Family Meals Under 550 Calories – 35 Ways To Eat Right In The New Year

Disclosure 1

Yesterday I posted about our new year’s resolutions for 2014 and how I plan on keeping them. I think that one of the most important tips I shared is #6 (see below).

Tip #6

Anticipate obstacles. This is a big one. You need to figure out what normal, everyday occurrences are going to get in the way of you sticking to your resolutions and figure out solutions ahead of time. And, notice that I said ARE GOING because the reality is that life is full of curveballs.

For us, one of our biggest obstacles to most of our resolutions is that we’re busy. I know that you can relate because this is a problem that all families face. We are busy with work, carpool, sports practice, homework, life…the list goes on and on. All of these things are constantly throwing curve balls at us. For example, one of our resolutions is to eat healthy, but on a busy weeknight – this can be a huge challenge. I mean, seriously – trying to figure out how to get dinner on the table on Lucas’ karate nights is crazy. And, forget about it when T-Ball starts back up!

1474636_10151963938772870_1980970134_n

This is the perfect storm of events that can derail us from eating healthy. Because what is the typical solution to not having enough time to cook dinner? Fast food. And, we all know that while fast food might be convenient – it usually equals junk food loaded with lots of calories and generally unhealthy stuff.

This is exactly why I am so excited to partner with Boston Market over the next several weeks to try out their “35 Ways in 35 Days” meal options. So, what is “35 Ways in 35 Days”? They are 35 meal options at Boston Market that are UNDER 550 calories. These are just the ones they are featuring over the next few weeks, because they actually have over 100 meal combinations that are under 550 calories. That is pretty impressive! You can see all 35 meal options HERE. What’s great is that these meal options are not only low-calorie, but it’s REAL FOOD. Rotisserie chicken, turkey, veggies – food that you can feel good about eating. While convenient, this is definitely not your typical “fast food”.

photo 2-2

Over the next five weeks, my family and I will be trying out all 35 ways and reporting back to you. We’ll let you know our thoughts on all of the meals plus share more info about Boston Market. We actually started this week and so far have tried seven of the meals so far. The first night was Lucas’ karate night so we decided to reduce our stress that night and eat Boston Market.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 10.32.43 AM

Mike took Lucas to karate and picked up the food on their way home. I transferred the meals to real plates and we had a healthy family meal at the dinner table.

Boston Market - 4

 

Here’s what we had…

Meal #1: 3 Piece Dark (without skin), Garlic Dill New Potatoes, and Sweet Corn: 500 Calories

Boston Market - 1

Meal #2: 1/4 White Chicken (with skin), Garlic Dill New Potatoes, and Sweet Corn: 540 Calories

Boston Market - 2

Meal #3: Boneless Chicken Breast, Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Corn & Gravy Market Bowl: 500 Calories

Boston Market - 3

Our thoughts after our first meal? Delicious. Truly. It really felt like we were eating a home cooked meal. The rotisserie chicken is amazing – so juicy and flavorful. The Garlic Dill New Potatoes are probably one of my favorite sides so far. They are comfort food, but without all of the calories.

Then, on Wednesday evening we had planned on going for a family walk at the park. We were supposed to go early (by 4pm) so that we could get back in time to cook and eat dinner. Unfortunately, work got in the way and we weren’t able to head to the park until 5:30pm. We almost canceled our walk due to dinner, but then decided that we would eat Boston Market instead. It was great – we got to spend some quality family time together and stick one of our family resolutions of being more active…

1522054_10152083399857870_1744436816_n

and, Amelia got to have her first swing ride!

1604659_10152083450722870_1026237976_n

Here are the meals we tried…

Meal #4: BBQ Chicken, Mashed Potatoes and Sweet Corn Market Bowl: 540 Calories

Boston Market - 8

The Market Bowls with mashed potatoes are Mike’s favorite! These are very filling and satisfying – so much so that it is hard to believe that they are low in calories. Delish!

Meal #5: Chicken Caesar Salad: 440 Calories

Boston Market - 7

Meal #6: Southwest Santa Fe Salad with Rotisserie Chicken: 530 Calories

Boston Market - 6

BOTH of the salads were very fresh. The portions were huge so both made excellent meal choices for dinner. Out of the two – the Southwest Santa Fe Salad was our favorite though. It has so many goodies like fire-roasted corn, poblano pepper and black bean relish, tomatoes, onions, tortilla strips, shredded cheddar and chipotle cheddar dressing. Believe it or not, this was Lucas’ dinner and he picked it and LOVED it!

Meal #7: Mediterranean Chicken Carver on Multigrain Artisan Roll (no dressing): 490 Calories

Boston Market - 5

I had the sandwich for dinner and it was outstanding. It was also filled with yummy ingredients like cucumbers, tomato, feta cheese, and rotisserie chicken. Honestly, the fact that Boston Market uses rotisserie chicken in their salads and sandwiches takes their food up a notch!

Tune in next week as we continue trying the “35 Ways in 35 Days” meal options! In the meantime, please visit BostonMarket.com for additional meal ideas, nutritional information, and you can even print the “35 Ways in 35 Days” calendar.

 

Holiday Travel Tips for Families

Disclosure 1

The holiday season is all about spending time with loved ones, but for some of us – that can mean travel. Traveling during the holidays can definitely be a bit stressful. There’s the packing and crowds and expenses – it can be so overwhelming! So today, I thought I’d share some Holiday Travel Tips for Families – enjoy!

Lucas on a family road trip

Lucas on a family road trip

Holiday Travel Tips for Families

  • Plan and plan some more! Traveling always has some bumps along the way, but one way to reduce the number of mishaps is to plan ahead.
  • Ship gifts to your destination. Instead of lugging gifts and stressing about luggage space, bag check fees, and potentially lost items – ship them in advance. It’s so much easier!
  • Make sure that you’re ready for security at the airport. Read TSA Rules beforehand so you can sail through the long security lines.
  • Bring entertainment for kids. Whether it’s a handheld gaming device, portable DVD player, coloring books, small toys – it’s a good idea to be prepared with a few small items that your kids enjoy. Make sure that they are easy to access!
  • Bring small snack in your carry-on. It’s amazing how a snack can keep kids happy – pack a few!
  • Avoid peak travel days. This way you’ll avoid the large crowds and you can probably save on travel costs.
  • Breathe. Remember that it’s the holidays and keep calm. You will get through this!
  • Stay healthy! Bring sanitizer and wipes to battle germs. However, make sure that you have medicine just in case! PediaCare® Children’s Fever Reducer Plus Cough & Runny Nose With Acetaminophen is perfect for travel because it attacks several symptoms thereby eliminating the need to pack several different medicines.

8-14832-01098-0_pediacare_Cough_RunnyNose_Cherry

Fever Myth #2 – A fever can hurt my child

Christmas Decorations at ProFlowers #PFdecorates

Disclosure 1

Our home is officially decorated for the holidays! We’re actually getting ready to host our annual Jolly Holiday Brunch this Sunday so we are just in the nick of time. Our dining room table is set for company and we couldn’t have done it without ProFlowers.

_MG_5095

They made it super easy to add the finishing touches! In fact, one of my favorite holiday decorations are these gorgeous Eucalyptus Wreaths with Red Berries from ProFlowers.

_MG_5111

The wreath comes with a red satin bow and is preserved so it will last a very long time. It also smells amazing, as you can imagine! As you can see, we hung two on the french doors that lead into the dining room. They look stunning!

_MG_5105

 

 

The dining table is topped off with the beautiful Home for the Holidays Centerpiece from ProFlowers. It perfectly embodies the Christmas spirit with its combination of fresh noble fir, red cedar, and princess pine. The tartan bow, red cardinal, and berries are the perfect finishing touch. This is such a lovely centerpiece!

_MG_5092

 

ProFlowers offers so many beautiful Christmas and holiday decorations!

Exclusive Discount!

Are you ready to bring RedEnvelope and ProFlowers into your home this holiday season? Jolly Mom readers can get an exclusive 20% discount off of all of your RedEnvelope and ProFlowers purchases through the end of December. Start shopping at RedEnvelope here or order from ProFlowers here. The 20% discount will be applied to your shopping cart once you click the link.

Get More Christmas Decorating Ideas on the Deck the Halls Pinterest Board!

Follow ProFlowers Deck the Halls on Pinterest

 

Five Creative Ways to Give a Gift Card this Holiday Season

Disclosure 1

Giving a gift card is very practical and convenient – for both the gift giver and the gift receiver. The drawback about gift cards is that they can also seem impersonal and not as thoughtful as a traditional gift. However, the truth is that gift cards don’t have to be impersonal at all! It’s all in the packaging!

Packaging Gift Cards

1. Make a gift card bouquet! This is a great way to give several gift cards!

2. Pair a gift card with a coordinating book and give it as a “bookmark”. For example, pair a Barnes & Noble Gift Card with a book or a Kroger Gift Card with a cookbook.

3. Package a gift card in a new wallet or purse!

4. Pair a grocery gift card, like a Kroger Gift Card with a reusable shopping tote.

5. Put together a gift basket filled with goodies that go with the gift card. Put a Starbucks Gift Card inside of a new coffee mug or pair a movie theater gift card with a popcorn and classic movie snacks. For example, I put together a gift basket for a college kid, which includes a $25 Subway Gift Card, drinks, chips, cookies from the Kroger Bakery, and a few magazines – all purchased at Kroger. The perfect gift for a college kid heading back to the dorms after the holidays!

Gift Card Giving 2

Shopping for gift cards doesn’t have to be difficult either! Your local Kroger has many gift cards for you to purchase right their by the checkout aisle. Just grab what you need while you grocery shop. There’s no need to drive around to a bunch of stores!

image

 

Visit Kroger.com to find a store near you.

Christmas Decorating Tips for Your Fireplace Mantel #PFdecorates

Disclosure 1

We spent this past weekend recovering from a big Thanksgiving meal and the best part – decorating for the holidays. Our home is now decked out to the nines in Christmas decor. It looks beautiful! There’s something about Christmas decorations that turn a home into the most warm and inviting retreat, right?` I love the scent of a fresh Christmas tree, the festive decorations, and flicker of lights. The main attraction is the Christmas tree, of course – but if I was going to choose a very close second – it would have to be the fireplace mantel. It’s typically the focal point in a family or living room so it’s the first thing you see when you walk into the room. It should definitely receive some holiday cheer! So today I thought I’d share our Christmas mantel with you and share some tips!

Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas-PIC3

Christmas Decorating Tips for Fireplace Mantels

  • Bring the outdoors in! There’s nothing like the scent of freshly cut evergreens – it is the essence of Christmas! We tucked branches of Fresh Decorative Greens and pinecones from ProFlowers on the mantel. These greens are beautiful and smell amazing! It comes with Noble Fir, Western Red Cedar, Princess Pine, Incense Cedar, Ponderosa pine cones and, Lodge Pole pine cones.

Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas-9

  • Use several of the same type of item to make a bigger impact. We achieved this with the Porcelain Luminaria Village Set from Red Envelope. This village set comes with four houses and three trees and it makes a beautiful statement on the mantel! It comes with battery operated tea light candles – when turned on they cast a festive glow. Truly – this set is lovely!

Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas-5

Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas-4

Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas-7

  • Add interest by adding different heights and textures to your mantelscape. We did this with the two red tree decorations on the sides – these sort of act as a visual anchor. We also did this with the T’was the Night Before Christmas canvas above the mantel. It adds height and a touch of holiday whimsy. I mean, this is one of the most beloved Christmas stories ever!

Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas-6

  • Hang something from your mantel! Whether it’s stockings (love these Otomi Stockings from Red Envelope) or a banner like we have (we purchased this banner from Red Envelope years ago) – it adds the perfect finishing touch!

Christmas Mantel Decorating Ideas-3

Exclusive Discount!

Are you ready to bring RedEnvelope and ProFlowers into your home this holiday season? Jolly Mom readers can get an exclusive 20% discount off of all of your RedEnvelope and ProFlowers purchases through the end of December. Start shopping at RedEnvelope here or order from ProFlowers here. The 20% discount will be applied to your shopping cart once you click the link.

Enjoy the Scents of the Season Every Day! (#Giveaway)

Disclosure 1

You know how I know that fall has arrived in Atlanta? It’s a smell in the air outside. It’s the aroma of burning leaves. I don’t know why, but I love that smell. It equals the beginning of fall. That’s the thing about scents. They are so powerful. They can evoke emotion and bring up memories. That’s why I love to surround myself with my favorite scents year-round – especially during the holiday season! So when Glade® asked me to partner with them over the next few months and show them how scent inspires my home life, it was an opportunity I could not pass up! Throughout the year I will be posting how different fragrances help bring comfort, joy, cooking, craft and décor inspiration for me and my family.

For instance, in our home Thanksgiving will forever be tied to the aroma of apple pie baking in the oven. After our annual apple-picking in the fall, we have lots of apples to use up!

201110337

We make a version of apple pie for every Thanksgiving and every time I smell apple pie – I think about Thanksgiving. It could be in the middle of the summer, but I still think about Thanksgiving. It’s the warmth of the apples mixed in with cinnamon. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE!

Apple Crumb Pie-Pinterest

So while I can’t bake an apple pie every day, there are other ways that I can surround myself with my favorite scents throughout the holidays and year-round.  That’s why I love the new Glade® PlugIns® Scented Oil Warmer Customizables™ in Apple Cinnamon Cheer™ & Sparkling Spruce™! First of all, I love the pretty faceplate with snowflakes, which not only looks great in my home but is also festive. More importantly, this new, scented oil warmer is unique in that it alternates between two scents daily.

Glade 1

It’s available in the following scent combinations:

  • Apple Cinnamon and Lavender and Peach Blossom
  • Clean Linen® and Sunny Days®
  • Hawaiian Breeze® and Vanilla Passion Fruit
  • Apple Cinnamon Cheer™ & Sparkling Spruce™ (Limited Edition Winter Collection)

The holiday version alternates between Apple Cinnamon Cheer™ and Sparkling Spruce™, which I think nicely encapsulates the holidays! One scent is warm and comforting (Apple Cinnamon Cheer™) – the other is clean and fresh while still being “holiday” (Sparkling Spruce™). I LOVE it! So much so that it inspired my interior décor for the upcoming holiday season. After baking a delicious Apple Pie, which is always a huge hit with my family this time of year, the crisp and outdoorsy scent of Sparking Spruce™ has inspired me to make a homemade wreath for our door – and Lucas can help! Everything you need is right outside! Just gather some pinecones and acorns, spray them with silver and gold paint, attach to an evergreen wreath and voila! It’s amazing how scents – like Apple Cinnamon Cheer™ and Sparkling Spruce™, have the power to uplift, inspire, and help us get into the holiday spirit!

Glade 2

As you prepare your home for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I highly recommend that you try the Glade® PlugIns® Scented Oil Warmer Customizables™ in Apple Cinnamon Cheer™ & Sparkling Spruce™. It’s the perfect scent combination for the holidays!  Visit Glade.com for more information and Like on Facebook and Follow on Twitter for all the latest news.

To help get your home ready for the upcoming holidays, Glade® is offering one lucky reader a fun holiday package! Simply leave a comment on this post to enter to win a mix of the Glade® products and fragrances, as well as a $100 gift card to Shutterfly.com – just in time for holiday greeting cards!

Contest ends on Monday, December 9th at midnight PST. Winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Healthy Living Tips: Eat Right, Not Less #KelloggsChamps #ad

Disclosure 1

For years and years, I have been on a diet. I have tried every fad diet known to man. What time and experience has taught me is that “diets” never work. The solution? Lifestyle change. Ever since Amelia was born, I am on a mission to change our entire family’s lifestyle. From the way we eat to how much time we spend on electronic devices to how much activity we get. It may not be the fastest way to get to my own personal weight goals, but you know what they…slow and steady wins the race!

That means making small changes. Changes we can live with that will make a positive impact on our health over time. We have been incorporating more fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, and whole grains. That’s why I love the new Special K Nourish line of products – including its first ever hot cereal as well as nutrition bars. These are made with a unique multi-grain blend of superfoods like quinoa, oats and barley, as well as dried fruits and nuts. They are DELICIOUS and it’s food that you can feel GREAT about eating. Love that!

If you’re trying to create a healthier lifestyle for you and your family, make sure to check out the slideshow below, which features tips from Food Network Star and registered dietitian Ellie Krieger. These are simple things that everyone can do to eat RIGHT, not less!

Try having one scoop of frozen yogurt instead of three. Or select fresh, crunchy veggies instead of chips alongside your sandwich at lunch.
You can prepare it like you would rice and toss into your salads or homemade soups. Or, simply serve it as a side dish.

Start the day right!

Special K’s new line of Nourish products, including its first ever hot cereal and wholesome bars, are a great way to start your morning with a helping of quinoa.

Read More
Simply going for a brisk walk after dinner each night instead of heading straight for the sofa, or walking to your local market when you need to pick up just a few items can make all the difference.

New Special K Nourish Cranberry Almond bars have eight grams of protein and five grams of fiber, and are a tasty way to incorporate almonds into your snack schedule.

Read More
Space your meals out so that you’re not waiting too long in between, and incorporate one or two healthy snacks – like fruit or nuts – each day.

Get Rid of Toxins: Homemade Natural Detox Bath Recipe

Now that Amelia is here – it’s time to get my body back. I’m on a mission to not only lose the baby weight (and the pre-baby weight lol), but also to be healthy and feel good. I’ve been trying to detox my body by eating as clean as possible, spending time in the sauna, and also through detox baths.

Detox Bath Recipe

Detox baths are an ancient form of naturally removing impurities and toxins from the body. I take 1-2 detox baths per week and they make me feel great! It kind of feels like being in a sauna because you will sweat A LOT. It’s the sweating that helps rid the body of the impurities though! The ingredients needed are simple pantry items so it’s also quite simple to do. Recipe below…

Detox Bath Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups baking soda
  • 1 cup Epsom salts
  • 1 to 4 tablespoons ground ginger
  • a few drops essential oil of your choice for aromatherapy (OPTIONAL)

Directions: Add the baking soda, Epsom salts, and ground ginger to hot bath water and swirl to combine. Soak in bath for 20-40 minutes.

Important Note: Do not take hot baths and salt baths (including Epsom salt baths) if you have heart trouble, high blood pressure, or are diabetic.

How To Clean Your Shoes & Make Them Look New Again

I don’t know what it is about kids and little boys in particular, but somehow they just attract dirt. Lucas sees a mud puddle and finds it physically impossible to walk around it. He has to walk right through it. In Georgia, this is an especially bad thing because our dirt is red (better known as Georgia Red Clay) and stains everything. Lucas’ shoes usually end up looking something like this…

And, this is after I tried washing them with soap, water, and lots of elbow grease!

But, I’ve found a solution…Mr. Clean Magic Eraser!

Wet the sponge and rub it over your child’s shoes — no scrubbing necessary.

Voila! All the stains come off revealing a brand new shoe! It works just like an eraser!

This works on leather or leather-like sneakers, Croc style shoes, etc. I’ve even used it on some canvas shoes! This method can be used on both white and color shoes as well. Just make sure to do a quick spot test first to make sure that the Magic Eraser isn’t lifting any color from the shoe.

**This is not a sponsored post. **

Our #BagsterChallenge Recap

A couple of months ago, the Bagster Bag put me up to a home improvement challenge. Tackle a DIY or clean up project around the house using their Bagster Bag. So, I decided to tackle the basement storage room, which is a big mess…

Photobucket

or, I should say…was a big mess. Look at it now…

It’s not perfect, but it’s so much better, right?! I mean…we can actually WALK in the room now LOL. Now we just need some shelving and we’ll be all set!

We threw out a lot of trash–cardboard boxes, packing material left over from our move, and other stuff that I don’t even want to admit was in my basement LOL. It was all very easy thanks to the Bagster Bag. Here’s how it works. Head to your local home improvement store and buy the Bagster Bag for $29.95. Open the bag up and start filling it up!

You can fill it and fill it with trash and household debris because it will hold up to 3,300 POUNDS of trash! The bag is really tough and durable!

Once you’re done filling the bag, then call Waste Management and they will come to pick it up. Pick up rates vary depending on your location, but it ranges from $79 to $159 per bag. In my area, it is $99. That is much cheaper than paying for a dumpster–50 to 70 percent less than a dumpster rental!

We have always been DIYers so the Bagster Bag would have come in very handy so many times! It is such a convenient and affordable way to get household projects done without spending a ton of money on dumpsters. Highly recommend it!

You can purchase the Bagster Bag at more than 2,000 home improvement and hardware stores across the country. To find a local retailer near you, visit www.thebagster.com. Stay up to date on all Bagster Bag news on Facebook and Twitter.

Waste Management partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in its The Bagster® Bag Blogger Challenge. As part of the program, I received compensation. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about the products used for the The Bagster® Bag Blogger Challenge. Waste Management believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Waste Management’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.