Local Review: Learning to Swim with Goldfish Swim School Clarkston

One of the most important things to me back in the spring was for the boys to learn to swim. With the fact that we’re fortunate to have several different pools at our disposal, I thought it was imperative for their summer, and mine, that they could hold their own in the water.

I was a newbie at finding swim lessons, since somehow I completely skipped that step of parenting in 5 years, I asked a few work friends where I should take them. It was pretty much a unanimous opinion from all: Goldfish Swim School.

After trying out their program for a bit in the spring, I was extremely impressed at what my kids learned in a very short period, which is why when I was approached to visit their new location in Clarkston and do a review, I jumped at the chance.

I truly couldn’t be more impressed with Goldfish Swim School and their new location. We went into this lesson at Clarkston, already having a bit of prior knowledge, so I knew somewhat to expect. Like always though, this new location exceeded my expectations. Here are some of my favorite features…

Warmth: Have you ever taken your kids to an indoor pool and they were a bit cold getting in & out? Goldfish keeps the water & air temperature at 90 degrees at all times (before you start sweating thinking about sitting in that as well - don’t worry, there’s a cooler spot for you to sit & view them from). It is always extremely warm in the pool area, which is great for kids during lessons & for their shower rinse time after – especially in the colder months.

Fully Stocked: Somehow I constantly fail adulthood and show up at swim lessons without a bathing suit, towel or goggles. No need to worry, Goldfish has you covered. They have a wide selection of suits, towels, goggles, you name it. All the pool gear you need at a reasonable price. It’s all really cute as well, as my son had suits with guitars, dinosaurs and trucks to choose from.

Snacks: My kids are very big into getting a snack after a sporting lesson. Goldfish has great snack options – including Goldfish, of course – at a reasonable price. No movie theater pricing here, each snack is $1.00. Mom budget approved.

Decorations: From the brightly colored locker rooms, to the murals on the wall, to the palm trees in the main waiting room, Goldfish definitely has its own unique touch and way to make you feel like you’re heading somewhere tropical for your kids swim lessons.

Accolades: At the end of each lesson, parents are called in and given a demonstration from the instructor and student on what they learned that day. The instructor spends a good amount of time going over with you what your child has learned, what they’ve improved on and what’s coming next. Once your student reaches some sort of benchmark in swimming, they’re given a ribbon after class. A huge favorite of the Wollborg kids. Apparently, they like to win things. They’re kind of like their mom.

I could continue this list, but at some point I do need to stop. Goldfish Swim School is truly a top notch program in helping your child feel comfortable in the water and become a strong swimmer. If you live in the Clarkston area, be sure to check them out. You won’t be disappointed.

A few ways you can learn more about Clarkston Goldfish Swim School – visit their website or give them a little “like” love on Facebook.

I received a complimentary lesson and compensation for this sponsored post through TweetTeam.com. Opinions are my own.

Master Cleanse & Vitamins: My Way of Showing Sickness the Door

This past fall the boys switched from being home full-time with a nanny, to now attending a daycare-preschool center full time. When I went back to work in late August, I braced myself for what was to come.

Chaotic mornings and stressful pick-ups. (Yes, pick-ups are actually difficult. My kids never want to leave school and come with me. It’s really heartwarming.)

Many lunches to be packed. 109 pb&j’s in the shape of Star Wars ships and counting….

And sickness. So, so, SO much sickness.

In the past few years, I’ve basically raised my kids in a bubble, on purpose. I spent my first few years of teaching always sick, and I’d built up a great immunity by the time the kids came around. When they were born, I was determined to stick to the status quo, because I knew going back after 2 maternity leaves I wasn’t going to have a lot of sick days.

For the first few years, my efforts were successful. With a combination of a lot of hand washing, and very little Chuck-E-Cheesing, the boys seemed to stay fairly healthy, only catching the occasional cold now and then.

Then November rolled around this fall; two months into our daycare stint.

Basically from Thanksgiving to about 3 weeks ago, someone in our house had something. Flu. Stomach bug. Major cold. Chills. Sinus infection. Fevers. Ear infection(s). Strep. Wicked cough. The unmentionables (I’ll spare you those details). 

A full night of sleep was becoming a priceless commodity in our family and I wanted, needed, to find any way to take our life back. Our germ free life back.

I consulted with my doctor, friends, and well, really just Google.

I came across a few suggestions: More vitamins, monitor your diet, deep clean, wash your hands extremely often, invest in a humidifier and even consider doing some sort of cleanse.

Vitamins

I’m terrible at remembering to take a daily vitamin. Somehow I rocked prenatal care and remembered each and every day, but without a baby in the belly, I can’t remember a thing. I guess pregnancy brain had the opposite effect on me.

My friend, Jessica, sent me an offer to try an immune booster, Epicor. Her timing was perfect and I jumped at the chance. I had signed on to take 1 every day in January.


I’ll be honest. I was awesome at remembering them the first week. New Year’s Resolutions will do that to you. And I truly felt better. The sickness seemed to be evacuating. Then I slipped, and also got sick again. I re-committed to taking these vitamins 4 weeks ago, and I definitely feel better.

It has made a difference in my airways and I feel like I don’t have to run into the corner of the room every time someone coughs.

An immune booster is something I’ll definitely stick with and hopefully it continues to work. I’m also happy to report, while knocking on wood, that both my boys had stuffy noses this weekend, and so far, I’ve been totally fine.

Diet, Washing Hands & Deep Clean

I have cut some dairy products out of my diet. Not all, people. Just some. Basically in an effort to hopefully clear up the airways.

Our family has also basically kept Method’s hand soap refills in business. I’m constantly having the boys hop up on their little stool and sing either “Happy Birthday” or their “ABC’s” (the recommended time to wash your hands).

And as far as a major deep clean, I traded in my all-natural cleaning products for the big guns. Lysol and Clorox were my Friday night dates for a few weeks.

Master Cleanse

Oh, yah. Remember that. The 72 hours I only drank a mixture of water, fresh lemon juice, organic grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper.

The drink, in my opinion, was good. I still make it sometimes even though I’m currently off the cleanse. It was the equivalent of a spicy, fresh lemonade.

I do feel like the cleanse cleared up my sinuses and my chest. And as an added bonus, in the 3 days I did the cleanse, I did not experience any of the *ahem* side effects.

Lucky me. Or rather, lucky husband.

I learned a lot about myself and my addiction to food. How I reach for food, sometimes simply out of habit. Four times during my cleanse, I opened up the fridge for no apparent reason. I would’ve totally grabbed something to eat, had I not been on the cleanse.

I learned how you can have willpower when you choose to have willpower.

I would love to do the cleanse again, maybe even for more of a 5 day period (typically, people do the master cleanse for 10 days). I liked how I felt. And the looser pants were definitely an added bonus.

For now, it seems we’ve been able to show sickness the door. Let’s just hope it doesn’t find its way back inside.

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Disclosure: I was sent samples of Epicor. However, I was not paid to write a post for them and all opinions are my own.

 

The 3 Day Master Cleanse

Sunday morning I’m starting the master cleanse, also known as the lemonade diet, but really should be titled the please pray for Charlie in this time of need because Elena’s gone cray (again) diet.

In all honesty, I’m not doing it as a ‘diet’. We’ve been hit with so many colds so far this winter, that I can’t take it anymore. I find myself daydreaming of spring cleaning on a daily basis. I even considered opening all the windows when it was 10 degrees the other day and telling the kids to ‘man up’ because we all just need some fresh air.

The master cleanse is basically a mixture of water, fresh lemon juice, grade B maple syrup and cayenne pepper. I know, tasty. It supposedly gives you all the calories you need for the day. I’m definitely putting this claim to the test.

On one of my many how to rid your family of the common cold google searches, I saw several people mention that they have done the master cleanse to reset their body. There was a lot of the cayenne pepper clears your sinuses and the lemon and maple syrup will coat your throat talk.

I’m buying into it. Because at this point, I’m willing to try anything.

The true master cleanse is done for 10 days. However, Charlie and I are signed up for a cooking class later this week on risotto, so I’ll be stopping by that point. Because duh, risotto.

I’m going to attempt to do this cleanse for 3 days and evaluate how I feel, while others in the household I’m sure will be evaluating my mood.

There are 3 things I’m hoping to gain:

(1) Stop this incessant cough that has kept me up at night for weeks.

(2) Clearly breathe through my nostrils, because mouth breathing is so 1996.

(3) Have my husband still like me by Wednesday.

I’ll let you know the results later this week. Wish us all luck.

Homemade Chicken Tenders and Chicken Parmesan. 2 Recipes. 1 Post.

One of my favorite family-friendly meals to make is Chicken Parmesan. It’s easy, fairly healthy and a crowd pleaser. It’s also a great meal for that special someone this Valentine’s day – whether you’re celebrating just the two of you or making it a family event.

The other nice thing about making homemade chicken parmesan, is that if you make extra chicken you can use it for homemade chicken tenders. I think we all love being able to get a few meals out of 1 recipe.

Another thing we have done with this meal is make the tenders up for the kids at dinner time and then set a few aside for later. Then, once they’re in asleep, we make chicken parmesan for just the two of us.

When I make chicken parmesan, I always buy the chicken already cut in tender slices. I always find it easier to saute small pieces of chicken rather than large. It alleviates the whole is it truly cooked all the way through questions you ask yourself when dealing with chicken. Because, surprisingly, I’m not really a fan of having to worry about salmonella poisoning.

What You’ll Need

The following is the recipe for chicken tenders which are also used for making my chicken parmesan.

12 chicken breast sliced tenders
3 eggs
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder or garlic salt
3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 saute pans (pans that can go into the oven if you are doing chicken parmesan)

The following is additionally needed if you want to make chicken parmesan. Please be sure to read this whole post first so you know the full directions.

8-10 slices of mozzarella
Jar or homemade marinara sauce
1 box of your favorite noodles
Shredded parmesan cheese

For the chicken tenders:

Prepare one shallow dish with your 3 eggs. Scramble together.

Prepare a second shallow dish with your bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, italian seasoning, cinnamon, cumin and garlic salt/powder. Stir together.


Grab a platter or cutting board. Take your chicken tenders. First, dip them individually in the egg. Completely cover them. Second, dip them in the bread crumb mixture. Again, complete cover them by rolling them around. Pick them up out of the mixture, shake off an excess crumbs and put on your cutting board or platter.



Start warming up the 2 saute pans with a medium high heat. Coat both pans with extra virgin olive oil. Let each pan heat up until it is starting to form a low sizzle.

Once they are both warm, add in your chicken breasts one at a time. Don’t move initially so that the hot olive oil will help form a nice crust.


Once you see a nice crust has formed on one side, flip to the other. Continue cooking until a crust has formed on the other side and the chicken is cooked through. The length of time truly just depends on the heat or your stovetop.

When I cook them, it’s around 8-10 minutes total. Be sure to test a few different tenders by slicing through them and seeing that they are white, not pink on the inside.

TIP: What’s great about making these tenders, is that you can also freeze them and use them at a later date. If you do this, heat them up in the oven on a baking sheet.


Serve with your favorite chicken tender dipping sauce.


Now, if you want to use these tenders for chicken parmesan, you’ll want to do the following.

Before you begin the process above, heat your oven to 350. Simultaneously while you are cooking the chicken, you would also want to be cooking your favorite noodles and heating your marinara sauce over a low simmer.

When the chicken is done from the steps above, take your pan(s) of chicken tenders and coat each one with a spoonful of sauce, a slice of mozzarella cheese and another dollop of sauce on top.


Put the pan into the oven. When I start to see the cheese melt, I turn my oven to broil because I like to get a brown crust on my cheese. If you’d rather just stick to melted cheese, this step isn’t necessary.


Remove the pan from the oven and on a plate serve a few pieces of chicken parmesan, noodles and sauce. Top the whole dish with parmesan cheese. Enjoy.

Attack of the Halloween Catalog

There’s a new piece of riveting literature in our home that the boys just can’t seem to put down.

No, it’s not anything written by Dr. Seuss, Mo Willems or Sandra Boynton.

It’s written by a less well known author, yet my boys still seem to consider it a classic.

Party City’s Halloween Catalog.


Wherever they go, a halloween catalog is never far behind.


Really, I have no idea where they get this obsession from?

We all may go into hiding once the Christmas catalogs arrive.
Send help if you don’t hear from us by January 1st.

Today I’m linking up with Liz and KLZ for iPhone Photo Phun.

Fit Fruit & Vegetable Wash

I’m changing things up a little bit. On Sunday’s I typically post a recipe. I still plan on doing that, but I’d also like to start highlighting some of my favorite tips, tools and tricks in the kitchen.

The first thing I’d like to tell you all about is Fit Fruit & Vegetable Wash.

I typically buy organic fruits and veggies whenever possible, but just like traditionally grown produce, they always need a good wash.

And I’m a little hardcore when it comes to that wash. I never used to worry about it, but it’s something that became very important to me in my 30′s for some reason.

Some people hit the gym and start to fear middle age. I started to wash my produce more often.

I’ve tried a few different products and have found Fit to be the best. My sister-in-law recommended it to me about 4 years ago and I’ve been using it ever since.

Honestly, the transformation from the color of the fruit from when you first purchase it to after you rinse it with fit is unreal.

I have spent could spend a Saturday night fit’ing fruit. It’s that much fun. Trust me.

Here is my step-by-step process for Fit’ing produce.

What You’ll Need:

1 Bottle of Fit (it comes with either a soaker or spray top. I prefer the soaker.)
1 Salad Spinner (you can absolutely just use a big bowl and strainer)
Fruit & Veggies

*Fit does sell their own Fit colander, but I think you can just as easily use tools you already have.

Put all the fruit (or veggies) that you want to wash into your salad spinner (or bowl).


Add in water and Fit (directions are on the bottle as to how much to use).


Let it sit for a few minutes, stirring it around with clean hands every now and then.



Remove the colander portion (or pour out into a strainer) and start to rinse. I usually rinse for a while to make sure to get everything off of the produce.

Spin (or towel dry it off) and serve. Your fruit will be bright, shiny and clean. Enjoy!



Do you use anything to wash your produce? What products have worked for you?

Do you think they’ll put the word fit’ing in the dictionary after this post?

Disclosure: I was not compensated or asked by Fit to mention their product. I just happen to love it and wanted to share it with my readers

Slow Cooked Carnitas Enchiladas

I love Mexican food, so I typically make my family eat it at least once a week. Previously I shared my recipe for super-easy chicken enchiladas. Today I want to share my recipe for carnitas enchiladas.

A lot of the same techniques, just different meat basically. In my chicken enchiladas recipe, I add a can of cream of mushroom soup (as you’ll see if you click on the link). I didn’t do that in this recipe, but by all means you still could.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

1 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons frank’s red hot
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon all purpose seasoning salt (I prefer Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning)
1 teaspoon garlic powder or salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cans of red enchilada sauce (I prefer Old El Paso – mild)
2 blocks of your favorite mexican cheese or 2 packages of pre-shredded mexican cheese
1 boneless pork tenderloin (I buy it at Trader Joe’s. Around 2 lbs.)
1 package of soft tortillas (larger size shell. For this recipe, I use 6 tortillas.)
1 crock pot (if you don’t have one, just cook in a covered oven-safe dish at around 125 degrees)
1 pan (8×11 preferably)

*good additions not mentioned: 1 can of black olive slices or 2 jalapeno peppers. Dice either or both and use for a topping on enchiladas before or after cooking them.

In the morning, prepare your marinade which consists of the soy sauce, red hot and brown sugar. Lay your pork tenderloin in the marinade. Sprinkle the meat with the cinnamon, seasoning salt and garlic. Rub it on the meat and then let it sit in there for about 30 minutes.

In a slow cooker, pour in 1 can of enchilada sauce and then, after marinating, set the meat in there. Turn on low or high. (Depends on how long you have. I slow cooked on low for 7 hours. If you have less, do high.)

Once the meat is cooked through, take it out and let it rest on a cutting board. Grab two forks (or a fork and knife) and start shredding the meat. It should come apart very easily after slow cooking all day.

Set up your assembly line. Preheat the oven to 350 (if you are cooking them at that time). Shred your cheese if you purchased blocks. You’ll need the meat, cheese and tortillas.

Take your pan and open your other can of enchilada sauce. Pour a little bit in the bottom just to coat the pan.

Start putting the enchiladas together. Handful of meat. Handful of cheese. Wrap up like a burrito. Simple.

Once you put them together, lay into the pan. I like to spread all 6 of them out because I find that if they touch, they tend to melt together in the cooking process and the tortilla rips open when you scoop them out. You could easily fit 8 in the pan if you want more.

Once you have assembled all of them, pour the remainder of the sauce on all of the tortillas. Use a spoon to move the mixture around to make sure that all parts of the tortilla are covered.

Find a cute little helper and sprinkle them with cheese. Not the helper. The tortillas. Obviously, we’re a cheese-loving family.

Bake covered for 10 minutes and then uncovered for 5-10. If you prefer the cheese a bit more crispy, uncover earlier. Pull out of the oven and let the rest a few minutes.

Scoop them out and serve. I typically have rice and beans for a side as well as chips, salsa & guacamole. Enjoy.

What is your favorite Mexican dish?

Rosemary Potatoes on the Grill

Need a side dish for your Fourth of July BBQ? Here’s a simple recipe that can go right on the grill with all of your other items.

It’s a recipe I stole from my sister-in-law a few years back. I now make them at least once a week in the summer.

What You’ll Need:

1 Package of Baby Red or White Skin Potatoes
2 Cloves Chopped Garlic
1 TBSP Olive Oil
2 Sprigs of Rosemary
Salt & Pepper

Lay out a large piece of foil and drizzle the bottom with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil.


Chop the potatoes into cubes.


Remove the rosemary from the stems and chop into fine pieces.


Combine all of these items on your foil and add the rest of the olive oil. Toss around until all potatoes are coated in olive oil and the rosemary and garlic is spread around.


Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Close up the foil bag completely. Set it on the grill. Check periodically. I typically cook them for about 20 minutes. This part really depends on how well done you like your potatoes.


Once they are done, set the bag on a plate, open and serve. Enjoy!


Happy Fourth of July!

Shrimp and Salmon Fajitas – Part 1

Today’s recipe post is going to be the 1st of a 3 part series. I’m sharing a recipe for salmon and shrimp fajitas today, homemade guacamole and margaritas next Sunday and carne asade the following Sunday. Combine them all for an outdoor Mexican Fiesta.

A few weeks ago we had our friend, Becky Johns, come to stay with us for the weekend. Since I try to fake being the hostess-with-the-mostess and look like I have it all together, I planned a night out on our deck. We had a great time catching up over fajitas and margaritas. Here is part of what I made.

Shrimp and Salmon Fajitas

What You’ll Need:

1 lb thawed uncooked shrimp
1 large piece of salmon (keep the skin on one side)
Frank’s Red Hot
Cavender’s all purpose greek seasoning
Garlic salt
Low-sodium soy sauce
1 bag of tortilla chips
1 package of soft flour tortillas
2 blocks of cheese, shred yourself (I used 1 block of pepper jack and 1 block of sharp cheddar)
1 bag of cole slaw mix (I use this instead of shredded lettuce)
2 roma tomatoes (diced)
1 red, yellow and orange bell pepper
1 small sweet onion or red onion
1 small container of sour cream
1 container (or homemade bowl) of your favorite salsa

Prep:

Preheat your grill (I always use high heat).

Once the shrimp are thawed, dry off with a paper towel. Put them on a platter and hit them with a few dashes of Frank’s red hot and soy sauce. Sprinkle Cavender’s salt and garlic salt on the shrimp. Set aside until they are ready to grill.  Take your piece of salmon and rub with the same ingredients. Set aside.

Get all the toppings ready and serve them on a platter – roma tomatoes, slaw mix, shredded cheeses (another topping option are black olives and diced jalapeno peppers). Serve salsa & sour cream in small bowls. Plastic kiddie bowls as you see here.


Slice bell peppers and onions. Take a piece of foil and pour a few dashes of olive oil in the bottom. Put the peppers and onions in here, sprinkle with some salt & pepper and then wrap up the foil so it forms a flat bag for the ingredients.


Throw the foil pepper bag and salmon on the grill (skin side down). Let the items cook for about 5-7 minutes. While you are grilling, gently flip the salmon over to the skin-off side. I only grill it on this side for a few minutes to get grill marks. Flip back to the skin side and add the shrimp to the grill. Continue grilling – make sure to flip the shrimp over after a few minutes. Toward the end of the grilling process, I throw a few soft tortillas on the grill to give them a little bit of a crisp.


Once the salmon and shrimp are cooked, remove everything from the grill, put on platters, grab your margarita and dig in.



Our happy houseguest! That is, until the boys woke her up at 7 a.m.

Remember to check back next week for my guacamole and margarita recipe. If you want a recipe for some homemade salsa, be sure to check out Jessica’s (My Time as Mom) post today. I’m so proud of her for posting a recipe!

Pedal Tractor and Snoopy Suitcase in Hand.

When I was 6 years old, I decided it was necessary to run away.I wasn’t happy with the way my parents were running things around the house. I had a bedtime. I didn’t get to watch Three’s Company. And, to top it off, I had to brush my teeth and comb my hair every night. Absolutely absurd rules and expectations.I called shenanigans on them.

I packed up my Snoopy suitcase, hooked the trailer up to my pedal tractor and decided I would be leaving that afternoon. Before I walked out of the house, I wanted to make my mom aware of this new plan. I told her I was running away and made sure she realized I might not come back. Unless she begged me to stay and promised there would be changes.Neither happened.

Instead, she got out the camera, handed me a coat (thoughtful) and told me to wait a second so she could come out with me and snap a picture. Parenting at it’s finest. She’s taught me all I know.

My dad was at work, so he wasn’t there to give me a push on the tractor tell me to stop pedaling down the driveway. The only person who seemed like they would remotely miss me was my sister. She stood in front of the door, arms stretched to each side, trying to block me from leaving. All the while, crying that she didn’t want me to go.Well, I knew my sister had no control over the house rules, so the fact she wanted me to stay, made no difference in my plight.

I hopped on my tractor, smiled of course for the photo op, and headed down our driveway. We had a LONG driveway. I made it down the initial incline pretty quickly, being that it was downhill and all.

When I actually had to start pedaling, I got a little tired. I made it to the end of the driveway and found myself quite winded. Running away was proving to be hard work and I also started to miss my mom.So, I did what every rebellious runaway does, I turned around and went back home.

I pedaled back up the steep 2% incline and pulled back into the garage. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a welcome committee when I returned from my 5 minute escape.The rules didn’t change. John Ritter did not become a part of my night time routine. My hair was combed perfectly and my teeth glistened every night as I climbed into bed.From that moment on, I never tried to run away again. The fear of breaking a sweat can sure take the wind right out of your sail.

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This post was for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. I chose prompt #2 – That time you ran away from home.