Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Our summer barbeque and my favorite hot dog recipe

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Bar-S Foods. All opinions are 100% mine.

One of my favorite things about summer is the food.  Okay...let's be honest...one of my favorite things about life in general is food.  But back to summer - I love all the foods that come along with the summer season.  We invited some friends over for a summer barbeque a few weeks ago and it was a ton of fun!  I love it when the kids can play together outside while the adults cook, hang out and eat good food.

We served our favorite Bar-S hotdogs and even cooked Bar-S bacon to crumble over the top.

I went to Chicago a few years ago and fell in love with their style of hot dogs.  I am a huge fan of the no ketchup, just mustard idea.  The pickle spear also topped it off quite nicely.  I also love the bacon/hot dog combo of the sonoran hot dogs I get at the farmers market in Provo.  I combined the two ideas together to create my favorite hot dog, which is paired with cheddar cheese, a pickle spear, crumbled bacon and a splash of mustard.  What is your favorite thing to put on a hot dog?

You can host your own summer barbeque by going to the Bar-S Facebook page and grabbing a Bar-S Coupon.  While you're there, enter the 100 Day of Summer Sweepstakes!  All you have to do is comment on their post - they are giving away awesome prizes to help your summer be fantastic all summer long!

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Last minute party?

This post brought to you by American Frozen Foods Institute and the Frozen Food Roundtable. All opinions are 100% mine.

We had some company stop in unexpectedly so I went to the freezer and popped in a few things I had stocked up before hand.  It made last minute entertaining super easy because it required no prep work and everyone was excited and impressed at the variety of snack foods we had to share.

I just pulled out some Ore Ida Onion Rings, Lean Cuisine Monterey Jack Jalapeno Stuffed Pretzels, Bagel Bites, Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt and Mrs Paul's Crunchy Fish Sticks.  Within half an hour my friends were impressed and excited and my tummy was just as happy.

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Frozen. How Fresh Stays Fresh  Freezing naturally pauses inspired recipes made with fresh, quality ingredients and suspends them there until the moment you’re ready to enjoy them, locking in freshness, flavor and nutrients.  I love it because I love to be spontaneous and one of the benefits of frozen foods is that it takes out all of the prep work.

Fresh is fantastic, but when I am on a time limit, when deciding between fresh vs frozen, frozen definitely makes life easier.  Frozen food is made from real recipes and real ingredients. Freezing is simply a natural pause button that keeps just picked, just baked and just crafted foods at the peak of freshness.

I love to keep both my freezers stocked for those last-minute meals or parties that still impress.  I can serve a variety of food with very little work, pleasing all my guests and keeping me free to entertain instead of slave over the stove.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

New chevron-patterned Listerine

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Listerine for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
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My late grandma, who was one of my best friends when she was alive, told me a story once before she died.  She grew up in a tiny farming town in southeastern Idaho and when she was in grade school she once won a handwriting contest.  Her prize was her very own bottle of Listerine.  She told me this story well into her 80s and still had the certificate she received for winning.  She told me ever since then she had loved Listerine and used it frequently.
It's one of my favorite stories that my Grandma told and since I have bought many a bottle of Listerine, which makes me think of her every time I use it.  I love how clean and fresh it makes my mouth feel.  The only problem is that once it is tucked into a cabinet in the bathroom I often forget to use it.
That is one reason I was so excited to see that for a limited time Listerine is offering bottles in a cute chevron print!  Now I can encorporate this fun design into my bathroom decor and leave it right on the counter, which will make it much easier to remember to use.

This new chevron-print design is offered in four flavors:  Cool Mint, Fresh Mint, Arctic Mint & Fresh Citrus.  (Fresh Mint is my personal favorite,)  Did you know Listerine is the #1 dentist recommended brand and gives you a cleaner healthier mouth?  It's only offered for a limited time and exclusive at Target!  Save Now with Target Cartwheel and get yours today!
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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Frozen is the way to go

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of American Frozen Foods Institute and the Frozen Food Roundtable. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's been a crazy summer.  We have had company in and out all summer long and between vacations, the extended family getting together and a wedding we have been booked solid since April.  To top it off, this month we found out my tiniest one needed surgery to remove a cyst on her chest.

I cannot tell you how convenient it was to have frozen dinners in the freezer all ready to go, making the recovery super easy.  I love keeping my freezer stocked with food ready to go because it tastes great and is perfect for the meals that I have to prepare last minute.  When I keep fresh produce on hand to throw together, they often go bad and end up being wasted.

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There is a promotional effort educating people about the benefits of frozen foods and fresh vs frozen called Frozen. How Fresh Stays Fresh.  Freezing naturally pauses inspired recipes made with fresh, quality ingredients and suspends them there until the moment you’re ready to enjoy them, locking in freshness, flavor and nutrients.  It makes it super convenient to have delicious food on hand all the time without having a small window to use it in.

I was thrilled when we got home from surgery I didn't have to cook a whole meal and could just pop a delicious FRESCHETTA® pizza in the oven.  My whole family loved it.

We have had a lot of company lately.  A LOT.  I love creating a bed-and-breakfast type atmosphere and cooking breakfast for my guests when they stay.  However, sometimes life is crazy and it's not doable to cook a big breakfast every morning.  For example, the morning after I got back from a 2-day trip to Idaho I went to bed at 2 am and woke up to guests.  Another morning I was rushing to get my kids ready for church.  Each time I still wanted to give my guests a hot breakfast but just didn't have the time to make it work.

Frozen breakfasts came to the rescue!!!  I can pop a couple of eggos in the toaster and top with fresh fruit and whipped cream and it is still a breakfast that impresses with literally five minutes of work.

My kids think that Toaster Strudels are the best thing that has ever happened to breakfast.

Another morning I used a Jimmy Dean sausage breakfast skillet kit and with almost no work and very little time had an amazing breakfast my guests were raving about.

So stock up your freezer today and take advantage of the benefits of frozen foods.

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Smart Shopping

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of White Cloud . All opinions are 100% mine.

I'm always on the lookout for a great deal.  I do what I can to save money but when it comes to some things (macaroni and cheese instance) it's not worth it to me to save a little bit of money to sacrifice on a lot of quality.

Toilet paper is one of those things for me.  We buy nice toilet paper.  We probably should buy the cheap stuff, especially now that we have kids who help themselves to it, but we don't.  That's why I was so excited to hear about White Cloud toilet paper and their Coupon on Facebook.

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White Cloud has the quality I am used to at a fraction of the cost.  In fact, I can get 16 rolls of White Cloud for the same price as 12 rolls of the Quilted Northern I usually buy.  The new 3-ply is softer and thicker, and the new quilted pattern provides a premium look and feel.  The 2-ply is now stronger and softer. Consumers can use less, making the roll last longer.  Premium TP for a fraction of the cost?  Sign me up.

Right now if you Like White Cloud on Facebook you can get a free 4-pack of White Cloud’s new and improved premium 3-ply Ultra Soft & Thick Bath Tissue with the purchase of any White Cloud Bath Tissue through a high value coupon ($1.97 off) by sharing the coupon on the social channel of their choice (Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest).  Follow White Cloud on Twitter or Follow White Cloud on Pinterest while you're at it!

Don't like sharing things on social media?  You can pring a $1 off coupon if you just 'like' their page.

Use the coupon and you get 8 MORE ROLLS than if you paid the same price for Quilted Northern.

White Cloud is sold exclusively at Walmart.  Store Locator

Disclaimer: Limit One (1) Coupon Per Purchase. White Cloud® Bath Tissue is only available at Walmart stores. No facsimiles or reproductions. May not be sold or transferred. Must present coupon at time of purchase. Any other use constitutes fraud. Valid only in USA. Void where prohibited, taxed or restricted. Case value 1/100¢.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

The best thing we ever did to date night


We started something amazing in our marriage.
 
His/her dream date night.
 
I found this article online and immediately fell in love with the idea.  It sounds selfish but hear me out.
 
I've been married almost 9 years.  We had gotten into a rut where we were doing basically the same thing for date night every week and it was kind of lame.
 
So...we started this.  We do it every week.  We switch off.  One week it is my turn and I get to plan whatever I want to do on date night.  I don't have to think about if my husband would like it or anything - I just get to do what I want.  Then next week it's his turn.
 
My husband and I are very different.  We are into a lot of different things, which is good, but it makes it so we are also pretty independent.  We don't have many shared hobbies, which is why this is so perfect.
 
It forces us to get out of our comfort zone and do things we wouldn't normally do together.  It is adventurous and exciting.  I feel like a newlywed.  It allows us to explore each other's interests and leaves us feeling connected and closer.  I love it.  I've been telling everyone I know about it.
 
So...the first week was my turn.
 
 
We started off with sushi at Happy Sumo.  VIP nights are buy-one get-one-free nights.  As we sat down he looked around and turned to me and said "this is nice".  Success.

 
After dinner we walked over to Provo Beach Resort and rented a tandem bike for $8.  HELLO?!? Cutest date idea ever!  I thought he would be thrilled because he loves riding bikes but as soon as we got on I could tell in his hurry to get out of there he was a little embarrassed.  So embarrassed he wouldn't let me take a picture.  BUT he insisted that it was MY night and we got to do whatever I wanted.  He liked it.
 
We giggled.  We flirted.  He was in charge of steering and I loved it because I could just talk-talk-talk and he had nothing to distract him.  AND I got exercise so I didn't have to feel guilty about missing the gym.  Win win.

 
After biking we got Blue Bell ice cream cones at Ike's at Provo Beach Resort.  It was amazing.  I am honestly getting all twitterpated just thinking about it.
 
 
His turn was tonight.  All of my friends were dying to know what he was going to pick.

 
It started off with McDonalds.  "Where should we go for dinner?"  "It's your pick.  Your night."  "Oh yeah.  This is AWESOME."

 
I'm going to be honest, I did not see his pick for our activity coming.  He had just finished the book "If I Can't Have You" about Susan Powell's disappearance and all of the twisted facts surrounding it.  He heard about a book club in West Valley with her real friends that was open to the public and wanted to go.
 
I'm going to be honest, it is something I would have never, ever done had it not been for this his/her dream date thing.  I was so nervous before we went but it was his night so I wasn't about to back out.
 
It was fascinating.  I won't say it was super fun because it was really sad but I am really glad I went.  He leaned over to me several times and said "this is so much fun".
 
This is why I love this idea so much!
 
It got me out of my element.
 
It got us doing something together we wouldn't normally do.
 
We were adventurous and had fun and did something that meant something and I feel closer to him because of it.
 
And there you have it - the two most-fun date nights in the last 5 years (by far) were within the last two weeks.
 
So stay tuned...
I'm going to take him to get pedicures soon.  (Don't judge...a lot of my friends' husbands love pedicures.)
He is taking me 4-wheeling.
I want to go to 7 peaks WITHOUT the kids.
He wants to take me to Buffalo Wild Wings.
 
Here I go feeling all twitterpated again...
 
Shoot me ideas for fun date nights!  What would YOU pick for your dream date?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Medical Transcribing - FAQ

I have had a lot of people email me about how to get into medical transcription lately (11 people in the last week, in fact).  Since a lot of people seem to be interested in what I do, I thought I'd post some of the FAQ I get.

In case you missed my first blog post, this is how I got into this.  It's legit.  I seriously love it.  It's my dream job.  I choose my hours and get paid for what I type.  I don't have to sell anything.  I don't have to work while my kids are awake.

  • What is your favorite part of your job?
          I think my favorite part is doing something during the day that stays done.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment.  My second favorite part is that when I want something - anything - and it isn't in the budget (like when I want to buy new clothes or $40 shoes or go on a weekend getaway with my sisters) and my husband is hesitant I can say just work extra that week and pay for it and it's not a big deal.
  • How do you work (close to) full time without getting a sitter and without plopping your kids in front of the TV?
          It's hard but doable.  I think I could only do it on a short-term basis without any help without going crazy.  I work from 1-2 every day while my kids nap.  Then after my kids go to bed I work from 8 to midnight.  7 days a week.  During the school year, I work for just over an hour while my oldest is in preschool and my baby naps during the morning twice per week, bringing my total hours to about 37 each week.
  • Is it hard to get a job once you are certified?
          Right now, no.  In fact I keep getting emails for companies wanting me to apply because they have more jobs than they can fill.  See?
          I don't know for sure because I signed up in 2010 and the price has changed but somewhere around the same price as one semester of tuition would be at UVU.  I just learned if you are a military spouse you might get all your tuition fees covered at no cost to you.  I also know that right now they are giving away a free iPad if you enroll by June 30.  (My husband would have died if I would have gotten a free iPad for enrolling...)

Email me if you're interested.  I have a lot more information I won't bore you with in this blog post.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Taco night

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sam's Club. All opinions are 100% mine.

Last night we invited my brother and his wife over for a late night date night.  We love themed parties so we planned a fiesta complete with tacos and The Three Amigos.  I've always loved taco nights so I was stoked.

We found this TACO BELL® Taco Night Party Pack at Sam's Club.  For only $8 it comes with everything to make 22 tacos!  (Just add ground beef and toppings)

We opened the box and in less than 15 minutes everything was ready.

Turns out 22 tacos is way more than 4 adults can eat in one sitting but we still had fun taking our time experimenting with all of the toppings.

We called this one the "double decker" and used nacho cheese and beans layered in between the hard and soft shell.

My brother named this one "taco fresca".  Mmm...looking at these pictures is making me hungry.  I think we're going to have to have another Taco Night soon.

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Keeping it real for Mother's Day

This post brought to you by New York Life. All opinions are 100% mine.

This video made me tear up a little because the message is so true.  No matter what may be going wrong in your life there is still good to find to be happy about.  This is something I have been thinking a lot about lately.

My name is Jessica and my life is not perfect.

Sometimes life gets hard.  Sometimes I struggle.  I cry.  I worry.  I get tired.  If I let it, my struggles can take over my life, leaving me with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness.  But like this little girl, I need to remember to live in the positive.

I was talking on the phone to my mom this week who pointed out that just because a few aspects are hard doesn't mean everything in my life is.  I have been trying recently to notice the beauty around me and let myself be happy in it.  I love smelling the lilacs on the way to my pick up my daughter from preschool.  I love watching the rain.  I love cuddling my sleeping babies.  I love singing Frozen with my girls at the top of our lungs in the car.  I love talking walks in the sunshine.

The hard things don't go away.  They are still there but they are bearable when broken up by sweet, precious and sacred moments with the ones I love most - moments like dressing up for a mid-afternoon tea party with my tinies.

So this Mother's Day I am going to try a little harder to be The Happiest Daughter.  I am going to try harder to spend my day Celebrating Good and recognizing the beauty around me.

New York Life is celebrating all the good around family moment this Mother’s Day.  Learn more about how New York Life can help you and your family Keep Good Going

What do you do to celebrate the good?  Leave a comment and let me know!

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Power To Choose

This post brought to you by New York Life. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have been a long-time advocate of the idea that you can be anything you want to be if you just work hard enough.  You can choose your own destiny.  Why settle for less than you want?  Obviously there are exceptions to this rule but for the most part I really believe that if you have dreams you should reach for them and if you have wishes you should work toward them.

Case in point: my husband graduated college and found an entry-level job at a local company with the potential to move up in the corporate world just after we had our first baby.  It was what I had always dreamed of happening but the problem was it wasn't his dream.  After two short weeks it became very apparent that he didn't want to be "stuck" in a desk job forever.  Instead of telling him to stick it out and make it work because it made the most financial sense, I realized it was more important to have a husband who really loved his job...really loved...and was happy.  I encouraged him to figure out what his dream job would be if he could be anything he wanted and 2 weeks later he went back to school.

We started over.  It took 4 more years of school and a second Bachelor's degree before he had a real shot and getting the job he wants.  It required me going back to work and working full time from home to help support our family so he could go to school full time.  (Luckily I too thought about what I would love to do and found my dream job too so it wasn't as awful as it could have been).

We were just talking about this the other day, about if our sacrifice was worth the risk.  My husband showed me a convocation speech Jim Carey gave just last week (Jim Carey...I know right?!?) in which he said "I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail in what you don't want, so you might as well take the chance at doing what you love".  This statement sums it up perfectly.

It's a concept my parents did a very good job of teaching me that I want to in turn teach my children.  I really do want my two little girls to live their dreams, become the person they really want to be and reach all the potential I see in them.  I realize my dreams will not necessily be their dreams and I hope like the mom in the video My All-Star Daughter I have the strength to support them in those dreams.

How do you help those you love fulfil their dreams?  Learn more about how New York Life can help you and your family Keep Good Going.

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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Instagram

Utah County Mom is now on Instagram!
 
Check me out at @utcountymom

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nicolitalia Pizzeria (GIVEAWAY) Ends Feb 11

 
My family took some friends to Nicolitalia Pizzeria recently and I was very pleasantly surprised.  This place is amazing!

 
Did you know that Zagat rated the best pizza in each state in an article called "50 States, 50 Pizzas" and Utah's pizza was none other than the Mahk Anthony at Nicolitalia Pizza (pictured above).  I tried it out and it really is AMAZING.  Chicken, spinach, garlic, romano cheese, hot peppers, bacon and mozzerella.  My mouth is literally watering just writing about it.


 This place is legit.  See all those best of state awards?  There is a reason.  Let me tell you what blew this place out of the water though - the breadsticks.  You have to try the breadsticks with their house sauce.  My favorite breadsticks at any restaurant - ever.  It was that good.

 
The thing that impressed me the most - honestly - was the staff.  The owner and his wife are the nicest people you'll ever meet.  We watched as they talked to all of the customers to make sure everything was just perfect.  And not the awkward talking when you are just wanting them to leave you alone, but the friendly, easy to talk to personality that makes you actually want to be friends with these people.
 
SO...do you want to win everything I tried?  An order of hot breadsticks and two large pizzas (I recommend the Mahk Anthony for sure) can be yours by entering below!
 
To enter, just leave a comment telling me what you are dying to try at Nicolitalia Pizzeria.
(Make sure to include your email address in the comment if it's not linked to the profile you're commenting with so I can contact you if you win.)
For additional entries, leave a seperate comment for each of the following:
- Like Nicolitalia Pizzeria's facebook page.
-Like Utah County Mom on Facebook
-Follow Utah County Mom on twitter
-Follow Utah County Mom on Pinterest
-Share this giveaway on your blog, twitter, or facebook with a link to this post (1 entry each)
-Subscribe to Utah County Mom via email (enter your address on the left sidebar).
 
This giveaway will end at 11:59 PM on February 11, 2014.
Fine print: Although I received a free product for reviewing this product, the opinions on this post are 100% mine. The giveaway is for people willing to drive to Utah County only

Monday, January 13, 2014

FREE Ice Skating Party this Saturday at Peaks Ice Arena

Comcast is hosting TWO free ice skating parties this Saturday with appearances by gold medalist figure skater Sarah Hughes!  This is the perfect oppertunity to take your kids to learn to skate.
 
 
What: Free ice skating parties for anyone who wants to come. 2002 women’s figure skating gold medalist Sarah Hughes will be there to take photos, sign autographs and skate with the families who come. Ice skating and skate rental is free. They’ll also have hot chocolate, treats, a live DJ, games and prizes for anyone attending.
 
When: Saturday, Jan. 18 Where/Time: • 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. – Peaks Arena, 100 N. Seven Peaks Blvd., Provo (Sarah will be on site from approximately 3:30 – 5 p.m.) • 6 to 10 p.m. – Utah Olympic Oval, 5662 Cougar Lane, Kearns (Sarah will be on site from approximately 6 -7:30 p.m.)
 
It’s a great chance to meet an Olympian and just get out and have fun with the family

Utah County Preschool

If any of my readers are looking for a great Utah County Preschool, Patchwork Preschool in Provo is awesome.
 
 
 
Rebecca let me come sit in for a class to see what it was like and I was super impressed with everything she did.  It's a perfect preschool for someone looking to help their child develop social skills while learning academics in a way that is fun, engaging and age-appropriate.
 
...and GREAT NEWS....
If you have a pre-K student who you wish you would have signed up for preschool but never got around to it, there is no need to wait!  For classes going on right now, there is currently 1 more opening in the Tuesday/Thursday class from 12:20-3:00 pm and 2 openings in the Monday/Wednesday/Friday class at the same time.
 
If you're looking to sign up your child for next year's class, registration starts on February 15.  Check out the website for more details.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cardiology cookies



I used my favorite sugar cookie recipe to make my husband's paramedic class some EKG cookies.  I even did a couple flat lined.
 
These cookies are amazing - they are thick and moist and sweet - think Grandma Sycamore's cookies.  Mmm.
 
To do the cookies, I just googled "EKG strips" and looked at the images so I could copy a few.  Here is the recipe (I made my cookies without nutmeg this time):
 
Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies
1 cup butter
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
4 ½ cups flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
½ t. nutmeg (optional)
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
Cream butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well. Add dry ingredients alternately with sour cream until incorporated. Add vanilla. Chill. Roll to ¼’’ thick and cut. Put on ungreased cookie sheet (I actually greased it for my cookies). Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 minutes until golden around the edges. Cool and frost.