Author Archives: Jen

Blog Giveaway Roundup – December 19, 2014

Blog Giveaway Roundup

Welcome to our weekly giveaway roundup! Every Friday, we offer you the chance to share your giveaways. If you love to enter giveaways, be sure to browse the selection below.

Blog Giveaway Roundup

Good luck! If you’ve had any blog giveaway wins this last week, feel free to let everyone know about them by leaving a comment below.

Protect Your Clothes With New Dry Sprays from Dove, Degree, and Axe

Disclosure:  This is a sponsored post.  I received a gift card and deodorant samples to try.  However, all opinions stated are my own.

New Dove, Degree, and Axe Dry Spray Antiperspirants dry instantly and last up to 48 hours.

Picture this…You are getting ready for your company holiday party.  You took the time to get your makeup and hair just right and you have the perfect black dress to wear.  You are getting ready to walk out the door, you look down at your sides and notice that your deodorant has left nasty streaks on your pretty new dress that took you hours of shopping to find.  Immediately you have to scramble to try to clean the stains off  your dress, or find something else to wear.  Has that situation ever happened to you?  I don’t even want to admit how many times something similar to this has happened to me!

Fortunately this holiday season, your little black dress has nothing to fear.  Dove, Degree, and Axe have all introduced new Dry Spray Antiperspirant that won’t leave any visible residue on your skin or your clothing.  I love that!   I can’t tell you how many times my ordinary stick deodorant has left white residue on my darker-colored clothing. I would either have to scrub at it with a wet wash cloth, or change all-together.   So a deodorant that won’t leave any residue on my clothing makes me excited!

Here’s more information on these innovation new deodorant Dry Sprays:

Axe® Dry Spray for men

  • Goes on instantly dry for a cleaner feel.
  • Provides 48 hour odor and wetness protection.
  • Designed to help guys feel confidently fresh, providing a high-voltage blend of premium fragrance notes.

Dove Dry Spray Antiperspirant for woman

  • All the care of Dove in a surprising new Dry Spray.
  • Provides 48 hour odor and wetness protection.
  • Contains Dove’s signature 1/4 moisturizing cream which leaves underarms soft and smooth.
  • Is residue-free so it won’t leave white streaks on your darker clothing.

Dove Men+Care Dry Spray Antiperspirant

  • Goes on instantly dry for a cleaner, fresher feel.
  • Has a non-irritating formula that contains Dove’s Men+Care Signature Moisturizing Cream.
  • Provides 48 hour odor and wetness protection.

Degree Dry Spray Antiperspirant for men and women

  • Includes Motionsense technology designed to respond directly to your body movement – the more you move, the more it protects.

I recently received samples of the new Dove, Degree, and Axe® Dry Sprays so my family could give them a try.  I have always preferred aerosol deodorant, but didn’t like how I would have to fan my underarms to dry it before I could put on any clothes.  That is no longer a problem with these new Dry Sprays.  They all go on instantly dry so you can dress immediately.  No more waiting or fanning!  My husband, son, and I all have been using these Dry Spray Antiperspirants for a couple of weeks now and we have all been impressed.

New Dove, Degree, and Axe Dry Spray Antiperspirants dry instantly and last up to 48 hours.

My son immediately confiscated the Axe Dry Spray.  He really liked the scent.  One thing I liked about the Axe Antiperspirant was that there is no cap to lose.  You twist it and the nozzle pops up.  You twist it back and the nozzle retreats.  That may be a small thing, but our family has a bit of a problem with losing caps to health and beauty products. So it’s a feature that I definitely like about this brand.

New Dove, Degree, and Axe Dry Spray Antiperspirants dry instantly and last up to 48 hours.

My husband has tried both the Men’s Degree and the Dove Men+Care Dry Sprays.  He reported that both worked worked equally well.  He has problems at times with deodorants being irritating to his skin (usually gel-types), but was pleased that he didn’t have that problem with either of these Dry Spray varieties.

New Dove, Degree, and Axe Dry Spray Antiperspirants dry instantly and last up to 48 hours.

As for me, I felt both the Dove and Degree Dry Sprays for women worked really well.  I kept expecting my underarms to be wet after application but they truly weren’t.  It felt like I was just spraying air. Both varieties had nice pleasant scents.  The Dove was a bit of a lighter fragrance, while the Degree was a bit more of a floral scent.   And it bears repeating that they truly leave no residue on your skin and clothes.  I even tested it by spraying it on the inside of one of my shirts.  You couldn’t even tell I sprayed anything there!  Love that!

I really like that the Dove Dry Spray helps moisturize your skin.  I even used the Dove after I had recently shaved and had no problem with irritation at all.   I am definitely going to be looking for Dove and Degree Dry Sprays at the store the next time I need deodorant.

Want to learn more about these innovative new anti-perspirant sprays?  Be sure to check out www.Meijer.com/dryspray or www.degreedeodorant.com and be on the lookout for the new Dove, Degree, and Axe® Dry Sprays in the deodorant and antiperspirant aisle at your local Meijer store.  So tell me…  Will you be trying these new Dry Spray Antiperspirants when you see them in a store near you?  What feature do you like best?

5 Ways to Encourage Kids to Give Back This Holiday Season ~ Salvation Army #RedKettleReason #sponsored #MC

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Influence Central for The Salvation Army. I will receive a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Are your children all about their wish list this Christmas? Check out these 5 ways to encourage your children to give back this holiday season. #givingback #RedKettleReason #sponsored #MC

This time of the year, kids are all about the gifts.  It seems with every toy commercial they see on tv, my children’s Christmas wish list gets longer and longer.   While Christmas can be a magical time for a child, I want them to learn that there is also joy in giving to others.  Each holiday season, I encourage my kids to come up with ways that we can give a little something to those less fortunate.  If you are looking for ways to help your children think of others this holiday season, here are 5 simple ways you and your family can give something back to those in need.

Donate to a local food pantry.

Help your child go through your pantry for canned and boxed goods and take the donations to your local food pantry.  Use this as an opportunity to teach your child that not everyone has enough food to eat.  Ask your child to help think of other ways your family could help people who don’t have enough food to eat.

Help out your local homeless or battered women shelter.

A few years ago, my oldest daughter’s Girl Scout troop did a service project where they babysat for children of parents from the local Red Cross Emergency Shelter.  These were families who had lost their homes to the tornado that hit a nearby town.  The girls played with the children and watched them for a few hours while the parents had a few hours to deal with insurance and paperwork, look for an apartment, and get their lives back in order.  Your local shelter may offer a similar opportunity for your family to volunteer.

In addition, shelters are always looking for donations.  Call your local shelter and see what they can use.  Then help gather up donations as a family.  Use this as an opportunity to teach your child that not everyone has a roof over their heads and encourage them to think of other ways that your family can help those who are homeless.

 Make handmade Christmas cards to brighten someone’s day.

Pull out your craft supplies and help your kids make Christmas cards.  Then you can distribute these cards to local nursing home residents.  You would be amazed at how many nursing home residents there are who don’t get visitors regularly.  You could also send the cards to our military troops who are serving overseas and won’t be home with their families for the holidays.  Use this as an opportunity to teach your child that not everyone is able to have family all around them for the holidays and encourage them to think of other ways that they can brighten the day of someone who may be lonely over the holidays.

Look for ways to help in your own neighborhood.

There are many people right within your own neighborhood who could use a helping hand this holiday season.  As a family make a list of people in your neighborhood who are going through a hard time and the ways you could help.  Here are some ideas to get you started.  Shovel the snow off the driveway of an elderly couple.  Make a meal for a family who has been struggling with illness.  Offer to babysit for a few hours for a single mom in your neighborhood.  Use this as an opportunity to teach your child that we all go through hard times in life and it is a blessing to be able to help someone out in their time of need.

Donate through your local Salvation Red Kettle campaign.

Have your child go through their clothes, books, movies, and toys and pull out anything that they have outgrown or no longer want.  Take it to a consignment or secondhand shop that pays cash on the spot.  Let your child drop the proceeds in a Salvation Red Kettle.  Use this as an opportunity to teach your child about how the Salvation Army helps those in need in your community and around the country.  Encourage your child to think of other ways they might be able to come up with money to donate to the Salvation Army.  For example, they could donate a percentage of their allowance or they could do extra chores to earn money to put in the Red Kettle.

Are your children all about their wish list this Christmas? Check out these 5 ways to encourage your children to give back this holiday season. #givingback #RedKettleReason #sponsored #MC

Many years ago, my pastor was giving a sermon and told us about how the Salvation Army got started.  One thing that really impressed me was that the founder, William Booth, started the Salvation Army to help others help themselves.   The Salvation Army has been helping people in need worldwide for nearly 150 years.

The Salvation Army helps the less fortunate in many ways- providing meals to the needy, giving the homeless a place to sleep, providing disaster relief, helping substance abusers get rehabilitation, and much more.   What you donate in your local Red Kettle remains in your own community to provide assistance to those who need it most.

Ever since I learned of the origins of the Salvation Army, I have made it a point to drop a few coins in the Salvation Army Red Kettle any time I pass one.  Now that my kids are older, they have adopted this practice as well.  It’s not always a lot – maybe a few coins each time, but if everyone does that, it really can add up over the course of the holiday season.

Will you and your children be making a donation in one of the Salvation Army’s Red Kettles this holiday season?  If so, the Salvation Army wants you to share the reason behind your giving.  I encourage you to post on your favorite social media channels sharing your reasons for donating to the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign using the the hashtag #RedKettleReason.  Donors can view their posts and those of others all across the country at RedKettleReason.org.  It’s truly inspirational to see how many others are giving this holiday season and to read the reasons behind their donations.

So tell me… How do you encourage your children to give back during the holiday season?  Be sure to share your thoughts and ideas by leaving a comment below.  I hope you and your family are having a blessed holiday season!

 

Stress Less with a Special Holiday Meal from HoneyBaked Ham #HoneyBakedHoliday #ad

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received a HoneyBaked Ham Gift Card to purchase my Christmas meal. However, all opinions stated are my own.

Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all morning preparing your Christmas meal?  HoneyBaked Ham can help you serve the perfect Christmas meal without all the hassle! #HoneyBakedHoliday #ad

On Christmas Day,  my family sits down to a wonderful holiday meal – a Christmas ham with all the trimmings.  Our table is typically overflowing with all the food.  I love making a nice home-cooked meal (feast really!) for my family, but I have a confession to make.  A little part of me is jealous that the rest of my family gets to relax and enjoy their Christmas gifts, while I am feverishly running around trying to get all the food prepared.  It’s not exactly in the spirit of the season to feel that way, but I can’t help it.  So this year, I am doing things differently.

Thanks to HoneyBaked Ham, I am going to be enjoying the morning with my family instead of scrambling to get everything in the oven.  HoneyBaked Ham offers everything you need for a special holiday meal – from the main entree, to side dishes, and even dessert.

Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all morning preparing your Christmas meal?  HoneyBaked Ham can help you serve the perfect Christmas meal without all the hassle! #HoneyBakedHoliday #ad

Items may vary by location, but this is what mine offered…

Main Dishes

  • Spiral Sliced HoneyBaked Ham.  It’s fully-cooked and coated in their signature sweet-crunchy glaze.  You can get either a half ham, a quarter ham, a boneless ham, or ham slices.
  • Glazed Turkey Breast.  This fully-cooked turkey is 100% breast meat and is available in either the oven roasted or gently smoked variety.  Both varieties are hand-finished with their sweet-crunchy glaze.

Sides

  • Sweet Potato Souffle – topped with a yummy streusel topping
  • Green Bean Casserole – with a creamy sauce and topped with french-fried onions
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes – creamy and with just a hint of garlic
  • Stuffing – just like homemade, but without all the work
  • Gravy – rich and flavorful
  • Rolls and Bread

Desserts

  • Cheesecake Sampler
  • Pecan Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie

Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all morning preparing your Christmas meal?  HoneyBaked Ham can help you serve the perfect Christmas meal without all the hassle! #HoneyBakedHoliday #ad

I was able to get absolutely everything I needed for our Christmas meal at my local HoneyBaked Ham store in Centerville, Ohio.  What a relief!  That’s one less thing I have to stress about this holiday season.

For our holiday meal, I went with the bone-in HoneyBaked Ham as our main dish.  Their roasted turkey is delicious too, but I had to stick with tradition and go with the ham.  It wouldn’t be a Christmas meal in our house without ham!

Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all morning preparing your Christmas meal?  HoneyBaked Ham can help you serve the perfect Christmas meal without all the hassle! #HoneyBakedHoliday #ad

HoneyBaked Ham is fully-cooked so preparing it could not have been easier.  Per the instructions I found on the HoneyBaked Ham website, I just pulled the ham from the fridge about a half hour before our meal and allowed it to rest at room temperature.  Right before serving, I had my husband transfer it in slices to a serving platter.

It only took one taste, and we were all absolutely hooked on HoneyBaked Ham.  The crunchy glaze really adds something special and the ham is so tender and flavorful. I suggest getting the half ham so you will have plenty of leftovers for sandwiches and recipes in the days following Christmas.

Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all morning preparing your Christmas meal?  HoneyBaked Ham can help you serve the perfect Christmas meal without all the hassle! #HoneyBakedHoliday #ad

For our sides, I picked the green bean casserole and stuffing.  I love that they are heat and serve.  You do not even have to thaw them first – they can go straight from the freezer to your oven.  All you have to do is remove them from their packaging and put them on a baking sheet.  I gave them a quick stir about halfway through the cooking time, but that was it.  It could not have been easier.

The green bean casserole was very creamy and full of mushrooms.  It had a yummy french fried onion topping just like the recipe I usually make.  The stuffing was very moist and full of flavor.  Both the green bean casserole were delicious and I got no complaints from my family that they weren’t homemade.

Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all morning preparing your Christmas meal?  HoneyBaked Ham can help you serve the perfect Christmas meal without all the hassle! #HoneyBakedHoliday #ad

For dessert, we chose the pecan pie.  We all had a small piece, even though we were absolutely stuffed from the rest of the meal.  It was very rich and satisfying.  We were all fighting over the last couple of pieces the next day – it was that good!

I was super pleased with our special Christmas meal from HoneyBaked Ham.  Everything was so wonderful and tasted just as good as if I had made it myself.  The best part though was that I didn’t have to spend hours and hours in the kitchen getting everything ready.

Check out these special offers:

Before you head over to your local HoneyBaked Ham store, be sure to print out this limited time coupon for $7.00 off any Sliced and Glazed Whole Turkey and 4lb Quarter Ham (Or Larger) from HoneyBaked Ham to help you make your holiday dinner easy and delicious! (Offer Valid at Participating Retail Locations: Forestville, Silver Spring, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Fields Ertel, Beechmont, Kenwood, Colerain, Florence, Salem, Centerville, Sawmill Road, McNaughten, Louisville, Lexington, Fern Creek, Glendale, Paradise Valley, Superstition, Tucson East, Tucson North, Overland Park, Independence, Barry Road, Norristown, Parma, Willoughby, Rocky River, Strongsville, Maple Heights, Canton, Fairlawn and Chapel Hill.)

If you are going to be purchasing both a ham and a turkey from HoneyBaked Ham, be sure to enter their sweepstakes to win a kitchen makeover.  Wouldn’t it be amazing to win that?!  From now until 1/11/15 you can enter to win a $25,000 HoneyBaked Kitchen Makeover when you buy a Ham and Turkey Breast bundle.

Let’s face it, the holidays are stressful.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have the meal taken care of so you can focus on the other billion things you need to cross off your holiday to-do list?  To make your life easier this holiday season, I highly recommend getting everything you need for your holiday meal at your local HoneyBaked Ham store.  Your meal will be just as delicious as homemade, but without all the hassle.   Let HoneyBaked Ham take care of your holiday meal so you can spend more time making memories with your loved ones this Christmas.

 

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb Giveaway

Enter to win a Night at the Museum Prize Pack which includes a $25 Visa Gift Card and a 4D Triceratops Skeleton Fossil.  The giveaway ends December 18, 2014 and is open to US residents age 18 and older.

Are you excited about the upcoming Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb movie? I know we sure are! Our family has seen the previous two Night at the Museum movies in the theater, so I am sure this one will be no exception.

If you haven’t seen any of the Night at the Museum films, they are about a security guard named Larry who discovers that the Museum of Natural History comes to life at night time, resulting in lots of fun and hilarity. My kids range in age from 10 to 21 and the Night at the Museum movies are something we all enjoy, which is increasingly rare as the kids get older!

About Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb…

Get ready for the wildest and most adventure-filled Night At the Museum ever as Larry (Ben Stiller) spans the globe, uniting favorite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever.

Starring: Ben Stiller, Robin Williams, Owen Wilson, Dick Van Dyke, Dan Stevens, Ricky Gervais, Ben Kingsley, Rebel Wilson, Mickey Rooney, and Rami Malek

 

A couple of weeks ago, I shared the trailer.  If  you missed it, you can view it here.  You can also watch the fun “Save the Magic” tv spot below.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb will be in theaters on December 19, 2014.  To learn more about this film, follow the hashtag #NightAtTheMuseum on your favorite social media channels and be sure to

Enter to win a Night at the Museum Prize Pack which includes a $25 Visa Gift Card and a 4D Triceratops Skeleton Fossil.  The giveaway ends December 18, 2014 and is open to US residents age 18 and older.

While you are waiting for the movie to come out, you can pass the time with these fun Night at the Museum Games.

Help Larry collect artifacts scattered throughout the museum in KNIGHT FLIGHT or try your hand at THE HALL OF MIX-UPS where you can select different features at the museum and make them your own!

Enter to win a Night at the Museum Prize Pack which includes a $25 Visa Gift Card and a 4D Triceratops Skeleton Fossil.  The giveaway ends December 18, 2014 and is open to US residents age 18 and older.

Now for a fun giveaway…  One lucky A Heart Full of Love reader is going to win a Night at the Museum Prize Pack, which includes a $25 Visa Gift Card to see the film in the theater and a 4D Triceratops Skeleton Fossil. The giveaway ends December 18, 2014 and is open to US residents age 18 and older.

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Disclosure: I will be receiving a Night at the Museum Prize Pack, courtesy of 20th Century Fox, for sharing about this upcoming movie. A Heart Full of Love is not responsible for prize fulfillment. The prize will be sent to the winner directly from the sponsor.

Paddington Movie Prize Pack Giveaway

Enter to win a Paddington Movie Prize Pack which includes a $25 Visa Gift Card to see the film in the theater and a box of Brownie Brittle.  The giveaway ends December 18th and is open to US residents only.

Are your kids fans of Paddington Bear?  Do they ask you to read the book over and over again?  Then I have some exciting news for you!  Paddington is coming to the big screen this winter.  Fans of the book will surely enjoy the movie which features the acting talents of Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, Peter Capaldi, and Nicole Kidman. You can see the film in a theater near you on January 16, 2015.

About the Paddington movie

From the beloved novels by Michael Bond and producer David Heyman (HARRY POTTER), PADDINGTON tells the story of the comic misadventures of a young Peruvian bear (voiced by Ben Whishaw) who travels to the city in search of a home. Finding himself lost and alone, he begins to realize that city life is not all he had imagined – until he meets the kindly Brown family who read the label around his neck that says “Please look after this bear. Thank you.” and offer him a temporary haven. It looks as though his luck has changed until this rarest of bears catches the eye of a museum taxidermist.

A couple of weeks ago, I shared the Paddington movie trailer with you.  In case you missed my earlier post about it,  here is the trailer.  It looks like it is going to be a really cute movie!

Want to learn more about the new Paddington movie?  Check out the latest news on Paddinton by following the hashtag #PaddingtonMovie.  Also be sure to check out

Enter to win a Paddington Movie Prize Pack which includes a $25 Visa Gift Card to see the film in the theater and a box of Brownie Brittle.  The giveaway ends December 18th and is open to US residents only.

In celebration of Paddington coming to theaters, Brownie Brittle will feature the adorable Paddington Bear on their boxes for a limited time.   Have you tried Brownie Brittle yet?  I recently got to try a box and it was seriously amazing!  I could have easily eaten the whole box if my kids weren’t around to help me eat it!  Brownie Brittle tastes rich and indulgent, but at just 120 calories per ounce, it won’t de-rail your healthy eating efforts.  This award winning snack has received praise from both Fitness Magazine and WeightWatchers.com.  They come in convenient 1 ounce snack bags for built in portion control.

This limited-edition Paddington Chocolate Chip Brownie BrittleBox features adorable Paddington Bear and the story of the brand’s support of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.  Brownie Brittle is available for purchase here.  Be sure to visit http://shopbrowniebrittle.com for more information on this yummy snack.  While you are at it, be sure to like Brownie Brittle on Facebook.

Want to make delicious desserts with your favorite treat? Check out these yummy recipes you can make with Brownie Brittle:

Enter to win a Paddington Movie Prize Pack which includes a $25 Visa Gift Card to see the film in the theater and a box of Brownie Brittle.  The giveaway ends December 18th and is open to US residents only.

To help promote this film, I am pleased to be able to give one lucky A Heart Full of Love reader a Paddington Prize Pack which will contain a $25 Visa Gift Card to see the film in theaters and a box of  Paddington Chocolate Chip Brownie Brittle.  Entry is open to US residents age 18 and older. The giveaway ends December 18th at 11:59 pm EST.

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Disclosure:  I will be receiving a Paddington Prize Pack as a thank you for helping spread the word about this movie.  A Heart Full of Love is not responsible for prize fulfillment.  The prize pack will be shipped to the winner by the sponsor – The Weinstein Company and Brownie Brittle.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide – Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates

2014 Holiday Gift Guide - Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates

Disclosure: I received a sampling of Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates to facilitate this review.

The holidays will be here before we know it!  I am frantically trying to finish up my holiday shopping.  I  have the main gifts purchased and just have some smaller things left to buy.  In addition to my family and friends, each Christmas I also like to remember those people who help make my life a little easier – teachers who work tirelessly to help my children learn, the friendly mail man and UPS driver who bring packages up to my house, my husband’s boss,  my daughter’s Girl Scout leader, etc.  For these people, I frequently like to give candy as a gift.  Nothing huge – just a little something that lets them know how much we appreciate them.  This year, I am thinking of giving them Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates.  Who doesn’t love chocolate?

2014 Holiday Gift Guide - Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates

About Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates

Time was when Marie Cavanaugh spent hours in her South Dakota farmhouse each Christmas season making pecan rolls and homemade chocolates for holiday gifting.

“It started when my aunt sent her pecan-rolls recipe,” Mrs. Cavanaugh recalled. “I gave the recipe my own touch and started making the yummy specialties. Then I began dipping chocolates. Our friends and neighbors loved these treats, encouraging me to start a candy business. Finally, I decided it might be a good idea.'”

Her husband George and children Carla, Lorraine, Calvin, Colene and Genise rallied, helping Mrs. Cavanaugh fill demands for her homemade sweets.

…In 1972, the family moved to Utah, leaving good friends and their beloved cattle ranch.

“It was a difficult decision, especially for George,” Mrs. Cavanaugh said. “He was excited about making our new venture, which we chose to call Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Candies, a great success. We felt Utah was blessed with good chocolates and that we would enjoy – and could compete with – those who pride themselves on making excellent chocolates.”

Millions of pounds of chocolates later, Mrs. Cavanaugh’s candies have earned a reputation for unquestionable excellence….
Ask chocolate aficionados. They will direct those seeking the best chocolates to the popular Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Candies.

Mrs Cavanaughs Chocolates1

I am a bit of a chocoholic, so of course I couldn’t pass up the chance to try Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates.  I received one of their one pound boxes to try as well as 4 of their candy bars.  Can I just say yum?!

Each chocolate is handmade with a lot of love and care.  Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates are made using only quality ingredients like fresh whipping cream and real butter – no preservatives.  Just one taste and you can tell that they are committed to providing a quality product.  I had to restrain the kids to keep them from devouring all of it at one sitting!

First my family sampled the chocolate bars.  These aren’t any ordinary chocolate bars – these are melt in your mouth, so delicious you want it to eat it everyday, chocolate bars!  My fave was the Roasted Almond Dark Chocolate Truffle Bar.  Seriously amazing!  These would make great stocking stuffers by the way.  They have 4 different flavors – Roasted Almond Dark Chocolate Truffle, White Chocolate Almond Coconut, Caramel, and Mindy Mind Milk Chocolate Truffle.

Included with the box of chocolate was a paper showing each of the chocolates and telling you what the filling is.  I love this!  I am not one for surprises when it comes to chocolates.  This way I know what each are and can hand the coconut ones off to my husband :)

For those of you who want to choose what is in your box of chocolates, they offer a create a box option.  You can pick up to 4 different candies to be included with your assortment.  I thought this was a great idea – especially for some of us who are a little pickier.

Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates were a huge hit with our family.  You can tell they put a lot of care into their product and you can definitely taste it in their yummy chocolates.

A special holiday offer:

If you want to give Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates this holiday season, I have a special offer for you – buy 1 lb of chocolates, get one free.  You can’t beat that!  It’s like receiving one of your holiday gifts for free!  Just visit http://www.mrscavanaughs.com/ and use the promo code usfamily2014 upon checkout.

So tell me… What are your favorite gifts to give to mailmen and other people who provide valuable services all year long?

Dill Carrot and Celery Root Soup Recipe

This Dill Carrot and Celery Root #Soup #recipe is perfect for making on cold winter days.  Made with homemade chicken broth, it's flavorful and a great addition to any meal.

During the winter, I make at least a couple of batches of soup each week.  Hearty and filling, homemade soup is a great way to warm up on a cold winter’s day.   One of our favorite soups to make is this Dill Carrot and Celery Root Soup recipe.  I originally got the recipe from The Nourishing Gourmet, but I have tweaked it a little bit, as I typically do with recipes.

This recipe makes a lot of soup.  Fortunately it freezes well.  I usually get enough for 2 meals and we have a large family.

Dill Carrot and Celery Root Soup Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 4 celery stalks, sliced
  • 8 cups chicken broth (homemade if you have it)
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tsp dill weed
  • 1 tsp salt (if using unsalted, homemade broth)
  • 1 celery root  (a larger one will make the soup thicker)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large soup pot, saute the onion, carrots, and celery in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth. While broth is heating, chop the garlic and add to the soup pot along with the dill weed and salt. Peel and dice the celery root and add it to the broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until all the veggies are soft, about 20 minutes.

This Dill Carrot and Celery Root #Soup #recipe is perfect for making on cold winter days.  Made with homemade chicken broth, it's flavorful and a great addition to any meal.

Use a stick blender to puree the soup until it’s smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

We like this soup as is, but it is also good served with a dollop of sour cream on top and a sprinkling more of dill weed.  Enjoy!

This Dill Carrot and Celery Root #Soup #recipe is perfect for making on cold winter days.  Made with homemade chicken broth, it's flavorful and a great addition to any meal.

 

You can make this recipe with store bought chicken broth, but I highly recommend it with homemade broth if you have any on hand.  It’s so much more flavorful that way.  I make my homemade broth in the Crockpot.  Day one, I just cook chicken bones and water on the low setting.  That continues to simmer overnight.  Then the morning of day 2, I add a chopped onion, 3 carrots, 3 celery stalks, 2 cloves garlic, and 10 whole peppercorns.  I let that cook in the Crockpot the rest of the day.  Then that evening, I strain out the broth.    Once you start making chicken broth this way, you won’t go back to store bought broth ever!

So tell me… What are your favorite soup recipes to make in the fall and winter?

Stocking Stuffers for Geocaching

Top ten stocking stuffers for geocaching for Christmas this year.

Need some ideas for what to get that special geocacher for Christmas? Why not fill a stocking full of things they can use when they go out on a geocaching adventure? What geocacher wouldn’t love to receive a stocking full of goodies like evil micro caches, geocaching bumper stickers, or a travel bug decal for their car? They will appreciate that you took the time to put together such a thoughtful gift to help them enjoy their favorite hobby.

Top 10 Stocking Stuffers for Geocachers

#1 – Geocaching Vehicle Travel Bug

Did you know that you can turn your car into a travel bug? How fun is that!? Just add this Geocaching Vehicle Travel Bug Decal to your bumper or back window and any time a geocacher crosses paths with your vehicle, they can log it as a travel bug find.

These decals are made of high quality vinyl so they will stand up to the elements. Each travel bug features a unique code that is trackable on geocaching.com. Just think of how much fun it will be each time you get a notice that your travel bug has been found! It will keep you guessing as to where your car was when it was discovered.

#2 Geocaching Wooden Nickels

My kids have enjoyed having their own geocaching wooden nickels that they can leave behind in each cache we visit. We make our own. We had a round custom rubber stamp made and we use it to stamp unfinished wooden nickel blanks that we got online.

Stocking Stuffers for geocaching

Here is a picture of our very first custom nickels. We’ve since had custom stamps made for each of our kids, so we all have our own geocaching wooden nickels to leave in caches we find.

It can be quite fun to collect signature wooden nickels as you find them in caches. We have about 200 we have found that were left in caches by other geocachers.

Why not get your favorite geocacher a custom rubber stamp so they can make their own signature wooden nickels? You can either make them up for them in advance or give them all the supplies so they can make their own.

We got ours at iPrint, but you can get self-inking round rubber stamps from many places, including your local office supply store. We got the 1.25 inch size as it stamps perfectly on 1.5″ wooden nickels. We love that these stamps are self-inking. Over the years, we got a custom rubber stamp for each family member. In addition, we also had a smaller one made that stamps on tinier wooden disks. Just perfect for leaving in micros! You can get the wooden nickel blanks at craft stores or in bulk.

As for the blank wooden nickels, you can probably find them at your local craft store. However, they are sold only in small quantities. We started ordering our blank wooden nickels online because we were able to get a larger quantity at a time and a better price.

#3 Geocaching Bumper Sticker

Let that favorite geocacher in your life proclaim to all the world how much they love geocaching! These fun bumper stickers are a great stocking stuffer, as they are inexpensive.

This one is our favorite. It says “I use multi-million dollar satellites to find Tupperware in the woods.” Too funny!

#4 Geocaching Journal

Most geocachers sign the log books of each cache they find, but rarely keep a detailed record of each cache for themselves. We have long kept a geocaching journal to help us remember all the memorable geocaches that we have found in our journeys. This Geocaching Seek and Find Journal is the perfect place to record all of your geocaching memories and is small enough to fit in your daypack.

#5 – Geocaching Micro Cache Containers

Geocaching micro cache containers are a fun addition to any geocacher’s Christmas stocking. Micro caches can be devilishly hard to find and most geocachers enjoy hiding them. From hollowed out bolts, to fake rocks, to magnetic utility plate covers, geocachers delight in making caches tricky to find.  The more people they can stump, the better. Here is an assortment of micro caches that will have finders scratching their heads in confusion.

#6 – Geocaching License Plate Frame

A geocaching license plate frame is another great stocking stuffer idea for that special geocacher in your life. These geocaching license plate frames are all metal and are built to last. Geocachers will love these license plate frames as it lets others know at a glance that fellow geocachers are in the area. We have met up with many fellow geocachers because of our license plate frame.

#7 – Geocaching Geocoins

FTF Micro Geocoin

Geocaching Geocoins are trackable on geocaching.com and can be released into the wild to travel just like travel bugs. However, most people collect them instead. Some of these geocoins are truly works of art and any geocacher would love receiving one or two new ones for their collection in their Christmas stocking this year. You would be amazed at all the unique coin designs you can find online.

#8 – Stainless Steel Water Bottle

Geocachers spend a lot of time hiking in the woods. It can be costly, not to mention bad for the environment, to keep buying disposable bottles of water. A stainless steel water bottle can be re-used over and over again. Our kids have broken a few plastic reusable water bottles by dropping them (or filling them too full and sticking them in the freezer), but that hasn’t been a problem with stainless steel.

#9 – Geocaching Travel Bug Tags

Elf Travel Bug

Releasing travel bugs into the wild is such a great part of the game of geocaching. It’s so much fun to be able to track where the travel bugs ends up and see how many miles it racks up on its journey. We love Geocaching Travel Bug Tags because they allow you to make anything into a travel bug.

#10 – Rite in the Rain Logbook

Rite in the Rain Logbook

A Rite in the Rain pocket notebook is a great stocking stuffer for any geocacher who loves to hide caches.  As the title suggests, the paper in these notebooks can still be written on when wet.  Which is great because geocaching logbooks frequently get exposed to the elements.

So tell me… Which of this stocking stuffers for geocaching ideas is your favorite?  Do you have any ideas to add to the list?