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Thursday, May 9, 2019

What Your Mother Really Wants for Mother's Day!

 I was not paid for this post, however I did receive a complimentary item for purposes of reviewing from the company described below. AS always, all opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by the company described.

summer, sunflower fields

Wow, how is it Mother's Day already...AGAIN.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, it DOES happen every year, right?

Well, it's always hard for me to think of what gifts my mother and mother-in-law would like to receive for Mother's Day. Heck, it's hard for me to think of what I want to receive for Mother's day.

I finally found something, both I would love to receive, and I think my mother-in-law would also enjoy. 

 For me, gardening is a calm time where I can reflect and connect with the earth.  I think it's an awesome way to relax and meditate and I know my mother-in-law thinks the same.

This New Gardening Gift Basket contains everything your awesome hard, working mother (or mom friend) needs for helping her get her garden in order, while spoiling her with some special treats at the same time. 

Really nice, name brand gardening tools are included along with delicious snacks like crisp cookies, and trail mix to keep you energized while you're outside enjoying the fresh air, and dirt under your nails. Ha, ha. 

To find this gift basket or more gifts your mom or a mom in your life would love to receive, follow this link: Gourmet Gift Baskets

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

I Didn't Have Time For Lunch...until #AlphaBurritos

I received a complimentary sample of this product from Moms Meet ( to facilitate this review. All opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by the company described below.

I feel like most of my blog posts begin with, "as a busy mother of three young children".

Probably because most of the things I write about really do revolve around the fact that:
  1. I have three children - 18 months apart and 21 months apart - which is a recipe for an insta-busy life
  2. I like to find products that work to help me manage my chaotic busy lifestyle

vegetarian, vegan, non gmo, walmart, moms meet

It's true that I'm often talking to mothers about needing to take time to eat healthy meals in order to keep their energy up to deal with the demands of motherhood.

However, I often forget my own advice and forget to eat lunch as I'm hurriedly throwing food at my three minions.  

"More apples, MOM!"     
 "More peanut butter and jelly, MOM" 

After discovering Alpha Burritos, I realized that I almost always have an extra 80 seconds that it takes to heat up this burrito!

#EverydayBurritos, #AlphaBurritos, avocado, cilantro, moms meet

Did I mention that Alpha Burritos are 100% plant based?  As in, no animal products!

More and more research coming out lately, has made my family attempt to shift to more vegetarian meals and eliminate meat where and when we can.  We are not vegan or vegetarian, but are simply trying to be healthier with less meat in our diets.

vegan, plant based, veggie burrito, no GMO, vegetarian, moms meet

Alpha Burritos come in four flavors:
  • Mexicali
  • Philly Sandwich
  • Chick'n Fajita
  • Pizza
Interestingly enough I think my favorite flavor was the Philly Sandwich - which is surprising since I'm really into mexican flavors typically.

My girls also took a bite of each and asked for more and "my own, please?" of the Philly Sandwich. 

So, I guess that takes the argument off the table that kids don't like "veggie burritos". 

Here are some reasons I liked #AlphaBurritos:
  • 11 grams of protein in every burrito!
  • No GMOs
  • No Cholesterol
  • No corn syrup
  • No artificial preservatives 
  • Zero animal products
  • Only 80 seconds to heat in the microwave 

vegan, veggie burrito, plant based, healthy, moms meet

You can find Alpha Burritos at your local Walmart! How convenient is that?

To find your closest location, visit:

Mexicali, Pizza, vegan, veggie burrito, healthy food, moms meet

Join The Movement! 

Friday, March 16, 2018

National Artichoke Day - A Holiday For Every Day!

Nerd Alert, Nerd Alert!  Did you know that today is National Artichoke Day?

Yes, I have been known to frequent websites that list crazy holidays or National celebrations that you've probably never heard

  • National Kissing Day
  • National Lemonade Day  
  • National Cheese Lovers Day

I'll bet you've never heard of those, right?  In fact, that's one of the ways I began to find content for my blog, when I started writing 7 years ago.  

It was a fun way to find themed products - National Cheese Lovers Day meant I got some cool swag from a cheese company and had fun sampling and posting about it. 

I used to find these crazy holidays from a few different websites, but I'm excited to share that I'm partnering with this cool viral holiday website  National Today [] where all the holidays are right at my fingertips and I can find a reason to celebrate silly things all year long! 

Stay tuned and keep an eye out for these fun and interesting national holidays that you've never heard of!

Here are a few fun ones to wet your whistle for the month of March:

International Day of Forests (Mar. 21) 
Forests are the lungs of our earth! 

National Puppy Day (Mar. 23)
We all deserve a puppy (or five).

Red Nose Day (Mar. 24)

This holiday is huge in the U.K. — it’s comedy relief for charity!


Friday, January 19, 2018

Tasting My Way Through Yolo County - Taste of Yolo

I was not paid for this blog post, however I did receive a complimentary admission to the event to facilitate this article.

Join me on my exciting adventure at Taste of Yolo, won't you?

Hemly Cider, capay organic, capay valley, farmers market, mckinneymommas

It may not be the largest foodie event in California, but Yolo County can sure put on a spread.  

I was excited to attend this food and wine event at Central Park in #Davis, where surrounding wineries, farms and restaurants brought out their best products to sample and share with the community. 

All attendees received a nice, reusable bag to carry swag, pamphlets, and also included a beautiful wine glass, just the right size for tasting samples throughout the park. 

There was a detailed map inside of the swag bag, which made it easy to find your favorite farms, restaurants and wineries - all categorized by region. The Yolo County areas included:

  • Capay Valley
  • Clarksburg
  • Davis
  • West Sacramento
  • Winters and
  • Woodland

The closest "region" to the main entrance was Clarksburg, so I made that be my first stop. Hemly Cider caught my eye with it's chalkboard sign advertising samples of Jalapeno Pear Cider. 

Now, I'm not a fan of sweet ciders, but love to try any new funky combo so I requested a pour. This was a pretty fun, unfiltered, cider, just the right amount of spice and not too sweet. Did I mention that the only ciders Hemly makes are from the pears grown on their 165 year old estate?  

The only thing I love more than a good cider, is one with some history - and this one was both!

Hemly Cider, jalapeno pear cider, davis, mckinney mommas,

The next stop in the Clarksburg section was Séka Hills at The Old Sugar Mill  - with a fantastic Rose of Syrah - very nice people and lovely wines, a perfect compliment to the warm weather we were enjoying. 

Seka Hills, rose of syrah, mckinney mommas, davis, wine

After a few samples of wine, I figured I should stop to take a bite of something to balance out the delicious vino.  So, I found my way to the Winters section, where there was a crazy intense buzzing around an empty table of food. 

I figured there was a reason people were still hanging around, so I also waited, and caught the re-fill in progress in the video below.

I might have a had to wait another round to get my sample - but it was 

OH, so worth it! 

The Buckhorn Steakhouse put out a perfectly balanced Farmers Market Crostini, built on a grilled kalamata olive baguette, a smear of fresh farmers market cheese, and topped with a fork-tender tri-tip and finished with a tangy chimichurri sauce.

buckhorn steakhouse, appetizer, tri tip, mckinneymommas, davis, chimichurri

I'm going to have to plan a trip to Winters very soon to check out the Buckhorn Steakhouse in person! If this sample was an indicator of their offerings - I'm going to be a very pleased eater indeed! 

The DIY stage had a nice lineup of Chef demonstrations, of which I was only able to catch one. Stazi Dulman from Nugget Markets put on a very informative and delicious presentation on pickling spring vegetables.

The lineup for the DIY Stage was:
  • Ann Evans - author of Davis Farms Market Cookbook - canning apricot jam and pickled onions
  • Stazi Dulman - Chef at Nugget Market - pickling spring vegetables
  • Kevin O'Connor - Chef at Cobram Estate - olive oil demo
  • Hannah Muller - Full Belly Farm - making bouquets with spring flowers

The Black Bicycle Farm drew me to their booth with the lovely aroma of fresh lavender of which they were giving sample bouquets (that kept my swag bag smelling very sweet) and some very cool stickers. 

I had never heard of this farm, in my very own town of Davis before, which is why I love events like this. They apparently have estate grown olive oil for sale, and will be opening a tasting room for their vineyard grown wines in June 2018. 

I can't wait to visit their Vineyard.

simas family, capay valley, capay valley vineywards, sparkling tempranillo, mckinneymommas

About half way through the event, I began to wander around sniffing out booths that looked interesting and made my way to a few tastings and samples which I enjoyed, not region specific (photo above):
  • Capay Valley Vineyards - the sweetest family owns this vineyard - likely it will be Tom or Pam (owners since 1998) pouring you a taste of their amazingly refreshing Sparkling Tempranillo - yes, I will have another pour, thank you!
  • Nugget Markets put out a cooling and very richly flavored Cilantro Gazpacho sample, of which I wouldn't have minded taking a whole bowl home!
  • Taber Ranch Vineyard pouring samples, looked like a beautiful place for weddings, and other events in Capay Valley. 

Chef Ryan Scott, top chef, davis, central park, foodie

Next stop, time to give my feet a break and sit down for a demonstration on the Nugget Stage. 

I was pleasantly surprised to see veteran Top Chef (2007) Ryan Scott doing a cooking demo, in which he included many guests in the audience, that got to participate in crazy shenanigans - each of them loving every second of it. 

I found out that Chef Scott is a frequent guest on the Rachael Ray show, and after meeting him, I was happy to find he was was quite down to earth. He was very happy to pose for photos and sign autographs for young fans (pictured above). 

Heck, he even took a #selfie with me which was a fun memory! 

Maria's Cantina, woodland, taste of yolo, morgans on main, savory cafe

After an entertaining demo at the Nugget Stage, I made my way to the Woodland section, where I found some super tasty bites (pictured above).

Maria's Cantina was serving up an Elote Salad - if I was being picky it was slightly thick and the cheese tasted like cheddar instead of a more traditional cotija or similar.  I think of Elote as more tangy and spicy. Either way, it was a welcomed bite served with a dried plantain chip.

Morgan's on Main was serving a beautiful Strawberry Lemon Cream Tart - a very nice treat.

Finally, Savory Cafe was working hard to get all their Belgian endive filled with hummus, olive tapenade tapenade, red pepper and a micro greens topping.  It was a eye catching presentation with the two colors of endive, and despite being not extremely experimental - all flavors and portions were executed perfectly to create one very nicely balanced bite!

craft beer, honey blonde hibiscus, ipa, davis, UCDavis

After my belly was full, I kept seeing people walking around with this pink/peach looking drink that looked tasty. I got up the courage to ask a fellow what it was so I could try it myself. 

Found out it was a Hibiscus Honey Blonde from Three Mile Brewing (Davis) - a relatively new brewery in Davis, CA. Made with local honey and dried hibiscus flowers, this unique pink brew was just what I was looking for on a warm summer day.

Three Mile Brewing gets mad points for making this pink ale not too sweet - even though the color would indicate otherwise. I'm not into sweet brews!

mckinneymommas, woodland, craft beer, blue note brewing

As I walked up to Blue Note Brewing, I remembered a friend of mine asked me to meet her there a few months back for a beer and some live music. I wasn't able to, and after tasting their Hopamine Mosaic Pale Ale, I regretted not making the trip.

Woodland is only a 15 minute drive from Davis, and the downtown area is really starting to get exciting with new restaurants and breweries. Blue Note is no exception, a family friendly spot with picnic tables inside and room to hang out with the whole family while sampling unique craft beer. 

I think I'll go this weekend and check it out.

I have a lot more photos of booths, pours, bites and fun at Taste of Yolo, but I don't want to overwhelm you. So, I'll leave you with this fun clip I took of the main man at Berryessa Gap Winery pouring his selections through a crazy cool elephant spout!

Trust me. 

You won't be disappointed if you meet me at Taste of Yolo this year! 

(Taste of Yolo 2018 date to be announced!)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

California H2O School Challenge - deadline 1/31/18

This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own and may not reflect those of the companies described.

I grew up in Southern California, but never thought much about water conservation as a kid - maybe it wasn't such a big deal back then.  

However, when I moved out of state for 12 years and back just a few years ago I could feel the serious need for myself as a Californian to conserve water.

When I bought my first house, a few years ago, I found myself filling a tub of water to wash dishes instead of running the faucet like I used to for each dish.  Also, we as a household decided to..... "if it's yellow, let it mellow". Yes, gross, I know, but a water saving option.
I often take the water I used to blanch broccoli or cook pasta and use it to water the plants once it's cooled.  I'm always thinking about water now as a Californian - because it's important.

Important for me and most importantly, my children's future given the current state of California's drought. 

Luckily, there are programs that are helping our children to learn about being water-wise and actually be awarded for creating new ways for conserving our precious water in California. 

Photo courtesy of

Cal Water H2O Challenge’s Classroom Challenge 

There's still time to enter (January 31st, 2018 is the last entry date) for your school or classroom, grades 4-6 to come up with a project - with teacher direction - to explore how water is a global and local resource, and attempt to preserve water in your community. 

A great resource, if you, or your teacher is interested in finding great lesson plans, or participating in the challenge, can be found at:

The most important prize is saving water for generations to come - but in this challenge - kids can also win some awesome prizes:

Grand Prize
Class Celebration: Classroom tent-camping trip to the Santa Monica Mountains with NatureBridge
Class Funding: $3,500 grant

Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student

2nd Place
Class Celebration: A Pizza Party
Class Funding: $2,500 grant
Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student

3rd Place
Class Funding: $2,000 grant
Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student

4th Place
Class Funding: $1,000 grant
Extras: Cal Water prize packs for every student

All Participant Prizes:
Student Recognition: A certificate of participation for every student
Teacher Recognition: A teacher certificate Teacher Gift: An AMEX gift card 

To learn more about the Cal Water H2O challenge, access the resource center, and read the FAQ section, please visit:

Thursday, September 28, 2017

5 Better Breakfast Tips For Kids!

I was not paid for this post, just passing along information I found to be helpful myself :-)
Well, I'm a little late to the game since September is "National Better Breakfast Month" and there are only a few days left in the month...

However, we shouldn't stop eating healthy just because it's almost October, right? Right.

I often struggle getting my three kids out the door for school in the morning, making sure they've had a healthy breakfast before the bell rings.  I came across some great reminders written by Barbara’s & Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, nutrition expert, mom of 3 and best-selling author of Eating in Color, and thought I'd share them with you. 

  1. Breakfast Time over Screen Time – Mornings are hectic, especially at the beginning of the school year, before everyone has settled into their schedules. Make it clear to your kids that breakfast time needs to come before they turn on the TV or play with their phone.
  2. Better Breakfasts – Barbara’s Breakfast Survey revealed that juice and cereal are the most common breakfast foods on school days: 71% of children drink fruit juice and 95% of children eat cereal. Clearly, kids love juice and cereal but you can still help them make better choices. For example, 100% fruit juice rather than “drinks” or “blends” and lower sugar cereals like Barbara’s Puffins, which are also packed with whole grains.
  3. Add Color!  Studies show that kids like food that’s colorful, so take the opportunity to fit in an extra serving of antioxidant and vitamin C-rich fruit--and tempt their taste buds--by offering brightly colored berries, diced apple and melon, or sliced grapes and kiwi fruit on the breakfast table.
  4. Streamline Set Up – Having a sit-down breakfast is much more doable if you do a little prep in advance. Set up the breakfast table the night before: Clear clutter, and set out bowls, spoons, and napkins. Then all you need to do in the morning is serve the food!
  5. Always Have Backup! – There are some days when you just have to grab and go! Being prepared with a healthy back up option is smart. I like to make extra whole grain pancakes on the weekend and freeze them for a rainy day.

As much as I would love to cook them a hot breakfast each morning, it's just not happening every day so cereal is our easiest breakfast meal.  My girls' favorite Barbara's cereal has been Cinnamon Puffins.

What's your kiddo's favorite breakfast cereal?  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Problem With Picky Eaters? #DailySunshine Shakes To The Rescue

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

Luckily, I was blessed with children who aren't picky eaters.  

My problem is that I can't keep up with the quantity of food they seem to need to ingest, to fill their giant sized tiny bellies.

I swear 10 minutes after they finish lunch, they ask me for a snack. Not a joke. Sometimes I feel like I should just live in the kitchen because chances are, in 10 minutes one of my three girls will be requesting another snack.

#Beachbody, #beachbodyondemand, #shakeology, #DailySunshine

Since they never stop eating, it's important to me that I'm feeding them food that fuels their body and provides essential nutrients - not just empty calories.

Now, I had heard of #Beachbody, Shakeology and #BeachbodyOnDemand before, but what does this have to do with nutritional snacks for kids?
Turns out, they have a yummy smoothie blend called #DailySunshine that is a fruit and veggie shake blend containing healthy fats and plant based protein. 

#Beachbody, #beachbodyondemand, #shakeology, #DailySunshine

The question though, is of course, "will my kid drink it".............

Often, I find a snack with a good source of protein and vitamins, but my kids just won't like it.  

All three of my kiddos tried Daily Sunshine, and asked for more...

which I take as a good sign! In fact, I may have snuck a few shakes myself when I was feeling like something sweet in the afternoon, but didn't want to make a bad snacking choice. 

One of my favorite things about these shakes are that they blended up really easily, without being lumpy.  One of my complaints about another whey protein powder I use is that unless you use a blender, there will be lumps (yuck).  The Daily Sunshine packets, easily blend in a shaker cup with just 8 ounces of water or milk. 

My daughter also had fun adding her own extras to the shake, blending up frozen blueberries, peaches and chia seeds for an antioxidant punch.  

Benefits of Daily Sunshine
  • One packet is equivalent to 1 FULL serving of fruits and veggies
  • Made with organic fruits and vegetables
  • Made with organic pea protein (10 grams of protein per packet)
  • Healthy fats - ALA omega-3 fatty acids
  • Contains fiber and probiotics to support healthy digestion

After experimenting with adding our own ingredients, as well as blending with ice, and simply shaking in the shaker cup - I'd definitely purchase these shake packets for my kids.

All three of my kids (6, 5 and 3) loved the taste of both the Strawberry Banana and also the Chocolate Daily Sunshine, for a healthy snack after Tball practice, school, and weekend errands. 

To find out more about this nutritional shake for kids, or to purchase, visit: