Free Valentine’s Day Treats Basket Pattern

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and it’s advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone.  #TreatThePups #CollectiveBias

Valentines Day Treat Baskets Free Printable #TreatThePupsFenway, The Intense.  My 4 legged baby.  Part human, part Border Collie, 100% spoiled.  He’s my constant companion, always by my side, and the first one to try and improve my spirits when I’m having a bad day.  This year, I think he’ll be my Valentine.  Valentines deserve special Valentine’s Day treats, yes?  I think so.  Check that link later today for some printable Valentines for you pooch!

Fenway the IntenseBeing intense 24/7 is hard work!  I have n doubt that any special Valentine’s Day treats I give my boy will be quickly burned off.  To say he’s obsessive about playtime would be an understatement.  He’s constantly dropping a ball in my lap, digging out a Nerf bullet for me to throw or pawing at my arm just to say “I love you”.  He rarely sits still.

Fenway - I Take My Dog To WorkBetween our daily car ride to work and spending time out with the kids and his favorite playtime buddy, Gator (he’s a black Lab), we’re constantly on the move.  Adding a quick stop at Walmart for Valentine’s Day treats is nothing!  Fennie never minds waiting in the car while I run in (especially when I come back carrying a box of Milk-Bones and a bag of Pup-peroni!)

My LIfe - Making MemoriesI can’t imagine life without my Fenway and neither can my kiddos.  They get little baskets for Valentine’s Day, so why shouldn’t he!  I whipped up this little basket in just a few minutes, with cardstock and glue dots, both of which I already had on hand.  Easy peasy!

Valentines Day Treats Baskets #TreatThePupsTo print your copy of the template, simply right-click on the image below and save it to your computer, open the file, then print!  And, of course you could absolutely use this pattern to make a little treat basket for your two-legged Valentines as well!

Valentines Day Free Printable Basket Template

Assembling a Valentines Day Gift Basket #TreatThePupsPrint, trace, cut and glue.  That’s it.  It takes less than 5 minutes, start to finish to put this whole thing together.  You can get everything you need (if you don’t already have it) at Walmart.  Be sure to grab Milk-Bones or Pup-peroni for your four legged Valentine while you’re there!

Milk Bone Pup-peroni #TreatThePups“Mom, is that for me?  Please?”

Puppy Love #TreatThePups Of course it is, buddy!  Check out Fenway enjoying his basket on Instagram!

TreatThePups Milk Bone Doggy ValentinesDo you treat your four-legged friends on Valentine’s Day (or any other holiday?)  Head over to our Facebook page and share a picture of your four-legged Valentine for our fans to enjoy!

Posted in Crafts | 15 Comments

12 Tips for Hosting an A-List Awards Show Party

The folks at Applebee’s and E!Online want your next awards show viewing party to be a box office hit! To help your planning along, we’ve partnered with Applebee’s and E!Online to share 12 tips for hosting an A-List awards show party. To give us a taste of what an awards show party menu should look like. we received a gift card to try out the new Pub Diet menu at Applebee’s. No additional compensation was received.

Hosting An Awards Show PartySo, how do you host an A-List awards show party?

1. The Guest List – Mix it up! Variety is the spice of life and it will be the spice of your party too. Inviting friends from different walks of life, with different interests and hobbies will not only give people a chance to make new friends, but it will also keep the conversation fresh and fun.

2. The Invitation – You know who you’re inviting, but how? Skip the Facebook event or the group text message and op for something a little more personal. You’re setting the tone for your party before the first guest arrives, so make sure you’re setting a tone you want carried through your party.

3. Cast Your Ballots – A fun way to keep any awards show party interesting is to have your guests make their own predictions on who will be winners. The guest with the most correct guesses can go home with a prize (maybe a bottle of wine!)

4. Theme Your Menu – Is the award show themed? Is there a film that’s going to dominate? Keep these things in mind and plan a menu that reflects it!

5. Celeb-Worthy Decor – Glitz and glam! Black, white, silver and gold are colors that exude glamour and will always be classic party favorites.

6. Standout Centerpiece – You centerpiece should make a statement. Go for something big and blossom filled, or get creative with ideas of your own. Whatever you do, make it stand out! I like to make dessert my centerpiece, so maybe I’ll have a Glitterbomb cupcake tower!

7. Proper Lighting – Candles, candles, candles! Romance, elegance, sophistication… Candles elevate the feeling. They are inexpensive, widely available and come in every shape, size and color imaginable.

image8. Bar Location – Don’t stick your bar by the door… Make them mingle! Putting the bar on the far opposite wall of your entry will encourage guests to move through the space instead of congregating by the door.  And, having a bar doesn’t mean you have to have alcohol!  Check out this tea bar we set up last summer.

IMG_3150.JPG9. Celeb Approved Hor D’oeuvres – Take a page out of your favorite chef’s cookbook and serve up their inspired recipes, or take a shortcut and order takeout from Applebee’s new Pub Diet menu. Either way, your guests will approve!

10. Pack A Punch – 2015 will be the year of Punch! It’s making a comeback, so make sure to break out the punch bowl and mix up your favorite concoction. Give your punch a fun, themed name and your guests might leave your party with a new favorite.  Sangria counts as punch, right?

image11. Get Bubbly With Rose – A great alternative to champagne, Rose is a fun, bubbly way to wrap up the show without breaking the bank.

12. End On A Glittery Note – Serve a spectacular dessert! Glitterbomb Cupcakes are all the rage, and will send your guests out the door with a sparkling impression of your A-List awards show party!

What are your best party planning tips?  Share them with us and you just might see them mentioned in a future article here or shared on our Facebook page!  Be sure to stop by your local Applebee’s to check out the new Pub Diet menu for a lighter way to enjoy some of your pub favorites!

Posted in Food, Party Ideas | Leave a comment

Reigniting My Love For Photography In 2015

Sometimes, life gets in the way.  It gets in the way of our fun, it gets in the way of our hobbies, it gets in the way of perusing our goals.  One thing I let fall of my radar in 2014 was photography. I just didn’t have the time for it, and honestly, my heart just wasn’t in it.  When life has you so bummed that you can’t even enjoy the things you love, it’s time for a change.  I made those changes and now I’m ready to pick up my camera and recommit.

What pushed me toward picking back up my camera?  Groupon.  Crazy, right?  If you aren’t familiar with Groupon, it’s one on those daily deal sites.  Sometimes the deals are… Eh.  Sometimes the deals are great!  I have scored half price Starbucks gift cards, deals to some of my favorite restaurants and even some pretty cool products.  A few weeks ago, I caught a deal for a “table top studio” (which is really a fancy way of saying “a small portable soft box”.)

IMG_3123.JPGIt’s been sitting in my living room, unopened, for a few weeks.  Christmas just wasn’t the right time to pull it out, you know?  Christmas has now come and gone, it’s out, set it up and now I’m itching to use it.  My first victim?  A Diet Coke.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.  Victim number 2?  An unsuspecting Barbie (if my daughter had been home, it would’ve never been allowed – her doll, not mine.)


Considering it was pretty dark and these are straight out of camera, completely unedited – not even cropped – I’m happy with my little Groupon score!

As it starts to warm up through the Spring and I’m able to spend more than 10 minutes outside without frostbite, you can expect to see postings in the Photography section here on MMM pick up.  In the meantime. I’ll inside playing with my food, my daughter’s Barbies and who knows what else!

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Meal Planning and Fried Bologna

Meal planning.  I am terrible at it.  I’ve tried on my own, I’ve used meal planning services, I’ve tried to follow along with other bloggers.  I am a meal planning failure.  What I am good at is scraping together something when we really don’t have much of anything.

Not having much of anything these days is simply a result of my poor planning and more of a desire to hurry home and get in my pjs than to stop at the grocery store or heck, even take the time to place an order through my Harris Teeter’s online ordering.  I am become too lazy to order groceries online, drive thru to pick them up and put them away at home.  Ok, maybe not lazy as much as busy with other things.

When I was a kid, there were a lot of times that the lack of food in the house had nothing to do with the missing desire to have an overflowing fridge or the absence of drive to go to the store, and was more of an issue of having the monetary means to buy the things we wanted.  Grilled cheese sandwiches were often a meal of choice, and it was cool as kids, but for the adults it was more of a meal of necessity.  We ate a lot of rice, grits, spaghetti and things that like – things that we cheap and went pretty far.  My childhood favorites include: rice with butter, mayonnaise sandwiches (yes, bread with mayo) and fried bologna.

So, back to meal planning…  In my lack of planning/preparation for feeding myself, I ended up with a few choices for dinner tonight: grits, turkey sandwich, Ramen noodles or bologna.  I know – it sounds like a college dorm room selection.  I don’t have my kids this week, so it’s just me.  Making a full on dinner isn’t on my list of things to do.  Then I started thinking about fried bologna.  Apparently, you guys really like fried bologna too.  Like, more engagement on the Facebook post I made about fried bologna than most of my posts ever see.

I had no idea fried bologna was such a wide spread thing!  I wish I could give you a recipe for fried bologna, but um… you just take bologna and fry it.  Eat it by itself, eat it in sandwich bread,, toast it or don’t, mayo or mustard.  You can go crazy.  It’s bologna!  Personally, I like toasted bread, Duke’s Mayo and fried bologna.

Do yourself a favor and go buy some bologna.  Meal planning, eh.  I’ll have fried bologna.

Posted in Food, Life in General | 1 Comment

How Will You Ring in 2015? #StreamTeam

This post is sponsored by Netflix.  As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam, I receive complimentary Netflix streaming.  We were Netflix customers for years before becoming members of the #StreamTeam.  All opinions are mine and mine alone.

KJN New Years Eve_comp_02_90256 (2)I can not believe it is almost 2015.  I’ve made some major life changes, met some goals, set some new ones and watched my kids grow and change right before my eyes.  The little boy who was watching educational cartoons last January has moved on to greener pastures (like streaming Power Rangers on a near constant basis.)  My girl has more or less ditched animated shows and has really gotten into watching movies.

Since they are getting older, I’ve decided to let them party the night away with us as *try* to ring in 2015.  The idea that I might get either of them to nap late tomorrow afternoon is ludicrous, but what I can get them to do is settle down with a movie (via Netflix streaming) on their Kindles, and at least rest a little.    The plan is quiet time until about 8:30 or so, then some sparklers, maybe some fireworks, one of the NYE concerts, say goodbye to 2014 and fall asleep in the living room floor.

KJN New Years Eve_comp_02_90473 (2)Netflix just released a new original series All Hail King Julien (yes, the King Julien from The Penguins of Madagascar), and as part of the release, sent us some cool party supplies that the kids have been dying to dig into.  The kids and I loved King Julien, so we’re excited to check out all of the episodes of the new series.

With 2014 coming to a close, and 2015 so close on the horizon, planning is on my mind.  What am I planning for 2015?  More family movie nights with popcorn and candy, more “date-night-in”s with my boyfriend and more togetherness in general.  Are you planning for 2015 too?  How are you ringing in the new year and what are you planning for 2015?

Posted in Entertainment | 5 Comments

Most Popular Post of 2014 (and an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!)

There are parts of 2014 that feel like they drug on forever and other parts that seemed to fly by.  There have been weeks where I’ve pushed out content for you guys every day and some weeks where I’ve barely been present here at all.  Despite my periods of absence, you guys continue to read and share my posts and for that I am unconditionally grateful.  But just like my life gets crazy busy sometimes, I know yours does too, and there are tons of things you may have missed here on the site – especially if you’re a newer reader.

Top Post of 2014As I look back on 2014 and plan for 2015, I’ve pulled together the most popular post from the site (based on how many of you guys are reading/sharing them), what sites are sending readers here, and what sites you guys are visiting most often from Mama.Mommy.Mom.

Top Posts in 2014

1. The Perfect White Wine Sangria

2. How To Build Your Own Deck Stair Gate

DIY-Deck-Stair-Gate-for-Backyard-Safety-1024x7753. Ten 10 Minute Meals (Have Dinner on the Table in a Flash)

4. American Girl on the Cheap (Making a Room for Your American Girl)

5. 10 Minute DIY Front Door Wreath

DIY-Door-Wreath6. DIY Frozen Grilled Chicken Breast Strips

7. Rainbow Loom – The New Kiddie Crack

8. Free Mother’s Day Printables (Make It For Mom)

Free-mothers-Day-Printables-from-MamaMommyMom9. How To Train Your Dragon 2 (The Reviews Are In)

10. Free Easter Printables (Notes From The Easter Bunny)

If you missed any of these posts, now is the time to either bookmark them, pin them or check them out right now.  When you’ve done that, check out the sites you guys are visiting most often for other great content, as well as the amazing sites that are sending new readers to Mama.Mommy.Mom.  There is tons of great content out there on the web and I am eternally grateful that you guys choose to read what I publish and share it on Pinterest, Facebook and other social media sites.

Top Referring Blogs of 2014


Now, because I am so grateful, I want to give away a $50 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky reader.  Entering is easy… just use the Rafflecopter form below.  I’ll pick a winner January 11th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If there’s something you want to see more of in 2015, tell me in the comments and I will try my best to make it happen!

Posted in American Girl, Current Giveaways, Food, For the Home, Giveaways | 46 Comments

Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden {Charlotte, NC}

I didn’t ask for much for my birthday.  Well, I take that back.  I did ask for a car (denied), a breast lift (again, denied) and a tropical vacation (tabled for later discussion).  In the realm of reasonable requests, all I asked for was some time alone with my boyfriend – away from the kids, free from chores and sans the errands.  We spent the day out and about, driving with no real destination in mind.  One of our stops was Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.

Daniel Stowe Botanical GardenI’ve lived in or around the Charlotte area for my entire life and there are so many places I have yet to visit.  While Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden has only been open since 1999, it is one of the places I’ve wanted to visit for a long time.  Even in the winter, the gardens were beautiful.  We enjoyed strolling the paved paths, as well as a jaunt through the woods down toward Lake Wylie.  We had a great time identifying the animal tracks we saw along the way (easily identified were deer, racoon and dog tracks).

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens CharlotteThe orchid conservatory was one of the most beautiful displays of blooms I’ve ever seen!  The colors and varieties of plant life were amazing!  I’ve always loved orchids, but have never been able to keep them alive, so I was truly impressed with their collection and the amount of work that must go into keeping it up.

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens OrchidOf all of the unique things we saw, this tree took the cake.  It might be called a floss silk tree, but it feels anything but silky!  Those spiky looking appendages are SHARP!  They cover the whole tree, top to bottom.  I can’t imagine climbing this tree would be at all possible.

interesting treeWhen we found the fairy garden, I was a little sad that we didn’t have the kids with us.  They would have loved it!  Tiny fairy houses, tiny trees and even a little train.  We’ll definitely head back with the kids in the spring.

Amazing Fairy GardenEverything may not have been bursting with color, as I am sure it is in the spring and summer, but the gardens were still quite beautiful and less crowded than they are during peak blooming season.  I am looking forward to going back in the Spring, but was very happy with our beautiful winter day at the gardens.

Posted in Life in General, Photography | Leave a comment

Make A 5 Minute Christmas Wreath

About a year and a half ago, I bought a plain vine wreath at the craft store.  Since bringing it home, I’ve made a seasonal project of grabbing what I can find around the house, picking up a thing or two at the store and putting together a new wreath to suit the season.

easy christmas wreathThe original wreath project was very Spring-ish, and I shared the Halloween version that graced my door until last month over on our Facebook page.  My Christmas version is very metallic and glittery, but the holidays are all about being merry and bright!

Basically, I spent about $5 and 5 minutes putting this together.  The letter and the wreath were from my original project.  I picked up a floral pick and tinsel at Walmart.  The bow was something I had already.  There’s no glue, nothing of the sort.  The bow is attached with the wire that comes on the back, the tinsel is simply woven around the wreath and tied to itself.  The floral pick is just stuck into the wreath.  It was so easy!

You do not need to spend oodles of money on wreaths!  The initial investment is a little more, you do have to buy an actual wreath, but you can reuse it for quite some time (mine is 18 months old and still in excellent condition) and change out your look a few times a year – or more – and it’s fun!  The Dollar Tree and Walmart are both excellent places to look for things to use on your wreaths, but my personal favorite place to find my goodies is my craft stash.

Do you hang a seasonal wreath on your front door?

Posted in Apartment Living, Crafts, For the Home | Leave a comment

Last Minute Gift Guide: 6 of My Favorite Electronics

Y’all… Christmas is in 2 weeks.  TWO WEEKS.  I am failing pretty hard at the Christmas shopping thing this year.  I usually get 95% of my Christmas shopping done on Black Friday, but this year I had to sit out the madness and it’s just now hitting me that I have A LOT of work to do if I want everyone to have something under the tree.  This is one of those times where I am super appreciative of my Amazon Prime account.  Free 2 day shipping?  Yes, please!  My membership has more than paid for itself already this year.

So what’s out there for awesome last minute gifts?  So.Many.Things.  I put together some of the items I own that I think are pretty amazing.  Some are big, some are small, but they will all make perfect gifts for those on your Christmas shopping list.

First up, my Keurig.  I tried living without one, I failed.  I’ve even converted my boyfriend.  I’m working on my coworkers now… before long, I expect to see the office coffee maker replaced.

Next up, my Shark Steam Mop.  I have never liked mopping.  I pretty much hate it, or at least I did before I got my steam mop.  I loooove this thing!  I love seeing what it picks up off the floor and I don’t feel like I’m pushing dirty water around like I do with a regular mop.  It also gets up nasty, dried messes so much easier!  It’s far easier on my back too!

Keeping with the cleaning theme, I am also pretty in love with my Shark Rotator Lift Away Vacuum.  Yes, Shark sent me a demo model at no cost, but having used it and previously owning a Dyson, I would buy the Shark hands down.  It is so much easier to navigate and it gets under things my Dyson never could.  I am so glad I’m not using the Dyson any more!

Some of the guys I work with poke fun at me and all of my techie gadgets, but one that everyone is always curious about is my Logitech iPad Keyboard.  I’ve had my keyboard for about a year and a half now, and it goes pretty much everywhere my iPad does.  Basically, it makes my iPad like a small laptop.  It’s so much better than carrying around my laptop all the time and makes it much easier to type things like blog posts  :-)

Chargers.  Chargers, chargers, chargers.  With all of our electronics, we have chargers everywhere.  The car, the bedrooms, my office.  We’ve got several different kinds scattered around, but my favorite is the Belkin 12 Watt USB Charger.  It works with any USB cord.  Being 12 watt rather than only 10 watt means it charges devices faster.  I like that they are available in different colors too, so we can each have our own color and there’s no “she/he has my charger!”

With all the techie stuff around here, and the constant need for a charger, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I like to take some power on the go too.  That’s why I own an Intocircuit External Battery.  Actually, I own a few of them.  They are awesome!  I can get a few full iPhone charges off of one battery.  If you have someone in your life who constantly has a dead phone battery, get this.  Get it now.

So, those are a few ideas ranging from $20 to $200+ that will make excellent Christmas gifts for almost anyone on your list.  Now, get busy with that shopping!  There are about a million other awesome gifts available on Amazon, and you can get your shopping done without getting dressed.  It’s a win/win!

Personally, I’d love a new car, but that might be a little out of Santa’s price range this year.

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PBandG Sandies – The Perfect Cookie for Holiday Baking

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.  All opinions are mine alone. #PBandG #CollectiveBias

PBandG Sandies Cookies Holiday Baking #PBandG #AdTis the season for holiday baking!  Cookies exchanges, baked gifts and office parties – my oven is going full force! I’m in Walmart at least once a week, if for no other reason than to grab a missing ingredient or two… it seems I’m always running out of something or another.  I need to run out and grab some salt right now.  The kids and I used the last of that last night making Salt Dough Ornaments.

Honey Maid Skippy NaturalBack to the holiday baking… Peanut butter and graham crackers are amazing together!  Why not make them into a cookie?  The two main ingredients in this recipe are Honey Maid Graham Crackers and Skippy Peanut Butter.  These cookies are SO easy to make, if you have kids, you should let them help you!

PBandG Sandies - The Perfect Cookie for Holiday Baking
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 15 Sandies
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ Cup Salted Butter (Softened)
  • 1 Cup Skippy Peanut Butter (Divided)
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Cups Self-Rising Flour
  • ¾ Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Using a mixer, cream the butter, sugars and ½ cup of the peanut butter together.
  3. Add the egg, ½ cup of the graham cracker crumbs and the flour to the creamed mixture. Continue to mix until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
  4. Make uniform balls of dough and place them on a lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake the dough balls for 9 minutes.
  6. Remove the cookies from the oven and use a flat surface (like the bottom of a glass) to flatten the cookies.
  7. Allow the cookies to cool completely, then pipe the remaining peanut butter onto half of the cookies.
  8. Place another cookie on top of each filled cookie, pressing down slightly.
  9. Roll the edges of the sandies in the remaining graham cracker crumbs.

My kiddos were particularly engaged in the filling portion of the cookie making.  Mainly, filling their mouths with peanut butter and their bellies with cookies!

PB&G Sandies Peanut Butter Cookies 8We had plenty of left over graham crackers and peanut butter, so rather than buy one of those kits full of prebaked holiday house stuff, we made our own out or graham crackers and used peanut butter as our glue.  Honestly, the peanut butter worked way better than any icing I’ve ever tried to use.  Plus, we were able to eat our houses without worrying about how long the compnents had been sitting in a box.

Graham Cracker HouseIt was a really simple process, as you can see below.  It took us less than 15 minutes and it was a tasty process!  Lots of snacking was going on, but it was snacking I could feel ok about.

Honey Maid Peanut Butter House

While we used candies we had on hand for our decorations, you can get pretty much any candy you want, plus the other ingredients necessary for either of these graham cracker and peanut butter creations at your local Walmart.  Make sure to grab these coupons and save $0.50 when you buy (1) Honey Maid Grahams for your holiday baking!  Also, follow Honey Maid on Instagram for some holiday fun!

PicMonkey Collage


Posted in Food, Recipes | 9 Comments