Author Archives: Jen

Blog Giveaway Roundup – November 21, 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.

Paddington Bear is Coming to Theaters This January!

That lovable bear Paddington is coming to the big screen January 16, 2015

One of my fondest memories of when the kids were small was cuddling with them and reading them a bedtime story. One of the books that Miss S frequently asked for was Paddington. She couldn’t get enough of that lovable little bear’s adventures. So I was quite excited to learn that Paddington will be coming to theaters January 16th. It will be a fun film the whole family can enjoy together.

About the film…

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.

That lovable bear Paddington is coming to the big screen on January 16th.

The film has an all star cast – Hugh Bonneville (the patriarch of Downtown Abbey), Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters (Mrs. Weasley from Harry Potter), Jim Broadbent (Professor Slughorn from Harry Potter), Peter Capaldi, and Nicole Kidman. With that kind of acting talent starring in it, you just know it has to be good!

While you are here, be sure to check out the Paddington movie trailer.

That lovable bear Paddington is coming to the big screen on January 16th.

Want to get your kids excited about the Paddington movie?  Here are some free coloring sheets and activity sheets you can print for them.  As winter weather arrives and your kids are stuck inside, these printables would be a great way to keep them occupied for  a bit.

Want to learn more about the movie Paddington?  Follow them on social media using the hashtag #PaddingtonMovie.  Also be sure to check out

Be sure to come back to the blog on the week of December 8th.  I will have a fun Paddington giveaway for you!

So tell me… Will you be taking your kids to see Paddington when it comes to the theater this January? 

5 Tips for Making Your Holiday Road Trip Go More Smoothly

5 tips for preparing for a holiday road trip

Can you believe Thanksgiving is just over a week away?   Many of us have plans to travel this holiday season, whether it is to visit loved ones far away, or to take a much needed vacation from the cold and dreary weather.   Every other Christmas, we head out to Wisconsin to see my in-laws.  They are an 11 hour drive away from us.  Some years we are blessed with clear weather and great road conditions.  Other years, we aren’t so lucky.

We may not be able to control the weather, but we do everything we can to make sure that our bi-annual road trip goes as smoothly as possible.  If you are hitting the road this holiday season, here are some things you can do to help prepare for the unexpected and ensure your trip is a success.

  • Make sure your car had its regularly scheduled maintenance. Your getaway can quickly turn into a nightmare if your car breaks down and there are no mechanics open due to the holiday.  Ask me how I know this!  After one bad experience, we definitely learned our lesson and make sure all maintenance on our van is up to date.
  • Fill up your gas tank the night before you leave, especially if you are going to be traveling on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day.  Not all gas stations are open on holidays, so it is better to be safe than sorry and fill your tank beforehand.
  • Print a paper copy of the route you will be taking.  (We like to use Google or Bing Maps to print directions.)  Although we typically use a GPS app on my husband’s phone for navigation, there have been times that we were glad we had printed a map.  Some areas of the country don’t have the best cell reception and you may find your phone GPS stops working.
  • Try to avoid major metropolitan areas during rush hour if you are going to be traveling during the week.  We travel through Chicago when heading to my in-laws house.  We usually leave home a couple hours earlier than we would normally leave for a trip, just so we can avoid the congestion.
  • Keep an emergency kit in your car.  Winter weather can be unpredictable.  Be sure to keep some food, water, and blankets in your car in case you get stranded.  We keep 2 heavy quilts, bottles of water, and a couple of boxes of granola bars in our car during the winter, just in case there is ever an emergency.

And a bonus tip for you!

Remember that paper copy of the route I told you to print?  It is also a good idea to mark where you might want to stop for meals and to fill your gas tank, especially if you are going to be driving through some areas of the country that are a little more isolated.  There is one section on our trip to Wisconsin where there aren’t a lot of places to stop.  So I like to check out the Sunoco Gas Station locator and mark on the map where we will be able to stop and re-fuel.  Running out of gas at any time can be a pain, but in the winter, it can be downright dangerous.

We may not be able to control every aspect of our holiday road trip, but a little planning and preparation can definitely be a huge help in case of something unexpected along the way.

Enter to win a $25 Sunoco Gas Gift Card.  The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends December 1, 2014.

Are you heading out on a road trip this holiday season?  Sunoco wants to bless one lucky A Heart Full of Love reader with a $25 Sunoco Gas Gift Card to help them with their trip preparations.  Entry is easy through the Rafflecopter form below.  The giveaway is open to US readers and ends December 1, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I will be receiving a Sunoco Gift Card as compensation for this post.  All opinions stated are my own.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide – Space Scouts Monthly Subscription Box for Kids

Disclosure:  I received 2 months of the Space Scouts Kits to facilitate this review.  
All opinions stated are my own.

Space Scouts is a fun and educational monthly kit for elementary school aged children. Each month's kit helps them learn about a different aspect of outer space.

If your kids are like mine, they love getting mail. So I am always on the lookout for fun subscription boxes for kids.  I recently became aware of Space Scouts – an educational and fun monthly subscription box for elementary school aged kids. Each month, your child will receive new goodies that will help them learn all about a new place in outer space.

Space Scouts is a fun and educational monthly kit for elementary school aged children. Each month's kit helps them learn about a different aspect of outer space.
My youngest daughter received 2 months of Space Scouts kits to try it out. She was so excited to receive something in the mail and had a blast looking through all the goodies.

The introductory Space Scouts Package contains

  • an introductory letter
  • a fun metal Space Scouts lunch box that they can use to store all the great things they will be receiving in future months.
  • a Solar System poster
  • an educational activity sheet
  • a sticker scramble
  • a space themed toy
  • a Constellation Card cover, ring, and introduction

Space Scouts is a fun and educational monthly kit for elementary school aged children. Each month's kit helps them learn about a different aspect of outer space.
Then each month after that, you will receive

  • a Scout Plan
  • a Magnet, which you can store on your lunch box.
  • a sticker for your Solar System poster
  • an activity sheet
  • a sticker scramble
  • a souvenir toy
  • a Constellation Card and activity sheet

Space Scouts is a fun and educational monthly kit for elementary school aged children. Each month's kit helps them learn about a different aspect of outer space.

When I gave Miss S. the box, her face lit up like it was Christmas morning.  She had a blast looking through everything and then immediately went and found a pencil to start working on the activity sheets.

My youngest daughter is in 5th grade. I knew before I received the kit, that some of the activities might be too simple for her.  To be honest, she is probably at the upper age limit for these kits as she was able to complete the activity sheet pretty quickly.  However, she had fun playing with everything and learned several things she wasn’t taught in school.  For example, she learned how astronauts often use robotic arms to help them work in space and got to practice with the toy claw that she was sent.  She also learned about the different parts of a spacesuit and was able to point them out on the astronaut toys that came with the kit.

Space Scouts is a fun and educational monthly kit for elementary school aged children. Each month's kit helps them learn about a different aspect of outer space.

One feature of the Space Scouts program that I thought was really clever was the Constellation Cards.  Each month’s card not only shows the shape of the constellation, but it also has a drawing of the shape for which the constellation was named.  The cool thing about the Space Scouts Constellation Cards is that they can be used to project the constellation on your wall.  The cards have holes where the main stars are.  So if you turn off the lights, hold up the card, and shine a flashlight on it, the constellation will show up on the wall just as it appears in the night sky.  What a fun way to help your children learn the identify the constellations!  You also receive an informational sheet that tells you the mythology behind the constellation name.  We have a telescope sitting around gathering dust, so the constellation card has actually given us an incentive to pull that out and see what we can discover in the night sky.

So how much does it cost?

Space Scouts is actually very affordable.  It costs just $11.95 a month plus $3 for shipping.  My kids have gotten other kits which cost more but send you a lot less each month.  So I was very pleased with both the price and the contents of the Space Scouts Kit.

The Verdict?

I was very impressed with the Space Scouts kits that my daughter received.  It’s a good value for the money and my daughter enjoyed completing the activities. She learned some new things about outer space and had fun in the process.  If Miss S were a year or two younger, I would definitely purchase a subscription for her.

Want to give a Space Scouts Subscription as a gift this holiday season?

Have an elementary school child who loves to learn or is fascinated with space?  A Space Scouts subscription would make an excellent holiday gift!  Although you can order by the month, they also have 3, 6, or 12 month pre-paid plans that would be excellent for gift-giving.

And now for a fun giveaway!

Enter to win a 3 Month Subscription to Space Scouts - a fun and educational kit for children in 1st through 5th grade.   The giveaway is open to US residents only and ends December 1, 2014.

One lucky A Heart Full of Love reader will receive a 3 Month Space Scouts Subscription.  Entry is easy through the Rafflecopter form below.  The giveaway ends December 1st and is open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So tell me… Do your kids love to receive mail?  Do you think they would enjoy receiving a Space Scouts subscription?

Thanksgiving Made Easy with HoneyBaked Ham #HoneyBakedHoliday #ad

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

Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all day on Thanksgiving?  HoneyBaked Ham can help you serve the perfect Thanksgiving meal without all the work! #sponsored
Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week?  I just love Thanksgiving – all the yummy food and spending time my loved ones.  What I don’t love, however, is being stuck all day in the kitchen preparing all that food.  I always feel a bit left out.  The rest of my family is enjoying the Macy’s day parade on tv, while I am basting the turkey, preparing all the sides, and whipping up a dessert.  Well this year, I have resolved to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my family.  Fortunately HoneyBaked Ham came to my rescue!

Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all day on Thanksgiving?  HoneyBaked Ham can help you serve the perfect Thanksgiving meal without all the work! #sponsored

I recently visited the Centerville, Ohio HoneyBaked Ham store and was pleasantly surprised that they had everything I needed to put together the perfect Thanksgiving meal.  HoneyBaked Ham is well-known for their delectable ham, but did you know that they also sell glazed turkey breasts?   I can’t imagine a Thanksgiving without a turkey and all the trimmings.   So I was excited to get to try their turkey.  Not having to roast a turkey on Thanksgiving morning frees makes my life a lot easier.

In addition to the turkey, I was able to pick up everything else I needed for the meal – gravy, side dishes, and even dessert!  It’s all heat and serve, which means I don’t have to spend all morning slaving away in the kitchen.  Woo-hoo!  I might get to see the parade this year :)

My Honeybaked Ham store had a great selection of sides for my Thanksgiving meal.

  • Turkey Gravy
  • Stuffing
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Sweet Potato Souffle
  • Kings Hawaiian Rolls

They also had dessert covered.  You could choose from their yummy cheesecake sampler, or an assortment of locally-made pies.

Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all day on Thanksgiving?  HoneyBaked Ham can help you serve the perfect Thanksgiving meal without all the work! #sponsored

I got the opportunity to try the glazed turkey breast, turkey gravy, green bean casserole, and stuffing.  It was incredibly easy to just throw it all in the oven to bake.  You don’t even need to thaw it first.  About halfway through the cooking time, you will need to stir everything.  For about 5 minutes of work and an hour of baking time, I was able to serve my family a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with little fuss or effort on my part.  HoneyBaked Ham can save you hours in the kitchen on Thanksgiving morning!

Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all day on Thanksgiving?  HoneyBaked Ham can help you serve the perfect Thanksgiving meal without all the work! #sponsored

Let’s start with the glazed turkey breast.  Their turkey breast has the same sweet crunchy glaze that the ham does.  It gives the turkey a delightful taste.  The turkey was moist and tender.  Even my two picky kids asked for seconds.  The gravy is rich and peppery.  My husband and I loved it, but it had a bit too much pepper for my kids’ tastes.

The stuffing turned out just how I like it with just a little bit of crunch around the edges.  I wasn’t sure what to expect from frozen stuffing, but it was moist and flavorful – a great compliment to the turkey.  The green bean casserole definitely had a homemade flavor to it.  It was creamy and had plenty of mushrooms.

Don't want to be stuck in the kitchen all day on Thanksgiving?  HoneyBaked Ham can help you serve the perfect Thanksgiving meal without all the work! #sponsored

Of course we can’t forget about dessert.  In the past, I have gotten the cheesecake sampler at HoneyBaked Ham – which is just amazing.  This time though, I noticed they had a selection of pies from a local bakery.  We decided to try the pecan pie and we weren’t disappointed.  Sticky and sweet, with a gooey caramel-like filling, it was the perfect end to our meal.

Had I known how easy HoneyBaked Ham could make my Thanksgiving preparations, I would have saved myself a ton of time in the kitchen.  I get to serve a delicious meal to my family and spend very little time in the kitchen.  I definitely know where I am getting our Thanksgiving meal next year!

Want to give HoneyBaked Ham a try this Thanksgiving?  Either their ham or glazed turkey breast is an excellent choice for your Thanksgiving meal!  Plus you can pick up all the sides while you are there too.  If you are going to be heading over to HoneyBaked Ham to get your Thanksgiving meal fixings,  have a great coupon offer to share with you.  Before you go, be sure to print 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 purchase one of their Ham and Turkey bundles by Jan 11, 2015, you can enter to win a $25,000 HoneyBaked Kitchen Makeover.  The sweepstakes is open to US residents age 18 and older.  You will need a special code from your receipt to enter.

Now for a fun giveaway….

HoneyBaked Ham is giving away $500 in Gift Cards to help make one reader’s holidays extra special.   One lucky winner will receive a $100 HoneyBaked Ham Gift Card, a $100 Williams Sonoma Gift Card, a $100 Pottery Barn Gift Card, a $100 Amazon Gift Card, and a $100 Brookstone Gift Card.  How amazing would it be to win that!  The giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and older.  Be sure to submit your entries through the Rafflecopter widget below. You can come back and enter daily for even more chances to win this amazing prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So tell me… Have you tried HoneyBaked Ham’s glazed turkey breast?  Would you love to spend less time in the kitchen this Thanksgiving?

Penguins of Madagascar Giveaway

My kids have really enjoyed all the Madagascar movies.  Those scene-stealing penguins have always been a favorite of my youngest daughter.  So she was super excited to learn that the penguins were going to be featured in the latest film in the Madagascar franchise.  If your kids love the penguins as much as mine do, then you will definitely want to take them to see the Penguins of Madagascar movie when it comes out to theaters next week on November 26th.

Last week I shared a fun clip from the movie.  In case you didn’t see it, you can check out that movie clip here.

About the movie Penguins of Madagascar:

Penguins of Madagascar are back in their very own feature film – coming to theaters this Thanksgiving!

Super spy teams aren’t born…they’re hatched. Discover the secrets of the greatest and most hilarious covert birds in the global espionage biz: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. These elitists of the elite are joining forces with a chic undercover organization, The North Wind. Led by handsome and husky Agent Classified (we could tell you his name, but then…you know), voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. Together, they must stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine, voiced by John Malkovich, from destroying the world as we know it.

Starring: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare and John Malkovich

Directed By: Eric Darnell, Simon J. Smith

Produced By: Executive Producers: Tom McGrath, Mireille Soria, Eric Darnell; Producers: Lara Breay, Mark Swift

In theaters November 26, 2014 - The Penguins of Madagascar

Want to learn more about the movie Penguins of Madagascar?  Be sure to follow the hashtag #PenguinsMovie.

My kids are very excited to see the Penguins of Madagascar movie!  Will you be taking your family to see it in the theater when it comes out on November 26th?

Enter to win a #PenguinsMovie Prize Pack that includes a $25 Visa Gift Card, Penguins of Madagascar stickers, and a penguins ice cube tray.  The #giveaway is open to US residents only and ends November 25, 2014.

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

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I will be receiving a Penguins of Madagascar Prize Pack as a thank you for helping spread the word about this film.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide – Photo Greeting Cards from Minted.com

2014 Holiday Gift Guide at A Heart Full of Love.  Minted.com has a great selection of holiday photo cards to send to family and friends.

We have a lot of family who lives far away, so I typically send photo greeting cards each year for Christmas. I always get nice emails from family and friends letting me know they enjoy seeing how my kids have grown and changed from year to year. This year will be no exception. In fact, I am currently in the process of trying to decide which Minted.com Christmas card I want to send this year.

Minted.com carries a great selection of stationary for parties, holidays, and celebrations. In addition, they also offer a variety of personalized photo gifts and art prints.  I was surprised to see that they even carry fabric and home decor items.

I absolutely love Minted’s selection of holiday cards. I prefer the cards that let you use multiple photos as I can never decide on just one photo to share with family and friends, but I found a couple of single photo cards that caught my eye as well. I am having a hard time choosing between several of the cards.   Here are a few of my favorites.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide at A Heart Full of Love.  Minted.com has a great selection of holiday photo cards to send to family and friends.

This card caught my eye immediately.  What a unique twist on the holiday photo card!  I love that it allows you to add a large number of photos.  It will be a great way to share some of our most treasured memories from the past year.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide at A Heart Full of Love.  Minted.com has a great selection of holiday photo cards to send to family and friends.

I love the simplicity of this card and the bright Christmas colors of the title.  This one would be great to showcase close-up shots of the kids.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide at A Heart Full of Love.  Minted.com has a great selection of holiday photo cards to send to family and friends.

I am loving the chalkboard trend right now in crafts and decor, so this whimsical card stood out right away.  Plus the text is so fitting for my kids who can barely sleep a wink on Christmas Eve night.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide at A Heart Full of Love.  Minted.com has a great selection of holiday photo cards to send to family and friends.

This card reminds me of a Christmas bucket list!  I love the reminder to take a break from our hectic schedules this holiday season and enjoy some time making memories with your family.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide at A Heart Full of Love.  Minted.com has a great selection of holiday photo cards to send to family and friends.

I love that this design lets you add a small blurb about each photo.  It’s a great way to let family and friends know what you have been up throughout the year.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide at A Heart Full of Love.  Minted.com has a great selection of holiday photo cards to send to family and friends.

I think this card might eliminate my need for a Christmas letter!  Instead of just a photo, it lets you customize the text to share bits of your life.

Maybe you can help me decide which will be our Christmas card this year. Be sure to leave me a comment at the bottom of this post and let me know which is your favorite.

In addition to holiday cards, Minted.com also has a great selection of holiday gifts.  Photo gifts are always such a meaningful choice – especially for grandparents and far away family.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide at A Heart Full of Love.  Minted.com has a great selection of holiday photo cards to send to family and friends.

I absolutely love this Heart Snapshot Mix Stamped Photo Art.  I think it will make the perfect Christmas gift for my in-laws.  They live about halfway across the country and we only get to see them a few times a year. So I am going to personalized it with pictures of the kids.  Isn’t it just gorgeous?

Whether you are looking for quality holiday cards or personalized gifts, I highly encourage you to check out the selection at Minted.com.  You won’t be disappointed!

Disclosure:  I will be receiving a Minted.com Gift Card for sharing information about their holiday cards and gifts.  However, all opinions stated are my own.

5 Ways to Keep Your Laundry Smelling Fresh and Clean

Purex Crystals Aromatherapy helps keep your laundry smelling clean and fresh for weeks.
Confession time – I am not perfect suzy homemaker and often forget about laundry I have put in the washer.  Sometimes it’s the next day before I remember to throw it in the dryer.   I hate re-washing it but I don’t want my kids walking around with funky smelling clothes either.  So what’s a busy momma to do?

If you are an imperfect homemaker like I am, here are 5 tips to keep your laundry smelling fresh and clean.

  • Keep your washer clean.   Use a special washer cleaner or do what I do and just run an empty load with hot water and a sprinkling of baking soda.
  • Don’t overload your washer.  I frequently try to see how much I can cram in the washer to avoid doing additional loads.  However, this really prevents your washer from cleaning your clothes well and may not remove all the dirt and odors.
  • Add vinegar to your rinse cycle.  I was leery of this at first as I didn’t want my kids walking around smelling like pickles :) However, vinegar acts as a fabric softener and can help eliminate any lingering odors.  By the time the clothes are dry, you won’t smell any vinegar.  Trust me!
  • Set a timer or cell phone alert to help you remember to transfer your clothes into the dryer.  If your washer is on a basement, like mine is, this practice may help you remember to get those clothes in the dryer before odors have the time to develop.
  • If you are like me and frequently forget to transfer clothes into the dryer, use Purex Crystals Aromatherapy In Wash Fragrance Booster to help your laundry smell fresh and clean for weeks.

Purex Crystals Aromatherapy helps keep your laundry smelling clean and fresh for weeks.
I got the chance to try Purex Crystals Aromatherapy In Wash Fragrance Booster (Energy scent) and let me tell you, it smells amazing.  It has a light floral citrus scent that I loved.  Purex Crystals Aromatherapy contain essential oils along with fragrance which helps the fragrance and freshness last for weeks.

I have used different brands of fabric softener and fragrance boosters and Purex Crystals by far last the longest.  I don’t have to worry about clothes or towels getting that stale scent – even if it is the next day before I remember to throw the load in the dryers.

There are currently three varieties of Purex Crystals Aromatherapy In Wash Fragrance Boosters.

  • Energy – which helps motivate you all day long with the scent of citrus.
  • Well Being – which helps brighten your mood with the scent of fresh blossoms.
  • Serenity – which helps calm your mood with the scent of water lilies.

Purex Crystals Aromatherapy started showing up in stores in Mid-October, so you should be able to find it in a grocery or discount store near you.  To learn more about this wonderful helper for busy moms, be sure to visit http://www.purex.com/products/fragrance-boosters/purex-crystals-aromatherapy/

So tell me… Do you have any laundry confessions of your own?  Share them below.

2014 Holiday Gift Guide – Mrs. Cavanaugh’s Chocolates

2014 Holiday Gift Guide - Mrs. Cavanaugh's Chocolates
This past weekend, I just made out my Christmas gift list.  In addition to family and friends, 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.

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?

Disclosure:  I will be receiving a 1lb box of chocolate for sharing this information with you.  All opinions stated are my own/

Thanksgiving Turkey Treats for Kids

Learn how to make these cute #Thanksgiving Turkey Treat Cups for your kids. They would look adorable at each place setting for your Thanksgiving table or you could use them as party favors.
For each holiday, I love to make little treats to put at each place setting. Thanksgiving is no exception. This year I made these cute little turkey treat cups and filled them with Reese’s Pieces candies. I thought they turned out really cute. I can’t wait until Thanksgiving to give them to my kids.

Want to make these Thanksgiving party favors for your own celebration?  Just follow these simple instructions.

Supplies and materials needed:

  • Self-Adhesive Treat Cups (I used the ones Stampin Up carries)
  • Circle Dies or Paper Punches (You will need 2 sizes – 2.75″ and 1.25″)
  • 2 inch Oval Paper Punch
  • 1/2 inch square punch
  • Stampin Up Petite Petals Paper Punch (This is for the turkey feet.  You could also use a small snowflake.)
  • Scroll Paper Punch (or something similar to make the waddle.  You could also use a tiny teardrop punch.)
  • Googly Eyes
  • Cardstock in brown, burnt orange, orange, red, and golden yellow.
  • Dots Embossing Folder
  • Tombow Glue

Learn how to make these cute #Thanksgiving Turkey Treat Cups for your kids. They would look adorable at each place setting for your Thanksgiving table or you could use them as party favors.
Don’t want to buy a bunch of dies and punches to make these?  I can help.  I sell the pre-cut pieces to make these turkey treat cups in my Etsy shop – Magnolia Lane Crafts.  It comes with everything you need to make these, except a pair of scissors.

For each turkey, you will need to punch or die cut these pieces:

  • (7) Ovals (3 burnt orange, 2 golden yellow, 2 orange), then emboss the shapes with the embossing folder.
  • (1) 2.75″ brown circle
  • (1) 1.25″ brown circle
  • (2) orange flowers
  • (1) orange square
  • (1) red scroll or teardrop

To assemble your turkey treat cups:

Learn how to make these cute #Thanksgiving Turkey Treat Cups for your kids. They would look adorable at each place setting for your Thanksgiving table or you could use them as party favors.

Starting at the 9 0’clock position, glue the ovals to the back of the large brown circle for feathers.  Alternate between burnt orange, golden yellow, and orange, ending with the last burnt orange oval at the 3 o’clock position.

Learn how to make these cute #Thanksgiving Turkey Treat Cups for your kids. They would look adorable at each place setting for your Thanksgiving table or you could use them as party favors.

Glue the 2 orange flowers to the back of the large brown circle.  You want three of the petals showing on the front so it looks like the turkey’s feet.

Learn how to make these cute #Thanksgiving Turkey Treat Cups for your kids. They would look adorable at each place setting for your Thanksgiving table or you could use them as party favors.

Fold the orange square in half along the diagonal to form the beak.

Cut 1/2 inch off the scroll shape to form the waddle and glue to the back of the beak.  Then glue the beak to the brown circle.

Learn how to make these cute #Thanksgiving Turkey Treat Cups for your kids. They would look adorable at each place setting for your Thanksgiving table or you could use them as party favors.

Glue the 2 googly eyes right above the beak.

Learn how to make these cute #Thanksgiving Turkey Treat Cups for your kids. They would look adorable at each place setting for your Thanksgiving table or you could use them as party favors.

Glue the turkey head to the top of the treat cup.

Learn how to make these cute #Thanksgiving Turkey Treat Cups for your kids. They would look adorable at each place setting for your Thanksgiving table or you could use them as party favors.

Fill the treat cups with fall-colored candies (like Reese’s Pieces or M&M’s).  Remove adhesive and stick the treat cup to the large brown circle.  Be sure to press down firmly all around to make sure that it is securely attached.

Learn how to make these cute #Thanksgiving Turkey Treat Cups for your kids. They would look adorable at each place setting for your Thanksgiving table or you could use them as party favors.

For more Thanksgiving crafts and recipes, be sure to check out my Thanksgiving Pinterest Board.

So tell me… are you making any special crafts for Thanksgiving?