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Delicious Monterey Gourmet Foods Five Cheese Ravioli Dinner


Something that is very important to me as a mom is making sure that my kids are not only eating healthy foods but also trying a variety of different types of foods. The kids would be perfectly content to live on a diet consisting of macaroni & cheese, chicken nuggets, and pizza rolls if I let them. Fortunately, being a multi-cultural family, our kids have always been exposed to a wide selection of foods. Matt regularly prepares traditional Filipino dishes for the family and I incorporate dishes made by my British-born mom when I was a kid into our meal rotation.We are very lucky to have kids who are willing to try new things and they rarely refuse something just because it’s different.  


One thing that every member of our family loves is pasta- all kinds of pasta and we love to pair our pasta with a variety of different sauces. So when I was offered the chance to try out a variety of Monterey Gourmet Foods Discovery dishes I was really excited. The Monterey Gourmet Foods Discovery dishes are internationally inspired, all natural pastas as governed by the company’s strict Genuinely Natural Principles, and are made with the highest quality ingredients.  I let the kids choose which dish we were going to make first and they decided on the Five Cheese Ravioli.  






The best part about making pasta is letting the kids help me.  Some of my favorite childhood memories are of helping my mom cook. She would let me wear her favorite apron and stand on a chair to stir her homemade spaghetti sauce, or roll out the dough for her cinnamon rolls.  As a young girl it was about spending time with my mom but as a young teen it became how I communicated with her. Some of our best talks were had while preparing a meal together. Even now as an adult I find myself calling my mom to chat while I’m cooking dinner. Those are the memories that I want my kids to have of their own childhood so I take every opportunity to involve them when I’m cooking a meal. As I mentioned, the kids chose the Five Cheese Ravioli as our first Monterey Gourmet Foods discovery dish to try and I decided to pair it with a delicious basil pesto sauce.   





Doesn’t that look delicious? The ravioli was filled with a blend of delicious cheeses including Ricotta, Mozzarella, Parmesan, Monterey Jack and White Cheddar Cheese. The basil pesto sauce was the perfect complement and just set off an explosion of flavor in every bite. Matt raved about the taste and the kids ate every single bite.   





Monterey Gourmet Foods offers a wide variety of products with distinct flavors that are sure to be a hit in your family. With such an easy preparation I can see keeping a selection in my fridge for those last minute calls from Matt telling me he’s bringing a guest for dinner. Imagine having a dish on the table in 5 minutes that makes your guests think you’ve been slaving over a hot stove for hours! You can find recipes and special offers on the Monterey Gourmet Foods Facebook page and see their whole selection of delicious dishes on their website.   



For a chance to win a $100 gift card, tell me what side dish or sauce would you serve with your Monterey Gourmet Foods Discovery Dish?  



Sweepstakes Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winner  will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 11/18/2013 – 12/16/2013. Be sure to visit the Monterey Gourmet Foods’ page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!



Kleenex To The Rescue For Cold & Flu Season

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Kleenex but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #KleenexTarget  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO


As a mom, there is nothing I hate more than to see my kids sick and miserable. It just tugs on my heartstrings and makes me want to do anything I can to help them feel better. I try really hard to stop the sickies before they happen but hand-washing can only go so far when the kids are surrounded by germs at school all day. I try my best to at least stop the germs from spreading in my own home though by teaching the kids to sneeze into a Kleenex. 






During the fall and winter months I buy a lot of Kleenex. Not only do they help me try and stop the spread of germs but they help the kids avoid the red and sore noses that happen when a cold strikes. My goal is always to keep boxes of Kleenex on hand and strategically place them around the house where the kids are more likely to use them. You know how kids are- if they have to get up to walk into the bathroom for a Kleenex then they just won’t bother. But I’ve discovered if the box is right there next to them while they are watching television, or drawing a picture at the table, or reading a book in mom’s comfy bed then they are more likely to use one. 














Unfortunately the sickies are inevitable when the kids are in school all day surrounded by sick kids and germs. It can’t be helped but there is nothing more sad than a sick kid- they can give you the biggest puppy dog eyes that will break your heart. A few years ago I discovered the power of the Sick Day Busy Box. It started out as a little shoebox filled with little Happy Meal toys and random dollar store items that they only got to play with when they were home sick. Over the years it has evolved into something much better. 






My current sick day busy box contains different things that will appeal to all of my kids. I shop the sales and clearance sections all year long to keep our busy box stocked with goodies and fun activities. I try to include things like a new movie, coloring books and crayons, arts and craft activities, new books and puzzles, and stickers. The box is for sick days only and it does help my kids enjoy what would otherwise be a miserable and boring day. 






I can’t always prevent the sickies from hitting the house but at least I can do my best to make my kids feel better until they actually are better. Having my sick day busy box helps and so does keeping the house stocked with Kleenex to prevent sore and red noses. If you want to stock up on Kleenex for your house you can grab a coupon for $1 off a 4-pack or larger at Target!



5 On Friday

It’s been awhile since I did a 5 on Friday post so I thought I’d catch up on a few things this week. 
We had our very first winter coat morning this week. Thankfully I had pulled out the winter coats and washed them a couple of weekends ago because our low temps went from being in the high 40’s to the very low 20’s. Brrrr….I have a feeling it’s going to be a very cold winter and I am not a huge lover of cold weather. I have arthritis in some of my joints as a parting gift for playing soccer for almost 2 decades and the cold weather really doesn’t agree with me. On the bright side- I’m so glad we put forth the effort to clean out the garage because not having to scrape frost of the windshield when we’re already running late in the mornings and then make the 6 minute round trip drive to drop off the littles at school in a freezing cold car is bliss. 
I’m obsessed with this Sprint commercial featuring Clint Bowyer and Matt Kenseth. It makes me laugh out loud every single time I see it. Even though I’m a die hard #48 Jimmie Johnson fan I totally appreciate the humor of this commercial. I love NASCAR. 





Preparation for Thanksgiving is in full swing around my house. In the past few days I’ve been informed there will be additional guests joining us, bringing our new total to around 33 people. That’s a lot of people. So I’m adding a few more appetizers and a couple of additional side dishes plus another pie to my menu. Almost all my grocery shopping is done and now I’m working on sleeping arrangements for the guests who have decided they want to spend the night. Is it appropriate for the hostess to sneak off to sleep in a hotel with room service? No? Well that’s a bummer.





I’m almost done with my Christmas shopping. My goal was to be done by Thanksgiving but there are a few items that I’m hoping will go on sale on amazon for Black Friday. This year was expensive- way more expensive than I planned but as the kids are getting older they sure are asking for more expensive things. Ty’s wish list consisted of an Xbox One, a laptop computer, an iPhone 5, a $200 pair of sneakers, and a $200 pair of headphones. Say what? Clearly he is under the mistaken assumption that he was adopted into the Rockefeller family. Geesh. I have a post coming up soon about managing the Christmas budget.





One thing that is super important to both Matt and myself is making sure our kids are close to their cousins. We started our family way before any of our siblings started so it’s been hard. My sister’s little dude is turning 2 next month, Matt’s older brother’s little guy turned 2 in September, and Matt’s younger brother’s little man was just born in March. So there’s a big age gap between our older kids and their little cousins. We see my sister’s little dude all the time because they only live 5 minutes away from us. But both Matt’s brother live out of state and we only see them a few times a year. Thank goodness for Facetime. The kids facetime with their cousins all the time now and it’s so cute to watch. Plus Matt and I get to see our nephews grow up, which I wouldn’t miss for the world. 





I hope you all have a great weekend!



Travels With Gannon And Wyatt Book Series For Kids

One of my favorite hobbies is reading and it has been ever since I was a child. I drove my poor mom insane with my requests to go to the library to check out new books. I have always been a very fast reader and could easily finish reading 12-14 books a week when I was younger. Even now as an adult I don’t go anywhere without my Kindle tucked in my bag just in case I get a few spare minutes to read a chapter or two while I wait for my daughter to be done with track practice or my son to finish football. 


I always hoped my kids would love to read as much as I do. My older boys are not really big readers, they are more into hands-on things like video games and basketball. But my 9 year old daughter, now she is definitely taking after her mama. She loves to read. She devours book the same way I do. Even though she doesn’t need me to read to her anymore I still enjoy curling up on her bed in the evenings to chat about the books that she is reading. I adore watching her face light up as she describes characters she loves and things she learned while reading. 


When I was given the chance to share a new series with Maia I was really excited. Travels with Gannon and Wyatt is a middle-grade adventure series written by Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet. The stories revolve around twin brothers who travel all around the globe, from Africa to the South Pacific. I love the concept of these books- being fun and adventurous while still being educational. Each book shares a fun tale of exploration while also incorporating world geography and culture. 





We were given 3 books to read but Maia’s favorite one was Botswana. She has a deep love for animals and the story being set in Africa on a safari was perfect. The story takes the reader on a journey through Africa as the brothers try to save a mama lion and her cubs from a poacher. Along the way they discover elephants, rhinos, buffalos, lions and leopards. Maia loved this book and I had to force her to stop reading for the night when her bedtime came. 



Travels with Gannon and Wyatt- Botswana



The Travels with Gannon and Wyatt series includes 3 books: Botswana, Great Bear Rainforest and the soon-to-be released Egypt. I highly recommend them for your kids. Maia and I both enjoyed reading them and she is even using one for her first semester book project at school. You can see all kinds of information and read more about the series on their website. Also, in November 3 Kindle Fires are being given away on the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt Facebook page so be sure to head over there to see how you can have a chance to win.  


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.



10 New Can’t Miss Fall TV Shows

I definitely have not made it a secret around here how much I love to watch television. Drama, comedy, paranormal, reality….I love it. I’m pretty sure the DVR is the best invention ever….at least since indoor plumbing anyway. There are so many great shows on these days and without the DVR I would miss most of them! So this fall has had some fantastic shows premiere and I wanted to share a few of my favorites with y’all today and see if you have any you think I should be watching. 


1. Mom– CBS; Mondays 9:30ET


This is definitely our number one favorite new show of the season. It’s absolutely hysterical. The humor, the characters, the situations…we love it. Definitely not a show to enjoy with the kids around but we’ve gotten some of the best laughs from this show!




2. The Millers– CBS; Thursdays 8:30ET


I think is probably our second favorite new show of the season. Seriously, CBS hit a home run this season with their new comedies. They’re hysterically funny. Matt and I both love this show and I hope it’s on for a long time. We were hooked from the very first episode. 




3. Ravenswood– ABC FAM; Tuesdays 8:00ET


I love Pretty Little Liars so when I saw they were making a spin-off, I was giddy. Matt is not a big fan of PLL so he doesn’t bother to watch Ravenswood with me. I think he’d like it if he gave it a chance though. It’s got a lot of mystery and paranormal stuff going on and one of the main characters is Caleb from PLL so who can’t love that?


4. Sean Saves the World– NBC; Thursdays 9:00ET


The relationship between Sean and his mom makes this show so dang funny. I love them. The one liners and cast chemistry is top notch. If you loved Sean Hayes as Jack in Will & Grace then you will adore him in this show.  Seriously, it’s a don’t miss show in my opinion. 




 5. Sleepy Hollow– FOX; Mondays 9:00ET


This show was a surprise for me. I knew Matt and Ty would like it but I didn’t know if I would. I was sucked in by the 10th minutes of the first episode! For some reason I was picturing it set in the old days, which I’m not a fan of, but it’s a modern day rendition of Sleepy Hollow. I just saw it’s been extended for a second season already which makes me happy!




6. Super Fun Night– ABC; Wednesdays 9:30ET


Oh man, Rebel Wilson in a comedy series? Yes, please. I’ve loved her in pretty much everything she’s done- the girl is just amazing. I almost missed this show because the name threw me off- I thought it was a game show or something. Ha! I’m so glad I didn’t miss out on her comedic genius. 



7. The Blacklist– NBC; Mondays 10:00ET


We almost didn’t watch this show and I can’t imagine not watching it now! The drama, the suspense, the twists and turns….it’s fantastic! We were hooked from the very first episode and had to find out what happened next! That’s the hallmark of a great show to me- when I can’t stand the wait from one week to the next to find out what happens!



8. The Goldbergs– ABC; Tuesdays 9:00ET


Matt was really unsure about a show set in the 80’s but I knew I would love it. And I was right. Now even Matt loves it. This family cracks me up- the dad is absolutely hilarious. We look forward to this one every week. 



9. Trophy Wife– ABC; Tuesdays 9:30ET


I’ve heard rumors that this show might not make it the whole season and I hope those rumors are wrong because this show is so funny! The cast has such a great chemistry together and it cracks me up. I like this show as much as I like Modern Family….and that’s a lot!



10. Back in the Game– ABC; Wednesdays 8:30ET


We weren’t sure about this show at first but it’s gotten funnier as we watched and got to know the characters a bit more. We’ll keep watching it. The dad, played by James Caan, is probably the funniest character in the show. He’s rude, blunt, and sarcastic….all traits I admire. 


We have quite a few new series saved on the DVR that we haven’t even had a chance to try out yet too- Hostages, The Tomorrow People, The Originals, Witches of East End, and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. Do you see why my DVR is so full? These are in addition to the can’t miss shows we already record each week. I might need a second DVR to hold them all! 


What are your favorite new shows of the season?