Say Ahh! A Nifty New Tool to Help Determine If You Need to Take Your Child to the Doctor

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own. 

I’m sure you’ve seen this meme floating around the internet, yes?

brace-yourself-winter-is-coming

It’s funny, but it’s also very, very true. Especially for parents with kiddos in school, as schools are the place where germs party hard and love nothing more than to hitch a ride with your child back into your home.

Many illnesses start out with a telltale sign: a sore throat. But it’s hard to determine if those warning signs point to something that needs medication and a doctor’s visit (not to mention that co-pay!) or if it’s viral and just needs to run its course.

There’s a cool new tool you can add to your medicine cabinet this fall that can help you do some initial observation, comparison and reporting to your doctor so that you can both more accurately determine if you need to go in for a visit or not. Check out the SayAhh! Sore Throat Home Exam Aid.

sayahh! sore throat home exam aid

This nifty little tool is designed for ages 6 and up. It’s a scientifically designed, patented tongue depressor (much more awesome than a popsicle stick version from the doctor’s office, and more comfortable, too!) and it is designed to minimize the gag reflex. Woo hoo! Since tongue relaxation is helped along with this device being used, a parent can get a better look at exactly what is going on in there. The kit contains a flashlight and a chart with medical-grade illustrations and descriptions of six common childhood throat aliments (strep throat, coxsackie, mononucleosis, etc.). This provides an easy way for you to compare what a normal throat should look like versus what you might be seeing happening with your child’s throat.

sayahh! guide

There’s even a SayAhh! Exam Guide App available for iPhones now, and it will soon be available on Google Play, too.

As a parent, it’s a terrible feeling to not really know just how sick your child is, and to have to make that judgment call about whether or not you need to take off from work and head over to the doctor’s office. You may spend the time and money and find out it’s a viral thing so there’s nothing the doctor can do, or you may NOT go and then realize after a few more days that you made the wrong call and your child definitely needs antibiotics, and so off you go to the doctor, a few days later than you should have. SayAhh! Exam Aid can at least help you make a more informed decision on the front end.

Right now you can score free shipping on this handy new product through the SayAhh! website. While the free shipping promotion runs through November 1, now is the time to get your medicine cabinet (or drawer, in our case) prepped so that when that first sore throat hits, you are ready. The price is right, too, as this product comes in at under $10! You can also learn more by visiting the SayAhh! Facebook page.

I’d love to hear from you about your must-have items in your medicine cabinet. Have you conducted an inventory yet to make sure you’re prepared for the fall and winter germ season? What do you think about this awesome new product idea? I can see myself using it frequently! 

Now through November 1st, get free shipping when you purchase the new SayAhh! Sore Throat Home Exam Aid online at http://sayahh.com/purchase.html!

This is a product-provided, sponsored conversation that contains affiliate links. All opinions, text and experiences are my own.

Cheesy Foil Packet Dinner Idea for Busy School Nights

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturallyCheesy #CollectiveBias

I’m still getting my bearings about how to manage school day afternoons. My oldest now has nightly homework, and I’ve found that she gets too stressed out if she has to do all of it at once. So between 3-5, I find myself doing a bit of a dance back and forth between overseeing homework and preparing dinner and doing daily light housekeeping. Most days, I find myself to be totally wiped out by the time I sit down to eat the dinner I have prepared. The days when I am not wiped out are the days when dinner prep was easy. So I’m very determined to stick to easy dinners now that I realize what a difference it makes!

Today I have a really fun recipe to share with you. I first made it about a month ago just on a whim when we had some leftover barbecue pork in the fridge and some potatoes in the pantry that needed to be used. The positive reaction my family had to this foil packet dinner was so positive that I decided to make it again!

kraft foil packet recipe 1

This is a cheesy barbecue potato foil packet, and it’s the perfect recipe for the work-at-home parent because it involves a bit of slow cooking first (but aren’t slow cookers great? They do all the work for you!).

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to put this recipe together:

kraft recipe ingredients

  • One 3-4 lb pork shoulder or pork butt, strings removed
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • 6-8 small/medium red potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, sliced
  • 16 oz. Kraft Natural Shreds mild cheddar (can substitute Kraft Natural block cheese if you prefer)
  • aluminum foil
  • butter
  • water

In the morning, place your pork shoulder in your slow cooker, along with 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce spread on top of the pork. Place the lid on and cook on low for 6 1/2 hours (go longer if your pork cut is larger).

Once the pork has cooked through, remove it from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks. It should shred easily for you! Add the other 1/2 cup of barbeque sauce to the pork, or until it has the amount of sauce you desire it to have.

kraft recipe tutorial 5

Now it’s time to slice your potatoes. You could have sliced them at any point while the pork was cooking just to make more progress on the recipe, but if you do that, you’ll want to soak your potato slices in some water after you are done because potato slices will turn an unfortunate color when they are oxidized for a while. So I just opt to slice my potatoes after the pork is done and once I’m ready to move on to the next step! I have an awesome slicing feature on my food processor, but you can also slice them by hand. I’d make them thicker than a potato chip slice, but still rather thin.

Now it’s time to build your foil packets! It’s fun to make food in a foil packet because kids love it! You can have your own little backyard camp out dinner this way, or you can use your grill to cook these, or you can just keep it simple (which is obviously my preference) and use your oven. If you go the oven route, preheat it to 400 degrees.

Take your aluminum foil and cut a sheet a little over a foot long. Be sure to spritz a little cooking spray on the surface.

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Now add a layer of potatoes and a small amount of green bell peppers on top. Now add 1 small pat of butter on top and 1 tsp of water.

kraft recipe tutorial 2

 

Foil packets will do all the cooking work for you, which is awesome! By creating these little packets, you make a great environment for those potatoes and bell peppers to cook, and the butter and water helps them stay nice and moist. Fold up your packet so that the food is not exposed, first by bringing together to the longer sides and folding over, and then by folding over the ends.

kraft recipe tutorial 1

I created 6 packets with the food I had on hand. You will place these packets in the oven for 20 minutes. I put them on two baking trays so that they would be easier to get out.

Once the potatoes and bell peppers have cooked for 25 minutes, it’s time to add the stars of the show: the meat and cheese! VERY CAREFULLY unwrap your foil packets (steam is going to come out, so please be careful!). Now add the amount of barbecue you desire, followed by the amount of Kraft Natural Shreds you desire.

kraft recipe tutorial 4

Now you simply re-fold your packets and pop them back in the oven for 10 minutes. You can serve these immediately after taking them out of the oven. And the beautiful thing about the foil packets is that they will hold their heat quite well, so if you finish the food but still need some time to set the table or finish up that last homework problem, it’s no big deal at all. The foil packet will wait for you!

kraft natural shreds foil packet recipe 2

Serve the meal right in the packet, which means that clean up is a total cinch! I love this meal because I’m pretty much always too tired to deal with the dishes after cooking, and by having a foil packet meal, there aren’t nearly as many dishes to deal with! Love it!

 

 

Ready to give this recipe a try? Before you head out the door to your nearest Walmart to pick up your ingredients, be sure to print a coupon for $.75 off Kraft Natural Shreds. Saving time AND saving money? Friend you are on fire! Here’s where you can find the Kraft products in the store (and don’t forget to pick up the Kraft Naturals block cheese, too, as it is just the right thing for an after school snack!).

kraft naturals store location

 

I hope this helps you get through the after school sprint to dinner, and maybe even leave you a little energy at the end of the day! Imagine that! 😉

 

 

 

My Favorite All Day Bra: The Body Caress from Vanity Fair

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Influence Central for Vanity Fair. I received product samples to facilitate my review and compensation to thank me for my participation. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Can you relate to that amazing feeling you get when you find a GREAT bra? Most people have had that experience at least once, and it is bliss.

It’s also usually frustrating because you might have only bought one of that particular bra, and so you find yourself constantly searching for it in the clean laundry pile (or being bummed out when you find it in the dirty laundry pile).

Friends I’ve been doing a lot of digging through my laundry in the past month because I am totally in love with the Body Caress bra from Vanity Fair.

I tried on this bra for the first time at Macy’s Herald Square in NYC (missed the news about that visit? Check it out here!). It was definitely love at first wear, so I bought the bra in the underwire version as well as the wirefree version. My wirefree Body Caress is in this totally striking color that is new for fall called Orleans Blue. Here’s a peek at that beautiful shade!

vanity fair body caress 1

As a woman with a larger chest size, I’m tickled to have a wirefree bra! For me, though, this bra is one that I will wear on a work day at home (I work from home, remember?) but for heading out of the house, I feel a bit more confident and comfortable with the support offered by the Body Caress with underwire. I highly encourage you to try out both styles to see which one might work best for you!

So here’s the bra that I will be buying 2 (ok, 4) more of later this fall:

vanity fair body caress 2

This particular bra (retailing for $40 but currently on sale for $30) can come with or without the lace detailing, but I thought it was absolutely gorgeous, and I can tell you from experience that it does not show through your shirts, so no worries about that! It just adds such an elegant, feminine touch that I really love!

vanity fair body caress 3

The Body Caress is designed to be what I would call a “workhorse” bra: meant for every day, and for many different occasions, as the straps have the capability to convert to a criss cross design or a halter. I love that I can still reach for my favorite bra even when my attire might require something a bit more specialized from my undergarments! :-)

vanity fair body caress 4

 

I’m 35 now, and I’ve had 2 kids. The bras I was wearing in college would never cut it for me in this season of life. I need a bra that can truly offer good support all day (because just like the saying goes…the years are short but the days are long!), and I also need it to be comfortable so that I don’t give up and just take it off at 3:30 in the afternoon (been there, done that about 1,000 times!). This is my all day bra. I’m comfortable and it looks great on me. 

When I met with the representatives of Vanity Fair last month in New York, one of the things that really stood out to me is that this brand is listening to the women who wear their products. Every single detail on every single bra they offer is there with intention: from the cut to the colors to the special features, Vanity Fair products are designed to help women feel beautiful and also get on with their day without having to think about their undergarments after putting them on in the morning. THANK YOU, Vanity Fair!

I can’t wait to do more shopping for some great new colors that Vanity Fair is launching this fall (they take their inspirations straight from the runways so that your bras and underwear on on point in terms of their beautiful shades!). If you are new to this brand, they have an extensive assortment of sizing, ranging from 34-44 and cup sizes B-DDD. Find the best Vanity Fair bra for your needs at Macy’s, Kohl’s, JCPENNY and Sears.

Baby Shower Theme Ideas for Second or Third Baby

Thanks to Tastefully Simple for providing product samples. All thoughts and opinions are my own, as always. 

I’m curious: if you have more than one child, did you have a baby shower for the second (and beyond) child? Traditionally, the sentiment has been that you only get a shower for your first baby. Can we all just agree that this is a tired notion? Every child deserves to be celebrated, and every expecting mama could use some help getting ready for baby. And not all help has to take the form of a new receiving blanket or a car seat, either, which is why I think baby showers for subsequent children can be more practical (but still very fun!).

Baby Shower Theme Idea: Stocking the Kitchen

I didn’t have a shower for my second child (I was still fairly new to this city and didn’t know many people, so that wasn’t a shocker for me) but if someone would have offered to throw one, this is what I would “registered” for: freeze ahead meals and easy recipes! 

I would have been tickled beyond belief to have received meals that were ready to be heated up, for sure! When you are adjusting to life with two little ones (or three, or four, etc.) you are having to find a whole new rhythm. You might not need a pack-n-play, but if dinner could just be figured out for you, that would be amazing, am I right?!

I would also love to give this gift to an expecting mama because I know it would take some stress off of her while she is dealing with a newborn and also still dealing with the other kid(s). I can’t be too sure about a new mom needing ANOTHER pack of 0-3 month onesies, but I can feel 100% sure that she can use a meal!

If you are thinking about planning this type of event for a friend, be sure to ask if there are any food allergies in her family to keep in mind, or if there are any very strong likes or dislikes. Then simply invite attendees to bring their favorite freeze-ahead meal as a gift, or if they prefer not to cook anything, to consider bringing along some great supplies for the pantry.

baby shower theme idea for second baby

Tastefully Simple is a fantastic resource for food items that can really help bring out a lot of flavor and fun to what might be otherwise another ordinary dish. For example, they offer an array of seasonings that can be used put together really great food on the fly. In fact, their website has a HUGE collection of recipes that you can create with their products. It would be such a great idea to buy some of these items, and include one or two recipes to go along with each item to help the mom get started. Here are some great products you can find at Tastefully Simple, along with a recipe idea to put it to use!

I remember having many, MANY instances where that new mommy brain fog made it seem like the most impossible thing on earth to figure out what we should be eating for dinner. If I had a stack of recipes on hand and key ingredients needed to pull them off, that would have made a big difference and we would have eaten much less takeout during those first few months as a family of four.

tastefully simple 2

What do you think about a baby shower idea that is more focused on practical needs for the family? I’d love to hear your thoughts, as well as any other ideas you might have for ways to celebrate a new little one hitting the scene!

 

Surprize by Stride Rite: Great New Shoes Exclusive to Target!

This post brought to you by Stride Rite. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Stuff Parents Need.

Last week I was feeling pretty darn good about how the first week of school went for my kiddos. I managed to make all the mandatory meetings, get all the school supplies handed over (AND labeled…42 individually labeled items, people…) and get everyone to school on time with brushed teeth and hair and presentable clothing. But on Friday a note was sent home telling me that Layah needed a spare pair of shoes in her cubby.

This is the point at which I realized that the only spare pair of shoes this poor second child owns are flip flops, which won’t cut it. Then I took a look at the shoes she was wearing daily. They are Stride Rites and they have held up reasonably well considering the fact that they have been through 2 girls who have worn them constantly as long as they fit, but they were definitely looking well-loved.

So…maybe those needed to become the spare pair and we needed to go get some new Stride Rites for Miss Layah! But would that mean braving the mall on a Saturday? blergh…….

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Except, NO! Stride Rite now has an exclusive line at Target called Surprize by Stride Rite. Have you seen it?!?!

 photo surprize by stride rite 1_zps9zmtownl.jpg

You don’t ever have to twist my arm to get me in a Target (not even on a Saturday! Bring. It. On.). Layah loved the selection of Surprize by Stride Rite shoes, and decided she wanted to try on the cute purple pair.

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 Surprize shoes have the following great attributes: 

  • Comfort – These shoes have a generous fit and all memory foam footbeds, ensuring great comfort for your kids
  • Fit – The shoes have very flexible outsoles allowing for an agile, natural step and growth
  • Durability – The rubber toes ensure durability

So basically, this is everything you would expect from the Stride Rite brand! Every pair I saw was priced under $30, too!

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 Layah was so proud of her new shoes that she agreed to do a fun photo shoot with me when we got home (something that typically makes her grumpy). But she was all smiles in her fabulous new purple outfit, and I can’t say that I blame her, as getting new shoes that are cute AND comfortable is a major score. 

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So while I had to wipe that smug grin off my face from when I mistakenly thought I had nailed the first week of school (a point that was further highlighted when I rolled up to school yesterday to pick up my child without a car seat and had to borrow one to get back home), in the end it all worked out because I learned about one of my very favorite brands of shoes now having a line at one of my very favorite stores. And now you know, too! Be sure to check out Surprize for girls or Surprize for boys, with sizes going up to 12.

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Not planning a trip to Target soon (What’s that like, first of all?)? No, worries, because you can Shop Surprize by Stride Rite at Target.com! And you can follow Stride Rite on their social media channels for more info, too!

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