Monday, March 30, 2015

Build a Better Basket!

With Easter right around the corner, it's hard not to get completely caught up in the commercialization of the holiday and filling the baskets with all sorts of treats and goodies that look appealing! One thing to keep in mind, is that a lot of our favorites are full of chemicals and sugar. Im certainly not suggesting there are no treats on this holiday but there are some other products that are better choices than the usual suspects. I'll be the first to admit, I love a fistful of jelly bellies as much as the next guy but I don't always love the ingredients (corn syrup, sugar, Red 40, Blue 1, Sodium Lactate, Tapioca Dextrin, etc). Here, I've compiled a list of some great alternatives and non candy items that your kids might enjoy...
Think Flowers! Watering can/gardening gloves/garden tools/seeds: Easter signifies rebirth, so planting items is always a fun basket filler.

Go Outside! Sidewalk chalk, bubbles, sunglasses, a kite! Anything that they will fill those long Summer days with is a great idea. After this long Winter, we are all looking forward to getting outside!

Get Creative! A great sketchbook and some cool colored pencils (we love the metallic and fluorescent options from EEboo!) doodle books and gel pens are also great! 

Better Candy: Yummy Earth has some delicious organic options to fill those baskets. I found the most recently and places like T.J. Maxx, and target as well as their own website. They have Sour Jelly Beans, organic pops and gummy bears!

I love Annie's snacks as well - all sorts of bunny gummies, bunny crackers and more!  I always find snack packs at Target.

There are amazing Fair Trade, non GMO treats from Endangered Species chocolate and Unreal Brand. Unreal for the Record, has a line of delicious options that will remind you of your favorite candies you grew up without with all the junk! Justin's also makes a great Pb Cup!

We love Easter around here because it's a holiday that really welcomes spring and signifies rebirth. The most precious gift of all is the gift of spending time with one another as a family. Most importantly, share a delicious meal with one another, take time to slow down, for a family walk, get your body moving. With Easter, we typically are gifted with better weather and milder days perfect for discovering the outdoors again! We can't wait!

What fills your Easter baskets? Do you have a special family tradition? Any tips or treats to share? I would've to hear them!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Songs and Memories!

It's always amazing to me how a moment can take you by surprise.  How in a minute I can go from feeling content to frustrated or sad to ecstatic and everything in between.  The mind is an amazing thing.  Emotion can sneak up out of nowhere.  I've found this to definitely to be the case after becoming a Mother.  I don't mean hormones after birth, I mean the entire journey. Something as simple as a scent or song can bring such intense memories.

Recently, while sitting in the waiting room of one of my Mom's doctors appointments, the receptionist put on a Norah Jones CD.  I remember listening to this CD so many years ago and loving it.  Her voice, at the time was something so refreshing and different.  Back in those days, my husband and I were freshly married and starting our life together.  We had just returned from our honeymoon in Aruba, were settling nicely into married life on the coast of Maine.  Our whole lives ahead.  A future. Real dreams. Big dreams.  I remember listening to her music through these early days, our house was quieter back then, we had a lot of leisure time, late night talks, dinners out, trips to Boston, weekend trips throughout New England, lazy weekend mornings.  Isn't it fascinating? How one compilation of music can just bring you back to those days? Those feelings?

Now, reflecting on almost 16 years ago, I am so grateful to still have my husband as my partner, my confidant and my best friend.  We've had a lovely life, we've been blessed, we've laughed and cried, and fought and seemingly experienced every emotion in between.  I'm lucky and sometimes I need to just stop and realize this.  Live in the moment.  Live in the NOW. I need to stop wondering why things are the way they are if they aren't perfect.  

Because after all this time, 19 years, I'm still grateful he chose me and I chose him.  I guess I better pull out the Norah Jones every now and then and REMEMBER.  

I hope you have a great weekend ahead - and take some time to do what makes you happy!  Happy Friday my friends! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Peep S'more Kits!

We love Easter around here, it's so fun to put together baskets and decorate, not to mention the egg hunt.  This year, we're looking forward to an outdoor egg hunt (or it may be a "mud hunt" around here).  What do you put in your kiddo's baskets?  This year, like many years, we're putting some of the usual stuff, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, Annie's bunny crackers, glittery crayons, a coloring book and a book or a movie.  I love that it's such a simple holiday, focused on family and celebrating.

This is a fun and festive treat for Easter!  These Peep S'more Kits are very simple and no, not healthy but I'm OK with that once and a while. Who actually eats the Peeps anyway?

Ingredients - 

  • A pack of graham crackers
  • Assorted Bunny or Chickie Peeps (we used the smaller bunny peeps because they contain a little less sugar or you could make your own like I blogged about here).
  • Chocolate - milk, semi-sweet, white or dark
  • Little bags
  • Ribbon/cardstock/label
Assemble your treat by melting your chocolate over low heat and stirring to prevent burning.  Top one rectangle of graham cracker with about 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate for your "glue" affect and top with your bunny.   This first pic is a great example of using way too much chocolate....too bad we couldn't possibly use that one! 
Next, I repeated with the others and once finished, placed in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes for the chocolate to solidify.
Finally, place each in bag, tie with ribbon and label.  I also included one chocolate egg in each.  
I thought they would also make adorable table treats and hidden among the eggs during a neighborhood egg hunt!  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Hop to The Music Feature and Giveaway! #disneymusic #enmnetwork

I received the Hop To The Music pack as a member of the Entertainment New Media Network. No further compensation was received and all opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links.

I've mentioned it in my past couple of posts, but I can't believe that Easter is RIGHT AROUND the corner!  Less than two weeks!  So, I was pretty thrilled when Disney Music sent me a collection of their latest and greatest music to check out!  This Spring, Disney music makes a fun and festive option for Easter baskets and beyond!  You can take a look at the complete collection here where you'll find classic Disney music, soundtracks to your favorite Disney movies and their newest music including songs from Frozen and Into the Woods!  
We love music around here and were sent there four Cds to take a listen to:
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Vol. 1 
  • Into the Woods Soundtrack 
  • Frozen The Songs
  • Dj Shuffle 2 
My favorite, was the Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix because it includes some of my favorite throwbacks - think 70s and know how I love my retro days!  The girls of course were partial to Frozen while Sydney also enjoyed the Dj  Shuffle 2.  The Into the Woods Soundtrack includes some beautiful music which we enjoyed when we saw that over Christmas break.  This variety is great and I'm so happy to let you know that a lucky reader will win ALL FOUR Disney Cds including these popular Disney releases! Once the winner is chosen, you will receive these Cds in 4-6 weeks.  Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below and wait a minute or two for it to load!  The winner will be chosen on April 5th!

Please note, If it comes to this blogger’s attention that the winner of this giveaway has won on an additional blog for this same prize, this blog reserves the right to choose another winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Thanks for checking out this fabulous Disney music and good luck! 

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