Archive for March, 2009

Apron Full of Giveaways 03.31.09

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

Welcome to the Apron Full of Giveaways where you can find all the best of the best in the giveaway world in one place.

This week we will be wrapping up our Quantum of Solace DVD giveaway. If you have not entered, please be sure to put your entry in by tonight at 8PM. We are taking a week off from giveaways to catch up on gathering all of our winners from the past two contests, but we will be back in full swing next week. In the meantime, be sure to enter the other great giveaways here!

Follow the links below to find out how to enter to win these fabulous giveaways!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we aren’t giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Children’s Movies).”

Please let me know if you have any questions and good luck to each of you!

(Photo Credit: fernfiddlehead)

Redbox Code 03.30.09

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Today’s free Redbox code is 89ZQJ3. This code can be used all day until midnight at any Redbox location.

You can’t beat a free movie rental so schedule some fun family nights and check out what Family Films are available.

Side Notes:

– If you want to rent more than one movie for free, bring more than one credit/debit card. You can use the same promotional code, you just will need different cards to charge it to. The charge will be zero as long as you return your movie on time for the next day.

– When entering in your free movie code, you need to enter it FIRST before picking the movie. On the very first screen, click the, “Rent with Promo.” Enter in the above code and then make your selection- the amount should then total zero.. This code can be used all day until midnight at any Redbox location.

Deliciously Light Banana Oat Bread

Monday, March 30th, 2009

When I feel like I have mastered a recipe, I often don’t go back and take a look at new recipes for that particular dish. After all, if you are making the best there is, why would you ever explore anything new? That is how I felt about my banana bread recipe. It was the perfect recipe and it has never failed me. It is not the most figure-friendly though and so when I ran across this recipe from Cooking Light, I knew I would have to try it. I modified the recipe to our taste and what we had in our cupboard and what came from that little experimentation resulted in this perfectly perfect absolutely amazing banana bread recipe that will be replacing my old version.

Despite using rolled oats, there is no weird texture to the bread, even without any soaking of the oats. The sprinkle of oats on top add just a little bit of chewiness and the bread is moist, but still light-tasting.

My husband likened it to a delicious oatmeal cookie and I was impressed with how clean it came out of the pans, how easy it was to cut, and the beauty of the light golden color with the dusting of oats on top.

The original recipe called for white sugar and had no spices. I substituted the white sugar with brown sugar and added cinnamon. I had half-and-half in my refrigerator and added 2 teaspoons of vinegar to it to replace the buttermilk.

Did I mention this recipe is also very frugal? No butter in the recipe and very little fat, bananas that were going to make their way into a trash can, and cheap generic oatmeal! And yet, despite all of those factors, it would make an amazing little gift packaged for a special person in your life!

The recipe that is written below is my adaptation of this bread and I hope you will enjoy it half as much as our family has!

Deliciously Light Banana Oat Bread

1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup mashed banana (approximately 2 1/2 per loaf)
1/3 cup buttermilk (I substituted with half & half with 2 tsp of vinegar to sour)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs, beaten
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Combine banana, buttermilk, oil, vanilla, and eggs in a small bowl or measuring cup. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir gently just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Spoon batter into the prepared pan and bake for 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack, in the pan, for about 15 minutes (I left mine in longer and it was fine). Remove the bread from the pan after 15 minutes and cool thoroughly on the rack.

Family Night Activity: Earth Hour

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Earth Hour 2009 is upon us and I wanted to encourage you all to enjoy a family night celebrating Earth Hour. Earth Hour is March 28th from 8:30 PM-9:30 PM this Saturday.

Earth Hour began in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for one hour. In 2008 the message had grown into a global sustainability movement, with 50 million people switching off their lights. Global landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Rome’s Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House and the Coca Cola billboard in Times Square all stood in darkness.

In 2009, Earth Hour is being taken to the next level, with the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote.

Our family celebrated Earth Hour last year and my son still talks about it. It was definitely one of our favorite family nights ever and a great way to share about caring for the earth.

I had been looking forward to Earth Hour all week and sharing this experience with my family. We talked to Ethan about why we were celebrating Earth Hour and how much fun we were going to have. Since Earth Hour was between 8-9 PM last year, it was a special treat for the kids to stay up late and spend the hour with us.

The kids took a bath by candlelight, which they thought was a super fun treat! We filled the tub with lots of bubbles and threw in a couple of whisks and spoons from the kitchen. They whisked up bubbles to their hearts delight and sang fun songs by candlelight.

Ethan thought he looked pretty cool in front of the candles so he took some time out of his busy schedule to pose!

After our baths, we enjoyed a yummy snack while Ryan & I made shadow puppets on the wall for the kids. They thought these were hilarious and super cool!

Ethan had so much fun, he asked if we could celebrate Earth Hour every day! This gave me an opportunity to share with him easy ways he could celebrate AND save the earth. We talked about doing our recycling, turning the lights off when we aren’t in a room, and not being wasteful. Since this family night was such a hit, I hope we can do it with the kids again. Not only did the kids have a blast, but it was super frugal, while being extremely memorable for all of us!

Freebie Friday: March 27, 2009

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Another big round of thanks to Heather, from Freebies 4 Mom, for helping us this week with our Freebie Friday list. Heather has a great new list of fresh grocery coupons to help save on your grocery bill this week. She also has highlighted a great list of sweepstakes where the odds are good that you could win a coveted prize. Thanks, Heather!

Don’t forget to visit the Apron Full of Giveaways for over a hundred great contests on the web where you could get lucky once again!

Health & Beauty

Juicy Juice Shining Moments House Party
All-Bran Pink Lemonade Fiber Drink Mix (Walmart)
Bruster’s Free Baby Cone (for children under 40″)

Storyline Online (children’s books read by actors)
Seventeen Magazine 6 issues (StartSampling)
Ioda SXSW Opening Day Bash Sampler (11 free song downloads at Amazon)
Grey Gardens Advanced Movie Screening (select cities only)
Canon Try My Photo
Interview Magazine (1 Year)

Home & Garden

Cottonelle Toilet Paper & Wipes (Walmart)
Gain (Sam’s Club)
Chore Wars (try the free version)

Upcoming Freebie Events:

Please call your local store or restaurant to confirm they are participating in these freebie events.


28 – Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic – Yard Mobile 10 to 11am
28 – Lakeshore Crafts for Kids – Royal Crowns 11 am to 3 pm

4 – The Home Depot Kids Workshop – Make a window birdhouse 9 to Noon
4 – Michaels The Knack – 3D Monsters vs Aliens crafts for kids 5-12 from 10 to 2pm
4&5 – Museums on Us – Free admission for Bank of America account holders
6 – Seattle’s Best Coffee (and Borders) – free small coffee
7 – Seattle’s Best Coffee (and Borders) – free medium coffee for all 39-year-olds
11 – Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic – Birdhouse 10 to 11am
15 – Taco Del Mar Free Taco
15 – MaggieMoo’s Free Single Scoop of Ice Cream
18 – Michaels The Knack – Spring Critters for kids 5-12 from 10 to 1pm
23 – Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day
26 – National Pretzel Day – free pretzels at Pretzelmaker and Pretzel Time

Simplifying Home Organization Resource List

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

A big thank you again to Stephanie Vozza, from The Organized Parent, for joining us today for our show. I hope you got a lot out of it and we can’t wait to bring more great guests to you on our show!

Here is the resource list from today’s podcast:

The Organized Parent– Be sure to check out Stephanie’s website for oodles of smart & stylish organizing tools for moms. Stephanie said her top seller is this chic File Tote that was featured in Family Circle Magazine.

Wuduplz– This is text messaging service that Stephanie uses to get her older child motivated to help. You can text your children and let them know what you need assistance with around the house. Now that is a brilliant way to send a chore list!

Organize Your Week– This was one of the original articles I wrote when we began the website five years ago. Although I have tried other methods of organizing my week, I always fall back on this great plan and I definitely recommend trying this in your house!

Free Weekly Planner Download– Be sure to visit our Resources section for your printable needs. In addition to our great Weekly Planner Download (filled with loads of room for all your most important engagements), you will also find a great Menu Planning Sheet that would be a lovely addition to your fridge!

20 Tips for Finding Your Routine With Kids– I had to highlight Tsh’s excellent article this week, on Simple Mom, because it falls in step perfectly with finding organization in your week. Be sure to read this article to give you more great ideas for establishing a good routine!

On next week’s show…

Next week on MomAdvice Simplified we will be discussing how to simply capture great photos! I am so excited to be joined by photographer extraordinaire, Mishelle Lane, who blogs at Secret Agent Mama. I had the great pleasure of meeting Mishelle at Blissdom ’09 and couldn’t wait to have her on our show as a guest.

Mishelle will be sharing her tips for purchasing the right photography equipment, some ideas for capturing our busy children, and how to get out of the manual mode on our cameras.

This episode will air next Thursday (April 2nd) at 2PM EST.

MomAdvice Simplified: Simplifying Home Organization

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

This week on MomAdvice Simplified, my weekly podcast for moms, we will be joined by Stephanie Vozza, the Founder of The Organized Parent and organizational expert, and she will be giving us simple and affordable techniques and tools that moms can used to stay organized in our home.

Stephanie knows that most mothers have been in the workplace (or still are) before their “mom lives” began. She also recognizes that in corporate and home offices, there are tools and standard practices to structure a workday. But when it comes to organizing your personal life, it’s every mom for herself!

Stephanie is going to guide us in this journey towards getting our mom lives as organized as our corporate lives were. That podcast will be airing today at 2PM EST so if you are looking to get your life organized again, be sure to tune in for that episode.

Just for our listeners, we will be giving away a product from The Organized Parent to one lucky caller. Please tune in for this fun and exclusive giveaway!

Notebook Experiment: Can I Make a Delicious Oatmeal Cookie?

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Experiment: Can I make a delicious oatmeal cookie that the kids will love?

Experiment Taken From: Notebook Entry 02.05.09

Materials Needed: Please see don’t call me becky for specific directions on how to make these Oatmeal Jumbo Cookies. I was able to find a package of pretty pink M&M;’s that support breast cancer awareness at our local Aldi. I also added peanuts for the nuts in the cookie, as was recommended by this blog entry.

Results: I really stink at making cookies. For some reason, no matter what I do, they always end up turning out horribly. Ask me to make you an amazing four course dinner though, and I will shine like a superstar. I guess you could say that Rachael Ray & I are very similar as I recognize that I am not a very good baker.

I decided to make the jumbo version of this cookie and it failed miserably. It got crunchy on the outside but never set up firmly in the center. The second batch was done by the teaspoonful and turned out pretty perfect except for the flat as a pancake look, even after refrigerating my dough. One peek at the expiration date on my baking powder made me realize that it might not be my cooking skills that are lacking, but instead the leavening agent was a little flat.

Regardless of this small detail, these cookies are absolutely delicious! They have no flour in them, but loads of oats, peanuts, peanut butter, and a little chocolate to satisfy your sweet tooth. These cookies were excellent and I can’t wait to try making them again with a fresh batch of baking powder.

If you are ever in a pinch though, I did find a great substitution for baking powder. You can substitute 1/4 teaspoon baking soda plus 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar plus 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch to substitute for your baking powder.

Conclusion: These cookies will make a fun lunch box treat for the family and I love the flavor combination of the chocolate and the peanut butter! I hope you can give these a try the next time you need to satisfy your sweet tooth!

I am so excited to open our Notebook Experiments up to everyone and I hope that you will be able to participate this week or in weeks to come! I will be posting this each Wednesday so please mark your calendars if you plan to participate. You can post your entries at any time throughout the week and then leave your entry in the links below.

We have this handy banner that you are more than welcome to use, but it is not a requirement! It is just something you can add to add a little sparkle to your entry.

Rules for Participation:

1. Choose anything from any of our notebook entries (past or present) to do with your family. We have hundreds of bookmarked links of crafts, ways to save money, and organizing ideas.
2. Complete an experiment from the notebook and share about it on your blog or website. We would love to see pictures of what you accomplished or a detailed description of how your projects turned out. Please include a link to this entry, a link to the original posting of the entry (at the original craftster’s blog), and (to help us relocate the project) the date or link of the notebook entry where you found it. You can use the same formatting as our entries or you can just include that information in your post in your own unique way!
3. Post a link below. Please include your name or blog name & a fast description of your project. Example- MomAdvice (WHO bread)

I can’t wait to see what you create and what you find inspiring!

Amy’s Notebook 03.25.09

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

I love this doily lampshade makeover (@ make grow gather)

These fabric Easter eggs would be so cute in my basket on my kitchen table (@ retro mama)

I am still wanting to make this lemony lemon cake (@ Smells Like Home)

I am dying to try this pie crust recipe (@ Scribbit)

I love this post on steps towards a more sustainable life (@ zen habits)

This herb marinated pork tenderloin looks delicious (@ Annie’s Eats)

These freezer paper stencils are such a cute project to do with kids (@ Design Mom)

I love this list of ways to thrive in the kitchen with children (@ Simple Mom)

These greeting card made from a floppy disk is too cool (@ Build/Make/Craft/Bake)

I am going to have to try this recipe for old-fashioned homemade pancakes (@ My Wooden Spoon)

These allspice crumb muffins look like a delicious treat (@ Annie’s Eats)

I want to try this brine for pork chops (@ The Kitchn)

I love this post on baking bread (@ down to earth)

I want to have a spring time tea party (@ The Inspired Room)

I will have to try this recipe for homemade cocktail sauce (@ Coconut & Lime)

Apron Full of Giveaways 03.24.09

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Why should girls have all the fun? This apron is too darn cute and is available from etsy seller gagiepagiepuddingpie for $17.00. I know my son would look so handsome in this one. To purchase, head over to her shop and check out the great selection!

Now for our giveaways for the week! Our Twilight DVD giveaway is ending at 8PM EST tonight so make sure to get your entry in. We have ten copies of the movie to share with our readers so don’t forget to enter to win. This week we are offering a chance to win one of ten copies of Quantum of Solace from Hollywood Video.

Follow the links below to find out how to enter to win these fabulous giveaways!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we aren’t giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Children’s Movies).”

Please let me know if you have any questions and good luck to each of you!