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Monday, December 4, 2017

My thoughts on the Instant Pot Duo60 6 Qt 7-in-1

I bought my vey first Instant Pot for Black Friday. I got the 6 quart Duo, and wasn't quite sure about it, but knew my friends all loved their IPs.  I was thrilled when mine arrived.  It was all together and I couldn't wait to get going.  

I checked the seal, and it was good and seated correctly.  I checked the valves and they were clear (always do the checks).  I then did the water test where I pressurized a little water to make sure it worked and pressurized properly.  Once that passed with flying colors, I was ready to jump in. 


I'm not one to generally start off all crazy.  I joined several groups to study up while waiting for my IP to arrive.  Everyone seemed to start with hard boiled eggs.  I, however, wanted to make a meal.  So, I really did just jump in and start off all crazy!  I started making applesauce.  Something easy, but my kids love it!  I was able to fit 12 peeled and chunked apples into my 6 quart.  It turned out AMAZING!  I let the pressure release naturally and when I opened the cooker and stirred it the apples just stirred into the most perfect sauce.  A little bit of chunks, and so good and smooth!

For dinner I decided to make Indian Vegetable Rice and Indian Butter Chicken.  I did 4 cups of rice in my pot, removed it and kept it warm in the oven. Then was able to fit 10 whole chicken thighs in the 6 quart and could have fit 1-2 more, but I didn't need them.  That meal was absolutely amazing!  The rice being cooked into the IP wasn't really a time saver, however the flavor infused into the rice was beyond what I get on the stovetop or in my rice cooker. 

I finished up the day (yes, still on day 1) with a Salad Caramel Cheesecake.  It was so easy.  I used a silicon Instant Pot cheesecake pan I had bought and put the crust in it.  Then added in the filling.  I put my cheesecake on the trivet with a couple cups of water under.  I let it cook for 35 min at high pressure and let the pressure release naturally.  The cheesecake crust was a little soggy when it came out, but the cake itself was a perfect jiggly consistency.  I covered it and put it in the fridge overnight.  

The next day I removed the springform pan and the crust had hardened up.  The texture was perfect!  It was the first baked cheesecake I had ever made successfully.  

Day 2 I made penne pasta and meatballs for my kids for lunch.  I was nervous because I hate over cooked pasta.  At 6 minutes it was a perfect al dente.  I'm so happy with the dump and go ability!

I also made homemade Dulce De Leche with sweetened condensed milk for the topping for my cheesecake.  I didn't can it in the IP, as it's not approved for that.  I did use my canning jars though, that way I could see it when done.  I used one jar for the cheesecake, and the other two went in my fridge for use with raw apples for dip.  

This is my very favorite kitchen appliance ever.  I plan on getting another soon, as it's not enough for a family of 12.  However, it is a huge time saver.  I also love that I can set it and walk away.  I don't have to baby sit my stove like with my stovetop pressure cookers.  I was called away for an hour while the chicken thighs were cooking.  When it was done it just went to stay warm and waited for me.  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Brent's Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies - Holiday Cookies

My husband likes a flat and crispy, yet still chewy, chocolate chip cookie.  He came up with this recipe, and it's become a favorite in our house.

Brent's Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

1 stick butter; softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup walnuts; chopped
1/2 cup Gheridelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350°

Whip butter until light and fluffy.  Add in brown sugar and whip until mixed and light. 

Mix flour, salt, and baking soda together. 
Slowly add to sugar mixture. 

Add egg and vanilla extract.  Mix until combined. 

Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips. 

Drop onto greased cookie sheet (a silpat baking mat is recommended) by tablespoon. You want a lot of space between the cookies.  You can get 8-10 per batch. 

Bake 10 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Let them sit 3-4 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Otherwise they will smash into itself and fall apart if moved when too hot. 

**These are also really good if you add 1/4-1/2 cup shredded coconut to the mixture.**

Friday, November 3, 2017

FandangoNOW Movie Rental Instant Win Giveaway

FandangoNOW Movie Rental Instant Win Giveaway - 5,000 Winners Win a Free $5 Online Movie Rental. 

Ends 1/3/18, Limit one entry per day. 

Following States Only: AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NV, NH, NJ, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OR, RI, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WV, WI, WY. GOOD LUCK!!

Click here to enter now: FandangoNOW

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Grow Your Own Avocado Tree

Sponsored Post 

Have you ever wanted to GROW YOUR OWN AVOCADO TREE AT HOME?

Save 20% on any AvoSeedo avocado grower or other product and enjoy FREE shipping too. Visit the AvoSeedo Shop today and get growing today! Visit: http://www.shop.avoseedo.com/ Use Code: sp20 #avoseedo

AvoSeedo avocado tree germinator bowl that makes it easy for everyone to grow their own plant at home from a simple avocado pit. Easy to use for all ages of amateur avocado arborists, 
clever AvoSeedo bowl design keeps the avocado pit immersed in just the right amount of water to grow effectively. Made for durability from recyclable, non-toxic materials and is reusable for other vegetables like lettuce, celery, carrot tops! Germinate and grow an avocado tree in your own home, whatever the climate. Fun family (Millennial parents, their young kids, grandma/grandpa) project to make a tree sprout and watch it grow from the pit of a common avocado. Increase kids' understanding of ecology, interconnections in nature, responsibility and care for the environment in a participatory and concrete way. 

Save 20% on any AvoSeedo avocado grower or other product and enjoy FREE shipping too. Visit the AvoSeedo Shop today and get growing today!
https://shop.avoseedo.com/ Use Code: sp20 #avoseedo


Monday, October 30, 2017

Gifts for Kids - Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Sponsored Post

Enkeeo Balance Bike

As a mother with lots of small children, one thing we need to teach each one of them is how to ride a bike. Learning to balance on one of these amazing contraptions is probably the hardest part of learning to ride.  

I have seen balance bikes for a while, and when I had the opportunity for my kids to try one from Enkeeo I jumped at the chance.  My 3, 4, and 6 year old children were thrilled, and weeks later they are still loving this bike.  

Putting it together was actually pretty easy.  Although I might have had to take part of the frame back off because I put it on upside down.  Don't ask.  I was distracted with kids all around "helping".  Anyway, it came with all the tools needed, and within about 15 minutes I had it ready to go!

The frame is a great quality metal.  The grips are comfortable for my kids.  I also love that the tires are a firmer foam feel, so they don't need aired up.  They are solid all the way through.  

This is perfect for small children to learn to balance before actually getting on a bicycle.  It's a bicycle, but without the peddles.  My kids actually ride it around in the house right now due to the cold weather. I'm shocked and amazed at how fast they picked up in this.  My 6 Year old son is about ready to move to a real bike.  I'm excited to see how much better they get as they keep playing on it.  

You can get it here:

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Special Offer From Historical Conquest Game

Sponsored Post

Homeschooling History Game!

For all Big Family Reviews followers, we are offering 2 free decks of Historical Conquest cards! 

Get them at this link

Looks like the card game Pokemon, but plays like the board game Risk.

Use them in the game, timeline activities, and/or flashcards.

A free course is also available for all those who accept this offer.

I will soon be doing an in depth review of the game with the family.  I can't wait to show you more about it!  I am a huge believer in learning through fun.  Games are my kids favorite way to do school while having fun.   

Monday, October 23, 2017

Gifts for Him with Giveaway - Holiday Gift Guide 2017

I partnered with The Hopping Bloggers for this sponsored Holiday Gift Guide.

Rbenxia Sandalwood Hair/Beard Comb 

I got this sandalwood comb for my husband way back in the fall of 2015.  He was wanting some beard accessories, and I thought he would like this.  Boy was I right.  

This comb quickly became his favorite beard accessory, and had remained so for the last 2 years.  He has misplaced it a few times, and was very upset when he had to go a few days using something other than "his beard comb".  It is a great quality, and has survived perfectly through drops, moves, traveling, and daily use.  It's actually more beautiful and smooth now as it has had his beard oils infused into it.  

It's one item you can get on Amazon that I would highly suggest as a nice stocking stuffer for any man.  It's great for beards or for their hair.  

Power Perch

The Power Perch makes it easier than ever to conquer the challenges of organization. This is an easy way to organize for the men in your life that hate organizing. This sturdy shelf is held in place with your existing outlet cover (no additional holes needed), and allows you to add storage space anywhere there's an outlet. He can use it to charge his phone, tablet, shaver, or any other tech devices that will fit on this handy little shelf. He can use it anywhere he needs a little extra space! Add a shelf to any outlet with Power Perch! (fits all vertical single outlets and requires no additional hardware). Get it on: StorageTheory.com or Amazon.com COUPON CODE: with code HOPGUIDE20 Readers will get 20% off any Power Perch products through December 31st when they use this discount code at checkout on the Storage Theory site.

Southern Scholar Subscription Box

Give him the look of a lifetime with this subscription box. With dress socks that keep him warm, comfy, and stylish – this is the perfect holiday gift for the men in your life this year! And, it's a monthly subscription box, so it's a gift that keeps on giving! Brand description: Superior dress socks + our Signature Style Card delivered to your door each month. Unlike other sock subscriptions, we provide high quality, professional dress socks that will keep their place and keep you comfortable throughout your entire workday. Each pair accompanied with style tips on how to pair them to get the most out of your look! Get it on: SouthernScholar.com

Echo Plus

Echo Plus is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice, with a built-in smart home hub. It connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, ask questions, make calls, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask. Echo Plus has 360° room-filling sound powered by Dolby, and can hear you from across the room from any direction. It is always getting smarter as Alexa continues to add additional features. With a built-in smart home hub and simple setup for compatible connected devices, starting your smart home or integrating into your existing system is now easier than ever. Get it on: Amazon.com

Fitbit Ionic

Give him a gift that will keep him moving all year long and stylin' for every kind of event. Get a watch that gives you more with Fitbit Ionic—a motivating timepiece packed with fitness guidance, health insights, music storage, apps & more. A health and fitness first platform, Ionic offers a highly personalized experience not previously seen in other smartwatches. Ionic builds on Fitbit’s health and fitness expertise with a new relative SpO2 sensor, making it possible to track deeper health insights like sleep apnea in the future, industry-leading GPS tracking, on-device dynamic workouts, improved heart rate tracking, and water resistance up to 50 meters. Plus, smart features like contactless payments, on-board music, smart notifications, and a variety of popular apps and clock faces available in the Fitbit App Gallery. Ionic also has all the core features our users love from Fitbit like up to 5 days battery life, automatic activity and sleep tracking, and cross-platform compatibility! Get it on: Amazon.com

Gifts for himBraun Series 9 Wet & Dry Shaver

Braun Series 9 electric shaver is our #1 shaver – providing unmatched closeness and unprecedented skin comfort. The perfect combination of efficiency and skin comfort can be found with our #1 shaver. Choosing the Series 9 means you are choosing today’s standard of excellence in both - an efficient and gentle shave
Get it on: Amazon.com
mystery tackle box

Mystery Tackle Box

The Perfect Gift For Any Angler! Know a fisherman but don’t know fishing? Most people wouldn’t think of stepping into the world of fishing when it comes to gifts ...enter Mystery Tackle Box. MTB has the perfect gift option that all anglers will love! The best part is you don’t need to know a thing about fishing to give the gift of fishing this year. Here’s is how it works. 1. You purchase an MTB gift certificate. Quick, easy, done. 2. Your gift recipient then creates an account and tells MTB what fish species they like to fish. 3. MTB sends a curated box of baits to them each month based on their fishing preferences. 4. They receive their first box within 10 days of signing up. 5. You win the “gifter of the year” award, which hopefully includes hugs and free food & drink of some type. Visit MysteryTackleBox.com on Black Friday and Cyber Monday for their big Holiday sale!

Gifts For Her - Holiday Gift Guide 2017

I partnered with The Hopping Bloggers for this sponsored Holiday Gift Guide.

Wool Socks

I was always a bit afraid of wool socks.  I assumed wool was scratchy and wool socks would make my feet sweat.  Last year I got my first pair of wool socks.  I've been a convert since then. 

I got these socks last week.  They are the most comfortable and soft wool socks I own.  They are thinner than my ultra thick socks I had before.  These allow me to wear them as every day socks.  They are magical on my feet, and they are definitely high quality.  I've been wearing the socks daily (not the same pair - ha ha ha), and they've been through washes.  So far there's no issues at all. I have nothing to say that I would change or complain about.  They are amazing and would be a great little stocking stuffer for any lady. 

Get on: Amazon.com

Toe Talk

Designed to help you transcend challenges – whether physical, mental, or spiritual – Toe Talk socks are a reminder that through focus, balance can be achieved. Enhance your practice. Admire beauty. Experience movement with control and comfort. Achieve proper balance, in poses and in life. Toe Talk socks are a physical foundation for the body, and their mantras lay the groundwork for a soul at peace. Total consciousness. From the ground up. Every woman deserves this! Get it on: ToeTalkMindful.com

Turkish Leather Journal Sketch Pad

This is a beautiful and one of those gifts that keeps on giving.  This book is handmade in Turkey.  It is leather bound with 160 blank pages and has a metal clasp to keep it locked.  The leather covering the book is so soft, and it surrounds a Three of Life, which gives it a book of lore look to it.  It's one of those perfect gifts for everyone who appreciates books.  

Get on: 

Clarisonic Mia 2 Holiday Gift Set

Put it on and take of off with the Best in Cleansing+Best in Blending duo! This two-speed device paired with cleansing and blending facial brushes is the perfect enhancement for your clients’ routine. Patented Clarisonic flex and flush movement works to gently cleanse away impurities, remove makeup and oil that manual cleansing leaves behind. Now with the ability to effortlessly micro-blend liquid makeup, this versatile set is the perfect gift for the person looking to do it all. Get it on: Amazon.com

CHI Hair Straightener

It's THE best hair tool a girl will ever own. Not only does a CHI last longer than your average hair iron, it doesn't damage your hair like others do. It may look simple, but it's a girl's best friend! Ceramic Hairstyling Iron by CHI reduces frizz and static electricity, creates silky shiny hair instantly and straightens, curls, flips and waves with the all-in-one ergonomic design. Get it on: Amazon.com

simplehuman Sensor Mirror

The simplhuman mirror is a motion-activated, lighted mirror that's perfect for her to do her makeup. She will not miss any little detail with this mirror. It's a gift that she'd love to buy for herself, but never will because she puts everyone first. The sensor has multi-sense technology that adapts to your behavior. It automatically lights up as your face approaches the mirror. During use, it becomes more sensitive so it won't turn off unexpectedly. When you're finished, it shuts off automatically – very efficient. Get it on: Amazon.com

Beats Solo3 Wireless Headphones

With up to 40 hours of battery life, Beats Solo3 Wireless is your perfect everyday headphone. Get the most out of your music with an award-winning, emotionally charged Beats listening experience. With multiple colors, you can pick her the right gift for the holiday season! Get it on: Amazon.com Amazon.comAmazon.com

Monday, August 28, 2017

Trovina Natural Vegan Soaps

This post contains sponsored links. 

I was on Facebook recently and happened to come across a woman in a local group.  She has a family owned and operated soap business, which I love to see.  I love small businesses, and always get excited to see others working for themselves. 

I began looking into her soaps, checked out her website and Facebook page, and was surprised at all the variety of options she had.  A big factor for me to want to try these soaps from Trovina was that they are natural, and not the melt and pour soaps.  The soaps are made with vegan ingredients and essential oils.  

Their story from their website:


Trovina was founded to bring truly natural soap to anyone who wanted it. In the search for natural soap just for our own personal use, we found that even handmade soapers didn't list their ingredients or listed them vaguely like "blend of oils and fats" or "fragrances."

It would leave us thinking, "Well, what kind?" "Natural or synthetic?"

We are a family of 5 - mom, dad, and 3 boys. During the recession, a lay-off created the need to make a little extra money and to keep busy. Rebecca had earned a certificate in Family Herbalism from Dr. Christopher's School of Natural Healing and was looking for a good way to put that knowledge to use. We decided to learn how to make our own soap and make it really natural.


We list all our ingredients in a straight-forward way and never hide anything from you.

We also never use animal fat or animal products. Since we create our own formulas and understand the chemistry of soaping, we are in a unique position to make whatever you want in a personal-sized batch. We offer custom soaps starting at $20 (5 bar yeild). Contact us for more information - these things are best discussed via email or phone.

**SIDE NOTE: We do use Kansas honey in two of our soaps. The honey is from a farmer that we know - there is no cruelty to bees here. We have vegans that are OK with honey and others who are not. 

The choice is yours. **


I was so excited, as I was able to try out several different soaps. Each one has a unique scent.  Each one is absolutely amazing.  They all leave my skin feeling silly and moisturized.  The scents are with essential oils, and are the perfect balance of scent.  They aren't too strong, but leave a lingering scent on my skin.  They are also my substitute for shaving soap.  They lather up enough to go on my legs, armpits, or wherever and let the razor do it's work without razor burn.  When done, my skin is amazing feeling.  

I was also able to try the soap saver dish and the body scrubber.  

The soap dish is angled, and is perfect for keeping your soap from dissolving away.  It's going to happen with the normal soap dish.  The water collects, and eventually the soap sitting in the water vanishes before it's time.  This dish is at a slope, and has a pour spout.  The water drains away, and my soaps have lasted a lot longer than my other store bought bar soaps I have in my shower (because I don't want to share with my husband).  

The body scrubber is great for the last pieces of my soap!  I stick the soap inside, get the scrubber wet, and the soap comes through allowing me to not waste the last of my soap.  It gets my skin clean, but it's not harsh or rough on my skin.  It hangs up to dry between my showering.  

If you are looking for homemade soaps for yourself, or as a gift for this upcoming holiday season, you can find Trovina on Facebook or on their website at https://www.trovina.com/

I received this free to test and offer up my opinion.  All thoughts are my own.  

Happy Camper Designs Personalized Gifts

This post contains sponsored links. 

My kids have managed to get me into watching anime.  One that I have come to love, although it is rather gruesome, is Attack on Titan.  I've tried watching different shows.  Tokyo Ghoul and Madoka are a few.  I just haven't found any I like as much as Attack on Titan.  Due to this, I found it a fun way to add to my coffee cup collection by putting the Wing of Freedom on my cup through 
Happy Camper Designs

I was able to send her the picture I wanted, and she was able to put it on my cup.  

I love the two different colors I got as well.  I have the black cup, as well as a white cup to use.  Both look amazing with the picture I sent her.  

She was great at communicating with me.  She was quick to let me know that the black one had a visual defect, so she was sending me the white one as well. The only thing about the black is that the picture wraps around the cup when it shouldn't have, and I can actually feel the picture as it isn't quite flat.  

The white cup, which is the one that is the true cup I would have gotten, is perfect with the cropping and the picture feels as if it is an actual piece of the cup.  There are no seams or ridges anywhere.  I'm mentioning the defect on the black cup so you know that she is aware of the condition of her products and she won't send anything subpar.  She wants you to get a quality product.  I was very happy to find this out about her and how she worked with me on my personalized cup.  

These arrived at my house quickly and packaged very well with a styrofoam cup insert inside their boxes.  There were no issues at all, and I give her a perfect rating.  

The great part is the variety of products she can personalize for you.  There's not just coffee cups, but water bottles, key chains, drawstring bags, charm bracelets, stuffed animals, blanket sets, decals, ceramic tiles, and other items as well.  You can find her on Facebook or on Etsy at Happy Camper Designs.  

These were provided at no charge for my personal opinion.  All thoughts are my own. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Finding the perfect family vehicle with Cars.com

Sponsored post

Finding the right car for your family can be both exciting and stressful.  You want something that you will fall in love with, but you also want a vehicle that is reliable.  As a mom of 10, I know how horrible it is to find yourself stranded with the family because of an unreliable vehicle.  A little extra research into our vehicle would have given us some insight into the problems to expect from that particular make, model, and year.

Researching my out the pros and cons of your vehicle is something I have learned (the hard way) is very important.  Once you have found the vehicle, or vehicles, you want to shop for, the next step is to search for the perfect one for you and your family.  There are so many places to shop for cars both online and in person.  Online is wonderful because you don't spend all your time and gas traveling to see a car and you come up empty handed.  However, you also don't get to touch and test drive cars you find online.  Nobody wants to buy sight unseen.  

Our family van recently died on us, as did my husband's work truck.  I found https://www.cars.com, and I've discovered the best of both worlds in car shopping.  I am able to search online for my family vehicle with new and used vehicles.  However, I can also search from 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, up to 500 miles away, and even all listing they have.  I can search out the make and model of what I'm looking for.  

I can also go to those locations and look at, touch, and test drive the vehicle.  If I love it, I can go though the purchasing process for it.  It really makes it easy and time saving to shop through https://www.cars.com.  They also have experts give you new car reviews, as well as an area with reviews for specific cars you are looking into.  I'm loving the ability to save time in my search.  I'm hoping to find what we need and love.  

Have you used https://www.cars.com?
What was you experience?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Brick Fest Live LEGO Fan Experience

If you have kids, and are in the Kansas City area, this post is for you.  My kids LOVE LEGO toys, and this is something that I know they'd love to do. Now there's even a discount for all of you to use!

July 8-9 LEGO lovers rejoice! The Brick Fest Live LEGO Fan Experience is filled with hands-on attractions and activities built to inspire, educate, and entertain.


Sat, Jul 8, 2017, 9:00 AM - 
Sun, Jul 9, 2017, 6:00 PM EDT

KCI Expo Center
11730 NW Ambassador Dr
Kansas City, MO 64153

MY READERS SAVE! Save $3 off tickets with promo code USFGTHREE

Enjoy an amazing LEGO world where you can marvel at giant creations and even build some of your own.

The Brick Fest Live LEGO Fan Experience provides a venue for LEGO lovers of all sizes to celebrate, build new creations, and see some truly mind-blowing LEGO sculptures to help set the imagination free.

Attractions Include:

The Brick Show Experience: Meet popular YouTube LEGO show hosts from The Brick Show and be featured on in an upcoming video.

Brick Fest Derby: Build and race your custom built LEGO derby car down one of our 35-foot long timed tracks!

Collaborative Building Activities: Contribute to large-scale mystery floor mosaic.

Inspiration Stations: Add to existing LEGO cities and make them your own by building custom creations.

Video Game Arena: Have a favorite LEGO video game? Come challenge your family or make new friends in the Brick Fest Gaming Arena playing your favorite LEGO title head to head.

Mini Golf: A miniature golf course built to inspire! Take your game to the next level on the Brick-Links.

Brick Fest Theater Trivia & Entertainment: Participate in LEGO trivia all while taking a break from what will be an overwhelming amount of awesome!

Mosaics: Using a colorful variety of LEGO bricks, build a piece of art to proudly display for other attendees.

Shopping: Find new, vintage, rare, and custom LEGO sets and merchandise from one of the many merchants in attendance.

MY READERS SAVE! Save $3 off tickets with promo code USFGTHREE

More info - KCI Expo Center
11730 NW Ambassador Dr
Kansas City, MO 64153