Saturday, December 24, 2016

Flute War

About  five years ago on our annual East Coast New Years party, I purchased flutes for all the kids to make noise at "midnight". At 9 pm our time, we would watch the ball drop in New York City and then let the kids celebrate New Years with noise makers. After that, everyone goes home and is safe in bed before the drunks hit the road. The year of the flutes, it was time to go home and I told the kids they could take the flutes home with them. My sister in law Tiffani would have none of it. She was not allowing her four kids to take four flutes home (I really don't blame her). She made sure to hide the flutes at my place so that they kids couldn't take them home. I found them the next day and told her that they kids forgot their flutes.....and so the war began.

It began as Tiffani not wanting the flutes at her place, and me insisting I didn't want them at my place either. I think the first time we hid them in Tiffani's van and little Drewby found one as they were going down the road. Sometimes we don't see the flutes for months and then I will find one under my pillow after they have visited, or hanging in the shower. Lily once hid them in Emma's bed, and Nate duct taped a couple to the wheel well of Marty's car. That one came back to me in the Safeway parking lot, a flute duct taped to my car window. Not long after that, Tiffani passed us going down the road and we had our sun roof open. Lily was terrified that they would toss a flute into our car!

In the last 5 years the 4 flutes are now down to one. Not sure where the others are....someday one of us is going to move and find one that was a casualty of war.

Today I found one in my makeup drawer. Now I get into that drawer every day, and Tiffani and kids have not been here in weeks. The only visitor we had yesterday was my MOM!!! I can't believe she took sides in this war.

So the kids are trying to come up with a strategy to get the flute back to the Stauffer clan. Lily can't keep a secret or hold a poker face, so we may just not tell her the plan. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Freezer Meals

I have always had a stocked freezer and few meals made ahead, but with Velata freezer meal workshops, I now have a variety of meals to pull out on busy days. I love doing these workshops and helping busy moms put healthy meals together for their families. It's been a blessing to me and I love to help others! April's menu will be full of All Stars meals that have been favorites over the last year. Here's one of my favorites, it's great for meatballs subs or spaghetti and meatballs!  These are gluten free! It's been a huge hit at my workshops, many have said it smelled so good the meatballs never made it into the freezer! Enjoy!

Italian Turkey Meatballs

1 ½ pounds ground turkey
1 egg
2 TBSP dried minced onion
1 TBSP  Velata coriander herb rub
1 TBSP  Velata lemon garlic rub
2 cups tomato sauce mixed with 1 TBSP Velata Marinara dip mix

Mix meat and seasonings together, make into small meatballs and place in aluminum pan. Bake, covered at 400 for 20 minutes. Cool, poor sauce over top, freeze and label with following instructions.

To reheat bake at 400 for 30 minutes from frozen, or dump frozen meatballs in crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours.  Serve on spaghetti or as meatball subs.

Find these and other Velata products at

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Join the Journey!

When I joined Scentsy over 7 years ago, I had no idea how it would change my life. I just loved the products and wanted to share that with others. Along the way I gained self confidence as a small business owner. I gained friendships from customers and fellow consultants. I have had so many adventures that I will treasure as the best memories. I have had so much fun.....never once has this felt like work! And of course gained an income that helps my family.

Scentsy launched a brand new catalog today full of beautiful new warmers and amazing new scents. I love fruity and flowery scents so I get really excited for the spring/summer catalog.

Now is a huge opportunity to join Scentsy and start your own journey for only $49 (plus tax and shipping). What a deal! Don't miss out on this great timing to join in on the fun and start sharing Scentsy!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Easy Chicken Dinner

We are at a stage in life where evenings are busy and dinner can be a hassle, like every day. I love to cook and bake, when I have the time. Most nights of the week the kids have some activity and we are rushed to get dinner done and out the door. My freezer meals have been a huge help, but I also like to have a few tricks up my sleeve for quick easy dinners.
This one is not only quick and easy one pot dinner, it's healthy and inexpensive. It's also gluten free! This one works best with leftover chicken or a rotisserie chicken you can pick up at the store. I have found in the last few months that most stores have a 10 pound bag of chicken quarters for under a dollar a pound, amazing deal! I take two of the quarters and put them in the crock pot on low in the morning, then take the meat off the bone and use the meat that evening to add to my dinner. So easy and very cost effective!

I'm calling this one Spanish Rice with Chicken....or yummy easy dinner!

Add two cups of long grain rice to large skillet with 2 cups water.
 Add one 14 oz can of diced tomatoes.

 Add 2 TBSP of Santa Maria BBQ Rub.

 Cover, cook on low for 20 minutes.

 Add 2 cups of cooked chicken, heat through and enjoy!!

Find more Velata recipes at

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lefse Making Party

My mom's side of the family has many Norwegian traditions. My great Aunt Laurel was a founding member of the local Daughter's of Norway and she would bring the traditional lefse to Christmas each year. After she passed, my mom and her sisters took on the tradition and now all the women of the family get together about mid December to make lefse for our Christmas Eve gathering. We always have a fun time and there are giggles and laughter that reminds me how blessed I am to have such a close family.

Mom wanted me to video how we make the lefse so that our tradition is recorded and can be passed down. We all joke that we only do this because it's tradition, not because we are such big fans of lefse! It really doesn't matter, because just getting together to pass on the traditions, have fun and be together is worth all the work! Ufda!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake

I have to admit that I'm a huge fan of cheesecake. So when Velata came out with no bake cheesecake, I knew that I was going to have increase the amount of miles I ran each week, no joke! I seriously have a problem too. I have yet to make an actual cheesecake from one of these mixes. I have made cheesecake fruit dip, individual cheesecake cups or what I call cheater cheesecake, eating it straight out of the bowl with graham crackers. Don't judge, it's the bomb!

So I knew that Thanksgiving was going to be a great occasion (excuse) to make cheesecake. At Velata convention they showed us these cute cheesecake cups in half pint mason jars. Way too adorable. So I went out to my canning jars looking for these little cups and found a case of quilted jelly jars that my Grandma Dennison had given me. She knew I was the only one still making jam. Problem is that these jars are meant for a wax seal, and I don't do that. But I knew someday I would find a cute use for them. Ding ding ding, cheesecake cups!

I used the Pumpkin pie cheesecake mix (sold out now, snif snif), and put the graham cracker crumbs on the bottom, then a layer of cheesecake, a layer of Velata pumpkin spice syrup, more cheesecake and then whipped cream. I topped it with a chocolate leaf! I'm not patient enough to make these pretty, but seriously, I don't care because they are sooo yummy!!

So thanks to Grandma for the cute jars, I'm thrilled to finally find the perfect use for them. They will make many people happy for years to come!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Friday Survival Guide

Black Friday is a long standing tradition for the women of my family on my Mom's side. For as long as we have had our local mall, my Mom, my grandma, aunts and female cousins have been die hard Black Friday shoppers. I thought they were crazy....for years. There was no way you were going to get me out of bed at dark o thirty and stand outside in the cold, just to get some deals. Nope, not worth it. Well.....then I became a Mom and Christmas got expensive. I was willing to do what was needed to help make Christmas money go the farthest. So I joined the insanity and since then have learned from the pros how to make Black Friday fun, worthwhile, memorable and most important, enjoyable. Here's some of what we have learned. Granted, things have changed in the last few years with Cyber Monday and Black Friday actually starting on Thanksgiving, but no matter how you shop, hopefully these tips will help.

ATTITUDE!! Seriously people, you just got done eating turkey and counting your blessings, now is not the time to be grumpy and mean to everyone around you on Black Friday. Trampling people, shoving, cutting in line, stealing deal is worth this!  Go in with a good attitude, be nice to people around you, and you will enjoy the day more.

COFFEE! This is a non negotiable. Back in the day when we waited outside at 4 am, my Aunt Ruthi would be in charge of getting the coffee and hot chocolate for everyone. She would pull up to the curb and hand us our nectar of the gods and it would help keep us warm. She always bought a couple extra to share with people in line with us. One time, as she was curb side, handing out coffee from her car window, a stranger jokingly walked up to place his coffee order. He was dumbfounded when she handed him the extra mocha she had and told him Merry Christmas.

BUDDY!! When you are Black Friday shopping, a buddy is a requirement. Don't go at it alone, it's frustrating and really boring in line! Go with a friend or two and shop together. You can take turns standing in line if it's extra long, or just keep each other entertained! Buddy's can help you find products you can't find. Another great thing about a shopping buddy is that you can combine purchased to maximize coupons and cash back rewards! As a family we meet up, then divide and conquer in small groups. We meet up again at 9 am in the food court and have cinnamon rolls and share all our good deals....and any extra coupons we aren't using!

LIST!! Have a list of products that you are looking for, and a list of people you need to shop for. My sister in law, Tiffani cuts out the adds and puts them in a notebook that also has the gift list. When she can't find a certain item, she has a picture to show the store employee and it's easier for them to help her find it.

CRAP! Yep, some things that look like an amazing deal are just crap. Stores sell these items cheap because they are cheap! One year I bought a set of luggage that was a door buster deal. I was so excited. The wheels fell off the first time I used it and it was junk. Last year I bought a pair of boots for $16, super cute, great deal!! I wore them for two weeks before I realized they were making my knee hurt, which turned into months of rehab with my chiropractor to get my knee back in alignment. No fun, not worth cheap cute boots!! Watch what you are buying and make sure it's a quality product.

COMPASSION! Be nice to the people who are actually working on Black Friday. Smile, be kind and know they are probably tired and stressed. Last year I talked with a nice young lady who was almost done with her shift, but then was going to her other job to work all day. If you have never worked retail, you have no idea how hard their job is. (I think it should be a graduation requirement for all kids to work retail during a holiday season! We would have far less rude shoppers!).

TIMING! I hate to even mention this, because it's my little secret. Because most businesses open on Thanksgiving (I personally disagree so I don't shop on Thanksgiving), we have maintained our early shopping tradition of 3-4 am and it's actually pretty quiet! The people who did the door busters are long gone, and everyone else is still sleeping. The last two years we have had no lines at that time and it's made shopping way more enjoyable. Granted, some products are long gone, and you might struggle to find what you are looking for, but to me it's worth it.

SMALL! Lastly I have to put in a plug for small businesses. They may not have the big sales, but shopping local will keep your money local and help families in your community. The personal service is totally worth a few more dollars, and returns are way easier if needed.

Good luck, hope to see some of you out there on Black Friday. Wave, smile and say hi. This is the first year my  12 year old daughter is tagging along, please pray for me!