Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Simple and Delicious Sausage Stromboli

By Lori -- 

As the days grow cooler (at least here in Indiana where I am), I tend to gravitate toward quick soup recipes and grilled cheese when it comes to mealtime. In our rotation with soup and easy crockpot chicken and noodles, we also like to make this recipe for Sausage Stromboli. It's hearty and delicious, and perfect any night of the week!  

Ingredients:

1 loaf of French bread (we get a loaf from the bakery)
1/3 cup of pizza sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste, more or less to taste
1 lb log Italian sausage
½ teaspoon basil, dried
½ teaspoon oregano, dried
¼ cup canned, sliced mushrooms
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon of Parmesan cheese

The assembled stromboli, 
ready to go into the oven.
Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix 1/3 cup of pizza sauce and 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste (we like a lot of sauce so we use 2 tablespoons).

In a medium skillet, cook and crumble sausage with basil and oregano.

On a sheet of aluminum foil, place a loaf of French bread, cut in half. Spread the top and bottom of loaf with pizza sauce and tomato paste mixture. Next, layer sausage, then mushrooms and top with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.

Enjoy! 
Place sandwich, open faced, into the oven. Bake the sandwich for about 8 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread has browned. Remove from oven and close sandwich. Wrap in foil and bake for 2-3 more minutes.


Cut sandwich and serve with potato chips.



Lori is a work-at-home mom living in Noblesville, a suburb of Indianapolis. She is mom to two children ages 4 and 2 and enjoys watching them grow and learn. Lori enjoys taking walks, shopping, spending time with her husband and kids, reading, and loves taking pictures of her kids (but is just an amateur!). She loves traveling and would love to see every inch of this world someday. Leave her a comment below or e-mail her at mumblingmommy@mumblingmommy.com.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

5 Reasons Your Kids Should Have a Savings Account

By Heather C. --


Photo Courtesy of Heather C.

With our country’s national debt at an all time high, our economy bouncing back and forth from good to bad and more people fighting for good credit than ever, I think it’s safe to say that the next generation needs a better grasp on money. If we ourselves aren't even good with money though, how will they ever learn?

It is time to start the cycle over. Our kids NEED to have savings accounts. Most banks and credit unions will give a free savings accounts to minors. One responsible adult (normally a parent or guardian) needs to be on the account with the child to sign for transactions and in most cases the only thing needed for the child is a social security number. Take this time to learn from your own mistakes or your peers’ mistakes to help our children climb above the financial crisis going on.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

A guest post from Jessica Smith of Raw Basil --

It's fall here in Michigan - already! The summer flew by with little beach days. That's a sad story in itself. With the beautiful leaves changing colors and the smell of crispness, I felt I should bake.....something pumpkin of course!
 
I used large cupcake papers for these, they make them look so lovely but makes only about 7 muffins!


 
Recipe:

1 cup real, all natural pumpkin
1 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup organic canola oil
2 organic eggs - room temperature
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 cups organic flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
 
Topping:

1/2 stick cold organic butter
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
 
Crumble together with fork.
 
In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
 
Preheat oven 350 degrees
 
In a large bowl mix pumpkin, sugar, oil, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and ginger together until well combined.
 
Slowly incorporate flour mixture.
 
Scoop into cupcake papers and sprinkle streusel topping - I use a cupcake scoop like this.
 
Large cupcake papers - bake for 20-23 minutes
 
Regular cupcake papers - bake for 17-20 minutes
 
Enjoy! Happy Fall!
 
*Recipe adapted from one of my favorite ladies in the cooking world - Lacey, A Sweet Pea Chef. You can find her website here.


Jessica Smith lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Raw Basil shares her passions - holistic health care & all natural baking. She has the sweetest daughter who is growing way too fast,  a sweet boxer and two fluffy cats who love to sleep.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Autumn: A Season for Second Dates and Diamond Rings


By Rachael --

Fall is a season of romance. It’s easy to be taken in by various sights and delights this time of year, from colorful leaves to homemade apple dishes to cozy sweaters. There’s also pumpkin-spice everything. 

The romance of autumn is more personal for me. My second date with my husband was at a pumpkin patch. We spent that sunny day roaming around a hay maze, meandering around an apple orchard, and enjoying apple cider slushes and doughnuts. 



Our relationship had an unusual beginning. Josh and I were matched up via a well-established dating website and corresponded through e-mail, Instant Messenger (remember those days?), and phone calls for several months before we planned our first face-to-face meeting.

We lived six hours from each other, so we settled on a halfway meeting point: the university town of Champaign, Illinois. We planned our first date at an Applebee’s restaurant on a busy street just off Interstate 57. Because Champaign was such a convenient place to meet up, we did so several times after that first date and scoured the town for things to do. We visited the local mall, coffee shops, movie theatres, and spent one afternoon strolling the University of Illinois campus.


When I think of all the time we spent in that town surrounded by endless miles of rural cornfields, that second date at the pumpkin patch stands out the brightest in my memory. I can only remember small pieces of the conversations Josh and I had that day as we sipped apple cider slushes. We talked about our families and about our jobs, and maybe our memories of fall and Halloween when we were kids.

The images of that day are what I remember most vividly. It was a kitchsy family-owned place with a Wizard of Oz theme everywhere, from the Yellow Brick Road leading to the store and café, to the Dorothy dolls and décor inside the café, to the painted characters near the barnyard. The day was warm and sunny, and I remember round pumpkins and bales of hay, roaming farm animals, and families with kids running everywhere. We spent some time wandering around a corn maze before heading inside the store and café. There were jars of local jams and honey and salsa, baskets of apples and pumpkins and squash, and the smells of chili and pulled pork sandwiches.




Almost exactly one year after that day at the pumpkin patch, on a crisp fall day in October, Josh proposed to me on a quiet street with red and orange leaves falling around us. I had just driven to his hometown of St. Louis to spend the weekend. Whenever I visited St. Louis, I stayed with the parents of one of Josh’s good college friends who had a spare bedroom and welcomed me enthusiastically. That October day, I parked on the street outside their house and Josh came out to greet me as I got out of my car. He almost immediately dropped to one knee and held out a small jeweler’s box. I said yes, and we entered the house together, where our friends who had watched from the front window were waiting with hugs, delighted squeals, and words of congratulations. 

Since our marriage, we have returned to visit that pumpkin patch twice. We stopped by a few months after our wedding when we were on our way back to St. Louis after visiting my family. It was toward the end of the business day and few people were still there. We went in the store and purchased some doughnuts and chatted with two shopkeepers, telling them our story and how we had our second date there. 


The last time we were there was when our daughters were 4 years old and 9 months old. We were passing through on our way to visit my family. I wonder what my younger self would think if she knew I would someday bring my children to this place. We watched the antics of the farm animals, and the noisy bleats from goats thoroughly frightened my younger daughter. I sat on a bench and nursed her while our oldest daughter posed for photos with kitchsy props. We explained to our older daughter our connection to the place, but she was more interested in playing. We browsed inside the store a little and then headed back to the interstate. Some of my favorite photos are of my daughters at that pumpkin patch that holds so much meaning for Josh and me.

Josh still talks about wanting to visit that pumpkin patch again. We’ll probably go back again someday. In the meantime, we take our daughters to pumpkin patches in our own area and reminisce about that first pumpkin patch. I also twist the rings on my left hand and recall the crisp autumn day when I was given that one with the diamond.

Yes, fall is a season of romance. It’s a time for hay rides and candy corn, scarecrows and harvest moons, second dates, marriage proposals and diamond rings. It will always be one of my favorite seasons. 


Rachael is associate editor for Mumbling Mommy. She previously worked as a newspaper editor and has a bachelor's degree in English and writing from Indiana Wesleyan University. When she’s not busy with her husband and two daughters, you’ll find her gardening, cooking, singing with ladies from church, or reading Charlotte Bronte novels. You can contact her by e-mailing Rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

First time here? Like Mumbling Mommy on Facebook to continue the conversation! 

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Monday, October 20, 2014

10 Things I'd Tell a Younger Version of Myself


Last week, my husband and I visited our alma mater. We buckled our two children in the backseat for our “road trip” and set off on the 45-minute drive. We drove through the city and cruised up and down the busy college streets, musing about what had changed. We stared out the windows, me snapping pictures of the renovated campus and both of us pointing out landmarks and places where we used to live. 

Suddenly it dawned on me that it was ten years ago that I graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Wow. How could it have been a decade since I strolled the streets of campus and went down fraternity row? I reflected on the last decade of my life, and there are a lot of things I've learned. This is what I would like to tell the 22-year-old me:

You’ll still talk to your very closest friends.
Yes, it’ll be different than it is now; most of your friends will live hours from you, some even several states away. You won’t have much time to talk on the phone between jobs, children and other obligations. But luckily, you’ll keep in contact with those you are close with because you’ll make it a priority. High school and college are different – you get to live within a few miles of most of your closest friends. Right now, enjoy your evenings out dancing, having drinks, going to the movies and watching TV on the couch with your friends. Rest assured, ten years from now, it’ll be very different, but your closest friends will still be there for you even if they are miles away. That's one of many things to love about life: gal pals

Spending a fun evening out with
two of my best friends.
You will easily be able to keep up with friends, even those that you have grown apart from. 
You see, you’ll keep up with your friends and family on this online social networking site called Facebook. It’s genius, really. This guy named Mark Zuckerberg will invent it soon. It is a neat way to stay connected with a lot of people all over the world and a place where you can share your pictures and keep up with your friends, near and far.

You’ll marry a pretty amazing man.  
That blurred face you see in your head when you imagine your wedding day will be a handsome one. The guy who will become your husband has a great smile, likes to make you laugh, and does what he can to always make sure you are happy. He’ll be a great dad, too.

Yes, you’ll have kids – and you’ll be a wonderful mom. 
Pregnancy was made for you. While that may seem surreal now, it’s the truth. You will love feeling your little ones move inside of you. You will be one of the lucky ones who can bask in the miracle that is pregnancy. 

The children you can’t envision but know you want someday will be everything
Family!
you have dreamed of, and more.
   

Your little boy, he will be strong-willed. He’ll be a great big brother. He’ll have a love for airplanes and hot air balloons. He will have huge brown eyes and eye lashes that go on for days. He will make you proud. You’ll have a little lady, too. She’ll be a mama’s girl, sharp as a tack, stubborn just like her brother. They get that from you. She won’t have the blue eyes you thought your little girl would have, or the blond hair. She’ll look just like her daddy, though -- chocolate brown eyes, dark skin and lovely. Those children will make you laugh every day. They will both make you feel like the most special person in the world. They will remind you what it’s like to live life through the eyes of children.

Quit worrying about your career.  
Of course you want to be successful. You’ll work a few jobs that introduce you to great friends and experiences. But you’ll get your wish: you’ll be a mother, and get to stay home with your kids while working some side jobs that you enjoy. When the time comes for you to return to the workforce, something perfect will work out for you. Don’t stress.

You will miss your hometown.
Of course you were excited to move away and go to college. You wanted to be grown up. You wanted to be in charge of yourself, instead of having your parents tell you want to do. But Warsaw, the place where you were born and raised, is a pretty cool place. It’s the place that holds memories of tubing on the lakes on those fun summer days, of snowmobiling in the fields by your childhood home, of amazing times and lots of laughs with your best friends to this very day. Visit often. Tell your parents you appreciate them and all they have done for you. Spend time with your grandparents, too. You don’t have much time left with them. You’ll miss them something fierce when they are gone.

You will miss Ball State – a lot!
Good ole Muncie. You'd better believe you’ll miss this college town! Live in the moment. Don’t rush to get away from college so quickly. In ten years, you will look back at your college years and love the memories you have from these carefree days of making new friends and enjoying late nights out. Go ahead and dance on a stage to Outkast and Usher.  Have fun. You are only responsible for you right now, and it won’t always be that way.

Don’t be so afraid of rejection.  
Life is full of the word “no” and it’s a hard word to hear. I understand. But it is so important to give things a try. Apply for the job that seems out of reach.  Tell someone you love them. Try out for a sports team. Don’t sell yourself short. Someday you’ll look back and wish that you had pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay not to be good at everything. BELIEVE in yourself. Take a second to find some ways to increase your confidence; it will take you far in life. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

Your life and heart will be more full than you ever could have imagined. 

Despite your younger days with fewer responsibilities, little worries and fun with your friends, you’ll be happy in ten years. You just wait and see. No, you won’t eat lunch every day with your friends. No, you won’t spend your Friday nights putting on belly shirts and glitter. However, you will eat lunch next to your toddlers. You will spend your Friday nights playing “restaurant,” then watching movies with your husband once your kids are in bed.  You’ll hear those little voices say, “I love you.” It will be grand. Will you miss the old days? Of course you will. But you’ll have the memories in your heart forever. I promise, younger self, in ten years you will know that you’re right where you are supposed to be. Life is funny like that.

Lori is a work-at-home mom living in Noblesville, a suburb of Indianapolis. She is mom to two children ages 4 and 2 and enjoys watching them grow. Lori also enjoys taking walks, shopping, spending time with her husband, reading, decorating, photography and traveling. Leave her a comment below or email her at mumblingmommy@mumblingmommy.com



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Win a Family Trip for Four to NY or San Diego

By Katie --

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Atlantic Luggage. All opinions are 100% mine.



I absolutely love to travel with my family, but since there are seven of us it doesn't happen as often as I'd like. Our trips are often limited to visiting family, which is awesome, but doesn't allow much room in our family budget for exploration trips -- which is why I went ahead and entered the most recent sweepstakes from Atlantic Luggage and Delta Vacations for a trip for four to New York City or San Diego.

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Atlantic Luggage is ideal for traveling with family, especially kids in tow. The company's products are lightweight and have a pretty broad selection of styles. As parents know, when you are flying with kids, every opportunity to make the transport of all their stuff less cumbersome is more than welcome! Atlantic Luggage does that for you -- in a stylish, affordable and family-friendly way.

What can you win?
  • A family trip for four to New York or San Diego, courtesy of Atlantic Luggage and Delta Vacations
  • Trip includes round trip airfare to either New York City or San Diego
  • Trip includes hotel accommodations at a participating Delta Vacations hotel in New York City or San Diego,
  • $300 allowance to spend on Delta Vacations Tour or activity packages
  • You also get to pick out four Atlantic® carry-on sized suitcases
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So here's how you can enter too:

Enter to win a family trip by filling out this sweepstakes form between now and November 15, 2014.
The winner will be chosen within 7-10 days following the close of the sweepstakes.
The grand prize trip must be booked by 9/30/15 and travel must be completed by 10/31/15.




Tips for family packing:

Our family has flown all together, and also taken LONG road trips, and I like both for different reasons. In both cases, though, I have learned a bit about the packing process.
  1. Roll, don't fold, clothing. It keeps it from wrinkling and saves you space!
  2. Pack two sets of clothing and underwear for each person in your carry-on luggage. You do not want to be stranded without clean clothes, waiting for your suitcases to arrive.
  3. Start with a lightweight suitcase. It's amazing how quickly the pounds add up when you are throwing in shoes, clothing, toiletries and other travel items. Most airlines only allow up to 50 pounds for checked luggage, and anywhere from 15 to 70 pounds for carry-on luggage. Check with your airline -- but if you start with a suitcase that is lightweight, you can pack even more.
How do you save room when packing for your kids?

Here's the fine print for the sweepstakes:

Enter to win a family trip by heading over to the official site.

Grand Prize package trip certificate is valid for: (a) round-trip economy air transportation valued at up to $450 per ticket for the Grand Prize winner and three (3) guests from a major U.S. airport serviced by Delta Air Lines near to the Grand Prize winner’s home (as determined by Sponsor), to a major U.S. airport serviced by Delta Air Lines near New York City or San Diego, CA (as chosen by winner and determined by Sponsor); (b) hotel accommodations at a participating Delta Vacations hotel in New York City or San Diego, C; (c) four (4) Atlantic® carry-on sized suitcases; and (d) $300 allowance to spend on their choice of Delta Vacations Tour or Activity packages.
Trip is to last three days and two nights.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Five Ways to Get Involved


Breast cancer is found in 1 in 8 women. 1 in 8. This means 3 moms in your child’s school class. This means in a family of sisters, moms, aunts, and grandmas, chances are one of them will have it. It is virtually impossible to escape from it. Cancer attacks our lives like a demon no one could have ever predicted. It is no surprise that with so many of our loved ones suffering from such a horrible disease, it makes sense to have a massive marketing month to bring awareness to the cause and hopefully find a cure.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2010. There is absolutely nothing that can take away that feeling. I remember the silence. The hug. I remember the expletives I typed on social media. I remember completely falling apart at work. It happened to us. Since my mom’s diagnosis, she has had two surgeries to remove the growth and several rounds of chemo and radiation. She has now been in remission for 4 years. Prevention and awareness mean a lot to us.

Here are five ways you can get involved:
  1. Donate financially to organizations researching the cure. There are many options including Susan G. Komen, The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Cars to Cure, Living Beyond Breast Cancer, Breast Cancer Network of Strength and American Cancer Society. Do your homework on these organizations and give anything you can to the one you are most passionate about.
  2. Acts of kindness. For friends and family affected by breast cancer, consider being their support person. Sit with them during chemo. Drive them to appointments (there are a lot!) Bring them fresh fruit or home-cooked meals. Offer free babysitting.
  3. Be active. Our family walked many Race for the Cures together. When I started running, the first 5k I set my sight on was in support of breast cancer. There is nearly nothing more moving than seeing literally thousands of people in a sea of pink all together to fight the same battle. Other events include bicycling, flag football, volleyball and softball tournaments and more. Many national sports leagues also change their uniforms and even donate a game’s worth of pay throughout the year. (Mother’s Day is another big breast cancer awareness moment for obvious reasons.)
  4. Talk about it. Do your monthly self-exams. Go to your annual checkups. Let people know you did so. Is it TMI? Maybe. I’m not saying to post pictures of it. I am just saying the more it becomes commonplace to do your due diligence in early detection, the more women will get on board and the less deadly this cancer will have to be. You never know. Maybe you post a short little quip about being all clear again this month and your friend from high school will realize she forgot to do her own exam.
  5. Pink is powerful. These days, pink is everywhere. Do more than just wear pink. Choose products that donate a portion of their proceeds to research. These sales can be on anything and everything: jewelry, clothing items, electronics, and even beauty products. (Just because a product has a breast cancer symbol or phrase on it doesn't mean that any money will go to breast cancer research. Check the details before jumping in.)
Cancer awareness and research need everyone. No matter how little or much you can do, everything matters. We have to fight this killer together. What are some other ways you have supported breast cancer awareness this month?

Heather C. owns and writes for the blog Our Magical Chaos. She uses the lessons her kids teach her to take each day at a time and embrace the twists life throws at her. Being a parent is what she knows best. Our Magical Chaos features stories, product reviews, and tips for parents just trying to make it through. You can like Our Magical Chaos on Facebook or follow Heather on Twitter. Heather is also a freelance writer and runner. She specializes in parenting girls, all things twins, and keeping her family happy.

 


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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Thursday Three: Classic Family Movies to Watch with My Kids

By Rachael -- 

Photos via amazon.com.
Some of the best movies are timeless. They delighted us when we were children, and they evoke a sense of nostalgia when we watch them with our own children. Many movies deserve honorable mention, including The Sound of Music, Pete’s Dragon, Escape to Witch Mountain, Pollyanna, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The following are a few of my childhood favorites that get the most play time in our house these days, at the request of my two daughters.

Mary Poppins – We own the soundtrack in addition to the 1964 movie. It’s common to hear strains of A Spoonful of Sugar drifting from my oldest daughter’s bedroom while she plays with a plush Mary Poppins doll she received last Christmas. My oldest daughter also marvels at Mary Poppins’ special effects created in an era before computer-generated effects. (Yes, that’s a robotic bird on Julie Andrews’ hand.) It’s an opportunity to explain green screens, along with the old practice of using wires or strings to make things “fly.”

The Wizard of Oz – My mom tells me this was one of my first favorite movies as a young child. Both of my girls love this Judy Garland film as well, and again it is an opportunity to talk about how movie makers in the 1930s created magic, like when the Wicked Witch of the West “melts” through the use of a hidden trap door.

Annie – Made in 1982, this movie is on the younger side but still a classic and a great introduction to musical theatre and dance. It’s also introduced my daughters to the talented Carol Burnett, whose character is both villainous and comic. We have to overlook some of Daddy Warbucks’ occasional colorful language, but so far my girls haven’t seemed to notice.

I’ll throw in one bonus movie I didn’t discover until I was an adult: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. My girls and I watched this 1968 movie about a magical car for the first time a few years ago, and now they frequently request to watch it. It’s longer and not as popular as some other family-oriented musicals – probably because it wasn’t produced by Disney – but it’s plenty likeable and stars Dick Van Dyke. My oldest loves seeing how actors can appear in multiple movies, such as Van Dyke’s roles in both Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins. Also, whenever we talk about Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with friends young and old, they usually say something like, “That child catcher. He’s so creepy.” Yes, indeed.

What are your favorite childhood movies? Do your kids now enjoy those same movies?


Rachael is associate editor for Mumbling Mommy. She previously worked as a newspaper editor and has a bachelor's degree in English and writing from Indiana Wesleyan University. When she’s not busy with her husband and two daughters, you’ll find her gardening, cooking, singing with ladies from church, or reading Charlotte Bronte novels. You can contact her by e-mailing Rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

First time here? Like Mumbling Mommy on Facebook to continue the conversation! 


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