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Book Review: Real Moms Love to Eat

November 9, 2011

Well, it’s official…I’m a Food Affairiate! I was blessed to be selected as one of the Bloggers to receive a preview copy of Beth Aldrich’s new book, Real Moms Love to Eat! Now this is a review that I can really get into, one that involves food!

First, I have to say that Beth is a vibrant, exhilarating writer. Before she sent me a copy of the book, I thought “I hope this isn’t just another cookbook”. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. The book is not only about recipes, it’s also about Beth, her family, and her love affair with food. We get insight into why Beth wrote the book, and why she cares so deeply about each and every one of us. She teaches us that it’s ok to love food, and we can still be healthy and happy while still indulging in the food we love.

This is definitely not your mother’s cookbook. It has fun-filled pages that not only teach you what you should eat, but why. Beth’s writing style is very fluid and entertaining, you can almost imagine her smiling as she put pen to paper. The advice that she gives is not pushy or rude, but she definitely gets her point across. I absolutely LOVE her whimsical stories, especially the one about the cupcakes ( you’ll have to read the book to find out what I mean 😉  ). I’m also excited to find out that I can still eat chocolate, actually…I’m required to eat chocolate! One of the recipes that I’m dying to try is Real Mom Peach-Blueberry Crumble, it sounds divine! Another is Pork Tenderloin with Apple Chutney. But first I need to get my husband on board with all of this, he’s definitely the cook in our house 😉

I’ve actually read the book twice, yes twice! I feel invigorated every time I open the book to continue the food journey with Beth. One thing that I’ve found is that I’m learning new things the second time around. You don’t find that very often with books these days. Make sure you stop by Beth’s Real Moms Love to Eat website to pre-order her book for a chance to win fabulous prizes!

About Beth Aldrich
Real Moms Love to Eatwas created with you in mind. It will lead you on a food journey of excitement, fun and new surprises, without pigeon-holing you into one eating style or another. Instead, you are free to experiment, get crazy and become more open-minded about the food you will soon discover. It’s a love affair like no other–with huge rewards of looking fabulous.Real Moms Love to Eat will be your ONE source for tasty, fresh, whole food meals, creative recipes and food facts that will keep you looking fabulous and feeling energized and fulfilled.More info:
http://www.realmomslovetoeat.com/food-affairiate-tool-kit/
http://www.realmomslovetoeat.com/
Real Moms Love to Eat on Facebook
Follow @realmomsluv2eat on Twitter
Pre-Order Beth’s Book
 
 
Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Beth Aldrich – Real Moms Love to Eat blogging program, for a chance to get 3,000 My SocialMoms Rewards points. I was also gifted from Restoring Essence Nutrition, LLC-owner of Real Moms Love to Eat, a free digital copy of the book, “Real Moms Love to Eat” and an entry into the prize drawing on January 3,2012,  for participating in this virtual tour and writing about this book pre-order contest. For more information on how you can participate, click here.
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If Tomorrow Never Comes

November 1, 2011

Gregory Grudecki 1945 ~ 2011

Today was a very difficult day. My husband’s call this morning didn’t seem like the bright and cheery “good morning” as usual. He works an early shift, so his lunchtime is during my breakfast, and he almost always call me to tell me to have a good day. But this morning was different. There was something different is his voice.

I knew something was wrong from the moment I picked up the phone. Call it intuition, or ESP, call it whatever you like. I knew it was bad, whatever it was. The extreme calm in his voice was masking something, and then the news came…his dad had passed away in his sleep. I was moved to tears, I couldn’t breathe. It was like our world was turned upside down. The man who we had seen 2 nights before, holding his newborn granddaughter in the hospital was gone.

The memories keep flooding my mind. He was gentle and kind, but tough all at the same time. I remember times where I thought “OMG, he’s going to have a cow”, but he handled the problem with ease. He was very hard-working, and would do anything for his family. He would calmly diffuse family squabbles, and make offhand comments…a trait that has rubbed off on all of his kids AND grandkids alike. One of my favorite things was his evil laugh, “he he he” was the sign that he had a devilish thought. Ask him a question that he know (or didn’t want to answer) and he would shrug his shoulders, but never utter a peep. The grandkids all adored him, and would ask where he was if he wasn’t in his favorite recliner. I keep wondering how many times they’ll forget and ask that in the coming weeks.

You never want to get that call saying that a family member has passed, especially someone close to you. I don’t show my faith very much, but I’m sure that he’s watching over us from a better place, free of the pain that he endured here his last few years. None of us knows how long we have on this Earth, it could be one more day, one more year, or one more decade. So the one thing that I will make sure to do is kiss my kids and my husband every day, and tell them I love them, because we never know when it will be the last time. “So tell that someone that you love just what you’re thinking of, If tomorrow never comes” ~ Garth Brooks.

This post is dedicated to a wonderful man that we have lost, but will always be in our hearts. Gregory Grudecki, 1945 ~ 2011, will never be forgotten. I will see him in the hearts and faces of my husband and sons every day. We love you Dad.

Guide to Taming an Uneven Skintone at Home

October 28, 2011

Were you one of the sun goddesses that laid out for hours on end, trying to get that much admired “golden glow”? I was. Well…sort of. I had a deep olive complexion growing up, from a Sicilian heritage on my dad’s side of the family, so I had no trouble getting that “glow” that everyone raved about. It actually only took me a few minutes in the sun to get that look, where other girls would either lay under the sun or in a tanning booth for hours. I was, however, a pool queen. I would swim for hours and hours, so my sun exposure was compounded. And sunscreen? The only thing we knew about sunscreen was that you should use at least a “2” on your face, and baby oil was ok for everywhere else. How absurd was that?!?!

Years later, when I hit my 30’s, I wondered where my beautiful, even complexion went.  What I didn’t know was that those years of being in the sun started to damage both the lower and upper layers of skin. I had what a lot of people refer to as the “sun mask”. I thought that my once beautiful complexion was gone permanently, but read on if you’re interested in finding out how I corrected that.

An uneven skin tone can come from many things: sun exposure, cold & wind exposure, and scarring from acne or chicken pox  among many other things. The steps to correct an uneven skintone, regardless of the cause, is basically the same. But you’ll want to try to figure out the cause to make sure that your skin stays beautiful after all of your hard work.

There are 2 basic things you need to know about an uneven skintone, there is damage on the surface, and there is damage below the surface. Using maintenance treatments alone (basic cleanser, toner & moisturizer) will not correct the damage, but the right ones can help minimize any future damage. There are few advanced maintenance treatments that have the extra ingredients to help correct your skintone, but you’ll need to look at the labels to be sure.

Exfoliation
I might sound like a broken record by now, but exfoliation is one of the most important things you can do for your skin. This goes for your body as well as your face, but I’ll concentrate on the face for now. Exfoliation takes off the top damaged layers of skin, to reveal brighter, younger-looking skin, and with that, a more even skintone. It also helps reduce the appearance of  wrinkles, because the skin is softer and smoother. Picture trying to flex a piece of paper in your hands; if it’s dry, it wrinkles easily and the wrinkles don’t ever flatten out. But when it’s wet the paper is pliable and moist. Deep exfoliation (also known as dermabrasion) cannot do all of this alone, you’ll need a light chemical peel as well. A chemical peel actually loosens the “glue” between the skin cells so they come off more easily. Otherwise, you could scrub your face raw and still not get the same results. Here are some of the treatments that I recommend to my clients:

Deep Repair
Now that you’ve started getting the upper layers looking good, it’s time to correct some of the damage deep inside. There are a few ingredients to look for when trying to correct damage deep within the layers of skin: Retinol, Resveratrol, Alpha Hydroxy (AHA) and Poly Hydroxy Acids (PHA) are some  of the most effective ingredients. The one thing you need to be aware of is that even if a product claims to have these ingredients, the amount that it contains might be so small that the product isn’t effective. Generally, the products and treatments that you can find at grocery and drug stores won’t contain enough of the active ingredients to make a big difference. It’s like throwing your money down the drain. Do your research, and make sure that you’re getting some bang for your buck. Depending on your skin condition and sensitivity you may not be able to use of these ingredients. If you have any questions, please contact me and I can help you find what ingredients are best for your skin. Here are some treatments that have a high concentration of  effective ingredients:

For the Eyes
One last thing to consider is that the skin around the eye area is structured differently than the rest of your face. For this reason, you should use a product that is specifically formulated for your eyes to minimize doing harm to the area around the eyes, as well as the eyes themselves. Some ingredients can actually cause blindness or cataracts if used too close to your eyes, or on the eyelids. If the products doesn’t specifically say you can use it on your eyes, then please keep it away from your eye sockets.

The most important thing that I teach my family and friends is that you can’t correct some of the past damage, as well as prevent future damage right at home. Treatments like the ones I listed can help you minimize the cost of treating skin damage, as well as protect your skin from future damage. However, in extreme circumstances, you will have to see a dermatologist. And obviously, none of the treatments I listed above can help with cancerous lesions or melanomas. If you have any moles or areas that look suspicious, please consult a dermatologist immediately.

Help Your Child Build a Healthy Foundation

October 20, 2011

Teaching Children to be Physically Active
by Dan Gilbert

Child play

Image by i-on via Flickr

Children were born to be active. As soon as they are out of the womb, children have the strong desire to crawl, walk and run through life. Unfortunately, however, this strong desire is starting to diminish at alarming rates as children get older and technology gets more advanced. With the hustle and bustle of society and everyday lives, parents may find it hard to be physically active themself. However, this is just another excuse to not exercise, and one your child will mimic. Children need a role model in their life show them what is right and what is wrong, and what is healthy and what is not. Parents should start teaching children about physical activity even before children enter preschool.

For over 20 years now, childhood obesity in the United States has been growing at a rapid rate. Primrose Schools suggests poor diet and lack of physical activity are the cause of this. Often time’s parents will “bribe” children, or urge them to do something, by using fast food and sweets. This type of food however, lacks nutritional content and will make children less likely to engage in activity for the body.

There is an increasing level of childhood obesity in the United States that has been going on for the past 20 years. This is because of a lack of physical activity as well as a poor diet. Parents often use fast food and sweets as a way to motivate their children, however this type of food only helps a child to become more sluggish and they lose the desire to be physically active.

According to researchers, not only will physical activity begin to teach children how to live a healthy lifestyle, but it will also help youngsters refine and practice their basic motor skills. These basic motor skills will help your child’s performance in the classroom. Research suggests that physical activity is linked to academic development.

Incorporating physical activity into your family’s everyday schedule may seem difficult at first, but if you get the whole family involved it can be a fun way to spend quality time together while improving everyone’s health care.

Here are some simple suggestions to get started:

  • Have different size toy balls around the house that are easily accessible to children. Make sure they are age appropriate as well, a young child shouldn’t be playing with a hard baseball.
  • Use sidewalk chalk to draw hopscotch grids.
  • Blow bubbles and take turns catching them.
  • Get a trampoline (if children are old enough) and put it in the backyard so you can each take a turn jumping around.
  • Play music and dance to the beats.
  • Utilize parks that have playgrounds or athletic fields.
  • Create the “Olympic Games” for all of the neighborhood children to take part in.
  • Sign up for the YMCA. This will allow you to keep active throughout the whole year.

Not only are these simple ideas, but they can easily modified or made more challenging depending on the needs of the children.  Also, they are easy ways for you to be active with your child as well. When given a role model, children are much more likely to lead a life of healthy habits.

Some alarming statistics to prove that childhood obesity is becoming an epidemic,

  • 16% to 33% of children nationwide are obese
  • 30 states have overweight or obese children in a percentage at or above 30%

The only way to reverse this trend is to get up, get moving and get involved. Families must stay active to avoid becoming a statistic. The power is completely in your hands so grab a ball, a bike or a stick of chalk and head outdoors.

Submitted by Dan Gilbert on behalf of Primrose Schools. For over 25 years, Primrose has helped students achieve higher levels of success by providing them with AdvancED® accredited, education and early child care services.  Through an accelerated Balanced Learning® curriculum, Primrose Schools students are exposed to a widely diverse range of subject matter giving them a much greater opportunity to develop mentally, physically and socially. Dan has written a number of articles on topics varying from bilingual learning to teaching the importance of volunteering.

Top 5 Tips to Help Keep Your Family Cold & Flu Free

October 5, 2011

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

Image via Wikipedia

As the mother of 3 boys, I take a lot of care to keep them healthy all year long, especially during cold and flu season. The kids don’t like to miss school, because that means “make-up” work, so I’m fortunate that our tactics have worked since they were little. Here are some of my tips to keep them healthy & happy year-round.

  1. Wash your hands for 20 seconds and do it often. I’ve taught the kids from the time they learned their ABC’s that singing the ABC song while washing hands is a great way to send those nasty germs down the drain. It’s also a well-known fact, that a lot of germs are transmitted by use or our hands. If your family washes their hands more often, there are less germs travelling from person to person.
  2. Sneeze or cough in to a tissue or your elbow. The tissue is a no-brainer, but what’s up with the elbow? Since a lot of germs are transmitted by our hands, our pediatrician recommended this to limit the transfer of germs to our hands. One side benefit is that it saves a trip to the bathroom with a kid that has spit all over their hands 😉
  3. Keep flu and other vaccinations up-to-date. I’ve had asthma since I was little, and had the flu quite a few times. Getting the isn’t any fun, and some flu strains can be fatal. Make sure to keep your family protected, but getting a flu shot every year. Make sure to confirm with you doctor or pediatrician that you and your family are candidates for the flu shot, there are some health disqualifications, but these are few and far between.
  4. If someone DOES get sick, quarantine them immediately. I know this sounds cruel, it’s best for them and the rest of the family. They’re miserable, you don’t want everyone to get sick, just make them comfortable in a separate room that has easy access to a restroom. Try to make sure that you either clean the restroom often, or limit use of the restroom to only the sick family member until symptoms subside. Remember, some scientists believe that cold and flu germs can live on surfaces between 1 and 48 hours. Yikes!
  5. Spray Lysol Disinfectant liberally!!! You can never use too much Lysol in my

    Check out what's new with Lysol

    opinion. My oldest son was sick recently, and we sprayed every door handle, bathroom fixture, kitchen appliance, if it was in our house it got sprayed! Not one other person got sick, I’m sure the constant use of Lysol helped us beat that bug!

These are just a few tips to keep the cold and flu bugs at bay. Do you have any of your own? Tell us about them!

Disclaimer: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Lysol blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here. But if you’ve ever read any of my blog posts before, you’d know that I only write about things I truly believe in and everything I post is honest and truthful.

How I De-cluttered My Kids’ Rooms

September 28, 2011

My Room - Looks Like I've Got My Work Cut Out ...

3rd Party Image by raider3_anime via Flickr

With our family having so many school and extracurricular activities, it’s hard to keep the house neat and tidy, especially the kids’ rooms. It seems that it’s an endless chore to have them pick up toys, put clothes away and actually have room on their bed to sleep.

Our biggest issue is cluttered floors from toys. In our house, it seems that every time a toy comes out to play, it doesn’t find it’s home again for weeks. Recently, I saw a new system called Hot Wheels Wall Tracks that might just help me with our little problem (can you hear the sarcasm – it’s really a BIG problem). These cool tracks attach to your wall so the kids are playing with their toys ON THE WALL! Well now, that certainly solves my “clutter on the floor” problem doesn’t it? Want more tips? Keep reading…

Here are 10 tips that I’m going to use to de-clutter my kids’ rooms:

  1. Give rewards for keeping their rooms clean. We give the kids an extra 15 minutes of video game or TV time if their rooms are kept clean. It doesn’t happen very often, but then again…their kids.
  2. Put a small hamper in every room. One of the hardest things around here was to get my kids to walk the 15 feet to the bathroom hamper with their dirty laundry. It’s amazing how much easier it is to get them to put their laundry in their own basket. I recently put a small hamper in each bedroom, and now there’s also less arguing about who’s turn it is to “bring the laundry to the laundry room”…they each have to bring their own 😉
  3. Make sure that the kids have a system for putting away their clothes. When I fold their clean clothes, I separate them into how the kids need to put them away (i.e. all socks and underwear together, shorts together, pants together, etc.) This makes it easier for them to bring a “pile” of clean clothes to their rooms and dump it into one drawer.
  4. Regular “clean-outs”. Schedule to do regular clean-outs of the kids’ rooms. If you wait to do it once a year, it becomes a bigger issue than it really should be. Plus, lots of the unused toys will become broken or have lost parts over time, which keeps you from being able to do # 5 and 6 on this list.
  5. Keep brand new toys and clothes for garage sales or Craig’s List. How many times have your kids gotten toys that they NEVER used, still unopened in the box? And how about that sweater with the tags on that got pushed to the back of the closet? I just found one of those yesterday, ugghhhh! I hate waste, but you can sell those unused toys and clothes for a premium on Craig’s List, or a garage sale if you’re not sure how Craig’s List works (google it).
  6. Doing the “GREEN” thing: I make sure that any usable toys and clothes are saved to be given to charity. I would recommend putting small parts in plastic baggies. I know plastic isn’t “green”, but how else can you keep those little pieces and parts together?
  7. Remove unused toys and clothes from the kids’ rooms when they’re not home. I don’t have enough fingers or toes to count how many times I’ve tried to give that poor lonely GI Joe to a better home, and the kids stop me saying that it’s their FAVORITE toy!
  8. Organize the toys into labelled bins. This helps the kids keep the mess off the floor because they know where everything goes. For example, we have bins in their rooms labelled “Hot Wheels” and “Action Figures”. Anytime they find a Hot Wheels car, they know which bin it goes in when it’s time to clean up.
  9. Keep toys with parts in their own bins or baggies. One of big issues is keeping the toys with pieces and parts together. If they have all of the pieces in one big bin, they’ll never find THAT sword that goes with THIS action figure. It leads to frustration and the toy doesn’t get played with. And worst of all, the toy ends up staying on the floor.
  10. Get toys that aren’t “clutterers” that keep the clutter off the floor and in the “play zone” where they should be. This is what I’m working on now, and plan to buy Hot Wheels Wall Tracks for the boys for Christmas.

I hope these tip help you get those bedrooms and playrooms under control. I’ve implemented most of these tips already, and the rooms look better. Not completely uncluttered, but much better than before. And now I’m off to the store to get some of those fantastic Hot Wheel Wall Tracks to get their cars off the floor!

Disclaimer: “I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Hot Wheels® blogging program, for a gift card worth $40. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” Although I’m participating in a blogging program, all thoughts are my own.

Back to School with Kleenex

September 2, 2011

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Temporary pic, will replace with real pic when I fix my camera to PC issues

When I was asked review Kleenex’s new products, I was already a Kleenex fan. But when I got the package in the mail, I was blown away! The new and improved packages were exactly what I needed to make my allergy-prone family more comfortable on-the-go. So what’s so great about new packaging? It’s the same old product, right? Not always…

I couldn’t count how many boxes of Kleenex have been stepped on & broken open in my minivan, leaving the Kleenex strewn all over the place. This wasn’t an issue with the boxes themselves, it’s just a fact that the little pocket packs are just not enough to get us through kid sniffles and allergies, so I needed to keep a whole box in the minivan. The big issue is that there’s nowhere in the van to keep a big box of tissues secure. This means the box is left on the floor to try to fend for itself. And here comes the new Auto Pack in the mail! It’s a small box that holds 24 tissues, which is a much better than keeping a pocket pack or big box in your car. It’ll fit between the seats, in the glove box, in the seat back pocket, as well as the side pockets in the third row that we had yet to find a use for!

I’m also very impressed with the new Wallet Pack that I received. It holds 10 sheets in a thin, soft-sided case that is a perfect size for taking it along anywhere you go. I have changed to a much smaller wallet, so it didn’t actually fit in mine, but It would’ve fit in the one I changed from. It’s also a perfect size for any size purse, including those small clutches that you would use for an elegant dinner or event.

And last, but not least, the new Pocket Pack. It actually has 3-ply tissues now! Previously, I had given up on the Pocket Pack for my kids because the tissues didn’t hold up to their sniffles and sneezes. I would just take some Kleenex tissues out of the big box and put them in plastic baggies for their backpacks. How convenient that I can get these new Pocket Packs and know that their little noses are covered!

Overall, I am VERY pleased with the new packaging and would recommend to everyone for on-the-go. These new packs ROCK! Thanks Kleenex!

BTW, I’ve just found out that Kleenex has a back-to-school initiative to give $500,000 to schools around the country to keep field trips as part of the educational curriculum. You can find more information by going to checking out the Kleenex Facebook Page and clicking on the “Field Trips” tab, you school just might win one of the $5,000 prizes!

Disclosure:I was given 1 Auto Pack, 1 Pocket Pack and 2 Wallet Packs by Kleenex and Mom Bloggers Club to review. But as you all know by now from reading my other posts, I  give honest reviews for products that I’ve tried. If I don’t like it, you bet your life that I’ll say it.

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