#ad Chicken Breast Gyro with Homemade Cucumber Sauce Recipe

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.


Hi friends! New years is just a day away and I have my goals set, written down and highlighted. I have decided that this year is the year I am actually going to make my dreams happen! (I might say that every year, but this year I mean it!) Have you decided what your goals for 2014 are going to be yet? One of my goals, one that I feel will be moderately attainable, is to eat healthier foods. Lately I have been letting my standards slide. I have a serious sweet tooth problem and have been known to call a coke and a snickers bar a pretty good breakfast on more than one occasion. (Yes, I know. . you don’t have to tell me how bad that is). So today, after feeling pretty crappy from my horrible meal choices during the last week mainly because of the holiday cookies, I decided that I would get a jump start on my healthy eating goal. Why wait until tomorrow to do what can be done today. Am I right?

Now I have one super sweet and amazing mother. My mother decided to set me up with a membership to Sams Club for Christmas. She has been a long time customer of Sams Club and wanted to share their amazing deals and great selection of healthy foods with me. See, shes sweet. Always thinking about me. Well, today was my first time shopping there and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. However, after finding what I did today. . I am happy to be a new member! Packages of NatureRaised Farms chicken breast for only $1.49/ pound. Are any of you Sam’s Club shoppers? Why didn’t you tell me about this before?!?

You can demo this chicken at participating Sam’s Club stores on 1/04/14!

If you’ve never heard of NatureRaised Farms chicken breasts before, let me fill you in. NatureRaised Farms chicken is my families go to chicken brand. The chickens are antibiotic free, vegetarian fed and cage free. All of the chickens from this brand are raised on independent farms and meet with third party animal welfare certifications. They use no fillers, artificial colors or preservatives.

I bought the chicken of course, plus a lot of other stuff, so now I shouldn’t have to grocery shop again for at least a month. lol. Have any of you ever shopped at a Sams Club? The package sizes are HUGE! I feel like I am preparing for the apocalypse or something. I am starting to wonder if my family will be able to eat all of this food that I bought before it spoils?  Good thing is, however, the Nature Raised chicken packaging was perfect. The large package was divided into four chambers, each holding two large chicken breasts. The packaging is made so you can easily separate the compartments and freeze what you wont use right away and keep the rest out. I didn’t even have to re-bag the chicken, just popped the perfect portioned bags into the freezer! Loved that!

So without further ado, here is my first healthy meal of 2014. Even though it is not quite 2014 yet. Cheers to better food choices!!

Chicken Gyro

Ingredients: 

NatureRaised Farms Chicken Breast
Garlic Salt or your favorite chicken seasoning
Flat Bread Pitas 
Shredded Cheese blend
optional: onions, tomatoes 

#ad Chicken Gyro with Cucumber Sauce recipe #NatureRaised #cbias


Directions: 
Start by preparing your chicken in your favorite way. You can either grill the chicken or cook it on the stove top. I seasoned my chicken with a garlic salt blend and red pepper flakes. Once the chicken was fully cooked I sliced it into strips. 
Before serving, warm your pita’s by placing them in a skillet over med heat until slightly toasted. Serve pitas topped in cooked chicken, sliced cucumbers, cheese and homemade cucumber sauce.

#ad Chicken Gyro with Cucumber Sauce recipe #NatureRaised #cbias

Cucumber Sauce

Ingredients: 
1 cup Greek yogurt 
1/4 cup blue cheese dressing
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
1/2 cucumber – diced small
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Directions: 
Simply mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate until your ready to serve.  

#ad Chicken Gyro with Cucumber Sauce recipe #NatureRaised #cbias

This meal made for a super easy and quick lunch that I felt much better about eating than a slice of pizza. Now, I am not one to diet, so this is not going to be a diet. I believe that simply making better choices and eating foods that are yummy will work for me. Some of you may have noticed my recipe for the cucumber sauce was missing the sour cream and mayo. That is because I swapped them out for a more nutritious option, Greek yogurt. For further knowledge Greek yogurt can be substituted in equal increments to sour cream or mayo in just about any recipe.

So tell me, what are your goals for the new year? If eating better is one of them your in luck, cuz I’ll be sure to share all of my recipes here on the blog. If you have a great recipe you think I should try, send it to me at raisingdickandjane@yahoo.com.

Happy New Year!
<3 Dick and Jane


Theo Chocolates Classic Library Giveaway

This post contains items which were provided to me for free. I was not compensated for my review of this item. 
Hi friends! Are you all sweet’d out after the holidays? Me neither. Today I have a special surprise for you. . a Theo Chocolate giveaway! When the Theo Chocolates company contacted me and asked if I wanted to test out their products my response was “Do you really need to ask? I am sure you don’t get many no’s.” To which their response was “Yes, nobody has really ever turned us down.” Really. . can you imagine. . No, please don’t send me chocolate. It’s unheard of!

This interaction was my first introduction to the brand: Theo chocolates, a Seattle based organic chocolatier.  However, since the popularity of this brand has started to grow they have expanded into places that I know and shop. Did you know that Theo chocolates can now be found at Meijer stores throughout East Lansing, MI? 
What makes Theo chocolates so good?
Theo Chocolate is the first organic, Fair Trade, Fair for Life, Non-GMO Project verified bean-to-bar chocolate maker in North America. 

Want to win?

Theo Chocolate has graciously offered to give one of my readers a chance to taste test their classic chocolate library gift set ($40 value). The box set includes: 
·         Toasted Coconut Dark Chocolate
·         Salted Almond Dark Chocolate
·         Cherry Almond Dark Chocolate
·         Orange Dark Chocolate
·         Mint Dark Chocolate
·         Spicy Chile Dark Chocolate
·         70% Dark Chocolate
·         85% Dark Chocolate
·         Salted Almond Milk Chocolate
·         45% Milk Chocolate

Trust me on this one, these chocolates are amazing. And not only is the chocolate divine, I am totally in love with the packaging. It is totally my style.

Looking for a fun and easy treat to bring to your New Years day parties? Break up all of these bars and have a fun game of “name the chocolate flavor”.

Enter below to win:

My Frozen Wonderland : Ice Storm Photos

Good Morning Friends! This morning I awoke to find an iced over world around me. While the danger of the ice for us and those around us is scary, I cannot ignore the beauty of the storm. So this morning, since my family is safe and warm, I decided to take a stroll around my property to photograph the ice.

As I walked around outside all I could hear was the sound of cracking and falling branches. It was an eerie sound which broke through the silence of the dawn. While the sound of the trees crashing around me would cause my heart to jump and pause with caution, there was an angelic peace around me. It was absolutely breath-taking.

I hope all of you are safe and warm this morning. Feel free to reach out and let us all know what it’s like in your neck of the woods. You can also tag us on Instagram with your photos. I’d love to see what you are seeing this morning. 
<3 Dick and Jane 

When Did My Daughter Become a Fashionista? #sponsored @Carters

I participated in an Influencer Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Carter’s. I received a gift card to facilitate my shopping trip and to thank me for participating.

Yesterday the family and I headed out to finish our Christmas shopping.  I should be all done now! YES! Usually I am done by Thanksgiving, but this year I was slacking. You know how it goes. . busy, busy, busy.

While we were out shopping we decided to venture into our favorite kids clothing store, Carters, to get something cute for the kids to wear to all the holiday parties. Plus, I needed to pick up a few more gifts for my nieces. Boy, was a glad we did! Right now (through 12/24) Carters is hosting a Friends & Family Event where you can get an additional 25% off your entire purchase*. We saved a bunch of money and it’s a good thing we did because I learned something very interesting and sad yesterday while shopping. My daughter, now six, is not my baby anymore. This sweet little girl quickly turned from a baby into a very opinionated young woman when she learned she was getting a new outfit. She stood and looked through the outfits like it was the most important decision of her life, picking up shirts and pairing them with bottoms until she found the perfect outfit to fit her “style”. Style? I didn’t know that she had a “style”. Boy, was I behind on the days. I should have known better than to even suggest an outfit to her. I picked up an adorable pant and sweater pairing only to find myself being given a very teenager like “Uh, no mom. That’s not my style!”. What? Seriously. . someone tell me that it’s normal for a six year old to act this way because I thought that this wouldn’t happen until closer to 13.

So I reluctantly decided to give her some space and made myself busy shopping for my little boy, who is still happy to have mom pick out his outfits. In fact, I don’t really think he cared what I was buying as long as I got him a new pair of pajamas. That boy loves his pajamas!

To make a long story short we ended up getting an amazing amount of clothes for a very great price. This entire photo was purchased for just over $100.00. Wow, right? It was around 10 outfits in all!

For these prices my sophisticated six year old was able to shine in her own style while mom was able to get a few sweet girl outfits for her as well.

If you still need a few last minute Christmas gifts or your kids need a few new outfits like mine did, I have embedded the Friends & Family coupon that I used. You can use it both online and in the stores. It is a great way to get a huge bang for your buck on already great prices! I know every little bit helps.

<3 Dick and Jane

Our Handmade Christmas : How to Create Ball Jar Lid Ornaments

Hi friends! So I was doing some “winter cleaning” the other day and came across a bag full of old jar lids. I couldn’t just throw them out so the kids and I decided to make some new Christmas tree ornaments for the tree with them, plus make some to take over to our local elderly care facility. I love the rustic, old fashioned Christmas feel that these bring to the tree. They were super easy to make and look great, plus they are so versatile! You can make them out of any old scrapbook paper you have laying around. 
This craft is for adult use only. 

All you need is: 
A glue gun
Old jar lids
Scrapbook paper
Twine

Before I begin I wanted to tell you that I first tried to make these with Elmers glue and also Modge Podge. It didn’t work. When the glue dried the paper fell off from the waxy jar lid. It just wouldn’t stay together. So hot glue really is the only thing I found to work with this craft. 
Ok. Here is how to make these for your own tree (or to give to friends). 
Directions:
Start by adding some hot glue to the waxy side of your old jar lids. 
Next, stick the lid to the back side of the scrapbook paper you want to use. Cut around the circle to remove the access paper. 
Pull back a small corner of the paper and insert the two unconnected ends of your twine. Glue into place. 
Next you will want to add some glue to the inside of the jar ring. 
Push the lid into the ring with the scrapbook paper side facing towards the table. Pull the twine back so it comes out the back. 
That’s it.  You can now flip the ornament around and hang it on your tree to enjoy. You can also glue buttons on the front or anything else you’d like to use to make it your own. Be creative!
Thanks for joining us today! Today we are sharing this craft with our friends over at TBCcrafters. 
<3 Dick and Jane

Learning Important Life Lessons from Disney’s FROZEN: Fill Your Heart with Love

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.
#FrozenFun #shop #cbias


Recently my family and I were able to go see the movie FROZEN. Loved it. Not only was it cute and had fun sing a long songs in it, but it also had an important message. Ok, really. . it had many great messages such as “Be Yourself”, “Accept Other for Who They Are”, and my favorite “Show Love”. I am not sure my kids truly understood those messages at their ages, but they loved the movie and they loved all of the merchandise from the movie that they were seeing in the stores. Every time we walk past the dolls, puzzles and toys they gravitated towards them. . “Moooommmm, look at this! It’s Elsa! I want it! “.

#FrozenFun #shop #cbias

Now, I am happy to buy my kids toys and these ones were really cute, but this season I wanted my kids to learn that Christmas isn’t all about getting. I wanted my children to learn how to give. So I decided not to buy these toys for my children, but instead I asked them to think of another child who might like these toys and when they had thought of someone to give them to we would come back and buy them. It took my kids a few days, but they finally decided who they wanted to give to. . the sick children at our local children’s hospital.

I was happy with their decision so we headed back to our local Walmart store for a mini gift giving shopping spree. As always, both of my kids ran straight to the FROZEN merchandise. They grabbed their favorite toys, the ones they had wanted for themselves and put them in the cart. My daughter went for the puzzles and dolls. My son picked up an Olaf pillow, smiled and hugged it tight. He didn’t want to put it in the cart like the rest of the toys, instead he wanted to carry it through the store. I started to worry. I sure hope he understood that mommy wasn’t buying this toy for him, but for him to give away to another child. As we reached the checkout lane the lady behind the counter smiled and asked my son “Oh, what a cute snowman. Is that for you?” I grimaced and waited for his response. However, to my surprise, in his sweet little three year old voice he said “No, it’s for a little boy at the hospital. Momma, what his name?” I smiled down at him, full of pride and said “I don’t know his name baby. It’s just going to someone who needs it.”. His face gleamed as he replied “Yep!” and he placed the snowman on up on the counter. That was that.

#FrozenFun #shop #cbias

After making our way through the checkout we headed over to the Subway restaurant inside the store and grabbed a few FROZEN themed kids meals to take home with us. A little “thank you” meal from mom. The kids were super excited to find that Subway now has FROZEN bags with a special FROZEN toy inside of them. Now they each had their very own “special thing” to take home with them and keep.

On the way home my son still insisted on carrying Olaf. Once we were home the kids could hardly wait to wrap the presents. They chose their favorite wrapping paper and neither one wanted any help from mom. They wanted to do it all by themselves. They topped off each present with a hand-written note of well wishes and holiday cheer and reluctantly headed off to bed.

#FrozenFun #shop #cbias

They could hardly sleep, they were full of excitement. When the morning came we headed off to the hospital to deliver the gifts they had so carefully prepared. To my amazement, neither kid held back their gift. They gave the toys to the nurses with a full heart not expecting anything in return. While we were in the pediatrics ward I look around and noticed a little girl attached to tubes, wires and laying in a bed.. . all alone. My heart broke for her and the other children there. I had to fight back the tears but was happy that we could do something to help make her day a little brighter. As we walked out of the pediatrics ward I noticed a small group of nurses who had been watching us the whole time. Their faces were full of joy. It was then that I realized that while my children may have made a few sick kids smile this day the ripple effect of what they did was much greater than that. Each of those nurses, the lady at Walmart, the families of those children, myself included and hopefully all of you will be blessed and inspired by this little story of love.

#FrozenFun #shop #cbias

Do you want to know how to keep your heart from freezing solid? Give to others.

#FrozenFun #shop #cbias

In return for my children’s kindness I decided to throw them a little FROZEN themed dinner. I was able to sneak a few small figurines into the cart for them when they weren’t looking as well as a poster. I made a dish we call “Breakfast Pizza” because the frozen potatoes had the movie logo on it. I also put together a jello dessert because it was blue. 🙂 The kids never have asked for anything in return for their gifts that day. As a mother I couldn’t be more proud of my kids. This small act of kindness has opened their hearts and they are already thinking about what they can do next. I hope that this is just the beginning of a long series of kindness posts. Whatever they think of next I will do my best to help them make it happen. Like the movie said, “Some people are just worth melting for.”

#FrozenFun #shop #cbias

Breakfast Pizza Recipe

Ingredients: 

– 1 package of refrigerated crescent rolls
– 1 pkg of ground sausage – cooked
– 1 dozen eggs
– 1 bag of frozen shredded potatoes
– 1 pkg of shredded cheese

Directions: 

Click Here.

<3 Dick and Jane

Resisting the Urge to Hibernate

I thought that maybe today I would share with you what’s going on with me on the mom front. Sorry if this totally sounds like a diary insert, but that’s pretty much what it is. Just me talking to you. 
Winter has set in here in Michigan. It’s cold outside and the thought of bundling up my kids to the nines everyday just to leave the house in itself is exhausting. So what does that leave me with? The urge to hibernate. Is anyone else with me?

The only problem with hibernation is a thing called cabin fever. Parents, if any of you have experienced cabin fever with little kiddos then you know that it is not a pretty sight. Kids need to run and blow off energy. Being locked up in a house for too long causes excess energy build up and constant melt downs. The kids too also seem a little more cranky than usual :). 
So, parents, what are we to do? I don’t really know. Right now I am at the point where I am just forcing myself to find things to do. I hate being cold, but I am forcing myself to go outside and play with the kids in the snow. Really though, I don’t know why people choose to live in cold weather states. There are so many warmer and sunnier places to be. . . which brings me to another point. Having the ENERGY to keep moving in the winter is hard due to the lack of sunshine and vitamin D. I have found, however, that it is totally normal to get sluggish. Our bodies naturally slow down to save energy, sort of like the way animals hibernate. However, with little ones running around we simply can’t hibernate. We still have to be mom, don’t we?

I decided to do a little bit of research into why I am feeling the way I am. Why am I tired and wanting to go to bed at 7pm? Why is all I want to do it cuddle up on the couch with a warm blanket and a cup of coffee? Why do I not even want to leave my house. . like. . ever? Am I depressed? No. . here is what I found.

During the winter months the days are shorter which ties into our brains chemical reactions. When the sun sets (like it does at oh. . 5pm) our brain releases melatonin. Melatonin is what tells our body it is time to sleep. So when the sun sets earlier our bodies feel it is ready to go to bed earlier. I am not quite sure why this doesn’t work for my kids too, but that’s what research says. (psycologytoday.com) The winter, along with shorter days and less fresh foods can also leave us feeling more anxious or depressed. Like I need another reason to feel anxious, right? I think having two young kids is reason enough!

So what can we do to fight back the winter blues?

– The best thing to do is to keep moving. Find things to do that interest you and your kids.

– Trick your body into thinking the sun is out. Turn some lights on.

– Eat like you did in the summer, you know. . like fresh fruits and veggies. I know that during the winter my diet changes too. I start to eat things that are easy and accessible. Plus, my local grocery’s produce starts looking “not so delectable”. If you are finding yourself in the same position, try signing up for an organic food co-op or delivery service (like Door to Door Organics).

– Exercise. Yeah, I don’t feel like doing it either. . but again. . force yourself.

– Try some of the fun crafts or recipes listed on this blog. (use the tabs at the top to find something that interests you)

– Wake up, get dressed and put on make-up (if you wear it). Being physically ready for the day usually helps me feel more mentally ready for the day as well.

– Finally. . get some Vitamin D. I’m thinking a trip to Florida may help. “Hey hunny! I need to. . for medical reasons. . ” Think it will work? Nah, me neither.. but it’s worth a try. 🙂

I hope you are all having a good winter, but if any of you are starting to feel the winter blues with me lets chat. Maybe we can share ideas to stay busy with kids. Email me at raisingdickandjane@yahoo.com or comment below. 

Thinking happy (and WARM) thoughts. . 
<3 Dick and Jane

As you know, I am not a doctor. So if you are feeling severe feelings, please seek the help of a professional.

Family Sized Fun with an Impromptu Cookie Baking Party


I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.
Cookie Baking Party #HolidayReady #shop #cbias
Hi friends! What a great (and busy) weekend we had. Between the kids’ church concerts, breakfast with Santa and our impromptu cookie party, I don’t even feel like I had a weekend! But that is the joy of the holidays. . spending time together and I love it. 

Every year my sisters and I try to get together at our mothers house and have a cookie making day with the kids. It is a wonderful time and has become a tradition between us. This year, things have been so busy that we didn’t think we would have time for our special day. However, none of us could imagine just letting it pass us by. So Saturday, despite the winter colds, kids with pink eye and everything else that was going on, we decided to put aside a few hours and bake some holiday cookies together. 
We didn’t have tons of time so while the kids were baking and decorating cookies I put some food in the oven to feed the hungry crowd. There was no room (or time) to create a meal so I was happy to have Stouffers party sized entree’s on hand from Walmart! Quick and easy!
Stouffers Boxes #HolidayReady #shop #cbias
We spent a couple of hours creating fun cookies that the kids were ever so tempted to devour. Keeping them from eating all of the cookies on the spot was not an easy task. However, we were able to save the cookies for our Christmas party by offering them an even sweeter sweet after dinner if they could refrain. They accepted my challenge, but were still caught sneaking their fingers into the frosting once in awhile for a quick taste. 
While the kids were busy decorating their cookies like Picasso, I stepped away for a moment to put together my own sweet creation for an after dinner treat. I used some of the left over sugar cookie dough and created something new. . Peppermint Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches. The kids went nuts over these. Here is how I made them. 
Peppermint Sugar Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches #HolidayReady #shop #cbias

SUGAR COOKIES

Use Nestle’s sugar cookie cut-out recipe found on their website: http://www.meals.com

Cookie Baking Party #HolidayReady #shop #cbias

HOMEMADE FROSTING
(click here for recipe)

Edys Ice Cream Sandwiches #HolidayReady #shop #cbias

ICE CREAM SANDWICHES

Ingredients: 

– Edy’s Peppermint Wonderland Ice Cream
– Baked & Cooled Sugar Cookies
– Frosting
– Crushed Candy Canes

Directions:

Begin by taking two cooled sugar cookies. Scoop softened peppermint ice cream into the center and squish down just a bit, scrape off the excess. Top the sandwich with frosting and crushed candy cane. Place the sandwiches in a freezer safe dish and freeze until the ice cream has hardened. Serve chilled.

#shop #HolidayReady #cbias

This method can be done with any style ice cream. We also used Edy’s Egg Nog ice cream and made some sandwich cookies that the adults especially loved!

I am so glad that we made time for our special cookie day family tradition. I would have been so sad if we hadn’t made time to get together.

Do you have a special family tradition? Are you finding it hard to make time this year for traditions? How do you make time? Tell us about it!

Check out this digital magazine for even more great ideas for the holidays with Nestle. Who knows. It might help spark an idea for a new family tradition.


The best part of the holidays is spending time together. 
<3 Dick and Jane


This post has been sponsored by Nestle. Find out more about them, follow them socially.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/nestle @Nestle
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nestle.USA

Christmas Wish List {Hot Dots Review & Giveaway} #ad

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.
Hot Dots Review #ad

I was browsing through my Facebook feed this morning and saw a post that said “Can you believe Christmas is less than two weeks away?”. “Wha. . ” I thought. It can’t be. So I checked the calendar and yes. . they were correct. Wow. Time has really been flying by lately. So I decided that today would be a great day to share with you another great gift idea that I picked up for my kids for Christmas. If your still looking for something special then check this out. I played with this toy a bit myself and not only is it fun, but it is also educational! Love it!!

Both of my kids love to learn. My daughter actually asks for learning toys each year for Christmas. However, her love for learning could be fueled by the fact that learning is something that we share in our household. Every night we snuggle together on the couch and either read a book together or fill out worksheets. It is something that we enjoy doing in addition to schooling and have found that it gives us a chance to unplug and share time together. While the kids look forward to this sharing time each night I do know that someday they might not want to do it anymore, so I am buying into it as much as I can now… while I still can. So when I found this learning toy I was immediately sold. Plus, it will cut back on the paper and ink used to print off worksheets and it is also interactive!

The Hot Dots boxes I received both contained two learning books and a pen that when placed on the correct answer dot would speak comments of praise, such as “Awesome!”. Subsequently, when a wrong answer is clicked the pen would reply in phrases such as “Whoops, not it.”. The child would then be able to choose another answer until the got it right. The questions seemed adequate to both of my children’s learning levels. They were not too hard, but would challenge them as needed. The pages were thick and not easily ripped like paper would be. My three year old isn’t quite as gentle with books as he should be yet. Also the picture quality is superb. The colors are bright and eye catching. Many of my readers already know how much I love picture learning, it does wonders for my “visual learners”.

Hot Dots Review #ad

The sets are available for grades Pre-K through third grade in both math and reading. I picked up two of them. One for my daughter who is six and one for my son who is 3. The best part? These sets are only $24.99 at educationalinsights.com. That’s a great price for everything that is included.

Do you love the idea of having a family learning time at night? We think you should! So in order to help get you started we are giving away one Hot Dots learning toy to one of you. Do you want it to be you? Then enter below.  Our contest are always easy and quick.

One (1) winner will receive their choice of grades Pre-K through third grade and either math or reading set to share with their children, relative or friend. US only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

<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.