Sunday, April 22, 2012

Baking with McCormick!

McCormick is a well known brand in my home. We have a TON of McCormick spices in our cupboards. I was pretty excited when I was chosen to try out some McCormick items and bake a new recipe. 

I received McCormick Food and Egg Coloring, McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract, McCormick Pure Lemon Extract, McCormick Nutmeg, McCormick Ginger, and McCormick Cinnamon. 

I really pondered on what I would make with some of these ingredients. There were definitely a lot of options. I was given a great Look Book to check out as well!

The Ginger Glazed Carrots looked AMAZING... but I was asked to bake a recipe. So I kept searching...but I still clicked the heart and added it to MY Look Book. 

Then I came across the Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins. Yum. I had to try these. So, off I went to the grocery store for some extra ingredients. I was in need of some McCormick Poppy Seeds and some cake mix. Here's the recipe:

Makes 24 (1 muffin) servings.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 23 minutes


1 package (18 1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 tablespoons McCormick® Poppy Seed

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease or line 24 muffin cups with paper baking cups. 

2. Mix all ingredients in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds or until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full. 

3. Bake 18 to 23 minutes or until toothpick inserted into muffin comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.
I made one batch following the recipe...except I had purchased a white cake mix.

But, I also made one batch where I tweaked the recipe. I added double the Lemon Extract, a teaspoon of Vanilla Extract, a few drops of yellow food coloring (since I had purchase white cake mix) and a sprinkle of ginger as well.

Then on to the oven they went...and I waited. They sure did smell good!

Mmmm Mmmmm.... all done!

I personally think the ones following the original recipe look better on the plate.

They both turned out wonderfully though! The original recipe was light and fluffy with only a light taste of lemon. I prefer a stronger lemon taste, so I really enjoyed my doctored recipe. I also asked my husband which he preferred, he too chose my recipe over the original recipe- but said both we're good.

The McCormick Look Book was definitely helpful when deciding what to make. I also loved that I could add recipes to my own look book so that I could quickly go through the recipes available then look at all the ones I thought looked the best.

Why don't you take a look at the McCormick Look Book and let me know what recipe you think you'd like to try!

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for McCormick. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for participating

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Roaring Spring Paper Review

Honestly, I don't use paper products as much as I did when I was in high school. Even while attending college, nearly everything I did could be done on a computer. I just didn't use paper. It seemed better for the environment than to write things down and waste the paper.

However, there are some environmentally friendly paper products out there. Doing some reasearch and looking for a notebook online can lead to some interesting choices. I was pretty excited when offered to send me some great choices from Roaring Spring Paper for review.

I chose to review the Roaring Spring Wirebound 1-subject notebook, the Roaring Spring Environotes Sugarcane Paper, and the Roaring Spring Elephant PooPooPaper.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Autism by obesity?

I was reading an article in Newsweek today (An Autism Breakthrough? Kent Sepkowitz).  A quick summary of this article is that back around the 40's it was thought that Autism was caused by harsh parenting. "Refrigerator Moms" was the term used in the article. That theory lost it's momentum in the 70's when Autism was thought to be the result of poison. 

Well, now researchers think it may be linked to obese mothers, aged fathers, or mothers who are diabetic or have high blood pressure. I can understand genetics playing a part in Autism, there is still so much we don't understand about genetics and Autism both.  I can even see how aged sperm (or eggs) could possibly be a contributing factor. It does surprise me, however, that obesity is being considered a culprit. 

I'd love to hear some others' views on this... do you think obesity can cause something like Autism? Do you think too many things are being blamed on obesity? 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I didn't expect that!

When you are a new mom (pregnant or with a new baby) it's bound to happen.... you are going to have an "I didn't expect this" moment.

Playtex Baby is having a contest in which mothers can share there unexpected moments. What did you least expect when you were pregnant or a new Mom? We all have great stories to share, and Playtex Baby wants to hear them! Starting April 16th Playtex Baby is holding a contest on their Facebook page, asking Moms to share candid, unexpected moments of pregnancy and motherhood. They will be selecting daily winners, as well as a grand prize winner who will be flown to LA for the premiere of What To Expect When You’re Expecting. The film will feature Playtex Baby products including the Playtex® Nurser with Drop-Ins® Liners and the Playtex® Diaper Genie® Disposal System! So what are you waiting for – log on and share your story today

“I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Playtex Baby. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating”

Friday, April 6, 2012

I love that after dentist clean feeling... don't you? #CrestSponsored

I don't know about you, but I like going to the dentist for my cleanings. I love how clean my teeth are afterwards! That clean feeling only stays so long, however, at least for my husband and I. Maintaining that clean feeling is usually something that just gets more difficult with time. After a while there are some teeth that seem to get a build up- plaque maybe? My dentist says that is pretty normal, which is why they recommend a good cleaning every 6 months. But wouldn't it be great if we could keep that clean feeling longer?

Well, I am extremely excited to be a part of the Crest and Oral-B Pro-Health Clinical Plaque Control Test Drive Program. I am excited to see the difference a regular routine and great products can make for my family's oral hygiene

My husband has more of a plaque problem than I do, so when our kit came, we decided it would probably be better to have him use the products as the difference would likely be able to be seen more for him. 

Here are the products he will be using for the next few weeks:

The products include an Oral-B toothbrush, Oral-B Glide floss, Crest Pro-Health Clinical Plaque Control toothpaste, and Crest Pro-Health Clinical mouthwash. My husband will be using these products twice daily to help keep his mouth healthy, plaque free, and dentist cleaning clean-feeling! 

Crest and Oral-B invite you to enter the Pro-Health Clinical Olympic Games Sweepstakes for the chance to win trip to the London 2012 Olympic Games, and also enter into a weekly drawing to receive the full product line. To enter the sweepstakes visit The sweepstakes begins on March 15th and will run through May 31st. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. 

I wrote this post while participating in a test drive campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Crest and Oral-B and received product samples to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central Consulting sent me a promotional gift to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Dyeing Easter Eggs with PAAS and Heinz!

I love traditions. A tradition of mine, since I was young, is dyeing eggs for Easter. As far back as I can remember, we used PAAS Easter egg decorating kits. This tradition is one that I've continued with my children, and I still love it just as much!

I can't remember if my mom used Heinz vinegar when we were kids... all I remember is that I couldn't stand the smell of it. I haven't used vinegar with my PAAS kit since I have been an adult, well, not until this year. I was a little nervous (okay, a lot nervous) about the smell since I am pregnant and very sensitive to smells. In fact, I even had my husband do the vinegar portion of the project. However, I was extremely surprised when I noticed the Heinz vinegar was not all that strong smelling. I don't know if brand makes a difference in smell, but I can say I am no longer nervous about using Heinz vinegar!

Our eggs turned out great, we even dyed a few brown eggs! I like the dark colors they turn out when you dye them in green and blue dyes. The boys thought they should be pink- they learned quickly that it doesn't work so well on the brown shells. 


Heinz and PAAS also have a great new Egg Decorator iPad app! For every egg “dyed” on the app, Heinz & PAAS will donate $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation (up to $25,000!). Make-A-Wish Foundation helps so many children make a special wish and have some fun. I have a good friend whose son has Leukemia. They JUST went on his wish trip... to Disney World! My friend had nothing but good things to say about the amazing experience Make-A-Wish gave to her son. 

I haven't tried the app out myself- as I do not have an iPad, but I am sure any child would love to decorate eggs with it and I am sure all parents would love the mess-free fun!

So, if you have an iPad, go on and download the app (you can find it in iTunes by searching Heinz/PAAS). Let me know what YOU think of the app in a comment!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Heinz and PAAS and received a Heinz Vinegar bottle, a PAAS Egg Dyeing Kit, and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Sunday, April 1, 2012


I hadn't heard about Old Navy's BEST TEES until recently. I was pretty excited to have one sent to us for review! I chose a shirt for my husband, because he is a 100% T-shirt and jeans kind of person. He LIVES in T-shirts, and I knew he'd be able to tell me if they are the best!

We've been fans of Old Navy for quite some time, in fact, we made a big purchase just days before we received our review shirt! However, we hadn't yet tried the BEST TEES until ours came in the mail.

We received a men's grey classic crew BEST TEE.  My husband loves this shirt. He says it is very soft, fits perfect, and isn't too light nor too heavy. The shirt is 60% cotton and 40% polyester, and it has done very well in the wash! So far no shrinkage or odd shaping. Washing instructions for the shirt we received are, wash in cold water, dry on low. We've followed the instructions so far, and I can't imagine that we'll have any issues with shrinkage in the future. 

I have to admit, I was a little jealous that I didn't get the shirt to review for myself. I could tell how much my husband loved it, and it definitely seemed like he was comfortable.

Take a moment to watch Old Navy's comedic "infomercial". Make sure to tell me what you think in a comment!

Okay, the infomercial IS a little cheesy, but really, BEST TEES are super comfy and soft! You have to love the pun of Mr. T, too. ;)

BEST TEES are available for men, women, and children! I personally love the size ranges. For men, sizes range from S-3X, for women, XS-4X, and children's sizes from 12M-5T and 5-16. There is a BEST TEE for pretty much everyone!  You can find BEST TEES in store or online.

There are several styles to choose from, different neck lines, fitted tees, perfect tees, and vintage tees. I really like the vintage tees, personally. They look like that great worn t-shirt that you just can't give up because it's so darn comfy. 

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Old Navy and received a product sample to facilitate my review, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

It's been 6 years...

Six years ago, early this morning, my mother committed suicide (at least that's what the death certificate officially deemed).  And no, this is not an April Fool's joke. I really wish it had been.

I didn't think of my mother as suicidal. I still have a hard time believing it was suicide... partly because the officers involved had a hard time believing it as well. I do know my mother was having a hard time with her new husband (whom she married after knowing him only weeks). I also know that her husband was very violent.  I often think "what could I have done to prevent this?"  I know that does me no good, but it still pops into my head from time to time. 

You know how people say "it gets easier with time", well... I guess it does. Now, six years later, it is much easier. I no longer think that my mother is a phone call away... I don't expect her to call, and I don't expect to see her some random place. 

I know where my mother is, she's nestled in an urn in our hutch.... and that's okay. It's pretty crazy how the grief process works, and how long it takes. While everyone deals with death differently, and on their own timeline, it is something that definitely takes time. I am at peace with the thought of her being gone. Although, not necessarily at peace with her death, as I think I will always be wanting the closure of knowing what really happened that night and early morning. 

My relationship with my mother was strained. She hadn't always been a good role model, or even a person who was able to support me. I moved out on my own when I was 17, and didn't talk to my mother for quite some time after that. When I was pregnant with my first child, we started talking again. It's definitely a time when most daughters need their mothers. 

From then on, we tried to repair our relationship. We were never close... I never told her I loved her, and I was extremely guarded. However, she did want to be a part of her grandchildren's lives, and she was a good grandma. 

One of my biggest regrets is not telling my mom how much she did mean to me. I was angry still. I held that anger in my heart and while I do think it was justified, I really wish I could have let it go. It was only after she died that I really wished I had let it go, it wasn't worth having.

If I could give everyone a piece of advice it would be to free yourself from your anger. It isn't always easy...but being so angry really isn't worth it in the end. I still struggle with this at times, I still hold grudges against people that I am angry with. I try to remind myself that this anger really isn't worth it, and you never know what will happen in life. 

RIP Lisa Marie Genson. March 8, 1965- April 1, 2006.

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