Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day!

Thank you to all of the soldiers who have sacrificed of themselves for our freedom!

Diaper Wars Review 6: Up and Up (Target Brand)

Sorry this post is so long in coming. I actually started testing the diapers several weeks ago but then I started a round of antibiotics and discovered that me taking antibiotics meant Little Man got really bad diaper rash no matter what diapers were on his bottom. So I waited until I was through with that and tested a whole package after that to make sure that I gave up and up a fair trial. So here it is :)


Prices are for size 1 diapers for equal comparison.
Walmart - Not sold at Walmart
Amazon - Not sold at Amazon
Target - Package of 50 diapers for $6.29 = $0.12/diaper (Size 1 of Up and Up is only sold in the smaller packages but it still beat all the other brands in price)

*Prices reflect the price at the time I checked, they will vary. I am not  responsible for difference between these prices and current prices.

Up and up is great on absorbancy. They work about as well as the name brands I think. They hold the moisture in, and I have not had any problems with them even over night. These ones I trust both day and night. Luvs and Pampers Baby Dry I stopped using over night and only used during the day.

Up and Up is not super soft like Little Snugglers and Swaddlers, but it is still pretty soft. Like I have said before softness is important to me and these diapers I am comfortable with putting on Little Man.

The back has a little bit, not a ton, but a little bit of stretch. The sides have plenty of stretch. The bottom has plenty of room for filling. These diapers are pretty decent sized so they should fit Little Man for a decent amount of time (it helps that he is super skinny and has a tiny rear end. He is now 15 lbs and according to the diaper weight sizes he should be in size 2 but these still fit him).


Rewards Program
Up and Up does not have a rewards program.

I have not seen any specific coupons for up and up diapers but any generic target coupons you could use for these diapers.

Blowout Rate
I tried a few of these out a few months ago at the end of his blowouts and they were not bad on the blowout rate. When I tried them again this time he did not have any blowouts, so I think they are pretty good, but I don't have any definitive data.


Wetness Indicator
Up and Up does not have a wetness indicator.

Up and Up is definitely a winner. It is a good quality diaper (not on par with Snugglers or Swaddlers but still a good quality). And it is definitely a good price, it is the cheapest of all of the brands so far. This one I find trustworthy both day and night. Definitely worth the money!

Linked up To:

While He Was Napping, Clean and Scentsible, Uncommon, Nap Time Crafters, Frugal Girls, A Pinch of Joy, Cornerstone Confessions,

Other Posts to Check Out:
Diaper Wars
Diaper Wars: Huggies Little Snugglers Review
Diaper Wars: Pampers Swaddlers Review
Diaper Wars: Parent's Choice Review
Diaper Wars: Luvs Review
Diaper Wars: Pamper's Baby Dry Review
Diaper Wars: The Winner

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Social Spark

Hi guys, I just wanted to let you guys know that I have signed up for Social Spark. In case you haven't heard of it Social Spark is a website that connects publishers (bloggers are considered publishers) and companies who would like to advertise their products. One of the ways of advertising is through sponsored posts. I have mentioned a lot of brands already and have done some reviews, but none of them have been sponsored so far. I wanted to let you know that if I do post any sponsored material I will identify it as such in the beginning of the post. If you don't want to read it you don't have to. I will still be posting my opinions and I will still be posting plenty of other stuff, including unsponsored reviews of things I love or hate. Just FYI. Thanks for being such amazing readers!

Oh and for any other bloggers reading this, Social Spark is a great company, check it out!

Set Your Price. Choose your Advertisers. Sign up for SocialSpark!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How to Survive a Graduation Ceremony with a Baby

My Brother-in-law graduated from college on Saturday. Congratulations Mr. Random-in-law!
The ceremony was very moving and it was very cool to watch him graduate and see the symbolism of him moving from one part of his life to the next. But like all graduation ceremonies it was also very very long and boring. I have sat through many graduation ceremonies before but it is a completely different experience when you have a baby with you. I did not even really think about the differences before I got there so I wasn't really prepared at all. No Little Man is one of the easiest babies ever so we made it through, but I thought that I would share some ideas that I had that would have made it easier for us.

1. Sit in the back, sit on the end of the row, or consider not sitting at all
We were sitting right up in front in the middle of the row. If Little Man had gotten truly fussy I would have had to scooch past several people and walk past even more to get to a hallway where we would not disturb the ceremony. If you little person is bigger, louder, or more wiggly then I would recommend sitting in the back as close to the doors as you can so you can make a clean getaway, or even just finding a folding chair and camping in the hallway so you won't disturb the ceremony. Oh and if you do sit in the room make sure you keep a couple extra seats open for any and all baby stuff you might bring (you may not need the seats but you will probably need the ground space)

2. Bring Reinforcements
Make sure you have at least one pair of extra hands and eyes to help you. Trust me you do not want to be the only one there when your little one needs a diaper change or you need to go to the bathroom.

3. Make sure they get a good nap before the ceremony
Don't count on your baby napping during the ceremony. This is the one that got me. I thought Little Man would have no trouble sleeping during the ceremony, but I didn't think about how loud a ceremony is. Poor little Man was so tired he kept nodding off, but every time he fell asleep people would start clapping and it would startle him awake again.(Although you will be thankful for the loudness if your little one starts vocalizing like little man did :)

4. Bring snacks/food and toys
I fed Little Man during the ceremony and that helped keep him occupied for a good amount of time. And I always keep his favorite toy in the diaper bag so I had that to pull out when he got bored. And don't be afraid to pull things out of your purse for your little one if you run out of other entertainment :)

5. Pray the speaker doesn't like the sound of his voice.
I think this was one of the longest graduation speeches I have ever sat through (although it may have just felt that way because of the added pressure) This one you can't really affect, but you can pray for it :)

Hope this helps any of you who have serious event to take your baby to!

Linked Up To:
Women Living Well, Serendipity and Spice, A Pinch of Joy, Mom on Timeout, Growing Home, While He Was Napping, Clean and Scentsible, Uncommon, Nap Time Crafters, Frugal Girls, Cornerstone Confessions, Ready 4 Summer, Summer BBQ Party,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Absolutely Delicious Granola Bars

I posted this over at Mamal Diane a week ago and I thought I would share it here with you now!

First of all I want to to thank Diane for honoring me by allowing me to write a post for her wonderful blog! I can see that she has many great ideas and I will definitely have to take my time looking around and trying out some of her fabulous recipes and tips!

I'm Randomly Fascinated from Domestic Randomness. I am a new mom to My Little Guy who is almost 6 months old. At Domestic Randomness you can find me sharing my thoughts on all sorts of domestic topics. I have recently been writing a series comparing major diaper brands. I also like to discuss Recipes, Saving Money, Wedding Topics, Swagbucks, and other Random Thoughts. Please feel free to come visit me and let me know what you think of my random thoughts!

Anyways, on to the actual post :)

Absolutely Delicious Granola Bars

I asked my husband how he would describe these granola bars and he said "absolutely delicious". I said "No, I mean what should the title be?" And he said "absolutely delicious granola bars, that's what they are". So here it is just for you, my absolutely delicious granola bars.

I do not know the origins of this granola bar recipe. I got the basic idea from my aunt years ago, I think that she got it from some cookbook somewhere, but  I don't know what book it was so I'm sorry to the original author, I can't give you credit for the idea because I don't know who you are. I have adapted this recipe pretty liberally so I guess it is mine now.

This recipe is tripled because my husband and I LOVE these granola bars and if I made a small batch they are gone in just a few days and I would have to be making more constantly. If you would like to make a normal amount of granola bars simply divide the #s by 3. These measurements are not exact. Those of you who follow my blog know that I tend to just throw things in and not worry about exactness. As a courtesy to Mamal Diane's readers I tried to measure before I threw things in :)

3 cups Peanut Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 cup Honey
1 1/2 cup corn syrup
4 cups oats
7 cups cereal (almost any rice or crunchy cereal will work, I generally use the leftovers at the bottom of the boxes, in whatever types I have on hand)
2 cups dried cranberries (any dried fruit will work, I used to use raisins but found that I prefer cranberries, I love the tart taste with the sweet granola bars)
2 cups peanuts (or any type nuts, if using larger nuts chop them in smaller pieces)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (whatever type you like best works, I used a smaller amount because I am not super into chocolate, but chocolate lovers can feel free to add more :)
Any other add ins you think would taste good in these. Some things I have tried - other nuts, seeds, other dried fruit, protein powder, fiber powder, wheat germ, flax seed etc.

In a large (if using triple recipe, then a very, very large bowl, I used a roasting pan because I didn't have anything else big enough) mix together oats, cereal, cranberries, peanuts, and any other dry add ins you want.
I used grape-nuts flakes, corn flakes, honey roasted honey bunches of oats, and wheaties for the cereals

Put peanut butter, brown sugar, honey, and corn syrup in a large glass (microwaveable) bowl. Microwave on high for several minutes (sorry I forgot to take note of time) until corn syrup is boiling.
Mix together.
 Pour over dry mixture. (Be careful not to burn yourself on the bowl or mixture, both are very hot!)
 Mix together.
Pour on wax paper lined cookie sheet. Wet hands. (helps mixture not stick to hands) Press mixture into an approximately square shape.
Freeze (this helps the sauce set faster, if you don't mind waiting you could let it sit out or put in fridge)

After fully cooled take out of freezer and cut into squares

Store in airtight container. I like to store them in the freezer or fridge because I like them cool.
One of the things I love about this recipe is that it is so versatile. You can adapt it almost any way you want and it will still turn out fabulous as long as you use something sticky in the sauce. I haven't tried it but I think you could probably use maple syrup also, or just use all honey and skip the corn syrup. You can use almost any add ins that sound yummy to you as long as they are in small enough pieces to mix in well. I think every batch of granola bars that I make is different, but so far they have all been great!

Thank you again to Mamal Diane and to her wonderful readers! I am very grateful to you for allowing me to post my random thoughts on your blog! I can't wait to see what Diane has for us next!

I hope that you enjoyed my recipe! I would love it if you would come stop by and visit me at Domestic Randomness. If you want to stay a while you can subscribe by email, RSS feed, or Google Friend Connect.


Linked Up To:
Women Living Well, Serendipity and Spice, A Pinch of Joy, Frugal Girls, Nap Time Crafters, Mom on Timeout, Growing Home, While He Was Napping, Clean and Scentsible, Uncommon, Addicted to Recipes, Simply Klassic Home, Cornerstone Confessions, Summer BBQ Party,

Thursday, May 17, 2012

How to Save Money and Food: Reconstituting Stale Marshmallows

I have a feeling that most of you think that we blogger moms have it all together. That we have our whole lives organized in a binder, we whip up crafts every day, and every recipe that we try turns out great. (I know that you are thinking that because that's what I thought before I started blogging). The truth is we are just people, just women, just moms like you. To illustrate that point I thought that I would share with you a flop turned fabulous (well turned ok and not flopish :)
For some reason I have the hardest time keeping marshmallows fresh, I guess I just don't eat them often enough (which is not really a bad thing :). And they always get hard before I use them. I have tried in the past to make rice krispie treats out of these dried out marshmallows and it didn't work out so well, apparently dried marshmallow don't melt well. One time I tried using lot of butter but that obviously is not a great idea. Another time I tried using milk but it soaked into the rice krispies and the treats were soggy. So this time I again had some dried out marshmallows, and I again wanted to make rice krispie treats (I know I am a glutton for punishment, I could just use them in hot chocolate or smores, but I had 2 bags of marshmallows, that's a lot of hot chocolate and smores). So I got the idea to look up what to do with dried out marshmallows, how to reconstitute them so that they would melt again. I found The Fat Dollar who wrote an entire article about things to do with stale marshmallows they said that to reconstitute marshmallow you can put them in a ziplock bag with a piece of bread. I did this and it did make the marshmallows soft again, but I think because I had so many marshmallows 1 piece of bread didn't do it, I didn't want to waste all my bread with this experiment so I didn't add any more. I went ahead and started the rice krispie treats and of course the marshmallows would not melt again. So I remembered that another tip on The Fat Dollar was to microwave the marshmallows with a bowl of water. I figured that if you can microwave them with water then you can add water to them while cooking. So I added water to the marshmallows and it worked! I added a little bit at a time until the marshmallows were all melted. The marshmallows melted and the rice krispies were not soggy. I also learned from The Fat Dollar that you can store marshmallows in the freezer and they will not go stale. I think I will try that next time, but if I have stale marshmallows again I will know what to do.

 My dried out, stale marshmallows
 The marshmallows with bread in the bag
Another tip from The Fat Dollar: For marshmallows that are sticking together add some powdered sugar to the bag and shake, this will separate the marshmallows.
 My marshmallows are not melting
After they are melted.
I always add peanut butter to my rice krispie treats.
 I don't worry about shape with my treats. They taste good no matter what shape they are!

Linked up to:
Uncommon, Frugal Girls, Nap Time Crafters, Women Living Well, Serendipity and Spice, A Pinch of Joy, Mom on Timeout, Growing Home, While He Was Napping,

Monday, May 14, 2012

Easy Peasy Braided Bread

 I have to say, I love my bread machine. I never made bread before I got a bread machine (well, maybe once or twice, but not very often at all). It just wasn't worth the time to me. I mean all the time to mix up ingredients then let it rise, then punch it down and let it rise again and so on and so forth. Just way too much work. Plus, I am not an early riser so by the time I started the bread we might be eating it at Midnight. So I absolutely love my bread machine because using it means that we can have fresh bread any day we want, it only takes about 20 minutes of my time, I just have to wait a little while for it. Sometimes if I want to be fancy but not spend tons of time on bread I will make the dough in the bread machine then shape it in a fun way. One of my favorite ways to shape bread is to braid it. It comes out so fancy, but it really only took minimal work. So here it is, The Easy Peasy way to make braided bread.

First Things first, if you don't have a bread machine consider getting one. If you want to find one for a good price check your local Good Will and garage sales. If you want to make bread the old fashioned way please feel free to skip this step :)
Make your favorite bread dough recipe, whatever that happens to be. I chose to make 1 loaf of french bread and 1 loaf of honey oat bread.
Roll dough into a ball on floured surface
Form into 3 equal-ish balls
Roll each ball into a long string of dough
Press ends of each string together
Braid like hair. (The one on the left side over the middle, then the one on the right side over the middle, then left, then right, etc)
Pinch the other end together
Sometimes I just bake the braid on a flat cookie sheet. This time I put it in a loaf pan to make slicing easier. You can let it rise a little more if you want your bread more airy, or you can go ahead and bake it if you like more dense loaves.
Bake however your recipe says. I think mine says something like bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour. I decided to make a little roll too, just for fun :)
Here are my 2 loaves. Aren't they pretty!
The honey oat bread

Linked up to:
Tater Tots and JelloNaptime Crafters, Frugal Girls, A Pinch of Joy, Uncommon, Addicted to Recipes,

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Guest Post - Bacon Meatballs

Today is the day that I am trading Guest Posts with Mamal Diane. Enjoy her Delicious recipe and hop over to her blog to check out my post!

Hi my name is Diane from Mamal Diane ~ keeping it simple. I am trying to live a more natural simple life. I like to share recipes, gardening tips, frugal ideas, , and of course brag about my grand kids. Stop over and visit sometime. Thank you Randomly Fascinated for letting me be a guest host and share my recipe with you and your followers.

Today I want to share a recipe for Bacon Meatballs (adapted from Cuisine for less). It's a great recipe to make in bulk, the meatballs freeze well.   

You'll need:  
6 strips bacon, diced  
1/2 cup diced onion  
3 cloves minced garlic  
1 1/2 pound ground beef chuck  
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs  
3 Tbsp minced fresh parsley  
1 tsp paprika  
1 tsp sea salt  
1 tsp black pepper  
2 eggs beaten

Preheat the oven 400 F.

Coat a broiler pan with oil.

Brown diced bacon in a fry pan until starting to crisp.

Remove and drain on paper towel.

Pour off all but 1 Tbsp bacon fat. Saute onion in same skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes, add garlic cook 1 minute.

Combine ground meat, bacon with onion and garlic in a large bowl.

Add bread crumbs

Add fresh minced parsley.

Add paprika, salt and pepper.

In a small bowl beat 2 eggs. That's my cooking partner Katie she's 3 1/2 and loves to help her Mamal with anything and everthing.

Add eggs to beef mixture.

Mix. Form into 1 1/2 inch meat balls. Lay on broiler pan.

Bake meatballs until fully cooked about 12 - 14 minutes.

You can make a double batch and always have meatballs on hand. Just freeze on a baking sheet then transfer into a container or plastic bag. Freeze until you need them. Nice to have on hand for an easy meal.

I want to thank Randomly Fascinated for giving me the opportunity to guest host on her blog. I can't wait to see what Mrs. Random has for us next on Domestic Randomness. Stop by Mamal Diane and visit, maybe check out a recipe or two. You can also find me on Facebook and Twitter. Have a wonderful day :)
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