Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sarah Eats on The Go

The theme I was given this week was eating on the go. The thing is, I work from home, and while yes, I am terribly busy, I am also rarely on the go. I am usually sitting right here on my butt at this computer.

That doesn't mean I have time to shop, eat, or plan meals wisely.

To be truthful, most of the time I am pretty good about dinners. My mom was a dietician and so I have a lot of ingrained ideas about family dinners and well balanced meals. I try really hard to make sure we at least have a protein, a vegetable and a starch for every dinner.

Now lunch - that is a different story altogether.

Response: That is a different story.

My typical weekday lunch is less than satisfactory. I would say twice a week my midday meal consists of Triscuits or Wheat Thins and whatever random cheese I have in the fridge. Sometimes it is even worse, if I am out on appointments or running the kids around in the summer I'll run through a drive thru and eat Value Meal #1.

With a coke.

This (and beer, sweet sweet beer) is probably the reason I ended up hiring a personal trainer.

I've been eating like crap lately.

Enter my friends at Marie Callender's.

Marie Callender's have out a whole (I keep wanting to use the word series) of frozen meals that are under 500 calories. I went for broke and tried The Chicken Teriyaki - it only has 280 calories.

It cooked in under four minutes and it was actually pretty cool. It came in a basket in a bowl. You put it all in the microwave and the sauce underneath steam the rice, chicken and vegetables and then you dump the food part into the sauce part and stir it up.

It was actually quite good. I was pleasantly surprised. I know Marie Callender's is usually high quality frozen foods, but my expectations were low since it was a frozen one dish lunch that was under 300 calories. It tasted good and I wasn't hungry afterward. What more could I have asked for?

And at $ 3.19 it is still cheaper than a value meal.

There are 34 different meals under 500 calories, but I'll be reviewing three of them. Stay tuned.

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Marie Callender's and The Motherhood sponsored this post, but these are my words and my opinions.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sarah Helps Kleenex Save the Field Trip

Do you guys remember being in elementary or middle school and going on those big field trips? I remember back when I still lived in Ohio going to The Museum of Science and Industry and thinking how cool it was.

Last Thursday my kids (The Goon Squad) and I went to the Natural History Museum for one of those super cool field trips.

I would like to point out that I am well aware of how lucky I am to live just outside of Washington D.C. and within 20 minutes of some of the best museums in the world. I recommend ALL of the Smithsonian museums. Those places are amazing.

It was so cool. The kids got to go into a forensic anthropolgy lab and a discovery room that had a ton of hands on activities for kids.

I forced them to pose with this skull. They think I am crazy.

We also met the curator of the insect exhibit, hung out in the butterfly pavilion and saw an IMAX movie about water conservation.

It was a great day. Thanks to Kleenex for trying to Save the Field Trip. You can go to their facebook page and try to win a $5,000 field trip scholarship for your local school.

All you have to do to register your child’s school for the chance to win $5,000 in support of field trips is “like” the Kleenex Facebook page and click the pink “support your school” button on the Facebook page, then follow the instructions. Easy peasy.

They are giving out 100 of these scholarships, so don't be shy. Sign up!

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#KleenexFieldTrips is a campaign coordinated by The Motherhood. Kleenex sponsored admission to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History is free but our tickets to The Butterfly Pavilion and IMAX, as well as vouchers for lunch, were provided. I am receiving compensation for my involvement in the campaign but all opinions are my own.

Further disclaimer: I copy and pasted that last disclaimer directly from Tech Savvy Mama's website.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sarah Goes on and on About Her E-Mail

Thank you to Yahoo! Mail for sponsoring this post about staying connected. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

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This is my second post about about how an e-mail has affected my life and I am having a heck of a time picking just one thing. I easily get 100 e-mails every single day. How has e-mail not changed my life? I now work from home. I could never do what I do for a living if it weren't for e-mail. I suppose I could still do some freelance writing but I could never sell swag. My artists live in Boulder. It would take weeks to get anything accomplished.

But how do you pick one?

I can think of a handful of e-mails that I got that made me geek out that were actually twitter notifications (a response from Warren Sapp, being followed back by Yoko Ono, being randomly followed by Eric B. from Eric B. and Rakim) but twitter notifications don't really count.

I can think of e-mail that were comment notifications (one time Nancy Lieberman commented on a post I wrote about her on BlogHer) or friend requests on Facebook or myspace (two long lost friends from high school on myspace alone) but those don't really count.

I was going to write about the time Erin asked me if I could go with her to see Duran Duran, but then I remembered that it wasn't an e-mail, it was an IM. I thought about lying and saying it was an e-mail, but if I have been honest here since 2005 it seems wasteful to start lying to you about that.

I could write about the first picture I saw of friend's babies. I could write about job offers or really cool sponsorships. I could write about being invited to have one of my pieces published in Mothers of Intention.

How do I choose just one e-mail?

I can't.

I mean, I already wrote about the e-mail from John Flansburgh. (Am I getting creepy about that? I'm getting weird, aren't I?)

I can't imagine living without e-mail. I spend probably too much time thinking about how different life would be if we had the technology we have now in high school. I love technology. I am an obsessive e-mail checker and I am okay with that. I have had e-mails that made me cry, e-mails that made me jump up and down like a little girl and hundreds of e-mail that made me laugh, and those are the ones I am the most grateful for.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sarah Reviews Net Nanny

I had heard of Net Nanny. I even had a lap top for the kids once where it came pre-installed, but as so often happens when you are me, I didn't really know how to use it so I forgot all about it.

Yes, I am over here being ashamed.

But good news! I figured it out! And just in time, really.

As my children become more literate and more computer savvy, and also because they have computer lab at school as well as friends who unsupervised will watch hours of the Annoying Orange on youtube I think that it is time for something like this.

Now, I don't want you to think that I generally let my seven year olds go online completely unsupervised, but I tend to get engrossed in writing posts or tied up on work phone calls and there is always a possibility that my kids will stumble upon something unintended.

Say for example (and this has happened to a friend of mine) my kids wanted to do a google search for their favorite sporting goods store - Dicks.


And we all know that a SpongeBob video on you tube is one click a way from a related video that might not be what Nickelodeon originally intended.

I am pretty liberal and I don't mind explaining distasteful things to my children. What I really worry about is 1) online predators, 2) them spending my money by downloading stupid stuff, 3) them downloading viruses or 4) them accidentally seeing something that scares the crap out of them.

I only checked a few boxes, but you really have a lot of options with Net Nanny.

I hope that is big enough for you to read, but if not you can block things like sex, religion, violence, auctions, social networking, racism, pay to surf, lingerie, chat, shopping, hacking, alcohol etc.

I love that you can personalize it.

I am fine with it if children choose to read about religion or racism as I am happy to talk about it with them later, but if they want to learn about hacking they are going to have to ask their uncle. I don't need two seven year old hackers living this close to the pentagon.

If your child (or you, if you forget to turn it off) stumbles upon a restricted site, they will get a very clear message and a redirect.

Easy peasy.

The other cool thing is that you can go back and see what your child was doing online.

My kids are pretty predictable, then again, they are seven and haven't yet really learned how to surf the internet.

Here is what it looks like when I am on.


Net Nanny is $39.99, but you can check out a free trial here for mac or here for a PC.

I am also giving away a few subscriptions, so leave a comment here and tell me why you want it and I will randomly choose the winners who I will then e-mail a code so please don't forget to leave me your e-mail address.

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Disclaimer: I received a free subscription and compensation for this review, but these words and opinions are my own.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sarah Reviews Karizmac Luminous

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Karizmac Luminos.

I know, when the Clever Girls first asked me to review it I thought I would be interviewing a psychic or escapologist (I did not make up that word. I found it on Harry Houdini's wikipedia entry.) The name also kind of sounds like a spell you would learn at Hogwarts, but it is neither human nor something from Harry Potter. It is an app and it turns out Karizmac is the maker and Luminos is the name of the app.

That clears up the first part.

So you are wondering what kind if app this is. This is from the website?

Still confused? Watch this video.

My experience was pretty much like the video.

It was all

and I was all

and it was all

Then it was all

and I was all

and it was - You are like Miss Piggy.

Then I was all "I am NOT like MIss Piggy. I think this thing just called me fat."

But I'm sure it didn't mean I was a pig. I mean, really, Miss Piggy isn't even fat. She is kind of glamorous in a really irritating way. When it comes down to Muppets I've always identified more with Janice - or Animal.

Seriously, you could at least pretend to be surprised.

Whatever - then Luminous said I was like Princess Leia Organa so I forgave it, because I AM like Princess Leia, especially if that means I am not wearing a bra and I want to make out with Harrison Ford.

Again, I've said too much.

Would you like to see my personal Charisma Map?

Yeah, I'm not exactly sure what it means, but it would appear that I am much more accepting than I am reasonable and that sounds about right.

Anyway, you can find out which famous women you are like too. They have a free app and a paid app. The paid app is only $ 1.99 - cheap - and you can get it for your iPhone or iPad at the app store.

Did I mention I just got an iPad? Feel free to believe the hype. It is as awesome as you have heard.

Check it out. I played it like six times and I got compared to Dorothy Hammil, Anna Kournakova, Ayla from Clan of the Cave Bear, Judy Blume, Brooke Sheilds, Susan Boyle, Mary J Blige, Dana Torres, Angelina Jolie and Edith Bunker.

Who are you like?

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While Karizmac Luminous provided me with the app to review, the opinions I've expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint. Karizmac Luminous, Clever Girls Collective and I promote Blog With Integrity.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sarah Loves Her E-Mail

Thank you to Yahoo! Mail for sponsoring this post about staying connected. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

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I was in a pissy mood. It was hot. It was loud. Twitter was down. My husband was late.

I hate back to school night. I like it when my kids go to school, but the idea of every single student bringing both parents (or both sets of parents in some cases) to the elementary school for the same two hours is painful. Our elementary school is huge. I think there are eight different kindergarten classes. There must have been 1100 people in the gym/auditorium, half of them were 12 or younger and everything was echoing.

Also I think I was getting a migraine.

I kept checking my e-mail on my phone to see where my husband was. It was 6:00 pm and D.C. traffic is brutal. I was really hoping he wouldn't miss the entire presentation.

I stared at the latest e-mail.

It was from John Flansburgh.

Clearly I was seeing spots. John Flansburgh? Could there be two of them? Could They Might Be Giants be e-mailing me?

Blogging has allowed me some brushes with fame. Nancy Lieberman commented on a post I wrote about her on Warren Sapp atted (I don't know, how would YOU spell it?) me on twitter once, but an e-mail from John Flansburgh? That was new. His PR people, sure, but him personally?

I showed my phone to my neighbor.

"Isn't John Flansburgh the guy from They Might Be Giants?" I asked her.

She looked at me like I was crazy.

I don't think she ever even heard of the band. Then again, she actually likes Katy Perry, so I'm not sure what I was expecting.

I got brave and looked at the e-mail.

It was absolutely from that John. They Might Be Giants were putting on a free show in DC that week. It was for kids and they were hoping some of the local parent bloggers would spread the word.

The e-mail itself wasn't terribly glamorous, but I had received an e-mail from one of my musical idols and it made the rest of the night bearable. Even the PTA skit.

I use e-mail every day. A lot. I could not work or keep up with my family or talk to my friends without it. I can't imagine how we communicated before this. Phone calls? Yikes. I don't miss that. Sure, I've had more pressing e-mails and I've had more meaningful e-mails but I've only received one e-mail from a bona fide rock star. I'm glad Yahoo! gave me an opportunity to tell the story.

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