name='p:domain_verify'/> Always A New Day


8.01.2017

Easy Chocolate Twinkie Trifle




We have been enjoying some yummy desserts during our many summer backyard barbeques, and this dessert is just perfection. Easy perfection. I brought it to a friend's potluck and made it last school year for a teacher appreciation luncheon. A hit both times!

And, did you know Hostess makes CHOCOLATE CAKE Twinkies? They add some decadence to this easy trifle that will wow everyone at your next backyard get-together. Short on time? Love all things chocolate? Make this sweet, chocolate-y trifle soon!

Ingredients

Hostess Chocolate Cake Twinkies
3.9 ounce box of instant chocolate pudding (plus 2 cups of milk for mixing)
12 ounces of whipped cream (store-bought or homemade)
8 ounce bag of toffee bits

Instructions

1. Cut Hostess Chocolate Cake Twinkies into bite-sized pieces and set aside.

2. Make the pudding according to the instructions and let set.

3. Begin your layers in a trifle bowl -  start with Hostess Chocolate Cake Twinkies, and follow with pudding, whipped cream, toffee bits, and repeat until your left with a top layer of that delish whipped cream.

4. Top with more toffee bits and chill until served.



I definitely vote for a glass bowl so you can see the layers, and people will ooh and aah over your creation. You can act so tired as though you've been baking all day. No one needs to know :)

And you thought Hostess Twinkies were for snacking. Think of all the possibilities - the Hostess Fudge Covered Twinkies could work, too! Thank you, Hostess, for making this chocolate fan's dreams come true.



What's your favorite Hostess product? These Chocolate Cake Twinkies and Fudge-Covered Twinkies are climbing to the top for me - head to your nearest grocery store and grab some, too!


Click HERE to learn more about Twinkies
and other Hostess snacks. 

This Easy Chocolate Twinkie Trifle is waiting for you!

7.30.2017

The Ultimate Gift Giver's Guide

This post is sponsored by  UncommonGoods. As always, all opinions are my own.

How has summer gone so fast, you guys? We are less than a month away from school starting, football season, and big events like 40th birthdays, anniversaries, and babies (not me - no way - but, some sweet friends have bundles a'coming). I'm trying to be more organized and diligent in remembering all the milestones.

If you need a gift for any occasion, I've got just the place for your gift-giving needs - this ultimate give giver's guide.  UncommonGoods has you covered!


 UncommonGoods is the best place for all your shopping needs. They work to change the way 
business is done by making sustainability a part of every decision. They also believe in the environment and make it a great place to work - working hard to take care of each individual inside and outside of the workplace.

My favorite part is all the creativity and design that goes into each product - including working with each artist to preserve their goods.  UncommonGoods also features products that contain recycled components and have not sold products containing leather, feathers or fur - a beautiful commitment to selling products that do no harm to people or animals.

Besides the amazing gift ideas,   UncommonGoods also created the Better to Give Program in 2001, which allows you to select a non-profit organization to receive a $1 donation from us at checkout. They have donated over $1,000,000!


Now to the goodies! I got lost in all the unique and special gifts. All of my friends are turning 40 (this girl already did) so  this gift collection would be great for those headed "over the hill." I know a few friends who would love  these wooden wine glasses. I accept late birthday gifts, too - just FYI :)

Can't forget  the new homeowners in the bunch, too. So many cute,  personalized goodies here that double as housewarming gifts. Like these pillows - can someone get me the  Texas one? So much fun to add to your new casa.

Now for the babes - and even a few things for your big kids! No matter if you have a baby shower to attend or a kid's birthday to celebrate,  this sweet collection has you covered. The baby keepsakes are too cute as is this  wooden banner that would complete a nursery. Or, if your toddlers are picky eaters like mine, keep their food apart with this  mini happy mat

I think my favorite find is  this thumbprint guestbook for my daughter's upcoming birthday. Our guests can leave her birthday wishes that she can keep for years to come!

 UncommonGoods should be your one-stop shop for any gift you need to give. Check them out - this ultimate gift guide has you covered. And if you see a little something you like, I don't think you need a reason to just treat yourself. Mom life is always an occasion for giving yourself the ultimate gift!

What gift catches your eye? Trust me, there's something for everyone!

Happy shopping! Until next time, my friends...

7.11.2017

How To Work Out At Home - Even With A Busy Schedule

It's a new week - another hot week here in Texas. We are knee deep into summer and loving every second. Though our schedules have been laid back, there are still two kids at home who want snacks every 2.4 minutes and bicker just as much. In the midst of all the summer chaos, when do you take time for yourself?

I love to share anything fitness. "I work out so I don't wig out." Seriously. Working out is for my mental health more than anything - it reminds me that through loss and grief, my body still works, and I am still trucking along.

When I can't take a class at my favorite workout (Orangetheory Fitness - though the hubs calls it my "Orange Therapy") I find time to workout at home. So, I was thrilled when Aaptiv reached out for me to try their awesome fitness programs. It's the perfect audio fitness app - and perfect for the busy mom!

Aaptiv has TONS of programs for your favorite kind of workout - cycling, treadmill, running, strength training, yoga, and more! The best part? You can take the classes (with the guidance of a trainer!) anywhere AND anytime.

So how do you work out at home with kids and a busy schedule? Aaptiv helps you find the time - many of the programs are 7-10 minutes long. You can do one or combine a few if you want more of a burn. See what your schedule allows and pick your desired workout with the time you have. Most days, I let my kids watch a show while I exercise or complete it during quiet time. Another favorite is when the kids are in the pool, I stand along side and squeeze in a sweat session.



There is a also a great maternity program for expecting moms. Top-tier talent from the fitness industry will lead you through pre and postnatal exercises - great workouts for each trimester! Aaptiv has your back during pregnancy and post that sweet baby's arrival.

Added perks - the trainers who coach you through each move, each interval, and each minute. They pump you up and motivate you in the comfort of your own home - the upbeat playlist adds some extra fun to your workout, too!


Special thanks to Aaptiv for inspiring this post and allowing me to try these amazing workouts. I can't wait to do more at home - you can do it, too. Click HERE to start your free trial.

Want more fitness inspo or tips to take time for yourself? Check out these posts:

Tips To Make Personal Fitness Goals
5 Simple Tips to Complete Your First Half Marathon
5 Ways to Pick Yourself Back Up - When Life Knocks You Down

Have a happy and healthy week, my friends!

6.26.2017

Grilled Pimiento Stuffed Sweet Peppers






As a child, I remember my mom always having pimiento cheese as a go-to snack - slap it on some bread or dip in your favorite veggies. Now as a mom myself, I still love me some pimiento cheese. My littlest is quite the foodie so it's great for on-the-go or as a summer staple.

Homemade pimiento cheese is good (though I am not an overachiever post kids), but I have found my favorite brand - Price*s with its real cheese, pimiento peppers, and salad dressing. Since our garden has been blooming like crazy, I decided to combine our homegrown sweet peppers with Price*s delish dish. Thus, you have the perfect grilled snack.


We spend 95% of our summer nights on the patio while the kids swim. We also love grilling and chilling on the patio. Most nights, it's just grill all the things - sausage, potatoes, shrimp, steak, pineapple - you name it, we grill it.

So, with our sweet pepper loot, we are loving our latest -  Price*s pimiento stuffed sweet peppers!




Ingredients:

A handful of sweet peppers (you can also use the snack peppers that come in the bag - I used 6)
1 container Price*s Original Pimiento Cheese (or spice it up with Price*s Zesty Jalapeno flavor)
Garlic powder, salt, and pepper, to taste

To Make:

1. Wash the peppers then cut in half and remove seeds/stems.
2. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of Price*s into each half.
3. Top with seasonings and place on foil.
4. Place the foil on a grill set to medium-high heat.
5. Leave peppers on until they start to soften (cheese will also melt down, too).
6. Remove from grill and serve warm.

We made these poppers last weekend while our neighbors were over, and the crowd went wild! What a great dish for your July 4th barbecue.

Head to the nearest grocery to grab your Price*s Pimiento Cheese stat. Your taste buds and guests will be forever grateful.



Put Price*s pimiento cheese on your shopping list this week. Better yet, impress your party guests with this hearty appetizer.

Click HERE to learn more about Price*s and all their flavors,
where to buy, and other recipes, too!

These peppers are best with a savory taste made with mayonnaise and a blend of spices for a creamy, savory flavor with a kick of spice - so you need to try Price*s.

Be sure to grab a coupon to get $1 off, too!
*Coupon subject to regional availability**

6.22.2017

When Grief Makes You DIfferent

I had my own notion of grief.
I thought it was the sad time
that followed the death
of someone you love.

My mom found this definition of grief and posted it to Facebook this week. And just like that - another trigger. This time, it's a good one because it allows me to spill it all. The grief. The journey. The good, the bad, and the downright sucky. I loved these words because grief is so damn confusing. We all have a notion. We will be sad - maybe for a long time. We will question - maybe even longer than any other stage. We will get angry - and maybe stick there for a bit.

And you had to push through it
to get to the other side.
But I'm learning there is no other side.
There is no pushing through.

When my dad died in 2002, the news and our new life often knocked me to my knees. Everything was different. In fact, a friend told me I was so different than before, and at first, I felt bad. I didn't mean to be different. I fought really hard to tiptoe through each grief stage. I stunk at most steps, but after years of help, I was getting somewhere. I realized I WAS different. This new me was stuck but treading on.

But rather,
there is absorption.
Adjustment.
Acceptance.


When my brother died 17 months ago, I remember sitting in my closet with a glass of wine (because...grief) thinking "here we go again. Guess I am about to be different all over again." And just because I lost my dad didn't mean I felt confident in loss this time around. In fact, I had to absorb this one in a whole other way (still absorbing, to be honest), and I am sure I am stinking this one up something fierce, too. Some may say I haven't adjusted well or I talk about it too much. Some may say I need to accept it and move on, but here's the truth - no one knows when or if ever I will do either one.

And grief is not something you complete,
but rather, you endure.
Grief is not a task to finish
and move on.

I am not saying I will wallow or cry or be angry forever (I fight hard to make it through these times in a healthy manner), but I will have days. We all will. Grief will never be completed. We have to endure life without two people - that's hard to grasp even 15 years and/or 17 months later. All of us left in my family don't have a task in front of us to complete. There's not a check mark next to "get over deaths of loved ones" on our to-do list.

But an element of yourself -
an alternate of your being,
a new way of seeing,
a new definition of self.

I am writing these words because we seek patience and love and support. We also still appreciate prayers. Not just for living with the loss but as we navigate life AFTER loss. We ARE different. If you have experienced any loss or change in your life that left you reeling, you are different, too. I write that because it's okay to be different. It's okay to struggle with absorption. And it's okay to have hard days.

You may not know loss, but I bet you know change. I bet you know hardship. It's just that - we are always seeking new ways to better ourselves. The words my mom posted are the truest words I've read about grief. Though they were another trigger, I am happy it triggered words that give grief a face, too.

Grief written by Gwen Flowers

6.16.2017

Remembering Our Dads: A Father's Day Tribute

This post was written two years ago, and I read it again this week as we approach Father's Day. These words still hold true - we miss our dads. But, more than anything, we want you to know more about them. More about the men who made us.



There are SO many days I miss my dad. When my son wants to go fishing, when I start something new and need his advice, when I read a good book, when it’s his birthday...and especially on Father’s Day.

I am so happy that my kids have an amazing father who works hard for them, plays with them, and just loves them like crazy. But, I am sad they don’t have grandfathers to physically do the same. Yes, they have some pretty rad guardian angels watching over them, but it is still really hard to hear of kids going to the grandparents’ house to see BOTH a grandma and a grandpa. What’s even harder is that our dads were SO DAMN COOL.

My husband lost his dad unexpectedly in 2000; my dad left us unexpectedly in 2002. Here’s the best way to say it - it’s not a beautiful sentence, and it’s a term I don’t want my son to use ever - but, it sucks. It stinks for my kids, for us, for our families, and for the people who never got to know them, because believe me, you missed out completely.

My father-in-law, Charlie, was fun. He loved telling jokes, and he loved his family. He believed to get what you wanted out of life, you had to work your ass off for it. I never met him, but how do I know that? His kids do this exact same thing every day of their lives. How do I know he loved his kids like crazy? Just watch all four of them with their kids, and you will see it. I see pictures of him in our house and back at each of theirs, and he was always the life of the party. He liked his motorcycle, his close group of buddies, to have a good time, and to just have fun. I can picture him with my son, and they would talk each other’s ear off - I promise you that.

My dad, John, was my hero. He left home at an early age, and from that moment on, he worked his tail off to become something. He went to college, joined the Army, and started a family. He worked for the SAME COMPANY all of his life. In fact, he retired in 1997 only to go back a few months later because he missed it and his friends. He provided for his family. I loved hearing him come home from work everyday, walk to his corner of the kitchen, place down his briefcase, and tell me about his day. When he wasn’t working, he was outdoors. Riding his bike, building something in the garage, or fishing. He loved his cats. He loved nature. He adored his family. He loved Jimmy Buffet, Waylon Jennings, a good book, whipping up something without a recipe, and the value of education.

And both were as carefree as they come; something I struggle with every single moment of my life. I could use both to tell me to chill out and enjoy it because as we know, life is over in a split second. They would love their grand kids. My little tomboy who is almost 2 would wrap those two around her little finger as she digs for worms, sits in mud, and cries to be outside rain or shine. And I HATE that they are not here to see it.

This Sunday, I will celebrate my husband, my brother, my brothers-in-law, and great friends who are amazing fathers. But, my husband and I will most likely shed some tears on what could’ve been. We will cry for these two kick ass dads we miss all the time; but, it’s today that will hit us hardest as it does every year. So for those of you with your dads and grandpas around, please hug them so tight. Have them share stories with your kids. That’s too awesome to miss. And for those of us hurting and missing, I send you a big hug and an “I get it.” My mom lost her dad 50 years ago, and this day hurts for her too. Remember these folks. Say prayers for their hearts. And if you get a chance, think of Charlie and John (or Grandpa Charlie and Pop). They are up their tossing back a Miller Light (or maybe some wine for Charlie!) as they fish in God’s Heaven.
I miss you, 339. I pray to feel your hugs and to hear your advice. You gave me the best life, and I am forever grateful. Happy Father’s Day.

If you are missing your loved one on Father's Day, my heart is with you. Grief is sneaky - especially on days like this one. You are prayed for, my friend.

6.11.2017

Celebrating Dads With JORD Watches (+ A Giveaway!)

This post is sponsored by JORD Wood Watches. The watch mentioned is courtesy of JORD. As always, the thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting Always A New Day!

It's almost time for the big day - where we get to celebrate the awesomeness of dads! And, if you want to spoil that special father in your life, JORD is the place to do it. You know how much I love my JORD, so I was excited to work with them again - this time with a men's watch for the hubs.


He works so hard and never asks for much (plus he puts up with ME - no easy feat, I tell ya). He rarely buys nice pieces for himself so the kids and I had fun picking out this JORD watch that is all HIM. We even cheated and gave it to him early (a certain toddler can't keep secrets).

How do you plan to celebrate the dads in your life this Father's Day? Our day will be spent swimming, grilling, and chilling. Perfect for my simple guy. Now he has this cool watch to go with our backyard plans. We love the sporty look of his newest accessory!




If you'd love to get a beautiful wood watch for your baby daddy, JORD is giving one away to a lucky Always A New Day reader! Every person who enters could win a $100 gift code to use on their site (check out their women's line, too - treat yourself)! One lucky person will win, but EVERYONE who enters will receive a $25 off coupon code once the contest ends.

Click HERE to enter the giveaway!

(The giveaway will close July 9, 2017 at 11:59pm.
Both the $100 and the $25 codes will expire on October 31, 2017)


Good luck and HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all those awesome and hardworking daddies!

And, don't forget to see my Father's Day Gift Guide HERE for more gift ideas for your main squeeze.

Luxury Wooden Watch
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