Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Nut free pesto recipe

My oldest son is allergic to nuts, so I'm always on the lookout for how to turn a typically nut heavy recipe into something that doesn't have nuts.
Pesto is notorious for containing pine nuts, and most processed or pre-packaged pesto's contain nuts,
but I knew there had to be a way around using nuts when I made pesto.

This summer, we grew basil in our garden so I had basil in abundance.
I decided to try making pesto without nuts with the basil we had growing in our garden.

You will need:
fresh basil
extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan cheese
fresh lemon

I started by putting the basil in my small food prep blender.

I added about 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese to the chopped basil in my blender and mixed well.
Add about four cloves of garlic, pressed and squeeze your lemon {about 2 tsp. of lemon juice}
You can also add a dash of salt and pepper if you would like.

Gradually stir in your olive oil adding about a quarter cup to start with and working your way up to about a half a cup depending on how runny you like your pesto.

Once your pesto is the desired consistency I heat it up and add it to pasta.
It's a crowd favorite at our house.

Pesto can even be frozen!
This nut free pesto made from scratch takes about five minutes.
That's one quick dinner idea for an evening meal when you don't have much time.

What are your favorite fast easy dinner meal plans?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Updated Teenage cell phone contract to include smartphone usage.

Two years ago, my husband and I gave our 14 year old son a cell phone for his birthday.
He was pretty convinced that he was the last living person to not have the ability to text.
His phone was a fairly basic pre-paid phone that could text and make phone calls, but little else.
Before we gave him the phone, we created a teenage cell phone contract.

That teen cell phone contract has been downloaded, shared and viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, 
and {though I promise I am not bitter}
I'm pretty sure it's even been copied and passed off as their own
{or been the source of "inspiration"}
for plenty more teenage cell phone contracts.
One may have even been picked up by the Huffington Post.
Again, I'm not bitter.

It's totally fine!
I think the best thing we can do as parents of teens is to parent intentionally.
Know what you are up against and don't just assume that your children know the unspoken rules.

As parents, we thought that with just two short years at home left,
we would allow our son to have a smartphone for his 16th birthday.
He needs to learn how to guide himself around the wild world of the internet,
with our help and guidance of course.
Which is why you will find the updated teenage cell phone contract below.

Our son can no longer just text and call with his phone,
 He can e-mail, search the web, download apps, take videos and so much more.
This is the contract that we have agreed on and will follow.

This contract fits our family.
Feel free to use what works for yours and change what doesn't.
But as always, please give credit where credit is due.
If you want to copy this and spread it out to every student in your school,
please do, just reference my blog and where the parents can find it.
If you want to write your own article about cell phones and teenagers, that's great! We need more parent friendly articles to help navigate this technology saturated generation, just link back to me when you use my information.

Cell Phone Contract
I know that having a cell phone to use is a privilege. I understand that my parents love me and want to keep me safe. My parents respect that I am becoming a young adult and want the privilege of having the use of a cell phone. With that in mind, I agree that:

1.    My cell phone must be turned off by my bedtime and placed in an agreed upon location downstairs.  It is my responsibility to be sure the cell phone is being charged when necessary.

2.    During family meals, my cell phone will be turned off or silenced and in my pocket or placed away from the table.  I will not check texts or take calls during meal time.

3.    I will practice proper etiquette when using my cell phone in public places, and be conscious of how my usage affects those around me.  My phone will be turned off or silenced when I am in church, restaurants, or other quiet settings, and I will not place or take texts or calls during those times.

4.    I understand that having a cell phone is a means of communication, and is not a replacement for actual face to face interaction with my friends and family members.  Therefore, when I am with others, I will make the people I am with my priority.

5.    I am responsible for knowing where my cell phone is and for keeping it in good working condition.

6.    I will obey all rules my school has regarding cell phone usage on school grounds.

7.    I will never text while driving, and will not ride in a car with someone who does.

8.    I will not use my cell phone to take pictures or video of nudity, violence or other unlawful activity.

9.    I will not use my cell phone for malicious purposes, i.e. bullying, spreading rumors/gossip, etc, nor will I send or forward text messages, pictures, or videos that are vulgar, obscene, violent, or sexual in nature.  I understand that such things are both highly inappropriate and potentially illegal.

10.  I am responsible for ensuring that my internet usage and that the content and apps on my phone comply with the standards of appropriateness set forth by my parents.  In addition, I will request permission before downloading any communication or social media related apps.

11.  I will alert my parents if I receive suspicious or alarming phone calls or text messages.

12.  I will alert my parents if I am being harassed by someone via my cell phone.

13.  I understand that my parents can go through the contents of my phone at any time, with or without my knowledge.  I agree to surrender my cell phone immediately to my parents if asked.  I will not delete my texting history without permission, and I will fully cooperate in showing my parents the contents of my cell phone, including contacts, pictures, videos, text messages, etc, stored within.

14.  I will always respond to my mom or dad’s texts/calls as soon as possible in the given situation.

15.  I understand that I do not have unlimited calling and that each call over the limit is charged by the minute.  I am accountable for my call usage, and am responsible for any overage fees.

16.  I understand that I am required to manage my time in such a way that my phone usage doesn’t interfere with my responsibilities, and that my phone may be taken away for failing to complete school assignments or not maintaining a sufficient grade point average, as defined by my parents. 

17.  I understand that my cell phone may be taken away for disrespectful or disobedient behavior, including (but not limited to) back talking, inappropriate sibling interactions (i.e. fighting, hitting, name calling, etc.), and failure to complete responsibilities at home when asked or required.

18.  I understand that failure to follow and respect any of these rules can result in the loss of my cell phone for any length of time determined by my parents.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dog hair bow tutorial

It's no secret that our dog Sophie is a part of our family.
We couldn't imagine family life without her.
This month, we celebrate her 4th birthday,
and just like one of our kids, 
it's hard to imagine life without her.

Sophie often times gets mistaken for a boy,
mostly because she's such a big girl.
 I don't know why it bothers me, but I like to set the people straight,
just like I did when my bald headed daughter was an infant and was called "him" several times.
I decided just like I used to Velcro hair bows into the fuzz on my little baby girls head so that people wouldn't confuse her for a boy, 
I would to do the same thing and make some hair bows for my pooch.

Here is what you need:
one piece of 5 inch long ribbon
one piece of 4 inch long ribbon
a small rubber band {I got them in a pack of 500 for $1 at the Dollar store}
and a crochet hook or pencil to help you loop the rubber band around

Loop your longer piece of ribbon around and overlap and meet the ends in the middle

Do the same thing with the smaller piece of ribbon and put the loop ends together in the middle facing each other.

Take your crochet hook or pencil and place your rubber band on top.

Twist the rubber band and pull it over the bottom of the crochet hook making an x.

Pull the bottom of the rubber band over the back and to the top.
Then slowly remove your ribbon, holding the back of the loop with your finger.
Twist the loop and bring one end of your ribbon around the rubber band.

Find a sleepy puppy and a small tuft of hair and slip the rubber band on.

Now there is no mistaking that this puppy is a girl.
A tough girl, but a girl.
Red is her color don't you think?

I am participating in the 2014 Dog Fence DIY Hackathon
and I created this project as a part of my participation.

disclaimer: I did receive compensation for this post.  All opinions and ideas are 100% my own. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Garage Sale Finds Friday

Welcome back to another week of garage sale finds Friday.
Where I share with you my favorite garage sale finds from the week before.

The garage sale season is slowing down and starting to come to a close, but I'm still going to any garage sale I can find when I have the time.

This week I found a few fun items for decorating my bonus room.
How fun are these fake popcorn tubs?
They were $1 each and I put them inside the $1 hat box with some 25 cent books to give them some height.

I've also been looking for an old typewriter, though I don't know what I would do with it other than sit it out on a table.
This one was in great shape and only $10.
The kids have already written old war letters with it.
Super fun stuff.

And while I didn't get these lockers recently, 
I think that I forgot to share them in a GSFF post.
I love these old lockers and picked them up for the screaming deal of only $15!
They are super awesome and I love them.

All of those lovely items are now in my bonus room.
Such an eclectic mix of stuff that finds its way up there.
I love it though.

What did you find this week?