Paddle Boarding & Very Strawberry Shortcake {#SweetSwaps #IC #ad}

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for the SPLENDA® Brand. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. All opinions and reviews are my own.

I, for one, am SO glad the summer season is upon us!! School is out, the heat index is rising, and it’s time to break out the pool floats, dust off the lounge chairs, and rinse out the coolers. Oh…and bathing suits. It’s time to break out the bathing suits…and for many of us (and by “us” I mean “me”), that can be majorly a little traumatic. BUT, the great thing about warm weather is that it is much easier to MOVE MORE! The blue sky, warm sun, and birds chirping just beckons us to get outside…maybe it’s working in the garden, walking around the block, yard work, etc. For my friends and family, it’s swimming, kayaking, boating, and now, paddle boarding!

 This was my first time on a paddle board, and I was surprised by how easy it was! I was expecting it to be much harder to stay balanced. Of course, I kept a slow and steady pace, but it was fun! And obviously, after spending the day with friends swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding…you work up an appetite. And nothing is more important to a backyard barbecue than dessert. Am I right, or am I right?!
Thankfully, it’s also strawberry season!! We have several farmer’s markets nearby that offer freshly picked strawberries, or you can go pick the strawberries right out of the field yourself.  Even my local grocery store (yes, that’s singular) has had some pretty good looking berries this year.

Since we had all spent the day in bathing suits (mine covered up by swim shorts and a tank), and getting some exercise in, the last thing we needed was a heavy, sugar laden dessert that would weigh us down…literally! I was happy to find a yummy SWEET SWAPS™ recipe that fits nicely into our lifestyle. 

You can save loads of calories by swapping out full sugar for SPLENDA®Sweetener Products. Being that my husband is diabetic, it is also nice to be able to make special treats that he can enjoy without all the sugar as well. *Fun Fact* Swapping one cup of sugar with one cup of SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated can save more than 600 calories.  
 
Very Strawberry Shortcake
 
Strawberry Filling
  • 3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Shortcakes
  • 2 1/2 cups reduced-fat biscuit mix
  • 1/3 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
  • 1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup fat-free frozen whipped topping, thawed (I used homemade whipped cream)
  • 12 sprigs mint sprigs (optional) (I omitted)
DIRECTIONS
Strawberry Filling:
  1. Stir together strawberries, 2 tablespoons SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated, and balsamic vinegar; let stand 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Shortcake:
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Combine biscuit mix and 1/3 cup SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated, in a large bowl.
  3. Stir together yogurt and vanilla; add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened.
  4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead 3 or 4 times. Pat dough to a ½-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/4-inch round cutter, reusing dough scraps, if necessary. Place shortcakes on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Serve warm with sliced strawberries and whipped topping. Garnish with mint springs, if desired.

Reprinted with permission from SWEET SWAPS™. Check out SPLENDA® on Pinterest for more great swaps and recipes.

What’s your favorite way to “move more” in the summer? Have you ever tried paddle boarding?

Non-Scale Victories {#TheWinningMoment #WeightWatchersIceCream #ad}

This post brought to you by Weight Watchers® Ice Cream. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Makin’ it Mo’Betta.

I don’t know about y’all, but I get sick and tired of obsessing over everything I eat, everything my children eat, and constantly feeling like I am depriving myself. I have often had the mentality “I can’t eat that”…because it has too much fat or too many carbs, it has this in it or that…It can be exhausting! That’s one of the things I really like about the WW program, is that it takes a lot of the stress out of eating. The apps make tracking food easy, and counting points was much less stressful to me than counting calories. Now, it’s been a couple of years since I followed the program, but I still keep the basic principles in mind…I know if I eat pizza, I need to balance that with healthier options the rest of the day. Just knowing I CAN eat pizza or whatever you may consider your “forbidden” food, makes eating much more enjoyable. It’s all about moderation! It also helps a TON, that Weight Watchers® has many products available that are comforting and delicious, but still help maintain your goals. These non-scale victories make everything better!
Weight Watchers Ice Cream are satisfying, delicious, and if you are interested in the Points Plus values, they are listed right on the package. Less stress + yummy treats = A Winning Moment! Not to mention they come in a variety of flavors and are available in bars, cones, and sandwiches. They have flavors other than those pictures as well, like Dark Chocolate Raspberry! I’ve tried them all (you know, for research purposes *coughcough*) and I have to say that the Dark Chocolate Dulce de Leche was a favorite! Another great thing, they are sold in several convenient locations such as Walmart, Target, Kroger, Publix, Safeway, Stop & Shop, Shoprite, and Supervalue.

My kids were more than happy to dive into the treats, and being able to keep up with my children and enjoy life with them is definitely a winning moment as well. There are certainly more things in life to validate me, my life and my sense of self-worth other than a number on the scale.

It’s little changes that I am continuing to make each day that help me feel happy, healthy and content. Don’t get me wrong, I still want the number on the scale to go down…but I’m not obsessing over it. As a matter of fact, my daughter sneakily took the above picture of me, and I didn’t immediately delete it! Usually, I’m my own worst critic, and loathe seeing pictures of myself. Not only did I not delete it, I decided to post it here. Why? Because I can see progress. Those are my winning moments. 

And this…this is another non-scale victory and winning moment! Whenever I go over my step goal for the day (usually around 10,000), I feel a sense of accomplishment. It means I got my butt moving. It means I’m doing something for ME, but I’m also (hopefully) setting a good example for my children. When my kids see me exercising, preparing meals for the family, making healthier swaps with ingredients and food choices, and teaching them that foods are not to be considered the enemy or forbidden, but enjoyed and incorporated into a balanced life, I hope it sticks with them as they grow and make their own choices.

What do you consider some of your winning moments?

WEIGHT WATCHERS on foods and beverages is the registered trademark of WW Foods, LLC. WEIGHT WATCHERS for services and PointsPlus are the registered trademarks of Weight Watchers International, Inc. Trademarks are used under license by Wells Enterprises, Inc. ©2015 Weight Watchers International, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Cold and Flu Epidemic, too close for comfort! {#ReliefIsHere #sponsored}

This is a sponsored post for SheSpeaks/P&G.; All opinions expressed are my own.
By now, you have probably either had the flu, know someone who has had it, or worried that you and/or your loved ones are going to get the flu. Even if you were proactive and received the flu shot, the prevalent strain is one that isn’t covered by the vaccine (even though CDC still recommends getting the flu shot as it may provide some level of protection and make the flu less severe.) As I mentioned in an earlier post, my three kids, and then myself, were all sick the weeks leading up to Christmas.
And guess what? I was not prepared! No extra soft tissues for runny noses, no homemade chicken soup in the freezer, no Gatorade or ginger ale. But one thing I did have for myself and my oldest child, and always try to keep in my medicine cabinet, is NyQuil! I can always count on NyQuil to help me get some rest at night, regardless of how bad I feel. And now, NyQuil has stepped it up a notch and has come out with NyQuil Severe…(learn more on Facebook too)
Yes please. DayQuil Severe for daytime, NyQuil Severe for nights. (It comes in both liquid and caplets and the severe formula now has a decongestant!) My favorite cold medicine, made even better. #winning
I believe I will keep this handy since my state (NC) is in the red!
Scary.
 
Has your house been invaded by viruses this cold and flu season? What are your best tips on keeping well or feeling better once sick? Not only has the flu been going around in my area, but there is also a virus that has “flu-like symptoms”, it just doesn’t last as long. Strep throat has been going around in a big way too. Oh yeah, and there is also a stomach virus floating around now. How do I know…we’ve had them ALL. So, you better believe while at Wal-Mart, I stocked up on tissues, cold meds, vitamin C, throat drops, and whatever else I could think of. I am hoping all this preparedness will somehow prevent us from being hit again…keep your fingers crossed would ya?!

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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Sit Back and Relax with P.F. Chang’s

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of P.F. Changs for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Anyone else having quite the hectic holiday season? I’m talkin’ running around like a chicken with it’s head cut off kinda hectic. Sorry for the visual.  I just need a breather. A time to sit down, relax and maybe indulge a little bit.  How does sitting down with friends or family and enjoying something decadent and delicious that you don’t have to prepare yourself sound?! Sounds pretty good to me!

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I feel more relaxed already! And what about…

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yes please.

So where can you enjoy this? P.F. Chang’s of course! They have some new seasonal-inspired desserts and drinks that will make anyone’s day a little more merry. Just imagine handmade Sweet Vanilla Cream Dessert Wontons and the Vanilla Bean Bourbon Milkshake. Fa la la la la!

You can learn more about the offerings of P.F. Chang’s by giving them a Follow @pfchangs on Twitter or Follow P.F. Chang’s on Pinterest. In the meantime, you can think about how delicious the Peppermint Mocha Cappucino is going to be when you get there.

How are you finding time to relax during the holiday rush?  What P.F. Chang’s menu item do you think you would like to try first? Remember, it is the season to eat, drink and be merry!

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Kroger® Private Selection® {#sponsored}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Kroger® Private Selection® for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

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Anything chocolate covered gets my attention, how about you?!  This picture encompasses what Kroger® Private Selection® products are all about – gourmet quality, without the gourmet price. The line of products includes all kinds of things from Angus meat, deli meats and cheeses, to ice cream, bakery items, ingredients, and more. Not only do they offer a wide variety of quality products, they are also widely available in the Kroger® family of stores including Baker’s, City Market, Dillons, Fry’s, Gerbes, Pay Less, QFC, JayC, King Soopers, Owen’s, Ralphs, Smith’s and Fred Meyer. Hopefully you are lucky enough to have at least one of these near you! You can check out their Store Locator to see.

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Being a chocolate lover, and the fact that I love to bake (especially during the holidays, and WOW are they approaching fast!), my cabinets are always stocked with vanilla extract, different flours, baking powders, cocoa and more. Many of these are available in the Kroger® Private Selection® brand. Not only that, I have 3 kids, who pack lunches for school almost everyday of the week. With Kroger® Private Selection® you can get premium deli meats and cheeses, without the premium price tag. That’s important when it comes to my budget! I want my family to have the best, but do not have a money tree to support their ever growing appetites. I mean really, how do kids eat so much?!

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Whatever your cooking/baking needs, Kroger® Private Selection® is helping you create the ultimate meal, by offering a “Culinary Creations” Sweepstakes. One lucky winner will have the ultimate culinary experience with a new Viking range, WUSTHOF 26 piece knife set, 10-­‐piece Culinary Arts cookware set, and a $1,000 Kroger Family of Stores Gift Card. Oh my goodness! The foodie in me is having a hissy fit right about now! Check out the Sweepstakes Rules to learn more! 

Disclaimer: Official Rules NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Must be at least 18 years old and a legal resident of the 50 United States and D.C., (except FL, NY and RI). Subject to Full Official Rules. Game ends on 11/14/13. Full rules available at http://www.privateselection.co

Are you familiar with Kroger® Private Selection® products? What are your pantry staples? You should swap one of your favorites with one of these premium products and see what you think. Like Private Selection on Facebook to learn more and Follow Private Selection on Pinterest for inspiration! Release your inner chef and create memorable meals for family and friends without the “gourmet” price tag!

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Maxwell House Café Collection® {sponsored}

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dollar General. All opinions are 100% mine.

This post is for all the coffee lovers out there! I recently saw something on Pinterest that sums me up perfectly, it said “How do you take your coffee? Seriously. Very seriously.” Yes, I do love my coffee. It is what gets me out of bed in the morning, and it keeps me going throughout the day. My favorite cup is definitely that very first one however. My day just doesn’t start off well without it (did you read about my experience with the fast metabolism diet? No coffee did me in!) I try to get up before the kids every morning, so that I can enjoy that first cup in peace and quiet!  My girls even gave me a mug one year that says “Not before Mom has her coffee”. Yes, even the kids know the deal 🙂

My husband drinks coffee too, but only in the winter, and only with a lot of sweetener and vanilla creamer. Oh, and it’s DECAF! Thank goodness for my Keurig®! “To each his own” is right! More good news is that now single serving cups are now available at Dollar General, making my luxury of daily coffee more affordable. They carry Maxwell House Single Serving Cups, made from 100% Arabica beans, in House Blend, French Roast, and Breakfast Blend. 

The Maxwell House Café Collection® is the only brand Dollar General will be carring in the single serving cups, and they are offering great deals, which I have come to expect from the DG. I love that I can run up to my local Dollar General and grab my beloved K-cups® when I start to run low, and not have to pay a fortune. (Those little cups can really add up at some places!)

So what about you? What is your favorite coffee break moment?! Are you a cream and sugar person, or do you drink it straight? Let’s all just take a moment to stop and smell the coffee, shall we?

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