Frugal Family Tree

Monday, August 22, 2016

Our Favorite Back To School Snack Mix Made With Goldfish® Crackers

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MixMatchMunch #CollectiveBias

My family and I moved a few weeks ago away from Seattle, and to Henderson, Nevada. Like with any move, there's good and bad, and a lot of goodbyes to close friends and family members.
I'm very happy to say that everyone is loving our new home and community, and my grandchildren have completely fallen in love with our neighborhood, which is filled with parks, pools, and walking trails. And though I know they'll miss their friends, it's just such a relief to see them settling in so well already.
Since back to school is only a few days away, it's time to start thinking about breakfasts, lunches, and that all important after school snack. A great snack that kids like can prevent the irritability or meltdown that is bound to happen after school in those first days of being back in the classroom.
Since my three grandchildren adore Goldfish® crackers, I decided to use them to make a yummy snack mix. The kids eat them all the time, and I thought that the cute, familiar little crackers would be especially welcomed as after school snacks when they start their new schools.
Goldfish crackers seem like they have always been in my house, my own five children loved them, and now so do my grandchildren. It's funny how things change, but some things stay the same, and they always bring out smiles from everyone in my family.

It's amazing how many varieties and sizes that Goldfish snacks are available in. I like buying the 30 ounce boxes because of savings and knowing we should have some on hand for a little while, I hope.
Walmart is offering the rollback price of $5.98 on bulk Goldfish crackers, so it's a great time to stock up for back to school.
My grandson Liam is six, and he'll be starting first grade. Of course he had to sample the snack mix I made, and it met with his approval.
I made it in a big bowl that has a lid, so I can keep it in the pantry. Having it already mixed together is a big time saver, and we can give the kids a snack as soon as they get home from school. I know from experience that hungry kids don't like waiting, and I don't blame them.

When I was shopping at Walmart, I picked up some of our favorite fruits, strawberries and blueberries. I'm grateful my grandchildren are not picky eaters, so eating lots of fruits and veggies are a normal part of their diets.
Pairing my Goldfish crackers snack mix with the fruit is really delicious, and I love it too!

You can make a snack mix with lots of different things, but this is my favorite recipe for a delicious sweet and salty combination. I used two varieties of crackers, Colors, and the Baked With Whole Grain Cheddar.
Here's the ingredients you need:
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
2 cups mini pretzels
1 1/2 cups chocolate candy pieces
1 1/2 cups salted peanuts
2 cups Baked With Whole Grain Cheddar Goldfish crackers
2 cups Colors Goldfish crackers
Make sure you use a bowl large enough so that when you mix all the ingredients together, they won't spill out. Just add all the ingredients into the bowl.
I think that the white chocolate chips go really great in this, and my four year granddaughter has agreed. I love them too.
Next, just take a big spoon and stir everything together. It's really the easiest thing in the world to make a great tasting snack mix.
Goldfish crackers are a great snack all alone, but using them to make a yummy kid-friendly snack mix like this one, is sure to put a smile on any kid's face. With new classes, teachers, and friends, going back to school can be a big adjustment for our kids. So it's nice to offer them a snack that lets them know you care.
Be sure and look for this in-store offer that may be available at your local Walmart: Save $1.00 on any ONE (1) Bolthouse Farms® 10 oz. Baby Carrots or Bolthouse Farms(® 11 oz. juice when you buy any ONE (1) Pepperidge Farm® Goldfish® crackers 30 oz. or larger.
You can find Goldfish® crackers in a variety of flavors and sizes at your local Walmart. And don't forget to take advantage of the rollback price of $5.98 on bulk size crackers.
Have you ever made a snack mix with Goldfish crackers, and if you have, what are your favorite ingredients? Leave me a comment, I'd love to know!
-Post by Patricia

Friday, August 19, 2016

Betty Crocker Recipe For Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

There's nothing I love better than a good old-fashioned recipe for one of my favorite cookies. I remember back in the day, before Martha, or the cooking shows, homemakers turned to the mythical and perfect Betty Crocker for easy and delicious recipes.

While generations of people may recognize the name, most people assume that Betty was a real person, someone nice and cheery, ready to kindly encourage us to be confident in the kitchen. But in fact, it was a made up name that was created to give letters about baking a more personal feeling response from the large company that sold products.

The company grew to be one of the largest world wide, and so did the name Betty Crocker. I remember my mother loved her Betty Crocker cookbooks, and many, many meals and baked goods graced our table that started out as recipes from those books.

Unfortunately, I don't have any of those cookbooks of my mothers, I wish I did. But I can find many of the recipes online, just like this one for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. It's such an easy recipe but don't let that fool you. These cookies are downright delicious, and a little bit of heaven with a cold glass of milk. 

Recipe for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts, if desired


Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, stir brown sugar and butter until blended. Stir in vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Stir in oats, flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Onto an ungreased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoon about 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly, then remove to wire rack to finish cooling.

Makes approximately 24 cookies.

-Post written by Patricia

Monday, August 8, 2016

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake Recipe From Back In The Day Bakery Made With Love Cookbook

I'm rarely dazzled by celebrities, or movie stars, but I am a little star-struck when it comes to my favorite cooks and cookbook authors. I have a major couples crush on Cheryl and Griffith Day, who own the Back In The Day Bakery in Savannah, Georgia.

I just love their easygoing Southern style, and the way they produce such gorgeous cookbooks that make me want to bake every single recipe.

Their beloved bakery is a neighborhood hangout for locals, where you can have a cup of coffee or tea and a delicious made from scratch treat. If I ever make it to Georgia, their bakery is on the top of my list to visit.

But back to this fabulous recipe for Strawberry Buttermilk Cake. I love desserts made with fruit, and I love the wonderful depth of flavor that baking with buttermilk provides. There are both in this recipe, and I just know it's going to become one of my family's favorite cake desserts.

The recipe calls for baking it in a deep dish pie plate but I baked it in a 9-inch round cake pan. I wanted to be able to put it on a cake stand, so this worked out well. If you want to do this, just butter the pan and use a round piece of parchment paper in the pan.

The recipe is from the Day's second book, Made With Love. It's packed with more than 100 recipes and projects that is made for cooks of all levels. I can't wait to get into the kitchen and try some more of their recipes, especially the cakes, pies, and cookies.

Recipe for Strawberry Buttermilk Cake


1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved

Confectioners' sugar for dusting


Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer) cream the butter and sugar together on medium high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla and mix until blended, about 1 minute.

With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and, using a rubber spatula, incorporate any ingredients hiding at the bottom of the bowl, making sure the batter is completely mixed. Scrape the batter into the prepared pie plate and gently smooth the top with a spatula. Tap the pan firmly on the counter to remove any air bubbles from the batter. Arrange the strawberries in a concentric rings on top of the batter, cut side down.

Bake the cake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 50-60 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Before serving, dust the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar. The cake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Serves 8.

-Post by Patricia   

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Blueberry Crumb Muffins Recipe

We've really been loving all the delicious summer fruits available right now, and blueberries seem to be the favorite. My grandchildren have been eating them for breakfast with their cereal, as a snack with yogurt, or just by the handful. They are a superfood, so I love seeing them enjoying something that is so healthy for them.

Since I adore muffins for breakfast or as a treat with a cup of tea, I thought I would use some of these berries to make Blueberry Crumb Muffins. They turned out delicious, and though I love regular blueberry muffins, these were extra good because of the crumb topping.

This recipe makes 12 muffins. You can use regular milk if you don't have any buttermilk in the fridge, but I always think that baking with buttermilk makes everything just taste better.

Can you believe that August is already here? It always seems like there's plenty of time to enjoy the summer days, but then somehow I find myself asking where all the time went.

Pretty soon my grandchildren, just like my own children did so long ago, will head back to school. They say that when you are raising children the days are long, but the years short. This is so very true I think, and I'm trying to soak up the memories of my grandchildren because I don't want to forget anything about these summer days with them.

So of course when they tell me how delicious these blueberry muffins are, it makes me happy.

Recipe for Blueberry Crumb Muffins

Ingredients for crumb topping:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons cold butter, diced

Ingredients for batter:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place 12 paper liners into muffin tin.
To make the crumb topping, place flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix together with a fork. Add the diced cold butter and blend briefly with a pastry cutter. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the melted butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla until well combined.

Add the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients, stir together until just combined, gently fold the blueberries into the batter. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups, sprinkle topping over each muffin. Bake 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into muffin center comes out clean.
Let muffins cool on a rack.

Makes 12 muffins.

-Post by Patricia

Thursday, July 28, 2016

How I Deal With Kid's Sensitive Skin at Laundry Time

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FreeToBe #CollectiveBias

When you have kids, you can expect that doing their laundry will become a big part of your life. While I was raising my five children, it seemed that the piles of dirty clothes never ended, and as soon as one load was done, at least three or four more were still waiting to be put into the machine.

But one thing I was grateful for was that my kids never had any skin sensitivities or allergic reactions to the laundry detergents I used for washing their clothes.

Unfortunately, my three grandchildren are not as lucky. They all have extra sensitive skin, and can break out in rashes, or have a flare-up of mild eczema. So we have to be extra careful about the laundry products we buy and use for all of them.

That's why we choose to use all® free clear detergent, which is the #1 detergent recommended by Dermatologists, Allergists, and Pediatricians for Sensitive Skin.

And all® free clear detergent was awarded the Seal of Acceptance by the National Eczema Association for having no dyes, perfumes, certain chemicals, and irritating residues, which helps give us peace of mind when using it on the kid's clothes.

When my oldest grandson Jayden was a baby, he had severe skin rashes that were really terrible, and he was diagnosed with eczema. It's gotten a lot better as he's gotten older, thank goodness. My other two grandchildren Liam, and Ashley have the rashes as well.

So staying with all® free clear detergent is the best course of action to keep these guys feeling their best, and free of painful skin problems.

They are really loving their summer vacation so far, and it's really wonderful to see them having fun with each other. We've been to the beach, gone to concerts in the park, had lots of play dates, and had fun at the water park.

It's a real relief to see them happy and able to enjoy themselves outside because I remember how much pain my grandson Jayden was in because of his skin issues. It feels good knowing that we are doing all we can to protect them with a product we trust.

As important as it is to use a detergent with the kid's sensitive skin issues in mind, I also want a detergent that is going to get our clothes clean.

These kiddos know how to get their clothes dirty, and grass and food stains are a common occurrence at our house. I love clean laundry, so I really like how all® free clear detergent fights tough stains, whitens whites, and brightens colors.

I'm a big fan of liquid detergent and so that's what I use, but when I saw the all® free clear mighty pacs®, I decided to give them a try. They really are so easy to use, and a great back-up when I find myself low on the all® free clear liquid and don't have time to go to the store.

Since our summer weather doesn't always cooperate when we want it to, the kids and I enjoy doing things like making our own play dough when we have to stay inside for the day.

My daughter and I have always bought the kids lots of play dough, but they seem to like the homemade kind the best. This recipe is simple and very inexpensive to make. My granddaughter Ashley is four, and loves to help cook and bake, so she's always eager to help make this.

Recipe for Homemade Play Dough


1 cup cold water
1 cup salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
food coloring
3 cups flour
2 tablespoons corn starch


In a large bowl, mix together the water, salt, oil, and 6-8 drops of food coloring. Gradually add in the flour and corn starch and mix with a spoon.

At this point, the mixture may need you to pick it and knead it with your hands until it resembles bread dough. It's ready to be played with. Store in an air tight container.

If you or someone you love has sensitive skin or allergies, then you'll be glad to know that washing with all® free clear helps remove three of the top everyday allergens, dust mite matter, cat and dog dander, as well as certain fragrances. It also removes 99% of everyday and seasonal allergens.

(Disclaimer - including cat and dog dander, dust mite matter, ragweed, grass, and tree pollen. all® free clear is not intended to treat or prevent allergies)

I shopped at Target and picked up all® free clear liquid detergent and all® free clear mighty pacs®. I was super excited to find them both on sale in the laundry detergent aisle.

Do you or your loved ones suffer from sensitive skin? Have you tried all® free clear liquid detergent?

Please let me know how you like it if you've tried it. And be sure to join in on the conversation with the all® free clear community and connecting with parents and caregivers just like you!

-Post written by Patricia  


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Enter The Oroweat® Bread 2016 America's Better Sandwich Contest and A Giveaway

The coupons for product redemption, information, and gift card have been provided by Oroweat® Bread for this post. The opinions expressed in this post are my own and do not reflect the opinions of Oroweat® Bread. #Ad

 My family and I love sandwiches, and I bet I made thousands of them while my five kids were growing up. Whether for lunch or dinner, everyone enjoys a great tasting sandwich, and egg salad is definitely a favorite in my house.

Of course what you put inside the sandwich is important, but so is the bread. For me, the bread has to be fresh and delicious. That's why Oroweat® Bread has been a staple in my house for decades. I can count on Oroweat® to be great tasting, offer plenty of variety to choose from, and nutritious.

Now that I'm a grandmother of four fabulous grandchildren, I find I'm still making sandwiches for this next generation. We do have a couple of picky eaters, but luckily they all love sandwiches and it's a simple thing to make them whenever we get hungry.

For these egg salad sandwiches, I used the Oroweat® Honey Wheat Bread. It's actually a delicious bread that I also use for toast and French toast, and it has a tang of sweetness to it because of the honey in it.

Since what we eat becomes more and more important to me, I feel good about choosing a bread that meets what I feel is a standard of quality. And I like that there are so many kinds to choose from, each with the goodness and great taste that I've come to expect.

Oroweat® Whole Grains Sliced Breads and Oroweat® Sandwich Thin Rolls contain 2 to 5 grams of fiber per slice or thin, have zero grams of trans fat, and are cholesterol free. They also contain no high fructose corn syrup, something which we always try to avoid.

Making these egg salad sandwiches are super easy, and even the kids will eat them with the tomatoes and spinach. I always offer veggies whenever possible to my grandkids, and try to set a good example by eating them myself. And it often works!

Here's how I make my version of egg salad sandwiches. Feel free to add or subtract the chopped pickles if you like. This recipe will make 6 sandwiches.


1 dozen hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 cup mayonnaise ( or add or subtract amount to your liking)
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
2 sweet pickles, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tomatoes, sliced
12 slices Oroweat® Honey Wheat Bread

Mash the peeled eggs in a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise, mustard, pickles, and salt to eggs. Mix together well. Layer the tomatoes and spinach on one side of the bread.
Spread the egg salad on the other piece of bread and put together.

Oroweat® Bread is hosting their 2016 America's Better Sandwich Contest and you can enter to win a $5,000 prize.

This year's contest includes 5 exciting sandwich categories including, Open Faced Artistry, Breakfast In Bed, Creative Classics, Fueling Good, and State Favorites.

The recipe in each sandwich category with the highest score will receive a $5000 category prize.

Before entering an original better sandwich, entrants should make sure their recipes include any of the Oroweat® Sliced Breads, including any of the Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® Rolls varieties.

Entries will be accepted June 15th - August 21st, online consumer voting will take place September 26th - October 23rd, and the winners will be announced on National Sandwich Day- November 3rd.

For more information on the Oroweat® Bread 2016 America's Better Sandwich Contest go here.

Frugal Family Tree is hosing a giveaway which includes the following:

-Six coupons, each valid for $5.00 off the purchase of any Oroweat® Whole Grain Sliced Bread of choice.

-Six coupons, each valid for $4.00 off the purchase of any Oroweat® Sandwich Thins® Rolls of choice.

-$25 Visa Gift Card to use towards ingredients for your favorite sandwiches.

Frugal Family Tree is responsible for this giveaway and Oroweat® Bread will provide the prize to one winner.

Are you a sandwich lover like me? Leave me a comment below and let me know what your favorite kind of sandwich is, I'd love to know!!

*Giveaway limited to US residents 18 years old and above. Giveaway starts July 21, 2016 and ends on July 27, 2016 at 12:01 am PST. Winner will be emailed and has 24 hours to respond before another winner is selected. I was not paid for this giveaway or post. The opinions on this item are 100% mine and may vary from others. The sponsor is responsible for providing the prize.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Enjoy A Delicious Cup Of Morning Coffee With International Delight Simply Pure Coffee Creamer

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #IDSimplyPure #CollectiveBias

I'm definitely a morning person, and so glad I am. I love getting an early start to my day and feeling like I have plenty of time to accomplish what I need to do, and enjoy a little quiet time for myself before the rest of my family wakes up.

I start every morning with a big cup of coffee. I honestly feel like my brain can't function without that first cup. For years I used milk and sugar in my coffee, which was totally fine. But kind of boring.

I'm happy to say that now I get to enjoy a really great tasting cup of coffee because I recently found International Delight Simply Pure Coffee Creamers.

They come in three delicious flavors, Vanilla, Caramel, and Hazelnut. Simply Pure is the perfect everyday creamer, and made with only 5 simple ingredients.

Besides my coffee, another thing that is important to me in the early morning is to look at my vision board. A lot of my friends and family keep saying that they would like to make one, but just never get around to it. I feel like it's definitely worth the time to make one because mine have inspired me to work hard to make my dreams become reality.

I love making vision boards for whatever you want to have happen in your life, whether it's a new job, a new home, or even something like being more in touch with your own feelings.

When I'm fully awake and onto my second cup of coffee, I usually have a little something to eat, sometimes fruit or toast, or even a slice of one of my favorite coffee cakes that I like baking.

Since everyone in my family are coffee lovers, I bought all three flavors of Simply Pure Coffee Creamers at Walmart. Honestly, all of the flavors are yummy, but the Caramel just might be my favorite.

I like that when you use Simply Pure, you don't have to use extra creamer to get great flavor in your coffee. And it's made with real milk, cream, and sugar. Yum!

Have you ever made a vision board? It's super easy, and fun to do.

Start out with some of your favorite magazines, they can be old or new. I like to go to my local library to buy them for only a quarter. The magazines can be of general interest, or more of a theme, like mine are.

Since what I would love to have is a new home, I picked out decorating magazines to cut out pictures and words that have meaning for me.

You just need magazines, a poster board, a glue stick, and scissors. And the ability to let your imagination come out and play.

Just start out cutting pictures that you like or that appeal to you. I had fun finding pictures of pretty rooms and houses. And words like Cottage, Vintage, and Family really spoke to me.

When you have found enough pictures and words, start arranging them on the poster in whatever way looks most appealing to you.

Now glue everything down. Don't worry if things are a little messy, or it's not perfect. Your vision board is only for you, to inspire you and help you dream your dreams.

This is my finished vision board. I was a little surprised that I picked out the picture of the yellow kitchen cabinets because I really thought I only liked white cabinets.

And my board is a little more country-like that I thought it would be. I must like informal country decorating more than I thought. And that's one of the great things about doing a vision board is to bring out your inner thoughts and desires that you normally might not pay much attention to.

If you're like me and love a delicious tasting cup of coffee to get your morning started, Simply Pure Coffee Creamers are for you.

And they're great too for that afternoon cup of coffee that can give a real pickup when the day is long and tiring. For me, coffee is something I always welcome no matter what time of day it is.

Be sure to look for all three flavors of International Delight Simply Pure Coffee Creamers at your local Walmart in the dairy section.

You can also find more Simply Pure inspiration by going here.

Have you ever created a vision board? What would you make your theme or idea for it be? I'd really love to know, so leave me a comment please.

-Post written by Patricia

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Birthday Celebration and Recipe For Birthday Cake

It was my birthday at the end of June, and I had a great day celebrating with my family. We had a delicious barbeque dinner out on the deck, and then enjoyed this three-layer yellow cake with classic buttercream frosting.

My granddaughter Ashley and I made my birthday cake. Maybe it's odd to make your own cake, but since I love baking, it was the perfect opportunity to try out a recipe I've been wanting to make for awhile now.

The recipe comes from the cookbook Homemade Decadence, by blogger Joy The Baker. It's perfect for a birthday cake, and I've never baked a cake that got more compliments.

It's just so moist and delicious, and has a tender, buttery flavor. And the buttercream frosting, which I tinted pink, is pure heaven.

It's hard to get a picture with these little monkeys where everyone is smiling, and looking at the camera at the same time. They were being silly, and I loved it, of course.

One of the things I am more and more grateful for as each birthday passes is my children and grandchildren. I love being a mom and grandmother, and my family is at the center of my world.

I almost didn't put the sprinkles on the cake but it was a unanimous vote by the grandkids that they go on, and that they put them on themselves!!

They did a great job, and I love how the cake turned out. Since it was three layers, the cake was big enough that we had some leftover, and I ate a big piece for breakfast the next morning. It's my birthday so I had fun indulging myself, yum!!

This cake really is the perfect birthday cake, and whoever is lucky enough to have one baked for them will be extremely happy.

Recipe for Basic Three-Layer Yellow Cake from Homemade Decadence


For cake:

4 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk

For buttercream frosting:

2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 to 6 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
About 1/4 cup heavy cream


1. Put oven racks in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 9-inch round baking pans.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute between each addition.
Beat in the vanilla extract. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add half of the flour mixture, and beat well. Add the buttermilk in a slow stream and beat well. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans.

4. Bake until golden brown on top and a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 20 minutes before inverting onto wire racks to cool completely before frosting.

5. If you're not using right away, double-wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap, and freeze for up to 7 days. When ready to frost, remove from the freezer, unwrap, and frost frozen.

To make the frosting, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until soft, about 1 minute. Add 2 cups of the confectioners' sugar, the salt, and the vanilla. Beat on low speed until the sugar is well incorporated. Add another 2 cups sugar and the cream. Add remaining 2 cups of sugar as needed to thicken the frosting. Beat on medium speed until the frosting is smooth and fluffy, about 4 minutes.

Frost and put together layers of cake, sprinkle with colored sprinkles if desired.

Makes one 3-layer 9-inch cake.

-Post written by Patricia 

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Mushroom and Tomato Pasta with European Olive Oil #MomsMeet

 *I received this product for free from Moms Meet (, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted are my own.

I have always loved using EVOO in my cooking. It adds flavor in a way that compares to no other type of oils or butters. I feel like its a must when I make Italian inspired dinners too, it goes together in my book. Trying different olive oils in my recipes leads to new flavor combos and new favorites. Depending on the region and variety of the olives it changes the whole experience of the olive oil. When I had the opportunity to try European Olive Oil from Moms Meet I was happy to try it on one of my simply go to pasta dishes.

In the summer it can get very hot here in Northern CA and I like to make light dinners on those days. I like to use veggies I have in the fridge or ones I have freshly picked to saute in olive oil and toss with pasta. Its an easy meal and can be served with some good bread and savory cheeses.

My recipe is very simple. Chop up any veggies you enjoy, add European Olive Oil, saute until veggies are soft. Add cooked pasta to veggies and toss with a little EVOO, serve and enjoy.

Why choose European Olive Oil?

• The olive tree has been revered in Europe since Antiquity. Over thousands of years farmers have evolved hundreds of varieties of olive trees (cultivars) and optimized them for different environment conditions and terrains to produce the most delicious yields.
• The result of this centuries old bond between the people and the land is the finest extra virgin olive in the world.
• The greatest impact on taste is the type of olive tree (cultivar), region (which affects climate and soil) and time of harvest. Europe offers a vast array of flavor profiles, so keep a variety of oils in your pantry for different occasions.
• Olives harvested early in the season, late August (varies by region), are under-ripe and produce oils that are greener, more bitter and pungent.
• Olives harvested at the end of the season, late November into December, are over-ripe and tend to taste mild and buttery.
• Spanish oil is typically golden yellow with a fruity, nutty flavor.
• Italian olive oil is often dark green and has an herbal aroma and a grassy flavor.
• Greek olive oil packs a strong flavor and aroma and tends to be green.
• French oil is typically pale in color and has a mild flavor

If you are looking for recipe ideas for your cooking you can check out the twitter and facebook of the Flavor Your Life campaign,

-Post by Laura


Friday, July 1, 2016

5 Summer Beauty Tips and Savings From Costco

This post is sponsored by Vocalpoint and P&G. All opinions are my own. #CostcoSummerBeauty

Summer is my favorite season and I really do love the warmer weather. My family and I try to pack as much fun and activities into the summer months as we possibly can.

But with the days being so much hotter, and spending more time outdoors, I need to change up some of my beauty routines to keep myself and my skin healthy and looking as good as possible.

I've been a Costco shopper for about eighteen years now, and it's a place where I can find lots of my favorite P&G beauty products, at a great savings. On my latest shopping trip, I picked up some items that fit right into my summer plans to take care of myself.

I'd love to share my best 5 Summer Beauty Tips with you and hopefully they can help you to step up your beauty and self-care routine for a great summer.

1. Take care of your skin.

Now, of course everyone knows you need to take care of your skin, right? But the hot summer sun and extra perspiration can really take a toll. So keep really diligent about keeping your face clean. Wash it with a gentle cleanser and use a sunscreen even when you are just outside for a short time. And of course, moisturize your skin, trust me that when you're older you'll be very glad you did.

My favorite moisturizer is Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream. It helps reduce the appearance of lines and helps with hydrating to make wrinkles less noticeable and skin firmer.

I've used Olay products for many, many years and love how the line has expanded to include more great products to help my skin keep looking it's best.

2. Drink water. Then drink some more.

Drinking water is the easiest way to flush toxins out of your body for healthy and glowing skin. It really is the cheapest and easiest way to help maintain a healthy body in the summer time when we really need to stay hydrated.

You can also increase your water in-take by eating fruits like watermelon and berries. I really do notice a difference in how I feel overall and how my skin looks when I don't drink enough water.
I like adding a slice of lemon and some berries to give it a little flavor. And there are now so many great tasting waters on the market to enjoy, too.

3. Always shave your legs at the end of a warm shower.

When you're in a warm shower, the hair softens up and makes shaving your legs so much easier. I don't know how many times I've shaved my legs in the sink and ended up with nicks, and specs of blood on my legs. It's painful and embarrassing, so I always try and plan to shave my legs when I know I'm going to be taking a shower.

And definitely invest in a quality razor, there's nothing worse than using a cheap razor that's not going to give your legs a smooth and silky finish.

Gillette Venus Spa Razor comes with relaxing white tea scented shave gel bars for a smooth shave. And never hurry while shaving your legs so that you can give them the time and attention they need for great looking summer-ready legs.

4. Take care of your underarms.

I know we probably don't think too much about our underarms, but during the summer it's important to control odor and perspiration.

Make sure to shave your underarms because that's where sweat and bacteria lead to odor. Hairy underarms are not attractive to most people, and the hair traps perspiration and odors.

When it's really hot outside, I'll sometimes wash my underarms with warm water during the day and reapply my deodorant. This just makes me feel fresher and cleaner, especially on days that I'm outside enjoying the sun.

Secret has been my deodorant for decades, so I was so glad to find Secret Clinical Strength at Costco. It's an invisible solid that adapts to fighting odor-causing bacteria, and helps stop odor before it starts. It's stress sweat protection is terrific for me on those busy days where I don't have time to worry about if my deodorant working or not.

5. Soak your feet in warm water with Epson salt.

Summer is tough on our feet for sure. Whether it's walking barefoot on a rocky beach, or a painful sore from those pretty new sandals you're wearing, your feet could use some loving care.

One of my favorite ways to pamper my feet is to soak them in Epson salt once a week. Just mix half a cup of Epson salt with some warm water and soak your feet for 10 minutes. This will remove odor, sooth achy feet, and soften rough skin.

My mother taught me to do this, and it's been one of my favorite ways to pamper my feet ever. Of course, a fabulous pedicure helps us have pretty summer feet and be confident in summer sandals as well.

You can find these products and many more in the Health and Beauty Department at Costco.

Costco and P&G are teaming up with Vocalpoint in giving away 25 Summer Beauty Boxes ($150). For a chance to win one, just share your best beauty tip on Twitter or Instagram using #CostcoSummerBeauty through July 15, 2016.

You can also enter to win a $50.00 Costco Cash Card by entering through the rafflecopter below. What fun to spend it on a great summer beauty product of your choice!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I shop at Costco so much that I always run into someone I know there. But it really is my favorite place to pick up great summer P&G beauty products, and save money.

As I've gotten older, I've realized the importance of taking care of my health and body. When I was younger, I thought youthful skin would keep it's glow forever. Boy, was I wrong.

Luckily, I've wised up and now protect my skin from the sun and harsh environments that can damage it. A little care goes a long way.

Shop at Costco and take advantage of their great prices and special offers on some of your favorite beauty products from P&G.

And have a wonderful summer!!

-Post written by Patricia

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