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I'm an Oklahoma transplant, living in Missouri, married with children, and loving my life.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Defeat Dinner Doldrums the EASY Way

Are you experiencing the home cook's equivalent to writer's block? I have suffered from the same problem for far too long. Enter Kraft Foods and their large selection of simple, easy and tasty recipes, all waiting for you to try out.

Have you heard of Kraft's great website, www.KraftRecipes.com? I have utilized this site for so long, and felt like sharing it with you. If you haven't checked it out, you should. It's great! When I'm in need of some dinner inspiration, this is one of the first places I check.

Some of the greatest features of the site, other than it being free, are the following. I love the "Recipe Box," where you can store recipes from the site for later safe-keeping. The "Shopping List" gives you a line-by-line list of every item needed for a given recipe, and it lets you remove items you already have on hand (such as 1 Tbsp of flour), as well as add your own items.

You can rate the recipe after you try it out, too. Going back to see how many stars I gave, as well as the detailed notes I took from last time I made something, makes it so much easier for me to remember what I did and didn't like about the recipe. Then the coups de gras for any dinner-designing doldrums has to be the "Use What's on Hand" recipe finder. This thing is amazing! If I have a box of stuffing mix in the cupboard and want to use it up, I type it in the finder, and voila! Every recipe using stuffing mix appears!

Want to see some of the recipes I've made in the past week or two, as well as some of my favorites? Let's talk a walk...

This recipe is for Cheesy Chicken Empanadas. Simply put, these hit it out of the park at our house. The ready-made pie crust gives it such a great flavor and texture, and it was e.a.s.y.


This recipe is for French Onion-Pork Chop Skillet. While I've never been the biggest fan of pork, other than the classics of ham and bacon, It's really starting to grow on me. I made this in no time last night, and it was delicious!


This recipe is for Grilled Bruschetta Chicken. I've made this both on the grill and in the oven, creating little individual foil packets. It is a dish we have dined on about a dozen times, and it never seems to get old!


This recipe is for Irish Beef Stew. While my husband worked in the garden late Saturday afternoon, I was "slaving" over this simple stew. He cannot wait for me to make it again. Oh, how will I find the time? :)


This recipe is for Dijon Balsamic Herb Chicken. My family liked the dish. I gave it four stars, only because I thought the sauce was just a little overpowering. But if you're a total fan of balsamic vinegar, this could be something you fall in ♥ with.


This recipe is for COOL 'N EASY Strawberry Pie. To explain this deliciousness of this dish would take forever. I have a cousin who practically begs for it every time we're together for a visit. She's this close to getting down on her knees and tugging on my pant leg just to get me to make it. In a phrase, it's easy. Are you sensing a pattern, here?


This recipe is for Barbecued Chicken Packets. I mean, come on. Four ingredients, 20 min total cooking time. Could it get an easier? I gave this 5 stars for this an other reasons. To find out, you'll just have to try it. I dare ya.


So with seven yummy possibilities, what are you waiting for?!? I could go on forever, but that would take, well, forever! If you're fighting hunger with a side of brain-block, check out the Kraft Foods website. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do!

♥ Amanda

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cuteness to the 5th power...Shared!

Yesterday, while taking a break from fixing dinner, I found something amazing on Etsy via my Facebook news feed. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a hippo, teddy bear, elephant, koala and cow, oh my! And all of them cuter than I've seen in ages!

I mean, just LOOK at the cuddliness of these animal pals, all designed by Jennyandteddy Creation, from New Zealand.


You can sense my excitement, and I'm sure you'll agree that these guys are AHdorable!


And while I was admiring these fun toys, I got a great idea. I'm going to make one of each animal (five in all) to celebrate reaching 5K Facebook fans. I'm currently just over 4.1K, so I have a little way to go. In the meantime, I'll have plenty of time to make each one. And perhaps I'll take some time during my maternity leave in June to work on them, too.

So what can YOU do to expedite the process? Why SHARE, of course! Share this post on Facebook, send a Tweet, give it a +1 on Google, blog about it. There are links below the post for ease. Any and every way you share will help spread the word. And hopefully, we'll reach 5,000 Facebook fans sooner than expected, because I really want to give out some FREE toys to my fans, since you all make me so happy to be in this biz.

Monday, May 7, 2012

HUGE #Giveaway for an ENTIRE collection of Bright Starts products!




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Welcome to the Bright Starts Ultimate Baby Shower Giveaway!

Bright Starts and Mom to Bed by 8, the Iowa-Mom have teamed to off an amazing Bright Starts Sunnyside Collection giveaway to one lucky reader!
This includes the Sunnyside Safari™ Chair Top High Chair, Playard, Plug in Sway & Swing, Portable Swing and Saucer making this truly the Ultimate Baby Shower Gift.
Special thank you to the wonderful bloggers who made this possible including our co-hosts: To Sew with Love, The Lucky Ladybug and Mom Blog Society.

I purchased a Bright Starts saucer when my daughter was born in 2010. I really liked that it is stationary, which is much safer than a walker on wheels. There is no hazard of tipping over with her saucer. My daughter LOVED all the sensory objects she was able to play with in her saucer. I still have that saucer today, ready and waiting to make my next child, due in June, just as happy.

One lucky reader will win ALL of these prizes! Can you believe it?!?!?


Big smiles and bright adventures go hand in hand in this exciting, fun-filled collection!
Take a walk on the sunny side-where baby gear goes together in delightful new ways. It's a win for infants and parents alike, with irresistable jungle characters adorning an array of fun coordinated products you'll use every day. Each piece of the collection does its job charmingly, with non-stop fun at an unbeatable value.
The Bright Starts Sunnyside Collection is available at Wal-Mart!


Sunnyside Safari™ Chair Top High Chair
A good high chair is a must for moms, and Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Chair Top High Chair is as good as they come! It does what a full-sized model does and more, adjusting to four different heights (and nearly any table), reclining to three positions, and converting to a booster seat for smooth transition to the toddler years.
The reversible seat pad is made of stain-resistant fabric you can wipe clean or machine-wash. The removable Stay Level Tray™ remains flat even when the seat is reclining. All this, plus the friendly characters of the Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Make mealtime and snack time more enjoyable for baby and you. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • Convenient 2 piece reversible seat pad is made of stain resistant fabric that is wipeable and machine washable
  • 4 height positions to fit most table sizes
  • 3 position recline
  • Removable Stay Level Tray™ remains level even when seat is reclined
  • 3 locking positions to grow with baby
  • Built-in holders are convenient for drinks or snacks
  • Converts to booster for easy toddler transition
  • 5 point convertible safety harness

Sunnyside Safari™ Playard
A bright, sunny place for baby to rest, play, get a quick diaper change and spend a few moments with some friendly jungle pals! That's the Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Playard. This playard includes a removable bassinet with our time-saving One Less Step™ feature for easy fold-and-go mobility.
There's a convenient changing table, a handy side storage pocket, easy-roll wheels, a travel bag, plus a colorful toy bar to delight baby. And like all Bright Starts™ products, this playard is an unbeatable value. Part of our coordinated Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • Removable bassinet with One Less Step™ to quickly fold and go
  • Convenient changing table
  • Toy bar with 2 fun toys
  • Side storage pocket
  • Wheels for easy portability
  • Includes travel bag

Sunnyside Safari™ Plug in Sway & Swing™
Some swings go back and forth. Some go side to side. This one does both—and does it with music, toys, and delightful jungle style. With a seat designed for 180° rotation, allowing three swing directions, the Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Plug in Sway & Swing™ uses our unique TrueSpeed™ technology to sense baby's weight and adjust for consistent speed—so it grows along with baby.
The swing also boasts a volume-adjustable 20 minutes of melodies and nature sounds, an overhead mobile—even an AC adaptor to save on battery expense. And it features the fun and engaging characters of the Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • Seat rotates 180° for 3 swing directions
  • TrueSpeed™ technology maintains 6 speeds as baby grows
  • Mobiles with 2 playtime toys easily pivots out of the way
  • 20 minutes of melodies and nature sounds with volume control and auto shut-off
  • AC adaptor saves money on batteries
  • Swing time with 3 settings: 30, 45 and 60 minutes
  • Whisper Quiet™ operation
  • 5 point harness
  • Machine washable seat pad
  • Non-slip feet

Sunnyside Safari™ Portable Swing
Find baby's favorite speed with this innovative portable swing. The Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Portable Swing is a win for parents and babies—from its machine-washable padded seat right down to its bright yellow, non-slip feet. With six distinct speeds to choose from, you'll find it easy to suit your little one's mood—and our patented TrueSpeed™ technology keeps those speeds consistent even as baby grows.
The Comfort Recline™ seat gives you a choice of two positions, and WhisperQuiet™ operation makes this swing silent in use. Wrap it all up in the super-fun animal decor and you've got a perfect travel companion. Part of Bright Starts™’ Sunnyside Safari™ Collection. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Features:
  • TrueSpeed™ Technology maintains 6 speeds as baby grows
  • Comfort Recline™ seat with 2 positions
  • Whisper Quiet™ operation
  • Easily folds for storage or travel
  • 5 point harness
  • Machine washable seat pad
  • Non-slip feet

Sunnyside Safari™ Saucer
This is where babies go for serious fun. A Walmart exclusive, the 7-activity Bright Starts™ Sunnyside Safari™ Saucer offers entertainment options galore—and a lighthearted jungle theme with fun characters you'll adore.
The seat rotates a full 360° for endless interaction with the activity stations. Twin overhead toy arms provide even more entertainment options. And the three different height positions make this one saucer your baby won't soon outgrow. Four link loops mean still more toys can be attached. Part of the Sunnyside Safari™ Collection, this saucer will quickly become a family favorite. Start the fun with Bright Starts!™

Product Features:
  • 3 adjustable height positions allows entertainer to grow with baby
  • Seat rotates 360° for nonstop interaction with 7 activity stations
  • 2 overhead toy bar arms with mirror, hanging toy and fabric crinkle leaves
  • Hanging elephant toy
  • Bendy giraffe teething stalk
  • Bead chaser with easy to grip textured beads
  • Lion popper with spiraling beads
  • Rotating ladybug barrels with fun textures and beads
  • Rocking toucan on leaf stalk
  • 4 link loops for attaching more toys
  • Lays flat for storage
  • Built-in toy tray is easy to clean
Giveaway starts on May 7 at 12:01AM and ends May 28 at 11:59PM. Open to the US residents only; must be 18 years of age or older to enter.
Enter to win the Bright Starts Ultimate Baby Shower Giveaway including the Sunnyside Collection on the rafflecopter form below.
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