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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

You're Still Alive on Facebook-How Social Media Helps After Death

Traverse City hit and run, Bicycling Death Traverse City

This very week, last year, my best friend Kelly Boyce Hurlbert, was killed in a hit-and-run accident in downtown Traverse City, Michigan.  Her killer is still out there.  July 5th, 2013 is a day that I will never forget.  It is a day that changed how I look at the world and how I function within this world.  I haven't been the same.  I suppose its safe to say that a part of me died with her that day.  I mean, I had a friend that I could undoubtedly call on whenever I was in need.  If I needed to share a thought, a story or perhaps I needed some advice-Kelly was always there.  Did I want to reminisce about some ridiculous thing we had done in the past or perhaps recreate that epic moment-Kelly was always a phone call away {and damn that girl was always game for some shenanigans}.

I have never truly experienced death of such a magnitude.  Sure, I have lost grandparents and great uncles but each person that I have lost in my lifetime was older and had seen the world and lived a great, full, life of their own.  My friend, only 29 years old, was robbed of her adulthood and beyond.  She definitely crammed a ton into those 29 years and I am sure if you could ask her today she would tell you "no regrets!"  She lived, loved and enlightened everyone around her every moment of every day.  She was the person that everyone wanted to be around and she was the girl that all girls wanted to be like.  She was beautiful, funny, smart, witty, sarcastic, memorable, amazing and she was well-put together.  She was my best friend.

Facebook has been such a fantastic way not only to share memories of Kelly with her friends and family but it has been a way for me to relive the fun times we had and all of the memories that she made.  Opening up my private messages with her brings back a million smiles and it creates excitement that I have been missing this last year.  A "I miss Maggie in my life" when she moved away for 6 months, a "I need to see your pretty face" when we hadn't had lunch in a long time.  Those are the texts that I have saved, along with thousands more.  Thank God for technology because it makes the hurt and pain not as deep and real.

This past year I have lived in an unbelievable fog.  I haven't blogged as much as I'd like.  I didn't love as much as I would have liked.  I am not proud of myself for all of the things I neglected and I am sure Kelly would kick me in the butt for being in such a funk.  I need to pick myself up and start living again.  I need to embrace the life that I was given...not only for me and my family, but for my best friend who was robbed of her happily-ever-after.  





Monday, June 16, 2014

Playing House on USA #PlayingHouseParty


What happens when you combine a girls night in and USA's newest comedy, Playing House?  HILARITY!  This past weekend I invited my girlfriend Katie over to watch Playing House while sipping on some wine and noshing on hors d'oeuvres and we had a blast!  We put on our "Mark and Tina" robes and poured some vino.  We even wore some cute jewels.  Katie is super camera shy so you won't see her in a robe on here {she said she'd never come back over otherwise}.  Oh yeah, I am sooo sure!  

Wine tumbler, unbreakable wine glass


I am kinda picky when it comes to the type of shows I enjoy on TV.  There are so many that I have "tried" to watch that I just can't get in to.  I do think USA Network makes some pretty awesome shows though.  I adore White Collar and Royal Pains and I got lost in Burn Notice for 6 years.  I think that Playing House is a show that most women can relate to.  You either are a Mom, have a friend who is a Mom, know a "bird bones" girl from high school or have to deal with the guy you gave your virginity to in high school.  Either way, I think that you deserve to check out Playing House.  Like me and don't have cable?  You can stream it live online at USA.com Tomorrow night is their 1st Season Finale at 10/9c.  Catch up today online and binge watch all of this season or moderate your watching to make. it. last.  I wish I wouldn't have watched the entire season in 3 days because now I have nothing to watch until the show picks up again....

What are you waiting for?  Head over to USA.com and watch the Pilot right now.  Make sure you don't have to go to the bathroom first...you might just have an accident.  Don't say I didn't warn you.  After all, I did have two kids already!

Which shows do you tend to watch?  Comedy? Drama?  What is your favorite show on right now?


*This party {Me and Katie and a bottle of wine with treats and fun} was made possible by Universal Cable Productions, all opinions are 100% my own.  I was under no obligation to write a positive review/post*

Friday, May 23, 2014

Quaker Wholesome Breakfast To Go-Shake Review


As a Mom I find it incredibly hard to prepare a wholesome, nutritious breakfast every weekday morning.  Lets face it, I am only human and there are some days I just don't want to crawl out of bed. I have never been a morning person, in fact, I loathe mornings.  I do, however, wake up every morning and ensure that the boys get a nice, hot breakfast before Dexter leaves for school.  He use to ask me for a shake everyday because he would see me drinking them but I worry about giving him too much soy.  I have read that little boys really shouldn't be drinking/eating soy in excess because it can lead to a hormonal balance.

Recently I tried the new Quaker Breakfast Shakes and WOW, I was actually pretty surprised by how yummy they are.  We eat a lot of Quaker granola bars and instant oats so I shouldn't have been surprised but protein shakes are so hit-or-miss.  Oliver was home when the package arrived so he was the first to try them.  He adored the strawberry shake.  I was skeptical that 8g of wholegrains in a shake would be good but it was GREAT!  It wasn't chalky at all.  It was nice and thick and had a great flavor.  I love that there is 10g of protein to help the kids get the perfect boost in the morning.  8g of fiber is also very welcomed because everyone that has kids knows that being regular is important!  

Quaker Breakfast shakes also come in chocolate and vanilla.  We also got to try the chocolate flavor.  I didn't care for that one as much but Dexter thought it was good.  We all agreed that the strawberry was the best flavor.  You really can't go wrong with a super fast, satisfying and nutritious meal for you or your children.  Who couldn't use a little extra "snooze" time in the morning!?

You can find Quaker Breakfast Shakes at Walmart and Meijer stores and select other markets in the US.  We found ours in the cereal aisle at Meijer near the oatmeal.  

*I was provided with samples/gift card to facilitate my review.  All opinions are my own.  I was not obligated to write a positive review*

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Meijer and ConAgra Foods-Child Hunger Ends Here





I recently learned that more than one in five children, including more than one in four Latino children, in the U.S. may not know where their next meal is coming from. That’s nearly 16 million children, a number that could fill 8,000 playgrounds.

Children who experience even intermittent struggles with hunger may suffer serious, long-term consequences to their health, well-being and educational achievement. What’s more, being hungry robs kids of the promise of childhood – the ability to play, grow and learn.



As a Mom, I have a hard time reading statistics like this because I cannot fathom living this truth.  Sure, there have been times, more often than I'd like, that I haven't been able to purchase items that we wanted at the grocery store because we didn't have the extra money at the time but to not provide any food for my child; that would break me.

The people at ConAgra food finds Childhood hunger unacceptable {Go ConAgra!} and that is why they partnered with P&G to build a community of people to make a difference and help donate up to 7 MILLION meals through the Child Hunger Ends Here campaign.

What can you do to help?!  Look for these ConAgra and P&G brands at your local store. 
       Look for the red pushpin on participating product packaging for a code found on these specially marked ConAgra Foods and P&G products. For each 8-digit code entered at www.ChildHungerEndsHere.com from March-August 2014, ConAgra Foods or P&G, respectively, will donate the monetary equivalent of one meal to Feeding America.


·       Join the Community and Get Involved. One of the easiest ways to learn how to get involved is to join the Child Hunger Ends Here Facebook community at Facebook.com/ChildHungerEndsHere or follow the news on Twitter and Instagram at @ChildHungerEnds.

·       Community Food Donations. ConAgra Foods is donating 50,000 meals to community food banks on behalf of Meijer, in appreciation for their fantastic partnership to end child hunger!

     Speaking of Meijer, right now they have some great MPerks deals to help you save when purchasing products to help End Child Hunger.


Which products do you purchase that will help Meijer and ConAgra end Child Hunger? We buy Mueller's pasta, Charmin and Bounty.  Who can turn down Hunts tomatoes when    they're on sale either?




**I participate in this program on behalf of ConAgra Foods and The Motherhood. All opinions are my own.**

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Mother's Day Gift Suggestions from Grandpa Shorter's

Being a Michigander is something that I take very seriously.  I love living in Michigan.  I love the beauty that surrounds me everyday, I love the water and everything it possesses and I didn't even complain {very much} about the looooong winter this year.  One thing I especially love about Michigan is all the neat little towns that you can visit on a leisurely drive.  One town, nestled on Lake Michigan, is Petoskey.  Petoskey has the best downtown shopping with a plethora of stores to visit; each one being unique and different.  Grandpa Shorter's is hands-down, the most positive store I have every shopped.  It radiates warmth and charm and there is no way you could walk out of there without purchasing one of their many unique items.  Not local to Petoskey? No worries, Grandpa Shorter's has an online store too.Jason always gives me a hard time every year around Mother's Day because I never give him a list.  He is going to be excited because I finally put together a list and he can either drive and pick it up or have it shipped right to the house.  The last order I placed, I received in 2 days!

For Camping or for our backyard bonfires

Michigan pudding stones were formed in Canada over one billion years ago by volcanic activity and later moved by glacier ice sheets. These conglomerates are found in only a few areas of the world. Each area has pudding stones that differ in color combinations, depending on the types of rock that were fused together by the volcanic activity in that region. 


You had me at bacon!


There are very few things better than Brownwood Farms Cherry Preserves on a buttered english muffin!

This would be perfect on the wall of my wet bar!

Leland Blue-isn't this stone heavenly?  Its the color of Lake Michigan

What is on your Mother's Day wish list?




*I was compensated for this post.  I was asked to share my Mother's Day gift ideas with you.  All opinions and ideas are 100% my own*

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rabbids Invasion Giveaway

Get Ready for a Rabbids Invasion and Giveaway

Rabbids Invasion 1

The Rabbids Invasion has begun and just in time for the Easter holiday you can deliver the Easter Bunny on a more funny note. These crazy rabbits are not just for Easter and will make great gifts anytime of the year. These funny friends have lept off the screen and into the hearts of children and adults alike and you have a chance to win a Rabbids Invasion Prize Pack below.

My kids are A-typical boys.  They love fart jokes and crazy characters.  What I like most about Rabbids Invasion is the fact that they are ridiculous and crazy without being a bad influence.  Dexter, being 6, likes the way that they talk and he loves their silly faces.  In one episode, one of them slipped on a banana peel and he and Oliver laughed uproariously!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ozeri 8" Green Earth Frying Pan Review




Happy Earth Month!  I love April for so many reasons and fresh flowers, sunshine and Earth Day sure are a few!  Ever since I started this blog over 5 years ago, I have brought attention to many Earth-friendly products and companies.  Yes, April is National Earth Month but every day in my home is Earth Day.

A few months ago, I received an Ozeri Green Earth Frying Pan for review.  In all honesty, they're probably not happy that it took me so long to test the pan out and give it a fair review.  I detest bloggers that don't do enough of that.  I have used "green pans" before and they chip, stick and get nasty after a few weeks/months of use.  I wanted to make sure that YOU were told the truth about Ozeri and their pans.

First off, I used this pan, at least once a day for the last 4 months.  Thats over 100+ times of cooking, washing, drying and repeating.  I always wash and dry it right away and hang it on the wall in my kitchen so it won't scratch.  Another thing you should know is that THIS PAN IS MAGIC!!  Let's get to that!

 The number one reason that I adore this pan:

                                                                                      
                                 

The second picture illustrates how clean an omelet flips out of the pan!  This is where other pans frustrate me.  I was blown away from day one.  The third picture also illustrates how amazing the nonstick coating is on the pan.  I was making a frittata and all I did was clear a little section of egg off with a spatula.  It was effortless!  The last picture, the grilled cheese demonstrates how EVEN everything cooks in this pan.  Its still mind-blowing even after so much use.

The second things I love about my Green Earth Frying Pan:

  • Unlike other ceramic cookware brands, the Ozeri pan utilizes an ultra-safe ceramic coating derived from nature which is 100% PTFE and PFOA free.
  • Delivers unprecedented non-stick performance without releasing harmful fumes or toxins at high temperatures.
  • Features a scratch-resistant 100 percent ceramic coating as found in nature (no heavy metals or chemicals) that is super easy to clean.
  • Made out of durable heavy-gauge die-cast aluminum with no heavy metals or harmful chemicals.
  • Boasts a comfortable heat resistant Bakelight handle, and a magnetized induction stove safe base for rapid heat transfer.

Pretty much what this means is that the nonstick coating that Ozeri utilizes is nontoxic and won't compromise your food or your health!  That is not only revolutionary but it is admirable and noteworthy!

The third thing I adore about this pan:

Do you notice that there are no rivets fastening the handle to the pan?  I love love this!  How many times are you cooking something in a pan and food sticks to the rivets and it cakes on and is very hard to clean off?  Yeah, I can't stand that either.  I also can't stop thinking about how much old food is caked under the rivet...

I have absolutely zero complaints about this pan.  I love everything about it.  In fact, my husband, who is a chef, said "this is by far the best pan I have ever used".  Now, that is a heavy compliment!

Purchase yours today on Amazon and get free shipping on orders over $35. 

*I was provided with this pan for purposes of this review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions are 100% my own and I was not under obligation to write a positive review*