Monthly Archives: September 2011
Southern Lights Candles is a candle shop based out of Tennessee. Luckily, in addition to the store front, you can also buy SLC products online! You can find melts, candles, oils, and adorable warmers for sale on the site.
SLC has been in business for over 10 years, and is run by an awesome lady named Lisa. She is so nice and has great customer service–she answers emails so quickly! I was glad to review a few Southern Lights Soy Melts for her. :)
Since all of SLC’s wax products are soy, I was a little concerned that the throw would be very light, as I’m more used to paraffin and parasoy melts. This was not the case at all!! The soy melts come in two different sizes–there are the mini melts, and the regular soy melts.
There’s a side by side comparison with mini on the left, regular on the right. I just LOVE the shape of these melts. They are basically the exact size and shape of mini and regular Reese’s peanut butter cups. They peeled very easily from the paper cups, with no residue left on the paper at all. I also like the packaging the individual tarts come in. The labels are clean, simple, and tell you everything you need to know. Now for the good part. On to the scents!
Caramel Apple–Very delicious blend of fresh apples and buttery caramel. This was a lot more apple than caramel for me, but I didn’t mind. The apple was a real, juicy one. Notes of sweet vanilla caramel are in the background. A medium throw.
Thanksgiving–A great fall scent! Main note is spicy cinnamon, but there is a buttery pumpkin there as well. This fragrance was very long lasting, it lingered even after I had dumped the tart. I imagine this tart being knockout strong with a little cure time!
Lemondrop Cookie–Wow, this is such a yummy fragrance! A bakery lemon, with a sugar cookie note. It’s near equal on the lemondrop and cookie parts, with the lemon being a little more prominent. Definitely the favorite out of the scents I tested. STRONG throw!
Spiced Cider–Just what its’ name implies. Cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices on a base of apples and maybe the slightest hint of plums, or berries. A very warm Autumn scent. One mini melt in my warmer lasted for hours.
Hummingbird Cake–A unique SLC blend! Hummingbird cake is a very popular dessert in the South. The SLC tart smelled like a sweet, citrus cake. The top note was a bakery orange, with notes of creamy cake and coconut behind it. It made me hungry!
I could definitely see myself going back for a big bag of that Lemondrop Cookie! It is probably one of the best lemon blends I’ve ever tried. Couple that with Lisa’s great customer service, and SLC is a winner! Right now, the soy melts are on sale for $1. Give Southern Lights Candles a visit and check them out for yourself!
As a parent of a small child, there are some things you secretly hope he will never outgrow. How he wakes up in the morning, races to your bed, and says, “Cuddle you, Mom.” The adorable way he pronounces some of his sentences: “I’m berry hungee!” The way he almost instantly falls asleep at night even though he protests when you put him to bed.
Then there are those things you can’t wait for him to be done with. The fact that he pretty much has no concept of inside/outside voice, especially in public places…like church. That even though you are done with diapers, he still calls you from the bathroom for you to come wipe his butt. And the pickiness. The. Freaking. Pickiness.
My son will be three next month, and it has been a battle for the last half of his life to get him to eat anything. Every time I bring him to the pediatrician, she assures me that since his weight is fine and since he is steadily growing, his eating habits are not affecting him. “It’s just a phase toddlers have, he will grow out of it.” I’m always told to keep him on his multivitamins to “stimulate his appetite.” But his appetite itself is not the problem–lately I’ve been seeing him eat more and more of the foods he does eat…he’s just not trying anything new.
Nate has a VERY limited list of foods he will eat–I’d say maybe 30? And most of that list is fruit. I have been told by many parents, “Well you’re lucky there–my kid won’t even touch fruit!” And I am by no means complaining because my child eats so much fruit. I just wish he would eat the same things my husband and I eat, so we could have meals together. When we go out to eat, we have to look at the menu online before we decide on a place to make sure they will have french fries–pretty much the only thing Nate will eat from a restaurant. I’m sure ya’ll know this, but food culture is HUGE in the South, and even more so in Louisiana. We have big family dinners probably once or twice a month, and when we go to eat at my family’s home, I have to either bring Nate’s own food, or call and make sure they have something in the fridge he will eat. Everyone is fixing their plates and sitting down to eat, while I’m in the kitchen cutting up a hot dog for my son.
Like most mothers, I feel at least somewhat at fault for Nathan’s eating habits. Was I wrong for feeding him organic baby food as an infant instead of skipping to table food? Maybe. But he is my first and only child and I honestly did what I thought was best. Since I am somewhat of a picky eater, is it possible that it could be genetic? Who knows? On the opposite end of the spectrum, my husband eats almost anything, so genetics may not be to blame.
I have been given so much advice, both solicited and unsolicited, that I honestly don’t know what to do about the problem anymore. One thing I have heard again and again is, “If he doesn’t want to eat what you want to give him, just don’t give him anything else. When he gets hungry enough, he’ll eat it.” This sounds unnecessarily cruel–I refuse to ever starve my child. On the other hand, it seems like he’s getting old enough to where this picky eating problem needs to come to a halt. I continue to try to feed him whatever my husband and I are having for dinner, but he refuses even a bite. I can’t very well force the food into his mouth.
As it is now, we seem to be at a stalemate. Nate has his 3 year checkup in a couple of weeks, and I’m anxious to hear what the doctor will have to say. In the meantime, I’m open to any and all suggestions anyone else wants to give me!
If your house is anything like mine, most of the floors are covered by carpet, and the carpet picks up EVERY LITTLE THING. With a toddler, I find myself having to vacuum 2 or 3 times a week! For as long I have been been in my own home, I’ve been using store bought carpet freshener powder–you know, the one that you sprinkle on your carpet, let it sit for about 10 minutes then vacuum up? With as much carpet as I have though, I was using almost a whole canister of the powder every time I vacuumed! At $3 dollars a pop, this was getting a bit expensive. So I had the awesome idea to make my own carpet powder!
It was as easy as a little Googling and a trip to the Dollar Store. You might even have all the ingredients in your home already!
The best part about this powder is you can basically make it in any fragrance you want. Imagine–carpets that smell like cinnamon rolls or mint chocolate chip! I had a TON of Bath & Body Works home fragrance oils laying around, so I chose to make my powder in their Winter scent.
You will need a container with a shaker top to put the powder in after it’s made. We had just recently thrown out our Magic Bullet blender, but I dug and found one of the old mugs with the shaker top to fit it. Lucky, right? I love that it’s a mug because the handle makes it easy to hold and shake. But you can use anything you might have available…some other good containers are old grated parmesan cheese bottles, or even an empty canister from a store-bought carpet powder.
All you have to do is get a BIG PLASTIC bowl, and mix equal parts baking soda and borax. It is very important that both the mixing bowl and the utensil with which you are stirring are made out of plastic–any metal will make the chemicals react.
For my powder, I mixed one cup of borax, and one cup of baking powder. Use the back of the spoon to break up any clumps, and mix until combined. Then add drops of the fragrance oil–I used about 10 drops for my mixture and it was quite potent! If you don’t want such a highly fragranced powder, you can use about 6-8 drops instead.
It will look something like this when you’re done. Carefully put the powder, scoop by scoop into your container. I wouldn’t fill it all the way to the top, you need some room for the powder to move around and actually come out when it’s poured. Put the top on the shaker and you’re ready to go. Sprinkle liberally on your carpets, let sit for 10-15 minutes and vacuum. You’ve just made your house smell great in a safe, economical way. Don’t you feel awesome? :)
I actually made this recipe for the Saints’ season opener….and we ate it while we watched them lose :/ But since they did much better in the last game, I feel more confident about posting this delicious dip this week! I hope it doesn’t bring bad luck!
So this is actually a really easy, yummy cheesy dip that you make in the slow cooker.
You’ll need about half a block of Velveeta (one pound), a can of Wolf brand chili without beans, a can of Ro-tel (or the generic stuff, as I’ve used here :P), a small block of cream cheese (I think it’s 3 ounces), some chili powder, and some garlic powder.
Start by cubing your Velveeta and cream cheese.
I had left my cream cheese out on the counter for a while so it was kinda hard for me to cube it…mine came out more like chunks. Go ahead and put the Velveeta into the Crock pot first, followed by the cream cheese. Then open up that can of chili and dump it on top.
Next, open up the can of Ro-tel and dump it in…juices and all! DON’T drain the can when you open it.
Sprinkle a little dash of each of the chili powder and garlic powder on top. Put the lid on the slow cooker, and cook on LOW for approximately 3-4 hours. Crock pots vary….you will know it’s done when the top is getting bubbly and all the cheese is completely melted! If you check it and the cheese is melted but the ingredients are not as incorporated as you’d like, stir it up and cook it for a while longer until it looks good!
Not sure if you can see from the pic, but the cream cheese in my dip did not completely melt and every once in a while I’d get a little chunk with a scoop of dip…and I liked it that way! Serve with tortilla chips. Also really good with crackers like Club or Ritz! This recipe easily doubles if you’re serving a bigger crowd :)
Carrie’s Who Dat Dip
1 lb. Velveeta
small block cream cheese, 3-4 ounces
1 can Wolf brand chili, No Beans
1 can Ro-Tel, any variety
Cut Velveeta and cream cheese into cubes. Put into crock pot, Velveeta first then cream cheese. Pour can of chili on top, then can of Ro-tel. Sprinkle with garlic powder and chili powder. Cover and cook on LOW 3-4 hours, until cheese is completely melted and bubbly on top. Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.
This recipe was shared at:
At Home with Haley’s Recipes I Can’t Wait to Try
Hugs & Cookies XOXO’s Wonka Wednesday
The Lady Behind the Curtain’s Cast Party Wednesday
This Chick Cooks
My Girlish Whims’ Your Whims Wednesday
Polka Dots on Parade’s Wow Me Wednesday
Ekat’s Kitchen’s Friday Potluck
Simply Sweet Home’s Friday Favorites
Mangoes & Chutney’s Fat Camp Friday
Creation Corner’s Friday Link Party
Sugar Bananas’ Sweets This Week
Halo Candle Company has been in business since 1996, but in 2003 it came under new management–Bill and Raquel Lewis. The company is based out of Missouri, but has a few stores scattered around the country. Halo offers candles, wax melts, incense and much more, all with the max amount of fragrance oil you can use in wax. That’s why the products from Halo are called “Extreme Fragrance”!
I was so excited to be able to review some wax melts from this company.
Bill was nice enough to send me 9 fragrances to review: Pumpkin Pie Spice, Fruit Slices, White Ginger, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Key Lime Pie, Fabuloso Type, Blueberry Cheesecake, Hazelnut Pumpkin, and Egyptian Musk. Halo Candle Company boasts a fragrance list of hundreds, so this is just a little sampling of what they have to offer!
One of the things I love most about looking at the Halo fragrance list was that there were definitely some unique scents there, ones I had never seen at other companies. Some of these include Azalea, Lizard’s Breath, and Royal Wedding.
My take on the melts and fragrances:
First of all, I really love the little wax chips I got! They were a really cute shape, and you get to choose the amount you wish to put into your warmer. You could even order a few fragrances and mix your own scents!
In my opinion, the best thing about the fragrances from this company is that they are VERY authentic. Sometimes certain scents are hard to capture in wax form, but the ones I tried all smelled like the real thing. Here are my notes.
Key Lime Pie–My FAVORITE out of all the scents I tested. Top note is a zesty, creamy lime, but there is a sweetness there too. The lime freshened the house, but not in a cleaning product way…in a fresh citrus way if that makes sense ;)
Fruit Slices–A citrus mix that is very bright and summery. You can pick out the separate notes of orange and grapefruit, and there’s also a hint of lemon. Medium to strong throw.
Blueberry Cheesecake–Great, authentic blueberry scent with the creamy, tangy cheesecake notes in the background.
Fabuloso–Wow, this one is strong! This smells just like the real thing…if you don’t know, Fabuloso is a cleaning product that you can use to mop floors, clean counters, etc. That’s just what this reminds me of–coming home to a kitchen my mom had just mopped when I was a kid.
Black Raspberry Vanilla–Delicious fragrance. A very nice black raspberry fruit fragrance, with a small hint of floral in the background. This one was on the lighter side for me, but I really liked the scent.
Pumpkin Pie Spice–A classic fall fragrance blend. Cozy and warm spices- there is cinnamon there, but to me it’s not the main note. I also get nutmeg and pumpkin.
White Ginger–I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one since I usually don’t like floral scents–but it’s really enjoyable! This is a delicate, spa-like fragrance. Would be awesome in a bath and body product!
Egyptian Musk–This is a bestseller for Halo! I thought this would be reminiscent of incense, but it’s not. It is a musky floral scent–quite a strong throw, too. It reminds me of perfume.
Hazelnut Pumpkin–My other fave! This is a perfect balance of the nuttiness of hazelnuts and warm pumpkin spice. There is cinnamon but it’s not overwhelming! This was a strong fragrance and it lasted for hours!
All in all, I quite enjoyed the wax I got to try from Halo Candle Company. As I said before, their fragrances are some of the most authentic I have tried. Check out their huge fragrance list and I’m sure you will be able to find something you love too!
*Note–I was sent these tarts at no cost for reviewing purposes, but that in no way influenced my results. My thoughts and opinions are completely honest and my own.
Since the other giveaway has ended, I wanted to announce a new one I have going on! This one is super easy to enter–all you have to do is click on the link under the “My Current Giveaway” tab on the left! Like me on Facebook, complete the one click entry, and you will be eligible to win. Everybody can find something they like at Amazon, right? This one ends September 30th. Good luck!
Thanks so much to everyone who entered my giveaway! I was really pleasantly surprised that I got so many entries. So, without further adieu, congrats to my winner….
I’m so excited to send you your prize :) I do have an appointment to go to, so if you see this before I get a chance to email you, please contact me on my Facebook Page or send me an email at celjla212 at aol dot com! Once again, thanks and congrats!
For my last post of this week, I just had to share something that I recently saw on Yahoo’s Shine website. It was a list of 10 Things Never to Say to a Stay at Home Mom. Here’s the whole list:
1. When the kids are older, do you think you’ll get a real job?
2. How June Cleaver of you!
3. Oh, so you don’t work?
4. Since you have extra time on your hands, could you whip up a few dozen brownies for the bake sale tomorrow?
5. All day with your kids? I can’t even imagine.
6. I’m jealous. I wish my husband were rich so I wouldn’t have to work either.
7. What do you do all day, anyway?
8. I’m sure you’re not the only one who’s ever wasted money on a college degree.
9. That explains why your son is so clingy!
10. Weird. I assumed your house would be superclean.
I must say, as a SAHM with a college degree, I have heard number 8 more times than I care to count. I didn’t know college degrees had an expiration date! I think everyone I know always assumed that because I did so well in school, graduated near the top of my class, etc., that I would be some kind of “successful businesswoman (cue Romy and Michelle)”. To me, having a husband who I love very much and a son that is healthy and happy is the best kind of success! I couldn’t imagine not being able to stay home with my son, and I’m very blessed to have the opportunity to do so.
What do you think of this list? If you are a SAHM, have you ever heard any of these things? I don’t want to turn this into a debate–whether you stay at home or have a job out of the house, all moms work!
Even though I really love making classic recipes, I sometimes like to take shortcuts and put my own spin on them! This is a yummy, easy casserole that gives you all the flavors of lasagna, in a different form. Even better, it has SEVEN individual cheeses! That’s why I call it my Lucky 7 Lasagna Bake :)
There is a LOT of dairy in this dish! What you see here is 1 pound of ground beef, ricotta cheese, jarred pasta sauce, sour cream, cream cheese, italian seasoning, grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder, pasta, and a six-cheese italian blend.
I start by simultaneously getting my ground beef browning, and my pasta boiling.
I just happened to have rotini pasta on hand, but you could use just about any short pasta you like: farfalle, penne, even elbow would all work for this dish.
Once you have the meat browned, drain it, then add a good dash of each of the italian seasoning and garlic powder. If you like things a little spicier, add a little red pepper flake too! Then pour about 2/3 of the jar of pasta sauce to the meat, and stir to combine.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, sour cream, and ricotta with a fork.
You want to sort of mash it until it starts meshing together, then you can stir it with the fork until it’s nice and smooth.
Take the rest of the jar of pasta sauce, and pour it into the bottom of a 9 x 13 dish. Pour just enough to spread and make a thin layer.
Next, drain your pasta and gently pour it into the pan. Spread it out into an even layer.
I still had a little bit of sauce left in the jar, so I poured it on top of the pasta, because why not?
Then take big dollops of the white cream cheese mixture and put them on top. It’s best to drop it on top spoonful by spoonful, then gently spread it out. This way you won’t get all the layers mixed together.
Follow this with the ground beef mixture.
Sprinkle with a small amount of the grated parmesan. Then top it all with a layer of the shredded six-cheese blend, just enough to cover the meat leyer, but not enough to make it very thick.
Pop this into the oven for about 25-30 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the top is golden and bubbly!
Serve with some garlic bread or salad! Perfect weeknight meal that makes it look like you did a whole lot more work than you actually did. :) I promise, you won’t have any leftovers!
Lucky 7 Lasagna Bake
1 lb ground beef
26 oz. jar of pasta sauce
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened and cubed
8 oz any short pasta (rotini, farfalle, penne, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend (or plain mozarella)
Preheat oven to 350. Start pasta boiling according to package directions. Drain and set aside. While pasta is boiling, brown ground beef in skillet until no longer pink. Drain and add back to skillet. Add Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Pour in about 2/3 of the jar of pasta sauce with the ground beef, and combine. Set aside.
In medium bowl, put softened cream cream, sour cream, and ricotta. Mash and stir with fork until smooth.
In prepared 9 x 13 pan, spread a thin layer of remaining pasta sauce. Pour drained pasta into pan. Top with any remaining sauce from jar. Next, add cream cheese mixture on top of pasta, spoonful by spoonful. Spread into an even layer. Top this layer with the ground beef and pasta sauce mixture. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, then cover entire dish with layer of shredded cheese. Bake 25-30 minutes until the top is bubbly and golden brown.
*recipe adapted from various places around the net