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Monday, July 25, 2011

Guest Post~Annie

Hi All! I am Katie's little sister! I blog over at I am sharing some amazing free birthday deals with you. These are for Utah, but I am sure some of them are national as well! Most of these are sent as printable emails.

Complimentary Birthday Dinner (up to $30 value)
What to do: Join The Chef's Table on their website.
Offer good for members' birthday month. Must provide email certificate & photo id proof of birthday (adults). Kids get a free collectible mug.

Cold Stone Creamery
Free Creation
What to do: Join online Birthday Club

Free Grand Slam
What to do: Show up on birthday w/valid ID

Orem & Sandy, UT

 Free 1/3 lb Burger
What to do: Join the Fudds Club online

Jason's Deli
$5 Jason's Deli Giftcard
what to do:Join their Email List

Noodles & Company
Free Birthday Dish
What to do: Join online Noodlegrams

Red Robin
 Free Gourmet Burger-13 and over
What to do: Join online eClub

Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill
 Free Birthday Meal up to $7
What to do: Join Rubio's Beach Club online

Ruby Tuesdays
FREE Handcrafted Birthday Burger
What to do: Join online So Connected Email

Free Birthday Item
What to do: Join The Sephora Beauty Insider

Tucanos Brazilian Grill
 Free Meal
What to do: Join online Birthday Club

We seriously don't have to pay to eat out for almost an entire month!!! SCORE!!!
Hope this helps!! Have a Great Celebration!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Crazy Ideas

It's been awhile since my last post. I've been getting things together for the upcoming week. Andy is going to Scout Camp and I get to be a single mom. I always threaten that I have issues with his calling and I'll divorce him, but this week is for sure my most dreaded because I get to live as a single mom and I hate it. Therefore, all my threats about leaving are all talk, since I couldn't and wouldn't want to be a parent by myself. Hats off to those of you who are single parents, or have spouses who are often gone. It's tough and though I know I'll make it through, I will be glad when it's over.

To take my mind off things we do have a lot of fun planned. Maybe we'll have so much fun, the kids won't notice his absence too much.  We have a bbq with fireworks and friends, some lunch dates, a trip to the Gale Center, a splash pad and a few other things. For me, you ask? I love the movie "The Adjustment Bureau." It's at Redbox now and if you haven't seen it, you should. It really gets your mind going and thinking about chance vs. choice and the idea of free will. So maybe a few good movies and books will keep me sane without a spouse.

The silver lining, if there is one, is that I don't have to make fancy meals this week, since the kids aren't too into fine dining. So we'll be eating out, thank you Ken Garff coupons, and having a few low key things, like Pigs in a Blanket, sandwiches and pizza. Therefore, don't look for a menu this week, cuz it's not coming.

We did have a fun cooking lesson this week. Check it out!

Wendy Paul's Nanaimo Brownies

Yep! They were that good!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wendy Paul Contest Time

Check out Wendy's new contest on her blog

You won't be sorry! Have a good one.

Smores Recipes

We all know the classic graham cracker, marshmallow and chocolate goodness over a campfire version of Smores. Here's a couple of others that are worth trying.

Golden Graham Smores
5 cups mini marshmallows
1/3 c Karo (light)
6 T butter
bag milk chocolate chips

Melt all of this EXCEPT one cup of marshmallows in a saucepan, over low temp
Add 1 tsp. vanilla, mix
Pour over 13 oz Golden Grahams, stir
When almost stirred add 1 cup mini marshmallows, stir and pour onto greased cookie sheet to cool. Break apart in chunks and enjoy.

Dannika's "Delicious Goodness that You will enjoy the Heck out of " Smores
1 Pkg. Chocolate covered graham cracker
1 pkg marshmallow
1/3 Hershey bar

In a Pinch Smores
Melt the marshmallow and chocolate on the graham cracker in the microwave for 20 seconds

You can also check out Wendy Paul's Smores here Wendy's Smores

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Meal Time

Ready for some good grub?

Greek Spaghetti

Spicy Honey Chicken from

Dutch Oven Meatloaf- Your favorite recipe in a 9 x 9 pan and cooked in a Dutch Oven. I don't know if it's the coals or the seasoned cast iron, but I promise you will experience your "normal" meatloaf in a whole new way.

Carne Asada- Marinade:
    • 4 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 jalapeƱo chile pepper, seeded and minced
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seed (best to lightly toast the seeds first, then grind them)
    • 1 large handful fresh cilantro, leaves and stems, finely chopped (great flavor in the stems)
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 limes, juiced
    • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
    • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 1/2 cup olive oil
    • Marinade meat for 1-4 hours and then grill. The steak is thin so you only need to grill a few minutes on each side. Let meat rest for a few minutes before cutting.

Hamburger Stew

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Summer Vacation Time

The air smelled of Star Jasmine, cigarette smoke (from a neighboring trailer park) and deep fried goodness. Anticipation of what was to come hugged our children like a long lost relative. The soft breeze cooled the night as we bar-be-qued one of our favorite dinners. Needless to say it was the perfect beginning to a long awaited summer vacation tradition to Cherry Hill.

For nearly 25 years I have enjoyed the sights, smells and sounds of this camping area and water park. It rarely disappoints, even if it's full of people and 105 degrees, fun can be found. I am so happy this tradition has been carried on to my own family.

My kids had a blast and so did their parents. Easily one of the best times at the Hill ever! Syd and Abby scaled a 30 foot rock wall and both made it to the top. Abby scaled two different sides all the way to the top. She also hit a string of softballs in the batting cages. This is only remarkable because she'd never even held a baseball bat until that day. Jack decided he "didn't need me" and took on the Dragon Waterslides all by himself--both the slower and fast sides. Then Danni agreed to try this too, with some help from her big sisters. She had no fear, and for the first time in 10 years I got some freedom. It was fun to try new things and watch the kids try new things without fear--don't know where they get that from....

It sounds cheesy, but I will wrap this weekend up in a mental present box and store it away for a day in the future when I have five teens running 10 directions and me running to keep up. I am not naive, I know it's coming, but this vacation was pure bliss, so if I have to draw upon it in the future, it is now safely stored away.
Here's a run down of fun you too can have at Cherry Hill.

Tent and trailer camping--call and make a reservation . There are plenty of trees to keep you shaded and cool. Also the website has a 10% discount coupon you can print.

Splash pass- a must since it allows you into the Dragon Waterslides, Cardiac Canyon, Pirates Cove (awesome place for little kids, complete with huge pirate ship to play on), Olympic sized pool and Lazy River. $18 (discounts in Happenings and often on City Deals) for ages 5 to Senior Citizen. Seniors get in for $9 and kids 3 & 4 are $7. Under 2 is free. If you don't want to pay that, a $10 after 5 p.m. pass is available. There is also a "camper's pool" that you can use if you don't want to get a Splash pass at all, but still need to cool off. The use of this pool is included in your camp fee.

Mini Golf-kind of pricey without coupons (which are available in Happenings books or on the CH website). I wouldn't recommend this for kids under 6. It's long and sometimes there's a wait. There are fun holes with Dragon/Princess/Castle themes, but plan on about 1 hour to complete it.

There are also batting cages ($2 for 25 balls) and the Rock Wall ($4 for 2 climbs), Hamster Haven for little ones ($4 all day) and Aeroball. I would avoid the snack bars, since they are packed with fried, over priced food. You can bring in food to the water areas, and there are plenty of picnic tables spread throughout the park. Also I'd make sure your kids are water safety savvy as the place can get crowded. Our solution to this is to go mid-week and avoid the crowds.

It's also close to Hill Air Force base which has a Free, cool museum. Also close to shopping in case you forgot to pack anything.

So grateful we went and took loads of pics (400 printed ones to be scrapbooked between St. George a few weeks ago and this vacay). This will be a trip we'll all remember for a long time. Now back to reality and 12 loads of laundry!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kate's Creations ~ Key Necklaces

Here's a fun idea for birthdays or just a thank you gift for your girlfriends, moms, sisters or daughters. My twins are dying for their own and someday they may get one.  I love the vintage keys. If you like them too, leave a comment or send me an email and order one for yourself today.  $6 each from Kate's Creations.

 ** This necklace can be made with your choice of color for the beads, key and ribbon.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Freebie Monday Mealtime

I know you are expecting Mealtime Mondays today, but I thought I'd change it up and offer you the FREE download of Betty's Best (see link below), so you can pick your own meals this week. I did get my new stove delivered one week early. It is wonderful and I actually missed cooking. Since I was two weeks without a stove we survived on a lot of free food for dinner.

Check out this bunch of awesome freebies to score free dinners.

Betty Crocker is currently offering a FREE downloadable version of their 2011 Best of Betty Crocker Cookbook! Downloading the cookbook and saving it on your computer is a great alternative to having a huge cookbook taking up lots of counter space in your kitchen. Also if you missed it last time here's the link to last year's book 2010 Best of Betty Crocker Cookbook.

My hero Wendy Paul is giving another great cookbook. Go to for your chance to win!


Today only, July 11, from 3:00-6:00 pm Marble Slab Creamery will be giving out a FREE scoop of their Red Velvet Ice Cream to anyone with red hair! It doesn’t matter if the red hair is natural, dyed or a wig. It just has to be red. Find a Marble Slab Creamery location.

Since it's 7-11, the store 7-11 is celebrating 84 years and is giving away FREE slurpees today. Most of the locations are participating, and since they're on every corner, should be a fun freebie to get.

go to and you can sign up for their birthday club and other freebies. This week I got coupon for 2 free chicken tacos and a second coupon for free chicken taco with purchase. This is a cheap place to feed the family, and many locations have a playland. Easy way to beat the heat and score some freebies.

Red Robin is Andy's favorite place to eat a good burger, OK at least it's in his top 3. The Royal Red Robin is his pick every time we go. So you can join their birthday club at and receive a burger on your birthday. No purchase necessary.

 In the future, if you no longer want to receive emails from any of these companies you can always opt out on their sites too. Sometimes it gets overwhelming getting too many emails from places you don't want or don't go to often. You can also create a second email for freebies and newsletters to help you manage getting these types of deals in the future.

Happy Deal Hunting

Thursday, July 7, 2011

July Scrapbook Post

1. What am I eating for dinner today? Tuna Noodle Casserole
2. Who was the last person I talked to on the phone? Our bank--to figure out how my credit card was mailed to my Dad, whom I haven't lived with for 13 years.
3. What color did I wear today? Light green
4. What was the last good thing I read? Funny Blog entries from friends
5. What's one goal I have accomplished this week? Finished yard work and crafts
6. What's one thing I need to work on? 254 pics to scrapbook
7. Today's best thought? Breathe
8. One word to sum up today is? Frustrating
9. One worry or concern? Too many to list today
10. Favorite thing I did this week? Fireworks and smores w/ the fam

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

More Summer Fun

We're a third of the way through our vacation and so far, so good. We're keeping busy with a few fun crafts this week. Here's a peek.

1. Rock Necklaces  - Decorate a small flat rock with paint, glitter, dried flowers, etc. Wrap wire around the rock, twisting the top of the wire into a loop. String cording, ribbon or twine through the wire loop to make necklace.

2. Petal Pendants- search your yard for fallen petals. Dry them between two paper towels for 2-3 days, When dry place them between clear contact paper and circle punch them out. Punch a small hole in the top of the circle and string onto necklace. You can use dried flowers to create bookmarks, cards, or modge podge them onto other projects.

3. Pool Fun
Use large sponges and wet them in the pool.
Pass them from player to player using body parts other than your feet.
Great for hours of wet, funny fun.

4. Shark attack
Blow up several small balloons. Decorate them as sharks--or pirates--or whatever your kids are into.
Fill up your kiddie pool with water
Put the balloons into the pool
Whoever pops the most sharks in the water, wins
Clean up balloon parts

5. BBQ Banana Sundae
1.      To make one, cut a lengthwise slit in a peeled banana and place it on a sheet of aluminum foil.
2.      Stuff in as many chocolate chips and mini marshmallows as you can fit.
3.      Wrap the foil around the banana and place it on a grill for about 5 minutes.
4.      The melt, once cooled, is best eaten with a spoon (and lots of napkins).

Monday, July 4, 2011

Awesome Contest

My hero Wendy Paul is giving away an awesome cookbook from Real Mom's Kitchen. Please see her blog at

Happy 4th of July.

Happy Birthday America AND to my brother Cam, bro. in law Rob and Best Husband EVER--Andy

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Meal time Mondays (on Sunday)

Last week was kind of crappy. In one week my oven broke, the phone broke, Danni has a cavity (probably cuz she's so sweet) and we found out Syd has to have braces (and maybe glasses...). Why oh why did I kill my money tree???

Without a stove I am having to get really creative with dinner. I feel lucky we have an emergency kitchen, that we normally use for camping. We extended our grilling area so we now have an outdoor kitchen. Ok, well the poor man's version anyway.

That being said, here's this week's meal ideas. The crock pot recipes, along w/ 360 + more ideas can be found at

BBQ spare ribs-slop your favorite marinade on them and grill. Stubbs or Baby Ray's bbq sauces are both delish.

Crock pot lasagna

Crock pot sweet and sour chicken

Grilled chicken w/ mango pineapple salsa and brown rice

Philly beef and Swiss sandwiches (see the Philly Beef Heaven post under Meal Time category)

Corn dogs (yeah. It's pay day this week so I'm keeping it simple so I can make it to the store and still have dinner to feed all the little mouths around here.)

Continuing to make lemonade out of life's lemons~Have a good week!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Field Trip Friday

We celebrated with all our UTE friends today at the State Capitol. There was a huge party welcoming us to the PAC 12. Each Friday we try to take the kids to have a fun day and try to do something we wouldn't normally do. Today rocked.

We had ice cream, tattoos, buttons and pics with Swoop and the cheerleaders. The kids had fun. It was hot and we got tired after about an hour, so we went to lunch. Ok, I bribed them that if they were good, I'd buy them lunch. Hey, it worked, don't judge.

Here is a awesome link you won't want to miss of Danni. If you're our friend on Facebook, copy this to your browser and check out my 4 year olds moves.

 If you're not our friend on FB, you are missing out on a debut of a lifetime. We had fun and hopefully their memories will last. If not, I am totally scrap booking the entire event. Including a picture of Swoop picking Abbey's nose.

GO UTES! That's right.- We're training them young.