Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Tasty Breads From Middles Await You

I try to eat healthy on a regular basis, but one thing that really prevents me from maintaining a fantastic diet is carbs and cheese.  I can avoid soda, fast foods, and fried foods, but cheese and carbs are a true weakness.  Who can say no to fabulous cheesy baked pasta or fresh out of the oven bread sticks or garlic bread? It's impossible to decline those tasty treats and I really have to work hard to do so.  Like they say though, everything is okay in moderation and it's perfectly acceptable to treat yourself from time to time!

Middles are now available in the freezer section of grocery, club, supermarket and convenience stores nationwide.  Each box contains eight tasty bread bites in six different varieties including plain bread stuffed with either 5 cheese, mac and cheese or plain cream cheese.  If you're looking for stuffed bagels, why not try a French toast bagel stuffed with sweet cream cheese or an everything bagel stuffed with plain cream cheese? Lastly, a tasty pretzel bread stuffed with beer cheese completes the Middles menu.  

Middles are inspired by the much-celebrated combination of bread and cheese, but the brand advances the concept by featuring the soft "middle" section of popular bakery staples like breads and bagels. 
You can either bake them in the oven or pop them in the microwave to have a satisfying snack any time of day.  They are perfect for after-school snacks to satisfy children of any ages.  There's a flavor for anyone's palette.  Which one sounds best to you?

We received three Middles to try and Scarlett and I were ready to dig right in.  I knew we'd both enjoy the plain bread stuffed with mac and cheese while my husband would be a fan of the everything bagel stuffed with cream cheese.  Since I'm a pretzel bread lover, I was eager to sample the pretzel bread filled with beer cheese.

Time was on our side and I didn't feel the need to microwave the Middles.  I had the time to bake them and really wanted to have them crispy and perfectly cooked on the outside.  I feel that microwaving frozen food rather than baking it does change the taste.

As they were baking, my kitchen smelled very cheesy and I kept checking the timer to see when they'd be done.  Once the cute little round bites were done, I knew it was time to dig in.  Scarlett was helping me with the taste test and she's always up for a sampling job!

Since it was snack time, I paired her samples with some cucumbers on her plate to add a healthy side to the two breads.  She enjoyed the plain bread with the mac and cheese the best.  Since she's a pasta lover through and through, this doesn't surprise me at all.

The bread was soft and fluffy on the inside but perfectly crispy on the outside.  When you bit into it, you were met with a cheesy goodness that had Macaroni noodles in it!  Who doesn't love the combination of bread and pasta? It's a classic one.  There was just enough cheese in the middle to satisfy your cheese craving, but it was definitely not an overwhelming amount. 

I am not a fan of everything bagels or cream cheese, so I opted out of trying that sample.  Luckily, my husband's favorite bagel is everything and he was more than up for the taste-test.  I was told that the bread truly tasted like an everything bagel and he was impressed that the bread bite really had the flavor down.  

The cream cheese was consistent through each bite and Jay really enjoyed it.  He said he'd definitely be having more of them in the future.

Lastly, the pretzel bread bite was stuffed with beer cheese which I have never tasted before.  I wasn't sure what to expect.  Was it going to taste a lot like beer, or would it have no flavor of beer? Pretzel bread is what I choose a lot to have sandwiches or hamburgers on, so I was excited that it was included in the Middles lineup.  

The bread was soft and chewy and gave way to a fabulous center of beer cheese heaven.  I was intrigued with beer cheese and thought it really added an element of flavor to the rustic pretzel bread.  It's safe to say that I was on board with this combo!

I look forward to trying other Middles flavors in the future.  It would be interesting if they added another sweet flavor to their lineup in the future like chocolate and peanut butter stuffed? Even plain chocolate would work for me!

If you're looking for a new and exciting addition to add to snack time, why not try Middles? I can guarantee that with one bite, you'll be hooked!

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

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Magic Sketch Will Offer Your Child Hours of Enjoyment

Scarlett is almost 3 years old and her interests are really changing.  She's very into arts and crafts and will happily sit at the table doing play-doh or coloring in a coloring book.  I'm lucky her school does a lot of messy art projects that keep my home clean. I want Scarlett to be as creative as possible but without making too much of a mess. Don't all parents share this mindset?

Magic Sketch is a fabulous and fun new way for your children to draw, play and learn.  The flexible tablet offers a LCD screen that's transparent and allows kids to trace with the provided stencils or from their own images.  

The unit comes with a protector guard, 1 roller, 3 stamps, 20 learning stencils, 20 game stencils, and 20 art stencils.  You'll notice that the set also comes with different styluses which produce straight or wavy lines.  Any child will have hours of fun with this exciting toy.

Clearing the screen is easy, just push the button to erase your work when you're ready to move onto the next masterpiece.  The best part about Magic Sketch is that it's entirely kid proof.  You can step on it, drop it, and even spill water on it and it will not break! If you're in need of a present for a lucky boy or girl this Christmas, they will absolutely love Magic Sketch.

Scarlett was very interested to use the tablet as soon as she saw it.  She immediately got to work drawing a picture while I showed her how to use all of the included accessories.  The accessories are large and easy for little hands to hold.  The included pen writes flawlessly and easily on the liquid crystal screen.  Trust me, you'll want to use the tablet too.  I had just as much fun using it as she did, I guess you can say I'm a big kid at heart! 

She had no issues when drawing and loved seeing her picture displayed in a variety of colors on the screen.  I also loved that she could be creative with no mess and no crayons to wipe off the floor or the wall either. 

In my opinion, the included stampers didn't show up very clearly on the Magic Sketch.  The images would half show up but then when I pushed them down harder, it would be smudged.  I'm not sure if there's a better way to use the stampers that I'm not aware of.

The 60 included pages are perfect for all ages.  Younger children will enjoy coloring pictures of animals, scenery, and even nature.  If you have a child learning the ABC's or numbers, this would be great practice for them with the included educational cards. 

Older children will be interested in practicing multiplication and doing games such as word search puzzles and connect the dots.  I like that the tablet grows with your child and they can use it for many years.  

Since there are 60 cards, I do wish there was some sort of storage case or a section on the back of the tablet for storing the cards.  I will probably store all of the cards in a zip-loc bag for safe keeping.

The unit is very small and perfect for traveling with.  Your little one will love putting it in their suitcase or backpack to travel by car, plane, or train with.  Since it's so compact, it takes up virtually no room and will always be there for constant entertainment. If you want your child to take a break from using the iPad or an internet based tablet, this would be a wonderful alternative. 

The battery lasts 7 years which allows years of use. With upcoming holiday travel on the horizon, this will surely be something they will want to take with them.  It's like having many toys in one! Also, there's no crayons, markers, or even colored pencils to lose. Another advantage is that there's no tablet to charge and no cords to bring. Just throw it in a bag and you're good to go!

As a parent, I always look for items and toys that grow with my daughter.  Magic Sketch definitely fits that bill and I can confidently say this is an item that she will use for years and years.  If you're starting to do your holiday shopping for children, make sure to put Magic Sketch at the top of your list. 

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Magic Sketch for providing a product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. Is Your Go-To Car Resource

This is a sponsored post.

One would say that I am a late driver in life.  I got my license when I was 19, but since I lived in NYC for school, I never had the opportunity to really drive.  My parents were very nervous about me driving and never let me drive alone.  I always had to have a parent in the car with me at all times, and trust me no teenager wants that.  My husband basically taught me how to drive since I was so rusty!

I never had a car until I was married, is that hard to believe? My husband and I bought a 2011 Hyundai Sonata in 2014 from a certified pre-owned dealership near us.  We still have the car and it's been wonderful for the last 3 1/2 years.  Jay's first car was a Hyundai and he had fond memories of it and really recommended it for a reliable car that was solidly made. 

We decided together that a Hyundai Sonata made sense for us and would be a great car.  Once it came time for us to buy our car, we did our research on so we knew exactly what we were getting into.  The website is a fabulous outlet for researching and comparing cars, calculating loan payments, finding local car dealers/sellers and much more.

Since buying a car is a major life purchase, it's always a good idea to ask as many questions as possible ahead of time.  Once you step foot into the dealership, you need to be prepared to make sure you get the best price and best car for your money. 

 I spoke to my parents before going to the dealership to make sure I fully understood everything that would be said, what we'd be signing, and to make sure we were getting a good deal. Since we were first time car buyers, it's good to be as comfortable with the process as possible.

Tips to know ahead of time:

Before you buy the car, make sure you take it for a test drive to make sure it's easy and comfortable to drive.

Sometimes a new car may seem more exciting than a used one, but think about it from a practical standpoint.  A certified pre-owned car will save you a lot of money and you may find one you like even better!

Be aware of your budget and what you can afford.  The list price of the car does not include monthly car payments, gas, and insurance.  It's important to be aware of what you can afford per month and to not spend more than you're able to.

If you have children, make sure the car is big enough to comfortably fit car seats in the back.

Buying a car is fun and exciting, but make sure you do your research ahead of time.  Don't be afraid to ask questions before you buy your vehicle.  Remember, this isn't an everyday purchase.

Enjoy your new car!

Friday, September 22, 2017

My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream Is a Treat Everyone Will Love

When it comes to ice cream, I frequently love to try new and interesting types on a regular basis. Who can resist a cool and creamy frozen treat that will satisfy anyone's sweet tooth? I've recently eaten wildflower lemon, kiwi strawberry and even hibiscus ice cream.  Although I love classic flavors, there's nothing quite like sampling something that will make you say wow!

My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream is the ultimate treat that everyone will enjoy this fall.  If you're looking to take your taste buds out of their typical routine, it's time to experience the pop-able, portable, and satisfying low-calorie My/Mo Mochi ice cream.  The mouth-watering ice cream that's wrapped in a delectable rice dough is only 110 calories per piece and guilt-free.  Sink your teeth into such fabulous flavors like double chocolate, green tea, cookies & cream, ripe strawberry, sweet mango, vanilla bean, and mint chocolate chip.  There's truly a flavor for everyone's taste preferences.  Go ahead and stock your freezer with these yummy treats for a tasty snack any time of day. 

Even though today is the first day of Fall, the temps are still in the 80s here in New England. The vibe outside is still summer-like, which is perfect for enjoying My/Mo Mochi ice cream! I've heard of these tasty sounding treats but have never had the opportunity to personally sample them until now

With 6 pieces of My/Mo Mochi per box, there's more than enough to share with friends or family.  The flavors that showed up at my door were double chocolate, ripe strawberry, and green tea.  Scarlett has been asking for ice cream a lot lately and once she found out what was inside the box, she was very excited.  All I heard was "ICE CREAM!" followed by a huge smile.  How can you deny that tiny cutie? It's a daily struggle for me.

I like that there are such a range of flavors to really satisfy anyone's taste buds.  Since I'm a chocoholic, I went right for the double chocolate My/Mo Mochi and wanted to taste-test it right away.  Each piece of My/Mo Mochi is round and looks like a tiny scoop of ice cream.  This is not just any ordinary ice cream though, it has a thick rice dough blanket around it.  When you bite into it, you're met with a chewy exterior followed by a smooth and creamy ice cream center.  The combination is really delicious and unlike anything I've previously tasted.  When you indulge in a My/Mo Mochi, make sure you let it sit out for a minute or two before eating it, because it's too frozen to eat instantly. 

The double chocolate My/Mo Mochi was sweet and had a wonderful rich chocolatey taste that was unbeatable.  The rice dough coating really adds to the ice cream experience and takes it up a notch. 

My husband Jay is a big fan of green tea hot tea as well as ice cream, so he reserved that flavor for himself.  I was told that the green tea flavor was very prevalent and instantly noticed.  He also enjoyed the rice dough coating and said the chewy texture was an interesting element to add to ice cream.

Scarlett likes fruity flavored ice cream best and opted for the strawberry.  She's used to ice cream being in a cup or cone so she was intrigued by how ice cream could be made in a small ball like My/Mo Mochi was.  Her questions stopped once she started eating and I heard no words except "yum!" I think it's safe to say she's a fan!

If you're looking for a mid-day snack or an after-dinner sweet treat, a piece of My/Mo Mochi would certainly make your tummy happy.  One is really enough to satisfy a sweet tooth and at 110 calories, you can leave the guilt at the door.  Go ahead and introduce your taste-buds to the fantastic My/Mo Mochi ice cream today.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream for providing product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Four Ways To Unleash Children's Creativity

Children love their electronic devices.  Television, video games, cellphones and laptops keep them occupied for hours, in some cases acting as live-in babysitters while parents finish chores or just relax.

But while all those devices have their advantages, they also can stifle creativity as children become absorbed in what’s happening inside those screens instead of exploring the real world and letting their imaginations soar.

There are ways to turn that around, though, and get the creative juices flowing in those young minds, says Colleen Miller, a veteran teacher with 15 years of fulltime and substitute experience in both elementary and middle schools.

“You can always just tell a child to put down the electronic device, but a much better strategy is to give them something else to do,” says Miller, who also is the mother of two teenage sons. “If you can provide an alternative the child can get excited about, then you’ll have a better chance of avoiding those battles over electronics.”

One option for young children is toys that require a little artistic inspiration, she says, such as Legos, the popular plastic building bricks, or Magic Sketch, which allows children to doodle or draw on a liquid-crystal-display screen, then clear their work with a push of a button to start over.

This is especially important with children just returning to school after the summer break because many of them may not have kept their brains as sharp as they should have during that time off, Miller says. Being creative helps children develop mentally, emotionally and socially, aiding them in becoming better students.  
Miller says there are a number of ways parents can help inspire children to embrace their creative side, including:
  • Spend time in nature. Head to a park and spend a little time on a hiking trail, checking out the plants and the animals, then suggest the children write about the experience or draw something they saw along the way. They could even take along a drawing pad, a Magic Sketch or something similar and draw while they are there.
  • Use holidays as inspiration. Children love holidays, so suggest they draw a picture related to whatever holiday is coming up or create a homemade decoration. Either option can stimulate their creativity.
  • Be supportive, not critical. This is not the time to play art critic or literary reviewer, Miller says. Let this just be fun and give them freedom with their imagination. If they want to color grass orange or put polka dots on a dolphin, let them. Remind them that’s it’s OK to make a mistake. Plus, with a Lego creation, a Magic Sketch drawing or a construction-paper decoration, they can always just start over.
  • Let them choose their passion. Sometimes parents are too insistent that their children learn piano, take ballet lessons or become involved in an activity that the parent is sure will be fun, Miller says. “Giving children the opportunity to try many things is great,” she says, “but make sure you let them have the final say on what it is they are passionate about.” 

Children don’t need to give up their electronic devices completely.  It’s important to put some limits so they also have time to devote to reading, climbing a tree in the backyard or drawing a picture. They need the opportunity to unleash their creative potential.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Make Halloween Deliciously Exciting With Gourmet Gift Baskets

Gift baskets make the best presents.  I've given many gift baskets as birthday presents over the years and the recipients absolutely loved them.  What's not to love about a beautiful basket filled to the brim with items that you enjoy? The best part is how they are decorated.  Make sure you select a basket that's big enough to hold everything you want to give.  After that, put clear cellophane paper around the big and tie with a gorgeous bow.  It will be almost too pretty to open, but they won't be able to resist! Go ahead and make someone's day extra special with a gift basket today.

Gourmet Gift Baskets is the mecca of gift baskets for any type of occasion.  Since Halloween is coming up, a relative or child would love a Halloween gift basket filled with tasty spooky treats like candy or brownies.  There are so many gift basket choices like coffee, chocolate, tea, meat and cheese, and even sports themed!

How about care packages for your niece or nephew away at school? You can't forget about the gift towers that are filled with delicious treats such as flavored popcorn, candy, and cookies.  These yummies are guaranteed to satisfy anyone's tummy and taste buds.  A gift basket would be the perfect corporate gift to thank a client, not to mention they make ideal presents for any occasion.  Go ahead and order one for a friend or family member today, or maybe even yourself!  There's never an occasion where a gift basket doesn't work.  They'll surely make anyone smile.

Since Halloween is all about treats, it's fitting that Gourmet Gift Baskets wants to offer the yummiest goodies ever.  Who can resist the fabulous Witch's Kitchen Brownie Gift Box? This container is brimming with brownies and blondies in delectable flavors like chocolate chip, peanut butter, fudge walnut, chocolate chunk and more.  The gift box would be a wonderful gift to send someone and works equally well as a hostess gift for a Halloween party!

If you know me, you know that my sweet tooth is out of control.  It took everything in my power not to attack these fabulous treats.  The brownies were almost too beautiful to eat, hence keyword almost! Chocolate is my weakness and of course I had to dig right into the chocolate chunk brownies.  There's nothing more classic than the flavor of chocolate chunk and it was time to make my belly happy.  The brownie was the perfect size, not too large or too small.  It was moist and soft and perfectly sweet.

The chocolate flavor was rich and luscious, and the crunch of the chocolate chips was very satisfying.  My mid-day pick-me-up was paired with a glass of icy cold milk for the perfect treat!

If you're looking for something with a little more variety than just brownies, perhaps the Spooky Eyes Gift Tower would be more up your alley? With four adorable Halloween themed boxes featuring items that would thrill any candy lover, how could you go wrong? Each box contains sugary surprises like Skittles, chocolates, starbursts, candy coated popcorn, bubble gum and so much more.  This gift tower will surely please any sweet treat lover.

This tower certainly brings me back to being a child, it's exactly the mix of candy that I would have received in my trick-or-treat bag.  I haven't had some of the candies in years like Smarties or Tootsie Rolls, but they surely tasted as good as I remember! Halloween is all about sweet treats and sugar, and this box certainly lives up to the sugar factor.  The gift tower would be a perfect present to send a niece or a grandchild to let them know you're thinking about them this Halloween.  They'll certainly appreciate the gesture.  

The chocolate box was definitely my favorite and I was more than willing to take on the job of digging in.  This is a very serious skill and not just for anyone, you really have to have a certification in chocolate and I have that title.  So many of my favorite chocolate lovers were in there including Almond Joy's, M&M's, and Kit-Kats.  Happy Halloween to my stomach!

Gourmet Gift Baskets offers so many sweet treats for Halloween that you'll have no problem selecting the perfect goodies and treats for that special person.  Why not treat yourself too?

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Gourmet Gift Baskets for providing me with product samples in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Payments To Prioritize When You’re Feeling The Financial Pinch

When you’re trying to be a bit more careful with your money, you may find that you try to cut back in just about every area of spending. Because when you want to be frugal, it’s easy to believe that spending less is going to help you. However, you will know that there are going to be certain things that you do need to spend your money on. And if you want to ensure that you’re maximizing the money you have, you need to be smart when you spend it. Whether it’s trying to dress for less or spend to get more, let’s take a look at the payments you could think about prioritizing.

Bulk Buying Groceries

It’s easy to believe that you have to start spending less on your groceries in order to cut back, but sometimes you can make your purchases more cost-effective by spending more upfront. You must have heard of the saying “you have to spend money to make money’ in the past, and it can certainly be true with your groceries. When you’re able to buy the things you use the most in bulk, you will be getting the unit cost cheaper. So, when you buy more upfront, you’re going to be saving money in the long run.

Essential Insurances

However, there are also key financial decisions that you’re going to want to make here too. Although you may be more inclined to put your money into areas like the house, you should be thinking about the essential insurance you need to prioritize. Whether it’s life insurance based on the advice of sites such as, or healthcare insurance, they can both be essential. So ensure that you’re making payments for the financial products that can protect your family.

Car Payments

But you may also want to think about prioritizing finances that involve your car. Sometimes, it’s easy to think about trying to cut back in this area, but when you need your car to get around, it’s not very realistic. But, instead, you should think about the ways you can make car ownership affordable, such as reducing your car payments, switching to a cheaper car, or working with a more economical model.

Entertainment Subscriptions

When you’re trying to be frugal, you’ll know how important it is to cut back on the non-essentials in life. Whether that’s your daily coffee from Starbucks, or eating out a few nights a week. But one perk that you shouldn’t cut back on is your home entertainment. It may sound silly, but you need to have some kind of enjoyment in life. So take a look at those compared on to see which will be more cost-effective for your family. Then, you’ll be able to save money on going out and spending money at dinner or the movies - and not feel like you’re going without.

Business Payments

At the same time, if there are payments that you make for education or business, keep them. Although you need to be frugal, when you’re trying to start a business on the side, you need to keep it up. Because when it pays off, you’ll be glad you did.
Thursday, September 14, 2017

Shop Anytime Of Day On Ebay!

Anyone who knows me knows I love to shop.  What I enjoy most about shopping is when I'm able to purchase everything I'm looking for at once.  You know what's even better? When you don't even have to get out of your pajamas to make those purchases, of course! There's nothing better than having a one-stop shop for all of your needs.

Ebay allows you to buy and sell electronics, cars, fashion apparel, jewelry, baby items, housewares and so much more.  You have the option to bid auction style, or if you don't want to wait you can do a buy it now.  A buy it now allows you to instantly purchase the item.  I've been a member of Ebay since 2000 and I don't see myself stopping anytime soon. Over the years I've purchased clothes, items for my daughter, electronics, DVD's, and so much more.  If you search hard enough you can score a really great deal that will surely make you smile.  Keep Ebay in mind for gifts for anyone for any occasion.  

As part of Ebay's Partner Network Product Review Pilot, I was allowed to choose an item I wanted from the site to review.  I'm always up for a shopping spree, so I was very excited for the opportunity.  

I scoured the site for a while thinking of what to choose.  I scrolled past designer shoes, bags, jewelry,  and even TV's before I made my decision.  I've had a KitchenAid mixer for years but it's been breaking down and hasn't been working well lately.  Choosing a new mixer was the choice I knew I wanted to make.  

KitchenAid Artisan 5qt Ice Blue Mixer showed up at my door not too long after and I couldn't have been more excited.  If you've never owned a KitchenAid mixer before, it's the ultimate appliance for cooking and baking.  I don't make cookies in anything besides my mixer.  This appliance comes with a dough hook, wire whip, and flat beater for whipping up breads and desserts to delight anyone.  

Isn't this just the most gorgeous color? I can't get over it! This beauty comes with a stainless steel mixer bowl and has a 10-speed slide control which ranges from a very fast whip to a very slow stir.  The unique feature about this mixer is that you can buy attachments that connect to the very front.  How about using an ice cream maker attachment or a pasta maker attachment? There's even a spiralizer attachment that allows you to make carrot or zucchini noodles! Any attachment would certainly come in hand for your next diner party or holiday meal.

What I like to make in my KitchenAid mixer most is cookies.  Everyone knows me for my cookies and requests them for various functions and events.  I love to bake them too! When the mixer arrived, I knew a batch of chocolate chip, pretzel, and Reese's peanut butter cup cookies would be a perfect idea.

Look at those beautiful chunks of Reese's! 

The batter mixed and ready to bake

The batter mixed together beautifully and evenly and in no time I had my dough ready to bake.  I use the flat beater when I mix cookie dough and it never disappoints.  All my ingredients get mixed together well and my cookies always turn out fabulously.

The end result.  I have a hard time not staging food photo shots! 

Every kitchen around the world needs a KitchenAid mixer in it.  You'll create fabulous crowd-pleasing meals and desserts that your guests won't soon forget.

*DISCLOSURE* This product was provided to me at no charge by Ebay.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  

If you have a blog and are interested in promoting, please click here to join or learn more about eBay Partner Network, eBay’s in-house affiliate program.
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Shop-Rite Will Make Chocoholics Happy! #BestCerealEver @ShopRite

This is a sponsored post.

Snacks are an integral part of everyone's life.  I feel like I'm always purchasing tasty crackers or air-popped popcorn to satisfy Scarlett's belly for snack time.  Once you've had lunch, it can be hard to get through the rest of the day before dinner without having something to munch on.  Make sure you find a snack that's not only quick and easy, but tasty too!

If you're not aware, Shop-Rite currently carries two cereals that would be ideal for chocoholics everywhere! It's time to sink your teeth into Oreo O's and Honey Maid S'Mores! These cereals would be ideal for putting in a container in your child's lunchbox, or even having on hand for a quick midday pick-me-up at work.

Oreo O's were a big part of my childhood and I can remember having them for breakfast frequently in the 90's.  It's time to get excited because they're back and better than ever! Who can resist these chocolatey crunchy O's with that Oreo cookie taste you love? I'm guessing not many.  That rich creme coating gives you a bowlful of cookie milk that tastes so good you'll finish it off with a smile. Indulging in that sweet chocolate flavor certainly would make any child happy to dig into their breakfast.

This past summer was the summer of s'mores for my tiny tot and I.  Scarlett and I enjoyed roasting marshmallows and having a sweet treat a few times after dinner throughout June and July.  The combination of graham cracker, marshmallow, and chocolate is truly unbeatable.  Forget the roasting sticks and fire though, the classic treat can now be at your fingertips in any season.  Enjoy the delicious taste of Honey Maid S'mores right in your cereal bowl with chocolatey goodness, sweet marshmallows and the fabulous taste of Honey Maid graham crackers.  Your family will now enjoy the crowd-pleasing s'mores goodness taste anywhere they want, any time of day.

Cereal doesn't have to just be for breakfast.  Skip the milk and the bowl and enjoy it right out of the bag.  If you prefer to pair the crunchy cereal with something else, use it as a topping for ice cream or even yogurt.  If you like sweet and salty, combine either cereal with air-popped popcorn and peanut butter chips for a snack mix that will make your taste buds say yum!  If you're feeling creative, you can make your own version of trail mix with dried fruit and nuts for a fun and unique snack.  There's nothing wrong with enjoying the cereal with milk in a bowl either for a classic approach. 

Scarlett and my husband and I have been traveling a lot this summer and will continue to do so into the upcoming holiday season.  Since she's still so young, we have to bring a lot of snacks for her to keep her tummy happy.  I know she'll enjoy having a container of Honey Maid S'Mores to keep her satisfied on occasion.  Scarlett doesn't have too much sugar on a daily basis, but I do allow it from time to time.  I'm a lot less strict with it than I used to be!

The cereal is sweet but not overly sweet and is the perfect treat to curb anyone's sweet tooth.  I did find it hard to stop eating it right away though! There's something so addictive about those s'mores flavors together. 

I'm sure your family will be pleasantly surprised to see both boxes of cereal in your pantry and will want to dig right in.  However way you choose to enjoy the cereals, go ahead and make it your own.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Scarlett is Pacifier Free!

Before Scarlett was born, I bought plenty of newborn supplies to have on hand for her arrival. Beyond the diapers and wipes and burp cloths, I purchased a few packs of pacifiers for her.  Once it was time to go to the hospital, I had the pacifiers in my bag ready for her to use.  My thought process was that babies love pacifiers and I was sure my child would too.

Scarlett loved the pacifier from day one, day two, and all the way up to 2 weeks ago.  Her love affair with the paci was a strong one.  You could even call it an addiction.  She wasn't the kind of child who was content to have it on a limited basis but she would want it 24/7.  My tiny tot needed it in her mouth at home to play, to watch TV, and even read books.  Of course she couldn't sleep without it either.  My husband and I knew it was a problem, but didn't know exactly how to solve the issue at the time.  She was a perfect sleeper and we knew if we took away the pacifier her sleep would be disrupted.  I enforced the no paci rule at school and at public outings, but she had it the majority of the time at home.  

The biggest challenge about Scarlett's pacifiers is that we could never find them when we needed to.  She would hide them all over the house and it would be very annoying to have to find them.  Scarlett would cry in her crib during nap time because she couldn't go to sleep without it.  I would be scrambling to find one at the last minute and it was just not ideal.  We tried twice before to get rid of the pacifier and the attempts failed.  

Fast forward to two weeks ago and I couldn't find a pacifier during nap time.  I was searching for half an hour and told myself this was ridiculous.  Scarlett was crying and crying and I had had enough.  I finally thought to myself let me use this opportunity to get rid of the paci and have her cry it out.  She cried for a while and I kept going in there periodically and telling her that we're no longer using the pacifier and the babies need it. I told her you're a big girl and you don't need it anymore, but the babies are tiny and they need your pacifiers.  I really did wing it since I had no intention of doing this beforehand.  I didn't prepare her at all for this which probably wasn't smart, but I just went with it.

Scarlett was upset and didn't take a nap that day.  I mentioned to her that since she was a big girl and got rid of her paci that she could get ice cream.  I told her that big girls get ice cream and she could have it for getting rid of her beloved paci.  She was excited at the thought.  Once we got to the ice cream shop, I kept asking her if she knew why she was here and what the reasoning was. She told me because the babies have my paci.  I knew on some level she got it.  

Since she didn't take a nap that day and was so upset, I wasn't sure what the night had in store for us for bedtime.  My husband and I were slightly concerned and didn't know what to expect.  Once bedtime rolled around, she cried a lot.  We reassured her and told her similar things to what I had said at nap time.  Eventually she cried herself to sleep.  I felt bad but I knew that I was doing the right thing and there was no turning back now.  She woke up 2 hours later hysterically screaming and it took a while for her to settle down.  

Each night from there on out got progressively better.  I'm happy to report that I stood strong and did not cave and give her the pacifier back.  It's been 15 days since she has last used a pacifier and is not asking for them at all anymore.  It's very nice to not have to be searching for one to soothe and calm a crying child.  One thing that I did notice is that it sometimes takes her a bit to fall asleep at nap and bed time because the pacifier used to help her instantly sleep.  She is still sleeping through the night which is great! I was shocked that it was as easy as it was, I was honestly picturing the worst.  

Parenting is not easy but I knew I had to step in to do what was best for her.  Scarlett was over 2 1/2 and it was beyond time.  I know I won't be making the same mistake with my next child and will either ban pacifiers completely or take it away well before one year.  

If you're currently trying to wean your child off of your pacifier and feel like it's hopeless, it will happen trust me.

Now if we could just knock out potty training, life would become even more easy! 

Friday, September 8, 2017

How to Dress For Less


Want to refresh your wardrobe but strapped for cash? Many of us can overspend on clothing, some items of which we may only wear once or twice. Buying less clothes is the obvious way of cutting costs. However, many of us may be able to slash our clothes shopping bill simply by avoiding the high street retail outlets and buying clothes from other places. Here are a few ways that you could dress for less.

Get thrifty

Expensive vintage stores aren’t the only place to go thrifting. Second-hand stores such as charity shops and jumble stores are great for finding items of quality clothing for cheap. Flea markets and even yard sales can also be fantastic places to go for cheap second-hand clothes. Condition may not always be top notch, so bear this in mind.

Bid on clothing

Auctions can sometimes be great places to find quality clothing for cheap. Bidding sites such as Dealdash are a good place to look for low-end clothing. Make sure to always go into a bid with a maximum price in mind, otherwise you could end up spending more than you’d hoped.

Shop out of season

The cheapest time to buy summer clothes is in the winter. There’s little demand for them, as more people are focused on wrapping up warm and dressing in cooler winter colours. You may have to wait a few months to get your wear out of these clothes, but you’ll have saved a lot of money. Similarly, you should buy winter clothes in summer. You can also sometimes get deals on last year’s clothing lines from the exact same season.


Hire clothing

When it comes to special occasions, you don’t want to buying a new expensive dress each time – but you may also not want to risk being seen in the same dress twice. What’s the solution to this? Hiring dresses instead of buying them is the answer. Companies such as Rent the Runway could allow you to hire a luxury dress for a tenth of the sale price. Such clothing is professionally dry-cleaned and treated so that it remains looking brand new. You do of course have to be careful when hiring clothes as any damage you make to a dress will have to paid for. Also, if you grow too attached, you may want to think twice before buying from these companies as whilst they may allow it, they’ll often charge more than the sale price.

Collect coupons

Couponing can get you deals on all kinds of things. By signing up to few coupon sites such as Wowcher you may be able to collect vouchers and promo codes that could allow you discounts from various retail stores. Remember to use these coupons before they run out as most have a strict expiry date on them. You can also occasionally find coupons and vouchers in magazines and newspapers.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Children Will Have Hours of Fun With Magformers

One of my favorite things to do is sit back and see how Scarlett plays with her toys.  She frequently puts Mr. Potato Head's eyes where his ear should be, or she loves to build her own version of a tower using blocks.  It's interesting to see the thought process behind how she chooses to play.  I don't correct her or ever tell her she's doing it wrong, because every child is creative in their own way.

Magformers offers children a creative outlet by allowing them to enjoy magical and powerful magnets that can transform into just about everything! The multiple geometric shapes and accessories allow for higher, stronger building.  With such a wide variety of shapes and colors that offer endless combinations, it leads to children using their imagination creativity in new ways.  It's always a good idea to turn off any electronics and really let children use their mind as well.

Magformers product construction and high quality finish leads to long lasting play experiences each and every time.  You'll find several Magformers sets available that any child would enjoy hours of fun with.  Keep Magformers in mind for any of your gift guiding needs both present and future.

Whether it's building a house out of blocks or coloring to her heart's content, creativity really runs deep with my child.  She definitely uses her imagination through play and it's really exciting as a mother to see what she'll come up with next.

When Scarlett received the Tile Blox Rainbow 104 piece set, I knew she'd be really excited about it. Your tiny tot can become the ultimate builder with 104 different magnetic pieces.  Design anything from houses and rocket ships to animals and more.  With six different shapes and various colors, this is great for any master builder ages 3 and up.  The set includes 24 equilateral triangles, 44 squares, 4 trapezoids, 8 rectangles, 12 right-angle triangles, and 12 isosceles triangles, it's ideal for putting your mind to work. 

Scarlett was very excited to try the Magformers after she woke up from her nap and had no issues diving right in! She saw the giraffe made from Magformers on the box and was instantly intrigued.  I think Magformers are perfect for indoor rainy day play as well as when it gets too cold to play outside.  Cooler weather will be here before you know it.  (RIP summer!) The pieces are bright and colorful and definitely attract little hands.

Since we have a large living room, this set is ideal for playing on a spacious surface.  I laid all of the pieces out and my tiny tot immediately got to work.  Since Scarlett knows her shapes, she liked naming what each shape was.  That's an added bonus of this set, you can use it for teaching shapes too.

Scarlett was really excited to play with the Magformers and it really held her attention for a while.  I even got down on the floor and played with her.  There's something addictive about magnets for any age, it's hard to stay away.  The pieces are strong and adhere securely to each other with ease.

You really can create anything you want with the Magformers set, the possibilities are endless. Whether you want to create a castle or even a robot, the sky's the limit! Since this is a toy that's geared for a wide age range, it's not one that Scarlett will outgrow quickly.  It's always nice to have toys that will last for years and not have your child lose interest in it fast.

One thing that I do wish that the Magformers set included was a carrying case.  If the box breaks or rips, it's hard to store the pieces in an organized manner since there are so many.  It would be nice if there was a large storage bag or carrying case included.  In the future we may have to store the pieces in a large ziploc bag.

It's never too early for holiday shopping either.  Consider adding Magformers to your holiday gift list for a lucky boy or girl!

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