Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What's HOT Right Now: Toy Trends and Shopping Tips!


If I'm being honest I started Christmas shopping back in June. We have such a big family now thanks to new marriages and new babies that we just have to start early.

Having THREE girls now I have to be even more on top of my game when it comes to planning and shopping. We go big for Christmas so it's best to be organized and even better going into the war zone, aka toy store, well prepared. Meaning lists, sales ads, promo codes, etc.

I've compiled a few tips and tricks to make it through this Holiday shopping season along with a few hot toy trends for 2014!


  • Layaway: I have yet to do this option honestly but after learning about it last year I thought it was a brilliant idea. 10% down and pay on your gifts until it is completely paid for. Pretty ideal for a lot of families! Another perk, in my opinion, is that it hides the gifts for a little while and keeping them away from nosey little kids. :)
  • Set a spending limit: With three kids now this is a no brainer. Before hitting the stores or even shopping the online sales make sure you have your budget and STICK TO IT. Make a list of who you're buying for and write down the amount you are wanting to spend on him/her. I find it helpful when I keep the list in my hand and look at it constantly while shopping. It helps me so that I don't get distracted by shiny things and stray from the list. Toys R US, Target, and Wal-Mart have made it easy for you to make wishlists and print them out!
  • Find Deals: I'm a huge advocate of this. In fact, I can't remember the last time that I paid full price for something. I always have a coupon, promo code, or app on hand. The Holidays is prime shopping time for retailers and app developers. There are tons of great apps that you can use to add up points for gift cards, look up promo codes, or even get points for spending (getting yourself a gift card)! 


Check out some of my favorite deal apps:**

RetailMeNot
Ebates
Ibotta
Cartwheel
Shopkick 

Now, onto the super exciting part! I get so giddy with excitement when the new toys come out because the girls get to sit down, eat cookies, and make their "Santa Lists". Here are a few of our favorite "Hot Toys" for this year!


Disney's FROZEN Snow Glow Elsa Doll: You knew FROZEN would be on the list y'all. 

Paw Patrol Lookout Playset: I'm actually pretty excited about this one myself. Kinsley absolutely loves Paw Patrol! 


VTech Kidzoom Smartwatch: How fun is this?! 


Disney Princess Palace Pets Magic Dance Pumpkin: Kins screams with excitement every time this Palace Pet comes on the TV. Naturally she thinks she's Cinderella and must.have.Pumpkin. 


What are some hot toys that's on your list this year? Any helpful tips you'd like to add?

If you're in the Jacksonville area come join me on October 4th for the Wal-Mart Holiday Toyland Event in Jax Beach! Be on the look out for the Buddy the Elf life-sized cut out and their special Holiday helpers! #ChosenByKids


Sverve provided us with a toy of our choice and compensation for this campaign (review of toy is to follow). The opinions and tips I shared about holiday shopping and this seasons hot toys are my own, and Sverve did not tell me what to say or how to say it.
**If you decide to make a purchase through my link, Amazon will pay me a commission for it. This doesn't cost you anything additional. These commissions help to keep the rest of my content free, so thank you!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe





If you know me then you know I'm a lover of all things sweet. I especially love the classic chocolate chip cookie. Imagine my horror when I had to go Gluten-Free and thought I'd never be able to eat like a fat kid again. Until I found this recipe. Hear that? That's angels.

A lot of people have asked that I post this recipe and I thought I had before but it seems not. So here y'all go!

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Ingredients


  • 2 1/4 Cups Gluten-Free Flour (you can now find this at pretty much any grocery store. Even Wal-Mart)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp gluten free vanilla
  • 2 cups chocolate chips/chunks

Directions:

Heat oven to 375°F.


Combine flour , baking powder, baking soda, and  salt  in bowl. Set aside.

Combine softened butter, brown sugar and sugar in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. 
Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. 

Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.  

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto ungreased cookie sheets. 

Bake 9-12 minutes or until light golden brown. (Do not over bake. I usually wait until the edges are a light brown) 

Let stand 1-2 minutes on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack.


Thank me later! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fall Bucket List




Fall. My absolute favorite season. In Florida, we don't really get a true autumn so when the air turns cool and not so humid anymore we jump at the chance to have everything pumpkin, brown and orange, and throw on our sweaters. Even if it's still 80.
Now that Kinsley is old enough to understand what's going on and enjoy the little things that come with fall, I've made a bucket list for this season to do with her. It's also our last Fall together just me and her. So I'm going to take it all in as much as I can!


  • Go to the pumpkin patch
  • Visit the corn maze and petting zoo farm
  • Take a hayride
  • Go apple picking (I've wanted to do this for years!) 
  • Paint pumpkins
  • Bake pumpkin cookies and decorate them
  • Go on a picnic 
I can't wait to experience these with Kins. It's not often that we get to go out and do something together lately. One because it's hot as balls outside and two, because we just haven't had the time with everything going on. I can't wait to add these to our memories! (& camera).

What is on your Fall bucket list?

Friday, September 19, 2014

What "Cool" Really Is




I'm the first to admit that I'm an old soul. In fact, some might say that I'm borderline old lady.

My Grandfather and I email daily. He always sends me funny things or political things. Today he sent me this email called "What "Cool" Really Is". If only we still lived this way. Every era has had their ups and downs, but I really think ours is just downright the worst.

I wanted to share the email with y'all. How many other old souls are out there with me?!

-----------------------------------------------------

What "Cool" Really Is:

6 time Golden Globe winner Paul Newman boating in Venice during a film festival (1963)


Children of Chicago (1941)


The gorgeous necklines of the 1950s


Audrey Hepburn at a premiere on September 14, 1953.


A young boy stealing the show, back when middle school kids knew how to dance (1950)


The original way to 'text' in Class (1944)


A gang of greasers in NYC, 1950


Teenagers and their first car (1950s)


This is how teenagers dated in the 1950s


High school fashion feature in Life Magazine (1969)


A stylish couple in the rain in London (1963)


Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip at the horse races (1968)


The definition of old school cool. Cary Grant in the 1950s


The people we aspired to be decades ago were much different than the celebrities young people look up to today. The values of our past have nearly vanished. It's mind boggling looking around seeing what is "cool" today and comparing it to then. There's no comparison. If only it were still that way.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

50 Things I will teach my Daughters

       

  1. Smile. And smile often. It's beautiful.
  2. Your value does not come from your size, age, or appearance.
  3. Read your Bible daily. 
  4. You do not need a man to be happy.
  5. Laugh until your stomach hurts.
  6. Always trust your gut.
  7. Be passionate about a cause.
  8. Always remember that not everyone is like you.
  9. Not everyone will like you. Be kind and extend love any way.
  10. Find the beauty in everything.
  11. Be YOU. Do not let anyone change you.
  12. It's okay to be goofy.
  13. Please don't ever, ever like or listen to Justin Bieber.
  14. Let your hair down and let loose.
  15. But not too loose. Know your boundaries and stick to them.
  16. Keep it classy. 
  17. Dance in the rain.
  18. Kiss in the rain. (Just don't let your dad find out)
  19. Don't be a picky eater. It's fun to try new things.
  20. It's okay to want alone time. For days on end. 
  21. Have a close group of girlfriends.
  22. Say your prayers and count your blessings everyday.
  23. Don't be ashamed to show your faith.
  24. Coffee is good for your soul.
  25. It's okay to be a girly girl.
  26. It's okay not to be one.
  27. Always say "yes sir/ma'am no sir/ma'am".
  28. It's okay if your hair gets wet in the rain.
  29. Don't let moments pass you.
  30. Put your phone down and be present.
  31. You're going to make mistakes in life and that's okay.
  32. Give happily and generously.
  33. Encourage others. Lift them up.
  34. It's okay to cry.
  35. See the positive in everything.
  36. It's okay to veg out on the couch all day sometimes. I'll probably join you.
  37. Put 10% of every paycheck into savings.
  38. Some girls are mean. Don't be one of them.
  39. No dating until you're in college. (Okay, your dad made me put that)
  40. It's okay to Monogram everything.
  41. Always look people in the eye when talking to them.
  42. Take responsibility for your actions and apologize when you're in the wrong.
  43. No guy is worth your tears, unless it's happy tears.
  44. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle.
  45. Read lots of (real) books and get lost in them.
  46. Rules are made to be broken. Except mine. and the law. Please don't break that. 
  47. Your mama is your best friend. It's true.
  48. Don't marry a Seminole fan. Trust me on this one. 
  49. Sometimes all you want for dinner is ice cream, cupcakes, and chocolate. That's okay.
  50. Laugh. A lot. This is probably here twice but it's so important. Laughter cures everything.