Monthly smiles in the mailbox

Once a month, I get this pretty blue box in my mailbox.  It’s always full of yummy eats that make me smile, and make my day!

Tasterie is a company started by a Pediatrician and mother of two, catering to those of us with food allergies.  
I mean, how frustrating is it to find a new snack or food, only to read the ingredients and find you can’t even try it because of your allergies?  I’ve got a tree nut allergy.  Way too many healthier snacks and foods have nuts in them, which means I can’t touch them!  Frustrating!
Tasterie takes the guess work out for you!  Each month, I get a box of certified nut-free foods to try and enjoy.  This way, if I so choose, I can search out the brands myself to stock my cupboards!
These are the allergy choices when choosing your box:
Dairy Allergy
Dairy Allergy & Egg Allergy
Dairy Allergy & Soy Allergy
Egg Allergy
Gluten Allergy & Wheat Allergy
Gluten Allergy, Wheat Allergy & Dairy Allergy
Gluten Allergy, Wheat Allergy & Vegan
Nut Allergy 
Soy Allergy
Top 8 Allergy – 
dairy, egg, fish, gluten, nuts, peanuts, shellfish, soy or wheat

That covers a lot of us!  What better way to try out new foods, without the allergy risk and without the stress and frustration of searching ingredient lists?!

Here’s my May box:
Kettle corn, bean chips, rice chips, baked fries, bread mix, chocolate soynut butter, and fruit snacks!
All boxes come with an information card about the items included, as well as most have come with a recipe card too!  This month, I got two recipe cards.  Salsa soup and banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  Both look great and I’ll be trying them.
The signature box, which is what I get, runs $25/mo and the snack box runs $18/mo.  There are no additional shipping charges.  I figure that’s a pretty reasonable price to get some great products to try every month and not worry about eating something I’m allergic to in the process. I truly love getting this box every month!
So, give it a try!  Go to Tasterie and get a box or two!  I’m off to enjoy my baked fries before making dinner!

*Some information in this post is taken directly from the Tasterie site for accuracy.  All views and opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this post.


Memorial Day

Today is the day we honor those who died while in military service.  
We honor them in our thoughts, 
our prayers,
our thanks,
our photos,
and many other ways.
They were fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, grandfathers, grandmothers, children, parents.
They stood up for us and our freedom.
They deserve our respect every day.
They made the ultimate sacrifice.  Their lives.
Today, while you camp out, grill, picnic, get together with family and friends, remember them and the reason for this holiday.  
Thank you to every family of every man and woman who died in military service, for they gave all!

I’d really appreciate…..

I know I don’t write every day, though I probably should.  A goal for myself?

What I would really appreciate, and a reason I probably don’t get the motivation to write every day, is some feedback!  I can see how many times a post is viewed, but I rarely (if ever) get any blog comments.

I took the ‘captacha’ off, so you can comment freely.  Yet, the posts get read but no feedback.

How do I know you find something I post interesting if you don’t tell me?  Or, if I’m asking for advice or opinions, how do I know what yours is if you don’t tell me?

Get it.

Tell me.

Communicate with me.

Give me feedback.

Tell me you do or don’t like something.



What to do with this skirt steak?

So, I had a beautiful skirt steak in the freezer, just begging to be thrown on the grill and enjoyed with some nice, warm tortillas and toppings.  But, this weather.  Rain, rain and more rain.  I couldn’t get the husband to grill in the rain.  Something about melting?  I kept telling him s!#@ runs, but he argued he’s sugar.  Yeah, right!

Anyway, I was searching for something new to do with it since I’d be cooking it inside.  Stumped, I started searching the cupboards.

This is the beginning of the concoction:

Frozen skirt steak at the bottom.  Yes, I said frozen.  Most meat I put into the crock pot starts out frozen because I’ve found it stays moister and more flavorful that way.  
Then a can of each: Rotel, Corn, Black Beans
And the seasonings!  Must not forget the seasonings.  Cumin, chili powder, garlic, onion and paprika.
Set the crock on high for 4 hours and let it go!
After the 4 hours, I pulled the skirt steak out and cut it up.  I cut with the grain, as it will naturally pull itself apart easily.  Then, I cut the strips in smaller, more manageable pieces if you were to eat it with a small utensil and tossed it back in.  I added a can of refried beans, to thicken it up some, and stirred until it was all incorporated.  
On the side, I cooked up some brown rice.  I grabbed the tortilla chips, sour cream, cheese and hot sauce.  
Dinner is served!  Surprisingly good!

What Mother’s Day means to me.

I’m a mom.  I have a mom.  And a mother.  And a ‘wish she was my’ mom.

Mother’s Day is a day to show respect and thanks to the women who brought us into this world.  But, what if those women don’t deserve that respect and thanks?  What if they weren’t around for the firsts?  The first walk?  First smile? First boyfriend or girlfriend?  First bra? There are tons of firsts in our lives.

See, sometimes our mothers aren’t there.  Sometimes by choice.  Sometimes by fate.  But, they’re still our mothers, regardless.

I plan to give thanks to the woman who brought me into this world because, without her, I wouldn’t be here. But, I plan to give thanks to the woman who taught me how to be a good person and the woman who stood by me and behind me when I needed a mother the most, as well.  They’re all different women, but they all deserve to know they had something to do with who I am.

And for those who’s mother has left this world, I feel for you.  While you may not think it the same, having no mother in your life when she still walks the earth and not having one in your life because her time to go was too soon both leave a hole.  Different but the same, if you get what I’m saying.

If you’re a mother, I hope the biggest thing you want from your children is for them to grow and spread their wings, taking some of what you taught them with them as they go.  This is what I want from my children.  To take what they learn, use it, respect people and never give up!  I hope I’ve taught them these things.

Yes, there are fathers who fill both roles.  Mine did for some time.  But, while they deserve credit, I think Mother’s Day is not that time.  They have their time and they get the joy of knowing they are the one instilling all the values that are important in life in their children.

So, tomorrow, regardless of your feelings for your mother give her thanks.  Because, without her, you would not be here.  She did at least one thing right.  Hopefully, for many of you, she has done many things right and you’ll be sharing tomorrow with her.

Happy Mother’s Day on May 12th.

Mom’s Night Out

Question for all you moms.  How often do you get a night/day/morning (any time really) to take a break from being a mom?  To enjoy things you enjoy, without being interrupted or without your kids along for the ride?

I would have to honestly answer:  Not much at all….if at all.  

When you become a mom, you become:

  • Nurse
  • Short-order cook
  • Investigator (which one of you spread ketchup all over the bathroom floor?)
  • Mediator
  • Therapist
  • Artist
  • Handyman
  • Teacher
  • Event planner
  • Administrator
  • Secretary
  • Financial advisor
  • Personal shopper
  • Stylist
  • Photographer
  • Hazmat cleanup
  • Decorator
  • Archivist
  • Lobbyist
  • Chauffeur
  • Coach
  • Housekeeper
  • Diplomat
  • Comedienne
  • Forensic investigator (is that chocolate – or poop?)

Moms, whether stay-at-home or working, are underpaid.  We all know moms would be rich if we got paid for all of these jobs!  Wouldn’t that be nice?

But, the one payment each and every mom needs is a break.  If even for a few hours, every few weeks, it’s an important part of being a mom.  One that is often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Even us with older children need it because, who’s the one carting those older kids to and from this and that activity without a break?  Us!

Macaroni Kid Cedar Rapids and many other local organizations and vendors gave some local moms that break, with some fun and entertainment, last night!

Now, Macaroni Kid is a family of publisher moms which help get the word out on family and kid-friendly events and activities.  Along with sharing some pretty cool giveaways, ideas and recipes along the way. If you go to Macaroni Kid National, you can search for the closest Macaroni Kid page to you!  Do it!  They’re awesome!

Last night was our Mom’s Night Out event!  We had awesome appetizers, brick oven pizza and wine….lots and lots of wine!  Cedar Ridge Winery & Vineyard, located in Swisher, was our event location.  An absolutely beautiful place!  And the wine….did I tell you we had wine?  It was damn good wine, too!  Damn good, I tell you!

There were vendors, demonstrations, raffles and a grand prize giveaway! 

The best part?  It was all moms, grandmas, aunts…you get the idea!  No kids, no husbands, no boyfriends.  Just moms getting to interact with other moms and getting reminded to not lose ourselves in the shadow of our biggest job!  Yes, remembering that above and beyond being a mom, we each have our own personality…our own quirks….we each are a person!  Not just a mom! 

So, thank you to Char from Macaroni Kid….and Lexi and everyone else who made last night awesomeness!  Thank you for helping us remember ‘I need to be me’ just as much as I need to be a mom!

Healthy Weight Loss Challenge and FitBit!!!!!

First of all, my lack of posts is due to my shift change and sleep schedule adjustment at work.  I’m now on 3rd shift and back to full time!  Yay me!  This makes me happy, but the schedule change takes some getting used to.  Now that I’m adjusted, it will get better and I’ll get back to posting.

Now, on to the title of this post.  
I started a healthy challenge via another blog.  Slap Dash Mom is hosting the #SDMChallenge.  The premise is to use the tally sheet to help you keep on track for losing or maintaining weight and getting healthier in the process!  I love the idea and I love the group aspect without a meeting or set in stone check in time/date/place.  You can still join in any time during the challenge, so get your butt over and check it out!  It’s easy peasy and fun, too!

In joining the challenge, I started looking for a pedometer.  Yeah, I have a dozen of those cheap, $5 ones collecting dust in the drawer, but I wanted something different.

I’d been saving up my Amazon gift cards for a FitBit, but didn’t have enough for the Flex.  So, I got the Zip!  $50, two day shipping from Amazon and I was well on my way to tracking my activity and calories burned.
Seriously, a 2 minute set up and it was clocking my activity.  The best part is FitBit has a dashboard that you can see all your information on, both on the computer and some smartphones!  My Galaxy S3 just happens to be one of those smartphones!

Here’s what my dashboard looks like each day:

You can also link your FitBit to MyFitnessPal if you use it.  MFP automatically transfers any food and exercise data you enter to FitBit, so you only have to enter it once.  FitBit automatically transfers calories burned according to your device to MFP.  So, you don’t have to enter it manually at all!
Now, FitBit has three devices and a scale that all sync and communicate with their dashboard program.  So, you choose your devices and you get busy burning those calories!  
I’m telling you, easy peasy!  Now, get moving!
*I was not financially compensated for this post. I also did not receive a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*

My corner….

I never really thought about it, but I have a corner at home and a corner at work.

My desk at home is in a corner….It’s a corner desk…therefore, I’m mostly in my corner.

My table at work is in a corner too…. No, I can’t show you, but it really is.
I’ve found my corner is a good place.  I think I’ll stay in it!

I’m going to be a grandma!?!

Yep, that’s what I said.

More like ‘What?  When?  How?’

Well, my 17 year old and his girlfriend are expecting.  Yes, I know.  They’re young.  They’ve got a lot of life to live.   Yes, it will probably change how their lives go from here.  I know all the ‘OH NO’s’ and the ‘BUTs’.

So, here I’m faced with the fact that I’ll be a grandma at the ripe, young age of 39 (possibly 38, right before my birthday).  Payback from my dad, maybe?  He was 39 when Josh was born.

Yeah, the good thing is I’ll be young enough to be a ‘cool’ grandma.  I hope.

I don’t know how to be a grandma.  I don’t even know how to be a great mom most days.  How in the hell am I going to do this?  How the hell are they going to go to college?  How in the hell is this happening so soon?

I was bummed when I saw the names they picked.  Not because they’re not great names.  But, because, if it’s a girl, the family name incorporation stops there.  I know, it’s petty, but it’s something I’ve carried on from my parents and their parents, etc.

So, to those of you who read this.  I need some insight.  Some wisdom to pass on, maybe.  Some ideas.  Anything!   Tips for the kids.  Tips for me.  Anything at all!


When you eat healthier…..

Your body will revolt when you don’t.

I learned this the hard way last night.  After bowling league, Damien asked if we could get something to eat before going home.  I should have gone with the first choice, Subway, but didn’t.  We ended up at Taco John’s per my husband’s request and Damien’s final agreement.

One soft taco, some Potato Oles with nacho cheese and a little bit of soda later, we were on our way home.

Not so bad, right?


I’ve made a lot of changes to the way I eat in the last couple months.  The biggest one is to cut almost all prepared foods out of my diet.  My body has been happier with me, working better and feeling better.  Losing weight is a bonus.

With these changes, I expect a bit of a reaction when I ‘splurge’ on prepared foods.

I was not prepared for the night ahead of me.

Every two hours, almost like clockwork, the bathroom was my friend.

My body was making quick work of disposing of the offending foods.

And I was not reacting well to this.

Twelve hours later, I feel much better.  I treated myself to a small amount of greek yogurt with blueberries and strawberries.  My body seems happy again.

The moral of the story:  Years of eating processed crap and your body will mildly revolt when you introduce healthy, whole foods to it.  Keep your body happy with healthy, whole foods on a regular basis and the one time you indulge in that nasty, processed crap your body will revolt in a way that will make you regret your momentary lapse in judgement.