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Friday, April 29, 2016

The Joys Of Living With, And Cleaning Up After, A Cat #BissellClean #Giveaway 5/16

The $47.84 Bissell PowerForce Helix has powerful suction, a generous sized dust bin, and a 12lb lightweight frame, for budget flexibility and lasting functionality. #BissellClean #AD https://ooh.li/69ed1fa
Momma Told Me: Sometimes life gets messy.


There's an age old saying, "Cat's are assholes."

Forgive the foul language but there in indeed few sentiments that can better sum up the combination of shrew, calculating, chaotic intelligence a feline exhibits. Truffles has this trait perfected. Sometimes I feel as though I have our roles reversed and it is I who is her pet, her plaything, there only to amuse and adore her.

If you've ever seen those YouTube videos of cats knocking over glasses of water and swatting the remote off the edge of the couch, then you have a pretty good idea of the psychological warfare I face every day. I don't think a day goes by I don't clean up  mess of fair size; litter, fur, food, dust bunnies kindly drug from the darkest depths of my home, bags of flour knocked off the kitchen counter, or a cup of beads sent tumbling from the craft table. And my vacuum- it hasn't been put away in weeks.
The $47.84 Bissell PowerForce Helix has powerful suction, a generous sized dust bin, and a 12lb lightweight frame, for budget flexibility and lasting functionality. #BissellClean #AD https://ooh.li/69ed1fa
But wait- there's more.

Belonging to a cat isn't cheap. There's food, litter, veterinarian costs, and a plethora of gaudy toys and furniture they'll likely never touch, but you'll feel guilty about not buying, if you don't. And let's not forget all of the things your cat decides to destroy for sheer entertainment-

In our home I'm lucky enough Truffles sticks to knocking things over, more than shredding things up.

Lucky.

I'm also lucky to have found a powerful, lightweight, large capacity vacuum that comes in at under $50- just the thing I need for all of my baking/crafting/pet messes. In fact, the Bissell PowerForce Helix is an impressively powerful budget vacuum with a lot of thoughtful features you typically find on high end competitors. I'd say it's THE vacuum for a college student with it's affordable price point and large capacity dirt cup, or THE vacuum for anyone who has trouble lifting due to age or injury.
The $47.84 Bissell PowerForce Helix has powerful suction, a generous sized dust bin, and a 12lb lightweight frame, for budget flexibility and lasting functionality. #BissellClean #AD https://ooh.li/69ed1fa
The Bissell PowerForce Helix is astoundingly lightweight at just 12lbs. That's 3lbs less than my bowling ball, or 2lbs more than I weighed when I was born. (Yes, I know, my poor mother.) But the most impressive aspect of this feature is that is has fierce suction with multiple levels of height adjust-ability for every floor surface in your house. Because it's lightweight, I don't leave heavy tracks in my carpeting when I use it- and the powerful suction is able to grab everything from the finest dust, or catnip specks, to smashed dry food and dirt clumps.
The $47.84 Bissell PowerForce Helix has powerful suction, a generous sized dust bin, and a 12lb lightweight frame, for budget flexibility and lasting functionality. #BissellClean #AD https://ooh.li/69ed1fa
With it's 5' hose and suction wand cracks and crevices are never out of reach- and I can clean up that potting soil that 'mysterious' wound up on the living room table. I can even get at the hard to reach back corners of our litter cabinet without having to stick me head, and half my body, inside! I only have one complaint about the PowerForce Helix- the 23' power cord feels exceptionally short when you are literally gliding across your floors. Too many times I forgot to pay attention to the length and went 'cold turkey' when unplugged.
The $47.84 Bissell PowerForce Helix has powerful suction, a generous sized dust bin, and a 12lb lightweight frame, for budget flexibility and lasting functionality. #BissellClean #AD https://ooh.li/69ed1fa
This particular vacuum also happens to feature a unique technology hinted to in it's name- the Helix cleaning system captures dirt and other debris using internal "ribs" that are incorporated into the Easy Empty Dirt Cup. This naturally encourages large particles of dirt and debris to the bottom of the tank, keeping the filtration area free to do what it does best, filter. A free and clear filter means a more efficient vacuum that functions longer- that couples with the large tank capacity, and I can go longer between emptying the vacuum.
The $47.84 Bissell PowerForce Helix has powerful suction, a generous sized dust bin, and a 12lb lightweight frame, for budget flexibility and lasting functionality. #BissellClean #AD https://ooh.li/69ed1fa
Of course, if you have pets, husbands, or kids you're likely going to discover a plethora messes on a daily basis- thank goodness this vacuum is light and powerful. Almost too powerful I'd say- just look at all that I collected from one session in a recently vacuumed living room! I think it's time to bring out the air filtration system, what do you think?
Truffles the tuxedo cat has a catnip problem.
Of course, the Bissell PowerForce Helix can't stop the fact that your cat/husband/child is going to do what they do best- create more messes. And please, don't attempt to use the handy high suction detailing want to remove that loose catnip from the cat- it could end horribly for all involved. Mostly for the vacuum. Vacuums have feelings too.

But I digress- Cats/kids/life is expensive, and vacuuming can often be tedious and back straining. The affordable Bissell PowerForce Helix is a wonderful compromise of budget and functionality. Head on over to the Bissell product page to learn more and discover where you can buy it (Hint: It's exclusive to Walmart).

What Daughter Says: You don't have to break the bank to keep up with life's messes.






One Momma Told Me reader has the chance to win a Bissell PowerForce Helix of their very own (a $47.84 value)!

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Lost Post: Homemade Tortellini Minestrone #Recipe

This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
Momma Told Me: Life seldom goes as planned.

Growing up, Momma often told me "Life seldom goes as planned-" Now, this may seem like a bleak sentiment for a child, but I've come to learn it doesn't always have to carry a sense of the foreboding. Life is full of surprises, good and bad. It's one of the things that makes life worth living. And, while we are just in the 4th month of 2016, this year has proven an exemplary case.

Naturally, the true value in these unscheduled twists and turns is how we choose to view the circumstances. I'll be the first to admit the cacophony of events that have unraveled this first quarter have had me looking and feeling quite glum. I strive myself on being a very vibrant, positive, person- but even Piglet puts on Eeyore's clothes for a day when the scenery begins to look glum.

For example- when I was rear ended, at a dead stop, and my car was totaled on St. Patrick's Day I was devastated. Everyone I ran into insisted the experience should be positive, "Well, hey, you get to buy a new car!" they'd exclaim with a smile. But my back was a mess, and the insurance wasn't about to give me enough to replace my car with one of equal value, I now had no transportation to go and shop for a car, and there was the fact that my car was my baby- where was I going to find another Purple Turbo PT Cruiser? For weeks I let the negativity stack- January had been black mold, February was the great hard drive crash of 2016, March my car was totaled, and in April my grandfather was hospitalized in a stay he still continues. When will life stop raining on me?

For weeks I was very solemn. I slept strange hours or not at all. I felt no inspiration to create or write. And the lack of transportation had me feeling completely isolated and helpless.

But life seldom goes as planned-

And then I opened my laptop, to sort through the recovered files from my hard-drive back for family photos I could print and send to my father as a sign of support. And I found this folder of recipe shots from February 2nd. A post I had originally planned to share for Tortellini Day (February 13th,) edited and just sitting in a file in a subfolder on an external drive.

I can't claim that I had en epiphany over soup photos, I mean, they are nice photos- but something inside me kicked up that old phrase from my mother. The second half of her advice. "Life seldom goes as planned- the only thing you can control is how you choose to deal with it." Ironically, this goes hand in hand with one of her other favorite phrases- "It is what it is." A phrase I've come to adopt more recently. Sure, I could sit around feeling sorry for myself, or brewing negative thoughts in my head- but the only thing I'm really doing is punishing myself.

So, if you happen to be having a tough day, week, month, or year (like me) maybe Momma's advice can help. After all, you never know when the next very pleasant surprise is just around the corner....

And, without further ado- I present to you the 'Lost' Tortellini post-
I've never made pasta before.

In fact, it's something I can confidently say I felt rather secure in saying I never wanted to. I watch plenty of foodie shows, from professional cooking to home cook competitions and I know all to well, much like a soufflé, one tiny error in timing or measurement can be the difference between a hot mess or a hot success.

So, naturally, it was a silly national holiday- Tortellini Day that inspired me to try 2 things I'd never done before- homemade pasta (stuffed pasta at that) AND a homemade minestrone.
If you're like me and you've lived a life intimidated by the prospect of fresh made pasta, I'm here to say it is entirely doable. I did it on the first attempt.

Granted, I did cover my entire kitchen counter with flour and egg on my first attempt to 'hand mix' the dough. But, hey, I sure felt authentic pouring that egg into the center of a volcano of flour! Yes, your fingers will get impossibly sticky- keep at it, the mess will turn into a lump of dough. And, with proper kneading, you will actually be able to roll it out by hand.

If you're feeling a bit unsure just make sure to don an apron, and watch an Alton Brown video or two- you'll be rolling out fresh pasta in no time.
Of course you can choose to stuff your tortellini with a variety of things- In my world a stuffed pasta without cheese is no pasta at all- So I went with a delicious ricotta-parmesan spinach variation that will perfectly compliment the minestrone soup recipe I've paired with them. This makes the perfectly soft, creamy, tortellini texture really pop in the hearty vegetable soup broth.
I was again intimidated by the prospect of folding my pasta- First I decided on the proper size round cookie cutter and cut a few test circles out. I quickly learned I was not rolling the pasta thin enough- and my circles were not big enough to properly make the seams required to keep my filling from bubbling out when cooking.

A word to the wise- if you let your pasta sit out it will begin to dry and get 'scaly'- it's still edible, but might cook tougher or be hard to fold. To avoid this I cover my pasta dough/cutouts/sheets in a bowl with a damp towel.
homemade spinach ricotta tortellini
To fold a tortellini is actually quite simple. 

Place your filling in the center of your pasta disc leaving about 1/2" from filling to edge. Dip your finger in egg wash and run it along the exposed edge of pasta. Fold your pasta in half to form a semi circle, pressing the seam together, using the egg wash as a binder. Next, pinching the two corners fold the corners in towards each other to form a crescent. Tuch the corners into the very middle- the outer edges should have naturally curled up to form a 'lip'.
The rest is pretty easy-

Whether you choose to cook your minestrone in a pot or a slow cooker, you'll want to store your tortellini in the fridge until about 5-10 minutes before serving. Since minestrone is a slow simmer soup- I enjoy making this recipe on a lazy afternoon, when I can take my time and really fill my home with amazing smells.
chicken brothchicken broth
This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
Here in Southern California, we've already had several "Summer" days, where the temperatures have kissed 100F. So it might seem odd that I'm sharing this Fall soup recipe- remember, this was supposed to go live in February. No worries though, it turns out the winds have been unusually cold here on the SoCal coast and I'll actually be making this recipe again this week. I'm sure plenty of my readers are wishing they had Summer weather- and this soup will come as the perfect cold weather comfort.
This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
I do wish I'd made the broth a little thicker- and think I might add more tomato next time to really simmer down my stock base- thankfully there were plenty of fresh farmer's market veggies in the pot to really give this dish a  hearty, comfort food, feel without the weighing down of other dishes. Best of all, you can really customize the veggies to your family's personal preference, or simply what's freshest in season. The tortellini may seem like the star, but the flavors pop so much, every spoon really is a treat!
Homemade spinach ricotta tortellini
So there you have it- my first try at homemade pasta, ever.
 
It didn't turn out bad at all, I'd say. And the minestrone made more than enough to share with some family and friends- that's true comfort cooking at it's finest!

What Daughter Says: When life gets messy, make pasta!



This hearty homemade Tortellini Minestrone features handmade spinach ricotta tortellini and a feast of fresh harvest vegetables sure to comfort in any season.
Homemade Tortellini Minestrone
***Click here for printable Tortellini Minestrone recipe

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Don't Worry- Protect Your Dog Against 6 Common Parasites #SentinelSpectrum

This post is sponsored by Virbac® Sentinel® Spectrum® and the Blog Paws® Pet Influencer Network. I am being compensated to help create awareness about protection against common parasites found in dogs, but we only share information that we feel is relevant to our readers. More information about Sentinel Spectrum. Virbac is not responsible for the content of this article.
Sentinel® Spectrum® is a delicious beefy bacon flavored chew you can give your dog once a month to prevent 6 common parasites in dogs; fleas, heartworm, tapeworm, whipworm, roundworm, and hookworm. As your vet about prescribing Sentinel® Spectrum® on your next visit! #sponsored
Momma Told Me: Don't fear, protect.

I am  bit of a worrier.

I worry so much that those around me need not worry- what I ponder and fret is enough to make up for them. You could say it comes from having encountered so much misfortune- but I don't feel it's a negative thing. If anything, my worrying only makes the nurturer in me stronger. After all, I'm not exactly sitting around expecting a house to fall out of the sky, or a tornado to pass through my Southern California home. No, what I worry about are the very practical things the average person prefers to blissfully overlook. Things that seem like a far shot, but are better off guarded against than winding up on the small side of a statistic. Things like heartworm.
Sentinel® Spectrum® is a delicious beefy bacon flavored chew you can give your dog once a month to prevent 6 common parasites in dogs; fleas, heartworm, tapeworm, whipworm, roundworm, and hookworm. As your vet about prescribing Sentinel® Spectrum® on your next visit! #sponsored
Heartworm might not strike an immediate chord with the average pet owner because it's often a problem that goes unnoticed until there's a very real, very dangerous, issue. And, if you're lucky enough to have gone your pet parenting career without encountering it you are either very lucky, or extremely diligent in your pet's health care.

Which is why I will say the next word.

Fleas.

Everyone can identify with fleas- even those who have no pets in their home at all.

So, while heartworm is very dangerous to dogs, fleas are a much more visible, common encounter for the pet parent. Both are part of the 6 most common parasites found in dogs. Rounding out the list is hookworm, roundwom, tapeworm, and whipworm- each as unpleasant and dangerous as they sound.
Sentinel® Spectrum® is a delicious beefy bacon flavored chew you can give your dog once a month to prevent 6 common parasites in dogs; fleas, heartworm, tapeworm, whipworm, roundworm, and hookworm. As your vet about prescribing Sentinel® Spectrum® on your next visit! #sponsored
When Nora was a puppy we had her visiting the vet regularly for her scheduled rounds of vaccination and shots. Once those were complete we continued with bi-annual check-ups and visited with our family vet. I am constantly surprised to hear how many friends and family members cease veterinary visits after those initial puppy years. Most dog parents 'treat' for fleas in their own home with "adulticides" (products intended to kill adult fleas) and only visit the vet when they feel their pet is behaving oddly, or feeling poor. Most of my friends and family had never even heard of heartworm in dogs, let alone tapeworm, hookworm, whipworm, and roundworm.

Unfortunately nearly 300,000 dogs in the U.S. contract heartworm each year causing lack of energy, weight loss, breathing complications and even lung damage or death if left undiagnosed and untreated. And, while heartworm is contracted through contact with an infected mosquito, it's virtually impossible to know whether your dog has come into contact with one without regular screening at the vet. This can be especially scary since both indoor and outdoor dogs commonly come in contact with mosquitos throughout the year.
Sentinel® Spectrum® is a delicious beefy bacon flavored chew you can give your dog once a month to prevent 6 common parasites in dogs; fleas, heartworm, tapeworm, whipworm, roundworm, and hookworm. As your vet about prescribing Sentinel® Spectrum® on your next visit! #sponsored
How do you protect your dog against heartworm?

Thankfully there's an easy new prescription chewable you can give your dog once a month in the comfort of your own home. With a beefy bacon flavor, the once a month Virbac® Sentinel® Spectrum® chewable doses combat 6 major parasites found in dogs, fleas, heartworm, hookworm, tapeworm, whipworm, and roundworm. (Click here to learn more about Sentinel® Spectrum®.) That's right, you can prevent fleas while treating for 5 types of parasitic worms. For me this is a big convenience, especially since Sentinel Spectrum is so easy to dose (mess free) and in a treat form dogs will happily take.

Sentinel® Spectrum®'s unique formulation effectively prevents heartworms from infecting your dog while preventing flea eggs from hatching. As a paraciticide it stops flea eggs from developing, cutting flea infestations by forbidding them to repopulate. The fleas you may see in your home are typically only the tip of the iceberg- adult fleas make up about 5% of the flea population, with a whopping 95% being eggs and immature fleas living in the environment. Sentinel® Spectrum® stops the life cycle of fleas in your home anytime new fleas are introduced to your dog's environment, all while protecting against heartworm and other common parasites.
Sentinel® Spectrum® is a delicious beefy bacon flavored chew you can give your dog once a month to prevent 6 common parasites in dogs; fleas, heartworm, tapeworm, whipworm, roundworm, and hookworm. As your vet about prescribing Sentinel® Spectrum® on your next visit! #sponsored
While you likely treat and actively prevent against fleas in your home, there are many reasons why your dog might not have been recently tested for heartworm, or why they are not currently being given a preventative care regimen for it. Finances, time, or a simple lack of knowledge all lead to this simple oversight. Thankfully your veterinarian can test your dog for heartworm with a simple test (results given in same visit) and prescribe Sentinel® Spectrum® in 6 or 12 Month packages. Most importantly to those pet parents who often delay routine checkups or preventative care due to budget, #SentinelSpectrum is priced very affordable as a 6 parasite prevention formula. It's available in 4 different dose sizes (based on dog weight) and can be prescribed for dogs ages 6 weeks and older. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian today for more information.
Sentinel® Spectrum® is a delicious beefy bacon flavored chew you can give your dog once a month to prevent 6 common parasites in dogs; fleas, heartworm, tapeworm, whipworm, roundworm, and hookworm. As your vet about prescribing Sentinel® Spectrum® on your next visit! #sponsored
If mosquitoes aren't prominent in your area it's likely you've hardly heard of heartworm prevention, if at all. And while I tend to err on the side of worry, there's no reason not to preventatively treat your dog for heartworm when the treatment option is as versatile, easy to dose and affordable as Virbac Sentinel® Spectrum®. No matter where you live you certainly encounter fleas, a good enough reason to choose Sentinel® Spectrum®- which means your dog also has the potential to come in contact with parasites such as tapeworm, hookworm, roundworm, and whipworm. Why not prevent them all in one, delicious to your dog, monthly chew? It's as easy as asking about Sentinel® Spectrum® on your dog's next annual visit to the vet and learn about a money saving rebate.

What Daughter Says: There are plenty of unknowns one can worry about in this life- parasite protection for your dog doesn't have to be one of them.



This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Virbac® Sentinel®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Yes, I Was Married. Free Resources For #FixingYourMarriage

Marriage Fitness with Mort Fertel: https://ooh.li/d39cf57 #AD
Momma Told Me: Marriage is work.

From an early age the thing I knew, more than anything, was that I wanted to grow up and get married.

It wasn't a case of too many fairy tales, and visions of white knights on horses- in fact, I was rather the tom boy. If anything my cousins were the ones toting around baby dolls and playing house with Barbie and Ken. No, for me, it just seemed like the logical evolution of one's life. Grow up, get a job, pay the bills, find someone to share your success, and failures, with- live happily ever after. And as soon as I was old enough to begin dating I fell hard and fast.

In fact, I never really 'dated' much. Once you've found someone you're really keen on, why continue looking- aren't they important enough to invest your time in and doesn't it feel all the more meaningful to actually commit? I always thought so.

And that's how, at 22, I found myself married.
Most people I know in real life respond with complete shock when I use the term 'ex-husband.'

"You were married?!" they always exclaim in awe.

I don't know how that's supposed to make me feel. Do I seem too young? Do I come off as too demanding to have ever married? Is it really that out of the ordinary for someone my age to be divorced? Or have I just suppressed that entire portion of my life so much not a single trace of my marriage remains? It's probably a combination of the latter two.

Ironically though my online community, my readers, know all too well I was married. That's precisely how this blog began with a young newlywed, housewife, whittling away the hours until her husband came home.
But where did my marriage go?

What happened?

Why was I filing for divorce at 25?

These are questions I ask myself regularly, despite the illusion that the entire chapter has been written from my life-book. Because my marriage left me scared. Scared to love. Scared to trust, Scared to even try. Yet my heart still longed to be a part of someone just as invested in me as I am them.

I think it was our second date at which I boldly proclaimed to Jay, "I don't ever want to get married again."

Those are pretty harsh words. Words he's reminded me of ample times throughout our relationship. Words I worry I will never shake.
When I was married I felt as though my marriage was over long before it officially ended.

This feeling of hopelessness is not uncommon.

It's hard to see beyond the loss of what we want to the reality of the love we have. And every marriage is based on that- love. And, as cliche as it sounds, anything worth having is worth fighting for- in this case, fighting means work. Marriage Fitness, to be exact.

I know, I know, the average person doesn't jump out of bed excited for that hour when they can hit the gym. We don't enjoy standing in line for the leg machine, or the burn of our muscles as we stretch them beyond their comfort for the sake of building strength. But we love the high, the feeling of accomplishment, and pride, the vitality of health. Marriage is exactly like this. Think of it as a vital life organ you much constantly exercise in order to maintain one of your most precious gifts, love.
Of course I realize this now- but I didn't always look at it that way.

When I was married- my husband and I went to 'counseling.' The term itself seemed to symbolize the end of our marriage. A last ditch effort that typically only left one or both of us feeling frustrated, or resentful towards the experience and one another.

And that's where Marriage Fitness with Mort Fertel comes in. Every marriage is unique, and the hurdles each couple face are uniquely diverse. Nobody can heal that marriage other than them. And Mort Fertel understands that with his easy to digest audio Marriage Fitness course. When you break a leg the doctor can prescribe casts and medication to help you through the healing, but you ultimately decide if it will heal, and how long that will take. Marriage Fitness puts the responsibility, and the power, back in your hands again.

I had a chance to delve into just some of the course's free content- The 7 Secrets to Fixing Your Marriage and I was fascinated to read about a phrase I have heard, and said, before in both marriage and past relationships, "I love you, but I'm not IN LOVE with you." You would not believe the true sentiment behind that phrase and how you should best respond should you ever hear it. That insight, alone, was well worth signing up for Mort's FREE Marriage Fitness and Help.
I suppose the number one reason most couples avoid counseling is that it is so very public. Even if it's simply you and one other person sitting in a room, there your marriage is, bare, raw, naked for dissection. The truth is, even some of the longest, healthiest, marriages have been through their own struggles. They simply chose to put the work into, well, making it work. Because their love, and their marriage was worth it.

As someone who has been in a broken marriage, lost, and wondering where to go, what to do to piece my marriage back together, I certainly wish I had had Mort's Marriage Fitness program available to me. Who knows, I might never have started blogging, with the wealth of information, tools, and support offered right here by phone or online.

But most importantly, as an individual, I grow more and more each day so I can no longer be that person who says, "I don't ever want to get married again." Because marriage is a workout well worth doing.

Learn more about Marriage Fitness with Mort Fertel and sign up for the FREE 7 Secrets To Fixing Your Marriage course today!

What Daughter Says: Committing to strengthen a marriage, rather than repair it, will yield a healthier relationship for both involved.