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Jan 30, 2014

Soup for you! with the Original SoupMan #SoupManFan #ad

This is a review in partnership with The Niche Parent Network & Conference. All opinions are my own.

These days, unless you live in Miami or some parts of California, you are experiencing frigid temperatures and wintry weather. We just had our first snow a couple days ago and man oh man has it been cold! Weather like this calls for hot food. Soup is my general go-to meal for super cold days, but during the week this is not always possible. Homemade soup takes hours to make! I received the seven soup sample pack from The Original SoupMan line. 
Varieties include: Lobster Bisque, Chicken Noodle Soup, Lentil Soup, Crab and Corn Chowder, Jambalaya and Chicken Gumbo. 
I always remember watching episodes of Seinfeld and never forgot the Soup Nazi who would boldly yell, "No soup for you!". No lie, I often wondered how good the soup could really be with all the hoopla surrounding it. Lucky for me, I finally got the, "Soup for you!" package and couldn't wait to test them out. My younger daughter is my soup lover and can eat it any time of day/year/weather. I let her choose the first variety to try. She has my taste so she picked the lobster bisque. These soups are packaged in Tetra packs which I much prefer over a can. I confess, I am a soup snob. Homemade can't be beat. I was so skeptical. The packages are so easy to open and I poured the container into a small pot and heated it thoroughly on the stove top. I did add a little freshly cracked pepper to taste. I had my daughter taste it first. She immediately closed her eyes and gave me the thumbs up. She told me I must try it myself.
I fixed myself a bowl and tried to stay positive. I tasted the first spoonful and thought, "Okay, it's not bad". The second spoonful hit me and I was floored. This soup was unlike any other soup I have ever tried. It was delicious! The taste and texture were perfect. It had a good balance of flavors and a very ocean-like taste at the same time. The packaging gave the idea of adding some fresh chunks of lobster to kick the bisque up a notch. It makes me wish I saved this variety for me and the hubby to have with the added lobster. I told my husband how good it was so we both tried the Crab and Corn Chowder. He was very impressed with how homemade it tasted and we both loved the savory richness. It really was restaurant quality. One package serves two people and you can have it as a main course.

The interesting thing about these soups is that the packaging gives you recipe ideas to transform them into unique dishes. I don't think I will follow the recipes since the soups are so delicious as is. The Original SoupMan soups are available at over 500 Walmart locations, over 750 Stop & Shop, 1400 Safeway stores, Giant, Martin’s Supermarkets, plus other grocers across the nation. Find a store near you here.  

Stay connected with the Original SoupMan on Facebook and Twitter for product updates.

Jan 24, 2014

Try Matlaw's Stuffed Clams for your Super Bowl party

I received samples for an honest review. All opinions are completely my own. 

It is football and basketball season and we have been tuning into the games as often as possible. We traditionally have friends over to watch the Super Bowl game and I have been putting together my menu of goodies to serve my guests. I was so lucky to receive some Matlaw's Stuffed Clams to review. These stuffed clams come frozen and are made from quality ingredients. 
I just love that the stuffing for these appetizers are filled into real clam shells. I used the oven bake method of cooking them. You can also grill or microwave them. I lined a baking sheet with foil and placed my clams on it. 
They went into a 450 degree oven 30 minutes and came out a gorgeous golden brown color. My kids were lured into the kitchen because of the wonderful smell that lingered in the house. 
We all tried them with a couple splashes of hot sauce for an extra kick. Oh boy, they were good! My husband really enjoyed them and my sometimes finicky teens loved them too. The stuffed clams were packed with flavor and had a light texture at the same time. The clam pieces were not rubbery at all. Overall, it was a perfect balance of savory flavors. 
I can already picture these stuffed clams on a platter lined with some fresh greens and lemon wedges for presentation at my Super Bowl party. I also love the idea of having them as a side dish when we do a crab boil. You can't beat the convenience of simply popping them in the oven or on the grill for a quick satisfying snack or appetizer. If you haven't tried Matlaw's Stuffed Clams before, I suggest you look for them. They are awesome! Right now until January 31, they are on sale for only $3.99 per tray at Food Lion stores in North & South Carolina. 


Jan 23, 2014

#PowerRangers Super Megaforce premieres on Nickelodeon Feb 15th

Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce to Premiere Saturday, Feb. 15, at 12:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon

Launching the Most Super-Charged Season with Special Keys to Unlock the Power of Every Ranger EVER

Saban Brands and Nickelodeo announced that the all-new season of Power Rangers, Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce, will premiere on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 12:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon. Following its debut, the show will air regularly Saturdays at 12:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon, with encores airing Saturdays from 8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. ET beginning Feb. 22 on Nicktoons. Now entering its 21st season, the Power Rangers franchise remains one of the top-rated and longest running boys live-action series on television.

In the final moments of the last season, the Power Rangers defeated the Warstar villains. Now, in Power Rangers Super Megaforce, Prince Vekar arrives with his massive alien Armada to conquer the earth. With the help of their supernatural guardian, Gosei, the Power Rangers are given special morphers and keys that allow them to morph into Super Megaforce Rangers! Using these keys, they also have the amazing new ability to morph into any team of Legendary Rangers from the past, gaining access to their incredible powers, weapons, Zords and Megazords.

“With Power Rangers Super Megaforce, we are excited to bring an all-new action packed storyline to fans around the world,” said Elie Dekel, President of Saban Brands. “This season reveals secret powers, the introduction of a new member of the team and legendary Power Rangers from the past 20 years, all of which are sure to keep fans engaged all season long.”

The Super Megaforce Rangers include: Troy, the Red Ranger (Andrew Gray); Noah, the Blue Ranger (John Mark Loudermilk); Gia, the Yellow Ranger (Ciara Hanna); Emma, the Pink Ranger (Christina Masterson); and Jake, the Green Ranger (Azim Rizk).

Fans can head to, which will be refreshed for the Super Megaforce season. The site will include original videos, full episodes, and sneak peeks of the upcoming season. On Feb. 10, fans can play the brand-new Power Rangers Super Megaforce: Legacy game on Featuring the brand-new Power Rangers Super Megaforce for the first time, these five new Rangers will suit up to fight the forces of Prince Vekar. The Rangers must cut through Hordes of X-Borgs and their bigger counterparts, Bruisers, on 3 challenging levels, each with its own unique setting and super powered boss. The game also features all-new Legendary Moves where the Power Rangers Super Megaforce will power up and transform temporarily into these classic Rangers and unleash the powers of those legacy Rangers.

For more information on Power Rangers Super Megaforce, please visit and follow on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

About Saban’s Power Rangers Super Megaforce

Saban Brands will launch the newest installment of the Power Rangers franchise, one of the top-rated and longest running boys live-action series on television, with Power Rangers Super Megaforce. The new series, which premieres on Nickelodeon in early 2014, will deliver super mega action, humor, excitement and entertainment, in addition to the core themes of friendship, teamwork, fitness and helping others. Power Rangers Super Megaforce will introduce all-new morphing abilities, allowing the Rangers to morph into any team of Power Rangers from the past. The Power Rangers franchise is helmed by Haim Saban, who created and produced the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers series in 1993. SCG Power Rangers LLC, which licenses and merchandises the Power Rangers brand, is an affiliate of Saban Brands. For more information, visit

Jan 13, 2014

I used to think all dog people were crazy

If you told me 11 years ago that your dog was your child or slept in your bed, I would look at you like you were nuts. Growing up in my culture, dogs were taboo in the home. My parents discouraged animals of any kind and would not even visit people if they had a house pet. I did not have the desire to ever have a pet because of my upbringing. When our first child was old enough say the word "dog", she asked for one. I refused to entertain that idea. I told my husband that until we bought a house and had a fenced in yard, I would *think* about it. Of course, the time came that we got the house with the yard and the question came up again. I let my husband and first born have their way and we got a 3 month old long coat chihuahua puppy. He was kind of cute, I admit. It took me no time at all to end up falling in love with this little pooch known as, Milo. We raised Milo as if he was our child. Anyone who visited, even non-dog lovers couldn't resist Milo. He was a cute and sweet dog. He loved everyone except the postal service workers, FedEx and UPS delivery people and the occasional stranger. If he sensed you were not supposed to be around our home, he would let you know it!
Over the years, Milo has been a faithful companion. He was always with one of his family members. He did not like to be left out of anything that was going on. If my husband was outside doing yard work, Milo was there. If I was working in my office, he would nap at my feet. If the kids were watching television, Milo lounged on the couch or floor near them. He was a family dog.

About two months ago, Milo started coughing. It was the first time we had ever heard him do that. We watched him for a few days and decided it was time to get him checked out at the vet. After a thorough examination, x-rays and blood work, it was determined that he had congestive heart failure. At that time, his lungs were full of fluid and he had a heart valve infection. It also was discovered that he had an enlarged heart that was pressing against his windpipe. That was what caused him to cough. We went ahead and got him some immediate treatment and had him put on 4 medications as well as a low-sodium prescription diet. The prognosis was that he may do well on the medications and live a relatively normal life or the opposite. For the first two weeks being on the medication, we noticed a difference and he seemed to be improving. Unfortunately, that didn't last long. He was getting sick again. The coughing came back. It got to the point that he was having a hard time breathing normally. We tried him on another batch of antibiotics as well as his other heart medications and he did not improve. He worsened.

It came down to having to make that big decision. Do we keep watching him suffer or let him go be at peace? It was a unanimous decision by our family (minus William since he doesn't fully understand) that we would have him put down. I always used to tell the girls when Milo was younger that pets don't live for a long time. They aren't the same as humans. I guess we didn't realize that time would come so soon. Ten years flew by and we had to do the right thing for Milo. We spent all of last week saying our final goodbyes to Milo. We let him do as he wanted and fed him like a king. It was hard. We all cried. I cried so much that I couldn't recognize my own face. I did not know I could love a dog that much.

We officially had him put down on Saturday morning. It was so hard. Everyone was very upset, but we knew it was the right thing to do. I think that knowing what was going to happen made it easier to handle. Milo has given us over 10 years of unconditional love and loyalty. We were so blessed to have him in our family. He is gone, but will forever remain in our hearts and memories.

The hardest part now is all the little reminders of him around the house. I no longer have the need for baby gates when we leave the house. I don't have to worry about leaving certain things on the floor in fear he might tear it up. I still hear him though. I hear faint barks and whimpering. I hear the jingle of his collar tags and his nails on the floor as if he is walking around the corner. It feels like he's still here. I have called the kids Milo almost a dozen times already. It will take time. We will all heal. For now, I focus on how much better a person I am because of him. I also know that dog people are definitely not crazy. They have extra big hearts.

Rest in sweet peace, Milo Anthony. You gave us 10 awesome years! We know you are living it up with all your friends in Heaven ♥

Jan 10, 2014

Get Weight Watchers approved items from Publix #myblogspark (Giveaway)

**CLOSED** Winner is Angel L. Congrats! 

The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Right now Publix is offering some great deals on Weight Watchers approved items. They include:
  • Progresso Light Soups: BOGO 
  • Green Giant Frozen: BOGO
  • Yoplait: 20/$10
You can check out the Publix everyday savings site for printable coupons to save even more. This is a great time to stock up on these foods. I have purchased a lot of Yoplait yogurt for the kids. They have been grabbing them for breakfast most mornings. I also stocked up on Green Giant frozen veggies for future meals. I like to incorporate green beans, broccoli or carrots in my son's mac and cheese for lunch. 

One Mom Files reader can win a prize pack that includes a cool collapsible salad container, water bottle, snack container and a $25 Publix gift card. Both the salad and snack containers can be put in the freezer before food is added to keep food fresh and chilled when on the go. All items are BPA-free. Enter below in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck! 

This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on January 21, 2014. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email to claim prize. Mom Files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes or for fulfillment of prizes. Good luck!


Costumes and it's not even Halloween?

I know I can't be the only parent with a little one who loves to dress up in Halloween costumes even in the off-season. William has a fascination for all things Power Rangers and Superheroes. As a matter of fact, he has worn his Halloween costumes over the last few years well after the fact and to the point that they were too small. The fun part about wearing a costume for a kid is how well they use their imagination. I love seeing William pretend to fight off the bad guys or even put on a voice to play the part of a Superhero.

It got me to wondering, where can you find costumes during the off-season for your kids? I did some research online and came across
I was really impressed by the variety they offer. I was able to find certain characters that I didn’t realize there was a costume for. William loves the Spider-man movies and especially loved the scene from, “The Amazing Spider-man” when Spider-man went to battle with the Lizard. He would go nuts with this costume!

Since we don’t own a video game system (and don’t believe in them) we encourage imaginative play. If I could convince my husband to get a costume, he and William could act out some of the movie scenes! Since they do that anyway, it shouldn't be a problem! The great thing about fun costumes is that they can always be passed down once your child (or husband) outgrows it. Our neighbors have a younger son and he has gotten a costume from William each year. I’ll say you can really get your money’s worth that way.

Do your kids like to dress up in costumes when it’s not Halloween? Have you ever thought about buying a costume during the off-season?


Jan 9, 2014

Extra Crispy Chicken Wings from your oven (Recipe)

With football and basketball season in full force, we reach for our game food favorites. One thing that we must have for the Superbowl or NBA Finals is chicken wings. We love them cooked almost any way, but absolutely can't resist a crispy fried wing. The problem is, I do not like to fry. I fry *maybe* three times a year. I just don't like the house, our furniture or my hair smelling like fried food. I have been baking wings in the oven for years and finally found a way to make them so crisp, you would think they were deep-fried. The secret is Dijon mustard. 
I take my washed and dried chicken wings and season them with my favorite spices and seasonings, except for salt. I add a couple tablespoons of Dijon mustard (this is why I don't add salt) and toss the wings to coat evenly. I spray non-stick cooking spray on a broiler pan/drip pan and lay my wings out in an even layer. I put them in my preheated oven on 375 and use the convection setting. I let them get very brown and crisp. It takes about 35 minutes. If you don't have a convection oven, you may need to flip wings over once for even browning. The end result is perfectly crispy chicken wings. My family enjoys them and I like the fact that I can cook a lot of them at one time. Enjoy!

Jan 4, 2014

Being fake can get you more likes. Say what?

Today I checked the mailbox like usual and the only thing that came was the latest copy of Seventeen magazine. I subscribe to it for my daughters because I had to use up some My Coke Reward points and figured they may like it. I know growing up, I adored Seventeen magazine along with other teen-geared publications. I mean, what girl wouldn't want to look at the latest fashion trends, make-up tips and cute boys? I glanced at the top of the magazine and it caught my eye. It read, "Pretty Selfie Secrets, Beauty tips that will get you "likes". 
I was really bothered by that. Why do you need selfie secrets and why does it matter how many "likes" you get? If you are a teenager, chances are that "likes" equal popularity. I just had to see what Seventeen magazine was selling our teenage girls. I saw the "Fake perfect skin" part. It gave advice on what products to use on your face to make yourself appear to have perfect skin. What on earth? Why would anybody want to give the illusion that they have perfect skin when people that know you in real life know about any imperfections you may have? The article gives more tips about make-up tricks to make you look selfie ready. 
I really thought it was sad. It tells girls that they can't be pretty as is or with minimal make-up. It sells the idea that making yourself look flawless will make people like you more (get likes). I immediately discussed this with my daughters and they were both disturbed by it all. I do my best as a mother to set a good example to my girls about being loving yourself including your flaws. Also, too many selfies make you look like a narcissist. You have to really feel badly inside if you slather on a ton of make-up and post photos of yourself fishing for media likes. And we wonder why our girls have such low self-esteem. SMH. I just had to share this.

Jan 3, 2014

"All You Can Eat Pancakes" is back for a limited time at IHOP® restaurants

It’s a brand new year, and what better way to celebrate it than to treat yourself to classic Buttermilk pancakes — as many of them as you can eat! Starting January 2, 2014, you’ll want to head to your local IHOP® restaurant because “All You Can Eat Pancakes,” a perennial favorite among guests, is back for a limited time. One of IHOP restaurant’s most popular promotions, this “keep them coming ‘til you say when” stack of our famous Buttermilk Pancakes is available as a main dish or alongside one of our delicious combo orders.

From January 2 through February 9, 2014, guests can order one of IHOP restaurant’s delicious combos featuring eggs any style, crispy hash browns, and a choice of pork sausage links, crisp bacon or ham — all with a plate of two delicious signature Buttermilk Pancakes, or they can order a stack of five Buttermilk pancakes as a main course. Either way, when those pancakes are gone, guests can get an additional serving of two pancakes. And when those are gone…they’ll keep on coming as long as the guest can keep eating them!

 “There are so many ways to enjoy our classic Buttermilk pancakes,” said Natalia Franco, senior vice-president, marketing, International House of Pancakes, LLC. “Now you can have your pancakes the way you always do…and still be able to try a new way of adding butter or discovering a different syrup. Or you can experiment with any combination of our famous syrups to create your own flavor. We know people love our pancakes, and as long as you can keep eating them, we’ll keep serving them!”

As always, guests can also enjoy their favorite items on the regular IHOP menu, featuring a variety of SIMPLE & FIT items, each under 600 calories.

For over 55 years, International House of Pancakes, LLC has been a leader and expert in all things breakfast and a leader in family dining. The chain is highly competitive in its menu offering, serving 65 different signature, made-to-order breakfast options as well as a range of meals under 600 calories.  Beyond offering “everything you love about breakfast”® IHOP® restaurants have a wide selection of popular lunch and dinner items, as well. IHOP restaurants offer guests an affordable, everyday dining experience with warm and friendly service. As of September, 2013, there were 1,602 IHOP restaurants in 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as in Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, the Philippines and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Under the licensed name IHOP at HOME® consumers can also enjoy a line of premium breakfast products available at leading retailers. IHOP restaurants are franchised and operated by Glendale, Calif.-based International House of Pancakes, LLC and its affiliates. International House of Pancakes, LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN).  For more information or to find an IHOP restaurant near you, please visit  Follow IHOP on Facebook and Twitter.


When Life Gives You Lemons ... Keep Your Head to the Future (Guest post)

2013 is a year that I’ll mark down as one with plenty of ups and downs.

I had the wonderful experience of moving into a new apartment with my girlfriend, becoming a proud owner of a husky puppy, and I did rather well in my work.

Though …

The last few months have been somewhat rough. I lost two of my grandparents and my girlfriend lost one of hers. There were a few rocky parts about the “what’s next” in the relationship. The holidays certainly added to the overall pressure.

But in the end, I am grateful for what I have experienced. It really helps to shine a light on the important things in life. It reminds you of the old saying of “when life gives you lemons … make lemonade” but, for me, it became a thought of “look to the future”.

The things that became Increasingly Important

I can’t speak for all of us, but when you’re faced with these types of ups and downs, you can’t help but think of the big picture.

The more I age, the more it has become increasingly important (and apparent) that I figure out what’s in store for my future.

These are items like:
•  If I had a child how would I pay for their college?
•  Why do I get wrapped up in the “rat race”?
•  How am I going to plan for my retirement?

I know these are some of the very same thoughts you have and I believe I might be able to share a bit of wisdom about these topics.

1. Keeping Healthy

I like the concept of “your body is your temple” because it helps you understand that you have just one and what you put into it really does matter.

It doesn't matter if you let yourself go, if you’re already lean, or if you’re dealing with some kind of setback. What matters is that you take control of your health and the best way, on the fundamental level, is through proper food.

Don’t continually wait for the New Year to make a commitment to better living. Start learning healthier options for your cooking. Start getting out there and exercising (even just 15 minutes a day). Get the whole family involved – get them excited.

You’ll add years to your life if you make the commitment to be healthy – and you’ll certainly want to see the same for your family.

2. Finding Acknowledgment in a Career

Being proud of your work and gaining acknowledgement of your commitment is very rewarding on a psychological level.

I noticed this with my grandparents. They were from another time so they were the type to put in the hard hours even when the task was far out of their league. They went through times far worse than mine and came out very successful.
I think you should do the same.

Your career doesn't need to suck away the time you can spend with the family. On the contrary, you should strive to increase proficiency in work rather than throwing more time at it. Not only will you have that extra time to spend with the family but you’ll set in motion what’s needed (savings and investments) to ensure your child has the opportunity for a higher education.

3. Knowing what’s at the end

We all meet our end, which is a scary thought in and of itself, but even scarier when you think about what you leave behind to your children.
Bills? Maybe. Inheritance? Hopefully.

It doesn't matter how you start – just the fact that you do start planning for your retirement. This can involve any number of savings plans. Schwab recommends investing in an IRA account, but that's just one of multiple options.

You won’t always have the same energy or skill set to compete in your career. You will eventually retire. You also want to plan for the unexpected (those lemons).

Get real about your life and how you impact others. Save anything (even a little) for the future. Give up chasing material possessions that holds you back from enjoying the bigger picture. Solidify the well-being of your family (and all those after) by committing to planning for the end.


Jan 2, 2014

Get those holiday photos put on canvas or enlarged for your wall with PrintKEG (Giveaway, 3 winners)

Did you take a ton of photos over the holidays? I know we got some great ones that I need to get off my phone and into print. I especially love large prints for my wall in my family room. I have been wanting a wall dedicated to family photos for some time now and decided that I would start this year.

I have been browsing on They offer many printing options in a variety of sizes, finishes and price points. Right now I am thinking about canvas prints and posters. They really look beautiful when you put them in a nice frame. I have some really big frames I bought on clearance last year that are screaming to be displayed!

PrintKEG has been so generous to offer a giveaway for 3 Momfiles readers to win their choice of canvas or poster print. Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end on January 13, 2014. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email to claim prize. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes. Good luck!

I will receive a promotional gift code for sharing information on PrintKEG's services. All opinions are my own and no other compensation was received.

Finally, a multi-vitamin I can take with ease! SmartyPants Gummy Vitamins review

For my entire adult life, I have had difficulty taking multi-vitamins and dietary supplements. Apparently I am allergic to a certain combination of vitamins that bring on flu-like symptoms. Crazy, huh? When I was offered a sample of SmartyPants gummy vitamins to review, I did some quick research. I wanted to read up on them before committing to try them out. My first thought was that my oldest daughter can't take vitamins because she has great difficulty swallowing pills. If anything, she might benefit from them. I decided that she would be the one to review this product in my place. 

Her initial reaction was, "Yum!". She loved the flavors and the fact that she felt like it was more of a treat than anything. I was so curious that I had to try them for myself. I was very nervous because the last thing I would want is to come down with cold/flu symptoms. I went for it and tried them out for a week. Guess what? No bad reactions were had! I couldn't believe it! I finally found something I could take to supplement my relatively healthy diet. They worked out very well for my daughter and she decided that she wants to buy them for herself when she starts her job. 
Here are some facts about SmartPants All-in-One Gummy Vitamins for Adults: 

  • Only Multivitamin + Omega 3s + Vitamin D gummy on the market!
  • Excellent Source of Omega 3 DHA+EPA* from eco friendly small fish oil
  • 225% of the US RDI for Vitamin D + includes 9 other nutrients
  • No High Fructose Corn Syrup, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.
  • Gluten & casein free. Made in California in a GMP-certified facility

You can check out SmartyPants on the web or connect with them on Facebook

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