Monday, August 1, 2011

Monday Meet & Greet - Real Dad Reviews

Welcome to Week 1 of our new "Monday Meet & Greet!" 

Mama Chocolate has joined up with a group of bloggers to help you discover new blogs, and to meet the bloggers behind them!

Nathan at Real Dad Reviews is the lucky featured blogger this week!

Tell us a little about you...  "My name is Nathan! I am a retired United States Army Veteran. I have been married to my wonderful wife Skye for 4 years. We have three beautiful children together. We also have custody of our two nephews, and my sister in law."

Tell us 5 of your favorite things...  
Top Five Movies of all time-
3-Independence Day
4-Hard Rain
5-Day After Tomorrow

What do you blog about? "I blog about anything and everything my family can use, that I think others would want to know how it worked and if it worked. Some products rock my socks off, while others I would not use if I was paid. Well maybe if I was paid a lot..."

How did you decide what to name your blog? I decided on Real Dad Reviews because I was getting jealous of all the cool stuff my wife (Real Mom Reviews) was getting in the mail. Every time I mentioned something I liked or didn't like about the items she was getting, she told me it was real MOM reviews, not real dad reviews, so I improvised! 

What is your favorite blog post? My Newest Baby

Favorite item ever reviewed.. Pack It

When do you find time to blog? I am a stay at home dad, who does the majority of my blogging after the kids are asleep!

What does your family think of your blog? My wife, of course loves it. We team up sometimes for reviews together. The rest of my family just doesn't understand how it works.

What advice would you give a new blogger? Never give up- it is not easy. Take a step back, give yourself a week break, and hit the ground running when you get back!

What are your favorite blogs to read? 

What brand or product would you really like to work with/review?  Boon! I love all the products from Boon.

Follow Real Dad Reviews on:

Please stop by and leave him a comment!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Energy Bites - Fun with Food Friday

 Mama Chocolate

Welcome to this week's Fun with Food Friday
(ALERT: Read to the bottom for extra bonus entries opportunity!)

This delicious recipe comes from reader Lauren Kane-Sample!



  • 1/2 cup nut butter (almond, peanut, sunflower seed or another other nut/seed butter)
  • 1/3 cup honey or other liquid sweetener (be careful of thinner sweeteners as they might not hold together as well.)
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats (you can toast for a nuttier flavor at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes)
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (you can substitute any dry ingredient for this: wheat bran or germ, oat bran, ground flax seed, (I wouldn't recommend using an entire cup of flax seed,) any ground nuts or seeds. For a cookie dough type bite, try adding a few tablespoons of your favorite whole grain flour.)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp your favorite spices or spice combos (optional: I skipped this)
  • pinch of sea salt if needed
  • 1/2 cup other add-ins (any whole or roughly chopped nuts/seeds, dried fruit, chocolate chips, etc.)
Directions from Lauren:
In a large bowl add the nut butter, honey or other sweetener, vanilla and salt if needed.  If all your ingredients are room temperature you should be able to stir to combine.  If this is difficult you can warm in the microwave for a few seconds or even place the bowl in an inch or two hot water for a few minutes to soften everything.  

Once this is combined add the remaining ingredients.

In this case I used almond butter and for my addins I used equal parts sesame seeds, poppy seeds and mini chocolate chips.  Mix well.  Once it’s all combined place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.  Then remove from the fridge, scoop out some dough and roll into a ball.  I find it’s much easier, and works better to squeeze the handful together to compact it and then roll it into a ball.

If yours are too sticky you can considering adding more dry ingredients into them or rolling them in something like ground nuts, coconut, etc so they aren’t as sticky.  Place the balls in an airtight container either in the fridge or freezer for quick and easy snacks.

* * * * * * *

I started by making some dairy-free chocolate chips with coconut oil. I'll have to write a review on that recipe sometime. They were good, but very dark chocolate. 
And coming from me, that's saying something, 'cause I like my chocolate dark.
Anyway, they worked well in this recipe, so I was happy, and my poor chocolate-deprived daughter was very happy.

I was pretty in-exact in my measurements, mostly because I hate trying to measure things like peanut butter.
I used about half almond butter and half peanut butter. I think I'd prefer them with 100% almond butter, but I didn't have much, so I combined them.

These are very similar to a recipe I have for "Power Balls" from a friend, (the mother of 7 boys that just had their first girl!)

They are a great snack to have in the freezer. Perfect for when I'm pregnant and/or nursing, and a healthy and deceivingly cookie-like option for my toddler.

I rolled most of them in a unsweetened coconut/sesame seed mixture and left some of them plain so as not to be so messy for Katie to eat.
This pan is sitting in my freezer now, and when I get around to it, I'll put them in a container back in the freezer for easy access!

Thanks, Lauren, for this healthy and delicious snack!

* * * * * * * *

See what Michelle at The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Second Time Mom has cooked up this week!

Please check my archives for more delicious recipes!

You can get 10 extra entries into any ONE giveaway of your choice for each recipe you submit, (you can send me as many as you like!)

Just send the recipe(s) to and add the entries into the appropriate box on the giveaway entry form.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Keeping Your Toddler Busy - Toddler Talk Thursday

Check out the hosts of this fun weekly link-up, Family and Life in Las VegasCrazy about My Baybah, and My Life as a Sippy Cup Mom!

This week's topic is:
"How do you keep your toddler entertained in difficult situations - grocery store, doctors' office, etc?"

It doesn't take much to keep Katie entertained. 
Keeping her entertained and quiet is a whole different issue...

Grocery stores and even doctor's offices aren't usually too difficult for us, just so long as she can talk.
She is a talker.

Church is the hardest for us right now, because of her chatty personality. We have worked on this a lot with her and we're starting to see success! 
We keep her involved during the service as much as possible, and then during the sermon, (which is usually 45 minutes long!) we bring out her special "purse" that contains a special toy or two and some crayons and paper and maybe a little book.

She at least whispers when she feels the need to communicate, and she mostly plays quietly with what we've brought.

Where it isn't essential for us to be quiet, (waiting in doctors' offices, etc,) we read books, or I'll tell her stories, (or she tells me stories, which is much more entertaining! She has an amazing imagination for a 2-year-old!)

So how do you keep your toddler entertained during times when they need to be quiet? 
I would love your tips!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Little Mama (Wordless Wednesday)

I adore this picture.
Katie found a jar of baby-food peas and then eagerly asked me for a "soom!"

Then she took her dolly to the couch and gave her some lunch!
She was so sweet:
"That yummy, baby? Taste good? Take a bite!"

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