Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide- Gourmet Gift Basket

I really love to give gift baskets for the holidays.   They make wonderful teacher  and business gifts.  I was thrilled when I was offered the opportunity to review one of the beautifully packaged gift baskets from Gourmet Gift Baskets.  

The gift basket I received was the Nutcracker Drum Gift Basket.     It offers a delicious variety of snacks. 

This is a list of what is included:
· Red Nutcracker Cookie by Nikki's Cookies - .75 oz. - An all natural sugar cookie covered in dark chocolate, shaped like a nutcracker.
· Green Nutcracker Cookie by Nikki's Cookies - .75 oz. - Another chocolate nutcracker cookie of Nikki's boasts ingredients like Wisconsin farmer's butter.
· Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Brittle by Holly Baking Co. - 6 oz. - This amazing delicacy has a cookie taste and brittle crunch, covered with chocolate and peppermints.
· Peanut Brittle by Old Dominion Peanut Company - 10 oz. - A staple holiday treat, this Old Dominion Peanut Brittle will leave them wanting more!
· Butter Wafers by Lady Walton - 2 oz. - Light and decadent, these Butter Wafers are melt in your mouth delicious
· White Chocolate Amaretto Filled Wafers by Lady Walton - 2 oz. - White chocolate and amaretto give an indulgent twist on a classic favorite.
· English Toffee Caramels by Marich - 2.1 oz. - Milk chocolate surrounds toffee flavored caramel. · Peanut Roll by Dillon's Gourmet - 3 oz. - Sweetly salty roasted peanuts and rich caramel encompass a nougat center of heaven.
· Praline Pecans by Dillon's Gourmet - 2.5 oz. - This creamy pecan delight is a Southern, old fashioned recipe

My original thought was to save the basket and give it away as a gift.  But, I just could not resist trying at least one item.    Then my husband decided to get into it.   My two favorite items were the Chocolate Peppermint Cookie Brittle and the Praline Pecans.    The chocolate cookie brittle pairs so nicely with a delicious cup of holiday coffee or hot cocoa.    Praline Pecans are just one of my favorite things anyway.  Growing up in the South, they are just hard to resist.

The Nutcracker Drum Gift Basket retails for $49.99.   Gourmet Gift Baskets have a wide selection of basket themes and gifts to fit any budget.   Gourmet Gift Baskets makes every basket they sell.  This provides with you great quality.    Check out their website and see the other beautiful baskets available.

Gourmet Gift Baskets is graciously offering to give one lucky reader a beautiful Nutcracker Drum Gift Basket for the holidays!  

Mandatory Entry:  

Visit Gourmet Gift Baskets and leave a comment telling me another gift basket you would like to give or receive.

Please leave a separate comment for each entry with a valid email address.   This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.  

Additional Entries:  

Become a fan of Gourmet Gift Baskets on Facebook 
Follow Gourmet Gift Baskets on Twitter 
Follow The Squeaky Grocery Cart with GFC
Become a fan of The Squeaky Grocery Cart on Facebook 
Follow The Squeaky Grocery Cart on Twitter.  

The giveaway will end on December 8th, 2010.   The winner will be selected by

disclosure:   I was given a sample item for the purpose of this review.   I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Karo Cookie Exchange App

Who doesn't love cookies?   It is hard not to think about all the delicious cookies and baked goods at the holidays.   
Karo has a new application on their Facebook page.   It gives fans a chance to share their best cookie and cookie bar recipes with their new Cookie Exchange Application on Facebook. The app allows you to submit your own recipe, let your friends know you've entered and vote and comment on your favorites. By participating, you create a "living cookbook" to encourage baking and cookie exchanging all year long. Plus, you could win amazing prizes from Cadco, KitchenAid®, Williams-Sonoma, Vollrath® and! 

I am still trying to decide which recipe I would like to post.   Give it a try, and hopefully one of my readers will be a lucky winner!   

"Disclosure: I was entered for a chance to win an ACH  prize package in exchange for this post.  No monetary exchange took place."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Make a free personal Santa video for your children

Santa Claus and his amazing PNP console will be online during the entire holiday season. With just a few clicks, this technological marvel will let your loved ones receive a personal message from Santa Claus, sent directly from his village in the North Pole. Rediscover Christmas with this immersive and unique experience that brings the holiday magic back to life.

This was so much fun, my children were really surprised when they got their custom messages.  You fill certain details to make it more personal and within a few minutes, your message is ready. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Nothing says Thanksgiving like a vat of hot, boiling oil. Fried Turkey!!

Having grown up in the South, where everything is fried, fried turkey is nothing new to me.   But, I have met a lot of people who have never heard of it or tried it.  Of course, usually the first reaction you get is, "OMG, it will be so greasy"  but it is far from greasy.    Justin Wilson, Cajun Chef, said of fried turkey, " Frying whole turkeys is sort of the Southern version of making fondue. You have a lot of your friends over, you poke around in a pot of hot oil with some sticks, and then you pull out your dinner."     That sounds about right to me.   Frying a turkey is a very social activity, people want to gather around, see it,  and smell it being cooked.

When my husband moved from the north, that was one thing that he couldn't wait to try.    So our first Thanksgiving together, he and my dad stood huddled over a hot pot of boiling oil frying turkeys.   That was 6 years ago, ever since then he fries one every year. 

You start out with a thawed turkey, then you inject it with delicious marinades, either store bought or homemade.  Then rub the skin with a combination of cayenne pepper, white pepper, paprika, and other seasonings.   This adds the flavorfulness.    Marinade overnight, or at least 2 hours before frying.  

This year is different foe my husband because, now he finally has his own turkey fryer to play with.  You will want to pre-heat your oil.  The best oil to use for this is peanut oil.   Of course, you do have to take safety precautions because the oil temperature ranges between 325-350 degrees.   

Once your oil has reached the ideal temperature, it is time to drop the bird.   The general rule of thumb for cook time is about 3 minutes per pound.   Let your bird cook.  You will want to have a good thermometer on hand to check the internal temperatures.    The waiting is the hard part!  It smells so good.   

Your finished turkey will be a rich golden brown on the outside, with some of the juiciest and tastiest meat, you have ever eaten.    It is hard to eat roasted turkey after having a fried turkey.   Give it a try, you wont be disappointed.      Happy Thanksgiving!!

Hasbro Action Figure Review

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review two of Hasbro's new action figures.   Having a family of Star Wars fans, I am very familiar with Hasbro's Star Wars Action Figure line.   I was really excited with the opportunity to review one of the newest figures.  

We received one of the new Flame Thrower Clonetrooper.  My son was thrilled, because this was a figure we did not have!   The newest Star Wars action figures come with the Galactic Battle Game.   Each figure is packed with a competitive gaming base, a unique battle attributes card, and a die to play the game.   This allows kids to interact with their Star Wars figures in a new way.   The action figures retail for $6.99 and are available now.   Ages: 4 and up

The second action figure we got to review was one of the new Transformer Power Core Combiners.    The new transformers combine with one another, in dozens of variations to create a wide variety of larger Combiner robots, with each figure serving as various body parts and weapons.   The Power Core Combiners are available in 2 packs and 5 packs.    They retail for $9.99 - $19.99 and are also available now.  Ages 5 and up. 

My son loves the new Transformer figures.   They certainly are not like the ones I grew up with.  In some ways, I think they are harder to transform.  These new Power Core Combiners are really cool and will certainly delight those kids on your shopping list.    Be on the look out for Hasbro's Holiday coupons.     There are some for Transformers. 

disclosure:  I received samples for the purpose of this review.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own. 

Carmex Moisture Plus Tint Lip Balm Review and Giveaway!

As a member of the Carmex Blog Squad, I had the opportunity to try out the new Carmex Moisture Plus lip balm.     This is an ultra hydrating lip balm, with two colors available, sheer pink and peach.

Carmex Moisture Plus Products:
  • Ultra Hydrating Lip Balm
  • Vitamin E & Aloe
  • SPF 15
  • Slanted Tip
I really liked the lip balm.  They provide just a hint of color while hydrating your lips.   I really loved the way the product felt on my lip.  It lasted a surprisingly long time, which is a plus.   These will be a great product for winter.    Overall, I have to say that I have really enjoyed testing out this product.  I would like to see it available in a few more color choices.   The new Carmex Moisture Plus lip balm are only available at Walgreens and

Carmex is graciously giving away a set of 2 Carmex Moisture Plus Lip Balms to one lucky reader.    This giveaway is open to U.S residents only, 18 years or older.    Please leave a separate comment for each entry with a valid email address.  

Mandatory Entry: 
Tell me why you would like to Try Carmex Moisture Plus Tint Lip Balms

Additional Entries: 
Follow Carmex on Facebook 
Follow Carmex on Twitter
Follow The Squeaky Grocery Cart with GFC
Follow The Squeaky Grocery Cart on Facebook
Follow The Squeaky Grocery Cart on Twitter 
Leave a comment on any non giveaway post.  Please share the link for the post you commented on.  

This contest will end on December 5th, 2010.  The winner will be selected by

disclosure:  I received a sample for the purpose of this review.   I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

Terracycle "Make A Difference Mom" Contest

Ziploc® Brand products and TerraCycle® want to celebrate moms around the country who are taking steps to make a difference for the environment and their communities. We’re searching nationwide for that “Make A Difference Mom” who makes a conscious effort to create a positive impact on the environment and community in her daily life. Tell us how the mom you are nominating (maybe it’s you!) recycles, plants trees or engages in other activities designed to help protect the environment. TerraCycle will pick four finalists to highlight on the TerraCycle Facebook page, where you can find a link to vote for the winner.

One grand prize winner will receive the title of “Make a Difference Mom”, a TerraCycle prize pack, a Ziploc prize pack, $1,500 to reward herself or her community and a video camera to document her experience!

More information about how to nominate your mom can be found on TerraCycle's Facebook Fan page under the tab called 'Make a Difference Mom'.  
Contest runs from October 24, 2010 until December 15, 2010.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I would like to wish all of my readers a Happy Thanksgiving!   I hope that everyone enjoys this special day with family and friends.   And take a moment to reflect on all the many things that you are thankful for!  

If you and a group of family and friends are camping out tonight for Black Friday specials, enjoy that time as well.   I sometimes think we have more fun in the lines then we do actually shopping.    

FREE Patron Mini Bundt Cake for 2!

 If you are 21 or older, visit Patron's Social Club to register to receive a FREE Patron Mini Bundt Cake for 2!
You can choose either the 'Double Chocolate Chunk' or 'Orange Almond  flavored cake.  

Black Friday Food Freebies!

Become a fan of Slurpee on Facebook and download a coupon for a FREE Small Slurpee
drink at participating 7-Eleven stores. Look under the “Free Slurpee”
tab Friday morning to print your coupon.





Shopping at Sam's Club on Friday? shop between 5-10am and receive a FREE
breakfast! Breakfast includes: hot egg sandwich, fruit, yogurt and
coffee! Check your location to confirm participation.

Get a free appetizer at Chili’s with this coupon , no purchase necessary! Good for Black Friday only!They have other specials until November 30th.  

Burger King – Free 12 oz. cup of Seattle’s Best Coffee (Friday during breakfast hours)

Bob Evans-  If you haven't had enough pie yet, print this coupon to get a free slice of pie.  Valid Friday-Sunday

Ikea – Free Breakfast and Coffee (Friday – Sunday)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Princess Party!

This week I have spent a lot of time getting ready for my little girl's birthday party.   She loves all things Disney Princesses, so we had a Princess Makeover Party. 

I asked all the guest to come dressed as their favorite princess.  Then I set up different stations so they could get their hair, nails, lips done. To finish off the look, I had shimmering powder and perfume to give them a little sparkle.   The Target dollar bin was a great resource for party favors.   Currently, they have an assortment of Princess press-on nails, jewelry, socks, stickers, and hair accessories.  

I also attempted to make and decorate her birthday cake.  I was really nervous about this.   I have been wanting to take a cake decorating class, but haven't got to yet.   I just did it!   It turned out better then I expected.   The only problem was that my cake turned out a little shorter then the doll.   So I had to pop Barbie's legs off to get her in the cake lol.  

For the table, I used a white table cloth with a hot pink table runner and an over lay of purple tulle.     Around the cake stand, I used a white floral wreath ( I actually used them in my wedding and still finding uses for them)   and added a few pieces of pink and purple curling ribbon for a little color.  

I think all of the little princesses enjoyed themselves and the cake. 

Pumpkin Pudding with Gingersnaps.

I have been looking for some recipes for Thanksgiving.    I love traditional Thanksgiving food, but this year I would like to do something a little different.    This is a Pumpkin Pudding recipe, that I can not wait to make.   It is really simple and sounds delicious. 
  • 1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 C. canned pumpkin
  • 1 3/4 C milk
  • 1 C. whipped topping
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • gingersnap cookies


  1. In a large mixing bowl whisk together vanilla pudding mix and milk.
  2. Add in pumpkin and seasonings .  Whisk until soft set.
  3. Gently whisk in the whipped topping until it becomes thick and creamy.
  4. Scoop into your serving dishes
  5. Top with crushed gingersnap cookies

Holiday Gift Guide- Rolling Thunder Book Review

I have talked about being a huge Star Wars fan and costumer before on my blog.  When I was presented with the opportunity to review  Rolling Thunder, my inner fangirl was squealing!   To me, Dave Dorman is one of the most talented of all the Star Wars artist.   He has created some of the most iconic Star Wars artwork.   But,he has also had an amazing career  working with  DC, Marvel, GI Joe, Battlestar Galactica, Magic the Gathering, Indiana Jones, and other titles I am not familiar with.  

In his most recent book, Rolling Thunder,   it is a retrospective book showcasing his amazing talent and equally amazing career.    The book allows you a glimpse into his early works and  never before seen works from his sketch books.  It expands to showcase artwork from popular science fiction and comics as well as magazine and book covers.

This is a quality hardcover book with 328 pages of amazing art!  This is certainly a must have book for anyone who is familiar with Dave Dorman's work. My husband has loved looking at this book and I have too!   I enjoy seeing the sketches and finished pieces side by side. Of course, my favorites are anything Star Wars.   On page 276, is one of my favorite Dorman pieces.  It is a painting of Princess Leia as Boushh standing in front of Han Solo frozen in carbonite.   I enjoyed reading Dave's comments about the painting and I appreciate that he wanted to get away from the white dress and the slave costume.  Both of those costumes are greatly overdone.

I really appreciated the books afterword and it gave me a greater respect for the man behind the art.   It was warm and insightful.   After struggling with depression, Dave writes, "  I was given a gift by God, not to be squandered by self doubt.  I have the blessing of a loving wife and son".   He also talks about moving from publishing to gallery work. Being a fan, I personally can not wait to see his future artwork.  

This book would make a great gift for Star Wars fans, comic book series fans, and really anyone who appreciates amazing art.   To learn more about Dave Dorman and his art, please visit his website or blog

Publishing Information: 
Publisher: IDW Publishing (August 3, 2010) 
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1600106730,
ISBN-13: 978-1600106736

disclosure:  I did receive a copy of this book for the purpose of this review.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own.  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My BlogSpark Giveaway: Pillsbury Toaster Strudels

In the rush known as our mornings, a special treat for my children is a toaster Strudel.  Oatmeal and cereal can sometimes get a little boring.   It is nice to have a treat once in a while.  They love it when I make silly faces with the icing.   That always brings a smile to their face.     Now you have the chance to show us what kind of icing artist you are with the “Doodle on A Strudel” Facebook application. Visit Pillsbury on Facebook and click on the Toaster Strudel tab to use your cursor to draw your favorite icing designs on the virtual Toaster Strudel pastry. You can save your Strudel Doodles and share them on Facebook or send a doodle to your friends by clicking “Share Your Strudel Art.” 

Need even more to smile about? Pillsbury is also giving you the chance to win Toaster Strudel pastries for a month through the “A Million Morning Smiles” sweepstakes. With over 2,000 winners per week, simply visit and enter to win four boxes of Toaster Strudel from now through February 7, 2011.

Would you like to win a Pillsbury Toaster Strudel Prize Pack to bring a little smile to your morning?   One lucky reader will win a prize package just like the one pictured.  

Mandatory Entry:

Tell me what your favorite flavor of Toaster Strudel is.   

Please leave a separate comment for each entry and a valid email address.  
Additional Entries: 

Become a fan of Pillsbury on Facebook
Become a GFC follower of The Squeaky Grocery Cart
Become a fan of The Squeaky Grocery Cart on Facebook 
Become a follower of The Squeaky Grocery Cart on Twitter

The contest will end on December 4th, 2010.   The winner will be selected by and the winner will be notified emailed.    

I was provided with a prize package from My BlogSpark and Pillsbury.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.  

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide- My Star Wars Christmas Wishlist

 Nothing makes my heart beat a little faster and my inner fangirl squeal with delight then a new Star Wars toy or collectible. I have grown up being a Star Wars fan, so for Christmas there is always something related to Star Wars on my Christmas list.    Thankfully, my husband and children also love Star Wars too!
I have selected an assortment of Star Wars items that will make your favorite Star Wars fan's holidays a little merrier.   These are just a few of my favorite items this year!   I am hoping at least a few will find their way under my Christmas tree.

photo from Williams-Sonoma website
The first item on my list is from Williams-Sonoma.   You can bring the Force to your kitchen. Williams-Sonoma has an assortment of Star Wars themed cookie cutters, pancake molds, and sandwich cutters.    Each retails for $19.95 and is exclusive to Williams-Sonoma. 

 The cookie cutters are   2 1/2"-4 1/4" wide.   Each is equipped with
 a spring-loaded stamp, Use the edges to shape your cookie, then gently press the stamp into the dough to create imprinted detailing.  

photo from Williams-Sonoma Website
   They also offer adult and kid sized aprons that you can get monogrammed for the  Jedi bakers in your home.    The apron is made of black cotton twill and is embroidered with Yoda, Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and a Stormtrooper.    The double front pocket is large enough for carrying cooking tools and is easily adjusted to fit with a D-ring on the neck strap.    You also have the option to get this item monogrammed for your favorite Jedi, up to 9 initials.      The price range for the apron is:  kids $19.95- $24.95 and adults is $29.95 -36.95

Another place that satisfies my inner geek is .  This is a site that I order from religiously!   I already have the R2-D2 Trash can and lightsaber chopsticks from them.  Yes, they were previous Christmas gifts!   I have been very pleased with their fast shipping and customer service.   This year, the items making my Christmas list are the Wampa Rug, Tauntaun Sleeping Bag, R2-D2 peppermill, and the R2-D2 Laundry Baskets.
photo from ThinkGeek website
Since this year celebrates the 30th Anniversary of the Empire Strikes Back there is nothing better then the Wampa Rug and Tauntaun Sleeping Bag.  Both creatures made their film debuts in Empire.

The Wampa Rug measures 62"long x 30"wide.   It is made out of high quality synthetic fur and features a plush pillow head.   Can you imagine snuggling in front of the fire with your own bear style Wampa rug.   Perhaps that is only something a Star Wars fan would get excited about.
The Wampa Rug retails for $99.99

photo from ThinkGeek website
Last year, ThinkGeek released the Tauntaun Sleeping bag.    This is still on my Star Wars short list of items I love!   I have to quote the ThinkGeek website,  

"Teach your children about the best Star Wars movie ever!   
Now when your kids tell you their favorite Star Wars movie is "Attack of the Clones" you can nestle the wee-ones snug in simulated Tauntaun fur while regaling them with the amazing tale of "Empire Strikes Back"."  
The sleeping bag is for indoor use only.   Bag Dimensions - 33" x 67" (not including head pillow or legs).   The sleeping bag is one size fits all, so it is great for adults and children.   The Tauntaun sleeping bag retails for $99.99

photo from ThinkGeek Website
The last two items are because I personally can not resist the animal magnetism of R2-D2.   I love all things R2!  ThinkGeek feeds my R2 addictions.

Who couldn't resist an R2-D2 peppermill?   This is absolutely genius!
Simply twist R2's head and he deposits pepper onto your food.   This item is imported from Japan.  Which in my opinion, is where some of the best Star Wars merchandise comes from.   The R2-D2 peppermill retails for $19.99.

photo from ThinkGeek Website
Every mom knows that laundry can be one of the worst household chores.   Well, you can bring balance back to the laundry by using R2-D2 Laundry Baskets.    
You get a set of 2 baskets  (1 R2-D2 classic blue design and 1 R2-D1 red design). One for the light side of the laundry and one for the dark side of the laundry.   Each basket has interior spring metal support and collapses flat for storage.    The measurements for the baskets are 26"inches high and 14"in diameter.   These retail for $39.99

If you are looking for t-shirts for your favorite Star Wars fangirl.   Then check out HerUniverse.       HerUniverse  was started by actress Ashley Eckstien, the voice of Ahsoka Tano in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.    HerUniverse was started because, "Female sci-fi fans are growing in numbers and have largely gone unoticed.." 

Right now, Her Universe offer only apparel, but hopefully soon will offer jewelry and cosmetics inspired by Star Wars.    My favorite shirt from HerUniverse is the I Know t-shirt .      The shirt  was designed by Star Wars artist Cat Staggs  and beautifully represents the moment from Empire Strikes Back.   The I love you/I know scene from Empire is like a Shakespearean sonnet to Star Wars Fans.    

Of course, last but not least!  No other place that makes it easier to shop for a Star Wars fan then .        Basically, everything on the site would be golden under the Christmas tree.   A few of my favorites, (which is hard to narrow down)  The exclusive Space Slug Oven Mit  ($19.99),  the exclusive Garden Jawa ($34.99), the Jedi Bath robe ($69.99, pre-order), and The Clone Wars Season 2 on DVD or Blu-ray  ($34.99-46.99)

May the Force be with You during your holiday shopping!  

disclosure:  I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.   I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in this post.   All opinions expressed in this post are my own

Saturday, November 13, 2010

scavenger hunt sunday

Self Portrait-  This is me. My husband and I are Star Wars costumers.   This is a picture from a local street festival.   I usually operate our R2 unit.

Handmade-  This is a handprint turkey from our Thanksgiving table cloth.   I wanted to start a Thanksgiving tradition, so I got a white table cloth for my son's first Thanksgiving.  Every year we make new handprint turkeys to add to it.  


Candle-  I recycled this picture.   Unfortunately, I just haven't had a lot of time to snap pictures. 

Traffic Signals or Signs-

What to join in on the fun?  Check out Scavenger Hunt Sunday at Ramblings and Photos

    Harry Potter On Demand or Download

    My family and I are huge Harry Potter fans!   My husband and I have read all of the books and of course watched the movies.    I am really looking forward to the new movie, which will be opening November 19th.  
    I thought I would share this information from Warner Brothers with my readers.  

    Warner Bros. Digital Distribution (WBDD) is celebrating the upcoming Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, with the release of the first five Harry Potter films this month On Demand (cable & satellite) .  It is also available through digital Download on iTunes, Amazon Video On Demand, XBOX and PlayStation and other online digital retailers.

    For more details, check out

    Upcoming Freebies and Coupons

    When I started my blog, I started out just talking about coupons. Somewhere over the course of this year, my blog focus has widened and I haven't posted much in the way of coupons or freebies. So I thought I would share a few today.

    Fast Food Freebies:
    "Like" Del Taco on Facebook and print a coupon to get a free Pollo Asado Chicken Taco with purchase.

    Every Friday in November, Burger King is giving away free coffee.

    On November 16th, Jack In The Box will be giving away 2 free Tacos after 2pm. No purchase necessary.

    Get a $1/1 Kraft's new Kraft Shredded Cheese with a touch of Philly coupon.

    There is another great Wholly Guacamole coupon. $2/2 expires 12/31/2010.

    Walmart announced free shipping on 60,000 holiday items, including electronics, video games, toys,jewelry, and furniture. There is no minimum purchase amount and returns are free, too. The free shipping offer ends Dec. 20, 2010.

    If you are a hard core Black Friday Shopper, be sure to check out They have sneak peaks at Black Friday Ads.

    Friday, November 12, 2010

    Junior Leagues Santa Shoppe opens today!!

    If you are one of my local readers, you probably already know that the Junior Legues Santa Shoppe opens today. I really look forward to this event every year! I love Santa's Shoppe because it's filled with lots of wonderful merchants from around the nation and unique gift items I can't find anywhere else.

    The event takes place November 12 - 14 at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium - tickets are $5 in advance, $7 at the door. A ticket gets you in all three days! Children 12 and under are free. All proceeds are poured back into the community to local non-profit organizations.

    Thursday, November 11, 2010

    Yoplait Fiber One Yogurt $1 off coupon

    I am kind of hooked on Yoplait's Fiber One Yogurt. It is only 50 calories and has 5 grams of fiber and 0 grams of fat
    Fiber One yogurt is available in four flavors – Strawberry, Vanilla, Peach and Key Lime Pie (which is my favorite!!)

    Check out this video featuring Lisa Lillien, a.k.a, Hungry Girl, talking with consumers about Fiber One yogurt and their search for tasty diet snacks

    Don't miss out on the $1 off coupon! Share it with your friends on Facebook and Twitter. Just click the link under the video!

    Thanksgiving Craft- Handprint Turkey Table Cloth

    I wanted to create a family tradition for Thanksgiving.   Being a preschool teacher, I love to make hand print turkeys with my students.   It is a classic!  Everyone has made a hand print turkey and they are easy for children of all ages to create.
    So for my son's first Thanksgiving, I went out and bought the largest table cloth I could find.     We painted up his little hand and made a simple hand print turkey.   In 2007, my daughter was born on Thanksgiving day.    When we brought her home a few days later, I insisted that we do her hand print on the table cloth.

    The table cloth is something that can grow with my children and hopefully grandchildren.   It is very simple to create.     

    White cotton table cloth
    Acrylic or fabric paint
    permanent marker

    Paint your child's palm and thumb brown.   This will make the head and body of the turkey.

    Paint your child's figures in different colors to make the tail feathers.

    Press onto the tablecloth and allow for drying time.

     Use the permanent marker to create a beak and legs.

    I hope you have enjoyed this holiday craft idea.   I think that it is something that will make your Thanksgiving table just a little bit more special.   This post is linked to Home Sweet Farm-Crafty Friday!


    Thanksgiving is Christmas's speed bump

    I am in kind of a Bah Humbug mood today.   Granted, yes I probably start thinking and planning for Christmas before others do.  We have birthdays and holidays all tied up into one giant gift giving extravaganza.  But I just want to give a big ol' FAWKS  to retailers who try to force me into the Christmas mood before I am ready!!!  I don't want to see jack o'lanterns  and Christmas trees together. 

    And honestly, how early do we have to start playing Christmas music?     Two of our local stations have already started their 24/7 non-stop Christmas music.  This will go until New Years.      Do we really need 2 months of Christmas music?    Last year, I swore that if I heard "Rockin Around the Christmas Tree"  one more time, I was going to beat someone with my shoe.   Give it a few days and that same sentiment will probably hold true for this year.  


    Tuesday, November 9, 2010

    Amazing Wholly Gaucamole coupon!! $4/1 any product

    This is an AWESOME coupon!!!!   Be sure to check out Wholly Guacamole on Facebook,  today - Thursday to print a $4/1 Wholly Guacamole product. The coupon will be under the coupon tab on facebook!!

    Saturday, November 6, 2010

    Dominos Pizza Online game

    Check out Dominos Pizza  website and go behind the pizza.   In just a few minutes, you can learn about the where the pizza ingredients come from and earn points for coupons or a $5 GC. 

    Christmas Light Trade In at Home Depot

    Home Depot has a program from November 4th-November 14th, where you can take in your old incandescent Christmas lights  and upgrade to new LED energy efficient lights.   

    This is how the program works:  Bring in your old or broken incandescent Christmas lights and receive a $3/1 LED Christmas lights coupon. (Limit 5 coupons/trade-ins per person.)

    Holiday Gift Guide - Baby GoGo

    Dolls are such an important teaching tool, not only for little girls, but for boys as well.   Children love to imitate their parents and dolls are a great way to be nurturing and caring.   It can also help get children used to having a new baby. 

    I remember when I was pregnant with my daughter, my 2 1/2  year old son asked for a baby doll.
    My husband wasn't terribly thrilled with the idea because the little doll was dressed in a ruffled pink dress.    I said it would be fine for him to have a doll.  My son called the doll  his little sister.   He played with the doll on and off throughout the remainder of my pregnancy.   When his little sister was born, he said that he wanted her to have the Little Sister doll and passed it on to her.  

    I was very excited to review Baby GoGo with my children and wished we had had a Baby GoGo a few years earlier.   Baby Go Go is a gender neutral doll.  The doll is clothed in gender neutral clothing, with  no hair and is designed so that both boys and girls will feel comfortable playing with it.

    My daughter loved Baby GoGo!   She immediately put the doll in her little play stroller and rolled it through the house.   My son will sometimes play dolls with his sister, but won't play for very long.    So my little girl has been the main one to play with Baby GoGo.  

    The little story book is really cute.  It tells the story of Baby GoGo's leaving the hospital and coming home to meet  its siblings for the first time.   Baby GoGo also comes with a little blanket, that my daughter compared to her favorite blanket, both made of the same materials. 

    Baby GoGo has a diaper bag, Moses basket, and playtime clothing accessories that will help extend your child's play time.

    I really appreciate that Little Sib is working to remove gender bias in toys.  I have always hated that mindset that little girls had to play with dolls and boys had to play with cars and trucks.   When I was younger, I know my own mom would have preferred that I played with more baby dolls.   That just was not me.  I liked Barbie dolls more then baby dolls, and  I loved my Star Wars too!    I had a nice mix of toys and I wanted the same thing for my children.

    You can purchase Baby GoGo for $39.99 and the coordinating diaper bag for $24.99 online or at your local specialty toy shop.

    Friday, November 5, 2010

    Ugggh!!  That is the way I am feeling right now.  It seems like when it is rainy and  cold is always when you get the worst news.    I would appreciate it if my blog followers would include my family in their prayers.   I could really use some right now.    Thanks everyone. 

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Cheesey Onion Rolls

     Since I tried making  homemade cinnamon rolls, with some success!!  I have really been interested in making more homemade bread.   Making bread from scratch can be a little intimidating at first, I was terrified! but mainly because I had never done it before.  

    Fleischman's Yeast has a hotline that can help you out by offering baking tips and information.  The Fleischmann’s Yeast hotline: (800) 777-4959. Hotline hours are from 9am to 4pm, CST; questions may also be submitted online at   With Thanksgiving coming, I am really wanting to try out this recipe.  I think it would be nice to have homemade rolls, instead of something store bought. 

    This recipe was entered in the DuQuoin State Fair (Illinois) and judged to be a winner.

    Yield: 2 Dozen Rolls
    Proof Time: 2 hours
    Bake Time: 25 to 30 minutes

    2 envelopes Fleischmann’s® Active Dry Yeast
    1/2 cup warm water (100° to 110°F)
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 cup warm milk (100° to 110°F)
    1/2 cup very soft butter
    1-1/2 teaspoons salt
    2 eggs
    5-1/2 to 6 cups bread flour
    2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese blend
    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    1/4 cup dried chives
    1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
    4 tablespoons mayonnaise

    Combine yeast and warm water in a large mixing bowl. Let stand 5 minutes to soften yeast. Add sugar, milk, butter, salt, eggs and 3 cups flour. Beat for 3 minutes with electric mixer until smooth; gradually add remaining flour until a soft dough is formed. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead 6 to 8 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl, turning once to coat. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

    Punch down and turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Let rest about 5 minutes. Combine cheese, onions, chives, and garlic powder in a bowl. Divide dough in half and roll each part out to a 15 x 12-inch rectangle. Spread each rectangle with 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and sprinkle with half of cheese mixture. Roll, starting at long side, and seal edges. Slice each roll into 12 slices and place (cut side up) in two well greased 13 x 9-inch baking pans (12 rolls per pan). Cover and let rise 45 to 60 minutes, until doubled in size.

    Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Serve warm.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Holiday Gift Guide- Best Pal Dolls

    When I was pregnant with my children, my husband and I talked a lot about the type of toys we wanted our children to play with.   What we realized was that all most all of the toys available made some sort of noise.   Why?   Isn't the best part of playing making the noises or making your dolls talk to each other?   Isn't that how we did it as children?    We wanted toys for our children that would inspire, enchant, and enhance imaginative play.

    Kathy and Janet Lennon, of the Lennon Sisters, have created a line of beautiful rag dolls, called Best Pals, based on their own handmade rag dolls lovingly created by their mother and Nana in 1949.   " We want other young children to know the joy of holding soft little dolls in their arms, listening to sweet music, and sharing special moments with their own Best Pals."

    I remember when I was a little girl had a ragdoll that I loved and still cherish to this day.  I recently had the opportunity to review these dolls with my daughter.    She was immediately drawn to them!  She said that they were her sisters.    We have  already had countless tea parties and walks around the neighborhood with Kathy and Janet in her little doll stroller.   I hope that my daughter will look back and have fond memories of playing with her dolls. 

    I love that these dolls are so beautifully made.  I am sure the original dolls were lovingly made, and I feel that the same emotions goes into these dolls.  These are the types of gifts that will be cherished for years to come.

    An exact replica of Kathy Lennon’s original ragdoll from 1949; down to the vintage fabric pattern on her sashed dress and the yarn hair that is styled in two perfect braids! 16” H

    • Each doll is part of a numbered and limited edition
    • Embroidered facial features
    • Clothes are removable and changeable for added play-value
    • Yarn hair is easy to re-style
    • Each doll has a “Best Pals” baby bead bracelet – just like in the 1950’s


    The Janet doll is an exact reproduction of the ragdoll given to Janet Lennon at just 3 years old. The nostalgic pink and blue bunny print on her pale yellow dress reminds us of a sweeter, simpler time. 16” H

    • Each doll is part of a numbered and limited edition
    • Embroidered facial features
    • Clothes are removable and changeable for added play-value
    • Yarn hair is easy to re-style
    • Each doll has a “Best Pals” baby bead bracelet – just like in the 1950’s

    You can also find Multicultural dolls and Danny Boy  to go along with Janet and Kathy.   If you are looking for a charming heirloom quality gift, these dolls would be perfect for that special little girl in your life.    Best Pals also has CDs, playsets, and paper dolls available.  

    disclosure:  I was provided with a sample for the purpose of this review.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

    Holiday Greeting Cards from Shutterfly!

    I have used Shutterfly in the past to create photo books for my family.   I have had wonderful experiences ordering from Shutterfly in the past.   Their service is quick and uploading software is easy to use.  The end result has been amazing photobooks that I treasure.  This year, I decided that I would use them to create our family Christmas cards.     

    I really love sending and receiving photo Christmas cards in the mail.  It is a wonderful way to share pictures of your family with friends and relatives who live far away.   Shutterfly has hundreds of designs to choose from!  Of course, with so many options to choose from, finding one that my husband and I both agree on is the hard part.

       This year, we have selected the Bright Colored Lights Christmas Card.  We thought the design was festive and fun and perfect for our Holiday greetings.   The card measures  5.25 x 5.25 inches and features one pictures.  

    If you are looking for other ways to personalize your holidays, check out Shutterfly's selection of customizable Christmas Gift Tags and other Holiday stationary items, like holiday party invitations and Thank You cards.

    Do you want 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly? Click here to go to Shutterfly for information on how you can get 50 free cards this holiday season.  

    This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    Holiday Gift Guide- A Christmas Carol Pop Up Book

    Charles Dicken's A Christmas Carol is a classic Christmas story that has charmed generations for years.  This edition by Chuck Fischer and paper engineer Bruce Foster, will enchant your family for years to come.
    Growing up, we all have memories of either reading the classic novel or watching the movie.  This book will bring back those memories and hopefully inspire you to read it with your children.   The attention to detail is just amazing.    The original story is printed in separate little books that are kept in a holder on each page.   You can read the original story and view the amazingly beautiful pop-ups.
     The pop-up illustrations are rich with details and bring the story to life.   This would be an amazing gift for a teacher, book collector, or readers of all ages.  

    From the Publisher: This beautiful re-imagining of Charles Dickens's timeless fable, A Christmas Carol: A Pop-Up Book features artist Chuck Fischer's richly painted depictions of the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, brought to life in intricate pop-up scenes. The entire text of A Christmas Carol is reproduced in five removable, illustrated, keepsake booklets. An introductory booklet provides a biography of Dickens and an illustrated feature on the enduring appeal of this beloved story.

    About Author

    Charles Dickens (1812-1870) was one of the most prolific authors of the nineteenth century. In his many short stories, plays, novellas, and novels, he created some of literature's most memorable characters. ... more

    Audio and Video

    Title: A Christmas Carol: A Pop-Up Book
    Author: Chuck Fischer
    Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; Pop edition
    Publication Date: November 10, 2010
    Hardcover: 12 pages
    ISBN: 978-0316039734
    Genre: Literary Fiction

    disclosure:  I received a book for free for the purpose of this review.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for this review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

    Holiday Gift Guide kicks off today!

    It is hard to believe that it is already November 1st!!   For my household, this means we will be going non-stop until New Years with birthdays, holiday celebrations, shopping, baking, and everything in between.  

    My Holiday Gift Guide is going to feature products for everyone on your shopping list, even items for those hard to shop for people.   There is always one on our list, so I have been looking for unique products to share. 
     Or maybe you have a huge Sci-Fi fan or a Twilight vampire fan, I will have gift suggestions to delight them as well. 
     I am also going to include some great ideas for homemade gifts.  All of the homemade gifts can be made in about an hour, and are wonderful to make with children.  
    Hopefully some of the gift ideas from my Holiday Gift Guide will end up under your Christmas tree.