Minnie Mama's Blog

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Back when I was young and carefree AKA not a mama, the definition of a perfect day would’ve been sleeping in late, hitting up the gym, shopping for a bit, lunch out, my fave day spa to relax & be pampered, and then ending the night out on a date w/ the hubby & some bubbly, ha ha. Sounds heavenly even now.

Wanna know what my perfect day is now? Try not to laugh… Getting up wicked early before everyone else so I can jump on the elliptical, a long hot shower w/ enough time to shave my legs, spending the whole day somewhere fun like the Zoo / museum / park w/ my little BFF tantrum free, dinner as a family at one of our fave local restaurants, and then my little BFF being so exhausted that she passes out by 9pm (I can dream, right?!) and catching up on my shows / watching a movie w/ the hubs before passing out too. Funny how things change, isn’t it?

I’m pretty blessed though as all last weekend was almost like my ‘perfect’ day as the weather was beautiful and I spent 24/7 with my precious girl. Of course she didn’t pass out before 11pm and I’m honestly not sure which one of passed out first — I’m guessing me though. But overall it’s been awesome and I am so excited Spring is here as the sunshine just makes everything feel perfect.

Tell me what would your perfect day be like?

All week long I’ve been sitting here at this computer screen trying to think of something silly and creative and clever to blog, but nothing comes to mind. The blank screen stares back at me. There is nothing to say. So much has happened to my city over the past week and it’s senseless, tragic, unexplainable, and downright frightening. I am a proud Bostonian who was born and raised here. I always felt safe here and at peace. But then last week happened and everything shifted upside down. What should have been a fun day for everyone as it has been forever, instead turned into a day of horror that will forever be remembered. Hundreds of innocent people were severely hurt and three lost their lives. I left my work in fear for my own life and didn’t return back until 2 days later.

Once I returned back to work more drama happened at the Courthouse right by my work as a bomb threat was called in. Again, I was terrified.

And then just when I thought maybe things would be alright, again fear took over our whole entire city and the surrounding suburbs when we were ordered into lockdown. Hundreds of SWAT team members / Police / FBI swarmed my baby brother’s neighborhood looking for the terrorists who killed a 4th innocent person, a police officer who was on duty trying to protect our community, and these madmen were now on the loose armed and dangerous. We were ordered to stay under lockdown and no one had a clue where / when these crazy terrorists would strike again. It was beyond scary and all I could do was hold my precious beautiful baby girl and give her kisses and hugs. Her little face is so innocent and precious. So trusting. One of the poor victims who was a little boy a few years older than her. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain and suffering his poor family must be going through. It’s unbearable and beyond tragic. His little sister also lost a leg during this bomb explosion and his mom was severely injured too. It’s horrific. Those are just examples of one family’s pain, but there are so many more people going through this. There are hundreds of victims from this day…these days…and they will forever live with this pain.

My little girl vaguely knows the situation as I explained there was a bad guy who the police arrested and she is safe. She only knows that much of the story as I needed to give her some reason as to why we were skipping school last Friday and yet couldn’t play outside on a beautiful sunny Spring day. It scares me to think that something awful like this could happen in the world that my baby lives in. I want to protect her forever and keep her safe in my loving arms as I know all parents do. It makes me sick to my stomach thinking about the craziness in this world. What is wrong with people? What goes on in a person’s mind to make them want to committ these horrible acts of violence and invasion to other humans?

All throughout Boston everyone is saying “Boston Strong” and I completely agree that we are a strong community and will overcome this together. But honestly, I am Boston Scared too…

That is all that I have for today… I promise my next post will be more uplifting, but today I just needed to get that off my chest.

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With all that’s been going on in the world lately, Boston particularly, it’s nice to have a special day to celebrate the earth and just feel at peace…

But what do we do to celebrate such a holiday? We all know how important the Earth is and how vital it is to our health and well-being, but what steps do we / should we be following to ensure the Earth stays healthy too? Well, as a parent, I feel it’s my personal responsibility to do all that I can to help keep the Earth clean so my children and following generations can enjoy this beautiful world. And it’s also my responsibility to ensure that I instill these values into Isabella so she can teach her children the same — it’s all about working together to preserve our Earth by reducing, re-using, re-purposing, and recycling.

Here’s a few tips that we follow on an everyday basis:

1.) Recycle all of your plastics / papers / glass

2.) Recycle your soda cans / bottles

3.) Hang your clothes up to dry instead of using the dryer

4.) Buy products with minimal packaging. For example, a water purifier on your home faucet along with a re-usable water bottle instead of a case of plastic water bottles.

5.) Shut lights off when you’re not using them.

6.) Cut down on your amount of time in the shower.

7.) Water your lawn / flowers / garden less frequently. Or even consider putting buckets out when it rains which you can then use for watering — crunchy, yes, but hey it’s a good idea! ;)

8.) Stop buying plastic lunch bags for your kids’ snacks and instead use re-usies or tupperware that you can wash out again and again.

9.) Make your own homemade cleaning solutions free of harsh chemicals or buy earth friendly products.

10.) Bring your own re-useable shopping bags when you grocery shop. Stop and Shop says this one switch alone saved approximately 15 million plastic and paper bags last year alone!!!

11.) Shop at yardsales or even host a yardsale — by recycling old items you’re helping to cut down on the amount of waste sent to the landfills every year.

12.) Check out Pinterest for ideas how to re-purpose items you have laying around your home. Trust me, I am not the Martha Stewart type, but even I have found cute ideas for cookie tins and oatmeal containers that are super easy if you have fabric and a hot glue gun.

All of these tips are super easy and if you’re frugal / budget conscience like me then you’ll see these will also help you save lots of money in the long run! I hope this helped inspired you so you too can get out there and do your part to help preserve our Earth!

Important Disclosure: All of the opinions expressed abover were solely my own. However, I am working with Stop & Shop to help spread the word about Earth Day.

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This spring, ChopChop Magazine, The Fun Cooking Magazine for Families, and Boston-based New Balance, have teamed up to promote the benefits of “the rainbow” through their “Run the Rainbow, Eat the Rainbow” contest. In celebration of healthy kids and New Balance’s brand-new 890 Rainbow shoe, ChopChop and New Balance invites all of you to enter the contest for chance to win a monthly prize pack, including a pair of Rainbow shoes, a one-year subscription to ChopChop, and a grand prize of a $400 gift card to a local grocery store. Visit http://www.newbalance.com/rainbow to enter! The contest is live now and will run through May (entrants must be 18 years or older).
About the Campaign:
“Eat the rainbow” helps kids get in the habit of eating a balanced palette of fruits and veggies —and, because different colors are associated with different nutrients, it is an easy way to color your world healthy. What better way to eat multiple colors than with a rainbow fruit kabob? Here is a simple and great-tasting recipe for Rainbow Kabobs!
· KITCHEN GEAR: Sharp knife (adult needed), Cutting board, Bamboo skewers
· INGREDIENTS: Purple grapes, Blueberries, Kiwis, peeled and cut into chunks, Pineapple chunks, Cantaloupe chunks, Raspberries
· INSTRUCTIONS: 1. For each kabob, thread the fruit onto a skewer in rainbow order
Kids will also have a chance to “run the rainbow” in the colorful brand-new 890v3 Rainbow shoe by New Balance. These stylish sneakers feature synthetic/mesh upper, offering lightweight comfort and support with solid rubber outsole to provide long-wearing durability for active kids.
Now that all that’s outta the way, guess what?! Isabella was gifted with a pair of these freaking AWESOME sneakers!!!! Seriously, you all know we’re a New Balance family (hellooooo, they are Boston based so we have to keep it loyal, right?!) so can you imagine my excitement when she received a pair of these hot sneakers?! And wanna know the best part? Little Miss Fashionista is absolutely in love w/ her cool sneakers too. She refuses to even take them off — no matter what color outfit / dress she’s wearing she insists on sporting them, ha ha. Yes, they are a little bright, but after the depressing and freezing winter we’ve had they are perfect! And she’s convinced they make her run faster and ride her bike better too — she’s just too cute.

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Honestly, I wasn’t so sure about the brightness, but after a trip to the Children’s Museum I instantly fell in love with them. My anxiety runs high at crazy crowded places like that, especially when Isabella is climbing around inside that death trap AKA the indoor crawly-thing (what the heck is that called?!) and there’s like soooo many kids. Well thanks to those awesome sneakers I could easily spot her the whole entire time. It seriously helped ease my nerves a little…

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And you wouldn’t even believe how many compliments we get on them. Everyone is absolutely in love with her sneakers! We went to the New Balance outlet over the weekend (Mama needs some hot new kicks too!) and the salespeople there were freaking out over them — they looooved them too, lol.

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So are you totally jealous of her new sneakers? Well, don’t be because New Balance would like to share this special chance for one of my loyal readers to receive a pair too! AND ChopChop would like to offer you a chance to win a subscription to their magazine too. Awesome, right?! :)

Honestly, I hate entering contests that have so many rules and stipulations I am gonna keep it super simple to enter this contest. Just leave a comment below letting me know your child’s sneaker size. And for a 2nd chance to win become a subscriber to Minnie Mama’s blog.

That’s it, totally simple!

Contest Rules: Contest is open to all residents 18+ in the US. All entries must be submitted by Monday, April 29th, 2013

Important Disclosure: All opinions expressed were my own. I did receive complimentary shoes and a magazine subscription, but no cash was received.

Have you ever had one of those nights where nothing goes as planned? That was my night. The hubs was out for the night so it was just me and my little BFF. I was looking forward to spending extra quality time with her. Just her and me. Maybe dinner out somewhere and then a visit to the park. Or a bike ride through the neighborhood. Or spa party night where we do our nails and just hang out. No matter what it was going to be fun…

But my little friend ended up having something else in mind. A complete and total meltdown AKA a tantrum from the exorcist. It was HORRIBLE. Apparently she didn’t get a nap at school and I had the pleasure of suffering the consequences. It was seriously one of the worst tantrums she’s had in all of her 5 1/2 years. I’ll save you the details of the tears, screaming, head spinning, bulging veins, etc. It was awful.

This visit from the Exorcist lasted about an hour off and on, but it felt like eternity. It was just me and her. Her and me. Exactly how I like it on our “girls’ nights” usually, but last night OMG I would’ve given anything for someone else to be there with me enduring this freak show. It sucked big time. Luckily this isn’t an everyday occurrence or I would probably become an alcoholic. Good lord.

Eventually she calmed down and life was good again. So good that the little darling went to sleep at 9pm which is a freaking miracle for my little night owl. That meant I had the whole rest of the night to myself which is a miracle and never happens! So what did I do? I laid my exhausted butt on the couch only to find there was absolutely nothing to watch on TV and then I went to lay down in bed next to my cranky, beautiful sleeping baby girl. Such an exciting life and yet I wouldn’t change it for a second. Well, maybe I’d change those tantrum moments, but you know what I mean! :)

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It seems like everything in life is all about finding the right balance. The balance between work and personal life. The balance between eating healthy and splurging. The balance between exercise and spending time w/ your family. The list of balances in life, especially mine, seems to go on and on. Sometimes I feel like a side show act in the circus trying to balance on the tightrope while holding a pretty parasol and if you knew me in real life then you’d know how disastrous this is as I am a total klutz!

But lately I feel like I am slowly getting a good balance on these things and it totally relieves stress from my daily life which is awesome. How do I do this? Well, I’ve been grocery shopping on Thursday or Friday nights right after work w/o my little sidekick which saves time and money — it’s so much quicker & cheaper to shop on your own! And that might not sound like much, but it totally saves 2hrs on the weekend which is awesome and weekend time is precious. That frees me up to do other stuff I love doing like taking my little friend to the library for a few hours or going to the park to run around. It sounds silly, but just knowing the grocery shopping is done is such a great feeling! Another grocery related tip is meal planning for the week before you go — it saves you money, time, and stress. I never have to say OMG what’s for dinner?! I just look at the list on the fridge and know what we’re cooking when I get home from work — it’s such a timesaver.

I’ve also been getting up earlier in the morning to shred it out w/ JM while everyone is still sleeping. It’s only a 20 minute workout, but that 20 minutes of solitude in the morning really helps get me going and sets the tone for my whole day. I feel energized, centered, and even strong when I have my “me” time to work out in the morning. It gets my blood flowing and the adrenaline pumping. I love it. And yes I am still doing it, woo hoo! Some nights I wait or do it again w/ my little friend as she looooves it too and it’s the cutest thing. She wears a teeny tiny sports bra w/ yoga pants and lays down her mat next to mine, grabs her 1lb weights and “shreds” it out. It’s seriously beyond words adorable! I’d share pics, but the internet is a crazy place and you never know who’s lurking so there’ll be no pics of my baby girl in her outfit — I’m sure you parents out there totally understand. Such a sad / sick world, isn’t it?!

And then at night I do 60 minutes on the elliptical while my friend plays / watches TV. Honestly, it ends up taking closer to 80 minutes typically because there’s always something she needs / wants during this time — toys, hugs, bathroom break, etc. — but it’s alright and I’m still getting my workout. Of course there’s some nights when this all goes to hell and it just doesn’t happen at all, but I give it my best effort and I feel so accomplished when I do it!

Here’s a pic of my little friend playing w/ all her 10 million ponies while I sweat it out on the elliptical.

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So there you have it, just a few of my personal tips on how I balance life on a daily basis.

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? Honestly, I didn’t know that. I just always think of March as Oh shoot bikini season is almost here month, ha ha. But since it’s actually an official month to focus on healthy eating (every month should be though!) I’ve teamed up with Stop & Shop’s full-time nutritionist, Julie Menounos, to help you get the most out of your grocery shopping experience w/ healthy eating in mind. Regardless of food preferences, lifestyle, culture, health concerns, when it comes to meal planning for many families, the supermarket is the place to start, it’s where healthy eating begins. And if you go armed w/ your list, coupons, and a meal plan for the week then you’re so much more likely to leave those deliciously fattening cookies and chips on the shelves.

Here’s a few grocery shopping tips that Julie wanted me to share with all of you:

Before You Leave:
Don’t shop hungry. Be sure to have a light meal or snack with fiber and protein before shopping to avoid impulse buys.
Make a grocery list. Plan out your week of meals, snacks and beverages and those you need to restock. Organize the list by the departments of the grocery store to save you time shopping.

During Your Shopping Trip:
Shop the perimeter of the store. This is where the freshest, most natural food lies. So fill most of your cart with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and dairy items then venture down the center aisles to stock up on staple goods like whole grains, beans, vegetable-based soups, canned tuna and wild salmon.
Pay attention to symbols to help you shop. For example, at Stop & Shop, you can look for the Healthy Ideas® symbol next to the price to find products that are better for you and your family.
Read the ingredient list. If you are not sure how to accurately interpret the Nutrition Facts label, the ingredients list can provide you with enough information to make a healthy decision. Ingredients are listed in order of weight from high to low. In general, the less ingredients the better. If sugar is listed in the first or second ingredient of your breakfast cereal, look to swap it.

When You Get Home:
Focus on filling half your plate with fruit and non-starchy vegetables. Fill the other half with whole grains (bread, rice, pasta and starchy vegetables like corn, peas, potatoes) and lean protein (chicken, turkey, beef seafood, beans).
Don’t forget a serving of dairy (milk, yogurt or cheese) either incorporated into the meal, on the side or as dessert!
Think about adding fruits and veggies to your families favorite foods. Add strawberries in cereal, blueberries in yogurt, sliced pears in a grill cheese sandwich, shredded carrots and zucchini to pasta sauce and broccoli on pizza.

So now that you’ve read all of those tips, what do you think? Will this help you get those booties in gear and in shape for summer?

Disclosure: All of the opinions expressed were my own w/ the exception of Julie’s fab tips. I did receive Stop & Shop GCs as a ‘thank you’ for my participation.

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