2015 – a look back

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Wow. Just wow. Where did the year go?! It flew by so fast, and I have to say, I’m kinda glad to have it behind me. I’m grateful to have made it through another year, but it has been a sad one. Cancer reared it’s ugly head on more than one occasion and we lost two members of our family, on my husband’s side. One of my dear friends also lost her mother, while another lost her mother-in-law. To say that I hate cancer is pretty much the understatement of the year. I have to remember our blessings however, as my dad saw his 5 year anniversary of being cancer free this year!

Key Lime Pie

I also had lots of “technical issues” this year…my computer gave me lots of problems and then finally quit all together. It really hindered my blogging, but now….Hello MacBook! I love you, but do not really know how to use you to your fullest potential yet.

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My son had a horrible time with his asthma once allergy season started. He missed lots of school and that also put a stop to my blogging time. Thankfully, after many, many doctor visits, it seems to be back under control. Thank goodness for insurance. As aggravating as it is, it’s nice to have when you are making weekly (if not more) trips to the doctor.

breathing treatment

On the upside (I hope), Makin’ it Mo’Betta became a “dot com”. The move was a great big B word. Thankfully I got help from Dynamics of Design and they were able to get me up and running. I’m still trying to work out the kinks, but if you’re here, then YAY! Thanks for following my sporadic posting and meanderings!

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Throughout all my inconsistent posting however, I just found out that I am in the Top 100 Bloggers on FaveHealthyRecipes.com and AllFreeCasseroleRecipes.com! I’m honored! Check out the Top 100 Most Popular Healthy Recipes and the Top 100 Casserole Recipes, and you will see that I am pleased to be in such good company & honored to have made the lists.

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So, I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas and that 2016 brings good health and happiness to all. I have made just a couple of resolutions…one, to be a more consistent blogger! And two, to purge my house of clutter. We have too.much.stuff.  Of course, there is always that “I want to lose 10 lbs” thing. Actually, it’s more like 15…but I’m not even going to make that a resolution. I’ve been dealing with that since I had my first child…Almost 15 years ago!

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Under Construction!

Makin’ it Mo’Betta has finally made the switch…I’m now a “dot com”!! I’m sure that’s only exciting to me, but it’s also time-consuming and stressful. SO, please be patient with me as I get things moved over and functional. Hopefully there will not be too many glitches *fingers crossed*. Thanks for your support!

What’s Happening Wednesday

Wow! I can’t believe it has been 2 weeks since I’ve posted on the blog! I did not intend on taking a hiatus, but life got in the way. Just a little recap of what’s been happening here.

We had Number One’s birthday in late March…

She picked out an Oreo Chocolate Cake. Oreos in the cake, in the icing, on top of the cake…yummm. My girl is 14 now!

Then there was Easter…

I didn’t do a lot of decorating this year, but found these chair covers at The Dollar Tree. What can I say…I’m a sucker for holiday decor 🙂
I also decorated my nails, thanks to my friend who sells Jamberry.
My boy had an Easter hunt at school.
Easter morning consisted of Monkey Bread (made with frozen rolls and butterscotch pudding)
And I made this fabulously delicious Key Lime Pie for dessert! (Along with a lemon pound cake and my favorite cookie bars!)

Days after Easter, was Mr. Three’s birthday…

Which consisted of the most delicious chocolate cake I have ever made. And I’ve made several!
Then kids had Spring Break, there have been multiple volleyball games and soccer games…not to mention practices…and the list goes on. This mama is worn out! However, I’m working to get back into the swing of things. I will be sharing new recipes in the next couple of days!

Tires and Donuts

This post was sponsored by Sam’s Club and I was compensated to write it. Regardless, what I have written is my own opinion and experience, and I hope you find it of use.

Tires! They are round, black and you drive on them. That’s about the extend of my tire knowledge. And that’s all well and good until one of them goes flat, or starts losing pressure, OR you are told that you need new ones. FOUR new ones to be exact. On a car that was barely a year old…but that’s a different story. Let’s just say…I’ve recently been tire shopping.

For me, and I think for a lot of women, shopping for auto parts is the equivalent of our husbands shopping for sanitary products. There are a lot of different products on the shelves that all appear basically the sameTires are definitely more confusing however, because they are all the same color. You can’t say “go get the ones in the blue box”.
Thankfully, one of my favorite stores, Sam’s Club, has a tire and battery department fully stocked with people who actually know things about tires. (And you can get a ginormous box of sanitary products at the same time. #winning) Not only do they have low prices on tires, but they also offer a great value on their Tire Installation Package* ($15/tire, $25/dually tire) – and if you happen to find it cheaper somewhere else, Sam’s Club will match a valid “all in” quote from a tire and installation retailer dated in the past 7 business days. So you really can’t lose. {*The Tire Installation Package includes:   New valve stems, lifetime balance and rotation, emergency roadside tire change service, no charge flat repair, and road hazard protection for as long as you remain an active member of Sam’s Club. See store for complete details}
As you can see, while waiting on your tires, you can pick up an item or two. *ahem* What?! It takes a lot to feed a family of five! Just don’t pay attention to the huge bag of chips, the pizza, bread… veggies and meat are in there somewhere! 
 
Seriously, Sam’s has the Dare to Compare program which means if you bring in a valid “all in” quote from a tire and installation retailer to the Tire and Battery service counter, that is written on dealer/retailer letterhead, and dated within the past 7 business days, Sam’s will match it (if they don’t beat the price already.) Just check with your local Sam’s Club for exceptions and rules. 
 
So if you are in the market for new tires (and trust me, this may happen way sooner than you think!), check out your local Sam’s Club. They have some specials going on right now for Pirelli and Michelin. We got Michelin tires this go round, so hopefully they will last longer than the tires that came on the car. Don’t ask me the brand…remember, they all look the same to me! AND, if you are a Sam’s fan like me, you might want to check out this #DareToCompare Twitter party on March 11, 2015 at 1:00PM for the chance to win a $500 Sam’s Club gift card grand prize giveaway.  
 
The details:

• When: 3/11/15 from 1:00pm-2:00pm EST

• Where: Twitter! Follow the Host/Co-host: @DealSeekingMom / @MomSpark

• Prizes:

o (4) $50 Sam’s Club Gift Cards

o (3) $75 Sam’s Club Gift Cards

o (2) $100 Sam’s Club Gift Cards

o $500 Grand Prize Gift Card

Hashtag: #DareToCompare   Must attend party to win, winners announced throughout party.

 
Also, did you know that the spare tire on your car is called a donut? My 6 year old found this hilarious…and you know how kids are, he wouldn’t let it go. All he could talk about was driving on donuts, which of course lead to, “I want donuts!” So….
Mama made donuts. Chocolate Glazed Donuts to be exact. These are the kind of donuts I relate too!

Banfield Pet Hospital, My Fur Baby & a #GIVEAWAY {#sponsored}

Disclosure – I was provided with Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Plan® and ProHeart® 6, by Banfield Pet Hospital, which has also provided the information and giveaway. The dog and opinions expressed are my own 😉

Even though I primarily talk about food and my kids, every once in a while I share stuff about my fur babies as well. Today I wanted to share with you my most spoiled rotten little dog…

Talk about a mess. This dog is completely spoiled and an absolute lap dog. Unless his Rottweiler personality takes over….then he is ferocious (so he thinks). He is part of our family and we love his little demanding self dearly. That’s why his health is very important, and heartworm prevention is at the top of that list.
That’s where Banfield Pet Hospital comes in. If you have pets, you know vet visits can get pretty expensive; especially if you have one like Currituck here, who at 6 months old had to have emergency surgery due to an intestinal blockage because he eats EVERYTHING. (Story for another day!) Banfield is the only pet hospital that I’ve come across that has an Optimum Wellness Plan®. With their plans, office visits are FREE and I was shocked (and pleased) at everything that is included under the plans. Many include annual heartworm testing  which can be administered during a routine office visit. (Go here –Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Plan® to learn more about the plans offered.) Plans can be customized based on the needs of the individual pet, and combine physical exams, routinely recommended vaccinations and screenings, unlimited free office visits, service discounts and more into one affordable veterinary care package.
Banfield believes in preventive veterinary care as the best way to improve the quality and longevity of a pet’s life by reducing the risk of developing serious, costly and sometimes fatal diseases (such as heartworm disease). I can’t say that my dog sings the praises of Banfield as much as I do. He has a lot of anxiety when at the vet (or when anything disrupts his regular routine!)
But I have to say the veterinarian and her technician did a great job at making him as comfortable as possible. He absolutely hates getting his nails trimmed, to the point that I don’t even attempt it at home anymore. They snuggled him in a blanket and worked together to get the job done. Even when he acted like he was going to take someone’s hand off!
His ‘pedicure’. (That’s how it was listed on the receipt! Made me laugh.)
This was one of the best parts of the entire visit. Not that he had a shot, but the fact that the ONE shot provides SIX MONTHS of heartworm prevention! It’s called ProHeart® 6 and is an injectable heartworm preventive that can be prescribed to healthy dogs over the age of 6 months and delivers six months of protection in a single dose. I LOVE this because now I don’t have to think about it for SIX months! 
 
Having to remember to give the dogs their other heartworm pill every month was a source of stress for me, because it was just one more (very important!) thing I had to keep up with. ProHeart® 6 can protect dogs from dangerous heartworm disease by preventing immature worms from maturing into adults that cause damage in the pet’s heart. Treatment of heartworm disease is difficult and painful for the dog, as well as expensive for the pet owner. (Just remember that before a pet can start on heartworm preventive, he/she needs to be tested to make sure they are free of adult heartworms, this is done through a quick, simple blood test.) If interested, here is a video on How to Protect Your Pet From Heartworm Disease
**If you are interested in trying ProHeart® 6, here is a link to a coupon for $10 off a 6-month injectable heartworm preventive. Also, if you would like to request an Banfield Pet Hospital appointment online, go here
 
GIVEAWAY time!
Banfield Pet Hospital has agreed to provide one giveaway winner with a free office visit at their nearest Banfield Pet Hospital for their dog to receive a free heartworm test and free 6-months of Proheart® 6. (You and your dog just need to be a U.S. resident and have a physical mailing address, no P.O. boxes). That would save you a good chunk of cash that you can spend on something else. Like chew toys. Or dog food. Or sweaters 🙂
 
Just enter via the rafflecopter form! 
One last thing – 
Banfield will donate $1 per reader comment (up to 100 comments) to Banfield Charitable Trust (once the giveaway has concluded). Banfield Charitable Trust is a donor-supported non-profit whose mission it is to preserve the human animal bond by keeping pets with their families who love them. Each year, BCT helps 100,000 struggling families through seven programs ranging from life-saving emergency care to assistance with pet food or other urgent pet care needs. 

Life made easier w/Walmart.com and P&G – Gift card GIVEAWAY {#sponsored}

There are five people living in my house. That’s a lot of toilet paper. As well as paper towels, soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent…the list goes on and on. Needless to say, I like to buy in bulk. However, as many of you know, shopping with kids isn’t the most convenient thing. When I take all three to the store, it’s “mom, mama, mama, mom, MOMMY!” As if that isn’t distracting enough, when I go to stock up on items, like Charmin Ultra Soft Toilet Paper Mega Rolls – because a 4 pack will last about a day in my house, or the Bounty Paper Towels Giant Rolls, because I have a lot of messes to clean up, well…then the cart is full and Mr. Three actually has.to.walk. So then I have three kids, pulling me in three different directions, and only succeeding at making me want to pull my hair out. SO…. how does Walmart.com make my life easier?

Yes m’am. Household items, in bulk, delivered to my doorstep!! No hauling kids around the store, no buying popcorn chicken to keep Mr. Three quiet, no extra items getting thrown into my cart…just order online (they even have a Walmart smartphone app) and have it delivered! If you spend over $50, shipping is FREE. You can also have items shipped free to your nearest Walmart store for pick-up with the Site to Store option. (Which is great to keep in mind for Christmas, which is barely more than 4 months away. You’re welcome for that reminder!) Shopping and ordering is easy and convenient. I had all my items delivered to my house, and they all came within the estimated time frame. All of the items did not ship together, so items came on different days, but that wasn’t a problem for me. I was just thankful for the convenience, and will definitely be doing this again!
 
Not only does it make life easier to have items delivered, but check out these products – These Tide Pods are so easy to use! No measuring, just throw one in the washing machine. The Swiffer Bissell SteamBoost Mop Starter Kit is also great to have because not only do I have 3 children, I also have 2 dogs. My floors stay a mess from one or the other! And for all of you new moms or soon-to-be new moms (yes, I’m lookin’ at you little sister!), they have Pampers Swaddlers DiapersLuvs Leakguards Super Absorbent Diapers Super PackPampers Sensitive Baby Wipes plus many more that can be delivered directly to you!
Thank you Walmart.com for making this busy mom’s life a little easier!
GIVEAWAY TIME!! 
P&G; is providing one Makin’ it Mo’Betta reader with a $25 Walmart gift card! Gift cards can be used in-store and online at Walmart.com. Complete the rafflecopter form to enter, US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a Walmart Giftcard to facilitate this review. The Walmart gift cards and information have been provided by P&G.;

My Bahamas Vacay

My husband and I have been married for 15 years. For our 12th, 13th, and 14th wedding anniversary…my other half was out of town! It was for work and couldn’t be helped, but celebrating your wedding anniversary via Facetime just isn’t the same. So, we had said that this year, since my husband was going to be home, we would try to do something special…and we did! We spent a few days in the Bahamas. It was gorgeous!

I’m not much on flying, but seeing this from the plane helped!
As well as plenty of ginger ale. (And I couldn’t resist Biscoff cookies, regardless of how queasy I felt!)
The main entrance of the hotel. The grounds were beautiful.
Why, yes! I’ll be happy to hang out here…
or here…
The birds like the pool too!
The most popular food I saw…conch! Conch fritters, conch stew, conch chowder..my husband tried the fritters. He said they were ‘fine’. So…I don’t know what to do with that. I didn’t try them. I’m not an adventurous eater, especially with seafood.
Especially when the seafood looks like that! They said it was a mussel. Again, my husband ate it. He said it was ‘alright’.
This was more my speed. A Cajun Fish Sandwich – not as spicy as I was hoping but pretty good.
It paired well with a Corona…which, what doesn’t?
This was a meal I could identify all the components (as opposed to the soup we were given when seated. It was something with goat!) This was an amazing grilled steak. Everything was delicious…it was perfectly seasoned and cooked. The salad was basic but delicious. The potatoes were good, even the drizzle on the plate was fantastic! I was in love, and it was just a very small steakhouse and bar in the Port Lucaya Marketplace. I wish I knew the name of it, but it was fabulous.
I did get a little more adventurous at the ‘Traditional Bahamian Buffet’ offered at the resort one night. Sorry for the blurry cell phone pic, but it was interesting. The Curried Seafood Chowder was good, even though I know I was eating lots of different things that I would rather not think about. They had a dessert called Guava Duff with Rum Sauce that was very good. I didn’t get a pic, but found it online here.
To burn off some of those calories, we walked around the grounds and saw where they were setting up for a wedding…
Not a bad spot to get married in! I wanted to crash the reception but my husband wasn’t down for that idea.
Here is another gazebo where the spa offers outdoor massages.
We also had the opportunity to swim with dolphins! It was so much fun! Dolphins are amazingly intelligent animals.
More intelligent than I am, because I’ve already forgotten which command I was giving this dolphin.
What about you? What fabulous vacations have you been on? I need to make a vacation bucket list!

Growing Family Time with Miracle-Gro {#sponsored}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I am so excited to finally have some SPRING weather!! *happy dance* It has really gotten me in the mood to start planning my garden. Since I’m not sure how the soil is where I live now, and we have bunny rabbits in abundance, I plan to keep it small this year. I am thinking I will just do some cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, basil and cilantro. We’ll see how things go. I’m looking forward to getting seeds in the ground with the help of my kiddoes, b/c when they are involved from the very beginning, they get excited to watch the seeds sprout and watch the plants grow. And they really get excited when it’s harvest time! My kids will eat whole cucumbers just like you would an apple! Any gardening tips you have regarding sandy soil, and keeping away the bunnies will be appreciated.

A small garden is not the only family project I have in mind however. On a even smaller scale, the kids and I are going to fill these…

My children decorated these pots for me last year for Mother’s Day, and it’s time to refill them. It will mean a lot to the kids that I want to use them again, and it will be fun to pick out what we are going to plant together. It will also give them an opportunity to get nice and dirty and play in potting soil…and what kid doesn’t like that?! It’s small things like this that mean a lot to kids, and will be something they remember doing together.
Do you have any outdoor projects planned with your kids/grandkids this spring and summer? Go share it with everyone at Gro Something Greater!

One thing I know for sure is, all my “growing projects” will involve Miracle-Gro. My Grandma always swore by it, but I have been made a believer. When my grandmother passed away a year and half ago, I ‘inherited’ some of her plants. I have 2 ferns and a geranium. I also do NOT have a green thumb. However, things were going along pretty well until we had an early frost this past Fall. I was not prepared, and had left all my plants outside. The next day, I realized what had happened and rushed them all into my sunroom, but over the next few days, they all looked dead. Like brown, dry, very d-e-a-d. I was heartbroken! But, I remembered my grandmother always talking about Miracle-Gro, so I fed the plants with it, kept them protected in our sunroom, and just hoped they would bounce back come Spring. Imagine my surprise when my brown, dead looking geranium did this…

Not only did it produce nice green leaves, but it bloomed!! *Another happy dance* The ferns are looking much better too. I think Grandma would be proud, and would say “I told you so” 🙂
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Random Friday {in pictures}

It’s been a while since I’ve done a totally random post, but here goes!

Spring = Pollen = Allergies = Asthma. Boo.
My sister is preggars *insert big cheesy grin* so I picked this up for her. It’s not bad, a little sweet, but not bad.
My Dad gave all of us one of these key chains. You can read a little about his cancer story in this post. I am thrilled to say that he is doing well!! Unfortunately, a friend of mine just lost her mom this week to breast cancer.
Disclaimer Purex sent me this to try out…it really does smell ‘fabulously fresh’! Purex Crystals is probably my favorite fabric softener b/c the scent lasts a long time (true story). Purex also has a sweepstakes going on where you could win a $1,000 shopping spree plus a year’s supply of Limited Edition Purex Crystals Fabulously Fresh. Check it out HERE if interested.
Helloooo?! Is this not the coolest kid on the block? I love this picture. (For 2 days, my son insisted on wearing his hair in a ‘faux hawk’.)
And aren’t the best pictures usually the ones you didn’t plan on?