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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sweet Savings in Store #GEFuel17

Tax refund time has arrived for many families. For my family, tax season is the time of year that we pay off a bill, make a purchase for our home and we plan ahead for summer fun! I shop at Giant Eagle, and they have a special Fuel Perk right now that was so good I had to take advantage of it, in the spirit of forward thinking for summer during tax season!

Right now, at Giant Eagle, you will earn 20 cents in fuel perks for every $50 you spend on select gift cards in Giant Eagle stores. That is a pretty great deal that ANYONE can take advantage of. Even if you don't really need a gift card. But, come on, who doesn't need a gift card!?

Consider this, if you are heading to the grocery store, why not head into Giant Eagle? While you are walking into the store and make a detour. Visit the gift card section first. Grab a Visa Gift Card that fits your grocery budget. Example, if you are planning to spend $100, get $100 in gift cards. Buy it, then let those fuel perks add up! Return to normal shopping and check out, using that gift card. You spent maybe 2 extra minutes of your time but you earned 40 cents in fuel perks!



Of course, if you are a double dipper like I am, you are going to use a card to pay for these cards.... that is an extra chance to save! I love earning cash back on top of money saving opps like this!

This great deal can't last forever. Head into Giant Eagle NOW through 3/8/17 to stock up on gift cards and save some cash on gas!

We bought a few assorted gift cards to save for a rainy day. For each one I purchased, we earned 20 cents in fuel perks. Lowering our gas expenses and increasing our fun!

Do you like to save gift cards or maybe gift them to special people? I love to get gift cards! Especially for Old Navy! I also like to stash them for rainy day fun and I love to gift them to special people in my life. Especially if I need to mail the gift, a gift card is the best way to do it!

Have you ever earned fuel rewards in a special savings opportunity like this? I do every chance I get, because gas is one of those things we use weekly.

If you feel lucky, you can enter to win a gift card right now!
a Rafflecopter giveaway



See Store for more details 
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Puppets

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Popsicle stick puppets come together easily with minimal supplies to create an invitation to engage in dramatic play for toddlers and preschoolers!


My 3 year old loves to play with puppets and I love to encourage dramatic play for her developing mind! We made these super simple little puppets which were the perfect size for her small hands. She loved including Thing 1 and Thing 2 in all of her pretend play!



These are so easy. All you need is:
2 Popscile Sticks
Red Paint or Markers
4 googly eyes
a small bit of blue paper
2 small rounds of white paper
a pen or marker
Glue


Instructions:
Paint or color  2/3 of the craft stick red
Cut the blue paper to look like 2 shocks of hair.
Glue the hair on each stick
Give the sticks 2 eyes
Write Thing 1 and Thing 2 on the circles of paper and glue it on the center and you have your easy and fun puppets!


These are perfect for an easy peasy play session or a fun way to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday.



Cheesy Chicken Taquito Recipe


This post might contain affiliate links. Samples were provided to inspire my recipe.

My favorite things to prepare for my family are easy, economical, wholesome and yummy! This easy chicken taquito recipe meets all of those criteria and is on the way to becoming a family favorite here! I have been serving them with Spanish Rice or a simple green salad. They come together in under 25 minutes for a great snack, appetizer, party food or addition to dinner. These are so incredibly easy thanks to the conveniently canned chicken breast from Keystone Meats.



If you take an easy side route of Spanish Style Rice and a can of diced tomatoes and chilis you can have a great dinner for your family in just a few moments!



This recipe made 16 taquitos.  We loved the creamy, cheesy inside with the crispy exterior! We were pleased with the quality of the Keystone Chicken. It was every bit as good as freshly cooked chicken. I am anxious to try this brand in my easy cheesy chicken taco recipe!









Chicken Taquitos
A cheesy, creamy, crispy taquito recipe to add a lot of yum to Taco Tuesday!
Ingredients
  • 16 flour tortillas
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 4 ounces salsa
  • 1 can of Keystone Chicken Breast
  • 2 tablespoons Cooking Oil of Choice
Instructions
combine  chicken breast, cream cheese, shredded cheese, salsa.
 Mix well.
Spread the mixture on one end of a tortilla.Roll the tortilla around the mixture.
Repeat until all chicken filling and tortillas are gone.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. 

Add taquitos to the skillet and brown on each side then serve.You can serve with salsa and sour cream if you like.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Presidents Day Patritoc Art Project

This easy art project is a fun way to engage preschoolers, toddlers and kindergarteners in a patriotic craft for President's Day, Fourth of July or Veteran's Day!



We had a lot of left over heart cut outs from our Valentine's Day crafts and I wanted to use them up, but I also wanted to make a patriotic craft with the kids for President's Day. This heart flag is what we came up with.

This craft is so easy and lovely. My 6 year old made this one, and he did a really great job with it too!
The older your kids are, the more detailed their projects will be. If you are making this with kids a little older than Rolfie and Harp, you could have them cut the correct number of hearts to use in place of stars.



The supplies for this craft are super basic and you probably have just about everything you will need on hand. We used Kwik Stix in blue to paint the blue square, but you could use markers, crayons or just a small section of blue paper.

Supplies:
2 sheets of copy paper or white construction paper
2 sheets of red construction paper
Scissors
Glue
Blue paint, markers of crayons



Directions:
Create a small blue square on one sheet of copy paper.
Cut 2 sheets worth of red hearts, then glue lines of red hearts on the paper.
Cut small white hearts from the extra sheet of white paper and glue them on in the blue square you made earlier.



Saturday, February 11, 2017

Make Valentine's Day Sweet Even At The Last Moment with Walker's

I am a Walker's ambassador but these ideas, opinions and fun moments are my own!


Valentine's Day is a sweet affair! From the cards and the candy, the flowers and the rich foods, the dancing and decorating; it is almost too much for my waistline to bare. If you nodded your head in agreement on that statement, you will appreciate my logic in gifting the sweeties in my life a little differently this year.

While a box of chocolate candy is lovely and I literally do a happy dance anytime I am offered a sweet token of affection like candy, this year I wanted to offer my sweeties something different. Something delectable but sophisticated, and off the beaten path of treats that we are overloaded with at Valentine's Day.

Walker's Shortbread is my go to option for a treat that isn't too sweet but is completely delicious. This year, I am indulging friends and family with the gift of goodness. Walker's Shortbread has some ah-mazing cookie offerings that are sure to win the heart of your Valentine this year! A few of my favorite for sweet gifting are:

    Chocolate & Raspberry Shortbread: A new combination of scrumptious raspberry shortbread, half coated with rich dark chocolate.

Ginger Royals: A unique shortbread, combining the moistness of real stem ginger with the crispness of Walkers traditional pure butter shortbread, plus the irresistible taste of dark chocolate.

Orange Royals: Crisp pure butter shortbread baked with Mediterranean oranges and smothered in rich smooth milk chocolate.


After creating witty cards to accompany our gifts, Harper, my 3-year-old daughter decided we kind of had to have a snack too. We went with Walkers Shortbread Chocolate Scottie Dogs These are made with chocolate dough and added chocolate chips, this chocoholic version of the ever-popular Scottie Dogs Shortbread is made with only the finest ingredients.




We thought they were cute and yummy too! Little did we know, we could actually tame a savage dragon with a Chocolate Scottie!


For the kindergarten teacher, we will give her this card with a box of Walker's Chocolate and Raspberry Shortbread. 

For our friend Marsha, that my husband loves to tease.
She thought the card was hilarious and told me next time to send wine because she earns it working with him all day. {HA!}



Even at the last moment, there is time to show someone how special they are in your life, with a delicious option like the yummy Walker's line. From kids to grandmas and even savage beasts like the dragon love them!


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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Easy DIY Ladybug Valentine's for Kids with Welch's Fruit Snacks

Valentine's Day embraces all things sweet! From cards to decorations and of course, the treats!

Thanks to Welch's Fruit Snacks for se

This year we are making an effort to offer healthier alternatives to the standard miniature chocolates and hard suckers. Our go to choice was fruit snacks and naturally, we turned to Welch's this year! They have these awesome emoji designs out just in time for Valentine's Day!



Inspired by the warm fuzzy feelings that my children give me when they are happy, I came up with this sweet little handmade Valentine to share with Rolf's classroom at their party next week!

These are so cute and easy to make!




One black sheet of construction paper
One red sheet of construction paper
2 googly eyes
One long section of red ribbon
One pink doily heart
Glue
Scissors
Stickers
Welch's Fruit Snacks


Begin by cutting an oval for the body, a medium size heart for the head and several smaller hearts from the back paper.

Cut 2 smaller ovals and a small red heart from the red paper.

Place the two red ovals on the sides of the black oval for wings.

Cut your heart doily in half. Glue one half on each wing.

Add the black heart to the top of the wings to make a head.

Glue 2 googly eyes on the heart head.

Glue the small red heart for a mouth on the head.

Curl on 3 inch section of ribbon for the antenna.

Decorate the body with the small black hearts and a few fun stickers!

Take the rest of the ribbon and tie it around the body, then affix the fruit snacks to the back of the card.


There you have a sweet and cute candy free Valentine Treat!




Welch's Fruit Snacks are available in these fantastic 28 count packages that are perfect for Valentine treat sharing, or just a tasty after school snack! Have you ever given fruit snacks at a holiday party?



Travel- Choosing Luxurious Accommodation for your Holiday


Travel- Choosing Luxurious Accommodation for your Holiday
With advances in information technology, it has become easier than ever to book luxury hotels. However, it can be challenging to find and pick the type of accommodation you need for your holiday. When you find the perfect place, you still need to determine whether or not it will truly suit your needs.
Gather Information
Maximize on your ability to find a luxurious hotel or resort by knowing the things you should consider before you go ahead and book your accommodation. Asking questions and gathering information is always an important step when looking for accommodation that will give you value for money.
Begin by finding out outstanding features of the hotel, what the best rooms are and the luxury items that you should expect in the establishment as well as the type of food that you can look forward to. You also need to be able to access reviews that cover different aspects of the hotel ranging from service to meals.
Travel Expectations and Requirements
People have different expectations and plans when they travel. Some may be planning to combine business with their holiday experience while others may be aiming for an exclusive and luxurious vacation. Regardless of what your needs are, you require a hotel that will fulfill your specified needs.
Before you make your booking, find out whether or not your needs will be efficiently met.
If you will be traveling with family or friends, consider everyone who will be accompanying you in the trip. Click here for Luxury Link.
Traveling with Children
For people who plan to travel with children, think about factors such as babysitting, children’s’ menus and indoor pools. You also need to consider the things that matter to you such as a spa, a well-equipped gym and reliable laundry services.
Business Trips
If you plan to travel alone and business may be involved in the midst of your luxury travel and holiday, look for features that include access to internet and business facilities such as conference halls as well as convenient transport options.
Hotel Locations
It is advisable to choose hotels according to their locations. This will enable you to determine aspects such as proximity to the airport, shopping malls and popular sites or the kind of view that you will enjoy from your hotel window.

Rates and Charges
Luxurious hotels charge different rates that are influenced by a variety of factors. Consider the costs and note that some budget deals may end up costing you much more in the long run.
Check on different hotels that are located within similar areas and call or e-mail to get quotes for each.
Decide whether you want a hotel that offers exemplary service or standardized service and what you are willing to spend.
Find out what the checking out time is, the facilities available, whether there are shops and restaurants around the hotel and what has been included in the charges.
Reviews
Learn more about the hotels that you are interested in through their websites, articles and customer reviews. The feedback that customers provide can help you gain insight into other guests’ experiences, sanitary conditions, the sizes of rooms, service and other things you should expect.
Bio
Simon Walsh is a freelance writer who has been contributing articles to various sites on a regular basis for 5 years. He describes himself as an avid reader and looks forward to writing his first novel. For more information about Luxury Link, please visit the site.
Monday, February 6, 2017

Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

This red velvet pancake recipe is nothing short of decadent. Light and fluffy but packed with the flavor of my a favorite cake, these are even better than the IHOP version!



Pancakes are a perfect start to the day because they are easy to make, they are economical and they are delicious! This recipe is perfect for occasions like Valentine's Day but also they are a go to recipe anytime you need a scrumptious start to the day!

Ingredients

Pancakes

2 cups Original Bisquick mix
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon unsweetened baking cocoa
1cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons red food color
2eggs

Cream Cheese Topping

4 oz cream cheese softened
1/4 cup butter softened
3 tablespoons milk
2 cups powdered sugar

In medium bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and 3 tablespoons milk with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Gradually beat in 2 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, on low speed until topping is smooth. Cover; set aside.

In large bowl, stir all pancake ingredients except powdered sugar with wire whisk until well blended. Heat griddle or skillet over medium-high heat (375°F).  Spray with cooking spray before heating.

For each pancake, pour  1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle.

Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbles form on top and edges are dry. Turn; cook other side until golden brown.

Spoon cream cheese topping into resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Cut off tiny corner of bag; squeeze bag to drizzle topping over pancakes.

Garnish with raspberries or strawberries if desired.


Saturday, February 4, 2017

8 Charming Champagne Cocktails

Valentine's Day is near, and if that isn't an occasion for celebrating with a little bubbly, then I don't know what is!



This year, I have 8 charming champagne cocktails to consider creating for my sweetie on Valentine's Day, but I have a feeling that any time we have cause for celebration I will reference this list!

Strawberry Champagne Margarita
Champagne Smash
Champagne Jello Shots
Strawberry Champagne Cocktail
Raspberry Champagne Cocktails
Mock Champagne Punch
Fizzy Julep
Champagne Floats


If Champagne isn't your favorite, you might like my Goodnight Kiss Cocktail recipe.



Which of these champagne cocktails sounds the best to you? Tell me who you would sip these with!?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Best New Crafts Crazes For Kids

One of the best things about being a mom is being able to do some fun arts and craft activities with the kids. It's great bonding time, and it teaches them the value of creativity, as well as fine motor skills. But do you ever struggle to come up with crafty ideas and projects for them to make? If so, worry no more, because below are some suggestions that will help you out.

Tangle Doodles

So tangle doodles or Zentangles, are everywhere are at the moment. But what are they? Well,  basically they are pictures that you make with a very basic set of instructions. You don't need a lot of specialist equipment, although they do recommend using a Sakura micron pen, which you can get from places like eBay. Remember to look for online vouchers before you buy so you can get money off too!

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To create tangle doodles, all you have to do is draw a square in pencil on some paper or card. You link one side of the square to the other in pencil like they do here. Then you take your black fine liner pen and in each section that the pencil has made, you draw a doodle design. You can do your own doodles, or use the one that is suggested.

It's pretty calming, as well as being creative too, so it's an excellent activity for children of all ages to complete. It also looks pretty awesome when it's completed as well, and you can get little frames to display your best work on the wall.

Shrink Paper Jewellery

Another great activity for the kids to have a go at is making their own jewellery, and key rings out of shrink paper. Shrink paper is this magical stuff that you can buy, that is a cross between plastic and paper. That means you can draw designs on it in pencil, pen and felt tip. Then you can cut in out and place it in the oven.

colored-pencils-402546_1280.jpg


It’s then shrinks to about a third of it’s size, but also gets thicker too. So it becomes like a piece of plastic with a design set into in. You can literally draw anything that you want. Its super fun, and you get something that is a great keepsake at the end of it.

It a lovely idea to get the kids to do this for gifts to give people for special occasions. Or, even to make items for themselves like necklaces, rings and key rings. You can buy all the findings for these online too, to give them a professional finish.

Amigurumi

For older kids a great crafting trend to have a go at is Amigurumi. This is the art of crocheting little dolls. It does require a little dexterity and patience when you first get going, as the designs are all pretty small. But it also means that they don't take too long to complete each one.

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Amaguri is particularly loved by the nerd crowd. As there is plenty of designs out there for things like an iron man, star wars and other film and cartoon heroes. If you think you kids would like this craft, you can find it more about it here.

Splurge or Save? Salon Vs DIY Beauty

Looking good and feeling confident about our appearance is important. When we like how we look on the outside, it makes us feel good on the inside too. But being a woman and maintaining a certain appearance can often be expensive! Doing treatments yourself at home can save money, but sometimes it’s just not worth the risk. But when should you splurge and when should you save? Here are a few things to consider.

Hair
When it comes to your hair, you’re almost always better off going to a professional. Trust someone with scissors and your hair, and it could well end in tears. They could cut too much, cut it wonky or generally make a pigs ear out of it. When it comes to coloring, particularly bleach always go to the salon. Hair coloring is incredibly unpredictable and can cause some severe damage to the point that it could all break off or masses could fall out. If you want to simply dye it one color then a box dye at home is reasonably fail-safe, but be aware hair dyes rarely look the exact color on the pack and usually go quite a bit darker at first too. Hairdressers can be expensive, but sites like Groupon often have deals for hairdressers. You can even slash the cost further with an additional voucher code on a site like http://www.pluscodepromo.fr/reductions-code-promo-groupon.html.

Makeup
If you’re getting your makeup done for a very special event like your wedding day, then going to a professional is the safest choice. They will be able to match the foundation perfectly to skin tone and make sure nothing looks harsh or OTT. However for other events, learning how to do your own makeup is a great skill to have. Practice makes perfect, but there are loads of Youtube videos which show you different looks. Invest in a few products and then learn how to use them. Researching things like different skin types, and learning how to do different techniques such as contouring and highlighting, blending eyeshadow and how much blush to apply is all useful. Then you always have access to your very own makeup artist- yourself! You can find tutorials on sites such as https://www.bobbibrowncosmetics.com/makeup-lessons.

makeup-make-up-artist-make-up.jpg

Tanning
There are pros and cons to both tanning at home and going to the salon, so with this one, it’s mainly down to personal choice. Spray tans can be expensive but are nice and even and can get your skin much darker than you could at home with products. However the results of any tanning product are never going to be long lasting, so unless you’re made of money, these are best for special events. There are some great self-tanning products on the market these days, nothing like the streaky orange formulas of days gone by! The trick is to go through the process properly. Thoroughly exfoliate before applying, and use a tanning mitt to protect your hands and get an even coverage. If you want to achieve a glow all through the summer months, then a self-tanning routine is far cheaper than constant trips to the salon.