Sep 26, 2012

Vanity Sizing

I was listening to story this morning in my car on NPR. It was about something I have never heard of before... vanity sizing. There were two experts speaking on the subject and it was about the epidemic of obesity in America and how it affects clothing purchases. They spoke about how clothing has been re-sized to give customers the feeling that they are smaller than they really are. Basically, a person buys a size 8, but in reality it is a size 12. The fact that they feel they fit in a size 8 makes them feel good about themselves and results in them purchasing even more clothes. They even said that women's bra sizes have been affected. A woman that is normally a B cup might have to purchase a C cup and the true size might actually be an A! Of course, not all brands are doing this but it does make you wonder if you are wearing your true size. About 2 years ago, I was wearing a Juniors' size 9. A year later I was a 7. As of last week, I wear a Juniors' size 5! Even tops, I went from a Juniors' XL down to a small.

This is crazy! Turns out that it has been going on for many years. I guess I always just assumed that every brand was cut differently. Turns out, they are cut to please the customer in hopes of increasing sales. I just had to share this with you all! Has anyone heard about this before? I'm probably so late :)

Sep 24, 2012

Making Laundry FUN!

September 23-29 is National Keep Kids Creative Week. Gain recognizes the importance of National Keep Kids Creative Week and believes that there are ways to make laundry more fun. I am so thrilled to be teaming up with Gain to show you a very simple way to make a sometimes boring chore for a kid, a fun adventure! If you ask my son William what his favorite things are he will quickly tell you, DINOSAURS! He carries around everything from dinosaur flash cards, books, toys and loves his dino apps on the Kindle Fire. It has gotten to the point where he can tell you the names of at least a dozen dinosaurs and fill you in on how big they are and what they like to eat.

I figured that dinosaurs would be a great subject to incorporate into helping out around the house and allowing his creativity to shine. We decided to make a "Dino Adventure" laundry basket. You should have seen the excitement on William's face when we were gathering our craft items for the basket project. I came up with the basic idea but had William do all of the coloring, gluing and helping to hold things to assemble.


We started with some dinosaur template cut-outs that we found online. William chose all of the colors he wanted his dinosaurs to be and enjoyed making dino sounds as he colored. He really got into it! His big sister helped him to cut the dinosaur and dino egg shapes out and glue down them down on construction paper to make them sturdier. We attached simple assorted plastic greenery to our laundry basket to give that jungle feel. Once all the dinosaurs and eggs were completed, we punched holes in them and attached them with bag ties onto the basket in between the greenery. To personalize the laundry basket even more, we made a nameplate so William can be proud to have his very own hamper in his room.

 
He just loves the fact that this is his very own basket that he helped create. I think it turned out really cute and it was such fun crafting this masterpiece together. He is already asking about what our next project will be!

He is so proud of his special basket.

I have never seen William so eager to help with laundry before. He very happily loaded all of the dirty clothes in the washing machine.

Of course you must have some good old-fashioned shenanigans to make the chore of laundry even more fun! I am sure William is going to show a lot more effort in keeping up with his dirty clothes. Hopefully I will find more of it in the hamper instead of on the floor!

Won't you join Gain in this great initiative? Have your kids decorate a basket and tag Gain on Facebook. It is such fun! Check out the Gain Facebook page for more details on National Keep Kids Creative Week. You can also follow Gain on Twitter. What creative things will you do with your kids or what suggestions can you share that can bring out your child's creativity

I am being compensated by Gain to share the importance of National Keep Kids Creative Week and Gain believes that there are ways to make laundry more fun. All thoughts/opinions are 100% my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

Play Time Fun with Playmobil

Playmobil toys are a classic option for indefatigable kids with growing imaginations. With components themed around certain settings like pirate ships or veterinary clinics, each set is charming and vibrantly coloured with parts individually wrapped in plastic for assembly later on. We have picked two of the best ideas for Christmas and birthday presents alike.

The Playmobil Robber Amphibious Vehicle

Aimed at the four to eight year old age group, the Playmobil Robber Amphibious Vehicle is perfect for the child who soaks up pop culture like a sponge and wants to experiment with cops and robber role-play. Parents of younger kids should know that pieces are small enough to be swallowed by children under three, so it pays to be vigilant. The set comes with play money, a case, robbers, police and a getaway amphibious vehicle that's perfect for those last minute dashes away from the fuzz.

Other toys integrate well with Playmobil, and can form an extensive obstacle course all over the lounge room floor. This is a type of toy that really encourages imagination, creative and lateral thinking and fine motor skills.

 Playmobil Vet Clinic

Perfect for the budding animal lover, this vet clinic comes with an ultrasound machine, bird aviary, bunny pen and dog pen. There are also a vet surgeon, a mother and child and lots of animals waiting to be looked after. Easy to construct, the set looks great whether placed on a shelf in the child's room or sprawled out on the floor.

Generally, the great thing about Playmobil is that each set overlaps and interact well with other ones. These ever-expanding world of new characters such as the gorilla and baby set, the farmhouse with market and the forest animal station, are all conceived to increase the imaginative powers of the child. Playmobil is a vibrant and colourful universe of fun in its own right.

Shelly, Mom Files

Sep 23, 2012

A priceless moment in a girl's life

This past Friday, our daughter Chardonnay was crowned the 2012 Richland Northeast High School Homecoming Queen. It was such an exciting night for our family and certainly will be treasured forever! Check out the super short video clip (start at 9:54). There were lots of tears and smiles!

Waiting to be called down to get in place to walk out onto the field at half-time. 

Patiently waiting with her Papo. He looks like security! 

The introduction of the girls that were running for Homecoming Queen and their dad/escort. 

The crowning. She was in tears! Even her little sister cried.  

Me and my girl! 
Shelly, Mom Files

My $2 Find!

I was doing my usual shopping in Walmart this weekend and stumbled upon this gadget. I have seen it a few times before but didn't bother with it. It is a sandwich sealer and decruster. It is a frugal way to make your own 'UnCrustables' at home. You just start off with your 2 slices of bread, add your filling in the center (I used peanut butter and apricot preserves) and then your press the sandwich cutter down over your sandwich. You end up with a crust-less and sealed sandwich. It worked great! Glad I finally broke down and bought one. You can find them hanging in random places. I found mine on the aisle with the coffee. My only recommendation is to not over-fill your bread.

Shelly, Mom Files

Sep 20, 2012

Arbor Mist Frozen Wine Cocktails | Moms Need Wine!

I had the great pleasure of receiving a lovely assortment of the new Arbor Mist Frozen Wine Cocktails to try out. Of course I had to do my part and try all 3 varieties to be sure I gave an accurate review. It was a tough job but someone had to do it! I received the Blackberry Merlot, Strawberry White Zinfandel and White Pear Pinot Grigio flavors. I have never tried any of the frozen wine beverages before and honestly, I wasn't sure if it would be something I would like. In my mind I figured it would be too icy for me. 


I put the pouches in the freezer and left them in there for the recommended 5 hours. First up was the Blackberry Merlot. I tore the top off the pouch and squeezed it into my wine glass. It was not super icy like I thought it would be. It was very smooth which is more of my thing. I took my first sip out of my straw. I loved the flavor. It was so refreshing and everything I hoped it would be! I had my husband taste it because he is the picky one. Guess who had me open another pouch? Yep, he loved it too!
Since he took a few sips from my glass, I felt like I did not have the full serving *ahem* so I opened up a pouch of the White Pear Pinot Grigio. I normally don't drink white wine so I had no idea what it would taste like. I LOVED this one even more! The texture was perfect and it is my new favorite. The next evening I tried the Strawberry White Zinfandel. It was good but I much prefer the first two. I really love having a frozen cocktail that doesn't require breaking out the blender and having multiple ingredients. You can beat the 'freeze, tear and squeeze' method!

I can totally see having a cooler of these at a cookout or gathering and it would be awesome for a girl's night in! I will be purchasing these in the future and highly recommend them. If you have tried them, what do you think? If you plan to try them in the future, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Check out Arbor Mist on the web, Facebook and Twitter. *You must be 21 or over.

I received products samples for review from SheSpeaks. All thoughts/opinions are always my own. 
Shelly, Mom Files

Sep 17, 2012

Del Monte Fruit Cups for back-to-school {Giveaway}

**Closed** Winner is Elizabeth~ Congratulations!

Del Monte Foods has come out with their newest Fruit Cup® varieties that are packed at the peak of ripeness featuring Fall’s favorite fruits: Diced Pears in extra light syrup with Vanilla & Spice and Diced Apples & Pears in extra light syrup with Caramel. Each cup contains a full serving of all-natural fruit, is an excellent source of vitamin C, and contains no high fructose corn syrup. These are absolutely perfect for my daughters to take in their lunchboxes and even in their gym bag as a portable, healthy snack before they have volleyball practice. It makes me feel good to know they are getting an extra serving of fruit in their daily intake. Both flavors are so delicious! I really love the diced apples and pears in caramel flavor. It is so subtle yet you feel like you are having a treat.

Right now, Del Monte has a fun game on their Facebook page called "Flavor Boom". After you play the game (trust me, it's fun!) You can get a $1.00 off coupon, which can be used towards a two-pack of the new Fruit Cup® varieties.

Giveaway: One Momfiles reader will win a gift pack that includes the 2 new Del Monte Fruit Cup® varieties as well as a money saving coupon for $1.00 select Del Monte products. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on September 27, 2012. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

 I will receive products samples for review purposes. All thoughts/opinions are completely my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

Sep 16, 2012

The latest from my kitchen

Lately I have been battling the dinner cooking blues. As usual, I feel like I have run out of ideas. I have been following a couple bloggers that have been meal-planning in advance and I decided to give it a try. For me, I can only do one week at a time (maybe even 4 days). I am a 2-3 times a week grocery shopper because I like everything to be as fresh as possible. I won't say that I have been overly successful in the meal-planning department. I feel like I can't stay on track because my taste or mood might change according to my schedule. One great thing is I have been cooking a lot of meatless meals. I am a HUGE veggie lover. I don't think there are too many vegetables I don't love.  In recent weeks I decided to cook meals without meat and without alerting the family ahead of time. To my surprise they all (even the hubby) love NOT eating any meat. Whaaaattt???!!!! We have all decided that we will have 3-4 meatless meals each week. Today I threw together a fabulous veggie stir-fry served with Jasmine rice and kimchi.
It was so delicious and even the kids agreed that adding any meat, chicken or even shellfish would have spoiled it. I love Asian cuisine so I am really happy that the family loved it as much as they did. 

Last weekend I made a Caribbean style fish dish (Escovitch) that got rave reviews from the family. This dish starts off with seasoned and fried fish that is then topped with a vinegar and citrus based sauce that also contains onions, fresh tomatoes, scallions and hot pepper. This dish can be served with boiled plantains & cassava or just plain rice or grits. 
I am just so happy that my family is all on board with having more meatless meals. I think it will make menu planning a little bit easier and maybe I will actually stick to it! 

What are your favorite meatless meals? Do you meal plan? 
Shelly, Mom Files

Progresso Light Crème Soup prize pack giveaway

**CLOSED** Winner is freddie~ Congratulations!
Craving rich and creamy flavors, but don’t want to splurge on calories? With two new creamy flavors, Progresso® Light soups are giving those who are managing their weight a new reason to celebrate! At 100 calories per serving, now you can indulge in warm, creamy soups like Light Creamy Potato with Bacon and Cheese* and Light Chicken Pot Pie Style* without feeling guilty. Packed with indulgent, satisfying flavor, these two new Light creamy soups are the perfect way to make thoughtful eating decisions without sacrificing incredible taste.

I have to say that I really love the Light Chicken Pot Pie Style the best. It is perfect for a fast and satisfying lunch I can feel good about. My 16 year old loves the Light Creamy Potato with Bacon and Cheese. I will have to keep some of these in my pantry for those late game nights and for after school on days that they want more than a normal snack.


~These two new Progresso Light creamy soups are joining the lineup of more than 40 flavorful soups that are 100 calories or less per serving
~These Weight Watchers® endorsed soups have 100 calories and a 2 PointsPlus® value per serving
~The Creamy Potato with Bacon & Cheese variety boasts pieces of potato with savory bacon and rich cheese flavor
~The Chicken Pot Pie Style variety exudes a home-style essence with cuts of white-meat chicken, hearty potatoes and classic vegetables

*Light Chicken Pot Pie Style: At least 33% fewer calories than regular ready-to-serve soups. Light Creamy Potato with Bacon & Cheese: 50% fewer calories than the leading potato, cheese, and bacon ready-to serve soup. See nutrition information for sodium content.

 You can grab a money saving coupon on your next purchase of Progresso soups here.

Giveaway:
One lucky Momfiles reader will win a great prize pack including:
(2) Cans of Progresso® Light creamy soup
(1) Soup mug
(1) Lunch tote
(1) Water bottle


a Rafflecopter giveaway
Contest is open to US Residents only and will end on September 26, 2012. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email to claim prize. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

Disclosure: The coupons, information, and gift packs have been provided by Progresso® through MyBlogSpark.

Shelly, Mom Files

Sep 14, 2012

Funky Monkey Twitter Chat & Giveaway

**Closed** Winner- Maryann D. Congratulations!
Please join Funky Monkey Snacks on Tuesday September 18th at 2 pm EST for a Twitter chat (@FunkyMonkeySnck) . The chat is going to be about National Childhood Obesity Month and Awareness. The hashtag for the twitter chat is #funkychat. There is no RSVP

Funky Monkey Snacks are a fun way to incorporate fruit into your kids' diet. With 3 servings of fruit in every 1oz bag, Funky Monkey Snacks are: 100% Natural, Real Fruit, Nothing Added, Gluten Free, GMO Free, Vegan, Raw Food, and Kosher. Discover the Fruit That Crunches! Be sure to check Funky Monkey Snacks out on Facebook.


Giveaway: One lucky Momfiles reader will win a Funky Monkey Snacks gift pack including all 7 flavors. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on September 21, 2012. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

I will receive products samples for spreading the word about the Twitter chat. All opinions are completely my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

Sep 13, 2012

My spice cabinet must-haves

Today I wanted to share my go-to seasonings and spices that I use all the time. I have so many people ask me what I season my dishes with so I figured I would post about it. My number one item is my Badia Complete Seasoning. I use it in all of my savory dishes including meat, poultry, fish, beans, rice and pasta.  It has a lot of Caribbean and Spanish flavor. I must have garlic powder (as well as my fresh garlic) and Badia makes a great one. Badia products can be found at Kroger, Publix, Food Lion and some Walmart stores (in the event you wanted to check them out for yourself). I also love my fine sea salt and black pepper grinder. I love the multi-colored peppercorns too. They have a very unique taste and is a little less peppery.
For additional flavor and color, I love my Tony Chachere's and Goya Sazon. I do have a number of other items in my spice cabinet but I tend to have my favorites that I use most often. I can't forget my other staples- fresh onion, garlic, scallions and cilantro. So there you have it! What are your favorite spices and seasonings?
Shelly, Mom Files

Sep 12, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Half-price Tuesday's are back at Monkey Joe's! We are taking advantage of it :)

Shelly, Mom Files

Soft Scrub Total Household Cleaners | Review & Giveaway

If you have been following Momfiles through the blog, Twitter or Facebook, you would know just how much I love household cleaners! I received two bottles of the latest Soft Scrub Total household cleaners to test out in All purpose cleaner with bleach and Total Bath & Bowl. One of the stand-out things I noticed about these products is the unique design of the bottle. You can spray the cleaner even when the bottle is held upside down! I love the fact that each household cleaner is for more than one purpose and you can use it in spray or foam form. I like using a good bleach cleaner for in-between cleaning to get rid of pesky stains. I really love that I can clean my bathroom without having to use multiple products. I wasn't sold at the idea of using the Total Bath & Bowl for the toilet but it worked out very well.
Right now, Soft Scrub is holding a sweepstakes with $3,000 in prizes. One lucky winner wins $1,000 and 50 other winners win $40 each! You can enter here. I entered and it took about 45 seconds.

So how would you like to try out one of the new Soft Scrub Total household cleaning supplies for yourself? I have 3 coupons to give away (1 coupon each for 3 winners) Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on September 22, 2012. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

I received products samples for review purposes and was supplied with FREE product coupons to give away. All thoughts/opinions are always my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

Sep 11, 2012

Pert Plus & Infusium 23 for back-to-school {Giveaway}

Closed- Winner is Heather! Congratulations!
Back-to-school is in full swing and we are super busy around here! Both girls have their regular school schedules, volleyball and their extra curricular activities. Thinking about their hair seems to be an added stress these days. It is essential that they girls have the right products to keep them looking their best. Infusium 23’s Repair & Renew collection offers just a little more luxury to their usual haircare routine. This three-step system provides protection from daily elements and styling, leaving hair healthy, shiny and damage-free all year long. Repair & Renew Shampoo thoroughly cleanses to remove residue and buildup while nourishing from root to tip. Repair & Renew Conditioner seriously hydrates stressed locks, providing softness, manageability and shine. Repair & Renew Leave-In Treatment restores healthy texture and strengthens hair against future damage.These products work so well on both of my daughters' biracial hair. They have both been happy with how soft their hair has been since using the 3-step collection. I even tried a little of the leave-in treatment my 4 year old son's hair and it made a huge difference. His hair is less poofy and looks a lot smoother.

Now back-to-school is not only for the kids, but parents too! I am always ripping and running all over the place and have to do my best to manage my time. This is why I love Pert Plus 2-in-1. I am a wash-n-go kind of lady so this 2-in-1 works well for me. It gives me just the right amount of moisture and does not leave any residue. It's great for daily use and is safe for color-treated hair. I love the way it leaves my hair smelling. Pert Plus comes in 5 varieties so you can find one to suit your hair care needs. You just can't beat getting the job done in one easy step! 


How would you like to win some of the products featured here? One lucky Momfiles will win a Pert Plus and Infusium 23 gift pack. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on September 20, 2012. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

I received product samples for review and all thoughts/opinions are completely my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

Sep 10, 2012

Honey Soy Plum Chicken

I recently purchased a Kindle version of The Pioneer Woman's cookbook. I have tried a couple of her dessert recipes before and loved them. I found a recipe for Honey Soy Plum Chicken and it sounded amazing. I admit that when I read the quantity of some of the ingredients I was a bit stunned. I did choose to modify some things and wanted to share my version as well as the original, of The Pioneer Woman's recipe.

Ingredients:

8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
3 cups red wine
3 bay leaves
1 13 oz. jar plum preserves (I used a apricot instead)
1 cup honey (I used 3/4 cup)
1 20 oz. bottle low sodium soy sauce (I used 10 oz and still think it was too much)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 plums, pitted and chopped, plus 1 plum, pitted and thinly sliced (Will use half the plums next time)
12 ounces egg noodles
3 green onions, sliced

Instructions:

~Put the chicken thighs in a large bowl. Pour in 2 cups of the red wine. Add the bay leaves, toss to coat, and marinate for 1 hour in the fridge. (Next time I plan to add some slices of fresh ginger for more Asian flair)
~In a separate bowl, add the plum preserves, honey and soy sauce, whisk to combine and set aside.
~Heat the olive oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the wine, then brown on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. (I recommend draining excess oil from pan after browning) 
~Reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the garlic. Stir it around in the bottom of the pan for a couple of minutes to release the flavor.
~Add the remaining cup of wine (I will use a half cup next time), chopped plums and honey plum soy mixture. (I added a few shakes of red pepper flakes for some heat)
~Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the chicken is falling off the bone. (I skimmed some of the excess fat off the top)
~Serve chicken and sauce over cooked noodles and sprinkle with green onions. (I plan to try it with Jasmine rice next time)

The dish was delicious and I do plan to make it again with the modifications that I noted. My husband also recommended that this meal should be cooked when nobody is home. He said he and the kids were circling around the kitchen like vultures because of the tantalizing aroma! It took a long time to get it all done. I will say that this was a very impressive, rich and fancy dish. If you like sweet and salty with an Asian twist, this is for you! Let me know if you try it out.
Shelly, Mom Files

Sep 6, 2012

IHOP Simple & Fit Menu #breakfastlove {$50 GC Giveaway} CLOSED

**Contest closed** The winner is kionna. Congratulations!
My family recently visited our local IHOP restaurant to check out the newest offerings on the SIMPLE & FIT menu. They have expanded their under-600-calorie SIMPLE & FIT menu to include some wholesome items like whole wheat pancakes, waffles and crepes. Mmm, my family loves all things pancakes, waffles and crepes! 

The new offerings will include: 

Super Fruit Oatmeal – A bowl of freshly-made toasted Quaker Oats, lightly sweetened with cinnamon sugar, and topped with a blend of five dried super fruits, including blueberries, dark cherries, cranberries, raisins and golden raisins. (290 Calories) 
 Super Fruit Oatmeal with Almonds and Walnuts – A bowl of freshly-made toasted Quaker Oats, lightly sweetened with cinnamon sugar, and topped with almonds, walnuts and a blend of five dried super fruits, including blueberries, dark cherries, cranberries, raisins and golden raisins. (330 calories) 
 Banana and Brown Sugar Oatmeal– A bowl of freshly made toasted Quaker Oats topped with fresh banana slices and served with brown sugar and milk. (260 calories) 
 Whole Wheat Pancakes Combo – Two Whole Wheat Pancakes topped with lightly sweetened blueberries and powdered sugar served with egg substitute and two strips of turkey bacon (460 calories) 
 Kid’s Whole Wheat Pancake Combo – One Whole Wheat Pancake topped with lightly sweetened blueberries and powdered sugar served with egg substitute and one strip of turkey bacon (230 calories) 
 Whole Wheat Waffle Combo – A Whole Wheat Waffle topped with lightly sweetened blueberries and powdered sugar served with egg substitute and two strips of turkey bacon (510 calories) 
 Whole Wheat Crepes – Two Whole Wheat Crepes filled with sweet cream cheese and topped with lightly sweetened blueberries and powdered sugar (380 calories) Whole Wheat Crepes with Blueberries are also offered as a combination (800 calories).


We tried out the Whole Wheat Pancake combo, Whole Wheat French Toast combo, Banana and Brown Sugar Oatmeal and the Spinach & Mushroom omelet.  Everything was delicious and very satisfying! The whole wheat pancakes were so fluffy and hearty and were just as amazing as the original variety. My son really enjoyed the banana and brown sugar oatmeal. His bowl was left spotless! We were very please with the lower calorie options and did not feel robbed of quality, taste or portion size. We will be making another trip soon to try some of the other items. I have crepes on the brain!

Wouldn't you just love to try out some of the new SIMPLE & FIT menu items? One lucky Momfiles reader will win a $50 IHOP gift card. It is so easy to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Contest is open to US Residents only and will end on Sept, 18, 2012. One winner will be selected at random and will be contacted via email to claim prize. Be sure to follow contest rules accordingly. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

I received IHOP gift cards to facilitate my review. All thoughts/opinions are 100% my own as always.
Shelly, Mom Files
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