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.
This post is sponsored by Lunchbox and all opinions are my own.
I love shopping at my local Walmart store. I like that I can find practically everything I am looking for in one shopping trip, and with Walmart’s Saving Catcher, I don’t have to do any ad price matching myself, they do it for me! That means I can feel confident that I will get the lowest price possible on my favorite products, without having to run all over town, or scouring the sales flyers. I don’t have the time or energy for all of that nonsense!
Kraft and Walmart have partnered together to give you the chance to win a $100, $250, or $1,000 Walmart gift card. Oh, how I would love to win this!
All you have to do to enter this awesome sweepstakes, is simply create an eCard with your favorite top-Pinned Kraft Foods recipes, fill out the entry form, and then share your card. Not only will you be entered for a chance to win high value Walmart gift cards, but you’ve also created a delicious collection of recipes you can share on Pinterest!
Here’s the eCard I created. Which Kraft Foods recipes will you add to yours?
In addition to the Walmart Kraft Hub Sweepstakes, you can also enter to win 1 of 5 $50.00 Walmart gift cards right here! This giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. PT on Saturday, January 31, 2015. Enter below:
I participated in a campaign on behalf of Influence Central for the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. I received a promotional item as a thank you for participating.
I’ve never been one to just jump into any kind of decision. I am a true Virgo in that sense. I always put a lot of time and research into everything I do. I know it annoys my husband some times, but usually, he thanks me in the end for making sure we are making the best decision possible.
My friends and family know I am constantly doing research, so whenever they have a question about something, they usually ask me for my opinion. It feels good to be able to help others out when I can.
When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Kayleigh, my research instincts went into overdrive. I researched everything – from what kind of prenatal vitamins I should take, to natural birthing methods, the best place for me to give birth in my area, and the best and safest baby products on the market. I think I was probably one of the most prepared first-time parents ever.
When researching baby products, I read product reviews, news articles, talk to other mothers in my pregnancy group, do product comparisons, and just read everything I can get my hands on.
One great resource that I absolutely love for researching baby products is the Baby Safety Zone. The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA), who powers the Baby Safety Zone, is an expert in the safe selection and use of baby products and has been helping parents make the best product decisions for their babies for 35 years! Now, that’s definitely a resource I can trust.
The info-graphic below shows how a product becomes JPMA certified.
With so many baby products on the market, it can be hard to tell which ones are the safest. The JPMA Certification Seal on a product proves that a manufacturer has tested a product sample annually to an established standard, so you can trust that it’s safe, and be confident in your purchase.
The Baby Safety Zone is committed to reducing the number of nursery product related injuries through education and awareness about the safe selection and use of products, as well as preventative measures parents and caregivers can adopt immediately. I don’t think we can ever be too safe when it comes to our children, and this is such a wonderful resource for parents.
What resources do you use when researching baby products?
I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council. I received a stipend to facilitate my purchase for my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.
Having a toddler and being pregnant has really inspired me to eat healthier over the last several months, and especially since the start of the new year. Some small changes I have made are, that I switched to eating whole grains instead of white breads, greatly increased my water intake, and incorporated a lot more fruits and vegetables into my diet.
One area that I always struggle with is snacking. I’m not really a sweets snacker, but I can down a bag of potato chips like nobody’s business. That’s not a very healthy choice for me to make.
In coming up with a new snack, I wanted something that was very healthy for me, but also filling, and that Kayleigh could enjoy with me as well. We had already kept blueberries on hand nearly every week, as Kayleigh just LOVES them, so I’ve been making blueberry yogurt parfaits lately, and I’m honestly kind of addicted to them now.
I start out with some Greek yogurt. You can use any flavor you want, but I really enjoy vanilla. I then top that with a handful of fresh blueberries, some of my favorite vanilla almond granola, and finally, I drizzle a bit of honey over the top. This quick little treat is so tasty!
I have lived in Maine my whole life, so I have grown up eating wild blueberries. I remember picking wild blueberries on the side of the roads with my grandparents when I was growing up. My favorite way to eat them was with some cream, or baking them into muffins. Yum.
I still love blueberries to this day, but in the middle of winter, wild blueberries are nowhere to be found around here. Kayleigh and I can still get our blueberry fix, however, thanks to our friends in South America. They keep blueberries in season all year-round!
DID YOU KNOW? The domestic blueberry season runs from April to September, and once that wraps up, imports from Chile, Peru and Argentina start flowing in, so you can always find juicy plump blueberries in the supermarket just like you do all summer!
Let’s not forget those other forms of blueberries – frozen and freeze-dried. They are great to keep on hand for those times when you just can’t make it to the store to buy fresh ones, and they taste just as great!
Not only do blueberries taste so fresh and wonderful, but they are really good for you too. One cup of blueberries only has 80 calories, and is packed with 3.6 grams of fiber! They also contribute vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese, to help you meet your nutrient needs.
What I love most about blueberries, is that they are so easy to incorporate into your diet. Instead of reaching for a bag of potato chips, I can grab a handful of blueberries. Instead of leaving a candy dish out on the table to snack on all day, I can leave out a bowl full of blueberries. These are really very simple changes that I can make, and they will have a huge impact on my health.
You can also add blueberries to foods you already make. They are great in pancakes, muffins, waffles, yogurt, cereal… the list goes on and on!
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council Sweepstakes
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council is hosting a sweepstakes through which you can enter to win a trip for two to LA for the Little Changes Kitchen Challenge alongside actress, author and TV host Alison Sweeney. I am a huge fan of Alison Sweeney, so I will be entering for sure!
*Runners up may win one of four $500 Whole Foods or Lululemon gift cards for a refreshed pantry or workout wardrobe!
Choose little, win BIG. Hurry! Sweepstakes opens on January 1, 2015 and closes February 16, 2015! You can enter this awesome sweepstakes here!
I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Scrubbing Bubbles®. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
I don’t know about you, but I am really glad that the holidays are finally over! This year was pretty rough for me, honestly. I’m now a few weeks into my third trimester with this pregnancy, so everything is getting to be much harder on me physically, and emotionally too. The stress of the holidays really took a lot out of me, and I’m just now beginning to recover, and get my house back in order.
Since I hit my third trimester, my nesting instincts have kicked in full force. I’m constantly cleaning and organizing something in this house. One of the rooms that I find myself cleaning the most, is the bathroom.
There are so many disgusting germs lurking around in bathrooms. Did you know that, according to the Scrubbing Bubbles® Dirty Work Index, which revealed our hilarious and unconventional bathroom habits, 60% of people flush with the toilet seat up (sending toilet bacteria flying up into the air and onto bathroom surfaces!) and 23% of people don’t wash their hands after using the toilet?! Just thinking about that makes me cringe.
Before I became a mom, I was always very careful about preventing the spread of germs, and after becoming a mom, I am even more so.
Kayleigh is 19 months old now. As I’m sure you all know, toddlers just love to follow you into the bathroom, and they just have to bring their favorite toys in there with them. I hate that Kayleigh does this, but there is just no reasoning with a toddler. Therefore, I have to make sure that my bathroom is always extra clean and germ-free, so her favorite toys stay that way too.
I have been using Scrubbing Bubbles® in my bathtub and shower for many years, and they recently came out with a Scrubbing Bubbles® Multi Surface Bathroom Cleaner spray (previously branded as the Foaming Disinfectant), that I absolutely love! It’s so easy to use, and quickly cleans all of my surfaces – the sink, toilet, bathtub, etc. Being super pregnant, and a mom to a toddler is really hard on my body, and keeps me very busy, so this all-in-one, easy to use product is truly a lifesaver for me.
We only have one bathroom in our home, so it gets pretty dirty, quickly. I absolutely hate toothpaste residue in the sink, and soap scum in the shower. Those things can be hard to clean without the right product, but the Scrubbing Bubbles® Multi Surface Bathroom Cleaner works like a charm, and scrubs those messes away, without me having to put a lot of elbow grease into it.
I love seeing the antibacterial and antiviral formula foam up and expand into the nooks and crannies to clean soap scum, lift dirt and fight grime. It’s great when you can actually see a product working right before your eyes.
My bathroom surfaces have never looked so clean and shiny!
Another thing I love about the Scrubbing Bubbles® Multi Surface Bathroom Cleaner is the light fresh citrus scent. It doesn’t give off an overwhelming chemical scent like a lot of other cleaners do. There’s nothing better than walking into the bathroom, and knowing that it’s absolutely clean without breathing in nasty chemical odor.
You can follow Scrubbing Bubbles® on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest news and promotions.
What bathroom messes do you hate cleaning the most?
I’ve been struggling with pregnancy insomnia for a while now, but it seems to have gotten a lot worse since I entered the 3rd trimester.
Right now, I’m sitting on the couch, stuffing my face with Chex Mix, and binge-watching Friends on Netflix. It’s after 1:00am, and even though I’m physically exhausted, I’m wide awake.
I tried to go to sleep earlier tonight when John did, but the same thing happened that happens every night. He falls asleep the second his head hits the pillow (lucky bastard!), and there I lay, wide awake, staring at the ceiling. I roll over onto my side, turn my cell phone on to browse Facebook and play a few rounds of Candy Crush, in hopes that it will help me to become sleepy. Some times it does actually work, but tonight was not one of those nights.
On nights like tonight, I have the worst case of restless legs known to man, heartburn that makes it nearly impossible for me to lay down without feeling like my entire digestive system is on fire, this baby inside me won’t stop kicking me, and no matter how many pillows I surround myself with, I’m just plain uncomfortable.
After the 5th time of getting up to go pee within a 2 hour period, I said “screw it” and planted myself on the couch instead of trying to go back to sleep again. I’m not sleeping anyway, so I might as well try to do something productive, right? Does stuffing your face with Chex Mix at 1:00am qualify as something productive?
I know this pregnancy insomnia is just nature’s way of preparing me for the sleepless nights I’ll have after my baby’s arrival, but honestly, I wish I could just enjoy sleeping through the night until then.
7 weeks left until my due date – the countdown is ON!
Did you struggle with insomnia during your pregnancy? Do you have any tips or tricks that helped you get a good night’s sleep?
I’ve joined up with several other bloggers for this awesome giveaway event, where we will each showcase a product, products or company located in our current or birth state.
As you may already know, I was born and raised in the state of Maine, and I don’t have any plans to move any time soon. One of the most well known companies in Maine, is L.L. Bean. I’m sure you have probably heard of them before!
L.L. Bean was founded in 1912, in Freeport, Maine, and specializes in clothing and outdoor recreation equipment.
I have had many L.L. Bean products over the years – slippers, backpacks, clothing, jackets, etc. You can find something for everyone at L.L. Bean! Their products are extremely high quality and last for a very long time. I am very proud to be showcasing this awesome company in this giveaway event.
To enter to win a $40.00 gift card to L.L. Bean, simply complete as many entries as you wish, using the application below. This giveaway is open to US residents only, 18+. This giveaway will run from 1/13/15 to 1/27/15 at 11:59pm EST.
I have been compensated for this post by Global Influence. All opinions are 100% my own.
Has your deodorant or antiperspirant ever left an embarrassing white stain on your clothing? I’ve had this problem several times in the past, and it always seems to happen when I am dressed up for a party, job interview, wedding, etc. And of course, I don’t realize it’s there until I’m at my party, job interview or wedding, so I spend 10 minutes in the bathroom feverishly rubbing the fabric together in the hopes that the white stain will come out.
Well, the days of trying to get those white stains out of my clothing are gone! I recently switched to Dove’s NEW Dry Spray Antiperspirant, and I love it! Not only does it smell absolutely amazing (I received the Cucumber Melon scent), and keep me dry all day long, but there is zero mess after applying it because it dries instantly on my skin.
I have always loved the Dove brand. I only use Dove soap when I shower, as it doesn’t dry my skin out like other brands do. I also love the fact that it doesn’t leave a mess of soap scum in my shower. It really came as no surprise to me that the new Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant left my underarms feeling soft and smooth and didn’t leave a nasty mess behind there either.
My husband, John, was sent the Degree Men MotionSense Dry Spray to try out, and he loves that too. It leaves him smelling really great, and keeps him nice and dry.
You can buy NEW Dry Spray Antiperspirants from Degree Men, Degree Women, Dove, Dove Men+Care and Axe at Walmart, and you can watch a quick video to receive a sample for yourself, so you can try before you buy!
These antiperspirants boast a whopping 48 hours of protection, and honestly, as a stay-at-home Mom, sometimes I REALLY need that! It’s super hard for me to always find the time to shower. After using the Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant for a few weeks now, I have really noticed a difference in how fresh I feel in between showers.
Ditch the ick of slick, visible residue and enjoy the 48-hour protection of an Antiperspirant spray that goes on instantly dry.
Disclosure: I am a Hamilton Beach ambassador, and I received this product in exchange for my honest review and opinion. No other compensation was received.
When I moved into my first apartment, my sweet Nana bought me a mini food processor as a house warming gift. I absolutely loved that thing. I chopped up nuts, made salsas, and so much more. My favorite thing to make was a spinach pesto.
Now, I loved that food processor, but it was seriously small. It was the perfect size for me when I was single and living alone, but now I have a husband and a toddler, with another one on the way. It’s time for a bigger, and more grown up food processor!
I recently received the Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processor from Hamilton Beach, and I absolutely love everything about it. This food processor is much bigger than my other one, which allows me to make a meal for many more than just one person. I love how easy it is to put together, use, clean and store.
Another thing I love about this food processor, is that you just stack it up and snap it together. With my old food processor, I had to line it up just right, and twist it to lock it together. It was really a big pain a lot of the time. This one is so much easier! PLUS, when I pour my food out of this processor, the blade doesn’t come flying out at me like it did with my old one. That is pretty awesome, I must say!
The Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processor also has built-in cord storage and dishwasher-safe parts. It also has these cute little rubber feet on the bottom that help it stay in place on your counter or tabletop while you are using it!
After receiving this food processor, I immediately had to whip up a batch of my spinach pesto, as it had been quite a while since I had made it. It turned out great, and I can’t wait to use the food processor for so many more things too!
This spinach pesto is really delicious. I prefer to use almonds in my pesto instead of the usual pine nuts that most recipes call for, but you could change it out if you wanted to. It’s really thick, creamy and full of flavor, and I just love that gorgeous green color!
I normally serve this pesto sauce over linguini, but I had some macaroni on hand and used that instead. I added in some roasted grape tomatoes to add a burst of color and extra flavor. It’s also the holidays, so I thought the red and green combination would make a really pretty holiday dish.
Macaroni with Spinach Pesto and Roasted Grape Tomatoes
2 cups elbow macaroni
1 pint grape tomatoes
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 cup slivered almonds (roasted)
1/2 cup olive oil + 1 tablespoon for roasting tomatoes
A splash of fresh lemon juics
Kosher salt & Pepper to taste
Roast the slivered almonds in a non-stick fry pan over low heat until slightly brown. Make sure you don’t burn them! Roasting the almonds will really help to bring out their flavor.
Combine all ingredients in the food processor until smooth and creamy.
Mix grape tomatoes, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a pinch of Kosher salt & pepper. Spread the tomatoes out on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in 450 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook elbow macaroni according to package instructions, until al dente.
Drain macaroni and stir in pesto mixture and roasted tomatoes. I served this dish hot, and it was fantastic. I think it would also taste pretty good served as a cold salad.
Hamilton Beach has generously offered to give a Stack & Snap 10 Cup Food Processor to one lucky Sincerely, Mindy reader. To enter to win this awesome giveaway, valued at $59.99, complete as many entries as you wish, using the Giveaway Tools application below. One person per household may enter. Open to US residents only, age 18+. Good luck!
I love baking around the holidays, but this year I’m super pregnant, and didn’t want to wait until the last minute to get my holiday baking done. I already had enough stuff to take care of in the days just before Christmas – attending a family Christmas party, addressing and mailing out Christmas cards, wrapping Christmas gifts, cleaning my house for guests.
I had decided to make my cookie dough a couple of weeks ago, and freeze it until I needed it. It saved me a bunch of time and energy this week, and baking the cookies out of the freezer was so easy.
1. Scoop balls of cookie dough onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with wax paper.
2. Freeze the cookie dough.
3. Place frozen cookie dough into a Hefty Slider freezer bag.
4. When you’re ready to bake your cookies, add an extra 1-2 minutes of baking time.
ROUND 2 – FREEZING AN ENTIRE BATCH OF COOKIE DOUGH
1. Form your cookie dough into a log.
2. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze.
3. When you’re ready to bake your cookies, take the dough out of the freezer and thaw until the dough is cool.
4. Roll out your cookie dough and cut it into shapes.
ROUND 3 – FREEZING ALREADY BAKED COOKIES
1. Allow your cookies to cool.
2. Layer cookies and wax paper in storage container and freeze.
Tip – Frosting and icing do not freeze well.
Aren’t these tips fabulous? I am so excited that I now know how to freeze cookie dough properly, which will save me so much time and energy. No more rushing around at the last minute, trying to get everything done!
Check out these other great holiday tips from Hefty:
Disclosure: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Centralfor Cake Boss. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
I have always enjoyed baking. It’s kind of funny that my sister and I love baking so much, as my Mom is totally not a baker at all. Growing up, we spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s house, and she was always in the kitchen baking up something tasty. I’m sure we both learned everything we know about baking from her.
I love baking because it relaxes me. It’s something that I can put my heart and soul into, and I just love that feeling I get when I share my homemade goodies with friends and family. Everyone loves baked goods, and it’s really fun to be able to share something you made from scratch with other people.
In addition to my love for baking, I have always had a strong interest in cake decorating. I would absolutely love to be able to decorate cakes as well as the Cake Boss does. When 8 seasons of Cake Boss came to Netflix earlier this year, I quickly became hooked on watching the show. I was just in awe of his talent, and the talent of all of his employees, most of which are his family. They are so creative and have made some of the most beautiful and amazing cakes I have ever seen in my life.
I know if I ever want to get up to their caliber of cake decorating, it will take lots of practice, but in the mean time, I am having fun learning and experimenting with Cake Boss cake decorating supplies. That’s right, the Cake Boss actually has his own line of cake decorating supplies that really help to simplify the cake decorating process for beginners like me. They are great for experienced decorators, too!
I recently held a cake decorating party at my parents’ house, where my husband, John, my Mom, my two sisters, my brother-in-law, and a friend of the family all sat around the kitchen table to practice our cake decorating skills, using several different Cake Boss decorating supplies. Here are just some of the supplies we tried out – frosting, icing, decorating tips, icing spatulas, sprinkles, fondant, fondant ribbon cutter and more!
I had pre-baked the cakes ahead of time in Cake Boss cake pans (which I absolutely love!), so we just had to decorate them. I really loved how well the cakes turned out. They were a really great consistency, and tasted so incredible too. I had to travel over an hour away to my parents’ house with them in the back of my car. I was a bit worried that they wouldn’t travel well, as other cake mixes I have used before resulted in a very crumbly cake, but these cakes held up perfectly. I was very impressed!
We started our cake decorating party off by icing our cakes with the vanilla frosting. We used the icing spatulas, and they made the job really easy.
The frosting went on nice and smooth, and was the perfect base to place our fondant on.
Next, we rolled out our fondant. We had a really pretty bright pink color, and a chocolate fondant to choose from. The fondant was really easy to work with and rolled out nice and smooth, and we were able to smooth it even further with the fondant smoother.
Some of my party members also chose to use the acrylic fondant rolling pin with a pretty floral design on it. It left an imprint right into the fondant. None of us had ever worked with fondant before, but we really liked the finished look of it. The excess fondant is cut off with the fondant cutter.
The fondant ribbon cutter was a really neat tool! There were lots of different designs to choose from and it was so easy to work with.
There were lots of different decorating tips to choose from, and we had fun learning how to pipe it onto our cakes.
The party was a huge success. We all had a lot of fun decorating our cakes and showing off our creative sides.
John used the letter and alphabet fondant stamp set to get those perfect letters on top of his cake. He then outlined them with icing.
I am so excited to have all of these awesome cake decorating supplies now, and will be practicing my skills. It would be really nice to be able to decorate Kayleigh’s birthday cake next year!
Want to be a Cake Boss too? You can get your own Cake Boss Cake Mixes, Tools and Bakeware at Michaels stores and online at Michaels.com!
Are you a fan of TLC’s hit show Cake Boss? Would you love to use these awesome Cake Boss cake decorating tools, cake mixes and other products at home?