Monthly Archives: July 2012

Feeding the hungry, IN State Fair style (and Giveaway!)

I haven’t been grocery shopping for too long. So last night I served pizza rolls, 4 scrambled eggs, 6 pieces of bacon, hashbrowns and fresh carrots to my family of 5 for dinner. Cameran was not happy with my selections (which was seriously almost all the food in our house) – and then she realized that there were kids and families who eat less than this every single day, with no other option. She quickly quieted and ate her food, sitting at our dining room table, with her entire family intact, under the roof of a more than adequate home.

Living in the city is hard. I love it, don’t get me wrong, but I often struggle with the things I see from my front porch:

  • a failing public school system
  • poverty
  • drug and alcohol abuse
  • homelessness
  • single-parent homes
  • violence
  • hunger

Every single one of those I listed above affects the people of my city. And it breaks my heart that so many children and families are struggling with such difficult problems each and every day.

Here’s the thing: we can help those in need. And in a way that makes my State Fair loving heart happy.

Indiana State Fair attendees who follow the Indiana’s Family of Farmers (IFOF) Recipe Trail at the fairgrounds will help feed the hungry (and win a prize while you’re at it).

For each person who finishes the trail, IFOF is partnering with Feeding Indiana’s Hungry (FIsH) to donate one pound of food to food banks across Indiana. A total of 2,000 pounds of food was donated last year. This year’s goal is 3,000 pounds! So that means 3,000 people are needed to go through the recipe trail to attain the goal.

All you need to do is collect recipe cards from 8 locations around the Fairgrounds and bring them to the Family of Farmers Booth at the DuPont Food Pavilion where you will collect your 9th card. (Recipe cards will feature recipes from real farmers around Indiana and highlight Indiana’s commodities such as pork, beef, poultry, soybeans, corn, lamb, fish and dairy along with an Indiana wine pairing. On the flip side of the cards, State Fairgoers will meet the farmer and read a personal food story from his or her family.) There, you will win a special prize for completing the trail and have a chance to register for the daily dairy giveaway and the grand prize of a Frigidaire® chest freezer.

How cool is that? All you have to do is walk around the State Fair and pick up 9 recipe cards and a pound of food will be donated to an Indiana food bank. Easy peasy.

Wanna know what else is easy peasy? Winning 2 Indiana State Fair tickets and a set of Dairy Coupons (2 Milkshakes, 2 Grilled Cheese & 2 Kid Meals) thanks to Indiana’s Family of Farmers! All you have to do is leave one comment below sharing something relevant to this post. (You have to do this to be entered into the giveaway.)

Want to increase your chances of winning? You can earn up to 2 more entries by:

  1. Sharing this post on Facebook. Come back and leave another comment telling me you did so with a link to your personal Facebook page.
  2. Tweeting about this giveaway. Something like this: “Enter to win 2 tix+food to @IndyStateFair from @FamilyofFarmers and learn how to help @FeedINsHungry donate food too! http://wp.me/p1hksh-9y”. Again, come back and leave another comment telling me you tweeted with a link to the tweet.

Details: The contest is open through Wednesday, July 25th. The winner will be chosen and contacted via email on Thursday, July 26th (so please make sure your email address is included in at least one of your comments below so I can reach you). The winner will have 24 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen.

(You can also head over to GotchaBabyIndianapolis with Kids and Redefining Perfect to enter their giveaways too.)

Even if you don’t win, you definitely still need to go to the State Fair and do the Recipe Trail to help IFOF and FIsH donate at least 3,000 pounds of food this year. Want to go on the cheap? Find out how here.

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Disclosure: As an IFOF Ambassador, I received two tickets (plus food coupons) to attend the Indiana State Fair and two tickets (plus food coupons) for this giveaway. This is a sponsored post, though as always, all thoughts and opinions are totally mine, mine, mine. (As Lucas would say. And let’s be honest, Alaina and Cami too.)

Indiana State Fair on a budget

You all know that I love the State Fair. I even get to work at my friend’s elephant ear booth a couple nights this year!! (—> That’s gonna be me!!! —>)

One of the reasons for my love affair is that with just a little bit of planning, I can take the kids for an entire morning or evening for about the same price as one of those bounce places or even as cheap as going to our public pool.

General admission for the Fair increased this year to $10 for those 6 years and older. Plan ahead and get the following discounts:

  • Free admission is available on the following dates: Thursday, Aug. 9th for Indiana State Employees and Thursday, Aug. 16th for AAA members and current and former military personnel and families. (All require valid ID card for verification.)
  • Buy The Indianapolis Star On Monday, Aug. 6th – inside will be a ticket good for free admission to the fair on Wednesday, Aug. 8th or Thursday, Aug. 9th.
  • Turkey Hill Dairy Tuesdays: On Tuesday Aug. 7th and 14th, admission is just $2 with this voucher. You can also get $2 concession servings all over the fairgrounds those Tuesdays.
  • On Monday, Aug. 13th, admission is only $15 per vehicle for up to 10 people with this voucher thanks to IPL Carload Day.
  • You can get $5 tickets on BMV Discount Day, Wednesday, Aug. 15th by redeeming this voucher.
  • Buy discounted tickets for $7 at Walmart, CVS, Indiana Farm Bureau offices, The Marten House Hotel and the Indiana State Fairgrounds ticket office.
  • For the first time, you can buy a multi-day admission pass good for 3 days for only $18 (that’s a $12 savings). Purchase this pass at the same places listed above.

You should also search the internet for ticket giveaways via Facebook or Twitter. I won tickets last year by entering giveaways on two different blogs as well. (And I just found out that I’ll be doing a ticket giveaway too! Go here to enter.)

You now have no reason not to join us at the State Fair in August. Pack a few bottles of water (if we even have water in August!!) and some snacks and meet us there.

Disclaimer: This post is in no way sponsored by anyone but me. No one asked me to write it or paid me or gave me anything to do so. I just love the Fair and want you to come with me. On the cheap. 🙂

For now, I’m a mom.

I’m not a rock star. I’m not even in a band. (I know, it’s hard to believe.)

Actually, this? This is my life.

Yes, that’s a sewing machine, getting ready to sew a pillow back together that my husband opened and stuffed another pillow into to make it bigger. (It’s now HUGE.)

And yes, that is “Mean Girls” in the background. And a sippy cup. And a tissue box from one of my sick kids. And my computer so I can check various social media sites. This has become my Sunday night, after working for 3 hours at the office because my work load no longer fits into my 6 hour/week job.

I used to dream of being a rock star. I would rock out while playing the piano and be awesome on stage. Everyone would come and sing along with my songs. I would be as cool as Fiona Apple. I would have amazing style and a great look.

In reality, I can carry a tune fine and I can read music, but I have no natural, God-given talent that would make me a star. In reality, I’m just a mom.

And it was all too obvious when I went to see Fiona Apple on Wednesday night with my friend Cindi.

Fiona Apple is brilliant. She sounded simply amazing. She sang and played the piano with passion and perfection. Her band had soul.

Except I can’t get her sunken face out of my mind. She was so thin. Too thin. And definitely was not grounded. I just wanted to hug her and take her face in  my hands and scream “Eat a sandwich! And stop doing drugs!” Because I’m a mom. And my mom-sense was in full swing the second she walked onto stage.

Let me say that I loved her concert. LOVED it. But I was so concerned about her and again, I just wanted her to eat and stop taking drugs. (Disclaimer, I have NO idea if she has an eating disorder or if she’s truly taking drugs. It is simply my observation. My mom observation.)

And while I wanted to live her life so very much when I was younger, and let’s be honest, up until I saw her on stage Wednesday night, I just wanted to hug and mother her (yes, we’re the same age, I know).

Because apparently that’s my instinct now. My “mom of three” persona out in full force, carefully watching her to make sure she wasn’t going to collapse in front of me that night.

It wouldn’t be true if I said I still didn’t want that life, that I didn’t pretend it was me and yearn to have something so innate as her talent. Okay, so maybe not her life, but her ability to be amazing on stage, passionate, giving everything she has into her performance, her job.

But tonight, while I was soothing another of my sick children during “Mean Girls,” I realized that I’m a pretty good mom when my kids need me most. And seeing that sad, sick little boy relax and feel comforted by my embrace, made me appreciate where God has placed me during this time of my life.

And you never know. Maybe I’ll be in a band when I’m older.

More likely, I’ll be singing Fiona Apple karaoke in a dive bar in my hometown with one of my best friends. I have such aspirations…

Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels (and a genius cooling rack!)

During our vacation to Virginia Beach, we spent a morning at Adam’s Aunt Pat and Uncle John’s house. They live on some body of water that flows into a bay that flows into the Atlantic Ocean (I know, I know… I’m a numbers girl, easy) so the kids went crabbing while the adults hung out.

While we were there, Aunt Pat made these super cute chocolate-dipped pretzels in like 2 minutes to serve with lunch. The recipe itself is super simple, nothing fancy – you could totally swing it on your first try without guidance, I’m sure.

(insert picture here of pretty chocolate-dipped pretzels that I forgot to take.)

But then she started pulling out rubber bands from a kitchen drawer and made this with a Tupperware container:

A little holder/cooling rack for the chocolate-dipped pretzels! This way, it’s super compact and only the tiny tip of the pretzel gets flat, rather than the whole side if you were to lay it on a cookie sheet. So smart, I tell you.

Quick instructions on making Chocolate-Dipped Pretzels:

  • Break pretzel rods in half (or buy the 1/2 sized ones if you can find them)
  • Melt some chocolate chips in a coffee mug. (I used about 1.5 cups of chocolate chips.)
  • Dip the broken end of the pretzel in the melted chocolate, rolling the chocolate up the side of the mug to cover about 2/3 of each pretzel and to also get the excess chocolate off.
  • Hold dipped pretzel over a plate or bowl and sprinkle with sprinkles.
  • Place each pretzel, chocolate side down, in one square created by the rubber bands.
  • Let cool completely.

This is a cheap and easy treat to take to a cook-out or July 4th party. You could make them with white chocolate with blue and red sprinkles to be patriotic. 🙂