Monday, March 17, 2014

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day®

I was so excited to receive my sample box from Smiley360 for the Mrs. Meyers Clean Day Mission! My family and I have recently started searching for more eco-friendly, non-toxic, healthy products to use in our home. When I was notified that I qualified for this mission in particular I was completely psyched! It surpassed all of my expectations!  Mrs. Meyer's incorporates aromatherapy into their products and what better way to experience this than the mundane task of washing dishes.  You know how you have those few items that you don't want to run through the washing machine?  Or those special wine glasses that need to be hand washed?  Blah.  Well, I was completely blown away by the Lavender scent that I was sent to sample.  Not too strong, but strong enough to surround you with the intoxicating aroma of Lavender (think surrounded by fields of Lavender here).  And one would think that if a product is non-toxic, better for your home, the environment, and you, that it wouldn't be as effective right?  Wrong! Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day dish soap is just as effective, if not better, than a few of the usual brands that I have tried.  I think  I have officially found my new favorite dish soap while upholding my commitment to my family to keep our home non-toxic and healthy.  Thanks to Smiley360 and Mrs. Meyers Clean Day for this opportunity!

P.S.  I was inspired to go out and purchase my own and the Radish scent is AMAZING!  

Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day®

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Recipe Corner- On the Grill: Easy Ranch Chicken

This simple grilled chicken recipe has been a family favorite ever since I came up with the idea in my first days of being a newlywed.  If left to marinate properly, this chicken is VERY, Very tender, juicy, flavorful and your family will be asking you "When can we have more Ranch Chicken Mom?"  My finicky husband doesn't even like Ranch dressing but he will devour this and ask for more.  Enjoy!

Prep time: 10 min. 
Plan ahead.  Needs to marinate 4-6 hours.
Cooking time:  15 min.

  • 4-6 Boneless skinless chicken breast halves (I prefer Target's chicken because it always tastes fresh)
  • 2 T of my house blend seasoning (See recipe below)
  • 2 cups Hidden Valley Ranch bottle salad dressing.
Rachel's House Seasoning Recipe 

This recipe will make a decent sized batch. I use it in everything!  The only ingredients I add are: minced onion, cumin and paprika to make a taco/chili blend. Or minced onion, italian seasoning, and minced garlic for spaghetti blend.
  • 1/3 Cup Onion Powder
  • 1/3 Cup Garlic Powder
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons salt  (Use "light" salt if needed)
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 1 teaspoon  parsley
Place chicken breasts in 9 x 13 glass baking dish or whatever you have to hold the chicken in the fridge while it marinates.  Sprinkle house seasoning liberally on each side of chicken and poke with fork on each side several times.  Pour Ranch dressing over seasoned chicken and continue to poke chicken with fork several times on each side.  Turn each piece over a couple of times to ensure it is coated. Cover with plastic wrap and Marinate.  Typically I marinate for 4-6 hours but this chicken has come out the VERY BEST when I marinate overnight.  As with most marinades, the longer it marinates the better the flavor.  
This chicken is best when grilled.  Preheat grill and grill chicken until juices run clear.  Make sure to turn as needed so chicken doesn't burn.  It is more likely to do so because of the ranch dressing, so you will want to watch it closely.  Serve with rice and veggie or whatever you like!  


Wow... I cannot believe it has been over a year since my last post.  This Mommy of 4 has been one busy lady!  Since my last post not much has changed with the kiddos except "Screamy" can still go through episodes of "screamy-ness" except much louder and "The Whirlwind" started Pre-K!  Fist pump.   "The Teenager" is definitely STILL a teenager, ughh, and "The Artist" is less of an "artist" now-a-days and more of a social butterfly.  "Prince Charming" has lost a little luster and gotten comfortable with my "homemaker" arrangement but will help when asked which amounts to something.... then there is me.  A LOT has happened with my health since I last posted.  That same year I began suffering from intense fatigue, depression, and achy pains.  Turns out I have.... dun dun dunnnnn... Fibromyalgia.  I didn't believe it at first, and actually tried to deny it.  I tried all the recommended FM meds and nothing helped.  Luckily after a year and a half of suffering I found my saviour..  "Doctor Wonderful".  He has really turned my life around and made me realize that I can manage this and do just fine.  On another note... I now have TWO work from home jobs.. Yes 2 in addition to all of my "homemaker" duties I am now a "Work At Home" mom.  The first job is seasonal and comes and goes throughout the year as sub-contractor for a healthcare consulting firm.  The second is handling overflow and transcription for a local doctor's office.  They come to install my computer and equipment next week and I am beyond ecstatic.  Now that "The Whirlwind" is in school all day things have gotten a little more quiet around here and I have a tad bit more time on my hands so this job is a welcome opportunity and I am super psyched.  More to come soon I promise ;)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Recipe Corner: Zesty 6 Cheese Quiche

I love this quiche because it is quick and easy.  I serve with Tomato Soup topped with Parmesan Cheese or Croissants.

Prep time: 30 minutes (15 without meat)
Cooking time:  45 minutes


5 eggs
1/2 cup half and half
2 tablespoons melted butter/margarine
1/4 cup Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup Garlic and Herb Alouette Cheese
1/4 cup mild cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
Dash of Parmesan Cheese
 2 slices American Cheese broken up into smaller pieces (I use Kraft singles)
1/4 tablespoon salt
1/4 tablespoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon onion powder
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 tablespoon parsley
1 frozen deep dish pie crust (I prefer Marie Callenders)
Meat of your choice.  ( I use 1/2 lb bacon most of the time, but you can use whatever you have on hand.. Canadian Bacon, Regular Bacon, Turkey Bacon , Cubed ham, etc.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Whisk together eggs, melted butter, half and half, and spices (Except parsley).  Add soft cheeses.  Continue whisking.  Pour into unbaked pie shell. Add meat.  Add shredded cheeses and American Cheese.  Push down into mixture.  Top with Parsley.

Bake on cookie sheet in oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 325 and bake an additional 30 minutes. (Crust should be golden as well as the top of quiche).

Let cool for 5 minutes and enjoy!

( You can always substitute with fat free or low fat cheeses and half & half.  It turns out the same! ;)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Recipe Corner- Quick Recipes for the Stay At Home or hurried mom.-GLORIFIED HAMBURGER HELPER

Glorified Hamburger Helper (Believe me when you are done no one will ever know this started as hamburger helper).

Prep time:  15 minutes
Total cooking time:  Less than 30 minutes


1 box Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper
1 cup mild cheddar cheese
1/3 Bell Pepper ( You can put this in a food processor and liquefy to disguise from finicky children)
1/3 White Onion (You can also liquefy this with Bell Pepper so the picky little ones will never know)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Dash of salt and pepper
1 lb ground beef (or ground turkey for a lighter version)
* I also use fresh mushrooms in my version when my son isn't home because he doesn't care for mushrooms)

Follow box directions, however when browning meat I brown with green pepper/onion mixture/mushrooms and salt and pepper.  When finished I top with 1 cup of shredded mild cheddar cheese and replace lid for about 5 minutes.

This recipe passes the kid and husband test.  He HATES hamburger helper.  I made it the other night while he was at work and put leftovers in fridge for him for his dinner when he got home.  The next morning he asked me where I got the recipe because it was delicious!  I was beaming!  Happy cooking and make sure to let me know if you try this recipe and how it goes over with the family!  :)

One sick family...

It seemed to start out as a normal crazy Sunday in our house and then about mid morning the first signs of the end of our normal crazy day began.. It happened.  "The Whirlwind's"  nose started dripping like you wouldn't believe.  Poor thing.  It rapidly progressed into a stuffy nose and coughing, yep.  The dreaded respiratory virus.  At first I thought it just might be allergies and the rest of us would escape unscathed, but alas.  NO SUCH LUCK.  By Sunday evening both "Prince Charming" and "Screamy" had it.. full blown. (No pun intended).  And yes.. I am not done yet, by bedtime I was it's final victim.  Ugggh.  I HATE the cold and flu season.  It sets our already crazy world into a tailspin.  "Screamy"  didn't sleep a bit last night, poor guy he couldn't.  He couldn't breathe and was coughing.  I despise it when infants get a cold bug because there isn't a darn thing that you can do about it, no medications, NOTHING.  You are just supposed to watch the little creatures lay there in their own pile of mucus and suffer.  Yes, this is number four for me so I am doing all the usual.. Saline drops, aspirating when necessary, elevation, humidifier, yada yada yada.  But it DOES NOT help a bit.  So at about 2 a.m. I finally decided to put "Screamy" in bed with me hoping that if he slept "on" me that he would be able to breathe.  Nope, no such luck.  Instead all he did was sleep for 5 and 10 minutes at a time then scream and this continued on into the morning.  I don't think "Prince Charming" nor I had more than a couple hours of sleep and if there is one thing both of us can't do without it is sleep.  We become monsters.. Great now we were sick monsters.  But oh well, the joys of parenthood. 

So after calling our pediatrician and receiving a call from a nurse that told me that I was doing all that I could do I marched my exhausted, sick butt on down to the local natural health food market/store to buy whatever I had to to help us all get over this, especially "Screamy" who was suffering horribly.  But wow, I never imagined that there was so much to choose from! Did you know that Elderberry is an anti-viral?  Hmmm.  who would have thought.   I think that I bought the store out (and drained the bank account), but in my precious hands in that beautiful plastic bag I hoped to have the magic "tincture" to help all of us to get over this awfulness.  I came home and dosed everyone up.  Unfortunately I don't see a bit of difference.  I think that we just have to ride this out.  There goes $120 down the drain.This is the first time that we have all been sick at the same time so it must be some doozy of a virus.  "The Teenager"  has so far been spared but I am sure this nasty bug has it's eye on him next.  I "quarantined" "The Artist" (who came back from her dad's house Monday afternoon) upstairs with grandparents for now until the coast is clear.  "Prince Charming"  comes from a long line of hard working over achievers so I knew today when he said he had to call in sick that it must be bad and worse because he won't be going in Tuesday either.  So you bet, I sent "The Artist"  upstairs with strict instructions to scrub her hands until she couldn't anymore and to "STAY UPSTAIRS.  One of the things that is so frustrating as a mom when your whole family gets sick with a virus is that you really cannot do much but let nature take it's course.  Oh, and be the "nose wiper", "vomit catcher", and "caretaker".  It's really rough to watch your little ones suffer even if it is just a virus.  Moms are supposed to make things better though, right?  With this in mind I decided to make homemade Chicken and Dumplings Monday night even though I didn't feel like it, I figured if all the herbs and homeopathic remedies didn't work at least my Chicken and Dumplings might.  Even if no one could taste them!

I started this post Monday night, but had "medicine head" so badly that I decided to wait until today to edit and post it.  "Screamy" is still an awful mess. He is now on breathing treatments and wheezing like you wouldn't believe.  "Prince Charming" is better though and decided to go into work today and "The Whirlwind"  is back to her usual 120 mph self with a slight runny nose.  And then there is me.  This bug is horrible.  It is now in my chest and I am coughing like I have "Black Lung".  But tomorrow is another day and hopefully one by one we will be back to usual.  I am struggling with whether to let the house go or just bite the bullet and go on about business as usual and hope I don't get worse.  We'll see...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Random Recommendations. Top 3 Newborn/Infant MUST HAVES!

Ok.. because I am a total goofball and didn't realize that yesterday was Friday, the "Typical Day in the life of the Circus Family"  will have to be postponed until next week.  However I decided to compose a "random post" about a couple of infant products that I could not have lived without.  This is for any new parents, "parents to be", "grandparents to be", or anyone looking to purchase a great must have gift for a baby shower or Christmas present, etc.  You will see some banner ads on my page for these sites where you can browse and read about these items if you choose to do so!  You learn through trial and error as a mom, or at least I do and if there is one thing I am experienced at it is possessing the knowledge of some great newborn/infant products that have worked for me and that I could never have lived without.

The Miracle Blanket:  My third daughter was extremely colicky.  I suppose that I was lucky that the first two weren't!  She screamed constantly!  The poor thing was so pitiful.  We tried everything with her.  She was even on the "high-test, premium, break the budget" type of hypoallergenic formula and still suffered horribly.  In desperation one night as she had screamed most of the evening I was doing some research online for soothing products for colicky infants and low and behold I came across the website for the magic (I call it magic) aptly named "Miracle Blanket".  We had tried everything for our poor little girl and the testimonials were amazing.  I was not convinced but decided at any rate it definitely couldn't hurt to give it a try.  I would have tried anything at that point. It was a little pricey or more than I would have liked to spend on my "non-paid" FMLA budget but that was how desperate I was. They do explain why it is a little expensive on their website and I will have to admit it did make sense.   I made my purchase and waited with great anticipation for that "Miracle" package to make it's way to my house, and then finally it arrived!  The first night it was a little difficult to get used to and I felt like I was wrapping her up in what looked like a baby straight jacket!  She even seemed to protest a bit, they did say on the web-site that it takes some getting used to.  After the initial protest period I couldn't believe the difference in my little colicky baby girl!  She became the most content little creature and absolutely LOVED the Miracle Blanket.  I called it our "Miracle" and she stayed in her miracle blanket for almost 9 whole months to nap and sleep at night.  We finally got a great night's sleep and so did she.  The night time crying ceased and within a matter of days we no longer had a colicky infant!  I will say that the Miracle Blanket works well for smaller infants or infants that arent' too terribly strong as my next child was Houdini and could escape with ease.  If you are having a baby this product is WELL worth every penny and I would highly recommend it. In fact I would consider it a "MUST HAVE".

"The Woombie":  Since as previously mentioned my latest addition was born big and was unusually strong he easily escaped the Miracle blanket and would startle himself. (This is however highly unusual as my daughter at nine months still couldn't get out of it.)  He WOULD NOT SLEEP!  In desperation I mentioned this to a friend and my disappointment that I couldn't put my prized Miracle Blanket to use.  She recommended that I try a different product.  One that was "escape proof", "The Woombie".  It is a little peanut shaped cocoon swadder that rapidly became my son's best friend.  Mind you it was pink and "Prince Charming"  had some huge issues with his little man being in a pink swaddle EVERY night, but hey.. after he saw the difference it made and was actually getting sleep at night he was a believer too and could have cared less about the fact that it was pink. (They do have all sorts of colors, however I received this from a friend and since it worked I decided to just continue using it, pink or not).  The great thing about "The Woombie"  is that they can move about a bit within the little "cocoon"  and if they like to put their little hands up on their chest, or at their sides, etc. they can do so with out experiencing the startle reflex.  They also have a broad variety of convertible options that include feet so that you can use a stationary soother such as the Graco Sweet Peace, swing, bouncy or any soothing device.  They also have some that have snap out spaces for arms to transition baby once the time comes to start getting used sleeping with their arms free.  This product is amazing and I love it as much as my "Miracle Blanket". 

"The Sleepy Wrap":  In desperation of course with my colicky daughter I was once again researching baby carriers, slings, and wraps.  I happened across a sweet local lady with an online website.  I explained my troubles to her and the fact that I couldn't get anything done with a colicky infant, I mean.. NOTHING if I wasn't holding her.  She recommended The Sleepy Wrap, but invited me over for a "try on" sample session to try various carriers, wraps, and slings to see what worked for me and my daughter specifically.  After trying on several I decided on "The Sleepy Wrap".  Now.. let me tell you when you see this thing for the first time it is completely overwhelming.  It is a LONG piece of somewhat stretchy fabric, that's it.  You are thinking "What is this?"  a long piece of fabric?  I mean.. really.. How is this going to work?  Once she showed me how to put it on (Which takes some people a couple of times, but it quickly becomes second nature) and we slipped my newborn down into it I was in LOVE and so was she!  It is a completely hands free baby wrap!  I could do dishes, laundry, go for a walk, all with my precious cargo snugly attached to me in the softest, most cozy fabric ever.  I even used this to run a fall festival booth at my older daughter's school.  It is also perfect when you have toddlers or other children, especially when you are shopping.  You can put the wrap on before you leave the house and when you get to the store you simply take your older child and put them in the cart, take your infant out of their car seat and slide them into the Sleepy wrap.  Believe me they will love this and so will you.  It is also awesome for you breast-feeding moms as well for obvious reasons.  I could not have lived without this product.  Before you purchase any baby-wearing item, carrier, wrap, sling etc. make sure to carefully read up on each and read the testimonials.  Not all are ergonomic and not all are hands-free and that's what you want.  If it isn't hand's free then what is the point, right?  The Sleepy Wrap comes in a vast array of colors, is made of a stretchy cotton mix, comes with a cute carrier bag, and is as simple to clean as throwing in with the rest of your laundry.

Those are my three "Magical Must-Have" items that I would highly recommend you researching and purchasing if you think that it would fit your needs!

Disclaimer:  I have not been asked to or paid specifically by any of these companies to advertise these products.  I do get a small % of purchase if someone purchases from a link to one of these products from my page, but I would have blogged this anyway because I so highly believe in these products and how much easier they made my life.  Because that's what we mom's do, if something works for us we want to shout it from the rooftops!  Ya'll have a great weekend and if anyone has any of these products or purchases any I would love to hear your testimonials!  I am off to run the local elementary school's fall festival, woo hoo.  (I don't know why I continue to do this to myself).