Family * Travel * Food

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Jun 30, 2013

Our mini-vacation to Grande Shores Ocean Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC

My family had the privilege to visit the Grande Shores Ocean Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC for a mini-vacation. I was able to get a special media rate for a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom oceanfront condo. Our first impression when we were driving up to the resort was, "Oh my gosh, we are staying that close to the actual ocean?!" We were all in awe of the sounds, smell and the sea breeze as we pulled up to the check-in parking area. We walked up to the front desk and were greeted by both clerks and was promptly asked if we needed help. The check-in process was fast and easy. The clerk was super friendly and professional. 

We found a good spot to park our car in the parking garage and headed up to our condo on the eleventh floor. It was very clean and nicely decorated. Here is a quick video of what our space looked like (excuse the shaking)

My husband and kids were instantly drawn to the balcony. Our view was incredible and we were lucky to have such a large outdoor space.

I could not get any of them to come inside for dinner! Speaking of dinner, I was thrilled to have a fully-equipped kitchen. If you have been a reader for a while, you would know how much time I spend in the kitchen!

We packed up our food and drinks so that we could fully enjoy our lovely condo and beach/pool time. It was a pleasure to wake up to the sounds of the waves crashing onto the shoreline as my bacon sizzled away. It was a big money and time saver to be able to eat in.
 It really felt like home away from home.
Another thing that I LOVED was the washer and dryer.  This was such a great convenience for me since I wash clothing daily at home anyway. After all, who wants to go home after a fun-filled trip with dirty clothes to wash? Unpacking was a breeze!
Of course, you can't take a trip to the beach without enjoying the actual beach! It was lovely! You had to option of renting umbrellas and chairs (we brought our own). It was very windy during our stay but it did not affect our fun. The kids thoroughly enjoyed playing in the sand and the water. It was hard to get my husband out of the water each time we went out to the beach. He was like a big kid! 
I think I enjoyed watching my family have the time of their lives. We loved getting into the hot tub and lazy river at night. It was so relaxing! 
We made some wonderful memories that we will treasure.
If you are looking for a nice place to stay in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, we highly recommend Grande Shores Ocean Resort. They offer good rates and many hotels and condos to choose from. Of course you can't beat stepping out of the building and right onto the beach! The location was perfect. We had close access to restaurants, shopping and many attractions that Myrtle Beach has to offer.

Stay updated on specials from Grande Shores on Facebook and Twitter. We are already looking at our calendar and planning a return visit!
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 21, 2013

Best Deviled Eggs Recipe

I have posted my deviled eggs on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter numerous times before. Several people have asked for my recipe so I thought I would share it. It is so easy!
I start with my hard boiled eggs and separate my yolks from the whites. I smash them up and add mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, sweet relish, freshly cracked black pepper and sriracha. After I mix it all up, I add a tiny bit of milk to make the filling creamier. Next, I add my filling into a sandwich bag and snip off one end to make a piping bag. This makes your deviled eggs look prettier instead of scooping the filling with a spoon. I top them off with thinly sliced scallions and a sprinkle of smoked paprika. I sometimes top them with mulit-colored slivers of bell peppers or even a small squeeze of sriracha. Deviled eggs are always a crowd pleaser and a must-have for parties and cookouts.
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 13, 2013

How to Organize Your Recipes {guest post}

This guest post is courtesy of  Instawares restaurant supplies and equipment company.

Whether you're a home cook who takes pride in preparing recipes that have been handed down in your family for generations or a professional chef with a reputation for creating innovative new dishes, your recipes are the key to your success in the kitchen.  Unfortunately, many cooks tend to be disorganized when it comes to maintaining their recipe file.

Instead of desperately paging through recipe books or shuffling a stack of index cards and magazine clippings the next time you want to prepare that special dish, why not organize your recipes into an efficient system so you can always lay your hands on the recipe you want in an instant?

Gather Your Recipes

Before you can organize your recipes, it's crucial that you compile all of them in one place.  Empty your recipe boxes, gather your cookbooks, grab your magazine cutouts and locate your Internet printouts.  No matter where your recipes are at this moment, do what you have to do to get them all in one place, preferably your kitchen table or computer desk.

Assemble Your Supplies

To organize your recipes, you'll need a three-ring binder, enough sheet protectors to contain all of your recipes, plain copy paper, scissors, a glue stick and a color copier or printer/scanner with copying capabilities.  Feel free to jazz up your recipe book with sheets of colored paper, paper with borders, scrapbook-style embellishments and photos of food that you've prepared in the past.

Sort  Your Recipes by Category

Create several piles and sort your recipes into categories.  Meats, poultry, main dishes, casseroles, vegetable dishes and desserts are just some of the categories you can use.  If you're stumped as to which categories to create, choose one of your favorite cookbooks and follow its layout by copying the categories contained therein.

Place Your Recipes in Sheet Protectors

Sheet protectors offer the perfect way to store your recipes for use in the kitchen.  If you happen to splatter or spill something on the pages, you simply wipe it off and the recipe remains untouched.  Recipes that are smaller than 8-1/2" x 11" can be glued to sheets of copy paper and inserted into the sheet protectors.  Place one or more on each page according to your preference.  If you have recipes in cookbooks that you turn to often, copy them or scan and print them so you have them at your fingertips without having to page through one or more cookbooks to locate them.

Organize the Recipes in Your Binder

Since you've already sorted your recipes by category, it should be easy to place them in your binder in an orderly fashion.  Once you've placed them in the binder, use a simple word processing program to create a table of contents or an index that lists all of the recipes your binder contains.  Now when you're ready to prepare a special dish, you'll easily be able to flip to the appropriate page and get to work.

While organizing your recipes may seem like a time-consuming project at first glance, the time you save by being able to find your recipes easily will pay off in the long run.  Not only will you be an organized cook in the kitchen, you'll have your very own personalized cookbook and that's something any cook should be proud of.

Shelly, Mom Files

Try It, Before You Buy (Lots Of) It | Goodies Co. Taster's Box only $7/month #spon

This article is sponsored by Walmart Labs

Have you ever purchased snacks for your family only to find out that they didn't like it? I have done that numerous times and it is such a waste of money. There is a fun new solution to fix that problem. Goodies Co. offers a Taster's box for the low cost of $7 a month. Each Taster's box contains 5-8 snacks that your family can sample. The good thing about it is you won't be wasting a full package in the event you don't like it. If you do like what you try, at least you know you won't waste your money on a full size! With so many subscription box services around, Goodies Co. Taster's boxes are a great value. You can't beat the Try It, Before You Buy (Lots Of) It method!
Goodies Co. Cereal

Goodies Co. Fall Box

Goodies Co. Winter Box
Goodies Co. Nuts

Another great incentive is At Goodies, your opinion matters, and you get rewarded for it. After you try your snacks, go back to the Goodies website and give a review of your box. By doing this you will earn points to redeem for rewards and free tastemaker boxes.

Here is how you can get started on receiving your own Goodies Co. Taster's box you will need to visit the Goodies promo page and enter the code JUNEVIP to instantly receive your invitation. Typically, there is a waitlist to get an invitation, however through our partnership with Goodies Co. you can skip the line and get right in.

Once you enter the code into the promo page, you will receive 2 emails from Goodies. The first will state you are in line for your invitation, the next will instantly tell you your invitation has arrived. This shows you how you skipped the line! So what are you waiting for? Start your Goodies Co. subscription today!
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 12, 2013

What I do with my homegrown garden cucumbers

One thing I have learned over the years is to not over-plant vegetables. In the past, we ended up with so many veggies that we couldn't even give it all away before they went bad. This time around, we planted only one or two plants of each vegetable we like and stuck to containers. One of the veggies my husband insists on each year is cucumbers. We went with pickling cukes since we prefer the crunch of them.

I love to pluck them right off the vine and give them a good rinse. I slice them up with the skin on and add sea salt, cracked pepper, vinegar and a squeeze of sriracha. Toss them up and you have a great side dish for your savory meals.

You can't get any better than eating something fresh that you grew yourself. Did you plant anything this year or do you plan to? Have you made anything yummy with your harvest?
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 10, 2013

#sponsored Get your dishes sparkling with Cascade Platinum Pacs and enter their #MyPlatinum Instagram contest

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Cascade. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

I want to share a confession with you all. I sometimes get so exhausted from a full day of being a stay-at-home mom and homemaker that I leave dishes in the sink overnight or even forget to turn the dishwasher on. It happens and I usually end up regretting it! I can't stand dealing with all of the stuck-on mess the next day. I received a bag of the new Cascade Platinum Pacs to try out and the first thing that stood out to me was that it was their "Ultimate clean for dishes" and required no pre-rinse, fights grease and can even power through stuck-on food particles.
I am one of those moms that rinses the heck out of everything before putting them into the dishwasher. I decided to be a rebel and put crusty, dirty dishes in the washer for maybe the first time in my life! I even dared putting my plastic storage containers with a greasy film in as well.
I popped one of the fresh smelling pacs into my dishwasher and fired it up. I had no real expectations. It seems like most brands claim to do the same as the Cascade Platinum Pacs and I always end up with a film on my dishes. This time was very different. My dishes came out absolutely sparkling and gleaming! From each pot, pan, plate, glass and flatware... all of them came out beautiful!
You see this pot? It has stuck-on rice on the bottom and it is also 18 years old. Look how shiny and clean it is! I usually have to hand wash and scrub my stainless steel pots and pans. Cascade Platinum did the trick! I couldn't be happier! My previous dishwasher detergent will be getting the boot now that I have upgraded to Cascade Platinum.  

These days, so many of us love to snap photos of our delicious dishes we have prepared to share across our social networks. Since we eat with our eyes first, presentation is everything! With that in mind, Top Chef judge and editor of Food & Wine magazine, Gail Simmons, has partnered with Cascade to discuss why presentation is just as important as preparation. Check out this quick video from Gail sharing some plating tips. You can also access more videos and information on the Cascade Facebook page

Right now, Cascade is having a  "My Platinum" Instagram contest to show off your sparkling dishes and glasses. 
To enter, check out the Cascade Platinum page and here is some info: 
Show Us YOUR Sparkle & Win!
So show us how sparkly Cascade® makes all YOUR pots, pans, plates, glassware and silverware!
Enter† Cascade's #MyPlatinum Instagram Contest for a chance to win a KitchenAid® Kitchen Makeover and a 1-year supply of Cascade®! Weekly entries have a chance to win a KitchenAid® Dishwasher and six-month supply of Cascade® too!
Besides being a member of Instagram, be sure to use the hashtag #MyPlatinum and tag @MyCascade to be eligible to win! 
Cascade will pick 2 weekly winners each week and one final grand prize winner. You might just be one of the lucky ones! Good luck. 
Shelly, Mom Files

Jun 9, 2013

My latest Pinterest success | Two-toned frosted cupcakes

Yesterday evening, we had a graduation party for our oldest daughter. I gave her the option of ordering a cake but she wanted my homemade cupcakes. She requested hot pink and white "zebra stripes" for the frosting to match with her hot pink, black and white theme. I already ruled out the fact that I can make the icing turn out to look anything like zebra stripes, but I knew somehow I could pull off dual colored swirls. I remember seeing an idea on Pinterest about a year ago so I figured I would give it a shot.

I started off with baking the cupcakes (I did a boxed white cake to make life easier) and then mixed up my homemade cream cheese frosting. I scooped out half of the frosting in a separate bowl and tinted it with pink food coloring until I got the right shade I was looking for.

Next, I added the plain frosting in a piping bag and the hot pink in another piping bag. I then snipped the tips off both piping bags and put both bags carefully into one more empty piping bag that had a large star tip in it. I gently squeezed some frosting out until I saw both colors come out. 
I was so pleased with the results and it was worth using 3 piping bags to make it happen. I found some cute graduation themed cupcake liners and picks made by Wilton and here is the final product. 
My daughter and her guests all loved how cute the cupcakes came out!  
Shelly, Mom Files
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