12.07.2016

Christmas is Not about Waiting in Line at 4 a.m for Toys

Every year, there is something that puts parents into a holiday tailspin. I can tell you right now that the man in the red suit and white beard is not worried. If a noisy little thing that hatches out of an egg, called "hatchimals" is on your child's holiday wish list, relax right now, put on some stress away essential oil roll-on, which is a therapeutic perfume that is safe and good for you, and just stop the madness right now. No one needs to be in line at Walmart, ToysRUs, or Target at 4 a.m. to get a $70 toy that farts and makes noise.  And paying more than the suggested retail price is insane. I'm seeing $200 and up for the darn toy that may end up sitting on a shelf once it hatches. Articles about this thing and the lack of them are in the news right now for those who have no idea what I'm talking about in this post.

Hatchimal: The hottest toy of the 2016 Holiday season
Hottest Toy of the Year by Spinmaster: A Hatchimal


I first heard of this strange interactive "creature" that hatches out of an egg on Saturday when my own daughter put it at as one of the three things she told Santa in person at our neighborhood clubhouse party.  It's simple. Get something else and have Santa write a note. You can even copy mine. I don't have copyright issues on it, but hopefully, your child sleeps in their bed at night so you don't have that issue.

Dear Liza, 

I know you adore pugs and this little girl was not on your list, but she needed a home this year. I had a conversation with your elf, Jolly. He and I felt you were the perfect person to adopt her. You are loving and kind, which is what this little FurReal pup needs. I know you wanted a hatchimal this year, but so did a lot of other boys and girls. My elves just couldn't keep up with the demands. There were not enough for everyone to have one this Christmas, and many other toys like this sweet pup needed a home, too. I know you are a good little girl. I also heard that you need to stay in your own bed at night, too.  Jolly reveals all. You're getting bigger and this little pug can be your watchdog to keep you safe.  I bet your parents will buy you a hatchimal in 2017 as a reward for your hard work in school and for staying in your bed at night after you complete First grade.  Keep up the good work. 

Love, Santa


FurReal Pug


PS. Don't forget to share your doughuts with her.  This little pug has a sweet tooth just like you, but don't let her eat chocolate and she will certainly try.  Glaze doughnuts are fine, but don't let her eat chocolate because it's not good for her. When you are out of school over winter break, take her to Rise Doughnuts in Cameron Village because she'll love walking around the shopping center.  I put some extra money in your Mom's stocking for this outing, too. 

Parents, please don't waste your precious resources and time with this holiday toy madness. Santa is not the reason for the season. I know for those who have the means to afford it, we all want to make Christmas special for our children. But, this is an expensive toy that is simply not available right now and it is certainly not worth you waiting in line for at 4 a.m. or paying crazy prices just to have one under the tree. 


Spend time with your children this holiday.
My little Liza elf


Instead, sleep in a little and take the time to enjoy the season. Take your child to lunch, make cookies with them, or take in a holiday performance. The gift of togetherness will be what your children remember most through the years. 

This holiday, give the gift of helping others. Some of our school friends do a Raleigh Rescue Mission fund-drive every year. On the way to school the other day, I saw a man asleep on the sidewalk.  I did a story on this blog years ago when they did one when our 5th graders were in kindergarten. The Brewers are keeping up with the tradition. Trust me, there are more important things in the world that need your attention right now that stressing out over not finding a hatchimal. 

All toy links in this post are from Amazon.smile and any purchases support my children's elementary school. 





11.21.2016

BBQ Chicken (or Turkey) Chili Recipe using True Made Foods Sauces

This post has been sponsored by True Made Foods in conjunction with NC Blogger Network. I received compensation in exchange for my honest opinion and review.

Since July, I've accepted very few campaigns or really have not done much writing in general on the HinesSightBlog. The why is simple. My husband told me that my priority was to get us moved to our new house, and get our other house ready to sale. 

We are living in our new house and I wish I could say that my home is picture perfect now, but that would be the biggest lie ever. I'm writing this post surrounded by boxes in my office, and at night, I watch TV on lawn chairs because we decided to purchase brand new living room furniture that may not even arrive til after the new year. We are in transition, to say the least. 

I am cooking, though, and I have a new recipe that incorporates some sauces with North Carolina ties. I still have lots to do around this house, but I accepted this campaign because the company believes in providing healthier choices for consumers. The day that my True Made Foods sauces arrived to try, it was cold enough here to enjoy chili. True Made Foods, a new D.C. start-up company, is making American food healthy, turning empty calorie foods into nutrient dense foods filled with fresh veggies. 


BBQ Chicken Chili w/True Made Foods sauces are filled with veggies. Half the sugar.


Let me tell you now that their sauces are finger-licking good. I loved each one and then I used all three when I cleaned out my pantry to make a BBQ chicken chili.  This company is reproducing America's favorite sauces - Ketchup, BBQ Sauce and Hot Sauce - but what is unique and appealing to people like me who want less sugar and artificial, is they are adding spinach, carrots and butternut squash to naturally sweeten these sauces which cut the added sugar in half. The carrots and butternut squash are from an Eastern North Carolina farm. 

The Ketchup tastes like the ketchup you expect but has half the sugar of top leading brands.. and tons of nutrition from the vegetables. True Made's Veracha is a 100% vegetable Sriracha - made from tomatoes, carrots, butternut squash, jalapenos, spinach and cayenne, it has all the flavor and no sugar. This stuff is fantastic. I've put it on everything lately. I'm addicted. I love these sauces and I love that I'm getting these vegetables even more. 

I don't even think I was supposed to review the BBQ sauce, but I love BBQ sauce and it's so hard to find a sauce without high fructose corn syrup on the market. True Made BBQ is delicious. It was the basis for my chili, but I look forward to baking BBQ chicken in the oven with it, too. 

These new healthier sauces can be found at Lowes Foods, Super Target and Whole Foods.


This recipe can be adjusted to what is in your pantry, but the secret is in the sauce.


I had never made a BBQ chicken chili before, and I found many recipes. I adapted several to fit what I had in the pantry so this is a Hines original without the Heinz ketchup that you know. Instead, this chili is certainly high fructose corn syrup free. 

With Thanksgiving approaching, you could use leftover turkey in place of chicken. I used chicken breasts that I had frozen in the freezer. You can use any beans you want. I chose white kidney beans and pinto beans because it was already in the pantry in addition to a green pepper, diced tomatoes, and an onion. If you are using leftover turkey or already cooked chicken, then you can reduce cooking time. I did my chili in the crock pot for eight hours on low. 

Enjoy. The secret to the goodness in this recipe is definitely the sauce. I highly recommend adding them to your pantry. 


Great weeknight meal on a cold day.  Quick and Easy BBQ Chicken Chili.


BBQ Chicken (Turkey ) Chili 

3 chicken breasts
28 ounces of diced tomatoes with juices
2 cups of chicken stock
1 can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed (black beans would have been even better)
1 can of white kidney beans, drain and rinsed
1 chopped onion
1 chopped green pepper
1/2 cup of True Made Foods BBQ sauce 
1/4 cup of True Made Foods Ketchup
1/4 cup of True Made Foods Veracha sauce (add more if you like spicier)
1 tsp of chili powder
some fresh chopped garlic
Himalayan Pink Sea Salt and Black Pepper to season

Cook on low for 8 hours. 

Serve with sour cream and cheddar cheese on top. I like to add a little True Mades Veracha sauce when serving. You could even add avocado. I now eat the Veracha sauce on plain avocados. So good. These new sauces have spiced up my house for the better. 


Learn more about True Made Foods and its sauces.







11.01.2016

Personal: Autumn Spice and Everything Nice

Where do you begin after taking two months off from this blog? That has never happened before.  Unfortunately, I didn't come back today with a snazzy new design or rebrand. I'm just coming back to this writing space because I needed to get back to the HinesSightBlog. Life got in the way with buying a house, selling a house, moving, and serving as PTA President.  You know the drill. You have busy lifestyles, too.

It's not that I didn't have anything to say. It's just that I didn't have time to write it down. And my new house. Well, it's just a mess right now. But, that's OK.  I'm back now and I've got some stories to tell. Oh, so many stories and new ideas.

I'll be quick today and say that my kids are growing up. We had to get a creepy costume this year and he took to his role quite well. No more cuteness from him, I guess. And Wonder Woman?  Well, she knows  how to rock some Michael Kors gold boots and strike a pose.





In our new house, we gave out over 500 pieces of candy. It was quite a night.

During the past two months, I did write some freelance pieces for Skimbaco Lifestyle. Check out the fall edition of Autumn Spice.


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