Lifestyle * Travel * Food

Dec 23, 2014

The Hello Kitty Craze

You see the cute little whiskered face in almost every major store throughout the country and even across the world. It adorns clothing, lunch boxes, diaries, toothbrushes and bed sheets. It is even the theme for an entire hospital in Taiwan! Hello Kitty has become an international craze that continues to take the world by storm. Kids everywhere immediately recognize the unassuming round face and the familiar red ribbon that adorns this cute little cartoon cat.

What is the history of this little cat, and how did Hello Kitty toys become so popular throughout the world? Here is everything you could possibly want to know about Hello Kitty and her rise to fame.

Japanese Origins

Hello Kitty originated in Japan during the 1960’s when a Japanese company called Sanrio developed her character (which is actually known as Kitty White). Previous to selling Hello Kitty products, Sanrio primarily sold small items like pencil cases and other items for elementary-aged children. Once they developed the Hello Kitty character, their sales began to increase.

Rumors Abound Regarding Hello Kitty’s Origins

There are a couple of untrue legends circulating about how Hello Kitty actually originated. One story claims that the cute kitty was developed in an attempt to soften the corporate image of a nuclear power plant. Another story involves a fantastic claim that involves a truce with the devil to create a cute image in his honor in exchange for the healing of a young girl with cancer. Both stories are obviously false and the character was not created in any sinister way.

Emotionless Character

Hello Kitty was made without a mouth intentionally, because the lack of emotion made it more likely for people of all backgrounds to relate to her.  Because she does not seem to portray any emotions, the individual who views her can project their own emotions onto her at any time. It is this strange characteristic that may be part of the reason for her impressive international success.

Hello Kitty Almost Became a Punishment

Back in 2007, the idea was briefly entertained to force police in Bangkok to wear flashy Hello Kitty armbands if they committed minor infractions. This plan was quickly abandoned as it created outrage among both Hello Kitty fans and the Bangkok police ranks.

A Character That Kids and Adults Enjoy

While originally intended for children, Hello Kitty now adorns adult clothing and novelty items as well. Today you can buy Hello Kitty toys, Hello Kitty jewelry marketed to wealthy women, and Hello Kitty themed make up. While it may not be perfectly clear why this cute little emotionless character became so popular, it is clear that she is a character that is able to break through typical cultural, gender and age boundaries.
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Dec 13, 2014

Re-mixing Tradition for the Holidays #GetYourBettyOn #spon $15 Paypal Cash Giveaway

Thanks to Betty Crocker™ Potatoes for sponsoring today's discussion

The Holiday season is in full force and our family has been busy, busy, BUSY! One of our favorite holiday traditions that we started just last year has been the very popular, "Elf on the Shelf". Although I was not initially a fan of the whole phenomenon, it grew on me as I watched the joy in my son's eyes over something so simple. It is so much fun for little ones to see what their very own Elf has in store for them each day. Our Elf is named Oreo and moves 2-3 times a day! My son is already dreading when Christmas Eve comes and his sweet Elf has to go back to the North Pole.Our other Holiday tradition is to allow each child to open one gift on Christmas Eve. They love that and even at 18 & 20, my girls still get excited over it.

When it comes to food, I almost always go with the more traditional type of meal on Christmas. You know, typical holiday family-friendly foods. This year I am adding something to help save some extra time in the kitchen that can be spent with what matters most, my family.

Betty Crocker™ Casserole Potatoes are a great solution to making a fabulous side dish. Whether you prepare them on your stove top or in the oven, you can really personalize your potatoes in any way you like. You can add your favorite veggies, chopped ham or turkey, herbs, spices or anything you love to pair with potatoes. My favorite way to prepare my potatoes is with fresh baby spinach and a few shakes of cayenne pepper for a kick. I prepare my Scalloped variety of potatoes according to the stove top method, except I add 2 extra tablespoons of milk and a couple cracks of black pepper. I add the spinach in after the potatoes are tender and sprinkle the cayenne pepper on top. Last, I stick it under the broiler for a couple minutes to brown it a little.
This is a family favorite and takes so little time and effort to prepare.

Another delicious variation is adding finely chopped ham or turkey and sprinkling the top with crushed savory crackers for texture. Any time I bake the potatoes in the oven, I lightly sprinkle some paprika over the top for a little pop of color. Did you know there are  11 varieties of Betty Crocker™ Casserole Potatoes? Betty uses 100% real potatoes for the best flavor available.

Betty Crocker™ Casserole Potatoes (box)
1. Au Gratin
2. Scalloped
3. Three Cheese
4. Cheesy Scalloped
5. Julienne
6. Loaded Casserole
7. Sour Cream & chives
8. Parmesan & Asiago
9. Cheesy Hashbrown
10. Cheddar Bacon
11. Roasted Garlic
With so many flavors, you have so many options to come up with your own unique re-mix on the classic potatoes. Right now you can grab a coupon so save $0.50 off two boxes. This is a great time to stock up on some extra boxes during the busiest time of year. This coupon is only available for a limited time, so get it while you can!

Giveaway: One Mom Files reader will win a $15 PayPal cash prize to stock up on Betty Crocker™ Casserole Potatoes. Enter Below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on December 29, 2014. One winner will be picked at random and mandatory entry will be verified. Winner will be emailed for mailing information.
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Dec 10, 2014

SOL REPUBLIC 100-day Money back Guarantee on Tracks Air (Holiday Gift Guide) Giveaway

CLOSED- Winner is The Attic Girl, Shelly D.! Congratulations!
Have you ever had that moment when you have your headphones on and you're jammin' and about to multi-task when suddenly, BAM! Your headphones come flying off your head because the cord got stuck somewhere. Yep, you know it has happened to you. Annoying, huh? I finally found the answer to my problem; SOL REPUBLIC Tracks Air Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are helping me break free from wires.

These headphones do not disappoint. They still give you the same amazing sound quality you get from the standard corded headphones. It's a step above with not being tied down with wires. Now you can do those tasks without being held back! They are great for taking with you when you are on-the-go, traveling or anywhere you want to enjoy the freedom of listening to music, audio-books or video wirelessly. Tracks Air come in 4 colors and have up to a 15 hour battery life. Another great thing is the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks Air 100-Day Money Back Guarantee.

Tracks Air comes with 100-day Money Back Guarantee, so you can go from 0 to 100% Wireless with nothing to hold you back.

The Guarantee applies only to Tracks Air wireless headphones purchased on or after October 15, 2014 directly from SOL REPUBLIC via the official Web Site at www.solrepublic.com. Tracks Air headphones must be returned within 100 days following purchase to be eligible for a refund. See full details here.
You can purchase the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks Air Wireless Bluetooth headphones directly from the website or Radio Shack for $199.99.

Be sure to follow SOL REPUBLIC on Facebook and Twitter for product promotions and updates.

Giveaway: One very lucky Mom Files reader will win a pair of Tracks Air to put the 100-day money back guarantee to the test. Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on December 18, 2014. One winner will be picked at random and mandatory entry will be verified. Winner will be emailed for mailing information. Mom Files is NOT responsible for prize fulfillment or for any lost, stolen or damaged prizes.

Disclosure: I received the same item described in this post from SOL REPUBLIC. All opinions are 100% mine as always. 
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Dec 8, 2014

Super Cute Gifts Every New Mom Needs #HolidayGifts

The festive season is the perfect time to show people how much you care about them. If you have a friend, who has recently become a mommy, you might want to do something a little special. We all know how intense the first few months of motherhood can be. Your friend needs your support now more than ever. With Christmas just around the corner, why not treat your friend? Here are some super cute gift ideas for new moms.

1. A Spa Day 

Everyone needs to relax when they have a newborn. It is likely that your friend isn't get all that much sleep these days. Has she had a day off yet? If not, she needs one. Why not treat her by booking her and her partner a spa day? You can offer to look after their baby so that the couple can spend some quality time together. Having relaxing massages and treatments will rejuvenate your friend's energy levels. It will also give her and her partner a chance to celebrate being parents for a moment.

2. A Baby Keepsake Box

In the first year of a baby's life, so many things happen. A great way to make memories is to create a keepsake box for your baby. If your friend doesn't have a cute keepsake box, yet, you might want to consider getting her one. That way, she can remember all the big moments in her baby's life. You can get keepsake boxes online at sites like My 1st Years. Explain to your friend what she has to do with the box.

3. Cute Slippers

As a new mommy, your friend will be spending a lot of her time around the house. Since it is winter, you should get her some cozy, cute slippers. Comfort will be your friend's top priority. That means that she will need to be comfortable all the time. Getting some slippers that she will adore is the perfect present. You should look for slippers that have a fluffy lining inside them so that they are super warm throughout the winter.

4. Jewelry

New mothers need a lot of stuff for their baby, but sometimes, they need things for themselves too. It is nice to treat your friend with a gift that has nothing to do with her child. After all, she is a person too. She doesn't stop being an individual the moment she has a baby. You should consider getting your friend a lovely friendship bracelet or necklace. Getting your friend something just for her shows her how much you care.

5. A Cover-Up Top

We all know it. After women have babies, they struggle to get back into shape. Your friend is likely self-conscious about her current body shape. Get your friend a fashionable cover-up top so that she can cover her lumps and bumps. Tops with extra material that are floaty work well to hide parts of the body. Choose a top that comes in just below the bust, but flows out from there. That way, it will make your friend look like she has a tiny waist.

6. Relaxation Candles

Everybody needs some time to relax after they have given birth. You can pick up some cute, aromatherapy candles in any home store or online. Make sure you choose scents that your friend will like so that the candles suit her. Ask her what her favorite scents are and choose candles accordingly. You might even want to get some incense and body oils so that your friend can create a spa experience at home. There are loads of books on massage and treatments that might also be perfect.
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Dec 4, 2014

Green Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds and Tea Bags

It’s easy to think of your coffee grounds and tea bags as mere tools with which to brew a little pick-me-up. However, they can both be much more. Once your cup is empty of your favorite hot beverage, you can reuse the grounds and leaves in an environmentally friendly manner. Here are 10 ways to give them a second life.

Remove Odors From Skin
Cooking foods with strong odors doesn’t mean you’re destined to wear them afterwards. Rub your hands with leaves or grounds to freshen your skin before rinsing them with soap and water

Brighten Up Wood
Boil 2 to 3 tea bags in a quart of water to create a green cleaning product for your wood floors and furniture, which will also brighten and leave a shine. Traditional teas (as opposed to the herbal variety) are best to ensure tannins are present. Be sure the wood is darker than the tea to avoid staining.

Deter Uninvited Garden Guests
Your coffeemaker grounds can keep your garden free of ants and other pests. They can also be extremely helpful in keeping the neighborhood cats from turning your beloved oasis into a litter box. Sprinkling only a few tablespoons of grounds near each plant will deter felines.

Deep Clean Dishes
Your pots and pans can be cleaned without the use of harsh abrasives or synthetic chemicals. Instead, use the natural abrasion offered by grounds. If the dish needs to soak, place a tea bag or two into the warm water to allow tannins to break down stubborn residue.

Compost for Plants
Both types of grounds offer nourishment to plants that live indoors as well as those outside. For plants such as roses, strawberries and tomatoes that prefer a more acidic fertilizer, use the remnants from your coffeemaker. For less acidic-loving plants such as lilacs, succulents and geraniums, use the tea.

Pedi Pleaser
Take a few of your used tea bags and steep them in warm water for a good foot soak the next time you give yourself a pedicure. The antibacterial properties of the tea assist in removing odors while cleaning and brightening up the skin.

Fridge Freshener
Place grounds in an open container and place in your refrigerator to add an aromatic scent while deodorizing and freshening the area.

DIY Dye
Whether you are looking to dye eggs, paper, clothing or even your hair, you can steep grounds in hot water to create an earth-friendly dye. Strain the liquid when you have achieved the desired color and leave to cool.

Home Facial
For a light exfoliator and skin brightener, create a facial scrub by mixing grounds with honey or avocado. Reduce puffy eyes by placing two cooled, used tea bags over your eyes for about 10 minutes.

Eco-Friendly Shoe Shine
Once you’ve steeped your brew, rub the damp tea bag over the surface of your dark-colored dress shoes to clean and moisturize.

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Nov 30, 2014

A Milestone with a Twist

My little one has been asking me since kindergarten when I think he will lose a tooth. All of his friends have already lost a few and he was getting impatient. He went for a dental cleaning and check up at the beginning of the school year and the dentist told him he had two loose teeth. That shocked us since his teeth seemed extremely rooted and did not budge if we attempted to wiggle them. About a week ago, I noticed he had two tiny teeth emerging from the bottom (the same ones the dentist said he would lose soon). I got so nervous because neither teeth were loose. I went ahead and jiggled and wiggled with a bit of force-- It was either that or call the dentist's office. That did the trick and within a few days, he finally lost his first tooth! He was super happy that the Tooth Fairy left him a dollar under his pillow. 
By the way, in case you didn't know, the string on the tooth attached to the door trick really works. My husband was determined to get the tooth out since it looked like it was hanging by a string. Sadly, I did not get to experience what William looks like with his first tooth missing. The new tooth is halfway in already. We are working on the second one and hope to have it out in the next week.

Have you ever had the experience of your child losing a tooth after the adult tooth started growing in?
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Nov 29, 2014

Try U-Konserve for healthier lunches and snacks for kids #ad

Ever since my kids were in kindergarten, they have taken lunch to school from home. I have had my challenges when it comes to variety because after a while, it seems like you are repeating the same things over and over. I prefer to send fresh foods whenever possible and like safer options when it comes to keeping food fresh. U-Konserve containers are a great choice since they are tested BPA-free, phthalate-free, PVC-free and lead-free. 

The Large Round Container in neon green is made from stainless steel which means it's non-toxic and non-leaching like plastic containers. The lid is leak-proof so you can worry a little less about a messy lunch box coming home. 
It is perfect to store fresh fruit, veggies, salads, pasta, cheese and more. The Large Round Container is the perfect size; 10 ounces. You can wash the container in the dishwasher, but they recommend the lids be hand-washed to prolong the life and seal it provides. 
This container will last for a very long time and the best part is there is no waste that ends up in landfills. How can you go wrong? The Large Round Container retails for $8.95. I have my eye on the matching insulated food jar. It keeps food warm or cold for hours. This is perfect since my son takes hot food to school daily.  

Check out the entire line of food storage products from U-Konserve/ Kids-Konserve and follow them on Facebook and Twitter for product promotions and updates. 
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Nov 28, 2014

VTech Learning Cartridges Review for InnoTab Tablets #spon

Disclosure: The VTech product, gift card and information have been provided by VTech.

We recently got the opportunity to review the InnoTab MAX from VTech and it has been a great learning tool for my son. He has been enjoying the many apps the tablet offers. We were super lucky to receive two learning cartridges from VTech that work with the InnoTab tablets including the new InnoTab MAX.
We received Pixar Play and I Spy learning cartridges and my little guy could not wait to check them out.

InnoTab Pixar Play Learning Cartridge
(Ages 4-7 years; MSRP: $24.99)

·  The Pixar Store is open, and it’s time to play! In Pixar Play for VTech's InnoTab Learning Tablets, explore fun games and activities featuring your favorite characters from Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Monsters University and The Incredibles!
·  This InnoTab Learning Cartridge includes a variety of features such as five learning games that introduce spelling, letters, vocabulary, reading, phonics and creativity, an e-Book that retells the story of the movie "The Incredibles," and allows you to take photos with your favorite Pixar characters.

Our thoughts on the InnoTab Pixar Play learning cartridge: 

  • They featured many of his favorite characters that are very age-appropriate. 
  • You can choose your level; easy or difficult.
  • The instructions are very easy to follow. 
  • It is a great way to encourage spelling, phonics and vocabulary. 
  • Your child will feel like they are playing a fun game without realizing they are LEARNING!
  • This is an excellent aid for early readers. 

InnoTab I Spy Adventure Learning Cartridge 
(Ages 4-7 years; MSRP: $24.99)

·  I spy a fun-filled problem-solving adventure in this title for VTech's InnoTab Learning Tablets!
·  Kids can practice early reading skills as they read and solve I SPY riddles and play games to unlock 50 levels of play – each more challenging than the next.
·  Find, match and sore a variety of photo-realistic objects across four action-packed thinking games that build logic, vocabulary and visual discrimination skills.

Our thoughts on the InnoTab I Spy Adventure Learning Cartridge

  • It's very simple to understand.
  • Kids have the option of receiving a hint if they get stumped. This helps reduce frustration when they are trying hard to make a match. 
  • My child feels accomplished when he sees how many levels he has moved up in. 
  • We don't have traditional video games in our home (by choice) so this is a great alternative. 
Both learning cartridges are easy to load on the InnoTab and provide hours of wholesome fun. We are comfortable and know our child is playing something safe that he does not require any monitoring with. Be sure to check out VTech on Facebook and Twitter for product promotions and updates. 

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Five Days of Fabulous Deals from Susan Posnick Cosmetics #ad

For a limited time only, you can purchase some of your favorite Susan Posnick items for a discounted price. Susan Posnick Cosmetics is offering an exclusive Five Days of Fabulous Deals! Sign-up to get the promotion codes every day from Thursday, November 27 until Monday, December 1 though http://eepurl.com/5baBv or on Facebook and unlock one of the special deals below.




Five Days of Fabulous Deals:

· BLACK FRIDAY DEAL: Free Mascara with every purchase
· Colorflo -- 30% off
· 50% off any color flo refill
· 20% off all orders
· Free Shipping & Limited Holiday Gift Pack Thru Dec or while supplies last. The gift pack is priced at $49.95 (over $70 value) and includes their new mascara, color eyedefine, and a mini tweezer in a signature Susan Posnick cosmetic bag.
I have been using Susan Posnick Cosmetics for months now and absolutely love each and every product I have. I recently tried the new ColorCoated Mascara and it delivered the results I anticipated. The actual wand/brush is very small compared to most mascaras I have used. It still helped to coat each and every lash and gave them a thick, full appearance. I have not experienced any clumping or irritation and love that they don't make my lashes look fake. The mascara removes easily with eye make-up remover. The mini tweezer is the best tweezer I have ever used. I can gently pluck my eyebrows and get a good, precise finish. That is money saved on waxing!

Susan Posnick Cosmetics is offering a FREE Mascara ($24.00) with any purchase. COLORCOATED Mascara is the newest addition to Susan Posnick Cosmetics! Not only does it enhance and lengthen your lashes, but it is gluten, paraben and cruelty-free. Go grab some of these deals while you can and Happy Holidays!

I received product samples for review and all opinions are my own as always.
 
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Nov 23, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide: Keep your feet extra comfy with #ISOTONER Signature Slippers #ad

I have been a house slipper wearer for almost 3 decades now. They are a must when I am standing up to wash dishes, cook and other household chores. Wearing the right slippers is very important since my feet really need the extra support. The ISOTONER Signature line offers me exactly what I need. The  ISOTONER Signature Women's Woodlands Sonja Microsuede Hoodback Slippers are very cute and boy do they feel super comfy and warm! They come in a variety of colors: Ash, Black, Buckskin, Chili Pepper, Chocolate, Navy Blue and Vino. 
I have them in black and I just love how they look. My feet feel like they are wrapped in a warm blanket with added cushion. 
I went away to Myrtle Beach recently and I was so glad I packed my ISOTONER Sonja slippers in my bag. They are so cute oceanfront, aren't they?
Details:

- Comfortable hoodback slipper silhouette
- Supple faux fur lining
- Experience the overall style and comfort of ISOTONER Signature Woodlands slippers, inspired by your favorite vacation escape
- Woodlands slippers offer great colors, plush detailing and comfort-to-go styling
- ResponsIV™ Memory Foam Plus molds to your feet for comfort
- Extra EVA heel cushion to absorb impact
- Durable indoor/outdoor sole

I really do love how durable the sole is because I can run out to the mailbox or let the dog out without having to change into traditional shoes. These slippers are truly the best ones I have ever owned. I have had several pairs in the past by Isotoner, but these are my favorite. I have hinted around to my daughters that I need the navy blue and vino so I don't wear out my black ones too fast. ISOTONER slippers make the perfect holiday gift and I am sure Mom would agree! You can find them at a variety of retail stores as well as on the ISOTONER website. They sell for $30, but are currently on sale for $19.99 on the website. As a matter of fact, since most of the slippers are on sale right now, this is a great time to buy a practical gift for the women in your life or even for yourself. My daughters keep eyeing mine so Santa might just drop a pair off in their stockings.

Connect with ISOTONER on Facebook for product promotions and updates.

I received a complimentary pair of ISOTONER slippers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own as always. 
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Nov 17, 2014

Suave® Professionals Body Care- Perfect for moms on a budget! #SuaveSpaSecrets

Suave has been known for many years as a brand that offers great quality beauty products at a very low price. I have used their shampoos, conditioners, body washes and lotion over the years. I recently got to try their latest body care items from the Professionals line. I received samples of the Moroccan Infusion with Moroccan Argan Oil body lotion, body wash and dry oil spray as well as the Natural Infusion body wash with Awapuhi Ginger and Honeysuckle.
I have been religiously using the Moroccan Infusion items for over a month now and it has become my favorite line of body care products. I absolutely love how moisturizing the products are to my dry skin. My husband has tried out the lotion and loves it. I like to mix the body lotion and the dry oil spray for extra softness. My skin stays so hydrated that when I get in the shower, I can still feel the moisture on my legs and body. This amazes me since the products absorb so well and don't make my skin feel sticky or greasy.

I loved the products so much that I decided to buy the matching shampoo and conditioner to try. It has been the perfect thing to winterize my hair. I'm really impressed with the Suave Professionals line of products and both of my daughters are big fans as well. They both find that the Professionals line works even better than some of the bigger, more expensive salon brands. I highly recommend these products and encourage you to try them. You won't be disappointed. You can purchase Suave Professionals Body Care products at most retailers at price points between $3.49-$5.99. Follow Suave on Twitter and Facebook for product promotions and updates.

Also, check out the DIY beauty "recipes" below. They would make great economical gifts this holiday season.


I received complimentary items in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% mine as always.
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Aging and Changing, Being 41

I recently turned 41 (gulp). It seems so strange actually writing that number as my age. I really don't feel that old. I don't even know how 41 is supposed to feel. I know one thing though; I'm surely not 20 or 30 anymore. Many things have changed and I have had to take steps to adapt. I went to the doctor earlier this year for a full physical. It had been a few years since I last had one. I admit, I was very nervous. So nervous in fact that my blood pressure registered a lot higher than normal. I have a terrible family history of heath ailments. What if I find out I am diabetic? What if I have high cholesterol? What if I do end up with high blood pressure? I was really afraid. I knew I had to suck it up and get checked out thoroughly.

It only took a couple days to get the first set of lab results back. I felt like I couldn't breathe when I saw the doctor's office phone number show up on my phone. My heart raced and I had to take a deep breath. My doctor informed me that I had a vitamin D deficiency. I am not surprised by that because it is very common for brown-skinned people to have that issue. For whatever reason, our skin does not absorb vitamin D from the sun like a fair-skinned person would. I was prescribed a once a week, 2 month supplement to boost my levels. I noticed that after 4 weeks of taking the supplement I felt different. I had higher than normal energy levels, my nails were stronger and my hair seemed to be growing overnight. Besides the vitamin D deficiency, the doctor informed me my hormone levels that control my thyroid were abnormal. She asked me if I had been experiencing any of the symptoms like rapid heartbeat, weight fluctuations, sweating, and several other things. I told her no and insisted that the test wasn't accurate. I think she sensed my denial and was kind enough to entertain me. She ordered that I retake labs in 30 days. I took time to research hypothyroidism in depth. I had a light bulb go off in my head. Thyroid issues are hereditary. Almost every woman on my mother's side of the family has been diagnosed and is being treated by medication. I also realized that what I thought was extreme anxiety I have been experiencing for about a year or so was actually heart palpitations. I called up my doctor and she was very polite in not saying, "I told you so". She assured me that being put on medication wasn't the end of the world and it would help my situation.

I have been on Synthroid for almost 90 days now and had my labs done a few weeks back to see of the meds are helping. It turns out that my hormone levels are normal and the medication is indeed doing its job. As much as I did not want to be put on any type of medication for the rest of my life, it is what it is. I have my health under control and will be certain to keep up with regular doctor visits to ensure it stays that way. I have advised a few friends who complained of fatigue, anxiety and weight fluctuations to go get lab work done. I have one friend who told me she found out that she too was vitamin D deficient. None of us are getting any younger so it is important to get into the doctor's office at least once a year.

Do you have regular check-ups/physicals with you doctor?

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Nov 16, 2014

Check out the #BettyCrockerBakeCenter exclusively at Publix! #paid

Baking season is here and I am doing a happy dance! I absolutely love baking for my family and friends throughout the holiday season. The Betty Crocker Bake Center has everything you need to create delicious goodies.You can find exclusive savings on essential baking mixes and ingredients from brands such as Betty Crocker, Hershey’s and Ziploc® brand containers, available at Publix. Looking for new baking recipes to delight your guests this season? The Bake Center display will feature four exclusive baking recipes as well as coupons; find the Bake Center at your local Publix. I checked mine out last week and I grabbed some recipe cards to try out some of the easy recipes.

I received a Betty Crocker Bake Center baking kit complete with everything I need to whip up some special treats.

I decided to go with some festive sugar cookies topped with a Hershey's Kiss. They were so unbelievably easy to make. All I did was prepare the sugar cookie dough according to the directions on the bag and form little balls that were then rolled in Betty Crocker's festive holiday sprinkles. I baked them on a parchment lined baking sheet at 360 for about 13 minutes and let cool on pan for 2 minutes. I then lightly pressed one Hershey's Kiss in the middle of each cookie. You have to do this while the cookies are still semi-hot in order for the chocolate to melt enough to adhere once completely cooled. Aren't they cute?! They are perfect to pack inside some Ziploc containers for easy gift giving. These treats are sure to please your family and friends. I know we LOVE them!

Save on all your favorite baking products, including:

In-Store Savings

  • FREE Ziploc® brand container with the purchase of any three (3) Betty Crocker™ Baking Mixes, Hershey’s® Kisses/Baking Chips, or Betty Crocker™ Decorating Items. Look for coupon in the Betty Crocker in-store display at your local Publix. Coupon available while supplies last.
  • Betty Crocker Supermoist Cake any flavor on BOGO, available 11/13 – 11/19*
  • Betty Crocker Frosting any flavor 2/$3, available 11/13 – 11/19* *Dates might vary in certain markets.

Printable Coupons

Visit www.ReadyPlanSave.com to clip and print your coupons. Available while supplies last.
Save 75¢ when you buy TWO Betty Crocker® Ready to Spread Frosting, Supreme Brownie Mix, Dessert Bar Mix, SuperMoist® Cake Mix.

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through Platefull Co-Op
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Nov 14, 2014

Dinners fussy kids are guaranteed to love

Having a fussy eater as a child can be a lot of hard work. But, did you know that the worst thing you can do is let them know that they are a fussy eater? In situations where your child is refusing some food or saying they don’t like something, bite your tongue. Showing them how much you want them to eat something will only give them a power trip and cause more repercussions. Telling them they are a fussy eater will give them an excuse not to eat things, and make them think they have special requirements! Instead, try recipes like these that they won’t be able to refuse:

Shepherd's Pie

Shepherd’s pie is a hearty meal, filled with carbs, protein, and veg. You can alter a recipe as much as you like too, using different meats, veg, and potato to create a different taste. The great thing about this is that it’s perfect for kids who say they don’t like vegetables. You can hide all kinds of veggies in it! 

Homemade Pizza

Homemade pizza is much better than shop bought or takeaway pizza, as you know exactly what’s going into it. You can even swap the bread base for a kind of vegetable, or even meat to make it healthier. Sprinkle over some light cheese (not too much), and press in as many vegetables as you want. One of my favourite recipes!

Wraps

Wraps are the perfect alternative to a sandwich, and you can even get your child involved by letting them fill them on their own. Simply put all of the ingredients in the middle of the table and tell them to help themselves. This is too much fun for them to refuse! 

Grilled Meatloaf Burgers

Meatloaf can be made with lots of different vegetables too, but you wouldn’t know it as it looks and tastes so nice. You can make it look even more appealing to kids, even kids who say they don’t like meatloaf, by putting it on a bun and calling it a burger. I bet with some healthy homemade relish, they’ll ask for this dish again! 

Crispy Chicken Fingers With Apple Fries

Rather than buying chicken dippers from the shop, make your own crispy fingers out of a healthier breadcrumb alternative. You can even use oats to get that nice crunch! Apple fries are delicious and will add vitamins and nutrients to the meal. If you don’t know where to start, browse the Thermomix forum for tips and advice. You’ll be a pro in no time. 

Cheesy Corkscrew Pasta

Pasta is great for giving kids energy, and cheese makes the meal all the more delicious. Try sprinkling crispy bacon over the top for some crunch. Mix in veg like spinach and peppers, as these will hardly be noticeable to your child. Another perfect weekend treat meal! 

Try these dinners on your kids and see if they dig in any faster than before. Just remember not to make a scene, and hide how much you want them to eat it. They’ll get there in the end!


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Nov 13, 2014

Try out Bojangles' Seasoned Deep Fried Turkey for Thanksgiving (Giveaway) #TisTheSeasoning #ad

I have always wanted to have a deep fried turkey for Thanksgiving, but I am scared to death to actually cook one. I think I have seen enough horror stories on the news to keep me from every attempting it on my own. Did you know that Bojangles' offers seasoned deep fried turkeys for the holidays? Bojangles' wants to do the hard work for you by cooking your turkey so you can have more time with your family and friends. After all, isn't that what Thanksgiving is all about?

You can pre-order Bojangles’ Seasoned Fried Turkeys by visiting one of the participating stores. Customers who take home the turkey the same day their order is placed will also receive a bonus $5 Bojangles’ gift card. Those who’d like to pre-order and wait to pick up their tasty turkey can wait until as late as noon on Thanksgiving Day. Bojangles’ Seasoned Fried Turkeys are a customer favorite—often they sell out even prior to Thanksgiving day so the sooner the order is placed the better! The turkeys are sold for $39.99. Each turkey weighs in at 10 to 13 pounds and feeds six to eight people. The turkeys come ready to cook—customers can simply take it home, heat and serve.

All Bojangles’ locations offering Seasoned Fried Turkeys can provide a full Thanksgiving meal, complete with made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits and family-sized fixin’s such as mashed potatoes, mac ‘n cheese, green beans, Seasoned Fries, Cajun Pintos ® and Dirty Rice® and sweet desserts like Bo-Berry Biscuits®, Cinnamon Pecan Twists and individual Sweet Potato Pies.

Customers can find out if their Bojangles’ is offering the popular Seasoned Fried Turkeys by visiting the bojangles.com/locator and calling their local store. In addition to Seasoned Fried Turkeys, customers can add the delicious taste of Bojangles’ seasonings to every holiday meal by purchasing Bojangles’ pre-packaged French Fry Seasoning at participating locations beginning Monday, Nov. 24. This makes me so happy because I am a huge fan of their seasoned fries! Customers and enthusiasts are invited to share their Bojangles’ seasoned dishes and holiday memories with the hashtag #TisTheSeasoning.

I think the Bojangles' offerings are perfect for office parties, potluck suppers and of course, at home with your family and friends. To get you prepared for Thanksgiving, the folks from Bojangles' have provided me with a $20 gift card to give away to one lucky Mom Files reader. Enter below: a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on November 21, 2014. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes.

Disclosure: I received complimentary items from Bojangles' to help promote their holiday offerings. All opinions are my own as always.
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Holiday menu items at @IHOP now through January 1st

The holiday season has begun, and what better way to start it than by enjoying a terrific meal at your local IHOP restaurant, which has once again introduced special holiday signature pancakes and heart-warming traditional favorites along with a sweet new desert!

Beginning November 3 and extending all the way through January 1, 2015, IHOP restaurants will be the perfect place to get together with friends and family to celebrate the holidays, take a well-deserved and delicious break from holiday shopping and preparations, or just spend time together making new holiday memories.

To capture the magic of the season in a delicious way, IHOP restaurants will be offering guests their version of a season’s greeting with 3 delicious holiday hotcakes:

· New Caramel Bon Bon Pancakes: A sweet treat of buttermilk pancakes layered with dulce de leche cream then topped with a drizzle of caramel sauce and whipped topping.

· New Pumpkin Cheesecake Pancakes: Our most popular seasonal pumpkin pancakes filled with luscious cheesecake bites and topped with creamy whipped topping.

· Raspberry White Chocolate Chip Pancakes - The return of last year’s favorite holiday signature pancake: Buttermilk pancakes filled with sweet white chocolate chips then crowned with raspberry topping, cream cheese icing and whipped topping.

And once again, IHOP restaurants will feature Traditional and Craveable Holiday Dinners & Dessert:

· Classic Ham Dinner: A seasonal favorite made with hickory smoked ham, glazed with sweet caramel sauce and topped with cinnamon apples. Served with sweet potato fries and broccoli.

· Classic Roasted Turkey Dinner: Sliced roasted turkey breast, layered on a bed of stuffing and topped with warm turkey gravy. Served with mashed potatoes, green beans with bacon and a side of lingonberry jam

· Belgian Chocolate Mousse Crepe: Light and fluffy Belgian Chocolate mousse folded into a cool crepe and topped with raspberries, whipped topping and powdered sugar.

“At IHOP, we truly love the holiday season, and what better way to share that love than by creating meals that are sure to make new holiday memories for our guests,” said Marie Grimm, Vice President of Menu Development and Innovation at International House of Pancakes, LLC. “This year, we’re celebrating the season by capturing both the sweet and hearty tastes that make this time of year so special.”

In addition, once again this year, every IHOP restaurant will be decorated with uniquely IHOP branded decorations, including IHOP ornaments and wrapping paper.

For more information or to find an IHOP restaurant near you, please visit www.IHOP.com. Follow IHOP on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.
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