Troll of Your Tongue #TheBoxtrolls + Twitter Party 9/26

The Boxtrolls is coming to theaters TOMORROW, September 26! I don’t know who’s more excited to go, but we Martins can’t wait to get to the theater to see this movie.  It’s been a fun summer reading the book and doing fun crafts and activities building up to this and it’s finally almost here! Check out the fun Troll of Your Tongue featurette below:

Grab your tickets to see The Boxtrolls now! I don’t know when we’ll get to the theater to see this, but we WILL for sure.  All 5 of us can’t wait!

ALSO!!
Please join us at #TheBoxtrolls Twitter party on 9/26, from 11am-12pm PST (2-3pm EST) with the hashtag #TheBoxtrolls for a chance to win $500!


This post is part of a sponsored partnership between myself and The Boxtrolls. Opinions are my own.

#TheBoxtrolls: What Makes a Family + Twitter Party 9/26

The Boxtrolls is coming to theaters TOMORROW, September 26! I don’t know who’s more excited to go, but we Martins can’t wait to get to the theater to see this movie.  It’s been a fun summer reading the book and doing fun crafts and activities building up to this and it’s finally almost here! Check out the fun What Makes a Family featurette below:

 
Grab your tickets to see The Boxtrolls now!

ALSO!!
Please join us at #TheBoxtrolls Twitter party on 9/26, from 11am-12pm PST (2-3pm EST) with the hashtag #TheBoxtrolls for a chance to win $500!


This post is part of a sponsored partnership between myself and The Boxtrolls. Opinions are my own.

Share a video, support Make a Wish #WishPower #StraightTalkTesters #Giveaway

If you had one wish, what would it be? What is one thing that you would love to see or do in your lifetime that would bring you fulfillment? Would you travel to Paris? Meet someone you admire? I can think of lots of things I’d like to do, if given the opportunity. The thing is, we often take these things for granted.  That’s why I love the Make-A-Wish foundation. They give children with life-threatening medical conditions the chance to make their wishes come true! I have friends and family who’ve been granted wishes, and I know just what these granted wishes give to families.  It’s not about things, it’s about memories.  I love that my favorite cell provider, Straight Talk, has teamed up for such an important cause. I will be heading out of my way tomorrow simply to be sure to give a minute and help make a wish. I hope you’ll join me. It’s one of the easiest ways I’ve seen to support Make a Wish!

give-minute-makeawish

I’m VERY excited to share that this month, Straight Talk Wireless is rallying  fans and friends to help raise up to $1 million to grant the wishes of deserving kids as part of their “Give a Minute, Help Make-A-Wish” program.

 

And guess what?

 

You can help!

wishpower-shelby-makeawish

Here’s how:

 

  1. When you’re doing your shopping at Walmart this month, take a moment to stop by the wireless department. By taking one minute of your time to view a Straight Talk product demo, you will trigger a $1 donation to the Make-A-Wish foundation. You can stop by participating Walmart stores any Saturday in September.
  2. Can’t make it to a Walmart? That’s okay! Visit www.straighttalkwish.com and share a wish story. You can also share any of the wish stories posted to Straight Talk’s Facebook or Twitter

 

For every share you make from the above sites, and for every one-minute demo you attend, you will trigger a $1 donation from Straight Talk to Make-A-Wish! I absolutely love that there is the option to trigger a donation without even leaving the comforts of your home!

 

Want to find out if your local Walmart is participating? Visit the www.straighttalkwish.com website, and enter in your zip code. You will then be given a list of participating Walmart stores in your area!

 

While you’re on the site, don’t forget to check out and share some of the heart-touching stories of children whose wishes have been fulfilled thanks the Make-A Wish foundation!

One reader will win a Straight Talk prize pack for families on the go, valued at about $90!

 

Straight_Talk_Badge_125

This is a sponsored post as part of the #StraightTalkTesters program. Opinions are my own.

Healthy grab and go lunch kits make for #lunchingawesome!


I try to make healthy lunches for my kids. I do. I even try to send them with non packaged, made by mom fresh items for lunch every day. But you know what? Some mornings- well, they are those mornings, and we’ve all had them… and making that perfect, from scratch healthy lunch just isn’t going to happen. Perhaps we’ve slept late, perhaps we’ve lost track of time. Perhaps half an hour was spent hunting for a library book someone suddenly remembers was actually LEFT AT SCHOOL. It doesn’t matter. Perhaps I haven’t slept enough and really just want more time with my pillow.

Because really, most of us have had or will have those mornings. Or afternoons. Or evenings. I’ve even had those entire days… and weeks. Every day isn’t filled with from scratch meals, snacks… I’ve yelled from frustration and we’ve gone to start our days angry. I’ve also spent 10 extra minutes in bed trying to sleep (or avoiding waking up) instead of making those perfect lunches. I have. Confessions of a real life mom.

It’s THOSE mornings (afternoons, evenings, nights, days, weeks…) that make me so thankful that there exists grab and go products that will give me peace of mind while filling the kids’ bellies. Applegate Organic has teamed up with Stonyfield and Annie’s to offer a natural, healthy grab and go lunch kit option for kids. The name of the team? HALF TIME™!

lunchingawesome-healthy-lunchables

Applegate Organic’s HALF TIME™ comes in three varieties: Turkey & Cheese, Ham & Cheese, Bologna & Cheese. Snacks from partner brands Annie’s and Stonyfield are in all three. My five year old staked her claim on these awesome lunches and was very specific in telling me which day she was having which flavor. You can see the TH in the corner of the box. She got a marker and had me put the day she’d asked to have that flavor so I wouldn’t forget (ask my kids- I’m a good forgetter!) She took the blank lunch bag that came with our samples and got right down to work making it hers in every sense of the word. The super cute bird lunchbox I got her for school? It’s gathering dust. Tossed by the wayside for a one-of-a-kind mini Martin original piece of art.

My kids are big fans of cracker sandwiches. They get downright excited because it’s a change up from the routine and a kind of DIY lunch. Applegate Organic’s HALF TIME™ let’s them make their own cracker sandwiches, or maybe your kids like to enjoy each component of lunch separately. It’s their lunch, let them live a little. You can rest assured knowing that they are having natural, organic, nitrate free foods for lunch (literally…. I totally would. Did you know that 33% of parents admit they’d sleep in longer if it wasn’t for the lunches that need to be made?!)

 

My little one is enamored with these lunch kits. I’m kind of smitten myself. I don’t do convenience foods daily, but I’m always up for healthy options for my family and this dream-team of brands, so to speak, has offered me a whole new way to get eleven more minutes of sleep every week (I’d say every day but I only give myself one “pass” day a week at most).

All the sleep, friends. Sleep easy. This stuff is nitrate free, hormone free, and good for them.

And, well, if you decide to give them a try for yourself, I won’t judge. Three fave brands in a box together are hard to resist!

Enjoy the extra sleep. I know I will.
halftime-prize-pak

Or you can use the extra time to enter to win an Applegate Organic’s HALF TIME™ Prize Pack including the following:

All three varieties of Applegate Organic’s HALF TIME™: Turkey & Cheese, Ham & Cheese, and Bologna & Cheese

A draw-your-own lunch bag

A set of permanent markers

Coupons

Activity book

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Applegate via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

The icky part of having a cat #FreshStepCats


This post brought to you by Fresh Step Lightweight Extreme Litter. The content and opinions expressed below are that of this mama loves.

Listen, you guys. I love our cats. I do.  I loved our old cats, as well.  I love all the things about having cats except for…

the LITTER.

The changing of the litter, the scooping, cleaning, etc., is enough. Necessary, but truly not a favorite part of my routine.

But one thing that really gets me is the buying of the litter, paying for it, getting it home and moving it around.  We buy things like litter in larger sized packaging so that we can get the most bang for our buck. But that also means we’re buying larger sized packaing and while we’re spending smart, it’s HEAVY.

Fresh Step® has a new Lightweight Extreme Litter available at Target. There will be an eight week display in-store at Target too so you can be sure not to miss it in store (I KNOW I’m not the only one around here who frequents Target….).  Why is this important? It’s the same amount of litter, but it’s lighter.  Getting it off the shelf, into the cart, into the car and into the house? Easier. Lighter.

What’s also important to note is that this new Lightweight Extreme Litter still offers the same odor control (No one wants to smell a litter box, including cats!) and works the same as you’ve come to expect Fresh Step® to perform. Clumping, odor control, those are unchanged features of the Fresh Step®.  It’s just lighter. So less weight to lift, move, pour and scoop.

I love our cats.  Lloyd and Rosabeth have been a wonderful addition to our family. I just don’t love the litter box- and given that I’m the main shopper in this family, I hate buying litter. It’s always been a pain in the neck to purchase, simple because it’s bulky and heavy to move and lift and pour. I’m looking forward to a lighter load for me to contend with, while still giving the cats a litter that absorbs well and performs well to get that part of their world covered! We want happy cats who have a great litterbox experience each time they use it- that way they are happy to USE that litter box and our house doesn’t start to smell like cats.

I’d much rather spend time snuggling with or playing games with my cats than dealing with litter all the time, wouldn’t you?

fresh step mailer

We’ll be trying the new Fresh Step® Lightweight Extreme Litter at Target next week.  Stay tuned to see if the icky part of having a cat gets better in my house. I am quite hopeful it does!  Fresh Step® sent us a catnip scented mailer and even our cranky Rosabeth likes it! She keeps pouncing on it!

 

rosabeth flyer

fresh step rosabeth

Are you a cat family? 

Visit Sponsor's Site

Quick and Easy Apple Cinnamon Rolls



Fall is HERE! My favorite time of year- as much for the baking and comfort food offerings as the foliage and cooler temperatures. I love it all. It’s also the one time of year I say y’all – as in, Happy Fall, Y’all!

Fun and festive holiday foods are one of my favorite things, and with so many great holidays and color themes for fall, it was the perfect time to take some already-awesome Cinnamon Rolls and add a few tweaks to make them amazing. The folks at Pillsbury asked if we’d consider having some fun with their new Cinnabon Bakery Inspired Cinnamon Rolls and we had a little fall fun with them.

Quick & Easy Apple Cinnamon Rolls

 

quick-easy-apple-cinnamon-rolls

 

Ingredients

1 package Cinnabon Bakery Inspired Cinnamon Rolls

2-3 apples, diced finely

Greased baking dish (I used a pie plate)

Gel orange food coloring

Small ziplock bag

Scissors

bakery-inspired-cinnamon-rolls

Directions

Preheat oven based on package instructions

Chop up your apples (the smaller the apples are, the softer they’ll be out of the oven)

apple-cinnamon-rolls-prep

Take rolls out of packaging

Unroll each roll and sprinkle diced apples all along the roll

apple-cinnamon-rolls-rolling

Reroll with apples inside, taking care to gently press together as you go

Place rolls into greased baking dish

apple-cinnamon-roll-pre-bake

Cover with cinnamon topping and bake as directed

While rolls are baking, add desired amount of food color gel to a Ziploc bag with the included icing packet and squish to mix the colors together

orange-cinnamon-roll-frosting

 

Seal the bag and squish icing around with gel color to mix. Once it’s the desired color, snip the bottom corner to add icing to your rolls

orange-cinnamon-roll-icing-bag

After rolls are finished baking, allow them to sit for 3-5 minutes to cool a bit.

Ice rolls after the 3-5 minute wait time.

Serve and enjoy!
This makes 4 rolls.  They are HUGE.  You can absolutely split them in half and still get a lot- or even into quarters.  They go a long way!

cinnabon-bakery-inspired-cinnamon-rolls

Pillsbury and Cinnabon have partnered to create an indulgent cinnamon roll dripping with ooey-gooey cinnamon and topped with thick, rich Cinnabon frosting.
Cinnabon Bakery Inspired Cinnamon Rolls are the ultimate family treat to make at home.
Available now in the refrigerated section of grocery stores nationwide.
Suggested Retail Price: $4.49

How do you enjoy your Cinnamon Rolls?

 

4.7 from 6 reviews
Quick and Easy Apple Cinnamon Rolls
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Coloring the icing and adding diced apples makes these cinnamon rolls a fun and delicious fall treat!
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 package Cinnabon Bakery Inspired Cinnamon Rolls
  • 2-3 apples, diced finely
  • Greased baking dish (I used a pie plate)
  • Gel orange food coloring
  • Small ziplock bag
  • Scissors
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven based on package instructions
  2. Chop up your apples (the smaller the apples are, the softer they'll be out of the oven)
  3. Take rolls out of packaging
  4. Unroll each roll and sprinkle diced apples all along the roll
  5. Reroll with apples inside, taking care to gently press together as you go
  6. Place rolls into greased baking dish
  7. Seal the bag and squish icing around with gel color to mix. Once it's the desired color, snip the bottom corner to add icing to your rolls
  8. After rolls are finished baking, allow them to sit for 3-5 minutes to cool a bit.
  9. Ice rolls after the 3-5 minute wait time.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

 

Thanks to Pillsbury for sponsoring today’s post.  We are loving the Bakery Inspired Cinnamon Rolls!

Sponsored Video: #EveryDayMoments Campaign


If you know anything at all about me, you know I absolutely love getting the most bang for my buck. Who doesn’t? Prices are high now days and literally every cent helps. In a world where we are constantly nickeled and dimed with hidden fees and “extras”, the term “cash back” is like music to my ears. That’s why I absolutely LOVE what American Express is doing with their Everyday Card.
What’s the Everyday Card

This card gives users rewards wherever they use their card! I’ve seen lots of reward cards that had a limited amount of places you could earn your rewards from. Not the case with American Express. Rewards can be earned at over 500 brands (mostly clothing and home ware brands!) You can even earn double points by shopping at US supermarkets, something we all have to do fairly often.

 

What’s the annual fee?

 

No annual fee! None. In fact, the more you use your card the better. You can earn 20% extra just by using your card 20 or more times each month. So you are literally earning money simply by purchasing your everyday products…. Nothing else required.

 

I’m super excited about this, if you can’t tell. I’ll likely be earning most of my points at the grocery or buying clothes for the kids. With three growing kids, it seems like there is always something that needs to be purchased.

 

What everyday purchase would you earn points on?

 #everydaymoments

Soleil Moon Frye shared the excitement of her#EveryDayMoments  purchase in her video about purchasing a new mini fan! This video cracked me up, because I can totally relate to this.

 

View her video below:

Be sure to check out Soleil’s website, MoonFrye. Lots of fun diy projects and tons of cute!

This post is brought to you by our friends at American Express. Opinions are my own.

Tailgating Essentials #SamsClubTailgating

What’s the best part about fall? Football season, of course! Whether you’re actually into the game, or just in it for the atmosphere, football season is a blast! The perfect replacement for summer BBQs once the whether cools down. While it may seem carefree and lax, however, it’s even MORE important to be prepared for a game than it is for a BBQ. No one wants to have to leave in the middle of the game to grab something that was forgotten!

I love that my Sam’s Club membership allows me to purchase all of our football season entertaining items in once place at an affordable rate, in quantities large enough to entertain without worry about running out! Today’s post is sponsored by Sam’s Club, but my love for their tailgating and football season is all my own!

Here are a few of my must have tailgating essentials for  football viewing:

tailgating essentials

 

Television: A television is key to watching the game. The host with the best television easily wins the affection of their guest. Your TV should have a crystal clear display, and be large enough for everyone to view it comfortably. Throw in a Samsung Soundbar to give your guest the ULTIMATE viewing experience.

Samsung TV

Cooler: Drinks and football go hand and hand. Alleviate the need for your guest to travel back and forth to the kitchen going in and out of your fridge, by grabbing a cooler. This will keep your drinks close by, and ice cold!

igloo glide cooler

Food: Of course, a party isn’t a party without food! Finger foods are best. Kraft Velveeta can be used to make a variety of dips that you can serve with chips! Be sure not to forget condiments as well! If you are serving hot wings, be sure to grab a container of Hidden Valley Ranch, and maybe even some KC Masterpiece.

kc masterpiece

Multicooker: You want to impress your dress, no doubt. What you DON’T want to do, however, is spend the entire party in the kitchen stirring pots and pans. The Wolfgang Puck 10-cup Digital Multicooker not only keeps all your dishes warm, but makes for an awesome serving station too. It’s also handy for those times when you would like to bring a dish to someone else’s home to watch the game too!

digital multicooker

The most important part is to be safe, and have fun!

Fun ways to spark conversation with your kids

How many of you have asked your kids a question and gotten a one word answer?

 

How many of you have carefully worded your question so that the response will clearly need more than a one word answer?

 

How many of you have kids who can still turn any question into a one word answer?

 

That happens here far more often than I care to admit.  It used to be that I could ask 2-3 questions and it would almost breeze into them sharing detail for a moment or two about their school day.  Like ” Who did you sit with at lunch today? What were you playing at recess?” and quickly I’d know a good amount of information about how at least part of their day played out.

fun-ways-spark-conversation-with-your-kids

My kids are, however, smarter than I am and I have to really work to get them to talk (to me) at times.  Sure, they talk incessantly, but often it’s to one another (in talk or screaming, or both), but to mom and dad?  Not always.

kidq screenshot

 

Well, I found an app to help with that.  An app from our friends at Scholastic that offers fun ways to spark conversation with your kids.

kidq q

What I like about this app is that it’s FUN stuff about things that kids and adults can be and often are curious about or want to know more about.  Little factoids, answers to those questions that pop up in the middle of nowhere that are relating to something mom and dad haven’t ever studied not for one single second of their lives. Stuff like that.

kidq answer

Questions and facts to ward off boredom, to spark conversation, or further dialogue. Sadly for some of us (me), you won’t find answers like “Hair turns grey when kids don’t listen” and you may find many parenting myths dispelled.  I’m so sorry. 😉

 

Scholastic Parent & Child believes that one of the best ways to connect with your child is through conversation. The KidQ app for iPhone and Android facilitates conversation via fun Q&A’s about the things that kids (and parents!) are the most curious about, like Why is the sky blue? And Why do we say “ears” of corn? Each day, users are notified of a new playful question that serves as a conversation starter along with the official answer. Families will have a blast as they compare their explanations to the facts!

 

Download the free KidQ app from Scholastic Parent & Child by visiting http://www.scholastic.com/apps/#/kidq and see where your conversations go now!

 

What are your favorite ways to spark conversation with your kids?

 

I received compensation from Scholastic Parent & Child in return for your agreement to post on behalf of this program

 

Enter the Boxtrolls Cardboard Challenge! #TheBoxtrollsCC #TheBoxtrolls

Focus Features, the creative minds behind The Boxtrolls movie, set to open in just a week (eek!), has partnered with the Imagination Foundation. The mission of the Imagination Foundation is to find, foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in children around the world.

boxtrolls-card-board-challenge

Focus is working with the Imagination Foundation to sponsor a Boxtrolls Cardboard Challenge, where kids can create and build crafts inspired by the movie, using cardboard boxes as the main resource – just like the Boxtrolls themselves do. The partnership is twofold – there is a contest encouraging kids to create their own crafts out of cardboard boxes for a chance to win prizing (must submit via social with a custom hashtag, details below). Secondly, there will be events hosted across the country, where participants can attend and win “What’s in the Box?”-themed packages at hosted events (a list of cities, dates and times for the hosted events in the Boxtrolls Cardboard Challenge can be found at http://www.focusfeatures.com/the_boxtrolls/events)

 boxtrolls-kids-cardboard-challenge

Imagination Foundation Event Dates:

  • Boston, MA: Saturday 9/20 from 11am-3pm at the Framingham Food Truck Festival

  • Cleveland, OH: Saturday 9/20 from 11am-2pm at SouthPark Mall

  • Salt Lake City, UT: Saturday 9/20 from 12pm-3pm at Station Park Mall in Farmington

  • Kansas City, MO:  Sunday 9/21 2pm – 4pm at the Science City at Union Station

  • Minneapolis, MN: Sunday 9/21 from 1pm-3pm at Mall of America in the Sears Court

  • Austin, TX: Sunday 9/21 from 1pm-3pm at Givens Recreation Center from 1pm-3pm

  • Baltimore, MD: Sunday 9/21 from 2pm-4pm at the Port Discovery Atrium

  • Philadelphia, PA: Sunday 9/21 from 12pm-3pm at Franklin Mills Mall

  • Raleigh, NC: Sunday 9/21 from 1pm-4pm at the CenterFest Arts Festival (in the Kids Zone) in Durham

  • Pittsburgh, PA(9/21) : Sunday 9/21 from 12pm-3pm at Carnegie Science Center

  • San Diego, CA: Sunday 9/21 from 10:30am-3pm at the San Diego Padres game against the San Francisco Giants at Petco Park

boxtrolls-kids-in-boxes

 

Doesn’t this look like SO  much fun? Can’t wait to attend a local event. I want to meet a Boxtroll in person! My kids will be very excited to create more Boxtrolls and enter the Cardboard Challenge- I hope you enter too! 

Contest

The Boxtrolls Cardboard Challenge takes place from  8/25-9/29- so we all have a little while longer to get our boxes on!

How to enter the contest:

Participants can share their creations via Twitter or Instagram by tagging their photos with the hashtag #TheBoxtrollsCC to enter

Prizing

Grand Prize: one (1) Grand Prize winner will be picked on September 29th and receive an “Imagination Box” for creative play, including an Apple iMac, an iPad Air, Microsoft Office, The Print Shop and Kid Pix softwares, a $500 DiscoveryStore.com gift card, and a $1000 Michaels Arts & Crafts gift card.

Contest Rules and Regulations

boxtrolls-characters-cardboard-challenge

Remember, The Boxtrolls movie opens September 26 in theaters everywhere. We can’t even wait to see it- and the crafts and challenges we’ve been doing for this movie all summer have been such a great experience for the kids and I.

Which Boxtroll would you want to meet in person? 

 
This post is brought to you by Focus Features.  Opinions are my own.