Pepper Express

Monday, April 20, 2015

Mason Jar Picnic with Kool-Aid Easy Mix

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PourMoreFun #CollectiveBias
Lately I have had the urge to create a mason jar salad. When I went to Walmart to find mason jars I found a pack of twelve of them. They were such a great price that I decided I would make a mason jar picnic with the jars. I would have my mason jar Quinoa Salad, my Fruit Parfait as a dessert, and a refreshing drink made with KOOL-Aid Easy Mix. I chose KOOL-Aid Easy Mix because it is really easy and convenient to make. And I wanted this meal kit to be ready to take to a park or lake nearby.
As I said before I bought these twelve beautiful mason jars and I also was able to buy all of my ingredients at my local Walmart. I wanted to share with you my Mason Jar Quinoa Salad recipe: 
2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa - cooled and fluffed with a fork
Cherry Tomatoes - washed and cut in half
1 Cucumber - washed and cut into cubes
1/3 Bunch of Fresh Parsley - I forgot the parsley and used cutting celery from my garden
1 Can of Garbanzo Beans - drained and rinsed 
1/3 cup of Greek Dressing - you can always add more to your liking
Once you mix all of the ingredients in a bowl you can taste test to see if you need to add any more dressing or extra salt and pepper. After everything is mixed, I scoop a good portion into the mason jars with a measuring cup. Then set them in the fridge to chill.
For the mason jar dessert I created a Fruit Parfait:
2 Cups of Vanilla Yogurt 
1 Cup of Granola
1 Cup of Sliced Strawberries
4 Tablespoons of Agave Nectar
With all of the ingredients I like to layer them in a specific order. I put a few tablespoons of yogurt on the very bottom. Then I scoop a tablespoon of granola and place it on top of the yogurt. Then the strawberries go on top. And finally I drizzle the agave nectar as my last ingredient.
The layered mason jar looks very appealing and delicious. 
My beverage of choice for the mason jars was Kool-Aid Easy mix. I needed a quick, refreshing beverage the whole family would enjoy. And since this picnic was going to be held in my backyard, we were able to make it in a carafe right then and there. Just Add Water. You can make it in a pitcher or a glass. Makes 6 quarts or 3 pitchers.
My picnic meal was a success and I was able to make food and drinks for four people out of the twelve mason jars.
When I was at Walmart they were showcasing a demo on the KOOL-Aid Easy Mix. I walked up for a sample and I had a huge flashback to when I was a little girl and my mom would make us Tropical punch using a Kool-Aid packets. Now that the KOOL-Aid Easy Mix is available I can enjoy those memories with my children now. And you can to by checking out their items on the Walmart website!

5 Tips for Finding Me Time

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SkinnyCowMoments #CollectiveBias
Being a new mom and working full time sometimes it's hard to find a balance. I work 40 hours a week and on the weekends we are usually on the go go go. There is always an event or a scheduled appointment that usually takes up most of my weekend. This past weekend I made sure to schedule time just for my self. No husband and no kids. Saying that makes me feel guilty but it was definitely needed. 
On my way out I stopped by Walmart to grab a few necessities and upon checking out I knew I needed something chocolatey. So I found Skinny Cow® Blissful Truffle Candy Bars, which comes in two flavors – Milk and Dark Chocolate. 
So when life is hectic and overwhelming and you need to take time to focus on yourself. Take some of my advice...Here are a few tips for finding time for yourself:

#1 Schedule It
You will not have time to yourself if you do not communicate and schedule the time. Make sure your family is well aware of your idea. Instead of disappearing for an hour at a time. They need to know your well being. And communication is key in any situation. Even if you schedule a manicure or pedicure for yourself. It's worth it and you know it's needed. 
#2 Make A List
I am a big list maker. I have my grocery list, my to do list, and even a diaper bag packing list! If you are going to have time for yourself make a list of things you would like to do. Take a bath, go to the library, or even go and feed the ducks at your local lake. There is a plenty of things that you can do for yourself. Take the time and make a list!
#3 Unplug
No phone, No computer and No television. Even if it is just for an hour. Put that phone away and enjoy the grass and the leaves blowing in the wind. It's fascinating the things you can discover by taking a daily walk or going to the park and reading by yourself. That's what I did. I grabbed a Truffle Candy Bar and my new book and enjoyed a Sunday afternoon to myself:
#4 Indulge
That me time that you are scheduling better be worth it. Grab something that you want to savor. Take this time and enjoy every minute of it. In the mornings I try and catch up on all of my emails. But truly I need to set my device aside and have a Skinny Cow® Creamy Iced Coffee. You can find them available in three delicious flavors: Vanilla Latte, Mocha Latte & Creamy Cappuccino in the refrigerated section in Walmart. Or go here:
 #5 Change Your Scenery
If you are in a rut or having a bad day leave your daily schedule and do something different. Whether it is driving to a different grocery store or trying a new restaurant. Make your time visually appetizing. 
When my family and I were on our 6 week U.S. road trip, it was very difficult to have any alone time when you are in car with 4 other people. But occasionally we would stop in a Walmart and buy a treat. I like to use that scenario when I am out and about and running errands. If I grab a new flavored ice cream treat while driving around I am instantly in a better mood. I recently tried a Skinny Cow® Vanilla Almond Crunch Bar and I was ready to conquer my to do list. 
There are many things that you can get out there and have time for yourself. Don't feel guilty about it. Everyone needs there own time otherwise we would all go crazy.
Be sure to check out more deliciousness from Skinny Cow at Walmart. I'd love to hear your favorite Skinny Cow treat!

Best Gift Baskets For Under $25

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BestMomsDayEver #CollectiveBias
Are you ready for Mother's Day? Because I know I am. This will be my second official Mother's day as a real mom. Now doesn't that sound silly "Real Mom?" My step children have been in my life for the last eight years and they have always made me feel wonderful on Mother's Day. Carlie and Dean really know how to make you feel special. But having my own child and knowing the love of the life that I made is something that will always be there. And I love to share that special meaning with all of the mothers in my life. After Easter you will be able to find the One-Stop Shop display from American Greetings at Walmart. Where you can find all that you will need to create a wonderful gift basket for the one you love. 
Now I have a lot of mothers in my life. I have my own mother, who recently became a first time grandmother. I have my mother in law who is also a grandma. My husband's grandmother. And Dean and Carlie's mother, whom I have a wonderful relationship with. When I found the One-Stop-Shop at Walmart I knew I was able to tackle my list of ladies. I found and adorable pillow that says "I Love My Grandma," plus a few travel mugs to add to my gift basket. If I could I would deliver some hot coffee in those travel mugs, because I know my grandmas and they like their coffee hot! Another great idea for your gift basket would be a gift car from Walmart or some fun candies to decorate it more. 
I was able to find a card for each and every lady I love. There were so many to choose from, that I started to find a card that would fit each mother's style. And with each individual card I was able to personalize each one with my calligraphy pens.
This one was my favorite that Carlie picked out:
Be sure to check out this "One-Stop Shop" at Walmart for your #BestMomsDayEver.
#BestMomsDayEver Giveaway- $4,000 Prize Value

The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.–Elain Heffner 

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