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Friday, August 19, 2016

Legends of Wine at America's Farm To Fork Capital - Sept 16

I received complimentary admission to the event described below to facilitate this post. All opinions however are 100% my own and not influenced by the company or event sponsors depicted. 

There's no such thing as too much wine.........................

That was my opinion, until I attended Legends of Wine at Sacramento's Farm-To-Fork Festival!

Wait, can I take that back?

I stand firm, there's IS no such thing as too much wine!



Could there be a better setting, to sample award winning wine and artisan cheese than the west steps of the California State Capitol Building?

I think not.

The Legends of Wine event is held in conjunction with America's Farm-To-Fork Festival in Sacramento and honestly, I don't think I've been to a more magical wine tasting event.


... and if wine wasn't enough ...

Don't EVEN get me started about the cheese that was out for display, beautiful artisan selections were located throughout the event to pair with wine samplings.





Can someone say, CALIFORNIA CHEESE?

Lots and lots of local California-made cheese.  Stinky cheese, firm cheese, salty and sweet.

They all showed up for Legends of Wine!




The gorgeous cheese wheel shown above from Bravo Farms in the Central Valley, was literally the size of a watermelon.

This firm Silver Mountain Cheddar was perfectly crumbly, and tasted of brown butter and caramel sauce.

Yum.


Beautiful tables (above) set with local farm-to-table produce were abundant at the event, which added to the ambiance.

The outdoor venue, along with the farm-to-table emphasis made me feel like anyone who loves wine and local produce could feel comfortable at this celebration.

However, knowing that the wines and parings were chosen by culinary geniuses, Darrell Corti and David Berkley, I'm confident that even the finest wine connoisseur would enjoy the event.


So, if you've been debating whether or not to attend Sacramento's Legends of Wine, on September 16th this year...debate no longer.

I will leave you with these photos to solidify your choice in saying "YES" to experiencing America's Farm-To-Fork, Legends of Wine celebration this year!




Chocolate. Caramel. Sea Salt.

Need I say more?


Yummy #nongmo french bread was given to us upon arrival. Only issue was that I didn't have anywhere to put my bread and wine glass, so had to juggle them for a bit until I finished the delicious bread.

I think it would have been nice to have a bag or something to put all the swag and extra items in. Other than the juggle, everything tasted delicious and the slight inconvenience was worth it.  




There was lovely piano music being played all evening, which added to the relaxing atmosphere of the Capitol steps, as well as tall bistro style tables which allowed for an easy flow to and from wine and cheese tasting stations.



Brownie.

Meringue.

Pomegranate arils on a spoon? Heck, yeah!


Finally, as the evening continued - being on the steps of the Capitol building as the sun set, with a glass of fantastic wine in hand was pure magic.

If I could suggest an event to attend this year. I'd suggest this one.



(and you can thank me later, heh!)






Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Summer Fairy Garden Party Supplies

I received a promotional item from the company described to facilitate this post.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own and may not reflect that of the company. 

The warm weather is here, and I'm getting ready to throw a Summer Fairy Garden Party!

Doesn't that sound like fun?

Fairy and Gnome Garden - available at www.orientaltrading.com


When spring started to roll around, my 4 and 5 year old, decided to plant a little wildflower garden around the stump of a tree in our front yard.

As the flowers began to bloom, they got the idea of adding little door at the base of the tree, sand dollars for stepping stones and a miniature mailbox for the fairies to receive little letters from friends.



They've had such a fun time checking on their little fairy garden, I thought it would be nice to share the idea with their buddies in a themed playdate this summer.


Fairy Bendables - available at www.orientaltrading.com
 
I plan to invite a few of my daughters' little friends over for a summer picnic and provide them with these little Fairy Bendables (shown above) for their very own fairy gardens at home.

I found some cute decor at Oriental Trading and would love to decorate the backyard patio for this Summer Fairy Garden Party with the following bright, colorful and whimsical summer party decorations:



To start the mood off right, I'd have Mini Star Wands available for each party attendee on the way in (picture: top right) to begin the magic!


The Bright Party Lanterns (picture: bottom left) would look amazing strung from the trees in our backyard. While the patio table would be set with Tropical Floral Centerpieces (picture: top left) and Tropical Folding Fans (picture: bottom right).


If you're planning a summer party, picnic or birthday party, be sure to check out the affordable Summer Party Supplies section at Oriental Trading.  



What summer fun can you have with Oriental Trading?  

 


Sunday, June 19, 2016

My Kids Favorite Treats Are Vegan? #HailMerry #MomsMeet



#momsmeet #hailmerry merrybites vegan glutenfree

Don't these girls look pretty content?

It's because they're holding a stash of tasty award-winning snacks from Hail Merry®.

Shhh...please, don't tell them that they're Certified Vegan, Kosher, Dairy-Free, Grain-Free, Peanut-Free, Gluten-Free and Non-GMO because they taste FULL of fresh yummy goodness! 

#momsmeet #hailmerry merrybites vegan glutenfree tattoo

 ...and I mean who could resist a treat that has a tattoo as rad as this "Non-GMO" Roller Derby girl.  

My girls instantly fell in love with Ms. Non-GMO and had to put on the tattoos right away.  I won't lie I felt pretty awesome sporting mine too!

What's better is that I felt really good about letting my girls snack on these
Merry Bites™ because they don't have highly-refined sugar or flour and include raw plant-based oils that are important for their growing bodies.  


In our home, we don't believe in non-fat foods - unless they're naturally occurring Instead, if you do your research, you'll learn that the body benefits from healthy fats in moderation

The process some companies go through to remove fat, with machines that spin them so fast that their natural structure breaks down and separates, seems so wrong to me. 


#momsmeet #hailmerry merrybites vegan glutenfree


Merry Bites™ are created in a women-owned ((fist bump)) kitchen by dehydrating at a low-temperature. Traditional snack baking at high heats removes much of the beneficial properties of the raw oils and ingredients - which just doesn't make sense, now does it. 

Because of this process, Hail Merry® cookies are totally FRESH, and won't sit on your self for months and be okay - and that's totally okay with me. 

I'd rather have to refrigerate a product, knowing that all the natural occurring health benefits remain intact, than to have a snack that can sit on my shelf for a year because of all the junk preservatives it contains. 

You can find Merry Bites™ in these awesome flavors:
  • Lemon Macaroon
  • Caramel Sea Salt *my favorite*
  • Salted Brownie
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough *my girls favorite* 
  • Pure Vanilla Macaroon and
  • Dark Chocolate Macaroon

#momsmeet #hailmerry merrybites vegan glutenfree

So, while refrigeration is recommended when storing these tasty non-GMO treats, the cookies are best enjoyed at room temperature.

EXPERIMENT
(Cold or Room Temp - trying it two ways)


#1. Straight from the fridge
#2. Leaving it on the counter for 30 minutes before eating


.....................Ugh, the waiting is the hardest part.


RESULTS

#1. The cold, straight-from-the-fridge version was good, but kind of flaky, and primarily the coconut flavor was prominent. Some of the other flavors couldn't break through, and weren't fully developed in my opinion.

#2. When the cookies are left on the counter, and reach room temperature, the coconut oils in the product begin to melt (at 76 degrees), so the Merry Bites™will essentially melt in your mouth. ALL of the flavors come together and really sing, especially in the Caramel Sea Salt!

 
CONCLUSION
 
Set those sweet babies on the dang counter before enjoying!



red, vegan, canister, #momsmeet #hailmerry merrybites vegan glutenfree


If you haven't already stumbled across Hail Merry® products at your local grocery store, you can find out which store near you carries these delicious treats at: http://www.hailmerry.com/where-to-buy

Learn More about Hail Merry®

  • Twitter: @hailmerrysnacks
  • Instagram: instagram.com/hailmerrysnacks
  • Facebook: facebook.com/hailmerry 
 

#momsmeet #hailmerry merrybites vegan glutenfree, mckinneymommas

Not a joke.

The girls just got themselves into this peaceful, loving embrace after I let them taste the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Merry Bites.

Maybe because they were made using Fair Trade Certified dark cocoa, they're feeling the world love.

Or, maybe just because they're my weird little kids.  




I received product for free from Moms Meet, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my honest opinion on my blog. The opinions posted here are my own.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Stress "Less" Father's Day With Trudeau

I was given complimentary products to facilitate this review post.  All opinions are 100% my own and may not reflect that of the company described. 


Fancy loose-leaf teas, a travel tea tumbler and tea maker might make you think this is a post about the Mother's Day gift I received.

It's not.

This is what my husband wants to receive for Father's Day!

He is one of those strange ones who sticks his nose up to coffee, and instead would prefer a loose-leaf oolong or earl grey tea. 

Father's day gift, loose leaf tea, mckinneymommas

My hubby has a pretty strict routine for preparing his tea.  

The water has to be set at the correct temperature, depending on the type of tea (green, black, oolong, etc) so as not to scorch the tea, and the timer set for just the right brewing duration.


Tea bags? What's that!
(he calls it "tea dust")


All this to say, that his tea brewing equipment needs to work well for him to give his "thumbs up" approval and the Trudeau Tea Maker and Tea Tumbler got TWO thumbs up - (I couldn't wait until Father's Day to give it to him)


Loose leaf tea basket, mckinneymommas


The stainless steel basket insert is perfectly constructed to handle your finest loose-leaf teas - unlike some other tea makers we've tried that's holes are so large little bits of tea leaves will be floating in your cup - NO Thanks!

Another one of his usual complains about teaware, is that many brew barely a small 6oz. cup of tea, which is too quickly enjoyed. 

The Trudeau Tea Maker boasts a full 20 oz. so you can have a cup and share one with your partner! 


Enjoy freshly brewed tea with your partner!


If I'm nice and buy him some new oolong, he promised to make me a cup, here's to hoping!

Tea maker, loose leaf tea, tea tumbler

 
So, the trial run worked out great. Perfectly brewed loose-leaf tea in a super easy to clean tea maker (only a few parts that come out easily and a quick handwash to clean). 

I love that the heat resistant canister allows you to see the beautiful color of your tea which adds to the relaxing experience of drinking tea. 


oolong tea, loose leaf tea,
 


I don't have any photos of the Tea Tumbler in actual use, because my husband quickly snatched it up, took it to his work and has been using it since. 

His report however, is that it works great with is loose-leaf stash of tea at work and the insert is large enough that the tea leaves have room to unfurl and reach their full brewing potential. 

Yayyy!



 


So, you're thinking how can you find out more about these awesome tea brewing products?

Well, check out Trudeau's website here, or follow them on their social media outlets below to find out more! 


Signing off now, I'm off to brew MY favorite loose leaf tea - Jasmine Oolong in my husband's new Tea Brewer - shhhhhhhhh, don't tell him!



 


 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Healthy Lunch Choices For An Active LIfestyle

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


I really wish there was a drive-thru sushi restaurant, or vegetarian wrap to-go establishment somewhere on my route from home to my daughter's preschool, library, T-ball practice, playdates, gym, instead of the standard burger joint.

With three daughters under the age of six, there is little time for cold-pressing our own juice, or milking a cow for raw milk, or picking our own blueberries for their antioxidant power.  

It's just not realistic.

#elevatesalads #shop #socialfabric #socialbias


With a little planning ahead, a healthier eating pattern for us moms and dads who are constantly on the go, is actually achievable. 

I've started slow, but am actually doing it - and have toned up and lost pounds by following a few of these simple steps, which started by exploring all the elevĀte salad options at Costco.


Step 1Pack Your Lunch The Night Before


This may seem like a no-brainer, but when I start my morning running, because my youngest - 2 years old - woke up with wet sheets, and I forgot I had to finish drying my 5yr old's Tball uniform for her game today, and then missed the email that it's "Crazy Hair Day" at preschool in one hour = no healthy lunch today!

This is precisely why we end up going through the fast food drive-thru between picking up my daughter from preschool and taking her to the library, then TBall practice - I didn't plan ahead. 


#elevatesalads #shop #socialfabric #socialbias



A simple salad, like the one above can be packed in a lunch bag with an ice pack and will stay fresh for hours. 

You know, not just any salad from the grocery store will provide you with the protein and carbohydrates you need to stay going all day.  

Many of the cheap brands are filled with....well fillers, and super fatty and sugary salad dressings. So, please read the label.



Step 2. Find Healthy Lunch Options At Costco


I, recently found a great option for a super convenient, healthy lunch on the go at Costco - elevĀte salads - perfect for when I don't have time to chop, slice, bottle and seal my lunch!

#elevatesalads #shop #socialfabric #socialbias Costco


Why did I choose elevĀte?

Here are my reasons for grabbing a ReadyPac elevĀte off the shelf:
  • Non-GMO
  • 8 Ready-To-Eat Salad Options - including fully recyclable packaging and soy based ink printing
  • Lots of antioxidant / superfood rich ingredients
  • High in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids
  • IT-HAS-IT'S-OWN-FORK!
  • Only $3.24 per serving is an affordable lunch in my book! 

...and it honestly tastes great, like, fancy restaurant yummy! 

#elevatesalads #shop #socialfabric #socialbias

If you're like me, Costco can often seem daunting in it's organization of where they put and move items.

However, each time I've been to shop, the elevĀte salads are always in the same area. Go to the back of Costco, across from the Deli in the refrigerated aisle (pictured above)...near the cheese and meat section.  

Easy-peasy.  Now the only thing you have to decide is....

Nutty Cranberry or Spinach Pow!



 Step 3. Get The Kids On Board


My girls are great at eating samples helping me shop, but when it came to choosing a salad they just said "whatever one you want, mama" - and off they went to run the shopping cart down the aisle like Danica Patrick wannabes.


When I re-directed them back to the two salad options, they did end up choosing the pretty shiny cranberry option, aka. Nutty Cranberry - and I'm glad they did.
 
#elevatesalads #shop #socialfabric #socialbias, Costco






It's so important to talk to your kiddos about healthy food options, starting at an early age, and why certain foods are better than others in a way they can understand.

So, we talk to our girls about foods that have protein to help build big, strong muscles and carbohydrates to give the girls energy to play


I will say that my 2 year old was the biggest fan of this salad.... and there is proof for once: 




The Bookend: "Where you get that from, mommy?"

Me: "I got it from Costco"

The Bookend: "I LIKE THAT!"

Isn't she cute?
 

Step 4. Enjoy Healthy Food On-The-Go


We heard that a local art museum, was opening it's doors in Sacramento for a family-fun day last weekend, and since we hadn't visited before we figured this was the best chance to go on the cheap!

I packed the kids a lunch, since it was the end of the month, and we didn't have extra money to spend on a lunch out.

Hey! Score! I had two elevĀte salads left from our Costco run, so packed those for me and daddy. 

#elevatesalads #shop #socialfabric #socialbias Costco, Sacramento



We had an amazing family experience at the art museum, plus had a picnic lunch which cost us next to nothing and saved about $45 bucks, which is what we would have spent at the museum cafe for 5 of us!

Sweet! 

So, follow my lead and start planning ahead and packing meals, because I promise you...anything from your pantry or fridge is probably better for you than a fast-food burger is.


#elevatesalads #shop #socialfabric #socialbias, Costco,
  
Tell me now, how could you argue with this little face who loves this salad and keeps telling me it's her favorite!

Hurry, someone, tell me where to hide my salads, so she won't eat them all!


To learn more about elevĀte salads, follow along at:


 

...and I'll meet you there - where yummy meets convenience! 



Do you have any tips or tricks for eating healthy when you're on the go with an active lifestyle? 

Please, share them with me in a comment below! 
 
 

 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Which Detergent Works on 100 Different Stains? #PurexPlusClorox2 + #Giveaway

The Purex® brand provided me with a sample of Purex® plus Clorox 2® detergent in exchange for a product review. However all the opinions expressed here are my own.

Okay, I think I'm pretty sure I begin 99% of my posts with:


"Because I have three little girls under age of 5....."

You may tire of hearing it, but the majority of my life experiences right now center around something having to do with my three little tater tots, so that's what I write about. 


Can you guess what one of the things I spend the most time on currently is?

That's right, laundry!  With three little girls (there I go again...) that enjoy multiple wardrobe changes in a mere hour, and refuse to wear aprons or bibs, you can imagine how much laundry we go through.

So, we need detergent that works...and works the first time because in California with our water shortages, we can't afford multiple rinses!


stain fighting color safe bleach


Have you ever used a laundry detergent that might as well have just been water, because it did absolutely nothing to clean your clothing?

Or, the opposite?  A laundry detergent that was so harsh, it turned your colors three shades lighter and added a year's worth of wear in just one wash?

I have.

Purex® plus Clorox 2® is not one of those, and I'll show you just what I mean.


stain fighting clorox 2 colorsafe before after



Not 30 minutes after I received a sample of this Purex plus Clorox 2, stain fighting detergent, my 3 year old dropped her hot dog, yes, doused in ketchup, down the front of her shirt - no kidding. 

So, I put the detergent to the test, took some photos of the BEFORE (above) and threw it in the laundry to see if these color safe stain fighters really worked. 



As you can see, the ketchup stain was lifted off completely!

I was very excited to see how well the Purex plus Clorox 2 worked, without soaking or scrubbing or bleaching.

Want more? I've got more!

cherry stain, detergent, colorsafe laundry detergent
Now, the pretty little pineapple shirt above, was brand new, and somehow my 2 year old got to the cherries from the Farmer's Market before I could grab her and completely stained the front of her tank top.

I honestly thought there was no way cherry stains would come out - but
Purex plus Clorox 2 totally worked on the cherry stains like they were a piece of cake. 



The BEFORE/AFTER photos were taken in two areas of the house, so there is some lighting differences - however again the detergent worked really well on this colored shirt and only lifted the actual cherry stain. 



Be sure to check back with me next week to see how well Purex plus Clorox 2 did at tackling waffle, syrup and fried chicken grease off this red shirt my toddler is wearing! 

Oh, and if you'd like a chance to try out the Purex plus Clorox 2 detergent on your family's clothes enter to win a bottle below!  

Happy Stain Fighting, to YOU!


~ GIVEAWAY ~
Prize: 1 Bottle of Purex plus Clorox2 (3 winners will be chosen)
  • Only 1 mandatory entry
  • ends June 24th, 2016 at 11:59pm
  • US Resident, 18+ ONLY


a Rafflecopter giveaway