Archives for February 20, 2015

Celebrating Chinese New Year with Kids Yummy Dumpling recipe! Giveaway Opportunity!


It’s the Chinese New Year! Time to celebrate! Here’s a fun recipe to make with your children.

New Year Dumplings

Dumpling photo

Recipe provided by China Institute

Dumplings, called jiaozi in Mandarin, have been popular in China for hundreds of years. They’re especially popular on Chinese New Year.

This year, Chinese New Year starts on February 19. We will be moving from the Year of the Horse to the Year of the Sheep. What better way to celebrate than to make your own dumplings! The recipe below is for a traditional pork and chive filling, but the great thing about dumplings is that you can make all sorts of different fillings.



Dumpling (jiaozi) Dough:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups cold water

1/4 teaspoon salt


Pork & Chive Filling:

1 cup ground pork (can also use beef)

1 Tablespoon soy sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

3 Tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 green onion, finely minced

1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage

4 Tablespoons shredded bamboo shoots

2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced



Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to create a smooth dough. Don’t add more water than is necessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine, and white pepper to the meat, stirring in one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well.

Now, prepare the dough for the dumplings. First knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter to create the dumpling wrappers.

Place a portion (about 1 Tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each dumpling wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumpling wrappers.

To cook the dumplings, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don’t stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If you want, they can be pan-fried at this point. Repeat this process for the second half of dumplings.


Post a photo of your dumplings to China Institute’s Facebook page at The chef of the yummiest looking batch will receive a free copy of their We All Live in the Forbidden City books!



We have teamed up for a Giveaway! To enter, leave a comment below telling us one way you celebrate the Chinese New Year!  One winner will win the wonderful book: In the Forbidden City (ages 9+). I reviewed this one in the past and loved it! Deadline to enter is February 26, 2015 at noon PST. One winner will randomly  be selected from all entries.

Self Disclosure: No compensation was received to post. Credit for recipe/photos: China Institute.

Bedtime Math by Laura Overdeck and Illustrated by Jim Paillot The Most Fun Way to learn Math!

BedtimeMath_cvr_hirez       Bedtime Math 2 Cover

I have to admit that Math is not exactly my favorite subject! My son, unfortunately feels the same way. We homeschool so at times, there are more struggles than need be. Yes, there are so many products and books out there that claim to make Math more fun. Well, we have tried quite a few and haven’t found many that succeed at this task. Finally we have found a book series that actually makes Math fun and as my son says, “It doesn’t actually seem like you are doing Math.” We received copies of Bedtime Math and Bedtime Math 2 and love them. They are great for a variety of ages because it has math problems for Wee Ones, Little Kids and Big Kids. Bedtime Math 2 even have bonus questions that are slightly more challenging. Children will laugh, children will smile and the short chapters are just perfect for story time! My son was quite impressed with the illustrations. Jim Paillot is actually one of his favorite Illustrators. We quickly recognized that he is the same Illustrator from the My Weird School Daze series by Dan Gutman. The Author, Laura Overdeck does a great job with making these books entertaining and engaging. I am so surprised that Math can be so much fun! I am looking forward to reviewing the New Bedtime Math 3 book soon! (It’s coming out in March, 2015!) So, stay tuned!

BTM 3 cover

I also love the Bedtime Math website! There are even more fun Math Activities for families.

Self Disclosure: I received free copies of Bedtime Math and Bedtime Math 2 to facilitate this review post. Photo Credit: Bedtime Math.

Popchips are a Must-Have for a healthier snack option!

4 bag pophcips_v1_clean_refl[1]

It’s already February! How are your New Year’s resolutions going? One of mine was to eat healthier and exercise more. Snacking tends to be a problem at times for me. I love sweet and also salty snacks but I need to watch it with oily chips. Popchips is a healthier option. I also love that they are not baked (loses the flavor sometimes) and are not fried. They are popped which makes them lighter and healthier. I love that they are not greasy.  I received samples and it really is tough to decide on which one is my favorite flavor! I think it is a toss up between the Sour Cream & Onion and the Barbecue! Have you tried popchips? Let me know your favorite flavor!

To find out where to buy popchips near you, check out the store locator.

Self Disclosure: I received samples to review and as compensation for featuring during the Big Game. Photo Credit: popchips.


Wanting to Scratch – Where the Sun Don’t Shine

RectiCare Box, Tube and Cots - JPEG

I have featured this product in the past and did not review again this time. But, felt that this was a product to be shared once again.

The itching and burning associated with hemorrhoids and other anorectal disorders can leave you feeling uncomfortable, embarrassed and wanting to scratch where the sun don’t shine. No one is exempt and hemorrhoids can make you feel trapped in your own body. What’s worse is that the pain and discomfort of a hemorrhoid may cause you to miss out on the important moments in life, because you are too uncomfortable to sit or even stand.


While there are things you can do to make yourself more comfortable, the first thing you should do is check with your doctor before using any product. One of the ways you can lessen your discomfort is to use an anorectal cream such as RectiCare® (Lidocaine 5%) Anorectal Cream.


Another way to help make life with hemorrhoids more manageable is to watch your diet. Avoiding certain foods and beverages such as spicy BB-Q and hot sauces, coffee and soda is one way that may help. These foods can exacerbate anorectal discomfort, so look for alternatives that may not irritate your system as much. The lidocaine in RectiCare®Cream can also help by relieving the itchy, burning sensation these foods can produce.

RectiCare® Cream is a topical, local anesthetic that contains the highest non-prescription lidocaine strength available. It works quickly to relieve pain, itching and burning associated with hemorrhoids and other anorectal disorders. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should check with their physician before use.

Each tube of RectiCare® Cream comes with a supply of “finger cots,” little covers that fit over the finger. They promote hygienic application, since the finger (skin) doesn’t come into contact with the product or the area to which it is being applied.

RectiCare® Cream retails for $29.99 and is available at Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS stores without a prescription. For more information or coupons, please visit

Self Disclosure: No compensation was received or products received to post. I have reviewed and featured this product in the past and do recommend. 

The Perils of Pauline by Collette Yvonne


Life seems “picture perfect” for Pauline Parril; a solid career, a doting (though slightly absent) husband, and two adorable, young children—until the usual Friday meeting at the office ends with a termination letter. It is amazing how one event can change the course of everything. As Pauline navigates the world of unemployment, other aspects in her world start to turn upside down; her daughter comes home with a shocking secret, her husband is not who she knows him to be, and a handsome stranger opens her eyes to the complex worlds of poetry and temptation. Oh, and that pile of laundry isn’t shrinking anytime soon.


The Perils of Pauline is an intriguing woman’s adventure about making uncomfortable decisions when life pushes you and your family out of comfort zones. I’ve personally never connected with a lead character as immediately as I did with Pauline; especially if you’re a mother (or have a passive aggressive mom!). It was a relief to see that other women go through the same hectic, unbelievable, and mundane—yet life altering—experiences that I easily recognize daily. This is THE story of finding out who you are and what’s really important while answering the scariest question of all: “What now?”

I received a copy of this book and found it funny and refreshing! I thought it also shows that the “grass isn’t always greener” and if you are looking for a story that will make you laugh out loud, this is the book for you. I also think that many moms can relate to the character of Pauline. It’s a Must-Read!

You can find it here.

Self Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to facilitate this feature.