Archive | October, 2012

Trick-or-Treating Alternatives!

31 Oct

Happy Halloween!  We are very fortunate to have power, water, and recently cable and internet.  I kind of wish I was without cable and internet because the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy is heartbreaking.  So many people without power, many lost their homes and valuable possessions so how can we think about Halloween? My girls don’t understand why trick-or-treating has been cancelled.  To them it’s devastating.  Here are a few ideas to celebrate Halloween with your child, if you don’t have power try to do them while it is still daylight:

1. Halloween Hunt:  My husband had a great idea. He said that the girls should dress up in their costumes and we can hide treats throughout our living room and they can go for a hunt with their baskets.

2. Trick-or-Treat Role Play: Go to some or all the doors in your home.  Put a Bucket and sign outside of one door saying:”Happy Halloween: please take one piece of candy.”  Have each parent go behind a door so when the kids knock you can answer. On other doors you can put a sign saying “no trick or treaters allowed”.

3. Spooky stories:  Sit in the dark with candles, perfect if you don’t have power, and let your child(ren) come up with a “spooky” story.

There is always a later time to celebrate with friends and family!  Looking forward to celebrating next week! Thinking about everyone impacted by Hurricane Sandy!

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A Spooky Meal

25 Oct

Halloween is a week away!  My girls are so excited they have asked for “spooky” snacks and meals. Here are a few ideas to “spook” up your meal!

Naked Franken’ Halloween Drink

  • 10 oz Naked Green Machine Drink
  • 2 google eyes
  • Glue
  • Black permanent marker
  • Red permanent marker
  • 1 straw (green preferably) cut into two small pieces
  • 1 straw (green) for drinking

Tear the wrapping off the Naked Bottle. Dry bottle with paper if it has condensation on it. Draw hair and mouth with black permanent marker. Draw blood or “cut” just below hair. Glue on eyes using a tacky glue or glue gun.

Jack-O-Lantern Pizza

  • 1 slice of pizza
  • 1 slice american cheese
  • Pumpkin shaped cookie cutter
  • Knife to cut eyes and face on pumpkin

Use cookie cutter to cut slice of american cheese into pumpkin shape.  Cut out a jack-o-lantern face on pumpkin shaped cheese.  Place on slice of pizza.

The Spooky Eyed Forest

Steam broccoli, heat Turkey Meatballs and place on plate.  Use a butter knife to spread ketchup so that it looks like the eyes are blood-shot.  Tear off a small piece of white american cheese to make pupil.

I served these all at different times.  Serve them all together and you have one “Spooky Meal”.

Make It Personal With Melissa and Doug

22 Oct

Since the start of the school year, my daughter has made many new friends which means more birthday parties.  As we were shopping for a few upcoming parties, my girls noticed all the Christmas decorations were out and holiday toys were already on display.  Every year the Christmas season starts earlier, which is why it’s no surprise my girls have already started making their list for Santa.

We are huge Melissa and Doug fans.  Most of the gifts we give to friends and receive as presents are Melissa and Doug.  Last Christmas my girls favorite gifts were the Doctor and Veterinarian Role Play Costume Sets.  Recently, Melissa and Doug started adding personalization’s to some of their products like on the role-playing costume sets.  My girls love having personalization on their toys, backpacks, lunch boxes, you name it because they know it is theirs.  It adds an extra special touch to gifts for birthdays and holidays.

Some of our favorite Melissa and Doug products that can be personalized are:

Role play costume sets make great gifts for the holidays and for birthdays. My girls love this hair stylist costume set. They play hair dresser often. The next time they play I am going to have them come up with a name for a salon or I will use our last name so they can share.

One of our favorite gifts to give.

The magnetic chalkboard and dry erase board is at the top of my girls Holiday list. They love drawing and working on their letters. It would like to get each of them a personalized board.

I purchased the magnetic responsibility chart a while ago and use it with my older daughter. However, now that the youngest is older we need to get one for her. When there is multiple children it is great to have it personalized so they can recognize which chart is theirs.

My parents have a dog, Harley, that looks like this. My girls always ask for a dog so for the holidays I plan on getting them a “Harley” to have at home and to play Vet with in their Veterinarian costume.

Click here to see all products that can be personalized!

Disclaimer:  This was a sponsored post but did not alter my opinion. All opinions expressed are my own.  All images are from http://www.melissaanddoug.com.

Try It, You’ll Like It (Pumpkin Lentil Soup)

17 Oct

If you have a toddler, I’m sure you’ve seen Yo Gabba Gabba. My girls became OBSESSED a little over a year ago when my parents took them to a show. I never thought that Yo Gabba Gabba would encourage them to eat. Our favorite song, which gets sung at almost every meal because my daughter is so quick to say “I don’t like that”, is “try it, you’ll like it…”. Any time we try something new we sing it.  Another great song for getting my girls to eat is “Party in my Tummy”.

Last week I made Pumpkin Lentil Soup.  When I put it in front of my four-year old I received the typical response “I’m not eating that, its gross, I don’t like pumpkin”. My response: “have you tried pumpkin? Did you try the soup? Haven’t you liked all the other new foods you have tried?”. We then reverted back to Yo Gabba Gabba and started singing the Yo Gabba Gabba’s “Try It, you’ll like it”. Of course she ate the entire bowl and asked for it again a few days later.

Pumpkin Lentil Soup Recipe (adapted from Slow Cooker Pumpkin,Chickpea and Lentil Stew)

*It is a stew but my girls like calling it soup.

  • 1 pound pie pumpkin or winter squash,
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 3 medium carrots ( I used baby carrots since we had them)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (1 large)
  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 1/2  cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin beer (I used Dogfish Punk Beer)

Directions:

  1. Peel, seed, and cut the pumpkin into 1 inch cubes.
  2. Rinse and drain the beans.
  3. Cut the carrots into 1/2 in thick slices.
  4. In a 3 1/2 to 4 quart slow cooker combine pumpkin, chickpeas, carrots, onion, lentils, tomato paste, ginger, lime juice, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  5. Pour vegetable broth and beer all over ingredients in slow cooker.
  6. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 8-10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-5 hours.

I did not do this but it would be cute to use a pumpkin shaped cookie cutter and cut a pumpkin shape on a slice of cheddar or yellow american cheese to place on top of the stew when served.

Wordless Wednesday: Pumpkins, Pumpkins, We Love Pumpkins!

17 Oct

We visited

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Sweet Snacking: Cinnamon and Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Seeds

16 Oct

Sweet Snacking!

I LOVE pumpkins! Once fall and pumpkin season are here I crave eating and drinking anything with pumpkin or pumpkin flavor. Last week I made a Lentil and Pumpkin Soup (I will post the recipe later this week) and decided to save the seeds from the sugar pie pumpkin so the girls could try them. When it was time to bake them, my older daughter asked if we could make them chocolate covered. I had never had chocolate covered pumpkin seeds but since she has a nut allergy and always asks for the chocolate covered nuts at the store, I thought why not give it a try because it could be a good alternative and a great activity to do together. The girls LOVED them and we had a lot of fun making them.

Directions:

Seeds:

Clean and save seeds from one sugar pie pumpkin.

Soak the seeds in water, drain and place on baking sheet.

Sprinkle sea salt over the seeds.

Bake at 300 for 30-45 minutes or until seeds are golden.

Put wax paper on top of plate and put seeds on top.

Chocolate:

Add 1/3 cup milk (or alternative for dairy allergy) and 3/4 cup chocolate chips (we used Enjoy Life) and heat on low, stirring occasionally until melted.

Mix in cinnamon when melted (to taste).

Once heated put a small amount in a bowl and let kids drizzle it on with a spoon or you can use a measuring cup to drizzle (or pour like my girls did) the chocolate onto the seeds.

**We had chocolate remaining and put it into two cupcake liners to make a home made chocolate bar for dessert later.

Fun Food Friday: An “Apple” Tree

11 Oct

My girls love apple picking. Unfortunately, we didn’t go this year but I heard picking wasn’t great. My youngest has brought home lots of apple projects from school the past few weeks, reminding my oldest we didn’t go picking. I have tried to think of fun ways to incorporate more vegetables into their meals and since there was a lot of apple talk in our house I came up with an “Apple” Tree.

What you need:

Leaves: Steamed Broccoli

“Apples” in tree: Cherry Tomatoes (halved)

Tree Trunk: Half of Apple, Ham, Cheddar Grilled Cheese, cut into two strips.

Ground: Sliced Apple

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Milk Diary: A New Collection Of Nursingwear for Fashionable Women

11 Oct

Nursing my girls was difficult for me. Breast feeding at home, no big deal but doing it in public never came easy to me. I stopped nursing my first daughter at six months and my second at four months. One reason I had difficulty nursing in public was because I didn’t have nursing tops or dresses, making it awkward to feed my girls because I had to lift up my entire shirt or go to the bathroom to take off the top of my dress. I never invested in nursing clothing because there wasn’t much to choose from and I could never find anything I liked.

I met Lana Hegstrom, founder of Milk Diary, at the MBA Mom’s Quincy Apparel fashion event I attend a few weeks ago. Milk Diary is a collection of sophisticated nursingwear designed for mother’s who are breastfeeding. Lena said she wanted to make nursing more of a convenient yet stylish experience for all nursing moms out there. The collection consists of nine styles: seven tops and two dresses in both woven and jersey knit. Milk Diary is sourced and produced in the U.S.A and can be purchased from www.milkdiary.com. Breast feeding in public may have been a little easier and I may have done it a little longer if I had the style and easy access that the Milk Diary brings to nursing mothers.

Some of my favorite pieces from the collection:

The Pleated Woven Shirt with Peplum in Blue Chambray. Hidden invisible zippers behind the most outer pleats for the nursing openings. (images below)

The Color Block Two Layer Knit Top in Onyx and Heather Grey. The inner layer top has slit openings and the loose tank top can be lifted for easy access to nurse. (Images below)

The Blouson Knit Top with Detachable Scarf in Indigo. The nursing opening is an elastic scoop neck that can be pulled down. The scarf can be used as nursing cover (Images below).

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. I have not tried on any of the clothes so am not sure about sizing and fit. All information about the collection came from the press release. All images are from http://www.milkdiary.com.

MBA Mom’s Fashion Event With Quincy Apparel

9 Oct

A few weeks ago, I attended the MBA Mom’s Fashion Event with Quincy Apparel to showcase fall fashion for working mom’s. I am a stay-at-home mom but have contemplated going back to work and wanted to get the latest fashion tips for working moms.  I found a few pieces in Quincy Apparel’s Fall Collection that I really liked and would wear out at night regardless of going back work.  I have looked for a blazer for a while now and haven’t found any that fit right.  Quincy Apparel has smarter sizing, meaning they measure based on torso and bust size.  My two favorites were the Elliott Blazer and the sparkling Emma Jacket.  Both are versatile and can be worn from day-to-night.  The blouses are fabulous because they have an invisible snap so there is no gaping and you won’t have to worry about giving anyone a”show” while you are at work.  The pants come in four lengths (regular, short, long, and no hem) to fit different heights. Quincy Apparel is made and designed in New York City!  

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The extremely comfortable Elliott blazer is on my wish list for the Holidays!

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The event was catered by Shellie Porter.  Loved the Baked by Melissa cupcakes!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post.  I received a swag bag for attending and won a set of fashion activity books for my girls.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Melissa and Doug SPOOKtacular Halloween Photo Contest

6 Oct

Halloween is an exciting time of year of year for my girls. They love everything about it: trick-or-treating with friends, dressing up, candy corn, pumpkin picking, decorating our apartment, Halloween cupcake decorating, making Halloween crafts, and more.
Melissa and Doug is having a photo contest until October 22. Submit a photo showing what your child loves about Halloween and you could win $250 to spend on Melissa and Doug toys. For more contest details and to enter click here.

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Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post. All opinions expressed are my own. The photo was taken Halloween 2011 is not being used for the contest.