Grace loves to bake with friends and invent new recipes. She even has a fun iPhone app! Sweet Shop By American Girl: Mix, roll, bake, and decorate treats in a French pastry shop just like Grace, Girl of the Year 2015. The more tarts, macarons, and other pastries you bake, the more recipes you’ll unlock.
This giveaway is for a Grace Thomas American Girl Doll and her book Grace–written by Mary Casanova, valued at $120.
Grace is only available for purchase through December 2015, and until supplies last! This may be your last chance to win Grace so don’t miss out.
American Girl Doll Giveaway – Grace 2015 Girl of the Year
Terms & Conditions
Open to US Residents 18 years of age or older. Giveaways ends December 18th at 11:59 PM ET. Winner will be chosen by random drawing through Gleam.io. Winner will have 48 hours to reply via email to accept the prize or another winner will be chosen. All entries will be validated. Sponsors reserve the right to invalidate any entry at their discretion.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with American Girl, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
Thanksgiving has arrived. Finally. I’ve been dying to put up a tree, but I refuse to do so before we eat ourselves silly and enjoy a bit of a turkey coma. The kids are jazzed and so ready for Christmas presents. Personally, I’m ready for the lights and the music and the smells. I love the smell of a fire and flickering candles, especially if I’m enjoying them with a hot cup of coffee.
I found out that caramel flavored sweetened condensed milk existed a few months ago. Where has it been all of my life? Since finding this life changing little can, I’ve been looking for different ways to use it. Possibly my favorite way so far is as a coffee flavoring/sweetener. The calorie content is reasonable and you get a lot of bang for your buck, as far as flavor goes.
For a decent sized mug, 2 tablespoon will do it. I added Reddi-Wip and a little drizzle of the caramel sweetened condensed milk. Even at my table in my jammies, pretty coffee is better coffee.
We’ll be putting the turkey behind us tomorrow and preparing for the pre-Christmas shopping rush. I will probably wait until about the 18th and order everything off Amazon. Free Prime shipping is my crutch. If you haven’t done a FREE 30 Day Prime Trial, now is the time to do it. Just click this Amazon Associates link —> Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. You’ll get free two-day shipping with NO MINIMUM order, so it’s easy to order for people on your list as you find that perfect item rather than trying to hit a minimum for free shipping.
So, what’s going on with all of you this time of year? Are you looking forward to decorating? Have you already started? What’s on your “must have” list for Christmas? I’ll be publishing a few Gift Guides here on the site and sharing lots more on Facebook, so make sure you’re following over there too.
#spon: I am in a partnership with Intel. Through this partnership I gain access to content, product, or other forms of value.
Hi. My name is Jamie and I’m a blogger. “Oh, that sounds fun.” Yes, blogging can be a lot of fun, but it is also a tremendous amount of work if you’re doing it professionally rather than as a hobby. If you want to be a professional blogger and work with companies like Intel (Intel sponsored this post), you’re going to need a few essentials.
#1 – The first thing you’re going to need is a reliable and versatile PC like these Intel 2 in Ones. I personally have an HP Envy x360 and love everything it has to offer me and my blogging endeavors. First and foremost, it’s power packed with Intel® Core™ processor technology and can keep up with even my heaviest photo editing software. I’m notorious for multi-tasking (read: having about 20 tabs open in a my browser at one time), but even that can’t drag this powerhouse down.
#2 – You wouldn’t believe how much great photos can make and break your blogging content. Having the right camera is a must. You could take the exact same words, publish them once with OK photos and once with great photos and the difference would knock you off your feet. Once you get good photos in camera, you can use a powerful Intel 2 in One and editing software to make them GREAT photos. All of the photos I use on my site get at minimum a quick run through a free editing program just to spruce them up a bit.
#3 – Trying to be a professional blogger and not utilizing a smartphone just isn’t smart. Mine is always with me and having my social network apps handy is a must. Developing a presence online outside of your blog itself is extremely important if you want to grow your followers and see your content shared by others. Do yourself a favor, and if you aren’t already using a smartphone and utilizing its features, get started now!
#4 – Coffee. Caffeine. Something to keep you going and keep you hydrated through the day. Blogging isn’t all cushy hours and 2 hour days and it’s really easy to get wrapped up in your project and forget about eating and drinking like a normal person. You will pull late nights to meet deadlines, you will get up at dawn to get the perfect light, you will do things you never imagined doing (examples – making pork chops and gravy at 10 AM or mixing Sangria at 7:30 AM on a random Tuesday). It happens.
#5 – Support. You won’t always get it from family and friends. That’s ok. Not everyone will understand blogging as being anything other than a hobby. Get out there, even if it’s virtually, and meet other bloggers who do what you want to do and learn from them, get support from them. Find your tribe. I found mine a while back through a Facebook group and I can’t imagine that I would’ve ever made it to where I am blogging without them. Some days, I think my Border Collie, Fenway, is my biggest supporter. He’s always there waiting on me to meet my deadlines no matter what the time and is more than happy to celebrate my successes with me.
So, what do you think? If you’re NOT a blogger, what did you think blogging really entailed? For those of you that are bloggers (Yes! Bloggers read other blogs!), what do you think are the essentials for blogging?
My firstborn hated to eat from birth – he never nursed well, and refused anything besides cereal and yogurt until he was over a year old. As he got older, meal times were painful ordeals. We argued constantly over what he would or wouldn’t eat. Thankfully, with time and consistency, his list of edible foods grew, and now he does a pretty good job of eating most normal foods.
My second son was the opposite. He was born eating everything in sight. He weighed twice as much as my firstborn at 8 months old, and ate meals with the rest of the family by the time he was a year old. But once he turned two, he started getting picky. “Me no like that,” is now his favorite phrase at the table. And I sigh. My hard eater got easier, but my good eater got harder . . . So I’ve learned that every child has to go through a picky stage. It must be a childhood rite of passage or something.
How do we get good nutrition into our kids without fighting a battle every night? Is there a way to encourage them to try new foods? How do we get them through the picky stage?
I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here’s some things that have worked for me.
Require a TINY bite of new foods, and nothing more. I tell my boys they don’t have to like it, and they don’t have to eat it, but they do have to take a tiny taste. Sometimes I just let them lick the food and not actually eat it. They still make a face and grumble and complain, but they have discovered that new foods aren’t always as bad as they think.
Don’t give up after the first try. Because we lived overseas where apples were rare, my firstborn son didn’t taste applesauce until he was three years old. The first time he tried it, he hated it. I didn’t push the issue, but whenever there was a good opportunity I made him taste it again – “just one tiny bite.” After a few months he decided that applesauce wasn’t so bad after all, and now he begs for it!
Expect them to like it. Be excited about a new food – “Look, here’s something Mommy really likes that you’ve never had before. I can’t wait to share it with you!” Or, if you have one with a stubborn personality, you might try some reverse psychology. Tell them that this special food is only for Mommy and Daddy, because they won’t like it. Then watch them beg for a bite!
Get them involved in the process. My son likes to sit down with a picture cookbook and chose what he wants me to make for supper. When I can, I let him help me cook as well. He’s much more likely to eat what I make if he feels ownership from being involved!
Set up a sticker/reward system. This doesn’t work for every child, but it can be very helpful to have a sticker chart for meal time. If you want, you can include things like remembering their manners and taking their plate to the sink, as well as things like trying new foods and finishing their meal.
Limit snacks and juice. I’ve noticed that when my boys are really hungry, they’ll eat things that they normally turn their nose up at! Sometimes children don’t eat well at mealtime because we’ve let them snack all day on sweets. This doesn’t mean they should never have a snack: especially younger children often need a snack between meals. But make sure it’s something nutritious, and make sure it’s far enough from mealtime that they’ll be hungry again before it’s time to eat.
Don’t offer substitutes. If my boys don’t want to eat what’s on the table, I’m not cooking them a separate meal. I do try to be considerate of their preferences, and have at least one thing on the table that I’m pretty sure they’ll like. But if they suddenly decide that they hate macaroni and cheese (which has happened), that’s just too bad! And they can’t have a big snack after the meal either, to make up for the fact that they skipped supper. The less I encourage and cater to their pickiness, the less picky they tend to be.
Teach them to quietly remove foods they don’t like. Lots of people don’t like green olives, and that’s okay. We don’t have to force our children to like everything they eat! But they do need to learn not to throw a fit about it, but just pick them out of their food and keep eating.
Keep working with her, and one day your picky eater will be able to sit down and eat a normal meal without begging, bribing, and coaching. At least, that’s what I keep hoping…
This guest post was contributed by Melissa Toews. Melissa Toews is mommy to three little men (ages 4, 2 and 2 months) and wife to the big man they call daddy. She loves writing, curling up with a novel, and sharing coffee with her husband – in all the free time she doesn’t have while keeping three other people alive and happy. Besides being a mom, Melissa is a freelance blogger writing for several blogs, including her own community for expat women at TCKmom.com. Interested in sharing a post on our site? Email Jamie@mamamommymom.com
The force is strong with this one. Very strong. If you’re a Star Wars fan, are shopping for a Star Wars fan or want to become a Star Wars fan, Hallmark has you covered this holiday season. These itty bitty Yoda and crew are just a tiny sampling of what’s in store for you at Hallmark and Hallmark.com.
My kids are new Star Wars fans, but even they can appreciate that for every itty bitty purchases, Hallmark is donating to Toys for Tots. If you’re buying for the older, but still incredibly hip crowd, there are coffee mugs, tumblers, notepads, books and more. In addition to the stuffed toys (hello, stocking stuffers!) I also picked up a super cool book that both my son and daughter will love.
Both of my kids are into art these days, though my son has just recently developed a real interest in drawing. This book actually teaches them how to use their thumb prints to draw Star Wars characters. How cool! It has multiple ink pads and drawing pencils right on the side. There is a step by step guide for drawing each character at the beginning of the book, then some awesome printed background pages for you to get creative with your characters on.
I picked it up as a Christmas gift, but I don’t know if I will be able to hold out that long. I kind of want to experiment with it myself!
If Star Wars isn’t your thing, Hallmark has you covered in pretty much every area imaginable from eatable goodies to home décor, Star Wars, Peanuts, Frozen and more! Check out everything they have to offer online or stop by your local Hallmark Gold Crown Store.
This post is sponsored by Tomoson and their client, intelliARMOUR. Opinions are those of MamaMommyMom alone.
I got my first iPad about 4 years ago. I say “first” not because I upgraded, but because my kids broke it. Seriously. Within 2 months of having it, they “forgot it was on the bed” and bounced it off into the floor while goofing around. Even landing on carpet, it was toast. Thank goodness for buying the protection plan. When I got my replacement (it wasn’t all bad… I got a newer generation!), I opted not to buy another protection plan and institute a “no, you can’t play on my iPad” policy.
My kiddos have grown up a lot, and I’ve relaxed a bit about the “no, you can’t play on my iPad” policy. One of the first things I noticed after letting the kids play with it a bit was how disgusting the screen was. So, I invested in a screen protector. It wasn’t long before I got frustrated though. The screen protector was pulling up at the edges, my finger didn’t glide across the screen anymore like it did when I was touching directly on glass and I felt like the picture on my iPad was being dulled by the screen protector.
I kept it on for a while, but ultimately got frustrated and peeled it off. What a waste of money.
A few months ago, I found out about intelliGLASS. It’s a screen protector made of a thin layer of glass, .33 MM thick to be exact. It’s crystal clear (so much so that I couldn’t get a good picture of the screen protector to share with you before I actually put it on my iPad) and gives you the smooth glide across the screen you experience with nothing on your device at all, not the dragging feeling you get with other, non-glass screen protectors. The intelliGLASS screen protector makes you feel like you’re working right on your devices screen, not on an added layer. Bonus – even after my grubby handed little kiddos getting their paws on it, it’s not covered with streaks and smudges. I have more than once found nose prints with my old screen protector. Now, we’ll just go with what I don’t know won’t hurt me.
The intelliGLASS screen protector comes with a lifetime warranty, so if it gets damaged, you’re covered. As you can see from the pic above, I installed the screen protector a month ago and we’ve had absolutely ZERO issues, and the iPad has been dropped multiple times in the last month. It’s clearly more durable that I would’ve expected a thin sheet of glass to be. In addition to being available for pretty much all Apple products, intelliARMOUR also offers screen protectors for a variety of other brands (Samsung, LG and Moto just to name a few.)
And I know I mentioned it before, but my favorite part of this screen protector is that I actually feel like I’m working on my iPad’s screen, not on a draggy piece of vinyl material. I could not stand the feeling of that material under my fingers and friction heats that stuff up and causes it to be unresponsive, at least in my experience.
If you’re in the market for a new screen protector or need to buy them to protect those holiday gift purchases, check out intelliARMOUR and the intelliGLASS screen protector.
With winter on its way, so are higher utility costs, bigger energy bills and environmental concerns aren’t that far behind these issues. As parents, we want to teach our children the importance of things like recycling and other ways we can reduce our carbon footprint on Mother Earth and finding ways to save energy is one important place to start.
While we can show our kids that plastic water bottles are recyclable, but their lids are not, or that things like aerosol cans are actually hazardous waste, we can also teach them about how replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lights) and LED (Light Emitting Diodes) lighting will not only help us to save money, but they are also much better for the environment.
SAFER & MORE EFFICIENT
We’ve likely already seen the comparisons on how much longer these newer lights can last, how they’re more efficient by producing more light with less wattage, greatly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and don’t contain harmful mercury that ends up in our landfills, which can cause mental retardation and birth defects in our future generations.
But as an added bonus, especially when it comes to children, they produce practically no heat as compared to their incandescent counterparts, which reduces the risk of burns. They’re also much more durable and don’t break anywhere near as easily as traditional bulbs that could prevent unnecessary injuries.
Check out some other ways you and your kids can perform some simple tasks around the house to cut down on costs and help to protect our environment.
WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE
Most of us are aware of this wet phrase from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, “nor any drop to drink.” Some states like California, who are ending their fourth year of a record-breaking drought and feeling this painful sting. But even if you don’t live in the Golden State, people should still be doing their best to conserve this important natural resource.
Using low flow water fixtures can greatly reduce a family’s water usage while saving money on their utility bill at the same time. If you have an older shower head, installing this new device is not only quick and simple, it can drop the rate of water flow from 5.5 GPM (gallons per minute) down to 1.5 on some newer models.
KEEPING THEM WARMER
Every mother will remind their child at some point to wear their jacket, and this also rings true for one of our major appliances – the hot water heater. An inexpensive cover or jacket, available at almost any home improvement store, is another quick and easy install that allows water to be heated faster, stay warmer longer and reduces the reduction of temperature when it’s in standby mode. When replacing an older hot water heater, consider purchasing one of the newer tankless varieties for even more savings.
When it comes to staying warm, most of us already know we should be keeping our thermostats set at 68° during the day and 55° at night, this temperature may be uncomfortable for some children. Instead of turning up the heat, bundle them up with more blankets at night, try flannel sheets for more warmth and suggest they sleep with their socks on for added warmth.
During the daylight hours, make sure there’s plenty of throw blankets and fuzzy pillows around the house, especially on the couch, for a sudden chill. As another added bonus, you can spend some time cuddling with your children while saving money in the process.
— Born and raised in Austin, TX, Hilary Smith is a free-lance journalist whose love of gadgets, technology and business has no bounds. After becoming a parent she now enjoys writing about family and parenting related topics.
There’s something about Fall that screams “PUMPKIN!” Maybe it’s all the family gatherings and the inevitable pumpkin pie, the trips to the pumpkin patch for that ornamental Halloween jackolantern or maybe it the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte to Starbucks menu. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are great, but what about something a little different… how about a Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte? You probably won’t find it on the menu of your local coffee shop, but you can add it to the menu in your own kitchen!
Most of the ingredients are pantry staples, especially this time of year, but anything you don’t have can be picked up at your grocery store. In 5 minutes, you’ll have a large mug of steaming hot deliciousness!
Salted Caramel anything is my jam. I love the Fall, not for the weather (we don’t get a lot of great Fall weather here in NC) but because it means the return of Salted Caramel season! I’m in love with the new Salted Caramel topping from Smuckers. Paired with some Pillsbury Crescent Dough and chopped pecans, you’ve got a perfect breakfast bun in just a few minutes!
This “recipe” is so simple that I hate to even call it a recipe! Just roll out your crescent dough, seal the perforations, smear on a thin layer of Salted Caramel topping, sprinkle on pecans, then roll. Once rolled, you can slice the dough into 2-inch sections. Place them side by side on a lined baking pan (trust me – line the pan) and follow the baking instructions on the crescent dough package. When you pull them out of the oven, let them cool. Drizzle them with a little more Salted Caramel topping and a sprinkle of pecans before serving. These reheat in the microwave great too!
Pillsbury creates easy, quick-to-fix recipes designed to give you more time with family instead of fussing around in the kitchen. Fall is the perfect time to use their products to impress at family gatherings and spend more time with those who matter and less time cooking. There are some HOT sale prices available now at BI-LO and Winn-Dixie on Pillsbury products, plus you can pair Winn-Dixie and BI-LO coupons for added savings.
Want to win $10 in Paypal cash to buy Pillsbury products? Just leave a comment on this post and 1 lucky commenter will win $10 Paypal cash!
What are your favorite ways to use Pillsbury Crescent dough? Sweet, savory or otherwise, these are a refrigerator staple and a huge help when you need to whip up something fabulous in a blink.
What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve heard today? Chances are, you may have thought you were about to read it. Imagine, a school saying they have everything they need! Ha! Ask any teacher and they will tell you, our schools are underfunded, period. As parents, we constantly see request from our kids’ teachers for things they need for their classrooms. Either we as parents come together and provide for the classrooms or our teachers end up putting out their own money. These kiddos… they are our future and they deserve the best education we can give them, and when we have a chance to do something to provide for our schools that doesn’t cost us anything extra, it’s a no brainer!
Hefty® is the only trash bag that supports Box Tops For Education! We have a baggie hanging beside our fridge that we drop our box tops in. It take a second, literally, and my kids get more of what they need at school. Whether it’s iPads for the classrooms or something as little as headphones or glue sticks, every Box Top puts our school $.10 closer to providing our kids with more than the school can on their own.
Everybody, parents or not, should be participating in the box tops program. Even if you don’t have kids, the education the kids in your area get and them being provided for at school should matter to you. Those kids will grow up to be your doctors, nurses and other people that you will rely on later in life. Want to start a movement in your neighborhood to get everyone involved? Grab this printable and pass it around!
If your school made a video of #SaidNoSchoolEver quotes, what do you think they’d say? Check out this hilarious video from Hefty® and see what they had to say. Would you’re school say the same?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
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