A Glimpse: Safe Outdoor Playtime

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Hot Shot® Insecticides.

So, as you can tell from recent posts, I have been spending a lot less time in the kitchen and craft desk and a lot more time hanging with family. In fact, right now, I am enjoying a glorious week at the beach with them {hurrah for being able to schedule posts}! One of our favorite things to do in the evenings is go into our backyard and enjoy our swing set.

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A Glimpse: Rainy Day Games

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and EQtainment, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  #Qsracetothetop http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Our summer weather has been amazing. Beautiful days have kept us outside playing all the time and we rarely hear “I’m bored.” That all changed during a streak of rainy days and we were left wondering what to do to keep the kids entertained. I like to avoid TV and iPad time as much as possible so I started thinking of rainy day games we could play. The first one we tried: Q’s Race to the Top

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Brushing to the Music

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf Tooth Tunes.

We love music in our house. If the iPad isn’t playing on our playlists, H is usually singing a random song she has made up in her head. Even E loves to play with all kinds of musical toys or dance around the family room when music is playing. We use music to get them interested in activities all the times because it seems to work so well. That is the idea behind one of my favorite new things in our house: Tooth Tunes.

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A Glimpse: H’s 7th Birthday Party

Every August, our world goes from busy to full on crazy. My kids have birthdays that are two days apart which makes party planning a little challenging. I always try to have them in the same weekend because I am insane so that my parents can attend without having to travel back and forth several weekends in a row. Typically H’s party is on Saturday evening at our local pool and E’s is the following morning at home. Well, that all changed this year with our My Little Pony sleepover.

Love the idea of a low key My Little Pony sleepover!

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The Laughing Cow® in New York

Compensation was provided by Bel Laughing Cow via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Bel Laughing Cow.

I am a total snacker! If I could just snack all day long and not eat full meals, I would be one happy camper. Yesterday, I got the opportunity to combine my love of snacking with a visit to my all time favorite place {well, besides my home}…New York City! The Laughing Cow® was taking over part of Times Square in New York and that was one event I did not want to miss.

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Cheesy Beef and Potato Casserole and Bonus Box Tops

We all know it is time to go back to school. According to my Facebook page, some people have already started school. Once those first days of school start, it is a slew of after school activities, homework and busy nights trying to squeeze everything in. One thing that becomes harder to squeeze in is a home cooked meal. I’ve got the solution for that with my recipe for cheesy beef and potato casserole that is super easy and really delicious.

This recipe comes with a bonus too. Right now, with the Food Lion® Box Tops Offer, you can get 25 bonus Box Tops™ {which equals $2.50 to an eligible school} just by purchasing any 6 General Mills® products and using your MVP card between 8/20 and 8/26.

Oh, you’ll also be entered for a chance to win 500,000 bonus Box Tops for Education™! You can find out more about how Box Tops for Education™ work here.

It is really easy to select 6 {or more} General Mills® products because they include delicious cereals like Cheerios™ and Lucky Charms™ that your family already loves. It also includes the Betty Crocker™ specialty potatoes I used as the base for my easy weeknight casserole!

What You’ll Need:
1 box Betty Crocker™ Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes
1 tsp oil
1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tbsp butter
2 cups boiling water

Let’s Make It:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×9 square baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

2) Heat oil in medium sized skillet over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and pepper and saute for 1-2 minutes. Add ground beef and cook, stirring to crumble, for 5-7 minutes or until done. Drain.

3) In a large bowl, combine sauce packet from potatoes with boiling water and butter. Stir until butter is melted. Stir in potatoes and beef mixture. Pour into prepared baking pan. Cover with foil.

4) Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an addition 5-10 minutes or until potatoes are tender and sauce is thickened.

This casserole was a huge hit with our family and I liked how quickly I could make it on a busy weeknight. It will be perfect for when we are back in school and all of our weeknights are super busy.

I also love that I can give more money to our school through Box Tops for Education™ and Food Lion® just from buying things I would already be purchasing.

What are you favorite weeknight meals once school starts again? Do you collect Box Tops for Education™ to benefit your school?

Be sure to get your extra Box Tops for Education™ from Food Lion® between 08/20/2014 and 08/26/2014 by buying participating General Mills® brands like Yoplait™, Pillsbury™, Betty Crocker™, Old El Paso™, Motts™, Ocean Spray™ and Nature Valley™.

You can also win a $50 gift card to Food Lion® by sharing with me, in the comments, how you get ready for back to school.

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

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

Five Foods and Drinks that Stain Your Teeth and Some Solutions

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Arm & Hammer Truly Radiant for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Around here, we are always trying out recipes for new foods or drinks. I love creating new recipes that my family loves and that taste delicious too. We all know that what we eat and drink impacts our lives but I often forget how it impacts things like my teeth!

There are a few items that have the biggest impact on teeth when it comes to food and drinks. Five big culprits are

Many of those items are things you just can’t escape in cooking. Plus, they taste so good! So, I decided to try and find ways to help reduce the impact those foods and drinks have on how radiant my teeth look.

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Easy Back to School Snack Ideas

SoFab Disclosure

My kids are total grazers. They want to eat a million snacks and then skip any actual meals. Once school starts, this gets even worse so I like to have heartier snacks than just chips and similar items ready for them. Of course, we want to make snacks fun too so I created two easy back to school snack ideas that are sure to be a hit with kids and make parents feel better about what is going in those little stomachs!

Back to School snacks that are easy and delicious! #AfterSchoolSnacks #cbias

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May the Force Be With You…

SoFab Disclosure

I have a peculiar six {six and three quarters if you ask her} old daughter. She is girly to the max with most things but she has a love of Star Wars too. She is always begging her dad to watch the movies again and again. I guess she recognizes his nerd tendencies even at such a young age. She turns 7 in a few days so I was searching for the perfect birthday card for her and got so excited when I saw the super cute Hallmark poster cards for kids

Super cute cards for kids that turn into posters!

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Key Lime Pear Cocktail

You already know wine slushies are popular around our house. For time to time, I like to step outside of the wine game though and enjoy a nice cocktail or, if it is a weekday, a mocktail! When we were in Miami, I tried some of the Cascade Ice Sparkling Waters and was instantly in love. I don’t do the plain water thing so well and need flavors in it for me to actually drink it on a regular basis. The key lime pear version was one of my favorites and I’ve been using it in a key lime pear cocktail ever since.

A refreshing key lime cocktail with a hint of pear and ginger.

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