Dallas Mom Blog and Fort Worth Mom Blogger: Trendy Mom Reviews
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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Recipe: Velvet White Russian

Thank you to Disaronno and Russian Standard for providing the recipe and images in this post. 

Recipe: Velvet White Russian by Disaronno Velvet and Russian Standard

It's finally the time of year when the temperatures drop. To coincide with the cooler weather, we are featuring this creamy Velvet White Russian recipe that is perfect for fall and winter months. This recipe blends the creamy hints of toffee and apricot from Disaronno Velvet with the traditional Russian vodka wheat taste and aromas of fresh baked-bread from Russian Standard Original Vodka. You'll quickly notice that this is a twist on the class White Russian thanks to the combination of the Italian cream liquor and the class Russian-style vodka. Nothing is better than enjoying a Velvet White Russian with friends and family on crisp fall and winter evenings! Both Disaronno Velvet and Russian Standard Original Vodka are available nationwide. The suggested retail price for Disaronno Velvet is $29.99 and the suggested retail price of Russian Standard Original Vodka is $17.99.

Ingredients

  • 1 part Disaronno Velvet
  • 1 part Russian Standard Original Vodka
  • 2 parts cream
  • 1 glass of ice

Directions

1. Combine 1 part Disaronno Velvet, 1 part Russian Standard Original Vodka and 2 parts cream.

2. Serve in a glass over ice.



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Friday, October 15, 2021

Chamberlain's MyQ Smart Garage Control Has Me Covered When I Forget to Close the Garage Door!


It's too easy to be distracted as a parent.  One of the biggest issues is that I forget whether I closed the garage door.  That feeling of paranoia is the worst! I usually did close the garage door, but would drive home to double check. I'm sure that many of you relate.  However, those days are behind me! Luckily, technology has me covered when it comes to checking the status of my garage door and closing it as needed!  Chamberlain's MyQ Smart Garage Control is incredible easy to install and use. Every busy parent should have this technology in their life! It's easy-peasy to set up and is a game changer for parents who are stretched thin! 

Let's start with the price point because I know that sometimes people automatically assume that tech gadgets are expensive. That is not the case here -- MyQ Smart Garage Control is less than $30!  We had our previous MyQ model for several years before we upgraded to the latest and greatest MyQ Smart Garage Control

The next thing that is probably on your mind is the installation. I used a timer to see how long it took my husband to install. I will share that my husband and I both have degrees in engineering, so we are probably on the quicker side, but I would still say that this was truly easy to install. The Chamberlain team clearly thought about the user experience so that people would have an easy time with the installation. It took my husband just over 14 minutes to install the hardware.

One piece is installed about our garage door opener.

A second component is on our garage door.


This was pretty easy, right?

The next step was to download the app, create an account, choose our settings, and learn how to use it. Here is an example of a screen where we chose the frequency of some notifications.


Here is an example of a screen that shows the history of our garage door being opened and closed. As a parent, this is a nice way to monitor when people come and go. You can also link to Amazon Key in the myQ app for secure and convenient In-Garage Delivery of groceries and Amazon packages. If you use the Amazon Key feature, you’re myQ app will alert you when an in-garage delivery is taking place.


Of course, my favorite feature for my distracted Mom Brain is that Chamberlain's MyQ Smart Garage Control lets me check the status of my garage door at any time. My husband and I have used this feature many times. I recall several times when we accidentally left our garage door open. A few times were busy mornings when we took the kids to school and just forgot. There was another time when we went out to lunch and were able to close the garage door without going home. It is nice to be able to close the garage door from our phones without the need to come home!



In summary, 
Chamberlain's MyQ Smart Garage Control is perfect for distracted parents. It's affordable, easy to install, and has a user friendly app. I love the peace of mind that it provides to us!


Learn More

Visit Amazon to learn about the Chamberlain's MyQ Smart Garage Control!


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Friday, October 1, 2021

Learn Why We Love Young Sheldon + Enterfor a Chance to Win $10,000! #WatchYoungSheldon #SheldonSweeps #SponsoredbyWB

Enter the Young Sheldon sweepstakes!

This post is sponsored by Warner Bros. All comments and opinions are my own.

In today's post, I want to encourage you to watch Young Sheldon because this show gives insight into what the world is like for my autistic son and my experience as his parent. Obviously, the show is a fictional comedy, but the team does an amazing job of creating a light-hearted view of issues that my son experiences. The show creates an enjoyable entertainment experience while also helping you to consider the world from a different viewpoint. Young Sheldon is now on 5 times a week. Here in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro, we watch the show on channel 33 (CW33) at 6pm (CST). Check here for your local listings. As a bonus, I'll also point you to a sweepstakes where you may enter for a chance to win a $10,000 prize. 





As I mentioned, Young Sheldon is a popular show at our house. My oldest son has a lot of overlap with Young Sheldon because he is academically gifted - truly brilliant! I'm certain that he will grow up to win a Nobel Prize, create something even cooler than Tesla, send people to Mars for fun, or something that we haven't dreamed of yet. Similar to Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and the fictional Sheldon Cooper, my son has an incredibly high IQ, but has experienced setbacks with social skills. He has autism and receives special support to give him a boost in the area of social skills. As a kid, it's not easy to have a social skills deficit. Being a kid is not easy for most people, but is especially challenging for many kids with autism. It's not easy for their families either. That's why I love Young Sheldon. The show highlights different highs and lows that are relatable to our family. When many people hear autism, their thoughts are not very positive. However, it seems like that trend is changing thanks to Elon Musk coming out about his autism. Even Bill Gates is known to have Aspergers. My son was a very advanced baby. He was potty trained before he was one year old. He could read as a toddler! There is a term for children who read unusually early - hyperlexia. It's quite amazing to have a tiny toddler summarizing books that they've read.

My son attended preschool at a local university where there were many college students who did projects with him. I remember one day when he wanted to dig his way to China and a graduate student spent an entire afternoon teaching him about the layers of the earth's crust.  He knows more about geology than me!  He also built elaborate buildings out of blocks that spanned a 10'x5' area of their preschool room. The graduate students sectioned off part of the room because they couldn't believe what they were witnessing and let him build his elaborate creation for an entire week.  Another highlight of preschool was that teachers would give kids floor puzzles. Once all of the kids gave up on their puzzles, they would send my son around to complete each child's puzzle.   When we watch Young Sheldon, I see a lot of overlap in Sheldon.  I am able to relate to his parents, grandmother, and siblings who are filled with love and patience.  For instance, I love a scene where his mom tries to convince him to take off a bowtie for his first day in high school and to trust her social skills advice.

Her advice is quickly followed by an offer to take him to Radio Shack if he complies. My husband, son, and I laugh at this scene because we know that we have had variations of this scene in our own lives. You just need to update Radio Shack to a more modern store.

On the flip side of my son's amazing intelligence, he has to work extra hard on social skills. He attends weekly classes and sessions to practice social skills. He has made great progress over the years.  Similar to watching the evolution of Sheldon over the years, we have noticed growth in this area for our own son too. Ours wasn't particularly interested in the other kids as a preschooler. He wasn't mean. He just wasn't very interested in other kids. He wanted to do his thing. On occasion, he would get frustrated and make it clear that he wanted to be left alone. There was a day where he turned himself into a "Mind Your Own Business Bot" at preschool.  Moments like this felt embarrassing to me at the time, but now that he is older, I sympathize more with the little guy who felt frustrated from a full day of socializing and the noise that occurs in a room of preschoolers. I could imagine Young Sheldon doing something like this as a preschooler!


As a parent, it feels nice when your child has friends and is willing to play sports and other activities. I relate to Young Sheldon and his parents when I see snippets on the show where Sheldon refuses to participate in sports and is unwilling to play catch. My son was similar as a young child. Here is the only photo that we have where he is smiling in relation to sports equipment. The basketball hoop was not used for playing basketball, but rather used for science experiments.


When I watch Young Sheldon, it's a reminder that my son is going to be fine. The show is a comedy, but also does a great job of sharing Sheldon's view of the world. He's such a lovable character that engages and teaches the audience about the world from a different viewpoint than what most experience.  My son feels happy when he watches the show.  When others watch the show, I also hope that they feel the upbeat nature of the show while gaining more awareness of differences that some people experience due to autism.

Another highlight of Young Sheldon is that he "argues" in creative ways that are often loaded with fact-based knowledge. This is a problem that we experience. One teacher told us that our son would probably grow up to be a senator. That was their polite way of saying that he was pushy and argumentative.  He will machine gun you with facts and arguments until you tell him to stop. Young Sheldon has similar arguments. For instance, on the day that our son wanted to dig his way to China, a grad student sat and explained the layers of the earth's crust to him for an entire afternoon to try to convince him that he couldn't dig his way to China. Of course, our son asked for specialized equipment to drill through different types of substrate, but they couldn't provide such things.  One of his teachers apologized that they had to get a PhD student to spend the afternoon answering his questions because he was very upset about not being allowed to dig his way to China. This could truly be part of an episode on Young Sheldon. I could just imagine Sheldon asking a PhD student questions until they were exhausted! If you watch Young Sheldon, you will see many examples of "arguments". The show helps you to understand Sheldon's views which are often similar to my son's knowledge-based views. You see that Sheldon has a good heart and that the arguments stem from his heavily weighted fact-based knowledge views where he is often missing social cues or social norms.  The "arguments" are never particularly hostile, but are probably considered annoying and comical when people don't know how to respond. 

Now that you can watch several episodes a week, it makes you more empathetic and understanding of children and adults who have shortcomings with social skills. The show also helps you to see the incredible goodness in them too.  That's why we look forward to watching this show every evening!  We feel connected to a world where an autistic child is engaging, entertaining, and pushing to thrive in a world that doesn't completely know what to do with him.  The unconditional love, support, and kindness is also a wonderful element of this show. Of course, we all know that Sheldon Cooper eventually grows up to have a happy life and to even earn a Nobel Prize on the fictitious show, The Big Bang Theory.  I am certain that my own son will grow up to make game changing advances in our world!

Now that I've told you about this wonderful show, I hope that you will check it out. It's a perfect light-hearted comedy that your entire family will enjoy. You will connect with a lovable child and his family. The characters provide insight into a different view of the world that you and your family may not have experienced.  I also hope that all of you will support this show because my son and many others in his situation would love for this show to have continued success! The Sheldons of the world are going to transform our world to bring us things that are even cooler than Microsoft, Tesla, space travel, and more. I hope that the trend continues where Young Sheldon is on 5 times a week. We hope for many more years of engaging episodes!

Finally, let me point you to Valpak's Young Sheldon sweepstakes where you will have a chance to win $10,000!



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Recipe: Crumbled Feta and Tomato Pasta

 

Recipe: Crumbled Feta and Tomato Pasta

Ingredients

  • 12 Campari tomatoes (or substitute your favorite type of tomatoes)
  • 1 4-ounce container of crumbled feta (we use reduced fat crumbled feta)
  • 1 Tablespoons of truffle olive oil (or use plain, if you prefer)
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon of dried basil (if you use fresh, add double the basil)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano 
  • 1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 box of chickpea Cavatappi or your favorite pasta.
Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8"x8" glass baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Wash and chop the tomatoes into small pieces and add to the glass baking dish.

3. Move the tomatoes to the sides do that you have a clear space and pour the crumbled feta.


4.  Drizzle the tomatoes and feta with the truffle olive oil.

5. Sprinkle the salt, garlic salt, dried basil, dried oregano, and freshly ground black pepper on top.


6. Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until the top of the feta is golden brown and the tomatoes look cooked.


7.  While the feta and tomatoes are baking, prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the box.

8. Stir the tomatoes and feta.


9. Toss the feta and tomato sauce with the pasta.


10. Optionally serve with garlic bread.



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Recipe: DIY Mild Taco Seasoning for Kids (without onion)


Recipe: DIY Taco Seasoning for Kids (without onion)
This DIY Taco Seasoning is relatively mild and does not have onions in it. My children love it!  

Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Directions
1. Simply mix the ingredients together.  It's so easy to make your own taco seasoning!
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Thursday, September 30, 2021

An Easy DIY Macaroni & Cheese Bar + The Best Toppings for Macaroni and Cheese!

 


An Easy DIY Macaroni & Cheese Bar featuring Best Macaroni & Cheese Recipe with Cabot Cheese!
In today's post, I'll feature a family-friendly dinner idea that my children love -- a Macaroni & Cheese Bar!  Plus, I will share my favorite Macaroni & Cheese recipe. 

Let's start with my recipe and the secret ingredients - the cheeses.  As a former Vermonter, I am a big fan of Cabot cheese. If you aren't familiar with this brand, you should be because I think that they make the most amazing cheddar out there.  Cabot has been around for over a century now! They recently celebrated this amazing anniversary.  There aren't many companies that have been around for a century, but Cabot is one of the best companies out there and they have a loyal following. They source their ingredients from farmers who they trust and have been perfecting their recipes for generations.  You'll find their products at stores nationwide. You may also order online here.  You'll find that they have an extensive variety of cheeses. 



In today's post, I'll share my favorite Macaroni & Cheese recipe that uses Cabot cheeses. I use three different varieties of Cabot Cheddar Cheese in my recipe.  However, as I mentioned earlier, they have a large variety of cheeses. For instance, the Cabot Pepper Jack, Colby Jack, and Habanero Cheddar Cheese are great for a Tex-Mex Macaroni & Cheese. The different varieties provide a fun combinatorial explosion of possible combinations!  Let me share my favorite recipe.

Recipe: The Best Macaroni & Cheese Recipe with Cabot Cheeses! Ingredients



Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Shred the cheeses and set aside.

3. Cook the macaroni until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside in a lightly greased baking dish that you plan to use for baking. You may also split the past into multiple baking dishes if you prefer. (You'll notice that I splurged on generously sized noodles. I did this because these large noodles soak up the cheese mixture. Large Cavatappi noodles or medium size shell noodles are also great.)



4. Over low/medium heat, melt the butter and whisk in the flour for approximately two minutes. You'll want to whisk the entire time to prevent burning. 

5. Add the milk, mustard, salt, and pepper. Whisk until smooth and then reduce the heat to low, cooking for 5 minutes and whisking periodically until thick.



6. Beat the egg and then whisk it into the mixture until smooth.

7. Stir in the shredded cheeses until the mixture is smooth.



8. Pour the mixture over the pasta that you had set aside in the lightly greased baking dish(es).

9. Add the 2 ounces of cheddar cheese on the top of the pasta.



10. Bake for approximately 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.




Now that I shared my recipe, let me show you how we set up our Mac & Cheese Bar. We set up the best toppings for macaroni and cheese! 

The best vegetarian toppings for macaroni and cheese include colorful veggies. I use a veggie platter and fill the center with shredded Cheddar cheese. I fill the remaining compartments with crushed cheese crackers, sliced sweet peppers, peas, and broccoli. 




The best meat toppings for macaroni and cheese include bacon, ground beef, shredded chicken, and ham. I'm not a fan of bacon, but the rest of my family loves it, so I create a separate container of bacon.  They swear that chopped pieces of bacon make their Mac & Cheese better.



Of course, you may substitute the toppings that we featured. Other ideas include diced sweet potatoes, blue cheese, ground beef, shredded chicken, and more!  This is a fun project because you are able to customize it to your family's preferences. Plus, I found that this project allows my children to be participate in prepping the Mac & Cheese toppings. My oldest son grated the cheese while my youngest crushed cheese crackers in a ziploc bag.  



They both helped to wash the veggies so that I only had to chop them.  We had fun while we prepared our Mac & Cheese Bar together!



I hope that you enjoy this fun dinner idea and enjoy my recipe that uses three different types of Cabot cheddar cheeses!
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Saturday, September 25, 2021

Our 2021 Holiday Gift Guide Work Has Begun!

 

The Trendy Mom Reviews team is counting the number of days until November 1st because that is the special day to release our Holiday Gift Guide! This is our largest project of the year. We hope that you will add a note on your calendar to visit us on November 1st for our 2021 Holiday Gift Guide!

A note for brands:

We are still accepting submissions for our gift guide. If you would like us to feature products from your brand, please email us!


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Delta Children has a BIG Sale + Learn About Our Favorite Item - Delta Children Cozee Flip-Out Sherpa 2-in-1 Convertible Sofa to Lounger for Kids!

If you have children or plan to purchase baby shower gifts in the near future, you need to know about Delta Children's BIG sale!  Select Delta Children items are up to 44% OFF with swaddles up to 75% OFF. See below for a few of the select items on sale:

Personally, my preschooler is in love with the ultra cozy Delta Children Cozee Flip-Out Sherpa 2-in-1 Convertible Sofa to Lounger for Kids. This stylish 2-in-1 sofa/lounger rocks his little world. I actually didn't know how much he needed this little sofa/lounger until after it arrived and he spent a lot of time lounging in it!  The combination of a soft base and cozy sherpa cover helps him to melt into this little couch/lounger that he affectionately calls a cloud. 

Here is the product description:
The Cozee Flip-Out Sherpa 2-in-1 Convertible Sofa to Lounger by Delta Children is a cozy couch by day, laid-back lounger by night. This convertible sofa easily flips open to reveal multiple ways for your child to relax--they’ll love to sit and read or watch their favorite movies on the sofa but when it’s time for a nap, this seat folds out into a comfy sleeper bed. Big enough to fit three small kids comfortably in sofa mode, it’s light enough to move around the house and is ideal for your children to share during playtime or sleepovers. The super-soft Sherpa slipcover with easy-to-reach side pocket creates the ultimate retreat for your little one. The supportive foam construction will keep its shape and provides all-day comfort. Designed to ship in a super-small box, this lightweight foam kids’ sofa and lounger may take up to 24 hours to fully expand once unboxed. Machine-washable slipcover zips off for easy cleaning. Recommended for ages 18 months+. Delta Children was founded around the idea of making safe, high-quality children's furniture affordable for all families. They know there's nothing more important than safety when it comes to your child's space. That's why all Delta Children products are built with long-lasting materials to ensure they stand up to years of jumping and playing. Plus, they are rigorously tested to meet or exceed all industry safety standards.

It arrived in a little box and was easy to assemble. 


After we opened the box, we pulled the pieces out and watched them expand.


We followed the instructions to put it together. It was very easy. Plus, since we assembled it, we now know how easy it is to remove the cover and wash it in the future. 


The team at Delta Children deserves accolades for this clever Delta Children Cozee Flip-Out Sherpa 2-in-1 Convertible Sofa to Lounger for Kids! My son is sure to spend many hours lounging in this sweet little sofa/lounger while he reads books and plays with his stuffed animals!


Learn More
Again, don't miss the Delta Children sale that is going on right now! Select Delta Children items are up to 44% OFF with swaddles up to 75% OFF. See below for a few of the select items on sale:
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A Family Game Night Idea that Makes it Fun to Giggle and Bond Together - Nintendo's WarioWare: Get It Together!

 
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are honest and our own.


If you follow regularly, you may know that we love family game nights with our Nintendo Switch.  In today's post, I'll tell you about a quirky game that has provided many hours of entertainment and elicited many giggles at our house!  The game is - Wario Ware - Get it Together!



This game is unique because it includes 200+ quick and quirky microgames that you may play solo or with family members.  That's not a typo -- it really contains over 200 microgames! It's an eclectic collection of games that will keep your family busy for many family game nights.  It's an incredible value when you consider the many hours of play time. I can't imagine ever being bored with all of these games!


Each stage on the game map includes a different collection of games.



In one example game, you will help Wario use his signature style (and smell!) to fix a business scheme that went awry by playing a kooky collection games, of course! In another, you’ll help an infamous game designer after he gets sucked into his latest creation in Story Mode. You control Wario and friends inside their own chaotic games. In yet another game, you will help to assemble a robot that pulls out a statue’s armpit hair. (Yes, some are gross and tailored to a sense of humor for my oldest son's age group!) 


Let me share some of our favorite WarioWare microgames.  The first is Pit Stop. No, this isn't what you do on a road trip.  It actually focuses on armpits. This game is a lot of fun because involves cleaning a statue's armpit hair.  Hygiene is important, right?



The next is Drawbridge dilemma. This game is a lot of fun because you must lower and raise bridges to let cars and boats through. It provides a fun family challenge. Your family will cheer when you win the game and receive 1,000 Wario coins! 



Another one of our favorite micro games is Safari Tour where you get to go on a safari memory game. All of your family members can contribute to this game. Your family will celebrate together when you win 1000 Wario coins and another new character!


 

The games above are just a few of our favorite micro games from the Wario Ware collection. There are 200+ more micro games that are sure to keep us busy for months or years to come! We love that this game has provided many hours of entertainment. We have many happy memories of family game nights with pizza, snacks, and Wario Ware - Get it Together! This game is a hilarious, cooperative mashup for the whole family to enjoy.  


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