Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Stuffed Pork Tenderloin

You know, sometimes you just have to wrap things in bacon!  And I did just that.  Not too long ago, we have our first 50 degree evening since Spring (yay Fall!).  So naturally, I felt it was time to roast some butternut squash (which is one of only 2 types of squash I can get the kids to actually eat and enjoy).  As much as I would be fine with just eating squash for family has this thing where they require nourishment through different types of foods (heathens!).  So alas, the bacon I was going to cook with the squash ended up wrapped around my pork.  The fun didn't stop there....oh no.  The best thing you can ever do for those you love, is stuff your pork with delicious goodies!  Not gonna lie, I started out with the cream cheese (I've been eating a lot of cream cheese/bacon wrapped jalapenos lately).  Then cam the bourbon, raisins, apples, and walnuts.  I mixed the cream cheese with those ingredients, and set them aside.  I then took my pork tenderloin, and began slicing it while I rolled it out.  I placed the pork between two pieces of plastic wrap, and pounded it out.  After I removed the top piece of plastic wrap, I sprinkled salt, pepper, and sage over the top of the pork, and then spread the cream cheese mixture all over it.  Then you grab one side, and begin rolling back up.  Usually I will secure the meat so it won't unroll, but the bacon actually held it together once I wrapped it around the tenderloin.  I placed the pork in my baking dish.  Then I got to chopping up my squash.  Make sure you chop your pieces into large chunks since it will be cooking a while (if you want smaller chunks, add it to your dish after it has been in the oven for 25 minutes).  The only thing I put on my squash was salt, pepper, and maple syrup (make sure to toss together first)!  Bake at 375 degrees (F) for 40 minutes, or until 160 degrees (F).  Slice and serve with the delicious squash!

Pork tenderloin
5-6 pieces of bacon
2 tbsp. of bourbon
1/8 cup of raisins
1 apple chopped up
1/8 cup of walnuts
1/2 box of cream cheese
1 tsp. of sage
Salt and Pepper
Butternut squash
2 tbsp. of maple syrup

Monday, August 15, 2016

Book Review: Just Like You

Earlier this year I received a copy of a book in the mail, Just Like You by Bob Kroupa.  I read the book to my son and nephew once or twice, and stuck it back on the bookshelf.  The story is about two friends, Boris and Henry, who live in the Piney Forest.  Boris and Henry are bullied by the other critters in the forest, simply because they are different.  Recently we were at my daughter's school for schedule pick-up, when my son saw a mother, who at the time thought she was a little boy with a big belly.  You see, this mother had a major physical deformity that was her belly and back to bow out, and the growth of her legs were stunted.  My son laughed as I assume any 5 year old might do, but I was mortified.  I got down to his level, and explained why it wasn't nice to make fun of that woman.  I told him that some people are born with big heads, some with brown skin, some with no arms, some with super curly hair, and some with short legs and big bellies.  Being born different is what makes us each unique and special; and being born with a deformity or disability doesn't make us scary, or give anyone the right to poke fun at.  I went back to my bookshelf, and I grabbed this book, and again, we read it.  I took the time to explain how Boris and Henry were different, and why it wasn't ok for the other creatures to make fun of them.  In the end, Boris and Henry end up being the heroes of the story.  As a parent, I can only hope my message got through to this tiny 5 year old.  Then, a few days later in the car, my son asks me, "Mom, what if I was born with cat ears?".  I told him, "that'd be pretty darn goofy kid".  His response......."Mom, it's not ok to make fun of someone, just because they were born different, because inside, we are all the same." 

This book not only hits on disabilities, but religion, skin color, and culture as well.  No matter how many times you read this book, your child can take away a new, positive message each any every time.

The author, Bob Kroupa, has since founded the Just Like You Foundation to help ensure that no matter their differences, children are celebrated and nurtured.

*I was not asked to, nor was I paid for this review.  All thoughts expressed are my own.*

Kids are back in school!

"What's this? What's this?
No children everywhere,
What's this?
No yelling for them to share,
What's this?
I can't believe my eyes,
I must be dreaming,
Wake up, Mom their gone I swear,
What's this?"

Our start to the school year was actually last Thursday.  I know what you're thinking....Thursday?  What the heck?  I don't bother asking how they figure these start dates out anymore!  This year my daughter started 6th grade, and my baby.....started kindergarten.  Ladies and gents, this is the first time, in 6 years, that I have been able to put the kids on the bus, and just breathe.  Last week I was so busy, that I didn't get to enjoy the fact that I was absolutely alone.  Alone!  Sorry, I just had to say it again!  I've got a list of things I plan on accomplishing this school year now that both kids are gone for almost 8 hours Monday - Friday.  First on my list, take advantage of being able to clean my house, without a child right behind me messing it up.  I know putting a kid into kindergarten can be stressful for a lot of moms, and truthfully, I was nervous that first day, but now, now I can finally breathe!  What are your plans now that the kids are going back to school?

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Getting started with AVON (or any direct sales company)

Back in 2009, I began selling AVON.  At the time, I was working, so I didn't have as much time to designate to selling as I had hoped to.  I recently began selling AVON again.  Besides being a stay at home mom, I also have the advantage of being able to look back at my mistakes the first time around, and learn from them.  I have compiled a few tips that I have personally followed, to help get started and make the most of this venture.  I am writing this based from my work with AVON, but it could certainly be useful for any other type of direct sales business.

1) Invest.  There is a fine line between not investing in your company enough, and going so far overboard, your husband begins to question your business!  With AVON, I have the option of purchasing sales materials such as brochures, samples, bags, and full size products.  Most people (including me) like to have a physical copy of your brochure to look at.  So if that is an option for you, invest in them!  I leave brochures in random places.....the grocery store, the bank, the donut shop down the street, with the nurses at the hospital where my dad has a frequent flyers card.....anywhere I can sneak one in.  For new customers, I often hand out samples just so they can get a small experience of what I am selling.  As for full size products, don't overdo it!  Know what your most popular product is, and purchase a few extra so you have them on hand.  I sometimes give out freebies with large orders, or have items to donate to auctions (with a brochure and business card of course).  Be smart about how much you invest though.  Invest enough to show you are passionate about what you are selling, but not so much to where your home is decorated with AVON boxes!
EDIT:  A note from a fellow AVON Rep, DO NOT over invest!  You don't want to put all of your profits back into your business, after all, you're doing this to make extra money!

2) Be kind to strangers.  I always try to start up a friendly conversation with our servers, cashiers at the store, our mailman....anyone who I come into contact with.  If the conversation leads to, "oh, hey, I sell AVON", you have developed a kind starting point with a potential customer.  Ask them if they'd like a brochure or card (which you should always carry around).  When you are kind to people, and show them you are more than just a sales person, they are twice as likely to buy from you.  I don't know about you, but when someone pops out of an aisle at Walmart trying to question my cable provider and urge me to switch, I try to run for the hills.  Don't pressure any potential clients.  Just hand them the brochure, and let them know, if they are ever interested in your product, to consider you as their rep.

3) Use the product you are selling!  How can you honestly sell a product, if you aren't willing to use it yourself.  If I am wearing a fragrance by AVON, potential customers will know it is a quality product, that I have enough confidence in to wear myself.  Plus, it will give you the ability to describe the benefits of your product.

4) Mark pages for your customers.  When I hand out a brochure with a sample, I make sure to put a small post-it note on the page where they can find that product (you know, in case they like it).  I also look back at previous orders, and if I see something in a new brochure that I know a specific customer would just love, I mark that page for them as well.  This makes your customer feel as though you're THEIR rep, not just a rep.

5) Utilize any FREE tools your company offers.  When I signed up for AVON, I was able to set up my own website for free.  This has allowed me to expand from selling just in my local area, to all across the country!  AVON also offers free training for it's reps.  If your company offers free training, utilize it!  You'll gain knowledge of your products, learn new skills to help you sell, and sometimes, you'll meet new people who share a common interest.....your business!

For more information on becoming an AVON rep, click HERE to find out more information, and to begin your future as an Independent Sales Rep!
If you would rather shop AVON than sell it, click HERE!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Prepping for Kindergarten

Last year I made my son a tracing binder so he could work on his writing.  With so many different things to learn before he starts kindergarten this "fall", we put off handwriting.  We focused more on letter recognition versus the actual writing of them. 
At kindergarten orientation, we were given a workbook full of things he will be learning once he starts school......not one page had handwriting worksheets!  So, alas, I turned to my own sheets that I made last year for Teachers Pay Teachers.
When my daughter was prepping for kindergarten, reading and writing came easy for her.  For my son, this has been the most challenging thing.  Math on the other hand (addition and patterns), was a piece of cake (mmmmm, cake!).  I'm now taking to Pinterest to find more creative ways to spark my son's learning!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Where'd the time go?

Holy moly, where'd the time go?  It's been 5 months since I've done anything with this blog!  In case you can't tell, we've been busy.  We've started back up with baseball, rockhounding, geocaching, crafting, gardening and more!  I've been working hard trying to get  my Etsy storefront back up and running as well.  Stay tuned as I try to keep my sanity this as the school year comes to an end!