Monday, February 4, 2013

Themed Mom's Dinner: Citrus

On the final Saturday of January, ten moms came together to have a fancy dinner and drinks. The only rule - everything (except the red wine) had to contain some kind of citrus to celebrate the flavors of winter. We had a great time and everyone's dishes were really impressive. Here was our menu:

Cocktail: Citrus Cantina Cooler

Erin mixes up her concoction!

Appetizer: Citrus and Blue Cheese Bruschetta

I don't even like blue cheese and I loved this! Caitlin, the grapefruit made the dish!
Soup: Winter Squash Soup with Citrus-Mint Pesto

Lisa did an awesome job with her soup, especially since she was our pinch hitter for the night!
Salad: Strawberry Citrus Salad with Homemade Lemon Dressing

Oops, forgot to take a picture of the salad til it was almost gone. And not sure where the dressing was in the picture. The bottle was for those who didn't want the yummy lemon dressing Nancy made.

Main Dish: Lemon Chicken

My lemon chicken was pretty good, especially since it was my first attempt ever doing something with chicken thighs. Maybe I should branch out of the chicken breast box again sometime!

Side Dish: Citrus Green Beans with Toasted Pine Nuts

Laura's green beans had a nice orange flavor. And she wasn't even the only one to toast pine nuts for the evening!

Side Dish: Lemon and Cherry Orzo Salad

Julia's orzo was a hit! Yum, cherries. Yum, cheese. Yum, lemon. Yum, arugula.

Dessert: Lemon Cloud Cake (and Blood and Cara Cara Oranges)

Becki's lemon cake was light and a perfect end to the night. As were our "drunken" oranges, that is oranges splashed with Prosecco.

Red and white wine selections from Melissa and Lorena rounded out the menu. Delish!
Here's a not that great picture of the group as we sat down to dinner.

The night was such a success we have already scheduled our next event in early April. The theme then will be ginger and we enjoyed brainstorming future meal themes as well. Check out the calendar for more fun mom nights!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

More Than Moms Gives Back

More than Moms has been busy lately planning and participating in multiple events and outreach projects.  Here is an update on all the ways we are giving back in the community!

The Family Tree Walk for Maryland's Children

This event was held on October 27th at the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Center YMCA in Baltimore.   All of the funds raised at the walk were in support of The Family Tree's Child Abuse Prevention Programs.  More than Moms as a group donated $100.  In addition to that we had $125 in individual donations for a grand total of $225 donated to the cause from our group.  5 families from More than Moms participated in the 1-mile family walk and stayed for some fun and games afterwards.  Here are a few pics from the event.....
Getting ready for the big walk!

Noelle participating in a football drill led by Ravens trainers

Hayden sporting his new shirt and enjoying his balloon fishing rod

March of Dimes - Signature Chefs Auction

The Signature Chefs Auction in Central Maryland is chaired by Retired Oriole, Chris Hoiles, and his wife Dana and raises money for the March of Dimes.  Since 2000, this event has raised over $1 Million for the March of Dimes.  More than Moms donated a basket for the silent auction which includes a $100 Brio restaurant gift certificate generously donated by Lisa Atkinson, several items from Scittino's Italian Market (pasta, olive oil, bruschetta sauce, marinara sauce), a bottle of Chianti, and a MTMs t-shirt.

Guests of the event will enjoy an evening of fine food, wine and auction items and will be able to visit over 30 of the area’s celebrated chefs all in one evening.  If you are interested in attending this event on November 5th here is the link for tickets and more information.

Merry Monkeys

For the 3rd year in a row More than Moms will be making "Merry Monkeys" to be donated to the Baltimore Outreach Services, a shelter for women and children on Charles St.  Our board member, Mandy Zivin will be organizing and hosting multiple events to prepare and sew the Monkeys.  This is a fun and easy way for us to give back to the community and bring a little more happiness to children in need during the holidays.

There are lots of ways that you can contribute: donate materials such as socks and poly-fil, cutting, stuffing, turning various monkey parts inside out and outside in, attaching bows, etc. You do not need to know how to sew!  More than Moms members can go to our meetup site to find out more information on upcoming events and how you can help out!

Here is a photo of some Merry Monkeys made in the past!

Monday, October 22, 2012

MTM Fall Festival 2012

This past Saturday More Than Moms celebrated the fall season with their annual Fall Festival and Halloween Celebration.  The turnout was great!  The event was held in our board member Melissa Schwarz's back yard.  It was the perfect location and day for a fall party.  Families enjoyed yummy food, games, and raffle prizes.  The kids all looked adorable in their Halloween costumes and a great time was had by all!  A special thanks to all the moms who donated their time, energy, and resources to make this a great event!   Here is a list of our raffle winners and some photos from the day.....

Raffle Winners!!!
Ashley Kragler - Busy bag set
Erin Stine - leftover beer and wine 
Vanessa Williams - McCormick spice basket 
Caitlin Kirby - Mandy's homemade washcloths and burp cloths 
Teresa Frost - 2 hour closet consult with the clothing queen

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spring Fitness Challenge

15 Supermoms recently completed the Spring Fitness Challenge, a six week physical activity competition sponsored by More than Moms. The program began on Sunday, April 22nd and ended on Saturday, June 2nd. The goal of the program was to help motivate moms to perform at least 90 minutes of exercise each week for a healthier mind and body.  Participants earned points by exercising each week and also had weekly bonus point incentives.  The weekly incentives included attending the kick-off walk, using an on-line diet and exercise tracker, performing 60 minutes of strength training, submitting a healthy recipe to the group, taking a group exercise class, and doing something active as a family.  Each week there was also a meetup to promote each incentive.  We had a great turnout at all the events and everyone seemed to be motivated by the program.  All those who completed at least 90 minutes of exercise each week received a re-usable water bottle.  Congrats to our top four point earners who received the following prizes....

1st place - Laura Saxton - $50 gift card to Dick's Sporting Goods
2nd place - Yolanda Hicks - Mani/Pedi at Ahh Nails in Catonsville
3rd place - Melissa Kistler - Choice of Magazine Subscription to Cooking Light, Fitness or Self Magazine
4th place - Becki Kaman - TurboFire Greatest Hits workout DVD

Here are a couple of pics from our Family Hike Meetup and the Program Finale at Sweet Frog in Catonsville.....

7 families came out for the Family Hike meetup at the Patapsco Valley State Park

The kiddos did great walking the trails

Our turnaround spot had a waterfall and was a great place to take off our shoes and play in the water for a bit.
Erin, Becki, Abbe, Angie, and Yolanda at Sweet Frog for the Program Finale
Caitlyn, Will, and Josh enjoying some frozen yogurt!

Monday, May 7, 2012

MTM Yard Sale 2012

More than Moms recently took part in a community yard sale in Catonsville.  One of our board members, Mandy Zivin hosted the event and we had a great turnout!  10 moms took over Mandy's yard selling all sorts of items.  We had lots of strollers, bouncies, swings, baby clothes, and household items.  We were definitely the jackpot for any new moms out shopping that day.  We even had some shopping moms show interest in our group!  From what I've heard many were able to make a nice profit.  The weather was sunny and warm but the best part was getting to meet, catch up, and spend time with some great moms.  Here are some pics from the event....

Monday, February 20, 2012

Healthy Recipe

I recently hosted a healthy cooking demo so I thought I would share the recipe. We had fun cooking together and talking about different things we do to prepare healthier meals for our families. A couple moms went back for seconds so I took that as a good sign that they enjoyed the meal! Here it is.....

Spinach Tortellini

1 (9oz) package of cheese tortellini
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 tsp olive oil
6 large garlic cloves (minced)
1 (6oz) package of fresh baby spinach
1/4-1/2 cup pre-shredded Parmesan cheese
4 slices turkey bacon, cooked

1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and transfer to large bowl.

2. Heat large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Spray with canola oil cooking spray. Add turkey bacon slices and cook until lightly crispy. Transfer to a paper towel to cool. When cool, chop turkey bacon into small pieces and add them to the pasta bowl.

3. Add pine nuts to the hot pan. Cook 1-3 minutes until lightly toasted (stirring so they don't burn). Add nuts to the pasta bowl.

4. Heat oil in the hot pan over medium heat. Add garlic to the pan and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally so it doesn't burn. Add spinach to pan and cook for 2 minutes or until spinach wilts (stirring constantly). Add spinach mixture, cheese, and black pepper to the pasta bowl. Toss well.


The best part about this meal is it is easy to prepare, easy to clean up after, and tastes good hot or cold. If you prefer to serve it hot, time your pasta to finish last and then combine with all if the other prepared ingredients. You can also make this vegetarian by leaving out the turkey bacon.

More Cooking Tips:
-to make an even healthier recipe choose whole wheat tortellini - I used Buitoni brand
-to make even lower calorie - cut the Parmesan cheese in half and omit the pine nuts
-for more texture and an extra serving of veggies add asparagus to the dish

Spinach has many health benefits. It is loaded with calcium, iron, vitamin K, folic acid and lutein. In order for your body to absorb the iron found in spinach and other leafy greens, you must also eat it with a vitamin C source. Spinach contains a little vitamin C but to make sure you are absorbing all the iron you can, it is recommended pairing this meal with sliced watermelon, orange slices or cantaloupe. I added a side salad of grape tomatoes with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar since tomatoes also contain Vitamin C.

The Calorie Breakdown.....

Tortellini - 825 calories
Turkey Bacon - 140 calories
Olive Oil - 40 calories
Spinach - 50 calories
Pine Nuts - 200 calories
1/4 cup Parm Cheese - 110 calories

Total - 1365 calories

3 servings - 450 calories
3 servings no cheese - 400 calories
3 servings no cheese or bacon - 350 calories

I also prepared a simple healthy dessert to finish off the meal. I combined sliced kiwi, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries and topped with about a half cup of Dannon Light and Fit Vanilla yogurt (approx 55 calories). Yum!

I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Moms Get Busy

More than Moms recently had a meetup to make Busy Bags. These are small bags with activities your toddler can do when you need help occupying their time....such as when cleaning the house, out to dinner, at the doctor, shopping, etc. The goal is to create activities that are easy to make, simple to store and transport, inexpensive, and yet fun and different for your little one. We had a great turnout! We made popsicle stick puzzles, button snakes, lacing cards, and number dot cards. Here are some pics of what we created.....

Popsicle stick puzzles....some moms chose to do pics of their family or toddler

For this we taped a row of popsicle sticks together, glued the picture to the opposite side, and then cut with a sharp blade after the glue had dried.

Button Snakes

For this we sewed buttons on to each end of a strip of ribbon. Then we cut slits into multi-colored squares of felt and threaded it onto the ribbon.

Lacing cards

For this we used pre-cut foam shapes, a hole punch, and string. After putting holes around your shape, all you have to do is tie a knot on one end and lace the string through.

Number dot cards

This template was pulled from an on-line learning web-site. It is double sided counting to 10. You can use pom poms or other objects such as coins to help teach counting and number recognition.

For these and other busy bag type activities, here are a few web-sites you can check out.....

We hope to schedule a busy bag swap event soon!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We've Shown You Our Chair

More than Moms has entered Catonsville's Show Us Your Chair Contest, benefiting the 4th of July Celebration (a very worthy cause).  Several moms got together and created a Go Go Gadget Mom Chair. 

We'd love it if you'd go cast a few votes for our chair.  It's $1 a vote through PayPal, but you can cast as many "votes" as you want in a single transaction. 

So what do you say?  Will you kill two birds with one stone, help us and the 4th of July at the same time?  Sweet!

Monday, May 30, 2011

It's Official Almost

I'm not sure if the word has spread, but about a week ago, our paperwork for tax exempt status was submitted to the Federal government.  Barring no major (or minor) hiccups, we should receive our status in 3-6 months. 

I wanted to take a sec and personally thank Laura for pulling it all together.  Because of her efforts, we didn't have to spend thousands on a lawyer.  The next time you see our Madame Secretary, make sure you give her a pat on the back.

Tucked inside the deep pile of paperwork is a narrative we had to write to describe where we've been and where we want to go.  I thought it might be nice to share that story with everyone.

"More than Moms was created in September 2009 by Hillary Pennington as a typical playgroup, a place where kids could play and moms could converse.   The original plan was to keep the group amongst Hillary’s friends and contacts.  However when she signed up for a social networking website,, she was surprised when they advertised her group to nearly 3000 moms around the area.  Almost overnight the group and the vision changed.  Suddenly we were strangers on our way to a family.  

As time went on, the moms in the group were looking to be more than moms, more than a playgroup, to be able to give back to the community.  In April of 2010, a local business owner lost his young wife just days after she gave birth to a son.  The vast majority of our group had never met this woman, but that didn’t stop our hearts from breaking.  We immediately banded together to gather diapers, baby food, and gift cards for the family.  Thus began our addiction to service. 

We feel that if we can pull our resources, talents and gifts together than we can have a greater impact on our community.  As a group we decided to pursue the creation of a non-profit organization that would allow us to become a recognized entity in the community, take on tax deductible contributions and raise money that will make and impact for moms both inside and outside of our organization. 
Our vision is to empower mothers, to reach their philanthropic goals, and it’s certainly caught on and spread throughout our little playgroup like a wildfire.  We’ve organized meals for new moms with no other support network, sewed “merry sock monkeys” for children at a local shelter, and are in the process of putting together a community recipe book.  

As to our plans for the future, we’re looking to partner with a pregnancy center to help support the moms after they give birth.  We want to expand our “Merry Monkeys” project to include multiple facilities and possibly even be able to extend the service throughout the year.  We desire to connect with other organizations in the community to do whatever we can to support moms in need, providing resources, programs, and expertise so they can do what they do best…be mothers." 

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