Jan 29

Last week I had picked up some wonton wrappers from the store. My daughter got a cookbook for Christmas, and in it was a recipe for “Wonton chips”. They were alright, nothing real special though, but it got me wanting to play around with the remaining wonton wrappers.

I’m a huge lover of Chinese food, and have a serious obsession for Crab Rangoons. However, I absolutely suck at recreating favorite Chinese dishes (I’m still having nightmares about the sesame chicken that caught fire several years ago). So I decided to try something different.

First I fried up some bacon, because I had several packages in the freezer. Sounded like a good main dish for last night, too. I took a package of cream cheese and added 4-5 slices of bacon  crumbled up (they were kinda small slices, I would say 3 normal slices would do you). Added a bit of onion powder and dried minced garlic, and there I had a filling.

As mentioned before, I don’t usually do Chinese food and have NO idea how to fold a crab rangoon. I winged it. Much to my surprise it worked out alright. I just folded in the corners and then folded it up, and it stuck just fine  (think diagonal – corner to corner, then corner to corner).

I realize these are suppose to be deep fried, but I really didn’t feel like pulling out the fryer. Instead I pan fried them in canola oil, and that too worked out alright. They were a little on the greasy side, so next time I’ll probably do a bit more draining and use tongs instead of a spatula.

These were absolutely DELICIOUS, and has me wanting to make different kinds now. With wonton wrapers and cream cheese, the possibilities here seem endless!

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Jan 28

If you have some older kids that play the computer alone (but still supervised), we stumbled on a great site for the older ones wanting to get into community based sites that are safe.

KidzWorld is a safe community based site featuring chat rooms, message boards, games, and loads of activities. The chat room was the biggest draw for my 9yr old boy, who was finding chat rooms he should NOT be on more than once (there was a few times the computer was taken away from him for a week). But this chat room on KidzWorld I have no issues with him being on, since it’s filled with other kids 13 and under.

We’ve gone over the rules of chat rooms since it’s not a “you can only say these pre-written statements” type of chat room. No, it’s a real chat. I had some big concerns when he first started not knowing what they’d be talking about in rooms like that, but I’ve peeked over his shoulder a few times and seen that everything’s alright. I’ve finally decided this is no different than him hanging out with his friends semi-unsupervised.

So far he’s made a few friends, played some games, and started a blog. Since we’re hopefully going to be pulling him out to homeschool the rest of the year, the blog is going to be a pretty big deal. I feel like in addition to improving his language skills, he’s learning some important web skills in the process. Which of course the school seriously lacks on. (Last year he had vocabulary assignments brought home that he was suppose to look up in the dictionary – I’m sorry, we own computers, not a dictionary. Guess where he looked up those words?)

Anyway, if you are looking to direct your kid to a site that’s a little more mature yet still in the realms of safe, I highly recommend this site!

Visit KidsWord

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Jan 27

You may have noticed we’ve gotten into a better habit of keeping up with the blog here. After a rough summer and lack of ideas, we’re finally back in full swing.

However, to avoid flooding those subscribed by email with mail, the way we broadcast has changed. Well, and also just in case the posts begin to drop off again you won’t go months without seeing posts (our apologies for the “where to find christmas gifts” email last week when that post was a full month ago!). Now we’ve changed it so notifications to updates on the blog go out on Fridays, regardless of how many posts there are.

If you haven’t signed up to our newsletter just yet, feel free to do so at the top of this page (in the “subscribe” box there in the navigation). We try our hardest to only post useful information such as recipes, party ideas, cool sites to check out, and fun ideas for parents.

We hope you’ve  enjoyed our blog posts thus far and are happy to see them back!

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Jan 26

No matter if your a crafter or just like buying handmade goodies, here are a few sites to check out.

Probably the largest site to find homemade products. Just about anything you could think of (and some you may NOT think of) is here. Not everything is “cute” either – I’ve stumbled on things such as bone necklaces and some pretty wild art. Makes the shopping options all the better, in my opinion.
(Be sure to see my daughter Etsy store while your there!)

Cafe Handmade
They have a fun “virtual craft show” theme going on here, where you “rent a booth” for a little bit of nothing. There’s more individual promotion going on here, with twitter posts directly to your store and encouragement each week to vote on your favorites. Prairie Soy Candles has just been listed here, and there’s some other nice looking stores. Smaller yes, but much more personal for shoppers and crafters both.
(See our listing here!)

Handmade Craft Show
Very similar to the previous site, but includes a “Gift Guide”. We haven’t purchased a booth on this site yet, but probably will in the near future. If your needing some gift ideas for whatever holiday is coming up, it’s worth checking out.

Feel free to comment on your favorites as well!

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Jan 25

While I really complained about the cost of a new Nintendo Wii since they first came out, I can’t say the $267.49 (tax included, purchased new at my local GameStop) I paid was really of that bad of a deal. Not only are they still selling for insane prices online, but when you figure in how much they are really WORTH, it makes all the difference.

Think of it this way….

- The price of home gym could be anywhere from $300 clear up into the thousands. Plus once you get the home gym, what is there to add to it, and how fun is it?

- A fitness club, at minimum, is going to cost you over $400 a year. Again the fun factor may be missing in some programs.

- YMCA membership in our area costs over $500 per year for a family. Our local Y is pretty sad looking, too, and no where near worth that cost. Plus most the ‘classes’ cost extra.

- Within three days of playing Wii Sports, we played about $200 worth of bowling games, which wouldn’t even include “extra” stuff at a bowling alley or the cost of gas to drive there.

So is the Wii worth the cost? Without a doubt! And with the price finally coming down at a lot of places, now would be a PERFECT time to latch on to one. Check locally or even at Wii on Amazon for some good prices and games to buy. Even after a year, we still play our Wii on a regular basis. ;)

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Jan 23

The other day I decided to make our “mountain pizza” for supper. I’ve gotten a tad lazy and been using premade pizza crusts quite often. It’s been forever since I’ve actually made pizza dough in the bread machine, but this little incident made me think twice about starting it up again.

I opened the package only to find the crust MOLDY. Yes little green fur growing all over this pizza crust that had just been opened. No there was no holes in the packaging, and I did check the expiration date. April 2010, and last I checked it was only January. So there was absolutely NO reason this crust should have been bad.

It got me thinking about all the recalls we’ve had lately,  and I cringed. This was an isolated incident I’m sure, so how many other times have we eaten foods that have been poorly packaged? How much illness can be pinned on bad foods even if we aren’t aware of it? What silent damage have we done to our bodies eatting them as well?

Luckily I had another pizza crust package (a different brand even, THANK GOD) since there was no time to make the dough myself, but it will be the last time I use one at all most likely. It will be back to the bread machine for us for probably everything bread related, since I just don’t trust what’s being put into packages anymore.

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Jan 22

For those of you sick to death of hearing about my bread machine, fear not! The end is in sight! I have new Kitchen toys thanks to Christmas presents from dad.

The first one is probably something half of you seasoned kitchen veterans (no pun intended) already have. A nifty little George Foreman Grill. Yup. Finally. Talk about being put to good use though – we’ve already used this thing at least a dozen times in the past few weeks. Grilled cheese, chicken, steak, hamburgers…basically anything we COULD put on there we have. And the budding chef of the house and me came up with an EXCELLENT chicken recipe (we’ll be posting some awesome recipes for this new toy later, I promise!).

The other new toy we got was also something I’ve wanted for a long time (actually since I saw it a friend’s house and stated “I’m jealous.”). It’s an electric griddle. So cute, so fun, so easy to make stuff without dragging out pans to wash. LOVE IT. It’s also been used several times since Christmas, for things like quesadillas, bacon, eggs, and pancakes. Now let me clue you, I did try to use the grill for bacon once and while it was probably the easiest bacon I’ve ever made, it wasn’t as good. On the griddle though, oh wow. Fantastic AND easy clean up. (Ours has a little tray where all the grease drips into, which made for a SUPER easy clean up).

Both these toys have put me in a cooking mood again, and my kids are loving it. We had way too many “fend for yourself” nights there for awhile. Both of these nifty things are highly recommended if you spend a lot of time cooking for your family. ;)

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Jan 21

And by “for kids”, we mean “to give to kids”. Sure you could get by with just a small box of chocolate (I do not foresee this being a problem with the boy), but where’s the fun in that? I know it’s more of a “couple’s holiday”, but for us single people we got to share the love somewhere.

Gifts for kids don’t have to be expensive. As mentioned you could go with a small box of candy or some other small item. My daughter’s handmade soap is an excellent option, especially since she’s been going nuts with her heart mold. (See her Etsy shop here for gift ideas)

What have you given your kids in the past? What do you have planned for this year? Let’s share some ideas!

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Jan 21

I have finally joined the rest of the world and set myself up a Twitter account. No one ever said I was the IT girl that had everything before all my friends. Seems the same is true for online stuff. And no, I’m still not on Facebook.

Who else is Twitter? How do you like it? Do you find anything interesting?

Feedback welcome. :)

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Jan 20

Alright so I’m a geek. What started as a game for the girl has become one of mom’s favorites. I was absolutely in love with the first We Cheer, and now I’m even more addicted to the second one.

Now granted the girl DID play the first one, but she’s not exactly the most coordinated kid out there. Some of those moves were just too difficult for her, so we ended up playing all the levels together so she could pass them. Maybe that was a bit of cheating, but she was trying her hardest and getting exercising done (the most important part right?).

The second one, however, is even better. There are now three levels for each song instead of two, and it’s really only the last level that’s extremely hard. Kids can now unlock things a bit faster, and enjoy more than just a handful of songs.

Now while admitting this might make me an even bigger geek, the biggest draw to me on the second one is how much I like some of the songs featured. Glamorous by Fergie, Girlfriend by Avril, and one of my favorite songs as of late, Just Dance featuring Lady GaGa. Yes, radio edit version on all of them, just barely. Since my kids are 7 and 9, I don’t mind them hearing these songs, but others might disagree (just a heads up there, really).

We’ll be sure to get the full review of this game up on our Family Games for Wii page soon, but until then, I highly suggest checking it out if you have the first one already mastered. ;)

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