Dec 112013
 

For holiday gift-giving as part of a sponsored post for Collective Bias® I made these Rocky Road Squares to give to family and friends.  All thoughts and words are my own.

I’ve been spending a good portion of my days lately baking, cooking, mixing and stirring.  Every year for more than the last decade, I have put together homemade food gift baskets for friends and family alike.  I try and have them completed in early December if at all possible, so that they have most of the season to enjoy them.

One of my favorite holiday desserts to make for gift-giving are my Mom’s squares.  She has made them for as long as I can remember and they were one of the treats I always requested for my birthday or other special occasions.  She just calls them “her squares” but I think most people would consider them to be Rocky Road Squares.

Rocky Road Squares Recipe with #KraftEssentials #shop

Knowing that I had a lot of Christmas recipes to make over the next couple of weeks I made a trip to Walmart to stock up my pantry.  Baker’s Baking Chocolate, Jet-Puffed Marshmallows, Planters Peanut Butter, chocolate bits, sweetened condensed milk, flour, sugar – pretty much the baking aisle.  I usually make more than I plan to, and I don’t like needing to run out to pick up extra ingredients if I can help it. Continue reading »

Dec 072013
 

Thank you to the Gaylord Opryland for providing accommodations and tickets to ICE!.  All thoughts and words are my own.

Our family has always talked about going to see the lights at the Gaylord Opryland just outside of Nashville, Tennessee.  We enjoy driving around and seeing our local light displays; we even once visited a display set to music.  And the Gaylord Opryland also has other fun holiday events, like a Shrek Holiday Feast, ICE! Featuring Frosty the Snowman, shops, a nativity, and more.

So when the lovely folks at the hotel offered for us to come down and check out the ICE! Featuring Frosty the Snowman display, we of course accepted.  I thought Bubbles would get a kick out of the brightly-colored ice figurines and spending a night on such a beautiful property sounded great, too.  And as the Gaylord Opryland is within convenient driving distance from us, it was a good fit to go.

Gaylord Opryland

Waterfall in the Cascades Atrium of the Gaylord Opryland

Cascades American Cafe at the Gaylord Opryland

After checking in, we wound our way up through a beautiful indoor atrium in what is called the Cascades area.  It’s aptly named as there’s actually a cascading waterfall on one side of the atrium.  On the other is one the hotel’s main restaurants, the Cascades American Cafe.  The dress is casual – the seating is open to the atrium – and upon check in it was the eatery recommended to us as one of the most family-friendly spots in the hotel. Continue reading »

Dec 032013
 

I received Elf Magic Christmas Elf to help start a family Christmas tradition.  All thoughts and words are my own.

I think establishing family traditions is really important.  It’s something that bonds your family together and gives you situations you can look back on over time and recall together.  Growing up my parents provided us with lots of special family traditions, especially around the holidays.

Many of those traditions I’ll be continuing with my own family in years to come, but Bubbles is on the young side to understand or appreciate most of them.  I did think it would be fun to invite a Christmas Elf to visit us as a way to help her understand the Santa-side of Christmas.  When I saw the Elf Magic Elves I thought their soft, huggable bodies made them the best choice for introducing a Christmas Elf tradition to a toddler.

Start a Christmas Tradition with a Christmas Elf - Elf Magic Elves #ElfMagic

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Nov 222013
 

This post is part of a Fashionista Event. I was provided a promotional item by Coupons.com to inform you of their Black Friday Sales, their Top 10 Gifts Giveaway and our $500 giveaway.

I honestly cannot believe that Thanksgiving is next week.  It feels like yesterday was September!  And following on the heels of Thanksgiving is Christmas.

I started asking the kiddos to make their wishlists (I don’t care how old you are, you’re never too old for a wishlist) for me a couple of weeks ago.  They’ve been slow to fill them up, and I’ve been nudging them with the lighthearted threats of empty boxes under the tree unless they start handing them over.  To be honest, I’m getting a tiny bit nervous because by this time each year, I’m mostly finishing up lists, not starting them.

Scoping the Black Friday Sales to Check Off Our Wishlist Items

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Nov 172013
 

Thank you to PBS for providing review copies of these Holiday DVDs.  All words and thoughts are my own.

If you’re looking for holiday DVD options from your kids’ favorite characters, you’re in luck!  Many of the PBS KIDS shows have put out their own specials packed with winter- and Christmas-themed shows.  The DVDs include both older

Dinosaur Train: Dinosaurs in the Snow

PBS KIDS Holiday DVD Dinosaur Train: Dinosaurs in the Snow

Dinosaur Train is a favorite in our house and we’ve been enjoying the Dinosaurs in the Snow DVD for the last few weeks.  We’ve watched the dinosaurs travel to and see the North Pole for the very first time.  While there Tiny, Don, Shiny and Buddy also saw their first snow.  Later there was a discussion on whether or not tall trees – like Christmas trees – could really have grown from a tiny little seed. Continue reading »