Pumpkin Spiced Smoothie (all the taste, none of the guilt!)

A few years ago I stopped buying flavored creamer for my coffee because of all the ingredients.  If I can’t pronounce it, I don’t really want it in my body.  My motto is, “most things, in moderation, are okay .”  That being said, I drink coffee seven days a week, not just on occasion.  I was so excited to learn about Coffee-mate’s new Natural Bliss line, featuring just four ingredients in each of its three flavors.  The Natural Bliss line currently comes in Caramel, Vanilla and Sweet Cream.  I have always been a fan of Coffee-mate, but recently I had only been buying it around the holidays.  With this new line, I can feel good about adding it to each cup of coffee.  I picked up a bottle of the Sweet Cream and it was delish!  Now, that doesn’t mean I won’t also pick up a small bottle of the Peppermint Mocha or Belgian Chocolate Toffee (those yummy flavors Coffee-mate is known for), because we all deserve to indulge a little around the holidays.  😆

pumpkin smoothieThis recipe, courtesy of the Foot Network’s Claire Robinson, should get you in the mood for the holidays.

Pumpkin Spiced Smoothie

 

  • 1-1/2 cups ice
  • 1 (6 oz.)  low fat coffee yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 cup NEW all-natural Coffee-mate Natural Bliss Sweet Cream

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    Shaving, Simplified (Review)

    I recently took a trip to Arizona with my daughter (boy, do I love traveling solo with a toddler) and I was thisclose to having to pay extra for luggage that was over the weight limit.  I’m convinced that even a travel-sized can of shaving cream would have tipped the scales in the wrong direction.  Enter the Schick® Intuition.

    Intuition razor

    It’s my new favorite thing, when it comes to packing efficiently and streamlining my morning routine.  The shaving cream and moisturizer are built right in to the razor.  Seriously, what’s more annoying than shaving your legs in the shower and discovering, mid-leg, that you are out of shaving cream!?  With the Intuition razor, the problem is solved!

    To get a $3 off coupon on this razor, head over to their facebook page through the end of October,  and take their quiz to fight out which razor is right for you!

    How Vitamins Make Me a Better Me

    Nature Made Vitamins

    I grew up taking Nature Made vitamins. They were just part of my life. My dad always said, “Breakfast is the most important meal of thevitamin dispenser day,” and right next to that hearty breakfast was this vitamin dispenser that my parents still use.  At some point, in my adult life, I grew tired of taking all those pills and I just stopped doing it.  Then I had a baby and everything changed.  It seemed no matter what I ate, how much I slept, or how many walks I went on with the baby to “get some fresh air,” I remained exhausted beyond belief.

    I finally went to the doctor and had a thorough exam, including blood tests.  He told me I was severely deficient in Vitamin D and suggested I take a supplement, along with a multivitamin.  He said it would take a few weeks to notice some results.  I could easily handle taking two pills a day, especially if they made me feel like myself again.  The energetic, happy, always on-the-go woman my friends knew me to be, and  my daughter deserved me to be.  Watch this short video to find out what happened after my second week of taking the vitamins.

    http://youtu.be/Az7aK2t3-rM

    Something I hear often from people is that they are just so overwhelmed when they walk down the vitamin aisle at the store; there are so many brands and so many different options!  Nature Made has a really cool feature on its website that helps you figure out exactly what you need.  It’s called a “vitamin assessment” and, after answering some questions, Nature Made recommends a customized vitamin plan that’s right for you, based on your lifestyle.  The company also has a terrific rewards program that gives you high value coupons worth up to $7 off Nature Made products, exercise DVDs and other fun things.  As an aside, I noticed the company recently came out with some new products and I’m eager to try the Skin Beauty & Wellness pack. I’ve never tried what, for lack of a better term, I’ll call a “vanity pack,” but the clock is ticking and I’ll take all the help I can get! 😉    Have you tried any products like this?  How do vitamins make a better YOU?

    ***Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Nature Made and received promotional items to thank me for taking the time to participate. Please vote for my entry at www.facebook.com/naturemade between 9/20/11 and noon (PT) 9/26/11.***

    Whiter Teeth in Just Two Hours: Before/After Pics!

    whiter teethAs I mentioned the other day, I was taking the Crest 2 hour challenge.  Just two hours to whiter teeth with Crest’s 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips!  Confession time: several years ago I tried one of those at-home whitening kits that took TEN days to get whiter teeth and, although I started to see results, by the third day my teeth were too sensitive and I had to stop using the strips.  These strips were different.  I had no sensitivity and with only a 2 hour time commitment required, I was free to go about my busy day without being tied to the house.

    The box includes 4 sets of strips.  Used every 3 months, one box should last you a year.  Now, for the big reveal.  Here are my before and after pics:

    Before

    white teeth

    After

    Don’t forget you can get some really good coupons for your own Crest Whitestrips by heading here, you can check out Crest’s facebook page for a chance to win $25, 000, and you can enter our contest for a chance to win your very own package of Crest’s Whitestrips!! For the mandatory entry, tell us below what life event you would want to whiten for in 2 hours.  For an additional entry subscribe to AMKB’s blog by clicking RSS button.  For an additional entry click the “like” button at the top of this post.  For an additional entry, click the “retweet” button.  For an addition entry “stumble” this post.  For each entry, leave a separate comment below and let me know what you did.  Thanks and good luck!

    Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post by One2One Network & Crest, but all opinions are 100% my own!

     

     

     

     

    Whiter Teeth in Just 2 Hours?

    white teethA few weeks ago I was staying with my BFF, Beth, and I forgot my toothbrush.  She let me borrow her motorized toothbrush.  Now, before I get a collective “Ewww!” from all of you, let me just say Beth and I have been best friends for over 25 years AND she had a spare head for the brush.  Rest easy, my friends.  This was, however,  my first experience with a power toothbrush.  AMAZING!  I felt like I had just been to the dentist.  Seriously, y’all, those things rock.  The next day, THREE people told me how white my teeth looked.  Coincidence? I think not.  The timing was perfect. Blame it on the red wine, the coffee, or age, but my pearly whites have been looking more like dingy yellows.  Now that I am no longer using the toothbrush, my teeth are back to their “normal”, ahem, shade.   So, I was delighted when asked to try out the the new Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips that promises to whiten teeth in just two hours!  It’s perfect for those last minute special occasions when you don’t have a week or two to do a traditional at-home treatment and you don’t want to spend the cash on an in-office treatment.  Here’s my “before” picture:

    smile

    Please ignore crooked smile

    Our friends at the One2One Network and Crest want to know, what life event would I whiten for in just two hours … and what life event would YOU want to whiten for in only a couple hours?

    Most of you know that I am a news anchor, by trade.   Let’s be honest, who wants to watch someone on TV with nasty teeth?  Yuck!  I am whitening my teeth for the job interviews I’ve been going on because most stations have you do on-set auditions.  What event would you like to whiten for with Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips in just 2 hours?

    I’ll be posting my “after” picture soon, stay tuned…

    If you want to whiten your teeth, here are some terrific coupons that will get you $7 off a box!

    Disclosure: I am participating in a Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips campaign hosted by One2One Network. While this is a sponsored post, all opinions are 100% my own.

    Lasagna in Less than 20 Minutes!

    I’ve made homemade lasagna ONCE in my life.  It was actually pretty good, but expensive, and it took me forever!  It wasn’t your traditional dish though, this was healthy lasagna;  using half soy crumbles, half turkey.  You could definitely taste the difference.

    My family is currently in Georgia right now, with my parents, and my dad is going through chemo and radiation for throat cancer.  We are constantly looking for foods that are full of flavor, but aren’t too spicy, as they hurt my dad’s throat.  I knew my Southern parents would not be fans of my “soy-lasagna”, so I was thrilled when I was asked to review Marie Callender’s Three Meat & Four Cheese Lasagna.

    Marie Callender's Lasagna reviewMy mom, dad, and husband all doubted that it would be any good because their only experiences with frozen lasagna had not been favorable.  Burnt edges, lacking in flavor, not enough cheese.  I, however, remained optimistic.  After all, Marie Callender’s must know it has a pretty decent product if it’s willing to put a money back guarantee right on the box.  I love that!  Nothing is worse than spending your hard earned money on a product and not being satisfied with it. Just sayin’.

    Marie Callender’s Three Meat and Four Cheese Lasagna comes in a special baking tray designed to prevent the edges from burning or the center from staying frozen – even in the microwave!  Generally speaking, I think food tastes better when prepared in the oven, but I wanted to test this “no-burn” claim and it was 6:30 and my 19 mos. old was getting hungry!  The lasagna can go from freezer to family dinner table in less than 20 minutes by zapping it in the microwave, so that’s exactly what we did.

    The lasagna includes three Italian-style meats (sausage, ground beef and pepperoni), layered with four different cheeses (Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan and Romano), in a hearty marinara sauce. Everyone loved it, even the baby.  Score!  Now, if only I can figure out a way to transfer it to a baking dish after it has been cooked–without it falling apart– I might just try to pass it off as my own…

    Baby eating lasagnaHave you ever tried frozen lasagna?  What has your experience been?

    Disclosure:  Marie Callender’s and TheMotherhood provided me with a coupon in order to facilitate this review and I was compensated for my time. Thoughts are my own and my family’s.

    A Gift Both Baby and Mom Will Love (Giveaway)

    Personalized CD

     

    Years ago, while working as a news anchor in Arizona, I was turned on to a company called Name Your Tune.  If memory serves me correctly, the year was 2003 and Name Your Tune was just coming out with its first CD.  Name Your Tune is a compilation of classic children’s songs transformed to feature your child’s name in every song.  Brilliant.  The company was kind enough to send me a free CD with the name of my choice.  I had it made for my nephew, and it was an instant hit with both mom and baby. I have to admit, before I gave it to him, I listened to it…about 50 times.  These tunes are catchy!  No surprise, the CDs quickly became a staple in children’s music collections around the world.  As an added bonus, I’ve become quite friendly with the company’s owner, who is an absolute doll!  I will buy again and again from a company that not only has a great product, but also has amazing people behind their product….and so I have.  As my friends and siblings had children, I would buy the kids personalized CDs from Name Your Tune and was always asked,”Where did you find this?”

    When, after 12 years of marriage, I finally had a baby, guess what showed up in the mail?  Yup, a personalized Name Your Tune CD for Paige.  To say that Paige loves this CD is an understatement.  She squeals with delight when we play it and sings along with the songs.  Adorable!  Each song says her name multiple times and the end of the CD has slower songs, so she can wind down.  In November of 2010, Name Your Tune came out with its second CD and I can’t wait to hear it.  You can catch a sample here.  Name Your Tune also has a ton of other personalized products, which look adorable, but I only have experience with their CDs.  It’s totally worth a visit to their website, though.

    Here’s where it gets good.  The fine folks at Name Your Tune have agreed to put together a personalized package for YOU!!

    • The mandatory entry requires you leave a comment below saying why you would like your own copy of a Name Your Tune CD.
    • For an additional entry follow @aMomKnowsBest on twitter and let me know in a SEPARATE comment below that you did
    • For an additional entry “like” aMomKnowsBest on Facebook and let me know in a SEPARATE comment below that you did.
    • For an additional entry tweet this message: Win a personalized Name Your Tune CD  on http://www.amomknowsbest.com #giveaway (put a link to your tweet in a SEPARATE comment below)

    **We will pick the winner September 7th, using random.org. Good Luck, I know you will enjoy this as much as my family has : )

    Starbucks Bistro Boxes

    starbucks latte

    Why is it that going to Starbucks always seems to make me happier? Whether it’s a latte, an egg salad sandwhich, a reduced-fat coffee cake, or just a plain ole’ cup of joe, something about that place puts a little spring in my step.  Maybe it’s because I consider it a well-deserved “treat,” or perhaps it’s because I’ve been known to spend hours there gabbing with a girlfriend (pre-baby, of course!).  Starbucks is a success because they have masterfully created an “experience” for the customer.  As an aside, the last time I was at a Starbucks, a customer was rude to me.  I didn’t say anything, but the person I was with did.  The barista later came over and gave me a free drink coupon for the next time I come in.  How sweet is THAT?  But, I digress…

    starbucks bistro boxes

    I’ve been eyeing the new Bistro Boxes at Starbucks.  Those of you who know me personally know you can usually find me by the food; I’m a grazer.  I would rather eat smaller portions all day long, than big meals that leave me feeling sluggish.  The fact that that these portions in the Bistro Boxes aren’t huge, yet look satisfying are a huge bonus.  I had trouble deciding which one to try because, with options like the Chipotle Chicken Wraps, Chicken Lettuce Wraps, Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box & the Protein Bistro Box, all of them looked good.   I finally settled on the Chipotle Chicken Wraps (BTW, does anyone else think it’s funny when people say chuh-POLE-tee?)

    Starbucks Bistro Box

    Chipotle Chicken Wrap

    The Chipotle Chicken Wrap contains seasoned grilled chicken, pepper jack cheese (my fave!), and  whole wheat tortillas.  It’s served with lime-cilantro slaw and avocado & roasted tomato salsa. For dessert, a piece of dark chocolate.  Not too big, not too small.  Perfect!  Nutritional info: 380 calories, 15 grams of fat, 26 grams of protein, 35 grams of carbs.  I should note that I ate this at Starbucks.  This is not a meal you can easily prepare while driving, but it’s great to take to a meeting, to work, to playgroup (while the kiddos are playing).

    On the way out the door, I grabbed the Cheese & Fruit Bistro Box for my 19 month old daughter because, like a dope, I forgot to bring her snack cup and the Chipotle Chicken Wrap was too spicy for her.  I opened it for her in the car and she was able to snack on the apples, crackers, dried cranberries and cheese while we were out running errands.  Nice.  Happy baby=happy mama!

     

     

    Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Starbucks Bistro Boxes and received a gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for taking the time to participate.

     

     

     

     

    Touring New England With a Toddler

    Mystic PizzaI don’t know about you, but I feel like the cost of everything lately is outrageously expensive.  Plane tickets? Forget it. Gas? It costs almost 100 bucks to fill up my Tahoe (which is, in part, is why we’ve become a one car family, at least for the time being). Date night (what’s that?) At least 100 dollars a pop. That’s why I was thrilled to find out Mystic Country, CT had so much to offer the entire family…and it’s just a short 45 minutes from our home in Rhode Island.  You could truly have a week’s staycation in the area and not run out of fun things to do.  Unfortunately, as I indicated here, we were in the process of moving, so I guess you can’t really call what we did a staycation.  We had been to Mystic once before, pre-baby, and I’m so glad we went back with Paige this time around,  before leaving New England.  However, because of our time constraints, and some meetings I had in Washington DC, we could only stay for a night.

    On our way into town, we stopped in charming Mystic, CT and picked up a pizza to go at the famous Mystic Pizza. It’s a lovely spot, surrounded by quaint shops and friendly people.  We drove about another 10 minutes into Waterford, Ct, where our hotel was located.  On the agenda for our trip was The Dinosaur Place & Ocean Beach Park.   SpringHill Suites by Mariott was conveniently located near both, and was a great place for us to stay.  Bonus that the hotel had free wi-fi, a hearty breakfast, two plasma TVs AND an indoor pool and gym. They were kind enough to give us an early check in, so we could unload and head out to Ocean Beach Park.Fountain

     

    Father & Daughter on beach

    The first thing I noticed when we arrived at Ocean Beach Park, was the white sandy beach.  Beautiful!  That, coupled with the long, winding boardwalk reminded me of the vacations I used to take to Florida as a kid. My daughter loved running up and down the boardwalk and squishing her toes in the sand.  Next, she made a beeline for the spray park.  We spent two hours getting soaked before heading to the snack bar.

    baby at pool

     

    There’s also nightly entertainment at the park, shops, a massive waterslide, olympic sized pool, and so much more!  It was roasting hot on this particular day and we were exhausted, so we headed back to the hotel early, grabbed our leftover pizza and salad out of our hotel fridge and called it a night!

    The next morning, we had a hot breakfast (included in hotel stay) in the lobby, then headed for the dinosaur place.  I’ve gotta say dino place FAR EXCEEDED my expectations.  In my opinion, the prices are reasonable, especially considering you could literally spend all day here.  I think any child under 14 would enjoy this, with the ideal age probably being 3-10 year olds.  My daughter (17 mos.)  had an absolute blast and she’s not yet two.

    Dino

    Dino PlaceOutside, kids can explore prehistoric nature trails and encounter life-sized dinosaurs, navigate their way through a huge maze, or have some fun in New England’s largest Splashpad. Dino Place SplashpadBaby at Splashpad Inside, they can take part in a fossil dig, select a geode and be the first to see the inside of something millions of years old, or pan for gold in an indoor stream.  There’s also a large toy shop, bead shop, jewelry shop & mineral & fossil shop!

    We were so sad we had to leave and couldn’t spend the entire day there (which you could easily do), but we are doing a huge road trip and we didn’t want to leave all our belongings in the hitch basket attached to our car.  The hotel was already kind enough to extend our checkout; I knew it had a busy week and I wanted to give the cleaning crew ample time to get the room situated for the next guests.

    If you live in New England, and you are itching to get away, but want to stay close to home, you should definitely check out all that Mystic Country has to offer.

     

    Disclosure: In order to facilitate this review, portions of my trip were comped.

    A Geek’s Dream Baby Monitor: WiFi Baby 3G

    I have been a computer/technology geek since I laid eyes on my first computer at 4 years old, an Apple IIC. Since then I have always looked for the latest and greatest technology. When I was pregnant with Jackson 2 years ago, I was greatly disappointed with the video baby monitor market. I wanted a baby monitor that I could securely see my son on my iPhone and laptop at home and while away from home. Back then, there was nothing like that available.

    While debating what monitor to buy for our baby girl due in October, I found exactly what I dreamed of 2 years ago, Wifi Baby 3G. Wifi Baby 3G is a video baby monitor that streams interference-free video and audio to a Mac, PC, iPhone or iPad. One great feature of Wifi Baby 3G is that the stand-alone camera doesn’t need a physical connection to your router, it connects wirelessly with your home WiFi network.

     

    It was easy to connect to our secure home WiFi network and took me about 15 minutes. The box came with easy, clear directions and additional links to their web site for more help. One thing I LOVE about this company is their quick, friendly customer service. Any email questions I had were promptly answered by the customer service rep I had been touch with, Devin. Although this monitor is a geek’s dream, I promise even those that aren’t geeks like myself can set up the WiFi Baby 3G, especially with a support team readily available.

     

    WiFi Baby 3G is a family-owned company based out of Florida who invented Wifi Baby because they couldn’t find a secure, quality monitor to monitor their son at home and away from home. Exactly what I couldn’t find 2 years ago but unfortunately I’m not an inventor- thank goodness they are because WiFi Baby 3G has met all of my baby monitoring-needs!

     

    One feature that is available for a small, one-time fee is external viewing, which means my husband can check in from work on my son’s nap time or my Mom in Florida can even check in on her iPhone. The set up for external viewing is slightly trickier, so the small fee covers a remote session with their awesome Tech Support team. The person who helped me was Ryan and had us up and running in 20 minutes.

     

    In order to use WiFi Baby 3G on your iPhone or iPad, you need to download the WiFi Baby HD app from the iTunes store for a one-time fee of $8.99. If you have additional cameras you can view all of them with the Baby Monitor HD app which is only a dollar more. Since my husband and I are all on the same iTunes account, I downloaded the app on both iPhones and iPads for only $8.99 total. Totally worth it! Since the monitor uses my secure WiFi network to stream to our computer or iPhone/iPad, I don’t worry about anyone creeping through the neighborhood scanning traditional analog video baby monitor channels and seeing my babies.

     

    Even at night time, the video is crystal clear!

     

    Another great feature of the Wifi Baby 3G monitor is that when my kids are bigger and don’t need monitoring in their rooms, I plan on putting it in the kids’ play room (a.k.a. the basement) so I if I have to be upstairs for something I can quickly check in on them with my iPhone, iPad or MacBook. You can also use the monitor for home security once your babies are past the monitoring age. I know I won’t be able to do that with my older, non-WiFi Baby 3G monitor.

     

    The only downside I could find with this monitor is that it might be difficult to travel with, but whenever we travel I don’t need a monitor anyway. Our son has always stayed in our room with us or close by so I wouldn’t take a monitor, but I know some people like to take their monitors with them.

     

    I highly recommend WiFi Baby 3G to any parent who wants  a secure, high-tech system to watch their babies. Not only will this system serve parents well while their children are infants, but it can also be used as a nanny cam or home security for years to come.

     

    You can buy the Wifi Baby 3G Video Monitor from their web store for $279, even less than a traditional video baby monitor that doesn’t have half the features WiFi Baby 3G has. Check them out at WiFiBaby.net or on their Facebook Page to find out more about this great monitor.

     

    *The fine print: I wasn’t paid or compensated in any way to review the WiFi Baby 3G monitor or the Wifi Baby HD app. Actually, I put a {refundable} deposit down in order to review it but I will most certainly be keeping the WiFi Baby in our house because we love it! As always, my opinions are entirely my own: honest and unbiased.

     

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