Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

Food Review: Peacock Rice Vermicelli

You may recall from my previous post, that we made the decision in our home to start eating (more) clean. We’ve slowly but surely made the switch from packaged, heavily processed foods to more whole, unprocessed options. For some meals this has been more difficult than others.

While I’ve no problem switching from white flour to whole grain, or cutting sugar out of our diet, there are meals that are in our standard rotation that have been difficult to move away from.

Pasta is one of those meals. It’s just so quick and easy, and it’s always a crowd-pleaser around here! I must say: I have tricked my kids into eating whole grain pasta and they actually like spaghetti squash marinara, but I want a bit more variety when it comes to presenting the standard pasta variety meal.

Cue Peacock Brand noodles. I was sent a sample of their brown and white rice vermicelli for review, and I have to say that, overall, I was very pleased! I was nervous from the get-go to prepare these noodles because first, I have never cooked rice noodles, and second, these noodles are VERY fine and I wasn’t sure how well they would hold up or how quickly I would overcook them.

Peacock 1                      Peacock 2

Well, I am happy to announce that I did not ruin the dish I was attempting to prepare, and it, like the standard variation of pasta I normally prepare, was also a crowd-pleaser in our home! While the noodles were a slightly different texture from the traditional soft pasta, the taste was very similar to traditional white pastas, which made them easier for my kids to eat.  Another perk is that these products are naturally gluten, cholesterol, and fat free, which makes me feel WAY better about feeding them to my family!  Overall I am very happy with this product and would recommend it to anyone looking for an alternative to traditional pasta products!  Peacock brand products are available for purchase on Amazon, and at various grocery outlets like Walmart and Wegmans, and are very competitively priced compared to traditional pastas.

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

Unlock History with 23andMe DNA Service

This post made possible by 23andMe. All opinions are my own.

When I was growing up, I often heard my Grandpa quote Sir Walter Scott and say, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!”

Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive

For the longest time, I thought Grandpa was just trying to teach his grandchildren a memorable line to remind us not to lie. I never imagined that Grandpa may be ruminating on his own tangled web. That is, until a little over five years ago. That is when my Mom and her cousin, Debbie, began to suspect that they may, in fact, be sisters. Just a few short years later, Mom and her cousin Paula began to suspect that they, too, were sisters. Then it started making sense, that Grandpa and his sister would also often say, “oh the webs that have been weaved and still are.”

Mom was raised as the oldest of five children in the home (Mom, Jerry, Charles, Paul, and Oscar). She also had four siblings that died in infancy or as toddlers (Tom, Jack, James, and Penny). In 1958, when Mom was about eleven years old, they lived in Michigan. She recalls that her Mom was pregnant and went to the hospital. Shortly after, Grandpa returned home saying that he had to hide anything that Grandma could use as a weapon, because she was going to kill him. He also said that Grandma had lost the baby. Debbie was born in 1958.

Seven years later, in 1963 when Mom was nearly 16, they lived in Hartford, Illinois. Her parents left to attend a family birthday party while Grandma was pregnant. When they returned, Grandma was no longer pregnant. Grandpa alluded to a baby being born in a snow storm. Mom said she’s not certain if Grandma really lost the baby, or if the baby born in the snow storm was her sister and they left her for her Aunt, who was unable to have children, to raise. As Mom said, “We were a poor family. Momma and Daddy couldn’t afford any more mouths to feed.” Paula was born in 1963.

Shortly before Grandpa died, he told Paula to “No matter what, stay close to Fredia” (i.e. my Mom) which made it seem he was trying to look out for her.  Unfortunately, any other members of the family that could attest to the fact that they are siblings are all since deceased, including one Aunt that insisted she “knew all the secrets” until she died. For a while now, my Mom and her two cousins have been trying to figure out how to prove or disprove that they are siblings. When I asked my Mom what digging into the family history, trying to prove or disprove that the three are siblings has been like, she said, “It’s been like looking for a needle in a haystack. Having the desire to know, to have answers, but not having the ability or the finances to answer the questions. It’s not been easy.”

I recently had the humbling privilege of helping my Mom try to unlock history with 23andMe, the largest DNA ancestry service in the world.

unlock history with 23andMe

Seeing the smile on my Mom’s face when I gave her the 23andMe DNA kit was absolutely priceless! Seriously, words could not describe the overwhelming sense of gratitude I felt at being able to help my Mom find the answers she seeks.

Submitting a DNA sample to 23andMe is actually simpler than we thought it would be. At points, it was even hilarious.

23andMe DNA Kit

First I helped Mom register her kit on the 23andMe website. This has to be done using the unique bar code that is on the sample vial. Once that was done, we opened up the kit, being careful NOT throw any of it away. The plastic container that the kit comes in, inside the box, has to be used to return the sample. Once we had the vial out, Mom commenced to spitting in the vial. It is important that the vial be filled to the fill line, and not by bubbles. Do you know how many bubbles you create when you spit? A lot. And those bubbles don’t count in a DNA sample vial. It has to be pure spittle. When you haven’t had anything to eat or drink in a while (minimum is 30 minutes prior to testing), it isn’t easy to produce a vial of spit, and Mom kept checking to see if it was at the fill line yet. I swear, I thought her eyes would cross for a minute. LOL. Once the vial was filled, we had to close it with the fluid filled cap that is attached, to release that fluid into the vial. That keeps the DNA in the spittle from degrading. Then we replaced it with the travel cap and sealed it up in the provided bag. The kit came with a self sealing return mail box, which we promptly dropped in the big blue mail box down the street.

Knowing Mom will only have to wait a few more weeks for answers (processing estimates are 3-4 weeks from the time a registered sample is received at the lab) is beyond thrilling. I won’t lie. It’s been torturous, seeing what my Mom has gone through in the last few years. It played a large role in our decision to teach our own children about their natural families. I don’t want my children to go through the same thing that my Mom has. I want them to know their genetic story. After all, it’s their history.

I’ll let you know, when the results are in, whether or not the three turned out to be sisters. Although, my Mom says in her heart, they are regardless. <3

This post made possible by 23andMe. All opinions are my own.

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

Get Rid of Insects – Even When Your Kids Invite Them #HotShot Insecticides

Tracking Pixel

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hot Shot® Insecticides.

A few weeks ago, Mister came inside and yelled, “Hey, Mom, we fed the ants!” Wait. Wh… You what? I quickly followed him as he ran back out the back door. Ever since we redid our back patio, my kids LOVE to eat out there. Apparently, they thought it’d be fun to see how many ants would gather on top of a cheese cracker.

Get Rid of Insects HotShot Insecticides

^^THAT is one of the hazards of being a homeschool Mom and encouraging them to learn about science through nature!^^

It would appear we’ve read One Hundred Hungry Ants, by Elinor J Pinczes, one too many times (or one hundred). 

Seriously, I think the ants from the neighboring county headed our way!  Oh, and if that cheese cracker wasn’t enough… let’s add a potato chip…

The Ant Experiment

I don’t really care if the ants go marching around, as long as they remain outdoors.  I don’t step on anthills, nor do I allow my children to.  I teach them to respect all critters, great and small, including the pesky little ant, his six legs, and his segmented body.   See, as long as the ants stay in their habitat, I’m fine.  This little ant experiment, though, happened perilously close to my back door.  As I watched those little critters crawl round and round the cheese cracker and the chip, I couldn’t help but think, “You better stay outside.”

Else I’ll be singing a different ant tune…

The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching one by one,
The little one is caught under  Virginia’s thumb,
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching two by two, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching two by two,
The little one gets smashed by Virginia’s shoe,
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
The ants go marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching three by three, hurrah, hurrah
The ants go marching three by three,
The little one cries, “grab a gurney!”
And they all go marching down to the ground
To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

Fortunately, we keep a supply of Hot Shot® Insecticides handy so bugs can’t feel at home IN our home.   Even when we don’t know all of their hiding places, I like knowing that if I see one of these little buggers in my home, I can trust Hot Shot® Insecticides to help me get rid of insects, even when my kids invited them!

Speaking of hiding places, have you seen the  Hiding Places Facebook Sweepstakes?  Check this out…
Do your kids have a secret hideout? Do you have a beautiful reading corner? Hot Shot® Insecticides wants to see the places where you like to hide. Take a photo and upload it here http://on.fb.me/1p4CoYl  for a chance to win a weekly prize. Or, you could win the Grand Prize and go hide somewhere even more glamorous. Winners will be announced each week on Facebook, and notified by email.

  • Sweepstakes starts August 1st and ends August 31st
  • EACH WEEK (4 Total Winners) $100 Visa® Gift Card
  • GRAND PRIZE (1 Winner) – $1,000 American Airlines® gift card, $1,000 Marriott Hotels® gift card, $2,500 Visa® Gift Card to spend on your trip
  • Official rules: https://uicsocialmedia.com/rules/hidingplaces/

Where do your kids (or you) like to hideout?
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hot Shot® Insecticides.

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

In School Suspension for Saying Bless You

Last night as I was reading my Facebook thread, I saw this post from Kendra. As most of you know, my 5yo is adopted, and Kendra is her big sister. Here they are together…

Kendra and Sister

Anyway, here was Kendra’s post…

Are you kidding me? Kendra is 17 years old and is polite to a fault. She uses “yes, ma’am”, “yes sir”, “no ma’am”, “no sir” with anyone over 18, says bless you, is the first to offer her seat to someone older than herself… I once told her she didn’t need to use “ma’am” with me, because we’re related. She responded that it’s the way she’s been taught, and if I didn’t mind, she’d like to follow the rules her Mom has set… she’s got the manners of a saint. Okay, maybe not a saint, but she is one of the politest kids I’ve ever met.

Here’s what Kendra says happened…

A girl sitting right next me sneezed in class. I said “Bless You!” My teacher, Mrs. Kindle, asked “Who said that?” I said “me.” She said “Why did you say that?” I said “Because it is courtesy.” She said “Says who?” I said “Says my pastor.” She said “Well we don’t say that in my class.”

I asked her why it was a big deal to her. She yelled at me and said “We will not have Godly speaking in my class!” That is when I stood up and said “My pastor said I have a constitutional right -1st amendment freedom of speech.” She said “Not in my class you don’t.”

I said “I will defend my religion.” She said “You will not in my class because I trump everyone.” Then another student stepped in and said “You don’t over trump God.” So she sent me to the office and the assistants principal said “if I didn’t want to respect my teachers rules then maybe My pastor should teach me because my freedom or speech and religion does not work at their school.

Then they sent me to ISS (in school suspension). After I left the class room all my class mates stood up and defended me the teacher had to call assistants principal to control the class.

In school suspension for saying bless you. I think it is absolutely appalling.

I teach my kids to say bless you when anyone sneezes. In fact, if I sneeze and noone says it, I yell “Somebody bless me.”

Saying bless you is courtesy. While it may have it’s origins in religion, or superstition, saying bless you is merely an acknowledgement of empathy for the plight of someone else. It is an ordinary courtesy that comes to some of us as easily as breath.

A courtesy that, in my mind at least, deserves to be acknowledged rather than punished.

I was so aggravated over the situation that I posted about it in a blogger group I’m in, and Trisha from MomDot reached out to me and said she’d love to chat with Kendra. I made the introduction, via Facebook, and Trisha wrote about it.

I really don’t think she deserves to have an in school suspension on her record for saying “bless you.” I encouraged both Kendra and her Mom to contact the American Center for Law and Justice, should they not get anywhere with the school.

ETA- I thought I’d share the updated news coverage with you…

wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina |

FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

ETA 08/20/14

The school did issue a statement to the State Gazette, which you can read here: http://www.stategazette.com/story/2110930.html

In the statement, the school confirmed that “she was placed in ISS for the remainder of the period.” Whether she chose to leave the class or chose to leave voluntarily was not addressed.

We teach our kids to be courteous, then they get in trouble for it. I think it’s ridiculous.

What do you think?

Please Note- All comments go into moderation on this site. Please be courteous and respectful in your replies. I do not mind opposing views, but I will NOT tolerate cursing, name-calling, or derogatory comments about Christianity or any other faith.

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own
Posts May Contain Affiliate Links. See Disclosure. All opinions my own.

20 Household Uses for Vinegar + free printable

Did you know that white vinegar has many (many) household uses?  It is truly a versatile product that you should consider keeping on hand at all times.  Here are 20 household uses for vinegar that I think will convince you to pick up a bottle the next time you’re at the grocery store…

20 household uses for vinegar - free printable from @thatbaldchick

You can right click on the image, or click on the 20 household uses for vinegar free printable title to open a printable pdf in a new tab.

Did any of the 20 household uses for vinegar surprise you?

Do you have an awesome household use for vinegar that I didn’t mention?

Posts may contain affiliate links. See Disclosure. All Opinions are My Own