Youthful Preservation, 2 Simple Steps

As a parent of a teenager, I know all too well how quickly the years can fly by. Sometimes I take a little joy in the thought of a clean, quiet home free of random crusty socks, but most of the time, I wish I could press pause…if even just for a moment.

Now, with this new product, I can! What is it you ask? Imagine your mom’s Tupperware, now add INSTAVAC technology…and bamo, like magic, it’s Ozeri!

IMG_3670 Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating on the time-force continuum bit, but I *did get him to hold still for a moment. A bigger feat: I captured a photo of that moment! #success

Unfortunately, my children are too far gone to fit in my conveniently stackable Ozeri containers. However, my lunch, leftovers, and most any perishable item (including some very strange slime concoctions) have stayed well preserved for days! Oh, and the dial on the vacuum seal lets me know exactly how long I’m willing to let hunger trump potential spoilage, a game I triumph in most of the time.

Ok, so now you’re shopping Ozeri containers, you’re ready to learn PRESERVATION SECRET #2 …Label Daddy!

Any great parent will tell you the best way to keep and preserve your kids is by first, not misplacing them. No brainer, maybe, but better safe than sorry…so, I use name labels! (So  much more attractive than the black Sharpie! But, I’ll use the Sharpie in a pinch.)

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These handy little stickers have been saving the day(s) for years, and let me tell ya, they can stop bickering between siblings, clearly identify items in lost-and-found, AND they survive even the most brutal torture on the slopes and in the dishwasher, as demonstrated in Honey, I Shrunk the Sippy Cup, a tale of name label heroism.

Now a word (mostly their words) from our sponsor:

Save 25% on Label Daddy labels! Label Daddy is the number one solution for labeling your belongings! Exclusive laminated coating gives labels an extra layer of protection to survive most anything! Go nuts: label all clothing, sports equipment, electronics, and other personal belongings your kids bring to school, camp, sports leagues, day care, vacation, and other places. Your kids won’t think you’re strange at all. I promise 😉 Label Daddy labels keep them from getting lost or mixed up with others – the items, not your kids…but you can label them too! These labels are also great for adults! — Put them on your sunglass/eyeglass case, phone, camera, sports equipment, tablet, e-reader, hats, clothing, and more. Yep, use them EVERYWHERE. You’ll be cooler for it, trust me.

These labels are super durable peel-and-stick, washable labels — they’re washer/dryer safe, microwave safe, dishwasher safe and UV resistant! Label Daddy labels are also fun and attractive. You design your own labels! Pick from tons of colors, sizes and logos, including MLB, NBA, and NHL team logos, other sport and fun logos, and more. These labels are made in the USA and shipped directly to you worldwide.

Save 25% on any label order from Label Daddy – this is the best discount available anywhere. Click here labeldaddy.com/usfamily The discount will be automatically applied at checkout.

Photo Credit: Two awesome (but reluctant) kid models
Blogger Appreciation: Thanks to US Family Guide for continually trusting my take on editorial products, and a sincere thanks to #Ozeri and #LabelDaddy for trusting my promotion of their products…which really are quite fantastic, all humor aside. 

Ozeri

Label Daddy

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Perfect Fall Break Contest (FREE Yogurt!)

Yogurtland guests are invited to photograph and name their favorite, most imaginative yogurt creation and submit it to the My Masterpiece website and Facebook page. At the end of the submission time frame, each entrant will receive a link to their Masterpiece submission and can invite their friends to vote for the top creations.

Voting for the top masterpiece creations takes place from Oct. 29 – Nov. 2. The top 100 entries will be judged by a panel of Yogurtland judges based on taste, name and recipe of the Masterpiece, creativity of the recipe and the ability to easily recreate the Masterpiece in Yogurtland stores. The first place winner will receive a $500 Yogurtland gift card for a year of free yogurt, second place will receive a $250 gift card for six months of free yogurt, and third place will receive a $125 gift card for three months of free yogurt. The top three winners will also receive gift cards to reward their friends for voting for their entry. Each Yogurtland store is encouraged to choose a local winner who will receive a $100 Yogurtland gift card. All entrants will receive a coupon to receive their first 3-ounces yogurt free.

DeTaILs HeRE!!!

 

 

Spring Break Colorado – What Will You Do?

The budding of life brings a fresh, new beginning – a soliloquy of nature resounding the promise of hope and new life.

I absolutely love spring break in Colorado…a glimpse of what is to come, interrupted briefly by the grand finale of heavy, wet spring snowstorms, culminating just in time to let our hearts fill with joy at the arrival of gorgeous Colorado summer weather.  Springtime in the Rockies is a sight to behold, and by far my favorite season of the year!

Read more and get ideas @ Mile High Mamas, “Choose Your Own Adventure – Spring Break 2012”

Late Season Ski Fix…Monarch Mountain

Just for a weekend, but squeezed it all in…epic powder @ Monarch Mountain, Amicas, The Jug, Patio Pancake, Riverside Park, Tenderfoot, F Street Bridge views of the Arkansas River and invaluable time with family and friends in a little town dear to my heart…Salida, CO.

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Cooking Contest for Kids!!!

Destination Hotels & Resorts had invited my two kiddos to help judge last year’s Kid’s Recipe Contest…read more: “Epicurean Democracy for Kids’ Health“…They took themselves very seriously but had a great time sampling and voting for their favorite meals!

The experience was a great opportunity to talk about the importance of voting and what democracy means to our country – and, of course, the importance of nutritious meals and overall health – even when on vacation! The kids’ favorite part: the food was delicious!

The contest will run again this year, March 1 – April 15, 2012.

Favorite recipes can be submitted on the hotel’s community website – public vote will determine the winner!
See the Destination Hotels website for full details. Happy Cooking!

Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Commence L’Adventure!

Four amazing seasons; brilliant blue skies; temperatures that let you work up a sweat without overheating…and glorious views from atop peaks piled with fresh, untainted powder? Oh no, it’s not a dream ~ this is COLORADO ski country.

There’s just something about the freedom, coupled with the awe of such a magnificent creation – an offering of unrefined nature at altitudes of such magnitude…ok, so maybe I need more oxygen up there, right? Well, if delusion are my poison, I’ll take them because this really is the stuff dreams are made of.

That is precisely the reason I don’t just want to – I have to – teach my children the skills to get them to the top of those majestic peaks…not metaphorically (well, yes, that too)…rather literally, to the summit because, even if the only way down is intimidating at best, there’s just something incredible about the whole experience.

So, where does it all start?

At the base of the mountain – and if you’ve planned your vacation to perfection, you’ll eat, sleep and play at the base, slowly working your way to the top. Sound intense? Not so much…I’m talking about luxurious accommodations at the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek.

 photo credit: concierge

The Park Hyatt is located at the epicenter of it all. It’s a true ski-in/ski-out offering the finest amenities and in perfect proximity to daily, complimentary three o’clock chocolate chip cookies (served by chefs in white hats!)…Sweet tooth aside, let me tell you, Park Hyatt is the premier Colorado vacation destination…and for some very good reasons – these are just my top five:

  1. Children’s ski school is located right next door. Benefit: no shuttling in to drop the kids off (important need-to-know tip, because if you’re traveling to the base of the mountain every morning, you’re loosing a lot of value in your ski-in/ski-out accommodations).
  2. You won’t get lost! I may be one of the few people truly at risk for this, but having spent an inordinate amount of time navigating my way back to resorts nestled in discrete locations on the mountain, I can attest – this is an important feature, ha!
  3. Ski and boot valet. Not just a fancy locker room with automatic doors and boot warmers – this is the real deal. If you’ve ever tried to juggle skis, boards, boots and poles for – not just yourself – but you kiddos too, you understand the value of this service.
  4. Après Ski S’mores by the fire pit…including HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOWS. I kid you not. Gourmet flavors created to marshmallowy, melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Your kids will love ‘em too, wink!
  5. All the other wonderful offerings that a five-star resort and spa might have to offer…breathtaking views, fabulous dining, heated towels and robes, outdoor pools, jacuzzis galore, heated walkways, kid-friendly hot toddy hut, full-service spa, hot cocoa in the lobby, wonderfully cozy beds, turn down at night – lovely toffee bars (I may have gracefully accepted the bars but gave a rain check on the service…and he offered a couple extra bars – good trade) and pretty much anything and everything you might want…because I’m pretty sure they’d do it for you! That’s one of the greatest things about the town of Beaver Creek – they have impeccable customer service!

Before you book your trip, be sure to check out the Park Hyatt’s latest promotions! One of my favorite new features: Pampered Pooches. Read how this lodging option will forever change the life of one of our dearest family members – our sweet Fiona Belle – and the suffering she endured during our road trip to Wyoming, ugh! “So You Can’t Spoil a Baby…How About a Furry One?”

VIEW OUR FULL VACATION PHOTO JOURNAL!

Thanks to Park Hyatt for being a gracious host, putting up with my quandaries, welcoming families, taking a green initiative…and for loving our furry babies!

Health for the Holidays

The holidays can pose a challenge when it comes to maintaining healthy habits. As the weather turns cold, outdoor activities become less appealing, leaving families with fewer opportunities for daily exercise. The food options multiply as we’re stuck indoors, thankful for the warmth of a hot oven and the comforts of tempting aromas filling the air.

Being aware of these changes in food and activity are a great first step to staying healthy. LiveWell Colorado offers some great tips to taking small steps in the right direction in taking charge of your family’s health. I think the best way to maintain an active, healthy lifestyle is to make it fun. Winter sports are a great way to stay fit and discount equipment can be found at thrift stores – particularly those geared specifically towards sports. When I’m having fun, I’m far less likely to stop and overeat than I am to rely on the snack in my coat pocket.

It’s one of my favorite tricks: pocket food! I admit I too often choose “pocket candy” and then keep meals healthy, but in a season of far too many sweets, I go for sensible snacks. Having a source of energy when in need helps me remain in control of my appetite and prevents me from overeating. Granola bars, cheese sticks and fruit leathers are just a few favorites in our home. Your blood sugar level will thank you!

Want a fun, OrGAnIC and LOcAL snack – super tasty too? Check out the offerings from Wacky Apple. Their organic flat fruit is amazing, great for our bodies and fits nicely in a coat pocket. The only problem with this snack…it tends to vanish into thin air. Ok, so I’m pretty sure dad took the last fruit on his way to work, but he wasn’t aware of the promise that had been made to the kids at bedtime – that while they weren’t allowed to share the snack after brushing their teeth, they could have it in the morning with breakfast (Wacky Apple flat fruit bars have two layers so it’s super easy to share evenly – important stuff!). Luckily for me, I had Wacky Apple juice to offer up that morning. The container is wildly appealing, disguised as applesauce, hee hee. The straw can be stabbed right through the top – no rules – freedom in creativity…and it makes moms happy too!

ThAt wHIcH DOeS NoT kILL Us…

This could possibly be my last blog post ever…ok, I don’t really think that, BUT I could very well not survive tomorrow’s run. Why? Chalk it up to poor preparation – and the fact that panic is only just now setting in with the realization that tomorrow morning (let’s hope it’s not drawn out past the morning hours!) I will run approximately 7 miles further than I have ever run IN MY LIFE! Yep, I will do just about TWO consecutive 5Ks beyond the furthest distance I have ever run before. This could be painful.

That which does not kill us makes us stronger, right? Well, I’m not normally one to live by that motto, but due to my lack of training and slightly insane determination to complete this goal, I’m repeating the mantra in confidence, hee hee. Truth be had: this really isn’t such a big deal – yes, some physical pain, but I have a medicine cabinet for that. I’m likely going to have to suffer a bit of lost pride too – because I’ve NEVER won first place a race in 10 years – AND this one won’t be pretty. I can do with less pride though. So, really, what’s there to loose…yes, the extra pounds from the Halloween candy. That’s a sweet benefit of this form of self punishment. With the free food and beer waiting at the finish line though (assuming I make it there before it’s gone,) I’m not sure there will be much of a caloric deficit in all this.

Before you start thinking I’m some sort of crazed masochist, I should explain that I really have been training – just not quite enough (little technicality, whoops.) I also don’t have the competitive drive that I’ve seen in the men in my life – my brother has proven that he can (and will) do just about whatever it takes to assure that he doesn’t let his sister pass him in any running event – EVEN if it means pushing his limit. I admire him for his spirit of determination and follow through! I simply just won’t do that. My competitive desire is far less than that for a reasonable comfort level, ha. I WILL WALK if I have to!

The coolest thing about my lack of preparation: I know I’m going to have to rely on God to get me through. I AM going to struggle and want to quit…and lucky for me, I can’t quit. This is a backcountry race, and even if I don’t get lost, I’m going to be out in the middle of nowhere and have to get myself all the way to the finish line – unless I want to sleep with the coyotes.

It’s just one of the reasons I run – because I’m NOT good at it AND I can’t do it on my own. Yes, I usually like to make sure I’m a bit more ready than this, but it is what it is. Life has a lot of ways of putting me in a position of fully surrendering to His will…this is just one I actually choose! I can only hope this makes me stronger ~ and that this won’t be my final blog post!

Ice Cream By Any Other Name…Still Edible?

As an avid ice cream fan with an immature sense of humor and maybe too much exposure to obnoxious dodgeball team names, I have to say the controversy over this fudge-covered rum ball flavor treat, inspired by SNL’s Pete Schweddy (Alec Baldwin) and his circular baked goods, is just nutty (pun intended).

Do I want to be paparazzied purchasing *or eating* Schweddy Balls?…not so much. Should it be on store shelves for giddy teens looking for something to laugh at, ya, I’m ok with that. It’s not like my young children are going to understand the ridiculous innuendo, and if they did reach an age that it was something to chuckle at, well, I think that will be the least of my worries.

So, is it pushing the envelope ~ I don’t think so.

The real question here…one scoop or two?

SNL Skit: http://www.hulu.com/watch/4156/saturday-night-live-nprs-delicious-dish-schweddy-balls

photo credit: AP

What to Do With All That Leftover Halloween Candy?

Too early to start thinking about this one…OR maybe, like at our house, this isn’t a real concern? Well, apparently some people actually have this problem because I was asked to write a little something on this delicious Halloween dilemma for Mile High Mamas…and when I did a little research on the topic (yep, I researched it too, hee hee) I realized it’s a rather common occurrence…one of life’s sweetest mysteries. Now, I’m not sure what the problem is at our house – maybe my children neglect to collect an adequate amount of sucrose, fructose and glucose in arrays of shapes, colors and flavors – but I don’t think that’s it because we seem to have loot-a-plenty. Maybe a leaky Halloween bucket or Bermuda Triangle looming near the candy dish, but we have a way of making our stash disappear quickly.

A little treat for the lunch box, an after school snack, maybe a quiet bedtime nibble…I share some with the rest of the family too! I keep a shameless “secret” chocolate stash in the top shelf of the freezer too. Not that anyone is unaware of my frozen delights, but the “out of sight, out of mind” technique seems to work with frozen chocolate. I guess rock solid goodness isn’t quite as appealing to the rest of the family either…crazy.

CANDY…just ONE reason I love HaLLoWeeN!

So, sweet tooth aside – if it were that we had extra confections just hanging around on into Thanksgiving, Christmas or the new year (crazy talk,) what would I do with them? I’ve come up with a fun top 10…but would like to hear from you.

What do you do with all that leftover Halloween Candy?

 

photo credit: blisstree