Happy 11 Years to Us…and 10% off for YOU!

Today is the 11th anniversary of our “I do” and the beginning of our marriage. We have a BUSY day today.  Soccer x 3 kids, a birthday party, my husband coaches 2 of the kids’ teams. Our big, exciting romantic plans include a big, bold, juicy steak at  Outback Steakhouse tonight.  With the kids.

11 years

 

Hey, I’m easy to please.  Really it’ll just be nice to not cook, not clean up and have something we ALL love  The kids are super excited for some Seared Ahi Tuna (all 3 of them love it, and the bigger 2 LOVE the Wasabi sauce! The bonus for us tonight? We can save 10% off our entire check with this coupon, now through September 30: http://www.outback.com/BestMates

BestMates2014_10PercentOff_Coupon

I’ll be having Moonshine BBQ. I will every time I can because I LOVE IT.

What’s YOUR fave menu item from Outback?

 

BestMates-logo little

 

This post is brought to you as part of my Ambassadorship with Outback Steakhouse.

 

 

 

*Certain restrictions may apply, see coupon for details.

Easy Eyeball Cookies

I love this snack! It’s super easy and perfect if you need a last minute Halloween snack for the kiddos. Kids can easily make these Easy Eyeball Cookies themselves so they’d be a really fun party craft/activity/snack too.  Happy Halloween!

Easy Eyeball Cookies 

easy-eyeball-cookies

Ingredients

One package of black & white sandwich cookies, any brand will work

One container of frosting

gummy eyeballs

2 packages of 12ct. Gummy eyeballs (I found these in the seasonal baking section at Walmart where they have all the fall baked goods- you can also find on Amazon)

eyeball cookie ingredients

Directions 

#1. Carefully separate 12 of the black & white sandwich cookies, making sure the white cream stays on half.

#2. Using a butter knife, spread a little bit of frosting on the back of each eye and place right in the middle of the white cream on the cookie.

#3. Repeat with all the eyeballs and cookies.

Easy Eyeball Cookies
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • One package of black & white sandwich cookies, any brand will work
  • One container of frosting
  • 2 packages of 12ct. Gummy eyeballs (I found these in the seasonal baking section at Walmart where they have all the fall baked goods)
Instructions
  1. Directions -
  2. #1. Carefully separate 12 of the black & white sandwich cookies, making sure the white cream stays on half.
  3. #2. Using a butter knife, spread a little bit of frosting on the back of each eye and place right in the middle of the white cream on the cookie.
  4. #3. Repeat with all the eyeballs and cookies.

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 new menu options at Ruby Tuesday

When I think of a place to visit for dinner with the family, Ruby Tuesday is one of the first things that pops in my mind. Any other place, and my family is left arguing about who “has a taste for” what, and what things sounds “absolutely revolting” to others… yeah, nobody has time for that! Ruby Tuesday’s versatile menu cuts all of that out immediately. Whatever mood you’re in, they’ve pretty much got it covered.

 

ruby tuesday logo

Seafood

 

Chicken dishes,

 

Steaks

 

Pastas,

 

Ribs,

 

Chops,

 

Burgers,

 

even a fresh salad bar if you’re not into meat…

ruby-tuesday-garden-bar

If that amount of variety isn’t enough, there are tons of awesome combinations ON TOP of all of those. That’s just the main dishes. The sides are pretty impressive too. It’s not every day that you can find a reasonably priced family restaurant where you can get fit and trim options like fresh grilled zucchini or roasted spaghetti squash.

ruby-tuesday-petite-sirloin-lobster-tail

 

They didn’t leave out the favorites like baked potatoes, baked Mac ‘n cheese or rice pilaf either.  I’m DYING to try out the new loaded cheese grits. I’m sure those taste amazing. That’s not the only new menu item at Ruby Tuesday’s either. In fact, there are quite a few!


Since there are a TON of new menu options, I won’t bother trying to list and describe all of them. You can see the full menu on www.rubytuesday.com. While they all look pretty darn delicious, I have a few that I’m going to make a priority to try first:

 

Big Dipper Sampler – Southern style chicken tenders, cheese fries, thai spring rolls, and fried mozzarella. Awesome appetizer, right? It’s cheating, I know, but this way I’ll get to try more than one of the new menu items at once!

 

Spring Po’Boy Flatbread – This is another appetizer, but I think I could justify it as a main course as well! Fried popcorn shrimp, Parmesan cream sauce, and a spicy blend of green peppers, onions, mushrooms, bacon, and Andouille sausage topped with a drizzle of creamy chipotle sauce.

 

Mini Masterpieces – For a quick lunch this is the perfect combo. Choose a sandwich (classic cheese, turkey & swiss, or buffalo chicken with blue cheese), and pair it with fries and either a salad or soup. Quick and easy!

 

If your mouth isn’t watering yet, you might want to get that checked out! I almost quit midway through writing this to go place my order!

ruby-tuesday-garden-bar

Which item will you try first?

 

 

Thanks to Ruby Tuesday for sponsoring this post.  Opinions are my own.

Back to school learning, memories and lunch!

The house is quiet, and I can actually hear myself think. You know what that means? School is now in session. I had mixed feelings about my children heading off to school this year. On one hand, summer was awesome and I hated to see it end. On the other hand, it’s nice to get back into the groove of the school year. For the first time, I have 3 kids in full day school.  My children have already buckled down and hit the books. The three things that pop into my head when I think of back to school are; learning, memories, and lunch.  Luckily, I have all three bases covered!

 Back to school learning, memories and lunch!

back-school-learning-memories-lunch

Learning:

sphero-teachable-robot

Have you heard of Sphero? By fusing technology with robotics, Sphero toys teach and inspire children to be innovative and inventive. Sphero is a teachable robot that is app-controlled! The SPRK (Schools, Parents, Robots, Kids) allows children to use Sphero as an educational tool, whether in the classroom or at home. No matter what their current skill level is, Sphero gives children an introduction to programming and robotics, while strengthening their skills in math and science. Simple download SPRK (a free app) and get to learning!

sphero-pet

I’d really like to find a way to incorporate Sphero into one of my Junior Girl Scout meetings.  We’re really trying to make a concerted effort to include STEM concepts in the next few years with the girls!!  I think they’ll have a lot of fun with it but also learn and grow with their math and science skills.

sphero-pet-close

Memories:

lyve-home

The second thought that back to school brings to mind is memories. Children grow so quickly, and I find myself struggling sometimes to keep up with all the memories. Every parent knows that any given moment is a photo-opp, and it’s pertinent to stay prepared! Because of this, I find myself with pictures spread out across all of my devices. Lyve, an app that helps you rediscover photos that live across all of your devices, helps me stay organized. My photos are stored safely in LyveHome and automatically organized, making it easy to whip out my kids photos and show them off, no matter what device they were taken on!

lyve-connect

Lunch:

nut-free-frosted-cookies-richs

Last but not least, back to school brings the age-old stressor of what to pack for lunch. The stress of this task is dramatically heightened if your child has food allergies. Even if YOUR child isn’t the one with food allergies, someone in their class may have them. One if four moms were stopped by school administrators from providing snacks at school events because of the dangers of nuts and other food allergies. This doesn’t have to be you.

nut-free-frosted-sugar-cookies

Rich Products has committed to becoming a leading provider of peanut-and-tree nut free cookies with it’s line of classic and nut free cookies! Rich spent nearly two years developing their line of tree-nut and peanut free cookies. Each package is clearly labeled to provide an added peace of mind, and is a GREAT options for class snacks and lunches. Rich’s Nut-Free cookies are available in many varieties including Oatmeal Raisin, Fudge Brownie, Snicker doodle, Frosted Sugar cookies, Chocolate Chip, and two new varieties coming soon; Red Velvet and Chocolate Frosted Cookies. You can find information on  Rich’s products on their website: www.Richs.com or www.ourspeciality.com.

 

Each of these products has helped me to get my children off to a seamless and smooth school year.

Check out PTPA’s Back to School Book!

What pops into mind when you think of back to school?

 

One person will win a back to school prize pack including: one (1) LyveHome, one (1) Sphero and one (1) package of Rich Product’s Our Specialty Nut-Free Frosted Cookies!

 PTPA Back to School Contest!

“Disclosure: I am part of the PTPA Back to School Brand Ambassador Program with Sphero, Lyve and Rich Products. I received compensation as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.”

Check out our Boxtrolls!

The countdown continues until The Boxtrolls comes to theaters (9/26). We finished our Boxtrolls, although we’re still reading Here Be Monsters (and we need to hurry or we won’t finish before the movie comes out!)
We had to enter the #BuildaBoxtrollSweeps and took plain old shipping boxes from this:

 

 

make-own-boxtroll

To this….
boxtroll-american-girl

To these!
Ta-da!
american-girl-#buildaboxtrollsweeps

Create your own Boxtroll and enter to win a trip to the movie premiere! Hurry, because the sweeps ends September 5th! Good luck!

build-a-boxtroll-sweeps-#buildaboxtrollsweepsPrizing

An all-expense paid trip for 4 to the L.A. movie premiere of The Boxtrolls!

How to enter

Make a totally awesome Boxtroll

Snap a pic

Share your photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the #BuildABoxtrollSweeps hashtag

That’s it!!

Legal and Official Rules  No purchase necessary. 18+ years old. 50 US States + District of Columbia only. 8/4/14-9/5/14. 

 

Have you made YOUR Boxtroll yet? I’d love to see pics!

Drive Safe Today Day #DriveSafeToday

Drive Safe Today Day is an event that shows Progressive’s human side — an observable pursuit outside of providing innovative insurance. The purpose is  to affect driving behavior and make the roads a little safer for everyone.

road-trip-to-beach-#siennadiaries

 

I have 3 kids. If you’ve been around here at all, you’ve likely seen photos  of them.  They are my world, along with my husband.  My precious cargo, so to speak.  They motivate me to drive safer, slower, and more deliberately. I can’t imagine knowingly putting any of my little family in danger.

precious cargo

But what I realized years ago- not enough years ago, but better late than never, I suppose?!- what I realized was that even if *I* don’t have my precious cargo (family) in my car with me, someone else does.

 

That realization changed my driving habits years ago.

 

We all need to be more aware and take steps to be safer.  We all have family and friends who care about us.  Just because our precious cargo isn’t in the car with us doesn’t mean someone else’s isn’t.

drive-safe-today-day

Drive Safe Today Day is a day meant for all of us to put down the lipstick, the coffee, the phones…the bagels, the pet boa constrictors… and whatever else strikes your fancy…

and take a pledge to make a big effort, for one day, to drive a little bit better.

So leave five minutes early. Keep those angry fingers DOWN if someone cuts you off. Drive the speed limit.

Put your makeup on at home, or at the office. Stop lights are for stopping 😉 and not for makeup application.

Let the person waiting to turn onto the road go.

Imagine what the roads would be like if we all took a pledge for Drive Safe Today Day?

#drivesafetoday-pledge

I’m officially inviting you to join me in pledging. Right here, right now.  The big day is 9/3. Chosen for a reason- having your hands at 10 and 2 while driving isn’t what’s recommended anymore.  Hands should be at 9 and 3. So…

let’s do this…

Let’s get our safety on and make the pledge to cap that lipstick, sip our coffee when the car is NOT moving, and use our fingers to help us steer, and not to send messages.

On 9-3, let’s turn the key on Drive Safe Today Day, invented by the folks at Progressive. Why? Because we could all do with a little reminder to drive a little safer.  Yes, even you. And me. Definitely that girl who’s always on her phone shaving on the highway…. and absolutely the guy applying lipstick and drinking coffee heading in to work.

 

Over 30,000 too-close-for-comfort-accidents occur every single day- often because of unsafe behaviors. WE can do something about that.  We- all of us- can do it.  Let’s start with one day. Just one. 

What will YOU pledge for Drive Safe Today Day?

 

 

 I’ve teamed up with Progressive for their Drive Safe Today Day initiative. Although I’ve been compensated for my post, the thoughts and ideas are my own.

9 Tips for benefit concert donors

For over forty years, the benefit concert has served as one of the most easily recognizable forms of aid for charitable organizations.

 

It all started back in August 1971 when George Harrison called a few friends – Ringo, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, to name a few – to play at the world’s first benefit concert.  The Concert for Bangladesh played from Madison Square Garden with ticket and recording sales helping to raise $18 million. These stars likely didn’t realize they were forever changing charitable giving in time of a disaster.  Concerts are now a popular vehicle for causes around the world to raise visibility and funds.

 

“Music is a universal pleasure that cuts across cultures and backgrounds,” says H. Art Taylor, president of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.  “Music is a unifying experience – it’s a natural choice for charities to turn to benefit concerts as a means to raise funds.”

 

Before you buy your ticket, here are 9 tips for benefit concert donors:

9-tips-donors-benefit-concerts

 

  • Check out the benefit concert charities.  Do they meet BBB Charity Standards? Visit Give.org for the latest BBB Wise Giving Alliance evaluation information on national charities.
  • Will gifts be restricted for a special disaster or event?  Don’t assume unless specified.
  • Do the charity sponsors have the skills and experience to carry out the promised charitable activities?
  • If the benefit concert tickets are being sold at their fair-market value, then none of your ticket purchase will be deductible. See IRS Publication 526.
  • Don’t assume merchandise sold at the concert (e.g. t-shirts, etc.) will benefit the participating charities unless they are authorized and specify otherwise.
  • Watch out for ticket scalpers. The inflated ticket prices they charge will not provide more benefit to the sponsored charity.

 

For more information on how to donate wisely, including evaluations completed by the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, visit Give.org.

 

 

This post is brought to you by the Give.org

Summer Boredom Busters

Possibly the most frightening creature that rears it’s head in the summer months are bored children.  I write this and we still have many weeks LEFT of summer… we’re at the point where swim team is done, lessons are finished…. and kids are getting bored. They bring with them everything from whining and misbehaving, to chaos and clutter in the house, not to mention eating you out of house and home!  Parents everywhere are in luck! I’ve put together a list of summer boredom busters that will save your sanity and your household!

 Summer Boredom Busters

summer-boredom-busters

Nerf N-Sports Sonic Howler Flying Disc

nerf-howler

This disk takes the game for Frisbee to a whole new level with it’s howling! The soft grip makes it safe and easy to hold! Tons of fun, and even little ones can use it with the open center design.

 

Nerf Super Soaker Tri Strike Crossbow Water Blaster

 nerf-super-soaker

No summer is complete with out a little super soaker action! This isn’t your normal water gun. This Nerf has a deployable crossbow that shoots up to 3 streams of water, up to 38 feet away!

 

Nerf Rebelle Super Soaker Dolphina Bow ·

 super-soaker-dolphina-bow

Another awesome Super Soaker is the Rebelle. This adorable Super Soaker puts a feminine spin on the Crossbow, with cute colors. Don’t let the cuteness fool you though! This Nerf packs a serious punch as well and can actually reach targets up to 75 feet away! It can spray dad with water from the windows in our playhouse, a full 50+ feet away from where he stands and grills… and if the kiddos are quiet, he’s not sure who’s gotten him.  Of course, the giggles always give them away…

 

 

Play-Doh Double Desserts Playset ·

 play-doh-sweet-shoppe

Play-Doh has come a very long way since my childhood days! The Play-Doh Double Desserts Playset allows your child to make pretend cakes and frosting with a special play-doh compound specifically made for modeling. It actually gives the full effect with its oven for baking, and adorable decorating options.

 

Disney Princess Pop Up Magic Tangled Game ·

 disney-pop-up-magic-tangled

This game takes board games to the next level. With the pop up game board, you actually feel as if you are a part of the game, as you navigate through the game  as Rapunzel or Flynn. This game board can actually connect to other pop-up game boards, which you can purchase separately!

 

Mr. Potato Head

mrpotatohead

No list of children’s games can be complete without the classic Mr. Potato Head! Mr. Potato Head let’s your children be creative, while being entertained! There are so many different accessories to go with Mr. Potato Head nowadays, the fun never ends!

 

Mad Libs

 

I’ve rediscovered these with the kids and we’ve had SO much fun with these.  There are all kinds of themed books of Mad Libs, Junior versions, etc. Also- just a bit of trivia.  Mad Libs?  OVER 56 years strong already.

 

Fairy/Gnome Gardens

Send the kids to build fairy/gnome gardens.  They may stare at you like you are crazy at first, but if they are anything like the kids we know, they will ultimately spend hours creating a whimsical village.

Beginning or end of summer, we are always glad to find more boredom busters.

What are your favorite boredom busters??

Some items received for consideration. Opinions are my own.

Back To School Lunch Ideas

Whether you choose to feed your child all natural foods, or something quick and easy, you’ll need to come up with back to school lunch ideas! Of course, most kids would be satisfied with a sandwich and a snack every day, but sometimes it’s nice to change things up for them!

back-to-school-lunch-ideas

1. Pasta Salad.
If your kids are a little more adventurous in taste, they’ll love some fresh pasta salad for lunch! It’s easy to store, just send a chilled bowl and a fork and you’re set! You could couple this with some nice crackers to go along with it, and you’re set. Check out this pasta salad recipe with salami and mozzarella for a great idea!

2. Chicken noodle soup.
This is always a great option for kids who have been sick recently, or are getting over their bout of sickness that caused them to miss school. The first day back after an illness is always pretty miserable, and chicken noodle soup can make it a little less so. Additionally, it’s a nice and comforting “home” food, so it’s nice to be able to eat something like that at school!

3. Classic sandwich meal.
Of course there’s always the classic turkey or ham sandwich, chips as a side, and a piece of fruit to boot! This is a timeless classic, and extremely easy and convenient! To put a twist on this lunch idea, try a chicken salad sandwich instead of normal deli meat!

4. “Lunchable” meal.
For an alternative to a classic sandwich meal, you could do a “Lunchable” style meal, packing crackers, turkey or ham, and some snacks. Rather than a candy item like a Lunchable provides, you could provide a fruit like grapes or oranges, and granola instead of chips.

5. Macaroni and cheese.
This is something that is easily stored, and can be kept in a container to keep it hot, or eaten cold! You can use leftovers from a big dinner or homebaked macaroni and cheese, or just make it specifically for lunches throughout the week. Mac and cheese is a huge kid favorite and would make a lovely lunch surprise! To complete this meal, send a cup of fruit to balance it out!

Try these lunch ideas to give some variety to your student’s life and they’ll be sure to love it! What kinds of lunch meals do you send to school with your kids? Let me know in the comments below!