Three Fun Food Blogs

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I am a HUGE fan of food. I love to cook and eat. I am not a foodie or a food blogger, though. However, there are a couple of food blogs that I subscribe to and try to keep up with. I think you may enjoy them as well.

The first is Noble Pig. I StumbledUpon it and was hooked when I laid eyes on these gorgeous eggy rolls.  This one is more than a food blog. It’s also the story of the birth of a family’s vineyard in Oregon. The author, Cathy, is a food and wine fanatic. She posts recipes for magically delicious drinks like Butterbeer and comfort food with a twist like Gnocchi Mac n’ Cheese and teaches Wine Tasting 101. You’ll love her photos too. They make me want to lick my computer screen. Don’t worry I know better. I hope you’ll find some good recipes here and try them out at home. Someday I will too.

The other blog that I’ve discovered is Baked Bree. This lovely blog is written by a woman named Bree who lives in Sacramento, CA. She’s a mother of three who loves to cook and take photos. She describes her blog as “a love letter to everyone that [she] have ever cooked for.” She also takes amazing photos of her food, showing her readers every step in her recipes. I like the way she shows a photo of all the ingredients first, so you can get a quick idea of what’s in the dish. Some of the recipes on her blog that got me really excited are her homemade Bread and Butter Pickles, Milk Chocolate Pudding and a lovely Black Bean Soup (a major upgrade from mine). Plus she has several delicious looking recipes for homemade ice cream that make me want to go out and buy an ice cream maker.

Share a link in the comments section below. Here’s a new food blog that my friend Lizz just started. Her recipes and writing are equally and unbelievably flavorful. Please check it out and tell her Jenn (at Patrons) sent you! Do you have a favorite food blog? Or one of your own? I’d love to hear about it!

Happy Labor Day, Ladies!

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In 1894, Labor Day became a federal holiday. Lots of people view it as the last hurrah of Summer and spend the whole weekend at BBQs, but it’s also a day to celebrate contributions and achievements of hard-working Americans. That usually meant the work of men. I imagine the women didn’t take the day off from doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, teaching their kids and the countless other tasks they had to do on a daily basis. During World War II record numbers of women started working outside the home. “Rosie The Riveter”* (to the left) was part of the U.S. government’s propaganda campaign aimed at luring women into the Munitions Industry.

I’ve had this famous poster for several years now. I love it because it reminds me about the strength of women. Many of us work at home, just like the majority of women pre-WWII, but that’s our choice. We take care of the house and kids, but we also run businesses and work for others in our home offices. I’m more than a Stay At Home Mom. I also promote insurance agencies, babysit and tutor students in math. Then there are the women who are a part of the workforce, who still take care of their families and homes. My friend Amy keeps her house in perfect order, but she also coaches at her kids’ school, cleans houses and does data entry for a lawyer. She’s one of those Super Moms. Neither is better than the other. Both types of women have that do-what-you-gotta attitude and that’s what makes them strong.

So don’t forget to thank the women in your life today for all their hard work. Remember their work doesn’t stop just because it’s Labor Day. The dirty dishes and clothes, hungry mouths and crying babies won’t give her a break. However, you can help lighten her load by pitching in. I know I appreciate all the help my husband does after a long day of work and school. I love it when he helps with the dishes and gives the boys a bath; few things are more romantic. Men, I think this is true for all women.

Happy Labor Day, America!

*Photo Credit: History.com

My Favorite Coupon Blogs

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I’ve recently made a concerted effort to save more money by using coupons. So far so good! On Friday I saved $33 on groceries at Target and yesterday I saved $21 at Publix. There are 4 blogs that have inspired and helped me to do this. I’d like to share them with you.


The first one I discovered was Smart Couponing. One of our Facebook friends, Amanda, shared a link for free bagels and I’ve been a subscriber ever since. This blog tells you about all the good deals happening at several of my favorite stores, like Target, Publix, Amazon.com, CVS and Walmart. You can find coupon/sale match-ups on the blog, on their Facebook page, or just follow them on Twitter @SmartCouponing.

I Heart Publix
The same day I found Smart Couponing, I found a link to I Heart Publix. This blog is all about the sales, specials, promotions, etc. at Publix, my favorite grocery store! My favorite feature though, is the Sneak Peek at the upcoming Publix Weekly Ad. You’ll also find great deals from other stores there. You can also follow all the great savings on the I Heart Publix Facebook page.


Around the same time, I came across Moms Need To Know, a blog by a mom in the Philadelphia area. You can follow her on Twitter @MindiCherry or visit her Facebook Page. She posts printable coupons, free stuff, drug store and grocery store deals all day long. She also has a Moms Need To Cook section full of recipes. You’ll love her!

The fourth and final coupon blog that I love is True Couponing. This is a Faith-based blog run by 3 stay at home moms. They post great deals going on at Publix, Walgreens, CVS, Kmart, Walmart and Whole Foods. They also match up coupons to the sales and have “good deal alerts”. This blog is especially for the moms I know because these women live in Central Florida and offer coupon training classes at local churches. You can find their schedule here.

I hope find these sites helpful and you’re able to save some money. Please let me know if you of any other good coupon blogs or ways to save money. Happy shopping!

I <3 The Road Photo Contest

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We had so much fun with the I ❤ My Pet photo contest, we decided to do another one! You don’t need a pet for this one. We want you to tell us all about  your Summer road trip. Tell us where you’ve gone this Summer and why we should go there too. I will post the photos to the “I ❤ The Road Photo Contest” album on our Facebook page along with your description. Then all of our Facebook friends will vote (by clicking the “like” button) for their favorites. Email your photo to us at patronsinsuranceagency@gmail.com and we’ll post it pronto. Click here for contest details.

You’re not the only one traveling this Summer. Two of our agents at Patrons Insurance Agency, Dawn (mom) and Siobhan (daughter), are headed West right now. Their destination is unknown, but they’ll share photos from their trip along the way. You can find their photos on our Facebook page too in the “Dawn & Siobhan Headed West” album. Perhaps you’ll be inspired for your next road trip. They return August 7th and the I<3 The Road photo contest winner will be announced on Tuesday, August 10th. Their prize? A $25 VISA gift card. Stay tuned to our blog for all things road trip related until then.

4-Ingredient Apple Blueberry Pancakes

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These yummy pancakes only require 4 ingredients.

My little boy has not been feeling well lately, so when he requested pancakes for lunch, I was happy to oblige. I rarely make recipes exactly like the box says and this is especially true of pancakes. Yes, I said box. This is NOT a food blog. I am not a foodie. However, I do love to cook yummy food for my family that fits in our budget. Pancakes are a real crowd pleaser at my house, so I usually have a box of Publix Pancake Mix in the pantry, which only requires you to add water. The idea of plain pancakes out of the box makes me feel, eh, so I always add something to them, like applesauce and cinnamon (both are staples in our house).

Just add water!

This time I decided to mix it up because Publix had blueberries on sale and my son won’t eat them. First I added slightly less water than the box called for and stirred it into the pancake mix, so it was a little thick. Then I poured in some applesauce until the mixture was a little runny. After that I cut up and smashed the blueberries and added them to the mix. I chose the softer berries because I’m less likely to eat them and more likely to toss them. You may prefer to but your berries in whole, but my little guy would just pick them out if I did that. Plus squishing them helps spread the blueberry-goodness throughout the batter.

Let it bubble up...

then flip!

Next I put a pan over medium-high heat and added a little vegetable oil once it’s was hot. Then I ladled some batter onto the hot pan and waited for the edges to bubble up before I flipped it. This has to be one of the simplest recipes ever. The fruit sweetens them plenty for me so I eat them hot and plain–no butter or syrup. That’s just four ingredients (five if you count the oil) and 10 minutes for a tasty breakfast or snack. Easy peasy!

Voila!

The Benefits of Breast-feeding

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The breast-feeding experience varies from woman to woman and child to child. My first son spent his first week of life in the NICU, where he often received formula, but I also breast-fed him. I never would have made it breast-feeding that first week if it weren’t for the help of the NICU nurse and the lactation consultants at the hospital. I highly recommend moms taking advantage of their services, especially first-time moms.

Now my son is 3 years old and I have 4 month old baby boy, who nurses almost exclusively and you can tell looking at him. This second time around has been much easier. He latched on immediately and didn’t taste formula until he was two weeks old. However, I still remember all the pumping and frequent visits from the nurses and lactation specialists while I was in the hospital with my oldest.

Did you know that many health insurance carriers will cover some of your lactation needs? Those oh-so important lactation consultations and even breast pump purchases or rentals may be covered under your insurance. So don’t give up on breast-feeding because your baby isn’t latching on properly and it hurts or because you have to go back to work, you may be able afford the help you need now. Check with your agency or insurance company to find out exactly what they cover.

Here are a few reasons why so many moms are choosing to breast-feed:

  1. Breast-feeding reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).
  2. It can reduce the risk of infections (in the ear, respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary tracts).
  3. It helps protect baby from diabetes, allergies and obesity.
  4. Breast-fed babies have a lower risk of developing asthma.
  5. Breast-feeding also helps mom’s uterus contract back down to its original size.
  6. It can also help protect women from postpartum depression and massive uterine bleeding.
  7. It can also help reduce the risk of mother’s developing breast, uterus or ovarian cancer.

To find out more about the benefits of breast-feeding, check out La Leche League and WebMD.

Alistair, my bean pole and Wesley, my little meatball.