Monday, September 24, 2012

Mexican Chicken Casserole

Mexican Chicken Casserole

1 Package Taco Seasoning
1 Can Cream of Chicken (fat free)
1 Can Cream of Mushroom (fat free)
1 Can Water
1 1/2 Cup Uncooked Rice (not instant)
1 Pound Frozen Boneless Chicken Breasts (cut into thin strips)
1 Can Rotel
Shredded Cheese

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix water, cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, and taco seasoning then pour into bottom of 9 x 13 dish. Spread rice over mixture - careful not to get too close to the edges so that it will cook properly. Spread FROZEN chicken over that and top with Rotel.

Cover with aluminum foil, and cook for 1 hour and 40 minutes on 350.  Do a little shopping on Smocking Hot Mamas.

Remove foil. Cover with thin but even layer of cheddar cheese. Place back in over until cheese is melted.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Scrub a Dub Dub

Scrub a Dub Dub
Laundry Tips

We all love to dress our children in beautiful clothing, but, if you are like me, you don't want those beautiful clothes to keep your kids from being kids. You want them to play and enjoy. However, if your child is like mine, that means getting MESSY. And while they may only wear an outfit once because of overshopping, you don't want that $70+ outfit to only be worn once ever - you want to resell it - on Smocking Hot Mamas.  So here are some tips to help you do that:

1) Wash promptly. Most of us have enough cute clothes for our kiddos that we don't need to wash often. And no rush to wash the normal wear clothes. But for stains - wash quickly for best results. 

2) Use the right detergent. Some suggest Woolite. It keeps clothes from fading. It is more expensive, but for the occasional load of boutique clothes, especially those knits, it may be worth it for you.

3) Treat the stain. Everyone has their own techniques for stain removal, but here are a few of ours. I had tried every spray or gel I could think of on who knows what kind of food stain on a white dress of Avery's. Total resale value killer. A friend suggested a mix of oxiclean powder and oxiclean gel or spray. Mix it into a paste on the stain, rub with a soft tooth brush, and let sit a little while (but not long enough to dry - this was white, so it wasn't a bit deal, but it might bleach colors if you leave it too long). Then rinse thoroughly. I didn't have a spare toothbrush but with a little time and rubbing it in with my finger SUCCESS! Outfit saved. Don't try this on colored smocking though - those threads are more likely to fade.  A similar option is to soak the outfit in a combination of warm water and a scoop of oxiclean. Dissolve and soak. 

Another miracle worker is Grandma's Stain Remover. It can be found at Hobby Lobby in the fabric section, CVS, and random other places along the way. Earlier this year, I received a Shrimp and Grits sample swim suit that appeared to have red sharpie across the top. Mama was NOT happy. But I had recently purchased some Grandma's after having heard fabulous things. I begrudgingly took the tag off, scrubbed scrubbed scrubbed with my finger and the Grandma's and threw it in the wash.  It came out almost completely the first wash. It does seem to work best on untreated stains, so keep this in mind. 

Other suggestions: Q tips and bleach for small stains on white smock plate can work wonders. Many have had success with placing lemon juice or vinegar on a stain and letting it sit in the sun - but not too long or you may bleach your outfit out. Resolve dual chamber has been known to work wonders on chocolate (again, don't leave it on too long - a few minutes should do the trick). Others swear by "Awesome" from the dollar tree. 

For ink, fold up a paper towel and place it behind the stain, so it doesn't bleed through. Saturate with rubbing alcohol (or aerosol hair spray will do the same bc of the alcohol). Blot with another paper towel. Repeat as needed. Wash as normal. 

4) Hang your items to dry. The heat is just not their friend (unless you are trying to size down an outfit). While some of your smocks can handle a tumble on low, your knits will suffer dearly for it. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cheesy Chicken (Kid Approved!)

When my brother and I were little, my mom would occasionally ask us what was for dinner. If we didn't begin to wildly chant Burger King, one of us would most likely say "cheese in the crockpot!!!!" (for some reason, we were both fascinated by the crockpot). My mom would not protest, as it is quite possibly the easies thing in the world. My mom got this recipe from a dental hygienist once when my brother was getting his teeth cleaned. Although she's made it so frequently she no longer needs it, she still has the recipe scrawled on the back of a Dr.Simpson appointment  slip. So today when I mentioned to my own mama that I was sharing this recipe with you, she laughed about how often she had to make it for us growing up and hoped y'all would enjoy it as much!

Cheesy Chicken

4-8 chicken breasts (depending on size, about 6 medium ones)
1 can Campbell's cheddar cheese soup
1 can cream of chicken
1 can cream of mushroom
a shake of pepper

serve over rice

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spotlight on Smocking Hot Businesses: Ladybugs & Bumblebees Smocked Clothing

Spotlight on Smocking Hot Businesses
Ladybugs & Bumblebees Smocked Clothing 

One of the biggest questions we see around Facebook shopping circles is "What are the best places to shop on Facebook?" Of course our first answer is Smocking Hot Mamas, but we have decided to help spread the word about some of our favorite Facebook shops. The first shop that comes to mind for the admin of SHM is Ladybugs & Bumblebees Smocked Clothing.

Ladybugs and Bumblebees is a mom operated small business supplying timeless smocks and appliqué clothing to the Facebook shopping community. She offers great prices and wonderful customer service. Flexpay is also available to spread out the balances into two, three, or even four payments. Penny, the owner, has gone above and beyond to help mamas find ISOs and is always quick to reply to answer questions. 

Some Special Deals by Ladybugs & Bumblebees:

- Fan of the Week - one randomly selected L&B fan of the week (who has posted, liked, or otherwise participated on the page) will receive a 10% off code on their next purchase. 
- Buy Any Two Items from the L&B Fall Sale Album and get 10% off your purchase. 
- Like or Share for a Discount - some items allow you to receive a discount when you share or like a photo. Check the item description to see if that applies. 

Check out her wall albums for items currently for sale and keep an eye out for her auctions on Sunday nights!

Facebook Auction Times: Sunday 9pm EST/8pm CST

Brands Carried: Anavini, Claire & Charlie, Little English (website exclusive), Posh Originals, Ladybugs & Bumblees store brand, and more

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chicken Spaghetti

Another time saving recipe from SHM:

Throw the following in a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

- 4-5 chicken breasts
- 1 package cream cheese
- 1 can cream of chicken
- 1 package dry Italian dressing
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 1/2 cup white cooking wine (or the regular variety if you prefer)

Shred the chicken with a pair of forks.

Serve over noodles (my husband swears it tastes better with the spiral noodles)!

It's a family favorite, and we hope you can enjoy, too!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Shipping Like An SHM Pro

There are smocking hot mamas.. and then there are seasoned smocking hot mamas. One thing that all of our veteran sellers have in common is their mastery of the shipping process. These mamas can have an item weighed, stuffed in a poly mailer, and marked with tracking info before you can comment paid on the listing. If you are new to our little world of online shopping and selling, these tips will help you take your closet-funding resale to the next level.

PayPal Shipping- PayPal offers really affordable shipping. We recommend shipping through US Postal Service First Class Mail (with tracking). The only drawback to shipping on PayPal is that you need a kitchen scale, to be able to determine exact weight (see below). After sending an invoice you will be able to select shipping. If you need to ship without an invoice there is always - a lifesaving link that not everyone knows about! Check out this comparison chart to see how shipping through paypal saves!

Mailers- You're going to need something to send your items in. The absolute best things to ship your little sweetie's smocks and frocks to their new homes in are PolyMailers. Amazon is the cheapest place to buy PolyMailers. Here you can get 200 10x13 (which will work even if you have multiple items to one destination) for a little over $7.00

Shipping in a paper envelope increases the odds that the packing will rip, and the item will be damaged or lost. Manila folders can get wet if it rains along the way, and the yellow paper can stain clothing. We have heard of packages arriving with one shoe or big stains or as an empty package because of this. 

Similarly don't ship in just a clear ziplock bag. Not all people are  trustworthy, and a cute smock is tempting. This is especially true if you simply seal the item up with the zipper and don't bother to tape it up. If all someone has to do is slide a zipper to discretely remove your item, you are asking for trouble (and a PayPal claim).  

If you are trying to be frugal or you are running low on supplies, carefully open your purchases from their poly mailers. Turn the used mailer inside out, and reuse it. It is always wise to wrap an outfit in tissue paper or, even better, place it in a ziplock bag inside the mailer. 

Digital Scale- It is much cheaper to ship from home through PayPal than it is to ship at the post office. PayPal asks for the weight of the item, which needs to be correct, to prevent shipping problems at the post office. Most everyone rounds up a little, just to insure items are received without hassel. A lot of our seasoned mamas have this digital scale because it is easily available at Walmart, but a quick Amazon search brings up many in different price ranges that will work.

The Plastic Bag Trick- Many, many moms send items packed in a large Ziplock bag for extra protection from the elements and the  post office's sometimes  usual destructive habits. If all you have on hand is a paper mailer, then definitely send sealed in a plastic bag. It is heartbreaking to hear of an adorable outfit ruined by the bleeding, wet paper or accidentally cut into.  We also recommend shipping small items or shoes in plastic bags.

Confirmation- First Class Mail will charge a small fee for delivery confirmation. PayPal usually always automatically adds this to your total. This lets you know when your package has been delivered, and provides tracking information. This protects you as a seller as well as informs the buyer of the status of their package.

With these tips you'll be selling and shipping like a pro in no time. Just think, the easier it is to sell, the more you can shop! Smock (and ship) on, mamas!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Easy crock pot pork chops for a mama on the go!

We all have days where we don't have a minute to spare!  Maybe you know it will be a late night at the office, or the kids have a dance class or soccer practice after school.  Rather than driving through your closest fast food chain, simply throw these ingredients in the crock pot on your way out the door and you will have a fabulous meal waiting when you get home!

3-4 thick boneless pork chops
Brown in skillet with extra virgin olive oil (only takes a few minutes!)
Put in crock pot with:
1 can of chicken broth
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
1 packet of zesty Italian dressing mix
Cook on low for 6-8 hrs

Voila!  Dinner is served!!!  Now that you aren't stressing in the kitchen over what to cook.... you have a few minutes to shop on SHM...Smock on!

My How We Have Grown

Hard to believe in just under six months SHM has grown by 7,347 members and counting!  As some of you may know, this site was started in the wake of the closure of a few mama's favorite resale site. Never could we have imagined that we would have almost all of our original 'clan' back together in such a short period of time. SHM is the newest of the resale sites on FB, and is proud to say that we have quickly become the #1 place to buy and sell boutique children's clothing!

Do you know what all goes on behind the scenes?  The admins work very hard to keep the site running smoothly...From nightly deleting of week old photos (which we do one by one - typically this takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on how many items were listed that day and how many paid listings were actually deleted by the seller), to answering questions, helping you tag interested buyers and coordinating special events to help sell your frocks in our themed group events every few weeks.  Of course this isn't a paying gig, we simply do it because we love having a community of similar minded mamas who have an appreciation for beautiful clothes for our children!  

This is why it is so important we all do our part!  If you have an item listed, check back every now and again to see of there are an comments.  Sometimes FB is weird with notifications and we would hate for you to miss a sale! If you need for us to tag a buyer, simply send us a pm with the link to your listing.  Once your item has been paid for, mark it as shipped through paypal (directly beside where it says the invoice information), and delete the listing. No need to hope a buyer sees it on SHM - paypal will send them an email. It really helps us out tremendously and keeps the site running smoothly. 

We will continue to do the themed group events every two weeks at least, if not more often. Is there something you'd like to see featured?  Let us know!  

While we continue to grow, selling increases thanks to a larger audience. In turn, the amount of cute things that are posted to buy do as well!  Wouldn't it be nice to only have one resale site to shop from and post to when selling? Please share SHM with your friends so we can broaden our buying/ selling pool and work towards that goal!

As I'm finishing this post I went to share a picture of a fabulously priced outfit and noticed we are up to 7,353 fans... So excitIng!  Smock on ladies!