Happy March Madness! Save on NCAA Pre-Game products!

Happy March Madness!!  One of the most fun times of the year for college basketball fans around the country, especially for those of us in UCONN Territory (Go Huskies!!), is set to tip off soon.  Now, for most of US, pre-game is limited to filling out brackets, possibly buying some game-watching snacks and making sure our favorite team shirts are clean on game days. For the players, coaches and team managers, they have a few other things to do.  One of them?  Making sure they are ready to play their best. Thanks to Lunchbox for sponsoring today’s March Madness post!
march madness
Hopefully being reading includes being clean shaven and showered. Players, coaches, and even those of us watching from home can get Game Ready at CVS! My 7 year old is obsessed with AXE hair products.  Obsessed.  He’s been telling me he’s a man and needs to use “man things” that smell “like man.”  Whether he’s building LEGOS or cheering on the Huskies (or both), he wants that hair ‘just so’ with the clean cut look or a faux-hawk.
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During this year’s NCAA tournament, stop into your local CVS to Get Game Ready with Official NCAA Pre-Game products. Plus buy any 1 AXE White Label, Degree Men, and Dove Men+Care products between 3/22/15-3/28/15, and get 1 50% off when you use your ExtraCare Card. CVS has everything you need to look and smell great while cheering on your favorite team this March
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Fan Up! Head to http://bit.ly/1E8UyOH   to take our quiz and find out just what type of fan you are. When you’re done, you’ll get a coupon for $2.00 off 2 of your favorite products — so you can look and smell your best from the first ga me to the last. Coupon valid 03/09/15-05/02/15

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After you’ve taken the quiz, come back and enter to win a $50 CVS Gift Card!

 

 

{Forgot to plan dinner}Chicken Pot Pie

We’ve all had those days, when suddenly it’s 4 pm and that wave of shock hits us that we FORGOT TO PLAN DINNER.  We don’t need to pass judgement, nor share how many times this has happened to us, because, let’s face it.  Even if it hasn’t yet, it’s probably going to at some point.  Or maybe unexpected events occur, or your dog ate that meat thawing on the counter.  The point is, we’ve all got those moments when we need to get some kind of meal on the table and take out isn’t always an option.  That’s where this {Forgot to plan dinner} Chicken Pot Pie recipe comes in.  Quick and easy, and if you have a few items on hand, you’ll have dinner in the oven in under 20 minutes and be eating in under an hour. This recipe came to be after Libby’s challenged me to come up with a fun way to use their new Vegetable Cups. Opinions are my own.

pot-pie

{Forgot to Plan Dinner} Chicken Pot Pie

Ingredients

2 refrigerated pie crusts

2 cups leftover, cooked chicken, beef or pork

1 can cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup (I make my own cream of ___ soup. Like Pinch of Yum does. It’s easy)

1 can milk (you can skip this if you make your own)

2 cups veggies – we used

  • 1 4 oz cup Libby’s Diced Carrots
  • 2 4 oz cup Libby’s Sweet Peas
  • 1 4 oz cup Libby’s Green Beans

Splash of vermouth (totally optional, but it adds some great flavor to the dish)

pot-pie-above

Directions

Oven to 350.  While it’s preheating, get everything out, starting with the pie crust so it comes to room temp.

Once your oven is  preheated, unroll the first piecrust and lay it into the pie dish. Bake for about 10 minutes

While the crust is baking, chop up your leftover meat and grab your veggies.

Put your meat, soup (Vermouth if you decide to) and veggies into the baked pie crust.

Unroll second pie crust and cover your pot pie.

Bake for 30 minutes

Enjoy!

libbys-vegetable-cups

Libby’s Vegetable Cups are great for portion control, and also to get kids helping in the kitchen, because they come in the 4 oz size….little hands can help open, serve and cook with them quite easily. With as few as 10 calories per cup, no saturated fats or trans-fats, and lots of Vitamin C, these microwaveable Vegetable Cups are a great addition to busy family pantries. You can pop them in the microwave but you can also serve them warm or cold. These are the only 4 oz vegetable cups on the market!

  • Sweet Corn
  • Cut Green Beans
  • Sweet Peas
  • Diced Carrots
  • Peas & Carrots

Libby’s Vegetable Cups are great to use in side dishes, main courses and even appetizers…toss them in with your lunch or in the picnic basket. Our school has a No Kid Hungry Program that sends a backpack home on Fridays full of healthy, filling foods for kids who’s families may be struggling a bit.  These Vegetable Cups (and Fruit Cups) mean that the school can send the kids home with portioned, shelf stable servings without the extra weight of canned goods.  Find out more about these and other  Libby’s products HERE.

One lucky reader will win a Libby’s prize pack with: Pyrex 14-Piece Glass Food Storage Set with Lids, a $75 gift card, as well as an assortment of Libby’s® Vegetable Cups.

 

4.4 from 40 reviews
{Forgot to plan dinner}Chicken Pot Pie
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 refrigerated pie crusts
  • 2 cups leftover, cooked chicken, beef or pork
  • 1 can cream of chicken (or mushroom) soup (I make my own cream of ___ soup. Like Pinch of Yum does. It's easy)
  • 1 can milk (you can skip this if you make your own)
  • 2 cups veggies - we used
  • 1 4 oz cup Libby’s Diced Carrots
  • 2 4 oz cup Libby’s Sweet Peas
  • 1 4 oz cup Libby’s Green Beans
  • Splash of vermouth (totally optional, but it adds some great flavor to the dish)
Instructions
  1. Oven to 350. While it's preheating, get everything out, starting with the pie crust so it comes to room temp.
  2. Once your oven is preheated, unroll the first piecrust and lay it into the pie dish. Bake for about 10 minutes
  3. While the crust is baking, chop up your leftover meat and grab your veggies.
  4. Put your meat, soup (Vermouth if you decide to) and veggies into the baked pie crust.
  5. Unroll second pie crust and cover your pot pie.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes
  7. Enjoy!

 

Teriyaki Rice Bowl

Have you discovered Della Rice yet? This is not your typical, boring rice on the grocery store shelf.  Their rice is all natural and gluten free It has a wonderful creamy texture and a delicious nutty flavor that lends itself well to any dish.  I knew immediately what I wanted to do with my Della rice… Teriyaki Rice Bowls! First I chose the Jasmine White Rice variety- they also offer Arborio, Basmati, Jasmine with Roasted Garlic, and Brown Basmati. Create these tasty Teriyaki Meatballs then load up your rice with them and toppings for flavorful rice bowls that make everyone happy- whether you are serving your family or having a party with a lot of guests.


get-inspired-#createastir

Before I give you the recipe- if you, like me, ever struggle with how to cook rice, or to get it “just so,” or just like kitchen gadgets? Head over to Della Rice on Facebook– they are giving away 50 rice cookers to 50 winners- or enter below!)
(I could probably fill 3 posts with my former rice making incidents.  But, not today. I’ve finally mastered the art of making rice.  Only took 12 years.  Della makes it easy).
a Rafflecopter giveaway
teriyaki-rice-bowls

Teriyaki Rice Bowls

Ingredients:

Meatballs

1 lb. ground beef

1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs

1 egg, large

3 cloves garlic

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. ground ginger

2 tsp. soy sauce

 

Teriyaki Glaze

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 cup water

 

3  cups prepared Della Jasmine White rice (I think we’re going to use the Jasmine with Roasted Garlic next time for another level of flavor) Della Rice is available in ShopRite stores in the Northeast and at grocery stores nationwide (link to our store finder: http://dellarice.com/where-to-buy/).

Toppings:

Water chestnuts

Sesame seeds

green onions, diced

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, pepper, ginger, and soy sauce until well mixed.

Scoop out a tablespoon or less and roll into a ball.

Place on baking sheet and cook until browned, about 20 minutes.

teriyaki meatball

While meatballs are baking begin Teriyaki glaze-

In a small sauce pan whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, and ginger- bring to a simmer.

teriyaki glaze

Whisk together water and cornstarch, add to glaze in pan and cook until thickened- roughly 2 minutes.

Toss meatballs in Teriyaki glaze.

teriyaki meatball stir

Fill your bowl with rice, top with meatballs, then add sesame seeds, diced onions, and water chestnuts.

teriyaki meatball rice bowl

Serve and eat immediately.

teriyaki-rice-bowls-horiz

 

 

Samples of Della Rice and compensation were provided for me to create this recipe.  Opinions are my own.
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5.0 from 7 reviews
Teriyaki Rice Bowl
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Meatballs
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ⅓ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, large
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • Teriyaki Glaze
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 cups prepared Della rice
  • Toppings:
  • Water chestnuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • green onions, diced
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Combine ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, garlic, pepper, ginger, and soy sauce until well mixed.
  3. Scoop out a tablespoon or less and roll into a ball.
  4. Place on baking sheet and cook until browned, about 20 minutes.
  5. While meatballs are baking begin Teriyaki glaze-
  6. In a small sauce pan whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, and ginger- bring to a simmer.
  7. teriyaki glaze
  8. Whisk together water and cornstarch, add to glaze in pan and cook until thickened- roughly 2 minutes.
  9. Toss meatballs in Teriyaki glaze.
  10. Fill your bowl with rice, top with meatballs, then add sesame seeds, diced onions, and water chestnuts.
  11. Serve and eat immediately.

 

 

 

Peanuts Valentine’s Day

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and I can’t think of any better way to celebrate than with Peanuts—where Sally loves Linus, Charlie Brown loves his Little Red-Haired Girl, and everyone loves Snoopy! So I’ve got a great Peanuts Valentine’s Day giveaway for you. You don’t know this, but my bedroom growing up had a pink and white gingham Snoopy daybed set, and a Snoopy “husband” pillow I used until it literally disintegrated.  It was the best bedding EVER and Snoopy has always had such a special place in my heart!

Doggone Adorable:  Snoopy and his fashionista sister Belle joined Francesca and Skai Jackson from Disney’s “Jessie” for a shot in front of the new Peanuts Movie poster displayed at the party.

Doggone Adorable: Snoopy and his fashionista sister Belle joined Francesca and Skai Jackson from Disney’s “Jessie” for a shot in front of the new Peanuts Movie poster displayed at the party.

Last Saturday, adorable 10-year-old actress Francesca Capaldi—who stars as Charlie Brown’s beloved Little Red-Haired Girl in The Peanuts Movie, the 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios’ Peanuts 3D feature film debuting worldwide on Nov. 6—hosted a Peanuts-themed Valentine’s Day party with Snoopy and his sister Belle at the Park Hyatt in Carlsbad, California.

The Belle of the Valentine’s Ball: Francesca dressed for the occasion in a brand-new dress from the Snoopy and Belle collection at Target.

The Belle of the Valentine’s Ball: Francesca dressed for the occasion in a brand-new dress from the Snoopy and Belle collection at Target.

Francesca, one of the stars of Disney’s Dog with a Blog, and her friends enjoyed Valentine’s Day card-decorating, delicious cakes and cupcakes, and of course a showing of the classic TV special, Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown.

Actress Jesssica Capaldi Joined by friends at Peanuts Themed Valentine's Day Party.

Her Valentine’s Cards Are on the Table: Francesca puts her heart into her Peanuts Galerie Valentine’s cards, which are included in my giveaway along with extra foam hearts and jewels to enhance your card.

Now you can re-create the party with your own kids thanks to this fabulous Peanuts Party in a Box. Here’s what’s inside:

o Valentine cake and cupcake decorations from DecoPac

o Peanuts Valentines and additional blank cards, foamies and jewels to use to create custom Valentines of your own

o A $25 Visa card for purchasing the cake/cupcake ingredients and/or card materials

o A copy of the TV special for free from iTunes

o A cute and cuddly Belle plush

o Three adorable Peanuts books: Be Loving and Be Awesome (Running Press), featuring Charles Schulz’s unique wit and wisdom, and A Valentine for Charlie Brown (Gary Groth)

o Nestle’s Valentine candy

o An autographed card from Francesca Capaldi!

Just leave a comment on this post, and I’ll pick one lucky winner at random. Good luck—and lots of love!  This giveaway ends at midnight, EST on Tuesday, February 10, 2015 (which happens to be my dad’s birthday, too)

Peanuts Movie

Meanwhile, prepare yourself to fall in love with Peanuts all over again as we await The Peanuts Movie. Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the cherished “Peanuts” gang make their long-awaited big-screen debut in stunning state-of-the-art 3D animation from 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios.

Snoopy, the world’s most lovable beagle – and flying ace – embarks upon his greatest mission as he takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis The Red Baron, while his best pal, Charlie Brown, begins his own epic quest. From the imagination of Charles M. Schulz and the creators of the ICE AGE films, THE PEANUTS MOVIE will prove that every underdog has his day.

snoopy-valentine-cake

 

Information and samples received as part of my participation in the Peanuts Ambassador Program.  Opinions are my own.

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5.0 from 1 reviews
Chocolate Cake/Cupcakes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Park Hyatt chocolate cake/cupcake recipe
Author:
Ingredients
  • From Chef Franck Riffaud
  • OLD FASHIONED CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES
  • Yields one 9”cake or 16-18 Cupcakes
  • INGREDIENTS:
  • Flour3 Cups
  • Sugar3 Cups
  • Salt1 Tbsp
  • Baking Soda1 Tbsp & 1 Tsp
  • Water (Boiling)½ Cup
  • CocoaPowder½ Cup
  • Buttermilk½ cups
  • Vegetable Oil1 Cup
  • Eggs3
  • Vanilla1 Tbsp
  • INSTRUCTIONS:
  • Combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla together with a whisk. Place the flour, sugar, salt, and soda together in a mixing bowl. Using the whip attachment on an electric mixer, add the liquid ingredients that were previously whisked, mix only until smooth. Boil the water and add it to the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Add the cocoa mixture to the previous batter. Let the batter sit 10 minutes before filling pans. Fill 2-8" cake pans that have been greased and floured. Fill pans half full. Bake in oven at 350o for approximately 45 minutes. A knife inserted in the center will come out clean. Cool cakes before using.
  • OLD FASHIONED CHOCOLATE CAKE FROSTING
  • INGREDIENTS:
  • Butter1 Cup
  • Semi Sweet Chocolate1 Cup
  • Powder Sugar, sifted 2 Cups
  • Sour Cream1 Cup
Instructions
  1. Melt the butter and keep it hot.
  2. Melt the chocolate over a water bath.
  3. Sift the powdered sugar.
  4. Combine the butter and melted chocolate in a mixing bowl.
  5. Use a whisk attachment to combine the two.
  6. Add the powdered sugar to the chocolate mixture in three stages.
  7. Scrape the bowl to avoid sugar lumps.
  8. When smooth add the sour cream.
  9. Let stand for 1 hour until it thickens.
  10. Divide the old-fashioned cake into layers.
  11. Fill greased and floured 8 inch cake pans ½ full
  12. Bake for 45 minutes
  13. Alternate the frosting for each layer.
  14. Makes 1 8" cake.

 

The New Way to Stay Dry #TryDry #Giveaway

Sweat happens! Whether it is from working out, stress or being out on a hot day, we all sweat. The big question is how do we stop it in its tracks? Antiperspirants are one of the staples in our personal care routine, which traditionally has been in the roll on form. The problem is they are not all created equal nor do they always do what they are supposed to do. There is nothing worse than going out in public and having those embarrassing sweat stains on your clothes. I bet we have all had that experience. When did it happen for you? On that big job interview or maybe that important first date? No matter when it happened, it was completely humiliating. The issue with these roll on types is they can go on wet, sometimes sticky and can leave behind residue. Thank goodness Unilever has revolutionized the antiperspirant market with their innovative new dry spray antiperspirants that go on instantly dry for a cleaner feel with no visible residue. This post is brought to you by our friends at Lunchbox.

new-way-stay-dry

This new formula is like nothing you have every tried before with no alcohol or water. This enables them to go on without that annoying sticky or wet sensation from those other brands. Even better is they offer 48-hour odor and wetness protection! You can find them at Walgreens in five brands; Degree Women, Degree Men, Dove for women, Dove Men+Care, and Axe. The Degree Women, Degree Men have a special formula that responds directly to your body movement, releasing extra protection when you are physically active. The Dove for women and the Dove Men+Care features a non-irritant formula that has moisturizing technology for softer, smother underarms The Axe brand for men offers premium and unique fragrances to make men feel confident all day long.

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The containers have a sleek modern design and are made to spray on more evenly when you hold them at the recommended 6” from your underarms. Once you have a chance to take them home and give them a (stay dry) try, you can let everyone know what you think using the hashtag #TryDry. Visit Walgreens.com/TryDry to check them out!

One reader will win a $100 Walgreen Gift Card!

 

 

Happier Holidays (and nights) #HappierHolidaysSweeps

It’s December.  Life is HECTIC for almost everyone.  Regular life activities, but also? Holiday shopping, baking, wrapping, gifting, visiting and celebrating on top of day to day activities.  It’s fun and it’s wonderful but it can also be oh so very stressful. Even finding places for friends and family to sleep when they come over the river and through the woods- what if Grandmother’s house doesn’t have enough beds?Thanks to Country Inns & Suites for sponsoring this post.  Horribly corny revisions of the beloved Christmas poem are my own.

christmas tree

The horse may know the way to carry the sleigh but if there aren’t beds to sleep in, Grandmother’s house may not be the best place to get a good night’s rest. That’s where Country Inns & Suites come in.  They want all of us to have Happier Holidays & Nights and they are offering a 4-night stay PLUS a $300 gift card to a lucky person who uses the #HappierHolidaySweeps on Instagram or Twitter. Actually, it’s to 25 lucky Grand Prize winners, but who’s counting? :) Thanks to Country Inns & Suites for sponsoring today’s post.

CIS_Holidays-Sweeps_Influencer-Tile_300x250

 

Listen, we all want to have the ideal holiday memories. Life isn’t like the movies, and there aren’t always perfect arrangements.  When there aren’t- at least you have places like Country Inns & Suites to head to…unless you want Clement Clarke Moore’s works to be rewritten as follows:

The relatives were not quite nestled all snug in their beds

While visions of Sugarplums danced in their heads
And ‘Ma in (ust) her kerchief and I in (just) my cap
knew without help there’d be not a soul to nap…

christmas vacation

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
it was Aunt Bev yelling at John to pitch that tent flatter
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, in time to stop the crash…

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature Cabriolet and eight tiny horsepower-deer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his relatives they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

“Now David! Now Dana!
Now, Parker and Vincent!
On, Carla! On, Cupid!
On, Donny and Franklin!
Don’t sleep on our porch!
Or lean against the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!”

clark griswold

As dry leaves that before the wild toddlers do fly,
when they meet with an argument, threw that last pie
so up to the Country Inns & Suites the relatives they flew,
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

american-girl-twinkle-party-dress

Don’t have unhappy holidays.  Book rooms at Country Inns & Suites and leave ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas the way it should be. If you and Grama don’t have room for people who come over the river and through the woods, book them at Country Inns & Suites.  Better still, enter to win the #HappierHolidaysSweeps and WIN that stay!

CIS_Holidays-Sweeps_Influencer-Tile_300x250

 

How do you enter? Official stuff below

  • By posting #happierholidayssweeps hashtag on Twitter or Instagram- or via registration form– entrants will be entered for a chance to win. (Or all 3, each day, one per entry method (Reg. form, Instagram and Twitter)
  • Registration in specific states and/or countries: is open only to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States, the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are at least twenty-one (21) years old at the time of entry.
  • Program Period: 12/1/2014 @ 12:00:00 P.M. CT – 12/22/14 @ 11:59:59 A.M. CT
  • Prize(s) and Values: There will be 25 Grand Prize Winners for the entire program period. Each Grand Prize Winner will four (4) free nights at a Country Inns & Suites location, and a $300 gift card.

 

Facebook.com/countryinns

Twitter.com/countryinns

 

 

 

4 reasons to try Jamberry Nails #Giveaway)

I’ve been hearing about Jamberry Nails for a long time, but hadn’t tried them until my friend Shaun was all “Brett you NEED to try them!!” and so I did. Finally.  Or I tried them on the girls. I haven’t done mine yet, although I promised the girls I would do Christmas themed nails to match them in a few weeks.  Now that we’ve tried them, we love them!

 

4 Reasons to try Jamberry Nails

jamberry-holiday-nails

See the pointer finger? That will pop right off, because the Jamberry isn’t trimmed properly.

1. Trendy and fun

We love to do holiday and seasonal things around here.  We always have fun shirts and/or pajamas to go with holidays.  Home decor too.  I’ve made many attempts through the years to do fun and festive nails for myself and/or the girls and let’s just say I have no future as a nail artist. BUT, with the Jamberry, we can do trendy and fun nails in about the same time polish would take… it just stays on a whole lot longer.  Bonus? My house doesn’t smell like nail polish.

jamberry-turkeys

Honestly, I’m pretty conservative with clothing and accessories.  My toenails are where I have a little more fun! I actually love these wrap designs so much I did the StyleBox by Jamberry for 3 months to stock up!

 

2. Non toxic

This is HUGE to me.  My kids love having their nails painted. I love having my toes painted. What I don’t love is what’s in most nail polishes… and the non toxic ones we’ve tried seem to chip or peel off almost immediately. I don’t like the idea of applying something that will just sit on our body that’s filled with chemicals. The Jamberry wraps, we can put a Jamberry on and we’re good for a week… probably longer but we have been changing them for a new look after a week).  Nothing toxic sitting on my nails or the girls.

 

3. Junior Line

I love the Jamberry Junior Line.  Little Jamberries for littler nails.  Very fun, just like the regular sized wraps, but better suited for their nail sizes. I hope that they decide to make the fun sports themed wraps in Junior sizes so my little gymnasts and soccer monkeys can have their fave sports on their nails.  The patterns and prints are so much fun to mix and match things up!! Kids get to be trendy and have a little flair too!

jamberry-turkey-chevron

4. No damage

I used to do tips on my nails.  A lifetime ago, but I loved how they looked. I hated having to maintain them, get fills, etc., and no matter what I did I always had damage when I took them off. With wraps, there isn’t damage at all!

jamberry-nails-prizepack

 One reader will win a Jamberry Nails prize pack that includes 1 package of wraps (winner’s choice, based on availability) plus a mini applicator set. ARV $27.50

 

 

Thanks to Shaun for introducing me to Jamberry!!

Fluid for your car

We’re going to just add the liquids in your cars to the list of things I never paid much attention to. Except for wiper fluid and gas, of course. Those I pay attention to. (My husband tells me I have used more wiper fluid since he’s met me than most people use in a lifetime. I’m a little obsessive about it, I suppose).  But there are many fluids in your vehicle and really?  They are kind of a BIG DEAL and we should be paying attention to them. There is a LOT you should know about fluid for your car. Um… that we should know.

Print

 

Of course, Sears Auto Center has a lot more they do with the fluids in our vehicles.  Its been kind of fun learning about all of this for the Sears Auto Center Road Warriors Program. Yes, I did just say kind of fun.  It’s also been really eye opening.  Not paying attention to your vehicle can cost you – a lot- and worse.

Did you know?

Most folks call it antifreeze in the winter and coolant in the summer, but regardless of season does same job.  Coolant, antifreeze, it’s the same thing.  The purpose of it is to redistribute heat away from the engine.  It’s kind of ESSENTIAL.  It’s often that bright limey-yellow stuff that you sometimes see leaking on your driveway.  (You don’t want that). Coolant/antifreeze is like the starting captain on your team, and you don’t want your captain sidelined for injury.

sears coolant machine

 

 

Coolant is the fluid—usually bright green in color, but also found in orange, yellow, and red hues—that allows your engine to maintain its optimal temperature by redistributing heat away from the engine through the cooling system. This is accomplished by circulating the coolant from the engine and through your vehicle’s radiator.

You may ask: why does my vehicle need special fluid for this? Couldn’t a jug of water do the same thing? NO!! While water is one of the most effective fluids for holding heat, water freezes making it a terrible long-term solution in colder temperatures. To combat the cold, your vehicle most likely requires a 50/50 mix of water and ethylene glycol—giving us the term “antifreeze”.

In addition to lowering the temperature at which the fluid in your radiator will freeze, ethylene glycol improves the temperature at which the fluid in your car or truck will boil—hence the term “coolant”.

Along with keeping your car from freezing in the winter, and your truck from overheating in the summer, your coolant acts as a lubricant for every moving part it touches, including the water pump, which pushes fluid through the engine, cylinder head and radiator. If that wasn’t enough, most coolant contains some type of additives to help prevent costly corrosion within the radiator.

Check your owners manual to find when they suggest regular change of coolant. Old coolant can wreak havoc on your vehicle just as too little can.

anti-freeze-illustration

 

Coolant isn’t the only key player on your car’s team. There’s also Transmission Fluid.This, you check like you do your oil, with a dipstick.

Transmission Fluid is a slippery liquid that coats all of the moving parts inside your transmission, transmission fluid is designed to cool and lubricate your transmissions internal parts so the gears can shift smoothly without tearing them to shreds. I actually got to see a transmission fluid changed on a 2008 Dodge something or other pickup truck. (I am mortified that I didn’t even ask what kind of truck. Do I get points for noticing it was Dodge?) Fun fact: different vehicle manufacturers use different colors for the fluid they use.

transmission-fluid-graphic-2

Technicians extract old transmission fluid through the vehicle’s dipstick which removes up to 90 percent of the old contaminated fluid.  This is kind of gross, but fascinating. Well, interesting at least. When you pay attention you can see the stuff coming up through the hose with the fluid…. and you realize, that can’t be good for my vehicle. Transmission fluid doesn’t need constant attention- manual transmissions need it checked about every 30-60ooo miles and for an automatic transmission, 60-100000 miles. Both the techs I spoke with at my local Sears Auto Center told me that they’d not let their vehicles go to 100,000 miles- I don’t think I would either. I don’t know that I want to let things slide with my vehicles. There’s a lot riding on them.

sears flush old transmission

 

This machine must make life so much easier for the technicians who are working to change our engine fluids and help keep our vehicles safe. They can be more time efficient and also more exact.  Once the techs have checked the dipstick, they insert the extraction hose from this machine (TFE6020) and it pulls out about 90% of the old fluid.  Once the old is out, they can switch to the hose that puts new fluid into the transmission…the machine alerts the tech to start the car, and the tech will go through each gear on the vehicle.  This way, the tech can be sure that the old fluid is flushed out and the new fluid gets everywhere it needs to be.

sears transmission machine mid

Once things are done, the tech checks to be sure the dipstick is reading at the correct level and there it is, a changed transmission fluid.

sears transmission new

 

Keep an eye on the Sears Auto Facebook page and website during the 12 Days of Car Care promotion from 12/13-12/24, where there will be exclusive deals on Road Handler tires and Valvoline oil changes.

One reader will win a $50 Sears Gift Card!

Thank to Sears Auto Center for sponsoring today’s discussion.

Fun Christmas Pajamas #Giveaway

I always wanted new pajamas for Christmas. As a kid, I did get new pajamas once in a while, but it wasn’t ever a thing.  Not a tradition.  From the first Christmas we were parents, the kids have all gotten new pajamas on Christmas Eve, with a small quiet toy or book in the package.  I love the tradition, but what I realized a few weeks ago was that *I* want Christmas pajamas. For me. Why can’t we grownups have the fun of new pajamas for Christmas? I was asked to check out the Joe Boxer available at Kmart to help spread the word about their fun holiday pajamas.  This year, the parents are getting new pajamas for Christmas Eve along with the kids!Tracking Pixel

joe-boxer-available-kmart

Last week I went  to check out the fun Joe Boxer PJ’s available at Kmart. That was a ton of fun. Fun, fuzzy, flirty, furry, and anything in between can be found from Joe Boxer.  I ultimately ended up with fun for me and practical for my husband… because while I will rock crazy pajamas, well, he won’t.  But- conservative or not, I don’t think he’s had official ‘pajamas’ in at least 2 decades so they’ll be fun for him to have.

There are TONS of colors, styles and sizes to choose between from Joe Boxer available at Kmart.  I found several sets and mix and match separates in the ladies section, which was cool, but then I went to look at the men’s section and happened upon 5-6 4 sided displays of packaged Joe Boxer PJ’s for gifting (for yourself or others, I’m not one to judge).

night own

I LOVED these Night Owl pj’s, but I found 3 sets left, because apparently in my area? Everyone else does too.  2 pair were too small and one was too big. So someone else will enjoy those on Christmas morning.

pugs and kisses

Ultimately, cute puppies and pink won me over.  I kept waffling between Christmas themed sets (there were many) and the Pugs & Kisses but really, how do you turn down puppies?  Flannel or fuzzy would have been fab but I run hot and need cotton pjs.  There are also SUPER cute one piece footed pajamas that I loved, but I’d end up taking them off before I got into bed- I run so hot!! But if you are a cold one- go check out the sleepers.  There’s a pair with foxes all over that were oh so super cute.

Don’t fret, friends. The whimsy of Joe Boxer available at Kmart isn’t just for the kids and grownups.  I LOVE the Santa pajamas!

santa footed pajamas

 

Joe Boxer available at Kmart has a huge assortment of styles of pajamas and robes for the whole family the holiday season. Footed pajamas, slightly tapered legged bottoms, hooded animal loungers, boxers, pajama pants and shorts sets, and fleece pajama pants….for all ages. All at great prices.  The only problem is… deciding which pairs to bring home to wrap up under the tree!

fun-christmas-pajamas-joe-boxer

 

If you haven’t seen this year’s Joe Boxer holiday commercial spot, “Jingle Bellies” yet, you need to watch.  They took the Show Your Joe ad from last year and added even more fun to it! You’ll see the exclusive Joe Boxer sleepwear styles and prints in a fun and unexpected way.

Kmart has also released ‘Santa Baby’, which puts the spotlight on the ladies… and their bellies, for the Christmas pajama season.  Check out Santa Baby!

 

Enter to win a Kmart gift card!

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Joe Boxer available at Kmart.

Silhouette Portrait T-Shirt Project

I have a new toy, and I love it!  The Silhouette Portrait puts all other crafting tools to shame-  Not only is it super easy to use but the variety of projects and mediums that you can use makes it a crafters MUST have on your desk at all times item. Check out what I made on my first try with the Silhouette Portrait!

silhouette portrait main

 

I must say honestly, at first I was intimidated when I first opened the Silhouette Studio software. There were A LOT of drop down menus, options, and various tools for the machine.  There was no way I could learn this. I decided to start with a project using one of the kits they sent me-the Heat Transfer Starter Kit, this kit came with 5 different colors of heat transfer material in various finishes, a hook tool for lifting cut vinyl, an instructional DVD, a simple booklet, and a card for 10 exclusive  heat transfer designs from the Silhouette Online Design Store.

silhoutte cameo heat transfer kit

The first page in the book had simple step by step instructions for using the kit with your Silhouette.  While there are a lot of options on the software the instructions broke it down so easily that I was choosing and  downloading images from the store in less than 10 minutes after I installed the software-seriously that easy.  I opted for a simple T-Shirt since I had a couple white plain t’s laying around waiting to become craft projects.  I found this cute phrase, pulled out the vinyl I wanted, and had it cut and inhered in another 20 minutes. Here is how I did it.

 

Choose and download your image and/or fonts from the design store.

Create your design.

Choose mirror option (the booklet will give more detailed instructions on how ) so that when you iron onto your fabric it will be the correct way.

Select type of material that you are using from the right drop down menu, it will tell you exactly which setting to put your blade on, remove blade and change number with the tool provided.

silhoutte screen shot

Insert heat transfer material shiny side down.

Press button to feed it into machine.

Send to Silhouette (via the top row of buttons in design studio).

The machine cuts out your design within a minute or two.

Peel off excess vinyl, leaving only the design attached to the shiny transfer paper.

Place clear backing so that the design is on your t shirt, cover with a thin cloth, and hold iron over the entire design for 45-60 seconds. Remove fabric, and backing, if letters stick to backing instead of fabric, lay it down again and repeat, be sure to press firmly.

silhouette portrait collage

The heat transfer kit isn’t only for t-shirts you can dress up plates, mirrors, pillows, candle holders etc…

This isn’t all the Silhouette Portrait can do however- it cuts card stock, vinyl, fabric, transparencies, vellum, magnet paper, and more. You can also replace the blade with sketch pens and make customized stickers or other embellishments.  If you are a beginning crafter or a veteran and have been thinking about purchasing one of these machines I highly recommend the Silhouette Portrait.

 

Silhouette has some amazing sales going on right now !

Portrait Bundle – Portrait machine & 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $179.99

CAMEO Bundle #1 – CAMEO machine, Designer Edition software upgrade, Dust Cover, 4 Tools and $25 Download card to the Silhouette Design Store for $269.99

CAMEO Bundle #2 – CAMEO machine, Design Edition software upgrade and 1 free year to Club Silhouette for $299.99

CAMEO & Portrait Bundle (One for you, one for a friend!) – CAMEO machine, Portrait machine and 2, $25 Download cards to the Silhouette Design Store for $299.99

700x700

Already a Silhouette user? Use my code-  THISMAMA to receive 40% off at SilhouetteAmerica.com (*excluding machines, design downloads, download cards, subscriptions and gift cards)

PLUS Free Shipping on orders over $25 for the lower 48 states 50% off all designs at SilhouetteDesignStore.com – no code needed!
One reader will win a Silhouette Portrait!

 

 

I received the Silhouette Portrait electronic cutting tool as well as a heat transfer starter kit and double sided adhesive starter kit in exchange for my review but opinions are my own true impressions of the products.