Melissa Kaylene

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Snack Pack® Picnic

Compensation provided by Snack Pack® via Mode Media

I know that across the country many kids are heading back to school, but I’m happy that our school district doesn’t resume classes until Labor Day, so we are all together until September 8th this year, and I’ve been trying to make the most of our last few days together at home.

We love to do little picnics in our yard here, tea parties, lunch, brunch – we’ve done them all – but we’ve never done a sweet treat afternoon Snack Pack® picnic before!

My kids love SnackPack® pudding, so I thought about making a fun and easy mix-in picnic for them to celebrate the end of summer vacation.

What you need:
  •    Picnic essentials: an adorable blanket, preferably a basket, and plates, napkins, etc.
  •    Snack Pack pudding: chocolate, vanilla, and butterscotch flavors.
  •  A variety of toppings: such as raisins, coconut flakes, chocolate sprinkles, whipped cream,      candies, flavored syrups, etc.
  •  A little time to spend with your kids.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t take enough time out of my schedule to just ‘be’ with the kids, without rushing here or there or worrying about what I should be doing or what has to be cleaned…and I need to stop. Stop all of the nonsense that we *think* has to happen, and start doing more fun little moments like this.

Snack Pack® picnics on a summer afternoon – just because; because the kids will love it, because I know that in the span of my life there are only a few short sweet summers that they will want to do this and because it’s important and will be a great memory.

Even if your kids are back to school already, I encourage you to do something new: surprise them with an after school Snack Pack® picnic that is all set up and waiting for them when they arrive home. It will make them smile, which in return will make your day.

This back to school season take a moment to slow down and enjoy a tasty and fun treat with the kids. Snack Pack comes in a variety of flavors and offers endless mix-in opportunities the kids can help prepare. Each serving of Snack Pack is fortified with as much calcium as an 8 ounce glass of milk*, so you can feel good about serving your kids Snack Pack. For mix-in inspiration, visit Snack Pack on Pinterest ( and Facebook (

** All Snack Pack products contain at least 30% DV of calcium, with the exception of Bakery Shop Lemon Meringue Pie, Lemon Pudding, and Snack Pack Gels.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Top Road Trip Snacks Kids Want

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RoadTripHacks #CollectiveBias #Albertsons 
The Top Road Trip Snacks Kids Want #RoadTripHacks #ad #collectivebias

I feel like we’ve been traveling a lot lately and for our family I guess we have. We began the month with a 5 day road trip to see family in southern Oregon, then I jetted off to New York for another 5 days, and this week we are planning to drive down to the beach and spend three nights camping in a yurt.

I’m excited to spend a couple of uninterrupted days with the family and *hopefully* have the opportunity to unwind a little.

I love to pack fun things to keep the kids occupied and busy – not only for our time spent camping but on the two hour road trip as well!

I don’t know about you, but if my kids even hear the words ‘road trip’ their tummies suddenly become starving! It’s like they hear ‘car ride’ and think that stocking up on snacks should be in order! ;)

So keeping that in mind, we stopped by Albertsons yesterday to stock up on ‘the essentials’. I don’t often give the kids a chance to go shopping for all of the snacks that they really want, so it was pretty fun trying to keep them under control!

The Top Road Trip Snacks Kids Want #RoadTripHacks #ad #collectivebias
The Top Road Trip Snacks Kids Want #RoadTripHacks #ad #collectivebias

 Some of their favorite road trip snacks include:

  • Capri Sun drinks
  • Starbursts
  • Skittles
  • Wheat Thins
  • Triscuits
  • Planters Nuts
  • Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip Bars
  • And Orbit Gum

The Top Road Trip Snacks Kids Want #RoadTripHacks #ad #collectivebias
The Top Road Trip Snacks Kids Want #RoadTripHacks #ad #collectivebias

Normally, instead of shopping ahead of time we actually will grab our snacks right before heading out and when we do, this is how we shop for and pack road trip snacks fast: 

  •              Make a list, and let everyone pick out a few of their favorite snacks.
  •          Head to Albertsons and if possible split the list in half, and have half of the family  shop for some of the snacks, and the other half shop for the rest.
  •          Purchase a couple of reusable shopping bag at the store (if you don’t already have some!)
  •          Once you return to the car, separate the snacks equally so you have one bag in the front, and one in the back. Place drinks into an ice chest if possible.
  •          Hit the road!

By planning an idea of your snacks and dividing the family up, it saves lots of time so you can get on the road fast and enjoy those travel snacks! 

The Top Road Trip Snacks Kids Want #RoadTripHacks #ad #collectivebias
The Top Road Trip Snacks Kids Want #RoadTripHacks #ad #collectivebias

Now that we are all stocked up thanks to Albertsons, these kids are ready and excited for our mini adventure this next weekend – and I’ve just got to keep them under control for the next couple days until then! ;)

There's a fun contest going on where you can win big by sharing your best road trip hack! More information can be found HERE. 

What snacks do your kids love to munch on during road trips?


Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Wine Bloggers Conference: Day 1

Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know that I believe in making lasting memories and celebrating life whenever possible. Life shouldn’t be wasted sitting around wondering “if you should”, or “if you can”; life should be a wild ride full of experiences with your loved ones – and sometimes by yourself.

I’ve not done too much traveling in the past; I had only rode on a plane a handful of times, partly due to finances, partly due to my responsibilities of being a mom. However, when the stars align and things just fall into place for an adventure, of course I’m going to jump on it!

I stated on here a couple of weeks ago that I happened to receive a scholarship (last minute) to attend the Wine Bloggers Conference that was being held in Corning, NY this year.

I was filled with excitement, joy, and nervousness at the same time. I love wine, and have loved learning more about it over these past few years – expanding my knowledge slowly through books and by picking my husband’s brain; but the majority of these attendees was nothing but wine bloggers and other individuals in the wine industry, whose knowledge vastly exceeded mine. As nervous as this made me, I was not going to let that stand in my way and ruin a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn not only more about wine, but also about a new region.

I started my journey on a Wednesday night, leaving Portland around 8pm and didn’t arrive in New York until 11:30 am the next day. I had never taken a red eye flight before, and don’t intend to again – unless I have too. ;)

I landed at the small Elmira Airport, a town roughly a 20 minute drive from Corning. When I stepped in to the airport off of the place I was immediately greeted with a banner welcoming the wine bloggers to the area. The airport sponsored free transportation and happily drove me to the Radisson Hotel and even carried my bags right up to the hotel’s front desk for me.

Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine

I set off to my room to freshen up and meet my roommate, Regine, who writes at and she turned out to be an amazing roommate to have. Since we had 6 hours or so before the initial reception, we decided to walk downtown and find some lunch.

Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwineWine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine
Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine
Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine
Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine

We quickly found out that in addition to the full agenda, there were also other “unofficial” events begin held all week long, and were invited to a pre-conference dinner, hosted by Robert Strong Vineyards, Fox Run, and Anthony Road Wine Company. There we were greeted with an array of wines to enjoy and be paired with four courses. It was a lively and crowded event, with everyone getting excited for the upcoming 2 ½ days.

Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine
Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine
Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine
Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine

Afterward I officially checked in to the conference, and then headed down to the waterfront park in Corning, where we were welcomed with bites and wine tastings presented by Corning’s Gaffer District. A couple of my favorites were a delectable red wine cupcake created by Poppleton Bakery, and Dr. Konstantin Frank’s 2014 Semi Dry Riesling (you’ll be hearing more about them over these next few posts!)

 After a very long day, I turned in for the night, so I could be rested up (a bit!) for the first full day of events. 

Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine
Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine
Wine Bloggers Conference Day 1 #wbc15 #explorecorning #flxwine

Stay tuned for Day #2 soon! :)


Talking About Type 2 Diabetes

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of FreeStyle. The opinions and text are all mine.

Hey everyone! I hope you had a great week. Today I thought I would talk to you about something that I don't think I've ever really discussed on here before…Type 2 diabetes.

As a nurse, I know quite a bit about diabetes, and have cared for many people who are living their lives with type 2 diabetes. I've helped countless patients test their blood sugars over the years. So many that it's something I don't even really think much about – and I never ever really even thought about or imagined how much money the machines and test strips cost, until a couple of years ago. 

Wayne's brother has type 2 diabetes, and he had been over at our house eating dinner when the topic of diabetic supply costs came up, and I hadn't ever really thought about just how much a machine and supplies cost.

Here we are, a couple years later, and I recently found out about the Freestyle Precision Neo Blood Glucose Monitoring System. It's a brand name, affordable diabetes care solution – and is available over the counter without a prescription, and at a very affordable price!

Even though I myself do not have diabetes, as a caregiver, I think it would be wonderful to have the Freestyle Precision Neo System at my house – so that I can always be prepared when I have dinners where we have guests or family members over who have diabetes. When you have the tools on hand it's always easier to help when a potential blood sugar issue arises. 

Does someone in your family have diabetes? How about your friends? Do you know what to do if they are experiencing an abnormal blood sugar?

Right now you can download a coupon for $2.00 off of the Freestyle Precision Neo System, which requires no test strip coding and only needs a small sample size. Check out their website for more information!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Freestyle. The opinions and text are all mine.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

5 Fun Back to School Snack Ideas

Summer seems to fly by faster and faster every year! We don’t go back to school until after Labor Day weekend, but I’m already in prep mode: making lists and planning out breakfasts, lunches, and after school snacks for next month.

The older the kids get, the more they consume! It’s crazy just how much they have been eating lately! I’ve been trying to keep lots of healthy snacks on hand that are quick and easy to eat, and sometimes I like to fix them up a little bit more to make healthy eating more fun!

I shop at Fred Meyer a lot, and a couple of months ago our local Fred Meyer underwent a complete removal which was pretty hectic at the time, but their natural and organic aisles are much more accessible and has a lot of the products that I like to buy for my family, like Horizon Organics, Yulu, Silk, and Simple Truth.

Life is all about balance, so we try to have nutritious snacks most of the time – and here are some of our favorites:

1. Peanut butter and raspberry preserve sandwiches. Protein, fiber, and a little treat wrapped up into one tasty after school snack! My kids also like using almond butter. To make them even more fun you can cut them into shapes – like flowers. Take two styles of bread and use cookie cutters to cut them into flower shapes, then alternate pieces to create two-toned sandwich bites!

2. Fresh Fruit is always around our house, but sometimes I will drizzle some honey on top of some Granny Smith apples for a sweet snack.

3. My kids LOVE consuming carbohydrates – probably a little bit too much, but Horizon Organics makes these mini cheddar sandwich crackers that I like to serve up in a bowl with some diced mozzarella cheese sticks for a snack that my kids can’t seem to get enough of – and it’s rich in calcium. 

4. Every kid loves carrots and ranch, but what about carrots and hummus? I like to serve up individual bowls for them with some roasted red pepper hummus and bite sized carrot slices. 

5. Lastly, I like to sprinkle some granola into some Yulu yogurt. If you haven’t heard of it before you are missing out because it’s amazing! It’s inspired by an Australian recipe, and it’s really smooth and delicious, plus it has no artificial flavors or colors and has 9 grams of protein! 

Are you prepared for the kids to head back to school? What other after school snacks do you make for them?

If you need some more inspiration check out Kroger’s Inspired Gathering for recipes, DIY + D├ęcor, Tips + Tricks, and cleaning hacks, and click here to print a coupon off of your next purchase!


This conversation is sponsored by WhiteWave Foods. The opinions and text are all mine.