May 222015
 

Here in the great state of Maine, we love our food, and we love to eat a lot of it.  We have to endure really long, cold winters, so we find warmth and comfort in hearty meals that keep our bellies full.  One of our favorite dishes is, of course, chili!

Popovers with chili

We eat our chili many different ways here.  Some of the most popular ways are chili cheese dogs, chili-topped baked potatoes, and chili with cornbread, popovers, or biscuits on the side. I really enjoy all of these options, but I really do love chili paired with a light and fluffy biscuit the most!  

Biscuits and Chili

I often keep Hormel Chili in my pantry, as it is so quick and easy to heat up, and it tastes great.  There are so many things that can be done with this little can of chili.  The possibilities are endless! 

Since we also love a big, hearty breakfast here in Maine, I decided to kick the chili/biscuit combination up a notch, by cutting my biscuit in half, topping each half with Hormel Chili, sprinkling on some shredded sharp cheddar cheese and topping it all off with a fried egg, for a super easy and amazing Open-Faced Chili Cheese Breakfast Sandwich.  Everything’s better with a fried egg and cheese on top, right? 

Breakfast Sandwich

I cannot even begin to tell you how delicious this breakfast sandwich was.  It was so flavorful, and definitely filled me up and gave me lots of energy for the rest of the day.  Of course, you have to cook your eggs over easy and let that delicious golden yolk pour out all over your sandwich.  The combination of the chili and the egg yolk is so good!

Open-Faced Chili Cheese Breakfast Sandwich

I like to bake my own biscuits at home using the recipe on the back of the Bakewell Cream can.  Bakewell Cream is a variety of baking powder, and was actually invented here in Maine, just a few minutes from where I live!  It was developed by a Maine chemist in response to a shortage of cream of tartar in the US during World War II. 

If you can’t find Bakewell Cream, you can certainly use your favorite biscuit recipe, or pre-made biscuits for this breakfast dish.  Biscuits are a staple here in Maine.  We eat them with a lot of our meals!

Chili Cheese Breakfast Sandwiches

Ingredients:

  • Biscuits
  • Hormel Chili No Beans
  • Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • Eggs

Directions:

Simply cut your biscuit in half, top each half with chili that you’ve warmed up, sprinkle shredded sharp cheddar cheese on top, and top with a fried egg. 

Super simple, very hearty, and truly delicious!

Hormel Chili is celebrating chili lovers all over the United States and embracing state pride by showcasing each state’s favorite dish or ingredient paired with Hormel Chili.  What’s your state’s favorite way to eat chili??  Find out here!  Save money on your favorite Hormel products with these great coupons, and don’t forget to follow Hormel Chili on Facebook for the latest news and promotions!

What’s your favorite way to eat chili?

 Posted by at 4:50 pm
May 202015
 

I’m sharing my #BeautyStory and Dove Savings as part of a sponsored post with Global Influence.  All opinions are 100% my own.

I learned a lot about beauty from my Mom.  She had 3 daughters, so it was very important to her to show us that beauty came from within, and that it was not all about wearing the fanciest clothing or jewelry, or wearing so much make up that we hardly recognized ourselves.  My Mom taught us that you are most beautiful when you are comfortable with yourself, and when you have a positive attitude.  Being real is beautiful.

Mom and Girls

My sisters and I all have different types of hair, different body types, different colored eyes, and different styles of clothing, but we are all beautiful in our own way.

SistersWhat’s your beauty story?

This spring, Dove is celebrating real beauty by sharing beauty stories of other women, and you can also share your own!

Watch the video below, and see how one family with four generations of women, passes down a simple beauty secret – the Dove Beauty Bar.  The Dove Beauty Bar is part of my own daily beauty routine.  It leaves my skin feeling soft and clean, and is a great way to start the day. I’ll definitely be passing this beauty tip down to my daughter, Kayleigh.

Coming from a family full of girls myself, this video really moved me.  I love seeing how close these women all are with each other, and how real they are.

Their beauty story is powerful, but just one of many. Share yours with #BeautyStory, and show off your own beautiful family!

During the month of May, you can also stop by your local Walgreens or Duane Reade for a month long beauty event!  Once in store, go to the Beauty counter or ask your Beauty Advisor for a $2.00 off coupon for Dove products. These are valid from through 7/24/15.

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While you’re there make sure to get a free Dove sample (while supplies last).  BONUS:  If you spend $15 on Dove products you will receive 3,000 Balance Rewards Points until 5/30/15!

 Posted by at 2:58 pm
May 082015
 

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, I can’t help but think back to the moment I found out that I was going to be a Mom.  Here I sit, 2.5 years later, and not only am I a Mom, but I’m a Mom to two children!  

kids

I always knew in my heart that I wanted to be a Mom.  I grew up surrounded by dozens of little baby dolls that I cared for as if they were real.  When I became a teenager, I always jumped at the chance to babysit, especially for the littlest babies.  I just had that motherly instinct inside of me, and an overwhelming desire to have children of my own.

When my husband, John, and I, first decided that we were going to try to have a baby, I was really excited, but also very anxious.  I had prepared for this moment my entire life, but would I really be a good Mom? 

It took us a whole year for me to get pregnant with our daughter, Kayleigh.  I was honestly beginning to think it just wasn’t in the cards for us to have children, until I had all of these pregnancy symptoms show up one day.  At that point, I just knew, I was pregnant. 

I remember taking the test to confirm my pregnancy like it was just yesterday.  I told John that we should pick up a test, because I just couldn’t shake this feeling that I was pregnant.  He didn’t think I was.  At all.  But, I insisted.  We went to the drugstore together to pick up a Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test, both really nervous as we stood in line to purchase it. 

We had bought the test 2 days before my birthday, and my 2 sisters were coming to visit me the next day.  I knew that if I found out I was for sure pregnant, I would not be able to keep it from them.  I cannot keep a straight face at all.  I am so horrible at that.  My parents were in Chicago for a whole month, and I wanted to be able to tell them the news in person, and my sisters are not known for keeping secrets very well. 

So, I stashed the test away until the morning of my 31st birthday.  I woke up bright and early at around 6am, and rushed downstairs to the bathroom to take the test.  I quietly closed the door, so I wouldn’t wake John up.  I read the instructions very carefully, did my business, and then sat there, waiting for what seemed like forever.  When the results finally appeared in the window, and I saw the word Pregnant, I couldn’t believe it.  I knew my life was about to change forever.

Clearblue

I ran back upstairs to our bedroom to tell John the news, and he was still half asleep when I told him.  He didn’t really understood what I had said at first, but once he finally came around and it sunk it, he was very excited.

We were both over the moon after finding out that I was pregnant, but we had to hide it from everyone we knew for a whole month while my parents were away.  It was complete torture, especially when I spoke with my Mom on the phone.  I wanted to tell her so badly, but I knew that if I told her while she was so far away, that she would become very homesick, besides, I really wanted to see the expression on her face when I told her the news.  She had been longing to be a grandmother for years!

When my parents finally came home from Chicago, John and I went to visit them, and to share the news.  After dinner, we were all sitting in the living room.  I handed a gift bag to my parents, and asked them to open it.  They didn’t realize that I was secretly filming them with my camera. 

As they opened the package, they pulled out a small silver picture frame, with baby footprints all over it.  My Mom wasn’t wearing her glasses and didn’t even notice.  She also couldn’t read the paper that I had typed up and put inside, announcing to them that they were going to be grandparents.

So, she put the picture frame down, and went into the kitchen to grab her glasses.  I was absolutely dying inside!  She came back in, put her glasses on, and then held the picture frame up so that she and my Dad could read it.  The look on their faces was priceless.  They lit up with more joy than I had ever seen on them, and then they kept asking us if we were joking!  I assured them that we were definitely not joking, and they were so excited.

pregnancy pic

Things went a little differently the second time around.  After Kayleigh’s 1st birthday party, John and I decided that we were ready to try for another baby.  Knowing how long it took us to get pregnant the first time, we really weren’t expecting it to happen any time soon.  Only, the very next month, my period was 4 days late!  That never happens.  So, I had John pick up a test for me on his way home from work.  There was no waiting in line at the drugstore together, as nervous as we could be.

He came home with the test, handed it to me, and I ran into the bathroom, not even closing the door behind me to take the test. 

John and Kayleigh were both sitting at the dinner table together, as I ripped the test out of the box, no instructions needed this time, and took the test.  As I waited for the results to appear on the window, I was not nervous at all.  I honestly didn’t think I was pregnant this time.  Not so soon.  It had only been a month!  So, imagine my complete surprise, when the word “Pregnant” once again appeared on the window of the Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test. 

I instantly yelled from the bathroom “Oh my God.  You didn’t!”  I came running out with the test in my hand, in shock, and John was just sitting there at the table with a grin so big on his face.  After it finally sunk in, I was really happy, and I immediately texted a photo of the positive pregnancy test to my Mom, eagerly waiting for her response.  This was her fourth grandchild, and she was a pro at receiving the news by now, so I didn’t feel like I had to wait to tell her in person again.

I waited, and waited and waited for her to respond, but she didn’t.  So, I ended up calling her to see if she had gotten the photo.  One of my sisters answered her phone when I called.  They were apparently on the road together, taking a rather long drive, and my Mom had not seen the text yet.  I told my sister to look at the text I just sent and she yelled out “You’re pregnant?!”  Then, I heard my Mom scream very loudly in the background.  She was absolutely thrilled to become a grandmother once again.

I am so glad that I captured the moment my parents found out they were going to be grandparents on video.  It is a memory that we will all cherish forever, and watching it makes me so warm and happy inside.

I love watching videos of other people telling their friends and family they are pregnant, too.  Some of them are just so funny, and others are so heartwarming. This video montage from Clearblue made me laugh and smile, and I think you will enjoy it too!

How did you tell your friends and family you were expecting?  What was their reaction?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 Posted by at 8:39 pm
May 062015
 

I received free product as part of a promotional program with HomeScreen/Bloggy Moms.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

My husband, John, has been a network security administrator for a hospital for a few years now.  Before that, he worked in IT for a long time.  If anyone knows about tech products, it’s him.  When I was recently offered the chance to review the HomeScreen Wireless Extender, his face lit up with excitement, and he said “Yes, take it!”

HomeScreen Wireless Extender

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t know much about routers and modems and networking stuff like that.  I leave all of that to him, as he is pretty much a genius when it comes to that sort of thing.  All I really care about, is that I can connect to the internet, and get my work done without having any issues. 

Last summer, I was pretty bummed to find out that I could not use my laptop to connect to the internet out on the back deck of our new house.  Spring and summer are my two favorite seasons, and I quite enjoy spending time outside, but I also have to get my blog work done.  So, because our internet didn’t extend far enough for me to work outside, I spent many days cooped up in the house, looking at the clear blue sky from my window.  Booo.

When the HomeScreen Wireless Extender came, John told me that he was going to try to hook it up in our back yard, so that I could get my blog work done, while sitting outside.  I was beyond thrilled at the idea, but a little skeptic that it would actually work.

We have a covered patio area in the back of our garage, with a nice little table to sit at, so it’s really a perfect location to sit and get some work done, while also enjoying the outdoors. 

John hooked up the HomeScreen Wireless Extender on our patio, which is about 100 feet from the router in our home, and a few minutes later I received a text message from him:

“This thing is AWESOME!”  “I can’t even tell that I’m not inside the house right now.”

HomeScreen Wireless Extender

Needless to say, he loves the HomeScreen Wireless Extender, and so do I!  We have had some pretty amazing days, weather-wise, this week and I have been able to really enjoy them, while getting some work done as well.

HomeScreen Wireless Extender

The HomeScreen Wireless Extender was very easy to set up.  Even though John is highly qualified to set up a piece of equipment like this, he thought that it would be easy enough for anyone to set up.  The HomeScreen Wireless Extender can supplement your current wireless setup to help fix issues with choppy video streaming, lag in online gaming, uploading files to the cloud, or browsing your photos on the web.

The 3.2 inch resistive touch screen allows for an easy setup, with no PC, tablet or smartphone needed.  Like I said, anyone can set this thing up.

HomeScreen Wireless Extender

It comes with parental control, and apps for weather, time, and cloud stored photos.

I am really so excited to be able to spend my days outside, enjoying the beautiful weather, while also getting some work done.

HomeScreen Wireless Extender



 Posted by at 9:20 pm
May 042015
 

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Kmart & March of Dimes. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

It’s that time of year again!  People all over the country are walking for a great cause – the March of Dimes.  I have walked in the March of Dimes for 6 years, with my friend Amanda’s family team.  We always have a good time.  It’s great exercise, we get the opportunity to see each other and reconnect, and of course, raise lots of money for the March of Dimes! 

Me and Amanda March of Dimes

There have been a few years when I have been unable to walk with Amanda’s team, like the year I was 9 months pregnant with Kayleigh, but I have always given a donation to her team, as this cause means so very much to me.

Amanda has given birth to two preemie boys (see photos below), and is currently pregnant with her third child, who will most likely be a preemie as well.  I watched her family as they went through the struggles that come with having a preemie.  Can you imagine giving birth to your child, and then not being able to take them home with you?  Especially knowing that they are so little and fragile, and anything could happen.  I can only imagine that it must be the most difficult thing ever.  My heart hurts just thinking about it. 

Preemies

The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health.  Donations raised for the March of Dimes help support teams of scientists who are working to discover the causes of premature birth and develop innovative treatments at five March of Dimes Prematurity Research Centers.

This year, Kmart, the top corporate fundraiser for the March of Dimes, has teamed up with celebrity fitness icon, mom and Kmart ambassador, Jillian Michaels, to kick off its 2015 fundraising campaign.  Kmart has been raising funds to support the March of Dimes for 32 years now, and has raised more than $125 million!

Kmart March of Dimes

These donations have helped moms and babies over the years by:

  • Providing the best information on healthy pregnancy and delivery
  • Advocating for better healthcare coverage for the most vulnerable
  • Fighting for better newborn screening standards in every state
  • Helping moms to overcome substance abuse with community outreach programs
  • Increasing access to prenatal care with mobile clinics and transportation to doctors
  • Educating generations of parents on the value of vaccination

If you’d like to help support the important research done by the March of Dimes, you can contribute in-store at any Kmart or online at kmart.com/marchofdimes.  You can feel good knowing that 100 percent of the funds raised will benefit the March of Dimes.

Kmart March of Dimes

You can also purchase Kmart’s collectible puppy figurine, available in-store or online for $5, and $1 from each sale will be donated to the March of Dimes.

Kmart Collectible Puppy FigurineIf you are a Shop Your Way member (I am, and I highly recommend this program!), Kmart will reward you for your donation.  Now, through June 20, members who donate will receive a coupon for five percent back in points on their next qualifying in-store or online merchandise purchase.  How great is that?!

GIVEAWAY

As part of Jillian Michaels partnership with Kmart this year, she has designed a March of Dimes t-shirt!  Below, you can enter to win one (1) of two (2) of these exclusively designed Jillian Michaels/March of Dimes t-shirts.  

t-shirt

Contest entrants are only eligible to win once per sweepstakes, per household as part of a campaign sponsored by Influence Central.  Please note t-shirt size winners receive cannot be guaranteed.  This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end Thursday, May 7, 2015 at 11:59pm EST.

This contest has ended. The winners are Amanda P. and Angela L.

How will you help support the March of Dimes?

 Posted by at 1:06 pm