Friday, September 13, 2013

7 Things to Love About Summer #1 | Learning Awesome New Things

As summer winds down,
most folks think of fall as the time of year for learning.

I loved going back to school
And it wasn't just because of the new schools and supplies.

I was totally that nerd.
Right on up through college.
Yep, that ivory (or is it ivy?) tower
was my existence.

At Cornell, I started off as a genetics major.
So it was with a squeal and a plea like no other
that I begged for the Clever Girls Network to choose me
for a 23andMe campaign to pry open and peek at my genetic code.

That sounds kinda scary right?
Well, it wasn't at all.

They send you this super cute #23andmeDNAkit.

You send them some spit.
In return, you get some really interesting personal information.
And, if you elect to do so, you can start getting messages from long lost relatives
who want to get back in touch.


Some of you know that this past February, we lost our daughter Sunshine.

During our first trimester, we did a standard Triple Screen. It consisted of a general genetic history make up, an ultrasound and some basic blood tests to tell us the probability of Sunshine having a genetically inherited condition. While there are some things they can rule out based on me and my husband not having conditions, other things due to chromosomal irregularities were a bit harder to rule out completely.
That's when I first became obsessed with genetic testing.
And wanting access to more of it.
Without it costing a billion and two dollars.
(Interesting note, when 23andMe first started, they charged $1000 for the tests)

Because of our Sunshine experience with the medical realm of genetic testing,
it was pretty easy for me to understand the 23andMe process of giving you very user friendly data about your likelihood of devolving certain conditions related to your carrier status of certain genes.
Basically, your genetic code can account for a lot of who you are, but it isn't everything.

Also, genetic testing is still so relatively new that there are only so many things you can even test for. 23andMe has a pretty comprehensive set of 240 pretty common health reports that they base your genetic findings on.

What I loved beyond the medical information was that with a quarter million members, 23andMe is the largest DNA-based ancestry service worldwide.

At $99 per person,
you can join in and have 23andMe fun with genetic ancestor

There was a time when I was obsessed with genetic testing.
Between potential blood clotting disorders and recurrent pregnancy loss issues, there are more and more options for testing available on the market. While medical testing should always include conversations with your doctor, what I loved about 23andMe is that it is plastered all over the fertility boards as an easy, accessible, first step for genetic testing.

Because you actually use saliva for the testing, you don't have to find someone to draw your blood and so you get access to lots of tests at a super reasonable price.

Also, the website itself and the results are in super user friendly format.
There are great forums to get help if you don't understand the concept of probability (ie, the probability that you will get diabetes based on your genes vs the definitive answer as to whether or not you actually have diabetes) and the ancestor fun making...that is going to make my fall.

So what say you?
Are you interested to know more about who you are and where you come from?
Is $99 an accessible enough entry point for you to dive in and get some genetic answers?
Check out what other folks are learning
with their #23andmeDNAkit on Twitter and Facebook.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective
and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

More super simple meals with #manwich

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Manwich for SocialSpark.
All opinions are 100% mine.

The other night, I got home super late.
I needed to cook, I needed to walk the puppy, I needed to harvest my fields in HayDay!

I'm just saying ya'll.

As we wind down through my list of favorite things about summer,
I felt like I needed to share more super easy family meals love.

Oh I missed you. 
That is, until fall chili making rolled into my kitchen.

Cue the 

I'm not even going to lie.

Growing up, my most FAVORITE meal of all times
was when my mom made sloppy joes with #Manwich.
Of course, back then, it was all about the original flavor.


My love affair with salad (and, really, homemade dressing)
began with the salads that my mom would make with our sloppy joes.

As I grew up, my meals started to consist of stuff that I "canned" myself

And the meals looked yummy like this

And then, I got some ideas going when I got two whole new flavors of #Manwich.

True, there are lots of Manwich Recipes that you can try out.

I've done turkey versions of sloppy joes and tofu versions too.

But now, I want to try some chili with the Bold and Thick & Chunky versions.

Ready to see how that turns out? Me too!

Check out these cool Manwich TV Ads
and let me know how excited you are to try some #manwich yourself.

Stalk Instagram for photos of the #manwich chili.

Who knows.
Maybe some version of #manwich spaghetti sauce will grace the summer harvest.

Friday, August 9, 2013

7 Things to Love About Summer | #2 Super Simple Family Dinners with Kraft Recipe Makers

The summer is just totally clicking by around these parts.
How about for you?

So we've examined 5 things
that I love about summer

And we all know that "love"
and "heat" do not go in the same sentence for me.

I love  coming and going places,
seeing awesome movies,
indulging in favorite childhood memory lane treats,
(and pondering what other ways I'm connected to my arthritic grandmother)
of course,
being the hostest with the mostest.

Now it is time for
the two things I love most
about summer.

Which is saying a whole lot
since I have already covered gardening
and canning parties.

Up here in the land of
not quite midnight sun
(although it's still bright enough
to walk my dog
at 10:30 pm on some summer nights),
there just feels like there is more time
to do things
like cook my family a meal.

And because we all want to be outside
in the sun
for the 17 days that it shows up around these parts
I like my meal prep to be super quick and easy.

This is where
saves my day.

kraft, recipe, chicken, sweet and sour, B3HD

This time of year,
there is a ton of produce
sprouting in my own backyard.

Those of ya'll who know quirky old me in real life
know that I don't do fresh chicken.

But throw some chicken nuggets my way

kraft, homegrown, recipe, chicken, nuggets, carrots, pepper, sweet and sour

and my own carrots and bell pepper

simmer, sauce, kraft, recipe, B3HD, veggies, homegrown

and I am just saying
that me and that Kraft Recipe Makers simmer sauce
may just be new best friends.
Let's not even talk about that too tasty
to be legal finishing sauce.

I just followed the tip on the back of the box
and satiated the meat eaters in the house
and made this with chicken nuggets
(they say breaded tenders...I say nuggets...even easier).

Tomorrow will just have to stay tuned
for THAT trick up my sleeve.

After this super simple summer family meal
thanks to Kraft Recipe Makers
I got right back out in the garden.
There was a harvest to be had after all.

And peaches to can.

Though I just threw together the back of box option
with some substitutions
(they suggest pineapple and red onion in their recipe,
I just used super sweet bell peppers and carrots in mine),
there are actually three prep options that each Kraft Recipe Maker comes with.

to toss together really quickly.

I specifically chose the sweet and sour chicken version
because I knew I would be able to make tomorrow's gig
out of something designed for chicken.

But there are actually 7 different varieties of Kraft Recipe Makers.
Each one comes with two savory sauces
(although I would say my finishing sauce for sweet and sour chicken was perfectly sweet)
there's a little something for everyone.

These technically will feed five.
Since it is just me and my better half
(and the puppy who would eat a whole plate of whatever if we let her)
I had enough simmer sauce and finishing sauce left over
to go at it again tomorrow night.

And that is after two hefty servings tonight.
Love. That!

Head on out to Safeway
and find your Kraft Recipe Maker over by the meat aisle.
I know.

Fake out for the veggie lovers in my life.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

After the Party, there was an After Party and...

...well, yeah.

While my #3 fave thing about summer
entails being the hostess with the mostest,
I gotta admit that I detest cleaning up.

If you've been following along on Instagram,
you know we have been having the jam up at my place.
And by "jam" I really mean jam.
As in we had ourselves a little canning party!

Just so you know, there is absolutely
about a canning party.

In between soaking greens in fortybajillion rinses of "fresh water"
and trying to keep a good lookout for #CleanHands,
the bathroom got OVERTIME
handwashing duty.

Though I prepped my bathroom with this super cute yellow hand towel

at the end of the night,
Kleenex Hand Towels
won by a mile.

I thought that cute,
newly domesticated folks,
would be smitten with my cute yellow towel.

And maybe they were.
But at the end of the day,
the Clean Hands Campaign
won hands down and the vote was for using
Kleenex Hand Towels.

As I thought back on my travels and all of the hands washing
and hand drying I was doing,
the more I think about it,
the more I cannot say that I disagree.

Because really, with cloth towels,
how do you KNOW that someone washed their hands long enough
or at all
(I know, that deserved a gross out alert)
rather than just wiping off on the cloth towel?

There is no mistaking when a Kleenex Hand Towel has been used.

And that is a very (VERY)
good thing.

As a master composter,
after using these,
I am totally good with disposable

Kleenex products.
Just want to make sure that people don't flush these
although it looks like that once used, they would be fine even being flushed.

If "fine" for you is having thousands (millions?) of others
thinking the same thing
and then the aggregate result being not so cool.

Compost for all!
#CleanHands AND Clean Earth!
Why use a damp, germy, overused towel
when you can join the Clean Hands Campaign
and use Kleenex Hand Towels.

Speaking of which,
your odds were really good for winning your own set.

Congrats to Tara
who will be stopping into town next week
and getting her own box of hand towels to try out.

If you didn't win, don't cry.
At 2.99 a box, you can try out your own.
Snap some up today!

I cannot wait until later in August
when we have our annual BBQ for the tourney.
The only thing messier than a canning party
is a BBQ.

Especially around my parts.
Are you ready to party?
Wanna come over to my shindig?

It's going to be epic.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective
and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Party Prep with Kleenex Hand Towels

My #3 fave thing about summer
really deserves a bit more commentary.

As I mentioned, 
one of the things I love about summer
is that this is the time of year
when people are always coming for a visit

or we are going for a visit.

Settled back in at home,
it is now time to prep for party time.

One thing that my better half is pretty adamant about
is that we have all the goods necessary for people to wash their hands in the bathroom.

Usually, this means washing our super cute yellow hand towels
and getting them hung up just right.

However this year, we're going to do a bit of an experiment.

I'm also going to put the Kleenex Hand Towels
on the back of the toilet tank.

Let's see which one's people prefer.

What say you?
Would you use my cute yellow towel
when you came over OR
would you join the Clean Hands Campaign
and use Kleenex Hand Towels.

Let me know in the comments
(or on facebook or on twitter)
what your preference is
and you might win a box of your own.

You, of course,
can still enter by 

following me on Instagram.

I posted the two photos above and you can 
comment on any of those photos about how you sure could
use some #CleanHands.

Bonus points for being clever and finding a non-party photo
to get all #CleanHands on.

Winner will be chosen by July 30/31st ish.

Just join in the convo for your chance to win.
Are you ready to party?
Wanna come over to my shindig?

It's going to be epic.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective
and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.