Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Interview with THE Jessica Seinfeld

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

I shared in an entry last week, my true love for the new cookbook, “Deceptively Delicious” by Jessica Seinfeld. You may have doubted my opinion on how awesome it really is, but now Oprah has given her golden seal of approval and this little seal gives Mrs. Seinfeld an instant hit on the bestseller list. Jessica appeared yesterday on Oprah’s show and discussed her recipes and ideas for getting her children to eat healthy.

Last week, I had discussed interviewing Jessica with her publisher, Harper Collins. When I saw she was on the show yesterday, I was really worried that she might become too busy to share with me her experience with writing the book. Who can compete with a successful interview on Oprah?

Lucky for me, Jessica is truly a class act and had emailed me the answers to all my questions this morning. I was so incredibly excited and I hope that you will enjoy this interview with her as much as I enjoyed asking all of my questions.

Question & Answers with Jessica Seinfeld

Pardon if I gush a bit, but I adore your new book! Is this something that you have wanted to do for a long time? What/who inspired you to create this book?

I wish I could say there was a thoughtful and grand plan behind this book! The truth is that it came from desperation. Hiding vegetables in my children’s food was the only way I could get through mealtimes without arguments and stress. My children were certainly the motivation – their refusal to eat vegetables was the problem that had to be solved – but my inspiration was my own mother and grandmother. They were both working mothers who managed to put home cooked meals on the table every night. They taught me how to cut corners, prepare efficient and healthy meals in under 20 minutes, which is now the model I replicate in my own home. Now it’s a way of life.

Has healthy eating always been important to you or was this a new lifestyle change since children?

I grew up with a very health conscious mother, who has shopped at farm stands and food co-ops since I can remember. Eating healthy foods has always been second nature to me – it’s how I was raised. But I’m also desperately concerned about what I read about child obesity and related diseases and illnesses in this country. I became determined not only to not take care of my own kids, but to try to be part of a broader solution to a growing problem.

What is your biggest challenge with getting your children to eat healthy? How did you overcome this challenge?

The biggest problem I face daily is the prevalence of junk food that seems to follow all kids everywhere they go. I have to be vigilant and firm, but it’s hard to compete sometimes. Even if you can manage to avoid fast food and get to the grocery store, many supermarkets try to rope you into buying foods that have no nutritional value.

There’s a few things I do to try to cope.

- I won’t bring home food I don’t want my children to eat – chips, candy, sugared drinks. It sounds obvious, but the habits I set at home tend to get followed by my kids when they’re at school or playing with friends.

- I bake healthy treats. I’m not anti-treats – in fact, I have a sweet-tooth. But there’s no reason why great tasting cookies and brownies can’t be laden with things that are good for kids.

- I try to be smarter than the supermarket marketing executives. I shop carefully, read labels, and look for whole grains and non-processed food.

- Puree, puree, puree.

As a mom who is on the go a lot, what are some of your suggestions for getting your kids to eat healthy when you are running from activity to activity?

I try to always keep my purse stocked with food that’s healthy and balanced and never get stuck with hungry kids and limited options. That’s when bad food decisions get made. Being a mobile health-food store has it’s down side, of course – the crushed-up oat bran pretzels and string cheese wrappers at the bottom of my purse don’t exactly make me so fabulous – but at least I know my kids are getting a good snack.

If you could pick one thing that you want moms to walk away with, from reading your book, what would it be?

What you feed your kids matters. Don’t give up on yourself or them. You can have peaceful, healthy and delicious meals, and you can also never say, “eat your vegetables” again. With an ounce of preparation and the will to change, anyone can do it.

WSBT-TV: Tips for Staying Warm in Cool Weather

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Well, you are going to get a glimpse inside our home since this morning’s segment was taped at our house. The segment that aired today discussed ways that you can keep your home warm without raising your heating bills. Lucky for me, my segment timed perfectly with our weather cooling down or I think this one would have been a dud! According to this week’s weather forecast, my tips might be put to good use this week out here in the Midwest.

For additional tips on getting your house ready for the cool weather, be sure to visit my article on Winterizing Your Home.

Sound Off: What do you do to get ready for the winter weather? What is your average heating bill in the winter months?

Best Homemade Nonstick Spray In the World

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

I hate the gunk that is left behind from nonstick sprays. I tried using one of those pump misters that you can fill with your own olive oil, but I didn’t find it performed very well.

The Oatmeal Waffles that I made last week were so yummy, but had to be practically scraped from the waffle iron. Shredded waffles don’t look too appetizing, but I was still trying to figure out a good solution.

I ran across this recipe for Better Than Pam Spray. It sounded strange, but the reviews looked like people were pleased with the results. I made a double batch of this before I made my sticky Oatmeal Waffles and hoped for the best.

This is an answer to any cook’s prayers! The waffles practically fell out of the waffle iron and there was no icky residue on my appliance, like those aerosol sprays seem to leave.

According to the poster, you can leave this solution on your counter top or in your cupboards. In the comments, she also offers a recipe to be used for chocolate dishes (no white residue!)

This stuff is the next best thing to sliced bread and a little goes a long way. Baste your griddles and cake pans with a basting brush and watch your dishes leap out of the pan with ease.

This recipe is so inexpensive so you will save some money at the grocery store too! I hope you can try it- you really won’t believe how great the results are. I won’t ever use anything else again!

Not So Frugal…But….

Monday, October 1st, 2007

A confession…of sorts! Pictured here is evidence of an unnecessary purchase that we purchased for our family. Was it needed? Nope! Did we want it REALLY bad and obsess about it for months? Yes!

The decision had been made that we would buy one for our family, as a family gift to ourselves, if we were able to find one that would be a good deal. Anything over $300 was not a good deal. Anything that was $150-200 would qualify.

We have been obsessing and watching eBay like crazy people. The auctions always ended higher than our goals and the auctions included a lot less than what we would need to play as a family. We started factoring in all that we would need and the amount of $500 was thrown around a lot. It was thrown around, but quickly thrown out of the equation since we have never spent that much money on Christmas or a game system.

I came home from a baby shower this weekend and my husband was standing at the door waiting for me. He had found one for us on Craigslist and the system was still available. For $200, we were able to get the game system, two of the nunchuk controllers, two of the remote controllers, one classic controller, the Wii Sports Package, and the game, “Zelda.”

We have been in Wii heaven and it has been so awesome to see how much Ethan enjoys it too. I don’t know who enjoys it more, but I imagine we will truly enjoy this game system in the winter months when we don’t get as much outdoor activity.

What a fun early Christmas gift and what a fabulous deal for an incredible game system too!

Product Review: Play Along Dolls

Friday, September 28th, 2007
As a mother of a daughter, I would like to throw some interesting facts out to you:

- In a recent survey, 1010 mothers with preteen daughters expressed their feelings about the array of inappropriate dolls invading their kids’ playrooms. 90% of these mothers expressed a desire for a wider section of dolls that were positive role models for young girls. 85% of the mothers said that they are fed up with the “sex pot” playthings available (USA Today).

- “Although these dolls may present no more sexualization of girl or women than is seen in MTV videos, it is worrisome when dolls designed for 4-8 year olds are associated with an objectified adult sexuality”(American Psychological Association).

- “We usually have a great time checking out new toys, but we were totally put off by many of the doll lines for 2007- trash’s the word that comes to mind. And it’s not just us. The American Psychological Association found that all these sexualized images of young girls are seriously harmful to a girl’s self esteem and healthy development” (Parents Magazine)

I guess I am not alone in believing that these dolls are highly inappropriate and am discouraged by the choices that are offered. This is not a RELIGIOUS thing, this is a MOM thing!

I received a package from the Play Along company and was so encouraged by what I found. This is a company that is going against the popular trashy dolls and taking a stand to work towards bringing back good old-fashioned dolls.

These dolls still enjoy fashion, but it is modest and they resemble a modern version of the Cabbage Patch dolls. The dolls are poseable and come with different outfits and something fun that you can do with your doll (shoelaces to make bracelets, chalk to play hopscotch, etc…) Currently they offer three cute little girl characters and accessory packs that you can purchase separately. The “Olivia Reese” doll is sporty and loves nature. The “Sophie Kate” doll is an artsy girlie girl.” Finally, the “Zoe Madison” doll is hip & trendy. All of the dolls have a suggested retail price of $19.99.

The accessory packs (purchased separately) can build on the wardrobes and things that you can do with your doll. The packs include a trendy outfit, an interactive themed activity, and a poseable Play Along Club pet. The suggested retail price on these accessory kits are $12.99.

The dolls are very well made and are just the type of dolls that I grew up with. I love the idea of returning to the good old-fashioned fun things in life and dolls that my daughter can relate to and will have a positive influence in her life.

We thank the Play Along company for sharing their dolls with our family! We stand behind their choice to offer fun & positive role models for our girls! They will be launching their new website for the dolls this fall.

Sound Off: What do you think about the dolls on the market today? Do you buy these dolls on the shelves or do you not buy them? What are some positive dolls that you have bought for your daughters?

Product Review: Signing Time! Products

Friday, September 28th, 2007

The Signing Time! company sent us some of their products for review for the website. Included in my box of goodies were Signing Time videos and music.

Let me preface by saying that we have incorporated signing with our children since my son was around eighteen months old. Ethan had a speech delay and it was a very frustrating time for him and for myself. He made no audible sounds and would not even turn towards me when I would say his name.

We started speech therapy with him and the speech therapist encouraged us to sign with Ethan. She gave me a book on signing and asked us to start implementing sign language in our home. We were open to anything, but I had big reservations that he would rely on signing instead of talking to us. I was worried that this would delay the process longer, but within a week we noticed a remarkable difference in our son.

The tantrums stopped and he began to sign and tell us what he needed. Gradually, he began saying the words with the signs. Then he stopped signing and began just speaking. Who would have thought this is what we needed for him?

Since then, I have been a big believer in signing with your kids. Emily seems to have a speech delay, but we know how to use signing with her and I feel like I have a better idea of what I am doing this time.

Our family really loved these movies from Signing Times! Rachel Coleman, the star behind the series, sings beautiful songs and teaches children through her music how to sign. She wanted to do the series because she had a deaf child and then a daughter born with spina bifida & cerebral palsy. Both of her children struggled with communication and she began the series to try and teach them (and later other children) how to communicate through sign language.

These videos are an invaluable teaching tool and are used widely by educators, pediatricians, homeschoolers, speech therapists, public schools, daycares, libraries and families. They offer a wide array of products from babies until eight years old.

Rachel’s hopes come from a personal goal, “My hope is that everyone will know a little sign, just as most people know a little Spanish- so when your child seems my child at the park, there would be no awkwardness, no communication barrier- just three signs… ‘Hi-Friend-Play’ that is all it would take to change her world.”

We thank the Signing Time! company for giving us the opportunity to review their products. We would highly recommend their products to any family who would like to begin incorporating sign language in their homes.

Sound Off: Have you used sign language in your house? What have been your favorite teaching tools?

Feeling Like a Professional Florist

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

I am feeling like a professional florist after making this beautiful centerpiece for my dinner table. I found this idea through The Sparrow’s Nest and I am so impressed with myself. Her tutorial was so simple, but could it really be that easy? Well, it truly was! I was able to whip this up while the water was heating on the stove for our dinner.

It was also a great opportunity for me to use my new cake stand too. I am so proud of it and love the detail on this piece. This centerpiece was the perfect way to showcase my new piece and add a fall element to my table.
I also made the candles that she had showcased last fall on her blog. I had the jars leftover from all of my Christmas crafting and I am still working our way through all of the popcorn in our house. I actually pulled some of the popcorn out of Ethan’s popcorn table for this craft. The candles were the only purchase- two Pumpkin Spice candles at $1.44 each at Wal-Mart. They tie in the pumpkin theme well!

Thank you, Mrs. Wilt, for making me feel like a professional florist!

Momma’s Working Hard

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

You know that song, “She Works Hard for the Money?” That is the song that is stuck in my head and I am working it over here in this corner of the internet world.

First, we want to thank the New York Times for including us in an article that they did in last week’s Sunday edition. There is nothing like seeing your name in the NYT to put a smile on a girl’s face. We welcome all of these new readers to our site and hope that you will visit again!

We are also working on some super secret projects that we hope will help the look and feel to our website. I promise to share more about that later! For now, they will have to remain super secret. These projects are in addition to several chicken scratches that I have written down for new articles that I would like to add for the holiday season.

We are working on relocating our Product Reviews to a new destination. We are hoping to get this up sometime next month and this will be a separate blog, but still an active part of our site. Since this blog is called, “The Mother Load” I am thinking that I will call this other blog, “The Mother Loot.” What do you guys think of that title?

All of the previous product reviews will be moved to the new home and this blog can continue chugging along with loads of ideas for saving money, organizing your space, and sharing yummy recipes.

In addition to all of the blogging and site magic, I will be on each Tuesday on WSBT, sharing more tips for the frugal moms of the world…or um, Michiana moms of the world. Monthly I will continue appearing in the “Frugal Mom” column in the Michiana Family Magazine, sharing some other great money-saving tips. These magazines are located everywhere- in your doctor’s office, dentist office, major supermarkets, and the drugstores.

I have also made the recent addition of writing for Frugal Hacks each Tuesday and am enjoying sharing fun ways to entertain and be entertained on a budget.

This next month, I get the opportunity to speak with two moms groups in the area, which I am really looking forward to. I am a very interactive person and getting to be with other moms and share homemaking and money-saving tips is a true honor. Hopefully this will lead to many more speaking engagements and fun opportunities.

It has been such a pleasure to get my name out there in the community and to get some national recognition too. I hope to continue supplying quality content and am commited to being the best I can be on here, but also do my best as a mom & wife too. After all, that is what my life is truly all about!

Please understand if I do not answer emails immediately- I PROMISE that I am reading everything that everyone is sending, but am admittedly on overload right now. I am just one person, but feel like I am doing the work of an entire company. It is just how I want it though and I wouldn’t change a single thing! Being home with my children and getting to do what I love has been the biggest blessing and it is because of your support and your referrals.

I want to recognize my top referrers this month because you all are what keep my community growing!

Top Referral Links:

Baby Cheapskate- Thank you to Angie for letting us ride her big wave of traffic from her Parents Magazine mention. You are a great alley to have and a wonderful writer!
New York Times- Thank you for including our expert opinion!
Frugal Hacks- Thank you to Kim for including us in her team of writers!
Homespun Living- This is a favorite in my feed and I read it often. It was such an honor to be mentioned in her corner of the internet!
Like Merchant Ships- My true blue friend and an inspirational writer who shares about our site regularly. I am so lucky!

As always, we are open and ready for suggestions on new articles and features you would like to see here.

Dunkin Donuts Coffee at Sam’s Club

Monday, September 24th, 2007

I have been missing my Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in the morning. When we lived in Massachusetts, you couldn’t go half a block without seeing one of their locations. In Indiana, I would have to drive an hour just to get a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee.

What a nice surprise to see that Sam’s Club is now carrying the Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend coffee in bulk. While a tad more expensive than my usual coffee ($15.88 for 2.5 pounds) it is still cheaper than traveling all that way for a cup of this delicious goodness.

It brings back fond memories of going to work and splurging daily on a cup of coffee. I even had a cup that I kept at work to refill regularly. They would see me coming and start adding the skim milk and sugar- just how I like it! Now I am making my own coffee amidst crying children who might die if they don’t eat breakfast right this second and my morning coffee is a bit more rushed than it once was. Maybe there were a few perks of being in the working world, but I wouldn’t trade sharing a bowl of cereal with my kids any day!

Sound Off: Is there a particular brand of coffee that you are loyal to? Any good deals on coffee that you have found?

Enjoying the Last Days of Summer

Friday, September 21st, 2007

We are coming to the end of the summer and it is that weird time in the season where I find myself preparing for the seasons ahead while sitting in my bathing suit in hot & humid weather.

Yesterday we enjoyed a day outside. The kids played in the sprinklers while I worked on our laundry and flipped through recipe books for the Christmas season.

I have been working on planning my Christmas treat boxes and have been hitting the thrift store often for pretty tins to put my cookies in. We had so much fun delivering to the firefighters and other people in our family, that I find myself really looking forward to our next delivery. It was a lot of work, but so neat to surprise everyone with treats from our kitchen.

Today I washed all of our fall linens for the beds and they are hanging out in the sunshine. I have a fall quilt in burgundy & navy flapping in the hot sun. My space heater, flannel sheets, and electric blanket will have to wait until it gets nice and cool.

I bought my mums to plant and a pot to put some of them on our step. Next I will be working on my fall decorating around the house. I don’t have a ton of decorations, but just a few pieces to add to the fall spirit around here.

Finding acorns lying next to my beach chair reminded me how close we are to being able to enjoy some crisp fall weather. Until then, we will be soaking up the sunshine and enjoying as much time outdoors as we can.

Have you been doing any fall preparations in your house? Are you enjoying these last dog days of summer?