Monday, November 26, 2018

Here's a gift idea... Subscription boxes from KiwiCo

 Please note I was sent product in exchange for this blog post.  All photos and opinions are my own.

The holiday season is right around the corner and if you are scratching your head trying to figure out what to get the kids on your list, then I have a great suggestion for you.  A monthly subscription of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) age appropriate activities from KiwiCo

Instead of a toy they break or loose, every month your child could get a box of educational and creative activities delivered to your doorstep.  Just think how great that would be for snow days in winter or rainy days in the spring.  A box full of books, crafts, stickers, games, and hours of entertainment for your family.

KiwiCo has 8 different subscription boxes to choose from based on age and interest level.  My kids recently received the Kola Crate which is for kids 3-4 years old and focuses on play and learning.  And my 6 year old received the Kiwi Crate for 5-8 years old which focuses on Science and Art. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Science Features & Beaker Creatures

Please note I was sent product samples in exchange for this blog post.  All photos and opinions are my own.
We head back to school early around here, so my kids are already well into the routine of buses, school lunches, homework... you get the picture.  But going back into the classroom wasn't too altering as we spent the summer collecting caterpillars and discussing the life cycle of insects and watching a radish grow inside a graduated cylinder to learn about plant growth.  If it's science related my kids have their googles on and inquisitive minds ready to learn more.  I love to encourage my kids in STEM areas.  (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) So the entire family was happy to review some educational toys.   
Beaker Creatures  is a toy from Learning Resources that is a colorful bubbling creature reaction! Extract the Beaker Creatures from the mysterious Reactor Pods with the Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab from Learning Resources. After placing one of two included Reactor Pods within the Super Lab’s center chamber, kids send water whirling through the tubes with the help of two Hydroplungers, filling the chamber and triggering the amazing reaction. Once the reaction ends, kids can extract their Beaker Creatures collectibles and start classifying! The working lab set also comes with the equipment and instructions needed to perform amazing real-world science experiments inspired by the creatures and their home planets. The Beaker Creatures Liquid Reactor Super Lab also includes an exclusive full-size poster, two classification cards and two double-sided mini-posters: one side features a quiz filled with amazing real-world science facts, while the other features fun images of the creatures at play that combine to form a larger scene!

  • Trigger a colorful bubbling reaction to reveal one of 35 Beaker Creatures
  • Includes two Reactor Pods containing mystery Beaker Creatures
  • Learn real-world science with this working lab set's amazing experiments inspired by the Beaker Creatures and their planets
  • Includes two classification cards, one full-size poster, and two mini-posters filled with amazing science facts
  • Ages 5+

Big thanks to Learning Resources for sending me product to review.  

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Construction FOURman Birthday Party



Our Shot of Espresso turned four this fall.  I love four year old birthday party themes because it's soooo fun and easy to play off the word four.  Our little man loves anything with wheels (And I mean anything) and gets excited every time he see's yellow construction equipment.  So playing off the word four... a construction 'four'man birthday party was just the thing.  Lots of yellow and orange and caution tape made for easy decorations. And utilizing things like tool boxes, extension cords and traffic cones were cheap and reusable and easy to find at a hardware store. (soooo practical)

For outside decorations we had a "Speed Limit 4" sign posted in the driveway for guests to see as they parked.  Up by the house I turned our wooden snowman decoration into a construction worker.  Then I made a wreath for the front door out of extension cord and caution tape.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Peach Fondue... don't mind if I do!

Please note I was sent product samples in exchange for this blog post.  All photos and opinions are my own.
 I was looking for something new and different to do with a big box of white flesh peaches.  Yes, we ate plenty fresh and they were delicious, but you know how I like to try new things in the kitchen....  I was flipping through the pages of my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and stumbled upon a recipe for Peach Fondue.  Fondue???  With Peaches???  This I had to taste for myself. 

After making the recipe and canning 6 half pints of it, I got out my fondue pot and served it with some graham cracker sticks and marshmallows.  The hint of chocolate and peaches make for a very pleasing favor.  Unique, but something that satisfies the sweet tooth in you.  I'm thinking this will also taste great spread across a big bowl of ice cream.

So without further adu... here is the recipe for Peach Fondue! 

Monday, September 17, 2018

STEM toys for back to school

Please note I was sent product samples in exchange for this blog post.  All photos and opinions are my own.
There are a couple of rare instances where my kids have a toy that I secretly enjoy playing with too.  I recently discovered GeoMag toys that use magnets to build 3D structures.  I really enjoy hooking them together and arranging them.  The kids think I am showing off my magic skills (but in reality I'm using a little perpetual motion or using magnetic push and pull.... see... I know just enough about physics to be dangerous.)   
GeoMag utilizes magnets to build all kinds of 3D structures.  I like that it teaches my kids about magnetic polls.  The kids like using the strength of the magnets to help them build and build and build.  Each box contains magnetized spheres, rods and base platforms to keep your structure stable.  The GeoMag Classic is for ages 3 and up, but like I said even us adults like to play with this one. GeoMag can be purchased online, amazon or select retailers.  Products come in various colors and quantity levels based on interest.

Thanks again to GeoMag for sending me products to review.




Thursday, September 6, 2018

Canned Peach Pie Filling

Please note I was sent product samples from the Washington State Fruit Growers.  All photos and opinions are my own.

Yes, nothing says summer like a delicious peach pie.  I was lucky enough to get a big box of peaches delivered to my door step.  While keeping the kids and husband from eating them all was at times a challenge, I was able to put a few up as peach pie filling.  I love having pie filling ready to go on my pantry shelves.  It is my quick and easy go to dessert at different times throughout the year.  Whether its a church carry in or a PTO bake sale, all I do is buy a pie shell, open a jar, pour it in and bake.  Everyone thinks I spent all afternoon peeling and slicing those peaches to get the dessert there on time.  But now you know my secret.  And for me 1 quart jar fills a pie shell.  

So without further ado, here is my recipe and if you would like other ideas for peach recipes be sure to check out The Washington State Fruit Commission website. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

End of Summer Games

Please note I was provided product samples in exchange for this blog post.  All photos and opinions are my own.

  My two kids are just getting to the age where playing games is new and fun.  They can understand the concept of taking turns and enjoy friendly competition as well as good sportsmanship.  So when I was approached to review games...  I jumped at the chance.

My kids are big fans of Shark Week on Discovery Channel so playing the game Shark Bite is a lot of fun for them.  They have seen it advertised on TV and were very familiar with the games name and look.  The sharks mouth is full of fish and lobsters and each player has a fishing pole.  Roll the dice to see how many shark bait's to remove from it's clutches and hope the shark doesn't snap shut while it's your turn.  As you can see this is a great game for hand eye coordination and both the 3 year old and 6 year old enjoyed it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Yellow Tomato Butter

 A sweet jam like start and a summer fresh tomato finish is what you will experience when you sample this Yellow Tomato Butter.  Served atop your breakfast bagel or evening dinner roll and your taste buds won't know what to expect.  And the best part is I used up tomatoes and my crock pot to make it.

I got a little carried away with purchasing tomato plants for our garden this year.  We definitely had a new record and now I'm figuring out what all to do with them.  We have these big beautiful yellow tomatoes so when I found this recipe in my Ball Blue Book guide to preserving, I had to give it a try.  Of course I changed some things to my liking but it worked out great.  I even served it to guests over the weekend and they couldn't believe there were tomatoes in it.  Think apple butter with with tomatoes. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

mini cherry pie bites

Please note I was given product samples from the Northwest Cherry growers in exchange for this blog post.  All photos and opinions are my own.

Is miniature food not the cutest thing ever!?!? I mean a bite sized cherry pie.  You can pop the whole thing in your mouth and have the perfect ratio of fruit and crusts.  Bake them in your mini muffin pans and you have the perfect summer appetizer or dessert.  Nothing says summer like a cherry pie.
 
We love Rainier sweet cherries and this little treat is perfect for summer entertaining.  Be sure to check out the Northwest Cherry Growers website for more great recipes and ideas.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

a children's story about a boy and his kite

Please note I was sent a copy of this book to review and blog about.  All opinions and photos are my own.

We have been reading a lot of books this summer.  We read books inside and outside, in a chair, in a tent, in the car and while waiting for swim lessons.  One of the books we read this summer is Benji and the Giant Kite by Alan C. Fox with illustrations by Eefje Jujil.  
Benji is a boy who wants a kite.  To earn money for the kite he works in the family garden for two weeks.  Once he gets the kite, he is thrilled to fly it. 

This book has beautifully illustrated pages, with hidden treasures, including bumblebees, shells and mice munching on blueberries.  His dog in the story is adorable.  And I as a parent appreciate the value of teaching kids they need to work hard for what they have and then they can achieve anything. You can find it here on Amazon.
BENJI AND THE GIANT KITE is based on a true story from the author’s own life.  This is the second in Alan Fox’s series of picture books. The first, BENJI AND THE 24 POUND BANANA SQUASH, was named a notable children’s book of 2017 by Booklist magazine and has become a much-loved story for youngsters and parents alike.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Dinosaur toys for kids

Please note I was sent product samples in exchange for this blog post.  All opinions and photos are my own.

I have a girl that's into dolls and princesses and a boy that's into trucks and trains.  But there is one thing that they both like and that's..... Dinosaur's.  So, whenever I come across Dino toys, books, movies... I am all in because I know they are both going to play and get a lot of use out of them.

With Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom heading into theaters on June 22nd, interest for dinosaur toys is high! Whether it's a classic plush from Wild Republic and Dolce that can help kids explore and express their feelings and emotions, to educational STEAM products from Thames & Kosmos and Magformers that allow kids to learn and explore - here is a nice selection of "dino" themed toys.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Sampling Gettysburg Coffee

The older I get the more I like history.  If there is ever an evening I get the TV all to myself you will find me watching documentary's or shows on the history channel.  This week I have been drinking a dark roast coffee from the Gettysburg Coffee Company.  But you don't have to be a Civil War buff to enjoy this great blend.


Specializing in hand-crafted gifts and accessories made right in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, GettysGear.com offer gourmet blends roasted in small batches by the Great Gettysburg Coffee Company™. 
Check out my new coffee bar rack.