Authors Posts by Callie Helm

Callie Helm

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I’m a self confessed stuffing snob.  I love it so much, and look forward to it so much when Thanksgiving rolls around that I take it super seriously.  It has to have the right blend of texture, ingredients and spices, and when they all come together it’s magical!  This is by far my very favorite stuffing recipe.  You can eat it alone for your Thanksgiving meal.  It’s THAT good.  Enjoy!!

 

 

 

 

 

CRANBERRY-CORNBREAD STUFFING

 

4 cups cranberries

1 cup water

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 pound sausage meat, cooked and crumbled, with drippings

9 cups baked, crumbled cornbread (3 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix, baked)

1 cup diced celery

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup diced green pepper

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1/2 teaspoon marjoram

1/2 teaspoon sage

1 small unpeeled red apple, cored and chopped

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 cup applesauce

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, water and sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer ten minutes, or until berries are tender.  Drain off juice.
  3. Combine drained berries with the remaining ingredients. Turn into a greased casserole and bake one hour.

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It’s inexpensive, it smells good, and there are a lot more uses for Kool-Aid than just drinking it! Check out out all these awesome ways to use it, from activities for keeping kids busy to household chores, Kool-Aid can (almost) do it all!

 

 

 

Scrub away toilet bowl stains

Pour one packet of lemon or orange flavored Kool-Aid into your toilet bowl and let it sit for a few minutes. Scrub the bowl with a toilet brush. The citric acid and abrasive texture of Kool-Aid helps to break down and dissolve stains while smelling awesome! Much better than harsh chemicals!

 

Remove rust stains from concrete

Most of us can relate to these kinds of stains on our patio, garage floor or driveaway. Mix a few drops of water with a packet of lemon flavored Kool-Aid to make a paste. Rub it on to the stained area with an abrasive brush and watch it work wonders!

 

Color eggs

Never buy an Easter Egg coloring kit again! Kool-Aid comes in a ton of different colors now, and the packets are inexpensive! Mix one packet of your desired color with 2/3 cup of water and gently lower a hard boiled egg into the cup. Let it sit until desired shade of color is reached. We do this every year, and I promise they tuned out beautiful!

 

Make window clings with Kool-Aid and white glue

Pour Kool-Aid into a bottle of white school glue and mix thoroughly using a thin, long utensil like a chopstick or kebab stick. You can use the new colored glue to create art on canvas or paper, or make designs on stretched plastic wrap (tape down the sides to remove the creases) that can be dried and used as window clings! It smells good too!

 

Make scented playdough

Mix the following ingredients in a medium pot to make Kool-Aid playdough:
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 Kool-Aid packets (same color)
  • 3/4 cup water

Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring until the dough clumps together and reaches play dough consistency. Repeat the process for each color. Let cool and store in plastic baggies.

 

Make scented/flavored lip gloss

Heat up one cup of Vaseline in a small microwavable bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds (don’t let the Vaseline turn into liquid). Stir in a small amount Kool-Aid mix and stir well. Experiment with how much Kool-Aid to add. Transfer lip gloss to a small, portable container and enjoy!

 

Kool-Aid colored pasta

Make pasta extra fun, colorful and smelling great! Just add pasta, water and kool-aid in a baggie, let sit until desired color is reached, rinse, and you’ve got colored pasta!  You can cook as usual and eat it or use for fun art projects!

 

Make scented bath paints

Get a muffin tin and fill each hole with shaving cream (you can get it for $1 at the dollar store), then mix in different flavors of Kool-Aid into each hole and mix it up. Kids can dip in paint brushes and then paint on the bathtub and tiles while they’re taking a bath!

 

 

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Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and although most of us look forward to a big Thanksgiving feast with family, the prep work and festivities can feel overwhelming at times!  It takes a lot of planning and patience to have a stress-free holiday.  Here are some tips to make it a truly enjoyable season for everyone involved!

 

 

1. Get organized. As Meghan Trainor says, “All the right junk in all the right places”.  A stress free Thanksgiving starts with a clean and organized home.  If you’re hosting Thanksgiving this year, hire someone a week before to come in and least do the deep cleaning for you, or ask a friend to come in and help.  Clean and organize your fridge, as well as your oven and kitchen areas.  Put stray papers and knick knacks away so all of your prep surfaces are free from clutter.  Wash linens for guests, and make sure necessities like toilet paper, paper towels, and toiletries are well stocked. You don’t want to have to make last minute trips to the store for your guests.

2. Plan your meals.  We put a lot of emphasis on Thanksgiving dinner, but make sure your other meals are planned out for the week as well, especially if guests are coming into town.  Make casseroles, or meals you can prepare easily.  Don’t break your back slaving over fancy meals for your guests, because you’ll be on your feet enough on Thanksgiving day!  Write down a menu and ingredient list for the week, and stick to it!

3. Don’t wait until the last minute.  Start preparing now. Buy your turkey and all the trimmings ahead of time.  You’ll be glad you did when the grocery store lines are a mile long next week!

4. Delegate responsibilities.  Typically family and friends are happy to help. If you have a large guest list, ask Aunt Norma to bring the green bean casserole, and cousin Sally to bring games to keep the kids entertained. Ask each family/guest to contribute in some way and everyone will feel needed and appreciated, and you’ll feel less stressed.  It’s a win-win situation.

5. Plan your menu.  Pin down your guest list first.  It’s key to know how many people you are cooking for. Figure out how you’re going to cook your turkey, how long it will take, as well as all the side dishes you want well in advance. Pinterest is a great tool for finding new recipes, but so is asking friends for their tried and true Thanksgiving side dishes!  Consider having a Thanksgiving recipe swap party to share and try your favorite Fall recipes!

6. Budget wisely.  Hosting Thanksgiving can easily become expensive. Asking everyone to bring something helps with this, but also make sure you have enough silverware, dishes, chairs, etc. to accommodate everyone.  If you don’t, consider borrowing these items to limit your cost. Simplicity is key.  Remember that your guests are there to spend time with you.  We want our home to be welcoming, but that doesn’t mean it has to look like a Pinterest board or break our budget.

7. Make a plan for the kids.  Adults are happy to just to sit and chat, but kids may need a little more direction with how to spend their time on Thanksgiving Day. You’ll be busy cooking, so make sure to designate another adult or older cousin/friend as caregiver/wrangler. Make sure the kids have activities, games and/or crafts to do to keep them busy while you’re busy.

8. Don’t forget the leftovers.  Make sure you have plenty of storage baggies and take home containers on hand for leftovers.  Sending your guests home with some leftovers frees up space in your fridge and ensures you’re not eating turkey until Christmas.  It will also make clean up a breeze!

What are some Thanksgiving tips you would recommend? We’d love to hear from you! 

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“They’re going to lead me to an early death!”

“They’re giving me gray hairs!”

Raise your hand if you’ve either thought or said these sentences out loud when it comes to raising kids. It’s a running “joke” among moms that our kids are going to kill us one of these days because of the stress they put us through, because parenting is NOT easy!

 

Rewarding? Yes.

Would we trade it for the world? No way!

Parenting can be a physical and emotional roller coaster for sure, but did you know that some research is showing that giving birth and raising children may actually age our cells prematurely? Yay.

Researchers analyzed information from 1,556 U.S. women ages 20 to 44 who took part in a national survey from 1999 to 2002. The study involved these women giving blood samples.

Researchers were interested in examining the women’s genetic material inside their cells, namely telomeres. These are “caps” on the end of chromosomes that prevent chromosomes from damage.

Telomeres naturally shorten as people age, but the structures don’t shorten at the same rate in every person. The longer a person’s telomeres are, the more times their cells could hypothetically still divide, research has shown. Thus, telomeres are considered a marker of biological age — that is, the age of a person’s cells, rather than the individual’s chronological age.”

The study showed that women who had given birth had telomeres that were on average, 4% shorter than women who had never given birth. The results suggest that a “history of live birth may be associated with shorter telomeres,” the researchers wrote in their abstract, which was presented this week at the meeting of the American Public HealthAssociation in Denver. [9 Uncommon Conditions That Pregnancy May Bring]

Further research needs to be done to prove why telomeres in mother’s seem to be shorter, but the standing hypothesis for now is that having children increases stress levels, and high stress in humans is linked to shorter telomeres.

So there you have it. We’re doomed! Or, you can take the study with a giant grain of salt… because we all know many many mothers who lived well into their 80’s and 90’s, and even past 100! In my opinion, it’s all about perception. We can choose to dwell on being stressed all the time and view motherhood as a never ending chore, or we can focus on the amazing blessing that our children are, and choose happiness. I for one choose the latter! Motherhood is one of the greatest opportunities I will ever take part in, and I am happy to give up the length of my telomeres for it.

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Colorado Springs is full of lots of treats this Halloween, with no tricks required! Families and their little monsters can enjoy tons of spookalicious deals today throughout Colorado Springs at participating restaurants. Please note there are some age limitations and some locations require costumes to participate. If you’re unsure, just call the location ahead of time before popping in! Keep your eyes out today for lots of great deals, as many locally owned stores have deals too! Happy Halloween!!

 

 

  1. Starbucks – If you made a coffee stop this morning, just bring your morning receipt back after 2 p.m. and get one of their bakery treats for $1! 
  2. SONIC Drive-In – Get crazy with some Sonic corn dogs today for only 50-cents each, all day!
  3. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro – Feeling like some Chinese take out to celebrate? Save 20% on an online take-out order with promo code 20%TREAT.
  4. Papa Murphy’s – Enjoy a Jack-O-Lantern shaped pizza for only $8 — or upgrade to Family Size for $2 more!
  5. Noodles & Company – Kids eat FREE with purchase of an adult entrée — coupon required.
  6. Mimi’s Café – Children (12 & under) get a FREE scoop of ice cream with sprinkles with purchase of kid’s entrée.
  7. McAlister’s Deli– Kids (12 & under) eat FREE with the purchase of an adult entrée. Costume required.
  8. IHOP – Kids (12 & under) can enjoy a FREE Scary Face Pancake from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m on October 31st!
  9. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit – Kids eat FREE with the purchase of an adult meal of $7.50 or more. Please note: Costume required.
  10. Cici’s – Children (10 & under) enjoy a FREE kids’ buffet with the purchase of an adult buffet and regular drink. Costume required.
  11. Chipotle Mexican Grill – Enjoy a burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos for only $3 from 3 p.m. to closing! Costume required.
  12. Boston Market – Save yourself $4 on a Family Meal today!coupon required.
  13. Baskin-Robbins – Get a single scoop of ice cream for $1.31

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Most of us look forward to the holidays, because who doesn’t love family, food, and fun?! But if you’re in charge of Thanksgiving dinner, you know how things can get a little chaotic and dare I say stressful… because let’s face it, it’s not easy getting a huge meal prepared on time for a whole bunch of family and friends! Here are some practical and easy Thanksgiving hacks to make your day go a little more smoothly!

 

 

1. Put newspaper under your tablecloth

If you’re using your best table for your Thanksgiving feast, you can protect it from heat stains, spills, and cutlery dings by laying down a layer of newspaper before putting down your tablecloth. You’re welcome!

2. Use a cheese grater to grate cold butter for pies

Homemade pie is the best!! But the very best pie crust calls for super cold butter, which is hard to cut! Grating it with a cheese grater gives you the perfect size pieces to form your dough with.

3. Use paper plates as splash guards

Gravy and whipped cream (and other recipes) that may call for a handheld mixer can also be messy! Lessen the splatter by poking a hole in a paper plate, fitting it on your mixer and over the top of the mixing bowl. Voila! Your very own cheap and easy splash guard!

4. Keep food warm in a slow cooker

Make mashed potatoes ahead of time and keep them warm in a slow cooker until it’s time to serve them. You can also keep your turkey warm and moist this way!

5. Keep gravy warm in a Thermos

Keep your gravy warm the entire meal by storing it in a Thermos! Less stress and more room on the stove!

6. Invest in a Turkey Lifter

Sometimes the trickiest part of Thanksgiving dinner is lifting the cooked turkey out of the pan! Instead of fumbling with forks and utensils, you can buy a turkey lifter which cooks with the bird, easily lifts it up and can be thrown into the dishwasher.

7. Have the kids make place cards

Keep the kids busy by having them make place cards for the guests! Give them some crayons, stickers and other craft items that they can decorate the cards with. They’ll have fun, and the adults will be able to chat and enjoy visiting.

8. Make a “Gratitude” door

Another fun activity for everyone! Cover one of your doors on the main floor with butcher paper and leave a bucket of crayons close by. Every guest can write all the the things they are grateful for on the paper. It makes for a great visual.

9. Drape dish towel over your KitchenAid mixer

Things can get a little messy when you’re using your mixer. Simply drape a dish towel over your KitchenAid when using it to avoid unnecessary splatter!

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Yes. Aren’t you glad we live in a world where stores now offer Christmas ornaments in the shape of lady parts?! Because who wouldn’t want to adorn their tree with a vagina? I’m all for girl power, but definitely undecided when it comes to including “ya-yas” in my holiday decorating. If anything, I’m sure they make amazing conversation starters…or gifts.

 

 

Ahem.

You can purchase your own custom made felt vagina ornament complete with a jingle bell…. through the Etsy store Feltmelons. They come in different colors, and since each and every ornament is hand crafted, there will be slight variations in every ornament. Just like the real thing.

The ornaments are the brain child of Canadian, Suzanne McAleenan who operates her Etsy shop out of her home.

“Each ‘vaginament’ is my own design, and each is endearingly cut, assembled, and entirely stitched by hand in my dining room in Burlington, Ontario, Canada,” she writes.

“No vaginaments are exactly the same…it’s all part of their charm.”

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If ornaments like this are a MUST-have on your Christmas list this year, you might want to order them early since they are shipped from Canada.

Suzanne is currently trying to keep up with a massive amount of orders, but you can sign up through her store to receive updates when more are available.

You know, since it’s not likely these will be sold at Hobby Lobby any time soon…

 

 

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Find your happy place at an advance screening of TROLLS in Colorado Springs! For your chance to download a complimentary pass for the screening on October 29 at 10:00 am at Cinemark Carefree Circle please visit http://www.gofobo.com/My719Moms. Seats in the theater are first-come, first-serve so please arrive early! TROLLS opens everywhere November 4.

 

 

Movie Release: November 4, 2016

Cast:  Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Russell Brand, Zooey Deschanel, Jeffrey Tambor, Christine Baranski, James Corden, Kunal Nayyar, Ron Funches, Icona Pop, Quvenzhané Wallis, with John Cleese and Gwen Stefani

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From the creators of Shrek comes the most smart, funny, irreverent animated comedy of the year, DreamWorks’ Trolls.  This holiday season, enter a colorful, wondrous world populated by hilariously unforgettable characters and discover the story of the overly optimistic Trolls, with a constant song on their lips, and the comically pessimistic Bergens, who are only happy when they have trolls in their stomach. 

Check out the trailer below!

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I think as moms we all have this idea of how “the talk” will go, or how we will handle sensitive questions that our children throw at us… but the moment almost never goes as planned, because usually the moment is totally unpredictable and happens when we least expect it!! Such was the case when my 9-year-old son asked me about periods last week.

 

 

 

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I honestly wasn’t ready for this talk with him! I have two teenage daughters who I literally sat down when they were 8 or 9 and very carefully explained everything to them. I planned for it. I bought books and everything! Maybe it was easier for me because they were girls? I was a girl, so I felt like I could relate to them! But when my SON came to me one evening while I was working and told me my 17-year-old daughter told him “girls have something happen to them every month that hurts and makes them grouchy”, I kind of went into panic mode.  This is how the conversation went:

My son: “I want to know EVERYTHING, mom”

Me: “Are you… sure?” (Kid, this is your escape. Run for the hills!)

Son: “Yes. Everything.”

Me: Deep breath and silent prayers…”Uhh, ok”

“Well, as you know, girls and boys have different body parts, right?”

Son: “Yeah! I have a penis!!”

Me: “Right…well, girls have other parts that help them carry a baby inside their body.”

Son: “Like, their stomach right? I have a stomach too.”

Me: “No, babies don’t grow inside stomachs. They grow inside a ladies uterus, which is like a pouch down here” (motions where it is)

Son: “Ohhh, like a sack?! I have one of those too!”

Me: (heaven help me) “Well, actually this is on the inside of a woman’s body, down here (motions to where it is) And every month it gets ready in case a baby starts growing there. It gets really soft and comfortable and pillowy, the perfect place for a baby!”

At this point my son is completely intrigued. He looks as if someone just handed him 10 packs of Pokeman cards. And I’m patting myself on the back because I’m totally rocking this talk! Everything is going so smoothly…

I continue: “So, if a lady doesn’t get pregnant that month (please don’t ask me how she gets pregnant or I’ll poke my eyes out) her body gets rid of the old stuff in her uterus and it starts all over again”

My son: “Cool, ok, so how does she get rid of the old stuff?”

Me: “Well, that’s a period! It comes out as blood and stuff, from her vagina. She bleeds.”

My son’s expression instantly changes from intrigue to horror (I caught the moment with a photo. See below)

 

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Me: (nervous laugh) Yep, so that’s a period. Aren’t bodies amazing?!! And sometimes it hurts and sometimes it makes girls a little grouchy. And that’s why we buy lots of pads and tampons around here…

Son: “Oh my gosh!” (makes connection) “the pads and tampons catch the BLOOD?!!”

He looks equally disgusted and mesmerized at the same time.

Me: “Well, yes. But even though women don’t like getting their periods, they are very grateful that their bodies can grow babies. Women’s bodies are beautiful and sacred and special.”

Son: “Well, that’s for sure”

This is where I felt like I might cry a little…

Me: “So, how are you feeling about this??”

Son: “Well, I actually feel really grateful that I am a boy right now. And I have something I would like to say to the girls…”

I wasn’t expecting what happened next.

He ran upstairs, found his sisters, and very sincerely and seriously said “Girls, I AM SO SORRY! I am so sorry you have to have periods every month for like 3 or 5 days, and I understand why sometimes you don’t want to talk to me.”

They giggled and laughed, but he was super serious about it, and it was slightly adorable.

Our talk may have been a little awkward, a little unpredictable, and a little messy, but we survived, and it went ok. I don’t know that there is a “right” way to have these talks, because every child and every parent is different. I think the important thing is to know that they will happen so prepare yourself as much as possible! And be sincere about it when they do happen. Talk to your child on their level, using ideas that they can understand and relate to.

The best part is watching my son revel in this new found information. He has a little more confidence now, like he’s discovered a hidden level on a video game. It’s cute, and he’s totally diggin’ it. I also love that it taught him compassion and respect.

And now this mama can breathe for a while…until he wants to know EVERYTHING about how babies are made…

goyag

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s that time of year!! You can’t walk into a store these days without running into “Pumpkin Spice” something! I’m not sure how a candle scent and bread/cake flavor transformed into a flavor avalanche of ALL things pumpkin spice…. but it’s become an epidemic of sorts! Now don’t get me wrong, I do occasionally enjoy the scent and flavor of Pumpkin Spice during the Holiday season, I just don’t know if I need it added to everything. Check out some of these crazy Pumpkin Spice products that have been spotted…and let us know, yay or nay??

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice….milk

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Pumpkin Spice Fettuccini 

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Pumpkin Spice Pringles

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Pumpkin Spice Jell-o

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Pumpkin Spice Peanut Butter 

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Pumpkin Spice Condoms (ok this one is fake, lol)

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Pumpkin Spice Kale Chips

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Pumpkin Pie Protein Powder

Pumpkin Pie Protein Powder is a vegan protein supplement that can be blended into a smoothie or stirred into breakfast oatmeal for a protein-packed punch of pumpkin flavor. (Photo from AI Sports Nutrition)

 

Pumpkin Spice Dog Shampoo

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Pumpkin Spice Gum

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Check out this hilarious Pumpkin Spice Everything parody!

What crazy pumpkin spice products have you seen? We’d love to hear about them!