Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sponsored Post: Our Blessings Count

The holidays: A time of so much joy, so much love, so much magic ... and chaos, chaos, chaos. There is so much to get done, and so much to make perfect in such a short amount of time. Getting the perfect presents for everyone, wrapping them beautifully, making delicious food, planning, packing, and so much more. Even though it can be a magical time, it can also be one of the most stressful times.
Mercy has asked me to share my personal mantra with you -- my way to get through the holiday season and keep focus on what's really important.
My personal mantra, and one that I remind myself of often, is "you get what you give."
I really do find it to be true. We are given so many opportunities every single day to brighten the lives of others. Anytime you can take one, you really should. Not only will it warm your own heart, but in some way or another, it will come back to you.
When you need help the most, maybe someone you never expected will come out of the woodwork and save the day, because of something you did for them years ago, and they never forgot. A kind word to a loved one or taking the time to start a fun new tradition with your little people can come back to you for years to come. My two-year-old is a little parrot these days, and when I saw something sweet to her, I can count on hearing it from her sweet little mouth over the coming days. Stopping to say something nice to her out of the blue is certainly worth hearing it repeated back to me.
Yeah, it's not always literal. Sometimes you feel shafted in life, or that nothing's going your way. But I promise, you will always get something back. It might not be when you expect it, but sometimes that's the best time to get it.
I hope you take the time to count all your blessings this holiday season. They add up quickly, when you take the time to do it.
Mercy recognizes the stress we put on ourselves and our families over the holidays. They want to remind us that ‘Our greatest blessing is to see others blessed.’ One way we can do this is to pause, list our blessings, and share them with others. Let’s count our blessings together at www.ourblessingscount.com.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mercy. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sponsored Post: Traveling with Kids and Culturelle Kids!

Culturelle Kids! has sponsored this post and asked me to share my thoughts on traveling with kids this summer. Ooooh boy, do I have some experience traveling with kids this summer. This summer we did the following with our two-year-old:

1. Took five-day trip to Mackinac Island
2. Drove four hours round trip a MINIMUM of once a week, EVERY WEEK, all summer
3. Stayed with my parents for two and a half weeks

We've been on the road non-stop, and along with way I've learned some things:

1. Pack smart. Yes, this is vague, and it will mean different things to different people, AND it will take some trial and error, but when you are traveling with kids, more doesn't always mean better. I used to pack up BAGS up toys for Josephine, even for a day trip, because I wanted lots and lots of things to distract her in the case of emergency. Now, I carefully select a few key toys and books and hope for the best. 

Worst case scenario, you can always improvise, no matter where you are. For example, some of Josephine's favorite toys are my mother-in-law's measuring cups and spoons (not the ones at our house, THANK YOU VERY MUCH). Packing as light as you can get away with will help with the overall experience, especially for the person who is carrying all the bags in and out of places (right, Jeremy?)

2. Food is your friend. Speaking of packing, one thing to save room for is SNACKS. Seriously, one of the things I say all the time now is "Bring twice the snacks you think you will need. Then pack more." I cannot tell you how many times a cracker or a veggie pouch has saved my life. Also, if you have increased activity and novelty, your half pint might be hungrier than usual and prone to meltdowns that can easily be solved with a snack. 

3. Try to keep to your schedule! I know, I know, LAME, but it really makes a difference. Your vacation will likely be the time when you want to ditch naps and bedtimes to do fun activities, but the activities become MUCH less fun when you have a child in the middle of a meltdown sucking all the fun out of the room.

We struggled with this on our Mackinac trip -- one of us had to skip out on activities with the rest of the group to get Josephine to bed at night or rush through lunch to get her to nap, and while it seemed to peeve some of the people in our group, I can only assume that they would be much more peeved if Josephine had brought on the drama. Actually, I can guarantee it. 

You might miss out on a few things here and there, but the time you DO have will be so much more enjoyable.

4. Make new friends ... Yes, I told you to pack light and improvise, but if you have a long trip ahead of you, a new toy or two (even if it's just something from the dollar store) can keep your little one entertained when they are about to protest the atrocity that is driving in a car or flying in a plane. Worth every penny.

5. ... but keep the old. Sometime you need the comforts of home. If you are heading out for an overnight trip and your kid has a favorite blanket and stuffed animal to snuggle at bedtime, I would suggest they make the trip with you. Bedtime is going to be different enough in a different room, a different bed, and likely with different sounds and light levels (PRO TIP: Bring a white noise machine!), so why not let them have some things that make them feel like they are home in their very own beds.

Culturelle Kids! sponsored this post because their product is a probiotic designed to keep kids healthy. Culturelle Kids! boosts digestive health, which, we all know, boosts your overall health. A kid with a stellar immune system is the kind of kid you want when traveling, not one who is sick or suffering from digestive issues, for SURE.

Culturelle Kids! is available for "big kids" and for the littles as well, so if you are looking for a way to keep kids healthy or fix issues they might have, this is a great way to do so.

Hopefully all your travels this summer were safe and fun, and that pattern continues into the colder months!

I was compensated for this post, but all opinions expressed are my own.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mission Possible Book Giveaway

I was offered a copy of Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any Schoolwhich offers practical, classroom-tested ideas for dramatically improving teaching and learning. This book chronicles how a charter school in the middle of Harlem, which enrolled neighborhood children selected at random, emerged as one of the top schools in New York City and State within three years. The results of the Harlem school were on a par with public schools for gifted students and elite private schools. In addition to providing strategies and lessons for school leaders and teachers, it also serves as a guide for parents, policymakers, and practitioners who are passionate about closing the academic achievement gap.

Instead of asking me to do a review of their book, Mission Possible offered to sponsor a post in which I discuss some tough issues in education. What they wanted to know is why I think stagnation is one of the greatest sources of low teacher morale and why I think this country treats teaching so differently than it does other professions.

Tough questions, to be sure, but questions I have thought long and hard about and discussed with my colleagues extensively.

One particular exchange always comes to mind when I think of this issue -- of teachers being unable to accomplish their jobs at the highest levels and feeling "burnout." Several educators were discussing what they do to recharge when they are feeling burned out so they can get back on track and feel unburdened and enthusiastic again. We were all sharing tips, when someone stated that we were being ridiculous, since our jobs were not that hard compared to others. This individual said we should consider people with "real" high-stress jobs -- those who face mortal peril or physical harm on a daily basis -- and see how good we had it that we were simply frustrated in being unable to help every student achieve their greatest and reach their full potential.

I think this is a big part of the problem.

Yes, I agree that people who work in coal mines and go to war have very difficult jobs, some of the most difficult jobs in the world, but does comparing what I do to what they do make it any easier for me to teach people who at times seem to not want to learn? Does it make it any easier to hear people say that I am not making a difference in students' lives because not every student in America has received/retained the same level of education?


Part of the reason educators often feel they have reached the end of their ropes or that they have no one to reach out to, or there just isn't enough time in the day to accomplish what they need to accomplish and then also reach above and beyond and find new techniques and curriculum is because of the perception many people have of educators. Many people are unafraid to voice their beliefs that educators spend their day recycling their same old lesson plans and sitting at their desks, counting down the days until their "free" summer vacations. 

I agree that there are people in every profession who are just phoning it in. I'm sure there are teachers who make copies of the same worksheets they found in 1978, have the students grade each others' work, and call it a day. However, I haven't actually met any of those people. I have taught at every level of education, from Nursery school to college (my current gig), and I can tell you there are angry educators out there, there are frustrated educators out there, there are ones on the verge of giving up, but none of these people are sitting around and doing nothing about it. They are sending extra e-mails, staying later, coming in earlier, spending their paychecks on materials for their classrooms, and constantly asking others for advice and tips and guidance. While at times it seems like there are too many students who don't want to hear what they have to say and parents and administration who can do nothing to help, they are not saying "To heck with it. These kids will never learn, so why bother trying to help them?" Instead, they are trying new ways to help them, but still have to hear at every turn that they are lazy and ineffective.

Being an educator is a hard job, and many times a thankless job. Sure, I get a handful of e-mails at the end of every quarter thanking me for being a great teacher, but it doesn't feel like much compared to all the complaints, the yelling, and the whining. It's a hard job, and it's made even harder by people telling you that you not only have an "easy job," but you're bad at it if even one student doesn't reach his or her full potential. That's a lot of pressure. It might not be as much pressure as someone facing enemy fire, but it's stressful nonetheless.

I would like to thank Mission Possible for sponsoring this post, and am happy to tell you that I also have a copy of the book to give to one reader! If you would like a copy of this book delivered to your front door, all you have to do is ...

1. Be a follower on Google Friend Connect
2. Leave a comment telling me why you are interested in the book 
3. Leave your e-mail address if it isn't already attached to your profile (so I can notify the winner)

I will choose a winner at random on Friday, August 10th. In the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about Mission Possible, click HERE, and if you'd like to learn more about the author Eva Moskowitz, you can check out her facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Moskowitz.Eva) and follow her on Twitter (http://twitter.com/MoskowitzEva)

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sponsored Post: Dove VisibleCare Body Wash and a $500 Spa Finder gift card Giveaway!

I'm gonna get real with you. When I was offered a bottle of Dove body wash to review, I may have shouted HELL YEAH! into the computer. I'm already a Dove fan in general, so to get a new product to try out sounded like a win-win situation.

Now I'm going to get even more real with you. Shower time is still not guaranteed time in my house, and it often needs to take place in four minutes or less. I thought it was hard trying to fit in a shower when Josephine was little, but these days, when I am third-trimester-supposed-to-be-on-bed-rest tired and Josephine is a destructive little toddler, I find shower time is hard to come by. 

Sure, I could get up early and take a shower before Josephine wakes up, but I love sleep and don't get much of it. I could take a shower at night after she goes to bed, which is what I often plan to do, but then I am so burned out that I often consider asking Jeremy to push me up the stairs. Therefore, my daytime showers involve Josephine destroying things in the bathroom (her current favorite is using her bath markers on surfaces other than tile that the marker does not wash off of) while I rush through the fastest shower imaginable. This does not leave much time for me to focus on making things "soft" or "attractive" while I am in the shower. It's a race to get clean, and I have none of the pampering I so desperately need.

What this really breaks down to is, I need something that I can use in in my allotted "beauty time" (which is next to nothing) that will actually work and make my skin feel great. I am happy to report that Dove has accomplished just that.

Dove® VisibleCare Softening Crème Body Wash promises visually more beautiful skin in just one week. I'm not at all good at lying, especially about things I don't like, so you can take my word for it when I say my skin was visually more beautiful and MUCH softer after the very first use. It was pretty awesome.

Dove® VisibleCare Softening Crème Body Wash smelled delicious, and was thick and luxurious. I have been using the store brand of a "big name" body wash for years now, and it's *fine*, but the difference between the two was drastic. There were thick, lovely bubbles that didn't immediately slide off and go down the drain. The scent was strong enough so you could enjoy it but subtle enough that it wouldn't assault the nose of someone who is sensitive to scents (I have quite a few in my family, so that is confirmed). When I stepped out the shower, my skin didn't immediately feel like it was drying up like the dessert. In fact, it felt just as good as when I put lotion on after my old body wash. Hours later, my skin still feels great and the soft scent lingers. 

According to Dove, this is a revolutionary line of premium body wash because it contains the highest concentration of NutriumMoisture technology. It is available in three variants: Toning Body Wash helps to promote skin’s elasticity and strength, Renewing Body Wash nourishes and replenishes skin, and Softening Body Wash softens skin and dry spots. I am glad I was sent Softening, because even in the summer months, my skin could use a little help, if you know what I mean.
The best part is that I can easily switch to this brand and not feel guilty. At only $6.69 a bottle, it is a steal for how well it works. Feel free to head on over to  http://www.dove.us/ to learn more.

Now, I have some awesome things for you. First up, a coupon!:
Visit Dove® VisibleCare® to get a coupon for $1 off!

Next, a chance to win a $500 Spa Finder gift card!! Let me know one of your beauty secrets in the comments section, and then click away below to enter the sweepstakes! Good luck!

Enter to win one of two $500 Spafinder gift certificates!
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Follow this link, and provide your email address and your response to the Promotion prompt
b) Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: "#SweepstakesEntry"; and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that Tweet.
c) Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and then visit this link to provide your email address and the URL to that post.
This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winners will have 72 hours to claim the prize, or an alternative winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 7/18/2012 - 8/22/2012
Be sure to visit the Dove® VisibleCare™ Crème Body Wash brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sponsored Post: Kleenex Hand Towels & Guest-ready Bathrooms

As you know by now, we are BUYING OUR FIRST HOME, and I could not be more excited. However, while the house is "livable" (minus the living room wall color. SHUDDER.), there are lots of little things I am dying to do to spruce the house up and make it ours. 

One of the easier projects is going to be the bathroom that guests use. The bathroom is okay ...

But I think it would also be relatively easy to make it look much, much nicer. Since the previous owners almost had an all-white theme going there, I thought it would be fun to finish the all-white idea and then punctuate it with a nice bright color.

I think this make-over could be accomplished in five easy steps.

So, STEP ONE would be to paint that vanity white (a new one would be nice, but painting it would obviously be a cheap solution.

For STEP TWO, I chose my punch of color and found the perfect shower curtain in that color (and eliminated the tree shower curtain, which, frankly made me uncomfortable -- it's a bit too much for such a small space!).

Aquamarine panels

Yes, yes, these are drapery panels and not a shower curtain, but I ADORE them, and I promise you this -- I will find a shower curtain in this pattern, or I will die trying.

STEP THREE: since the big, dated medicine cabinet is taking up a lot of wall space but not offering much storage, I would rip that out and replace it with a simple white medicine cabinet.

That way, I have room for STEP FOUR: Adding in a cute wall cabinet over the toilet, also in white, of course, so the aquamarine will stand out.

Which leaves me at STEP FIVE: adding a few aqua accessories to pull it all together.

I found this beautiful mosaic mirror on etsy, which would look beautiful on the opposite wall, above the towel rack.

And a few of these glass jars in shades of blue would bring a great dose of color on the shelf beneath the new wall cabinet.

But you want to see what the finished product would look like, right? You want to see a vision board of my guest-ready bathroom, produced on my super-fancy design software. Here you go, ladies and gents!

BOOM! Made in Paint, loved by all. Veronica's bathroom-to-be. 

I hope all your bathroom make-overs are that easy or even easier. Enjoy your summer entertaining!

Join the 14 million people who have already joined the Clean Hands campaign by using Kleenex Hand Towels, and click here for savings and more! 

I was selected for participation in this campaign as a member of Clever Girls Collective.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

How We Named Josephine AND a HUGE GIVEAWAY!

Choosing the name for our first child was a long and daunting process. I had a lot of criteria:
  1. I prefer longer names that have the option to be shortened, since if you have a short name, that's all you've got. I love options.
  2. I wanted something that was classic and traditional. 
  3. I wanted something uncommon, but not "you-nique." I didn't want her to have to be one of five girls in her class with the same name, but also didn't want people to hear her name and make a "huh?" face.
  4. I wanted it to be "pretty." I like serious names and I like fun names, but I really wanted something a little girly.
  5. I wanted to avoid names that had nicknames that I hated. 
I also had a long list of names, most of which were very long, sing-songy, and Italian.
Jeremy had different criteria:
  1. Jeremy had to like the name.
He also had a list of names that were WILDLY different than my own list. Many were one-syllable and not what I would consider "pretty" -- there were a lot of harsh edges to the names he liked. When I thought of names for my little girl, I thought of something that people would hear and think, Oh, how beautiful! That could be the name of a princess! not Oh, yeah, we have a dog with that name ... a male dog.

The other big struggle we were having at this time was that I NEEDED to know the sex of the baby, and he REALLY wanted to be surprised. A few days before the 20-week ultrasound, I swore if he let me learn the gender, he could name the baby. I assumed he would see how desperate I was, agree, and then not hold me to my promise.

I was wrong.

So, from his top-three favorites, he chose Scarlett. I liked it ... but I was having a really hard time with people trying to shorten her name and calling her "Scar" or "Lettie." I told Jeremy I would sit with it, and I did, for months, until one day I broke down crying, saying it was a beautiful name, but I just didn't think it was HER name. There were plenty of those names on our lists, actually. We liked them in theory, and if someone else used them, we would think "how pretty!" but it just wasn't the name for OUR kid we were imagining growing in there.

Jeremy took it pretty well, and we were back to the drawing board. It was not going well. Then, all of a sudden, when I was about 7.5 or 8 months pregnant (I know!), I was walking across campus to teach a class and the baby kicked me so hard I doubled over in pain. When it happened, I shouted at her ... and I called her by name ... and I called her "Josie."

To say that took me by surprise is an understatement. Jeremy had been making a case for the name Josephine for YEARS (obviously the argument heated up a bit when I actually got pregnant!), and he always said he would love to use Josie as a nickname. In the past, whenever he brought up Josephine, I couldn't get past the fact that it was just a male name with an "ine" tacked onto the end, which, I suppose is the appeal for many people. Jeremy has always loved the name Josephine, and as he had already pointed out to me countless times, it was a family name for both of us, so that would be a nice bonus for everyone (my maternal grandfather is Joseph, my father's beloved godmother was Josephine, and there are multiple Josephines on Jeremy's family tree -- not as close, but there nonetheless). Jeremy loves history and tradition, so this made him love the name even more.

It was the weirdest thing. I went from not even considering the name to knowing it was "the one," all in the span of a baby kick, but that's exactly what happened. From that moment on, I did not have a single doubt about her name. It was perfect and I knew it would fit her.

Our little girl was named Josephine Isabelle, and we could not love it any more.

I love Josephine because it is a classic name that can take all different forms. She can be "Josephine" and be strong, classic, and reliable, whlie still being girly; she can be "Josie" and be cute and spunky; she can be "Jo" or "Joey" and be a tomboy. On top of all that, her name has great rhymes and has spawned nicknames like Josephine the Bean and Josephine the Queen. I love Isabelle because it was my grandmother's name, a name I always loved and wanted to use for a daughter. Unfortunately, it got awfully popular in the last few years, otherwise, I would have lobbied to have it be her first name.

Even though it took a long time and a lot of tears on my part, we found the perfect name and we love it!

Now I'm 30 weeks pregnant with our second little girl ... and the battle is in full swing again!

It wasn’t easy, but that is how I decided on my baby’s name. How did you decide on your baby’s name? Or do you have a great story on how your parents decided on your name? Tell me for a chance to win a year’s supply of cards from Cardstore.com!

Cardstore.com has expanded their offering of birth announcements!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cardstore. The opinions and text are all mine. Official Sweepstakes Rules.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

GrUVyWear Swimsuit Review

I was recently offered a free swimsuit for Josephine to review, and it took me all of three seconds to say "Yes please!" I had never heard of GrUVyWear before receiving the offer, and ... I'm not gonna lie ... it took me longer than I will readily admit to figure out why it was spelled with a capital "UV" in the name. Umm ... DUH. GrUVyWear specializes in UV protective swimwear that offers a UPF of 50+, blocking over 98% of the sun's harmful rays.

Once I realized I was getting swimwear for my kid with tons of extra-special UV protection, I was even more geeked. We spend a lot of time in the pool, and then there's grandma's pool, great-Gran's pool, and Lake Huron to spend time in, and no matter how much sunscreen I put on that kid, it really is never enough. It's hard to keep little kid skin protected, and Josephine's skin is just SO fair that it makes me nervous to let her stay out. Too bad for me that she will spend HOURS in that bright sun, and if you dare try dragging her inside, you are in for a heck of a battle.

Luckily, my suit came just in time for some very hot and very high UV index days that we had already planned out as pool days!

I also had no idea what to expect when I got the suit -- I kept wondering what it would look like -- and I was definitely not imagining what I got, but I was pleasantly surprised!

Instead of a suit like I usually put Josephine in, I got this, which looks more like a wetsuit!

Sorry for the lack of smile; she was standing right next to the pool and I told her she had to wait and not get in until I took a picture. She was not pleased about that!

I have always seen kids in these on my facebook feed and at the beach, and I must admit, I always wondered if I should be buying those instead of regular little suits, so I was happy to have one to try out.

Josephine loved it!

It was a two-piece, but stayed in place. I was DEFINITELY happy that so much of her was covered on this particular day. The material was very nice, and Josephine seemed very comfortable in it. It also seemed to be material that would hold up for a very long time. 

All in all, we were both pleased with our GrUVyWear suit. The best news is that I have a code for you to save 15% if you'd like some GrUVyWear of your own. Until July 15th, just enter the code SAVE1550 at the checkout.

I was given a complimentary suit to review for this post, but the opinions expressed are my own.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

COOL WHIP Sponsored Post (DROOL)

Thank you COOL WHIP for sponsoring this post. Join us on Facebook for inspiration and recipes for everyday treats. What you add makes it. #coolwhipmoms

COOL WHIP Whipped Topping wanted to know how I make my everyday treats more special with COOL WHIP. Ummm ... only about a million ways! I would like to be the type of person who can easily whip up extravagant desserts at the drop of a hat, but I'm just not. I can do elaborate things, given time, lots of energy, and plenty of others things I don't have in high supply. What I really DO like is putting together simple and delicious treats.

I decided to tell you about my top three ways that I use COOL WHIP to make everyday treats more special, and I apologize in advance, because you are probably going to have to make a grocery store run in the near future! Sorry!

1. COOL WHIP on hot chocolate. Come on. Does anyone NOT like this? If you do, I've never met you, and it might make me uncomfortable if we ever DO meet, because you are in delicious hot drink denial. It is really the perfect addition to hot chocolate. Shave a little chocolate on there and BOOM. Fancy treat in a snap.

2. Strawberries and COOL WHIP. Strawberry Shortcake might be my favorite dessert of all time (I have heard tell of people who use ice cream ... sorry, COOL WHIP, strawberries, and shortcake is where it's at, my friends), but it this is even more simple. When strawberries are on sale or you pick up a nice, fresh haul from the Farmer's Market, aren't you just itching to toss a little COOL WHIP on there and take it to the next level? Divine.

3. Snickers salad. I remember it like it was yesterday. I was in junior high at a potluck, and a lady I love brought this dessert. I about lost my mind, and she was all, "Oh, it's just Snickers salad, something everyone brings to things like this." 

Seriously? EVERYONE knew about this? Where had *I* been?

In case you were also not privy to this amazing invention, it's simple: Cut up green apples, cut up Snickers bars, toss in COOL WHIP. Use whatever proportions make you happy.


The first time I made this for my husband, he said, "Well, you can't go wrong with that!"

No sir, you cannot.

Now go forth and add COOL WHIP!

Sponsored posts are purely editorial content that we are pleased to have presented by a participating sponsor. Advertisers do not produce the content. I was compensated for this post as a member of Clever Girls Collective, but the content is all my own.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Country Crock & Veggies (Sponsored Post)

This post is sponsored by Country Crock. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Let me tell you a little about vegetables: 
1. I LOVE them. I could make meals of just veggies and be totally satisfied.
2. Jeremy HATES them. Except peas, which I think don't really count since they have no nutritional value at all. He asked me to add in that he also likes corn, but, as I have told him time and again, CORN IS A GRAIN!
3. Josie has been a stellar eater from day one. I could not be more happy with her little appetite and the wide variety of foods she happily eats.

HowEVER (Get ready for another list), there are two major issues looming in my future:

1. I remember reading an article when Josephine was three months old that said kids pay more attention to their FATHER'S eating habits and model them more than their mother's.

Holy hell. I try to remind Jeremy about this as often as possible (no, I would not consider it nagging), and we've gotten to the point where Jeremy will take the ONE vegetable off his dinner plate and holler at Josie, "HEY! Look at me eating this DELICIOUS vegetable!" eat it with a grimace on his face, and be like, okay, done and done. 


2. Josephine is a KID. Therefore, I'm not too stupid to realize that any good habit she possess could go up in smoke at a moment's notice. In fact, this week alone, she has refused servings of both sweet potatoes and zucchini, two old favorites. 

Double sigh.

So, when I got an opportunity to try out a delightful veggie recipe from the Clare Crespo Cookbook for Country Crock and share the results with you? No-brainer. I'm not peddling something I don't care deeply about. I love the vegetable and my family needs more of them!

From the recipes available in the online cookbook from Country Crock (available for download), I chose the Zucchini Boats. Not only do I love zucchini and am determined to get Josephine to eat it again, but it has couscous in the recipe. YUM.

The recipe was super-easy, and ...drumroll .....

Everyone loved them!

Unfortunately, I had to skip the feta cheese in mine (a no-no for pregnant folks), because I LOVE me some feta, and it smelled divine in Josie and Jeremy's, but I will be sure to eat a double helping once the baby is born! I put Parmesan in mine and it was delish.

I really love finding recipes like these that showcase the flavor of the actual vegetable -- I don't think there is a need to "hide" vegetables in recipes, but at the same time, sometimes you need a little more than just a plain steamed vegetable (which I love, but Jeremy would gladly pass on). According to Country Crock, 8 out of 10 kids enjoy veggies in Country Crock, and Country Crock is a healthy alternative to butter, so there you go! This online cookbook is full of recipes that are creative and delicious but don't hide the delicious veggies flavors -- winners in my book!

Are you looking for quick and simple tips and recipes to make serving veggies more fun? Download the free Clare Crespo Cookbook here for fun and whimsical recipes your family is sure to love!