Friday, November 30, 2012

Hot Chocolate Bark and Holiday Hop of Goodies

Easy Holiday sweet treat to make and give as gifts. We add ours to Christmas mugs and wrap with cellophane! Add this to your Holiday Menu.

Hot Chocolate Bark

Directions

1 pkg chocolate almond bark
1 cup hot chocolate powder
8 broken up graham crackers
1 cup of white chocolate pieces or chips (or whatever you have on hand)
sprinkles, optional

Ingredients

Melt bark in microwave according to package instructions.  Then add in chocolate mix, & graham crackers. Stir.  Then quickly stir in white chocolate and pour out onto a 11 X 17 baking sheet.  Top with sprinkles of your choice. Once hard, break and eat! Use different flavors of hot cocoa mix to get different variations on this recipe!

Link up anything holiday below!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Recipe-Peppermint Chocolate Patty Bark and Holiday Hop

Easy Holiday Recipe to make for family and friends. This peppermint chocolate patty bark is quick and great for gifts.


Peppermint Chocolate Patty Bark

 Ingredients
 1 pkg chocolate almond bark
 1/4 cup crushed up candy canes
 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
 2 Tbsp crushed up candy canes for the topping
 Sprinkles, optional

Directions

 Melt bark in microwave according to package instructions.
 Add in candy canes and stir until all covered in chocolate.
 Quickly stir in white chocolate and pour out onto a 11 x 17 baking sheet.
 Top with crushed candy canes any if wanted, sprinkles of your choice.
 Once hard, break and eat!
Link up all of your holiday goodies below! Anything holiday related is welcome!


12 Festive Family Friendly Christmas Ornaments

Tis the Season to get crafty! Here are 12 festive, fun and family friendly Christmas ornaments that you can make together in no time! Happy Crafting & have fun making memories this Holiday Season.
Holiday Season
1- DIY Angel Bead Ornaments-Bowdabra
2-Homemade Ornament Dough & Kid Christmas Book & Activity by JDaniel4's Mom
3-Crafty Journal's Santa Bell Ornament
4-SNOW MUCH FUN - easy to make Snowman Ornament by ME!!
5-Ribbon Candy Christmas Ornament by Bowdabra
6-Adorable Christmas Wreath Ornament by Bowdabra
7-2nd Chance to Dream's-5 Ways to Spruce up your Ornaments with Scrapbooking Supplies
8-Crystal & Co's adorable Rudolph Ornaments for kids
9-Snowman Handprint Balls by Glittering Muffins (LOVE the blog name)
10-Plaster of Paris XMas Star by Keeping My Toddler Entertained
11-Housing a Forest Kid made Stain Glass Ornaments- recycled!!
12-Holiday Snowflakes Arts & Crafts Activity by S.O.S. Mom

These are all great! Stop over and visit them. Let me know which is your favorite out of the 12.

Do you have any ornaments on your blog? Link them up and I will pin them to my Christmas Pinterest Board. You will find all of these featured bloggers there, too!

Besides ornaments, link up anything Holiday related below! Your project just might get featured next!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Drinks: Secret Eggnog Martini & Holiday Hop

Do you ever prepare special holiday drinks for your guest? You will have to try this Rock'n Fish's Secret Eggnog Martini the next time they pop over this Holiday Season. What are some of your favorite holiday drinks? 

egg nog

Rock’n Fish’s SECRET EGGNOG MARTINI

To prepare:

Combine equal parts of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum, Bailey's Irish Cream, Frangelico and prepared eggnog in a martini shaker with ice and shake well.

Strain beverage into a chilled martini glass with a graham cracker crust rim, sprinkle with nutmeg and serve.

Note: Guest recipe from Rock’n Fish has 3 locations in California: Manhattan Beach, Laguna Beach, & L.A. LIVE. Please visit www.rocknfishmb.com for more information.


More Holiday Drinks and Christmas Goodies





Printable Coupons


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Menu Gingerbread Snack Mix

Easy holiday recipe to add to your Holiday Menu. This gingerbread snack mix is quick & easy to make & give as gifts, too. 

Chocolate Gingerbread Snack Mix

Ingredients

1 pound chocolate almond bark
cups chex mix
3 cups gingerbread marshmallows

Directions

Melt the bark. (Do it on the stove top, microwave or melting pot)
Once melted, add in chex mix. Give it a good stir. The pieces do not need to be totally covered in chocolate.
Add in gingerbread and give it a few stirs.
Pour out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet.
Once cool, break about in chunks.
So yummy.

Kitchen notes: Use any type of snack mix with this recipe. I had a huge bag of snack mix that was leftover and this was what I used. Try using different types of marshmallows and/or white almond bark. Have fun with it.



Monday, November 26, 2012

U by Kotex Tween Mommy Talks #KotexMom

Young girls need the first talk so that they can grow to be mature young ladies who can take care of there body. The first talk becomes many talks as you prepare them for their menstrual cycle period.

Over the past 6 months I have been working as a Brand Ambassador for U by KotexTween. I know that quite a few of you have been following along and I really appreciate all the messages that I have received with your questions about how to have "the talk" with your daughter. I hope that you all learned something and are better prepared or have been made more aware of things to discuss and places to go for that information.

For those of you not aware, I'm a mom of 3 teen daughters. So I have had my share of talks over the past 9 years with each of them. One thing that I have learned over the years is that each talk is different for each young girl. They all have different learning and listening skills so each talk was crafted just for them. One loves details, the other wants just enough to grasp the concept whereas another wants reading materials so that she can read more about it after the talk. No matter what, the girls need to learn about their menstrual cycle and how their body changes from little girl to young woman and then on to being a mother. My girls have all said that they feel like we have a special bond that can't be broken.

Over the past 6 months I have shared with you

It isn't always easy being YOU! Mom Daughter talk






Out off all the post that I crafted, I really have to say that the "Tween first talk on breaking the ice" was my favorite post. I say this because personally that was the first time I went into an all out mommy panic mode. I discussed the importance of being educated on what needs to be said and when.

"My point is for you to educate yourself on puberty changes, read everything available to you and don't go in an all out momma panic mode. You only panic when stressed and I was stressed about them leaving. Don't let stress ruin everything that you have been preparing for. My ice breaker was, "ok girls you are going away for a week and I want to tell you about something that might happen while you are gone." glup. Don't do that. Really, I did that!! The twins told me years later that I freaked them out. They didn't even start for another 3 years. Over those next few years, we had many talks to help them be prepared and not scared."

So be prepared, education yourself (Kotex site and U by Kotex site), check out your resources, ask questions from other moms and know that your daughter needs you to share this information with her. Educate her so that she can grow to be a confident young lady. Remember, someday she will need to share this with her daughter and will look back on the time you shared with her as valuable, treasured moments in her life.

I wrote this review while participating in a Brand Ambassador Campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of U by KotexTween and received products to facilitate my post and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Menu Plan Monday & 5 Days of Holiday Sweets

Welcome back to a new Menu Plan Monday! Thanks to all who stop in each week to check out my menu. Feel free to leave your menu links below in the comments and I'll come over and visit.  Menu planning makes life so much easier around my home. Do you menu plan? Below is a general menu plan which I will cook most of it. The sweets are being made for our family and friends Christmas open house this weekend.  I hope you all have a tasty week before Christmas.  


candy canes

Enjoy the tasty recipes!!!!

toffee recipe

chili recipe

Monday-Easy Holiday Toffee and Super Easy White Chili 

Marshmallow recipes

Tuesday-Holiday Pretzel Dippers and leftover White Chili with grilled cheese sandwiches


Cheesecake Recipes

chicken thai recipes


Wednesday- Mini Pear Ginger Cheesecakes and Thai Basil Rice with Chicken

Italian Soup Recipes

gingerbread snack mix recipe

Thursday- Crockpot Spinach and Sausage Bean Soup and Gingerbread Snack Mix


gluten free pizza


FridayEasiest White Cut Out Cookies for the Holidays and Frosting Recipe and Potato-Crusted Margherita Pizza



Weekend Bonus Holiday Sweet Treats-Mini Peppermint Cupcakes skinny recipe and Hot Cocoa Bar ideas and recipe
your awesome ideas there, too! 


menu plans


I've linked up at OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday. Go check out her menu plan and all the others linked up!

holiday recipes

Need more Christmas Goodies? Check here at my 30 Days of Christmas Goodies for drinks and treats! 


RSV Awareness and World Preemie Day


Almost every baby under the age of two will contract RSV. Here are RSV facts and prevention tips, especially for premature babies. 

Preemie Awareness Day was November 17th. I alway think about this day and give thanks because my twins were born at 32 weeks premature. I was on bedrest for over 2 months before they were born. I was very blessed to have been monitored so closely. It wasn't easy being on almost complete bedrest at home and then at the hospital. The doctors did everything that they could before birth to make sure the twins would be born healthy. My girls were 2#5 oz and 4# 3 oz when born. I was given steroid shots to help their lung development before birth. How about you? Did you have preemies? I'd love to hear your story.

I just read that 13 million babies are born early every year with half a million in the United States. This prematurity is the leading cause of neonatal death. 3 out of 10 moms didn't know the risk that comes with premature birth until they had their first child. I personally knew, before having my twins, that most premature babies have many medical issues that could lead to death. The stats show that 79 percent of preemie moms have a baby who was hospitalized due to severe respiratory infection. 

The particular respiratory infection that causes the most difficulty in preemies is the RSV or respiratory syncytial virus. I learned that nearly ALL children by age of two will get this virus which causes minor symptoms of the common cold. The problem with preemies is that they are at a much higher risk of more serious symptoms because of their underdeveloped lungs and lack of antibodies to fight the infection. This all sounds so scary after the fact for me.
Here are some quick RSV facts & Prevention tips from RSVProtection.com:

RSV Facts:
*RSV is the leading cause of infant hospitalization
*10 times more infant deaths from RSV vs. the flu
*RSV is more prevalent in the winter months with November-March being the "RSV season"
*Risk factors are premature babies, low birth weight, heart or lung disease and a family history of asthma
*Frequent contact with other children
*Easily spread from touching, sneezing and coughing and it is very contagious

Prevention Tips:
*Wash hands, toys, bedding and play areas frequently
*Have visitors or people who will be touching your baby wash hands and/or use hand sanitizer
*Avoid large crowds or people you know to have been sick
*Don't allow any smoking around your child
*If your baby is in the high risk category, talk to your doctor about preventive therapy.
*If your baby has severe coughing, wheezing or rapid gasping breaths contact your pediatrician immediately.
*If you see blue coloring of the lips, mouth or under the fingernails, contact your pediatrician.
*If your baby has a high fever or is extremely fatigued, contact your pediatrician.

My twins did not get RSV which is totally amazing to me. I didn't know much about it at all. So if you are a soon-to-be mom I hope that this information is helpful to you. If you know of someone who is, please pass this information on to them. Remember you can learn more at RSVProtection.com. If you are on twitter, check the hashtags #protectpreemies #rsv to get more information, too!

 I wrote this review while participating in a campaign for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of MedImmune and I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Save Time and Money Shopping on eBay

Tis' the Season to go shopping! Have you started your holiday shopping? Here are fun tips and deals on eBay products to kick your shopping into high gear.
When you think holiday shopping do you think eBay? I have to say that I normally do not think eBay first but this year I am finding that eBay is easy and a convenient way to get shopping done quickly. I LOVE the eBay Holiday Gifts and Gift Ideas guide. Check it out and see how easy it is to do your shopping on eBay, too! 

I'm all about saving money and have found a lot of deals with eBay's new and buy-it-now products. Gone are the days waiting for an auction to end especially with the holiday countdown showing that I have less than 1 month to have everything ready. 

Besides shopping on their website at home, I love the eBay Mobile App which is free to download. The app works with your desk top site and allows you to shop, watch, buy, sell and more! It love it because I can easily search for items while I'm away from home. I was able to search for something while at a store to see if I was getting a good deal on eBay, which I was! 

Here is my eBay holiday gift list for family & friends and the deals that I found:

  1. For Me (yes for real): JILLIAN MICHAELS 30 DAY SHRED WORKOUT DVD - NEW SEALED exercise & fitness video
  2. For Hubby: FATAL ALLIANCES European Conflict 1914-1918 Canadian Wargamers RPG Board Game
  3. For 13 year old: Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Plus Mirrored Swim-Swimming Racing Goggles-Silver Anti-Fog
  4. For 18 year old: Skinit Phi Kappa Theta Skin for Apple iPhone 4 4S
  5. For other 18 year old: The Artist (DVD, 2012, Includes Digital Copy; UltraViolet)
  6. For my MIL: New Set of 3 Colorful Kitchen Stoneware Baking Casserole Dishes w/ Handles
  7. For 5 year old niece: Easy Bake Ultimate Oven NEW
  8. For 7 year old niece: COMPLETE CHEF CLOTHES +11pc KITCHEN TOOL & BAKING SET FOR 18" AMERICAN GIRL DOLL
  9. For cats: New Cat Tree 47" Kitten Condo Play Furniture Scratching Post Pet House Black
  10. For 9 year old niece: Doll Clothes fits American Girl 6 pc. Swimsuit set NEW
I'm so impressed at how easy it was to find the items that I was looking for this year on eBay. The prices were right and everything that I wanted was on buy it now so that I didn't have to wait for the auction to end. 

When was the last time you shopped on eBay? I hope you check it out to help you get that holiday shopping list checked off as complete. 

Check out eBay on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of eBay. I received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Benefits of Shelf Safe Milk #milkunleashed

Have you ever served shelf save milk to your family? Why or why not? If you aren't sure of what this is, here are the benefits for your family.
Have you ever heard of shelf safe milk? If not, what is the first thing you think of when you hear shelf safe milk? I just recently learned about Shelf Safe Milk. Up to this point I had never heard anything good or bad about the product. When I first heard about it, I though this must be something that is used in countries where they do not have refrigeration. After reading more, I found out it is not just for countries like that but something that is used anywhere and anytime!

After reading more about this product, I learned that shelf safe milk is real milk with no additives or preservatives and doesn't require any refrigeration until it is opened. This product has been around since the 1960s. Really? I can't believe that I am just learning about this. I'm a 40 something mom with 3 teen daughters and I'm just now learning about a milk that can be served anywhere, anytime without the worry of keeping it cold until ready to drink.

We are a busy family and I can recall many times when I wished we had milk to give the kids during sporting events, traveling for many hours to visit family or even a container of milk to drink while having a picnic at the park. How about you?

Shelf safe milk makes getting nutrients easy, which is especially needed for my 3 teen girls. I am always concerned if they are getting enough calcium to keep their bones strong. I read that one carton of shelf safe milk has 8 grams of protein and 9 essential nutrients which includes calcium, A, D, B12, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, riboflavin, niacin and zinc. All of which requires no refrigeration until opened!

Check out the video:

This ultra pasteurized and special Tetra Pack eco-friendly cartoned milk is perfect for our busy life. I love that single serving packs can be tossed into lunch boxes, diaper bags, backpacks and picnic baskets until it is ready to be enjoyed! My girls want to try the flavored milk, too. It is another option that has less sugar than juice and soda.

Do you buy products in bulk? Which are your favorite? I know that a lot of us purchase toilet paper, paper towels, coffee, meat, etc in bulk. Well now you and I can also buy our milk in bulk. It can be stored on the shelf, in the pantry and even in the garage. As with all bulk buying, it saves time and money. This milk will definitely come in handy in my kitchen. I can recall many times when I needed milk for a recipe to find out that someone finished the milk without tell me. This will be great to have on the shelf until I am ready to use it.

So, have you learned something new today? I hope so! I am so excited to get this shelf safe milk for my on-the-go teenage daughters as well as have on  hand at home. Is this something you already use or plan on trying? Let me know!

Find out more about Milk Unleashed on Twitter and search for #milkunleashed hashtag. Check out their Facebook page and you can LIKE it below. You can find out where to buy Milk Unleashed on their webpage.


This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Milk Unleashed blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. To read more posts on this topic, click here.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Holiday Recipes & Holiday Craft ideas

Are you looking for a fun and fresh ideas for the holidays? Are you on Pinterest? Stop over and check out my Recipes for the Holidays and Christmas Crafts & Recipes boards for all the fun ideas that I have collected.
Have you ever made Snowman Soup? It is a super easy gift idea that I have been making for years. My project is being featured over at the Bowdabra Blog. I'd love for you to stop over and get my hot cocoa recipe and see the craft tutorial. 

What are some of your favorite HOLIDAY Pinterest boards? I'd love for you to link them up below. Do you need a new coffee pot? Stop over and check out my coffee pot review on The Smart Cooking Guide. If you can, leave a comment on the post so that I know you stopped in. THANK YOU!! 

Please follow my boards on Pinterest- SusieQTpies Scraps of Life 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Small Business Saturday Deals!

Are you going shopping on Small Business Saturday? If you already have plans, what shops are you going to and what are you most looking forward to purchasing?
We are visiting family out of town and plan on celebrating Small Business Saturday in their small town. A few of us went out today for Black Friday Deals and found a few stores really busy and the people were a bit cranky. We are looking forward to Small Business Saturday because the little stores are less crowded and everyone is always so friendly.

Tomorrow, for Small Business Saturday, my youngest can't wait to go to the small local bookstore. It has been here forever and she loves finding new, old books to read. She isn't a big shopper and prefers Small Business Saturday vs. Black Friday shopping. My husband, who avoids Black Friday like it is the plague, will go to the local game shop on Small Business Saturday. This is his all time favorite local store which has been open for over 20 years! I have several stops which include picking up a few of the local holiday candles and homemade fudge.

While we are out on Saturday, we will have to find a local place to eat, too. I love eating in local small town restaurants. Besides finding a place to eat I am excited to try out a new local coffee shop that wasn't here last year. I love trying new coffee shops and hope to find coffee beans to serve for my holiday parties.

How about you? Are you headed out on Small Business Saturday? Which stores do you plan on visiting? Are there any new stores you plan checking out? I can't wait to hear about your shopping fun!

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for American Express. I received a promotional item as a thank-you for participating.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Gift Birdy online wish list for Holiday Shopping

I remember back in the day making wish list from the Sears catalog and passing it out to family. Very rarely would I get what was in that catalog but I had to try! How about your kids? Do they make a wish list from things they see on TV, catalogs, sale ads, etc? Do they pass the list out to the grandparents?

For my girls, they have never lived by their grandparents so when they make a wish list it gets passed along by telephone. That doesn't always work well especially when most of their wants can be found online. This year we have found a new wish list maker called GiftBirdy. Have you heard of it? 

GiftBirdy is an online wish list that allows your kids to easily create a wish list and send it to family and friends. This takes the guess work out of shopping and saves the phone call to tell the grandparents all the internet sites to go to. I know that the grandparents will appreciate the easy going shopping list. It is frustrating for them when they go pick out what they thought the girls want to find out it is the wrong style or color. 

The site is all kid safe and kid friendly. Don't forget, as the parent you should always check out sites first. You can easily do that by watching this introduction video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZNYzzAKlBPg which highlights all the fun features of the site. It also offers games for the kids to play, virtual gifts & cards can be sent by the kids and they can even send THANK YOU cards once they receive a gift. I really love the thank you card option! The site also has a Giftbirdy Giveback program which encourages children to add a small donation to a charity as a gift.

As a mom I love that the site doesn't have any external ads. This is important because kids can click on them and head to sites that you have not checked out. The purchases are made through Amazon which is our main site where we order from. Amazon is amazing and I am so pleased that GiftBirdy is their affiliate partner. It is a safe, free site, too! So not only can your kids go make wish list but they can play around on the site and make virtual pets. I give this site 2 thumbs up and it is perfect for the Christmas Season.

This is a sponsored post from One2One Network and Gift Birdy. All opinions stated are my own.

{Holiday Recipe} Cherry Pie Bites

Quick and easy holiday recipe with these cherry pie bites. They are also considered a "skinny mini" dessert item! You can still have fun, eat tasty food with cutting the calories a tad bit this holiday season.
holiday dessert

The complete “Skinny Mini Holiday Desserts” Recipe Collection is available at CanolaInfo.org.

Orange juice and zest make these fun-sized cherry pies a refreshing, tangy dessert. With canola oil, these treats are better-for-you than traditional pies. 

Cherry Pie Bites

Ingredients:

Crust
  • ½ cup slivered almonds (skin on) 125 mL
  • 2¼ to 2½ cups all-purpose flour 560 to 625 mL
  • ½ tsp salt 2 mL
  • ½ tsp baking powder 2 mL
  • 2/3 cup canola oil, chilled in freezer for 2 hours* 150 mL
  • 1 egg, beaten slightly
  • ¼ cup ice water 60 mL
  • ¼ cup 1% milk 60 mL
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar 15 mL
  • canola oil spray

Cherry Filling
  • 4 cups frozen unsweetened tart cherries, thawed (drain off any extra juice) 1 L
  • ½ cup orange juice 125 mL
  • 1¼ cups granulated sugar 310 mL
  • 1¾ Tbsp cornstarch  25 mL
  • 1½ Tbsp fresh orange zest 25 mL

Instructions:
  1. To prepare crust: In food processor, add almonds and pulse once or twice for coarsely ground consistency. Add flour, salt and baking powder. Pulse one or twice to combine ingredients. Add cold/frozen canola oil. Pulse again once or twice.
  2. In small bowl, combine egg, water, milk and vinegar. With food processor running, pour liquid ingredients through feed tube. Turn off machine as soon as ingredients are mixed, about 10 seconds.
  3. Remove dough and place on lightly floured surface. Knead ingredients 4 or 5 times to finish mixing. Divide dough in half, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to roll out.
  4. To prepare filling: In saucepan, combine thawed cherries and orange juice over medium low-heat for about 8 minutes. In small bowl, completely combine sugar and cornstarch. Add sugar-cornstarch mixture and orange zest to cherries. Cook cherry mixture until it comes to rolling boil. Cook for 2 more minutes until well thickened. Cool cherry filling slightly.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 °F (220 °C). Spray mini muffin tins with canola oil spray.
  6. Roll chilled dough out on well-floured work surface. With 2½-inch (7-cm) round cookie or biscuit cutter, with its edge dipped in flour, cut 24 rounds from dough. Roll out remaining dough and use it to cut small decorative pieces of dough to decorate top of pies.  
  7. Carefully fit 2½-inch (7-cm) dough rounds into bottom of prepared mini muffin tin. Pat down bottom with excess coming up sides. Spoon about 1 Tbsp (15 mL) cooled cherry pie filling into each crust-lined cup. Carefully top each mini pie with decorative pieces of pie dough. 
  8. Bake for about 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown and filling is bubbly. Remove from oven and set on wire rack and cool completely, then remove from muffin tin and serve. 
Yield: 24 mini pies.

Find out more on Facebook and Twitter: www.facebook.com/canolainfo
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