The Nestlé Cocoa Plan

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Bring. On. The Chocolate.

For as much as I love to eat chocolate it’s interesting how little I actually know about it. I didn’t know cocoa beans grew in pods on trees. I didn’t know the demand for it has doubled in the past 20 years and I didn’t know that cocoa crops were depleting.

This Halloween I’m happy to help raise awareness about Nestle’s efforts to sustain cocoa crops by better supporting the communities and farmers who are growing them. The Nestlé Cocoa Plan started in 2009 with the intention of “improving the lives of cocoa farmers and the quality of their products”…to put it simply. This year alone Nestlé has provided cocoa farmers with a minimum of 1 million higher yielding trees. They’ve helped hundreds of children found working on cocoa farms and have set a goal to build 40 schools between 2012 and 2015 to help educate those kids.

You can help support these initiatives by purchasing products marked with one of the sustainable cocoa labels like you see here:

sustainable cocoa labels

Here are some brands doing their part to provide products that are made with sustainable cocoa:

• Nestlé CRUNCH
• Nestlé Butterfinger Peanut Butter Cups
• Hershey’s Bliss
• Dagoba Organic
• Scharffen Berger
• DOVE Dark Chocolate

I’ll be handing out Nestle Crunch Bars to trick or treaters this year and those kids can rest assured the sustainable cocoa they’re eating is part of a much bigger plan.

Nestle Cocoa Plan Infographic

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

Happy Halloween!

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My earliest memory of Halloween was spent watching my Dad put on those glasses with the funny nose and eyebrows attached. He would greet all the neighborhood kids in his funny get up and I swore someday I would be just like him with those funny glasses.

Instead, my job was to fill my Halloween bucket with as much candy as possible. I would get home from an evening of trick or treating and dump my loot onto the ground in front of me and as many as I possibly could before my Mom could get her hands on it and compile it into a “community bowl”. I swore I would never be like her with that community bowl.

My last year of trick or treating was in high school when my best friend and I went door to door. I threw a sheet over my head, put my hair in pig-tails and strapped shoes to my knees. I kneeled on top of my shoes at each door step and my plan worked, everyone thought I was a small child dressed as a ghost.

I recently asked my friend if she remembers doing that and her response was, “I’ll never forget you getting down on your knees before we rang the doorbell thinking you could just get up after they closed the door and the person just stood there and waited for us to leave so you finally had to just suck it up and stand up.”

I extended my trick or treating years for as long as humanly possible. I also joined Easter Egg hunts well into my college years (there was money in those eggs!)

Now that I’m a Mom it’s frowned upon to take candy from my neighbors bowls, but I do get a kick out of dressing up in funny glasses just like I hoped I someday would. I suppose I’ve got a little bit of him in me after all.

And I’ll be damned if my Mom wasn’t the most brilliant woman ever with that Community Bowl idea. I swore I’d never have one, but now I’m singing her praises.

I suppose I’ve got a little bit of her in me too.

Happy Halloween!

Writer’s Workshop: My Favorite Fall View

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5.) Share a favorite fall view.

The Pumpkin Patch is a miserable place. It’s either muddy and overcrowded or sunny and overcrowded. Picking out pumpkins is a chore, standing in line for them to be weighed is obnoxious and then taking them to a second line to pay is stupid.

For the past two years it has been so crowded that I actually tell the kids we’ll buy our pumpkins at the grocery store and just walk around instead.

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I don’t even really LIKE pumpkins. Carving them takes both muscle AND an artistic touch, neither of which I have and then they rot on my front porch.

To be clear…no one in my family truly enjoys the pumpkin patch, but every year I make sure to set aside an afternoon for us to go.

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I can’t explain it. Those rows upon rows of rotting, orange fruit call me in.

We have to go.

They’re my favorite fall view.

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Now it’s your turn!

Mama's Losin' It

Choose a prompt, post it on your blog, and come back to add your name to the link list below. Be sure to sign up with the actual post URL and not just your basic blog URL (click on the title of your post for that URL). For good comment karma try to comment on the three blogs above your name!!

The Prompts:
1.) Something that scared you when you were young…are you still afraid?
2.) List 7 things you miss about being a kid.
3.) Write a post inspired by the word: bitter
4.) Hand your child a camera and share life captured from their perspective.
5.) Share a favorite fall view.

Link up!:



Vlogging Workshop: Gold Pumpkins

Gold Spray Painted Pumpkins

I had planned on taking my kids apple picking this year since we’ve never been to a great big orchard and that seems like something we should probably accomplish, so I added that to this week’s prompts but forgot to do it. I have a wonderful Halloween inspired recipe I filmed, but got confused with myself and edited a different video instead. The video I did finally upload has nothing to do with any of this week’s prompts and that’s where the Free Day prompt comes in real handy. So today I’m sharing my gold pumpkins with you. You might not be rich, but you’ll look rich with these scattered throughout your house:


(video here)

And I want to share Melissa’s Halloween makeup tutorial because I never get tired of watching a person’s face transform in 3 minutes or less. Good times:


(video here)

Check out Melissa’s channel on YouTube and subscribe!
Now it’s your turn!

This week’s prompts:

1.). Share a favorite Fall recipe.
2.) Take us apple picking!
3.) Create a Halloween inspired hairstyle.
4.) Talk about something a spooky encounter you had.
5.) Talk about your top tips for a successful Halloween night.
6.) Free Day! Link up any video you haven’t previously shared in a Vlogging Workshop.

Link up!:



Get a jump start on next week’s video! Here are the prompts next Wednesday’s Link up:

1.) Share a favorite book you read in October.
2.) Compile short clips, Vines, and Instagram videos and make a video that highlights your favorite October moments.
3.) October favorites haul! Share some of your favorite October finds.
2.) Q&A…tell people to ask you questions about something and answer them.
3.) Vlog at the park.
4.) Talk about the last time someone said thank you…when was the last you said it?
6.) Free Day! Link up any video you haven’t previously shared in a Vlogging Workshop.

Vlogging Prompts For 11.05

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Every week you’re invited to join me in a Vlogging Workshop focused on working together to create a community interested in video blogging!

  • To join, simply add a link to the Vlogging Workshop posted here every Wednesday that will direct viewers to your video (either on YouTube or your blog).
  • New vlogging prompts will also be posted on Wednesdays, so you will have a full week to create your video response!
  • I will feature a favorite video each week.
  • You can subscribe to this weekly newsletter if you’d like the video topics delivered early, along with a weekly vlogging tip.

To view more detailed instructions on how this weekly Vlogging Workshop meme works click here.

Here are the vlogging prompts for the Wednesday 11/05 Link up:

1.) Share a favorite book you read in October.
2.) Compile short clips, Vines, and Instagram videos and make a video that highlights your favorite October moments.
3.) October favorites haul! Share some of your favorite October finds.
4.) Q&A…tell people to ask you questions about something and answer them.
5.) Talk about the last time someone said thank you…when was the last you said it?
6.) Free Day! Link up any video you haven’t previously shared in a Vlogging Workshop.

Now go make that video!

My First Mammogram

Breast Cancer Ribbon

Well I did it.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month Hanes has teamed up with the National Breast Cancer Foundation and I have successfully scheduled and completed my first mammogram appointment!

You know how in the old days housewives would bake beautiful pies and set them on the windowsill to cool?

This process was pretty much exactly like that! Except instead of pies on windowsills it’s actually your boob you’re putting on a tray and then imagine just sort of shutting the window on top of the boob a bit.

Not so much pressure that it’s painful, but just enough for them to get the job done. I would compare the discomfort level to those machines in the grocery store that you stick your arm in for a pulse and blood pressure reading. In fact, I’ll go ahead and take that a step further and say I think those arm machines squeeze tighter than a mammogram machine squeezes.

I was lucky enough to find a mobile bus location close by that was really convenient. It was like a rock star’s tour bus. It had all the bells and whistles of a real office, small office at the front of the bus for checking in and a little lobby area to wait in. The women who helped me were so lovely. After checking in I was escorted to a bathroom where I was asked to disrobe my top and put on a gown.

After that I entered the mammogram room and the equipment in there looked very similar to this:

Mammogram Machine

I let the technician know when I was ready, she got me situated, explained each step exactly, snapped a few x-rays and I was on my way! The whole thing from start to finish took about 20 minutes. Not bad at all. The women were really comfortable to be around and they didn’t give me any opportunity to feel uncomfortable because it was just business as usual for them.

And if you’re nervous about pressure or squeezing or pushing boobs onto trays attached to machines, I will add that ALL of that is a whole lot more comfortable than radiation, chemotherapy, and/or a mastectomy.

Definitely worth making the appointment and of course there are other ways to be proactive about early detection. Being aware of symptoms and signs, self-examinations, and clinical breast exams are all important as well!

I received my clean bill of health and it feels really good to have completed that. Now that I know what to expect I definitely won’t feel as anxious going into my second appointment when the time comes.

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

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Writing Prompts For 10.30

Writing Prompts

Every week you’re invited to join me in Writer’s Workshop by responding to one of the provided writing prompts posted each Tuesday. The directions are simple:

  • Choose a writing prompt from the list provided that inspires you most.
  • Write.
  • Come back this Thursday and link up by pasting the URL from your post into the list of thumbnails that will be displayed. Just scroll to the bottom of the thumbnail list, click the bold words you will see that say “Click here to enter” and you’re all set!

View more detailed instructions on how this weekly meme works in the Writer’s Workshop FAQs. To receive writing prompts in your inbox each week, subscribe to the writing prompt newsletter here.

Writing Prompts:

1.) Something that scared you when you were young…are you still afraid?
2.) List 7 things you miss about being a kid.
3.) Write a post inspired by the word: bitter
4.) Hand your child a camera and share life captured from their perspective.
5.) Share a favorite fall view.

Some Favorite Entries From Last Week:

“I may be a perfectionist procrastinator, but I’ve learned to make allowances for it.” -Jerralea’s Journey

“And like a rabbit set free from a cage, he leapt the rest of the way to school.” -Something Something

“They had kids, built a life and never looked back.” -About 100%

“My kid’s don’t do sleep overs unless it is to grandma and papa’s or my parents. ” -The Stiles Family

“Hey, watch out for that linebacker behind you,” one guy said to his friend.” -Jessica’s Journal