This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Sponsored #WhatMonthlyPain #CollectiveBias

When our girls were babies, connecting with them was so easy.  You could hold them, rock them, play peek-a-boo, read a book.  I remember looking at them when they were little and I wondered how I would learn to connect with them once they were teens. Thankfully I have found some fun ways to connect with your teen and it’s not been nearly as difficult as I feared.  Here are a few fun ways to connect with your teen.

Fun Ways to Connect with your teen #Sponsored #WhatMonthlyPain #CollectiveBias

Read a book that interests them.

For our oldest this means historical fiction.  I have read Laurie Halse Anderson books and some Dear America books with her.  Grace prefers comic books.  I read a book of their choosing and then we take a walk or go out to eat and discuss it.  Once we even journaled back and forth while reading the book!

Walk the dog.

Sure, it is obvious.  But seriously, our girls still enjoy if we ask them to help us walk the dog for some one-on-one time.  And if it’s during their period, the exercise is really good for them.  Well, even if it’s not their period the exercise is STILL good.

Cook or Bake together.

I hope our girls don’t outgrow it, but if I want to connect with, I suggest cooking or baking and they are all in.  It’s a great way to connect with their friends as well.

Fun Ways to Connect with your teen #Sponsored #WhatMonthlyPain #CollectiveBias

The only thing that puts a damper on the baking is if they are having a period.  Recently on a trip to our local Walmart, I found Advil® Menstrual Pain near the Pharmacy.  It was tucked away on the bottom shelf just beside the drop off window.

Fun Ways to Connect with your teen #Sponsored #WhatMonthlyPain #CollectiveBias

Our girls had been wanting something for when their cramps or period-related headaches kicked in and Advil® Menstrual Pain* looked great to try.  I appreciate that it is caffeine and antihistamine free.  Grab some on your next visit to Walmart and don’t let periods get in the way of finding fun ways to connect with your teen.

Fun Ways to Connect with your teen #Sponsored #WhatMonthlyPain #CollectiveBias

To help get you started here is a recipe for some simple sugar cookies.

Simple Sugar Cookies

2 sticks of butter at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

Place the butter, sugar, egg and vanilla in your mixer and mix it well.  After it is thoroughly mixed, add in the baking powder and flour.  Mix well.  When the dough is ready, turn it onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll it out til it’s about 1/8″ in thickness.  Then cut out your desired shapes.  We used an assortment of cookie cutters!  Keep rolling and cutting until you have used all the dough.  Place the cookies on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 7-10 minutes.  You just want the outer edges to be slightly brown.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack until they reach room temperature.  Then…decorate!!!

Fun Ways to Connect with your teen #Sponsored #WhatMonthlyPain #CollectiveBias

Pro-Tips: Cover the counters with wax paper for an easier clean up.  Also buy store bought icing and save yourself the hassle of making homemade icing.  Get LOTS of sprinkles.

Don’t let periods get in the way of you finding fun ways to connect with your teen!  Pick up some Advil® Menstrual Pain at Walmart and start reconnecting to your teen today.

All parents can use support so please comment and let me know how YOU connect with your teen!
 

*use as directed

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

Disclosure: The Hamilton Beach Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker was sent to me free of charge to review.  All opinions are always my own.

Super excited about this fun giveaway and item in our holiday gift guide!  I have been able to review several Hamilton Beach items over the years and this just may be my favorite yet!

Hamilton Beach Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker #hamiltonbeachricecooker #ad

We already owned a rice cooker, but this Hamilton Beach Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker cooks rice, hot cereal and more!  You can cook many grains in here like quinoa.  It has the capacity for up to 20 cups of rice!  We have been loving it for hot oatmeal in the mornings.

Hamilton Beach Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker #hamiltonbeachricecooker #ad

We simply measure out the oats into the cooker the night before and then in the fridge place the amount of milk/water into a container.  The first person up, adds in the liquid and starts the cooker.  By the time the coffee is ready and we are all dressed, we have hot oatmeal waiting on it.  We lay out some fresh fruit and voila! Instant, hot and healthy breakfast for everyone.

Of course, this is also great as a rice cooker.

Hamilton Beach Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker #hamiltonbeachricecooker #ad

We have made Jasmine, Brown and White rice in our Hamilton Beach Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker and they have all turned out perfectly!

For this recipe you make the type of rice desired.  For the chicken you slice it up and marinate it in olive oil, a drizzle of honey, diced (raw) garlic and parsley.  Then bake, broil or grill it up and serve with the hot rice. YUM!

Hamilton Beach Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker #hamiltonbeachricecooker #ad

This cooker will be useful year round but with the delayed cook start, the automatic timer and the ease of using this…you will love having this and using it for all your holiday happenings!  Enter below for your chance to win one Hamilton Beach Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker!

 

Kristen: Kristen is a wife, mom, blogger and Brand Ambassador. She has four children; 2 boys and 2 girls. Kristen enjoys her role as a stay-at-home mother. Her oldest children are home-schooled. Her interests include gardening, coffee, reading, cooking and finding new ways to be eco-friendly. You may contact Kristen at mudpiesandtiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Kristen

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

pandplogo

I just received the June Peaches and Petals box and I’m excited to share it with you! Peaches and Petals is a monthly subscription service that delivers beauty/lifestyle boxes each month right to your door. The theme of this month’s box is “Under the Boardwalk”and it was filled with summer and beach themed items.  Summer officially starts tomorrow, the 20th, so it was perfect timing!

peaches and petals June

The first item I noticed was this cute lobster mug.

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The nautical theme screams summer and it’s perfect for sipping lemonade by the pool or on the beach.

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I also received this fun bathing suit cover up.  The lightweight, sheer fabric allows you to keep cool while also covering up in style.  The kimono style could also be worn with a tank top and jeans or cutoffs.

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Each box contained a beachy surprise.  Mine was a pack of bag tags with a fun retro beach theme.  These cool tags are actually made of wood and have leather straps. I plan on putting one on our swim bag.

20160617_073434 I really liked these pretty earrings that were included but once I read the story behind them, I liked them even more!  All pieces in the Project Starfish line of jewelry are handmade by post-trafficked women in Asia.  The business provides them with a job in a safe and supportive environment as well as education, access to healthcare, and counseling.  I definitely plan on checking out the other pieces offered by Starfish Project!

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I love trying new hair care products.  I like to straighten my naturally curly/wavy hair but in the summer,  I tend to go natural.  The Ocean Waves spray by Alterna Stylist is a lightweight texturizing spray that adds volume and enhances waves.  It gives you that “been at the beach” look and it smells amazing!!

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The final item in the June box was this awesome pair of sunglasses.  They are super cute and fit perfectly!

So here’s the value breakdown (all prices come from Amazon unless otherwise noted):

  • Nautical Mug- $10.95 for a similar one
  • Swimsuit Cover Up- $11.89
  • Bag Tags- $12
  • Starfish Project Earrings- $17.99 (from Starfishproject.com)
  • Ocean Waves Spray- $20 for the full size bottle so I’m guessing this smaller version would be valued at around $5
  • Sunglasses- $12.95 for similar ones

That’s a total value of $70.78!  Subscriptions are only $19.99 a month (with free shipping!) so that’s a huge savings!  I have been getting Peaches and Petals boxes for a while now and while I have been really happy with all of them, I especially liked the June box.  I will be able to get a lot of use out of every item I received.  The sneak peak card revealed that the July theme is “Dance to the Music”.  It sounds really fun and I can’t wait to open up my surprises next month!

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In addition to the monthly subscriptions, once you register with Peaches and Petals, you can also purchase great individual items as well all at great prices.  If you’d like to sign up for a Peaches and Petals subscription, try one of the following discount codes.  But hurry, each one has a limited amount of uses!

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You can follow Peaches and Petals on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

Belinda is a wife, mom, blogger, and Brand Ambassador. She has six children including 5 boys and 1 girl. Belinda enjoys reading, photography, crafts and DIY projects, and watching her boys play soccer. You may contact Belinda at mudpiesand tiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Belinda

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

brickloot

Our kids were thrilled last week when we finally got some snow.  We had two storms come through back to back and by Saturday afternoon, we had almost a foot of snow on the ground.  The had a blast making snow angels, sledding and of course having many snowball fights. However by today, they were getting a little tired of being stuck at home (and I was going pretty stir crazy myself!).  Thankfully, I had the January Brick Loot Box to pull out and entertain them.

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Brick Loot is a monthly box subscription service where kids receive a box filled to the brim with the latest and greatest brick compatible products, including the fan favorite, LEGO. The theme for this month was All Aboard!  My 5-year-old loves trains so he was really excited.  The box contained:

-Exclusive Custom Railway Station Kit-100% LEGO Designed by BrickBuildersPro

-Railroad Tape

-Brickland Express Kit

-LED Railway Station Light Kit

-The Conductor Custom 100% LEGO minifigure

The kids were eager to dive right in!

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My 10-year-old had the train station put together in no time.  Once again, the light kit was a big hit!  I loved the details in the set, down to the newspaper stand.

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My 5 and 7-year-old started the train but ended up asking older brother for a little help.

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Within about 30 minutes, it was complete.  They laid out the railroad tape (also a big hit) and set up the train and station.

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The tape was really neat.  It tore off the roll easily and while it was sticky enough to adhere to the floor, it was not too sticky and came up super easy.  It can be used on both hard floor and carpet.  The kids plan to use it with their toy cars and trains as well.

Once again, we were really pleased with our Brick Loot Box.  It was the perfect distraction for my bored, pent up kiddos! Brick Loot is a fantastic service for all lovers of building sets. Subscriptions range in price from $23 to $27 a month. Mudpies and Tiaras readers will get 10% off one and three month subscriptions when you use the code mudpies. You can also purchase individual pieces at BrickLoot.com (at great prices!) and add some new, fun pieces to your kids’ collection.
One lucky winner will receive the February Brick Loot box!

 

Belinda is a wife, mom, blogger, and Brand Ambassador. She has six children including 5 boys and 1 girl. Belinda enjoys reading, photography, crafts and DIY projects, and watching her boys play soccer. You may contact Belinda at mudpiesand tiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Belinda

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

I love to bake and the holidays are the perfect time to bring the kids into the kitchen and let them help me make some of our family favorites. The first is Pumpkin Cheesecake. My hubby loves this one and looks forward to it all year!

Ingredients:
2- 8oz packages cream cheese, softened (I use Neufchâtel)
3/4 cup pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1 large graham cracker pie crust
This cheesecake is so easy to make, especially with the help of the Hamilton Beach Hand Mixer. You just beat the cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, vanilla, and spices on medium until well blended.

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Then add the eggs and beat just until blended. My 10-year-old loved helping me!

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Pour into crust and bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until center is almost set. Once done, refrigerate for at least 3 hours. I like it plain but my hubby and kids like to top it with cool whip. It’s super yummy and perfect for when you need an easy holiday dessert.

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The Hamilton Beach Hand Mixer is great for smaller mixing jobs. It’s lightweight and easy to use. It comes with 6 attachments – twisted wire beaters, milkshake mixer, dough hooks, and whisk and features a pulse function. But what I love best about the mixer is that it comes with a snap on case that holds all the attachments. No more searching for beaters in a drawer!

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Cookies and Cream Truffles are another treat I like to make at Christmas time. These are seriously addicting!
Ingredients:
1- 16 oz package of chocolate sandwich cookies cookies
1 package cream cheese (again, I use Neufchâtel)
1 bag semi sweet chocolate chips

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First, crush the cookies into fine crumbs. You can use a food processor or put the cookies into a gallon size resealable bag and use a rolling pin to crush them. We used the latter method since my kids think it’s super fun. Next, mix the crumbs with the cream cheese. My Hamilton Beach Stand Mixer really came in handy with this part!

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It can be hard to completely mix the cookies and cream cheese together but this mixer did a great job. It also allowed me to get other things ready while it mixed.

Once the mixture is ready, shape it by spoonful into 1″ balls and put on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.

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Place the truffle balls into the freezer for about 20 minutes. Heat chocolate chips on low heat until melted and dip the truffle balls into the chocolate to coat. This can be a little tricky but having them fresh from the freezer helps them hold their shape. Remove the balls and place on wax paper. Place in refrigerator for an hour (if you can wait that long!). Store leftover truffles in a covered container in the refrigerator.

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You can embellish these in many ways. You can drizzle white chocolate over them, sprinkle colored sugar or candy sprinkles on top before the chocolate dries, or top with some of the cookie crumbs. No matter how you top them, they are delicious!

Again, my mixer from Hamilton Beach made whipping up this treat a breeze! It comes with 3 attachments (dough hook, whisk and flat beater) and a deep stainless steel 4 quart bowl. The tilt-up head easily lifts out of the way with the touch of a button for easy bowl access.  It switches speeds with the turn of a dial and I found I prefer this over push buttons. My son was easily able to work the mixer and I really liked that the mixer came with a splatter shield for the messier jobs.

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How would you like to win one of these mixers for yourself? Just enter on the forms below!

 

Belinda is a wife, mom, blogger, and Brand Ambassador. She has six children including 5 boys and 1 girl. Belinda enjoys reading, photography, crafts and DIY projects, and watching her boys play soccer. You may contact Belinda at mudpiesand tiaras at gmail dot com. Click here to meet Belinda