Christmas Gift Basket

*Sponsored Post*

One thing I love to do is hand out Christmas Gift baskets to friends, neighbors, teachers, employees, and basically anyone else I can think of this time of year. This year, I found several fun, new items to include in my gift baskets!

I LOVE gifting snacks! I feel like their consumable – so they don’t sit around someone’s house forever. And, I feel like snacks are super easy to regift. If you don’t like a specific snack, wrap it up and pass it on to that impossible person to shop for on your gift list. So, this year, I’m including a few favorites and a few new items as well.

Dot’s Homestyle Pretzels – I discovered these a couple years ago and just cannot get enough of them. They’re amazing! Seriously. I don’t actually ever like pretzels, but these are so good. They have tons of flavor and a great crunch.

Hot Monkey Nuts – They sent me 3 of their 6 different hot nuts to review. And they don’t disappoint. They’re hot! And full of flavor. My kids don’t like spicy, so these are mine and my hubby’s (who loves spicy!) and we’re sticking a few in Christmas Baskets for friends who we know love a little heat. They’re gluten free and made with non-GMO ingredients. So, not only tasty and fun to eat, but also a pretty healthy snack – something we all need a little more of during the holidays.

Congo Tropicals – They sent me coffee and chocolate to review. But, they also ship other tropical fruits – or there’s local delivery if you’re in Florida. I usually find dark chocolate a bit bitter but this Congo Organic Dark Chocolate is delicious! It’s got lots of chocolate flavor without being bitter. Amazing! I can’t be without my coffee and this coffee is terrific! I had coffee in my gift baskets last year as well and it was amazingly popular, so I’m excited about sharing another new coffee brand with friends!

Preggo Pickle – These are made by the pickle company. They have 3 flavors of preggo pickles and 3 different kinds of pickles (if you’re not wanting to give preggo pickles to friends there’s also the Pickle Co and Cleveland Pickle). Though, I will say. I love pickles – see above, I could pretty much live on pickles and coffee and chocolate – and these are delicious! They’re cut kinda chunky and they have amazing flavor. Even friends who aren’t pregnant, I want to give some pickles to, because they’re so good! These pickles are certified kosher, vegan, soy free, dairy free, gluten free, and fat free. Basically perfect for practically everyone on your list!

Apex Meat Sticks – I love a good meat stick pretty much any time of the year, and I feel like the holidays are a great time for gifting unique protein snacks like these. Of course, my kids tried to steal all mine for after school snacks! Theses Jalapeno Flavor Backcountry Meat Sticks are amazing. They’re just enough spicy, but not too much and each stick has so much protein, it’s almost not a snack! I have been slipping a couple sticks into each of my gift baskets this year. It’s a super fun way to gift the traditional “meat and cheese” while being just a tad non-traditional.

Fun Valentine Gift List

*This is a Sponsored Post*

Valentines day is a week away and this year I’ve been looking for unusual Valentine gifts. My kids love Valentines day, we have little mailboxes, valentine cards, chocolate, and a tea party for dinner. But for me, let’s be honest, hubby and I are a bit tired of the usual chocolate and roses every year. So, I’ve rounded up some family friendly, unique Valentine gifts for this year!

1. Sunglasses from Sunglass Warehouse – Summer is just around the corner so what better way to say “I love you” than with a cool new pair of sunglasses? Sunglass Warehouse has sunglasses that are fun and inexpensive. So I can gift something useful and fun without breaking the bank!

I’m loving these Oversize Cat Eyed Sunglasses – Bianca by Foster Grant. They’re so much fun! And this pink Daisy case is perfect for keeping them safe!

And check out the “Superman” glasses that I got for my husband. They remind me of the glasses Clark Kent wears. For some reason I’ve always loved this style on my hubby! They’re actually called Castle Rock, and they’re Polarized Retro Square Sunglasses. My husband saw them when I was taking pictures and stole them right away (I almost didn’t get pictures), couldn’t even wait for Valentines Day. And at $15 they’re practically a steal. He stuck these glasses in the soft case with a cleaning cloth, and he’s good to go.

2. Glow Battle from Starlux Games – I have 4 kids and this makes a perfect group gift for them! They’re basically light up foam swords and the kids love them! Even the 2 yr old insists on being in on the action.

They have a switch for turning them on and off and have a replaceable battery so they’re amazing for multiple uses. The foam is soft and covered with a plastic sheet that is sword patterned.

There’s 10 swords (5 blue, 5 green), 10 bracelets (5 blue, 5 green), a whole stack of game ideas, and 8 beacons (4 blue, 4 green). From just running around the yard and sword fighting, to capture the flag with the beacons, they’re having a blast. And we’re planning a back yard evening with friends as soon as the weather warms up so we can use all 10 swords at once!

I am loving how Starlux games has replaceable batteries because I know we’re going to go through a lot of them this summer!

3. Umbrella from La Bella Umbrella – I’m just loving this “Love at Sunset” umbrella from La Bella Umbrella. They have a variety of umbrella designs and styles to choose from. From animals, to food, to paintings. And considering the amount of rain we’ve gotten so far this February, this is the best Valentine Gift yet!

While the hand shaped heart is perfect for a Valentine Gift to my husband, it’s also a great gift for my girls, who love pictures with hearts and love umbrellas. In fact, I chose the stick umbrella because it’s their favorite style!

This umbrella is sturdy, large, and so cute! If you don’t want hearts they have many other fun designs. And they have umbrella styles from stick to automatic so there’s easily something for everyone.

It’s so hard to not just claim this umbrella as my own. I’m just loving the white handle! It’s large, soft, and has a terrific grip making it a lot easier to hold on to.

And, it comes in a carrying case with a strap so I can tote it around hands free if I want it along but don’t need it yet!

With these gifts, we’re basically all set for spring! Sunglasses, umbrella, back yard game! Because once Valentines day is over, I’m hoping for some early spring weather!

Last Minute Gift Idea

Scrambling for a last minute gift for that impossible to buy for someone? Here’s a super simple and delicious treat anyone can make.

20161116_102142Russian Tea

1 Cup Tang
1 Cup Lipton Instant Tea
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Mason Jar
Pretty Ribbons

  1. If you have a funnel, use it. It makes pouring into your mason jar so much easier! Pour all 4 of your ingredients in your jar. Put the lid on tight. Shake your jar for a minute or two, until all the ingredients are blended.
  2. Add Ribbon and any other mason jar decorations that you like. Don’t forget to include the serving instructions.
  3. Serving instructions: Combine two heaping spoonfuls of tea mix with hot water in your favorite mug. Stir and enjoy!

Talk about fast and easy! These would also make great teacher gifts, neighbor gifts, or a fun addition to a snack basket or cookie exchange. Be creative. This is so easy to make, and it’s so delicious, you’ll want to make sure you make one for yourself.


Family Christian Store – Review & $25 Giveaway

I received a $25 gift card to Family Christian in exchange for my review. All opinions are my own.


Family Christian Store is a one stop shop for all your Christian Book and Media needs. They have Bibles, Books, Music, DVDs, Kid’s Items, and even apparel.

They’re the exclusive retail partner for Active Faith Sports. A line of workout apparel with Christian-inspired designs and messages. You can check out their promo video for more information.

The closest Family Christian is 3 hours away from me so I chose to shop online with my gift card. I had way too much fun spending it and ended up spending a bit more because they have so much great stuff!

IMG_20160311_135336386_HDRI started by looking up Julianna Deering. I had read her book “Dressed For Death” a while back and liked it. It’s the third in the series and I’ve been wanting to get the first two. Since I can spend my gift card however I want I decided to get these.

Family Christian had a buy one get one 50% off sale, so with the sale price, I was still below my $25 with two books.

And I should add, that they were easy to find. I just searched for the author and all her books popped up and I added the two I wanted to my cart.

I still had a few dollars to spend.

I made the mistake of telling the kids they could help me pick something. They wanted about 20 DVDs so I think I did pretty good convincing them that they could live with 2. Of course, we had to get 2 since everything is buy one get one 50% off. And I can’t pass up a sale.

For the DVDs I  just browsed the kid’s DVD section. They have a huge selection of DVDs which was why it was so hard for my kids to choose. I browsed a few other sections as well just to see what they have and always found what I was looking for.


Family Christian has a buy one get one 50% off sale on their Books, Music, and DVDs until August 25th. This sale is good in store and online. And I just love finding books on sale!

You can mix and match items and categories to get the deal, your two items don’t have to be in the same department.

AND I get to give away a $25 Family Christian Gift Card to one lucky reader! Enter below for your chance to win.

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Super Simple Mother’s Day Gift List

Looking to keep it simple this year? Just remember it’s the thought that counts. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to get Mom a Mother’s Day gift she’ll love.

1. Flowers – There’s something for everyone in this category. I love red roses, and bonus points if there’s baby’s breath with them. My husband knows this and gets them for me often. My MIL doesn’t really like cut flowers. But she loves potted plants that she can either plant outside or grow inside. I got her a tulip house plant for her birthday a few months ago, she put it on her porch and it’s perpetually blooming for her. She shows it to me every time I’m at her house. For Mother’s Day, I’ll just run up to Home Depot the day before and pick out something that looks like it’s going to bloom soon. It’s a super simple gift, but something that I know she loves.

The key with flowers is to put out a little effort and find out what kind of flower your Mom likes. Cut or potted? Red, pink, blue, or yellow? Roses, tulips, daisies, or lilies?  Flowers get a bad rap because they’re often a thoughtless gift, you just pick up something random and give it to your mom because you can’t think of anything else. Find out what she really likes, and the’ll be appreciated.

2. Chocolate – Again, don’t just drop by Target the night before and pick up the first thing you see on the shelf. Does your mother like light or dark chocolate? What fillings does she like? Does she have a favorite brand? It’s not about just getting a gift because you have to. It’s about getting something special just for her. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does have to be something she likes.

My favorite chocolate is a bit pricey, I just love Godiva milk chocolate. And when someone gets it for me, it’s mine, and I don’t feel at all bad about not sharing with everyone. Do some research and get what she likes.


3. Popcorn – I have a food theme going here, don’t I? The key with this again is thought. I know for me as a mom, a special snack just for me is hard to come by. I usually just snack on whatever everyone else is having. You know, stale goldfish from the kids, too-spicy salsa from my husband, and whatever else people in my house like to eat. I rarely purchase a snack just for me.

If your mom’s favorite popcorn is microwave popcorn, get that. You can get some really fun popcorn at specialty stores or even at your local grocery store. I love popcorn that’s been drizzled in chocolate. But it’s like $4 a bag so I don’t just go buy it for myself.

Better yet, get your mother some fun popcorn, her favorite sweet drink (coke, tea, lemonade, etc.), and a new DVD. I bet she’ll even invite you to join her movie night.

4. Coffee – Most moms I know consume a lot of coffee. My mom loves coffee. I know a few who don’t drink it at all and I’m not sure how they survive! If your mother doesn’t drink coffee, she probably drinks tea, hot chocolate, or cokes. The key here is, get her a beverage that she loves. My favorite coffee brand is Green Mountain. It’s always so smooth and delicious. Find out what your mom’s favorite brand is. Does she like beans, ground, or k-cups? Or, would she prefer a gift card to her favorite coffee shop? My mom always feels pampered with a Starbucks giftcard. Add a giftcard for her Kindle and she has a relaxing afternoon out. A lot of local coffee shops have their own special blends, maybe your mother likes trying new things. Just knowing that you put in some extra effort to get her something she likes will be appreciated.

Want to give a really special gift? Include a personalized coffee cup with her coffee. And she’ll think of you every time she drinks coffee.

5. Personalized Gift – Shutterfly has awesome magnets, scratch pads, and cards if you’re not crafty but still want to make something special for your mom. If you like to create things, make her something that she wants or something that will remind her of how much you love her everytime she sees it. For example, my MIL loves aprons, so I like to either make her an apron with the kids artwork on it, or buy her an apron from shutterfly or someplace similar with a picture of the kids on it. It’s useful, because she wears it while she cooks and it’s special to her because it lets her show off her grandkids. If you like to bake, bake your mom a special cake, or have her over for dinner one night. There’s so many personalized gifts you can give to your mom that let her know you were thinking of her way before Mother’s Day. (because these things take time)

5 Things That I Really Want for Mother’s Day

As a Mom with young kids my wish list for Mother’s Day is pretty simple, and complicated all at the same time. It’s simple because nothing on the list is expensive but it’s complicated because actually getting one of these things is way more difficult to achieve than you might think.

You moms with young kids understand. It’s so hard to get any of these that just one will do!

1. Time alone – And I don’t mean sending the kids to bed so I can clean the house or get work done, I mean time to do something fun by myself, like play a video game uninterrupted or watch my favorite show.

Maybe  my husband could take the kids to the zoo for the day, and I can sit at home and play video games and eat chocolate all day (you know, what I presumably do all day at home with the kids but don’t actually have the time to do). For once I’d like to fulfill a stereotype.

Though, I’m not sure they’d last all day at the zoo without me…

2. A clean house (that I didn’t clean) – I could add that the house needs to say clean for 24 hours, but that actually is impossible unless my husband takes the kids on an overnight trip after cleaning the house for me.

I’m pretty sure cleaning the house, taking the kids to the zoo, and spending the night somewhere with them – all without me – is not a reasonable request.

So we all know that’s not happening! Really, if someone could just clean my house for me. You know, do the laundry, clean the kitchen, mop the floors, scrub the showers. I’m not asking for much!

Honestly, I’d settle for a clean kitchen.

3. Dinner (that I didn’t make) – I would also like to eat it without a small child on my lap and without getting up from the table a dozen times to refill water glasses and such.

And it can’t be boxed mac and cheese. Has to be something actually tasty. Like a steak and potatoes with a side salad and a chocolate lava cake for dessert.

Now I’m hungry!

If I could just get the clean kitchen, dinner, and time alone to eat it. That would be prefect.

4. Chocolate – I love chocolate, it just makes things better. A whole bunch of chocolate, to eat alone would be awesome. I could be happy with that.

On second thought, eating it alone, in a clean house, after a dinner that I didn’t make, would be perfect.

5. To shower ALONE – I do actually get showers, I guess I should be happy with that. But it would be nice to not have the toddler standing there crying about it the entire time or the other kids requesting things (like Breakfast) or bringing containers to the shower for me to open – you know, “here mom, open this peanut butter for me”. “oh, and don’t get it wet”. Huh?

Oh, wait, I did get a shower by myself the other day – I was at the gym. In case you didn’t know, I don’t actually go to the gym to work out. I’m there for the private shower. I just work out first so I have an excuse to take a shower.

Maybe when I’m alone in my clean house, after eating my tasty dinner that I didn’t make, and indulging in some really tasty chocolate, I’ll go get a nice hot shower by myself!

On second thought, I think a spa day would be more practical.


$10 for Plum District

Plum District, an online deal site is offering $10 gift certificates to everyone who signs up. Making $30 worth of custom tags only $5 or $40 worth of baby clothes only $10. A pretty good deal!

Plus other deals such as wall decals for only $4 after using your $10 gift certificate.