Nutritious and Delicious Restaurant Options #KidsLiveWell

PrintThese days, it’s more important to me than ever to give my family healthy options when it’s mealtime.

The other night, I was pleasantly surprised when Devin went so far as to eat brussel sprouts with his dinner.  I couldn’t believe it!

Dining out poses its own hurdles when it comes to healthy options. However, some restaurants make it a priority, and now the National Restaurant Association (NRA)  has a campaign to get more restaurants on the healthy food for kids train.

The NRA is teaming up with Healthy Dining on the Kids LiveWell program.  This initiative is highlighting the restaurant industry’s commitment to offer healthy options for children.

Kids LiveWell is a first-of-its-kind voluntary industry program, reaching over 41,000 restaurant locations committed to providing families with a growing selection of healthful children’s menu choices when dining out.

The National Restaurant Association and Healthy Dining verify that Kids LiveWell items meet specific nutritional criteria established by leading health organizations’ scientific

A Kids LiveWell meal provides the following:
• 600 calories or less
• ≤ 35% of calories from total fat
• ≤ 10% of calories from saturated fat
• < 0.5 grams trans fat (artificial trans fat only)
• ≤ 35% of calories from total sugar
• ≤ 770 mg of sodium
• Each meal must contain two sources of either fruit,

Restaurants are now being challenged to create healthy menu items through a partnership with the National Restaurant Association (NRA) and McCormick For Chefs.

It’s called the Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge and the goal is to showcase healthy menu options available when dining out.

Restaurants and food service providers submitted their healthy creations from their kids menu for consideration for this exciting, new award.

2014 Kids LiveWell Recipe Challenge Winners:

Bean Sprouts Café & Cooking School: The Do Re For Me Sandwich is organic multi grain oat bread spread with sunflower butter and organic strawberry jam and cut into piano key sized/shaped pieces,served with a skewer of grapes and water. The pumpernickel bread is  cut into smaller pieces and placed on top of the wheat bread to represent black piano keys.

O’Charley’s: The Cloudy with a Chance of Spaghetti and Meatball Pizza has grilled sirloin meatballs and spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and whole wheat pizza dough served with apple juice.

Sysco Hampton Roads: The Kids Quesa WOW Dilla is a chicken quesadilla with broccoli, chicken,peppers and corn, served with a side of grapes and water.

UW Health: The Swimming Taco is served with fresh grapes on the side and a frozen banana avocado smoothie.

These restaurants really did a  great job coming up with creative healthy meals kids would love. They put a twist on these meals using healthy ingredients in a fun way for kids, which is a great way to distract kids and  get them to eat things that are both nutritious and delicious.These restaurants provided great examples to let us know we can have both we don’t have to choose. I am learning that when it comes to healthy eating, if I season things just right and present them in a fun way, my kid will try just about anything.

13784029145_dd98ba5dc8_zFor more information on Kids LiveWell, follow Kids LiveWell on Twitter and Facebook.  Also, check out and download the free smartphone app for a list of all Kids LiveWell restaurants and menu items.



Follow me on May 17th,2014  I will be tweeting with #KidsLiveWell sharing information from the National Restaurant Association’s annual show in Chicago

Please share with me any healthy kids recipes you love and other tips/tricks to get your children to eat healthier foods.

Disclosure: I am being compensated to share this information, however all opinions and words expressed are my own. 


Posted in Activities & Events, Health and Wellness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 40 Comments

Mamma Needs A New Pair of Shoes

I have a secret vice that I’m almost afraid to write about, but I’ve wanted to get this off of my chest for a while. I’m a risk taker, I love odds, and playing a game or two…  Okay, enough beating around the bush already. I’m a gamer, and Mamma needs a new pair of shoes.  I think I get it from my Granny (R.I.P) who was quite lucky and known to play the numbers in New York city where she lived for most of her life.

In Georgia, we only have the Georgia Lottery, which is okay, I usually buy the scratchers. But I really like more thrill than that, truth be told I love table games which is why I make an annual trek to Tampa’s Indian Casino for my birthday.

The thing is that I have really good luck, and I recently discovered online gaming. Hmmm… I’ve always wanted to try my luck online. The only thing is that online gaming is illegal in most states including Georgia. Now I’m not encouraging you try either virtual or real gambling, but states are starting to legalize real money gaming starting with New Jersey last November.


So since I’m talking about grown up fun… which it is for me (I know how to hold ‘em, fold ‘em, and walk away), I wanted to share a few of my favorite gaming venues.

1. Hard Rock Casino Tampa:  I used to live in Tampa, and love the Sunshine State. The Hard Rock Casino is fun and it has table games from Blackjack to Poker, and Casino WAR (which is played just like the childhood card game).

2. Georgia Lottery: Scratchers (instant games) are a fun affordable way to try your luck. I’ll usually buy a stack from 5-10 scratchers, grab a quarter, and see if or what I’ve won. My favorite games right now are  ”Lucky Streaks” and “50X the Money”.

3. Las Vegas: This should be top on the list but I don’t get to visit Vegas often, but it is like Disney World for adult fun. They don’t call it “Sin City,” for no reason.

4. Tropicana Casino: The Tropicana Casino has great online gaming options (which is only available to people physically residing in NJ). I’ve been curious about online gaming for a while, I think it could be lots of fun.

5. This is the mother of all online gaming sites.

Now, I’m not endorsing or suggesting that you should play with your money, but a little gaming in moderation sometimes yields big wins.

Disclaimer: I am sharing this content with you as a paid partner with Tropicana Casino.  All opinions and words expressed are my own. 


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Mother’s Day Gift Guide for the Busy Mom

I love getting pampered and relaxing, and don’t know a mother who doesn’t.  Since Mother’s Day is almost here, I thought that I’d share a share a few gift ideas that may help you or your loved one find that special gift.

As much as I love my husband and son (anyone who knows me knows that Devin is THE LOVE of my life), there are times when I just want to be left alone.  A weekend staycation in the hotel of your choice could give you some alone time to help you recharge your batteries (that’s a hint Amani :) ).

Now I know that budgets are sometimes tight, but here’s another way you can refresh from the convenience of your own home… Aroma Therapy.  You’d be amazed how much just soaking in or inhaling certain scents can breathe new life into a person.

As I mother I know our work is never done, we are always tending to our family and home and rarely find a moment to go out to our local coffee shop and indulge in a cup of gourmet coffee.

krg-lg-b68The next gift is perfect for a busy Mom. Let her start her day by enjoying a  gourmet coffee (there are a variety of brands and flavors available) that brew in under a minute and they don’t even have to leave the house.

The  Keurig Special Edition brewing system (SRP: $149.99) brews beverages  in under a minute and features chrome accents. With the backlit LCD display in makes it easier for you to use in the early morning before you turn on the lights and before the kids wake up.

tieksWith all the running around us moms do from grocery shopping to taking kids to soccer practice, we need a nice comfortable shoe, one that is fashionable is a plus.  Tieks by Gavrieli are designer ballet flats and they’d be perfect for the job.   They are so flexible and comfortable and come in a variety of colors and prints.  Any mom would love a pair.

So, consider these products as a gift option to really help relax and pamper.  You’re wife or mom can thank me later!

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Dads Only Camping Trip!

Growing up, a summer vacation wasn’t a summer vacation without a family camping trip.

We had Coleman lanterns, burners, sleeping bags, a couple of tents, and in Northern California, there were plenty of places to rough it.

Camping was an affordable getaway for the Channel Clan when I was younger.  Those are also some of the fondest memories of family life.   If you haven’t figured it out, this is Daphne’s other half with a guest post. :)

I can’t even remember the last time we went camping, but over the weekend,  I had the chance to relive my childhood adventures with Devin.

IMG_4640It was an unexpected trip that came by way of his soccer coach who invited us (Devin and I), his teammate Amias and his dad to Red Top Mountain Park for an overnight camping trip.

We had to quickly pick up some camping supplies and provisions, then hit the road.

Apple maps had some navigation challenges, but we eventually found our way, and that’s when the fun started.

A total of three camp sites were reserved for dads only, and the first order of business was to build the tent (it was actually easier than it looked).

IMG_4652Devin quickly bonded with the other kids. He started off by fishing, but when he noticed the other kids playing in Lake Allatoona, he followed suit and jumped in.

All of the dads brought food, so by dusk we were all cooking on the grill potluck style.

When it was time to go to sleep, I thought that Devin would be afraid to sleep in the tent in the great outdoors but surprisingly he wasn’t. He was a little restless, but eventually settled down, and he slept like a log.

This first camping trip was a success. No moms, just a lot of nature and good memories.

Next time we’ll bring the mushy mamma along for the family fun.

Posted in Activities & Events, Mushy Moments | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Ticket Giveaway: Knights – Medieval Times

KnightTrainingSwords, horses, and knights, oh my. Devin had a blast eating food with fingers, and cheering for his favorite knight last time we visited Medieval Times.

This Spring Break, he can train to become a Knight of the Realm. Children will be treated to an exclusive weapons demonstration by the Knights and the Weapons Master. They will learn about the grueling training it takes to become a Knight. Upon completion of their training, children will be knighted by His Majesty King Carlos in a group knighting ceremony.

This special knight training class is only available for certain show times, and I have a *special ticket giveaway for a family pack of 4 tickets good for dates below.

  • April 7th thru 10th: Doors open at 5:30PM with training at 6:30PM and show at 7:30PM

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Children must be between the ages of 5 and 12 to participate and space is limited.
You can book your tickets online at or over the phone by calling 1-888-WE-JOUST.

* Contest ends at 12:01am on 04/02/2014.  Winner will be notified via email and must respond by 3pm on 4/02/2014 so reservation can be established for them.  Tickets are for the show at Medieval Times, Atlanta. Knight Training is free with admission, but limited to the first 100 children each day.

Posted in Activities & Events, Contest, Giveaway, Local Atlanta | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

{$100 Kroger GC Giveaway} Simple Truth is Simply Delicious! #HealthyLiving

Disclosure:  I attended an in-store Healthy Living informational blogger event about natural foods at Kroger. I received a gift card and fuel points for my participation.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Kroger‘s Simple Truth line is simply delicious! I recently attended an event at Kroger that focused on healthy living. I learned all about Kroger’s Simple Truth product line, which is made up of organic foods, natural foods, and foods that are “free from 101” additives.

Kroger introduced the line in 2012 because they knew that consumers are looking for healthier alternatives. Since they launched the line it’s been steadily growing, in fact this year they will be adding 100 more items. What’s great too, is that you are able to find different Simple Truth products throughout the store not just in one department. All Simple Truth and Simple Truth Organic products are clearly marked with the brand’s green circular logo and contain straightforward ingredient statements like you see in the below picture.

While a lot of the discussion at the event focused on Kroger’s exclusive Simple truth line, I also learned that Kroger believes in supporting their local community by carrying produce from local farms as well as different healthy products that are produced locally. Some of the local companies that I was able to sample products from were Pure Knead, Frannie’s Gluten Free, and Arden’s Garden.

I must admit I was a bit reluctant to sample some of the bakery type products because I thought gluten-free…. it’s probably going to be very dry. But to my surprise they were actually quite moist and delicious.

Also during the event there were chef demonstrations and I was able to try a Pub-Style Beef Stew that was prepared by on of Kroger’s chefs.  He used Simple Truth Beef Stew meat which is USDA Certified Organic and 100% Grass fed.  It was so fresh tasting and simply delicious.  I really could tell the difference from the other meats I typically buy.  I will definitely be making a change.


If you are looking to make healthier, better choices for your family and yourself be sure to check out Kroger’s Natural Foods department.  They have shelves full of wholesome goodness.

Also you can save on a lot of these items and more with Kroger’s digital coupons so be sure to look before you shop.

I was so impressed with Kroger’s Simple Truth line that I linked up with a few of my blogger buddies, Barbara (Atlanta’s Frugal Mom), Joyce (Mommy Talk Show) and Bernetta (Bernetta Style)  to bring you a chance to $100 KROGER GIFT CARD!

Contest ends February 25, 2014 so enter today.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sprint’s New Framily Plan and Samsung Galaxy Mega Review/Giveaway #SprintCares

Sprint cares about it’s customer, so they want to make sure that they have the best plans to offer them. That’s why they recently announced their Sprint Framily Plan.


Sprint’s New Framily Plan has pricing you can share with whomever you consider family. Now you and the ones closest to you can share in the savings freeing up more money for you to spend in other places.  This plan is available to both new and existing customers, and you can add up to 10 lines, all with separate billing if you like.  You’ll get unlimited talk, text and 1GB of data each while on the Sprint network.  Pricing can be as low as $25/mo. per line depending on number of people in your framily.  Also here’s the bonus benefit… there is no annual service contracts and no early termination fees.

Photo Courtesy of Sprint

Sprint’s Framily Plan offers some serious savings, and I have an additional win for one of my readers.  Enter the below giveaway for a chance to win a new Samsung Galaxy Mega.

The Samsung Galaxy Mega is a smartphone yet it is big enough (close to 7 inches) and has capabilities to act as a tablet. Ladies I love it, the size is perfect it’s screen is so large making it easier for you to see images when navigating your online shopping sites.

As a woman on the go, some of my favorite features of the phone are:

-Dual cameras: 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash and 1.9-megapixel front-facing camera
-1.7GHz dual-core processor
-Multi Window™ to use two apps side-by-side
-Google Mobile™ wireless services such as Google Search™, Gmail™, Google Maps™ for Android, Google Calendar™, Voice Actions and YouTube™
-Polaris® Office for editing Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files from anywhere
3G/4G LTE mobile hotspot capability supporting up to eight Wi-Fi® enabled devices simultaneously
-S Beam™ allows for device-to-device sharing simply by touching phones
-Samsung’s exclusive Samsung Link service wirelessly shares stored music, pictures and user-generated content with other DLNA certified® home electronics

This phone does so much that I feel like you don’t even have to bring your tablet or laptop to your next remote meeting. You have access to everything you need right from your phone.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Sprint provided me with a Demo phone to test out, in order to write this review. They also will provide and mail out device to winner.  This contest is for the device only, no Sprint service is included.  No compensation was received, all opinions and words expressed are my own. 

Posted in Giveaway, Product Review, Technology | Tagged , , , | 46 Comments

Story Of Our Life #MotherhoodMonday


Since the day my son, Devin was born I have been taking pictures of him documenting all his firsts. I made sure to capture all the big ones, like first bath, first time eating real food, first hair cut and then some firsts some don’t even think of capturing.  I know to some it seems like too much, but I don’t want to forget all the little details. What better way to remember than to look back at pictures from that day.


In this digital age, not many people  print their photos.  But I want to have that tangible photo album to show my son when he asks me things about when he was a baby. It’s just not the same sitting at a computer scrolling through pictures. I remember countless days when I was younger where I would sit on the floor at home and flip through photo albums looking at photo albums my parents had created.  I loved every moment of it and never got tired of seeing all the pictures, hearing the stories that went along with the pictures and remembering the special times with my family.  I want my son to have the same thing.

Devin is now 5 and I have yet to put pictures into albums. I have several thousand pictures on my computer and external drives.  I have printed a few but they haven’t made it pass my drawer I dropped them in when I picked them up from being processed.  To say I am overwhelmed is an understatement, where do I start how do I choose which pictures to put in albums, surely I can’t print them all … or can I?!  ;-)

I have mentioned to my sister, Kimberly on several occasions how I wanted to scrapbook. She knows me well and knew I hadn’t started because I felt overwhelmed by the many pictures and lack of creativity.  Kimberly is quite creative herself and as a professional photographer she believes in documenting great memories so she decided to give me a gift that would help me get started.

She bought me Becky Higgins Project Life.  Project Life is a step by step kit of sorts that gives you a quick and easy way to scrapbook.  You don’t need to learn special techniques, you don’t need glue and you don’t have to fuss over creating a design.


This simple process will save me time and help me be able to stay on top of my memory keeping.

All you need is:
1. Project Life Binder
2. Project Life Core kit (which houses design cards)
3. Big pack of Photo pocket pages (which come in different layouts)
FYI…All items are sold separately their is no full kit so to speak

Luckily for me, my sister bought it all for me. So now all I need is a free weekend to begin. Since I have to go back 5 years, I decided that I will try to print at least 10-15 pictures from each month of his life and then more from birthdays and holidays and go from there.

How to document your life’s story?  If it’s through pictures…what approach do you use? Are your pictures printed and in albums?



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Revitalizing My Skin with Riiviva #Review

I was given the opportunity to review the Riiviva Microderm Kit.  Riiviva is an award winning at home microdermabrasion tool that can be used for your face or your body.

What is Microdermabrasion?
It is a skin-exfoliating treatment that removes the outer layer of skin doing away with  dull and rough skin cells.  Microdermabrasion  revitalizes your skin, producing a nice healthy glow. In fact, it that may also improve the condition of acne scars and fine wrinkles.


I’ve always been interested in microdermabrasion and now I had the chance to try it out.  I liked the fact that the kit included everything I needed to get started.  It came with the Microderm device, charger, 3 diamond tips, tweezers, filters, cleanser, serum, travel bag and of course a handy user guide, which I read from beginning to end.

Although I’ve always wanted a microdermabrasion facial, I was a tad bit apprehensive doing it myself at home.  I was concerned that I would use the tool and my skin would become irritated.  What if I removed too much skin?… would my skin become raw and bleed.  With so many unknowns I made sure that the first time I used it, I didn’t have plans to go anywhere for a few days.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but I didn’t  want to be out anywhere looking crazy with my skin all jacked up.

The day I decided to try out my new Microderm device,  I first used the Riiviva Cleansing Gel to make sure my skin was free of oil, and dirt.  Then I dried it thoroughly.

The Riiviva came with three different Diamond tips, so since I hadn’t tried microderm before I opted to start off with the finest tip which is the most gentle and used on lowest suction level.

Using the Riiviva was pretty simple although I think it will take me a few uses before I get the technique down.  As I passed over the first section of my face I could instantly see a different, my skin was smoother feeling. It didn’t get red or irritated but it was very dry.  After the treatment I made sure to treat my skin with Riiviva’s hydrating serumwhich moisturized and tightened the skin.  Then I followed up with an moisturizer that contained sunscreen.  Sunscreen is very important in order to protect that fresh new layer skin.

Overall I really loved my results my skin was glowing after just one treatment.  I will definitely be making this part of my facial routine.

You can read other reviews here

Have you tried microdermabrasion, if so what was your experience?  If not, what do you do to keep you skin radient?

Disclosure: I received product in order for me to facilitate this review, no other compensation was received.  All words and opinions expressed are honest and my own.


Posted in Beauty, Health and Wellness, Technology | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Celebrate the Holidays with BJ’s Wholesale Club #BJsHoliday2013

Hopefully, the holidays don’t have you all stressed out.  There is a lot to do Mushies, but if you have BJ’s Wholesale Club in your area, you can put your holiday festivities on auto pilot from the entertaining to cooking.

I don’t usually cook huge meals because we usually go to my mom’s house for that, but I do like to have a holiday mixer with a few friends to sip on some wine and chat.

BJ's exclusive etched slate 12 pc. Cheese set

BJ’s exclusive etched slate 12 pc. Cheese set

I have this wonderful cheese tray that I received at a BJ’s Holiday blogger event recently that is perfect to serve catering-quality appetizers, like my favorite cheeses.

BJ’s wants your holiday to be festive and delicious and has a few trends and tips to make your holiday event a success.


Small Plates Trend

“Small Plate” parties, which have become the new way to entertain, provide party goers the chance to sample a variety of hot and cold appetizers.  This feast of appetizers is convenient too, since BJ’s provides numerous options for catering-quality easy heat-and-serve foods so hosts can mingle with guests and enjoy the party. Select a variety of heat-and-serve appetizers, seafood and vegetables so there’s something for everyone.

Delectable Desserts Party

Set your party table with beautiful desserts and pastries that punctuate the holidays.  BJ’s bakery products are as delicious as they are beautiful and make a celebratory statement when displayed for your guests.

Watch this how-to video to learn how to make a sweet simple treat for you holiday guests

Homage to Fromage

Sophisticated and social, holiday cheese parties are always in style. BJ’s offers a wide selection of cheeses, including imported specialty, domestic and its exclusive Wellsley Farms European Collection found in BJ’s cheese kiosk.

BJ’s is a great place to shop and save, and they have a free 60-day trial membership so that you can shop, save, and get ready for a great holiday affair.

Disclosure: I received promotional items in exchange for this post, however all opinions expressed are my own.




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