Jul 28, 2012

Keep track of all things Olympics 2012

    
For those of you following the Olympics this year, I wanted to share these great widgets with you. It is a great tool to help you keep track of what events are going at and what is coming up as well as news, videos and medals. You can share them via your social sites if you please. I know I especially love the first one so I can know when my favorite events are coming up! Enjoy :)

  

Shelly, Mom Files

Dirt Devil Extreme Cyclonic Quick Vac Review

Hey guys! Last week I received the Dirt Devil Extreme Cyclonic Quick Vac to review. When I brought the box in from my front step I was amazed by how light it was. The vacuum was fully assembled with the exception of the handle. It took me about a minute to install it simply with a screw that was included. I kept picking it up and putting it back down because I have never felt a vacuum that was that light before! Nine pounds surely feels a lot different from the normal nineteen pounds I am used to. The vacuum is very slim and compact. I gave it a spin around the house and I was pleased with how well it sucked up all the dirt from our carpet.

Even my 4 year old gave it a try and it was very easy for him to use. We tested out the hose with the crevice tool to clean under the couch and it worked well. This vacuum was more powerful than I expected for its size. I think this machine is ideal for if you live in a smaller home, apartment, have very little carpet/rugs or if you are very tight on space. My teenagers have already put their name on this vacuum for the downstairs area of our home. They love not having to lug the big vacuum downstairs and it will encourage them to want to vacuum more frequently.

The Dirt Devil Extreme Cyclonic Quick Vac is available online and in-stores at retailers nationwide and retails for $59.99

Disclosure: I received an items from Dirt Devil to review. No other compensation was received and all opinions expressed are my own. 
Shelly, Mom Files

Jul 24, 2012

Four year old boys and shopping

Today I took all 3 kids out to do some back-to-school shopping. We had the stores all mapped out and set time goals. One thing I always do before we leave the house is make sure William is well fed and goes to the bathroom. Everything was set. We headed out. The first few stops were simple because we were literally in and out within minutes. The last stop required us to be in the store for over an hour. Belk had a HUGE clearance sale with tons of merchandise to browse through, so naturally it would take some time. Along the way, the girls would try on a few items and add them to the growing stack. William behaved pretty well and kept picking up random strands of thread from the floor. I usually don't encourage picking things up from the floor but made an exception this time. It was just thread after all.

You can tell that he was getting tired of being in the store so I took him to the boy's department. He then tells me how the store was starting to make him sad. He said he wanted to feel happy again, very dramatically at that. So after the long time spent in the store and the even longer time at the check-out, we finally headed for the exit. Of course all you heard was the loud BEEP BEEP BEEP. We went back to the check-out counter to find out why we were beeping. It turned out from the piles of clothes we bought, there was one ink tag that was not removed. We headed  back to the exit and were successful. We made it out of there! William begged to go home and I gave him his wish. After we were home for about 30 minutes I looked down on the couch and saw this. It was a collection of all the thread my boy picked up throughout the store.
All I could do was laugh. Of course, once he falls asleep tonight, I will turn into the mean mom and throw it away. He might have dislike being in a boring old department store but surely found a way to keep himself occupied!

The last two photos are from a recent visit we had at Monkey Joe's. It is hard to get decent photos when your kid is running wild! It is our new once-a-week spot to go to, especially with how hot it has been. You can't beat all the bouncing, jumping, climbing, sliding and screaming fun! I look forward to when school starts back so we can go on 'Half-price Tuesdays'.


Shelly, Mom Files

Jul 20, 2012

Food Lion Ambassador Shopping Trip & $50 GC Giveaway

**CLOSED**
Hey guys! If you live in an area with a Food Lion grocery store, you might have noticed some changes in some of the stores. They have been updated, making the store look brighter, more inviting and very organized. The shelves are well stocked with a lot of the great name brands you use as well as the Food Lion brand of items including the "My Essentials" line. I received a very generous $150 gift card through Mom Central as a Food Lion Ambassador and got to see how far I could stretch it. I was totally up for the challenge! I made my list and headed to a brand new store that recently opened in my area.
I will say that the first thing I noticed was the gorgeous produce department filled with such beautiful, fresh fruit and vegetables. I pleased with the prices and quality. I did grab some essentials as well as a few extras for some special meals. The prices on the organic items were very fair.  I went up and down each and every aisle and compared prices on both name brands and the store brand. I found that some staple items I buy were a lot cheaper such as sugar, iced tea bags, flour and a lot of the non-grocery, household items. Now the make it or break it part of any store for me is the meat, poultry and seafood department. I was really happy with the prices, especially on beef. I don't buy beef often because it is usually way too expensive. I was so happy to be able to buy enough protein items for almost 2 weeks without feeling like I was going to have to take out a loan to pay for my groceries.

Something that really got me excited is the selection of ethnic food products that they carried. I use certain types of seasonings are very hard to find in my city and I found them there! Not only did they have more than I would ever want, the prices were SO LOW! *happy dance* My overall shopping experience at Food Lion was a wonderful one. I was treated well and felt like everything was very easy to find and I did not feel like the store was cluttered. I also was able to walk out with a very full cart load of groceries and household items and still have a small balance left in my gift card!
Here are some of the great items I received in my Food Lion Ambassador Kit. 
I love the wooden recipe card box that came with a nice set of recipe cards. I asked my teenage daughters to pick something they wanted me to make and surprise, surprise... they picked something sweet. They chose the "World's Best Chocolate Chip Cookies" recipe. I did ask after all!
I purchased almost all of the ingredients in the store brand with the exception of maybe 3 things I already had at home.
I have made many chocolate chip cookies in my lifetime and I have my usual go-to recipe that I have used for years. I decided to try out the Food Lion recipe. I won't lie, I was a bit nervous because I have never made any baked goods with store brand items. Oh my gosh, they came out AMAZING! They were a bit flatter looking than what I am used to but the taste... I can compare it to a local bakery that sells their chocolate chip cookies for $1.29 each! They had a great chew and crispiness at the same time and were not too sweet. I separated the dough and added pecans to one half since the girls like them with just chocolate chips. I absolutely must share this recipe!


What you will need:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 11.5 ounce bag of chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate)
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used 1/2)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees or according to how your oven bakes.
2. Mix flour, salt and baking soda together; set aside
3. Beat butter for 1 minute or until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg goes in.
4. Reduce speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three portions, mixing until each addition is incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.
5. I then chilled the dough for it to firm up and formed them into balls. I baked them on a cookie sheet for about 11 minutes and transferred them to cooling racks.

Apparently my family thought the cookies were an appetizer for dinner! Speaking of dinner....
I made this for dinner the same day I baked the cookies. I bought some fresh rib-eye steaks that I pan seared in my cast iron pan, sauteed mushrooms & onions, homemade garlic mashed red potatoes and some sauteed zuchinni & squash topped with Parmesan cheese. This meal fed my family for only $24. Not bad and you won't be able to get that price at any restaurant!

Giveaway: One lucky Momfiles reader will win a $50 Food Lion gift card. Believe me, you will get a lot with that amount! a Rafflecopter giveaway  

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and winner is only eligible to win one gift card per campaign. Giveaway will end on August 8, 2012. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted by email. You must complete mandatory entry in order to qualify for extra entries. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central for Food Lion. I received a gift card and product kit to facilitate my review.
Shelly, Mom Files

Jul 19, 2012

Guyanese "cook-up" rice recipe

Today I am sharing a recipe with you all that is a very common Guyanese main/side dish called "cook-up" rice. I think it is one of those meals that you almost always have the ingredients on hand to make and it is very versatile. In all the different West Indian countries this dish is called by different names like rice & peas, peas & rice or pilau. I have always known it to be called cook-up rice and it can be made with any type of rice or beans/legumes. Typically you would use pigeon peas, black eyed peas or red beans.
One of the main ingredients that makes this rice dish so special is the use of coconut milk, herbs and spices. Everyone makes their own version and today I will share mine. Please be aware that my recipes are seldom done in precise measurements so I did my best to estimate to make it easier for you.

Ingredients:

-1 1/2 tbs butter
-1 small onion chopped
-2 cloves garlic minced
-herbs~ You must use dried thyme but can also add anything else you like, both fresh or dried. I also used fresh thyme and cilantro
-hot pepper (optional) You can use scotch bonnet, habanero or wiri wiri pepper but leave it whole.
-1 chicken bullion cube
-1 tsp of Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce (optional)
-Salt, pepper, garlic powder, Creole seasoning and any Spanish style seasoning. I like Badia best
-1 1/2 cups of parboiled rice ( I sometimes use Jasmine)
-1 can of coconut milk
-1 can of your choice of beans rinse and drained (I love red)

Note: you can cook this dish with meat but I prefer it as a side dish.

How to make it:

I melt the butter and saute the onion for a couple minutes. I then add the garlic and hot pepper (leave it whole). Next, I add the can of coconut milk, can of beans, some dried thyme, the bullion cube and the remaining seasoning except the salt. I bring all of that to a boil to dissolve the bullion cube and then add the rice and browning sauce and some water. I then taste for salt and add if needed. At this point (if desired) you can press the whole hot pepper with your cooking spoon to release some heat and flavor. Turn it down to medium/low heat and make sure you have enough water in there for the rice to cook properly. It can take about 20-30 minutes cooking time. Once all the liquid is absorbed, I add some fresh chopped cilantro and toss it around. That's it!

I served it with some wonderful broiled salmon and it was a big hit with the family. You can also serve it with chicken, steak or pork chops. If you want to keep it meat free then you can add salad or roasted veggies on the side. The only thing this meal was missing was some fried plantains. I couldn't find any ripe ones in the store.

I hope you find this recipe simple enough to try it for yourself. If you do try it, please let me know how it turned out! Enjoy :)
Shelly, Mom Files

Carmex Summer Giveaway

Hey guys! It's been a while since I have gotten to test out some new goodies from Carmex. I just received this cute beach bag and 6 Carmex sticks just in time to replenish our supply. Yes, I said supply. We always keep extra Carmex on hand! Carmex sent us the sticks in all 6 flavors- Original, Strawberry, Cherry, Lime Twist, Vanilla and the brand new Pomegranate.
My oldest daughter immediately called dibs on the Pomegranate and the younger one picked the Vanilla. Looks like the rest of us will have to duke it our over the others. I personally can't get enough of the Original and the Lime Twist. I always wear it under my lip color and sometimes I will wear just Carmex alone. Who needs color when your lips feel soft and smooth anyway? I also really love the convenience of a stick because it can easily fit in my pocket for days I am not carrying a bag. My daughter is already hooked on the new Pomegranate flavor. She has already requested that we look for it in our local stores so she will have some back-up sticks. What can I say, we are a Carmex family. As I write this post, my 4 year old is begging for a new Cherry Carmex.

Just in time for the summer, Carmex is providing us with an extra gift set just for one lucky Momfiles reader to win. You will get the same beach bag and 6 Carmex sticks like I did. Entering is easy, just check out the Rafflecopter widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway open to US Residents only and will close on August 9, 2012. One winner will be chosen via random.org and contacted via email so be sure to leave a valid email address in the event you win. Be sure to complete mandatory entry in order for extra entries to count. Failure to follow rules will disqualify all entries. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

Disclosure: I received a gift set for review purposes and all opinions are 100% my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

Jul 18, 2012

On-the-Go with D.O. Field Day

**Contest Closed** 
Winner is Lala! Congratulations!!

Hey guys! You might recall a post I wrote a few weeks back introducing you to David Oliver. If you are not familiar with who he is, you can check out the post here.

I wanted to let you all know that Coke is teaming up with the U.S. Olympic Hurdler David Oliver, to bring a deserving school a field day to celebrate togetherness and physical activity. Parents and students will be brought together with fun events such as an egg toss to sack races—with David cheering you on every step of the way! How cool is that? Can you imagine how crazy all the kids, parents and school staff would go?! Take a peek at the short video clip here.


There is an amazing Sweepstakes promotion being featured on the My Coke Rewards site where you can enter your MCR points to gain entries for your school to get the fun Field Day with David Oliver.  Schools will receive 1 Sweepstakes entry for every 3 Points. The Points used to enter the School into the Sweepstakes will be donated to the School's account. Non-registered Schools that receive entries but fail to register for the program before the conclusion of the Promotion Period will not be eligible to win a prize in this Sweepstakes. To enter on behalf of a School, during the Promotion Period (ends 8/21) visitwww.mycokerewards.com/fieldday and follow the links and instructions to log in to your My Coke Rewards Account, if you already have one. If you are not yet a My Coke Rewards member, follow the onscreen directions to become one. Then, follow the links and instructions to enter the School of your choice into the David Oliver Sweepstakes. It is very easy to sign up and even easier to donate points. I had about 85 points in my account and donated them all to my kids' school. 

Guess what? My Coke Rewards would like to fly out one very lucky Momfiles reader and a guest to go attend the field day event at the winning school {valued at approximately $2000}! This means you get to experience the field day with David and the kids, and do an in-person interview! Are you all excited? I know I am! 

To enter (Mandatory) answer the question in the Rafflecopter widget. Once you do that, you can unlock additional entry methods. a Rafflecopter giveaway



This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on August 12, 2012. Please follow all rules or your entries will be disqualified. Be sure to leave an email address in the event you win, I need a way to contact you. Winner will have 48 hours to respond or prize will be awarded to an alternate winner. Momfiles in not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

Disclosure: I am receiving compensation for promoting this Sweepstakes. All opinions are always 100% mine. 

Shelly, Mom Files

Jul 15, 2012

Adding to my cast iron cookware collection

If you have been a regular blog reader or you follow me on Facebook, then you would know how much I love to cook and bake. I have fallen in love with cast iron cookware in recent months. I currently own the big, two-sided griddle/grill, a small frying pan and now a large, deep pan (great for frying) and a shallow pan (great for steaks and for days when the big griddle is too much).



My hubby actually brought them home as a surprise. He bid on them and bought them at an auction. How thoughtful was that?! I am so excited that I have so many different size options and these will get plenty of use in the years to come. I am so happy they are pre-seasoned as well. Hopefully I will be able to properly maintain all of my pieces to be able to pass down to my kids. 

You will be seeing some upcoming recipe posts using my new pans in the near future :-)
Shelly, Mom Files

Jul 12, 2012

Dirt Devil® Extreme™ Cyclonic Quick Vac Giveaway

**Contest Closed** 
Winner is Latasha, congratulations and thanks to everyone who participated


Hey guys! I wanted to introduce you to this super cute vacuum from Dirt Devil called the Extreme Cyclonic Quick Vac. This vacuum has a compact design but offers full size features. It only weighs 9 pounds which is great news if you have stairs. A lot of vacuums are so heavy that you end up hurting your back lugging it up and down all those steps. This bagless vacuum  has cyclonic action, HEPA filtration, on board tools, telescoping handle, a 20 foot cord and more.


The HEPA media filter is washable so you don't have to replace it as often and can prolong the life of the filter. This compact machine is the perfect size for any home. Hmm, I think the fact that it is lightweight and compact might be wonderful to get your younger kids involved in cleaning up! Gotta teach 'em young, right? This vacuum retails for $59.99. You can purchase them In-stores now at retailers nationwide, or visit DirtDevil.com I will be trying this baby out for myself soon so be sure to check back for my review.  For complete details on this machine, check out the website.

Now here comes the fun part: one lucky Momfiles reader will be able to win a Dirt Devil Extreme Cyclonic Quick Vac!

Entering is easy. 
*Mandatory: Let us know what your favorite features are on the Dirt Devil® Extreme™ Cyclonic Quick Vac.

Want additional entries?

~ "like" Momfiles on Facebook and let us know you entered this giveaway
~ Share this giveaway on Facebook and leave a link to your post (Do this by clicking on the time it was posted)
~ Follow Momfiles on Pinterest and Re-Pin this giveaway. Leave your Pinterest link so we can follow back. 
~ Follow Momfiles on Twitter and Tweet this giveaway (once a day) Leave a link to your Tweet:

Win a #DirtDevil Extreme Cyclonic Quick Vac for your home from @momfiles http://tinyurl.com/7hmochu [ends 7/16] #cleaning 

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on July 16, 2012 at 9:00 AM EST. One winner will be selected via Random.org and contacted by email to claim prize. Please be sure to leave your email address in your comment if you do not have a Blogger Profile. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. You must complete the mandatory entry to qualify for extra entries. Failure to follow rules will disqualify your entries. Thanks for entering and good luck!

Disclosure: The vacuum prize is part of a promotional program with The Mommy Factor and DirtDevil. I will also receive a vacuum for review purposes. No other compensation was received. Views expressed are always 100% my own.

Shelly, Mom Files

Jul 11, 2012

Word-full Wednesday


I bought this book on clearance about a year ago for William and it only occurred to me yesterday that the Dr. Seuss "I can read all by myself" logo was upside down. I can't figure out if it was a mistake and put on clearance, or if it was made like that on purpose because of what the book is about. Hmmm, they mysteries of life...

Needless to say, William loves this book and enjoys pointing all the wacky things he comes across throughout the day. It is our special Wednesday book and I found it fitting to share today :-)
Shelly, Mom Files

Jul 10, 2012

My latest food obsession

I am the type of person that when I taste something that I love I tend to go crazy with it. Don't worry, it is not nachos. I have become obsessed with Greek yogurt! I tried the Yoplait brand a few weeks ago (strawberry) and fell in love. Now I know that Greek yogurt is nothing new. I have had it in the past and was not too crazy about it. I found it to be way too tart. Now it seems that so many brands are popping up with their version. I tried Fage in the plain variety and used it in place of sour cream on my nachos. It was amazing! I actually prefer it over traditional sour cream. So now I am coming up with a long list of foods I want to prepare using Greek yogurt.... potato salad, dips, mac and cheese, pasta salad, cheesecake......


I'm glad it's a healthy choice since I love it so much. Even the husband is on board! He has warned me that I better not eat it too often since I tend to eat things to the point of hating them :)

So are you a Greek yogurt lover? How do you like it best?

Shelly, Mom Files

Purex Let's Be Honest {Giveaway}

Hey guys! I'm not sure if you knew about the latest promotion from Purex. They are running their "Let's Be Honest" contest where one person daily will win a year's supply of Purex. Now who wouldn't want to win that? If you check out the Let's Be Honest page, you will see a series of short videos that I assure will make you smile in agreement. They are hilarious and this one is my favorite...



If you are not convinced that Purex cleans your clothes effectively, sign up for a FREE sample and judge for yourself.

My friends at Purex have provided me a FREE coupon toward one bottle of Purex for 3 Momfiles readers to win. It is so easy to enter. *Just go to the Let's Be Honest page and watch a few of the short videos. Leave a comment telling me which video you liked the best.

Want some extra ways to enter?
~ Tweet, share of like your favorite video and let me know that you did.
~ Follow Purex and Momfiles on Twitter
~ Tweet about this giveaway (once daily)
#LetsBeHonest I want to win a coupon for FREE @Purex from @momfiles http://tinyurl.com/86mpk88 #laundry #giveaway
~ "like" Purex and Momfiles on Facebook
~ Follow Purex and Momfiles on Pinterest and let us know your Pinterest name. I will follow you back.
~ Enter the Purex Let's Be Honest Contest and let me know that you did.
~ Follow Momfiles via GFC
~ Subscribe to Momfiles via email

You must complete the *mandatory entry to qualify for extra entries. Be sure to leave a separate comment per entry method. Entries will be verified. Please leave your email address if you do not have a Blogger profile. 3 winners will be picked at random and contacted by email. Momfiles is NOT responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Contest ends on July 27, 2012 at 9:00 PM EST.

I received no compensation for hosting this giveaway and prizes were provided by Purex. All opinions are 100% my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

Jul 9, 2012

Trio of Signature Pancakes from IHOP® (for a limited time)

IHOP®, known for its world famous buttermilk pancakes for more than 50 years, is showcasing a trio of special pancake creations this summer designed to further inspire the American breakfast experience. Red velvet pancakes, sweet strawberry pancakes and whole wheat pancakes with banana offer guests a classic, seasonal and wholesome choice and demonstrate the family-friendly breakfast giant’s commitment to continually offering innovative breakfast options all day long.


 “Our guests love pancakes, especially super unique ones that they can’t make at home,” said Natalia Franco, IHOP’s senior vice president, marketing. “We are dedicated to continually introducing twists on classic favorites and innovative new breakfast creations to make sure that IHOP is everything you love about breakfast. We are all about choice.”

IHOP’s Signature Summer Pancakes are available from July 9 through September 2 at participating IHOP locations and start at only $4.99. Don't they look amazing?! Check IHOP out on the web and "like" their page on Facebook to stay updated on specials.
Red Velvet Pancakes: Rich chocolaty red velvet pancakes, drizzled with cream cheese icing, a dusting of powdered sugar and crowned with whipped topping. 

Sweet Strawberry Pancakes: Our fluffy famous buttermilk pancakes crowned with cool strawberries in a glaze, drizzled with cream cheese icing and crowned with whipped topping. 

Whole Wheat Pancakes with Banana: Wholesome and lightly sweet, fluffy whole wheat pancakes topped with fresh sliced bananas.
Shelly, Mom Files

What do you do when you are allergic to everything?

For many years now, our daughter Briahnna has been going through treatment for a variety of allergies. Her first 2 series of allergy testing revealed that she was allergic to all the elements dealing with the outdoors as well as dust, mold, pet dander etc.... Today we took her to get tested since it has been about 3 years and this time was a big shock to us all. She had 30 different allergens injected into both forearms. The left arm was all  foods and the right was pollen, trees and other non-food things. She also had a series of individual outdoor allergens injected via needles into her upper arm. It turns out that she tested positive for everything! 

 You see how raised her skin is? She is allergic to just about everything it seems including all pollen, mold, grass, weeds, trees, dust, pets, and virtually anything that floats in the air.

She never had food allergies before and now she does. Although her food allergies are not all at dangerous levels, it still surprised us since they are the everyday type of things. Now she can only incorporate eggs, potatoes, chicken and several other foods into her diet every 4-5 days. Other things like tomatoes, pecans, peanuts and corn should be avoided all together. We were told that the symptoms of food allergies can vary from headaches, sneezing, itching, nausea or upset stomach. It was recommended for Brie to start a food diary to see what type of reaction she has to the foods she is more allergic to. If they are something she can live with, she can continue to eat them. She made the joke that she would not have been offended if she was allergic to carrots, cucumbers or other foods she does not care for to begin with. The good thing is she will continue on the allergy shots which have helped her immensely. She will have to go from one injection each week to three. Thankfully she is very laid back and does just fine with that sort of thing.

I do recommend that if your child shows symptoms of allergies, you should get them allergy tested. It is so important to know the triggers so you can do your best to avoid them. We were also told that allergy symptoms change every two years.

Do you or your child suffer from allergies that require regular treatment?
Shelly, Mom Files

Jul 2, 2012

Look what I won!

I just had to share my latest tech gadget that I won from a Twitter contest that was hosted by Brillo for Father's Day. I got a brand new Kindle Fire with a case/stand! I think I might be in love. I have been talking about getting one of these and I am still in shock that I ended up winning one! A HUGE thank you to Brillo for hosting this contest. I am a VERY happy mommy! Please be sure to follow Brillo on Twitter and Facebook for updates on Brillo products, cleaning tips and more!



Please leave me any app recommendations or tips so I can get the most out of my new favorite toy. Thanks :-)
Shelly, Mom Files
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