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.
Welcome to the 4th annual Spa for Ma Giveaway Hop hosted by Measuring Flower and Homemaking Hacks! I have teamed up with some incredible bloggers to bring you prizes that help mom to get some much awaited R&R after the kids head back to school!
If you’re unfamiliar with what a giveaway hop is, here’s how it works. After you enter my giveaway below, you can “hop” on to the next participating blog to enter their giveaway as well. You can find links to all the blogs towards the bottom of this post.
Also, don’t forget to enter to win the grand prize! It is for an incredible $300 gift card to Kohl’s! Enter HERE!
I’m giving away a $25.00 gift card to Bath & Body Works! Every woman I know loves the array of wonderful smelling lotions, body washes and sprays, candles and more from Bath & Body Works. I have so much fun in that store smelling all of the fabulous scents. My favorite is Coconut Lime Breeze. I sure do love those tropical scents! They always make me feel like I’m relaxing at the beach.
To enter to win this prize, simply complete as many entries as you wish using the Giveaway Tools widget below. This giveaway is open to US residents only, 18+. Winner must respond within 48 hours or a new winner may be chosen.
I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf ofMom Central Consulting for the Beef Checkoff for Cats. I received products to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
Beef has always been a staple in our home. There are just so many different meals you can create with beef, because it is so versatile and easy to work with. There are a great variety of different cuts of beef, and it cooks up really quickly too, which is great for a busy Mom like me. It also helps you stay energized with 10 essential nutrients!
Some of my favorite beef dishes are Shepherd’s Pie, Beef Stew, Lasagna with Meat Sauce, Stuffed Shells… the list goes on and on. I have found lots of inspiration at BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com, too. They have lots of quick and easy beef recipes to choose from.
I’ve recently added a new dish to my family’s favorites, Sweet & Spicy Meatloaf. This recipe actually comes from my sister, Angela. She made this meatloaf for a family gathering and everyone went nuts over it. I’ve never had a more flavorful meatloaf!
I did change a couple of her ingredients for things I had on hand, but she was definitely the brains behind this recipe.
When I used to think of meatloaf, I would think about the meatloaf my Mom made when I was a kid. It was always so dry and lacking in flavor (sorry, Mom!). She just doesn’t have the cooking gene in her, but luckily for my sister and I, our grandmother and our Dad are pretty good cooks, and we have learned a lot from them. One thing we never skimp on is flavor, and this meatloaf is just bursting with flavor. Ground beef is like an empty canvas, waiting for you to turn it into a flavorful masterpiece. When you’re cooking with ground beef, don’t be afraid to experiment with different sauces and seasonings!
Take a look at all of the different ingredients I used to infuse this meatloaf with flavor, and to make it extra juicy. No dry meatloaf here!!
1 lb. ground beef (I recommend 90% lean) 1 egg 1/2 sleeve saltine crackers (crushed) 1/4 tsp. Italian Seasoning 1/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. pepper 1 clove garlic (diced) 1 jalapeno (diced with jalapeno seeds) – leave seeds out if you don’t want the extra spice 1/3 cup shredded cheese (I use Cheddar Jack)
1/2 cup ketchup 1/4 cup brown sugar 2 tbs. honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix meatloaf ingredients together in a medium bowl until well combined. Grease a meatloaf pan and spread meatloaf mixture evenly in pan.
Combine topping ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over meatloaf mixture.
Cover meatloaf with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Uncover meatloaf and bake for another 30-45 minutes.
Having a clean home is something that is very important to me. I always feel so much more relaxed when everything is in its place, and the counters and floors. When there is a mess in my home, I feel super stressed out, and it’s the only thing I can focus on.
It’s especially important for me to keep my home extra clean now that Kayleigh is walking around. If there is anything laying around anywhere, she will find it and try to put it in her mouth.
When Kayleigh started eating solid foods a few months ago, I just about lost my mind. Every single meal time was followed up with me having to sweep and mop my kitchen floor. Now, she has also added walking around with snacks in hand to that mess. I find her trail of crumbs everywhere. In addition to a very busy toddler, I also have two indoor cats who shed like crazy.
I’m a busy Mom, and I just don’t have time to dig out my bucket and mop after every meal time or snack. I was so happy when Swiffer sent me one of their awesome Big Green Boxes (#BigGreenBox) to help simplify my cleaning routine.
I’m sure you’ve all seen the commercials where they surprise someone by leaving a Big Green Box at their front door. Well, upon opening my box, I was filled with excitement, just like those people in the commercials. Inside was a Swiffer Sweeper, with both wet and dry pads, and also a Swiffer Dusters kit with refills. I couldn’t wait to put these to use in my home!
The Swiffer Sweeper is so easy to use. I love that it’s small enough that I can easily sweep under my lower kitchen cabinets, which are kind of hard to get to with a regular broom. I love that it’s also really easy to change out the dry pad for the wet one and wash my floor too. No more filling up buckets with water to mop the floor! Cleaning up after Kayleigh and my cats has never been so easy. Now, instead of spending lots of time sweeping and washing my floors, I can spend more time with her.
I am also thoroughly enjoying the Swiffer Dusters kit. The duster works so great, and I especially love using it on my ceiling fans, which are hard to reach but need to be cleaned often. The duster uses thousands of fluffy fibers that change shape to fit anywhere to trap and lock dust without spreading it around the home. That means I can easily dust the ceiling fans, and not worry about the dust falling all over my floors in the process.
Spreading the Joy
In addition to sending me one of their fabulous Big Green Boxes, Swiffer also sent me a second box to surprise someone else with. I chose to give this box to my Mom. My youngest sister and her 1 year old daughter are currently living with my parents, so they have to deal with the same meal and snack-time messes, PLUS, they have 3 cats and a big golden retriever dog! Now, that’s a lot of mess to clean up after! They also have hardwood floor and tile throughout their whole house, so I know this will really come in handy for them.
My Mom was overjoyed to receive this package, and she was certainly surprised!
I even caught my Dad checking out all the goodies inside!
Over the next couple of days, my Mom sent me several text messages, letting me know that she was putting the Swiffer goodies to use and having fun cleaning her home. That’s the power of the #SwifferEffect!
Would a Swiffer Sweeper and Swiffer Duster Kit make cleaning your home easier?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
As a Mom of a messy 15 month old, I'm constantly buried under laundry, most of which is covered in food. If you've ever watched a toddler eat, you know that most of the food misses their mouth and heads straight to their clothes instead. I've had to deal with some pretty tough food stains, including spaghetti sauce, fruit, vegetables… the list goes on and on!
I've recently started to pre-treat Kayleigh's food-stained clothes with Biz Stain Fighter. I had never used this product before, but I am now a firm believer in its abilities.
I took a couple of Kayleigh's white shirts, and a darker colored one, that had food stains on them (I can't even remember what kind of food it was), and pre-treated them for 5 minutes with the BIZ Stain Fighter. Upon pouring the Biz on the shirts and rubbing it into the material, I saw the stains disappear before my very eyes! These stains had been sitting for several days, too, because let's face it, what Mom has time to do laundry every single day? Not me!
As a woman, it can often be hard to feel good about yourself, and realize just how great you really are. We are always comparing ourselves to other women and celebrities, when we should be confident in our own accomplishments and abilities.
When I was in high school, and even during my 20's, I had very low self-esteem. I didn't have much confidence at all. I felt awkward in my own body, I let people walk all over me, and never stood up for myself.
We Live, We Learn, We Grow…
When I entered my 30's, I worked up the courage to leave a very bad marriage. I was buried under a great deal of debt, and didn't know how I would ever get out of it. After several years of dedication, and hard work, I paid off those debts. I fell in love again, with a man who treats me like a queen, and I fulfilled my lifelong dream of becoming a Mom.
While I was pregnant with my daughter, I decided that I wanted to put my mind and body to the ultimate test – a natural, unmedicated birth. At first, I was very scared. Was I really going to be able to do this? Can I really get through the pain without any medication?
In the months leading up to my due date, I researched everything I could find about giving birth natural. I learned coping mechanisms, different laboring positions, breathing exercises. I watched documentaries about giving birth naturally. I went to a hospital, staffed with a team of midwives, where having an epidural was not even an option.
When I finally went into labor, I wasn't scared anymore. I was ready to face the biggest challenge of my life head-on. I knew that my body was made for birthing, and that I just needed to trust it, and myself. After a very long 24 hour labor, including 2.5 hours of pushing, all unmedicated, Kayleigh was brought into this world.
The pain was unbearable at times, and I was so exhausted, but I found the strength within myself to get through it. I think if I had had a baby in my 20's, the outcome would have been different. I'm not sure I would have had that same confidence and strength.
I Can Do Anything I Set My Mind To!
After giving birth naturally, I have a new found respect for my body. This body carried my beautiful daughter for 41 weeks. This body labored for 21.5 hours and pushed with everything it had for another 2.5. This body brought my daughter into this world. I am a strong woman, and I feel like after that, I can do just about anything I set my mind to.
What Makes You Great? Survey Results
In a recent "What Makes You Great" survey, most women revealed that they felt better about themselves as they aged. I can say that is very true in my case. You live, you learn, and you grow from your mistakes.
Seventy-three percent of women have reinvented themselves after turning 40, and 80 percent of women love themselves more than they did 10 years ago, according to the survey by Wakefield Research for Post Great Grains Cereal.
Fifty percent have improved their health, 42 percent have found a new passion, and 23 percent have changed their career. The women surveyed say they are more comfortable in their own skin (38 percent), havegained perspective (34 percent) and feel a sense of security (12 percent).
This video brought tears to my eyes. It's so awesome to see REAL women, unashamed of who they are, loving themselves and being proud to say why they are great.
Post Great Grains Cereal
I've recently had the opportunity to try out some different varieties of Post Great Grains cereal. Great Grains has nutrition you can see in each spoonful! Rather than grinding their wheat into flour and then stamping it into uniform flakes, Great Grains carefully cracks or steams the whole wheat berry, which helps to lock in full flavor and nutrients.
All of the varieties of Great Grains have at least 30g of whole grains per serving and are a heart healthy way to start the day! These varieties include: Great Grains Digestive Blend Berry Medley, Great Grains Digestive Blend Vanilla Graham, Great Grains Protein Blend Honey, Oats & Seeds, Great Grains Protein Blend Cinnamon Crunch, Great Grains Cranberry Almond Crunch, Great Grains Crunchy Pecans, Great Grains Raisins, Dates & Pecans, and Great Grains Banana Nut Crunch.
So far, I have tried the Berry Medley, Vanilla Graham, Crunchy Pecans and Cinnamon Crunch, and they are all delicious!! I love that I can see exactly what I am eating, and that they are full of healthy and nutritious ingredients. I can't wait to try the rest of them!
I love my cats, but they can be finicky eaters. That’s why I was thrilled at the opportunity to try out Fancy Feast® Broths as a part of this sponsored post program.
I’ve realized that I’ve been writing this blog for quite a while now, and I haven’t ever introduced you to my cats. Well, that’s about to change! They are a huge part of my family, after all.
My cats mean a great deal to me. John and I have had both of them since they were just little kittens. We have watched them grow over the last several years, and they are like kids to us. They have enriched our lives in so many ways and continue to bring us happiness each and every day.
Meet my cats:
Name: Maggie, a/k/a Maggie Mae, Maggie Moo, Mags
Age: 8 years old next month
Indoor or Outdoor Cat: Indoor
Likes: Loves to climb (on EVERYTHING!), cuddling, playing with toys
Dislikes: Does not like to have her belly rubbed!
What to Watch Out For: Maggie loves to steal people’s drinks when they aren’t looking!
Name: Pablo, a/k/a Buddy
Age: Turned 4 this month.
Indoor or Outdoor: Indoor
Likes: TREATS. This guy is a little treat beggar. He’ll do just about anything to get some treats, and he tries to steal Maggie’s!
Dislikes: Cuddling and petting is only acceptable on HIS terms. He will come to you when he wants some loving, otherwise, stay away.
What to Watch Out For: Pablo has a foot and shoe fetish. If you’re sitting down in our home, he may come over and plop his whole body down right on top of your feet, making it difficult, if not impossible for you to move.
While my cats have very different personalities, there is one thing they have in common. They are both very picky eaters. It’s hard to find something that they both like to eat.
I was really excited to try giving them Fancy Feast® Broths. Fancy Feast® Broths are a delicious combination of delectable broth with real seafood and veggies. I was pleasantly surprised at just how appetizing they looked, and thought for sure that my cats would enjoy them. A lot of cat foods out there look like unrecognizable mush, but not this. I could actually see the chunks of seafood and vegetables, so I know exactly what they are eating.
I love that the broths are carefully crafted without by-products or fillers, as I want only the best for my kitties. The pouches are also very easy to open, unlike some of those cans out there, and they are perfectly portioned and ready-to-pour, which makes my hungry kitties very happy!
There are 8 varieties of Fancy Feast® Broths, and they feature either a Classic Silky or Creamy Broth. My cats went crazy over the Fancy Feast® Broths, just as I had thought they would. As I was pouring the pouch into bowls for them, they were both right under my feet looking up at me in anticipation. They both licked their bowls clean, and appeared to be completely satisfied after.
Take a minute to watch the cute video below. I think all of us cat owners can relate to just how picky, and hard to please our cats can be.
What’s most important to you when choosing special tasty treats for your cat?
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf Fancy Feast®.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Walgreens and Global Influence.
Ice cream is one of my favorite indulgences, and always has been. When I was a kid, my Mom kept ice cream in the freezer almost all of the time, and we would often enjoy a bowl together on a hot summer night.
In our town, there was no such thing as an ice cream truck when I was a kid. I did not even know that ice cream trucks existed, until I visited my cousin who lived in the “city” when I was about 12 years old.
I still remember my first ice cream truck sighting. It started with the music. We were all inside the house and suddenly I heard this kiddy-like music coming from outside. Before I could even ask my cousin what that was, he bolted out the door in his socks, waving a dollar bill in his hand. I ran outside after him, and caught him chasing the ice cream truck down the street. I couldn’t even believe what I saw. A truck that sold ice cream?!
Now, having an ice cream truck come around to your home can be all well and good, but when I want ice cream, I want it NOW. I don’t want to wait around and “hope” that the ice cream truck will pay me a visit at the exact moment I’m craving an ice cream. I want to have my cravings right on hand, in my own freezer, so I can indulge whenever I want.
When I stock my freezer full of cool summer treats like Breyers Ice Cream, Reese’s Peanut Butter Ice Cream Cups, Klondike Bars and Good Humor Strawberry Shortcake Bars, I know I can satisfy my craving, and my family’s cravings, whenever we want. When my stash is running low, I head on over to Walgreens to stock up. They have a great selection of goodies to choose from, and it’s so convenient. I love stores where I can just run in and out quickly. I’m a busy Mom, after all!
Do you stock up on cool summer treats for your family?
Now that John and I have our own home, with plenty of room to entertain, we love to invite friends and family over for dinner or a movie, or to sit outside by the fire. It's always so much fun to get together with your loved ones.
Sometimes, we make plans to have people over well in advance, giving us plenty of time to prepare, but more often than not, we just invite people over on a whim. If I don't have food to serve to my guests, I get frazzled, so I make sure to keep a stash of frozen foods on hand that are quick and easy to prepare, and are just perfect for entertaining guests!
Frozen foods are so great to keep on hand, because they are ready when you are. They fit every family's lifestyle without compromising taste or nutrition. They are made from real recipes and with real ingredients. Below are some of my favorite frozen foods for entertaining friends and family.
Everyone loves pizza, and Freschetta is one of the best frozen pizzas out there.
I love the flavor of the sauce, the soft and airy dough, with a perfectly crunchy crust, and the ooey gooey cheese. I buy one of these just about every week, and it's always a hit when guests come over.
Sometimes when we have guests over for a game night, we are not hungry enough for a whole pizza. It's times like that when Bagel Bites are great to have on hand. They are bite sized bagels topped with pizza toppings, and they are super tasty! I also love that awesome crunch factor when I bite into them.
I also like to serve up Delimex Rolled Tacos.
They bake up in the oven really fast, and there are a ton of them in a box. I can take out as many as I need to feed my guests and save the rest for another time. They are really delicious, and can be paired with sour cream or your favorite sauces for dipping.
On the occasions when we do have guests over for a complete meal, I always serve up Green Giant Boxed Vegetables as a side dish.
Take a look at this Broccoli with Cheese Sauce. It is so yummy, and the perfect side to your favorite meal.
Every now and then we will have guests over for coffee and breakfast in the morning. While I love to cook a grand breakfast every once in a while, I also like to actually spend time with my guests. So, I opt for Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sandwiches.
They are a quick and easy breakfast option, and hearty enough to fill my guests' bellies. My favorite are the Sausage, Egg & Cheese Croissants.
My blogger friends and I are bringing together two of our favorite things for a super-fun giveaway — Target & Instagram! You’ll have the chance to win a $100 Target gift card + follow some awesome bloggers on instagram! Be sure to bookmark this page and come back everyday because there will be daily entries available. Good luck!
P.S. Check the Rafflecopter for the link to another $100 Target Giveaway for even MORE chances to win!