Nov 302013
 

 

Thank you to Cuddle Barn for providing a Kris Jingle to add some Christmas cheer to our home.  All words and opinions are 100% my own.

This is Kayleigh’s first Christmas, a once-in-a lifetime event, that will never come around again.  Even though she’s still too young to really understand what’s going on, I want to make it really special for her. 

I’ve been debating about whether or not to bring her to the mall this year to sit on Santa’s lap.  She usually does pretty well with new people, as long as I’m nearby, but I’m not sure how well she would do with someone dressed up in full Santa-suit.  I’m also a bit hesitant to bring her out in the crowds of other people, and germy kids.  I’d hate for her to be sick on her first Christmas! 

I want to introduce Kayleigh to the idea of Santa Claus, and I’ve found a great way to do that, without even leaving our house!  We recently received a Kris Jingle plush doll from Cuddle Barn.  I was very excited to show him off to Kayleigh.  As I took him out of the box, she delightfully giggled and cooed upon seeing his jolly face. 

Kris Jingle Sings Deck the Halls

Kayleigh’s first encounter with Santa Claus was a positive experience – score one for this Mama!

Not only is Kris Jingle adorable, but when you squeeze his left foot, he sings one of the old favorites – Deck the Halls.  This is a great way to also teach this beloved song to Kayleigh!  She scares easily at loud toys sometimes, but she really seemed to enjoy this one.  We’ve listened to Deck the Halls over and over again, and her eyes light up every time.  She loves watching the tip of his hat sway back and forth with the music, and she even tries to sing along with him.

 

Kris Jingle would be a great addition to your holiday decor this year, and many years into the future.  It’s going to be very nostalgic for me to take him out each year, and remember his, and Kayleigh’s, very first Christmas. 

Kayleigh Loves Kris Jingle

Kris Jingle would make a wonderful gift for kids especially, but for anyone really.  You can order one directly from the Cuddle Barn website – and they have FREE SHIPPING in the Continental US, through 12/31/2013. Using promo code HOLIDAY13 will get you an extra 5% off until 12/15/13, too.  Cuddle Barn has a great selection of animated characters, including Grandma Cookie, Nutcracker Teddie, and J. Frost for the 2013 Holiday Season! 

My friend Liza, over at Views from the Ville, recently welcomed Grandma Cookie into her home.  Check out her review here

GIVEAWAY

Cuddle Barn is generously offering one of my readers their very own Kris Jingle, valued at $29.99!!  All you have to do to enter is complete as many entries as you wish below.  This giveaway is open to US residents only, and is in no way associated with or sponsored by Facebook.  Please note:  I cannot guarantee that winner will receive prize prior to Christmas.

Good luck!!

 Posted by at 12:21 pm
Nov 282013
 

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!  I hope you all have a wonderful time with your families today.  Don’t forget, FROZEN is now open in theaters everywhere!  Take the family out for some great fun this weekend! 

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 Posted by at 12:01 am
Nov 272013
 

 

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post on behalf of King of Christmas.

How would you like to win a gorgeous, 7 foot tall, pre-lit Cypress Spruce Christmas Tree??  Just imagine brewing up some hot cocoa, cranking the Christmas tunes and decorating this beauty of a tree with your family.  This is a Christmas tree you can be proud to display in your home year after year.

Christmas Tree

I personally prefer artificial Christmas trees.  They can look just as beautiful and natural as real trees, but you don’t have to trudge around in the snow to cut it down, you don’t have to remember to water it, you don’t have to spend money on a new tree every year, and there’s no sticky pine needle mess to clean up!  Perfect!

To enter to win this gorgeous tree, head on over to King of Christmas! Other prizes include a $100.00 Apple Gift Card, and a $50.00 Apple Gift Card.  I bet someone in your family could use a new Apple device or accessory, right?!

King of Christmas has a great selection of absolutely breathtaking artificial Christmas trees.  Follow them at the links below for the latest news and promotions:

Facebook

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Pinterest

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 Posted by at 2:32 pm
Nov 272013
 

 

This post is the second of three posts over three months sponsored by Super Cuts!  Read the first post, Why a Super Cuts Franchise is a Great Business Opportunity – Even If You Don’t Cut Hair!

John and I have tossed around the idea of starting our own business a few times.  John would probably already have a business up and running if I let him, as he is more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of guy.  I, on the other hand, like to take my time before jumping into anything.  I am a planner.  I need to do research, and projections, and be completely organized.  I’ve always compared myself to Monica on Friends if that tells you anything about my personality.  I just have to have control over every situation, and owning a business is definitely one area that I feel I would need to have complete control over.

Since I am a research nut, I love reading different statistics.  I often wondered what type of people are looking to start a business of their own.  It’s always nice to know how you compare to your competition. 

#Franchising Facts From Super Cuts

Super Cuts did some of the leg work for me, and surveyed 1,000 people with a net worth of over $200,000.  Here are the results:

  • 56% are planning on opening or starting a business in the next 12-18 months. (Either alone or with a partner.)
  • 25% are females looking to start their own business.
  • 56% looking to start a business are planning on having a business partner.
  • 31% of the people looking to start a business are planning on going into business with a spouse or domestic partner. (That’s roughly 10% of all respondents.)
  • 30% of respondents looking to start a business are going into business with a friend and 26% are going into business with a colleague.
  • Females are more likely to go into business with a spouse or domestic partner than males.

Wonder how business partners are likely to be related? Here’s a handy dandy chart:

Super Cuts

It certainly looks like there are a lot of other spouse/domestic partner business partners out there!  That brings me a bit of peace knowing that other couples are able to make their joint business ventures work.

If you’re thinking about starting a business, don’t forget to read why Super Cuts is a fantastic franchising opportunity here.

Super Cuts

 

 Posted by at 1:19 pm
Nov 252013
 

 

Fall is here, and I’ve been frothing at the mouth for something pumpkin flavored for weeks now.  I just couldn’t wait it out until Thanksgiving, so a couple days ago, on a whim, I decided to whip up a pumpkin cheesecake.  I’m not patient enough to bake a cheesecake, so I opted for a no-bake one.  The best part about this cheesecake?  It has a gingersnap crust

There’s just something so incredible about the combination of pumpkin and ginger.  It makes me all warm and cozy inside, and is definitely a great flavor for the holidays.

This No-Bake Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake is SO easy to make.  I literally whipped it up in about 5 minutes.  The hardest part is waiting for it to set up. 

No-Bake Pumpkin Gingersnap Cheesecake

Directions:

Crust
1 Cup Gingersnap Cookies (crushed) – use the crispy kind, not the soft kind
2 Tablespoons Butter (melted)

Mix crushed gingersnaps with melted but until well combined.  Press mixture into bottom of pie dish.

Filling
8oz. cream cheese – softened
15oz. pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
14 oz. sweetened condensed milk
8 oz. Cool Whip

In large bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and creamy. Add the pumpkin puree and spices, and beat until combined completely.  Add the sweetened condensed milk to the cream cheese mixture and stir until well combined. Then, fold in 1/2 of the Cool Whip (save the remainder for garnishing later). Pour mixture into pie dish, on top of the gingersnap crust.  Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight for best results.  If you’re too impatient to wait overnight like I am, you can pop it in the freezer, and it should set up in about 6 hours. 

Enjoy!

 Posted by at 1:21 pm
Nov 252013
 

 Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post for React Mobile.

There are many days in my life that I want to remember forever, and there are others that I’d rather forget completely.  September 17, 2003 is a day I will always remember, but not because it was a happy day.  It was one of the worst days of my life actually.

I’ll never forget that day – where I was, what I was doing, how dreary the weather was, or how my Mom’s voice sounded on the other end of the telephone when she told me that my friend, Dawn, a 21-year-old pre-med student, was missing.  A day earlier, she was supposed to meet her mother at an early morning eye doctor appointment an hour away from the college she was attending, but she never showed up.

Dawn’s father and a friend of their family drove up and down the interstate, along the route she would have taken to get to her eye doctor appointment – looking for her, her car, or any other signs of her.  They had no luck.

I had just been hired at the office I was working at a few weeks prior, and was trying to remain professional, all the while terrified inside.  I kept checking the news online to see if there were any updates. 

And then, there was one that made my heart completely sink into my chest, a lump well up in the back of my throat and my skin turn pale and cold.  The authorities had found a body – a young woman’s body – not very far from Dawn’s college campus.  They didn’t announce that it was her yet.  They were waiting for confirmation from next of kin, but I knew it was her.  My friend was gone.

Later on the details of Dawn’s death were made public.  She had been abducted at 7:00 in the morning, in broad daylight, in the parking lot of her college campus.  The man that abducted her was 6 foot 3 inches, weighed 240 pounds, was mentally ill, and on parole from the Utah prison system, where he’d been convicted for burglary and kidnapping. 

I won’t get into the details of what that monster did to Dawn, or how she died, as it is very graphic and painful for me to talk about.  If you’d like to read more about this case, you can do so here.

Dawn’s body was found only 1 mile from her college campus, an entire day after she was reported missing.  It haunts me to think of how close to her home she was, that her abduction happened in broad daylight, in a busy parking lot, and NOBODY SAW HER.  It just goes to show that you can never let your guard down, or be too safe.  Danger could be lurking just around the corner. 

Since Dawn’s death, I have become extremely aware of my surroundings.  I walk very fast from one location to another, carefully scoping out the area around me for danger.  I avoid dark areas as much as possible, I always have my keys out and ready to open my car door, and I always have my cell phone in my hand, ready to dial 911 if necessary.

I’m Staying Safe With the React Mobile App

I just recently learned about a safety app, React Mobile, that I will be using from now on as well.   With the React Mobile app, you can easily send your loved ones a text message that allows them to track your location

React Mobile

If you run into trouble during your journey, you can press a button to let them know via text, tweet or even through Facebook. 

React Mobile

You can also dial 911 right from the app.  When you arrive safe at home, you can press the “I’m safe button.” to let your friends and family know. 

React Mobile

My younger sister often walks the trails around her home by herself, so I’m going to make her get this app stat.  She hasn’t had to deal with the  painful experience of a friend being abducted and murdered like I have, so she thinks it’s a bit silly that I worry about her so much.  I have asked her to send me a text whenever she goes out for a walk alone, and another when she is safe at home, but she often forgets to do so.  Even if she did send me a text, I wouldn’t know her exact location if she ran into trouble, and I wouldn’t know she was in trouble until it was too late for me to do anything to help her.  There are multiple trails in that area, and they are surrounded by heavy brush.  There is also a river nearby, so that makes me worry even more. 

I will feel a million times better knowing that she has the React Mobile app on her phone.  I’ll be able to follow along on her walk, will know her exact location if anything should happen to her, and I’ll know when she arrives home.  

React Mobile

I don’t want to lose anymore friends or family members in the way that I lost Dawn.  If only she had the React Mobile app on her cell phone that morning, she might still be alive today.  She could have alerted friends, family and 911 that she was in trouble.  Instead, she endured things that no one should ever have to go through. 

So, download the React Mobile app today.  Tell all of your friends and family members to also.  Let’s help prevent other tragic and completely preventable losses from occurring. 

What are some instances when you would use the React Mobile app?

 Posted by at 11:21 am
Nov 252013
 

 

This Sincerely, Mindy post is a Fashionista Event. I was provided a promotional item by Coupons.com to inform you of their crazy insane Cyber Monday Sales, Coupons.com Cyber Monday giveaway and our Cyber Monday $500 giveaway.

Thanksgiving is this week!  Can you believe it?!  After everyone has gathered around the dinner table with their families to feast on turkey and way too many side dishes and desserts,  their attention will be turned to Black Friday to find deep discounts and hot sales on the items they want most this holiday season.

Now, I’m all about taking advantage of sale prices, but this year, I have an infant to look after and I’m not about to head out to the crowded stores with her in tow.  Instead, Kayleigh and I will be taking advantage of Cyber Monday Sales!

Cyber Monday Sales

Ahh, Cyber Monday…the day we can shop from home, and even in our pjs if we want!  That’s great for me, because let’s face it – as a stay-at-home Mom, I’m lucky if I get a shower before 3pm most days. 

One site I’ll be using to find great Cyber Monday Sales, is Coupons.com.  I have used this site numerous times in the past, and I just know they are going to help me finish up my holiday shopping list, without emptying my purse in the process.

I realized the other day that I still need to get a couple of things for my sister.  She loves to cook and bake, so I’ve been thinking about getting her a nice casserole dish because I know she doesn’t have one, and could really use one.  She has also asked for a sugar dish and a fruit bowl.  So, I’ll be checking out Coupons.com to see where I can get all of these items for the best price.

Coupons.com is also hosting a Cyber Monday Sweepstakes where they are giving away a $500 Amazon Gift Card!  Imagine all the gifts you could buy with that!  This sweepstakes starts Nov. 25 and ends Dec. 2nd. I know I’ll be getting my entries in!

We’d like to give you all a little something, too.  Enter below for a chance to win 1 of 2 Amazon.com gift cards, worth $250.00 each! This giveaway runs from Nov. 25th through Dec. 2nd.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What holiday gifts will you shop for on Cyber Monday?

 

 

 Posted by at 12:01 am
Nov 222013
 

 

Disclosure:  I received a free product coupon to facilitate this review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Now that I am no longer working outside the home, I am able to actually cook meals for John and I most nights.  There are some nights though, when we get very busy after work, and I just don’t have the time or energy to cook a big meal. 

Lately, we have been looking at houses with our realtor after John gets out of work, and end up getting home pretty late.  Neither one of us has had dinner, we’re starving and want something easy that won’t make a mess to make.

Mexican food is a regular addition to our weekly meal plan.  We both enjoy spicy foods, but Mexican food can be pretty time-consuming, and messy.  Old El Paso now carries a great selection of frozen entreés for those nights when we want to enjoy Mexican food without all the hassle.  They are fully cooked, and simply need to be heated through in the microwave and/or oven. 

Old El Paso Shredded Beef Enchiladas

I recently received a coupon to try out one of these frozen entreés.  I honestly wasn’t expecting much from it, as I have had frozen Mexican entreés before that weren’t really all that great.  I headed out to Walmart to take a look at the selection, which included fajitas, enchiladas, quesadillas and burritos.  

Some of the entreés had black beans in them.  I am not a fan of black beans at all, so I opted to get the Shredded Beef Enchiladas.  I was a bit hesitant to get these because they use corn tortillas, which I have never liked in the past.  I prefer flour tortillas, but I thought I’d give them a try.

Old El Paso Shredded Beef Enchiladas

I used the microwave and oven cooking method as recommended on the back of the box.  This method is supposed to make the tortilla shells taste better.  I still wasn’t really expecting much from these, but as soon as I took my first bite, I thought that they were pretty good for a frozen dinner.  I added sour cream to them because I can’t eat Mexican food without sour cream. 

The enchiladas weren’t overly spicy, but had just the right amount of spice to them.  I also really enjoyed the corn tortillas, more than I thought I would.  The combination of Colby & Monterey Jack cheeses was delicious!  There are onions in this meal, but you can’t really tell they are there.  John hates onions, and refuses to eat anything with onions.  I didn’t tell him that there were onions in this, and he gobbled his portion right down.

Overall, I thought the Old El Paso Shredded Beef Enchiladas were a good option for a busy night.  They were quite tasty and the entreé was the perfect size for 2 people, which is great for John and I.  The best part of this meal – no clean up!  Simply toss the plastic tray in the garbage, and you’re done!

Have you tried Old El Paso frozen entreés?  Which one is your favorite?

 Posted by at 5:05 pm
Nov 222013
 

 

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Cardstore. I received complimentary cards and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

The holiday season is in full swing, and I’ve got a to-do list a mile long!  There’s the Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, picking out a tree and decorating it, planning my Christmas dinner menu and shopping for the ingredients to pull it all off.  I need to clean my house before company arrives.  I need to shop for all of the ingredients for the Christmas cookies I plan to bake and give away as gifts.

Another item on my to-do list, is sending out holiday cards.  It used to be that sending out holiday cards was one of my least favorite things to do.  I would go to the store, pick up a pack of generic greeting cards and postage stamps, and then, they would just sit on my kitchen counter for weeks.  I would put off sending them out for as long as I could because they were just so time-consuming.  Sometimes I would not get around to sending them out at all because it was such a hassle.

I was so happy when Cardstore.com came along.  They take the hassle out of sending out holiday cards.  Not only will they address and mail your cards out to your friends and family for you, but you also get to personalize your cards, with your own photos and text.  They have a huge selection of cards, so you’re sure to find several that suit your style and personality.  It actually makes sending out holiday cards a lot of fun!

Below is one of the holiday cards I created this year, using my favorite of the Christmas photos I took of Kayleigh.  I just received it in the mail yesterday (I like to have a few on hand to pass out myself), and it is absolutely gorgeous!!

Christmas Card

I had a blast creating this card.  I knew I wanted to use this photo of Kayleigh, so I uploaded it to Cardstore.com.  Then, I played around with it on different cards, until I found just the right one.  I think the colors really compliment each other well, and Kayleigh’s photo just sort of *pops*.

Head on over to Cardstore.com today to personalize your own holiday cards this holiday season!

Cardstore Promotions & Discounts:

From 11/14 – 11/20 Cardstore is offering $20 off your $50 order, and from 11/21-11/26 Cardstore is offering 30% off holiday cards!

Will you let Cardstore.com take the hassle out of holiday cards for you this year?

 

 

 Posted by at 12:25 pm
Nov 222013
 

This post contains affiliate links, and I will receive compensation if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

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Gingerbread waffles are one of my favorite things to make for breakfast on Christmas morning. They are so light and fluffy, and bursting with that delicious gingerbread flavor. They are the perfect start to a cold winter day.

Every Christmas morning, my family gathers together, and before any gifts are opened, we cook up a huge breakfast, sit together at the kitchen table, and indulge.  As a kid, I hated waiting to open gifts until after breakfast, but as an adult, I really enjoy taking the time to wake up, relax a bit and enjoy some quality time with the family before the wrapping paper starts flying.



This is a tradition I plan to carry on with my own children, as much as they may hate it as kids too.  I think it’s very important to show them that Christmas is about more than just ripping into your gifts as fast as you can.

Gingerbread Waffles with Cinnamon Butter

Gingerbread is such a great flavor for the holidays, and it pairs really well with Cinnamon Butter. These gingerbread waffles are always a huge hit with my family.

Gingerbread Waffles with Cinnamon Butter 2

Make these gingerbread waffles for your own family this Christmas, and they’ll be glad they waited to open their gifts.  This delicious breakfast certainly makes it worth the wait!

This recipe is slightly adapted from a recipe from FamilyFun Magazine.

Ingredients for Waffles:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

  1. Beat the eggs until they’re light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, molasses, and almond milk and mix until blended, about 1 minute more.
  2. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in the butter.
  3. Cook immediately in a waffle iron until golden brown.

 Ingredients for Cinnamon Butter:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Whip butter, honey and cinnamon until combined. Chill until ready to eat.

Make your gingerbread waffles even more exciting with this Disney Frozen Olaf Waffle Makericon. Your family (especially the kids) will love eating Olaf waffles on Christmas morning! Aren’t they adorable?!

icon
Does your family enjoy a large breakfast on Christmas morning? Will you try these gingerbread waffles? 



 Posted by at 12:11 pm