Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Snickerdoodle Chex Mix

I'm always looking for a fun, easy, and affordable gift to give teachers at the holiday. Between the kids school and Camden's therapists we have 7 teachers to think about.

While the school does the donation method (you give cash to a class pot) I wanted to do something that the kids would be a part of. That's when I decided to make Chex Mix.

The problem was I wanted to keep it nut free so I searched through the Chex Website and came across Snickerdoodle Chex Mix. I personally love Snickerdoodles so I knew this would be the perfect blend of sweet and fun!

I made a few variations to their recipe so here's my version!

Supplies needed:
2 cups - Chex Rice Cereal
2 cups - Chex Cinnamon Cereal
2 cups - Chex Vanilla Cereal
1 teaspoon - Cinnamon
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup - Butter

Step 1: Mix the cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl
Step 2: Mix all the Chex cereals into a large (microwave safe bowl) 6 cups total
Step 3: Add 1/2 of the cinnamon & sugar combo to the cereal and mix together
Step 4: Warm the butter up in the microwave for about 40-50 seconds
Step 5: Pour the butter over the cereal and mix together
Step 6: Immediately add the rest of the cinnamon & sugar combo and stir together
Step 7: Pop the whole bowl into the microwave for 1-2 minutes
Step 8: Stir it up and let it cool
Step 9: Enjoy or if you're giving it as a gift store it in some cute jars and add a tag!

That's it! So simple the kids are able to help and the only problem I have is keeping their finger out of the mix.

Do you give Chex as a teacher or neighbor gift?


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Trick to Easy Cookie Decorating with Kids

I love seeing all the photos of kids decorating cookies this time of year! It's fun to see how creative and artistic they can be, but there's not always enough time for getting it all ready. Which is why I"m taking an easy approach this year. We're using Walkers Shortbread Cookies and decorating them ourselves.

That's right I'm using cookies in a package, and what I like about Walkers Shortbread is the ingredients (Wheat flour, butter, sugar, salt) and that they come in cute festive shapes.

For the past few years we've done a big cookie bake with family in Minnesota, but this year we're not heading out there and when Grandma came to town time was limited. I took a pack of cookies bought some Wilton decorating pens and Walkers Shortbread from Target and we had our very own cookie decorating party.

What I really love is that we don't have to decorate them all at once. We decorate what we want and then save the rest for another time. These will also be perfect for a cookie decorating party at home or in the classroom. Tip: If you decorate over a cookie sheet than you don't have rouge sprinkles and your cleanup is so much easier!

Not only are they tasty,but they're sturdy! The amount of time it would take me for to make something so cute and good, isn't worth it. It's much easier to pick us a pack at Target or Walgreens!

We've been decorating them throughout the month and I love that the special treat turns into something fun and creative. The big question is what shapes will we leave for Santa on Christmas Eve?

Tell me do you go all out decorating cookies with the kids or are you like me and go the easy route?

Disclaimer: I was provided samples via the MomTrends Holiday event. As always all opinions are my own. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gift Guide for Boys & Girls Ages 2-6

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Are you looking for that perfect gift? Maybe your trying to figure out what to give for the kids Secret Santa exchange. Or if you're like me what to add to the Amazon Wish List, AKA gift guide for the Grandparents. Look no farther I have 7 great gifts any kids between 2-6 would be happy to get!

Moustache Smash- We love to play games together as a family and this one is no different. It's the perfect game to teach matching and everyone enjoys getting in on the fun! The game says ages 7 +, but my kids love it!

Shark Mania!- It's a race against the clock, and you've got to be quick matey. Laughs and speed are the key to this game.

Kinetic Sand - This has brought hours of play for both the kids and myself. With it's unique feel and the fact that it never dries out I know it will be something we play with for a long time.

Digi Birds - These birds can sing and tweet and the stand comes with a little whistle. My kids love theirs and I love that I don't have to feed them!

Paw Patrol Figures - These are the perfect size for tiny hands and to throw into a purse when you're headed out. My son always has one in hand and I love that each one does something special (Sky: wings pop out, Marshall: Hose pops up)

Zoomer Zuppies - We aren't ready for a dog in our house so Zoomer is the perfect addition to the family and I don't have to worry about taking him for a walk.

Paw Patrol Cars - This is bigger than the figures and the kids love playing with them. Chase and his car are always on the lookout and the durability it great.

Both my kids love playing with these toys and game and I love that there really isn't a gender specific item. My son loves Sky from Paw Patrol and my daughter loves Marshall, so it's all the same to me! 

Do you have kids in this age range? What items are on their wish list?

Disclaimer: I was provided some products from Spin Master for review purposes. As always all opinions are my own. 


5 Creative Gift Certificate Giving Ideas

I've always had a hard time giving someone a gift certificate or card. I want it be exciting, not just an envelope with tickets or a gift card in it. So I decided to think outside of the envelope and came up with 5 creative ideas.

1. Find out something about what you’re giving them. My example is tickets for Blue Man Group. They do a bit about Captain Crunch so I hid the certificate inside the box. The confusion of the recipient is part of the fun, but when they realize the tickets are inside they get excited.

2. Hide the surprise in a balloon. With this cute Pop Me tag they’ll be so excited to find out what’s inside they’ll probably pop the balloon before you even get the pin. Add some confetti for big surprise! Here's a free Pop Me! Printable 

3. Sew together paper. Not everyone’s a sewer so you can staple it together, but make sure you add a fun element inside to give it some texture. Here I've got some M&Ms to throw them off track!

4. Jar puzzle. Take an old jar and some slips of paper. Make a puzzle for them to piece together with you holding on to the last piece (or if you don’t want that pressure tape it to the jar lid) so they can’t figure it out too quickly. You can download and print my puzzle here!

5. A few friends have asked how they should give Frozen on ice tickets to little ones. My idea is take an ice cube tray and place the tickets on top. The little ones may not get it, but the other adults will think you’re genius!

Giving a gift certificate is such a great experience gift. Whether it's for a show, museum or zoo membership or a special date together it’s important to set the excitement from the start.

Do you like giving gift certificates? How creative do you get? 

Disclaimer: I do work for Blue Man Productions, but was not compensated for this post. These ideas are mine and I simply used their gift certificate because I had one. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Legend of the Christmas Spider

Holiday traditions are one of my favorite things about this time of year. When I spent my 1st Christmas with Mike it was interesting to learn about his family traditions. One favorite tradition I learned from him was the Legend of the Christmas Spider.

There are a few different stories out there, but this is the one I like the most: 

(A tale from Germany)
If you’ve ever gazed at the beautiful tinsel sparkling on your Christmas Tree and wondered who came up with idea of decorating the tree in this way, wonder no longer. According to German legend, it signifies a Christmas miracle from many years ago. 

The day before Christmas, as the small house in Germany underwent its Christmas Eve cleaning, the resident spiders, not wanting to be swept up with the broom, hid in the attic. When nightfall came and all were settled into bed, the spiders crept downstairs. To their amazement, in the middle of the living room was a beautifully decorated Christmas Tree. They were so excited that they ran all over the tree. They scurried up the trunk and leapt from branch to branch. Unfortunately they had left their mark. A gray spider web now covered the whole tree. 

When Weihnachtsmann, also known as Father Christmas, arrived he was amused to see the tree covered in spider webs. Now he faced a dilemma. The family would be disappointed to see their beautiful tree all wrapped in the webs, but the spiders were so pleased with their handiwork that he did not have the heart to take it down. What could he do? 

He thought and thought and came up with a wonderful solution. He turned all the webs into beautiful shimmering silver strands. When the family awoke on Christmas Morning they ran to the living room and saw their tree sparking and glittering in the morning sun. Their delight was unsurpassed. They had never seen such a beautiful tree. Only the mother knew that a true Christmas miracle had occurred overnight. 

From that day on tinsel became a treasured ornament for trees all over the world. Those who know the legend make sure that they give thanks to the industrious spiders by hanging a beautiful silver or gold spider ornament in a prominent location on their tree. 

This text was taken from Essorment 

So there you have it. Now you know where tinsel comes from and why hiding a spider in your tree is magical on multiple accounts.

Do you hang or hide a spider in you tree?


Friday, December 12, 2014

Velcro Brand Pop-Up Holiday Hack Shop & some #DIY Tips

I love an easy DIY and decorating tip. When I heard that Velcro Brand had a Pop-Up Holiday Hack shop in SOHO I knew I needed to pay it a visit, but what I didn't expect was festive, fun and creative new products.

I was lucky enough to be there with Brand Ambassador Sabrina Soto. She gave me some great tips for using Velcro® and how to care for it. FYI: It's best not to wash in hot water, and if you use a negligee bag you don't have to worry about it sticking to other items!

My favorite part was getting to do a demonstration with her. We made Pillow covers using 2 dinner napkins and Sticky Back for Fabric Velcro®. I love this idea, you can easily change out your throw pillows for the holidays and anyone can do this!

We all know the Velcro® we use to keep things together, but they have so much more uses. I was specifically drawn to their Velcro® One-Wrap® Straps not only does it come in great patterns and colors, but I can use it in so many different ways.

In the Pop-up Holiday Hack Shop they have a craft table and I made an adorable headband for myself Eleanor in less than 5 minutes. No glue, no mess and no needles!
Here's Eleanor making an advent chain. She can easily cut it, make her own pattern and piece it together. What I love even more is we can use it year after year.

I also decided to decorate my staircase with Camden, and I didn't have to worry about tape or cutting it and he could help me. It's awesome.

They have so many fun things going on at the Holiday Hack Shop for all ages. If you're in the area check it out, 199 Lafayette St. It's open till December 19th.  They also have some special days coming up: 
      Tomorrow, December 13th they have photos with Santa and cocoa.
      Monday, December 15th if you stop by and give some social love you may get something back!

So tell me what do you use Velcro® for in your house?

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but did attend a press event where I was given a gift bag. As always all opinions are my own.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wowza Giveaway #WowzaGiveaway

It's Giveaway Time, and Suburban Wife, City Life, Globetrotting Mommy, MommaLew, and Tastefully Childish have teamed up with some favorite brands to bring a giveaway like no other. It's so good we're calling it the #WowzaGiveaway!

What's better is we've broken it down into 5 different prize packs so we'll have lucky 5 winners! So scroll down to check out the prize packs and enter today!

Strolling Stylishly Prize:
High fashion meets high function in the Affinity Stroller by Britax. This refined, innovative design combines exceptional comfort and durability. Mix and match frame and Color Pack help create a stroller that is both elegant and enviable. Add the Cozy Toes to keep your little one warm and you're set! Winner gets to pick frame and Color Pack! For a closer look check out Suburban Wife, City Life's thoughts at the Britax Affinity Launch Here

Wake me up Prize:
Say Hello to the Keurig 2.0 K550 Brewing System. The first system that features revolutionary Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology which is designed to "read" the lid of each K-Cup or K-Carafe pack to brew the perfect beverage every time. The K550 brewer allows you to brew a 4-cup carafe with the same ease and convenience of brewing a single-serve cup - all at the touch of a button. It's so smart, and so simple! Check out Momma Lews thoughts here.
Cuddle Up Prize:
When it comes to decorating for the holiday Teleflora puts thought into each item they create. This is not only a beautiful arrangement, but you'll be able to store your treats year after year in this adorable cookie jar. Decorating for the holidays is easy and festive with Teleflora and since they use local florists it will be hand delivered and smelling wonderful in no time. For some Teleflora Holiday Decorating Tips check out Suburban Wife, City Life.

2 jars Original Peanut Butter, 2 jars Peanut Butter & Chocolate. 
Getting your peanut butter fix just became a whole lot easier. Just add boiling water to make Peanut Hottie at home, work, on the go, anywhere and everywhere. Available in Original Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter & Chocolate flavors it should be on everyone's Wal-Mart shopping list.

We'll Always Have Paris is a delightful mother-daughter travel memoir by Jennifer Coburn. Jennifer processes her dad's death while navigating her way through motherhood and around Europe with her daughter for eight summers. Their adventures are full of colorful locals, visits to familiar tourist sights and many unexpected moments. See Globetrotting Mommy's review here.

This Christmas is a three-novella collection by Jane Green, Liz Ireland, and Jennifer Coburn

Mom & Me Prize:
Help meet the unique needs of families worldwide and receive this gorgeous draped beaded necklace. This necklace is handmade by an artisan in Bali who helps children get the education she never received herself. 

A NYC centric curated children's boutique specializing in the most thoughtful, unique gifts for those looking to set themselves apart from giving the typical presents to kids. You'll find the perfect "it" gift that includes a dash of nostalgia and a taste of your own personal past brought to life with the collection of kid tees, toys, music, books and more.

Lightweight, durable and soft, the quilted Cary Love Tote is not only the perfect diaper bag, but it is also an easy everyday tote overall. For each Carry Love Tote Diaper bag sold, 5% proceeds will be donated to Every Mother Counts. Check out Globetrotting Mommy's thoughts here.

Time for Fun Prize:
This will be a hit with any junior fashionista on your holiday list. The kit contains an array of art supplies and fashion template so kids can create their own designs. From there, the designs come alive on the virtual runway thanks to a coordinating app. So much fun for kids and adults too! See what Globetrotting Mommy thinks about it Here!

More than just a watch, VTech's Kidizoom Smartwatch lets young photographers take photos and videos. Plus, play mini learning games and tell time for learning fun on the go!

Wowza, right! We're so excited about all the items available and hope you are too. So click on the rafflecopter below and start entering! Open to US entries only. Must be 18 or older to enter. Items can not be guaranteed in time for the holiday.

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