Day of Silence

To honor the victims of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut I am taking a day away from blogging. I hope to spend some time meditating on what I can do to make this world a better place, and be a better mother, wife, and person. 
Ashley

#RiceKrispies Twitter Party with prizes!

The Motherhood and Rice Krispies decided to get the band back together, so to speak. I will be hosting a twitter party on Wednesday, December 19, from 2-3pm ET with many of the other ladies that participated in the Rice Krispies Challenges last year. We are going to be talking about how to create moments of joy and family memories during the holiday season. 

Here is the project Team Phoenix came up with last year for our Holiday challenge:

Come join us and you could win some prizes. All the details are below, including how to RSVP.
 

#RiceKrispies Twitter party details

What: Making Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats for the holidays sparks memories with your kids that last a lifetime! Let's get together and talk about how we can create moments of joy and family memories during the holiday season with #RiceKrispies.

When: Wednesday, December 19, 2-3 p.m. ET

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #RiceKrispies hashtag to track the conversation.  You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite: http://twtvite.com/ricekrispies

Hashtag: #RiceKrispies

Prizes: Rice Krispies will give away five total prizes, each consisting of a Rice Krispies Treat making kit with all the ingredients you will need to create yummy Rice Krispies Tree Trimmer Treats at home with your little helpers, plus additional holiday-themed goodies. Winners will be chosen randomly from among participants who respond correctly to trivia questions.

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann

Other info: Rice Krispies’ Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ricekrispies
Rice Krispies Tree Trimmer Treats recipe: http://bit.ly/RZSOQI

Official Twitter party rules: http://bit.ly/SOe77w


Here is a lit of all the fun ladies co-hosting the party:
Amy, She Wears Many Hats - @WearsManyHats
Ashley, Cute as a Fox Creations - @CuteasaFoxBlog
Jenn, SuperJenn - @JennHethcoat
Joey, Real Mom Media - @joeyfortman
Julie, Mommie Cooks - @mommiecooks
Kelly , Kansas City Mamas - @KCMamaKelly
Kristen, Dine and Dish - @DineandDish
Kristyn, Lil' Luna - @LilLunaKristyn
Sarah, Genesis Moments - @DIYFrugal
Wendy, Around My Family Table - @MyFamilyTable
 
I hope to see you on Wednesday!
 
Ashley

Christmas Themed Dinner

One last post from Bunco dinner. I thought I would share with you the food I served for dinner. I relied heavily on Pinterest for ideas and used recipes I have already tried and loved. I will have lots of links so hopefully you can recreate anything that you would want to.

For the main course I served my Baked Potato and Ham soup and Tidymom's white chicken chili.

I also served some wraps in spinach tortillas, stacked up to look like a Christmas tree. The original idea came from the BHG website.


Next up, I made some grape trees. These were pretty simple but very time consuming. I bought three styrofoam cones from the Dollar Tree and wrapped them in green Saran Wrap. I cut a million toothpicks in half and just started sticking grapes in. I saw the grape trees first at What's the Buzz.

 
On the same tray as the grapes, I served some fun Christmas themed apple slices. Using my Cuisanart Mandoline slicer set to 1/4" I cut up several large apples. Then I used the Wilton mini holiday cookie cutters to cut the core's out of the apple slices.  I served the grapes and the apples with a delicious fruit dip. I will be sharing the recipe for that soon! I first saw the apples done with Halloween shapes over at Jewels of a Child.

 Desserts were pretty simple. I did some strawberry Santa hats on top of blondies.Those could have been executed a lot better, but I was assembling right before guests arrived and oddly I had a hard time getting the cream cheese frosting to stick to the top of the strawberries. No one seemed to notice that they weren't perfect and they got gobbled up right away. On a side note, how cute is that sleigh serving tray? I saw it at my best friend's house and asked to borrow it for Bunco. She's such a good friend she told me just to keep it.


Then for dessert/a take home treat, I made some snowmen donuts. These were a bit of a headache and I don't think I would make them again, at least not in the same way. I used a black gel frosting for the eyes and mouth, and that stuff never hardens. I had a really hard time bagging them up without smearing. 

Drinks were just Crystal Light lemonade with some cranberries thrown in for show. I just bought this beverage dispenser from Walmart and I really like it. Each section holds one gallon and the bottom is angled so all the punch comes out without tipping. The bottom section holds ice to keep things cool. The only thing I don't like about it, is that none of the pieces screw together or seal. Meaning the whole thing is very insecure. You definitely need to fill it where ever you are serving from. You can't move it while filled.



In case you missed it, you can see how I put together the place settings in this post: Christmas Present Utensil Holder

It was a lot of fun putting together a themed dinner. It was a lot of work but everyone that attended seemed to really love everything. It made it all worth it. Next year I am hosting Bunco in October, so Halloween here we come!
UPDATE: Here is a better image to pin so you can see everything at once.



Ashley

Sears #styleSurprise Sweepstakes

Losing weight over these past several months, means that I have been having to invest quite a bit into my wardrobe. None of my 'before' clothes fit me anymore. This is a great thing, but it does mean my clothes budget has had to increase a bit. I just entered the #styleSURPRISE sweepstakes by Sears that will hopefully help me out in the wardrobe department. You can enter win $5,000 worth of Shop Your Way points from Sears for Christmas. That could buy you a whole new wardrobe at Sears. You can find all the details and enter the sweepstakes on the Shop Your Way website here: http://bit.ly/VawhRe.

Here is a fun little video about some of the great fashions you can find at Sears.

I am also going to share with you one of my style secrets. Well, I'm not sure how much of a secret it is, but it is really important to remember. Here goes: Wear clothes that fit the body you have now. Whether you are carrying a few more pounds than you would like or perhaps like me you have lost some weight. It is so important to wear clothes that fit properly. I can guarantee you will look and feel your best when you wear clothes that fit your body type. It is a simple concept, but sometimes I find myself falling into old habits.

Sears has some great clothes, and they even have put them into outfits for you. I really loved these two. Click on the photo and you will go to the Sears website where you can purchase all of the items pictured.



Visit Sears (http://bit.ly/VqSD4J) for more everyday fashion inspiration
This is a sponsored post. I am a Sears blogger, though all opinions are my own.
Ashley

Fellowes 63Cb Shredder Giveaway

The Holiday Gift Guide is still going strong. Today's feature is a great gift for the practical guy in your life.
I am talking about the Fellowes Powershred 63Cb 10-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder with Jam Blocker Technology.

I had the pleasure of trying out one of these shredders and it is amazing. We have a bit of a paper problem at my house. The mail seems to get stacked in piles to "file later." Well sometimes later means much, much, later. Hypothetically speaking, we may or may not have to quickly shove the paper stacks into a drawer because someone is coming over right this minute. That last part is purely hypothetical of course. Imagine my surprise when I peeked into my bottom drawer and found this hot mess.

 I immediately set to work shredding and sorting. I shredded papers folded still in their envelopes, papers with staples and paperclips.A few times I got over-eager and tried to shredded stacks of paper that were too thick. The jam blocker technology sensor knew it was too thick and shut off the shredder. Plus, if you ever do get into tough spot, you can turn the shredder to reverse and it will spin the other direction.
Here is what something looks like after you put the shredder in reverse and remove the paper. It wasn't jammed, I just wanted to demonstrate.

Here are some shots of my shredder in action.

Here is what I love about the Fellowes Powershred 63Cb 10-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder with Jam Blocker Technology:
  • In can shred cards - No more hovering over the trash can breaking your scissors.
  • It holds 5 gallons of shredded paper.
  • It can sense when there are hands near and will auto-shut off.
  • It is heavy duty. My old shredder got knocked over a few times when it was full. Who wants to pick up all that paper shred? No one!
  • It can shred through staples. That makes my job even faster and more convenient.
  • I can securely dispose of sensitive mail. You can never be too careful with your personal information. 
  • It can shred for 8 straight minutes before it auto shuts off for a 20 minutes cool down. Smart appliances prevent themselves from breaking. Genius!
I would recommend this shredder for any man in your life. My husband is especially going to love this shredder. It drives him nuts that I just tear the mail into a few pieces before I trash it. He is very security conscious and I can't wait for him to use it.

I created a Pinterest board with some great ideas for practical gifts for the men in your life. You can find it here: Smart Gifts for the Men in Your Life.

I have some good news, I am giving away a Fellowes Powershred 63Cb 10-Sheet Cross-Cut Shredder with Jam Blocker Technology to one lucky reader!
You can enter the giveaway below in the rafflecopter form.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received product from Fellowes, Inc. and The Motherhood as part of my participation in this program. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.”
Ashley

Holiday Photo Cards from Minted.com

Time is running out for your holiday cards. I want to tell you about a great website to order really unique cards. It's called Minted.com. I have never personally ordered from them before, but I have heard really great things about their quality and originality. I even received a card printed by Minted and I was very impressed. It was my favorite card of that Christmas season. That is why I was so excited when I was offered the opportunity to try out Minted's Holiday Photo Cards.

I went through and picked out some of my favorites to show you.
I am really drawn to the photos with the word overlay. It seems every card that has made it into the 'possibility' pile looks like this. One of my favorite features about Minted is that you can choose to have shaped cards. That will really make your cards stand out from all the rest.

 I love this religious centered card too. It's another shaped card as you will notice. You can order the cards as either flat photo cards or folded. The flat cards have the option of putting a festive background. I love that idea but I think I really want to do a folded card this year.

This next one is called Merry and Bright sparkles. I love the typography and the cheeriness of the design. I think this one would look great on the Pearlescent Paper.  The pearlescent paper adds a subtle shimmer finish and rich look to cards, and a soft glow to photographs. Minted has a lot of different paper options. They really seem like top quality cards.
Just in case the holidays get away from you, they also have some really cute New Years cards. I really like this stacked design.

 So tell me, am I still the only one that hasn't ordered their cards yet? Please tell me I'm not the only one! Head on over to Minted.com and check out their Holiday Photo Cards today.


Disclaimer: I was given credit at minted.com in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are strictly my own. 

Ashley

Christmas Present Utensil Holder

As promised in the Bunco ornaments post, I am sharing how I made the cute little present silverware / utensil holders. They were very simple to do, but since I made 24 of them it took me several hours to get all the way through them.

Bunco Christmas Ornament

You might be aware that I play Bunco. I have done a few posts about my Bunco nights in the past. Well this year I volunteered to host in December. The way that our group works, we invite our husbands or a date to come and play with us. That means we have 24 people instead of the regular 12. I have my hands very full with the food and other preparations.
I thought it would be fun to give each of the girls in the group a fun ornament to remember the year by.
They are simple glass ball ornaments that I picked up from Hobby Lobby. I printed out the design on transparency, cut it out, and inserted it into the ornament with some cute little dice beads. I am sharing my template if you have a bunco lover on your gift list this year. I will also give you the step-by-step instructions.

Jingle Bell Jam $100 giveaway

$100 Gift Card Giveaway

Who couldn't use a little extra cash this time of year? I know I sure could. I am so excited to be participating in the Jingle Bell Jam hosted by This Flourishing Life and Generations Of Savings. I have teamed up with an awesome group of bloggers to give away a $100 Gift Card of winner's choice to either Walmart, Target, or Amazon OR $100 PayPal Cash. Personally I would pick the Amazon or Paypal, but I do love my holiday shopping!


The Jingle Bell Jam will run from December 3rd at 12:01am EST to December 14th at 11:59pm EST and is open Worldwide! You can enter using the giveaway form below. Good luck and Happy Holidays!



Disclaimer: Please note that Walmart, Target, Amazon, and PayPal are in no way associated with this giveaway. If the winner chooses a gift card, the card will be sent via e-mail, and the winner is responsible for paying any associated shipping charges with their eventual online purchase. If the winner chooses PayPal cash, they must have a PayPal account set up to receive it.
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While you are waiting for the giveaway to end, why not head over to my Holiday Gift Guide and pick out all the cool stuff you will buy if you win.
Ashley

Crafty Bands - Jewelry Making Kit

I am very excited to tell you about another item on my Holiday Gift Guide. Today I am showing you all about Crafty Bands. They are fun charm bracelets where you can make your own charms about anything you want.

I love the idea that you can pick any picture you want for a charm. I also like that you can buy extra bubble caps and make as many charms as you want. It would be so cute to make a themed bracelet for the different holidays.