Living Positively




Three weeks ago I turned thirty-nine. I'm not one of those people who dreads turning forty (that's one good thing about having a husband who's fourteen years your senior -- you never feel old), and though there's a lot I still want to do in life, I don't feel like I missed out on so many things in my youth that I need to make up for it with a midlife crisis. But milestone birthdays are always a great excuse for me to take stock of my life and see what needs changing. So I'm using the advent of the Big Four-Oh to be more proactive about my life and live more positively. Here's what Living Positively means for me:


I will strive to do better, be better.
Many times over the past few years I've felt as though I'm stuck in a rut. I've come to realize that the only reason I feel stuck is because I'm not doing anything about it. To that end, I've made a list of Forty Things I want to do before I'm Forty. Some of the items on that list are frivolous at best (buying heels, getting a navel ring). Others are (volunteering, spending more time with my husband). All of the items are designed in some way to build a healthier, happier, more confident -- in short, better -- me. I may not get to accomplishing everything on the list, but just having this list written down has given me a sense of purpose, and as I begin working on the items on the list, I'm already feeling more proactive and positive.


I use my blog as a force for good.
I'm still in awe of the amazing reach and influence that women bloggers have. I'm even more in awe to think that a part of that reach and influence, however small, belongs to me. It would be crazy not to use my voice in the blogosphere to try and make a difference. That's why I never hesitate to blog about issues and causes I feel are important. Over the years I have blogged about breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer, malaria, disaster awareness, support for families, the importance of outdoor play and other causes that matter to me. If even one person reads my blog, becomes more aware of an issue or sees how easy it can be to help, I'm happy.


I will think positive, hope for the best and prepare for the worst
Even as I write this, the concept of Living Positively has taken on a new meaning. I've just gotten back from an appointment with my gynecologist -- and she found a lump on each of my breasts. The teeniest, tiniest lumps, so small that I could only feel one after she showed me exactly where to look, and I still can't feel the other one at all. She says it's no reason to excited about at this point, because there is 1 lump on each breast, and she had difficulty finding one of the lumps a second time, so they may just be lymph nodes (whatever that means). But given my family history of breast cancer, she told me to get a mammogram right away, so I'm scheduled for one this week. Despite her reassurances, I'm a bit freaked out, but I'm trying to stay positive. She's not worried, so I'm going to try not to be. I'm taking a deep breath and hoping for the best. If the worst happens, I'll deal with it.


With so much self-reflection going on, the timing could not have been better to receive an invitation from Coca-Cola and BlogHer to take part in a very special event, Conversations with Coca-Cola. I'll be traveling to Atlanta next week to the Coca-Cola headquarters, where I'll be joining the folks from BlogHer and other bloggers for two days of interesting and insightful discussions about Living Positively -- personally, around the blogosphere and in our community.

On a lighter note, I'm also excited to be going behind the scenes at Coca-Cola and learning more about how they make their beverages, as well as meeting with top Coca-Cola executives. And that reminds me, if you want me to ask them anything on your behalf, please leave a comment on this post, and I'll make sure your voice is heard!



Disclosure: Coke will be paying for my travel, lodging and activities for my upcoming Atlanta trip, and BlogHer is compensating me for writing this post. All views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Help Sprite Refresh our Parks and Get Kids Playing




(Update 5/26/11: The giveaway has been extended to 5/31/11! )

(Update 5/19/11: See below for a new, easy method to enter to win a $100 Shutterfly gift card!)


When my twins were little we used to joke about how they needed to be "let out" to run around and get their wiggles out, every single day, rain or shine, as if they were puppies. The day was just not complete until they had a chance to get outside and play. We don't live near a park, so on cold days I was only too happy to open the door and let the boys run out into our gated back yard. I'll never forget the time we realized that a simple latch was no longer enough to keep them in -- at age two, 3Po and Jammy figured out how to ram their Little Tykes car into the gate hard enough to loosen the latch. I only found out about their new little trick when I poked my head out the door and saw them racing down the driveway into the street!

Now that they're older, their need for outdoor play is as strong as ever; if anything, it has intensified. As they've grown bigger, our back yard has "shrunk" (I found that out when a missed basketball shot broke our guest bedroom window) -- so I'm really glad that our local school places so much importance on the value of play. The boys get time to play during recess and lunch, PE twice a week, and the school fields are open after school and on weekends. I've found that they are actually more prepared to settle down and concentrate if they've just had a long, satisfying bout of outdoor play, so it's good for more than just getting them to sleep at night -- it's good for their mind, body and soul.



You don't have to believe me; just ask the experts. Studies have shown how play enhances learning skills (along with social and emotional skills) and that physical activity boosts student performance (the New York Times even calls it the "Fourth R"). In fact, play is so important to optimal child development that it has been recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.

That's why I'm so happy to blog about Sprite's ongoing effort, Spark Parks, to refresh parks, playgrounds and active spaces across the nation. In April, The Sprite Spark Parks Project is teaming up with Habitat for Humanity to build and refurbish homes and active spaces. Now everyone can help out by collecting special green tabs from Sprite cans!


Here's how it works:

1) Look for Sprite or Sprite Zero cans with green tabs during the month of April.

2) Start collecting Sprite green tabs now and help raise money to build and refurbish homes and active spaces. For each green tab from Sprite or Sprite Zero received by 6/30/2011, Sprite will donate 10 cents per tab, up to $500,000 (Sprite has guaranteed a minimum $250k donation), to Habitat for Humanity.

3) Place the green tabs in a regular or padded envelope. If using a regular envelope, please limit the number of tabs to 20 per envelope. Affix the appropriate postage and check with your post office to confirm the postage if necessary. Mail the tabs by 6/30/2011 to:

Sprite Green Tabs
PO Box 52666
Knoxville, TN 37950


Visit the official Spark Park Sprite Hub page for more information.

How simple is that? I can't wait to start my own green tab collection so we can help other kids reap the benefits of outdoor play!

Need a bit more motivation to start collecting those green tabs? How about the thought of an extra $2,000 donation from BlogHer to Habitat for Humanity?! If you upload a photo of your Sprite green tab collection to your blog or Facebook page, then leave a link to your photo in the comments section of this post, BlogHer will donate 10 cents to Habitat for Humanity, up to $2,000!

Still need more convincing? How about the chance to win a $100 Shutterfly.com gift card?


Win a $100 gift card to Shutterfly.com

One lucky Bonggamom Finds winner will receive a $100 Shutterfly.com gift card!


To enter, you can do any of the following:

(Update 5/26/11: The giveaway has been extended to 5/31/11! )

(Update 5/19/11: I've added a fifth entry method to make it easier than ever to enter! Choose up to two entry methods below.)

a) New, easy entry method: Leave a comment telling us how you plan to keep your family in motion this summer. Volunteering, community/team sports, or how about summer
camps? Tell us!

b) Take a fun photo of your Green Tab collection, upload the photo onto your blog or Facebook page, then leave a comment on this post with a link to the blog/FB post.

c) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post.

d) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post.

e) No Twitter account or blog? Visit the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

As mentioned above, any of these 5 entry methods counts, but it would be awesome if you chose option (b) as one of your entries, because BlogHer is donating 10 cents to Habitat for Humanity for every photo uploaded, up to $2000! Don't have a blog or Facebook account? Don't want to post to yours? No problem! Use mine! Put your photo up on facebook.com/bonggamomfinds!

You can also gain an extra entry by completing any of the 4 remaining options, for a total of 2 entries. Entries will be accepted between 5/5/2011 and (new deadline!) 5/31/2011. Don't forget to visit the BlogHer Promotions & Prizes section for more chances to win a $100 Shutterfly gift card. Good luck!


Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post b) Tweet about this promotion and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post c) Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post d) For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The official rules are available here

Disclaimer: This is a compensated post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Staying Well with Walgreens this Winter


This is a compensated review from BlogHer and Walgreens.


We've just come back from a 3-day ski trip at Tahoe, and it's amazing how much stuff you need to pack just for 3 days. Part of it, of course is all the extra gear and paraphernalia you need when you go out in the snow, and another part of it is traveling with a fussy Englishman who refuses to give up his endless daily cups of tea. But there's the stuff you can't really avoid, like clothes and shoes and toiletries and medicines -- and given the wintry season, we need more of those than ever to stay happy and healthy!

I was recently chosen by Walgreen's and BlogHer to review the Walgreens' Brand Health and Wellness products of my choice, and the invitation could not have come at a better time, since I was stocking up for our trip, and we buy Walgreens' brand products all the time anyway. Here are three Walgreens' Brand Health and Wellness products that we rely on for our winter getaways:


Suncare
When it's cold and dull and grey, the last thing you're thinking of is sunscreen, but actually the sun's rays are just as strong; even though your body is bundled up, your face and hands need sun protection just as much as they do in the summer. And when you're in the snow, protecting your face is more important than ever! That's why we pack sunscreen sticks whenever we go up to Tahoe.

I love Walgreen's Oil-Free Sunscreen Sticks -- they're so easy to apply. You don't even have to get your hands all sticky because you hold the plastic tube and apply it, like lipstick all over your face. The Sunscreen Stick for babies is white, which I don't particularly care for, since you do have to use your hands to blend it in, but Alfie really likes it because you can easily see which areas you've already applied.




Pain/fever/cold relief
Whenever we go to the snow, it always seems like one of the kids comes down with some kind of virus while we're up there. So we always take a small stash of junior-strength ibuprofen to keep them comfortable and fever-free, just in case. It has to be ibuprofen, not acetaminophen, because my twins have some kind of protein deficiency that could result in chronic anemia when they take in certain foods or chemicals -- and acetaminophen is one of them. For some reason, chewable junior-strength ibuprofen is really quite difficult to find. I've really only been able to find them at Walgreen's, so when they're in stock I really stock up.

Junior-strength ibuprofen in liquid form is pretty readily available (and the Walgreen's brand has that too), but it's so much more convenient to have it in chewable form when traveling.


Allergies
All of us are allergic to something or other, and it's not a seasonal thing either. 3Po's eczema bothers him year-round, Alfie's hay fever has turned into a year-round malady and the rest of us get the dreaded puffy/watery/itchy eye from time to time.


Once again, it's Walgreen's Children's Allergy Relief to the rescue. Their chewables work just as well as the name brand antihistamine that I've been using my entire life -- until I discovered that the Walgreen's brand works just as well, and costs less. Alfie and I find that the children's version works fine for us (if my symptoms are particularly strong, I just take a double kids' dose) and the kids. We have a box of these permanently in our van, and we make sure we pack a second box in our toiletry bag whenever we travel anywhere.


If you compare the ingredients in Walgreens Brand products versus name-brand products, there's really no difference! They have the same ingredients, and they work just as well. The only difference is the price! I've even discovered another great reason to purchase Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products: a portion of every purchase of these products supports the Walgreens Way to Well Fund™, which brings preventative wellness services to local communities. There's no reason not to try Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness products! Visit the site for more information and check it out. Plus, if you enter my giveaway below, you might even win a $100 Walgreens gift card to try out the products yourself!



Win a $100 Walgreens Gift Card
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive a $100 Walgreens gift card, courtesy of BlogHer.


Required Entry
Leave a comment on this post and tell me which Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Product(s) you need this winter season. This entry must be completed before extra entries qualify.

Extra Entry
For an extra entry, you can do ONE of the following (for a total of 2 entries). Please leave a separate comment for each extra entry.


1) Tweet this:
Enter to win a $100 Walgreen's gift card on @bonggafinds #giveaways http://tinyurl.com/bonggagiveaways

.... and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post


2) Blog about this promotion (please make sure your blog post has a link to this post) and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post


3) For those with no Twitter or blog, visit the Official Rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.



More Giveaways
More BlogHer reviewers are writing about their experiences with Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products, and they've all got giveaways! Visit the Exclusive Offers section for even more chances to win a $100 Walgreen's gift card.


The Rules
This giveaway starts at 9:00AM PST on March 14 and ends at 11:59PM PST on April 13, 2011; I will draw a winner at random on April 14 and post the winner's name after he/she confirm acceptance. Winner must confirm within 72 hrs of my email, otherwise a new winner will be selected. US residents only, 18 or older. No duplicate comments, please. Visit the Official Rules. Good Luck!


Disclosure: This is a compensated post. Giveaway prize has been provided by BlogHer. Product information is provided by the featured company/product and is indicated in italics. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Morning Rituals


This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kelloggs.

Morning rituals can be soothing, like a cup of coffee. They can be energizing, like a sunrise yoga session or a morning run. They can be loving, like my son tiptoeing into our bedroom to snuggle under the covers with mom and dad. They can be ordinary, like the bowl of cereal my kids eat every single day. And they can even be super, out-of-this-world scary... and fun.

One of my favorite annual events is the Halloween Breakfast that the kids' school puts on every year. If Halloween falls on a weekend, the breakfast is held on the Friday before Halloween; otherwise, it's held on Halloween morning. This is one day of the year when I don't need to poke and prod the kids to get out of bed. They're up with the sun, donning their costumes, spray-painting their hair, applying fake skeleton tattoos to their arms, painting scars on their cheeks, ponytailing their hair with fancy purple-and-black bows.

The whole school shows up in costume, from the tiniest kindergartener to the principal to the teachers' aides. Some parents show up in costume, some don't, but one thing that parents always show up with is a camera, because the sight of all these kids in costumes is too precious to miss. Kids run around and compare costumes, ham it up for the camera, gobble down a donut hole and gulp down some orange juice before rushing back out to greet more of their friends. They especially love seeing their teachers in costume

On ordinary days, when the school bell rings it's time to get into the classroom, but at the Halloween Breakfast the fun has just started. The whole school lines up for a costume parade than takes them through the school corridors, which are flanked with parents armed with cameras, like a bunch of paparazzi. The whole school forms a gigantic circle on the field and the principal calls out groups of kids to take a bow, i.e. all the princess characters, all the skeletons, all the superheroes, etc... It's a small, simple touch to make each child feel like people are admiring his or her costume and telling each other how great it looks. Afterwards, the kids go back to their classes and have a Halloween party (with all that excitement and all that sugar, I doubt if too much studying goes on!). The Halloween Breakfast is one morning tradition that our family never misses, and it's one of the reasons why Halloween is my favorite holiday!

Do you have a yearly morning tradition that your family participates in?

Whatever morning rituals you and your family participate in, I hope you'll add Bonggamom Finds to it! I'm partnering with BlogHer and Kellogg's to bring you some fun breakfast topics, from morning routines to cereal to family breakfast traditions and more. Join me every week through October 2010 for a new discussion -- and a new giveaway for a $100 Visa Gift Card!


Win a $100 Visa Gift Card
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a $100 Visa Gift card courtesy of Kellogg's and BlogHer. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite go-to breakfast when time is tight and you're in a rush.

For a second entry, you can:
· Tweet about this post with a link to it (and put your tweet URL in a separate comment below)
· Blog about this post with a link to it (and put your blog post URL in a separate comment below)

Entries will be accepted until 5PM EST until November 1, 2010. For full giveaway rules, click here. You can also gain 24 extra chances to win $100 by visiting the BlogHer.com Kellogg exclusive offers page. Good luck!



The Mom's Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids' cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. Kellogg's helps moms keep their morning simple with cereal varieties for everyone in the family. For more information, visit www.loveyourcereal.com.

This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and Kellogg's. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Are You Ready for Halloween?


This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Pop-Tarts.





I can't believe Halloween is less than a week away. It's scary how time flies! But I think we're ready: house is decorated, the candy has been purchased, and most important of all, we have their costumes put together.

Costumes are my favorite part of Halloween. I guess I'm just a big kid at heart; I love to dress up, and Halloween gives perfectly sane and subdued adults complete license to let go and be any character they want to be, no matter how silly, nutty or scary. At every Halloween party I've ever thrown, I ask the grownups to wear costumes, and despite some initial misgivings, they all let their hair down and end up having a great time.


Now that I have a family, Halloween is five times better than it was before, because not only do I get to dress myself up in costume, I have four other people to plan costumes for! Not that I'm the Halloween police chief or anything like that. When the kids were babies I did choose their costumes, but now that they're bigger they get complete freedom to choose their costumes -- although I do admit to trying to nudge their preferences one way or another, depending on which costumes happen to be on sale or whether I can coordinate the whole family's costumes. Most years we end up with an eclectic collection of costumes, but on one or two years the stars have aligned and blessed me with 3 kids who actually want to be the same thing for Halloween. One year we were all Disney characters, and last year we were all pirates, which was great for the photos.

This year the kids' interests have converged once again; they've all decided to be scary creatures for Halloween. The Pea and her best friend have decided to be vampire twins, and this year, instead of buying a costume, she wants to put one together herself. At first I was really happy at the thought of not having to spend a huge amount of money on a costume -- until she came to me with a list of all the clothes and accessories she claims she needs to look like a real vampire. Capes, necklaces, fake fangs, fake blood, makeup, tights, skirts.... vampires would need to live forever in order to amass enough money to be able to afford a getup like The Pea is planning!

The boys are going to be skeletons, but not ordinary skeletons, oh no. Apparently plain old skeletons just don't cut it with the 6-year-old set anymore. Jammy is going to be a skeleton rocker; he's got an awesome mask with bones sticking up on the top of the skull, like a skeletal punk rock hairdo. 3Po is a zombie skeleton:


It looks like Alfie and I are going to be zombies this Halloween too. Because how can I resist the opportunity to pose for great Halloween family photos?



Win a $100 Visa Gift Card
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a $100 Visa Gift card courtesy of BlogHer. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me what costume you'll be wearing for Halloween.

You can get extra entries by tweeting and blogging about this giveaway, making sure to include a link to this giveaway in your tweet or blog post. Just leave a comment on this post and share the link to your tweet or blog post. Entries will be accepted on this post and on my Kellogg's Choc-o-Lantern Pop Tarts recipe post until October 31, 2010. For full giveaway rules, click here. You can also gain 9 other chances to win $100 by visiting the BlogHer.com Halloween Pop-Tarts exclusive offers page. Good luck!
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Goodness Comes in a Bowl


This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kelloggs.


We recently bought a new dishwasher, and one of the things I like best about it is that it has plenty of space for bowls. It's surprising how many bowls we go though during the day. When I cook, I like to put my ingredients in neat little bowls, like they do on all the cooking shows. I use bowls to mix, microwave, serve and store our food. Oh, and we eat from bowls too!

When the kids were younger, they used bowls exclusively; the sides of the bowls kept food from spilling over when they were trying to scoop up their food into a spoon. Now that they're older, I still use bowls to serve them snacks; nuts, chips, crackers, cut fruit, dry cereal are just some of the snacks that are so much easier to eat from a bowl than a plate.

Snacks aside, we eat quite a few meals from bowls. How else can you have cereal and milk for breakfast? Or oatmeal? Or yogurt? I serve soup at least once a week, sometimes twice -- heck, I love soup and if it were up to me, I could probably eat it every day -- which adds even more bowls to our pile of dirty dishes. Pasta? In a bowl. Rice? Hey, I'm Asian, of course it goes in a bowl! And let's not forget dessert: ice cream, pudding, and anything served a la mode has got to go into a bowl.


Whatever you like to put in your bowl, don't forget to sprinkle some Bonggamom Finds on top! I'm partnering with BlogHer and Kellogg's to bring you some fun breakfast topics, from morning routines to cereal to family breakfast traditions and more. Join me every week through October 2010 for a new discussion -- and a new giveaway for a $100 Visa Gift Card!


Win a $100 Visa Gift Card
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a $100 Visa Gift card courtesy of Kellogg's and BlogHer. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite food in a bowl.

You can get extra entries by tweeting and blogging about this giveaway, making sure to include a link to this giveaway in your tweet or blog post. Just leave a comment on this post and share the link to your tweet or blog post. Entries will be accepted until October 25, 2010. For full giveaway rules, click here. You can also gain 24 extra chances to win $100 by visiting the BlogHer.com Kellogg exclusive offers page. Good luck!



The Mom's Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids' cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. Kellogg's helps moms keep their morning simple with cereal varieties for everyone in the family. For more information, visit www.loveyourcereal.com.

This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and Kellogg's. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
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Halloween Fun with Choc-O-Lantern Pop-Tarts


This is a compensated review by BlogHer and Pop-Tarts.



When Pop-Tarts and BlogHer asked me to create a recipe using Limited Edition Choc-o-Lantern Pop-Tarts, they had no idea what kind of monster they were unleashing. Halloween happens to be my thing, and every year I enjoy cooking up a fun Halloween showpiece for our annual Halloween party.

To get started, I thought about which Halloween icon Pop-Tarts most resembled, and the answer was easy: a tombstone! However, Pop-Tarts is one step ahead of me; when my sample Choc-o-Lantern Pop-Tarts arrived, they already had a recipe for a Pop-Tarts Graveyard on the back of the box.

Back to square one. What else comes to mind when I munch on Pop-Tarts and think of Halloween? How about pirate's treasure chest? Or a coffin? Eureka! I had the most spine-tingling, bone-chilling, spectacular Halloween recipe ever! MWAHAHAHAHA!

Behold, my Halloween Surprise Box.

Okay, it's not a coffin; I didn't want to deal with cutting up the Pop-Tarts into coffin shapes. It's not even a treasure chest, because Jammy insisted treasure chests have curved lids, and wouldn't let me call it a treasure chest. So it's a Surprise Box -- but whatever it's called, it's fun, spooky, and 100% Halloween. Here's how to make it:

Ingredients
6 Kellogg's Choc-o-Lantern Pop-Tarts
1/4 cup orange or brown colored candy melts (We used light brown, peanut-butter flavored candy melts. You can also use royal icing; here's a good recipe)
1 box brownie mix
1 box instant chocolate pudding
2 gummy fingers
2 bamboo skewers
assorted Halloween-themed candies to decorate

Step 1: Place the candy melts in a ziploc bag and microwave on 50% power for 45 seconds, or until melted. Snip a corner of the ziploc bag. Stand one of the Pop-Tarts on one edge, then carefully pipe some candy melt icing on the edge of the Pop-Tarts. "Glue" it onto a second of the Pop-Tarts to make a corner.
Step 2: Repeat for the other corner. I used the Pop-Tarts box to prop both corners up until the candy melts dried.
Step 3: Pulse one of the Pop-Tarts in a food processor until crumbly, then set aside
Step 4: Prepare the brownies according to package directions and cool completely. When cool, cut into chunks and fill the box about 2/3 full (you'll have plenty of leftover brownies to nibble on!)
Step 5: Carefully thread the gummy fingers onto the bamboo skewers.
Step 6: Prepare the chocolate pudding according to package directions. When the pudding is set, spoon about half of the pudding on top of the brownies, or until the box is full. (Sorry, I don't have a photo of the pudding, but you get the idea)
Step 7: Stick the skewered gummy fingers into the front corner of the box, then carefully prop the last of the Pop-Tarts on top of the fingers. Let the other end of the Pop-Tarts rest on one of the box edges, like a lid. Pipe more candy melt or royal icing on the edge of the box and on top of the gummy fingers to "glue" the lid in place.
Step 8: This is the fun part: decorate the box with Halloween-themed candies. Get some gummy worms oozing out of the pudding or drape them over the lid. Stick some gummy eyeballs or bones or skulls in there. Sprinkle the crumbled Pop-Tarts over the pudding and around the to resemble dirt. Go wild!


To serve, pick out all the candies and lift off the lid. Then scoop up the brownies and pudding into individual dishes. Then divide up the Pop-Tarts and candies (there should be extra brownies and pudding) and enjoy. I know, it looks too pretty, I mean spooky, to eat, but it's gotta be done. This recipe is so much fun to make, and so much fun to eat, it's positively scary!

Win a $100 Visa Gift Card
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a $100 Visa Gift card courtesy of BlogHer. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite Halloween treat.

You can get extra entries by tweeting and blogging about this giveaway, making sure to include a link to this giveaway in your tweet or blog post. Just leave a comment on this post and share the link to your tweet or blog post. Entries will be accepted until October 31, 2010. For full giveaway rules, click here. You can also gain 9 other chances to win $100 by visiting the BlogHer.com Halloween Pop-Tarts exclusive offers page. Good luck!
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The Secret to a Great Breakfast


This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kelloggs.


We eat 365 breakfasts every year, and about 300 of them involve cereal and milk. At that rate, you'd think we'd be sick of cereal and milk by now. The truth is, we can't get enough of cereal and milk! We have a huge assortment of cereals in our cupboard so everyone has a wide variety to choose from and no-one gets bored. And we can always add all kinds of toppings and secret ingredients to spice up our mornings even more. Each member of my family has their own never-fail breakfast item:

Alfie's secret cereal weapon is fruit. Whatever kind of cereal he eats that morning, he never fails to top it with some kind of fresh fruit, be it blueberries (his favorite), raspberries, strawberries or bananas.

Mine is yogurt, my go-to breakfast item (I'm the only member of our family that doesn't eat cereal and milk for breakfast on a regular basis). Even when I have oatmeal or cereal, I like to pour a bit of yogurt on top for that sweet, creamy taste.

3Po also likes yogurt, especially when he has Rice Krispies and milk because it gets all thick and clumpy, almost like a gloppy Rice Krispie treat!



The Pea loves maple syrup, which she uses to make smiley faces on her pancakes or oatmeal or cereal (needless to say, when she uses it I try to make sure her cereal is one of the lower-sugar varieties like Rice Krispies or Corn Flakes!).

Jammy loves raisins in his cereal. He'll pop them into his mouth like candy! Raisin Bran is high on his list of favorite cereals, but he'll eat raisins (or other dried fruit) on almost any kind of cereal.

It's no secret: with so many ways to enjoy cereal, why would we ever get bored?


Whatever you like to eat in the mornings, don't forget to add some Bonggamom Finds to spice things up! I'm partnering with BlogHer and Kellogg's to bring you some fun breakfast topics, from morning routines to cereal to family breakfast traditions and more. Join me every week through October 2010 for a new discussion -- and a new giveaway for a $100 Visa Gift Card!


Win a $100 Visa Gift Card
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a $100 Visa Gift card courtesy of Kellogg's and BlogHer. To enter, leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite go-to breakfast when time is tight and you're in a rush.

For a second entry, you can:
· Tweet about this post with a link to it (and put your tweet URL in a separate comment below)
· Blog about this post with a link to it (and put your blog post URL in a separate comment below)

Sweepstakes ends 5 PM EST on October 18, 2010. For full giveaway rules, click here. You can also gain 24 extra chances to win $100 by visiting the BlogHer.com Kellogg exclusive offers page. Good luck!



The Mom's Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids' cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. Kellogg's helps moms keep their morning simple with cereal varieties for everyone in the family. For more information, visit www.loveyourcereal.com.

This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and Kellogg's. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
Continue reading...

The Morning Rush


This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kelloggs.

If you've been following my Kellogg's Moms Breakfast Club posts, you know by now that mornings are a mad rush in my household. I like to stay in bed as late as possible, so it's imperative that everything gets done quickly and according to plan. The key word really is planning, and preparation! Here are some things we do to streamline and simplify our mornings:

1) Get ready the night before
Before the kids go to bed I ask them to make sure all their homework is done and in their backpacks, along with any library books, folders and anything else they need to give to their teachers the next day. We also go over what activities we have the next day (i.e., dance, soccer, playdates, etc...) so we know what else needs to be ready.

2) Pre-pack lunches
Many parents like to pack lunches the night before, but I like to assemble my kids' sandwiches right before I pack them, especially when I make sandwiches that might get soggy if the fillings have time to soak through the bread. That doesn't mean I can't get everything set up to make things easier for me in the morning. I pre-chill milk and juice boxes, and cut up fruit the night before. Some lunches can be prepared ahead of time, like pita bread and carrots with hummus, or leftover pasta. You can make a bagel with cream cheese and jelly the night before and refrigerate it. In fact, I like to freeze a giant batch of PBJ sandwiches so I can just pull them out of the freezer and throw it in their lunchboxes.



3) Simplify breakfast
On school mornings I don't have time to mess around with pancakes or waffles or bacon and eggs. I don't even like preparing oatmeal -- hey, that's an extra 2 minutes in the microwave, and another 2 minutes to cool it down! Yup, our schedule is that tight. So unless the kids have gotten to the breakfast table in record time, they stick to cereal and milk. What could be simpler? It's yummy, healthy, filling and ready to eat in an instant.


Whatever you eat when you're in a rush, don't forget to make time to enjoy some Bonggamom Finds on the side! I'm partnering with BlogHer and Kellogg's to bring you some fun breakfast topics, from morning routines to cereal to family breakfast traditions and more. Join me every week through October 2010 for a new discussion -- and a new giveaway for a $100 Visa Gift Card!


Win a $100 Visa Gift Card
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a $100 Visa Gift card courtesy of Kellogg's and BlogHer. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me your favorite go-to breakfast when time is tight and you're in a rush.

You can get extra entries by tweeting and blogging about this giveaway, making sure to include a link to this giveaway in your tweet or blog post. Just leave a comment on this post and share the link to your tweet or blog post. Entries will be accepted until October 11, 2010. For full giveaway rules, click here. You can also gain 24 extra chances to win $100 by visiting the BlogHer.com Kellogg exclusive offers page. Good luck!



The Mom's Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids' cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. Kellogg's helps moms keep their morning simple with cereal varieties for everyone in the family. For more information, visit www.loveyourcereal.com.

This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and Kellogg's. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
Continue reading...

Weekend Mornings


This is sponsored content by BlogHer and Kelloggs.

With such hectic morning weekdays, you'd think we'd be glad to take it easy and relax on the weekends. But no, we had to be the family with the daughter who takes skating lessons, whose class had to be on Saturday mornings at 8:45. So we have to be out of the house by 8:20, which is only 20 minutes later than our weekday schedule. And this year 3Po and Jammy have joined a soccer league that holds games on Saturday mornings.

As early as 8:00AM.

There goes my beauty sleep. Saturday mornings have become an extension of weekday mornings where I put on my drill sergeant hat and get everyone up and running on a bowl of cereal, milk and fruit. Good thing they love it, huh?

But Sundays are sacred. As the song goes, Never Never on a Sunday, a Sunday, a Sunday, 'cause that's my day of rest. Sundays are meant to be savored, and that includes breakfast. Actually, most Sundays the family still has cereal and milk, but if the kids ask for made-from-scratch oatmeal or waffles, instead of giving them an Are You Kidding Me?? look, I'll smile sweetly and say, Of course, honey.

So on Sundays, they get sliced fresh strawberries swirled into vanilla yogurt, sprinkled with cinnamon and granola.




Or they might get the banana oatmeal bread that I baked the night before, smeared with butter and jam.




On special occasions like a Halloween weekend, a Valentine's weekend, or a birthday weekend, I'll go all out and make themed pancakes or waffles.



If they're really lucky, I'll even go the FULL MONTY with a full English breakfast of sausage, beans, eggs, fried tomatoes, and yes, even chips (fries). Of course, after having this kind of a feast, they're never hungry at lunchtime, so more often than not they end up having cereal and milk for lunch!





Whatever you have for breakfast on weekends, why not have some Bonggamom Finds on the side! I'm partnering with BlogHer and Kellogg's to bring you some fun breakfast topics, from morning routines to cereal to family breakfast traditions and more. Join me every week through October 2010 for a new discussion -- and a new giveaway for a $100 Visa Gift Card!


Win a $100 Visa Gift Card
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will win a $100 Visa Gift card courtesy of Kellogg's and BlogHer. To enter, just leave a comment on this post and tell me your family's favorite weekend breakfast foods.

You can get extra entries by tweeting and blogging about this giveaway, making sure to include a link to this giveaway in your tweet or blog post. Just leave a comment on this post and share the link to your tweet or blog post. Entries will be accepted until October 4, 2010. For full giveaway rules, click here. You can also gain 24 extra chances to win $100 by visiting the BlogHer.com Kellogg exclusive offers page. Good luck!



The Mom's Breakfast Club was started to help educate moms and families about kids' cereal and share the scoop on their nutritional benefits and ingredients. Kellogg's helps moms keep their morning simple with cereal varieties for everyone in the family. For more information, visit www.loveyourcereal.com.

This is a sponsored post from BlogHer and Kellogg's. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.
Continue reading...

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