Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Make This Holiday Season an Eco-Friendly One


I know you may not want to think about it, but the holiday season is rapidly approaching! This time of year is my absolute favorite. I love the Christmas trees and lights, all of the holiday buzz, and of course you can’t forget the baked goods! Baking is a big part of the holidays and pies, cakes and cookies are absolute necessities!

While baking can be fun and of course very delicious, it does have some cons. Think of all of the cupcake liners, the tin-foil and other items that get thrown away during the holidays. It might not seem like a lot at first, but it does create waste over time.
I have some very useful and eco-friendly baking tips that will keep your food tasty, but leaves the environmental guilt at the door!
1. Plan to bake several things at the same time. This way, you reduce the amount of times that your oven has to heat up. While it’s inconvenient, it also saves money on your electricity bill too.
2. If you’re planning on buying new baking pans or dishes, look for brands that use natural materials such as bamboo or recycled materials. These are much better for the environment and cook exactly as a normal baking dish would.
3. Instead of using a paper towel to clean up a mess or a spill, use a sponge. Scotch Brite makes a fabulous biodegradable sponge made from natural fibers that would be a great eco alternative to using paper towels. Or you can just use a regular towel or dishcloth that you wash and reuse.
4.  Forgo the muffin paper liners that you line your muffin pan with. They are discarded instantly and create a lot of waste. Instead of using the liners, spread a tiny amount of olive oil in the tins. The muffins will not stick and you’ll be able to easily take them out of the tin once they’ve cooled.
5. Instead of using cooking spray (which has a lot of chemicals) to grease your pans, use a small amount of olive oil. Just take a cloth and spread it around. Your food will come out easily and you won’t be having chemicals touch your food.
6. It’s important to look for ingredients that are organic and packaged in material that is recyclable or reusable.
These tips are very important in helping to make the world a better place. Even if you’ve never participated in any of these earth friendly tips before, it’s never too late to start.  Just making one of these smart choices will help you to know you’re making a great decision for the earth. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Scarlett's First Time At Disney World!

Today is Scarlett's actual 3rd birthday and she's surely had a birthday for the record books.  Between her school birthday, birthday party with friends and family, and now going to Disney for her birthday, it's certainly one to remember.

I went to Disney World a few times as a young child and have a few scattered memories from it.  The memories I have are of rides and events that are no longer featured.  I kept my research and planning to a minimum since I wanted it to be just as much as a surprise for me as it was for Scarlett.  In my opinion, it would be a lot more fun to experience everything together with no pre-planned thoughts or knowledge of what the park had to offer.

We just wrapped up our final day of Disney yesterday at Magic Kingdom.  Our first day was spent at Disney Studios. Disney Studios brought fantastic shows and character appearances.  Scarlett got to meet and hug such favorites as Doc McStuffins and Daisy Duck.  When she saw Doc McStuffins she ran as fast as lightening to the line to meet her. The show is one of her favorites and she was beyond excited to meet the Doc she loves so much.  Since we're visiting Disney at Christmas time, the park is beautifully decorated with tons of wreaths on lamp posts, poinsettias, and ornate Christmas trees.

All of the families were in such Disney spirit and sported either coordinated Disney family shirts or Mickey clothing.  It was really fun to see the magic and joy that Disney brings out in both young and old individuals. 

When we visited the Magic Kingdom, it was truly a wondrous place.  Honestly, you didn't know where to look first because there's so much to see! From the famous Magic Kingdom castle to all of the perfectly crafted store fronts, it's hard to not have a permanent smile throughout your visit.  The Fast Pass is the smartest idea and allows you to sign up for certain times to ride rides or shows and you are able to skip a potentially long line.  There are special Fast Pass machines throughout the park where you are able to use your park card to book the times you want.  I'm sure parents everywhere are so thankful to not have to wait on long lines with impatient children!

Scarlett had so much fun at Magic Kingdom and was able to ride the Dumbo ride, Little Mermaid ride, It's a Small World, and the Teacups.  She loved each one equally and it was fantastic to see how happy she was at Disney.  The joy in her eyes was something I'll always remember! Scarlett also loved meeting Rapunzel and took a picture with her too.

Magic Kingdom was also just as beautifully decorated as Disney Studios.  We spent many hours at each park and I took so many pictures that I'll enjoy looking back on with fond memories.  Disney World is truly a magical place and there's nothing else like it on earth.

Scarlett is so fortunate and lucky that she was able to have one of her best birthdays to date at such an amazing place.  We took a lot of family pictures that will certainly be printed and put in an album as soon as possible.

If you're looking for a family trip that you'll remember forever, it's time to book a Disney vacation. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christmas Treats That Belong On Your Holiday Table

If you're having a Christmas party in the next few weeks, I'm sure desserts are on your mind. Everyone loves a sweet treat or two during the holidays.  Wondering what to serve? Look no further.

These Christmas tree brownies are not only adorable but tasty too

Your kids will love helping to make these delicious reindeer cupcakes

Individual fruit pies are sure to be a big hit

There's so many tasty treats out there, I'm sure you'll find something delicious and crowd-pleasing for your Christmas parties!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Celebrate Your Child's Birthday At California Pizza Kitchen

Scarlett is a pizza lover through and through.  My tiny girl can devour more slices in a single sitting than her mom can and it's pretty impressive!  Her favorite toppings are peppers and broccoli. If I allowed it, Scarlett would have pizza on a daily basis.  I understand her love for that triangular goodness though, it's impossible to resist cheese and tomato sauce!

My family makes fun of me for how far in advance I start to plan Scarlett's birthdays.  I start thinking of what I want to do for her next birthday virtually right after she has her current one.  I can't help it though, I really love birthdays! When you only have one a year, each one should be special and exciting.  When I realized that she could have a pizza themed birthday at California Pizza Kitchen, I knew that would be the ultimate choice for my pizza loving child.

California Pizza Kitchen is a chain eatery serving up pizza's, pasta,and salads in a modern setting.  If you haven't previously dined there, the food is fresh and delicious.  I've been going there for years and am partial to their salads.

A child's birthday party at California Pizza Kitchen is not an ordinary party by any means.  Each birthday party guest gets to make their own pizza and choose whatever toppings go on it, as well as getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the kitchen.  Once you're in the kitchen, the kids get to see their pizza's cooking in the big brick oven.   It's a really fun and unique experience that is different from any other child's party I've ever been to or seen.

On the day of Scarlett's party, I was able to go in ahead of time and bring the cake in and decorate.  Since the party started at 10:30 AM, the cool thing about that timeslot was that the restaurant was not yet open! So from 10:30-11, we had the restaurant to ourselves.

Once the children arrived, they were able to sit at a special table for themselves that had a chefs hat along with crayons for them to color.  When everyone got settled, our server came over and started taking drink orders.

I decided on sausage, pepperoni and broccoli for the toppings for the kids pizzas.  Our server brought out a plate of cooked dough with cups of marinara sauce and shredded cheese for each child.  There were enough toppings on the plate for the whole table to share  Some parents helped the child make the pizza, while others let their tiny tot do it themselves.  It was fun and interesting to see the thought process behind how each of the party guests chose to make their pizzas!

Once each child was content with their culinary creation, it was time to cook the pizzas in the huge brick oven! Everyone was allowed in the kitchen for a tour which was enjoyable for not only the kids, but the parents too.  I love to cook so it was interesting to see how a kitchen restaurant runs.  I loved seeing all of the equipment that makes CPK run as well as the big fridge, walk-in freezer, and prep area.  I had no prior knowledge of how a restaurant kitchen operates, so it was fun to learn.

The employee who gave the tour was very knowledgeable and gave us lots of insight and information as to how the kitchen works and what they do on a daily basis to prep it.  He kept the kids entertained by asking them questions.  I think all of the kids at the end loved catching the dough that was thrown up in the air!

When the kitchen staff put the pizza's in the brick oven, they cooked in practically no time.  The oven is extremely hot and you can see the huge flames inside cooking the pizza to perfection.

After the tour, it was time to eat! All of the children's pizzas were brought to the table with cups of lemonade so they could chow down.  Who doesn't love pizza? I know I could eat sauce, cheese, and dough every day of the week.  While the kids were enjoying their lunch, the pizza for the adults was brought to a separate table.  I selected a variety of pizza's to make everyone happy including sausage, pepperoni, veggie, mushroom and more.  The pizza was delicious, hot and fresh.  Most of the food was eaten fast, so it's safe to say that everyone enjoyed it!

Every meal needs to end with a sweet treat, don't you think? Before we served the cake, the kids were brought out mini vanilla ice cream sundaes that they got to decorate with cherries, candies, and hot fudge.  I'm pretty sure that was heaven for them! There was barely any noise or talking as the kids gobbled up the treats.  You can't blame them of course! Everyone loves ice cream.

The finale of the party was the cake.  Since the party was pizza themed, of course the cake had to match.  Everyone sang happy birthday to the birthday girl and both the kids and adults enjoyed the cake.

Once we finished doing the cake, the party wound down and guests began to leave.  It's safe to say that the party was a success and everyone had a wonderful time.  My friends told me that the pizza party was a great idea and they want to consider CPK for a future birthday party for their child!

I was very satisfied with the level of service provided by California Pizza Kitchen and thought the server was attentive and came back to check on us often.  The party ran smoothly and everyone left full and happy.  There's nothing more I could ask for than that.

If you're looking for a out-of-the-box party idea for your child's next birthday, it's time to give California Pizza Kitchen a call.

*DISCLOSURE* I received a complimentary party at California Pizza Kitchen in exchange for this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Moms Everywhere Need Time For Themselves

Any mother in any part of the world can agree that parenting is not an easy task.  Whether you have a 4 year old or a 44 year old, there will always be different challenges that you'll face.  If you're a parent of a toddler like I am, you're still new to the game and in the thick of the difficulties right now.

Since Scarlett stopped napping, I have very little time to myself these days.  She goes to school twice a week for 3 hours a day.  When she's not at school it's just me and her all day long.  We do activities at home and I take her to kid-friendly places a lot, but the days really are long.  Those 12 hours don't go by quickly! Some days are easier than others which is to be expected.

At night, it's really essential to take some time for yourself.  All day long I am entertaining my tiny tot and my days revolve around her.  From meal prepping and potty training to kissing boo-boo's and reading books, I obviously don't have much time to devote to myself.

The minute Scarlett goes to bed, it becomes my time.  I need to decompress at night in order to relax and tackle the next day.  Whether you want to lay on the couch with a glass of wine and watch your favorite TV show, or take a bubble bath with vanilla scented candles on the rim of the tub, there's no wrong way to unwind.

Since I can't get to the nail salon or spa a lot, I frequently like to give myself an at home facial or a manicure.  It makes me feel good to know that I'm doing something that's worthwhile to me and you can't put a price tag on that.

When you take some time for yourself, it ultimately helps you to become a better parent in the long run.  It's not selfish at all.  Every mom needs a break to be the best they can be.

When I have time for myself at night, I wake up refreshed and excited to see my daughter in the morning.  What will you do to relax tonight?

Dad Would Love An Armitron Watch This Christmas #HolidayGiftGuide

Christmas is rapidly approaching.  Doesn't it feel like this year just flew by? As you make your holiday shopping list, I'm sure you're already thinking about what to get your Dad. How about skipping the requisite tie or sweater this year and give Pops a special gift that he'll remember always? A square watch box from Armitron wrapped under the Christmas tree would certainly make his day.

Armitron offers various styles of men and women's watches that will instantly become your favorite. Browse through not only digital watches but traditional watches as well.  If you're looking for a birthday or anniversary gift for your significant other this year, an Armitron watch would be a great choice.  Whether you're searching for a silver watch with genuine Swarovski crystals on the face, or a gold watch with a blue face inside, they have you covered.  There's a watch that will it anyone's taste and style.  Why not also treat yourself to a gorgeous new timepiece this holiday season? 

To say my husband is a watch guy is a true understatement.  He can always be seen with one on his wrist at any point.  When we go shopping he gravitates right towards the watch section of the store.  Since he hasn't treated himself to a new watch in a while, I knew that it was time. The Men's Silver Tone Day/Date Function Tan Leather Strap Watch had his name written all over it.  Isn't it so nice when people are easy to shop for?

This watch will make that special guy in your life feel like a king! Any wrist would be glad to feature a timepiece with a tan calfskin leather strap with stainless steel buckle closure. There's an easy to read textured black dial with day and date calendar.  Not only is this watch stylish, but very practical too.  

My husband instantly loved the look of this watch as soon as he laid eyes on it.  How can you resist the beautiful large face paired with the supple calfskin band? It's impossible, that's how.  As soon as Jay put the watch on, he said he felt like a million bucks. The neutral color of the strap makes it a versatile watch that can be worth with virtually anything.  

Not only did the watch look great on him, it fit well too.  It's adjustable to one's liking and he had no issues with it securely staying on.  Jay said that thanks to the large face the time was very easy to read and he liked the red tip on the hands.  Once it was accurately set, the date and day is conveniently located right next to the time so you'll always know exactly what day it is.  The hands of the watch move seamlessly allowing you to keep track of time easily.  

My husband is really happy with his new watch and can't stop wearing it.  I think it's safe to say Armitron is his new favorite brand!

Don't forget to give Dad or any other special man in your life an Armitron watch this year, they'll definitely wear it for years to come.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Amitron Watches for providing a complimentary product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Puddle Bear Clothing Offers Themed Shirts For the Whole Family

Recently, I've gotten into the idea of having themed shirts for Scarlett to wear for various occasions.  She had a preschool shirt for her first day of preschool, a birthday shirt for her 2nd birthday, and of course she'll have one for this year's birthday as well.  It's fun to have a matching shirt for a special occasion or event.  Since we're going to Disney World in a matter of weeks, I felt it was only appropriate to have themed shirts for Disney as well!

Puddle Bear Clothing is an online company that designs and makes clothing for all ages.  The customization ideas are truly endless at the shop.  My favorite thing about Puddle Bear Clothing is that they make shirts for the whole family to wear together.  For example, you can have Christmas shirts made with each member of the family's name to wear on Christmas morning.  This is a special way to celebrate the holiday and of course very memorable too.

The shop sells matching Disney World shirts and birthday shirts for kids among many other themes.  Of course anything you'd like to be made can be done too.  The sky's the limit with creativity at Puddle Bear Clothing.  Keep the shop in mind for all of your family's themed clothing needs.

I thought it would be adorable if my husband and Scarlett and I had matching Disney raglan shirts for when we go for Scarlett's 3rd birthday. I didn't even know the matching shirts were a thing until I saw pictures of families on Facebook who all had one when at Disney.  Instantly, I fell in love with the shirts and knew I had to have them for my family too.  It's a big deal to be going to Disney World and I wanted to make the experience as memorable and exciting as possible!

The customer service between Puddle Bear Clothing and I was wonderful.  The owner really wanted to make sure I was happy with my order and the shirts were designed exactly how I wanted.  Once the shirts arrived, I couldn't wait to try them on.  Jay and I's shirt was raglan style with a grey front and black sleeves.  Scarlett's is a little bit different with dark grey sleeves and a light grey front.  My tiny girl and I each have Minnie ears on our shirt while my husband has Mickey to differentiate the genders.  How cute is that? All three shirts have our name on them in the famous Disney font.

I have to admit that all of the sizing worked out perfectly.  Everyone's shirt fit well and looks great on.  It will be really fun to have all of us coordinating at Disney World, especially for pictures! It's warmer in Orlando than I thought this time of year, but I think since the shirts have 3/4 sleeves we should be okay.  There is one day during our trip that it'll be cooler so the shirts will be ideal for that day.  The colors and font are bold and vibrant and you can tell the shirt is made well.

Puddle Bear Clothing also sent an adorable holiday themed shirt for Scarlett that she loved as soon as she saw it.  Since the shirt has an S, she said S for Scarlett! What a smart girl.  I love the S wearing a Santa hat with snowflakes on it.  Since it's a size bigger than she normally wears, she'll be able to wear it for two years which will come in handy.

I'm very excited about our Disney shirts and we don't have much longer to wait to wear them! I know we'll have a memorable trip that we'll always remember.

If you're looking for themed shirts for your next party, event, or holiday, Puddle Bear Clothing is waiting to take your order.

You can also find PuddleBear Clothing on Etsy.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Puddle Bear Clothing for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Make The Holidays Special With Santa.com!

Can you believe it? The holidays are upon us and it's hard to believe! This year has just flown by and we're just days away from Thanksgiving.  I have to say that this magical time of the year is my absolute favorite.  Between the holiday lights and sights and the fabulous baked goodies, what's not to love? If you haven't put your tree up yet, I'm sure it will be up in all its sparkling glory soon enough.

While the holidays are joyful and memorable for adults, they are equally as exciting and full of wonder for children.  All children can't wait for Santa to leave them toys underneath the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.  Although we're still a few weeks away from Christmas, that doesn't mean we can't get reacquainted with the man in red in the mean time!

If you weren't aware, Santa.com is the official site of Santa Claus.  You can let your little one log onto the website to see Santa in virtual form any time they want.  Don't worry, there's nothing that won't suggest that Santa isn't real! The website offers a fully immersive experience and you'll be impressed how exciting and inviting the site is.

Santa truly represents the Christmas season and makes it even more magical for children around the world.  Remember that Santa is for ages 1-120, so we all have a little Santa in our heart no matter how old we are.  There's plenty to do and see on the website from downloading coloring page templates to reading Santa's personal blog that older children will enjoy. 

Since we're in the digital age, your child will enjoy sending an email to Santa to not only say hi, but share their Christmas wish list too. Any child would be delighted to receive a detailed reply from their favorite guy.  You can sign up for text messages from Santa as well as sending handwritten notes from Santa which is available later this month.

If you're questioning whether your child is on the naughty or nice list, you'll be able to check that on Santa.com.  Santa's nice list promotes politeness, good habits, and reading.  You'll notice that it focuses more on positive lessons, not presents.

There's so much to do and see on Santa.com that you'll always find something exciting day after day.  Make it a daily ritual to visit the site with your tiny tot daily to see what's new and different that day!

In honor of the holiday season, Santa.com would like to offer a prize package to three lucky winners.  The package contains a fidget spinner wrapped in gift paper, 1 friendly folding tote bag, Santa Libs storybook and coloring pages, 1 pen, and 1 oval bumper sticker.  All items are Santa.com themed.

Take 20% off daily text messages from Santa when you use code "sammiblog".

*DISCLOSURE* This is a sponsored post courtesy of Santa.com.  All thoughts are strictly my own. Santa.com Giveaway!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Scarlett's Love of Stop and Shop

If you ask a child where they'd like to go you might hear the typical child favorites such as the ice cream shop, the park, or the playground.  If you ask my child where we should go for the day, she says the grocery store! I'm not sure every child would share her enthusiasm for the grocery store, but that makes her unique and special.

Scarlett in her stroller about to enter her favorite place.

I can't exactly pinpoint exactly when Scarlett's love and enthusiasm for Stop and Shop started, but it's been a constant favorite for about the last 6 months.  Everyday she asks me to go to the grocery store and is beyond excited when we do get to go. As soon as we pull up to the grocery store, she starts yelling in excitement and can't get out of the car fast enough! I put her in the cart and we wander the aisles while she smiles and takes everything in.  We visit her lobster friends in the tank in the seafood department so she can say hi.  She wants one as a pet, but I don't think that's going to happen!

Scarlett's favorite departments in the store are the produce and the bakery by far.  Since she's such a fruit and veggie lover, she's always up for stopping by that section to grab her apples, bananas, and cucumbers.  Scarlett names out each fruit and veggie as we pass it with as much excitement as someone who just won the lottery.  The customers in the store always look at her and smile or laugh.  It's just my girl loving her produce!

Scarlett in the shopping cart and surrounded by food. Surely a dream come true for her! 

When we visit the bakery section, it can get a little dicey.  Scarlett wants every single cookie or brownie bucket as well as all of the refrigerated cakes.  I have to limit what treats we buy and she doesn't always accept that.  She's just like her mom and enjoys her sweets!

On the days that we can't visit the grocery store but have to drive by it to get to where we're going, she gets very upset.  I feel bad but I can't visit Stop and Shop daily.  I know she'd love to go everyday if possible.

Scarlett enjoys eating and is always up for watching me cook her favorite meals in the kitchen!  As she gets older, I hope her love for fruits and veggies stays because it's a wonderful quality to have.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Spoil Your Dog With a Box from Truly Pawsome #HolidayGiftGuide

My parents got a rescue dog named Paisley back two summers ago after losing their Bichon of 17 years.  She's a Bichon/Poodle mix who is about 3 years old.  She's very friendly and always wants to play and give kisses! I believe dogs everywhere should be spoiled and pampered to no end and that includes Paisley! It's been a while since I've sent her some goodies in the mail, and now is as good of a time as any.  When's the last time you gave your furry friend some gifts?

Truly Pawsome is a monthly subscription box that offers 4-5 hand selected natural, eco-friendly and quality doggie treats and toys.  The company offers doggy parents the chance to select items by the size of their dog.  Choose from subscription plans of 1,3,6 or 12 months.  Your dog will love having a box come to them every month! They will go woofin' crazy for squeaky toys or even duck flavored treats.  Go ahead and spoil them or another special dog in your life today.

Paisley received a fabulous box from Truly Pawsome that made her bark for joy.  She knew the box was for her since she sniffed it like crazy and couldn't wait to open it.  Inside was truly a dog's paradise and filled with a squeaky toy, training treats, duck jerky, carrot cake treats, and an eco-friendly dog baggie holder for your leash.  The treats are grain-free and 100% natural.  What more could a dog want?

The furry pup immediately went nuts for the squeaky toy.  She grabbed it and started running around the house squeaking it.  My dad enjoyed playing tug of war with her thanks to the rope on the top and Paisley loved it just as much!  

What dog doesn't like treats? Of course Paisley doesn't discriminate against any treat no matter what size, shape, or flavor it comes in! She seemed more interested in the duck jerky treats than the carrot cake for the time being, so she tried those first.  They look like real beef jerky and have an aroma that no dog can resist.  Paisley happily gobbled up the jerky and licked her lips afterwards, I think it's safe to say she was a fan!

I like that the treats included are different from what Paisley normally gets, and even from what you can buy at your local pet store.  These are not your typical run-of-the-mill milk bones or rawhide bones.  I'm sure she'll be enjoying the other treats in no time.   

The bag holder is convenient since it attaches right to your leash for quick doggy clean-up.  Forget bringing a bag with you, since you'll always have one with you! Just put a roll of doggy bags in the holder and you'll be good to go. 

Paisley is very happy with her box from Truly Pawsome and is excited that she has a new toy.  Keep Truly Pawsome in mind for your dog's Christmas present this year, they'll absolutely love it!

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Truly Pawsome for providing a product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  

Monday, November 13, 2017

Zoodles With Spinach, Tomatoes, and Shrimp Will Delight Anyone

I always try to make healthy substitutions for my family when it comes to fat and calories. We opt for turkey chili or chicken burgers rather than beef.  Of course we do occasionally indulge in full fat options which is a treat when it occurs.  Taking care of yourself should be everyone's top priority, and it's easy to make low-cal options of your favorite unhealthy meals!

I've recently started experimenting with spiralized veggies.  Not only do these beautiful curly veggies look perfect in salads or side dishes, they work ideally in main entrees too.  If you're not familiar with spiralized vegetables, it's truly a vegetable in spiral form using a handy kitchen spiralizer.  I purchased my own spiralizer but my local grocery store sells spiralized veggies for those who don't have a spiralizer.  I'm sure your market would sell them too.  My favorite spiralized veggie to use in dishes is zucchini, but you can use carrots, squash, or any other vegetable that you like best.

Let's face it, everyone loves pasta.  Pasta comes in so many shapes and sizes and works fabulously with seafood, chicken, fish, and beef.  You can pair that lovely pasta with a variety of sauces for a wonderful meal. What's the downfall, you ask? Well the calories of course! Pasta is unhealthy especially covered with tons of sauce and cheese.  Wouldn't it be nice if you could have a pasta alternative at home that's just as delicious but cuts the calories and fat in half? 

You'll love zoodles with spinach, tomatoes, and shrimp for a light and healthy dinner any night.  If you're allergic to seafood or don't like it, feel free to substitute with another meat or even tofu for a veggie option.

I buy the frozen shrimp that's unpeeled with the tail on.  To start, you'll have to peel the shrimp and take the tails off.  Once you've done that, put olive oil in a large pan and season the shrimp with your favorite seasonings.  I like to use Adobo since it's all purpose.  I also added a little bit of butter too.  

While the shrimp is cooking, add the zoodles, spinach, and halved cherry tomatoes into another pan with a small amount of oil.  Season to taste.  Everything should cook pretty quickly in about 5 minutes. You'll know the shrimp is cooked through when it's translucent and pink.  Don't overcook it though.  Make sure the spinach is completely wilted and the zoodles and tomatoes heated through.  Pour the shrimp into this pan to heat again.  Once everything is finished, add in marinara sauce and stir to cover.  I used vodka sauce, but use what you like best.  

You'll be presented with a restaurant worthy dish that you've made in practically no time.  This is a great recipe for working mom's who are looking for a quick and easy dinner for the family.  You'll surely be adding this one to your recipe book!

Rascal Reads Allows Your Child to Be the Star of The Book!

One thing that always makes me happy is how much Scarlett enjoys reading.  We have many bookshelves filled with books about animals, nature, nursery rhymes, and so much more.  Scarlett has her favorites which she requests that you read over and over.  I always try to rotate her books and make sure she doesn't lose interest, since reading is so important.  Make sure your child always has new books to use their imagination with.

Rascal Reads create personalized children's books for kids that allow them to be an active character in the book! There are three different books to choose from based off of your child's interests.  Once you pick what book you want, you upload a picture of your child and answer a few questions about them.  The process is very simple.  Your child will love seeing their picture and name throughout the book.  A book from Rascal Reads makes a wonderful birthday present for any lucky boy or girl.  This will surely be a story they will enjoy for years to come.

I chose Rascal and Suzie's CATastrophe for Scarlett because it involves cats and she's an animal lover.  The hardcover book is full of beautiful bright and crisp illustrations that will draw your child in time and time again.  Since Scarlett is almost 3, she's a little young to appreciate that she's a character in the book, but she does enjoy seeing her picture inside.  She's learned to recognize her name at school and loves pointing it out to you whenever she sees it inside the book.

Not only is the story cute, but it's interactive and gets your child talking and participating.  Reading is direly essential for conversation starters and vocabulary building in young children.  Make sure you always read to your little one.

Scarlett's Rascal Reads book will be going on her bookshelf for her to enjoy for some time to come.  If you're looking for a really unique and interesting present for a child who seems to have it all, this would be a wonderful choice.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Rascal Reads for providing a product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Potty Training!

There's big news in our house, Scarlett has begun potty training!

When Scarlett was 18 months old, I bought her a pink princess potty to begin the process.  I knew that 18 months old was young, but I figured it was a good time to get her acquainted with the potty and potty books.  She didn't have much interest and then starting in February we tried again. 

It was extremely stressful.  Honestly, I didn't know what I was doing.  I had Scarlett sit on the potty and gave her watered down juice to go.  My thought process was if she peed in the potty after drinking juice, she'd get the connection.  I read her many potty books, talked about big girl underwear, and showed her potty videos of Elmo who she loves.  You name it, I did it! I kept reading online about potty training tips to try to educate myself too. Scarlett would get up from the potty and have an accident on the floor.  It was really not something that I was a fan of and I thought we'd take a break from trying and revisit it.

Over the summer, we had more progress.  Scarlett peed a few times in the potty and it was a very exciting moment!  We used up all of her diapers and switched to pull-ups.  I never bought a pack of diapers again. I recorded her progress on a potty chart and put a sticker underneath to give her encouragement.  I'm not sure what happened, but in time the momentum was lost.  I told myself that it was okay and maybe she's still not ready this time.  

One day early last week she told me she had to go to the bathroom.  I didn't really think anything of it because she has told me that before, but in reality just wants to wash her hands and play in the water. I sat her on the potty and she went! I was shocked and surprised.  I really didn't expect her to go.  We did a potty dance and I gave her tons of praise.  It was safe to say we were both thrilled! I gave her a sticker for going and it was a great moment.

After that day, she's been going on the potty non-stop all day! Her progress is wonderful and it's very exciting that she can now tell me when she has to go.  For the times that she doesn't, I put her on the potty just to continue the progress.  She's still very happy with the dance, praise, and sticker.  It won't be too long now until she's in big girl underwear full-time!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Make Your Belly Happy With Treats From Dancing Deer Baking Company This Holiday Season #HolidayGiftGuide

The world would be a very boring place without baked goods.  Sweet treats warm the soul and make everyone happy.  Can you imagine living day-to-day without cookies, brownies, or even cupcakes? It would be horrifying. There's nothing like indulging in a fresh out of the oven cookie, or a perfectly warm and moist brownie. It's heavenly! If you're looking to make your stomach happy, go ahead and have a chocolate or peanut butter cookie today.  Don't forget an icy cold glass of milk to go with it either.

Dancing Deer Baking Company is complete paradise for any and all sweet treat lovers. You'll go crazy for these fabulous scratch baked fabulous brownie and cookie gifts for all occasions.  With the holidays coming up, it would be a wonderful idea to send some treats to family and friends.  You can choose from such mouthwatering cookie flavors as chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, cranberry orange, and even molasses clove among others.

Who can resist heavenly brownie flavors like chocolate chunk, peanut butter, espresso, and caramel pecan?  There are plenty of gluten free options for those who have a gluten free diet.  With gift boxes of any size or treat combination, you'll definitely be making the right choice and making someone's belly happy this Christmas.  

I'm a sweets lover through and through.  Chocolate is my weakness and I find it next to impossible to resist a chocolate treat.  When friends and family get together for the holiday season, food is a main component.  You want to serve your guests fabulous food and beverages that they will remember long after your party ends.

If you have a sweet tooth that's unstoppable like mine, the Classic Deer Gift Hamper would be a perfect choice.  

This box will instantly put a smile on your face as soon as you receive it.  Once you open it you'll be in brownie and cookie heaven, I promise you.  Inside you'll find 30 cookies in flavors like molasses, chocolate chip, and cranberry orange white chocolate chip.  Four famous chocolate chunk brownies and sea salt caramel squares complete the package for an overall fantastic sampler.  Each gift box is tied with grosgrain ribbon for a beautiful finishing touch.

Since the box contains a volume of treats, it's a perfect size for sharing.  Luckily my husband Jay and my daughter Scarlett have a sweet tooth just like me.  They would never say no to a cookie and that makes me proud! The molasses cookie with clove and cinnamon is not a flavor that would be my first choice to pick at a bakery, but it was actually extremely tasty.  Molasses is a wonderful flavor that resonates with the holidays.  It's important to broaden your horizons and I am always open to trying new cookie flavors.

The cookies are extremely fresh and taste like they just came out of the oven.  Each soft cookie is a very decent size and will surely curb that sweet tooth of yours.   I noticed that the cookie flavors offered aren't your typical run-of-the-mill flavors like chocolate chip, peanut butter, and sugar. Molasses and cranberry orange white chocolate chip are certainly not everyday flavors that people will indulge in.  Of course you can never go wrong with a classic chocolate chip cookie!

I couldn't help but sample the fabulously rich chocolate chunk brownie.  As soon as I had a bite, I was in instant heaven.  The brownie was sweet but not overly sweet.  It was thick and dense and everything you could want from a brownie.  Don't forget the glass of icy cold milk with this one.

My husband Jay really loved the caramel sea salt squares too.  He said the balance between the caramel and sea salt was a perfect one.  Some baked goods overdo it on the sea salt and it overpowers the main flavor of the treat, but this was not the case.  Milk, coffee, or hot tea would be the ideal pairing for this caramel beauty.

Scarlett enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies the best, of course.  What little girl wouldn't love one? She's just like her mom and goes straight for the chocolate.  I couldn't be more proud!

I've put the rest of the sweet treats in the freezer to enjoy at a later time.  Since there's so many yummies, I can nibble on them throughout the holiday season with my family.

Dancing Deer Baking Company certainly unlocked the key to my heart with their baked goods and I thank them for that! If you're looking to make your day a delicious one, it's time to order some treats.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Dancing Deer Baking Company for providing a product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.   

Friday, November 3, 2017

Get Your Home Holiday Entertaining Ready With The Wisp

Thanksgiving begins the season of holiday entertaining and it's just a few weeks away.  While you plan your dinner menu and table decor, it's equally as important to ensure that your home is clean and in tip-top shape for guests.  Whenever I have anybody over during the holiday season, you can always find me cleaning and making sure everything in my home is in order before they arrive.  It's essential to have a clean and welcoming atmosphere for your guests.

The Wisp is a leading company that revolutionizes the way of cleaning through common-sense, scientific based sweeping products that eliminate back and knee pain.  Their handy broom and dustpan set comes in different sizes from full sized to mini depending on your cleaning job.  The Wisp's electrostatic bristle design attracts hair and fur like a magnet and makes cleaning pet hair from all surfaces easier than before.

It's ideal for using beyond hardwoods and tile in your home for surfaces like clothing, upholstery, carpets, bedding, car seats and more.  You'll be amazed at how it effortlessly removes pet hair, crumbs, lint and more.  The unique design of the Wisp keeps debris from floating around when you sweep, unlike a broom.

Depending on your color preferences, any Wisp product comes in blue, red, gray, purple, and green. It's time to tackle those messes in style!

I'm ashamed to say it, but I do not own a broom and dustpan.  Any messes in my home get vacuumed up on a daily basis.  Between Scarlett and my dog Lynnie, it seems like they both work together in unison to create messes.  Scarlett may spill food on the ground while Lynnie's pet hair is constantly on the carpet and couches.  I find myself vacuuming on a daily basis to make sure my home is rid of pet hair and debris, and it can be tiring.  I'm sure my vacuum would like a break too!

The Wisp has been fabulous to own and really makes my life easier.  I received a purple one which is ideal for my girly side.  The broom is easy to hold and I effortlessly can clean any mess in my home in seconds. When I'm done, everything gets thrown into the trashcan for a clean home I can be proud of.  There's no more bending over while sweeping, you can stand completely upright and get the job done in no time. 
I've noticed that a lot of build-up and debris form at my baseboards and I would usually use the hose attachment of my vacuum to suck it up.  I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind not having a broom and dustpan set previously, I think I honestly just never thought I needed one.  Thanks to the bristle comb on the dustpan, you'll never have to touch unsanitary dirt again.  Simply move the Wisp or Mini Wisp bristles back and forth the comb and all of the debris comes off into the dustpan.  This is really wonderful and makes life much simpler! My floors are thankful for this wonderful product. 

What is unique about this set is that it's not just for hardwoods, I'm able to really get a lot of pet hair out of my carpets too.  I was amazed at how much was in there that I didn't realize the first time I used it.  It's funny how we think our carpets are clean when they aren't.  Pet hair is no match for the Wisp and I'm happy to have a solution for it now.

With holiday entertaining on the horizon, the Wisp would be ideal to make sure your home is ready for your beloved friends and family.  Use it for baseboards, windowsills, and in any tight corners.  It's time to enjoy your company rather than worry about having dirty floors.  The Wisp can make this thought a reality.  I can guarantee you'll use it beyond the holidays on a daily basis to make your humble abode sparkling clean.  Go ahead and order one today.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to The Wisp for providing a product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.