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    Be Safe While Out in the Sun

    July 10th, 2017

     

    This post was sponsored by Neutrogena® as part of an influencer activation for The Motherhood. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions (FTC) guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

    This summer, we have been spending a lot of time outside. More so than before thanks to my older son playing summer baseball. We dove head first into this travel baseball life and are loving every minute of it.

    Part of being involved in travel baseball is being the keeper of everything. Making sure everyone has what they need for a long Saturday at the ball field: water, snacks, hats, cleats (yup, you even have to remind them to bring their cleats), a first aid kit, and sunscreen.

    I have been so vigilant about making sure everyone is loading up on the sunscreen while we are sitting at the fields. It’s such an important step that we should never forget to do. And I have been doing that by leading by example.

    Kids are more likely to adopt healthy habits, like applying sunscreen, if they see their moms applying it on themselves first. Yup, it’s true. In my kids’ case, after they see me applying sunscreen, a little light goes off. “Oh hey, I need to do that, too.” There has been no arguing about putting it on like there has been in the past. Everyone loads up and off they go to play ball. 

    As a child of the late 80s and early 90s, I will admit that wearing sunscreen wasn’t always stressed. Those were the days where we would bake ourselves for a great tan. In my case, I would just burn myself. Looking back on those burns, it’s a little scary (I had 2nd degree burns one summer…not fun).  As few as two painful sunburns during childhood significantly raises the risk of melanoma, compared to kids who have never been sunburned.

    And if that doesn’t scare you, more than 350 Americans are diagnosed with skin cancer every hour – even though skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. Every hour!

    How do we make a Difference and Start Protecting our Children’s Future?

    Use a good sunscreen. Our favorite this summer has been Neutrogena® Beach Defense®. Beach Defense provides superior skin protection from harsh summer elements, clinically proven to help defend the signs of sun damage. It’s water resistant (80 minutes), lightweight, fast absorbing, and oil free and PABA free. Beach Defense provides beach strength broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection in a lightweight, fast absorbing mist, ideal for outdoor skin protection of the active family, like ours.

    Start early! Make daily sunscreen application second nature for your kids by having them see you apply sunscreen on yourself. Keep a tube by your toothpaste – a recent study showed that you are more likely to increase sunscreen usage if you place it next to your toothpaste – something you already use daily.

    Spread the world to help educate and protect those you love. We have an unwritten rule with our baseball friends. If you see someone getting a little red, say something! It means it’s time to reapply and maybe get in the shade for a little bit.

    Together, let’s create the first sun-safe generation. Our kids won’t think twice about applying sunscreen every day since we are making it a part of their daily routine. One of things that I am trying to stress to them is it doesn’t have to be hot or sunny for you to need sunscreen. You should wear it every day! And don’t forget the top of your ears and back of your neck! Those are two areas that you can easily forget.

    #MimicMommy Giveaway

    Neutrogena® is leading a call to action to moms to use sunscreen in front of their kids to demonstrate the importance of daily sunscreen use. To help you have your own #MimicMommy moment, I’m giving away a sunscreen kit to get you started!

    THREE winners will receive a #MimicMommy sunscreen kit, including select sunscreen products for the family! One winner per household, email address, or home address. Winner must have a U.S.-based address to receive the prize.

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    Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

    July 7th, 2017
    These shrimp tacos topped with mango salsa  is an easy, flavorful and delicious summer meal ready in 20 minutes!
     
    I participated in Mom Blog Tour Sweets & Snacks Expo (#MomBlogTourFF) on behalf of Wendy’s Bloggers. I received Amazon products to facilitate my post, but my opinion and creative content are my own.

    I have been on a real shrimp kick lately and I am not sure why. I have been finding more ways to incorporate shrimp into my meals at home and not just order it when we eat out. Problem? I’m the only on in the house who eats it. So I have been trying to come with meal ideas that would be flexible and could use any kind of meat.

    My current favorite? Shrimp tacos with Mango Salsa! You can (and should) prep the Mango Salsa ahead of time and is the perfect topping for not only shrimp tacos but also shredded chicken.

    But let’s talk about the shrimp. I like to use fresh shrimp but frozen works, too. I lightly tosses my shrimp in Amazon’s Hot n’ Sweet Mango Sauce and sauteed them for a few minutes. Don’t use a lot of the sauce for the shrimp because it will also be in the Mango Salsa. A little bit of this sauce goes a long way!

    The mango salsa is colorful, sweet, tangy and spicy and it is made with jalapeno, red bell pepper, mango, red onion, and lime juice. If you are a fan of cilantro, you can add that as well. But for me? I left that out! Make your Mango Salsa ahead of time and let it sit in the fridge for at least an hour so the flavors will meld together.

    When you have everything ready to go, assemble your tacos! I like to layer my tacos with red cabbage, then the shrimp, and topped with a lot of the Mango Salsa! Super simple and a flavorful but light summer meal.

    Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa

    Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
     
    Ingredients
    Mango Salsa
    • 2 medium-large ripe mangos; peeled, pitted, diced
    • ½ red bell pepper; finely diced
    • 2 Tablespoons red onion; minced
    • 2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro; diced
    • 1 small jalapeño pepper; seeded and minced
    • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
    • 1 Tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 tablespoons Amazon Hot n' Sweet Mango Sauce
    • salt and pepper to taste
    Shrimp Tacos
    • 1 lb cooked, peeled shrimp
    • shredded red cabbage
    • Tortillas
    Instructions
    1. Combine the mangos, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, and jalapeño pepper in a bowl. Add the lime juice, Amazon Hot n' Sweet Mango Sauce, and lemon juice, and toss well.
    2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and refrigerate for at least an hour to let all the flavors meld.
    3. While salsa is in fridge, saute shrimp in pan with 1 tablespoon of Amazon Hot n' Sweet Mango Sauce until pink.
    4. When salsa is ready, assemble your tacos! Layer shredded reb cabbage and cooked shrimp in tortilla shells. Top with mango salsa.

    Amazon

    Amazon is the international connoisseur brand in spices that offers the widest variety and flavors. Cultivated at the border of the Amazon jungle, Amazon sauces are made specially to enhance the flavor of the food.

    Want to learn more about the Amazon? Visit the Amazon Pepper Sauce website at www.amazonpepper.com or find them on social media: Facebook and Instagram.

    Check out more #MomBlogTourFF recipes featuring Amazon:

    Amazon GIVEAWAY!

    Win a prize pack of assorted Amazon Sauces! One winner per household, email address, or home address. If you have won this prize on another blog you are ineligible to win again. Winner must have a U.S.-based address to receive the prize.

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    Leftover BBQ Chicken and Rice Casserole

    July 6th, 2017
    This leftover BBQ Chicken and Rice Casserole is quick and easy to make, perfect for a summer night!

    We have reached the time during the summer where I just don’t want to cook. Ever. It’s too hot to stand over a stove. And I am terrified of the grill (yes, I am). And who wants to cook when they can spend a lazy afternoon at the pool. So I have been on a mission to find quick and easy meals that take little to no effort.

    One way to do that? Use those leftovers!

    We grill (ok, my husband grills) a lot during the summer and we always have plenty of leftovers. From steak to chicken, we make extra because everyone devours it. Unfortunately, those leftovers we do have, we seem to never to touch. And we hate to waste food. I have been trying to make a conscience effort to take those leftovers and turn them into another meal. A great way to stretch meals and your budget!

    We love barbecue chicken and I like to make a lot of it when we have it. I usually throw it on top of a salad but I wanted to shake things up a bit. I wanted to take those leftovers and make a meal the whole family would love. I took the base of another one of our favorite dinners and use the leftover barbecue chicken.

    And the best part? You can easily whip this casserole together and have it ready to pop in the oven. You could even throw it together the night before. Bake for 20 minutes and you’ll have a warm and cheesy dinner.

    Leftover BBQ Chicken and Rice Casserole

    Leftover BBQ Chicken and Rice Casserole
     
    Ingredients
    • 3 cups white rice, cooked
    • 2 cups, shredded leftover BBQ chicken
    • 1 can corn
    • 1 can black beans, drained
    • 1 tomato, chopped
    • 1 cup barbecue sauce
    • 2 cups cheddar cheese, divided
    Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
    2. In a large bowl or baking dish, stir together rice, 1 cup cheese, chicken, black beans, corn, tomatoes, and barbecue sauce until combined. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheese evenly on top.
    3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the casserole is warmed through. Remove from the oven, and drizzle the top of the casserole with a little extra barbecue sauce, and top with your desired (optional) garnishes.
    4. Serve immediately.

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    5 STEM & Maker Apps & Games For Under $6 To Avoid Summer Slide

    June 23rd, 2017

    The number one thing that parents and educators worry about over the summer is the dreaded summer slide. While we want our kids to have a little break from school, it’s important to keep their brains engaged. What should you do to keep your kids from the summer slide and regressing academically on their summer break?

    Traditionally, as the designated family vacation time, summer travel is a great way to teach kids about geography, culture and history. But what about getting your kids to invest a little bit in learning STEM, the hard sciences and math skills that are so important to quality academics and careers?

    Not to worry, summer can be a great time to get you kids – especially young ones – to learn science, math and computer skills – especially while road tripping. And with new, highly successful gamification learning and apps, most kids don’t even know they are learning computer coding or physics.

    5 STEM & Maker Apps and Games

    Finding and using a few of these STEM-based, maker movement compatible games and activities can absolutely stall the summer learning slide and may even give your kids a leg up next year or even further down the road.

    While you may want to spend a few minutes searching computer and STEM learning activities for the summer, here are a few ideas and options to get you started. Many of these are free – or less than $6.

     

    5 STEM & Maker Apps & Games For Under $6 To Avoid Summer Slide

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    1. Lego Education – get kits for hands-on building mechanized robots and other tech and engineering marvels using Legos. And much, much more.

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    2. Simple Physics – an app that allows kids to build things such as skyscrapers and bridges using real physics and engineering and calculating cost considerations. Available for both Apple and Android.

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    3. Blokus – an easy, kid-focused app based strategy game that rewards strategic decision making and spatial awareness.

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    4. Tynker – introduce kids to the basics of computer coding with the leading app and learning platform for coding for kids.

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    5. Orienteering – an outside, map-based logic sport and game that’s more than a century old – teaching map skills and navigation.

    Looking for more STEM apps? Here are some more of our favorites!

     

    Smart Cycle Blaze Speed & STEMSmart Cycle Blaze Speed & STEMCode Karts - Pre-coding in PreschoolCode Karts – Pre-coding in PreschoolNancy Drew Codes and Clues Mystery Coding GameNancy Drew Codes and Clues Mystery Coding GameThinkrolls - Logic and Physics Puzzles for KidsThinkrolls – Logic and Physics Puzzles for KidsThomas Edison's Secret LabThomas Edison’s Secret LabDNA Play - Create and Play with Funny MonstersDNA Play – Create and Play with Funny MonstersBrain Jump - Brain training and education for kids with Ned the Neuron. Games focus on cognitive skills including memory, attention, and concentration.Brain Jump 

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    8 Things You Need to Know Before Going to Hersheypark

    June 22nd, 2017
    This post is sponsored by Hershey Entertainment  & Resorts as part of my participation in the Hershey’s Sweetest Moms ambassador program.  All opinions are 100% our own.

    We just got back from a little 3 day mini-vacation at Hersheypark. I grew up going to Hersheypark almost every summer and I have fond memories. Like when I rode my very first rollercoaster, the Comet, because my dad tricked me into thinking I was getting on bumper cars. Or the time we left our car windows down and a torrential rainstorm rolled in.

    I am so glad that I have the opportunity to create new memories with my own family. During our latest stay, I picked up a few tips and tricks to help you maximize your trip to Hersheypark. Before you hit the road, here are # things you need to know before going to Hersheypark.

    8 Things You Need to Know Before Going to Hersheypark

    Get a season pass. If you live close by or planning to go to Hersheypark multiple times throughout the year, you need to get a season pass. Enjoy unlimited year-round visits to Hersheypark and ZooAmerica, plus sweet perks like FREE parking, early access to select rides, and more with your season pass! For me, free parking was a huge bonus to me and you get to park pretty close to the park. Other perks? 15% off food and beverage purchases. Which leads to me too…

    Purchase the all day drink deal. Buy an All-Day Drink Deal complete with a Souvenir Cup for $13.99 and get free refills throughout Hersheypark all day! But wait, theres’s more….

    Check out the All-Day Dining Deal, too. Purchase an All-Day Dining Plan for one low price ($29.67), and dine all-day long at more than 10 tasty locations throughout Hersheypark! Meal includes an entrée and side.

    Even more season pass holder benefits. If you purchased the season pass like I told you too, you can skip the all day drink and dining deals and get your very own drink and dining deals! Season pass holders can purchase a souvenir cup for $29.97 that allows them FREE refills for the entire season! And if that wasn’t amazing, purchase a Season Pass Summer Dining Plan for $106, and dine all summer long at select locations throughout Hersheypark!

    Download the app. Almost every major amusement park these days has an app. And it’s totally worth it to have it for your visit. You can check wait times, find food, and figure out exactly where you are in the park. This is helpful when planning out your next stops to maximize your time in the park.

    Don’t forget about Chocolate World! There are so many things to do at Chocolate World. From taking the iconic Factory Tour (complete with singing cows) to making your own candy bar, plan to spend a few hours learning everything there is to know about chocolate!

    Visit ZooAmerica. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in all the thrill rides but you have to visit the zoo when you are Hersheypark. If you have a younger child that isn’t into rides, split up for an hour and take them to the zoo while the older children ride the coasters. The best part? It’s free with your Hersheypark admission.

    Take advantage of the Preview Plan. When you purchase a regular full-day admission ticket, you can enter the night before your big day for 2 1/2 hours prior to Park closing. Just show your ticket at the Front Gate and you can start enjoying the fun early! Purchase parking the evening you are using the Preview Plan and keep the parking stub, along with your admission tickets, to use the following day.

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