This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Allstate. All opinions are 100% mine.
As I sit here on my deck watching the kids play in the yard, I am finding myself overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude. I know that having a yard to play and relax in may seem trivial to many, and admittedly, it's a simple pleasure. But to me, it's bigger than that. It's everything to me. Seeing my children happy is everything, because that wasn't always the case.
You see, we moved from Virginia to my hometown in Ohio almost a year ago. I had been in Virginia for almost 20 years, and I had always been a bit homesick. Plus, I was very unhappy with the environment we were living in. People weren't very friendly, you didn't know your neighbors, and the cost of living was insane.
More importantly, my 13 year old son had been relentlessly bullied his entire life. He was called horrible names, physically assaulted, and ridiculed for being "different." He didn't really have a lot of friends, and we didn't have any real family around to offer a more solid support system. It got so bad that he was suffering from depression and didn't want to leave the house. I felt so helpless watching my child, who I love more than life itself, deteriorate. As a mom, you always want to be able to protect your child at all costs. Once a kid is in school, it's not always possible to hold their hand 24/7.
When the local schools refused to do anything effective to stop the bullying, we decided to take matters into our own hands. We wanted to give him a fresh start in a much friendlier and tolerant environment, and it seemed that leaving Virginia behind for good was our best option.
Naturally, Ohio was our first choice. I have tons of family here, and the town where I spent my childhood is amazingly family oriented. There are loads of things for families to do here, and there is a real sense of community. So we figured out a way to make it happen.
Last August, we purchased our "dream home" right by the riverfront. It's an old, century home with tons of original woodwork and a whole lot of charm. It gives us lots of room for the kids to grow, and we're in the town I have missed my whole adult life.It really is a dream come true.
I am not going to lie...Change can be scary. My husband's job changed, my son's school changed, and we went from living in one kind of environment to something completely new. We didn't know anyone other than family, and we had to adjust to life outside of the hustle and bustle of the DC Metro Area.
I truly feel that making this move was the best possible decision we could have made. My kids have a home that is truly theirs to grow up in. We know many of our neighbors. My son is no longer bullied and is outside playing with his friends every day. And we're surrounded by family who love us. These are things that we were seriously lacking in Virginia. We're all so much happier now, and our life in Virginia is a distant memory now. So yes, seeing my kids play in their very own yard without a care in the world makes me get a little misty. Life is good if you're willing to take chances. We're truly living the good life.
Speaking of, Allstate has a brand new vision which celebrates the good in life. By living the Allstate Good Life and throwing fear and doubt out of the equation, we as a society can find what truly matters in our own lives.
Sure, change can be scary, and uncertainty can be intimidating. But the good life is attainable, for those who are willing to be optimistic and step outside of their comfort zone the way my family has.
How do you have the good life? Are there changes you have made that seemed scary at the time, but have changed your life in a positive way? What are you celebrating today? I'd love to hear it!
***Disclosure: I have received complimentary products from CelluliteTreatment.org All opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
Okay ladies, let's be real here. We're not 18 anymore, and our skin isn't as firm and tight as it used to be. Whether it be fluctuations in weight over time, pregnancies, or even just time, women can end up with nasty bumps and lumps knows as cellulite. This occurs because the connective tissue between our skin and muscles becomes stiff and rigid over time, and just doesn't stretch the way it used to. This is a normal occurrence, and sadly, happens to almost everyone eventually.
Personally, I don't really have an issue with cellulite...Yet. I know it's coming. I'm not in denial here. Thankfully, due to the fact that I chase kids around all day, my muscle tone is good and I am at a healthy weight, it just hasn't made its appearance on my body. Hopefully, this, along with a good diet and skin care regiment, will keep cellulite at bay for awhile longer. But it's going to happen, and I know it.
Many of my friends and relatives struggle with cellulite, though, and I have seen what it can do to a woman's self-esteem. For example, have a friend who has a rocking body. She has a classic hourglass figure that is to be envied, even after having 4 kids! (I would give a limb to have her body...seriously.) But for some reason, she refuses to put on a swimsuit that shows off her Kardashian-esque curves. That reason is cellulite. So rather than wear a cute bikini, she chooses matronly looking, skirted suits to hide the bumps and lumps on her hips and bootie.
So when I got the opportunity to review Cellulite MD from the awesome folks at CelluliteTreatment.org, I jumped at the chance. My friend was excited to get to try it out, and told me to call her as soon as it arrived at my doorstep.
***Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Success® Rice. All opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
It's no secret that I love to cook. It's actually one of my favorite things to do when I want to relax or de-stress. Something about being in the kitchen and experimenting with different foods and flavors just makes me incredibly happy.
What is a bit of a secret is that while I cook just about everything from scratch with no issues whatsoever, one thing I have always found a way to screw up is rice. Yeah. I know. Rice should be easy to prepare. Even bachelors can do it. Talk about a blow to the ego!
It's not that I cannot cook rice properly...It's that I end up doing about 5 million things at once and I forget to check the rice for doneness in time, and it inevitably turns to mush.
The other night, my husband really wanted rice to be incorporated into our dinner. I felt my stomach get all queasy, and my nerves kicked in. Would I screw it up again? And then I remembered that I had picked up some Success Rice when we were grocery shopping.
Success Rice is the ORIGINAL no mess, no measure boil-in-bag rice that cooks perfectly every time and is ready in less than 10 minutes. The white and brown rice can sit for up to 30 minutes before being served, making it virtually foolproof. This saves me quite the hassle as I make various sauces, chop veggies, and cook meat or poultry. The rice is something I simply don't need to think about anymore!
So I started thinking about what I could make for dinner that included the rice. I wanted something drool-worthy, with fresh, vibrant flavors that were sophisticated enough to please my palate but still kid-friendly. (Toddlers can be picky, picky creatures!)
I ultimately decided on an amped-up Chicken Scallopini with fresh mushrooms and bell peppers. I say amped-up because I like to take a well-loved recipe and put my own spin on it. Along with the chicken in its luscious sauce, I prepared a Basil Pesto Rice.
First, I got my chicken breast out and pounded it down to about 1/4 inch thickness. This not only tenderizes the meat, it also allows for even cooking. Off to the side I had a dish full of flour to dredge the chicken in.
***Disclosure:This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Unilever. All opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
So anyone who knows my husband knows one thing to be undeniably true....He has horrible eating habits! You see, he's one of those super-lucky people who hasn't gained an ounce since high school, so he assumes that he can eat whatever he wants, and in mass quantities. I have seen him barrel through a 5lb Hershey's bar in a matter of hours, and I have seen him demolish an entire Chocolate Cream Pie in one sitting on many occasions. He doesn't even bother to grab a plate! He simply brings the entire pie over to the table and chows down with nothing more than a fork. (It's pretty disgusting to watch, actually. I usually end up making gagging noises and leave the room!) I also find about 1,000 candy bar wrappers on the floorboard of the car each month...sighs...
In all seriousness, his eating habits worry me. A lot. My family has a history of both heart disease and diabetes, so I know that a well-balanced diet that is low in trans fats and cholesterol is key, especially as we age. Dan seems to think that because he's not overweight and not sick, he's not at risk for anything. I, however, know better. Diabetes and heart attacks don't discriminate, so it won't matter that he's a healthy weight when all is said and done if he keeps shoveling horribly unhealthy foods into his face whenever he thinks I'm not paying attention.
Sure, I try my best to curb the issue. I cook healthier foods all the time. I buy organic fruits and veggies, locally sourced, grass fed meats whenever possible, and I never put junk food into our shopping cart. Still, it seems with every shopping trip, something horrid sneaks its way into the cart anyway, and there's not a whole lot I can do about it.
So recently, I was looking for sneaky ways I can cut back on our fats and cholesterol without sacrificing flavor. To my surprise, I learned that cooking with spreads is a great option! I have always been wary of cooking spreads. I have heard so much conflicting information about them! One minute they're the way to go, the next they're a no-no. So I did a little digging on my own and found out that spreads like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and Country Crock actually have 70% less saturated fat and 30% fewer calories than butter. (Who knew?!) Also, I Believe It's Not Butter has ZERO trans-fats, since it's free of hydrogenated oils and cholesterol. Plus, it includes a blend of oils rich in Omega-3 ALA. Hmmm...Maybe I'm onto something here!
***Disclosure: All information and prizes have been provided by Kohl's. I received no compensation for this promotion. All opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
Most of us have been touched by breast cancer in some way. Whether it's a friend, mother, a grandmother or an aunt who has been affected, or you happen to be a survivor yourself, this disease will literally affect every single one of us during our lifetime in some way.
Thankfully, I have not been affected by this disease in any way....yet. I am very blessed in this respect, but I don't fool myself into thinking it will never happen. However, I am a firm believer that with early detection, education, and awareness, we will find a cure for this horrible disease. Hopefully in my lifetime, or in my little girl's lifetime. No one should have to suffer from this disease. No one's wife, daughter, friend, mother, grandmother or aunt should have to lose their life when we can work harder to build awareness and find a cure.
The folks at Kohl's are also passionate about this cause, and have teamed up with Candie's to offer a gorgeous line of breast cancer awareness products for summer of 2013. This is part of their charitable Kohl's Cares program, and all proceeds will be donated to help fund breast cancer research, awareness, and patient services programs.
***Disclosure: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product. ***
By now, it seems everyone is familiar with "superfoods". You know, different foods like Acai Berry, Kale, Barley, and Kefir, that research has found may have extraordinary health benefits. (Of course, you should discuss your own personal dietary needs with your trusted physician.) I am a huge believer in adding these foods to a well-balanced diet, and I try and get several servings of them per day in some way, shape or form.
So when I got the opportunity to review the superfood juices and smoothies from Sambazon, I was pretty enthusiastic. I had seen these before at the grocery store, but had yet to try them for some odd reason. Sambazon juices and smoothies come in 10 different flavor varieties, and are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and omega 3-6-9's. They also fit wonderfully into any diet since they're vegan, gluten-free, and are USDA certified Organic. Oh. That means no GMO's, too! Talk about whole food nutrition!
Grub Hub USA Camp Kitchen (A.L.L. Review)
(Certain accessories not included -only shown to provide possible functions)
A Ladybug on the Go
The Grub Hub makes is it easy to prepare for your next trip then keeps everything organized at the campsite. All outdoor cooking necessities are right at hand when needed.
Sturdy tables, stove platform, light tower, large main storage compartment and multiple organizers make outdoor meal preparation a pleasure.
Built-in features like the utensil rack, air dry bags and collapsible sink simplify camp chores.
All components are engineered for extended outdoor use in all weather conditions.
The Grub Hub® stores and transports all camp kitchen gear then sets up in 3 minutes to provide tables, stove support, lantern support and organization needed for a complete campsite. It makes getting outdoors easy, fun and highly sustainable.
"Make Our Own Network" solely organized this event and I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are 100% my own and may differ from your own or even those stated in this post. Newly Crunchy Mama Of 3 is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.
**If you are a company and would like to see your brand advertised in a M.O.O.N. event similar to this please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
***Disclosure: I received complimentary samples to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided, and all opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
If there are 2 things I truly love in this world, they would have to be children and finding great deals. (Hey, I am a woman, and as we all know, most women love shopping!) I love finding top-quality products and services at prices that don't break the bank. When they're kids' products? Even better, since I do tend to spoil my little ones quite a bit!
Well, the awesome folks at Kohl's Department Stores have taken these things and merged them together in an amazing charitable giving program this summer. The Kohl's Cares program and beloved children's author Deborah Diesen have teamed up in a big way to turn pouts into smiles with the adorable Pout-Pout Fish! If you're not familiar with Pout-Pout and his pals, I highly recommend these books for some light-hearted summer reading with a positive message!
Man Cave Dreams Event
Organized by: Mom to Bed by 8
Prizes Include: 46" RCA LCD-HDTV, 54" Foosball Table & Kegorator
Event dates: 6/14 – 7/5
Bloggers Wanted Sign-Up Here
PR Friendly Mama!
I'm Brandy, a happily married, proud mama of two munchkins and a teen. You can read more about me HERE. If you're interested in building a working relationship, please feel free to e-mail me at: NewlyCrunchyMamaOf3@gmail.com
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