Thursday, September 11, 2014

"I can not tell a lie" or can you?! Talking Honesty w/our Kids - #GIVEAWAY #HTHonesty #sponsored

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Right? Isn't that what we tell our kids? But then do they hear us tell someone "oh, I'm so sorry I can't volunteer for xyz, I have a (made up) appointment" or "Oh, I love what you've done with your hair" just to turn around and tell someone how bad it looks. I mean seriously, haven't we all told little white lies here and there? Please tell me I am not the only one who has been in a situation like that (because that will really make me feel like I have earned the Lousy Mother Award). Kids learn what they live. That's a scary thought sometimes. So, how do we instill the values we want in our children? How do we begin those important discussions about things like honesty? First, as parents, if we are going to talk the talk, we need to walk the walk. {I'm trying, really, I am!} Second, we can open up discussions with our children. This can sometimes be difficult...especially depending on the child's age. (I have a 13 yr old. 'Nuff said.)
That's why I am excited to share this new line of children's books called The Principles of Our World, from Harvest Time Partners. They are designed to help parents reinforce the importance of things like Honesty, Courage, Teamwork and more. I think it's important to start these discussions early, and continue to reinforce them as they get older. My 6 y/o has just started recently with telling little lies like "yes, I brushed my teeth" when he didn't. So this book came at a great time so we could talk more about our family values and review different scenarios before he is faced with them.
I really like the way the books are laid out..they are broken down into chapters, and each chapter gives a real-life situation in which the person has to decide the best course of action. The following is from the above pictured book Principle of Honesty...
As I reviewed the situations in each chapter, I would stop and ask what he would do in that particular situation before reading the resolution. It opened up some great discussion about how we always have a choice to make, and how important it is to make the right one. Honesty really is the best policy. And what about when we, as parents, screw up?! Well, for me, the best option is to fess up. Just say straight up...I made the wrong choice, I should have done this or that, and try to make it right. Kids are faced with all kinds of situations, and even though we try to arm them with the values and education they need, they are going to make mistakes along the way. So, they need to learn about taking responsibility for bad decisions. I always tell my kids 'you did/said it, now own it'. If you do it, stand behind it or admit why it was wrong. It's better to face it and get through it than to try to hide or ignore it.

GIVEAWAY
Are you interested in viewing the Principles of Our World book series? They are great for parents or teachers who would like to read them to children (ages 4+) or for young, independent readers (ages 7+). I think they are a great resource to have, because really, can we have too much help raising children?! 
Just enter via this Entry-Form! The giveaway will run through October 3, 2014.

Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Brand Ambassador Program with Harvest Time and I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Banfield Pet Hospital, My Fur Baby & a #GIVEAWAY {#sponsored}

Disclosure - I was provided with Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Plan® and ProHeart® 6, by Banfield Pet Hospital, which has also provided the information and giveaway. The dog and opinions expressed are my own ;-)

Even though I primarily talk about food and my kids, every once in a while I share stuff about my fur babies as well. Today I wanted to share with you my most spoiled rotten little dog...
Talk about a mess. This dog is completely spoiled and an absolute lap dog. Unless his Rottweiler personality takes over....then he is ferocious (so he thinks). He is part of our family and we love his little demanding self dearly. That's why his health is very important, and heartworm prevention is at the top of that list. 
That's where Banfield Pet Hospital comes in. If you have pets, you know vet visits can get pretty expensive; especially if you have one like Currituck here, who at 6 months old had to have emergency surgery due to an intestinal blockage because he eats EVERYTHING. (Story for another day!) Banfield is the only pet hospital that I've come across that has an Optimum Wellness Plan®. With their plans, office visits are FREE and I was shocked (and pleased) at everything that is included under the plans. Many include annual heartworm testing  which can be administered during a routine office visit. (Go here -Banfield’s Optimum Wellness Plan® to learn more about the plans offered.) Plans can be customized based on the needs of the individual pet, and combine physical exams, routinely recommended vaccinations and screenings, unlimited free office visits, service discounts and more into one affordable veterinary care package.
Banfield believes in preventive veterinary care as the best way to improve the quality and longevity of a pet’s life by reducing the risk of developing serious, costly and sometimes fatal diseases (such as heartworm disease). I can't say that my dog sings the praises of Banfield as much as I do. He has a lot of anxiety when at the vet (or when anything disrupts his regular routine!)
But I have to say the veterinarian and her technician did a great job at making him as comfortable as possible. He absolutely hates getting his nails trimmed, to the point that I don't even attempt it at home anymore. They snuggled him in a blanket and worked together to get the job done. Even when he acted like he was going to take someone's hand off!
His 'pedicure'. (That's how it was listed on the receipt! Made me laugh.)
This was one of the best parts of the entire visit. Not that he had a shot, but the fact that the ONE shot provides SIX MONTHS of heartworm prevention! It's called ProHeart® 6 and is an injectable heartworm preventive that can be prescribed to healthy dogs over the age of 6 months and delivers six months of protection in a single dose. I LOVE this because now I don't have to think about it for SIX months! 

Having to remember to give the dogs their other heartworm pill every month was a source of stress for me, because it was just one more (very important!) thing I had to keep up with. ProHeart® 6 can protect dogs from dangerous heartworm disease by preventing immature worms from maturing into adults that cause damage in the pet’s heart. Treatment of heartworm disease is difficult and painful for the dog, as well as expensive for the pet owner. (Just remember that before a pet can start on heartworm preventive, he/she needs to be tested to make sure they are free of adult heartworms, this is done through a quick, simple blood test.) If interested, here is a video on How to Protect Your Pet From Heartworm Disease
**If you are interested in trying ProHeart® 6, here is a link to a coupon for $10 off a 6-month injectable heartworm preventive. Also, if you would like to request an Banfield Pet Hospital appointment online, go here

GIVEAWAY time!
Banfield Pet Hospital has agreed to provide one giveaway winner with a free office visit at their nearest Banfield Pet Hospital for their dog to receive a free heartworm test and free 6-months of Proheart® 6. (You and your dog just need to be a U.S. resident and have a physical mailing address, no P.O. boxes). That would save you a good chunk of cash that you can spend on something else. Like chew toys. Or dog food. Or sweaters :-)

Just enter via the rafflecopter form! 
One last thing
Banfield will donate $1 per reader comment (up to 100 comments) to Banfield Charitable Trust (once the giveaway has concluded). Banfield Charitable Trust is a donor-supported non-profit whose mission it is to preserve the human animal bond by keeping pets with their families who love them. Each year, BCT helps 100,000 struggling families through seven programs ranging from life-saving emergency care to assistance with pet food or other urgent pet care needs. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Copycat Trader Joe's Cowboy Bark

If you have not visited a Trader Joe's grocery store, then you may not be familiar with their 'Cowboy Bark'.
I have no idea why it's named that, but I can tell you that it's pretty darn awesome. It has that sweet and salty combo that I loooovveee. Luv. Lurve. Just imagine (or read on the above package) - dark chocolate, loaded with toffee, pretzels, chocolate sandwich cookies, peanuts, almonds and a little salt. Holla. (Anyone else watching Big Brother?!)
This is SO easy to make at home, and as you can see, the girls and I loaded our chocolate down with toppings. That's the great thing about making this at home, you can be as generous with the toppings as you like. You can also substitute ingredients to whatever you like best or have on hand.
The only difference is that I used Oreo's instead of Joe's O's and I used Heath Bar pieces instead of just plain toffee pieces, because, seriously...can you have too much chocolate? 

Copycat Trader Joe's Cowboy Bark

1 lb. dark chocolate (I used Chocoley Extra Dark Chocolate, it's not bitter at all!)
10 chocolate sandwich cookies, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pretzel pieces
1/2 cup Heath toffee bits
1/2 cup chopped peanuts and almonds
sea salt, for sprinkling - too taste

*measurements are approximates - you may want more or less, and there was an awful lot of 'sampling' going on while my girls helped me make this!
  • Have your cookies, pretzels, toffee, and nuts chopped and ready for placement on the bark
  • Line a baking dish, plastic container or cookie sheet with parchment paper or plastic wrap
*I used a plastic container that was a little too small and my bark came out a bit thicker than I wanted. I would recommend a cookie sheet, then you can spread it out to your desired thickness
  • Melt chocolate per instructions on bag/bar/etc.
  • Pour melted chocolate on parchment paper and spread to desired thickness.
  • While chocolate is hot, quickly add cookie and pretzel pieces. Then sprinkle on toffee, peanuts and a little sea salt. 
  • Allow chocolate to set. (I placed mine in the fridge for a few minutes)
  • Break into pieces and enjoy your copycat creation!

Chocoley sent me a sampling of their products to try. No compensation was received for posting. 


Saturday, August 30, 2014

White Chocolate Popcorn {Party Favors}

Having your guests have a little something to take home at the end of a party is a fun thing to do. I, of course, like for it to be something edible. Everyone likes food right? If they are friends with me, the answer to that is yes. Because seriously, who wants to hang out with someone who doesn't like to eat? Don't answer that. You people out there who just "forget to eat"...I have issues with you. I'm kidding. Sort of. 
For my sister's baby shower, I made white chocolate popcorn with pink, green, and white MandM candies. 
It looked cute bagged up, and it tastes good. We placed a framed sign on the table with the favors that said 'Ready to pop'. My cousin made it and it was very cute (it was also done in pink and green), but somehow I didn't get a picture. That's the downside to hosting a party, it's hard to get as many pics!
The popcorn was tied with pink and white curling ribbon and I found little strollers, pacifiers and baby blocks at a dollar store (The Dollar Tree), so we tied those to each bag. It's similar to the Birthday Cake Batter Popcorn party favors I did for my daughter's 10th bday party.

White Chocolate Candy Popcorn

*The amounts are going to vary depending on how much you want to make. We made 25 favor bags, and I am guessing it was about 2 cups per bag, maybe a little more. The recipe is for one 'batch' and I doubled it.

12 cups popped popcorn (1/2 cup unpopped kernels)
1 (24 oz) package of white almond bark or white chocolate chips, melted
*sea salt (optional)
desired candy or sprinkles
  • In a large bowl, pour the melted chocolate or almond bark over the prepared popcorn.
  • Stir to mix.
  • Spread chocolate covered popcorn out on wax paper. 
  • *Sprinkle with sea salt if desired (this is not needed if using salted microwave popcorn. I used plain popcorn from my air popper) You can also skip the salt all together, but I like the sweet-salty combo.
  • Add candy to popcorn BEFORE CHOCOLATE HARDENS. Lightly press candy down onto the popcorn. (You can mix the candy in with the chocolate, but then it gets covered in white chocolate so it's not as pretty. I like to add it on the tops, you just have to work quickly before the chocolate hardens.)
  • Once chocolate/bark is set, break apart and place in bags. 
This simple recipe can be adapted to pretty much any party or theme. Just change up the candy used, add sprinkles, etc. I don't recommend making it more than 24 hours in advance because the chocolate coating causes the popcorn to get soft...it's still good however!

If looking for a good party punch, you can check out this post.
If looking for more baby shower ideas, you can check out my Baby Shower Pinterest Board.

I may be linking up at any of the following - (Monday) The Tumbleweed ContessaThe Dedicated HouseSkip to my LouMaking the World CuterI Should Be Mopping the FloorHuckleberry Love (Tuesday) Tickle My Tastebuds TuesdaySowdering About in SeattleNaptime CreationsMandy's Recipe Box, Memories By the Mile,Inside BruCrew LifeVMG206Anyonita Nibbles,Tasty Tuesdays (Wednesday) The Newlyweds PilgrimageFluster BusterMostly Homemade MomAdorned from AboveLady Behind the Curtain,Ginger Snap CraftsNaptime is My TimeTessa the Domestic Diva (Thursday) Project Inspire,Joyful HomemakingMiz Helen's Country CottageLamberts Lately (Friday) Foodtastic FridaysJust Us FourBacon Time with the Hungry Hungry HypoDiana RamblesThe Better BakerThe Best Blog Recipes,Close to Home30 Handmade DaysA Peek Into My Paradise,The Jenny Evolution Walking on SunshineVintage Chic (Saturday) Six Sisters' StuffMade from Pinterest

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