About Us

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The purpose of our blog is to share our journey through life with family and friends while we leave our mark on this world. Our 20's have been very kind to us and as we enter the 30's we are hoping to continue to enjoy our time in this thing we call life. I should have called this blog "Traveling through Life".

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sold on Soap Nuts

I have been reading about these little laundry nuts for a while on different blogs. As I have gradually been trying to reduce some of the chemicals in our household these little guys seemed like an easy transition. I really couldn't find any bad reviews on them. You just add 4-6 of the nuts in the little provided laundry pouch and toss it in the laundry. That's it!

When I first added them to the washer I was skeptical and was pretty sure I would have to re-wash my clothes. Soap nuts do not provide all the suds and foam that you are use to. The chemicals in commerical detergents are providing the foam but that's really not what cleans your clothes. I kept checking the laundry during the wash cycle and it was working. Eventhough the water did not look like I was use to, my clothes were getting clean. After running the cycle through the dryer with no bounce sheets my clothes came out clean and soft. They smelled clean but they didn't smell fragrant b/c that is also another added chemical to traditional laundry detergent. They did suggest that if you like to have fragant clothes that you could add some essential oils to the water.

These can also be used to make your own dish soap, wash your car, soap for washing pets and several other things. We will be adding them to our compost pile when they are "all suds out".

The instructions said that you can reuse the soap nuts on multiple loads. I did the test they recommended by putting the nuts in a jar of water and shaking it. If you see suds than it is still working and you can use them again. I used 5 soap nuts on 3 loads of laundry and tested them in between and they were still providing suds.

I had to order mine online but some Whole Foods Stores carry them. I called the Indy store and they said they stopped carrying them because of low sales. I can see how people are hesitant to use these when you don't visually see the washer producing the suds and foam you are use to but they worked for me!

I went to Green Virgin Products to buy mine and used the Promo Code 10off for 10% off. They arrived 2 days later just in time for laundry day.

Here is the breakdown on the cost per load:

Tide: 120 loads powder for $20.47.........17 cents a load

Soap Nuts: 330 loads for $24 + $8(shipping) = $32..........9.5 cents per load

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Successful Foodie Week

We try a lot of new recipes for dinner and most of them don't pass our "we have to make this again list" but this past week every single one that we tried was awesome. They were very tasty and vegetarian. Some were healthy and some were not due to a lot of cheese. I realized we had a very cheesy week so this next week I will try to be cheese free.......a very tough thing for me.

If you are looking for new dinner ideas these are perfect and yummy.

Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms
3 ounces softened cream cheese (fat free)
1/4 cup mayo
1 jar (6.5oz) marinated artichoke hearts, finely chopped(save the marinade in the jar)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
several small portabella mushroom caps or 2-4 large portabella caps
1/4 cup bread crumbs

In a bowl beat cream cheese and mayo until smooth. Stir in artichokes and cheese. Spoon mixture into mushrooms caps. Combine bread crumbs and 2 teaspoons of marinade from artichoke jar; sprinkle over mushrooms. Bake for 10-15 minutes until mushrooms are tender. You can also grill these.

Stuffed Zucchini with Tomatoes and Mozzarella
(thanks to Pam Peercy for this recipe)
2 medium zucchini, cut length wise and scrape out seeds
2 plum tomatoes, diced small
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1/4 tespoon white wine vinegar
5 oz mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Brush a shallow baking dish with olive oil. Place zucchini, cut side up, in dish. Season with salt and pepper. In small bowl combine 2 diced tomatoes, oregano and white wine vinegar. Stir and season with salt and pepper. Place mixture on top of zucchini. Bake about 20 minutes until zucchini is tender. Remove from oven and turn oven to Broil. Place mozzarella cheese on top of zucchini and broil for 1-2 minutes until cheese is browned.

Eggplant Parmigiana
1 small eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch slices lengthwise
1 beaten egg
1/4 cup flour ina small bowl
2 tblsp cooking oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup spaghetti sauce
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

Combine egg and 1 tblsp water. Dip eggplant slices into egg mixture and then into flour, coating both sides. In a skillet heat cooking oil and cook eggplant on both sides until golden. Drain on paper towels. Place eggplant in a 2 qt square baking dish. Sprinkle with parmesan and top with spaghetti sauce and mozzarella. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes.

Squash, Pear, and Onion au Gratin
1 medium size butternut squash, cut in half, discard seeds and then cut into 1/2 slices lengthwise
1 large onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 tblsp butter
1 medium pear, thinly sliced
3 tblsp bread crumbs
2 tblsp chopped walnuts
1 tblsp parmesan cheese
1 tblsp melted butter

Cook onion rings in a skillet in the 1 tblsp butter until tender. Arrange half the squash slices in a rectangular baking dish. Top with half the pear slices. Repeat layers. Cover with cooked onions. Bake covered with foil at 350 for 45 minutes until tender.
In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, walnuts, cheese and melted butter. Sprinkle over vegetables. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

Ok now that I just planned your meals for the week I need to go find new ones for us!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

He's a Warrior

Matt participated in his first ever race this weekend called the Warrior Dash. It is 3.01 miles of running and completing challenging obstacles like climbing walls, walking planks and spiderwebs, fire jumping, and crawling through mud pits. For a first time warrior he did great finishing at 32 mins and 50 secs. He finished 558th out of 6,746 participants and 125th for his age group. Me and my mom had a great time watching all these crazy people participate. We were really excited at the beginning and talking about trying it next year....and then we saw the people at the finish line and weren't so interested anymore. There was a variety of participants there wearing costumes or crazy body paint. Some groups were even in full business suits. Matt said it was a tough course but he had a blast.

Waiting to start with his group.

Ready, set, go!

After he started we walked around and checked out some of the obstacles. We were not able to see all of the race but this mudd pit was the finish line.

Fire jumping!

Here he comes approaching the finish line. At this point he said he was ready to be done and maybe the mudd would be refreshing but it was one of the tougher obstacles. The mudd was really thick and tough to swim through.

My mudd man. Yep he chose to go under and live up the full experience of swimming through mudd. It was on his teeth, in his ears, and lots of other places.

This is where they all went to get cleaned off.

My warrior.

Today I am nursing his battle wound. Wouldn't be a true warrior without it. One of the courses was a blackened out cave like thing they had to crawl through. His knee met up with a tree stump and took a nice chunk out of it. It's deep enough to constitute stitches but we will see.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hawaiian Luau

My Aunt Memare and Uncle Jeff have been to Hawaii several times and they wanted to share some of it with us. My grandmother hosted the Luau party at her house this weekend. It was good food and good times with family.

Here are some pre-party pics.

Mom and all her kids.

Mom and her two kids.

Me and my bro.

Little miss Carmen Marie and Papa.

Did I mention we have the best dog ever.....he is so tolerant of the things I do to him.

And it's always a blast playing with Cameron!