Discover the World of Barbie: A Pony Tale ($100 Walmart GC Giveaway)

This post about Discover the World of Barbie: A Pony Tale is sponsored by Lunchbox.  Opinions are my own. 

Visit Walmart.com this fall and discover the world of Barbie! From the butterfly fairy world of Mariposa, to life in the Dreamhouse, to following Barbie and her sisters in Pony Tale, you can find everything you need to enjoy the world of Barbie with your friends! I have a little girl who can’t WAIT to see A Pony Tale with Barbie and her sisters- I think she’s hoping Santa may leave it under the tree for her…..but if you know the Barbie movies, you know how much kids love them!

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Create your own Barbie™ eCard!

When you visit Walmart.com, you can create a beautiful Barbie™ eCard to share with all your friends! Choose your background, characters and special message and you’re all set! My girls have made about eleven of these cards this week.  They just like to customize things, I guess.  My little one has a lot of love for Barbie so it’s extra exciting for her!

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Win a World of Barbie™ Prize Pack!

Are you a Barbie™ fan? Would you LOVE to win up to $1,000 worth of dolls, DVDs, merchandise and more? Head to Walmart.com and enter to win! You can enter once per day until November 30, 2013. (So after you eat your fill on Thanksgiving, be sure to head over and enter!!) 

 In celebration of the World of Barbie, one reader will win a $100 Walmart Gift Card!! 

 

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Lunchbox. All opinions are my own.

Holiday Traditions with Hickory Farms #HickoryTradition

Holiday traditions are by far my favorite part of the holidays. I love looking forward to that special meal and time spent with family all season long; and knowing that all my favorite dishes will be served along with lots of laughter and of course, special new memories made.

Hickory Farms gifts have been a classic holiday tradition bringing friends and families together for over 60 years. Offering gift boxes packed with flavorful cheeses, delicious summer sausages, gourmet crackers and a variety of specialty mustards, it’s a party waiting to happen!  Packaged as gifts, like the Cheddar Flight with Salami gift set we received, Hickory Farms sets are a holiday tradition of their own in our family.  Everone has their favorite part (which for me has included carefully saving the shredded paper for crafts later on…my brother B always liked the salamis the best. My dad wanted it all, on crackers, cheeses sliced just so.

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In addition to offering meat and cheese gift boxes, Hickory Farms also has sweet treats like Snowflake Pretzels and Holiday Petits Fours for your get togethers and gift giving this holiday season.

Passing traditions along to the next generation is something that each member of the family does without even realizing it, simply by participating in them each year. Hickory Farms is very proud to be a part of these long standing traditions within families, as well as having a place within newly created ones.

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Hickory Farms can be found in over 700+ Holiday Market stores and kiosks across North America, as well as in select retailers. You can also order online directly from their website.

 

 What are your favorite holiday traditions? Hickory Farms would like to send one of my reader a Cheddar Flight with Salami gift set!

 

Disclaimer: Compensation and products for review were provided by Hickory Farms via MomTrends. I received a free sample of the product for the purpose of this review and to facilitate a giveaway.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Hickory Farms.

Personalized Gift Ideas for the Whole Family #GiftsbyBSK

Ready or not, here come the holidays.  We’re a week from Thanksgiving, which means we’re also a week away from Hanukkah.  In a week, we’ll be under a month until Christmas.  With families being so spread out, it isn’t always easy to know what someone wants or needs- and often, especially if there are older siblings or cousins, there isn’t much they may need anyway.  It can make gift giving  challenge.

One of my favorite gifts has always been and I think will always be personalized gifts.  I’m absolutely in love with monogrammed shirts – with the name or initials.  I mean, when you have, say, 4 boys, what do you get the little ones  that they don’t already have?  Chances are they have most any toy you could think of.  That’s where personalized gifts can save the day.

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1. A cute tshirt that coordinates with baby’s nursery theme?? Adorable.  Also easy to sleuth if you visit the family, or can peek at their registry (or Facebook). 

2. Big and little sister/brother shirts are almost always welcome.  My kids LOVED wearing their shirts, and wore them for so many months until they were far too small.  

 

3. When each of my kids was born, they received a Pewter Baby Cup engraved with their first and middle name, plus date of birth. We use them regularly. We also have my old baby cup and both of my moms that are in rotation.  

4. Canvas Wall Art- There’s a huge variety of canvas wall art to choose from.  You can go with a simple image and text, just an image, or text alone. 

5. Personalized Stationary- from a pad of paper to a full set of stationary! Have fun with it!  I love having things with all of my family members’ names on them.  

6. Water bottle or covered cup 

 

7. Personalized Jewelry.  There are so many options around -I have my eye on Origami Owl lately and some Etsy shops as well.  

8. Cutting Board 

9. Playing Cards

10. Wall Clock

11. Wooden name puzzle

12. KeyChain

13. Stickers, name labels, craft labels, etc. 

14. Tote Bag (Kids love bags, why not get them one with their interest(s) and/or name on it? 

15. Birthday Plate

16. Story Book

There are tons and tons of ideas.  I can’t even stop at 10 there’s so many! 

 My first choice for kids is almost always a fun shirt or a pillowcase.  Kids love to see their name on things!  

For adults? I try to match their interests and needs.  For a foodie I might get a nice peppermill and engrave their last name on it (oops, there we are at idea 17).  Or the cutting board…and it could be large or small.  

Save 15% off Bright Star Kids Personalized Clothing!

Be different this Christmas & get the kids a super cute gift personalized especially for them! Save 15% when you use the code “GIFT” in the shopping cart. Min spend $30. Expires December 15, 2013.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bright Star Kids. The opinions and text are all mine.

Christmas Mouse Craft: DIY Ornament

It seems as though you can’t get through the holidays without the story of a Christmas mouse or two. Whether it be the story of The Nutcracker or Christopher’s Christmas, mice just seem to get us in the holiday spirit. This holiday, why not do a little mouse crafting with your kids? Take a look below at how to use some very basic supplies to make your own cute Christmas mouse craft.

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Cute Christmas Ornament Craft

Supplies needed:
Walnut shells
Nail
Hammer
Googly eyes
Black string
Craft pom poms
White and red felt
Scissors

We were able to find all of the above supplies at our local craft store. If you are looking for walnuts, most grocery stores have them or just ask your friends. You would be surprised how many people may have some on hand in their own yards. If you can’t find walnuts, any large nut shell will do.

Directions:
1. You want to begin by splitting your walnut in half. To do this, look for the seam and place your nail in it. Hammer gently to break it apart. This of course is a step best left up to adults.
2. Now, add the nose of the mouse. To do this, take a small pom pom or snip some of the fuzz off of a pom pom and glue it to the shell as we did.
3. Cut a few small lengths of black string and add a tiny dab of glue to the ends. Secure them under the pom pom. Adjust them and fluff them to make them look natural.
4. A mouse has to have eyes, so add a dab of glue to your googly eyes and press them to the shell right above the nose.
5. Now it is time to make his Santa hat. Roll a small piece of red felt into a cone, like an ice cream cone. Secure with glue. Cut a small, skinny rectangle from your white felt to trim the hat. Secure with glue.
6. Secure the hat on the top of the nut using your glue again. We also cut two small and white ovals from our felt that we glued onto the side of the hat as ears. It gave it a cute touch.
7. Finally, you can glue a pom pom to the end of the hat if you wish, a white one looks best and gives it that true Santa hat look.

Now all you need to do is discover some great mouse themed holiday stories to enjoy with your new and furry little friends. Children will enjoy creating a whole family of these, and you will enjoy how you can tie them into the many mouse stories available during the season.

Happy crafting!



Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe #Recipe #linky

With the holidays upon us, I’ve been wanting to showcase fun, quick and easy recipes to make – even twists on classics like this Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.  Most everyone loves a good chocolate chip cookie recipe, this one just adds a fun and festive holiday flavor!  You can use any kind of peppermint bits you’d like- crushed up candies, candy canes, or even grab the peppermint chips in the baking aisle. I always like to break the candies into bits for a little free stress relief. :)peppermint-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe

5.0 from 1 reviews
Peppermint Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Holiday twist on traditional chocolate chip cookies
Author:
Recipe type: Cookies
Cuisine: American
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • 1 and ½ sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ⅓ cup Peppermint Pieces or Bites
  • ½ cup Chocolate Chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Using a mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars.
  4. Add in the egg.
  5. Slowly mix in the flour.
  6. Using a plastic spatula or a spoon, fold in the cornstarch, baking soda, peppermint bites or pieces, and chocolate chips.
  7. Roll the cookie dough into medium cookie balls and place on parchment paper.
  8. Bake for 9-10 minutes.
  9. Stores in the refrigerator for 1 week.

What are your favorite holiday cookie recipes?  Check out some of our other recipes!

Holiday Gift Idea for Preschoolers: Magic Fun Dough (Giveaway)

I found a great holiday gift idea for preschoolers thanks to the folks at RoseArt and Linqia- the new Magic Fun Dough sets.  Battery free and non toxic, these sets don’t need batteries to play- they run all on creativity.  These sets come in 6 different themes and range from $9.99 to $19.99.  They are corn-based, wheat free and gluten free so you if your little one has allergies to any of these items, they can stills safely enjoy the sets and modeling compound.

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The Magic Fun Dough sets are found in the crafts area of your local Target and Walmart stores in addition to being available for purchase at Amazon.com.  They are meant for ages 3-7 but my 8 year old has been enjoying the Fairy Tea Party set we received for review right along with her little sister.  We have almost 2 full weeks off for vacation over the holidays this year and Santa and I will both be bringing several gifts that include crafts and creative thinking for the kids to share and keep busy! We like to have activities and games that we can share together and enjoy together.

roseart-magic-fun-dough

Adding the transfer to your dough is easy.  Roll it out, remove the plastic covering from the transfer you want to use (just like temporary tattoos)

and lay it atop your dough.

roseart-magic-fun-dough-transferOnce the transfer is in place, gently dab water using the applicator to moisten the paper.

roseart-magic-fun-dough-wetThen, gently press the sponge stamp on top of the paper to make sure the design transfers to the dough. (About 1 minute)

roseart-magic-fun-dough-presAfter the minute is up, slowly peel back the paper backing from the transfer.  You’ll want to let the design air dry a few moments before doing anything with it.

roseart-magic-fun-dough-revealOnce your transfer design is dry, cut it with a shape cutter or freehand and enjoy playing!

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Our fairies like to spin until they are very, very dizzy.

roseart-magic-fun-dough-fairy-spin

The transfers are meant to be absorbed into the dough- it doesn’t change the color or texture of the dough- so when you are done playing, you can just put the dough into the containers and start fresh next time you want to play! Each piece of the set has a purpose- either to display or build new pieces. The large mushroom opens to create shapes, there are shapes to be made all over the ‘grass’ area, the back of the teapot house and inside the door have shapes, and also, when you put dough in the top of the teapot, you can press it out into different shapes and make “tea.” It’s a lot of fun and I can see my kids continuing to enjoy this for a long time to come.

Other sets include Volcano Valley, Pirate Cove, Barnyard, Pet Shop, Princess & Ponies and of course, the Fairy Tea Party.  These would be a GREAT purchase for grab bags, Secret Santa, toy drives and more!  No batteries to replace.

One reader will win a Magic Fun Dough Fairy Tea Party Set!

Don’t forget to check out RoseArt’s Facebook page for a fun sweepstakes- enter to win up to $1000 cash!

Family fun with Activision Games just in time for the Holidays!

I hve to officially call the Activision Family Summit a huge success.  It was fun, informative, entertaining and we all got to hear first about the new Duck Dynasty game due to release in 2014.  What’s not to love?  Each of the games featured during the Summit is meant for families (be sure to check age recommendations and follow guidelines) so that you and your family can play TOGETHER. I was compensated as part of my role as an online hostess for this event, but opinions are my own.

activision-game-summit-games

 

Angry Birds Star Wars 

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Release Date: 10/29/2013

Game Description: Join an epic adventure with the Angry Birds in the legendary Star Wars™ universe! Can you become a Jedi Master and restore freedom to the galaxy?
NEW MULTIPLAYER MODES
EXCLUSIVE NEW LEVELS
25 HOURS OF ENGAGING GAMEPLAY
UNLOCK HIDDEN ITEMS

Available on: Nintendo 3DS™, Wii™, Wii U™, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3™, PS4™, PS Vita™

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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Release Date: 10/22/2013
Game Description: Nickelodeon’s hottest show for boys is coming to video games! Shredder and the Kraang intend to unleash a devastating mutagen bomb that will transform the citizens of New York City into mindless mutants! Join Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo in the fight for NYC in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the video game!

Play as your favorite Turtle Anytime! Booyakasha!Join the Turtle Power with 4-player co-op multiplayer.Battle through 15 action-packed levels!Eat pizza to increase your Turtle’s health!Available on: Nintendo 3DS™, Wii™, Xbox 360

 

SpongeBob Squarepants Plankton’s Robotic Revenge

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Release Date: 10/22/2013
Game Description: Plankton and his new legion of evil robots have destroyed the Krusty Krab and stolen the safe that houses the famous Krabby Patty formula! It’s up to you and your friends to locate the hidden keys for the safe before the secret is lost forever!

Play as 5 of your favorite characters-SpongeBob, Patrick, Sandy, Squidward and Mr. Krabbs. Switch between them as often as you’d like!
Jump in and out of gameplay at any time with 3 of your friends. If at least one player continues, so does the game! * Travel across lands from the show: Bikini Bottom, Rock Bottom and Dutchman’s Triangle.
Embark on side quests to level-up your “Gizmo” artillery!
Available on: Nintendo 3DS™, Nintendo DS™, Wii™, Wii U™, Xbox 360, PS3™

Transformers Ultimate Battle Edition

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Release Date: Holiday 2013
Game Description: For only $29.99 (SRP), you’ll receive TWO epic Transformers games including TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON and TRANSFORMERS: CYBERTRON ADVENTURES.

TRANSFORMERS: CYBERTRON ADVENTURES: Experience the legendary battle between the Autobots and Decepticons before their exodus to Earth in the untold story of the civil war for their home planet, Cybertron.
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON: Take the battlefield as one of four iconic Autobots with unique weapon loadouts to arm you on your quest in the prequel to the blockbuster film TRANFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON.
Available on: Wii™

MOSHI Monsters Katsuma Unleashed

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Release Date: 11/05/2013
Game Description: Join Katsuma on a voyage through 6 new worlds packed with mini arcade challenges and major boss battles. Rescue other Moshi Monsters from evil robot Moshlings using super Moshi powers- fur will certainly fly!

Defeat robot moshlings!
Epic boss battles!
Super Moshi powers.
Monsterific mini games.
Available on: Nintendo 3DS™, Nintendo DS™

Transformers Ultimate Autobots Edition

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Release Date: Holiday 2013
Game Description: For only $24.99 (SRP), you’ll receive TWO epic Transformers games including: TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN and TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON.

TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN – Based on the blockbuster film, TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN thrusts players into a battle for supremacy across the globe in the Autobot cause as they drive, fly, fight and blast their way through intense, pressure-packed levels
TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON – Take the battlefield as one of four iconic Autobots with unique weapon loadouts to arm you on your quest in the prequel to the blockbuster film TRANFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON.
Available on: Nintendo DS™

Wipeout Create & Crash

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Release Date: 10/15/2013
Game Description: Create your own wipeouts with the new course creator!

Create your own levels, and share them with your friendsand family!
Crash the courses as either fan-favorite or all-new character including 80’s Pop Star and Zombie guy!
Compete in over-the-top new courses like Prehistoric Times and Precarious Pirate Caper with all new themed obstacles!
Challenge your friends to reign supreme in side-by-side or team multiplayer!
Available on: Nintendo 3DS™, Wii™, Wii U™, Xbox 360

 

Skylanders Swap Force

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Release Date: 10/13/2013
Game Description: Skylanders® is “mixing it up” with the newest game in the award-winning, top-selling franchise. Skylanders SWAP Force™ builds upon the success of the franchise’s signature gameplay and collectible toy experience, adding an all-new dimension to the “toys to life” concept.

Swapability
Gameplay Variety
All-New Characters
Assortment of Gameplay Modes
Available on: Nintendo 3DS™, Wii™, Wii U™, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3™, PS4™

 

Congrats to Amy H who won the goodie bag prize pack on my site!  I hope you and your family enjoy the games!! 

You can find Activision games at most major retailers and on Amazon.com

Which games will you be putting under the tree this year?

 

Pong Research iPad Case Boosts Your Signal and more! (Giveaway)



Pong Research Wi-Fi iPad 3 caseSo I had this super cute and fun iPad case  that I really loved, because it was pretty to look at.  But over time, I liked it less, and less, and still less.  The cover wasn’t great quality, and while fun, not the best way to protect the (expensive) iPad device that was inside of it.  So I set out to find a new case and cover that would do  a good job protecting my device.  I do, after all, have three little children (including one three year old who is obsessed with the Starfall apps for kids and also with Angry Birds, and who sneaks out of her room at naptime and runs back to her bed with my iPad in tow) and I need to make this iPad last a really, really long time. A name that kept popping up in different forums and searches was Pong Research, so that’s where I looked for a new case- the New iPad Case.

pong research ipad case

Pong Research makes some really great quality cases- which offer your iPad protection in the form of a leather-like case that functions very much like the Apple Smart Cover, only with a lot more features.  The origami style shape and function of this case give you several ways to prop it up- for optimal viewing  and physical comfort.  We tested many, many of these when my kids all had pneumonia over Christmas last week.  Some positions are better than others, but all offer benefits.  The extra something that Pong cases offer is a boost for your Wi-Fi signal built into the case.  This “extra something” is in the craftsmanship- Pong’s new iPad case is proven to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful radiation emitted by your iPad’s Wi-Fi antenna by up to 91% below international safety limits, while improving your reception and range. No other iPad case can do this, period.  

pong-research-ipad-case

The biggest “extra something” in the case, and in everything Pong Research makes, is that the devices protect US.  The users.  Pong cases are designed to redirect the radiation from your wi-fi device using- well, whatever science and numbers they use to do this.  It’s kind of awesome.  You’ll pay a bit more but since you get double protection, I think it’s the best value around.  Technology is here to stay but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take steps to protect ourselves.  This feature means so much to me that I’m trying to decide what color I just went ahead and ordered a pretty pink Pong case for my iPhone.

pong research ipad case origami flap

I just have this one tiny little complaint about the Pong case for iPad 3.  And to be fair, it’s not a real “complaint” but more a pout.  It only comes in black.  Which is fine, but I like fun, and color.  But for me, the features and function are more important. So I’ll do without fun colors.  BUT, let me tell you, if Pong decides to go with fun colors, I’ll be one of the first to order. Or the first.  This is a case worth every penny.

Compared to other leading cases, the Pong case can:
Improve Wi-Fi reception by up to 9.8X
Increase your Wi-Fi range by up to 2.6X further
Increase download speeds by up to 9.1X
Increase upload speeds by up to 8.7X

Compared to the Apple Smart Cover or your new iPad alone, the Pong case can:
Improve Wi-Fi receptions by up to 3.3X
Increase your Wi-Fi range by up to 1.6X
Increase download speeds by up to 3.1X faster

Sleek, functional, origami design
The new iPad Pong case is the perfect pairing for your new iPad. With four patents granted or pending, Pong never compromises on function:
Soft leather-like protective cover and case
Patented Origami cover folds into 5 configurations
Automatic sleep-wake functionality on closing and opening of cover
Specifically designed for the new iPad’s size and features

Pong’s not just for Apple products- they make a nice variety of cases for Android, Blackberry and Samsung devices as well.

One reader will win the any case from the Pong Research site (based on availability)! 

To Enter: Leave a comment telling one what case you would choose from Pong Research

Want extra entries?Leave a separate comment for each entry method you do and either leave your username or the URL of your “share”

*Leave a relevant comment on this post

*

*Leave a comment on any non-giveaway post +1 entry/day

*Share this giveaway on any social networking site- +1 entry per share per day (can be done on multiple sites)

US only. This giveaway will end on January 25 2012 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner has 24 hours to confirm shipping info.

 

I received an iPad case to facilitate my review.  Opinions are my own.  (I liked it so much I bought a phone case already, which should tell you something!)

5 (ok 6) Non Violent and/or Educational Video Games for Kids

I am not a fan of violent video games.  My husband does play some, but he does so when our children are in bed for the night and he just wants to chill for a while.  Me, I’ll take a cute  game any time, or a word game.  But never violence. I’m especially not a fan of games with violence for children, especially for young children. We have violence everywhere in our lives, and there are just SO many great non violent options to find! An added bonus I keep finding?  These games are almost always priced LESS than their more violent counterparts.  Makes no sense to me. Here are some of OUR family favorites for non-violent video games- for Nintendo DS, LeapFrog Explorer/LeapPad, Nintendo Wii, XBOX. Scholastic is a brand known for quality, fun educational content, so I don’t think anyone will be surprised that I will highly recommend anything they put out.  The I Spy Games for DS and Leapfrog are fabulous- my kids adore the I Spy series, and while we do always prefer books, at least mama does, at least when the kids are playing these games, I know that they are engaged and learning and not just pressing buttons. scholastic ds games

  • I SPY® TWO GAME PACK for NINTENDO DSTM  & Nintendo WII includes two of the popular franchise’s award-winning titles – I SPY Fun House and I SPY Universe. Together, the games feature more than 50 riddles and over 200 levels of play for seek-and-find fans of all ages. To escape the topsy-turvy world in I SPY Fun House, players must earn tickets by completing games, riddles, and the ultimate Prize Popper challenge. I SPY Universe takes players on a different kind of puzzle-solving adventure – a trip through the cosmos. Players unlock new planets and explore the universe while searching for over 400 objects in 36 I SPY riddles, and playing six brain-teasing games.
  • For children 5-8, SMART GAMES FOR KIDS TWO GAME PACK for NINTENDO DSTM  – inclusive of two popular Nintendo DSTM titles – My Amusement ParkTM and Digging for Dinosaurs®. In My Amusement ParkTM, kids build and run their own entertainment venue. Players can choose from four different themes to create rides, food venues, and special attractions in their own personal park. Digging for Dinosaurs® challenges players with a variety of distinctive mini-games that range from simulated paleontological digs to dinosaur battles, all while teaching interesting facts about more than 20 prehistoric species.

I have to tell you that this Digging for Dinosaurs is a hot game with the Kindergarten and First Grade crowd.  My son saw it at Kohl’s months ago and still asks me about it weekly. “Mom, did you get that dinosaur game for my DS yet?”  Well, yes I have but it’s a secret, tucked away for Christmas.  Dinosaurs are cool, and kids can learn, play the “big kid” DS system, and still have fun- without violence. LeapFrog is another very well known, high quality brand that devotes a great deal of research and investment in producing games and toys that both educate and engage- in very fun, interactive ways. leapfrog explorer magic school bus game

The Magic School Bus: Oceans is now available for LeapFrog®’s award-winning Leapster Explorer™ and LeapPad™. Designed for children ages 5-8, The Magic School Bus: Oceans teaches young gamers hundreds of interesting facts about ocean life through fun trivia challenges and seven highly replayable games. Players can earn special badges by performing well in games or trivia challenges, and can redeem these badges for additional features – like decorations for the bus or a customized Magic School Bus driver’s license – through the LeapFrog® Connect Application.

We are kind of new to the Magic School Bus scene.  We have this game on DS and LeapPad, and in my house, it’s preferred on the LeapPad. It may simply be this way because all three kids can see the screen of the pad better than the DS- but they all like the game, even my 3 year old, though she obviously needs a lot of help with it. tangled wii

Tangled– There’s a little bit of the frying pan action, so I hesitated to put this in, but really, this is a CUTE game, easier to control so the littler ones can enjoy it, and when you whip Rapunzel’s hair around, flowers grow.  My girls adore this game, we have it for the Wii.

kinect nat geo tv xbox

Nat Geo TV for Kinect is FABULOUS!  National Geographic, but interactive.  Gorgeous photos and superb graphics.  Great for all ages.  It’s fun to even watch the kids play. funky barn 3ds Funky Barn for DS- this game is just hilarious.  Its cute, it’s fun, whether you are in 2D or 3D mode (I can’t stand 3D anything lately, I think I’m getting old).   Kids (and adults) can learn about working on a farm- in an oddball way, but they are still learning!

I hope this list helps you. I know so many little ones really want to have a gaming system and maybe like me, you are not really wanting to get them into violent games to start.  Let me know if you have other suggestions or ideas- I’d love to add them!   Some of these games were received to include in the gift guide- some are simply games my family loves.  Opinions are my own.

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Cool Whip Frosting {recipe} $100 Prize Pack Giveaway

Over the summer I started to hear a lot about Cool Whip Frosting. I even hosted a twitter party focused on Cool Whip Frosting.  It wasn’t easy to find around here, until quite recently.  I still can’t find the chocolate kind but give me some time. I’m nothing if not persistent. So last week…I finally brought some of this adorably packaged frosting home and popped it into the freezer, thinking how fun it would be to do some cupcakes or something with the kids after school. (Write this down: Cool Whip Frosting is found in the freezer section of your grocery. Three flavors: Vanilla, Cream Cheese and Chocolate, unless you live near me in Connecticut….either no one wants to send chocolate over here or someone’s hoarding it.  Either way, I’m out of luck, you are out of luck.  For now).

Today was the day to do something fun after school, for absolutely no reason. That’s kind of the “thing” about the Cool Whip Frosting.  It’s whipped and sweet and a really fun way to do something special for absolutely no reason!  So today, we declared it to be FROSTING day! Cool Whip wants us to celebrate the little things in life.  Like “yay! Mommy found the last gift on the shopping list! No more holiday shopping!” is a good reason.  Anything goes. Frosting for dinner!

Sadly,my husband doesn’t always applaud my thinking when that thinking includes a tub of frosting being the dinnertime meal. So I decided that I’d make some Hot Chocolate Cupcakes to go underneath the cupcakes, and then reluctantly baked some chicken and made some rice to go with it.  You know.  For the kids and stuff.  So we had the cupcakes AFTER the healthy meal (which did include salad, thankyouverymuch).

Here’s the thing about the way I do recipes. I’m not a foodie.  I like easy, simple recipes that are, as my family says, Brett-proof.  I’m not Martha Stewart. So.  If you want to know how to make Hot Chocolate Cupcakes with Marshmallow Cool Whip Frosting, read the next section.  If not, skip to the bottom where I share the giveaway details.  (The cupcakes are totally worth making.  Super easy).

hot chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow cool whip frosting

Hot Chocolate Cupcakes: 

1 chocolate cake mix 3 packets hot cocoa mix (or 1 cup hot cocoa mix) (with mini marshamallows will add a certain  level of awesomeness something but these are your cupcakes, and I leave this decision up to you).

whatever the cake mix tells you to do (which is normally something like eggs, water, oil?)

Follow instructions on the box- and here’s where it gets really tricky- add in the cocoa mix as you add the other ingredients.  A little at a time, all at once.  It doesn’t matter. Just get it in there. You can do cake or cupcakes. I did cupcakes. (Then the littles can all decorate their own and no one ends up pulling hair or screaming).

Marshmallow Cool Whip Frosting:

1 tub Cool Whip Frosting (Vanilla)

1/2 cup Marshmallow Fluff (I’m sure there are many wonderful people who make homemade fluff. I’m not one of them).

Fold the fluff into the frosting.

Now- when the cupcakes or cakes are cool, frost them with the newly-made Marshmallow Cool Whip Frosting.  Voila.  Hot chocolate in a cupcake form.

If you want to go all fancy and stuff, add some shots (some of you, I understand, refer to these as “jimmies” or “sprinkles” but you are wrong.  They are shots.  Ask my sisters. They agree with me). or crushed candy cane.

 

COOL WHIP Frosting would like to provide one US reader  with a “reasons to celebrate” COOL WHIP Frosting pack valued at $100 which includes:

  • 3 Gratuity coupons (so remember to find us in the freezer aisle!)
  • Heart shaped silicone cupcake mold tray
  • Baking by Flavor – Recipe book by Lisa Yockelson
  • Cupcake Liners
  • Stainless Steel Cake Icing Spatula by MIU
  • Cake Stand plus Cover Set

To Enter: Leave a comment telling one what your favorite “non” reason to celebrate is!

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This giveaway will end on December 29 2012 at 11:59 pm EST. Winner has 24 hours to confirm shipping info.

 

I am working in partnership with the COOL WHIP brand and I am receiving product samples for my participation in this campaign. All thoughts/opinions are 100% my own.