Thursday, December 15, 2011

Going to See Santa

We took Peanut to Santa this weekend and were less than impressed.  Last year, we went as a family with my parents, my brother and his little girl who is just a few weeks older.  We had such a great time last year and so thought we'd make the outing part of our annual holiday festivities.  Last year, we arrived mid afternoon, but received a ticket that wouldn't let us in line until later that evening.  We went shopping, had dinner, had a minimal wait and the photo came out great.  Santa was really great with the two infants.  We didn't feel rushed.
This year, not so much.  We went to Bass Pro Shop for the free Santa photo like we did last year. We went earlier in the day, hoping to work around nap schedules.  We arrived at 11:20 and were given 12:00 tickets.  We were surprised when we arrived and realized we would only have a 20 minutes to wander the store, as we were told to get in line 15 minutes before our time--no problem. 
We went and stood in line at the appropriate time.  The kids are both now toddlers and don't like to sit still--so some of us would stand in line while the others took the kids to check out the cool activities the store had set up--no problem. 1/2 hour later, the natives are getting a little restless, but we finally make it to the front of the line. Except--there's a problem.  At 12:15 exactly, Santa is going on break--right when we get to the front of the line.  So we get to wait patiently at the front of the line while Santa goes to feed his reindeer.  Because we are coralled in to position--there's no taking the kids to wander.  There's just standing in place with two active toddlers and nothing to do but wait.
I get that Santa needs a break too, but couldn't they have put it in the schedule?  The line backs up even further and gets twice as crowded, as the folks with 12:30 tickets have arrived right on schedule.  Wouldn't it have made more sense to give Santa a break at 12:30 and instead skip the 12:30 crowd and go straight to 1?  Instead I smile and pump peanut full of cherios and point out trains to try to keep him from crawling everywhere.
Santa returns, and it's painfully obvious he's either having a bad day, or just doesn't like kids.  We place peanut on his lap and peanut instantly squirms.  Santa does nothing to interest or entertain the kid, just says "I can't hold a child against his will" and lets peanut plop to the ground.  After all that--we get no picture--I thought they had snapped one when they moved us on, but no such luck.  What a waste. I know Peanut's not perfect--I get that it's hard to get him to sit still at times, but really, the whole experience rather soured my holiday.  So maybe we won't be waiting forever at Bass Pro next year. 


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Friday, December 9, 2011

shutterfly!


5x7 Folded Card
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Stay Safe this Holiday with Master Lock

It seems so strange that at this most wonderful time of the year, people can be both at their best and at their worst.  While dozens of people find ways to give toys and food for those in need, others find themselves desperate enough to take what isn't there's.  Still others just find it a great time to take advantage of those of us who are too busy to be mindful of our surroundings.
There is also tons of travel during the holidays.   We'll be going both north and south for family gatherings.  It seems the weather doesn't always cooperate with that. All those wishes for a white Christmas can result in hazardous driving conditions.  It seems that we have to leave home just a little earlier to avoid some great snow fall between home and Rich's family gathering in the great white north.

This year, Master Lock wants to help you avoid any pitfalls that come with the eventful season by taking proper precautions to ensure safety and security remain top-of-mind.  
MasterLock makes the following recommendations:

• Travel Safely. Whether you’re planning a road trip or flight, be sure to take all the proper safety precautions. If driving to your destination, check tire pressure beforehand for optimal handling and traction and consider having your car winterized by your mechanic for added safety.

• Secure Your Home. During the holiday season, you’re likely to have guests coming and going from your home for a number of get-togethers. Be sure all entry points, including doors, windows and sliding glass doors, are locked before and after guests depart to help keep your family, home and valuables safe.

• Shop Smart. To stay safe while enjoying a fun holiday shopping trip to the local mall or shopping center, be aware of your surroundings. Park in well-lit areas


You can help Master Lock by sharing holiday safety and security tips and insights on the Master Lock Facebook wall.  If you do so, you'll be entered into  the Holiday Safety Sweepstakes. You could win one of four $50 VISA gift cards, one of two $100 VISA gift cards to help with holiday shopping or a Master Lock Holiday Safety Gift Pack.
 • For more information on and to enter the Master Lock Holiday Safety Sweepstakes, visit:  www.facebook.com/masterlock
• For more information on Master Lock and their products, visit Masterlock.com

I am a member of One2One Network.I wrote this blog as part of their promotional campaign.  I received no monetary compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hodgson Mills Grain Holiday Contest & Giveaway

Hodgson Mill® is a family-owned company with more than 125 years’ experience producing all-natural, delicious, healthy, stone-ground whole grain and organic foods made from premium quality ingredients and milled in small batches to retain each grain’s nutritional benefits. Hodgson Mill® products include: flours, corn meals, gluten-free flours, baking mixes, pastas, cereals, and more. Since 1882, Hodgson Mill®’s family of employees has been stone-grinding 100% whole grain to create wholesome, naturally healthy food – with no artificial preservatives, additives or colorings.

This weekend was one of many cookie weekends for my family.  From time in memorium, December means baking.  We must go through multiple batches of at least 6 different varieties of cookies--and trust me, this is pared down from what we used to make.  We used to make so many Christmas cookies, we had frozen cookies that would last well in to February.

This year, I'm trying to do something a little bit better.  I'm trying to bake with more whole grains.    I've had a few disasterous botches with whole wheat flour.  I've learned that it doesn't work just right in Spatzles or in our crepe recipe.  Inspired by the Hodgson Mill's "Have a  Grain Holiday" Contest, I attempted to make cookie with Whole Wheat flour.  Competing with 49 other bloggers, I've attempted to create a delicious and nutritious holiday recipe using Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour and/or Hodgson Mill Best For Bread Flour.  I'm competing for the chance to win exciting prizes including an iPad 2, gift certificates to Williams Sonoma, and gift certificates to the Hodgson Mill online store. 


Here's my recipe. I was amazingly pleased with the results.


Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Cinnamon 
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)




1)Cream the sugar, butter, shortening, eggs and vanilla. Mix in Cinammon, baking soda, salt and flour until smooth.  Stir in Oats, chocolate chips and walnuts.  Works best if you allow dough to chill in fridge for a few hours or over night


2) Drop dough by the tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in preheated 350 oven for 9-12 minutes until edges are slightly brown.


3) Cool slightly then remove from cookie sheet and place on cooling rack.
Makes about 4-5 dozen


Do you have lots of holiday baking to do? Wouldn't you love to give this recipe a try for yourself? If so, enter below for your chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Hodgson Mill online store.

Until December 25th, you can also stop here: http://www.hodgsonmill.com/grainday-thank-you/ for a chance to win one of 50 Hodgson Mill gift packs containing $85 worth of Hodgson Mill products!





I received samples of Hodgson Mill products in exchange for my entry in "Have a Grain Holiday Contest." Official Contest Rules  from Hodgson Mill can be found here: bit.ly/sWjRtv
I received no additional compensation in exchange for this review.  All opinions expressed here in are my own.  StumbleUpon

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Something about Silver Review and Giveaway

I am so excited to be able to bring this opportunity to you!  I recently had the good fortune to review a handmade necklace from Something About Silver.  The necklace I received is from the "Little Gems" line.  It is quite possibly the cutest silver necklace customized with Peanut's name and birthstone.  It is a dainty 5/8th inch disc in diameter, which really works for me--anything much bigger would seem a little gaudy.  We only have peanut, but you could add as many discs if you wanted to.  It's absolutely gorgeous and I seriously love having a reminder of my little guy with me all day.

I'm very in to personalized gifts, and Something About Silver excels with personalization.  For example, I love this one  with a quote from "Guess How Much I love you?"  Peanut has three copy of this book, one from my shower, one from his grandma, and one of those recordable hallmark  books as read by my best friend.  Anyway, a very sentimental choice that I'd love to add to my jewelry box.


Or how about a grandmother's necklace?  I  know my mother always wanted one--one with her kids, and her grand kids.  This just might be the Christmas I finally get her one.

Speaking of Christmas, I absolutely LOVE this baby's first Christmas charm.  I wish we had found this last year instead of settling for something that was a little generic.  I love the little feet!

I know I showcased mostly necklaces, but they have bracelets and rings too---even a "something for him" category.

How much would you love your own "Something about Silver treasure? 

Buy it:  Visit www.somethingaboutsilver.com and use the coupon code kathrynmcgowan to earn 10% off your entire purchase.


Win it: Use the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win a $40 gift code to customize your own special silver creation.


This product was provided by Something About Silver in exchange for my fair and honest review. No monetary compensation took place.  All opinions are my own.

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Friday, December 2, 2011

Something Sweet about the Holidays

Listening to the radio on the way to work, I heard both inspiring and depressing news about those wonderfully sweet holiday favorites.  They were running down a list of the holiday treats that are the absolute worst for you.  Topping the list were my favorites egg nog and pecan pie. 
Where's the upside?  One of the radio co-hosts mentioned his personal philosophy for surviving the holidays.  He made a pact to ignore calories from November 1-Jan 1.  They simply don't count.  That way he can enjoy the holidays.  After that, it's back to health conscious business as usual. 
I don't know that I need that excuse, but seriously, for my family, the holidays equal food and lots of it.  I try to be good, but some of these food are only made once a year.  So although I will probably hate myself in January, I don't think I'm going to be able to make it through the holidays without sampling my favorites.  Perhaps portion control is a more realistic strategy?  One cookie instead of three....

One of my all time favorites has always been pecan pie.  It's so sweet a gooey and crunchy and wonderful.  I only make it once a year, but it is sooooo good.
This is the recipe I follow:
1 cup light corn syryp
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons soft butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups pecans
1 9 inch unbaked pie shell
Description: http://karosyrup.com/images/spacer.gif

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 
2. In large bowl, mix corn syrup, eggs, sugar, butter vanilla, and salt. Fold in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust. 
3. Place foil around crust edge to keep from burning.  Bake for 60 to 70 minutes. Top should be golden and carmel color.  Center should spring back slightly when touched. Cool before serving.  Serve with a cup of hot coffee!

Do you have a favorite sweet recipe, especially one using Karo syrup?  Would you love to win a trip to Chicago?  If so, head over to their facebook page and enter the Karo Syrup "Tis the Season" sweepstakes by entering your favorite recipe.  The winner and a guest will spend New Years eve at the Wit Hotel, dine at Mastro's Steakhouse and take a chocolate tour featuring Sarah's Pasteries and Candies. 

Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win a Karo Syrup prize package in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place. All opinions are my own. StumbleUpon

Endorse!

I've been trying Endorse! for well over a month.  It sounds promising, and has potential, but I haven't seen it work well for me yet.

In case you don't know, Endorse is an application through Facebook that encourages you to shop at your normal stores and buy your favorite brands.  In theory, they will pay you for it --anywhere from 2-10% back.  If you share with your friends (the store or brand) and they follow along, you can earn even more. Once you reach $25 in your Endorse account, you’ll be mailed a check.
The way it works is you click the “endorse” button on your favorite things, buy them as you normally do in the real world, and then send in your receipts as your “proof of purchase.” (They provide a free return envelope!)  I returned an envelope a month ago--and still nothing.
You can also get your endorsed and purchased products for FREE by getting 5 others to do the same. After you endorse a store, you can then share it to your friends. When they click on the link, endorse, and buy, you get the “credit” for their purchases. If 5 do so, you will be reimbursed for your ENTIRE trip.  
However, when it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.  I mean, what's in it for them?  I sent in my receipts, but still no progress.  I'm starting to worry that this is just some sort of scam.  Maybe these stores feel that if they have our receipts, we won't be able to return holiday merchandise.  That might be worth 2% to a store, right? 

Has anyone actually tried this?  Does it really work?  I even thought maybe I should try endorsing other folks things, in hopes of building them up the magic five.  I hope this helps someone, because I'm not as wowed and amazed as I hoped to be when I first signed up.


If you are still among the Endorse faithful or are interested in giving Endorse a try, simply follow the links below and “Endorse” the stores you regularly shop at:


If you'd like me to endorse any of your items, I'd be glad to reciprocate the favor. 
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Oral-B Stages Party! #OralBStages


Kat's Adventure Book was super excited to get to host an Oral-B mommy (and daddy) party! We've hosted a sponsored house party before, but never a mommy party--so we were all super excited. We invited cousins, family, friends, and co-workers with little ones.  There were tons of kids with there moms and some dads too.  We had a blast.
The party kit provided  the Winnie the Pooh DVD.  Before the movie, we played a few games with the kids, especially a super fun flashcard game that helped get the kids excited for the movie and reinforced the idea of good oral hygiene.  We talked about the toothbrush, and toothpaste, and even the dentist.  
To their credit, some kids did watch the movie.  Most, like my son, are super active kids.  They alternated between video watching and game playing. The kids had the best time getting together to play.  Having so many kids together, they were able to entertain themselves, which meant more time for the parents to talk.    
As parents we talked brainstormed ideas for taking care of our kids teeth.  Some said their pediatrician say they should see the dentist when the first tooth comes in, other said their dentist didn't want to see kids until they were at least 3.  My cousin said that she was encouraged to bring her daughter to her cleanings, to help her get used to the dentist by seeing Mommy do it. We haven't yet taken peanut to the dentist, but we have used a clean wet cloth or finger brush to clean up after he eats (we should probably be more consistent than we are).  
Lately we've been having trouble getting peanut to cooperate with brushing.  I was relieved that some of the other parents had the same problem too.  They recommended turning brushing time into a game.  They sing special brushing songs.  They also recommend modeling good brushing behavior by brushing with your kids.  Finally, many agree that having age appropriate brushes like the Oral B stages with characters that their kids love helps to make the time a pleasurable activity and not a chore.

What movie would be complete without concessions.  We had popcorn--which in no way came close to Cadillac 5 movie theatre popcorn, but we made due.  We also had Rabbit's Favorite Carrot sticks, Piglet's Parfaits--yogurt and fresh sliced berries layered in clear cups, Pooh Bear's Bagel Pizzas  and Peanut's favorite, Eeyor's Cheerios--served in paper cups with Eeyore stickers.  In short, we all ate our fill and still had plenty of left overs!
When the movie ended, it was definately getting toward nap time for some of our youngest guests.  Each kid received an amazing goodie bag to take home.  I was so thankful I had taken the time to prepare the bags in advance.  Each bag contained an Oral-B toothbrush (either Stage I or Stage II depending upon the child's age), a tube of Oral-B toothpaste featuring Disney Princesses or Pixar Cars or Toy Story characters, Winne the Pooh lavender scented baby wash, coupons, a fact sheet, and a balloon.  The kids all seemed to really love these pre-Christmas presents!
Personally, our favorite item in the goody bag has been the bottle of Lavendar Disney Daily Renewal Baby Wash---it just smells so good.  The first few days we used it, we couldn't stop sniffing peanut's hair.  We also love the Stages toothbrush--it really is perfect for his small hands.


We all had a great time and would love to thank Oral B, Disney, and MomSelect and MommyParties for providing us with this wonderful opportunity!
 
Be sure to follow Oral-B on Facebook and twitter, and Crest on Twitter too to keep up with their latest news and updates!
 If you would like to learn more about MommyParties, please visit their Facebook page.

*I was chosen by MomSelect and Oral-B to host this party. I received free products to keep and to distribute to my guests. All opinions expressed are honest and my own.  They were not influence in anyway.  No form of monetary compensation was provided.


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Book Review: Forge

Forge is the sequel to author Laurie Halse Anderson's acclaimed Chains  and the second inThe Seeds of America trilogy. In Chains, we meet Isabel and Curzon, two slaves struggling for freedom.  While Chains focuses on Isabel's tale, Forge is told through the eyes of Curzon.  Set in Revolutionary America, we follow Curzon as he again finds himself a private in the continental army.  Through battling the British at Saratoga, to fighting to survive the elements during the winter at Valley Forge, Curzon becomes a well-research character of historical fiction. 

Compounding their struggles, the runaways Curzon and Isabel find themselves again under the ownership of Master Bellingham, providing a new meaning to the fight for independence. One must acknowledge that the tale of slavery during the revolutionary era is one that is sorely underrepresented in history and literature as a whole and especially true of works for younger audiences.  Particularly compelling  for young readers are the arguments between Curzon and his contemporaries as they debate the issues of race, and what a war for independence really means for all american patriots. 

In her storytelling, Anderson strives for authenticity.  The characters are careful to describe their living conditions, food, etc.  One has the feeling that Anderson is writing a "living history" in disguise.  Without patience, the reader is liable to become annoyed with the repetitive use of 1776 style slang.  As a former history teacher,  I find the concept good, but the execution contrived.  Too often, the reader looses sight of the real drama behind the story the author is neglecting to tell when she focuses too much on the the history lecture. As a book that will tie in to historical studies of the revolutionary era, Forge outdoes itself.  However, valued strictly for its enjoyability as an independent read, Forge fails to  make its mark.
Overall Grade: B- StumbleUpon

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Making A Small Difference

The holidays are about generosity and giving from the heart. It's about more than just presents, despite what society wants us to believe.  Witnessing the news reports of black friday shoppers gone wild, I was abhored by the behavior of my fellow holiday shoppers.  Seriously people? Seriously!  We can do better.

Here's a short list of ways I'm going to try to be better this holiday season.
1) I will park in the back row of the mall and walk rather than cursing when someone takes "my" parking spot.
2) I will give any change I have to the salvation army whenever I enter a store with a bell ringer.
3) I will say thank you to my cashier, even if I had to wait in a really long line. 
4) I will give thanks daily for my amazing family
5) I will try really hard not to stress myself or others if the holiday isn't "perfect."

Yes, I'm not going to change the world with this. But wouldn't the world be just a little bit nicer if we all made an effort to be just a little kinder, especially this month.

Looking for a super easy way to do something good for someone else this holiday season?  Even better-- it won't cost you a thing.

Primrose Schools is announcing the return of their 2nd annual Cans for Fans virtual food drive. Now through December 31, Primrose Schools will donate one can of food for every new "like" they receive on their Facebook page. Not only that, they will donate two cans of food every time a fan "shares" the Cans for Fans status post. I did my part and you can too! 



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Friday, November 18, 2011

5x7 Folded Card

Oh So Joyful Christmas Card
Shop Shutterfly for beautiful photo Christmas cards.
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5x7 Folded Card

Peppermint Bliss Christmas Card
To view our unique Christmas card designs, click here.
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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Drinking Green--week 1

Smoothies that is.
Last Monday I began my effort to eat better.  I have been inspired by my recent review of Beth Aldrich's Real Moms Love to Eat book.  One challenge for week one is to drink green smoothies in place of your normal breakfast routine.
I've never been a morning shake kind of girl.  On the surface, it sounds a little counter-intuitive.  See, I usually ate cereal or toast, but I was starving by 10:00--not cool.  Drinking a shake sounded crazy since how could a liquid fill me up--it has no crunch, no substanance.  But you know me, I'm crazy enough to try anything once.  I figured I could give it a week since I didn't really have anything to lose.

Green smoothies are more than just your typical fruit and juice in a blender combo.  Per the recipe, I also add a scoop of protein powder (vanilla soy in my case) and green powder, and ground flax seed--all of which were purchased on a recent visit to my sister and the Whole Foods in Columbus. (Money saving tip on the flax seed-- I bought bulk whole flax seed at 2.99/lb and used my sister's coffee grinder to make ground flax seed for half the cost!)

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Friday, November 11, 2011

My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software Review and #Giveaway

Kat's Adventure Book the blog earned it's title from my own personal scrapbook that I've nicknamed my adventure book.  I started it around my senior year of high school.  It's an old school scrapbook from my grandmother.  You know, solid black construction like paper, funny long rectangle shape, very retro-green marble covers.  Tied together with what might pass for a shoe string.
Despite it's outward hideousness, I love my adventure book.  Within it's pages I have documented all of the amazing places I've been.  There are pictures from studying abroad in France and pictures from our family vacation in Yellowstone.  There are tons of pictures from fishing in Canada, or trips to the U.P.
I took tons of photos while we lived in Savannah, but since I left my scrapbook gear at home--I had planned to work on it when we moved back. Except now we have another adventure--Peanut.  Scrapbooking is so time consuming it is probably the lowest of the low on my priority list. Another challenge is the organizational space factor.  Our Red Room once was my personal craft room--this was ideal since I could leave a work in progress spread across the floor of the room, close the door and it would be fine.
Now with Peanut I sometimes feel that resentment an older sibling feels toward the younger sibling.  I used to have my own craft room.  Now I share it with the baby since the guest bed in that room has become his downstairs changing table.  That means extra organization in the craft room and definitely no leaving anything out--ever.  Please don't misunderstand me--I love my son.  I only miss my personal craft space.

I think that's why I am most excited about My Memories Digital Scrapbooking Software.  They contacted me to download and review a copy of their My Memories Suite Version 2.0,  I admit, I was apprehensive at first.  I wasn't sure exactly what digital scrapbooking was, how this package would work or even if I'd have time for it.  To my delight, I have been completely amazed and impressed.  I far surpassed my expectations and I definitely can find time.

No more pulling out those drawers of papers, special scissors, trimmers, sorting photos, spending hundreds on embellishments, making a complete mess of your craft room..... This software comes with everything you need.You will never "run out" of your favorite paper or find yourself one button shy of perfection. The step by step instructions make it super easy to use.

My Memories makes it easy to be as creative as you want--everything is fully customizable. Enlarge or shrink an embellishment to fit.  Change photo shapes or mats with a click.  For those with time constraints, preloaded album pages can help you finish an album in minutes--
These are some of my pages I literally created in just a few minutes.


I've used scrapbook like software online from companies like Shutterfly to create my photo books, but I found the My Memories suite far more intuitive. I also like that I own my pages and can print them out any time I like.  Oh, and if you don't find what you want in the basic package, you can add on extra paper and embellishment kits to give you even more creative flexibility.

My Memories Suite Version 2.0  has applications beyond scrapbooks.  I'm thinking of making my family calender and Christmas cards using this software. I've also updated my button--check it out.  I'm working on a new cute banner too. Like I said--infinite possibilities.  If you are super amazing with technology--you can even add audio and video clips too.

Want to get your own copy of the My Memories Suite Version 2.0?
You can buy it online from My Memories for 39.99


OR
You could be the winner of my giveaway.  Just use the Rafflecopter form below.  Contest ends at 12:01 AM on November 29th.  Enter now! (You may need to select the "read more" link to view rafflecopter form)


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Monday, November 7, 2011

Fall in Love with Food: Book Review-- Real Moms Love to Eat

Fact:  I need to eat better.
Fact: I want to eat better.
Fact: I make way to many excuses for why I don't eat better.

There was a time when I really loved to cook. I think this was especially true during the first year I moved into my own house.  I did all of my shopping--my trick for avoiding bad snack choices was simple--I didn't buy them.  This doesn't mean I didn't eat them, especially when going to my parents' house--but I didn't have them tempting me in my house.  I ate good and I felt great--without working too hard, I dropped 3-4 sizes over about a year or two span.  This was incredible for me, because I'd always been the same size since seventh grade no matter how much I tried to diet.

But I wasn't dieting, and I wasn't working out,  I was just eating better.  I loved food and I loved to cook too. I could spend an hour in Williams-Sonoma dreaming about new gourmet tools, drooling over their glossy colored recipe books and scheming excuses to make something new.  I felt like I was destined for true culinary genius--and did I mention I felt great.  I was fitting in to a new dress size for each major formal dance--which meant a regular rewarding shopping trip.  I was finally able to have a selection of dresses that would fit to choose from--instead of settling for the lesser of two evils because it was all they had in my size.

I regret to report that whatever I was doing right faded away.  It's hard to define the exact moment when things definitively began to take a turn for the worse. I think it all started when I became involved with some poor influences.   I started dating a guy who insisted on eating out regand cooking decadent foods--hello pumpkin ice cream.  My job became super stressful--the return of the anxious eating habits. The school I worked for closed and the idiot dumped me--more self-loathing and pity eating.
I moved in to an uninspiring apartment with a galley kitchen.  To make it worse--it was an hour drive to the nearest Williams-Sonoma (oh the humanity).   I worked late nights and was too tired to cook when I came home. Then I became pregnant and nothing sounded good or tasted good except Popsicle.  Since the baby, I have felt so drained when I get home from work that we settle for the over processed boxed foods.... Oh how this downward spiral compounded with baby fat I never lost has brought me back to that dreaded size I was back in seventh grade and all through high school and college.

I did love to eat--but now food is just something to fill the empty.  I've been so uninspired.  I think that's why I'm pinning some hope on Beth Aldrich's new book Real Moms Love to Eat How to Conduct  Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight and Feel Fabulous.  This isn't some fly-by-night diet fad.  It's really about returning that spark in your food romance by learning to fall in love with the right foods and lifestyle that will treat you like the person you know you want to be.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lets Do Lunch #Review

I have packed my lunch for just about as long as I can remember.  In grade school, I could buy lunch, but only on special occasions.  It was a big deal when I got the privileged of buying.  In high school we were all too cool to buy the institutional school lunch--though I'd occasionally buy pizza or a bagel.  Packed lunches have always been a part of my life--with little or no fanfare about it.

When I was younger I had cool lunch boxes.  They featured Snoopy or Popples.  That was one of the exciting parts of  back to school shopping.  As we get older, the joy of the lunch box fades.  Colorful characters  a slowly replaced by solid colors, then brown paper. In my "professional" years, in an attempt to be slightly more green I stopped purchasing disposable brown paper bags and began reusing plastic grocery bags. Economical, green and very uninspiring.

That's why I am so beyond elated to have the opportunity to review a Built Gourmet Getaway Large Insulated Lunch Bag, French Bull Series in shadow flower from ReUseIt.com.  This is quite possibly the cutest lunch bag I've had in my life for a very, very long time.  No more embarrassingly practical grocery bag for me!  

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Award!



I am absolutely honored that I have been awarded the Liebster Blog Award.  Thank you to Cute Coconut for this award.

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween

This wasn't Jack's first Halloween--but for all intents and purposes it might just as well have been.  Sure we dressed him up last year--but he didn't go trick-or-treating.  It was way too cold and he was way too little.






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Monday, October 31, 2011

Fun in the Fall

I love the fall.  Hands down, it must be my favorite time of the year.  Of all the seasons I missed while living in the South—I missed the fall most of all.  There are just so many great family activities in the fall, it is impossible not to find a great way to spend time with the family. With every sip of locally produced apple cider I am reminded how glad I am to be home.  I especially love how fall festivities are very low key in preparation for the much more stressful holiday season. 


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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Book Review: 50 Things Every Young Lady Should Know

Let me tell you about working in an all girls school with young ladies who are required to wear short skirts....How does one politely inform a teenage girl that if she must wear her skirt two inches shorter than the dress code requirement, then she should bend at the knees and not at the waist?  How do you let young women know that lounging on the sofas in the library is not acceptable, even if there are no men around? Sigh.

Thanks to the an opportunity from book sneeze, I received a copy of  50 Things Every Young Lady Should Know: What to do, What to say, and How to Behave, by Kay West.  West does an excellent job of providing concrete etiquette lessons in real life situations explain what to do and what not to do--and most importantly for the teenage reader--a solid explanation of why. I think explaining the why for etiquette is the hardest part for me.  I know that a student won't listen to what I say, without explaining why good manners are important, but I find it so hard when the voice inside my head is screaming, "Seriously child, how do you not know this stuff?"

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Monday, October 24, 2011

House Party: Spin Master It's All Fun and Games #QuelfLogoParty

This past weekend we had a blast with two new board games.  We received the opportunity to host a Spin Master House Party featuring Quelf and The Logo Game

Before we played, I figured the Logo Game would be our  favorite.  Essentially, it’s a trivia game for those who have a good sense of common consumable products and their marketing strategies.  I like it because its trivia where everyone has a similar footing. Do you know were Sara Lee cheesecake originated?  No—that’s okay, I didn’t either. Both of our families are hugely in to trivia so we all had a blast.  I was particularly impressed with my husband’s keen ability to identify photos of name brand cereals.

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Granola Goodness




 

I know I shouldn’t snack, but I do.  I try to be good.  With little temptation at work, I’m usually  a little better at controlling my impulse to munch.  But when I get home, look out.  I walk in the door and hit the cupboard. I’ve notice my son is becoming a snacker too. He’s a constant mooch.  If anyone is eating, he needs to be eating too.  And I admit this is a bad habit for him to inherit. 

Recently we’ve had a chance to sample Nature’s Hand Granola.  I know what you’re thinking—granola is typically high in sugar and preservatives.  If it's not high in sugar, it's typically low in taste, so why bother. Not true with Nature’s Hand—just 6 grams per serving from brown sugar and honey.  I also like that all the ingredients are 100% natural.  There are no artificial preservatives, colors or flavor.  Full of whole grain oats and wheat, as well as sunflower seeds, Nature’s Hand Granola packs a lot of nutritious fiber in a small hand full.  

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