Friday, February 20, 2015

Orchid Origami Paper

I received free product to facilitate this review. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and link to 
All opinions expressed are my own.

This week was "O Week" in my daughter's Pre-K class. Every week they focus on a letter of the alphabet and do lots of fun themed activities that start with that letter. Perhaps the most exciting part of the week is Show & Tell Day when each child gets to bring something from home that starts with the letter of the week!

My sweet daughter is very particular about what she will bring for Show & Tell. She has set a standard for herself (and her parents) that it must be something that her friends can use and enjoy together as a group. She is not content with an object that she can simply "show" and "tell" about. It must be something that unites the class in a common activity. Good gracious. She's practically a Pre-K teacher at 4 1/2 years old!

I'm not sure if you can imagine the challenge we face each week as we work on coming up with the absolute perfect Show & Tell. It's actually pretty intense. We start planning at least a week in advance and so far, I think our girl is pleased with her choices and her friends appear be enjoying them as well! Bless the hearts of these Pre-K teachers who must switch up their curriculum each Thursday to accommodate our daughter's additions to the plan!

This week, O Week, I was stumped. I thought of calculators with on/off buttons, a napkin with owls on it, an owl hunting call (a great opportunity for germ sharing), pictures of our vacation to the ocean, and an orange highlighter. None of my ideas met her approval, but my genius husband came to the rescue yet again (he seriously does every single week) with the idea of... ORIGAMI!

Say what?! I just received a pack of Orchid Origami Paper this week to review on the blog! Say what?! Thursday is Chinese New Year?! Could this be any more perfect?! Why hadn't I thought of this?! I'm telling you, the guy is a genius.

My daughter and I looked up some Pre-K friendly origami patterns, practiced a bit at home, and then off she went to school on Thursday with her package of Orchid Origami Paper, patterns, and samples in hand. This has certainly been one of her best Show & Tells thus far!

Although some of the more difficult patterns can be a little overwhelming even for me, origami truly is such a fun activity for all ages. Even at 4 1/2, my daughter and her friends really enjoyed creating special things simply by following instructions and folding paper! Practicing fine motor skills and skills such as listening, following directions, sharing, taking turns, and being creative are so important at that young age and the excitement that comes from creating a special treasure at the end of all that skill practice is such a wonderful thing!

Orchid Origami Paper is perfect for both beginner and advanced paper folders. It comes in a package of 500 sheets of beautifully vibrant colors which make the creating even more fun. The paper is high quality, durable, and non-toxic. It is just the right thickness for easy folding but we had no ripping or curling edges at all. Each sheet is a perfect 6 x 6 inch square so there is no need to prepare the paper before we start our patterns.

I love everything about Orchid Origami Paper but I would have loved to see a booklet with additional origami patterns included with it. There was one pattern included but it was actually quite difficult for me to follow. Thankfully there are really tons of different patterns easily found online but it would be super convenient to have a little idea book with different level folding projects come right in the package with the paper.

I've never been an origami lover before this week but I've been converted! I love this stuff, and I think I can say the same for my daughter, her friends, her teachers, and my genius husband. We are having tons of fun and are super grateful for a huge package of Orchid Origami Paper so the fun can continue for many days to come!

Are you an origami lover? A beginner? An expert? We need some more tried and true patterns, so please do share your favorites!

And if you're just getting started, there's no better place to begin than with a package of Orchid Origami Paper! You can snatch it up right now for a great price on

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Authentic Homemade Asian "Takeout" from Blue Dragon ~ Review and Giveaway!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Blue Dragon. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions expressed are my own.

I cook dinner for my family daily and it's often a struggle to decide what to make. We have our favorites but eating the same few meals each week gets a little boring. I love searching for recipes online and can often find some new ideas but even those searches can be daunting because there are so many options and I don't always have all the ingredients I need on hand. And let's be honest... sometimes takeout sounds really yummy and easy! Our favorite takeout option is Chinese food but (unfortunately for my taste buds) we don't often splurge on that treat.

We were recently introduced to Blue Dragon, a company that provides everything you need to treat yourself to some homemade, super easy, and super fast Asian cuisine! Providing everything from noodles, to spring roll wrappers, to sauces, condiments, and a plethora of quick and easy-to-follow recipes, Blue Dragon has it all.

Blue Dragon was named after the Chinese symbol of good fortune. Over thirty years ago, the founder of Blue Dragon realized that it was nearly impossible to create truly authentic Asian dishes at home because it was just too difficult for people to find all the necessary ingredients in the grocery store. Well, that problem has now been solved with Blue Dragon products and after a quick trip to your local grocery store, you can simply and quickly pull together delicious dishes from China, Thailand, Japan, and Vietnam right in the comfort of your own home!

Following some recipes straight from the Blue Dragon website, and using some high quality products that were truly so user friendly, along with a few things I already had in the house, I was able to create three absolutely delicious Asian dishes - in less time than it would have taken me to order, pick up, and bring home my favorite Asian take-out!

Here's what I used:

And here's what I created:

  • 1/2 pound sliced chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups cooked flat rice noodles
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Sprig of cilantro - chopped
  • 1 ratchet Blue Dragon Pad Thai Stir Fry Sauce

  • Heat oil in wok, add the egg, stir fry until almost cooked through.
  • Add chicken and stir fry for one minute.
  • Add pre-cooked and drained noodles and sauce.
  • Stir until heated through
  • Garnish with lime juice and cilantro.

General Tao Stir Fry

  • 3/4 lb chicken breast, sliced
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • Cornstarch to coat
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 satchet General Tao Stir Fry Sauce

  • Dip the chicken strips in the beaten egg and then toss in the cornstarch.
  • Heat the oil in a pan and carefully fry the chicken pieces.
  • Once browned, add the onion and sauce and continue to simmer for approximately 2 minute until onions are tender and all is heated through.

  • 4 tortilla wraps
  • 1/2 lb cooked chicken, shredded
  • sliced green onions
  • 4 tbsp Blue Dragon Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

  • Heat large frying pan over medium heat.
  • Place flour tortilla in bottom of pan.
  • Top with half of chicken, onion, dipping sauce and cheese.
  • Top with second tortilla.
  • Once the base is golden brown and crisp, use a spatula to flip over and repeat cooking on the other side.
  • Repeat with remainder of ingredients.
  • Let sit for 1/2 minutes and slice into wedges.

I adjusted these recipes only minimally from those on the Blue Dragon website simply because I wanted to cook with what I had in my home already since my family was hungry and excited to try our new Blue Dragon products! Beyond the meat, I only needed minimal ingredients. Each dish tasted authentic, and truly delicious! The cooking sauces were so flavorful, the noodles cooked up in a flash, and, because it absolutely deserves it's own shout-out, the Blue Dragon Sweet Chili Sauce is AMAZING.

So again, I was literally able to pull these meals together with less money and less time than it would have taken to pick up Asian takeout. Does it get any better than that? But, I'll be honest - there is something sort of special about treating your family to takeout, so we even served up our creations in takeout containers and used chopsticks. Why not, right?!

We are so excited for the opportunity to offer one of our readers a chance to win everything needed to create your very own delicious homemade take-out experience with the help of Blue Dragon! Your prize will include samples of Blue Dragon Sauces and a cooking kit including a wok, spatula, chopsticks, and takeout containers!

The giveaway runs from Tuesday, February 10 through Tuesday, February 17 at 11:59 PM. Entrants must be age 18 or older. Open to residents of the US only. Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstake, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central.

If you like to try before you buy, check out a Blue Dragon tasting event at a store near you!
Shaw's in Canton, Waltham, Worcester, and Littleton all have tasting events coming up on 2/15 from 11-4. Or you could head to Market Basket in Nashua on 2/13 from 11-6 or Revere on 2/14 & 23 from 11-6. If you're wondering if there's a tasting at your store and it's not listed here, let me know!

Here are some places where you can get to know Blue Dragon online:
Blue Dragon Recipe Inspiration
Blue Dragon Online Cookbook ~ Chop To Chopsticks
Blue Dragon Facebook
Blue Dragon YouTube
Or search on your favorite social media channel for #BlueDragonMeals
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