The One Toy Your Creative Child Needs

This post was sponsored by MagnaFlex. As always, all opinions are my own.

If your Kindergartner is anything like mine, then the gears in their head are always turning. It can be a challenge at home to continually keep my son busy. He follows in his grandfathers’ footsteps, who was an engineer, and his mind never stops thinking or being creative. If he isn’t building or using his brain, he becomes ornery and bored which in turn causes him to act out. Parenting a 5-year-old is full of challenges, but finding unique and creative toys shouldn’t be one of them.

Magnaflex original construction kits help inspire kids of all ages to build anything they can imagine. Their unique kits include colorful magnetic strips, connector pieces and an easy-to-follow instruction guide with project ideas including animals, vehicles, wearable accessories and more. Their different shape and material allow kids to bend easily, zip, connect or stack the magnetic strips together. A full-color booklet comes with the kit which is excellent because Henry loves to copy designs he sees and follow each step meticulously. It keeps him busy and focused and in turn, gives me a few hours throughout the day to get things done.

These toys are perfect for on-the-go and can quickly be taken just about anywhere. Henry is a busy body and always has to be doing something with his hands, so these are excellent to bring along to dinner, in the car or even in the waiting room at the doctor. They snap, bend and connect giving him endless possibilities with his imagination. Since these toys are flexible, they can mold to fit any surface. Since they are magnets, they can stick to any magnetic surface as well. Henry loves putting them in the fridge and dishwasher.

If you have an imaginative child in your life and are needing a creative gift for the Holiday season, then this is THE gift for them. Check out this video too which shows just how endless the possibilities are!



Time for Christmas Cuddles!

This post is sponsored by Carter’s however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Happy Thanksgiving Eve, everyone! Are you as excited as I am for the extra long weekend? Luckily we are not hosting Thanksgiving this year so we will be relaxing in our pajamas for the next four days. Speaking of being comfy in our pajamas, one of my favorite holiday traditions is buying matching pajamas for the kids. I’m talking Valentine’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, Halloween and of course Christmas. The past two years the kids even wore matching pajamas in our Christmas cards, that’s how much I love them. If there were Thanksgiving pj’s out there, I would have those too. My go-to for holiday pajamas has always been Carter’s, for several reasons. They always have stylish, affordable and super cute pajamas for newborns all the way up to size 8. Since my kids live in pajamas most days, I tend to buy multiple pairs, and because of that, I don’t like spending a fortune. Carter’s almost always has great deals and coupons on their website, so I can stock up without entering into buyers remorse. Carter’s is having their Black Friday deal going on now, and their entire site and store is 50% off!

In addition to their incredible 50% off deal, Carter’s and OshKosh B’gosh are giving away over $700,000 in Dash Cash to the first 100 people to visit their local Carter’s or OshKosh B’gosh store on Black Friday (11/23 or 11/24 – depending on when the store opens after Thanksgiving). Before you head out, check stores to confirm what date the sweepstakes will be held at your nearest location (visit carters.com/dashintowin for official rules). You can also take 20% off your purchase of $40 or more in store or online through 12/31/17 (some exclusions apply). The in store code is 070716 and the online code is CART4198. If pajamas aren’t on your radar, or maybe you’ve already stocked up, then check out their adorable Holiday shop which has the sweetest dresses, slacks, and shoes. I’m dying over this cute bear tee which Henry most definitely needs.

This year Carter’s is partnering with the Pajama Program, an organization that provides children new pajamas from November 1st – December 31st. You can help by donating a pair of new pajamas in store or make a monetary donation at check out (in-store or online). Carter’s will match up to 100,000 pairs of pajamas, because every child deserves a good night. Giving back always makes me feel good so this month the kids and I picked out some pajamas to donate to the Pajama Program.

Do you have any holiday traditions (like matching pjs) that you love to do with your family? If so, let me know in the comments!

A Babbleboxx Thanksgiving

This post is sponsored by BabbleBoxx.com

We are in full vacation mode this week. The kids have both been out of scool since last Thursday since we took a trip Biltmore Estate and today marks day six of Thanksgiving break. Although having both kids at home can be a challenge, it has been nice to sleep in and not have to wake up before the sun to get Henry on the bus. We can’t wait for Thanksgiving morning so we can drink hot cocoa, pop in a casserole, and watch the parade on TV. Hopefully, we will continue to have some chilly temps and can make a fire. I am determined to appreciate and celebrate Thanksgiving before we jump into Christmas mode on Friday, which is when we get our tree and decorate the house. The holiday season passes by so quickly, which I why I like to celebrate each holiday as they come. This month I am embracing all things Thanksgiving, starting with some amazing goodies from Babbleboxx!

Salted Caramel Harvest Bouquet with Orange Swizzle Berries from Edible Arrangements is by far the tastiest Edible Arrangement I have ever received. I could live off salted caramel anything so this decadent dessert definitely brightened up my month! I had some friends over recently for a Friendsgiving and not only did every indulge in this but it also made a beautiful centerpiece for the table. The salted caramel apple wedges were hands-down the favorite and I love that the arrangement came in an adorable pumpkin that I can use for years to come. You absolutely need to try this one and when you order, use code THANK17 $10 OFF $39+ ($49 for CA) and code FEAST for $20 OFF $99+, valid until 11/22.

Clean Cocktails for the Modern Mixologist – Now this is one book I will be recommending at my next book club aka wine club. All recipes in this amazing book use only low-calorie spirits; fresh juices loaded with vitamins; sweeteners like honey and maple syrup; and anti-inflammatory spices like cinnamon, cayenne, and turmeric―the perfect alternative to drinks that are typically loaded with refined sugars, artificial flavors, and dyes. My husband and I tried our hand at the Blackberry Crush cocktail the other night and it was by far one of the best cocktails I’ve ever tasted!

Sipp Sparkling Organic Drink – Sipp is an organic, sparkling beverage that can be mixed in a drink recipe to craft a natural, fresh cocktail, or chilled on it’s own to enjoy with a meal. There are 6 different flavors to choose from like Mojo Berry, Ginger Blossom and Zesty Orange. They are sold in Target and select retailers nationwide, as well as on Amazon. They go hand in hand with the Modern Mixologist book and the possibilities delicious cocktails are endless! I’ll be hosting friends for a Secret Santa gift exchange next month and I will be serving up the Sipp Sparkling Drinks for sure. They’ll be super cute with a festive paper straw taped to them with some washi tape!

Petlanthropy Donation Gift Card – Giving back, especially when it comes to animals, is critical to my family. I was lucky enough to be raised in a household that loved animals and appreciated them. I definitely try and teach my kids daily to have compassion and love for all animals. We support our local shelters, adopt not shop and donate supplies and food throughout the year. Petlanthropy Donation Gift Cards bring needed care to local homeless cats, kittens, puppies, and dogs in need. What I love about the Petlanthropy Donation Gift Card is that recipients can find animal shelters and projects they care about and use their gift card easily on the website. These will make great stocking stuffers for the animal lover in your life. Beginning December 1 you can redeem your Petlanthropy Donation Gift Card unique code by going to www.petlanthropy.org and choose the local animal shelter project or donation page of your choice.

Solid Gold Superfoods Chewy Dog Treats with Turkey, Sweet Potato and Cinnamon – Speaking of pets, they should also get to enjoy the yummy food at Thanksgiving, but with treats they can safely consume. These chewy dog treats are easy to chew and are appropriate for dogs of all ages. Everything Solid Gold Superfoods make is grain free and they also have plenty of yummy options for feline friends. Head over to their discount page so you can save $1.00 off any dog or cat food or treats.

What are everyone’s plans for Thanksgiving? Will you be staying home or traveling? Wherever you will be, I hope you’re surrounded by family and loved ones!

The Perfect Finishing Touches for any Room

This post is sponsored by Tuesday Morning. As always, all opinions are my own.

Happy Thanksgiving week! Is it just me or has this year totally flown by? I haven’t even started Christmas shopping yet, and I’m kind of glad that we aren’t hosting Thanksgiving this year. It’ll be one less thing on my plate! There has been something fun I’ve been focusing on, and that is finishing up some rooms in the house to prep for family coming to town next month. We have a space in our living room that has been empty for several years. Everything we tried there just didn’t seem to fit quite right. This weekend my husband and I did some rearranging, and I finally got a game plan together of how I wanted to finish this part of the living room.

For the past few years, I haven’t really wanted to purchase expensive pieces or put a ton of work into remodeling the living room. Having two kids under the age of 6 means that there are constant spills, crumbs, and messes. Add two dogs and two cats, and well, there is no justifying expensive furniture. I love adding smaller pieces to create a finished look without spending a fortune. Tuesday Morning has become my go-to store lately, and they have really changed over the past couple of years. They have upped their game and now offer high-end items for a fraction of the price. They have everything from furniture, holiday decor, toys, pet items, kitchen and baking tools, linens and pillows and so much more. The pink suede bench was only $49.99, and I have been dying for a more substantial size faux white rug (another fantastic deal at under $50). I stocked up on plenty of candles, so the house smells like Christmas 24/7. I also bought some new pillows, a throw, and an amazing knit floor pouf. Beautiful homes definitely do not have to cost an arm and a leg to create. Tuesday Morning can help you achieve nearly any look you are trying to accomplish without draining your wallet.

If you have a Tuesday Morning in your area, you have to check it out. They have a plethora of home decor, yummy treats, cookware, and holiday items to match every style.

Happy National Bundt Day!

Did you know that today, November 15, is National Bundt Day? It’s okay, neither did I. But now that I know, I am so excited to share it with you because who doesn’t love a good bundt cake? I’ve always been drawn to bundt cakes because of their beautiful, unique shape. I remember my grandmother making her famous bundt cakes growing up and it was something I looked forward to every Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, the baking gene didn’t get passed down to me, so trying to make my own at home is comical. Luckily Nothing Bundt Cakes has several locations near me, and probably you, and they’re celebrating their 20th birthday today! With 9 year-round flavors and seasonal flavors, like Pumpkin Spice, there is a a bundt cake for everyone.

I’m all about convenience when it comes to cooking or baking (a.k.a, I’d rather someone else do it). There are several Nothing Bundt Cakes in my area and I can easily phone in my order or place online and pick it up the same day. There is a bundt cake for every occasion like birthday’s and baby showers. Don’t have anything coming up to celebrate? Then indulge in their bite size bundtinis or miniature bundlets. My kids love their mini’s and their classic 10-inch bundt cake is perfect for parties. Each of the Nothing Bundt Cakes are handcrafted in locally-owned bakeries, using only the finest premium ingredients and “crowned” by hand with Nothing Bundt Cakes’ signature cream cheese frosting. To celebrate National Bundt Day, Nothing Bundt Cakes is giving away a $25 gift card! All you have to do is comment below letting me know what your favorite flavor is! You can see them all here. Good luck!

Thank you to Nothing Bundt Cakes for kindly sponsoring this post. All opinions are 100% honest & completely my own.

3 Realistic New Years Resolutions That You CAN Keep

This post is sponsored by blooom, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

New Years Resolutions. We’ve all been there, and most likely, we’ve all failed. Come January 1; we lay out goals and changes that we plan to make to become healthier, skinnier, richer, etc. Out of all the New Years resolutions I’ve made, I don’t think I have ever stuck to any for more than a month at a time. I was apparently putting unrealistic expectations on myself, and those resolutions seemed more like just another task or job to add to my list. For 2018, I am picking only three to focus on so that I can be my best self.

Put technology down. Who is laughing at this right now? The world we live in is technology based and a staple in our lives. I don’t even know how I would function without my phone. Doesn’t that just sound so unhealthy? My primary goal for 2018 is to be more present when I’m with my children because they are the ones suffering the most when I have my face buried in my phone or computer. Isn’t it funny, we as parents work so hard to make money and provide for our family, but all that time working is actually taking us away from our children. It seems like a vicious cycle that has become our lives. I’ll be making baby steps to work on this because it can’t be all or nothing. When the kids wake from their nap, or when Henry gets off the bus, I plan on setting aside uninterrupted time, with no electronics, to be with them in the present. No iPads, phones or movies. Just me and them, and probably one thousand Lego pieces and lots of paint.

Forgive myself for past mistakes. This one can be tricky and probably the hardest. Ever since my dad unexpectedly passed away last year, I had a lot of guilt, and still, do. However, since that day, I don’t let little things bother me as they had previously. Petty, unimportant comments or actions that used to keep me up at night have gone away. The most important thing that I worry about now is my children; if they’re safe, healthy and happy. Which brings me to my final resolution.

Planning for the future. In 7 months my son will be six years old. Nearly SIX YEARS has passed since he was born and back then, I never thought those years would come and go so fast. I can’t even imagine how fast the next 5, 10, and 20 years will fly by. As scary as it sounds, my husband and I need to start planning for our future and retirement. Setting a budget terrifies the crap out of me. I’ve never, ever been a saver. I like to reward myself with the money I have worked hard for. I live in the moment, and if there is something I want and I have the money to buy, then I get it. This way of thinking obviously cannot go on forever. I admit it, the talk of a 401K intimidates me. I have no idea how or where even to start. Luckily there is blooom! blooom is a financial advice solution that leverages technology to manage people’s 401ks, lowering the barrier to financial advice. They don’t care how much money I have in an account (or if I don’t even have a retirement account set up yet) because they aren’t paid for endorsing one fund over another. There are absolutely no hidden fees, and you can see what types of funds you’re invested in. They believe that everyone deserves the right to retire and genuinely want to help with that goal. At only $10 a month, you get a financial advisor in your pocket. My husband and I plan on signing up early next year because we need peace of mind that comes with not having to worry about a 401k. If you are like me, early 30’s with a family, now is the time to start planning for the future, and blooom can help.

Have you ever made a New Years Resolution that you followed through with? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comments so that I can follow suit!

Affordable Online 401k Management For The 99% – blooom, inc

30 Minute Pear, Gorgonzola & Prosciutto Pizza + Giveaway!

One thing I’ve learned since starting this blog is that many mothers and young women are equally busy, all the time. Just because you can’t devote hours in the kitchen crafting delicious treats and meals shouldn’t make you feel like you can’t prepare yummy food. Luckily my husband loves to cook and takes on that task almost nightly. However, when he is out of town for days at a time, the kids can’t survive on cereal and happy meals, so some cooking has to happen on my part. There are two go-to foods that my kids are obsessed with, and those are pizza and pears. Henry will eat four pears a day if I let him and it seems like the only thing Evelyn will eat lately is pizza. Ever since my husband got a pizza oven a few years ago, we have been on a homemade pizza binge at least once a week. It’s always so fun to make new creations and have the kids each “decorate” their own with inventive toppings. That pizza oven is a beast and can pump out pizzas in under 4 minutes. It’s perfect for parties, holidays and lazy Sunday dinners.

My forever favorite combination is Gorgonzola cheese, Prosciutto, and Harry & David pears. The sweetness of the pears mixed with the sharpness of the cheese and salty prosciutto come together to make my taste buds explode. I love recipes that combine sweet and savory flavors, and nothing can even compare to the taste of a Harry & David Royal Riviera pear. If you’ve never tried one, you aren’t entirely living. I just got back from visiting Harry & David in Medford, Oregon and had the best time. I’ll be sharing my amazing experience on the blog later this month. Be sure to check out an amazing giveaway at the end of this post.

Eating is seriously my favorite thing to do but I hate spending forever in the kitchen prepping, chopping, mixing, and the worst: cleaning. If I have to cook, I like to create recipes that can be prepared in under an hour tops (clean up included). Finding an excellent pre-made pizza dough can help you achieve a homemade crust without all the work of baking dough yourself. I’ve found that Publix and Trader Joe’s has the best pre-made dough and give me consistent results every time. Making this pizza is so easy and if I can do it, you can too!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 sliced Vidalia onion
1 tube refrigerated pizza crust
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 ripe Harry & David pear, sliced
2 ounces Prosciutto di Parma, cut into 1-inch strips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly spray a baking sheet with canola oil spray, set aside. Place your dough on the counter for 15 minutes before assembling ingredients.
2. While your dough is prepping, thinly slice one Vidalia onion and caramelize in the pan with melted butter.
3. Peel and slice the pear
4. Roll out dough into circle or rectangle shape and brush with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
5. Sprinkle pizza with Gorgonzola cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and add caramelized onions and pear slices. Return to oven and cook for an additional 15 minutes.
6. To plate, top with Prosciutto di Parma strips. Serve immediately.

I have teamed up with Harry & David to give two lucky winners a 6-month Fruit of The Month Club membership and $40 gift card! All you have to do is comment on this post letting me know what your favorite Harry & David treat is and follow them on Instagram. Contest ends on Thanksgiving! Good Luck!

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