Dallas Mom Blog and Fort Worth Mom Blogger: Trendy Mom Reviews
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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Recipe: Turkey Breast and Stuffing in a Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker (Dinner in an Hour!)


Recipe: Turkey Breast & Stuffing in a Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker
Ingredients

  • 1 frozen turkey breast (Optional: We used a seasoned turkey breast)
  • 3/4 cups of water
  • 2 cups of instant stuffing mix 
Directions
1. Add the water and frozen turkey breast to the Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker.

2. Close the lid and cook the meat for 1 hour.

3. Carefully release the steam and lid to check whether the turkey breast is done. If not, add approximately 20 minutes and then check again until ready.  (Our 3 pound turkey breast took 1 hour, but the time may vary based on size.)

4. Carefully remove the turkey breast and carve it, leaving the drippings in the Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker.

5. Add the instant stuffing mix to the drippings and carefully stir. Allow the stuffing mix to absorb the liquid for approximately two minutes before moving it to a serving bowl.  (Optional: You may need to add more or less stuffing mix depending on the size of your turkey breast and the amount of liquid. It's easier to start with less stuffing mix and then add more as needed rather than the other way around.)

6. Optionally serve with cranberry sauce.


The Crock-Pot Express Crock Multi-Cooker is available on Amazon here: 

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Now Accepting Submissions: Our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide Project is In Progress!


Trendy Mom's Holiday Gift Guide is our biggest project of the year. We spend three months working on this project.  We try our best to identify the biggest trends for the new holiday season so that we showcase the perfect collection of products for families.    The categories that we are focusing on this year include:

  • Gifts for Moms
  • Gifts for Dads
  • Gifts for Children
  • Gifts for Babies and Toddlers
  • Gifts for Teachers
  • Holiday Family Activities


If you have a product or family activity that you would love for us to consider, please email us: 


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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Why I Chose Laser Hair Removal Over Waxing


If you follow regularly, you know that I have been achieving fantastic results with laser hair removal at spa810 Dallas. In today's post, I'll reflect on how I've tried both waxing and laser hair removal, but decided, without a doubt, that laser hair removal was the best option for me.

Let me start by telling you something that happened over the weekend. I attended a pool party and met another mom who brought up the topic of laser hair removal.  I was excited that she volunteered to share this information.  I wanted to know about her experience since I am halfway through my sessions. She told me that she completed her laser hair removal sessions 20 years ago and that the results were life changing.  She only shaves once every few months for stray hairs.  She felt that it was one of the best investments that she has ever made.  Not only is it nice for her day-to-day life, but the results were a lifesaver when she was pregnant and didn't have to worry about shaving much. She was also grateful for the results when she was on crutches for a few weeks and didn't have to worry about shaving. She was excited for me because she knows that I will appreciate the results on a daily basis.

Now that I shared this story, let me share several reasons why I chose to pursue laser hair removal over waxing.

Why I Chose Laser Hair Removal Over Waxing
1. I am a perfect candidate for laser hair removal.
The way that laser hair removal works is that the laser targets the pigment in the hair follicles. As someone with fair skin and dark hair, I am a perfect candidate.  I really like spa810 Dallas because my aesthetician is very knowledgable and has been wonderful about explaining the process, what to expect, and helping me to have realistic goals. I appreciate that we discuss the results that I noticed after each visit and that she customizes my treatments. The results have exceeded my expectations so far. (Read about my first few visits here.)

2. I have a low pain threshold.
I've tried waxing several times and it was painful each time. I tried an at-home kit that I couldn't finish because it was too painful.  I still remember how my hopeful attempt turned into a nightmare where my husband had to run to the store to get baby oil to remove the wax to avoid further hurting my skin.  I also visited a salon to have my legs waxed, but it was very painful.  I finished the session, but never returned.  Due to my fear of waxing, I chose to visit spa810 Dallas for my laser hair removal treatments because they use the Alma Soprana ICE laser which has a reputation for being comfortable in comparison to some of the other lasers. In hindsight, I wish that I would have skipped the waxing experiences and went straight to laser hair removal for multiple reasons, including that laser hair removal with the Alma Soprana ICE laser at spa810 Dallas has been much less painful than waxing.  I feel quick laser pulses during the treatment, but it has been very tolerable. In fact, as a mom of a toddler who doesn't sleep that well, I started to fall asleep during my last session.  

3. Only laser hair removal may provide life long results.
Not only was waxing more painful for me, but the results were short lived.  While the results vary by person, typical results from waxing last 3 to 6 weeks. On the other hand, laser hair removal often provides longer term results. Our bodies are complex, so it is impossible to give an exact number to the amount of hair removal for each individual to expect. Even factors such as pregnancy or menopause hormones may later kick hair back into growth. While no one has a crystal ball to give a definitive answer, laser hair removal has been amazing for many people and may remove up to 84% of hair for a lifetime for some people. The laser targets hair that is in an active growth stage. Many people need approximately 8 sessions to remove the majority of their hair because hair grows in different cycles.  There are three stages of hair growth: anagen (active growth phase), catagen (transition phase), and telogen (resting phase).  Each laser hair removal session may remove up to 10% to 30% of the hair depending on the amount of hair that is in the active growth phase.  Personally, I am an optimist and look forward to my own results, especially after hearing success stories from other moms!

4. I do not like growing out body hair for waxing.
Another reason that laser hair removal is nicer than waxing is that you are able to shave in between appointments.  Waxing requires you to grow hair to at least 1/4" to 1/2" in length before your appointment. On the other hand, you are encouraged to shave before laser hair appointments which allows you to feel cleaner in between appointments. 

5. The cost of shaving and waxing adds up over decades.
Let's not only consider the inconvenience of shaving and waxing for decades, but also the costs.  I looked up stats on different websites to get an idea of the costs.  Let's start with a baseline that spa810 Dallas offers a full body laser hair removal package for $2,999. (There are also other packages for small, medium, large, and extra large areas if you have particular areas of concern.) Now let's consider the cost of waxing.  I found an article that I really liked, "Wax Vs. Laser Hair Removal" where they estimate the cost of waxing as $23,000 over a lifetime and that laser hair removal saves $20,000. While this is just one estimate that I found on the web and results may vary by person, it reminded me that small things add up quickly over the years! I am an optimist and look forward to tracking my results in the coming years.

Finally, we all know that the results will vary by person. This is why I am always excited to hear about other experiences and to share my own.  I recently finished my fourth visit and am thrilled with the results so far.  If you want to learn more, consider visiting spa810 Dallas.  I've had a fantastic experience with them! They even offer a complementary laser hair removal session on a small area so that you are able to try it before committing to a package.  I love that they do this because it shows that they want clients to be happy. 
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Monday, September 3, 2018

(Win it!) Santa Bruce (Bruce #4)


Thanks to the Disney Book Group for partnering with me for a giveaway!

Do your children have books that they read many times over? At our house, the most repeatedly read books are from the Bruce series of books. My kids can't get enough of this grumpy bear and the other sweet animals in the books. In today's post, I'll tell you about the fourth book in this series - Santa Bruce (Bruce #4). This book arrives in stores on September 4th, but my children had a chance to take a sneak peek and fell in love with it. Similar to the other books with Bruce, this book is a hit! Let me share the details without ruining the surprises and then share a giveaway.

Here are the details that you need to know:
Santa Bruce (Bruce #4)
By Ryan T. Higgins
In Stores September 4th, 2018
Published by Disney Book Group
Recommended for ages 3+

Bruce is a lot of things. He is a bear. He is a grump. He is a pretty decent cook. And he is a mother. One thing Bruce is not? Santa Claus. But that doesn’t stop the whole forest from lining up to give him their Christmas wishes when he becomes the victim of mistaken identity—again. Kids will howl with laughter as award-winning author-illustrator Ryan T. Higgins delivers another hilarious story about this bear who just can't catch a break. 
About the Author
If you don't already know about the author, let me tell you that he is awesome! Ryan T. Higgins (ryanthiggins.com) is an author and illustrator who likes the outdoors and cheese sandwiches. He is NOT a grumpy old black bear, but he DOES like making books about one—starting with the best-selling Mother Bruce, which received the E. B. White Read-Aloud Award and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Honor. He lives in Maine with his wife and kids… and too many pets.
In our personal experience, my children loved this book. I have the happiest memories of this book because I saw my children light up with joy as they giggled loudly and wanted to read it over-and-over again. They think that Bruce is the funniest character and can't get enough of him. This book is truly part of their happy childhood memories.



Win it!
One lucky winner will receive a trendy prize from Bruce thanks to the Disney Book Group. Specifically, one (1) winner receives:

  • a copy of Santa Bruce and branded ornament,
  • plus a $50 Visa gift card for holiday shopping.


The winner must have a U.S. shipping address. The winner will have 72 hours to respond with their shipping address. Otherwise, we will select a different winner. Good luck!

Learn More
Get the book here. Follow Disney Book Group on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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Sunday, September 2, 2018

Inexpensive Teacher Gift Ideas


My children are my world and add meaning to my life. I love them more than anything.  As a mom, I know the amount of work that it takes to care for them which makes me the first to notice that their teachers also work incredibly hard to take care of them too.  I strongly believe that it takes a village to raise a child because we all share our different gifts to help shape our children. Teachers are part of our village, so we like to let them know that they are loved and appreciated by our family throughout the school year. In today's post, I'll share some inexpensive gift ideas for teachers.

Let's start with the basics. I posed a question in a Facebook group of moms to ask for gift idea recommendations for teachers.  There were 1,000+ moms in the group, including many teachers and family members of teachers, who generously shared their opinions. Not only did I learn nice ideas, but I also learned about things that teachers may not be thrilled about. Gift cards, practical items such as organizational supplies, and personalized items were at the top of the list.  On the flip side, several teachers tried to convey in the nicest way possible that they had less preference for coffee mugs or homemade food items, especially if they had food allergies. A few people shared that some teacher gifts should be special for the teacher rather than for the classroom.  In any case, there was a running theme that it's always nice to be appreciated and that handwritten notes and artwork by children is appreciated too.  Thanks to the enthusiastic responses of the moms who shared their feedback, I realized that we all want to do nice things for teachers and that large gifts of kindness are always appreciated, but we sometimes need some inspiration.  In today's post, I'll share some trendy gift ideas for teachers that range from $2 to $45. You may even pick and choose from the list of ideas to fill a large customized caddy.


Let's start by talking about a few of the top items that other moms recommended - gift cards, personalized items, and organizational supplies.  I found a great way to combine organizational supplies and personalization thanks to Thirty-One Gifts.  You probably know of Thirty-One Gifts thanks to their iconic utility totes that people carry around in trendy prints that are also embroidered with names or phrases. For instance, if you visited a waterpark or soccer game this summer, they were everywhere!  Thirty-One Gifts offers a fantastic variety of products, but the one that I want to tell you about today is a special treat for teachers - the Little Carry-All Caddy that you may customize with their name, initials, or a thoughtful phrase.


Personally, I chose Little Carry-All Caddies for our teachers in a variety of patterns and customized them with unique designs and the phrase, "Thank you!"  They are a great size for gifts and then teachers are able to reuse them for organizational purposes at work or home.  Let me show a few examples.

The first is the Ditty Dot print with a Dandelion Meadow design and "Thank You!" in the White Curled font.



If you turn it around, you'll notice that it has the perfect mesh exterior pocket for you to place a card. 



The next is Sparkling Squares pattern with a Daisy design in Hot Pink with the text, "Thank you!" in Navy Blue Curled font.



Again, all of the Little Carry-All Caddies have a mesh exterior pocket that we love for cards.



The next two Little Carry-All Caddies are for preschool teachers. We love the Forest Friends embroidered with, "Thank you!"  


I love the whimsical characters and the Curled font.



These trendy Little Carry-All Caddies start at $14 and are easy to personalize with names, initials, or phrases.  I think that the special touches make a difference to teachers. It's always a nice feeling to know that someone is thinking of you and that you are appreciated!

Now that I've told you about the trendy Little Carry-All Caddies, let me share some ideas to give as individual gifts or to combine into a caddy:
  1. Fill a large mason jar with mini candy bars and then wrap twine or ribbon around the jar.  (The ones in the phone below cost $2/each for all of the supplies, candy included. I made two dozen of them since we have so many individual teachers such as math, science, music, etc.)
  2. Hand soaps are a popular gift that teachers may keep in their classroom or use at home. Sometimes teachers like an alternative to the soaps in the dispensers at school, especially if a hand soap helps to moisturize their hands since they wash them frequently. (I watch for sales and think that $3/each is a good price to stock up on hand soaps.)
  3. Hand sanitizers are useful for teachers, especially during cold and flu seasons.  There are many fabulous scents. (I just bought some for $1.75/each.)
  4. Travel packs of sanitizing wipes are nice for home or school. Personally, I keep them in my purse to wipe off restaurant tables or other items.  Many teachers are germaphobes too since they know how quickly germs spread, so these are always handy. (I paid $1 for each travel pack.)
  5. Candles are a relaxing gift for teachers to take home.  There are a variety of scents and sizes, so it's easy to find something for any budget. (I paid $5 for small jar candles and $15 for larger jar candles.)
  6. Snacks are another great gift, especially prepackaged snacks to eat during the day. When I buy snacks for my family's lunches, I sometimes set some aside for their teachers too.  For instance, I recently sent individual size bags of popcorn, cookies, and rice cakes with bottles of water for their teachers.  If you add the snacks to a Little Carry-All Caddy, teachers will have fun picking snacks to eat throughout the week.  (I paid less than $5 total for the snacks that we recently sent to our son's teachers.)
  7. Hand cream is nice because teachers wash their hands often. I typically buy a variety pack of hand creams and then tie ribbons around them for teachers. (I paid approximately $5 for each small hand cream.)
  8. Donuts or donut holes are another inexpensive gift idea. Personally, some of our teachers won't commit to a full size donut, so the donut holes are more popular.  (I paid $4.99 for a container with 25 donut holes.)
  9. If you budget is a bit higher, The Get Creative Case from Thirty-One Gifts is another product that we love and that is easy to customize. Here is a quick description, "Transport your projects, crafting supplies and large tools or hobby equipment on the road with this portable craft storage box that unfolds into a flat workspace mat. Plenty of compartments store and organize paints and brushes, paper crafting supplies, sewing items, toy building blocks, electronic equipment, tech devices and more. The sturdy construction of the craft box supports stackable storage, and side handles make the case easy to transport. Personalization is available."  This product is $45 and makes it easy for teachers to organize many of their school supplies. Many teachers transport things between work and home, so this is a really nice gift idea.
  10. Finally, gift cards are a popular gift option.  Personally, our teachers complete surveys that list their favorite things, including restaurants. We like to pick up gift cards for their favorite restaurants.  

In summary, I hope that we provided you with some inexpensive teacher gift ideas.  It's always a wonderful feeling to show gratitude throughout the year and to let others know that you appreciate them. 

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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Make Science Fun with the Trendy BOSEBuild Kits


As a Mom and an Engineer, I am excited about today's post because one of the trendiest brands now has STEM kits!  BOSE now offers BOSEBuilds kits that allow children to build their own Bluetooth Headphones or Speaker Cubes while also learning about sound waves, microphones, hearing and sound perception, healthy listening, and more.  Personally, we had a Family STEM Night where we bonded over these kits that made learning fun. I was impressed with the entire experience. The designers must be perfectionists because they paid close attention to detail on both the high quality physical products and created extremely engaging experiences. Let me share some highlights.

We began our journey into the science behind sound with the Bose Speaker and accompanying app.  We started by pairing the speaker controller with our iOS device over bluetooth. It was successful on the first try.


The app walked us through a series of fun lessons to help demonstrate how speakers turn electric signals into sound.  


We began with a crowd pleasing coil launch where the app sent an electric signal to a copper coil sitting on a magnet to make the coil jump.  This helped us understand the electro-magnetic field that speakers control.


I won't spoil it for you, but here is one sample screenshot.


Here is one more sample screenshot.


After the dramatic coil launch, we took more fine-grained control over the electro-magnetic filed controlled by the coil. The app let us control the frequency and power of the signal sent to the coil.  We gained an appreciation for how frequency controlled the speed of the coil shaking on against the magnet and how power controlled the coil shaking intensity.  This set the stage for later understanding the difference between volume and pitch.


With the foundations in place, we moved onto some more fun with understanding how signals become music.


The informative video described how different signals overlap to create different notes and the rich sound that comes from an entire band playing together.


We moved on from a simple coil and magnet to building our own Bose speaker.  We connected the Bose speaker to the controller in place of the coil to make some serious sound.


The sound sweeper helped us isolate different frequencies in several songs to appreciate the range available to us with a great sounding Bose speaker.


We went from isolating frequencies to learning about how equalizers balance the levels of each frequency band to make the songs sound even better.  After playing with the equalizer it made us realize how hard it can be to get the best sound on our own.  The next step in the app turned on the Bose equalizer to automatically tuned the sound.  It was such a big difference that we had to remark on how hard the Bose engineers must have worked.  


After dropping some science on us, we were treated to some great customization options while listening to our favorite tunes.  We had several options for stencils to pop into the speaker box walls, as well as a huge range of colors to light up the box LEDs.


I hope that this glimpse into a few highlights from our experience encourages you to try one of the BOSEBuilds kits with your children.  As a Mom and an Engineer, I think that STEM is an important area and that experiences like working with the BOSEBuilds kits are a great way to engage children.  Learn more by visiting the BOSEBuilds website here.



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