Nostalgic Summer Days

Disclosure: I was provided with free samples of Breyers Gelato Indulgences. All opinions are my own.

I know we are usually all about the real food in our home, but for the longest time I dreamed of being able to let the boys enjoy the summer I remember. I wanted to let them have the experience of eating snow balls and ice cream on hot summer evenings, and now that Matthew is practically recovered we sneak those days in here and there. Sometimes we go out and get a treat, like hitting our local soft serve ice cream shop or even on our annual trip to Dutch Wonderland where we can get Dole Whip pineapple soft serve (the only place outside of Walt Disney World I know that serves Dole Whip!) But more often than not we just enjoy something at home. That can range from a summer lemon cake to s’mores to Breyers gelato.

The boys went ga-ga when they saw the vanilla caramel flavor, and with good reason. It is a lovely, soft vanilla practically drenched in caramel. When I was little caramel sundaes were my ABSOLUTE favorite, so I get why they wanted to indulge in this particular Breyer’s creation.

I, on the other hand, have become a huge fan of tiramisu. I used to make this creamy concoction of lady fingers, mascarpone cheese, espresso and chocolate before I married into an Italian family. Oddly, my husband is not a fan, so I never make it any more, but with Breyers Gelato Indulgences Tiramisu I can get the flavor I love even if my husband doesn’t want to partake. (more for me anyway)

With all these awesome *sometime* foods, I can visit the summers of my youth with my children. What are your favorite summertime nostalgic flavors and foods?


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Summer Desserts

Disclosure: I was provided with free Klondike bars. All opinions are my own.

With the abundance of fresh fruits during the summer season, I love to make tempting desserts that utilize all the sweet fruits at the market. For the Fourth of July I made this decadent Caramelized Pineapple with Coconut Sorbet. Of course I couldn’t leave it alone, so instead of the sorbet I used Haagen Dazs Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream. I think this has become my new favorite summer Sundae. The fresh pineapple exudes it sweet juices and they meld with the butter and brown sugar to give a sauce that reminds me of pineapple upside down cake. This dessert can be as refined or down home as you want, simply by using larger or smaller pieces of pineapple and by choosing an appropriate ice cream dish. In addition, you can use this same method on all sorts of fresh fruit such as raspberries, peaches or cherries.

And speaking of peaches I just made (yesterday) the most decadent Gluten Free Peach Cobbler. My husband is a sucker for a good peach cobbler and because he was making one of his world famous pit beefs I felt I needed to step up and provide him with his favorite dessert. We took a trip to a local farmers market and bought some juicy white peaches. I used this recipe but substituted King Arthur Gluten Free Flour Mix. The cobbler was a big success. I have to say, you could not tell it was Gluten Free at all, and the flavor was amazing. I did add about 1 teaspoon of almond extract to the peaches as they sat and marinated in the sugar mixture. It did not impart too much almond flavor but simply enhanced the peaches. And of course it was served with a natural vanilla ice cream.

If you have noticed ice cream seems to play a big part in our summer desserts. I’m sure most people gravitate to ice cream during the hot summer months, but we like it during the winter too! During the heat of summer we will often stop at one of the local soft serve ice cream places and get a sundae, but more often than not we will just pop over to our freezer and grab one of our favorite frozen treats. My husband has always been a fan of Klondike and he tends to prefer the traditional vanilla or Heath Bar flavors, but I found out that Klondike is now making Klondike Kandy Bars and was really intrigued by them. I tried the Cookies & Cream version and found that I liked the added chocolate fudge-like ribbon on top of the ice cream. I have to say the Caramel and Peanuts one looks even better and there is a Fudge Krunch that features chocolate ice cream if you love all things chocolate. I’m sure we will pick up some more Klondikes in the weeks to come.

So do you like to make desserts during the summer or do you prefer to purchase yours from the freezer case? I love to do both, and ice cream always seems to play a big part when the temperatures are rising.


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Easter Basket Ideas from Vtech and a Giveaway

Disclosure: : “The VTech product, gift card, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by VTech.”

Vtech Easter Basket Ideas

When we first received our InnoTab by Vtech my boys went nuts for it. Well, it is still one of their favorite toys. Just yesterday my youngest (who is 4) told me that there are two ways to take pictures. One is with a camera and the other is with his InnoTab. He also informed me I could take a video of him with the InnoTab if I wanted to. You know, if I wanted to!

Easter is right around the corner and although I love to give my children yummy holiday treats, I do tend to feel a little pang of guilt with all the sugar they would be consuming. So instead of making their Easter Baskets up with just sweets I like to include things that will last a bit longer and won’t raise their blood sugar levels.

Vtech has some great basket stuffers such as the Vtech InnoTab Disney Planes software cartridge. It is designed for children ages 4 – 7 (Pre-K to 1st grade) which is perfect for my two younger boys. This cartridge offers 8 interactive math games based around addition, counting, more/less than and subtraction. It even offers a Planes e-book and camera fun! I know my youngest is super excited about this one, but I suspect I’ll find my oldest playing with it too.

The second Vtech InnoTab software cartridge is sure to be popular because it has the Bubble Guppies and Bubble Puppy as it stars. It includes “Bubble Puppy” e-book with story dictionary, seven games, a photo activity, free play and collection mode! My boys will join the Bubble Guppies as they take care of Bubble Puppy on this pet learning game! It teaches creativity, color matching, counting, reading, life science, vocabulary and more. It’s pet-care discovery with the Bubble Guppies.

The Go! Go! Smart Wheels really got my little one excited. He saw it first, as soon as it came out of the package, so he claimed it as his own. When his brothers finally saw it he was sure to tell them it was his and to keep their hands off of it. These electronic play vehicles are perfectly sized for little hands and entertain children with a light-up button that activates music and sounds. And we all know the importance of  having your little ones learn through pretend play.

Lastly the Switch & Go Dinos Turbo Assortment of dinosaurs is perfect for the dino lover in your home. They are designed for children ages 3 to 8.  Kids can rev up the action with flywheels that let the dinos race and roar across the floor. Each dino also emits realistic vehicle and dinosaur sounds and phrases that teach fun facts about each dino. The range features six new dinos, including Dart the Triceratops, Zipp the T-Rex, Spur the Stegosaurus, Fray the Ankylosaurus, Cruz the Spinosaurus and Spinner the Stygimoloch.

All of these Vtech toys are perfectly sized for Easter Baskets and would allow your child to not only play but also learn with their gifts. That is a winning combination in our home.

Vtech would love if you could keep up with them on their website, Twitter and Facebook

Giveaway – Vtech is kind enough to be giving away, to one of my readers, the same gift pack I received. Simply enter below! Good luck.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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My Health Rules

Lately I have been seeing many of my friends picking up some of my old habits. The funny thing is they don’t seem to remember me telling them about these healthy items years ago. So this January I decided to tell you about all the great things I’m doing to keep myself healthy. I don’t know if you will want to or need to adopt any of them, but it may get you into the mindset that you might want to look into these nifty health rules.


  1. Green Juicing – So many people are juicing now, and ultimately I think that is great. I first learned about the benefits of juicing from my autism biomedical community. Green juicing has long been a great way to detox our autistic children (and ourselves) so I have been familiar with it for a few years now. My husband and I have at least one green juice every morning. Usually this is all we have for breakfast, but sometimes we will supplement it with a protein boost such as a hard boiled egg. If we are feeling like we really need to ramp the detox and nutrient content up, and maybe help shed a few pounds (like right after the holiday) we will juice 2 to 3 times a day and eat a simple dinner of soup or salad. Our green juices often contain kale, celery, ginger, cilantro (is a natural chelator which helps pull heavy metals from the body), carrot, lemon, green apple, fennel, parsley, spinach, beet, garlic, sweet potato, pear and pomegranate. We always add an apple, pear or pomegranate to provide the sweetness, but usually only one or two. You really want the greens to take front and center! And you don’t want to have too much sugar in the juice, which is what the sweet fruits will produce. Since we started green juicing I have noticed a marked difference in my skin quality and my keratosis pilaris (bumps on the back of my arms and on my legs) have gone away. In addition it is a great way to get extra nutrients I would never be able to pack in, no matter how many salads I ate. Check with you doctor before you start juicing.
  2. Grapefruit Seed Extract and Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – I skip the flu shot (not a big fan of vaccines if you must know the truth) and instead treat illnesses with grapefruit seed extract and raw apple cider vinegar. I prefer liquid grapefruit seed extract and dose myself by adding it to empty 00 capsules I buy on Amazon. If I am sick I will simply dose myself at least twice a day. Grapefruit seed extract will kill just about everything. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar is another great home remedy that I will not go without. There are several rules of thought on ACV as it is often called. Some prefer that you dilute it a lot, say 1 tablespoon to 8 oz of water and sip on that all year. Others, like myself will take the ACV straight up multiple times a day. I have done this to treat a UTI I had acquired over a weekend and could not see a doctor. I took 2 tablespoons of ACV with a water chaser 2 to 3 times a day and it knocked the UTI out within a day. Grapefruit seed extract is NOT for everyone, please check with your doctor before using.
  3. Krill Oil – For me krill oil is a must have. Both my husband and I take it daily. But not only that my father and both my in-laws take it. My father swears that the krill oil is what has dissolved his blocked carotid artery. He had a 85% blockage only a year ago, it is now down to 50%. Krill Oil is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Obviously you should check with you doctor to make sure krill oil is right for you before starting it, or stopping any other medications.
  4. Curcumin/Tumeric – the active ingredient in tumeric is curcumin. Curcumin is known to decrease inflammation in the body. I take it daily as does my husband. Inflammation is what causes pain in the body and I aim to reduce inflammation as much as possible. I first learned about curcumin when it was suggested that Matthew take it to lower the inflammation in his brain that causes his autism.
  5. Vitamin D3 – I live in the mid-Atlantic states where is is cold and dark half of the year. I read that Dr. Mercola suggested that we have at least 15 minutes of exposure to the sun over large portions of our body (back or stomach) every day. That is virtually impossible for me so I supplement with a good quality Vitamin D3 daily.
  6. Magnesium – Recently there have been several studies that indicate American’s are critically low in magnesium. Again, this is something we saw in the autism community and was one of the main reasons I began supplementing. I use magnesium glycinate since magnesium citrate can cause diarrhea. Once I began supplementing my magnesium I noticed an improvement in my depression, which I no longer have.
  7. Food Grade Diatomacious earth and Neem – Both are great for killing parasites. Parasites do not know how to distinguish a human host from an animal host, and it is well known that our animals often carry parasitic infections. Most animals are treated with deworming medicines.
  8. De-Stressing – I have had horrible stress. Being a mom can be stressful, but being the mom of a child with autism can push one over the edge. Even with Matthew’s vast improvements I have still be dealing with constant stress. His delays keep him playing catch up in certain areas and we are struggling with the school on a regular basis.
  9. Tulsi/Holy Basil – I love holy basil and use it in both a liquid and a tea form. It is an adaptogen. I have found relief of my asthmatic cough by using Tulsi on a regular basis.
  10. Ginger – I use ginger pills to help regulate my cough-variant asthma.
  11. Tea Tree Oil – Tea Tree Oil is my go to when treating skin afflictions such as warts and molluscum contagiosum. But you must be careful with TTO as it can cause a rash on sensitive skin. It is best to mix it with a carrier oil such as jojoba and to test the skin for reaction. But I have successfully removed plantar warts with it by applying TTO directly to the wart twice a day. After about 1 to 2 weeks of daily treatment the wart simply fell out. For molluscum contagiosum I used the TTO mixed with a carrier oil and applied it once a day, being careful to only apply to the eruption and watching for irritation. When irritation occurred I immediately stopped the application and waited several days for the skin to recover.

I love all of these products and use them often. Please know I am NOT a Doctor nor any other clinician. I am only telling you what I use in my home. I am not suggesting you use any of these products without talking to your doctor or clinician first. Many of these products can cause side effects and you need to do your own research to make sure they are safe for your use.

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