Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The {Not Just} Homemaking Party: The End

Well, y'all---I've reached the end. I knew it had to come sometime...and it was a long, long, LONG time coming...

By this time next week, I'll be just two short days away from the beginning...

The beginning of my NO OBLIGATION SUMMER!!!! Woo Hoo!!!!

This week marks the end of a year of ballet...

A year of homeschool co-op adventures...

A year of playing the part of a starving, sleep-deprived, hurried and harried taxi driver...

By the last day of May, all my obligations outside these four walls will have ceased for the summer and I can RELAX for awhile until time to start preparing for my England trip in September.

Just me, my porch, my sweet tea, my book, and my kids in the swimming pool on the lawn... {ask me about this imagined bliss in a few weeks when I've been pickin' ticks and treating sunburns...}

Orange Lime Torte featuring SunnyD #WhereFunBegins #Ad #cbias

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WhereFunBegins #CollectiveBias
I love anything citrus. From desserts and drinks to lotions and perfumes, the scent and flavor of citrus is one of the best parts of summer time! Last night I made this delicious Orange Lime Torte using one of our family's favorite refreshing drinks: SunnyD. I've been drinking SunnyD as long as I can remember---even back in the day when it was full-out Sunny Delight. My kids always request it when we're doing a special breakfast for a birthday or holiday and it's a great choice for our large family, since a gallon jug of it is less than $3 where I buy it.

This past weekend, I grabbed a 24 count case of SunnyD bottles from this special end-cap display at Sam's Club. They have them on rollback for $5.38 until the first week of August. I like to get them for the kids' lunch sacks to take to park day with our other homeschooling friends. They can refill the bottles with water from the drinking fountain all day.

It's easy to put together this refreshing summer torte. Start by baking a pound cake in a 15" jelly roll pan. Once it's cooled, turn it upside down, poke holes throughout, then brush SunnyD all over the surface of the cake. Cut into three equal pieces, and set aside.

Mix the filling ingredients, being sure to sprinkle the pudding mix on top of the whipped topping before stirring it all up together. This mixture will be thick.

Spread the filling between layers of cake, and on top of the last layer.

Garnish with citrus zest and sliced fruit for a delicious and beautiful dessert. I served mine at my monthly book club meeting last night. It was a hit! This dessert would be excellent paired with my Strawberry Tea Time Torte for your next summer party. Let me know how you use it.

Orange Lime Torte featuring SunnyD
16 oz. pound cake mix + ingredients to make the cake
1-2 TB lime zest
1 c. SunnyD
2 TB lemon juice
8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/3 c. milk
12 oz. whipped topping
3.4 oz. instant vanilla pudding mix
orange and lime to garnish

Preheat oven to 350ยบ and line a 15" jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Prepare cake mix according to the directions on the package, adding in the lime zest, and spread evenly into prepared pan.  Bake about 20-22 minutes, until done and cool completely. Prick the cake all over with a fork and then brush it evenly with SunnyD.  Slice the cake into three equal pieces and set aside. Whisk cream cheese and lemon juice together until smooth, then whisk in milk.  Spoon whipped topping over top of this but don't mix in. Sprinkle with pudding mix and then stir it all up well. Spread the filling between the layers of cake and top of the last layer. Garnish with citrus zest and sliced fruit. This dessert must be refrigerated when it's not being devoured by you and your guests!

SunnyD is a classic family favorite. Find more great recipes at sunnyd.com. How will you enjoy SunnyD for unapologetic fun in the sun this summer?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Have a Spa-Like Experience at Northwest Arkansas Birth Center #BirthCenterNWA

This article was compensated by Acorn Influence and its advertiser. All opinions are honest and are my own. #BirthCenterNWA

Earlier this week, I was given the opportunity to visit the NWA Birth Center in Rogers, Arkansas. Wow! What a treat! I've had nine babies and have never come close to the relaxing and beautiful experience the women who birth here have the opportunity to enjoy. For those of you moms---imagine having your baby and recovering in this relaxing suite, as opposed to a sterile and uninviting hospital room. {I asked the owner if I could book a private night's stay...even though I wasn't expecting. She said she's the only one who gets to do that...}

As I entered the homey atmosphere of the birthing center, I was greeted by a brightly and fashionably-decorated sitting area with a kitchen built in. On another wall was this display of fun baby and mama items that aren't available in most retailers I frequent. I'm a sucker for a hospital gift shop, but this selection was even better as it is designed to meet health and comfort needs, without a lot of frills.

The birth center is not just for those who are expecting a baby. Any woman can come enjoy the experience of an annual exam or screening in a more peaceful environment than she's used to in the standard doctor's office. The costs for utilizing the birth center can be half as much as a hospital birth and the care is more closely designed to individual needs. There's even an ADA compliant birthing room to accommodate those with mobility issues.

One thing I love about the birthing center staff is that they encourage practices that make sense during labor. Eating and drinking is promoted to keep energy up (thus the gorgeous kitchen area) and there's even a beautiful patio area that opens out onto a walkway for the laboring woman who wants to walk. Best part: no routine IVs to keep you strapped in bed with an unnecessarily prolonged labor.

The birth center is designed for women in low-risk pregnancies, and since more than 80% of pregnancies are considered low risk, it's likely this will be a good fit for you or someone you know. Since the staff operates on the truth that there's nothing "wrong" with a woman who has just given birth, they tend to send clients home within 4-6 hours after delivery. This is the time when a woman is still feeling that adrenaline rush after birth and it's important to get her home and settled in her own comfortable environment before the exhaustion sets in. The staff follows up later in the day by video chat and with a home visit soon after.

I'll admit, I thought nothing could make me want another baby any more than I already did---but this tour has deepened the desire even more! Make sure to check out the NWA Birth Center website and contact them to see if they can meet your needs. Have you had any experience with a birthing center? I'd love to hear your story in the comments below.