Momma Told Me: August 2013

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#LoveBrewOverIce: Flavors Of Summer Party Pack Giveaway~ 9/12 #Ad

***I received a Brew Over Ice party pack in order to facilitate this review. No other form of compensation was received. All photos below are copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2013.
Brew Over Ice
Momma Told Me: Stop to cool down.

Last night was rough.

There I was, 2:30 in the morning, TV still softly glowing an eerie aura into our room, Jay, finally tapped out at 1:30 AM and peacefully enjoying the sort of blissful sleep I dream of. Not wanting to move, for fear of sticking to the sheets I turned my head to consider the dog, whose tongue had not returned to her mouth since 9 the previous evening. It was closing in on 3AM, and the temperature outside was 70F, which I'm sure averaged near 80 among the buzzing electronics inside. I closed my eyes and imagined soothing images; roaring waterfalls, a light Spring drizzle, splashing in the puddles, a weekend cruise to Alaska, anything more promising than my bedroom and the sweltering sticky heat. To my right, Jay stirred and asked if I was okay. I shrugged and let out a grumble, "It's hot." He sighed and mumbled in agreement, peeling himself off the sheets to turn. My mind continued to drift towards anything that would take me away, to the cold beverage I'd had the prior afternoon. The sweet, yet tangy, liquid passing through the straw and shocked my lips as it splashed against my teeth, hitting my tongue, "I want an Iced Snapple," I mumbled.
Rarely am I still ruminating about a product at 3AM the following day, especially enough to ask for it specifically; but Keurig Brew Over Ice K Cups are no ordinary product. Single Cup Brewing is still very much a new concept to me. Yes, I've had my mini Keurig brewer for nearly 3 years now, but it equally blows my mind every time I place one of those little pods inside and the water reserve comes roaring down. For a year I was adamant about not letting anything but coffee touch my precious brewer. I'd received a variety pack of teas, ciders, and more, when I'd been gifted my unit; but the machine did such a great job processing coffee, why would I mess with that?
Brew Over Ice
Brew Over Ice
When the Brew Over Ice range hit the market I was intrigued, but still somehow incapable of grasping how my hot liquid dispensing unit would handle beverages ordinarily consumed cold. There was also the added aspect that my 'Mini' unit only tolerated coffee cup height vessels; and a standard cold beverage tumbler would not rest below the liquid output. I remained skeptical, but I attempted to branch out my horizons and brewed a cup of tea, or two, only to place in a tumbler and refrigerate for later. The results were good, but, like the coffee, I still had to add sugar, lemons, and more to get my desired cold beverage flavor. So, when the Brew Over Ice brand reached out with an offer to expand my Summer beverage horizons I was intrigued. I was even more enthusiastic when I learned I could download an exclusive $2 off product coupon before my samples even hit the door!
single cup iced tea
Brew Over Ice Snapple
Armed with a festive light up ice bucket, official Brew Over Ice double walled, insulated, tumbler, and 3 of the more popular Keurig cold beverage K-Cups (Sweet and Creamy Iced Coffee, Peach Iced Tea Snapple, and Berry vitamin Burst), I was compelled to take the plunge at last. At the height of the afternoon swelter, I filled my Pyrex measuring cup with ice and popped the Snapple Peach Iced Tea K-Cup into my brewer. I was ready for magic, but the last thing I actually expected were the fireworks I got. Just like my morning coffee, the K-Cup dispensed about a cup and a half of beverage; ice quickly melting. Wouldn't the rapidly melting ice dilute the flavor of my beverage? I was doubtful, but I filled my tumbler with ice as well and transferred the drink. along with a few fresh lemon slices. Rarely do I emit audible noises in conjunction with a drink or food; this was an exception, "Mmmmmmm!" A smile parted my lips, I was drawn to sip again.

The flavor was impressively fresh, and authentic to the Snapple brand, and far from diluted by the previously melted ice. If anything, I'd speculate the concentration in these Brew Over Ice K-Cups is increased to a lot for the rapidly melting fluid. It was as magical as a freshly popped Snapple cap, with jut a hint more fresh brewed tea 'twang,' and the impressively crisp impact of a perfectly chilled beverage. I kid you not folks, it was magical!
Sweet And Creamy Iced Coffee
Brew Over Ice
Attempting to steal my Snapple Peach Iced Tea, I yanked the tumbler back and promised Jay I had something special for him; Sweet and Creamy Regular Iced Coffee. With a promising donut emblem atop, I popped the K-Cup in our brewer and repeated the process. I was surprised to see the liquid come out lighter (like a coffee which has already been blended with cream), and to find the brewing aroma was a little gentler than my typical hot blend cup. I drizzled a little light chocolate syrup on the sizes of the tumbler and passed it off to the household coffee connoisseur.

He pursed his lips after the first sip, repeating once again. My eyes hesitantly scanned his face to see if the Brew Over Ice Cup had made his approval. Another sip and a thoughtful flavor dissection, "That's pretty good! It's not heavy on the coffee flavor, but it's delicious!" So the verdict was in. Much like an average watered down iced coffee, the Sweet and creamy cup brought plenty of flavor, without the harsh kick of straight coffee. And just like that, we were both hooked. Something for him, and something for me! If you'd like to learn more about Brew Over Ice, or enter their current Sweepstakes to win an exclusive brewer or K-Cups, head on over today.

What Daughter Says: Don't let the Summer heat wear you down, try refreshing single cup Brew Over Ice K-Cups today!

Brew Over Ice

One Momma Told Me reader will win a Brew Over Ice Party Pack including illuminating ice bucket, tongs, K-Cups, tumbler and more!

Consider Meals In A Jar for Easy Dinners This Busy Fall Season- With Recipes

Meals In A Jar
Momma Told Me: 10 minutes now, 2 minutes later.

Growing up Momma always had a lot of tricks up her sleeve, especially when it came to easy dinners that could really stretch a dollar. One of her favorite things to do was to prepare our favorite family meals in bulk, then freeze additional portions for the upcoming month. She'd do this with fried rice, lasagana, stroganoff, and more; turning hot sales from the weekly ads into extended savings for our household. With the beginning of a new school year, and our family's decision to join 3 Winter bowling leagues, I've been looking for some time, and money saving, inspiration as well. One of the things you'll find sprinkled throughout my Pinterest boards as of late are creative ideas for meals in a jar. No, I'm not referring to Chef Boyardee or anchovies, I'm talking about hand layered ingredients that instantly transform into delicious meals with the simple addition of a few added ingredients.
Chicken Noodle Soup In A Jar
Chicken Noodle Soup In A Jar
It's hardly molecular gastronomy; creating a delicious meal in a jar is as simple as breaking down some of your favorite recipes; especially those that hinge on various dry ingredients. A year ago there was a nasty outbreak of the seasonal flu spreading through our neighborhood. As one of the few houses not 'hit' yet by the bug I felt compelled to soothe those around me, and prepare for the inevitable outbreak in our own home. I wanted to make the traditional 'Chicken Noodle Soup,' but processing such a large quantity in my small kitchen would have proved a challenge. Instead I purchased a package of food safe canning (mason) jars from my local Smart & Final, along with the dry ingredients necessary to turn my family recipe into a ready to make mix. By purchasing the chain's First Street brand of in house products I was able to buy the ingredients in bulk, for easy handling and extreme savings.
Honey for Corn Bread In A Jar
Our family shops at Smart and Final year round for cooking staples like flour, salt, cornmeal, pancake/waffle batter, and more. However, we also frequent the chain for it's extensive range of food service buys, such as ramekins, paper cups, plastic Souffle Cups with Lids, canning supplies and more. On my recent trip I even found I could include a 4oz ladle with each of my yearly flu season soup bundles for just over $2 a piece! Inspired, I set out to share just how simple a home-style meal in jars truly can be. A lot of people think this means 'canning,' and, in a sense it does, but you can often avoid the preserving process by handling dry ingredients in sterile environments, and making 'freezer friendly' pre-cooked dishes, like my Mini Apple Pies in a Jar.
Mini Apple Pie In A Jar Process
Mini Apple Pie In A Jar
People make meals in a jar for a variety of reasons; some are looking for easy family dinners they can prepare during the busy week, while others are looking for heartfelt gifts to give during the holidays. Regardless of your reason my Comfort Foods Trio (Chicken Noodle Soup, Country Corn Bread, and Mini Apple Pies) are sure to help the cool Fall months, and treacherous flu season pass all the more pleasant. Begin with ample canning jars to store your meals in a jar, and a large work space such as a dining table. Buy your ingredients in bulk at a big buy store such as Smart & Final, and look for in house brands like First Street, to really stretch your pennies. Measuring will be key, so be sure to have measuring spoons and cups handy, as well as the appropriate size jars for the content that will be going in. And finally, before you begin, sanitize all of your canning jars in the dishwasher, or a hot water bath.
Mini Apple Pies In A Jar
Whether you are gifting your meals in a jar, or simply keeping them on hand in the pantry, you'll want to include the preparation instructions. Momma was always sure to pick out a decorative ribbon, and some scrap-booking sheets, from the local craft store, just for this purpose. If you have messy handwriting, or are making a large number of jars, you can print the simple instructions and paste them onto hand cut tags, though I prefer the personal touch of handwriting. Be sure to include a breakdown of the necessary added ingredients, and the ingredients already inside just in case your recipient has allergies! Cut a small slit at the edge of your handmade tags and run your ribbon through. Tie a gentle bow or not along the can's lid for decoration.
Meals In A Jar
Chicken Noodle Soup In A Jar
While you can find a variety of creative ideas for quick recipes in a jar, I've compiled the 3 featured above for easy reference. Chicken Noodle Soup, Country Corn Bread, and Mini Apple Pie in a jar recipes are perfect for the upcoming cool months and busy school nights. Creating affordable and flavorful meals in a jar doesn't have to be complicated; I've seen beautiful layered salads, and even instant oatmeal with dried fruit (just add water), you'd be surprised what can be pulled of with little ease. Just remember, the beauty in preparing these meals ahead of time is the money you can save when canning in bulk; buy quality brands like First Street and save money without compromising quality. See more of my great Smart and Final First Street finds in our Google + album.

Do you have a favorite Fall meal with a time/money saving twist?

What Daughter Says: Try a new method of advance meal preparation with meals in a jar to save money and time.

How A $7 Tan Lost A $55/Month Customer- Let's Talk Customer Service

**** All screen captures or photos below are property of Momma Told Me Blog 2013.
Momma Told Me: Consumer beware.

Sometimes I feel like I just may be the only sane one left.

Thankfully, the definition of 'sanity' and what is 'normal' vacillates widely between cultures and those defining. One particular topic, where I feel the perceived lunacy to be strongest, is in the field of customer service. We are a long ways away from 'The Customer Is Always Right,' Batman. In fact, I get the distinct sense that some companies and services actually take joy in aggravating the customer, especially in cases where the brand/service has already received the money/patronage of the customer. These companies, or those representing them, almost make it feel like they are entitled to our hard earned money, and to relinquish any part already surrendered would be wholly unfair under any circumstance. When did the practice of receiving quality customer service become equal to pulling teeth?

I'd like to consider myself a fairly happy consumer. I do my bit to help the economy through venues big and small, and patronize a wide range of establishments (from handmade to conglomerate). Sadly, I feel my customer service theory spreads from organizations of 1 to 1 million. The size of the business does not necessarily equal the quality of the commitment or presence of care. And brands seem much more eager to soothe potential customers concerns rather than those of the customers who have already paid and returned with a qualm or issue. There is one industry where this does not always ring true; where the customer can often be helplessly trapped in a downward spiraling experience, and have little control over the speed of remedy; food service.
Just last week I decided to swing into a fast service style, very well known, Asian food chain for lunch. It was 12:50, so I'd anticipated a rush, and anxiously waited my place in line for 18 minutes to place my order. This particular restaurant prepares all of their dishes in advance and serves them via heat trays. Now, mind you, I was on board with waiting nearly 20 minutes for my piping hot lunch under the conditions that my food would be promptly scooped into a Styrofoam container and handed to me at the end of my wait in line. Unfortunately, I had noticed the rice I order had been sitting, empty, since my arrival on the premises, and the server did not mind to call in for a fresh batch until it was ordered; by me. I stood there, perplexed, the employee with a bemused smile on her face,

"How long until the white rice is ready?" I asked, still hopeful there was a magic Panda in the back burping up large portions of steamed rice;

"5 minutes, what else do you want?" the server barked.

My mouth hung open, about to vent the past 20 minutes of frustration, only to snap shut. Clearly this employee did not understand the nature of her job, in the middle of a lunch rush; what good would me reiterating the situation do?

"What else do you want?" she barked again.

And, with a sharp turn on my heel I gave her an equally detached smile, "Nothing." and left the establishment.
Now, I realize that the average consumer might have grumbled under their breath and shuffled off to the side to wait for the hot food they'd already invested 20 minutes of their life towards. I know some think it crazy to have committed so much time already, only to walk away over another 5 minute wait. I understand the business was busy, but the tray did not run out while I was waiting, it ran out before I'd even entered the building. And the fact that I was quoted 5 minutes for a fresh batch, just calls, tells me there could have been piping hot rice waiting for me at the end of my wait. For me, it was the principle of not rewarding a business that so clearly demonstrated a lack of concern for the customer's time.

Flash forward to this past weekend.

I haven't tanned since my teens, and am in need of a simple base tan to even out my legs, to the rest of my body tone, for some upcoming formal events. I do some research (time on the consumer's part most businesses don't place value on), and discover the closest salon with a leg only tanning bed is in the town over (a 20 minute drive). On their website, under promotions, a sentence reads "Please fill out the form below, and as a new customer you will receive a FREE TAN, or the current Endless Summer PROMOTIONAL OFFER!" I proceed to fill out the form and promptly receive an email (text only), telling me to take my 'coupon' in for a FREE TAN.
So I mosey myself over to the next town and walk into the new salon to present the email (the only physical proof I have of my owed FREE tan for 'new customers.' The girl behind the counter looks perplexed. After a moment she explains that she will have to put a note on my account for the owner to add a free tan credit. I'm not pleased with this solution, as I understood my first tan was to be free, but agree and proceed to buy a $45 tanning lotion and $7 leg tan session.

Flash forward 2 days. I return to the salon and inquire about using the credit on my account. The girl behind the counter looks perplexed, "FREE tan?" I explain the situation again, and show the email on my phone once more.

She proceeds to pull up my account and call another associate over (both younger than me). They consult the screen as though it is a physics dissertation then the second looks at me and matter-of-factly barks, "Oh, you have to spend $100 to get a free Level 6 tan!"

"Excuse me?" I respond, voice cracking and almost in shock, "There was no mention of having to spend any money on your website, or in the email. Is that your 'current promotional offer,' because I read that to be a choice of free tan, or promotional offer?"

The associate furrows her brown and sighs, clearly annoyed that I am questioning this further, "No, we simply don't give out free tans, you have to spend $100 to get a level 6 tan!"

Biting my lip I feel my blood beginning to pump. Not only had there been no specification of a 'level 6' tan, or any designated type of tan, but there certainly had been no mention of spending $100 when I decided to drive 20 minutes from home to frequent a salon in the next town over. Not to mention, their had been no confusion over my 'free' tan on my first visit. To top it off, I had initially been quoted $55 a month for a regular membership, a full $22 more than the nearest competitor with the same equipment. I attempted to explain that, by honoring their advertised offer (the free tan for new customers), it would cost them nothing (after all the machines do all the work), and they would keep their new customer happy and returning.

Both girls seemed confused by this explanation, and proceeded to ask me what service I would like to pay for, today.  Biting my lip once more, I proceeded to leave the salon and drive to the next closest one with applicable equipment. There I paid $22 less/month for the same service AND was offered a free tan. Not only did the first tanning salon lose out on an over-priced $55/month customer, but my word of mouth in our county will not be good. I am also debating reporting them to the Better Business Bureau, over a $7 tan that would have cost them nothing to provide me, as promised!

Do you walk away from poor service, or do you think some bad service is simply 'inevitable'?

What Daughter Says: Consumers are empowered with instant price matching and visual shopping, thanks to modern mobile technology. Why would anyone settle for less than great prices and great service?

You're Never Too Old To Get Back To School: Women Dominated Careers

****The info-graphic below was sponsored by Vista College. All other images contained there in are property of Momma Told ME Blog 2013, or freelance creative content.
Calling All Moms
Image courtesy of:
Momma Told Me: Don't underestimate the power of a determined woman.

I'm not going to lie, having just turned 27 over the weekend I'm feeling a little underwhelmed by the accolades beneath my belt. Every decade is a whammy on the birthday scale, but 30 just seems to be the first to really define the footwork of one's life. Having graduated high school at 16, and immediately moved into the Fall semester of classes at the Art Institutes of L.A., I thought I'd have my degree in hand by 22. Naturally, life doesn't always go as we plan, and who really knows what they want to do with their life at 16? After a short year of classes I left school and entered the work force full time; something I have always wrestled with since.

With my 10 year high school reunion this year, I have heard many old friends, now with bustling families of their own, express anguish at their lack of time to get back on track and achieve those once glistening goals. Many of the woman I'll talk with, while waiting to pick up Sabrina from school, tell me they feel that going back to school, as a woman, simply is not profitable, or possible while juggling a family and a job. Surprisingly, 84% of the Nurse Practitioner field is composed of women, including a very close friend of our family who raises 4 daughters while steering a successful career. Not only that, but the average salary for a licensed R.N. is 79k, and a base degree for health admin services can be earned in as little as 2 years.

Getting my (old) bum back to college is a little intimidating; especially when one considered the stigmas of cliques and fresh grads on a physical campus. That's why I think it's pretty neat I can earn a degree online, around my own schedule, at my own pace; thanks to online degree programs like those at Vista College. Naturally, financial aid is available for those who qualify, and I've seen a surprising amount of scholarships and grants for women, specifically mothers, looking to get back on the education wagon. I'm starting a new year of my life today, why not take the next step to yours?

What Daughter Says: Take the next step in your education, at any age, with online education that fits your schedule.

All I Want For My Birthday Is To End Blood Cancer, Okay,+ Shrimp, Lots of Shrimp!

wings cake from Momma Told Me
Momma Told Me: Another Day Older, Another Day Wiser.

The past few years I've awoke on my birthday grumpy; nothing but disdain for another year passed, another year 'older'. But with age comes wisdom, hopefully, and I've come to realize that every moment truly is just as much a gift as the last. Looking back is great for chronicling memories with loved ones and achievements made, but too much time with one heads turned back makes for an uncertain future and cloudy present. For me, my biggest goal of this new year, is to live in every moment; no doubts, no regrets. It's a challenge yes, but what is life if one's not living it?
Don't get too excited over the blonde; it was intended to be a transitional phase towards my new look. It will not surprise my longtime readers to know I've intended, all alone, to extend my trademark streaks of pink and purple into a whole head look. The blonde is refreshing, yes, but I am also fair skinned, and have dark eyes, which will pop more in my upcoming fashion posts with a more vibrant hue. That's right, I'm hoping to expand Momma Told Me into more fashion opportunities and posts to tie in with my previous participation in the Fashionista Events. Don't worry, there will still be plenty of home recipes, quirky product reviews, and heartwarming kids posts- this will simply be an added attraction to the Momma Told Me Blog.
wing cake
wing cake from Momma Told Me
I get asked often if I 'baked that cake,' because I am known as 'the baker' in my social circles offline. I cannot, for the life of me reason why; I'm much more of a tinkerer in the kitchen than a 5 star pastry chef. Regardless, I made my own birthday cakes again this year, to bring to the bowling alley where I bowl league Wednesday nights. One of my teammates has a true love for the symbolism of wings, and I just so happen to share that passion with my own wings (tattoo)- so this seemed like a good fit this year. I made 2 quarter sheet cakes (1 Carrot, 1 Chocolate), with purple fondant and ivory fondant for hand cut 'feathers'. I usually try to avoid fondant like the plague, as it doesn't have a great culinary presence in the way of texture and flavor, but it was the best way to execute this concept, I believe.
light the night Ventura
Today is my actual birthday and I have requested a nice calm afternoon at home (laundry is in the washer as I type). I will head out when Jay gets home to try and get some shots for an upcoming clothing review (before my hair does or does not morph into a new shade). Afterwards it's to Red Lobster for the happiest dinner this girl could envision: Endless Shrimp! This will be the first time the promotion has coincided with my birthday so I am especially tickled to make it a part of my celebration.

Everyone knows the older you get, the less grandeur one's hopes for birthday parties, treats, and gifts. This year I am asking all friends and family on and offline to make a small donation towards my fundraising efforts to help end blood cancer through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. You may recall Momma is a Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor, and this cause is especially dear to my heart. I'd love to raise $27 today, in honor of turning '27,' that's $1 from 27 of my 5k+ readers; I know we can do it! I never ask for favors or help through my blogging network, but this is a very important cause to me. If you'd like to help out, click the image above, or this donation link, where you will be able to donate a dedicated (or anonymous) donation in any amount (nothing is too small). You'll even receive a receipt for tax purposes!

Thanks for all your warm wishes, and any support, here's to another year!

What Daughter Says: Can we skip the older and just go with wise?

Simply Clean Hands For Back To School And Giveaway~ 9/6

****Simply Clean provided me with product samples for the purpose of this feature, no further compensation was offered. All photos below are copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2013.
Simply Clean Hand Sanitizers
Momma Told Me: Wash your hands!

Life is messy.

From the moment we are born we bring a myriad of germs and messes to the world around us. Some are only natural, yes, others are due to a dormant 'klutz' gene, or the innate need to touch things with funny textures and smells. (Seriously, what is with the need to touch sticky, slimy, furry, stinky things?) We begin to crawl, and soon to stumble on two feet, reaching for every surface in sight. We pull, we touch, we put our mouths on, then put our hands in our mouths. Pets who hide their business in sand traipse through our homes on ever 'clean surface' they can scale. Lazy teenagers sneeze over their shoulder, rather than into a hand or tissue. Office co-workers ignore the empty soap dispenser in the employee restroom,show off mysterious boils in the lunchroom, and leave leftovers in the fridge until they resemble a 4th grade science experiment. I'm not trying to say, "You'll never get out alive," humans are certainly adaptable to a myriad of bacteria and germs, but I'm certainly not going to be the daring scientist to figure out what's good vs. bad.
Simply Clean 2oz
When I was a young child Momma underwent a series of chemo treatments to help her through her struggle with Hodgkins Lymphoma. She came home, cancer free, from the hospital and promptly put in place a series of strict cleansing rituals for the entire family. Her compromised immune system was in no shape to fight strange bacteria I might bring home from school, or invading germs on Pop's work uniforms. There were sprays, there were wipes, there was even an air purifier; but most of all, there was hand washing- and plenty of it. It stands to reason the best method for removing germs and bacteria is through a thorough scrubbing and rinsing, such as hand washing. No magical serum will ever erase unseen dirt and germs quite like a detailed scrub and foaming cleanser. Unfortunately, we don't all have our own portable sink in our limos. (You do drive a limo, don't you?)
Simply Clean hand sanitizers
Momma's answer to germs on the go was a combination of sanitizing wipes and semi-liquid antibacterial gels. So, when Simply Clean introduced me to their new range of portable 2oz. instant hand sanitizers I was instantly taken back to the school days of bag inspections and Purell . Thankfully, these $2 hand sanitizers come in much cooler containers, with their own mini lanyards, and in a variety of fragrances such as Chinese Cherry Blossom and Blue Raspberry. To be released exclusively at Walgreens, this September, just in time for cold and flu season, the Simply Clean sanitizers are the perfect answer to hand sanitation on the go. A variety of brightly colored ducks, a frog, ladybug, and even an adorable panda (you know they had me at 'panda') make up this collection of Fall season must haves.
Simply Clean Panda
I had a chance to try out the complete range of Simply Clean fashionably fun 2oz hand sanitizers, and was surprised at the consistency of the solution. Not too thick, and not too runny, this sanitizers absorbs quickly and covers surfaces well with just one squeeze. Unfortunately, some of the different shaped dispensers proved a little more difficult to 'squeeze' than others (I had the most trouble with the ducks, where as the frog and flat ladybug were more natural to dispense.) The fragrances weren't as strong as I'd anticipated, and I'm not sure I got Cherry Blossom from the Panda- but none of the scents were overwhelming or objectionable. Best of all they lacked that traditional 'sanitation' scent that you'll often find with brands such as Purex. In all, these make a wonderful addition to any child's backpack, or coworker's welcome gift this cold and flu season, and I hope to see the range of characters expand for the holidays to include seasonal favorites such as a penguin!

What Daughter Says: Whenever possible, wash your hands, when not- use a portable hand sanitizer such as Simply Clean.

One Momma Told Me follower will win all 7 Simply Clean 2oz hand sanitizers!

@PennyWiseOffice: As Simple As Squeezing Lemons W/ SteelMaster Giveaway

**** I received the following product in exchange for my honest opinion, no further compensation was provided. All photos are copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2013.
Penny Wise SteelMaster
Momma Told Me: You've got to spend a dollar to make a dollar.

Momma put me to work at an early age.

Outside of a, seemingly, never-ending roaster of weekly chores I was expected to play cashier. Momma would spend all year long preparing for a single weekend, the local Fall Harvest Festival. This was much more than a carnival with pumpkin carving exhibits and hay rides, this was a full blown artisan and crafts fair with over 200 vendors spread across a giant municipal park. For some reason it feel on a 10 year-old to count the change and safeguard the cash; all in a little tan, Nylon, fanny pack. Over the course of those weekends Momma would do thousands of dollars in business, and bill by bill would be neatly tucked into the incredulous safeguard of a zipper. Looking back, today, I just may tell my therapist that was the beginning of a very anxious childhood.
SteelMaster security box
It may not seem like it but today, as an adult, I conduct a fair amount of 'business' on my own. I frequent a spot at the local swap meet once a month, help out with charity fundraising, and even encourage the entrepreneurship of a 10 year old. I am ashamed to say, up until recently, I have always relied on a convoluted system of manilla envelopes and blind luck to get through my accounting endeavors without catastrophe. That was until Penny Wise Office Products sent me a SteelMaster Security Box with Media Slot (MMF 2216119G2) to review here on Momma Told Me. Let's just call it my 'training free' cash register. This starter cash box is made of 20% recycled material (a big plus for me), fairly lightweight, and includes a cam key lock system (optional for use) and anti-theft cable connection.
lemonade stand
cup of dirt cupcakes
At the beginning of the Summer I promised Sabrina (10) I would assist her in opening her first business (a Lemonade and Cupcake stand). We meticulously hunted down the perfect pre-made stand to decorate, put hours of Sharpie brush inhalation in, and hand crafted 48 kid-friendly cupcakes to hit the local beach park. While setting up I pulled out our brand new Steelmaster Security Box and dedicated it's first official job as a register. Sabrina was over the moon, commenting how sleek the Charcoal design was, and letting out a little squeal for the secret 'hidden' compartment for big bills and change. With a six compartment removable tray for paper and coin organization one's funds can easily be removed and counted at a remote location for security.
SteelMaster Security Box
Our SteelMaster Security box has a pressure sensitive front latch to keep the cover from popping open in transport, and can easily be carried by the recessed handle built into the top. We found the button for the latch required a little more pressure to open than we'd expected, and it took a little getting used to. We also learned quickly that the lack of pressure clamps (or covered drawers) meant money (particularly change) was subject to spilling in transit. This is an economy model of SteelMaster security boxes, so more features are available on other versions, though we found the MMF 2216119G2 met our basic needs. I certainly feel much more secure stashing our 'profits' in a container such as this, than mixing the money with the contents of my purse or easy to lose envelopes.
SteelMaster Security Box
In all it was a very profitable day. We raised some donations for our Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraising efforts, and Sabrina(10) walked away with $20 and a refresher in her mathematics. In all honesty, I can't imagine why I never invested in a Security Cash Box before; there are so many events throughout the year (school, team sporting, fundraising, yard sales, etc) that I can use this for, and I've already had a request to loan it out for an upcoming community event. Penny Wise Office Products has everything you need to make your next Lemonade Stand, or other business endeavors, a success. Stop on by and request a free product catalog, and check out their stock of SteelMaster security boxes!

What Daughter Says: Secure your profits with a SteelMaster security box.

One Momma Told Me follower will win a SteelMaster Security Box from Penny Wise Office Products!