May 2015 - My WAHM Plan

End the battle with your Mayo container and #SqueezeMoreOut!

My thanks to Influenster and Hellmann’s® for sending me complimentary product to try and share my thoughts with you today. All opinions are my own. 
Lots of fun and happy things happen at our home around Memorial Day.  I took a week off work to help welcome the unofficial start of summer, the girls end another year of school, I celebrate a birthday (of course I am 39 again!) and we kick off grilling season, usually with big, juicy burgers like this one. 

burgers,fries,#Hellmann's, Mayo
Notice the mayo on that burger? My husband wouldn’t have one any other way, and his go to Mayonnaise brand is Hellmann’sWe use it on everything from burgers to potato salad this time of year but it is a challenge to get the very last bit out of a jar of squeeze bottle; until now. 
The nice folks at Hellmann’s came up with a new bottle design that will help put an end to the battle with your mayo container!

mayo, bottle, squeeze, flip, top, lid

About Hellmann’s new bottle: 
"Hellman's new and improved squeeze bottle provides a best-in-class squeeze experience with less waste, less mess and more control. Its unique design allows you to get more mayonnaise out without all the shaking, banging and mess and with the same unmistakable taste of Hellmann’s®. The new Hellmann’s® squeeze bottle allows you to squeeze more out, complete with three main improvements:
A Precision Tip, for pinpoint mayonnaise deployment
A Clean-Lock Cap, custom designed for a cleaner experience 
A Sleek New Design including unique slip agent technology for getting more mayonnaise out."

A photo posted by Linda Kinsman (@ismilefirst) on

I’m really enjoying the no mess feature! Making sandwiches for my girls or watching them make their own is no longer a messy task! Plus, the cap really does stay clean, so I don’t have to wipe it off or run it under water with each use making it a perfect go to Mayo container, for home, picnics, BBQ’s and more. 

I invite #SqueezeMoreOut this summer by learning more about this product by visiting Hellmann’s website where you can find recipes and tips and by following them on Twitter, or visiting them on Facebook

Please share in comments: What is your favorite summer recipe that uses Mayo?

Getting Laid by Barb Webb- Raising chickens, gardening and preserving

To say that it is an honor to review Barb Webb’s newest book on sustainable living is an understatement.  As an avid reader of her blog Rural Mom, I grew to love Barb’s quick wit and clever writing style years ago. 

Simply put- Barb teaches without every preaching. She is a pro-earth, sustainable living chick who is out to show all us modern ladies that this lifestyle can be sexy in her newest book: Getting Laid- Everything you need to know about raising chickens, gardening and preserving. I received a digital copy of this book to share my thoughts with you today. All opinions are my own. 

chickens, gardening, preserving, sustainable living

About Getting Laid from Amazon:

"Sustainable living boasts no boundaries. You don't need massive amounts of acreage or even a fenced-in backyard. We may not be 100 percent sustainable in our lifestyle, but we can become better in-tune with our environment and conscientious of our actions. Like all aspects of life, it's about balance, finding ways to live a greener, cleaner life within the parameters of your current lifestyle. 
Top blogger for country living, Rural Mom, shows us the (actually very easy) way to live a sustainable lifestyle without making ourselves crazy in the process."

My thoughts:

Reading this book was fun, enlightening and motivating. Barb says that sustainable living is not only practical, it’s doable! That our sustainable living mission is of the utmost importance to ourselves, our environment and future generations! 

Excerpt from Getting Laid:

In this ten chapter book chock full of helpful guides and tips Barb takes us by the hand and helps us understand:

How making one small change today and then another tomorrow can lead to a lighter, greener, sexier lifestyle.

Choose the correct chicken for our personality (I got raise chickens for eggs) and master the art of Chicken Zen by following Barb’s guides to caring for your chickens.

What organic gardening means and how to get started with step by step guides on choosing plants, caring/watering/harvesting and preserving.

And so much more!

I spent a lot of time in Barb’s gardening chapters. I loved her quick Chick Tips like this one: 

"For sweeter tomatoes, sprinkle baking soda around the base of the tomato plant once a week prior to watering. The baking soda lowers acidity in the soil, which translates to plump, sweet tomatoes on the vine."

I also found her Gardening Themes Guide helpful.  She shows you how to plant and grow by culinary themes like an Irish or Italian garden. 

I’ve starred and highlighted so many sections of Getting Laid for later reference! Chapters on, composting with worms and how to make an indoor Vermicomposter and canning were of special interest to my husband (worms) and canning (me).

Dotted throughout this book are over 100 mouthwatering recipes!  Everything from an Old World Irish Mince meat pies to a delightful sounding Cucumber and Green Bean Salad our showcased. 

Excerpt from Getting Laid:

I couldn’t help but think of my parents and my grandparents while reading and in some cases re-reading the pages of this guide book. I had the privilege of growing up in a family that loves the earth and what it provides us. 

My family always had large gardens and one of my earliest and fondest memories with my Dad was working in the garden until the Whippoorwills called. That was my cue that dusk was at hand and it was time for me to put down my hoe or spade and go in for the night. 

Reading Barb’s words, feeling her sentiments, so aligned with mine- made me long for a cup of tea at my Grandmothers table once more, where I could share this book with her and listen to her stories and now, as an adult, share a few of my own tales.  

If you’ve ever longed for simpler days, if you’ve ever wished you could have lived like your grandparents did- gardening/hunting/preserving/thriving – this book is for you

You can purchase a copy for yourself by visiting Amazon. This book would make a perfect gift for friends and family who have expressed a desire to raise chickens, garden or live a more sustainable lifestyle.

You can learn more about the author, Barb Webb by visiting her author’s website Sustainable Chick. You can also join us on our sustainable living journey by visiting Rural Mom owned by the incomparable Barb Webb. 

It has been my privilege to work on Rural Mom for close to a year; first as a regular columnist and now as the assistant editor. I’ll be joining the Rural Mom team more often this summer so I hope to see you there.

Please share in comments: Do you raise, or want to raise chickens? If so, what kind?

Weekly Chore Prompt: Wash inside windows

Hello and happy Monday! The much needed rain has passed in my area for now so I enjoyed looking out my front windows at all the pretty green. There is something so perfect about spring green after a rain. While enjoying my view, I decided that it was the perfect time to tackle inside windows, we’ll tackle outside soon.

I’ve received valuable feedback from friends online, and surprisingly offline regarding my chore prompts.  You prefer my quick call to action prompts versus a how-to write up, so I’ll stick with that moving forward. Thanks again for the emails and chats friends!

windows, clean, prompt , cat
Fiona in her favorite spot

I would be an unhappy person if my world didn’t have windows! I enjoy my views from almost every window in our home. I share this love of our views with my cats and my kids. While we are bird watching, the cats are leaving little wet nose prints and the kids- well, they leave a little more. Sometimes sticky finger prints, often times their nose prints too!

clean, windows, glass cleaner, paper towels.

Pick an over-cast day to wash your inside windows. You’ll see streaks easier that way. Sometimes I use paper towels and a window cleaner to spot clean my inside windows, making sure the room is cat and kid free before starting.

spring,clean,home, clothes

For full window cleaning- where I’m cleaning the glass and the window casing and seals, I prefer to use micro-fiber cleaning clothes and window cleaner.

I know some of you prefer to use DIY cleaners made with vinegar and I’ve tried some different recipes.  Unfortunately, my windows look cloudy afterwards, so I stick with a low odor window cleaner and I ventilate the room.

That’s it! We are slowly working our way to a clean home. Enjoy your view this week!

Please share in comments:  do you have a favorite look-out window in your home? If so, what room is it in?

Color of the Month - May 2015- Minion Yellow

My oldest daughter had declared our May color of the month should be a happy yellow weeks before Pantone announced that Minion Yellow was the color this season. I applaud my teen daughter for her on point choice and give you our picks for this happy color and season! 
minion, yellow, wildflowers, #gardening #design
Minion Yellow Wildflowers in our yard

And here's my Pinterest board for the month. I hope you like it.  Go outside and enjoy the sunshine today!

Follow Linda A.'s board Color of the Month - May 2015- Minion Yellow on Pinterest.
Please share in comments: Do you have anything yellow in your wardrobe right now?

Weekly Chore Prompt: How to clean the Refrigerator

Welcome to my new blog series! As you may have read last week, the idea for this series stemmed for a from a conversation over lunch with a friend who needed a quick chore prompt to help her tackle chores over and above her daily cleaning.

This week, we are tackling the refrigerator folks. That over stuffed, sometimes smelly place we rely on daily. 

food, frig, stuffed, clean, organize
A peak inside my over-stuffed Fridge

The first order of business is to decide which day this week you can spare 25-30 minutes for this job. I like to give my fridge a check and toss once a week before heading to the grocery store. I go in and toss left-overs, half eaten pieces of fruit stashed by the kids and those funny shaped pieces of foil wrapped foods- usually meat.  It’s far easier to catch spills and restore order before you restock supplies for the week.

Once you’ve picked your best day, it’s time to get busy cleaning your fridge inside and out.

How to Clean Your Refrigerator:

clean, empty frig,

Remember that new refrigerator look and feel? So nice and clean and empty? We may not get back to the empty part, but we will get our frig clean this week! 

Here's how:

Make sure your sink is clean and fill one side with warm water and dish soap.

Clear a counter or your table to place items from your fridge as you go.

I use the shelf by shelf cleaning method, starting at the top and working my way down to the drawers.

Take everything off top shelf. If shelf isn’t really dirty, you can wipe with a sponge dipped in the soapy water. If there are spills; place shelf in the sink to soak for a couple of minutes.

While shelf is soaking, check the contents of the shelf you just cleared setting aside items that are past their prime, almost empty etc. Don’t throw them away or recycle now. We’ll be making a shopping list later.

Wash, rinse and dry top shelf, put back in the fridge. Now you can replace the good items on the shelf. I usually place my taller items on my top shelf and fill the side areas first when possible.

Continue these steps as you work on each shelf of your fridge.

Wipe the sides of fridge with warm soapy water as you work your way down the frig.

Once shelves are done, it’s time to tackle the drawers, which are usually the hardest to clean because we’ve allowed produce to stay past their peak.

Take the whole drawer out and place on counter or table. Toss old produce and liners. Place drawer in soapy water if your sink is large enough.  If not, wash drawer on counter closest to sink.

Wipe the shelf, bottom and side areas where the drawers were.

Dry drawers and line with fresh paper towels or fridge liner pads if you own them.

Now start on the door, the treasure trove of condiments and salad dressings in my home.
Again, check expiration dates on products, setting aside any past that date or almost empty bottles. 

Check your freezer next. If it’ well stocked like mine usually is, focus on the drawers and shelves on the doors where grime usually accumulates.

Wash these areas as you did the fridge areas, tossing any old frozen veggies, Popsicles etc.

Now you are ready to wash the outside of your fridge.

clean, fridge,

Our black fridge requires a daily door wipe down, but lets clean all of it this week.

Here's How:

Start at the top by removing any stored or decorative pieces. Set them aside to wash separately.

Get out your step stool or slide over a kitchen chair to stand on.

The top of the fridge is usually pretty grimy, so bring extra paper towels and a good multi-surface spray cleaner if your frig is enameled like mine. 

If its stainless steel, use a micro fiber cloth dipped in white vinegar or soapy water. Rub in the direction of the grain.

Pull out fridge, un-plug it and clean under it. Don’t forget about the kick plate area in the front and the coils in the back.

Wipe down sides of fridge and push back in place.

Wipe up the floor around fridge with a damp paper towel.

Wipe down items stored on top of frig with a damp paper towel or cloth and put back.

Put away cleaning supplies. 

Now you’ve got a spic and span refrigerator! Celebrate with a nice cold glass of tea or ice water. 

Recycle & Prep Shopping List:

Time to get rid of your discarded items from frig. Rinse and recycle all containers you can take time to add items to your grocery list as you go.

If you have plastic containers full of leftovers, run them down the garbage disposal and soak in a fresh batch of warm soapy water.  Wash and allow to air dry.

You're Done!

Ideally, you should give your fridge this deep cleaning once per month. At the very least, wipe down shelves and areas once a week to help keep sticky, smelly gunk at bay. 

Keep in touch:

Enjoy your day and please be sure to sign up for my  email newsletter here or follow me on Bloglovin’ so you don’t miss a post!

Please share in comments: What weekly chore prompt would you like to see me tackle? 

Baking Soda Cleaning Tips & A New Weekly Chore Prompt series!

Happy Friday dear readers and if you are a Mom- happy Mother’s Day to you! I hope you enjoy your special day and will have a no-cleaning Sunday! If you are a busy Mom like me, you may be half way through your spring cleaning and despair that you have so much more to do. Never fear- Linda is here!

While talking with a friend over lunch recently, she remarked that she wished she had a guide to help her keep on top of both the big and the little chores she should do every week; beyond making the bed, or sweeping the floor. That gave me the wonderful idea to share a weekly chore with you here. These won’t be anything fancy, no need to print -just a quick post sharing what area of my home I’m focusing on that week. Hopefully we can get and keep our home sparkly clean and clutter free together!

baking,soda, cleaning, tips

Before we dive into our chore prompts on Monday, let’s first talk about one of the cheapest, safest and easiest cleaners you probably have in your home right now- baking soda! You may have read my tip on keeping your garbage disposal clean and odor free here, so believe me when I say, this stuff works!

Arm & Hammer baking soda has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My Mom swore by it in the laundry room and used it to refresh our shoes. And now, I’m passing down the cleaning tradition to my daughters.  I love this new shaker bottle that has an easy open and close top! It’s so much easier to hold on to and work with, especially if you have wet hands. 

Arm & Hammer logo

Arm & Hammer has been a trusted household name for 165 years for good reason. Their baking soda is relied upon in many a cook’s kitchen, but it is also an excellent, economical cleaning product.

Baking Soda Cleaning Tips:

baking soda cleaning tips

Tubs and counters:  Sprinkle baking soda lightly on a clean damp sponge and scrub as usual. Rinse and wipe dry. Your counters and tubs will sparkle.

Deodorize drains: If you ever noticed a less than pleasant scent coming from your sink or tub, it’s time to rinse that stink right back down the drain by pouring or shaking about a ½ cup of baking soda down the drain while running warm water from the tap.  

*Money saving tip*: Use the old box of Arm & Hammer Fridge n Freezer baking soda in to clean your drains instead of just tossing the box.  

Sneakers: There is nothing worse than the smell of sweaty sneakers, water shoes and flip flops. Around here, I call them swamp foot and I banish it by pouring a hefty tablespoon on the soles of the smelly shoes and tapping it down to the toes. Allow to sit over- night. 
For flip flop funk- take them outside if possible and cover the entire sole with a thin layer of baking soda, paying special attention to the toe grip area where sweat collects.

Musty towels: Whether it’s from your kids leaving their wet bath towels on the floor or a bunch of pool towels left sitting to long, musty towels happen. Get them clothesline fresh again by adding a ½ cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle and dry as usual; preferably on a clothesline to help save money and reduce your carbon footprint. You can read more about this on my Earth Day post

Closets: Closets can collect cooking odors and leave a stale scent on your clothes. The remedy? Place an open box of Arm & Hammer baking soda up on a shelf and replace every 30 days.

Sports Gear: Things tend to get as smelly around sports gear as they do around shoes. For fishing and camping gear, mix 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water, wash and rinse. Allow to air dry.

Sprinkle baking soda in all those sports bags too! Gym, cheer, baseball, golf- no bag in immune to smells, so sprinkle baking soda in the empty bag and allow to sit over-night. Dump out and re-pack your fresh bag.

Cat litter box: To keep your cat’s box smelling fresh between litter changes, sprinkle a liberal amount of baking soda on top of litter and mix in.

Pet Bed: Sprinkle baking soda on your pet’s beds and allow to sit for 15-20 minutes, vacuum clean for an instant refresh.

Pet Toys: You don’t want your fur babies to chew on harsh chemicals, so switch to baking soda to keep their toys in tip top shape. Add 4 tablespoons baking soda to 1 quart water, gently swish baking soda in water to dissolve completely, then soak chew toys for 15 minutes, rinse and air dry. For furry toys, a sprinkle of baking soda that’s allowed to sit for 15 minutes then brushed off will do the trick. 

I hope you’ve found these #BakingSodaTips helpful. I’d like to thank Arm & Hammer and Smiley 360 for sending me a complimentary bottle of baking soda to help me get my home sparkly clean.

Be sure to stop by on Monday to get your weekly chore prompt!

You’ve got the “write” stuff Pentel, Happy 50th!

If you are sitting at a desk reading this right now, do me a favor please; take a quick inventory of your pens. I’m betting at least one of them is a Pentel. Personally, I have loved Pentel products most of my life because my Mom, a busy account manager, used their pens almost exclusively.  That’s why I was happy to work with #Shopletreviews who provided me with complementary Pentel products to share my thoughts with you. All opinions are my own.

writing, pens, pencils,

Happy 50th Pentel! 

Pentel of America sold its first pen in 1965. That’s the same year the Gemini 6 and Gemini 7 space capsules conducted the first Earth orbit rendezvous in history.  And, here’s a little known fact, each astronaut carried a Pentel Sign Pen in their sleeve pocket!  

The Pentel Sign Pen made another famous appearance in 1965 when then United States President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed his “Great Society” during his State of the Union Address. He signed the Address with a Pentel.

Admittedly, I’m not signing anything as important as a former President, and I’m certainly never going to be an astronaut – but I still sign and write some pretty important pieces of paper her in my little corner of the world. 

My family and I love Pentel’s new Vicuna line of low viscosity fine ballpoint pens. They come in a rainbow of ink colors and write ultra smooth while drying fast on the page. Perfect for quick notes and homework, these pens are already migrating into other parts of our home. 

write, pencils, eraser, office, school, supplies,

Equally easy to use is the Twist –Erase III fine point automatic pencil with a jumbo eraser. My daughters prefer mechanical pencils for school work and found the ergonomic comfort grip a huge plus.

My personal favorite of all the Pentel products sent to me for review is hands down the Pentel EnerGel Alloy medium point roller ball pen. 

birthday, wishes, pens, pencils, #Pentel

It has the style and feel of a much more expensive pen. The quality of ink makes it a superb writing pen that I will keep handy for signing important papers that need a smooth, quick dry- no smear signature. 

You can shop and save on these Pentel products and other office supplies by visiting the links found on each product above and by visiting

Please share in comments: What color of ink is in the pen you are using today?

LifeBankUSA offers Peace of mind & Car seat giveaway for Mother’s Day!

I am really happy to work with our sponsor, LifeBankUSA via Robb Digital today to share this information with you! I will receive a thank you gift for my time, however I only share content I feel will benefit my readers. All opinions are my own. 

pregant, mom, baby, healthy, contest

Having a beautiful, healthy baby is one of most joyous occasions for any Mother. I can still remember the moments I found out I was pregnant with both my sweet daughters and the prayer of thanks I immediately sent up, followed quickly by the fervent wish that my babies be healthy.  Thankfully, I had easy pregnancies and two beautiful, healthy newborns, who are now beautiful healthy teens. 

Had I known more about stem cell collection services from LifeBankUSA back during my pregnancies, I would have given it serious consideration and that’s why I agreed to share their information and contest with my readers. 

About LifeBankUSA:

healthy, baby, new, mom,

“Only LifebankUSA offers expectant parents the unique opportunity to bank stem cells from cord blood and placenta blood. Banking placenta blood stem cells makes your cord blood collection even more powerful for the near-term and for the future. It gives you the ability to bank more stem cells which has been shown to increase transplant success and survival rates. And placenta blood contains other types of progenitor stem cells which are expected to play a key role in regenerative medicine.”


car seat, giveaway,

LifebankUSA wants to give parents the chance to win one of THREE Graco 4everTM 4-in-1 Car Seats (valued at $330 each) in a random drawing from entrants in their Facebook contest. Entering is easy, just click this link and you’ll be taken to their Facebook page!

Good luck and Happy Mother’s Day! Please consider sharing with any expecting Moms you know!

Please share in comments:

Are you a Mom? If yes, how many children call you Mom?