the easiest pre Thanksgiving meal to prepare!

This past Sunday, we had an early “Thanksgiving” celebration with friends thanks to our friends at Raley’s. We got to sample their Holiday Dinner selections a bit before the actual holidays, and let me just share that they were fabulous!

A few years back, we discovered the brilliance of the “prepared” holiday meal… and without fail, have used it to our advantage on multiple holidays since then! Because… no everyone wants the chance to eat a frozen turkey or destroy their kitchen for hours RIGHT BEFORE guests arrive every single year. So I went to Raley’s on the Wednesday before and picked up all of the goodies (using their brilliant large burlap tote bag) and threw it all in the fridge until Sunday morning!

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Raley’s Holiday Feast consisted of an 11.5 lb Diestel Turkey (happy sustainably grown local turkeys from Sonora, CA), gravy, Cranberry bliss sauce, Artisan Ciabatta Bread Stuffing, Classic mashed potatoes with herb butter and Green beans almondine.

Preparation began 90 minutes before serving time, when I popped the turkey into the oven with a meat thermometer in the breast! Then, with 50 minutes left, I popped in the mashed potatoes, and with 40 minutes left, the stuffing ingredients were mixed together and and thrown in the oven as well!

And this is what emerged… mmmm….

This pre-cooked turkey was just as moist and juicy and delicious as you can imagine, but all I had to do was “heat it up.”  I think everyone was happy that this was foolproof as well!

.Sometimes it’s just wonderful to host a party and have a meal that you KNOW will turn out delicious without the stress and worry of a crazy timetable in the kitchen. And it’s also nice to wake up at 9am, before said party, and leisurely enjoy coffee and donuts while doing the final prep.

If you’re in the “neighborhood” of a Raley’s/Nob Hill/Bel Air and are looking to make your holiday feast a little easier (or perhaps host a second party at your place?), it’s easy to order a meal right online for pickup this Thanksgiving

AND… if you’re planning to order a meal, just send me an email at contests@kimberlymichelle.com before 11/23/14 and you’ll be entered to win a $20 off coupon to use on your purchase!

matching holiday pajamas for any budget

Christmas is around the corner, which means that you should be picking out your holiday card photos and getting those printed up right away! But if you’re looking ahead to taking the perfect photos on Christmas Day, then you’re probably shopping for pajamas right now. Hanna Andersson got into the matching family PJ game a few years back (I requested holiday cards featuring such ensembles… no one delivered last year… this year maybe?), and well, now it’s most definitely a thing.

But you don’t have hundreds of dollars for a family set? Don’t worry… Target’s got you covered!

BEHOLD!

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You’ve got family plaid

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a family full of stripes (with doggy pj’s too!) …

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the extras from Elf….

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and jolly ‘ol St. Nick styles as well.

Did you want flannel pajamas too? Oh ok… you can have those too!

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Choose from Skiing Santas, Penguins (light blue for women, dark blue for men), LLamas, Sock Monkeys, Space Santas and Flamingos.

The best part?  They’re priced just right for pajamas that you will only wear one night of the year (or maybe just one morning?)… and cute enough to recycle for the parents for years to come!

I’m not going to lie that I literally shouted in Target when I saw these today… and that both Miss L and Mr. M already vetoed the Elf version… but I’m excited to see all the adorable matching photos across Facebook and Instagram from Christmas morning! Maybe it’ll just be Memphis and I matching?

another mommy war, but this time I’ll jump in…

In my non-online world, I’m into public policy. In other words, that section of the political world that actually revolves around doing the right stuff instead of just arguing about who the good people are and why they should rule the world. It also means that I turned away from the political world of winners and losers and stylish debates and towards facts and statistics and trying to make the world a better place. I also dropped my political party in the process and became a proud and active voter that is Independent of party. OK Kim, that was random, so why are you saying all of this?

Well… it’s because while I vowed to stay out of the mommy wars while Miss L was still in my belly, and I’ve done just that for over 4 years, a friend asked me to address the mommy blog war that’s flaming high tonight.

And because Mr. M is flying away on a jet plane tonight, and I’m watching the election returns flow in while nursing two dogs back to health, I figured, “Why not! Happy Tuesday!”

So…. the current flame war. According to every mommy group I belong to on Facebook, and via multiple mommy friends on Facebook, there are quite a few stay-at-home-mom bloggers who are inflamed over remarks that President Obama made on October 31st. (i.e. Living Whole & The Federalist)

But here’s the problem: these moms neglected something known as context. They even ignored the title of the speech. And instead they copied and pasted to create an inflammatory quote, in the same style that those lovely cable news programs create racy soundbites. (Full disclosure: I don’t have cable.) And they made a speech that didn’t talk about them at all ALL ABOUT THEM. So let’s figure out where it all went wrong.

So let’s start at the beginning. The title of the speech was, “Remarks by the President on Women and the Economy.” If you’d like, you can read the full speech here. It was given at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island.

President Obama started with a normal political spiel (I paraphrased the speech for fun) about the victories in the economy, education, energy & jobs since 2008, then wanders into the “there is still work left to be done!” section to rally the electorate to stay on this path. Then he provides the thesis of the speech: “And today, here at RIC, I want to focus on some common-sense steps we can take to help working families right now.  In particular, I want to zero in on the choices we need to make to ensure that women are full and equal participants in the economy.“

“Women make up about half of America’s workforce.  For more than two decades, women have earned over half of the higher education degrees awarded in this country.  And you look at the RIC student body, almost 70 percent women.  In colleges nationwide, there are more women graduating than men — which means that for the first time, America’s highly educated workforce will be made up of more women than men.

But here’s the challenge — that’s all good news — the challenge is, our economy and some of the laws and rules governing our workplaces haven’t caught up with that reality.  A lot of workplaces haven’t caught up with that reality.  So while many women are working hard to support themselves and their families, they’re still facing unfair choices, outdated workplace policies.  That holds them back, but it also holds all of us back.  We have to do better, because women deserve better.  And, by the way, when women do well, everybody does well.”

So what are some of those “unfair choices” that have to be made?

  • “Women deserve a day off to care for a sick child or sick parent without running into hardship.“

OK. Not losing your job or your pay due to choosing to take care of sick kid.

  • “Many women can’t even get a paid day off to give birth to their child.”

OK. No maternity leave may mean financial hardship and losing a job due to just giving birth.

  • “In many states, sending your child to daycare costs more than sending them to a public university.“

OK. Affordable daycare options where you don’t spend every penny you make just trying to stay in the workforce.

  • “And too often, parents have no choice but to put their kids in cheaper daycare that maybe doesn’t have the kinds of programming that makes a big difference in a child’s development.  And sometimes there may just not be any slots, or the best programs may be too far away. “

OK. Having no options to send your kid to a good daycare program due to cost or scarcity.

  • “And sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result.”

OK. Due to all of the above stuff, sometimes women have to leave the workplace to stay at home with a kid.

“And that’s not a choice we want Americans to make. “

This is the line of contention.

Use your deductive reasoning, and I dare you to picture the President is a big fluffy and cuddly creature like Baymax in Big Hero 6, and decide what you think he means in the context of the speech. (Remember, I’m a policy person. If I didn’t picture all politicians this way when they’re talking about policies, I’d be a really mad and jaded individual.) that’s not a choice we want Americans to

Is he saying that he doesn’t want mom to make a choice to“leave the workplace to stay home with the kids” or is he saying that making a reasonable “choice,” you know, due to all of the piles of other stuff that has been listed before this final point, that results in “her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result” shouldn’t even be on the table. In other words, moms are punished for trying to stay in the workplace just as much as those who are kicked out it are.

There is absolutely no mention of moms who stop working to take care of their kids as an active choice. None. The speech is about women as active participants in the economy, aka. workplace.

You’ll find nothing bad said about moms who leave the workplace by choice and choose a new position as a mom who does not hold a paid occupation while she has children in the home. There’s no judgment passed upon them for their choice. Because, those women are not a part of the economy that we’re talking about in the speech, “Women and the Economy.” Therefore, they’re not neglected or ignored, because this speech isn’t about moms. It’s about women working in the economy.

Instead, he’s talking to and about women who have the odds stacked against them in the face of working. To those who are doing everything they can not to lose their job due to a baby arriving, or because their daycare costs exceed their take-home salary. Usually because giving up their wage-earning potential isn’t an option. This is about the lack of a choice and the inability to say, “Oh that’s ok if I make less for the rest of my life. I don’t mind” because that means basic needs will not be met.  

Please read the whole speech. There’s no offense. No slam. Nothing there to cause an alarm.

In fact, it’s probably probably one of the most positive speeches on the contributions of women to the United States made by an American President, and definitely the most supportive of improving women’s stature in the workplace by far.

I’ve seen comments that ask, “Why is he only talking about what we can do at work? Why not address our value to the family?”

My dear friends… that’s ALL that anyone used to talk about. I’m a bit too blurry eyed to ruffle through my notes on how historically dismissive male politicians are to women, but our capacity to contribute within the home is pretty much the only thumbs up we’ve ever gotten. To be mad that he’s not talking about it? This is not the speech for that.

And that’s where I’ll leave this issue tonight. Another friend just told me Snopes was on my side, so I just patted myself on the back a little. Logic and reason only win some of the time, you know.

Choose to stay at home. Choose to work. I’ll be happy when the choice is extended to all women, and not just those of us in the upper tiers of socio-economic well-being who can spend all day yelling at each other on Facebook about these things.

p.s. Can we all stop throwing around this silliness on the Internet too? Let’s be the solution and not part of this silly mommy war problem by spreading this silly stuff.

adios laptop, hello #intel2in1

I have a laptop computer. It’s big, it’s heavy, and it’s bulky. It was a gift back in my grad school days from the generous Mr. M and it still works 8 years later, but that’s probably because it’s only used when absolutely needed. You see, I still need it when I travel for work, either to a remote location for the day or on an extended trip. But I also bring along my iPad mini, because I love having tablet for all that it can do for play, as well as the little “work”  duties it can pull like email. So two devices, each with their super separate purposes coming with me on trips. Silly, but it works.

So imagine my delight when the new Microsoft Surface Pro 3 arrived on my doorstep, and I realized that the days of carrying around 2 electronic devices were over, as I now have a laptop AND a tablet and I don’t have to compromise either way! This whole Intel 2 in 1 thing is just too cool… and I’m not sure why I didn’t realize it earlier!

I can “gently toss” my Surface into my purse and barely notice it’s in there (it’s only 1.76 lbs!) and just like that I’m equipped with my computer and an electronic companion (yes… that’s truly what these devices are… your friends when you don’t have friends around). Scroll through Instagram with ease, check the weather to see if I can eat lunch outside today, and then browse through my blog feeds. But when I get an urgent work email asking me to edit a document in the middle of my lunch break… I don’t have to reply “I’ll be back in the office shortly!” Nope… just open up the document in Word, use the keyboard and get to editing.  And this entire scenario may just have played out exactly as written for the past two days without fail!

And that, my friends, is how I realized just how much I miss having a laptop at my beck and call.

Apps can do many things, but they’re not a substitute for a computer when you NEED a computer. And while I’ve been able to MacGyver solutions to my problems, I just realized what a luxury it is to just do it the straightforward and easy way!

Oh, and it has a pen. That you can write and draw with on the screen. Please don’t tell Miss L… I have a feeling she’s figure out how to turn it into a virtual coloring book in 2 seconds flat!

So needless to say, I’m pretty happy with my new Surface Pro 3. And I really can’t wait to see what other tricks it has up its sleeve for me!

Oh, and if this sort of stuff is up your ally, then you might want to consider joining the Intel Advocate Experience by clicking the link above. (ahem… it’s pretty nifty!)  Then you might be able to reduce your load like I did and get rid of the tablet/laptop carrying experience in exchange for an uber Intel 2 in 1 device!

#spon: I’m required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel This could include Intel providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

halloween 2014: our hero in a half shell

This summer, Miss L got to go see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the theatres, and soon after the obsession began.

Little figurines showed up around the house. Then coloring books. And soon after, there were endless drawings of her hero, Leonardo, all over the house.

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So when it came time to decide what her Halloween costume would be this year, is it any wonder that she requested her own turtle shell and mask?

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Leonardo will be guarding the neighborhood tonight. As will Mikey and Donnie. Shredder (Lincoln) is locked up in his cage, and Master Splinter (Memphis) is also on the mend…

This is one retro cartoon character we’re all happy to be reliving this year!

Past family Halloween costumes:

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