Oct 1, 2014

Celebrate Halloween with Books! (Giveaway)

It's October and this means all things candy corn, pumpkins and little ghosts and goblins. Halloween has always been a fun and memorable time for my kids. We have done various craft projects, baking and decorating over the years. One thing every little kid loves is a good Halloween story. I have seen my kids at story time and they give their full attention to the pictures and stories.

I received 3 super cute picture books right in time to get my little guy excited for all the Halloween festivities. My husband plans on making a surprise visit to our son's class to read Pumpkin Time! since they are studying a unit on pumpkins in his first grade class.
Pumpkin Time! by Erzsi Deák

The day the cows strolled down Main Street in fancy hats...Evy didn't notice.
What was Evy doing? Evy is so focused on watching her garden grow that she misses all the silliness going on around her―pigs DANCING, donkeys FLYING, and sheep HAVING A PICNIC. But after Evy's spent all year taking care of her garden, everyone's invited to pumpkin time!
Happy Halloween! By Lillian Jaine 

It’s Halloween night, and Count von Count is dozing off in front of his fireplace. Suddenly, he hears someone knocking at his castle door, but when he opens the door, nobody’s there! Could it be a spooky Halloween spirit playing a trick on him, or is it something less sinister? Join Count, Elmo, and all of the Sesame friends as they celebrate Halloween!
A Halloween Scare by Eric James

It’s Halloween night, and creatures and critters from near and far are starting to gather outside the front door. And now here comes a whole army of monsters, on broomsticks, buses, and bikes, all clamoring in the darkness. What is it they want? Are they coming for you?This humorous, creative story is the perfect Halloween adventure for children and parents to share.

All three books have very nice illustrations that fall in line perfectly with each story. My son adores them all! These books would be perfect to surprise your little ghoul or goblin with for Halloween. Enter below to win a copy of all three titles.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway is open to US and Canada Residents only and will end on October 11, 2014. One winner will be chosen at random and will be contacted via email. Mom files is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes.

Books were provided to me, as well as giveaway prize from Sourcebooks. All opinions are 100% my own as always. 

Sep 30, 2014

Check out the Motorola MBP36S Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor

Are you looking into purchasing a baby monitor either for yourself or as a gift? I recently got the opportunity to test out the MBP36S Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor.
Oh boy, this monitor has so many useful features. I can't believe how clear the video is. This is really helpful when you are trying to keep a close eye on baby, young children or even pets. It has a two-way audio feature allows you to clearly communicate without being in the same room. This video monitor also showcases a 3.5” full color LCD screen, remote pan, tilt and zoom functionality and infrared night vision for keeping watch in very low light levels. This expandable unit with split screen capability allows you to add up to four cameras, making it easy to check in on multiple rooms of your home. This is especially helpful if you have more than one level in your home.

I was watching my son and our puppy and I was able to adjust the camera to look at my family room from all angles and hear every word (and bark) that they spoke. If you don’t need the sound on, you can easily disable it by the touch of a button. What makes this monitor great is how user friendly it is. It took me all of 15 minutes to figure out how it works. This is an excellent buy for your home or as a gift for the very particular parents in your life. It is a bit pricey, but you get superior quality and again, you can purchase additional cameras to use at the same time in different locations of your home.
Specifics:
• Wireless technologies: 2.4 GHz FHSS
• 3.5 inch diagonal color screen
• Remote pan, tilt and zoom
• Crystal clear two-way communication
• Infrared night vision
• Room temperature display
• 5 Lullabies
• Low battery alert
• Out-of-range alert
• Expandable up to 4 cameras
• Picture-in-picture capabilities
• Suggested Retail: $239.99

The Motorola MBP36S Remote Wireless Video Baby Monitor can be purchased from Target, Amazon and other participating retail stores. 

I received a unit in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own as always. 

Sep 29, 2014

National Coffee Day: 9 Places to Find Complimentary Caffeine

Check out these 9 offers from chain and regional restaurants, and be sure to visit your local coffee shops for potential deals.

Dunkin' Donuts
Try the donut chain's new Dark Roast Coffee (medium cup) for free when you visit your local store.

Krispy Kreme
If you like your coffee black, Krispy Kreme is offering a free 12 oz. cup of their House, Decaf and Dark Roast coffees today. Those with more of a sweet tooth can enjoy a 12 oz. Mocha, Latte or iced coffee for $1 and participating locations.

McDonald's
The Golden Arches have been celebrating free coffee since Sept. 16 with its Free Coffee Event. Today is your last opportunity to score a free small McCafe during breakfast hours at participating restaurants.

LaMar's Donuts
Pick up a free 12 oz. coffee from participating locations of LaMar's Donuts today. Good luck avoiding their tasty assortment of confections!

Peet's Coffee & Tea
Bring a friend to participating locations of Peet's Coffee & Tea and enjoy a BOGO promotion in honor of National Coffee Day. Buy one drink, get the second one of equal or lesser value free (excluding juice and bottled beverages).

Caribou Coffee
Today, enjoy free samples of Amy's Blend coffee, a roast dedicated to a former barista who lost her battle with breast cancer. Through Oct. 31, 10-percent of Amy's Blend purchases will be donated to CancerCare, an organization that helps support cancer patients and their families.

Tim Hortons
The iconic Canadian coffee chain is offering any size Regular or Dark Roast coffee for $1 (go ahead, get the biggest size). This offer is not valid at Buffalo, NY locations or at Presque Isle, Maine locations, where patrons will receive a medium Dark Roast coffee for $1.

Kangaroo Express
Southeastern U.S. dwellers can pick up a 12 oz. bag of Bean Street Coffee for just $0.01 between 6 a.m. and and 10 a.m. today.

The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co.
With locations along the east coast and one lone restaurant in Los Angeles, The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Co. is offering a free coffee with entree purchase today.

Information provided by CouponSherpa.com

Sep 25, 2014

Kitchen Confessions: My Biggest Fear

I am a kitchen adventurer. I am almost always willing to try exotic ingredients and semi-outrageous cooking methods. I have torched things, gutted fish while they were still alive and too many things to list. I just have this one phobia-- The Pressure Cooker. I have owned one for about 15 years now and grew up using one probably a few times a week. I used it here and there the first few years I had it with no fear. It didn't even phase  I was making the most tough meats melt-in-your-mouth tender. I was also making dishes that would normally take hours in 1/4 of the time. It was that one time that I was using it to make dhal (an Indian soup-like dish made with split peas) and I had the burner on too high of heat and the shaker top popped off. All I remember was a volcanic eruption of turmeric colored split peas spewing out the top and I had to act quickly. I threw a wet towel over the top and grabbed pot holders to remove the pressure cooker off the burner element. Holy cow, it was an absolute mess! I can't believe by some miracle, I was able to clean it all up from the ceiling and walls. I was panicked since we were living in an apartment at the time. That was many years ago! I washed my pot up and packed it away. I didn't want to go through that drama again.

Fast forward to this past weekend... I had been talking to my sister for a few weeks now about how I cook dhal for almost 2 hours because I am deathly afraid of the pressure cooker. She would make fun of me for being such a wimp and told me it would be fine. I finally got enough courage to try it out one more time. I won't lie, I felt the fear move through my entire body. I washed each component and could feel my heart racing. I had to take deep breaths and calm myself down. It's just cookware after all. I proceeded to get my ingredients in the pot and it all came down to that moment-- putting the lid on the pot and placing the weight topper on it. I think my blood pressure spiked at this time. I actually prayed as I waited to hear the sound when you know the actual pressure is locked inside the pot. Slowly, the topper started to move and make a hissing sound. Once this started I did not take my eyes off of it. I had my oven mitts set beside me and a wet kitchen towel, just in case.

It started going a little faster. This is where I turned the heat down a bit. I wasn't taking any chances! Fifteen anxiety-riddled minutes later, I had completely cooked dhal! I even got all of my estimated measurements right. I was able to breathe and know that I don't have to be (as) afraid of the pressure cooker any more :)

Do you own a pressure cooker? Have you ever had any bad experiences with it before?

Sep 22, 2014

The 5-hour ENERGY® Yummification Contest winners are in!


The 5-hour ENERGY® Yummification Contest winners are in and you can view the winning videos here. I'm excited about the third place winner because he is out of Lugoff, SC which is about 25 minutes away from where I live. Way to go to all of the winners!

First Place ($50,000 prize): “Pomelimelade” by Tim Merlau, Los Angeles, CA

This winning submission mixes a Pomegranate 5-hour ENERGY® shot with limeade, and then takes us on a musical journey through all that can be accomplished over several hours (spoiler alert:  it’s a lot).

“Pomelimelade”
§  1 glass Limeade
§  1 shot of Pomegranate 5-hour ENERGY®

Second Place ($30,000 prize): “Ramalamadingdong” by Mark Golembeski, Los Angeles, CA

The second place video helps us turn that 2:30 feeling frown upside down by mixing a 5-hour ENERGY® shot with lemonade.  This video has it all: a clown, a puppy, a guy in a tutu, and much more.

“Ramalamadingdong”
§  1 glass Lemonade
§  1 shot of Berry 5-hour ENERGY®

Third Place ($10,000 prize): “Arnold Power” by Zac Sheorn, Lugoff, SC

The third place winner reminds us that you don’t have to be good at sports, but mixing a Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY® shot with decaffeinated iced tea helps keep you refreshed while practicing.  And practicing.

“Arnold Power”
§  1 glass Decaf Iced Tea
§  1 shot of Pink Lemonade 5-hour ENERGY®

The 5-hour ENERGY® samples, gift card, and information have been provided by the makers of 5-hour ENERGY®.

Easy Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Hi Everyone! I made a dish this weekend that was purely experimental and it turned out so good that I just had to share it with you. I get so tired of making the same old things over and over again and craved something completely different from the usual. I was shopping in Kroger the other night with my hubby and we were looking at their Private Selection brand of products that were on sale. They currently have a bonus sale where you can save $4.00 by purchasing 4 items. He was looking at a couple of the simmering sauces. I had that "look" on my face since I am the Queen of homemade. Is this man really looking at an Indian inspired sauce from a jar? He insisted we give it a try, so I reluctantly agreed. The price was really good so I figured I didn't have too much to lose.
The directions on the jar called for ingredients like bell peppers and onions. I decided to do things my own way. I used one pound of chicken tenders and cut them into 1-inch pieces. I then very lightly seasoned (no salt) the chicken with my staple spices. Next, I heated about 1 teaspoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of vegetable oil in my skillet. I lightly dusted the chicken with some plain flour and added chicken to pan. I let it get nice and golden brown and then added some sliced red onion. After sauteeing onion for about 2 minutes, I poured my jar of sauce over chicken and onion and held my breath.

I let the chicken simmer for about 5-6 minutes and finished it off with some fresh cilantro. I served the chicken tikka masala over jasmine rice and the entire family (even little William) LOVED this dish. It had the most amazing balance of flavors. You could taste a hint of sweetness, a slight tang and a good pinch of spice. We didn't find it too spicy at all. I really can't believe how delicious this dish came out. It tasted like it came from a really good Indian restaurant. What's so great about this dish is that it really only took about 20 minutes to make. This would be perfect for a busy work/school week dinner. Just add a side salad and even some naan.

If you live near a Kroger, you must try out their Private Selection brand of gourmet products. We have already tried so many items and have never been disappointed. We are big fans of their Greek yogurt, artisan breads, preserves and fruit spreads, pasta, frozen pizza and more! You can also go here to see if any other stores may carry the brand as well. I did a search for some out of state zip codes and some different store names I'm not familiar with came up. Their $4 off 4 sale at Kroger is still on, so I plan to go pick up some more items this week. Let me know if you try this out. Have a great week!
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