A Daily lifestyle website. Sharing the latest products on the market, Parenting stories, travel guides, and destination information you can use! Along my travels, I became a Certified Food judge so you can also enjoy Food related posts!

August 10, 2020

Greek Chicken with garlic yogurt sauce and potatoes Recipe

Like every busy family sometimes we go out to eat, or I make something at home. I opted to activate our Home Chef account for some inspiration when we run out of ideas! I love the quality of the ingredients and the recipe ideas. This meal idea was an inspired recipe with our own twist. I hope you enjoy it!! If you are interested in Home Chef, I will leave you my referral links, which scores you a $35 credit off your first purchase! The best part...they delivery everything you need right to your door, no grocery shopping required! 
You can easily pause or deactivate your account like we do and nothing is charged!
What you will need:
1 Onion
1 Garlic Clove
2 Roma Tomatoes, diced
2 tsp. Greek Seasoning
4 oz. Greek Yogurt
1 Persian Cucumber
12 oz. Yukon Potatoes
13 oz. Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 Lemon, zest & slice
Cut potatoes into 1" chunks. Mince garlic. Place potatoes on prepared baking sheet and toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 tsp. lemon zest, and ¼ tsp. salt. Massage oil and seasoning into potatoes. Spread into a single layer. Roast in hot oven until lightly browned and tender, 20-22 minutes. Top roasted potatoes with feta and 2 tsp. lemon juice. While potatoes roast, make sauce.
Grate cucumber using large holes in box grater. Peel and halve shallot. Slice into thin strips. Combine yogurt, cucumber, garlic (to taste), and ¼ tsp. salt.
 Place a large non-stick pan over medium heat, add 2 tsp. olive oil and chicken. Cook until golden brown then add shallot. Add tomatoes and cook until warmed through.
 You can top with Feta Cheese if you wish (we prefer it without).
Serve & Enjoy! 
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August 7, 2020

Our visit to the Sunflower fields in Sanborn, New York

 “Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace”. -Old French Proverb⁣
Have you ever been to a Sunflower field?? Being a Mom means thinking outside the box for fun activities (especially, in this Pandemic, Covid-19)!" I saw on my Facebook feed a friend visiting the Sunflower fields in Sanborn N.Y. After a quick search on their Social Media account I found a Niagara County Sheriff event featuring the K9 units.
Mac was so EXCITED to meet the officers (pictured above with Officer Chief). They were attentive, skilled & so great with him. We truly thank the guys in blue & their canine companions!!
The U pick section is $1 a flower 🌻🌻!! ⁣It’s free to walk around 🙌⁣. My advice is to come early, if you want to beat the crowds (like we did). You can pack a lunch, they have tons of places to sit, both in sun & shade. Or enjoy their food vendors. Everything is clean, sanitized including stations to do just that! 
 We also took advantage of their Gem Mining. We bought two large bags for $10 and on a hot day it was a great way to cool off while sifting our treasures.
It was a drive to the Sunflowers Of Sanborn N.Y., but personally worth it 🌻! They have fields to explore, take photos in, a corn maze, scavenger hunt & a fun Mining gem activity. If you are looking for a fun place to spend a few hours or the day this is a great option for all ages!
Have you ever been to a Sunflower field before??
What fun places have you explored during Covid-19??
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July 28, 2020

Copycat King's Hawaiian Roll Recipe

 Being home, during quarantine, I never realized how easy it was to whip up some rolls, for dinner, verses heading to the store. We LOVE the King's version Hawaiian rolls and this recipe is a pretty darn good replica!


 What you will need:
1 packet of Active dry yeast ( I buy mine from Aldi)
1/2 cup milk ( we use Almond milk)
3/4 cup pineapple juice ( I usually just drain from a pineapple chunk can)
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup grape seed oil ( you can use vegetable oil if preferred)
1 egg beaten
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups flour
 In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Let stand 5 minutes then whisk in pineapple juice, sugar, oil, egg, 2 tablespoons of honey and salt until combined.
 I had stir until it starts to become dough by adding the flour gradually. If the dough seems too sticky, add more flour until dough is smooth and tacky.
Place dough in a large greased bowl ( I like to grease mine with coconut oil I feel it works the best). Cover bowl and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours. 
Roll dough into round balls and place in a greased baking pan (makes about 12). Make the rolls on the small side because they like to rise and fluff up when baking! Cover pan and let rise another 15 minutes or until doubled. 
Melt 1 teaspoon of butter and remaining 2 tablespoons of honey. Lightly brush on top of the rolls before placing in the oven to bake. 
Bake rolls at 375F for 25-30 minutes or until golden-brown. I like to serve them with my Brown Sugar Crock pot Ham!
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July 23, 2020

Three people who saved my life after experiencing ACEs

"In a world where you can be anything, be kind" -Unknown.
This post is made possible with support from the American Academy of Pediatrics through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All opinions are my own.
If we had met when I was 14, I bet you would see a completely different version of the person, I am today. I know a lot of us can say that but what I mean is you would have seen a shell. I was heart broken, abused and scared. I had a lot of anxiety, I was worried, I felt weak, and I had no idea how I was ever going to come up with the strength to survive. Through my journey I had so many people lay a hand in getting me where I am today. Without them, I know my life, would have been a different story with a much more negative outcome. Thanks to three people in particular! The need for all children and adults to have three people they can count to provide positive childhood moments is VITAL! My adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) never stopped my drive to live. 

What are adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) you might be asking?  They are a research-backed term for types of adversities kids may experience during childhood: 

  • physical, sexual, or emotional abuse; 
  • domestic violence; 

  •  living in a home with mental illness or substance abuse; and 
  • incarceration of a household member
  • Parents separated or divorced

During the ages of 14-18, I experienced 7 out of the 8 mentioned above. I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100%. That's pretty good! There was many times in those periods were I never thought I could get through. I was lucky in so many ways but especially due to three amazing people who truly saved my life!
I often wondered what this post would look like once I sat to write it all down. How would I arrange my thoughts, my experiences and my heartfelt thanks. 

When you are young you have the friends that you tell your school gossip to.  Friends you share your sporting wins with and friends who get you through the hard LIFE stuff. Colleen, was my "person". She along, with a two others, truly heard all the comings and goings of my hopes, dreams and troubles. From boys to ache we shared it all. On one sleepover I shared my most guarded secret I had, I was being abused by a parent. 

I have to give her 16 year old self credit, she handled it extremely well. Not only did she recognize I needed adult help but she soothed and stood by me as I fell apart. The weight of this secret was more than even I could bare but telling it seemed to open the flood gates.

"ACEs are likely to last longer than a single moment, which causes children's stress systems to be turned on for a long time. When this happens, the stress becomes "toxic" to their overall health. The more ACEs children face, the more harm they can have over time (ACEs website)".

I was abused for years by one of my parents and I never told a single sole! I had once tried to tell someone and it resulted in further punishment. When I opened up to Colleen, I am sure it was a complete shock. As soon as I did I was filled with regret. That is were Jackie, Colleen's Mom comes in.

As a teacher, Jackie, raised three children in the country alongside her amazing husband. Gosh, if you ever saw the house they built it's a magazine covers dream. Yet, on that dreary sleepover night she was darkened by my inner collection of stories of abuse that I had endeared. What were you thinking? How did they know just what to say? After a few hours of rest she drove me to the police station and sat next to me as I told my story to the police. 

Just once, in absolute detail, every encounter, every abusive act, every word that was said spanning over years. She held my hand, gave me a tissue and was the rock in which I was standing. Never will I ever meet someone so strong. You may have fallen apart at some point but I never saw it. Al I remember is your unveiling strength and you never made me feel bad. You accepted me as I was not dirty or unlovable. They came into my life with open arms and an open hearts. The biggest hearts on Earth! 

During the Court trial, I was blessed to live with them for a year. It was sort of a buffer from the stress before it became even more toxic for me. The importance of creating safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments in childhood, are essential to lifelong health and success as well as the prevention of ACEs. They knew this and I was given my first chance in life.
Not surviving but actually living.
It was years later before I was able to reconnect with them again at my 10 year school reunion. I didn't get the chance to say all the things I always wanted but I know that day will come. Our conversation always replays in the back of mind from time to time. What would you say to someone who quite literally saved not just your life but your brothers? "Thank you" just never seemed enough. I thought that if I excelled in life by pushing forward, moving on and not letting these negatives hinder me, it would honor the incredible sacrifices and impact they have had on my life. Maybe I should have said that to them as I was reaching the goals and dreams I never thought I would have. If you both made it this far that last part needs another reread. I've been blessed beyond measure in my life and it certainly wouldn't have happened without you!

People always say when you have a child of your own things get put into perspective. Talk about "hitting the nail on the head"! Have I taught my son what to do if a friend ever confided in him like I once did to Colleen?? Does he know what to say?

Or the other things they did like provide food, shelter and let me into their family unit for a year.... Honestly, if not for the circumstances it was the best time of my life. Your family is amazing and I wished it was my own in so many ways! At the time it felt like I was so alone. These two amazing people came into my life when I had nothing. You both saw me at my worse I hope someday you will see me at my best!
The last person whom I have drawn immense strength from was my late grandmother. I had the misfortune of watching her pass slowly from a battle with breast cancer (before they had such remarkable treatments). She touched the lives of so many people her wake was three full days and the church was packed with people. She was a strong women of faith and her perseverance through the struggles helped me through mine.

When I sat down to write this, it wasn't hard, to pick the three influential people in my life. Each one of you are strong, loving, compassionate people. All qualities I hope to model and embrace through the years.
I encourage you to identify three people or resources you can rely on to create safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments. After all reflection is what life is all about as we are walking examples to someone. If I ever need to offer vital support, I am in a healthy place to do so. We all have the potential to be someone else’s trusted adult who helps with stability!


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July 21, 2020

Spaghetti Balinese Recipe

 During this Pandemic I have been really going back to making things from scratch! Today, I am delighted to share my Spaghetti Balinese Recipe thanks to the wonderful folks at Vermont Wagyu. They provided the delicious naturally raised 100% full-blood Wagyu beef. Head over to their website for some if you are in the market. This recipe is SUPER easy to make, with delicious flavors that is sure to be a hit!
What you will need:
1 pd of 100% full-blood Wagyu beef
3 cloves of garlic (diced)
1 Small onion (diced)
Olive oil (about a tablespoon)
1-2 Can of tomatoes (diced) or you can use fresh
2 small cans of tomato sauce
2 packets of  gravy mix
Spaghetti
Small glass of wine (Optional)
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July 20, 2020

What legal stuff do you need to know about making blogging a business?

Enjoy these tips in collaboration with Doug Healy
Today I want to talk about behind the scenes of blogging. It often looks like influencers and bloggers have the life! In a lot of ways we do have some pretty sweet benefits. Free travel, free products but these all come with both work and responsibility! My son often jokes he would NEVER do this as a profession because I work to much. Let's see if you have what it takes and what to make blogging a legal career!

1. Decide whether you are a hobby blogger or a legal business.
At first my blog was a hobby because I was a stay at home Mom. When my son grew up and went off to school I decided to take the plunge and make it a career. ‘But, just because you decide something does not mean it will happen! It takes WORK!
2. The blogging profession takes work!
I work more now than I ever have in my life. My corporate job pales in comparison to the amount of hours I log now. I also have more rewards! I can travel with my entire family and experience new things before they are open to the public. I also can give back to our community shelters, soup kitchen and schools because of the wonderful sponsors I work with. 

3. Read up on FTC rules & regulations
Any business has to have a legal side to it. Make sure you have disclaimers, following copyright laws and even have a lawyer on stand by. Blogging has rules just like any other outlet and trust me people hold you to them online! Check out my disclaimer page HERE.

4. If you decide to blog, as a business, you need to brand yourself. 
This is so important because it sets you apart from other bloggers. It let's everyone know what you have to offer them and why they should read YOU! If you think people will just buy stuff from you sight unseen that is just not the case. Figure out if you want to be a influencer or a company brand and build your following through active engagement!
4. Never let anyone tell you, you have to fit in a box! 
I have been told, only write one topic focus on ONE niche. My brain does not work like that. Bloggers used to tell me I could not achieve something but I knew I could and went after it anyway. 
5. Create a list of goals. 
Write an obtainable goal list and then write a ‘crazy off the wall I hope this happens in a million years’ list. I find I reach the crazy one’s first! 
6. Once you have found out what you will write, and your personal style, Market, market, MARKET! 
Let people know about you and your blog. If I could go back and redo this step it would have saved me hours of headaches! I started my blog first and then never started social media sites to market. My blog grew but my media sites were no where because I had not started them yet. 
7. Learn from your mistakes.
This may be my last tip but it is just as important as the rest! Learn, ask questions and be willing to take productive criticisms. Also be able to here "NO", from companies, bloggers well everyone. No, does not mean never just not right now.

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July 17, 2020

Long Point State Park on Lake Chautauqua, New York

“Stepping out onto any lookout, you are invited to connect with an amazing example of some of the most unusual terrain on this planet, making you feel as though you are stepping foot on the edge of another world.”― Stefanie Payn
 As we continue our exploration of the State Parks, during this time of Social Distancing, we visited Long Point State Park. It is a 360-acre state park located in the Town of Ellery, near the hamlet of Maple Springs in Chautauqua County, New York. You do have to pay to enter (like most State parks) but the fee is pretty affordable ($6-7).
 They offer a nice beach area, marina, dirt hiking trails and paved trails to utilize. When we visited the beach was still closed due to Covid-19. The bathrooms were open and so was the marina and restaurant for take-out.
If you do stop for a visit might I suggest taking the "Point trail". I am not sure of the official name but we called it because takes you out to the Chautauqua lake at a rocky point. 
They have a bench, some sand and 180 degree picturesque views of lake life! We also enjoyed the pleasant smell of all the mint plants!
Whether you come to bike, hike, swim, kayak or bird watch there is a lot to do here on these nice sunny days we have had lately! Might I recommend some sunscreen, pack a lunch, snacks and enjoy a day here.
Address: 4459 NY-430, Bemus Point, NY 14712
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July 13, 2020

Avocado Dip Recipe

 I had the pleasure of hosting a Around the Plate Avocado Party and  we served this Avocado dip! Avocado have so many great health benefits this is just one way to incorporate them in your meals!
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July 7, 2020

How to Make a Potato Tower

Last year this sweet looking tower produced enough potatoes to last us all Summer & Fall!
What you will need:
Poles ( you can use anything but I used plastic poles)
Hammer
Something to till the ground
Weed mesh or plastic netting
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What you need to take Kids Kayaking

Normally, this time of year I am heavily involved in Press trips and reviewing places or helping tourism boards advertise what they have to offer. This year we made a conscious decision to explore State parks and get outdoors to less populated areas and attractions. One of our first purchases in doing this, was kayaks!
  Our first family trip was to Chapman State Park in Pennsylvania. Some things I would suggest you invest in if you are interested in kayaking as a family (especially with kids).
1. Kayaks (pay attention to weight restrictions) We bought a 10 footer & 8 footers. Keep in mind you have to account for the weight of personal items! We got two with the understanding my son would learned some "boat safety" and get comfortable with rowing, he could get his own. 
 2. Life vests. Surprisingly the kid versions do not have a high weight limit. I was rather surprised my son was in an adult size because it goes off weight.
3. Ores. Surprisingly enough many Kayaks don't come with a paddle?! Luckily, ours did but the very next week the same store that sold ours sold them without for the same price?! 
4. Waterproof Phone Case. I HIGHLY recommend having a phone in case of emergencies! We also use it to take photos but you just never know what you will encounter so get yourself a waterproof one. They sell them here for pretty cheap!
 5. Whistle. I am pretty sure this is a requirement if you are kayaking but in case it's not just toss one in a First aid kit! It helps you alert boaters of your position or if you need help!
6. First Aid Kit. These come in compact sizes to fit in any size kayak.
7. Food. Once you are out on the water you kind of loose track of time. It's always a good ideas to have lunch packed and plenty of snacks! Especially if you get in a bind, stuck or emergency situation best to be prepared.
8. Sunscreen & bug spray. We always apply this before we go because it seems the bugs and sun follow us. If you are going swimming as well I would recommend reapplying. The sun reflecting off the water can really burn you QUICKLY. Learn from our mistakes make sure you are well covered!
9. Water Shoes (optional). Some of you might be ok with wet shoes but I know many aren't. I personally kayak with flip flops because getting in or out of the kayak always seems to give wet feet. 
10. Map out your route and research current patterns. We choose a State park because it had open water, restrooms and easily accessible docks to get in and out. When you get comfortable may streams have some rapids or currents. You want to make sure you know where they are and are comfortable enough with your kayaks to attempt them. Marking out routes and pit stops are a good idea when you take kids out!
What do you take Kayaking??
What would you add to my List??
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July 3, 2020

Visiting Penn Dixie in Hamburg, NY

 I love finding new activities to do with my family, while saving money. Groupon has built themselves to be a money saver website. I head to the Groupon Coupons tab and search by location for deals. They have over 55,000 free coupons from more than 9,000 retailers. These are all well know stores and businesses you already purchase from! Some of the daily deal retailers include Starbucks, Walgreens, Walmart, and Target
While on the website, one day, my friend found Penn Dixie, NY.
 I am a member of US Family Guide. All opinions expressed are my own.
My son LOVES collecting rocks and finding fossils. Penn Dixie was a former cement quarry in where visitors can collect and keep Devonian Period fossils including trilobites.
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June 29, 2020

Easy to make Pork Sandwich recipe

I have been really trying to open my horizons when it comes to our nightly dinners. My family loves my cooking! I need some new dishes to try out and enjoy. I like creating new dishes and being challenged in my kitchen. We saved last year to get new appliances and I am all about trying them out! This dish was inspired by a meal we had thanks to Home Chef, called Pork Sandwich.
What you will need:
boneless pork chops
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning Blend
1 Yellow Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
6 oz. Mushrooms
4 oz. Slaw Mix
1½ oz. Golden Italian Dressing
2 French Rolls
Halve and slice onions, peppers and mushrooms. 
Also butter the rolls and toast them gently in the oven. Place 2 tsp. olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add onion mixture to hot pan and stir occasionally until browned. Take off heat, using the same pan cook your meat thoroughly. 
 I enjoy steamed broccoli with this sandwich but you can of course choose any side you like. I use the Italian sauce for the "dressing". Plate and serve!
What are you favorite sandwiches?
Let us know in the comments below!
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