The Grinch's 7UP Punch

Monday, December 29, 2014

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dr Pepper Snapple Group for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
One of my favorite soda's to drink is 7UP.  It is crisp, I love that lemon lime flavor, it's caffeine free, and contains 100% all natural flavors.  It also brings me back to my childhood.  When I was a kid my mom use to mix it with sherbet ice cream to make a punch for special occasions.  I loved it.  Now here I am a mom myself making up my own holiday concoction.  

You can essentially make this drink any color depending on the type of sherbet you add but considering this is the Grinch's punch it had to be green.  I made some for our cookie decorating party and the kiddos loved it.  

 I also served some at our Christmas Eve dinner and the adults loved it too!  I don't even want to know how many refills my little lady had.

It's super easy to make.  Just three ingredients: 7UP, frozen can of lemonade, sherbet ice cream.  I went to our one stop shop Safeway and got all the things for the drink, the cookie dough, and decorating essentials!  

Did I mention it's fun for the kids to help make?  This was the love bug's favorite part because it was all bubbly like some crazy science experiment.  Mix the 7UP and frozen lemonade together.

Scoop ice cream and add it to the bottom of the cups.

Pour the bubbly 7UP concoction on top.

And TADA and yummy, festive, and easy drink!  So head over to Safeway, pick up some 7UP and whatever else you need to make your holiday party a sweet one! 
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UPS #WishesDelivered

Sunday, December 21, 2014

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of What’s your wish? for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

This is one of the busiest times for UPS as they deliver packages on doorsteps containing items that started from a wish.  They work tirelessly to deliver everyday wishes throughout the holiday season.  This year UPS wants to share these wishes and magical stories through their campaign #WishesDelivered site.5b69f671-a930-487a-93a3-f33e3b8592eb_zps9ff1d985

For every wish submitted with the hastag #WishesDelivered, UPS will donate $1 to one of their charity partners up to 100K!  Their partners which include, Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Club, and Toys for Tots makes me think of my own wish this season.

I can't help but think how blessed our two kiddos are.  When my little lady was writing her letter, I was already imagining all of the toys and goodies she will be getting from family, friends, and us.  Her chances of getting what she asks for in her letter are pretty good.

But not all kids are as lucky as her.  My heart breaks to think about the kids who won't get a thing.  The kids who have a parent incarcerated or are living in the streets.  A toy may be something small but to a kid who has nothing it brings joy.  A few years ago, I volunteered at a Toys for Tots party and remember how happy these kids were to have their party and receive their toy.  My wish is for kids who are less fortunate.  I wish that no kid goes without receiving this holiday season.  Whether that is new toy or a warm meal.  

To help make this happen the little lady and I are going to do what we can.  Before The holidays, we always clear out toys that she no longer wants to play with and bring them to the Salvation Army.  She will also be picking out a toy in the store to buy and donate to Toys for Tots.  I want her to be grateful for the things she has and learn the importance of giving to those less fortunate. 
What is your wish for someone else this season?  Join UPS this year and submit your wish and help raise up to $100K for these charities.  Submitting a wish is super easy.  Post your wish to Twitter or Instagram with the campaign hashtag #WishesDelivered and it will automatically submitted.  Be sure to encourage your friends and followers to do the same.
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Join the Luvs Loyalty Program

Friday, December 19, 2014

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Luvs® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

We found out we were having our second soon after getting our little lady out of diapers.  That meant a short few months without having to buy diapers or change them.  Now it's just a way of life and I can't help but hear that Luvs slogan in my head... You live, you learn, and then you get Luvs®.  These commercials cracks me up.

I don't know if it is because he is a boy or because he just eats more than she did, but our little guy seems to go through diapers way faster.  That is why I love the Luvs® Super Absorbent diaper that features NightLock.  They can handle the little guy and now that he is sleeping through longer stretches it tackles those leaky problems.  We have had some leaks which makes for a stinky nights.  Diaper leaks... one of my biggest pet peeves.

Along with the Super Absorbent diapers Luvs® has also introduced their loyalty program!

With Luvs® new loyalty program, members will receive the latest Luvs offers, baby related news, videos, tips and my favorite SAVINGS!  With two kids under the roof, I love saving.

Signing up is easy and takes only a minute.

Be sure to sign up now!  Luvs® is giving away a $5 Walmart e-gift card to the first 2,000 registered members and a chance to win the grand prize of free diapers for a year!  Imagine... FREE diapers for a year!  That would be awesome.  The drawing will be held in April 2015 so head over now and sign up.

Luvs® loyalty club is a membership you and your little one will love.  Keep those bums dry and happy with Luvs®.  #LuvsClub
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Happy Holidays with Happy Family

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Happy Family Products for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

It's no surprise that the holidays are a busy busy time for our family.  I'm known to be a little Christmas crazy packing in as much as possible into our already busy schedules.  Little man has been experiencing the madness and thanks to Happy Family, we can be on the go with a happily fed and full baby.


This yea, he survived the family Christmas card photo but as you can see he wasn't very impressed with my silly attempt at a cutesy picture.  At least his facial expressions will bring us laughter for years to come.

Things started to turn up when St. Nick came and brought him some treats.  [He's in denial Christmas is around the corner still hanging around in his Halloween gear].

He's had some sweet holiday moments as well. Seeing his expression and that brain spin at his sister's first snow globe just about melted my heart into a little puddle!  Decorating the tree with him brought on a new dimension of fun!  Ornaments for a baby translates as a taste testing opportunity.  I'm pretty sure he thinks pulling them off the tree should be a sport because it is so fun.  Extra points for hiding them under the couch once they fall!    

When he sees Santa this year, I am sure he would tell him the one thing he wants under that tree is food and snacks.  Forget the toys!  If you know this little man, you know he absolutely loves to eat!!  He's all about his little food pouches.

In the perfect world I would be the kind of mom who makes all of his food and bakes his snacks, but that is just not our reality.  That's why I love Happy Family!  Happy Family was founded by moms and is operated by moms.  They believe that the right nutrition will set baby up for a healthy future.
My favorite in the Happy Family line are the food pouches.  We are always on the go, driving big sister to school and back, grocery shopping, visiting family, and who knows what else.  These are perfect because he can eat anytime, anywhere.   I love that this one has a little dairy to help ease his stomach before he goes all the way.  Most of the pouches are Kosher and don't contain ingredients that babies are prone to be allergic to [soy, fish, nuts, egg].  You can see the Allergy Chart for all the food pouches of Happy Family.  

Now these puff are his favorite and I have to admit, my three year old and I like to snack on them too!  These are the perfect distraction when I am cooking dinner.  Happy Family strives to make every bite count, even in snacks.  They only use the best quality organic ingredients and some foods mix fruits and veggies to optimize nutrition.  These snacks have the super food kale and one of his favorite food pouches [pear, blueberry, pomegranate] has Salba the super Chia.  He loves it and I love that he is getting all the nutritional benefits of the chia seeds, which are a great source of omega-3s.  Visit the Happy Family website to learn about organic baby and toddler food

Happy Family also adds age appropriate extra nutrition whenever possible.  Their enlightened nutrition philosophy means that each meal or snack may include superfoods like whole grains amaranth and quinoa, and fruits and veggies like kale, mango and coconut.  Some products have Chia, probiotics, and plant-based DHA and choline.  Nutritious, yummy, and perfect for when we are on the go.  

Everyday until the end of December you will have a chance enter the Happy Family #TistheSqueezin Giveaway. Join Happy Family on Facebook and enter to win during December’s #TistheSqueezin giveaways! Happy family under the tree will surely bring smiles to your little ones [especially if yours likes to eat as much as mine does].  Enjoy a $1 off coupon for Happy Family baby food pouches
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M&M Holiday Mint Brownies and Peppermint Cookies

Thursday, December 11, 2014

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Glad & M&M’S® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
One of the things I look forward to most about December is peppermint.  I know it's silly but it is the only time of the year I will drink peppermint hot chocolate or eat peppermint desserts.  I'm a peppermint fanatic!  When I found out M&M's came in White Chocolate Peppermint and Holiday Mint I had to get my hands on them!  I combined them with two of my favorite desserts to create the perfect holiday treat. 

You can find these M&M's [along with the M&M's Holiday Baking Minis that were sold out] at your nearest Target.  It's pretty hard to miss!  Just check out that adorable display screaming BUY ME! [And can you believe little man is already so big?!]

Don't think you will be able to find the White Chocolate Peppermint M&M's anywhere else because they are only available at Target.  Just watch out because once you munch on a small handful it's pretty hard to stop.  They are delicious just on their own.
There are recipes on the back of each bag and you can find some on the M&M website as well.  One bag called for a can of cookie dough but I used my own cookie dough recipe.  This makes a huge batch so if you are only making for a few people just cut everything in half.
3 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup of butter softened
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 to 1 1/2 cups of White Chocolate Peppermint M&M's 
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine the flour, salt, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.
3. Cream butter and sugars together until combined.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.  Slowly mix in dry ingredients.  Stir in the White Chocolate Peppermint M&M's.
4.  Drop tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheet.  I plopped a few of the festive red and white M&M's on top so you can see them after the cookies were bakes.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. 
You can also use a box of brownies to make this a quick and easy dessert, but if you want to make them from scratch here is the recipe.
1 1/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/3 tsp salt 
1/3 cup flour
1 cup of Holiday Mint M&M's
1/2 cup butter softened
1 tsp vanilla extract 
2 eggs
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Blend softened butter and sugar.  Stir in the eggs and vanilla extract.
3. Add cocoa powder, salt and flour.  [Stir in Holiday Mint M&M's if you want them in the brownie]
4.  Spread batter into a greased 8 by 8 pan.  [Sprinkle Holiday Mint M&M's if you want them on top].  Bake for 35 to 38 minutes. 

I baked the M&M's in the brownie but I would suggest sprinkling them on top of the brownies after you pour the batter into the pan so you can see all the M&M's in their festive red, green and white.  It's not so festive when you can only see them inside the brownie.  Boo!!

I was baking these treats for the neighbors so I wanted to package them nicely.  Like the M&M's, Target also had these cute exclusive holiday print containers.  These adorable GLAD containers can only be found at Target.  And look more fun recipes on the back!

Circles or squares they are the perfect home for those holiday treats.  The print on the outside is so charming I love it!

Filled the containers up.

Topped with a bow and they are the perfect treat for friends, family, or co-workers this holiday season. 

If you get bit by the Christmas bug and feel the urgent need to bake, just head on over to Target, pick up some M&M, GLAD containers and get baking!

These peppermint treats will bring joy to whoever you decide to give them to. 
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Until next time.  Toodles!

Feel free to pin me..

My Special Dusty Hand Print Wreath

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

This hand wreath sort of holds a little special place in my heart.  [Yea yea I know I am so sentimental].  To you it's a four year old, dusty, green, construction paper hand print wreath.  When I look at it, I remember a time in my life that was bittersweet.  

This was my boo bear's first Christmas and daddy was deployed to Afghanistan.  It was really tough to not be together during this time.  I made this for his Christmas box and I still remember him showing it to me hanging up in his office.  So every year when I pull it out [dust and all]  I give thanks that we can spend Christmas together.  That year all I wanted for Christmas was to be a family.  It's a good reminder when I get Christmas crazy that I already have the most important thing, family.  The rest is just an added bonus. 

Here's the how to:


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ever since I was a kid I use to love counting down to Christmas and nothing has changed.  I love doing advent [which is just a countdown to Christmas]...

This year we are doing a new more meaningful advent, the advent wreath.  I've always wanted to do this and now that she is older it is perfect.  Each week you light a new candle and read scripture about the birth of Jesus.  So before dinner I plan on doing so and I love that this points us to the real meaning of Christmas.  For more information on this advent tradition HERE.

Cindy's Aunt Marlaine sent her this gorgeous calendar from Germany and she sends German gummy bears for her to enjoy everyday.  This is our yummy advent.

Every year since her first Christmas we also do this paper advent.  I remember making these when I was a kid!  It's just fun.  

[Here is the ball and chain looking one from last year].

I bought a wood circle plaque for her to paint and then Modge Podge the poem onto it. 

If you want the printout of the star HERE it is.  I simply rounded the edges.

Another way we countdown to Christmas is with books.  I wrap 25 books to put in her basket, the last one is the story of Jesus birth so we can read it Christmas morning.  This is a family tradition we have done since before the hubby and I had kiddos. She loves it and I think baby brother will enjoy this one as well.

[Opening the first book for the month].

Until next time.  Toodles!
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