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Regal Giftcard Giveaway: Want $100 To Go To The Movies?

It’s getting hot (even in Denver) so my friends and I came up with a fun little Regal giftcard giveaway to give one lucky reader $100 gift card to Regal Entertainment Group. Just a fun little something to help brighten up your summer and help you beat the heat. Good luck!

regal entertainment gift card

 

The 411 on the $100 Regal Giftcard Giveaway

Who?

You, of course!

Note: giveaway is open to the Continental US only.

What?

ONE – $100 Regal Entertainment Gift Card.

When?

Giveaway will be open from July 10, 2014 – July 31, 2014. Winner will be chosen at random on or about August 2, 2014 and their name will be displayed in the Rafflecopter widget below. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, an alternate winner will be chosen.

How?

To have a chance to win the $100 Regal  giftcard giveaway, all you need to do is leave a comment below telling us your favorite movie of all time! The rest is up to fate! ;)

All other tasks are optional to increase your chances of winning.

This giveaway is sponsored by:

Moms of FaithBlog By DonnaInspired Moms ClubThis Mama Cooks! On a DietDealicious MomRobynsOnlineWorld.comJulieverseKid Congeniality & me, of course.

Disclaimer: Regal Entertainment Group is not affiliated with this giveaway or its sponsors. Prize is being provided by sponsors mentioned above.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop Tips & Tricks

I was recently invited to a Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop night by a friend of mine. It’s sort of like the old time Tupperware parties but instead of coming home with a bunch of plastic containers your kids will use as sandbox toys, you come home with 10 family meals ready to go in the freezer. Since I am always looking to figure out how to keep us from dialing up taking out, I thought “sure, why not?”. I called up the Wildtree rep and paid my $60 which was $10 off because I signed up with a friend. The rep, Laura, said more information would be on the way.

A few days later I get a bright and sunny email with pre-party instructions and it was at that point I realized why I should have probably said “no way, Jose” instead of “sure, why not“. But at this point I am $60 in and I figure it can’t be all that bad. So, I printed my list and went off to Target of all places. I was tired and wasn’t thinking. I spent $150 on meats and vegetables and ziplock bags and then came home to prep this stuff. I spent the afternoon cussing and cutting my chicken, pork, beef, shrimp and sausage. I diced 7 onions. I packed ziplocks with all the right meats and vegetables in numbered bags and then I packed it all in a cooler and waited for my friend to pick me up in her truck so we had room for all the coolers coming. There were 3 of us carpooling that day.

These are just some of the additional items you will need to buy:

grocery items for wildtree freezer meal workshop

We got to our Wildtree reps house and had a small area assigned to each of us about the size of a table placemat. It was a CUTE house but the work space for 9 people was small and I was exhausted from shopping and prepping all this food all day so I was probably a little more crabby than usual. Suzanne from Crunchy Green Mom suggested if you were to host one you should plan for people to have enough room for each person to have their cooler behind them. We did all have fun measuring out the spices from the bundle of Wildtree products we spent the $60 on and chatting.

Wildtree Kidtastic Freezer Meal Workshop product bundle

We added a few other “shared ingredients” like limes, water, salt, and pepper. I forgot all my measuring spoons and extra freezer bags to double bag. You put the label on the inner bag and then put another bag on top to protect it from spilling at any point. Smart. Thankfully the host had extra. I can’t believe I forgot them as I had them all set out. Oh well!  Laura from Housewife Hellraiser also thought it would be a good idea to have a sink full of hot sudsy water  for washing out our measuring cups and spoons. Both ideas I will be sure to take into account when I host my party (more on that later).

After assembling all the bags we repacked our coolers, had a chance to purchase extra products or book a party of our own. We were there about 2 hours total. The host/rep gave us the finished recipes at this point and a cheat sheet to make cooking them easier. I was really dismayed to find out that several of the dishes need things like sour cream or cream cheese added when it is time to cook which smashed the whole dream that I was just going to pull these out of the freezer and save us from the pizza delivery man. I mean, really, at this point I am wondering what the heck I am doing here.

Let’s do some math. I spent $60 on the Wildtree products, $150 on my first trip to the store for meats and vegetables and then the next day spent $30 on the additional items I needed to actually cook these meals. I am $240 in on 10 meals. And I have spent 2.5 hours prepping in my kitchen and cleaning it up, 4 hours total hauling my ice chest of meat to someone else’s house to mix up the bags and about 2 hours total shopping. So, $240 and 8.5 hours for  10 bags like this:

wildtree freezer meal workshop bag

When I got home I was shaking my head as to why I did this but as a few days have passed we have had a few of the meals and my family has loved them. And I have loved being able to open up the bag and make dinner in 10 mins.Sort of like child birth, I have forgotten the pain it took to get to this point.  Many of them are crockpot or simple grilling menus. $24 a meal is less than half the cost of me ordering out and it is healthier as well. I totally could have saved money on the meats if I had put some effort into it. I talked with several friends about this and how the whole process could be simplified and here are some tips in case you get invited to one of these parties and are questioning HOW this makes sense. LOL. Believe it or not, I actually agreed to host one at my house after all this because it really did end up being worth it. But I definitely have some changes to make going forward…

My Advice for Preparing for a Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshop

1. Be better prepared. Ask your host/rep to provide you with the shopping list for the products you need for both preparing the bags and cooking the meals.

2. Use technology! I should have downloaded the pdf to my phone instead of printing it, especially since the wind caught it and blew it across the parking lot. I, also, should have just put the list into my Cozi shopping app so that I had everything at my electronic fingertips. That would have been super helpful for the next time I make these meals on my own. You will leave your party with enough Wildtree products to make some of these meals again. I could have used an app like Grocery Pal to help me see who had meat on sale in my area instead of randomly walking into Target. For as much as I rely on my Note 3 to be my personal assistant I sure left it out on this plan.

3. Consider a grocery delivery service. I have been using Walmart To Go for a few months now and I absolutely love it. The site is super easy to use, they have been on time and bring the grocery bags right to my counter, often times substituting anything they are out of with much larger sizes. Bonus! This alone would saved me 2 hours and a lot of energy. It would have been so easy to click through my list and have it all dropped off for me. I should have happily paid the $7 delivery charge.

4. Buy the meat already cut up. If you can’t find stew meat, your butcher will likely cut it for you. Just ring the little bell and ask. I was able to find the chicken cut in both cubes and tenders. Big time saver.

5. Use your Cuisinart or other food processor. Nothing is worse than dicing 7 onions. You can also buy a bag of onions already cut up but you need a lot and it will add to your bill. Also, some need to be sliced and some diced so make sure you read the directions carefully.

6.Don’t bring your meat!!  It would have been much easier to show up at the party with empty bags, add my spices and such and then go home and  add the meat the next morning. So much easier than dragging a cooler full of meat just to drag it back home. You can’t bring your meat and prepare it in the bags to someone else’s house. It’s not sanitary and the party doesn’t have a food handling licence or whatever it is they need. You are going to a person’s home, not a commercial kitchen so you have to do the raw meat at your house anyway. Do it after instead of before. This was also the biggest advice from Chrissy at Clumsy Gourmet.

7. Use technology again! If you didn’t do step 1 & 2 you still have fresh items to buy in order to be able to serve these meals. Snap a picture of the cheat sheet so you have it with you the next time you are at the store.

I have been having a rough couple of weeks health wise and it is so nice to have dinner ready tonight. I just pulled out the defrosted bag and emptied it into the crockpot to make Slow Cooker Chicken Chili. The Wildtree recipe below will give you a look at how this all comes together.

slow cooker chicken chili

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili

Slow Cooker Chicken Chili (#3)
1-1½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ cubes
1 medium onion, finely chopped
15 oz can black beans, drained & rinsed
15 oz can white beans, drained & rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp Wildtree Adobo Seasoning Blend
1 bag Wildtree Creamy Ranch Dressing and Dip Mix
4 oz can diced green chilies (optional)
1 Tbsp hot sauce (optional)

At Cooking Time:
8 oz package cream cheese, cubed cup fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Mix all ingredients into freezer bag. Remove air, seal & attach label. Double bag and freeze. Thaw bag in fridge. Place contents of bag in slow cooker. Cook covered on low 6-8 hours or on high 4 hours. Shred chicken by pulling apart with two forks & add cream cheese. Combine with cream cheese in slow cooker. Cook an additional 30 minutes on high. Stir to combine. Top with cilantro, if desired. Serve with tortilla chips, rice (serve chili on top), or corn bread.

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart to Go First program, I’ve received a personal invite and payment for my time and efforts in creating this post. The Willdtree Freezer Meal Workshop was in no way compensated. Any mention of my technology products are likely a result of my relationship as a Verizon Influencer with #VZWBuzz. 

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4th of July Party Idea’s

It’s been a while since I’ve thrown a party and I am thinking that I may get one together this year for 4th of July. I love the red, white and blue themes and any chance to drink adult beverages with friends sounds like a good idea to me. I’ve been cruising through my Red, White and Blue Pinterest board  for 4th of July party ideas and I think I found some!

red white and blue 4th of July Party Ideas Pinterest Board

I also came across these awesomely cute ideas in my inbox this morning from Family Fun.

Sweet & Salty Sparklers – 4th of July Snack Idea

sweet and salty pretzel sticks 4th of July Snack Idea


Layered with white chocolate and studded with sprinkles and M&M’s, our pretzel treats add flare to any party spread. Cover a baking sheet with waxed paper. Melt 1 cup of white chocolate chips in a medium, heat-safe bowl according to the package directions. Use a spoon to drizzle 1pretzel rod at a time with chocolate (you’ll have enough chocolate to make a dozen), then lay the rod on the prepared sheet and scatter it with red and blue sprinkles and M&M’s. Chill the pretzels in the refrigerator until the chocolate sets, about 15 minutes.

Red, White and Blue Saber Pops

4th of July Snack Idea freezer pops

Feel the force of ice-cold refreshment—and keep hands unfrozen—with these felt cozies. For each, cut a 3- by 4-inch rectangle from gray felt. Fold it over a freeze pop and use fabric glue to seal the side and bottom edges. Clamp the fabric closed with binder clips or clothespins, if needed. Slip the felt off the pop. Glue on stripes and dots of black and colored felt. When your pop is frozen and the glue is dry, you’re ready to battle the heat!

Red, White and Blue Spritzers – 4th of July Party Ideas

red white and blue spritzers ice cubes 4th of July Snack Idea
Tricolored spritzers offer a refreshing way to celebrate the Fourth. Make several trays of ice cubes with beverages colored red, white, and blue (we used cranberry juice, water, and Powerade Mountain Berry Blast). To serve, place the cubes in separate buckets and let guests make their own drinks with plain seltzer.

What about you? Do you have some great 4th of July party ideas? Please leave me a link to your post and I will pin it to my Pinterest Board! 

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Ipsy Review: Inexpensive Beauty Subscription Bag Plan

Do you Ipsy? No? Well, by now I am sure you have seen at least one of your FaceBook friends post that they just got off the waitlist for Ipsy (I’ll tell you that little secret in a minute). So you may be thinking what is Ipsy and why is everyone going nuts for it?

Remember a few months ago when I told you about my obsession with the Glossybox beauty subscription plan? Ipsy is sort of the same thing but on a smaller scale and a much smaller price tag. At $10 (includes shipping) a month you get a cute makeup bag (that is sort of their signature thing) with 4-6 new beauty products, often with just one of them being worth more than the $10 price of the subscription. Basically, Ipsy is the perfect way to treat yourself to something fun and get in on the subscription beauty bag craze at very little cost. I also think it makes a great gift for a college student. And lets not forget all of these tend to be the perfect size for traveling.

At first I was worried that the products in the Ipsy bags would be a bit too “young” for me…like glitter nail polish and the like but I have been pleasantly surprised. I gave the nail polishes to my nieces and the bags are still on the money plus side for me. Here is a look at some of the recent months for me:

may ipsy bag

june ipsy bag

march ipsy bag

If you want to see a descriptions of each of the products go to My Subscription Addiction (link will take you directly to her Ipsy reviews) I think she is the best blogger talking about subscription boxes on the net right now.

Get Off the Ipsy Waitlist

If you are ready to sign up, here is my Ipsy referral link (it just gets me more samples and such, no money). When you sign up you will be put on a waitlist. Once you are on the waitlist then go to this skip the Ipsy waitlist link and connect your Facebook account to it. Let it post to Facebook and you will get a message that you are off the waitlist. Easy peasy! If that sort of post bugs you, you can always delete it once it posts and revoke Ipsy’s access to your page in your Facebook settings under “apps”.

Just a reminder: this is not a sponsored post. I don’t work with them. The referral link above is available to anyone that has an account. I genuinely love Ipsy and wanted to share about it. I’ll be posting more of the subscription boxes I get soon. I have my own subscription addiction problems. 

Want to bookmark this post on Pinterest? Here is a great image:

Ipsy Beauty Subscription Review. Is it right for you?

 

 

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Jawbone Up24

A couple of weeks ago Verizon sent me up to San Francisco to meet with other bloggers on the #VZWBuzz team and visit the Verizon Innovation Center. Geeks beware. If you ever want to just truly geek out on the new tech things coming to market you may want to score an invite here. I saw so many cool things being tested, some I can talk about and some I can’t. Some are things just in conception and others are full blown and already on the market. One of the biggest areas of tech innovation is in sports and personal health. Some tech I was blown away with are meant for the NFL and a little hush hush so instead I will tell you about the innovations in personal health that are widely available to the market.

jawboneup24One of these little goodies is my new constant companion. The Jawbone Up24. While its being marketed as a fitness device I’m actually using it to help me track how I feel and what effects my lupus. Yes, I know the purpose is to get me moving more but right now I am just mining data about my body from it and its been really useful.

I wear the Jawbone Up24 24 hours a day and in addition to giving me data about how little I move…which is a scary little amount (averaging around 4500 steps a day and having my periods of movement be an average of 7 mins a piece) I also get data on how well (or not) I sleep. This has been the goldmine of information I have been looking for. Let’s take a look at last night. The information from my band is being constantly uploaded to the Up app on my Samsung Note 3. Jawbone Up24 is compatible with most iOS and Android devices.

jawbone up24 sleep data

Pretty interesting info, huh? So how does this help me? Well. Through using the section of notes that you can leave on each one of these I can look back at last week and realize I am probably going to feel like crap today. Any day where I get less than 7 hours and 30 mins I have documented significant pain. What was I thinking  getting into bed at 11:22 pm? I know if I want to function the next day I need to be in bed by 9. Yes. I am turning into an old person OR be able to sleep through that period in orange in the morning where the dogs get up. Bob is out of town and handles that for me usually. So, here I have concrete info about how him traveling effects my body. LOL. He should bring me gifts now.

My sleep data is actually pretty similar to the night before so I can show you yesterdays movement data which will likely be similar to today.

jawbone up24 movement data

You can see my movement significantly drops between 10 am and 5 pm and according the notes I am leaving myself this is also the time period where I am in the greatest amount of pain. This tells me if I took something at 9 instead of when I first get up maybe I could reduce that. I am trying it this week actually. It also tells me I need to make a constant effort to get UP during that time and move. I have set my Jawbone to vibrate on my wrist every 30 mins as a reminder.

About wearing the band: it’s actually quite comfortable. I have had it on for 10 days straight except for showers and I haven’t had any issues. I have the black in large and its goes with everything. It has slipped off my wrist two nights in my sleep. It is very hard to write with a pen and paper with it on but I have no problem typing.

I think the data I am gathering about myself is priceless in helping me understand what is happening with my body. I need to find ways to sleep better. I need to move more between 10-5. This sounds dumb and simple and why would I need a device to tell me this? Because, really? I don’t think many of us are as in tune with our bodies as we think. I would have never guessed that the times I am up and moving about is really only about 7 mins. It feels like forever. Especially when I am hurting. I know most people use these devices to help them lose weight (you can track what you eat with this as well) and hopefully I will get there but right now I think its interesting to see how these devices can help anyone understand their body and use that information to make small, but potentially, life changing decisions.

Important Info & Disclosure: Average price for the Jawbone Up24 is around $150. It’s big competitors are the FitBit, which is a bit more social and gamified and the Samsung Gear Fit. I fell in love with Connie’s in San Fran. Her review is in the link. I received my Jawbone Up24 as gift from Verizon Wireless. I have an ongoing relationship with them through the #VZWBuzz program.

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