Friday, November 17, 2017

Max On Snax Subscription Box (Review/Giveaway)


A while ago I decided to home-school my 6 year old son and finding things to add in his curriculum that would be educational but also fun and hands on can sometime be a challenge.

I love the idea of getting monthly boxes that will help take some of the prep work off my hands, so having the opportunity to check out Max on Snax made both my son and I very happy.

This program gives my son a fun and awesome way to learn how to prepare healthy snacks and recipes. Max on Snax is also helpful to mothers and daddies alike to teach the value and benefits of eating a more healthy lifestyle.

This was a great way to get my six year old excited about working in the kitchen and making healthy snacks vs fruit gummy snacks.

For this review I received the Starter Kit ($25.00 value) and the Garden Pack ($25.00 value)

The Snax Maker Pack (which should always be the first box received on a new subscription) includes:

A Snax Hat
A Snax-maker Apron
A Sandwich Shaper
4 weekly Charts
Membership Card
Salad Recipe
Big People pack with stickers

My son loved wearing his apron and hat and even insisted on wearing it each and every time he was allowed to be our little chef.

The First thing he made was scrabble eggs for breakfast and he even named himself Chef Deiondre.

The Sandwich Shaper was fun to use, though I found myself having to eat a lot of the leftovers through out the week win-win since he always wanted to make sandwiches and experiment with how much he could put into a sandwich and cut with the shaper.

The salad recipe included was not to our personal liking, but we did manage to eat some of the ingredients on different days. So in place of that, we made a veggie side salad with our dinners on some nights.

The Garden Fun Box includes:
Butterfly Activity
Patch for Apron (Carrot)
Coloring Book
4 weekly charts
Membership card
Big People pack with stickers
Garden Game
Garden Pail
Butterfly Sandwich Shaper
Garden Snax Recipe
Basil Seed

This is the box where I fell in love with Max on Snax. I was able to break this up into a week's worth of assignments dealing with healthy eating and how to grow things that are healthy for you.

As I also love to grow our own herbs and veggies, I was pleased to see a basil Seed packet inside of the box.

Regrettably it did not take. I blame the very changeable weather in Germany, but my son loved adding his very own seed to our garden window.

He decided to use the Garden pail to store his starter seed and though it was a fail this time we did buy more seeds to try again.

(This is, after all, one of the lessons of gardening.)

The coloring book gave him a great chance to keep busy for our shopping trips, as I had him color each vegetable he saw in the book the same color he saw in the store.

Doing so made him aware of the correct colors some veggies can be so each time he had to color a picture with these vegetables he would color them correctly.

And after he colored and had eaten each of the vegetables in his coloring book, he earned the Master of the Veggies patch included in the box. We decided to sew on his Carrot Patch to his apron. Though you can easily iron on the patch I wanted to sew it down to insure it stays put when the apron was washed.

 Next was the butterfly activity and this activity was fun for him to do and work on his cutting skills, it was easy for him to follow along and do solo. I used this as an art assignment and he enjoyed being able to hang it in the curtains as if they are about to land on some of our plants.

Another favorite of mine was the weekly charts, tracking our eating habits. For this family, the first week was an eye opener to just how much we are lacking of the recommended food groups.

Over the course of a month it became a challenge we all seemed to want to conquer and
fill the chart up each week.

We used a dry eraser marker so we could reuse them. The charts also have an exercise reminder at the bottom, and that too became something my son wanted to make sure he was able to check off.

Apply this to our everyday life and it's now to the point where my son can go to the kitchen and decide on what he will have for lunch or for a snack depending on what he was missing on his chart.

Plus, with the award of having some of his favorite sweet awards at the end of the week for additional motivation.

Last, but one of my son's favorites is the Garden Game.

In the beginning, we would play this game after dinner and he really enjoyed watching his mother skip around the room.

Though I would add, the game is much better with more then two people playing, but over all anything that gets our children excited about eating healthier and learning better eating habits is a win for us all.

The Max on Snax boxes are a for sure win in our household and when you give it a try, you will love it as well. And I can truly speak for everyone here in our household that we can not wait to receive our next box.

Max on Snax kits are available as one-time purchases with a variety of themes for $25 each, or as a monthly subscription for $25 per month. If you buy a kit as a one-time thing, I recommend buying the starter kit along with another box so you can have more activities to do.

The current seasonally themed box is the FALL Box, and Max on Snax is letting us host a Giveaway! One of our readers in the US (including APO addresses) will receive this box chock full of seasonal learning and fun!

To see how you can enter to win, read on!

One winner in the US (including APO/FPO Addresses) will receive the Max on Snax Fall Box, valued at $25.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Giveaway Tools Entry Form below. This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning. (If you don't leave a comment, any additional entries will be void.)

This giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS (INCLUDING APO/FPO) ONLY and will end just before midnight ET on 12/1. 

The winner(s) will be notified by email 24 to 48 hours after the end of the giveaway by email. In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 24 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected.

Good luck!

Awesome Life Friday #137

Welcome to Awesome Life Friday!

We're so looking forward to seeing what you've been cooking, creating, growing, decorating, reviewing, giving away, and thinking about this week!

While you're here, leave your posts at the other link up we co-host here - Party in Your PJs!  It starts on Tuesday evenings, and runs through Sunday.  I hope you'll join us there as well!

My apologies for the delay in getting this posted - I totally flaked yesterday!

So, now our favorite part - the FEATURES !  If you're one of our featured posts, we'd love it if you'd grab a button, and thanks to all of you who shared with us last week!

Crustless Simple Pumpkin Pie // Little House Living

Natural Thanksgiving Centerpieces // Boondocks Blog

Turkey Hand Cookies // A Fireman's Wife

Kohlrabi, Carrot & Raisin Slaw // Gluten Free A to Z

Looking Fabulous in Recycled Denim at No Cost! // Tipsy Heelz

Embroidered Felt Pumpkin Leaves // KBB Crafts & Stitches

If you are one of our FEATURED bloggers, this button is for you!

Thank you all so much for sharing your awesomeness!

Are you all ready to party?  If you like, we'd love it you'd help spread the word by grabbing our button:

Here we go!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sandwich #fantasticalfoodfight


This month's Fantastical Food Fight challenge is Fast Food Copycats, in honor of National Fast Food Day tomorrow.

My husband and I try (not always successfully) to avoid too many trips to fast food places, but that doesn't mean we don't sometimes have a desire for it.

As I was thinking about what to make for this challenge, I remembered that when we were in Germany, it had occurred to me that the iconic Chick-Fil-A sandwich was basically a chicken schnitzel with a pickle.

And in fact, the use of pickle juice to marinate the chicken likely points to some sort of German influence back in its initial creation before it became the signature sandwich of the chain.

I have no idea if that's so or not (but cool story!) - but I may at some point try brining schnitzel meat in sauerkraut juice just to see what happens.

Oops, sorry - I got lost in thought there for a minute.

I've seen several recipes for this particular copycat over the years, but I can't really say if mine tastes like the 'real thing' because it's been so long since I've been to Chick-Fil-A, I've forgotten exactly how they taste.  But I have noticed that the secret (other than their secret spice blend in the coating) seems to be that pickle and using its juice to brine the chicken.

What this recipe does do, if you season it how you prefer, is make a great chicken schnitzel sandwich.  I served this in a bun with a bit of mayo and some waffle fries - but it would be great without the bun as well.

To make my life easier, I used a pack of thin-sliced boneless breast cutlets.  My kitchen is very tiny, and I feel like I'm going to rattle everything off the walls when I try to pound meat in there.  But cutlets cost a lot more than plain boneless breasts, so if you want to do this the right way for less cost, begin by putting the chicken into a large baggie and flatten them.

You could even let them brine in the same bag once you have done that, if you like.

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches
(Makes 4)

4 chicken breast cutlets (or 2 boneless breasts, cut in half and flattened)
1/2 cup pickle juice from the jar
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
a pinch Celery Salt
a pinch Garlic Powder
Other seasonings as desired (I added an Italian seasoning blend from Penzey's and a few red pepper flakes)
peanut oil
4 hamburger buns
Mayo if desired

Put the flattened chicken into a large baggie or a container that can be sealed and flipped (I have an old Tupperware marinade container that is older than my adult children.)

Pour pickle juice over the chicken, seal the container and flip a couple times to coat the meat. Let brine in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to overnight, flipping occasionally.

Discard the brine when you're ready to cook.

Set up two dishes - one with the eggs and milk, whisked, and the other with the flour and spices mixed together.

Put peanut oil in a frying pan, to about a quarter inch deep. (The cutlets are thin and cook fast - you can use a full deep fryer, but they'll cook fine without being fully immersed in oil.)  Heat to about 350F.

My cutlets were so thin that I folded each one in half so they were about  the size of the buns before coating.

To coat, dunk a cutlet into the egg mixture and then into the flour, turning as needed to fully cover.  Then repeat the process, dunking it back into the egg and then into the flour - this will give it a good crispy coating.  Set on a clean dish and prepare the remaining cutlets.

At this point, prepare the buns - butter each side, and let them lightly toast in the oven while the chicken is cooking. (I had already baked some waffle fries at 450F, so I just turned off the oven and let them lightly toast in the still hot oven. The advantage of this is that you don't suddenly find yourself juggling frying foods and buns that need to be rescued from burning right this very moment.)

With tongs, place the coated chicken into the frying pan, avoiding crowding them (I did two at a time - too much in the fryer will lower the temperature of the oil, making them greasy).   Let it cook about two minutes, then turn and cook another two minutes until the chicken is golden brown.

Set on a plate covered with a paper towel to drain.

Put together the sandwiches, spreading a little mayo on the buns if desired and topping the cutlets with a pickle chip or two.


Check out these other Fantastical Food Fight Fast Food Copycat entries:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Party in Your PJs #183

Happy Tuesday!

Welcome to the Party in Your PJs Link Party, where your posts will be seen on four different blogs each week.

You'll also find the Awesome Life Friday link-up here at RCHReviews, every Thursday evening at 8pm ET so we hope to see you there as well.

Are you ready to party? I can't wait to see what you've brought to share!

 Meet the Co-Hosts

Nina @ Grandma Ideas 

Lynda @ Reviews, Chews & How-Tos 

Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter // Instagram

Teresa @ Aging Like a Fine Wine

Facebook // Pinterest // Twitter // Instagram

The rules for the group board include:
1. Limit of one pin a day.
2. Just like the party anything goes, but clear wonderful pictures with great descriptions are most successful.
3. Please no Spam ( Spammers will be deleted without warning)
4.  If you pin to the Pinterest Board, please link to the Party in Your PJs Party also, the party runs from 7 pm Tuesdays-Midnight Saturday (Central Time)
5.  Finally have fun and share this group board  with blog friends and followers!  The more success the group board is the more success you will see from your pins.

Lynda's Features!

 Make sure you head over to the other members of Party in Your PJs
 to see their features - we each pick our own!

All links are pinned to a Party can follow the board on Pinterest...feel free to follow the board, there is lots of inspiratioPn to be found there.

Ok...let's party!

Rules -Link to post, not your home page
-Link to something YOU made, wrote or thought
-No Etsy or Business Pages
-Link Parties, Roundups and Giveaways welcome
- Don't Link and Run! Please visit other links, make friends, learn something new, leave a comment.

Penelope's Clubfoot Journey / Shishka Bob Design Review

1 comment:

I'm am so excited to write a short update on Penelope's Clubfoot journey that isn't filled with dread and relapse and casting, and tears! (My last one is here, and includes links to the previous posts detailing her progress.)

Where we last left off, Penny was experiencing her second relapse and 3 millionth set of casts (or so it felt). It took her about a month after those 2 weeks of full leg plaster casts to fully regain her strength and confidence in her legs again.

But otherwise, she was doing great! She was wearing her brace all through the night without complaint, which was the stuff of our dreams before then. Her following checkup should have been around July or August, but for several reasons, the date slipped. First, we got really busy - my husband left for a while for career training stuff, for example.

When we finally got around to making the appointment, they were so booked! They finally got us in this week (early November for future readers). Good timing as Penny had recently started complaining about her boots again, often in the middle of the night.

I was so nervous. I honestly thought her feet looked fine, but I didn't expect casts last time, so I was afraid to put my guard down.

We only waited about 30 minutes to see the doctor, which was crazy because that waiting room usually seats us for about 3+ hours every visit.

Unlike last time, Penelope was perky and personable and did everything the doctor asked like stretched her feet without assistance in whatever direction he asked and got down and walked back and forth so he could watch how her feet lay.

They agreed her boots were a bit snug and it was time to go a size up, answering why she was beginning to reject them through the night.

As expected, he pointed out her right food as slightly imperfect (which I always can notice), but still well within the realm of what he considers corrected.

My only surprise of the appointment was that he expressed only wearing the brace until the age of 4, when we have always been told 5. Granted he's only our second specialist, but it seems to be common practice among the forums I follow as well.

He basically said it didn't create that much better success to extend beyond 4, and that I was was awfully “ambitious” to expect a child that age to still cooperate. So... we'll see?

All in all, it was a good visit, and I'm feeling more confident that we'll all get through this successfully.

Ok, so now onto some hella cool stuff!!

Sometime last year, I came across Shishka Bob Design – an amazing Etsy shop that makes leg braces for baby dolls.

For some, this may seem silly. For parents that have children that deal with such aids, these are absolutely magical. Representation can be a huge confidence boost for kids that may be feeling different than their peers. Just as any parent may choose dolls that share the same eye,hair color or ethnicity as their children, Shishka Bob Designs takes it to another level in celebrating and humanizing wonderful differences.

Bob was inspired to craft doll braces after watching a viral video of a young girl receiving a doll with a prosthetic leg to match her own. He made a set for a friend with children in orthotic braces.

Once word of mouth spread, he received many requests, thus starting him on this venture. In his early days he was using a homemade vacuum machine and heating the plastic in his oven at home.

That's dedication!

Today, thanks to hard work, many reworks on the design, and a more than met Kickstarter campaign he has helped bring smiles to over 400 children!

Shishka Bob Designs makes SMO (ankle length), AFO (full calf length) and KAFO (above the knee length) braces that fit standard American girl or similar (18in dolls), AG Wellie Wishers or similar (14in dolls) and AG Bitty Babies or similar size.

Prices vary from $22.50 for SMO/AFO for a SINGLE leg brace, $32.50 for KAFO single leg, $44.95 for SMO/AFO double leg and $64.95 for a KAFO double leg. I think these prices are more than fair considering how much time and love goes into each pair.

I was so grateful to receive a pair for Penelope. On top of all the awesome already mentioned -- Shiska Bob Designs lets you choose from solid colors or custom patterns.

Just by providing a picture of Penny's AFOs, we received a perfectly matching set for her baby!

While Penny no longer has to wear her AFOs, she still remembers them well and knows it's all part of her Clubfoot Journey. We keep them on display so she recognized the pattern immediately and even asked to wear them again for a awhile to play with her doll.

Our pair came in the mail in under 3 weeks, but it is important to keep in mind that Bob does this on the side and has a full time job that keeps him busy as well. Please allow up to 6 weeks before item may be ready to ship.

After November 15, Shishka Bob Designs Etsy shop will be closed through Christmas, so if you'd like to order one for Christmas, do so today!  If you love a child undergoing treatment involving orthotics, this promises to be a gift they will cherish forever.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken


Way back in my Fort Irwin days, a group of us military spouses always did potluck at our regular Coffee Break gatherings, and one woman often brought in Salsa Chicken.

I had never heard of it previously, but it was really good. She used store bought jarred salsa, however, so I knew it could be better with my homemade batch (recipe here!)

This is an Instant Pot dish and as simple as could be! I have also done numerous times in the Crockpot.

Salsa Chicken
Serves 6.

3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-3 cups of salsa (homemade or commercial)
Garlic powder
2 cups canned or frozen corn
2 cups prepared black beans
Toppings as desired: sour cream, avocado

Season thawed raw chicken breasts with spices to taste, and place on the trivet in the Instant Pot.

Add salsa, pouring on top of chicken and letting fall to bottom of pot.

If using my recipe, no extra water is needed. If using a very chunky variety, you may want a bit more liquid. Rule of thumb is one cup of any liquid.

Drain can of corn if you have enough liquid. Pour on top of chicken along with black beans, if using.

Close IP valve and set for 20m high pressure.

Let natural release until all steam is out.

Remove chicken and shred. Add more salsa if needed.

I usually include a can of black beans, but didn't this time. Instead I made a can of black refried beans, and piled it all on flour tortillas like a soft taco, adding sour cream and avocado!