Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Bear Family to Your Family!




We pray that you all have a blessed and very Merry Christmas, and a wonderful New Year!

Love, the Bear Family


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Christmas Mantel


This is my Christmas mantel.  No, it's not something you would see in the latest issue of "House Beautiful", but we love it.  This is the first year we've decorated this mantel like this, with the garland and lights.  

There are so many wonderful memories in this photos.  

There are two red wax "statues" of Christmas carolers that were purchased by my parents from Avon many, many years ago...when I was very young.  I always remember the smell  of those carolers in my home as a young girl, and it brings back warm memories.

There are little trinkets that my now 18 year old son purchased with points at Awanas, during the Christmas season, just to give to me.  I will cherish those little trinkets for many years to come.

There are snow globes, which is our family tradition with Papa Bear and I and our kids.  We get a new one each year, and now we have four, since we started this tradition.

There is a little angel on our mantel, that was given to us by Papa Bear's mom.  She has had this angel (that came in a set of 3 angels....one for each of her three children) for many years...kind of like the wax carolers.

There are stocking holders that we have had to add to as the years go by.  We started with three, and now there are SIX (we currently have a foster child who is 1 year old).

There is a "cutting board" with a sleeping Christmas mouse tole painted on it, from a tole painting class I took with my dad when we lived in Okinawa.

There is a ceramic snowman that was given to me as a gift from my sister-in-law.

And there is a mantel clock, given to us by one of my brothers and his wife, for our wedding in 2004.

If I didn't want to risk it getting ruined or falling apart, there would be a stocking hung over the fireplace that was made by my great-great aunt, and given to me for my very first Christmas.  I want to protect it because some of the adornments are coming off, so it's tucked carefully away in a Christmas box.

I really, really love having this beautiful Christmas mantel, and so does Papa Bear.  He said that he has never seen it look quite as pretty as it does right now.

What are some of your cherished memories from Christmas, that you have on display in YOUR home?  I'd love to hear about them, or see them!

Mama Bear

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Butterfly, Get Away From Me..."

Today, as I was dressing my 2 year old little girl in a pair of jeans that had butterflies on them, she started singing a song...

"Butterfly, get away from me
Butterfly, get away from me
Butterfly, get away from me
I don't want you here with me."

Sound vaguely familiar?  Sing it to the tune of "Shoo Fly, Don't Bother Me".

Gave us a bit of a laugh today, as I was on the phone with Papa Bear at the same time.
These are the things that I treasure.

Mama Bear

Friday, December 2, 2011

Winner of the Jesus Storybook Bible


Remember THIS POST where I said that after November 30th, I would draw a name for the winner of the Jesus Storybook Bible?  Well, it's December 2nd, but I finally drew the number, and the winner is:

COMMENT #1:  Jeremiah Mutty!!!

Congratulations!!!!

I will contact you through your profile.

For everyone else, be watching, because we will be giving another one away, SOON!!!

Mama Bear 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gingerbread Spice Tea


One of my most favorite things about this time of year (besides Christmas!)...

Gingerbread Spice Tea

I LOVE this tea!  Papa Bear has been looking for it for me, and finally found it at Smart & Final.  So, he bought 3 packages of it.  YAY, Papa Bear!  I had my first cup of it this morning, and it's so delicious!  Now, if we can find the "Sugar Cookie" flavored tea by Celestial Seasonings, I will be a happy camper!

What is your favorite tea?

What is your favorite thing about this time of year?

Mama Bear

Monday, November 21, 2011

Black Friday Sale in my Etsy Shop

‎**********BLACK FRIDAY SALE********** 

Get 30% off ALL HOLIDAY/CHRISTMAS Photo Greeting Card Designs this week only! Use coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY30 at checkout. Good through November 26th at Midnight PST only. This code may ONLY be used on Holiday or Christmas Photo Greeting cards.

Get your printable Holiday or Christmas Photo Greeting Card design at

Mama Bear

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Fun New Venture -- Hair Accessories

I have been playing around with making headbands for my little girl with all of the little curls.  I have bought quite a few on Etsy.com and have thought "I can probably do this!".  So I bought some headband elastic, some artificial flowers, some other goodies, and I started to put things together.  I have so many flowers, that  I am now wondering if I should start selling these!




I LOVE how this one turned out!  Pretty much exactly how I envisioned it, but without the feathers.  I am working on a few others and will post when I get the chance.




Mama Bear


Monday, November 14, 2011

Make Your Spaghetti Better


The Bear Family LOOOOOOOVES my spaghetti.  And anyone who I've taken it to (we have a thing in our church where we take meals to families who have just had babies...or have had surgeries, or whatever) has LOVED it.  I don't do anything super special, but I will be glad to share what I do to kick it up a notch.

For the most part, we use Trader Joe's Spaghetti Sauce, but you can use any sauce you like.  Then, I just add about a tablespoon (or more) of Balsamic Vinegar, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and some fresh, chopped basil.  I also will add sometimes, a teaspoon of dried oregano and some minced garlic (unless the sauce already has garlic in it).  Sometimes I will also need to add a small can of tomato paste to thicken the sauce up a bit.

Everyone in our family eats this meal with gusto, from our 11 month old foster daughter, all the way up to Papa Bear....and we pretty much eat it once a week, with NO complaints!

It may not be the way the Italians do it, but it's the way Mama Bear does it.

Mama Bear


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Did you Burn Yourself -- Honey?



Honey.

It's not just for bears.

When you burn yourself, whether it's with the curling iron, a hot pan, the microwave steam burn (you KNOW which one I mean!!!), or whatever, the best thing that I know to do is put honey on it right away!  If there is food on the burn, be sure to wash the food off first with cold water.  Then apply a thin coat of honey to the burned area.  Honey has healing properties that take away the sting and the redness.  The longer you are able to leave it on, the better, of course.

Yesterday, I burned my thumb when popping popcorn on the stove.  Somehow, the potholder allowed a bit of steam or hot oil or something come through one of the stitches in the potholder, and it burnt me.  And it HURT!  I put honey on it, and was only able to leave it there for about 15 minutes, but it did the trick.  No burn mark, no redness, no pain. 

I promise!

(Please do not rely on this method for a major burn that needs professional medical attention!  If you need professional medical attention for a burn, please get it!!!)

Mama Bear

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Want a 20% discount on your Christmas Photo Greeting Card from Bear River Photo Greetings?  Please"Like" my Facebook page and then get 20 of your friends to "Like" my Facebook page by November 24th, and I'll give you a special code to use for 20% off any Christmas or Holiday Photo Greeting Card design in my shop! Be sure they let me know who sent them! :-)

 The person who sends the MOST people over to "Like" my page before November 24th will get FIFTY percent off!!!

Check out my Holiday and Christmas designs HERE.

(Coupon Code expires December 31st)

Mama Bear


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Think Before You Speak

I found this on Pinterest.com and thought it was REALLY good:



I need to print this out and hang it up right in front of my own eyes!

Mama Bear


Monday, October 24, 2011

Trader Joe's Brings us a New Treat


At least it's new to me.

Yep!

They're pretty doggone good!

And they're only 3 points per bar for all of you WW people out there.

YUM!

Mama Bear

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Win Your Own Copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible


Our kids LOVE the Jesus Storybook Bible.  Really...all three of them!  We have an 18 year old, an almost 5 year old, and a 2 year old, and they all love looking at the book, and love to hear Mama Bear or Papa Bear read the stories. 

And the great thing about these stories, is that they all point to Christ!

You can buy this book HERE.  (I don't get any compensation for this...we just wanted to share what we love.)

Want to WIN one?  We're going to give one away!  All you have to do is go "Like" the Jesus Storybook Bible page on Facebook, and then leave a comment below, letting me know that you "liked" them, AND in the SAME comment, let me know what you would do with the Jesus Storybook Bible if you win.

Oh, and feel free to say hello to the people over at the Jesus Storybook Bible page on Facebook...show some love on their wall!  :-)  Let them know that you're a new fan!



This giveaway will end on November 30th.  This would make a wonderful Christmas gift, birthday gift, baby shower gift, or a "just because" gift.

Have a blessed day in Christ!

Mama Bear


Harvest Party Mix


Harvest Party Mix

I had seen this on Pinterest and wanted to try it out, so when I knew I needed to make something for home group last night, I knew this was the perfect thing.  See, home group is over 40 adults and over 40 kids!!!  We didn't have that many there last night, but there were probably at least 50 people.  I took two bowls of it, and most of it got eaten.

Here's what I did:

Melt one stick of butter (NOT margarine!!!!!)...add about 1/3 cup of brown sugar and about a teaspoon of cinnamon and cook on low until the sugar is about half dissolved.  Put about 4 cups of Corn Chex and 3 cups of mini pretzels in a large bowl, pour the butter mixture over the top, and toss well...for about 5 minutes, to make sure the chex and pretzels get well-coated.  Put this mixture on a jelly roll pan and place in a 300 degree oven for about 25-30 minutes.  Take out, and allow to cool completely (you'll want to kind of toss the mix with a spatula/egg turner after it comes out of the oven, just to separate any pieces that might have stuck together because of the sugar.).  You will FALL IN LOVE with the Chex!!!  Oh, my!  I could not stop eating them!!!

In the meantime, pop up 2 pots of popcorn (I got about 8 cups of popped popcorn from this)...pour into a large bowl and lightly salt.  Once the popcorn is cool, add a bag of Harvest Mix Candy Corn and a bag of M&Ms (regular...not peanut or anything else).  (I took out all of the red and blue M&Ms, because I couldn't find a Fall themed bag of M&Ms at Target.)

After the Chex and pretzels are completely cooled, add to the rest of the mix and toss.

Enjoy!

Mama Bear

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I Got a New Backdrop

I purchased a backdrop for the first time ever, from Backdrop Baby.  I couldn't WAIT to try it out, and so I decided to do photos of my little ones (AGAIN).  They love each other, as you can see, but they also don't tolerate getting their pictures taken for very long at all!






Mama Bear

Friday, October 14, 2011

Please May I Come In?



"Please may I come in?"

This is a phrase I hear almost every day.  My little ones want to be wherever we are...wherever I am.  And when I'm trying to get ready for the day (hair, makeup, using the potty, etc.), or when I'm making the bed, I always have someone hanging around outside our bedroom door, asking that question.

Since Papa Bear and I got married, we have had the rule that our children must knock and ask if they can come in to our room.  They are not allowed to just barge in uninvited.  They don't come in during the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning and climb in bed with us.  They do not come in our room and "play" or whatever else they can come up with doing in our bedroom.  It's kind of funny, because it's like our bedroom is this very cool, mysterious place of wonder and excitement, as much as we get asked that question.

But it's not.

It's just our bedroom.

Our sanctuary.

It's not neat and tidy.  It's nothing super ornate.  It's not what you see in the photo above (although I wish it was, because I LOVE the look of that room!!!).  No, it's just OUR room.  It's just about the only place in our house where we can have a little privacy, and it doesn't have kids' toys or clothing strewn everywhere.

One day, our room will be a beautiful, romantic sanctuary, but for now, it's simple and functional.  It's where Papa Bear and I are comfortable and know that we can hang out without the kids coming in.  Not to say they don't knock on the door on a regular basis, or stand outside the closed door begging to come in.  But they know the rule.  They HAVE to ask to come in, and they have to be given permission.

And we love it that way!

Mama Bear

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Go To Dinners

What's for dinner?

That is a question I get from my husband pretty much every day.  Sometimes, I say "I haven't really thought about it yet." and sometimes I say "Let's get Subway", but many times I do have something planned.

Do you have "go-to" dinners that you can fix without a recipe?  I do!  I have to.  Sometimes you just need to make dinner on auto-pilot.

Here are my typical go-to dinners:

Pasta (spaghetti or penne pasta with red sauce), salad, bread (filone is our new favorite bread!)

Taco Salad

Enchilada Casserole (NOT made with any cream of something soup), Refried Beans, Spanish Rice

Marinated Baked Chicken, Steamed Broccoli, White Rice

BLT's Chili Beans, and sometimes Chips

Boca Burgers, Chili Beans, Sweet Potato Fries

Tacos, Refried Beans, Spanish Rice

Hamburger Soup and some sort of bread or biscuit

So how about you?  What are your "go-to" dinners that you can fix quickly and typically have most of the ingredients for, already in your pantry?

Mama Bear

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shrimp Tacos For Dinner Tonight


One of our family's favorite meals EVER is fish tacos, made by yours truly.  We had some shrimp in the freezer, and some tortillas in the fridge, so Papa Bear thought Shrimp Tacos would be fantastic, and I agreed!  These shrimp tacos are made simply with warmed, soft corn tortillas, shredded cabbage (or cole slaw mix--no dressing), grilled shrimp, and Garlic Cilantro Aioli (my recipe), with a little fresh lime juice squeezed on top.

We also had Baked Tostitos Scoops with "Cowboy Caviar", which is super yummy and very healthy too!
Want the recipes?  I thought you would.  Keep in mind that these are not perfectly  measured recipes, so you can adjust to your own taste.

Garlic Cilantro Aioli

1/3 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup Miracle Whip Light (I suppose you could use mayo if you really MUST!)
a handful of FRESH cilantro (stems and all---makes it easy!)
2 heaping Tablespoons of minced garlic
Juice from one lime
1 heaping teaspoon (or more) of ground cumin

Put everything in a food processor and mix away.
For variation, I have also done this with a few drops of Tapatio Sauce and some fresh pineapple.

*****

Cowboy Caviar

1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of sweet corn, drained
About 3/4 cup of fresh pico de gallo or salsa (although for what you see in the photo above, I used half of a jar of Pineapple Peach Salsa and it was AMAZING!!!)
1 Tablespoon of red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon finely chopped cilantro (I processed in the food processor ALL the cilantro for both recipes, then took out what I needed for this recipe.)
1 heaping teaspoon ground cumin

Mix well and ENJOY!!!

*****

If you just happen to have some leftover grilled shrimp and the aioli, it's SO yummy to put a shrimp and a little aioli in one of those Tostitos Scoops, with a little lime juice sprinkled on top.  We're thinking this might need to be a weekly meal instead of a monthly meal!

Let me know if you make this.  It's super easy and FAST!

Mama Bear

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

My First Newborn Photo Shoot


I'm getting super excited! Tomorrow is my very first newborn photo shoot!! I will be photographing a baby who will be 6 days old tomorrow, and I will also be photographing his momma, daddy, and 1 year old brother. I'm a wee bit nervous, but confident and excited, too!

Here is my list of things that I will be taking to the family's home for my shoot:

Camera
Tripod
Lenses
Extra Battery
Media Cards
Puppy Pee-Pee Pads
Reflectors
Step Stool
Baskets
Soft and Cozy blankets
Heating Pad
Portable Heater
Backdrop Frame
Sheer Curtains
Clamps for backdrop frame
Pillow
Water & a snack

Added: Lint Roller and Towels

GOODNESS! That's a LOT of things to haul! I think I need an assistant! I hope I remember everything!

I will be posting a couple of the photos here when I get them processed, and I will also post over at my photography blog: Angie Ochoa Photography

Have a blessed day!

Mama Bear

Saturday, September 17, 2011

I Need Help Deciding...


I have these four pieces of fabric, and I plan on making two peasant dresses for my little girlie bear. Here's my dilemma: Which should be the main portion of the dresses and which should be the sleeves and "tuxedo" ruffles?

The dresses will be similar to this one, but possibly with three little "tuxedo" ruffles, instead of just one, like what is shown:

Here's what I am thinking: Using the two similar fabrics (each are only 2 colors) as the main body of the dresses, with the fabrics to the left of them in the photo as the sleeves and ruffles. But maybe I should do it the other way around, so that the smaller prints are the main bodies of the dresses. AGHHHH! See why I need your help??
What do you think? I would appreciate your input!

Mama Bear

Thursday, September 15, 2011

52 Weeks of Mail


Do you like receiving personal, hand-written cards and letters?
I do!!!

Do you find it difficult to stay in touch with people because of your busy life?
I do!!!

Here is a way to keep in touch with your friends and loved ones in an intentional way.
52 Weeks of Mail is designed to encourage people to commit to sending at LEAST one card or letter a week, for the next year! 52 Weeks of Mail starts on October 9th, 2011 and goes through October 7th, 2012. We are asking that you commit to doing this, and sticking with it!

Please feel free to blog about this, Tweet about it, post it on Facebook, and just spread the word as far as you can! We have a Facebook page, and we are trying to get 1000 likes by the end of September. Please help us reach this goal by letting your friends know about 52 Weeks of Mail.

If you are looking for some beautiful handmade cards to send, please visit Etsy.com and check out the abundance of offerings from the EtsyGreetingsTeam!

Thanks!

Mama Bear

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Going to the Dentist


Going to the dentist equals high blood pressure, tears, and near hyperventilation. At least for me it does. I went for a period of 18 years without going to the dentist because it creates SUCH anxiety for me! I try praying through the appointment, and it doesn't work, only because I still am anxious and have "fear", even though I wouldn't if I were truly able to let go of it and allow God to bring me peace.

I went to the dentist on Tuesday to get a cleaning and 3 fillings. I was trying to be a big girl about it and thought I could just do the nitrous oxide (laughing gas) thing, and all would go well. HA! No such thing! The dentist numbed my gums while I breathed heavy and cried. That was of course, after the x-rays and the polishing. Then she gave the shots. My right side went all tingly and I felt like I was going to shake right out of the chair. When they took my blood pressure before they would let me leave the office, it was 140/93 or something like that. Normally, I run about 113/70.

Apparently, I can not get through a dentist appointment without tears, but at least I have a WONDERFUL and VERY sympathetic dentist (unlike my LAST dentist....UGH with a double UGH!). She asked me what I wanted to do. I told her that I would try the nitrous oxide, but my nose was too stuffy from crying and all of the anxiety-producing mucous. Sorry. I know. TMI. But it's true! And you have to breathe through your nose to get the gas. But I couldn't. Now I have to come back with my hubby, who can drive me to and from my appointment, AND make payment to the dentist office. I guess if you're taking an oral sedative, you can't pay for your visit. Which makes me giggle. :-)

So, next month, I will be paying nearly $200 more, so that I can not remember anything about getting three cavities filled. To me, it's TOTALLY worth it!

How are you with the dentist? What helps you relax? Are you like me? Or is it a walk in the park for you?

Hey, have a blessed day!

Mama Bear

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I may have forgotten what I did last Tuesday, but I will never forget what I was doing on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, when I heard the tragic news of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I called my mom to tell her that a plane crashed, and as we were talking, I WATCHED the second plane fly straight into the 2nd tower. I got chills as I realized that this was not a random crash. I cried as I told my mom what happened (they don't have a TV).

I can remember being at work that day, constantly wandering into the break room to watch the unfolding events on TV. It is a day I will never forget. I don't personally know anyone who lost someone on that day, but I know that my God personally knows and loves each one who was lost and each family member who lost a loved one. He is a sovereign God, and I praise Him for that.

Please remember to continue to pray for the families who lost loved ones, but also for those who do not know Christ. They need the cross, they need the Gospel, they need Christ.

God Bless,

Mama Bear

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Birthday Celebration

This picture was taken on the very first day we met our baby girl.

A Very Happy 2nd Birthday to our Little Princess Diva Bear.
Yesterday was actually her birthday, but today we are having her party.

We prayed for this baby, and put our application in, in August 2009 to get a baby girl to adopt through foster care. In October of 2009, we got a call from our caseworker, saying they had a baby who wasn't yet two months old (born 09-09-09, sharing her birthday with my father-in-law), whose birth mom was pretty young and in foster care herself. Would we be interested in taking the baby, knowing that she could potentially end up going back with birth mom? We said "Absolutely!". We left it in God's hands, all the while praying that we would be picked out of the 12 families who were put forth as possible families for this precious little baby.

We were leaving to go to our church's family retreat a week later, when we got a call from our caseworker. She said, "Congratulations!", and I nearly screamed! I was SO giddy and happy and excited, even though we didn't know whether or not we would get to keep her.

But we did get to keep her. Her adoption was finalized on February 14th of this year.

She is a pistol, and smart as a whip. She is tender, and is quick to say "Sorry". She randomly comes up and rubs against me like a little kitty cat and says "I love you". She is full of life, full of energy, full of spunk, full of joy. She loves her brothers. She loves books. She has a little elephant snugly named Ellie, whom she sleeps with nearly every night. She has loads and loads of curls, and she cries every time I do her hair. She asks for a bow (hairbow) every morning when she wakes up. She scrunches her nose when she smiles. She loves Apple Jacks and "salad" (tomatoes and cucumbers). She loves to be rambunctious.

We are so blessed to have this precious little girl as our daughter. We love her and pray that she will come to know God at an early age. We pray that she lives up to her name meanings: Sophia (wisdom) Grace (grace) Angela (messenger of God). We pray that she will develop a gentle and sweet spirit. We pray that she will love those around her and be always ready to tell others about Jesus. We pray that we will be the best parents we can be, always pointing her to the cross. Thank you, God, for blessing us with this little girl.



Mama Bear

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Sneak Peek of a Project I'm Working On

I've seen a LOT of cute DIY projects out there (especially on Pinterest.com!!!), thinking "Oh, I could probably do that!", but then I never take the time to do it. Well, this time it's different. I didn't see this project anywhere but in my head, but I wanted to see how it would turn out.
Here is a sneak peek.


Any ideas as to what it is or will be?

Mama Bear

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Good Movie to See: Broken Hill


Our family is always looking for GOOD, CLEAN movies to watch. We don't need or WANT to see a lot of bare skin. We don't need or WANT to see a lot of sex scenes. We don't need or WANT to hear a lot of foul language. So, you can see our dilemma in trying to find decent movies to watch.

Well, it seems that Netflix has a lot to offer in the way of movies that are decent and have a good storyline. Broken Hill was one that my teenager and I found to watch while Papa Bear was out hunting again this weekend.

Here is the storyline, from IMDB (which we use on a REGULAR basis!):
Tommy, a gifted teenager composer, dreams of being accepted into the famous Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Unfortunately, a good band is hard to find in the middle of Outback Australia - until a strange incident involving flying watermelons leads him to a group of talented prison inmates. Written by H. Rose

No sex. No violence. If there were bad words, I don't remember hearing them.

I would definitely recommend this movie as one to watch as a family (if you have tweens and teens). And if you like this, I think you also might like Forever Strong.

Have a blessed day!

Mama Bear

When Bananas Turn Brown


Got brown bananas? Don't throw them out! Stick them in the freezer!

Yep, brown bananas in the freezer will keep them "good" until you're ready to do some baking with bananas. When you're ready to make bread or pancakes or some other banana-filled goodie, simply take the bananas out, let them thaw, snip off the tops, and just squeeze the banana out into a measuring cup...no mess! And they're SO sweet and give so much yummy banana flavor when they're "over-ripe".

Also, if you like bananas in your smoothies, it's ok to put brown bananas in them. From what I understand, the longer fruit ripens, the higher the amount of antioxidants.

So don't let your kids toss their bananas! Use them to their fullest potential!
You'll be happy you did!

Mama Bear

Thursday, September 1, 2011

So Proud of Papa Bear!

My husband with his first bear!

My father in law with my hubby's bear.

My husband and his dad went hunting in the Shasta/Trinity area of NorCal, on opening weekend of bow season, just a couple of weeks ago. Their plan was to each get a buck (you can only hunt bucks in CA, and they have to have certain size/type horns...we have STRICT hunting laws here) to bring home for meat for our freezers. They each had a deer tag, but they also had a bear tag, just in case.

These photos are from hubby's Flip Camera, so they're a tad blurry, but you get the idea. I'm so proud of my husband for getting his first bear! Yes, we will cook the bear meat (steaks, stew, etc.), and yes, there will be a bear hide adorning the huge wall above our fireplace. That's how much I love my husband. :-)

Mama Bear

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Winkflash Photo Contest: Birthdays!


I realize this is my THIRD blog post for the day, but I just had to do this one. This is our baby girl's birthday photo from here 1st birthday party. I have entered it in a contest on Winkflash.com, where I can win a$100 gift certificate to Winkflash.com (where I LOVE to get my photos printed!!!!).

Here's the catch: I need YOU to help us out by going to vote for our photo. Click on the photo above, and it will take you to Winkflash.com, where you can vote for our princess.

Yes, you must sign up with Winkflash to vote, but it's totally worth it! You can get 50 FREE 4x6 digital prints when you sign up for the first time! AND you can opt to NOT receive promotional emails from Winkflash when you sign up. It's a win-win, right?

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

Mama Bear

A Yummy Little Snack: Duros!


Have you tried these? I first found out about them when my sister in law brought them home from the flea market. You can sprinkle lime juice (or lemon, because that's what you have readily on hand), and chili powder on them. I just use lemon juice...no chili powder. They will snap, crackle, and pop a bit when you put them juice on them.

What are they, you ask?



According to Gourmet Sleuth (source of the above photo), they are:

Duros

Other names: duritos, durros, pasta para durito

Duros are a Latino snack made of wheat flour and look a bit like a very hard pasta. The traditional shape is a rectangle with grooves but wagon wheel shapes are common too. Typically the duros are deep fried but they can also be microwaved. The prepared duros puff up then can be dipped in salsa or sprinkled with chile lime salt (see Tajin).

Basic Ingredients
Flour, Iodized Salt, Corn Starch, Bicarbonate of Soda, Vegetable Oil and food coloring.


Believe me when I say that you can eat a WHOLE bag of these in ONE sitting! They are so light and airy and delicous! And my Princess Diva Toddler Bear loves them too (no lemon juice on hers, although she LOVES lemons!)!

Where can you buy them? I believe Papa Bear got ours at either Lucky or Safeway. You can buy them like pasta and fry them yourself, or you can buy them already fried.

If you try them, let me know what you think!

Mama Bear

Would You Like Some Cheese With That Whine?


I have an almost two year old little girl. She doesn't talk. She whines. Well, not all the time. Part of the time she does talk in very intelligent sentences. Part of the time she sings. Part of the time she yells at the top of her lungs, with excitement. But the rest of the time she whines, and whines, and whines. Lately, she cries over every little thing, and I can't get out of her why she is crying. I don't get it. Except for the fact that she is almost two and she is a girl.

I know that there have been days (no, weeks!) (no, really, MONTHS) where I have been tired and impatient and have yelled at my kids. Or I have whined myself, asking them why they have to do this, or why they did that. I need to pray and ask God to help me stop whining. I have a feeling there will be a big change in Princess Diva Toddler Bear, once there is a big change in me. Our attitudes and emotions affect those around us much more than we think. If we are always whining, complaining, grumpy (read: hormonal), angry, joyless, then our loved ones who live in the same house with us will also do these things. Don't expect them to change, until you are willing to change.

Lord, please work in my heart. Forgive me for my sins of anger, impatience, discontent, selfishness. All of those things cause me to react in ways that are not pleasing to you, and make me look ugly. Please help me to reflect your glory through patience, joy, love, compassion and tenderness. Help me to be selfless. This is one of the biggest things I struggle with, but I know with your help, I can change. I can do ALL things through YOU who gives me the strength. Thank you for your forgiveness and grace in MY life. Please help me to be quick to forgive and show grace in the lives of those I love.

Mama Bear

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Fitness Pal


I just got an iPhone for the first time EVER at the beginning of the month. Yeah, we're a little behind on technology, but that's old news. Anyway, as some of you might know, I am on a quest to lose weight. It seems like this has been a life journey for me! Now, I really know that I need to lose weight and KEEP it off! No, I don't have heart disease, or diabetes, or anything like that, but I am at high risk for those AND for strokes if I DON'T LOSE THIS WEIGHT!

I have a "Biggest Loser" style challenge going on Facebook, and it starts on September 10th. This is round 3 for me, and I need to do well this time, especially since I am the one who started this! (By the way, if you're reading this, you're a woman, you have at least 30 pounds to lose, and you're on Facebook, we'd love to have you join us!!!)

So, back to the reason for this post. I have just discovered "My Fitness Pal", and app for iPhone, that allows me to track my calories in and calories out (exercise), based on my weight, height, gender, and age. That photo you see above is actually my breakfast entry for today.

The thing that I got really excited about as I did this for the first time today, is the fact that you can SCAN the barcode on a container of yogurt, and it will put in ALL of the information FOR you! You don't have to type all that stuff in and try to find which yogurt is yours! I'm SO excited about this, because it means this could be a LOT easier than doing WW online! Well, except for the fact that I do a LOT of our family cooking from scratch. I guess that's still going to be tough, but instead of typing on my tiny iPhone keys, I can enter everything online too. Pretty cool!

This app shows how many calories I've used, and how many I have left for the day, based on the number of calories I should be eating to hit my goal weight by a certain time. I haven't done this yet, but I can enter my exercise, and it will show me how many calories I burned for however long I did the exercise.

I'm thinking this could be a GREAT tool in finally helping me to get into a weight loss way of life! What do you think? Do you use any weight loss apps on your smart phone? Please share!

By the way, I am not being paid by My Fitness Pal or Apple, to do this "review".

Have a blessed day!

Mama Bear

Sunday, August 28, 2011

How to Butter a Pan Without Mess!


This is the best way ever to butter a pan and NOT get messy! Take a sandwich sized ziploc bag, turn it inside out, grab hold of your un-wrapped stick of butter, and butter that pan!

When you're done buttering the pan, just turn the bag, butter and all, right side out, zip the bag, and store the butter in your fridge for the next time you need to butter a pan (or for your next big bowl of popcorn!)

Mama Bear

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Longer Life for Berries


I learned something new, thanks to Pinterest (if you don't know about Pinterest, you SHOULD!). I learned that if you give berries a water/vinegar rinse, they will last longer in your refrigerator!

Katie from FoodLush blog says this:
When you get your berries home, prepare a mixture of one part vinegar (white or apple cider probably work best) and ten parts water. Dump the berries into the mixture and swirl around. Drain, rinse if you want (though the mixture is so diluted I find you can't taste the vinegar,) and pop in the fridge.

The vinegar kills any mold spores and other bacteria that might be on the surface of the fruit, and voila! Raspberries will last a week or more, and I've had strawberries go almost two weeks without getting moldy and soft. So go forth and stock up on those pricey little gems, knowing they'll stay fresh as long as it takes you to eat them.

I tried this with a 2 lb. package of blueberries that I had purchased. I actually did it about 2-3 days AFTER I bought the berries, and it STILL worked! Those are the berries, up there in that photo...being "dunked" in the vinegar water. That was on August 15th. We ate the last of the berries (of which about 99% of them were still yummy and plump!) on Monday night, August 22nd! Imagine berries lasting for over a week in your fridge! The things you can learn on Pinterest!

Mama Bear