Monday, April 7, 2014

Old El Paso Frozen Entrees #PlatefullCoOp

We live at the Tex-Mex border just 12 miles from Matamoros, Mexico and we love Mexican food.  One of the joys of living in this culture has been learning to make homemade Mexican foods and learning how to make homemade tortillas. So I was excited when Old El Paso offered me the opportunity to try their new frozen entrees.  I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical also though because while we love Mexican foods, I am not a huge fan of frozen entrees.  When the package arrived in the mail, it was huge and I was so excited to see they had sent me a few extras with the new coupons.  
They sent a beautiful blue pitcher and 2 melamine margarita glasses.  Now we don't keep alcohol in our home but we will enjoy using the pitcher to keep lemonades and tea in the fridge. The kids enjoyed drinking Sunny D out of the new glasses at breakfast and have used them almost everyday as their "glass of the day".  See, you can do more with a pitcher and margarita glasses than you think!  
They also included this gorgeous melamine chip and dip plate.  The colors are so bright and vibrant and the pattern looks like something you would see in Mexico.  We enjoyed putting fresh salsa and tortilla chips on this plate and eating them with our meal when we ate the new frozen entrees.  
They sent me some coupons to try their new frozen entrees. We purchased the Chicken Quesadillas, Steak Quesadillas and Beef Enchiladas.  These are found in the freezer section of most grocery stores nationwide.  We purchased ours at Walmart.  The first thing I noticed was the packaging sizes.  The Quesadillas only came 4 to a pack and the Enchiladas only had 6.  Now we have 5 people in our family and even our kids will eat 2 each so we would have to buy several packs to feed our family.  I hope that Old El Paso will eventually make larger packaging sizes better suited for families.  The Enchiladas were cooked via Micro-Bake which means you microwave them for 3 minutes and then bake them in the oven for 20-25 minutes.  The Quesadillas are only able to be microwaved and they take just 2 minutes each. 
We loved the ease of these items.  As a busy family, on nights when homecooking isn't an option, this is a fantastic way to make a meal our entire family would enjoy.  It took less than 30 minutes from start to finish to provide a yummy meal for our family.  The Beef Enchiladas were mine and my husband's favorite.  They had a little "kick" of spices to them and they were delicious.  They cooked up beautifully and tasted really good too.  The only thing we wish is that there was a little more red sauce on them (or maybe they could provide an extra packet of red sauce for those of us who like more).  The sauce seemed to really bake into the enchiladas so you didn't have much actual sauce.  The Quesadillas were good but honestly the microwaving them make the tortillas really chewy and the edges of them were hard.  The meat filling was great in both the chicken and the steak.  I wish the steak meat had been strips (more like fajita meat) rather than diced pieces of steak.  The kids preferred the chicken quesadillas over the steak also.  We all added sour cream to ours also (but we like sour cream on all our Mexican foods).  Maybe Old El Paso can come up with a different way to cook the quesadillas.  They were delicious tasting but the microwaving them ruined the tortilla part of the meal.  

Would we buy them again?!  Probably not the quesadillas but definitely the enchiladas!  Now I should say one pro to the quesadillas is they are packaged individually making it easy to fix just the number you need or to pack for a lunch at work.  If the tortilla hadn't been chewy and tough, the quesadillas would have been amazing!  The Old El Paso frozen entrees are a great way to get good tasting Mexican food for your family when you need a quick meal and don't have a lot of time to cook it yourself.  You can learn more about Old El Paso's products by visiting their Facebook page too!  

Disclaimer:  Platefull CoOp provided me with the above mentioned products for review purposes only.  No monetary compensation was received.  The opinions expressed here are my own and your thoughts, feelings and results may vary from mine.  

Friday, March 28, 2014

Quaker Breakfast Shakes and COUPON

Growing up, I can remember Quaker Oatmeal was a staple breakfast item at our house. I can vividly remember going to spend the night with my GranDot and how each morning she would have a kettle of warm water on the stove, a bowl on the table and 2 packets of Quaker Oatmeal sitting in the bowl for me for breakfast.  I grew up loving Quaker Oatmeal and still to this day we keep it in my family's pantry for breakfast.  Speaking of Quaker Oatmeal, have you tried their new Apples & Cranberry Oatmeal?  It is delicious!

However, our schedule keeps us pretty busy and I have to admit, that feeding my kids a nutritious breakfast at the kitchen table doesn't happen every morning at our house.  We are a family that like to "wake up" and be up a little while before we eat breakfast and sometimes our schedule doesn't allow us to be home by the time we are ready to eat breakfast. That's why I am so thankful that Quaker has introduced new Quaker Breakfast Shakes!
They recently sent me 2 of their new shakes to try.  I received the Chocolate and Strawberry Flavors of their new breakfast shakes.  Confession time, I'm not a huge fan of breakfast shakes and health shakes so I have to admit I was a little hesitant to even try these (even if they were made from Quaker!).  The chocolate shake tasted almost like drinking a glass of chocolate milk and the chocolate flavor was just right.  It didn't taste chalky or artificial and it was quite yummy to be honest.  The chocolate flavor is something our kids could drink because if I poured it into a regular glass they would never know they were getting a breakfast shake because it taste so much like drinking chocolate milk! The strawberry flavor was good but to me, it had more a "breakfast shake" taste.  The thickness of the shakes actually did not bother me like I thought it would.  It was more the consistency of a milkshake than some of those thick health shakes I've experienced in the past.  They also do a great job of filling you up so you don't feel the urge to snack or munch on something in between meals.  The Quaker Breakfast Shakes were actually really good and something I could use often.

They also provide some wonderful nutritional benefits as well.  Quaker Breakfast Shakes contain 10 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, only 200 calories and a whopping 8 grams of whole grain oats!  These breakfast shakes do not require refrigeration until they are opened so you can send them with the kids to school, pop them in a backpack, stick them in the car for your drive to work, etc.  They are available in 3 delicious flavors:  Strawberry, Chocolate and Vanilla and are available to purchase at Walmart and select grocery stores nationwide.

How about saving some money on your purchase of Quaker Breakfast Shakes?  Thanks to Quaker you can get a coupon for $2.00 off one 4-pack of Quaker Breakfast Shakes!  You can also learn more about Quaker and all their amazing products on their website.

Disclaimer:  I was given the above mentioned products for review purposes only. No monetary compensation was received.  The opinions expressed here are strictly my own and your results and thoughts may vary from mine.  Quaker provided me the products for review.  

Saturday, March 22, 2014

"Let God" Movie Review

After having been gone a month to Alabama and David having been in Papua New Guinea while we were in Alabama, we are finally reunited at home together again in Texas.  Needless to say, we were ready for some relaxing, family time together.  So last night we all piled up in the living room and decided to watch a family-friendly movie together.
"Let God" is a movie that features one woman's struggle with faith in the face of survival and the battle against time.  The faith-based film  follows the story of young housewife, Amelia, who heads west with her husband during the 19th century gold rush and is left alone without resources in the harsh wilderness when her husband is killed in a savage attack. Battling winter, hunger and the unknown, Amelia must take life into her own hands as she struggles with a loss of faith and battles for her survival.

Our family's thoughts:  This movie started out rather slowly but it was intriguing nonetheless. There isn't a whole lot of talking in this movie because basically the story plays out from the perspective of Amelia.  I have to admit that our 10 year old stayed confused for the first little bit of the movie because the movie interchanges between Amelia's present situation, her past with her husband and how she ended up in the situation she currently finds herself.  However, within a little bit you are able to easily decipher what is going on and the movie begins to unfold and draw you into the plot.  

This is a historical fiction movie that does a great job teaching what it was like during the "Gold Rush" era.  The kids loved learning about the hope, the harsh conditions, the wagon trains, etc.  This was truly a family-friendly movie.  There was no romance, no bad words, no compromising situations, etc.  It was a movie the kids could watch with us from start to finish.  

This is a 91 minute family-friendly movie that is produced by Word Films.  You can watch a trailer for this great family-friendly film too.  

Disclaimer:  I was given a copy of this movie for review purposes only from Edify Media.  The opinions expressed here are strictly my own and your own personal thoughts and feelings may vary from mine.  No monetary compensation was received.  

Friday, March 21, 2014

America's Farmers GIVEAWAY

You may recall reading my post a few weeks ago about America's Farmers and my introduction to what has become a wonderful partnership with America's Farmers.  To be honest, I have learned so much through this partnership and have enjoyed sharing this new knowledge with my family and helping them understand how important America's Farmers are to us and our economy.
One of the fun things I have enjoyed is learning not only some wonderful recipes that use products grown by America's Farmers but also seeing all the unique ways you can use these products for more than recipes too.  In fact, you can find some new recipes and interesting facts about America's Farmers on this Pinterest board and see fun, creative ideas for other uses with products grown by America's Farmers on this Pinterest board.
America's Farmers also give you the opportunity to meet some of the families working hard as America's Farmers.  These hard-working, dedicated families are some of the faces who balance everyday life and running a farm to help provide us with the products we all enjoy each day.  

America's Farmers has graciously offered to give one of my readers a $25 Visa Gift Card!  

Win It:  A $25.00 Visa gift card from America's Farmers.  Giveaway ends March 28, 2014.  Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter and will have 48 hours to respond to winning notification email. If no response, a new winner will be chosen.  Giveaway is open to residents of the US only.  To enter, simply fill out the form below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer:  This post was created in partnership with America's Farmers. Giveaway prize is provided by America's Farmers.  Winner should allow 4 - 6 weeks for prize fulfillment.  The opinions expressed here are my own and may not reflect your own thoughts and opinions on this matter. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides concerning the Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Help the Serene Family

It's not very often I put out a personal plea to my "blogger family" but this one hits near and dear to my heart.  I first met Scott and Tracy Serene through blogging!  They both had their own blogs and we quickly connected through blog posts, personal stories, encouragement, prayers, sharing family ups and downs, laughing about each other's families, etc.  They are from Georgia and are filled with "Southern-ness" like we are!
Scott and Tracy not only have a remarkable marriage, are willing to openly share their ups and downs and they are also incredible parents to 4 of the sweetest kids!  They live life to the fullest and seem to make great memories together as a family.  Unfortunately, life has dealt them one of those blows that make you remember "life isn't fair"!  Scott was recently diagnosed with Grade 4 GBM (Glioblastoma Multiforme) Brain Cancer.  You can read more about his diagnosis and upcoming treatment here.  
While we are praying and asking God to completely heal Scott and restore full health to him we also know that God has a plan and purpose for this even though we are struggling to understand it right now. I have no doubt that Scott and Tracy are going to face this challenge head-on and fighting hard and they will probably make a few people laugh and smile along the way with their contagious personalities.  There are 3 ways you can help this precious family: 


Send him and his family cards and notes of encouragement. 
Let them know there are people supporting them and praying for them.  

There will be lots of medical bills, added expenses of being away from home, bills, daily life needs for their kids/family, etc.  Send them gift cards for food, groceries, gas, VISA gift cards that can be used for anything, cash/check, etc.  Even if you can't donate a lot, ANY amount will be a blessing to this precious family and will certainly help them in this journey as they fight hard against this terrible disease!  

Scott & Tracy
P.O. Box 236
Temple, GA 30179

Monday, March 3, 2014

A quick lesson from the book of Judges

In case you missed our family's latest missions update you can read it here.  Then you will understand why we are currently in Alabama at my parents house for 16 more days and why David is on the other side of the world in Papua New Guinea.

I grew up from birth attending the same church, very active and involved in ministries within this congregation, David and I got married in this church and now going back to worship at this church where my parents still faithfully attend always feel like "home".  Their preacher is currently preaching out of the book of Judges on Sunday mornings.  I have to admit, when I go to read from scripture, Judges is not typically one of the first books I would turn to.  However, the lesson he taught last Sunday has stuck with me so much and I have been pondering over it ever since.  So I thought I would share some of the highlights/points from this great sermon with you too.  Maybe you would like to join me as I spend some time in Judges this week.....

FAITHless.....A study of Judges 6:1-26

Judges 6:1-8
Before the people can appreciate the rescue that will come the people need to understand why they need rescuing.  God is trying to convict them so they will be truly repentant.  In vs. 7 we see that God's 1st response was a sermon - not a rescuer.

Judges 6:8-10
The people are regretful....but they are not repentant.  Sometimes we are just like them....sorry we got caught by not sorry for our actions.

Worldy Sorrow
Regret is sorrow over consequences of a sin but not regretful over the sin itself. As soon as the consequences go away, the sin (behavior) comes back. Regret is about us - Repentance is all about God.  In true repentance, we are sorrowful of how our actions have caused his nature as Redeemer to be trampled on.

Judges 6:11
God does not wait for us to repent before he begins to save us (Romans 5:8).  God does not begin to save us because we repent....we repent because He has begun His saving work for us, through Jesus Christ.  In this verse we also see that God commissions a judge before His people had even repented.

Judges 6:12-24 "Two Conversations"
We tend to see our troubles as evidence that God is not with us....instead of asking how God is working in and through them.  We say "Lord, why don't you remove this problem?" instead of saying "Lord, please make me the person who can handle this problem."

We also see in vs. 12 that when God called Gideon "you mighty man of valor".  When God calls you something you either are that or you are going to be that!

Judges 6:25-26 - "Two Altars"
We notice here that the Israelites didn't abandon God for idols - they combined idolatry with God. Before Israel and all of us can throw off the enemies around us we have to throw off the enemies among us.  We are not to use God to get what we really want but we are to make God the one we really want.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Winter Indoor Fun with Lakeshore Learning

Even though we live in South Texas at the Tex-Mex border, this winter it actually got quite cold making outdoor activities really hard and impossible on some days.  As a homeschooling family, I am always on the lookout for fun, hands-on activities to help teach our kids as they learn.  Lakeshore Learning has some great (and even some brand new) educational games and toys that are perfect for those chilly days when the kids are cooped up inside.
Our family had the opportunity to use Lakeshore Learning's Earth Science Exploration Center during some of those cold, chilly days when outdoor activities were not an option.  This unique set includes everything you need for your child to make snow, create thunder, cause a volcano to erupt, and make a tornado.  
Our son was especially excited to receive this kit because Science is his favorite subject and to be quite honest, I'm not the greatest at doing hands-on experiments and projects at Science time during homeschooling!  

The tornado tube was really fun for the kids. It let them actually learn how tornadoes form, see a tornado from top to bottom and learn about the power behind a tornado.  The kids also enjoyed a little "competition" between themselves to see who could make a tornado that would last the longest.  The kids also found it interesting to study more about tornadoes as well as discuss when the tornado hit our house back in 2011.  
The 8 1/2" long thunder tube was another hit with the kids.  Our kids used to say that thunder was actually God walking on the clouds and while they know that isn't what it really is, they enjoyed learning all about the science behind the sound.  The kids liked being able to feel the vibrations, hear the sound (from far away to very loud) and being able to make their own thunder. Our son even hid behind the furniture and would try to scare people with the thunder sound just for fun!  
By far the kids favorite experiment was the Volcano! The kids had only seen volcanoes erupt on television and had never got to make one erupt themselves.  They were also fascinated to learn about the tectonic plates, how the earth shifts and changes and pushes the magma up.  In fact, they did this experiment over and over....actually, they still like to make the volcano erupt!  This is also an experiment that they can do with basically very little adult supervision. They simply follow the step-by-step instructions found on the picture cards (there is a picture card for each experiment).  

The only experiment I did not get a picture of is the Instant snow.  My husband agreed to help the kids with this project one day while I had a class for our missionary training.  Sadly, he forgot to take any pictures of the kids making and playing with their instant snow!  They loved the instant snow though because we certainly don't get snow in South Texas and because of that they were not able to compare the instant snow to real snow.  However, they did view it with magnifying glasses, tried to make snow balls with it, froze it to see what the consistency would be like after 8 hours in a freezer, etc.  
After spending several days having fun with this set, I am happy to give it two thumbs up!  I loved that everything you needed (except water) was included with this kit so I didn't have to spend extra money or time gathering necessary supplies to do these experiments. I liked how kid-friendly it was and how for the most part, the kids could do these with very little help. They simply followed the full-color picture cards for instructions and further study.  I do think it would be fun to include a small booklet with this set that includes fun facts for each experiment. For example, The world's most active volcano, most snowfall in one day, information about astraphobia, tornado fun facts, etc.  The kids wanted to know more fun facts after doing these experiments and I had to look them up online.  

Lakeshore Learning has great educational toys and games and through 3/31/14 they want to give you 20% off any single non-sale item!  Follow Lakeshore Learning on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube to stay up to date with all the latest sales, specials and new products too.  

Disclaimer:  I was given the above mentioned product for review purposes only from Lakeshore Learning.  No monetary compensation was received.  The opinions expressed here are strictly my own and your results and opinions may vary from mine.