Party Supplies Drawing!

Have a birthday party coming up?  One for someone turning the big 50 or a different age, and you want funny old lady decor, pretty balloon weights and more?  Then enter this drawing!  I am giving away all of my fun and funny party decor that my daughter got for me from Party City.  So if your name is drawn, you will win over $50 worth of fun party stuff that will make your guest of honor and guests all laugh.  Here is what you win…

Funny hot pink old lady cane complete with horn and readers!

AND…

All kinds of fun stuff in this picture above that includes the age cones, old zone construction decor, a megaphone hearing enhancer, the 50 sash and tiara (if the winner wants that) and more!

AND…

Five pretty balloon weights that can also be used as centerpieces.

So if you want a chance to win over $50 of this birthday party decor, simply email your name, email address and mailing address (of where to send the prizes to) to [email protected] by 5pm (Phoenix time) this Sunday, September 24th.

Winner will be announced on this blog on Monday, September 25th.  Good luck and happy party planning!

3TV Segment-Party Planning? My Top Local Rental Party Picks

Hard to believe but holiday party planning season is once again upon us.  Not to mention birthdays, showers or other events on the calendar. If you are party planning for this time of year or for any kind of celebration, check out my top local Phoenix party rental picks.  I have put several to the test several times now for my son’s big graduation party, a few other events and most recently, my own 50th birthday bash.  I believe that these suggestions below are the best of the best and I even found a company that will rent you Moscow mule copper mugs and that was actually not an easy find!  Two weeks ago I blogged about the cool and chic cocktail truck that I rented called The Duke and The Duchess.

The lovely Duchess parked in my driveway ready to party!

If you missed that article, you can find it here and I highly recommend that fun feature that will make your party truly unique. Read on to see my other party rental service/supply picks that will have your guests saying what a pal texted me the morning after my latest party….that I had the party of the year!  Woo hoo!  Here are my Phoenix greater area party stuff recommendations:

*Party Pick 2 – Moscow Mule Copper Mug rentals — American Mule

Hubs and I…and a ton of our guests…ordered and loved the Moscow Mule drinks, so we had to have the copper mugs. My son is one year too young for a mule drink. He will be 21 next year…otherwise I am pretty sure he would be holding one, too.

We almost gave up on having the cool copper mugs that chill the Moscow Mule drink so beautifully because the only local rental company we could find quoted us $12 a mug for rentals and we needed 50 cups, so there was no way we could do that!  I got lucky and typed in copper mug rentals on Google and American Mule came up, but I thought the company was out of state, so I left an email inquiry.  To my pleasant surprise, the company emailed me back 24 hours later and told me that they would rent me the mugs for $3.20 a cup!  Yay!  Then I discovered that they operate out of Mesa.  So awesome!  So they delivered two crates of the lovely mugs and picked them up the day after the party dirty…they told me not to clean them.  They would happily do that for us after the party.

Ready for pick-up after the party. So awesome and convenient!

No problem there!  The one thing to note is that if any of the mugs go missing, the cost to replace them is $30 a cup, so I made sure that all were returned to our cocktail truck!  Our guests loved the mugs and the drink making our party so fun.

The copper mugs looked so cool at the bar and were enjoyed by many.

So I highly recommend American Mule for your Moscow Mule copper cup cocktail party needs!

*Party Pick 3 – Outdoor Cooling & Heating Needs – Hacienda Rentals

I was a bit stressed having my party on August 18th in hot Phoenix and during monsoon season, but that is my actual birthday and it fell on a Friday, so it was too perfect!  I searched a lot of websites and asked some friends, and all of the best recommendations were Hacienda Outdoor Comfort Rentals. A lot of resorts, hotels and special events use Hacienda, so I gave them a call.  They do charge a fee to come out for an on site inspection, but I paid it because I really wanted a specific plan of how I would cool our backyard and part of the driveway since the drink truck was going to parked there.  Hacienda told me that they could easily give me a game and price plan by looking at Google Earth, so that is an option for folks wanting to avoid the inspection fee.  I can tell you that the inspection fee, the rental charges and all of it was absolutely worth every penny!  If you want the best, most professional, nice looking and operating equipment that will cool your yard down close to 30 degrees, go with Hacienda!  I have used other cooling companies in the past and they don’t compare, which is why I am sure Hacienda is the top pick by the resorts.  Not only did the equipment cool my outdoor spaces perfectly, but the units looked nice, too.  Guests were comfortable and asked me about the cooling rentals.  I had a big white revolving fan that looked nice and cooled perfectly, plus two ultra modern units that are like the stand-up winter outdoor heaters, but instead are coolers that are called misting towers.  Marc Maples with Hacienda, was professional and perfect to work with from start to finish.  He recommended that we not use the hanging misters across the sky in my yard because monsoon season combined with that type of a misting system could make my outdoor climate humid and sticky. I did not want that!

*Party Pick 4 – Classic Event & Tent Rentals

To save on money and space, I decided not to rent full size tables and instead I rented cocktail tables that people can stand around.  My pick for these rentals is Classic Event & Tent Rentals.  Classic has an extensive selection of pretty linens and bows to customize the cocktail tables. The tables were set up perfectly by Classic’s team and I appreciated that because I had used a different company for my son’s graduation party and the bows fell to the ground during the party.  That company didn’t tie them down right and they looked sloppy.  Not so with Classic.  Plus when Classic misquoted me a few dollars due to the wrong  linen size for the table size, she discounted the order for his mistake without me having to ask.  I will always use Classic from here on out.

*Party Pick 5:  Robert’s Catering

For over 20 years, I have worked with and used Robert Richter and his longtime delicious catering company, Robert’s Catering.  Back in the early 90s, I was a marketing manager for Southwest Airlines so he would cater flights to new cities with that destination’s themed food, like Cajun fare when we started serving New Orleans.  For big and small events nationwide, Robert never disappoints and always exceeds expectations with his large assortment of menu items, incredibly tasty appetizers, main fare and his specialty, beautifully adorned and luscious cakes.  Plus he provides servers that are professional, top notch and friendly.  They put the class factor in the event.  Robert’s food is all good and my faves include his Chiptole mac and cheese, mouth-watering grilled teriyaki chicken with toasted sesame seeds and chive garnish. That is part of the Robert’s Catering Hawaiian Luau Buffet, which is the theme I chose for my recent 50th birthday bash.  That included the teriyaki chicken, roasted pulled pork served with Hawaiian dinner rolls, honey hot maple sauce and Hoi sin sauce. Also included in that yummy grouping is spring greens with romaine ginger miso dressing and a stunning and colorful fresh tropical fruit display that offers pineapple, yellow papaya, honey dew, orange, cantaloupe, grapes and strawberries. Also included is a really good island rice pilaf with sliced macadamia nuts, dried cranberries and pineapple with saffron butter, but I asked him to swap the incredibly irresistible Chiptole mac and cheese instead. All was a hit and every time I have Robert cater my celebrations, my guests always tell me that I have the best food hands down at my parties!  And Robert’s cakes are incredible!

My sweet daughter lighting my beautiful cakes from Robert’s Catering.  Yum!

He has an extensive assortment of all sorts of flavors and cake décor.  He surprised me at my son’s graduation with two beautiful giant cakes that displayed a sharp picture of my son’s graduation announcement and a second cake with his senior pictures.  They were stunning and scrumptious.  For my birthday, I chose one chocolate, his Heath Bar Crunch Bavarian Crunch and Robert’s Cherry Rum Cake.  So incredibly good!

Party Pick 6:  Décor – Party City, Kirklands & Hobby Lobby

Party City almost always has everything I need for my décor.  My daughter surprised me this time around with Fab 50 items (and a few over the hill things, too) all from Party City.  I especially liked my  “50 Looks Good on Me” sash and crown that she added to my party outfit. The hot pink cane with a horn, oversized silly reader glasses and other fun over the hill items made for fun party décor.

I asked that instead of gifts, guests pay it forward in some way.  To display the awesome charitable acts done, I bought a beautiful bulletin board where folks could add a post-it note with a short description of what was done.  That was so cool!  I also did a drawing for a $50 Visa gift card for all that put their name in a drawing box for doing a charitable act.  Hobby Lobby had the big bulletin board and the handy store also had a pretty large chalkboard on an easel with lights all around the edge.  It is a perfect way to write something fun with colored chalk to invite folks in or to direct them to the food, etc.  Kirkland’s also had some terrific accessories for décor as well and for fall and holiday events, the inventory is plentiful and unique.

Party Pic 7:  Centerpieces – AJ’s Fine Foods Mini Bouquets

AJ’s Fine Foods has the cutest and prettiest mini bouquets of all types of flowers and some come in fun little mason jars.  These worked perfectly in the middle of the cocktail tables and can be given as party favors to guests as well.  I also found the metallic chalkboard markers at Michael’s that I used to guide guests to the food on this cool illuminated giant chalkboard easel that I bought from Hobby Lobby.  It worked great!

Are you ready to party now?  Did I leave out a great local party planning tool or service that I need to add to my top picks party list?  If so, share in the comments section and happy party season to you!

 

 

Lori’s Story: Her Happy Health Treatment That Worked

Manic:  Me a couple of years ago wondering why I was losing a lot of hair, getting sick a lot, dealing with itchy skin and more.  My wonderful mother suggested that I have my thyroid checked as both she and my grandmother have hypothyroidism.

Managed:  Listened to my mama and sure enough, I have an underactive thyroid, too.  For myself, I started taking Synthroid and I have done very well on that.  However, I have heard from a lot of friends, that they did not do so well on that med.  I will continue my course of meds since I have personally responded well to it, but if that ever changes, then I will check out another option that I am sharing here below.

(Disclaimer:  I am NOT a medical professional, but a blogger who likes to share tips from other moms…hence the name of this blog, managedmoms…of things that have worked or not worked for people.)

The one thing I can tell you for sure is to have your thyroid checked if you have any of the symptoms I described or just feel off.  It is very common and once diagnosed, many women notice a terrific improvement with their overall health and well-being.

So with that, when a dear friend of mine asked if she could share her thyroid treatment success story, I agreed since thyroid disease is so common.  She tells me that after years of all kinds of unwellness, she has drastically improved with a successful doctor visit and the follow-up treatment he recommended for her.  Here is her story and I thank Lori Olawski for writing in to share.  This blog loves to share tips with each other that make our manic lives a bit more managed.  Here is Lori’s story….

Lori, in blue dress, looking lovely and feeling good, with her daughter.

Lori says:

Before finding Hope Integrative Wellness, I literally spent decades visiting doctor after doctor searching for at least a reason for feeling completely devoid of energy, motivation and a spark for life.  I felt physically exhausted, craved carbohydrates to give me the energy to get through the day, was losing my hair, gaining weight, feeling depressed and was getting more and more discouraged.  I knew I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, but was told time after time that the medication I was taking that was all that I could do about living with this autoimmune condition.

Coming from a medical background, I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t anything more I could do to improve my situation.  So I visited numerous endocrinologists, internists, D.O.’s, and Naturopathic physicians over the years.  I was treated for adrenal problems, Hashimoto’s, had my medication dosages adjusted numerous times, followed many different diets and exercise programs, meditated and slept a lot.

A lot.

I also watched my body develop Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, brain fog, joint stiffness, sciatic nerve pain, all while losing even more hair, and gaining more weight.  At the end of my rope, I attended Dr. Kan’s free seminar and immediately knew everything he said made sense to me.  After extensive physical and blood testing, a custom plan was developed for my situation. Dr. Kan explained how my autoimmune problems could be attributed to a leaky gut…never before had another doctor explored this route.  After just 3 months of treatment with Dr. Kan and his amazing team, my blood work came back with remarkable results. My Type 2 diabetes was under control, with my Hgb A1C testing coming back into the normal range, my thyroid hormones had regulated and lowered so much that my medication was cut in half, my energy was up, I no longer napped, I increased my exercising, and lost 30 pounds!

Also interesting, was that the detox protocol used by Dr. Kan detected substances hidden and settled in my tissues from decades ago, such as chemicals and mercury that I was exposed to while working in a lab over 30 years ago! As I near the 6-month mark of recovery and treatment, I am pleased with the continued progress and healing I am achieving. What I learned most was that in order to heal, I had to be aware.  Aware of my own contributions to my state of health, aware of my stress levels and how to alleviate negative situations, and mostly to be aware of the positive influences, expertise and care offered to me at Hope Integrative Wellness.   If you’re at the end of your rope with your current medical situation, I would not hesitate to explore the healing and opportunities to recover offered at Hope Integrative Wellness.

Thanks for sharing that, Lori!  Amazing!  We also heard from her doctor regarding his view on thyroid issues.  Here is what he told us…

Dr. Kan says:

Struggling with a thyroid condition??  Wouldn’t it feel wonderful to feel like yourself again, control your symptoms and feel more energetic?

Autoimmune diseases emerge when your immune system becomes overly stressed and confused and begins to see your body as foreign. Your immune system then attacks your own body tissue instead of an offending toxin or pathogen. The illnesses that fall under the category of autoimmune disease involve almost every human organ system.  Autoimmune disease affects the nervous system, gastrointestinal system, and endocrine system as well as other connective tissues, your eyes, blood and blood vessels.  In every one of these autoimmune conditions, the underlying problem is autoimmunity – the misdirection of your immune system, resulting in an attack on your organs that your immune system was designed to protect.

All autoimmune diseases are the same disease.

You may suffer from:

Adrenal Issues

Anxiety

Autoimmune Issues

Celiac

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Chronic Inflammation

Crohn’s

Depression

Digestive Issues

Fibromyalgia

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Lethargy and low energy

Lupus

Multiple Sclerosis

Myasthenia Gravis

Psoriasis

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Thyroid Issues

Ulcerative Colitis

However, all of these autoimmune diseases are the same disease.  They just happen to attack different body systems.  So the disease, no matter the classification, must be treated as an autoimmune disease.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) estimates up to 23.5 million Americans have an autoimmune disease, and the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) believes that number is actually 50 million!  The NIH data is based on only 24 of the most common autoimmune diseases, while the AARDA data is based on 120 known autoimmune conditions, with some that are considered extremely rare.  Those numbers are staggering in either case, and in comparison, cancer affects up to just 9 million, with heart disease affecting just under 22 million.

Of the 50 million American living and coping with autoimmune disease, more than 75 percent of them are women.  The Office of Research on Women’s Health at the National Institutes of Health has recognized that autoimmunity is the underlying cause of more than 100 of the serious chronic illnesses classified as autoimmune disease.  Research discoveries made in the last decade have made autoimmune research one of the most promising areas of new discovery. According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health, autoimmune disease and the resulting disorders ranked #1 in a list of the most popular research health topics requested by callers to the National Women’s Health Information Center.

In fact, this research has led to the finding that 70 percent of your immune system is actually in your gut! Chronic inflammation of the gut lining, or leaky gut, is actually a prerequisite for having autoimmune issues. So getting to the root cause of your autoimmune condition is imperative before the proper support and supplementation can be determined.

Has your immune system gone haywire because of a food sensitivity?  An exposure to a toxin?  Or did a pathogen cause an infection in your body?

Functional Medicine practitioners address the underlying root causes of disease, as the client and practitioner work together in a supportive partnership. Functional medicine is adapted to meet the needs of new research and support modalities for the current direction of healthcare.

If you are interested in learning more about your thyroid condition, or any autoimmune disease, join us at Hope Integrative Wellness Center for FREE seminars on Thyroid conditions and/or Autoimmune Disease.  Call us at 480-988-6269 for reservations…space is limited!

Thyroid Seminar:  September 5th at 5:30 and September 19th at 5:30

Autoimmune Seminar:  September 12th at 5:30 and September 26th at 5:30

Hope Integrative Wellness Center
(480) 988-6269
[email protected]

www.askdrkan.com

Dr. Peter Kan is a board certified Chiropractic Functional Medicine Doctor and Functional Neurologist. His practice at 3336 E. Chandler Heights Rd., Ste. 123, in Gilbert, is nationally known for treating complex neurological and metabolic conditions. For appointments or to attend a free informational class, call 480-988-6269. For more information, visit AskDrKan.com.

***I have not personally seen Dr. Kan, so I have no experience with his office.  This recommendation and experience comes from one of my blog readers and I do value her opinion.  Here’s to good health for all!***

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cool Chic Rental: Duchess Cocktail Truck Made My Party Perfect!

Manic:  A few months back thinking about turning the big 50!

Managed:  Decided to grab it by the horns and have a Fab 50s bash to ring in this new era! And yep, you read the title of this article right!  I rented a cocktail truck!

1st day in my 50s in my driveway standing in front of The Duchess, a fabulous cocktail truck!

Coolest thing ever!  To accommodate 85 party guests in my home, I spent weeks researching who I thought would be the best of the best in party rentals.  My efforts paid off as each vendor perfectly enhanced my bash and I received multiple compliments in the days that followed my event that every detail was a perfect 10.  Yay! Mission accomplished.  I will post my top overall rental party picks for the other elements later this week, but first let’s talk about the party pleasing cocktail truck on wheels!

Perfectly parked in my driveway getting ready for party to proceed.

This stylish spirits vehicle made my party so unique and festive.  So perfectly pleasing for the thirsty party palette!

My only regret…there were so many more people that I wanted to invite, as I am beyond blessed to have a lot of friends and family.  I do wish that I could have invited all, as I would have had close to 200 people!  Ran out of budget and space.  That’s what happens when you live in the town that you grew up in…and Phoenix is a big city to boot.  Sigh.

But let’s get back to the cocktail truck. Meet The Duchess, who is painted a pretty gold hue (was perfect for my golden 50th birthday).  I rented this brilliant bar on wheels from The Duke Truck.  And I used the pretty picture below on my Evite cards.  Guests RSVPd back excited and curious to attend! 

I had first met the counterpart of the Duchess, The Duke Truck on a day that I was doing my morning show segment.  There sat the Duke all decked out with a demo of how the rental works, how the vehicle arrives to the event and how the drinks are poured.  I was smitten and knew that was exactly what I wanted for my big 50 birthday bash.  And yep, I loved it! The beautiful bartender, Brittani was terrific as she served the cocktails of my choice that I had worked out with the Duke Truck company prior to my event.  The Duchess cocktail truck arrived and was decked out with the bartender, music and lighting….so much fun!

Our beautiful bartender, Brittani ready to serve yummy red and white Sangria, among other tasty drinks.

About a week before my bash, we worked out a fun and creative drink menu list complete with catchy cocktail names that were fitting for my milestone day.   Take a look at how clever these drink names are, some thought of by me like the Still Bubbly at 50 Champagne and some created by Nicole, owner of The Duke Truck, like the Hot Mama Moscow Mule.  Too fun!   Nicole was fabulous to work with.  All details were spot on!

Festive fun was had by all as the Duchess Truck was the talk of the event and made for nice photo opps, too! 

Loved the Fab at 50 sign Brittani displayed at the bar. So nice!

I highly recommend The Duke Truck for a truly unique event!  Owned by a local husband and wife team, they travel to Europe to find and purchase old dutch trucks that they then refurbish, bring back to lucky us here in the USA and hence, The Duke Truck and The Duchess are born!

Once we signed the agreement, I kept Nicole abreast of the RSVP count and one week prior to party time, she emailed me a drink calculator so I knew how much of what to purchase based on my drink menu and final headcount.  I purchased the spirits from Sam’s Club and Nicole provided our bartender, Brittani and all of the non-alcoholic liquids, ice and garnishes needed to make the perfect drink every time.  She even brought, made and served my teenage daughter and her pals Shirley Temples.  So fun!

I say cheers to the The Duke Truck!  My hubs liked it, too!  We also liked how traffic flowed smoothly from the Duchess Truck bar in my driveway to inside for the food and then to our backyard for festive fun.  It was the perfect set-up, even in hot Phoenix in August!  The party was on my actual 50th birthday, so that was special. We rented some cooling/misting units to keep things cool and all worked just perfectly.  My best birthday to date!  Yay!

With my hubs.  My lovely Mother-in-law is in the background as she helped Brittani cut limes before party time began.

And with fun pictures, like this collage below, of the lovely Duchess truck, good friends and savory spirits, I will never ever forget this celebration.  It is true…50s are fabulous!

It’s all in how one kicks it off and the Duchess bar from The Duke Truck helped me do that just right.  Cheers to that!  Check it out for your next event as they rent both in Arizona and in the Napa Valley part of California. Prices and details at The Duke Truck.

Freebie Friday Winner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, who is today’s Freebie Friday winner??  What did our winner win? Keep on reading!!  And remember if you are a subscriber, then you are automatically entered in our weekly drawing for great prizes that include beauty items, cookware,  jewelry and more!  Lots of cool stuff!

Now, let’s announce this week’s lucky winner….

This week’s Freebie Friday winner is:

Mitzi Dunham from Tennessee! 

(winner drawn through random.org)

Congrats to Mitzi! Mitzi wins this beautiful home decor/storage box that beautifully displays one of my favorite words, THANKFUL!  
There will be a few little goodies inside when she opens it including a pretty bling bracelet and a few other items!

Congrats to Mitzi for winning!  And thank you so much to subscribing to this blog.

We appreciate it!

And we will have more great prizes next week, so stay tuned for that and become a subscriber to be automatically entered in the weekly drawing that we do through random.org!

HOW TO ENTER NEXT WEEK’S FREEBIE FRIDAY…

If you are not a subscriber, subscribe now at www.managedmoms.com.  Simply subscribe to the website by filling out the area in the right-hand column that says “subscribe to managedmoms.com.”  Being a subscriber means that you simply get a notification email each time we run a recipe, article, beauty tip, coupon and more.  We don’t share your email address with anyone and you are automatically entered in the weekly Freebie Friday drawing for your chance to win a cool prizes.  Join our free managedmoms.com email subscriber list to stay up to date on healthy family friendly recipes, beauty news, travel tips, parenting talk and more.

 

 

 

 

Does Your Health Insurance Policy Do This? Good To Know Tip!

Manic:  Opening up four letters (one per family member) from our health insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield, to read the upsetting news that some of our meds will no longer be covered starting on January 1, 2018. Of course, my one super important drug, that I must take daily no matter what for the rest of my life, Synthroid, is on the list.  Of course it is!  Murphy’s law!  Ugh.  Knowing that a lot of people are getting the same (and sadly much worse) health insurance news, I took a deep breath and paused to read the entire letter.

Managed:  I calmly called my insurance carrier, reminding myself that it isn’t the customer service rep’s fault, to discuss the situation.  I knew going in to the conversation, that she would most likely recommend a generic.  I heard her out and she surprised me with some hopeful news.

She told me that I can ask my doctor to call a Blue Cross Blue Shield special authorization phone number to request that my Synthroid prescription stay covered.  I have done very well on this particular med, so I really don’t want to change.  Finding the right dose of the right thyroid medicine can be tricky.  Hormones are tricky. Having done very well on my dose and medicine, changing is not appealing to me.

I decided to blog about this, as I am guessing that many of my readers are receiving (or soon will receive) similar frustrating letters. So I am hoping that this article saves you a little stress knowing that a doctor authorization may be the answer.  Of course, I can only refer to my own policy with Blue Cross Blue Shield, but I would guess, and hope, that other insurance companies have similar options in place.

In any event, good luck out there with our crazy healthcare system.

Be well my friends!

My Beautiful Birthday Chocolate! Had To Blog It!

You have got to check out this ahhmazing chocoate.  I have never seen anything like this in a box of decadent yum yums!  But first, a little birthday background…

Whoa….the big 5 0 came so fast, that it is hard to believe!  Just like how everything else in life comes so fast! For my 50 years, I asked pals to pay it forward instead of gifts.  I asked that they do something kind and I am hopeful that I will have 50 acts of kindness to share.  We are about halfway there! It has been so cool to hear about the different and unique ways that my friends have been paying it forward.  I will share in a future blog post once all of the 50 acts are collected.

So, my dear long-time friend, Jan (we were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings 25 years and more ago) did a beautiful act of kindness (more on that in that upcoming post)…and…she surprised me today with a delicious delivery of the most beautiful chocolates that I have ever seen!  This might be one of my favorite gifts!  Ever!  So incredibly cool!  And yep, the chocolate is good, too!

I decided to quickly blog about it because I am guessing that a few of my readers will want to know about the clever company, out of Austin, Texas, that creates such unique confections.  They serve up chocolates in all sorts of shapes, sizes, objects and more.  Love it!  So here is the information to have when you want to give a truly special, stunning and scrumptious gift!  Custom chocolate pieces?! I’ll take it!

Maggie Louise Confections can be found here at this link here. I know that this won’t be the last time I see her chocolates, as I plan to give these beautiful boxes of incredible confections as presents the next time I need a gift idea that will be cherished and remembered.  So fun!

 

Back To School Stress Busters

As seen in my KTVK 3TV segment that aired today at 10am.

Back To School Stress Busters

Sophomore is the big word around our house this year.  With a high school 10th grader and a sophomore in college, I now have a lot of back to school seasons under my belt.  A new school year brings excitement and stress.  We have found that the less stressed our kids are the better they do in school. Thinking about this got me thinking that I should share what stress busters have worked for our busy back to school family through the years.  Take a look and try these ideas for less stress and more success.

Food Fuel

Food is fuel especially with kids who are balancing school work, extracurricular activities and growth spurts.  I will admit that there have been hectic mornings when my kids only ate a bite or two before they rushed off. At some point, I told them no more skipping breakfast.  When kids become preteens and teens, it isn’t always easy to get them to wake up early and sit down to eat.

So here are some healthy ideas that work for both breakfast and/or after school snacks.  Grabbing fast food between the final school bell and practice, rehearsal, tutoring or whichever activity is on the calendar, is not wise.  I know at times we all must do it, but those empty calories that are loaded with sugar are not doing today’s kids any favors.  So, plan on the weekends and have some tasty and nutritious foods on hand.  Here are some ideas…

*On the run honey banana bun – This is my name for a quick meal/snack that is a healthier option than a typical white bagel.  To make my version, use Ezekiel Sprouted English muffins or bagels.  Sprouted bread is a healthy option because it is made from sprouts rather than white bleached flour, so the body easily digests sprouted bread.  With bread made from white flour, the body metabolizes it into sugar which makes insulin spike, which can contribute to inflammation in the body.  This is certainly not good for growing kids. Easier to digest, sprouted bread also contains beneficial vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.  It must be kept refrigerated because it doesn’t have any preservatives, which is another thing I like about this bread.

To make the bun on the run, we toast the Ezekiel Sprouted English Muffin and then spread a good all-natural peanut butter on top (look for a brand that only lists peanuts as an ingredient).  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next we add manuka honey and banana slices.  Let’s talk about manuka honey because it is expensive, but it is the gold standard in my opinion. 

But first before you read anymore…. this is very important…

***NEVER EVER give honey of any kind to a child under 1 year of age.  There are potential botulism risks associated with a child eating honey their first year of life. ***

Now back to school aged kids.  I first heard about manuka honey from my mom, who really knows her nutritional stuff, let me tell you! She did warn me about the price (ranges in price from $18 to $26 a jar…I know!!). Then when my daughter was ill (and was a lead in a big downtown Phoenix community theatre play, so we were stressed!) our pediatrician told us to give her a spoonful of that stuff a day!  I was awfully glad that I had purchased a jar to keep on hand because it really did help her heal faster from the virus she was fighting.  We have also found that our allergies are better with regular consumption of manuka honey.  Manuka honey truly does have medicinal properties, which is one reason our pediatrician recommended it for my daughter.

Next, we top the bun with banana slices.  Bananas provide potassium, magnesium, fiber, vitamins and protein.  Eat them green because as they ripen and turn yellow, more natural sugars will be digested.

So, with this banana honey bun on the run, my kids get the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from the sprouted English muffin, protein from the peanut butter, allergy fighting properties from the honey and potassium, magnesium and more from the banana.  And this is easy to take on the run, satisfies a sweet tooth with a much better option than junk food and is filling.  We love this option!

*Mom approved mixed berry yogurt – Yogurt is good for the gut, but oftentimes is loaded with added sugar.  To create a good naturally flavored yogurt that my kids will eat and that I approve of, I buy plain full fat yogurt.  Buying it full fat means it is less processed.  Then to sweeten it myself, I add vanilla extract, cinnamon and berries and either mix or blend.  If your child still wants it a bit sweeter, then add stevia.  Try it because this way your family is getting the good bacteria from yogurt without all of the added sugars.  Top with nuts or granola for crunch and protein.

For more food ideas and recipes, check the food section of my blog at managedmoms.com.

Get Organized for Success

An organized kid is a less stressed kid and I think that is true for adults, too.  Teaching them good organizational skills young sets them up for success later when high school coursework and college exam prep skills become crucial.

With so much academic work and calendars done online now, be sure to keep a back-up at a glance weekly calendar handy.  So, every week we write down what assignments are due, what tests are scheduled in addition to after school activities, appointments and more. Then on Sundays our family meets to go over the calendar so that we are all on the same page.  This avoids that inevitable night before when panic sets in because a child suddenly remembers that a project is due the very next day.  Most of us Moms have been there with this stressful scenario! We also work well as a team and are more supportive of each other when we discuss every family member’s different commitments for the week. Finally, an at a glance weekly wall calendar also serves as a back-up in case the computer goes down or an electronic calendar device is misplaced.

And the absolute best thing about doing this through the years is by the time my kids were in high school, they had learned to be organized on their own.  So, less nagging from me because they began to automatically use the organization tools that we practiced when they were younger.

I also love the Lakeshore Learning Store Keepsake Learning Portfolio that I showed in the segment.  A nice large expandable folder to save treasured school projects or organized files for your kids to use.  Great tool! These sell at Lakeshore Learning store locations for $19.99 each.

For more back to school get organized tools, see my blog under Family Matters.

My Fun Favorite Back To School Stress Buster Ever!!

A few weeks into the hustle and bustle of the new school year, spend an afternoon brainstorming and planning fun plans for fall break week.  Then once the plans are in place, whenever the kids feel overwhelmed, remind them that the fall break countdown is on with October just around the corner.  Like adults scheduling a vacation week, this incentive gives the family a date to look forward to and an incentive to work towards, which reduces stress and encourages hard work until that fun week break arrives.

The travel section in my blog is one of my favorite sections, so be sure to check that out for fall break ideas. Some you will find include…

*Classy Cabins AZ – In the lovely Flagstaff/Williams/Grand Canyon area, check out the beautifully furnished Classy Cabins AZ that are available to rent for a terrific family vacation.  I really like that these cabins are a mom and pop run business that is their passion.  Classy Cabins AZ owners, Steve and Amy Sorenson, custom build every cabin and then personally furnish and design each one, too.

College tour to UT Austin with our son.

*For teens schedule a college tour getaway – some of my best memories with my now college aged son, are the college tour trips we took.  It is beneficial to see and tour the university and the city that college resides in that your child may be considering.  And it is a fun vacation with a trip that motivates your student to keep working hard to achieve their goals.  So fun! I have college tour articles and links to several in my blog that include UT Austin, UCLA (will be published next week), TCU and more, so check my blog with the search word, college tour, to bring them up.

*Staycations are always nice, too.  I have reviewed almost every local resort in the Phoenix and Scottsdale area and I also did a write-up on a Tucson property, too.

Just look under the travel section of my blog to see the different resorts with links for booking.

So, food fuel, get organized tools and upcoming vacation break planning are our most successful back-to-school stress busters.  What are yours?  Share in the comments section as we like to share what managed mom tips make our manic lives less stressed!

Happy new school year.  Wishing you and yours a successful one!

 

Freebie Friday Winner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, who is today’s Freebie Friday winner??  What did our winner win? Keep on reading!!  And remember if you are a subscriber, then you are automatically entered in our weekly drawing for great prizes that include beauty items, cookware,  jewelry and more!  Lots of cool stuff!

Now, let’s announce this week’s lucky winner….

This week’s Freebie Friday winner is:

Kathryn Moroz from Phoenix, AZ!!!

(winner drawn through random.org)

Congrats to Kathryn! Kathryn wins three sweet mom gifts.  First a big and cool coffee mug that not only has a heartfelt message about motherhood, but also changes color when hot water is poured in the cup.  So fun! She also wins a pretty bling bracelet that shares a special motherhood message and she also wins my #1 recommended homeopathic medicine cream, Boiron Calendula Cream.  My own mother swears by this stuff, too.  For cuts, scrapes, chafing, minor burns, sunburn and more, this is the perfect cream to have in her mom first aid kit arsenal!  

Congrats to Kathryn for winning!  And thank you so much to subscribing to this blog.

We appreciate it!

And we will have more great prizes next week, so stay tuned for that and become a subscriber to be automatically entered in the weekly drawing that we do through random.org!

HOW TO ENTER NEXT WEEK’S FREEBIE FRIDAY…

If you are not a subscriber, subscribe now at www.managedmoms.com.  Simply subscribe to the website by filling out the area in the right-hand column that says “subscribe to managedmoms.com.”  Being a subscriber means that you simply get a notification email each time we run a recipe, article, beauty tip, coupon and more.  We don’t share your email address with anyone and you are automatically entered in the weekly Freebie Friday drawing for your chance to win a cool prizes.  Join our free managedmoms.com email subscriber list to stay up to date on healthy family friendly recipes, beauty news, travel tips, parenting talk and more.

 

A big thank you to Boiron for the Calendula Cream and to Teresa’s Creative Gifts for the awesome Mama mug! 

 

 

Test Fork: Purple Carrot Plant Based Meal Service

As I blogged a few weeks ago, I have been trying to eat plant based foods about 85% of the time.  So far, so good.  And I do notice a difference in how I feel when I eat clean.  Much better in every way!  I decided to put my taste testing fork to work with a trial run of Purple Carrot.  Like many other meal service plans, fresh ingredients are delivered to my door and I do the slicing, dicing and cooking.  Unlike many other meal service plans, Purple Carrot delivers meals that are exclusively 100% plant based.

Pictured copied from Purple Carrot website.

This fits my new 85% plant based lifestyle, so I tried Purple Carrot.  Here is my review and the recipe I prepared, a Kale Cesar Salad with Crispy Butterbeans with Everything “Bagel” Croutons.  Did I like it? Tasty? Easy to prep?  My opinion of the overall service?  Read on to see what my test fork determined.

Let’s start with a picture of the entree.  Below is my finished dish.  It lies on top of the handy recipe card that comes with the ingredients, similar to most meal service plans.  Repeat or reject recipe?

I would definitely say that this is a repeat recipe!  The homemade dressing was delish and perfectly flavored the kale.  And the croutons…yum!  I will talk more about the specific flavors in a bit.  Let’s take a look at the food and prep. 

Here are the ingredients for the recipe as they came packaged to my front door. I especially like the little round containers with the white lids.  Easy to rinse out and throw in the recycling bin keeping our green lifestyle in tact.  Speaking of green, the kale is just beautiful and perfectly fresh.  The cute square loaf of whole wheat bread will become the homemade croutons. 

The nicely sized recipe card was easy to follow and took me step by step pretty effortlessly as I made the salad.  I appreciated the nutrition info, too.  

Look at that lovely green kale!  As instructed by the recipe, I gently massaged it with my hands. I had never heard of that tip prior to reading it on the recipe card. It makes the kale softer with a less rough texture. It worked and I am happy to know this kale tip now.

Yummy capers for the homemade dressing!

Look at the eye catching asparagus and red onion. I was now thinking that this salad was gonna be good.

This Caesar dressing is looking good…and it was! Flavors came together from the capers, tahini, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard and more. Really good!

For the “Everything” Bagel croutons…they went from this picture above to this one below…

Guilty as the recipe card charged, I did eat a handful right off the pan. Couldn’t resist!

While the croutons baked, I prepared the butterbeans, which would be the protein that tops off the finished salad. 

The very best part is this picture below of my teen daughter’s plate.  A clean plate because her palate was pleased, which pleases this Mama.  We do eat some meat and we definitely make sure that we are getting our protein, but it is so wonderful to see us eat more plant based foods. Purple Carrot makes this goal much easier to accomplish, so for that reason, as well as others, I highly recommend this plant based meal service plan.

Several plans are offered and can be seen on the website here. I chose the 1 – 2 person three unique meals a week option at $68 a week or $11.33 per plate.  I think that is a good value because we receive healthy clean whole foods with the recipes and without needing a grocery store run.

The Caesar salad dinner was delicious with the pleasing taste of crisp asparagus and the yummy crunch of the croutons topped it all off nicely.  The beans weren’t my favorite ingredient, but they were good enough and provided protein.  The dressing was scrumptious and may be my favorite when it comes to a good Ceasar salad dressing now.

I am anxious to cook and try the other two recipes that came in my box this week that include the Elote Bowl (I am a big corn fan) with Lime Chickpeas dinner and the Quinoa and the Seitan Gyro with Shaved Artichoke Salad and Tahini Yogurt.  Greek is good!

My test fork is seeing purple and I raise my fork to happily recommend Purple Carrot.