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Reel Mama: September 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Give the gift of savings to your family’s budget this holiday season with Kmart’s free layaway

This is a sponsored post, I am a Kmart Layaway blogger, though all opinions are my own.


Last year, when we moved into our first home, I was excited about the potential of our new patio.  My first priority: new patio furniture to host our backyard barbecues!  I found a good sale at one of the big retailers, but when some unplanned expenses came up, we decided to wait on the big purchase until the following month. Unfortunately by that time, the furniture was not only no longer on sale, but out of stock.  


If only I had known about the fantastic free layaway program at Kmart.  Placing an item on layaway can make all the difference for your family’s budget.  With the holidays coming up, it’s the perfect way to plan ahead on holiday gifts, especially for the larger gifts you plan on giving.  Kmart has always offered layaway and from now until November 17 is waiving its layaway fees!    Kmart will also honor sale prices with its layaway program, as long as it was marked down within the previous seven days.  These are things you just won’t find at the other large retailers.


I've already got my eye on several items I'm planning on placing on layaway this holiday season.  The Sony portable DVD player will be perfect for my daughter on those long plane rides we'll be having during the holiday travel season.  My husband is a big reader, and so he's going to love the Barnes & Noble NOOK Color.  My parents are going to love the Giinii All-in-One True Video Picture Frame, perfect for displaying digital photos of their granddaughter!


Right now Kmart is launching its Kmart's Big Layaway Giveaway: though 11/17/12, Kmart will be giving away a great prize to one lucky layaway customer at each store (NO PURCHASE NECESSARY).  What a gift winning would be to any family's budget, including my own!


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To find out more, visit a Kmart store near you or visit the following link:


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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Growing a fall herb garden & easy cheesy caprese salad recipe

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


Early fall is a spectacular time to garden.  With the summer heat beginning to fade away and milder weather setting in, gardening can be done at virtually any time of day.

Even if you don’t exactly have a green thumb, maintaining an herb garden is easy and a wonderful way to teach children about the circle of life.  What kid doesn’t love to dig and play in the mud?



There is nothing like being able to grow fresh herbs right in your own back yard to use in tasty, and healthy meals.   Basil is my favorite herb, and one of the most low maintenance, delicious, and versatile herbs around.  I grab some to put on sandwiches along with greens when I’m packing lunches in the morning, and of course add it to salads.  You can use whole stems when cooking tomato sauce for pasta (just discard after the sauce is done cooking).

A light and very healthy salad that’s a family favorite is our Easy Cheesy Caprese Salad.  With our plans for growing tomatoes in the works, we’ll have virtually everything we need in our garden to make this salad by next year!



You’ll need:

-- Fresh tomatoes: I prefer vine ripened.  Use about 1/2 medium tomato per salad plate.

-- 12-16 oz. fresh mozzarella (it even comes pre-sliced at some specialty stores)

-- Balsamic vinegar

-- Olive oil

-- Fresh basil

To make:

-- Drizzle 2 tbsp. of olive oil and 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar on each salad plate (an oval plate allows for a beautiful presentation).

-- Swirl to coat the bottom of the plate.

-- Slice the tomatoes in 1/4-inch thick slices, fan out on cutting board, and salt.

-- Rub the tomatoes into the oil and vinegar mixture on the salad plate, flipping to coat.

-- Slice mozzarella, then layer with the tomato slices, tucking a fresh basil leaf on top of each tomato (another option is to cut the basil into small pieces with cooking shears and sprinkle on top).

-- Drizzle more olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top of the tomato, cheese and basil.

-- Add a pinch of salt to taste.

Helpful hints:

* Get the best balsamic vinegar you can afford.  It really does make a difference to the taste.

*  Store extra basil leaves in the fridge in a plastic container with a damp paper towel to extend their shelf life.

Planning your herb garden for fall



My garden is still a work in progress, but I have fresh chives, mint, peppermint, sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano at my finger tips for cooking a variety of meals!  Starting an herb garden is easier than you might think.  Potted herbs are widely available and easy to plant.

My herb garden thrives in the partial shade of my flower bed and with regular watering.  A plant food like Miracle-Gro® LiquaFeed® Advance All Purpose Plant Feeding System Starter Kit provides nutrients to help your herbs grow and thrive, and it's a great way to ensure that your Fall gardening projects are a success.  I love the convenience of this product because it allows you to feed your plants while watering them.

You can also help your herbs get the best start by mixing Miracle-Gro® Organic Choice® Garden Soil into your soil to provide proper nutrients for your plants as they get established.

We can’t wait to expand our herb garden this fall with more sweet-smelling basil, chives for baked potatoes, and rosemary for savory chicken dishes, breads, and more.  I can’t think of a better way to Find beauty in the Fall than to get back to nature by creating or expanding a beautiful garden.

For more helpful fall gardening tips, visit the Miracle-Gro Facebook page and talk with the online community of gardeners.

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