Ice Cream: Always the best reason to smile!

standard July 27, 2013 1 response

(This may be a sponsored post for Dreyer’s, but you know you love ice cream, so trust me, you want to read on!) 

July is an awesome month. And no, I’m not just saying that because it’s my birth month and the birth month of my big sister and second daughter. No, July is awesome because it’s the heart of summer and because it’s National Ice Cream month.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Sorry. I get a little bit silly when I start thinking about ice cream. I can’t help it. A great bowl of ice cream just brings back a million awesome memories of fun family time, time spent with friends, or even just time spent on a couch in front of a good movie.

Ice cream. It’s just a happy food.

My children are prone to agree.

Now, 90% of the time, when we get ice cream, it’s when we’re out and about. Our freezer is about the size of a tin can and I have to prioritize important things like frozen chicken nuggets and corn dogs. So I constantly forget how much amazing ice cream is available in the freezer aisle of the grocery store.

In honor of National Ice Cream month Dreyer’s has issued four Limited Edition flavors and I highly encourage you to hurry on out to your grocery store to snatch them up before they vanish.

Four Limited Edition Dreyer’s Ice Cream Flavors

“Take the Cake”: Yellow cake-flavored light ice cream with a frosting swirl and multi-colored sprinkles. We tried the Slow Churned version (All the taste and 1/2 the fat (with 1/2 the fat and 1/3 fewer calories than regular ice cream! Yum and thank you Dreyer’s!) and it’s amazing. It’s seriously like eating a bite of frozen cake.This was, hands down, Little L’s favorite.

NEW “German Chocolate Cake Spectacular!” Chocolate ice cream with a caramel coconut swirl and brownie pieces. We also tried the Slow Churned version and oh my… it’s creamy, decadent, and delicious. C couldn’t get enough. Even Little L loved it, and she’s not a a real chocolate lover.

“3 Stripes You’re Out”: Vanilla Ice Cream with Mixed Blueberry and Strawberry Swirls. This is my favorite. It’s vanilla-y and fruity all at the same time. Delicious.

NEW “Sunny Salted Caramel Pretzel”: Vanilla ice cream with a salted caramel swirl and pretzel pieces.  I can’t wait to get my hands on a pint of this. There’s no way I’ll be sharing with anyone. Don’t even ask.

Operation Smile
Ice cream makes everyone want to smile, but sadly not everyone can. This year Dreyer’s is partnering once again with Operation Smile, an international children’s medical charity, to make possible 500 reconstructive surgeries for children around the globe suffering from cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial deformities. Since the middle of May and through September 31, 2013, Dreyer’s is using their Facebook page to educate visitors about Operation Smile and to encourage fans to donate. Dreyer’s will donate up to $125,000 to Operation Smile this year.

Want to know more about the “A Reason to Smile” campaign? Check out the Dreyer’s Ice Cream Facebook page. Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #ReasontoSmile.

Want some ice cream? 
I have two coupons for free Dreyer’s ice cream to give out to one of you lucky people! Yay! Want to win them? Leave me a comment telling me which flavor you’re excited to try! If you live in an area of the US where they sell Edy’s feel free to enter too we’ll send you the right coupons!
I’ll pick the winner July 31st at 10pm PST

Please note: This post is brought to you by me, courtesy of Dreyer’s and The Motherhood. I was provided product coupons and compensated for my time, but, as always, the opinions and stories and mine and mine alone.

Making Pear Vanilla Jam in 25 Easy Steps

standard June 18, 2013 1 response

Today, instead of waxing poetic about living in the silver lining of life, I bring you instead “Making Pear Vanilla Jam in 25 Easy Steps, a tried and true story from the annals of my days. Learn from my mistakes my friends, learn from my mistakes.

1 – Buy a huge Costco sized bag of pears in preparation for a Memorial Day camping trip with friends.

Yay! Camping!

2 – Bring home more than 2/3rds of the bag at the end of the trip.

3 – Spend three hours perusing pear recipes on Pinterest.

4 – Decide that you absolutely must make Pear Vanilla Jam. Yum.

5 – Go about your business for a week.

6 – Remember your Pear Vanilla Jam plan and look up recipe.

7 – Make mental note to grab some vanilla beans and pectin next time you’re at Whole Foods.

8 – Wait a few more days until you realize the pears are getting a bit over-ripe.

9 – Go to Whole foods and buy vanilla beans after gasping at the price. Grab some pectin while you’re there.

10 – Open pectin box and discover that there are two packets in there. Wonder why one is labeled activator. Close box and decide you’ll deal later.

10 – Go on Facebook to ask if you need new lids for your canning jars.

11 – On the recommendation of all of your followers and each of their cousins, head out to Cost Plus World Market for new canning lids.

12 – Find lids at the hardware store instead. While you’re there pick up another box of pectin. This one is “normal.”

13 – Go home and realize you bought the wrong sized lids.

14 – Check the recipe one last time and realize you need at least 8 pears. You only have 5 left and two look way past their prime.

15 – Go back out to the store to get more pears. While you’re there get the correct sized lids.

16 – Wait a few more days until you have a nice stretch of time to devote to your jam making.

17 – Start peeling pears.

18 – Throw half of the original pears – the modly ones – down the garbage disposal.

19 – Swat at a few fruit flies.

20 – Peel new pears and start cooking them with tons of sugar.

Mmm sugar.

21 – Check Youtube for videos on how to use vanilla beans.

22 – Let pear, sugar, vanilla mixture simmer while you clean jars and lid.

23 – Finish the canning process and pat yourself on the back.

Or post to Instagram, the modern day equivalent of the pat on the back.

24 – Research how to fight fruit fly infestation and spend two weeks battling the damn pesky things.

25 – Bake some Bread Machine Challah and treat yourself to the best snack you’ve ever tasted. You earned it!

Mmmm. Heaven.

Make sure to carefully store the jam you made. It’s going to be a while before you attempt this again.

Heavy purses and happy children

standard April 17, 2013 Leave a response

Back when I was pregnant, all those years ago, I had a box in my car. It was a plastic cube box originally designed to hold CDs. I used it to hold snacks.

Oodles and oodles of snacks.

I never knew what I was going to crave, I never knew when I was going to get hungry. Best bet was to have a nice assortment on hand so that when a hunger pang struck mid-commute home I could dive into the snack box and take care of it.

Fast forward 8 years and you’d think I would still have a snack box in the car. But I don’t. Instead I have a purse that’s always packed to the gills with multiple granola bars and fruit snacks.

You see, instead of one hungry pregnant belly, I now always seem to have with me a hungry child or two. And we’re not always in the car.

Every time we’re about to leave the house to go anywhere – the store, the park, school events, the zoo, the beach, or even just outside to play – I make a quick stop by the pantry and grab some staples.

Granola bars, fruit snacks, apples.

My purse is always heavy, but no one ever has to go hungry.

And you’d think I only pack for the kids, but, secretly, when I’m grabbing snacks for the littles I always make sure to grab something that will appeal to the husband. Little L might get insanely whiney and cranky when she’s hungry, but he just gets tired and withdrawn. Neither of which paves the way to a fun afternoon.

I’m a busy mom. As they say, the days are long even though the years are short. Between errands, playtime, excursions, and everything that crops up here and there
there’s plenty of time to get hungry and nothing, absolutely nothing makes a day feel longer than it is than a trio of hungry, cranky companions.

A heavy purse is a small price to pay for the peace that comes from happy bellies.

I never know what my days will have in store for my family, so keeping Quaker® Big Chewy Granola Bars on hand help make sure we have the fuel necessary to get the day. Now the Quaker® Big Chewy Granola Bars have chocolate drizzled on top and are 60% bigger – perfect for even the bigger members of my hungry family!

Share what activities you need fuel for everyday and see other stories on Everyday Health.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Quaker®. The opinions and text are all mine.

My final picky eater solution

standard March 12, 2013 Leave a response

In November 2009, a mere four years ago (eeps!) I wrote a post bragging about how I had bested the whole picky eater issue. Oh, I was sooooo proud of myself with my “kiss, lick, nibble” trick that worked so well on my the 1-year-old. As long as the food item in question was “cute” and small and I could play the ‘oh! you need to kiss the little baby’ card and usually get my way.

Fast forward four years and that sweet easily convinced baby has been replaced by a 5-year-old who would happily subsist on fruit on candy if I let her.

I’m mean.

I don’t let her.

The fight to get protein into her little body starts at breakfast, continues on through lunch, and finally ends after dinner when we get to take a 12 hour break before starting all over again.

I wish I could tell you I really had a trick to get picky eaters to try something new. But I don’t. We’ve tried all the common tips.

  • She won’t dip… anything into anything.
  • She loves helping us cook, but refuses to try anything we prepare with her.
  • She helps me do all the shopping and still shows no interest in trying any of the things we’ve purchased.

I thought about worrying about the whole thing, but since she’s getting plenty of vitamins and I manage to sneak in protein when I can in the form of milk in her cereal or the odd chicken nugget, I just get on with our meals as best as I can. I serve the things she loves when I possible and every so often add things I know she won’t want to try.

If she wants any desert she has to taste everything on her plate. If she doesn’t like it, she doesn’t have to eat more than one bite.

Fact is, she’s stubborn. Most times she’d rather forfeit desert rather than try something new (and there’s nothing this kid likes more than desert…). And everything she does try is instantly categorized as “disgusting.”

I’d get more annoyed, but I can’t really fault her when, 30 some years ago (ahem!), I was the one making that repulsed face and pushing the proffered fork away.

I remember my mother desperately trying to cajole me into trying something new. I remember being determined to hate whatever it was even before tasting it. I remember saying “YUCK! (or rather “Beurk!” the French equivalent) even if I kinda maybe liked it a little. It was a point of pride. No. New. Foods.

I’ve outgrown that pigheadedness (at least when it comes to new foods) and today I’ll try pretty much anything and usually find it delicious.

So? My latest picky eater strategy?

I’m just waiting it out. One day she’ll get bored of plain vegetables, rice, noodles, and fruit. That day I’ll be ready with new things to enjoy and I’ll try my hardest to not say “I told you you’d like it!” when she exclaims “Oh YUM!”