December 19, 2014

Deal Alert: Disney Planes Fire & Rescue Toys on Walmart Rollback! #PlanesToTheRescue #ad

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PlanesToTheRescue #CollectiveBias

#CollectiveBias, Planes Fire & Rescue, Disney Planes, Walmart Rollback
Looking for last minute holiday gift ideas? Delight the little ones in your life with Disney Planes items now on Rollback at Walmart! All items listed below are on rollback through the holiday season!
#PlanesToTheRescue #ad

  • Disney Planes Flight to the Finish Speedway ($24.97)
  • Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue Die-Cast Vehicles, 3-Pack ($14.97)
  • Disney Planes: Fire & Rescue Deluxe Talking Vehicle Assortment ($19.97)
How is your holiday shopping going?  





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December 15, 2014

Creating New Holiday Traditions with Hallmark #NorthpoleFun!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NorthpoleFun #CollectiveBias

#NorthpoleFun, Hallmark, Walmart, Northpole, Santa in Michigan
One of my favorite parts of having a family of my own is creating traditions together.  Each year at Christmastime, we love to look through cookbooks and try new cookie recipes--our favorite so far has been the Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookie!  We have combined some of our growing up traditions: my family celebrates on Christmas Eve and Ricky's family hung candy canes on the tree with new ideas like Elf on the Shelf (ughhh!).  
#NorthpoleFun, Hallmark, Walmart, Northpole, Santa in Michigan

After our Christmas pictures last week, we were doing a little holiday shopping at Walmart and the girls noticed the Northpole collection.  Before buying anything, I wanted them to check out all of the toys and products available to see what they gravitated towards. 

The biggest hit was the Northpole Communicator which you can call Santa and his elves once a day.  They have a super cool cookie cutter wheel (why didn't I think of that?!), soft plush polar bears, "snowballs" you can throw, a Dance Like An Elf microphone which calls out dance moves and much, much more.  Everything is located by the card section in your local Walmart store...also sometimes by the gift wrapping section.  Everything is based off of the new Hallmark movie Northpole and the DVD is also available in stores!  It stars Kelly from Saved By the Bell, so I'm already sold.
#NorthpoleFun, Hallmark, Walmart, Northpole, Santa in Michigan

I wanted to surprise the girls with the Northpole Communicator, so I waited a few days until our next trip to Walmart.  Gabby asked to look at the section again and when I told her we were buying the toy, her face just lit up.  Definitely a priceless moment!  When the twins came home from school, I told them there was a surprise waiting for them.  The minute Olivia saw the big microphone, she screamed with joy...she's a bit dramatic.  Of course, we had to call Santa right after dinner.
#NorthpoleFun, Hallmark, Walmart, Northpole, Santa in Michigan

The best part about the Northpole Communicator is that it can be used again year after year.  At the base, by the battery pack is a cartridge which you set the date and time.  You can buy new cartridges every season so every call to the North Pole is unique!  Heads up: you can only call the North Pole once a day, so make sure your family is all gathered around.  We like to keep ours up high so little fingers don't attempt to play with it all day long (*cough* Gabby).  Our new tradition is to "dial in" every night after showers and stories.  You never know who you'll talk to--either Santa, an elf or someone else!  Santa told the girls they were on the good list last night and they've been talking about it non-stop!
Michigan holiday books, Christmas Books, #NorthpoleFun, Hallmark, Walmart, Northpole, Santa in Michigan

My favorite find was the Santa is Coming to Michigan book for only $8.99!  It is a new favorite to add to our holiday book basket.  I love how they really highlight all parts of Michigan.  The girls LOVE to hear their town Grand Rapids listed, although they are sure to point out that we don't have a chimney like they mention.  

There are many other gifts for everyone that I'm eyeing from the Northpole Collection,  They have cute mugs (think teachers!), sprinkle bells for cookies, books, ornaments and more! Make sure to check out the whole aisle of fun at Walmart before products run out! I can't wait to see the movie, which ares on the Hallmark Channel all season long. 

Hallmark, Northpole movie, #NorthpoleFun, Walmart, Christmas traditions, #Ad, #Cbias
This picture sums up my crazy little ladies! 


Have you started any new traditions this year?



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December 12, 2014

Making Holiday Treats Healthier with Splenda #HealthyEssentials

This post is part of the HEALTHY ESSENTIALS® 2014 program by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc. and The Motherhood, who sent me a box of products and compensated me for my time. Opinions, experiences and photos shared here are all my own, and I hope you enjoy them.

#ad, #Moms4JnJConsumer, #HealthyEssentials, Zucchini bread with Greek Yogurt, Splenda, Baking with Splenda

How's your holiday shopping going? I was SO happy I knocked a few people off of my list today! Since I love to cook, I tend to give foodie presents--especially baked goods.  Plus, if I give them away, they won't end up in my stomach!  Um, that's what I tell myself at least!

As I get out all of my favorite cookie recipes (including Cranberry Hootycreeks and Cocoa Chewy Gooeys!), I try to find ways to make them healthier.  My favorite substitute is Splenda because it's almost impossible to tell they are healthified. Score!

There are many varieties of Splenda on the market now: granulated, brown sugar blend and sugar blend, to name a few.  For the most part, you use HALF the amount of Splenda as your recipe calls for.  To be sure, check the handy conversion chart on the back of the box or bag, though!

Using Splenda helps reduce the calories of your baked goods without changing the flavor or texture of what you're baking. Another great swap to healthify baking is using natural applesauce, mashed banana and coconut oil...all included in this recipe!
#HealthyEssentials, Splenda, holiday baking, baking with sugar substitutes, #ad

(Healthified) Zucchini Bread with Mini Chocolate Chips
Makes: 2 large loaves or 6 mini loaves. Also try muffins!

Ingredients
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup Splenda sugar blend
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup natural applesauce
  • 2 cups zucchini, shredded and drained--about 4 large zucchini (look for markdowns at your store!)
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Topping: 1/2 cup mini chips 
    • I like to just top the bread with chips instead of putting in the whole mix.  You can use less, but still get the chocolate flavor in the bread.
Let's Bake!
  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Spray Pam on bread pans.  
  3. Mix eggs, sugar, coconut oil and applesauce for 1-2 minutes, until creamy. 
  4. In a bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder. Set aside. 
  5. Add zucchini, vanilla, banana and Greek yogurt to bowl.  Mix until combined.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients.  Mix only until combined.
  7. Pour into loaf pans and sprinkle the top with mini chips.
  8. Bake until golden brown.  I poke mine with a toothpick to check the centers.
    • Full loaf pan- 60 minutes
    • Mini loaf pans- 40 minutes
    • Muffins- 20-24 minutes
For gifts, Dollar Tree has very cute baked goods boxes.  You can freeze the loaves if you want to mail them out or gift them later.
Zucchini Bread, healthy breads, Splenda, baking with sugar substitutes, #Moms4JnJConsumer, #HealthyEssentials

Right now, Healthy Essentials has many coupons perfect for the season, including Splenda.  My girls have been wanting the Frozen Band-Aids for quite some time now--the coupon pairs with No More Tangles which is necessary for hat hair this winter.  There are tons of Johnson & Johnson baby coupons on there too--the Intense Moisture cream is ah-mazing!

How's your holiday baking going?  Share your favorite cookie recipe below!


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