A Maine Mom sharing her adventures in life and parenting.
Mindy is a first-time Mom living in Maine. She recently left her full-time Paralegal job of more than 10 years to become a Stay-at-Home Mom. She loves cooking & baking, classic rock, sunshine and spending time with her daughter.
We’ve had a few warm and sunny days here in Maine over the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been on a summer salad kick. First I made my Macaroni & Shrimp Salad to go with hot dogs on the grill, then I made Creole Potato Salad to go with ribs and chicken tenders on the grill, and last night I made a Country Style Macaroni Salad to go with my Spicy Brown Sugar Chicken Tenders. Summer eating has been in full swing in this household!
John has a weakness for Macaroni Salad, but he usually just wants to buy a pint of it from the deli at our local grocery store. I’m not a fan of the Macaroni Salad from there, as it’s been sitting out all day, and I feel like they use way too much dressing on it, and load it up with unnecessary ingredients. When he requested Macaroni Salad last night, I told him I’d rather make it myself at home this time.
This Country Style Macaroni Salad came out really good. We had my sister and her boyfriend over for dinner, and they both enjoyed it, as did John and I. The fresh vegetables added a nice colorful crunch, and it was the perfect compliment to my Spicy Brown Sugar Chicken Tenders.
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 cup diced yellow bell pepper
1 cup diced celery
1 cup carrot shreds
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar
2 tsp. yellow mustard
2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
Cook macaroni according to package directions; rinse under cool water and drain.
Add bell pepper, celery, and carrot shreds to macaroni.
Combine mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in a separate bowl.
I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Roman Meal. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
Since Kayleigh was born last May, I have really been struggling to lose all the weight I gained during my pregnancy. It seems I am on a constant up and down roller coaster ride with my weight. I’ll do really well for a couple of weeks, losing a decent amount of weight, and then I fall flat on my face, and it’s all downhill from there.
Over this past year, I have learned that I can’t just change everything over night. I have to change things gradually for it actually to work. It’s not about “dieting”, but making a lifestyle change.
Have you made the switch to whole grain bread?
I have already made a few gradual changes this year, including cutting out soda, not eating anything after 7pm, and switching to whole grain bread. These were all very easy things for me to do, and will help me to keep weight off over time.
Benefits of Eating Whole Grain Bread:
There are so many wonderful benefits to eating whole grain bread. Here are just a few:
Good source of Vitamin D, Calcium and Fiber
Aids in Digestion
Helps with Weight Management
Studies have shown whole grain intake may reduce the risk of heart disease.
Growing up, I always ate white bread because that’s what my parents bought. I never really knew there was anything else out there. As a young adult, I experimented with trying new breads, but never really found anything I liked outside of white bread. I’m a very big “texture” person, and I found a lot of whole grain breads to be dry or gritty tasting.
Now that I’m in my 30′s, I really want to stay away from white bread, as it is just not good for me. I was on a quest to find a delicious whole grain bread, and I found just that in Roman Meal Whole Grain Bread.
Want that local, fresh-baked taste in your bread? You got it!
Roman Meal bread is always baked FRESH locally, with more than 90 regional bakeries across the United States. They then deliver that fresh baked bread to your local grocery store, which means the bread you are getting is super fresh and tasty! I didn’t find this bread to be dry at all, and the texture was great!
Healthy recipes to make with all that whole grain bread!
In addition to having fantastic locally baked bread, Roman Meal has some really awesome (and super healthy!) recipes on their site for you to enjoy with your family. I came across their recipe for Whole Grain Sea Salt & Garlic Croutons, and I couldn’t resist trying them out. John and I like to add croutons to our salads, but the wrong kind of crouton can cancel out the benefits of that healthy salad quickly!
I go crazy over the smell and taste of garlic. Maybe it’s the Italian in me, but I just can’t get enough of it. These croutons were bursting with garlic flavor. They were perfectly crunchy and a great addition to my salads. You won’t believe how easy these are to make!
1 loaf Roman Meal bread
6 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp Chopped Garlic
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
Trim crusts from bread slices and cut into 1-inch cubes. Place bread cubes on two foil-lined baking sheets. Let stand for at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine oil and garlic. Drizzle evenly over bread cubes; stir gently to evenly coat. Sprinkle with salt.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once, or until golden brown. Cool completely.
Roman Meal’s Baked Fresh Sweepstakes:
Roman Meal is hosting a great sweepstakes through April 30, 2014! One grand prizewinner will receive $2,500; several others will win free bread coupons! You can enter this sweepstakes here.
Roman Meal is giving you the opportunity to win some free product coupons! This giveaway is open to US residents, age 18+. To enter for a chance to win, simply leave a comment telling me which recipe from the Roman Meal website you’d like to create. Make sure to also submit your entry using the Giveaway Tools application below, or it will not count. Please note: Winner must contact me with their mailing address before April 21, 2014, or the prize will be forfeited. Good luck!
Today was such a beautiful day here in Maine. The sun was shining, the sky was bright blue, and it was about 70 degrees out, with just a slight breeze.
John and I took Kayleigh over to my sister’s house for the day, and my Mom, Dad, my other sister, her daughter, and my cousin and his girlfriend all joined us for a BBQ. Mom and Dad provided the meat (chicken & ribs), my sister made a delicious Strawberry Rhubarb Pie for dessert, and I was in charge of the potato salad.
I haven’t made a potato salad in a long time, so I was really hoping that I wouldn’t screw it up, as it was going to feed quite a lot of people. In the end, I was extremely pleased with how it turned out. I had some Creole mustard on hand, and that provided the inspiration for this recipe. The Creole mustard gave this potato salad just a bit of a spicy kick, and everyone raved about how good it was. There weren’t even any leftovers! I was secretly hoping there would be so I could eat more later, but I guess I’ll just have to make it again!
Bring this Creole Potato Salad to your next gathering, and it’s sure to be a hit!
4 hard-boiled eggs (rough chopped)
6 cups chopped potatoes
1 cup diced celery
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 tbsp. Creole mustard (I used Zatarain’s)
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
Boil potatoes until tender. Drain potatoes and transfer to a large bowl. Allow potatoes to cool a bit, add celery and all other ingredients except for the hard-boiled eggs. Mix ingredients together until well combined. Add eggs in last and give it another good stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
I received a personalized copy of the Following Featherbottom book from MarbleSpark for the purpose of this review. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.
It is so very important to start reading to our children at an early age, and I take every opportunity I can to get new books for Kayleigh.
We have recently added a new, and very cool, personalized children’s book to our collection. Following Featherbottom is an adorable book that follows Felix Featherbottom and his sidekick Pierre du Pond, as they race around the world finding letters to spell out your child’s first and last name. Note: I have blocked out the last name and birth date in the photos below for security reasons.
I love that you can personalize this book even further with your own message.
Your child’s birth date is also included in the book, making it extra special.
In Following Featherbottom, Felix and Pierre travel to different countries, from A in Antarctica to Z in Zimbabwe, meeting interesting characters, and going on all sorts of exciting adventures.
This is a great book that will grow with your child. Babies love the bright illustrations and rhyme. Toddlers will learn to spell and recognize their name, and older children will get a terrific geography lesson as Felix and Pierre visit the different countries. See that “K” at the bottom of the page, starting to spell out “Kayleigh”?
On the side of each page are additional words that begin with the chosen letter.
Felix and Pierre continue to find the letters to spell out your child’s name.
Until your child’s full name is spelled out.
There is even a place for your child to sign for receipt of their name! How cute is that?!
This personalized children’s book would make a great gift for any occasion – birthday, holiday, or even just to say “I love you”. Following Featherbottom retails for $32.95, and you can choose from three different hardcover background colors.
MarbleSpark is a personalized book publisher committed to making children feel as unique and special as they truly are. In 2005, founder Phil Haussler was expecting his first child with his wife Stacey. On a whim, Phil wrote and illustrated a raw storybook. They loved the idea of giving their future kids a one-of-a-kind gift… and that first weekend project eventually snowballed into MarbleSpark’s first book, Following Featherbottom.
The name MarbleSpark speaks to the founders’ hope of igniting imaginations. Marble is meant figuratively, as in brain, noggin’, or noodle – like, “Have you lost your marbles?” And Spark means ignition, explosion, and combustion. MarbleSpark isn’t just a name – it’s a mission.
I received a personalized copy of the Following Featherbottom book from MarbleSpark for the purpose of this review. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.
Do you know a child who would love to have this adorable personalized children’s book?
As a blogger, my computer is my livelihood. Without it for even just one day, I’d potentially miss out on money-making opportunities, blow deadlines and get a bad rep with sponsors.
As a Mom, my computer holds many important photos and videos of my daughter, Kayleigh’s first year of life. These are memories I want to hold onto forever. If they were ever lost, I would be completely heartbroken.
Protecting your computer and mobile devices from nasty viruses is so very important. In this day and age, spam and viruses are everywhere – in your e-mails, on social networks, in apps you download.
Sometimes spam is really obvious. We’ve all seen the e-mails from Nigerian Princes offering us millions of dollars. It’s pretty hard to fall for that one by now. But, sometimes spam is not so obvious. Spammers can pretend to be your bank and send you e-mails asking for personal information, or asking you to click a link. They can produce copycat apps that look official. They can spread links on social media sites that look legit. They can impersonate law enforcement, and even hold your computer for ransom, and disable functionality until you pay them. If you share a network with other computers, the virus can quickly spread to them too.
Once you get a virus on your computer or mobile device, it can be hard to get rid of. It can quickly spread through your computer or mobile device, causing it to run extremely slow, corrupt your files, send thousands of spam e-mails per day from your e-mail account.
One of the scariest things that can come from a computer virus is identity theft. There are programs out there that can see every keystroke you type into your computer. If you access your bank accounts online, they can easily get your bank account login information. If you make purchases online using your credit cards, they can easily steal your credit card information.
If you have children at home that use the internet, they may easily fall victim to spam attacks as they are more trusting than experienced adults are.
So, how do you protect your family from spam attacks? Norton by Symantec can protect your devices from viruses and spyware, and update your protection on a regular basis to protect against new types of viruses and spyware. They have many different products and services to choose from, based on your needs.
Eating out with friends and family is always fun, but not always easy on the waistline. I love a restaurant that goes out of their way to offer healthy options for their guests, and Pei Wei has done just that with their new menu items.
Pei Wei has resolved to reFRESH nationwide with the addition of a small size entree option, starting at just $6.39, and a new flavor - Thai Lime & Chile!
I love the idea of a smaller sized entree option. Often times when I go out to eat, I’m not really overly hungry, yet I end up eating the entire meal just because it’s there. Then I get up to leave, and I feel full and bloated, and completely regret my decision to eat the whole thing. It would be great to have a smaller sized entree, so I don’t have the temptation in front of me to eat more than I should. Don’t worry – they still have their original size entree too, if you’re feelng hungry!
Pei Wei’s new Thai Lime & Chile dish features refreshing citrus flavors combined with spicy Fresno chilies. Guests can choose from chicken, steak, shrimp or tofu, and it can be served with white or brown rice, or as an entree salad! This dish also features garlic, red onion, snap peas, cashews, bean sprouts, carrots, cucumbers and cilantro. How fresh and delicious does that sound?!
Pei Wei has also added a new salad and two Perfect Additions to their menu. I’d love to try their Wok Roasted Vegetable Salad, which features wok-roasted cauliflower, zucchini, carrots, green beans, scallions, assorted lettuce, Napa cabbage, cucumbers and tomatoes, and is topped with toasted sesame seeds, curry salt and tossed in a miso vinaigrette. This salad sounds amazing!
Their Ginger Orange Edamame (steamed soybeans, orange peel, ginger, garlic & sea salt) and Szechaun Green Beans (wok seared green beans with Hunan sauce, chile paste and garlic) sound awesome, too!
Love the sound of these fresh menu options as much as I do? Explore the Pei Wei Asian Diner menu to learn more! They offer a variety of gluten-free and vegetarian options, high quality Asian cuisine featuring 35 fresh, hand-cut ingredients, freshly wok’d to order dishes and a lively, casual dine-in experience with the flexibility, speed & convenience of a take-away service. All items are made-to-order, so guests can customize each dish to their liking. I’d love to visit Pei Wei Asian Diner RIGHT NOW!
John and I are closing on our new house one week from today, and we could not be more excited!! We can’t wait to finally be homeowners, and we have a lot of things planned for our new home.
Our new home sits on 2.2 acres of very well landscaped land. We want to grow gardens, build a fire pit, and install seating areas. We want to make it a great place to relax and have fun with friends and family during the warm months, and we are planning to get married in the back yard at some point, too!
The annual Bangor Garden Show took place this past weekend, and we were really excited to go and get some ideas for our new back yard. My sister and her boyfriend joined us, and Kayleigh slept on me in the Boba Carrier the whole time we were there!
The Bangor Garden Show was filled with gorgeous landscaping ideas, and there were several booths set up selling handmade jewelry, ceramics, paintings, food and more. We walked around for about an hour and a half, speaking with different vendors about their products, and taking everything in.
Here are some photos I took while we were there:
I absolutely LOVE this fire pit. I would love to have this set up in my back yard. It’s gorgeous, and would be so much fun to sit around with friends and family.
There was an incredibly beautiful oak table for sale. I’d love to have one of these some day in the future, after the kids are older and have grown out of their messy stage. I certainly wouldn’t want them to mark up this beautiful table with pens and crayons. Until then, it’s a cheap table for us!
I love this patio set from Kmart!
John and I fell in love with this outdoor bar with built-in grill. We briefly spoke with the builder’s wife about this set up, and she told us that the materials alone cost $15,000.00. Maybe someday! We can dream for now!
This lovely gazebo was tucked in next to the outdoor bar.
This patio had a built-in sandbox!
John especially loved this greenhouse. He’s been wanting one of these for a long time.
I thought this little house was really cute, but can’t really see putting something like this in my yard.
Lots of pretty things for sale.
We won some herb seeds at one of the vendor stands. I can’t wait to plant these!
John had fun trying out some landscaping tools.
We bought some homemade salsa, that is actually made by our local weatherman! I can’t wait to try this. You can place an order for Todd’s Salsa online here.
My sister bought these adorable owls. Can you believe they were only $4.00 each??
She also got this really cool rasp plate to grate things like garlic and fresh nutmeg, ginger, etc. You can view more information or place an order for one here.
Her boyfriend surprised her with these beautiful tree of life earrings.
She also bought some dry soup mixes. These feed a lot of people, and she said she’d invite John and I over to taste them when she makes them! You can order Darby Creek Soups and/or Dips online here.
We all had a really great time at the Bangor Garden Show, and can’t wait to go to next year’s! Now we have some excellent ideas for landscaping our back yard this summer, too!
I am so over this snow that we have here in Maine, and I am ready for spring to finally show itself. It has really been a brutal winter for us this year. We were hit with snow and ice over and over and over again. Dealing with that for months at a time can really suck all of the engergy out of a person. It’s no wonder that most of Maine’s retired population heads south to Florida during the winter months!
Depsite Maine’s cold and snow-filled winters, I do love living here. Maine has a lot of beautiful scenery where I can go to relax and get in touch with nature.
As I look out my window at a back yard covered in snow, however, my mind wanders to Florida. Oh, how I would love to visit Florida during these cold winter months. It would be just the pick-me-up that I need!
If I were to visit Florida, I would head to Gulf County, which encompasses 43 miles of natural shoreline in Northwest Florida. It looks so warm and inviting there, and most of all quiet, clean, restful, and just plain awesome!
When John and I vacation, we like to stay close to nature and enjoy the scenic views. We like to travel to peaceful places where we can feel relaxed, and with seaside bike trails, kayaking, stand-up paddleboards, snorkeling, horseback riding, camping, golf, and so much more, Gulf County sounds like the perfect desination for us!
And if you want to take a break from nature for a while, they also have shopping, dining, farmers’ markets, music and arts & crafts! They even have a beer garden!!
Have a pet you just don’t want to leave home without? No problem! The beaches in Gulf County, Florida are consistently ranked in the top ten US beaches to bring your pet on vacation. Leashed pets are welcome on the beaches at all times, and most rental homes are pet-friendly, too!
There are so many things I like about Gulf County, Florida, and I’m seriously considering hopping on a plane right now! I am most interested in visiting Indian Pass, an un-crowded beach haven, with great fishing, beautiful beaches, and an abundance of natural wildlife. I’d love to pack a picnic lunch, and spend the day there.
Before we headed out for the day, I’d love to stop at the Indian Pass Raw Bar, where you can get lagoon oysters served raw, steamed or baked, and listen to live music on the porch. Sounds heavenly to me! Come visit GCFL with me!
Gulf County, Florida believes you never look more beautiful than getting outside and doing what you love, and through April 17th, they will be celebrating you “unfiltered” with a cool promotion! Because nothing is more beautiful than getting outside and living life to the fullest. Being healthy; having fun.
1. Snap a picture while doing what you love. Be real. Be messy. The sweatier the more beautiful.
2. Post your picture to Instagram.
3. Tag it #GCFLnofilter and tell us, @gulfcountyfl, what you’re doing in your shot.
4. That’s it. You will be automatically entered to win a free Spring getaway to Gulf County.
Five long-weekend Spring getaways to Gulf County will be given out at random. GCFL will draw a new winner every week and one extra upon conclusion of the sweepstakes. They will provide great lodging in some unique places along the Gulf, St. Joseph Bay or in the cute small town of Port St. Joe. Perfect spots to enjoy your favorite outdoor activity. Each prize package will also include $200 to help with travel expenses and $150 towards your passion of choice. Feel free to spend it on an excursion once you get to Gulf County or to treat yourself to something at home. All to celebrate the outdoors and the real you!
How great does that sound?! I entered, check out my entry!
For every entry GCFL receives, we will donate $1 to Outdoor Nation – up to a final donation of $5,000! Outdoor Nation believes in reconnecting the Millennial Generation to the outdoors. Our health, the health of our communities, and the health of our planet depend on it.
Last week my grandmother gave me a photo album she had made for me when I was a kid. It was really such a sweet gift, and something to cherish forever. My fiance and I had a lot of fun looking through it. There were lots of cute photos, and plenty of embarrassing ones, too! We all have those photos from our childhood we’d rather forget about, right?!
With Easter coming up later this month, I couldn’t help but stop to look at all of the photos of me wearing an Easter dress. These photos range from the year 1985 to 1990, and ages 3 to 8. I recall dressing up for Easter Sunday every year, heading to church with my family, and getting up in front of the entire church to say a “peace”, which was usually a bible verse or short poem that somehow related to Easter. I was always so nervous getting up in front of everyone. I still don’t like to stand up in front of large crowds.
Seeing all of those Easter dresses got me thinking about my daughter Kayleigh’s Easter dress this year, and the dresses she will wear for years to come. I want her to be able to look back on photos of herself on Easter, dressed up in beautiful dresses, celebrating the blessed holiday, and welcoming spring.
I want Kayleigh to have a beautiful Easter dress, but I don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for it. John and I are in the process of buying a new home right now, so finances are pretty tight right now. Luckily, Kohl’s has some really great deals on pretty dresses, and on top of that, I found a coupon code at coupons.com, that will save me $10.00 on a $30+ Kids Apparel & Shoes purchase at Kohl’s through April 19th! I’ll gladly take a $10.00 savings!
I think I’ve found the perfect Easter dress for Kayleigh! I just love this one, and I think she will look absolutely adorable in it.
And of course, I can’t forget the shoes! I think these will match very well.
Coupons.com has lots of other great Easter coupon codes to help you save money on apparel, basket goodies and decorations, too! In addition to all these great deals, Coupons.com is hosting cool Easter Deals Hunt Giveaway, where 4 people will each win a $100.00 Amazon.com gift card!
This giveaway is open to US residents only, and will run from April 7 12:01 AM EST – April 21, 2014 11:59 PM EST. Simply follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below to enter for a chance to win!
Use this image to answer a few fun question in the Rafflecopter below.
Steel Magnolias is one of my all time favorite movies. I can’t even tell you how many times I have watched it over the years, because I lost count long ago. It is such a heartfelt movie, and I always end up crying my eyes out at the end.
I used to catch Steel Magnolias whenever it was on TV, but we no longer have cable, to cut down on expenses. It had been way too long since I had watched the movie, and for months now, I had an incredible urge to watch it. I don’t know why I don’t just break down and buy myself the DVD. Maybe it’s the allure of happening upon it at just the right moment that I love so much. Some times I just want to lay on the couch eating ice cream, and watch a cry-your-eyes-out chick flick!
As I was staying up late working on my blog the other night, I watched Look Who’s Talking and Look Who’s Talking Too. I love the movies from that time period, and a whole bunch of them were just recently added to Netflix!
After I finished Look Who’s Talking Too, Netflix suggested that I watched Steel Magnolias. I had to do a double take! I had been checking for Steel Magnolias on Netflix for quite some time, and was pretty bummed that it was not available. To see that they had finally added it after all this time, made me one happy woman!
It was already past 11pm, and I had originally planned to head to bed soon. I just couldn’t resist watching Steel Magnolias, though. So, I grabbed some ice cream out of the freezer, a warm blanket and laid on the couch watching one of my all-time favorite movies until almost 1am! It’s not often that I get some “me time” to just relax, so I soaked every minute of it right up!
There are so many memorable scenes from Steel Magnolias, including the scene in Truvy’s hair salon when Shelby has her diabetic episode. As I watched that scene this time, I picked up on something I had never noticed before. In the many, many, many times I have watched this movie, I never picked up on the fact that Truvy was discussing a recipe for a “Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa Cake” with Clairee.
The ingredients for this cake were a cup of flour, a cup of sugar, a cup of fruit cocktail with the juice, and you bake it at 350 until gold and bubbly. After Clairee says that the cake sounds rich, Truvy replies that she “serves it over ice cream to cut the sweetness”!
I can’t believe I never picked up on this recipe before, but now that I have, I just had to make it.
This cake is definitely rich. I ended up putting the whole can of fruit cocktail in mine, to make a bit more moist. It is really dense and sticky, but it does taste pretty good. My only complaint is that there are not enough cherries in a can of fruit cocktail! I’ve been saying this for many years!
Truvy’s Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa Cake Recipe
If you’d like to try Truvy’s “Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa” cake recipe, it’s so quick and simple to whip up. It takes about 10 seconds to throw this together and plop it in the oven.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup fruit cocktail (with the juice) – use a whole can to make it even moister!
Mix all ingredients together and pour into a buttered 8×8 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until gold & bubbly!
What’s one of your all-time favorite movies that you love to watch over and over again?