Monday, October 29, 2012

Mamavation Monday

mondaysgraphicwbrown1

I’m happy to say that I’ve been getting back on track with my exercising.  Plus, this week starts the newest Mamavation 2 week challenge. I’m so excited to be participating this time around because Mamavation has teamed up with Bob Harper!

This update is going to be quick as hurricane Sandy is approaching.  I’m trying to get all of the laundry and dishes done, get everything charged and of course check out the 2 week challenge workout for today while I still have internet and electricity!

If you are on the east coast please stay safe!

This post is sponsored by Omron Fitness and hosted by Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway

Friday, October 26, 2012

Growing with Music Together

On Monday Ty and I attended our third class at Music Together of Fairfield County.  It’s so crazy, but after just three classes I can already see how much he is learning! It doesn’t always happen in class.  Like I mentioned in my first post about our Music Together class, Ty can be a bit shy at times (he may take after me!).  A lot of his class time is spent studying.  He likes to sit on my lap and watch everything that is going on, occasionally tapping or clapping along.  Once the props come out he loosens up a bit.  He loves the scarves and the drums! Who doesn’t love props? When we get home though, he is not shy at all!

IMG_4244

When you sign up for a Music Together class you receive two CDs and a songbook with all the songs for the semester.  It’s so cool to see him recognize the songs and mimic the actions from class even if he wasn’t doing so during class.  I have even heard him babbling to the tune of one of the songs, ‘Mississippi Cat’ while he was playing! How awesome!

I’ve really enjoyed watching him grow musically and honestly I’ve been learning a lot too! The teachers are really great at explaining why they do different things and they even offer suggestions on how to incorporate the things we learn in class at home.  It’s been such a wonderful experience so far and I can’t wait to see how much more he learns at his first semester at Music Together!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pumpkin Picking at Jones Family Farms

One of my favorite places in the state of Connecticut is Jones Family Farms.  During the summer I rarely miss one of their Friday Farmer’s Markets which are held outside of their winery.  You can sample their wines with a wine tasting inside or buy a glass and sit outside on their beautiful patio and enjoy some live music… and of course buy local produce and products from several different vendors!

jonesfarmersmarket

There is also blueberry and strawberry picking to be done in the summertime! Which, by the way, got my son – the pickiest child in the world – to eat a blueberry.  However, the Jones Farms blueberries have ruined all other blueberries for me.  They. are. so. good.

I know, all this talk about farmer’s markets, wine and berry picking is making you wish it was summertime, right? But wait! There’s more! (haha) one of our favorite fall family activities is pumpkin picking at the farm! Jones’ has so much to offer.  Every year there is a different theme set up on Pumpkinseed Hill.  This year it was The Wizard of Oz!

jones

We were lucky enough to be able to go on a weekday this year.  It was quiet and peaceful walking around with the family, checking out pumpkins and taking in the beautiful view. 

jones1

jones2

 

We took a nice long hay ride through their fields.  They have A LOT of land! Then we came back and made our final pumpkin decisions. 

Then we grabbed some cider and checked out their gourds. Oh my gourd, there were so many! They had these awesome boxes put together with a selection of different gourds and recipe cards, how cool? And, of course, we snapped a bunch of pics on their picturesque property!

I’ve always wanted to check out the farm at Christmas time; they have trees too!

And I’ve always wanted to check out one of their cooking classes or wine appreciation classes they have available in their Harvest Kitchen.

My kids absolutely love visiting Jones Family Farm and I think it’s important that they grow up having an appreciation for farms.

What is your favorite thing to do at your local farm?

Until next time!

farmboys

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Arctic Ease Giveaway!

Last month I posted a review of the awesome Arctic Ease wrap that magically made my leg feel all better. Yes, magically. And now, I’m giving wraps away to FIVE lucky readers! Yay!

But first, I want to tell you about a funny hashtag contest that Arctic Ease is having right now. Yes, more ways to win!
Arctic Ease and a number of athletes and celebs are calling Ice out for being messy, causing burn injuries and well, being dumb.
If you would like to enter their #IceIsSoDumb hashtag contest, just tweet out a joke about why ice is so dumb and make sure to include the #IceIsSoDumb hashtag!

Arctic Ease will select the best ones and award them with free product. People can send #IceIsSoDumb tweets through twitter or this specially designed app on facebook.

Check out this video for a little inspiration (or a good laugh!)
.
Okay, now back to my giveaway!

If you would like to enter here and win an Arctic Ease wrap of your very own, all you need to do is leave a comment below and make sure it includes your name and e-mail address.

For additional entries:
Ends 11/2/12!
General Giveaway Rules: No Purchase Necessary. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older. Ends on 11/2/2012, at midnight EST. The email addresses that are collected for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner and will never be given out to anyone nor sold. The winners will be randomly chosen and contacted via email. The winners will have 72 hours to respond. Only one winner per household. Please make sure you check your junk mail folder.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New York City Bagels–review and giveaway!

I was recently sent a box of bagels to try out from 1800NYCBagels.com.  I was so excited because I freakin’ love bagels.  They are so delicious and versatile and if you have never had a bagel from New York City, you are missing out.

bagels

I received plain, pumpernickel, whole grain energy (which includes raisins, cranberries & sunflower Seeds) and sesame seed.

They arrived quickly and were packaged really well.  They were in plastic bags and inside a nice green gift box with an optional note on the outside.  They even came with a sheet of helpful bagel hints!

I think these would make an awesome and unique gift for someone.  I would have loved to have received some when I was pregnant, bagels were one of the only things I could stomach!

I tried each flavor out a little differently and each one was delicious!

sesamehoneychia

 

 

I lightly toasted the sesame seed bagel, added a thin layer of butter and topped it with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkle of chia seeds. – Yum!

 

 

egg sandwich

 

 

 

I made a good ol’ egg and cheese sandwich for my husband on the multigrain energy bagel.  - Another hit!

 

 

peanutbutterbanana

 

 

The plain bagel got topped with peanut butter, bananas and a dusting of cinnamon.  This one was easily my favorite, but I think it would have been even better had I toasted the bagel.

 

 

tomatocc

 

 

 

Last up is the pumpernickel, which I topped with cream cheese, cherry tomatoes and black pepper.  I was also going to add avocado to this one but my avocado went bad. –So sad, but still delicious!

 

 

They look good, right? How would you like to win your very own box of bagels?

All you have to do is leave a comment below and make sure it includes your name and e-mail address!

For extra entries:

Ends 10/31!

General Giveaway Rules: No Purchase Necessary. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older. Ends on 10/31/2012, at midnight EST. The email addresses that are collected for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner and will never be given out to anyone nor sold. The winners will be randomly chosen and contacted via email. The winner will have 72 hours to respond. Only one winner per household. Please make sure you check your junk mail folder.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Soda Stream Fun

Thanks to the awesome folks at Mohegan Sun and Cait from Cait plus Ate, I now have my very own soda stream! The soda stream gives me the ability to turn tap water into sparkling water in under 30 seconds, with no clean-up.  It’s pretty awesome, although, we don’t really drink a lot of soda (unless it’s mixed with rum… shhh!) But, we do love seltzer and now we have it at our fingertips!raspberrymintseltzer

I wanted to play around a little bit and experiment with different flavors we could add in.  Because, really, who doesn’t love flavor? The first thing I tried out was raspberry mint.  I added a 1/2 a cup of frozen raspberries, a few sprigs of fresh mint (chopped), a 1/2 a tsp of a sugar & stevia blend to 1 cup of water and brought it all to a boil.  Then, I turned down the heat and let it simmer for 15 minutes.  I strained the liquid into a measuring cup and poured it into the sparkling water I had made in the soda stream.  So easy!

sodastream

 

It was subtle, but it really added a nice, natural, refreshing flavor!

 

Next up was blueberry peach. I had a hard time sacrificing my fresh blueberries and peaches for my little flavor experiment but, I had a feeling it would be good. And I was right!

 

 

blueberrypeachI used a 1/2 a cup of fresh blueberries, 1 whole peach (chopped) and a 1/2 a tsp of a sugar & stevia blend.  I added it all to 1 cup of water and brought to a boil just like I had done before.  After about 15 minutes, I took a hand held potato masher to it and gently mushed everything up a bit.  Then, I let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

I strained it into a measuring cup and put the juices into the sparkling water! Another great flavor combo! This one was a little stronger than than the raspberry mint, probably because of the mashing and the extra cook time.

blueberrypeachseltzer

I think I might try something a little more adventurous next time, like maybe a strawberry basil? What flavor would you try?

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mamavation Monday–Have you seen my motivation?

mondaysgraphicwbrown1

I seem to have lost my motivation.  This week I was a major slacker.  Luckily, I’ve lost my motivation enough times that I know exactly what I need to do. I just need to do something! I enjoy working out and getting exercise.  I feel great afterwards and it motivates me to do more.  Sometimes it’s just hard to get up and just do something. Anything. 

Now I just need to figure out what I should do.  Anyone want to give me a workout shout out? Leave me a comment with something I should do… but, be nice!! :)

This post is sponsored by Lilly’s Sweets and hosted by Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention & weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Trick-or-Treat with UNICEF

Did you know that Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is one of the longest-running youth volunteer initiatives in America? In 1950, during the aftermath of World War II, the original Kids Helping Kids Campaign® launched as girls and boys across the nation collected coins to aid children still affected by the war.

Today, the mission to save and improve children’s lives is more important than ever.  I believe that Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is such a great cause for everyone involved.  Not only has it provided children in 190 countries and territories with much-needed health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. But it also has helped motivate kids to become active global citizens while teaching them the fundamental value of helping others.

Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF encourages kids of all ages to help raise funds for their peers in developing countries by going door-to-door on Halloween night or participating in other festive fundraising activities. Our local farm where we pick pumpkins every year has been holding an annual UNICEF Family Festival since 1985 and has donated over $120,000 to the cause!

This year Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is introducing six new Halloween characters featured on individual collection boxes. The new design encourages children to express their support through choice.

They are also having their first ever Create-a-Character contest!

For the first time in campaign history, those trick-or-treating for UNICEF are invited to submit original designs for their own collection boxes. Submitted designs will have a chance to be part of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF’s 2013 limited edition collection. A winning design from each category (children ages 4-8, 9-12, and 13 years and older) will be chosen and announced on Halloween, Oct. 31. The contest will run from September 1 through October 26.

Check out this video for more info on Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF and their Create-a-Character contest:

You can also connect with UNICEF on facebook, twitter, google+ and pinterest!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Music Together of Fairfield County

39619_149211965089513_3184508_n

On Monday I took Ty to his first music class.  It was actually the first sort of ‘Mommy and me’ class that I had ever taken either of my kids too.  (Not without the best intentions to do so, though!) I was a little nervous because he had woken up 2 hours earlier than he normally does and started to get a little fussy as we were getting ready to leave. He can also be a bit shy when we are around new people, but I hoped for the best and we headed out!

We arrived about 10 minutes early and met the teacher who couldn’t have been nicer! Ty warmed up to her right away – such a relief! Since we were early, she told us all about their ‘Draw Your Musical Family Sweepstakes’ that is being held for Music Together’s 25th Anniversary.  She gave us some crayons and paper so we could create our own entry while we waited for everyone to arrive.

Once everyone was there we sat in a big circle and sang the ‘Hello song’.  I loved that we sang a ‘hello’ to each child and I was super impressed that the teacher, who happened to be a substitute on this day, remembered everyone’s names! We sang a few more songs as a group.  There were hand motions, there was dancing and there was a bunch of great improv! The teacher explained why she was doing different things along the way and encouraged the moms to join in so the little ones would learn by example.

I really like the laid-back nature of the class, the children weren’t forced to do anything they didn’t want to do.  Plus, everything we were doing would normally have been way outside of my comfort zone, but somehow I felt perfectly comfortable doing it! There I was, dancing around and singing with a bunch of people I had just met.  I was having so much fun in fact, I didn’t snap any pictures! (So unlike me!) I promise, I’ll take some next week!!

We can’t wait to go back! And there was one more thing I wanted to add . – When they collect the instruments from the kids, they put the ones that may have gone in a mouth in a separate basket to clean. I’m a germaphobe and I love that!

If you have a minute, please check out the Music Together of Fairfield County website.  They have a lot of great information about why music is so important for our kids! They are also on facebook and twitter, if you would like to follow them for updates.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mohegan Sun BrewFest 2012

bannedbeer
Nooooooooooooooo!!!!   - Just kidding, of course!
 
My husband and I celebrated our anniversary this weekend at Mohegan Sun’s 1st ever BrewFest which benefited Snowball Express which gives hope and new memories for the children of our military heroes who have died while on active duty since 9/11.  It was such a fun way to celebrate.  There was live music, good food, football, foosball and –you guessed it- beer! So much beer!
 
Last winter we started brewing our own beer at home and I consequently got really into trying out new beers.  It can be kind of daunting though, when you are staring into the beer cooler at the package store, reading labels and trying to figure out what you want to try. It’s like your decision is so final! So, the Sun BrewFest was perfect.  Educated people, slinging sample size beers. Man, I love learning and trying new things!
 
guinnessblackandtan
My husband was quick to find the booth for his ‘go-to’ beer – Guinness.  They poured him a black and tan (half guinness, half harp) and I tried out their Kilkenny.  I can’t believe I had never tried it before. Kilkenny is an Irish cream ale and it is the same consistency as Guinness but without the bitterness. Yum.
 
Soon after we left my husband’s ‘go-to’ beer booth, I found a new ‘go-to’ for myself.  Beaver Beer’s Blonde! A crisp, lean-bodied American-style Pale Ale. It was just so drinkable. Plus, they are a local brewery! Beaver Beer is one of Connecticut’s newest craft beer companies – they are celebrating their first anniversary in November. I would really recommend you visit their website and ‘Locate a Beaver’ – you won’t regret it!
 

bluemoonThere were a couple of other beers that really stood out to me that I also wanted to mention. The Vintage Blonde Ale from Blue Moon which is brewed with chardonnay grapes.  I love Blue Moon, I love blonde ales and… while I do love wine, chardonnay is not on the top of my list.  But, in this combo it is near perfection.  I just wish I had found this at the start of the summer and not at the end.  It would have been perfect for warm summer nights…next year, next year.

And then there was Sofie.  Sofie is a Belgian Style Ale from Goose Island and she is (yes, I’m referring to the beer as a girl) aged in wine barrels with orange peel. She is just so beautiful. Kind of like a champagne/beer hybrid.  You may be able to tell by now that I was a wine girl before I was a beer girl?

Okay, I promise this last one has nothing to do with wine. Wolaver’s Organic Oatmeal Stout is not like any kind of beer that I would ever normally like, but it was divine.  “This full flavored stout imparts hints of coffee, chocolate, and roasted flavors. It is brewed with an ample supply of locally grown organic rolled oats.” It was rich and delicious, so flavorful and hearty.  I’ve never really wanted a beer on a cold winter night, but I think this would be perfect. buffalobite

Since we were there during the afternoon session, we decided to grab a bite to eat for lunch from one of the food vendors.  A Bison Bite, more specifically! They were being served up by Wood-n-Tap and they were Uuuhh-mazing! Mini buffalo burgers topped with an avocado aioli, American cheese, a touch of Chipolte, and onion strings. It was the perfect thing to hold us over until our anniversary dinner at Todd English’s Tuscany!

After dinner we headed back to the evening session to say ‘hi’ to some friends and it was PACKED! We didn’t stay for very long but we did find our friends and I ran into some fellow bloggers, Caitlin from Cait plus Ate and Wendy from Connecticut Bloggers!

We had a blast celebrating at Mohegan Sun and I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Mamavation Monday

mondaysgraphicwbrown1
Whew! All done with another busy week!

I bet I could start every Monday post is October with that same sentence – our calendar is full! Last Monday I took my first class for Fitweek. It was Intro to Crossfit and it was a blast! I mean, it was tough, but I loved the workout and I loved the idea of crossfit.  The other crossfit members aren’t just other members of the same gym, they are your team mates.  Everyone works on the same workouts every day, no matter what your fitness level.

Then, on Tuesday, I took an Intro to Indoor Rock Climbing class. It was another tough, but fun, sport with a great sense of community.  The staff at the City Climb were friendly and encouraging and I’m happy to say I conquered the climbing wall – twice!
climbingwall
By the time Wednesday cam I was exhausted. So I decided to take it easy for a little bit.  I didn’t want to over do it and end up getting sick, I had some celebrating to do!

Thursday was my 4th wedding anniversary and we headed up to the casino on Saturday to celebrate.  We went to their first ever BrewFest! Although a lot of beer drinking was going on, I did get a bunch of steps in. 12,868 to be exact! I really put my Earthies to the test and they did not let me down!

Speaking of… (nice transition, right?) My Earthies giveaway ends this week so make sure you enter!

I also have a giveaway going on for some B-Leve coupons from Price Chopper ending this week, if you have a store nearby!

This post is sponsored by Schick Intuition and hosted by Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention and weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Oxfam USA – World Food Day (October 16, 2012)

Oxfam America – World Food Day is coming up on October 16th 2012.  It’s a really great cause and all you have to do to join in is have a dinner and have a conversation. Oxfam America wants you to talk with your dinner guests about where your food comes from, who cultivates it, and how you can take personal actions that will make the food system more just and sustainable.

They even have a World Food Day Discussion Guide (FULL of facts and figures) so you can easily have a conversation about their five principles for feeding the planet called the GROW Method, which is a brand new way of thinking about food – and the way we buy, prepare, and eat it.
There is also a GROW Method Pinterest Cookbook and a GROW Method Facebook App to help you prepare your meal. 

You can RSVP on facebook and invite your friends, too!


A few facts on the deep imbalances in our food system:
•    Our planet produces enough food for everyone, yet nearly one billion of us (1 in every 7 people) still go to bed hungry.
•    About a third of the food produced for our plates ends up lost or wasted between farm and fork.
•    One pound of ground beef for your family uses more than 28,000 cups of water to produce—that’s enough to fill 20 bathtubs to the brim, and then some!
While this may seem overwhelming, there are many ways that we, as individuals, can make simple changes in the way we grow, cook, eat and store our food to be more sustainable.  So, as a special way to celebrate World Food Day, we’re asking people to:
•     Sign up to host a World Food Day dinner discussion. Oxfam has tons of free materials including a discussion guide, placemats, and recipe ideas from acclaimed chefs Jamie Oliver, Mary Sue Milliken, and others. Everything can be found at www.oxfamamerica.org/worldfoodday
•   Share GROW method recipes on Pinterest and we’ll add them to our GROW Method Cook Book (http://pinterest.com/oxfamgrowmethod)! Just tag your pin with #GROWmethod to add it.
•    Snap photos of your World Food Day meal on Instagram and tag them with #WFD2012, then check out our site (www.oxfamamerica.org/worldfoodday) to see photos from all over the world.
I hope you will join me for this great cause!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

B-Leve Products at Price Chopper–Review and Giveaway!

I recently got some full value product coupons to use on the new b-leve products at Price Chopper.  I was really excited because I love experiencing new things.  I had never been to a Price Chopper, there isn’t one that is convenient to me.  Also, I had never heard of or tried the b-leve products! Double whammy of new things. Awesome.

So I headed off to Price Chopper with my youngest son in tow. I was really impressed by the store, it was clean and the employees were friendly.  It also had a really great produce section, which I love!

I headed towards the health & beauty aisle to find the b-leve products. I couldn’t find them anywhere! I headed out of the aisle to ask someone for help and I spotted them.

b-levedisplay

It looked like they were in the process of moving some stuff around and had momentarily moved the display out of the way. I have notoriously bad timing!

I picked up the b-voluptuous shampoo, the b-hydrated conditioner and the b-tranquil body wash. 

B-leve products aremade from natural ingredient extracts, paraben free, hypo-allergenic and have gentle formulations.

bleveproducts

When I got home it was raining really hard.  By the time I got all of my groceries inside I was soaked! – A perfect time for a shower!

My favorite thing about all three products was the scent! OMG, did they smell good. In fact, I kept sniffing myself all day long! They were all also super easy to rinse off. No gross residue! Another huge plus was that I didn’t break out in hives.  I have super sensitive skin so I was happy to find a product that I could use that actually smelled good. So good.

I let my hair air dry, per usual and it looked great! (Even on a damp, rainy day.) I was definitely happy with all three of the b-leve products and I think you might like them too.

Do you want to try them out? Do you live near a Price Chopper? then…

Enter to win!

One lucky reader will get three full value product coupons. One for the shampoo, one for the conditioner and one for the body wash! The coupons are only redeemable at Price Chopper so make sure you have one close by.

To Enter: Leave a comment below about anything in this post and make sure to include you name and e-mail.

For an extra entry, tweet daily: Enter to win full value b-leve coupon from @PriceChopper and @MamaSarahJane http://tinyurl.com/9kc7rbf

Giveaway ends 10/10/2012 at midnight. Winner will be chosen via random.org

Disclosure: I was sent coupons in order to facilitate this review and giveaway.  As always, all opinions are my own.

General Giveaway Rules: No Purchase Necessary. This giveaway is only open to residents of the United States who are 18 years of age or older. Ends on 10/10/2012, at midnight EST. The email addresses that are collected for this giveaway will only be used for the purpose of contacting the winner and will never be given out to anyone nor sold. The winners will be randomly chosen and contacted via email. The winner will have 72 hours to respond. Only one winner per household. Please make sure you check your junk mail folder.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mamavation Monday

mondaysgraphicwbrown1

Happy October everyone!

October is always a pretty busy month around here, we celebrate our anniversary and it is also my oldest sons birthday month! Plus, we always go pumpkin picking and of course trick-or-treating this month!

Anyways, enough about October.  I had a pretty great last weekend of September! On Saturday I went to a ‘step-off’ event for an upcoming ‘FITWEEK’ in our community and I won a fitbit ultra! I’m so excited, I’m going to be participating in a 10,000 step challenge this week!

Also, yesterday I ran a 5K with my sister and we both set a new personal record. We finished in 35:27 which is about 3 minutes quicker than my previous best time!

What was your favorite part of September? What are you looking forward to in October?

This post is sponsored by Olay and hosted by Mamavation – a community dedicated to obesity prevention &weight loss for women and I’m writing this to be entered into a giveaway

Web Statistics