Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Decorating a Gingerbread Tree

Lots of my friends have been decorating Gingerbread Houses and I felt like a bad mama not getting one to do with Sophia.  With Jax, we just never got around to getting one.  Of course, when I went to Target yesterday, 5 days before Christmas, they only had 2 left and of course BOTH were VERY broken!  I saw this tree kit and thought, hey, it could be fun!  Honestly, for this age (days away from 3), I felt like I like the tree better!  It took less time (great for the short attention span) and was VERY easy to assemble!  There were minimal choices for decorations which is always a good thing too!!

Notice when you see our creation below it looks NOTHING like the example on the box!  

She did a great job assembling it herself (with only a little help from me!)

She begged me to eat some ... I told her it was only for decorating, but caved with the 1/2 inch size  star that should have been at the top! :) 

Putting on the little balls, aka light bulbs!

Laughing at Aunt Sarah and Hannah!  

Yes, I know you are all coveting this BEAUTIFUL creation right now!  Be inspired to decorate now ... :)

 Jackson was sleeping during all this Christmas tree decorating fun, so that meant that Mommy and Jackson got some quiet time alone while sis was napping!  Isn't my little boy just adorable?  I got his little onesie at the Hendricks County Craft Fair!  I just love it so much!! :)  My little man with his lil' ho-ho-ho tie!!

Sweet, sweet boy!
Do you have any fun decorating traditions you like to do with your kids or while you were growing up?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Homemade Peppermint Patties

I am a sucker for York Peppermint Patties!  Too bad the long list of ingredients is less than appealing ... and horrible for you!  I found this recipe and decided to try it ... Only 4 "clean" ingredients!

THE VERDICT:  AMAZING!  I totally agree with the blogger and would add more peppermint extract the next batch, but these rock!  I had to hide them in the freezer from the hubby or they would have been gone in one setting!

1/2 cup coconut oil (solid state – firm at temperatures below 76 degrees)
1/4 cup raw honey or maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/2-1 cup dark chocolate chips, melted and cooled slightly (I found it easiest to melt them and thin slightly with a Tablespoon of milk to get the best consistency. Cooling is essential for it to stick correctly.)

1. Combine the coconut oil, honey/maple syrup, and peppermint extract in a food processor or blender till smooth.
2. Place in freezer until the ingredients are fairly solid (15 minutes or so).
3. Scoop out mixture with a 1.5 teaspoon scoop or whatever you have on hand (I used a standard Tablespoon) and form small balls on a parchment paper/wax paper lined cookie sheet. Press down into flattened rounds. (It will naturally melt a bit when brought in contact with your hands, so quickly form little mounds but don’t stress for perfection, because it will not happen.
4. Transfer back to the freezer to solidify again.
5. Remove from freezer after they are firm again and dip with a spoon into your melted cooled chocolate until fully covered. Allow 10 minutes or so to harden. Store in refrigerator until you are ready to consume.
Yield: 10-12 small patties


Making Fun Memories Together!

Wow, what a whirlwind of a month!  Can't believe December is almost over!!!

Last week Sophia brought home Christmas Presents from preschool!  I asked her, "did you make these for mommy and daddy?"  She said, "No, my teachers did!"  Ha!  I had to laugh ... brutally honest huh?  At least I know those are her hand prints!

Sophia's Christmas Gift to Mommy! Thanks DD teachers!

Sophia's Christmas Present for Daddy!
The past two years in MOPS we have done a Christmas Craft!  I LOVED this one!  So easy to make, looks so pretty!!  Even has a string of lights on it!!  Sweet!

My 2011 MOPS Christmas Craft!  LOVE IT!!
 Friday night we drove through the light display at Ellis Park!  This is as close as she got to Santa ... yep, all the way across the room!!  Santa looks better from the distance huh?
Christmas in Ellis Park
 Saturday evening we headed to Hummel Park for the First Annual Christmas Experience.  We got to see a live Nativity Scene, live animals, Mary, Joseph, and "pretend" baby Jesus because it was way too cold for a real baby!  There were donkey and pony rides and a HUGE camel!!  They had cookies and hot chocolate as well as The Grinch playing!  Sophia's favorite part ... the 10 min train ride ... it was so cold outside and she waited patiently for 45 min.  The girl can be patient when she is getting something she really wants!  Guess we are all like that ... just don't like to admit it, huh?
Waiting for the train at Hummel Park

Finally our turn ... so excited!  A very patient girl waited 45 min!

Here we go!!
 I have been attempting to keep the camera close by so I can get more pictures of my sweet boy!  I can see why my mom had double or triple the pictures of me compared to my sister!  The second born just doesn't get the camera time of the first born!  Look at my boy ... good neck control and enjoying the Bumbo!  Too bad it is pink! HA!
Daddy's Little Elf!
 I hardly have any pictures of me and THE BOY!  Love the tree in the background!
Having fun with the camera!

Ummm ... wait a minute mom!!

This boy is all smiles most of the time (well, after a diaper change, eating, and a nap!)  He just melts my heart!
All smiles with a full tummy!  Love my mommy's milk!
Looking forward to wonderful CHRISTmas memories as a family of FOUR on Sunday!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pookie Pack WINNER

Congrats to 

#20 out of 70
"Receive GLGG emails"

Winner has been contacted and has 48 hours to respond!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Run, run as fast as you can ...

... you can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man!

Well, ok, maybe the pilsbury dough boy but this post still includes gingerbread men!!

Love my sweet boy!!

People say they see Sophia in him ... do u agree?

Last Tuesday evening, my in-laws came over along with my sister-in-law Rhoda, and we decorated gingerbread men cookies!!  Sophia has really been interested in the story of the gingerbread man this year.  She loves to recite the little jingle too!! :) 
Very excited to get started ...

After this picture, this gingerbread man lost his head ... ahhh!!

I think the girl ate more mini m&m's than made it on her cookies.  She has never had more than 5 m&m's at once, so with a full dish in front of her, she just couldn't stop!!

She also tasted a red hot for the first time ... she said, mommy, I NEED water, too spicey, then proceeded to keep eating them!

The sugar is kicking in ... craziness I tell ya, craziness!! Plus icing on the nose!

All of Sophia's decorated men and women .. some for the family, some for the neighbors!!
Sophia just had a blast this whole evening!  She and Aunt Rhoda were giggling all the time!! What a fun tradition that will continue along the Long Family side!  Plus, Grandma Long's gingerbread men are the BEST I have ever tasted!! Yum Yum!!  Did you notice in the picture above she even has a gingerbread apron that Grandma Long passed down from when Cousin Lexi decorated cookies all those years ago??

What fun holiday traditions do you have with your family?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pookie Pack Review and GIVEAWAY!

I was thrilled when I was contacted by Carmen over at Pookie Town Designs for a blog review and giveaway!  I am always in the market for cute hair pieces that are affordable for my sweet Sophia Grace!!  

Pookie Town Designs stocks pinwheel bows, big, stacked bows, felt flower clips, baby headbands, ponytail streamers, appliqued onesies .... you name it, she can make it for your little "pookie!" :)

Here is a little info on the Etsy Shop owners:  

"We are a mother-daughter team who enjoys making things for little Pookies. Carmen (the daughter) is an (almost) 33 year old stay-at-home-mom to 3 small Pookies. She is the creator of Pookietown Designs and enjoys making bows, clips, ponytail streamers, and all manner of girly hair items. Margi (the mother) is a young-at-heart librarian and former owner of a scrapbook shop. She contributes gorgeous appliqued onesies to Pookietown. "

Carmen sent me a Pookie Pack full of adorable pieces to try out on my "pookie!"  

Top to Bottom, L to R: Petal Pookie Flower Clip, Mon Petit Baby Headband, Red  Preppy Pookie Pinwheel Bow, Pookie Posy Felt Hair Clip, and White Pookie Princess Bow (shown below)

Petal Pookie Flower Clip: Mounted on a single-prong alligator clip with a sparkly center.  It is great worn alone or on any headband or hat!  It runs about $5.00.

Mon Petit Baby Headband: Newborn-sized, although fits older babies as well.  As you can see in the picture below of the backs, it has a super-soft 5/8 in fold-over elastic to avoid marks on the head!  It runs $10.00.

Red Preppy Pookie Pinwheel Bow: 1 1/2 in grosgrain ribbon, hand-folded, hand-sewn, heat-sealed to prevent fraying, baked and lightly starched (to hold shape).  It has a chunky, French-knotted center and a non-slip grip for those girls with fine hair (make sure to request the non-slip grip)!  It is mounted on a partially-lined, single-prong alligator clip.  It also looks good alone or on any kind of headband or crocheted hat!  It runs $4.00.

Pookie Posy Felt Hair Clip: Mounted on a partially-lined, single-prong alligator clip, with a sparkly center!  Worn alone or with headband or hat!  It runs $5.00.

Pookie Princess Bow: 2 stacked bows, make like the red Preppy Pookie.  For extra stability, it is mounted on a double-prong alligator clip.  It runs $7.00.

Double-prong alligator clip (LOVE LOVE LOVE this feature)
Here is a picture with the white Pookie Princess Bow on my ALMOST 3 yr old Pookie!!  LOVE IT!

I didn't know if it would be too big, but I LOVE it!
My Review:  I was really impressed with the craftsmanship of these bows/clips!  You can tell they are all homemade with tons of TLC!  So often I find people that just buy pre-made bows from the store, slap an alligator clip on them, and sell them for 5x what they paid for them!   Carmen put a lot of time and effort into making these clips last through the normal wear and tear with a young girl!  

- I LOVE the double-alligator clip on the big bow.  It honestly makes the bow stay in her hair SO MUCH BETTER!  We always struggle to find bows that will stay in her thick, yet stick-straight hair!  

- The headband design is the best I have ever seen!  I love the felt circle covering to minimize or avoid marks on the head!  That is my biggest complaint with most headbands on the market today ... they always leave a mark on her head!

- Carmen's prices are VERY affordable!  I love it!!  I love that she has a variety of products at all ends of the "affordable" price spectrum!  

- The customer service is fantastic!  The bows came shipped in a nice size box to protect them from getting smashed!  I didn't have to reshape any of them!  A lot of this has to do with the excellent craftsmanship with the bows as well (heat-sealed, baked, and lightly starched).  

- Versatility: I love the fact each of these items can be worn in so many different combinations (hats, headbands, alone, etc).  I love that aspect!

Head over now and check out all the awesome products in her etsy shop!  HERE

Here is additional information from her shop: 

Welcome to Pookietown! We are adding new items all the time! LAST DAY FOR CHRISTMAS DELIVERY (most items) IS MONDAY, DECEMBER 12! Enter code pookietown at checkout for 10% off your entire purchase! If you see something you like but would prefer a different color or clip please contact me! We are more than happy to do custom orders! If you live near Goshen, Indiana and would like to arrange for local pick-up, contact me and I will give you a coupon code to reimburse your s/h costs.


WIN IT: Carmen has offered up a set of 3 Preppy Pookie Pinwheel bows (colors chosen by the winner!)

Links you will find helpful for the giveaway:
Go Green Go Long on Facebook
SGsMama on Twitter

This giveaway is open to the US and will end on Thursday Dec 15th at midnight so that the prize will be received before Christmas! :)  The winner will be drawn via and will have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be drawn. Please, no PO Boxes.

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not monetarily compensated for this review.

Pookie Town Designs Disclaimer: It's the buyer's responsibility to keep their Pookie safe!  These items contain small pieces that if broken off could pose a choking hazard.  While I take the utmost care to ensure the safety of my creations (I put my little girl in these too!) it's ultimately the buyer's responsibility to use caution and common sense when putting any hair accessory on their child.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New-Skin Share The Outdoor Sweepstakes

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of New-Skin for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.


As many of you know, my family LOVES the outdoors!  Nate and I would both agree our favorite vacation pre-kids would be our camping trip out west in Summit County, CO!  We hiked, biked, and enjoyed God’s beautiful creation!  Our tent was right next to a stream that was flowing rapidly!  One night it got down to 22.3 degrees!  You should have seen me, I looked like a mummy in my sleeping bag!  Nevertheless, all the miles we hiked wrecked havoc on our feet.  We both ended up with blisters at the bag where our boots rubbed.  Unfortunately I didn’t have anything but Band-Aids, but I really wish we had some  New-Skin®.
product-family.png (2 documents, 2 total pages)
New-Skin is a liquid bandage.  It is invisible, flexible, and waterproof.   Here is additional info from their webpage: “New-Skin® Liquid Bandage dries rapidly to form a tough protective cover that is antiseptic, flexible, waterproof, and lets your skin breathe. Just brush on New-Skin® Liquid Bandage - One stroke protects the wound by keeping out dirt and germs and provides protections against infection with an antiseptic.”
You might not be a lover of the outdoors like my family, but maybe you have a kid that loves to ride bikes or skateboard.  Falling is usually inevitable, so you would want to keep both the Liquid Bandage and Scar Fade™ on hand at home!!
They also have a unique Poison Ivy Treatment. “New-Skin™ Poison Ivy Treatment is the only product to combine both an active medicated OTC ingredient to stop itch and a non-irritating wash to lock up and remove the toxic oils that cause the poison ivy rash, in one complete formula.
Its dual-action foaming lotion addresses both the root problem of poison ivy rash and the uncomfortable itch that often accompanies it. In many cases, just one application of New-Skin™ Poison Ivy Treatment applied to the affected area will provide complete relief. Its unique formula isolates urushiol oils, the cause of the allergic reaction and skin irritation from poison ivy, and the mild foaming formula helps wash away the oils from the skin.
The active ingredient Pramoxine Hydrochloride is FDA approved to treat the itching sensation associated with poison ivy rash. New-Skin™ Poison Ivy Treatment is also effective against the rash associated with poison oak and poison sumac.”
The New-Skin® products have you covered whether you're playing ball, hiking or enjoying an afternoon in the garden. No other bandage beats New-Skin® for its ability to cover, protect and help prevent infection for everyday wounds. Believe it or not, New-Skin® products have been protecting cuts and scrapes for over 100 years.   Not only do they protect your cuts and scrapes with their Liquid Bandage, but they also aid in getting rid of scars with the Scar Fade™ Gel and can help treat poison ivy with their Poison Ivy Treatment.
For a limited time, New-Skin sweepstakes are happeningg! There are 3 amazing grand prizes to win – a skiing trip to Breckenridge, CO, a tour of the Botanical Gardens in Atlanta, GA or a hiking trip in Yellowstone National Park, MT!  Also, although there will only be 3 Grand Prize winners there is good news for the first 500 entrants in the sweepstakes! They will receive a New-Skin™ waterproof container. So hurry up and get in your entries!
How to enter: Complete the entry form on the New-Skin® Share the Outdoors sweepstakes link and have your friends and family visit your sweepstakes page to earn up to five votes per day – every vote increases your chances of winning the adventure of their choice!
I would love for you to share in the comments section of below why you would want to win the sweepstakes and how you would use New-Skin® products if you win!  Try to include a link to your sweepstakes page in your comment to help increase clicks!!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Day 30

Day 30: Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here belows

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Wow, it has been a ride during these 30 Days of Thankfulness!  I see it only fit to thank the ONE who made all the other 29 blessings possible!  If you are counting your blessings this month, I challenge you to continue!  Also, remember to check out this life changing book.  If you allow it, it'll change your life!!! I promise!!