Lifestyle * Travel * Food

May 27, 2014

Summer Menu Items from IHOP

Summertime is here and IHOP® restaurants are celebrating the season by offering three new fluffy signature pancakes, each one perfectly paired with refreshing summer fruit favorites-- peaches, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries:
Strawberry Banana Cream Pie Pancakes: Buttermilk pancakes layered with banana cream, topped with glazed strawberries & sliced fresh bananas bring the delicious flavor of everyone’s favorite summertime pie to the breakfast table.
Raspberry Peach Pancakes: Buttermilk pancakes topped with juicy peaches & drizzled with raspberry sauce that pairs two of summer’s most popular fruit flavors.
Blueberry Cannoli Cream Pancakes: Buttermilk pancakes topped with blueberry compote & perfectly sweetened Ricotta captures the essence of this classic Italian dessert.

Guests can indulge in these new flavors either in a serving of four pancakes, or as part of an Ultimate Bacon & Sausage Combo (3 strips of crispy bacon, 3 pork sausage links, 2 eggs and golden hash browns); a Ham & Eggs Combo (a hearty grilled ham slice, 2 eggs and golden hash browns); Bacon & Eggs Combo (4 strips of crispy bacon, 2 eggs and golden hash browns) or a Sausage & Eggs Combo (4 pork sausage links, 2 eggs and golden hash browns). As always, guests can order eggs to be prepared any way they want them.

And, since summer just isn’t summer without a glass of fresh-brewed iced tea or sweet lemonade, IHOP has paired them both together in three new thirst-quenching fruity varieties that go perfectly with the new signature pancakes:

Iced Tea Lemonade: The classic combination of iced tea and sweet-tart lemonade.
Orange Tangerine Iced Tea Lemonade: Iced tea and sweet-tart lemonade with a splash of orange-tangerine flavor.
Cherry Blackberry Lemonade: Sweet-tart lemonade with a splash of cherry-blackberry flavor.
These seasonal drinks will be available for a limited time only, through July 20, 2014.
Guests will also find that summer has brought great new additions to the regular menu as well; each designed to make IHOP restaurants the perfect choice for lunch:
Three refreshing new signature salads featuring fresh mixed greens and flavorful ingredients:
Citrus Chicken Pecan Salad: Grilled chicken, orange segments & candied pecans on a bed of mixed greens, tossed in our orange vinaigrette dressing.
Crispy Chicken Cobb Salad: This twist on the classic cobb salad features crispy chicken, bacon, hard-boiled egg, tomatoes & crumbled Blue cheese on a bed of mixed greens and tossed in ranch dressing (also available with grilled chicken).
Honey-Lime Chicken Salad: Grilled chicken, roasted Poblano & red peppers, roasted onions & tomatoes on a bed of mixed greens and tossed in our honey-lime vinaigrette.
And guests are sure to find a craveable favorite among the three new sandwiches available:
Spicy Chicken Ranch Sandwich: Crispy chicken breast tossed in our citrus chili sauce, topped with roasted Poblano & red bell peppers, roasted onions, melted Pepper Jack cheese, lettuce & ranch dressing on a grilled bun.
Turkey Berry Melt: Roasted carved turkey with crispy bacon, melted White Cheddar cheese & Swedish lingonberry jam on grilled artisan sourdough bread.
Southwestern Club: Roasted carved turkey with bacon, White Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato & salsa ranch on artisan sourdough bread.
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May 19, 2014

10 Things We Can Teach Our Children to Prevent Dog Bites

Did you know that children are the most common victims of dog bites? Many dog bites that affect children happen during everyday activities and with familiar dogs.

May 18 - 24 is National Dog Bite Prevention Week and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has great ways to help parents and their children understand how they can prevent dog bites, so you can help your kids - and dogs-stay safe and happy!

10 Things We Can Teach Our Children to Prevent Dog Bites


  1. Avoid dogs you don't know. If you see an unknown dog wandering loose and unsupervised, avoid the dog.
  2. Ask before petting!  When the owner is with their dog, always ask the owner for permission to pet their pup. Even if it's a dog you know, asking first can help prevent sudden movements that may startle the dog.
  3. When confronted, don't panic. If a dog confronts you, walk confidently and quietly away. If a dog goes after you, stay calm and stand still, keeping hands low and clasped in front of you. It's important to take a defensive position, so the dog won't think you are trying to harm him.
  4. Don't make it worse. Avoid escalating the situation by yelling, running, hitting or making sudden movements towards the dog. All of these actions will make the dog feel threatened and can make the dog more aggressive.
  5. Let sleeping dogs lie. When a dog is sleeping or eating, leave the dog alone.
  6. Never tease dogs. Don't take their toys, food or treats, and never pretend to hit or kick them. This could create distrust in the dog, and make him or her more aggressive.
  7. Playtime has a beginning and end. A dog has to want to play, but when the dog leaves that's your cue that playtime is over. The dog will come back for more play if he feels like it.
  8. Never pull a dog's ears or tail. Pain makes a dog feel like he is in danger and he could respond by biting.
  9. Dogs aren't toys. Never climb on or try to ride dogs. Not only could this scare or anger the dog, but it could also injure the dog if he cannot support the weight or tries to get away.
  10. Dog crates are safe spaces. Don't bother a dog when he is in his crate. Dogs need a comfortable, safe place where the child never goes. Remember, dogs need alone time too!

Teach your children these simple lessons to reduce dog bites, and help keep your kids and pups safe, happy and healthy! For more information on preventing dog bites, visit www.avma.org.
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May 15, 2014

Healthier Snacking with Nonni's #THINaddictives - Review & Giveaway

I received products samples in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own as always. 
I'm a natural born snackaholic. I crave snacks throughout the day and always like to find something different to try. I have been a huge fan of Nonni's Biscotti for many years. I was excited about their latest product-- THINaddictives. The name was very fitting for this amazing snack. 
I received a couple boxes of THINaddictives in two varieties-- Banana Dark Chocolate and Blueberry Oat. They are jam packed with almonds and have the most crunchy texture, with a lightly sweet taste. The added blueberries, banana and dark chocolate really stand out in these almond thins. They are great with coffee or tea in the morning and can be taken on-the-go for a quick, satisfying snack you can feel good about eating. 
The new flavors maintain the product’s tradition of being made with real, wholesome ingredients, like California almonds and fruit baked into every bite. Created for those seeking a healthy indulgence, THINaddictives are:

·         Low in sugar (5 grams or less per serving)

·         Low in carbohydrates (14 grams or less per serving)

·         Low calorie (100 calories per serving)

·         Available in five delicious flavors, including Cranberry, Cinnamon Raisin, Pistachio, NEW Banana Dark Chocolate and NEW Blueberry Oat.
Nonni’s THINaddictives will host a Facebook giveaway to honor the new flavors May 19-June 1. Fans can choose whether they are “Team Banana” or “Team Blueberry” to entered for a chance to win free THINaddictives!

Be sure to connect with Nonni's THINaddictives for products updates and promotions on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

Would you like to try some THINaddictives for yourself? Five Mom Files readers will each win 2 coupons good for a FREE box of THINaddictives. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on May 24, 2014. Please follow giveaway rules in Rafflecopter widget. Five winners will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!
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May 11, 2014

Plan your next birthday party with SUBWAY Catering ($50 GC Giveaway) #SUBWAYcatering

**CLOSED** The winner is Sheena Tatum-- Congratulations! 

This post is sponsored by SUBWAY, but opinions are all my own.
Planning birthday parties can be a stressful task. There's the guest list, invitations, decorations, tableware, food and so much more. If your schedule is as busy as mine, time is precious. I love to offer my guests nice food and drinks and feel like that part of party planning is the most time consuming. Sometimes just coming up with a menu will make me crazy. I have been introduced to a great way to take the stress out of party menu planning and get back the countless hours I would lose. SUBWAY Catering is here to save your sanity. The website is very user friendly and you can order your entrees, sides, dessert and drink all with a few clicks of your mouse! I did it for myself and believe me, it was life-changing! I have been party menu planning the wrong way all my life. Let me break it down for you...

The first step is to go to the SUBWAY Catering website and find a location you would like you use. Some stores even offer delivery service for more added convenience. Next, you can view the menu items which range from platters & trays, giant subs, to-go boxed meals, dessert, sides and drinks. The offerings vary by store. Here is an example of what it looks like:
You can select what types of entrees you want. I went with the Classic Combo Platter and was able to pick which variety of bread I want, cheese or no cheese and all of the toppings and sauces. 
I went with the option of having a variety of breads and I am so glad I did! If your guests might be picky about toppings, you can opt for a toppings platter so they can pick and choose as they please. Once you finish with your order, choose your pick-up date/time, you then pay for it online. You can even use a SUBWAY gift card like I did. It's a very quick process and you will receive an email with your order number. I suggest signing up for an account because YOU WILL need it for future orders. The entire ordering process took me about 20 minutes. Imagine not having to make a shopping list, go to the grocery store, shop around for ingredients or stand in line to pay for it all. Oh and you are bound to forget something along the way! SUBWAY Catering really made this task so easy. 

I threw a mini belated birthday/you-are-doing-a-super-job in school party for my son William. We purchased some Power Rangers themed decorations, plates, napkins and cups from Party City. They had everything we needed and it was easy to get in and out of the store. I called ahead to my local SUBWAY store that I placed my order to make sure it would be ready for my 11:30 AM requested pick-up time. It turned out that my order was ready ahead of schedule. I made the quick five -minute drive and my order was handed to me right away. I had such a great experience with the staff and they even offered additional plates and napkins for my party. Everything was put together so nicely.

Here are some photos from our intimate little party..


Don't these sandwiches look delicious?!
It was so nice having a variety of subs that everyone found something (or several things) they liked. The cookies were very fresh and chewy the way my family likes. 

My son is my picky eater and he enjoyed his sub. I had to take the toppings off of his. The bread was so fresh and soft, so I think that encouraged him to eat it all. Our family enjoyed everything! This was truly the easiest party I have ever planned. I was discussing future events and already know that the menu portion is taken care of. I may never cook for a party again! SUBWAY Catering platters and subs are a great choice for birthdays, graduations, office functions, class parties, field trips, sporting events and more. I had a great experience and highly recommend you give them a try!

SUBWAY Catering has teamed up with Party City for an exciting new promotion! With any SUBWAY Catering purchase, from now until May 30th, you’ll receive a special link giving SUBWAY customers $10 off a $50 order at Party City. Be sure to connect with SUBWAY on Twitter and like them on Facebook for product promotions and updates.

To help you save time on the next birthday party you plan, SUBWAY has generously offered a $50 SUBWAY gift card for one very lucky Mom Files' reader to win! Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on May 21, 2014. Please follow giveaway rules in Rafflecopter widget. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!
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May 7, 2014

Wordless Wednesday- What Happiness Looks Like

This photo was taken at a recent field trip to the zoo with William's kindergarten class.
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May 6, 2014

Red Robin introduces new Interactive Allergen Menu ($25 RR GC Giveaway)

May is National Allergy Awareness Month. Red Robin restaurant has come out with a new Customizer Hub for guests to to modify their food or beverage order to suit their taste or dietary preferences. If a guest has a food allergy, the Red Robin team member will ring in the order with an allergy alert and bright type so it is clear on the table order. The Customizer Hub is so easy to use and starts out by letting you choose your allergen-specific triggers. Here is what it looks like:
Once you pick the ingredients to avoid, you can go into specific menu categories or choose from suitable options to customize your meal. 
What makes this so great is that they offer suggestions on what is suitable and also foods suitable with modifications. My daughter was able to order a Teryaki Chicken sandwich and we requested it with no mayo. We have some good family friends who have food allergies and sensitivities that we frequently meet up with at Red Robin for lunch or dinner. I have introduced them to the Customizer Hub and they are thrilled with how much easier it is to order their meals. It helps to be able to know in advance what menu item ingredients are and what to avoid. 
Red Robin offers so many choices that are sure to satisfy any taste. I couldn't go to my favorite burger place without having an actual gourmet burger. I tried one of their newest burgers called the Black and Bleu. Oh my word, it was hands-down the BEST burger I have ever tasted. It starts off as a juicy, half- pound Black Angus burger {handmade and flame-grilled to order} and is topped with sautéed, blackened portobello mushrooms, grilled onions, house-made Bleu cheese sauce and Bleu cheese crumbles with Dijon sauce on a Ciabatta bun.  It says that it's a "fork-and-knife" type of burger. That is exactly how I ate it!
My husband was commenting how family-friendly Red Robin is. We noticed a lot of birthday gatherings as well as large groups while we were there. I highly recommend you give Red Robin a try if you haven't already. 

Information about the Interactive Allergen Menu:

·         Red Robin’s Customizer Hub on RedRobin.com allows Guests to test-drive different combinations of ingredients and enjoy their Red Robin menu favorites while keeping within their dietary restrictions. The Customizer Hub gives guest two options: “Customize Your Nutrition” and “Build a Customized Allergen Menu.”

·         Red Robin’s Interactive Allergen Menu provides order recommendations based on guests’ allergies and allows them to view a menu that is tailored to their specific dietary needs. 

·         Red Robin trains all restaurant Team Members to allow guests to modify their Red Robin food or beverage order to suit their taste or dietary preferences. If a guest has a food allergy, the Red Robin team member will ring in the order with an allergy alert and bright type so it is clear on the table order. 

·         This allergen alert appears in easily noticeable bright, red and bold letters on the order and notifies the kitchen that a special allergen kit is required for the order. Red Robin uses allergen kits to prepare all allergen orders. The kits include tools that are for use on allergen orders only and are purple to clearly distinguish them from other kitchen tools. Purple is the color of Allergen Awareness.

·         Red Robin provides the guest with information so they can make an educated decision on what to order themselves, whether it’s for food intolerances or food allergies.

**Just in time for Allergen Awareness Month, Omission Pale Ale will be available at participating Red Robin restaurants nationwide, beginning May 12. Omission Pale Ale, a gluten-free beer, is part of a delicious line of craft beers brewed with malted barley, but specially crafted to remove gluten. Red Robin believes it is important for Guests to have options and information to make educated decisions and is offering Omission Pale Ale on its Interactive Allergen Menu.

Connect with Red Robin on their website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for product updates and promotions. 

Mom Files is giving away a $25 Red Robin gift card to one lucky reader. Enter below:a Rafflecopter giveaway  

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on May 17, 2014. Please follow giveaway rules in Rafflecopter widget. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

I received a gift card to Red Robin for my family to test out the Customizer Hub. The Red Robin information and gift cards have been provided by Red Robin. All opinions are mine. 
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May 5, 2014

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Old El Paso and Publix #platefullcoop

I am a member of Platefull Coop and received products to review and facilitate my post.

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I'm so lucky to have received a fabulous kit with all the basics I need to have a Cinco de Mayo fiesta! My kit included a variety of Old El Paso products, tableware and a Publix gift card to buy the additional food items for my meal. 
If you haven't tried the Old El Paso Stand 'n Stuff tortillas for soft tacos, you better grab some! They are the most convenient way to fill a taco without making a huge mess. It's great if your little ones want to assemble their won taco.

I made some delicious chicken tacos using the Mexican cooking sauce. It really gives your chicken robust flavor and pairs well with all of my fresh veggie toppings and cheese. Right now Publix supermarkets have so many of the Old El Paso products on sale as well as all the fixings to make your Cinco de Mayo party complete!

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Meet our new addition

Hi everyone! I wanted to introduce you to our new family member, Rocco Anthony. Rocco came into our lives last week and we are all completely smitten by him. He is a purebred long coat cream and tan chihuahua. He's only 11 weeks old.

Rocco's breeder recommended that we keep him indoors and away from people and other pets until after his next set of puppy shots. He weighs probably 2 pounds and is a great snuggler. Our family just wasn't the same since our beloved Milo passed away in January. The house has been too quiet and we have all been battling the blues and anxiety. Rocco has really turned things around for us emotionally and seems to fit right in with his new family. Funny thing, the breeder told us he had never put his ears up or even seen the light of day, so this would be a big adjustment for him. When we brought him home he shook out of fear for maybe 5 minutes and after that, his ears popped up and his tail wagged steadily. He adjusted immediately.
We are working on the potty training and sleep patterns. It feels like we have a newborn baby all over again. Rocco is a good eater and seems to be growing overnight. We purchased a play yard AKA "dog condo" for him to have a safe place to be when we leave the house for extended periods of time. He's not spoiled at all ;-)


So far things are going well and we all are enjoying Rocco being a part of our family. He even barked for the first time yesterday. He enjoys playing with his toys and is going through the puppy chewing phase. William really enjoys having his own dog. We are happy he has one to grow up with just as the girls did with Milo. We look forward to making a lot of great memories and feel like a little bit of Milo's spirit lives in Rocco. I promise to go easy on the "crazy dog lady" posts. I wish you all a great week!
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May 1, 2014

SPARQ Home Soapstone 16" Pizza Stone Review

I received a Soapstone 16" Pizza Stone from SPARQ Home for review. I have always wanted a pizza stone and couldn't wait to try this one out. I was so impressed with the way the pizza stone was packaged. It was wrapped with such care and detail that would ensure your stone would not be broken upon delivery to your home. 
The actual pizza stone is beautiful! I was wondering how on earth you are supposed to bake on it since it resembles something you can serve on. I decided to bake a frozen pizza last night. I preheated my oven and let the stone preheat for about 5 minutes before putting the pizza on it. The stone is very dense and heavy so it gets very hot. I was afraid that it would get too hot and burn the pizza crust underneath. I was pleased that it did not end up burning and my pizza had the most amazing crunch. Sometimes when I bake frozen pizza, the crust will brown too fast and the inner part of the bread will not bake enough. My pizza stone baked the pizza to perfection! It tasted like we got it from an authentic pizza restaurant. My family loved the texture of the pizza crust. I don't think I can ever eat frozen or homemade pizza unless it's baked on my Soapstone.  It was really easy to clean and because of how heavy it is, I will store it inside my oven.

Look at how gorgeous that crust is! Isn't the pizza stone so pretty too? 

Some details of the SPARQ Home Soapstone Pizza Stone: 

This Soapstone 16" Pizza Stone allows you to cook like a pro. Handcrafted from one solid block of soapstone, this durable pizza stone does wonders in baking with its even heat distribution.

The 16" is great for entertainers to host pizza night or can function as a cheese board to pass around the room. These stones are stain-proof, naturally non-stick, and can be used on the grill or in the oven to prepare that perfectly crisp, never burnt pizza you've been craving. All sizes are also available with a marble trivet, making these serving pieces oven-to-table.

Our 16" stone is handmade by SPARQ in Colorado by the guys who know soapstone and understand its amazing qualities. Plus, our pizza stones are eco-friendly because they are handmade with soapstone from factory excess.

The Pizza Stones come in 10, 12 and 16 inch sizes and can be purchased with a serving trivet. The 16" is such a good size and retails for $69.95. Once you use this stone, you will ditch your old pizza baking methods. I think I will try to bake cookies on it next. Any of these stones would make a great homewarming gift, hostess gift, wedding gift or even Mother's/Father's Day gift.

To find out more about SPARQ Home products, visit them online and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

I received a product sample for review purposes. As always, all opinions are my own.

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