Momma Told Me: May 2016

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Live Vibrantly With #CentrumFunFlavors- Rainbow Grapes Tutorial

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CentrumFunFlavors #CollectiveBias
Busy lifestyles demand fun, time saving, solutions like #CentrumFunFlavors multivitamins and supplements from Walmart. Click on over to check out another colorful life hack- Rainbow Grapes! (AD)
Momma Told Me: Grab life by the horns.

I am a firm believer that life is meant to be lived. Challenges are meant to be accepted. You can never have too many friends. And, our most precious gift is our health.

When I find myself with 'free time' it actually makes me feel quite anxious. That's not to say that I don't create moments to relax, I do; just that such moments are cherished as a different form of living. I appreciate the calm moments, but I thrive in the hectic ones. Once my heart starts pumping with the adrenaline of a deadline, a creative project, or a goal, that's when I feel most alive. Of course, to keep a mind and body constantly moving like that requires a lot of fuel and fine tuning I don't always have time to stop and schedule so I rely on simple time saving solutions to help promote healthy living amid the sometimes hectic lifestyle.
Mudderella tire obstacle 2015
Last year I spent 8 months training for a 'fun run' unlike any other I'd done before. It was an entry level endurance course, a gateway to even more demanding, prestigious, courses such as the Spartan Race. When my journey began I had absolutely no physical stamina. I hadn't been to the gym in a few years, and the idea of climbing a few flights of stairs, let alone scaling a 15" vertical wall, exhausted me. But the thrill of the challenge, and the thought of such an accomplishment motivated me to completely transform myself.
I didn't turn into a weightlifter, and I'm far from a professional athlete as a result. What I did gain from the months at the gym, the numerous training programs, and the lifestyle changes, was a greater appreciation of myself and an expanded vision of my limits. The commitment took time, plenty of energy, and hinged highly on my ability to fuel my body through healthy decisions and choices made every day. A high protein snack after the gym, extra calcium in the morning, and a complete daily vitamin that took all the fuss out of measuring crucial intake amounts of Vitamins A, C, D, and more.

While I still have several events this year, I'm not training nearly as intense I had last year; partly because this year has thrown a lot of curve balls at me. For example, bowling league is something I've done for years, often multiple leagues at a time, yet this will be the first Summer I take it off to help regroup and revitalize myself. I'll still be volunteering at the daycare on Thursdays, and hitting the beach with Nora (the dog) regularly- but I wanted to see what I could do with a more open schedule. Who knows what surprises await me?
No matter how regular, or unexpected, my day to day schedule is, I pack every waking moment with one thing or another. I don't have time to keep track of what vitamins and nutrients I have or haven't received in a day, and some days I don't even see my home from sunrise to sunset. Centrum's range of adult multivitamin solutions truly help me keep going with fun and delicious products that help promote overall health. (These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.) I stock up on mine at Walmart, because their prices are awesome, and their selection is great. Not only can I pick up a Centrum Gummies Multi-Vitamin for Jay, I can also discover the newest Centrum varieties, like Centrum Vitamints Raspberry while doing my everyday shopping.
These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)
You may remember I first introduced you to the new Centrium Vitamints last fall, when the brand launched their multivitamin infused mints; an easy to take supplement for busy adults on the go. I've kept a bottle of the Vitamints in my handbag ever since. It's a great way to remember to take my daily multivitamin when I go to reach for a breath freshener. But I've got many other life hacks up my sleeve, to encourage smarter living, and one of my favorites just happens to be be something you can throw together while you're at Walmart- Rainbow Grapes.
These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)

3lbs Seedless Grapes, Removed From The Vine
100-150 Toothpicks
Bowl Of Water (Large Enough To Accomodate The Grapes)
Instant Flavored Gelatin Boxes, In The Flavors Of Your Choice
These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)
Step 1: Start by submerging your grapes in the bowl of water. Plunge a toothpick halfway into a grape, at the top where the stem was once attached. Repeat this for a layer of grapes until you have a good portion ready to go. Make sure that your grapes, themselves, are still primarily underwater.

*Note: This project may be done bypassing the bowl of water by placing the (off the vine) grapes in the freezer the evening before. The freezer method will allow the natural condensation of the grapes (As they thaw) to act as a binding agent for the gelatin coating, but the coating may be spotty and less photo-perfect.
These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)
Step 2: Pour each flavor of gelatin mix into it's own container, keeping in mind deeper containers will be easier to work with than shallow ones. Removing one grape at a time, roll the grape in the gelatin mixture of choice. If the coating is light or spotty quickly daub one side of the grape into the water bowl and return it back to the mix for a second turn.
These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)
There is a bit of an art to getting the grapes 'perfectly' coated. Do not get discouraged if the water droplets pool the mix at one corner, or certain areas of the grapes are lighter than others. If desired you can use your fingers to gently even the coating- though I do have to say the shell/coating is quite intense, so be careful not to cake it on!
These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)
Step 3: As you dip and coat your grapes place them in a parchment lined cookie sheet to rest. Once your sheet is full, or all grapes have been dipped place the tray in the fridge (or the freezer, if desired) until chilled. This serve best cold, when the coating has hardened and creates a fun 'shell' texture. Once they have chilled they can be popped off of the toothpicks and served as is.

TIP: Some gelatin mixes will be white when they are initially poured, and only show their true color once wet/dipped. In my experience colored mixes tend to yield a more vibrant color. Regardless, the color of your grapes will darken as they chill and set.
These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)
 Rainbow grapes make a great treat when entertaining, or a smart choice when swapping out more traditional dessert options. That's entirely outside of the fact it's hard not to smile when you see a bowl full of rainbow colored grapes! They smell sweet, and the texture of the crunchy shell, with the sweet juicy grape beneath, is quite addictive. I make these up to days in advance so I have a less guilt ridden dessert waiting for me late night when I raid the fridge.
These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)
These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)
These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)
Rainbow Grapes can be made in a variety of colors with red, purple, or green grapes, so the variety options are endless. For an extra pop of tart try dipping your grapes in lime juice just before dipping! These also make a fun garnish to several of my favorite afternoon Summer mocktails!
These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)
It my sound silly, but small things like the sweet treats, or simple solutions in life really help keep me going. It can be hard to stay on track with a healthy diet, or optimal nutrition so I rely on hacks and innovative products to supplement my busy lifestyle. It's not that I can't afford to have a down day, it's that I don't want to. There's always something new to try or discover, why pass anything up because you didn't have the time to stop and take a moment for you?
The 60 count of new Centrum Vitamints in Raspberry, from Walmart, fits in my handbag. With a suggested adult serving of 2 per day, that's one month of daily vitamins and minerals on hand, on my schedule. The raspberry flavor chewable has a light minty aftertaste and no chalky residue, so it's actually replaced my standard mint! 2 products in 1 is what I call genius, and a real time and money saver for this busy millennial! Grab a coupon here and enjoy staying healthy with simple solutions like Centrum Gummies and Vitamints.
Busy lifestyles demand fun, time saving, solutions like #CentrumFunFlavors multivitamins and supplements from Walmart. Click on over to check out another colorful life hack- Rainbow Grapes! (AD)
This past weekend Jay and I left bright and early to take a 4 and a half hour drive up the coast to Monterey (more on that soon!) We spent the afternoon in town, playing tourist with the dog in the stroller, than made the drive back down the coast home. That's my idea of a day trip- packing something into every hour of the day, from radio surfing and sing-alongs, to delicious local food and photo opps, and a nice coastal drive with the top down at night. To some people that may sound a little exhausting. For me, it made me excited to look forward to what-ever's next! Tell me about something you're excited about or currently planning for this year!

What Daughter Says: Don't let a lack of time hold you back from the things you want to do and the places you want to see. Find smart solutions for busy lifestyles!

These 3 ingredient Rainbow Grapes have a fun crunchy shell and make a great dessert swapout or colorful party snack! #CentrumFunFlavors (AD)
Rainbow Grapes
Click here to print the Rainbow Grapes Instructions

D.I.Y Doggy Ball Pit Summer Fun- #NudgeThemBack

This post is sponsored by Nudges® Dog Treats and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to help create awareness about Nudges Wholesome Dog Treats available at Walmart® but we only share information we feel is relevant to our readers. Nudges® Dog Treats is not responsible for the content of this article.
This Summer #NudgeThemBack with a DIY Ball Pit and wholesome, made in the U.S.A, Nudges® dog treats from Walmart. #AD
Momma Told Me: Sometimes all it takes is a little nudge.

About 2 weeks ago I flew across country for 10 days to help with an ongoing family emergency. I normally look forward to a chance to return to my father's hometown, on the East Coast, but this visit was especially draining emotionally and physically. Every night, at 2 or 3 in the morning when I'd finally curl up on a blow up mattress, or even just a wooden rocking chair, I'd wonder what my pets were doing. I'd miss fighting Truffles, the cat, for foot space, or the way Nora, the dog, would always spin in circles whenever I picked up my keys to head for the door. While a part of me felt guilty for leaving them home, and behind, I mostly longed simply to see them again.
One particularly exhausting night I found myself unable to sleep, my mind kept up by the slew of events in the recent days past. In an effort to distract myself I tried to remember some of the absolute best memories of my childhood. After all, I was surrounded by generations of photos, family keepsakes, and memories. Somehow my mind was taken back to an ordinary fast food chain, and a ball pit that seemed as massive as the ocean itself. Every visit Momma would let me run in, after eating my nuggets, and I would jump from the snake-like slide until I was sinking in a rainbow of color. Although I couldn't see anything but the muddy cracks of light beneath the layers of shiny colored plastic, I would find an instant peace and contentment.
This Summer #NudgeThemBack with a DIY Ball Pit and wholesome, made in the U.S.A, Nudges® dog treats from Walmart. #AD
When I arrived back in California I couldn't quite get the warm memory of fast food and ball pits off my mind- And I was more than overdue for some spoiling of the fur-children. So I planned a special activity with both the cat and dog (separate, of course) and headed to Walmart to get the canine version of my childhood nuggets, Nudges®. Ever since Nora was a puppy the Nudges® brand of Made In The U.S.A. dog treats have been a staple for bonding and rewards. The brand itself actually caught one of our tweets to them back when Nora was just 11 months old, and still re-shares it to this day! I have to say I do love a brand that engages with their customers on such a personal level!
This Summer #NudgeThemBack with a DIY Ball Pit and wholesome, made in the U.S.A, Nudges® dog treats from Walmart. #AD
dog ball pit
But back to the treats-  Nudges® dog treats are 100% real treats made with chicken, duck, pork, or beef, and never contain any artificial fillers or flavors. They are sold in several tongue wagging varieties including newer grill inspired Nudges® Grillers and Sizzlers or the classic Nudges® Jerky strips Nora was raised on. All of their varieties are easy to tear, making them great for reward based training, or simply portioning for small breed dogs (such as Nora). The Nudges® Jerky treats are actually quite big for Nora, and we can often get more than one serving out of a single piece! That means a single value sized bag of Nudges® from Walmart goes a long way in our home- good thing we have lots of canine friends!
But back to my hair-brained idea to share one of my childhood joys with the dog- I picked up an affordable kiddie pool while stocking up on Nudges® at Walmart. (Click here to find them at a store near you!) This time of the year you can get a toddler sized one pretty cheap, or a more durable, larger, plastic wading pool for around $15. Scoring the crush-proof plastic balls is a different story, but well worth the investment. You can even have them shipped to your home directly online for fairly cheap, since they weigh next to nothing.
This Summer #NudgeThemBack with a DIY Ball Pit and wholesome, made in the U.S.A, Nudges® dog treats from Walmart. #AD
Of course I made the mistake of pulling out the candy Nudges® in front of the child dog before play time had commenced, so Nora was unwilling to show ANY interest in my awesome ball pit until AFTER she was properly rewarded. Silly dog, you get treats for doing good things, not as a precursor to the promise of good behavior! In any case, she ran into my lap, where I snapped the above selfie old-school style with my DSLR, and I immediately gave into the begging. I allowed her 1 Nudges® chicken Jerky Cuts, and 1 Nudges® Grillers steak treat. I expect that's about equal to 2 hot fudge sundaes, but seeing as these are wholesome dog treats, not processed sugar, I let it slide.
When she was done Nora promptly ran over to her father to thank him. Typical.

Seeing as somebody needed to take advantage of the gorgeous day, I forced them both up, and told Jay to start running. Nora loves to run. In seconds she was off like a flash of lightening, back and forth, making the silliest sounds a dog ever made. (Hey, she thinks she's tough.) It was only a matter of time before the dog, or Jay, went crashing through the ball pit. Thankfully, this time, it was the dog.
dog ball pit
This time Nora discovered the super awesome ball pit on her own, making it instantly 10X more awesome. I will have to capture this dog on video one day  prancing back and forth as balls fly here and there. It truly does capture some of the magic of my own childhood memories. It's also wildly fun to try and keep up with the balls being knocked out- if your dog's really athletic, they might even try to intercept them as you toss them back in. All I know is it has to be one heck of a great aerobic workout for our tiny dog to wade back and forth through that rainbow of balls.
Nora's much more than a dog. Like so many pets across the country, she is considered family, and I am constantly looking for new ways to engage and interact with her. A Summertime Ball Pit is just one of the fun activities we will keep on rotation this season. As far as treats? We've tried a lot of different ones through the past few years, but we always have Nudges® wholesome dog treats on hand not only because Nora loves them, but because they're a quality treat made right here in the U.S.A. Grab a limited time coupon for Nudges® here. Celebrate the joy dogs bring to our lives and join the Nudges Dog Treats Facebook Community. Now, tell me, what's one childhood guilty pleasure you with you could share with your pet or child?

 What Daughter Says: Your pets nudge you to better days, why not nudge them back?

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

5 Diabetic Friendly Lifestyle Tips + My Personal Story

I have been compensated by Glucerna for this post; however, I am sharing my own thoughts. All opinions are my own. Talk with your health care provider about a diabetes management plan that’s right for you. #GlucernaHungerSmart #CollectiveBias
For most diagnosed with adult diabetes it can feel as though one's world has been turned upside down. Follow these 5 Simple Diabetic Friendly Lifestyle Tips to help support loved ones newly diagnosed with diabetes. #GlucernaHungerSmart (AD)
Momma Told Me: You won't be able to eat whatever you want forever!

When I was a little girl it seemed like I could eat anything I wanted. Of course, most of the things I could eat I had no desire to because my taste buds were far from developed enough to appreciate them. I remember sitting cross-legged on the floor in my nightgown, a hot fudge mustache on my face; my father and I unwrapping chocolate kisses and tossing them back like it was going out of style. I was born with my father's sweet tooth, and, because he worked so often during my waking hours, he was inclined to indulge the both of us with sugar and treats when he was home.

Of course my childhood was a slightly different era. Back when juice boxes and sports drinks were sent to school without a second glance of a label. When we passed out candy bars at holidays without concern for allergens, or behavioral issues. And the children who's parents monitored their meals and snacks were the minority. I simply was not raised to care much about what I ate in that sense-

And then I turned 28.
Generations of high glucose levels.
To say my lifestyle and diet has changed dramatically with strong motivation in the past few years would be a very mild way of explaining the transformation I've undergone. When my grandmother passed away on my mother's side I inherited a small life insurance policy which helped me pay off my school loans, buy a better car, and finally afford health insurance. Everyone is always telling me about how great it is to be young, that I'm still a 'baby' and how wonderful youth is to have.

This is true. But I'm far from too young to take charge of my health. And, while I did not feel or look unhealthy, my new physician was quick to explain my blood-work said otherwise. At 28 I was a pre-diabetic. I was crushed.

Immediately I began making dramatic lifestyle and diet changes. I joined a gym, I gave up nearly all beverages for water, allowed myself 'dessert' only twice a week (and on social occasions) and prepared special meal plans. My family thought I was going overboard- my father, who had once been my partner in crime, continued to give me massive sweets as gifts for holidays. And then, 3 months ago, his own doctor declared him diabetic. It was then I began digging deeper into my family history and discovered the genetic predisposition to diabetes that I'd already been struggling to fight the past several years. For generations back the adults in our family have ALL struggled with glucose levels, and eventually, diabetes.
Healthy Fruit Options For Diabetics #GlucernaHungerSmart (AD)
If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed diabetic it can be tough to know where to start. For me, on my journey, just having the support of friends and family to encourage me to make smarter decisions about food and lifestyle has been invaluable. Adult diabetes often comes as a surprise, and can greatly interrupt the lifestyle of those diagnosed. So today I'd like to share 5 simple tips to help manage diabetes that have proved comforting for our family.

TIP #1: Replace Old Cravings With Fruit- It may seem contrary to reach for something naturally sweet when you're attempting to manage your blood sugar but there are a variety of fruits with positive sugars and carbs that the body actually needs, and digests much easier than processed or refined sugars. In addition, fruits often have additional vitamins and nutrients essential to a healthy diet!

Check out some of my favorite fruits for diabetic living-
  • Kiwis: High in fiber and vitamin C with minimal (essential) natural sugars.
  • Clementines: Low in fat with a low glycemic index and packed with Vitamin C
  • Peaches: Vitamin A + C, as well as rich in Fiber, making them great for hunger curbing smoothies!
  • Bananas: Bananas are high in carbohydrates, so they should be enjoyed in portions, but provide a great source of natural energy and potassium, perfect to start the day!
  • Avocados: This delicious savory fruit may be high in calories, but the fatty acids inside can also help bring down glycemic index levels inside the body. 
  • Tomatoes: When eaten raw, tomatoes are found to be low in carbohydrates, and tomato juice may even contribute to a better lifestyle. Just remember to avoid sugar ridden sauces, such as ketchup!
TIP #2: Get A Full Night's Sleep- Getting a good night's rest is a 'Pro' tip for anybody, diabetes or not, but studies have also found that those who get 2 or more hours less than the recommended amount of sleep per night may be at greater risk for developing diabetes, or suffering from increased complications. While the full link between increased glucose levels and less sleep on average is not completely understood, quite yet, waking refreshed and ready for the day will surely help you make smarter decisions, and feel more inclined to maintain an active lifestyle.

So what's the magic number? Ideally adults 25-40 will get a full 7-9 hours of uninterrupted rest, each night. For people who struggle with falling asleep, or making the time to sleep, dietary and lifestyle changes often associated with healthy diabetic living will often naturally extend the value of sleep gotten.
#GlucernaHungerSmart shakes at Walmart (AD)
Tip #3: Stay Fueled On The Go- For me, personally, the biggest threat to my glucose levels comes when I am out and about. When I am at home I know not to stock my pantries with tempting sweets and dangerous foods. However, when I go out there is an entire world of advertising, merchandising, and fast food bombarding me, no matter where I look. It's easy to feel the grumble of my stomach and want to swing through the drive through for a Tall Mocha Whatever, or a $.99 Frozen Cola. There are many times when I have to talk myself down, so I always keep an easy to consume alternate on hand- Glucerna® Hunger Smart™ Shakes, available in satisfying Vanilla and Chocolate.

Sold at my local Walmart, Glucerna® Hunger Smart™ Shakes (*use under medical supervision) have just 6 grams of sugar and 1 carb choice per bottle. They come in convenient 6 packs of individual 10oz, easy to reseal, bottles. And, with 15g of protein and 3g of fiber, they feature 55% more protein than leading weight loss shakes, which helps me manage my hunger longer. Their unique CarbSteady slowly digestible carbohydrates are even specially designed for those with diabetes. You can currently save up to $3 when you purchase 2 large packages of Glucerna® Hunger Smart™ Shakes at Walmart!

I keep a Glucerna® Hunger Smart™ Shake in my purse often, and especially when I'm planning on going out on a long day trip- not only is it a nice treat to have a sweet shake, but I don't end up giving into my hangry cravings for sugar ridden alternates. And, if you'll remember my father, who was recently diagnosed diabetic- well, he takes one on the road every day at work!
3 Ingredient Nourishing Lotions- Avocado, Cream + Honey #GlucernaHungerSmart (AD)
Tip #4: Nurture Your Skin: Staying hydrated is one of the most important things a diabetic can do- not only will great hydration help the body naturally purify, it will improve the appearance and health of your skin. Skin health is a high concern for those who have been managing their adult diabetes for years. Even with the best diet and treatment diabetes can cause circulation, nerve, and hydration issues that will impact the skin over time.

Having a regular skincare regimen will not only foster beautiful, hydrated, skin, but also reminds a diabetic to be on the lookout for any changes or skin-related symptoms that may be developing as an impact of their diabetes. Try this recipe for our 3 Ingredient Nourishing Lotion to help pamper and nourish diabetic skin:

3 Ingredient Nourishing Lotion

3 TBS Heavy Cream
1/2 Ripe Avocado
2 TBS Honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree into a smooth cream. Apply directly to dry or rough spots and leave on for at least an hour. Rinse with warm water.
#GlucernaHungerSmart (AD)
Tip #5: Stay Fit And Flexible- My final tip, like many of the others, will benefit non diabetics just as much. Maintaining an active lifestyle is essential to not only heart health but regular sessions of even small activity can help lower blood glucose naturally. You don't have to bench press 300lbs, or start running marathons (though either would certainly be beneficial), in fact, relaxing and even easy activities such as yoga, water aerobics, and flexibility training can assist in managing diabetes. Promoting healthy circulation, while encouraging an active heart rate, is key to a successful diabetic exercise routine.

Managing adult diabetes is a lifelong commitment- While there currently is no cure, there is a myriad of lifestyle changes that can be made to make living with diabetes more tolerable. Personally, I've found eating and living better really isn't all that bad- in fact, I feel even better every day knowing I am fueling myself with more energy through a healthier lifestyle. If you or someone you love struggles to manage diabetes consider asking a doctor about adding Glucerna® Hunger Smart™ Shakes to their management plan. Sign up here for a money saving coupon!

What Daughter Says: These days I manage my diet so I can enjoy many more years of delicious food, and amazing memories.