Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sam's Club 6 Box Tops on a Pack


Recently I received some information from the folks at MyBlogSpark and General Mills that Sam's Club is offering bonus box tops for education on some of General Mills products. As I've posted in the past, I'm such a huge fan of the box tops for education program so when I was approached to blog about it again, I immediately jumped on it.

I know in my area our local schools have been dealing with economic challenges due to severe budget cuts.  So being able to do something as simple as cut out a box top off many of the great products I already use, then it is a win for me and the school. 

It is really great that a number of General Mills products found at Sam's Club have bonus box tops on them.  You can get 6 box tops on packs.  Just think of how those extra box tops could help out your local school.  You can check out the Box Tops For Education website to check out all the great products that contain box tops for education.  Last night I cut box tops off our Ol El Paso Tostada shells and seasoning packet I used to make dinner. 

I'm excited to share that the folks at General Mills and MyBlogSpark have a $25 Sam's Club gift card you can win to buy some great General Mills products at Sam's Club.  You have two ways to enter using the Rafflecopter. If you are seeing "Read More" below this, please click on it.  That will then launch the Rafflecopter giveaway widget so you can see how to enter.  Good luck!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Smashbox Primer


I don't know where the last two months have gone.  The holidays always go so fast and I thought I was going to be getting back into the swing of things and things would settle down in January, but that has not been the case. I've been fighting sinus stuff for the last week which has just dragged me down.  And when I feel icky, it is hard to blog and do a lot of other stuff I want and need to be doing.

But today I'm pluggin on and I wanted to share a product I discovered and love.  Months ago, I put an order in for some makeup on Ulta's website.  I love shopping with them because they have a rewards card program and you can get points towards salon services, or money off your order. I usually go for the money off my order. And the great thing about it is you can use it when making a purchase in the store or on their website.  So when I purchased some items through the website, they asked me if I wanted to try three samples of different products. One of them I chose was Smashbox Photo Finish primer. I had seen a segment on the Today show a while ago and a makeup artist raved about it.  So I was anxious to try it.

Well, once I tried it the sample I was hooked.  I decided that I was saving up some money and was going to put an order in on Black Friday to Ulta. And one of the things I was going to get was the Smashbox Photo Finish primer.  They ran a special on the .2 oz bottle for about $10 if I'm remembering correctly. And I think they may sell these small bottles in the travel section of the store.  When you go to see this, don't be surprised and get sticker shock. The big bottle I have pictured above is $49.  But one thing I'll say about the product is a little bit goes a long way.  After using this for over a month now, I still have a lot in the .2 oz bottle and I use it every day. 

What I like about it is that it gives your complexion a photo finished look. You put this primer on first before applying your foundation/powder.  I personally still use foundation and I use a cheap brand and it works great with it.  When the primer comes out it feels thick coming out of the tube, but don't worry it will just glide smoothly on your face.  It reminds me of a clear hair gel consistency.  I have to say it freaked me out a little bit the first time I went to use it. 

I was in the Ulta store around the holidays and a lady came in and was complaining about the foundation they had sold her.  She had a lot of wrinkles and felt that her foundation was looking clumpy.  I interjected that she needed to try the Photo Finish primer from Smashbox.  It really helps even out your face.  She had never heard of primer before and was excited.  I was talking to the Ulta consultant and she was saying that in their store they have two camps. One is pro Smashbox primer and the other is another company which I don't remember. 

After that experience in the store, I thought I'd blog today about primer in case you had never heard of it.  It really has been a great find for me. And I had never heard about it until the Today show segment.  I love learning about new things like this and since I love makeup so much, this has been a fun find.

Do you use primer and if so, which brand do you use and what do you like about it?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pampered Chef Recipe Review Mediterranean Hummus Pizza

Today I'm sharing my review of Pampered Chef's Mediterranean Hummus Pizza recipe from their "Quick Vegetarian Main Dishes" cook book.  I made this pizza for us last night and let me tell you that if I was giving a rating on a four pizza cutter scale, this one would get four pizza cutters from me. This pizza is delish!
If you like Mediterranean flavors that are punchy, bold, and filling then you will love this recipe.  I have to say I'm not a big fan of olives, but the kalamata olives were perfect in this recipe and the other ingredients really help balance out the flavor so it isn't over powering. So if you are someone who hasn't liked olives on your pizza in the past, still gives these a try.  Of course kalamata olives are different I'm sure from what Papa John's and other pizza places put on their pizza.

The recipe calls for using meditarrean seasoned feta cheese crumbles. I didn't find these at the store, so I purchased feta that was tomato and basil flavored.  That cheese worked wonderfully on the pizza.

I think this pizza has so much flavor that packs a great punch that you won't eat tons of it. I found it to be really filling.  I was thinking this pizza would make a great appetizer if cut into small bite pieces. I am thinking of taking it to either a MOPS night meeting, or when we bring food to my Bunco group. 
So if you are looking for something different to try, I highly recommend this recipe. Also, this is about the second or third recipe I've made and reviewed on my website from the "Quick Vegetarian Main Dishes" cookbook.  Here is a link to my previous post for the Harvest Cream Soup recipe from this cookbook.  If you know anyone having a Pampered Chef party anytime soon, take a chance to flip through the cookbook and see what you think.  Have you made this recipe or any other recipes from this cookbook? If so, I'd love to know what you think.

The highlighted words in the recipe are the products Pampered Chef sells that you can use in the recipe. I went ahead and included them so you'd know, but of course if you have your own tools you can use those as well.  If you don't own this large bar ban, you could do the same thing using a pizza stone. 

 Mediterranean Hummus Pizza

1 tbsp plus 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided
1 pkg (13.8 oz) refrigerated pizza crust
1 garlic clove, pressed

2 jars (7.5 oz) quartered marinated artichoke hearts, drained
2 medium plum tomatoes
1/4 medium red onion
1 two inch. piece seedless cucumber
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 container (7 oz) plain hummus
2 oz. Mediterranean seasoned feta cheese crumbles (I used a block of feta & crumbled it)

1.) Preheat oven to 425. Lightly brush Large Bar Pan with 1/2 tsp of the oil using Chef's Silicon Basting Brush. Unroll dough onto bottom of pan, gently stretching and pressing dough to cover bottom.  Combine remaining oil and garlic pressed with Garlic Press in prep bowl; brush evenly over dough. Bake 12-14 minutes or until crust is light golden brown.

2) Meanwhile, for toppings, cut artichokes crosswise into smaller pieces. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise; scrape out seeds and dice.  Thinly slice onion. Using Ultimate Mandoline fitted with v shaped blade, slice cucumber; cut slices into quarters. Coarsely chop olives using Food Chopper.

3) Remove pan from oven to Stackable Cooling Rack. Spread hummus evenly over crust. Arrange artichokes, tomatoes, onion, cucumber and olives over hummus. Sprinkle with cheese. Cut pizza into squares.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

NYC New York Color

Over the holidays I was lucky enough to receive a VoxBox from Influenster that was chock full of goodies.  My favorite product that came in the box was a tube of Nude York City Liquid Lipshine from NYC New York Color. I have used their lip gloss before, but it has been a while.  So I was really pleased to get this tube. 

I love this color because it is neutral.  It is nice to have something that will go with any outfit. What I also really like about it is it makes my lips shiny and glossy without being sticky. I hate when lip gloss feels sticky.  And since winter has been here, I have had dry lips so I like keeping something on my lips to help against the wind. 

I liked this lip gloss so much I went to the store to get a different tube to have another color and they were sold out. Hopefully now that the holidays are over, stores have restocked.  Apparently it has been pretty popular.

I've seen it in Target and Wal Mart so the next time you are in one of those stores, I'd recommend checking them out. If you are a subscriber to All You magazine or you pick it up at Wal Mart, many times they have great coupons for NYC New York Color products.  I love getting a great beauty product at a good price.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Monday, January 16, 2012

I came. I decluttered. I organized.

I haven't been posting much because things have been a zoo at my house.  More than the usual craziness that comes from having two young, active boys. 

My husband and I have made an unofficial New Year's resolution to take back our house.  We haven't been able to do any type of freshening up or maintenance in about five years.  So we decided it was time.  And we have started with our bedroom and the kitchen.

This weekend my wonderful husband spent Saturday and Sunday painting our bedroom.  And today I thought I'd share some information about our project.  Some lessons learned and things we've found that work for us. First, if you or your spouse go to Lowe's and you need calk, be sure to check to see if you have the white paintable caulk and not clear.  Poor dh found out that he'd bought the clear after he had tried to fill cracks.  He wasn't planning on painting our ceiling, but had to after that because of course the clear caulk leaves a sheen.  But it all worked out and we were glad we got the ceiling painted. 

And speaking of paint, we have found that the Valspar paint sold at Lowe's is our favorite.  About 5+ years ago when we last painted, the paint was called American Traditions.  We have had a wonderful experience with this paint.  I have two boys that put finger prints and marks on our walls and the paint has held up.

Something else I learned over the weekend about the Valspar paint is that they sell a ceiling paint that goes on purple, but it dries white.  I didn't buy it because I thought it might send dh over the edge after the clear caulk incident, but I spoke with my sister on the phone and she and my brother in law recently used the paint and she raved about it.  She said if you have an open foyer, or a space where the ceiling is challenging, the purple tint helps you know where you've painted.  She had a great experience with it. I will note that when I spoke to the sales lady at Lowe's about it, she said there was one person who used the purple tinted ceiling paint when it was humid outside, it and took a long time to dry.  So if you think you want to give it a try you might want to keep that in mind.

It has been freezing cold, in the forties here in Virginia and it is a pain to paint when it is cold, but I think we are finding for us it is the best time.  Our area has a lot of precipitation/humidity and we've had trouble with painting drying quickly if the weather conditions don't cooperate. 

We are really excited to start taking our house back and enjoying being in our little family nest.  I hope to get some more posts up to share some of the other organizational finds I've been incorporating. I'm hoping that a decluttered, better organized house will bring tranquility.  I'm taking this in small chunks so I don't get overwhelmed.  Rome wasn't built in a day, so I can't expect to snap my fingers over night.  But I think it would be nice to be like Samantha Stevens from Bewitched and wrinkle my nose so that all the housework would be finished. 

And if trying to get our house straight wasn't enough, I'm in the throws of potty training.  I'll be blogging about that later.

So that is what is going on in my world, I hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Private Selection by Kroger

Over the holidays I had the chance to try some of the Private Selection products that are available at Kroger.  I tried some of their pizza, appetizers, and desserts.  BzzAgent sent me some coupons to try the products for free and to get my feedback on them. 

The first picture I have below shows their Margherita pizza.  The box says it serves three.  It has a variety of cheeses and if memory serves me, basil too.  It was delicious and the crust was a bit crunchy.  I would definitely eat one again.  Dh tried their chicken bbq pizza.  He felt it was a little spicy. 

These pizzas run $6.99 in the store.  I will keep my eye on them and if they run a sale, I will definitely get them again.  They are good if you want a good pizza for yourself.  But they won't feed a family of four.  They would make a great date night meal at home for two people.

On New Year's Eve I had a box of the Private Selection Miniature Cream Puffs that I served.  What you see out on the platters is how many come in a whole box.  They were a great thing to serve at the party.  They come frozen and it says to unthaw them out of the fridge for 30 minutes or for two hours ahead.  I didn't have quite 30 minutes before I pulled them out, but that ended up working out ok for the party.  By the time midnight rolled around, all of them were gone. 

So these are some new items I had a chance to try over the holidays.  I love trying new things. Have you had a chance to try any of Kroger's Private Selection items?  If so, I'd love to know what you've tried and liked.

I'm happy to finally be getting a blog post up this afternoon.  My oldest son is sick and has kept me up for the last few nights. I am one tired momma trying to clean up after Christmas and I was hoping we would be getting back into the swing of things this week. But, I guess that will be next week.

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!