Bakery Crafts Cake Kits add that extra something

This post brought to you by Bakery Crafts. All opinions are 100% mine.

Who is ready to PARRRTTYY! Bakery Crafts is and wants to help you throw the best birthday party ever!  They helped us throw a FABULOUS party just this morning with some preschool pals.  We had snacks, games, dancing and a fabulous and fun cake to finish our morning.  It was perfect and wouldn’t have been the same without the adorable Sesame Street Bakery Crafts Cake Kits we were able to order from our local store.

I popped into the store yesterday when I was doing my regular shopping, put my cake order in, and was able to request what time it was ready within 5 minutes of time.  SO easy. And Bakery Crafts sells so many high quality, delectable cake decorations, accessories, decorating kits and licensed products that are even edible that you are likely to find something to please any party guest of honor! Chances are if you have ordered a licensed character cake or used cake toppers then you have already worked with Bakery Crafts!

We decided we’d go with marble cake for this party, so that everyone got a little something they like.  Thankfully most stores have the traditional sweet frostings OR the newer, less sugary whipped cream frostings.  Given that this party was for a group of 4 year olds…we went with the less sugary option.  The kids were so enamored with the bright, fun colors and familiar Sesame Street friends on the cake!  Little Lane just was smitten with both the frosting and the cars that came on top of the cake..and since he’s 2, guess who got to keep the cars?  (He didn’t get to keep all of the frosting).

Next time you have a birthday party, or even a just-because-party, and you want a fun themed cake? Definitely check out your local bakery for a Bakery Crafts cake.  I think you’ll be delighted with the results! AND, you’ll have more free time to sit back and enjoy- or better yet, get up and dance like the kids do.  It’s GREAT for the soul!

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Want to try a Bakery Crafts cake for yourself?! I have a $25 gift card to give away! Enter on the Giveaway Tools form below. 

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Knock it ON with LG G2

I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting (#MC) for Sprint. I received product samples to facilitate my reviewI’ve been using my new LG G2 Smartphone for a few weeks, and it’s a toss-up on which feature is my favorite. The two I’m enjoying the most right now are:

KnockON Feature

Do a double-tap on the front screen and the LG G2 lights up instantly. It’s great to be able to hold the phone by its edges without changing the volume, which I’ve had happen in the past with other phones. When the LG G2 is mounted in my van, I can double-tap on the screen to turn it on. This sure beats having to remove the phone to turn it on by a side-power button!

13 Megapixel Full HD Camera

Honestly, the photos speak for themselves. I can even take photos for my blog with this phone, which is a huge plus. Having to lug around a clunky DSLR isn’t always fun. Plus, the LG G2 has long-lasting battery life and I can shoot high-def videos with it! lg-g2 Sprint recently conducted a mobile security survey revealing smartphone users’ mobile behaviors, habits and concerns about privacy. Some of the poll results are pretty astonishing to me:

  • Only 44 percent of people set a PIN or passcode on their mobile phone. Set a PIN or passcode. It’s the first line of defense to keep private information private if a phone is lost or stolen.
  • 63 percent of people surveyed check their smartphone at least once an hour (9 percent check every five minutes), and 33 percent of people would fear the contents of their mobile phone being projected on a big screen
  • When people are without their devices, 29 percent miss texting, 26 percent calling.
  • 97 percent of mobile phone owners report checking their phones occasionally while in the presence of family and friends.Click here for the full results.

    Did the results surprise you? Are you an offender?

Last minute gift ideas they will LOVE and 20% off Shari’s Berries #holidayberries

I realized today, in a panic, when my friend Bri posted on Facebook that Christmas is, indeed, NOT a week from tomorrow, but a week from TODAY…I realized that I lost a full day.  Um, I can’t lose a day. I have a billion things TO DO!  We have some parties and get togethers and the kids only have 2 more days of school before the break and ohmygoodness!!  I lost a day!  So now here I am scrambling to think of last minute gift ideas they will love.

I like to do a little something for each of the teachers who spend time with  my kids.  This year, my son’s teacher very suddenly retired, and a sub filled in who – well, she filled in.  They did find a permanent replacement who started today, in fact (yay!) but there’s been a lot of issues with my little first grader and I’ve been a frequent flier in the school office with questions and concerns. As if the women who work in our front office don’t have enough to deal with, they’ve had extra Brett time.  Bless their hearts…and their bellies.  Since I don’t have a lot of time, but I really want to do something to say “Hey THANK YOU for caring so so much about our little ones every single day!” I thought perhaps I could bring a tray of goodies for everyone in the office to enjoy.


And that’s where Shari’s Berries come in. They were so super nice and sent a whole array of goodies here to the house to help me create a platter of holiday AWESOME for those wonderful folks who run our little school.  Last minute gift ideas they will love?  CHECK!


One of the ways we celebrate holidays is with food.  In most cultures, there are traditional foods we prepare and enjoy and share with friends and family.  So it seems like food would be a last minute gift idea they’d love, right?  Shari’s Berries has that food…like many…but they have the presentation down to a science and make those foods look simply gorgeous and almost too good to eat!  (Almost)

Gourmet Dipped Swizzled Strawberries 



It’s kind of hard to say “no” to those, right?  Plus they are strawberries!  Big plump strawberries!

We’ve taken our world famous strawberries and dressed them up for Christmas. First, we pick only the freshest, juiciest and biggest strawberries we can find, and dip them in milk, dark or white. To make them fancy enough for a Christmas gift, we top the milk off with red & white swizzles, the dark with chocolate chips and the white with Christmas sprinkles.

Your Gift Includes
4 Strawberries Dipped in Milk with Red & White Swizzles
4 Strawberries Dipped in Dark with Chocolate Chips
4 Strawberries Dipped in White with Christmas Sprinkles

Holiday Cake Pops


These festive chocolate cake pops are perfect to celebrate Christmas. Each fudgy chocolate cake pop is the perfect combination of gooey fudgy chocolate interior with a crisp chocolaty exterior. Decorated with characters like Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and even an Elf they’re perfect for any chocolate lover.

Your Gift Includes

Handmade Santa Claus Chocolate Cake Pops
Handmade Mrs. Claus Chocolate Cake Pops
Handmade Elf Chocolate Cake Pop
Item #30080711

Chocolate Covered Snowman Hats


 Our gourmet Oreo® cookies are topped with marshmallows, covered in chocolate and sprinkled with white “snow” nonpareils to create a delicious “snowman hat”. Gift includes 16 handmade chocolate covered snowman hats that arrive in a winter top hat keepsake box.

Your Gift Includes
16 Handmade Chocolate Covered Snowman Hats
Keepsake Snowman Hat
Certified Kosher Dairy by Orthodox Union
Item #30010311

 Now, if you aren’t a Christmas person, or really don’t like doing the holiday themed stuff, there are TONS of other options available.  There are cookies and cake pops, chocolate dipped strawberries and Buche de Noel cakes and oh so much more just for the holidays- but also, for any occasion.  Picnic spreads, chocolate themed baskets, fruit baskets, wine pairings and more.  You can satisfy your sweet tooth and your savory cravings with a beautifully packaged purchase from Shari’s Berries.  

When your order from Shari’s Berries arrives, it’s very well bundled up so it won’t get damaged nor affected by the weather. Each box is a signature Shari’s Berries box and is beautiful in and of itself.  You can find get well gifts to send, hostess gifts, thinking of you and more.  There’s a Wine Country Picnic for the Holidays that would be a wonderful surprise for that newly engaged couple (like my niece Sam and her new fiance Jeff!), fruits, fruits with cheeses and so much more.  The possibilities are many. You can even find sugar free chocolate dipped berries – and many items are also Kosher on the site….organic…

Once again I put my money where my mouth is- we’ve been stressing and fretting about what to get my husband’s parents and uncle for Christmas since they don’t need a thing — I found the PERFECT treats for his mom, his dad and his uncle on Shari’s Berries last night and they’ll be delivered Monday morning just in time for Christmas.  They get a little spoiled with some of their favorite treats and we can get them something they won’t return or give away!

One thing I LOVE about Shari’s Berries is that the pricing is quite fair and reasonable.  Right now, we can all get free shipping through Christmas Day, too! 

12 Days of Christmas Cookies: Inspiration from Bing Smart Search #ThisIsBing

I want to thank Bing Smart Search for sponsoring this post and inspiring me to find some super yummy Christmas Cookies recipes! When I decided I wanted to do the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies feature, I realized quickly I didn’t want to just do the cookies that my family has known and loved for decades.  I wanted to kind of go out of the comfort zone and try some fun NEW (to us) ideas.  Having fallen in love with Bing last June at BlogHer Food Conference, naturally, I turned to Bing Smart Search for some insipiration for ideas.

The result of my Bing Smart Search is in progress already, and you can find all of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Recipes on my site.


It occurred to me that perhaps not everyone knows HOW to use Bing’s Smart Search, but let me tell you, you want to. I may even give you an assignment.  (Homework: do a Bing Smart Search for Robert Downy Junior. Enjoy the results. Or George Clooney.  Ryan Gosling perhaps?) I learned more about this great new search super-engine when I was in Seattle last month, and I want you all to “get it” like I do, because the results you find when you use this tool are SO much more than just links.


Bing Smart Search is like this whole new way of finding information, images, recipes and inspiration from any Windows 8.1 device.  With Smart Search, you don’t have to open an app or a window, just swipe from the right to open the search bar or start typing in Windows and you can find your doc, photo, app, link, information,images…the list goes on and on.  When a web page comes up, you can preview the content before clicking on it.  With Bing, you get a “Smart” summary of results. For a variety of popular searches, you’ll see a rich, visual summary of the most relevant information from across the web and apps. We’ve all gone to sites that matched search terms only to find the content is not relevant to what you were looking for, right?   Bing Smart Search is how I found inspiration for many of the cookie recipes shared in the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies Feature!


With Smart Search, youou’ll get results from contacts on social media and from the internet in general.  Bing Boards are going to offer very visual content with multiple images in each (which is always a help when I am trying to make new recipes or do some new cooking technique or cut of meat I haven’t attempted before).  Plain old searches are a thing of the past with Smart Search.  And I’m telling you, being an example of it, once you Smart Search, you won’t go back.  You’ll never want to! I went over to “Team Bing” in June and haven’t looked back! The only things I’m missing are a Windows Tablet (in progress) and Windows Phone (change date TBD).  The Smart Search works with a simple swipe of your finger (or mouse, but why use a mouse when the swipe is more fun!?)  Check out the 30 second video that will walk you through Smart Search and see for yourself.  (I wanted a video of my own but none have been under 4 minutes and aren’t so to the point).


 What are YOU searching for today?  And which of the 12 Days of Christmas Cookies is your favorite so far? 

Because i love Bing’s Smart Search so much, I want to encourage you to check it out- and yes, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.  One of you will be winning $50 paypal (and this is open worldwide) for giving the Smart Search a try. Entry instructions on Giveaway Tools form below) 


Why video baby monitors are a great idea

This post brought to you by VTech Communications. All opinions are 100% mine.
One of the first baby purchases we made was a baby monitor.  When we were expecting our first, I couldn’t justify (or so I thought) getting one of the new-to-market  video baby monitors– we had a small house and I was going to be home full time.  Little did I know how many times I”d need a visual check on my babies before feeling assured they were OK. In retrospect, the video monitor would have been one of the smartest purchase we made.  Don’t worry….we got one for kid 2, and gave to a friend when we thought we’d be waiting several years before having another baby….and then found out we were expecting very soon after….so monitor #3 was purchased. (If you think about the math?? We could have gotten the top of the line monitor from the get go and saved a lot of money!) So why are video baby monitors a great idea?

Video monitors give parents a lot of peace of mind.  You can see where your baby is in their crib, what they are doing, and have that visual check so many of us want and need to feel assured.  It’s not that they can ever take the place of physically checking on your baby, but if your kids are light sleepers like ours- well, any movement in their room could wake them (and we did not ever keep a “silent” house). And, if they are fussing in the middle of the night, you can see if maybe they are sitting up and crying, or just kind of complaining in their sleep.  When you are outside, maybe gardening, or pushing a sibling on the swings?  You can also see what the baby’s doing, so you know if you have to stop what you are doing to head inside or just let them settle back down.

As baby gets older, you can also see if they are maybe awake because they are cold, and kicked off blankets… or maybe they’ve been sick.  It’s just one more way parents can keep an eye on their little ones.  We used a baby monitor until well into our youngest daughters’ third year- I felt better having it in the house  and knowing I could check on her anytime, even if the big kids and I were outside playing soccer or even in the pool.

On a funnier note, you can also see what your kids are “up” to- so if your kids share a room and not staying in bed, you can do what we did more than once and say “Hey! Get back in bed!” They have NO IDEA how you know they aren’t in bed, and it’s kind of funny to watch their reactions. (This can also provide a lot of entertainment for parents.  Just sayin’)

Parents can also communicate TO the kids’ rooms where the monitor is- which is a really nice feature- you can let your little one know you are coming, or if you need, say, a new diaper, medicine or something, you can let the other adult know in your house and they can reply with questions, etc.

VTech first made its market debut in 1976 and since then has become one of the top three competitors for cordless communication in the United States. VTech is introducing a new line in their Safe & Sound® baby monitor series, the VM333.

The VM333 many features that will allow parents to closely monitor their babies and infants without having to enter their bedroom repeatedly. The VM333 provides a camera with full range of motion and a built in high video resolution and sound quality for up to 1,000 feet away, providing flexibility and reliability as mom or dad moves about the home.

Parents can lay their babies down to sleep with a peace of mind because the VM333 has a 2.8 inch video screen and 2x’s zooming capability so parents can observe any movements, big or small! Parents can also take advantage of the intercom system which will allow you to give comforting words to your child without entering the room.

I love this monitoring system. Easy to set up, easy to use — and even if we don’t directly need a baby monitor anymore, we will be passing this along to a family who doesn’t have one.  I’ll also be recommending it to others who may ask for recommendations.  This monitor system offer so many features- the option for multiple cameras (up to 4 per parent unit) which means you can keep an eye on all of your children at once- there’s also the camera’s flexibility- you can zoom in up to 2x, and also move the camera head to get just the angle you would like.  The advancements in video baby monitors since we had our first one years ago is truly amazing!!  The visuals are very clear (in real life, I can’t seem to get my camera to get a shot of how clear it is) AND-  the sound quality is excellent.  Worth every penny for peace of mind for parents!

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Holiday Lights in Connecticut at Lake Compounce (Printable Coupon Inside)

This past Friday, my family and I were invited to attend the opening night of Holiday Lights at Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut.  We were very excited to attend this event, since we are all enamored with all things Christmas and the kids absolutely love theme parks!  We bundled up (most of the attractions are outdoors) and headed down to Bristol with Babysitter Katie along for an extra adult since my husband was not feeling well.

The lights  begin before you are even in the parking lot, and as you walk into the park, you are met with thousands and thousands of twinkling lights, Christmas music playing, and a fun, festive air.   (Also chilly, so again, bundle up!)


There are costumed characters wandering around the park for fun photo ops and to interact with park guests.  I loved the Nutcrackers on stilts- they were really cool to see and just so fun watching them go around on stilts!


So funny to see hats and coats in bumper cars!!

There’s several rides open- some changed for holiday themes- the little train that takes you to the other end of the park in summer is now the North Pole Express, and brings you on a journey of (many) thousands of lights, ending in a loop that will delight anyone who loves holiday decor as we do.  This ride took a while and since we were sitting and not moving around- it might be a good ride to go on last before you leave, my little ones had a hard time with being so cold after it ended.  They LOVED the lights so much, they didn’t really seem bothered!!


When you are at Holiday Lights, be sure to visit the Winter Wonderland building- you’ll have a chance to warm up a bit, but you can also visit Santa himself, along with some of his elves (and have a great photo opp- additional fee applies!), decorate holiday cookies or gingerbread houses (nominal fee applies for the cookies and houses) and even Kyle Crocodile dressed in his holiday finery!


There are 12 Days of Christmas light displays around the park- you have to look to find them.  We did miss a few but we didn’t have enough time to go through and visit everything (my kids use the bathroom a lot). That’s also how we missed the awesome balloon animal makers.  Don’t miss that when you go!  The animals we saw were festive and holiday themed and AWESOME!


One of the firepits at Holiday Lights

There’s also a printable coupon for $3 off admission on Friday or Sunday, and $2 off Saturday admission. (Through 12/15) Or you can print it right here :) Holiday Lights is open weekends from 11/29 to 12/22 on Fridays from 5-9 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 4-9 pm.  There is hot cocoa available as well as some vendors selling warm food and other beverages.  Adult tickets are just $14.99, kids 10 and under are $10.99 and kids under 3 are free.


This is a WONDERFUL family event right here in the Nutmeg state!  Great place to see holiday lights in Connecticut and worth the drive! We can’t wait to go again!


Holiday Shopping made easy with ShopRunner

Holiday shopping can be stressful. The crowded parking lots and stores, the long lines, and of course the limited supply of whatever it is that you are looking for can zap your holiday spirit. This post about holiday shopping made easy is brought to you by our friends at ShopRunner.

Thankfully – there is an easier way to get all your shopping done this year. ShopRunner is a partnership of top retailers and brands that understand shopping isn’t always relaxing and stress free. By joining together they are able to help you save time and money – a win/win in my book!
ShopRunner gives you access to a variety of online stores and millions of products helping you find everything you need right from your computer. As a ShopRunner member, you will receive unlimited Free 2-day Shipping, with no minimum order size, plus free shipping on returns and special member deals.  There’s a whole Gift Guide section which has many categories- my favorite of which (and didn’t show on the page) the Gifts Under $50 section.  This section was a pleasant surprise- it really has gifts for all ages!
ShopRunner is super easy to use. While shopping online at any of their participating stores, you simply select eligible items, place them in your cart, and choose ShopRunner at checkout. A very quick and easy money-saving-way to get your holiday shopping done!
I know the holiday season is a time for giving, but don’t forget about your needs while you are shopping for everyone else. There’s a whole lot of beauty products available- I’m actually perusing some fun beauty products for one of my nieces (shhh don’t tell!) and maybe a few things for me (I need something to put my makeup IN at home). With almost 65000 products from 56 stores, chances are pretty great that I’ll find something amazing for E and for me!
Holidays equal get togethers, lots of them, and you want to make sure you look your best. You can effortlessly get everything you need right through ShopRunner from the perfect outfit to your favorite makeup and beauty products. and are two of ShopRunners participating stores, and they have tons of great items designed to pamper you this winter. The perfect party look is just a few clicks away, and with free shipping you’ll keep some extra money in your wallet (so you can definitely splurge on that special new lipstick you’ve been eyeing :) )
Excited for this easier way to shop? You can try ShopRunner right now with their free 30-Day Trial!

Just Dance Kids 2014 is fun for ALL ages! #justdancekids2014 #cgc

Everyone loves to dance, and kids have some of the best dance moves around. Encourage your kids to get up and get dancing with Just Dance Kids 2014! With over 30 all new dances led by real kids, your kids will bopping away in no time.

Featuring a great mix of kids songs, Just Dance Kids 2014 has hits from top-rated TV shows as well as some of todays hottest hits.  “Hit The Lights” by Selena Gomez & The Scene, “One Thing” by One Direction and “Give Your Heart a Break” by Demi Lovato are seamlessly mixed with hits from Yo Gabba GabbaThe Wiggles, and Victorious. There are even some classic favorites like “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” that will get parents up singing and dancing along too.
It’s near impossible to get a good pic of my kids playing this game.  They don’t want to stop moving….dancing…singing along.
Just Dance Kids 2014 has some new and improved features that parents and kids are going to love!!

Exclusively for Kinect for the Xbox 360 is the Just Create Mode. Kids are going to love being the star of the show! While in the Just Create Mode kids can create their own original choreography and dance routines, all while staring in their very own music video.  My kids are just starting to explore this part of the game- they are actually fervishly cleaning the house right now so they can have a “dance game party” when chores are done.  Not a bad motivator!!
There are simple menu icons that allow kids to navigate the game on their own, and parents can help out with younger kids by creating playlists full of favorite songs for nonstop dancing. There are even onscreen lyrics to help kids learn all the words and sing along as they dance. Follow the Ubisoft blog for tips and ideas.
Fun for all ages, Just Dance Kids 2014 is a must have game!

Have you done any of the Just Dance games? What’s your favorite? Just Dance games are available on Amazon and other retailers for purchase (and many on sale with Free Shipping!)

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all 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.


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.


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.

Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy for PC and Mac

Her Interactive is thrilled to announce the launch of the 29th edition of the award winning series with Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy for PC and Mac.  We all remember Nancy Drew from the books we read as children, right? Well, Nancy Drew has since joined us in the 21st century with a game made for super sleuths that love their computers! Available on both PC and Mac, Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy is currently in all major retail stores for just $19.99!
This post has been brought to you by Mums the Word Blogger Network and HerInteractive. All opinions are my own.
Nancy Drew:  The Silent Spy – Nearly a decade ago Agent Kate Drew left home to neutralize a biochemical weapon in Scotland. While her assignment was a success, Kate died in a car accident. Or so we were told. Now the echoes of a similar plot reverberate and it’s up to you, as detective Nancy Drew, to thwart the sleeper cell and expose the truth about your mother’s tragic demise.

This interactive spy game will keep you busy for hours as you navigate through the different scenes collecting clues. The art in the game is spot-on, and you feel like you’re in the game, speaking to and interacting with real people.

Play games to earn money so you can buy train tickets and travel from destination to destination. Follow the clues and get closer to solving the mystery with every carefully planned step you take!

The puzzles in Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy are challenging, but not new to the game series. So, if you’ve played the other Nancy Drew games they may seem a bit familiar but they’re fun nonetheless. This is also a great game for kids. Depending on their age(s), they might need a little help – but overall it’s kid-friendly and will help exercise their minds.


If you’re looking for an addicting and challenging computer game, look no further than Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy! Get it today for just $19.99.

Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy is available now at:
For more information on Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy, visit:
To view the Nancy Drew: The Silent Spy trailer, visit: