It’s that time of year again, to don the green attire and celebrate the luck of the Irish with a wee bit of tasty fun! To help its guests get into the St. Patrick’s Day spirit, The Fresh Market will offer samplings of Irish soda bread, Kerrygold Cheese, pretzels and more through March 17th!
For those looking to create a hearty Irish meal at home, The Fresh Market suggests its Irish Cottage Pie recipe. Traditionally topped with a thick layer of creamy mashed potatoes, the specialty grocer’s delicious recipe saves a few steps by topping the comforting casserole with thinly sliced potatoes and shredded cheese.
Fresh Market Irish Cottage Pie
1.5 lb. ground sirloin
3 tbsp. Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
1 tbsp. The Fresh Market Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 c. sweet onion, chopped (about ½ large onion)
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 c. carrots, peeled and diced (about 2 large carrots)
2 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp. garlic, minced
1 tbsp. tomato paste
5 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 ½ c. The Fresh Market Beef Stock
1 c. Guinness
1 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
1 c. The Fresh Market Frozen Green Peas
1 ½ lbs. red potatoes
1 c. Kerrygold Dubliner Cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat a Dutch oven or a large, wide skillet over medium high heat. Add beef and cook until crumbled and no longer pink. Drain beef of any excess grease and transfer to plate.
Add olive oil and butter to the same pan. Once the butter melts, add onion, celery, carrots, salt and pepper and sauté until vegetables begin to soften and brown, about 7-10 minutes. Add garlic and tomato paste and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium and add flour, stirring constantly for 1 minute. Vegetable mixture will become very thick. Whisk in beef stock, beer, rosemary, thyme and bay leaves. Use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan.
Stir in beef and peas. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook 7-10 minutes. While mixture simmers and thickens, thinly slice red potatoes (the thinner the better).
Spoon mixture into a 10 x 13” or 10 inch round baking dish, both at least 2 inches deep. Top with sliced potatoes, heavily overlapping each. Sprinkle cheese evenly over potatoes. Cover dish loosely with aluminum foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, remove foil and return to oven for additional 30 minutes or until pie is bubbling and potatoes are nicely browned.
Remove from oven and allow to rest a minimum of 20 minutes before serving.
I’m one of the lucky ones. Between the generosity of my parents and grandparents and earning a Florida Bright Futures scholarship, I graduated from college with $0 student loan debt.
I have many friends who weren’t as lucky. They are still struggling to manage that debt as well as all of life’s other big expenses.
As a parent to a (now) 3 year-old, I very much plan to give her the same gift. I talked about it a little bit on the blog before the holidays. Now, I finally have a plan in place to save my child from student loan debt thanks to Florida Prepaid. Here it is:
For approximately $214 a month, I can pre-pay for my daughter to attend a Florida 4-year university. The plan, of course, is designed to be used at a Florida College or State University. However, the amount covered by it can also be applied to other schools nationwide.
In addition to Florida Prepaid, you can also opt to set up a Florida 529 Savings Plan. It allows you to choose from investment options and decide how much and how often you contribute.
You can also have both plans.
The biggest difference between the two is that the Florida 529 Savings Plan is subject to fluctuations in the financial markets, while the Florida Prepaid College Plan is guaranteed by the State of Florida.
Open enrollment is NOW!
Florida Prepaid’s Open Enrollment period is now through February 28 (2017). There’s never been a better time to get started! This is also the only time each year you can purchase Prepaid Plans- FYI. There is no payment due until April 20, 2017.
Want to save even more money?
Head to www.myfloridaprepaid.com and use my promo code: BLOG1617. You’ll get 50% off your application fee – a savings of $25!
Sponsored: This how to save your Boca kids from student loan debt post was sponsored by Florida Prepaid via Bloggin Mamas. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor. Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider, so please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I was compensated for this post, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
MOMpreneur: n. defined as a female business owner who is actively balancing the role of mom and the role of entrepreneur.
Welcome to our latest installment of MOMpreneur Monday, highlighting Florida businesses and brands that were founded by female entrepreneurs and fellow Mommas.
Today’s featured Modern Boca MOMpreneur is...April Castoro Erhard, founder of April Golightly in Boca Raton!
Tell us a little bit about your background and what inspired you to start April Golightly…
I practiced law for 5 years before leaving to work full-time on April Golightly. During my time working as an attorney, I craved a creative outlet where I could write about the things I was passionate about. Blogging was something that I started with pure passion and it was something fun to work on after being in court all day and spending late nights and weekends at the office. I never dreamed that it would become a full-time business with employees and huge brand contracts!
My last year practicing law was spent working part-time at home while I was pregnant with my daughter. I tried to quit my job, but my boss would not let me leave when I told him I was quitting to work on my blog. He kept me on part-time from home until my daughter was born. When my daughter was born, I became a full-time stay at home mom and blogger.
Luckily, my little daughter was a great napper! It gave me time to work on the blog while she took her 4 naps per day. My husband handled the evening feedings and bedtime, so I could work during that time too. It was a team effort and the blog would not be where it is today without my husband’s support.
What challenges have you faced since starting April Golightly?
April Golightly, as a business, started with a help of a friend and mentor who explained the business of blogging to me over lunch. I had known her for years while I was studying in Miami and found out she had quit her job to blog full-time. This blew my mind and I had to know more. I took her to lunch and she sent me home with a gameplan. That advice helped me make April Golightly into the thriving business it is today.
The one piece of advice that I wish I had taken right away was switching from a Fashion to Lifestyle blog. It took me several years to make this change. As much as I love fashion, it was challenging writing about only one topic.
What is truly unique about your blog and business?
I feel that April Golightly is a unique blog because it brings women everyday luxury that they crave. You can be an awesome mom to your kids, cook dinner and look fabulous at the same time. If I can do it, so can you. I want to give women the confidence to wear what they want, be a good mom, and live the luxurious life that we all dreamed we would. I feel like a lot of moms surrender their lives to their children (my mom was like that), letting life’s little luxuries go– beauty, fashion, travel and great food.
The lifestyle of April Golightly gives you permission to be a good mom and still enjoy the good things in life.
Why should MBMoms become your readers?
I adore Modern Boca Mom as a person and as a website and truly am a Modern Boca Mom! We live in Boca Raton and love it so much. Living in Boca helps make everyday luxury easy and we have so many great restaurants, hotels, spas, and the shopping is, of course, the best!
Also, the moms here are so sweet and welcoming that I want to get to know all of them! If more Modern Boca Moms became my readers, we would get to run into each other frequently around town. How cool would that be?
What new and exciting things are coming up for April Golightly?
This year, I’m working on producing more videos. I shot 5 videos over the holidays and will be rolling them out over the next few weeks. We are going to be focusing on creating easy-to-make recipes with detailed instructions, so you cannot mess it up!
Here is a tasty Buffalo Chicken Taco Recipe. We are really working on easy recipes that can be made in one pot or pan, so you don’t have a ton of clean up. This means more time for fun things like spending time with family, makeup and fashion!
What do you love about living and working in South Florida?
South Florida is such a lovely place to live. It is fantastic being minutes from the best grocery stores and Town Center Mall. Dangerous, but fantastic for a shopper like me. 🙂 I have to mention the perfect weather and the expertly manicured landscaping. It makes me smile every day! The people here in Boca are so nice and they have embraced us. My daughter and I have a ton of friends and love spending time with family.
When I received samples of Hallmark Signature Cards this holiday season, I was so excited to see what the company, who is well known for exceptional quality and design, would bring to support their mission of #NoOrdinaryCard.
I was blown away and impressed by the Hallmark Signature Cards to say the least!
Far from the ordinary card, these cards displayed traditional themes, original design and exquisite quality.
The varying colors and design elements draw you in and heartfelt notes give you the feeling of home and comfort within a card.
I would gladly give any of these Hallmark Signature Cards to my special someone and people in my life. From an elegant green jeweled design that would be perfect for my sweet grandma to the festive red bells that would bring a smile to my aunt’s face. These cards are #NoOrdinaryCard that everyone should be gifting this year.
These cards would be hands down the most memorable for you and your family. And, if you are in a pinch, you could grab one to dress up that last minute gift card and it would make a truly special gift!
Hosted: This post was hosted by Hallmark and Hallmark Signature Cards. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the host. Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information and details. I was given complimentary card samples for consideration in this review, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
How overscheduled is your Boca child? I know parents of all ages read this blog– moms of babies, toddlers, preschoolers and beyond. The “beyond” is what I’m nervous about; the high school years. If my daughter is busy NOW as a preschooler (and she is, trust me), how’s life going to look when she has full time sports, arts and academics to deal with? Hopefully she learns to be agile.
The dictionary defines ‘agile’ as: quick and well-coordinated in movement; lithe. Now I realize the word has so many more meanings. Have you heard about the Agile method? It was originally started as a process to help software engineers work more productively and is is based on short term accomplishments, flexibility and iterations.
How could this productivity method have anything to do with education and your Boca child, you ask?
Susan Botts Rose, Ed.S., the Personalized Learning Coordinator at Grandview Preparatory School, had the same question when Scrum, a version of Agile, was recommended for her high school-age son. The thinking was Agile / Scrum could help their family better manage their son’s overwhelming academic and extracurricular Junior year schedule.
A ‘scrum’ is actually a term used in rugby, when the players put their heads down, interlock their arms and restart play in a match. In Agile’s case, it instead describes an efficient way of working on a project and collaboratively at that. Except, instead of interlocked arms and brute force, Agile’s game plan involves a whiteboard and sticky notes.
How It Works
To support their overscheduled teenager, they went out and bought a large whiteboard and several packages of multicolored sticky notes. Their son then proceeded to color code his goals and break them down into tasks. He placed them strategically on the board, based on priority, so this made his workflow visible and systematic.
Agile Classrooms is working to transform the world of education by empowering students to become 21st century learners. The driving force behind this initiative is to ensure children will evolve into the kinds of employees businesses are looking for.
This method literally puts the student in the driver’s seat of their own learning.
Susan Botts Rose, Ed.S. is the Personalized Learning Coordinator at Grandview Preparatory School. Her role at Grandview involves a variety of responsibilities geared toward individualizing the learning experience for the student. She believes the best gift we can give students is to help them realize and strengthen their strengths. Susan holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Communication Disorders from Western Kentucky University, a Masters degree in Speech-Language Pathology from University of Kentucky, and an Educational Specialist degree in Brain Based Learning from Nova Southeastern University.
Sponsored: This Boca child blog post on Agile Classrooms post was sponsored by Grandview Preparatory School. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor. Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider and refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I have been compensated, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
I’m at the point this holiday season where I’ve literally run out of gift recommendations for people for #dailybocaavery. The last thing my Boca kid needs is another toy! We’re going to have to move out of our house at the rate we’re going. Instead, I am encouraging those close to us (especially the grandparents) to help us start a new valuable holiday tradition: saving for education.
Did you know 90% of grandparents, if asked, would likely contribute to a college savings fund in place of other gifts?
After much research, we’ve decided that saving for education makes the most sense for our family through Florida Prepaid.
A Florida Prepaid College Plan allows families to prepay, on a monthly or lump-sum basis, the future cost of college tuition, specified fees and dormitory housing.
When your child is ready for college, the plan pays the tuition and fees at any Florida College or State University. If your child attends an out-of-state college or private college, the plan will pay the same amount as it would pay at a public college or university in Florida. The best part? Every Prepaid Plan is guaranteed by the State of Florida and there are so many options.
But which plan should you go with? Here’s the route we’re taking…
Saving for Education: The 4-Year Florida University Plan
This Plan will start your child off at one of Florida’s 12 prestigious state universities and see them through their four-year journey.
If your child decides to start at a college (typically less expensive), the unused funds from this Plan can be applied to a post-secondary degree or you can get the remaining money back.
Like all of Florida Prepaid Plans, use isn’t restricted to Florida schools. The amount covered by your Prepaid Plan can be used at schools nationwide.
But what if my child receives a scholarship or doesn’t end up going to college?
If your child receives a scholarship, then congratulations to you! You can get a refund for the same amount as the plan would pay a public college or university in Florida. Ka-ching!
Your child also doesn’t have to start college right away. He/she has up to 10 years after his or her year of projected enrollment to use the plan or you can transfer the plan to another child if they decide to opt out of higher education.
Open enrollment is NOW!
Florida Prepaid’s Open Enrollment period is now through February 28 (2017), so there’s never been a better time to get started with this new family holiday tradition! This is also the only time each year you can purchase Prepaid Plans.
Want to save even more money?
Head to www.myfloridaprepaid.com and use my promo code: BLOG1617. You’ll get 50% off your application fee – a savings of $25!
Also, bookmark this handy checklist before you start the application process to make it easy on yourself. Happy Holidays!
Sponsored: This saving for education post was sponsored by Florida Prepaid via Bloggin Mamas. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor. Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider, so please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I was compensated for this post, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
Between the massive amounts of cookie baking, late nights of gift wrapping and the addition of hundreds of twinkly lights to our Boca Raton house this month, any measure that helps to lower our January energy bill is a welcome one. And let’s be honest, who couldn’t stand to save some money this holiday season? In my ongoing effort to streamline our family budget, I have been actively seeking out ways to save energy this holiday season at our home.
The best online resource I’ve found? Go figure, it’s from our energy company itself: Florida Power & Light. Make it your New Year’s resolution to visit their site year round for energy (and money) saving tips and tricks: FPL.com/EasyToSave
Until we ring in the New Year, here are 9 easy ways from FPL to not only save much needed dough, but to also save energy this holiday season:
1. Learn to love theLED lights – Did you know LED holiday light strands consume 70% less energy than incandescent ones? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, it only costs $0.27 to light a six-foot tree for 12 hours a day for 40 days with LEDs compared to $10 for incandescent lights. Whoa! We used LEDs in our holiday decorating this year indoors and out.
Our daughter really enjoyed lining up these mini LED trees outside our front path. And, the pathway lights are solar-powered!
2. Eliminate inflatables – Besides inflatables (in my opinion) being super tacky, these decorations can cost anywhere from $2 – $9 each per month! Consider supplementing your outdoor holiday display with wreaths, ribbons, flowers, garlands and other (less tacky) energy efficient decorations.
3. Use automatic timers – Don’t leave your lights on and decorations inflated all night long! Install a timer so they turn off once your household is asleep.
4. Embrace extension cords – Instead of using additional strings of lights to add length to your holiday displays, keep a couple of extension cords handy when decorating.
Cooking & Baking for the Holidays
5. Choose glass or ceramic pans for the oven – I had no idea that these pans heat up faster than metal ones! They also allow you to set the temperature 25 degrees lower than a recipe suggests for the SAME COOKING TIME.
6. Stop peeking – Ovens tend to lose a lot of heat when they are opened. They also require significant energy to heat back up to the appropriate temperature. Instead, when you have to sneak-a-peek, turn the oven light on and look through the window.
7. Use your slow cooker – Smaller appliances like slow cookers, microwaves and toaster ovens can be much more energy-efficient for side dishes or small meals.
Holiday Shopping Guide
8. Opt for energy-efficient electronics – When it comes to buying gifts for your loved ones, opt for a laptop over a desktop computer. Fun fact: Laptops require 50-80% less energy than a desktop.
9. Let the star guide you – Always look for the ENERGY STAR® logo when purchasing larger electronics or appliances. These models can reduce energy usage up to 40%! We’re even opting to use our LED TV as our holiday fireplace this year. Perfect for South Florida. 🙂
All of these tips will certainly help my family save energy this holiday season! And, Modern Boca Mom wants to help you save energy year-round with a special GIVEAWAY of an ecobee3 lite smarter wifi thermostatworth $169.00.
Sponsored: This how to save energy this holiday season post was sponsored by FPL. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor. Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I was compensated for this post, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
There are few things that make me happier during the holiday season than receiving an awesome holiday photo card in the mail from dear family or friends. This explains why I totally “Christmas geeked out” this week when our mintedholiday card…excuse me, our NEW YEAR’S cards arrived.
Alas, these are the winners that made our minted holiday card design:
Receiving the mintedholiday card package in the mail was almost a gift in itself! All of the card components were wrapped up so beautifully. Even the receipt came in a little cloth holiday bag.
I particularly like how the rose gold foil printing came out. I think it gives the holiday card a little pizazz! Now to make the time to actually mail them out…
Modern Boca Mom is still hosting a GIVEAWAY for the holidays! Enter HERE for a chance to WIN one of two $125.00 gift cards from minted.com. The contest runs until December 14th (2016).
An extra happy holiday for two of my lucky readers…good luck!
This post contains mintedaffiliate links. Please support Modern Boca Mom by purchasing through these links! We do appreciate it.
Sponsored: This post is sponsored by minted.com. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor. Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider. Please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I received a minted.com credit in exchange for a product review in this post, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
Is it just me or do you feel like you’re hemorrhaging money this holiday season? Black Friday, Cyber Monday, #givingtuesday– my bank account can’t keep up! But I have some South Florida savings scoop for you. There’s a NEW app for Boca moms called LocaLynxthat can help you save money at TONS of local businesses!
Save money. Shop local. LocaLynx is a NEW app for Boca moms
I downloaded LocaLynx for myself and saved $4 at my local carwash the FIRST time I used it. How awesome is that? It’s very simple to use and makes it easy when you’re a busy mom!Wefinallyhaveour own neighborhood app!
The app is separated into 12 handy categories with my favorites being: Dining & Drinks, Entertainment, Health & Beauty, Home Goods & Services and Shopping & Retail! There’s even an easy search feature to narrow the field even further.
The app launched in South Florida this year at the Fourth of July Festival on Delray’s Atlantic Avenue by one of our local families! They’re constantly working to add new businesses with deals and coupons for users like you and me. LocaLynx also encourages people to SHOP LOCAL, which is certainly aligned with Modern Boca Mom’s MOMpreneur mission.
Why is it important to shop local?
1. You are making a HUGE impact on your local economy
According to the 3/50 Project, for every $100 spent in locally-owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If that same $100 was spent at a national chain only $43 stays in the community, and shopping at a big online chain like Amazon means no money comes home! Like, ZERO.
2. You’re employing your friends and neighbors
Shopping locally is an easy way to give back to Boca Raton, especially when you are buying from people you know. Think about it: How many people do you know that either own a business or know someone who does? In virtually every community, it is easier to find a small businessperson than a good cup of coffee.
3. You are enriching your own community
By shopping locally and rolling dollars back into the infrastructure of your community, you are directly influencing the quality of where you live.
And what could be more appropriate for the holiday season?
Sponsored: This post is sponsored by LocaLynx. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and not influenced in any way by the sponsor. Any statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with provider, but please refer to this site’s Disclosure for more information. I was compensated for this post, but that does not impact my views or opinions.
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