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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays - Kids in the Kitchen

Tasty Tuesdays: Kids in the Kitchen - Edition 1

Well, we've been doing Tasty Tuesdays for a few weeks now and I hope that all the Chester County Moms have been enjoying them! It's always helpful to find new ideas of things to make in the kitchen!

Tasty Tuesdays is now going to be doing a "Kids in the Kitchen" segment once a month. So, in addition to everyday meal ideas, this monthly Tasty Tuesdays theme will showcase extra kid-friendly ideas! Kids in the Kitchen posts will be mainly geared towards recipes and other ideas about the month's holiday (if there happens to be one that month)! So, get the kids together & enjoy!

Here's a fabulously delicious recipe for Easter! These would be great treats to bring to your child's classroom Easter Parties...they're a great alternative to cupcakes!

Mini Easter Cheesecakes
Ingredients:
  • 20 chocolate or vanilla wafer cookies
  • 2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped SNICKERS® Bars
  • 2 cups flaked coconut
  • Green food coloring
  • 2 cups M&M’S® Brand Speckled Chocolate Eggs
  • Mini muffin tin
  • Mini muffin paper liners
Directions:
  • 1. Line muffin pan with paper muffin cups. Place one wafer cookie in the bottom of each cup, set aside.
  • 2. Mix cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla and almond extracts until smooth. Slowly add eggs and sour cream, mix until creamy. Stir in chopped SNICKERS® Bars.
  • 3. Spoon mixture into muffin cups and bake in a preheated 375ºF oven until set, about 25 minutes. Cool completely and refrigerate until ready to serve.
    To serve:
  • 4. Combine coconut with a few drops of food coloring to desired shade of green. Arrange on top of cheesecakes to resemble a nest. Fill nests with M&M’S® Brand Speckled Chocolate Eggs. Serve at room temperature.

For this & other great recipes, visit Bright Ideas.

Happy Spring!

Do you have a fun kid-friendly Easter recipe or idea you'd like to share? Leave us a comment and tell us all about it!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sane Fit Preggers - Give Away

SANE FITNESS Preggers was not invented by a fitness guru who preaches endless hours in the gym and a diet consisting of no sugar, no carbohydrates and basically…no fun! Instead SANE FITNESS Preggers was invented by a wife, mother and business woman for women just like her, who never seem to have enough hours in the day. Beverley Caen is the perfect example of an overextended working mother and wife who has found a way to make fitness and healthy eating a part of her everyday life; especially when pregnant. With a little help from prenatally certified fitness expert John Cruz, this Wall Street career woman and mother of three has developed an exercise program that is safe and easy to follow, for pregnant women that want to continue exercising throughout their pregnancy. Once you are given the ok by your own obstetrician to exercise, Preggers is a complete program that begins in your 2nd trimester-- the stage in your pregnancy when your body starts to really change.

SANE FITNESS -Preggers Deck is the perfect little gift for yourself, your pregnant sister, daughter or friend, SANE FITNESS Preggers offers expecting women a sane way to stay healthy and active during this very special and exhausting time. The Preggers Deck contains 24 weeks of full-body workouts that you can do at the gym or at home with minimal equipment. The card set is enough to get you through your entire pregnancy. The contents of the box include 72 cards, an instructional brochure and a ring with a stylish lanyard, for conveniently transporting the card set around town. The suggested retail price of the SANE FITNESS Preggers is $24.95 and is available for sale by calling 1-800-429-5001 or at http://www.sanefit.com/.


So with all of that said.... we are really excited to offer a SANE FITNESS - Preggers Deck to one lucky Chester County Mom. To enter to win this awesome giveaway, simply leave a comment along with your email or blog link. We are adding a fun little twist to this contest. Your friends and family can enter the contest for you. So increase your chance to win and email everyone you know and ask them to visit www.chestercountymoms.com and leave a comment along with your first name & email. The winner of this contest will be announced on April 3rd. The winner of this contest must be a Chester County resident and will be notified via email . The winner has 10 days to respond to the "You won" email and claim their prize. Good Luck!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Twitter 411...

Twitter is all over the news. So we thought we would try and explain what all the buzz is about.

Twitter is the fastest growing social network in the United States, and not just among social media strategists and techie types. Moms, baby boomers and even celebrities (Ellen - Holla!) are contributing to the growth in record numbers too. And, as Twitter grows, so does the wealth of applications and tools you can use to help you search and communicate on Twitter:

Knowing how many times someone tweets about a brand or topic has value, but knowing whether those tweets are positive or negative proves much more important. One of the more sophisticated Twitter search tools to come out in the past three months is Twendz. Twendz allows you to search for a keyword, whether a topic or a brand, and see the breakdown of sentiment. Learn more at Twendz.com.

Tweet Scan is a Twitter search engine that works in real-time. It provides a searchable index of all of the public messages on Twitter, so you can find conversations, people, and tweets relevant to you. The best part is that Tweet Scan lets you filter by keyword, author, and date and you can get the results via email. Learn more at TweetScan.com.

So.. still not sure if Twitter is for you? With Twitter, you can stay hyper–connected to your friends and always know what they’re doing. Or, you can stop following them any time. You can even set quiet times on Twitter so you’re not interrupted. Twitter puts you in control and becomes a modern antidote to information overload.

Twitter Button from twitbuttons.com

Follow Us on Twitter: ChescoMoms

Saturday, March 28, 2009

What will you be doing tonight at 8:30pm? We're wondering what you have planned for Earth Hour 2009. If you'd like to share your plans with other moms in Chester County, please leave a comment or send us an email to sarah@chestercountymoms.com. Don't forget to include your first name and what town you live in. (Example - Sarah, West Chester)


VOTE EARTH

Friday, March 27, 2009

Calling all bakers!

At the 43rd Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest in 2008, Carolyn Gurtz walked away with the million-dollar grand prize for her Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies!

This wife, mother and grandmother with a passion for baking was introduced to cooking at age seven and she hasn't stopped since then. One contest judge stated that Carolyn's recipe was "a new twist on an old classic." Other judges called out its simplicity and approachability and described it as a delightful taste that combines two classic cookies - a snickerdoodle and a peanut butter cookie.


Anna Ginsberg, a stay-at-home mom who you might know from her blog, Cookie Madness, earned the $1 million prize for her Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing in the 42nd Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. At the 2004 competition, the 41st Contest, former librarian wrote her own page in history by capturing the top prize with her Oats 'n Honey Granola Pie recipe. Inspired by pecan pie, Conrad adapted a family-favorite pie and caught the judges' attention with its wonderful flavor and simple preparation.

All it takes is one easy and delicious recipe idea, so it's time to get creative in the kitchen for a chance at a million! One hundred finalists will win a trip to the finals, April 11 - 13, 2010, at the Waldorf-Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek hotel in Florida. Pillsbury is looking for original recipes that taste and look delicious, are easy to prepare and that families across America will love to eat. There are four recipe categories - Breakfast & Brunches, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner Made Easy and Sweet Treats. Yum!


Entries are being accepted online between now and April 20th, 2009, at http://www.bakeoff.com/. You'll also find contest details, including eligible products, prizes and the official rules, at the web site.

Earth Hour 2009, Saturday, March 28th at 8:30PM

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Celebrate Spring...and WIN!!! {Giveaway}

There's nothing like a shameless plug. But...the best part about this is that it includes a giveaway! And who doesn't like a giveaway, right?!

Well...it's officially Spring! It's a time of renewal and rejuvenation. And I can't think of a better way to celebrate that than with a giveaway!

So here's what's up for grabs...It's a 5 piece hair clip set called "Garden Party" from Lil Boo & Co. valued at $15.00!
Lil Boo & Co. is owned by a Chester County Mom

Click HERE for your chance to enter and win!!!

Sun & Earth Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to Erika and ahillestad, the winners of our Sun & Earth goodie bag giveaway! We hope you enjoy using all of the fantastic Sun & Earth cleaning products that are coming your way!

Mark your calendars for our Earth Day week of green giveaways! You won't want to miss it!

And the winner is...

Local middle school students participated in Chester County's 2009 Youth Essay Competition and we are happy to announce that, YingYing Shang, a student at Fugett Middle School is the winner of Chester County’s 2009 Youth Essay Competition. YingYing presented her essay, "Jeanne's Cigarette", on 3/5/09 at the Chester County Book & Music Company, along with 15 fellow finalists in support of National Kick Butts Day.

Congratulations, YingYing, on winning the essay competition and to all of the other kids that participated... you all Kick Butts!!!!

1st place: YingYing Shang, Fugett Middle School, "Jeanne's Cigarette"
2nd place (TIE): Hope Corry, Great Valley Middle School, "In Memory Of Mom" AND Devonne Moore, Phoenixville Area Middle School, "A Smokey Story"
3rd place: Emory Saia, Great Valley Middle School, "Guardian Angel"
4th place: Jack Halliday, Great Valley Middle School, "The Day My Life Changed"
5th place: Meaghan Young, Lionville Middle School, "Big Tobacco Shouldn't Be Big"

Caitlyn Burruss, Great Valley Middle School
Danielle Autieri, Saint Joseph School
Ellie Delany, Phoenixville Area Middle School
Hannah Weisman, Charles F. Patton Middle School
Justin Herget, Great Valley Middle School
Kenneth Ramondo, Great Valley Middle School
Olivia Warrington, Fred S. Engle Middle School
Paige Rodgers, Great Valley Middle School
Peggy Findeison, Saint Joseph School
Will Miller, Phoenixville Area Middle School

Chester County’s 2009 Youth Essay Competition - Winning Essay

Jeanne’s Cigarette
by
YingYing Shang
Fugett Middle School

Jeanne always smoked. Her house smelled perpetually like cigarettes. The short stick in her hand never seemed to disappear; that puff of smoke always surrounded her in a sort of cloudy haze.

Jeanne died last April, of a heart attack. Who exactly was she? My babysitter, my neighbor, but also, and most importantly, my friend. Portland, Maine is scenic, picturesque, but when that chill, New England breeze blows, it seems rather cold and deserted. Jeanne was the opposite – warm and friendly. When my parents looked for a babysitter, she volunteered. She had that Maine lilt to her talk and frequently lauded me as “brilliant” because I had skipped a grade. Her greetings were always curt, and she never placed much on formalities.

A glass of milk, an apple, a pear. Some sign that the immense world out there would accept me. Those were the things Jeanne provided. That unmovable faith in me. As a rather ostracized fourth grader without many friends, Jeanne gave me the reassurance that every kid needs. She had a large family, and quickly pulled me into it. For my ninth birthday, she baked a cake, and invited her granddaughter who was my age. Those little things that show qualities like kindness, compassion, concern.

Even when I moved to Pennsylvania, she was one of the few people that still kept in contact with me. She still sent presents every holiday, every birthday. I’ve moved so many places, and it was such a rarity to find someone who actually cared about me no matter where I was. Every Christmas, that big box that always came represented someone out there who genuinely cared.
A heart attack was what killed her. More specifically, smoking is what killed her. Even when talking to someone, even when holding a lengthy conversation, she never snuffed out the cigarette. Packs and packs of cigarettes over time had harmed her health, and that showed in her persistent cough. After a couple of months of staying at her house everyday after school, I picked it up too. Only in retrospect did I realize what I was doing: secondhand smoking. I had asthma and bronchitis for two years because of that. If that is what it did to me, three hours a day, for five days a week, then what did it do to her?

She wasn’t even that old – in her early sixties. If it hadn’t been for her nasty habit, who knows how many years it would have added to her life?

Jeanne was my friend. An old friend. A real friend. But when I close my eyes and envision her once more, here’s how I see her:

Sitting at her dining room table, with the shades pulled down halfway. Eyes half closed. On the table is a pack of cigarettes. In her hand is that short stick, with that wisp of smoke trailing off into the air.

Jeanne died last April. Smoking.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sweet Princess Sing Alongs


Once upon a time there was a girl that loved to sing. She would sing for anyone, anywhere, and at any time! As a child she loved to sing beautiful songs from her favorite princess movies and entertain her family and friends. As she grew older her love for singing continued, as well as her love for princesses! She noticed that many children in her community shared her love of music and princesses and she decided to find a way to bring her two favorite things together. She began to entertain as a princess at children's parties through lovely SingAlongs to make others happy! This is how Sweet Princess SingAlongs came to be and all of the children who have experienced this sweet treat have lived happily ever after!

Give your child the royal treatment by hiring their favorite princess character for your next party! With a variety of packages available, you are sure to find something to suit your needs. This magical experience will bring your child's dreams to life and is the perfect way to make their birthday party the most memorable it can be!

Information including party packages, samples and testimonials can be found by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays

This week's Tasty Tuesdays is: Pasta!

Everyone loves pasta, right?! It's definitely the "go to" meal in our house. We love pasta. The best part about pasta dishes is that they are so versatile. It doesn't just have to be thin spaghetti noodles and red sauce...there's so many options! Here's one of my favorite pasta dishes...I discovered the recipe in Kraft Foods magazine a few years ago...it's so yummy!

Creamy Bow-Tie Pasta with Chicken & Broccoli
What you'll need:
3 cups (8 oz.) farfalle (bow-tie pasta), uncooked
4 cups broccoli florets
3 Tbsp. KRAFT Roasted Red Pepper Italian with Parmesan Dressing
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups tomato-basil spaghetti sauce
4 oz. (1/2 of 8-oz. pkg.) PHILADELPHIA 1/3 Less Fat Cream Cheese, cubed
1/4 cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

How to Make It:

COOK pasta as directed on package, adding broccoli to the cooking water for the last 3 min. of the pasta cooking time. Meanwhile, heat dressing in large nonstick skillet on medium heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook 5 min. Turn chicken over; continue cooking 4 to 5 min. or until chicken is cooked through (170ºF).

DRAIN pasta mixture in colander; return to pan and set aside. Add spaghetti sauce and cream cheese to chicken in skillet; cook on medium-low heat 2 to 3 min. or until cream cheese is completely melted, mixture is well blended and chicken is coated with sauce, stirring occasionally. Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm. Add sauce mixture to pasta mixture; mix well. Transfer to six serving bowls.

CUT chicken crosswise into thick slices; fan out chicken over pasta mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese.


For more pasta recipes and other great dishes, go to Kraft Foods. You can even access the Kraft Foods Magazine for free...click here to see what recipes were scrumptious enough to include in their quarterly publication!

Do you have a favorite pasta dish that you'd like to share? Leave a comment on this post with the link to your "go to" pasta dish!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sun & Earth GIVEAWAY!!!

Last week, The Chester County Moms Blog was invited to the Sun & Earth offices in King of Prussia, PA to meet with their AWESOME team and get a very fun, kid-oriented tour of the plant where they manufacture all of their safe, natural, non-toxic cleaning products. Our kids even got to decorate their own bottles of Sun & Earth All Purpose Spray Cleaner and watch their bottles go down the filling line!

Sun & Earth is serious about the environment! After many years of watching advertisements claiming that petro-chemicals with mysterious names were the best way to clean house, Sun & Earth set out to prove that non-toxic cleaners can clean as well or better than more well-known national brands. They knew people wanted products made with non-toxic ingredients that didn't sacrifice performance. After extensive research, they developed cleaners that clean and shine beautifully and have an appealing fresh citrus scent. Their cleaning agents are from plant, fruit and vegetable oils that are non-toxic to your family and safe for the Earth.

Not only are their products environmentally friendly and safe for our families as well as incomparably effective, but Sun & Earth is a local company. By purchasing their fantastic range of products, you are getting all of the benefits of supporting a local business AND further helping the earth by not buying products that had to be shipped from great distances just to reach you. You can find Sun & Earth products locally at area Giant and Acme markets. You can also purchase Sun & Earth products directly from their website! Don't have Sun & Earth products in your local market??? Request it by name!

We'd love for you to give Sun & Earth products a try... we KNOW you won't be disappointed. In fact, we have an awesome Sun & Earth goodie bag to give away to 2 lucky Chester county Moms Blog readers! This bag is stuffed with full-size bottles of many of Sun & Earth's best selling products, including:

Sun & Earth All Purpose Spray Cleaner

Sun & Earth 2X Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Sun & Earth Ultra Fabric Softener

"New" Sun& Earth Xtra Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid

Sun & Earth Liquid Hand Soap

Sun & Earth Dishwasher Detergent Pacs

Sun & Earth On the Spot! Instant Stain Remover

And, all of this comes in a fantastic reusable, foldable Sun & Earth Bag!

**These giveaway bags are valued at over $45, folks! Don't miss out on a chance to win these fantastic cleaning products. All you need to do is leave us a comment in this post telling us your favorite Sun & Earth product. If you haven't tried them out yet, take a peek at their website, and tell us what product you'd most like to try first! Make sure your entry has your email address included, please!

This giveaway will close on Tuesday, March 24th at Midnight. The 2 lucky winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 25th. This contest is open to Chester County residents only. One entry per person. All duplicate entries will be deleted. And, again, please remember to include your email in your post!**

Good luck and safe cleaning!

Children’s Consignment Sale benefiting St Matthew's Lutheran Church
Saturday, March 21, 2009
8:00am -1:00pm
* * * 50% Off Sale starts at 11:00 * * *
St Matthew’s Lutheran Church
2440 Conestoga Road
(on Route 401 east of Route 100)
Chester Springs
610-458-2044

Gently worn top quality spring/summer children’s clothing from size newborn to size 12.
Gently used games, puzzles and toys including outdoor play toys, ride-ons and bikes
CD’s, DVD’s, videos, books, baby equipment, strollers, and maternity
You may pay with either cash or check. Checks may be made payable to St Matthew School’s. All sales are final.
Over 50 sellers are consigning a large selection of gently used children’s clothes, toys, books and large equipment, including maternity, baby equipment and outerwear
Snow, sleet or hail.
An event not to be missed!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

rita's Welcomes Spring!

For the past 16 years, Rita's has been giving away a free, regular size Italian Ice to each and every guest to mark the first day of spring! This is a sweet date for Italian Ice lovers, as each year, hundreds of thousands of our guests visit Rita's in search of the first taste of spring.
A Philadelphia-born springtime tradition, the 17th annual Rita's giveaway will be held on Friday, March 20, 2009 from noon to 10 p.m. at participating Rita's locations.

Click here for more information or to lacate a Rita's near you.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Free Offers from Juicy Juice

Join JuicyJuice.com and they'll send you a FREE sippy cup! Click HERE to sign up.

Plus, Juicy Juice also offers money saving coupons for your favorite Juicy Juice products & ways to earn free Wild Animal Baby dish sets from their partners.

Tasty Tuesdays

This week's Tasty Tuesdays is totally indulgent. There's no arguing that!

I hope you'll all take a second or two to leave a comment with a link to your favorite themed recipes this week!

This week's Tasty Tuesdays is...

Tasty Tuesdays: Cupcakes Galore!I can't think of too many things that evoke total indulgent pleasure than sinking my teeth into a scrumptious cupcake...and the more delectable frosting...the better! Cupcakes are just one of those things that bring you back to your childhood...make you reminisce the pure joy of innocence! Oh...and they're just stinking good too! Since cupcakes are enjoyed by adults and children alike - and everyone in between and beyond for that matter - I thought it was a perfect theme for this week's Tasty Tuesdays!

Here's a yummy recipe for Shamrock Cupcakes - perfect for today!

Shamrock Mint Cupcakes
Ingredients:
1 box chocolate fudge cake mix with pudding
water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on the cake box
1 cup creme de menthe or mint baking chips (from 10 oz bag)
I container fluffy white whipped frosting
24 large green gumdrops

Directions:
Heat oven to 350°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 24 regular-size muffin cups. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds; beat on medium speed 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in baking chips. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups, filling each 3/4 full.

Bake 21 to 26 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Stir peppermint extract into frosting until well blended; spread on cupcakes. To garnish each cupcake, cut 1 gumdrop into 4 slices. Place 3 rounds on cupcake to make shamrock leaves; press remaining round into thin strip and place below leaves for stem.

Enjoy!
I hope everyone has a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!


If you're not sure what Tasty Tuesdays is all about, click HERE.

If you're wanting some more fun GREEN recipes in honor of today's holiday, click HERE for last week's post.

Your cupcake recipes do not have to be St. Patrick's Day themed...let's get a variety!! Go on...share you're scrumptious recipes!

Recipe courtesy of Pillsbury

Sunday, March 15, 2009

What a Glorious Green Day!

Sarah and I went into Philly today for an awesome Green Event. Nope, not the Philadelphia St. Patty's Day parade, although we did see plenty of revelers on the train ..... we went to the Go Green Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. We met with a variety of innovative vendors that have safe, sustainable, and environmentally friendly products and services for all areas of your life. It was such an informative afternoon!

We have so much we want to pass along to our readers about many of these companies and their awesome goods. So, for now, here is a list of the companies that we met today that we'd love for you to know more about. Stay tuned for product reviews, interviews, and, of course, some AMAZING giveaways for our loyal Chester County Moms Blog readers from many of these companies! We will begin featuring them very soon!

Agreenday.org

Atayne

Bee Eazy Bags

BITS Limited

Boho Magazine

Candles by Claire

Earth Care Market

Earth Mart

Footprint

GreenDepot

Green Lifestyles on Planet Paradise

greensender.com

Green Vision Arts

Grid Magazine

Guyot Designs

Klean Kanteen

Lola Babiez Organics

Lyfve

Mr. Ellie Pooh

Sun & Earth

The EcoSeekers

This is Your Earth

TLC Candles

Tymel Style

We Add Up

zipgoesgreen.com

Thanks to all of the great people we met today who took time out of their schedules to talk to Sarah and I. We look forward to continuing our conversations......

Friday, March 13, 2009

Pilates classes with Leslie Smith

Due to popularity, Leslie Smith is adding a new time slot of Pilates at My Gym...starting Sunday, March 29th from 8:30-9:30am...sign up for this class or for our Tues evening (7-8pm) or Saturday morning class (8-9am). Get bikini ready!!

Look at the benefits of this awesome exercise!!

Pilates is a body conditioning routine that seeks to build flexibility, strength, endurance, and coordination without adding muscle bulk. In addition, pilates increases circulation and helps to sculpt the body and strengthen the body's "core" or "powerhouse" (torso). People who do pilates regularly feel they have better posture, are less prone to injury, and experience better overall health. The pilates mat program follows a set sequence, with exercises following on from one another in a natural progression…The great thing about pilates is that just about everyone - from couch potatoes to fitness buffs - can do it! Most fans of pilates say they stick with the program because it's diverse and interesting, so sign up for my class and see what all the buzz is about!

If you, or know of a friend, neighbor, or relative who is looking to tone up here are the three days we will be offering pilates classes at My Gym Session II: Tuesdays from 7-8pm and/or Saturdays from 8-9am and/or Sundays from 8:30-9:30am. All classes will be one hour, and the price is $100 for 6 weeks, once a week (that is roughly $16.50 a class!)...most studios cost over $20 an hour! Leslie can be reached at 610-420-4546 or by email: leslie@lildarlins.org. This is a fabulous opportunity to learn the hottest exercise around!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' New Report: "Toxic Tub"

My journey to become more "green" has been a slow and deliberate one. I have been doing significant research on the topic of living a healthy, organic, natural, sustainable lifestyle. While I still have a long way to go to reach my end goal, I make new strides in various areas of my life each week and month. I set small mini-goals for myself to try new organic foods, cleaning products, or personal care products each month. Currently I am researching starting a garden in order to grow our own pesticide-free vegetables this summer!

Back when my interest in this way of life began, the first area of our lives to go completely "green" was with the hygiene products that we use for our children. After reading the following report, you'll see why I am so thrilled that I did!

-------------------------------------------

Traditionally, bath products and cosmetics don't list ingredients on the label, so even the most ingredient-conscious parents wouldn't know whether the product is safe or healthy. Many bath products for your baby are labeled as "gentle"," "pure" or "naturally refreshing", which can be even more confusing, since these words are unregulated and don't hold significant meaning.

Right now, children across America may be unfortunately sitting in bubbles tainted with harmful chemicals. Recently, an independent lab tested 48 kids' products for 1,4-dioxane and found it in 67 percent of the products. Of the 28 products tested for formaldehyde, 82 percent were positive. Seventeen products were contaminated with both 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, both linked to significant health effects.

To find out the specifics, you should check out the new Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report, "Toxic Tub", for all the details, but in the meantime, I encourage you to Take Action and Voice Your Opinion.

Ask your legislators to clean up kids products.
Ask your friends to request their legislators give the FDA the authority it needs to ensure that all cosmetics, from baby shampoo to lipstick to body lotion, are truly safe.

We owe it to our families to demand that the hygiene products that we all use are safe!

Naturally Nora Baking Products Winner!

We have a winner from our Naturally Nora Baking Products Giveaway and it is...... Katiebear! Congratulations, Katie. We hope you enjoy this yummy cake and frosting!

For those of us that didn't win, remember that you can find an array of Naturally Nora baking mixes locally at Acme Markets and Whole Foods Markets.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

FREE Red Box Movies

It's March Movie Madness for redbox, so get in the game… on Wednesdays!

Visit redblog every Wednesday in March for your Free Movie Wednesday code. Then visit your local redbox kiosk for your FREE 1 NIGHT's RENTAL.

Click here to get the code.

GET A FREE NIGHT'S RENTAL EVERY MONDAY… Sign up for Free Movie Mondays! Join the redbox Free Movie Monday SMS program and get a promo code sent to your phone every Monday! Click here to sign up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kids Day Out at Wendell August


Tasty Tuesdays

Tasty Tuesdays: Going Green

Want to know what Tasty Tuesdays is all about? Click here and join in on the fun!

This week's Tasty Tuesdays is going to be chocked full of ideas on how to have a GREEN (as in, the color) St. Patrick's Day menu. You'll be all set you "wow" your kids with your green food choices! Since St. Patrick's Day is coming up in a week, I thought I'd share some fun green food ideas so that you can plan out festive day for your own kids. Since Corned Beef and Cabbage probably wouldn't fly when it comes to my kids, here's what I'm serving up on St. Patrick's Day...get out your green food coloring!

Breakfast (several choices):
Lucky Charms
Green Scrambled Eggs*
Key Lime Yogurt
Green Oatmeal*
Bagels with Green Cream Cheese*
Green Milk*

Lunch:
Chicken Nuggets (not green...if I figure out a way, I'll let you know!)
Green Mashed Potatoes*
Peas
Fruit Salad: green grapes, granny smith apples, kiwi, honeydew melon
Lime Jello

Dinner:
Green Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken (green Alfredo sauce)*
Broccoli
Salad
Garlic Bread (green butter)*
Shamrock Cupcakes

And if everyone is being super good that day...I might even break out the blender to make some yummy "copy cat" Shamrock Shakes!

*All these foods have been dyed by using a few (less is more) drops of green food coloring.

What's on your menu for this upcoming St. Patrick's Day? Are you going to incorporate some green food into your menu or are you just keeping it traditional? Share your ideas with us!


Post a comment with links to your St. Patrick's Day menu ideas!!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Mark your calendars! CCMOMC Spring Sale!



If a Baby, Toddler, Child or Expectant Mother needs it, wears it or wants it... ..You will find it at the Chester County Mothers of Multiples Spring Sale at The Church Farm School in Exton on Saturday, March 14th. This is one of the largest consignment sales in our area... not to be missed! Get there early and be prepared to get some GREAT deals!

Some advice: bringing your own grocery bags/shopping bags to help carry your goodies

The sale will run from 9 -12. Click here for more information.

HARTSTRINGS SPRING WAREHOUSE SALE
Hartstrings50% off MSRP price of spring Merchandise
Show Dates and Times: 3/9 (Monday) - 5pm to 9pm
3/10 (Tuesday) - 9am to 8pm
3/11 (Wednesday) - 9am to 6pm 3/12
(Thursday) - 9am to 3pm

Valley Forge Convention Center
1160 First Avenue
King of Prussia, PA 19406

Purim


At sunset tonight the Jewish holiday of Purim begins. It is celebrated on the 14th day of Adar, which typically falls in March. It is a joyful and festive holiday; in fact some consider it to be like a Jewish Mardi Gras. Children dress in costumes and make gragers, which are noise makers. Here is a very simple and abridged version of the story of Purim:
Long ago the Jews lived in Persia under the rule of King Ahasuerus. The King was looking for a new wife and he decided on a young woman named Esther. After her parents died Esther was raised by her cousin Mordecai. Esther's cousin suggested she keep her identity as a Jew a secret and she did. The King had an advisor named Haman who was an evil and vain man. He wanted everyone to bow before him but Mordecai wouldn't because the Jewish people only bow before G-d. Haman decided not just to punish Mordecai but to annihilate the Jewish people. He convinced King Ahasuerus that the Jewish people needed to be punished. Haman was casting lots or Purim to decide on the date of the massacre. When Esther discovered what was happening she risked her own life by revealing to the King that she was a Jew herself. The King then executed Haman and the Jewish people were saved.
In order to celebrate the holiday Jews must eat, drink and be merry... what a fun holiday! The book of Esther known as the Megillah is read in synagogue. Whenever Haman's name is mentioned everyone will use their noise makers to drown out the sound of his name. It is also common to give gifts of food and drink. The most common food during Purim are the tasty Hamentaschen treats. They are fruit filled cookies that are shaped in triangles to represent Haman's hat. It is also common to hold plays, parodies and carnivals.

Spring is Coming... I Promise!

Daylight Savings Time has arrived, and with it comes the promise of longer days, more plentiful sunshine, and mild weather that the kids can't wait to get outside and enjoy!

It is so important for our kids to get outdoors in the fresh air and spend some time with nature. That is why Back to Nature Foods and The Nature Conservancy have teamed up to bring you The Backyard Guide to Nature!

The Backyard Guide to Nature is a FREE downloadable PDF with page after page of easy-to-do outdoor activities. With this simple and handy guide, you'll be inspired to fit more of what nature has to offer into your busy schedule.

The mission at Back to Nature is to simplify life with wholesome and delicious products and to remind you of ways to enjoy, experience and explore nature's simple pleasures—right outside your door.

The Backyard Guide to Nature is free! Have fun with it today.

This great tip is brought to you by Kiwi Magazine.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Don't forget to set your clock ahead on Saturday night.

Daylight Saving Time is a way of getting more light out of the day by advancing clocks by one hour during the summer. During Daylight Saving Time, the sun appears to rise one hour later in the morning, when people are usually asleep anyway, and sets one hour later in the evening, seeming to stretch the day longer. The reason DST works is because its saves energy due to less artificial light needed during the evening hours—clocks are set one hour ahead during the spring, and one hour back to standard time in the autumn.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Mom's Night In!

I very rarely get to have a night out just for me. Recently, the opportunity came up for me to attend at party hosted by my friend Classy Mommy to introduce Philly Moms to Role Mommy and products from Slendertone. Beth, from Role Mommy was arranging for manicures and make overs from Calista Grand, massages, and yummy food from Prince Catering. My dream Mom's Night Out!

7:30 - My 18 months old son wakes up. "MAMA, MAMA, MAMA"
7:31 - Get out of bed, The day begins. I go in to his room read a book, get him changed and around...
7:45- We head downstairs for breakfast, let the dog out, feed the dog, feed the cat, blah, blah, blah.
8:00 - My daughter wakes up and joins us for breakfast, already on the table, waiting for her. It is good to be her!
8:30- Clean up from breakfast, get everyone dressed, pack up the mini-van for the days errands and activities.
9:30 - errands
10am - off to a play date
noon- home for lunch
1:00PM - nap time.... Happy Nappy! This is my time to catch up on email, blog, make phone calls with no screaming in the background. I love nap time!
3:00 - snacks and Ellen.. we never miss Ellen!
Seriously, my days are all the same. They all run together. I am so looking forward to tonight.. is it 5:00 yet????
3:00-5:00 - Play dress-up, read, craft, chase my son around the house, throw in a load of laundry, feed the dog.. blah, blah, blah. I am anxiously looking forward to my big night out... is it 5:00 yet???
5:00 - Put on a movie for the kids in my bedroom and jump in the shower. It is FINALLY time to get ready!
5:05 - Mid-shampoo, my daughter doesn't want to watch the movie I put on and is banging on the shower door whining," I want Hannah Montana". Ugh, I grab a towel and figure I can't subject my son to an hour of Hannah Montana while I get ready so we settle on Cailou.
5:15 - What am I going to wear? I am SO used to sporting "mom duds" you know, t-shirt and sweats that when I have to actually get "dressed" to go out, I panic.
5:20 - Nothing fits! Great.. now what?
5:21 - Whew.. I found a somewhat trendy dress. It fits, it works. Now where are my shoes?
5:30- Sit with the kids for a few minutes before my mom arrives to stay with the kids for the night.
5:45 - My mom arrives.. Woo-hoo! I hop in my mini-van and crank up the music. I am kid free and don't have to listen to Hannah Montana or Camp Rock. I get to listen to the radio. Oh, beloved radio! It always used to make me laugh pre-kids when I would see a mom jammin' out in her mini-van. Now I am totally that mom.
6:00 - Arrive at the home of Philly's own Classy Mommy, the host of the evenings shin-dig.
I am so excited to meet Beth from Role Mommy. She planned the party and came all the way from NY for our awesome Mom's Night In, and what an awesome night it was.

My favorite make up artist, Jess, from Calista Grand was there offering make up advice and touch ups. Pre- kids, I didn't go out to get the mail if my make up wasn't perfect. Now, I am lucky to get time to put on lip gloss. Jess, gave me lots of great 5 minute tips & tricks. I have been using his tips since the party. Calista Grand was also providing manicures.... Oh, how I love a good mani!

The girls from Slendertone gave us a demonstration of the Slendertone products. They are AWESOME! Fitness expert, Beverley Caen, the founder of Sane Fitness, did the demonstration with the Slendertone Ab system. She showed us how the produts use Electronic Muscle Stimulation (EMS) technology to create strong, deep, comfortable contractions in your muscles. It mimics the body's natural muscle movements; signals are sent between the pads, engaging the nerves that control your muscles and causing them to contract naturally. EMS technology has been used for over 40 years in hospitals, clinics and physical therapy practices around the world to strengthen and rehabilitate muscles.

After the demonstration we had a chance to try all of the products. There was one for your arms, abs and tushie. There was also one to rejuvenate your muscles called REVIVE . That is the one I tried. Within the first few minutes, I fell in love! After a long day of kids, dogs and cleaning, it was so nice to just sit there and have my muscles relaxed and all the the tension of the day soothed away.

There was also a product to help tone your abs, Slendertone- System Abs, After 2 C-sections... I need that! Really, I do. My mid-section.. not so pretty! I lose weight, gain weight, any help I can get toning.. sign me up!
The really cool thing about the Slendertone products is that they are so easy to use and you can use them as you go about your day to day activities. As I am sitting here typing this post I have the ab belt on. Used for just 30 minutes a day, at least 5 times a week, the System-Abs belt can deliver fantastic results in just weeks. If you read this blog regularly you know I have committed to being healthier in 09' by seeing my chiropractor, Dr. Gottlieb, eating healthier and have recently signed up for Weight Watchers. I start next week. I don't know if I am "brave" enough to share my WW progress with you or not, but hey.. maybe now that I have the Slendertone products and I have cut out the junk food I will have the confidence to. Stay tuned!

Naturally Nora Baking Products Review and Giveaway!

A couple of weeks ago, Sarah had the fortune of meeting a woman named Nora, the woman behind a fantastic all-natural baking products company called Naturally Nora. On her website, Nora discusses how the Naturally Nora brand was created:

"I used to make cakes from ordinary boxed mixes. Then one day I learned what was in them! I knew I could make something better and with all-natural ingredients. So I set out to create delicious cakes that my family would love and I could feel good about. Using all-natural ingredients you can't find anywhere else, I created desserts that I am now delighted to share with you. Naturally Nora mixes are made with
All-natural ingredients, NO artificial colors, flavors or preservatives, NO hydrogenated oils, and Lots of Love! Additionally, the mixes don't contain any dairy, soy, peanuts or tree nuts and are kosher too. (Although, they are produced in a facility that also uses milk, soy and tree nuts.)"

Nora and Sarah had exchanged contact information at that fortuitous meeting and shortly thereafter, a box of Naturally Nora's yummy mixes were delivered to Sarah's door. Knowing my passion for continually finding new all-natural and organic products for my family, Sarah gave me both a cake and an icing mix to try out. And, boy were we eager to taste it!

One of my oldest daughter's favorite activities is baking, so we rolled up our sleeves and dived into making our Surprising Stars Yellow Cake Mix with Chocolate Cookie Stars and our Extraordinary Vanilla Frosting Mix. Soon, the cake was ready to be iced. I always buy the ready to eat icing in the plastic tubs and had never made a frosting mix before. I was surprised by how easy it was. The only word of caution I have is to follow the instructions closely. It warns that if the melted butter that you add is too hot, your icing can be runny. I did put the butter in a little too warm, and my icing did seem thin, but no less delicious. Next time I will be sure to heed Nora's advice to have a thicker frosting.

We got the cake made and were waiting patiently for dessert! Once we tasted the cake, we were all very pleased. Each of us enjoyed the cake tremendously, and the fresh, homemade taste really shone through. I really liked that the cake was dense and moist. The icing was fantastic too. It was sweet without being too over the top. I loved these products and can't wait to try more!

Naturally Nora has an array of cake and frosting flavors to choose from. Check out their website to see their full product line and to find retailers near you! Here in Chester County, the products are carried in local Acme markets as well as at Whole Foods.

Would you like to try this all-natural deliciousness for yourself? If so, we have a Naturally Nora's ALot'A Dots Yellow Cake Mix with Bits of Color as well as a Surprising Stars Frosting Mix to give away to one lucky Chester County Moms Blog reader.

To enter this contest, please leave a comment on this post and include your email address in your comment. This contest ends on 3/11 at midnight. The winner will be notified via email. Only 1 entry per per person; all duplicate entries will be deleted. Good luck!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Spring Portrait Session - Great Deal!





Spring is Coming - celebrate with C. Raysor Photography!


We are booking Spring photo shoot and like the month of March I'm going in like a lion, with a special to roar about!

When you book yoursession with C. Raysor Photography, you will receive $50 print credit for every $100 you spend (session fee must be paid in advance, and minimum print purchase of $100 is required to get in on this special).

So, if you spend $100 -- you will get an additional $50 in print credit for free!If you spend $200 - you will an additional $100 in print credit for free!If you spend $300 you've gotten in on the VIP pricing (25%-40% off regular print prices!), and you will still get $150 in print credit on top of that - perfect for wall portraits and canvases!

Call Chrissie at 484-888-2643 to schedule your session today!

Offer expires on 3/31, so you must call to schedule before then, though scheduled session may take place after that date

For more information please visit http://www.craysor.com/

We're Going... Are you?

The Go Green Expo is coming to Philadelphia March 13th - 15th and the Chester County Moms Blog will be there. Will you?

Go Green Expo was conceived after a viewing of the film "An Inconvenient Truth." It prompted the question, "How can we make a difference?"

A truly unique event from the ground up, Go Green Expo will change not only the public's perception of environmentalism but also how events like this are produced and managed. Inviting companies large and small to showcase what they are doing to reduce their respective carbon footprint, consumers will have hands on experiences with "eco-friendly" alternatives to current everyday products and services.

Even the event itself is environmentally friendly utilizing a ZERO Carbon footprint approach to event production. Biodegradable trash bags, eco-friendly printing, table coverings, recycled signs, compostable sponsor banners and more. Event waste will be separated and sorted to ensure the least amount of refuse going to the landfills. Staff travel and a portion of every ticket that is purchased will be carbon offset.

The Expo is being held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Center City Philadelphia. There will be over 200 Booths / Exhibits, Interactive Seminars / Speeches, Film Presentations, Eco-Fashion Show, Green Marketplace, as well as demonstrations & hands on activities!

And, if you go on Saturday between 10am and 11:30am, The Philadelphia Phillies World Series Trophy will be on display for photos with you!

Check out their website for Expo hours, exhibitors, and speaker schedules and maybe we'll see you there!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Great Gift!

Personalized Children's Books.  Click here!
I See Me....personalized children's books, puzzles and plates make unique baby, birthday and Easter gifts for newborns and children through age 12. New faster delivery! Standard delivery is now 2 weeks and Expedited delivery is now 1 week.
My daughter received a The World According to You book for her birthday. We just finished making it tonight and are ready to send it back to the publisher to print it. Click on the logo above to check out the website.. lots of really cool personalized gifts.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Calista Grand March Specials

Commons of Thornbury
Building 300 · Suite 301
1211 Wilmington Pike(Crossroads of Routes 926 & 202)
West Chester, PA 19382
(610) 399-6677




Just a reminder....now through March 31st you will receive a complimentary manicure with any pedicure booked. This special is available Mondays through Thursdays. Don't forget to mention Chester County Moms when scheduling your appointment to receive the special promotional service. This is an awesome deal. If you have never had a mani/pedi at Calista Grand.. your missing out! The spa is beautiful and calming. The Technicians are the best of the best and you will leave relaxed and your hands will thank you over and over! This would make a PERFECT Moms Day Out! (this offer is for new and previous customers.. call and schedule TODAY!)

Are you looking to jazz up your hair? Sick of the total "mom haircut"? Calista Grand can help with that too! Schedule a hair cut with KATIE now through March 31st and pay only $37 for your hair cut. You read correctly...The Calista Grand experience for under $40....what are you waiting for? Call and schedule your appointment NOW! Katie is my personal stylist and I LOVE her. She is up on all the latest styles, will take the time to talk to you about your new look and what will work for your lifestyle AND she will walk you through step by step on how to do your hair at home so you can achieve the "just from the salon look" on your own. Again.. don't forget to mention Chester County Moms.com to receive the promotional rate when scheduling your appointment with Katie.

Tasty Tuesdays

It's Tuesday again...and for Chester County Moms, that means it's time for Tasty Tuesdays!

Did you miss the post on what Tasty Tuesdays is all about? No problem, click here and then join in on the fun this week! And I want to shout out a huge thank you to all of you who participated in last week's Tasty Tuesdays as well.

This week....

Tasty Tuesdays: SoupsWell, I originally had something else totally different planned other than "Soups" this week, but seeing that we're all freezing and up to our ear lobes in snow (kidding...goodness, that wouldn't even be funny), I thought that we could all use some good tips and recipes on how to concoct some delicious and body warming soups, stews, or a variation of the two combined...or as Rachel Ray calls them - "Stoups."

There's nothing that cheers me up when it's freezing outside like a bowl of scrumptious, steaming hot soup! And I'm such a sucker for those mouth watering, chalked full of calories, creamy soups. I know, I know...it's so bad! And when it comes to rich, delicious creamy soups, for me it's - hands down - Panera's Broccoli Cheese Soup! I've got a serious addiction and it's really showing in my thighs. But, I can't always get there when I get the craving...with kids hanging from my ankles because they have cabin fever, it just wouldn't be a pretty sight! So...what to do, what to do??? Oh yes...there's this little thing called the Internet. Marvelous, I tell you. And thanks to Google, I have found a carbon copy recipe of Panera's Broccoli Cheese Soup! I've made my fair share of experimental "restaurant copied" soup recipes, but this one takes the cake...it's pretty much right on. With 5 star reviews and amazing 'rants and raves' (on CDKitchen.com...where I found the recipe)...here's it is:

Panera's Broccoli Cheese Soup

Ready in: 30-60 minutes
recipe difficulty 3/5 Difficulty: 3 (1=easiest :: hardest=5)

Serves/Makes: 4

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar

Directions:

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

This recipe from CDKitchen for Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup serves/makes 4


So...now it's your turn to share a Soup recipe! Don't be shy...we're all in desperate need of some "warming up!"
Since we still haven't mastered all of the kinks for using Mr. Linky here yet...just leave your recipe (link from your own blog) in a comment on this post.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Sun & Earth Photo Contest

Do you use Sun & Earth products because they are green and organic? Or is it because they are kid and pet friendly? Or is it because the products clean so well? Whatever the reason, submit a photo and a caption that shows why you love Sun & Earth and you could WIN. The monthly winner will get their photo displayed on the Sun & Earth home page as well as a month supply of Sun & Earth products.

Click here to enter the Sun & Earth Photo Contest.

Philadelphia Magazine J & K article

Click here to read the Philadelphia Magazine article on Jon & Kate.

Were you at the Multiple Blessings book signing in Exton? or the church in Parkesburg last weekend for Kate's speaking engagement? If so.. leave a comment or email sarah@chestercountymoms.com and tell us about the events.