Tag Archives: family

Preparing to have a talkable moment with your child #KotexMoms

mother and daughter

Recently I cohosted a couple of online parenting webinars with Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions. Amy pointed out that kids crave attention from their parents, which is why they act out when they’re not getting it. Kids are just dying get that special attention from mom or dad, even tweens and teens. You can use this to your advantage when planning to have any important talk – like The Talk about periods and puberty – with your daughter. After all, what kid wouldn’t want some one-on-one time with mom?

Here are some fun ways to break the ice when having The Talk:

  • Play video games. Then head to the kitchen for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. Chat over your meal or between gaming sessions.
  • Cook together. Have a chat while baking cupcakes or cookies.
  • Get out of the house. Go out for a meal or snack. Pick a place or time when the entire fifth grade isn’t at DQ grabbing a cone.
  • Go for a drive. Turn off the radio and eliminate other distractions like phones and iPads.
  • Go shopping at the mall. Or have a mani/pedi session at the local salon. Stop at the food court for some smoothies and a chat.
  • Go for a hike or go camping. This is my husband’s way of having deep and meaningful discussions with the kids.
  • Do a craft. Turn off the TV and play some quiet music in the background while you bead, scrapbook, paint or knit. Keeping your hands busy while you chat makes things less stressful.
  • Watch a movie. I have great discussiona with my kids about important topics from racism to death after watching movies that touched on those things. Most coming-of-age movie deal with first romances, so many may not be appropriate. However, 16 Candles is a good one in so many ways – it’s funny, sweet, and a great slice of ‘80s pop culture. Also, the brother discusses with his dad that the sister who’s getting married is having her period – and the dad commenting that he’s glad that he’s learning about that in school. It’s not much, but it could help. (Note: watch it on TV, which is edited to eliminate f-bombs, nudity and other things you may not want your child to see. The movie’s a lot raunchier than you may remember.)

Kotex Tween also has some great tips on how to have The Talk with your daughter, too.

What are your favorite ways to spend one-on-one time with your daughter?

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.

Want to know how to “Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling?” #invisalignMAB

positive-parenting-solution

Yes, you can get kids to listen without nagging, reminding or yelling! To learn how, join me on Thursday, August 16 at 9 PM EST when I’ll be co-hosting a FREE PARENTING WEBINAR with Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions. Just RSVP here! (You can also sign up for a 2 PM EST webinar if you can’t make the evening one. However, I won’t be co-hosting that one.)

If you’re like me you NEED THIS WEBINAR. I can’t tell you how many times I tell the kids to do something and they just don’t listen. It drives me crazy! I’m tired of being tuned out and I’m sure you are, too.

Who Should Attend: Frustrated parents of kids ages 3 to 16 (Please encourage your spouse or other caregivers to attend. Parenting is a lot easier when everyone is on the same page!)

What You’ll Learn: Amy McCready, Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and a TODAY show contributor, will present a strategy-packed, interactive, LIVE online webinar designed to teach you:

  • why kids really misbehave – it’s probably not what you think!
  • how your personality may actually fuel misbehavior
  • the 5 R’s of Fair and Effective Consequences so kids listen the first time you ask
  • training resources to reduce your parenting stress and stop nagging, reminding and yelling

Get ready to end the cycle of remind-nag-yell-repeat as you try to get them to listen! To learn more, RSVP at positiveparentingsolutions.com/invisalign-teen.

I can’t wait to attend this seminar and use some of Amy’s techniques and strategies. Hope you can join me!

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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. Invisalign is sponsor of the Get Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling webinar.

The family trip to the orthodontist #invisalignMAB

nathan-ortho

Since I took Nathan to the orthodontist over a  year ago he’s been dying to get braces. Needless to say, he’s been looking forward to our appointment with our new orthodontist, Dr. Waugh, since I made it. I found Dr. Waugh through the Invisalign website and will be continuing my treatment with him. I just have a few refinements that have to be made and I’ll be done with my Invisalign journey. However, my kids’ orthodontic treatment is another story.

Getting a Herbst appliance

After getting x-rays and photos done, we found out that Nathan isn’t a candidate for Invisalign. In fact, he needs extensive work and three teeth pulled since his adult teeth are coming in so crooked that they aren’t pushing out the baby teeth.

Nathan will also be getting a Herbst appliance, which will move his jaw and teeth forward. He took the news very well, but I was rather horrified by the huge piece of metal that will be placed in his mouth to correct his overbite and weak chin. (You can see a picture of Herbst appliances here.)

A Herbst appliance is made up of four stainless steel crowns covering the back molar teeth, one on each corner of the mouth. Attached to the upper crowns are two metal sleeves. Attached to the lower crowns are two metal bars running parallel to the lower back teeth, and two metal rods or arms that slide into the sleeves hanging down from the upper crowns. The appliance may also have an expansion screw located in the middle of the palate, which is used to expand the palate. (I’ve had several friend’s whose children had these just for that reason.)

The appliance works by using the metal sleeves and rods to hold your lower jaw forward to correct an overbite. The lower jaw will grow into this new correct position, and your overbite will be fixed. Nathan will have his Herbst appliance in for 8 to 10 months.

After he gets his jaw in better shape, he’ll have conventional braces. Total treatment should be about two years.

Lucie’s turn

lucie-orthoNot to be outdone by her brother, Lucie is our oddity. She’s missing several adult teeth – why we don’t know, but the x-rays clearly show it. So Dr. Waugh will be working to save as many of those baby teeth as he can by making sure there’s plenty of room for the adult teeth she does have to come in properly. Lucie will be getting four teeth removed since, like Nathan, her adult teeth aren’t pushing her baby teeth out of the way since they’re coming in so crookedly. With all this in mind, Lucie will be getting braces in a few years and maybe some dental implants when she’s an adult.

Nathan and Lucie have a long trip ahead of them. Thanks goodness Dr. Waugh’s office is so close to the house!

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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.

Keeping it fresh and healthy on the road

road trip

Do you find eating healthy on road trips to be challenging? So many of us do, whether we’re wanting to eat fresh food or trying to work around food sensitivities and allergies. Here are some tips based on how my family and I eat healthy on road trips:

  • Bring a cooler. I know you’ve packed the family automobile with everything from toys to clothes, but you must make room to bring a cooler or two. You may want to have a larger cooler in the trunk or back of the minivan or truck along with a smaller insulated bag that will fit up front or underneath the kids’ feet in the backseat. Ask around and see if a friend or relative has a cooler that plugs into the lighter, too.
  • Ice packs or ice? Bring both! If you’re staying overnight at a hotel, many have mini-fridges to freeze your ice packs overnight. You can also ask for ice packs to be placed into the hotel kitchen’s freezer by one of the staff members. If neither are available, you can always pick up some ice at truck stop or supermarket. Bring some zip lock bags to put the ice in so you can easily store the ice in several coolers. It also makes getting rid of the melted ice much easier.
  • Bring healthy snacks that don’t require refrigeration. Nuts, dried fruit, jerky, fresh fruit like apples, snack bars, individual baggies of cereal, pretzels, etc. travel well without refrigeration. You can also store a box or two of fruit juice, water or shelf-stable milk boxes in the trunk – just fill the cooler with them when needed!
  • Bring the kitchen with you. If you’re up to it, you can also bring a loaf of bread, mustard and deli meat and make sandwiches along the way. Don’t forget to bring a roll of paper towels and a knife to spread the mustard and cut the sandwiches! Baggies and garbage bags will come in handy, too.
  • Buy healthy snacks along the way. The variety of healthy food at truck stops and gas stations is improving all the time. You can find fresh food such as small containers of low fat milk, cottage cheese, cheese sticks, hard boiled eggs, sandwiches on whole wheat bread, fruit juices, etc. Leave the kids in the car (with an adult, of course) so you’re not tempted to buy them treats like candy and ice cream.
  • Get it fresh from the farm. If you’re driving through a rural area, keep an eye out for fruit and vegetable stands. Also, before you leave, go online to find farmer’s markets and pick your own fruit farms in the areas you’re traveling through. Kids love to pick their own berries and visit farmer’s markets. Plus, both are a great way to spend an hour or two outside of the car getting some physical activity in before hitting the road again.
  • Map it! A GPS or smart phone can help you find healthier restaurant choices. Stopping at a supermarket for some fresh sandwich fixings or healthy deli choices is an inexpensive, DIY option, too.

Ben and Justin’s Freshpedition journey across America

So why am I sharing tips about bringing fresh food with you on road trips? Well, besides the fact that bringing fresh food with you on the road is easy, healthy and helps save you money, it’s all part of introducing you to GE’s Freshpedition video series. It’s five very entertaining online episodes where Chef Ben Sargent and Engineer Justin Berger hook up a new GE French door refrigerator to a generator in the back of a truck and drive 2000 miles in 10 days to surprise Wildlife Biologist Ron Thompson with fresh food. (You can learn about the cast here.)

Take a look for yourself:

I hope the Freshpedition video series will inspire you to find your own fresh food from farms and dairies along the way! Now if I can only figure out how to bring one of those GE refrigerators with me on my next road trip!

Freshpedition Sweepstakes

FreshpeditionGE is continuing this same passion for fresh food with the Freshpedition Sweepstakes. This sweepstakes uses Pinterest, which means you can actually pin for a chance to win all new GE kitchen appliances. 

But wait, there’s even more to win!

You can also enter each day of the sweepstakes for a chance to win a $100 VISA® Prepaid Card. Entering for this prize is fun as you’re asked to pin your favorite fresh foods or your own recipes. Also, these pins when hashtagged with your state (e.g. #GEfreshTX) become part of a “Best of Fresh” map featuring freshness from around the country. Explore the map here.

For official rules and to enter visit here.

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

How to make The Talk less stressful #KotexMom

mother-daughter-2

Now that girls are reaching puberty earlier, moms (and dads) realize that they have to have “The Talk” about periods and puberty with their daughters before they reach middle school. So how do you talk to your daughter without intimidating her with the information? And how do you tell her without becoming a nervous wreck?

Here are some tips should make having The Talk a little less stressful:

  • Don’t reinvent the wheel: Do you have friends with teenage or college age daughters? Ask them how they had The Talk with their daughters! I’m sure your friends can give you some valuable insight and strategies.
  • Enlist an ally or two: If you’re nervous about talking to your daughter about puberty and body changes, ask her favorite “cool aunt,” godmother or older female cousin to help out. Maybe they can join you in the discussion or be the designated go-to person if your daughter feels awkward coming to you with questions. Some girls feel more comfortable chatting about personal matters with dad, so don’t be afraid to ask him to help out, too!
  • Go to the experts: There are many wonderful books out there that explain puberty, body changes and periods. Our family’s favorite is What’s Happening to Me?  (There’s a boy’s version, which my son enjoys, too.) Other good ones friends have mentioned are The Care and Keeping of You and My Body, My Self for Girls. These are books that you and your daughter can look at together, or she can read them on her own.
  • Get the facts online: Hello Period from U of Kotex is a terrific website for your daughter to explore on her own to get advice from other girls about periods and products.
  • Start slowly and make it part of your normal day: If you’re at the grocery or drugstore, maybe it’s a good time to discuss body odor or hairy legs when you wander down the personal care product aisle together. Ask your daughter if she’d like to pick out a stick of deodorant or some body wash to keep in her bathroom. Or show her the brand of  leg shavers you like to use. Make purchasing hygiene products as normal as picking up milk or toothpaste.

Kotex Tween also has some great tips on how to have The Talk with your daughter:

  • First, pick the day you’ll have the conversation.
  • Second, start the conversation right. Kotex Tween suggests making time for just the two of you to talk by having at home spa day. If your daughter’s more outgoing, take her out for a meal either alone or with female relatives. It’s all about creating a safe space to talk about growing into a young woman and what that means.
  • Third, be prepared for the questions she may ask. Kotex Tween has an extensive Q&A section here on periods and gives you answers to fit your daughter’s maturity level.
  • Finally, take her shopping for the right products. U by Kotex Tween products feature the same absorbent protection as U by Kotex products, but are smaller than Kotex’s regular pads. They also come in vibrant new colors and patterns that tweens and teens really like. After shopping, find a special place in her bathroom to store her products in. If she shares a bathroom with younger siblings, she may want to keep her pads and other personal care products in her room.

Have you had The Talk with your daughter yet? How did you handle it?

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.

Amazon links are affiliate links. A commission may be earned from a referred sale to their website.

Have you had the talk? Why I’m a U by Kotex Tween Ambassador #KotexMom

Mother Daughter

Here’s how I learned about getting my period. Back in fourth grade, all the girls were taken to the school cafeteria, where we were shown a movie about getting your period. We also got to take home a little booklet. I read that booklet countless times, so I’m sure my mom knew that I had it. However, we never had “the talk.”

When I did get my period, I told her what happened. My mom congratulated me on being a woman and asked me if I knew where the pads were. But that was about it. We never talked about cramps, hygiene, public hair, using deodorant, leg shaving or any of that other growing up stuff. While I knew she was there if I had a question, I was too shy to ask and tried to figure it out by myself.

That’s why I’ve signed up to be a U by Kotex Tween Ambassador – to help parents and kids prepare for “the talk” in a way that’s natural, informative and loving.

Getting the facts early

Luckily, moms (and dads) have tools like Kotex’s website  to help prepare us to have the talk with our tweens. It’s so important to talk with your kids early because girls are now having their periods as early as eight years of age! Even if your daughter isn’t showing signs of puberty, she may have friends who are and will be curious about it.

That’s why my daughter, Lucie, who is 9, and already knows about puberty and periods thanks to franks discussions with both her parents and reading What’s Happening to Me?, a terrific book about going through puberty from Usborne Books. She’s nowhere near puberty, but has older gal pals from karate, school and camp who are. Lucie’s naturally curious about body changes, but sees them as normal and something to look forward to – except for eyebrow plucking, which she think sounds horrible, go figure.

I’m glad we’ve been matter-of-fact with Lucie and her brother. I hope it’ll save them some of the mortification I felt as a young girl when learning about body changes and periods back then.

Preparing for the talk

The Kotex website is a great source of reference that can help you prepare for your talk with your daughter. It has great tools such as a calendar with facts about puberty, questions your daughter may ask, ways to start the conversation, and more. I especially liked the information on Getting the Facts and Preparing for the Talk

There’s also a  Aimee Teegarden Gets Real Video by Kotex & Nickelodeon ParentsConnect that you should check out. In it she talks about how she and her mom have always had an open line of conversation about everything from Aimee’s career to going through puberty. Aimee also relates a story about a 14-year-old friend getting her first period during a slumber party. Her friend hadn’t had the talk with her mom yet and had to rely on the other girls at the slumber party to help her figure out what to do. Aimee called it “on the job training,” which was kind of ironic yet a little sad, too.

Finally, there’s the U by Kotex website page for tweens and teens for your daughter to browse and find information on periods, products, and puberty. It’s a great website for your daughter to look over on her own, especially if she’s too shy to come out and ask you a question about pads or pubic hair. Or you can look it over together to get the conversation started!

Have you had the talk with your daughter yet?

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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.

Why can’t these kids get along? Join me for a FREE webinar about ending sibling squabbles #invisalignMAB

sibling-rivalry

You know why I send my kids to summer camp? Sure, it’s for them to have fun with kids their own age and to keep them busy during summer vacation. However, it’s really to give me a break from the constant fighting that Lucie and Nathan engage in from the time they wake up until they fall asleep.

Their fighting makes me sad as well as frustrated, which is why I’ll be joining TODAY Show parenting expert, Amy McCready and Invisalign Teen as a co-host for a FREE webinar, “Why Can't These Kids Get Along? Solutions to End Sibling Squabbles” this Thursday, June 21 at 9 PM ET. (You can also attend at 2 PM ET).

If you’re interested in joining us, please RSVP  here. 

In this interactive webinar, parents of children ages 5-17 will learn:

• why siblings make the best rivals

• how well-meaning parents make sibling rivalry worse

• three top strategies to minimize sibling rivalry in your home

I’m looking forward to co-hosting as well as learning some tips. Hope to see you there!

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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.

Simple ways to make the morning rush less stressful

morning coffee

One of the most stressful times for me and my family is during the week day morning rush to school. Everyone wakes up grumpy and moves at the pace of a tree slug. Besides making sure everyone gets ready and out of the house on time, I also have to keep the kids on task – including reminding them to eat instead of staring at the wall!

Here are a few things I do to make the morning rush less stressful.

The weekend before

  • Groceries – go through your cupboards and refrigerator to make sure you have enough breakfast, lunch fixings, and school snacks on hand for the week. There’s nothing worse that starting off Monday morning realizing you don’t have any cold cuts to make sandwiches.
  • Hot lunch – if your kids get hot lunch at school, print out the monthly calendar and place it on the refrigerator. My kids are allowed to order hot lunch once a week, so I try to get them to pick what day they want it the weekend before. Also,  make sure you have cash on hand to pay for lunch if your school doesn’t have electronic billing.
  • Laundry – make sure everyone has enough clean school and work clothes for the week. If the seasons are changing, you may need to check the weather report to plan appropriately. Also, if you find that your child is constantly running out of pants or short sleeved shirts (probably because they’ve grown out of a few things) maybe it’s time to visit the store.
  • Backpacks – make sure that the kids empty their backpacks of any unnecessary stuff and put important papers, books, Friday folders, and homework in their backpacks Sunday night. This is a good time for mom or dad to make sure any important paperwork is reviewed or signed, too.

The night before

  • Showering – My kids like to shower in the evenings. I think most younger kids can get away with bathing the night before. However, many tweens and teens may need to shower in the morning to smell and look their best. If so, make sure everyone’s up early enough and knows to keep their shower time short.
  • Backpacks – see above.
  • Clothing – Some kids (and adults) do better if they choose an outfit and set out their clothing the night before.
  • Breakfast – Make sure you have food on hand that’s easy to make and eat in the morning. A couple of ideas are hard boiling and peeling eggs the night before, or making extra pancakes on the weekend to reheat during the week. Meal replacement shakes are a quick meal that can be consumed in the car. Cups of yogurt, minute oatmeal and cut up fruit are all healthy ways to start your day. If necessary, set the table the night before to have a jump on the morning’s rush. Set out your vitamins and don’t forget to prep the coffee pot, too!
  • Lunch – We don’t do this, but some families like to prepare lunch the night before. I find that the sandwiches get to soggy for my kids’ liking, so we make it the morning before.

That morning

  • Check the weather – Whatever way you check the day’s weather – the newspaper, TV news, your computer or smartphone – you need to know if it’s a long sleeves and jeans or short sleeves and capris day before everyone starts getting dressed.
  • Preparing breakfast – Older kids can prepare their own breakfast.Younger kids can help get the cereal or bread. Everyone should clean up their own dishes – not mom!
  • Fixing bag lunches – Older children can make their own lunches. If the kitchen is too crowded, have one child in charge of lunches one week, another child the next, and maybe mom or dad the following week.
  • Ban electronics in the morning – They’re distracting and prevent kids – and parents – from keeping on task and on time.
  • Use the kitchen timer to tell you when it’s 10 minutes before you have to leave. That should give everyone enough time to brush teeth, use the toilet, and gather up their stuff. Add another 5 minutes if mom or dad always misplace their keys!

I hope some of these tips help you make the morning rush less crazy.

How have you made your mornings less stressful?

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

© Rafalulicki | Stock Free Images

Join me at Driscoll’s Berries #MyPlate Healthy Kids Twitter Chat on Wednesday!

MyPlate

Join me and Driscoll’s Berries on Wednesday, March 14th at 7pm EST for a live, one-hour Twitter chat in celebration of National Nutrition Month! We’ll be discussing how #MyPlate guidelines can help you get your kids to eat healthier. We’ll also be chatting about how to use #berries to build well-balanced, kid-friendly meals.

Here are the details:

  • What: Driscoll’s #MyPlate Healthy Kids Twitter Chat
  • When: Wednesday, March 14th at 7pm EST | 6 pm EST | 5 pm MST | 4 pm PST
  • Why: Learn how to get your kids eating healthier by using #myplate guideline and #berries to build balanced meals.
  • Hosted by: @Driscollsberry and @amnichols – be sure to follow us before the chat!
  • RSVP: You can RSVP for the #MyPlate Healthy Kids Twitter Chat here.

Feel free to submit any questions you’d want us to discuss during the #MyPlate chat in the comments below!

Learn more about healthy eating at Driscolls.com

The Driscoll’s Berries website is a great resource for everything from recipe inspiration to nutritional information:

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Disclosure: Driscoll’s Berries is compensating me for my efforts on their behalf. All opinions are my own.

Get your kids cooking with Clorox Clean-Up Recipes For Fun and the Ultimate Mess Party contest #RecipesForFun

kid chefs I was recently introduced to a cool new kids’ activity site that will encourage them to “live it up, mess it up, then clean it up” – Clorox Clean-Up Recipes For Fun.

It features two cooking related areas. First, there’s Creative Cooking where kids are encouraged to play with their food and create edible masterpieces. Many of these recipes would be fun for Halloween or birthday parties like Potted Night Crawler Cups, which features gummy worms “crawling” out of dirt made from crushed up Oreos or Ooey Gooey Critters where kids can make “bugs” out of pretzels, peanuts, marshmallows and melted chocolate chips.

Clorox Clean-Up Recipes for Fun also features a Kiddie Cooking section for young Iron Chefs in the making. Sample recipes include "Hands-on" banana muffins, Beans on Toast (one of my kids’ favorites!) and Easy English Muffin Pizza.

While there are a lot of treat recipes in both sections, there are many healthy choices such as Healthy Race Car Snack, Healthy Peanut Butter Dip and Crunchy Cauliflower Salad. Here’s a Creative Cooking recipe I particularly liked because it’s simple, yummy and good for you! And what kids doesn’t like making (and eating) popsicles?

Yummy Strawberry Yogurt Popsicles

Ingredients For Fun:

  • 2 cups strawberries cut up into pieces
  • 2 cups low fat vanilla yogurt
  • paper cups (approximately 12)
  • wooden sticks (approximately 12)

How To Make It:

  1. Combine strawberries and yogurt. Mix well.
  2. Fill cups with mixture.
  3. Cover cups with aluminum foil. Insert stick into each cup.
  4. Freeze popsicles until they’re firm.

Win an Ultimate Mess Party

To celebrate their new Recipes for Fun site, Clorox has launched the Ultimate Mess Party Sweepstakes. All you need to do is register to their website. By doing so, you’re automatically entered into the grand prize for a chance to win $10,000 toward an Ultimate Mess Party. Plus, you’ll be eligible to INSTANTLY win one of the daily $100 gift cards just for viewing recipes.

In addition, if you share a recipe, you’ll get a coupon for $1 off Clorox® Clean-Up® instantly and receive 10 extra grand prize entries. Also, Clorox Clean-Up is instantly awarding free Clorox® Clean-Up® coupons and $100 gift cards from a variety of retailers for just viewing their recipes.

Check it out and get cooking!

Clorox Recipes for FunClorox Mess it Up + Clean it Up

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Disclosure: I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Clorox Clean-Up Recipes for Fun blogging program, for 8,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. For more information on this program, click here and see the Terms link.

Best of Colorado summer: Snowmass Culinary & Arts Festival

Snowmass Culinary & Arts Festival

Earlier this summer, my family and I were invited to attend the the Second Annual Snowmass Culinary & Arts Festival in Snowmass, Colorado. The event brings foodies, wine and spirit connoisseurs, and art lovers together in one beautiful location to sample some of the best of Colorado food and art.

Celebrity chefs for 2011 included:

  • Chef Richard Sandoval, internationally recognized as the “father of modern Mexican cuisine.”
  • Chef Hosea Rosenberg, Bravo TV’s Top Chef 2009 Winner.
  • Chef Alex Seidel, Food and Wine’s 2010 Best New Chefs in America.
  • Chef Frank Bonanno, owner of six restaurants and bars in Denver.
  • Chef and host of PBS Texas Cooking & Lifestyle series host, Christy Rost.
  • Diane Hendericks, a food and nutrition specialist, personal chef, cookbook author and on-air contributor for Good Morning America Health.

Due to family obligations, I was only able to see a few of the food demonstrations and was unable to attend the alcohol tastings. However, the cooking demos I did attend were worth sitting in a hot tent all day.

Christy Rost was lovely and I appreciated her healthful, colorful and delicious home cooking. If you’re a home cook who wants to serve healthy and delicious food using fresh and local ingredients, you must check out her show and her cookbooks.

Chef Rosenberg Chef Seidel

Chef Rosenberg was incredibly down to earth and generous. He shared not only his cooking expertise, but his experiences on Top Chef. He had no problems answering embarrassing questions about the show’s “make out scene” or the trials and tribulations of being a reality show contestant. He’s a very humble guy.

I was also inspired seeing how easily Chef Seidel made fresh ricotta. Really, there’s no excuse not to make it yourself. I also loved hearing about his farm and goats and made a mental note to make a reservation at his restaurant, Fruition, soon.

Affordable, yes. But family friendly?

Compared to other Colorado food festivals like Aspen’s Food & Wine Classic or the Denver International Wine Festival, the ticket price for the three-day event was a reasonable $65, which included all the demonstrations and the Palette of Pairings on Saturday. Separate event tickets for Tequilas & Tapas were available for $30, and Palette of Pairings tickets were $45. The Viking Stage Kitchen Cooking Demonstrations on Friday and artist exhibition were free with your pass.

The promoters told me the low ticket price was to keep the event more family friendly. However, children are not allowed at any of the alcohol tastings and could be bored at the cooking demos. My advice is to bring someone along (grandparents, a teenage babysitter, or a non-foodie spouse) who will occupy the children while you watch the cooking demonstrations.

Lots of stuff for families in Snowmass

Lucie at the pool Nathan in the gondola

There were many fun things for families to do outside of the festival, such as visiting the Snowmass Mall and seeing the Ice Age exhibit about the mastodon, mammoth and other bones they found recently in the area. I think I enjoyed the exhibit more than the kids.

There’s also hiking, mountain biking, golf, fishing, horseback riding and other outdoor activities in the area. We went on a gondola ride up the mountain, and the views were gorgeous. Of course, there’s the pool at the hotel, which my kids loved and hated to leave.

The Sweet Life

mushroom burger corn dog bits milkshakes

One place you may want to bring the kids to is The Sweet Life restaurant in Snowmass. (They also have a place in Telluride.) It features typical ‘50s diner fare like burgers and fries. But if you have a picky kid who only eats corndogs or if you’re dying for a delicious ice cream shake, this is the place for you. (Luckily, they did have several salads on the menu if you’re trying to eat healthy.)

Nathan got a Ultimate Mushroom Burger with a “shooter” of the milkshake of the day. (Nathan thought the shooter was really cool.) Lucie insisted on getting corn dogs bites since they ran out of corn dogs on the kids menu. Both kids had milkshakes, which they loved. Nathan said it was one of the best burgers he ever had and Lucie was happy with her bites. I had the Double Scoop salad with egg salad and tuna salad. It was delicious, very filling and the greens were very fresh.

While we had a lovely view of the mountain, the place did seem a bit run down (not dirty, just worn out). For being in a higher end resort and after looking at the pictures on their website, I was surprised by that. With the prices they charge ($11 for my salad), it could have been a bit nicer.

Staying at The Viceroy

The highlight of our time in Snowmass was our stay at The Viceroy Snowmass. First, I couldn’t believe the room rate - $125 for a suite that included a full kitchen, a living room, a master bedroom and bath, a second bathroom and a den. Both the den and the living room had pull out sofas, so my kids had their own rooms and flatscreen TVs. (No fighting over what they wanted to watch!) I had a bedroom all to myself and a tub I could do a few laps in. (Well, almost.)

We also had a balcony, which made me sad since my husband, Paul, was unable to join us as he was on a business trip that weekend. After putting the kids to bed, it would have been lovely to talk and enjoy a few glasses of wine together while sitting outside.

Of course, the kids loved swimming in the pool and hanging out in the hot tub. The pool was surrounded by chaise lounges and sunning platforms. There was also cocktail and food service by the pool if you needed a drink or snack.

Dining at The Viceroy

Eight K Restaurant Eight K Restaurant Eight K Restaurant
Eight K Restaurant Eight K Restaurant Eight K Restaurant
Eight K Restaurant Eight K Restaurant Eight K Restaurant

Dining at the Viceroy was wonderful, too. One night the kids had room service while I attended a media dinner at the Eight K Restaurant upstairs. (My kids are old enough to stay in the room by themselves. Even so, I instructed them to call the desk in case of an emergency and not let anyone in the room but me, a police officer, or a firefighter.)

If the gorgeous rooms didn’t sell me on the Viceroy, the food did. While, I’m sure they went overboard since it was a media event, I was very impressed by the fare, the presentation, the variety, the taste, and the knowledge of the staff. Definitely a place for a romantic meal (great views!) while the kids stay in the room.

Making Snowmass Culinary & Arts Festival even more family friendly and affordable

It looks like we’ll be moving out of state sometime this year and leaving our beloved Colorado behind. However, if we were staying, I’d definitely attend the Snowmass Culinary & Arts Festival again next year, but I’d do things differently.

First, I’d bring my husband along to keep the kids busy with outdoor activities during the day. Yet he loves to cook and watch cooking demos, too, so maybe we’d bring his mom along to babysit. I know she’d enjoy the trip and spending time with her grandkids at the pool while we attended the festival and went to the wine and spirits tastings. (Frankly, all the kids wanted to do was watch TV, swim in the pool and take rides up and down the mountain. The cooking demos were completely lost on them.)

I’d also take advantage of having a kitchen and stop along the way up to Snowmass to buy groceries. (I did bring some food, but not enough, which is why I had to order dinner from room service for the kids.) There’s no point in spending money on breakfast and lunch when you can easily make them yourself and save your appetite (and money) for the food at the evening tastings or at the Eight K Restaurant.

If you don’t have the advantage of having a babysitter to bring on the trip, the Viceroy also offers children’s activities and full day summer camp. (Call the hotel for details.)

Or you can leave the kids at home, get a smaller room, and enjoy a romantic weekend taking in the gorgeous views of Snowmass and the delicious tastes and sights of the Snowmass Culinary & Arts Festival. The festival would also make a great Girls Getaway Weekend for you and your foodie gal pals.

Hope to see you next summer in Snowmass!

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Disclosure: I was provided with a room, an invite to the media dinner, gondola ride tickets, festival passes, and a meal with my family at The Sweet Life. All opinions are my own.

Dining at the Edge at the Four Seasons Denver

Dining at The Edge

Last month, I attended a Denver food blogger tweetup at the Edge Restaurant & Bar at the Four Seasons in Denver. The purpose was to introduce us to their “Business Quickie” lunch meals at their gorgeous facility in the heart of Denver's downtown on 14th and Arapahoe.

The Edge is known for their happy hour and dinners. However, they want to get the word out that you can stop by during the week for lunch and for only $18 get a fabulous meal off their prix fixe menu.

We were served samplers of four dishes (above from left to right)  – Summer Halibut Ceviche, Petit Steak Frites with House Cut Fries and Peppercorn Sauce, Heirloom Tomato & Mozzarella with Torn Basil and Aged Balsamic, and Sesame Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing and Crisp Wantons. It’s hard to say which lunch dish was my favorite. The steak was perfectly cooked and tender. The ceviche was spot on and tasty. The heirloom tomatoes were fresh and perfect. (I could have eaten a large bowl of just the tomatoes.) The sesame chicken salad was excellent - crunchy and spicy. (Note: since I’m gluten free and avoiding potatoes, I didn’t have the tortillas, frites, bread or wantons.)

The steak and the ceviche were my favorite. However, if you’re dinning with a friend or two, get a few entrees and share. They’re all terrific!

panna cotta 300

The Edge also treated us to two of their fantastic desserts. First there was the Organic Chamomile Panna Cotta and a Lemon Oat Crumble with Sweet Roasted Apricots, which you can see on the left. the Meyer Lemon Tart, Candied Kumquats, and Passion Fruit Gelee on the right. It was hard to pick which one I liked more, but if I had to, it would be the lemon tart. Sublime!

chocolate cow pops molten chocolate cupcake

As take home gifts, were were given chocolate cow lollipops and a molten chocolate cupcake (with cute little Twitter chocolates), which I took home to the family. I really appreciated the special touch and the warm welcome the Four Seasons and the Edge showed the food blogging community. Can't wait to go back!

Budget conscious and family-friendly dining at the Edge

Just because the Edge is in the Four Seasons, it doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune or leave the kids at home. There are two weekend dining options that are perfect for families, and both are very reasonably priced for such a fine dining establishment.

The More than Just a “Sundae” Dinner For $28, the adults get a three-course dinner. Also, you can add a wine or beer pairing for $12. This is family friendly dining at it’s best. Kids can eat off a special kids’ menu and then go off to a special room set aside for them to play or watch videos in a safe, kid-friendly environment while mom and dad enjoy dinner in relative peace.

The Sunday Brunch A three-course specialty brunch menu which includes your choice of appetizer, entrée and unlimited trips to our dessert buffet for only $28 per person. Or you can order items à la carte and add the dessert buffet for $12. There are also endless mimosas or bottomless bloody marys for $10, though you may have to walk home after those! Also, kids under 12 can have their choice of kid's entrée with dessert buffet for $10.

You can also check in at the Edge on your smartphone using Foursquare and get a free drink on the house. (Ask your server or bar tender for details.) Of course, there are 50% off selected bar food & happy hour priced drinks during the week from 5 to 7:30 pm, too - $3 Draft & Bottle Beer Selections, $5 House Red & White Wine, $5 Well Drinks, and select items off the EDGE Bar Menu (many around $4).

There's also complimentary valet parking for all bar and restaurant guests.

And while you’re there, check out the wine room. I need me one of these!

Edge wine room wine trees

More on the Edge

Address:
1111 14th Street
Denver, Colorado 80202

Hours of Operation:
Breakfast: 6:30am – 10:30am
Lunch: 11am – 2:30pm
Brunch: Sat & Sun 9am – 2pm
Dinner: 5pm – 10pm
EDGE bar: 10:30am – 12 midnight. Weekends till 2am

Phone:
303.389.3343(EDGE)

Check out the Four Seasons Denver on Twitter and Facebook, too.

Edge Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Disclosure: I was a guest of the Edge and received a complimentary meal and parking. All opinions are my own.