During vacation I was lucky enough to get asked to come into Ted's Montana Grill and try some of their new items and see what they had to offer.  First of all I was excited because....hello-no cooking for me!!!!  So we decided to make a day of it and bring the kiddos for lunch during their vacation week to Ted's in Evergreen Walk in South Windsor.  

First before I get to far I need to talk about the staff.  We first were greeted by an amazing hostess who was super sweet to my kids and not only covered the formalities but also chatted with us.  A great touch is when she noticed the kids in addition to getting our kid supplies-she also made sure to take the steak knives out of the utensil roll ups which is a huge plus!    What I loved was I noticed her doing this with every customer not just me-the blogger writing the review.  Next we got to meet Connor the Manager who was amazing.  Not only was he super nice-and funny-he had so much to share with us about the company. You could tell that he really loved his restaurant and took great pride in this location but the new location on Front Street in Hartford.  Our waiter was not only attentive but super knowledgeable about the menu and was also great to the kids.  This was a recurring pattern I noticed-Ted's was great from the kids.  I sort of had the impression that since it is in EvergreenWalk (which if you know it we can be honest it is an upscale outdoor shopping venue) that Ted's was not kid friendly-I couldn't have been more wrong.

This was not my first trip to Ted's but it was my first trip in a long time-Also it was the first time with both kids with me.  When looking at the menu I was pleasantly surprised.  Although my go to with them is always a burger they had a large selection of food that was not burgers.  There were a variety of sandwiches and meals.  There were tons of fresh lighter options if you wanted to lean towards a lighter lunch.  When selecting our meals we got to nosh on their amazing pickles-that are cut by hand.  I asked there is totally a dude who is in the back slicing up the pickles every day....there is totally some bad joke there!

These almost empty pickle bowl that our great waiter refilled three times-We have a thing for pickles.  Also note the wikki sticks-why cooler than crayons and more fun for the kids!

The menu-Smaller sandwiches, salads, and kid menu on the left-Burgers and larger meals to the right.  Also the kids meals were extensive and even included fresh vegetable options and grilled chicken 

Josie had chocolate milk and Dylan had lemonade.  No pre-made chocolate milk here-Fresh made it looked so good!  Of course Ted's is known for their fresh squeezed lemonade.  My father swore they had the best lemonade.  

Josie playing with those wiki sticks I mentioned 

So I don't know about the rest of my family but I had a hard time deciding what to get.  There was an amazing roasted chicken that was calling my name-but I figured.  Hey I am here to try new things...let me go outside my comfort zone.  Boy was I glad I did.  Below are the pictures of our meals!

Miss M had the sliders.  Which were three mini burgers that were AMAZING!  No seriously they were so good I almost stole one.  Too bad my girl put away all three and only gave me a bite.  

This is me outside of my comfort zone-A fish sandwich.  The waiter said I would like it and that it was super fresh fish (from City Fish) and lightly battered.  The batter was so light it almost tasted baked.  With amazing fries to boot!

The hubby had a meatloaf meal.  It came with mashed potatoes and a tasty baked squash casserole.  He almost licked the plate clean it was all so good.  I am not a huge meatloaf fan but the was really good flavored and that casserole could have been a meal on its own. 

Dylan had homemade macaroni and cheese.  With being lactose intolerant I did't have any but he ate a huge portion at lunch and finished it for dinner.   This was no kraft in a box-homemade cheese sauce!

While we finishing our dinner Connor the manager came over to chat and while discussing how great my fish was we chatted about how Ted's prides itself on the freshness of the food.  They do not get anything pre-made.  Everything is made from scratch.  The pickles and french fries are hand cut every day.  The meats and fish are delivered daily.  Desserts are baked from scratch.  Connor also told us this is why they are able to cater so well to those with allergies and sensitivities.  Thankfully I am only lactose intolerant but I know eating out is hard from those with food allergies.  He said that all meals are fresh made so if you are allergic they can easily work with you to create a meal that you will enjoy and feel good safe eating.  

I can't lie and say that my kids Mac and Cheese and fries is healthy-but there were healthy options.  Also when everything is fresh you know you are getting good food! 

Now lets talk price-because as a mom that is important.  I wouldn't say that Ted's is cheap-but it certainly isn't expensive.  Now if anyone has been to a certain ice cream peddling restaurant lately you all know unless you are going on Kids 1.99 day-that place can get pricey-and the food stinks.  It is gross and pre-made and the only good thing is the icecream.  Our meal would have been the same price as those "family friendly" places.  If you got full meals, with drinks, and appetizers you would be more than a typically family meal out but then again my days of three hour meals with drinks and apps is long gone people!

Also, lets talk about this-A friend at work has raved about this dessert and I know why.  Homemade strawberry shortcake!!!!  So stinking good!!! Of course I could not eat the ice cream-but the homemade biscuit and strawberry sauce.  This would be why I would go back-maybe with a lactaid in hand for next time!
Lets talk about the glory that is this dessert!!!

Fun Facts we learned about Ted's

1.  The paper straws that they use actually saved this American owned company from going out of business.  How great is that!  Even if you hate the straws (which I do) you sort of feel good using them.  Not only are they environmentally friendly they are American owned!

2.  They have a newer (its been open almost a year) Front Street Location in Hartford, CT.  Although some of you may be putting on a frowny face about Hartford it is within walking distance from the Convention Center and Science Center Parking Garages.  Also, lets be honest people.  Anyone who has been to Evergreen Walk know that parking there is a nightmare too-its probably easier in Hartford then in South Windsor!

3. Speaking of Science Center-Did you know that Science Center Members get 15% off at the Front Street Location. Hello-Kid friendly, good food, allergy friendly restaurant with 15% off!!  We are already so excited about that!

4.  They are beginning a partnership with local farms to bring in more local produce.  Since as I said above they pride themselves with the freshness of their ingredients-so why not have more local produce.  This is just in the beginning stages and I am so happy to hear that!

5.  Totally my most exciting of the list...well its tied with the 15% off from number 3.  You can get your burgers pre-made from the restaurant and pay per burger.  As I said I love the burgers now I can get them at home!  You just call ahead and let them know how many and they will have them fresh for you the day you need them-AWESOMENESS!!  

Overall I would highly recommend going to Ted's.  It is a great option for families and I was so pleasantly surprised to find out just how fresh their food was and how kid friendly they are.  In fact we already have plans to check out the front street location on our next visit to the science center!  
Check out their website here http://www.tedsmontanagrill.com/ 

**Please note the Ted's gave us a free meal in exchange for my honest review of their restaurant***
I am blown away that today will mark six months since my dad died.  Six months since I was sitting in my desk watching my student teacher teach and then getting a text from my mom.  I remember every single second of that next three hours.  Every moment of that hour drive to the hospital, the moment I realized I was walking into a chapel and not a hospital room, and seeing my dad at the hospital.  Every single second-I remember.  I wish I didn't.  

So it blows my mind how it has been six months worth of seconds since that day.  It amazes me how in one breath six months feels like six seconds and on the inhale and six years by the exhale.  Some days it feels so fresh and new that I can't even bear it. Then other days it feels like years since this happened.  

Six months.....the longest I have ever gone without seeing my dad was the first six weeks of college when I made him promise he wouldn't come get me no matter how homesick I was.  The longest I have ever gone without talking to him-maybe a week.  Since I had the kids the longest I have gone without seeing him was the week I was in Florida last year at this time.  Now six months has gone by.  Half a year.  

Part of me wonders if it should hurt less by now.  That is shouldn't take my breath away when I realize he is gone or when I take a cute picture and go to send it to him and it hits me.  Then the other part of me doesn't want it to stop hurting like this.  For it to stop hurting means I am getting used to it.  I don't want to get used to it.  I want to scream and swear and cry just like I did when I rounded that corner and saw I was going into a chapel not a hospital room.  

Yet, I know He would be crushed to know how much life is just hard for us right now-all of us in our own way.  Then again he never would have left us had he the choice.  So just like he didn't have a choice to stay-I don't have a choice to keep going.  

My husband gave me his words of wisdom yesterday when I lost it and was crying.  I said it sucked.  He said no it doesn't suck it just is.  In a way to say that it sucks means to suggest that you can change it, or fix it.  This isn't something that can be changed it just is.  

Maybe I need to realize that this won't be about marking time since he left-maybe it will just be as a coworker said to me-The before and after.  Maybe that is easier to think about.   

When it rains it pours around here that is for sure.  In the last three months we have had some major financial disasters in the house.  Our furnace leaked (because it was dying), ruined our floors in the basement.  Insurance covered the floors to be redone-but not the new furnace.  While taking out the floors it was discovered the toilet had broken and had been leaking-fixing it was over 1000.00.  Just as we managed to pay for all that-I was flossing (yes flossing) and broke a tooth.  It needed a crown for 1300.00 that was not covered by my craptastic dental insurance.  Then last week we noticed the basement was oddly hot-figured it was a setting on the new furnace called the plumber/oil company out.  Nope-there is a leak UNDER THE HOUSE!!!!!!!  So the only way to fix it without ripping up all those new floors I just had put in and drilling under the house is to create a work around.  Thankfully this was not as expensive as I was expecting and will be about 1000.00 when all is said and done.  So for some quick math-1000 for the toilet, 1000 for the tooth, 1300 for the furnace (we took a loan for the rest), 1000 for the leaked pipe.  Four thousand dollar-although we had some-we didn't have that on hand.  So we had to put it on a credit card.  Without giving giving out all the details we already have a lot of credit card debt.  More than makes me comfortable to have considering we both have jobs. It adds up random stuff like Josie's bedroom set or a cash advance during one of those storms to take down dangerous trees.  It kills me that I spent two years paying down 5000 in that debt only to put it back on.  Money is what stresses me out the most.  I hate having debt-mainly credit card debt.  

I am trying to remain positive-these are things that needed to be done.  We will pay off the entire credit card new stuff and all in about three years.  Its not that horrific it just gets me all stressed out. 

Then I remind myself-I need to be kind to myself.  This is a hard time for me-A lot of the panic and worry I feel is just anxiety that is related to my life situation right now-not actually anything to do with the situation.  

No one is sick or injured.  It is just money.  There are times I will have more of it and times I will have less (A lesson my dad tried to always impart on me).  Ryan is much more calm.  He tells me its only money-we will be ok.  I am thankful that I have that.  

So lately I have been trying to not focus on the above-but to let that go.  So that is what I am doing.  A wee ranting to let it go.   To focus on the happy spots in my life.  

For me it was a vacation at home with the kids-Relaxing and doing some much needed stuff around the house.  To focus on our health, our time together, and just the ability to appreciate what we have and not worry about what we don't.  


Other than being an emo space to deal with the death of my father-I am lucky that I get use this place to test out new products.  About a month and half ago I got offered to try a new product-Pasta Chips.  I of course heard the word pasta and instantly said yes.  Then after I said yes-I started to worry-Why and how would they make pasta into chips.  I started to pictures eating uncooked seasoned pasta and breaking another tooth (I will fill you in on that one later).

So my pasta chips were delivered and let me tell you it made me even more nervous because the box most likely could fit Miss J in it.  Inside the box were two bags of the following flavors

Marinara, Alfredo, Sea Salt, and Garlic and Olive Oil.

They looked tasty and I had tons of them!  So we busted in right away on the Sea Salt ones....they were oddly delishious.  I think what made them so unique was the texture.  They looked like a cracker but were crispier and lighter-Almost of if a Pita Chip and a Wheat Thin has a tasty baby together.  They were excellent-but I didn't exactly think pasta when I ate them.  The picky kid and the hubby loved them so anything that gets past both of them is a win!

Next we opened the Marinara and Alfredo-I was scared of the Marinara but it was good.  It had a sun-dried tomatoey taste to it that was oddly delicious.  The Alfredo-Damned if it didn't taste just like Alfredo (I didn't eat to many because they did have dairy in them).  To me the most interesting aspect of these flavors was how much like pasta they tasted.  The texture of the chip paired with the flavoring it was very pasta like (you know hence the name-PastaChips)

Lastly we tried the Garlic and Olive Oil-We loved these.  Only issue-they are super garlicky.  Like you will need to brush, floss, mouth wash, and have some gum garlic!  So good yet so bad!

We really loved these and the price point when I saw them at the grocery store would make them as a nice item to serve at a party (I did serve some of mine at Miss J's birthday with hummus).  I don't know if I would get these for everyday snacking in the kids lunch.  The bag is ok sized but the chips break kind of easy so they aren't really good in a kiddos lunch bag (Mine were fine thought).  I think of these as more of a special cracker/chip to serve with parties or a mom/dad snack post kiddo bedtime.  This is not to say my kids didn't love them-In fact Master Dy asked for them by name and wanted to know if the company was going to be sending another box because he liked them.  

Overall-I think this is a fun new chip.  The texture on the chip is amazing and they really do taste like pasta-so for this carbaholic girl they are certainly tasty.  

PS-You want to try them-head over to the PastaChips Facebook Page and there is a 1.00 off coupon. Which is a great deal because these chips were under 3.00 at the local market in my town.  Also for any and all nutritional information check out their website