Pineapple “Butter” Cake – Making Substitutions

I am so excited to be working with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter and Country Crock for a series of posts. This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Unilever.

Father’s Day is this weekend…yes, I know, it came up crazy fast!  I started prepping for Father’s Day last month so the holiday wouldn’t sneak up on me like it has in the past.   Plus, I wasn’t sure when exactly my knee surgery would be so I wanted to ensure Mathlete got a proper celebration.
I love to cook and, well, Mathlete loves to eat so I wanted make him a delicious meal that I knew he would enjoy and that featured one of his favorite things: pineapple.  His love for pineapple runs  so deep that he will actually order the fruit cups for the kids at restaurants just so he can eat their pineapple.  He is in trouble if they ever develop a love for it!

We started with pineapple teriyaki burgers and finished with some delicious pineapple “butter” cake for dessert.

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Shopping CB2 – Brasil Style #CB2NovogratzBrasilSweepstakes

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of CB2 for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

CB2 is a one of those stores that is filled with high style and lots of design inspiration. Now, CB2 has partnered with Robert and Cortney Novogratz to bring the influence of Brasil into a new the new CB2 and Novogratz Collection.

The collection is filled with warm wood tones and pops of color.  It brings in the fun of a vacation home in Brasil to your home.  A few of my favorite items from the collection

I love the bright colors that are intermixed in the collection.  It is just enough to really make the items fun but still fit well into any home.  The Rouge Coffee Table is definitely my favorite item in the collection.

In addition to offering access to some high style inspried by Brasil through the new CB2 and Novogratz Collection, CB2 is offering a chance to win a trip of a lifetime in the CB2 and Novogratz Brasil Sweepstakes.

The grand prize winner and three friends will win a one week stay at the vacation home of CB2 collaborators Bob and Courtney Novogratz in gorgeous Trancoso, Brazil.  In addition, 10 other lucky winners will receive $100 CB2 giftcards along with a personally signed copy of the book "Home by Novogratz".
 
Want to enter to win the trip of a lifetime? I know I do!  Visit here between now and June 3rd for your chance to win one of the amazing prizes being offered from CB2.
 
I started following CB2 on Facebook to keep up with the sweepstakes {who knows, maybe I'll know the person who wins big…like you!} and other offerings from CB2. 

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Pinterest Challenge: Ribbon Wreath with Felt Flowers

With every season change {and sometimes more often}, I like to change the wreath on our front door.  Most often, this comes in the form of a ribbon wreath.
Now, spring has been here for a little while but our very brown winter wreath was still hanging out on the front door.  So, this weekend, I decided it was time to infuse a little color out there.  Of course, I stopped over on Pinterest for a little inspiration.

Then, I made mine.

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Making a Change to Your Eating Habits with New Oil

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pompeian for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Olive oil is all the rage.  It is the crux of the Mediterranean diet and famous, in part, thanks to Rachel Ray constantly referring to “EVOO”. 

Did you know that there is another healthy oil that should be a part of your diet?  
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I have recently starting cooking more often with grapeseed oil in addition to using more traditional olive oil. Grapeseed oil has an extremely high smoke point and a light taste which makes it fantastic in so many types of recipes.

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Introducing people to grape seed oil and the benefits of trying new cooking products has led to Pompeian’s Time to Change Your Oil! Pompeian is challenging bloggers to reimagine their favorite recipe with healthy grapeseed oil in place of traditional butters and fats. Check out the semi-finalists and case your vote for the most creative and appetizing recipe now through Sunday, 12 May 2013.
The winner, chosen by Hungry Girl Lisa Lillien, will get an all expense paid trip to BlogHer Food ’13 being held in Austin, TX this summer.  Oh, and you get a voucher for a free bottle of oil just for entering! 

While you think about which recipe you want to re-imagine, try out this delicious recipe for Smoky Fried Chickpeas provided by Pompeian.

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Smoky Fried Chickpeas

Now, get cooking with some new oil and then go vote for the semi-finalists!.  YOU can influence which recipe will be featured through out BlogHer Food ’13 this summer!

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Changing Tastes Means House Upgrades

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Moen, Incorporated for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

We moved into our house just about 3 years ago.  When we bought the house, we immediately painted all the walls and made some pretty big decorating decisions prior to living in the house.

Well, a ton has changed since then.  Our tastes have definitely changed from a more box store catalog look to a preferences that skew to a more collected look where everything isn't matchy/matchy. 

One of the rooms getting the biggest changes is the kitchen.  When the house was built and all the interior  choices were made, the buyer was single guy with no eye for any kind of design at all.  The cabinets match the floors and absolutely DO NOT match the countertops.  We've slowly been making changes in the room which started with cabinet knobs and then furniture. 

The next change I have my eye on is the faucet.  We currently have the original builder's faucet and it is starting to show some major wear.  One of the faucets I have had my eye on is the Kiran Spot Resist one-handle pulldown kitchen faucet.
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I love the stainless steel finsih on the faucet and feel it will go much better in our updated kitchen than the current dark {almost black} faucet we have right now.  Plus, the faucet is spot and fingerprint resistant which is perfect because I always have little kiddos touching it or getting water everywhere. 
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The faucet has an awesome high arch which is definitely own trend.  The pulldown design makes it extremely functional and useful for when I am doing dishes or working in the sink.

With the Moen name behind it, I know I am buying a quality product too.   I have even been out to Lowe's to check out the faucet and am saving my pennies for the purchase :)

I started following Moen on Facebook and Twitter.  Following your favorite brands through social media is a great way to keep up with info on their newest products and get tips on using the products.

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Heating Efficiently: Pellet Stoves

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Harman Stoves for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am always searching for ways to be more responsible to the environment while also not breaking the bank.  For most households, their biggest expense during these cold winter months is heating.  Unfortunately, heating homes can also be one of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution too.

A popular heating alternative is a pellet stove.  Pellet stoves cost {on average} 44% less than oil, 47% less than electric and 53% less than propane heat.  Plus, biomass fuels used in pellet stoves are composed of renewable, carbon-neutral products so they are extremely environmentally friendly.  You can learn more about pellet stoves here
Pellet Stoves are Awesome

Another perk of pellet stoves: The federal tax credit on 75% efficient biomass heating appliances was reinstated on January 2, 2013.  The bill includes a "tax extender" which provides a tax credit for qualifying biomass-burning stoves. The credit is 10% of up to $300 on a qualified biomass heating appliance purchased between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013! That makes a pellet stove an even better way to save on home heating costs.

One of the leaders in pellet stoves is Harman Pellet Stoves.  Dane Harman designed and built his first Harman stove in 1979 in an effort to reduce his family's heating costs. Now, after more than 3 decades, the Harman brand has 36 models of heating equipment including pellet stoves, inserts and home heating units.

Harman Pellet Stoves is giving away a journal sized notebook made of recycled materials to one Just Us Four reader! 

Want to win?  Simply visit Harman Pellet Stoves and then leave me a comment telling me what you like about the company or their products. 
The contest will run for 7 days and a winner will be drawn and announced here at the conclusion of the contest period.

Also, be sure to connect with Harman on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

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{Guest Post} Sloppy Joes from Plucky’s Second Thought

Welcome to my birthday week guest posting extravaganza. Today, we have an awesome recipe from Jess who blogs over at Plucky’s Second Thought.

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Hello all! I’m Jess from Plucky’s Second Thought! At Plucky’s Second Thought I try to post really easy crafts and recipes that anyone could complete and accomplish. Yep, you don’t have to be Martha Stewart or Rachael Ray to attempt anything on my blog! I was asked to Guest Blog on Shannah’s Blog to help her out, and I couldn’t say no because I was really excited to share my Homemade Sloppy Joe recipe! :)
What’s the best thing about this recipe?  You know everything that is going into this dish!  There are NO hidden ingredients/chemicals that you tend to find in store bought Sloppy Joe sauces!
Please enjoy this delicious recipe, and I’m sure it’s going to become your family’s favorite like it has mine! :)
Ingredients:
• olive oil
• 1 yellow onion, diced
• 1 green bell pepper, diced
• 1 and 1/4 lbs ground beef
• 1 and 1/3 c ketchup
• 2 tbsp white vinegar
• 1 heaping tbsp brown sugar
• 1 tsp chile powder
• 1 tsp paprika
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/4 tsp black pepper
• 2/3 c water
• hamburger bun

Directions:
• In a large skillet sauté onion and pepper in olive oil over medium-low heat.
• Once tender, remove from skillet.
• Then brown beef over medium heat; drain grease.
• Add sautéed vegetables back in pan along with ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, spices, salt, pepper, and water.
• Bring to a simmer and cook about 20 minutes or until water is absorbed, stirring often.
• Serve on hamburger buns.
source: http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/easy-sloppy-joes/

The Updated Blog

So, last week, you guys got a fun surprise and new blog design showed up here!  Monica, from Designer Blogs, worked her buns off to create the awesome design and all the great stuff that went along with it.  If you are shopping for a new blog design, I HIGHLY recommend them {and no, they did not pay or perk me to say that}!

A few of the highlights of the new design:
- Drop down menus: This will make it easier for you guys to find posts that fit into the categories you are interested in.  These do require me to update the categories on all of my posts which is a slow process so be patient with me…I will get them all organized!

- New Buttons:  Yep, those changed too!  Please be sure to update the button on your page :) You can grab the code from the sidebar or by visiting the Grab a Button page.

- Additional social media buttons.  You can now follow me via Google+ and BlogLovin simply by clicking on the icons in the sidebar.

- A fancy new picture.  I have the lovely Elevee Photography to thank for my awesome pictures.  My friend, Kere, hooked me up with some Stella & Dot jewelry to wear and Erica worked her camera magic.  I’m still trying to decide which picture is my favorite so you may see that picture in the sidebar change a few times :)

- LinkWithin – Now, each post has links to other relevant posts at the bottom. I hope it helps you find more content that interests you!

I think those are the major highlights of the blog design.  I had a great time working with Monica and she really helped me put my ideas into a real website.

Your Vote Makes a Difference

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of White Cloud for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have a huge soft spot for anything child related.  My son has spent enough time in the doctor's office or hospital for children with illnesses to really get to me though.  Each year, we do our best to give back to charities and organizaitons that benefit children in need by donatining money, clothing, toys and our time.

White Cloud, the makers of facial tissues and toilet paper, has teamed up with one of those organizations too: Children's Miracle Network.  They collected artwork from kids in the 168 Children's Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals as potential new covers for the White Cloud tissue boxes.  Once all the artwork was collected, they narrowed it to 10 finalists.

That's where you and I come in!  The 10 designs can be found on the White Cloud Facebook page so fans can vote on their favorites!

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Three winning designs will be chosen and printed on special edition White Cloud Facial Tissue boxes that will be sold exclusively in Walmart stores during the month of May.  Find a store near you!
In addition to featuring the designs, White Cloud will also be making donations to each of the CMN hospitals with winning designs.

Now, helping to score money for hospitals that serve children just by voting is a piece of cake.  But, there is some icing to that cake!  Fans who vote for the designs will be offered a chance to enter a sweepstakes to win $25 Walmart giftcards.  Three grand prize winners will get a one-year supply of White Cloud products.  Like White Cloud on Facebook to get all the details and keep up with the announcements.

Now, what are you waiting for?  It is time to vote.

Voting App

Abbreviated rules (a.k.a. legal mumbo jumbo that is important):  No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited.  The CHilren's Miracle Network Contest and Sweepstakes are sponsored by Kruger Products (USA), Inc.  The Contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, between the ages of 4 and 14, who are eligible paitents at one of the 168 participating Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.  The entry period for the Contest begins on November 29, 2012 and ends on December 28, 2012.  The Voter Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, 18 years of age or older.  The Voter Sweepstakes begin at 6:00pm ET on January 3, 2013 and end at 11:59pm ET on January 30, 2013.  For official rules, visit http://mywhitecloud.com/tissue-box-contest

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Top 10 Projects of 2012 & a Look Forward to 2013

I absolutely love looking back over the past year and seeing what I’ve posted about. Even more fun though is looking through and seeing what you guys liked the most. It helps me see what you like and guides me in what to write about in the coming year.

Speaking of this year, I wanted to give you an idea of what to expect around here at Just Us Four.

  •  In general, I will post once per day on the following “schedule”
    Monday and Tuesday = original content
    Wednesday = What to Cook Wednesday {some of these will be guest posted!}
    Thursday = Pinworthy Projects Features & Feed Me Friday Blog Hop
    Friday = Pinworthy Projects Party
  • Sponsored Posts: Unless a sponsored post features original content, it will NOT take the place of a regular post. So, for those days, you might see more than one from me.
  • Guest Posting: I’d like to feature more of you guys so look for requests for guest posters more often. Ideally, I’d like to have at least one guest poster per month. You can contact me at justusfourpartners {at} gmail {dot} com to sign up for a regular guest posting slot or a WTCW guest posting slot.
  • On a similar note, I will be looking for guest posters for my birthday week (4-8 February) again this year.

Without further ado, I bring you…The Top 10 Just Us Four Posts of 2012!

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