Trendy Mom Reviews
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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

(Win it!) Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Children That Don't Require Cooking

Are your children early birds that need a healthy breakfast?  My children wake up between 4 and 6am every morning.  I'm not sure where they inherited this early bird syndrome because my husband and I both want to sleep longer.  I often find myself in a daze as they pull me from bed with requests for breakfast.  They are energetic little boys that enthusiastically follow me through the kitchen as I try to prepare their breakfast.  In today's post, I'll share tips for healthy breakfast ideas that are easy for you to prepare in advance so that you don't have to cook at the crack of dawn when your early birds wake you up!  These ideas are also great for children who are old enough to serve themselves breakfast, but not old enough to use your oven, stovetop, or microwave.

Healthy Breakfast Ideas for Children That Don't Require Cooking

1. Prepare fruit essence water in the evening.
We don't want our boys to consume too much sugar, so we avoid juice. Instead, we refrigerate water with fresh fruit in the evening and serve it to them in the morning.  We use whatever is in season, including everything from raspberries to limes.

2. Prepare Overnight Oats in the evening (or microwave them for 2 minutes in the morning if you forgot to prepare the previous evening)
We love overnight oats for our boys because they are easy to prepare and packed with nutrition such as fiber, protein, antioxidants, and vitamins. The fiber helps them to digest their breakfast slowly so that they don't have a mid-morning crash.  We use the Dave's Naturals brand because they include healthy additions to overnight oats, including chia seeds and various fruits and seasonings depending on the variety that you buy. They are really easy to prepare. Pour, sleep, eat.  It is that easy.  You just add enough milk to cover the oats the night before and refrigerate. In the morning, the oats are softened to perfection.  No cooking is required. If you forget to prepare them the night before and enjoy your oats hot, microwave for 2 minutes.  (I add milk to the overnight oats for my boys, but I am vegan, so I add almond milk to my overnight oats. We are all happy!)

Here are the varieties:
  • Blueberry AlmondVanilla Overnight Oats by Dave’s Naturals is like waking up to fresh ripe blueberries and oatmeal on a summer morning with almonds, chia seeds, and vanilla to round out the flavor.  Ingredients:  Ingredients:  Organic Whole Grain Oats, Organic Cane Sugar, Chia Seeds, Oat Bran, Blueberries, Almonds, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt.  
  • Cinnamon RaisinOvernight Oats by Dave’s Naturals:  The warming cinnamon scent of Cinnamon Raisin is enhanced with texture of chewy raisins and soft chia seeds.  You will love the burst of sweetness you taste when you bite into a raisin.  A classic.  Ingredients:  Organic Whole Grain Oats, Raisins, Organic Cane Sugar, Chia Seeds, Oat Bran, Cinnamon, Natural Flavor, Sea Salt.   
  • Apple Nut OvernightOats by Dave’s Naturals is like digging into Apple Pie for breakfast.  This hearty oatmeal is a flavorful combination of sweet apples, cinnamon, almonds, nourishing organic oats and oat bran, and chia seeds.  This flavor will make you think of all the things you love about the Fall, like fresh crisp apples, campfires, and Halloween. Ingredients:  Organic Whole Grain Oats, Organic Cane Sugar, Almonds, Chia Seeds, Oat Bran, Apples, Natural Flavor, Cinnamon, Sea Salt.  
  • Mixed Berry OvernightOats by Dave’s Naturals is bursting with a bit of everything:  summertime blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and chia seeds make a lively oatmeal with a bit of crunch.  Ingredients:  Organic Whole Grain Oats, Organic Cane Sugar, Almonds, Oat Bran, Chia Seeds, Blackberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Natural Flavor.  

You'll find the individual serving size containers on Dave's Naturals website here: Blueberry Almond Vanilla, Cinnamon Raisin, Apple Nut, and Mixed Berry Overnight Oats. You may also order them by the case through Amazon here: Blueberry Almond Vanilla, Cinnamon Raisin, Apple Nut, and Mixed Berry Overnight Oats.

3. Prepare Mini Muffin Egg Whites with Spinach and Tomato in advance.
In addition to Dave's Naturals Overnight Oats, my boys also love little Mini Muffin Egg Whites with Spinach and Tomatoes. I usually make these over the weekend and then refrigerate and serve them as a side dish for breakfast throughout the week.  They are easy to prepare.  Here is the recipe that we use:

Recipe: Mini Muffin Egg Whites with Spinach and Tomatoes
  • 1 cups of egg whites
  • 1/2 roma tomato (diced and drained)
  • 1 cup of spinach (cooked and chopped)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line two mini muffin tins with cupcake liners. (Otherwise, you need to generously grease the pan with olive oil.)
  3. Whisk the egg whites, diced tomatoes, spinach, and black pepper until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Pour the mixture into the mini muffin tins
  5. Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the eggs set.
  6. Refrigerate and serve with breakfast throughout the week.
Of course, if your children are not a fan of tomatoes or spinach, substitute these with cheese, ham, shredded chicken, or veggies that make them happy. 

4. Prepare fruit salad in small containers.
We always offer our children small fruit salads at breakfast or as a snack later in the day. Lately, they have been adding fruit salad to their Dave's Natural Overnight Oats. If you have little ones that always want to help you in the kitchen, this is a fun way for your little chefs to create their own "recipes." Our favorite is the Mixed Berry variety of Dave's Naturals Overnight topped with fresh blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

As a mom of two energetic boys who wake up before the sun, you have my sympathy when it comes to preparing breakfast while you are barely awake.  I hope that you enjoyed our tips to help put your healthy morning breakfast routine on autopilot.  It's definitely possible to prepare healthy breakfasts with only a small amount of effort in the morning if you prepare a bit in advance.  

PS - All of these breakfast ideas are also great for children who are old enough to serve themselves, but not old enough to use an oven, stovetop, or microwave.  Even the Dave's Naturals Overnight Oats don't require cooking in the morning!

Win it!
One lucky winner will win a case of Dave's Naturals Overnight Oats that includes 2 of each flavor for a total of 8 and a r.v. of $28.  Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The winner must have a U.S. shipping address. No P.O. boxes. The winner will have 1 week to respond to our message with their shipping address. Otherwise, we will select a different winner. Good luck!
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Monday, July 24, 2017

(Win it!) Summer Fun Idea: Visit Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen for Your Passport to Summer

We hope that you have enjoyed our series of posts that contain fun ways to spend time with your family this summer.  In today's post, we'll share a fun lunch or dinner idea that your family will love - a visit to Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen for tropical hand-crafted island favorites!  Our family fell in love with their island-inspired menu items and we'll tell you why in this post.  We'll also share a giveaway where one trendy reader will receive a $50 Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen gift card!

Let's start with a quick overview of Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen. Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen restaurants are located nationwide. Click here for a store locator.  This trendy restaurant began in 1979 with a core concept that is true to this day - they use quality ingredients and focus on preparing most menu items from scratch.  For instance, we visited over the weekend and asked for insight into their most popular menu items.  We learned that their chicken fingers with ranch dipping sauce is their top seller.  Not only are the chicken fingers breaded and made from scratch, but the ranch dipping sauce is also made from scratch.  In fact, our waiter shared a secret that one of their chefs made a batch of the ranch dipping sauce in the morning, but it sold so quickly that they had to make a second batch while we were there for lunch.  He said that people visit for the made-from-scratch quality and that the chef will probably make additional batches throughout the day.

We also had the opportunity to experience their Passport to Summer which includes several tropical menu items.  Let me give you the full list and then share a few photos of our meals. The Passport to summer includes:
  • Hand-crafted island favorite drinks
    • Maui Margarita
    • Presidente Sangria
    • Island Tiki
    • Cheddar's Pina Colada
    • Cheddar's Painkiller
  • Tropical-inspired menu items
    • Sweet Heat Chicken & Shrimp
    • Grilled Tilapia and Shrimp with Mango Salsa
Let's start with the hand-crafted Maui Margarita.  Isn't this drink beautiful?  I think that their bartenders are enjoying the tropical spirit on the menu because they put such artistic touches on the drinks. Another thing that I noticed is that Cheddar's is generous with the portion size and attention to detail.  Doesn't this drink make you want to visit on a hot Texas evening?!

Let's move on to the Passport to Summer menu items.  We couldn't decide which one sounded better, so we tried them both.  The first is the Sweet Heat Chicken & Shrimp.  I really enjoyed this because it was flavorful.  What really stands out is the balance of the spicy island flavors and mango salsa. Not only did my husband and I enjoy this meal, but our little boy enjoyed it too.

The next menu item is the Grilled Tilapia and Shrimp with Mango Salsa. Again, this meal was perfect thanks to the close attention to detail and tropical flavors.  The spices in combination with the mango salsa are delicious.

We hope that you are able to visit a Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen this month to enjoy the Passport to Summer menu.  It's nice to feel temporarily transported to the tropics thanks to the special beach-inspired menu items.   As a mom, I love this trendy restaurant because I appreciate good quality food that is made from scratch. I also appreciate that my children love this restaurant too!

Win it!
One lucky reader will receive a $50 Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen gift card.   Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The winner must have a U.S. shipping address. The winner will have one week to respond to our email with their shipping address. Otherwise, we will select a different winner. Good luck!

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Visit Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen here!

Thanks to Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen for sponsoring this post and providing the prize for this giveaway.
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Friday, July 21, 2017

(Win it!) 5 Ways for Moms to Relax #MomSneak #StreamTeam

5 Ways for Moms to Relax

As a Boy Mom, you have my sympathy that there is never enough time for "me time." Let's break it down:

There are only 168 hours in a week. I spend 
  • 40 hours working 
  • 10 hours driving to/from work 
  • 56 hours sleeping (or trying to sleep) 
  • 7 hours preparing meals
  • 7 hours exercising
  • 7 hours getting ready for work
  • 7 hours getting my children ready in the morning
  • 7 hours giving them baths, brushing their teeth, and reading bedtime stories. 
This leaves just under 5 hours/day of giving my children attention and fitting in "me time."    The hours go by quickly!  In today's post, I'll share a few quick ways to do the "Mom Sneak" for "me time."

1. Run with your children using a jogging stroller and/or bike.
Multitask by exercising with your children.  I put my youngest in a jogging stroller and my older son on a bike for runs to the park.  It's a great way to pack exercise and quality time into my day.

2. Do the Mom Sneak with Netflix.
I keep my iPad in my purse so that I am able to enjoy Netflix whenever possible. Smuggle a tablet into the bathroom for a little GLOW during your morning routine, but be forewarned: distracted makeup application may result in a look as bold as one of the gorgeous ladies of the 80s. And if you find yourself overstaying your welcome in the grocery store parking lot watching The Walking Dead, don’t feel guilty.  Follow #MomSneak for additional fun ideas from other moms!

3. Set up a Make-Your-Own Dinner Night.
Everyone loves a "Make-Your-Own Dinner Night." Set up the ingredients for your family to make their own tacos, pizzas, or sandwiches. It will save you time on meal preps, plus children love to make their own creations.

4. Hold Cleaning Sprees.
We play a game where we all clean as much as possible in 10 minutes. All of our family members clean as quickly as possible in a small increment of time. It's amazing how much we accomplish!  We then enjoy a Netflix show together as a reward.

5. Organize Play Dates.
As a mom, it's often tough to find time to spend with friends. Organize play dates to spend time with other moms while your children play.  It it is a rainy day, plan to watch the new The Adventures of Puss in Boots Season 5 that comes out on July 28th.

In addition to the fun Mom Sneak ideas above, let me also share some fun releases to watch with your children.



Win it!
One lucky winner will receive a 6 month subscription to Netflix. Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The winner will have one week to reply to our winner notification email with their mailing address. No P.O. boxes.  Good luck! a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thursday, July 20, 2017

7 Important Things to Keep in Your Purse for Children with Food Allergies

Disclosure: I am not a medical professional. Take this list to your child's physician to ask for their advice since every child is unique and may have different types of allergies and needs.

Food allergies are on the rise and no one knows quite why. It is stressful to have a child with food allergies. Personally, my child was once rushed to the doctor and given steroids because he swelled up and almost stopped breathing. It was the scariest moment of my life and made me determined to become a more organized person at home and on-the-go. In today's post, I want to share tips for things to keep in your purse for children with food allergies. I will also show you my trendy purse and mini zipper pouch that makes me feel stylish without being too bulky.

5 Important Things to Keep in Your Purse for Children with Food Allergies

1. Keep their prescription medication in an area of your purse that is easy to access.

The type of medication that your doctor recommends may vary, but for us, our son needs an EpiPen Jr. I have the Midway Hobo purse from Thirty-One Gifts which has a nice zipper enclosure that is easy for me to store medication.

2. Keep laminated instructions for emergencies and a list of local emergency rooms with addresses.
Your treatment will vary based on the instructions of your doctor, but for my son's food allergy, we have instructions for how to administer his EpiPen Jr. and that he must go directly to the emergency room after it is administered. On the back of the laminated card, we have his pediatrician's name and phone number, his allergist's name and phone number, and a list of local emergency rooms with addresses. In particular, we marked the nearest emergency rooms that specialize in pediatrics. The closest location is the most important factor, but if we are in between locations, we prefer the ER that specializes in pediatrics.

3. Keep a copy of their insurance card.
When you visit the emergency room, they will ask for your child's insurance card. Keep it in a handy location.

4. Travel sanitizing wipes.
My child is not even one year old yet, so he still wants to touch everything. I keep a travel pack of sanitizing wipes in my purse to wipe down tables and high chairs. (This works for our child, but please talk to your doctor as your child may have a more severe allergy where sanitizing wipes are not enough.)

5. Safe snacks.
Keep safe snack foods in your purse. This takes the bulk of the space in my purse, but is a necessity since many places are not able to accommodate food allergies. We store snacks in a Mini Zipper Pouch from Thirty-One Gifts.

6. Allergy alert bracelet.
We have an allergy alert bracelet for our child. However, he doesn't like to wear it. I keep it in my purse for when he needs it.

7. Cell phone programmed with "ICE" - In Case of Emergency.
Add an ICE ("In Case of Emergency") phone number to your cell phone so that someone is able to call your spouse or other emergency contact for you if needed. I have a purse with an exterior cell pocket to make my phone easily accessible. My Midway Hobo purse from Thirty-One Gifts has a nice exterior pocket for my cell phone.

Personally, I found the perfect purse that balances my need for carrying several supplies for my child's allergies and other basics such as my phone, keys, and other small items. It is the Midway Hobo purse from Thirty-One Gifts. The trendy Midway Hobo purse comes in several colors, but I have the Black Beauty Pebble color because I like that it is a classic color that goes with almost anything. The dimensions are 12/5"H x 12"L x 3.5" D with a handle drop of 14.25". It's a great size for everything that I need. Best of all, it has three interior pockets, one exterior cell pocket, and a zipper closure. The pockets are great for moms like me who have important medical supplies and instructions that may be stored in their own pocket for easy access.

Disclosure: Again, I am not a medical professional. Take this list to your child's physician to ask for their advice since every child is unique and may have different types of allergies and needs.
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(Win it!) The Top 5 Books for Birthday Party Gifts

In today's post, I want to share some fun birthday party gift ideas. Children's birthday parties often pop up on short notice throughout the year.  It's nice to keep gifts on hand so that you are ready on the spur of the moment. We love to give popular gifts that are also educational. In today's post, I'll share some great book selections from National Geographic Kids that are great for birthday parties. They are gifts that both children and parents love.

Here are our  picks for the Top 5 Books for Birthday Party Gifts:
  • 100 Things to Be When You Grow Up (ages 8-12, $9.99) - No better time to think about all the possibilities the future holds than a birthday! From beekeeper to ice-cream taster, forensic psychologist to Hollywood animal trainer, conservation biologist to Chief Happiness Officer, this book features 100 of the coolest, wackiest and most amazing jobs out there (greeting card maker?? Yes, you can!). Hands-on projects, advice from National Geographic explorers, interviews with experts, weird-but-true facts and tips for aligning your interests and personality to your job and more, this new book in the popular "100 Things" series is a great way to get kids thinking creatively about what their exciting future has in store for them.
  • Cat Tales: True Stories of Kindness and Companionship with Kitties (ages 9+, $12.99) features cats from around the world, each one with an amazing story to tell about their compassion, ingenuity and bravery. “Ask an Expert” sections throughout the book offer insight into understanding the curious world of cat behavior, ways to keep your favorite feline happy both mentally and physically and even the trick to taking great cat photos (because the internet does not have nearly enough!:)). And are you curious as to why we love those cute cat videos? Page 57 explains the science behind the obsession.
  • Ultimate Space Atlas (ages 8-12, $12.99) — Attention Space Lovers! Blast into space to explore our solar system and beyond. This out-of-this-world atlas takes readers through maps of the solar system, the Milky Way, and deep space, giving them a close look at and locations of planets, supernovas, and other universes. Sky maps will help kids spot these objects in the night sky and maps of planets and our solar system give the kind of incredible detail that NationalGeographic is known for. It's the perfect book for space fans and budding astronauts.
  • Chomp! (ages 7-10, $12.99) - National Geographic Explorer and snake wrangler Dr. Brady Barr has been bitten by a lot of creatures over the years. So this book is born from first hand – er, tooth – experience of getting close to some of the biggest biters in the animal kingdom. It turns out that there's a lot more to biting than meets the eye. Physical features and the how (and when and why) an animal bites reveals much about the animal itself. Chomp! highlights an array of awesome creatures with a diversity of chomp styles – from shredders and slicers to grippers and gulpers. Then it shows how tooth type, bite force, jaw shape, and food source all come to together to make each an incredible member of the animal bite force!
  • Awesome 8 Extreme (ages 8-12, $12.99) — Got a kiddo in mind that always wants to know the who/what/where of the coolest things on the planet? Check out the Top 8 lists in the latest Awesome 8! This lively book features 50 different topics with dazzling photo, such as the 8 most awesome Monster Fish, Dressed Up Dogs, Supersize Sculptures, Rad Replicas, Coolest Pools, Serious Stadium Snacks, Thrilling Theaters, Dazzling but Deadly, Hair Through History, Volcanoes We Lava, and so much more. It's so graphically engrossing, you truly have to see it to believe it!
In addition to the great books above, we also love trendy Thank You cards from National Geographic. These are great to keep on hand so that your little ones are able to write Thank you cards:
  • National Geographic Kids Thank You Cards (ages 6-9, $9.99) — Pay it forward with this big book of gratitude, filled with 30 cool pull-out thank you postcards and fun themed content. Adorable animal photos paired with heartfelt and funny captions show how much we have to be grateful for in our wondrous world. Each card leaves plenty of room for kids to craft their own messages to show friends and family how much they care. Content includes tips and tricks for writing sincere, well-crafted, and properly formatted thank you notes, as well as more cute creature pictures to spread that warm, fuzzy feeling far and wide.

We hope that you enjoy these trendy books as much as we have enjoyed them!  They are fantastic for birthday gifts. You will find more details and other great books on the National Geographic Kids website here.

Win it!
One lucky winner will receive all six books listed above, assorted gift bags and tissue paper as well as a sheet of postcard stamps to mail the postcards from the Thank You Cards book (ARV $84). The winner must have a U.S. shipping address. No P.O. boxes.  The winner will have one week to reply to our email with their shipping address. Otherwise, we will select a different winner. Good luck!
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July 2017 Paper Pumpkin - Positively Picturesque

July 2017 Paper Pumpkin - Positively Picturesque
This month's Pamper Pumpkin kit from Stampin' Up! is a lovely surprise called, "Positively Picturesque." This trendy kit offers eight unique cards for you to create with pretty designs that are great for a variety of occasions. My family is home this week, so we had fun working on the cards together. It's nice that my special crafting time often becomes family time where we enjoy spending time together on the projects.

The July 2017 Paper Pumpkin kit includes:

  • Positively Picturesque Photopolymer Stamp Set 
  • Soft Sky Classic Stampin' Spot 
  • Tranquil Tide Classic Stampin' Spot 
  • 4 standard card bases (2 ea. of 2 colors) 
  • 4 note card bases (2 ea. of 2 designs) 
  • 4 printed standard envelopes 
  • 4 printed note card envelopes 
  • 4 sheets white die cuts (2 ea. of 2 designs) 
  • 2 printed flower yardstick pieces 
  • 8 die-cut stickers 
  • 3 sheets die-cut elements 
  • 12 woodcuts (2 ea. of 6 designs) 
  • 5 yds. pink washi tape 
  • 5 yds. blue washi tape 
  • 65 dimensionals 
  • 100 adhesive dots

Let me share a couple of examples. The first card that I created is for my mom. I used the trendy supplies to create the pretty card below.

My son created the card below for his camp counselor. I loved his use of washi tape, stamps, and wood cuts.

We love the the monthly surprises from Paper Pumpkin.  They are fun for me to work on, as well as, our entire family. If you want to learn more, click here to visit the Paper Pumpkin website.
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