Friday, January 31, 2014

Great Kitchen Scale

For years, I've had a cheap, plastic Progressive scale.  No electronics.  I twist the outer disk to adjust for the bowl I'm measuring in.  I can really only measure to ounces.  No half ounce business.

That's where a digital scale is nice.  If you are making anything that really requires precision, then a digital scale would be the handiest thing in the world!  This scale is light and easy to store.  The bowl feels very thin to me---but that has its advantages.  If you've measured something in it and need to tip it up to scoop into the bowl you're mixing in, then this is an easy bowl to lift up and manage!  Especially if you're a lone cook.  It's easy to lift up a bowl and scrape out of it when you're cooking in tandem with a friend.  But, if it's just you,
you need to make accommodations.  One of those would be using a bowl and scale like this one.

As for how easy it is to use... Press the on button to turn it on, and hold it down to turn it off.  To reset the scale for a dish you're measuring into, press the on button again and it will recalibrate.  I liked this process.  It was easy and hands free.  It was also exact (unlike my well used and loved older scale).  

My only concern about this scale is the cost.  If you like the appeal of the lightweight stainless bowl, then this would be a nice scale to purchase.  If not and you have a lightweight bowl you can use, then I'd recommend Mira Brands' less expensive scale.   I'd give it 4 stars (on a scale of 5) because of the price on Amazon.  I'd give the scale itself 5 stars. 

Please note that I received a complimentary scale for review.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Making a Habit of Joking

One thing that was missing in my house growing up was laughter.  My mom commented to me about this two years ago.  She commented on it because it is present in our home now.  My kids love jokes.  Last year, I made an advent calendar with pockets for the month of December.  I put a joke inside each pocket.  The kids take turns telling one at dinner each night.  They love this tradition!

I regularly keep my eye out for joke books to keep their minds tumbling.  A
new one coming out is titled The Big Book of Laugh Out-loud Jokes for Kids by Rob Elliot.  It's a 3 in 1 collection that combines his 3 previous books into 1 collection.  I think this is great!  #1 it saves money (the three books separately would cost about $12.50 and the one book costs $9 on Amazon.  #2 it saves space--one book is much easier to travel with than 3!

This book is full of jokes that all my kids (5, 8, and 10 years old) can enjoy together!  They'll sit at lunch and read a few at a time.  My middle daughter suggested that they each read one and then trade the book.  But, then she loved telling one so much, she wouldn't pass it on!  As a mom, I'm glad that it's full of wholesome jokes and not potty humor. 

In any case, if you're looking for a fun joke book to share with your kids--look this one up!  

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Revell Publishing.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

For Moms Who Have Time...

I wrote this post last night...

Okay, I'm feeling a bit tired and cynical tonight.  My day...  I got up at 6:30 a.m. then folded two loads of laundry, drank a cup of coffee, did dishes, got my husband's lunch ready for work, sent two emails, made french toast, went grocery shopping, made lunch, dropped by a friend's house for a minute, did school, made dinner, cleaned up, talked with my husband, got the kids to bed, ate a piece of chocolate.  There wasn't a lot of extra room in today.  I did get think aloud bookmarks laminated to help guide our conversations as we read The Cricket in Times Square.  I did get a birthday gift purchased for a party the girls are going to next week.  I did get a new shirt and pants purchased for my oldest daughter.  But, planning a holiday tradition or getting things together was not on my mind today.  Traditions and holidays take energy and time.

A friend of ours commented to me after Christmas that he and his wife were so tired after Christmas had passed. They realized that when they were kids they just got to enjoy Christmas.  But, now they are the adults and they get to do all the work that goes into Christmas!  I agreed with them.  It is a lot of work.  It's worth it, though.  We are making memories for our children that they will have when they are older.

On days like today, it's hard to imagine all the work that we put into holidays and traditions to make those memories.  But, we do it.  Because we enjoy the work and our families enjoy the fruits of our labors.

My goal is to find easy, simple ideas to make traditions and holidays fun and special for my family.  My kids know how much I love them and that I try.  I'm very transparent to them about my humanness--probably too transparent since I wear my heart on my sleeve.

In any case, I love to look for ideas.  So, books that are full of ideas are right up my alley...

A new one is coming out titled Everyday Confetti by Karen Ehman and Glynnis Whitwer.  These two
women are a part of Lysa Terkeurst's Proverbs 31 ministry (  Everyday Confetti walks you through the year with ideas for each holiday and a recipes along the way.  The book has a fun front cover that made me want to love this book.  I wanted to "want" to make the recipes in the book.  I wanted to find simple ideas in it that I looked forward to doing with my family.

But, I just didn't.  I didn't find any recipes I wanted to make. I kept flipping and hoping, but none of the recipes were ones that I would make.  I was a little bothered by the idea that Valentine's Day is known as "Singles Awareness Day".  But, I looked it up and found that indeed it is also now known as Singles Awareness Day.  Hmmm...

I kept reading and looking for ideas.  But, none of them clicked for me.  It doesn't fit with my life.  My time is taken up right now with school and teaching.  When I read, it's usually about how children learn.  I hadn't realized this before I picked up this book.

This book is filled with stories by moms.  They're written in the flowery, descriptive way that we talk with our friends (with more words rather than less).  They're great if you have time--to read them and implement them.  If you're going on a vacation and will be spending time as the passenger in a car, this is a book you could read.  If you're starting out with toddlers and big dreams of all the things you'll do with your family, then this book might be for you.

But, if you're coming down from the clouds, grappling with your life as a mom, trying to figure out how to make things enjoyable and simple for your family, then I'd pass on this book.  I know that may sound strange and like I said earlier--cynical, but that's where I'm at right now.  Sometimes this is the kind of book that's actually hard to read.  Because it can feel overwhelming or discouraging.  Sometimes you don't have a husband who's on board with cheesiness.

I do things to make my kids' lives special, but it looks a little different.  Making my kids' lives special means breakfast in the morning.  It means giving a hug whenever they want one.  It means listening to Adventures in Odyssey with them.  The time we have is what we savor.

This is probably a perfectly fine book.  It's just not where I'm at right now and after getting through the Winter holidays, I'm not ready yet to tackle anymore for a little while.  Right now, I'm keeping my head above water and putting one foot in front of another!

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Revell Books.

Post Script... please forgive me for my cynicism in this book review!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

After Christmas Sales

You might laugh at this admission, but this Christmas I actually thought about making sure I had a little money to spend after Christmas at the sales that come up.  I've noticed that there's often some very good sales around this time of year.  

My purchases this year were...
Some tissue paper (50cents for 24 sheets) at Walgreens.
An light triggered switch for our lights with two plugs to replace the one we had been using ($5) at Target. 
A gift for my mother in law down the road for $4 at ShopRite (Grocery Stores often have great deals!)
Treat bags for cookies next Christmas for 50cents at ShopRite as well...  

And about it.  My husband made the point to me that we have a lot coming up and that sometimes buying ahead isn't always the wisest thing to do.  I agree.  If I'm shopping for an event very far off, I might forget that I've purchased something or purchase something else additionally because I didn't remember!

But, today, I found one deal to purchase for my girls this winter for sick in bed days and too cold to go outside days...  On, Seasons 1, 2, and 3 or Road to Avonlea are $9.99 each.  And there's a free shipping code available through Jan. 3rd if you purchase more than $35.  If you go to Retailmenot, they have a code you can copy and paste.  Normally, it's always between $45 and $60 a season.  I've never actually seen it go on sale and I've been watching because my girls really enjoy it.  I love it too and watched all 7 seasons when we used to have a Netflix subscription.  It's hard to find shows I feel really comfortable with them watching and this is one of the good ones!

Anyways, just wanted to pass that along...