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.

I’ll do my part to help end cancer. Will you?

standard July 17, 2013 Leave a response

My grandmother. My aunts. My mom. Without looking too far that’s at least 4 people, possibly 5, directly connected to me, who have faced a cancer diagnosis and lived to tell the tale. They’re not the only ones in my entourage. And not everyone has been so lucky.

Ever since the day our mother was diagnosed back in 2007, my sisters and I have debated whether to get tested for the BRCA gene. At the time my doctor was adamant that I not be tested, that it would put me at risk, from an insurance perspective, of being labeled as having an “existing condition” and refused coverage should I ever unfortunately need it.

I didn’t really mind. With my family’s health history, I never really felt the need to be tested. I operate on the assumption that I will, at some point or another, get breast cancer. I operate on the assumption that my two daughters are also in the high risk category.

For my sister, that wasn’t good enough.

But really, whether she ended up getting tested or not isn’t the issue. The simple fact that we can have this discussion is.

For my grandmother’s generation there was no test for ‘at risk’ genes, there was no screening for breast cancer, there wasn’t even much choice for treatment. For my mother’s generation things were better, and for ours, well, it’s a whole other landscape.

Whenever I think of breast cancer, or any other type of cancer, I think of all the doctors and scientists working hard in their labs doing their best to eradicate cancer in their lifetime. I think of people like my little sister who dedicate their days to finding a cure.

And I want to do my part.

But I’m not a scientist and I’m not a doctor. So I can’t help in that way.

I do, however, have something that I can bring to the table, something we all have.

I have blood and I have my story.

Those scientists and doctors need something to study and you and I can give it to them.

In our generation 1 in 3 women will have cancer in her lifetime. 1 in 2 men will have cancer in his. If those numbers horrify you the way they horrify me, read on. 

ACS Cancer Prevention Study-3 ~ CPS-3 – AKA, How you can get involved.

The American Cancer Society is running Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3), a huge nationwide long-term study that seeks to better understand the factors (lifestyle, environmental, genetic) that cause or prevent cancer and ultimately will help eliminate cancer as a major health concern for future generations.

They’re looking for 300 000 people between 30 and 65 years old who have never been diagnosed with cancer (not including basal or squamous cell skin cancer)and are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study, which involves completing periodic follow-up surveys at home.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area now’s the time to get involved. Recruitment is taking place in the following places:

• Alameda (July 20-August 3)
• Marin County (July 24-August 7)
• San Francisco (July 17-August 10)
• San Mateo (July 24-August 10)
• Santa Clara (July 13-August 10)

Registration details here.

If you live elsewhere in the US, check the ACS CPS-3 page to see when and where recruitment is taking place in your area. 

Participation in the study is a long term kind of thing. The study is slated to run for 20
years. OK, fine, that might be a tad daunting. But remember, CPS-3 offers us an historic opportunity — a once in a generation opportunity — to be personally involved in research that will advance ACS’ understanding of the lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors that cause cancer.

That means that with a blood and by answering a few questions every couple of years we can help create a world with less cancer for our children. A world with more birthdays.

I’m lucky, my mom and my aunts are still around to celebrate their birthdays. I know way too many people who aren’t. I want to do my part to change that for my kids and their kids.

Will you?


(Please note: While I was compensated for my participation in learning and sharing about CPS-3 through Women Online/The Mission List, all opinions and stories stated here are mine and mine alone.)

4 days without apps, could you do it?

standard July 8, 2013 3 responses
 

This is a sponsored post for eBay on behalf of Splash Creative Media.

 This summer my baby is celebrating her 6th birthday. It seems inconceivable that she has been around that long let alone that she’s no longer a baby. And yet, when I think of her I can’t fathom of a world where she isn’t around, making funny quips, giggling, or driving us crazy with one of her tantrums opinionated moments.

Drama Queen from her very first moments.

When I stop to think that the Apple App Store is celebrating its 5th birthday this week I’m equally dumfounded. How is it that just 5 years ago we got along without apps? Without smart phones?

The Apple App Store launched on July 10, 2008 with the eBay app, so, eBay Mobile is also celebrating its 5th anniversary this week. In honor of this celebration they posed a bit of a challenge to 200 of their consumers.

They asked them to go without apps for 4 days.

Easy right? These apps are something they’ve only had to rely on for the last 5 years. Surely they’d be able to get along without them for 4 measly days, right?

Well, 1/3rd of them couldn’t. The rest found that once they got their apps back they were happier, less frustrated, calmer, and more productive.

There is no doubt that if I didn’t have my smart phone I’d be able to survive. Despite my husband’s belief to the contrary, I am not addicted to the thing (emotionally attached, yes, addicted no…), but I do rely on it heavily.

  • Without it I’d get lost frequently. I rely on my maps app more than I should admit.
  • Without it I’d have to be home more often. I use my mail app to stay in touch with clients while on the go with kids. 
  • Without it I think I’d be more lonely. Many a times my text and social media apps have made it possible for me to find friends who are also out and about so we can meet up and hang out. 
  • Without it I’d never know what to get at the grocery store. My husband and I both have a grocery app that allows us to add things to a central list from our remote locations. 
  • Without it my purse would be even heavier than it already is. I rely heavily on my book apps to help me cart around reading materials for myself and the kids. 
  • Without it I’d never know where I’m supposed to be. I have reminders for everything in my calendar app. As it is it’s nothing short of miraculous that the kids don’t miss appointments or school things, without the app there’s not a snowball’s chance in Hell that library books would get to school on the right day or that I’d know when the kids have minimum days. 

If I think about it, clearly I used to get along without all of these things. I had GPS in the car, I had a paper calendar, I checked email at work or when I was home. It was all do-able, but there’s no doubt at all that having a smartphone has made me more connected, more organized, and more flexible than I used to be.

Time for a Twitter party!
Come help me and the Splash Creative Media team celebrate the eBay Mobile 5th Anniversary on Wednesday, July 10th with a 1 hour Twitter party starting at 12pmPST. We’ll talk some more about how apps have improved our lives! I can’t wait to hear your stories!

We’ll be giving away $300 in eBay gift cards so be sure to RSVP and get the party details here. 

Date: Wednesday, July 10
Time: 12-1pm PST
Party URL: www.ebay.com/mobile5(Party URL will be live on the day of the event.)
Hashtag: #eBayMobile Please note: you must participate from that URL to be eligible to win.
Prizes: $25 eBay gift cards given away every 5 minutes to a Tweeter who has RSVPd below and is actively participating in the party from the above URL.

Please note: eBay is a client of Splash Creative Media, my digital media agency. I am being compensated to write this post and run this Twitter party, but my love for all things eBay and app related is mine and mine alone.

Finding me time in the chaos of summer days

standard June 26, 2013 Leave a response

There was a time, back when I worked in an office, when I made a point every week of taking one hour to myself. Friday afternoons I got out of work an hour early, and, instead of rushing to daycare to collect my babies, I would stop off at Starbucks, buy myself a latte and some chocolate covered graham crackers, and find a cozy spot to sit and read for an hour.

An hour out of a week doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but I loved that hour. The rest of the week I changed diapers, fed bottles, made dinners, answered to supervisors and a million other people. But that one hour was mine, all mine, and for 60 glorious minutes I didn’t need to tend to anyone other than to me.

Then I quit my job and started working for myself and every stolen hour felt like just that, stolen. Instead of relishing the quiet, I worried that I should be doing something productive or taking care of someone. So I stopped taking that time for myself.

It took me years to realize that I really needed that me time. That it wasn’t stealing since it was critical to my well-being. To be productive and effective as a mother and a freelancer I need to take care of me. Simple, right? And yet such a hard lesson to learn.

This past year I’ve gotten better about making sure I take time to exercise, take time to have lunch with a friend, even take time to just take a morning off to read a book or knit in front of the TV. I’ve found that I’m more productive the rest of the time because I’m trying to finish things up so I can enjoy my time “off.” I’ve found that I’m much happier when I take care of me.

And then there came summer.

Now, let’s be clear, I have chosen to have my kids home with me all summer. I want them here. I want to hear them play while I write. I want them to have a summer with no schedule so they can just relax and be. And I’m enjoying having them here.

But the unexpected downside is that I’m never alone any more. And I won’t be alone again until they go back to school in August.

So, what’s a mom to do to get some much needed “me” time?

Well, I’ve gotten creative.

I’ve made it clear to the kids that they need to let me drink my morning tea in peace.
I’ve negotiated the right to go to the YMCA three times a week to work out while they hang out in the childcare room.
I’m very mindful of my evening down-time and try hard not to work after they go to bed.

It’s not much and it’s definitely not what I’m accustomed to, but it’ll do. And come August I know the house will be too quiet and the alone a bit too intense. So I’ll try to keep in mind, when the playful noises turn to whines and the happy sounds turn sad and I’m craving a bit of solitude, that summer only lasts 9 short weeks and that sooner rather than later it’s kid time I’ll be craving rather than me time.

 

Quaker® Chocolate Chip Cookies aren’t just for the kids! They may not be a latte and chocolate covered graham crackers, but they’re better! They allow me to be indulgent while still providing the power of Quaker® oats to fuel me for whatever the rest of the day might hold.

Share how you celebrate your me-time and go to Everyday Health for more fun stories.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Quaker®. The opinions and text are all mine.