Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween and a Fantastic Pumpkin Seed Recipe

Last night we spend hours scooping and carving pumpkins and roasting seeds!  I love this time of year!  I have never been a fan of pumpkin seeds before but I made this recipe last night and I am in love!  I took 2 cups of cleaned and dried pumpkin seeds and tossed it two 2 teaspoons of Worchestshire Sauce and 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  I then spread them out on a baking sheet and sprinkled them with sea salt!  I roasted them for 2 hours in a 250 degree oven.  Make sure you give them a good stir every 30 minutes while roasting.

Enjoy all the nutrition that these seeds pack in their tiny shells!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Halloween Costumes from GIVEAWAY {closed}

I cannot tell you the last time I wore a Halloween costume.  It isn't because I don't like to its just that I really haven't had a chance to do anything for Halloween in quite some time.  Last year was Dexter's first Trick or Treating experience and I sat in the car with my 6 day old baby while my husband walked him around.  This year, I was bound and determined to do something AWESOME!  Enter Yandy!  When Yandy asked me if I was interested in a review I immediately thought it would be cool to do couples costumes!  When I went to their site I was also thrilled to see that they had plus size costumes for us bigger Mommies too!  I instantly fell in love with the idea of being Alice in Wonderland.  She is always so pretty and a little ditzy so I knew I could pull it off seamlessly!  Who better to compliment Alice than the Mad Hatter?  It was settled, I picked our costumes out!!

The only thing left to do is get the Mad Hatter wig for Jason and some face paint and we are SET!

If you are looking for some last minute unique Halloween Costumes then you have to check out Yandy because their 2011 Halloween Costumes Selection is spooktacular!

How would you like to win a $30 Gift Certificate to  All you have to do is tell me what costume you would like to buy with your gift card.  It is that easy!

How would you like additional entries?
*Follow me on Facebook 
*Follow ecoSTORE USA on Facebook (3 entries)
*Follow me on Twitter 
*Follow me on GFC
*Tell me how you found my blog
*Use the tweet button above to tweet this giveaway (once daily)
*Share this post on Facebook and leave the URL in a comment

This giveaway is open to US residents only and will end on October 24th at NOON EST!  Good Luck!

Monday, October 17, 2011

10 Holiday Planning Tips You NEED To Know

Can you even believe that it is that time of year again?  I cannot fathom that in two short weeks Oliver will be ONE and then we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.....boom, boom, boom, boom!  Now is the time to start planning for the Holidays and more importantly, how to save yourself the stress of the Holidays.  Here are a few things that I think are important in the planning department.

1. Remember all of your stored decorations.  Every year, I swear, I buy clearance decorating items for Thanksgiving, Christmas etc and I put it away until next year.  Why oh why is it then that I always seem to find these stashed goodies the day after the holiday!  I need to make a spot and stick to it.  Maybe if I use the same storage place year after year then I simply cannot forget.  Genius!

2. Diet.  This may seem like a silly reminder but it is crucial for people like me.  I love to indulge in food, sweets and drinks during the holidays and no one likes the weight gain.  If you start to diet prior to the holidays, perhaps you can knock off 15-20 pounds so you can afford to put a few pounds on during the holidays.  Seems kinda counterintuitive doesn't it?  Well I call it just plain smart.

3.  Start buying your holiday outfits now.  I am the kind of mom who just has to have the best looking outfits for my boys for the holidays.  I typically buy Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter outfits.  They almost always match somehow and they always look smashing!  My mom laughs at me when I tell her at the last minute "oh I can't find the right shoes for Dexter".  If you start looking now, chances are you will have exactly what you want when the holidays roll around.

4.  Use Thanksgiving as the perfect time to make your holiday cards.  Thanksgiving is a time where we are all typically dressed very nice and the boys are pretty laid back *think full bellies*  What better time to snap your family's picture for Custom Holiday Cards then Thanksgiving?  Last year, since it was Oliver's first Christmas, I made an exception and I took special pictures of the boys in their Christmas outfits.  I used this picture from Storkie and I could not have been more excited with the final product!  Everyone loved it!

5.  Be flexible.  When it comes to bedtime routines and children's schedules, it is okay to relax and go with the flow.  I use to be the most uptight Mommy in the world because I felt as though I could never waiver from our schedule and now that Oliver is here I realize that schedules are sometimes meant to be flexible!

6.  Clip Coupons.  Thanksgiving and Christmas can often times be costly when it comes to decorations (napkins, food, decorations) so shop wisely and clip coupons now.  Anticipate your needs and buy when items are on sale so you can avoid the holiday markups later on!

7.  Shop online for some of the best deals.  I probably don't need to remind you of this but the internet can be your best friend when it comes to shopping for deals.  You can price compare with the click of a button, look for promo codes and usually get free shipping!  Whats not to love?  Also, a lot of store will do price matching in person so look online and print off the prices of products before you shop!  Another tip, you can just hide the UPS/FedEx boxes for Christmas which are way more concealed for those curious wandering eyes that may like to ruin their Christmas surprises!

8.  Adopt a Kid for Christmas and bring your family together.  Starting in September and up until Christmas my family likes to save our change so we can "adopt" a child through the Salvation Army so they can have  a nice Christmas too.  Saving money and buying special gifts for our adopted child helps bring my family together and reminds us how fortunate we are for all that we have!

9.  Halloween Costume Swaps.  The holidays can be very costly and one way I like to be green and save some green is by participating in costume swaps.  This can be a great one to always get great new costumes for yourself and your whole family.  I love being kind to the planet and my wallet all in one fell swoop!

10.  Update your address book now so your holiday card list can be sent out without a hitch.  I think that receiving cards for the holidays says a lot.  I know it isn't green but it is thoughtful and it shows a lot of love is coming your way.  Getting the updates on your list now will save you headaches come December!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the Storkie holiday blogging program. I received compensation for my participation. All opinions are 100% mine.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Play-Doh Play Dates

I love this time of year.  The weather gets chilly and the holidays start to come.  There is no better time to get together with your kids to create some fun memories.  Dexter adores spooky things and he completely understands the concept of Halloween this year.  How fun for me!

I was recently introduced to the Play-Doh Play Dates website and my oh my what fun there is to be had there!  They have craft and snack ideas along with Play-Doh fun too!  Right now they are geared up for Halloween and I learned how to make a jack-o-lantern with an orange.  Do you want me to show you?

Step 1

Start with regular everyday oranges and a plastic knife

Step 2

Cut jack-o-lantern faces into your child’s oranges. Be sure to save the rind pieces!

Step 3

Finish your jack-o-lanterns by having your child use the extra rind pieces for details like eyes, tongues, noses and more! Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, you can enjoy your jack-o-lantern oranges.

Now there is no way that you can say that these aren't the cutest little jack-o-lanterns ever.  You could probably take it one step further and set it out of a bed of lettuce and make it look like a pumpkin patch.  This would also be a great solution for picky eaters as this surely would make me want to eat my fruits and veggies.

As you may or may not know, I am an elementary educator.  I am highly-qualified through No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and I know a thing or two about what kids like.  I also can wield a pair of scissors like no one's business!  The craft section of Play-Dates featured a really fun, not-so-little, project called the Haunted House Playset.  I happened to print off the template, cut it out and affix it to some cardboard.  I can't wait for Dexter to come home and see it as I know he is going to shriek!  He loves bats and ghosts and anything Halloween related.  I think I am going to throw a couple of marshmallows in the center of it and have him tear them up and make ghosts out of them!  Check out my creation (which took me about a half an hour to assemble).

I completely fenced in the backyard and I am also thinking it could be fun to build a little graveyard back there with cut off tongue depressors that are painted gray.  We could write some cute little epitaphs on them and make it really spooky!  The possibilities are endless.  One thing that I know for sure is that Dexter will love playing with it.

Whatever you choose to do with your kids whether it be the snack category or the craft section one thing is for sure: you are strengthening your relationship with your children.  This will not only create memories for a lifetime but also it will build their self-esteem which will enable them to be better individuals!

**This post is part of a SocialMoms product evaluation, for which I’ve been selected. I’ve been compensated for my time with 8,000 My SocialMoms Rewards Points. The opinions expressed in this post are mine and don’t necessarily reflect the opinions of SocialMoms or Play-Doh**
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