Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Woolzies Giveaway {Summer Sweeping Giveaway Hop}

Summer is coming to a close, but it's still HOT, HOT, HOT outside.  Stay cool with your little ones before they head back to school and keep Summer Sweeping with this Giveaway Hop, hosted by the Blogging Mamas Network!
Each blogger linking up has a Giveaway for you worth at least $25, so be sure to hop around to them all! 

Image from

Just Me and the Boys is offering a 6-count package of  
Woolzies Dryer Balls!  (ARV $35)

Enter below using the Rafflecopter form below.
Must be 18 years or older.
Open to US residents.
Winner will have 48 hours to respond to winning e-mail before a new winner will be drawn.

According to Jenny, So Easy Being Green, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Summer Fluffing participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Home Made Chewy Granola Bars {Tasty Tuesday}

We don't often eat chewy granola bars but after the last time I bought them I thought I should look for a recipe. It wasn't until I was looking for a good treat to make for a family function that I actually made them. These were perfect! Everyone loved them, except Squirrel, whom for some reason is skeptical of treats I make (maybe he thought I hid veggies in them or something).


1/4 cup of unsalted butter
1/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1/4 honey
1 1/2 cups plain granola
1 cup puffed rice cereal 
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 sweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup raisins

(you can substitute the flavored chips, coconut or raisins for your favorite add ins. If you want to omit one or more of the additives without replacement adjust recipe by adding more granola.)

Tip: You can add all dry ingredients to have the chocolate and peanut butter melted in, or you could press the chocolate and peanut butter chips in at the end. I will describe the recipe with everything mixed, you'll see the outcome of both versions. I think it is easier to mix it together, plus I like the ingredients to be evenly distributed.

Step One:
Mix together granola, rice cereal, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, coconut and raisins in large mixing bowl. Then set aside.

Step Two:
In small sauce pan melt butter, honey and brown sugar. Boil, stirring constantly, until sugar crystals are melted, about 1-2 minutes.

Step Three:
Pour melted mixture over the top of dry ingredients and mix together.

Step Four: 
Using a spatula, press the ingredients into a wax paper lined (or sprayed) pan. You want the bars to be 1/2-34 inch thick. Depending on the size of pan you use, you may not fill the whole pan. I made two batches and didn't quite fill a 13X9 inch pan.

Left shows chips pressed in afterwards, right shows chips melted in.

Pressed in pan, 3/4 high, smooth edges.

Step Five:
Cool completely then cut. You can individually wrap in wax paper, or store in the pan.

These are a quick, easy, no-bake sweet treat. Enjoyed by everyone. But a little bit goes a long way, as they are super sweet.

Do you plan on making these? Will (or did) you make the recipe as is or will (or did) you alter it to your family's favorite likes? Please share.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Many Faces of Bug {Wordless Wednesday}

Bug-A-Boo has multiple facial expressions.
These were all during breakfast this morning!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Roasted Potatoes {Tasty Tuesday}

This is a new family favorite. I have a made it a few times now and love it every time!

This is also a recipe that has enough leftovers for my husband to take to work the next day and for me to enjoy while the kids eat their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

What is also great about this recipe is that you can manipulate it any way you want. You can add different veggies, not use some, pick your own spices, your favorite sausage, all so that you and your family can enjoy it the way you like it.

The ingredients:

1- package of your favorite sausage. (We used Johnsonville with cheese)
2.5 lbs- red potatoes
2- bell peppers (any color)
1- small-medium size onion
3/4 jar- banana peppers
1 cup- your favorite cheese (we used mozzarella) 
2-3 Tbls- Olive Oil
Favorite seasonings (we used Lawry's, black pepper, paprika and parsley)

Step one: coarse chop your potatoes, peppers, onion and sausage. Toss into covered roasting pan.

Step two: Drizzle with olive oil and mix until ingredients are evenly coated. I love how colorful it is!

Step three: Add your seasonings. I don't measure, I just give the top a good coating of my favorites and sprinkle with black pepper. Then give it a good stir.

Top photo is seasoned pre-mixing, bottom photo is after mixing everything up.

Step four: Cover and put in oven at 400 degrees. Bake approximately 35 minutes or until a fork easily goes through the potatoes.

Step five: Remove from oven, stir everything again. Top with cheese, put cover back on for five minutes.

Step six: Serve and enjoy!

Make it vegetarian: Replace sausage with another favorite veggie or fruit (eggplant, zucchini).

Make it vegan: Same as vegetarian, but don't add cheese.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"You're okay."

With Squirrel being four, he is really picking up on the things we say. He recites phrases we commonly use with each other or with him and it is usually in context. Many times it makes us laugh. For example, while putting away his clean clothes I asked him to make sure the pajamas were going into the pajama drawer. He then said "What's the difference?".

The things he says to us makes me think about the phrases we use around our boys. Thankfully we don't swear or use 'colorful' words that would be inappropriate for a preschooler.

The other day he accidentally hit me in the head with a toy... it really hurt. He comes over and apologizes. After apologizing he gives me a hug and says "You're okay", then started rubbing my back. He then repeated "you're ok".  I sat there thinking, "No, I'm not okay, why are you telling me I'm okay?" But then I realized, that is what I say to him when he gets hurt or is upset about something.

All this time when he is in pain I have been saying "You're okay" thinking it would make him feel better.

I didn't like being told how I felt. Why should I be telling my child how he feels. He may not understand the situation, it may not bother him to be told "you're okay". Maybe it is comforting to him, but I can't bring myself to say it again.

Whenever the situation comes up now, I stop myself before uttering those words. I wasn't okay when he was telling me I was okay. I will not continue to tell him he is okay when I know he is in pain. I have been trying to say "you'll be okay" or "it'll be okay" instead.

What do you normally say to your child to console them when they are in pain? Are there phrases you have said to your children that they repeat to you which made you re-evaluate the words you use in a particular situation?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Crinkle Shirt (By Magnus Pater) Review

Disclosure: I received the product below to help facilitate my review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own and are completely honest.

Image from

Until I was contacted by Magnus Pater, I did not know this type of product existed! 
What a great gift idea for the dad, grandpa, or uncle to-be in your life.

Magnus Pater means "Great Father" in Latin. They are dedicated to families and understand the importance of children bonding with the male figures in their lives. Their Crinkle Shirt is meant to be a tool for dads (and other males in a child's life) to entertain and bond with their little ones.

While this shirt looks no different on the outside, than any other shirt in your closet, it truly is unique.

What you don't see... is what is hidden in the pockets.

The shirt doubles as a baby/toddler toy, engaging your little one's sense of sight, touch, and sound.
Those with small children know how much babies and toddlers love pockets and flaps. Your little one will get a pleasant surprise when they start to play with the pockets on this shirt. When baby lifts the flap of one pocket he will experience a bumpy texture. Then baby can play peek-a-boo as he lifts the flap of the other pocket and exposes the mirror. As baby is playing with the flaps he will also be engaging the crinkle sound. This small piece of crinkle (CPSIA compliant) behind the pocket is big enough for baby to have fun with, but not so big that you'll engage the crinkle sound while going on with everyday activities.

This shirt can be worn anywhere. It can be utilized while sitting at home or playing at the park!

While I haven't had the chance to try this scenario, I think it would be great at the grocery store. Trying to keep your little one entertained while you shop is not an easy task. I prefer to do our shopping when my husband can come with. That way I can shop much faster while he entertains the boys and pushes around the cart. He probably wouldn't have to do much entertaining with this shirt on, the pockets would be at the perfect level while Bug is riding in the cart.

The mirror is a hard shatter resistant plastic, not flexible, so baby can clearly see his reflection. Bug was pretty interested and tried to take the mirror out, fortunately, he had no such luck.

The textured material is similar to what you find on the bottom of footed pajamas.

 The shirt comes in two different checkered patterns which are appealing to babies and toddlers alike (sizes range from M-XL). 

The shirt is 100% cotton. Wash and rinse in cold water, hang try to avoid shrinking.

What did my boys think of the Crinkle Shirt?
Bug is 17 months old. He is a fairly distracted boy. He goes back and forth. He liked the surprises the shirt had to off and would return to check it out again, but didn't stay for long at any given time. Squirrel is four. He thought the shirt was pretty cool. I was surprised that he actually had interest in playing with it too.

While the shirt is geared toward children two and under, I would say the optimum age is between 6-12 months. When they are still used to sitting on someones lap and aren't distracted by walking. We plan on having one more baby. I think this shirt will make going out and about with an older baby much easier!

What did my husband think of the Crinkle Shirt?
The button-down plaid is totally his style. The first time he wore the shirt wasn't even to play with Bug. He got home from work, changed out of his dress clothes and put this shirt on just because he likes it. This will be a regular shirt for him, whether or not the children are around.

Would I recommend the Crinkle Shirt to a friend?
I sure would! This would be a great baby shower gift for that new dad. Showers are usually geared toward mom-to-be or baby and I am usually stumped to find that perfect gift for daddy-to-be. It would also be a great Christmas gift!

Buy it: You can purchase these shirts at for $64.95.

Stay connected with Magnus Pater by liking them on Facebook!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Wordologies Giveaway #ForTheHome Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the "For The Home" Giveaway Hop hosted by Mommy's Favorite Things and Mama's Baby Cupcakes

This hop is focused on items you'd want/need for your home! After visiting my giveaway, make sure you use the linky below to take a look at the other 40+ blogs and see what they have to offer! Each blog has a minimum prize package of $25 per winner. 

Make sure to check out the Grand Prize hosted on Mommy's Favorite Things blog. This prize is sponsored by and is a great prize of FOUR 12x12 personalized photos printed on wood for a retail value of $280!

Just Me and the Boys is offering a prize package from Wordologies valued at $36! 

This prize package includes a Wordologies coffee mug, notepad and magnet.

Check out my Wordologies review of the mug, notebook and magnet here.
I also did a review of their journal trio a couple months ago.

After entering, check out the linky below and hop around to win other great prizes!

Enter using the Giveaway Tools widget below.
Open to US residents only, 18 and older.
Giveaway is open July 8th- July 22nd.
Winner will be e-mailed and will have 48 hours to claim prize before a new winner is chosen.
Mama's Baby Cupcakes, Mommy's Favorite Things and the "For The Home" participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Wordologies Review

Disclosure: I received the product below from Wordologies to facilitate my review. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are my own and 100% honest.
Words can make your day. They can be uplifting. They can bring you out of a funk. They can remind you of what is really important in life.

This is one of the reasons why I love the Wordologies product line.

Wordologies incorporates messages on every day items to lift moods, energize the mind, and promote positivity.

I was super excited at the chance to review their coffee mug! They also sent me a notepad and a magnet!

There are seven mugs, each with a powerful message. I would love to collect them all.
Because I have two little boys I chose the mug that reads "In time patience prevails. Answers come."
It is great for me to have that reminder at the beginning of every day while sipping my coffee. This mug helps remind me that things are not always going to go how I'd like them to go, and with two small children things NEVER happen as fast as I would like! Having the reminder to be patient helps the day run smoothly.

As a Christian, this mug also reminds me that my prayers will not always be answered as quickly as I want them to be answered. It may take weeks, months or years. But God's timing is perfect and the answers will eventually come.

The coffee mugs are lead free and are safe to use in the microwave, oven and dishwasher.
Have you ever found the need to put a coffee mug in the oven?
Check out this yummy recipe to see why my Wordologies coffee mug was in the oven!

The notepads are the perfect size for every day use!
Each notepad is 4.25 x 5.5 inches and contains 100 blank pages. They can easily fit into a purse, diaper bag, junk drawer or even sit on the kitchen counter. There are 14 messages to choose from, each with a different patter along the bottom. 

The only recommendation I would have to make these even better would be to add a magnet to the back. I would like to hang this notepad on the fridge.

The magnet is great for holding Squirrel's art projects, but it is also great standing alone.
There are two different messages to choose from.

BONUS!!!  The mug came double boxed, there were biodegradable packing peanuts between the two boxes. These biodegradable packing peanuts made for a great sensory project for Squirrel. He enjoyed dipping the ends in water then sticking them together to make worms. He also thought it was pretty cool watching them dissolve in the bowl of water.

Wordologies also sells journals. You can check out my Wordologies Journal Trio review here.

BUY IT: You can purchase all the Wordologies products on their website. 5% of profit from every online sale is given to Women for Women International.

WIN IT: Wordologies is generously offering a prize pack which includes a mug, notepad and magnet to one of my readers. The giveaway will run from July 8th to July 22nd. Click here to go to the giveaway post.

Home Made(ish) French Onion Soup

I have been wanting to make some french onion soup for a while now. I searched for a recipe that didn't require too many ingredients. 

Many recipes called for fresh herbs. While I like fresh herbs and all, I don't like to spend the money if I know some of the package will go to waste. 

Then I found this recipe!

2 cans of beef broth (14 oz. each)
1 can beef consomme
2 large onions, sliced into 1/4" strips
2 Tbls. butter
2 cloves garlic
dash of Worcestershire 
brick of cheese (swiss, mozzarella or provolone)
french bread

Step 1:
Place sliced onions and butter into a deep edged saute pan. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes.

Step 2:
Add garlic. You can either use a garlic press, chop finely or use a fine cheese grater (which is what I do).
Cook for another 2 minutes or so, continue stirring to avoid burning the garlic.

Step 3:
Add both cans of beef broth, can of beef consomme, and Worcestershire. Stir and bring to boil. Continue boiling while you prepare step 4.


Step 4:
Cut four pieces of french bread in about 1" thick slices. Place on baking sheet and put under broiler two minutes to toast, flip and toast other side. If you have a wide slice toaster you could also use that.

Step 5:
Assemble. Using a ladle put soup in oven safe mug or bowl. Leave a bit of space at the top of your mug or bowl to place the french bread. Then place sliced cheese on top of bread slightly going over the edge of your mug or bowl.

Step 6:
Put mug or bowl on cookie sheet and place in oven. You can either put under broiler until cheese is melted and bubbly or place in oven at 400 degrees.  

Step 7:
Enjoy your soup! Caution, mug/bowl will be hot!

I used swiss cheese when I originally made this. Little did I know... I don't like swiss cheese! So when I had leftovers the next day I used mozzarella. So yummy! This is definitely a recipe I will be making over and over!


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Visited by the Saints

June 30th marked the 7 year anniversary of us purchasing our house. When we moved in I immediately started plotting out my gardens and planting with whatever perennials I could get my hands on. While gardening I am constantly finding chunks of brick and cement as well as nails, pieces of siding, roofing materials and other random construction debris that was left behind when the house was originally built.

Seven years and one day after moving into the house I was cultivating my garden to remove the weed seedlings that wanted to take over (they will NOT win this year). I have been doing a great job at keeping the garden looking nice since the snow cleared last week! Okay, the snow was long gone by last week, but seriously, the Minnesota winter hung around so long it seemed like last week. 
As I was cultivating I turned up something that looked like a cement chunk. But upon closer examination I had a flash back to the days of working at Hallmark. It wasn't a chunk of cement... it was Saint Joseph!

Why, you might ask, was St. Joseph in your garden?

If it weren't for having worked at Hallmark and seeing the merchandise I would not have known the significance of this 3" plastic statue.

It is said that if you are selling your home, but have no buyers and the market is stale, you can purchase a statue kit with prayer, like the one at Amazon, to help sell your house. As the tale goes, you plant St. Joseph upside down facing the street. Some sites suggest planting by the "For Sale" sign while other sites suggest planting near the home or in a flower pot. You say a little prayer and St. Joseph will help your house sell.

I happen to know the people who sold us the house. We even attend the same church! Hopefully I will get the chance to ask them if they planted the statue. They were the second homeowners, so it could have been the original homeowners. I don't remember how long the house was on the market, but I think it was at least a few weeks. Anyway, maybe they would like to have it back? Maybe it will be helpful to them when they sell their current house?

What do you think? Do you believe this will really help a person sell their house? Has St. Joseph helped you sell? While I don't believe the statue has much to do with selling a house, I do believe in the power of prayer.
But hey, it could be fun. It was kind of an exciting find in the garden!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Kinderfeets Balance Bike Giveaway!

Giveaway is hosted by: Elitemama and Sponsored by: Kinderfeets

About Kinderfeets:
The Kinderfeets is a balance bike, training bike and also a running bike (Patented). It provides a great starting point for children to prepare them to ride a conventional two-wheeled bike. The bike is a cleaver alternative to training wheels and it is considered a superior form of learning to balance on two wheels. Kinderfeets was designed by a Dutch designer living in California. He had originally made the bike fore his son because what he wanted was not available.
The Kinderfeets bike has some key features compared to other push bikes: foot pegs for cruising, low step through frame allows for lower setting of the seat, no need to fill any tires, has a washable seat cover and has Chalk-board finish colors. The bike is available in a natural wood finish or in six different colors in Chalk-board finish. The Kinderfeets is for ages 2 and older and it can carry a maximum weight of 70 lbs.
You can read Elitemama's review Here

One lucky reader will win a Kinderfeets wooden balance bike in their choice of color ($109.00)
Giveaway is open to US residents only. You must be 18 years or older to enter. Giveaway ends 7/22. Enter the GiveawayTools form below for your chance to win. Good Luck!

Disclosure: Just Me and the Boys received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. I am not responsible for the shipment of the prize.