Superheroes Eat M&M’s!

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HeroesEatMMs

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Captain America: Winter Soldier has just been released on DVD!

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To celebrate, we went to WalMart to find it on BlueRay, have some yummy Superheroes cupcakes, and pick up M&M’s for our movie treats.

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The girls chose Iron Man (Uncle Sean would be proud):

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The toppers were actually little rings, so we all were sporting ours.

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I picked Thor, because…THOR:

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At home, we made Captain America shields out of sugar cookies & M&M’s. They turned out so cute! Are you allowed to refer to a superhero’s weapon as cute?

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I used my Sugar Cookie & Easy Buttercream Frosting recipes (below), then decorated with regular & mini M&M’s. I did my best to make the star out of the frosting, a toothpick helped get it looking like a star and not a blob :)

I’d forgotten how good those Mini M&M’s are! When I was growing up, before we went on an airplane for vacation, my mom would take us to the store to get some snacks for the plane. I remember getting Mini M&M’s in the little colorful plastic tubes and putting them in my backpack. Yum!

Here is a video of us making and playing with our Captain America Cookie Shields, I hope you try making them at home – your kids (& husbands aka big kids) will have a blast!

Simple Sugar Cookies
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Serves: 2-3 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until smooth. Add egg and mix. Add the powdered sugar and beat well, scraping down sides as needed. Add remaining ingredients and mix until combined.
  2. On a floured surface, roll out dough to about ½ inch thick. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. Cut into desired shapes and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
  3. Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies.

Easy Buttercream Frosting
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Frosting
Ingredients
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer until very soft and light, about three minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth and fluffy. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate until needed. Enjoy!!

 

New

Lots of new things have been happening around here! For starters, my first born started Preschool!! I can’t believe it. She was so ready and is thriving. Check out her sparkly new Hello Kitty shoes! We live in flip flops so that was a big deal. The second I pick her up, the socks and shoes come off!

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Her teacher told me that she is well-mannered, well-behaved, and eager to learn. Music to a mother’s ears :)

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When we first walked into the classroom, Ada went straight for the paints. She put on the smock and got to it! I told her I was going to leave and she said, “Okay, bye Mommy.” all the while focused on her masterpiece. I said, “Hey! Gimme a kiss!” so she did. She didn’t cry, I didn’t cry. Lola cried because she wanted to stay!

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I whispered in her ear that we had a smoothie date and the tears disappeared. Lola is loving the one-on-one time with Mommy and so am I :)

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Ada has made friends and this little girl is the daughter of one of my friends! They’re adorable together.

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I love volunteering in the class. Ada puts her little hand on my arm during snack time and looks back at me with a smile while I’m there :)

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Another new thing is the blog redesign! I am thrilled with it!! I wanted to convey in my header that I cover Food, Home & Family, Travel, and Running & Fitness. Danielle nailed it. The font and blues make me SO happy! She was easy to work with and extremely patient with my picky requests, not to mention incredibly reasonable for her work! She works with Mary on WordPress installs and she was fabulous as well, answering emails within minutes and fixing any requests quickly. If you’re looking for someone for a redesign, check them out!

The last new thing is that we finally joined a gym again!! We are loving it!

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Lola Turns Three & Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake

My baby turned three this month! Sweet Lola girl wanted a Tinkerbell party and picked out her tablecloth, plates, napkins, cups, and outfit to wear. We looked through the blog for dinner ideas and she chose Hot Beef Sandwiches au Jus, much to her Papa’s delight!

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This is typical Lola, not used to the spotlight while opening gifts.

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Showing off her baking outfit:

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And deciding to blow out her candles with my help this year. Can you believe that sweet little face?! I just love the way she looks at me.

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This little one is our lover. Always up for snuggles, hugs, and kisses. Always willing to share. Loves to do everything “Mine self!” Is talking non-stop and has the most contagious laugh. We love you sweet Lola-girl!!

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I took a page from my Coldstone days and made an ice cream cake that fulfilled Lola’s “Pink with green on top” request. It was perfect on such a warm summer birthday celebration!

Press brownies into the bottom of a springform pan,

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Pour and spread your softened ice cream on top and freeze.

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Pour warm water around the edge of your pan and release.

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Top with whipped cream if desired.

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Enjoy!

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Strawberry Brownie Ice Cream Cake
 
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An easy, fuss-free homemade cake perfect for any party!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1 9x9 in. pan Ghirardelli Brownies, prepared
  • 1.5 quart Breyer's Strawberry Ice Cream, softened
  • 1 8 oz. Carton Heavy Whipping Cream (optional)
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar (optional)
  • Food coloring (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bake brownies according to package directions and cool. Press brownies into the bottom of your springform pan.
  2. Scoop and spread the ice cream into the pan, on top of the brownies.
  3. Place the cake in freezer for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. When cake is completely frozen, remove from freezer and run the edges of the pan under warm water until the form can be removed.
  5. Place cake on serving platter and add whipped cream, if using.
  6. Whipped cream:
  7. Beat the whipping cream, powdered sugar, and desired color food coloring in stand mixer until stiff peaks form.

 

Lasagna Roll-ups with Classico Family Favorites Sauce

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FamilyFavorites
I wanted to make a delicious family dinner that the girls could have fun making with me. We decided to do Lasagna Roll-ups & Breadsticks with Classico Family Favorites Sauces.

Click here to save $1 off Classico favorites when you buy two jars!

Heinz Classico Family Favorites Sauce

Ada found the alfredo sauce at Walmart for dipping our breadsticks in!

Heinz Classico Sauce

The breadsticks turned out just okay, so I’m not going to share the recipe with you. If I find a better one then I’ll share it. The Lasagna Roll-ups were AMAZING though, so I will share that recipe with you :) Ada is so serious while helping, it’s adorable. Heinz Classico Lasagna Roll ups  karainthekitchen com   1 of 1

They loved helping twist the dough: Heinz Classico Lasagna Roll ups  karainthekitchen com   1 of 1 2

And spreading the cheese mixture on the noodles with their little spatulas: Heinz Classico Lasagna Roll ups  karainthekitchen com   1 of 1 3

So proud of their work!

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Pretty roll-ups all lined up in the pan, ready to be covered with sauce and cheese. Heinz Classico Lasagna Roll ups  karainthekitchen com   1 of 1 6

After being in the oven for only 20 min. they come out cheesy, melted, and ready to be devoured! Heinz Classico Lasagna Roll ups  karainthekitchen com   1 of 1 7

This recipe made enough to fill two pans, so I cooked one up and froze the other. Try making these with your kids! They will have so much fun. I was really impressed with how well my girls did…even if we did have a little meltdown because cheese was coming out of the sides. I told Lola the more cheese the better :)

Lasagna Roll-ups
 
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Perfect for little hands to help make!
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 18 lasagna noodles
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1 jar Classico Parmesan & Romano Cheese Family Favorites Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Basil
  • For the filling:
  • 30 ounces Ricotta Cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cups Grated Asiago (or Parmesan) Cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Parsley, Minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Basil, Minced
  • 1 pound Mozzarella, Grated
Instructions
  1. Cook lasagna noodles until al dente. Drain and lay flat on a large sheet of aluminum foil.
  2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until browned throughout. Drain any excess grease, then add Classico Sauce, salt, pepper, and basil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. While the sauce is simmering, make the filling by combining ricotta, eggs, Asiago, salt, pepper, parsley, and basil. Stir to combine.
  4. To assemble, spoon a little sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 in. pan. Spread 2-3 tablespoons ricotta filling on each noodle, then roll them up. Lay in pan, top with remaining sauce, grated mozzarella, and grated Asiago.
  5. If baking immediately, bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until melted and bubbly.
  6. If baking from frozen bake, covered in foil, at 350 for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for 15 minutes, or until lasagna is done.

Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon 2013 Recap

On the year anniversary of my first marathon, I’ll post my recap of last year’s Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon. Congratulations to all of you who ran it today! I am insanely jealous & hope that I’ll be running it again next year. It just wasn’t in the budget this year and I have a pinched nerve in my back right now. Lovely :)

Last Saturday, I ran my first half marathon ever! It was amazing. It was a gorgeous course running from Santa Ynez to Solvang (30 min. from my hometown). I ran with my cousin & friend, and we stuck together the whole time! I keep thinking that when my children look back on this picture, it will be neat to see the gas prices waaaaay back in 2013!
Rach forgot her bib in her mom’s car, so she got a random bib 2 minutes before start time! It was so funny to hear people at the aid stations give us water and say, “Great job, Kara! Go Roxanna!” It’s her sexy running alter-ego :)

Before the race & scenery along the way:

We got stuck in the porta potty cube of death before the race! There was a big square lined with potties on three sides. People were lined up in all directions, it was madness. We ended up in a line that was actually 4 lines merging into two. There were probably 200 runners waiting, and we all were saying there was no way the race would start on time because there were so many of us still waiting. WRONG. They started anyway. And we still had to check our bags because we didn’t want to lose our spot in line! So here I am crossing the start line, running while putting my phone in my armband and hooking up headphones!
The residents along the course were AMAZING! We saw a woman walking a turkey, people sitting in lawn chairs cheering us on, but the best were these people:

Sitting at the end of their property, in the back of their pickup truck with their dogs, waving an American flag. They said, “God Bless America!” as we ran by and I was so happy to be home. You just don’t see or hear that sort of thing in Santa Cruz!

Lindsay, Matt, & the girls met us at about the halfway point in Los Olivos. I could see the big flagpole for about a half mile, and it really gave me a burst of energy knowing that they were there waiting for us!

I ran up and saw Ada cheering, “Go Mommy, you can do it Mommy!” And Lola didn’t know what was going on until I kissed her cheek :)
I didn’t think I was going to be in the picture below…

I was feeling pretty amazing after scaling Corkscrew Hill to Josh Groban’s Awake. I felt like I was in a movie! The golden rolling hills, the oak trees, the green lines of vineyards…it was so beautiful. I absolutely loved running with Jessica and Rachel. It was so good to know that when one of us was weak, another would be strong and lift the others up!
So there was this bison, a very protective mama! She charged Rach when she went in for a picture, and it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen! She moved SO fast and everyone running was cracking up. I wish I had a video!

I LOVED miles 4-9. I was in my groove and my calves had loosened up. By mile 10, I needed a potty break and so did Rach. We stopped and then continued on, my hips and pelvis hurting more with each step. I’ve worked so hard since having Lola to get my shifty hips tight again, and I feel like all of my hard work held up until mile 10. My body was exhausted, and I had eaten all of my Skittles & Shot Bloks. It felt like all of my ligaments just relaxed and I could feel my bones moving and rubbing against each other.
At the 11.5 mile mark, I saw a sign with a hot pink shirt on it. I thought, “Hey, I have a shirt like that.” Then I realized that Rachel’s pic was on the poster next to it! It was my awesome sister-in-law, Kandie! She made a poster and came at the point where I wanted to quit. If it weren’t for her at the bottom of that hill, I probably would’ve walked up it instead of run! Sorry for the big sweaty hug, but I was so happy that you came out and surprised us…we needed it at that point!
I wasn’t mentally prepared for the hills at the end. I looked at the elevation map and thought once I made it past Corkscrew Hill, I was home free. Do not discount those rolling hills those last 3 miles! They may look small but they are no joke. I was getting goosebumps and felt like my legs were going to give out at the tops.
I kept saying to myself, “You run 2 miles in your sleep. You run 2 miles in your sleep.”
When I finally rounded the last half-mile (worst of my life), I could hear people cheering and knew the finish line was close. I first saw my Nana & Bobba, which was a surprise because they were driving up from a long week of serving at the Los Angeles Temple! I know they were tired and it meant so much to see them there! I almost burst into tears. Then Matt lifted Ada over the railing and she ran across the finish line with me.

What a perfect way to end a race. See Bobba in the background? :)

She was smiling and waving at everyone cheering us on. I have a future race buddy on my hands!
She loved wearing my medal & almost snatched one of her own!

The three of us, after completing our first half marathon together! My hot pink compression socks saved my calves…and made me stick out in a crowd. Matt said he was looking for my socks! They are miracle workers.

Afterward, Rach & I took advantage of the free massage booth. That should be a part of every race…best feeling ever! I walked (slowly) away with a bruise on the top of my left foot, and my right pinky toe is still numb. My knees and ankles are starting to feel back to normal.

Ada wanted to ice her feet along with Rach :)


Then we headed to Kay’s Country Kitchen in Old Orcutt for the best breakfast food in the West. Seriously. Matt and I split the BAGS Omelette and Texas French Toast. I ate my full halves of everything. Matt says he doesn’t like me running half marathons because I eat all of the food he was planning on finishing for me!
I finally got my big Dr. Pepper that I was dreaming of the whole run.

Our gun time was off because of the porta potty debacle, but my official chip time was 2:57:27.5. I am happy with that because I wasn’t out to set a record, I was out to push myself to finish and never stop. Not bad for having surgery 44 days previous! I feel so empowered and strong after finishing this race. I am so grateful for a strong body and for a will to push forward and work hard. I am so grateful for a Father in Heaven who gave me this body, this beautiful Earth to enjoy, and these wonderful people I get to call family to support me in all of my endeavors along the way.

We decided that this needs to be a Mother’s Day Weekend tradition, so I am excited to run it again next year with more friends and with this experience under my belt! Thanks for a wonderful time Santa Barbara Wine Country Half Marathon!

Birthday Birthday Birth Month!

Last month, I turned the big 3-0! Pretty cool. I found this book in a cute little British shop in Santa Barbara & felt it was appropriate and hilarious.

As I was looking at it, a man walked over and picked up the 70 one. He said he was going to a friend’s 70th birthday party soon and thought it would be a good gift. He said, “You’re 30?” I said, “Almost!” His wife then said, “Oh, that’s depressing. You’re so young!” I’ve had a couple of comments like that regarding 30, so that’s cool. I guess I’m still young? What’s in an age anyway?! Birthdays are an excuse to celebrate and eat cake :)

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Thank you to everyone who made my birthday wonderful! I am so grateful for my family and friends. They’re the best.

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Relieving Congestion With Zarbee’s Naturals

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Zarbee’s Naturals. I received a promotional item and a product sample as a thank you for participating. 

Ever since I’ve known him, my husband has had issues with his nose. He’s constantly congested, which means he constantly snores! He says that ever since he can remember, he has always had one nostril that he couldn’t breathe out of. That makes me feel claustrophobic! Kind of like watching Gravity…we both started flapping our arms and kicking our legs! Good think we rented it & didn’t see it in theaters! haha

So when I was approached with this review opportunity from Zarbee’s Naturals, I immediately thought of Matt. He became my guinea pig :) Direct quote from Mr. Miller – “The first time I took it, I thought, Hey, I can breathe! That’s interesting!”

Look at that happiness! Cheeser. This guy, on top of having problems with breathing normally, has congestion issues when the coniferous trees start producing in the winter. When we lived up in Santa Cruz among the giant redwoods and pines, he would come home from campus a wreck! Sneezing, coughing, snorting…it was so sad. He didn’t like taking anything because of the side effects. With Zarbee’s Naturals, there is no drowsiness or jitteriness. He hasn’t noticed any side effects at all, and I haven’t noticed any snoring at all! Win/win. IMG 1851 Zarbee’s uses butterbur, a flowering plant used frequently in Europe but not as much in the US. It’s an all-natural supplement that helps promote respiratory health. IMG 1853 You can head over to the Seasonal Relief Project website for tips to combat congestion and request a free sample!

Zarbee’s Naturals can be purchased over the counter at CVS and Target. It is intended for children and adults 12 years and older.

Auntie Linds Visits & Other Fun Things

I took this picture of Ada for Joyschool. She wanted her sweater with the flower, all buttoned up. And her heart necklace, princess bracelet, and sparkly red headband. I love the way she accessorizes :)

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Matt & I went for a run by the Elks’ Rodeo grounds. I love the rodeo! Can’t wait for it in June.

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Matt went for a run with a friend and came home to Mav sitting on top of him. I think he missed him just a little bit!

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Poor Lola doesn’t get a nap on Sundays because we go from 11:30-2:30 this year. I was looking for her after church and found her like this on the couch!

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Mullets, Missionaries, & Frozen

We had a lovely lunch date with Nana at Costco. These little girls love their Nana!! Ada was pretending to be soooo cold she was frozen.

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My Uncle Devin & I have a running joke where we give each other gag gifts for our birthdays. Last year I gave him a horse head, this year – a mullet!!! Bahaha I told him to wear it to church but he didn’t listen to me. Nana did NOT like it and wanted it off his head immediately. Mission accomplished :)

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Ice cream time with Nonnie!! We went to Doc Burnstien’s in Old Orcutt. I had a major lapse of judgment and let both of my girls get bubble gum ice cream in cones…what was I thinking?! They were happy, I was sticky & stressed ;) The Salted Caramel ice cream is soooooo good. Try it, you’ll like it!

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Two future missionaries! Ada’s Primary teacher is so sweet & always makes extra crafts for Lola. She’s so thoughtful :)

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When picking out Uncle Devin’s wig, we had fun trying on Bubble Gum & Ariel wigs! Ada kills me with her Ariel face.

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My dad bought me this shirt in England. It cracks me up. Yes, I love Dr. Pepper. No, I would not buy this for myself. Yes, I wear it a lot. Thanks Pops :)

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It’s The Little Things in Life

This post is sponsored by P&G. Save on NEW Gain Flings and Tide Pods at Target. Text CLEAN to Target (827438) for mobile coupons*.

When I was growing up, Saturday was our day for chores. We would usually have a soccer game in the morning, then we’d have to come home and clean our bathroom, change our sheets, and take care of our responsibilities before we could go play with our friends. Now that I have my own household, Saturdays are a day that I want to spend with my family because Matt is off work. And I’d prefer to not spend it doing housework, although sometimes it has to happen that way.

I know that on most days, I feel like it is 4 against 1. I am the one trying to keep the house clean, and there’s a husband, a 4-year-old, a 2 1/2-year-old, and a puppy that are all trying to do the exact opposite! Through trial and error, I have found that a little bit of work every day goes a long way for my sanity and my home. I have put into my phone calendar recurring events that need to happen each day of the week in order for my house to stay clean. It looks like this, but you can adjust it to your needs:

Monday: Bathrooms (I figure Monday is blah anyway, so why not get the worst one done and over with)

Tuesday: Dust

Wednesday: Sweep

Thursday: Mop

Friday: Catch up day (because nobody is perfect and I usually end up skipping a day for whatever reason)

Saturday: Wash sheets & towels

These chores are in addition to everything else that comes with life. Just because Wednesday is sweep day doesn’t mean that I don’t have to sweep any other day of the week. I just know that if I stay on top of these things, my house looks better and that I don’t have to clean as much each week. I try (emphasis on try here) to do a load of laundry each day from start to finish. For me, washing and drying is easy. It’s the folding and putting away that kill me! Clean clothes sit in baskets way longer than I care to admit. P&G, when are you going to send me a cute little pod that folds my clothes? ;)

Gain Fling

Tide Pods have been around for a while, and I love them. Now, there are Gain Flings too! I guess Gain laundry detergent has a huge following called Gainiacs! Ha! I never understood it until I used a Gain Fling on my Ada & Lola’s blankets and they both snuggled up with them and said they smelled like grape lollipops. (They’re both looking at Maverick in this pic) :)

Gain Flings Tide Pods

Husbands love them too:

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They are so small and fun! I love that there’s no mess, and that they are so easy to toss in the washer. You can find them at Target.

IMG 1270For me, doing little things every day goes a long way. Not just with my laundry, but in all areas of my life!

What little things do you do to help life go smoothly?

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