Friday, March 25, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner - Review & Giveaway

Kids - "Mom?"
Me - Yes?
Kids - "I'm hungry.  What's for dinner?"

Now, you might ask me why I say, "yes?" when I know what they are going to ask.  It is the same question every night.  Most nights I'm prepared.  I know what I'm going to cook and I have all that I need.  Depending on my mood (and what I know their response will be), I'll either tell them specifically what we're eating or I give the standard answer, "Food."  (I always hated when my mom said that, but at least now I understand why.  I like to limit the amount of time I have to listen to them complain.  If they don't know what they're eating until they see it, then I don't have to hear about it while I'm cooking as well.)

Every once in a while I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to feed my family.  Does that make me a bad mom?  On days when Doc won't be coming home for dinner I can be pretty lax.  We'll have cereal, toast, pizza bagels or anything else that requires only food products that I always have on hand.   Perhaps I should change that to almost always have on hand.   There have been the occasional times when I'm counting on cereal only to discover that we are out of milk.  Oops!   I can't be the only person this has happened to, right?

Now, thanks to Barber Foods, I now have a new go-to that I will always keep on hand.   I was sent a sample of Seasoned Selects Broccoli & Cheese and Chicken Cordon Bleu to try with my family.   First, let me share a bit of information about Seasoned Selects:
Seasoned Selects are a new line of stuffed chicken breast entrees. They’re made with juicy, white meat chicken stuffed with savory combinations of meat, cheese and vegetables. Unlike the traditional Barber Stuffed Breast, however, this new line is not breaded, but is seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices, and is lower in calories, fat, and carbs. Seasoned Selects are a great dinner option for those nights when you need drama-free dinner prep. Just throw these entrees in the oven and get going on a quick salad or side dish. Barber Foods Seasoned Selects are a quick and unexpected dinner option that everyone in the family will love.
Surprisingly, they were a hit with everyone in the family.  Both Doc and the girls enjoyed the Chicken Cordon Bleu, and I just love the Broccoli & Cheese.  All you need is about 40 minutes and you can have a quality meal that definitely beats the cold cereal or toast we sometimes have.   Along with the chicken, I just heated up some noodles and a salad and it looked like a meal I might have spent all day preparing.   I'll definitely be keeping a supply of these in the freezer for those unplanned dinner days or even for an unexpected guest.  If a guest were to stop by though, I might go all out and prepare one of these new side dishes that can be found on Barber Foods website.   (I've been eying that Simple & Delicious Angel Hair Pasta since they sent me the link.)

How many of my faithful readers would like to try these Seasoned Selects for yourself?

Here's your chance!  The generous folks at Barber Foods have agreed to send one of my readers a FREE product coupon as well as a $25 grocery gift card!  Here's what you have to do to win.

Mandatory Entry (3 parts): 

1-Tell me your go to food when you need a quick dinner.  2-Visit Barber Foods website and tell me which variety of Seasoned Selects chicken you'd most like to try if you win.  3-Visit Barber Foods Side Dish Recipes and tell me which side dish (other than the Angel Hair Pasta) you would most like to make to complete your meal.  All three questions must be answered in ONE comment to be eligible to win.

Optional Additional Entries:

  1. Follow me and Barber Foods on twitter.  Post your username here.
  2. Tweet about this giveaway.  Use the hashtag #dinnerdrama @barberfoods and @rmgm.  Post a link to your tweet here (Can be done 1x daily)
  3. Like me and Barber Foods on facebook.  Post your initials here.
  4. Follow me on GFC.  Post your username here.

*Only open to US residents
*Winner will be chosen using
*Giveaway ends 11:59 pm ET on April 2, 2011
*Include your email address in your comment if it is not available on your profile page.
*Winner will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
*Prize will be sent directly from my contact at Barber Foods.  I am not responsible for lost or damaged   products.

But wait . . . there's more . . . if this giveaway gets AT LEAST 100 entries by the time it ends then I will double the gift card from $25 to $50!   So, get your entries in and be sure to spread the word!

*Disclaimer:  I received a sample of the product to facilitate my review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I received information about the product from Barber Foods.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Nutella - You've heard of it, but have you tried it?

I've seen Nutella around for quite a while now.  It sits on the shelves near the traditional peanut butter.  However, I never felt like trying it.  It was just a little too brown.  It just didn't look right.  Now, my question is . . . Why didn't anyone tell me that it was brown because of the COCOA?!   Yep, you heard me right.  Nutella is a hazelnut spread made with skim milk and cocoa.   Now, I'm going to be completely honest.  Nutella has a very unique flavor.  It is actually very difficult for me to describe.   Personally, I really enjoyed the taste.  My oldest daughter, Peanut (who ironically doesn't really like peanut butter), loves it.  The other day when Doc wasn't coming home for dinner, we decided that toast and fruit would make an acceptable meal.  Peanut asked for Nutella on her toast.  Pumpkin, on the other hand, loves peanut butter, and really doesn't care for Nutella.

After trying Nutella for the first time, I was so excited to be able to share my new discovery with all of my family and friends thanks to MommyParties and BSMmedia.  I was really surprised at the number of people that hadn't tried it.  (Though I did have some that had tried it before.)  One mom said that she might just open up her sample and eat it with her fingers on the way home, she loves it so much.  Another mom texted me the following night to tell me that her daughter was eating Nutella on crackers as her evening snack.  A third mom had intended to give her sample to her daughters, but ended up grabbing it and a slice of bread on her way to work.  She had been running late and wouldn't have gotten breakfast otherwise.   It seems to be a big hit for both moms and kids!

Overall, Nutella went over really well with my family and friends.  So I definitely recommend that you give it a try. If you do want to try it, be sure to go to the RedPlum website to print your $1.00 off coupon.   After you try it, if you find out that you really love it, then be sure to go to the Nutella website and enter to win a case.  I know I did!

*Disclaimer - All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I received a party kit from MommyParties, BSMmedia and Nutella which includes samples to give to family and friends.  I did not receive any compensation in exchange for this post or the party.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Once Upon a Time . . .

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Mel.
I’ll share with you the story, as it is mine to tell.

Mel was always busy. She loved to run and jump and play.
Winter, summer, spring or fall – She liked to go out every day.

In the winter she would ice skate, shovel, build and even sled.
Fall was great for football, raking leaves or even standing on her head.

Spring was made for gardening, jumping rope and riding bikes.
Summer meant it was time to swim! (One of Mel’s most favorite “likes”.)

Because she was so busy, Mel never put on weight.
She stayed tall and slender, no matter what or how much she ate.

This continued through her teen years since she was involved in many sports.
It wasn’t until college that she got all out of sorts.

Exercise became more scarce. Food choices were less healthy.
She would often tell herself, “I’ll do better when I’m wealthy.”

(Why is it that the healthy foods always cost you so much more?
It makes it hard to make a smarter choice while shopping in the store!)

Fast forward ten years later . . . now I have a different life.
I’m a sedentary woman, stay at home mom, and a wife.

I haven’t dropped my baby weight (though my baby just turned five!)
While I am living my dream life, sometimes I don’t really feel alive.

I want to be more active, healthy, strong, and an example for my girls.
I want to show them beauty is more than makeup, diamonds and pearls.

Finally feeling ready, I made a commitment to myself.
I am getting into shape, taking excuses off the shelf.

I’m ordering a salad – without dressing, croutons or even cheese.
Would you like a glass of water? Yes, I would! Yes, Please!

Protein, whole grains, fruits and veggies – I’ve stocked the fridge from front to back.
(Though I keep a dark chocolate kiss on hand when I get a sweet craving attack.)

Smaller portion sizes . . . by eating on smaller kiddie plates.
I order smart and immediately box half when I go out on a date.

I’ve started with some videos – Tony, Jillian and Jackie.
I even play on my Wii (though Just Dance makes me look so wacky!)

I tend to get bored easily, so I’ve got lots of choices
No excuse for getting tired of their faces, moves or voices.

I like to run outside, around our little neighborhood.
Unfortunately in Ohio, the weather’s not so good.

From snow to sleet to freezing rain . . . then the weather gets too hot.
Okay, let’s be honest, an easy to please outside runner – I am not.

I’d love to own a treadmill so I could run in rain or shine.
Morning, noon or night, it would be mine . . . all mine! ;o)

Actually to be honest I’d share with hubby, family and friends.
Because support from all of them will help me reach the end.

Making better choices together. Living longer for each other.
Becoming a better sister, friend, wife, daughter and mother!

*Disclaimer - I wrote this blog post while participating in the Bookieboo and Hayneedle Treadmill blogging program, making me eligible to win a treadmill. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kroger and the Cart Buster Savings Event Winner

Congratulations to commenter #107, Mari, who is a fan on facebook! selected you as the winner.  You should receive an email shortly. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Random Thought Thursday

Who was it that decided it was a good idea to make Barbie's fingers so pointy and her sleeves so thin?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Top 10 Tips for Family Travel Deals

Believe or not, the travel season is almost upon us. (Though after the marathon that was Christmas, it feels like it never ended.) First there is spring break. Then you have summer vacation. While we don’t always travel during these peak travel times, occasionally we do. When we are going to be hitting the road, we like to follow some basic rules in booking travel that keeps vacations within our budget.

Sign up for newsletters and tailor them to your needs. Just about every company has a newsletter that you can sign up for that will alert you to deals, bargains and promotional codes. I highly recommend that you sign up for them. When you do, be sure to be specific. You can often specify which airport you like to fly out of or which areas you like to visit. Getting a notification of a great rate on a flight from Boston to Las Vegas won’t do you any good if you live in Chicago.

Travel at off-peak times when possible. Before the girls were in school, we were free to travel whenever we wanted. If you have young children, take advantage of this. The prices are better and you have more bargaining power when trying to get a deal. If a hotel knows that they will have empty rooms, they are much more likely to give it to you at a better price than if they know it will be full.

Pack snacks. For some reason, when I travel I am always hungry. Several stops at fast food restaurants, sit-down restaurants, or heaven forbid the overpriced restaurants in the airport will break your budget in a hurry. Pack snacks that will not only be better on your budget, but also on your waistline.

Book packages. Just like combining your insurances, combined booking can sometimes save you money. Some companies work together with others to get you a better package deal than you could get if you booked everything separately. (This isn’t always the case, so do your homework, but you should at least consider it.)

Take your discount cards with you. Are you a member of AAA, AARP, etc? If you are, be sure you take your ID cards with you. You never know when you will run across a hotel, restaurant, or even gift shop that will give you a discount for your membership. It never hurts to ask. The worst that can happen is that they’ll say “no”.

Don’t overpack. Now that airlines are charging for every bag you check, you have to be smarter about what you pack. While you want to make sure you have everything you need (buying extra items on vacation will really add up), you also don’t want to pack items that you don’t end up using. You don’t need your running shoes, cross training shoes, and walking shoes. Pick one and allow it to multitask for a few days.

Talk to a local. If you know anyone (or even have a friend of a friend) that lives in an area you’re visiting, ask them for recommendations. They might know some amazing restaurants, hotels and places to visit that aren’t as popular and won’t cost as much.

Search for discounts before booking. If you know that you want to go on a particular tour or participate in a particular activity, look online to see if there are any discounts available. With so many great coupon sites out there, you rarely have to pay full retail. The deals are available if you know where to look. Local radio stations are a great place to look for half-price deals or links to coupons.

Don’t go souvenir crazy. In the moment, you might really think you need that coffee mug in the shape of a roller coaster. The reality is that you’ll never use it since you can’t drink out of it without it spilling all over you. Set a budget for souvenirs and don’t allow yourself to go over it. That will really make you think before making an impulse purchase. Instead, you can take pictures of some of those souvenirs and make a fun scrapbook out of it.

Don’t overbook. It is your vacation. While it may be true that you’re only going to visit once, that doesn’t mean you have to do every tourist activity available. Overbooking will lead to overspending. It will also make you feel like you need another vacation just to recover from the first one.

Do you have any tips you'd add?

*Disclaimer:  I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

How Lucky Are You?

Luck of the draw.
Luck of the Irish.
If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.

There are a multitude of quotes related to luck and even more beliefs on how to make it. From the four-leaf clover to the rabbits foot, people have all sorts of ideas about what makes them lucky, or not.

Personally, I tend to agree with the thoughts of Tennessee Williams who said, “Luck is believing you’re lucky!” I think if most people sat down and thought about all the positives in their lives, they would find that they are luckier than they previously believed.

For example, my life is far from perfect. I don’t have all the “things” I’ve ever wanted. However, I would never say that I’m not lucky. Here are a few reasons why:

I am married to an amazing man. He is strong, handsome, and caring. He is kind, thoughtful, and forgiving. Best of all, he loves me! Even when I’m being stubborn, ornery and difficult, he loves me. Some women worry that their husband will cheat. I do not. My husband loves me with all that he is. He tells me every day how beautiful he thinks I am. Every time I look into his beautiful blue eyes, I can see how much he cares. For that reason, I am lucky!

I have two beautiful, healthy, perfect little girls. When I say perfect, I don’t mean PERFECT. My kiddos make mistakes. They occasionally forget their manners. They don’t always listen like they should. However, so do I. My girls are kind-hearted. They are polite. They share. They make me smile. They make me laugh. They make me proud to be their mother on a daily basis. For that reason, I am lucky!

I live a comfortable life. My husband works very hard (and budgets well) so that I can stay home with our girls. While we have our share of worries, I never have to worry about the necessities. We have everything we need, and then some. For that reason, I am lucky!

I have AMAZING friends. While I don’t have very many close friends, the ones I have are wonderful. They are honest, hard-working, funny, strong, sincere and dependable. They are kind and forgiving if I make a mistake. They know me with all my faults, and they still like me. If I ever were to need anything, I know that my friends would be there for me. For that reason, I am lucky!

The list could go on and on. I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention my irreplaceable relationships with my sister and mother, the fact that I still have 3 grandparents that are still alive, and the fact that I live in a place where many are only lucky enough to vacation on occasion.

I am truly lucky! How about you?

*Note – This post was inspired by the redbox Lucky to Have Friends Like You Promotion.

The only thing better than $1 a night movies – free movies! Lucky you, redbox is giving everyone the chance to score free movie credits now through St. Patrick’s Day during the redbox Lucky to Have Friends Like You promotion. Each fan receives a unique web address. Every time someone rents from your address through March 17, you get a free movie credit. Rental credits are valid for ten (10) days after they’ve been deposited into your account. Spread the word, and lucky you could be rolling in free movies this March.

Disclaimer - I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and redbox blogging program, for a $25 Walmart gift card from redbox. For more information on how you can participate, click here.  Information for this post came from redbox and SocialMoms.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kroger and the Cart Buster Savings Event

With the economy what it is, I am always trying to find ways to save money.  From clipping coupons to scouring sales ads, I do my best to make our money count when I shop.  That being said, I do not sacrifice quality customer service in my shopping experience.   Lucky for me, I am able to find great deals and quality customer service when I shop my local Kroger store.

This week, Kroger is making it even better. 
From February 27th through March 12th, shop Kroger’s biggest-ever promotion and find the hottest prices around on more than 35 brands, across more than 60 categories from General Mills, P & G, Nestle, Pepsi and Kroger Banner Brands. During the Cart Buster Savings Event, you’ll find great savings in almost every department at the Kroger Family of Stores, which includes Kroger, Ralph’s, King Soopers, City Market, Dillons, Smith’s, Fry’s, QFC, Baker’s, Owen’s, Jay C Food Stores, Hilander, Gerbes, Food4Less, Pay Less Super Markets and Scott’s Food & Pharmacy.

Here are just a handful of the great brands participating in the event: Multigrain Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Hamburger Helper, Yoplait, Progresso, Totino’s, Green Giant, Cascadian Farm, Tide, Charmin, Bounty, Pampers, Pantene, Crest, Iams, Febreze, Old Spice, Bounce, DiGiorno’s, Nestle Toll House, Juicy Juice, Coffee-Mate, Edy’s, Stouffer’s, Lean Cuisine, Hot Pockets, Nestle Candy, Purina and many more!

Looking for even more ways to add money to your pocket? Visit to participate in their “Deal of the Day” promotion! During each day of Kroger’s Cart Buster Savings Event, be one of the first 1000 people to click on the deal link and receive a free load-to-card coupon for the featured daily item.

Personally, the brands on sale are some of my favorites.  Yoplait and Cheerios are on our shopping list every week.   I also love that I can almost always find coupons for those products in my local paper as well as online.  Don't you just love being able to load coupons to your shoppers card?  It is so quick and easy to do, and I don't have to worry about forgetting my coupons at home.  I only wish they doubled them like they do the clippable ones.

While I haven't had any luck getting the Deal of Day promotions loaded to my card, I'm still hopeful.  The site has been so bogged down at noon when they go live that I usually have to take Pumpkin to school before I can ever get the page loaded.  Here's hoping you have better luck than I do!

Speaking of luck, who wants to win a $25 Kroger gift card to help keep your piggy bank even fatter during this Cart Buster Savings Event?  Here's what you have to do to win:

Mandatory Entry:

Tell me what coupon you're hoping they'll offer in the Deal of the Day.  Today's deal was for Green Giant Fresh Steamers.  Personally, I'm hoping for a Cheerios coupon.  We can't seem to keep cereal in this house, and Cheerios is one I always feel good about giving my family.

Optional Additional Entries:
  1. Follow me on twitter and post your username here.
  2. Tweet about this giveaway.  Use the hashtag #myblogspark and @rmgm.  Post a link to your tweet here (Can be done 1x daily)
  3. Like me on facebook.  Post your initials here.
  4. Follow me on GFC.  Post your username here.

* Only open to US residents
* Winner will be chosen using
* Giveaway ends 11:59 pm ET on March 12, 2011
* Include your email address in your comment if it is not available on your profile page.
* Winner will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen.
* Prize will be sent directly from myblogspark.  I am not responsible for lost or damaged products.

Disclaimer: The Kroger Family of Stores and General Mills/Nestle/P&G provided me with a $25 gift card, the information, and the opportunity to host a giveaway through MyBlogSpark.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Earn Free Jewelry with Inspired Silver

I don't know about you, but I just love getting great deals on some of my favorite items.  No deal is better than getting something for FREE! currently has a promotion where you can refer friends to earn free jewelry. 

All you have to do is go here and sign up.

After you sign up, you will be given a link to share on facebook, twitter, via email, etc.

If you can get your friends to sign up using your link, you can earn earrings, bracelets, and more.

Disclaimer - I've actually never shopped at this site before.  I'm posting this in the hopes that I can earn some free jewelry myself.  If I do get some, I'll be sure to report back with more details.  Good luck!