Tag Archives: family

5 things to know about feeding babies solid foods from the experts at Bundoo

5 things to know about feeding babies solid foods from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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5 Ways to Help Your Gluten Free Child

5 Ways to Help Your Gluten Free Child at This Mama Cooks! On a Diet - thismamacooks.com

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On the go this summer with some Healthy Trail Mix

On the go this summer With summer nearly here, that means it’s time to hit the road, the beach, or the trail. Instead of stopping for fast food or a convenience store on the way to your summer destination, bring a healthy snack along, preferably one that doesn’t need refrigeration like homemade trail mix. This recipe can be made gluten free by omitting the Cheerios and adding two more cups of your favorite variety of Gluten Free Chex. (Note that Wheat Chex and Multi-Bran Chex are not gluten free.) If you or your children have nut allergies, omit the Planters Energy Mix and use pine nuts or sunflower seeds. Or you can add more dried fruit, raisins, or shredded coconut. Get the kids to help you make some Healthy Trail Mix, especially if they want custom blends without coconut or with more of their favorite dried fruit – or chocolate!

You can find coupons for Cheerios, Chex, Planter’s Energy Mix, and more at everydayhealthyvalues.com. You can also connect with Everyday Healthy Values on Twitter @Evrydyhealthval and Facebook at facebook.com/EverydayHealthyValues.

Healthy Trail Mix

This is a great snack for hiking, hanging out at the beach, taking to summer camp, or with you on family car trips.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Cheerios (any variety)
  • 2 cups Gluten Free Honey Chex
  • 2 cups Gluten Free Corn Chex
  • 2 cups Gluten Free Rice Chex
  • 2 cups raisins and/or dried fruit pieces
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 2 cup Planters Energy Mix Nut-Rition Mixed Nuts

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients together in large bowl.
  2. Store into plastic zipper bags or airtight containers.

The secret to great movie night is preparation! #PopSecretMovieNight

The secret to movie night is preparation!

The secret to a successful movie night is preparation. Seriously! Now I know what you’re thinking – just turn on a movie, sit on the couch, and watch it, right? Not at my house.

First, there’s the movie selection – do it beforehand! My husband is the type of guy who’ll sit there for half an hour with the remote going through the movie selections on our favorite movie streaming service. The kids and I inevitably get bored and we end up leaving the room or watching something on regular TV. So much for movie night! Instead, I put movies in my movie queue that I think we’ll all like. I even discuss movie choices with my husband way in advance. Anything to get him to make a decision!

Second, now that we’ve picked a movie, where will we watch it? Downstairs in our media room with the not-super-comfortable couches, awesome surround sound, and big HD TV? Or in our room, with the smaller TV, no surround sound, but the oh-so-comfy bed? Will the kids and dog be joining us? (Downstairs, probably.) Or is it just the two of us? (Our room!)

Third, start the movie early! My son literally passes out by 9 pm. So, there’s no point in starting a two hour movie at 8 pm. For us this means starting dinner early, too, or planning to eat dinner on trays while we’re watching that night’s movie selection.

Fourth, have your snacks and drinks prepared ahead of time. This is the true secret to movie night and means always keeping Pop Secret popcorn in the pantry! My favorite is the 94% Fat Free butter flavored variety since it tastes great and only has on 2 grams of fat per popped serving. We also like to nosh on slices of gourmet cheese and fruit. And don’t forget the napkins and the drink coasters before the movie starts!

Fifth, get comfy! My family prefers watching movies in our PJs, slippers and robes or in loungewear. Also, we make sure to bring several throws for us – and the dog – since it gets cold in the media room. Finally, a reminder to take a potty break before pressing play is a good idea, too.

What’s your secret to having a successful movie night?

Check out the Pop Secret Labs

Pop Secret The Secret to Movie NightAt Pop Secret, we love movies as much as you love movies. So we’re on a mission to make movie watching and popcorn even more social and fun. We’re sharing a bunch of apps, tools, and fun partnerships with everyone over at our hub, Pop Secret Labs. Keep checking back to try ‘em all out and give us feedback. The more you get involved, the better all of our movie experiences will be. See you there!

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Pop Secret via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pop Secret.

Finding joy in my family’s hidden talents #AGiantSurprise

Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips

One of the biggest joys of becoming a mom was learning that my children make me laugh, especially my daughter, Lucie. Besides being artistic, cute and super smart, Lucie has a hidden talent – she’s a ham. She does a great Honey Boo Boo impersonation and can make her tummy roll like a belly dancer’s. She’s also good at making our dog, Nellie, leap high in the air to get a treat. (Leaping is Nellie’s hidden talent, along with sneaking chips.) She even dances with the dog, even though Nellie doesn’t like it all that much.

Her antics crack me up. I’m sure it’s only because I’m her mom, but I find great joy in these hidden talents of hers!

Green Giant’s hidden talent

The folks at Green Giant have a hidden talent, too! Their giant surprise is that they’ve brought the goodness of vegetables into their new Veggie Snack Chips!

Green Giant sent me their two new chip varieties to try out – Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips and Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips. Both are tasty and a snack you shouldn’t feel too guilty about indulging in (in moderation, of course.) Unfortunately, some of the ingredients of the tortilla chips were things I avoid, like whey due to my food sensitivities, and hydrogenated soybean oil, which I feel isn’t all that healthy even if there’s 2% or less of it in the snack. (You can see the nutritional information on Green Giant's Facebook page on the Veggie Snack Chips tab.)

Green Giant Snack Chips

However, I was really excited when I looked over the ingredient list on the bag of Green Giant’s Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips. Even though they’re not certified to be gluten free, the ingredients seem to be free of the stuff. (If you’re very sensitive to gluten or have celiacs, you should assume that the chips are manufactured on machinery that is exposed to gluten-containing foods. Better to be safe than sorry!)

Green Giant’s Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips contain: whole grain corn flour, sunflower oil, dried sweet potatoes, rice flour, whole grain brown rice flour, whole grain buckwheat flour and 2% or less of refiner’s syrup, maltodextrin, sugar, salt, buckwheat fiber, dried honey, and two ingredients to preserve freshness – sodium acid pyrophosaphate and tetra sodium pyrophosphate. Sure some of the ingredients aren’t what you’d use in your kitchen, but it’s a SNACK CHIP, not a salad! If you want a super healthy snack, have some fruit or a green monster smoothie instead.

In addition, Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips (6g fat per 28g serving) have 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips (10g fat per 28g serving). So, if you’re jonesing for chips or want to serve a healthier chip at your next party, Green Giant’s Veggie Snack Chips are a good alternative.

Find even more of the Giant's favorite surprise talents at the Green Giant YouTube channel and learn more about their Veggie Snack Chips on the Green Giant's Facebook page.

What are your hidden talents?

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Disclaimer: Thank you to The Green Giant™ for being a sponsor. Show the Giant your surprise talent at www.facebook.com/greengiant.

How often do you eat dinner with your family? {Welch’s juice give away}

Welch’s Kitchen Table ReportThe folks at Welch’s recently conducted a survey looking at family meal time, which they compiled in the Welch’s Kitchen Table Report. They found that 71 percent of respondents say their families eat dinner together as often as or more than their families did when they were kids.

Over 70 percent of American families use the kitchen table as a place for catching up as a family, playing games, doing homework, or arts and crafts. In fact, 84 percent said that one of their favorite parts of the day is when their family eats together. Nearly 80 percent of respondents say they use their kitchen table for at least eight separate activities together as a family with 94 percent enjoying a family dinner at the table.

Family mealtime serves as the hub of family life with the kitchen table at its core. According to the Kitchen Table Report:

  • 75 percent of families eat most meals and snacks in the kitchen.
  • 18 percent of parents saying they eat at the couch.
  • 3 percent of families say they eat in the car on the go.
  • 3 percent of families say they eat in a restaurant or fast food chain.

Families still face challenges

Despite all this good news, families still face challenges since 40 percent of the survey respondents cited the lack of time to cook meals, especially healthy meals, as a top barrier to family mealtimes. The same number cites busy schedules as another reason it is difficult to eat meals together as a family.

That’s why Welch’s put together a Family Mealtime Moments Toolkit that includes family-friendly meal plans, tips on how to help create more family mealtime moments, heart-healthy recipes featuring Welch’s 100% Grape Juice made with Concord grapes, and meal makeovers. To learn more about it and Welch’s Kitchen Table Report, visit Welchs.com/KitchenTableReport.

Win $50 worth of Welch’s juice coupons!

Welch's coupons

To help make family meal time a little easier, Welch’s has given me $50 worth of Welch’s juice coupons to give away to one lucky This Mama Cooks! On a Diet reader.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

ONE winner will be chosen at random. You must be willing to send me your full name and mailing address so I can mail out your Welch’s juice coupons via USPS. I’ll announce the winner on this blog. I won't share your mailing info with the public, just your name.

The giveaway is valued at $50 and is only open to legal residents of the United States, 18 years of age and older. No purchase required. Odds of winning based on number of entries. Up to EIGHT entries per person. ONE set of Welch’s juice coupons will be given away. Void where prohibited by law.

By submitting your name and email address, you agree to receive relevant promotional emails and contest follow up communications from This Mama Cooks! On a Diet in compliance with my privacy policy and giveaway rules.

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Disclosure: I was provided with two packs of coupons – one to facilitate this review and another to give away. All opinions and experiences are my own.

English tea at the Madison Tea Room & Garden in Madison, Georgia #wordlesswednesday

English tea at the Madison Tea Room in Madison, Georgia

Lucie and I took my mom for English tea at the Madison Tea Room & Garden while she was visiting during Thanksgiving. I highly recommend it as a terrific girls’ day out for lunch. Lucie and her mémé loved it. And any excuse to wear funny hats, drink tea, and eat little sandwiches and desserts is A-OK with me, too!

Two million Invisalign smiles and an update #InvisalignMAB

2 million Invisalign smiles

Imagine walking into your orthodontist office for Invisalign braces and being told you were the two millionth patient worldwide! That’s what happened to 18-year-old Tessa Dyer when she went in to see Drs. Rachel Polgrean and Patricia Timmeny at Apple Tree Orthodontics in Londonderry, New Hampshire to get Invisalign braces. To celebrate, Tessa’s Invisalign Teen treatment will be completely covered by Align Technology, makers of Invisalign and Invisalign Teen.

“I’ve wanted to correct my teeth for a long time and the time was right. Really right,” said Tessa. “I can’t believe I’m the two millionth patient and that my treatment will be free. Of all the braces options that Drs. Polgrean and Dr. Timmeny presented to me, Invisalign Teen best fit my lifestyle and, best of all, hardly anyone will be able to tell I’m straightening my teeth. I was excited about Invisalign Teen before, but now I can’t wait to get started with my treatment.”

When Invisalign was introduced by Align Technology in 1999, it was viewed as one of the most significant innovations in orthodontics. Ten years later, Invisalign celebrated the treatment of its one millionth patient. Since then, the treatment’s popularity amongst adults and teens has accelerated! Only three years later, one million more patients have chosen Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. Approximately 260,000 tweens and teens have been treated with Invisalign since Invisalign Teen was introduced in 2008.

A family update - Nathan

Nathan got his upper row of traditional braces put on a couple of weeks ago. He had a full week and a half of soreness. I made a lot of soups and smoothies and Nathan managed to eat some of the softer, mushier things at Thanksgiving like mashed butternut squash and stuffing. He couldn’t have any pecan pie – no eating nuts with traditional braces – poor kid!

Nathan's new braces

Also, Nathan plays trumpet, so he had to adjust his playing style to the new braces, too! His trumpet teacher said it was a good thing as he’d have to concentrate more on his breath than on his mouth. All this made me wish he was eligible for Invisalign braces, since he could pop them out when eating or playing music. Oh well.

My update

I’m about a third of a way through my refinement process. My aligners kept tearing on the bottom right side because of the way I had to remove them around a retention bump. It wasn’t happening until the last couple of days of wearing them, so I didn’t pay much attention. However, I was in Dallas at a blogger conference and my bottom aligner tore all the way through!

I called Dr. Waugh’s office when I got back home. Dr. Waugh decided the retention bump wasn’t necessary and had the hygienist remove it. Now that my aligner doesn’t get stuck on that bump when I remove it, I don’t have anymore problems with tears.

Also, since my week three aligner was toast, I was put on week four early so I wouldn’t have buy a new week three aligner. (I was told it was $68 to replace the aligner.) I’ll have to wear it for three instead of two weeks so I can be back on track for my Invisalign braces treatment. No biggie and I’m glad everything worked out!

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Disclosure: I’m a member of the

Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own.

Helping you be prepared for the tough discussions #KotexMom

mom and daughterMy time as a U by Kotex Tween Ambassador is ending. I hope you enjoyed some of the information I shared about having “the Talk” with your daughter about getting her period and going through puberty. I know my experience writing these posts and sharing the information with you has opened my eyes to all the great information there’s out there at the U by Kotex website for teens and tweens as well as Kotex’s website for moms and dads.

But like any topic that’s tough to talk about, the important thing is to keep the lines of communication open between you and your child. Find time to spend one on one with them so they’ll feel more comfortable coming to you with questions. And seek out materials to help you through the process such as a helpful website or book. Don’t be shy asking friends and relatives to share how they had “the Talk” with their daughters. It’s all about being prepared to have the tough discussions about anything, whether it’s periods and puberty, sexuality, or drugs and alcohol.

And just to review, here’s a list of my previous Kotex Mom posts:

How are you preparing to have the tough discussions with your child?

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Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a Brand Ambassador Campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of U by Kotex Tween and received products to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Look good, smell good, feel good #KotexMom

mother and daughterOne of the tough things for tweens and teens to keep on top of is hygiene. I know at my house getting my kids to bathe enough is like pulling teeth. Both my son and daughter regularly take showers, but do so reluctantly. I have no idea why, as I love a good hot shower. (It’s just having to deal with my hair afterwards that’s a total pain.)

Bathe regularly

With girls who are menstruating, it’s especially important that they bathe regularly. I’ll never forget the time my friend Sue came over and had to borrow some pads from my mom. After she went home, my mom said she wasn’t surprised that Sue was having her period since she was a little bit stinky. I was really embarrassed for her!

Also, just because your daughter’s having her period doesn’t mean she can’t take a bath. In fact, in my opinion there’s nothing better than a good hot bubble bath for cramps and tummy pain. If she’s concerned about blood that’s gotten into the bath water, have her take a quick shower afterwards to rinse off.

Change regularly

It’s also important to tell your daughter to change her pad or tampon regularly. U by Kotex advises:

On regular (medium) days, you should feel the need to change a pad or tampon with regular absorbency about every four hours. If four hours pass and you find your pad or tampon to still be mostly white, then that’s considered to be a light day, and on these days you might want to switch over to a panty liner or a pad/tampon with light absorbency – especially if you find it hurts to take out your tampon because it’s dry. If you check your product before four hours have passed and you feel like your pad or tampon (or both) needs to be changed sooner, then that’s considered a heavy day, and you would be better off with a super, super plus, or max absorbency pad or tampon. On your heaviest days, you can avoid accidents and overflow by wearing a pad or liner with your tampon, and perhaps you’ll want to sleep in our overnight pads with max protection so you don’t have to worry about staining your sheets.

And no matter how vigilant she is with changing her pad or tampon, leaks will occur. Kotex’s advice is to treat stains by washing out clothing or sheets with cold water as soon as possible. They also say that rubbing salt directly on the stain or presoaking in hydrogen peroxide for 15 to 20 minutes before tossing into a regular load. (I like using a good stain treatment spray, too.) You may also want to go out and buy your daughter a set of dark colored underwear to use when she’s having her period.

Finally, make sure she has a supply of pads or tampons in her purse, gym bag, locker and backpack for those unexpected emergencies. And make sure you stock up at home, too!

My daughter, the grump

My daughter is nowhere near puberty yet, but boy is she moody. The fact of the matter is that moods can swing as hormones fluctuate. As parents, we have to be supportive and positive. But at the same time, we moms can be moody depending on our cycles and if we’re going through the early stages of menopause. You have to realize that sometimes it’s the hormones talking, not either of you. Find time to chill, calm down and apologize if necessary. (Big hugs help, too!) Then find time to do some cool mother-daughter activities like cooking or going to the movies.

For more tips for moms and daughters, check out Kotex Tween and U by Kotex.

U by Kotex Tween Giveaway!

Mom Central is giving away U by Kotex Tween Pads and Liners to 50 lucky winners! You can enter the giveaway here. Giveaway ends November 12!

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Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a Brand Ambassador Campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of U by Kotex Tween and received products to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.