Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Serving Families Who Serve

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf on Influence Central for the MetLife TRICARE  Dental Program. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

A lot of people have asked me how I can "Do it all" while Mostly Together Dad is away, serving our country. In truth, it's not always easy, but you tend to find a routine, which makes the days go by. It helps that you still have to do all the same stuff as before:  school, work, clean the house, take the kids to the doctor and dentist, church and after-school activities, but added to that is an immense amount of worry.

You worry about how your spouse is faring in a country far from what they are used to. You worry about their health, safety, and their emotional well-being (it's hard for them to be away from their family, too!). You worry about the kids and how they are handling the whole situation. It's a lot of pressure and a ton of stress. One thing that's a huge blessing to not have to worry about is your families health.

TRICARE takes great care of military families and it's easy to use. Likewise, TRICARE Dental (separate enrollment from TRICARE Health) eases the stress of finding a dentist, as it has one of the largest civilian dental networks with over 250,000 dental locations. That means that it's easy to find someone to take care of you when you travel to see family or when moving locations altogether.

While there are many great things about TRICARE Dental, perhaps my favorite is the fact that it's so reasonably priced. A family with an active duty service member would only pay $33.88 per month. That's just over a dollar per day and it includes the entire family!

The TRICARE Dental Program has a dedicated staff, who make it their mission to educate members about dental health and important dental practices. You can connect with them on Facebook and sign up for the Dental HealthMatters newsletter to stay informed of all the great things happening with TRICARE.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Keeping It Cool with Cotton

*I was provided a complimentary product in exchange for sharing my thoughts with you. Regardless, my opinion is 100% my own.

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you'll probably know by now that I have traveled quite a bit. This has led to many nights spent in hotels, motels, and even friends houses. One of the things that I have learned on my travels is that I hate polyester, particularly polyester that is used in bedding. For me, there is nothing worse that crawling between the sheets and then laying there sweating all night.

Don't get me wrong, I've been drawn in by polyester before! The promise of "Wrinkle-Free" shirts and "No-Iron" pants was enticing, until I realized that it wasn't necessarily true and it would ratchet up my body heat to an unbearable level (think pit-stains that made me look like I'd just come from the gym). Since then, I've made it my mission to keep polyester out of my life.

This is actually easier said than done, because it's not always immediately apparent and it's present in far more fabrics than you might realize. My quest of the past few months has been to find a set of 100% cotton sheets that I would actually like on my bed. I started with my favorite local stores, searching high and low. I found lots of promises of "Wrinkle Free" sheets (who really cares if your sheets are wrinkly anyway?!), but very few sheets that were plain and simple cotton.

So, I turned my search to the internet. What I found was a bit overwhelming, to be honest. There was an over-abundance of solutions to my problems, so much so, that I quit looking. That is, until I found a set of 700 Thread Count Luxury Soft Cotton Silky Sateen King Sheet Set sheets for only $89.99. In the world of comfortable bedding, that is very reasonably priced for the quality!

These sheets made me want to climb in bed, pass out and then stay there for the next 10 hours. The fabric is nice and thick, with a nice smooth feel to the fabric. Lying my head down on a pillow encased in these made me fall in love with my pillow all over again. The sateen feel kept the fabric feeling cool, which is perfect for someone who needs it cool to sleep.

As for the fit of the sheets, I was pretty impressed. I have a pillow-top mattress, which can be difficult to find sheets for. They are usually just barely able to go over the corners, let alone last all night still being held securely. However, I was able to fit these over all four corners, without difficulty and in the morning, they were still as secure as when I first put them on.

We've been enjoying this set for almost a month now, and I haven't been disappointed once. Right now, you can find them on Amazon for just $89.99 + FREE shipping. They are available in 25 amazing colors. I think I'll need to add the Cool Aqua color to my collection next!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

BOX4BLOX Lego Sorter and Storage Compartment Review and GIVEAWAY!

Have you ever had the misfortune of stepping on a pile of Lego's at 3 a.m.? I have and I can tell you that it doesn't give you a warm, fuzzy feeling towards the makers of Lego or your beautiful children. Regardless, Lego's are probably one of my favorite toys for my kids for learning imaginative play and eye-hand coordination skills and even younger children can learn colors, organization and even patience with them.

Over the past ten years, my son has amassed a large collection of the blocks, but we haven't ever found a great solution for containing them. They've either ended up in a large plastic ziploc baggie that tends to get holes in it, or a bin that get knocked over and gets other toys mixed into it. Neither solution has been great for us, which is why I was so excited to work with BOX4BLOX on their Lego sorter and storage box.

The box consists of four compartments, each with progressively smaller holes in the bottom. In this way, by placing all the Lego's in the top and shaking the box, the blocks are sorted into each compartment based on size. It's the fastest way I've seen to sort them, and once sorted, the blocks can be stored in the compartments until the next time comes to play with them. Large flat pieces can be placed in any compartment where you have room for them and then you simply close it up again!

My son was excited to receive this box, because he knows that I am always on him to keep his room clean and the fact that he is always dragging his Lego's out to play can seriously interfere with that. With the BOX4BLOX, he now has a place to put all of his blocks (it fits up to 1600 pieces! - WOW!) and it looks much neater than simply having a bag of Lego's sitting in the corner.

Whereas this award-winning storage device usually sells for $42.99 with FREE shipping on Amazon, one lucky winner will be able to take home a BOX4BLOX Lego sorter and storage compartment for free! To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter form below. Entrants must be in the U.S. and 18 or older. This giveaway ends April 7th at midnight CST. Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was sent an organizer to facilitate this review. No other compensation was received.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Spring has Arrived at Carter's + Grab a Coupon!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter's. I received a complementary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.

Whew! It would appear that winter is finally OVER! I'm so happy about that fact, I feel like I could shout it from the rooftops! I am so ready for Spring and all that comes with it, I'm practically giddy. It's time to plan my garden, get some outdoor projects going and last, but certainly not least, do some Spring shopping! I'm ready for fun colors, light fabrics, and adorable patterns.

I was so excited when I was asked to participate in a campaign for Carter's. They are one of my favorite children's brands, because their clothes hold up well, but they don't break the bank, either. It's totally worth the hour and a half drive for me.

As soon as we arrived and walked in the door, the first thing that caught my eye were the doorbuster deals:  Tees and Shorts are only $6 for two or more or $8 for just one. That makes a whole lot of bang for my buck! I must have stood their mixing and matching separates for at least a half hour finding the perfect play clothes for my little ones.

Ready for a family photo!
Then I moved on to the Easter dresses and fell in love with this adorable eyelet lace dress for my little Sophia! I had to drag her away from the Lego station to try it on,  but once it was on, she was dancing and twirling and I knew that she was as happy about it as I! Shari loves to shop with me, so while the other two were taking over the Lego station, she was by my side picking out  her own dress. She found her favorite in a peach lace dress that she kept running her fingers over.

While I was hoping to find matching Easter dresses for the girls, they are very different sizes, so I wasn't surprised when I couldn't find something that would work. It made it all the better when I was able to find two matching dresses in an fun Spring style. The look is chic, the fabric is soft and my girls were happy. What more could this mama ask for?!

Flip Flops, that's what! My two year old loves shoes, but she always seems to lose them everywhere and we can't always find them again. The fact that I was able to by two pairs for just $6 meant that we will (hopefully) be well stocked this year!

My older daughter was happy to find that Carter's now stocks sizes 7-12 in swimwear, so she was able to choose a new suit and even a coverup to match. I'm absolutely loving the anchors on everything and I knew Mostly Together Dad would love the nautical theme as well, as a member of the Navy Reserves. I was really impressed with the fact that the swimwear now has UPF 50+, which makes me feel a whole lot better about the amount of time they will want to spend at the water park this year!

These sales won't last long, I'm afraid! They only run from March 11 - March 25, so now is the time to shop! Grab the coupon below to get an extra 25% off your purchase!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Low Carb and Gluten Free Cheese Filled Giant Meatballs

Trying to eat healthier doesn't mean that your favorite foods have to be a thing of the past. Spaghetti and meatballs are one of my favorite dishes, but they certainly aren't low carb and are chock full of gluten. As it's also one of my kids favorites, I wanted to find a way that we could still enjoy it. So, I came up with the Low Carb and Gluten Free Giant Meatballs. My kids can enjoy theirs with spaghetti and I can enjoy my giant meatball guilt free!


2 lbs. ground beef
2 eggs
1/2 onion
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cooking oil

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 Tbsp. cooking oil (Coconut is a great option!)

 Combine ground beef, eggs, onion, 1 cup of cheese, and seasonings in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly until well blended. Divide mixture into six equal portions.
Add a cubed piece of mozzarella cheese to the inside of the meatball and form meat mixture so that the cheese is in the center.

 Place each meatball in the heated skillet and brown the outside edges of each meatball.
After each meatball is properly browned, place in a deep baking dish and cover with marinara sauce. Add a sheet of foil over the top and place in the oven for 40 minutes.

Upon removal from the oven, top meatballs with remaining cheese.
These meatballs are guaranteed to impress! Spaghetti and meatball night never tasted so good!