Spring Giveaway $100 Amazon Gift card or PayPal Cash

Mother nature is going through a crazy phase right now.  Supposedly it’s Spring, but two days ago we got 37 inches of snow thanks to storm Stella – I know you’re jealous!

I think it’s time that we give Mother Nature a break and maybe send her on a shopping spree.  I know I could use one – how about you? Now you can!

(You saw that coming, right?)

I’ve teamed up with some amazing blogs to bring you a $100.00 Giveaway! What would you buy with your winnings?

How to enter: There are 20 Twitter accounts to follow and each is worth one entry into the giveaway. Follow all 20 for 20 entries into this giveaway! If you’re already a follower of an account, claim that entry! This giveaway starts March 17 at midnight EST and ends March 31 at 11:59 PM EST. Entrants must be USA residents and at least 18 years old. One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries and contacted via the email they provide. The email will come from joannegreco at gmail. The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The prize is $100 in Paypal or Amazon online gift card, winner’s choice.

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Would you chose Paypal or Amazon?


Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Home

Spring CleaningTips for Your Home

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. They don’t cost you extra to use, but help keep this blog running. Thank you!

I wasn’t sure if I should start this blog post with a letter telling the groundhog where he could stick winter or not, so I figure I’ll forego that part in the interest of time. Truthfully, I’m not a fan of Spring anyway. I like it till the ground thaws too much, and then it’s just too muddy for me. So if it’s 6 more weeks, I’m not too disappointed. I do, however, look forward to having a little more light in my day and Spring in my step. According to my doctor, I’ve recently moved to the 3rd least sunny spot in America. Brilliant, aren’t I? Anyway, the winter blues are starting to get to me and I’m hoping a little more sun will give me a little more energy.

Every year I get excited about Spring Cleaning. Well, not really – seriously, I’m not that crazy – but few things make me happier than a really clean house. So while I’m dreaming about weather warm enough to rip my house apart and clean in the deepest darkest corners, I figured I’d share some of my best Spring Cleaning tips.

Before you do anything, declutter your home. If you haven’t used it since your last Spring Clean, throw it out, sell it, or donate it. Don’t hang on to it because you paid a lot for it and don’t want to waste it. That’s what eBay and online yard sales are for. A clutter-free home will make you physically and mentally healthier. If there are things you absolutely can’t get rid of, buy some pretty storage bins or containers to keep them in.

Next, tackle the laundry. Curtains, draperies, comforters, pillows, tablecloths, place mats, and anything else made of cloth gets thrown in the wash. When it comes out, I either iron it and put it back where I got it from, or I fold it and store it for the season. I like to use Space Bags, which are vacuum sealed and keep out any moisture or dust, or worse, the occasional spider. They also shrink anything in them down to nothing, which is awesome if you’re short on space like I am. Pro tip: Suck the air out of the bags close to wherever it is that you’re going to store them. You don’t realize quite how heavy your linens are until you have to carry them all at once!

While that’s going, I move on to the hardest part for me, which is the walls. Now before you take water to your walls, find out what kind of paint you have. Not all walls are washable. If you can’t wash them, dust them really well. I use a Swiffer Sweeper to do mine. The long handle reaches right up to the ceiling and it doesn’t take me long at all. If they’re really dingy, consider repainting. This is also a good time to reconsider your space. Could that room use a little more artwork or maybe some pretty wall decals?

After walls comes floors, so drag your furniture out of the room and get ready for some more hard work. Vacuum your carpets really well and then steam clean them if you can. Many grocery and hardware stores will rent out steam cleaners or you can just invest in one so you have it whenever you need it. Especially if you have kids or pets, they come in handy.

I prefer to wash floors on my hands and knees – I have short arms and it’s easier than trying to maneuver a mop. If you choose to do that, be sure to protect your knees with a rolled towel or a gardening knee cushion between you and the floor. Everyone has a preferred method, but I take a scrub brush, scrub a spot in a circular motion, dry it with a towel, and move to the next. Kind of like “Wax on, Wax off.” Then I go over it one more time with just plain water to rinse. While you’re down on the floor, make sure to wash any baseboards, too.

Third, tackle the windows! Many people hate windows so they do this part first, but I like doing it. Sometimes, if the outside of the windows are particularly gross, I’ll hose them down first to save myself some work. Other than that, I have no special tips here – I use Windex and a clean microfiber cloth for both inside and out. I know people who use newspaper to get a streak-free shine, but I honestly think that’s weird. I don’t want newspaper ink on my window.

Don’t forget to clean any blinds, too. I take smaller blinds outside and scrub them down and then spray them with a hose, but you could also do them in a bathtub. Now, put your window treatments back up! Hint: Sunlight improves mood, so use sheer curtains to let as much light in as you can!

Finally, sit down, put your feet up, and look around. That feeling your home has after a good Spring Cleaning is amazing, right? All you have to do now is make a plan to keep your house that way. I’ve heard this is possible, but it hasn’t happened for me yet. Share your successes – let me live vicariously!

 

 


$100 Amazon or Paypal Giveaway

Would an extra $100 make your day a little brighter?  I know it sure would make my day a lot brighter! So I’m teaming up with some blogger friends to bring you this giveaway.  Pay a bill or buy yourself something you’ve been eyeing up on Amazon – the choice is yours!

Entry is really simple – just follow the directions below.

 

How to enter: There are 20 ways to enter, each worth one entry into the giveaway. Do all 20 for 20 entries into this giveaway! If you’re already a follower of an account, claim that entry! This giveaway starts March 10 at midnight EST and ends March 23 at 11:59 PM EST. Entrants must be USA residents and at least 18 years old. One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries and contacted via the email they provide. The email will come from joannegreco at gmail. The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The prize is $100 in Paypal or Amazon online gift card, winner’s choice.

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What would you do with an extra $100?  Would you spend it on yourself or someone else?


10 Favorite Kids Movies

1O FAVORITE KIDS MOVIES THAT DONT SUCKThis post uses affiliate links – while they don’t cost you any extra, they help keep this blog going. Thank you!

If you’ve been a parent for any amount of time, chances are you’ve got a favorite kids’ movie or two. I’ll be brutally honest. Most of them suck. (Keep in mind that I’ve been someone’s mom for 22 years – I’ve seen a lot of them!)

There are a select few Disney movies I like as well as a few others that really aren’t too bad, though. As a matter of fact, some movies I’d actually watch again. Here’s a quick list of my top ten favorite kids movies, alternately titled “Kids Movies That Don’t Suck”.

  1. ET The Extraterrestrial. If you haven’t seen this one, you’re really missing out. I will warn you though – it might be a little scary for the littlest viewers, so be sure you watch it yourself first. Compared to today’s standards, ET is a pretty mild film. Go ahead and watch it. “I’ll be riiiiiiiighhhhhhht heeeeeeerrrrrrrrre.”
  2. Ratatouille. Paris, food, rats in the kitchen…what’s not to love? Seriously, this movie is super cute. And you might even learn a cooking tip or two. Lots of grownup words and references in this one keep the adults just as entertained as the kids. If you’re looking for a cartoon that feels more like an adult movie, Ratatouille is a great choice.
  3. Cinderella. The first version, not the theatrical. My favorite part of this movie is the mice. (As I type this, I’m noticing that I apparently have a thing for rodents.) Anyway, if you don’t know the story of Cinder-elly, you’ve obviously been living under a rock. Hurry up and watch it before you turn into a pumpkin!
  4. Freaky Friday. Oh look. It’s Lindsay Lohan before she found drugs. This movie is pretty cute, and even if you can’t stand Lindsay, Jamie Lee Curtis does a great job. It’s the perfect movie for anyone who’s ever looked at a teenager and wondered why they don’t realize how ridiculous they are.
  5. Rugrats in Paris. The Rugrats films are some of my favorite kids movies mostly because they have a lot of parenting jokes that the parents understand but the kids don’t. Also, the doctor’s name is Lipschitz. I bet the writers listened to a lot of Jerky Boys tapes. Side note: If you don’t know who Jerky Boys are, please don’t tell me!
  6. My Dog Skip. Where do I begin with this one? You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll probably think about it for days when it’s over. Frankie Muniz’s character learns some serious life lessons in this film. You’ll remember some you’ve learned too. Be sure to grab the tissues, though. You’ll need them.
  7. My Girl. Here’s another movie you’ll need to bust out the Kleenex for. Along the same lines of life lessons and coming of age struggles, My Girl is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. Again, not really for younger kids, but definitely one that’s sure to become one of your favorite kids movies too. 
  8. Stuart Little. A mouse gets adopted by a family in Brooklyn and falls in love with a bird…have I mentioned that I used to be in love with Michael J. Fox? This is an adorable movie about inclusion and unconditional love. Kinda like my strange adoration for rodent movies.
  9. Frozen. This is hands down my favorite Disney movie of all time. Sure, we’re all a little Elsa’d out at this point, but I love the message. You don’t need a prince to save you. Your family is your true love. Also, I’m not ashamed to admit that “Let it Go” really has grown on me – mostly because the cold never bothered me anyway either. 
  10. Sing. As I type this, the DVD hasn’t even been released, but the digital version is out and it’s amazing. Best. Kids. Movie. EVER. And I mean EVER. In 22 years of parenting, I’ve never seen a better one. The characters are well developed and the jokes are seriously funny. There are quite a few life lessons sprinkled into this one, too. The best part for me though was the music. Great music. I found myself singing along more than once. And there’s a lot of Matthew McConaughey. I just love that man’s voice. I saw the movie in theaters and wanted to go back the following day to see it again.

How about you? Do you have a favorite kid’s movie? Share with us!

 

 

 

 


Things You Didn’t Know Needed Cleaning: Your Iron

How to Clean Your IronDisclosure: This post uses affiliate links. While I do get compensated if you use them, it doesn’t cost you anything extra. They help keep this blog running. Thank you!

Not too long ago I was talking to a blogger friend about firing the blog back up again this year, and that I couldn’t think of anything to write about. I had a serious case of blogger’s block! (I’ll tell you about how I got over that in another post.) Anyway, the advice my friend gave me was to talk about how to clean your iron. The conversation went something like this:

“Write about useful cleaning tips. Like how to clean your iron.”

Wait…you’re supposed to clean your iron?

Apparently you are. And you’re supposed to clean other things that I didn’t know about either! So I decided to do a monthly post on Things You Didn’t Know You Were Supposed to Clean. In honor of my friend, we’re starting with the iron!

Why do you need to clean your iron? Because the little steam holes build up mineral deposits and the starches in the clothes build up sticky stuff on your soleplate. If you have tap water with a lot of iron (the mineral) in it, you could even end up passing red stains onto your clothes from them.

Side Note: On the list of things that would really infuriate me? Taking time to iron my clothes and ruining them with stains in the process.

Now…if you’re me and don’t iron more than twice a year, you just throw out the entire iron and start over. That’s a lot of work for an iron that costs less than $25.

If you still want to clean your iron, here’s how!

Clean the Reservoir and steam holes:
  1. Fill the cold reservoir ¼ to ½ of the way with vinegar.
  2. Turn on the steam setting and iron something you don’t really care about – an old but clean T-shirt or towel works perfectly.
  3. Keep ironing until the reservoir is empty.
  4. If you’ve still got some nasty deposits on your iron, repeat the process using clean water.
  5. Alternate between vinegar and water as many times as you need to.
Clean the Soleplate:

Method 1 – soap and water

  1. Start with a cold and unplugged iron!
  2. Wipe the soleplate down with nylon mesh or a mild scrub sponge soaked in a soapy dish detergent and water mixture to remove any sort of starchy buildup.
  3. Wipe again with clean water and a washcloth. Is it clean yet? Great! You can stop here. If not, try the next method.

Method 2 – Baking soda

  1. If there is still buildup, scrub it with a baking soda and water paste.
  2. Fill the reservoir halfway with distilled water and iron a clean towel until it’s empty to get the baking soda out of any holes.
  3. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until the iron is clean.

Method 3 – Oven Cleaner

  1. If your oven has severely burned on stuff, you might need to use a foaming oven cleaner to clean the sole plate. Follow the instructions as if you were cleaning the oven.
  2. Fill the reservoir halfway with distilled water and iron a clean towel until it’s empty to get the remaining cleaner out of any holes.
Clean Your Iron Body:
  1. Wipe down the body of the iron with a damp and soapy cloth.
  2. Rinse and dry as needed.

To ensure your now sparkly clean iron stays that way, follow these tips:

  1. Always use distilled water in the reservoir and not tap water. This will keep the mineral buildup to a minimum.
  2. Do not store your iron with water in the reservoir. Empty the iron into a sink first and let it air dry for a couple of hours before putting in a closet.
  3. After each use, wipe the soleplate with a damp cloth to clear off any starches.
  4. Follow your iron’s manual for other usage and care instructions.

 

 


Leprechaun Trap Ideas – and an $800 Lucky Cash Giveaway too!

Leprechaun trap ideas and lucky cash giveawayBack in an era I like to call BP, or Before Pinterest, my oldest daughters built leprechaun traps in school for St. Patrick’s Day. We lived in a primarily Irish community, so our school really went over the top with it.

Similar to Elf on the Shelf, the leprechaun visited the classrooms every night while the children were gone and caused mischief. The next morning, the kids would find his trail of green footprints and glitter around the room.

Each student built leprechaun traps to catch him, but no one ever did. It was a really fun lesson for the kids. For the parents that had to come up with leprechaun trap ideas at home, not so much. 

This year, I’m actually hoping the littlest one comes home and asks me to help build a trap. I’m already searching for ideas, so I figured I’d gather them here and share with you in case you find yourself leprechaun hunting this year too! Take a look.

Fancy Shanty put together this DIY Leprechaun Trap from a chocolate bunny cage! 

Inspired Mama made a Leprechaun Trap out of an unfinished treasure box. So smart.

I found a Feathery Leprechaun Trap over at This Mama Loves. Who knew they liked feathers?

How about this wipes container turned into a Leprechaun Trap I saw on Premeditated Leftovers? Best use of a wipes container EVER!

Here are two more to inspire you: Check out the Leprechaun Traps Crafting Chicks made from a shoe box and Pirouette can! Never mind the leprechaun, give me the Pirouettes!
.

I hope when you catch him, your leprechaun has pockets full o’ gold! Just in case he doesn’t though, be sure to enter the Lucky Cash $800 giveaway!

This giveaway ends on 3/20/17 at 11:59 PM. Winner will be notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim prize before prize is forfeit and a new winner is chosen. Winner must claim prize before they are announced. Giveaway is open worldwide, void where prohibited. All entries are voluntary but must be completed as stated with verification in order to win. All entries will be verified and if it wasn’t completed a new winner will be chosen. Winner will be chosen randomly using Rafflecopter no later than 3/30/17. Winner must be 18 years or older to win. Void where prohibited.

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$100 Giveaway!

Would an extra $100 cure your winter blues? It sure would make my day a little brighter! So I’m teaming up with some blogger friends to bring you this giveaway.  Pay a bill or buy yourself something you’ve been eyeing up on Amazon – the choice is yours!

Entry is really simple – just follow the directions below.

How to enter: There are 20 Twitter accounts. Each account is worth one entry. Follow all 20 accounts for 20 entries into this giveaway. If you’re already a follower of an account, claim that entry! This giveaway starts February 5 at midnight EST and ends February 19 at 11:59 PM EST. Entrants must be USA residents and at least 18 years old. One winner will be randomly selected from all qualifying entries and contacted via the email they provide. The email will come from joannegreco at gmail. The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The prize is $100 in Paypal or Amazon online gift card, winner’s choice.

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What would you do with an extra $100?


Cheeseburger Potato Skins – Easy Game Day Recipe

This post uses affiliate links. While they do not cost you any extra, they help keep this blog running, so thank you for using them! This post is sponsored in part by BzzAgent.

I’m so excited for Super Bowl Sunday! There’s going to be cheeseburger potato skins and buffalo chicken and meatballs and dip…and I hear some teams will be playing football too!

I’m all about the food. Actually, I do know who’s playing this year, which is really kind of a big deal for me. I’ve only known once before. Honestly, the only reason I know now is because I needed the team colors for some VA work I was doing.

Anyway, back to the food. After a bit of a hiatus, I’ve been doing some work with BzzAgent, and I forgot how much fun they were to work with! They partnered with Farm Rich to send me some goodies, which included my new favorite spatula and coupons for a couple of boxes of Farm Rich products. The coupons they sent were for any Farm Rich snacks, but I decided on Loaded Potato Skins and Mozzarella Sticks. We have a fairly small store, and I still had quite a few options. Snacks I found hard to pass up were onion rings, breaded mushrooms, and meatballs. Looking at the website, though, there are many more Farm Rich products to choose from, including cheese curds, chicken bites, and even breakfast options like French Toast sticks.

Side Note: there are 180 calories in only 2 mozzarella sticks, but you’ll read about that in a later post entitled “101 Reasons why my butt is huge.”

Anyway…my friends at Farm Rich and BzzAgent also sent me a bunch of Farm Rich recipes, which can be found on the website. They all looked really good, but the Cheeseburger Potato Skins caught my eye. With Super Bowl Sunday coming up in a few short days, they make the perfect Game Day fare.

This is the official recipe:

Easy Farm Rich ch cheeseburger potato skins game day super bowl recipe 2

I did modify the original Cheeseburger Potato Skins recipe a little bit –  I used a shredded cheddar blend and chopped tomatoes. It still came out absolutely delicious! Who ever thought potato skins could be that tasty? I think next time I’ll add a little more bacon too.  In my eyes, there’s no such thing as too much bacon!

Easy Farm Rich cheeseburger potato skins game day super bowl recipe 2

I also slathered them with ketchup and mustard before I ate them like I do regular burgers, but the end result didn’t look nearly as appetizing as it this! You know you want to share!

Easy Farm Rich ch cheeseburger potato skins game day super bowl recipe 5

I really like the Farm Rich brand snacks. They’re so convenient to make and delicious every single time. I’ve been eating the mozzarella sticks for years (see above). However, I never really thought about making different recipes with them until now. Cheeseburger Potato Skins will definitely be in snack rotation, but I see a lot more experimenting in my future!

Have you tried Farm Rich snacks? Which is your favorite?

PS – You can learn more about opportunities to share your opinions with brands through BzzAgent here!


25 Winning Super Bowl Snack Recipes

Winning Game Day RecipesI’m going to be completely honest here. Sports are incredibly boring to me. I especially dislike football, because it reminds me of a fender bender during rush hour in the city. It’s a pileup that only moves 2 feet in an hour and a half. However,  I really get into the Super Bowl commercials. And the game day food. Because who doesn’t love fried everything and loads of dip? So in light of this, every year we have a tiny Super Bowl party. I make a bunch of game day fare just for the fun of gorging on appetizers while we watch the new commercials online. This year, I’m picking a few new snack recipes, so I thought I’d share some of what I found. I can wait to give them a try!

1. Toffee Peanut Snack – Bunny’s Warm Oven
2. Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs – Penny Pincher Jenny
3. Fiesta Sloppy Joe Dip – Lori’s Culinary Creations
4. Healthy Trail Mix with Popcorn – Slap Dash Mom
5. Hot Cheese Dip With Emmental – Frugal Mom Eh
6. Hot Pizza Dip – I Was Born to Cook
7. Feta, Pepper, and Spinach Cups – Happy Deal, Happy Day
8. Rotisserie Chicken Nachos – Amanda’s Cookin
9. Crock Pot Pineapple Sriracha Chicken Wings – Cutefetti
10. Shrimp Dip – Rockabye Parents
11. 3 Ingredient Cheese Ball- Frazzled and Frugal
12. Easy Avocado Bacon Egg Rolls – Home Cooking Memories
13. Pepperoni Pizza Bombs – Flour On My Face
14. Bacon and Cheese Ranch Dip – A Speckled Owl
15. Sweet and Spicy Wings in the Slow Cooker – Atta Girl Says
16. Air Fryer Pizza Hut Bread Sticks – Recipe This
17. Ham and Green Onion Cheeseball – Mandatory Mooch
18. German Beer Cheddar Fondue – Little Family Adventure
19. Game Day Bacon and Cheese Potato Skins – Two Kids and Coupon
20. Quick and Tasty Queso – A Speckled Owl
21. Instant Pot Crack Chicken – Adventures of a Nurse
22. Quick and Easy Nachos – This Mama’s Life
23. Game Day Slow Cooker Pizza Dip – Rural Mom
24. Gluten Free Fried Ravioli – What the Fork
25. Buffalo Chicken Dip – Busy Mommy Media

Are you hosting a Super Bowl party this year?


Adorable Franken-Mallow Halloween treats

halloween-treatsAnyone that knows me knows that Halloween really isn’t my favorite holiday. I’m not thrilled with the idea of children running through the streets on a sugar high asking strangers to “trick” them. I’m not sure about you, but I spend the other 364 days in a year teaching my kid not to talk to strangers – and certainly not to take candy from them! That said, it seems unfair to deny her the chance to dress like a unicorn and parade around town in all her glory, especially as the other kids are walking past the house with buckets full of cavity-starters.

This year, there have also been a lot of “scary” clown sightings nearby, so the city has put a time limit on trick-or-treating. It’s only allowed between 5-7 pm. That’s perfectly fine by us. We plan to trick-or-treat a few stores in the shopping plaza and then come home, make our own treats, and watch Halloween cartoons.

We want to make something tasty, fast. and fun. I think these Franken-mallows fit the bill nicely! Aren’t they abso-freaking-lutely adorable? They’re super easy to make too. Here’s how.

Ingredients:
  • Square Marshmallows
  • Green Food Dye
  • White Melting Chocolate
  • Candy Eyes
  • Black Gel Icing
Directions:
1.       Begin by put your square marshmallows on skewers and trimming the stick if need be.
2.       Next, melt your chocolate however you desire. I used the microwave which only takes seconds. Follow the directions for the chocolate you purchased.
3.       Add 3-5 drops of green food coloring to the chocolate and mix. Do this quickly as the chocolate will begin to harden.
4.       Begin spooning the green chocolate over the top of each marshmallow, one at a time until it’s completely coated.
5.       Lay on a pan covered in wax paper.
6.       Immediately place two eyes on the marshmallows while the chocolate is still wet.
7.       Once cool and the chocolate is dry, use your icing to draw the hair (squiggly lines that are filled in) and the mouth (one straight line with three straight lines through the first line).
Easy as pie, right? They’re pretty tasty, too!
franken-mallow halloween treats
Do you plan on trick or treating this year? Does your town have a curfew?