Quick Spinach Alfredo Flatbread

Looking for a quick satisfying meal or appetizer to feed guests or family? This delicious flatbread has become a favorite among my family and friends. It can easily be made into a vegan dish by swapping cheese with vegan cheese and using this vegan Alfredo recipe found at Minimalist Baker.

INGREDIENTS2

 

Spinach Alfredo Flat Bread Recipe

2 Flat Breads

1 Garlic clove (chopped or minced)

Olive Oil

1 bag of Spinach leaves (not frozen)

1 Jar of Alfredo sauce

4 oz shredded Parmesan and Asiago cheese blend

Basil for garnish

FLAT SLICES2

Start by sauteing chopped or minced garlic in pan. Add in spinach leaves and jar of Alfredo sauce. Let simmer on stove for less than a minute. Drizzle olive oil on flatbread. Spread Alfredo, spinach and garlic over both flat breads. Sprinkle cheese blend on top of flatbread and garnish with basil. Place into oven on 425 for 10 minutes or until slightly brown. Flat breads can be placed on oven rack covered in tin foil. Serve as an appetizer, with salad or  favorite side and enjoy!

 

Experience Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a beautiful island rich in history, culture, friendly people… and we can’t forget delicious cuisine! If you are unsure what to expect or contemplating whether you should visit the island (since the destruction from hurricane Maria) than read on! My answer is simply – YES! Here are my reasons why and what you can expect.

Support

Many parts of Puerto Rico were without electricity, water, food and other supplies when hurricane Maria made a direct hit on the island September 20, 2017. With slow federal response the island is doing its best to go back to normal. Our tourism helps the island tremendously. When speaking with many of the locals they want all of us to know that Puerto Rico is still a beautiful island open to tourists. Many of the popular tourists locations such as Old San Juan are in great shape and ready for your arrival.

No Passport needed!

For some this is not a big deal as you may already have one. However, when traveling with a large family buying passports in addition to vacation expense can cost you a hefty penny. Once everyone has their passports the world is your oyster. But, if are anxious to travel somewhere exotic and tropical in the meantime visit our beautiful islands that are part of the United States; Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Hawaii.

 

Plane tickets & Car rental

Our tickets were a reasonably priced roundtrip for about $300 in January. Not bad at all to visit paradise. There are some tips you can follow to find the best days and times when to purchase tickets by reading my previous article Travel tips for the SMART consumer Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport is one of largest airports in Puerto and most closest to the popular city Old San Juan. The airport was clean and well organized.

car

Other important takeaways:

If you arrive after 10:30 pm the airport was pretty empty. You can expect most of the restaurants and bars within the airport to be closed as well. No worries though! There will be plenty of delicious places open when you leave the airport to start you on your adventure!

The car rental kiosk at the airport closes at midnight. There is also only one kiosk open for renting with all companies that time of night. Renting a car is the same process and same companies that you find here in the United States (Enterprise, Hertz, Budget).Your current auto insurance policy with full coverage should cover you while in Puerto Rico. The roads and highways looked no different than your typical drive in the United States. There were a few toll roads depending on what part of Puerto Rico you are visiting. In some areas you could definitely see the devastation from the hurricane, but overall the roads were safe to drive on.

Puerto Rico does offer ride sharing if you decide not to rent a car. Unsure about the parking,  we caught an Uber a few times when heading into Old San Juan. Our Uber drivers were friendly and very knowledgeable. It was interesting listening to how they and their families survived hurricane Maria and how they were doing today with the recovery. Each driver we had said they were thankful for people visiting the island. Every bit helps including our tourism! (By the way there were a few large paid parking garages in Old San Juan)

Where to stay?

Most hotels will cost you $220 a night and up depending on what you are looking for. We decided to book our stay with Book VIP and stayed at the nearby beautiful Wyndham Hotel. However, if I could go back in time I would have decided to stay in an Airbnb in Old San Juan. For the same price you can stay in the city near all the action of night life, restaurants and have a local experience in beautiful architecture.

dorado

If you would like to splurge and experience a true island resort type of stay I highly recommend The Ritz Carlton in Dorado, Puerto Rico. Located on a beautiful golf course and beach, this resort is very top notch and exclusive. You can also purchase real estate or stay in a beautiful villa.

Cuisine

monfongo

Coming from someone who does not eat pork or beef, my Puerto Rican food was still delicious! The islands most popular dish Mofongo (typically made with fried green plantains) is mashed together in a pilon which consists of a wooden mortar and pestle, with broth, garlic, olive oil, and pork cracklings or bits of bacon. It can also be made vegetarian with carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. I also had a delicious chicken dish paired with homemade hot and fruity hot sauce. Just devine!

Hanging Out

We woke up early to Uber into Old San Juan. We were told on the weekends go into  town early enough before the cruise ships come in. Our first stop was finding a coffee shop to enjoy the islands espresso with a hint of Grand Manier. Eager to get out of a warm rainforest down pour, we stumbled upon Café Berlin. Café Berline was  perfect! Great espresso, beautiful décor, vegetarian dishes, and very friendly staff.

After we left Café Berlin it was still raining so we stepped into one of the local mom and pop shops to purchase a durable umbrella for only $5! We step out onto the cobble stone lined streets to explore Old San Juan. Here were some of our favorite places:

 

haitian

Haitian Gallery

367 Calle Fortaleza

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901

A must see for beautiful, unique art for well over 30 years. Don’t forget to venture upstairs for more.

cigar

The Cigar House of Puerto Rico

257 Calle Fortaleza

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901

Purchase cigars or chillax in the beautiful cigar room. Enjoy full concierge service which includes a backroom tour of the most exquisite cigars. Enjoy a cognac at the table while you blow one back.

umbrella

The Colorful Umbrellas

Fortaleza Street

Beautifully colored umbrellas decorate the sky of this popular street.

 

pigeons

Pigeon Park “The Parque de las Palomas” (Bird Watching area)

Calle de Tetuan, San Juan Puerto Rico 00901

Whoever thought you could find such peace sitting amongst birds?

 

monastary

The Monastery Art Hotel & Suites

250 Calle de Cristo

San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901

One of the most beautiful places to stay in the Old San Juan District. Close to nightlife,

monuments and museums.

lady pizza

Bari Handcrafted Pizza

Calle del Cristo #154

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901

Delicious oven baked pizza (try the artichoke heart!). Beautiful open garden setting, delicious espresso, music (Bob Marley was playing!), friendly staff.

 

names

Los Yeyos la Casa del Mofongo

353 Calle San Francisco

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901

Great tiny bar that serves great food and best Mofongo on the Island. Be sure to write your name on the wall in marker before you go!

 

fort2

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

501 Calle Norzagarary

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901

A Historical landmark citadel from the 16th century named in honor of King Phillip II from Spain. Bring your walking shoes to explore this beautiful site.

San Juan has so many beautiful things to see and do. This is the type of place where you don’t necessarily have to plan. On a typical weeknight you could hear and see live music playing in the streets. Enjoy!

mom

If you would like help planning your next relaxing vacation try travel designer www.travelroute365.com

Want to plan it all yourself? We like Book VIP

 

 

 

 

The Himalayan Salt Cave experience in Mentor, Ohio

There is a holistic hidden jewel located in Mentor, Ohio. The Mentor Salt Cave is a relaxing and holistic experience for the young and old.  You can book appointments for sessions in the twelve thousand pound Himalayan salt cave, or detoxifying foot soak baths. Upon entering there is a beautifully arranged retail store containing everything Himalayan. From edible assortments, to inhaler’s, lamps and soaps to hosting your own private party.

SALT PRODUCTS

Himalayan salt is known for the natural healing powers of its 84 trace minerals needed to heal our bodies. Here are just a few of the type of ailments Himalayan salt has healed:

SALT INSIDE2

Upon entering the dimly 71 degree Himalayan cave you must place all electronics in a locker, remove your shoes and put on protective slippers. You are given a cozy blanket as you lie underneath stars in the zero gravity chair. Ear plugs are placed in your ear as you listen to soothing music and inhale the salt into your sinuses to work its magic within your body.

You can complete your visit with an iconic detoxifying foot salt bath soak which magnetizes and draws toxins out of your body through your feet. Your visit would not be complete without purchasing a healing soap or salt lamp to take home.

Note: If you can not make it out to the Mentor Salt Cave, You can also replace your table salt with pink Himalayan salt to help heal the same benefits listed above. I purchase mine from Trader Joe’s Grocery Store.

For more information or to book your appointment visit their site here.

Young Entrepreneurs

Young entrepreneurs is a non- profit organization that children and teens can participate in to help pursue their entrepreneurial, leadership, and business ideas.

Your child does not have to have a business plan or even know what their entire plans for the future are. The idea is to turn their vision and craft into an opportunity to make connections with people and make money as a result of something they thought of.

Here is how our experience went with Young Entrepreneurs:

We were visiting a farmers market one Saturday and came across a booth filled with two separate groups of children and teens. One group were two male teens who baked and sold delicious cookies. Another were two girls selling small homemade pillows and hair bandanas.

My girls were immediately drawn to them and seeing them sparked their naturally born curiosity and talents. They immediately asked when they could do the same. We got the name of the website called Young Entrepreneurs, filled out the form and signed up. The process was easy! Our girls immediately spent the next few weeks preparing their product and creating business cards.

When the big day came my girls woke early to make sure they were at their booth at the farmers market at 830am. They displayed their product and stood proudly for 3 hours greeting the locals, taking payments and handing out business cards. They have already signed up for another booth and feel so proud creating something and making their own money. My husband and I were so proud of our girls. The values they are learning from this experience and the children they might have inspired today  is priceless!

Spread the love to your young entrepreneur in your family! If you are interested in signing up or learning more please visit the Young Entrepreneurs website here.

Guinea Pig Care for Beginners

As much as we wanted a dog, it just wasn’t time due to my daughter’s severe allergies. She seems to even be allergic to allergy free dogs. But, if it weren’t for her allergies, we never would have met our little guinea pig Jack, or “Jackie” as we like to call him.

I grew up taking care of 6 hamsters. Not all at once. Some we bought in a “pair” and the other hamsters were alone. One thing they all had in common was that they eventually passed away and were buried in our childhood backyard. Hamsters made a great first pet but they weren’t personal with you. They were small, nippy little things. I just knew that my girls wanted more out of a pet.

After looking for information online for a nice starter pet, I came across the guinea pig. I saw that guinea pigs could be trained and they liked vegetables. They even liked to be taken out of their cage daily! Seemed like a nice “in between” pet experience to try.

When I began my search to find the best guinea pig I realized it was not easy to find the little guy. An animal lover friend of mine said it’s always best to rescue a pet if you can. Therefore we did not attempt to purchase from a pet store. I searched local animal shelters and on websites such as Marilyn’s Voice. Almost every guinea pig that I came across had either just been adopted or was about to be picked up for adoption. Feeling somewhat defeated, I decided to try Craig’s List. As I looked on the site it wasn’t long before the cutest little guinea pig was staring back at me. I emailed the seller and she was available!

The day came to pick up our new animal friend. We ordered a large cage because guinea pigs love, love, love a large space. You can also look on Pinterest if you want to attempt to build your own.

As we pulled up to the house to pick up our guinea I realized we truly were doing a great thing by “rescuing” him. The poor little pig lived in a house with over 20 cats, ferrets, and dogs. The owner (a young teenager) said that she never had time to play with it let alone feed it properly. She gave us a bag of timothy hay (more on that later) and his favorite toy. While walking down the driveway she yells, “Don’t forget to cut his nails!” I look down and sure enough his long claws had darkened and curled over like a witch. Well, he was ours now. We headed to the pet store to begin our new adventure.

All guinea pigs are different, but here are some basics to get you started and help your guinea pig transition into your loving home.

Personality

Most guinea pigs love to hide all day, so it is important to have a cave or burrow for them to run away and hide in. It takes quite sometime for your guinea to get comfortable with you, so don’t be dismayed if they only come out of their cave to eat or drink when you are NOT around. As the weeks go by, they will soon feel comfortable enough to take food from your hand and not run away so quickly when you walk by. Although some experts recommend that your guinea pig have a partner for companionship, keeping the cage in a main social area of the home will do the trick. Do not keep your guinea in a bedroom or office tucked away with the door closed or less frequented areas of the home. This will leave the guinea sad and lonely if they do not have a partner in the cage with them. Once the jitters start to subside guinea’s love to be picked up and socialize with you on your lap or on the floor. Little Jackie now calls for me as soon as I walk in from work and in the morning when he knows it’s time to eat again.

Cage

JACKIE CAGE2

Be sure to have a large enough cage for the guinea pig. Keep in mind that guinea pigs are larger and need breathable room than hamsters so an aquarium just will not do. You can find a cage similar to the one we purchased at Wal-Mart for about $39.99.

Bedding

The safest bedding for a guinea is either using fleece or absorbable paper crumbles found at a pet store. Please avoid using pine chips for bedding. Although less expensive, they are extremely toxic to our guinea pig friends. In our cage we line the bottom of the cage with recycled brown bags from the grocery store. Next, we layer with my husband’s old t-shirts or buy $1 bedding from a thrift store. Finally, we pour a few paper crumble shreds from the pet store to help capture any waste. We change the cage every week in half by wrapping up the bags and bedding and placing in a trash bag. I have read that some people choose to wash their bedding. I personally don’t want to do that.

Food

A guinea’s #1 food source should come from timothy hay. When buying timothy hay make sure that your are buying only timothy hay and not alfalfa timothy hay. We wondered why my guinea stopped eating his beloved hay one day only to find out I had purchased the wrong mixture.

JACKIE EATING

Guinea’s love raw fruits and vegetables! This is where they get their daily dose of vitamin C. Be sure they receive at least 1 cup of vegetables per day. Usually we split up half a cup in the morning and half a cup in the evening. Here is a sample of what our guinea’s favorite fresh foods are: broccoli leaves, kale, cabbage, carrots, purple lettuce, arugula, apples, watermelon rinds, pears, blueberries. Another great time to feed veggies is during out of cage play time or nail cutting.

Finally, always have dried “kibble” food in the dish and keep that water bottle filled to the brim! You will need to experiment with what dried food your guinea likes best. Guinea pigs definitely have a preference. Just like any other pet would.

Hygiene

After having our guinea pig after a month I thought that it might be time to give him a bath. Upon looking further into the cleaning we decided against it. I read several places that guinea skin carries a natural oil and they clean their skin similar to cats. Bathing the guinea strips them of their natural oil and can lead to pneumonia or other skin ailments. Our guinea has never carried any odor on the fur. Again, very similar to caring for a cat.

JACKIE NAILS2

For nail cutting things can get a little tricky. We have gone through experimenting with several cutters, all the way down to one that “glows” right at the line so you can see what is called the “quick.” What has worked best for us are baby nail clippers. Hold your guinea in your lap wrapped in a blanket so they feel “cavy.” Have a helper shine a small flash light on the area. Feed the guinea some fresh fruit or veggies so that they are distracted. We try to clip the nails every time we clean out the cage.

Guinea pigs are loveable little pets to have around your children! Enjoy!

JACKIEANILIL

 

 

 

You deserve an Instant Miracle

Imagine leaving your life behind for 3 days. No rushing off to work, no reading texts, no posting on social media, no children crying for your attention. These next 3 days are all about you. Yes, you! Hi, you! Did you forget about you? What you like, what your hopes and dreams are. Do you still dare to dream? Or was that only when you were a child “growing up.”

Most adults can say they have an extremely busy life. Whether you work full-time, are a stay-at-home parent, or in your retirement taking care of your parents. Maybe you just suffered a terrible lost in your life or a major set back. Daily life can be stressful to us all. Many choose to decompress by exercising their body, drinking, reading (just to name a few). But, have you ever considered exercising your mind?

That is exactly what having an Instant Miracle Experience is all about. Exercising your mind is similar to the same way you exercise your body. Think of lifting weights. As you use your muscle in your arm you begin to strengthen or tighten the area that you are focusing on. Translate that into working the mind muscle – you could meditate focusing on positive outcomes that you want to achieve, or reading positive books to manifest your desires. In both scenarios, over time, the particular area you are focused on is exercised, either physically (body) or mentally (brain) and you will produce a positive result.

Where can one find such “zen”?

One warm day in San Diego, I accompanied my husband to attend the 3-day Instant Miracle Experience. I don’t want to say I was skeptical because I have an open mind and love trying new things, however, I thought I was going to another boring self-help seminar that are literally given everywhere. Upon entering the auditorium I was immediately met with hugs, smiles, how are you and love energy. It was as if I left the “real world” full of judgements and frustrations. For those full 3 days my focus became all about myself. Not what my children are doing, not the latest news story.

It is so important to think about yourself in a world where we are always taught to look outwards. We could be helping our employer, helping our spouse, helping our kids. We are exhausting our own mental capacities. What about you? Is tuning into you being selfish? Absolutely not.  It’s time you start reflecting on your past (we all have underlying issues that need to be healed) and where we are now and where we want to go. How are your past issues truly affecting how you are reacting to situations today?

You are deserving of self love and so much more. You deserve a breather from this hectic fast paced life.

Imagine if we all were able to step away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It is possible if you want it to be. Be selfish and make it happen.

You deserve an Instant Miracle.

If you are interested in attending or learning more about an Instant Miracle Experience by Christian Mickelsen you can find out more information about this life changing event here: Instant Miracle Experience

Teach your children to Give, Save and Spend

There are 3 simple, yet important foundations that we can teach our children at a very young age about money. Regardless of how money comes and goes in our lives it can always be allocated into 3 main categories: give, save, and spend. When you think about those three categories you realize that you are either fully aware money is transacting like this at all times, or you soon realize how frivolous you are being with your own thoughts on money.

It is important to acknowledge your money and give it value. And the best time to start teaching this philosophy is as soon as possible!

Let me give you an honest example. In my latter parenting years, I have become one of those parents who believe in compensating my children for chores and other household projects. I didn’t always believe in this teaching, however. When I was a single mom raising my youngest child who is now 16, I pretty much catered to her every need. I served her decorative breakfast, lunch and dinner plates then collected the mess when she was done. I would yell, “Clean your room!,” only to come in 10 minutes later and find her watching TV. I would then retreat to cleaning the entire room. I picked out her clothes, helped her get dressed (yeah I know, insane!). How I came to do this without blinking was easy. I loved my daughter, I didn’t mind doing it, and I simply thought by doing these things that I was showing her how much I was a caring mother.

Little did I realize –  what I was doing was setting her up for laziness, entitlement and lack of responsibility. But how would she ever learn to not only take care of herself, but also humble herself to helping others? As a parent, it can be hard to go from taking care of your child’s every need to wanting them take on more responsibilities. The later you start your child down the road of having less responsibility around the house, the harder it becomes for both of you to correct the behavior later. Thinking back, I don’t beat myself up about it. When you start knowing better, you start doing better. I promised myself with my next two children that I was not heading down that long road again.

ANAKA DISHES

As soon as my youngest turned 5 and my middle child turned 7, my husband and I were introduced to an audio book teaching that inspired us so much that we wanted all of our children to learn this simple lesson of being responsible with their money. It’s called Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey. This audiobook has not only changed my life and how my children perceive chores and saving money, but their maturity has grown by leaps and bounds. Who thought that yelling “go clean your room” would be met with fast runs upstairs to see who can get there first?!

LILLIE MONEY

Before I get into greater detail on what we do in our household, here is some background on Dave Ramsey’s course. Dave Ramsey is a dad best known for starting a course for adults called Financial Peace University. It is an awesome course for any income level or educational background. Just be ready to live like no one else, so you can live like no one else when stepping into it! Along with allocating your income and giving every dollar a name, Dave was soon inspired to create the same idea for his growing children. Here is his take on “commissioning your children:’ We never gave our children an allowance because I don’t like the word. We gave our kids a commission. Commission is, “Work, get paid. Don’t work, don’t get paid.” It’s kind of like the real world. Allowance sounds like welfare to me. I just don’t like the word. Words are powerful. You have to be careful with them. We called ours commissions, and if you didn’t do your work, by the way, you didn’t get paid. That’s how this works.

After listening to the audiobook Smart Money Smart Kids, my husband and I anxiously got started. To make it fun we had the girls decorate envelopes and later as the envelopes got full, switched the money into jars and so forth. As we had the girls label each envelope and jar with give, save, and spend they understood that for every dollar earned, it would go into one of the allocated areas. They further understood what they would be compensated for each chore and that some jobs would be worth a dollar (i.e. washing dishes), some would be worth a quarter (i.e. feeding the pets), and that some chores did not warrant any money (i.e. putting your dish in the sink).

You will have fun creatively coming up with your own pay scale and chore list as a family. Don’t forget – it is necessary to clearly lay out all house rules because children will try to get over on you. Here are some of our amazing results so far:

SAVE

We are into about 3 months dedication with implementing Smart Money Smart Kids.  Our daughters age 5 and 7 have saved enough money to purchase their first big splurge – an Android tablet. And yes, they diligently have earned every hardworking penny.

 

GIVE

My daughter’s recently gave a small donation to a special cause of their choosing.

 

SPEND

Spending has taken on such fun experience for the girls. We go to either the dollar tree or five below and mommy and daddy no longer reach in their pocket. Toys and little trinkets no longer are just carelessly thrown or lost right away. The kids seem to be proud and take more pride in their purchases.

 

WORK

This process can continue to repeat itself throughout childhood, teenage years and into adulthood. As the children get older, it’s a great opportunity to introduce investments and making their own money to give, save and spend with.

In case you are wondering about my 16 year old, well of course it’s not easy to get her to comply  as the young ones have. However, we are taking her passion for art and making it into her own business. From that she is able to give, spend, and save. And, yes she does try to keep up with her room and other household chores, lol. Good luck all!!

Dave Ramsey has a plethora of  courses or audiobooks to choose from. You can find out more information here

ANAKA MONEY