Monday, November 24

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

#Thanksgiving Menu Ideas via www.productreviewmom.com

Thanksgiving Day dinner is quite expensive, even for a small family. This meal often requires many items that are not typically in your pantry at home. A few dishes are very inexpensive and add a bit of variety to the meal. Each dish below is also full of flavor, and only has a few ingredients.

Below check out my collection of Thanksgiving dishes from Foodie.com.




Check out Thanksgiving
by Louida at Foodie.com




Corn Pudding




Corn pudding really is not a pudding. It is more like a casserole. All you need for this is corn muffin mix, a can of sweet corn, a can of creamed corn, a touch of butter, eggs, sour cream, cinnamon and a pinch of black pepper. It is really quite simple. When it is done, serve it with warm maple syrup on the side for extra sweetness.





Loaded Mashed Potatoes




Traditional mashed potatoes get boring. Kick them up a little bit by adding in crushed French fried onions, bacon, shredded cheese and some snipped green onions. This kicks up the flavor and tastes great when you add the gravy on top. To make the mashed potatoes creamier, add a heaping tablespoon or two of sour cream just before serving.





Wild Rice with Mushrooms




Bring something new to the Thanksgiving dinner table. Many families forget about rice being a staple food. Wild rice has a different texture and flavor. Adding mushrooms to it along with some fresh garlic and parsley makes a lovely, earthy tasting dish that fits the occasion well.





Sautéed Vegetables




Quite different is a big bowl of sautéed vegetables. You will want to use late harvest vegetables such as zucchini, bell peppers, carrots, button mushrooms and onions. Add just a touch of olive oil to the pan and season the vegetables with salt, pepper and fresh garlic. That is all they need to be delicious. Do not cook them too long; you want them to still have a little crunch and texture.






These dishes are all budget friendly. Each offering brings something different to a traditional Thanksgiving Day dinner table. Of course, tradition brings the family favorites to the table but a few new additions are always a good thing. Changing the variety of items refreshes the meal.



Here are some more Thanksgiving Menu ideas.
Check out #TurkeyDay
by Sherry Pike Maironis at Foodie.com



Are you going to be cooking for Thanksgiving this year?

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Friday, November 21

Product Review Weekend Link Up Party #ProductReviewParty #37

Product Review Weekend Link Up Party #ProductReviewParty #37 via www.productreviewmom.com
#ProductReviewParty is every Friday from 9am to Sunday 9pm EST
Link up to 3 Review Posts
Please don't link up and run!  Visit others and leave thoughtful comments.  If you like what you see, please share it on your social networks.  Thanks!

Announcement:  Due to Thanksgiving weekend next week there will not be a #ProductReviewParty linkup, the party will resume back on 12/5.

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Thursday, November 20

Black Friday Sales Predictions 2014 #BlackFriday

Black Friday Sales Predictions 2014 #BlackFriday via www.productreviewmom.com
Photo Credit
Post contains Amazon Affiliate links meaning I earn a few coins if you click link and make a purchase

Every October and November, shoppers everywhere start searching for the best predictions for Black Friday deals.  This year is no different and there are many great products expected to show up in the Black Friday sales.  Here are some of the most-predicted trends for Black Friday 2014.


The General Forecast

 

Black Friday is probably going to be starting long before the Friday after Thanksgiving.  This year, expect to see stores advertising their Black Friday sales during the week leading up to Black Friday.  In fact, some retailers are already jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon and having phenomenal sales in the early part of November.

Online Deals

 

In the past several years, many retailers have offered their door buster deals online; door buster deals were also often left online long after the brick-and-mortar store had stopped selling them.  That trend is likely to continue this year, as is the trend for very aggressive Black Friday offerings from various online retailers.  Larger retailers may also have different Black Friday offerings online than they do in their stores.  Not only will online deals be plentiful on Black Friday, but expect to see great online deals during Cyber Monday and Green Monday, as well.

Offering: Televisions

 

Televisions will probably continue to be a popular Black Friday offering.  The trends in televisions involve ever-increasing sizes and ever-decreasing prices, so be on the lookout for excellent deals on huge televisions.  If you are in need of a smaller television, you will probably run into a few good door busters on those, but do not expect door buster-type savings on very large screens.  More advanced televisions like the Curve are not expected to be part of the Black Friday frenzy, simply because they are so new.  Lesser, unbranded televisions will likely offer the best savings.  Door busters rarely involve name-brand products, so be watchful and know what you’re getting.

Offering: Fashion

 

Either online or off, clothing and apparel typically have very good discounts during Black Friday sales.  This trend is also beginning to take hold on Cyber Monday and Green Monday, as well.  These are excellent times to shop around and use any coupons or discounts; you might have to get even bigger savings on Black Friday apparel sales.


Offering: Tablets/e-Readers

 

Tablets and eReaders have been hot items for a couple of years and are expected to be so again this year.  Companies like Amazon and Samsung are likely to offer lower pricing on the Kindle Fire and Galaxy tablets, and some tablets and eReaders will be available for less than $30.  A seven-inch tablet with an Android OS should be available for around $29 on Black Friday.


Early Sales

 

While some retailers have decided not to open on Thanksgiving Day, others are lining up to get their doors open as quickly as possible after the turkey has been eaten.  Macy’s, Kohl’s, Sears and JCPenney are all opening their doors on Thanksgiving evening, while stores like Costco, Lowe’s, Home Depot and Sam’s Club will remain closed until Black Friday.




Will you be shopping on Black Friday this year?

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Wednesday, November 19

My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit

My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com

It has been over a week since I have been back from Orlando and boy did I have lots of fun those few days I was out there!  I enjoyed my time at the Wow Summit conference, my press trips, and I couldn't resist I had to do a little shopping and stop by Downtown Disney.

The reason why I went to this conference although it has nothing to do with my niche, I was invited to go for free, plus it was in Orlando and who can say no to that (Florida is like my second home)!  My goal is to start eating right anyway so this conference was a good way to help me get started.

The conference started on Friday, November 7 starting off with registration and a Poolside Cocktail Party.  I didn't arrive to Orlando until Saturday afternoon and I missed out on a bunch of stuff.

My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com

While at the conference, I mainly went to the workshops since there were some interesting topics I wanted to learn about.  I only caught the ending of one keynote speaker talking about avoiding using anti-bacterial soaps, buy organic products, filter your tap water, and more.

My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com

My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com

My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com



The workshops I visited were:

Label Reading 101- Hosted by: Jess Kolko, Registered Dietician and Senior Research Analyst at Whole Foods Market.


My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com

During this workshop, Jess taught how to decode tricky food labels and find the information we need to know in order to make best choices for my family.

My takeaway from this workshop was I need to start really focusing on the ingredients in my foods.  Even though the packaging say fat free and organic that may not even be the case.  Also, if the first 3 ingredients says any type of sugar avoid eating that product. 

Oh boy....I'm in some serious trouble because I know my foods are filled with sugar.  I'll admit, I do glance at food labels but never really took the information to heart but after this workshop I'll start reading my food labels more and reducing eating out all the time too.

What was a complete shocker was when Jess said to avoid using coconut oil for cooking since it is high in saturated fats- ummm what the heck?  I really thought that coconut oil is good for you.  *Shoulder Shrug* 


How to Protect your Family this Cold and Flu Season- Hosted by FluNada


During this workshop, FluNada uncovered all the details surrounding the dreaded cold and flu season, including how the viruses are spread and the preventive measures to take to protect my family.

I have a confession to make; my family and I have never taken the flu shot and never will.  We all have never caught the flu before and we rarely get sick (knocks on wood), maybe twice a year.  Now, if we feel a cold coming we quickly take a cold medicine and that usually does the trick for us.

The ladies from FluNada said their spray is a homeopathic throat and nasal spray formulated to provide relief from cold and flu-like symptoms naturally without zinc.

The whole time while in this workshop, the ladies from FluNada had people testing out the spray.  I chose not to do it and just sit back and watch.  Seems like one of the FluNada ladies been spraying way too much FluNada in her mouth and nose because she was so giggly and laughing out loud the whole time (don't get high off your own supply lady, LOL)


GMO, OMG!- Hosted by: Nature's Path EnviroKidz


My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com

I got the scoop on genetically modified organisms- what they are, where they are, and how to avoid them.

Did you know that there is about 70% of foods sold in supermarkets contains GMO?  YIKES!  I guess it is better just to grow our own foods then.

We were given a DVD of the award-winning documentary GMO OMG and I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, once I have some down time I will.  I also won a book for twitting about the GMO workshop and I haven't had the time to read that either.






For Bloggers: Build Your Blog with Social Media- Hosted by: Amanda Boyarshinov and Kim Vij, Educational Bloggers


Almost everyone has a Pinterest account, but very few pinners have 1.5 million followers.  Educational bloggers Kim and Amanda shared need-to know tips on how to take your blog to the next level with the help of platforms like Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

I didn't really takeaway much from this workshop since I pretty much knew the information they were providing.  Having beautiful pictures is the key with your blog and on social media and that is why I went out and purchase myself a camera earlier this year which was the best investment I have ever did!  My Pinterest needs a little work and I need to start joining apps like ViralTag to pin my posts throughout the day.  But I did learn that Pinterest is kind of like Facebook and they both like authentic posts that you post yourself, not from using programs that post for you.


When I didn't see any workshops I was interested in I used that time to talk to different brands and go taste testing.  We sure did come out with a lot of samples to bring home.  Our favorite snack was the Thinster's Cookiethins, gluten-free and non-GMO cookies- these cookies are sooooo delicious!  We found ourselves eating the whole bag!

My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com
My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com


I don't drink soda but here is the booth for Zevia Zero Calorie Soda since I have been reading good things about them through other blogger's blogs.

My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com


Suja, is a nutritious certified organic, non-GMO, cold pressured juice/smoothie that is really good!  Taste like it's freshly juiced from a juicer.


My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com

When the conference was concluding Sunday afternoon with a blogger luncheon we didn't stick around although I did sign up for it.  We wanted to enjoy our short time in Orlando.  We got our swag bag, which by the way was filled to the max with goodies!  I feel bad for those who flew by plane because checking that bag in would've cost a pretty penny.

Although my experience with my first conference at Type-A was bad, this conference left me thinking about the foods I'm putting inside my body.  During my time in Orlando I did eat very poorly but the conference did keep crossing my mind and made me feel guilty every bite I took.
 
My Thoughts about the Wow Summit Conference #WowSummit via www.productreviewmom.com

I'm very happy I took this trip to the Wow Summit conference; it gave me a new perspective on ways to live a much healthier life.   I think for now on I need to start stepping outside the box and go to conferences that are not really catered for me so I could learn something new and put it to use.  And hey, I may even start blogging more about healthy living.


Have you ever gone to a healthy living conference before?

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Tuesday, November 18

Christmas Gift Ideas for Teens #HolidayGiftGuide


Christmas Gift Ideas for Teens #HolidayGiftGuide via www.Productreviewmom.com

Post contains Amazon Affiliate links

The anxiety some parents go through when trying to choose a gift their teen will like and appreciate can be downright crippling.  It can take all the fun out of Christmas.  Buying a gift for your teen does not have to be so difficult.  Below are some ideas for teen-friendly Christmas gifts which are sure to please, without breaking your budget.


Great Tech Gift Ideas for Teens

Christmas Gift Ideas for Teens #HolidayGiftGuide via www.productreviewmom.com


Your teen wants all the latest tech gadgets.  If they have an outdated cell phone or other tech device, you cannot go wrong with an upgrade.  Replace that ancient flip phone with a sleek new smartphone and watch their eyes light up on Christmas morning!  A new tablet or laptop can also be a great (although more expensive) tech gift, especially if your teen does not have one of these handy gadgets.  For the teen audiophile, you might consider the latest mp3 player and for an aspiring photographer, perhaps a shiny new digital camera or photo editing software. 


Gift Certificates


Christmas Gift Ideas for Teens #HolidayGiftGuide via www.productreviewmom.com
 
Teens love shopping and they appreciate being able to make their own choices.  If your teen needs clothing, shoes, gaming equipment or just about anything else, there is a gift certificate for that!  Your local mall likely has an option for gift certificates that can be used at any store within the mall; your teen gets a trip to the mall (and what teen doesn’t love that?), and the ability to make choices on how to spend their gift certificate.  The key for giving gift certificates is to ensure that they are for places your teen actually wants to go.


Low-Cost Gifts


If your budget is already stretched to the max, it can be difficult to come up with gifts to please your teen.  Keep in mind that your gift can be as simple as organizing a party (after all, New Year’s is just around the corner).  Giving your teen the freedom of having friends over for a night of fun, especially if that is a rare occurrence in your home, can make a lasting impression and end up being one of the best gifts ever.



What gifts are you considering for your teen this year? 

 

Disclosure- Post contains Amazon Affiliate links, meaning I earn a few coins if you click and make a purchase.
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Monday, November 17

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Coming to Theaters in 2015 #SpongeBobMovie

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Coming to Theaters in 2015  #SpongeBobMovie via www.productreviewmom.com

Who lives in a pineapple under the seas?  SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS!

SpongeBob has a new sea adventure coming to theaters beginning of next year.  My girls loved the first movie and is super excited to see the next featured film.  Here are more details about the movie:


Straight from Bikini Bottom comes SpongeBob, everyone’s favorite overly optimistic and always cheerful sponge, alongside Patrick and the rest of his pals, February 2015 in “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.”



The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water in theaters February 6, 2015

Social Media 




The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Coming to Theaters in 2015  #SpongeBobMovie via www.productreviewmom.com


Make sure to read about our time at the Nick Hotel, home of SpongeBob and Nicktoons!


The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Coming to Theaters in 2015  #SpongeBobMovie via www.productreviewmom.comThe SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water Coming to Theaters in 2015  #SpongeBobMovie via www.productreviewmom.com
 

 

My girls are ready for the SpongeBob Movie, are you?

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Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com
 I was provided media rate stay in exchange for my honest opinions


Nick Nick Nick Nick..Nick Nick Nick......NICKELODEON!


My family and I had a ball staying at the Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, Florida.  Being at this resort sure does bring back a lot of memories of my childhood watching shows like Rugrats, Doug, Wild Thornberries, Double Dare, and good ol' Spongebob!

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

When I found out I was going to review the Nick Hotel during my visit to Orlando I was ecstatic!  I knew my daughters would love this so I kept it a secret from them until we arrived to Orlando for my conference.


Once we got to the Nick Hotel we were greeted by the parking lot security that let us into the property once we gave him our hotel reservation details.  While looking at the hotel from the outside it look so colorful, vibrant, and you see some of the lovable Nicktoons on top of the buildings.

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

When we walked into the lobby, I waited in line for over 15 minutes to check in because there was a family of about 10 in front of me who seems to have problems checking in.  The good thing is there are several games in the gaming area for kids to play with to keep them occupy while waiting.  While standing in line it gave me a chance to gaze around the lobby and snap some photos.

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

When it was my turn to check in the staff member got me checked in quickly, gave me a map of the location of my hotel, our wristbands that we have to wear during our stay, our room key, and we were all set to go to our hotel room.  Valet offered to take our bags to our room but we declined his offer since we had enough hands to carry our own stuff.  We went back into our car and drove around the building to our section where our hotel room would be.  We got all of our belongings and caught the elevator to the 4th floor.


The minute we were on our hotel room floor, first thing we seen were the waterpark!  Kids were having a blast and my girls couldn't wait to get their swimsuits on and join in on the fun!

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our hotel room was facing the waterpark so we had a fantastic view of everything!  We opened the door to our room and what hit us was an old smell and I noticed that the decor is older too.  Our room is in need of some renovation.  I know this is an older hotel because I remember seeing the commercials when I was younger and the decor resembles the 90's to me.  This is something the hotel needs to work on.

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

We had a two bedroom suite and the girls loved having Spongebob as their wallpaper.   They both had their own beds and Mr. M and I had the master suite.

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

We put all of our stuff down and started touring the property.  At the waterpark area there was a live entertainment show going on and kids were getting slimed on stage.  So many smiling faces!


Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.comOur Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com 

We then proceeded to the mall that is located on the property, and inside is a Nicktoons Cafe, arcade room, 4-D Experience Theater, Studio Nick, kid's nail salon, cyber cafe, buffet restaurant, and so much more!

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com


My girls were begging to go to the waterpark so we went back into our room so they could change into their bathing suits.  Once we went into the waterpark it was hard to catch up with them, the girls were all over the place!  The word of Lauren about this waterpark is "AWESOME"!  It took Michelle awhile to go down the slides because it made her nervous but Lauren did them all over and over again!
 
Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

I love the fact that there are lifeguards all over the pool and waterslides area since I do not know how to swim in case something bad happens but I do have Mr. M too just in case.  I also loved that the pool was heated because the weather in Florida was a bit cold.


The big highlight was the bucket of slime that poured all over everyone standing next to the waterslides and Michelle was grossed out from it, LOL!  I thought that was very hilarious!

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com
After the girls swam their little hearts out for a few hours, it was time for us to get ready for some entertainment fun at the Double Dare Live Show!  This use to be my show back in the days with Marc Summers (OMG my age is showing)!  The show had the audience hyped up and everyone was involved with the games- so much fun!

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com



When the show concluded, my family and I took a trip to Downtown Disney since it is just up the freeway from the resort.

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

The next morning, we had a buffet breakfast at the Nicktoons Cafe and got to meet and greet the Ninja Turtles.  My girls were hoping to eat with Spongebob but they still enjoyed meeting the turtles though.  The kids inside the restaurant were filled with joy and excitement!  There were live action entertainment with the turtles and staff members, even the cooks were dancing to the music behind the scenes.  Our food was very delicious, especially our made to order omelets.

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

We finished our breakfast and before we left to hit the road back to Atlanta, Lauren got a butterfly tattoo.

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our stay at the Nick Hotel was very quick and my daughters had the time of their life!  There is never a dull moment at this hotel and there is something to do for the whole family.

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

Our Time at the Nick Hotel and Review #NickHotel via www.productreviewmom.com

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Have you ever stayed at the Nick Hotel?


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