Poster My Wall

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I love projects and creating graphics and posters for events.  But these days, even the seconds are full, thanks to a toddler, a full-time job which is work even from home, and the occasional urge to enjoy some “me” time. I needed a quicker way to market upcoming events, because DIY projects a la Pinterest are fun, but they take TIME. And boy oh boy, time is of the essence these days.

One afternoon, as I took a quick breather from errands, I turned to Google for a little help. During my search, I discovered PosterMyWall! After taking a “tour” of their site, I found a variety of templates that I could use to advertise my upcoming events. WOOHOO!!! I finally found a way to create some pretty cool posters and flyers that didn’t require too much time or super duper artistic talent.

Even better, PosterMyWall offers prints and downloads. So depending on how quickly I need something, I can either order flyers (even double-sided ones, yes!) or digital files. And I can upload the digital copy to websites and Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter!!! (If you want to know what else PosterMyWall offers, check out this page).

http://www.postermywall.com/index.php/p/fundraising-posters

And right now you can get a deal on your poster needs!   Just follow this link to get half off your order!

http://usfamilyguide.com/coupons.php?bid=12820&dealid=2749

These are great for events and projects, but also awesome for your home!  So check it out and create a poster for whatever you need!

 

AdormaPix Special Offer!

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Minecraft Summer Splash

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A few weeks ago, Lola had the opportunity to participate in another Minecraft event hosted by Super League Gaming at the local Cinemark Theater in Bee Cave, TX.  Her and her friend spent every morning for 1 week at the theater working on their builds and gaming with other kids from all over the country.  They had a great time!  They were treated really well, had a lot of fun and made some new friends.  We highly recommend these tournaments when they come around.  This is the second one she has done and she is really looking forward to doing more in the future.

This time around it wasn’t just about the game, but they worked on tons of builds with an ocean theme.  The creativity of these kids and how they learn each others strengths and work together to complete these complicated structures is inspiriting.  Imagine if adults could always work together like that?!

So as summer comes to a close and school is just around the corner, we are grateful to Super League Gaming for giving Lola the opportunity to experience this event and look forward to more!

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Stonyfield Goodness

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Hey all!  This month Stonyfield challenged the Yo Getters to come up with some recipes using Stonyfield Yogurt and Nativas Naturals products.  I received the Mulberry Berries and Hemp Seeds.  Both of these are super nutritious additions to any recipe.

Why do you want these in your pantry?  Read on…

Mulberry Berries

Mulberries are native to the Morus genus of trees and can be found in many parts of the world nowadays, but they originated in the Far East, traveling along the Silk Road from China to Turkey. Beyond their sweet and delicate flavor, mulberries are an excellent source of nutrients including iron, calcium, vitamin C, protein and fiber.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds provide a healthy dose of protein, omega fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants and minerals.

Hemp is a well-balanced vegetarian protein source that includes all of the essential amino acids. Not only is hemp one of the best veggie sources of protein, it’s easy for the body to digest and assimilate. Hemp also features plenty of other nutrients including abundant fiber, chlorophyll, vitamins and omega-3 and -6 essential fatty acids.

The Recipes

I made the best dinner the other night using Stonyfield Yogurts and Navita Naturals products.  I love testing new recipes and decided instead of doing just one recipe with my yogurt, why not base an entire meal around it?

So for your enjoyment, here is what I made:

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Middle Eastern Inspired Chicken

I love Middle Eastern and Mediterranean style food.  The spices and freshness are so appealing and healthy.  For this dish, the spices and yogurt were a perfect match.

INGREDIENTS

1⁄2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove, crushed
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon ground coriander
1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 lbs boneless skinless chicken

DIRECTIONS

Mix the yogurt with the seasonings and place in a plastic bag with the chicken.

Marinate for 2 hours to overnight.

Pound chicken in the bag with the marinade to 1/2 thick and grill, saute, skewer or bake until lightly browned and cooked through.

Serve with rice or pasta and salad and enjoy!

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Greek Inspired Salad

For the salad I chopped up Romaine lettuce and added heirloom cherry tomatoes, sliced black olives, goat cheese crumbles, chopped cucumbers and topped it with Navitas Naturals Mulberry Berries and Hemp Seeds.  Super simple!  The dressing is a yogurt dressing I made and oh my gosh, Stonyfield organic yogurt is perfect for this.  All the flavor of Ranch without all the bad for you fat and extra ingredients!  This didn’t last the night.

Lemon-Dill Yogurt Dressing

1 cup while milk Stonyfield plain yogurt, drained for 1 hour in a strainer (save the whey that drips out for smoothies!)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill

After yogurt has drained and thickened, combine everything into a bowl and refrigerate for an hour.  Great with salads or as a dip!!

And to top off the meal, a dessert using my yogurt and toppings!  These also didn’t hang out for long.

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French Yogurt Cupcakes

Nonstick canola oil spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup raw sugar
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
3/4 cup plain whole-milk Stonyfield yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Navitas Naturals Mulberry Berries and Hemp Seeds.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat cupcake pan with canola oil spray or paper liners.

Whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and kosher salt in a medium bowl.

Using your fingers, rub raw sugar with lemon zest in a large bowl until sugar is moist. Add yogurt, oil, eggs, and vanilla extract; whisk to blend. Fold in dry ingredients just to blend.

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Sprinkle help seeds and mulberries on top if desired. Bake until top of cakecakes are golden brown and a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.

Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto rack; let cool completely.  Can top with homemade whipped cream if desired.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

So there you have it!  My Stonyfield based meal!  You can find Stonyfield products at most grocery stores.  The yogurt is perfect to use in recipes subbing out higher fat ingredients…we use it everyday!  Hope you enjoy and let me know what you have made with your Stonyfield products!

The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only ever work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Please read my full review and endorsement policy here.

An Interview With Shirley Nolan

This is a combined review and interview with someone not only very near and dear to me, but who is also a very talented writer.  I am so pleased to introduce you to my mom, Shirley Nolan Amador and her new novel, Lotus.

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My mom grew up in Indio, California during the 50’s.  Her parents were small business owners and very well known in this, then small community.  She was an avid reader and had a huge imagination.  But like for most young girls in that era, opportunity wasn’t as plentiful as it is now.  Mom had many interests and aspirations, however, as most girls did then, she married young and within a couple years was a mother…to me as it so happens..;)  I am aging myself now…ha!  She really loved becoming a mom though….:)

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I know my mother was happy with her new role as housewife and stay at home mom.  She went on the have 6 children in all, loving all of us for our own special gifts.  Putting her hobbies and interests aside, or at least gearing them to benefit all of us (she could sew a wardrobe for each of us in no time!), she did what every other mother does…she did her best.  No matter what happened in our world, mom always tried to make it seem like she was the happiest woman ever.  And I believe for a time she really was!  She certainly loves children, she is a wonderful grandmother to all our kids now!  But I also know my mom had dreams that didn’t really involve any of us.  Back in those days, to want to follow your dreams was considered in popular society to be selfish.  She grew up in an era where you took care of your husband and children, and didn’t always aspire to do more.  Those women that did were viewed by many as rebels.  That dirty word was born, feminists!  I know this caused her some dissatisfaction in life for a time. But even though she was a dutiful wife and mother, she still taught all of us to follow our dreams, no matter what that meant.  I remember her saying as long as we were happy and not hurting anyone, that was the goal.

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As times changed and opportunities opened up to women, so did my mom’s world.  After most of us were raised and on our own, she only had my two youngest sisters left at home.   So she decided to go back to school.  She worked hard and graduated with her Associate’s degree in Paralegal Studies.  She started working in criminal law and was extremely good at it.  She was part of some of the biggest cases in Southern California during those years.  I was so proud of her being on the front page of several newspapers after a particular difficult and grueling case was finished.  During these years she has been threatened, even carried a small gun for awhile for protection, seen cases defeated, had her heart broken by her young clients (she treated most of them as if they were her own children), but she continued fighting for what she believed in.  This little Irish woman is tough!

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(my mom and youngest sister)

After several years and a move to Texas, she started working at a major chain bookstore.  Happy in her little town, close to her grandkids and making new friends, her love of reading and books were once again opened up to her.  She met authors, organized literary events,  and read everything she could during those years.  During this time, she felt something growing inside of her.  Something she had put away for years.  It was her imagination.  It was back and she had a story to tell.

Lotus was born through my mom’s imagination and dreams.  It is a story, very symbolically close to her own, about a young woman learning to find her inner strength and balance both her great loves…her desire to be the best mom as well as to follow her dreams.  I am so proud of my mom.  She is a true inspiration and a shining example of it never being too late to discover yourself completely.  I am proud to be her daughter and can only pray that I become half the woman she is.  Thank you mom for this gift….

And now, a short interview with my mom….Welcome Shirley….thank you so much for agreeing to do this.  Let’s dive in!

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Where can my readers buy or see Lotus?

Lotus is available at Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com as well as select B and N stores, and at my website!

Tell us a little bit about the story.

This is a story of a young Chinese woman who comes to America from China on the verge of becoming a mother. She and her young husband settle in San Francisco Chinatown and she is stalked for the slave-trade.  She is a stranger in this country and unsure of what her role is in her new life.

Give us an insight into your main idea. What inspired you to come up with the theme?

I have always loved San Francisco and greatly admire the Asian culture. I heard a story when I was a child from a friend of my Mom’s. Her mother disappeared in Chinatown and was never found. This story stuck with me.  Lotus is my version of this and similar stories.

What are you working on at the moment? Any other books in the works?

Yes, I’m working on a sequel to Lotus, it will be called Violet. I also have a children’s book that I wrote and have done nothing with yet, however I eventually will get that out and work on it. It is a story of a ranch and a horse and is based on a period of time in my own life.  Lotus took on a life of it’s own in my imagination and so had to be written and published first…;)

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Did you always see yourself as an author?

Not really, although I have always loved to write. After a career as a criminal paralegal and investigator in California I feel I have stories in my head that need to be told.

How did you do the research for this story?

I am familiar with San Francisco and have visited many times. I did most of the research on line. I researched the earthquake and places that existed at that time as well as Chinese culture and immigration.  I would like to return to San Francisco before finishing Violet for more inspiration.

Do you have any other cultural influences you are exploring for future books?

In Violet the missing girl is Korean, not Chinese.  And will pick up a few years after Lotus ends.

What are your other interests?

I have a degree in Paralegal Studies from Fullerton College. I worked for many years as a Court Appointed paralegal and investigator in California handling high profile murder cases. After moving to Texas I worked for a major bookstore for eight years. Reading is a passion of mine. I started reading before I started school and have been an avid reader ever since. I also enjoy sewing, knitting and other crafts. I love to travel and enjoy spending time with my grandchildren.

Anything else you would like to add?

Although this book was written as adult fiction, I think young girls would enjoy it. I would say 12 and older. It sends an important message to young girls on issues as trust and being aware of your surroundings.

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

I have just launched my new website Shirley Nolan Amador

Facebook: Shirley Amador

Twitter:  Shirley Amador

My review

I was captivated with Lotus from the first chapter.  During the climax of the book I literally cried with worry about the fate of the main character.  I could not put the book down and read it in just a couple days.  Highly recommended!  And this isn’t just because the author happens to be my mom, but because it’s a good story!  So don’t wait….do yourself a favor and pick up a copy…

Peace!

Creating

Yes, two posts in one day!  I just had to share with you my creative streak however.  The girls have been at Grandma and Papa’s since Monday, and yesterday I didn’t have to work.  So what does a mom do when home alone all day (other than laundry, bathrooms and vacuuming of course!)?  I created for both home and girls.  And I made a big lovely mess in the process that still hasn’t been cleaned up because once inspiration strikes, I need to go with it man!  I only have one little charge today and he’s easy peasy, so more sewing it will be…I hope.  The girls will be home this afternoon, then leaving again on Monday for next week.  Lola is taking swim lessons up at her Grandparents’ house, and Xi is finally old enough to feel confident joining in on the trip away from mom and dad.  They are both having a blast, and it sounds like so are Grandma and Papa!  It will be double Grandma whammy this weekend when my mom comes up to visit tomorrow and spend the night.  The girls are beside themselves with glee that they get to have so many slumber parties with two of their favorite ladies.

I will have an update on what went on all week and all they’ve learned.  So far I found out that both girls learned to float on their backs (Lola is in official lessons while Xi is responding to Grandma’s gentle guidance in the pool quite wonderfully.  Not too surprising as she’s inherited her dad’s absolute love for water.)

Hope your weekend is just fabulous!  Peace!

My very inexpensive, and somewhat frustrating machine.  I ended up having to take part of it apart and figuring out why it wouldn’t sew properly.  Internet research!  Love it!  Now it’s sewing beautifully once again.

Summer skirts from the Lazy Days Skirt pattern.  So easy!
New library bags.  Xi’s on the right and Lola’s on the left.
Aw!  Pillow covers!
Scrap heaven.  These will turn into a myriad of gifts and things for the house.
Still a mess, but I’m having too much fun with it (now that the machine actually functions as it should.)