Oct 28, 2012

The artist of the house, Brie

Our daughter Brie is such an outstanding artist. She had to draw a horse's eye for an art assignment and it blew us all away with how realistic it looks! She is in an advanced art class that she was recommended to be in from her teacher last year. She wasn't going to take the class at first, but decided to keep it. I am glad she did! There is no need to waste pure talent like that. Great job Brie!


Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 27, 2012

PLEASE HELP: Watch a video and help a child! vitaminwater® ♥s Vitamin Angels



Hey guys! I wanted to share some very important information that was sent to me....

As a parent, you know how important it is that your little ones are properly nourished in order to thrive. It’s that reason exactly that vitaminwater® ♥s Vitamin Angels, a charity dedicated to providing essential nutrients to undernourished children around the world.  vitaminwater® is already helping Vitamin Angels reach more than 2 million children through a monetary donation, but would like your support to help  them  reach another one million children!

Earlier this summer and in an effort to help spread the word about Vitamin Angels, vitaminwater® asked the Tongal community (a social platform that delivers a fresh solution to sourcing video content) what their world would be without the letter ‘A’.  Why ‘A,’ you ask?  Vitamin Angels focuses on this vitamin because an estimated 190 million children under five suffer from vitamin A deficiency, a major underlying cause of child mortality and blindness around the world.

The response from the Tongal community was overwhelming (over 400 ideas submitted!) and resulted in the creation of three poignant videos in particular that vitaminwater® has decided to share.  For every view of one of the videos, vitaminwater® will donate $0.25, the equivalent of one year’s worth of vital Vitamin A for a child.

Here are the videos:

"Without the A" produced by Reggie Schickel from Urbana, IL (based on idea from Diana Tay from Los Angeles, CA)


"Candid Moments Without the A" produced by Marcus Thomas from Los Angeles, CA (based on an idea from Jacob Silva from Escondido, CA)

"Notes on the Letter A" produced by Jonathan Langager from Los Angeles, CA

PLEASE take a moment to view even one video to help a child in need! They are under 2 minutes in length and costs you NOTHING! Thanks so much!
Shelly, Mom Files

Join the Dove® "Let's Talk" movement to help build strong girls with high self-esteem

You might remember a post I wrote earlier this month about Dove's Self-Esteem weekend. Well the movement has grown and it has a lot of people talking. Dove® is committed to inspiring all women and girls to reach their full potential. The Dove® Movement for Self-Esteem invites all women to join them in creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.They have reached more than 9 million girls so far and with your help, they can  reach their target of 15 million by 2015.



Dove® research shows that it is still important for us to address girls' anxiety about looks, as there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls' confidence as they grow older. Key findings from our latest research include:

• Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004)
• Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves
• 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful
• 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty
• More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic
SOURCE: Dove Research: The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited


It really boils down to the fact that it is so hard growing up in a society where beauty is heavily focused on. Being a mom of two teenage girls, I know how important it is to keep good communication going about their self-esteem. Talking to your Anxiety about beauty begins at an early age, and can even keep girls from doing what they love. You can change that with a conversation. Reach out to the girl in your life and talk to her about beauty, confidence and self-esteem.

You can find the expert tips and real-world advice to get started on the Self-Esteem Wall. Then, once you’ve had “the talk,” share your experience to help inspire other moms and mentors. You can share a sentence, small story, or upload your favorite photo of you and the young girl in your life from your desktop, Facebook or Instagram.

Any time is a good time to start a conversation with a girl in your life about beauty, confidence and self-esteem. Not sure where to start? Download The Let’s Talk Toolkit to get some great advice.
to get some great advice.

Each time you buy Dove®, you help them and their charitable partners provide inspiring self-esteem programming for girls. Dove supports partnerships with after-school programs, self-esteem building events and education resources.
I encourage you to check out Dove on Facebook to get more information of what you can do to help build strong self-esteem in our young girls. Together, we can build stronger girls, stronger women and stronger communities.

Thanks to Dove for sponsoring today's discussion
Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 24, 2012

#UNJUNK and Have an UNREAL Halloween!

I received some fabulous UNREAL candy to share with friends and family at a house party I was asked to throw. It turned out that only one person could show up because it was a super busy weekend for those I invited. There were so many activities going on in my city ( fall break for college students, The State Fair, fall-related festivals and some had to work) so I decided to take my party to the streets. The streets? Yes, I packed up my candy bags and took them up to my daughters' high school for their annual "Trick or Trunk" event that helps raise funds and collect food to donate to the community.

I figured it was a great way to share the UNREAL candy and talk about it with a lot more people. What is UNREAL candy you ask? It is candy made with only REAL ingredients. Nothing artificial. Check out this video with some famous faces and see for yourself...


The taste? YUM. I. Am. Hooked. I can't believe that UNREAL candies were better than the leading brands. You can taste the ingredients and they were less sugary. My family agreed and prefer them too. I was shocked. Not my sweet candy loving children!!


I went to the high school armed with loads of UNREAL candy bags to hand out. I was a but nervous and was unsure of how well it would go over. Telling a bunch of teenagers and their parents that they should UNJUNK and GETREAL was going to raise some eyebrows. It's Halloween after all!


I chatted with so many people in small groups and they were stunned that candy that is made without fake ingredients can possibly taste good. As I walked around throughout the grounds I kept getting stopped by smiling faces. They were so pleased with how delicious the candy was and wanted to know where to find them. I told them CVS, Staples, Kroger and so many more retailers carry them for the same cost as a traditional candy bar.


My oldest daughter even said that one of the student activities leaders (a teacher) was inquiring about possibly selling UNREAL candy for fundraising! How cool is that? Not a bad idea to swap out the fake, sugary stuff with the real deal at the SAME cost! I am so happy that everyone enjoyed the candy and got to learn about the UNREAL movement. It made me think, shouldn't all candy be real? I sure hope they start making treat sizes for my kids' lunch boxes. They would love that!

Check out UNREAL on the web, Facebook and Twitter. Have you tried UNREAL candy yet? What did you think?

I received free products to share and was compensated for my time. All thoughts/opinions are completely my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

Wordless Wednesday | Halloween 2012

William dressed up as a scary dinosaur this year...a Carnotaurus, to be exact! That's what he says he was so we just went with it. We were so lucky to find this great quality costume at T.J. Maxx for only $21! We looked in the Halloween Express store and was not impressed by the cheap quality and marked up prices. If you haven't found a costume yet for you little one, I highly recommend T.J. Maxx!

Such enthusiasm, eh?
Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 23, 2012

Check out your favorite NASCAR Chase drivers in the Coca-Cola Racing Family Google+ Hangout [Giveaway]

Hi guys! Fall is here and the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup series is in full swing! This November, bring family and friends together to watch one of the most anticipated series of races in the world of NASCAR. The Coca-Cola Racing Family currently has three drivers in the Chase – Denny Hamlin, Tony Stewart and Greg Biffle.

Coca-Cola and @CocaColaRacing know the thrill of being live at the track, but have you ever wondered what goes on inside the cockpit? Or ever wonder if your favorite driver has any special ritual to prepare for a big race? This year, Coca-Cola wants to help you get the answers to those questions! As a long-time sponsor of NASCAR and many of its drivers, Coca-Cola wants to help fuel your curiosity by hosting a Google+ Hangout with the three Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers that are competing in the Chase, as well as special guests Elliot Sadler and Dale Jarrett!

The exciting part is that one of Momfiles' lucky readers will get the opportunity to secure one text-in question for the Hangout! How cool would that be to have your question answered during the Hangout?! I also get to submit a question of my own so deciding on one will be so hard.

If your question does not get picked, you can still follow the @CocaColaRacing Twitter handle and tweet a question with the hashtag #CokeRacingHangout. Questions will be chosen at random by the Hangout moderator prior to the start of the Google+ Hangout on Saturday, November 3rd at 12 PM central. Hey, you never know if your question might just get answered!  After the Hangout ends at 1 pm central on November 3rd, the @CocaColaRacing Twitter handle will be continuing the conversation all weekend long, live-tweeting at the race that Sunday and interacting with fans like you! Be sure to Tweet those questions!

Just be sure to follow the @CocaColaRacing Twitter page the day of, so you can see the live stream of the Hangout. You can find out if your question was answered.

Now to get you revved up about the Coca-Cola Racing Google+ Hangout, one lucky Momfiles reader will get to submit a question to be answered as well as win a big Coca-Cola branded prize pack! The prize pack is valued at $120 and includes:
 · 1 Coca-Cola branded Grandstands Cooler
 · A Coca-Cola Branded Recycling Koozie to keep your drink chilled
 · A Coca-Cola Carabiner Key Light
 · A Coca-Cola NASCAR Decal Pack
 · A Coca-Cola and NASCAR Race Day Cap
 · 3 Coca-Cola Tumblers (16oz. insulated tumbler)

Enter below in the Rafflecopter widget and be sure to follow the rules so your entries count. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on October 31. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes.

Coca-Cola provided me with the Coca-Cola Racing Family Prize Pack. The prize was provided and may be shipped to the winner by Coca-Cola, but Coca-Cola is not a sponsor, administrator, or involved in any other way with this contest. I received compensation to help promote this event. All opinions expressed in the post are my own and not those of The Coca-Cola Company.

Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 21, 2012

Purex plus Oxi [Review & Giveaway]

Purex has come out with the latest formula to add to their line of laundry detergents. Purex plus Oxi is their most powerful detergent available to fight the toughest stains. It is formulated to work in both traditional and high inefficiency machines. Because it's from Purex, you know you won't have to break the bank to afford it. As a matter of fact, Purex is almost half the price of the leading brand! Purex plus Oxi has a light, fresh scent and is hypoallergenic. It can be used for everyday or heavily soiled loads.


Right now, Purex wants to give 1 lucky winner $1,000! There will also be 250 2nd place winners that will each win $25! All you have to do is sign up here for your chance to win. It takes as little as 20 seconds to enter!

How would you like to try out a bottle of Purex plus Oxi yourself? Three Momfiles readers will win one coupon each for a FREE bottle of Purex plus Oxi. Enter in the Rafflecopter widget below: 
Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on November 3, 2012. Three winners 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

Oct 19, 2012

Vollyeball, elections and cupcakes

I have to apologize for my lack of personal posts. My life has been consumed with obligations but most importantly, my family. The girls just finished up their volleyball season which allows me to have a little more free time. It was bittersweet for both girls. They did not win very many games but did play exceptionally well compared to the previous years. Chardie is an emotional wreck because her high school volleyball years are officially behind her. She wanted it all to be over, yet she will miss it. Brie had a hard time losing so many of their games but felt great winning the last game against their old coach. It was such a sweet victory for them. I have to say that Brie played amazingly all season long. She has so much talent and it was so cool seeing the two girls play together.

It is crazy that they girls are 16 and 18 now. Brie has outgrown all of us in height and is so mature. My baby girl has grown up and the next stop will be driving. She has not been very enthusiastic about driving like most teens would be, but she is ready now. It feels weird to say that I am mother to an adult child. The good thing is Chardie was in no rush to turn 18 and says she doesn't see what the big deal is. She will be voting in the election next month and is excited to do so. I still can't get over that! Speaking of election, I can't wait for it to be over! I know everyone has their views and opinions but social media makes you want to throw up with it in your face 24/7. I won't lie, I have had to unfollow and unfriend some people that got way too out of hand. Regardless of which way it goes there will continue to be unhappy people. I do have to say that this is the funniest thing I have seen all week!
I'm so sorry, I couldn't help myself!

Another thing that happened recently that has nothing to do with anything is I purchased some new kitchen gadgets. I have been baking and cooking since before I was a teenager and have never owned cake decoration supplies or cupcake transporters. How on earth do you have children in school for over a decade and not have anything to carry your cupcakes in? I have baked hundreds of cupcakes over the years and can't remember how I was sending them to school. I also have been wondering why I have never had icing bags with the piping tips. I am now officially obsessed with making pretty cupcakes. I do need to play around with the different tips to learn how to make more designs. I made this gorgeous cupcakes recently to sell at the girls' Dig Pink volleyball game to raise money for breast cancer.
They were white cake with homemade cream cheese frosting that I tinted to make pink. Pretty, huh? Speaking of baking, I am so excited about all the baking that will be going on in my kitchen over the course of the next few months. I have already made a wish list of some things I want to have to make my baking experiences better. Can't wait!

What's going on with you?
Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 18, 2012

See how Green Giant Seasoned Steamers can perk up your meals (Review & Giveaway)

Green Giant has come out with a new line of vegetables that is a delicious and easy option for your family meals. Introducing, Green Giant Seasoned Steamers. Available in six different varieties, Green Giant Seasoned Steamers are one of the first sauce-free seasoned vegetables to bring unique chef-inspired seasonings and premium cut vegetable blends to your dining room table. 
These tasty Seasoned Steamers are bound to spice up any meal with six varieties including: Mediterranean Blend, Tuscan Seasoned Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts with Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper, Honey Roasted Sweet Corn, Honey Dijon Carrots and Backyard Grilled Potatoes.

My family tried out the Tuscan Seasoned Broccoli as a side dish and were quite impressed with the great flavor. I am the type of cook that regardless of if something is pre-seasoned, I still have to jazz it up. Not this time. The broccoli was perfectly seasoned. The bonus is the cooking part. All you do is pop the bag in the microwave and you're done! It's a great time saver. Click here for a money saving coupon for $1 off on a future purchase. 


How would you like to try out the new Green Giant Seasoned Steamers for yourself? One lucky Momfiles reader will win a prize pack including: (1) VIP coupon for one free package of Green Giant Seasoned Steamers™, (1) Apron, (1) Green Giant Serving Spoon and  (1) Mixing Bowl. Enter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on October 29, 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!

Disclosure: The coupons, information, and gift packs have been provided by Green Giant® through MyBlogSpark.
Shelly, Mom Files


Oct 16, 2012

How I maximize my coffee budget and still have the perfect cup each day

I love a really good, rich cup of coffee. I only require one cup a day and I get tired of the same old brand sometimes. I am a coffee snob and stay away from the low-end bargain brands. They lack the strength and flavor I require.  The whole 'use a tablespoon per 6 ounces of water' is a joke. I am more of a use 1/2 cup per 6 ounces (no lie!) As much as I love the premium brands, I can't always justify the cost. I finally found a way to get around that and not sacrifice the quality or taste. Lately I have been shopping for premium, traditional ground coffee that is on sale and try to match it up with coupons. I also purchase an espresso ground coffee that I always find on sale at Publix. They tend to always have a brand for under $3. I usually buy Cafe Bustelo, Pilon or La Llave.
What I do is mix both varieties in my regular drip coffee maker. The fact that The espresso grind is more concentrated and rich, makes me have to use less of my more expensive premium coffee.
The result is a dark, strong and rich cup of coffee every time. I have been doing this for months and even my husband noticed how good our coffee is. We are so spoiled that we have to bring coffee from home when we travel. I totally recommend this method of coffee making for those who crave the richness of Starbucks but have Walmart pockets.
Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 15, 2012

"Flavor It" Review & Giveaway

I am such a big fan of kitchen gadgets. I received a neat item from Primula Products called Flavor It Pitcher 3-in-1 Beverage System. You can make a wide variety of amazing infused beverages using just about any ingredient you want.  You can make fruit flavored teas, water, wine, even iced coffee! The only limit is your imagination!

The beverage system includes:

  • Flavor Infuser - can be filled with fresh fruit, herbs, or spices to lend intriguing flavor notes to water, tea, punch, and more. Creating a multitude of beverage options from cucumber lime drinks to blueberry iced tea, to sangria and more. 
  • Stainless Steel Tea Infuser - designed to brew loose tea or ground coffee, either hot or cold. The infuser's filter sits low in the pitcher, accommodating small quantities as well as a full pitcher. 
  • Chill Core - filled with non-toxic gel, it is better than ice because it keeps the beverage cool without diluting the flavor.

I decided to test it out over the weekend and decided on fruit infused water. My daughters are big on fruit flavored water so we took a vote and went with peach and lime. I added slices of peaches and limes into the Flavor Infuser and added filtered water the pitcher.
I love the design of the pitcher because it fits perfectly in my fridge door. This frees up more space for bulky milk jugs and other drinks. I let the fruit infuse overnight and we all tasted the water. It was fantastic and very refreshing! I plan to make sangria this coming weekend and will use red wine with a mixture of fresh fruit. My 16 year old is looking forward to make some vanilla flavored iced coffee. I really love that you can tighten the lid to close it to reduce spills. The pitcher itself is BPA-free, dishwasher safe, scratch resistant, shatter proof and  stain resistant. 


The Flavor It Pitcher 3-in-1 Beverage System would make a great wedding, anniversary, hostess or holiday gift. Check out Primula Products on the web, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

How would you like to win one? One lucky Momfiles reader will win the Flavor It Pitcher 3-in-1 Beverage System. Enter in the Rafflecopter widget:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on October 25, 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 a product sample for review purposes. All thoughts/opinions are 100% my own as always.
Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 13, 2012

Perfect Roasted Potatoes

I discovered these wonderful potatoes that Publix carries called Potato Inspirations. I decided to try them out since they were on sale. They came in a few different varieties, but I decided to go with the Honey Gold. They are smaller than a golf balls. I remembered a recipe I saw Michael Symon make and thought I would try to replicate it. The only difference is he fried his potatoes in bacon fat instead of baking them. Yeah, I didn't have a half gallon of bacon fat laying around so I had to improvise!


Ingredients:
1 bag of Honey Gold Potato Inspiration potatoes or 2 pounds of very small potatoes of your choice.
a few tablespoons of olive oil
dry seasonings of your choice. I used sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, garlic powder, dried parsley, Cajun seasoning and Badia Complete Seasoning which are my staples.

All you do is rinse and boil your potatoes (whole) in salted water until they are starting to get soft, but not cooked all the way, about 9-13 minutes. Drain potatoes and smash each one with just a little bit with the bottom of a cup or small plate. Toss smashed potatoes in olive oil and dry seasoning and roast in a 425 degree preheated oven for about 25 minutes. They come out slightly crisp on the outside and super buttery and creamy on the inside. I baked mine on the Silpat mat so they did not stick or brown unevenly.

What a wonderful side dish this is! I am going to try it next time using two different types of potatoes. I might make them for Thanksgiving too. They are so easy and delicious!

This was NOT a sponsored post :)
Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 12, 2012

Funky Monkey Snacks #funkychat Twitter Party & Giveaway

**CLOSED** Winner is Shelly~ Congratulations!
Funky Monkey Snacks will be hosting a Twitter chat to discuss Gluten Free Month. The details are as follows:

Date: Tuesday October 16th
Time: 2:00 PM EST
RSVP: None required
Follow: @FunkyMonkeySnck
Hashtag: #funkychat

They would love for everyone to join in!

I have tried Funky Monkey Snacks and LOVE them! I am not a big fruit eater and the thought of eating a banana makes me ill. Funky Monkey Bananamon variety has changed my feelings about bananas. They are amazing! I could eat them every single day. They would be great to stash in your purse, kid's lunchbox or gym bag.

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 out Funky Monkey Snacks on Facebook.
The awesome folks from Funky Monkey Snacks want you to taste the deliciousness for yourself. One lucky Momfiles reader will win a Funky Monkey Snacks prize pack of all 7 flavors. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on October 19, 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

Oct 10, 2012

How times have changed when it comes to undergarments

I was chatting with my friend Krystel from ArmyWife101 the other day and we were discussing bras and undergarments for teens. We had both recently taken our teenage daughters to shop for new undergarments and were astonished by the choices. It seems like the bras of today are made for the bedroom (and I'm not talking pajamas) more than for the function it is intended for. We searched through bra after bra and it seemed like every single one was overstuffed with padding to make your breasts appear two sizes larger. Now my daughters are small just like me, but why on earth do they need a bra to make them look like they are a C? It's as if our daughters are not supposed to feel good about what they have and give the illusion that they are busty. I just don't get it. I was so tiny when I was a teenager that I literally wore a negative size. I didn't really wear push-up bras because there was nothing to push up! Now I understand that girls today are a little curvier than before but why do they need their boobs pushed up to their chin and add two more sizes? I have seem so many teens wearing bras that cause spillage and that is not cute!

I feel like it is a disservice to our daughters to purchase bras like this to make their breasts appear fuller than they are. I think it is the wrong way to go about teaching and encouraging high self-esteem. I do let my daughters have a say what they like when we are shopping for undergarments, but I do also put in my two cents. I used to be one of those very insecure girls growing up and even well into my adult years, thinking my breasts weren't big enough. I have learned to be happy with what I was born with and know that my beauty truly comes from within. Everything else is just a bonus. I really believe moms need to be involved in teaching our daughters about wearing the appropriate undergarments. This goes beyond the training bra years!  Don't even get me started on the underwear showing at the top of the super low jeans. I know I sound old-fashioned (because I am) but maybe we need more old-fashioned today!

What are your thoughts?
Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 5, 2012

Dove’s Self- Esteem weekend is October 5th-7th | Let's do our part to help young girls build strong self-esteem #spon


Did you know that 6 out of 10 girls stop doing what they love because they feel bad about their looks?


 


I can certainly believe this from my own experiences. I remember for most of my childhood, I was ashamed to wear certain clothes or participate in sports because I was so thin. I was often made fun of and spent many nights crying myself to sleep. Most people think only overweight girls go through feelings of shame but it turns out that underweight girls feel just as much pain. It took me a long time to accept the fact that I was so "skinny" and thankfully feel good about myself. With two teenage daughters, I work extra hard on helping them feel good about themselves.

Dove® research shows that it is still important for us to address girls' anxiety about looks, as there is a universal increase in beauty pressure and a decrease in girls' confidence as they grow older. Key findings from our latest research include:

 • Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004)
 • Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves
 • 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful • 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty
 • More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic

 SOURCE: Dove Research: The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited
**********
Join women across the county, October 5-7, when Dove will be holding a nationwide rally to talk about beauty, confidence and self-esteem. Commit to talk to the girl in your life during the weekend and beyond – it all starts with a conversation. If you can’t share over the weekend, any time is a good time to start the conversation.

Not sure where to start? Download the Let’s Talk Toolkit  Created with Jess Weiner, Dove Global Self-Esteem Ambassador, this is a great resource for all women on starting a conversation in a simple way. Ask, Share, Listen and Act -- you’ll find unintimidating ways to do make these a natural part of your talk about Self-Esteem.

You can share your commitment to girls’ self-esteem with your friends on Facebook! Visit the Dove Facebook Page or use the Send a Note of Confidence Link to select your message and share with your friends. Also follow Dove on Twitter and use the hashtag #DoveInspired.

With so many simple ways to get involved, won't you do your part to help build strong self-esteem in our girls?

This article is sponsored by Dove. 
Shelly, Mom Files

Oct 4, 2012

Silpat made my homemaker and baking dreams come true! {Review & Giveaway}

**Contest Closed** 
Winner is Sammi~ Congratulations!

For many years, I have watched the Food Network and Cooking Channels and have drooled over admired the professional chefs cooking gadgets. One particular item that always stuck out was the Silpat baking mat. When I got the offer to review one in my little old kitchen, I excitedly jumped at the chance! I really can't explain how giddy I got when I saw this little beauty for the first time.
I immediately started brainstorming ideas and recipes that I could make with my new Silpat Half size mat. After reading up and watching a video about Silpat, I was intrigued by so many things. Silpat is truly non-stick and never requires greasing. You get even baking every time and no burnt cookies on the bottom! You can use it up to 450 degrees baking temperature and it can be used up to 3000 times! That's good news for me since I bake all the time. I am amazed at all you can bake on a Silpat mat! 

I decided to bake up something savory; Cheesy Spinach & Artichoke Crescents. I took one of my favorite dip recipes and paired it with crescent roll dough. I really wanted to see how well the crescent roll dough would do since I find that they always stick to the pan and also either over-brown or brown unevenly. I just had to find out what would happen! 

For my filling I used a half pack of cream cheese, 1/2 pack of frozen spinach (thawed and water squeezed out), 1/2 of a small jar of marinated artichokes finely chopped, 1/4 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and a dash or two of red pepper flakes. You could double this recipe if you are making it with two cans of crescent roll dough (I only used one). I just spooned about a tablespoon of the cheese mixture on the crescent roll dough triangles and spread it out a bit. I rolled them up, placed them on my Silpat baking mat and brushed them with a little egg wash. I baked them at 375 for 16 minutes and this is what they turned out like. I have to mention that I normally NEVER bake anything at the temperature a recipe calls for. I always go 10 degrees under. This is the first time in forever I actually went according to the package baking instructions. 

Now here was where the true test came in. Is it possible for a crescent roll to come off of the baking surface without sticking? Not only did it come off easily, I was able to shift the pan and all of them slid to one end! I was able to pluck each one off with my fingers. No spatula needed! 

The bottoms were perfectly and evenly brown. Even the one or two splashes of egg wash came off perfectly. There was nothing stuck to the Silpat and all it took was a rinse to clean it. 

The Silpat baking mat has exceeded my expectations and have made my homemaker and baking dreams come true! I can't wait to bake all kinds of pastries, cookies and even roasted veggies and fish on it! I anticipate it will become my most used kitchen gadget of all time. Be sure to check out Silpat on the web, Facebook,  Twitter and Pinterest. I think this is a great gift to give for a  housewarming, Christmas, birthday, wedding or any occasion for that matter! 

How would you like to experience this amazing item for yourself? One very lucky Momfiles reader will win their very own Half Size Silpat Baking Mat! Enter below: 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on October 15, 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 a free product sample for review purposes. All opinions are completely my own, as always.
Shelly, Mom Files
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