8.01.2014

Shredded Chicken Sandwich On A Pretzel Bun With Homemade Honey Mustard


What's not to love about soft pretzel rolls, really? While I'd love to try to make homemade mini soft pretzel rolls, I'm so glad Costco has them! To make a shredded chicken sandwich on a mini pretzel bun with homemade honey mustard, you'll need:

1 pretzel bun, cut in half
2-3 oz. Shredded chicken (or favorite meat)
1 slice of tomato
1 leaf romaine lettuce
1 slice of colby jack cheese (or your favorite)
homemade honey mustard

Layer chicken, tomato, lettuce, cheese, honey mustard together on the mini pretzel roll....yum! Is it time for lunch yet? Making your own honey mustard sauce is so easy. Here's how.  

Homemade Honey Mustard Sauce Recipe
2-3 parts yellow mustard
1 part mayonnaise
1 part honey 


Whip mustard, mayo, and honey together with a fork.


Spread honey mustard on your pretzel bun and enjoy!





7.28.2014

Art is an Adventure!


Art and creativity are very near to my heart. Growing up, I expressed myself creatively in a variety of ways. Some of which still give me a little giggle. When I was very young, I would dance and sing to heart’s content, giving performances to anyone and everyone who would listen. As I got older, I loved writing, acting, and theatre. Since having kids, I have loved children’s crafts, exploring creativity with food and more. One common thread and life lesson woven throughout my lifelong artistic experiences was that putting yourself out there artistically requires a certain amount of risk and vulnerability. And those are two traits that not only help budding artists grow in their craft, but also transfers to other areas of life for both children and adults.


Already at ten, my own daughter yearns to soak up art in its many forms. From acting classes and music appreciation, to creative expression in her school projects, she’s had so many opportunities to explore different creative outlets. Last September, she began taking traditional art classes at a local art school. She has a natural gift for drawing and painting that I have just loved seeing blossom. While we have been fortunate to experience art in so many ways, it’s no secret that creative programs in schools across the nation are being cut for many reasons.  Did you know that you and I can do something about that while shopping for clothes for our kids?

 Have you heard of Schoola?
 Schoola is a company that aims to raise funds for creative arts programing in schools across the country through the donation and resale of children’s clothes. How does Schoola work? Well, in a nutshell, gently worn and adorable brand name clothes are donated (by people like you and me) and proceeds from those sales are then utilized to fund creative arts programs at schools across the country: Schools like yours, schools like ours and schools like Yick Wo Elementary in San Fransisco, California. Take 2 minutes to watch this video, 2 minutes to see how important art is to kids.



Did you catch that one part in the video? Just one bag of previously loved clothing donated to Schoola will fund art supplies for five children at Yick Wo Elementary through this campaign.

I am so excited to be partnering with Schoola to specifically raise money for Yick Wo Elementary. Their goal is to raise $25,000. You and I have a unique opportunity to help these kids, teachers, and staff raise money to fund their school’s art program. Here's the best part, you can also raise money for a school of your choice at the same time.

Here's how it breaks down:

  • For every donation bag requested or clothing purchase made through Schoola, $1 will be donated to Yick Wo Elementary through this campaign. (By clicking on the above link, Schoola tracks the donations and purchases so that Yick Wo gets the $1).
  • Plus, if you send back your donated clothes and fill out the school selection information, $2 of every $5 raised will go back to the school you selected! That's a win for Yick Wo and a win for your school!
  • This specific fundraising campaign through this blog (and other participating) runs from July 28-August 16th, 2014, but Schoola will always be raising money for arts programs.

Again, if you want to help me raise money for creative art programs through Schoola, there are two ways you can do so right now: After clicking the link to learn more about Schoola, you can then choose either "request a bag to fill with donated clothes" (at no cost to you) or browse the selection of cute and gently worn clothes available for purchase on their site and make a purchase. To be clear, you are not obligated to click on anything or purchase anything, but if you choose to donate a bag of clothing or purchase clothing, the above proceeds of that transaction will go to fund school arts programs. I wanted to test it out before I shared it with you, so I requested a donation bag of my own. It was pretty easy to request a donation bag.

You can connect with Schoola and the #clothes4schools campaign online via twitter, facebook and the hashtag #clothesforschools

Twitter: http://twitter.com/schoola
Facebook:http://facebook.com/schoola

*Disclosure: I was compensated for participating in the Schoola #clothes4school campaign. However, all opinions are passionately my own and as Schoola reached out to me I became excited to be a part of this project. I was given a choice of schools where our donations would go and I chose Yick Wo. To read my full disclosure policy, see the tab at the top of this page.

7.26.2014

S'mores Pie in the Oven


 We recently came back from a camping trip where we had S'mores by the campfire almost every night. What's not to love about s'mores, am I right? We don't own a fire pit, and I have had them baked in the oven before (relish!). Unfortunately, our local grocery store was out of flat chocolate bars! Apparently, I'm not the only one craving this quintessential summer treat. Standing in the baking aisle of the grocery store I thought "How can I make s'mores happen without chocolate bars?" Aaaaand....Light bulb! Thus, I bring to you, Baked S'mores Pie!

For this "recipe", you'll need:



  • 1 Pre-made graham cracker pie crust (also very easy to make at home)
  • 1 Bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (You will use about half)
  • 1 Bag of mini-marshmallows (You will use about half)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Layer mini marshmallows and chocolate chips inside the pie crust until slightly rounded.
  • Don't mix too much, as the chocolate chips will fall to the bottom
  • Bake at 350 degrees for around 5-6 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.
  • Allow to cool 1 minute.

Possible Add ins: 
  • Reese's pieces
  • Heath Bar/toffee pieces
  • Caramel sauce
  • M&M's
  • Shredded coconut
Some good tips:
  • When serving, don't expect it to come out like a traditional pie, it will be gooey and messy, just like S'mores at the campfire!
  • Might be able to make in a 13x9 pan for larger groups.
  • I turned our oven light on and kept a good watch on the pie while cooking, and after 5 minute timer went off, I let it cook a little longer until the top browned slightly.
  • Refrigerate leftovers (if there are any). It tastes great cold, the next day.



Hope you enjoy!






5.01.2014

Knott's Berry Farm Staycation Vacation




"Staycations" are a great option for families looking to stay close home this summer. Staying close to home means saving a ton of that precious vacation money on airfare. Who doesn't love that? I wanted to share with you how you can make your vacation dollars go further with Knott's Berry Farm, one of Southern California's best theme parks.  I've written about Knott's many times before. My love for it is made up of 1 part family friendly, 1 part awesome rides and 1 part nostalgia (I spent a good 30 minutes geeking out at the glass blowing booth in Ghost town over Christmas). Last year, they revamped the super fun and family friendly Boardwalk area. This year, Knott's has remodeled their hotel and wants to get the word out about how it can be the perfect choice for a SoCal summer vacation or staycation.


Knott's Annual Passes and Soak City
If you are planning a staycation in Southern California, you'll want to choose the option that gives back year round: Annual Passes. Passes to Knott's just make sense for SoCal residents, they just do. Imagine telling the kids that they not only get to go to Knott's Berry Farm for vacation, but they'll get passes to Soak City for the summer and Knott's all year long!!  The Gold pass includes summer-long access to their sister water park Knott's Soak City. All of that for $17 a month for 6 months? That's such a good deal! Two great parks, located just steps from each other, to create an endless amount of summer memories!

Here's a snippet of what the Knott's Gold Annual Pass get you:

  • Admission to Knott's Berry Farm
  • No blackout days
  • Admission to Knott's Soak City
  • Discounted Knott's Scary Farm Tickets
  • Food & Merchandise Discounts
  • "Bring a friend" discounts
  • Hotel Stay discounts
  • and more!

Knott's Hotel Vacation and Easy Pay Program
Knott's is finishing up the renovations on their hotel as I write this post and I can't wait to see how it looks! I hear there are Camp Snoopy themed rooms for the kiddos and all the hotel amenities you know and love. Before you book your stay at the Knott's Hotel, know that not only do season pass holders receive a discount, but if you book 61 days in advance, you can pay for that Southern California staycation in 4 easy payments as part of Knott's Easy Pay Program.

The Knott's Hotel Vacation Easy Pay program takes your lump sum and divides into 4 automatic monthly payments. By staying at the hotel, you'll get the feel of a vacation, without the hassle of and extra cost of flying. I'm going to tell you right now. Click through and check it out. I did. You'll be pleasantly surprised how far your vacation dollars can go. The Knott's Hotel is located just steps from Knott's Berry Farm.

Oh , and you can follow the hashtag #SoakCityOC on twitter, instagram or Facebook to get a peek at all of the summer fun that's going down at Knott's Soak City this Summer. Soak City Officially opens May 17th, 2014.

Disclaimer: The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.

2.21.2014

Yummy Girl Scout Thin Mints Cookie Milk Shake Recipe


*Originally published on February 25, 2012 on muffintinmom.com

Oh Thin Mints…… How I love you so. Here's a milk shake Girl Scout Thin Mints Cookies Recipe that I know you will love.

thin mint cookie milkshake recipe


Girl Scouts Thin Mints Cookie Milk Shake Recipe:
(adjust ingredients to your taste)
  • 6-7 ice cubes (crush them first for a faster blend)
  • Cover ice cubes with milk (about 3/4 cup-1 cup)
  • Add 3 scoops vanilla (or chocolate) ice cream (milk might also work)
  • Add a layer of chocolate syrup
  • Add a 1/8 cup of sugar (optional)
  • Cover that with 3-4 Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies
  • Blend on high (we used a Vitamix blender) until smooth and creamy and the liquid creates a whirlpool in the blender.

Yep. It’s awesome. Not too minty, not too chocolate-y.

I hope there are Thin Mints in Heaven.

What about you? Have any fun recipes using Girl Scout Cookies?

2.07.2014

A Positive Message and Tons of Laughs in The LEGO Movie



Today, February 7th, the first LEO themed full length theatrical release opens nationwide.  The LEGO movie features an all star cast of voices including Chris Pratt (Parks and Recreation) as Emmett, Elizabeth Banks (People Like Us) as Wyldstyle, Will Arnett (Arrested Development) as Batman, Will Ferrell (Elf) as Lord Business and Morgan Freeman as Vetruvius.

Last weekend, my family and were invited to Legoland Califonia as part of a press junket for the film. We were also invited to get a sneak peek viewing of the movie before it hits theaters today. Having only seen teaser trailers up until the viewing I wasn't quite sure what to expect.

The film delivers on many levels. I don't want to spoil the movie and give away any plot lines so I will just share with you my take aways. I loved the positive messages for kids about creativity, originality, imagination, team work, believing in yourself.

 

On the way home from the screening, I heard my little guy giggling in the back seat and I asked him what was so funny. He said "Oh, just thinking about The LEGO movie again." That's when you know a "kids" movie is good -when it has them giggling all the way home.  It's a great film for all ages. 
Anyone who has ever played with LEGO or has a child who plays with LEGO will love this movie. There were so many great one-liners and references to the love of LEGO. I asked my 8 year old son if it inspired him to get out his Legos when we get home and create something new. And he said "So much."

We were also given a tour of the incredible LEGO build's from scenes from the LEGO movie. Over 1.5 million Lego went into constructing it all!



During our time at Legoland California, I snuck off to a Q & A with Elizabeth Banks, who voices the character of Wyldstyle. She's not only a wickedly talented actress, but also a mom of two boys. I loved what she had to say about her character Wyldstyle: "...I was really excited to play an action heroine. Just somebody who's so kick butt and take charge and rescues the boys. I think she's a great role model for all the young girls who are going to see the movie." 

I really can't recommend The LEGO Movie enough - if not for the copious amounts of LEGO and the unabashed laughter that is sure to ensue, then for the many positive messages for kids.

For more LEGO fun, you might also like:

LEGO themed Snack Food Cups

Sorting LEGO kits in a Cupcake Pan

12.16.2013

ISIS Mobile Wallet

If you are anything like me, your smartphone works double or even triple duty serving as your camera, navigation system, schedule keeper and more -all on the go. It needs to keep up with my crazy busy life!


Well, your smartphone can now function like a digital mobile wallet with ISIS Mobile Wallet. You can safely and securely store your gift cards and so much more with ISIS. ISIS Mobile Wallet is way for you to access many items you already carry in your wallet digitally. Using ISIS Mobile Wallet is as simple as "tap to pay".

I can think of several benefits to ISIS Mobile Wallet including staying on budget with Christmas purchases. ISIS also lets you add money straight from your bank. One of my pet peeves about gif t cards is never knowing my balance on each every card. Plus, you can save room in your wallet and purse -no more gift cards taking up space! You can add participating gift cards you get stratight to ISIS Mobile Wallet. And there are discounts and deals from participating merchants just for paying with ISIS.
Adding cards is easy! Check out this quick video about how to add cards.


 

If you want to go mobile with ISIS Mobile Wallet, you'll need a few things:
  • A smartphone that uses the Android operating system (sorry, IPhone users) and supports Near Field Communication, or NFC (like the new LG G2 or Samsung Galaxy s4) and secure SIM capabilities.
  • An enhanced SIM card from your provider.

Once you have two two things, you just need to download the ISIS App from Google Play.

But is it safe?

I know what you're thinking.... If I loaded everything on there and my phone gets lost or stolen...There are some security benefits with ISIS Mobile Wallet because ISIS is 
  • PIN-Protected - YOur account is protected with a secure PIN number of your choosing.
  • Remote Freeze - One call and you account can be frozen if your smartphone is stolen
  • Secure Element - That enhanced SIM card you will be using works to protect the sensitive transaction data for each use.
  • Protective ID -A unique transaction ID is sent with each payment transaction, making counterfeit use of your card more difficult.
  • Personal Privacy - What you buy is between you and the merchants.
So what do you think? Which feature of ISIS Wallet sounds the most intruiging? 

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. My opinions about the benefits of the product are my own. 

12.05.2013

Knott's Berry Farm at Christmas #MerryFarm

I hear Knott's Berry Farm is so much fun during Christmas time. We can't wait to experience #MerryFarm in all it's holiday glory. Between the festive decorations, yummy treats and unique shows, there is some serious can't miss fun to be had at this Southern California theme park.




Here are 6 things to see and do at Knott's Berry Farm during Christmastime...6 little bits of fun to make your next trip to Knott's full of Holiday awesome. I know they are on our list for our upcoming visit.

Santa's Christmas Cabin

a. Photos with Santa - We can't wait!!b. Wine and Craft Beer tasting - for grown ups onlyc. Santa’s Sundae Bar

This is a must!

It’s Christmas Snoopy! Ice Show at the Charles M. Shultz Theater inside Knott's Berry Farm. We can't wait to see the ice show! We hear it is super fun.

Lucy’s Wish List - This show is geared towards the younger audience and is showing in the Campy Snoopy Outdoor Theater.

Snoopy's Tree Lighting - Happening in Calico square, Snoopy lights the tree!

Snoopy's Magical Nights of Lights - Camp Snoopy is lit up with thousands of magical twinkling lights. Definitely one I the kids won't want to miss.

Calico Christmas Carolers in Ghost Town - What's not to love about Christmas Carolers!?

**************************



Snoopy's been staying with us for the holidays, helping us decorate the tree, make gingerbread houses and more. And he is reeeeallly excited about Merry Farm. ;-)

Good News for Military Families!! Knott's Berry Farm is offering free park admission between now and January 5, 2014 to military personnel -both current and veteran. This offer is valid to all past and present armed forces personnel and one guest. Six additional tickets may be purchased at a discounted rate of $27 each from November 28-January 5

Holiday Hours For Knott's
Their Holiday hours depend on which day of the week you are planning to visit. During the weekends, they are typically open longer hours. Click over to the Knott's website for a full list of Holiday hours.

Season Passes
You know season passes to any theme park are awesome. With season passes to Knott's, there are no blackout dates! And they make great gifts. In fact, A season pass is the kind of gift that keeps on giving - Right now, Knott's is offering a $13 over 6 months payment plan for season passes. That's less than $7 a month per person!

Knott's Berry Farm is located in Orange County, CA, about an hour from San Diego.

Disclosure: Gigasavvy has provided me with 4 tickets to Knott's to experience Merry Farm firsthand and share my experience with you. You can follow along on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram through the #MerryFarm hashtag (and even share your own photos!).


Easy Fingerprint Tree Craft for Kids

Finger print crafts for kids are so much fun. There's  just something about those wee little prints that makes my heart happy.

I
Just thought I would share how we made this easy finger print tree craft using a GREAT free printable of a tree from onefabday.com Personally, I think it's the best fingerprint tree printable out there. Usually, these are for wedding guest book ideas, or baby shower ideas, but we thought it would be fun to make one to keep as a family, simply to remember this time in our lives right around Thanksgiving. I added the tree printable to a word doc and added a particularly meaningful bible verse for our family.

We used this multi-colored fingerprint pad from Lakeshore Learning, but this one from Melissa and Doug would also work.

Have you ever made a fingerprint tree?