Creamy Corn Casserole

Ingredients
4 tablespoons butter, softened (or microwave 1/4 cup, but allow to cool before mixing with egg – or will scramble the egg)
2 eggs
8 oz. package of cream cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped red or green bell peppers
1 pkg frozen whole kernel corn, defrosted
1 (14.75 oz.) can cream style corn
1 package (8.5 oz.) corn muffin mix
1/2 pound cheddar cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 can green chiles, chopped
Crumbled bacon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Pull out butter, eggs, and cream cheese out of refrigerator. Set aside to reach room temperature and soften. Open cans of corn and chiles. Chop onions, bell pepper and shredded cheddar cheese.

In a small skillet, add 1-2 tablespoons of butter, saute peppers and onions, until tender. Set aside. Combine the softened butter, eggs, and cream cheese in a large bowl, stirring with whisk until smooth. With a spoon, stir in the onion and peppers mixture, corn and chile. Stir until combined. Add muffin mix, cheese and black pepper.

Butter 11×7 baking dish and pour in the mixture. Sprinkle with the optional bacon, if desired. Bake for 55 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Reasons Your Blog Needs to be on Facebook

Everyone seems to be using Facebook to connect with old friends, but do you realize what this huge network could mean for your blog?

The state of Facebook is astonishing, and that’s a big deal for your blog. Facebook Page can be thought of in much the same way as normal profiles on the site – brand or celebrity Pages have the ability to have friends, they can add pictures, and they have walls that fans can post on. Pages communicate by “updates” which show on the update tab or a person’s wall if they’re a fan and have allowed the page to show updates. Pages can have applications as well. Here, for example, is the Real Posh Mom Page on Facebook: facebook.com/realposhmom

Here are crucial reasons your blog needs to be involved with Facebook:

1. 500 Million Global Users and Counting. Facebook announced recently that they had passed 500 million members, making Facebook the third-largest country in the world, if it was a country.

2. 150 Million U.S. Users. Facebook is strong around the world, but nearly 30% of all Facebook users are here in the U.S. Facebook has almost 150 million American members.

3. Users Spend Over 700 Billion Minutes Per Month. That’s a lot of Facebook time. How can your company grab a bit of consumer attention?

4. Average Facebook User Has 130 Friends. Will Facebook users continue to add more friends at a rapid pace? It depends upon how they view their Facebook connections. If Facebook continues to revolve around relationships that you actually possess in three dimensions—people you “actually” know—then the addition of bunches of new friends may slow considerably. But, if Facebook makes the leap to tie people together more casually (like Twitter), average friend counts could rise dramatically.

5. Only 4% of Pages Have 10,000 or More People Who Like Them. If your Facebook page is a not growing as fast as you’d expected, you’re not alone. A study by Sysomos shows only 4% of pages have 10,000 or more fans. That’s why it is so critical to focus your Facebook strategy on quality of material you give to people who “like” your page, not only on the quantity of those who “like” it. By the way, congrats to Cafe Brazil for making this milestone!

6. Wall Posts Don’t Mean Popularity. But, there is a strong correlation between amount of other content (notes, links, photos, videos) and number of people who “like” your page. Thus, if you want to grow your Facebook page, it is imperative that you move beyond simple wall posts and add photos, videos, links and other content.

7. The Power of Real-time Search. Facebook makes most content available publicly, unless you tell them not to via your privacy settings. Twitter opened their data stream to anyone. Google and Bing are incorporating this data into search results, in real-time. This has tremendous implications for search engine optimization.

Facebook may not be the ideal environment for every social media initiative, but its huge size forces you to at least consider participating—regardless of what type of blog you run. Everyone from the small business to the Fortune 500 corporation are placing bets on Facebook.

Is your blog taking advantage of Facebook? How important is it to your social media efforts?

Social Media Cannot Be Ignored

Facebook has 550 million people now. 200 million people are using Facebook on their mobile device. Twitter is the fastest-growing search engine. The fastest-growing demographic is over 55 years old. It’s growing faster than the group under 30. It’s amazing how fast the world of social media moves!  Take a moment and watch the statistics and graphics. (Via: Socialnomics)

Stats from Video:

  • Over 50% of the world’s population is under 30-years-old; 96% of them have joined a social network
  • Facebook tops Google for weekly traffic in the U.S.
  • 1 out of 8 couples married in the U.S. last year met via social media
  • Years to Reach 50 millions Users: Radio (38 Years), TV (13 Years), Internet (4 Years), iPod (3 Years)
  • Facebook added over 200 million users in less than a year
  • iPhone applications hit 1 billion in 9 months.
  • If Facebook were a country it would be the world’s 3rd largest ahead of the United States and only behind China and India
  • 2009 US Department of Education study revealed that on average, online students out performed those receiving face-to-face instruction
  • 80% of companies use social media for recruitment; % of these using LinkedIn 95%
  • The fastest growing segment on Facebook is 55-65 year-old females
  • Generation Y and Z consider e-mail passé – some universities have stopped distributing e-mail accounts; Instead they are distributing: eReaders + iPads + Tablets
  • The #2 largest search engine in the world is YouTube
  • While you watch this, 100+ hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube
  • Wikipedia has over 15 million articles…studies show it’s more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica…78% of these articles are non-English. If you were paid a $1 for every time an article was posted on Wikipedia you would earn $1,712.32 per hour
  • 25% of search results for the World’s Top 20 largest brands are links to user-generated content
  • 34% of bloggers post opinions about products & brands. Do you like what they are saying about your brand? You better.
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendation, only 14% trust advertisements & only 18% of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI
  • Kindle eBooks Outsold Paper Books on Christmas
  • 24 of the 25 largest newspapers are experiencing record declines in circulation
  • 60 millions status updates happen on Facebook daily

Progressive Mommy Day

I got a tweet.

Park Lane

Offices
Dick’s
Nordstrom Rack
Bailey’s Prime
Yogurt
Whole Foods
Aveda Institute

Breakfast with Cheryl Forberg, RD

Come enjoy a breakfast with Cheryl Forberg, RD, Award Winning Cookbook author and nutritionist for NBC’s The Biggest Loser on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 7:30 AM- 9 AM at SYSCO Dallas, 800 Trinity Drive, Lewisville, TX. If you are a fan of this popular show, you can ask Cheryl questions about what takes place when the cameras are not rolling on the ranch and learn weight loss tips that Cheryl teaches to the Biggest Loser contestants. This full breakfast will even include Cheryl’s pumpkin polenta.


Register at http://www.dallasdietitian.com. Tickets are $25.00. All proceeds from this event will go to the American Institute of Wine and Food’s Days of Taste Program. The program was modeled after one in France and quickly picked up in our own country, now Days of Taste Dallas helps fourth and fifth graders from the Dallas public schools discover the farm to table concept as well. These students tour the Dallas Farmer’s Market and meet with local farmers and chefs who help to teach them about the local produce and how to grasp enthusiasm for local, fresh ingredients.

What a great way to start your day!

Partners Card – Posh Mom Edition

Today is the first day to you can take advantage of the Partners Card. If you have not purchased one yet, it is not too late to buy from a participating retailer and restaurants. After looking at the my card, I’ve been planning the best way for me to get the most use out of my card. Here are a few suggested buys for this fall and upcoming winter season:

The 750+ amazing retailers, restaurants, hotels, and spas are listed on www.partnerscard.org and 100% of your $60 card purchase serves the women, children and men clients of The Family Place. What are some of your suggestions of items or stores that I MUST stop by?

My Endless Feast

I’m a staunch supporter of buying local. I buy organic and try to stop by the local farmers market when I can (not as much as I’d like.) I made all my kiddos’ baby food because I wanted to know what was going into their body. I even go so far to try to dine only at local restaurant because there is a vested interest in their food. So, when I read about this upcoming event called Chefs for Farmers where local chefs with a passion for local ingredients paired with local farmers create market-to-menu dinners, my hubby and I jumped at the chance to attend. Fortunately, the date of the event coincided with the week of our 10 year anniversary. 

The evening began with hors d’oeuvres. We mingled with “honey bee queen of the DFW area” Susan Pollard, Brian Luscher, the Executive Chef/Owner of The Grape Restaurant and his beautiful wife/General Manager Courtney Luscher,  and Scardello Artisan Cheese owners Rich and Karen Rogers, and that was all before we sat down for dinner. At 5 p.m. sharp, we were rounded up and led to a table set for 80 in the middle of Eden’s pasture in Balch Springs, Texas. We were treated to a delectable five-course dinner by eight of Dallas’ premier chefs. The chefs of the night included Abraham Salum and Al Havens of Salum Restaurant; Bruno Davaillon of Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek; Janice Provost and Chad Houser of Parigi Restaurant; Matt McCallister of Stephan Pyles Restaurant; Nathan Tate and Randall Copeland of Restaurant Ava in Rockwall; and Ryan Tedder, sommelier of GRACE in Fort Worth.

MENU
Barking Cat Farms Roasted Sweet Peppers with Local Green and Brazos Brie
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Seared Scallop with Edens’ Cucuzza Squash, Caprino Goat Cheese and Pancetta Bread Pudding with Grain Mustard Vinaigrette
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Smoked Tennessee Duck Breast with Spiced Pumpkin Puree and Rockys’ Swiss Chard
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Confit of Local Pork Belly with Blood Sausage, Heirloom Apple, Rapini, Chestnut and Aged Sherry Vinegar
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Burgundy Beef “Pot Roast” Deconstructed
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Gleaned Sweet Potato Panna Cotta with Coconut Lemongrass Sauce

Dinner pals included Jon and Amy Davis, owners of Hear, Hear Wines; Adam Jones, owner of GRACE in Fort Worth; Blaine Staniford, executive chef of GRACE in Fort Worth; Randall Copeland, chef/owner of Restaurant Ava; and my wonderful husband of 10 years. The weather was perfect, the sunset was absolutely gorgeous, and by the end of the night, it felt like one gigantic family dinner. It was truly a spectacular evening!

**The money we raise will not only help local farmers but goes specifically toward a great organization called The Gleaning Network , which collects surplus produce and makes sure it gets in the hands of people in Texas who really need it.**

The Very Hungry Caterpillars

My daughter loves butterflies. I decided that her first introduction to science observation would be the Butterfly Garden by Insect Lore. My Kindergarten scientist would have firsthand experience observing and studying the lifecycle of a butterfly in her own lab…her home. I found the kit on www.amazon.com. The kit comes with a coupon to redeem at www.insectlore.com for your caterpillars. The caterpillars were sent to me within a week. All five arrived in a small plastic container. We observed the growth of the caterpillar checking their progress daily.

After a week, we saw them in their chrysalis. At that point, we extracted them from the plastic container and place them in the pop-up habitat. We were anxiously awaiting this stage. It isn’t everyday she will have the opportunity to see a chrysalis and watch butterflies finally emerge from one. Immediately, we saw movement in their chrysalis. We didn’t know what to expect, but the whole family couldn’t keep our eyes off them. A day later, our butterflies emerged. For a few days, we watch the painted ladies gain their color as they enjoyed sugar water from fresh flowers. Finally, we released the butterflies. What an amazing learning experience NOT just for my daughter but for myself.

I strongly encourage you to do this type of hands on experiment with your child. This method has fully engaged her into learning about the lifecycle of the butterfly. It is an easy lesson to teach, yet it provides such wonder and excitement for a young scientist. It also introduces your child to the skill of observation and patience.

10 Ways Bloggers Can Use Social Media

Bloggers-Use-Social-MediaTwitter, Facebook and other social networking venues work to engage readers, drive your popularity and increase your sales. When it comes to building an audience and driving traffic, bloggers are turning to social media with record results. Instead of relying on organic search, successful bloggers know they have to develop a following on key social networks as a way to promote their brands and ultimately get more clicks.

1. USE YOUR BLOG NAME AS YOUR USERNAME EVERYWHERE. Promote your personal brand by consistently using your blog’s name for your Twitter handle and so on. Then, people don’t have to wonder about your blog’s name — it’s right there. Also, people will remember you easily across platforms, which is key as you develop up your online community.

2. QUALITY PRESENCE COUNTS. Don’t just create a Facebook page, and let it sit: reply to comments, post interesting content and pursue friends. Update your status regularly and give your business a positive online reputation. If you have limited resources, you may have trouble maintaining an exciting presence on every single social media platform. Choose the number and types of sites you can manage well rather than risk leaving stale or poor quality content everywhere.

3. DISPLAY YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ICONS ON TOP OF YOUR BLOG. Make it as simple as possible for your blog readers to connect with you on various social media platforms. They shouldn’t have to hunt around to find your Twitter handle, but should be able to click on a button and be taken right to your profile. Bonus points if your social media icons reflect the overall design or feel of your blog.

4. ADD SOCIAL SHARING BUTTONS ON TOP OF POST. It’s easy to add sharing buttons on your blog. Within a few clicks, these candy-colored icons will appear right there in your blog. Customize these social sharing tools, so they are promoting you in a tweet or a post, and not themselves.

5. LINK YOUR BLOG WITH LINKEDIN. As long as your blog somewhat pertains to your professional goals, you should be showcasing it on LinkedIn. List it as one of your three websites in your profile, where it will be labeled “Blog.”

6. PUT YOUR WHOLE NETWORK TO WORK. If your blog has contributors besides you, encourage them to post social networking updates. This gets your whole team involved in the marketing effort while increasing the exposure of your blog in the social world.

7. DO NOT SPREAD YOURSELF TOO THIN. If you have limited resources, you may have trouble maintaining an exciting presence on every single social media platform. Choose the number and types of sites you can manage well rather than risk leaving stale or poor quality content everywhere.

8. MANAGE YOUR REPUTATION. Do you know what your customers or potential customers are saying about you online? Pay attention to the comments you receive on Facebook, keep a Twitter search running for key names and topics that relate to your company. Set up Google Alerts and handle problems and complaints head on. What a great opportunity to show the world your willingness to engage people to resolve their problems and address their concerns!

9. SUPPORT OTHERS. Promote other bloggers’ content. You can’t simply only share your content — you need some variety in every social media stream. So why not check out what your fellow bloggers are posting and give them a retweet or a share whenever you can. Don’t forget to reciprocate and share content from bloggers who share yours.

10. BE PATIENT. Don’t be bothered if instant success doesn’t happen. Keep up a fresh, dynamic and engaging social presence, and you will reap rewards.

Our Kindergarten Homeschool Curriculum Picks

Education is very important to my husband and I. This fall, I’m setting off to a new adventure, I will be homeschooling my first-born, who is entering kindergarten. I’m excited and nervous about our upcoming year, and I think it’s going to be a memory maker!

I’ve been researching and attending conventions preparing for this day for 2 years. I have read Cathy Duffy’s 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child’s Learning Style. We will have “structured” class Monday through Thursday with Friday open for “Life Lessons” and exploration.

Want to know what our curriculum plans are for the year? I’m sharing our kindergarten homeschool curriculum picks!
IMG_6662 Language Arts
Spell to Write and Read

Handwriting
Cursive First

Reading and Literature
Reading and literature is definitely an area where we have so much freedom as homeschoolers, and I plan on fully embracing it this year. We’ll be using Honey for a Child’s Heart for our literature journey, and I will be sure to keep you posted on our reading and activities!

Math
MathUSee is a great curriculum, especially for the child that is visual and loved tactile learning.

Science
Butterfly Garden and Ant Hill are ways to introduce science to my kindergartener.

PE, Art, Music & Other Electives
Local gym studios and private lessons will round out our electives.

What are you most excited about this school year?