Saturday, December 6, 2014

I'm a block head

It's getting to be that time again, end of the year.  Where did it go?  I can remember last Christmas like yesterday, but on the other hand this past 4th of July seems like ages ago.  I fear I am starting to suffer from old timers disease.  That much dreaded condition that was scoffed at when we were in our teens and twenty's.  Then it became a distinct possibility in our thirty's, and fearfully loomed on the horizon as we entered our forties!  All this just to say that as the year ends we have many things to ponder and paperwork to take care of - LOL
I don't mention my direct sales business on here much but I do love my Mary & Martha, and all their lovely high quality products.  I am still fairly new and have only been with the company since August of this year.  Hallmark is our parent company and have brought their standards and products to a new line of shopping.  They truly are trying to bring encouragement to our homes and us busy moms.  One of my favorite products is the Rustic Block set.  A bit like a Chines puzzle and a great conversation starter.  I not only display them at vendor events, but keep them on display in my own home.  The children really enjoy seeing how creative they can be and it spurs some amazing conversations with them about faith and family life.

Here is my current block saying 

One before that : )

My first on I made on opening the box!

Here is one of the original Jpg pic's from the current broacher/catalog.
Sadly all good things must come to an end, and that includes the fall merchandise from M & M.  The rustic blocks are being discontinued.  I know, right!   They are so popular I couldn't believe it.  There are whole FB pages devoted to sayings to make with the blocks.  It has become a badge of sisterhood with other M & M consultants to share your new clever saying as soon as you make it.
On the bright side, new items will arrive in the spring catalog for us to share and grow fond of , and I can't wait to have a spring fling to show off all the goodies!  However, many consultants sell their old pieces to make room for the new.  Not this girl, these blocks will be around my home for many years to come.
If you are interested in getting your own while they are still available, please visit my page at: BADANIELSEN
Thanks so much for keeping me company while I waited on my dinner (chicken corn chowder) to simmer.
Blessings, Beth

Monday, December 1, 2014

Monday Madness: baking, cooking and more ~ oh my!

Been a wild week with holidays now behind us, and looming largely ahead of us.  I did not participate in the Black Friday madness.  Although it looked like the bulk of the sales took place on turkey day.  At my house we were bunked down chowing on far too much food and counting our blessings.  I had been in a bit of a funk due to lack of children making it home.  But after some wonderful long distance calls from army son, sweet big sis and Grandpa Dave; I was feeling less heavy hearted and more willing to face the upcoming weeks of craziness (although army soon is not sure about Christmas). 
Black Friday did see me and the twins grocery shopping like normal.  No problem, buy 8 a.m. there  were not many folks about and I found some great deals!  LOL
I found more ground beef, 20/80,  for under $3 a pound.  I try to grab a few when ever I find them, they won't go to waste. 

Most meat counters were full of reduced items on Black Friday, due to over stock for the holiday.

After the first of the year as I continue to eat cleaner, I am hoping to reduce my meat consumption, I want to switch over to grass feed meat.  I spent the past week reading this new purchase I requested from the library.  I highly recommend it, it is full of lots of great information, tips and recipes.
I have followed the same named blog for a few years and was thrilled to see a book released with all the info in one place.


I grabbed a few of these handy chopped salads from the produce section.  So yummy and fresh when used right away. 
Many folks forget that all perishables get reduced, not just meat.

I know this is not healthy, but I need to bring this to book club tonight.  It is a running joke with me, I will not drink powdered creamer my coffee.  Life is to shore, I could go any minute.  I will not die with powdered coffee creamer as my last meal!  Last month I forgot to bring my own creamer and so had no coffee.  I was informed that I NEEDED that coffee.  They were right, sigh.  So, as this is our Christmas party and our last meeting before we take a 3 month hiatus, I decided to bring something festive we all could enjoy.
I have never tried this flavor, but kudos to the new holiday flavors!

Speaking of the adult book club Christmas party, I am cooking/baking up a storm this a.m. in preparation of a jolly time.  I used my Mary & Martha bake and take ware, and love it!  It is so easy, festive and no clean up!  LOL
Visit my page for more info at:

Now, on to channeling my inner Griswold and keeping the Bumpass's dogs out of the kitchen!  LOL please tell me you know these Christmas movie references and that I am not the lone geek. LOL

Blessings, Beth

Saturday, November 22, 2014

On the stix's Saturday

This was the first Saturday in a while that I have had some free time in the afternoon.  I decided to use it to the best advantage by working on UFO's (Un-Finished prOjects) .  After all, just booked my first event in Jan. 2015. 
Dug out these twisted slouch socks to finish, I seem to suffer from second sock syndrome (lack of interest after finishing the first one).
Love the metallic yarn and leftover yarn will make a great I corn necklace.


On the crochet hook is a team color neck cowl. 

Made second one in home town team colors, as well.

I also have another one of these Poke'mon hats on the circular needles.  This will be for second son, oldest already claimed the first.  I have two more request for these.  Who would think they were so popular?

Those are just a sample, I also am working on seed stitch cup cozies and have a queen size crochet afghan in progress.  Oh and I almost forgot, been practicing rolling fabric into balls and crocheting them into bowls.  And those are just the ones I can think of.  So many projects calling to me in my craft room.  I think I might have an addiction.  Not a bad thing is it?

Blessings, Beth An

Friday, November 21, 2014

Favorite Finds Friday

Another shopping day is done and I had good success with sticking to my budget and my clean eating menu.  Funny how empty the cart looks without bags of chips sticking out, but yet the total is the same if not lower when buying mostly meats and veggies.
First item I want to share wasn't found at a local store.  It is from the Mary & Martha co. I am a consultant with. The parent company is Hallmark and the item quality is very high.  I am still new consulting direct sales with them and building my inventory.  This Celebrate card/photo holder came up on a flash sale this week, savings of $15 off reg. price.  I was planning on buying this soon, so treated myself.  Many direct sales companies are having fabulous sales this time of year and make amazing gifts.  Visit my page for more info:
This will look great with upcoming Christmas cards and family photos


Next, clean eating and Christmas stockings?  I don't mind buying some candy for the children, but not so much for me and hubby.  I have been pondering this and decided I buy a couple 'treats' but a better for me than chocolate Santa treat.   I decided on to-go packs of nuts,  jerky, and probably fiber one bars.    Look what I found at the store today - fate?
Not sure I want to share these.  Might need another box.

I am sad and mad to report that the organic butter I bought last Friday has gone up $1.  Yes, $1!  That is insane!  That said, it now makes the better quality Kerrygold a better deal.  Although they are not labeled organic, it is made from grass feed cows - not GMO corn feed cows.  You can taste the difference.
There is 8oz. / 2 sticks in each pk.  Salted is in a gold package.


Due to my sever dietary issues I have given up soda/carbonation, but sometimes on special occasions I want a treat.  To indulge if you will.  But I still don't want to put yucky stuff in me.  There is a nice assortment of 'healthy' oriented soda at Kroger, and three that I have heard/read good things about.  This is the one with the best value.  It is sweetened with stevia. No, it will not taste like Coke or Pepsi, sorry.  You get used to it and if your using it for mixers anyway . . .

comes in 6 different flavors

With that said, coming in under budget felt wonderful although it was due in a large part to the extra ground beef I bought two weeks ago, reduced at the $GM.  Still fighting the blahs about army son not making it home for Thanksgiving, but I am definitely thankful for my Lord and savior for taking such good care of us!

Blessings, Beth Ann


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thankful Thursday ~ weeds. trash, and sharks - oh my!

Another busy week, they all are this time of year.  We have had some bad weather to boot.  Nothing like up north though.  So with some major apologies I submit my first photo in the thankfulness category:
Found this little dandelion on the front lawn this morning.

 1) I am thankful I can still see my front lawn!
To be fair, I also found this Sasquatch wrapper on my lawn as well - thank you garbage men.

2) Thankful for hardworking city workers who take away the spoils of my blessed lifestyle.
All this thankfulness (and a FB post from a friend) prompted me to ask around the family what type of Thanksgiving traditions we have and if they could be improved.  Surprisingly enough (NOT) most were food centered.  I personally couldn't think of any and am having a hard time with no army son to look forward to this year.  I was kind of feeling like a Thanksgiving failure when a couple family members pointed out we always have friends/neighbors over for dinner every year.  Folks who probably wouldn't celebrate or have a meal if not for us.  This picked me up some, at least on a spiritual level.  Working daughter however did go off on a tangent (there is some of me in her!) about our lack of cable and viewing the Macy's Parade.   Wow.  I feel the same, but not worth the cable price (financially or spiritually).  Reminded her that last year we just watched YouTube videos of the parade on our living room t.v.  Moot point anyhow with her, she is working this year!
A new tradition we started last year, the soul purpose of irritating a  young adult at our house, is to watch the classic B-film, SHARKNADO! (yes I know, please pray for us)  If you have not yet seen this and enjoy campy films, or just making fun of a bad movie, this film is for you!  It is currently streaming on Netflix.
Nothing screams Thanksgiving like sharks falling out of the sky.

 3) Thankful for family with the same weird sense of humor as me.

4) And sometimes I just like to give practical advice - I am thankful for a good cup of coffee!
And friends, family and you!
Blessings, Beth Ann

Monday, November 17, 2014

Menu Monday: Recipe Roundup ~ Molassas cookies & Graham crackers

In a better effort to be the clean eating diva (along with deal diva) I am trying to do most cooking at home, including snacks.  I have made home made graham crackers in the past with great success, but found a Gluten Free recipe and felt the need to give it a go.

These were great, however I feel like they came out more like a molasses cookie bar.  Very yummy.  Here is the recipe with my fine tuning:
Molasses Bar Cookies
2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed
6 Tbsp. Tuvia
1/4 cup molasses
1- 1/2  tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
pinch salt
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 350F.  In a medium bowl combine the ingredients and mix  until a dough like consistency is reached.  Spread in a 9 x 13 dish, poke a few holes with a fork and bake 30 minutes.
Cool before cutting and serving.
Still a deal diva at heart.  Picked this organic flour up at United Grocery Outlet for $2.79

While hubby and I enjoyed the molasses cookies, the twins were disappointed, especially twin son who fancies himself the next cutthroat chief!  So I dug out my plain old reg. graham cracker recipe and made that as well.

Home made Clean Eating  Graham Crackers

1/3 Cup olive oil
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup milk
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt]
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix all ingredients together until dough like consistency is reached.  Add more flour if dough is to wet, more milk if to dry.  Pre heat oven to 300F.  While the oven is heating, spray a cookie sheet and roll dough out to cover it. Use a pizza cutter or small knife to cut dough into squares and poke with a fork.  Bake 20 -25 minutes.  Let cool on cookie sheet and separate and carefully remove them.  Enjoy!

These were better then remembered and great with a cup of afternoon coffee.  They are moist and dense - filling, not hard and crunchy like cardboard store bought. 
Pick one or make both like I did.  Let me know which is your favorite.
Blessings, Beth

Friday, November 14, 2014

New name Deal Diva

TGIF!  Been a long week and not a great one either.  I keep telling myself that is normal to have ups and downs, and yes the downs are not much fun.  I really hate myself when I make so much sense and try not to give into a pity party.  Anyway, best part was shopping this morning, back into my routine.  Last week, not so much.  During this week I have been reading more on clean eating, Paleo eating and wheat belly (yes, fun stuff).  I also finished a spreadsheet I have been working on for the past couple weeks.  I now have a months worth of clean/healthy  meals (breakfast, lunch, diner and snacks) at my fingertips for a quick glance while making my weekly menu plan/shopping list.  So after some consideration, I am now calling myself the Clean meal deal diva!  LOL
One of the things brought up this week on my FB feed was butter and what makes it clean.  I have been guilty of pinching pennies and buying GMO butter, but I have seen the light and this is what I bought today.   Yes it hurt but I bit back the tears and did the right thing.
Wal-Mart only carries this brand of organic butter, the only way to make sure you are not getting GMO's.

Still love my United Grocery Outlet.  I am trying to do Gluten Free for the twins (grain free for me) and the usually have a nice choice of GF snack items.  I try to limit this to Friday lunches for a treat.  Think pizza day at public school lunches
Corn tortilla chips

Look, 5 ingredients!  That is my mantra in the store when the children start begging. like for packaged crap cereal. I tell them if they can find a brand with 5 or less ingredients.  Yeah, it works every time.
Imagine , corn chips with just corn and oil.  Will wonders never cease?


Thought I would try something new, read good things about this and is about $1 less than Paul Newman, which it compares to and I usually buy.  Will have to keep you posted on this.
Made with Greek yogurt and found in the produce section.


Yes, that time of year again, although I eat them year around but stock up during the holidays.  Cranberries freeze beautifully.  
Best deal so far this year is Kroger this week 2/$4

Thanks for hanging with me and listening to my grumbling and rambling. Thinking soon I will do a special - Clean Holiday Diva!  LOL

Blessings, Beth

Monday, November 10, 2014

Better late then never ~ Deal Diva

Happy Veteran's Day and thank you to all military!  All Government run agency's are closed as are many public schools.  We too decided to take the day off, but only because mom/teacher is old and worn out from to much week-end and back to back vendor events.  Great day for an extra cup of coffee, catch up on paper work and enjoy my twins.
With that said; So I didn't get to my shopping until Saturday afternoon.  HATED it!  Guess I need to do it once a year though to remind me why.  Stores were packed and picked over, but there were deals to still be had and I believe God does play an important part.  He takes care of us and works all for good..  Tight budgets fall into this category.  Example:  Kroger advertised whole turkeys for .79 cents a pound.  Not one to be found, anywhere.  Can get raincheck however.  Great, when will you have more?  Don't know.  How do I know it will thaw in time?  hmmmmmmmm
Decided to wait and price them at Wal-Mart, pay dirt. Whole turkeys, Riverside Brand, only .68 cents a pound.  Hubby thought it was such a great deal that we should buy two.  I hate turkey.  I force myself to cook it and eat it once a year.  So is it a deal if no one wants to eat it?  I firmly told him one only and about ten pounds.  We decided to split up to cover more ground on this long grueling day that would never end.  Up at the check out he presents an 18 pounder ~ grrrrrr.  He claims I said 'at least ten pounds'.  I believe he is just trying to get as much as he can, in the parameters I gave him.  Pushing the limits.  Still love him though : )
Kroger also advertised butter at $2.99 if 10 are bought.  They still had 15, I bought 10.  That is roughly $1 off reg. price for each package.

Kroger specials run Wed. to Wed.

I got most my items, stayed in budget and made it back to the 'bury and made one more stop, the Dollar General Market. Lucky or big Mistake?
DGM had their 80/20 ground beef half price, making it $2.65 a pound.

I ended up buy ten pounds and going over budget.  Again, good thing or bad?  I had the money, enveloped for later in the month and of course we will eat the hamburger.  Actually I might make jerky with it.  I got so yucky eating processed food this past week-end because I hadn't planned ahead and took my own food : (  I need to stock-pile jerky, a good go to protein source.

I share these deals and ideas to offer hope, support, and encouragement.  Nothing more.

Blessings, Beth

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Welcome to November

October went out like a lion and November came in like a wet dog!  Does that work here?  Am I mixing metaphors? Who cares!  This time of year is sooooooooooo busy.  But it is a good kind of crazy that you can reflect on and enjoy with a cupa in the cold winter drizzle that we lovingly refer to as winter in the south.
Welcome to my circus, hear the music?  You will.

Fine line between the Halloween décor and Christmas.  I embrace the challenge.

Such a mix - match of items, and I actually have 3 stuffed turkeys (pardon the pun).  Twin daughter as named them all and the joy I revived watching her unpack them and greet them . . . priceless

I finished this hat for a special boy in my life, won't say which one as there are two boys and one hat.  Someone will be unhappy unless I can get another one of these knit - ASAP!
Who knows, maybe I can catch them all?
Blessings, Beth

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's all over . . .

Happy November 1st. !  It has come in like a lion here, but praise the Lord, much calmer than our neighbors to the north.  Although the cold/wet weather while trick or treating last night made me nostalgic for my youth, it was also a great marker for the upcoming holiday season. 
With that said, working daughter was so surprised last night when she got in and found a Halloween bucket with her name on it, and I got awesome mommy points!  I took all the chewy food out of twin daughters bucket and put into hers (and maybe a couple pieces of chocolate) and then divided all the mom approved snacks I bought, between the three.  Pretty nice, for someone who didn't go trick or treating ~ LOL  All 3 were excited to find some slim Jims and even some tic' tac's buried in there, a real treasure hunt to be sure!
Here are the finished buckets after I fixed and fluffed them.


No holiday is complete without a day after pic, and doesn't this look like a perfect Saturday morning to you?  Makes me want to be a kid again!
I always marvel at how close these two are (literally - lol), based on my own non close experience with siblings while growing up.  I don't even think my older 3 are this close.  Must be a twin thing.


This time of year everyday seems crazy, and yesterday was no exception!  I did my weekly shopping in the morning (dodging store employees decorating for Christmas) and first stop as always is the grocery outlet.  They had Funfetti Halloween cakes and frosting on special ($1.69 for the combo) so  I snagged it thinking it would be nice to have with dinner since I didn't make my traditional spooky/creepy fare.  I got home still in a rush and while making lunch I thought I had better make the cake so I would have time to cool and frost it before dinner.  As soon as I started following the box instructions I knew something was wrong.  No oil?  Only 1 egg?  Bake 10 minutes?  What the heck?  Sure enough, closer inspection showed me I had bought cookie mix!  LOL  Now watching all those Food Network shows paid off, I just dumped those bad boys in a baking dish and turned them into cookie bars - no time  for drop cookie's!
These turned out so soft and stinking yummy~ I will do this every time now!

Lastly, my first roll of Christmas wrapping paper was purchased yesterday (also at grocery outlet).  I keep a running stockpile all year, and have been known to use it even on birthday gifts in the summer.  That is what the other side is for right?  Right?  Tell me I am not alone, you know you all enjoy drawing on the blank side : )  Anyway, when they start hitting the store again in the fall, I start picking them up.  I never spend more than $1 a roll.  Once I was at Hobby Lobby and saw their super cut paper, then saw their super high price and nearly fainted!  Almost $8 for a roll of pre colored paper that will be ripped up and thrown out!?!  Really?  I guess somebody is buying it or they wouldn't be selling it.  Please tell me it isn't you?
Nothing kicks off the holidays like a good roll of discount wrapping paper!

Stay warm, make some chili, read a book and enjoy your Saturday.  Start your November the right way.  After all, you still have 53 more days to worry about that crazy fat man in a red suit!

Blessings, Beth

Friday, October 24, 2014

Deal Diva Friday's

It's that time of the week again: Deal Diva Fridays!  LOL  That's right, the time I drive many miles and walk hundred's of aisles, looking for the best deals to feed my hungry crew.  We have a small budget and a huge hunger to deal with, every week!  Every week people!  Anyway, first stop is UGO (United Grocery Outlet).  Let me just say this, on a budget?  Find this store or a comparable one- now!  Bought over half my groceries there this week, mostly meat and produce.  They have a fresh butcher there and the meat is great. 
   Best deal: these multi-grain pita breads- $1.39 each.  Yes they are day olds, but I am saving a $1.30 over the Wal-Mart price.  Just use them fast or freeze them.  I keep mine in the fridge crisper and no problems.  These are great for packed lunches, lots of upcoming events when I won't be home for lunch.
Next stop was Kroger, the family friendly neighborhood one in the 'boro.  Big deal today:  This gallon jug of my favorite brand of almond milk.  Same price as I pay for 1/2 gallon at Wal-Mart, which usually lasts me about one week or so.  I don't believe it will go bad any time soon, but don't worry.  When the children realize it is in the fridge, I will get many offers to drink it quick. 

I only picked my top 3 favorite deals, and number three was also found at the Kroger; Southwestern salad kit for half price.  Fridays are insane here between shopping, school work and bible study.  This little beauty will make my hubby's day, er night I mean.  He gets his lunch from work at 5 p.m. and will enjoy this quick and fresh salad with his lunch, er dinner - LOL
There were MANY other deals to be had out there this morning and I was pleasantly surprised.  I haven't paid full price for meat in years, not sure what I would do if I had too . . . ?  Just keep your eyes peeled and remember mornings are best.
Blessing, Beth

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Recipe Alert: Paleo Meat-stuffed Peppers

Yesterday was a busy day and I made sure to get my slow cooker going before I went out the door.  Have I mentioned I am in LOVE with my slow cooker?  And yes, even SAHM are to busy to cook sometimes.  Actually SAHM is a misnomer as we are almost never there!  LOL  Yesterday was our annual trip to the pumpkin patch and it left me with about an hour between that and taking twin daughter to ballet, returning home after 6 p.m.

 I have been veering back to a clean / Paleo eating  menu, in an attempt  to help heal my wheat belly/ leaky gut and multitude of food sensitivities.  I had a couple requests for the recipe :
Meat -stuffed peppers in the crock pot
5-6 green peppers
1 lb. ground beef
6 oz. tomato paste
8oz. tomato sauce
bag of frozen cauliflower
1 TBS. minced garlic
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
1) Steam cauliflower, I use the microwave.
2) Mash cauliflower into a rice like consistency.  Most use food processor on uncooked cauliflower, but I use my potato masher on the steamed and it works just fine with about 1/4 of the dirty dishes. I mash it up with the garlic and spices.
3) Brown the ground beef and drain. Add the cauliflower mixture, tomato paste and sauce.  Continue to sir slowly.
4) Cut off the tops of the peppers and remove all the seeds.  Keep the tops!
5) Portion out the mixture in the peppers and place the peppers in a slow cooker that has been sprayed or greased.  Put the pepper tops back on.  Cook the peppers  on LOW for 8 hours.
Note: If there is extra filling, scope it into a ball on to some foil and pinch closed.  Place in with peppers and cook the same.  This happened to me and turned out to be a blessing as twin daughter wanted nothing to do with the peppers, but ate the filling right up!
This was not a meal by itself for my family (mostly the guys), so I struggled with what else to serve with it.  I settled on mac & cheese for the boys, but not what  would want for us all if made again.  So if you have any clean/paleo friendly ideas for a yummy side dish to go with this entrée, please share!
Blessings, Beth Ann

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I'mmmmmmmmm back, with pumpkin spice cofee creamer ~ LOL

Welcome back all!  Not sure why the urge has come over me once again to share my misadventures, but I am glad for the company : )
This morning in my kitchen I whipped up a much cleaner/healthier version of the most popular coffee creamer out there, Pumpkin Spice!  The cost is about the same per ounce, but no chemicals or artificial sweeteners.  Guess it comes down to personal choice.  It took like less than 2 minutes to make, so no problem there.  I typically have  coffee with  splash of unsweetened almond milk and a drop or two of stevia.  But when the craving hits, this is what I am going to make, and I pray for my resolve to stay firm at the supermarket; even when there is an amazing sale on seasonal creamers.  I am making an early resolution to take a serious stand on my health!
Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer:
1 cup half n' half
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup real maple syrup
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
pinch of sea salt
Blend all ingredients together.  Store in fridge for up to 10 days.  (I saved one of the creamer containers I had from a sale and washed it by hand.  Doubled the recipe and it fit wonderfully)
Thanks for hanging out with me, and keep checking back for more healthy and budget friendly tips, ideas and recipes.
Blessings, Beth