Our #HillshireNaturals Taste Test #spon

#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Hillshire. This could include Hillshire providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

This weekend my boys and I made lunch with the new Hillshire Farms Naturals Lunchmeats.

IMG_20150331_083912Because of our busy schedules we tend to eat sandwiches pretty regularly.  Sometimes as lunch, sometimes as a snack after school on nights we will have a late dinner and on occasion when it’s just been a long day and I declare it DIY night and the boys make their own dinner. While I can usually convince myself that a sandwich is better than say a bowl of sugary cereal, I do often worry about the junk I know is in many of the lunchmeats I purchase.  But  Hillshire Farm Naturals™ lunchmeats are crafted to be both 100% natural and 100% delicious.  This helps me feel a lot better about feeding my kids sandwiches so often.

More on Hillshire Farm Naturals™ lunchmeats:

  • Naturally smoked with a blend of hardwoods for incredible flavor (Black Forest Ham)
  • Slow roasted in their own juices
  • Always select cuts of meat
  • Natural goodness
  • No artificial ingredients or preservatives
  • No added nitrates or nitrites

And you can try it for yourself with confidence because Hillshire Farm will provide a 100% refund for every package of meat that a consumer is not satisfied with.

Now I’ll be honest.  On a typical day, a sandwich is some bread (usually a whole wheat) and lunch meat and cheese. Of course, everyone has a different condiment preference. One wants NO condiments.  He apparently HATES mayo so don’t even try to sneak it past him.  One wants only mayo. And one insists on mayo AND mustard.

But since we were dealing with some special lunchmeat, we wanted to treat it right.

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We started with some fluffy Italian bread (yeah I know it looks like plain ole white but it cost twice as much so just play along), some fresh lettuce and tomato.  Then of course after a quick taste testing of the four varieties of Hillshire Farm Naturals™ lunchmeats we found at our local store, we couldn’t decide on just ONE for the sandwich so it includes a little of ALL FOUR.  And it was as delicious as it was pretty!!

Everyone ate some variation of this creation and enjoyed the lunchmeat.  But honestly, my favorite thing was eating the honey roasted ham all by its self.  My son pointed out that it tasted just like Easter ham and in our house I don’t think there’s a higher praise than that.

Find Hillshire Farm Naturals™ lunchmeats near you and try it for yourself!

 

 

Sponsored Video: Home Again

This post has been sponsored by Knorr, but opinions expressed are my own.

 

knorr flavour of home

Knorr’s believes in bringing flavour to people’s lives. The brand’s new film, ‘Flavour of Home’, captures this sentiment while celebrating the greatest flavour on earth, the taste of home.

Nothing in life feels as good as a mother’s hug.  No matter how old we get, we always have moments when what we long for more than anything is to be able to feel the warmth and love from our mom.  Unfortunately for far too many of us that isn’t always possible.  Whether separate by thousands of miles or, in my case, by death we can’t always experience the literal embrace of our loved ones.  But if you’ve ever doubted that you can FEEL the love without being face to face watch this video.

 

 

Nothing feels better than being ‘home’ and I don’t think there’s anything that can make you feel more at home than mom’s cooking.  My mom was NOT a great cook.  There were plenty of recipes I prayed she’d never try again.  But there were certain things, like her split pea soup and her home made spaghetti sauce that I am certain I will never be able to beat.  Yet in the moments when I need to ‘feel’ her with me I will make my best effort to create the flavours we shared together.  It must be hereditary because I, too, am not a great cook.  But I hope that there are a few things that my boys will take with them, that will remind them of me and that will give them the ability to feel my love even when I am not able to be right at their side.

 

 

Get More Rest with Roomba from @iRobot at @BestBuy #iRobotatBestBuy

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

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I spent many years of my adult life, not having people over to my house because I was embarrassed by it.  Because of it’s size it was cramped and horrifically cluttered.  The longer we lived there the more stuff we accumulated and the longer we went without visitors the less I worried about it.  But then last year we moved.  We have more space and a beautifully updated home.  We also live in an area where people aren’t afraid to come to visit and where the kids friends are free to wander to friends homes.  We now have company very regularly.  This is great.  It makes life more enjoyable.  It also forces me to keep the house in drop in guest shape.  For the most part that’s not an issue as the boys are older and able to chip in to help so that the weekly type chores are manageable even given our busy schedule.  But the one battle that we still had all the time was the floor.  We have gorgeous dark wood floors.  Gorgeous when clean, but they show every bit of dust and dirt.  And for some reason I am certain that the boys now drop more food on the floor then when they were babies.  I mean at 7, 11 and 12, should there REALLY be cereal on the floor EVERY morning? Well, I don’t think so but there is, EVERY DAY!  But as much as we felt like we were trying, every time we put the broom away we turned around and saw more stuff on the floor.

870_STAND.13_1But then Best Buy and the iRobot® Roomba® 870 came to our rescue.  I have admittedly been longing for a Roomba for years but never quite thought it would work in my home with worries of too much stuff or random items being left around.  I mean, what would happen when the Roomba encountered a stray batting glove in the middle of the living room.  And the socks…oh the socks are everywhere!  But is iRobot® Roomba® 870 has some amazing iAdapt® Responsive Navigation Technology with cliff-detection sensors that allows you to have cleaner floors, every day with so little effort.

 

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The powerful AeroForce™ Performance Cleaning System has 5x the suction and removes up to 50% more dirt, dust, hair and debris.  After just the first use of the Roomba 870 I was impressed at how much better our floors looked. I love that you can just press Clean or schedule Roomba to vacuum when it’s most convenient for you. And because it automatically returns to its Home Base® to recharge between cleanings  you won’t have to hunt Roomba down.

And all my worries about fitting into our home were quickly taken care of.  iRobot truly has figured it all out from  Roomb870_carpet_1a’s slim profile that lets it clean under furniture, including beds, skirted furniture, tables and cabinetry while the spinning side brush grabs dirt and debris from tough places like wall edges and corners. I was thoroughly impressed with how well it worked around our dining room table and chairs.  And thrilled that it could easily navigate the small incline from our wood floored living room and dining room to the the tile in the kitchen.  The 2 Virtual Wall Barriers keep Roomba in the rooms you want to vacuum & out of the ones you don’t. (Perfect for those bedrooms that are too messy to even tackle.  Then when they’ve been picked up, just turn off or move the virtual wall.)  And unlike any other vacuum I’ve used the tangle-free AeroForce™ Extractors are virtually maintenance free, making it even easier for Roomba to tackle daily dirt build-up and leave more time for you to enjoy your day.  And Roomba’s large HEPA filter keeps dust, dander, and other allergens out of the air – ideal for homes with pets and allergy sufferers.

And because I KNOW you’re wondering…the cats probably won’t be riding the Roomba anytime soon, they’ve quickly gotten used to it’s presence in the house.IMG_20150318_174015

                Find the iRobot® Roomba® 870 at Best Buy stores or online.

 

 

Be Unbreakable with #KimmySchmidt #StreamTeam

kimmyschmidt

Many of us love Netflix for being able to rewatch our old favorites.  Or to catch up on movies or TV series we missed out on.  But Netflix also has some amazing original series.  You may have heard of Orange is the New Black.  (I have to admit I STILL haven’t watched it.)  And my boys love a recent new original, Richie Rich.

But last week a new Netflix Original from creator Tina Fey debuted. The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is literally the funniest thing I have watched in forever.  It’s nostalgic and sarcastic and inspirational all at the same time.

At first glance the theme song made me wonder ‘what in the world?’  Check it out:

But you can’t help but give a show a chance when they’re song includes the line, “Females are strong as hell!”  It wasn’t long into the first episode, which I watched on a very timely day that the quote “I’m always amazed at what woman will do because they’re afraid of being rude,” truck a deep cord.  I am seriously blown away with how this show uses humor to deal with deeper topics and literally turned a horrible day around for me.  I watched 8 episodes that first day. I’m certain I will finish the first season by the end of the week.

Go check it out.  You’ll feel ‘unbreakable’ too!!

 

@TheKimmySchmidt | #KimmySchmidt | fb.com/UnbreakableKimmySchmidt

 

Wordless Wednesday: Basketball Brothers #WW

basketball brothers

Perception

Perception, it’s a funny thing. It has been driving me crazy that one of my children is going out of his way to try to fit in at his new school and it’s changing his grades and his behavior. He has made comments that he’s poor and has many times told me about things other kids have or say they have that we don’t stack up with. From the outside I am able to evaluate things objectively and know that while there are many in our new town much better off than we are financially, there are also many who struggle week to week just as I do. It’s frustrating for me that he doesn’t see that and it feels like he is telling me I am not doing enough.
But last night I realized that we all do this. As I sat watching my youngest’s basketball practice I overheard another mom yell at her son’s father for missing something her son did on a few occasions.  I felt some bitterness as I wanted to clue her in on how lucky her and her son are that his father is at every game and that this was just a practice for crying out loud. I felt, and not for the first time, that I don’t really fit in here as a single mom. In our old town it was very common for crowds at events to be largely single moms. Here I feel like the I am not the norm. The truth is I have no clue what anyone’s situation is. There are definitely more fathers involved than in our previous town but I don’t know that the situations of any of these kids any more than I did before we moved.  My perception of reality is clouded with my own feelings of inadequacy.  And I’m thinking that my sons perception is probably routed in a feeling that something is missing but it is likely much deeper than just the design shoes I can’t afford to get him.
I’m not sure how to make either of us feel better about fitting in other than to simply enjoy the friends we do have and stop worrying about it.  But it was a real light bulb moment for me in dealing with my own feelings of how my son has been acting and the things he’s been saying.  It’s amazing how easily with can convince ourselves that our perception is in fact reality.

Wild Kratts Birthday Party

Unlike his brothers the youngest boy is slightly indecisive. The older boys will pick a Halloween costume the day after Halloween for the following year and stay committed to that idea for a whole year. (This is super convenient if I’m able to score a costume super cheap on clearance.) They also pick party themes well in advance and I don’t have to worry about them changing their minds. THIS ONE tho, we went through about 50 ideas before I began working and told him he was committed. The one that stuck was Wild Kratts. I found tons and tons of ideas on pinterest but since it was going to be a small party I didn’t go over board. He got a creature power suit t shirt and we printed a bunch of creature power discs, bought a ton of animal themed snacks and decorated the living room with every animal toy they own.
wild kratts party 1

Thankfully my kids are pretty easy going when it comes to parties (probably because many years we haven’t even had kid parties) because his small party of 5 kids turned out to be just one friend showing up. But they had a blast and it was super easy on me!
wild kratts party 2

Wordless Wednesday: Purrfect #WW

catsofinstagram cat kitty cute cuteness purfect cuddles 1

B’s Birthday

My ‘baby’ celebrated his 7th birthday last week.  He’s been dying for this Toothless Build a Bear so we went and he got to make him. And pick out an outfit for him.

birthday build a bear

 

Then he picked dinner, his “second favorite restaurant” 5 Guys for burgers.

birthday burger

 

And his most favorite desert spot Suzy Swirls for fro-yo.  birthday froyo

Not a bad day if you ask me!!

Winter Wonderland My Ass

snow chicago midwest winter shoveling 2015 3  I know I know, I live in Chicago so I shouldn’t complain about snow.  But holy geez we got like 19 inches in just over 24 hours and it was a whole lotta shoveling.  Thankfully I had some help.  When they finished they played in the evil white stuff for a little bit before they were frozen.snow chicago midwest winter shoveling 2015 2snow chicago midwest winter shoveling 2015 1