New Giveaway Announcement – Enter to win a Club Med Family Vacation

WeJustGotBack.com  and Instructables is giving you a chance to win a Club Med Family Vacation.

To enter, simply submit a new step-by-step, photo, or video instructable in which you share your family’s favorite games, crafts andor activities that involve family travel. The contest deadline was June 5, but has just been extended to June 19 and involves some pretty great prizes. (Total prize value is over $5,500.)

Ready to go? Click here for all the details.

New Momscape Giveaway: Annual Membership to The Fresh 20 Meal Planning Service

Lately, I’ve been talking to a lot of moms who say they have hit a wall when it comes to what to feed the family each night. It seems quite a few of us are on a 2- or 3-week cycle of dinners because it’s hard to find meals that fit 3 important criteria. Optimally, those family dinners will be:

1. Quick to prepare.

2. Agreeable to at least a majority of the people sitting at the table with you (otherwise, what’s the point?)

3. Healthy and made with primarily fresh ingredients.

So I was thrilled when The Fresh 20 meal planning service approached me to say they wanted to give an entire year’s membership to one of you Momscapers!

This service does all the planning and thinking for you. I’ve just reviewed one of the weekly meal plans, and it’s got 5 savory dishes, such as braised flank steak with garlic mashed potatoes and pan roasted broccoli, or how about Mirepoix scallops and quinoa?

Subscribers to The Fresh 20 receive a weekly email with everything you need, including:

* A week’s menu of five dinnertime meals, along with detailed recipes and quick tips to help make the cooking easier and more enjoyable.

* A well-organized list for you to take to the store with all the ingredients you’ll need for the week’s meals.

What sets this meal planning service apart is that the meals center on fresh ingredients. These plans use only 20 fresh ingredients per week to make 5 weeknight dinners, and quality is a priority, so you won’t find any canned soup or frozen foods, nothing processed, and no preservatives. And it’s budget friendly. The average cost of dinner for four is $14, and each meal plan comes with a corresponding cost estimate.

Enter the giveaway:

Prize: Annual membership to The Fresh 20 meal planning service (a $49.99 value).

You can enter in one of two ways (or enter both ways to double your chance of winning):

1. Follow @momscape on Twitter (if you haven’t already). Send a tweet about the Fresh20 giveaway – such as Enter this great giveaway from @momscape http://tinyurl.com/29pttzt
(Just make sure you include @momscape in the tweet, along with your mention of the contest, so I can properly track the tweet and enter it into the drawing.)

2. “Like” Momscape on Facebook (again, if you haven’t already), and answer/respond to this simple question: “What’s your family’s favorite healthy dinner?” on our wall.

This giveaway will be open until November 20, 2010 (12 midnight MST).

We’ll choose the winner in a random drawing of twitterers and facebook commenters.
Complete rules are here.

Good luck!

(And thanks to The Fresh 20 for sponsoring this contest.)

*** Congrats to Julia S. who won our Fresh 20 membership giveaway. Join us at facebook to learn about new giveaways as they are announced!

Steak. Butter. Love. (And a new giveaway for Momscapers)

pioneer-woman-cooks

Like many of you, I’m sure, I love  The Pioneer Woman’s blog and so, of course, I bought her cookbook. (It was another one of those gifts that I wrapped for myself and put under the tree for myself and feigned surprise when I opened on Christmas morning.)

It’s got a lot of recipes that feature ingredients you actually might already have in your kitchen, which is unusual and quite nice. So the other night I flip open to  “Rib Eye Steak with Whiskey Cream Sauce” and we have more than three quarters of the ingredients on hand so I decide to go for it.

The funny thing is, it says to fry the steak in butter.

Um.

I’ve never, ever done that before. Ever. I mean I’ve heard of people doing it before. But two saturated fats, together, frying? Together? It must be some sort of sin.

But I did it. I followed that recipe.

So I have this buttery, oniony sauce going and I have just put on the steaks when my husband walks in. Ty is (or, rather, would like to be) a Montana-sized-steak kind of a man – who is, as it turns out, living in a vegetable-soup-and-celery kind of a household.  He has been framing houses all day in the subzero Rocky Mountains.

He sees these steaks, which have been peppered to oblivion. They are frying in actual butter in a cast-iron skillet and he stops right where he stands. He looks at me and he looks at the steaks and he looks at me again with tenderness and devotion, not unlike on our wedding day, and he says to me, in a whisper: “I’m so impressed with you right now that I don’t even know what to say.”

And I gotta say, it was melt-in-your mouth delicious. Everyone thought so. Well, except my 7 year old son, but he doesn’t eat meat right now for some reason so he didn’t actually try it.

And while I will always be a salad and veggie kind of girl, I now have a cookbook to refer to on those special occasions, such as Ty’s birthday or when his parents come to visit.pioneer-woman-cooks

The Pioneer Woman makes me smile every day. Her cookbook is like the take home version of her blog, which is funny and warm and genuinely useful.

I’m giving away a copy of The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl to a random Momscape Facebook fan who posts the name of his/her favorite dish to serve up for dinner on our Facebook wall. (Better yet, you could include the recipe or link to it because I need all the help I can get – but all you need to do to enter the drawing is to post the name of the dish on the Momscape facebook page here.)

I’ll award the cookbook to one of you facebook wall post-ers in a week’s time and post the results here and on Facebook and Twitter, too on January 21 – so make your post by midnight January 20, 2010, kay?

Good luck!

The Winner of our Artful Soap Giveaway…

Congratulations to Kimberly, who won our Artful Soap giveaway! (I’ve just sent you an email, Kimberly).

Thanks to all who participated. I especially enjoyed reading about all the ways that you celebrate winter, indoors and out, because this is the time of year when I sometimes need a winter pep talk.

I live at 9500 feet elevation in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, so winter is both exciting (because we get to play new sports) and long (because it doesn’t fully end until July.) Oh, I might wear short sleeves and sometimes even cropped pants in May and June, but as soon as the sun goes behind a cloud, I secretly wish that I wasn’t.

So, sometimes at this time of year, I have to prepare myself mentally for the start of a long winter by making a list of all the things I love about these many frigid winter months:

Here are a few:

  • Fresh corduroy on ski runs.
  • Icy ponds.
  • Irish Coffee.
  • The way my dog rolls in fresh snow, like it’s the best thing that ever happened to him.
  • My red snowboard with polka dot bindings. (Her name is Lucy.)
  • Snow forts.
  • When snow sticks on my daughter’s eyelashes.
  • Watching toddlers sled down snowhills that their dads have made.
  • The sight of steam coming off my husband’s head when he takes off his hat after a good, hard backcountry ski. And then sitting on the tailgate of his truck and sharing a Thermos of coffee.

There. Now I’m feeling better. Now it can snow.

New Momscape Giveaway: Sweet Cakes of Artful Soap {Contest Closed}

I just love these soaps.

soaps-400x315

I love it when someone is artistic enough to elevate an ordinary, everyday thing like soap to the level where it becomes art. Sometimes I think that’s what life’s all about.

These beauties are made by a little company named Milagros, which used to have a their own shop on Main Street in the little Colorado ski town where I live. Now you have to go upstairs in a flower shop to find them, but I sniffed them out and we are now happily reunited.

These bars smell divine. Heavenly. And you can find a design to suit any personality. Beyond coffee cups and, well, the Earth – there are martinis, gardenias, mountain scenes, Christmas trees, cherries, watermelons, peaches and lots more – with scents to match. You’ll have to use your olfactory imagination here, but the scents for the soaps pictured above are as follows:

“Good Earth” has hay, floral, and citrus notes.
“Café Ole” has hazelnut, cinnamon and coffee bean oils.

I’m giving these two bars away to a randomly selected reader who leaves a reply at the end of this post and tells me simply this:

My favorite winter sport is ____________.

If you don’t personally participate in any winter sports, please note that I will also count watching others as they engage in sport, as well as indoor pursuits, such as cocoa slurping or Frito munching or dog snuggling.

I’m not sure why I chose these two soaps to go together. Perhaps because coffee makes my world go round? In any case, the drawing will be random and the entry deadline is Monday 11-9-09 at midnight mountain time. (US and Canada 18 and over, please. Complete rules are here.)

Also, please note that comment moderation is enabled, so your comment will not show up immediately, but as long as it’s not rated R, it will appear below quite shortly.

Then follow us on Twitter or find us on Facebook because these are the channels through which we’ll announce the winner on Tuesday the 10th.

So, tell us: what is your favorite winter activity?

Thanks to all who entered! This giveaway has ended, but stay tuned for more!