Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Food Lion Frugal Cook-off

Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Food Lion.

Having five kids, my mother was the master at ordering groceries for a large family on a very limited  and tight budget.  Looking back I'm still amazed at how she managed to not break the bank on groceries because we ate a lot!  And during my early childhood years before my parents split, it was my father who first sparked my passion for cooking.  Some of my favorite memories from those years are the cooking lessons he gave us in the kitchen and being glued to our seats watching Food Network the few months we could afford cable.

Thus, it's not a shock that my siblings and I all have a passion for food and cooking.  Being in the kitchen helped us to bond and taught us how to work together as a team.  In addition, it gave us the opportunity to experiment with our recipes and a greater appreciation for the art of cooking as a whole.  Now as a mommy and wife, I become even more passionate not just about being a frugal grocery shopper, but putting together meals that are healthy and meet my family's diet restrictions.   

Therefore, I am proud to announce that I will be participating in the 2015 Food Lion Frugal Cook-off on Saturday, August 29th!!  The cook-off will be held at the Charlotte Southern Women's Show (Charlotte Convention Center Hall A - 501 South College Street, Charlotte, NC 28202) starting at 11 AM.  This cook-off will be a bloggers versus bloggers version of Iron Chef (also one of my father's favorite cooking shows).  My team for the cook-off includes Jen of Peanut Butter Runner and Amy from Atta Girl Says.  While we're going up against some awesome competitors, we're confident that our "cuisine will reign supreme" when all is said and done in the kitchen arena.

I'm not going to lie, I am a bit nervous about this event.  Cooking in your kitchen for the people you love is much easier than cooking for a judging panel, Food Lion reps and in front of a room full of strangers.  Not to mention, there will be cameras rolling!  We're all feeling the pressure to put our best foot, or should I say feet forward.

Nevertheless, I feel blessed to have received this opportunity.  I'm so grateful that Food Lion reached out to me to participate in the Frugal Cook-off.  It is my hope that someone in the audience will be inspired by the meals that we create and that they see that it is possible to be a frugal shopper and still feed your family healthy foods.  And if you're in the Charlotte area and planning on attending the Southern Women's Show please stop by and cheer us on!  Also, I'm giving away 2 tickets and you can enter to win by tweeting:

Going to @SWSCharlotte this Saturday? Come cheer on @YUMMommies, @AttaGirlSays & @jdecurtins in the @FoodLion #FrugalCookoff at 11 AM!!

Tweet: Going to the @SWSCharlotte this Saturday? Come cheer on @yummomies, @AttaGirlSays & @jdecurtins in the @FoodLion #FrugalCookoff at 11 AM!!

How do you feed your family healthy meals on a budget?

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Monday, August 24, 2015

A Back-to-School Prayer For Moo

So long Summer Break!  The first day of school snuck up on us quick.  I'm going to be honest and say that our whole family had a bit of anxiety about how Moo's first day of First Grade would go.  Last year, she met the Mean Girls and came home full out bawling on the first day.  I'm happy to report that she was all smiles this year!!

She said that she enjoyed her teacher, her classmates are quiet and polite and she's excited to go back.  Talk about a complete night and day experience.  My hope and prayer is that the remainder of the school year goes off without incident or problems.  And speaking of prayer, one of our school morning traditions is starting our day with family prayer.   This year I took it one step further and created a special prayer to pray over and with Moo every morning.

Please feel free to adjust this prayer to fit your child(ren).  My fondest memories of going to school are the morning prayer sessions we'd do in the car with my mom as drove to either drop us off to school or pick up her bus.  The Prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) was her favorite to pray with us.  And I'm pretty sure she prayed that prayer and many others for us throughout the day.

When I went away to college, my mom and I became prayer partners.  We kept prayer journals and called each other if we had a special prayer request that we didn't want to share with others, but needed any extra set of lips to send up a prayer to God's ears.  It is my hope that just as prayer helped us to get through school last year, it will not only help us, but give us comfort again this school year!

Do you prayer for or with your kids during the school year?

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Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Sapphire Season

Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Faith Words.  I received a complimentary copy of A Sapphire Season to facilitate this review.  All opinions expressed are my own. 


1 Corinthians 13:4 tells us that "Love is patient and kind," but often times we forget the patient part.  Being patient doesn't just apply to being slow to anger or act when it comes to our loved ones.  Waiting on God to do His will in our lives is part of remaining patient as well.

In Lynn Morris' A Sapphire Season, we meet Lady Mirabella Tirel.  Once upon a time Mirabella was in love with the young and handsome Captain James Pryce, but due to the disapproval of her parents and his untimely death the two never married and she ended up heartbroken.  Her quest to get married no longer centered mostly around finding a spouse she could connect to romantically.  Instead, as Mirabella prepares to head to London for the "Marriage Market" season, she's determined to take a more practical and less fairytale-ish approach to snagging an engagement.  Little does Mirabella know God is about to derail HER plans for His own.

Sir Giles Knyvet has been Mirabella's best friend almost since before they were born.  Being neighbors it was inevitable that these two were destined to bond and be a part of each other's lives.  Like most besties these two confide almost everything to each other.  However, Giles is sitting on a secret.  He wishes Mirabella saw him as more than just a friend (if only Biz Markie had been born in the 1800s).  And to make matters worse, Giles' parents left him with a mountain of debt to settle.

Mirabella on the other hand is rich and too oblivious to the fact that her best friend is head over heels in love with her.  In fact, she doesn't become "aware" of Giles until they dance one night at a ball.

"I suppose it's that I've never really been aware of Giles as man.  No, that's silly, of course I know he's a man.  I just never have been so conscious of his physical presence, how I can feel the warmth of him, and I've always loved his scent, . . ."

Now that these two are aware of each other, will they each overcome the obstacles blocking their paths and join in holy matrimony?

A Sapphire Season, a historical Christian romance, is a delightful and easy flowing read.  I'm a hopeless romantic and have always been a fan of historical romances because of their romantic and tasteful feel/content.  Lynn Morris does a great job capturing this in my opinion.   While so many authors of doing Alpha males, it was nice and refreshing to see Giles being portrayed more as an average guy who's kind of shy/hesitant to put his heart out there so soon. 

I could relate to Mirabella being so scarred by her past experience that she felt like she had to choose between putting her heart on the line for romance or being practical and pushing love on the back burner in order to get married.  Heartbreak is never easy and it can break us if we allow it.  And focusing too long on those past heartbreaks and being a rush can cause us to miss out on THE one God has placed right in front of us.

I'm definitely looking forward to reading future books from Lynn Morris and seeing what adventures her characters will take me on next.

About Author

Lynn Morris is the bestselling author of over 25 novels.  She is the daughter of Christy Award-winning author Gilbert Morris, with whom she has often collaborated.  She lives in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

You can order a copy of A Sapphire Season from the following retailers:

Were you and your spouse best friends before you got married?

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Thankful Thursday

"I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry."
~ Psalm 40:1

It's finally here.  This is the last week of Summer Break and it got here quicker than I imagined it would.  While some parents have been counting down to the hours until they can drop their children off at school, I'm feeling the opposite.  I'm already counting the months and weeks until Summer Break comes again.  Call me crazy but I enjoy the uninterrupted family time I have with my kids during the from June until late August.

I'm so thankful for the memories we've been able to make.  We got to take our first trip/mini getaway as a complete family!  That was huge and Moo hasn't stopped talking about it and asking when we can do it again.  We hit up the parks, hung out at our favorite libraries, saw some exhibits, lounged by the pool and more.

The most important part for Moo is that she didn't feel like she was missing out on any of the family bonding time or fun activities.  During the school year, she does miss out on things like shopping trips and playdates at the park because she attends a late.  So by the time she gets home, she has no real time to spend with the Mr other than their one-on-one time in the car when he picks her up.  We can't go to the park or anything because I have to get dinner started and her favorite places close early during the school year.

The bright side this school year is that she'll be attending a new school with new teachers and staff.  I'm really looking forward to meeting her teacher and see how this school year gets started off.  We're praying that some of her old friends will have made the transition to the new school with her and that we don't have to deal with any Mean Girls at all!

I'm thankful to be feeling less overwhelmed this week.  Lastly, I'm grateful that my mom, baby sister and niece got me a copy of Mom's Night Out and Other Things I Miss by Kerri Pomarolli.  It's a great devotional for moms and this week one of the passages really spoke to me.  It reminded me to just be patient and PUSH while I wait on God to fulfill His promises.

This is going to be my go-to book for those days when I'm feeling down and beating up on myself for just being a mom living her life.  I'm so grateful that my family knows me well and got me this gift.

What are you giving thanks for this week?

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Thankful Thursday

"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."
~ Winnie the Pooh

I couldn't agree more with my loveable friend Winnie.  This weekend my mom came up with the intentions of taking the kids school shopping and we ended up on a road trip to the beach to surprise my baby brother.  And I'm grateful that it did.  Y'all I hadn't seen my baby brother in over a year!  It felt great to hang out with him and help him get all moved into his first real grown up place.

We laughed and got caught up on life in general.  The kids really had blast hanging out with him exploring his new place.  As much as my brother likes to pretend he doesn't want kids, watching him interact with Moo, JJ and my niece says otherwise.  He's going to be a great father when the time comes.  

I got to go back to my hometown which was a little sad because so much has changed and not in a good way.  But the hardest and saddest thing of this weekend was saying goodbye to my family on Monday morning.  Being a grown up with responsibilities like work, etc. sucks sometimes.  Not having all of my favorite people in the same city as me sucks all the time.  Phone calls, texts and Skype are great, but they're nothing compared to spending time together in person.

Never the less, I'm grateful for the time we did have and that I only have to wait another two weeks until they're back for another visit!!  I'm most thankful though this week for my mom just allowing me talk about my fears as it regards to JJ and his Autism.  His occupational therapy evaluation is coming up and my head is just one big emotional jungle right now.  

And I've been trying so hard to not let the walls cave in around me, but it's hard.  So. Hard.  It felt good to kind of talk to her about how was feeling.  To let out some of the things I've been holding in.  I'm still overwhelmed, but  I feel like I have better grip on everything.

What are you most thankful for this week?

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Thursday, August 6, 2015

Thankful Thursday

"I'm thankful for my struggle because without it I wouldn't have stumbled across my strength."
~ Alex Elle

It's almost the end of summer break and guess who decides to get sick?  Yep, me!  Okay, I didn't decide to get sick but my body sure did.  I've been feeling so out of it and drained since I woke up yesterday.  I'm ready for this sore and itchy throat, runny nose, fever and body aches to be gone, especially this migraine that came on today.

I'm thankful for the kids though because they've been super awesome.  They've been playing extra nice with each other and giving me cuddles.  I love being a mom everyday, but on days like today when I witness my kids considerate and concerned about me being sick it makes my heart swell with pride.

Wilson from Wilson's World talking about the bands that will be at Southern Sauce.

I'm grateful that this week I had a great opportunity to hang out at the BB&T Ballpark to learn about Southern Sauce and Charlotte Beerfest.  I got to meet a new blogger friend from one of my local blog Facebook groups,  a local celebrity and I snagged my first official press pass!!  I can't wait to share all the details in my upcoming post.  It's been great to have more local companies reach out to work with me because although I've been in the Queen City for over a decade there's just still so much about Charlotte that I haven't experienced.  And I'm grateful to get to share these new experiences with my family now.

I'm giving thanks that my baby sister has a had a great week on her new job!  I'm also grateful that my mom aced her State Board Exam this week!  So many great things have happened for members of my family this week.  It's nice to be able to celebrate all of these doors being opened for my loved ones.

What's on your gratitude list this week?

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Monday, August 3, 2015

NoGii Vanilla Banana Protein Smoothie Recipe

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.  My opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of May Media Group LLC or NoGii.

One of my favorite things about being in the kitchen is cooking and creating new recipes with Moo.  She's quite the little chef in training.  Plus, with so much attention on JJ, Mommy & Moo time has become a crucial part of our bonding ritual.  If you checked out my previous NoGii review, you would know that I am a big fan of their products mainly because they're gluten-free, but also because they taste great and they're healthy.

I've really fall in love with their Vanilla Bean Whey & Quinoa Protein powder.  It allows me to enjoy a nutritious meal while staying on the go with my family.  So, Moo and I decided to hit the kitchen and show you guys how I make my smoothies.  Check out our YouTube video below for the recipe!  We hope you enjoy. 

If you'd like to try out some NoGii products, visit your local Harris Teeter, Walgreens or use their store locator to find out what store near you sells their products.  Don't forget to follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to stay up to date on new product offerings and more.

What is one of your favorite things to make in the kitchen with your kids?

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