Embracing a Healthy Family

Pantry Perks: Fund Your Passion & Earn Cash Back on Natural, Organic and Natural Food

I received a $75 credit to purchase items from PantryPerks.

I was just introduced to PantryPerks and was quite surprised in what they have to offer.  Not only do they have a great assortment of items ranging from supplements to food to health and beauty products but you get money back as well as the ability to donate 1% to a group of your choice.  It was so easy to start using Pantry Perks and I was able to set up an account, peruse through many categories of product, add to my shopping cart and check out in about 30 minutes.  I will admit that I did not check out every category but they have so many great products to choose from.  

PantryPerks has natural, organic & specialty brands with so many items from grocery, wellness and household items.  There are over tens of thousands of Gluten-Free, non-GMO, 100% Organic, Kosher, Vegan, Fair Trade Health, Food and Beauty items. Searching is easy and intuitive as you can select by attribute from their menu or simply refine search results - its as simple as that!

Through their multi-tier Refer-A-Friend program, you can earn multiple cashbacks, month after month. There is no fee. All you need to do is buy a minimum of $60 of the brands you love on PantryPerks every month, and start seeing the cashbacks roll in.

Click the link above and I'll provide an update once I receive my order!

Summer Fun Enhanced by Walmart Family Mobile $49.88 PLUS Plan

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerIsForSavings #CollectiveBias #WFM3

Summer time is my favorite season and with taking a hiatus from working, finding ways to eliminate expenses is crucial.  When you haven't had to worry about a budget in some time, it's easy to stack up unnecessary debt.  As I was trying to find ways to eliminate some bills or to reduce bills, the first place I looked was my cellular phone.  I didn't want to pay $175 a month any longer so I turned to the $49.88 PLUS Plan from Walmart Family Mobile, powered by T-Mobile as my sister told me about the price and quality.  It took me awhile to be convinced of the quality and savings but I am glad I took the jump.  

Exchanging paying bills for fun is a goal I have for myself and my family.  I think memories are vital to life and I'd rather be out and exploring new places than being chained home to too many bills.  The Walmart Family Mobile plan allowed me to not spend a lot of money on a good quality phone.  It was truly an easy decision to make and with the money saved, it is allowing our homeschooling family to do more such as visit the Indiana National Dunes Park.  Just this month, we were able to visit the beach several times and the savings we realized for switching plans paid for the parking, drinks, snacks and suntan lotion! Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to this page or your local Walmart for current pricing

 The benefits of switching to the Walmart Family Mobile $49.88 PLUS Plan really adds up:

  1. No contracts with Walmart Family Mobile.
  2. Clear concise monthly plans with no hidden additional fees.
  3. Choices are plentiful from picking the phone you want to picking a plan.  
  4. Activation either online or via telephone is quick and easy.
  5. You can keep your own number even if you are switching providers!
  6. Another clear choice is no activation fees or late charges.
  7. Most important to me, more data (on most plans)!

I have to admit initially, I was concerned about the coverage especially since I live in a very rural area. With T-mobile, the coverage is nationwide and I've had no issues to date. I also no longer have to worry about my data usage with the hefty 15GB of 4G LTE data. I can use my LG L59 Grace all the time and take endless great pictures to post as well!  Due to having a limited data plan on my home internet, I utilize the 15GB of 4G LTE data on my phone to ensure I don't garner an overage on the home usage. It's been a great experience to date and I love the phone especially the great window size and ease of use.

That's not all in the savings area!  We are a VUDU◊ family and each month we renew our Walmart Family Mobile $49.88 PLUS Plan, I will receive a VUDU movie rental credit valued at $7.00!  It's truly a win-win across the board so make the change today and save money too!  My eldest daughter did as well and loves the plan and her phone!


*Please always refer to the latest terms and conditions at myfamilymobile.com.

†To get 4G LTE speed, you must have a 4G LTE capable device and 4G LTE SIM Card. Actual availability, coverage and speed may vary. LTE† is a trademark of ETSI.

◊Limited time offer. Available for lines active with the PLUS $49.88 plan only. VUDU enabled device and account required for digital viewing. Customers must be 18 years or older to open a VUDU account. Movie rental only available in the USA. Free movie rental provided in the form of a movie rental code to the value of a $7.00 VUDU credit. Movie rental code allows for selection from available movies for rent. May not be readily redeemable on all new releases. Code will be delivered within up to 24 hours of the effective account renewal date. Must be used within 30 days of receiving code. Offer is non-transferable. Limit 1 per customer. Additional terms and conditions on VUDU's website: http://www.vudu.com/termsofservice.html

$25 Amazon Back to School Gift Card Giveaway - Ends 9/11/17 - Daily Entry Options

Can you believe it's already time to go back to school?  The summer just flew by and I've noticed the older I get, the faster time moves on.  This year, again, I'm sticking to homeschooling as I like the time flexibility coupled with the ability to teach what is important to me such as religion.  We've tried many different curriculum and I still haven't found the one that reaches out to me.  

This is an easy giveaway as everything is just a click, a comment or a share.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Inspiring A United Kingdom is now available on Digital HD & on DVD and Blu-ray on June 6th

Disclaimer:  I received a party pack and a free digital code to watch A United Kingdom.  I did end up purchasing my own code on my selected digital movie source because the movie trailer appeared to be one that I would want to watch again.  

This weekend was the perfect weekend for brunch with family and friends to catch a flick together.  Being half British, I love nearly all British themed movies but I must admit that A United Kingdom left me a disappointed with the late 1940's British government.  Actors David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike portray Sereste and Ruth Khama in the film and deliver a beautiful chemistry of love, anguish and hope.  Based on a true story, Sereste is a king of Botswana in Africa seeking higher education in Britain while his uncle remains regent king. He meets and falls in love with Ruth during a time when apartheid reigned in South Africa and overlapped in other British controlled/influenced areas.  The film continues with their romance, trials and tribulations and then the final outcome of the resistance they endured by all around them.  It's a very moving, thought provoking story that doesn't disappoint.  I can't give it all away now can I? 

Rosamund Pike first caught my attention in Pride and Prejudice and I loved her in A United Kingdom as well.  A treat was seeing Lady Edith from Downton Abby as well as Ruth's sister.  David Oyelowo was superb in his portrayal of Sereste.  The film provides beautiful glimpses of Africa and the people of Botswana along with the cultural ties that bounds this small African country.

This is what my guests thought:  "A very good movie!" "That was surprisingly good." "I must watch it again."  "I had no idea. It was such a good movie."

Watching movies is always fun but when you add something "extra" to it, it makes for a memorable occasion.  For our brunch, I channeled some British recipes that my mum has mentioned in the past as well as recipes I've watched on other shows.

We started out with an old fashion tea served with English Tea Cakes and Scones:

Our brunch consisted of pork tenderloin pie although I altered it and served it warm as my mum said it's served cold.

After we ate, we gathered around the television and watched our digital copy of A United Kingdom.  It made for a wonderful Saturday afternoon!

 It's now available digitally and can be purchased via DVD/Blu-ray on June 6th.

#AUnitedKingdom  #BrunchandaMovie

Homeschool Trip to the Battle of Gettysburg National Park in Pennsylvania

As we embarked on another homeschool field trip, we decided to make the most of a road trip to Gettysburg by watching movie and movie as well as documentaries to have the girls fully appreciate what the The Battle of Gettysburg was all about.  Along the way, we saw a closed old asylum that was in operation for many years before closing its doors only to be reopened years later as a ghost tour business.  We didn't go in but the view on the outside really magnified what some poor old souls possibly went through while locked up.  We finally reached Gettysburg and was in awe at the size of the battlefield.  The Battle was fought July 1–3, 1863, in and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as the war's turning point.  Union Maj. Gen. George Meade's Army of the Potomac defeated attacks by Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia, ending Lee's attempt to invade the North. It was truly a moving experience to appreciate what so many endured and the many lives lost over the course of that battle.

Summary of our trip:

The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, subsequently the Weston State Hospital, was a Kirkbride psychiatric hospital that operated from 1864 until 1994 by the government of the U.S. state of West Virginia, in the city of Weston.
Built by architect Richard Andrews, it was constructed from 1858-1881. Originally designed to hold 250 people, it became overcrowded in the 1950s with 2,400 patients. It was forcibly closed in 1994 due to changes in treatments of patients. The hospital was bought by Joe Jordan in 2007, and is opened for tours and other money raising events for its restoration. The hospital's main building is claimed to be one of the largest hand-cut stone masonry buildings in the United States, and the second largest hand-cut sandstone building in the World, with the only bigger one being in the Moscow Kremlin. As Weston Hospital Main Building, it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1990.

Gettysburg Battleground National Park

We opted to venture out alone and visit the battleground at our own speed.  Watching the documentaries and movies ahead of time really helped us understand the layout of the battleground and the different battles that occurred.  The Visitor Center provides the opportunity to pay for one on one trip guides to add to the visit, you can purchase a vehicle guide that allows you to have a narration of each key point along the way or do like we did and go alone.  After we finished, which I recommend a full day or more pending how interested you are in the history of the battles, we went to downtown Gettysburg which was such a treat.  We ate at a small Irish pub and although the food white whiskey chili was delicious, the rest of the food was mediocre and it was very expensive.  It's a quaint town worthy of a walk through and don't forget the numerous ghost tours available which we did not partake in.  It's really a great family vacation destination and I'd recommend at least two days to get the full impact of the historical significance this played in American history.

Box2Bake Brazilian Chocolate Alfajores Review

I recently had a chance to review another of Cratejoy's wonderful subscription boxes and to date, I can say I'm not disappointed.  This review is for the Box2Bake which is a baking theme per month subscription box service with 100% organic ingredients. Each month will showcase an international recipe that will especially delight your taste buds and your students if you are a homeschool family like I am. This month, we received the Brazilian Chocolate Alfajores and I can say it was easy YET fun to make.

We opened up our eco-friendly box which is also cute with the international shipping appearance on the outside.  Everything is packed nice and neat and the instructions are easy to follow.  An e-mail is also received to assist in how to make each recipe card along with numerous pictures making it very easy to make that even a student can follow along.

They each their own job to do and they might have went their own way with preparing the ingredients but the end result was ... you have to wait and read!

I have to say this was a lot of fun not just because I made it a homeschool exercise but it was fun just spending time in the kitchen with the girls and they loved the hazelnut applicator!  To sum it up, they really liked the outcome and thought it was a lot of fun!  I also thought the Alfajores were very good!  This is a must try box!  I forgot to mention, the girls really liked them even my picky one!  I like international flavors so this is really a fun subscription box that you have to try!

Click on the link to find out more about Box2Bake.

Also find Box2Bake on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Bibliophile-Crate: March #JaneAusten Themed Literature Fun Box Review

Have you checked out the subscription box services yet?  Every area of one's love is covered by the numerous boxes with an extraordinary amount of detail in many of the boxes.  I'm a big Jane Austen fan as well as literature in general so I'm waiting for this new box to arrive.

The box service is called Bibliophile Crate and features a couple of photographs of their boxes.  Jane Austen is a yes, yes, yes!  We have tried two to date but this post will focus on the first one called Bibliophile Crate

Our first box contained many items that were handcrafted and unique to the Jane Austen theme.  It had a nice introductory/thank you card, a recipe card, a 5 x 7 print that I could frame (shown) as well as a 3 x 4 framed print.  It also had two Jane Austen pencils in a clever Jane Austen themed pencil box but that's not all!  It also had Pemberley House soap, a magnet, a Jane Austen pen, post it notes and an interesting Sense and Sensibility book with a twist as it was about sea monsters.  The notecard and bookmark were also little nice extra's.  I think the box was well worth the costs and I can't wait until next month's!  

The recipe card was period specific and a nice addition to the box.

The pencils were really a nice addition:

The tea box was cute in a Darcy theme that included two Earl Grey tea bags:

Check them out today on Cratejoy: Bibliophile Crate 

Jane Austen, Hitchcock Other Classic New Subscription Box Service on Cratejoy

Have you checked out the subscription box services yet?  Every area of one's love is covered by the numerous boxes with an extraordinary amount of detail in many of the boxes.  I'm a big Jane Austen fan as well as literature in general so I'm waiting for this new box to arrive.

The box service is called Bibliophile Crate and features a couple of photographs of their boxes.  Jane Austen is a yes, yes, yes!

This one being a classic of Hitchcock's North by Northwest with handsome oldie Cary Grant looks amazing as well!

They even have a one time wine accessory in Jane Austen's theme too that I might have to try.

Check them out here if you are interested:  Bibliophile Crate

Another coming soon box to be launched:  Audrey Hepburn Themed <-- click here to be informed when it launches!

Top Five Fitness and Wellness Predictions for 2017

A new year and new trends to get in shape and get healthy are already upon us at every corner from various social media outlets to television to the magazines at the check out counter. It's really difficult to sort out what is good versus fad and potentially unhealthy. Last year was a mix of eating more natural coupled with squeezing in fitness routines no matter how one made it work. This year will be no different as social media continues to educate a more informed consumer looking for more healthy ways to ensure good health and longevity as well as atheleisure wear that allows one to dress for work with the flexibility to work out. The top fitness and wellness trends for 2017 will be plentiful with the ones I feel will have the biggest popularity include:

5. Vitamins and supplements will probably never go out of style with the advancement of technology and the array of claims of benefits. Vitamin D to fish oil to even smart pills are trending among many consumers. Supplements possibly provide the consumer with nutrients and other ingredients they might not normally get from poor eating habits or busy schedules. It's debatable among some of the claim but we consumers still purchase. "The global dietary supplements market is expected to reach USD 278.02 billion by 2024, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc." That is proof that the business is lucrative.

4. The increase consumption of fats and less carbohydrates will continue to rise given the host of diets and "experts" on social media touting various diets ranging from Atkins, variations to Atkins, Dukan and ketogenic themed diets. High fat/protein and low carbohydrate diets work but they aren't without their controversy either. Fats are not the evil heart killer as they once were perceived and various studies have proven that they are potentially good for us.

3. Organic eating continues to climb the chart of a profitable business with more and more consumers opting for less chemicals and preservatives. It's a tricky business as a consumer knowing what truly is organic versus natural versus dishonest claims to have to weed through. The issue of GMOs are everywhere and difficult to steer clear of especially given the fact that the consumer has to be diligent to find out what the animal was fed. If an animal was fed GMO corn, that then affects the quality of the "organic" meat or other animal product such as milk. 

2.  Wearable technology will continue to rise in popularity. The convenience of being able to track everything is a bonus especially for those that are busy and are on their feet a lot. From Apple to Garmin to Fitbit, it's a big business expecting to grow even more. Even the pharmaceutical and health industries are getting into the business. Companies such as CRF Health work with pharmaceutical companies in incorporating advance ways of data collection by the use of smart devices. It's a big business!

1. Strength training and athleisure will continue to rise given the host of research supporting the health and wellness claims. Strength training is easy and affordable and can be done just about in any environment. Clothing options has evolved to allow consumers choices in fitness fashion to remain active at anytime yet have a leisurely feel about their choices. One of the brands that I actually fell in love with last year was Betabrand. The great looking and high quality women's fitness fashion pants provide that great office look yet are made to move and allow the flexibility to take that walk at lunch time or even to drop and do some squats or lift some free weights. I did purchase the Boot-Cut Black Dress Pant Yoga Pant and love the fit and the quality of the fabric.

Those are my top five fitness and wellness predictions for 2017. I don't see much variance from the previous year rather more of a focus on getting natural and taking our health in our hands devoid of chemicals, preservatives and pesticides. Having the ability to be more involved in our health from wearable tracking devices to clothes that allow the flexibility to move will be hot topics this year.

NOTE: I was not compensated for this post.

British Beef Tenderloin Pie - Modified

I previously wrote and shared our British Pork Pie recipe since we started on a little road of discovery all about Britain.  I'm a dual citizen (by descent) since my mom is from there thanks to a changed law that recognizes the maternal link.  I'm also an ardent Jane Austen fan and that is slowly creeping into my daughter's interest.  I instantly fell for a quirky movie based on the love of Austen titled Austenland.  Low and behold, my younger who is a self-proclaimed 'mini-me', loves it too which has inspired all this new found interest in England.  We previously had our first tea party with homemade strawberry scones followed by a luncheon with finger sandwiches which didn't go over well since they are not egg fans.  

Our latest dish was a modified pork pie using beef tenderloin or filet mignon which was very tedious to make.  

So, with only three dishes on hand, we proceeded to make our British modified pork pies.  I called my mom since she's the resident expert in this area and when I told her what the recipe entailed, she proclaimed it wasn't like the pork pies she grew up with and that they ate them cold and they had a gel substance inside.  I can honestly say I can do without the gel thank you very much!  So here are our pictures of the long process but very condensed:

The dough is made after the beef and bacon mixture have been prepared and is cooling in the refrigerator.  It was a basic flour and lard recipe and was simple to make.

I added small bits of potatoes this time.

The skillet included onions, garlic and green apple:
Half the beef and thick bacon mixture is pulsed in a food processor and returned with the other half.   It does not look too appetizing!

My two girls are the pickiest eaters ever but they really enjoyed the filet mignon pot pies!  It was a win!

Not quite like the recipe picture but it was still good!  Want to try it?  Here is the link for British Pork Pie recipe.