Friday, January 30, 2015

It Takes A Village

As we approach the halfway point of our school year, I have the tendency to look back at the past few months and realize how far we've come. No longer green first and fifth graders, both my girls head off to school with more confidence and their heads held high. For my oldest, the adjustment to a new school and fifth grade was a challenge but one that she gracefully accepted with tenacity and determination. My youngest loves her school, her friends and most of the time, her schoolwork. We are so grateful to the wonderful teachers we have this year who work hard every single day to make sure our children are encouraged, inspired and develop a true love for education.

Having said that, I do realize that not all teachers are outstanding. Sometimes I see their faces as they leave the schools looking tired and overwhelmed. Some of them might just be burnt out which is completely understandable in my opinion, as I only volunteer at the school but still see how difficult teachers have it. Teachers are allocated less and less these days of the schools overall budget for supplies, leading them to have to fund a lot of the costs. They ask for assistance from parents who often times get upset with them because they're requesting extra help. I help donate what I can because we are lucky enough to be able to do that but understandably not everyone can. I often see challenging students who take away others learning time. It's not fair to those teachers who chose this profession to educate children, not to be babysitters.  It's also not fair to those children who are there to learn. Often times, those children who act out have a world that I probably couldn't imagine outside the school. Some of the children only eat breakfast and lunch at school. Sometimes the best part of their day is when they are in their school community. I look at their little faces and worry for them.  I often wonder what drives some parents to act the way they do, what is going on at home to result in the way some kids act out?  I'm grateful that we have so many wonderful educators, aides and administrators to help them on a daily basis. It does take a village, and I'm so sad to see more and more parents who throw their arms up in the air and exclaim, "It's not my problem, you deal with THEM during the day". I can't even imagine but I do think it's out there. I think some people feel like it's the school's responsibility to make their children into better people but I'm a firm believer that it does start at home.  Families need to be encouraging their young children, shutting off the TV, taking away electronic devices if needed and talking to their children. Reading the notes that come home.  Looking at their schoolwork and areas of opportunity.  It starts at home! 

More often, I realize that something needs to change. It starts at the community level, we need to rally up and support our schools. We need to remember that these are the youngest citizens in our community, children who will grow and hopefully become active members of society. The first step is to start the conversation!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Harvestland Feature and Pulled Chicken Recipe #MomsMeet

It's no secret that I'm not a huge meat or poultry eater. Growing up, my parents loves taking us out to fancy steak houses and protein was the name of the game. I've never cared for it however, my family does enjoy a nice piece of chicken every once in a while. Over the years, I've become more concerned about how chickens are raised and follow a strict rule when it comes to selecting the poultry that my family consumes. Typically I like to buy local from farmers who I know and trust. When local isn't an option, I seek out organic but that always seems to come with a HIGH price. I was excited to learn more about Harvestland poultry products. Available in your local grocery stores, Harvestland prides themselves on their quality, Hormone free, all-natural poultry products?  Yes PLEASE!
Each chicken breast comes individually packaged within the package (shown above) so you can portion out your chicken as needed!
This delicious PULLED CHICKEN is a big hit for Superbowl Sunday!  Check out this recipe for chicken tacos here, my family LOVES it!  It's even tastier with Harvestland chicken!
Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Pulled Chicken (Prudence Pennywise)
Estimated Cost: $3.00
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 (14 ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Coat inside of crock pot with no stick cooking spray. Place all ingredients in crock pot. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, or until chicken shreds very easily with a fork. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Chicken will absorb liquid after it is shredded.) Serve in tacos. 
Just the facts
• All chickens are raised on family farms with very strict USDA Process Verified programs, which ensures that the chickens are fed all-vegetarian diets with no animal by-products, raised cage-free, and are never given any antibiotics, ever!
• Raised to the same standards as their chicken, HARVESTLAND® turkeys are fed an all-vegetarian diet with no antibiotics, steroids or hormones.*
• Pork is the latest addition to the HARVESTLAND® brand. Their hogs are raised on family farms in the Midwest and are also fed an all-vegetarian diet with no antibiotics, hormones or steroids.*
• Harvestland also offers USDA-certified organic chicken. These chickens are raised without antibiotics on free-range, organic farms and are fed an all vegetarian diet of certified organic ingredients.
• The HARVESTLAND® product line includes fresh chicken, turkey, and pork products!

Check out Harvestland on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instragram to be in the know.  Also, you can find a list of retailers in your area who sell Harvestland!

I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms Meet program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms Meet blogger, I agree to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of this product. ®

Monday, January 26, 2015

Energy Bites in the BLIZZARD ZONE

One of the things I've talked about in the past is the fact that I make weekly, from scratch snacks for my children. I do realize there's a lot of wonderful options on the market for a good quality, healthy snacks. When I do have the time, I opt to make my own simply because I know they're healthy but they're also more economical. I usually make a healthy muffin or a quick bread, but a few weeks ago I tried this recipe I found on Healthy Appetites for Energy Bites that my children absolutely love! These healthy ingredients these will keep you moving throughout the day because they're packed with protein and goodness! Let me just say that my husband and I also love them, maybe a little too much!  I typically make a couple batches so that the whole family can enjoy them throughout the week. The recipe called for sun-butter but I've also made them with peanut butter and almond butter which work well too.
These delicious treats are simple and delicious - chia seeds, chocolate chips, nut butter, honey...the stuff dreams are made of!  What a great treat to have on hand for snack today or perhaps a SNOW DAY!  Speaking of which, what's the weather look like where you are?  Let's just say, we are officially in the BLIZZARD WARNING ZONE and anticipating being closer to the 18-25 inch zone in these parts!  Looks like we will have the very first snow day of the season! 
Happy Shoveling Friends! 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

$200 Lush Decor Giftcard Giveaway!

If you haven't checked out Lush Decor - you have to run to see the amazing deals and beautiful items they have!  I first discovered this store right before the holidays, when I was looking for a more festive look.  Now that the New Year is here, I'm anxious for a clean slate and sometimes that means a bit of a "facelift" for the rooms in my house!  

Lush Decor creates and markets high quality, beautifully crafted window treatments, bedding, shower curtains, tabletop items and pillows.  They believe great designs and excellent values will ALWAYS win over something ordinary. It's all about their quality and creations!  

Check out some of the beautiful and reasonably priced options available!  

I love this Ruffle Shower Curtain!
They have a variety of Bedding Sets for a variety of tastes!
They also have Window Treatments at a reasonable price!
I'm so excited to share that Lush Decor is offering one lucky reader a $200 Gift Card to use on the items of your choice!  Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below (give it a minute or two to load) and enter!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: I have personally reviewed the products listed above. I have not received any monetary compensation for this review. I did receive a free product to try out so she could evaluate and use it for her review. My thoughts & opinions in this review are unbiased & honest and your opinions may differ. I am not responsible for delivery of any giveaway items won from this blog. I are not responsible for injury or mis-use of any products won from the Barefoot by the Sea Blog. This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook or Google+ in any way. Thanks!
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