Friday, November 30, 2012

it's time for a new phone so I'm reviewing some first

It's time for this momma to get a new phone and an upgraded one at that. Yes, it's true I don't have a smart phone.... I don't even have a cool phone, I still carry an old school style flip phone. But I'm in good company... I mean even Indianapolis Quarterback Andrew Luck uses a flip phone.  (So I'm in good company....right?!?! )
And, I can explain why I have a flip phone, you see for work I used to have to carry a blackberry and it was only for work related calls. So to save space in my purse I used a flip phone for all my personal calls. Now that I no longer have to carry two phones, I realized it was time for an upgrade. So the folks at Verizon Wireless are allowing me to test out all their new phones to help me decide which phone I like the best. To start with I'm reviewing the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Interactive Story Buddys make reading and giveaways fun

I recently had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by Hallmark to show off their newest products.  It was a great opportunity to meet some of the staff from Hallmark that create their cards, ornaments and story books.  One of the products that I was particularly impressed with was their Interactive Story Buddy's.   These "buddy's" are stuffed animals that have sound activation technology inside them and come with their own story book so as you read the story they can chime in and make noise to enhance the reading experience. 
While there are several different animals to choose from one of the Christmas Buddy's is Jingle, the husky pup.  He comes with a book, "Jingle All the Way," in which he finds a home for the holidays with the help of the man in the big red suit.    I read to MacchiOTTo everyday, but I will admit reading with the Interactive Story Buddy makes the time a little more precious as I love to see the expression on her face each time Jingle barks unexpectedly.  She loves having the soft stuffed animal to hug and hold as we all read the story together.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

PW's Bacon Covered Meatloaf

Because bacon makes everything better..... I was watching TV one morning and saw the Pioneer Woman making meatloaf.... Now, I'm a fan of meatloaf.... I've always enjoyed it as a comfort food, in fact when I used to come home from college around the holidays it was one of the meals I would request my mom make.  So what could possibly be so special about meatloaf that the Pioneer Woman would be making it on a morning talk show??????  The answer my friends is BACON!!!!!

Thats right she was wrapping bacon around her meatloaf before baking it and since bacon makes everything better, I set out to make this meatloaf myself and here is how I adapted her recipe to meet my own tastes and preferences.  I love that she used cheese in her recipe, but I had to help out the sauce a little to be used on top.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Crunch Chex Mix

Here is a quick appetizer for your Thanksgiving guests to enjoy.  A chex mix that uses all the spices in a pumpkin pie.  The spices in this mix give the snack a fall like flavor and your kitchen will smell amazing while it bakes in the oven.  The pecans in this mix are a nice addition, and when you put a bowl of this Pumpkin Pie Crunch Chex Mix your guest are sure to stay happy while waiting on the big meal. 
Ingredients: 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup margarine, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves, 1/2 tsp. allspice, 3 tsp. vanilla, 2 cups Cinnamon Chex, 3 cups Rice Chex, 3 cups Corn Chex, 1 cup chopped pecans

Directions: In a small bowl mix brown sugar and spices.  Melt margarine and stir in vanilla.  In a large bowl combine chex cereals.  Mix margarine mixture to sugar and spice mixture.  Pour over cereals and stir to coat.  Spread onto two foil-covered cookie sheets.  Bake at 250 degrees for one hour stirring every 15 minutes.  Cool on waxed paper.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spice Cake Donuts with a Cinnamon Drizzle

With Thanksgiving being this weekend, I broke out my donut pans to make some breakfast to have on hand when guests stay over. Today I'm sharing a recipe for Spice Cake Donuts with a Cinnamon Drizzle. There is just something about the word drizzle which makes it sounds so tasty. And the spicy flavors of this donut make it ideal for the holiday season. Pour yourself another cup of coffee because this donut will taste great with it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ohhh Coffee.... how I've missed you!

I have always been a coffee drinker.  I come from a long line of coffee drinkers.  I remember drinking coffee on the weekends with my parents from about the age of 13, thinking that I was cool and adult like at the time, but of course back then there was more cream than coffee in my mug.  But, if you will recall about this time last year we announced our pregnancy on this blog, and that I had given up Latte's at that time.  Well......... time has passed and Hello Coffee..... I'm baaaacccckkk

Oh how I have missed you.  How I have longed for the scent of your brews waifing through the house.  How I have missed the warm feeling of holding a mug in my hands.  How I have missed the rich taste of your flavors.  But luckily I'm back to drinking coffee right in time for the holidays and all the fun holiday flavors.  Like Dunkin' Donuts® packaged Holiday coffee.
I mean just think of all the great times around the holidays where a cup of coffee brings you comfort and joy.... after the big holiday meal while enjoying your dessert, after you come home from picking out your Christmas tree to get warmed back up, or Christmas morning when your kids can't wait to open their gifts and are up bright and early.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Family Photo's

Below are some family pictures we had taken with Jennifer from Baby Grace Photography. I have been watching her work for a couple of years now as I have had friends and co-workers who have used her for their own photos and decided that it was time to give her a call and set something else.  We love the pictures that we have of little MacchiOTTo and the use of light and shadows in her pictures is very artistic.  Working with Jennifer was easy and we would highly recommend her if you are in need of a great photographer.   

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pear Tree Greetings cards, storybooks and a Giveaway

I've become a firm believer that if you are going to send something in the mail.... send something fabulous.  Nobody likes boring mail, cards, party invites, etc.  When you take the time hand address your cards and envelopes be sure what you are sending will be throughly enjoyed by the person who receives it.  Now where do you find such fun, colorful and creative stationary???  Pear Tree Greetings! 

For starters check out their Top 10 Cards for 2012

As you can see their trends in this year's holiday collection is the focus on sweet family traditions that make us feel right at home, like candy cane stripes and cookie decorating. I adore their garland like cards.

Pear Tree Greetings offers a full line of photo cards, invitations, announcements, stationery sets, notelettes, address labels, gift tags, save-the-date cards and dozens of other high-quality paper products, so you can seize every opportunity to connect with others.  Pear Tree Greetings offers hundreds of stylish designs in unique shapes and sizes for any budget.  Nearly all of their greetings are printed on high-quality card stock, made from 100 percent, postconsumer recycled paper that makes our products stand out. And be sure to check out their one-of-a-kind shapes and special offerings, such as matching address labels and no-charge double-sided printing.

And if you are looking for a cute gift for a child be sure and check out their personalized story books.  These books can have your childs name included in the story making them feel like the main character in the book.
Finally, you simply must know about their new referral program: When a Pear Tree customer refers a friend, they receives $20, your friend receives $20 and Pear Tree Greetings donates $20 to CaringBridge, a leading national nonprofit that provides online tools for people experiencing a life-changing health event.

Oh but wait there's more..... To help you get started on your holiday cards or thank notes, Pear Tree Greetings is giving away $50 credit towards your purchase of holiday cards, personalized stationary or stroy books on this blog.  Simply click on the rafflecopter widget below to get entered.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own, but Pear Tree Greetings did compensate me for my efforts in putting this post together.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

kitchen towel angels

With the holidays coming up you know their will be lots of parties to attend. I'm adamant about giving hostess gifts to those who open up their homes and show off their hospitality. Whether its a bottle of wine, candle or food item, hostess gifts are a great way to show appreciation for your host time and efforts in entertaining. One simple yet practical gift that can always be used are kitchen towels, dish cloth, hot pads, etc. Here is an easy way to make an angel from a towel, dish cloth and hot pad as a cute way to present your gift to your hosts.
To start with I ironed the towel and dish cloth so they were perfectly flat, then I folded the towel length-wise, like a fan.
Then I ironed the folded towel to hold the crimp in the towel.  This will serve as the dress part of the angel.  I then did the same with the dish cloth.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Leftover Halloween Candy Dessert

Do you have lots of leftover Halloween Candy???? Well here is an easy dessert recipe to help use up some of those chocolate bars. I used Hershey's and Reese's Peanut Butter cups, but you could easily substitute any other chocolate candy flavors you have excess amounts of.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Holiday Card Ornaments and a Giveaway

With a new baby in the house Ott, E and I find ourselves taking lots of pictures so of course with this years Christmas card we want to show off little MacchiOTTo to family and friends.  While I was browsing the internet for something unique and different to send this year I found these cute Christmas Photo Cards shaped like ornaments from Tiny Prints.

Tiny Prints has a wonderful collection this year from traditional colors and embellishments to merry and bright colors that take on a modern feel. They also feature religious/scripture based cards and cards that you can showcase your pets photos on. Whatever your style is they’re sure to have something you’ll love.

I thought these would be great for MacchiOTTo's first Christmas as close family could actually use it as an ornament on their tree if they wanted but it also doubles as a card.

The card measures 5 1/2 inches across and comes with square envelopes to mail them in.  And the great thing about working with Tiny Prints is they allow lots of different design options for you to personalize your card.  You can have up to 4 photos and 3 captions on the front and several differnt layout options to choose from along with colors and fonts.

Tiny Prints has a new Premium DoubleThick™ Matte Paper, which is a luxurious cardstock yet. Here is a video about their new paper and be sure to check out the Specials offers pages on their website for discounts on some of their products.

The folks at Tiny Prints want you to find that unique holiday card to send out to your family and friends as well and are giving away a prize of $50 off your total order.  To enter simply click on the rafflecopter widget below (located within this blog post) and enter your information.  Contest will run through November 10th and the winner will be announced on this blog on November 11th.    Please note Tiny Prints did sponsor this post, however the thoughts and opinions shared here are my own. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0

I was recently given the opportunity to review a Samsung Galaxy Tablet from Verizon Wireless. Not being a previous tablet or iPad owner this little piece of technology was new to me so I write this review today as someone with nothing else to compare it to, but I can tell you the ways I utilized it to assist in my day to day activities.  
To start off I liked that it was small and thin enough that you could easily fit it in your purse (or diaper bag in my case).  Yet the screen was still larger than that on a phone and you could easily tap on the screen to make the print larger when needed.  There were only three buttons on the side which helped so you don't have to worry about bumping them to much.  I also got to use 4G for the first time and can tell you in most places here in central Indiana it worked very well and fairly fast.  A few times when we were further away from urban areas it would not be available but overall I thought the connectivity speed was good.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2 Thanksgiving Recipes with Country Crock

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I am substituting Country Crock into all of my recipes this holiday season as it contains 0 trans fat and no cholesterol.  Here are two recipes that will be out on my table, but not for long and the creamy, fresh-from-the-farm buttery taste gets gobbled up in no time.

The first recipe I am sharing is a unique spin on the carrot side dish with a Carrot Souffle'.  Ott, E raved about this dish and has requested it again.  The flavors of this dish will be sure to compliment your Thanksgiving feast!