September 1, 2014

My Busy Bee Chore Chart {Free Printable}

The other day, M came home from school and was buzzing with excitement about dusting! I hate dusting with a passion. So, being the amazing mommy I am, I have *graciously* allowed her to take over the light dusting. We brought up the concept of chores with M and let her pick out 5 tasks that she thought wanted to add to her list of responsibilities. 

The hubby and I have decided that she is old enough to have both family member responsibilities AND chores. What is the difference? At our house, "family member responsibilities" are tasks that are expected for being of part of the family. Examples from our house: putting your dishes in the sink, picking up your toys and helping feed the dogs.

We have found another perk to "paid chores!" When M started kindergarten, she also started requesting a lot of new toys. We have told her that if she wants new toys, she will have to earn money to buy what she wants. My busy little helper bee is so excited to start chores! 

Today, I had her help me design her chore chart. It came out more adorable than I expected- so I thought that we would share it with you! 


Have a great day!

Do your kids get paid for chores?

August 28, 2014

10 Must-Read Gluten Free Blogs

Being a gluten-free blogger is a busy and yummy job! I love sampling new products and sharing tips. However, my favorite thing about GF blogging is the online community of writers and chefs. When I was putting together this post, I struggled to keep the list to a reasonable number. I finally whittled it down to ten by using the follow three criteria: 

1. Must only post GF recipes! 
2. Must be active blogs- nobody likes 1 post a month!
3. Must be easy to navigate!

I am not going to lie, I totally have blogger crushes on these wonderful writers. I hope that you get a chance to check out what they have to offer!

Can't wait? I don't blame you!
Click on their logo and it will take directly to their sites!

Happy reading!

Do you have a "blogger crush" or a favorite website? 

August 26, 2014

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: My Everything

Tonight, as I was uploading recent pictures from my camera, I came across a picture that left me speechless. In this picture, my hubby is blowing out the candles on his 32nd birthday- I couldn't find the #2 we improvised. This was the 9th birthday that I have celebrated with him! It is amazing how much has happened in the past 9 years- 4 moves, a college graduation, job promotions, a wedding, two kids and countless other milestones. I am honored that he has chosen to build a life with me and keep me along for his trips around the sun.

I am sharing this picture with you because this is my everything- all in one frame. These are the three people in the world that make my heart sing. I could not imagine sharing my life with any other group of individuals. 

Happy Birthday Babe!

What leaves you speechless?

August 25, 2014

Book Suggestions for Parents of Spectrum Children #Autism

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links. 

As a mommy of an autistic child, one of the questions that I get asked the most is, "Do you have any recommended reading for parents of newly diagnosed kiddos?" Full disclosure? I am a busy lady and I hardly find time to read a book cover to cover. Most of my questions are answered by internet searches or from asking questions in online Spectrum support groups.

However, I do have a few suggestions to share with you and I also asked some of my fellow "Autmoms" and "Autdads" to help add to this list! 

For more information on the books, click on the title directly under the cover.

What is your go-to way to find information?

August 19, 2014

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: My Blood is Boiling!

Yesterday, I was made aware of this horrid display of hatred and ignorance. I have so much to say to the heartless individual that created this FB group- but words are wasted on people like that. My daughter is autistic and I couldn't imagine someone saying those words to my face. Thousands of people reported this page to Facebook as "hate speech" or "harassment"- and I hope that it gone for good!

Isn't your blood boiling now too? 

Instead of dwelling on this negativity...
 I challenge you to find a way to brighten someone's day today!

August 18, 2014

How to Complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

I would be shocked if you have not seen a few of your buddies dumping buckets of ice over their heads in the name of ALS awareness. According to the ALS Association, ALS aka Lou Gehrig's Disease, is a "progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord." For people with ALS, the progressive degeneration of the motor neurons leads to a lack of ability to control voluntary muscle movements and is considered to be a fast moving and fatal disease. 

For months, I have been following the powerful story of Steve and Hope Dezember through their Facebook page. Steve was diagnosed in 2011 and alongside his wife, they have brought an amazing amount of awareness to ALS and the need for funding. This week, the "Hope for Steve" crew urged their FB fans to join in on the ice bucket challenge... but added a twist! Why not keep the ice in the freezer? Spreading awareness is greatly appreciated, but Hope reminded us to reach for our wallets after we warm up from the ice bath or just skip the ice all together!

I am thrilled that social media is buzzing with these challenges and hilarious videos! In order to make a difference for those living with ALS, you will need to know these "guidelines" in order to help the viral video challenge have the impact is deserves.


Once nominated, get a bucket of ice, a video camera and you'll probably want a towel!

Before you actually dump the ice water over your head, be sure to say something along these lines, "Hello! My name is _______ and I was challenged to complete the "Strike Out ALS  Ice Bucket Challenge" by ________. I accept their challenge and would like to spread the awareness further by nominating _______, _______ and _______. You have 24 hours to complete this challenge or make a donation to benefit ALS."

Now get chilly! You can either dump the water on yourself or have someone else do it!

The most important part of this is to donate. Even if you complete the ice bucket part, be sure to make a donation of any size to fund ALS research.


Grab your wallet and a video camera.

"Hello! My name is _______ and I was challenged to complete the "Strike Out ALS  Keep it in the Freezer Challenge" by ________. I accept their challenge and would further my impact by nominating _______, _______ and _______. You are not restricted to a time frame. All you have to do is make a donation to benefit ALS."

Final step- donate!


As one of my buddies suggested, there is nothing set in stone. If you can't afford to donate $100, feel free to change it up by challenging more friends! Donating any amount does make a difference. The ALS community is thrilled that you are participating in order to help end the suffering caused by ALS.

Here are a few places you can go to donate:

Click here to donate to donate directly to the ALS Association.

Click here to donate directly to the Project ALS.

Click here to donate to "DRIVE"- an incredible project from Steve and Hope December, ALS activists.

If you have not been challenged, go ahead and make a donation and challenge somebody to the "Keep it in the Freezer" Challenge!

Make a difference!

Have you been challenged?

August 13, 2014

Send Me Gluten Free Box Review {Giveaway and Coupon} @FindMeGF #SMGFBox

Have you noticed the recent influx of subscription box options? The monthly mail order box market has blown up in the recent months with tons of options- clothing, cosmetics, eco-friendly products and more! You name it, it can be sent to you each month in a box! If I had to choose what would be shipped to my door, it would be new gluten-free products! When I heard rumors that Find Me Gluten Free was launching a box program, I was super excited. When they contacted me about reviewing a box on The Puzzled Palate- I was thrilled! 

Since we started purchasing gluten-free products, we have wasted a ton of money on sub-par junk. I found myself wishing that I could just try something before committing to a full purchase! Send Me Gluten Free gives us that opportunity! The boxes include samples from companies that are eager to have you sample their wares. If we don't like one of the samples- no biggie! At least we don't have yet another bottle or box of something that we won't eat!

M was thrilled to come home and find our bright orange Send Me Gluten Free box! 
She barely gave me a second to get the camera before she started going through it! 

Here is a list of what we received this month:
S= Sample Size C= Coupon F= Full Size
Organic Black Bean Spaghetti- Explore Asian *F
Tamari GF Soy Sauce- San J *S/C for 55¢ off
Better Off Red Tea- Now Real Tea *S
Dr. Praeger's Sensibile Foods (Frozen Foods)- Dr. Praeger's *C for full product
Orchard and Garden Blend Chews- Juice Plus+ *S
Rallye Balm- Red Apple Lipstick *S/C for 30% off order
Delight Gluten Free Magazine *C for free issue
Dandelion Dark Roast Herbal Coffee- Teeccino Cafe *S/C for 50¢ off
Surf Sweets Gummy Snacks- TruSweets *S
TeeChia Sustained Energy Cereal- Teeccino Cafe *S
Raw Rev Bar- Raw Revolution *S/C for 50¢ off
Organic Brownie Mix- Sevierly Good Gluten Free *F
*one of our favorite GF companies!

So...what do I think? I think that the Send Me Gluten Free box offers a wide variety of product samples for a reasonable price. I did like that they included two full sized products. (I can't wait to try the brownie mix!) Next time, I hope that the box includes larger samples. I am not trying to be greedy- but it is difficult to share one tiny sample with four taste testers! I do like that coupons were included for products that are too large for the box or that need refrigeration. 

I would recommend the Send Me Gluten Free box to anyone who is on a GF diet or thinking about going GF. I think that it is a great way to try new things that you might not pick out for yourself. Also, who doesn't like coming home to a fun box of goodies?

If you are interested in ordering your own box, visit Send Me Gluten Free's website and use the code BLOG20 to get 20% off any subscription!

Send Me Gluten Free wants to give one of The Puzzled Palate's readers a free box of gluten-free goodies! You could be one of the first people to get a SMGF box delivered to your door!

*Contents of box will vary due to change in availability and company participation.

Good Luck!

*We received a SMGF box for the purpose of this review. 
No other compensation was provided. All opinions are 100% my own.

Have you ever signed up for a mail subscription box?

The Puzzled Palate's Milestone Giveaway {Worth $200+}

I can't believe that I am already posting this! After what seems like only a few short months, our website has hit a big milestone! As a thank you to our loyal readers, I have put together a prize pack that includes products from 7 of our favorite post sponsors and included a little thank you gift card to top it off!

If you can't wait wait for the contest to end in order to try their wonderful products, check out our EXCLUSIVE OFFERS page for coupons and discounts.

The winner will receive:

Pure Protection Pack, 3 pack of Lip Balm and a bottles of Bugs BeBare bug spray

A MK Satin Hands gift set

Fruit Punch Spark, Key-Lime Cherry Rehydrate and Strawberry Blast 

3-D Fiber Lashes Mascara Set

Gluten-free With No Apologies Cookbook

A "Find Joy in the Journey" necklace tag

$50 gift credit plus Arbonne product samples

$10 Starbucks gift card
The Puzzled Palate

Good Luck!

What prize are you most excited about?

August 12, 2014

{Almost} Wordless Wednesday: Olympic Photo Booth Madness

At the beginning of August, my brother-in-law hit the big 3-0! My sister threw a pretty epic party! Since Eric was born during the 1984 LA Olympics, my sister thought it would be fun to have a lawn game olympics in their backyard. I was manning the camera the whole night, but I did manage to take a few silly selfies at the most American photo booth- EVER!

*Please excuse the exposure and colors- the iPhone camera was being temperamental*

 Miss M loved trying out all of the different photo booth accessories. 

Taking a patriotic selfie with my dad. 

Can you tell we are related?

Have a great day!

In the spirit of our olympic themed party...
What is your favorite olympic event?
Winter games or summer games?

August 11, 2014

Leading a double life... as a blogger! #TypeACon

I love my life. Actually, I love both of my lives. My first and most important life is the one in which I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister and a friend. This "first life" is this what inspired me to take on a second life. The Puzzled Palate was born out of a desire to share our journey and has quickly grown into more than just an online journal. Most of the time my double life works out just fine... other times it is a battle to keep the blogger life hidden or even to make time for it. 

Since my double life started, I have become necessarily addicted to my social media accounts. I spend hours on my computer networking and writing new content. I stay up way too late to give life to my blog. I think in hashtags and post ideas. It is hard to keep this all to myself. I am working hard to avoid alienating my non-blogger friends with "blog talk." So far, I am sure that I have had some slip-ups and I guess that is to be expected. Aside from my family and friends, the blog is what I am focusing my days on. I am proud of what I am doing. I get a rush when I click the "publish" button on a new post. The time involved in running The Puzzled Palate is much like having a full time job- except I am "paid" in products that must be reviewed. Since our blog is still considered new by blogging standards, my normal reward for a long day of "blog stuff" is the pride in seeing a higher than expected number of page views or new followers. 

There are nights when I go to bed feeling bad for forgetting to schedule a post or to update the Facebook fan page... and then I remember that this is MY business. I have built it and I am thrilled with the posts that I am publishing. I am thrilled that I am still able to spend time with my kids and my husband. However, I feel that I need to feed the blogger life. As much as I nurture my family, my blog is my project and my release and I need to nurture it as well. I seem to have good family days or good blogger days.

Today has been one of the best blogger days I have had in a long time! Why, you ask? Because I snagged one of the coveted onsite partner spots as at the upcoming Type-A Parent Conference! For my non-blogger readers, "Type-A Con" is a weekend conference that brings bloggers of all genres together to learn from one another and to celebrate our online community. 

I am looking forward to meeting many of the fellow bloggers that I network with on a daily basis. I read their posts, I watch their kids grow up and yet... I have never heard their voices. I am craving a time that I can just stop "hiding" my blogger side. I am thrilled that I will not be the only one sneaking pictures of everything and then disappearing from conversations to push them with Instagram! I will proudly hashtag my entire experience without feeling guilty. The best part- I won't be alone! I am so giddy about this that I can hardly contain myself! 

 If you are a fellow blogger and are interested in joining in on the #TypeACon fun, grab a pass here! If you enter the promotion code: BLOGPARTNER before August 12 at 10 PM EST- you can get 25% off of your pass! 

Yes... I am totally counting the days!
*I am an Official Blog Partner of the 2014 Type-A Parent Conference.* 
This post does include affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Do you lead a double life? 
Have you ever been to a Type-A Parent Conference? 

August 8, 2014

Just ask M!

If some how you weren't aware, our daughter is the inspiration for The Puzzled Palate. If you are a regular reader, I am sure that you have noticed that "M" is often featured as our modelour sous chef or our taste tester!

Today, I thought that it would be fun to let our readers "Ask M!" Feel free to post your comments in the comment form below and I will sort through them and have her answer them for you in an upcoming blog post.

We have already asked her if she would be interested in doing an "interview" and she was very excited. I also thought that it would be an interesting way to show you all how far she has come with her communication!

Requirements for questions and participation:

1. Remember that she is only 5 and ask age appropriate questions.  For example:

What is your favorite_____? 

Questions about her gluten-free diet. 
*Questions regarding her Aspergers or HFA diagnosis are welcome and maybe used in a future post- but they will not be presented to M for answering.

2. The "mommy filter" will be in place. 
I will sort through the questions ahead of time

3. Do not ask for personal information. Please don't be a creeper... 

4. Questions must be submitted by Tuesday August 12th, 2014 at 11:59 PM.

Now that is taken care of....

Just ask M!

August 6, 2014

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: My Blogger Buddy

The Puzzled Palate blog was launched due to the persistence of a good friend of mine. Lindsey from Redhead Baby Mama, was a friend first and a blogging buddy second! Our hubbies have been best friends since they were in HS together. Her hubs is M's godfather and my hubby is her son's godfather. 

I am lucky that she was willing to drag me by my hair convince me to share our story online. I have learned more about gluten-free living. I have "met" multitudes of supportive readers. I have found out that we are not alone in our journey with Aspergers. For all of those things, thank you Lindsey.

Because it is what we do... #BloggerBuddies