Chef Boyardee Little Chefs Project: Teachable Moments Cook-Along


A couple of months ago I announced that I’d be participating in the Chef Boyardee Little Chefs Project with other great bloggers!

You know how much I love talking about cooking and baking with your kids here on Sweet Phenomena, so this was an unbelievable opportunity that I am so thankful for.

The eBook came out last week {eek!}, and a series of Cook-Alongs started as well.  This Thursday, October 18th, is the second Cook-Along in the series, and it happens to correspond with my chapter: Teachable Moments.  This will be a 30 minute long live chat starting at 2 PM EST.

Come join the fun and get great tips and tricks for incorporating learning and fun in your kitchen!

The Cook-Along is sponsored by Chef Boyardee and is hosted by The Motherhood.  I’ve got a video that will be played during the Cook-Along, so be sure to stop by!

These are the fabulous bloggers participating in this week’s chat:

Amee, Madame Deals
Caroline, Smarty Pants Mama
Janene and Christine, More Than Mommies
Maureen, Wisconsin Mommy
Mel, MamaBuzz
Monica, Mommy Maestra
Tiffany, Sweet Phenomena

Hope you have a chance to stop by!

True Confessions: I am being compensated for my contribution to this project.  It has been one of the most fun things I’ve ever done, though, so I’m so happy to share all of this with you guys!

Baking with Your Kids: Tips for Preparing Your Workspace

Baking with Your Kids

Baking with Your Kids

I’m so excited to be part of iHomeschool Network’s Homeschool Hopscotch!  This week and next, I will be joining other homeschool bloggers to bring you more than 300 great posts on subjects ranging from home management to family-friendly Fall activities to the art of strewing and more!

On Sweet Phenomena, you’ll find 1o posts devoted to ideas for baking with your kids!  In addition to great tips, Babydoll and I wanted to share some of our favorite recipes with you, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a thing!

Want to share with your friends? Click below to tweet about it!

The Right Mindset

I think it’s so important for parents to begin cooking and baking with their kids as soon as possible.  Not only is it a great teaching tool, but it really bring the family closer.

But fear not, friends, I’m not delusional.  I know that baking with kids doesn’t necessarily create the environment present in Tollhouse commericals.

It can be messy.  It can be seemingly fruitless.  It can be stressful.

For instance, this one time Vince was helping Babydoll decorate a cake for the fair and they decided the best way to get sprinkles on the cake was to throw them at the cake.


This is why it’s crucial to enter into this venture with the right mindset.  Messes will happen.  Recipes will take four times as long to prepare.

But you know what? Your kids won’t remember that.  They’ll remember the awesome time Mom helped them bake cupcakes or bread or cookies.

And really, isn’t that worth more in the long run?

Your Workspace

Just because things won’t be completed in a clean and orderly manner doesn’t mean you just give up on any sort of order.

One key thing to teach your children is to properly prepare for baking:

  • Read through your recipe first.  This lets you know what tools and ingredients you’ll need, how long you can expect to be working on the recipe, and more.
  • Gather all of your tools and ingredients.  In my opinion, this just makes things work better.  I hate having to stop and go to the pantry every three minutes.
  • Teach them the concept of mise in place.  Now, I don’t do this all the time, but teaching them to have everything in place {mise in place} really is a great thing to do.  This involves more than laying everything out: wash, chop, measure, do it all.  Then you get to just dig right in and create!

Clean Up

Just as important as set-up, cleaning up after yourself is another great concept for your kids to learn.

Sure, it’s fun spilling flour everywhere, but it’s equally as fun to not have ants in your kitchen…

Assign each child a specific job {dishes, wiping the counters, drying the dishes}.  Make a game out of it.  Just don’t let them get away with not doing it.

Now the Fun Begins

Now that the “boring” stuff is out of the way, it’s time to get down to business!  Tomorrow we’ll start throwing down with some super killer recipes and tips like how to frost cakes and cupcakes!

Today is the International Day of the Girl


Not a female? Keep reading.

Don’t have a daughter? Keep reading.

Your children are grown? Keep reading.


In this day and age, it is incredibly important to invest in our children as a whole, but it is vitally important to invest in our girls.

What is the International Day of the Girl?

The International Day of the Girl was established to recognize the unique girls face when it comes to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity.

Don’t believe this is an issue today?

Just this week, 14 year old Malala Yousufzai was tracked down by the Taliban and shot as she returned from school. Why? Because she spoke out against education inequality.

Still not making a connection?

What about the fact that 71% of high school girls are not happy with themselves, or that between 50 and 70% of girls of normal weight believe they are overweight?

Or, the fact that there are actual, dead-serious articles on the internet on ways to act stupid so boys will like you?

Or, the fact that women still earn less than mean {approximately 20%}?

I could go on and on.

Raising a Confident Girl

I’m not here to debate whether women have it worse than men, or vice versa.

I firmly believe that our society continues to look at women as a whole as objects.  We are supposed to be good wives, good mothers, and serve others.

We’re supposed to do it with a smile on our face, and we’re supposed to do it all.

We shouldn’t complain, because that would mean we were ungrateful for all the service we are allowed to give.

I see it every day.  Magazine ads.  Music videos.  The way the female news anchor is dressed.  The unbelievably strong good ol’ boy system still present here in the South.

The fact that girls think they’re not pretty without makeup on.  At nine.

The fact that all girls can think about by 3rd grade is having a boyfriend.

Today I am imploring everyone: please build up the girls in your life.

Teach them that it’s OK to be smart.  Teach them that it’s OK to have a career.

It’s OK to decide to stay home and be a great mother.  To love math and science.  To not want to settle down and get married.  To have lots of children.

To not feel the need to get married.  To be President.  To own a restaurant.  To get your hands dirty.

To demand respect and equal opportunity.  To have equal access to opportunities.

Don’t just praise your daughters for their pretty curls.  Praise them for their wicked awesome bicycle kick.  Praise them for their imagination.  Their compassion.  Their empathy.  Their brilliance.

Don’t wait till it’s too late.  Don’t wait till she is more concerned with her dress size than her education.

Don’t wait.

Swanky New Undies for Mr. Sweet Phenomena #MaLoUnderwear

MaLo Underwear at K-Mart

How many of you watched Saved by the Bell?


Yes, I did too.  Who knew I’d be blogging about Mario Lopez’s new underwear line 20-something years later?

Not I.

The Man. The Legend.

That guy down there is my amazeballs husband.

Mr. & Mrs. Sweet Phenomena

Note: Black and white finish was done for no other reason than to make myself look better.  I’m selfish like that.

He’s a pretty swell guy if I do say so, and he works uber-hard making power for the fine folks in the area.

Twice a year that uber-hard becomes ultra-super-uber-hard: the power plant has what they call an outage. He gets to wield tools and turn things and push things and lift things.

It takes a toll on his clothes, especially his under-stuff: t-shirts and underwear.

So, I announced to him that I would be buying him new, fancy underwear.

He looked concerned.

Maybe, possibly because there was this one time when I made him wear an {awesome} purple tie for the job interview for this job.

But, that was three years ago.  And they still remember the tie.

Score. I win.

Enter MaLo

Not the real MaLo, but his underwear.  Underwear line, that is.

I trekked off to K-Mart to find these mythical garments for a two-fold purpose: get the man some comfy, awesomesauce underwear for this season’s outage {started today}, and to add some fun to his drawer.

Because really, who doesn’t want a little fun in their pants?

Shopping for MaLo Underwear at K-Mart

After a little digging, I came upon the Promised Land.

MaLo Underwear at K-Mart

I was ready to stock up on underwear and t-shirts, but unfortunately the only t-shirts this location carried were colored.  I’m pretty sure they do come in white though.

Now, I love colored t-shirts, but they don’t work so well under a blue work shirt.

I did manage to grab six pairs of underwear: three “normal” ones for him and three “WHOA” colors for me.  Well, not “for me.”  For him, but I liked the colors.  You know.

MaLo Underwear by Mario Lopez

MaLo Underwear by Mario Lopez

There were even some purple ones that I wanted to get.  But I decided to pace myself and warm him up slowly.

I really wanted the print ones I’ve seen other bloggers get, but our K-Mart didn’t have those either.  Total bummer.  He actually kind of liked those.

And what are we replacing you ask?  These:

Old Underwear

So, How Did it Go?

Well, we’re still waiting.  As I said, the outage just started, but I think these will outlast the others.

They’re thick, but not too thick, and just feel cozy and soft and substantial.

You know how some clothes feel substantial?  That feeling.

And, when I showed them to my husband, he didn’t become violently ill, or even a little ill, so we’ve crossed that “never buy me anything again because you made me wear a purple tie” hurdle.

I can’t wait to find some more for him.  With skulls and stuff.  Super manly and super awesome!

I think Mr. Lopez said it best himself:

MaLo Tweet

“Malo’ is all about ‘masculine with an edge… Packaging is the statue of David, one of the most iconic bodies in the world. MaLo captures some of that beauty & masculinity but with a MaLo twist.” – Mario Lopez

Be sure to check out MaLo on Facebook and Pinterest for even more great ideas on revamping your husband’s wardrobe!

Want to see more of my shopping trip and the crazy stuff I found? Check out my Google+ album.

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

Always be Prepared #KotexMom

Most of us have at least a month of school under our belts by now.  Routines are developing, schedules are in full force, and Fall is in the air.

We’re not going to talk about stuff like that, though.  We’re going to talk about one of those things that always seems to slip our minds: what happens when your daughter starts her period while away from home.

The most obvious place for this to happen is at school, but I homeschool, so I quickly thought of all the times when it could still happen:  at soccer practice/games, while at a friend’s house, or out shopping.

No matter what type of school your child is in, starting her period while away is something very real to your daughter.

So, how do you deal with this?  More importantly, how do you help her deal with it?

Prepare Yourself to Prepare Her

Remember all those times you think to yourself as a mother: “Oh, I hope she doesn’t get information about that from other kids…”

Well, this is one of those times you should be thinking that.  You should be the one to prep your daughter for this, not someone else.

You can’t really do a good job at this unless you’ve got everything down yourself.

Know if she has any “systems” in place at school, such as a nurse. Maybe the nurse has an emergency kit on hand.

Make sure she has all the supplies she needs {pads, a change of clothes, etc.}. This doesn’t have to be anything major, but she should get used to carrying a pad or two at the very least.

This will help her feel more prepared for when the time comes.  U by Kotex Tween has an array of awesome products designed specifically for tweens.  They’re colorful, they’re small, they’re compact.  No more lugging around that massive pillow in the icky pastel pink wrapper…

Make sure she understands what will and won’t happen. How many times have we experienced the fear of the unknown?  Tons.  Don’t do that to your daughter.

Kotex has put together a great site that covers any topic related to periods that you can possibly imagine.  I really like their section on first period questions.  Study that with your daughter and you’re set to go!

Preparation is key here folks.  Set your daughter up for success and make sure she’s got her period pack on her at all times.

Let her know what will happen so she knows what to expect and how to react.

How did you prepare your daughter?  Did your mother prepare you?  Let’s chat 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.