Author Archive

Peter Pan Had The Right Idea

Posted July 20, 2015 By dealinanddishin

NeverGrowUp

Being a grown up is hard. Hardest part is when you grow older so does everyone around you. This past year it has really hit home that my parents are getting older, and time is limited. Then this past week I have a Mom, who needs surgery (not life threatening), and now a Dad who’s been in the hospital for the last four days with congestive heart failure, blood pressure all messed up, and various other things happening.

I am not coping well. I am functioning. The house is decent. The kids are oblivious, but I’m bubbling under the surface. Mini breakdowns happen daily, and I have been able to hold off a major one.

Partly I feel like I shouldn’t be so upset..my Mom is the one who is dealing with a sick husband and her own stuff. I’m off an hour away with my kids trying to keep our normal routine.

I don’t post on Facebook, because I don’t want to seem attention seeking, and also because I am more private than people realize. It seems to be ironic to have a blog, but if you look through it I don’t get real deep about myself or family. Just like Facebook I keep it all pretty even keel and happy. I just have to release some of this…guilt, worry, sadness, just whatever keeps popping to the surface.

Too much unknown. Anxiety whenever the phone rings. Worries about what happens if he doesn’t come home. Worries about what if he does. Worries about what to tell kids if something does happen.

However, it is too late for me and I have grown up and this is all a part of that…a really shitty part.

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ohiorenfestI was given the opportunity as a US Family Blogger to share about the upcoming Ohio Renaissance Festival  in Waynesville, OH running September 5- October 25 (Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day). I have a coupon code below to use when ordering tickets. I will receive tickets for my family of 4 to attend the festival and review it after.

Our plan is to make it a mini vacation and go during Fall Break in October. Coming from Indiana we will travel through Cincinnati, and  we will stop to visit the zoo. Then we plan to stay a night in Columbus and visit their zoo. Then we will finish up our road trip by going to our first ever Renaissance Festival. I’m very excited! Honestly the prices are very reasonable for the festival even before the coupon if you wait to buy at the gate. Order online and you will save $2-4 per ticket off  the Gate Price. Looks like once you enter the code there is a “Special” ticket you order as the top two listings. So instead of $9.95 and $21.95 you will get them for $7.95 and $17.95!

Since I have never been to anything like this here is some information I was provided about the event:

“Forget your cares and step back in time to this 30-acre re-created 16th Century English village and enjoy over 400 years of fun in a single day! The festival offers something for everyone featuring nearly 100 shows daily on 11 stages, over 135 unique arts and crafts shops, hearty food and drink, games of skill and human-powered rides to amuse all ages.photo_4189

Over 150 costumed characters welcome you to the village! Rub elbows with Royalty as you cheer your favorite knight to victory in the thrilling Full-armored Tournament Joust. Welcoming you to a festive day in the village are dueling swordsmen, rowdy pirates, nobles, peasants, and daring jugglers.photo_4186 The sprawling landscape is dotted with hundreds of unique shops in the Medieval Marketplace featuring many one-of-a-kind, hand-crafted items. See time-honored crafts of glassblowing, stone carving, blacksmithing, leather tooling, boot making, and more demonstrated. The air is filled with the scents and smells of the foods of the Renaissance period. Feast like Royalty on juicy, giant roasted turkey legs, fresh baked bread bowls overflowing with soups and stews, fish ‘n chips, steak-on-a-stake, succulent roasted corn on the cob and a wide variety of the finest ales and wines. There’s something for everyone’s taste buds!

Visitors of all ages will be amused by the games of skill and human-powered rides. Try your hand at archery and see if you’re a modern-day Robin Hood, or climb the castle tower and rescue the lovely damsel in distress.”photo_4187

How fun does that sound?? I know the Hubs is all about a turkey leg to eat. The kids will love to see a jousting and any kind of fighting. Should be a fun day. I will post a review after we go, plus sharing Tweets, Facebook posts, and Instagram pics during the event!

Coupon
tile_ohiorenfest-tile
Ohio Renaissance Festival Discounts – Get $4 off Adult (ages 13+) and $2 off Child (ages 5-12) tickets by using promo code “family” when purchasing discount tickets on our secure web site at www.renfestival.com. Tickets good any day of the 2015 season (Saturdays, Sundays, and Labor Day Sept 5 – Oct 25). Online discount only. Not valid with any other offers.

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Spicy Turkey Wrap Recipe

Posted June 30, 2015 By dealinanddishin

mcdonalds-Premium-McWrap-Chicken-Sweet-Chili-GrilledI had a the McWrap Sweet Chili with Grilled Chicken at McDonald’s, and really enjoyed it. I didn’t enjoy the 400 calories.

I fell in love with the spice of Sweet Chili Sauce and the cooling of Cucumber. I was inspired to make something like this I could have every day for less calories, and less out of my pocket!

If you can find Flat Out Wraps, those are a great option for making wraps at home for around 90 calories each for the Light version. However, they are more expensive, in the $4 a pack range (for six), and not all stores carry them. If you can get them on sale go for it, you can freeze them!

I could not find them, and haven’t seen them on sale for a bit so I went with another option.

Pretty much all stores carry tortillas. I don’t know that I have found one who doesn’t..you can find them at Aldi, Priceless, Ruler, Target, Schnucks, Walmart, etc. The tortillas will have more calories, but they are less expensive and will save you time hunting down the Flat Out wraps.

SpicyTurkeyWrapIngredients2

Ingredients

1 Whole Wheat Tortilla= 130
Handful Lettuce= 3
1 slice Cheddar Cheese (Thin Sliced)=45
1 Tsp. Light Mayo=12
1 Tsp. Sweet Chili Sauce=15
6 slices Cucumber=4
2 oz. Turkey Deli Meat=60

Spicy Turkey Wrap Total Calories=269

I add a serving of Cheez It Crackers for 150 and 4 ounces of seedless Red Grapes for 78 to bring my lunch calorie grand total to 497 Calories!SpicyTurkeyWrapLunch2

That is less than 100 more than the McDonald’s wrap, and I will feel fuller.

The wrap is easy to make: The mayo and sweet chili sauce go first so you can mix them together, top with cheese,  turkey, cucumber, and lettuce. Then just fold up bottom and roll!SpicyTurkeyWrapCollage

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Adventures in the Kitchen: Dehydrating Canned Pineapple

Posted June 28, 2015 By dealinanddishin

I got my food dehydrator last month and right away tried out some fruits I had read about.

So far I have bought the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A, an extra set of theClean-A-Screens, and The Beginner’s Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods: Preserve Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, and Meat with a Dehydrator, a Kitchen Oven, or the Sun.


SlicedPineappleI had bought a scratch and dent canned of sliced pineapple at the grocery store for around 60 cents. I had read you could dry canned pineapple, especially that in it’s own juice. I don’t know why you couldn’t do it with that in syrup, but it is healthier being in the juice.

Simply put the Screens on each tray, lay slices of pineapple down (without overlap), and turn on the machine to the fruit setting. This is going to take awhile, overnight, for sure.

PutInScreens Pineapples
PineappleandStrawberries
Feel free to check on it. Times are going to vary depending on the fruit, outside temperature, humidity, how often you open the machine up, etc. Back to drying our pineapple. I dried mine along with strawberries (ran out of room) and bananas…might as well try everything at once!

The only thing I did special with multiple fruits was to put the pineapple at the bottom, because it is so moist it may drip. It wouldn’t hurt the strawberries to have some pineapple juice dripped on them, but it could make drying longer. I know you are wondering, No there wasn’t any cross over flavor from them all in there together.
Once done they are stuck to the screens pretty good. Luckily with the Clean-A-Screen you peel it off like a sticker.  I think they would be a complete pain to remove in one piece from the trays as is.
StuckPineapple PeelOffPineapple

Mine were good and chewy with a nice pineapple flavor. It was not overpowering like you might think at all. They have a little tackiness to them, and perhaps could be dried even longer, but I have a patience problem. I will do them again longer next time, but this was a small test batch.ThinPineapples

The more moisture you get out the longer it will keep. It is the moisture that inhibits bacteria from growing. It can still happen, but at a much slower rate. That’s why you also need a good air tight container for storing your dehydrated goodies!

(post contains affiliate links, but my own opinions and experiences)

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Dollar Tree Minecraft Art

Posted June 25, 2015 By dealinanddishin

DollarTreeMinecraftArtThis was our third and final Minecraft craft for our first Minecraft weekend. (We also made Light Up Minecraft Torches and Wacky Waving Endermen) Painting is always a favorite thing for kids to do, and I have seen so many people find things at Dollar Tree to repaint and use like frames I had hoped I could find something as well.

Well, I lucked out big time. I found this pressed wood squares for $1 each at our local Dollar Tree. I figured I could remove the wire hanger (super easy..just use some needle nose pliers), rough up the surface with some sand paper, and then spray paint white to get a base ready for painting.
DollarTreeBoards Sandpaper PaintedBoards

I did all of that the day before the kids painted so there would be no rushing or possibly dealing with rain and drying issues.

Next, I looked forPerler Beads or Melty bead patterns. I had hoped my square would be even so I could make a grid for painting. Well, it was not truly square, but a little adjusting of the ruler and it was fine.  I found this great site that had some HAMA bead patterns. I assume these are like the Perler or Melty ones. It didn’t matter to me. I just liked the character faces in simple grid form. They were 8 blocks across and down so very close to what I had!

I printed the page so the kids could pick what they wanted to do. The girl wanted to make an Enderman and the boy decided on a Skeleton. We kept the colors simple: Black, purple, and light purple for the Enderman, and black, gray, and dark gray for the Skeleton. No reason to buy extra colors. Use a dark purple for the eye centers, then add some white and now you have a lighter shade for the other part. Same goes for the gray for the Skeleton. Just use a light gray all over, and then for the small bit add some black to your gray.EndermanGrid SkeleltonGrid

I squared up the parts as best I could and drew one inch squares for the eyes and nose of the characters. I used colored pencils in similar paint colors so they could be easily covered later. The rest of the grid didn’t matter since it was one color. Then it was time to paint, dry, and paint again.  PaintingTime

A couple coats was perfect other than some touch ups by Mom around the eyes and nose.TouchUp

Then just reattach the wires, and they are ready to hang. These will be a great addition to the playroom décor!

MinecraftEndermanArt MinecraftSkeletonArt

(post contains affiliate links, but my own opinions)

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The Slice Digital Die Cutting Machine

Posted June 22, 2015 By dealinanddishin

(post contains affiliate links but my own opinions as always)

If you have a Tuesday Morning store around you go check it out. It is like a Big Lots, but with new items that may be “last season”. They have lots of home décor, dinnerware, toys, bedding, etc.

I found this Slice Digital Die Cutting Machine there for $29.99 (compare to Amazon for $51.99 as I write this Slice Digital Die Cutting Machine)

Slice
The Slice is a rechargeable portable cutter. It can cut fabric, paper, or vinyl. It will take about two hours to charge the unit. The unit is very simple to use, which is good because the instructions were very limited.  You get the Slice cutter, charger, one disk of images, a 6″ square glass mat, glue for the mat, etc. in the box.

You need to apply the adhesive thinly to the glass so paper or whatever material you use does not move. You put the card in the slot in the back, turn it on, and select images. Images can go as big as 4 inches and some as small as 1 inch. Put your paper on the mat, the Slice on top, hold it in place and press the button on the right to cut. You have to hold it. If not as you will see in the video it will move…a lot! I think it is on the noisier side, but I don’t have any experience with other cutters like Cricut or Silhouette .

Here are some samples of what is on the disk that comes with it.
CutSamples

Other items that I bought I think will be useful:

The Hands Free Kit, so I can easily use 12″ scrapbook paper, and not have to hold the unit in place. This cost $14.99 at Tuesday Morning, and is $34.42 at Amazon Slice Hands Free Designer Kit, 12 by 12-InchHandsFreeKit
The spray adhesive that was $3.99 at Tuesday Morning. I hope this helps me not have too sticky of a surface next time. This is on Amazon for $19.99 Making Memories Slice Repositionable Spray AdhesiveAdhesiveSpray

I went back to Tuesday Morning and got more Slice Designs cards for $9.99 each. I found them all on Amazon for $19-26 each. I also got the case to store the cards and their design books. It was $4.99 at Tuesday Morning, and I found one on Amazon for that same price DESIGN CARD STORAGE Case Slice Elite Making Memories.

CartridgesCardCase

Bottom Line

For me I think this is a great starter, and I will get a lot of use out of it. There are always crafts to make for Girl Scouts, the Kaper Chart, home crafts, scrapbooking, plus sewing I like to do.

My total investment= $93.92 before tax. This is still well below the $200+ Silhoutte and Cricut cost.

Check out my walk through. I know it isn’t the greatest being one handed, but the kids were at Day Camp so I had a quiet house today!

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Wacky Waving Enderman Craft

Posted June 20, 2015 By dealinanddishin

The best name I could think of  for this was Wacky Waving Enderman Craft. I have to say it turned out so cute, and for so little money. I was inspired by this pin on Pinterest. I thought this was a “Pin the Eye on the Enderman” game, but looking again I think it is a wall decoration.EndermanCloseUp

Anyway, while at my local Dollar Tree I was trying to see what was around the store that was square, since everything in Minecraft is square, and could be used for some craft.

I found this 16 pack of black dessert square paper plates for $1, and a 2 pack of black streamers for $1. Bought both of those plus a variety of other things for our Minecraft crafts like the Minecraft Torch and headed out.

A few more supplies were needed that I had at home: hole punch, black string, scissors, purple duct tape. If you don’t have a stockpile of duct tape like I do, some purple paper glued on will work just fine!

You will need 2 plates, four strips of streamer (cut later), and three 6-inch pieces of string for each Enderman.
EndermanSupplies

Loops

Stack the two plates and hole punch them evenly spaced from each other and the ends. This will help it when lining them up later. Next cut a couple of rectangular pieces of purple duct tape and place on the face of your Enderman.

Thread a piece of string through matching hole on head and body plates of the Enderman. Tie this string, but you want to tie it a an our two away so you can have a loop for the plate hang. Do this to the other matching holes.

Now we have to add arms and legs. Simply cut your arms whatever length you like. Enderman are known for very long arms. Turn plates over and tape to back of body. Now cut your legs out of streamer. Use the arms a guide for how long to make the legs. You want all to be the same length. Tape this on back of the body as well.Back

All that is left to do is to hole punch a hole in top center of the Enderman head and tie another a loop of black string on top.Holeontop

The Wacky Waving Enderman is all done!! You can hang it from the ceiling where a breeze will make him wave about, or as a wall or door decoration. For just $2 you can make 8 of these guys for your next Minecraft craft day or birthday party!

WackyWavingEnderman

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Link Parties

Posted June 20, 2015 By dealinanddishin

LinkPartiesI am trying to get  more involved in link parties. There are many types out there every day of the week. You can find ones for your posts or blog itself. I will keep adding to this to share where I am “partying” it up!

Weekend

SomewhatSimple The Link Party Palooza runs from Friday to Sunday so plenty of time to link up. It is hosted by five blogs: I Heart Nap Time, Lil’ Luna, Somewhat Simple, Tatertots & Jello & Today’s Creative Blog.

The-Creative-CollectionLinkParty

The Creative Collection Link Party runs from Friday to Sunday. It is hosted by seven blogs: Craft-O-Maniac, Classy Clutter, Lolly Jane, The Cards We DrewBlooming Homestead, The Crafted Sparrow, and Giggles Galore.

BestRecipesandDIY
The Best Recipes & DIY Project Link Party runs from Friday to Tuesday! It is hosted by five blogs: Cooking With RuthieBakerette, Mandy’s Recipe Box, Live Dan 330, and Made From Pinterest.

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Minecraft Torch Craft

Posted June 14, 2015 By dealinanddishin

My kids are Minecraft crazy! My 7 year old daughter wanted a Minecraft day, like our LEGO day last Summer. I searched Pinterest (of course) for ideas, and used those as inspiration for our weekend of crafts.

Here we made two light up Minecraft torches for just $1.07! I love Dollar Tree, and found a variety of goodies for the activities we did.MinecraftTorchCraft

Minecraft Torch Craft

Supplies:

 

Two-pack of electric tea lights ($1.00 at Dollar Tree)
3 Sheets of 8.5 x 11 cardstock– 2 Brown and 1 Yellow
Scissors and/or rotary cutter
Toilet Paper Tube
Pencil
Tape

MinecraftTorchSupplies

I have card stock all the time on hand, but if you didn’t you could use a cardstock white paper and paper, or color it. It is well worth it to get a pack of multi colored cardstock at Hobby Lobby and use that weekly 40% off coupon!

I used the width of the tea light to help determine the sections for the torch. I made lines every 1.5 inches down the paper. If you use a pen, this will score the paper a bit and make for easier folding. Don’t apply too much pressure or it will rip the paper.PaperLines

Next, we cut about a 2 1/4 inch high x 8.5 inch wide piece of yellow for each torch. You will tape this to the top of the brown. Just butt the pieces of paper up to each other without overlap. Now you can cut off some of the brown at the bottom if you like.AddYellowPaper

Then start folding, with the lines you drew inside. You will have an extra inch at the end. Before attaching everything cut off the 1 inch section of yellow at the end and the first full yellow section next to it. (If you don’t do this the light won’t shine evenly through the paper, because some are double thick.)
FoldandCutCollage

Now fold everything in and tape in place. You can use some double sided tape if you like, or regular scotch tape.TapingCollage

MinecraftTorchThe torch light needs to be able to stay in place, so that’s where the toilet paper tube comes into play. Cut a tube in half, make four slits on each “side” at the bottom of the tube, and fold and tape the tabs closed. This will give a little extra thickness to hold the light in place.TealightTubeCollage

To remove the light you can either reach in and pull the tea light up, lightly shake it out of the torch, or get a pencil or ruler and push it out.

Turn on your light, put in the tube, place in the torch, and you are ready to explore!
Here is a little video clip of how it flickers and glows.

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Adventures in the Kitchen: The Food Dehydrator

Posted May 31, 2015 By dealinanddishin

Post contains affiliate links to products, but the opinions are my own.

I remember as a kid my mom making fruit roll ups in a dehydrator…one time. I don’t know if we didn’t like them, or it is just not our thing to eat a lot of dried fruits. The second is probably most accurate. It was the 80’s in small town Indiana. We ate pretty simply…fried steak, fried chicken, fried pork chops, potatoes, corn, etc.

As I grew up and moved away from home my food horizons expanded. I cannot eat whatever I want all the time like when I was a teen. Fruits and veggies are great low calorie alternatives to traditional sweets and salty snacks.

I am also a little obsessed with the survival prepping culture. I don’t really practice it, but I love watching shows, reading, and trying simple things when it comes to saving money in particular. I try to hang clothes to dry as much as possible, have a small garden, and am pushing for rain collection barrels. I would also love love love some solar panels on the house!

The food dehydrator looked to be a great way to store fruits and veggies that are best priced during the Summer, but go to waste so quickly. I do love freezing whatever I can, but there are limits to this. I have not done any canning, but I just bought a canning pot and jars today to try jam later this Summer as well. First things first..let’s find a dehydrator and do some research.

Of course I hit Pinterest for some recipes and information. The library was a great source as well..who doesn’t love free books (for a couple weeks anyway). So far my two favorite books are The Dehydrator Bible: Includes over 400 Recipes and The Beginner’s Guide to Making and Using Dried Foods: Preserve Fresh Fruits, Vegetables, Herbs, and Meat with a Dehydrator, a Kitchen Oven, or the Sun.  They are both very informative and full of recipes. I’m torn on which I would buy to add to my own collection. Most likely I will buy both since they are just over $13 each on Amazon right now!

I decided to go with the Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A that was $69.99 with Free Shipping. I used our Amazon Prime, because I’m super impatient and we pay for it so might as well use it.

The Nesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A comes with 5 trays, 2 fruit roll sheets, 2 clean-a-screens, and 3 jerky spice packets.

Review
TheNesco Snackmaster Pro Food Dehydrator FD-75A is very simple to use and clean. It is top-rack dishwasher safe if you remove before the drying cycle. I would suggest to just handwashing. It is faster, and they are easy to dry. You can expand the unit to 12 trays, and they are sold in 2 packs at stores like Amazon and Bed, Bath, and Beyond (look for the 20% off coupon). The top is labeled clearly with temperatures and what they are for. NescoProfessionalThe trays stack on top of each with the fan/heater on top. No latches or locking mechanisms needed. Plus it in and off you go. NescoWorkingThe unit heats up quickly, but even at the 135 degree setting I tried it was not crazy hot like my crock pot. I know you will be curious about noise. It is quiet. Just a white noise, fan sound. I made a little clip for you to hear yourself.

Tip
I happened to be at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and found bought more Clean-a-screens. I highly suggest you get those. Fruit sticks when drying, and these made it much easier to remove. They are flexible, and have a small grid for smaller items as well. I plan to also buy another set of fruit roll up sheets, so I can do larger quantities at a time. The Clean-A-Screens and Fruit Roll Sheets both come two in a pack and were about $6-7 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Extra trays (two in a pack) were $9.99 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

Next up I will be writing about each food, or craft I try. Yes, it says you can use it for crafts like dough ornaments, drying flowers, or making pet treats!

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