Wednesday, June 23, 2010

5 Make-Up Must-Haves

Rene at Cottage and Vine recently posted her five favorite cosmetics and asked us to post what five items we would pack in our overnight bag.  If you know me, you know I have an opinion.

#1.  I was so happy to see Cetaphil on Rene's list.  She had the lotion but I can't live without the cleanser.  Years ago I read Paula Begoun's book Don't Go to the Cosmetic Counter Without Me and Cetaphil cleanser was one of her top picks.  I have used it ever since.  I buy it at Sam's or Costco in bulk and my girls use it to bathe with as well.  Paula even claimed that if you need a little exfoliating action that you can mix in a little baking soda with the cleanser.  I have done that in the past when I actually cared to exfoliate.  These days I am doing good just to wash my face.  I did not know however that the lotion would smooth your hair, so.
 #2 If Cetaphil's cleanser makes my list then their moisturizer must be deemed 2nd place.  I have never had any complexion problems using their moisturizer and it is relatively inexpensive especially when compared to department store brands.  I especially like that they now have their moisturizer in spf 50.
#3.  OK...its all about the hygiene.  Because if I'm going anywhere overnight I'm gonna have my toothbrush.  Beauty will just have to wait.  I love these toothbrushes and I couldn't live without my plain Colgate toothpaste (none of those whiteners, total care etc... for me) with their oh-so-luxurious patented flip top.  Can these 2 items technically count as 1?!?  And oh yes, I forgot to mention my Reach flosser.  I probably wouldn't floss every day if it weren't for this baby.  The way I figure it is if you think the flossers are pricey, try having a cavity filled because you didn't floss.  I'll guarantee the flossers will run you a little less.
#4  Now we get into the "beautimous" segment.  I'll have to pick, hands down, MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation.  I love this foundation.  It is so quick and easy to apply and since I tend to have slightly oily skin it does a great job of minimizing that.  They also offer a huge variety of shades/colors.  If you go to their site, sign up for their emails because they're always doing free shipping.  However, the first time I recommend you go to a department store so that you can make sure you get the right shade because I'm not kidding when I say it comes in a HUGE variety of shades.

#5  Since I have long eyelashes I will forgo the mascara and stick with accentuating my lips.  How does the saying go?  "Just put on a little lipstick.  You'll be fine."  I love these Palladio retractable waterproof pencils (by the way I use their eyeliner too).  I get these at Ulta.  I hate it when the wooden encased pencils get worn down and while you're applying it the jagged edge of the wood tears into your lips (or eyes) like Excalibur's sword.  Lots of times I will use this lip liner to fill in my lips completely and just smooth it all out with a little gloss.  Heidi Swapp said on her blog (of all places) to wear gloss in a photograph that it would make you look 10 times better.  Who couldn't use looking 10x better?  I have also heard to pick the perfect shade of lipstick - match the lipstick to your tongue.  It doesn't have to be the same color as your tongue just the same shade.  Because nothing is worse than your lips entering the room 10 minutes before you get there.

So that's it.  My beauty must-haves.  Now, if I could just do something with my hair...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Salsa Chicken

My good friend Colleen and I are always sharing recipes.  She gave me a keeper recently and it has become a staple in our house.  It is super tasty, pretty-darned healthy, and EASY.  It also seems like a summery dish to me.  The worst part of Salsa Chicken is making the taco seasoning but you can cheat and use a prepackaged taco seasoning.  If I can avoid MSG though I try to.  I don't know that any of us are allergic but it never hurts to avoid "danga" when you can.

So here's the recipe for Salsa Chicken.  I use Harris Teeter's mild picante sauce and my children (who do not normally like chunky stuff) seem to like it.

Here is the recipe I use for my home-made taco seasoning.  Like they say use more or less crushed red pepper flakes depending on your family's preferences.  The thing I like about allrecipe's site is that you can change your servings and it will automatically recalculate the amounts needed in the recipe for you.  I usually make about 100 servings of this at time just to have on hand.

We serve the Salsa Chicken over a bed of greens (spinach and/or romaine) with sour cream.  We will also have some fruit (pineapple or strawberries) which seems to chase the heat a little.  If I'm feeling real crazy I'll serve some tortilla chips too.

Let me know if you make it and if you enjoyed it.

And uh...Colleen how 'bout giving up some mo' recipes like this 'un.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Family Journal

I told you I would post about our family journal.  We've only written a few pages so far.  But so far so good.  Our Summer Bingo sheets are really helping us stay on task in that regard. 

Here is the notebook I decided on.  I was with a friend in Barnes & Noble and we happened upon these in their bargain book section.  I snagged it up because it is all about what looks good in Mommy's living room, now isn't it?!?

It may say $17.99 but if you know anything about me you know I NEVER pay retail.  I believe this little baby was only around five bucks.

Now, here's the segway.  A couple of years ago my husband took a job out of state in a wretched awful place that was dry, dusty, and windy.  Dry is ok.  Dusty - I'm used to inside my home.  Windy - fine at the beach (well not really - since that experience I have come to realize that I detest the wind).  But, I digress.  Combine all three of those elements while residing in a 2nd floor apartment?  You're looking at some unhappy campers.  Not to mention there was NO shopping in this little neck of the woods.  So, we spent a lot of time at the library.  And luckily that place was a gem.  We happened to find a little book there called Dilly's Big Sister Diary.

It was such a cute little book, I decided to hunt it down and buy it , I believe on Amazon.  The concept of doodling and journaling comes to life in this book.  Dilly is a big sister expecting a new baby brother and her mother buys her a journal to write down all of her thoughts.

It really is a cute little book.  Some parts make me want to cringe (just a little) but all in all it is a cute story.

I think there are some similar American Girl books in this style too but I am usually a little stand-offish from most American Girl material.  Anyway, here are some samplings of our entries...nothing much other than just chronicling our daily lives.  I usually try to date the entries because I know the girls usually won't.  And oh yes, I like to make sure to include pictures.  Can you tell that from my blog?

It is ordinarily (I say ordinarily like we've been doing this for years) just light conversation back and forth between us.  We may or may not talk about what we've written.  Most of the time that is the fun of it - not talking about it and reading what someone else has written.

It is living history in the making.  Do this today.  Like the Nike commercial says, "Just do it".  Make it a habit.  You will not regret this.  Years later you will be so glad you did.  I know it.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer Bingo

Recently my friend Alicia and I were talking about our summer plans.  She sent me a link to Stacey Julian's blog post from last summer for her Summer  Bingo game.  I fell in love and immediately set to work to create some more (different) Bingo cards.   I simply used Stacey's template and just filled in with my own "tasks".  Here are some of the "task" ideas I came up with.

Fun and Games
Play charades with your sister
Build something with only 25 Legos
Build something with only red and white Legos
Play Memory with your sister
Play school (in your room)
Play Mancala (in a closet)
Play any board game with your sister
Play a SMART computer game
Play the Tea Party game
Play a game from the yellow book
Play checkers
Play Calico Critters
Put a puzzle together
Build something with blocks
Time something out of your stopwatch book
Play with Fractiles

Outside Fun
Make an obstacle course in the yard and have a race!
Do gymnastics across the back yard 
Lay outside on a blanket and play “I Spy”
Bury treasures in the sandbox and have someone find them
Jump on the trampoline
Play Uno outside on a blanket
Make a sandcastle in the sandbox
Play hopscotch
Jump Rope (How high can you count?)
Tap dance in the garage
Roller blade for at least 30 min.
Make lunch and take it outside to eat.
Throw the softball with your sister
Play jack rocks
Make a bike path in chalk and then ride it.
Take photos of nature
Get a blanket and watch the clouds

Journal - Is it more fun playing inside or out in summer?
Write a note or letter and mail it.
Copy a poem and mail it to someone.
Write a note with a question(s)and mail it (send a return env.)
Journal - Picnic or Restaurant?  Why?
Journal - Family Journal
Make a “would you rather” list  in the family journal
Family Journal -favorite ice-cream flavor
Write in your journal
Journal about something you did recently.
Copy a Bible verse in your journal

Call someone and read a short book to them
Call and talk to a family member.
Offer to help a neighbor
Call and offer to help a family member organize something
Make a bible verse bookmark for a neighbor

Chore related
Clean out under your bed
Clean out your sink
Go thru and put away things in your junk basket
Clean out the beackseat of the car
Swiffer floor
Straighten the shoes by the back door.
Clean out the dishwasher
Straighten a drawer in your room
Swiffer the baseboards downstairs
Help a Parent Wildcard (parent chooses)
Dust your shutters
Organize or decorate something in your bedroom.
Set the table for the family.
Check the mail
Water Mommy’s plants

Read a short book
Read a chapter of a book
Read a chapter of a book in Mom & Dad’s room.
Read a chapter of a book outside on a blanket
Read a book in a blanket fort
Read to your sister (or parent).
Read your book in a secret place.
Listen to a book on tape

Play DS Math
Play a math game from the classroom
Write any math facts in chalk on the driveway
Write 8’s math facts on the driveway
Write 7’s math facts on the driveway in chalk
Water paint math facts on driveway
Puzzle– or Math– mania
Do any math puzzle or sheet
Timez Attack (or other PC math game)

Artsy Fartsy
Color a page in a coloring book (Drawer #3)
Do an activity book (Drawers 1 or 2)
Plan a tea party (invitations and guest list)   next week (food and decorations)
Draw with Mr. Kistler (online or book)
Make up a scavenger hunt for a friend
Make up a dance routine
Put on a puppet show
Play dress up
Cut up magazines and make a mosaic
Sketch something from outside
Paint outside
Set up pretend horseback riding in your room
Play store
Make something with beads
Play with Model Magic

I also modified Stacey Julian's rules and prize options, slightly.  Just something you may want to consider for your unique situation.

The Rules
1.    You must make your bed, pick up your clothes in your room and bathroom, and brush your teeth before playing Bingo.
2.    You will receive a new bingo card each week (on Sunday).
3.    You will get one FREE sticker to place on any square on your card.
4.    Be sure to tell Mom or Dad which bingo square you are doing or have just done.
5.    You earn one ticket for every bingo (5 squares in a row).
6.    If you complete your entire BINGO card (blackout) by Saturday night, you will get $3.00 toward something fun.

The Prizes

Redeeming BINGO tickets
1 ticket = Popsicle/ Home-made ice cream cone
           = Stay up until 9:30
2 tickets = 1 hour of Wii (or TV)
3 tickets = redbox rental
5 tickets = sleepover
Finishing one card = $3 to do something fun (ice cream, $ Tree, Michaels, Putt Putt, toy store, etc…)

What I love about this idea is that it is a good way for them to independently experience a lot of different activities this summer.  It puts them in command - they schedule what they want to do when they want to do it (within my limits in the design of the Bingo Card).  Then they have to use some budgeting skills with the "loot" they've earned.  Some of the tasks are super-simple and/or super-fast, some not-so-much, but that's the fun of it.  It is all basically fun, not-so-hard stuff that is rewarded with just more more fun.  Plus is uses down any over-stock supply of stickers you may have bulging at the seams.

Some of the tasks I will use over and over while others I will only use one time.  Since it was important for me that my girls not forget everything they've learned this year, I made sure I incorporated some Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmetic but you may opt not to do so.  Mix it up.  And be sure to post any other ideas you may have to add!