Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans

We are already planning our Thanksgiving menu and this side dish is on our list! These Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pecans are super easy with minimal preparation time. If you are trying to get your kids to eat Brussels sprouts, give this recipe a try. For the recipe click this link on SC Johnson’s website for my recipe! Brussels sprouts are so good for you! Brussels sprouts are a storehouse of several flavonoid anti-oxidants that offer protection from prostate, colon, and endometrial cancers. It is also one of the highest vegetables with vitamin K which helps prevent delay onset of Alzheimers and is a good source of vitamin A, helpful for your vision. They are also a good source of fiber, vitamin C, B6 and omega-3 fatty acids.


Money Saving Tips for Kids: Family Friday

So I will be honest here. We actually won those prizes in this picture of my daughter, Leigh at Disneyland this summer (thanks to her older brother). Anyway, having 3 kids is a fabulous challenge, and teaching them the value of money and saving money is truly important. My kids usually want to spend their allowance immediately upon receiving it – I can almost see the money burning a hole in their pockets! I have learned that regardless of your children’s age, the best way to teach them the importance of budgeting is to start small and keep it simple. Here are some of my top money saving tips for kids. See my post over at SC Johnson for more.

1. Set an example: Keep a piggy bank at home and use it. I make weekly deposits of small bills or coins and show my kids the savings after a couple months. I also talk to them about the importance of saving and staying on track when it comes to weekly deposits.

2. Match them: To try and keep things fun, match the amount of money save by 50 to 100 percent. This idea helps kids stay motivated to save money.

3. Make a list: I ask my children to make a wish list of the items they would love to own. This helps them to prioritize the things they really want and ensures they think through how much they should budget for in order to afford it.

See more at SC Johnson

5 Free Summer Activities for Kids

Summertime can get SO expensive with camps and activities, eating out and vacations. As a mom of three children, I am always looking for ways to save money, especially around this time of year. As my kids grow older, these budget-friendly, free summer activities for kids have stayed on the top of our list!

1. Geocaching: Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor, treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS enabled devices such as a smart phone. Check out for more information.

2. Culture: Spend a half-day at your local museum exploring and learning about the scientific, artistic, cultural or historical importance of the artifacts and collections available in your city. This will be a great way for your young ones to learn about some of the unique facts and stories surrounding your hometown. If your local museums charge admission, check your local library as some allow you to “borrow” membership passes for free entry.

3. Biking: Plan a bike outing on the next warm, sunny day. This is a great way to get some exercise, while changing up your every day scenery. Pack food and enjoy a nice picnic midday.

4. Hiking: Find a local hiking trail or make a hiking path around your own neighborhood! It’s a great way to get outdoors and spend quality time with your family.

5. Cooking: Entertain your kids on a rainy day by getting them in the kitchen to bake their favorite recipes. Once you’ve worked together to choose a recipe, teach them how to measure, bake or customize the ingredients to make it their own. Some great summertime recipes to try include Better-for-You Blueberry Muffins!

For more ideas, read on at SC Johsnson

5 Tips to Handle Stress

Whether it’s family or work, life can be stressful no matter what stage you are in. Being that I am a single mom of three active children and experiencing the everyday challenges of living with an ill parent, I have been searching for various ways to help me relax. Below are a few of my favorite tips that have helped to relieve my stress. If you have any others, please share!

1.    Identify the problem: Ask yourself what is triggering your anxiety and write down possible solutions for each. Having a list in front of you will help you understand and identify the issue.

2.    Exercise regularly: Even if it is taking a walk with a friend, stay active! Head to the gym and try a Pilates or yoga class. These classes teach various ways to meditate, while helping loosen tight muscles and facilitate deeper breathing.

3.    Get some rest: Sleep helps your body replenish. Try going to bed even 30 minutes earlier, you’ll be able to handle stress better if you’re well-rested and nourished.

4.    Travel: If possible, plan a getaway and take some personal downtime in a new setting. Even staying with a friend or family for a night can help give you a new perspective on things and give your mind a night off from stress. Or, make it a family trip and spend some time with your loved ones! If you’re traveling with kids, check out my tips on how to make your vacation stress-free here.

5.    Do what you love: Read a good book, see a movie, go get your nails done or simply watch your favorite show. Make time for a favorite activity at least once a week to help take your mind off your problems and put a smile on your face!

See more on my blogpost for SC Johnson. I loved being on the SC Johnson Blogger Panel this year!

Travel Tips with Kids: Tuesday Travel

This spring break I took my daughter, Leigh, to Phoenix, Arizona during her spring break. As a mom with three kids, I know that preparing for any trip can be stressful and traveling with children can be an extra challenge. Since my three children are now 12, 14 and 15 years old, trips have definitely become much easier. Below are some of my favorite travel tips with kids that have continued to help me over the years.

1.    Get them involved: From planning to packing, your kids’ participation is key. Sometimes looking forward to a trip is as memorable as the trip itself. Give the kids a map and share a few photos of their destination to give them a sense of where they’re going. If they are old enough, let them pick out clothes they’d like to bring on the trip. The more the kids are involved, the more excited they will be.

2.    Bring one and ONLY one carry on: Make it easier for yourself by not taking too many items on your flight. You will appreciate only having one bag per person to keep track of and carry.

3.    Pack snacks: Flight meals will not necessarily time well with your child’s needs, and airport food is not always suited to the palate of a toddler or child. Bring your kid’s favorite snacks to hold them over until you reach your destination.

4.    See the doctor: If you’re going overseas, see your doctor at least two months prior to your departure. When making the appointment, mention the ages of your children and ask if they need any vaccinations specific to your destination.

5.    Bring new toys, books and magazines: Buying new books, toys, or coloring books that the kids have never seen before will hold their attention throughout the flight. Just as we love burying ourselves in a new magazine, the kids will love exploring their new treasures.

6.    Have some fun: Don’t forget to try a new activity or something out of the ordinary to ensure everyone has a memorable time. For example, why not try a horseback ride or family-friendly cooking lesson on your trip. Check with the tourist office in your destination to learn about free activities or guided tours. Over the years when my three kids have had to write school papers on their favorite moments, our family trips have always been the focus!

See more at SC Johnson

This photo was taken on our Kayak trip with Arizona Outback Adventures and Visit Mesa

Pomegranate Cider Recipe and Fun News

Who loves cider? My 3 kids and I are addicted to my newest creation for Pomegranate Cider. It is a big hit with family and friends. I made it for Thanksgiving, and I wish I actually had made more. This is the type of recipe that you definitely want to have left-over. I have some really great news!  I am so honored to be a part of the SC JohnsonBlogger panel” this year! I will be writing for their website on a monthly basis and sharing recipes, tips and more. They are a family-owned company, and they offer some of my most favorite, useful products in my kitchen and home. See SC Johnson’s website for this recipe and more of my posts! Stay tuned for more…

10 Budget-Friendly Tailgating Tips

People don’t always believe me when I say that in Alabama, football is like a “religion.” Tailgating is an integral part of the fall weekend routine in the south, and it’s a great way to spend time with family and friends outdoors. This week is the SEC National Championship game with Alabama and Georgia. I think just about everyone in my hometown is going to the game in Atlanta. Since tickets are a premium, try some of my favorite money-saving tailgating tips for a party that costs less but is still full of fun for everyone.

1. Plan ahead: One of the most important things you can do to save money on your tailgating party is to plan ahead. Make organized lists of essentials so you won’t have last minute expenses.

2. Shop smart: Buy meats, drinks, plastic cups, napkins, etc. in bulk to save money. Preparing recipes at home such as pasta salad, potato salad, chili or sandwiches will also cut back on expenses.

3. Store it: Use Ziploc® Brand Sandwich Bags for easy transportation of foods to the game and pack leftovers that can be reused at home.

4. Enlist help: Join forces with your friends to save money. Ask each person or couple to bring a dish or beverage that fits into your menu. Everyone loves a potluck, especially while tailgating and the more the merrier. Driving to the game with other people also saves money on gas.

5. Keep it simple: Don’t try to overdo or outdo your friends. Tailgating is all about fun, being outdoors and being with friends with minimal amenities. Less is more. In this case, try sticking to one main dish and three to four sides max.

6. Bake: Bake homemade treats and deserts, such as cookies and brownies instead of buying them. Store them in Ziploc® Brand Containers with the Smart Snap® Seal or bags for easy transport. You’ll save money and impress your guests at the same time. Who doesn’t love a homemade treat instead of store-bought?

7. Use your slow cooker: If you’ll have access to electricity, prepare dishes ahead in a crockpot or slow cooker. You can then bring the entire pot of chili, pulled pork or baked beans straight to the event and serve your team right from the pot. Just don’t forget your extension cord!

8. Park farther away: Parking spots closer to the stadium usually cost more money. Pick a spot a little farther away and jump on a shuttle. Just be sure to plan ahead and allow extra time so you don’t miss kickoff!

9. Assign an entertainer: Have someone bring an iPod speaker dock for music, a frisbee and of course a football to help entertain kids of all ages.

10. Decorations DIY: Instead of worrying about expensive decorations, visit your local discount store to purchase plate.