Thursday, September 19, 2013

Influenster Mama Voxbox Headin' My Way

I recently signed up with a company called Influenster that sends out boxes full of goodies to members who qualify. We get to try out the products then write up a review about them. I'm really excited because I just joined a couple weeks ago, and I already qualified for a box!

They call them voxboxes, and they tend to have themes. Mine is the Mama Voxbox! A box full of pampering items for busy moms. And as a mom of three boys and another one on the way, I think I qualify!

I can't wait to see everything that's in there!

Be looking for some reviews in the near future on some great Mama Pampering products!

The box is on the way!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Rice Casserole Surprise

With my picky eaters, it's hard to find an entire meal that everyone likes. There's always some part of some meal that, ugh, someone just doesn't want. We usually try to make sure they eat a couple bites of everything anyway... even if they need to wash things down with with water or some juice.

For Sabbath dinner today, I made a Rice Casserole, completely believing that the boys would barely choke down the two or three bites we forced them to eat. Even for myself, after putting the ingredients together, I wasn't too sure I would like it. {I just might be where my boys get their pickiness.}

It took an hour to bake which didn't make my hubby too happy, because they were home from church early and he wanted to eat then get the boys to a park for the afternoon.

But then he could only blame himself for making lunch even later, for when there 18 minutes left for the casserole, hubby decided to add to the meal by making Naan bread - though it ended up being Chapati bread after he found out Naan bread would take 1-2 hours to make. I also added some black beans seasoned with Taco Bell hot sauce to the menu.

We called the boys in to eat They turned up their nose at the casserole. Just as I thought.

However, Brent started filling his Chapati bread with the rice casserole and black beans, then added some of his favorite hot sauces. When he declared it absolutely delicious, I had to try it.

It was really good. Just really good!

So Cedric tried it.

He liked it too!

Last taste tester was Elijah, who had his drink beside him ready to wash down the bites. He lifted the filled Chapati bread to his face and sniffed. "Hm. Smells kinda good," he declares. He tasted. He considered. His face filled with that look of surprise. It was good to him too!

A real surprise this meal was, and I have to share it with you (and especially for my Facebook friends who have asked for the recipe).

Here is the Rice Casserole, a recipe I found in one of my mother-in-law's recipe books:

1 cup rice, uncooked
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 can Worthington Fri-chik* (or Soyameat), diced
2 cups water
1 can mushroom soup
2 envelopes George Washington broth
1/2 tsp. Vegex (though I left this out)
1/4 to 1/2 cup oil

In a saucepan, heat the mushroom soup, vegex, oil, water, and broth to boiling (just don't let it boil over like I did - oops). Mix together all the other ingredients and place in a 9x13" casserole dish. Pour hot liquid over the mixture in dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour at 350 degrees or until all liquid is absorbed.

Brent found the Chapati bread recipe at He used 2 cups of white flour instead of 1 cup wheat/1 cup white.

Indian Chapati Bread Recipe

For the black beans, I just opened a can, added 3 packets of Taco Bell hot sauce, and heated them in a saucepan.

Putting it together: simply place a couple spoonfuls of the rice casserole and black beans on your Chapati bread, add whatever extra hot sauces you like, fold the bread over and enjoy.

I think adding some curry to the rice casserole would lend a great Indian flare since this is served with Chapati bread. Maybe next time...

*Worthington non-meat {or vege-meat as we vegetarians say} products can be difficult to find if you're not familiar with them. Some ideas of where to look: If you live near an Adventist Book Center (ABC), try there. Or ask at your local health food store. I've also heard of some being sold on Amazon. If you're not a vegetarian, Fri-chik is simply a vegetarian substitute for chicken.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Hans Brinker: A Movie Review

I just recently used my Disney Movie Rewards points to get Hans Brinker (or The Silver Skates) for free. Having three boys, I figured this would be a good movie to show them. We just watched it this weekend, and I absolutely loved it!

Even though this movie was filmed many, many years ago, it kept the boys' attention, and the lessons taught are just incredible - a lot better than many films of today. Hans Brinker sets out to earn money for his family after his father has an accident that gives him amnesia. He shows a sense of responsibility and persistence, working whatever menial jobs around town he can find. He gets creative - literally - by increasing his artistic abilities, and then tries to sell his artwork. And when those venues don't work to get the money needed for his dad's surgery, Hans finds out about an ice skating race that offers a tidy sum of prize money prize and attempts to win. What wins out above the rest is his character that stands for kindness and justice, which are the qualities that actually help him 'win' in the end. I have to admit - I was cheering for Hans from the couch. Great family flick! It can lead to some great family conversations regarding good character qualities.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

30 Days of Thanks

~ I'm Thankful ~

November 1: For God's promise of the rainbow we saw today after the rainfall. Even when storms arise and floods abound, we stand assured that the whole earth will not be destroyed by flood again.

November 2: For birthday fun. Today my oldest boy turns 9, and we have family coming for the weekend for a birthday celebration! 

November 3: For paper streamers. I say I put them up at birthdays for the kids, but secretly, I like them for myself. Hang them in a doorway, then breeze through them like you're a dancer and see how you feel about them then.

November 4: For doors. Red doors. Specifically, the new Dr Pepper Red front door my husband, father-in-law, and brother installed today.

November 5: For belated birthday presents: comfy yoga pants to wear around the house (or for that rare event that I might do some kind of exercise).

November 6: For reciprocated back-rubs.

November 7: For homemade applesauce that my sick little boys can enjoy eating. 

November 8: For "Pennies from Heaven" - someone donated $200 towards our boys' school tuition. Thank you, whoever you are!

November 9: For a last-chance harvest of carrots and beets from my mom's garden. Anybody know what to do with beets?

November 10: For a quiet hide-away where I can sit for awhile and read a book uninterrupted.

November 11:  For a small plot of land where I can plant my own fruits and veggies. I will always wish for more, but at least I have space of my own.

November 12: For messages from

What are you thankful for?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Smokin' Hot $700 Shopilly Holiday Cash Giveaway

I have the privilege of being one of the hosts for this awesome giveaway sponsored by Shopilly. The following portion is by Amberr of Like a Bump on a Blog.  Read below, then enter to win $700!

Smokin' Hot $700 Shopilly Holiday Cash Giveaway

Shopilly makes shopping a pleasure.
Welcome to the Smokin' Hot $700 Shopilly Giveaway sponsored by Like a Bump on a Blog, with considerable help from the lovely Lexie Lane at VoiceBoks and Bridget at Giveaway Promote. Enjoy the post provided by our generous sponsor, Shopilly, to learn more about them, and then enter via our Rafflecopter entry at the end. It’s a cold Sunday night, and I’m huddled on my couch, flipping through never-ending channels on TV. I think I get about 400 channels, and it can be overwhelming to decide what to watch DWTS, Idol, The Voice? Luckily, my trusty DVR puts all the shows I like -- and only those shows -- in one place, where they wait patiently for me to catch up on them.

What your Shopilly Dashboard looks like

Email is a little like TV. Every day I get tons of emails from my favorite brands, retailers and flash sites. I love getting all of that information and having so many choices, but my inbox is getting a little out of control. It's nearly impossible to sort through the clutter to find emails I really care about, and I have to select and delete almost all of the marketing emails, always wondering whether I should opt out or stick around to see if something actually relevant lands in my inbox. But I've discovered that now there's a DVR for email! It’s called Shopilly. By signing up for a free account, I can ask Shopilly to automatically pull all of the marketing emails from my email inbox and put them in a fun "visual inbox" in my Shopilly account, where I can review them when I’m ready. My inbox is totally clean; it’s like a breath of fresh air. And when the time is right for me to check out my latest offers, they’re neatly collected for me at Shopilly.

Shopilly is organizing my email inbox for me, and that’s great. But it’s more than that. On Shopilly, I can also opt in to view offers from other brands I wouldn't have discovered otherwise. The way they’re presented makes it really easy to check out all of my options and to add or remove offers from my window shop. It’s like visiting my own personalized shopping mall right from the comfort of my couch. Now, where did I put that remote control? Improve your shopping life at Shopilly today and tell us what you think at

If you're ready to enter the giveaway and make your holiday shopping even sweeter, you may do so below now! a Rafflecopter giveaway Good luck and happy winning! ;-) Please share this post with other people who might need extra shopping money this holiday season.  Feature images courtesy of Shopilly. **Post syndicated with permission, and the original can be found here: Smokin' Hot $700 Shopilly Holiday Cash Giveaway.***

In a House of 3 Boys Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. In a House of 3 Boys is not responsible for prize shipments. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

I Won a Gift Card! {Plus a Drawing to Enter}

I recently started a new hobby of entering sweepstakes, drawings, contests, giveaways online. Several years ago, I won a Melissa & Doug wooden doll set, and I've also just had a general luck when it comes to entering drawings. I recently read an article in All You magazine about a gal who brings in a fairly decent "income" with her winnings from spending an hour or so each day just entering these sweepstakes. She even won a $17,000 car! I figured since I'm home most of the day, I could certainly start spending some time entering contests in between household activities. I didn't know if it would pay off at all, but you never know unless you enter them, right?

I came home this weekend to find a special envelope in the mail. Upon opening, I found a $25 Visa Gift Card with this letter. I'm so excited that I've won something! It may not be much, but it's $25 more than I had yesterday! And it certainly inspires me to keep on entering!

Now if you're inspired to start trying, you can start with the one listed in the letter above:

Enter to win an Exergen Temporal Scanner by guessing the Game Time Temperature (Contest rules - .pdf file). I've used one of these thermometers for years, and it's so much easier using this to take squiggly-wiggly little boys' temperatures than it is to keep a thermometer under the arm or in the mouth.

If you don't want to enter the contest, but are still interested in buying one of these thermometers, you can still visit for a printable rebate.

Or check out these other thermometers:


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wreaths of Maine: Hamilton Plaid Spray

My son Cedric is selling wreaths to earn money - he has a list of what he wants to get in my first post about Wreaths of Maine. We've decided to add another item to the list. When Cedric sold wreaths a couple years ago, we used the money to buy a guitar for him. Now we'd like to put most of the money he earns towards guitar lessons.  Lessons start the week after Thanksgiving! Pretty excited about finally putting the guitar to use!

The wreath for the day is the Hamilton Plaid Spray. Okay, it's not a wreath, technically. For those of you that don't necessarily want a wreath, this is a pleasant substitute. The beauty, the wonderful balsimic fir aroma in a 27" x 16" spray.

One nice thing I've forgotten to mention about ordering through Wreaths of Maine is that you can choose a week to have it delivered. Order some as gifts and have them delivered Christmas week, or order one at the beginning of the Christmas season to enjoy it all month long.

If you do order from Wreaths of Maine, please enter the Seller ID# 4570 during checkout so Cedric gets credit - Thanks!

Enter to Win $25 from Target

Head on over to Target's Facebook page to enter to win one of twenty-five $25 gift cards. Enter daily.

Monday, November 5, 2012

21-Day Self-Discipline Challenge ~ Days 4 and 5

Sunday was a very busy day for our household. My husband, his dad, and my brother installed a new front door, so things were in a bit of an upheaval all day. I got all kinds of chores done like laundry and general cleaning up, baked some pumpkins to preserve, and made some Cranberry Nut Bread (minus the nuts).

Fly-smacking took up a bit of my time also. Having no front door for a good portion of the day apparently was an open invitation for approximately 20 flies to encroach on our living quarters. Just this afternoon, I may have killed about 12 flies. Darn creatures!

Even though I was so busy yesterday, I actually did work on my challenge, though I didn't have time to post about it. So this post is for both Day 4 and Day 5.

Practical Application: Day 4 ~ Brainstorm all my bad and good habits. Then choose one bad habit to get rid of or a good habit to implement. On Day 2, I chose to sweep the kitchen floor at least once a day (and I've kept up with that - woo hoo!), and on Day 3, I decided to start keeping my table cleared of any piles - doing okay at that, though there are still supper dishes on it right now, and a small pile of papers that I will take care of now that the boys are tucked in for the night. So for this new habit to work on, I'm choosing to keep my loveseat (or My Office as it's been described) free of piles also. I tend to keep my books that I'm reading, and my couponing stuff, and my crafty projects, and this-that-and-everything near my spot on the loveseat. So I want to break myself of the habit of letting things pile up.

Mega-Project: Day 4 ~ Spent some time browsing through our belongings for some 1st Aid Kit items to add to the Emergency/Disaster Kit. Pain meds, band-aids, NeoSporin, charcoal, etc.

Practical Application: Day 5 ~ Think of an obstacle that my keep me from achieving my habit-making/breaking goal, and come up with two possible solutions. One major obstacle that I run into is that I might be right in the middle of a book or magazine article or other project, and then one of my boys needs my help, or it's time to go fix a meal, or any number of other distractions. I usually just lay my book/project down so I can pick it right back up when I next have a little break. But then, I might get onto another project... and it all starts to pile up. Solutions would be: every evening, attack whatever I've put on the loveseat and find a more appropriate place to put it; or make myself stick to only one (maybe two?) projects at a time, so there's not as much piled up on the loveseat.

Mega-Project: Day 5 ~ Looked through our toiletries for shampoo/conditioner, soap, deoderant, toothbrushes and toothpaste, floss, laundry detergent, extra combs/brushes, and such. I have a ton of sample/travel-sized items that will work nicely for a short-term disaster. I may decide to put full-size items in if there's room in the kit, so we can be prepared for a longer-term event.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

21-Day Self-Discipline Challenge ~ Day 3

It's been a busy day in our household.

A busy two days!

Yesterday was spent cleaning the house because we have weekend guests and because we threw a little family/close friend birthday party for my son this evening. I did sweep (and mop) the floor yesterday, and writing up this post reminded me to sweep the floor just now. Yay for two days in a row!

Because of the weekend events, I wasn't able to devote much time to my 21-day mega-project challenge today until this evening after our visitors left and the boys got to bed.

Practical Application: Day 3 ~  There are a couple parts for today... Choosing a bad habit to quit (or a good habit to start forming), and choose a chore to complete. I'm combining the two. I'm choosing to work on my bad habit of piling up tidbits of things on the kitchen table. Usually, these items are things I need to keep track of or have quick access to. I'm going to work on thinking twice about putting things on the table and keep it clear (or at least clear it off at the end of each day). The table is cleared off for this evening... now to keep it that way.

Mega-Project: Day 3 Action ~ Gather emergency items I already have around the house. These are items like whistles, batteries, flashlights, utility knives, etc.