A No-Fuss Way to Get Kids Out the Door in the Morning

Have you heard?? There is a new way to plan your lunches!  MOMables™ is a website created by a MOM dedicated to helping parents make their kids’ school lunch fresh!  Here is a brief interview with Laura Fuentes, Chief MOM at MOMables™ and one of our contributors here at AMKB.

AMKB: What is MOMables™?

MOMables™:  MOMables™ is a lunch menu subscription plan designed to help parents make fresh, wholesome, school lunches.  Our picky-eater, kid-tested recipes are made quickly — in ten minutes or less — with simple and fresh ingredients.  We streamline the lunch making process with a weekly menu and a shopping list.  We also provide you with a picture of the food so you know what the lunchbox will look like. Whether you have a small soccer team or one child, MOMables™ brings you fresh ideas so you can feel good about your child’s nutrition.

AMKB: What kind of ingredients are in a typical lunch?

MOMables™:  We believe feeding your kids wholesome food doesn’t have to be complicated.  All of our lunches have simple ingredients typically found inside your pantry and your current shopping list.  We plan the main sandwich, wrap, dish… and always picture it with a fruit and a vegetable to remind parents what a balanced lunch should look like.  You won’t find a packaged items in any of our lunches, only fresh food.

AMKB: What about a child with food allergies? Or, if my child doesn’t like one ingredient?

MOMables™:  Our lunch menus are not designed with specific dietary restrictions in mind.  However, nearly all ingredients are exchangeable for dairy free, wheat free, and vegan substitutes, for example.  Just like food allergies,  if your child doesn’t like one ingredient you can easily substitute it for another.

AMKB: I have kids of different ages.  How does your meal plan take this into consideration?

MOMables™:  Our lunch menus are a guide to portion sizes.  A parent preparing a lunch for a 4 year old child will make the food quantity slightly smaller than an 8 year old, for example.

AMKB: Can parents eat these lunches?

MOMables™:  Of course! Why not pack lunch for the entire family to save time and money!  My husband super-sizes his portions compared to my 5 year old and I love my sandwiches dressed with lots of lettuce and tomato (unlike my kids).  So naturally, there are some differences… but all the ingredients remain the same.  This saves me a lot of time.  We also pack most of the lunches on Sunday nights, so all I have to do is pull them from the refrigerator in the morning!

AMKB: How much does the subscription cost and how does it work?

MOMables™:  Our subscription pricing is $6 or less per month.  You receive a weekly email on Thursdays with some fresh tips from our kitchen as well as reminding you to log in to the website to retrieve your weekly menu and shopping list.  You print it, shop, and make fresh lunches!  It’s that easy.  You can sign up here. Or go to our main page and sign up for our FREE weekly news for more fresh food ideas.

Thank you Laura, we’re so excited to try MOMables™ and can’t wait to hear what others think! – Allison

Pancreatic Cancer: Know it. Fight it. End it.

Today I walked with Team WKRP (in memory of Bill Priestley, a community friend) at the PurpleStride Rhode Island event for pancreatic cancer, and I made the decision to have my 6-year old daughter and 4-year old son walk with me.  At first they were a bit resistant to waking up early and having to exert energy, but after they saw the event in action they were excited to be a part of it and enjoyed it!  I was initially planning on running it by myself, but when I heard others were bringing their kids, I realized this could be a great learning experience for them.

The weather held out, and the race started after the introductions and speeches were made (Allison Alexander  former ABC News Anchor was the emcee for the event – she walked in the race with her family as well)!

My daughter was able to walk most of the way (a couple quick wagon breaks along the way), but my son was pulled by myself and some others the entire race.  He was in a wagon decked out with signs for our friend, Bill Priestley.

We saw the Priestley family there walking for their husband/father, who just passed away April 8, 2011.  He battled pancreatic cancer for 18 months, and he leaves behind a beautiful wife and four wonderful kids (all ages 6 and under).  His wife, Kinda, has a wonderful supportive network of friends in East Greenwich, RI and many were at the race (Team WKRP and Team Priestley from Edwards and Angell, the law firm Bill worked for before he got ill).  It was nice to see these groups, as well as many other large groups out for people in the community (another being the group from Happy Hearts Preschool, walking for the owner’s husband who is currently battling pancreatic cancer).

Pancreatic cancer is a hard illness to overcome (survival rate is currently about 4.6%), and it is nice to see people out raising money for research to help find a cure and to learn more about the disease to help increase the survival rate.  After the 5K was finished and we were on our way home, my daughter said, “It was nice all those people gave money and helped out people that are sick.”  I am very proud of her for saying that, and I realized that the decision to bring my kids along was a good decision after all.  They did learn from it, and it was a great experience for them to see the community coming together to support a cause and to support loved ones, both battling pancreatic cancer and those that have passed away from the disease.  Please visit the PurpleStride Rhode Island site to donate money, or consider donating to the Priestley Children’s Education Fund, which can be sent to The Law Office of Joseph A. Priestley, Jr., 85 Beach Street, Westerly, RI 02891.

* Have you included your children in community events for raising money and awareness?  What lessons did your children learn?

Kristin Wheeler

My Life Just Changed Forever

 My life just changed forever. That was my facebook status message two years ago today.  May 10th was the day.  Mother’s Day.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.  After years of wanting a baby and worrying that maybe it just wasn’t in the cards for me, I had been blessed with the greatest miracle of all.  Craig was out of town, so it was just the dog and me.  I was bursting with excitement and needed to tell someone.  Of course I would post something on facebook.  Of course I would

Oddly enough, the night before, I was at a friend’s house talking about motherhood, having what would be my last glass of wine for what seemed like an eternity.  My friend sent me a picture of his yard the following morning.  A massive tree had fallen down in the exact spot where I had been sitting, almost as if to say, “this phase of your life is over.”  I got that text at 10 a.m. Mother’s Day morning, moments after seeing the word “PREGNANT” on my pregnancy test.

I, so badly, wanted to tell my husband in person.  He was supposed to be home in three days and I **thought** I could wait.  I waited…about 30 seconds.  I told him on the phone.  He didn’t believe me.  My next call was to new friend Audrey of Mom Generations, who lives right down the street from me.  She had just asked me to breakfast the week before, which turned into a 5 hour gab-fest, where she asked me about kids and I confided in her that I could be pregnant at that very moment.  Actually, now that I think of it, I think I tried to call my husband and he wasn’t there, so maybe Audrey knew FIRST and my husband knew second.  No matter.  In time, the whole world would know, because I told basically ANYONE WHO WOULD LISTEN.  Later that day, I went on a walk with Jane who also writes at Mom Generations and is Audrey’s sister.  I met the whole family that day and that’s when a great friendship was born.  For those who live in Rhode Island, or who have done business with Barrington Printing or Mom Generations, you know how wonderful this family is.  They’re huggers, which I LOVE and they let me talk on and on and on about this little miracle inside of me.

 

 

Oh, this note really is from my husband.  You might be wondering about that since his name is written in ink.  You see, my husband and I have been calling each other “Mav” and “Goose” since we were dating.  It’s even engraved on the inside of our wedding rings.  So, when he sent me flowers he signed them, “Always, M.”  Sixty years from now, when we are dead, I didn’t want my grandchildren to imagine some family drama and think that there was funny business going on with some guy whose name started with “M,” so I wrote Craig on the card.  Hey, I never claimed to be normal…too early to blame it on pregnancy hormones?

Sweet & Savory Jambalaya

One of the highlights of my Mom 2.0 conference  in NOLA this year was winning a recipe contest sponsored by Zatarain’s.  For those not familiar with Zatarain’s, they make everything from frozen entrees, to spices, but are probably most well known for their boxed rice mixes (of which I’m a big fan).  When my husband was working in another state and I was juggling a baby, and working outside of the house FT, I loved this stuff because I could make a big batch and add lots of fresh veggies & protein, then eat it for a couple of days.  It’s filling, full of flavor, and the boxed mix gives me a nice base that I can be as creative as I want with, depending on how much time I have and what other ingredients I have on hand.  I knew a lot of people would be entering the contest, so I wanted to try something different.  I’ve been really into sweet & savory things lately, so I thought adding a little fruit to the dish would be a fun way to mix it up!  Here’s what you’ll need for this sweet & savory jambalaya that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 14 ounce can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 package Zatarain’s Reduced Sodium Jambalaya Mix
  • 1 pound large shrimp, peeled & deveined
  • 1 package (12 ounces) Andouille sausage, cut into 1/4 inch clices (can use turkey sausage as a substitute)
  • 3 cups pineapple, cut into chunks (fresh is best, but I won’t judge)
  • 2 cups of craisins
  1. In large skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion & peppers, cook and stir 5-7 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
  2. Stir in tomatoes, Jambalaya Mix & water.  Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover & simmer about 15 minutes.
  3. Stir in shrimp & sausage. Put the cover back on and cook for 8 more minutes.
  4. Finally, add pineapple & craisins. Cook for an additional 2 minutes with cover on.  Make sure shrimp is pinkish and rice and veggies are cooked, then remove from heat, let cool a little bit and serve.

Ode to Mom

Me with my mom & sister circa 1976

All this week I have been thinking about those sayings our moms have.  Some they made up.  Some they heard from their mothers and some they borrowed from the greats.  Chances are you’ll pass many of these “momisms” down, and make up a few of your own.  Here are my favorites from my mom, mother-in-law, and a  few of my own.

THINGS MY MOM/MIL SAY

  • Make wise choices
  • When God closes a door, he opens a window
  • Kill ’em with kindness
  • Pretty is as pretty does
  • A smile goes a long way
  • You can’t expect others to treat you the way you would treat them
  • Worrying is counterproductive
  • Do your best

THINGS I SAY OR PLAN TO SAY  TO MY DAUGHTER (basically all of the above, plus…)

  • Where you are is where you are meant to be
  • You never know what’s going on in someone’s life
  • That’s the decision you made;  if you don’t like the outcome, maybe next time you’ll make a different decision
  • You should always be kind, but you don’t always have to be nice
  • If we all do a little, no one has to do a lot
  • Live a life of gratitude
  • What’s on the inside matters more than what’s on the outside

 

What are some of the “momisms” you remember from your childhood?  Do you find yourself saying them to your own kids?

Win $2500 from California Black Ripe Olives (Dress Up Your Dish!)

Mediterranean Roasted Olives

Mediterranean Roasted Olives

 

I am thrilled to announce several fun contests being put on by California Black Ripe Olives.  Time is of the essence here, folks, so keep in mind one contest ends on April 26th, the other June 1.

With that said, here are the details:

From olive artichoke party dip to lime marinated seafood salad to the kid friendly pizza tacos, California Black Ripe Olives are every season’s hottest accessory and they truly make the dish!  I know a lot of you love to cook as much as I do (can I call what I do cooking??) so chop chop–pun intended–and start showing the California Olive folks what you’ve got, because they’re giving away some loot!

FIRST CONTEST: (ends April 26th)

  • Tweet a picture of a can of California Black Ripe Olives next to your favorite accessory.   Be fun, be fabulous, be forward thinking.  The more pictures you tweet, the better your chances of winning!

    Prada Wristlet

    Win this Prada wristlet!

  • Be sure to tweet this hashtag with your picture #CalOlives
  • What you’ll win: Prada, baby!  Check out the wristlet, pictured right
  • For FIVE bonus entries, make a recipe using a can of California Olives and tweet a photo with hashtag #CalOlives
  • Final Note: Winner will be announced May 2nd on California Olives Facebook Page

 

Cali Black Olives

SECOND CONTEST: (ends June 1st)

  • We already know olives go with everything.  Now it’s your turn to “Dress Up Your Dish!”
  • Share how you accessorize your meals with California Black Ripe Olives for a chance to score one of 3 $100 Gilt gift cards, for REAL fashion accessories at insider prizes.
  • One lucky winner will take home $2500 in cash for creating the ultimate ensemble!!!
  • Three finalists will be selected based on creativity, ease of preparation, taste, and if the recipe used at least 6 ounces of California Black Ripe Olives (easy, right?)
  • Finalists will be announced June 15th, then it’s up to the fans to decide who will take home the cash.
  • Go here to enter (we’d love it if you told us about the dish you entered)

Disclaimer: I bet you guys were expecting me to say this was a sponsored post, Nope!  In fact, California Black Ripe Olives sent me to Mom 2.0—NO STRINGS ATTACHED.  I had such an amazing time and I loved their entire team so much–not to mention their product–that I just want to help spread the word about their awesomeness.  They are a joy to work with and I know whomever wins this contest will have the same experience.  Good luck…now, get to tweeting, creating & snapping photos! xo

 

Memorable Moments of Mom 2.0 (Part 1)

NOLA Ritz

NOLA Ritz, locale for Mom 2.0

 Life is about memorable moments. Creating them. Savoring them. Replicating them.  (It never hurts to try.) As Mom 2.0 approached, and the talk on twitter, facebook, and email peaked leading up to the 3 day conference,  my excitement increased. I knew I would learn a massive amount of information. The ingenuity, creativity, dedication, and passion of women like Kimberly Blaine, Jyl Pattee, Emily McKhann, Andrea Wishom, Liz Gumbinner, Beth Lemanach is knock your socks off inspiring. I honestly don’t know how you guys do it. While I only dropped named a few names, truth is—every single person I met during Mom 2.0 moved me in some way. I left every conversation thirsty for additional knowledge, empowered, and excited to do more. Faster. Better. Smarter. I wondered how on earth I was going to manage it all, plus a full time career as a TV Anchor.  The content at Mom 2.0 is top notch. I was often torn as to which breakout session to attend. The New Style: Bloggers, Brands and the Post Review & Giveaway Era or Video, Multimedia and Monetization: How Video Can Realistically Raise your Visibility and Credibility??   Creating and Building Influence or Personal Brand Building: Real-time Coaching and Brainstorming on Building Your Personal Brand and Where it Can Intersect with Big Brands??  Ultimately, I discovered it was the people BEHIND the message, more than the message itself that stayed with me…and THAT’S what making memorable moments is all about. The bonds you create with people. The lasting friendships, and partnerships. Conferences allow brands, bloggers, and PR folks to see the REAL you, not the person hiding behind the computer screen. On several of the headers on my site I have three words that I was happy to hear often throughout Mom 2.0. Authentic. Engaging. Approachable. More Mom 2.0 posts are to come, but if someone were to ask me to describe the people and discussions at the conference, I would describe them quite simply with the words we live by at  A Mom Knows Best.   Authentic. Engaging. Approachable.

Tiny Prints-Little Business Cards That Make a Big Splash!

business cards

I’ve worked at a lot of places.  And had a lot of business cards.  Working in television, my cards have been pretty standard…until now.  Here’s a glimpse of what my business cards have looked like for the past 15 years or so.  Just switch out the ABC, for CBS, NBC, or FOX…and change the station number;  the cards all pretty much look the same.

Practical...but boring

With the birth of A Mom Knows Best and the upcoming Mom 2.0 conference in NOLA, I knew I wanted something different. Something that showed I’m more than a business woman and a news anchor, something that showed personality.  I couldn’t go wrong with Tiny Prints.  I love the company’s whimsical designs, variety, and can’t- go-wrong approach to selecting and creating business cards.  Now, let me just state, this is my FIRST time ordering business cards myself, someone else has always done it for me.  Tiny Prints made it a breeze, folks.  LOVE THAT!!  Know what else I love?  24/7 live chat…don’t think I didn’t use it, TWICE.  I am a sucker for good customer service (hard to find these days) and Tiny Prints had it.

I chose the “Fresh Logo” folded cards, so I could put the A Mom Knows Best logo on the outside and add my picture to the inside.  To see another awesome Tiny Prints business card, check out Stacy Nerdin’s from Tree, Root, and Twig.  Here’s the outside of my business card.  I mean, are these not the cutest??

A Mom Knows Best business

Choose from polka dots in 4 different colors!

 
Cute…right?

The back of the card has a space for notes (love!)

To say I’m pleased with how the cards turned out is an understatement.  I might try a different card next time, because Tiny Prints has so many fun options, making the possibilities endless.  I also think I’d choose a card where I could include a little bit more text.  But, these were a HUGE hit at Mom 2.0…and they are memorable.  Many thanks to Tiny Prints for helping me out.

As an aside, for those of you wondering why all my pics are blurry…not to worry, new glasses are being ordered.

*Disclosure: I received my business cards from Tiny Prints at no cost in order to facilitate this review.

Getting Bronzed for Mom 2.0 (Cancer Free)

I took the advice of my friend Carrie and decided to get a spray tan for Mom 2.0.  Not that I ever would have gone to a tanning booth…I mean, c’mon, my husband had cancer TWICE.  Melanoma is not something to mess with .  Trust me, waiting nearly six hours while your husband has his face operated on at the Cleveland Clinic is not fun.  Being the one to have to go through that surgery—wondering if you are going to survive—and being left with the scars is even less fun.

You know what is fun, though?  Walking into Airbrush Tanning in Cranston, as white as a ghost , and walking out like I just got back from a trip to Mexico. O.M.G.  This place rocks.  Seriously.  If you have a an airbrush tanning place around you, go check it out…and if you live in RI, you must stop by this place.

I’ll admit, it’s a little strange at first having someone else see your business.  Of course, you have the option of wearing your bathing suit, but since I am wearing a strapless dress this weekend, I went topless.  I figured there’s nothing she hasn’t seen.  She sprayed me by hand—let me dry—then sprayed me again. (I was thisclose to asking her if she could spray muscle definition in my arms and legs, but figured I shouldn’t push my luck.)  The whole process took about 20 minutes and was worth EVERY PENNY of the $25 I spent.  At the airport 6 people asked me if I just got back from vacation.  Nice.

I’ve had the spray done once before at Airbrush Tanning, before I was to host an Oscar show.  I loved the results that time as well.  I used a mild soap in the shower every day and cocoa butter as lotion and my tan lasted about 10 days.  Here’s to looking bronzed–cancer-free– into May!Bronzed with John Besh at Mom 2.0

Have you ever tried Airbrush tanning?  What did you think?

Sunshine Makes All the Difference

warm weather

This can hardly qualify as a post because it is going to be so short…but I know many of you are feeling what I felt today.   Relief.  Hope. Promise.  It’s amazing how much the weather ties into my mood, but it does.  I feel like the forecast has FINALLY turned.  Will we still have some gloomy, cold days? Of course!  But, I can now clearly see the light at the end of the tunnel and it makes all the difference.  I can finally take Paige for walks, drive with the window down, go to the park.  I live for sunshine and that first taste of it, each year,  is like magic.  When the buds swell…and a few brave ones begin to blossom.  When the constant buzz of lawnmowers awaken me far too early, leaving behind the sweet scent of freshly cut grass.   And the smell of burgers cooking on the grill? Definitely one of life’s sublime joys. What are your favorite sights and sounds of Spring?

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