#ad My Lanyard Maker Product Review

Disclosure: The products shown in this post were provided to me free of charge from My Lanyard Maker and Tomoson.com. All opinions are 100% my own. 

Every once in awhile I receive product in the mail that companies want me to try out. Yes, that is one of the many fun perks of being a blogger. Not as often do I receive a product in the mail to try that everyone in the family (except my husband) has fun using. I tend to like the more vintage toys. Toys that remind me of my childhood, toys that involve some skill or toys that are different from mainstream brands. This toy that I am going to share with you today is all of those things. 

When I was in my young teen years I was a camp counselor. It was a great time. I know that I have talked about it before so I wont go into too much detail, but while I was working as a camp counselor I was in charge of the art & crafts station. I always had plastic ribbon on hand for bracelet making. It was a camper favorite and I was hardly ever seen without an arm full of friendship bracelets that my campers had made for me. The kids loved to make bracelets to give to me and also I loved to gift to them as well. 
When I was sent the My Lanyard Maker product I was excited. Now I was able to share something with my daughter that I enjoyed doing as a child. It was a toy that we could connect over. Something I could teach her to do that actually required her to sit, listen and learn. She loved it and caught on quite quickly. The sweetest part is that I made her a bracelet to wear and she hasn’t taken it off yet. She wears it and proudly tells her friends “My mommy made this for me.. she is my best friend”. 
The funny thing about My Lanyard Maker is that almost all ages like it. I took the product to our Sunday family time and everyone wanted a chance to play with it. My niece who is 13 loved it and was making lanyards for all of the younger kids. I also caught my sister (who I wont say her age, but she is older than me) playing with it all by herself when I walked into the room. It looked like it was a hit!
I know that Christmas is coming up soon and the last thing we want is another junky toy that is going to stop being played with 10 minutes after it is opened. I am sharing this product with you today because I think that this one is different. We have had a great time with the toy and after a few weeks, we are still having fun making bracelets. It is a great “me time/quiet time” craft. 
If you are interested in purchasing this product I do have a coupon code for you to use that will get 20% off!  Just go to website thefriendshipfactory.com and use code “FASHBASH”. 

If you want to learn more about the product you can find the company on the following medias:
Twitter & Instagram @myfbm
Want to see my video review of this product? Visit my YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/Raisingdickjane

Do you enjoy making crafts with your kids? Tell me about a special time you’ve shared.

<3 Dick and Jane

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Twisted Mac & Cheese {Recipe}

Ok, I totally have a weak spot for macaroni and cheese. I’ve loved it ever since I was a kid and still do! Although, since I am now in my thirties I would like to think that my tastes have evolved and are now a little bit more sophisticated. 🙂 So instead of boxed mac & cheese for dinner I have been searching for ways to make a more “grown up” version while still keeping that oowey goowey cheese goodness that I love. You no longer need to hide your love of mac & cheese for fear of judgement! It is no longer just for the kids. . . 

Twisted Mac & Cheese

1 box of spiral noodles
3 chicken breasts
1 bag of shredded colby jack cheese blend
(you can also use pepperjack cheese if you like it spicy!)
2 cans of cream of chicken soup
1 package of bacon 
Bread crumbs
Begin by preparing your chicken. You will want to bread your chicken using a wash of flour, then egg, then rolled in bread crumbs to coat. Once the chicken breasts are coated, place them in a 9×13 baking pan and cook them at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. 
While your chicken is cooking, bring a stockpot of water to a boil on the stove top. Add your noodles and cook until tender. 
Once your chicken is fully cooked, remove it from the oven and cut into chunks. 
Mix together your noodles, 2 cans of cream of chicken, a handful of shredded cheese and cooked chicken bits in a large casserole dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake the macaroni and cheese mixture at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. 
While the mac & cheese is cooking, prepare your bacon by laying it out in a single layer on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degree in until nice and crispy. (I usually just put them in the oven together). 
Top your cooked twisted mac & cheese with crumbled bacon and enjoy. 
Besides macaroni and cheese, what other “kid friendly” dish do you think needs a grown up makeover? Share your ideas with me in the comments and I will see what I can do!
<3 Dick and Jane

#shop My Sunday with NickMom was #Motherfunny #cbias

Disclosure: I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insight study for Collective Bias® and it’s client. What I am trying to say is that I watched a new show on NickMom and got paid to do so. 
I had a great weekend. How was yours?

Sunday’s are always the best day of the week for me.  The most hectic and tiring day, but still the best. Here’s why. . Every Sunday my kids and I wake up early, get ready and rush to my parents house for a big family breakfast complete with pancakes, bacon, sausage, eggs, and more. Everyone comes; my sisters, their husbands and all of their children. It is a special time for all of us. We catch up on the weeks’ happenings, go to church together, and spend the entire day being present with one another. The mommas’ chat together. The kids play in the playroom and the boys watch sports in the basement. It is definitely the highlight of my week. Thinking of it now, I really wish I would have taken a photo showing all of my family sitting around the dinner table.  It really is something special to see.


Even though the time spent together as a family is really special to me, it is also a bit crazy, hectic and extremely tiring. Whew! The noise level you get when you put six kids under the age of 13 together is nuts! Plus there is always an inevitable boo boo or two and the total melt down when they are just overly tired from playing all day and are not quite ready to go home. By the end of the Sunday I am just ready to cuddle up with a warm fuzzy blanket, maybe have a little chocolate and a glass of wine and relax. Luckily for me and my sisters there is a new show on NickMom at night that I heard was pretty funny. So after the kids go to bed you can just leave the t.v. where it is (cuz yes, after some days even moving your arm to change the channel is too much work).

#shop NickMom InstantMom

The show, Instant Mom, was pretty funny as promised. However, during the show I started to have a flashback. My flashback took me to when I was younger and my sisters and I would all sit around and watch TGIF. It was a bonding time for us. The shows were great, truly family friendly. You know the ones. . Boy Meets World, Step by Step, Full House and Family Matters. This show, Instant Mom, reminded me of these shows. It was funny, but without crossing the lines that many of the other shows on t.v. cross. The family in the show is adorable and features Tia Mowry-Hardrict (You know the one from the sitcom Sister, Sister?). In the episode I watched they talked about the rules of dating. The dad was tough and wouldn’t allow dating until the daughter was 16. The daughter found a way to “date” while doing community service and got caught by karma and in the end everyone learned a lesson. * Loved it *All that I can say is that this is definitely a show I will want to watch again. It really took me back to my childhood. 🙂 I think that it is wonderful that Nickelodeon is producing a show once again that my sisters and I can bond over, just like back in the 90’s. 

#shop NickMom Instant Mom

Now Sunday is over and it’s back to the daily grind once again. It really is too bad that we can’t have that type of family time every day. But I do feel lucky and blessed to have it at all. I would like to urge all of you, if you have family close by, start a tradition of having at least one meal a week together. You wont believe what a special time it can be. . If you don’t have family nearby. Try setting up a family skype night. The important thing is to stay connected. 

#shop NickMom Instant Mom

If you are interested in unwinding after your hectic day with a feel good flashback to the 90’s, check out a new episode of Instant Mom on NickJr every Sunday at 10pm or catch the show any day of the week during NickMom. You can also follow along on twitter at @NickMom for some #Motherfunny tweets to enjoy during the week. 

Are you child of the TGIF days? If so, what was your favorite show? 

<3 Dick and Jane

#ad 6 Self Esteem Boosters for Children #girlsunstoppable

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Dove, Kroger and Global Influence. All wording and opinions are my own. 

When do you think is the right age to start building your child’s self esteem? A Princeton publication and study stated that young girls begin to become aware of how others view them somewhere between 6-14 years old. Another, less prominent, study I found online stated 6-11 years old. My daughter is now within the range of self-awareness. After reading more about self-esteem in children I am beginning to see things in my daughters behavior that I never really noticed before. Let me give you an example of something that happened just the other day…

It was morning time and we were getting ready to head out the door. I picked out a cute outfit for my daughter and set it on her bed for her. I proceeded to go into the bathroom to get myself ready and could hear her yelling and crying down the hallway. The next thing I knew she was stomping down the hallway yelling ” You just want me to look stupid, don’t you!” I was shocked. Really, I had no intention of making her look stupid. I thought it was a darling outfit. She, however, disagreed and I knew that this was the beginning of my daughters battle with her own self-esteem. 
I would have never thought that we would be dealing with these issues so young. After all, I still see her as a child as she plays sweetly with her barbie dolls, but I do start to worry when she grabs a doll and asks me “Mom, does she look ok?. . “Is she pretty?”. Words that are becoming more and more prominent in her vocabulary each day. 
So what can I do to help curb these critical thoughts; to keep the good ones in and weed out all the bad? 
Good self-awareness: Learning good personal hygiene. Carrying about the way you look. 
Bad self-awareness: Comparing yourself to others. Obsessing over your appearance. 
As a side note I want to admit that I also find myself struggling with poor self-image. I commonly look at other women and think “Does she weigh about the same as me? I wonder if I look like that?”. I also catch myself saying things like “Gosh, I wish I wasn’t so fat.” Sometimes I say these things and not notice my daughter standing nearby. My words are probably affecting my daughter in a negative way and that is something we are going to talk about again below. 
I have compiled a few tips below that I think we as parents can do to help increase our children’s self esteem. After all, we all want to raise independent, self-aware and confident children right? Then the time to start helping them is now. . even before you start to see the warning signs. 
Here are my thoughts. . . 
1. Talk positively about your child to others at a time when they can hear you. Don’t focus mainly on looks, praise their accomplishments as well. 
2. Stay positive about yourself. Don’t talk bad about your body or over focus on your own looks.
3. Don’t compare your child to others. 
4. Spend quality time with your daughter, one on one. 
5. Encourage your child to be unique. 
6. Be your child’s biggest cheerleader. Whatever it is they are interested in, be proud of them and encourage them to do their best. 
Do you have any suggestions to add? We would love to continue this conversation in the comments. 
This post is part of the #girlsunstoppable conversation online where bloggers and readers all over the country are coming together to celebrate and talk about positive self-image in girls.
Did you know that Dove and Kroger have partnered together to provide self-esteem programs for girls? Proceeds from every purchase of Dove® products goes to helping girls across the country reach their full potential. What a great cause. 

You can now go online and download a Dove Self-Esteem Toolkit to find ways you can help improve your daughters self-esteem through fun activities and also find out tons of cool information. 

As part of the #girlsunstoppable promotion, Dove has offered to send one of my fans $15 in free Dove. Thank you Dove! As always, entering is easy. Just click “enter me” on the rafflecopter form below and your name is in the hat. 

You are beautiful. 
<3 Dick and Jane

All photos were used with permission from Global Influence. 

Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Shells

Disclosure: Materials used in this post were provided by Bella Sun Luci and Tomoson.com
What’s for dinner tonight? 

Hi friends. So I must admit, lately I have not been in the cooking mood. Not sure why. . just sort of got myself into a cooking funk. So when I received a box with Bella Sun Luci’s sun dried tomato’s in the mail the other day I just didn’t have it in me to come up with a fabulous meal for all of you to try. 
But of course, I didn’t want to disappoint. 
Luckily for me, and you, I have a wonderful best friend who is always happy to step in and help me out when I need her. She is an amazing, home-cooking momma genius and she put together this amazing meal for us to try. Her “other” job is blogging over at Thrifty Treasures if you want to take a peek. 
Here is what’s for dinner tonight. 
Chicken and Sun Dried Tomato Stuffed Shells
using Bella Sun Luci Sun Dried Tomato’s
1- 12 oz jumbo shells (I only use half the box)
1 lb cooked chicken
8 oz mushrooms
8-10 Bella Sun Luci sun dried tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp basil
2 Tbsp Olive oil
1 egg
2 jars of pasta sauce or equivalent home made sauce
Cook shells; preheat oven to 350
In a food processor, process mushrooms, tomatoes, and garlic.  Blend until finely chopped.  In skillet on medium heat, cook and stir mushroom mixture, parsley, and basil in oil until tender.  cool.  Stir in chicken and egg.  Stuff into shells.  Spread some sauce onto the bottom of a 15×9 baking dish.  Arrange shells and spoon remaining sauce over shells.  Cover and bake 30 minutes.  Serve with grated parmesan cheese.
Looks Delish!
Bella Sun Luci also sent me a jar of already made bruschetta, which I did put on baguettes all by myself and enjoyed. 🙂 It was Fan-tastic!
Please send well wishes that I will get my spunk back. Really though, I think the sun took it when it left us here in Michigan with this dreary snow. So if you’re living somewhere that is still warm, then please send some sun back to me. 🙂
Today’s question is: What are you having for dinner tonight?
<3 Dick and Jane

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

The Easiest Way to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Your Home {Without Chemicals}

We’ve got bugs! Those snarky little devils probably came in on our fresh orchard picked apples. Well, I really don’t know. . I am only assuming. But that’s not the point. The point is that I do not allow fruit flies to be guests in my home. They need to be dealt with! Like any other bug problem I have encountered in my home, I needed to find a way to deal with them naturally. I really don’t like chemicals around my home and family. So I took to the web to find the easiest, most natural way of ridding my home of these teenie tiny pests. 

I came across SEVERAL different methods for capturing our unwanted friends. Each one failed. . miserably. I would set out the trap, watch for a fly to take the bait and creep up on it quietly only to find the fly sitting on top of the trap taunting me. . then flutter away (probably laughing at me too). If you aren’t picking up on my tone of writing, this little fly infestation has become WAR! 
After testing out probably four different “Best method” trials I finally came across one that actually worked and it worked really, really well. The best part of this story is that the method that finally worked was the easiest to create. Don’t you love it when you spend tons of time doing things the extravagant way because more complicated MUST mean better right? Only to find out that you’ve been totally over-complicating things? Yep. . this is where I am right now. 
So here it is. . the easiest way to get rid of fruit flies in your home, naturally. Ta-Da! 
I found this method on HealthyHomeCleaning.com.

You Will Need: 
Apple Cider Vinegar (or wine)
Dish Detergent 
What to Do: 
Fill a container about 1/4 of the way full with apple cider vinegar. Take a dollop of dish detergent on your finger and rub it over the surface of the vinegar. 
After doing some research I found that my other methods were failing because the flies could land on the vinegar without falling in. Applying dish detergent to the surface will change the vinegar causing the fruit flies to “slip through” and drown. 
I hope that none of you ever have to deal with this, but if you do. . I want to help make you prepared! A tip like this should not be kept to myself!
Reasons why you should welcome “some” guests into your home: 
<3 Dick and Jane

Making Caramel Apples

Disclosure: Content materials provided by Werthers and Mommyparties
We had the most fun the other day. The kids and I got together with some of our friends and each put together our own idea of the perfect caramel apple. Some were simple, some were elaborate and some looked like they were going to bite us back. However, no matter what the caramel apple looked like, each one tasted equally amazing. 
Creating homemade caramel apples is easy and FUN. We believe that time in the kitchen should be carefully and responsibly shared with our children. But please remember to use caution when dealing with hot items and allow children to only help with the portions of this recipe that you feel meets with their abilities. 
How to Create Gourmet Caramel Apples at Home

6 Apples
2 Bags Werthers Baking Caramels
2 Tbs. Milk
Your Choice of Toppings
Get creative with your toppings. . try chopping up different types of Halloween candies, sprinkles or cookies to use. 
Open two bags of Werthers Caramels and unwrap each one. Place the open caramels in a microwave safe dish and add two tablespoons of milk. 
Parents: Microwave the caramels on high for 1 minute, stir. 
Microwave for one additional minute or until the caramels are melted. 
Add a stick to your apple and swirl the apple around in the caramel. 
Have fun decorating your apples with your favorite toppings. 

Here are some of our favorite creations and a peek at all the fun we had! 
Find more recipes and fun ideas at the Werthers Caramel Website.

Are you a fan of caramel apples? 
Tell us, what is your favorite caramel apple topping?
<3 Dick and Jane

#ad Win a Package of Purex Ultrapacks Plus Oxy Laundry Detergent

Disclosure: Products mentioned in this post were provided to us free of charge for review. All opinions are honestly my own. 

What one household chore do you hate doing most? 

For me it is laundry.  I always forget to switch the loads once they are done and end up with funky smelling laundry that needs to be re-washed. I just find the whole process to be a pain. If you follow along on my Instagram page you will have seen my rant posts like this. 

Wondering if Purex has seen my posts because they recently sent me a package of their new laundry detergent packets, Ultrapacks plus Oxi, in the mail (One of the fun perks of being a blogger). While they wont help me with my wash and re-wash problem they do make the whole process a little bit easier. Just pop the packet in the wash, fill with laundry and your done.. . until the wash is over at least. Sound like something you might want to try out? Good! Purex sent me in total four full sized packages, so I kept one to try and am giving the other three to three of you! 

Like always, entry is easy. Just click “Enter Me” below! 
Thanks for being a reader!
<3 Dick and Jane

Sunday Fun-Day {10/20/13}

It’s that time again. Sunday Fun-day Time! Today is the day when you can have some fun and enter to win only the coolest prizes offered on the blogosphere. 
This weeks photo theme is The Witches Brew. 
Leave me a comment letting me know what you think next weeks theme should be!
<3 Dick and Jane