Archives for June 2015

Beauty Tips On How To Keep Your Skin Healthy This Summer

As I get older, it’s definitely not as easy to take care of my skin, especially during the summer time. With summer and the sun comes heat, humidity, too much sun, and too much time in the pool (all that chlorine!) With all of that comes shaving too often. Dry skin. Itchy skin. Irritated skin. Red skin…and none of that is any fun at all – not to mention it doesn’t look good either. If you’re like me, these beauty tips on how to keep your skin healthy during the summer are the only ones I have to offer. And when you know better you do better, right?

Beauty Tips On How To Keep Your Skin Healthy This Summer

These beauty tips on how to keep your skin healthy this summer are affordable and doable! Includes sunscreen, exfoliating, and moisturizing tips to keep your skin looking and smelling beautiful.These beauty tips will help you keep your skin in tip top shape (and glowing!) this summer season. These tips aren’t ones that you’ve never heard before but they are good reminders and every one of them is definitely worth following.

Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen
Yes, you’ve heard it a million times before…but that’s because it’s SO important! Choose a sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection (they block both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays) with a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. That’s the bare minimum, people. Don’t skimp on the SPF! I love Philosophy’s BB Cream and use it every day during the summertime.

Don’t forget to apply sunscreen liberally (at least a one-ounce shot-glass-size amount) before you go outside, and then reapply every two hours and always after swimming. Clouds don’t mean you don’t need protection — apply sunscreen every single day no matter what the weather! Trust me, I got burnt yesterday sitting by the pool when it was overcast because I was too lazy to put it on.

Did You Know…Lips can also get sunburned and  are also susceptible to skin cancer. Wear a broad-spectrum sun-protective lip balm with an SPF of at least 15 to keep lips safe under those rays. My favorite is Hawaiian Tropic Lip Balm, which has an SPF of 45!

You’ll find more smart sunscreen tips for you and the kids here.

Exfoliating & Shaving
Sun, sand, sweat, and sunscreen increase the amount of dead skin cells on your face and body. That’s why your skin gets so dry and itchy. Get rid of the yucky skin with an exfoliating scrub or loofah a few times each week. And because you’re smart enough not to tan in the sun (we all self-tan now, right?), an added bonus of exfoliation is that your self-tanner will go on more evenly and prevent streaking.

Since you’re wearing short shorts and sundresses, you’ve got to shave more often, and shaving more often leads to irritated and/or dried out skin. Help deter this by replacing your razor often, and shave only after you’ve been in the shower for a few minutes (when your hairs will be softer). You should also use a moisturizing shaving cream or gel (I use really cheap conditioner which is cheaper than shaving cream.)

Don’t Skip Out On Moisturizer
Just because your skin might feel silky smooth from the extra exfoliating and shaving, don’t forget that moisturizer! Instead of ditching it all together, switch to a lighter, water-based formula (I love all of Bath & Body Works body lotions and scents) or use baby oil gel, and don’t forget to use eye cream!

I won’t even mentionhow important it is to keep your body hydrated, so drinking lots of water is very important. I’ve got lots of recipes that will wake up your boring water, so check ’em out.

What other beauty tips or suggestions do you have to keep your skin healthy while you play in the sun?

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Tips For How To Cut An Onion Without Crying

I cut onions daily, so I do a lot of crying. Or, I did a lot of crying. I tried several of the methods out that friends have recommended or that I’ve read about, and I wanted to share with you some of the tips on how to cut an onion without crying.

How To Cut An Onion Without Crying

Tried and true tips for how to cut an onion without crying. I've tried lots of different ways, and these are the top 5 that work for me. Includes links to other kitchen tips & tricks.Breathe In And Out Of Your Mouth – How to cut an onion without crying? Don’t breathe through your nose. I know it sounds weird, but this one works…if you can remember to keep breathing the whole time through your mouth instead of your nose.

Turn On Your Oven’s Vent – Turn on the vent, put your cutting board and onion on top of the stove, and cut the onions there. No tears at all! The vent sucks up all of the onion fumes. You might feel a bit of stinging, but there won’t be any tears.

Put The Onion In The Freezer – Put the onion in the freezer for no more than 15 minutes. Then peel and cut it as normal with no tears. But set your timer so you don’t forget the onion – if you leave it in there too long it’ll be harder to peel and cut through. It also may not taste very onion-y.

Wear Goggles – If you don’t mind looking like a complete goofball, you can wear goggles while you chop. Do you know they actually make onion cutting goggles? I’m not kidding. But save your $20 and try some of these other tips. Or buy a mini chopper (you’ll read about that in a sec) instead. You can use it for more than just cutting onions.

Don’t Do It Buy Hand – When all else fails, don’t cut up onions by hand. There are lots of easy to use choppers out there that you can use that require little clean up. I love both my one-touch mini chopper and my Vidalia Chopper. Both do the job WAY faster than I can. You can also just buy the pre-cut onions in your grocery store’s produce department or frozen section.

And here’s a tip for after you finish: Wash your hands in warm, soapy water immediately. If you don’t and then you touch your eyes or rub your nose, you’re gonna cry.

All of these methods (with the exception of the googles, which actually got great reviews on Amazon) have worked for me. You may have your own tips for how to cut on onion without crying to share, and I’d love to hear them!

For more kitchen tips and tricks to save you time and money like this one on how to cut an onion without crying, check out these: how to keep berries from molding, how to cook pasta fast, how to regrow celery, garlic, and green onions, how to hard boil eggs without boiling waterhow to oven fry sausage and bacon, how to soften hard bread, and even more tips here. You can also visit my Kitchen Tips & Tricks board on Pinterest.

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Tips To Get Started On Twitter

Tips To Get Started On Twitter

Twitter is my favorite social media platform. I’ve been on Twitter for about 5 years now, and I remember how confusing it was when I first tried to figure out how to use it…and why I would want to.

About a month ago I attended Bloggy Boot Camp for the first time. Although I’ve been blogging for years, I still learned a ton! While in groups, many new bloggers mentioned that they didn’t understand Twitter. They wanted to know when to use the “@” and “#” symbols. They wanted to know how I found people to follow, and who they should follow. I also heard several of them say “I just don’t get it.”

Basic definitions, examples, explainations, and tips to get started on Twitter. Also includes a link to how to gain and lose followers on Twitter.

 

While I can’t explain all of the ins and outs and nuaunces to you, I can give you some tips to get started on Twitter. First, let me explain how I think about Twitter.

I think of Twitter as an online party. Maybe you know some of the people at the party and maybe you don’t know anybody. As with any party, you’ll run into people who just throw out information (useless or otherwise, whether you asked for it or not), people who you try to chat with who just blow you off, people who just stand off to the side and listen and watch what’s going on, people who introduce you to their other friends, moms talking about their kids and so on. It’s the same thing on Twitter.

So how do you meet new people on Twitter? Well, Twitter is the kind of party where if people are talking you can butt in and join the conversation. It’s not rude to do that on Twitter. In fact, it’s a great way to meet new people who have similar interests, tastes, and ideas to your own. First things first, you need to know how to “talk” at this virtual party.

Tweet – Up at the top right hand side of your screen, you’ll see a button that says “Tweet”. That is where you are going to type in your new tweet. This is how you “talk” on Twitter. But – you only get 140 characters to tweet at a time. You can include external links (always shorten them with bit.ly or any other link shortner to save space), attach pictures, and use hashtags as well.

@ – You use this symbol when you are talking to (or at!) somebody. So let’s say you want to say talk to me (@ me!) on Twitter. Your tweet would look like this:

Basic definitions, examples, explainations, and tips to get started on Twitter. Also includes a link to how to gain and lose followers on Twitter.

A couple of notes on mentions…

If you start your tweet with the @ symbol, only the people that follow both you and me will be able to see the tweet. Nobody else will.

But maybe you want to say something to me but you want everybody on Twitter to see it. You have to put something…anything…before the @ sign.

So you could say: “Hey @NatalieHoage! I just finished the book you told me to read and loved it!”

Or you could also say: “.@NatalieHoage! I just finished the book you told me to read and loved it!” That period in front of my name allows other to see the message. Why would you want to do that? Maybe you are looking for other readers to follow and hope they see your message.

This leads us to…

# – Whether you’re on Twitter or not, just about everybody knows that this is called a hashtag. Think of the hashtag as what you are talking about. Using the example above, you could say:

Basic definitions, examples, explainations, and tips to get started on Twitter. Also includes a link to how to gain and lose followers on Twitter.

I just added Stephen King because he’s the author of the book I just finished, Finder’s Keepers. He’s one of my favorite authors, and if he’s one of yours too, maybe you include his name as a hashtag so others know that you like him. He also has a Twitter account, so you could “tag” him in it by also including @StephenKing. Who knows, he may retweet or respond!

RT or Retweet – Maybe you liked something you heard at the party and want to share it with your friends. That’s when you’ll retweet, or RT, someone’s tweet. It’s a great way to start and/or keep a conversation going. For example,my friend Erin tweeted a recipe for my Crockpot Sausage & Cheesy Potato Casserole:

Basic definitions, examples, explainations, and tips to get started on Twitter. Also includes a link to how to gain and lose followers on Twitter.

I wanted to share it with my audience, so I clicked on those little sqaure arrows in the tweet, to RT it to my audience.

Basic definitions, examples, explainations, and tips to get started on Twitter. Also includes a link to how to gain and lose followers on Twitter.

Now I have the option to add a comment, maybe something like “Thanks for sharing @ErinMargolin!”to let other people know that she’s friendly, approachable, and a good tweeter. Or maybe even include “This is one of my favorite #crockpot #casserole #recipes!” See what I did there? Now anybody searching for crockpot, casserole, or recipe on Twitter might run across my link!

Now that you’re ready to get going on Twitter, let me also mention a few things that will make you a tweeter that other people will want to follow…

Don’t be an egg – See Erin’s profile picture? If you don’t add a picture of yourself to your profile, you’ll get this as a default.

Basic definitions, examples, explainations, and tips to get you started on Twitter. Also includes a link to how to gain and lose followers on Twitter.

Nobody follows eggs. Eggs are usually spam or people who don’t know what they are doing. Don’t be an egg.

Follow people that your friend’s follow – Who should you follow? Find a friend or two that you have similar interests with and check out who they follow. It’s an easy way to find like-minded people to follow.

Don’t just tweet out links – If all you do is tweet out links to your posts, nobody has any reason to follow you. Ask questions, share funny jokes, RT others…INTERACT!

For even more tips to get started on Twitter, read my post How To Gain (& Lose!) Twitter followers.

And those are some basic tips to get started on Twitter. You’ll probably have a ton of questions, and if you do, feel free to ask.

What tips do you have to share to get someone new started on Twitter?

Visiting So Cal? Visit Temecula Valley!

If you are planning on visiting Southern California, plan to visit Temecula Valley. There's so much to do and see for the whole family! And don't miss wine country while you're there!

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited by Visit Temecula Valley to attend the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival with several other local bloggers. It was a BLAST to say the least! We ate and shopped during the day, and were lucky enough to attend a private dinner at Wilson Creek Winery before heading to the Festival.

I’ve lived about an hour from Temecula for my entire life, and I had no idea of how much there is to do there (other than go to wine country!) Old Town Temecula is full of shops and restaurants and would be fun for the whole family.

What To Do When You Visit Temecula Valley

We visited several locations, and I can’t wait to spend another day there with the family. If you visit Temecula Valley, make sure to stop by these locations:

Temecula Lavender Company – It smells undescribably good in there. It was relaxing just walking into the little shop.

Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants – Spices. Teas. Samples. I could’ve spent all day in there sniffing (literally!) around.

Temecula Olive Oil Company – My favorite shop that we visited! You can sample a ton of different olive oils and vinegars. I bought several different oils, and can’t wait to go back.

Old Town Sweet Shop – Like an old fashioned candy shop! Make sure to try their Jalapeno Chocolate Fudge and Chocolate Covered Bacon!

Old Town Rootbeer Company – The kids would love this place! All kinds of different rootbeers from around the world. I’m not a huge fan of rootbeer, but the rootbeer they make (it’s an old family recipe) is definitely worth trying!

Crush & Brew – AMAZING food and drinks! One of my new favorite places.

I can’t wait to visit Temecula Valley again, especially downtown. I think it would be a fun way to spend a day out. And very soon I’ll be taking the kids to Temecula’s Children Museum, AKA PennyPickle’s Workshop. It’s hands on and intreactive and I know they would all enjoy it.

And after an afternoon full of fun, we headed out for wine tasting before going to the Balloon & Wine Festival.

If you are planning on visiting Southern California, plan to visit Temecula Valley. There's so much to do and see for the whole family! And don't miss wine country while you're there!

We visited Lorimar Winery for some wine tasting before heading over to Wilson Creek Winery for a tour and dinner.

If you are planning on visiting Southern California, plan to visit Temecula Valley. There's so much to do and see for the whole family! And don't miss wine country while you're there!

Wilson Creek is one of my favorite wineries, and if you ever have a lazy Sunday afternoon to spend there, it’s family friendly. There’s live music and more. And their food is delicious. Side Note: Try my Amaretto Mimosa recipe with Wilson Creek’s Almond Champagne. YUM!

And finally, we headed out to the Balloon & Wine Festival which everybody in So Cal or visiting should check out. It is so much fun! The last time I went was with the kids. This was a different experience because it was with friends. We danced, laughed, drank wine, and wished we had more room in our bellies to try all the food that is there, too. My friend Tonya describes the festival in detail and so I’ll send you over to read her thoughts on the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival.

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Thanks again to Visit Temecula Valley for inviting us to experience your incredible town!

Crockpot Sausage & Cheesy Potato Casserole

We are big fans of yummy cheesy potato casserole. Like this Buffalo Chicken and Cheesy Potato Casserole. Or these Baked & Loaded Mashed Potatoes. And don’t forget tater tot casseroles…like my Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole and this Dinner Tater Tot Casserole. So when I stumbled across this cheesy potato casserole recipe at The Midnight Baker, I decided to give it a shot.

Looking for cheesy potato casserole recipes? I've got several, including tater tot casseroles, buffalo chicken casseroles, and more. Lots of recipes included!

Crockpot Sausage & Cheesy Potato Casserole

Crockpot Sausage & Cheesy Potato Casserole
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Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg (14-16 oz) kielbasa, sliced into quarter inch pieces
  • 32 oz bag tater tots (try the onion ones!)
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 lb. bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2-3 large green onions, chopped

Instructions

  1. Place half the tater tots in the bottom of a 5-6 quart slow cooker.
  2. Layer half the sausage slices on top of the tater tots.
  3. Layer half the cheese over the sausage slices.
  4. Repeat for next layer.
  5. Pour cream over top, cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
  6. When ready to serve, sprinkle bacon and green onions over the top. Add extra cheese if you'd like too!
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http://mommyofamonster.com/cheesy-potato-casserole/

It’s definitely quick and easy to throw together (throw it together the night before) and my family all liked it. My casserole was ready in less than four hours, so if your crockpot cooks fast, you may want to adjust the time.

Looking for cheesy potato casserole recipes? I've got several, including tater tot casseroles, buffalo chicken casseroles, and more. Lots of recipes included!

I also wanted to share a couple of tips…

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See that super crispy bacon and those green onion roots?

Well I oven fried the bacon, and there was no mess to clean up except to throw away the greasy tin foil.

As for the onion roots, don’t throw them away! I haven’t bought green onions in forever. Why? Because I just keep regrowing them! You can learn how to regrow green onions, celery, and more here.

I’ve got more casserole recipes here, and you’ll find even more on my Casseroles board on Pinterest.

Want to check out reader’s featured recipes? You’ll find them here. And if you would you like to get a recipe featured at Mommy of a Monster, find out how to do it here.


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