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Keeping Your Carpet Clean

Living in a teeny, tiny condo has many disadvantages. Aside from the obvious, lack of space, another downside is the damage on our carpet. We have carpeting in the bedroom and living room. I think every place that is carpeted is considered a “high traffic” area. Factor in the fact that we have four cats and a dog and you can only imagine how dirty our carpets can get. Ugh!

When I clean my carpets I mostly just do spot removal. Mostly I do that when one of the cats throw up. Thankfully all of our pets are house trained. When our dog was a puppy he would have a lot of accidents which I made sure to clean up immediately before they caused any stains. Years ago we had a cat that threw up a lot (he had stomach problems). The red coloring from the cat food left so many red stains on our carpet that we couldn’t clean up that we had to replace the entire carpet with a darker color carpet.

One of these days we need to get a Chem-dry carpet cleaning done. I really want the carpet to be deep cleaned. I think it would not only look better but it would also feel better when we walk on it with our bare feet. I’m sure it would be a lot softer if we got it professionally cleaned. I’m sure we could do it ourselves by renting a carpet cleaner but I rather pay a few extra dollars and have someone do it for us.

Some of my best carpet care tips include vacuuming at least twice a week (more if you notice dirt/soil) and to use baking soda to keep your carpets smelling fresh. Simply sprinkle some baking soda on the carpet and let it sit for a few minutes. Then vacuum it up. You can also purchase scented carpet powders at your local grocery store, but baking soda is so much less expensive.

What do you to to keep your carpets looking clean and fresh? I would love to hear some great cleaning tips from my readers.

Kimberly

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Celebrate Honesty Day with Honest Tea

There are a lot of special days set up throughout the year like Friendship Day, Grandparents Day, Secretary Day and of course Ground Hog Day. Did you know there was an Honest Day too?

Today, Saturday April 30, 2011 is Honest Day. With that said I guess it would be really hard to tell a lie on Honest Day. Ladies, if you don’t want your boyfriend or significant other to give you their honest opinion on an outfit or your new hairstyle, today is NOT the day to ask them. Ha Ha.

Is there anything you would like to open up and be honest about today? I can honestly say that I hate to clean, I honestly hate to clean the kitty litter box and honestly hate how my husband looks younger then me, and he’s older by two months. LOL!

I don’t think there are any special Honest recipes to celebrate the day. You could however pop open a bottle of Honest Tea in celebration of Honest Day. My personal favorite is the Honest Tea Half and Half. It’s half ice tea and half lemonade. Like they say on the Honest Tea website, the Half and Half is twice the flavor, but half the calories.

I love lemonade but it’s often too sweet for me. I usually opt for unsweetened ice tea instead. To me the Half and Half tastes like ice tea that has been sweetened with lemon, but not overly sweet. It’s the perfect blend of both tastes. It’s also organic which makes it even better.

Honest drinks can be found at grocery stores, convenience shops and other retail locations.

To learn more visit the official website, www.HonestTea.com. While you are there check out the other yummy flavors Honest Tea makes.

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation.

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William & Kate: The Royal Wedding

This morning my husband woke me up at 4:00 AM (EST) so that I could watch the royal wedding unfold. I can’t believe it was wedding day already. It seems like just yesterday they announced their engagement. Sadly I fell asleep around 4:45, so I missed a lot of the fanfare and arrivals at the Abbey. I did wake up around 6:00, just in time to watch Kate walk down the aisle with her father.

The wedding it’s self was lovely. I’ve been to Westminster Abbey before, way back in the early 80′s. It’s a beautiful cathedral. I was in awe of it when I was there. Did you know that people are buried in the Abbey and it’s cloisters? There are about 3,300 people buried inside Westminster Abbey including Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton. There are so many people buried in the Abbey that some people are buried standing upright.

Westminster Abbey was originally built in 1065 for King Edward The Confessor.  Most of the current building dates from 1245 to 1272 when Henry III wanted to rebuild the Abbey in a more Gothic style. I can’t believe that the cathedral is THAT old. If you ever get a chance to visit London I recommend visiting the Abbey, among other impressive, historical sites.

I’m sorry that I missed Kate’s trip to the Abbey. I’m sure plenty of the new channels will air it over and over again.

Kate made a breathtakingly beautiful bride. I LOVE her dress! I was never fond of Princess Diana’s dress. I thought it was way over the top and a bit gaudy. The train was pretty impressive (although excessive). Some how I knew Kate was going to go for a more modern, yet simple and elegant dress. Seriously, she made a beautiful bride.

Did you know that Kate did her own make up? From what I heard she went for a trial run but didn’t like how they applied her make up. She wanted to look more natural and like herself so she opted to apply her own make up (although she did take some lessons).

I’m glad the wedding ring fit. The ring didn’t seem like it was going to fit when William slipped it on her finger.

The wedding was flawless, from start to finish. I am so very happy for the couple. I know the weather was a concern.

I know many people will quibble about the unnecessary expense the wedding cost the people of England, especially during such difficult economic times. I’m sure if given the opportunity William and Kate would have opted for something more simple. I could easily see them getting married on a beach with just a few family members and close friends. Yes, I agree, the money could have been spend on other things, like helping out the homeless, hungry or even those devastated by recent natural disasters (Japan for intence). But I do agree with others who say that people want to see the fairy tale take place. In a way it was nice to escape reality for a bit and live vicariously through others. Personally it made me wish I was a pretty princess too.

England is rich in history and protocol. There was no way the future king could have an ordinary wedding.

Did you see Kate’s sister Pippa’s dress? I was shocked to see her wearing white like the bride. Her dress was skin tight and had a low cut neckline. It was very sexy for a Maid of Honor dress. Whatever happened to the gaudy colors and layers of tulle. Ha Ha.

I was shocked by Victoria Beckham’s dress. Not only was is black (which is a bit of a no-no for a wedding) but it was an ugly dress. I know she’s pregnant but she didn’t need to being wearing something that resembled a black potato sack. I won’t even get started on her hat. Weird!

Soccer/Football star, David Beckham (Victoria’s husband), looked handsome but he was wearing that medal on the wrong side. He should have worn it on his left side, not right side. Some people think he did it intentionally, for the sake of fashion. I just think he didn’t realize there was a right way and wrong way to wear it.

Those invited to the wedding and reception were given a 22-page booklet on wedding etiquette. WOW! I’d love to get a hold of one of those. I’m curious to see the “Do’s and Don’ts” of attending a royal wedding.

I saw Elton John and David Furnish in the Abbey. I’m sure the wedding was bittersweet for him, knowing how close he was to the late Princess Diana.

I just heard that roughly 1/3 of the world’s population watched the wedding. WOW! That is amazing. Some places even organized block parties and held parties in their own homes, complete with fancy hats and cucumber sandwiches.

It was fun to watch and experience. Of course now I’m going to be tired for the rest of the day. :-)

Congratulations to Prince William and Princess Catherine, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. May you have a long, happy and healthy life together.

Did YOU watch the wedding? What did you think about it? Did you watch the wedding of William’s parents, Prince Charles and Lady Diana?  

Kimberly

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Mexican Chocolate Chili Cupcakes

With Cinco de Mayo (the 5th of May) just around the corner, I thought my readers would be interested in this tasty, yet easy-to-make recipe for Mexican Chocolate Chili Cupcakes from Duncan Hines. Take the spice level up a notch and celebrate with a sweet kick.

While you are having fun baking this tasty treat you might also consider participating in the Duncan Hines 1 MILLION Cupcake Challenge benefiting Share Our Strength’s Great American Bake Sale. Share our Strength is helping to end childhood hunger.  

From now until July 24, 2011, the Duncan Hines 1 Million Cupcake Challenge will provide bakers with the opportunity to win fabulous prizes including one of five trips to Los Angeles for seats on the Red Carpet of the 63rdPrimetime Emmy Awards and Double Donations to Share Our Strength each week. If you are interested in participating you can learn more about it here, www.DuncanHines.com/CupCakechallenge.

Get ready to enjoy a little Fiesta Time with this delicious cupcake recipe.

Mexican Chocolate Chili Cupcakes

Ingredients:

1 pkg. Duncan Hines® Triple Chocolate® Decadent Cake Mix

2 tsps. ground cinnamon, separated

1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tub Duncan Hines® Creamy Home-Style Classic Chocolate Frosting

Baking Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare cake mix as directed.  You will have your cake batter in one bowl and filling in a second bowl.

- Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the cake batter and mix well.

- Spoon cake batter into prepared cupcake liners and pan.  Fill cupcake tins no more than half full.  Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling on top of the batter in the tins.  Cover filling with a tablespoon of batter.  Your tins should now be 2/3 full.

- Bake cupcakes as directed and cool completely.

- Prepare frosting by adding 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to each can of frosting that you use.  Mix completely and frost cupcakes. 

Hands-On Time: 25 mins.

Total Time: 1 hour and 15 mins.

Servings: 14

*Recipe shared with permission from Duncan Hines.

Enjoy!

Kimberly

*I was not compensated in any way for this post. I posted this for the benefit and enjoyment of my site readers.

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Alexia Foods – Easy and Tasty Side Dishes

It’s hard enough try to figure out what to make for dinner every night. It always seems like I end up making the same 7-10 meals all the time. Even my kids make comments to me “Not pork chops AGAIN”.

I would love to make different meals but I happen to live in a household of picky eaters, including my husband. It’s THEIR fault that we eat the same things over and over again. Unlike me they are not always willing to try something different.

I have more then a dozen great cookbooks with recipes that make me drool just looking at the photos. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to get my family to agree to try something new, but usually one or more of them ends up not liking it and I never make it again, even if I absolutely loved it. Personally I haven’t met too many meals I didn’t like. :-) Except lamb. I can’t even tolerate the smell of it, let alone the thought of eating it.

Since I don’t have much flexibility as to what I make as a main dish, at least I can still have some fun with the side dishes. I’m always looking for something different. There is no way I can stick to the usual mashed potatoes, rice and noodle. Thankfully my family enjoys most vegetables, including spinach, Brussel sprouts and broccoli. At least the vegetable can be different each night.

 

I recently had the opportunity, thanks to Alexia Foods, to try out some totally tasty side dishes. My favorites were the Sweet Potato Puffs and Sweet Potato Crinkle Fries. We usually stick to white potatoes because no on in my family, except me, are overly keen on sweet potatoes. I happen to love them and wish we could eat more of them. Whenever I make baked potatoes for my family I always make a sweet potato for me.

I don’t know why they don’t like sweet potatoes. They have a bit of sweetness to them. You would think kids would love them.

Sometimes when I try out new foods on my family I don’t always tell them what they are eating until AFTER they have tried it. If I tell them up front they won’t try it. Often when I tell them after they finish it they will realize just how good it was after all.

Take for example the Sweet Potato Puffs and Sweet Potato Crinkle Fries. I didn’t tell my kids they were sweet potatoes (my husband knew). Obviously the kids knew the color was different the other fries and puffs that we have (made with white potatoes). When they questioned why the color was different I just shrugged my shoulders and said “I don’t know”. And you know what, both times they ate what was on their plate. They liked the puffs better then the fries. It wasn’t until after I sprinkled some black pepper on the fries that they seemed to like them more. They said they were too plain. They wanted me to add salt to them but I don’t use salt on my foods. So I tried black pepper instead (just a smidgen). One of the restaurants we go to once in a “blue moon” (I think it’s TGI Friday’s) sprinkles salt and black pepper on their french fries. I actually liked the black pepper on the Alexia Sweet Potato Crinkle Fries. It gave them a nice “kick”, plus the sweet and spicy taste complimented each other.

Another side dish that I get bored with is mashed potatoes. I don’t make mine from scratch. I should but it’s too time consuming. I cringe when I say this but I use mashed potato flakes to make mashed potatoes. How horrible is that? I do try and jazz them up a bit by mixing in some garlic, pepper or making them with chicken broth instead of water.

Alexia has a really tasty alternative to plain old mashed potatoes, Mashed Red Potatoes with Garlic & Parmesan. And they are as delicious as they sound.

My mom always used white potatoes. I don’t know why she never used red. Even though there isn’t that much of a difference, red potatoes do taste a wee bit different. I do use garlic on a lot of things I make but would never think to add Parmesan to potatoes. Parmesan and potatoes go so good together! It even has a touch of olive oil in them.

Even though they are pre-made, frozen mashed potatoes, once made they taste homemade. Even my picky eater family loved them. They are very flavorful.

Another side dish that most people wouldn’t even consider a side dish is bread. Alexia has a Garlic Baguette that is a wonderful addition to any meal.

Sometimes frozen breads don’t heat up well. I sometimes have a problem with the crust getting too hard and flaky while the inside is too soggy and under-cooked. In fact I have that problem even more with freshly made garlic breads from the grocery store. The Alexia Garlic Baguette heated up perfectly in the oven.

My family could not get enough of the Garlic Baguette.

Traditionally we have bread with Italian meals but the Alexia Garlic Baguette inspired me to try the bread with something different – pot roast. I don’t know why but they just seemed to go well together. Maybe it’s the garlic?

What I like about the Alexia bread is that it takes about the same amount of time to cook in the oven as the meal I am making. What I mean is I can pop the bread in the over and make dinner and they both are ready to eat and enjoy around the same time.

I use the bread in place of a starch (pasta, potato or rice) with our meal. I still make a protein and vegetables.

Alexia offers other bread products include rolls, Focaccia, Ciabatta and biscuits.

To learn more about Alexia products visit www.AlexiaFoods.com. While you are there check out their appetizer section. The Mushroom Bites and Onions rings look so good! While you are there don’t forget to download the free coupon on the site.

Alexia products are found at many retail locations across the country. Locally our stores don’t carry a large selection of their products so you really have to look for them in the freezer section.

You can also follow Alexia Foods on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/AlexiaFoods). You can also follow the conversation about the company and products on Twitter with the hashtag #AlexiaFoods.

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own.

 

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Special Mother’s Day ProFlowers Giveaway ($50)

So… have you already purchase a special gift for Mother’s Day? I’m sure many readers are still scrambling to find something special for their mom. Or perhaps they want to surprise their spouse, grandmother, favorite aunt or Godmother with a special token of their appreciation. When in doubt flowers are always a great gift idea. Might I even suggest a lovely plant instead since plants last longer.

ProFlowers is your one stop shop for flowers, plants and other special gifts for any occasion.

Did you know that ProFlowers guarantees their flowers for up to 7 days. I feel more comfortable ordering from a company that can make a guarantee like that. One of the things I dislike most about ordering flowers is that they don’t last long. I’ve had flowers sent to me by my husband last only 2-3 days, which seems like such a waste since you really can’t enjoy them in that brief amount of time. Had my husband ordered from ProFlowers at least I could have had the flowers around a few days longer.

Another great thing about ProFlowers is that you can have flowers delivered the very same day you order them. That makes last minute gift giving a whole lot easier.

Currently ProFlowers has a bonus offer. If you spend $19.99 or more you can get a subscription to Women’s Day magazine (15 issues). That would be an extra bonus gift for your mom (or for you!). I love that magazine. They have great recipes.

What kind of floral arrangements does your mom enjoy? Does she like roses?

Exotic flowers?

Colorful floral arrangements?

Personally I enjoy plants. ProFlowers has lovely Mother’s Day Plants to choose from. Plants make great gifts year round and for every occasion.

Last year I received a Bonsai tree (similar to the one pictured above) from ProFlowers and its still going strong today. It simply requires a little love and attention.

Currently I have a fragrant Gardenia Plantfrom ProFlowers. It arrived in a beautiful aged/antique look pot with “legs”. The plant also arrived with buds already on it, but they had yet to open. I counted 7 buds on my plant.

I’ve had my plant for about two weeks now. I was really hoping that the buds would open up so I could get a picture of how they look. Sadly my plant has not flowered yet. Two of the buds appear to be opening up, so I am hopeful that they will all open up within the next week.

My plant is a bit watered down at the moment, that is why I don’t have a nice photo of it. I put it outside to get some sun and we had a storm come through and I was unable to get to it before it got drenched. I poured out the excess water and brought it back inside to dry out a bit.

This is what my plant will look like when the flowers open up.

Since this is a Gardenia plant the flowers are suppose to be very fragrant. I can’t wait! Every day I check my plant at least a couple of times a day for signs of flowers.

I was concerned about how well the plant would hold out during shipping. My plant arrived “safe and sound”. It was in a box that was marked which side went up. The plant also had a cardboard “collar” around it to keep it from moving around too much during transit. The plant arrived in perfect condition with not so much as any spilled potting soil either.  

If your mom isn’t really into flowers or plants, ProFlowers does offer other gift ideas including gourmet treats, gift baskets and even gifts that come with a Restaurant.com gift certificate. Dinner and flowers sounds great to me!

If you need a last minute gift idea for mom, or for someone special in your life, check out ProFlowers at www.ProFlowers.com. You can even find coupons for ProFlowers at www.ProFlowersCoupons.com.

ProFlowers would like to give a lucky reader a $50.00 gift code to ProFlowers.Thank you ProFlowers!

To enter please comment on who you would like to send flowers to and what kind of flowers do you think you would send?

For extra entries you can do any or all of the following. Please leave a separate comment for each that you have done. Extra entries are optional.

- Subscribe to She Scribes and/or Connect with Google Friend Connect. Both options are found on the right side bar.

- “Like” ProFlowers on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/ProFlowers. If you “like” ProFlowers on Facebook you can get 20% off of your purchase and a FREE vase.

- “Like” She Scribes on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/SheScribes.

- Follow ProFlowers on Twitter, www.Twitter.com/ProFlowers.

- Follow She Scribes on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/She_Scribes) and tweet about this review/giveaway. Please include @She_Scribes in the tweet so I may see it too. This is limited to three tweets per day.

- Blog about this review/giveaway and/or about the wonderful Mother’s Day gifts found at ProFlowers. Please link back to both this post and Red Envelope  (ProFlowers.com). Please provide the URL of the post.

- Share this review/giveaway with others (Facebook, Digg, Technorati…). Please tell me what you did and provide a name and/or URL so I can verify.

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on May 3, 2011 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries using a random number generator. The winner will be contacted via e-mail and will have three days to reply with a name. The gift code will be e-mailed to the winner. If not reply a new winner will be chosen.

Other awesome giveaways are found on the right side bar under “Win It”.

Kimberly

*I received a free sample product in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own

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