Goodbyn lunchbox is unique, fun, responsible and practical!

January 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

This is a picture of Ethan’s new Goodbyn lunchbox and he loves it! Goodbyn is different because it allows you to pack a lunch without using any plastic baggies so you aren’t making waste everyday! Its easy because its dishwasher safe and its also BPA free. The special lid is divided so it keeps things separated (perfect for the bento box craze). Ethan doesn’t always eat a lot of variety for lunch so on the day above I filled the extra spaces with colored pencils and paper to give him something fun for when he is done eating. Since I took this picture I have been putting a little Hershey’s Kiss in the small spot next to his water bottle (juice boxes fit in the water bottle space if you ever are in a mad rush mornings but I have only done that twice so far). Ethan had lots of fun decorating his Goodbyn and he has tons of stickers left to redecorate whenever he feels like (he has since finished his name on the front). All of his friends at school liked it a lot and he has wanted to use it everyday since he got it. You can’t see in my picture but there is a carry handle on the top. It looks big in person but it is the perfect fit for a backpack because its not too bulky like his other lunch bag (which looks smaller but really takes up more backpack space than the Goodbyn). Ethan is 7 yrs old and has no trouble opening or closing his Goodbyn but I wonder if kids just a little younger might have a harder time with it? In our family only Ethan has tried the Goodbyn so I could be wrong. The Goodbyn comes in 4 colors and now they are soon going to be making one without ears and in more muted colors for older kids/adults. I really really like the Goodbyn and my only suggestion to the Goodbyn people is that next we need a Goodbyn Jr for younger kids that don’t eat quite as much and the smaller size would be easier to open and close for young kids. As for Ethan this Goodbyn has been a great find and we are so happy with it! Oh and one more thing – the stickers have all stayed on in the dishwasher!

*We did NOT receive this Goodbyn for the purpose of review, I just really like it and wanted to help spread the word about a product I think is great!

Make your own finger painting tools

January 29, 2010 by  
Filed under Art Projects, Kid Art

Jamie is at a nice age for painting and its fun to give her different things to use besides brushes. You can buy special painting tools for kids but its so easy to make them or just use things you have around the house. Here is what I gave Jamie on the day these pictures were taken: an old baby bottle nipple to make nice stamped circles, a piece of cardboard with one side cut with a scalloped scissor and some plastics lids cut in half in various shapes. We use the cardboard and the lids to scrape the paint with and make different stripes.  I didn’t get the best pictures, she was busy for quite some time though and enjoyed painting. Other things we like to use with paint include plastic forks, straws, old toothbrushes, small sponges, q-tips, cut vegetables, fingers and of course brushes! I probably left some things out but ANYBODY WANT TO SHARE YOUR IDEAS so we can try something new next time we get the paints out???

Here is a picture of Jillian on a different day when she got into Jamie’s paints (Jamie prefers red and blue paint currently). I LOVE that you can buy washable paints!

Marshmallow covered children are sweet!

January 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Our Life

So a comment I got yesterday reminded me of how much yummy fun it is to make marshmallows with the girls and of course I had to take more pictures! This time the girls didn’t get quiet as messy but to make up for it Jamie was wearing her roller skates in the house. I added some mini chocolate chips when I spread them in the pan this time and it was definitely the right thing to do. After school Ben and I discovered that these chocolate chip marshmallows are perfect between graham crackers, the best part is you can cut them to the exact size of your crackers. I didn’t get a good picture of our smore creations but they would have just made you feel bad that you didn’t have one so its better for you that I’m not posting one!

Last minute pizza house…with Jell-O men

January 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Recipes

This last minute idea came to me because I am slightly nuts. I made a rectangular pizza in a sheet pan and cut it into squares but there were not enough for everyone to have 2 pieces so I cut 3 squares in half. I wanted to give everyone equal amounts of crust so I cut 3 corner pieces in half diagonally. When I was putting the pizza on the plates I realized they looked like houses so I quick cut a few pepperoni doors and got out some Jell-O men that I happened to have on hand that day. So sometimes it pays that I have this crazy way of thinking and need to divide things equally, I never would have discovered how easy it is to make pizza houses! Next time I’ll know that I am going to make houses ahead of time and I will be more prepared with decorations. Pepperoni made nice doors and I could add some olive doorknobs, cheese windows, and some salad for a lawn. I had been doing make your own pizzas with the kids but when I let them shape their own dough it never comes out how they like it and they don’t eat much.  I can let the kids decorate them themselves but I like the idea of having them add the toppings after the pizza is baked and then they can get straight to eating and not have to wait 20 minutes after they do their decorating.

*Jell-O men are made using a silicone mini gingerbread tray, I was so happy with how easily the Jell-O came out of the silicone tray and I hope to find some other mini shapes to use for Jell-O.

Only a Mother Would Know

January 27, 2010 by  
Filed under Parenting

My mom just sent me this email and I had to share.

Cup of Tea.

One day my mother was out and my dad was in charge of me.  I was maybe 2 1/2 years old. Someone had given me a little ‘tea set’ as a gift and it was one of my favorite toys.

Daddy was in the living room engrossed in the evening news when I brought Daddy a little cup of ‘tea’, which was just water.  After several cups of tea and lots of praise for such yummy tea, my Mom came home.

My Dad made her wait in the living room to watch me bring him a cup of tea, because it was ‘just the cutest thing!’  My Mom waited, and sure enough, here I come down the hall with a cup of tea for Daddy and she watches him drink it up.

Then she says, (as only a mother would know…)

‘Did it ever occur to you that the only place she can reach to get water is the toilet?’

Win some cute new boxes of Q-tips

January 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Contests, Reviews

…and a cute baby elephant bank.

Q-tips has teamed up with Wendy Bellissimo to design some very cute and practical boxes of Q-tips for the nursery. Not only are the boxes very cute, the sliding drawer box is designed to keep the Q-tips clean. I am one of those crazy people who search through the display to find the tissue box with the best design and I’m in favor of having cute boxes for all products that we leave out in the open! I really like that the boxes are free from writing with the exception of a small “Q-tips” on one side of the box. I plan to save them when they are empty so the kids can put their treasures in them.

I noticed on the Q-tips site that they are also now making these boxes in vanity designs too so you can leave them out on your bathroom counter, what a nice change from those plastic boxes with the cardboard backs (I always knock them over and spill Q-tips all over).

ENTER TO WIN 2 BOXES OF THE NEW Q-TIPS AND A CUTE SILVER ELEPHANT BABY BANK:

  • just leave me a comment on this post
  • open to US mailing addresses only
  • contest ends Friday February 5th 2010

*I have received these products from Q-tips® and Mom Select to review, free of charge, but my opinions are my own.

I LOVE this “Treepee”…but its not in the budget or the country!

January 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Misc

I think that this has to be the most wonderful thing for a little kid and I just had to share (because why should I be the only one who falls in love with this and probably can’t ever have it!). Oh how I wish the Treepee people were in the US and just happened to want me to do a blog review for them! I love reviewing things, it gets the need to shop out of my system without me actually needing to spend money BUT then I see something amazing and wish that I had extra money to spend on wonderful stuff that we DON’T REALLY NEED but would TOTALLY LOVE! So I am not showing my kids this Treepee and I will remind myself of the amazing playfort John built them in the backyard and the little stream and woods and pool we have for them outside, they are lucky kids!

Challenge Dairy…butter never looked so good (and my favorite new cookie recipe).

January 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Recipes, Reviews

Challenge 1LB Package Photo-1

Challenge Dairy sent me some samples of their stick butter and spreadable butter and it was really good! They also sent me some great products form Oxo and some Spice Island cinnamon and nutmeg (I am now in love with nutmeg in my favorite muffin recipe). Unfortunately for me Challenge Dairy is not on the east coast (where I live) so now that I finished the adorably packaged chubby sticks of butter with the deer on them, I have to go back to my store brand that I normally get. Maybe I’m silly but let me just dwell on it some more…the Challenge butter sticks were really so cute in their pretty wrappers and I’ll miss them staring at me from the fridge. I’ll miss the  Challenge spreadable butter with canola oil but for more practical reasons, it was the best spreadable butter product I’ve tried ever. I hate margarine and regular butter takes a lot longer to spread when you are buttering toast/bagels/muffins for a family of 6 (oh and I don’t like the airy whipped butter that doesn’t last long). The Challenge spreadable butter won me over and if I could get it here, it would be what I’d buy every time.

Even if you are in my boat and can’t buy Challenge Butter where you live, you should still check out their website and blog, they are well done and contain helpful info and some amazing recipes!

Here is my current favorite use of BUTTER:

NO FAIL SUGAR COOKIES (really very appropriately named)

This recipe is GREAT when using complex cookie cutters.  The dough holds its’ shape and won’t spread during baking.
Make sure you let your oven preheat for at least 1/2 hour before baking these or any other cookies. Sometimes I 1/2 the recipe but I prefer the BIG batch.

6 cups flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract or desired flavoring
1 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix well. Mix dry ingredients and add a little
at a time to butter mixture.  Mix until flour is completely incorporated and the dough comes together.

Chill for 1 to 2 hours

Roll to desired thickness and cut into desired shapes.  Bake on ungreased baking sheet at 350
degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until just beginning to turn brown around the edges.  This recipe
can make up to 5-dozen 3” cookies.

Here is our adorable nephew making these cookies with us at Christmas time. We are going to make loads of heart shaped cookies with pink frosting next month! I found the best frosting for these, just mix some powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and corn syrup until it just thick enough not to run completely off cookies, it spreads nicely and then dries hard and looks professional (well depending on how many kids are helping!).

Cheerios are so loveable! Get a General Mills coupon.

January 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews

I will always love Cheerios, they remind me of being a kid and they will forever bring me great memories of my kids being little (yes I know my kids are STILL little…. but Ethan is 7 now and used to be that sleepy little guy above). The most common breakfast around here consists of dry Cheerios in the kids’ little baseball hat bowls, OJ and chocolate milk (that was the menu this morning). John and I are cereal lovers ourselves and they are a frequent snack when we watch TV after the kids are in bed. We mix it up a little and will get other cereals as well but even when we do I still pour some Cheerios in the bowl too. I think we lucked out because our kids don’t ask us for the real sugary bright colored cereals, I’ve gotten some as treats in the past and they really weren’t that impressed with them. Anyway I was really happy when General Mills provided me with 4 free cereal coupons and the information to share with you below through MyBlogSpark. So far I just used one coupon for Honey Nut Cheerios, maybe we’ll try a new General Mills cereal when I go to the store next!

Here is what General Mills has to say:

We´re excited to share some great news for cereal lovers. This week General Mills announced a commitment to further reduce sugar in cereals advertised to kids under 12 to single digit grams of sugar per serving. The company has already been reducing sugar in cereals while increasing key nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, and providing whole grain.

Did you know that ready-to-eat cereal eaters consume less fat, less cholesterol and more fiber than non-cereal eaters? Cereals also deliver important vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients, making cereal a top source of key nutrients in children´s diets.

Other cereal benefits:
Ready-to-eat cereals, including presweetened cereals, account for only 5% of sugar in children´s diets.
Ready-to-eat cereal is the No. 1 source of whole grains in a child´s diet today.
More frequent cereal eaters tend to have healthier body weights and lower Body Mass Index measures.
Studies also demonstrate the benefits of eating breakfast. A 1998 study showed that children who eat breakfast tend to perform better at school. Compared to children who skip breakfast, children who eat breakfast score higher on tests, are less likely to miss class or be tardy, have fewer reported discipline problems, and make fewer trips to the office.

Right now if you visit here you will find a $1 off coupon for one of four General Mills cereals.

Musselman’s Natural Apple Sauce donates to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

January 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Recipes, Reviews

For any Musselman’s Natural Apple Sauce purchased in January 2010, the company will donate ten cents to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. We are big fans of Musselman’s applesauce here and its great to know they are giving to help fight cancer. So stock up on some applesauce before the end of the month!  Musselman’s sent me a jar of their natural applesauce and a bunch of recipe cards for some yummy sounding recipes featuring their applesauce (I included one below). I often use applesauce in baking to lower the fat in recipes but they have some interesting savory/main dishes to try too.

Click here for: Peggy Fleming Discusses Musselman’s Promotion to Benefit Breast Cancer

Click here for: Musselman’s coupons

Here is one of their recipes for you to try BUT you can go to their site to see many more apple sauce recipes (and they have recipe sections for apple juice, apple butter, and cider too)

Good Morning Muffins

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups MUSSELMAN’S Natural Apple Sauce
Directions

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with bake cups and set aside. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter on high for about 30 to 60 seconds; set aside to cool slightly.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a large mixing bowl. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar. Stir in the applesauce and melted butter until the mixture is smooth. Pour the apple mixture over the flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined and you can’t see any traces of flour.

Fill the bake cups about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until light brown.

Makes 12 servings

Next Page »