December 30, 2011

Sweet Treat Friday - Homemade Hazelnut Mocha Mix

This batch makes 18 ½ cups mocha mix, which is a lot of course.  Store it away in ziplock bags and keep some in a small container on the counter, or give them away in some jars with directions for others. It’s a great mix, I find most the supplies in the store near all the powdered coffee or hot chocolate mix.

Ingredients for Mix-

1lb, 9.6oz Nonfat dry milk powder
16oz Confectioners sugar (sifted)
15 oz Chocolate mix for milk (Nesquick is a good one and one container measures 16oz)
1 jar or 11oz non dairy powdered creamer
2 jars (8 oz each) hazelnut flavored non dairy powdered creamer (Or any other flavor you’d like to try, I find a really nice mocha one that works great)
½ cup cocoa
¼ cup instant coffee granules.

In a very large bowl combine all ingredients until well blended. Store in air tight plastic containers.

Directions to make a cup -
     To serve pour 6 oz hot water over 2 or 3 tablespoons of the Hazelnut Mocha Mix and stir.
I like to add marshmallows to my mix before sealing it up as well. :)

 Enjoy a nice steaming cup of Hazelnut Mocha Hot Chocolate !

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December 29, 2011

Seneca Farms Review & Giveaway **CLOSED**

Seneca Farms just added two new flavors of Oatmeal to their product line up! Now you can enjoy  Cranberry Apple and Maple & Brown Sugar.

The Oatmeal and  Fruit cups are great, perfect serving sizes and ready for an on the go kind of person. Microwave safe you can have yourself a hot breakfast or even afternoon snack in less than a minute. It takes 45 seconds as well as a quick cooling of period after you take it out. Hot, filling and quick there's no excuse to miss out on a hearty meal first thing in the morning.

I enjoyed both flavors, the Cranberry Apple though is my favorite, it's warm and bursting with that tart sweetness I love.  The Maple & Brown Sugar is great as well, hard to pick between two great flavors!
The Oatmeal and fruit cups also make it perfect for a kid serving size. No wasting a whole bowl or having left overs to deal with, my kids can finish one of these off easily.

Now is your chance to win yourself a 2-pack of each flavor!

Winner is Meghan  with Comment # 79


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

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Smartecards Review & Giveaway **CLOSED**

Love making cards? How about making some Ecards? Smartecards makes it easy to send some Ecards to family and friends without ever having to touch an envelope or worry about stamps

Here's how it works

You pick from a great variety of cards to start working with. I picked a New Years Card.

Once you choose your card you will then pick and upload any pictures you'd like to use in the card.

After your picture is uploaded you can drag and drop it into the "frame" for the card. Mine had three frames to work with so I uploaded two pictures. Once you finish that you can deal with what the text. What's your message? What would you like to say? Enter that all in, and pick a music to go along with the card. I picked a Christmas one.
After all that is entered you preview and save before you are ready to send!
 Here's the front of my card, hard to show you, it's like a little movie, with music and pictures :)

I wish I could adjust the picture but it still looks nice!

 Easy fun, and fast! Takes alot of pressure out of getting things send out on time in the mail. This way all you need is the email address and your all set to send a Holiday , birthday or Get well card to someone! Sound like fun? Now is your chance to get a chance to send some Ecards from Smartecards yourself!

Winner with comment #21 SocialStudiesSoubrette Congrats!!


This Flash Giveaway is for  25 credits to be used at! There will be One winner picked Dec. 30th at 10PST  Winners will be contacted by email and have 24hrs to respond before a new winner is picked.

How to Enter Leave email with one of the entries to be contacted. Leave a separate comment for each entry (+2, means two comments made separately ) 

1- Must follow My Side of Life by GFC - +1 entries

2- Add me to your Google + circles, my badge is on the right of the blog - +3 Entries 

3. Follow My Side of Life on Facebook -  +2 Entries

4. Follow My Side of Life on Twitter -  +2 Entries 

Extra Entry can be Tweeted once a day  
- +2 Entries


Enter to #win Smartecards Giveaway at @motherbugs 

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

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December 28, 2011

Sea-Band for Adults & Kids Review and Giveaway **CLOSED**

My kids get car sick, not just sick, it's like something just explodes! Twenty minutes is the very tops they can due, so imagine if you will four kids in the car for nearly five hours. After twenty minutes one of them blows, then the next, and so on. This was what happened a few years ago when we went on vacation. Believe me when I say it was the absolute worst trip ever in my life. There was nothing we could do for the kids, nothing but keep pulling over, cleaning them off and pushing forwards only to end up turning around and doing it all over ago to go home.

It. Was. Horrible.

Since then we've gone nowhere, just places we know they can handle, which isn't much fun. We have never found anything that helps the kids, and it can make for a pretty horrible summer vacation. We didn't want to use any pills or give them medication, I'm highly against that to begin with. We tried once, that was it, once and I vowed never to do it again. It made my child horribly cranky, he got headaches and was even worse off them just being sick.  How does that help? It doesn't, not one bit.

We are pretty much stuck, or at least we were. We have found a secret weapon, one that doesn't harm the kids, doesn't alter their moods, is safe and actually does the job!  Sea Bands!

The wrist bands use a principle of ancient Chinese art of acupressure. The bands are using a constant gentle pressure against inner side of your wrist. This cause the nervous system to release chemicals that help trigger the body's natural healing abilities. You can use the bands at any time, before, during and even after the onset of nausea for effective relief. Safe on kids, adults , you can even use them while pregnant!

Do they work? YES!

My son has car sickness the worst out of all the kids. It can hit him less than 20 minutes and it won't ever stop. It takes him out for nearly half a day once it starts.  He has used the Sea Bands for awhile even before I applied to review these Sea Bands. It does help him, he can go much further in a car now, but the sickness still hits, thankfully not as horribly as it does without the bands. Our second secret weapon to help him knock the car sickness right away ? Anti Nausea Ginger gum. It's a life saver, I could just hug the person who's made this available because it helps so much!
Gluten Free too!

You chew two pieces of this gum, not the best flavor but my son doesn't mind it at all. He recently went on a long field trip and I packed him the gum as well as the Sea Bands. He came back all smiles. He felt sick during the ride before he chewed the gum and he said it went right away. Do you know how happy that makes me? My son was finally able to enjoy a ride, to not feel horrible for a field trip, to make it to and back enjoying something! I about cried, and I'm not joking. He's almost 10 years old, he's been car sick all his life, and as a parent you feel heart broken to see your child constantly suffering just to go to a store once in awhile. 

I highly recommend these Sea Bands, as well as the Anti Nausea Ginger Gum. They are drug free, perfectly safe to use at any time of the day, in any situation. Best of all, they WORK!

 Winner with Comment # 83  tweetyscute  Congrats!!

I am entered to #win SeaBands Giveaway,Enter to win at   via @motherbugs 

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

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Wordless Wednesday

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December 27, 2011

Winter Break

 It's been pretty crazy around here lately. Nothing new to me, but it's not easy to get any computer time which is why I'm not around posting much these days when school is out .

What has been going on around here? Tons, say with the never ending leaves in the yard I'm always busy! I'm beginning to dread walking outside to look at the leaves, it's everyday, yet the trees are nearly bare. Either someone is messing with me or my kids are emptying the yard bin and kicking all the leaves back around again. I swear it's never ending!

My cold frame garden is not nearly at it's peak yet. I picked some greens for our Christmas dinner and they were so good!

In a few weeks I will start planting for the summer garden! Think I planned out my 2012 garden when I was still planting for 2011, crazy I know but that's the best time to do it.

If you follow me on my personal facebook you saw the jewelry box my husband finished for one of our daughters. He's made two now, the next will be for our youngest. Here are the pictures from beginning to finish.

He completely enclosed the box, before cutting it to make the lid.

Tray is easy to remove

Finished being stained, and coated with high gloss finish! It's so beautiful in person. There's hints of reds, golds, just beautiful. Hard to get a good picture of it. There's pink padding in the tray, as well as the inside.

Here's what it looks like closed, it's it pretty?

I never posted a few other projects he's finished, the Toy box, the wine wrack, all of which I'll share when I get the chance. We have other projects going on, so stick around for those! As I said, it's been crazy busy around here! :)  

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December 23, 2011

Gyro Bowl - Bring on the snacks!

Four kids are messy. Actually kids are just messy to begin with but four of them makes things really messy. Snacks fly this way, that way, bowls tumble down or knock over. Half the time the mess being made is by accident, the other half well, you can figure it out.

This holiday I was delighted to be able to enjoy the Gyro Bowl!  I feel the need to do a drum roll!

Ta-Da! This bowl fell off the table a second after I took this. Guess what it did? Nothing but keep the party mix off my floor!!

The Gyro Bowl has become a instant win around here. You know the mornings or afternoons when things are just crazy as ever, you throw a snack together and need to leave right away? My kids will grab at bowls and take off running, most the time leaving their snacks flying every which way. With the Gyro Bowl, all is well in a non stop 360-degree rotation that has Moms like me thankful.

My youngest found this the most amusing, grabbing the bowl at each handle, twisting, turning, sliding, tumbling. When only two pieces fell out she announced it "Magic" I just sighed in relief. You have no idea how many times I have to pick things up , and every ounce that isn't being dropped on the floor is success to me.

The bowl is totally kid friendly, and cute. With a locking top that the kids themselves can put on, and take off just makes it that much nicer. The bowl comes with us to the park, in the car and all around the house. My youngest daughter can carry it any how she'd like without dropping her snack all over the place, while the other kids fight over it to see who uses it next. I've since had to go buy 3 more one for each of them. Who knew bowls were so exciting?!

Any parent with small kids would love this bowl! My delight comes from not having to pick anything up! The kids enjoy just twirling and spinning it to "test" it out. It's fun, simple, affordable and puts an end to most accidental knocks against a bowl of any snack. This bowl will just turn over and keep the snack in place. Have I mentioned how much I like not having to pick up most foods with this bowl? Cause I can keep saying that, or you could just go and  check out the Gyro Bowl's website and order some yourself !

Great last minute gift if your still looking for something! Kids and adult would enjoy this, pick a few up, give them away keep some yourself! Enjoy the kid proof no spill bowl :)

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

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December 22, 2011

Sister Schubert’s New Soft Pretzel Rolls and Mini Baguettes Review & Giveaway! **CLOSED**

Sister Schubert’s New Mini Baguettes and Soft Pretzel rolls graced our tables this past week. Ready in just under 10 minutes (if thawed) makes the homemade pre-baked rolls or baguettes a great addition to any meal when you want.

First thing I like about the Soft Pretzel rolls, it’s versatility . Makes a great snack for the kids after school. They are ready in seven minutes which means if your putting together a last minute dinner, you can still have these rolls. I took them out frozen, and was still able to bake them up nice and warm for my family last minute. The kids adored them, I barely got a bite. Half pretzel half roll, they were soft, with a homemade taste. We loved them!
The New Mini Baguettes were a little different for my kids. They did not enjoy them, I on the other hand loved them! I had made steak with mushroom sauce (gravy) so I had the perfect way to eat these, dipping them! The Baguettes have a crispy crust, which I just love. The middle was softer, and airy just like Baguettes should be, so I really enjoyed them. They make a perfect appetizer and or dipping . Just like the Soft Pretzel’s you can get these out of the freezer and bake them up quickly. They bake (thawed) in seven minutes. If frozen, they take a tad longer but under 15 minutes. Last minute dinner? No problem again, just pop these in the oven while you are putting everything else together!

Sister Schubert’s Mini Baguettes are available in the grocer’s freezer section for $3.79 , (prices may vary.) The bag holds 6. The Soft Pretzel Rolls are also $3.79 for a six count bag. You can see if Sister Schubert’s
products are available in your area right here
Would you like to try them out yourself? Here’s your chance!

** Giveaway**

 Comment # 43
Comment #71

“I was one of the bloggers selected by T. Marzetti Company and Family Review Network to host a Sister Schubert’s Homemade Rolls giveaway. They provided me with product to test myself as well as prizes for my readers. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.”

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December 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I've been using old glass bottles for some crafts. The bottom half of this glass is being turned into a flower vase, but it still left me with the top half. I took some old twigs and stuck them in the top before decorating it. Makes a center piece for the table for the holidays. Best part? No watering to worry about! Ha :)

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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December 20, 2011

Toca Boca Christmas Salon

 Toca Boca  has a new Christmas app out! If you are heading out for the holidays or need to keep the little ones busy for a little while you can download the new Toca Boca Christmas Salon app!

It's adorable, just like the regular Toca Boca Hair Salon. You can cut Santa's hair, as well as trim a Christmas tree! My kids put ornaments all over both of them, and the funny part is if you use the hair dryer after you place ornaments on they all fall off! It's pretty cute, and it's also FREE.
If you missed my review on Toca Boca apps for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, you can read about it here. They have some other great games, but the Christmas one is available now for a short time! Enjoy!

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

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December 19, 2011

Ask the Organizer Program @rubbermaid

We all have those disorganized days where nothing seems to go right, but I think during the Holidays it gets even worse . We are rushing to get things done, hosting some dinners, or parties. School parties, cookie exchanges, the never ending gift wrapping sessions! Let's face it, Holidays can be very hectic, but it doesn't mean you can't keep organized!
Rubbermaid just launched a new a new online program that can help get you better organized! It's called Ask the Organizer Program. You can ask the experts and get answers , tips and more from the Certified Professional Organizers on the Rubbermaid's team.

When you check out the site, there's a list of the most recent questions and answers to browse through. The top one today is how to get a child  organized. The tip was to make a check list, a laminated one at that with words and pictures. What a great idea! It would work perfectly for my kids.

 Kids would feel more responsible about keeping things together and they can earn stickers or rewards for keeping on track with it.  Last year when my kids were completely disorganized come morning time, I came up with my own plan to help us out.

  My husband built a shoe and coat cubby for our kids!  It sits right inside our entry way.

Even the youngest knows when you walk in the house you take your shoes off and put the shoes away in the cubby. My school kids know to hang their coats , backpacks up and place folders or school papers on top of the cubby each afternoon. This way, it's all in one place, I know where the papers are, and when it comes time to do their homework, they know where it is. After homework it goes right back up on the cubby. Come morning time, there's no rushing around trying to figure out where it is. (though it still happens time to time)

No matter what  my kids are learning to be more responsible and it makes my life a little easier if they can keep track of their own items even if it is one folder, a pair of shoes and their backpacks. It's one less thing I have to deal with, and they feel great when I point out how well they are organized.

Do you do anything to help teach your kids to be organized?

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December 18, 2011

Quick Holiday Wreath

Last year my son went to one of the local winery to learn how to make wreaths for school. They took the old grapes vines and weaved them into circles all afternoon. It was pretty fun for the kids.

He brought home this wonderful wreath

I put some wire around the grape vines to keep them together a little better. He did a great job with it!

He didn't want flowers on it though which I was going to use at first. He also didn't want ribbons, or anything "girly" so it took me awhile to convince him to let me do anything with it. I wanted it up for the holidays to enjoy all his hard work! So I put lights all over it, and this is how it turned out.

It goes on our front door, but I set it up in his room for a day so he could enjoy it.

The other kids wanted in on the wreath making so while I was tangled up in lights, they were getting sticky with some glue and tissue paper! The easiest Wreath ever! Ta-Da!
Pretty isn't it? All you need is a paper plate, with the middle cut out of the center. Some glue, green and a few other colored tissue paper and a ribbon to glue at the top. Let the kids have at it, it's such a simple craft and they always turn out awesome. You can keep them for years and enjoy!

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December 17, 2011

Ricossa Moscato d'Asti Review

Moscato is the Italian name for the Muscat grape, a native son of the Asti region of Piedmont, where it has produced a light, floral sparkling wine for generations. Naturally low alcohol - at only 5% about half the alcohol level of most wine making it easy to drink.

Moscato is sparkling and sweet with fruity taste. It reminds me of peaches, very light, not too sweet. You can easily mix this into your favorite cocktails or steep with some fruit to make a fruity cocktail for guests this holiday season.
We enjoyed the Ricossa Moscato d'Asti very much, it’s a nice addition to any company dinner, or a get together. I’ve never had sparkling wine before, it was surprising to taste. It's half between a light wine, and half sparkling drink, making a very pleasant balance to enjoy.  I plan on including a bottle of this at our Christmas dinner this year. At only $14.99 per bottle it’s also affordable so I don’t have to worry about over spending for our dinner guests. 

This is the Ricossa and Cranberry Holiday Punch,

How to make the drink

750 ml Ricossa Moscato d'Asti
1 cup cranberry juice
¼ cup cranberries

Steep cranberries in 1 cup of the Ricossa Moscato d'Asti for 5 minutes. Transfer to the freezer until cranberries are frozen. In a pitcher, add 1 cup of cranberry juice to 32 oz of Ricossa Moscato d'Asti and gently mix. Keep chilled. Garnish punch bowl with an ice ring made from frozen cranberries, and add a couple of frozen cranberries to each glass before serving.

I loved it! We used Peach juice as well, which really came out nicely. The sparkling wine already had hints of honey in it so mixed with a peachy sweet drink it rounded out very nicely. If you plan on treating guests this Holiday why not pick up a bottle of Ricossa Moscato d'Asti? Pour it by the flute, blend in your favorite cocktail or even fruit juice , the important thing is to Enjoy!

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

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December 16, 2011

Sweet Treat Friday - Cookie Mix in a Jar, a Holiday Gift idea

This is a wonderful quick and simple gift to give to neighbors, friends, or even the kids school teachers!

Oatmeal- Raisin Cookie Mix
Ingredients for the jar mix-

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar

Directions to mix up.
In a small bowl mix together the flour , baking powder and salt. Stir until it's well blended. Spoon it into a wide mouth 1 quart jar . Layer the Oats, raisins, coconut, brown sugar and white granulated sugar carefully into the jar. Cover with the lid and decorate with a ribbon or leave plain. Write the directions out on an index card to give, you can always tie them on or make a label if you wish.

Directions for cookies to place with Jar-
  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour cookie mix into large bowl and stir together until blended. In a small bowl combine 1/3 cup vegetable oil and 2 eggs. Beat until blended. Add oil mixture to dry mixture and stir till soft dough forms. Drop by teaspoons two inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake about 7-10 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly brown. Transfer to wire rack and cool. Store in airtight container.


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December 15, 2011

Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace for Kids- Review

One thing parents are always trying to teach their children is, how to handle money! We've started to tackle this big job, and it's not the easiest thing in the world. Nothing comes easy with kids really, but this is one of those life lessons they must understand, and what better time to start than now during the holidays?

Dave Ramsey has created a line of products just for kids that help tackle saving, spending and handling money in a fun learning experience.

The book series by Ramsey is based on Junior, a young boy who learns the valuable lessons of giving, sharing, and spending. There are six books in the series that cover lessons such as “Junior Discovers Spending,” “Junior Discovers Work,” and “Junior Discovers Integrity.” You can also get the books in audio format . The set of 6 Junior books is available for $59.99. The audio books are also available in a collectible lunchbox for $39.95.
Wonderful books, nice and big for the kids to handle.

 The Financial Peace Jr. kit is a great tool for parents to teach the kids their children how to practice the principles that were given in the Juniors Book series.
The kit includes,a two wet-erase boards to keep track of savings and commission. There's also an activity book with stories and games ,  magnets for giving, saving, and spending. Each kit comes with  a kid’s sized calculator as well which makes the kids help keep track of their money. I like the envelopes as well, keeps their money together when we are using the kit. The manual for the parents is full of tips and makes it that much easier to help teach the value of money .The Financial Peace Junior retails for $19.95.

My kids enjoyed learning with the books as well as the kit. The Kids Monster Pack includes the books, the Financial Peace Jr. Kit as well as Juniors Bank. A Set of three banks, one for Saving, Giving and Spending.

Aren't they fun looking?
They don't seem to like the Giving bank, or even the savings bank just yet, so we have to keep focusing on the principles behind that.
The banks help put the lessons learned from the books as well as the goals set in the Financial planner in perspective for the kids. You can get the whole Monster Pack for $49.95.

Kids need to learn how to spend wisely as well as saving up , not to mention the idea of giving. They may not like it, and let's face it, this subject is not easy to teach the kids. Dave Ramsey made it easier though, and made it fun at the same time. My kids are learning valuable lessons that they will carry on into their adulthood.

If you can't find that one gift for the kids, or grandkids,  may I suggest you take a look at Dave Ramsey's website and check out the line of products that are focused on the Kids and Schools, there is a great amount of tools to use either at school, at home, even church youth groups.

I would recommend this to any parent with kids, or maybe you run an after school kids group. This would make a great lesson for all of them, one they will need to learn and there's no better time to start it then now!

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