Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday ~ Frog

It's been a while since I've seen any frogs.  
Probably since it's been a while since we've been camping.  

As a kid, I remember my brother and I leaving our campsite to go hunt for some frogs.  

I would only pick up the cute, tiny ones.  
The big ones always looked gross and slimy!  
I saved them for my brother to pick up!  

After seeing some nature shots on facebook, taken by an old friend, 
I asked permission to share them here.  

When we finally get around to taking Grace camping, 
I think her daddy is going to have to be the one to go frogging with her!  
I'll be the one hiding behind the camera!  

I'm sharing these fabulous frog photos with the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Guest Post From Emily ~ It Works!

This guest post is from a new friend and fellow member (and also moderator) of a local Business Among Moms group that I joined recently on Facebook.  Today, Emily will tell you a bit about her at-home business and the products she sells...she'll also let you know how you can order products and how you can join her team!  

My name is Emily and I am a Stay At Home Mom, part time Work From Home Mom. We have five kids, and my hubby is a retired Army Helicopter pilot, currently working as a home improvement contractor.

I get to do something fun and healthy, and make money, and I get to help others make money too! How, you say? It Works! Global shows you how! They have been around since 2001 and have been debt free for the past 4 years. I love that the opportunity is perfect for everyone; people like me who wanted to stay home with my family, and it is something that business owners, like salons, chiropractors, gyms, personal trainers, etc, can implement into what they are doing to create a residual income and revenue from add on services.

About the WRAPS:
The body applicators (wraps) tighten, tone and firm. Results are seen in 45-60 minutes. While the wrap only needs to be worn for 45-60 minutes, they can be worn for up to 8 hours and they continue to work in your system for 72 hours. They also help with stretch marks, scars, cellulite, varicose veins and the overall skin texture. Pictures speak a thousand words! We encourage people to take before and after pictures. It is amazing to see the difference after the initial wrap, as well as on days 2 and 3. How often you wrap is up to you and the results you are looking for...but you can wrap as often as every three days. Results last 1-6 months depending on the persons' habits...if you put more toxins in (IE: eat fast food and drink soda), results last less than someone who has a healthier lifestyle.

We are NOT just wraps!
We also have an amazing line of all natural supplements & skin care. Everything from a daily multi-vitamin, to a supplement to help with stress, one for menopausal symptoms, and ones for weight loss. Our #2 seller (after the body wrap) is our GREENS drink mix, which is great for everyone, to help alkalize, detox, & get your greens daily. These products are not only all natural, organic and super high quality, they are affordably priced (lower than the competition, and work better!) No scary side effects to worry about, with gentle, all natural ingredients.

There are three ways to get the wraps and our other all natural dietary supplements and skin care:
  • Join the team, 
  • purchase as a loyal customer 
  • or purchase retail.  

Team members
go to   to get started!

Customers, simply add products to the shopping bag and proceed to check out.
“Like” my face book page at for specials and promos.

Email me at,
or call/text me at 215-906-2552 to set up a one-on-one appointment or spa party.

I am happy to help you choose the right products, or start building your own business (part time or full time) today!

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Crayola Experience

Crayons and coloring books have always been a big deal in my family.

  • When we were kids, my brother and I would always find a new box of crayons in our Easter baskets and Christmas stockings.  Plus, there was always a new box when it was time for back to school shopping.  (Oh, I loved back to school shopping!)  

  • Packing toys, games and other activities for vacations or an evening at a relative's house, always included a box of crayons along with paper or coloring books.  

  • And, whenever there was a family birthday or anniversary to celebrate, I would dig out my construction paper and crayons and create one of a kind cards to celebrate the special occasion.  

The one thing that was always the same in those scenarios was the brand.  Crayola is the only one for us!

Grace holding a crayon at 21 months old

When I was pregnant with Grace, I hoped that my daughter would enjoy coloring and creating masterpieces just like her mommy and knew that when the time was right, I'd take her to Crayola Factory located in Easton, PA.  Over the weekend, Grace saw a commercial for the newly re-opened/re-modeled Crayola Experience and insisted that I rewind it over and over again!  So, I'm thinking that now is the right time to make the soon as Joe can get a day off from work!

The Crayola Experience is the only place in the world where the magic of Crayola comes to life. With four floors of new, interactive, one-of-a-kind attractions, there is so much to explore this summer! Enter a world of discovery where color, chemistry, and technology magically combine to create a colorful adventure! There will be many new attractions, including the following:

  • Wrap It Up! - Customize an authentic Crayola crayon label and wrap it around the color of your choice to create your very own crayon.

  • Crayon Factory - Learn how iconic Crayola crayons are made in a live theatre show featuring our resident Crayonologist and his animated crayon character friends!

  • Marker Mania - Make custom multi-color markers from scratch.

  • Color Playground - Burn off excess energy in this Crayola-inspired indoor playground!

  • Art Alive! - Make your art come to life on huge projected surfaces! 

I have a feeling that the Color Playground will be Grace's favorite attraction of the day, while I know I will love Art Alive!  Which attraction would you and your family enjoy?  

Please note:  The Crayola Experience information has been provided by Crayola.

Menu Plan Monday 2013 ~ Week of June 24th

Last week was a blur.  I don't remember much of anything that happened before the weekend.  I spent a lot of time trying to catch up on housework, enjoyed a playdate with Grace and I'm really not sure what else!  

I'm in the mood for some really good food this week and came up with a pretty tasty menu plan for this week!  


Spaghetti Bread 
The hardest part of this recipe
is remembering to pull a loaf of bread dough
out of the freezer to thaw!


Balsamic Pork
Acorn Squash
I never had acorn squash before
but want to give it a try.
They always look so pretty
when they are piled high at the
produce stand!


French Toast, bacon, fruit salad
I love breakfast for dinner!
French toast is my favorite breakfast dish.
I wish I could say I used a fancy recipe for french toast,
but no, it's pretty basic....but I love it!



Cheesy Mexican Skillet Rice 
I had the rare opportunity to watch a
couple hours of cooking shows on Sunday.
Jamie Deen made this rice dish
as part of an entire taco dinner.
I'm thinking this would make a great,
meatless filling for burritos or soft tacos


Crock Pot Spicy Pot Roast
Parmesan Finger Tots
This pot roast has been a favorite since we first
tried the recipe almost a year ago!
The potatoes are another recipe seen last weekend
while watching cooking shows!


Beef Pot Pie
One of the main reasons I make the Spicy Pot Roast
(linked above) is so I can make Beef Pot Pie 
with the leftovers!  

Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

You can also find this week's menu plan linked to On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable. If you haven't checked out Yvonne's blog before, I suggest you drop everything and head on over to check out her delicious recipes, inviting tablescapes and stunning photographs!

Crock Pot Recipe: Spicy Chipotle Pot Roast

Pot Roast has always been one of my favorite meals.  Only when it was prepared by someone other than myself.  It seemed that no matter what recipe I followed, it never seemed to turn out right.

Even now, this recipe didn't turn out the way it should have....but I was very pleased with the outcome.  So much so, that we've enjoyed it quite a few times since first finding this recipe last year.

Almost always, when following a recipe, I change this or that to adapt the recipe to fit the tastes of my family.  In this case, the recipe sounded perfect for us, so I followed it as written....and just as I thought, it was perfect!

As I stated above, the recipe didn't turn out exactly as planned.  It was supposed to be shredded beef...but when the cooking time was over, it just wouldn't shred.  But it sliced down perfectly and made fabulous roast beef sandwiches.  All the times I've made it since then, we've served it as pot roast, with roasted or steamed veggies on the side.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

Like most of you, my crock pot gets a lot of use during the winter months.  Soups and stews are so easy when you just toss everything into the slow cooker and walk away!  

Crock pots are still handy in the summer-time, too!  When I'm busy outside with Grace on a hot day, the last thing I want to do is cook dinner.  And take out isn't always an option.  So, if I throw something together into the slow cooker before going outside to play, dinner is pretty much ready by the time we come back inside.

A few weeks ago, a friend mentioned that she was making Crock Pot Chicken with 40 Garlic Cloves for dinner one night.  This reminded me of the fact that I had this meal mentally added to our summer menu plan.  I had a whole chicken in the freezer and a big jar of garlic cloves in the fridge.  

It just took me several days to get around to thawing out that darn chicken!  Honestly, things that go into our chest freezer almost never make it back out!  Well, they just takes longer than planned.  I need to work on getting that freezer organized so that I don't dread having to dig something out of there for dinner!  But that is for another post....let's get back to this chicken dish!  

This recipe is just too easy!  Three ingredients are all you really need for Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic...but if you happen to have a few more seconds to spare, go ahead and take the time to add the onion, lemon, rosemary and ground black pepper!  You won't be sorry!  

I snapped this photo before adding the fresh ground black pepper.  The bird looks a little naked, but honestly crock pot chicken doesn't look much better after it's cooked....but oh, it tastes sooo good!  

Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic

  • whole chicken
  • 40 cloves garlic 
  • 1/2 onion cut into wedges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup butter, sliced 
  • fresh rosemary sprig 
  • black pepper 
  • Place chicken in crock. 
  • Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken then place the lemon and onion inside the cavity of the chicken. 
  • Wedge a few pieces of garlic under the skin, then toss the rest over top and around the chicken.  
  • Do the same with the butter.  
  • Top with a sprig of rosemary and some black pepper. 
  • Cover the crock pot with the lid and cook for 6-8 hours on low.  

I usually add the onion to my garlic chicken, but this time, I really enjoyed the addition of the lemon and rosemary!  The flavors are so perfect for a summer meal! 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Secondhand Treasures ~ Cobalt Blue Bottles

I think I was born with a collector's's something I definitely inherited from my dad's side of the family.  My Gram had the most amazing collections and I loved going to her home and seeing the newest additions to her plate wall or bell shelf or salt and pepper shaker cabinets.  

My mom was never a collector.  She didn't have a curio cabinet or even a china closet.  Never a lot of knick-knacks needing dusting!  Although, she did have my dad attach shelves to a few of the windows in our house.  That was the only spot in the house that displayed any sort of trinkets or tchotchkes, tucked between the houseplants.  

My favorite of her little baubles were the 2 little bluebirds of happiness she had in her kitchen window.  Ever since then, I've admired cobalt blue glass.


I purchased these little bottles because they reminded me of those bluebirds in my mom's window!  Aren't they so sweet?  Especially with the American Flag as a backdrop!

Sadly, these won't be sticking around for long.  They'll be making their way to my Etsy Shop as soon as I work out the details and get the shop up and running.  

But for now, they are sitting in my kitchen window and look so pretty when the mid-morning sun shines through them!

I'm sharing my vintage finds on the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Menu Plan Monday 2013 ~ Week of June 17th


Hot Dogs, Crock Pot Baked Beans, Sliced Potatoes,
Corn on the Cob
I went to bed with a messy kitchen last night.
Since I'll be spending most of the day cleaning up,
I need something quick and easy for dinner.  


Graduation Dinner
We'll be attending a dinner to celebrate the
graduation of our nephews!
Congratulations, guys!


Spaghetti topped with Simply Tomato Sauce,
Salad, Garlic Bread
I almost forgot all about this simple,
yet flavorful, sauce!
I think this will be appearing on our menu
a lot this summer!   


Steak Fajitas
The pretty peppers with picked up at the
produce stand this weekend
will be perfect for this dish!
One of my favorite ways to serve peppers!  


Leftover Night


Graduation Party
We'll be celebrating another graduation today!
This time for my cousin!
Congrats, sweetie!  


We'll need a light meal after eating all of that picnic food
on Saturday!  This is definitely a new favorite!

I'm going to make another
Strawberry Shortcake Vanilla Pudding Poke Cake
for dessert this weekend!  

Now that you know what we're eating this week, let us know in the comments what's for dinner at your house this week! Or, if you need more menu planning inspiration? Follow me over to Menu Plan Monday hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie! Or, if you like what you see here, you can check out my past menu plans.

You can also find this week's menu plan linked to On the Menu Monday hosted by Yvonne at Stone Gable. If you haven't checked out Yvonne's blog before, I suggest you drop everything and head on over to check out her delicious recipes, inviting tablescapes and stunning photographs!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake Vanilla Pudding Poke Cake

While normally, I'm all about chocolate desserts (the more chocolate, the better), I have always loved strawberry shortcake!  When I was a kid, my mom would make us her version of strawberry shortcake:  a slice of Sara Lee pound cake, topped with vanilla pudding and sliced strawberries!  Mm!  It was always a nice we were occasionally allowed to enjoy for breakfast!

I was 19 before I tried the more traditional strawberry shortcake with the layers of cake, whipped cream and strawberries...and while I do love the traditional version, I love my momma's version better!

Friday (June 14th)  was National Strawberry Shortcake Day!  Who thinks up these things?  Whoever it is, I want to give  a BIG thank you!  I love strawberry shortcake and if the calendar tells me I should celebrate, then who am I to disobey?

I didn't have a frozen pound cake and I didn't feel like a trip to the store, so I improvised!  I combined the concept of this Pudding Poke Cake with the flavors of Mom's strawberry shortcake...I was not disappointed with the results!

Vanilla Pudding Poke Cake ~ Strawberry Shortcake 
     Adapted from an old family treat
                   and Betty Crocker


  • Yellow cake prepared and cooled in a 9x13 glass dish. 
  • 4 serving package instant vanilla pudding 
  • 2 cups milk 
  • sliced strawberries 
  • sugar 
  • whipped topping 
  • Poke holes in cooled cake with the end of a wooden spoon. 
  • Add pudding mix to 2 cups cold milk, mix for 2 minutes. (do not chill) 
  • Pour the pudding evenly over cake.  
  • Chill for 2 (or more) hours, covered.  
  • Stir together sliced strawberries with sugar, cover and refrigerate.
To serve:  
  • Slice chilled cake into 12 servings. 
  • Top with desired amount of strawberries, whipped topping.  

  • I had about a pint of time, I'd probably use 2 pints of strawberries to be sure to have enough for the entire cake!  
  • I didn't measure the berry/sugar step of this dessert.  I just sprinkled a little sugar in, stirred...added a little more sugar and stirred.  
  • I can't wait to have an occasion to make this cake again!  Great for a potluck or a barbecue.  
  • A variety of mixed berries would be delicious, too! 

According to this list of National Food Days, today is National Fudge Day!  Sadly, I don't have the ingredients to make our favorite fudge recipe today, I'll just have to settle for sharing the link with y'all today!  

I have shared this recipe post at the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Secondhand Treasures ~ A Tray Full of Summer

I love adding red accents to my kitchen, especially when they are cute vintage treasures either found while browsing the thrift shops and yard sale or gifted from a friend or family member.  

This cute little tray was originally "picked" by my friend Barb.  Isn't it adorable?  Each time I saw it at her house, I complimented her on how much I liked it.  

One day, she arrived early for a party I was hosting and surprised me with the tray.  I was so thrilled, that I immediately found a spot for it on my kitchen's been there ever since.  I just switch out the items I place on it according to the seasons or just based on my mood at the time!  

Lemons and strawberries are wonderful summer flavors.  
We know that summer is it's way when the local churches 
start selling their strawberry pies 
and lemon cakes start filling the bakery cases 
at the markets.  

Lemon is one of my favorite summer time flavors! 
Since I've been eating a lot of Lemon Fettuccine with Carrots, 
we picked up a 2 lb bag of lemons when they were on sale last week. 
Don't they look refreshing in this vintage mixing bowl?  

Berries topped with yogurt is the perfect light summertime breakfast. 
Light and refreshing...healthy, too!  
Recently, I picked up four of these milk glass chowder bowls.  
They've since been my favorite for snack time!  

Since we live in a small house, 
I try to limit my vintage collections to items to items 
that can be used around the house.  
This glass juice reamer has gotten a lot of use 
the past few weeks!  

Occasionally, I do purchase items that are not vintage or second hand. 
The sweet little tea towel, was a Target find...
gotta love the Dollar Spot!  

I'm showing off my vintage treasures at the following blog carnivals and linky parties:  

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Gardening Journal ~ My Container Garden ~ Loving the Colorful Blooms!

My family is full of gardeners.  So many of my relatives have beautiful gardens, full of bright, vibrant flowers and lush green plants.

I, apparently, haven't inherited the green thumb gene like the rest of them!  Sure, I love the idea of having the beautiful curb appeal that a garden can bring to a home.  I just don't know how to go about it.  Plus, living on a single income, there's not always money left in the budget for flowers and plants.

Without a landscaping design in mind again this summer, I decided to add some color to our yard by starting a small container garden.  I grabbed some assorted planters from the shed, garage, basement...even my kitchen cabinets...and started filling them with plants we purchased on sale at the hardware store.  Having a gift card for the hardware store was a big help!

In all honesty, the plants almost didn't make out of their original containers.  After coming home from the store with our pretty plants, it was terribly hot.  I decided we would plant them the following day.  After that, one thing happened after another and it took a while before I even thought about them again.

When I finally got them into the planters and buckets that I collected from around the house, I wasn't convinced that any of them were going to make it.

Imagine my surprise when I looked out the window and saw the pretty colors blooming in my container garden!

Grace chose this pretty, pink portulaca. 
I'm kind of over the entire pink phase that she's going through, 
so at first, I wasn't really thrilled with her selection.  
But after seeing the plant in full bloom today,
and also finding out that it's one of my mom's favorites, 
I'm pleased with her selection!   

Celosia is one of my favorites! 
I just love the vibrant colors!  
When I saw the low price on these colorful blooms, 
I just couldn't resist bringing them home!  

In my excited state, I only snapped a couple of photos of the blooming plants and completely ignored our pots of mint, rosemary and basil.  I guess I'll have to photograph them for another blog post!

This post has been linked to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Amelya's Firefighter Birthday Party

One of my favorite things to blog about is PARTIES!  For me, the planning of the party is as much fun as the party itself!  Sadly, I don't have enough time or money to host as many parties as I would like to each year.  So, when a new friend was telling me about a party she recently threw for her daughter's 4th birthday, I had to ask her right away if I could use it on my blog!

I love parties with a theme, but it's so easy to take a theme and run away with it.  Sometimes it can very difficult to keep from purchasing every single item that matches the theme of your party!

Mary, has done a wonderful job in planning her 4-year old's Firefighter Birthday Party and I'm so excited that she is allowing me to share her ideas here Under the Big Oak Tree!

Amelya is Mary's 4 year-old daughter.  

Mary says: 
"My 4 year old is not a typical girl 
as she likes Lightening McQueen, matchbox cars and of course, 
fire trucks since Daddy is a volunteer firefighter.
This theme was a no brainer and lots of fun to create!"

I love that Mary used toys from her kids' toy box 
(as well as some store bought party blowers
as table decorations! 

When the theme chosen for your party is a game or character your child already LOVES, 
chances are you'll be able to find a lot of items that can be 
used as part of your party decor!  

Amelya's party took place at a local park.  
This makes it simple to keep the kids entertained!  
The monkey bars, swings and slides are always a hit!  

Party games are still a lot of fun
and now it's so easy to find them to match the themes of our party!  
Pin the Badge on the Helmet is a fun twist on the 
traditional Pin the Tail on the Donkey that I remember from my childhood.  

It looks like the birthday girl had a lot of fun playing games
and taking a whack at the fire engine pinata !  

Being a foodie, I am thrilled that Mary chose snacks that also matched 
the Firefighter theme of the party!  

Edible image decals make it so easy to match your cake 
to your theme without going over the top.
(You can even get them custom made 
using a photograph of the guest of honor!)  

These fun candles fun candles are perfect for making birthday wishes!  

I just love these dalmatian party bags!  
I'm sure the kids loved them, too!  

Amelya's party looks like it was lots of fun!  
I'm sure the highlight of the day for the kids
was seeing the firetruck pull up
and Amelya's Daddy dressed in full-gear!

Mary, a work-at-home-mom to three daughters (ages 21, 5 & 4) and wife to a volunteer firefighter, is working on starting a local pet sitting business called Mare's Care.  

She says, "it's tough being a firefighter's wife, never knowing if this will be his last call, but I support him 100%".

Disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links.

This blog post has been linked to the following blog carnivals and linky parties:

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