older!
Winners will be chosen randomly.  The winner will receive their choice of a Valentine's Day gift basket valued at up to $60 from the 4 options shown above.
If you are chosen, you will be notified via the e-mail. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen.
The full list of rules can be found here .
Sweepstakes ends at midnight EST on February 7, 2013. The sweepstakes winners will be announced by February 14, 2013.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 28, 2013

My Top 5 Most Popular DIY Pins On Pinterest

How to Make Lavender Oil at Home
How to make Lavender Oil at home.

By Patricia

We all know how fun and fabulous Pinterest is, right? So I just thought I would share the most popular pins from my DIY board.
I wish I could say I had done all of these projects, but really, is there enough lifetimes to do all the great stuff we pin? I don't think so!
But it is fun to pin, and plan and maybe get a few done. And then I think if I weren't busy pinning what I want to do, I would have time to do what I am pinning!!
Oh well...
Cut the legs off an old dresser, add a cushion....
Cut the legs off an old dresser and add a cushion

Chalkboard made with a fancy frame

DIY PAINTED CHEST Humble Art Studio.
DIY painted chest of drawers for a child's room.

toys glued to wood blocks and spray painted for book ends...
Toys glued to wood blocks and spray painted for bookends

Friday, January 25, 2013

An Afternoon Of Sharing Starbucks Coffee and Walmart Bakery Treats #DeliciousPairings #Cbias

By Patricia

Ever since I moved to the Seattle area fourteen years ago, coffee has become a big part of my life.
Particularly the Starbucks brand.

When they say there is a Starbucks on every corner in Seattle, that is almost true, and I love it. Starbucks has changed the way we drink coffee, and has made it a part of our social scene. I love getting together with friends and family, but with everyone so busy, it is often difficult to find time for dinner or an evening out.

But getting together for coffee is easy and fun, so I recently invited a couple of my friends and my two daughters over for an afternoon of great coffee and tasty bakery treats.

Not only do I love going to my neighborhood Starbucks, but I enjoy brewing it at home, too. I was at Walmart shopping for groceries, and to pick up some coffee and bakery items for out get-together. I love a strong cup of coffee in the morning, but I know everyone doesn't share my passion for dark roast coffee, including my guests. So, while I was at Walmart I saw the Veranda (Blonde) Blend, and it is a lighter roast, with a much more mellow flavor. It is perfect for anyone that loves coffee, but prefers something not as strong as a medium or dark roast.

I was happy to see they were having a coffee tasting at Walmart for the Veranda (Blonde) blend, so that I could try it and see if I liked it. The two ladies who were doing the tasting were very nice, and not only were they giving out coffee, but they were serving delicious chocolate muffins from Walmart's very own bakery. One of the ladies explained that the lighter roast was complimentary to the flavor of chocolate, and this was what the sign in the bakery department had meant by "Delicious Pairings". Sort of the way food and wine can compliment each other, only this was with coffee!!

I loved this lighter roast, and not only would I serve it to my guests, but I can drink it in the evenings, when I love a cup of coffee, but don't really want a such a strong cup.

After picking up a bag of the Starbucks coffee, I went back to the bakery department to pick up some yummy things to go with it. There are so many different kinds of baked goods here. Row upon row of freshly baked goodies to choose from!!

But I had really loved the chocolate muffins, so I picked up those and a chocolate cream pie, because who doesn't love chocolate pie??

After I got home, I wanted to try the coffee again. I drank a cup right down, and it was so nice to be home after a day of shopping and all the cold and rainy weather we have been having lately. The kitchen smelled so good, the aroma of the coffee was wonderful.

I poured myself another cup of coffee, and had a few sips. Then I tried a sip of the coffee with the muffin, and yum!! The chocolate muffin definitely brought out the nuances of cocoa and toasted nuts of this lighter roast. I took a sip of the coffee again without the muffin, and the flavor was not as intense at all.
This coffee and chocolate muffin are definitely a "Delicious Pairing". I would love to try some other baked goods with this coffee, and see how they go together.

When I go out for coffee at Starbucks, I'll often pick up a bag to bring home. I actually like buying the beans and grinding them at home. My family and I always give a bag of coffee or a Starbucks gift card at the holidays, and we always look forward to the Starbucks Christmas Blend.

I put out the muffins and pie while we were chatting and drinking our coffee on the day my two friends and daughters came over. Everyone was surprised and pleased to see so much chocolate!

I told everyone that the Veranda (Blonde) Blend was supposed to go well with milk chocolate and nuts, and I asked them to see if they agreed that the baked goods enhanced the flavor of the coffee.

We all love Starbucks coffee, but one of my friends said that sometimes it is too strong for her, but I assured her that this roast is much milder, and mellow.

My daughter Meg drinks coffee all the time. Not just in the morning, but really, all the time! She is also used to drinking a much stronger roast, but she liked the less intense strength of the Veranda Blend for a change. She also said it was a good blend for afternoon coffee drinking, as she doesn't need that strong kick of caffeine like in the morning.

Not only did the coffee pair perfectly with the chocolate muffins, but it was also delicious with the chocolate cream pie. We all agreed that Walmart's Bakery items were delicious, and that there is no such thing as too much chocolate!

I asked everyone if they thought that the chocolate brought out the flavors in the coffee, and they agreed that they did. They also agreed they were ready and willing to taste anything else that need to be tasted!!

I had a lovely afternoon and look forward to spending time again with friends and family.
And Starbucks coffee, of course.

To connect with Starbucks you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter You can find more information about Walmart on Facebook and Twitter.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™. #cbias #SocialFabric All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Simple Suppers - Chicken and Rice Casserole

By Patricia

I love chicken, and I love casseroles, so this casserole is one of my favorites to make on a cold winter night. I love the fact that you can use left-over rice for this dish, and you just pop everything into a bowl, stir it up, and put it into the casserole dish to bake.
So easy, but so delicious!!

Ingredients -

2 cups cooked cubed chicken
2 cups cooked rice
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
6-8 large mushrooms, chopped into pieces
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
1 cup cooked and sliced carrots
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2 table spoons chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup crushed saltines (about 10)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

Directions -

In a large bowl, combine first 9 ingredients. Transfer to a greased 2-1/2 -qt. baking dish. Combine the cracker crumbs and butter, sprinkle over top of mixture. Bake uncover at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
Makes 4-6 servings.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Great Idea, A Blackboard In The Kitchen!

By Patricia
Isn't this the most helpful idea, a blackboard in the kitchen? It can help you to keep track of your schedule, write notes to your family, or keep a reminder of what you need to pick up at the store.
Of course, it doesn't need to be this big, this is a whole wall, but this photo has certainly inspired me to get my own blackboard in the kitchen. How about you, would you put a blackboard in the kitchen, and what size would work for you?
Photo from Cococozy

Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekend In Pictures, The Baby In The Family Turns The Magical 21

By Patricia

It is always a monumental occasion when one turns 21, but it's an even bigger deal when your youngest child, the 'baby' turns 21.
My daughter Megan is officially an adult now, and we celebrated this with cake and champagne at dinner last night.

Yes, we bought her a birthday tiara and made her wear it because you only turn 21 once in your life and it's cause to celebrate!!

Happy Birthday Meg!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Making Kids A Healthy Breakfast With Jennie-O #JennieO4kids

By Patricia

When my kids were little, it was always a challenge to make sure they ate a healthy breakfast before going to school everyday. Some days they did, and I felt great knowing that they were prepared to start their day of learning in the best possible way.

And of course, there were the days that I would hand them a cold Poptart on their way out the door.

Times haven't really changed all that much when it comes to kids and breakfast, and now my daughter is trying to make sure that her own two little boys eat a healthy breakfast before they go to kindergarten and preschool.

I thought it would be fun to cook breakfast for my daughter's family one morning last week before she took my grandsons to school. I love the Jennie-O lean turkey and bacon products, so I knew they would be on the menu.

Jennie-O makes serving a healthy breakfast easy, and feeding your child a low-fat protein like Jennie-O can help kids learn better by being focused and alert in class. A healthy breakfast really is one of the best ways you can help your child to be successful in school.

This month Jennie-O and Champions for Kids have partnered together to help spread this very important message.

I went to my local Walmart to pick up a few things to make for breakfast. I really like Jennie-O sausage because it's very lean and always taste great.

I love regular pancakes, and so do my grandsons, but I'm buying blueberries so that I can make them some blueberry pancakes, which are very healthy. We are big fruit eaters in my family and I try to add fruit to as many meals as possible. This heart-healthy pancake mix is a favorite of mine, and I buy it all the time. Orange juice is a must for me every morning, so I am picking up a bottle.

Cooking Jennie-O sausage is quick and easy. My grandsons are very hungry this morning and I'm cooking as fast as I can!! They are drinking a glass of orange while they wait for breakfast.

This month Jennie-O is partnering with Champions for Kids to help bring awareness to how important it is for all children to eat a healthy and nutritious breakfast.

Champions for Kids is inviting everyone to get involved in this Simple Service Project by cooking a healthy breakfast for the kids in your community. It could be your child's class, church group, or sports team that you cook breakfast for. Share your breakfast on the Champions for Kids website and help them towards their goal of helping 20 million people by 2020.

Yum, we love sausage and pancakes for breakfast, and this looks good, especially to hungry boys!!
My daughter usually serves regular pork sausage, but she agreed that the Jennie-O sausage was delicious, and loved knowing that her sons were eating a healthier breakfast.

 These blueberry pancakes are a snap to make, and you could use other kinds of fruit. I put the blueberries inside the pancake batter and I put them on top of the pancakes as well. I don't think you can ever get enough of this delicious fruit that is loaded with antioxidants.

My two year old grandson uses up so much energy at preschool. He only goes for three hours, but he definitely needs a healthy and delicious breakfast to start his day. A lean protein is part of a healthy breakfast, and goes well with so many other breakfast items that he likes.

My grandsons didn't even realize that we had switched out the regular pork sausage for the much healthier Jennie-O lean turkey sausage. All they knew was that it tasted great. I think so too, and I like the fact that the sausage also comes in a package that can be made into sausage patties, or used in lots of other great tasting breakfast recipes.

My six year old grandson loves breakfast. He's awake about five minutes every morning before he asks his Mom for breakfast. Blueberries are one of his favorite fruits, and he's pretty excited that I made him a delicious breakfast of sausage and blueberry pancakes.

There are some great recipes on the Jennie-O website using their lean turkey bacon and sausage. You really will be inspired to cook a healthy breakfast using Jennie-O.

We also love the great taste of the Jennie-O turkey bacon. My personal favorite is a bacon and egg sandwich with lettuce on whole wheat toast. I think I could eat one for breakfast everyday!

I do know how busy parents are, and sometimes making a hot breakfast like this just isn't possible. But you really can make it easier to serve a nutritious breakfast by cooking the sausage or bacon the night before, and just heating it up in the microwave in the morning. You can do the same thing with the blueberry pancakes, and they will still taste great.

It is so important for all children to get a healthy breakfast before school, and Jennie-O and Champions for Kids want to make all parents and children aware of this very important fact. You can get involved in your own community, and help make everyone aware that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.

You can go to the Champions for Kids website and learn all about this month's Simple Service Project with Jennie-O.

You can find Jennie-O on their website, Facebook page and Twitter.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Jennie-O #cbias #SocialFabric All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Hundreds Of Ways To Live To Be 100

By Patricia
I am always interested in information that I think will help me to live a longer and healthier life.
I have children and grandchildren that I adore, and I would love to be able to share my life with them for decades to come.
I know that living a long life is no accident, and we can either help ourselves to do this or ignore the good advice that is everywhere these days about healthy living. The other day at the library, I checked out a book called 'Secrets of Longevity, Hundreds Of Ways To Live To Be 100', by Dr. Maoshing Ni.
There is interesting advice about exercise, how important relationships are to your health, massage, sleep, your emotional health and much more. The book really is a great place to start no matter what your age is if you are interested in living a long and healthy life.
But more than anything, what I took from this book was the understanding of what a truly important role that food plays in maintaining a healthy body and mind.
Here are just a few food facts from the book that I found interesting and important:
* Berries are antioxidants and are more powerful than vitamin C and aspirin at reducing inflammation. And blueberries have neuroprotective properties that can delay the onset of aging and age-related memory loss.
*Brown rice is so much healthier for you than the empty nutrient white rice that so many of us eat. White rice has been stripped of all it's healthy nutrients, and doesn't offer all the health benefits of brown rice. Eating brown can help lower high blood sugar, and contains more than seventy antioxidants, including the well-known aging fighter Vitamin E.
*Orange juice contains vitamin C and D, and is a rich source of calcium which we all need to maintain healthy bones. As we age, we all suffer from a degree of bone loss, and life-threating bone fractures can occur if we don't help to keep our bones strong and healthy. As well as being good for your bones, the vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant.
*Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that has been studied extensively for its cancer prevention properties. Lycopene inhibits the development of cancer cells in the breasts, lungs, and uterus. Tomatoes are a rich source of beta-carotene and vitamin A and C. They are also known to reduce heart disease and prevent cataracts.
So we really can take charge of our health in regards to what food we choose to put into our bodies. The wonderful thing about these foods, and many, many more is that they can all be made to taste great, it just takes the effort of smart and creative cooking.
And what better way to spend our time then by creating meals that are delicious and healthy and really just might help us to live to the great old age of 100.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Apples, Always Delicious and Nutricious

By Patricia

When I was grocery shopping the other day, I noticed how pretty the apples were looking. Yeah, I think fruit is beautiful.
I always love fruit and veggie displays and sometimes it will spark a creative idea for something to cook in the kitchen. I know we are all made aware of apples in the fall, when recipes are plentiful and pictures of apple pies are everywhere you look. But then we move on, and the humble but delicious apple is no longer in the limelight.
But apples are delicious and so good for you, and available year round. So why not take advantage of this sweet treat that can actually help lower your cholesterol and use it to cook up something marvelous? Remember that old saying 'An apple a day keeps the doctor away'? Well, it can certainly help keep the doctor away!!
There are so many terrific recipes out there using apples, from the classic apple pie, to pork chops with baked apples, to my Dad's favorite, apple pancakes.

Maple-Cinnamon Applesauce Recipe

Of course, one of the easiest and most delicious ways to eat apples is applesauce. There are a lot of recipes out there, but I found one that I loved and made last fall a couple of times.
This recipe is from Eating Well Magazine, and it is perfect for breakfast, dessert or any time of day. The maple-cinnamon aroma is wonderful, and adults and kids alike love eating this applesauce.

So I think we should enjoy this lovely fruit even more, in whatever way you like it. And of course, just eating a plain but delicious apple is always a treat. Yum!!


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Flowers On Tuesday

By Patricia
Everyone that knows me, knows I love flowers. There is just something in the natural beauty of them that makes me very happy.
I know some people think they are a waste of money, but not me. And as I have said before, you really can find flowers that don't cost a fortune if you just look for them. Today I am craving flowers, but going to buy them is just not on my to-do list right now.
So I'm sending these to myself here on my blog, just because it's Tuesday. And they didn't cost me a dime.
Have a wonderful Tuesday everyone!
Photo from Little Blue Deer

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Year, New You, With Delicious Lean Cuisine and Skinny Cow Ice Cream #FrozenFavorites

By Patricia

Are you the kind of person who makes a New Year's resolution to lose weight? And then of course, a week or two in, you've already gone off your diet?

And then you feel terrible about yourself, I know how that works. Well, if you have done this, it's not too late to get back on track.

I recently went shopping at Sam's Club to stock up on Lean Cuisine. I really hesitate to call Lean Cuisine diet food because it tastes so great and is easily incorporated into your cooking and meal planning. In fact, if you add a salad or some other low calorie side dish, it can make an easy and delicious dinner.
I know for a fact that eating Lean Cuisine can help you lose weight. I lost 35 pounds last year, I went from 195 pounds to 160 pounds (brave of me to announce my weight, right??). And I did it with the help of Lean Cuisine.

I knew that Sam's Club was having special prices on their Lean Cuisine through January and February, but these prices were fabulous! Only $6.98 for the 4-pack of Italian varieties, and I do love pasta. Who calls Chicken Parmesan and Spaghetti with Meatballs diet food? I don't.
 It is just good tasting food that happens to be low in calories. There are only 300 calories in these Italian style meals.

I am a dessert lover and ice cream is something I would eat every night if I could. And often, after I was careful about what I ate at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I would sabotage myself by eating something like a giant bowl of ice cream (or two) late in the evening.

I craved something sweet for dessert and it was a problem until I discovered Skinny Cow Ice Cream.
I adore Skinny Cow!! No kidding, these delicious treats let me indulge in ice cream that only have 150 calories in them. These ice cream sandwiches are so good. Even my grandchildren love them and they know their ice cream!

This box of 20 is only $8.98 at Sam's Club. That is an incredible savings considering how much they cost in the grocery store. This low price is available through January and February, so I will be coming back again to stock my freezer with Skinny cow.

I was talking with a friend about New Year's resolutions and of course, like many of us, she had made one for herself about losing weight.

I told her about how I had gone to Sam's Club to stock up on Lean Cuisine. She said she didn't like diet or low calorie meals. I told her Lean Cuisine doesn't taste like diet food and invited her over for dinner so that she could try it out. I served the Asian style, and a side salad with a tangy honey dressing.

What did my friend think? She loved it, of course! I find that after heating your meal in the microwave, if you put it on a plate, it really is so much nicer. These Asian style meals taste great and are perfect for lunch or dinner.

When I was at Sam's Club, I picked up this Asian style variety 6-pack. It was on sale at a special price of only $9.98. This is less than $2 a meal, and that is a fantastic savings, good through January and February. It is great to buy products you use and like on sale, love it.

As I mentioned earlier, one great way to turn a Lean Cuisine meal into a dinner is to serve it with a salad. I really love salads and I always try to use a vinaigrette that I have made instead of store bought bottled dressings.

This is one of my favorite vinaigrettes and I thought it's tangy sweetness would go well with our Asian style dinners. It is super easy to make and it makes about one cup of dressing.

Honey-Balsamic Vinaigrette

You will need:

1/2 cup of honey
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce

Just put all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until the honey is dissolved and the dressing is smooth. Simple and yummy.

I've used butter lettuce this time, but you can use your favorite. Sometimes I add baby spinach to my salads to really increase it's nutritional value. Just a little of this vinaigrette goes a long way because it is so tangy. Adding the mandarin oranges to the salad gives it a delicious citrus flavor, and it goes perfectly with my Asian style meal.

Any low calorie creative side dish you choose really does make you feel so much fuller, and can make eating Lean Cuisine part of your successful weight loss plan. I happen to like salads, so this is usually what I choose.

Because our dinner was so low in calories, we are free to indulge in Skinny Cow Ice Cream!!

I usually have one after dinner, and if I'm really craving something late at night, I will have another.
The key is not to run out!! Thanks to Sam's Club's great prices, I can stock up on these delicious treats, and on my Lean Cuisine meals. I would like to lose another 10 pounds, and I know that 2013 is my year to make it happen.

If you would like to see my shopping trip to Sam's Club, you can take a look at my Google+ album. To learn more about Lean Cuisine you can follow them on Twitter and Facebook. To find out more about all the products by Skinny Cow you can find them on Twitter and Facebook.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias®  and Nestle Lean Cuisine  and Skinny Cow #cbias #SocialFabric All opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Visiting The World As The Armchair Traveler

By Patricia

Have you heard of the term 'Armchair Traveler'? It means someone who reads about traveling, buys books about traveling, and dreams about traveling, but actually doesn't go anywhere.
Yeah, that's me.

When I was raising my five children, there wasn't the time or money to travel. Now that they are all grown, I have the time, but not the money. But that doesn't stop me from dreaming about places I have always longed to visit.
Paris has always topped my list, along with London and Rome. Europe calls to me, and someday I hope to answer back!!

Meanwhile, it is fun to visit the shops around the Seattle area where I live that cater to travelers or wannabe travelers like me. I love browsing through the books and luggage and clothes and gadgets that are made for traveling.
I can't wait to see all the places I want to visit, even if for now, the view is only from my chair.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Delivering Holiday Cheer and Kleenex With A Gift Basket For a Friend #SharetheSoft

By Patricia

It never seems to fail that around the holidays, someone in the family is sick. But this year was a mini miracle, and we all stayed pretty healthy.

Maybe because I had stocked up on cold and flu medicine, and plenty of Kleenex tissues. It seems like when I don't have any on hand, I have to make a mad dash to the store when we get sick to buy some. We have been a Kleenex brand family for years and years. For us, part of having a cold or the flu is having a box of Kleenex tissues by your side. In our family, Kleenex means comfort.

As happy as I was that my family had stayed healthy, a dear family friend had not. She had the flu and wasn't able to go out, or do anything but stay in bed. My daughter and I decided to put together a gift basket for her, stocked with things she might need to feel better. Of course, a few boxes of Kleenex had to be included in the basket.

I went shopping at my local Walmart to buy some things to put in the gift basket. Tea, juice, and soup are all great to have on hand when you feel terrible with the flu. A little reading material helps too, when you are confined to bed. And of course, I was going to include a few boxes of Kleenex tissues.
 This 4-pack included a $4 voucher to use at, a great source for movies at home.

 As I was shopping, I remembered once when I was a little girl and being sick around Christmas time. I had missed the Christmas program at school, a cookie party with friends, and was just all around miserable. My Mom was sitting with me in my room and trying to cheer me up. She picked up the
Kleenex box and started using the tissues to make the sweetest little angel dolls. Or at least to my six year old mind, they were angel dolls, and we spent the afternoon playing with them. It is one of the loveliest memories I have of my mother.

I was happy to see a $4 voucher from on the Kleenex package . It was super easy to redeem when you have an account, and my daughter and I enjoyed watching the latest Woody Allen movie called 'To Rome With Love' on the afternoon we put the basket together.

There are thousands of movies to pick from on Vudu, and I'd love to watch so many of them. I love movies.

My daughter and I and her children helped put together our gift basket. My six year old grandson is old enough to understand what it means to donate things, and to give help to a friend.

We talked about our friend who wasn't feeling well, and how we were going to be doing something kind for her by giving her the basket.

My daughter and my grandchildren are all coming with me to deliver the basket. We are surprising our friend and I'm hoping she will be cheered up a little and start feeling better soon.

I love that Kleenex is such an important comfort when we are sick. Kleenex has always been a part of our family, and always will be.

You can see my complete shopping experience on my Google+ photo album. You can learn more about Kleenex on their Facebook page and Twitter.

*I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and Kleenex® Brand Tissues  #CBias #SocialFabric All opinions expressed in this post are my own.