A Spot of Tea?

A Spot of Tea?

Would you like a spot of tea?

a spot of tea

Most people associate tea with England, but tea was actually discovered by accident in China. According to legend, an emperor’s water was being boiled when some tea leaves fell into the water. The emperor tasted the brew and found it a refreshing drink.

The British tradition of tea began with the Duchess of Bedford in the 1800s. During that time period only two daily meals were served: breakfast and dinner. Anna, the Duchess of Bedford, wanted to have an afternoon snack so that she wouldn’t be so hungry while waiting on dinner. Sheinvted some friends to have snacks and tea. This became very popular with Victorian ladies who turned the whole affair into a tea party. The menu included an invention from the 7th Earl of Sandwich – the sandwich.

High Tea or Low Tea?

Originally there were two types of tea time – Low Tea and High Tea.

Low tea was an afternoon snack for the upper classes and was taken between 3:00 and 4:00. It was very formal and usually eaten in fancy hotels like the Ritz. The menu include decliately cut cucumber sandwiches, scones or crumpets with jam and clotted cream, tea cakes, and of course, tea. Today this is called ‘High Tea’.

For the working class, High Tea is the evening meal that we call dinner or supper. It was the main evening meal eaten when everyone got home from work usually between 5:00 and 6:00. The menu was heavy and included items such as roast beef and mashed potatoes.

Sometimes High Tea was eaten at a tea shop or restaurant. The phrase “High” tea refers to the way tea was originally taken – at a tall stool in a tea shop or standing up near a buffet table. Today High Tea is called ‘tea’.

CLICK HERE – Read about High Tea at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art

pouring a spot of tea

High Tea Ettiquette

*Sugar is added after the tea is prepared.

*Milk is added to the cup before the tea is poured.

*Milk is served luke warm so it doesn’t cool the tea too quickly.

*Tea is served hot.

*Lemon is not offered to someone who has asked for milk because lemon juice will curdle milk.

*Dipping things, such as cookies, into tea is not acceptable.

*Tisanes, herbal or fruit teas, are not served.

Tea is enjoyed in great quantities all over the world! It is second only to water in the amount consumed.

In the United States, tea is a popular beverage at any time of day. While 44 billion cups of tea are consumed in the United States each year, most people don’t know much about tea. All they’ve seen in the Lipton tea bag. People are really missing out because there are more than 3000 varieties of tea flavors.

Why you should drink tea –

Black tea helps you lower your cortisol levels/stress hormones. Drinking black tea helps you recover from a stressful situation. What parent can’t use that??

Types of Tea

There are actually 4 different types of teas: white, green, black, and oolong for you to choose from when you are craving a spot of tea. They are all the same leaf from the Camellia Sinensis plant, but the leaves are processed differently.

White Tea

White tea is pretty rare. This type of tea is made from the buds of the plant rather than the leaves. The buds are dried without any processing.

Green Tea

Green tea is lightly processed and has a light and mild taste. It is served in Asian restuarnas because people in the Orient prefer this type of tea.

Green tea can be flavored, too. Green tea is the most studied type of tea because the first medical studies on tea were done in Japan and China where green tea is most popular. Later studies have shown that all tea can be very good for you.

Black Tea

Black tea is the most common tea in the United States and England. It is green tea that has been fermented for about 6 hours. Fermentation turns the leaves black.

Oolong Tea

Oolong tea is semi fermented which means that it isn’t fermented as long as the black tea. This tea is popular in Taiwan and China. This one is my favorite and has a really different flavor than black or green tea.

tea leaves for a spot of tea

Grading of Teas

Tea leaves are graded. This means that tea leaves are ranked based on the quality and condition of the leaves. As you would expect, whole leaves without any damage are the most valuable and the least valuable is really just the crumbs and dust leftover from the processing.

Tea is hand picked using only the balls of the finger tips. Using a machine or a fingernail would bruise the leaves.

Grading System for Tea – Whole Leaf and Broken Leaf

Whole Leaf Celyon Orange Pekoe

Orange Pekoe (OP) – main grade – long leaf without tips

Flowery Orange Pekoe – HIGH quality tea with a long leaf and a few tips

Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe

Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe

Finest Tippy Golden Flowery Orange Pekoe – the highest grade

Broken Leaf Grades of Tea

Broken Tea

Broken Pekoe

Broken Pekoe Souchong

Flowery Pekoe

Broken Orange Pekoe

Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe

Finest Broken Orange Pekoe Flowery

Golden Broken Orange Pekoe

Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe

Tippy Golden Flowery Broken Orange Pekoe

Fannings Grades of Tea

Fannings are the small pieces of tea that are left over after the higher grades are collected.

Dust Grades of Tea

Dust is the smallest pieces after leaves and fanning are collected.

How do the grades of tea taste different?

When you steep tea the flavor comes out of the part of the leaf that touches the water. So, the more parts of the tea leaf that touches the water the stronger the flavor. So, the cheap grades like fanning and dust are the strongest.

Benefits of Tea

*Tea makes your bones stronger! 

Studies to try to determine why weak bones, osteoporosis, is more common in Western cultures than in Asian cultures were held by Dr. Shen at Texas Tech University showed that drinking 4-6 cups of green tea daily gave favorable effects to those who had signs of pre-osteoporosis.

Tea calms the gut and Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms:

The best teas for calming the gut are peppermint tea, anise tea, chamomile tea, turmeric tea, and fennel tea.

*Tea improves your short term memory.

A study in Switzerland shows that drinking green tea helps parts of your brain communicate in a way that improves memory.

*Tea lowers your bad cholesterol levels. 

Tea lowers your LDL cholesterol (the type of cholesterol that clogs arteries). Several studies have shown that teas, both green and black affect cholesterol and can be a good part of a program to keep your cholesterol in check.

What’s in a Lipton Tea bag?

Dust! Open one to see for yourself.

Health Benefits of Tea

Tea contains lots of compounds called polyphenols. These compounds work in your body to keep you healthy. They can help prevent wrinkles, hear disease, cavities, and cancer.

One study showed that fruit flies who drank water with green tea lived 20% longer than the other fruit flies. This suggests that drinking tea may increase longevity in hans. Also, drinking tea has proven to lower your risk of stroke and shorten the duration of a cold or flu.

Health Benefits of Tea – Cancer Prevention

Experiments have shown tea to stop cancer growth and shrink cancer tumors. Green tea has also proven to be effective when applied directly to the skin so many cosmetic companies are now adding to their products.

Health Benefits of Tea – Cavity Prevention

Tea contains 2 substances that act like antibiotics: tannin and polyphenols. These substances kill the bacteria that contribute to tooth decay. Additionally, tea contains fluoride which also gives teeth some protection from decay.

How Does Tea Prevent Cancer?

Each cell in your body has a coating with a really long name __________. For ease in the paragraph, let’s just call that coating BAD.  Bad is a protein that causes cells to grown bigger. When cells reach a certain size they divide. This is good when you are growing new eyelash cells, but not good if you are growing cancerous cells.

One compound in tea, again with a really long name _______, let’s just call this one GOOD, stops the BAD from working. If BAD isn’t working then the cancerous cells don’t grown and divide. Instead, they just shrink and die. The shrink and die process is called apoptosis.

Tea has been shown to prevent cell mutation,  prevent growth of cancerous cells, and shrink cancerous tumors.

Health Benefits of Cinnamon Tea

The benefits of cinnamon tea are many! Cinnamon is actually the bark of a tree and cinnamon tea doesn’t have any leaves from the Camellia Sinensis.

The active ingredient in cinnamon tea is cinnamaldehyde but other compounds also leach from the cinnamon bark when you make tea such as coumarin, linalool, cinnamic acid, proanthocyanidins, and catachins.

These compounds together have several really valuable health benefits such as:

*Blood Sugar Regulation

*Weight Loss

*Can be used to treat nail fungus and mouth ulcers

*Immune system strengthening

*Improves Digestion

*Improving brain functions! Improving focus, concentration, and improving thinking speed

*Inflammation Reduction

*****Too much cinnamon tea is bad for you! Use in moderation.

How Much Tea do I Need to Drink?

It is estimated that drinking one cup of tea an hour would be required to keep the GOOD levels in your body constant. So drink tea frequently throughout the day.

More tea is better because the more you drink, the more you lower your risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, and premature aging. In the studies the subjects drink 3 cups of the per day, but even one cup of day will give you some benefit. There is one exception; however, tea contains tannins which interfere with the absorption of iron. So make sure you don’t take your iron supplement within an hour of drinking tea.

tea bags for making a spot of tea

Invention of the Tea Bag

The tea bag was invented in 1908 by Thomas Sullivan in New York. It allowed tea to be made without the mess of loose tea leaves and quickly became popular with restaurants.

The tea bag didn’t find popularity in England until the beginning of public television. At that point, commercials were too short to brew a proper cup of tea, but the tea bag shortened the process. A tea bag made it possible to have your cup of tea and not miss any of your favorite television show!

Caffeine or De-Caffeinated?

To caffeine or not caffeine, that is the question.

Tea has roughly half the amount of caffein as coffee. However; some people don’t like to  drink caffeine at all. Fortunately, tea can be processed to remove the caffeine. This process doesn’t lower the affects of of the polyphenols or change the taste. Decaffeinated tea is the best of both worlds!

Hot Tea or Cold Tea?

Iced tea was invented at the World’s Fair in 1904. The World’s Fair in St. Louis that year and it was very, very hot. Richard Blechynder, a tea plantation owner, traveled to the fair with the intention of introducing his tea by giving away samples. People were not interested in his hot drink and Mr. Blechynder was worried about losing the money he had spent on his trip. He poured his tea over ice and voila, iced tea was born. It never caught on in Mr. Blechynder’s homeland of England, but it is still the preferred choice in the United States. The United States is the only country in the world where iced tea is served more than hot tea.

Sweet Tea or Unsweet Tea?

One way to drink iced tea is called ‘sweet tea’ and is commonly found in the south of the United States. Sweet tea has been consumed happily in the US since 1879.

Sweet tea is not just tea that sugar is added to. When you order unsweet tea and then pour sugar or a sweetened like splenda you do NOT get what is officially known in the south at ‘sweet tea’.

Sweet Tea Recipe from Allrecipes

1 pinch of baking soda

2 cups boiling water

6 tea bags

3/4 cup white sugar

6 cups cool water

  1. Sprinkle baking soda into 64 ounce glass pitcher. It is a good idea to prime the glass with some hot water from the tap so the shock of boiling water doesn’t break the pitcher.
  2. Add the boiling water and then add tea bags. Cover and allow the tea bags to steep for 15 minutes. Set  a timer because of any more than that and the tea will get bitter.
  3. Remove the tea bags and throw away. (Extra credit if you add the tea leaves to your flower bed. Flowers love tea leaves.)
  4. Stir in sugar until it dissolves. Then add cool water and stir again.
  5. Refrigerate until it is cold and serve over ice.

Options:

I love to add a sprig of mint to the top. It is pretty and tasty, too!

Some people love a slice of lemon added to their tea but for me it ruins the sweet taste!

Don’t leave out the baking soda! It neutralizes the tannins and makes the tea less bitter.

I personally enjoy drinking my sweet tea warm in a pretty tea cup.

Should you add anything to your tea?

Some people like to drink their tea plain while others like to add something to it. Additions include: lemon, milk, honey, mint leaves, or a sweetener. None of the additions take away from the benefits of drinking tea.

In England, tea is sometime taken with milk. This tradition started because tea was so expensive. The upper class took their tea without milk because they could afford it. The middle class drink their tea with a little milk to make the tea go farther. The lower class drank milk with a little bit of the expensive tea added for flavor.

The most common sweetener is sugar. You can use table sugar but rock candy use as a swizzle stick adds sugar and is really cute, too! Just stir the hot tea with the swizzler and the sugar will dissolve and sweeten the tea. Kids love this!

Artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin.

Flavors are fun, too. Luzianne makes several liquid flavorings like Strawberry-Kiwi, Raspberry, and Peach.

Other Uses for Tea:

Tea can also act as a natural deodorant. The tannins in tea act as an anti perspirant. Sweaty feet, for example, can be soaked in tea for up to 20 minutes and will smell sweet for up to 3 days!

Tea bags can be used to lessen puffy eyes. Let the tea bag cool after you brew your tea. Then, place cool tea bags over your eyes and lie down for 15 minutes.

Tannin in tea also encourages clotting of blood. Tea bags can be used when a baby tooth falls out. Have your little one bite on a tea bag after a tooth falls out to stop the bleeding.

oolong tea leaves for a spot of tea.

Herbal Teas

Tea from the camellia plant is not to be confused with the herbal tea of fruit tea. Herbal and fruit teas are not made with actual the, but instead used the leaves, bark, stems, etc. of other plants. Europeans use the term tisanes when speaking of herbal or fruit teas.

Herbal teas can be used for a variety of purposes, Popular herbal teas include: peppermint, spearmint, chamomile, and fennel. Each herb offers a different benefit without caffeine. Chamomile and Kava Kava teas are used to promote relaxation so they are great teas to drink before bedtime.

Chamomile and mint teas are used for an upset stomach. Fennel tea can be used as a mild expectorant. Ginger tea can be a great remedy for motion sickness and is also used for symptom relief with migraines and arthritis.

Drink Tea to Prevent Parkinson’s Disease

A 12 year study in China of people who drank tea showed that people who drank black tea every day – about 6 days a week,  were 71% LESS likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, the study showed that more is better so the more tea you drink the less likely you are to develop the disease.

5 cups per month = 11% less likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease

5 – 23 cups a month = 45 % lower risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease

6 cups per week = 71% less likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease

Tea and Arthritis

The polyphenols in teas have anti- inflammatory effects. The most effective polyphenol in green tea is epigallocatechin 3-galllate and it is 100 times stronger with antioxidant effects than both vitamin C and E.

All of the above and tea is delicious! Enjoy a cup today and feel good about it, too.

Adventures by Mom

tea photos about having a spot of tea

 

 

 

To wear underwear, or not to wear underwear? That is the question.

To wear underwear, or not to wear underwear? That is the question.

Boys, what do you mean, you don’t have on underwear?

boys' underwear

What is it with men and boys not wearing underwear? I truly don’t understand it. Maybe, because I’m a girl? There have been a number of instances that have convinced me to give up the fight. Forget the underwear, focus on showering, teeth-brushing, and deodorant wearing. 

No Underwear – at the Doctor’s office

The first time I was made aware of my oldest son not wearing underwear, was by our pediatrician. Harley knew he would need a vaccination at his 11 year check up. I knew he would freak out, and have an all out fit about going. So, I did what any good mother would do. I tricked him.

Me: Harley, go take a shower. I have to run some errands, and you need to go with me.

He whined and fussed a bit about the shower, but 20 minutes later, we were out the door.

Half way through the drive, his brow furrowed.

Harley: We are going to the doctor, aren’t we.

Me: Yes. We are.

Harley: I don’t want to go. I’ll have to get a shot, and I HATE shots.

Me: Yes, I know you HATE shots, but they keep you healthy and safe. So…you are going. And, besides, the doctor just likes to make sure you are growing and everything is the way it should be.

He wasn’t happy. We waited a bit before being called back. The nurse came in and took all the vitals; asked if we had any concerns or questions. When she was done, she assured us the doctor would be in shortly. Then, we waited a bit more for the doctor to come in. She listened to his breathing, his heart, checked his reflexes, listened to his stomach. She turned to me and said, “Mom, I need to check his boy parts to make sure everything is developing and growing as it should be.” She looked at Harley and said, “I am going to look at your boy parts, okay?”

He blushed a bit, but agreed. She lifted the waistband of his shorts, looked in, and looked at me. She asked, “Mom, are you aware he isn’t wearing underwear?” I could feel my face begin to turn red and my eyes widen. I saw Harley turning red and a sheepish grin spread over his face. I didn’t know what to say. No, I wasn’t aware. He took a shower. He was clean. No underwear? Who does that!?! 

The doctor laughed. She said not to worry as it apparently is more common than most moms would like to admit. Once she was done, she told Harley he was growing as he should be. His height and weight were good for his age. The nurse came in, gave him his shot with minor commotion and panic involved.

We wrapped up the well doctor visit and went ice cream. Ice cream fixes almost everything from the pinch of a shot to the shock of finding out your son isn’t wearing underwear. 

No Underwear – Pants shopping

Flash forward a couple of months, and we have our first cold front in Texas. This means we need new pants. It’s warm enough most of the year to wear shorts. The first cold snap is when you realize how much your children have grown. So, off to Target we go. Hubby needed new pants for work. Both boys needed new jeans for school, as it was too cold for shorts. Everyone gets the size they think they need, and we head to the dressing rooms. The boys go in one. My husband stands there.

“Aren’t you going to try those on? They might be too short, or too tight depending on how they are made.”

The hubby replied, “No, they’ll be okay.”

Me: Really, I’m not returning them for you. Go try them on.

Hubby: I can’t.

Me: Why not?

Hubby: I’m not wearing underwear.

Me: Deep sigh, shaking of head.

So, I go to the dressing room door where the wild boys were sent with their respective new pants.

I ask, “How’s it going? Do they fit? Do you need a different size?”

Harley comes out.

Me: Did they fit?

Harley: Ummmm, I’m not sure.

Me:  What do you mean? It’s not hard. You put them on. Either they fit, or they don’t.

Harley: I can’t put them on.

Me: Why not? Help me understand. I don’t want to have to bring things back. It’s a pain to return things. Please go try them on. 

Harley: I’m not wearing underwear.

My last words for the shopping trip: Go stand with your father.

No underwear: What changed?

Eventually boys will start wearing underwear. What changes? Age and. . . .having to dress out for Junior High PE. The change is short lived. Once they are comfortable and on their own – they stop wearing underwear again. They think no one will know. Boys! What was I thinking!?!

Easter Egg Hunt for Older Kids

Easter Egg Hunt for Older Kids

Easter Egg Hunt for Older Kids

Easter isn’t just for the little guys. Easter activities can be for the older kids, too! You never outgrow the desire to have fun with your family and no one ever outgrows the desire for candy either!

When the kids are tiny all you have to do for an Easter egg hunt is lay a few plastic eggs on the ground. When they get a little bit bigger you can actually ‘hide’ a few. No matter how old the kids get, Easter egg hunts can still be a lot of fun.

This year’s activity for the Easter Egg Hunt for the older kids involves movies and movie quotes! I took some of our favorite movie quotes, typed them up and put them into plastic eggs. On Easter, I’m giving the kids a list of movies. The idea is to find the eggs and the match the movie quote to the movie. Each egg also has some candy it because = seriously jelly beans are awesome, right?

If you have older kids you want to entertain on Easter print off these movies and movie quote lists for your own Easter Egg hunt for the older kids. You never get too old for fun and candy!

PRINT the quotes to put into eggs.

Cut into strips, fold, and insert in plastic Easter Eggs.
Cut into strips, fold, and insert in plastic Easter Eggs.
Cut into strips, fold, and insert in plastic Easter Eggs.
Cut into strips, fold, and insert in plastic Easter Eggs.
Cut into strips, fold, and insert in plastic Easter Eggs.
Cut into strips, fold, and insert in plastic Easter Eggs.

 

Cut into strips, fold, and insert in plastic Easter Eggs.
Cut into strips, fold, and insert in plastic Easter Eggs.
Cut into strips, fold, and insert in plastic Easter Eggs.
Cut into strips, fold, and insert in plastic Easter Eggs.

Next, PRINT the movie list for matching. I like to have the kids work together rather than compete. Sometimes one quote is more memorable to one kid than another. The kid is just to have fun anyway – not to win. When the movies and quotes are all matched up – everyone gets a chocolate bunny.

Easter Egg Hunt Movie Titles 2
Print and give a copy to the kids so they can match the movie with the movie quote.
Print and give a copy to the kids so they can match the movie with the movie quote.

Let us know what sort of activities you do with your older kids? We’d love to hear all about it!

 

Junior High! Here we come. . .

Junior High! Here we come. . .

Junior High- a whole new world

are entrepreneurs born or made

So, we went to Harley’s 6th grade parent orientation. The counselor spoke about changing hormones, growth and development. . . basically what we were headed for with our son this year. The assistant principal spoke about what we could do to help our children make a smooth transition. This included things like, practicing using his combination lock, helping him organize his backpack and binder, and changing clothes quickly.

This last bit caught my attention.

Getting my son dressed in the morning can take numerous reminders to get the socks….now the shoes…tie them….brush the teeth….don’t forget deodorant. Where are the glasses?  Each reminder requires a return to the bathroom, or bedroom. This is life with ADHD. 

Now, he’s going to have to get dressed quickly at school!?! By himself? In just minutes?

Well, apparently students have between 3 and 5 minutes to change for PE and make it into the gym for warm ups. If they are focused, and doing what they should be, this shouldn’t be an issue. And, after PE, they have about the same amount of time, maybe a minute or two longer, to shower, if they want, and change back into school clothes for class.

When my husband and I arrived home, I told Harley he needed to practice changing clothes quickly.

Harley: “Why? I’m not getting undressed at school.”

Me: “Yes, you will because you have to dress out for PE,” I explained.

Harley: He got a slightly panicked, puzzled look on his face and asked, ” You mean people will see me get undressed? But, that means I have to wear underwear.” (He hates to wear underwear, and has been known to go commando on more than one occasion.)

Me: “Yes, you will need to wear underwear, but no worries. Everyone else will be changing too. Everyone will be nervous and worried, just like you. It will be like your brother in the locker room at hockey practice.”

Harley: “Oh.” I could tell he still wasn’t on board with the idea.

Me: I explained at the end of PE he would be able to take a shower, and get dressed for class.

Harley: “NO WAY! I am not getting naked at school.”

Me: I went on to explain, he could keep baby wipes (“Mom, I’m not a baby.”) and deodorant in his locker for after class.

Harley: “Mom, can’t I just spray myself with Febreeze? It smells nice and fresh. Then I wouldn’t need baby wipes, or deodorant, or to be naked at school.”

That’s my boy.

Junior High – An Entrepreneur is Born

We are three weeks into the school year, and getting dressed out for PE is no big deal now.

Because I refused to allow my son to spray himself with Febreeze after PE (#meanmom) and insisted on sending baby wipes and deodorant for his gym locker, he has become quite the entrepreneur.

At dinner this evening, he shared the fact that he’s chosen for football because he’s good at snapping the ball.

And, his friends owe him money.

Me: What? Friends owe you money?

He went on to share that everyone asks for his baby wipes because no one wants to take a shower, yet they don’t want to be stinky. He said he was selling them for $1.00 a wipe.  I’m proud that he’s smart, and aware of the whole supply and demand thing. I just hope he’s joking because he would most likely get in trouble for selling baby wipes.

He then said he’d like to take extra water bottles with him to school. He thinks he can get $5.00 a bottle.

My hubby asked, “Don’t you think people would use the water fountain for free?”

He replied, “No, Dad. The water is warm. The line is slow, and they make you go fast, so you are still really thirsty.”

Smart boy…. my son, the entrepreneur.

gym lockers

What are your kids up to at school? What do I have to look forward to next?

 

Taco Tuesday Taco Recipe

Taco Tuesday Taco Recipe

What’s for dinner? Tacos are a crowd pleaser and are simple to make! Make it any day of the week but it is fun to call it ‘Taco Tuesday’ just like in the Lego movie.

Simple and Easy Taco Recipe

simple taco recipe

A quick and easy week night dinner is tacos. We use the left-overs later in the week for nachos, or quesadillas.

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ small white onion diced
  • 1 tspn garlic powder
  • 1 tspn cumin
  • 2 to 2 ½  T chili powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Tortillas
  • refried beans
  • shredded cheese

Add a little oil (olive, vegetable, canola will work fine) to the pan. Next add the diced onions. Once they are starting to turn a translucent white, add your ground beef (you could use whatever ground meat you prefer.) Then add the other seasonings. Cook the meat on a medium-high heat. Stir occasionally to keep from burning. Taste when it’s done to see if you need to add anything. It’s always better to add at the end, than use too much to start with, especially when it comes to things that are spicy!

I use store bought: canned refried beans, shredded cheese, and flour tortillas.

If you have a tortilla warmer, you can wrap the tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Sometimes we add diced tomato, roughly chopped cilantro, and sour cream. Diced avocado, or guacamole is another favorite topping to add.

I love this tortilla warmer!

CLICK HERE  for the BEST guacamole recipe ever!

Recipes, Tacos recipe, taco tuesday, homemade tacos
Tacos – a quick, easy family favorite.

For this quick and easy taco recipe it only takes about 20 to 30 minutes to cook. If you get your teen/tweens in the kitchen with you it can cut down on the time you spend prepping, or stirring the meat.

Do you have a ‘go to’ meal for busy week day meals? I’d love to hear all about it!

Personal Finance – Control your money

Personal Finance – Control your money

Who remembers the commercial: ‘This is your brain on drugs’?

Today we are going to talk about money, math, and your brain on math about money.

**Try saying that three times fast!**

First of all a confession. I am not a math person. By that I mean I still pause to remember multiplication facts I have been trying to memorize since I was in the 4th grade. I’m seriously beginning to think that isn’t going to happen. 😉

Math has always been a thorn in my side and I detest having to use it with every single fiber in my being.

BUT

Two things make the world go round –

  1. Love – and all that goes with it 😉
  2. Money – which requires knowledge of Satan’s tool – math

So, if you are EVER EVER going to understand and use math – do it in the math arena. If you have trouble with the math get help! A financial planner might just be the answer to your math problems.

I read an interesting article recently to determine whether or not people understood math concepts with – or without help.

Insert face palm here. DUH!!! I hope they didn’t spend a lot of money on a stupid study like that because only Einstein would do better in math without help. And remember, this is the guy who didn’t remember to brush his hair in the morning so math ability without help isn’t everything, clearly. AND – who let him out of the house like that??

But, the research was done and lo, and behold, observe the shocking results:

21% of people were more relaxed doing math with help

28% stronger ability to understand concepts with help

20% less effort was needed to concentrate on math tasks with help

What does this Earth shattering scientific study mean to you?

It means you should consider a financial planner.

WARNING – A Financial Planner is NOT just for ‘rich’ people.

As a matter of fact, a financial planner makes even more sense for people who aren’t rich. We are the people who need to pay close attention to our money! For example, someone made of money like Paris Hilton hardly needs to worry about her money because she has plenty no matter what smart or stupid decision she makes about it.

Having enough money saved for retirement, college tuition, medical expenses, and life in general is not a happy accident. Being financially prepared for the future takes planning and attention.

Planning for your financial future can be hard and confusing, too. You don’t have to do it alone. Get some help to figure out how to make the MOST of your money.

Consider using a financial planner to:

*maximize your savings

*prepare for college tuition

*be ready for retirement

* have a fund for medical expenses

There are LOTS of financial planners to choose from. Sometimes their services can be free to you. Does your company offer one? Check with your bank to see if they can be of assistance.

piggy bank financial planning

Make your money WORK for you! Heaven knows you WORK for it! Make YOUR dreams come true.

control your finances

 

Funny Words of Wisdom

Funny Words of Wisdom

Funny Words of Wisdom

Are you feeling wise today? Want to feel wise today? Get a chuckle out of these funny words of wisdom and pass along to any friends who also need a little bit of humor and wisdom in their life!Yoda funny words of wisdom

You know you’re a mom when you understand why Momma Bear’s porridge was cold.Funny words of wisdom, you know you're a mom when

Motherhood: Powered by love. Fueled by coffee. Sustained by wine.

I love cleaning up messes I didn’t make. That’s why I became a mom.

Behind every mom is a full basket of dirty laundry.

If exercising patience burned calories, I’d be a Victoria Secret model by now!funny words of wisdom, if exercising patience burned calories,

Mother: noun. 1. One person who does the world of twenty. For free. (See also: masochist, loony, saint)

I love all my children equally. Except for the one that sleeps. I love that one more.

Becoming a mother makes you realize you can do almost anything with one hand.

My hairdo is called, “I have kids.”

If a woman speaks and no one listens, her name is probably Mom.

Nothing is really lost until mom can’t find it.funny words of wisdom

Good moms let you lick the beaters. Great moms turn them off first.

My mom doesn’t just enjoy guilt trips. She runs the travel agency.

May your coffee be strong and your nap time long.

Cleaning house with the kids at home is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos.

Love quotes? We do, too! Add YOUR favorite quote to the comment below and we’ll add it.

CLICK here to read travel quotes from some of our favorite travel bloggers.

Thanks for joining us on this crazy MOM adventure. We want to hear from you! Tell us your crazy mom adventure stories.

Adventures by MOM

 

 

 

Simple French Toast Recipe

Simple French Toast Recipe

French Toast Recipe  – A quick and easy breakfast that just looks fancy!

Simple french toast recipe on a plate

Breakfast can be quick and easy, or a huge ordeal. Don’t worry if cooking isn’t your forte because this simple French Toast recipe is quick and easy – anyone can whip up this delicious breakfast.

French toast looks like it was a huge ordeal to make, but it’s really easy! Don’t be intimated! You can make it for your family and friends. Some people like to sprinkle powdered sugar on French Toast. I know I do! My boys prefer to cover their toast in a lake of syrup. Either way, you can’t go wrong.

simple french toast recipe
A quick easy breakfast!

One top of this simple french toast recipe just add some fresh fruit like blackberries, or strawberries to sneak in those servings of fruits and veggies!

simple french toast recipe

Simple French Toast Recipe – Steps by step photo guide

I don’t know about you, but it helps if I can see what things are supposed to look like through the process.

simple French Toast recipe
What should all the steps look like?

Simple French Toast Recipe  – French Toast is not French!

Guess what! French toast is not French. The French actually call this type of breakfast ‘pain perdu’ which means lost bread. The bread is ‘lost’ because stale bread actually works best in this recipe than fresh bread.

Recipes for French toast date as early as the Roman Empire – early 5th century AD.

So, why do we call this recipe French toast instead of Roman toast or Lost Bread? Well, in 1724 the modern version of French toast was created by Joseph French.

So, why isn’t it called French’s toast? Mr. Joseph French was really good at creating wonderful breakfast creations but not so good at grammar. He forgot the apostrophe so his wonderful creation when down in history as French Toast and people everywhere think it was invented in France.

Simple French Toast Recipe – Powdered Sugar

Toppings can really ‘customize’ your french toast. Powdered sugar is a must in my house!

Get a really fine dusting of powdered sugar with this fancy sugar shaker called a dredge!
Simple French Toast Recipe – Syrup Choices

Don’t get locked in to just one flavor of syrup. Maple is a tried and true but syrup comes in so many wonderful flavors. Shake things up a bit and go for something new and different!


Try this pretty syrup dispenser to make it a fancy party!

If you give it a try, I’d love to hear how it worked out! Post your thoughts and photos for us to see!

Simple french toast recipe on a plate

Don’t Waste Money with Credit Cards

Don’t Waste Money with Credit Cards

Waste Money – Are you making these costly mistakes?

save money series 2

Isn’t it awful to use the words ‘waste’ and ‘money’ in the same sentence? Don’t you work WAY too hard and spend WAY to many hours earning your money to waste any? It is crazy but true. Most people actually waste  some of their money.

Are the bills from Christmas STILL coming in? Bummed about how there is never enough money left over for the fun stuff in life? Worried about how to have enough money left over for retirement? College tuition? Travel?

You are NOT alone!

This, 2018, is the year to take control over your finances. Save money! Stop wasting money! HAVE money left over for the finer things in life. Yes, you, too, can manage your finances.

Piggy bank standing on money

First, if you missed the first article in this series – Step  1, helps you find out where your money is going!

CLICK HERE to read the first step in the Save Money Series.

Are you *gasp* wasting money?

Are you wasting money? piggy bank cash

Examine these common money wasters to see if you need to make a few chances that can add up to BIG savings over this year!

Waste Money – Credit Cards

We all know that Credit cards are a necessary evil. We use them for all sorts of reasons and life would be a lot more complicated without them. However; if you don’t play your cards right (English teacher humor there – pun intended) those little credit card devils can cause you a lot of heartache.

You don’t need to break up with your credit cards, but you might want to take along hard look at them to make the best choices possible for your family’s financial security.

Waste Money – How much debt?

We all know the best interest rate is the one you don’t pay because you pay off your credit card bill in full each month. If you are able to do that – Yeah you! because you would be in the very small minority.

The average credit card holder has a lot of debt they carry from month to month. Interestingly this amount varies by state.

States with the MOST credit card debt per person:

  1. Alaska  $10,091
  2. Wyoming  $8,979
  3. California  $8,917

States with the LEAST credit card debt per person:

  1. South Carolina  $5,406
  2. Rhode Island $5,387
  3. Maine  $5,346

When you carry a credit card balance from month to month you do 2 things:

  1. ADD charges each month from your regular spending
  2. ADD fees from interest

If you carry a credit card balance you are basically digging yourself a debt hold and you are making that hole deeper and deeper each month. OUCH!!

Waste Money – Credit Card Interest

Talk about highway robbery! Take a look at how much interest your credit card is charging you. I highly recommend sitting down before reading because that number could really big BIG! An adult beverage might make that number easier to absorb.

The average credit card interest rate is 12.5%. What does that mean? Well ‘average’ means there are credit cards that have much higher rates – like 27% and there are credit cards that have lower rates. See out the lowest interest rate you can find!

Thankfully the highest interest rates credit card companies can legally charge is 29.99%.

There is a lot of nitty gritty information regarding credit card APRs and interest rates. If you are so inclined,

CLICK HERE to read the mind numbing info on credit card interest rates.

When you are looking at credit cards, interest rates is only one part of the puzzle.

Consider these three things when choosing a credit card.

  1. interest rate
  2. rewards for spending
  3. yearly fee

CLICK HERE  to find a list of low interest credit cards.

Chase Slate looks especially good. It costs $0 to transfer your balance from your current card, 0% interest rates for 15 months (and during that time you can pay down your balance) and $0 yearly fee. Check out Chase Slate here to get all the nitty gritty rules.

****I get NO money for this information.****

We love rewards! Pick and choose the best credit card rewards for you. My favorite is getting miles for each purchase which we then use for travel.

CLICK HERE tips for How to Afford Travel

I HATE yearly fees. I’m just personally offended by them. I mean, I already pay them interest and they want me to pay to carry the card around in my wallet? Um, no thank you.

BUT

If you do the math (OMG – hate math even more than cooking) some of the credit cards that have yearly fees are so worth it. Bite the bullet and do the math. It will be worth it!

Waste Money – Examine your credit card bill

One of the money and soul sucking ways credit cards can get the best of you is through automatic billing.

Remember that $7.99 a month membership you bought to help your 2nd grader with spelling? Even if you don’t….the credit card remembers and your 2nd grader is now 16 years old. Stop paying for things you don’t need anymore.

Take one evening to sit down and go over your credit card bill in detail to find out how much you are accidentally paying this way. Chances are good it will add up to more than you think. Don’t feel bad if this is you! It is really easy in our super busy world to let things like this slip. No biggie.

Make a list of things you want to cancel so you can start the process. I say process because companies love getting money every month – forever- and do NOT make it easy to stop. Be prepared to call, wait, and send emails – more than once.

It will be painful but worth it! Personally,l I have found it hardest to get out of gym memberships (even after leaving the state where the gym is located), alarm company contracts and cable memberships. We have moved quite a bit over the last 17 years so I’ve had more than once chance to go through this lovely process.

BUT – who are they to think they can just keep taking your money forever? Show them who is boss of YOUR money and be persistent. It will pay off.

Waste Money – Choose Wisely

Everyone makes mistakes. Don’t beat yourself up about it if you realize now that you’ve made some mistakes with your money. Just move forward doing a better job now.

I love this quote by Maya Angelou

“Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better.”

So, now you know better so you can spend 2018 doing better with your money!

We’d love to hear all about your credit card experiences so leave your story below in the comments.

If you want to hear more from us, check out our sister blogs!

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Pixie Dust Queen – Disney Planning with Pixie Dust

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The Educational Tourist – Raise Global Citizens through Travel

 

Mom adventure- Please don’t put popcorn in your ear.

Mom adventure- Please don’t put popcorn in your ear.

Mom adventure

We all have our stories to tell, and battle scars to show. Do you have a story that involves an ER visit?

boy activities mom adventures with boys

Mom Adventure – Morgan is the boss.

When Harrison was four the mom adventure involved popcorn and ears.

After I got home from work, Harrison and I went to get the mail.  Our mailbox was at the end of the street. As we walked down the sidewalk, this was our conversation:

Me: So, how was your day?

Harrison: Bad.

Me: Why, what happened?

Harrison: I put popcorn in my ear.

Me: Why?

Harrison: Morgan told me to.

Me: Morgan is not the boss of you. You need to be the boss of yourself.

Harrison: Morgan is the boss. He said so.

Me: Did you tell Ms. B., your teacher?

Harrison: No, she would be mad.

Me: Did you tell Daddy?

Harrison: No, he would be mad.

Me: Is it still there? Does it hurt?

Harrison: It hurts if you touch it.

little boy with paint on his face
What do you mean I wasn’t supposed to paint my face?

Mom Adventure – Don’t panic. I’ve got this! Really, I’ve got this…..right?

My mom brain is trying not to panic with thoughts like:

I’m sure we can get the popcorn out. At least it wasn’t a pea, or bean, because those swell and get stuck! We can be thankful for the little things, right?

Thank goodness he told me. What if he didn’t tell anyone. How long would it have been in there? I’ve heard some horror stories that involve stench when something has been in there way, way too long!

After we made it back to the house, I got a flashlight. Yep. There was a popcorn kernel in his ear. You could see it, but not get to it. I was secretly hoping….I don’t know what but hoping there wasn’t a popcorn kernel in there!

little boy with candy in his nose
Look what I can fit in my nose!

Mom Adventure – Google How to Get Popcorn out of a Ear

Then the thoughts turned to: What could I use to get it out that wouldn’t push it farther in?

He tried standing on one leg and hopping up and down. You know, like when you are trying to get water out of your ears after swimming. No, it didn’t work.

We needed something with suction. The shop vac! I put the shop vac to my ear. It was suctiony, but it didn’t hurt. So I tried that. No luck.

The only thing left to do was call the doctor.

We ended up at the after hours clinic where our favorite pediatrician washed it out with a super size syringe of water.

Who would have thought a giant syringe of water would shoot the kernel right out of his ear? Clearly not me, or we’d have tried that at home before calling the doctor for FREE!

We can only hope he will not put anything else in his ears!

What has YOUR kiddo put in their ear?

You have come to the right spot to tell your mom adventure stories and enjoy ours. Let’s laugh together and share the magic of motherhood!

boy laughing

Mom Adventure – Did I hear that correctly?

Ears aren’t the only small space where you’ll find popcorn kernels and the like. When my daughter was three she was playing with Barbie in the living room. I was enjoying a very rare moment along in the nearby study emailing a friend when I heard them chatting away. How sweet, I thought, until I heard these words, “Daddy, I put a bone in my nose.”

My heart stopped.

My husband didn’t blink and I heard the conversation continue as I flew into the room. Dad didn’t know that the Barbie doll had a dog…and that dog had an itty bitty bone. I really suspected that itty bitty bone was now inside our daughter’s nose!

Mom Adventure – Yes, I heard that correctly.

Of course it was late evening. Of course it was the weekend. AND after taking a peek into cutie’s nose with a flashlight….of course that itty bitty bone was inside her nose.

Great. Now what?

Mom Adventure – Google and a call to the Dr.

Ok, I warn you now. Do NOT google ‘something stuck in the nose’ unless you have a REALLY strong stomach. I nearly threw up after doing that myself. GROSS! You think your kid stuck something weird in their nose. OH, you just have no idea what all google has photographs of.

Since googling ‘Help! My kids stuck something in their nose.” didn’t give me anything but a nauseous stomach. I called the pediatrician. Of course it was after hours ($$) but crazy they were open for some unknown reason and we raced to see them.

Mom Adventure – The Professional’s Opinion

So, after rushing to the pediatrician’s office, all the way there, thinking how lucky we are the office is still open we arrived. We laid out the preschooler on the table and started peering in her nose. I was so relived to get this professional opinion….drumroll, please.

“She has a toy bone stuck in her nose.”

Um, ya’ think? And….there wasn’t anything the pediatrician could do. Next stop – the ER.

Mom Adventure – The 2nd Professional’s Opinion

So now we are at the ER and it is getting late. It must have been a full moon, too, because even though it was an ER in the suburbs on Denver, there were some really….interesting…..things going on in the ER. Ew.

Once we were back in a room to see the dr where my daughter happily eats the popsicle they gave her and watches the Disney channel on the TV, I get the 2nd professional’s opinion,

“There is a toy bone stuck in her nose.”

OMG – ya’ think? And….nothing to be done here. Next stop = pediatric ENT.

boy wearing silly glasses
Who is that mystery boy?

Mom Adventure – The 3rd Professional’s Opinion

So now it is Monday morning and we are in the ENT’s office. The whole crew is with us – Dad and baby brother.

We get back in to the room to see the ENT and anxiously await the dr. The dr arrives, peers into the 3 year old’s nose, with a VERY long hose with a light on the end, and that is just as much fun for all as it sounds, and we get the 3rd professional’s opinion,

“There isn’t a toy bone stuck in her nose.”

What? Did you say...isn’t?? Yes…the bone is now gone.

Before we could breathe a sigh of relief we are told this might not be good news. What happened to that bone? If it came out the nose that would be good but if it got sucked back into the lungs that would be bad.

So…off for x-rays we went.

Mom Adventure – The 4th Professional’s Opinion

At this point, the little toy boy that belonged to Barbie’s dog is now costing an absolute fortune! To think of the trouble I went to keeping Barbie’s toys away from the baby when in the end it was the 3 yr old who stuck on in her nose! Who knew?

Oh, the joys of an x-ray for a 3 year old who does not like to be still and stuck on a cold table where mom can not go. We quietly and, as patiently as possible, waited for the 4 professional’s opinion,

“No bone in there.”

Ok, so now we breath a sigh of relieve. What happened to the bone is still a mystery. Thankfully, this is my ONLY story of something that got stuck in the kiddo!

What has your kid done? We’d love to hear all about it. Drop your story in the comments.

Funny words of wisdom, you know you're a mom when