Baked Mozzarella Sticks

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Who doesn’t love mozzarella sticks?  I’m pretty sure 9/10 people would raise their hand.  In my quest to fulfill my need for them I ran across a healthy alternative. What’s better than how healthy they are is how quick and easy it is to make them!  Seriously 3 ingredients (if you count the water for basting)?!  

1. Wonton wrapper
2. Mozzarella string cheese sticks
3. Water

Start by preheating your oven to 400°.  {Hint:  I have a gas oven, so I generally turn mine down about 15-25° from whatever a recipe recommends}.

Next cut your mozzarella string cheese sticks in half. {My 5 year old does this with a butter knife}.

Lay your wonton wrappers on a dry surface and place a mozzarella stick perpendicular on a corner.  Then roll until you have  approximately a couple inches left.  Using a basting brush, brush some water onto the corner then finish rolling.

Place on your greased baking sheet.  When you have all of those delicious cheese sticks rolled, I usually brush them with water to help them crisp up. {No worries if you don’t.  I’ve forgotten a few times and they turn out just as delectable}

Slide them into the preheated oven and set your timer for 10 minutes. 

Remember patience is a virtue

Enjoy!! 🙂

I can eat them plain, but my husband loves them with marinara sauce or even spaghetti sauce.

Please let me know what you guys think!  Any different sauce options??

Credits to AverieCooks

Why you should pamper yourself (without spoiling your budget)

I think every mom is guilty of putting herself on the back burner at some point.  Once the realization of how expensive a child is (let alone once you have more than one or multiples!!) you start trying to rationalize what is an essential and what can go.  We all do it, try and cut a corner one place to use the money or time on something else.  However, what if I told you how just pampering yourself every once in a while can result in an increase in concentration, energy and mood?  Now, I have by no means conducted an official study, nor should I be cited for any of this.  I have however experienced all of this firsthand, so we’ll just say it comes from experience!

With our first daughter I tried the box of color that turned out to be a nightmare for my hair.  I am naturally a dark blonde.  Somehow even with the light blonde coloring, my hair came out some odd orange tint.  Not a good look for me.  Then I tried the do it yourself at home highlighting kit.  After all, I had my hair highlighted for years, it didn’t look too difficult.  Do not be fooled.  Have you tried pulling long hair through a small hole of a plastic cap, especially in the back?  Again, disaster!  I finally broke down and started going to a stylist again, but I just stretched my appointments out maybe 12 weeks instead of the normal 6-8 they say.  Let me list some of the advatages I realized when I went to the salon:
•mental clarity
•mood booster
•a scalp massage (👈 these are to die for!)
•increase in energy
I want to be very clear, I love both of my girls immensely!! However, many SAHM I have questioned will tell you the same, take time for yourself!  Your brain needs a break and some adult interaction.  Who doesn’t love some good girl time at the salon?  When you can totally relax, not constantly chase a baby around or do house work it’s almost like hitting a reset button for your body. 

Today we are preparing for our family vacation so I had my hair and nails done.  Initially when I walked into the nail salon I thought, I can save this money and paint my own toenails.  Really it would take 15 minutes and I have a ton of nail polishes to choose from at home.  I almost walked back out.  Then I thought to myself, I need this.  So I stayed.  I got another 30 minutes of a mental break, a massage chair, and a bonus foot massage!!  Even when it came time to pay, I didn’t feel guilty anymore, and I was ready to be home with my family. 

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Some of my favorite ways to save a buck while still getting pampered:

Groupon or Livingsocial– if you live in or near a big city this is a great way to obtain a great deal!  You can install the Groupon app and get notifications when they are having a sale and they frequently send suggestions for new deals based on your previous buying history.  I’ve noticed both sites have been running quite a few 20% or 30% off local deals.  This is a great time to buy! 

•The nail salon I go to has a rewards card.  After 5 stamps you get a free service.

•Keep a lookout during the holiday season.  I’ve seen a few of the salons offer gift certificates for a fraction of the price!

•Insurance.  Yes, your reading that correctly. I learned last year my husband’s health insurance covers a chiropractor and massage.  I was going to the chiropractor once a week and getting adjusted and a 30 minute massage for only the amount I tipped!  If you know me you know I love a massage!

Hopefully that information helps everyone get all the pampering they deserve!  We all work extremely hard as mom’s, wives and if you work outside of the home as an employee too.  Trust me if you don’t find some time to unwind and do whatever it is that helps you relax you will go stir crazy and every little thing will make you snap.  Do yourself and your family a favor and go get pampered! 😘

How do you guys get some relaxation time?  Any money saving tips? Please share!

Is it acceptable to breastfeed in public yet?

So as I’m sitting at the water park today with my family my 9 month old (where did the time go?!) started to fuss.  I knew it was nap time.  I ran a couple different scenarios through my head of where should I take her to feed?  Should I try to find a lactation room?  To my surprise (not really) there wasn’t one.  Maybe I should go back to the car and feed her there where no one would watch.  By this time she was to the point of screaming and grabbing at my top.  I decided I was going to sit in my lounge chair and make this work.  I covered us with a towel and she ate and fell asleep.  Have you ever felt like the odd person out, like you just don’t fit in at the time?  That’s exactly how I felt as everyone walked by staring at the large lump under the towel.  Yes people, my baby is under the towel, move on please. 

Now certainly this isn’t my first encounter breastfeeding in public, and it certainly won’t be my last.  If I want to ever come out of my house within a 4 hour window, my chances of having to feed her in public are pretty high.  My first bump in the road with it I guess you could say was taking my 5 year old to Disney World for her 5th birthday.  My baby was only 2 months old at the time.  Her birthday is in December and despite it being in Florida, the weather was not the least bit cozy.  In fact, it was around 50 degrees and raining this particular day.  When we started out in Magic Kingdom everything was great as far as being able to breastfeed.  The lactation room is absolutely superb!  Comfortable chairs, great ambiance, plugs for pumps.  The problem ensued when we were about halfway into our day, and that lactation room became farther and farther away.  I went on a mission, as well as my husband and mother in law to find another great lactation room to no avail.  In a semi panic state, with my breasts slightly engorging and my daughter crying, I finally asked an employee where I could find one since the one by the entrance was too far away.  His response was “it is perfectly legal in the state of Florida to breastfeed in public” and proceeded to show my a bench.  I felt defeated.  Was I really supposed to take my 2 month out in the freezing drizzle to feed her? Normally I would grumble under my breath but just walk away.  Maybe it was my mothering insticts kicking in but I was NOT going to feed my baby in the rain for 20 minutes.  I kindly asked if there was another option since I felt outside was a bit inappropriate given the circumstances.  He took me to a restaurant that the top section was blocked off and said I could sit in a corner to feed her.  Just make sure to tell any workers he sent me.  So up the stairs I went to a secluded area to feed my baby.  I returned to this area approximately 3-4 more times for the day.  I was approached by a worker once but they just smiled and walked away when my husband told them we had no other place to feed her. 

My question is as much inclusion as we have made in America for same sex marriages or transgender individuals, why do I feel shamed for providing a necessity to my child?  I was unable to breastfeed my first daughter beyond 4 months and I vowed with my second baby I was going to work harder at keeping my supply up.  I hope one day help women feel more comfortable with this.  I’m tired of reading stories of women being asked to leave a public place for this. 
Read This

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Natural bug repellent

It’s hard to believe Independence Day is only 2 days away!  If your kids are like my daughter being outside is a necessity, whether it’s day or night.  In fact her current obsession is catching lightening bugs in her mason jar her Daddy made to house them for the night.  We let them go once she falls asleep, incase you’re wondering.  However, this June in central Ohio has been quite a soggy month!  Meteorologists say there were 19 straight days of rain! Can we say hello homemade backyard ponds??  Hence the increase in mosquito’s.

I’ve always known my daughter is incredibly sweet, the mosquito’s just corroborate my long held belief.  I swear the kid can be outside for 5 minutes and come in with a bug bite.  In my search for all natural products as opposed to traditional DEET I came across an article about beautyberry.  Beautyberry usage dates back to the early 20th century.  Researched by USDA-ARS chemist Charles Cantrell, it was found the compound callicarpenal is as effective as synthetic DEET known as SS220.   You can plant the beautyberry bush for your own use, however it is best grown in zone 6.  For a map of the different zones visit
http:// planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/PHZMWeb/#

If you don’t have the time or you’re like me and do NOT have a green thumb at all, some other natural options for insect repellent include:
•rosemary oil
•soybean oil
•castor oil
•eucalyptus oil (especially lemon eucalyptus oil)
•soy, coconut and geranium oil combination

Of course, natural based products don’t work as long so it is recommended to reapply every couple of hours.

Information obtained from Mother Nature Wins Again by Kim Vasdani.

Has anyone tried any of the essential oils?  Know of anything else that works?  Please leave a comment!

Healthy cake alternative

When I stumbled upon this recipe via my mother-in-law I was skeptical of how it would really taste.  I mean how good can cake be that you just microwaved for a minute?  I was thoroughly impressed after my first taste!  My sweet tooth is much larger than I would like, so if I can have my cake and eat it too (without the fat and a portion of the calories) count me in!  What’s even better are the different varities that are available with this method.  This recipe is a huge success on pinterest!

•Start with 1 box of angel food cake mix (any brand works) and 1 box of any flavor of cake mix you desire.  Pour both into a gallon size zip lock bag.  Seal it tight and let the kids have fun shaking the bag to mix both together.  You can now store this bag of mixes for future uses.  Trust me it lasts a while!
•When your ready for cake, use 1/3 cup of cake mix from your bag and pour it into a bowl or mug. {I have found using my daughters plastic bowls are easiest to clean, although I know some people don’t like to microwave in plastic.} Mix 3 Tbsp. of water in, stir until its all combined.  Microwave for 1 minute and that’s it!! You have delicious healthy cake. 

Now let’s talk toppings.  You certainly don’t need any toppings if you don’t want any, this is perfectly tasty bare.  Sometimes we like to try something new in our house.  Some combinations we’ve tried include:
•Whipped cream, flax seed and fresh fruit
•Cinnamon chips and bananas
•Chocolate chips and walnuts
•Artic Zero ice cream ⬅ healthy ice cream!
•Toasted coconut and sliced almonds

Also, you can mix in any of the above ingredients into the cake mix before microwaving it.  So there you have it, a single serving of cake with only approximately 100 calories!!

Try it and let me know what you think!