2016 Kia Sedona SXL

When I had my first child, I thought I had to have a minivan. However, at that time, buying a minivan was not in the cards for us. Then we had our second child and while we could have bought one then, for some reason, we never did. Now that my kids are 9 and 11, I figured we were past that need for a minivan and leased a car about six months ago. But then I went and drove the 2016 Kia Sedona for a week and I realized that not only was I NOT past the need for a minivan, but I really wanted a minivan. A minivan and this sturdy trunk organizer!

**I test drove the Kia Sedona for one week for the purpose of this post. All stories and opinions are my own**

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My first reaction was, “Oh my gosh, this is a large vehicle”. I was actually a tad nervous about parking and backing out. I will admit, I was afraid I would hit something. That is, until I got a load of the camera this car is equipped with:

kia-sedona-camera

I kid you not, I parked this car like a pro! I really liked how I was able to pull into a space and check the camera to see if I am between the lines. You know how you see people back out to re-pull in to fix how they are parked, yet you don’t know why they did that because they just pulled right back in the exact same way?!? Not with this car! I could go on and on about the backup camera, but I’ll stop!

Standard Features on the Kia Sedona

  • Mechanical
    • 3.3L DOHC GDI CVVT V6 Engine
    • 6-speed Automatic Transmission w/Sportmatic
    • 19″ Chrome Alloy wheels
  • Safety
    • Dual Front Advanced Airbags
    • Front Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
    • Full-Length Side-Curtain Airbags
    • Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH)
    • Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
    • Traction Control System (TCS)
    • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
    • Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS)
  • Interior, Comfort & Convenience
    • Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control
    • Infinity Surround Sound Audio System
    • SIRIUSXM® Satellite Radio w/free 3-mo. subscription
    • UVO eServices w/Premium Navi & Back-Up Camera
    • Nappa Leather Seat Trim
    • Memory Driver’s Seat Position
    • Heated and Ventilated Front Seats
    • 2nd Row First Class Lounge Seating
    • Push Button Start with Smart Key
    • Leather Wrapped Wood-Grain Style Steering Wheel
    • Heated Steering Wheel
    • Center Console Mounted 115V Power Inverter
    • Wood-Grain Style and Metallic Accents
    • Blind Spot Detection (w/RCTA)
    • Auto-Dimming Rear View Mirror w/HomeLink™
    • Front/Rear Parking Assist System
  • Exterior
    • Projection Fog Lights & LED Positioning Lamps
    • Unique Bumpers and Trim
    • Dual Sunroofs
    • Heated Outside Mirrors w/Turn Signal Indicators
    • Smart “Hands Free” Power Liftgate
  • Warranty
    • 10 Year/100,000 Mile Limited Powertrain Warranty
    • 5 Year/60,000 Mile Limited Basic Warranty
    • 5 Year/60,000 Mile Roadside Assistance

In addition to the amazing standard features that the Kia Sedona comes with, the vehicle I drove also had the following features:

  • SXL 8 Seat Technology Package
    • Xenon HID Headlights w/High Beam Assist
    • Lane Departure Warning System
    • Forward Collision Warning System
    • Surround View Monitor
    • Smart Cruise Control
    • Two Tone Leather Seats (replaces Nappa Leather)
    • 2nd Row Slide-N-Stow Seats (Delete 2nd Row First Class Lounge Seating)
    • Removable 2nd Row Center Seat
    • Heated 2nd Row Outboard Seat Cushions
    • Chrome Side Sill Trim
    • Luggage Zone 115V Power Inverter (Delete Dual Sunroof)
    • Rear Seat Entertainment System

I was so sad to give this car back at the end of the week. I was even more sad to realize that I had another year and a half on my current car before I could even start to think about getting another car! Every single thing about this car made sense. They really had moms in mind when they created the Kia Sedona. From the little mirror that you can flip down to get a look at the entire back seat to the little shelf under the center console that was perfect for coupons, I was forever finding something and saying “oh wow…I love this!”.

kia-sedona-features

Do you drive a minivan? What’s your favorite thing about it?

Mamma Chia Seed Your Soul® Products

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for healthy products for my family that can be eaten on the run. I’d love to say that we sit down to a meal together all the time, but there are many mornings when my son runs into school with some sort of protein bar for breakfast. Well…minus this last week before holiday break. He ate more PopTarts that week than he’s eaten in an entire year. It was one of those weeks. I did, however, make sure he tried the yummy Mamma Chia Seed Your Soul® bars one of the days!

*I received the following products for the purpose of this post. All opinions are 100% my own*

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About the Mamma Chia Producs

Mamma Chia is a conscious and sustainable company. They have made it their mission to share the Magic of Chia® and lead in achieving this mission by offering delicious, high-quality, organic chia-based foods. All Mamma Chia products are:

  • USDA Certified Organic
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-Free
  • Vegan
  • Kosher

Mamma Chia offers a wide variety of products to choose from that are sold in natural food markets and mainstream grocery stores all throughout the U.S. and Canada. You can also purchase products online by visiting ShopMammaChia.com. Check out their line-up of great products:

  • Organic Chia & Greens Beverage
  • Organic Clean Energy Beverage
  • Organic Chia Granola Clusters
  • Organic Chia Vitality Bars
  • Organic Chia Squeeze
  • Organic Vitality Beverage
  • Organic Chia Seeds

I will admit, before trying these products, I didn’t really know much about Chia Seeds. I had heard of them, but I don’t know that I had ever tasted them. Chia Seeds are the RICHEST plant-based source of Omega-3s. In fact, each of the products listed above have at least 1000 mg of Omega-3s in them. Some even have 2500 mg!! Besides being a great source for Omega-3s, they are also a great source of protein and fiber. So I feel good about sending my son off to school with one of the Organic Chia Vitality Bars in his backpack. He really enjoyed the Blueberry & Dark Chocolate with Chia bar.

GIVEAWAY!!!

One lucky U.S. resident will receive an amazing Mamma Chia prize pack with lots of yummy products to try. Please note that you MUST complete the mandatory entry to be eligible to win. One winner will be chosen at random and sent an email. Please respond within 48 hours or a new winner will be determined.

Mandatory Entry:

Of the Mamma Chia products either pictured above OR mentioned in this post, which product are you most interested in trying?

GOOD LUCK!! This giveaway will end on January 1, 2016.

Gluten Free Peppermint Bark Brownie Cheesecake

One of my most favorite things about the holidays is peppermint bark. I could probably eat my weight in peppermint bark. I am NOT even kidding. Since becoming gluten free, sweets haven’t really meant all that much to me. However, it is the holidays and there is just something about Christmas that screams, “you have to have peppermint everything”.

For my side of the families Christmas dinner (we celebrated early), I decided to make a Gluten Free Peppermint Bark Brownie Cheesecake. I’m not going to lie, it was probably one of the best desserts I have ever made in my life!

gluten-free-cheesecake

Gluten Free Peppermint Bark Brownie Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • 1 Gluten Free Brownie Mix
  • 2 8-oz packages of Cream Cheese*
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 8 oz Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/2 cup Peppermint Candies, crushed
  • 1/2 cup White Chocolate Chips

**Be sure to check your cream cheese to make sure it is gluten free. Walmart brand says gluten free on the package. 

Directions

  1. Prepare your gluten free brownie mix according to the directions on the package. Bake it in a springform pan. Be sure to grease the pan well. Put a small metal bowl in the freezer to chill. You will need this in a little bit.
  2. Place the two packages of cream cheese and the 1 cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Add the 1 tsp vanilla and mix again.
  3. Take the metal bowl out of the freezer and place 8 ounces of Heavy Whipping Cream in the bowl and beat with your mixer until stiff whip cream has formed.
  4. Add the whip cream, white chocolate chips and crushed peppermint to large mixing bowl. Using a spatula, mix it all together.
  5. Once the gluten free brownie has cooled, add the cheesecake topping to the brownie and cover with plastic wrap.
  6. Refrigerate overnight. Sprinkle extra crushed peppermint and white chocolate chips on top before serving.

gluten-free-peppermint-cheesecake

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander

About two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to test drive the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander. I was pretty excited. I like my car, but it’s always fun to see what else is out there that I may be interested in getting when my lease is up. When this 4-door SUV showed up, I was pleasantly surprised. I liked the overall look of the car and the color was Cosmic Blue, which I really did like. That’s funny to me because I typically do not like blue cars. The interior was a beige color. It was too light for my liking, but I have kids and well…you can guess why a light interior is not my thing!

mitsubishi-outlander

About the Mitsubishi Outlander

The Japanese car gets phenomenal gas mileage. I drove this car all over my town, sat for 40 minutes each day at my son’s school waiting for him to come out (with the car running most of the time because, well…I like the heated seats!) and I only used half a tank of gas! I was stunned! On paper, the car is said to get 24 city MPG and 29 highway MPG. I feel that is pretty darn accurate! With as crazy busy as my town is, you need a car that gets good gas mileage or you’ll be spending so much on gas each year.

Warranty wise, this car has a pretty good one!

  • 10 year/100,000 mile Powertrain Limited Warranty
  • 5 year/60,000 mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty
  • 7 year/100,000 mile Anti-Corrosion/Perforation Limited Warranty
  • 5 year/UNLIMITED Roadside Assistance

When you look at a few of the other dealerships (Mazda, Toyota and Honda), they only have a 5 year/60,000 mile Powertrain Limited Warranty.

Some Notable Features

  • Mechanical Features
    • Continuously Variable Transmission
    • Super All-Wheel Control
    • Active Front Differential
  • Exterior Features
    • Auto-off Halogen Headlights
    • Heated Side-View Mirrors
    • Short Pole Antenna
    • LED Rear Combination Tail Lights
    • Rear Privacy Glass
    • 18-inch Two-Tone Alloy Wheels
  • Interior Features
    • Color Multi-Informational Display
    • Rear Cargo Area Light
    • ECO Indicator Light
    • 7 Passenger Seating
    • Drive Mode Selector (AWC, ECO, Normal, Snow, Lock)
    • Heated Front Seats
    • 60/40 Split Fold-Down rear seats with independent sides and reclining adjustments (2nd row)
    • 50/50 3rd row fold-down flat feature
    • Micron Air Filtration
    • Remote hood and fuel release lever
  • Convenience Features
    • Rearview Camera
    • FUSE Hands-Free Link System® with Bluetooth® technology, USB port, and steering wheel controls
    • One-Touch Start/Stop (OSS) Engine Switch
    • Cargo tie-down utility hooks
  • Safety & Security
    • Hill Start Assist
    • Anti-Lock Braking System with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist
    • Active Stability Control
    • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
    • Side Curtain Airbags
    • Front seat-mounted airbags
    • Driver’s Knee Airbags
    • Advanced Dual-stage SRS Front Airbags
    • LATCH Child Restraint System
    • RISE Body Construction
    • Anti-Theft Engine Immobilizer <–this is neat. There is a chip in your key/keyfob that has a code and your car will only start if the code on the keyfob chip matches the code in the engine immobilizer!

Now this car also had the SEL Touring Package which includes the follow features:

  • MMCS Navigation System with 2 Annual Mapcare® updates
  • Forward Collision Mitigation
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Auto Headlight Control
  • Rain Sensing Wipers
  • Power Remote Liftgate
  • Power Folding Side Mirrors
  • Windshield Wiper De-Icer
  • Power Glass Sunroof
  • 710W ROCKFORD FOSGATE® Premium Audio System with 9 speakers
  • SIRIUSXM® Radio with 3 month subscription

Overall, I really did like this car. The sound system was absolutely amazing and unlike any I’ve ever had in a car before. Check out the video I took of how you use the CD player:

The third row seat, which came in handy to make the kids sit in when they were loud, was nice for another reason (besides my sanity while driving!)…when I went grocery shopping and I needed more room, I was able to fold the third row down completely flat. This trunk organizer would definitely come in handy in this car…shoot, it would come in handy in my current car! The headrests store under the seats in their own compartment.

Mitsubishi-Outlander2016

While I liked the vast majority of this car, there were three things I did not like at all.

  1. The Lane Departure Warning – this feature is something that you can shut off (thankfully), but you had to shut it off each and every time you started the car. Basically, if you are are driving and slightly move into the other lane, the car starts beeping. On a long road trip, I could totally see how this would be beneficial, but I found it annoying for my day to day driving.
  2. The Center Console – it was WAY too small. When I’m driving, I want to rest my arm comfortably on the arm rest, but in Mitsubishi Outlander, the armrest is small so it was not all that comfortable.
  3. The Cup Holders – these were too large. My pop would share around in the cup holder. I don’t like the super snug cup holders where you have to jam the cup into it, but I do prefer a slightly smaller one so the pop stays still.

Have you driven the Mitsubishi Outlander yet? What are your thoughts?

Novasure Procedure Update to the Update

Back in 2008, I had the Novasure procedure done. If you are not familiar with that procedure, is an endometrial ablation that removes the lining of the uterus. I was having a lot of female gynecological issues and my options, at that time were to either deal with it, get the Novasure procedure or have a hysterectomy. I was only 27 years old. Getting a hysterectomy seemed rather drastic. So I opted for the ablation.

Over the years, I’ve updated on how I’ve been since having that procedure done. A few years ago, I updated that I felt that the Novasure procedure failed for me. Well I was wrong. You see, a few years ago, I was on a medication called Metformin. The Metformin was prescribed because my sugar levels were within the Type II Diabetic range. For people with Type II Diabetes, Metformin works really well. It is also prescribed to women with PCOS. So while I was taking it for the Diabetes, it was also helping to restore regular menstrual cycles.

Thankfully, through diet, exercise and losing weight, I no longer test within the Type II Diabetic range and no longer need to take Metformin. As a result, I went back to not having a period at all. Every once in a blue moon, I will have a little spotting, but nothing that has me running out to the store to buy pads or tampons. I have noticed that every other month I tend to have some slight cramping around the time I would get a period (if I got one). It lasts for about 1-2 days and is nothing more than an annoyance than anything else. Nothing like what I was dealing with before I had the Novasure procedure done.

Being almost 8 years later, I still believe that it was the best decision I ever made. If you think that you need to have something like this done, I encourage you to speak with your doctor. Only he or she can answer questions specific to you. I am more than happy to answer any questions in regards to my own personal experience. If you would like to see my past posts on the Novasure procedure, visit this link.