Thursday, August 28

Tickle Monster Laughter Kit

Anything that comes in a box labeled "Laughter Kit" is okay by me!

My Mom recently sent Little Man his very own Laughter Kit, complete with the Tickle Monster book and Tickle Mitts. He immediately removed the mitts, grabbed the book, and settled in next to me.

The very first page sparked a load of giggles (Mommy wearing tickle mitts might have had something to do with it). A loveable monster with puffy blue mitts has just flown in from the Planet Tickle. His mission is to bring joy and laughter to all on Planet Earth. How? By tickling any child who happens to follow along the pages of this charming (and I'm a sucker for books that rhyme).

By the time we finished, we both had a belly ache and he was pleading "again".

It has officially become our new favorite book (notice I said "our") and I knew I had to share, confident you need a laughter kit of your own!

A little piece of advice, this is not recommended for bedtime reading. I tried it and I should've just handed Little Man a handful of sugar...the results would've been the same!

Here's a link to Amazon or you can find a delightful little box at your local bookstore.

Happy reading and let the tickling begin (I advise a quick potty break before you strap on the mitts)!

Tuesday, August 26

Blueberry Yogurt Bites

This is a fun twist on my original Frozen Yogurt Bites post. I hit the blueberry jackpot at Aldi during my last visit, pints for $.99 each! Needless to say, I bought five. Maybe I was a bit overzealous as I'm now seeing blue in my sleep. I keep thinking Little Man and Super Hunk will tire of blueberry EVERYTHING but they don't seem fazed.

Running out of ideas (and one pint that was almost compost worthy), I had a brain fart (pardon the explicative..."toot"). I love it when epiphanies turn out delicious.

Yogurt of choice (I used vanilla and strawberry)
Blueberries (fresh)
Skewer (for dipping)

Rinse and drain blueberries.

Pour yogurt in small bowl (spice things up and use a variety of yogurts).

Skewer individual blueberry (I attempted to dip a couple at a time but it was a small disaster...pun intended). I won't lie, this part is time consuming but you can get a jump start on your Christmas card list (or recite every line of Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail...or is that just me).
"What is your name? What is your quest? What is your favorite color?"

Here goes nothing!
"You've got two empty halves of coconut and you're banging them together!"

Dip and spin (sounds like an 80's dance move) until all sides of blueberry are covered.
"We are now no longer the Knights who say Ni."

Place on baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.

"Brave Sir Robin ran away...bravely ran away away. When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled."

Continue until pan is full (don't get weary, the reward is definitely worth the effort). Freeze for about an hour until yogurt is no longer sticky. (Oh no, I spy one with a stem! Excuse me while I make a freezer extraction.)

"The Castle of Auuuugggghhhhh."

Cold, creamy, and delicious...and the makings of a yummy sunny day snack. Enjoy!

(I'm off to watch some mediocre British cinema...with my tiny creations.)

Friday, August 22

Mix-It-Up GIVEAWAY Winner!

**************** WINNER ****************
Please Email your complete info and mailing address to receive your goodies.

Thank you for participating, stay tuned for more Favorite Things giveaways.
My Mom is responsible for so many wonderful things in my life...including these oh-so-fabulous melamine mixing bowls.

From big to small, you can mix it all (see what I did there...look out, Dr. Seuss).

Today, because they're colorful, because color makes baking better, and because I love ya,  I'm giving away a set!

Happy dance...break it down, break it down!

Aren't they love-ly...aren't they won-der-ful (because I'm a firm believer that Stevie Wonder should be worked into every conversation)!  

Great for prepping or serving (or licking the bowl)..and they stack perfectly to maximize space. Trust me, they'll make your kitchen so cheery.

To enter, comment below with the your answer to the following question. "What color is your kitchen? Red? Yellow? Sparkle?"

Winner will be selected at random on Friday. Happy registering.

Thursday, August 14

The Low Down On ThredUp

Ladies, it's time to talk shop! Cleaning-out-your-closets-and-getting-paid-to-do-it shop!

This post is a shout out to all my fellow consignment store, thrift store, resale store lovers. They're a thing of beauty...don't you agree? Even the not-so-great-carry-your-pepper-spray places have diamonds in the rough.

Before I had Little Man, I occasionally stopped in to a few of my favorite spots. Marc Jacobs stilettos? Banana Republic khakis? Coach a fraction of the cost and looks brand new? Don't mind if I do! It was my version of a day at the spa.

Then this little boy came along and made my world exponentially more expensive. How does something so small require so much cash? With dreams of him attending college, I converted my occasional trips to frequent, "Norm" visits (name that show). Yep, I'm having my cake and eating it too. Clothed in (new or gently used) Ralph Lauren AND he has a college fund! Score!

Having said ALL of that (thank you for enduring my rambling), let's talk

I was first introduced to the online resale website when a friend forwarded me the $10 off coupon for first time shoppers. Curious, I browsed the site and was impressed with it's look and functionality. I decided to become a seller and requested my first bag. After all, I have a stack of items Little Man and I (notice the "I") have outgrown and can never seem to find time to drop them off. This seemed like a convenient solution.

Within days, my bag arrived. I quickly loaded the acceptable (they provide a list of brands they are looking for) items, sealed the bag, and dropped it at the post office during my daily visit (and my husband says I can't multi-task). Easy as that!

A couple of weeks passed and I received an email that my account had been credited and they took nine of my ten items (you can pay $12 shipping on items they don't accept and they'll send them back to you...I considered it a donation).

My account contained $47.94...nice! I had two options, spend the balance at or request a Cashout (which included a $10 charge). I opted for the Cashout and they placed the money in my PayPal account (Little Man had a certain train set on eBay so it was perfect timing).

Overall, it was a pleasant and very convenient experience. I give it two thumbs up and I have another bag on its way!

Happy closet cleaning!

Wednesday, August 13

My Most Valuable Marriage Advice

It's summer and we all know what that means...weddings! I have a few friends/acquaintances tying the knot in the coming weeks which has prompted numerous requests for my best marriage advice.

Super Hunk and I had a short dating/engagement period (8 weeks to be exact). I know, gasp! Pick yourself up off the floor and hang with me. God's timing is perfect and He brought us together when we were absolutely ready for each other. We are a perfect illustration of the old cliché, "When you know, you know."

Here we are, six years (and one beautiful little boy) later, and I love him more today than I did then. To keep from being too sappy, I will confess there are days I want to kick him in the shin but I like to think that's normal.

I attribute every success in our little marriage (and every butterfly I experience when he's rinsing the dishes) to the following...the most valuable marriage advice I received.

1) God first, ALWAYS! Even if He's somewhat of a stranger to you, find a church...plug in...and get connected with other couples. The fellowship is food for your soul.

2) You'll still have "your" friends and he'll still have "his" friends but make an effort to find new friends. You've started a fresh chapter and life will look different, find couples that are writing the same story (and will understand when you call, furious about underwear on the bathroom floor).

3) You're going to change, don't fight it. You've committed to spend the rest of your life with another person. You now share everything and it will influence who you are. If you allow it, embrace it, and find joy in it, it will absolutely change you for the better!

4) Bloom where you're planted. Sometimes it's your spouse's season, their time to shine. That might mean you go from leading lady to stage hand but never forget how important you are. No matter what role you play, he CAN'T do it without you. Bloom where you're planted and let the world see your beauty! (This leads me to #5.)

5) It's not about you! As much as I want Super Hunk's world to revolve around me, it doesn't. At the end of the day, it's a partnership. You reap what you sow, I make an effort to love and nurture him and inevitably he does the same.

6) If you ever want to complain about your husband, call HIS mother. Never taint the waters of your husband's character to anyone other than his mother, she'll hear you out and love him anyway. She also might have a little advice, she's known him his whole life.

7) Last and definitely not least...this is my favorite, we all love a good competition...If you always try to out give each other, you both win. This goes back to #5, you reap what you sow. Every day, make an attempt to show your spouse how special he is...I promise you'll see the difference it makes.

Okay, that's most valuable marriage advice. With people's skepticism of our short engagement, I received a LOT of advice. Take the good, leave the bad, and serve others above self.

These are the smiles of happy people, following good advice!


Monday, August 11

Strawberry Peach Smoothie

You know that thing you do so often, you could do it with your eyes closed?

That's a Strawberry Peach Smoothie in my world. I've made so many, I don't even think about it anymore...pour, squeeze, sprinkle, blend.

The blender gets an extra workout in the hot months (which is over half the year in steamy ol' Texas). To prevent Little Man from eating his weight in Popsicles (and then climbing the walls all hyped up on sugar), I keep the blender busy.

This morning, while enjoying one with my favorite little guy, it occurred to me that you might like to make your own and I've been keeping the yummy recipe to myself.

I apologize for being so thoughtless! Smoothie shame on me!

Ingredients: (makes two small smoothies)
1 cup frozen peaches 
1/2 cup frozen strawberries 
1 cup strawberry yogurt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
Sprinkle of cinnamon

Toss it all in the blender and blend until desired consistency. Feel free to add more water if it's too thick. Pour, insert two straws (for sharing), and enjoy!

The taste is delicious but this view while sharing is why I keep coming back for more!

Tuesday, August 5

Squash & Mushroom Pizza

If you're reading this post, the title alone has you puzzled...intrigued.

Squash? On pizza?

In our house, this is a little thing called a "Courtney Concoction" (all credit goes to Super Hunk for the catchy title). There are evenings where I stand in the kitchen, scratch my head (while stepping on a car), and wonder what I can throw together for dinner.

As I've mentioned, the garden is producing more than we can eat. It seems as if just when I catch my breath, it spits out a whole new crop. Right now, it's zucchini (my dear friend has also been sharing her yellow squash bounty) and I'm running out of ideas.

Because we can't go one week without homemade pizza, I whipped up this Courtney Concoction.

Much to our was so down-right-dad-gum-delicious!

1 pizza crust (I use PW's recipe, it's by far the best. Caution: it makes two crusts.)
2 tablespoons basil pesto
1/3 alfredo sauce
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup sliced white mushrooms
1/2 zucchini, sliced thin
1/2 yellow squash, sliced thin

Roll out dough on floured surface to your desired thickness. Transfer to baking sheet. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Mix alfredo sauce and pesto until blended. Pour over pizza crust and spread to cover.

Top with 1/2 the amount of grated cheese. I left the measurement of cheese off because who am I to tell you how much cheese to use? Go crazy, add a little more...nobody is watching!

Top with mushrooms, zucchini, and yellow squash slices.

Top with remaining mozzarella and parmesan.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until done to your liking.

I promise, this pizza pie will be a new family favorite! Excuse me...I can't stand it anymore, I must have a bite!


Monday, August 4

Fit & Fresh GIVEAWAY ~ Winner!

************ Winner *************
Please email your full mailing information to receive your winnings.

Thank you to everyone who participated. Stay tuned for more Favorite Things giveaways!
It's cool giveaway time...literally!

If you live in a small town, you can relate to "day trips". Loading in the car, driving to the big city, and driving home again in the same day. Attempting to avoid all fast food, I usually pack a load of healthy snacks.

With the extreme Texas heat, keeping our yummy snacks cool can be difficult (or nearly impossible).

Today, because I love ya, because it's Friday, and because these are my new favorite gadget, I'm giving a set away! Yippee!

I adore numerous Fit & Fresh products but these are simply wonderful for the days you're on the go. The durable 2 cup containers are stackable, easy to store and include removable ice packs to keep things cool and fresh (my favorite feature).

They are also handy if you travel with medicine that requires refrigeration. Pop in the ice pack and place container in your cooler...double chill!

To enter, comment below with your answer to the following question. "What is your favorite road trip snack? Fruit? Salad? Fruit salad? Coooookkkkiiieessss?"

Winner will be selected at random on Monday.

Hope you have a "cool" weekend!