Oct 312013
 

Thanksgiving is almost here, and I can’t wait to make some fun Thanksgiving desserts for kids. My kids are both toddlers now, and I also have a toddler niece and nephew. I love that they are all finally starting to get to that age where we can really have some fun with them around the holidays, and start some new family traditions. This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Personalized Alphabet Book

I’m also excited to get them this cool Thanksgiving Kids Activity Table Cover. I think they’ll have a lot of fun coloring and playing the games on it, while the adults are busy cooking the Thanksgiving meal.

icon
iconNeed more Thanksgiving Inspiration? Check out my post where I share 100 Tasty Thanksgiving recipes. It includes loads of delicious recipes for appetizers, beverages, breads, casseroles, gluten free, pies, potatoes, stuffing, turkey and vegetables! Also, check out these 50 Must-Have Thanksgiving Desserts that your whole family will love!

iconI love letting my kids help me cook and bake in the kitchen. Allowing them to creative and have fun is very important to me.  I really get excited for them to help me out in the kitchen around the holidays.  It’s such a perfect time to have fun and make some great memories!

Sing Along Book

If you are looking for some fun things to do with your kids this Thanksgiving, below is a list of Fun Thanksgiving Desserts for Kids!  They are sure to have a great time making these, and they’ll have an even better time eating them!

You can serve your Thanksgiving treats up in these cute Thanksgiving treat cups! They come with 6 sticker activity sheets, so kids can make a custom design on their own personal cup.icon

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15 Fun Thanksgiving Desserts for Kids

1.  Little Gobblers from The Dallas Socials

2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Acorn Cookies from Adventures in Food

3.  Chocolate Covered Strawberry Turkey Treats from Solid Recipe

4.  Candy Cornucopia from The Frugal Girls

5. Thanksgiving Style Fondue from Funny Food Recipes

6.  Thanksgiving Turkey Cupcakes from Cupcakes Garden

7.  Candy Turkeys from Country Woman Magazine

8.  Oreo Turkeys from Our Best Bites

9.  Pilgrim Hats from Our Best Bites

10. Turkey Cookie Pops from Circle of Moms

11.  Rice Krispie Pumpkins from A Day in Motherhood

12.  Sweet Acorns from Gracious Rain

13.  Edible Pilgrim Hats from Family Corner

14.  Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies from Pillsbury

15. Edible Indian Corn from Spoonful

**GREAT TIP: Want to make Thanksgiving even more fun for your kids? They’ll love this book, Give Thanks, with Thanksgiving stories, jokes for kids and Thanksgiving coloring pages!

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iconWhich of these Thanksgiving desserts for kids do you love most?



50 Must-Have Thanksgiving Desserts

100-tasty-thanksgiving-recipes

 Posted by at 10:48 pm
Oct 282013
 

 

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Duracell. I received product samples to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Where would we be without batteries? There are so many things in our home that are powered by batteries.  The TV and wii remote controls, flashlights, clocks, smoke detectors, Kayleigh’s toys, the list goes on and on… 

Batteries are important for on-the-go as well.  When Kayleigh is a little older, we’ll most likely purchase a portable dvd player to keep her entertained on those long trips to Nana and Grampy’s house.  We also have plans to take her camping, in a tent, so we’ll need batteries for lanterns, a radio, etc.

Duracell Quantum Batteries

We have been fans of the Duracell brand of batteries for many years, and always love to hear about their new products.  Duracell recently released their Quantum Battery, which contains longer lasting power than any other battery on the market!  

Duracell Quantum Batteries

The Duracell Quantum Battery is recognizable by its distinct red color.  The red color not only makes these batteries stand out amongst all of the black ones on store shelves, but also symbolizes the power of the Hi-Density Core

The Duracell Quantum Battery is also the only battery with a power indicator on the cell.  How cool is that?!  PowerCheck allows consumers to see the amount of battery power remaining so that nothing is wasted.  As a budget-minded Mom, that is something that really appeals to me!

Duracell Quantum Batteries also have DURALOCK Power Preserve technology, which locks in power for up to 10 years in storage!  When we move into our new home, I have big plans to stock up on some emergency supplies in the event that we should ever need them.  I will definitely stash some Duracell Quantum Batteries in my emergency kit!  If the electricity ever goes out for an extended period of time, working batteries will be extremely important to have on hand.

This year, Duracell has donated one million batteries to first responders across the country to help them power their life-saving equipment.  I KNEW I loved this company, and here’s just one more reason why! 

I know a few first responders, and they just amaze me.  They are always ready to help out in any way they can, and are able to stay calm and focused during very stressful situations.  They definitely deserve some recognition for their heroic contributions!

To celebrate our nation’s first responders, Duracell is telling stories of sacrifice and heroism with a documentary-style video series, called Quantum Heroes.  You can check this video out for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/Duracell!

Visit Duracell on Facebook and Twitter @Duracell to share your own first responder stories, and be sure to use the hashtag #MyQuantumHero.
 

Do you know a first responder that deserves some recognition?

 Posted by at 2:06 pm
Oct 272013
 

 

House hunting is hard work!  John and I have been caught up in our own house hunting adventure for the past couple of months.  We finally found the house of our dreams last week, and are making our way through the closing process right now, yay!

This isn’t our first time house hunting.  A couple of years ago, we went through it too.  After looking at several houses, we finally found one that appealed to us.  Our offer was accepted, but we found out later that it was in a flood zone, so we could not get the USDA loan we had applied for.  The closing was called off, and we decided to go back to renting for a while. 

Two years later, and here we are!  Our budget is a little more this time, we are older and wiser, and know exactly what we are looking for in a home.  Thinking back to that other house we almost got, we’re glad it fell through!  It would have been much too small for our growing family.

This time, we feel like we have really mastered the house hunting process.  I’ve put together a list of house hunting tips that I have come up with along the way. 

House hunting can be a very daunting task, and sometimes during the stress of it all, you forget what you’re really looking for.  If you’re a first time home buyer, or if you haven’t had to look for a house in a while, hopefully these will help you out a bit. 

House Hunting Tips

1.  Know Your Budget – One of the most important steps in house hunting is figuring out what you can afford.  The last thing you want to do is get into a house that is going to leave you broke. 

Just because the bank approves you for a certain loan amount, doesn’t mean that you can really afford that.  We were approved for a loan amount that was much larger than what we could actually afford.  We sat down and took a look at our income and expenses.  We looked at what we now pay in rent, and how much more we could afford to take on with a mortgage, taxes, insurance and heating costs.

2.  Get a Pre-Approval Letter From Your Bank – If you have a pre-approval letter from your bank, you’re golden.  Sellers don’t want to mess around with potential buyers if they don’t have proof that they are credit-worthy.  Having that pre-approval letter available upon request will force them to take your offer seriously. 

It’s also good to get a pre-approval letter for your own sanity.  You really shouldn’t start house hunting until you know for sure that you will be approved for a home loan, and how much of a loan you will be approved for.

3. Know Exactly What You’re Looking For – There are a TON of houses for sale out there.  If you don’t write down a list of everything you are looking for in a home, you’ll be looking at houses for forever. 

Here are some of the things you should think about when house hunting:

AWhere do you want to live? 

       a.  Do you want to live in the country or the city?

       b.  What is the community like?

       c.  Where do you want your children to go to school?

       d.  How far is the commute to your job?

B.  How many bedrooms do you want? 

      a.  How many children are you planning to have?  Will they each have their own room?

      b.  Do you want a dedicated home office or craft room?

      c.  Do you want a guest room?

      d.  Will you have elderly family members living with you in their later years?

      e.  Are you willing and able to build on an addition if you unexpectedly need more room in your home?

C.  How much land do you want?

      a.  Do you want to be right on top of your neighbor, or do you want a private lot?

      b.  How big of a yard do you want?

      c.  How much land are you willing to mow, or pay someone else to mow?

      d.  Do you need room to plant a garden?

      e.  Is there adequate room for your children to play?

      f.  Do you plan to have pets that will need space to run around?

      g.  Do you plan to install a pool?

      h.  Do you want a fire pit area?

       i.  Do you want room to build a deck or garage?

D. How many bathrooms do you want?

      a.  How many people will be living in your home? 

      b.  Are you willing to share a bathroom with everyone living in your home, or do you want your own space?

      c.  Do you need more than one bath tub/shower, or do you just need an additional 1/2 bath (toilet and sink)?

      d.  Do you want a separate bathroom just for guests?

E. How much living space do you need? 

      a.  Is there enough room in the living room/kitchen/dining room areas of the home to fit your whole family comfortably? 

      b.  How often do you entertain?  Is there enough room to entertain guests?

      c.  Do you have enough room for your pets to be comfortable? 

F. What do you need for vehicle storage?

      a.  How many cars do you have?  Will you be buying more in the future (for your kids, etc.)?

      b.  What is the weather like where you live?  We live in Maine where it snows 5-7 months out of the year, so vehicle storage is quite important to us.

       c.  Do you need room to store a boat, motorcycle, small camper, ATV, etc.?

G.  Basements

     There are a few different basement options out there, so you need to figure out which one is best for you and your family.

     a.  Finished Basement – A finished basement is usually sectioned off into rooms, and has had walls and floors and electricity installed  throughout.  It can be considered additional living space.  It might have a bedroom, laundry room, den, office, bathroom, closets, etc.

     b.  Unfinished Basement – An unfinished basement is usually one large, open area that does not have walls or floors installed.  It is usually just cement from floor to ceiling.  You could not consider this additional living space.  An unfinished basement is good for storage, and that’s about it. 

     c.  Dirt – Dirt basements have a dirt floor.  In my experience, they are usually pretty creepy, and pretty much useless space underneath the house.  No one ever wants to go down into a dirt basement.  Dirt basements also bring moisture, and lots of bugs.

     d.  Crawl Space – This is pretty much self-explanatory.  It’s just a crawl space under the house, where someone could crawl into to check the foundation, etc.  Again, creepy area that no one ever wants to go into!

     e.  Slab – This is a house that is built right on a slab of cement.  It has no basement or space below the house at all.  If you don’t need any additional storage, or living space, this might be for you.  Houses built on a slab are usually cheaper to heat, since there is no basement area to heat.

     f.  Partial – A partial basement is usually just a small basement area below the house, and the rest of the house is either built on a slab or has a crawl space under it. 

4.  Do a Pre-Walkthrough Drive-By – Before you drag your realtor out to look at houses you saw in an ad, do a drive-by to see if the house is really worth looking at.  John and I have been interested in many houses, but after doing a drive-by, we realized that the pictures in the ad were deceiving, or the drive was too far for us.  We’d rather not waste our realtor’s time looking at houses that we truly aren’t interested in.

5.  Don’t Place an Offer on the First House That Comes Along – If you fall in love with a house, don’t feel pressured to immediately make an offer on it.  Tell your realtor that you are interested in the home and ask him or her to ask the seller’s realtor to let you know if anyone else makes an offer, so that you have a chance to as well. 

In the meantime, go home and give it a day or two to see how you really feel about the house.  Look at some other houses you are interested in.  If you can’t get that house off your mind, and keep imagining yourself living there, then that might just be the one for you.

Before making an offer, go back to the house for a second look.  Often times, you are so excited the first time you walk through, that you miss a lot of things.  Go back through and look that house over with a fine tooth comb! 

6.  Don’t Ever Offer Asking Price – A lot of sellers list their homes at a higher rate than what they want to get from a sale because they know buyers will try to talk them down.  Use this to your advantage, and see how much you can shave off the asking price! 

Don’t be afraid to barter with the seller either.  If you want that piano in the living room, see if they will include it in the purchase for you.  John and I got the sellers to agree to pay our closing costs, and also to fill the oil tank at their expense on the day of closing.  They are also going to include all of the chopped and stacked wood currently at the house as part of the closing.  We shouldn’t have to pay for heat at all this winter thanks to that!

7.  Get a Home Inspection – If you have found the home of your dreams, put in an offer and had your offer accepted, you should definitely get a home inspection.  We just had our potential home inspected for a fee of $400.00.  Sure, it’s a lot of money to come up with when you’re trying to buy a home, but it’s well worth it.

Our inspector found that one of the support beams in the basement is extremely bowed.  If it is not taken care of, he said that “the house will fall in on itself”.  Oh my!  If we had bought the house without knowing that, it could have been disastrous!  Now we are working with the seller to get this issue rectified prior to closing.  Let’s hope it all works out well! 

Do you have any house hunting tips you’d like to share?  Leave them in the comments below!

 

 

 

    

            
  Disclosure:  Image provided by FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

     

 Posted by at 10:12 pm
Oct 272013
 

You know how you hear about those women that didn’t know they were pregnant until they were actually giving birth, and then you hear about those women that knew they were pregnant from the moment of conception? Well, I was in that latter category.

Pregnant

John and I had been “not actively preventing” pregnancy for about a year. We were in love, and knew we wanted to have children together, so we decided to just let things happen on their own. If I got pregnant, it was meant to be, and we would be thrilled. After a year went by though, we began to wonder why it hadn’t happened yet, so we actually tried that one month.

I immediately felt different, and I thought for sure it had finally happened that time.  I just had this overwhelming sensation that I was pregnant. That was, until I got what I thought was my period.  I was disappointed, but shrugged it off and went on with my life.  

Pregnant

My “period” that month was really strange.  It was lighter than usual, very spotty and lasted for 10 days.  I was also extremely emotional that week, but didn’t think anything of it, as my parents had just flown to Chicago for my Dad to start his stem cell transplant, and I was upset and stressed out about that. 

It wasn’t until John and I were at a friend’s house, and I acted like a complete witch to everyone, that I thought I should probably take a test.  As we drove home that night, I told John that I wanted to take a pregnancy test.  He didn’t think I was pregnant, but agreed to go with me to buy one.

The next morning, the day before my 31st birthday, we went to CVS and bought a Clearblue Easy Digital Pregnancy Test.  My sisters were coming to visit me that day, and I knew that if I found out I was pregnant before their arrival that I would not be able to hide it from them.  If I was pregnant, I wanted to be able to tell my parents in person when they came home from their trip, and my sisters have never been able to keep a secret, especially one this big.

Pregnant

Since my birthday was the next day, I decided to wait until the next morning to take the test.  I would either get the best birthday present ever, or start my day out on a sad note.  As anxious as I am, I still can’t believe I managed to wait that long with the test right there in my house.

I didn’t really sleep very well that night.  I just wanted morning to come already so I could take the test.  Five am finally rolled around after what seemed like the longest night ever, and I ran downstairs to the bathroom, test in hand.  John was still upstairs sleeping.  He honestly didn’t think I was going to be pregnant, so he didn’t pay much attention to what I was doing.

I took the test, and waited patiently for the words to come up on the screen, Pregnant or Not Pregnant.  My face was flushed and my heart was racing.  I could feel my palms start to sweat, and a knot building in my stomach.  It was one of those potentially life-changing moments, and I was nervous. 

Time was finally up, and I opened my eyes and cautiously looked down at the test.  Pregnant.  Pregnant?? Pregnant!!  I just love how easy the Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Tests are to read.  There are no lines to interpret.  It’s plain as day whether you are pregnant or not.

Clearblue Digital Pregnancy Test

I just stood there looking at the test for a minute, collecting my thoughts.  My hands trembled, and tears of joy began to form in the corners of my eyes.  I was happy.  Very happy!  I knew John would be too.

I ran up the stairs to our bedroom, with the positive test in my hand.  John heard me as I entered our room.  He remembered that I was going to take the test that morning, so without even opening his eyes from sleeping, he groggily asked me if I was pregnant, still not expecting me to be.  When I said “yes”, his eyes opened up wide, and he rolled over to look at me with a smile on his face.  He couldn’t believe it!

I showed him the positive pregnancy test, and we just sat there for a while looking at it, and thinking about how our life would soon be changing. 

We took a drive to Bar Harbor that day.  We played mini golf at Pirate’s Cove and ate lunch at The Log Cabin Restaurant.  Throughout the day, we kept talking about how we could not believe that I was pregnant, and how exciting it was.  It was the best birthday present I could have ever asked for. 

Pregnant

Clearblue has recently come out with the first and only test of its kind in the U.S., the new Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator.  This pregnancy test not only tells a woman if she is pregnant, but also estimates the number of weeks along she is! 

Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator

I had a pretty good idea as to how far along I was when I found out I was pregnant, but there are a lot of women out there that have irregular periods, or are just too busy to really pay attention to their cycles.  This test would be great for them! 

Once a woman becomes pregnant, it is really important for her to change her lifestyle to provide a good “home” for her baby.  Most Dr.’s offices don’t want to see a pregnant woman until she is 9-10 weeks pregnant, so knowing how far along you are can be really helpful.  As soon as I found out I was pregnant with the Clearblue Easy Digital Pregnancy Test, I gave up coffee and all other caffeine, alcohol, deli meat, certain medications, etc., and led a healthier lifestyle.  

Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator is:

• Over 99% accurate1 from expected period at detecting typical pregnancy hormone levels, hormone levels vary
• Approximately 93% accurate in estimating the number of weeks based on time since ovulation
• #1 test choice of OB/GYNs and 84% of OB/GYNs agree that the new Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator offers helpful information
• Cleared by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
• Digital and displays in words the result: Not Pregnant; Pregnant 1-2; Pregnant 2-3; Pregnant 3+
• Able to detect levels of the hormone hCG to estimate the number of weeks
• Helpful in providing additional information as women begin to modify their lifestyle and seek prenatal care

 The Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator is available at CVS.com or your local CVS Pharmacy. 

Baby Shower

Would the Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test with Weeks Estimator have been helpful to you when you found out you were pregnant?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

 Posted by at 5:00 am
Oct 252013
 

I received a Restaurant.com gift card for the purpose of this review. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

I bet you didn’t know that October is National Pizza Month.  I didn’t until just recently.  John and I have been celebrating National Pizza Month all month long, however, without even knowing it!

Pizza

Image provided by FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

We order pizza for dinner at least once a week, sometimes twice.  I think pizza is great, because you can have it so many different ways.  Simply mix up the toppings, and you have a brand new meal every night!  Not only that, but it’s so convenient for those nights when you’re too busy, or just don’t want to cook dinner.

In celebration of National Pizza Month, Restaurant.com compiled an infographic based on a survey that asked diners, “How well-rounded is your pizza-eating routine?”  You won’t believe the results!

Restaurant.com Logo

Independently Owned Restaurants vs. Popular Pizza Chains

A whopping 81% of diners surveyed said that they prefer independently owned restaurants over popular pizza chains.  That’s certainly the case in this household.  We’d much rather give our money to our local business owners, than to a large corporation.  Also, I think the pizza just tastes better.

Deals & Coupons

A majority of pizza eaters also look for deals or coupons at least some of the time when ordering pizza.  I almost always try to find a good deal or coupon.  Around here they have specials, where if you buy a large 1-topping pizza, you get breadsticks and a 2-liter bottle of soda all for one low price.  It really helps make pizza night affordable!

Dine Out or Delivery?

37.5% of diners said that they dine out for pizza instead of getting delivery because of the convenience of it.  John and I live in a town where they don’t deliver pizza, but the pizza places are so close to where we live, we really don’t mind taking the trip out for it.

Crust Preference

 What kind of crust does your family prefer?  According to this survey, Chicago deep dish was the least preferred (8.5%).  Thin and crunchy was the most popular (39.9%), followed by hand-tossed, New York style crust (38.9%).  Here in Maine, I rarely ever see a Chicago deep dish pizza.  I mostly see hand-tossed crust, which is what I prefer.  I just love that light and airy crust that bubbles up, yum!

Check out the infographic below for more interesting results from the survey!

National Pizza Month Infographic

How often does your family eat pizza? 

Keep up with the latest news from Restaurant.com:

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Restaurant_com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/restaurantcom

Blog post: http://thedish.restaurant.com

Google+: +restaurantcom

Restaurant.com is the trusted and valued source connecting restaurants and diners nationwide. The company offers savings at thousands of restaurants nationwide with more than 50,000 gift certificate options. Restaurant.com brings people together to relax, converse and enjoy well-prepared and served meals at affordable prices. To date, Restaurant.com customers have saved more than $1 billion through the gift certificate program.

 

I received a Restaurant.com gift card for the purpose of this review. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

 

 Posted by at 10:52 pm
Oct 242013
 

 

I was in a baking mood today, and had an urge to bake up something boozy.  After looking in my liquor cabinet, I found that I had a bottle of Kahlua and a bottle of Grand Marnier.  I thought the chocolate and orange flavors would compliment each other well, and after mulling over some ideas for a while, I landed on these Kahlua Whoopie Pies with Grand Marnier Infused Filling.

Kahlua Whoopie Pies with Grand Marnier Infused Filling

Whoopie pies are a staple here in Maine, but this is actually the first time I have ever made them myself!  I think they turned out pretty great.  The cake part is a little bit firm on the outside and soft in the middle, and the filling is light and airy, with just a hint of orange flavor from the Grand Marnier.

The combination of these two flavors does work really well, and these whoopie pies just sort of melt in your mouth.  Yum!

Kahlua Whoopie Pies with Grand Marnier Infused Filling

 

Cake:

Adapted from The Galley Gourmet

1 stick of butter at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tablespoons Kahlúa liqueur
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk at room temperature (I used almond milk)

Preheat the oven to 375º F.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.  

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the Kahlúa and egg, beating until blended.  Add one-third of the dry ingredients and blend.  Add one-half cup of milk and blend.  Continue adding the remaining dry ingredients and milk, alternating as you go. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again until well blended.  
 
Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons onto a baking sheet (I bake 12 cakes per sheet).  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the center of the cake springs back when lightly pressed.  Transfer cakes to a wire rack to cool completely.  Continue with the remaining batter.  This recipe makes 26 cakes, or 13 whoopie pies.

Filling:

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1 cup confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar
2 tablespoons milk

Cream the shortening until fluffy. Beat in the salt and Grand Marnier.  Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and beat well.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Adjust the consistency of the frosting as needed by adding more confectioners’ sugar or milk. If you’re not going to use the frosting right away, keep it at room temperature, covered, to prevent it from developing a dry crust.

Fill your cakes, and enjoy!

 Posted by at 3:22 pm
Oct 232013
 


 

In my younger drinking days, I was all about the fruity girly drinks.  As I have gotten older, however, my tastes have matured and I enjoy sipping on a glass of wine on occasion.  It’s such a great way to wind down and relax at the end of a long and stressful day.  

I really like trying out new wines and pairing them with different foods.  I often times find myself overwhelmed when trying to find a bottle of wine in the wine aisle of the grocery store though.  There are so many to choose from.  How do you know what’s good and what’s not? 

I recently heard of InVino, a private sale site for wine.  InVino is a state-of-the-art wine club that uses algorithm-based selections to tailor shipments to individual palates.  This sounds perfect for someone like me! 

invino

inclub offers members the ability to choose the amount, frequency, and quality of the wines they receive, and adjust those preferences whenever they wish. Members may opt to focus on collectors’ wines, everyday Californians, bold reds, or artisan wines—and can further customize beyond those categories.

invino

I love the fact that I don’t have to go to the grocery store to get wine anymore!  I always feel like such a goober standing there in the wine aisle trying to figure out what I want.  Now I can browse for wines right from my computer.  I can set a budget, choose the types of wine I want, how many bottles I want, and how often I want them.  This makes shopping for wine SO much easier!

InVino also has a Palate Guarantee™, ensuring that members will like the wines they receive. 

“If one month you want special-occasion Napa Cabs and the next month you want everyday sparkling selections, you only need to take a few seconds to modify your selection, and our algorithm will do the rest,” says invino and inclub co-founder and CEO Tony Westfall. “Our satisfaction guarantee encourages adventure. Wine discovery should be without risk.

InVino was founded by wine-industry and startup veterans, and has offices in Sonoma and San Francisco.  InVino and inclub partner with hundreds of labels around the world, from under-the-radar producers to well-known brands. Wines are sourced by a panel of experts, and offered to members at preferred pricing.

Invino is offering one lucky winner an awesome prize!

Enter the “World of Wine” contest including glassware for 8, wine decanters, wine country artisan treats, and a $250 gift card.

How to Enter:
Click login to Facebook on the bottom right side of the screen for an easy entry.

Do you love wine, but hate shopping for it in the store? Try InVino and have wines delivered right to your door!

 

 Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.

 

 Posted by at 11:54 am
Oct 232013
 

 

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Pledge. I received a product sample to facilitate my review and promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Pledge Ambassador Badge

I am so excited to announce that I have recently been named as a Pledge Ambassador!  I was sent 4 different Pledge FloorCare products, and I’ll be tracking my before and after experience using them on hardwood floors

John and I are in the process of buying our first home.  This is such an exciting time for us!  The dining room and living room in our new home are one connected, open room, with a beautiful hardwood floor.  There is also a small sitting room off of this room that has a hardwood floor.  The rest of the house is either carpeted or tile.

Hardwood Floors

We plan to spend most of our time in the living room/dining room and want to make sure our hardwood floors are taken care of.  They are in beautiful condition right now, and we’d like to keep them that way.

Kayleigh will soon be crawling, so we will need to make sure our floors are always clean.  Eventually, she will learn to walk and our floors will be getting a lot of abuse, between her walking all over them, and dropping her toys and food onto the floor.  We plan to have at least one more child, and a dog or two as well.  Between all of that and our 2 cats, that’s a lot of traffic on those floors!

Hardwood Floors

We won’t be moving into this new home until December, and our current apartment has mostly carpeting, so I’ll be doing the Pledge-to-Pledge Challenge at my parents’ house. 

My parents’ house has always had hardwood floors – in the living room, and all three bedrooms.  They have owned that house for 25 years, and raised 3 daughters, 2 large Golden Retriever dogs, and a few cats along the way too. 

Their floors have certainly taken a lot of abuse over the years (including that one time I spilled nail polish all over the living room floor!), and it is definitely showing.  Their floors look very dull, worn and lackluster.  They are also yellowing in many areas.  I’m hoping to breathe some new life into them with the Pledge FloorCare products!

Here are the before pictures of their hardwood floors:

Bedroom #1 Before Pledge-to-Pledge Challenge

Bedroom #2 Before Pledge-to-Pledge Challenge

Bedroom #3 Before Pledge-to-Pledge Challenge

Living room before Pledge-to-Pledge Challenge

Here are the Pledge FloorCare Wood products I will be using over the next 30 days.

Pledge-to-Pledge Challenge - Hardwood Floors

 Pledge® FloorCare Wood Trigger is a ready-to-use formula designed specifically for spot cleaning. Its advanced formula cleans, shines, restores and protects—with no dulling, oily residue—leaving a fresh citrus scent behind.

Pledge® FloorCare Wood Finish goes beyond what you get from other floor cleaning products—this premium finish provides a beautiful, transparent, long-lasting shine and stands up to the wear of heavy traffic without yellowing. It can protect hardwood floors and help prevent dirt from getting trapped in floor grooves and indentations, making cleaning much easier.

Pledge® FloorCare Wood Concentrated Cleaner gently removes dirt and grime while restoring floor’s natural shine. It’s made with almond oil to moisturize wood and restore its natural beauty, and it leaves a fresh scent behind. The concentrated formula makes up to 16 gallons of cleaning solution.

Pledge FloorCare Wood Squirt & Mop is a ready-to-use formula requiring no dilution before use. Its advanced formula removing dirt and grime that builds up over time to maintain a floor’s natural finish with no dull residue. It reveals wood’s natural beauty and leaves a fresh citrus scent behind. Also available in gallon size.

To read more about the products Pledge has to offer, visit their website at www.pledge.com.

Do you have hardwood floors in your home?  Follow me as I take the Pledge-to-Pledge Challenge!

 Posted by at 8:25 am
Oct 212013
 

Thanksgiving recipes are something I start looking at a few months before Thanksgiving Day. It’s one of my favorite holidays, as I love to cook and bake, and eat! My sister and I usually cook up a storm during the week leading up to Thanksgiving, and we love to experiment with new Thanksgiving recipes each year. It’s always fun to try out new foods. I get tired of eating the same things over and over again.

I’ve put together a list of 100 Tasty Thanksgiving Recipes below that I would like to try out.  Of course I’m not going to use all 100 of them, but it’s nice to have some options handy! Also, if you have kids attending Thanksgiving dinner this year, take a look at these 15 Fun Thanksgiving Desserts for Kids! Lastly, don’t forget about dessert! Check out this post for 50 Must-Have Thanksgiving DessertsThis post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

100 Tasty Thanksgiving Recipes

Appetizers

**GREAT TIP: Serve up your appetizers on this charming Botanical Harvest 2-Tier Server!icon

icon
iconBeverages

Breads

Casseroles

**GREAT TIP: Save room in your oven for other dishes by cooking your casserole in this Crock-Pot Casserole Crock 3.5-Quart Slow Cookericon!

iconGluten Free

Pies

**GREAT TIP: Traveling with your pie? Keep it looking pretty with this Pie Plate Portableicon!

iconPotatoes

Stuffing

Turkey

**Want to brine your turkey this year? It’s easy! Learn how to do it here.

**GREAT TIP: Really impress your Thanksgiving guests by serving your delicious turkey on this absolutely gorgeous Harvest “Be Thankful” Large Oval Serving Platter!iconicon

Vegetables

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving recipes?

 Posted by at 5:57 pm
Oct 182013
 

 

Kayleigh and I visited with my parents yesterday, and my Dad made the most amazing tomato bisque for lunch.  His tomato bisque tasted like restaurant quality.  Not from a chain restaurant either, but one of those fancy schmancy ones.  It was super rich and creamy, and full of flavor.  I ate two bowls!

My Mom couldn’t stop talking up the bisque, and how incredibly genius my Dad was for making it, but he just shrugged it off, because he’s modest like that.

I thought for sure my Dad had slaved away over the stove all day making this delicious masterpiece, but to my surprise, his recipe for tomato bisque is incredibly simple, and consists of only 4 ingredients! 

I sure do love a tasty and simple recipe.  Make this for company one night, and they’ll think you’re a professional chef or something.  😉

Easy 4-Ingredient Tomato Bisque

Easy 4-Ingredient Tomato Bisque

Ingredients:

2 10 3/4 oz. Cans Condensed Tomato Soup (Dad says to use Campbell’s because it’s the best… and maybe also because he owns stock in their company.)

1 12 oz. Can Evaporated Milk

Dried Basil

Dried Oregano

Directions:

Mix tomato soup and evaporated milk in medium-sized saucepan, and cook over medium-low heat until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Sprinkle in dried basil and oregano according to your tastes.

Add salt and pepper if desired.

See… SUPER EASY!!

This recipe makes approximately 4 bowls of tomato bisque.

Enjoy!

 

 Posted by at 2:34 pm