Friday, October 31, 2014

Last Minute Halloween Drink Ideas with Old Orchard Drink Mixers #ad

Are you having a Halloween Party this weekend? Did you remember fun and creative beverage ideas? If not, you can quickly run out to Wal-Mart and buy a couple of Old Orchard Mixers. They were $1.99 a piece. We sampled both the Margarita and Strawberry Daiquiri flavors, but there is also Pina Colada available as well (just not at the store I was at). I was given free coupons (note: disclosure) to purchase these items in order to have a sampling and review them and have an early Halloween party.

 Vampire Slush
(aka Strawberry Daiquiri)

1 Can of Old Orchard Mixers Strawberry Daiquiri Frozen Concentrate
1 Can of Water
3 Cup of Ice Cubes

Directions: Blend in a blender until Smooth, if alcohol is desired then add a 1/2 Can of Rum instead of the water.
 Witch's Brew Drink
(aka Margarita on the Rocks)

1 Can of Old Orchard Mixers Margarita Frozen Concentrate
2 1/2 Cans of Water
Ice Cubes to Serve

Directions: Mix concentrate and water together. If alcohol is desired, mix in 1/2 can of tequila in place of 1/2 can of water. Use ice cubes when serving "on the rocks".

I used this neat ice cube tray with skulls and cross bones for a fun Halloween accent.

Since we were sampling them with kids, we chose to do them all without alcohol, but the cans says you can add a 1/2 can of alcohol to the mix. The "on the rocks" recipe was what I figured out how to make it that way by tasting it as I added water. The recipe on the can is for it to be blended, but I really wanted to use these fun ice cubes and have something not frozen.

These were super easy to make drinks with and everyone wanted more. The can says that it serves 6, but I thought it would be more like 4 drinks. Although, they were very flavorful so I think if you added another can of water and another cup of ice cubes to the daiquiri you could make that in to 6 drinks, or maybe it is just that I had big glasses. LOL! The margarita with the directions as I wrote them did serve 6.

Also, I wanted to know that the can are recyclable, so you have not extra trash.

While I was looking at the Old Orchard website, I did see they have Iced Coffee frozen concentrates that I think I am going to for sure have to look for and try too!

But before you head out to buy your Old Orchard Mixers! don't forget to print off a coupon!!!! They currently have a $1 off 4 frozen concentrate mixes that you can use. 

Reading Bright Start! from Nemours Children's Health System

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in a webinar sponsored by Nemours Children's Health System to help educate bloggers and the public about their new program called Reading Bright Start! They sent me the above Reading Readiness swag bag to use at home and encourage literacy skills among my children (note: disclosure). Now, this webinar wasn't that new of information to me as I have done ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education, it's a MN Dept of Ed. program) with my kids since they were infants. I started reading to my kids the same day I brought them home from the hospital and made a routine our of reading before nap time and bedtime. I nursed both of my kids for the first year of their life and it was the perfect opportunity for them to listen to me read. I had their full attention while they were nursing and when I had my second born, my older child would hold the book for me while I read to both of them.

We still read with my kids before bedtime, even my 8 1/2 year old. If they still want you to read to them or with them, DO IT! It won't be long before they might say they don't want you there an you don't want to look back wishing you had read to them more. Not only are you reading to them, but you are giving them sensory input by touching them while you sit/lay next to each other. Some kids are very sensory in nature and find it calming to be touched while they are learning and for some kids being touched is one of their love languages and they are receiving information that they are loved and cared for while they are also learning words and increasing their vocabulary. There is SOOO MUCH good to come from sitting with your child or grandchild and reading to them.

But we didn't read at bedtime, nap time, or during nursing. We read all the time. I have books in each our cars (don't tell me you are bored while we are driving somewhere! read!) When they were really little we had those little waterproof bath books we read to them, and we had a couple of books (an Alphabet one and Nursery Rhyme one) that we read while they ate in their high chairs. We encourage literacy every chance we get because it is so important to helping them become good students and having an opportunity at more success in many facets of their lives. It's no wonder that my preschooler is sounding out short words already and my 3rd grader is above reading level for her grade.

Now that I have shared with you a bit about how literacy is important to our family, I also want to tell you more about how you can use Nemours Reading Bright Start! online program to help your family. You don't need to live in an area where Nemours services to use there online resources, plus it's FREE! Their website is targeted towards providing literacy tools to help children between the ages of 0-5 reach reading milestones. They have 8 separated sections based on different age groups from birth through age five to help you learn what skills you can be working on with them and milestones they should be reaching during this age group. Each of they sections includes milestone information for  motor skills and language and cognitive skills, as well as a section on helping at home and another on warning signs, as well as fun ideas for books to be reading this age group. This is the 5 year old page (since I have a new 5 year old.)
One of the more interesting tools I found on the website is the Preschool Reading Screener for ages 3, 4, and 5. At the end of the screener you are provided instantly with the results and an action plan on how to help your child develop their literacy skills. I think this is particularly useful if you are unsure of where your child is at or if there is no screening in your area before they start kindergarten. It is important that we help equip children with foundational early literacy skills so that we can set them up for possibly future success in school.

This is a picture of a slide in the  Nemours webinar I participated in that I found particularly interesting that says "If a child is not reading at grade level by the end of first grade, that child only has a 10% chance of reading at grade level by the end of fourth grade." WOW! That really struck home to me since I have a preschooler and 3rd grader. I go in to volunteer in both of their classrooms and see how some of the third graders are really struggling with reading and if they are struggling with reading they are likely to be struggling with other subjects as well and I see how important it is that I am in volunteering with the preschoolers and reading to them.

Just check out the list (in the green box) that states what other types of negative consequences there may be for children who are struggling with their reading and not reading at grade level. I bet some of you didn't think that problems with reading can result in some of those consequences, which is why it is so IMPORTANT that we encourage early literacy skills in our youth before they enter school and give them foundational skills that they will continue to build upon.

This is a little chart I have seen in an area library and after this webinar I thought it was such an impact to see visually what it looks like to read to your child 20 minutes a day. Imagine how many words will be in your child's vocabulary if you started reading to them at birth. Don't fret over if you didn't start reading to them at birth, just start reading to them now. Check out the Reading Bright Start! website to get ideas for books and learn about early literacy milestones that your child should be reaching.

Happy Halloween

Review: Santamedical Electonic Pulse Massager

My Thoughts:

The chiropractor I see (infrequently) uses an electronic pulse machine (not sure on the kind), so I was excited to be able to review the Santamedical Electronic Pulse Massager because I like the idea of helping

This is a very powerful unit. Start out at 1 and wait a full minute for it to cycle through if you are doing one of the "Auto" choices" before moving up. When you are choosing between the different "Auto" modes it will do different kinds of pulses and some will be much stronger than other and you could be very surprised if you turn it up right away and then it changes to a different sequence. I have used this on a variety of different bod parts and they do not all receive the impulses the same so don't assume because you are a 3 in one area that you will be in another area. The unit goes up to "10", starting out at "1". The highest I ever felt comfortable using was a 3.5 on my IT band, most areas I could not go over 2. I tried to feel what higher sensations felt like and I was not willing to try anything higher than a 6. So, if you are looking for an electronic pulse massager than is powerful, you will certainly find that this one is. I did find that my muscles that I used it on felt relaxed after using it, so it does seem to be effective. I also like the portability of the massager.

Product Description from Santa Medical:

Santamedical electronic pulse massager features microcomputer controls therefore you can easily adjust massager with available six automatic programs and three diverse styles of modes. The device has dual channel system; hence it can easily work two areas at one time. Recomended by doctors, this is best handheld tens massager in the market. Buy with Confidence, Santamedical unit is FDA approved. Quality - Santamedical unit is designed with quality and durability in mind. Our factory is ISO-9001 certified. It conforms to international medical standards of excellence in manufacturing

Six Auto Modes (stimulation programs), , Fully-adjustable Speed & Intensity, High Frequency stimulation to relieve pain 4 Attachment pads included, Power: DC 6V (4 AAA batteries included) Best unit for Stress, Muscle Soreness, Stiffness, or Chronic Pain. The Simplest Tens Pulse Massager Is Also the Most Advanced LCD shows massage style, intensity and time remaining. Three selectable massages Small and Lightweight - At only 5.3 Oz, is no bigger than a remote control, , this unit packs enough power to thoroughly massage your body, but can travel with you anywhere you like.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Thrifty Thursday: Taco Guacamole

I thought I would try this in a pinch because we were at the cabin, where I have a limited amount of seasonings on my shelf there, and forgot to buy a packet of guacamole seasoning. What I did have was an extra packet of Taco Seasoning that cost 35-cents. I used only 1/3 of the packet to 2 avocados and it made a wonderful guacamole with a light taco flavor and lots of avocado flavor. So, instead of spending $1.00+ on the guacamole seasoning, it only cost me 12-cents for part of a taco seasoning packet. I know it's not a lot of money, but every little bit saved helps.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Portland's Haunted Pizzeria - Old Town Pizza

Old Town Pizza in Portland, OR

Fantastic pizza! Plus an interesting story, of course we edited the story to what we wanted the kids to know and what we thought they could understand.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Manicure Ideas

I have had a little fun this month playing around with Halloween manicure ideas. I was trying out a few things so I could share them with my daughter and some of her friends as they had a crafty Halloween playdate.