Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Perfect Solution for School Supply Needs: Zebra Pens!


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Zebra Pens offers a wide variety of products to suit every need.  They offer solutions perfect for a business man to carry in his brief case as well as super cool gel colors that appeal to people of all ages!  But this isn't why I give Zebra Pens the My Wild Crazy Life Seal of Approval.  Sure, they write really great, they have a great protector on the end so that it's all cushy comfort as I write, and these are important in my book.

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It's their Social Work that makes me give them a thumbs up!  They financially support various charities, and you know I absolutely love a company who gives back to the community!  They support the City of Hope, Kids in Need, The National Breast Council Foundation, Inc, The American Heart Association, and The United Way of NJ!  I love knowing that I am helping a great cause just by purchasing something I need!

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We were able to try the Sarasa pens which are the #1 selling pen that Zebra offers.  I am very particular about what pens I write with. I don't have to bear down hard, and these pens never have a blank spot in my writing!  The kids each picked out their favorite color to take to school and show off to their friends, and Dear Husband even stole my pen to use at work which says it's an awesome pen since he is so picky about his pens.  So go ahead and check out all the different Zebra Pens, and like them on Facebook to keep up with their latest promotions!

  Disclaimer:  Many thanks to Zebra Pens for the products  I received to try.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions expressed in this review are honest and my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.  Please do your own due diligence when deciding to purchase!  

Why I Garden: Veggie Love!

I don't talk about it as often as I should, but we absolutely love gardening here at the My Wild Crazy Life Home.   So, I wanted to share the benefits of growing your own garden with you!  Hey, even if you live in the city, you can still grow a few things.  You can grow a single tomato plant in a 5 gallon bucket on your deck.  How about some windowsill herbs?  I have even seen an episode on TV about planting potatoes in a huge outdoor trashcan!  The possibilities are endless as long as you use your imagination!

1.  If children plan their "own" vegetables and fruits, tend to them the whole season, they are way more likely to eat them.  If you don't believe me, try it on for size!

2.  Cost.  Example:  This year I spent $.99 on a packet of cucumber seeds and planted maybe 1/4 of the packet.  I yielded no less than 150 cucumbers which at $1.82/pound for an organic cucumber, I got a little over $225 worth of cukes out of a dollar spent! That doesn't include all the other veggies I grew this year.  Enough said.

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Butternut Squash, three varieties of Eggplant, Purple Bell Peppers, Red Bell Peppers, a Heart-Shaped potato, and Tri-color Habanero Peppers fresh from my own garden this year!

3.  I can control what I eat in two ways.  I don't put any pesticides, chemicals or anything else on my garden.  I am an avid composter, so I feed my soil with rich organic home-grown compost.  If I have a bug problem, I use a hot pepper water spray on the plants.  Also, again, if you are growing your own vegetables and putting hard work into them, you are more apt to eat a healthier diet rich in vegetables.

4.  I have vegetables all year round-even out of season.  How?  I preserve a good portion of what I grow.  Eggplant gets sliced, dipped in lemon juice and frozen.  Potatoes get stored in a cool dark place.  Cucumbers become Dill Pickles, Bread and Butter Pickles, Sweet Pickles, and Pickle Relish.  Tomatoes become many things:  salsa, tomato paste, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, ketchup, etc.  Even the wild berries that grow on my property don't escape my fingers.  We preserve or freeze what we don't eat!

5.  The sheer enjoyment of getting my hands in the lush soil!  I have quite  a busy, chaotic life with 4 kids, a husband, umpteen chickens and a dog.  I go days without any sort of quiet time.  However, when I am in the garden weeding, digging, or tending to my vegetables, it is so quiet and peaceful!  Plus, sunshine is great for the brain and that "Feel good" mood, so it's a win:win:  

Easy Homemade Tortilla Wraps!


My family loves tortilla wraps.  We use them for everything:  quick breakfast burritos, chicken wraps, hamburger wraps, tacos, bean burritos, or even as a healthier chip to hold our salsa.  We use them often in place of bread, but they are so costly to purchase.  I get 8 in a package for $2.50-$3.99 a package depending on if I find them on sale or not.  It doesn't take a rocket science degree to figure out for a family of six, this can add up to a lot of money quickly.

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Never fear, I have the perfect solution for you that even the most unskilled cook should be able to make!  Yes, I was referring to myself.  If *I* can make these, anyone should be able to!  I use a round tortilla griddle like the one by Comal seen below.  She isn't beautiful anymore, and you can see where the heat is centered on the griddle, but she works like a daisy!  You can also use a regular cast iron skillet, and although I haven't tried using other types of pans, you may find success in whatever frying pan you have.

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Allyson's Homemade Flour Tortillas

*Note, if you are wanting to make a healthier tortilla that is better for diabetes or if you are on a diet, simply substitute the flour with 100% whole wheat flour

2 Cups Flour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
3/4 Tsp Salt
3 TBS Shortening (or Coconut Oil)
1/2 cup of warm water

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Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.  With a fork or pastry blender cut the shortening into the flour mixture until it is crumbly.   Add water and knead into a ball  kneading about 30 times.  Place in a bowl sprayed with cooking spray, cover and let sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the dough to rest.  This is an important step, and the dough will be very elastic and not roll out if you don't allow rest time.

Divide the dough into 12 equal balls and roll out on a floured surface until they are thin and about 8 inches diameter.

Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle to medium heat, and cook the tortilla about 45 seconds per side.   Keep covered with a moist hot towel while you continue making the rest of the Tortillas.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Clean Laundry the Natural Way with Molly's Suds

My family tries to do our part when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint.  We recycle, hang our laundry, use eco-friendly products when possible, and are always open to learning about new ways to be kind to our earth and new products which facilitate these ways.

Molly's Suds was founded by a mom and a pediatric nurse who decided to make a change in the products they use in their home.  Molly's Suds products are paraben-free, chemical-free, phosphate-free, contain no SLS/SLES and are never tested on animals.  What does all these big words mean?  It means they are safe for the smallest member of your home whether they be human or a fur baby!

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I had the opportunity to test out the Molly's Suds Laundry Powder which washes up to 128 loads of laundry, and I was excited just for the many loads alone!  Hey, with six people we do at least 2 loads a day here.  This detergent is safe for both top loader and front loader machines, is perfume and dye free, and is certified Vegan and Pet Safe.  This is perfect for everything from cloth diapers, young babies, and people with sensitive skin.

I love how little you have to use.  There is a scoop a little smaller than a Tablespoon and it only takes 2 scoops per load.  I use a little more for large loads, smelly loads, or diapers because as with commercial detergents some stains and smells just take a little more!  It has a nice fresh minty smell in the bag, but once the clothes are dried, they simply smell clean rather than minty.

What I love:

*Cruelty-Free
*Eco-Friendly
*Works as well as any commercial brand at getting clothing clean
*Only takes a small amount to wash an entire load
*The fresh minty scent
*Dye free, Chemical Free
*Great for Cloth Diapers
*Perfect for allergies or sensitive skin

Since you want honest, I'll give you what I would love a little different

What would make it perfect

* A Liquid Variety for all clothes
* A Variety with a stronger scent (hey diapers smell fabulous at times!)

Molly's Suds carries an All Sport Product, Dog Soap, and Dryer Balls, and you can stay up to date with all their promotions via Facebook and Twitter.  You can also win a Molly's Suds Laundry Detergent and Dog Wash of your very own!  Just complete an option or all the options on the Rafflecopter to be entered to win!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week Six with Nutrisystem, #NSNation, #Spon

It has now been 6 weeks on Nutrisystem and I am trucking right along.  I learned this last week how important that our healthy carbs actually are on this diet.  I quit eating them for about 4 days, not because I don't like them, but I ran out and didn't want to drive so far to get more.  About day 3 I was so tired I slept through the alarm clock in the morning by 30 minutes.  Day 4 I set the alarm clock an hour early, and I was still sleeping when my darling woke me up 20 minutes past time to get up for school.  A talk with some great Nutrisystem people directed me right to the problem, and day five I made a small whole wheat veggie pizza without cheese, and viola my energy was back up and running.

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I learned that every type of food on this diet is important in it's own way.  So the moral of the story is eat your carbs.  Whether you are eating a small apple, a half a potato, slice of whole wheat bread, something.  I promise your body will thank you!  My weight is down from 280.2 at starting to 263 so I have lost 17.3 lbs in 6 full weeks of Nutrisystem. Not a bad success at all!


Starting Measurements
Upper Arms: 15.0
Chest: 49.8
Waist: 54.0
Hips: 59.0
Thighs: 23.6


Current Measurements

Upper Arms: 14.0
Chest: 46.3
Waist: 50.0
Hips: 54.8
Thighs: 20.0

Want to lose weight and get healthy on Nutrisystem? Join today by calling 1-888-853-4689 or by visiting Nutrisystem

*Nutrisystem is providing me with 4 months of free food and support service as part of the Nutrisystem Nation Blogger program. In exchange, I will be posting each week with my progress. All thoughts expressed are my own, and my experience using the system may vary from that of other participants.*  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who wants to Win a New Blog Layout?

My Creative Zone is offering a giveaway of a new Blog for a self-hosted Blogger or Word Press Blog.  This is a great opportunity to get a fresh new look for your blog!


To enter the Giveaway, click here!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Snacking to a Whole New Level with Sahale Crunchers

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I am a snacker, and I always have been.  If you don't see me sitting down to a meal, never fear, I likely have been noshing on everything from crackers, cheese, eggs or so much more.  If it can be picked up and eaten, that's my kind of food!  Now, if I can incorporate my favorite snack food into something I can bake, then we have what I call food utopia!

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I recently was able to try a new snack food by Sahale Snacks called Sahale Crunchers, and I am in love.  They actually were created out of need as many great products are:  to use the same energy boosting foods found in stale seeds and nuts, but create something very tasty.  Not only are these things addictive straight out of the bag, there are so many great recipes I can add them to!   Because we have no snacking will power in this home, the Parmesan Cheese and Herb Sahale Crunchers just didn't make it to a recipe. No sir!  They were gobbled down by four little hungry tummies who were of course helped by good ole dad!

The other two flavors:  Cranberries, Sesame Seeds & Honey and Cherries, Apples & Maple were made into a wonderful breakfast which we of course enjoyed for supper.  


    French Toast
    1 loaf sourdough or French bread
    8 large eggs
    2 c. whole milk
    1/2 c. heavy whipping cream
    3/4 c. sugar
    2 Tbs. vanilla or almond extract
    Topping

    1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
    4 oz. pkg. Cherries, Apples + Maple SAHALE CRUNCHERS™


    Topping
    1/2 c. all-purpose flour
    1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
    4 oz. pkg. Cherries, Apples + Maple
    SAHALE CRUNCHERS™
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Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Cut bread into 1” cubes and evenly distribute in pan. Add eggs to

bowl and whisk. Add milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk well until mixture is combined. Pour over bread.

Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add butter and combine with dry mixture with

fork until well combined. Add SAHALE CRUNCHERS™ and mix, be careful not to break up the almonds. Cover

and store in the refrigerator.

When you're ready to bake the French toast, preheat oven to 350° F. Remove pan from the refrigerator and

spread topping evenly over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Take foil off and bake for another

20 minutes until puffy and golden. NOTE: Do not remove foil cover too soon or almonds may burn.

Serve with butter and maple syrup.
Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Cut bread into 1” cubes and evenly distribute in pan. Add eggs tobowl and whisk. Add milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Whisk well until mixture is combined. Pour over bread.Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add butter and combine with dry mixture withfork until well combined. Add SAHALE CRUNCHERS™ and mix, be careful not to break up the almonds. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
When you're ready to bake the French toast, preheat oven to 350° F. Remove pan from the refrigerator andspread topping evenly over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Take foil off and bake for another20 minutes until puffy and golden. NOTE: Do not remove foil cover too soon or almonds may burn.
Serve with butter and maple syrup.

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*Because my mother in law was here and she is diabetic, I substituted the flour for whole wheat flour and the sugar for Splenda.  I also used skim milk in lieu of the whole milk to make the dish lighter, but I did stick with the heavy cream so that it would thicken properly.


I made a second French Toast with the Sesame Seeds, Honey, & Cherries Sahale Crunchers and it was equally as good.  This is such a great treat that it reminds me of a bread pudding minus the cream on it.  I enjoyed mine without syrup because I thought it was plenty sweet enough, but it was such a great hit, they were asking for leftovers for breakfast the following day!



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Sahale Crunchers has this and many more excellent recipes, and you can stay up to date with their latest promotions on Facebook.