Simply Nerdy Mom
Welcome to Simply Nerdy Mom - Formerly The Mom Next Door Blog.
In the coming months, there are going to be some cosmetic changes to the site. As you can see, I'm testing out the new look and name already.
You will still see the same great content you know and love, but with a new look, new name, and a bunch of extras, including more guides, more tips, more family fun, guest bloggers, and recipes.
Thank you for being a fan!
-Amanda G

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

CrazyCups Coffee: Blackberry Meringue

I've grown to love flavored coffees so much that at this point, I refuse to drink regular coffee. Since I love blackberry to begin with, I was really excited to see that this month's flavor was blackberry meringue. 

This medium roast coffee has a delectable blackberry flavor. With a slight bitterness that you expect from the first bite of a blackberry straight off the bush, the sweetness of the meringue mixes very well and brings in not only a very flavorful java, but the aroma is to die for. 

I paired mine with a quick and easy mixed berry cobbler, which I made by filling a glass pie dish with frozen mixed berries, topping with vanilla cake mix, and layering pats of butter over the cake mix, then baking in my oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until cake mix and butter was combined and cake mix is no longer powdery. 

My husband usually doesn't do flavored coffees unless it's blueberry, but he really enjoyed this flavor with a little vanilla creamer and sugar. 

At this time of year, I usually am seen with hot beverages all day long. But once summer hits, I think this flavor is going to be amazing as a frozen coffee! 

You can purchase Blackberry Merinue, and other delicious flavors, at

*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .

BookCase.Club October Unboxing

Who doesn't love books? We have an entire library of books in our house. I adore being able to walk into my library and travel to other parts of the  country, through out different time periods, and meet characters all from the comfort of my own home. Books transport you into a whole new world every time you open one. So what's not to love, right? 

You know what's even better than books? Getting a box of brand new books delivered right to your door each month! Huzzah! Well BookCase.Club has the hook up. 

Each month you will get two new books sent to you in your chosen category. 

Teenage Dream - Young Adult novels
Trill Seeker - Mystery/Thriller novels
Strange Worlds - Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels
Read To Me - Children's Picture Books
Blind Date- Paranormal Romance novels
Booking For Love - Romance novels
Quarterly Cookbooks - Cookbooks (every three months)
Quarterly Military History - Military Books (every three months)

The cases range from $10-$100 depending on which monthly plan you choose and shipping for all of them is $5/month. 

I chose the Teenage Dream box because there's just something about YA books, even as an adult, that I really relate to. They are raw and very real sometimes. 

I have to say that October's box was right up my alley. I don't know why, I just really enjoy stories where the main characters are faced with their own death and have the ability to change their life and have a second chance. 

In Denton Little's Death Date, everyone has the ability to know when they are going to die. Denton finds out his death date is expected in two days and he is perplexed when a mysterious man shows up at his funeral with a cryptic message.

Life After Death is a book about a dead girl and her new (living) friend, who tried to help her complete her unfinished business. Business which comprises of returning all the items she stole when she was alive and making amends to the person she hurt pretty badly through her actions. 

BookCase.Club certainly delivered this month. 

Sign up for BookCase.Club and not only build your library, but meet your new friends (the books)!

Follow BookCase.Club on FacebookTwitterPinterest, & Instagram

*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .

Monday, October 24, 2016

Saving Pheobe Murrow by Herta Feely

*contains affiliate link*

Saving Pheobe Murrow is a story loosely based on the death of real life teenager Megan Meier, who was bullied to suicide by a former friend and her mother via Myspace. 

Based more around Facebook around 2008, Saving Pheobe Murrow takes you on a heartbreaking journey between a mother and daughter during the most difficult time in the daughter's life.

Pheobe has been bullied before and resorted to cutting to ease her emotional pain. One year later, she's at a new school, with close friends and has made nice with the girl who bullied her the year before. Because of Pheobe's previous year, her mother Isabel worries constantly about her daughter and is fearful that the past is destined to repeat itself, but with dire consequences. Phoebe is an emotional wreck, not being able to control her life, when her mother harshly punishes her for lying about her whereabouts one weekend, and begins to cut again.

Without revealing the entire story, Phoebe's life begins to take a turn for the worst and eventually, when her friend and the friend's mother pretend to be a boy who Pheobe falls for through Facebook, and soon starts to bully her and harass her through this fake profile. This leads to every mother's worst nightmare.

Most who read this book will be able to identify with Isabel, as a mother who just wants the best for their children and doesn't know how to protect them from the harsh realities of the world and the crude actions of others.  However, I felt a strong hatred towards Isabel and actually identify more with Phoebe.

Just like Phoebe, I too turned to cutting to relieve emotional pain and distress. I too had been dealt rather harsh punishments for minor "crimes", one of which was being grounded for a month, with all my possessions taken from me and the privilege of going to a school dance with a boy I liked being taken away. Which is exactly what ends up happening to Phoebe, which makes her turn to cutting again.

Just like Phoebe's mother when she discovered her daughter was cutting again, my mother would notice things, but never said much about it or tried to talk through things.

Isabel, to me, was a terrible character. While I can see small parts where she is genuinely concerned about her daughter and fearful that she is going to lose her, I also see that she is more concerned with her physical appearance and how others see her as a parent, including pretending to be a much better parent than she really is. Isabel also is, in a way, a bully herself. Her relationship with the mother of her daughter's friend is a good example of that. Sandy is rather new in town and she tries desperately to befriend Isabel, but Isabel sees her as not worthy, and often describes her as rather slutty. Sandy reaches out to Isabel for advice on what she should wear to the parent party, and Isabel brushes her off, but later becomes disgusted at what Sandy ends up wearing to the party. This was a good opportunity for her to take Sandy under her wing and advise her on how to fit in with the other parents. Instead, Isabel alienates her and even almost sends her an email after the party, calling her a slut. Isabel's husband has strayed from their marriage before and he has a conversation with Sandy's husband where they both acknowledge that Isabel is quite an unreasonable person to deal with. Isabel is snobby. She's a DC lawyer who's always going on elaborate vacations, getting her nails done, concerned with who she is seen with or trying to befriend the higher ups in the neighborhood. She even gets disgusted that Phoebe shops thrift stores, buys used clothing, and has dreams of becoming a fashion designer.

Isabel blows the whistle on Sandy after a party that Phoebe comes home from, visibly drunk. From there, Sandy and her daughter Jessie -Phoebe's best friend- retaliate by digging at Phoebe until the levy breaks. Isabel's constant snubs and holier than thou attitude is, in my opinion, what started the terrible events.

I was bullied in school, and again as an adult. I know what it's like to try desperately to befriend the more popular kids and be apart of their group. I know what it's like to want to be invited to things and have close friendships. So I know what Sandy must have felt when being snubbed by Isabel. As I mentioned above, I also feel for Phoebe as well. Even as a parent, though, I can't identify with Isabel and actually grew to hate her and blame her for a lot of her daughter's feelings and problems. 

All of that aside, it was a compelling book that I couldn't put down, even when I was frustrated with certain characters. I highly recommend this book, not just as an entertaining read, but also as a look into how important a healthy mother/daughter relationship is and the importance of knowing how your actions affect others. 

Pick up a copy of Saving Phoebe Murrow and if you do, I would love to discuss it with you either in the comments, through email, or on  Facebook!

*Note: I have had some parents mention that they were interested in getting this book for their teens. I do want it to be known that this is intended for more mature audiences as there is some sexual content and strong language.

*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .

Thursday, October 20, 2016

October 2016 DegustaBox {Unboxing}

*contains affiliate links*

It's Degusta Time!

Words cannot express the joy that comes to me when I see this box on my doorstep every month. Honestly, who doesn't like food? Even more, who doesn't like to try products they have yet to try for a fraction of the price you can find them in stores? If only my neighbors knew this is why I do a little dance on my porch when this box shows up. 

DegustaBox always has favorites of mine as well as completely new (to me) brands that I have yet to try or have heard of. It's always so much fun opening that box and discovering what tasty goodies I get the opportunity to try out that month.

October's Degusta Box is, as usual, perfect. 

Energems Chocolate Energy are much needed in my house. I'm a mom who has a lot going on right now. I mean, don't we all! It seems that my children have found a way to siphon the energy right out of me and I drag through the day while they are energetic and bouncing off the walls. How in the world do I keep up?! Energems are actually pretty tasty! They remind me of a dark chocolate M&M, but with the benefit of, well, ENERGY! The bottle says "Serving Size 3", but for me, this varies through the day. One day I took 3 and experienced no side effects except that I was wide awake until 4am. My fault, really. I took them late in the day because I was practically asleep in my dinner dish water. Then when I took 2 on Sunday so I could get through family dinner day without a snooze, I had the bit of the jitters. Basically, the difference is that one day I had just had a meal, the other day I ate these on an empty stomach. So the takeaway here is that they work like magic, but don't eat them on an empty stomach. Oh, and they come in berry and mint flavors as well! 

To most people, Wasa Thin crackers might be a little bland, but to me, they were very tasty. I snack on crackers all the time and these ones were pretty good. There is just the right amount of sea salt on them and they would be excellent topped with a little flavored cream cheese and a cherry tomato. You get two individually wrapped packages in one box, and believe it or not, three of these and you are full enough to have fulfilled your snack craving. They also come in Rosemary and Sea Salt. They are marvelously thin and flavorful!

Lovely Candy Company SuperFruit Chews are basically vegan Starbursts. They are chewy and deliciously sweet without all the additives and are completely non GMO. The only thing I didn't like about these chews were that I didn't know what flavor I was opening until after I already ate it since the wrappers are all the same. That being said, I loved all three flavors so that wasn't a very big deal for me. The packaging is really cute as well. 

Ah, bagel chips! My love for bagel chips is right up there with my love for rye chips. If they are mixed into a party mix, it's the first thing I eat out of the bag. It makes sense that, since are the best party of party mix, that there would be some available in individual bags.  Chicago Style Bagel Chips came in this month's box, with two flavors: Garlic and Cinnamon. The garlic are suburb in salads and the cinnamon are great with a little chocolate chip dip or even dipped in peanut butter. 

We eat a lot of popcorn. It's our go-to snack when watching movies and we tend to watch a lot of movies. Palo Popcorn in white cheddar cheese was pretty good. Lightly popped with just enough flavor. We aren't really a bacon cheddar family, but I tried the bacon cheddar flavor anyway because, hey, what's the point in new foods if you never try them at least once! It was alright. Still not on of my favorite flavors in literally anything, but it was still edible. 

I also got to try out this mini sampler pack from Numi Organic Teas. I love tea. I love it more than coffee most days. It's the one thing I use to help me sleep at night as well as help me when I'm sick. Herbal teas are great for a variety of reasons. This cute little sampler pack has 8 different tea flavors and would actually make a great addition to a tea themed gift basket for the holidays or a wellness gift. Since you can find this sampler box for less than $4 on Amazon, it's a great way to try out Numi Organic Tea flavors at a reasonable price. 

Jone's Soda is known for it's slightly odd flavors of soda around the holidays. Anyone remember the turkey dinner one? Well, Pumpkin Pie is another one of those flavors. I love pumpkin. A lot, actually. I even recently fell in love with pumpkin pie flavored milk despite really hating milk. I just couldn't bring myself to drink all of this. I took a few sips and that was enough to know that it really isn't for me. It definitely tastes like pumpkin spice in soda form, but it's way too sweet for me. Oh and in case you are wondering, that delightful little cupcake there is my super easy pumpkin spice cupcake with cinnamon cream cheese icing. 

I also received a box of Barilla pasta and Barilla Marinara sauce in this month's box as well. I don't usually use Barilla sauces, but I do use the pasta quite often. This particular pasta is the protein plus penne, which tastes exactly the same as all other Barilla pastas with the benefit of added protein. I used the pasta to make my favorite pasta dish - Chicken Parmesan.

I completely forgot to take a picture of them, but there was also a little package of Crown Nut Company Sriracha Almonds. They were delicious and since I frequently eat almonds and spicy foods separately, they were a perfect combo of two things I love. I didn't find them too spicy, they were actually kind of mild, to me at least, but they were really good.

*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Easy {and delicious} Chicken Parmesan

Being Italian, i'm pretty obsessed with pasta dishes. I could eat pasta all day, every day. Thankfully, I don't! Otherwise, I would need to workout 5 or 6 times more and harder than I already do every day to keep the weight off. I still indulge in pasta dishes on occasion and my go-to is almost always Chicken Parmesan. 

This meal is pretty filling as well and I often end up with leftovers, which are just as good, if not better, the next day.

Now, the amount of ingredients will be based on how many people you are feeding, so because of that, I can't really give an ingredient amount. However, I can tell you what the ingredient items are.

I cook my penne pasta as directed on the box, and while that is cooking, I bake my chicken kiev in the oven. These have been kind of illusive in my town lately, but usually you can find them in a box of two or in single wrapped packages in the freezer section of your grocer. I buy Barber Foods brand when they are available, but I'm sure there are other brands out there. Make sure you cook these according to package instructions, because they are frozen, raw chicken and you don't want to under cook them. 

I am going to be honest with you here (when am I not honest, though right?). I heat my marinara and garlic alfredo sauces up in soup mugs in my microwave after I take my kiev out of the oven. Yes, I "cook" meals with my microwave often. It's quicker, let's face it. 

Once everything is cooked, I layer pasta onto a plate, followed by marinara, the chicken kiev, more marinara, garlic alfredo, then mozzarella cheese. You can use provolone if you like, that's great on it as well. Usually my chicken is hot enough to melt the cheese on top, but sometimes I throw it in the microwave for a few seconds to get it all gooey and melty. Then I serve it with a salad and sometimes bread sticks. 

The garlic and parsley butter in the kiev blends with the two sauces and gives an amazing flavor combination. If you think this may be too much garlic for you, you can use regular alfredo sauce instead of the garlic alfredo. We just love garlic things here. 

I've also made this using just regular breaded chicken in tender form or chicken patties, then tossed my pasta with some home made garlic butter, but if you ask me, the kiev is the better of the two ways to make it. There's just something about that garlic parsley butter cooked in the center of it. It helps flavor the chicken as well. If you have the time, there's always the option of making your own kiev instead of purchasing the frozen ones!

I've made this for my in-laws quite a few times and they love it so much, they request it often and have frequently asked how to make it. 

Try it out, I swear, you'll love it! 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Perfect Shakers Hero Series {#HGG}

One of the many tools of my trade (so to speak) when it comes to my fitness obsession, is beverage bottles. I have a ton of water bottles that I take with me, just about everywhere, but I went this entire time without getting myself a shaker bottle. It's pretty hard to believe since I drink a lot of protein shakes. Previously, I had been using my tumblers, but if you know anything about protein shakes, you know that they are hard to mix up in a tumbler or your standard travel bottle. 

Shaker bottles generally have a wire ball inside so when you make your powdered protein shake, you can mix everything up right in the bottle and keep it mixed through out the day, or well, the time you have your shake in the bottle at least. 

Look, I'll be real, one of the reasons I held off on adding shaker bottles to my fitness gear was because I just couldn't find any I liked the look of. On top of that, I've heard from friends that the ball rolling around in the bottle sometimes just doesn't mix things around very even and thoroughly. 

Ah, but then Perfect Shakers came into my life with their Hero Series shaker bottles. 

Perfect shakes have a wire spring attached right to the center of the cup lid. It's not permanently attached though, and can be removed by taking the center part of the lid apart. This means you can use these bottles for water or whatever else when you don't have your shakes in them. 

Other great features are the wider spout and the flip top that stays open without having to hold it open. 

These bottles are great and I love that I can show off my fandoms, because a true comic nerd looks for every opportunity to sport their favorite hero just as much as a sports fan looks to dawn their favorite team apparel. Perfect Shaker's hero logos are also made with ExtraLast UV Ink so the logo doesn't fade off from all the washings. They are 100% leak free and dishwasher safe. 

They are lightweight and although they are super portable, I would love to have some sort of handle on them or a way to attach a strap. That's just a personal preference I have with all of my fitness bottles. 

Check out and their Instagram for more! 


*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .

Friday, October 14, 2016

Blog Tour: 40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood by Sarah Humphrey

*Contains affiliate links*

Motherhood isn't always sunshine and flowers. We all have those days when we question if we are doing the best we can. We all have those days when we are down on ourselves or just completely overworked and exhausted. You should set aside 5 -10 minutes each day to take some time for YOU. I know this is really hard to do, but it doesn't matter if it's at the start of your day, the middle of your day, or the end, we need to recoup. 

Sarah Humphrey's new adult coloring book is the perfect way to take a breather and remind yourself that you are strong, and can do this!

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood  is not only full of beautiful pictures to color and help you destress, but with each picture is a daily devotions. These 10 minute daily devotions focus on six key topics of motherhood: • Self-acceptance • Self-care • Reconciling with grief, hope and expectations • Generosity • Presence • Forgiveness.

The pages are lovely and colored pencils, gel pens, and crayons work smoothly on the paper. However, these pages are extremely thin and as you can see in the photos above, are able to be seen through. Because of this, I feel that markers may bleed through not just one, but possibly multiple pages. If you choose to use markers, I would say to put a few sheets of blank paper underneath the page you are coloring so it doesn't bleed through to the next page. It will still bleed through to the back of that page and onto the devotional for the next day, but it will not ruin your next day's coloring page. 

The best part about this book is that after you've colored it in completely, you can keep it and look back on it whenever you need those extra words of encouragement.

Purcahse 40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood

About the Author:

Often considered a dreamer and silly heart, Sarah Humphrey uses inspiration from her most beloved career, motherhood, to fuel her passion for writing, creative movement and teaching. She has and is authoring several books and children's books. Sarah currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and three beautiful, bouncy kids.

*Disclosure: This book was received at no cost from Litfuse in order to help facilitate this post and promote the Sarah Humphrey blog tour for 40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood. All thoughts are that of my own.