Chocolate Krave Peppermint Milk Shake

Ok, I admit it, we love Chocolate Krave Cereal.

It is not unusual for a box of it to disappear from our home in less than two days. That’s fair, I guess, when you consider that my husband and my daughter have both been known to go back for seconds AND to have it for dessert AND breakfast. In fact…as we roamed the grocery store aisles just yesterday, I asked my small girl if there was anything she needed…and she said, ‘Yes, Mommy…just one thing, Chocolate Krave. I only have one bowl left’. Admittedly, I’m impressed, not only that she had an answer to my question, but that the child who forgets to put her shoes and her backpack away each day knew EXACTLY how much cereal was left in the box AND knew enough to plan for the moment when she just might run out.

Krave has power as a double-duty cereal in our home, so I decided to see if I could give it yet another role: Milk Shake.


In case you’re wondering? Success.

Chocolate Krave Peppermine Milk Shake4

Here’s how simple it is to make:


1 Cup Chocolate Krave Cereal – Crushed

2 Cups Vanilla Ice Cream

½ Cup Milk (of your choice)

Whipped Cream (Optional)

Peppermint Garnish (Optional)

Directions: Crush the cup of Krave in a plastic bag using a rolling pin. Blend ice cream, milk and crushed Krave in a blender until smooth. Top with Whipped Cream if you so choose – we do. For the peppermint rim, wet the edge of the glass and touch it in to the peppermint sprinkles.



In our home – this is a not only a special treat around the holidays but we’ve decided there’s a big guy in a red suit who will be visiting soon who just might be in need of an extra treat.  The small people are excited to leave their new favorite for Santa with some extra special cookies we’ll be sharing soon. (Assuming Daddy doesn’t sneak down and steal it after the kids go to sleep!)

Disclosure: I have been a long time partner of Kellogg’s and am always excited to share new recipes, ideas and suggestions with you – ways to include cereal and milk in your world. As always, all thoughts and ideas are mine and mine alone.

How to Build a Better Breakfast AND Put YOUR Face on a Cereal Box

Last month I had a party at my house. And not just any party: a breakfast party. Right before school started, the kids and I invited dozens of families we know – from school, from sports, from our neighborhood – in to our home and decided to show them how to build a better breakfast by recharging their traditional bowl of cereal.

Back to School Cereal Recharge Bar

Cereal is such a quick, simple go-to meal. But what about spicing it up and adding extra flavor, extra nutrition with fruit, nuts, even spices? Or how about combining some of your favorite cereals and then adding something sweet?

Back To School Cereal Recharge Sides2

We offered a few menu options but then encouraged our friends to be creative…..even asking them to share their ‘recipes’. We were amazed by all of the combinations everyone tried – from experimenting with lemon zest and yogurt to pistachios, blueberries, mini chocolate chips and definitely marshmallows.

Back to School Cereal Recharge Rethink

To make it more fun, we chose winners from all of the recipes submitted- but didn’t tell them until this week what they had ‘won’.

Our favorite recipes are below (feel free to try these at home!)

Sydney’s Special Charms – Special K Red Berries, Rasberries, Blueberries, Marshmallows and Skim Milk

Christa’s Fruity Delight – Special K Chocolate and Strawberry with almond butter, strawberries, blueberries and skim milk

Megan’s Chocolate Chocolate Marshmallow – Special K Chocolate and Strawberry with bananas, apples, marshmallows, mini chocolate chips and 2% milk

Clearly Special K was a favorite. Now…on to what we decided to give them for coming up with these recipes:

How to Put Your Face on A Cereal Box:

Their very own Kellogg’s cereal boxes!

I will be honest – It was so much fun preparing this as a surprise and then gifting it.

How to Put Your Face on A Cereal Box:

And even more? Now telling you how you can do it as well. Did you know that YOU can put your face on a Kellogg’s cereal box? Or even on a Pop Tart box? (the Pop Tart boxes can be personalized too!)

How to Put Your Face on a Cereal Box:

It is such a fun and unique gift – and SO EASY.  You start on their website, follow the instructions, upload a picture, wait less than two weeks and carefully fold the box together – ta-da! You can choose Frosted Flakes, Corn Flakes Team USA or Honey Smacks.

Seriously. Building a better breakfast with inspired cereal recipes AND putting your face on your cereal box? THIS IS FUN.

Disclosure: I am proud to have a long-time working relationship and partnership with Kellogg’s. As always, all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.

Prepare for Back to School: Build a Better Breakfast by Rethinking Cereal

My small dude made his way in to my room this morning even before I was fully awake, “Did you enjoy your day off, Mommy?”

I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly. Day off? It’s Wednesday. It’s 6:30am. I was pretty sure I worked yesterday. And I’m getting ready to work today….so….?

It IS early and I’m not a morning person. I shook my head to clear the ‘I-haven’t-had-any-breakfast-yet-fog’ and tilted my head in confusion.

“I did everything for you, Mommy. I made lunches for school AND I made breakfast.”

Breakfast. And school lunch.

At some point my life began this rapid fast-forwarding and my small people turned in to real people.

Back to School 2014

They morphed from crazy little beings who were always underfoot to the two you see here – a now third and fifth grader. I’d break out all of the cliches and tell you I don’t have any idea how it happened and I didn’t see it coming, but the funny thing is, I suspect there are a few of you out there who have or are experiencing a little of the very same thing.

The good and the crazy of it is they still like to surprise me with little things like making their very own breakfast. And they still let me do things like throw Back-to-School Breakfast parties for their friends and families….a little something I did just before school started specifically because breakfast is such a big deal in our house, it is the first meal we share together every day, cereal is a staple for us and I believe families need to start ‘rethinking’ the way they do cereal to make it not only an easy and quick option, but we sometimes we forget it is a healthy one too. (Think protein, grains,  and fiber.)

This though process was the basis of our:

Back to School Cereal Recharge Bar

I structured it based on the experience I had with Kellogg’s this summer when they hosted their pop-up Recharge Bar in New York City. For a week they were open to the public, offering gourmet cereal options to inspire the breakfast experience. They, of course, brought in Tony the Tiger, Dr. Travis Stork and The Roots for education and entertainment.

Kelloggs Recharge Bar NYC

I can’t say I was as fancy….I hosted an Open House – allowing families to stop by anytime between 8am and 11:30. It was at my home and well, my small people, my husband and I were the only entertainment offered – which only says so much. We laughed quite a bit, but there was no singing. We had nearly 70 people RSVP’d (this meant I was up at 5am slicing, chopping, pouring and arranging. I was nervous, but excited.

Build A Better Breakfast - Rethink Cereal:

I offered that same gourmet menu.

Back to School Cereal Recharge Menu

Nearly a dozen Kellogg’s cereals

Back to School Cereal Recharge Bar

And as many fruit, nuts and amazing fun toppings as I could think of….just to get our friends, neighbors, kids and parents combining, experimenting, and RETHINKING cereal before their kids were heading back to school.

Back To School Cereal Recharge Sides2

So many of our friends know that I have partnered with Kellogg’s for quite some time and am a huge fan, not only of cereal, but of the brand. For me, what I enjoyed most about the morning was watching everyone experiment, even trying new cereals…and realize that they loved adding nuts or fruit or even a second cereal to their bowl. It was mostly the adults who tried the gourmet menu – the Banana Nut was the favorite -I think I have hooked quite a few friends on Almond Drizzle. I’ve told you before mine is the Pistachio Lemon, and while I didn’t succeed in converting everyone, I do think  so many walked away with *something* new that they loved – and THAT was the goal.

The series of Special K options were favorites with the adults and many of the kids. Naturally, the small people loved Frosted Flakes, but parents learned they could pour a bowl of one of the healthier varieties and sprinkle one of their child’s favorite cereals on top, add some fruit or nuts, milk and make everyone happy.

Back to School Cereal Recharge Cafe Au Lait

Back to School Cereal Recharge Recipe2

Back to School Cereal Recharge Recipe2

Back to School Cereal Recharge Kids

To challenge everyone to ‘rethink cereal’, I did ask guests to submit their favorite recipe creations and I HAVE chosen a few winners. The fun part (at least for me) is that the winners do not yet know what they have won – but I am excited about it and will be sharing both their cereal recipes and their PRIZES soon.

Back to School Cereal Recharge Rethink

Back to School Cereal Recharge Bar Gift Bags

I will admit to being a *touch* exhausted when everyone left, but I couldn’t help but smile when one of my friends texted me pictures of their ‘dinner’ the next night: Cereal.

The text message said they were ‘rethinking’ dinner.  And don’t think that bowl of cereal wasn’t filled with healthy goodness, because it was. She made a full meal out of it. I was both happy and proud. And this morning, when the small dude made breakfast? He did his share of ‘rethinking’ too.

What is your favorite cereal combination? I’d love to experiment with something new?

Disclosure: I am proud to have a long-time working relationship and partnership with Kellogg’s. I threw this party of my own accord…it was hosted by me, not by the brand. And as always, all thoughts and opinions are mine and mine alone.


Cereal: It’s What’s For Breakfast (Think Protein and Grains!)


That’s how many days this family has until our routine quickens its pace from the lazy days of sunshine, pools, sunscreen and camps to school: early mornings, carpools, uniforms, backpacks and homework. I feel as though I have spent hours, days, WEEKS wishing for the moments I’m experiencing now. It is hard to imagine that time is flying by so quickly, and yet… is.

Soon, my no-longer-quite-so-small-people will need prodding from their beds, the encouragement it requires to tidy their rooms and get dressed and we’ll meet in the kitchen as we always have to prepare for their day.

And, as we so often do, as a traditional, long-time Kellogg’s family, we’ll be clinking spoons over a bowl of their favorite cereal, talking about what to expect for the day ahead, and naturally, planning the day’s school and sport’s schedule.

You and I both know so many families often reach for cereal for a number of reasons:

  • It’s quick and easy… the walk to the pantry and the fridge takes seconds.
  • The preparation of the meal by either me (mom), that guy who never misses the opportunity to join them for the start of their day (dad) or even their little hands is seamless and we never have to encourage them to eat.
  • It’s family tradition – I ate cereal growing up and so did my husband…it was with comfort that we began to share the same foods with our children.
  • It’s affordable

But nutrition matters, too. Making sure we are all fueled for the day is important.

I was recently in New York City with Kellogg’s, talking about just that: the benefits of cereal and milk and how they can provide us the grains and protein we need to start our day.


Kellogg’s hosted a pop-up Recharge Bar in the middle of the city for an entire week. Anyone….absolutely anyone…was free to wander in for breakfast, grab a bowl and choose any variety of their favorite Kellogg’s cereal, an extraordinary set of toppings – some traditional and some gourmet – and of course, milk.


The goal: Rethink Cereal.

For so long, we’ve reached for this staple without fully embracing the goodness behind it.  Here at the Recharge Bar, you were offered an incredible menu of options you have never tried before. (and of course many you know)


Christina Tosi, the owner and founder and Milk Bar was the mastermind behind the recipes, but you could also create your own. There was an option to go gourmet: to add nuts, banana chips, raspberries, pistachios, thyme, and yes…even coffee grounds. It was, in a word….divine.

This bowl right here – the Berry Au Lait  – Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheats®, Raspberries, Milk Bar Cereal Milk ™ and coffee grounds, was a favorite.


I was excited to have some time to sit down with Dr. Travis Stork, one of the spokespeople for this project. We talked initially about getting back to basics – how starting your day with breakfast is crucial….and then about the importance of the grains in cereal that help us recharge in the morning, combined with the protein in milk that helps us to refuel.


You and I both know we can certainly make choices that make cereal and milk the sweeter treat that was reserved for Saturday mornings in my childhood, but we can also opt for for a strong and healthy start by making a few simple decisions:

  • Add fruit – bananas, raspberries, blueberries, or apples
  • Spice it up: Cinnamon, Nutmeg
  • Go for the Grains: Read the labels and include cereal in your morning that include whole grains
  • Remember the Protein: Milk is an important part of the equation

This is a peek inside the Recharge Bar and a few minutes of a highlight performance from a group that I adore, The Roots singing the Kellogg’s Cereal and Milk Jingle with some students from the Philadelphia High School for Creative & Performing Arts. For a fuller version of their performance – you can hop over here

One of the things that I loved the most about the Recharge Bar was the way it encouraged us to Rethink Cereal. The special cereal combinations challenged our palates…we’re so used to pouring a bowl of cereal, possibly adding a little fruit, pouring milk and calling it breakfast. I smile just remembering the taste of my favorite of Christina’s recipes – the Pistachio Lemon. It combined Kellogg’s Special K®, Frosted Flakes®, pistachios, lemon zest and thyme. It was delicious.


I’m excited to say I’m duplicating this Recharge experience here in my home for Back-to-School in just a few weeks….knowing that my friends and their kids can also use a little push to ‘Rethink’ the way they are doing cereal in the morning.

I’ll be offering Christina-Tosi-inspired cereal options and looking for school-ready kids to share their favorite inspiration.

I can’t wait to share what they create.

Disclosure: I have been a long-time partner of Kellogg’s and am thrilled to continue working with them as breakfast is and always has been a huge priority in my home.

An Interview with Paralympian Heath Calhoun: Join Us On G+ Wednesday 3/19 12 CST

By now, my love of the Olympic Games and the Paralympics is well documented.

Heath Calhoun - ParalympianI have long been fascinated by the athletes and their journeys – how they started, their dedication and commitment, the people who supported them when they faltered, the people who stood at the finish line to celebrate their successes and yes, when they medal, I cry as though I’m living that moment with them.

As a result of my work with Kellogg’s, I’ve been lucky enough to meet a number of this year’s athletes, but it is with child-like enthusiasm that I share that I, along with my good friend Meagan Francis, will have the pleasure of interviewing Silver Medal Winning Paralympian Heath Calhoun TOMORROW during our G+ Hangout On Air: The New Having It All.

You simply MUST join us to hear from Heath. I could spend the next two hours sharing his incredible story, but I wouldn’t do him justice. I’ll let you start by watching his #GreatStarts story…. and then I want you to commit to taking 25 minutes to spend with us tomorrow beginning at 12cst.

This was Heath’s second trip to the Paralympics and I’m so thrilled he’s taking the time to visit with Meagan and I. I guarantee he will inspire you.

If you have some time before the show, I’m excited to be hosting a Twitter party for Kellogg’s with Heath (@LeglessHeath)  too – so double the chance to interact with him. (just in case you can’t make it to the interview!) We’ll be chatting about everything from the Paralympics to their journey to the medal stand to how he got his #GreatStarts to, of course, breakfast – definitely a way they start their days.

Follow along with the hashtag: #GreatStarts beginning at 11am cst. We so look forward to chatting with you!

Disclosure: As you likely know, I’m proud to have a long-standing relationship with Kellogg’s though all opinions I share are mine and mine alone.

I Love To Watch You Play – The Six Words Your Child Needs To Hear

I was never going to be a ‘soccer mom’. (or a softball mom, or a baseball mom, or a basketball mom, or a football mom)

Cooper Soccer

I was never going to spend more time attending youth athletic events than I did doing everything else in my life.

I was never going to run from the softball field to the soccer field to the volleyball court.

Delaney Volleyball

I was never, ever, ever going to get up at 5:30 am on a Sunday to be at a 7am indoor soccer game.

I was never going to yell and cheer and jump up and down in the stands of a 2nd grade soccer match as though I was at the World Cup (because that is undignified).

I was never going to plan my Summer vacations around baseball and softball games and tournaments, or sit in the stands from 10am to 6pm.

I love To Watch You Play

But I have. And I do.

Because above all else, I love to watch them play. 

Anyone who knows me in any capacity is fully aware of my utter lack of athletic prowess. Both my seven and nine year old small people could take me in a race. (I’m not proud of this, but it is a fact.) I am, at 41, still afraid of the ball – any ball. I never learned to throw a softball, I broke my knee playing soccer, sprained my wrist trying out for volleyball and knocked out a tooth and broke fingers when gymnastics was ‘my sport’. Now swimming? That I can do – but naturally, it is the one thing my children don’t do competitively.

For my husband and children – their athleticism, their teams – it is their bond.

For us? It is my active participation as a fan.

It is, that I love to watch them play.

Delaney Softball Swing

I love that they love to play. I love them excited and red-faced, sweaty and energized with a win, tired and frustrated by a loss, the ‘I-could-have-done-better’ or ‘we were out-played’ etched across their small features.

I don’t push them to play. I ask them if they want to – each and every time. Are we the family that you might hold up as the example of ‘over-scheduled’?  Yes.  And I’m ok with that. Why? Because amidst the teams, they read, they find time to play with their friends, they study hard and have wonderful grades, they get enough sleep, they eat well and above all, they are happy.

I know this.

Because I love to watch them play. At everything in life.

We have a family rule: After each game – no critiques of their performance, no thoughts on how the team played or what anyone could have done better.

Just this: I love to watch you play.

I’ve seen too many kids crumble, frustrated by the game, by everything, only to be taken down by the people who are supposed to be dedicated to lifting them up. Don’t get me wrong, my job is to guide them – to help them through the good and the bad and work with them when they need to improve, but not when the moment is fresh.

Last night we watched together, as we always do, as the Olympic Games kicked off. It may sound silly, but every two years I look forward to this ‘family time’. The opportunity for the kids to see the heart-stopping, jaw-dropping Olympic Games’ moments that these athletes have been training for all their lives. They are skilled. They are gifted. They are magnificent to watch. And we love to watch them play.

Olympic Games Watching Sochi 2014

But it all started somewhere. With a love of a sport. With a love of a game. With training and practice and effort and sacrifice.

And someone who loved to watch them play.

As someone who has been lucky enough to meet a few of this year’s competing Winter Games Athletes through my (and their) relationship with Kellogg’s (and therefore feels a true attachment to them and their stories): Meryl Davis and Charlie White, Noelle Pikus-Pace, Sarah Hendrickson and Torin Yater-Wallace, I know that there was a #GreatStarts moment that pushed them forward…something that helped to tip them in to the athletes they are today – was it practice? The support of family? The perfect teammate? An uncontainable zest for their sport? I have read their tips on how we can bring #GreatStarts in to our worlds, with our families, and I want to share a few #GreatStarts tips of my own.

From this non-athletic mother, from this mother who fully embraces that children can be and sometimes are over-scheduled, begin by recognizing that whatever you decide to do with your child should be individual to them and not necessarily a universal, family rule. One child may be able to handle three activities while the other needs to focus on only one and school.

And though my team days were restricted to high-school swimming, I am re-learning, through the eyes of a parent, the many life lessons to be gleaned from playing a sport.

Be part of something greater than yourself – Learn to play for and with a team or on behalf of your school. Understand what it means to represent something bigger than you, to have other people trust you, rely on you.

Don’t quit – you may decide this sport, this team, this game isn’t for you, but part of life is learning to see a committment through. You can’t walk away the moment you are frustrated or not seeing the results you want.

Losing is part of life – as hard as it is to learn, not everyone gets a trophy – not in sports and not in life. And that is ok. Learn to be proud of how hard you worked, of the effort you made, of the team you love.

Grace in success is divine – humility, the ability to be humble in the face of extraordinary success is a gift and it doesn’t come without having been both on the winning and losing team. Experience and embrace both emotions, remember what it feels like as you grow both in to your sport and in to the person you will become.

And finally, your small people need desperately the gift of your wisdom – they will need lifting when they don’t make the team, they will need to work through defeat and learn to keep their chins up, proud of their hard work, they will need your push when you can see past their heartache to their true love of the game, they will need your willingness to support them  – getting them to practices and games, matches and events, but above all, they will need to know that you love to watch them play.

Do your children participate in sports? If not what do you LOVE to watch them do? Play an instrument? Excel on stage? Tackle a science competition? Tell them TODAY that you love to watch them…..

Disclosure: I have a long standing relationship with Kellogg’s. As a part of that, I am thrilled to be supporting, not only the Kellogg’s Team USA Athletes, but the #GreatStarts message. As always, all thoughts and opinions shared here are my own. 
P.S. For a DYNAMITE conversation on kids and over-scheduling, take a look at the show I do with the fabulous Meagan Francis every Wednesday at 12pm CST, The New Having It All Show. This past week, we talked about this very topic.


Reading is Good For the Soul: Spread it Around

Delaney ReadingIf reading was a competitive sport, this is an area I would certainly have always excelled. As a small child, I could often be found curled up, nose buried deep, mind wandering as I imagined many different worlds. I was a Bobbsey Twin, a freckled, pixie-haired teen detective Trixie Belden, a friend of everyone’s at Sweet Valley High and later, the protagonist in every Stephen King book ever written. To say I devoured a book was hardly descriptive enough. I could flip through pages, dozens in a day, begging to go to the library multiple times in a week. My parents could never keep up. Librarians were perplexed to see a young girl struggle to carry twelve and fourteen books from the library at one time.

For a week.

It is this love of reading that I have passed on to my small people. I read to them as I carried them in my tummy and then as I rocked them to sleep, eyes fluttering, mouths sucking as they drifted away.  I envisioned my words carving out a novel-sized section in their minds reserved for a love of reading…naturally right next to the one their daddy had staked for all-things-sports.

I think there is room for both, you know.

So far, I’m right.

Coop ReadingAt nine and seven, they are avid readers, their vocabulary is growing and their curiosity, it seems, never ends.  I credit reading and their ever-expanding minds with this. And I’ll take it.  They read books and signs, magazines and newspapers and the writing they see on the television.  If they encounter a word they don’t know or can’t pronounce, they work through it or ask. This is a good thing.

If I could give every other parent in the world a gift, it would be this… the beauty that books and reading have brought into our worlds through learning, imagination, conversation and an ever-expanding quest to know more.

I’m thrilled that my partnership with Kellogg’s not only gives me an opportunity to put books into the hands of my family but also other families and schools through their Scholastic Great Starts, Great Stories Campaign,and their MiniMissions Campaign.

Allow me to explain. Or hey – let that amazing guy Taye Diggs explain – he’s easy on the eyes, right?

Kelloggs Great Starts Great StoriesLet’s start with the really good stuff: how you can help others:

For the Great Starts, Great Stories Campaign, look for the words FREE BOOK on specially marked boxes of Kellogg’s cereal (Apple Jacks, Mini Wheats, Corn Pops, Frosted Flakes, Fruit Loops and more). Register online and enter the 16 digit code from the inside of the box. When you have three codes, you get a FREE BOOK.  You can donate it to a school in need or, if you don’t have enough books in your home, enter your address and it will be sent to you!  Bonus FREE BOOK.

Kelloggs Great Stories Donate

As for the MiniMissions… I love this.  This too, can help others – specifically your SCHOOL.

You don’t need me to tell you that breakfast is an important part of our day. Making sure our small people start the day with food in their bellies sets them up to be energized and ready to learn.  Kellogg’s and Scholastic are building on that with MiniMissions – inspiring families with a ‘mission’ per month through December. For each mission completed, the family will receive 2 Scholastic books and be eligible for other prizes (BOOKS!) that benefit their school.

Kelloggs Mini Mission

The mission for October is Creative Moments. Each family needs to complete 4 ‘mini missions’ in the month’s category whether it is cooking, painting, gardening, singing or dancing – the goal? CREATIVITY!  My small people and I are 50% complete. November will be Conversation Bites and December will be Give and Give Back.

Kellogg's Mini Mission Smith

Each week, my small people and I make DEAR time – something they learned from school – Drop Everything And Read time…. I make this a priority in our house, not only because I want them to read but because I want them to see ME read.  This isn’t a habit I want them to have only as children, but one I want to be a lifetime sport. And if we can help other people while we are at it? This is a good thing.

I hope you will join us by upping your creativity and book-reading-book-giving spirit.  Take a look at both Great Starts, Great Stories and MiniMissions.  Let us know if you participate, what stories you choose and DEFINITELY if you win! Good luck!

Disclosure:  As mentioned above, I have a long-standing partnership with Kellogg’s and am delighted to share the good they are doing and how they inspire me to do the same.  As always, all thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

P.S. Friends… because I value your opinions and Kellogg’s does too….if you have a few minutes to take a quick survey, we’d love your honest thoughts and opinions. I promise it won’t take more than 2-3 minutes. Thank you, as always, for being here.