Thursday, August 21, 2014

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thursday!  OMG, my computer has been on the fritz today.  I'm trying to hold off until at least Christmas to buy a new one, but I don't know if I can wait that long.  It runs at snail space, the battery doesn't hold a charge anymore and then it just restarts itself at the weirdest times.  Pray that we make it until Christmas!

This week I'm thankful that school is starting soon.  Next week to be exact.  I'm so anxious and excited to chaperon field trips, make holiday treats and all the stuff that moms do when their children are in school.  The Mr is having second thoughts about JJ going to preschool.  He feels like JJ's not ready for that big of a step yet and worried about what introducing such a big change will do to his progress.  We'll see how it goes though.

I'm thankful that yesterday, I got the chance to co-host on my first live Google Hangout with some awesome moms from the YouTube Mommy Meetup group!  Of course, I had a few technical difficulties, but it worked out well.  I'm really enjoying YTMM community and the family-like feel.

I'm thankful that we've starting the house hunting process.  I know you're like wait, you guys just moved, but buying the right house takes time.  I have a wishlist that has some items that just aren't negotiable like garage, fenced in backyard, fireplace and an amazing kitchen.  When you're spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on something, you should make sure that you get what you want.  So, we want to take our time and really look at what's on the market and maybe even look into building a home.

Prayers are gratefully appreciated because we've been through home-buying before and it was stressful.  We lost my dream house to a higher bidder and I was crushed.  This time around, I will try hard not to get too attached.

What are you giving thanks for this week?

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

#HelloNewMenu: Family Date Night At Bonefish Grill

Disclosure:  I received a gift card to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed are 100% my own.

Family, food and fun.  Three of my favorite words and favorite things to enjoy in life.  Last week I got to enjoy all three while checking out the new menu offerings at Bonefish Grill.  It was wonderful to have a family date night outside of the house because it's been a while since our last one.



Although, I had never been to Bonefish Grill prior to our visit, several of my friends had.  One of my close friends even had her birthday party there last year.  I knew from word of mouth that the food was going to be good.  Plus, not to toot my city's horn or anything, but the Queen City does have some of the best restaurants around.

What We Ate

So, let's get to the actual food part.  We were started off with drinks, an artisan bread and the best made from scratch pesto I've had in years.  The Mr usually isn't a fan of the breads or rolls at restaurants, but he gave this one a thumbs up.  We decided to all order something different and eat family style.  

I knew ahead of time that I was going to try one of their new seafood bowls.  I chose the Spicy Tuna Bowl.  Sushi style tuna slices crusted with sesame seeds, fresh avocado, shredded carrots, jasmine rice & chives topped with crispy fried noodles, passion fruit salsa, a few springs of cilantro and sweet & spicy chile sauce. 



Simply delicious are the words that come to mind when I think about my Spicy Tuna.  The passion fruit salsa helped to balance out spiciness of the chile sauce and was a great compliment to the tuna itself.  Overall, I loved the way all of the flavors gelled together once I mixed everything up and poured the chile sauce over it.  
I really enjoyed the chile sauce and have been searching the web for the recipe so that I can attempt to make it at home.  You could definitely put that sauce on just about any piece of meat and it would taste good.  They were not stingy on the serving size either.  You get your money's worth.  I ended up taking some home.

The Mr ordered the Half-Pound American Kobe Beef Burger.   He was craving a little red meat since we've pretty stopped eating it at home.  He had already sliced his burger up into fourths before I could get a picture of it. Bummer because it looked so juicy.  And any burger lover can tell you that juicy is where it's at when it comes to a good burger.  You don't want it to be dry at all.

Besides being juicy, this burger was well seasoned and the special sauce was unlike any other special burger sauces that we've tried.  The lettuce was crisp and you could tell that the tomato was fresh.  Of course, cheddar on a burger is always a good choice.  The Mr gave this two thumbs up and so do I.  The kids didn't try this because of food allergies.

Moo ordered french fries and shrimp.  We haven't had shrimp in over a year and when she saw the Bang Bang Shrimp while I was checking out their menu online, she said wanted to try some.  I thought for sure she would want fish once we got there because she loves tilapia, but she stuck to her guns.  After trying her shrimp, I was glad she did because they were yummy!

The face of a very satisfied Bonefish Grill customer

JJ had just woke up when we got there and because of his many (too many to list out) food allergies and being in his picky eater stage, he got an order of fries.  He ended up having a meltdown and going back to sleep.  

What Else We Loved

From the time we entered the door until we left, the service was AMAZING!  Seriously, everyone was super nice.  Our server, Lydia, took her time in walking us through the menu.  Did you know all of their fish comes in fresh daily?  I'm not going to knock frozen fish, but if you've ever had frozen fish and  fresh fish, you know the taste is different.  

We had the freedom to customize our meals.  For example, I get headaches from eating meat that is medium rare and so I asked to have my tuna well done.  With Moo's gluten allergy, we were able to have her shrimp not breaded.  They took care to make sure there wasn't any cross contamination by using a new set of cooking utensils and keeping her food separate.

So, if you have food allergies, just be sure to let them know because they will mostly be able to accommodate you.  We also got to meet one of the managers, Julie.  She was a doll.  She greeted us when we arrived and even stopped by our table to check on us.  She mingled with a few other guests as well.

I would describe Bonefish Grill as being family friendly.  They have kids' menus that also double as coloring pages, high chairs and booster seats.  There were two other families with small children dining while we were there.  Nobody batted an eye or gave us a rude look over JJ's brief meltdown.  They understood that meltdowns happen.

As far as pricing, I do think they are reasonably priced considering the quality of the food.  They have options for every budget.  The cook time is fast.  We didn't have to wait very long for our food to come out at all.  I was most surprised by that because they had a full house when we arrived.  There was seriously no empty tables.  I would definitely recommend that you make a reservation to be on the safe side if waiting is not your thing.

What We Want To Try Next Time

Because the portions were so big, we didn't have room for everything we wanted to try.  We've made plans to go back next month to celebrate our wedding anniversary and the one month anniversary of the kids being in school.  Moo has requested to get her own Spicy Tuna Bowl (sans the crispy noodles), I want to try the Lobster  Grilled Cheese, the Mr is probably going to have an Kobe Burger and the Bang Bang Shrimp and JJ will most likely stick to his french fries unless he stops being a picky eater and then we'll throw some non-breaded chicken breast with that.

I also want to try the Jen's Jamaican Coconut Pie for dessert.  I'm hoping we can get some kind of berry/fruit salad for the kids for their dessert.  And I've already told the Mr that he can't dig in to his food until I've snapped pictures.  

Be sure to follow Bonefish Grill on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to keep up with all their awesome specials and promotions!

Have you ever been to Bonefish Grill?




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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Thankful Thursday



Between all the sadness that has happened this past week with the suicide death of actor Robin Williams, the killing of unarmed teen Micheal Brown and the subsequent madness that has broken out in Ferguson, Missouri and just the everyday crimes that happen locally, my heart is feeling a little heavy today.  I look at out at this world we're living in and my hope starts to slip a little bit.  There appears to be wars going on between good and evil.  Sadly, it seems like evil keeps winning more and more each day.  

This whole situation with Ferguson has me feeling like we're going back in time.  It's no longer just a "problem" to be  driving or shopping while Black, it's just living while Black period.  And our children, especially our young males, seem to be the most targeted.  Nevertheless even in the mist of all of these trials and tribulations, I'm finding things to still remain thankful for.

As the Black community continues to mourn Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and the countless other kids who have been slain these past few years, I'm finding myself thankful for the non-Blacks who have joined our caused and picked up a cross to bear in the continued fight for equality and justice.  I've seen how these people can get crucified on social media (and in real life) by their own races for speaking up on our behalf and voicing their own calls for change in the way minorities in general are treated.  It's comforting to know that persons outside of the Black community see our struggles and pretty much are willing to put themselves in harm's way to help us.  Likewise, I'm thankful when we as a Black community unite with other communities to voice our support during their times of injustice.  It just proves that unity is in fact possible if we can just all get on board the Unity Train.

I'm thankful for my family.  I know that I blog about my kids and my husband a lot, but there are so many other members in my family who play a huge part in my life and my support system.  I'm very grateful those people, regardless if they're blood family or friends who have become family.  Continuing along that path, I'm extremely thankful for the online family that I've built over the last two years.  These last two years, I seem to have really connected with some truly awesome people.

I'm thankful for yesterday and the fact that the sun came out and we were able to have a lovely family outing.  I'm really soaking up this time of us being a family of four.  As you all know, I've openly talked about my baby fever and desire to add to our family.  I've decided to come off of birth control next summer.  So, who knows what's going to happen with that.

I'm hoping and praying that the Mr and I will still be on the same page about this and all the stars will be properly aligned.  I'm thankful for this blog where I can come and share my thoughts with you all.  YUMMommy will be five years old next year and I'm so grateful for everyone who's ever stopped by here and shown support.

What are you thankful for this week?

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Friday, August 8, 2014

Air Bowling With Robinson's Fruit Shoot

Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Robinson's Fruit Shoot.  All opinions and the video within are 100% my own.



There's nothing I love more than having fun with my kids.  We play dolls, race cars, build block towers and more.  As a parent, I understand the importance of making sure Moo and JJ get in at least thirty minutes to an hour of imaginative play everyday.  Thankfully, the folks over Robinson's Fruit Shoot understand that as well.  Fruit Shoot is currently holding a 'Have a Ball Stunt Hunt' competition to celebrate imaginative play activities with our kids.  

My mom introduced my kids (and me) to the Robinson's Fruit Shoot drinks two summers ago and the kids have been hooked ever since.  They even make varieties that don't have any added sugars (winning!). So, it was a no-brainer that we were going to enter the competition to show off our imaginative play skills and creativity.  The rules are simple:

  1. Visit the contest homepage (here) to upload a video of your kids showing off their best tricks, stunts, and super-cool abilities with a Fruit Shoot bottle and any ball.  To qualify, please make sure your video is under 30 seconds.
  2. Share your video with friends and family and encourage them to vote for your video.
  3. Every week, Fruit Shoot will choose a winning video, give it the full-on Hollywood special effects treatment, and release it on their contest homepage for the world to see.
For our ball stunt we decided to do air bowling.  Sounds fun right?!  Check out our tutorial below on how we made our air bowling setup and you can be air bowling with your kids in no time.




Materials Needed

-Ball
-4 Robinson's Fruit Shoot bottles (1 needs to be empty)
-Scissors
-Tape
-String (5-10 feet)
-Tools


Directions

First, we made sure one of our Fruit Shoot bottles was empty.  Then the Mr got our his drill and helped me put a nice sized hole in the bottom of the bottle.  From there, I used some of my purple string (about 9 feet) and I folded that in half then fed it through the hole in the bottom of the bottle and out through the mouth.  Be sure to take the no-spill top off your bottle before hand.

Also, if you used string that is not coated (yarn) you might want to put a piece of tape on the tip to help feed it through the hole.  When we got the string through the bottle, the kids helped me tape the ball to the bottle and then we strung the whole contraption to our chandelier.  Now, let me just say that our contraption was very light (almost less than a 8 ounces) and our chandelier is very sturdy.  Whatever, surface you will be hanging your ball and bottle from please make sure it can support the weight of the bottle plus the ball. 

Once, I got it safely secured, Moo held the ball at 45 degree angle while I set up the bottles.  From there I just stood back and told her to release the ball.  The ball swung down and knocked over all of the bottles on the table.  Then I set the bottles back up in different placements/designs to see if she could still knock them over.  JJ got in on the fun too!

Cuteness overload!  I don't think I was this cute after my first tooth fell out.


This ball stunt is perfect for the outdoors where you can secure your ball to a tree and then setup your other bottles or pins on table.  Likewise, if you've been experiencing lots of rain or don't have a backyard, you can also play this game inside.  Like I mentioned above, just make sure when you're playing inside you secure the ball to something sturdy that can take a little weight and of course, always make sure you are supervising and getting in on the fun as well!

Want to see Moo in action air bowling?  Check out our video below.  

video

Don't forget create your own ball stunt or trick and upload it.  If you need more incentive to enter, entrants get a free bottle of Fruit Shoot.  And each six pack of Fruit Shoot currently comes with a free Waboba ball that you could use in your actual video entry.

Have fun!


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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thankful Thursday


Happy Thankful Thursday!  I woke up this morning to some exciting news- Moo loss her first tooth!  She was too excited that she had wiggled it out all by herself.  For a while now that tooth has been hanging by a thread.  She went to the dentist on Tuesday and they said that it was going to fall out any day now.  She has another tooth that is slightly loose and will probably be ready to fall out next month.

Oh where is the time going?  My babies are growing so fast!  I'm thankful though to be able to share these milestones with them.  I'm very thankful that Moo didn't swallow her tooth because I was sure she was going to bite into one of her apple slices and that tooth was going to be gone forever.  That's what happened to my first tooth.  I bit into an apple and down it went.  Talk about one pissed off preschooler, I was mad and the worst part was it happened at school.

I'm thankful that the kids are both excited about school.  We've really been talking about it and working on getting them on schedule.  I'm not thrilled that they have to wear uniforms because I went to a school where we could wear what we wanted.  Call me sentimental but I want the same for my kids.  No worries though, I've looking on Pinterest for ways we can make our uniforms stand out without breaking any rules.

I'm thankful that I've been keeping up with my VEDA/Vlogust challenge.  Not going to lie, I was a little worried about how well I do with keeping up with it.  Vlogging is very different from blogging, but I'm enjoying it and have met some pretty awesome vloggers in the process.

New opportunities have been coming my way and I'm thrilled about them all.  I am being careful about the ones I accept though, especially since I'm getting a lot of offers that deal with my kids sampling products now.  I'm grateful though because Moo has been taking a great deal interest in the business side of this blogging thing.  It makes be proud because one day it will be her sitting here writing on YUMMommy and chronicling her parenting adventures and sharing the brands/products she likes.

Another reason that I'm thankful to be working with some new brands is that I'm building relationships in the corporate world which could translate to great partnerships and sponsors for when I'm ready to launch the nonprofit side of YUMMommy.  Also, as a mom of color it's nice to have these brands that I only saw reaching out to non-black or non-minority moms finally getting more diverse in their partnerships.  We spend like everyone else and it's nice to have our opinions sought out and shared.

What are you giving thanks for this week?


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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Back To School Snacking With Chiquita Bites

Disclosure: I received this product for free from the manufacturer to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the manufacturer of this product. 


Although, it's hard to believe that I have a preschooler and kindergartner this year, we're steady ticking off the days until school starts.  One of my main concerns for this school year is lunchtime and afternoon snacks.  Moo will be attending school for a full-day and JJ will only go a half-day.    I want to make sure that I'm packing them lunches and snacks that are: (1) nutritious, (2) portable and (3) don't require any prep work (kid/school friendly).  That's where Chiquita Bites come in.

Behold the goodies!


We recently got a chance to sample a variety of the Chiquita Apple Bites and they were a hit!  Even my picky eater, JJ, got in on the sampling action.  Our sample package included:

Peeled Juicy Red Apples (Single Pack)
These were Moo's favorite because they're peeled.  While she will eat the peel of an apple, she prefers to have the peel off.  It gets stuck in her teeth and that drives her nuts.  Like we seriously have to find her a piece of floss and floss the peel out before she will finish eating.

Juicy Red Apple & Grape (5 Pack)
These were her second favorite and JJ's favorite.  They both loved the grapes!

Juicy Red Apple With Caramel Dip (4 Pack)
I enjoyed these.  This was the first time either of them had tasted caramel and Moo was not a fan of the richness.  I don't think JJ knew what to make of the caramel sauce honestly, but again they loved the apples.

Juicy Green Apple (Family Pack)
Moo has an allergy to green apples, so I got to enjoy these by myself.  I prefer green apples over red ones.  So, this worked out perfectly.  And of course, JJ probably would have like these but the fact that he's used seeing red peels on the apples and not green threw him off and he didn't try them.  He just kept pointing at the green peel and then looking at the red apples like why are they different?

Juicy Red Apple (Family Pack)
 I've never seen my kids really battle over food, but since they both LOVE red apples, neither wanted to share these.  Thank goodness for bowls.  That solved the who gets to hog the bag problem.  

What I Love

What I love about all of the Chiquita Apple Bites is that the apples are very crisp.  I'm not fan of soggy or soft apples and neither are my children.  Even the peeled the apples were very crisp.  You could hear the crunch when you bit into them and I love that sound when I'm enjoying an apple.

I also love that these are pre-sliced because I suck at cutting apples in thin slices.  My slices always end up chunky for some reason.  They also pre-washed and ready to serve.  Each pack of the single serves provided the kids a half-cup of their fruit serving, which is great portion control.  I also love the singles because I can pack them fresh fruit for school now.

Apples will turn brown quickly and also absorb the odor from other foods if you pack them together when they're cut.  The singles will stop that from happening.  Another plus is that I can throw those single servings into my purse as an afternoon snack when I pick them up from school.  We can buy some to share with their classes (I'm thinking skip the lollipops for Valentine's Day and do these instead) without any issues.

I'm really excited that the family packs are resealable.  Having resealable packaging really helps to prolong the freshness once you've opened them.  I'm definitely going to be ruling and rocking when it comes to packing the kids' lunches now.   Speaking of ruling, Chiquita is hosting a Moms Rule Back To School Contest from now until August 25th.  All you have to do is 'Like' the Chiquita Snacking Facebook page and then comment on one of their Back To School posts sharing a tip or trick about how you make going back to school easier.  You could win a $1000 shopping spree and a years worth of Chiquita Bites!!  (See official rules and regulations here.)

Overall, I love that Chiquita Bites are nutritious snack options.  Healthy eating is very important to us and Chiquita is helping us to continue that even whether we're on the go or at home.  So, if you're looking for a healthy snack option for your kids, be sure to give these a try!
Before you go, don't forget to enter the giveaway below.  One of you will win a Thirty-One Thermal Tote thanks to the lovely folks at Chiquita!  This tote will be perfect for packing lunches or just to keep snacks cool while you're on the go.  Please note that the actual design/color will vary.




Happy Back To Schooling!!

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Hello August!




Is it really August already?  Where has this year gone?  Before we know it we'll celebrating Labor Day, then Halloween, Thanksgiving and eventually throwing up the Christmas trees.  For now though, I'm focusing on making it through this month.  My goals for August are:

Finish School Shopping:  We still have to buy uniforms, a handful of supplies from Moo's supply list and a bookbag for JJ.  We might also have to shop for thermos as well to go in their lunchboxes.

Successfully Complete VEDA/Vlogust:  Today was the first day of VEDA (Vlog Every Day in August) & Vlogust.  For my first video I did the About Me prompt from YouTube Mommy Meetup. Fingers crossed that by the end of the month, I will have 31 vlogs posted!  Don't forget to subscribe to my channel if you haven't already.



Continue Working Out: I'm on a mission to retone my abs, arms and legs.  So far I've been doing really good with my workouts.  With school starting soon, I'll have more time to feel the burn after I drop the kiddies off.

Try More Hairstyles:  Now that I've pretty much perfected my twistout, I'm ready to start experimenting with more natural hairstyles.  My sisters and I have decided to do a 30-Days No Heat challenge.  I've been giving some thought to doing either flexirods or a straw set next.  I want to try doing a pineapple, but I need a little more length so that my curls will the way I want them to.

Interior Decorating:  We may have everything unpacked, but now it's a matter of making this place flow and shine.  I'd love to get some photos developed to hang on the walls.  I need to designate a vlogging space other than my bathroom. We still have to buy a dining room table set and Moo needs a new bed.  This list goes on, but that'll be a later post.

Blog More:  I've been blogging significantly less this summer and I'm ready to get back to blogging on pretty much a daily basis.


So, there you have it folks.  Nothing too complicated, but I'll check-in on September 1st and evaluate how I did.  

What are your goals for August?

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