#LittleChefs Twitter Party & a Giveaway

Chef ECard

I’m sad to say that my work with Chef Boyardee is coming to a close, but we’re having one last celebration!

Get all the details below!

What: Join us for a Twitter Party to celebrate special holiday moments with family in the kitchen, inspired by The Little Chefs Project, the first-ever crowd sourced e-book on cooking with little chefs! In partnership with Chef Boyardee, The Motherhood and 40 fantastic mom bloggers have written a virtual book that will truly make you feel like a kid again. From creating family time in the kitchen to bonding over everyday and holiday fun, we have tips and recipes for creating kitchen magic with your family.

When: Thursday, December 6, 2-3 p.m. ET

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #LittleChefs hashtag to track the conversation.  You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite: http://twtvite.com/littlechefs

Hashtag: #LittleChefs

Prizes: Chef Boyardee will give away five total prizes, each consisting of a Chef Boyardee Pizza Kit, coupons, a Chef hat, apron and cookie cutters.  Winners will be chosen randomly from among participants who respond correctly to trivia questions.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

While you’re waiting, head over to the Chef Boyardee Facebook app and make an e-recipe card.  It’s so fun!  Check mine out!

Creating a Chef Boyardee e-card

You can click here to get to the Facebook app that will take you through the creation of a fun animated e-card – your chance to get in the kitchen with Chef Hector Boiardi himself!

Just follow the instructions to create the card and watch what unfolds in the kitchen. After you see the animation, you’ll have the option to share it via Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Have fun!!!

A Chef Boyardee Giveaway!

Want to win the fantastic stuff above? You’ll get:

  • Kids’ kitchen measure and prep kit
  • Kids’ recipe box
  • Scrapbook album
  • 2 Chef Boyardee chef hats
  • Chef Boyardee adult apron
  • Chef Boyardee child apron
  • Chef Boyardee pizza kit
  • Time capsule
  • 2 coupons for free Chef Boyardee Beefaroni
  • 5 Chef Boyardee recipe cards


True Confessions: I am being compensated for my participation in this campaign, but all opinions are my own.

Thoughts on Being a #KotexMom


Folks give a little snicker when I first tell them that I am a U by Kotex Tween Ambassador.

Sure.  I get it; it’s a little funny to talk about tampons and pads and periods.  But that humor belies a bigger problem: it’s hard for us as parents to talk about periods with our daughters.

This is the reason I wanted to be an Ambassador: I needed help bringing the subject up with my daughter.

Despite our great relationship and ability to talk with each other about just about anything, this conversation was a hard one for me.

I was putting it off.

Then I started working with U by Kotex Tween and started using all the great tools they provide:  a great website full of helpful information and cute pads, preparing for the talk and “the calendar,” thinking about the importance of having the talk, and learning to prepare my daughter for everything that comes with a period.

I felt much more prepared to have this big talk with my daughter. We did it, she was fine, and I realized I had way over-thought and over-freaked about this!

One of my favorite parts of the campaign: I began to fear this new phase of my daughter’s life a little less.

I still don’t want her to grow up, and it makes me so sad to know that in eight short years, she’ll quite possibly be gone, but I’ve learned to cherish the new aspects of our relationship.

No longer am I pushing strollers, toting diaper bags, packing snacks, or planning around nap times.  We can enjoy days out getting our hair cut and shopping, going out to lunch, heading to plays.

Do I miss the younger years? Sure.  Do I now realize that there’s so much to cherish now? Yes.  I can’t worry about what’s no longer here, otherwise I’ll miss what’s right in front of me.

Something I’m looking forward to? The great folks at U by Kotex Tween sent us a $25 gift card to have a mommy/daughter date and we’re heading to The Melting Pot this week to use it!  See, another one of those fun things!

What does all this mean for you?

I really encourage you to make peace with this aspect of your daughter’s life.  It’s a fact of life, and it would be so much better for your daughter if you prepared her for it.

U by Kotex Tween provides a variety of resources to help you and your daughter.  Many are explained in the posts I’ve linked to above, and there are even more on the Kotex site and the U by Kotex Hello Period site.  The latter has a great design and will likely appeal to your daughter.

Invest in preparing her now, before she starts her period.  Purchase supplies {the U by Kotex Tween stuff is so cute!}, make sure she knows how to use them, answer any questions.  We all know that fear of the unknown makes something scarier than it needs to be.

What tips would you share?  Have you used these resources to help facilitate a talk with your daughter?

Let me know in the comments below!

True Confessions:  I wrote this review while participating in a Brand Ambassador Campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of U by Kotex Tween and received products to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

A Very Special Gift for a Very Special Guy #bb4me


Most of you know that Mr. Sweet Phenomena was in the Navy at one point.

We never saw him because he was always out to sea.  Sad for us.

But you know what I sometimes felt even worse about?

The fact that he couldn’t do the things that he enjoyed because when he wasn’t out to sea he was trying to spend time with us, do the things I needed him to do, and do things like sleep.

This is one of the things that I love most about him being out of the Navy now: he has the time to do the things he likes.

One of those things is hunting.  And hunting involves guns.  And he just likes guns.

Not in a weird obsessive kind of way, but in an appreciating their beauty and awesomeness kind of way.

Perfect Gift for a Perfect Guy

Mr. Sweet Phenomena recently mentioned that he wanted a new BB gun.

Immediately I thought to myself: “Oh man, how awesome would it be to surprise him with one?!”

Then reality set in:  we pretty much live off of his income; he works hard and gives us everything we want and need.  But should I make a purchase like this without his knowing?

Plus, I don’t know a thing about guns or BB air pistols or anything else remotely related.

Enter Daisy Outdoor Products.

They have a phenomenal website folks.  They not only sell their products, but they strive to educate as well.

Knowing what to look for and how to select an air pistol is great, but they also are big on safety and education.

I appreciate a company that cares about the legacy they’re leaving; the people that buy their products.

Off to Academy Sports & Outdoors

We actually visited three Academy Sports while looking for the Daisy Winchester Model 11 Air Pistol.  Two of the stores showed the item in stock, but neither myself nor the employees could find it!

They had a good selection of other Daisy products, though, so we went to town finding one that would fit his needs:

  • CO2 powered
  • Multi-shot

One of the first things that struck me about the Daisy brand versus any other air pistol brand at the store was how professional everything looked.  The packaging was sturdy and clean looking and it didn’t look like it was being marketing to a prepubescent boy.

Sure, the zombies were an interesting touch to some of the other items, but I like to be able to see what I’m getting, how it’s powered, what it shoots, etc.  Not that you can pretend kill zombies…

Score, we found one!

Babydoll has everything wrapped and ready to go; we can’t wait to give it to him!

Not only is this something that he’ll enjoy and be able to make great use of, but it’s something that he can share with Babydoll.

Not this particular gun necessarily, but he can teach her all about gun safety, how guns work, best-practices {for lack of a better term}.  I’m thrilled that it’s something they can share, and it’s all because he’s home now.

Be sure to check out all of the Daisy Outdoor Products.  They have things for just about any age, and remember that they have lots of safety resources as well.

You can also find them on Twitter and Facebook!

And if you’d like to see some of the interesting stuff we found on our shopping trip, check out my Google+ album!

True Confessions:  I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias™ and Daisy. #CBias #SocialFabric #bb4me

Where You Been, Yo?

Question Mark

I been living life!

I have definitely missed you guys though!

But you know how you reach that point where you literally have no more time left in your day to give?

I reached that point, but it’s great!

I’m starting a new venture and then had all the normal stuff going on, which already makes for a tight schedule.

I’ve been working really hard to make better use of my time and to make sure I spend time with my family.

It’s been working well, but it also meant I had less time to spend here.

Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to:

I’ve been shopping and buying turkey butt wreaths and taking Babydoll to “cupcake wars” and hanging with her and a friend at Talladega and winning tickets to Disney on Ice and working hard on my new business and taking a marketing class and vying for a spot in a marketing competition and finishing up my duties with Kotex and Chef Boyardee and washing {but not folding} laundry and having an 11th wedding anniversary and more.


I’ve got some fun stuff coming your way though:

  • A review of a book for kids on rangoli
  • A Kotex wrap-up
  • A Chef Boyardee Twitter party
  • A post on fitting family time into your schedule
  • And even more awesomeness!
Sweet Phenomena will continue to be updated, just not as frequently as before.  I’d rather bring you quality content than “quantity” content.

Cooking with Your Kids

Cooking with Your Kids | Sweet Phenomena

One of the best parts of cooking with your kids is that there are a vast number of teachable moments.

These might be literal moments, such as teaching fractions, history, and geography; or they can be more figurative moments, such as teaching appreciation for family meal time, family history, and different types of food.

In our family, we enjoy learning about local foods. Few things can beat knowing where your food came from, and how long of a trip it took to get to you!

I think it’s important to note something before we talk more about all the fun you can have with your children and local foods: eating local and fresh doesn’t have to be expensive and inaccessible.

We love all kinds of food in our house: the good stuff and the not-so-good-for-you-but-it-tastes-amazing stuff. You don’t need to be a health nut or spend tons of money to eat and appreciate local foods.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, how can you involve your kids in learning about local foods, appreciating the concept of slow food, and really taking something away from the whole experience?

You can do any number of things outlined below, at just about any age, and I bet your children won’t even look at it as work!

Visiting the Farmers’ Market

Visiting the farmers’ market is probably the easiest way to teach your children about local foods. It’s a magical place!

Depending on where you live, there are year-round markets, produce-only markets, markets that carry crafts, markets that also offer dairy, meat, and poultry, the list goes on and on. Find what’s in your area by visiting LocalHarvest.

Aside from the vast learning that can take place by just wandering around the market, there are a number of things you can do to ensure your child is involved and enjoying the experience.

Help your child prepare a market shopping list. This could be a written list if they can read and need to practice writing, or it can be a list with pictures that you create on the computer, with magazine clippings, or by drawing. This gives them specific things to look for.

Don’t want to call it a shopping list? Call it a Farmers’ Market Treasure Hunt. Let them dress the part. Have fun with it!

Older children can help plan a menu using items that can be purchased at the market.

Seeing how much of an entire menu you can actually get at the market is so much fun! There’s just something special about making an entire meal from items you purchased fresh, that day.

Your resources may vary, though, so perhaps you only have access to produce. There’s nothing wrong with that, you can still make it work.

Prepare an entree, such as Beef Ravioli Pizza Cups with Tomato Basil Salsa (these look like cupcakes-how fun is that to eat for dinner?!), and use fresh tomatoes and basil from the market for your salsa.

Prepare a side salad to accompany your dish, and then make a fresh fruit cobbler or ice cream sundae for dessert. I think most kids would love a meal like this!

Allowing your child to pay for items that are on their list can help them feel independent and encourage math skills.

Teach seasons and what’s available by utilizing this site to find out what’s available and when in your area.

Practice interacting with others by getting to know the vendors and farmers at the market. These folks are generally exceptionally friendly and love talking to little people about farming, produce, and all sorts of other things. Plus, they often enjoy giving little goodies to cute kids as well.

Have a child that’s not a fan of vegetables? Visiting a market just might be the magic pill you’ve been looking for.

It’s also important to note that your market visits don’t always have to focus on produce.

Many markets have vendors who sell baked goods, handmade crafts, meat and poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Most of us love baked goods, and things like fresh milk and eggs can be used to create your own baked goods.

Other Resources

Many products are available that can enhance your market experience, such as books, checklists, reusable bags, and more.

My favorites are this kit, which includes a booklet, activity cards, and a reusable shopping bag that is stored in a little strawberry pouch, and this beauty from Native Bear on Etsy, which includes a cute reusable shopping bag and a colorful icon-based shopping list.

At the Farmers’ Market with Kids: Recipes and Projects for Little Hands is a great book to keep on hand to help instill a love for local and fresh foods and farmers’ market in your children.

It profiles produce that is found at most farmers’ markets, gives tips on choosing the most ripe produce and other fun tidbits, provides kid-friendly recipes designed to utilize your market goodies. Divided by season, it’s also a great way to teach your children about eating seasonally.

And then there’s this beauty: The Little Chefs Project: A Collection of Kid-Friendly Tips, Tricks and Recipes for Fun in the Kitchen.

I helped write the chapter on teachable moments and let me tell you, there is a ton more great info in there.  Be sure to check it out!

You can find even more great ideas for creating magical market visits with your kids by visiting these sites:

While these blog posts aren’t necessarily focused on market visits with your children, they do provide some great content on being in the kitchen with your kids, as well as a couple of really great measurement printables:

True Confessions:  I am being compensated for my participation in the Little Chefs project.  But, you guys know how much I love to talk about having your kids in the kitchen!