Monday, November 30, 2009

Tweet For Literacy Grand Prize

Tuesday December 1st is the end of the Tweet For Literacy Twitter Campaign!  It has truly been rewarding! I've met a lot of new tweeters and got introduced to new authors, publisher and book bloggers, too!  I've become tweet pals with @LindaThieman, author and developer behind the Tweet For Literacy project!

1ST-Tuesday night 5-6 pm CST we will have a few more winners! The Tweet For Literacy Twitter party we will randomly pick one winner who is tweeting that hour to win one of 6 prizes.

Party Giveaway Schedule

5:00 pm 1) Book by Sheri Kaye Hoff
Keys to Living Joyfully

5:10 pm 2) Book by Nicole O'Dell
Truth or Dare, interactive fiction for girls ages 10-15


5:20 pm 3) NOW WHAT? by Patch Games http://bit.ly/nowwhatgame $19.99

5:30 pm 4) Book by Sheri Kaye Hoff
Keys to Living Joyfully

5:40 pm 5) Book by Nicole O'Dell
All That Glitters, interactive fiction for girls ages 10-15

5:50 pm 6) BUZZ WORDS Jr by Patch Games http://bit.ly/buzzwordjr $19.99

2nd-
6:00 pm Grand Prize Package (chosen from all hashtags tweeters since 1st day of our campaign)
 
Winner to be chosen Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 6pm CT. Total value of Grand Prize Package is $700.

Part 1 of Grand Prize

 
1) Keys to Living Joyfully (autographed) and the Keys to Living Joyfully Telesummit mp3 recording
plus a one-hour live coaching session by Life Coach and author Sheri Kaye Hoff ($500 value). Donated by the author, one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors.

2) 2 codes for e-books at the iTunes App Store from PicPocket Books (combined value up to $7.98). These picture book apps are downloaded to an iPhone or an iPod Touch. For children 2 to 8. Donated by PicPocket Books.

3) Aurora of the Northern Lights by Holly Hardin (autographed -- an $18.95 value), the delightful Christmas-themed picture book by one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors. Donated by the author.

4) The Katie & Kimble chapter book series by Linda Thieman, for ages 6 to 10. Lexile® measures: 280L and 290L. This set includes Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story and Katie & Kimble: The Magic Wish. These are stories of love and healing, and are not scary! Donated and autographed by the author, one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors. (Value: $11.90 per set)

5) Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott. (Value: $5.99) For ages 10 and up. Donated by Tweet for Literacy sponsor Linda Thieman.

6) Vocabu-Lit: Building Vocabulary through Literature, Book C by Perfection Learning. 3rd grade. Value: $9.95. Donated by Tweet for Literacy sponsor Linda Thieman.

7) Life: Be There at Ten ‘til by Dean Johnson ($9.95 value). Words of wisdom for Mom and Dad. Donated by Tweet for Literacy sponsor Linda Thieman.

8) Close Encounters of the Third-grade Kind: Thoughts on Teacherhood by Phillip Done ($22.99 value). Donated by Hachette Book Group.

Part 2 of Grand Prize

 
The second part of the Grand Prize is a giveaway of a different sort. One elementary school will receive a classroom set (10 each) of both of the Katie & Kimble books: Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story and Katie & Kimble: The Magic Wish (a $119 value). These books are being donated by author and Tweet for Literacy sponsor, Linda Thieman. Their Lexile(R) measures are 280L and 290L, and on the Katie & Kimble blog, there are free, downloadable classroom (and homeschooling) materials to make life easier for teachers and parents while helping children learn to read. Linda is a former English teacher with experience in materials development. The Activity Packets that she has created meet the national standards for 3rd Grade reading and language skills.

The winner of the Grand Prize will select which elementary school is to be the recipient of the Katie & Kimble book package. Yes, the winner of the Grand Prize gets to pay it forward! We thought that would be fun and fulfilling!


RULES STILL APPLY! New and old twitters for the Party must follow them!  Click here TWEET FOR LITERACY to read rules!

What was the most surprising gift you've ever received?

When I was in my last year of college I was dating/engaged to my future husband.  At that time I wore two different colognes.  I'm assuming I did this depending on my mood.  So the term your scent defines you is very real.  I had this very expensive bottle a cologne that I would wear going out to parties and with my old boyfriends. I didn't realize it at the time but the other cologne, also expensive but calming,  I would wear going to church and hanging out with my future husband.

white shoulders cologne
Our first Christmas together my future husband, to my surprise, gave me a new bottle of cologne.  Guess what kind he gave me? It was the cologne that I wore to church! He claimed that smell and from then on that has been the only cologne that I wear.  I believe that I threw the other one out!

We've been married 16 years.  Whenever my cologne runs low who do you think still buys it for me?  Yes, my husband! I really think this scent sealed our deal! It really is funny because I've only bought that cologne one time and that was before I even met him.  In college I went home with my roommate for a holiday.  Her mother was wearing this cologne. I loved her mom! Her home made me feel at home.  I bought that cologne to hold on to something special.  So fun to see how it has followed me through dating, engagement, marriage, many moves, children and many many years of marriage!

I want to  hear about your most surprising, interesting, sentimental or creative gift you’ve ever received! Share with me below!

Spread cheer without breaking the bank!

Tis the season to spend a lot of money in a short amount of time!  Some people buy Christmas presents all year long to cut down on the money spending between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This is a super idea if you find gifts that you really want to give.  One thing I found over the years that if I would buy all year long for someone that when Nov/Dec hits I'm still buying and end up with way too much stuff and in the end spent way too much money.

Not to brag but I'd like to think of myself as a fun gift giver!  I like to buy the unexpected present from someone.  I love buying something that suits them.  I've found over the years that if you find that one fun present then you don't have to go crazy and buy a bunch of items that aren't needed.

Here are some examples of some fun, inexpensive presents to suit someone:

1) My Father-in-law had surgery a few years ago around Thanksgiving time.  So for Christmas I bought him and my mother-in-law a joint present.  Guess what it was?  The gave Operation!  No joke and still  years later they get a good chuckle out of it.

2) Photos are gifts that you can give to about anyone.  I don't just hand someone a stack of photos.  I take an event and give them a mini album of that event.  So I take my camera with me to get shots of events.  Then use an online source to print off photos and or even make a mini album for you if you don't have time to scrapbook it yourself.  I had some friends move from their old home which they lived 15 years.  So I made a book of pics from their old home.  Things that I knew that they loved.  It really was a book that keeps giving all the time because when they get lonely they look through the book to cheer them up.

3) One year right before Christmas my family watched the movies Napoleon Dynamite and UHF.  These movies had the guys laughing and cracking bad jokes.  Common themes of their conversations were "my lips hurt real bad" from Napoleon and the song "Spatula City" by Weird Al from UHF.  So the 5 big brothers and dad all got a mini stocking with chapstick and a spatula for Christmas.  Of course toss in some candy and they were laughing up a storm!  Year later that still gets talked about.

So those are just 3 examples of my ways to save money around the holidays without breaking the bank!  Go hit the sales!  Staples has one going on right now! Make your Christmas presents something that suits that person.  Make it a little fun to spread some good cheer.  You will create memories that will last for many years to come!

Thanks to Twittermoms and Staples for pairing up and offering this blog contest about how to save money over the holidays!  Click Twittermoms to join in the contest to win a $25 Staples gift card!  Click on the Staples widget below to go see their savings!  The Flip camera would make a real memorable gift!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tweet For Literacy Giveaway Prize Package 12

Drawing held on Twitter 11/30 (Monday) at 6pm. Details to enter below
Our Motto: “The family that reads together has a lot of fun!” Our goal is to empower children and teens, especially girls, who are so often overlooked. We also seek to teach tolerance and self-acceptance through reading and through family interaction.

The Tweet for Literacy Giveaway is a campaign designed to raise awareness of the importance of involving the whole family in a child’s reading activities. Tweet for Literacy will be giving away literacy-related prizes every two days throughout the month of November in honor of National Family Literacy Month. Help a child to read, and let the fun begin!


How to Enter the Tweet for Literacy Giveaways
Step 1: Follow our 7 sponsors on Twitter. This step is required. We will all follow you back!

http://twitter.com/susieqtpies (ME!!!)
http://twitter.com/lindathieman
http://twitter.com/ccmalandrinos
http://twitter.com/cafeofdreams
http://twitter.com/hollyhardin
http://twitter.com/sherikayehoff
http://twitter.com/nicole_odell

Step 2: Re-tweet (RT) any post about the giveaway. Use the hashtag #Tweet4Lit on each RT. Be sure to add the http://bit.ly/8JqkgV  link for this contest page.


Here is a Sample Entry Re-tweets
RT @susieqtpies Tweet for Literacy is giving away 12 prize sets and a grand prize thru Nov Enter here http://bit.ly/8JqkgV  #Tweet4Lit


Step 3: That’s it! See the Official Rules below.
Prize Package Twelve
Winner to be chosen Monday, November 30, 2009, at 6pm CT. Total value of Prize Package Twelve is $109.



1) 2 codes for e-books (click to read review) at the iTunes App Store from PicPocket Books (combined value up to $7.98). These picture book apps are downloaded to an iPhone or an iPod Touch. For children 2 to 8. Donated by PicPocket Books.


2) Kids in the Kitchen: Recipes for Fun (click title to read review) for all ages. Creative foods kids make themselves! Value: $16.95. Donated by Barb at Gooseberry Patch.

3) Aurora of the Northern Lights by Holly Hardin (autographed -- an $18.95 value), the delightful Yuletide-themed picture book by one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors. Donated by the author.

4) The Katie & Kimble chapter book series by Linda Thieman, for ages 6 to 10. Lexile® measures: 280L and 290L. This set includes Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story and Katie Kimble: The Magic Wish. These are stories of love and healing, and are not scary! Donated and autographed by the author, one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors. (Value: $11.90 per set)


5) Persephane Pendrake and the Cimaruta (autographed) by Lady Ellen. This book is the first of a planned 9 book series made up of 3 trilogies called “The Persephane Pendrake Chronicles.” For ages 9-12; a $16.95 value. Donated by the author.


6) All that Glitters (autographed), Book 2 from the Scenarios for Girls interactive series by Nicole O’Dell. For ages 10-15. ($7.97 Value) Donated by the author, one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors.


7) Focus on Reading Strategies: Standards-based Instruction, Level C by Perfection Learning. 3rd grade.  Value: $11.95. Donated by Tweet for Literacy sponsor Linda Thieman.

8) I Just Want My Kids to Be Happy!: Why You Shouldn’t Say it, Why You Shouldn’t Think It, What You Should Embrace Instead by Aaron Cooper, Ph.D. & Eric Keitel, M. Ed. (Parenting), advanced readers copy (ARC). Value: $15.95. Donated by Tweet for Literacy sponsor Cheryl Maladrinos.


Official Rules
You can re-enter as many times as you like. Prizes are awarded every 2 days starting on November 8. First day to enter is November 6, 2009. Last day to enter is November 30. A prize package will be awarded on each even day of the month. Each prize package will be a set of items that are literacy related. See below for specific information on prizes.

The name of the winner will be selected at random and will be drawn at approximately 6pm CT. The winner will have 3 days to respond. If we don’t hear from the winner, we will select another winner for that prize package. We will notify our 13 winners by Direct Message (DM) on Twitter.

Whereas you can enter as often as you like, if you are not following all 7 sponsors on Twitter, which will be verified, your entries will be disqualified. All entries that comply with the above rules will be valid for each drawing, including the Grand Prize. The Grand Prize will be awarded on December 1, 2009.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Literacy can be fun and games?


Thanks to Beth at PATCH games for allowing me to interview her for National Game & Puzzle Week.  I've been promoting Literacy for the month of November so I asked her questions related to that! 

TWO games were given away in the Tweet For Literacy giveaway! Thanks Patch!


Beth Muehlenkamp Nateghi
Senior Promotions Coordinator

Interview 


1)  What games do you recommend for 8 years and under to help reinforce reading skills? 
Overall, board games are great for reinforcing reading skills because usually some type of reading takes place in the clues, on the game board, or even in just reading the rules.  A rule I always implemented with my nieces and nephews growing up was to require every player to take a turn reading clues and to read them out loud.  This is a great way to practice, but kids don't even realize the learning going on because it only last a minute or so.

Specific board games I would recommend are listed below.  These are games where education/learning is not the primary focus, but the skills are cleverly built right in:
  • I See Three™ for ages 4 & Up, is matching animals using 3D glasses.  The nice thing is the cards give a brief lesson about the animals that the kids can read out loud. 
  • Can-Do Roo™ is great for ages 4 & Up or even a little younger because it helps kids in recognizing letters in written form and learn the sounds.  Plus, you get to hop around like a kangaroo... how can you pass that up! 
  • Buzzword® Junior is a good trivia game for ages 7 & Up and is based on the award-winning original Buzzword® game which has just sold over a million copies.  Buzzword Junior is nice because the clues are a little more kid friendly, so children get to be the smarty pants and as they read the clues out loud are reinforcing their reading skills. 
  • 100 Really Dumb Things™ is a game of pure silliness for ages 7 & Up, but the great thing is that in order to perform the silly acts, kids have to read the cards!  Another great way to get in some reading without the kids even knowing it.  We just continue to get rave reviews on this game from kids and parents. 
  • Finally, Now What?™ for ages 8 & Up is a great game in creative thinking and story telling.  One player reads a dilemma story  (great to practice those reading skills) and then all players have to come up with solutions based on the three props they choose.  The key is to be creative and come up with a solution using props that no one else is using.  I love the anticipation as each player reveals their story.
If you are looking for more obvious educational based games then try Patch' Lauri brand Educational Center Kits for ages 4 & Up that combine quality materials with an organized and convenient storage box.  Check out the variety at:  Educational Center Kits


You can also try Patch's Smethport brand of Get Ready for School games and Language cards.  Check out the variety at:  Educational Games

2)  Besides being fun, what are the benefits of playing board games? 
Board games have so many hidden benefits besides just being fun.  First and foremost they encourage interaction and a chance to learn about each other.   Plato said, “You can discover more about a  person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”


I come from a large family and grew up on a farm, so my mother was always busy, but I remember as a child that the thing I loved about storms and losing the power in our house was that then my mother had to slow down and would often sit and play a board game with me.  I love that attention and time to play with my mom.  Even the American Academy of Pediatrics recognizes that playing active games with children is essential to their development. Play allows individuals to learn about themselves and the world; stimulates  mind and body; builds bonds; fosters greater imagination; and supports all states of development.

Other benefits include: turn taking, lessons of fairness, increase vocabulary, open communication lines, learn interesting facts, basic math skills, reveal your personality and kids often learn more about their parents too.  

When families participate in the Million Minute Family Challenge™, the comment I hear most is that it gave their family time to spend together or it was one of the rare moments when their teenagers were actually sitting at a table laughing with parents and younger siblings.  Buzzword was featured in the Play is Forever: Benefits of Intergenerational Play brochure as one of the Recommended Toys and Games as being intergenerational.  They said the game encourages discussion and teamwork.  Another of our hottest selling game this season, What’s Yours Like? encourages creative thinking, improves memory, and hones the skill of organizing thoughts and information.

Also board games have been widely recognized as good tools to keep the mind active in older people and to slow down or prevent dementia and Alzheimer's.
3)  Who invents your games?  Any interesting stories? 
We get hundreds of game inventor submissions every year from people all over  the world. The inventor of Roll-It Tic-Tac-Toe™ is an elementary math school teacher and a tutor for students in math and science.  His interaction with kids has been very useful for the development of games.  One day David Feldman noticed a distinguished looking man trying to open a two-pack of saltine crackers.  After struggling with his fingers, the man bit open the package with his teeth.  At this time he thought “If we can put a man on the moon, why can’t they make a cracker package you can open with your hands?”  On his way home, the word “Imponderables” popped into his head to describe these conundrums for which we can never find answers.  He started by writing the first of nine books in the Imponderables book series.  A fan suggested that he create a game based on the books and that’s how Malarky® was born.

Others ideas come from our own employees.  For example:  What’s Yours Like? was an idea of one of our employees as it was a something they played  at family gatherings and when we first played it in the office, we couldn’t stop laughing.  

Still other game ideas come from professional inventor groups whose job is to invent games.  For example, Random Games came up with the idea of Toss Up® and Buzzword.  The inventors for these games grew up in rural and suburban Michigan.  One graduated  with a Math degree and was an 8th grade teacher and then a computer programmer when he started coming up with game ideas.  He started Random Games in 1974, but didn’t become a full-time game inventor in 1985.  His educational background has been useful in solving many problems common in game design.  Another of the inventors had a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering.  He is a big fan of “house rules”.

Thanks Beth for answering my questions!  So Literacy can be about having fun and playing games!

Sandra Lee Recipes and Music with Joshua Bell Giveaway





Thanks to Sony, I've been given a great opportunity for my readers!

The perfect Thanksgiving meal is about the food, the atmosphere, the drinks and the company. You already have the perfect company… so Food Network star Sandra Lee and Grammy Award Winning Violinist Joshua Bell have partnered up to help you with the rest. So you are being given Free recipes and Free stream-lined music to enjoy right here from my blog!

You can also enter to win your own signed copy of his new CD! (GIVEAWAY OVER) (ended)


Click here to read my album review of At Home with Friends (ended)


Here are some of Sandra's finest dishes! Feel free to copy them and use them for your party! Do you already have your traditional Thanksgiving meal planned? Use these recipes for an after Thanksgiving party and have over a few of those friends who you know could use a little extra cheer. It might be a perfect time to get some of your friends together over the weekend, too!

FREE RECIPES

Savory bread pudding - Appetizer

*Tip from Sandra: “If you’re facing a time crunch—pick party foods that are delicious and impressive, without being fussy. I recommend, Savory Bread Pudding and Fig and Port Tartlets—both of these tasty treats can be prepared before your guests arrive and served at room temperature.”

Prep 25 minutes
Bake 35 minutes 
Makes 12 mini bread puddings 

Ingredients

Pam® cooking spray
8 ounces sweet Italian sausage, Johnsonville®
1 package (8-ounce) sliced fresh mushrooms
1 tablespoon canola oil, Wesson®
1 teaspoon bottled crushed garlic
2 cups milk
4 eggs
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, McCormick®
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 loaf country-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat twleve 21⁄2-inch muffin cups with cooking spray; set aside.

2. In a large skillet, over medium heat, cook sausage until browned, breaking up lumps. Remove sausage from skillet. Add mushrooms, oil, and garlic to skillet. Cook and stir until mushrooms are lightly browned. Remove from heat and stir in sausage. Let cool.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Add cubed bread and sausage mixture to egg mixture; press bread with back of a large spoon to submerge into milk mixture. Let stand for 10 minutes or until bread absorbs milk mixture. Ladle bread pudding mixture into prepared muffin cups and place in a large rimmed baking pan. Carefully pour hot water into the baking pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is golden brown and bread pudding puffs. Serve warm.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc. www.sandralee.com
Cinema Paradiso - Cocktail


*Tip from Sandra: “Re-name your cocktails for a signature touch and serve them in an array of glasses in different shapes and sizes for a glamorous effect.  If you have a special album playing, review your song list and allow the song titles to inspire your cocktails, ie. Peach Cider can be turned into “Cinema Paradiso” to match the beautiful duet of the same name on Joshua Bell’s  new album At Home With Friends. Brilliant!” 
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 2 hours (Low) 
Makes 10 drinks


Ingredients

2 cans (11.5 ounces each) peach nectar
2 cans (11.5 ounces each) apricot nectar
1 bag (12-ounce) frozen peach slices
3 cups water
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup bourbon, Bulleit®
1⁄2 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 cinnamon sticks
Cinnamon stick

Directions


In a 4-quart slow cooker, combine peach nectar, apricot nectar, peach slices, the water, brown sugar, bourbon, lemon juice, allspice, and 2 cinnamon sticks. Cover and heat on Low heat setting for 2 to 3 hours. Discard cinnamon sticks. Turn slow cooker to Warm heat setting. Serve in mugs with additional cinnamon sticks.
Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc. www.sandralee.com

Praline Sweet Potato Casserole – Side Dish
*Tip from Sandra: “Sometimes you need the culinary equivalent of a big warm hug. Praline Sweet Potato Casserole is a classic, comfort food creation that is baked to perfection.”

Prep 15 minutes 
Bake 45 minutes 
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

No-stick cooking spray, Pam®

FOR THE CASSEROLE:

3 cans (15 ounces each) cut sweet potatoes, drained, Princella®
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 can (5-ounce) evaporated milk, Carnation®, or 1⁄4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice, Minute Maid®
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, McCormick®
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, McCormick®

FOR THE TOPPING:

1 cup packed light brown sugar, Domino®/C&H®
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup (1 stick) unsalted cold butter, cut in small pieces
2 cups finely chopped pecans, Diamond®
Pecan halves (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray; set side.

2. To make the casserole, in a large mixing bowl, mash the drained sweet potatoes with a potato masher. Stir in the eggs. Add the butter, evaporated milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and pumpkin pie spice; mix until well combined. Spread into the prepared baking pan.

3. To make the topping, in a medium bowl, combine the sugar and flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until mixture is the size of peas. Stir in the chopped pecans. Sprinkle topping over the casserole. Garnish with pecan halves (optional). Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is browned.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Weeknight Wonders by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc. www.sandralee.com


Pork Roast and Cranberry Dressing - Entree

Prep 15 minutes 
Cook 5 to 6 hours (Low) Stand 15 minutes 
Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

1 1⁄2 cups frozen chopped onions
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 3-pound boneless pork shoulder roast
2 tablespoons Montreal steak seasoning
1 can (16-ounce) whole cranberry sauce
1⁄2 cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable broth
1⁄4 cup butter
1 box (6-ounce) pork stuffing mix
3⁄4 cup sweetened dried cranberries

Directions

1. In a 5-quart slow cooker, combine onions and celery. Sprinkle roast with steak seasoning; place on vegetables in slow cooker. In a medium bowl, stir together cranberry sauce and wine until combined. Spoon over roast in slow cooker.

2. Cover and cook on Low heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.

3. Transfer roast to a cutting board; let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, over high heat, bring vegetable broth and butter to a boil. Stir pork stuffing mix and dried cranberries into pan. Cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

5. To serve, mound some stuffing on center of plate. Spoon a portion of celery, onions, cranberries, and accumulated juices from slow cooker over stuffing. Top with sliced roast.

Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc. www.sandralee.com

C:\Users\Lori - SHM\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\IZRY0GGB\SLSH-stationary-footer.jpg



Brownie Bottom Cheesecake - Dessert

Prep 30 minutes 
Cook 2 1⁄2 to 3 hours (High) + 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours (Low) 
Chill 4 hours Makes 8 servings

Ingredients

Canola oil cooking spray
1 box (18.3-ounce) fudge brownie mix
4 eggs
2⁄3 cup canola oil
1⁄4 cup espresso-and-cream coffee drink
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese
1⁄3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cake flour
Pinch salt
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

1. Coat an 8 1⁄2-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap foil around the bottom of cake pan. Crumple additional aluminum foil to create a “ring base” about 5 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, stir together brownie mix, two of the eggs, the oil, and coffee drink until combined. Pour into prepared pan.

3. Place foil ring in bottom of slow cooker; pour 1⁄2 inch of hot water into bottom of slow cooker. Using 2 long strips of foil, make an “X” over foil ring and bring it up along the sides of slow cooker to assist removing pan from slow cooker. Place springform pan on top of ring and the “X” in slow cooker. Stack 6 paper towels; place over top of slow cooker bowl. Secure with lid.

4. Cook on High heat setting for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours. (Do not lift lid for the first 1 hour of cooking.)

5. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Add sugar, flour, and salt; beat until smooth. Add the remaining two eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add cream and vanilla; beat until combined. Pour over brownie mixture in slow cooker.

6. Cover and cook for 1 1⁄2 hours more. Turn slow cooker to Low heat setting. Cook for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours or until cheesecake is set with a wet-looking center. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, for 30 minutes.

7. Use foil strips to lift springform pan from slow cooker. Place pan on wire rack; let cool to room temperature. Chill in pan for at least 4 hours. Just before serving, remove cake from pan.
Excerpted from the book, Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Money Saving Slow Cooking, by Sandra Lee
Copyright © 2009 SLSH Enterprises, Inc.

FREE STREAM-LINED 
click music for pop-up audio of album 
to get back to my blog to enter the contest just click to go back

QUOTE from Sandra:

“Thanksgiving is the perfect time to bring everyone together to celebrate a year of blessings. Serve savory and decadent dishes such as Savory Bread Pudding and Praline Sweet Potato Casserole on an inviting table, filled with rich colors and seasonal textures. Simple, time-saving shortcuts to create a meaningful feast can be found in my new book Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cocktail Time. Give your gracious gathering a heartwarming start with my personal favorite, Joshua Bell’s album, At Home With Friends and greet guests at your door with a vibrant cocktail, such as a Peach and Apricot Cider or Pumpkin Pie Martini . The main attraction is food, so try turning your Turkey or Pork Roast into a colorful centerpiece, served with a side of cornbread stuffing or cranberry sauce. For a quick and easy dessert try Semi-Homemade Glazed Spice Donuts with Pecans or a Sweet Potato Cake with Citrus Glaze, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time celebrating with your family and friends.”



GIVEAWAY (IT IS OVER)
to win 1 autographed copy of Joshua Bell, At Home with Friends

To enter (US only)
Tell me your favorite song on the streamed-lined album by Joshua Bell . Must leave your email address once in the entry and if you do the bonus entries please leave separate entries for each one.

BONUS

1) Tell me which one of Sandra's recipes you want to try first 2 entries
2) Follow my blog on Google Friend Connect or Networked Blogs 2 entries each
3) Follow me on twitter @susieqtpies 2 entries
4) Tweet giveaway up to twice a day 2 entries each
5) Blog about the giveaway and link up to my blog 5 entries
6 )Put my button on your blog 5 entries
7) Enter any of my other giveaways 2 entries per giveaway
8) Read any Tweet For Literacy post and enter by listed rules! 2 entries per #Tweet4Lit entry

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tweet For Literacy Giveaway Prize Package 10


Drawing held on Twitter 11/26 (Thursday) at 6pm. Details to enter below
Our Motto: “The family that reads together has a lot of fun!” Our goal is to empower children and teens, especially girls, who are so often overlooked. We also seek to teach tolerance and self-acceptance through reading and through family interaction.

The Tweet for Literacy Giveaway is a campaign designed to raise awareness of the importance of involving the whole family in a child’s reading activities. Tweet for Literacy will be giving away literacy-related prizes every two days throughout the month of November in honor of National Family Literacy Month. Help a child to read, and let the fun begin!


How to Enter the Tweet for Literacy Giveaways
Step 1: Follow our 7 sponsors on Twitter. This step is required. We will all follow you back!

http://twitter.com/susieqtpies (ME!!!)
http://twitter.com/lindathieman
http://twitter.com/ccmalandrinos
http://twitter.com/cafeofdreams
http://twitter.com/hollyhardin
http://twitter.com/sherikayehoff
http://twitter.com/nicole_odell

Step 2: Re-tweet (RT) any post about the giveaway. Use the hashtag #Tweet4Lit on each RT. Be sure to add the http://bit.ly/5B3FhD  link for this contest page.


Here is a Sample Entry Re-tweets
RT @susieqtpies Tweet for Literacy is giving away 12 prize sets and a grand prize thru Nov Enter here http://bit.ly/5B3FhD  #Tweet4Lit


Step 3: That’s it! See the Official Rules below.

Prize Package Ten
Winner to be chosen Thursday, November 26, 2009, at 6pm CT. Total value of Prize Package Ten is $115.

1) Henry & the Crazed Chicken Pirates (Click to read Review) by Carolyn Crimi and John Manders for ages 4 to 8. ($15.99 value) This is the sequel to Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies. Donated by Blue Slip Media.

2) 2 codes for e-books (Click to read Review)at the iTunes App Store from PicPocket Books (combined value up to $7.98). These picture book apps are downloaded to an iPhone or an iPod Touch. For children 2 to 8. Donated by PicPocket Books.

3) Aurora of the Northern Lights by Holly Hardin (autographed -- an $18.95 value), the delightful Yuletide-themed picture book by one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors. Donated by the author.

4) The Katie & Kimble chapter book series by Linda Thieman, for ages 6 to 10. Lexile® measures: 280L and 290L. This set includes Katie & Kimble: A Ghost Story and Katie & Kimble: The Magic Wish. These are stories of love and healing, and are not scary! Donated and autographed by the author, one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors. (Value: $11.90 per set)

5) Across the Pond by Storyheart (Barry Eva), autographed, for Young Adults. (Value $19.99) Donated by the author.

6) The Pocket Parent Coach: Your Two-Week Guide to a Dramatically Improved Life with Your Intense Child by Tina Feigal, MS. Ed. (Parenting). Includes CD: 60 Minutes with Parent Coach Tina Feigal. Value: $19.95. Donated by our Tweet 4 Literacy sponsor Cheryl Malandrinos.

7) Jane Austen note cards and a Jane Austen pocket address book; retail value $20. Donated by one of our Tweet for Literacy sponsors, Linda Thieman.


Official Rules
You can re-enter as many times as you like. Prizes are awarded every 2 days starting on November 8. First day to enter is November 6, 2009. Last day to enter is November 30. A prize package will be awarded on each even day of the month. Each prize package will be a set of items that are literacy related. See below for specific information on prizes.

The name of the winner will be selected at random and will be drawn at approximately 6pm CT. The winner will have 3 days to respond. If we don’t hear from the winner, we will select another winner for that prize package. We will notify our 13 winners by Direct Message (DM) on Twitter.

Whereas you can enter as often as you like, if you are not following all 7 sponsors on Twitter, which will be verified, your entries will be disqualified. All entries that comply with the above rules will be valid for each drawing, including the Grand Prize. The Grand Prize will be awarded on December 1, 2009.

Holiday Gift Guide with Giveaways




Holiday shopping season is here again and the Global Influence network has some great gift ideas for you, tried and tested by real moms. Click on the links to check out what our team of reviewers had to say about each of these gift ideas, then take a moment to enter our fun giveaway and take a chance at winning some of these fabulous products.

Featured Reviews
pouchee Pouchees -
Busy moms need all the help they can get to stay organized and keep life as simple as possible. The Pouchee is the perfect solution to keeping all those little things together, putting everything you need, right at your fingertips.
duckhunter Duck Hunter -
Duck Hunter turns the excitement of the hunt into an activity the whole family can enjoy. Launch the duck in the air and try to hunt it down with the toy shooter as it flies freely in the air. A fun choice for those who love outdoor sporting.
cardstore CardStore Cards
Personalized holiday cards are an important item on everyone’s to-do list and often a hassle to create and print. Cardstore.com has everything from family photo cards to invitations for your big holiday party, simplifying your holiday season.

Great Holiday Gift Ideas
Things Remembered Custom Couture Jewelry
Just Elfin’ Around
Card Cubby
Harumika By Bandai
Harumika Runway Showstopper
Harumika Style Starter
Baby Alive Whoopsie Doo
Strawberry Shortcake Playset
Kota Monty Rex
Wall to Wall Basketball
Nerf Pocket Vortex
Busy Ball Popper
Talking Chuck Truck
Leapfrog My Pal Scout
Leapfrog Tag Jr
Leapfrog Scribble and Write
Animal Planet Polar Land Playset
Animal Planet Dinosaur Playmat
Onionhead Adult/Teen Feelings Pack
OnionHead Children’s Feelings Pack
Onionhead A-Z Feelings Magnet Set
FotoboxPlus
MeTime Tees



Fun Holiday Giveaway!
For this holiday guide, we want to share the love with the blogosphere! Some of our generous sponsors have donated prizes to be given away to lucky readers! To enter to win one of the following fabulous prizes, simply fill out the form here: http://tinyurl.com/y8t92rw
Prizes include:
Entries will close on December 6, 2009 at 11:59 PM EST. Winners will be contacted by email after the close of the contest.

____

Global Influence Member Guides
Need more ideas for this holiday season? Check out the guides that some of our Global Influence members have put together on their own sites!
Thrifty Jinxy, Happy Healthy Hip , And Twins Make Five , Because Two People Fell In Love, Mommy Musings , Lipstick to Crayons , Bargain Briana , Mommy PR , Shop With Me Mama, Santa Picks, Rave and Review, Connected 2 Christ , 3 Boys and a Dog, The Classy Closet , Contest Corner, Lisa Reviews , A Giveaway Every Day, HulaHoopinMom, Spalibrations, High Impact Mom, From Cribs to Car Keys
All reviews listed in the Global Influence gift guide were product provided. Featured positions were purchased by sponsors. Member gift guides are not affiliated with Global Influence.

Lenox O2xygen Wine Glasses Giveaway

How exciting to be able to offer this giveaway to you! I have a set of 4 Lenox O2xygen Wine Glasses!  Thanks to TwitterMoms for hosting the Drinks of the Seasons contest with Lenox. I won this set of Wine Glasses and was picked to bring one of my readers the same opportunity!

When you serve your red wine in the Lenox O2xygen Wine Glasses you create breathing room. That's what you'll give your red wine when you serve it in these grand glasses with their generous bowls. With these stylish yet sturdy glasses, you'll not only add flavor to your wine but to your table décor as well. Your guest are going to be very impressed. Best yet they are crafted with break-resistant, lead-free crystal and are dishwaser safe! This is just what a mom needs!!!!!

GIVEAWAY

To Enter: Tell you what you would serve in these wonderful glasses!  Leave your email at least once and separate comments for each entry!!!

BONUS ENTRIES:
1) Go to Lenox and tell me something else you want! 5 Entries
2) Follow my blog on Google Friend Connect and or Networked blogs 2 entries each
3) Follow me on Twitter @susieqtpies 2 entries
4) Enter any of my other giveaways and leave comments, tweet for #Tweet4Lit,etc 2 entries every time you do these things
5) Post a drink recipe you love or a link to one! 5 entries
6) BLOG this giveaway and include link to my blog 5 entries
7) Tweet this giveaway with my blog link  up to twice a day 2 entries each

END December 4th!  US only

Current top 5 Favorite Holiday Activities to do with my Kids?

I love the Holidays! It is the time of the year we do special traditions. Each year or as the girls have grown into different stages we find our traditions and or activities changing a bit.  The activities also change according to where we are living.

Here is my top five list of favorite Holiday Activities we are doing this year:

1) Decorating our home for Christmas starting on Sunday after Thanksgiving.  I love to get out all our boxes and take a few days to decorate!  The girls go through and recall different ornaments and decorations,etc. It is a great time to think of the past!

2) Each year I buy a special ornament for the girls.  Over the years I would buy ornaments that were things they were into.  For example, all the girls have a speicific Harry Potter ornament from the first year the movie was released. One  year someone got a basketball ornament, someone a soccer ball and someone else a rocking horse!

3) We love going to Church together during this Advent Season. So that is our Wednesday night tradition. We love the calmness of the Church and the beautiful trees, decorations and flowers that are placed just for this season.

4) We have a huge Family & Friends Chiristmas Open house every December. This year it is set for Dec. 20th.  So my girls and I  plan out what goodies we are going to make this year.  This year each one of them will be in charge of picking one item and they are going to learn how to make it.  This is so much fun! From planning, making and eating!


5) Music is a very big part of this holiday!  We get out all our Christmas CD's and this year mp3's and play the music as often as we can.  We also go sing Christmas Caroles' for nursing homes and older members of our church.  One daughter will be in 3 Christmas concerts this season too.  We will also perform together in the Church Chime Choir too!



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