posted by on activities, event, Mommy Blogger, review, weightloss

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Did you hear? Today, Chick-fil-A announced brand new grilled items to their menu! As most of us are to eat for health and so many are cutting out or avoiding gluten, all of these new menu items will make great fast choices.

 

 

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My favorite sandwich has always been the Grilled Chicken Club and I can’t wait to taste how it’s improved!

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They didn’t forget about the kids or those who love nuggets!

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The new menu items will be available to for us on April, 14, 2014! Chick-fil-a is having tasting parties across America and I am hosting one in Kansas City, Kansas! Stay tuned to my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/neverhomesahm Twitter: www.twitter.com/neverhomesahm  for the announcement to reserve your spot!

 

posted by on Give a Way, Mommy Blogger, review

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Freschetta has introduced Gluten Free, 4 Cheese  & Thin Crispy Pepperoni pizza! A lot of people are realizing that have a gluten allergy or sensitivity and have gone gluten free.  As a Mom, sometimes you don’t have a ton of time and just need to pop a frozen pizza in the oven.  What do you do if your child is gluten free? Freschetta is now giving you a go to option!

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Over spring break there were lots of kids in and out of my house and they needed lunch! I didn’t even tell them that the pizza was gluten-free and they loved both types! The crust is still great and the cheese is real!  Freschetta has the gluten-free seal of approval from the Celiac Foundation, so you can trust the ingredients. If you need a go to, pop a pizza in the oven and know it’s gluten-free and taste good, you now have Freschetta!

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The new gluten-free pizza is launching in limited areas, so if you don’t see it – make sure your grocer knows that you want it!

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To check if it’s available in your area click here: http://www.freschetta.com/where-to-buy.htm

 

Welcome Spring

Apr
2014
01

posted by on activities, Crafts, Fox 4

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Spring is here…well, for the most part! Here are some fun things to help welcome spring to your house!

Plant magic jelly beans in a small flower pot:

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The next morning your children will be surprised to see that the magic jellybeans have grown into suckers!

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Another easy welcome spring craft is a bright-colored yarn wreath.  Grab any size wreath from the craft store and pick your favorite color yarn. Wrap, wrap, wrap until your wreath is covered. Add hearts for Valentine’s Day, Eggs for Easter, butterflies or flowers for spring!

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posted by on Give a Way, Mommy Blogger, review

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I am excited to announce that I am a Purex Brand Insider! What does that mean? I will try all the new products from Purex, tell you how I like them and give you a chance to win!!! First up: Purex Crystals Limited Edition fabulously Fresh!

Let me tell you, there is nothing more stinky than teen boy laundry, unless it’s active teen boy uniforms that have been sitting in a locker room! My highschool freshman is a 3 sport athlete and boy does his laundry smell!

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I was excited to try the Purex Crystals Limited Edition Fabulously Fresh, that promises to keep laundry smelling fresh for weeks!  Washing jerseys is tricky business and most of them can’t go in the dryer and get that dryer sheet smell. Having something that is safe for athletic wear in the wash and smells good is a double bonus!

I do laundry daily, so when the box arrived and even it smelled good, I was ready to start the wash!

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It’s always a good sign when the house starts smelling good while the wash is going! I used my regular detergent and 1/4 a cap of crystals.

purex1The crystals did exactly what it said, they boosted the scent of the laundry, through the dryer and folded and put in the drawers, it still smelled fabulously fresh! I just washed his baseball practice clothes and they are headed to the locker room…I think his coach will thank me!

Want a chance to try it, of course you do! Tell me what Purex Crystals Limited Editions Fabulously Fresh would clean in your house and you are entered to win!

 

 

 

 

*disclosure: As a Purex Insider, the Purex Brand sent me the Purex Crystals Limited Editions Fabulously Fresh to try, but as always, NO ONE tells me what to say!

posted by on Give a Way, Mommy Blogger, review

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“Ding -Dong!”  It’s our UPS Friend bringing us the Polaroid Kids Tablet 2 to review!!

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The kids tore into the box and were so excited by just the Disney games that were printed on the box, I couldn’t wait to see what they thought of actually PLAYING the games!  It comes with over 70 games & books pre-loaded, include kid-safe Cartoon Network shows.

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The Polaroid Tablet has new features that make it stand out from others.  Starting with built-in side and rear bumpers! If you have a child – you know that the tablet will be dropped and having bumpers built-in and not have to purchase a case is wonderful!

The other feature that really draws me to this tablet is the app store that is kid safe with hundreds of free apps.  With the other tablet me daughter has, I had to connect my credit card for her to download any apps (free or paid) and for that reason, she was able to download $54 of paid apps in about 10 minutes! I had to call customer service, disconnect the card, wait for a refund and she wasn’t able to load anything else…it was a huge pain! With the Polaroid Kids Tablet 2, the kids are able to download a ton of free apps and I don’t have to connect a credit card.

One other feature that appealed to me, was the front speaker and camera.  When the kids were playing games in the car, with the tablet on their lap, they could still hear the game.  Most tablets the speaker is in back and the sound if muffled.  The front camera is supper fun for the picture games, to make movies or for my daughter to see herself when playing the karaoke sing game!

Anything that keeps the 3-year-old entertained on the drive to & from big brothers basketball games is awesome sauce!

 

Check out all the features here: http://polaroid.com/kids-tablet-2#ab

If you are looking to get a fun, kid safe and educational tablet, this should be your choice.  It’s available online or at Toys R Us stores.

Tablet Specifications:

  • Display: 7.0” capacitive, multi-touch
  • Screen resolution: 1024×600 (16:9)
  • Processor: Dual-Core, Cortex A9
  • RAM: 1GB / DDR3
  • Cameras: Front  & rear cameras
  • Internal memory: 8 GB*
  • External memory: SD card slot
  • Networking: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Battery: Rechargeable li-ion polymer (3500 mAh)

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posted by on activities, event, weightloss, womans day magazine

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I’ve been back for a couple of days and I am still having a difficult time finding words, other than AMAZING to describe the trip.

If you are my Facebook friend, twitter/instagram follower, I have been clogging up your timeline with all my excitement and photos! I will give your timelines a break and put the rest here.

It started with a bang and ended with the same! When my feet touched the ground, I headed straight to the Kay Unger NYC show room to try on a red dress.  The wonderful style editors of Woman’s Day Magazine met me there and filled the dressing room with beautiful red dresses.  The first one I tried on didn’t even go over my boobs and I had a minor panick attack! The next one I tried was my favorite from the start and when I looked at the size tag, I thought no way that’s going to work; but a pair of pantyhose, a pair of spanyx, a sucking in and ZIP! It was on and gorgeous!

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The next morning started early to get ready for our Today show appearance.  A wonderful team to do hair and make up, which is awesomeness, since I usually do my own make up (with a 3 year old hanging on my leg).

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We were getting a little pep talk from our dietitian Joy Bauer, when Henry Winkler ”The Fonz” walked in and showed us how to work it for the cameras!

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The segment following ours, was a cool recycle crafting for Valentine’s Day with Danny Seo and if you are a craft geek like me, you love his books!

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We took some fun selfies with Kathi Lee and Hoda and it was time to get dressed for the segment.  I guess I got in the zone and started to get dressed (door open) and didn’t even see Collin Farrell standing outside my dressing room!

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We headed to the Today Show Orange Room to take a few pics and it was time for the segment.

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I spit out a few words of how much better I feel, now that I’m healthy and just like that the segment was over.  If you missed it (and the great faces I made),

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you can watch it now: http://www.today.com/video/today/54345893#54345893

Had a little down time, so my Mom and I headed to get a little lunch and a walk in Central Park!

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Headed to get hair/make up touch up, red lips…which I NEVER do, but may start and then to the Jazz at Lincoln Center for rehearsal. The view behind the stage was, well AMAZING!

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The ladies of the Woman’s Day Live Longer & Stronger challenge, Joy Bauer and the editor and chief of Woman’s Day Magazine all hit the red carpet in style!

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Watched the 42nd President of the United States accept a Red Dress Award for the Clinton Foundation.

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Met the talented Carla Hall, who graciously congratulated me on my weight loss.

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We had a lot of fun in the photo booth before and after the show.

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Stood on the stage, as Joy read my story, looked down and there was Tom Hanks listening and applauding us.  It was difficult not to float out of my body.

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We were serenaded by amazing musicians – Judith Hill & Sara Bareilles.  Hearing “Brave” played live, is enough to make you cry…and I did!

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With all the fun I had, the most important thing is that I am a healthier version of what I was 9 months ago.  Heart disease is still the number 1 killer of women and I want you to know your risk.  Click the link to take the assessment: http://my.americanheart.org/professional/StatementsGuidelines/PreventionGuidelines/Prevention-Guidelines_UCM_457698_SubHomePage.jsp

Heart Disease is preventable and knowing your risk factors is the first step in preventing this disease.

This trip with my Mom and all the beautiful people I met and the new friends I made.  Thank you Woman’s Day Magazine for the wonderful experience. It was the time of my life!

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Snow Day!

Feb
2014
04

posted by on activities, Crafts, Mommy Blogger

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It’s a snow day in Kansas City today and the kids have some cabin fever! My children love to be outside, so there is only so much Wii/ipad/video games they will play.  It’s also 3 degrees, so sending them outside to play in the snow seems a little mean.  Not to mention, it take 30 minutes to get them bundled up in snow gear, just to have them come back inside 3 minutes later!

So, we brought the snow inside and did a little painting!!!

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What you need:

1. Big bowl of snow

2. Food Coloring & Water

3. Old towel to catch spills

4. Paint Brushes (if you don’t have paint brushes on hand, old make up brushes or sponges work great)!

 

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This is the perfect activity for the kid who doesn’t care to be out in the snow and when your “canvas” is covered, you can dump it out and start again!

Happy Snow Day!

 

I’m Going Gray!

Jan
2014
25

posted by on beauty

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This isn’t really new information, I’ve had gray hair since I was in highschool.  There is an ongoing debate in my brain to let it go gray or to keep dyeing it.  It’s truly a losing battle, my traditional black hair dye is having a hard time covering all the gray and only last about 3 weeks before the gray comes back.  Yes, I’ve tried them all dyes made for gray hair, dye with hemp, blue-black, blackest black, Revlon, products for professionals, things made for natural hair…the list goes on!

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So, I’m thinking of just letting it go! I don’t really think it makes me look a ton older and it’s shiny and pretty, I’m just not sure I like the salt and pepper look.  I think I’ll be happier when it just all goes gray.

For today, right now, I’m letting it go gray.  This may change when I head to New York in February, but for now, I’m staying GRAY!

 

posted by on fitness, weightloss, womans day magazine

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You may have been following my health journey with the Woman’s Day Live Longer & Stronger Challenge.  In the February issue of the magazine, they took my all time favorite meal – Fettuccine Alfredo and made it a healthier version!

The magazine features my recipe maker over, my new lower blood pressure/cholesterol and My 47 pound weight loss. I am proud of the progress made so far and looking forward to hitting some of my ultimate goals.

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Meal Make Over:  by blending cauliflower (yes, cauliflower!) and 1% milk, this sauce is lower in calories and fat, but still rich and creamy.  Finishing with the sharp Romano cheese amps up the flavor and of this delicious dish.

1/2 Head cauliflower (about 1lb), chopped

12oz fettuccine

2tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped Kosher salt & pepper

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 cup 1% milk

1/4 cup grated Romano cheese (1oz)

chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for serving

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I recently made the new updated version and it is really good! I didn’t miss the cream at all.

Be sure to look for the February issue of Woman’s Day magazine to see get all the recipes & weight-loss tips.

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posted by on activities, Cleaning, event, holiday, The Food Network

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Thanksgiving Countdown Planner

 

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner and not sure where to start? Relax — getting ready for the holiday is easy with tips & recipes from FoodNetwork.com

Use the link below to access an easy countdown planner & recipes.   Since we are less than a month out, the 1 month before preps can be done this weekend! Happy Thanksgiving!

http://bit.ly/CountdownPlanner

1 Month Before: Finalize Guest List

If you’ve decided to host Thanksgiving this year, now is the time to finalize your guest list. Think about how many people you can accommodate at your table for a sit-down dinner or keep things more casual and invite more guests if you’re serving buffet style. There’s no need for formal invitations; a phone call or email to friends and family is sufficient. This is the time to ask about dietary preferences and if your great-aunt makes an awesome stuffing that she’d like to bring.

1 Month Before: Plan Your Menu

Pick your favorite turkey recipe today and then plan additional dishes around the bird. If you’re more a fan of side dishes, start with your favorite recipes and build from there. Think about family favorites and Thanksgiving classics to start, then add in a few new dishes. Be sure to also think about drink options and simple bites to serve as guests arrive.

3 Weeks Before: Get Your Gear

With plenty of time to hit the stores, now is the time to shop for tools you’ll need for the big day. Think about what you needed last year that you didn’t have or upgrade some of your current tools to help ease the cooking process.

3 Weeks Before: Create a Shopping List

With a little over 3 weeks to go, you can start to organize your shopping list. You should have a good idea of who will be coming, so take a look at each recipe and decide how much of each dish you’ll need. If guests are bringing dishes, make sure they’re in the loop about how many people are attending. If you’re cooking solo, pick easier, big-batch recipes to make the day less stressful. Once you go through each recipe, create a shopping list of all the ingredients you’ll need and compare it against the pantry items you already have on hand. Finalize the list so you can order hard-to-find ingredients online.

3 Weeks Before: Order a Turkey

With your menu set and guest list finalized, order your turkey. Assume 2 pounds per adult and 1 pound per child (to guarantee leftovers). If you’re ordering a specialty bird, those can sell out pretty early in November. If you’re getting a turkey from the supermarket, it always helps to be prepared and order ahead. If you’re buying a frozen turkey, you have time — just don’t wait until the last-minute.

 

3 Weeks Before: Shop for Drinks

Wine and liquor keep well, so buy the items you need early. You probably won’t want to serve as bartender on the big day, so pick a signature drink that you can make a big batch of before guests arrive or set a bar with all of the basics and let guests help themselves. Plan on each guest drinking two drinks in the first hour, and one drink for every hour thereafter. You know your guests better than we do, so treat that as an estimate. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a nonalcoholic option on hand, like apple cider or sparkling water.

2 Weeks Before: Clean Out Your Freezer

Cooking and freezing as much as possible now will save you time on turkey day. Clean out your freezer to make room for everything you’ll be putting in.

2 Weeks Before: Make and Freeze Pie Dough, or an Entire Apple Pie

Make a few batches of pie dough now and freeze them; wrap the disks tightly in plastic wrap and thaw in the refrigerator overnight before you’re ready to use them — most pies can be made the day before Thanksgiving. Ina’s showstopping apple pie can be fully prepared and frozen up to a month in advance. After assembling, put the entire pie — greased tin and all — into a loose-fitting plastic bag and seal tightly. Transfer it to the refrigerator the night before baking to thaw, and the next day you’ll have a fresh, juicy apple pie on your table in about an hour.

2 Weeks Before: Decide on Decor

Once you’ve decided whether you’re serving buffet style or a sit-down dinner, you can start to plan for your decor. Think about whether you’ll want to order flowers ahead of time or if you’ll create a nonperishable centerpiece.

2 Weeks Before: Freeze Homemade Stock

The key to a good gravy is homemade stock. You can buy turkey bones from your butcher, roast them and then simmer with aromatics before putting your stock in the freezer.

2 Weeks Before: Freeze Rolls

Pick a roll recipe that will freeze well — one that has a moist base of butter, buttermilk, puree pumpkin or squash. On Thanksgiving Day take them out of the freezer in the morning and allow them to defrost at room temperature.

1 Week Before: Shop for Nonperishables

Divide up your shopping list into perishables and nonperishables and get the latter out of the way now. Nonperishables include equipment, decor, paper goods and cleaning supplies – but could also include baking ingredients like flour, sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, canned pumpkin and cranberries. Wait until the day before Thanksgiving to buy fresh vegetables, seafood and bread. Take inventory of tableware, tablecloths and napkins in case you need to pick up anything extra, and make sure each recipe has a serving bowl or platter to be paired with.

1 Week Before: Prepare a Cooking Schedule and Create a Seating Plan

Being organized is the key to keeping stress at a minimum on turkey day. Review your recipes and create a day-by-day schedule for the week leading up to Thanksgiving as well as a day-of plan. Make place cards for your guests if you’ll be hosting a sit-down meal and figure out a seating plan.

1 Week Before: Freeze Soup

Vegetable soups can be easily frozen if they don’t have cream or eggs, making them an excellent do-ahead appetizer. The warm curry flavor in Ina Garten’s butternut squash soup will still be nicely preserved when you reheat just before serving.

1 Week Before: Plan Ahead for Leftovers

Make it easy on yourself (and guests) by having containers and bags at the ready. Leftovers will need to be wrapped up within a few hours of finishing your meal, so better to be prepared.

1 Week Before: Pick Up Your Turkey

If you’ve ordered a turkey, now is the time to pick it up so you can be prepped to defrost it. If you haven’t planned for your turkey yet, purchase a frozen bird today so it will be able to defrost properly in the fridge.

3 Days Before: Defrost Your Turkey and Buy Perishable Ingredients

Thawing a frozen turkey takes time and patience. The best way is to thaw the bird in the coldest area of the fridge with a pan underneath to catch any drips (not on the counter). If you plan on brining (a simple, hands-off way to infuse your turkey with flavor), Anne Burrell’s recipe maximizes taste but minimizes prep with a no-cook apple cider brine. Now is also the time to brave the crowds and pick up any perishable items from the store.

2 Days Before: Make Cranberry Sauce, Pie Crusts and Pie

Try fresh cranberries instead of canned this year, and buy an extra bag when you’re in the produce aisle; they keep in your freezer for up to a year. Cranberry sauce can stay fresh in the fridge up to 2 weeks because of its high acidity, so make it now and refrigerate it in a jar or bowl covered in plastic wrap. If you didn’t freeze your pie crusts ahead of time, make them today and wrap the dough to store in the fridge. If you’ve prepped items and kept them in the freezer, take them out to defrost. This includes any pie crusts or stock you made in advance.

1 Day Before: Prepare Reheatable Side Dishes, Prep Ingredients, Bake Pies

Start to make sides that will reheat well, like casseroles or creamed onions. Prep garnishes, toppings, salad greens and stuffing ingredients. Cook soups and let cool before storing in the refrigerator if you didn’t freeze any options in advance. If your stuffing recipe calls for stale bread, cut the bread now and set the cubes on a baking sheet to dry out. You can go ahead and make your pies, especially Ree Drummond’s Pecan Pie that needs to cool overnight for a natural do-ahead dessert.

Thanksgiving Day: Don’t Stress! Stick to a Day-Of Plan

Preheat your oven in the morning and get your turkey going. If you premade bread, let it defrost at room temperature. Put your wine or beer in the fridge to chill. While the turkey roasts, prepare your other side dishes since they can stand at room temperature for an hour or keep in the fridge. When the turkey is done, let it rest while you make the gravy, reheat side dishes and prep salads.

The Day After: Use Your Leftovers

You can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Try to reheat only what you’ll be serving right then rather than reheating the entire portion. It’s safe to heat it all up and then re-store what you don’t use, but it’s not ideal. Soup is a great way to get every penny’s worth from your bird — try one of our favorites.