How to get free products from Amazon.

Who doesn’t love free stuff?! For the last 5 months I’ve been receiving free and discounted products from Amazon in exchange for an honest unbiased reviews.  There are a few differen review websites but my favorite is https://www.amzreviewtrader.com/. It’s a really simple process to sign up for. Sign up at Amzreviewtrader.com, select products you’d like to review and wait. If you’re chosen to review the product you’ll be sent a code to use on Amazon. There you have it, free stuff!!! Enjoy!!

23 and Me

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Over the last couple of days I’ve had a few of my friends and family members ask me about information on the ancestry DNA test I took from 23andMe.com last year. So today I figured I’d talk to y’all about it and the experience I had.

  Why I chose 23andMe.com over Ancestry.com?

I chose 23andMe over Ancestry DNA for a few reasons. I didn’t care about tracing my family tree. The only thing I wanted to know was my ethnic make up. Lastly, it was the cheaper test at the time. (They run specials at certain times of the year, I bought mine in December for about $100)

  How it works?

You order the kit online and within a 3-5 days you receive it. Inside there will a test tube that you’ll spit into it and register it online. Then you’ll return it back to them and in 8-12 weeks they’ll send you the results. Not only will you receive your ethnic make up but you’ll also get information on medical conditions you could be prone to. In addition to all of that you can chose to connect with relatives. (I recently found a second cousin, I didn’t even know existed)

I would recommend this for anyone who wants to know more about their genetic make up or ancestry. It’s really neat and interesting.

 

 

How to Clean a Wood Cutting Board

As a wedding gift, a few years back, we received a beautiful personalized wood cutting board from some of our very good friends, practically family.  We’ve used the heck out of it. I know what you’re probably thinking, “Why in the world would you use a personalized cutting board? It’s suppose to be for show only?” Well, you see there are two reasons: 1 Being that I’m not a fan of nicknacks (I think they just collect dust and that’s more work for me) and 2: We don’t have much counter space, so if it’s going to be on my counter it needs to also be functional. (I have it on a stand on the counter, so it’s beautifully displayed and easy to grab)

A few months back my friend Shaun, the cheesecake master chef, was over as I was doing some dinner dishes. We were talking as I reached over and grabbed the cutting board to suds it up. I went to pour the soap directly on the wooden cutting board as I always did and then I saw his face start to grimace. (Imagine this next part in slow motion, it’s funnier that way)

Shaun: NOOOooooo!!! Yoouu’re nooott suppppooose toooo doooo tttthat!!

Me:WHAATT???

But it was too late the Dawn: Pomegranate Awakening dishwashing liquid had already hit the surface of the wooden cutting board. Shaun, a pastry chef, hung his head in defeat and disappointment. Apparently wood is very porous and will absorb the soap, which isn’t good for the board. Not to mention it’s not really cleaning the board. Today I’m going to show you how to clean/sanitize your wood cutting board. (So you don’t cause one of your loved ones to almost have a panic attack. Oh and for the health reasons too!!)

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Here’s what you’ll need:

1 Lemon

Coarse Salt

 

Start by cutting the lemon in half and setting it aside.

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Next grab the coarse salt and sprinkle a generous amount on top of the cutting board.

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Then take your one half of your lemon and rub the salt around, until the entire cutting board is covered. (I go over my board a few times just to be certain). Let it sit for about 10 minutes.

When time is up rinse it off with warm water, towel dry it and place it in an upright position or on a stand. Also if you have wood oil I would recommend applying it to your board it keeps it looking really nice and gives it a longer life.

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There you have it ladies and gentlemen, a clean and sanitary wood cutting board. Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Places to Eat in Bakersfield, CA

My husband and I have always been “foodies” and we were recently in Bakersfield, California visiting family. Needless to say we had a great time and ate at all kinds of wonderful places. Here were my favorite places to eat in Bakersfield.

    
5.) Pappy’s Coffee Shop– We are the type of family that loves breakfast no mater the time of day. Pappy’s is one of the best breakfast places in Bakersfield. The food is delicious, reasonably priced and the portions are huge!!!

4.) Smith’s Bakery– If you’re like me (or most of the people in the world) you love a good cookie. Smith’s Bakery has just that and much more. My husband swears that Smith’s Smiley Face cookies are the best but I personally love the Thumb Prints. (Also if you’ve never had champagne cake, I recommend grabbing a Champagne cupcake. It’s absolutely delicious.)

3.) Red Wagon Cafe– The red wagon is right outside of Bakersfield, in Shafter, CA. The building itself, is an old train car that has been converted into this adorable restaurant. The food is amazing and you’ve got to come with big appetite because the portions there are HUGE!!

2.) Wool Growers– Before going on this trip I had never tried Basque food before. Wool Growers made the experience a memorable one. You sit at a table with all of your friends/family and the waitress brings out all kinds of food to your table. There are several courses, the food is endless and so yummy. ( I enjoyed it all but the pickled tongue. Not really my thing) It’s kind of like having Christmas Dinner with all of your favorite people.

1.) Dewar’s Candy Shop – My husband, Shae, (and the rest of his family) have been telling me how awesome the ice cream at Dewar’s is for years. They’ve been sending us the taffy chews from there since we started dating, so I knew those were delicious. But y’all I had no idea how truly amazing their ice cream was. I highly recommend the Black and Tan with crushed almonds. In the words of my two year old it’s “Nummy in my tummy!!!” The rest of the Choate family staple consists of the Black and White. In the words of my husband, “SUPER Nummy in my tummy!!!”

*Bonus

Noriega’s– My husband and I have been together for almost 6 years. I can’t tell you how many times he’s talked about Noriega’s. It’s tradition for all the guys to get together at Noriega’s to eat breakfast and drink. Even though I didn’t participate in this tradition, we did have dinner there. It’s another Basque restaurant and serves the same kind of food as Wool Growers. However instead of only sitting with family and friends you also sit next to strangers. I think this is a great way to meet people and make new friends.

Those are the top places I recommend eating if you find yourself in Bakersfield, California.

How to make stovetop popcorn

When I was little and would stay with my grandparents on Friday nights, my Granny would always make us popcorn on the stovetop. I started thinking about all those Friday nights, and thought I would love for my son to have memories like that. Also I remembered that it tasted so much better than microwave popcorn. Today I’m going to show you how to make popcorn on the stovetop. It’s extremely easy:

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Here’s what you’ll need:

3 Table Spoons of Cooking Oil

1/2 Cup of Popcorn Kernels

Sea Salt

First you’ll want to put the oil in a large pot and then pour the kernels in. IMG_9854

Make sure all the kernels have oil on them. Once that is accomplished, turn the burner to medium heat. Place the lid on the top of the pot but be sure not close it fully.IMG_9858

After a few minutes, you’ll hear it start popping. Once you don’t hear as much popping remove the pot from the burner.  IMG_9863

Add salt, melted butter (if you want) and enjoy! IMG_9868

 

 

Peppermint Muddy Buddies

I wanted to give my neighbors something in addition to the Hot Chocolate Mix. I decided to make them Muddy Buddies for two reasons. The first being because they are inexpensive to make and secondly because they taste absolutely wonderful.  However, with me being me I couldn’t just make regular Muddy Buddies. I had to add my own little twist to make them more Christmas-ie. (Ok that’s not a real thing but you know what I mean.) I  decided to make Peppermint Muddy Buddies. This is a great recipe to involve your little ones. It’s easy and doesn’t create a huge mess. Let’s get started.  IMG_9832

Here’s what you’ll need:

9 Cups Rice Chex

1 Cup of Semisweet Chocolate Chips or Mint Chocolate Chips

1/2 Cup of Peanut Butter

1/4 Cup of Butter

1 Tsp of Vanilla

1/2 Cup of Crushed Peppermint Candy

1 1/2 Cup of Powdered Sugar

 

In a large bowl measure out 9 Cups of Rice Chex and set it aside. Next in  a medium sized, microwaveable bowl add the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter. Place in the Microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir. Continue to microwave the chocolate mixture in 15 second intervals until it’s smooth. IMG_9828

Stir in the vanilla and crushed peppermint. IMG_9833

Then pour it over the cereal and stir until the Chex are covered.IMG_9834IMG_6820

Place the coated Chex in a gallon bag and add the powdered sugar. Close the bag and shake it, until they are covered. IMG_9839 IMG_9840

Next you’ll spread them out on a baking pan to cool.

Then store them in an airtight container or ziplock bag. Enjoy but be warned these are addictive.

DIY Ornaments

Last Christmas I decided to do something special for the Grandparents.  Using a salt dough recipe , I found on Pinterest, my son (with help from me) made hand and foot print ornaments as gifts for them. The Grandparents loved them! I decided we’d make them another one this year. Instead of salt dough, we would put his hand prints on round ornaments and turn them into little snowmen.

I’m not going to lie, this diy craft was a pain.  Not because it’s difficult but because I lack patience. This ended up creating problems and more work but luckily in the end they still turned out precious. Today I’m going to show you how to make these adorable ornaments and tell you how to avoid all the mistakes I made. IMG_9767

Here’s what you’ll need:

6 pack of Ornaments

White Paint

Black Paint

Variety Pack of Paint (or Paint Pens)

Paint Brush

Writer Paint Bottles (or Sharpies)

Ribbon

First you’ll want to apply the white paint to your little ones had and have them grab the ball to make the imprint. {If I had to do this over again I would put the white paint on a paper plate and let my son place his hand in it. Regardless they are going to get messy, so be sure to dress them in old clothes} IMG_9774

 

Next you’ll want to allow your ornament to dry. Here is one of those things I made more difficult, than it needed to be. I made a little clothes line to hang the ornaments on. It was a total waste of time and completely  unnecessary.  Just save the plastic container the ornaments come in and use it to hold the them steady while they dry. IMG_9778

Once they are dry use the Writer Paint Bottles, Sharpies, or paint pens to draw on the buttons, eyes, nose and scarves of the snowmen/women.  If you are using the writer paint bottles  or the paint pens, you’ll have to do this in phases. (First the buttons, then hats and nose etc.) It’ll take about 45 minutes to an hour for them to dry each phase. I kept smearing the paint because I didn’t wait long enough for them to dry. I think that a sharpie would have worked just as well, taken a fraction of the time and would have made it much more fun.

After you’ve put the finishing touches on your snowmen/women let them dry and then add your child’s name to the back of the ornament. Then tie the ribbon on the loop and there you have it.  Remember these aren’t going to be perfect, so don’t over think it. I can assure you that the Grandparent’s will love them and don’t forget to keep one for yourself.  IMG_9791