September 23, 2014

Don't Let Bugs Crash Your Party! *Free Printable

*Disclaimer: I was provided with a bottle of BUGS BEBARE for the purpose of this review. 
No other compensation was provided. All opinions are my own.

Here, in the South, the sweltering days of summer are coming to a close and the days are just now becoming tolerable. The nicer the weather, the more time we spend outside and nothing is worse than unwanted party crashers! If you are hosting an outdoor get together, relaxing in the yard or exploring the outdoors with your kiddos- nothing can ruin the fun quite like mosquitos and their other biting buddies!

With that in mind, I have put together a few quick pointers to NATURALLY keep the bugs away. You all know how much I love lists:)

Our family loves Bare Belly Organics, we used their organic sunscreen this summer instead of the chemical laden big brands. I was so excited when they came out with a bug spray- I would rather get bitten than smell like traditional bug sprays. The ingredients for BUGS BEBARE are all natural and smell wonderful!


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Recently, my sister threw a huge birthday bash for her husband's 30th. Their yard is known to be quite the "skeeter" hang out. She designed these adorable signs and attached them to beach pails. The bug spray was easy for her guests to find and it prevented many a bite!



My sis was kind enough to share her design with The Puzzled Palate readers as a FREE PRINTABLE! We suggest laminating the sign for repeat use!


Our party crasher sign is formatted to print as a 4 X 6. If you don't have a printer, you can right-click to save the file to your computer and upload it to your local photo center!

If you are interested in getting 10% off of your order, click here and scroll to the bottom of the Bare Belly sunscreen review!


Are you a mosquito magnet? 
What are your tips for keeping the bugs away?

September 17, 2014

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: M's VIP Status

This past weekend, M and Peanut were invited to a birthday party for one of their good buddies. Normally when we head to a social gathering, we tend to pack M a gluten-free lunch and treat. The day before the party, the party's hosts contacted us to find out what kind of crackers M could have. They were already on a gluten free cupcake search! 

Yep- we have a pretty awesome group of friends. Our group of buddies will always be there to help and support one another- that is nothing new. However, the fact that our friends are going out of their way to make our girl feel included... that leaves us speechless and humbled.

Thank you to all of our friends and family for supporting us while we make changes for our daughter. It feels amazing to know that other people are seeing the change that M's new diet is making for her.

"M approved chips"

Our little artist.

Super excited to have her very own GF cupcakes!



What left you speechless this week?



How to Save Cash on Prescriptions #LowestMed


Times, they are a changing... and so is my insurance! With all of the changes in healthcare recently, many people are having to pay out of pocket for prescriptions. A few of my friends have actually told me that they have to pay towards a deductible for their scripts! So, when I heard about this often overlooked money saver, I knew I had to share it with my readers! I thought that it would be best to show you my savings first thing.



If you want to know how to save on your family's meds, you will need to agree with the following statements:

#1 You like to save money!
#2 You have a crazy busy life!
#3 You have a smartphone- either iPhone or Android!
#4 You spend money at pharmacy- with or without insurance!

Here is the skinny on the FREE mobile app from LowestMed! 

LowestMed is the first pharmaceutical price-finder app that offers free discount cards instantly on your smart phone. You don't have to worry- they do not ask for any personal information at all. LowestMed has created relationships with the nation’s leading supermarkets and pharmacy chains.


LowestMed is the first free mobile app in the industry to provide consumers with the ability to view and compare prescription drug prices. The app compares prescription prices through leading supermarket and pharmacy chains in the consumer’s neighborhood. It’s available on iPhone, Android and Windows phone devices.

It offers free and confidential pharmacy savings in the palm of your hand, and never asks for personal information.

LowestMed is useful to everyone, because not all prescriptions are on the formulary list.
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To test out this app, I went through the simple process of pricing M's Aerochamber for her inhaler. Our insurance will not cover the additional chamber that she needs for school- so we will be paying for it out of pocket. Our insurance is through Kaiser- so we are restricted to using their pharmacy or paying completely out of pocket. 

*All of the following screen shots were taken from my iPhone. Some of the images were altered for security purposes.

First step- I downloaded the FREE LowestMed app to my phone.


The only information that the app will ask you for is your location.
If you choose to skip this step, it will ask you for your zip code.


 I chose the "search" option at the bottom screen and entered the name of the product I needed. Keep in mind, you must have a valid prescription from your doctor to have any script filled.


The app prompted me to enter the quantity. In this case, I only needed one chamber for M's inhaler.


LowestMed took just a split second to search for the best price for the product that I entered. It provided me with prices at 20 different pharmacies.


Once I selected the pharmacy that I wanted to go with, I clicked on the red map tag beside it and it pulled up the locations closest to me! Another thing you probably did not know: you can fill a prescription at Costco without a membership!


When I head to the pharmacy, all I need to do is click on the "Discount Card" at the bottom of the screen and show it to the pharmacist or pharmacy tech when I drop off the prescription. 


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To be sure that the price that LowestMed quoted me was actually a discount, I decided to do a spot check and called one of the pharmacies on the list. They quoted me a "cash payment" price of $27.09. LowestMed's price at that pharmacy was $22.03. So yes- they are for real!


*This discussion was sponsored by LowestMed. All opinions are my own- I was not required to give them a positive review. However, I did because this is an awesome resource!


What is your go to money saving app?
Have you ever tried the LowestMed Mobile App?

September 14, 2014

Spotlight on: Just Another Mom "The A Word"




The A Word
Shared with permission from Just Another Mom


If you’ve never thought that one simple word could change your world, I invite you to read my story- just one of many where it concerns parents of loved ones on the autism spectrum.
My middle child is non-verbal and severely autistic. She has autism. The A word that I never wanted to think about before she got her diagnosis and the A word that I still sometimes don’t want to hear. It doesn’t matter how I word it- autism, autistic, autism spectrum, classic autism; there are times that I still don’t want to hear it. I say this not because I’m ashamed of her, far from it. I say that because it’s just a part of who she is. Her autism does not define her, but it does explain some of her quirks. Her autism will not go away, there is no cure- and I’m okay with that. Autism is a part of who she is, but it’s not all that she is.

She was born six weeks early, and spent approximately one month in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) for jaundice and low birth weight. Once she was able to maintain her temperature and eat regularly, she was allowed to come home. Because of her prematurity, she qualified for Early Intervention Services through Albany County. Initially, those services were for low muscle tone and to help with fine motor skills. Eventually, she also began receiving speech therapy at home in addition to special education services. Having already been on a similar path with my first born, the revolving door of therapists was nothing new.
She developed somewhat normally given her prematurity, I say somewhat because she was delayed in her fine and gross motor skills, in addition to speech. However, I didn’t think too much of it and thus continued our journey. It wasn’t until B was closer to her 2nd birthday that we really began to notice problems. She stopped making eye contact and then she stopped all signs of speech. Both were pretty tough to take, though the loss of speech in particular for me (as Mama was one of the few things she would say). Eventually, it would be her physical therapist who would suggest getting B evaluated for Autism spectrum disorder. And while I didn’t really want to hear it, deep down inside- I was thinking it.
I can still remember sitting in the office of the developmental pediatrician in 2004, answering questions diligently, recalling moment after moment that at the time seemed trivial, and watching my precious B go through evaluation after evaluation. With each passing moment, I was regretting the words that would come out of the doctor’s mouth, but, at the same time- I desperately wanted answers. Ultimately, she confirmed what B’s physical therapist suspected- sure enough, B was on the autism spectrum. To be exact, the developmental pediatrician told us that B was exhibiting signs of autistic disorder, later we would also associate ‘classic autism’ and ‘severe autism’ with what she had. My heart broke and my dreams were dashed. Gone were thoughts of PTA bake sales, Girl Scouts, school concerts, and graduation days. I didn’t quite know what to expect next, but I knew I was reeling. Even though there was a word for what my B had; I was devastated. I was also furious, angry, sad, and guilty.

But, at least with a definitive diagnosis, we knew where to proceed from there. It was agreed upon (by her team of therapists, myself and B’s father) that we needed to take a new course of action to help B as much as possible. No longer would she stay at home with me and have her team of therapists come to her, but instead she would begin attending preschool for special needs children.

So, there you have it. Our encounter with the A word. Not a bad word, by any stretch of the imagination, but a word that changed my life as I knew it. She was still my B, the same mischievous, playful, and loving child I always knew. But now, there we had a word. The A word.


September 10, 2014

Unbelievably Gluten Free Brownies

I am a brownie snob and all brownies are NOT created equal! I am a sucker for a delicious fudgey brownie with just the right amount of crisp to the edges. After M went gluten-free, I struggled to find a brownie mix that was decent- forget finding a fudge brownie! Many of the GF brownie mixes just fall flat and have a weird after taste- they did not pass any of the taste testers at our home. It was just sad. Enter Sevierly Good Gluten Free- my go to for all things mixes!



This month, I actually received a sample of Sevierly Good Gluten Free's organic brownie mix in our Send me Gluten Free subscription box.  I was thrilled to try another product from Sevierly Good. I first met the wonderful couple behind the mixes at the GFAF Expo back in May and have been a fan of their mixes ever since! We even used their organic sugar cookie mix to make treats for her teacher last year.




*The mix has a alternative prep instruction for those with egg allergies!

Sorry that there are no cute pictures of M helping me make the brownies! She did help with the measuring, pouring and mixing- but it took all of 2 minutes and I wanted to enjoy the process of baking with her rather than be her paparazzi. So just imagine a cute mommy and daughter moment!


As soon as they came out of the oven, we all tried a bite. Oh my goodness- they are really good. Not "good for gluten free," just really good brownies in general! *I suggest warming the "left overs" up when you go back for more and experience the "fresh out of the oven" taste over and over! 


If you would like to see the other mixes Sevierly Good GF has to offer, click here!

*Note: This is NOT a sponsored post! I am sharing this product because I love it! 
There are Amazon affiliate links- if you order through one of them... I might get a few pennies.*


When it comes to brownies, are you an "edger" or an "insider?"

September 9, 2014

3 Reasons to Fall for Medieval Times *Coupon Code and Ticket Giveaway

Recently, we took our kids to a castle... right here in Atlanta! One of the most exciting experiences that we have had with our kiddos was when we took them to see the show at Medieval Times

The day of, M got all dressed up in her let me give her a renaissance inspired hair style.

My sweet kiddos waiting for the show to start!

"Hubs" from Redhead Baby Mama snapped this one for us! I think Peanut was star-struck!

M was super excited that our knight tossed her a flower!


And you know we had to take a silly selfie!

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With the Fall break sneaking up on us, we have decided to skip the stress and have a simple staycation. We are looking to take advantage of the fun at Medieval Times! If you are looking for something to do with the kids over the break, check out all the *discounted* fun you could be having at the Atlanta castle!


Junior Knight Training
This Fall Break, bring your kids to train to become knights of the realm at Medieval Times.
Children ages 5 through 12 will enjoy  watching an exclusive weapons demonstration by our knights and the weapons master. They will be invited to follow through the basic battle stances with personal attention from the knights of the realm. They will also learn about the grueling training that it takes to become a knight. Upon completion of their training, your children will be knighted by His Majesty King Carlos in a group knighting ceremony.

This special Knight Training Class is only available prior to the 5:00 PM Sunday shows in September. Training will begin promptly 1 hour prior to the show. Space is limited and training is available on a first-come, first-served basis for the first 100 kids per show. Training is open to both boys and girls. Closed-toe shoes and admission to the show are required to participate.


Homeschool Day
Unlock the Secret to an Unforgettable Field Trip!
Medieval Times, Atlanta is proud to announce our very first Homeschool Day. Join us for the 11:00 AM matinee show on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.
Enjoy a special matinee show that includes a 30-minute educational presentation, our exciting tournament show, and lunch. We are extending our exclusive group rate to homeschool groups of all sizes. Call (770) 225-0495 or email gaschools91@medievaltimes.com for more information.


Fall Break Special
Fall break is right around the corner! Plan a staycation that your kids will never forget! Join us at the castle for any show in September and take advantage of our special Fall Break discounts. Adults are just $32.95 and kids are just $29.95 for every show through the end of September. Book with code 3229GC to secure your discounted tickets today! Each ticket includes the two-hour live tournament and four-course medieval feast. 

*Medieval Times is gluten-friendly and also has a vegetarian offering! 
Just let your serf or wench know if you need to modify your meal!*

Grab an entry to win your own Family 4 pack of tickets here!
Winner will be able to choose from show times on 9/21 and 9/28.


*Full disclosure: I am a proud member of the Medieval Times ambassadors team. I was offered 2 complimentary media passes for sharing the promotions with my readers. No other compensation was provided and all opinions in this article are my own. The pictures of our family at MT were from a recent visit- we had a blast!*

Good luck Lords and Ladies!

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September 3, 2014

10 Reasons to Start a Ladies League & Other Silly Antics.


This past weekend, our family of four had the privilege of spending time with some of our favorite out-of-towners! What was the reason that our friends were willing to pack their cars and drive in from out of state? A three- day weekend? Nope. The giant slip and slide that the men-folk constructed? Nope. Try again! How about to attend their annual fantasy football draft? Yep- an all day event that involves smack talk, wings and beer- with limited female interruption. The ladies are all accustom to their draft day get togethers and we look forward to spending time with one another. 

The day after the menfolk finished their draft, we all met up again for an impromptu cook out. The guys watched the NASCAR race with the kiddos while the ladies came together- in what seemed to be a magical culinary moment and had dinner ready for around 15 people in 30 minutes!

After dinner, the discussion changed to fantasy football. In previous years, we had a couples league. Out of either lack of interest or busy schedules, the league had "disbanded." For some odd reason, the ladies came to the conclusion that we should bring it back- but the guys had already drafted. So...why not just do a "Ladies Only" league? I mentioned that we might want to wait twenty minutes and see if we still thought it was a good idea. Apparently it was!

Not a high quality photo- but you get the point:)

Twenty minutes later, our commissioner, Ryan had us all set up for our very own ESPN Fantasy draft. Here is when we wish we had a video recording! Let me tell you...trying to get six girls logged into anything at one time is challenging. Poor Ryan. We were all asking questions, trying to figure out how to keep our phones from dying, asking more questions, complaining about missing passwords and asking even more questions! Between Ryan answering all of our football and technical queries and Bama, our host with the most, setting us up with wine and a phone charging station- we were a deck full of crazy and it was amazing!



After we powered through our draft and discussed emailing Bravo about our pilot concept, the "Ladies of the League" demanded that I blog about our drafting mishaps. Never the one to turn down an opportunity to involve my friends in the success of my blog, I grabbed a notepad and pen and we created a top ten list! Without further ado... here are our top 10 reasons to start a ladies league!"



Hope you enjoyed our Top 10!


Have you ever joined a fantasy football league? 
Who does your family pull for?

September 2, 2014

How I got my baby to sleep through the night... {Sleeptastic Solutions Testimonial and Coupon}

A quick note from Carly: 
Today's post is from Alex Abbott, one of my close friends. I have known her for years and have always envied her writing style and flare for hilarious storytelling! 
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

 This is the story of how she and her family got their bedtimes back! 


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Hi, my name is Alex, and I’m a recovering rocker. (Hi, Alex.) And it’s been 10 days since I rocked my baby to sleep. (Applause) I am a recovering rocker and wedger. 

For 17 months, my husband and I rocked "Nugget" to sleep. Every night. Every nap. And when he awoke at 2 AM, we wedged. Right between us (Post-infancy, so everyone just calm down.). We are not attachment parenting folks. We are first-time parents, which has made us survivalists.


We rocked because of working parent guilt, which turned Nugget into a dependent-sleeper. We wedged because we chose sleep over 2 AM repeats in the rocker and 6:30 AM was going to come too soon. And 17-months later, we found ourselves communicating solely through text messages between 7:45 pm and 10 pm since one of us was always upstairs with Nugget.



And 17-months later, giant baby feet were round-house kicking important body parts, like throats, kidneys, and places that had my husband contemplating wearing a cup to bed.

So, here we are. Ten nights deep with no rocking. I’d like to thank our sponsor, Ronee, from Sleeptastic Solutions.

Maybe it’s odd I’m comparing our sleep dilemma to a drug addiction. I’m slowly realizing that as I write. But, it’s also making a lot of sense. So stick with me here.

At first I felt odd about enlisting the help of a Sleep Counselor, but we had already admitted that we had a problem. The next step is to get help. I was really relieved to read on Ronee’s Sleeptastic Solution website that it’s about customizing a plan for the parents and child. Self-soothing would be involved, but it could be approached differently.

I was also relieved to have Ronee offer a 9 PM phone session, so my husband and I could chat together, uninterrupted. Our phone session started out with the rundown: Nugget basics and routine, what we’ve tried before, and where we are derailing. I waited for Ronee to tell us it was too late. We’ve ruined him. Best of luck. Luckily for us, 17-months does not qualify as a lost cause.

While she congratulated us on already having a basic routine, the next steps would be harder. He had to learn to put himself to bed. And she knew how to help us in a non-traumatic way.

While the first night was rough—an hour and forty-five minutes total (my husband handled the first night knowing I was too easily manipulated by my con-artist toddler)—by the next day’s naptime, Nugget already showed signs of catching on to our NEW routine.

Day by day, night by night, we stayed the course that Ronee laid out for us. It progressively became a shorter, quieter bedtime, and by Day 6, we could actually LEAVE THE ROOM before he was sound asleep. This. Was. Huge. This was a beam of light at the end of our tunnel. We knew we were truly on the way to bedtime freedom. And the middle of night wake ups? That was hard. Like I said, we were wedgers. But that was worse for us than for him. We had to confront our enabling head on. We comforted Nugget while he cried in his crib and stayed in the room until he realized he was capable of putting himself to sleep.




So, here we are. Day 10. This was last night’s bedtime:

Dinner from 6-6:30 pm.
Play time until 7.
Bath and bubbles until 7:20.
7:30-- Lotioned up, P.J’ed, teeth brushed, and starting our favorite book, “The Little Blue Truck.” Three readings, cover to cover.
7:45- goodnight kiss and into the crib.

I sat down. I watched. He grabbed his teddy bear, laid down, and began to snuggle in for the night.

At 7:58, I walked out of the room. I closed the door. I held my breath. One minor cry of protest and then....nothing.

I checked our baby monitor. Here was my toddler, our lost sleep-cause. Asleep. By himself. And I had the entire night to myself! What would I do with such free time?? I crawled into bed, opened up the book I have been looking forward to for days, and promptly fell asleep. At 8:10.

Ronee, I can’t thank you enough for your session. It was personable, customized, guilt-free, and truly a plan we could implement in our home. It was hard. All three of us were kicking some bad habits. Sometimes I miss the wedging, but I know that it’s just my mommy-guilt wanting extra snuggle time I don’t get while I’m at work.

Our new Sleeptastic Life was not just for my husband and me, though. It was for Nugget. However, the perks for me keep getting better. I woke up this Sunday morning in a place that’s been unfamiliar to me since we started wedging....I woke up in my husband’s arms.

So, when you call Ronee, or you email her your own mess of a sleep situation, just start out simple.

“Hi, my name is ________________, and we have a sleep problem.” And just like any good sponsor, Ronee is there for those follow-up phone calls and emails to keep you on course.



*Alex's family was generously offered a free consultation from Sleeptastic Solutions. She accepted the offer on behalf of The Puzzled Palate. All opinions are her own and no compensation was provided to either Alex or The Puzzled Palate for this article.*
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If you would like more information on Sleeptastic Solutions, 
click on the purple banner below and it will take you to Ronee's website!


You can also reach Ronee through her FACEBOOK PAGE  or  TWITTER !




How did you sleep last night? 
What makes your bedtime routine run smoothly?