I love this movie! We have probably watched a higher percentage of Disney movies, than any other, when we have visited theaters over the last 28 years. With five kids ranging in age from 10 to 27, as you can imagine, there have been a LOT of them and I have mostly enjoyed them all, [...]
I love this movie! We have probably watched a higher percentage of Disney movies, than any other, when we have visited theaters over the last 28 years. With five kids ranging in age from 10 to 27, as you can imagine, there have been a LOT of them and I have mostly enjoyed them all, but Beauty and the Beast is a hands-down favorite. I’m anxious to share the 3D version with our youngest daughter and 2 granddaughters! (If you’re reading this in your email or in an RSS feed, be sure to click through to the blog and check out the movie trailer.)
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 3D
- Rating: G
- Release Date: January 13, 2012
- Voice Cast: Paige O’Hara, Robby Benson, Richard White, Jerry Orbach, David Ogden Stiers, Angela Lansbury, Bradley Pierce, Rex Everhart, Jesse Corti, Hal Smith, JoAnne Worley
- Directors: Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise
- Producer: Don Hahn
- Executive Producer: Howard Ashman
- Screenplay by: Linda Woolverton
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ magical classic “Beauty and the Beast” returns to the big screen in Disney Digital 3D™, introducing a whole new generation to the Disney classic with stunning new 3D imagery. The film captures the fantastic journey of Belle (voice of Paige O’Hara), a bright and beautiful young woman who’s taken prisoner by a hideous beast (voice of Robby Benson) in his castle. Despite her precarious situation, Belle befriends the castle’s enchanted staff—a teapot, a candelabra and a mantel clock, among others—and ultimately learns to see beneath the Beast’s exterior to discover the heart and soul of a prince.
Burger King has revamped their familiar kids’ crowns, attached them to their new BK Crown program boxes for kids’ meals and used the new meal containers to help teach our kids about giving, about eating a “little” better and that learning can be fun. Burger King isn’t beating our kids over the head with any [...]
Burger King has revamped their familiar kids’ crowns, attached them to their new BK Crown program boxes for kids’ meals and used the new meal containers to help teach our kids about giving, about eating a “little” better and that learning can be fun. Burger King isn’t beating our kids over the head with any of those messages, but I really like the direction they are taking with this new program!
Obviously, a fast-food kids’ meal will never be the healthiest alternative for dinner, but I like that these meals still taste good and are pointing our kids in the direction of making wiser choices. They can still get the traditional fare, but they can also choose chicken tenders with apple slices and milk or a hamburger with apples slices and juice. There’s even an option for breakfast — maple oatmeal, apple slices and milk. Changing up even one or two of our fat- or sugar-laden food options for a healthier alternative, can make a difference and encourages our children to keep making better choices.
The BK Crown Program is a great way to teach kids about giving, too. Each box comes with a printed code and three options for your child to think about and select from. They can visit the BK Crown website and choose which of the three, they would like Burger King to make a donation to. Kids learn what the charities are all about and make decisions about where to direct their charitable giving. They cast their vote for the charity they like most.
The website and the new kids’ meal boxes are also loaded with fun and challenging, “make you think” games and puzzles for kids to enjoy. Meals still come with a toy surprise and kids can find out what it will be by visiting the website. Parents are invited to be involved at BK Crown, too. Sign up for an account and be kept up to date on what your child is doing while on the site.
For a limited time, Burger King is even offering a BK Crown Family Meal Bundle. It includes: a Whopper, a Whopper Jr., two small fries, two small drinks, AND a kid’s meal all for only $9.99! That’s definitely budget-wise if you’re planning dinner out.
One lucky Busy-at-Home reader is going to win a sample BK Crown Kid’s Meal Box PLUS a $25 BK Crown Card (Burger King Gift Card) to try out the new BK Crown options with their family! It’s easy to enter, below!
I received a BK Crown Kid’s Meal Box and $25 BK Crown Card, through My Blog Spark, in order to review the program and write this post. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
I have been poking around and exploring a new online retail discount site, this week. I’m all curled up in my big blue chair and I’m wrapped in a gorgeous, burgundy Coral Springs Home Plush blanket. Shopping doesn’t get much more comfortable than this! The good news is I get to “share the warmth” [...]
I have been poking around and exploring a new online retail discount site, this week. I’m all curled up in my big blue chair and I’m wrapped in a gorgeous, burgundy Coral Springs Home Plush blanket. Shopping doesn’t get much more comfortable than this! The good news is I get to “share the warmth” with a Busy-at-Home reader, who will soon be enjoying a Coral Springs Home Plush blanket of their own, compliments of Mertado!
So, exactly what is Mertado? It was introduced to me as an online social shopping site that sells top of the line home & kitchen products at up to 70% off. Membership is free. Built on the Facebook social media platform, the Mertado site allows shoppers to recommend purchases, see what their friends are buying, and interact with their network while shopping for their favorite brands at deeply discounted prices. Mertado has tapped Food Network TV veteran Curtis Aikens to tape exclusive segments for Mertado TV — a unique series of videos on the site that highlight recipes, tips, and tricks for using goods purchased on Mertado.com.
What I’ve discovered from exploring the site and researching their products is that most of the products are high quality, name brand or exclusive/designer brand products that would normally be way outside my regular budget. Mertado deeply discounts the suggested retail price of these products and those become the “sale” prices you find throughout the site. That can be good or bad, depending on how careful a shopper you are. When deciding whether or not an item is at the best price available, you still need to do your homework. Suggested retail is usually much higher than the price you will need to pay for an item if you shop around online, anyway, and so basing a discount on that higher price, may still not get a product down into the range of even everyday regular prices on some other shopping sites. Many products that I did a comparison shop for between Mertado and Amazon or other online sites, were still being sold for less on the other sites. The other thing I found is that the products Mertado offers are sometimes discontinued models, which isn’t necessarily bad, as long as you are aware of what you are buying. What this means is that you will still need to do your homework to achieve the best deals, but Mertado is definitely a place you will want to add to your list of comparison shopping sites and Mertado has another unique and distinguishing feature that you won’t want to overlook.
It’s called Mertado Cash. Members actually earn this discount toward future purchases by referring new members. When someone you referred makes their first purchase, you will receive $15 in Mertado Cash in your account. Mertado Cash does not have cash value. It can only be used on other Mertado purchases. This is another way to bring a product’s price down and save money on your purchase. I definitely like budget-stretching options! So, if you are someone who enjoys owning high-end, designer and name brand products, Mertado may be just the opportunity you need to buy them without paying high designer prices. Browse around the website and see what great options you might find to save money on the products you have on your shopping list and be sure to enter the giveaway to win a Coral Springs Home Plush blanket!
This post was made possible by < a href=”http://www.momsparkmedia.com/”>Mom Spark Media. I received the blanket mentioned above in order to test product quality and write the review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
I recently had an exciting opportunity to try out the iMemories service available at local The UPS Stores. I hadn’t even realized the service was available, so it was a great surprise to hear that our family’s old VHS and VHS-C’s could be digitized and transferred to DVD, preserving all those treasured memories, there. As [...]
I recently had an exciting opportunity to try out the iMemories service available at local The UPS Stores. I hadn’t even realized the service was available, so it was a great surprise to hear that our family’s old VHS and VHS-C’s could be digitized and transferred to DVD, preserving all those treasured memories, there. As a matter of fact, the list of what can be converted is extensive: Beta Max, VHS, VHS-C, 8mm cassettes, Mini DV, 8mm reels, Super 8 reels, 16mm reels, photos, negatives and slides. Isn’t that incredible? As it turned out, some of our oldest VHS tapes were terribly degraded, so we were fortunate to have converted them when we did. I’m thrilled that our family memories have been preserved for future generations and that they are in a format we can enjoy again and again. The process was a little time consuming and it was more costly than we had originally expected, but in the end, I am very pleased with the finished product. This will give you an idea of how the process works.
My nearest The UPS Store is about a 45 minute drive for me, so I planned to make the most of my trip. I needed a couple of grocery items from WalMart and since I was going to be on Lincoln’s south side at The UPS Store, the south WalMart was also on my route. I made my grocery list, pulled out the instructions for packing and preparing our tapes to be shipped and then I set off on my road trip.
I had the address of The UPS Store with me, and I knew I was in the right area, but I was having no luck finding them, so I pulled into a bank parking lot and called the store, gave them my location and discovered I was in the parking lot across the street from them. The employee that answered the phone was very nice and extremely helpful. I drove to the strip mall across the street and just when I thought I was still not going to be able to find them, there it was, tucked in the corner.
I had no idea that The UPS Store offered so many different services. I was really surprised! But, my mission on this day was to get those videos shipped and get the conversion process started. I approached the people working at the counter and explained what I was doing. Initially, I set off quite a panic, as they had never processed an iMemories order before and weren’t sure of the procedure. Needless to say, I was a little more wary of leaving my only family videos with them, at that point. But, they explained they had received information about the program several months earlier and then no one had actually come in to use it. So, while they tracked down information and clarified what should happen, I had a chance to wander around the small shop and check out their other products and services. Once they had gotten things clear in their minds about what to do with my videos, they pulled them out of my shipping box and organized them in the most condensed possible formation on the scale. It was sort of like watching a puzzle being put together. (I discovered that they would be packing and shipping in their own box, so that was why they were trying to get the package “organized” into a small bundle.) Once the desired shape was found, the weight was taken and the rest of the shipping process could move forward.
There was some confusion about including the gift card I had received to pay for processing, in the package I was shipping and it was preferred that I not place it in the box. The store employees also printed another form for me to read and fill out and then printed a shipping label and attached one copy to the new form, which I was required to sign. They kept one copy and gave one to me. They also studied the original shipping label and customer ID card I had filled out (A similar form can be printed from the iMemories website, for your use.) for a few minutes and then gave me one copy and put the rest with my tapes. After that, I was able to use my The UPS Store gift card to pay for the shipping and my part was finished. The store workers let me know they would pack up and prepare my tapes for shipping after I left and that it would ship out that evening and arrive at it’s destination in about 7 days. So, I was off to run my other Lincoln errands and make the 45 minute drive back home.
My next contact during the process, was an email letting me know that the videos had arrived at iMemories, but I would have to pay for the processing before they could begin digitizing the tapes. I explained what had happened with the gift card at The UPS Store and the reluctance to include it in the package. A very friendly iMemories employee called me and took the gift card number over the phone, to get the ball rolling. That was the point where I realized how expensive this process was going to be. I had received a $100 gift card to test the service and during this phone call, found out that it was going to cost $9.99 to digitize each tape. I had sent 11 tapes, so there would essentially be about $10 and some shipping out-of-pocket by the time I was done. The customer service rep explained though, that that price was only for converting the tapes into a digital format. There would be an additional $9.99 charge for each DVD we ordered from them. Needless to say, I was a little overwhelmed at the idea of yet another $110 to put our videos onto DVD after the payment I was making now. The representative explained that I might potentially be able to get all the videos onto only 4 or 5 DVD’s, which would cut the cost. There really wasn’t anything else to do at this point, but to move forward, so I paid for the digitizing and was told I would receive an email in one to two weeks letting me know my digitized videos were ready. At that point I could enter the iMemories website and arrange, organize and build the DVDs I wanted from the videos in my account online. I waited the appointed time and received an email that all but one of the videos were ready and that the last one required a little extra time, but would be available soon. I gave it a couple more days and then logged into my account at the iMemories website.
Once the DVDs were compiled and organized in the way I wanted them, they were saved to my account and then I could go back at any time in the next 30 days, I think, to order anything I wanted. (I received an email, today, that I have two more weeks on my “subscription” and that to save my videos online indefinitely, I could pay $4.99 per month. This would probably be a good option if I intended to order more copies, since I definitely wouldn’t want to pay the price to have the videos digitized, again.) To order DVD’s was pretty simple. The screen had all five DVDs I had put together. All I had to do was click Add to Cart and then go through the checkout process. It was simple and no different than any online shopping experience.
Once, I had ordered my DVD’s, on November 11, it took about ten days to receive them. (I haven’t received my original videos back, yet, but after emailing iMemories, they sent them right out and emailed me a tracking number, so they should be arriving any day, now.) In total, it was a little over one month to complete the transfer to DVD process, since I shipped the original videos on October 18. So, as you can see this is not a fast process. I wouldn’t start, now, thinking that you can have a finished product ready for a Christmas gift. What I will say is that the finished product is PHENOMENAL! If you have the extra cash, understand the costs going in and are not crunched for time, the DVD quality and the opportunity to know your family movies are preserved for the long-term is worth it all. Obviously, the quality of your video will not exceed what was on your VHS, but what I found is that they are just as good. There was no loss of quality. Would I use the service again? You bet! Probably not for 11 videos at once, but I would definitely do one or two videos at a time to be sure we could properly preserve our family memories.
This is just one example of why we wanted these videos preserved. Our kids were pretty creative and considering that the little squirt in this one is going on 16, now, our daughter is now 19, plus the daughter who ran the camera and directed this video is now 25, I love that we can look back at these times when they were little and not lose any of these fun memories. Hope you enjoy my little super hero. In case you can’t understand his last line, he says, “I’m just a guy, doin’ my job.” - lol
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias #PreservingMemories A positive review was not required and as with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
Baking season is in full swing in Vermont as the good people at King Arthur Flour prepare for the holidays. This season adds lots of great products to their catalog and website – as well as an amazing opportunity to win a $1,000 shopping spree through the King Arthur Flour Facebook page. Be sure to [...]
Baking season is in full swing in Vermont as the good people at King Arthur Flour prepare for the holidays. This season adds lots of great products to their catalog and website – as well as an amazing opportunity to win a $1,000 shopping spree through the King Arthur Flour Facebook page. Be sure to “like” the King Arthur Flour Facebook page, click on the sweepstakes tab, and fill out the registration information. Entry deadline is Nov. 30 and the winner will be announced Dec. 15, as well as five runners-up winners who will receive $100 gift cards. What a fantastic gift for Christmas! It’s just one more reason to love King Arthur flour!
Get the Family Movie Night/P&G widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info) Family movie night — do those words hold any significance for you? I remember when it was a tradition to gather around the one and only television we owned (Who on earth would have more [...]
Family movie night — do those words hold any significance for you? I remember when it was a tradition to gather around the one and only television we owned (Who on earth would have more than one?) with my parents and siblings, plus any company or random neighborhood kids that might have wandered in, for the Movie of the Week, which was broadcast on televisions across America. To be fair, that was CLEARLY back in prehistoric times and I realize you wouldn’t dream of parking your kids in front of most of the movies available on television, today, even if you’re sitting right beside them. That’s one of the saddest and most frustrating things about modern “entertainment”. We’ve removed the family element and a lot of the fun and memories that went along with it. I am so excited and grateful that Proctor and Gamble, along with WalMart, is investing time, money and talent to restore “family movie night” to living rooms across the country — to bring us entertaining stories, with interesting, contemporary plots and truly family-friendly language, content and character-building lessons! I ♥ them! I really do — for understanding how important it is for parents and kids to connect over wholesome, fun activities and build strong family ties.
Not only is Game of Your Life family-friendly, it was of particular interest to my gamer-enthusiast son! From the beginning he was willing to sit down and see what it was about, because the topic was something relevant to his life. Thank you to the talent behind the creation of this story for recognizing how critical that is in the process of engaging both kids and their parents! I loved that the story’s hero, Zach Taylor, was smart, worked hard and was willing to sacrifice for his goals. It was excellent to see him struggle with some real-life temptations and confusion, make a few mistakes and then seek the counsel and wisdom of adults he trusted and respected. The good guy is a REAL good guy, the bad guy is a REAL bad guy and the story has the most innocent romance, a crisis and lessons in loyalty, friendship and trust — all portrayed without the benefit of swearing, drinking, drugs, death or promiscuity. Imagine? I laughed — I cried — it moved me, Bob. No really, I ran the full gamut of emotions through this one and couldn’t be more pleased with the way everything worked out. I can’t wait to watch it again with my entire family, when it premieres on NBC, Friday, December 2 at 8/7c!
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of P&G and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
It takes something pretty unique to get my attention in the world of phone technology. With phones that can take pictures, record video, wake me with an alarm in the morning, search the Internet, send me an alert to remind me of an event on my calendar, send text messages in a blink and believe [...]
It takes something pretty unique to get my attention in the world of phone technology. With phones that can take pictures, record video, wake me with an alarm in the morning, search the Internet, send me an alert to remind me of an event on my calendar, send text messages in a blink and believe it or not, even make a phone call now and then, there isn’t much left to wow! me. We haven’t had a house phone for over six years, now, since our cell phones are (technically) always with us and there is no sense in paying two phone bills, when the house phone was rarely used. What I HAVE missed about having a house phone, however, is the multiple handsets, scattered through the house, so I could answer wherever I happened to be working or playing in our home. This becomes especially obvious to me, when I can hear my cell phone ringing, but can’t remember where I left my purse, where it normally resides. Or sometimes, I don’t hear it ringing at all because it’s in my purse in a completely different part of my house. Our home has a finished basement, main level and an upstairs, so if my purse is in the living room by my chair and I am in the basement doing laundry or upstairs in the bedroom, it’s very possible I won’t always hear it.
Enter VTech’s DS6421-3 Expandable Cordless Phones with “Connect to Cell“. I have been reviewing and testing this excellent system for about two weeks, now, and I’m absolutely hooked. Everything I loved and missed about having a house phone, plus so much more than I dreamed of, is connected directly to two of our family’s four cell phones – mine and my husband’s. We still don’t have house phone service, through a phone company, but now, those two cell phones can make and receive calls through the handsets in our new VTech house phones. This is not just convenient based on where I am in our home. It’s a great help with our nearly 10-year-old who doesn’t have a cell phone, has no need for one, but still needs to make a call now and then. If I’m gone and she wants to call my cell phone to reach me, she can just use the house phones to dial me up through her dad’s cell line. This is an important feature for her, since it is very common for my husband to not remember where his cell phone is. As long as it’s in the house, it doesn’t matter if he can find it, because she can use the house phone handsets to call me and they will just access his cell phone signal (wherever it is) to do it. It all works through Bluetooth and it’s the coolest new gadget we’ve had in awhile!
It was so easy to set up. I plugged in the base, made my cell phone’s blue tooth discoverable and just followed the menu prompts on the VTech handset. In seconds my phone was connected. I plugged in the other two bases in other parts of the house and from that moment on, I have been picking up calls coming to my cell, no matter where I am in our home. Love, love, love this phone system, but picking up our cell signal is only scratching the surface of its features.
- Intercom calling between handsets. (One of my favorites! A child on a video game in a different part of the house, can no longer say, “I didn’t hear you call me.” I use the intercom to call the handset which happens to be sitting on the desk in the room where the video games are. They “hear” me every time, now. I can use it to actually make the handset ring, so they have to stop and pick it up OR I can use PTT [press-to-talk] and simply allow my voice to burst into the room with them and speak through the handset, like a regular intercom.)
- Access your cellular phonebook directory – Download your cellular phonebook directory to this cordless phone system! (I did this, too. The Bluetooth connection transferred my cell phone directory to the VTech system in less than 60 seconds.) Dial a landline or cellular call from the directory for easy access. Stores over 6000 directories from up to four different cell phones?no need to input names and numbers into your cordless phone.
- DECT 6.0 digital technology provides the best sound quality, security and range in cordless phones.
- Protect yourself from identity theft with digital security. Your call is digitized and encrypted, making it nearly impossible for someone to eavesdrop.
- Excellent range, up to 500 feet.
- Audio equalizer allows you to choose from 4 different profiles to best match your hearing.
- Easy to use, standard wall mount capability.
- VTech supports RoHS initiatives by reducing the use of hazardous substances including lead, mercury and cadmium.
- Page/handset locator.
- Expandable up to 12 handsets using only one phone jack.
- Energy Star Compliant.
- Press any key to answer calls.
- Hearing Aid Compatible.
- Retrieve messages on the digital answering system from the handset.
- Remotely retrieve messages on the digital answering system.
- Selectable ring tones.
- Audible time and date stamp on recorded messages.
- Last 10 number redial.
- Conference an outside call between handsets and lines.
- 50 name and number phonebook directory.
- Caller ID/Call waiting stores 50 calls.
- Trilingual prompts allow you to choose between English, Spanish or French.
- Connect to CELL – Pair four different cell phones (or headsets) and have two devices actively connected. Cellular calls can be made or received from either of the two active cell phones. Landline service not required, works great for cellular only households.
- Transfer calls between handsets.
- Make and Receive Landline and cellular calls – Connects to BLUETOOTH enabled cellular phones to make and receive cellular calls with the ease and comfort of a home phone system. Two cell phones can be actively connected to the base and cellular calls can be made or received from either of these two active cell phones. Pair four different cell phones to the base unit and select and change which two are active.
- HD Audio provides an extended frequency band allowing for the signal to be reproduced and tuned for a fuller and clearer sound.
- Voice Announce Caller ID audibly announces the name and number of the caller on all of the handsets and base unit. No need to find the handset to see who is calling. Makes screening calls that much easier.
- Push-To-Talk acts as a multiple handset walkie talkie system to instantly communicate with any or all of the handsets within the system.
- Digital answering system with 14 minutes of recording time. No tapes or moving parts.
- Interference free for crystal clear conversations. Won?t interfere with wireless networks and other wireless devices.
- With the touch of a button, the handset speakerphones makes hands-free conversations easy.
- Adjust ringer volume from low to high, or turn the ringer off.
- Handset volume control.
- Backlit keypad and display allowing for easier viewing in dim light.
- Voicemail waiting indicator provides a text message on the handset to alert you when you have messages waiting on the voicemail service provided by your phone company.
The one minor complaint I have about the system is that the process for dialing a number directly from the directory is a little complicated. If I type a phone number into the handset, then I can just press “dial” and my call is placed. However, if I select a name from the directory, there is no “dial” option. When I choose a name from the contact list in my directory, I have to press the # key until the number is displayed in the correct format (area code +number) and then select the “cell” button to actually dial the call. Not a huge deal, but in the best of all perfect worlds, I would just be able to land on a contact and hit dial.
There are so many features to this phone, that I am still getting excited about new ones that I accidentally discover! I was so excited to be able to have the VTech DS6421-3 connected to our cells, I was content to just use that option for the first several days. Now, I use them as intercoms and have imported my cell phone’s contact list into them! The next big achievement will be a conference call and transferring a call from one handset to another or placing one call on hold to take another! The added bonus is that at this time of year, we can make all our holiday calls and connections and be able to have several people involved in the conversations, at once. You can add satellite units to this system, up to a total of 12! I’m feeling very technologically savvy and super frugal to be able to do all of these things without actually paying to have a home line installed. Needless to say, this phone system gets a big thumb up from me, for busy families on a strictly cell phone budget!
I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of VTech and received a product sample to facilitate my review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
It’s REALLY true! I’m not even joking – Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day is not fictional, nor is it an unattainable dream. It’s real and it’s sensational! When I read about the release of this title, I started doing a little research on the book and the authors, Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. [...]
It’s REALLY true! I’m not even joking – Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day is not fictional, nor is it an unattainable dream. It’s real and it’s sensational! When I read about the release of this title, I started doing a little research on the book and the authors, Jeff Hertzberg, M.D. and Zoë Francois. It didn’t take much time to find their names splashed around the Internet and linked with another cookbook called Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The more I read and found out about them, the more I knew I had to try this “forget everything I think I thought I knew about baking bread” technique!
I immediately went to Amazon.com and ordered Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, and then made inquiries about hosting a review and giveaway of the new title, Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day. Once the title was released, I received a copy and began testing recipes. These two cookbooks have rocked my bread-baking world! And that’s saying something. I bake bread — lots of it — and fairly regularly. The ground-breaking method, taught in both books, will open up the world of bread-baking to even the most fearful novice and give them confidence to bake bread on a regular basis, which saves money and increases nutritional value — both of which are major factors in my household. But, the best reason to try the five-minutes-a-day bread-baking method, is that you will never want to put another crust of store-bought bread into you or your family. The flavor is remarkable! The applications and variety are staggering. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can be serving piping hot, fresh, artisan bread without investing the time we have traditionally believed was necessary. The work has not only been reduced, the bulk of it has been eliminated and the results are something you will want to eat every day!
Since I had Artisan Bread in Five Minutes, first, I started there. It, as well as Artisan Pizza…, begins with a complete explanation of the five-minutes-a-day method. The main points of this method are that you will mix a large batch of super-moist dough, never have to knead it (not even a little), store it in a container in your refrigerator for up to two to three weeks, depending on the type of bread you’re making and each time you want fresh bread, during that period, you will simply remove the amount of dough needed for a loaf, shape it, let it rise and then bake it. Shaping a loaf honestly takes nowhere near five minutes a day. The rising and baking time will happen while you play with the kids, do a load of laundry, curl up with a good book or get in a quick workout. You will only need to pull out ingredients and mix up a batch of bread about once a week (depending on the size of batch you decide to make), but you will be able to eat fresh-baked bread every single day! Your hands-on investment of time is almost nil and the payoff is delish!
The other great perk? Friends and family will think you are some sort of bread genius! They will be inviting themselves for dinner…and snacks…and any other event where your fabulous homemade bread might be served. Yours is going to be a very popular kitchen.
What have I made since acquiring these two cookbooks? Well, lets see: Crusty White Sandwich Loaves, fabulous Deli-Style Rye that my husband cannot get enough of, Pizza Dough with flavor that is better than any restaurant and reminiscent of my trip to King Arthur Flour, this summer, where we made pizzas and baked them in a brick-fire oven! (I used, and the authors often recommend, King Arthur flours in these recipes.) I will never make a different recipe for pizza crust and when you see these pictures, you’ll understand why. I wish you could taste it, right through the screen! That basic pizza crust dough also makes killer pita bread and the rye loaves I’ve baked have made the most delectable Reuben Sandwiches.
I’m allowed to share one recipe from the book with you and to be honest, it’s incredibly difficult to decide which one, but since the giveaway is for Artisan Pizza and Flatbread…, I decided to show you the basic Pizza Crust recipe. You’ll never buy another frozen pizza after you taste this crust. You absolutely MUST make it!
This is one of our finished pizzas. I actually made it for lunch, today, and having made several of them previously, felt confident to pop right through the process without consulting the cookbook. There are two things I would do differently, next time:
- I forgot to move my oven rack to the bottom 1/3 of the oven, so the cheese got pretty dark and charred in places, before the crust was done. Keeping the rack low is important and I will definitely be more cautious next time.
- It’s not the end of the universe, but after making the pizzas, this summer, at King Arthur Flour, I think I will use slices of fresh mozzarella, instead of grated, next time we make pizzas. This will help prevent burning, too, as the cheese will melt more slowly if it isn’t in shreds. Plus, fresh mozzarella tastes AMAZING! lol
This pizza was devoured in a matter of minutes. Even with the overdone cheese, it was absolutely delicious. I wish I had gotten a better closeup of the crust for you. It was crisp on the bottom, thick and chewy around the edges and tender inside. Perfection!
Register, below, to win a copy of Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day! You definitely want this in your kitchen!
I received a copy of Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day in order to test the recipes and write this review. no monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As always, at Busy-at-Home, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
Carmex is a name we all recognize when it comes to lip balms that really work, healing and providing relief for dry, chapped lips. It is not only effective, it is one of the most economical choices for lip balm. Our family is always well stocked on Carmex lip products in various forms and flavors. [...]
Carmex is a name we all recognize when it comes to lip balms that really work, healing and providing relief for dry, chapped lips. It is not only effective, it is one of the most economical choices for lip balm. Our family is always well stocked on Carmex lip products in various forms and flavors. It was exciting news to me, to hear that Carmex makes skin care products, too. I couldn’t wait to try them!
Carmex Healing Lotion has aloe and Vitamin E and leaves my skin feeling smooth and soft, without being greasy. As a matter of fact, it almost seems to disappear into my skin. What surprised me is that even though my skin actually was softer, it didn’t look like it. The appearance of the skin on my hands didn’t seem to change and still looked a little rough. With other lotions I have used, my skin was visibly smoother after using them, but it also felt greasy, rather than moisturized. Hmmm…moisturized, soft and smooth with no visible change, or visible change with a greasy film on my skin?
The reality is I want my skin to be healthier. The older I get, the more my skin is affected by cold, dry air. Greasy oils don’t really do anything more than sit on the surface of my skin and provide the visual illusion of looking smoother. I really hate the way that feels and it isn’t giving me what I need. What I need is real moisture that can penetrate the surface of my skin and begin a healing process, that I am guessing, over time will also change the appearance of my skin because it will actually be hydrated and healthier. That is what I feel like I am getting from Carmex Healing Lotion as it disappears into my skin. After using it for a couple weeks, I’ll let you know if my hypothesis proves to be accurate.
Carmex Healing Cream is thicker than the lotion, so it takes longer to work it into my skin, but like the lotion it actually seems to disappear or be absorbed INTO my skin. It is formulated with 9 healing ingredients that help repair your driest, most damaged or cracked skin. It’s great for hands, feet, elbows and knees. In my case, it’s perfect for my always bare feet, which get lots of wear and tear. I love that it is super concentrated and only takes a small amount.
Both varieties are available at Walgreens, CVS and Walmart, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding them locally and protecting your skin from dry, winter air. CLICK HERE to print a $1.50 coupon off a Carmex Skin Care product! Plus, one lucky Busy-at-Home reader is going to win the set pictured above, with the pretty gold gift bag!
I received a Carmex Skin Care Gift Set to test the products and write this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As always, at Busy-at-Home, the view and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
Well, I did it! I have pinned various recipes for homemade laundry detergent for months, now, thinking that soon I would gather the exotic ingredients and muster the courage to make some. I should have paid a lot more attention to those recipes I was pinning. There is nothing exotic about the ingredients, nor is [...]
Well, I did it! I have pinned various recipes for homemade laundry detergent for months, now, thinking that soon I would gather the exotic ingredients and muster the courage to make some. I should have paid a lot more attention to those recipes I was pinning. There is nothing exotic about the ingredients, nor is it difficult. I’m actually mourning a little bit, for all the money I have wasted over the years, just not realizing I could do this quickly and simply. Two weeks ago, I sat down to earnestly study all the pins I have for DIY laundry detergent. With a few minor variations, they are all essentially the same. Who knew? I was just pinning pictures with the good intention of “exploring the possibility”, later. Once I actually stopped to look at the details, I was shocked.
The one thing that they all had in common was that they make gigantic batches – 10 to 12 gallons, at a time. I don’t want to be storing all that and so I decided to quarter the recipe I finally settled on. It turns out that it is adapted from the recipe that the Duggar family uses to make their detergent. I decided if it is good enough for the Duggar’s clothes, which they wear on national TV each week, it was probably a safe bet that it would work for us.
Why would I bother to make laundry detergent when I could just conveniently grab a bottle off the shelf at the store? Several reasons, the first of which is cold, hard cash. I have always purchased the large economy bottles of a name brand “he” (high efficiency) laundry detergent. It’s not the cheapest, nor is it the most common $14-a-bottle brand. I pay, on average, $8.00 for a 75-load bottle of my old detergent. I would have been happy to cut that price in half. Instead, I discovered that by making the recipe I am going to share with you, a 75-load bottle of DIY detergent saved me $7.79¾!!! That is a little more than a 97% savings! Hello! Making my own is no longer JUST an option. It’s ridiculous not to. It cost only 20¼¢ for the ingredients to make a 75-load bottle of detergent! Translate that savings over a year’s worth of laundry and that put’s a tidy sum back into our family’s budget.
Still need a list of reasons to try this? Okay. Here it goes:
- 20¼¢!! Hello! (It only takes putting away $19.24 per week to have $1000 in your savings account, by the end of the year. Making laundry detergent at home, won’t earn the whole amount, but it will be a substantial chunk towards reaching that goal.)
- Low suds – The water pumps on “he” washing machines are damaged and wear out faster if you’re using soap that creates too many suds. That’s why manufacturers have “created” the special “he” laundry detergents. Did you know that regular laundry detergent actually has something added to it to make it suds up? Soap isn’t able to do that so profusely on it’s own. People think that more suds = more clean, so those doing the marketing know it boosts the bottom line to add that ingredient. See how public perceptions drive the market and increase costs? Weird, isn’t it! (Yes, I am using this detergent in my “he” washing machine with absolutely no difficulty. Obviously, I can’t make claims for your machine, but mine is alive and well. I’m pretty sure Michelle Duggar’s is, too. )
- Less waste – I’ve read several posts where people have purchased bottles and buckets and extra equipment to begin their detergent making process. If you’re going to do it in monstrously large batches and will be reusing those things over and over, I get it; but you can seriously save the expense and the waste, by just recycling your old detergent bottles for the job. They have built in measuring cups and they don’t cost you an extra penny. Not one more plastic bottle will end up in a landfill or have to be hauled to a recycling center due to my family’s laundry. Cool! I just saved and rinsed out the last two bottles from my old store-bought laundry detergent when they were empty. They work perfectly! When I am feeling more ambitious, I may even soak off the old labels and create some very crafty attractive ones of my own.
- You know what’s in it. – You can add essential oils to your batch to scent it in any way you want, but it’s an added expense, and before you do, I hope you’ll try at least one, just straight. I actually love the light scent of the Fels Naptha and it transfers to our clothes. Remember when you were a kid, that plain, fresh, clean smell that laundry had? Now, I know what it was and I LIKE it! You also aren’t adding any chemical sudsing agents, emulsifiers, gobbledy gook and alphabet soup chemically-type names or dyes. That makes me happy.
- It’s easy. – I didn’t time this process, but I doubt that I invested more than 20 minutes. Other than grating the Fels Naptha and stirring while it melted into the water, it was pretty minor labor, on my part. You can totally do this!
- There are only 3 ingredients and I can buy them at Walmart. – Stores are not sticking these products on end counters or even at eye-level for you to find, but they’re there. You’ll have to scope out the detergent aisle to find where they have them. At my Walmart, it’s on the bottom shelf, underneath the fabric softener section. All you need is a bar of Fels-Naptha, a box of Borax and a box of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda). Total cost for these ingredients was about $7.50 and with the exception of Fels Naptha (Mine was 97¢) which I will need to re-buy after every 4th batch, I won’t be buying ingredients, again for at least a year, probably more.
- It works! – I have been using this detergent on all our laundry for two weeks, now. In my house that’s literally a couple dozen loads. I have used it on bedding, towels, undergarments, regular clothes and even my husbands greasy, grubby work clothes. It works exactly the same as my old detergent. I even conducted a stain test, in the beginning, in hopes that I could tell you that DIY detergent is some miraculous stain-fighter that excels beyond my regular detergent. Knowing that my detergent could not get out mustard stains, I took an old t-shirt, stained both sides with equal amounts of mustard and then both sides with equal amounts of barbecue sauce. Then I pre-treated both by rubbing a teaspoon of my old detergent into the stains on one side and a teaspoon of the DIY detergent on the other side. I washed each side in hot water, using it’s coordinating detergent. Alas, DIY does no better on mustard than the store-bought detergent and they both got out the barbecue stain. So, while there was no difference in the way they cleaned and both would require a pre-treater for really stubborn stains, hello! 20¼¢! -lol- DIY still wins. ( Does anybody have a recipe for homemade pre-treater? )
Well, if you’re convinced, now; here’s the recipe that I used to make mine. It’s the scaled-back version and made two 75-load bottles.