Easy DIY Lemon Disposal Refreshers

This morning I was getting ready to participate in another freezer meal swap. We participated in our first a couple of months back and it was a good experience so we decided to try it again. Learn more about freezer swaps from our coordinators post on Dayton Moms Blog.

This will likely be the last one we participate in for a few months since between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we have a plan to stock the freezer.

For the last freezer swap, I went with Six Sister’s Stuff’s Chicken Cacciatore with a good helping of fresh veggies mixed right in and jars of sauce and pasta were $1 or less (yay for coupons!). This time I picked One Crazy House’s Lemon Pepper Chicken and Rice recipe since it seems pretty straight forward and I like that the whole meal is in the crockpot – just start it and walk away for the day. Here’s hoping it all goes to plan.

lem 1cr

The recipe calls for lemon slices to top the chicken so after preparing 8 meals, I had a bit of lemon ends left over. Whenever we end up with citrus peels, we put them down the garbage disposal with some ice for a little bit of help cleaning up the blades and to freshen things up.  As I sliced the lemons I started thinking that it may be too much to put down at once right then but what a waste to toss the rest.

That’s when I thought to grab my trusty ice cube tray! I cut up the peels and ends into chunks and put 1-2 in each section of the trays and topped with water. Once they freeze, I’ll move them to a baggie and, whenever we need it, we’ll have some lemon peel and ice all in one to toss into the garbage disposal. All natural and no throwing scraps away – win, win!

lem 2 cr

Looking for some crockpot and freezer meal “pinspiration”? Check out my recipes board to get you started.

 

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MommyCon 2015 Ticket Giveaway!

MommyCon 2015 Ticket Giveaway!

I told you guys a little about MommyCon when I became a MommyCon blogger. I have been counting down the months until it comes to Columbus, Ohio on September 19, 2015. It has been fun connecting with other moms in the Facebook groups and learning from the veterans about how to make the most of the day.

Here are a few tips I have picked up:

  • Get ready to geek out. MommyCon is very kid-friendly but don’t be afraid to leave the little ones at home and enjoy your Mom time.
  • Look for deals for the area now. People have been able to get great deals on everything from hotels to parking to things to do with the kids before and after the event by keeping an eye out over the past few months.
  • Bring snacks. Even though there is food for sale, the lines tend to be long. If you have little ones with you, have dietary restrictions, or are just impatient, it’s a good idea to pack your lunch, or at least snacks and drinks. Also, leave it in the car if you can.
  • Standing room only. If you are taking kids with you, your best bet for the day is to plan on using a baby carrier and wearing a backpack. It sounds like they try to have a stroller check if you need to use one to get to the event but it will be pretty full of people so plan to carry babies and leave space in the backpack for fun finds and session materials.

For information about the Washington D.C., Columbus, Newport Beach and Seattle events, visit MommyCon. If there is a location you are interested in, scroll to the bottom to find the link to the Facebook group for the event and get in touch with other attendees. Of course, you can also follow them on social media to keep up to date with what is going on (and there are giveaways every now and then). Then, get ready for VIP tickets to go on sale closer to the actual date.

The ladies at MommyCon have been so great to work with. I am thrilled to be able to offer you a chance to win two general admission tickets to any MommyCon city in 2015! Follow the link below to enter by August 3, 2015, 11:59pm. Winner will be notified by email and have 24 hours to claim their prize. Good luck!

Click here: Rafflecopter giveaway

If you don’t want to wait and take your chances, use the promo code DOMESTIC15 for $5 off your general admission ticket today (only good on general admission, not pre-sale or VIP). Military moms, check out the Military Ticketing Program.

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First Time Strawberry Picking and Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins

We have been enjoying our first week of summer. I made the spur of the moment decision to join a playdate with a local mommy group for strawberry picking the other day and so glad I did. It was the first time I had finally made it to something with this group and it seems like a good group and they are always doing things so it will definitely be nice to do things with other people.

Even though we lived near Plant City, Florida, where LOTS of strawberries are grown, for three years, this was the first time Kelsey actually went strawberry picking and the first time in a long while for me. We had a nice time, with Aubrey playing on a blanket, the nice quiet with clear air, and Kelsey had a blast running up and down the rows, picking berries, and playing with the other children. I used to love doing u-pick with my father growing up so it’s fun to share something with my children.

strawberry Collage 3

Kelsey proved to be pretty good at selecting berries and I certainly put her to work while I was feeding Aubrey. We ended up with about 5.5 pounds of fresh, sun-ripened strawberries. Aubrey pounced on them grabbing a few and squishing them and, of course, Kelsey and I had to sample a couple, too. They are melt in your mouth and sweet.

It was nice to show Kelsey the full circle of gardening since she has been great at helping care for our little garden at home. It was some work and we all got a little muddy, but at least the reward was a big bowl strawberries when we got home. I highly recommend doing a little u-picking this summer if you can. PickYourOwn.org is a great resource for finding locations near you.

strawberry Collage 2

I wanted to do something tasty with some strawberries and eventually decided on trying to make something with oatmeal that would be a good snack or for breakfast. I was able to get Kelsey involved by letting her smash the strawberries, pour things in, and stir the bowls. These came out pretty tasty and got the Kelsey, and even the Aubrey, seal of approval! I started out with this recipe and made some changes.

The Troy Strawberry Festival is this weekend and encourages vendors to use strawberries in creative ways. My favorite from the last time we went is the Strawberry “Sweet Heat” Salsa that is made by The Future Begins Today, which helps students pursuing post-secondary education goals.

recipe Collage

Strawberry Oatmeal Muffins

  • 1-1/2 Cups oats quick or old fashioned, uncooked
  •  1-1/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  •  1-1/4 Teaspoons baking powder
  •  3/4 Teaspoon baking soda
  •  1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  1-1/2 Cups strawberries, mashed
  •  1/2 Cup fat-free milk
  •  1/2 Cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 -1/2 Teaspoon vanilla extract
  •  2 Tablespoons greek yogurt
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • sugar to sprinkle on top, optional

Heat oven to 400°F. Line twelve medium muffin cups with paper baking cups or spray bottoms only with cooking spray.

Combine oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon in large bowl; mix well. In a second large bowl, combine mashed strawberries, milk, brown sugar, vanilla extract, greek yogurt and mashed banana; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not overmix.)

Fill muffin cups almost full. Sprinkle sugar on top, if desired. Bake 15 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool muffins in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan.

 

OxiClean™ Extreme Power Crystals™ Dishwasher Detergent Review

I recently received a free bottle of OxiClean™ Extreme Power Crystals™ Dishwasher Detergent to try out from Smiley360.

OxyClean Dish Collage

I thought it worked great. I only filled the detergent cup halfway and got sparkling clean dishes and glasses. We decided to roast a turkey breast for dinner to use the leftovers in other dishes and also made cornbread casserole. I only rinsed the pans with water and OxiClean took care of the rest. Turkey grease gone from everything. While it was at it, it looks like the Extreme Power Crystals cleaned the inside of the dishwasher, too while leaving behind a light lemon scent.

oxiclean pans Collage

Only OxiClean(TM) Extreme #ExtremePowerCrystals cleans even the toughest stuck-on food, stains, and prevents film & spots while using 4X less detergent than the leading powder or gel! Receive a $1 off coupon to try it for yourself.

Join Smiley360 to qualify to get free products to try out for honest reviews.

 

*Post contains affiliate links. I received the product free to try. Opinions are my own.*

Woolzies Wool Dryer Balls Review and Giveaway!

woolzies

I had been hearing so much buzz about wool dryer balls that I had to get my hand on some. I was thrilled to get to finally try some when Woolzies sent me a 6 pack to try out and review. Even better, they are giving one away to one of you lucky readers, too! Scroll down for giveaway information.

Soft by Nature, Inc., who owns Woolzies, is a small family owned company in New York. The balls themselves are made from New Zealand wool and handmade in the democratic republic of Nepal, where they provide a steady source of income to the women of that developing nation. Why Woolzies Dryer Balls?

  • They soften naturally, without using chemicals
  • Reduce drying time by up to 25%
  • Helps eliminate wrinkles
  • Helps reduce static
  • Saves energy
  • Noise free
  • 100% safe for people with wool sensitivities

So, how did they do? Overall, I am pleased with how these work. In fact, they are bouncing around in my dryer as I type this. I have been using tennis balls when I put pillows in the dryer and they can make a bit of a racket. These are just a light thud as they do their work, quieter than the zippers hitting the sides. It’s hard for me to tell if they are reducing the drying time since I have a smart dryer that adjusts the time as needed. They have been doing the job of getting the pet fur off the clothes and I really can’t tell any difference in the clothing appearance between now and when I was using dryer sheets.

I like that since these don’t have any chemicals or fabric softeners I can use them when I wash towels or cloth diapers (I like to put my inserts in the dryer to give them a head start on drying). They have been coming out soft but I don’t worry about the fabric performance being hindered. However, there are two particular types of clothing that they don’t seem to be working on. Honestly, dryer sheets don’t do much better, but my husbands UnderArmour running clothes and his wool socks (oddly enough) are still have a lot of static when they come out. I have not, however, tried one of their suggestions of putting a ball of aluminum foil in with the dryer balls to see if helps any. On the other hand, when those items aren’t in the load, there isn’t an issue. Perhaps the dry, cold air has something to do with it, I’m not sure.

I intend to keep using these with towels, cloth diapers, and definitely my children’s clothing, but may still need to play around with whether or not they work for me and my husband’s clothing. It will still save money between dry time and buying way less dryer sheets in the long run. Another feature I still haven’t tried is that you can scent these balls by applying pure essential oil to have your laundry smell however you like. I am not big on scents, put a nice lavender or peppermint might be nice to try since I do sort of miss the “fresh laundry” scent.

Want a set of your own? They can be purchased here or follow the link below to enter to win a 6 pack of Woolzies Dryer Balls! Giveaway ends on 3/3/14 and winner will have 24 hours to respond. Be sure to Woolzies on Facebook (tell them Domesticating Michelle sent you) for links to other giveaways.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was provided with a set of Woolzies Dryer Balls to review. All opinions are my own. Soft by Nature/Woolzies is responsible for prize fulfillment.*

CouponChief.com Review

Part of staying at home right now means tightening the belt where finances are concerned. Between my husband and I there are 3 sets of parents, 4 siblings and 8 nieces and nephews. Then there is the two of us and our daughter and everyone has birthdays on top of the gift giving holidays throughout the year.

Whenever I possibly can, I try to find the best deals to stretch our gift giving dollars. One way is to take advantage of coupon codes and websites that provide lists of them to all my favorite stores. I was recently asked to review CouponChief.com and went for a look at what I could find for all the moms for Mother’s Day.

Coupon Chief  has the largest source of online coupons and store discounts for apparel, electronics, travel, entertainment and more!

Features:

  • Find coupons for 1000’s of retailers.
  • Search for coupons and browse by product category.
  • All coupons are valid and rated by community.
  • Rate coupons and leave comments.
  • Set coupon alerts and view your browsing history.
  • Share coupons with friends and relatives via email.
  • Submit coupons and earn some cash.
  • CouponChief demo video.

I love photo gifts, especially for the grandmas, and found codes for Shutterfly, Snapfish and Tiny Prints. Sites like Wine.com would be perfect for my mother-in-law, Bath & Body Works for my Mom and Kohl’s for my stepmom. I like that this is also a great way to discover sites that you may have missed like Coffee of Hawaii.

I’m already looking ahead to my next anniversary. I always get my husband a “traditional” wedding anniversary gift, like a cast iron skillet for our sixth anniversary. Could a wool scarf be in his future for next year? I doubt we’ll live in Florida forever. These from Scarves.com could be as low as $12.75 with a current coupon code.

They also reward you for submitting coupon codes with their Pays-2-Share Program. Every time someone uses a coupon you’ve uploaded, Coupon Chief will give you 2% of the sales via check or PayPal! This is something I am definitely going to try to start doing.

They also have Coupons-4-Causes where you can help support your favorite cause every time you shop. Just use their coupons for your online shopping, and they’ll donate up to 20% of the purchase to your favorite charity, school, or church.

Coupon Chief is worth a look next time you’re shopping online and could be a great fundraising or extra income opportunity.

**This review was sponsored by CouponChief.com but the thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Goals for 2012

It’s a new year and, so far, it’s been a busy one. This time last year I was getting used to the reality that I had a newborn. Now, that bundle of baby is a running, squealing, opening cabinets toddler! I still see some of my little baby in there, but everyday I know she’s becoming more of a little girl.

Towards the end of December I started thinking about what my resolution for 2012 would be. I am not any good at actually sticking to many of them but I thought that I’d give myself some goals for the year. I have been trying to get more comfortable in the kitchen and I have been enjoying trying new crafts so I think I can actually stick to this for the year.

It comes down to confidence. I, sadly, feel like I’ve been losing a lot of it recently. It’s time to start building some back up.

Goal #1: Make or use something new in the kitchen every month.

There are lots of recipes I see that sound good but I chicken out when I see an ingredient or a technique that I don’t know. It’s time to face them head on!

January’s Challenge – My husband and I wanted to do a smash cake photo shoot for Kelsey’s first birthday. I got it in my head that I wanted to make her a healthy cake. So began the research, then the obsessing. A couple of days before our first date (we had to reschedule because of weather) worrying about whether or not it would turn out alright and would it look good in the pictures got the better of me and I decided to order a little cake from Publix.

At the MacDill Enlisted Spouses Meeting, it was suggested that the theme for the potluck before the meeting should be to make something you’ve never made before. I decided this would be a good time to go ahead and try to make a cake from scratch. I even made the icing! The Banana Cake and Banana Glaze came out moist and tasty.

However, I do stand by my decision. It didn’t come out of the pan like I thought it would so I would have been panicking for the photos but it turned out just fine for the meeting. Kelsey even ate a little of it! (She hasn’t really been interested in any cake so far so I’m curious how our photo shoot is going to come out.)

My first cake and it's from scratch!

 

Goal #2: Try out a new craft or DIY each month.

This one may be a little trickier to keep up with but I’m going to give it my best shot.

 

Goal #3: Make a pillowcase dress for Kelsey.

Sounds easy, right? However, if you know me at all, you’ve probably just fallen off of your seat. I’ll wait for you to get back up. Why is it so shocking, you ask? Because it involves sewing. So, the first step in getting this one done is going to be to finally really learn how to use the machine my poor mother dragged half way across the country to take to me while we lived in Dayton a few years ago that I have yet to use.

 

Wish me luck and here’s to a great 2012!