August 30, 2013

The Kerr Family Food Solution

Recently there have been some big changes in meal times at the Kerr house. It took me a while to figure out because the difference isn't really what our family eats, it's more how much. Lunch time was the big clue. All of a sudden I was running out of bread every week. Then I realized, it's because B and C decided they needed a whole sandwich to fill them up every day instead of the half sandwich they had been eating. And it's not just at lunch the kids are eating more. The boys now require two bowls of cereal for breakfast and seconds many nights at supper. Add the fact that Baby F is now almost completely on solids now and you realize why my food budget just about doubled in August.
Thankfully, E and I were prepared for this jump in our food budget (and know that this is only the beginning with three boys). There are lots of different things that we do to help our tight budget and keep the kids eating healthy food happily and we were asked to share as part of the Mom It Forward Blogger Network during the Cans Get You Cooking Campaign.
The biggest thing we do to keep our food spending under control is that I cook dinner every night. Yes, sometimes that does get old at times but E is really good at covering 1-2 nights a week so I do get a break.
The next awesome thing we try to do is buy what is in season. Yes, this includes the fresh fruits and veggies but did you know that other goods, including cans, have a best time to buy? Your low buying price, the best sale price, is most likely different then mine (unless you're my neighbor) but pay attention and it's not hard to figure out when something is a really good deal and you should buy.
The best part about finding canned goods' season is that when you stock up you can stock up enough to last you a full year, or until that product should go on sale for a good price again. Canned goods are very practical this way because you can keep them almost anywhere. I'm lucky to have a small space dedicated to my canned goods, it's my under the stairs room, and although I wish it was bigger it does do a good job. If you don't have a space dedicated to canned food you can still keep your supply available. In our old house I would keep my cans under the bed, on the top shelves in the closets (you know the ones I can't reach so I never put anything there), and on a bookshelf that wasn't needed for books and that worked well too.
I think the hardest part for most people is not finding a good price or find a place to store the cans tho, it's learning how to use them. I often hear people say that canned things just aren't as good as fresh that simply isn't true. Nutritionally, canned goods are largely comparable to their fresh counterparts but they often do have a different texture or flavor which is what throws people off. What I have learned is that I have a whole separate set of recipes for my canned goods then I do for my fresh foods. This means that although my family does enjoy fresh food, if I don't make it to the grocery store, we're going to be ok because I can feed my family for about six months on my food room supply (with the exception of milk that is).
So how do I do it?

1. Stock up on canned goods when they are on sale.
2. Store your cans until you need them.
3. Learn to make recipes using only foods from your food room.
4. Save time and money while feeding your family healthy food!

Here's a recipe to get you started!

Thanksgiving Casserole
from the Kitchen of A Kerr
feeds 6-8

4 cans Chicken
2 cans Cream of Chicken Soup
2 Boxes Stuffing Mix (with ingredients to make)

Instructions: Drain the chicken and place in skillet. Add Cream of Chicken Soup and heat on medium stirring occasionally until warm. Meanwhile make stuffing mix according to microwave directions. Spread finished stuffing over chicken mixture. Cover and heat on low for 5-10 minutes. Serve and Enjoy!

Note: best served with canned cranberry sauce and/or canned corn.

To learn more about healthy eating with canned foods check out the Cans get You Cooking Campaign on Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube today!

August 29, 2013

How to Find and Rent Furnished Apartments

When your housing contract or lease expires or you’re transferring to another city, you know what that means—house hunting! This can be a difficult process to arrange, especially when you’re searching for an apartment. You have to find the right location at the right price with the right amenities. In addition to these concerns, some wonder about how to find places that are already furnished. They seek furnished apartments in Lubbock, TX, when they don’t already have furniture or they only plan to stay in a location for a little while.

About Furnished Apartments

So what’s involved in a furnished apartment? And why do they exist? Well, furnished apartments are convenient for tenants to move into, and they make it easy for landlords to rent out. Most of these apartments come with the basics—sofas, beds, dressers, microwave, and even a TV in some cases. For some furnished apartments, a washer, dryer, and even kitchen items may be included. There are 3 main types of furnished apartments. You may rent a studio, multi-story unit, or a whole floor. A studio apartment has the kitchen, bedroom, and living room all in one main space plus a private bathroom to the side. A multi-story apartment is typically a duplex with the living room and kitchen downstairs and the bathroom and bedroom upstairs. If you rent a whole floor, you get the top part of the house while you might have roommates who live downstairs.

How to Find and Rent One

Ready to rent? First, decide on what exactly you want. Think over price, location, amenities, availability dates, space requirements, and what you want to be furnished. Then look online. You can do a Google search or look on Craigslist if you type in what you’re seeking. You can also look through newspaper ads to see what your options are. You may even consider getting in touch with a leasing agent or apartment locator who can give you free services. Next, call up prospective furnished apartments in Lubbock, TX, to see if you can get a tour of the place. Discuss storage areas, security deposits, parking, security, and other concerns with the landlord. When you’ve looked over the contract, you should be ready to sign.

How to Block Hotel Rooms for Wedding Guests

For an out-of-town wedding, you may have guests coming from around the country or even the world. These guests will need a place to stay. While some may be lucky enough to have relatives to put them up for a night or a few, others may not have a place to stay. Since you want all your guests to be able to attend your event, it’s up to you to ensure they find room and board. Fortunately, you can block rooms in Cape Cod hotels to achieve this objective.

Deciding on a Hotel

Use the Internet and other information tools to search for hotels close to the wedding venue. If this is a strange city for most guests, aim for hotels that are within 10 miles of the venue. Call up the reservation at each hotel to get quotes on blocking out the rooms. Jot down each quote for later reference. Be sure that you know ahead of time how many guests need to be placed in a hotel so you can figure out how many rooms you’ll need to book. You may need to call up each individual guest or family to come up with these numbers. After you’ve reviewed the rates you’ve recorded, you can choose 2 hotels. One establishment may be for the big spenders who appreciate luxury, while the other one may be suited for those on a budget.

Booking Rooms

Now it’s time to call up each hotel once more. Ask the reservation agent once more for a quote on the rooms you want blocked. Be sure you explain what amenities and accommodations you want for each room. Also tell the agent what dates you wish to book the rooms. Compare the figure she gives you to the one you wrote down previously. If the second rate is higher than the first, remind the agent of the first quote you received. Most hotels will be obligated to stick to that original price. Before you swipe your credit card, find out all the details about the prices. Learn about the deposit and cancellation fees as well as any charges that may come up later. For best results, make these bookings for Cape Cod hotels half a year in advance.

August 27, 2013

Jelly Strands For Teething Tots

Ok, so baby F isn't teething yet but it's about that time (none of my kids have had teeth on their first birthday's). This time around I am trying to be more prepared with my new Jelly Strands Teething Necklace. I have to say that I'm not in love with the style they sent me, it wasn't my first choice and I think there are others I would like better, but I am excited to finally have some jewelry I can wear that is toddler proof. Jelly Strands are a simple accessories that are 100% safe for babies to chew, drool, and otherwise pick on during their learning years. There are lots of fun colors and more styles arriving all the time. I'm sure you'll find something you love to be safe and stylish with your little one!

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

August 26, 2013

Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn by Evangeline Kelley

Book series are one of my very favorite things! I have Grandma L to thank for that. She got me started on Nancy Drew and American Girls books when I was about six and I haven't stopped since. Recently I had the chance to read Seaside Harmony and Sunflower Summer , the first two books in the Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn Series by Evangeline Kelley.
Like most series, with these two books you just can't stop after number one. In fact, although there is a closure at the end of both books, they leave you wanting more. As the story of three sisters unfolds during their visit to their childhood vacation spot it is so fun to see these women remember how to be friends and work together to sustain each other through their times of trial.
I just loved these books and I can't wait to read the newest edition to this series, Whispers on the Dock . For now it's on my Christmas wish list, although I may have to find a copy before that to see what happens.
Happy reading!

August 21, 2013

What Are the Benefits of Purchasing New Vehicles?

When you are in the market for a new vehicle, there are a number of factors you need to consider. What will you use the vehicle for? This question can determine whether you need a sedan, SUV, truck, crossover, wagon, van, or maybe something sportier. You will need to decide what brand you would like, the features you desire, and of course, what you can afford. The last factor can help determine one of the biggest questions you might have: should you buy new or used? While both have their pros and cons, many people find that buying new from a dealer such as Hendrick Buick GMC Cadillac is the best choice.

 Newer Vehicles

Sure, buying used is cheaper, but there can be a lot of mystery in purchasing a used vehicle. To eliminate some of the mystery, you can purchase a history report, but that will not tell you everything. With a new car, there is no mysterious history. You are the very first owner and will determine whether or not the car receives the proper maintenance and care. A new vehicle should require very little maintenance besides the normal service appointments, while a used vehicle may require repairs due to age or possible past neglect. If a newer vehicle does require a repair, it will usually be covered under the warranty. Also, while purchasing a used car can be cheaper, lenders generally offer lower financing rates on new vehicles.

Additional Benefits

Purchasing a new vehicle allows you to have more customization of the features you desire, whether you choose to have the vehicle made to order or present requests to your dealer. A new vehicle comes with a guaranteed warranty at no extra cost to you, and gives you the ability to purchase additional maintenance plans. New vehicles have the newest technological updates, such as trip computers and USB ports, as well as the newest safety features such as side curtain airbags, tire pressure monitoring controls, and blind spot monitoring. Newer vehicles tend to have better fuel efficiency and lower emissions as well. In the end, choosing to purchase a new vehicle from a dealer such as Hendrick Buick GMC Cadillac can provide you with several benefits.


August 19, 2013

Back To School With Sesame Street Cereal

I can't believe B only has two more weeks before he starts Kindergarten. He's growing up so fast! In fact, last week he was sick and he curled up on E's shoulder and I could almost see the little baby, just five times as long.
Because this is our first year doing back to school for kids we're trying to make it as fun as possible. I know from experience that the biggest key to a successful school year is being excited about it so that is our goal with B. So far it's going great and he is so happy to tell everyone about how he is going to go to school and all the fun things he will learn there.
One of the things we have tried with school approaching is Post's new Sesame Street Cereal. I have a house full of cereal lovers so when I was given the opportunity to try these new, alphabet based, cereals, I figured the kids would love them and they did.

We were send a box of A (apple), B (banana), and S (strawberry) cereal. The kids had fun trying each of them and each had their own favorite flavor. As a mom, my favorite thing about the cereal is that it is made with whole grain and little sugar. That means I'm giving my kids a breakfast that they enjoy without having to deal with the sugar high after they're done.
If you're looking for a fun back to school breakfast, or snack, then make sure you check out Post's new flavors today!

Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

My life plan: expect the unexpected. Unfortunately that is not Meg Cole's plan in Undeniably Yours . This modern girl has experienced all the unexpected she cared to and, with her father's passing, would really like to take his empire and mold it into her dream while her life stays as stable as possible. What she didn't plan on, Bo, the manager of her father's Thoroughbred racehorse farm.
I really loved this book of heart and healing. Meg is an amazing character and Bo is every girl's prince charming in cowboy boots. You'll want to check out this amazing read and see just what happens to Meg as she learns to depend on God to survive!

August 16, 2013

It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist

What would it be like to loose your hearing? Some of you may know the answer to this question. I know that our senses are something to be grateful for. I recently red a book about a young man who's hearing (and thus his job) were on the line. I found his story in It Happened at the Fair , a wonderful story about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. Cullen, our hero, is an inventor at the fair where he hopes to sell his newest invention and keep the family farm afloat. Because of his hearing loss, Cullen has a hard time hearing investors and hires a deaf teacher to tutor him.
This is a great story of a tug-of-war of love during an exciting time in American history. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I'm sure you will too!

August 15, 2013

The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd

As a woman I know that my rights have changed drastically over the past 200 years. I can vote. I can own property. And so many other things that are absolutely amazing! Recently I had the chance to read about Amelia Barrett in The Heiress of Winterwood , someone who did not have these rights. Amelia's story takes place in England in 1814 where she is an heiress to an estate that can only become hers with certain conditions.
I really loved this book as I followed Amelia to defy the odds, first by raising her dear friend's motherless baby, and then by controlling her estate as a woman. Amelia is full of heart, strength, and a little craziness. It's a book you won't want to miss if you're looking for a wonderful adventure (and a handsome sailor to boot)!

Having a Fun Weekend with Jackson Hole Hotels

Working five days a week at any job can be stressful. Along with balancing everything else in life, it’s no wonder that the almighty vacation time is so coveted and so important. Whether you are planning a long weekend or a whole week away from the humdrum of the everyday, Jackson Hole hotels should be an option to look in to and look forward to.

Local Attractions

Jackson Hole is a great place to remember to peacefulness of nature. One of the main attractions of Jackson Hole is the Grand Teton National Park. Whether you are looking for great bike paths, amazing hiking, or awe-inspiring views, the Grand Tetons are just the place. The National Park is the home of several great locations, like Murie Ranch and Jenny Lake. Both with their own respective histories, they should definitely be on list of places to visit first. The community of Jackson Hole also plays host for concerts, rodeos, art fairs, and farmer’s markets in the summer time. Many of these events are free to the public and a great way to find something new and exciting to enjoy. Whether it is a new band you have never heard of or maybe some hand-crafted treats, you are bound to have a good time. A final attraction that any visitor to Jackson Hole should experience in the Tram. The Jackson Hole Aerial Tram is a Gondola lift that offers amazing views of the Grand Tetons and the beautiful Landscape that surrounds the area. Discount tickets are easy to find around the town and in many tourist hubs.

Finding a Great Place to Stay

There are many affordable and incredible Jackson Hole hotels to stay at while in town. Many are close to the national parks and other outdoor attractions to allow for easy access. Discounts and special deals can also be found for those looking. Places like the actual hotel websites or even the tourism website for Jackson Hole occasionally offer special deals for last-minute travels or bundle deals. Keep an eye open and check often. It can be amazing how even a last-minute weekend adventure can help you feel recharged.

August 14, 2013

Smart Snugs NEW All-In-Two

I'm all about finding the latest and greatest in diapers. I think this comes with having multiple kids in diapers at the same time but that seems to be a very common thing at my house. Smart Snugs just sent us one of their new All-In-Two diapers to try out and for someone who's generally partial to pockets I have to say that I really like this one. My favorite part about this diaper is how trim it is. It fit both my kids really well but I especially liked the fit on my tiny baby.

The only thing I didn't love about this diaper was that they sent the white insert. I am a mom who much prefers the dark charcoal inserts because they stain less but that is a minor thing and something that I will deal with.
Other then that the diaper is awesome! It is holding up well and the elastic has stayed tight so the fit remains good. If you're looking for a fun diaper to add to your stash make sure you check out Smart Snugs. They are awesome. I only wish they had prints!

Planning a Wedding on Budget

Everyone knows that weddings can be very expensive. However, if you plan properly, you can have an enjoyable wedding that still remains within your budget. When you call the Cape Code Chamber of Commerce for information on your wedding, you should have a few things planned so that you can keep your wedding within budget.

 A Budget Wedding 

When you are trying to plan a wedding within a budget, you will first need to consider what that budget is. Find a number that you must stay underneath for your entire wedding, honeymoon included. You can then begin making a spreadsheet with everything you need to buy, and keep track of your expenses to make sure that you stay within your limit. Start out by deciding what is most important to you. If the honeymoon or the quality of the reception is most important, then you will want to spend most of your budget there and cut back on other expenses.
In turn, you need to decide what you can cut back on, or if you can cut anything out completely. A lot of the small expenses of a wedding add up to a grand total that can be overwhelming. Cutting out even little things can make a big difference when it comes to the end result. Shop only on budget sites, buy things used, or borrow things from others. Before you buy something, think about how much it will cost you and if it will require you to cut back on other things. You can then decide whether it is that important to you. If it isn't, find something cheaper or skip it altogether.

 Enjoy Your Wedding 

Though planning a wedding is very stressful, it should also be one of the best days of your life. Plan ahead so that everything will be in order. Allow others to take charge of some things in order to share the workload. As you call places like the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce, let those working for you do some of the work. You can then spend some time actually enjoying the process and having a great time on your wedding day.

Story Time

August 12, 2013

Woolzies Dryer Balls

One thing I love about summer is that I can dry most of my laundry outside (E insists the underwear don't go out but other then that). I just love the fresh smelling clothes and the savings on our energy bill is a bonus. Unfortunately, it is starting to cool off here in Idaho which means that it's time to think about fall and eventually winter.
Thankfully, this winter I will have Woolzies Dryer Balls to help me continue drying my clothing as naturally as possible. If you haven't tried 100% wool dryer balls yet then now is the time. They are a great investment in any laundry room. In fact, I have a whole tub of dryer balls that we use as I do laundry. Last winter, when I first began using dryer balls, I calculated that we saved about $10 a month on our energy bill during the winter simply by adding them to each load of laundry. We also saved on fabric softener and dryer sheets because wool dryer balls take care of all of these things for you. A package of six dryer balls is really all you need and at Woolzies price of $34.99 you're still saving a lot since, when cared for properly, these balls will last you for years. Go get your dryer balls and be ready to save today!

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

August 7, 2013

We're at the Children's Hospital with Baby F

Hey everyone, I'm wanted to leave you a quick note and let you know that I have awesome things planned but I am away from my desk for a bit. We're headed to take Baby F to the children's hospital to see why she's not growing like she should. My little sixteen pound 11 month old has finally made the local doctors worried enough that they are sending her someplace bigger. Hopefully we'll just be gone for the weekend but depending on what they say that may change. In the meantime, stick around and I will try to update here when I can.

PS. Baby F has a birthday next month and we're going to celebrate in style hospital or not so stay tuned for some awesome reviews and giveaways! We still want you to party with us for sure!


Laminate It for Back To School + Giveaway

We're doing back to school for the first time at the Kerr house. I still can't believe that B is starting kindergarten. He's grown up so fast! Even though school is still a month away for us we still have a lot to get done. We starting things off right this year by getting all of his school supplies during back to school sales and then working to get them organized and put together at home so they are ready for his first day.
One tool we just received that I am loving is our new Fellowes Saturn2 95 laminator. So far the big project we have used it on is for making labels for our buckets of toys, crafts, and school supplies and it did a wonderful job!
I will be honest and say that I have never used a laminator before this so I was somewhat concerned about it taking too much time for the everyday projects I had planned to use it for as a mother and I teacher but I was very pleased to see that this Fellowes laminator is very easy and quick to use.
The first step was to get the things I needed laminated and turn on the laminator. In this case my items were a set of photos to organize toy and craft bins. I then cut them apart and put them inside the appropriate sized pouch.
Once the items were in the pouch I carefully picked up the pouch and slid it through the laminator beginning with the folded end (this is important or everything will fall out). Once I got it started the laminator carried it through the rest of the way and out the other side. Once it was out the page was warm for just a second but that was it. My pictures were done and ready to be cut apart to put on the appropriate bins.
I was absolutely amazed at how easy this process was and I am very excited to use this laminator for projects in my classroom and for projects at home, including preserving some of those first homework assignments of B's school career.

There are so many reasons I'm loving this new "toy" but here are just a few:
o   HeatGuard™ Technology: Double-walled insulation keeps heat inside so laminator is comfortable to touch, making it safe for homes and classrooms with children
o   Advanced Temperature Control: Hot and cold laminating capabilities ensure consistent, smooth results every time
o   Release Lever: Permits easy removal or re-centering of stalled pouches to prevent jams
o   Laminates up to 9.5″ wide documents

I think that the Fellows Saturn2 95 laminator should be a part of every home and classroom and right now you can help make that happen!

To get a Fellows laminator in your child's classroom make sure to nominate their teacher and Fellowes Facebook page. Submitting an entry is easy and your teacher will thank you when they win!

To win a laminator for your home simply enter using the entry form below. The winner will receive the same Fellowes Saturn2 95 laminator that I received (retail value