Thursday, September 25, 2014

Snacking On The Road

General disclosureWe’re on the go about once a month, if not more. We’re either driving to my parents house, which is two hours away. We went to the ocean in August and September. That’s a three hour trip each way, and the drive earlier this month was totally worth it.

In July we drove down to Williamsburg and we’ll be doing it again next month! That’s another three hour drive…one way! We get to kill two birds with one stone on that trip. We get to stay with family and visit Busch Gardens! Not a bad way to spend a weekend!
Road Trip Snacks
When we make these trips I always have a cooler and a bag of snacks. I’m not a fan of eating out too much when we’re on the road. I mean, if I can bring sandwiches, fruit, drinks, and snacks, why stop? Ok, the occasional potty and gas break. I’m totally down for that.

This time the snack we took to go visit my mom for her 70th birthday was Red Vines Fruit Vines Bites. My boys are big fans of Red Vines. They get this from their dad. I’m not a big snacker, but my boys have snacks at home and on the road. What is it about road trips that makes us want to snack?
Red Vines Timeless Snack
Now Red Vines has Fruit Vines Bites. We were able to try different sizes with their packaging. The Bites were the same, just a different way to have them during your day. I liked the small packages because those ones could be tossed into the boys’ lunches. My favorite was the resealable bag because it’s going to stay fresh longer.

We got to try out the strawberry and cherry flavors. The boys were passing them back and forth. Funny thing was, they wanted to try the Fruit Vines in the different packages as if they’d taste different. Ooooook Don’t ask. I have no idea.
Snacking on the Road
Well, when we took a trip to the ocean the next week (I forgot to get pics) as soon as Fred saw I had them for snacks, he was ripping into them. Geez, like Red Vines much? I had no idea he liked them as much as he does. Not taken. I guess when we head down to Williamsburg next month I know what we’ll be taking along with us!

What do you love to snack on during your road trips?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Start The School Year Off With Water Bottles, A Baking Pan, and a Popsicle Maker + Giveaway

General disclosure
The past few weeks have been SO crazy. The boys went back to school and I started on two new teams at work. We went to the ocean one Saturday. Another weekend we went to my mom’s to celebrate her 70th birthday. I’m gone at night during the week for soccer, church, date night, and who knows what else shows up on the calendar. That being said, I’m behind on my reviews. Today I’m finally able to sit down and hopefully finish a few!

I think I’ve mentioned once (or a a dozen times) that we live in a small house. On top of that, we have well water. Well water at my house isn’t drinkable. Last month we got a water dispenser. This month we have reusable water bottles. We’re on the right path!
WaterWeek Kids
The Reduce WaterWeek Kids bottles have come in handy! Since we’ve stopped using plastic water bottles, because of our water dispenser, these new Kaleidoscope bottles have been awesome. The boys are used to the plastic bottles and want to be able to drink water and then put a lid back on like they used to.
Reduce WaterWeek Kids
What I like, that comes with these bottles, is the holder. Instead of the bottles being knocked around the fridge, they sit in a little white fridge tray. There are 5 that come in a set so that you can use them for your child’s lunch for school. We used them on our trip to the ocean. The kids each got one and Fred and I shared one. Super convenient and easy to tote around. The bonus, because each bottle is different colored, there was no mixing them up like you would a plastic disposable bottle!
WaterWeek Use
Now, this next kitchen gadget is fun, but has been somewhat of a challenge for us. lol In a good way and it’s been an amusing time of playing “getting to know you.” Let me introduce you to the Freiling ABC 123 Baking Pan.
ABC123 Baking Pan
I’m not a foodie, but I love baking. This was challenging because there were no English directions that came with it. Not that it necessarily needed them because it’s a baking pan, but because we weren’t sure what temp we should bake the dough at or for how long. Everything was in German and in European degrees.
Frieling ABC 123 Baking Pan
Our first attempt was amusing. We thought we had converted the temp correctly, but just a couple of minutes in the cookies were already burning. Those went right into the trash. The great part in all of these attempts is that you use so little batter mistakes aren’t a big deal.
ABC 123 Baking
The next attempt had us dropping the temp and the time we cooked them. I also hovered over mom’s oven like a hawk. After they’d cooked for a few minutes I could tell they were cooking faster than what I wanted so I pulled them out after another minute of baking. Several of the cookies didn’t turn out right because I didn’t put enough of the batter in the letter. Shoot the moon!

Finally they started to turn out right and everyone’s interest was piqued. Unfortunately, with everyone so interested in these letter and number shaped cookies, every time I turned around another letter or number had disappeared. So not helpful.
Happy 70th
I was so impatient that when I tried to put the icing on the cookies, they were too warm and the icing just slid off. Yea, rookie move, but everyone was chomping at the bit to eat them. And no, you won’t see the picture I took of the cookies frosted because they were too embarrassing to capture “on film.” We were celebrating mom’s birthday so I redid yet another couple of batches so that I could spell out Happy 70th. She thought those were so stinkin’ cute, and so did we!

Next…oh, next we have the Zoku Triple Quick Pop Maker! Coolest. Thing. Eh-ver! We were all riveted to this awesome gadget. By now I think everyone, aside from my mom, had heard of Zoku. She kept watching it with fascination. lol
Zoku
I wanted to have fun and do a theme with the pops. I searched Pinterest for some inspiration and man did I find it. There are some seriously amazing ideas on there. Endless suggestions. I also watched a couple of videos to learn how to use the Zoku. I wanted to get creative right from the get-go, but was missing the Character Kit. I couldn’t find it at any stores near us and didn’t have the patience to order it. lol I did find the Tools Set and bought that because I knew it would come in handy!
Gatorade Storm Trooper Zoku
Yoda and Vader Zoku
So, I’m not sure if you’ll be able to tell, but I wanted to go with a Star Wars theme. Now…hahahaha…I’ve got a LOT to improve on. Figuring out how to use different fruits or veggies to be different shapes like a belt or a patch or who knows what else. =)
Filling with creamer
Creamer filled wookie
I had the darndest time getting the fruit to stick because I didn’t have the Character Kit to keep everything in place. Next time I’ll have it an they’ll turn out better. Practice makes perfect, eh?
Star Wars popsicles
Ahead of time, I figured out what I thought might make good coloring for the Star Wars characters. I had to figure out which ones I wanted to do, too. After I got them finished I thought of various ways to improve on the finished product. Next time I tell ya.

For the flavors, I used sour apple Kool-Aid for Yoda, Gatorade for the Storm Trooper, coffee & creamer for Chewbacca, and black cherry Kool-Aid for Darth Vader. I think next time I’d do something for ears, add black for the Storm Trooper, dip the wookie in crushed cookie crumbs for “fur”, and add more red to Darth.

If you could spell something out with the baking pan, what would it be?

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Watching The Minnesota Twins at Camden Yards

Every year for the past 7 years I’ve taken one or both of my boys to a Minnesota Twins baseball game. We used to get THE best seats at the Metrodome. I’d get family seating and on a kids day. The tickets were about $20 each and included a pop and hotdog. On kids day the boys would either get a jersey or baseball bat for free! It was awesome.

Our seats were always in center outfield right behind Denard Span (who’s now a Washington Nationals player!). The seats would be a handful of rows up from the field. These were the “cheap” seats. We loved those seats! We weren’t up in the nose bleed sections, we could see the entire game, and were up close with Span’s plays. We didn’t care that our seats weren’t behind home plate. We were just happy to be at the games.

Then they built Target Field, the new open stadium for the Twins. Everyone loves it. We loved it, but miss our old seats. They’re no longer available because it’s open  with signage behind center outfield. I won tickets once and sat just behind 1st base a few rows from the field. Other times we sat super high, one time just one row down from the top. THAT kind of freaked me out being so high. It was also where families with babies and little kids were so they were up and down, in and out constantly. No way was I getting those seats again.

Boys at Twins Game

Then we moved. UGH! How were we going to see the Twins? Turns out they’re in the same league as the Baltimore Orioles. That meant if we wanted to see our Twins we’d have to go to Camden Yards.

I got tickets for all of us to go to the game at the end of August. I went through StubHub, which I had never done before. I’m always leery about buying something like that. I asked people on Facebook of their experiences using it, and it was all positive. The boys’ seats were 2 rows down from us and several seats over.

Joe Mauer

Going to the game, the 3 of us wore Twins jerseys. I was a bit nervous about how we’d be received since we were at the home team’s field and the O’s were trying to clinch a spot in the Playoffs. Baltimore is a really tough city. Would that spill over to the baseball game?

As soon as we sat down, I leaned over to the lady next to me and apologized ahead of time because I tend to yell at sporting events. She said she was totally fine with it because she’d be yelling for her team, too. Whew, ok! I looked around the sea of orange and found several Twins jerseys.

Twins vs Orioles

The game didn’t go so great. We’ve never seen a grand slam before, but had the opportunity at this game. Unfortunately it was by the Orioles. So disappointing. The Twins did come back with a homerun, but it wasn’t enough to make an impact on the end score.

Let me tell you, when the Twins got that homerun, I stood up yelling and pretending to Hi-5 Twins fans around me like I’d do back home. lol Now, by this point, I’ve made friendly with the people around us. They were harassing me and I was harassing back. It was good, clean fun! Made the game more fun! All of the Orioles fans we ran into were super nice to me and the boys (and Fred who wasn’t wearing Twins gear).

We didn’t win by any stretch of the imagination, but it was so fantastic to see our team. The boys were able to go with their older sister last year when they went home to visit in July. That means the boys haven’t missed a year yet. So, I’ve got a goal. Whether they’re here in Maryland or back home in Minnesota, they will get to see a Twins game. Buddy is growing out of the free gear, but Doodle isn’t. I’ll have to start planning in the early spring next year! lol

Do you love baseball? Who do you root for?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Type 2 Diabetes In Our Cat Simba

When the boys and I lived at our lake home, when I first moved to Minnesota, we'd been there for a couple of years and we started seeing a cat hanging out across the street. There were fields across from us, so it was more than likely a stray. Against my ex's wishes, because I knew he was all talk, we let the cat into the house. We put up some signs and called around. I ended up taking the cat to the vet and it turned out he was probably a couple of years old and had been neutered. He was someone's cat, but no one ever claimed him.

We named him Simba, because at the time, The Lion King was a favorite in our house and he became my oldest son's cat. He was just the coolest cat. He acts more like a Labrador Retriever than a cat. He loves to be hugged and kissed. You know how lions bump their heads up against other lions in the wilderness (at least they do on tv), he does the same thing to us. He's just so laid back.


We moved from our lake house to a house out in the country and after we had been there for a year, the kids and I had driven down to Chicago for a week. Well, our house flooded. Not too long after that, Simba had a major bladder infection and we almost lost him. The vet tech said she'd never seen anything so bad and if he had been a human, he'd have been on dialysis. He rebounded, but he was never the same health wise.

My friend Becky kept him for over 6 months after we moved from Minnesota. Last December we flew both of our cats, Simba and Pearl out to live with us here. For future reference, something like that costs over $600! We were so happy to have them here with us. We've never been without a cat or a dog in the home.

Simba and Pearl had been without us for almost a year. They adjusted pretty well to their new surroundings. I think they were just happy to be back with me and the boys. On a side note, Pearl is 16 yrs old and we think Simba is probably 11? Maybe 12?

Well, not too long ago, Simba just started not doing so well. He was constipated all of the time. He also had some sores around his neck. He didn't seem like he was interested in taking care of himself. The boys and I had gone over to VA for my mom's birthday a couple of weeks ago, and when we got back, he had gunk all around his eyes. I knew he had to see a vet.


Honestly, I thought they'd give him an enema to loosen up his stool and off we'd go. Oh, how naive I am. The vet came in and took a look at him. She started telling me what she thought they should do and how we might be able to proceed. I had a feeling it was going to cost me about $350, and they'd end up telling me he had a virus or something that would be fixed with an antibiotic. When she took him to get some tests done, she had her vet tech come back and get the towel that had been in the cat carrier. Simba has an aversion to the car so he pees immediately when he's put into a kennel. He's always done this since we got him.

She came back and told me he had Type 2 Diabetes. Well, ok. I have no idea what that means. She went on to explain about the shots, the testing, the monitoring, food changes, etc. She also said she'd need to give him a shot of antibiotics for the sores on his neck and yucky eyes. They needed to do blood work and test his urine. Oh, and they had medication and the dispenser for the needles. That's when she asked me if I wanted her to continue with everything.

Sigh...what was I supposed to do? He has Diabetes. It's something that's manageable. How can I say no to that? The medication isn't cheap at about $100/mo if I'm lucky and his dosage doesn't need to be raised too much. Do I have my financial limit? Unfortunately, yes I do. As a single mom on a limited income and no child support, I can only spend so much. I told her to do what she needed to. I had no idea that mean a $550 bill to walk out with my cat and his medication. I couldn't even speak to the receptionist because I was in such shock.


I started out giving Simba his first shot that night. Buddy came in and held his head as I gave my very first shot. I had no clue how thick cat skin is! I couldn't get the needle to go in at first. I've never given shots before so I thought it would be like butter. It wasn't. Simba did awesome though. I've been giving it to him twice a day for a week. He gets soft food and as soon as he's done he gets a shot. He just lays there while I "pet" him. lol Sometimes he leaves the room before I give him his shot. I just sit on the floor, call him over and he lays down in front of me. Thankful I don't have some spazzy cat that I have to give the shots to.



One thing I'm so thankful for is having such mellow, lovey dovey cats.

Next week I have to take Simba back to the vet so he can be monitored throughout the day to see if his meds are where they need to be. Thankfully the vet understands my financial position. She just continues to say, "you do what you can." Turns out she's a single mom, too. Instead of going back in a week later (I was out of cashola) we're going back next week after pay day. I actually increased his dosage to 2 units. I also went out and bought him grain free hard food that's holistic. The lady at the pet store said he needed a low protein diet, as well as grain free. The bag I bought...twice as expensive as the Cat Chow they've always eaten and is 1/4 the size of the bag we've always had. They aren't fans of new or "fancy" food. They're not handling that change well. Hoping I find something they'll both like because the cats eat together. The vet said cats don't do well with carbs and that's one way they end up with diabetes.

Have you ever had a pet with diabetes? Do you have any advice for me?

Monday, September 8, 2014

Shop Your Way with WisconsinMommy & Giveaway

My friend Maureen over at WisconsinMommy.com recently signed on with the Shop Your Way Rewards Program as a personal shopper. While I know many of you are familiar with the Shop Your Way Rewards Program, I’m going to guess that most of you don’t know how easy it is to sign up and earn free rewards! Realizing this, I partnered with Maureen to offer a giveaway just to give you an incentive to sign up with her as your personal shopper!

The Shop Your Way program is Sears, Kmart, and Lands End’s customer loyalty program that tracks your purchases and thanks you with rewards and benefits.

It’s completely FREE and as a member you’ll be rewarded with custom offers based on your shopping habits. This means receiving sales notification and coupons for things that you are already shopping for. In addition to the points you earn (that are redeemed like cash toward your purchases) you will occasionally be gifted with extra points, just because. It’s like receiving free money!!

Get Your Own Personal Shopper

One of my favorite things is that you can spend points as you earn them – you don’t have to save up until you hit a specific amount.

Shop Your Way Rewards members earn 10 points for every $1 spent. These points can be redeemed just like cash at your next purchase. You can take advantage of free layaway at Kmart.com as well as receive discounts on qualifying gas purchases when you spend $50 or more at Kmart. You are also able to return items without a receipt as long as you used your SYW Rewards account when you checked out. (This is a plus for me as I’m always losing receipts!)

Why sign up for a personal shopper?

As your personal shopper, Maureen can send you additional customized coupons based on what you wants and needs are. She can even find what you are looking for – just let her know what you need and she will find it for you!! She can find the best available deal and even match it with current coupon offers.

Enter to win $100 giftcard to Kmart/Sears or Amazon – you pick!!

Enter below by clicking on the form and then signing up to designate Maureen as your personal shopper. It’s quick, easy, FREE, and will save you money – score!! Once you have signed up, you can complete a few other bonus entrees for additional chances to win. Already a Shop Your Way Rewards member?? Just click on the link in the entry and choose Maureen as your personal shopper by clicking “become a client”. Not yet a Shop Your Way Rewards member? Click the link and sign up for the program. Then either click it again to select Maureen as your personal shopper.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!!!

Maureen will be holding these giveaways each quarter and those who already have her as their personal shopper will not need to take any action to be entered. That means once you’ve signed on with Maureen as your Shop Your Way Personal Shopper, you will automatically be entered to win the $100 giveaway each quarter that you continue to have her as your shopper. Cool huh???

 
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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.