December 31, 2010

Auntie Anne's At Home Baking Kit

Winter here in Northern CA comes with a lot of rain. It's hard getting the kids out in the rain, even harder when it's freezing. So, playtime must shift inside the home! We do alot of crafts, whether it's making something on paper or baking an afternoon snack. My kids love baking things with me. Which is why I was really excited to let them have a try at the this wonderful kit I received.

 Auntie Anne's At Home Baking Kit , comes with everything needed to start. They provide recipes for a deep dish pizza crust, cinnamon pull apart bread and even pretzel dogs. I bet you can do even more with it as well! I couldn't convince mine to do anything else as they just wanted pretzels. It was tons of fun !

 

They did such a great job I was standing back just taking pictures :)









They did a great job!
 Auntie Anne's At Home Baking Kit can be found at certain retailers, you can check the website. I haven't been able to find any near us, but hopefully they expand as this is a wonderful Kit, very kid friendly. You can find the Store Locaters where you can pick up some tasty pretzels as well. Can't wait to get my hands on another kit though, I'd love to try some of their recipes they list on the site. The kids would just have a ball!

*Disclosure, I received Auntie Ann's At Home Baking kids in order to provide an honest review. No other compensation was acquired .I did not have to write a positive review, Any and all opinions are my own. **



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December 29, 2010

He put Ketchup On it..

My Husband asked for beans. I was happy, cause I wanted chili, he said no chili, just beans. Wait, what? No chili? No, he said just beans, no tomatoes . What? I'm just standing there kind of dazed, who doesn't want chili?! Or who doesn't want tomatoes? That doesn't make sense at all!

 Alright so no chili, no tomatoes, even though that just breaks my heart. As I'm flipping through my cookbooks, all I see is canned beans, that come with juice and add tomatoes. Didn't realize how hard it was to find something without tomatoes suddenly! So the search was on, till I ended up completely dumbfounded as to what he wanted. Beans, nothing else. Well that just doesn't work!

  I looked at what I had left over, which was little. This was right after Christmas so we had ham, the ham bone, peppers, onions, bread and endless seasonings. Ok he'd get his beans with no tomatoes!  After soaking 2 cups each of Navy Beans and Pinto beans over night I rinsed them tossed them into the slow cooker and chopped up an onion. Big chunks of it, then I diced up the rest. I had some left over chopped pepper along with frozen so that went in there. Tossed in garlic, fresh ground pepper then went at the ham bone with a knife to cut off the left over ham. It all went in there, used some left over chicken broth in there as well.
  There is sat for eight hours, I kept checking on it till the beans were tender, so eight full hours it was. The house smelled wonderful, and It was finally dinner time! The kids, wanted nothing to do with my bean creation, they said, "ewww, it's not Chili I don't want it" and begged for cereal....I have such easy kids sometimes! I sat down with some beans , tasted it, needed tweaking of course but for my first try at non chili beans it was pretty good, was so proud of it

Look at my beans



I always do Chili, so it's just not the same as cooking other kinds of beans. These were my first, they looked pretty to me, all the onions and peppers have faded into tiny specks, even the garlic was no more. All fused together in a lump load of beans.


When my husband finally came home I was armed with a bowl of beans, no tomatoes and he was excited. That's all he wanted, said it smelled wonderful and sat down to chow down. I turn around and hear a squirting sound that has me cringe and stop dead in my tracks.

After all that work, all the pages I've flipped to find something, not anything like chili, just the way he wanted. All that calling around for any Bean recipes to family and friends. All the soaking, cooking time and work I put into those beans!!! What does he do? !


He puts Ketchup on them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They never saw it coming...


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December 23, 2010

Get Festive With Wholly Guacamole

It's no secret, I love playing with my food. There's tons of things you can do whether or not your trying to cheer up kids while their sick, plan a party, host a dinner or just have a little chuckle in your kitchen. I enjoy making things, but my kids ruin my art supplies, they've snatched my good drawing paper, broken my art pencils and I have to hide my paints from them as well. What else is a Mom to do?


Play with her food :)

We have people over up before Christmas, on, and after so we need stuff out quickly. I keep it simple, Wholly makes it really simple for me to keep my guests happy and yet not have me running around trying to up things together.

 With  spicy Salsa, and Queso, we make some bean dip, Chili Quesadilla's and lay out some vegetable trays. Since Christmas dinner isn't like Thanksgiving around here everything is out to do a buffet almost. We make our own sandwiches, enjoy dips, fruit or for the rare treat snack on cookies without anyone nagging on you about it.  I love Wholly Salsa, while yes I can my own, I can never seem to make it as spicy as Wholly's Hot Salsa.

 It is so yummy! I love things hot, and often end up adding hot sauce to most everything. So this Salsa is perfect for me!  You can add it to simple dishes, chicken or even place it on pizza before baking and it gives it a great little kick!
This year for Christmas I was prepared to make my simple dishes festive, and with Wholly's Guacamole it made it prefect to make a Christmas tree! The Spicy , has more chunks of peppers and tomatoes so I didn't have to add that much more to add decoration. The Classic is great, as well, but I needed some added color so the spicy worked perfectly.
Get some Wholly's Spicy Guacamole
I used a spatula and just spread it into the from.


Cut some carrots into thin slices and arrange them however you like on the tree.Use diced Tomatoes and cut a lemon peel for the star out, or if you can anything to top the tree off. Cut a piece of celery for the tree stump. Lay some chips around it and your all set to go! Simple way to dress up a wonderful tasting Guacamole!



You can see here how to put together some easy Chili Quesadilla's.

Enjoy Your Holiday and Merry Christmas to you All!!!

Check out EatWholly.com and see the rest of their Fresh, All Natural Foods!





**Disclosure-I received Some Wholly Guacamole Products, from http://www.eatwholly.com/ , in order to write an honest review. I did not have to write a positive review, No monetary compensation was received for this post. Any and all opinions are and will always be my own. **


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December 22, 2010

Prima Princessa Presents "The Nutcracker"


This Cute DVD is about 60 minutes long showing England’s most famous Birmingham Royal Ballet performing scenes from The Nutcracker. Throughout the show it breaks up and cuts to the School of American Ballet to show how certain dance moves are made including passé, glissade, sauté, sauté arbaresque, and echappe sauté. With repetition of both the name, and the move, it gives the girls a chance to get up and do it right along with them.


I remember seeing The Nutcracker myself when I was young, every year the school would go to see it perform in the theater. It was nice to be reminded of the great Holiday show as well as introduce my girls to ballet.
Here they are watching it the 3rd time and really trying to dance along with it.

They had such a blast and I'm guessing we'll be watching it a few more times today!


While Prima Princessa, a cute little yellow winged Ballerina danced across the screen throughout the entire movie, she narrated the scenes of The Nutcracker. Which is great, young kids don’t always get what’s going on in a show like this, it's just watching,so they were listening to her explain and enjoyed the magic that I once loved as a child myself.  I enjoyed seeing my girls get up and try out the dance moves right along with The Birmingham Royal Ballet. Enjoy the magic filled show with with your own kids, watching toy soldiers, snow fairies and the Sugar Plum fairy right along with Prima Princessa!



If you have nieces, or girls of your own this would be a wonderful gift for them to enjoy. I know I've always enjoyed watching it, now my children can enjoy it as well! Even the boys may like it, I caught my older son sneaky a peek but he'll never admit it. :)

 You can check the air dates in your own area to see it on PBS here , or buy it from Amazon.com .
You should also check out Prima Princessa which has some wonderful cute games as well as coloring pages the kids may enjoy.


Have a wonderful Holiday!

**Disclosure-I received the DVD Prima Princessa "The Nutcracker" , in order to write an honest review. I did not have to write a positive review, No monetary compensation was received for this post. Any and all opinions are and will always be my own. **




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December 21, 2010

Squared Apple Pie

Warm Apples with Cinnamon call my name all the time during the winter. Sometimes I just slice up an apple toss brown sugar and lemon juice together and warm the thing up in a bowl for a snack. Really, I'm that easy, no joke. It's those simple things that win us all over anyways, so I'll admit, warm apples are a weakness. In fact Apple pie is the only pie I like, yet I make every ones favorite. I think it's funny, everyone else thinks I'm just strange. Strange as I am, this dessert, is a winner and with or without a crust, you can't pass it up!

My Kids call this a "Squashed Apple Pie". Which it is, but this recipe is different. I changed a bit due to the sugar, My husband is diabetic so any recipe will always be changed for that. I didn't glaze my squares at all, and I cut out all the white sugar that's mixed with the apples.I replaced it with about half a cup of brown sugar and mixed it with flour, (which was eyeballed so maybe 2 TBS of flour) Mixed it all up with the apples , cornflakes, cinnamon and the nutmeg. Something else for some odd reason, I don't brush things with egg white, it's always with milk. Not sure why, either one works!




Squared Apple Pie

Ingredients
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter
1 egg, separated
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
1 cup crushed cornflakes
9 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (about 10 medium)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

GLAZE:
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons milk

Directions
In a large bowl, combine flour and salt; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a measuring cup, combine egg yolk and enough milk to measure 1/3 cup. Gradually add to the flour mixture, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.
Divide dough in half. Roll one portion into a thin 15-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Transfer to the bottom of an un greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Sprinkle with cornflakes. In a large bowl, combine the apples, 1 cup sugar, 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and nutmeg; toss to coat. Spoon over crust.
Roll remaining dough into a thin 15-in. x 10-in. rectangle; place over apple filling. Beat egg white; brush over pastry.(I use milk only and sprinkle with just sugar) Combine remaining sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over the top. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown.
For glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over warm pastry. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into squares.

 Try not to eat it all, though I know how tempting it is!
 Enjoy!


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December 17, 2010

Chocolate Inspirations

Chocolate, it's a win-win situation no matter what you do with it. I ran across Chocolate Inspirations website and couldn't stop licking my lips. Really, wow is all I could say.
 Each and every one of their chocolates is eye catching, mouth watering good you just want a taste of them all!
The site offers Vegan chocolates as well, and though I'm not Vegan or have any idea what Vegan Chocolates would taste like....I'm hooked!
This is a variety of samples I was lucky enough to review, some of which were Vegan. There's something for everyone at Chocolate Inspirations. They have some wonderful gift boxes to choose from for a loved one this Holiday season!

If you don't like the same old box of mixed Chocolates, I really think you should check out what this website has to offer. Each and everyone of their amazing chocolates is perfection. I dont' know which one was my favorite, really, each one seemed to say something different with perfection written all over it.
The Fudge Bar, was by far my favorite! OK, maybe the Tiger Butter was the top one, which lasted all of about 2 seconds. It melted in my mouth, seriously! 

This was the one of the Brittles, which I normally do not like, each one has something sprinkled on top of it and it made the chocolate flavor pop in your mouth! They were very good, they won me over so I can no longer say I don't like Brittles. These tasted nothing like I've ever had before!

The top is Coconut Britte, the one in the middle is the Cinnamon Toast Toffee (which really tastes like sweet cinnamon, wonderful!) The the Chocolate Pecan Decadence to the right. On the left there, is the Peanut butter Pillows with Chocolate. The Vegan Chocolates were amazing, 
 This one was Granola Bark with Chocolate, which is Vegan & Dairy Free! The site offers many Vegan chocolates, all very yummy, I couldn't even tell the difference so they were by far the best chocolates I've ever tasted!

One other thing that topped off the best was this

Gourmet Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon Flavor. Oh my! It was So good!

The Specks are the Cinnamon, I thought it would taste differently but it was Delicious! Wonderful treat! After I had a few sips, I spilt it up with more warm milk and gave it to the kids who loved it just as much! Not too rich, but oh so very smooth!

Want to try some new chocolates that will play with your taste buds? Check out Chocolate Inspirations for yourself! They'd make a wonderful gift for anyone this Holiday, be sure to check out their Holiday selection and their Vegan selection!


****Disclosure-I received the products mentioned above from Chocolate Inspirations, in order to write an honest review. I did not have to write a positive review, No monetary compensation was received for this post. Any and all opinions are and will always be my own. **







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Roman Town

I'm always looking for some educational game that will do more than just glue my child to a computer. Even the short amount of time I give my kids on it, I don't like most games out there. What is the purpose to blow things up? What's the deal with not being able to put something educational into it but make it fun at the same time?  It's not that easy, and even harder to find.

We got to try out  Roman Town, the Premier Archaeology game for Kids, by Dig-it games. My son and his friend were exploring and digging up fossils of all kinds and heading right into history with this game. There's little puzzle games in it, and some match games that make you think and use your skills.

It's fun, they had some laughs taking turns and trying to find new items. They kept saying they wanted to dig up a dinosaur like Jurassic park and run their own park, so in more ways than one this fun new game got the boys involved, entertained and they learned some new history at the same time!

Kids went home with Hats, water bottles and some new history adventures!

We had some cheese Chili Quesadilla as well with salsa!
It's just left over Chili and chedder cheese heated up in a folded tortilla , makes left over day go fast!

If your looking for an easy, fun yet educational game for kids (ages 8 and up are best) Check out Roman Town a new and fun way to learn about Archaeology!


****Disclosure-I received the products mentioned above,  in order to write an honest review. I did not have to write a positive review, No monetary compensation was received for this post. Any and all opinions are and will always be my own. **
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Warming up with Warmly Yours

Lately we've been waking up to frosted covered houses, grass and half frozen cars. Though in our area we don't get snow much, it does in fact get cold enough for it to flurry. You go just half an hour up into the hills around us, you'll get snow. It's never easy getting up and going in the morning when it's so cold, let alone for the kids but for myself. We toss jackets, hats, gloves into the dryer to get them toasty warm or put them on the heater before we head out the door, instant heat for a  few minutes!
 For the last two freezing cold weeks I've enjoyed an extra toasty warm invention by Warmly Yours. A Warming Towel Rack.

 It's one of those extra bonuses you can have that you wonder how you got around without it once you use it. Having it right outside the shower keeps the towels nice a cozy warm for us to grab. Our bathrooms has poor heat so it's always cold , it was nice to be warmed up by the towel. I can even toss my jeans or sweater on it and double the warmth. Our bedroom as well as horrible heating, no matter what we do, it never keeps warm. Luckily it's our room and not the kids, cause they wouldn't be able to stand the cold. I'll toss my socks on there as well, and the kids put their hats, mittens, and scarves on it before we head out the door. It's convenient and yet isn't in the way, which is always a plus.

Warmly Yours has many other easy ways to warm up during these cold winter months, yet it's not taking up a lot of energy to power them. Today with the economy and people trying to save what they can we ourselves know the heating alone takes up a big chunk of winter bills.  We can't keep jacking up the heat in our house, we've done what we could to keep heat inside but sometimes it's just not enough. Space heaters are a no go as I know someone that tripled their electric bill running just two space heaters for one month. I just about stopped breathing hearing that, luckily we didn't get a space heater. I'm sure there's some out there that won't double your bill, and work wonderfully, we just haven't found them.
 Warmly yours offers a wide variety of products, from portable heating mats, floor heating system even outside systems to keep your drive way, walkway and patio ice and snow free.
    Those would have come in handy when I was younger. At my parents house the walkway was a danger zone, iced over, every winter morning we had to go out with those ice pellets, and a shovel to break the stuff up. I've slipped slid, and crashed into those brick stairs so many times I can remember the colorful bruises they caused year after year. Sure you can do all that yourself and save money, but if you have a loved one say a Grandparent that cannot get out the shovel and work at the ice by themselves this is a great way to help them out. Really, it is a lot of work to deal with snow and ice on walkways, sometimes you dont' even see the ice until it's too late. Which has happened to me on way too many occasions. Take the danger out of walkways,  Get an estimate from Warmly Yours with their snow melting products.

Take Warmly Yours to the office and keep your feet warm underneath your desk! This mat is wonderful, perfect in size and it'll do the job. Check out the area rugs heaters and other products Warmly Yours has to offer, heating up your home but not your electric bill! I know we're enjoying the extra comfort of keeping warm they've provided, so I hope you get a chance to check it our yourselves!
 Keep warm this winter!


****Disclosure-I received the product mentioned above from Warmly Yours in order to write an honest review. I did not have to write a positive review, No monetary compensation was received for this post. Any and all opinions are and will always be my own. **
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EZ Sox Review

The cutest socks ever seen! EZ Sox, Training Socks for kids! They are truly adorable. With handles, or loops on the side of the sock for easy pull up it takes the fristration out of young ones dressing themselves.

My youngest 22 months can pull on some socks, but not all, she'll get toes stuck, or can't pull them up completely at all. She ends up tossing them around or kicking her feet till the sock is lost. A complete sock meltdown that ends with me chasing her down to get her dressed each morning. It's not fun, and it's not something I like to see. Kids take great pride in dressing themselves at certain ages and they gain independence not relying on Mom or Dad to help them. When they reach that stage they have so much confidence nothing can stop them. What happens when they can't put a sock on though? It's so frustrating they don't even try for anything else. Not what parent like to see.
 These EZ Sox pairs, take part of the battle away, giving kids easy Loops to hang on to as they pull them up. My daughter wouldn't do it though, and I think it was because I had a camera following her. She was in one of those, I'm not cooperating with you today so just leave me be Mom, moods.
 So instead I let my toddler try the socks out!

I didn't even have to tell her about the loops she just pulled them right on.

Happy Feet :)

These are wonderful stocking stuffers for toddlers or even younger kids trying to dress themselves. Making it easier for them to do it themselves giving them confidence, as well as their independence! No more help from Mom or Dad, they can do it on their own with the cute line of EZ Sox!
Check them out at http://www.ezsox.com/


 Easy to get little fingers in the loops, making pulling them up easy. Fun designs as well as soft, the socks come with Non Skid Bottoms which is a bonus if you have wood floors! Check out all the available colors, designes and sizes at http://www.ezsox.com/

Happy Holidays!!

**Disclosure-I received a pair of EZ Sox Socks , in order to write an honest review. I did not have to write a positive review, No monetary compensation was received for this post. Any and all opinions are and will always be my own. **



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December 16, 2010

Kidz Bop Christmas Party

Last week when we had our Roman Town get together it was also a mixed party of sorts, we did a bunch of Holiday games and had some fun listening to the New Kidz Bob Christmas Party CD. If I ever wanted to listen to kids trying to sing along with songs, these would be it. We all love Christmas songs, ok well most people I know do, but the kids love them even more.



  With 15 fun songs to sing along to and dance to it can easily get a kids party moving along. The kids enjoyed the Santa Claus is coming to town the most, of course! Their favorite was Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, and the 12 Days of Christmas which they all tried to sing along with. It was funny to listen to them keep trying, and rambling up the words.
  The CD is composed of all kids singing to the traditional songs (verses) we hear every year. I don't mind the changes in the sound or tone, the words were pretty much all the same except for a few here and there. It' geared towards kids, which they did a wonderful job of, the kids all enjoyed it.
If your planning on having some kids at a Christmas gathering you could easily put this on in another room if it's not to your liking. I think it's a wonderful kids musical CD, there's no outrageous singing, no changing words that I noticed and it's pretty much done to a child's liking. It's upbeat catchy and all around festive for the kids!

You can find Kidz Bop Christmas CD at Amazon.com  which can also be downloaded as an MP3 for use right away! While your kids are listening to the music have them decorate some cookies or make some ginger bread houses, or even make some cards for family members! Get into the spirit with them!
 Happy Holidays!


****Disclosure-I received the product mentioned above from Kidz Bop in order to write an honest review. I did not have to write a positive review, No monetary compensation was received for this post. Any and all opinions are and will always be my own. **



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December 15, 2010

Make Some Music!

We love Music in this house! We'll either have the radio or be listening to our iPods on the speakers throughout the day. Each Friday that's how our afternoon starts, we call it our Friday Party here. The kids get home, the music is cranked up and we make ourselves some pizza while picking out some movies.


This year we've had the best opportunity to try something new and exciting out. Making Music from Laser Beams, using The Beamz Player. An interactive Music System!


It took a little bit to work it out and with the kids buzzing around our heads we finally figured it out. It all connects with your computer while you move your hands through the  lights. You can choose from popular hits from the radio including Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Michael Jackson, The Eagles, The Beatles, and The Black Eyed Peas, or make up something all on your own! You can record your own music as well and play it back, which the kids just love. I They make a short song, stop it, play it back and an't get enough!

The sleek design makes it easy to play as well as not taking up much room.It's light weight as well, and easy set up. Just pop in the CD and plug it into the USB port, your ready to go.
Though it takes some getting used too, and us a couple tries to start making some tunes ourselves it was alot of fun.  We had to put ours while in use on our computer desk as it needs to be connected. It made for bad pictures, but it also gave the person who was playing a good private space to figure it out on their own. The next time we use it, it'll be for Christmas Eve when we have some people over, we asked someone to bring their laptop, this way we can set it out on the table for everyone to view!

Check out this video and see how it works!



Creating music with your hands, and letting your own imagination come in fluid musical notes The Beamz Player is an amazing new way to enjoy music!
 Know a music lover? Want them to enjoy music on a whole new level? Check out The Beamz Player this Holiday and enjoy making your own tunes! Fun for all ages, the kids can easily jump in on this and start making music on their own.

You can buy it from the website Beamz here, or Check it out at Amazon.com, with different models. The one we have been trying out was the Beamz Player (model C4) which has 50 top hit and original songs plus the ShadowBeamz music game.


Promise you won't be disappointed with this one, not only will the family enjoy, if you plan on entertaining some guests at parties or just having friends over, this would be a wonderful entertainment to enjoy with the guests!

Happy Holidays!!

**Disclosure-I received the Beamz Player from Beamz, in order to write an honest review. I did not have to write a positive review, No monetary compensation was received for this post. Any and all opinions are and will always be my own. **




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Fog and Rainbows

I took these pictures a couple weeks ago. Each morning we wake up, hustle into school and all I want to do is stop somewhere to take pictures of the never ending fog. It's amazing, you've got the sun rising above the mountains, and fog weeding throughout the hills . Everywhere you turn around here you've got mountains and foggy gleams of light shining through. I didn't get pictures this morning, it was too misty, but these are close to what was seen this morning just tons more fog :)


 Later  on that very week in between all the fog and rain we see this right down our street


I swear it looked like it was going right into our neighbors garage!!
I consider where we live a hot spot for rainbows, every year from about Sept through Feb, there's non stop rainbows. Double ones a lot as well. We see a lot just from our yard that are always huge and I can't even fit it into a full frame.  




I love rainbows :)
Enjoy your day!
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