A Modern Day Fairy Tale

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Recipes That Crock: Crockpot Pesto Ravioli {#RecipesThatCrock #SeasonalSolutions #CollectiveBias #ad}

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Conagra Brands. All opinions are mine alone. #RecipesThatCrock #SeasonalSolutions #CollectiveBias

In the fall more than ever, there is nothing I love more than sitting down at the dinner table to a warm, hearty home-cooked meal.

Still, I must admit, some days that's tough to do. Fall is a busy season- always somewhere to be or something to do. Personally, my kids and I love spending these beautiful fall days outside. The weather is the perfect blend of not too hot, but not freezing, and you won't find anything more beautiful than fall in the midwest. We want to come in and relax--- not slave over a hot stove! Aside from that, my husband works long hours and is often home long past normal dinner hours. If you've ever tried preparing a fancy meal with little ones around, you know that it can be rather difficult.

Is it any wonder that busy moms like myself swear by their crockpots. Toss it in the morning and by the time dinner rolls around you're good to go. Needless to say, I'm always on the hunt for delicious new crockpot recipes.

Recently, I asked for favorite crockpots meals via social media. There were some great ideas listed but I found that the majority fit into one of two catergories--- a pot roast or a soup. Now, don't get me wrong both are staples in our home too, but I also like to mix it up a bit too. So I went down to my local Meijer to pick up the ingredients for one of my personal favorite crockpot meals.

Crockpot Pesto Ravioli

  • 1-2 Cans Hunt's® Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Bag Frozen Ravioli
  • Pesto Sauce
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Pam Olive Oil Pump Spray

  1. First up prepare your crockpot by spraying with Pam Olive Oil Pump Spray. As much as I love cooking in my crockpot, I dread the clean-up, so this will keep the food from sticking! These sprays are great for this, as the pump allows you better control of how much you use and features just three simple ingredients with no artificial colors or flavors to worry about.

  2. Now that you're prepped, add in the ravioli. Being a vegetarian, I use a simple cheese, but you can mix this up if you'd like. You can also substitute the ravioli for tortellini, if preferred.

  3. Cover the pasta with your pesto sauce. You can use your favorite store bought, or make your own. How much you need will really depends on both the size of the container, and your personal preferences, but you WILL want the pasta covered.

  4. Slightly drain your tomatoes. I like to leave a little bit of liquid in there to keep it from drying out, but not so much that it makes the sauce runny. Use 1-2 cans again depending on your preferences. I typically use two.

  5. Finally sprinkle on some Parmesan cheese and mix well. I'm not one for measurements, but typically just a few big shakes to start, and then add more later on in cooking and before serving. 
  6. Cook on low for about 4-5 hours or until the ravioli is tender. (Cooking times will vary by crockpot.)

This meal is so delicious and hearty that everyone will be asking for more. We RARELY have leftovers in my house, but when we do, it reheats very well too. Serve it up with a delicious side salad with Wish-Bone® Dressing and you have super easy dinner, done in no time at all!

Looking for more great 'recipes that CROCK'? Meijer and Conagra have you covered. Head on over here for more great crockpot inspiration. And if that's not enough, you can find even MORE recipe inspiration here.

What's your favorite crockpot recipe on the 'recipes that crock' page? Or do you have another go to favorite? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Win a $100 Walmart Gift Card!

Are you finished your Halloween shopping yet? Today over at Thrifty Nifty Mommy, Janessa is sharing her tips to save the most money on all your fall purchases -- from candy, to costumes, to pumpkin puree and turkeys -- these tips will save you lots of money! Have you tried Flipp yet? Not only is it great for Halloween shopping, it's perfect as a way to help you save money on all of your shopping trips (groceries, clothing, office supplies, sporting good and more). It also makes creating and maintaining a household shopping list SO much easier!

Flipp is available to download for FREE in the App Store and at Google Play.

I'm teaming up with Thrifty Nifty Mommy and a few other bloggers to offer you a chance at a $100 Walmart gift card so you can complete your Halloween shopping using Flipp. If you'd like a chance to win, just enter using the Giveaway Tools entry form below. Good luck!

Disclosures: This giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube. Flipp is responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is open to residents of the US who are 18 years of age and older. Void where prohibited. A random will will be chosen from all eligible entries received and emailed by Thrifty Nifty Mommy at the conclusion of the giveaway. Entrants will have 48 hours to respond to the email or a new winner will be drawn.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Moms, Treat Yourself with a Jamberry Nails Giveaway {A Ghosts & Goblins Giveaway Hop}

Ghosts & Goblins Giveaway Hop
Welcome to the Ghosts & Goblins Giveaway Hop brought to you by The Hopping Bloggers!
Each giveaway has a value of a minimum of $15, however some are worth much more. Be sure to enter to win all of them because there is no limit to how many you can win. GOOD LUCK!


Halloween is almost here, and chances are if you're anything like me you've been focused on getting your little ones ready for the big day! Making or buying costumes, preparing for class parties, doing fun projects with and for the kids...

Moms, we work hard throughout the year, but especially during every holiday, right?

Today I have a treat for YOU! Something that you can do for yourself to make yourself feel beautiful!

Photo Credit Jamberry Nails

We all know with little ones (and housework), painting our nails can be a little bit useless. The colors are chipping before we even have a chance to leave the house. Jamberry nail wraps can help. They take a little bit longer to go on, but once they're on--- they last much longer so you can feel more confident and not worry about those pesky chipped polishes.

So, I am giving one very lucky winner the chance to win a Jamberry nail sheet for themselves. Enter using the giveaway form below:

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Driving Research & SAVING SIGHT with Foundation Fighting Blindness {Get a Free Info Packet}

**This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Foundation Fighting Blindness. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

Today I took a walk with my children. As we walked I found myself taking in all of the sights. I saw the leaves as they began to change colors and fall to the ground--- the sheer beauty of living in the midwest in the fall. I saw the clouds in the sky, offering us that bit of shade. I saw the joy in my children's faces as they discovered little treasures like acorns and pine cones while we walked. Not only did I see these beauties but I saw signs that kept us safe- the crosswalk lights and the oncoming traffic, where my children were and that they were out of danger.

On that walk I realized just how much I use my eyes. To see my children, to keep them safe--- eyesight is such a crucial part of our everyday lives. Can you imagine what life could be like without it?

Sadly for many that becomes the reality as they grow older. Sure its an age old joke that as we age we suddenly find ourselves needing hearing aids and glasses, but the reality is it's no laughing matter to those affected. Did you know that every year nearly 10 million Americans go blind due to AMD or Age-related Macular Degeneration?

What is AMD?

AMD is an eye disease that causes the loss of central vision. Specifically, it causes degeneration of light-sensitive cells in the macula, the central portion of the retina which enables us to perceive fine visual detail. The macula helps us with activities such as reading, driving and threading a needle.

For as much as we use our eyes day in and day out, that can be a very harsh reality to experience and one that I would not wish upon anyone. I want to be able to see and make memories with my children and their children after them.

The exciting news is that a cure is in sight! The Foundation Fighting Blindness, a non-profit organization, has provided funding for research on cures for blindness, specifically AMD, since 1971. In fact, with the research FFB has already made possible, treatments to stop and in some cases even reverse retinal disease is a reality. This is great news for people over 55 and their families. With AMD it is nearly impossible for grandparents to enjoy the little things in life such as playing games, watching movies and reading to their grandchildren. However, due to innovative research, those things are once again possible for many people…but, they need to continue this outreach, support additional research and find cures.

Perhaps the best place we can start in helping is by knowing exactly what AMD is- what to look for and how it can be treated. If you think that you or a loved one might be experiencing AMD, head on over to download this FREE PDF with more information about AMD.

Do you have any personal stories with Age Related Macular Degeneration? Feel free to share in the comments. And don't forget to share this post with anyone who might need it. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Easy & Thrifty Halloween Costumes

Banner image created by Freepik

Can you believe that October is already over halfway through? It seems as if it's only just begun and yet, we're less than two weeks until Halloween!

Have your kids figured out their costumes yet. I must admit the month has snuck up on us, and we're still working on that! For us, the struggle is often finding unique costume ideas that are not going to break the bank as store bought costumes so often can. And with time quickly running out, they have to be pretty easy too!

So today, I'm sharing some costume ideas that are easy AND inexpensive.

Bundle of Grapes.
Dress in purple and pin purple balloons to your clothes for this fun costume! Add a green hat for a stem if you have one. If you have the purple clothing, this idea can cost just $1-2! I did this when I was about my son's age and won a costume contest with it!

Okay, it might not be unique, but this classic certainly is thrifty! Cut some holes in an old white sheet and you're set!

A Baby Doll.
Put on a cute girly dress and add some red lips, pink cheeks and some freckles drawn on. This costume is ideal for little girls and grown ups too.

Jake...From State Farm.
A red shirt, khakis, headset and a 'Hello My Name Is' sticker and you're all set! Funny and super simple too. You might have most of the costume already on hand.

Stick Figure. 
Dress in white from head to toe and use black tape to 'draw' arms and legs onto your outfit. You can even create a mask using foam board (Dollar Tree) and old panty hose for the eyes!

Clark Kent.
Some nerdy glasses, button up and Superman shirt underneath and you're set. You can also whip up a quick press badge to complete the look.

Wilson from Home Improvement.
Have a flannel tee and fishers hat? Make a popsicle stick fence with a handle, and you're set. This is one us 90s children can most definitely appreciate.

Crazy Cat Lady.
Throw on a bath robe, pin some plush cats to it and grab some curlers and you're ready to go. Hilarious and pretty simple too!

As you can see from this list, Halloween doesn't have to break the bank, or take months! There are many simple ideas using cheap supplies and/or items already in hand.

What is YOUR favorite simple and thrifty Halloween idea? 

Not A Scaredy Cat {A Book Review + Giveaway Too} #2017HolidayGiftGuide

**Book received for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own.

'Mommy, I'm scared.'

I don't know about you, but this can be a phrase that I hear a lot from my little girl. When you're little, you're still exploring the world and well... things CAN be scary!

I'm always reminding my daughter than she is never alone, but sometimes I need just a little more help to show her that in a way that she can better understand. Today I'm excited to share with you a new book that helps to do just that- I'm Not a Scaredy Cat:

I’m a big cat. I’m a strong cat. I’m not a scaredy-cat . . . except when . . .

From New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado comes I’m Not a Scaredy-Cat, a hilarious new picture book to help kids manage their fears and worries and learn to trust God.

Follow a silly series of misadventures as scaredy-cat faces his worst fears: an appalling abundance of (gulp!) yellow and pink sprinkles on his donut, an elephant on the verge of a ginormous sneeze, and the terrifyingly loud chime of a clock. For each of the fears, Max provides this reassuring child’s version of Philippians 4:6–9:

“God, you are good.

God, you are near.

God, you are here!

And, God, you love me.”

A fun read for children and parents, I’m Not a Scaredy-Cat will open doors for important conversations about fear in a nonthreatening way and help you instill godly bravery in your kids.

 They may say never to judge a book by its cover but I must admit my daughter was in love with the book at first sight. Kitty cats and donuts with sprinkles... everything she loved, drew her right in. Still, the cover might have drawn us in, but it was the fantastic story that kept us coming back over and over again. We have read many Max Lucado books over the years- adult and children's alike and have loved every one. This is no different. It offers a great rhythm and lots of repetition that kids can catch onto easily and will keep them intrigued. But most of all, it was a great message. It didn't say 'don't be scared', which can make children feel like their concerns aren't being listened to, but instead reminds us what to do when we ARE scared...to turn to God and remember that he is always there.

This is a sweet little book that would be a welcome addition to every child's collection, and a great gift to find under the tree this Christmas season.

You can purchase your copy here.

Want to win one for yourself? Visit here to enter to win!

The Same Kind of Different As Me {A Flash Giveaway} #SameKindMovieL3

**Passes received for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own. 

The holiday season is very quickly approaching, and I for one cannot wait. It truly is a great time of the year isn't it? It seems that from the start of November through Christmas, people are in an especially giving spirit. It's not just the gifts that we place under the tree, but now more than ever it seems to me that people are giving their best efforts to help out those in need. 

It's also a time of thanksgiving, and perhaps that is what leads to that spirit of giving. When we truly take a look at our lives, we'll often find that despite the bad, we're generally pretty lucky. When we're thankful for what we have, it encourages us to want to pass it forward. 
The reality is, life happens to everyone and we could very easily find ourselves on the other side of the fence. When we think about it like that--- doesn't it make you want to get up and do something for those who are not as blessed?

If that doesn't the new movie Same Kind of Different As Me just might. Take a look:

“Nobody can help everybody, but everybody can help somebody.” Words of wisdom from a homeless drifter; words that never would be shared with the world if not for a wayward husband, a forgiving wife, and an unforgettable true story that brought the three of them together.
With more money than they could ever possibly need, Ron and Debbie Hall have everything they could ever want … except for a loving marriage. When Ron’s unfaithfulness is brought to light, Debbie invites him to stay—as long as he remains truthful and does what she asks of him. But when her request includes serving the homeless at an inner-city rescue mission, Ron would prefer to write a large check instead.  Guided by her faith and spurred on by the dream of a homeless man she senses will change their city, Debbie befriends a disenfranchised man named Denver. More surprisingly, so does Ron. Despite vast differences, their lives begin to intersect and they all are changed … forever.
I must admit I am very much looking forward to this movie! It might be coming out in this season where service is on our minds, but it's truly a message that I think we all need to hear throughout the year too. It can be really easy to look down upon others who are less fortunate, but the reality is we don't know the circumstances that lead to that point. This movie seems like it will be a great reminder to stay humble and to give back... something much needed in today's world. I for one cannot wait to watch this movie with my family.

The Same Kind of Different As Me is in theaters TODAY! Find ticket info here.
LEARN MORE and connect at the links below:
And one very lucky winner is going to win two Fandango movie passes to see the movie in this FLASH giveaway! Enter using the giveaway form below: