It’s National Safe Place Week!

 

National Safe Place Week

 

Did you know it’s National Safe Place Week?  Since before the Village People first sang of the wonders of the YMCA way back in the 1970’s, that organization was changing lives around the country. One of their more recent additions is the Safe Place program, and it is changing far more lives (and for the better) than disco ever dreamed! While the Safe Place initiative was born from the YMCA in Louisville, Kentucky, it has erupted from sea to shining sea and boasts thousands of locations in virtually every state in the country.

The designated Safe Place sites are marked by a bright yellow and black diamond shaped sign or sticker that features the silhouette of a house (or an adult hugging a child in the older signs) and marks a location where youth in crisis can go in and find caring and trained adults who will provide them with a safe place while specially-trained and highly qualified staff are summoned to assist the youth. Whether the young person is running away, already homeless, is or has been abused, or even is just overly stressed and worried about their life or their life at home, the Safe Place is the location for youth to begin their journey to stability and a happier, healthier life.

Although the Safe Place will summon trained youth workers to the site, the youth in crisis still calls the shots. Neither the workers at the designated Safe Place, nor the responding workers from the agency sponsoring the program will force any help that the youth does not wish to accept – and the youth is always free to change their mind and leave at any time. If the student and the counselor agree that the youth would benefit from additional services, the youth is given a ride to the area Safe House where there is a warm bed, nutritious meals, and lots more help. The goal is always to get the youth from a point of crisis, to an assurance of safety.

Agencies work with the youth once they have been checked in to the Safe House and the youth participates in planning his or her own goals, with the end goal being the safe re-unification of the family unit whenever possible. We encourage youth and their caregivers to engage with professionals at the location in support of a reunification plan, but although the youth is permitted to stay at the Safe House for up to a month or more, they are never obliged to remain at the location if they wish to go.

March 15-21 marks National Safe Place Week across the country, so be on the lookout for the yellow and black signs – then go in and thank the workers and managers for caring enough to support the most vulnerable members of our community. If you are a youth who needs help, you can text the word “SAFE” with your current address (address/city/state) to 69866 to receive the location nearest to you!

Chem-Dry Makes Spring Cleaning Your Carpets a (Healthy) Breeze

* I received a free sample of Chem-Dry Cleaning Products in exchange for my honest review, but all opinions are my own.

 

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Do you have mess makers in your home?  We sure do – between my two kids, two dogs, and a ferret, our carpets, frankly, don’t stand a chance.  I try to use organic products when possible, but sometimes a mess gets  made (usually by one of the dogs) that needs some awesome cleaning power.  However, everyone in my house is an allergy sufferer, and my youngest daughter has pretty severe asthma – she is on two inhalers and asthma medication every day.  So it’s really important to me to have a healthy home that isn’t going to irritate my daughter’s (and the rest of the household) allergies.

I had a chance to try out three different Chem-Dry cleaning products:  Carpet Stain Extinguisher Spot Remover, Grease & Oil Stain Extinguisher & Carpet Deodorizer (Lemon Scent).

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Unfortunately, I had an opportunity to do some extensive testing of the Chem-Dry Carpet Stain Extinguisher Spot Remover.  My oldest dog got an upset belly while we were at work at left several “presents” on the living room run (although this really isn’t like her).  This was a DISGUSTING stain.  The Spot Remover was so easy to use, and it worked AMAZINGLY well.  I just sprayed it on and let it sit for about 30 seconds, and then blotted the stain up with a clean cloth.  Stain GONE – no kidding – one application and the stain was out.  Not only does it have professional strength carbonated cleaning solution, it is green-certified and contains no harsh solvents, detergent, and bleaches, so it’s safe for both my girls and my pets.  Also, it doesn’t leave behind any dirt-attracting residue like other spot cleaners.  I’m a HUGE new fan.  I followed up with the Chem-Dry Carpet Deodorizer that left the whole room with a light citrus scent.  So if you’re looking to add a great carpet cleaner to your spring cleaning arsenal, I highly recommend Chem-Dry!

As you start Spring Cleaning this year, you have a chance to make it a whole lot sweeter!  Make sure to stop by and enter Chem-Dry’s spring cleaning contest with a grand prize of $500 in cleaning products.

What is your LEAST favorite part of spring cleaning?

 

Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer + FLASH Giveaway


* Disclaimer:  I received a free sample of the Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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I love, love, love pasta.  However, pasta does not love me and definitely does not fit into my diet!  It can be hard to substitute healthy things when you aren’t used to it, but the Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer makes it super easy to substitute pasta with healthy spiral veggies.  This helps you meet those daily requirements of veggies while keeping out carbs.

There are lots of spiralizers on the market – many of them are super clunky and big, and I don’t know about you, but my counter space is precious!  There are also lots of smaller spiralizers that are like pencil sharpeners, but these don’t have a lot of cutting options and they waste a lot of your vegetables or won’t even work at all for large vegetables.  They can also be brutal to clean!

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The Brieftons NextGen sprializer solves these problems – the innovative cap design allows for a deeper reach and firmer grab on veggies with 50% less wastage. It also accommodates vegs up to 6.5 CM in diameter, compared to 4 – 4.5 CM in competing products. It also features a longer blade (7 CM). This results in a longer cutting surface & shorter time to spiralize vegs.

The other great thing is that it is easy to store and comes with removable blades so it is easy to clean.  If you are looking to add a spiralizer to your kitchen, I highly recommend the Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer!

And, one lucky Mama Games reader has a chance to win a Brieftons NextGen Spiralizer in this FLASH GIVEAWAY!

You must enter before 2 pm on 3/5/15, and you MUST respond within 1 hour of notification or a new winner will be chosen!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Purex Powershot with Auto Dosing Technology + Giveaway

* Disclaimer: The Purex brand provided me with a sample of Purex Powershot detergent in exchange for a product review. All opinions are my own.

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Do you have kids that like to help with the laundry?  Do you have kids that like to help with the laundry for extra money??  I know I do!  One of the concerns that I have with my kids helping with the laundry is that they can easily dump out wayyyy to much detergent and make a HUGE mess.  Well, the new Purex Powershot with Auto Dosing Technology has SOLVED that problem with a new easy measure liquid detergent!  You will never have a laundry mess again!  But instead of telling you how easy it is to use, I’ll let my daughter show you!

 

Looks easy, doesn’t it!  That’s because it is!  This is a great easy measure liquid detergent, and most important, it leaves your clothes clean and smelling great.  The Auto Dosing is really easy.  You just turn the bottle upside down, pour until it stops, and then latch the lid!  There is no fuss, no mess, and NO measuring.  You get the perfect dose every time – and if you have an extra dirty load, you just put in two doses.  Easy peasy!   The bottle automatically refills for your next load.

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Purex Powershot is also an excellent value and much more cost effective that higher priced detergents.  Give the Purex Powershot with Auto Dosing Technology a try – you won’t be disappointed!

AND, three lucky winners will have a chance to try Purex Powershot for themselves.  Enter below to win a coupon for a free bottle of Purex Powershot with Auto Dosing Technology!  Enter below to win!
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An Instant Read Thermometer Makes Meat Safer


* Disclaimer:  I received a sample product in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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Do you use instant read thermometers when you cook? If you are like many cooks,  you probably don’t.  One study showed that only 46% of people who responded to a survey said that they never use a thermometer for chicken, and 66% never use one when cooking hamburgers.  Using a digital thermometer when cooking is super important.  Food can come to you contaminated with all sorts of icky organisms like salmondella, E. coli, or listeria. And if you don’t properly cook your food to the right temperature, these pathogens can make you and your family sick.

You may wonder what temperature is safe to cook your food – the instant read digital thermometer that I had a chance to try came with a handy chart for reference for all types of meat, which was one of my favorite features.

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Safe temperatures vary by what meat you are eating – for example, chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees, and hamburgers should be cooked until at least 160 degrees.  The instant digital thermometer that I tried out was super easy to use – it goes into the thickest cuts of meats and provides an extremely quick read.  I used it to test some chicken sausages that I was cooking for my girls’ lunch.

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As you can see, the numbers are really easy to read.  One thing I really love about this instant read thermometer is that the buttons don’t have cracks around them – so food can’t creep into the crevices.  It is so hard to clean when this happens.  Speaking of cleaning, this thermometer is super easy to wipe down and sanitize, which is a huge plus.

So if you’re looking to add an instant read food thermometer to your kitchen supplies, I highly recommend the one that I tried out!

Buy an Instant Read Thermometer

Buy an Instant Read Thermometer on Amazon for only $19.99

100% Plant Based Konjac Sponge Infused with French Green Clay {Product Review}

* I received a free sample of the Konjac Sponge Infused with French Green Clay in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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The 100% Plant Based Konjac Sponge Infused with French Green Clay is 100% NATURAL, ECO-FRIENDLY and BIODEGRADEABLE, and is a great beauty sponge to add to your beauty regime.

As I have aged, my skin hasn’t exactly improved.  I’m actually more prone to having bouts of acne and blackheads than I did as a teenager.  Not to mention some of the anti-aging products can make my pores feel clogged after a bit.  An exfoliation routine is super important for me, but many of the products with chemical exfoliators are too harsh for my super sensitive skin – so I often have a bit of a dilemma on my hands!

This beauty sponge contains Konjac fiber, which is is grown on the pristine volcanic plains of Jeju Island in South Korea, free from chemicals, pollution and irritants.

When you open the sponge and get it wet, it soaks the water right up and just about doubles in size – it starts out quite hard.  However, once it is wet it is very soft and glides over your skin.  It gently exfoliates, cleanses, and is naturally pH balanced.  This is the perfect exfoliator for me – it is soft but still exfoliates – and the price can’t be beat, unlike expensive electronic gadgets.  

My favorite feature of the Konjac sponge is its shape – the tear drop is PERFECT for getting into the blackhead ridden creases around my nose! And the other best part is that the sponge is:

-Free From Chemicals, Pollution and Irritants

-100% Biodegradable and Sustainable (You can even plant it in your flowerbed or compost when you want to retire it)

-Not Tested on Animals, and Vegan Friendly

-Has NO Added Dyes or Colorants

PERFECT!  I am always trying to add more natural products into my routine, and the 100% Plant Based Konjac Sponge Infused with French Green Clay definitely fits the bill!

You can purchase the 100% Plant Based Konjac Sponge Infused with French Green Clay  on Amazon for only $10!

Fried & True Takes Fried Chicken to a Whole New Level!

*Disclaimer:  I received Fried & True from Blogging for Books for this review.  All opinions are my own.

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About Fried & True

Whether you prefer it cold out of the fridge or hot and crispy on a buttery biscuit, you will find your new favorite fried chicken recipe in Fried & True, serving up more than 50 recipes for America’s most decadently delicious food.

Lee Schrager has left no stone unturned in his quest to find America’s best fried chicken. From four-star restaurants to roadside fry shacks, you’ll learn how to brine your bird, give it a buttermilk bath, batter or even double batter it, season with loads of spices, and fry it up to golden perfection. Recipes to savor include:

–Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
–Yotam Ottolenghi’s Seeded Chicken Schnitzel with Parsley-Caper Mayonnaise
–Marcus Samuelsson’s Coconut Fried Chicken with Collards and Gravy
–Jacques-Imo’s Fried Chicken and Smothered Cabbage
–The Loveless Café’s Fried Chicken and Hash Brown Casserole
–Blackberry Farm’s Sweet Tea–Brined Fried Chicken
–Charles Phan’s Hard Water Fried Chicken
–Thomas Keller’s Buttermilk Fried Chicken
–Wylie Dufresne’s Popeyes-Style Chicken Tenders and Biscuits

Sink your teeth into Fried & True, the source of your next great fried chicken masterpiece and a tribute to America’s most beloved culinary treasure.

My Review

If you LOVE fried chicken, Fried & True is the cookbook for you!  This is a HUGE compilation of not only awesome fried chicken recipes, but also amazing side dishes that you will find accompanying fried chicken, like buttermilk biscuits, macaroni and cheese, and dirty rice.  You will also find recipes that have an ethic flair, such as Keralan Fried Chicken with Cardamom Waffles and Spicy Maple Syrup.

The book is arranged geographically, with sections on Southern Inspiration (featuring heavy hitters such as Paula Deen), American Originals, and Pacific Rim Flavors.  There are separate sections on Fried Chicken 101 (great for those of you who are frying newbies), as well as a separate sections on “Sandwiches, Wings, Li’l Bits, and Special Diets”. Special diets includes things like “vegetarian” chicken, gluten free, and baked chicken.

I really like this book – because I loved fried chicken.  If fried chicken isn’t your thing, steer clear.  But if you’re looking for a great way to learn and experiment with all the different ways that you can enjoy the yumminess that is fried chicken!

“I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.”

 

Grazia Silicone 24 Cup Mini Muffin Pan {Product Review}


*Disclaimer:  I received a free Grazia Silicone 24 Cup Mini Muffin Pan in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.

While I love to cook, I’m not the greatest baker, but I’m learning!  So I was super excited to try out the Grazia Silicone 24 Cup Mini Muffin Pan!   I have never baked with silicone before, so I was surprised to find that the entire muffin pan was sort of floppy!  Grazia Silicone 24 Cup MINI Muffin Pan is a non-stick food grade silicone muffin cupcake baking pan that is extremely easy to clean, safe to use in the oven, microwave, dishwasher, or freezer. It is heat resistant for up to 450°F.

I was being super lazy the day I reviewed the Mini Muffin Pan, so I just whipped up a quick boxed cupcake mix to make little mini cupcakes. Per the instructions, I put the Mini Muffin Pan inside a harder baking tray to give it some stability.  It would have been too hard to get in the oven otherwise, but there was no problem picking it up gingerly and setting it into the tray.

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I popped the cupcakes into the oven and baked for the recommended time on the box.  So far, the experience had been pretty much like using a regular muffin tin.  But once the cupcakes baked, the difference really sunk in!  The cupcakes cooled SUPER fast.  They were out of the oven maybe 5 minutes and I was able to remove them from the muffin tin and put them on a cooling rack.  This allowed the cupcakes to cool within minutes, so I was able to frost them quickly!  Clean up was also a breeze – I just rinsed it off and threw it in the top rack of the dishwasher and it came out crystal clean!

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I’m a huge fan of the Grazia Silicone 24 Cup Mini Muffin Pan!  You can pick it up on Amazon for only $13.89!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
 

 

 

Scalloped Potatoes Recipe from The Hundred-Foot Journey #FoodieFriday

 

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Do you love to cook??  I do, and I can’t WAIT until Disney’s latest film comes out, because it definitely caters to foodies!  In DreamWorks Pictures’ “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” the opening of a new Indian restaurant in the south of France, next to a famous Michelin starred eatery, is nearly cause for an all-out war between the two establishments until Le Saule Pleureur’s icy proprietress Madame Mallory recognizes her rival’s undeniable brilliance for preparing masterful meals.

 I can’t wait to see Helen Mirren bring on the sass and ice!  And not to mention the amazing fusion food ideas we’re going to get!  Here’s the trailer to whet your appetite!

 

And for those of you who love to cook, check out this awesome recipe for Scalloped Potatoes from The Hundred-Foot Journey & Le Cordon Bleu!  YUMMMM!

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Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan {Product Review}

Disclosure: I got the Ozeri Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan as part of an advertorial.

 

If you follow my blog at all, you know that I LOVE to cook.  You will also know that I love to use organic, healthy products for my family that use natural ingredients and limit the amount of chemicals that we use.  So I was super excited to try out Ozeri’s Green Earth Textured Ceramic Nonstick Frying Pan.

The issue with many nonstick pans is that it contains a yucky chemical called PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene.  This is a synthetic substance that releases toxic fumes when used at high temperatures.  It’s so toxic that it can even kill small pets – and I don’t know about you, but I usually cook at high temperatures!  Many also use another chemical called PFOA, which is classified as a pollutant by the EPA.  For this reason, I actually never owned a nonstick cooking pan before now – I use stainless.

What makes the Ozeri Green Earth Pan so special is that it doesn’t have ANY of those icky chemicals.  It is one of the world’s first frying pans to be free of PTFE, PFOA, and other harmful chemicals.  It utilizes GREBLON ceramic from Germany, that even under high temperatures, releases no harmful toxic fumes into the environment.

 

I can say without a doubt that I LOVE THIS PAN!  It has quickly become our family’s favorite pan.  First of all, you can use less oil because of its excellent non-stick surface, you can use less oil.  Second of all, it is SO easy to clean, and it cleans up SO easily.

My daughter used it to cook pancakes, and they were super easy to flip!

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This pan is amazing!  Pancakes and omelets just slide right over, and I cooked burgers in the pan as well and they seared beautifully and cooked evenly.  Check out my daughter’s beautiful pancakes!

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You can buy the Ozeri Green Earth pan on Amazon!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.