Tuesday, March 29, 2011

CSN Stores Giveaway Winner!

First off, I’d like to welcome all my new followers who have joined recently. I’m so excited to have you join us here on The Spare Time Continuum!

So, let’s see who wins the $35 credit to CSN Stores, shall we?

The winner is . . .www.random.org - iframe

Comment #7: Domestic Diva!

Congratulations! I’ll contact you with information on how to redeem your prize.

Thanks to all those who entered, and special thanks to CSN Stores for the opportunity to share this giveaway with you.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Priceless

110321_0016-1a web

2 round-trip train tickets to Seattle: $159

Hotel stay: $130 per night

Leaving kids behind for a few days: 1 grandmother’s sanity (and grandpa helped)

Monorail to the Seattle Center: $2 per person

Adult admission to the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum: $15 per person

Spilling the beans that there are 3 of us in this picture: Priceless

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Old Standby

My husband would attest that I have a lot of “usuals.” I find something I like, and I stick with it.

A friend taught me how to make these receiving blankets the first year I was married. I borrowed my mother’s old sewing machine (which I still have on permanent loan) and started making them like crazy. It was some of the first sewing I had done on my own and has been the only thing I’ve sewn up until a few years ago when I finally started branching out. I’ve made so many of these receiving blankets for baby showers over the years, I don’t think I could count them. It’s my go-to baby gift because every baby needs blankets, and I love giving something handmade.

So when my husband let me know there was a baby shower at his work just 5 days from the day I learned about it, I was lucky I had one already sewn together and just waiting for me to crochet the edge.110304_0002 web110304_0003 web110304_0012-1a web

The blanket is just two pieces of flannel sewn together with a crocheted edge. I have a few pattern books for edges, so I try to vary what edge I do each time. It’s an easy way to keep my fingers busy while watching a movie with the hubs.

I’m starting to think I just need to start stockpiling handmade gifts for babies so I’ll have something on hand any time a baby shower pops up.

How about you? Do you make gifts ahead of time or in the nick of time? Do you have a go-to gift you always like to give at a baby shower, or do you like to mix it up?

Don’t forget to enter to win a $35 credit to CSN stores! CLICK HERE!

I’m sharing this post with . . .

Photobucket

Party Button


HouseofHepworths 

*Personal note: given to Norma/Alice

Monday, March 14, 2011

First Giveaway Ever!!! {Closed}

I am MORE than a little bit excited to invite you all to participate in my very first giveaway! CSN_Stores_Logo_gifThe good folks at CSN stores were kind enough to offer a gift code to one of my lucky readers. If you haven’t had a chance to check out CSN stores yet, this is the perfect opportunity! They have so much stuff to choose from. They have rugs, kitchen gadgets, patio furniture, kids toys and so much more. I absolutely got lost browsing their lights when I was trying to choose something to review.

Starburst Floor Lamp in Chrome(Image from CSN website)

How cool is this?

I LOVE the look of this lamp, but I don’t know where I’d put it.

Okay, so here’s what you could win: A $35 gift code to use at any of CSN’s 200+ stores. Please note that CSN only ships to the US and Canada, and there may be international shipping taxes to Canada that the gift code cannot cover.

How to win: Let’s keep things simple shall we? To enter:

  • Leave me a comment! You can tell me how you found my blog, something about yourself, your favorite book or movie, or just tell me how very badly you want to win. Whatever!
  • If you want one extra entry, you can become a follower of The Spare Time Continuum (or let me know you already are one) and leave a comment telling me you did.

Only two comments per person. If you make a mistake, go back and delete any extra comments.

You MUST include an e-mail address in your comment or have e-mail enabled on your blogger profile. If I can’t access your e-mail, I will choose another winner. No joke.

Giveaway ends 2 weeks from today, Monday, March 28 at 8pm PST. Winner will be announced soon after that. Good luck!!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Meals Kids Love: Meatballs

Jenny over at The Southern Institute for Domestic Arts and Crafts has been doing a series called Meals Kids Love. She’s doing a link up this weekend so we can all share a meal our kids love to eat, and I thought I’d join in.

There was another meal I wanted to share this week, but it takes more effort to prepare. I went with this one that is simpler, but maybe sometime I’ll still post that other meal.

I should probably admit that I am a terribly picky eater myself. Maybe that’s why I was ~blessed~ with picky eaters. I’ve gotten a little better as I’ve gotten older, but I can definitely sympathize with kids who don’t want to try new things.  As a parent, I’m always trying to find that balance between encouraging my kids to try new foods and making sure not to traumatize them.

Before I share my recipe, I want to tell you one method I’ve found that has helped me with the battle, and it works many times. Let me set the scene, and maybe you’ve had a similar situation. I’ll be home with the kids on a night when my hubby is away at class. I actually summon enough motivation to cook dinner even though I know the kids will probably turn their noses up at it. I cook the meal, set the table, and have the kids sit down with me to eat. I’m hungry and looking forward to eating the meal I have prepared. As soon as prayer is over (and sometimes before), the kids start complaining, saying they don’t want to eat what I made.

It might seem like I have two choices: to begin the battle or to cave in and make them PB&J sandwiches. One night, I decided to go a different route. I explained that I had worked hard to make them a nice dinner, and I was hungry. I was going to eat my dinner, and if they didn’t want to eat it, they could wait quietly at the table until I was finished for me to make them something else. There was some whining the first time I did this, but after watching me eat for a while, their resolve started to crumble. They asked to have some of what I was eating. No battle. No negotiating. And I didn’t make two meals that night. Golden!

Of course, this doesn’t work every time, but it has worked more times than I ever thought it would. What I love is that I get to eat my dinner in peace. They get to decide if their hunger outweighs their distaste for the food in front of them, and I usually get them to try new things without feeling like I forced them. It’s the perfect solution for those evenings when I don’t have the energy to negotiate, but I don’t want to give up entirely.

My kids are so unpredictable. They can love something one time and eat it up. Then, I can serve the exact same thing a few weeks later, and they won’t even take a bite. But most of the time, they like to eat these meatballs. They’re the same meatballs my mother made me when I was a picky eating child, and they were my favorite.

110309_0010-1a webTo make these meatballs, here’s what you need:

  • 1lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1 beef flavored Rice-a-Roni mix (or a store brand generic, which is what I use)110309_0003 web

Mix together the hamburger, egg, and the rice from the rice mix. Form balls about 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter. Place them in a skillet with a little oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides.

110309_0005 webAs you can see, I don’t always get every single part of the meatball brown. I do my best, but as I turn them over, they like to plop onto the side that’s already brown. Do your best, but don’t worry too much about perfection because you’ll be cooking them more.

Drain any grease.

Mix the seasoning packet with 2 and 1/2 cups warm water. Pour into the skillet with the meatballs. You may want to add some salt at this stage, or you can just add to taste once they’re done. Cover skillet and simmer for 20 minutes, turning them over once or twice so all the rice will cook. I like to simmer mine on a low heat so all the sauce doesn’t evaporate. That way, you can pour it over the meatballs sort of like an au jus. Cut one open to make sure they aren’t pink inside, and serve.

Since the meal already has carbs from the rice mix, I like to serve it with veggies or fruit. I usually like to make broccoli and cheese sauce with it, but I’m still working on my kids and broccoli. Tonight, I went with Caesar salad and orange slices.

110309_0006-1a webHere’s our meal! My youngest said she wanted applesauce instead of orange slices, but then she saw me cutting the orange and wanted some (of course). So she ended up with both. Just like my oldest refused the salad until she saw us eating it and wanted some, and she eventually asked for applesauce, too.

110309_0013-1a web110309_0014-1a webHow I love happy munching!

And the verdict? . . .110309_0017-1a web110309_0020-1a webThumbs up all around!110309_0025-1a webMy oldest ate everything but a little of her salad.

My youngest was a different story. She didn’t refuse to eat, but she only ate a very little of everything. She just likes to graze. She asks for snacks and milk all day long. I probably gave her too many crackers before dinner. Oh well. At least dinner was peaceful.

How about you? Do you have a go-to recipe that always seems to work with your kids? How do you convince your kids to try new foods? Join in the conversation. Become a follower. You’re always welcome at The Spare Time Continuum.

And be sure to come back Monday for my very first giveaway!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Beautiful AND Functional

Remember when I was talking about doing a review for CSN stores, and I rattled off all sorts of options that I might order? Wanna know what I got? None of the above! Ha! I didn’t order any of the things I was considering, but I certainly found something I love.

I ended up getting the All-Clad Stainless Steel Canister Set, and here’s why. For all our married years, I have kept my flour and sugar in plastic, tupperware-like containers in the cupboard. I have often browsed canisters at the store, but I never found any that were just what I wanted. And after years of use, the little tabs on the lids of my plastic containers were starting to crack. So I’ve had my eye out for a solution for a long time. My main criteria: something nice looking that’s big enough that I can scoop a measuring cup into it. I did not want to be stuck trying to pour out flour and sugar from canisters that were too small for me to scoop into them! And then I found these:110227_0002-1a

Here’s what I love about them:

  • They’re thick, sturdy stainless steel.
  • They have a clean, classic look about them that won’t go out of style with changing fads.
  • The lids are air tight. Almost too tight. I actually don’t push them completely shut every time so I don’t have to struggle to open them. At least I know I can trust them on a car ride to my mother-in-law’s to can peaches.
  • They are nice and big! They have enough space that I can reach a 1cup measurer in there and get a good scoop, but they actually don’t take up a ton of room on my counter.
  • Now that I have canisters that actually look good on the counter, I have free cupboard space where I kept the old ones!110227_0004-1a

See? That’s a 1cup scoop. Plenty of room!

I think the only thing I don’t like about the canisters so far is how much they cost. I didn’t think I’d have to spend so much to find canisters I like. I did compare a few sites, and CSN stores had the lower price. I think the high price was mainly for the brand (and hopefully a certain level of quality can be expected along with that brand). But in the end, I’d probably do it again just to finally have what I’ve been looking for all this time.

Oh, and I guess the other downfall is that I haven’t thought of what to put in the third canister yet. I told my hubby we should keep hot chocolate in it, but he just laughed. He’s not ready to admit that these are our staples in life: flour, sugar, and hot chocolate. So maybe I’ll just keep something boring in there like pasta or rice. What do you keep in your countertop canisters?

Something else I loved was free shipping on my order, and I got an e-mail saying they upgraded my order to ship to me sooner—free of charge! My shipping estimate was moved up a whole 2 weeks!

Special thanks to CSN stores for the opportunity to review this product and for helping with some of the cost! Oh, and stay tuned . . . I just might be doing a CSN stores giveaway in the next few months.