Dallas Mom Blog and Fort Worth Mom Blogger: Trendy Mom Reviews
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Saturday, September 26, 2020

Recipe for Easy Thin Cut Parmesan Chicken Nuggets


Recipe for Easy Thin Cut Parmesan Chicken Nuggets
 

This recipe provides an easy way to make thin cut parmesan chicken nuggets. My kids love these cheesy coated chicken nuggets!

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken breasts ( approximately 1 pound total)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Cut the chicken breast into thin slices for the nuggets.

3. Whisk the two eggs in a bowl.

4. Mix the flour, salt, pepper, and paprika in a small bowl.

5. Pour the grated parmesan into a small bowl.

6. Dip each piece of chicken in the flour and thoroughly coat, followed by egg, and then parmesan.

7. Place each coated piece on a greased cookie sheet.

8. Bake for approximately 10 minutes on each side until golden brown.

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Thursday, September 24, 2020

(Win it!) Books that Kids Read Multiple Times - National Geographic Kids Home Learning Essentials


This has been a crazy year! We never could have predicted an extensive quarantine.  In today's post, I want to share books that my children will read over-and-over. I know that good books are a life saver for multitasking parents who need to work and make sure that their children are learning at home. 

Here is the list of the engaging books that our children love:

Beginner’s United States Atlas, Third Edition, (ages 7-10, 128 pages, paperback) The fully updated edition of this popular atlas introduces young readers to the wonders of all of America's states and territories, with maps, fun facts, geographical features, and more. It’s accessible design showcases what's unique about each state and territory and every profile starts with a colorful map and essay and includes capital cities; population; important land and water features; state birds, flowers, and flags. It's all packaged in a bigger format, with a refreshed design, and bold, bright photos and illustrations.

This book is fun for kids and is a nice complement to many social studies courses. I find that my son learns better when he has engaging books and is excited to learn about topics.  He is currently learning about maps and different states, so this book makes learning more fun for him.

United States Atlas Sixth Edition, (ages 8-12, 176 pages, paperback) Current, authoritative, and produced by the expert cartographers at National Geographic, this best-selling United States atlas is newly updated with all the latest info and is packed with maps, stats, facts, and pictures. National Geographic's world-renowned cartographers have paired up with education experts to create maps of all 50 states, U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C., that pinpoint the physical features, capitals, and other towns and cities. Discover the latest data along with colorful photography of each state and the people who live there. Key points reflect the latest information about land and water, people, and places. Essays cover each region of the country while eight specially themed maps on nature, population, economy, energy, climate, and more delve deeper into key issues. State birds and state flags add to the high visual interest. 

Similar to the previous book, this United States Atlas is helping my son to be a rockstar in his social studies class. He really enjoys independently learning things in this book and then having a better bigger picture of some overlapping material that is covered in class.


5,000 Awesome Facts (About Everything!) - (ages 8-12, 224 pages, hardcover) This book is literally busting its covers with fascinating, fun-tastic facts on super, sensational topics that kids love. Who knew that there were so many sweet things to learn about chocolate or that a dozen delicious details about peanut butter would show up on a page with a few splotches of jelly to whet our appetites? Keep turning and a terrifyingly toothy shark tells you all about himself, while other spreads lay out tons of tips on toys and games, mysteries of history, robots and reptiles, sports and spies and wacky words. A visual feast of colorful photographs surrounded by swirling, tipping, expanding, and climbing bits of information in a high-energy design, this book will satisfy both the casual browser and the truly fact obsessed.

My boys are obsessed with awesome facts that they learn in National Geographic Kids books. We go on walks in the evening and they love shocking me with awesome facts that surprise me. It's fun to see them soaking up these books and then sharing their knowledge with me in the evenings!

Izzy Newton and the S.M.A.R.T. Squad: Absolute Hero (ages 8-12, 192 pages, hardcover)— A brand new series from the author of many beloved American Girl books, Valerie Tripp! Join Izzy Newton and her friends at Atom Middle School in the first adventure of this new middle-grade fiction series. A crowded new school and a crazy class schedule is enough to make Izzy feel dizzy. But for the S.M.A.R.T. Squad, it’s all about relying on the value of friendship and the power of science to help them think their way through all kinds of sticky situation. Science and tech reign supreme when these five brainy buddies put their heads together! Read the first chapter and meet the characters here.

My oldest son loves Izzy Newton.  He's able to relate to this trendy middle school student who encourages positive friendships and reinforces the value of being a good student.

Little Kids First Big Book of Science (ages 4-8, 128 pages, hardcover) - This lively introduction to the fascinating world of science explores the different kinds of science, what scientists do, and the amazing things that scientists study: animals and plants; oceans and space; earthquakes and volcanoes; sound and light; inventions and more! Fun activities, games, and simple experiments encourage interactive learning, showing kids that anyone can use scientific observation and experimentation to be a scientist and discover new things. With bright images and age-appropriate text, this book inspires kids to be curious, ask questions, and explore the world around them and maybe even grow up to be a scientist one day, too! Topics include astronomy, botany, paleontology, malacology (that's the science of clams, snails, and other animals with shells!), zoology, and more.

My preschooler is still learning to read, but isn't quite there yet. He loves flipping through this book on his own when I am busy with meetings, but is even more excited when we read it together. The authors of this book did an amazing job!

I hope that you enjoyed this glimpse into our favorite books that make it easier to manage working from home while also overseeing my children. This is not an easy time for parents of young children. I have found that good books are very helpful!

Win it!
Thanks to National Geographic Kids, one lucky winner will receive a selection of the books that we featured above. Enter using the Rafflecopter below. The winner must have a U.S. shipping address. No P.O. boxes. The winner will have 72 hours to respond to our email with their shipping address. Good luck!

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Recipe: Crepes with Maple Chicken, Apple, and Brie

Recipe: Crepes with Maple Chicken, Apple, and Brie

Ingredients:
  •  1 pound of chicken
  • 2 Tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 to 8 Crepes
  • 1 apple, sliced into thin pieces
  • 12 to 16 thin slices of brie that are each approximately 1.5" long
Directions:
1. Add the chicken, syrup, olive oil, salt, and pepper to a plastic freezer bag. Shake well so that the olive oil and seasonings coat the chicken well. Allow to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour.

2. Grill the chicken over medium heat until thoroughly cooked and then chop into thin slices.


3. Prepare your crepes.  If you need a recipe for crepes, click here.


4. Layer the slices of chicken, brie, and apple on each crepe.


5. Roll each crepe and optionally drizzle with Balsamic glaze.



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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Celebrate National Taco Day at Chuy's on Sunday, October 4th! #chuystacoday



Celebrate National Taco Day at Chuy's on Sunday, October 4th!
If you follow regularly, you know that one of our favorite things about being Texans is that we live near a Chuy's restaurant and love their Tex-Mex food.  This iconic restaurant is popular among Texans! (They also have locations in 17 other states.) We love their made-from-scratch dishes, fresh-squeezed margaritas, and eclectic atmosphere. In today's post, I'll tell you why you'll want to visit Chuy's for National Taco Day!  Spoiler alert - there will be all day specials on tacos and tequila, plus a Dress Like a Taco contest!


Chuy's has a lot going on for National Taco Day, including All Day Specials and a Dress Like a Taco Special.  (Everything is bigger in Texas, including National Taco Day!) Here are the details:

  • WHO: Chuy’s is an authentic Tex-Mex restaurant founded in Austin, TX in 1982, known for its made-from-scratch dishes, fresh-squeezed margaritas and eclectic atmosphere.
  • WHEN: National Taco Day on Sunday, October 4th
  • WHERE: Chuy’s has 92 restaurants in 17 states. Use the store locator to find one near you.
  • WHAT: This year for National Taco Day, Chuy’s invites taco lovers everywhere to join in the celebration with specials on tacos and tequila. After all, they make the perfect pair!
    • It’s dollar taco time! On Sunday, October 4 add a crispy beef taco to any dine-in entrĂ©e purchase for just $1.00.
    • The restaurant is also offering $5.00 shots of 1800 Silver (or equivalent) top-shelf tequila and $1.00 floaters for dine-in customers to top their favorite margarita with an extra pour of tequila.
    • Taco fans can also bring the party home with Chuy’s meal kits, available at order.chuys.com! Choose between the Taco Meal Kit, with soft flour or crispy corn tortilla options or the Fajita Meal Kit, with chicken, beef or a combination – after all, fajitas are tacos too. Each kit comes with all the fixings you need to celebrate the taco like a pro.
    • They have a fun contest for those who Dress Like a Taco. The taco love doesn’t stop there. For the two weeks leading up to National Taco Day, Chuy’s is calling on taco fans everywhere to DRESS LIKE A TACO and post a photo with #chuystacoday for a chance to win a Taco Meal Kit and other cool Chuy’s gear.


Whether you want to eat at the restaurant or enjoy take-out, Chuy's has you covered for a special National Taco Day!  We hope that you are able to visit for a fun and memorable meal. I also encourage you to follow the fun on social media. I am personally looking forward to seeing the taco costumes of those who enter for a chance to win in the Dress Like a Taco contest. Follow
on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Fun Ways to Enjoy Pumpkin Spice this Fall

 

Disclosure: I have no medical training. Always consult with your doctor before taking any over the counter products. 

It's that time of year -- time for Pumpkin Spice! In today's post, I will share five creative ways to enjoy Pumpkin Spice in the crisp fall weather!

1. Try this DIY Recipe to make a Small Batch of Pumpkin Spice.

It's surprisingly easy to make your own Pumpkin Spice! Simply follow our quick and easy recipe.

2. Enjoy a Relaxing Pumpkin Spice Bath with CBD Living Pumpkin Spice Bath Bombs.

The CBD Living Pumpkin Spice Bath Bomb mixes pumpkin oil with spicy cinnamon bark and sweet cocoa seed butter to invoke the warm, cozy feelings of fall.  CBD Living’s proprietary Skin Retention Technology allows nutrients to better penetrate the layers of the skin, and stay on the skin longer, for lasting relief. It's a great way to relax on cool fall evenings! Plus, I also like the CBD Living Freeze product which is a CBD roll-on.  It's easy to apply and good for when you want to target specific areas. Both of these products are great for fall!


3. Try our Recipe for Pumpkin Spice Pancakes.

When fall comes around, we love to spend extra time in our cozy pajamas on Saturday mornings. Our Pumpkin Spice Pancake recipe is delicious on fall mornings!



4. Enjoy CBD Living Pumpkin Spice Lattee Tincture.

Harness those warm and cozy feelings and take a much-needed mental health break before the madness of the holiday season begins with brand-new CBD Living Pumpkin Spice Tinctures. CBD Living Pumpkin Spice Latte Tincture is available in 300 mg and 750 mg strengths. You can take the rich and creamy tincture directly, add to your plain coffee, or even add to your Starbucks PSL for double the flavors of fall.   While I am covering Pumpkin Spice varieties, let me also briefly mention that the CBD Living Vegan Gummies are another great variety that we like. They taste good and only have 10 calories. 



I hope that you enjoy these Pumpkin Spice tips and have the opportunity to try the items included in this post!



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(Review) The Husqvarna Automower is a Game Changer in the Texas Heat!


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Husqvarna. All opinions are 100% mine.

This post is sponsored by Husqvarna. They recently sent us an Automower product to review.

My husband and I used to mow our own lawn. It's one of our least favorite chores, especially with the Texas heat and humidity.  Our first house together was almost an acre. We quickly learned that we did not like maintaining a large yard. When we had the opportunity to relocate for new jobs, we purchased a home on a smaller lot with .25 acres. We later realized that we would prefer an even smaller yard and we moved yet again to a villa where front yard maintenance is included in our HOA fee and we only have to maintain our small backyard that is hidden by fences. The space is approximately 1,000 square feet. We've mowed it for several years, but we finally decided that we have had enough and began researching alternatives such as artificial grass, hiring someone to help, or a robotic lawnmower. 


Many of our neighbors feel the same way about yard work. As I mentioned, we live in a villa where the HOA maintains our front yards and then we are responsible for our small backyards. The majority of our neighbors hire landscapers.  This is nice, but it's expensive and we don't like the idea of giving landscapers a key to our yard.  The typical cost of weekly mowing for our small backyard is $75 to $100/week.  We mow our lawn for approximately 7.5 months per year, so it's not trivial to spend over $3,000/year to hire landscapers to mow our backyard. As a Mom and an Engineer, I can't help but calculate the cost for multiple years and notice how quickly the expense accumulates. After five years, the cost adds up to around $15,000.

Several of our neighbors have artificial lawns. Some of them got together in small groups to negotiate a bulk discount, but it was still very expensive. An example of a neighbor's yard is shown below. It looks nice, but it was outside of the budget that we wanted to put toward our yard. Plus, with young children, we didn't want to worry about the cost of replacement down the road.



Only recently did we come across the Husqvarna Automower as an option to help mow our lawn. I wish that we would have known about it sooner. We looked into it and ran the numbers to figure out whether it could make sense for us.  Specifically, we looked into the Husqvarna 115H Automower that is priced at $1,599.99 with installation.  At this price, we felt like it was a cost effective solution to mowing our lawn that is cheaper than hiring landscapers to mow.  I searched for reviews and people seemed happy, so I reached out to the company to ask if it would be possible to collaborate and to send us review a unit.  They agreed! This was a highlight of my blogging year, especially if you consider the temperatures in Texas right now and how much we dread yard work. Of course, we were excited because the perks of this robotic lawn mower are amazing, but I also felt like it was a special opportunity to gain and share an experience that people are curious to know more about.

The process for ordering the Husqvarna Automower was nice because they ship the Automower in a package that arrives on your doorstep. They then connect you with an installation expert who sets everything up for you.  For instance, check out the photo below that shows my package on our front porch.  I took the photo from a distance so that you could notice that it's a large package, but still a reasonable size for me to carry on my own.



Here is a closer view of the package.



We were so excited about our new best friend that we couldn't help but to peek into the package to see it before the installation company arrived.  The package was comprehensive and included everything that I needed to get started.



The day before the installation company arrived, we mowed our lawn to the desired height.  This is something that you will want to do before your installation as part of the customization process.

Lambert's Landscape Company installed the boundary wire and charging station. In the Dallas area, we are very lucky because the pros at Lambert's know the ins and outs of the Husqvarna Automower. The Director of Fleet Services and Facilities installed our Automower. He manages a fleet of them and even runs two Automowers in his own yard. He is knowledgable about landscaping and Automowers. He was really nice about answering our questions and giving advice. The installation for our yard went by quickly. He installed the boundary wire with a machine that buries it rather seamlessly. I was relieved to know that the boundary wires would be buried so nicely, especially since I have energetic children who aren't even able to see the buried wires.  Here is a photo of him installing the boundary wire.



I also made a video and encourage you to watch it because you'll get a better idea of how quick and seamless it was for him to install the boundary wire.



After he installed the boundary wires, he finished setting up the charging station and updated the software. This is the home for our new best friend, the AutomowerHe also helped us to get the app which helps us to monitor the status of our Husqvarna Automower. For instance, here is a photo from when we set it up.



Here is another photo of the app which shows statistics about the number of hours that it has spent on our lawn.



The Husqvarna Automower is smart and able to adapt to many variables such as different yard sizes, slopes, grass types, and more. Personally, our yard is around 1,000 sq. ft. and relatively flat with only slight sloping around our French drains.  We have Bermuda grass which is a southern grass that grows in warm climates. It has a narrow leaf blade which I think is aesthetically pleasing. It grows quickly and is also quite resilient. You'll find it at many golf courses and athletic fields since it's relatively good for high traffic areas.  Our yard is a breeze for the Husqvarna Automower that quietly works its magic on our lawn.  



The Husqvarna Automower spent the first couple of days exploring our yard.  My family enjoyed watching our curious little friend move around to learn the lay of the land! 



After the initial exploration, the Automower used its advanced technology to mow our lawn on a more scheduled basis.  The technology is actually more interesting than we initially expected. Not only does this little robot mow our lawn, but it also improves the health of our lawn. That was an unexpected bonus for us!   We just wanted a break from yard work, so it was even cooler to realize that the Automower could further improve the health of our lawn too. The way that it works is different than our old process. We used to go through with a loud electric lawn mower.  The Husqvarna Automower is more advanced. It uses several blades to finely mulch the grass.  Instead of rushing through like we used to do with a lawn mower, the Automower takes slower and more frequent passes which provides a noticeable difference to the health of our lawn.



Another big difference between our old mower and the Automower is the noise level. Our old mower was loud.  Our Automower is pretty quiet. I tease my husband that it has such good manners with how quiet it is. It even runs past my bedroom at night while I am sleeping without me noticing.  I also appreciate that it has safety features to stop if it bumps into something unexpected. For instance, my youngest son dropped his teddy bear outside. The Automower skillfully avoided it which is an important feature that we appreciate since our children play in the yard and don't always clean up after themselves.

The Automower may be scheduled to run at any time. We prefer an evening schedule so that our children aren't outside. I would actually be okay with my boys around it since it has safety features, but my children sometimes play soccer or have water balloon battles, so I figured that evening runs were better. Plus, as I mentioned earlier the Automower is quiet enough that I don't even notice it when it goes by my bedroom windows in the evening.


Security is an important feature to me. There is one loud thing about the Automower. That's the alarm. If someone doesn't know the pin number and then picks it up and tries to run off with it, the Automower has a very loud alarm.  You need to enter your pin number to turn it off. Depending on the model, you may also have GPS tracking. 



We've used our Automower for a few months now. Let me share a quick list of questions that people have asked us with our personal answers.
  1. Is it as loud as a traditional lawn mower?  Answer: It is MUCH quieter than our old traditional lawn mower. In fact, we run it in the evening and it mows outside of my bedroom window without waking me. 
  2. Does it break if it rains?  Answer: We have left our Automower out during several rainstorms without any issues. I just wipe it down with a cloth after the rain. (For reference, I also wipe down our patio furniture and grill after rain.) We moved the Automower to our patio for one storm because there were severe weather warnings. During that particular storm, you wouldn't have even wanted to leave your car outside.
  3. What if children leave toys in the yard? Answer: My children have stress tested this feature. They have a bad habit of leaving toys in the yard.  Fortunately, the Automower is quite advanced and has avoided every toy left in our yard over the past few months.  One of them was my youngest son's teddy bear, so I was grateful for the Automower's technology to avoid their toys.
  4. Could someone pick it up and walk off with it? Answer: Yes, but there is an alarm system.  It makes an obnoxiously loud noise that would make it hard for someone to casually pick it up in our yard and walk off with it. We are able to hear the alarm noise in our house. We have a pin number to turn the alarm off. Some models also have a GPS security feature.
  5. Do you like it? Answer: We absolutely love it!  If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to stop wasting time on mowing the lawn and to let an Automower take over the chore.  Seriously, the combination of Texas heat and humidity is the worst. The Automower is a total game changer that allows us to spend less time on chores and more time enjoying life.



Now that we have used the Husqvarna Automower for a while, we are very happy and wish that we would have adopted it sooner.  The time savings has been amazing. We no longer have to mow. We only have to do the edging. My husband has approximately 5 extra hours to spend with us every month. If you multiple this by 7.5 months, he has saved approximately 37.5 hours/year. That's almost an entire workweek out of the year for him! We have a small backyard that is under 1,000 square feet. I imagine that the time savings increases for Texans with bigger yards.


During the Coronavirus shutdown, the Automower was also a life saver because it mulches the grass into fine pieces and we do not have to bag and dispose debris. Our garbage collection company temporarily stopped the collection of lawn clippings.  Prior to the arrival of our Automower, we had garbage bags full of lawn clippings for weeks until they finally announced a special day when collection of lawn debris resumed.  I'm glad that we don't have to dispose of lawn debris after the Automower.  The mulching process is eco-friendly and convenient!



In summary, the Husqvarna Automower is an amazing application of technology that has improved the quality of our lives.  The experience has given us a healthier lawn, but more importantly, the gift of time. As busy parents, the ability to cross mowing the lawn off of our chore list was amazing! I know that we could have hired landscapers to mow weekly or invested in artificial grass, but those solutions were very expensive. The Husqvarna Automower is more cost effective for our situation. The Husqvarna design team deserves credit for the meticulous attention to detail that they put into the Automower!
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Saturday, September 19, 2020

Recipe: Alien Bento Box

 

Recipe: Alien Bento Box
In today's post, we'll share a fun Back-to-School lunch idea - our Alien Bento Box.  

Ingredients
  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 cherry tomatoes
  • 15 grapes, including at least 3 green grapes to use as aliens
  • 18 blueberries
  • 3 candy eyes
  • 1/8 of a licorice wheel
Supplies

Directions
1. Alien Avocados: Fill the large part of the blue container with the alien avocado and tomato slices.  Slice the avocado in half, peel it, and then carefully use a knife to cut alien eyes, nose, and mouth pieces from the peel. Place the alien face pieces back onto the avocado to make it look like an alien.  The peels stick easily!

2. Space Shuttle Sandwiches: Fill the smaller section of the blue container with the space shuttle shaped bread with licorice fumes coming out of the bottom.


3. Alien Grapes. Fill the orange container with one layer of grapes.  Put the remaining grapes on the three toothpicks so that you use a pattern of red grape, green grape, red grape on each toothpick. Use a dot of frosting and candy eye to each green grape.


4. Asteroid Blueberries. Fill the small green container with blueberries.

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Recipe: Sparkling Orange Mocktail with Fresh Oranges

Recipe: Sparkling Orange Mocktail with Fresh Oranges
Ingredients
  • 1 can of Sparkling Water
  • 4 oranges
  • Optional: orange slices for garnish
Directions
1. Pour the Sparkling Water into a glass.

2. Juice the oranges, add the juice, and gently stir.

3. Optionally add an orange slice for garnish.

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