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.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Highlights in summer to get ready for next school year

Please note I was sent product samples in exchange for this blog post.  All opinions and photos are my own.  
Our little Miss MacchiOTTo rocked Kindergarten this past school year.  She is reading, writing, doing math and we love to see her learning and improving everyday.  So in an effort to prevent the "summer slide" we continue to daily work on all the things she covered in school and a few new things to help her out in 1st grade.  We have signed up for the summer reading program at our local library.  And she has a goal of learning how to tell time and count money before school starts up again.  
One of tools we are using this summer to help her stay on track is Highlights Learning.  I loved Highlights magazine as a kid.  And the brand's newest initiative utilizes their fun puzzles, mazes and hidden picture activities with learning skills of writing, reading, addition, subtraction and more! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

my kids like the game Build or Boom

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

My kids are getting to the ages where they like to play games together.  They can take turns and get along, long enough to get through a game.  So when I was recently asked to review a new game from Goliath Games I jumped at the chance.  Build or Boom is a two player game for ages 4 and up.  

 There are a stack of cards called blue prints.  Players race to build the structure just like what is shown on the card.  Each structure is build on a platform connected to a line of "dynamite."  And the player who gets done first gets to blow up their opponents platform structure.  Hence the name Build or Boom.  

I have a 3 1/2 year old boy who loves to build with blocks, duplos, etc. and even he is good at this game.  The blue print cards have three different levels of difficulty so we selected the easiest level for him to complete with.  And even if he is the winner he still likes to blow up his own structure as well.  

This game is great for teaching shape recognition, following directions, analytical thinking, building finger dexterity and of course sportsmanship.  Overall my kids were crazy about this game and have really enjoyed playing it.  Mom and Dad even enjoy it too!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Paleontologist Pudding Cups

Back in my day (huh... that makes me sounds kind of old) birthday parties at school consisted of moms baking cookies and cupcakes at home and bringing them in for the class to eat.  I remember one time my mom piped Big Bird with icing onto Chocolate cupcakes.  And another time she painted cookies to look like Raggedy Ann and Andy.  But nowadays school parties have to be purchased from a store due to health safety reasons.  And I completely understand, especially with food allergies becoming more common it makes sense to be cautious.  So for our recent 6 year old's school party I came up with a clever idea to dress up a school approved snack.

Paleontologist Pudding Cups!