Valentine’s Day Prep

Valentine's Day Prep

With January coming to a close it’s time to start prepping for Valentine’s Day.  Here are some great ideas to start thinking about now.  I kept one wreath and heart handprint for myself and made some to give as gifts.  I love seeing their little handprints, it’s amazing how fast they grow!  Plus, I have a great idea for a kid’s Valentine’s Day dinner that is packed with secret veggies.  The best part about making the kids their own dinner, is that you and the hubs can have a romantic dinner at home after the kids go to bed.  I suggest something fabulous (very NOT kid-friendly) like oysters followed up with surf and turf.  YUM!

Continue reading


Babies, Valentine’s Day, and the Tooth Fairy

Babies, Valentine's Day, and the Tooth Fairy

Love is in the air at Casa de Rino!  Adding seasonal flair to my home has been especially fun over the last several months because my kids have been getting so into decorating.  My daughter is always pushing me to get the decor out weeks in advance.  My son loves to go around and talk about each item.  It’s really sweet.  I save all the craft projects from the previous years the kids made and I really enjoy displaying them.  You can see last year’s Valentine’s Day decor here.

Continue reading


Green Juice for Good Skin


Green Juice for Good SkinLet’s talk good skin.  I mean the kind of skin you see and you have to ask even a total stranger to tell you everything they use, eat, and do to make their skin literally glow from within.  I don’t have that kind of skin, but, as I’ve told you before, I’m always in search of it.  Today I want to talk about how you can get on your way to enviable skin without buying any new creams, serums, or lotions.  We’re talking about a good old “bottoms up” beauty remedy:  Green Juice for Good Skin.

Continue reading


Stuffed Zucchini Boats


Kids and vegetables, it’s not always a love affair.  I find that when you come up with kid “buzz” words to add to the name of your dishes it makes the kiddos a little more excited about veggies.  That’s why I call this dish Stuffed Zucchini Boats instead of just Stuffed Zucchinis.  Before I tell you exactly how I can pull this dinner off with just 10 minutes of prep time, let’s take a few minutes to celebrate the star of this dish, the zucchini.  Here are some seriously fantastic facts about this green gem compliments of Wikipedia.

  • Zucchini is fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium, rich in manganese, folate, and vitamins A and C and has more potassium than a banana.
  • Nutrients and vitamins found in zucchinis can help prevent cancer and heart disease.
  • Zucchinis contain 95 percent water.
  • The longest zucchini measured 7 ft 10.3 and was harvested from a home garden in Brampton, Ontario, Canada.
  • The flower of the zucchini plant is also edible.  Fried squash blossoms anyone?

OK, So how do I do this in just 10 minutes??  It’s all about the prep.  You may remember this post about saving with coupons, well when I see ground meat (any variety) is on sale I buy a few packs and freeze them.  In the beginning of each week I plan a meal that includes a ground meat.  I cook up all the pack with a little onion, salt, and pepper – no specific spices.  That way it’s a blank slate that I can add whatever flavors are needed for whatever dish I need it for throughout the week.  The second thing I do is make a HUGE batch of my Crockpot Marinara (I typically double the recipe in the link), I always have one jar in the fridge and several in the freezer.  I use the coupon method to buy the cans needed for this recipe too.

If I do the above prep work and my typical meal planning I can pull together a wholesome and delicious weeknight meal in minutes.  Now that you know my secrets here’s the recipe for my Stuffed Zucchini Boats.  I truly hope you and your family enjoy this recipe as much as my Rinos and I do.

Continue reading


Best Bra Buying Guide

Best Bra Buying Guide

Our boobs are very dear to our hearts.  <—–See what I did there?  Over the years, they’ve gotten us attention, fed our children, made our swimsuits stay in place, and are always a good time.  If yours are anything like mine, they’ve had quite the evolution of growth and, unfortunately, shrinkage leaving me constantly in search of the best fitting over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder for the latest state of my girls.  It drives me crazy!  All I really want are a sizable set of twins that look happy and stand alone.  Is that too much to ask?  Sometimes when I take my bra off I feel like I hear the old “wah, wah” sound effect.

The other day, it struck me that I really needed the Best Bra Buying Guide in my life.  I was wearing a bra from Target that was probably 6 years old.  It had misshapen cups, squeaked when I moved my arms (WTH?), and had a gap in one cup (Ahhh, the joys of having kids).  Sounds like a real beaut, amIright?  It had been far too long since I’d bought any “good” bras.  There really is nothing better than the best fitting bra.  It can make your whole day better.  So I went to the store, got fitted, and tried some about 25.  I left $60 lighter but way perkier than when I went in to the store.  Finally, my best bra!

Here’s a roundup of tips and tricks from Pinterest that add up to the Best Bra Buying Guide.  You can follow my Fashion Board here or see all my boards here.

Continue reading


Save Money in 2015

Save Money in 2015

Who doesn’t want to save money?  No one, that’s who!  We all want to get more for less.  It feels better to buy something if you have a coupon, or if it’s on sale, and something for free is a thrill.  In an effort to save more money in 2015, I recently researched ways spend less.  All the “new” tips I came across seamed like things I didn’t want to do.  For example:

  • cut my husbands hair (Pretty sure he would run and hide if I suggested this.)
  • get rid of cable (C’mon!)
  • create your own preschool with friends at home (I’m not that smart.)

Yeah, I’m not doing any of those things.  Then there was the things we already do:

  • turn the thermostat down in the winter (68°) and up in the summer (76°),
  • meal plan
  • collect loose change.  (Isn’t it fun when you turn your loose change in?  It’s sorta like free money!)

There were also good reminders:

  • turn off the lights when you’re not in the room
  • unplug appliances when you’re not using them
  • use the dryer in the AM in the summer and the PM in the winter

Those are easy things I definitely need to get better at.  I also need a reminder every now and then to follow my own program.  It’s an effective and fairly easy one to follow, but it does take a little extra effort and sometimes I’m in a rush or forgetful or too lazy to do certain things.

I cut my weekly spending in half about 5 years ago, I’m going to tell you how I did it so you can save money in 2015.

Continue reading


Table Topics and MLK Lessons


One of my happiest moments of the week came just last night at dinner with my hubby and kiddos.  We were using Table Topics to start conversations and I just loved all the responses.  It was such a fun experience to hear answers from my kids to questions like “Where is the most beautiful drive you’ve taken?”.  After that I asked my daughter to explain to her brother what she learned in school about Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.  I was very proud and very impressed to hear that what her teacher had explained to her had really stayed with her.  I volunteered in her classroom last week and was present for the lesson.  Listening to my daughter speak about how unfair those times were really touched me, I think Dr. King Jr. would have been very proud to hear that much passion from such a little person.  Who knew that Table Topics and MLK lessons could bring so much happiness?

Continue reading