Bacon Rocks. Period.

E-mealz - a meal planning resource for busy moms and frugal family cooks.I’ve discussed cooking and organizing here before.  E-Mealz was a sponsor for one of the giveaways I was doing and I showcased their site.

Well, I’ve got two things to share with you today:  1)  a recipe for potato-corn chowder from E-Mealz and 2)  information about Family Week over at E-Mealz!

I usually use at least two or three recipes from E-Mealz each week.  They’re fast, easy, and yummy!  Last week I was looking over their list and saw potato-corn chowder.  Thinking it sounded good, I thought I’d give it a whirl.  It is now officially on our dinner rotation list!!  It is so good!

Here is the recipe {the tweaks I’ve made are in italics}, posted with permission from E-Mealz:

Potato-Corn Chowder

3/4 pack of bacon, chopped {sorry, I had some in the freezer and cut it up, it wasn’t quite a whole pack, but not quite half}

1 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 bunch green onions, chopped

2 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

1 1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning

3/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1/8 teaspoon red pepper {I omitted}

1 1/2 pounds baking potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 cup cream {original called for half and half, I had cream already}

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat Dutch oven and cook bacon.   Don’t dump the bacon fat, that’s golden goodness right there.  Add bell peppers and ¾ of green onions, saving some for garnish.  Sauté until lightly browned.   Increase heat to high; add corn, water, Old Bay®, thyme, red pepper & potatoes.  Bring to boil.  Cover, reduce heat & simmer 10 min or until potatoes are tender.  Remove from heat & stir in cream & salt.  Place in bowls & sprinkle with remaining green onions & cheese.

Doesn’t that sound so yummy?  Yes, it does.

I highly recommend E-Mealz.  Not only are the meals delicious, but they’re inexpensive.  The menus for a family of four at Publix are generally around $85.

Now, about Family Week!  They’re celebrating over at E-Mealz with games and recipes, and even a free family dinner night recipe you can have emailed to you {the menu is great, and even includes dessert}!!  Definitely go check it out!

True Confessions:  I was not compensated in any way for this post.  I just love them so darn much that when I found out what was happening, I decided to share it with you guys!

Sweet Critique: Chippy Chipmunk: Parties in the Garden


I’m not a big science/animal/outside person, but there are some things that are just too darn cute to avoid.  Chipmunks fall into that category.  I tell ya, I wish I could have one as a pet!

No, that’s a lie.

I wish I could have a domesticated chipmunk that would sit on my shoulder and follow me around and eat food from my hand as a pet…

Anyway, I was recently sent Chippy Chipmunk-Parties in the Garden {winner of 15 different awards!} to review.  Oh man, this is such a cute book!!!

Babydoll sat down and read it before I ever had a chance to and I heard her chuckling forever and talking about all these cute things.  I still didn’t really know what the book was about, so I was curious to know more.

A couple of nights later, Vince and I read the story together.  So cute!!!  You follow a chipmunk through the garden and see what he finds!

The pictures in this book are amazing!  Not only is it great photography, but the shots fit the story perfectly!  I love that they are actual pictures taken in nature.  It really makes the story.

I definitely recommend this book, especially if you’ve got a kid that a) loves chipmunks or b) is studying animals such as chipmunks.  Shoot, you could go so many places with this:  gardening, animals, and on and on.

Kathy has another Chippy Chipmunk book coming out on October 21st called Babies in the Garden; just click the link above to pre-order!

True Confessions:  I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Receipt of this book did not sway my opinion one way or the other.

Pre-Blogmania Giveaway Event


Coming soon to 80 blogs near you is the 4th season of BlogMania!!! You will see a wide range of prize packages that you be able to enter to win. You can see some of the sponsor prizes HERE.

For now, let’s ‘warm’ up with a pre-BlogMania giveaway! Two Prizes, Two Winners.

Prize #1 is from and open to US/Canada. You can pick two pairs of glasses from their site, up to a $150 value!!

Prize #2 is from BlogMania Events, it is technically open WW; you can spend up to $20 at any one sponsor shop listed on the sponsor linky shown HERE. This is open to wherever your shop ships to.

So, how to enter? From any BlogMania bloggers that choos to post this giveaway you can enter directly into the Rafflecopter form below.

Sweet Phenomena’s entry method is to follow via GFC.

This will be open from Sept 27th 12am until Oct 4th, 1 week. We will announce the winners via email from on Oct 5th, you will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. We thank you for your entry and look forward to seeing you on October 6th at noon for the grand event!

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Sweet Critique: Planet Explorers


As most of you know, we homeschoolers are usually looking for a way to incorporate learning into everything.  That doesn’t just include your “typical” learning like math facts, literature, and grammar done with books or worksheets while sitting somewhere.  We really love to get down with some real-life-application learning.  That’s why I love Laura Schaefer’s Planet Explorers.

These books are travel guidebooks for kids!!  How genius is that?!?!

Oh, and they’re eBooks, available in a variety of formats, and super cheap {$2.99}!

Each book includes a wealth of information that will allow your child to help plan a family vacation such as maps, attraction tips, and tons of other random and important information.  Curious about height requirements?  Laura’s put that info in the book.  Want to know if an attraction might be too scary for your child?  That’s in there.  Want to know how exactly a Disney FastPass works?  Yep, in there, too.  I’m telling you, the amount of information she’s packed into these things is crazy!

Want to know my favorite thing, though?  Well, here’s a quote from the site:

She also wants each book to act as a springboard to further learning about geography, history, and science. To do this, links are provided throughout each guide to give readers more information about everything under the sun.

What more could a homeschooler want?  Laura has provided a rich resource that would be useful even if you weren’t planning a vacation.  Such a fun way to incorporate geography into your homeschool {or study time with your kid}.

I really recommend these books whether you’re planning a vacation or not.  They’re super awesome.

True Confessions:  I was provided with two Planet Explorers books in exchange for this review.  That didn’t sway my opinion one way or the other, I promise!

Sweet Critique: Multiply and Divide with Sticks and Steps


I’m not a fan of book-work math.  Love it in real-life application {like baking/cooking}, but I can do without the rest of it.  Blech!

Babydoll liked math…until we got to multiplication.  And it is here we seem to be stuck.  Well, not necessarily “stuck,” but it’s slow going and I’m wondering when we’ll hit division.  I’ll quiz her on each set of facts and she’s got it down, then two months later she doesn’t remember them…  Maybe I really suck as a math teacher.

At any rate, I was recently given the opportunity to review Multiply and Divide with Sticks and Steps, a book that touts an easy method for teaching multiplication.  Maybe this could help?

The method is easy; it literally took about five minutes to teach.  Out of respect for the author, I have chosen not to give specifics about the method, but I will say it is similar to things a student might do when they can’t remember the answer and need to “count it out,” such as tally marks, however, it is much easier, smaller, and cleaner than that.  It is a multi-sensory approach.

I really like that the book doesn’t just deal with basic multiplication, but shows you how to use the method with an unknown value, multi-digit multiplication, and division.  That really excited me.  I think this will come in very handy when we get to things like that.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love Math U See, but as many of you know, sometimes you need to send in the reinforcements to really get something through, and that’s what I love about this book.  It’s a great supplement and I highly recommend it.

The book retails for $14.95, but is listed on Amazon right now for $11.66 and free shipping.  Don’t worry, the parent site links to Amazon to purchase.

And yay!  They’re giving one of you guys a copy of the book!!!  How sweet is that?

The Rafflecopter form below has all the info you need to enter!

True Confessions:  I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for a review.  This did not sway my opinion one way or the other.

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