Friday, May 22, 2015

Keep it Real and Grab a Plunger - Book Review

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Whether you're a new parent or you've got tweens and teens, you might sometimes wonder, "Am I doing this right?" or "How can I become a better parent?" Author Julie K. Nelson has been in the trenches where you are now. She's a mother of five, blogs about parenting over at A Spoonful of Parenting, and has written two books on parenting, including the one I got the chance to review: Keep it Real and Grab a Plunger: 25 Tips for Surviving Parenthood.

Over 25 chapters, Nelson takes you through all aspects of parenting and how to more effectively discipline, nurture, and prepare your children for their independent futures. Nelson has a lot of personal stories to share on how she did it right or made a mistake. Many of her stories are humorous. I suppose as a parent, you have to find the funny in order to make it through the day sometimes, especially when you're baby has vomited all over the place and is running around naked in public.

Not every chapter will be relevant to all parents. For instance, if you're not divorced or widowed, the chapters about divorced parents or remarrying will not resonate with you. But I like that Nelson included these chapters because often these are things that parents face, and they can be tough things for parents to figure out how to navigate through while still keeping their kids' trust and respect.

I'm not a parent, so I wasn't able to put any of these tips into practice, but I will definitely keep this book around as a resource in case I do become a parent and need some tips to get me through.

If you want to find out more about this book, check out this book trailer video:

Keep It Real and Grab a Plunger is published by Plain Sight Publishing, an imprint of Cedar Fort. I received a free review copy for my honest review.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Today's scrapbook layout is a one-pager featuring the last batch of pictures from our Christmas trip to St. Louis. On the last day of our trip, we went out to lunch with my great aunt at The Blue Owl. I titled this layout "Generations" because the picture is of me, my mom, and my mom's aunt. It's almost like having a picture of me, my mom, and my grandma because my great aunt has sort of been like a grandma to me ever since my actual grandmother died when I was a little kid.

Outside of the restaurant there was one of the St. Louis birthday cakes to celebrate the city's 250th birthday. My parents got pictures of almost all of the cakes last year!

I had this very flowery paper kit that I thought would work well for these pictures. I no longer have the name of the paper kit's manufacturer, but it was really nice because it came with stickers, and sticker letters, and other embellishments.

The fabric flowers were not part of the kit. I saw them in my stash and just decided that I liked the way they looked with the rest of this layout. I also whipped out one of my border punches for this layout. I had a really cool flowery paper punch that would have gone so well with this layout, but the punch broke a few months ago, so I had to make do with one of the other two punches I own.

I think a trip to TJ Maxx is in order for more paper punches. They always have good discounts on scrapbooking stuff, did you know that?

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Jeweled Rice and Chicken Sausage

What do you do when you have a spouse who refuses to eat quinoa? (Even though you tricked him into eating quinoa one time and he said it was good and when you told him it was quinoa he said, "Yuck.")

Much like all of gluten-free cooking, you ADAPT.

My husband hates quinoa but he loves rice.

(Not brown rice, mind you. Only white rice. I tried getting him to eat brown rice but he was having none of it.)

So I adapted the recipe for Jeweled Quinoa with Chicken Sausage from the Bob's Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook to make it more palatable, yet still gluten-free, for my picky eater. (It also takes less time to cook my version.)

Jeweled Rice and Chicken Sausage
Ingredients: (makes 2 servings)
1 package of chicken sausage (Johnsonville is gluten-free, but gluten-free Al Fresco has more flavor options)
Minute Rice (white rice)
gluten-free vegetable broth or chicken broth
slivered almonds (make sure the almonds haven't been processed on shared equipment)
dried cherries (or dried cranberries infused with cherry juice; Ocean Spray is gluten-free)
parsley (fresh or dried)

1. Cut up the chicken sausage and cook it according to the package directions.
2. In a small saucepan, bring one cup of broth to a boil. (If you don't have broth, just use water.)
3. Once the broth is boiling, stir in one cup of Minute Rice. Remove the saucepan from heat, toss in a handful of the dried cherries, and cover the saucepan for five minutes.
4. Once the chicken sausage is cooked through and the rice/dried cherries have sat for five minutes, combine both the chicken sausage and the rice/dried cherries in either a separate bowl or the saucepan where you cooked the rice.
5. Stir in a handful of slivered almonds.
6. Serve onto plates or bowls and top with a few sprinkles of parsley.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Home Team

Remember last week when I said I had 75 pictures printed at Walgreens? Here's where most of those pictures came from:

Over the Christmas break, we took a tour of Busch Stadium! I lived in St. Louis for the first 22 years of my life and never took a tour of this place, so it was nice to finally get a chance to see it behind the scenes.

There were so many pictures, and I really just wanted to get them laid out and in the scrapbook so that I could move on and maybe FINALLY finish up my 2014 album. (Technically, it should be called 2014 album part 3.) 

So I kept things really simple and use the large 5x7 picture we purchased while on the tour as the opening page and put all the other 4x6 photos I printed at Walgreens into photo slot pages.

This tour was really cool, by the way. We got to go into the press box, check out some VIP areas, and sit in the dug-out! You couldn't go on the field, though, but that's understandable. It was still pretty neat just being down at field level like that. We also did the Hall of Fame and Museum where we got to hold some of the Cardinals' baseball bats! That was a really well-done museum! If you're going to visit St. Louis (and really, why wouldn't you?), definitely make this one of your tourist stops!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Meal Plan Monday - May 18

Over the weekend, I got to celebrate a cute little girl's 1st birthday! Loving this infographic that was no doubt designed by her very talented graphic designer mother. (You can see more of her work on her etsy page.)

After that, I spent the rest of the crazy rainy evening planning out what we'd be eating for this week. And here is what I came up with:

Sunday: grilled ham and cheese corn cookies

Monday: sloppy joes, fries, and corn on the cob

Tuesday: Mrs. Leeper's pasta fagioli and grilled cheese

Wednesday: hash browns and scrambled eggs

Thursday: pasta

Friday: on our own

Saturday: on our own

Sunday: on our own

Yes, it's sort of a short week for us. What are you guys eating?

Friday, May 15, 2015

National Pizza Party Day

Today is National Pizza Party Day! Yay! This unofficial holiday is always the third Friday in May. And that's today!

Just because you're gluten-free doesn't mean you can't participate in this fun little holiday. There are plenty of gluten-free pizza crusts, mixes, and frozen pizzas from great brands such as Udi's, Against the Grain, Schar, Pillsbury, and Bob's Red Mill. All of these products taste good so you don't have to miss out on pizza!

I have a Pizza Party Pinterest board with a variety of different pizza recipes to try. On this board, you'll find some of our favorite recipes that I've shared here on the blog as well as other cool recipes for pizza, breadsticks, dessert pizzas, and even pizza-themed apparel from other sites. Check out the Pizza Party board here:

Don't forget: you can make all of them gluten-free just by substituting the regular crust for a gluten-free crust. You might have to check to make sure that any toppings you use are gluten-free, but I know that Hormel pepperoni is gluten-free (and says it right on the package) and most shredded cheese is also gluten-free.

What's your favorite pizza?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Missouri History

So a few weekends ago, I got 75 photos printed at Walgreens. 75!! It was a lot of pictures, and that was AFTER I had whittled the total number down! I couldn't whittle any more, so I decided to take all 75 pictures and just use up some of my photo pocket pages to make easy and quick layouts with all of these pictures. Here's the first one I did.

These are pictures from the Daniel Boone Home in Defiance, Missouri. When we were in St. Louis over Christmas, we got our fill of Missouri history! The tour of this house was good, although a little long-winded. (Please, people, stop asking so many questions on these tours!!)

I had one picture that wasn't vertical, but I didn't mind placing it in this all-vertical page. Just turn your head to look at it!!