*Disclosure- I received a gift card from Family Christian Stores to help facilitate this post.  All opinions are my own.

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and that means classroom parties.  As a preschool teacher with 6 kids, I’ve been to a lot of them!  I love finding crafts and snacks that are easy and kid friendly.  One of my favorite go to party snacks is icing dipped pretzels.  They’re super easy and so yummy!  All you need is a bag of pretzels, a can if icing and some sprinkles.

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First spoon some of the icing into a microwave safe dish.  I put mine in for 15 seconds and I think that was a tad too long.  You don’t want the icing to be too runny.  Stir the icing to make sure it’s smooth and dip a pretzel in it halfway.

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These are great because the kids can help and because you don’t totally submerge the pretzel, it’s not too messy.

Lay the pretzels on wax paper and shake some pink or red sprinkles on them.  You will need to so this pretty quickly because once the icing starts to dry, the sprinkles won’t stick.  I recommend dipping and sprinkling the pretzels 3 or 4 at a time.

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It only took us about 15 minutes to make 50 pretzels.  The kids love them and so do I.  They are the perfect mix of sweet and salty.

Of course, a highlight of any school Valentine party is exchanging valentines.  We have made countless valentine holders over the years.  One of the absolute easiest, is one made from a cereal box.  We go through a ton of cereal so thankfully, we have plenty!

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In addition to the box, you also need construction paper, tape, glue, scissors, ribbon and your choice of decorations.  We used Big Bling Rhinestone Shapes and the Martha Stewart Double Punch-Heart Seal from Family Christian.  The heart punch is really neat and creates both solid hearts and circular heart patterns.  My son had fun using it.

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After taping the top of the box closed, turn it sideways and cut an opening along one of the narrow sides of the box.  Make sure the opening is big enough for bigger valentines or goodies that may be attached to them.  Next, cover the box with pieces of construction paper.  I just used tape for this part.  Since we like to stress the importance of being kind and being a good friend around Valentine’s Day, I wrote “A friend loves at all times” on the front of our box.  I then let my 4-year-old have free reign on decorating his Valentine holder.

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He had so much fun and really thought about where to put each rhinestone or cutout!

Once the box was dry, I cut a slit on either side of the opening on the side and tied a ribbon through each side to make a handle.

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It took us about 20 minutes to make (not including drying time) and K was so proud of his creation.

I’m also a big fan of Valentine crafts.  One of my all time favorites, is the fingerprint heart tree.

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We did this on an 8×11 canvas.  You just let the child paint a tree trunk (or paint it for younger kiddos) and then have them add heart shaped flowers using their thumbprints.  We also added a couple thumbprint butterflies as well. You could also do this on a t-shirt or apron.  It’s fun for the kids to do and makes a great keepsake or gift for grandparents.

So what are your favorite Valentine’s Day crafts or recipes?  Please share them 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

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

LongHorn Steakhouse. YUM.  If you have followed our blog, then you know my family and I are HUGE fans of LongHorn.  We love their steaks, appetizers, desserts and everything in-between.  EVERY visit we have made to a LongHorn Steakhouse has been met with great service, delicious food and an overall great experience.
Right now, LongHorn Steakhouse is offering a special, limited time, Bold Flavor, Bold Price menu.  I KNOW we are heading there soon to check it out.
You may choose any of the following three grilled-to-perfection entrees that are packed with flavor, with a choice of side and unlimited Honey Wheat bread, for a great price at $12.99!

·         Triple Bacon Sirloin – A fire-grilled sirloin, wrapped with bacon, topped with bacon and finished with bacon tomato hollandaise.

LongHorn #ad

·         Shiitake Truffle Mushroom Sirloin – Grilled sirloin layered with sautéed shiitake mushrooms and a savory truffle mushroom sauce.

LongHorn #ad

·         Garlic & Provolone Sirloin Grilled sirloin, topped with roasted garlic and melted provolone cheese.

What a tough choice! I love mushrooms so I think I would lean towards the Shitake Truffle. Which would you choose?
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

Today has been pretty chilly and snow is falling. It’s the perfect night for some yummy, hot soup.  One of our favorites is a twist on a recipe my neighbor gave me for Mexican Chicken Soup.  It is SUPER easy and taste delicious!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups salsa
  • 3 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 2 cups corn
  • 2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2-3 cans cooked chicken (depending on how meaty you like it)
  • 1 soup can water

Simply add all ingredients into crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours.  That’s it!  So easy!

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We like it with shredded cheddar cheese on top with Fritos scoops or tortilla chips.  The above recipe makes enough for our family of 8 with usually one serving left for my hubby’s lunch the next day.  You can also substitute uncooked chicken breast, cut into chucks, for the canned chicken if you’d like but I would increase the cooking time from 4 to 5 hours.

What are some of your favorite cold weather meals?

 

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 gift card. The opinions are my own, based on my personal experience with the product.

Are you ready for a date night?  Maybe you want to take your spouse out.  Perhaps it is a good friend.  Maybe you owe one of your kids a special date night.  Friends, I have a deal for you but you must act quickly!  This deal ends 1/15.  For the next few days you can get $6 off dinner for two at Olive Garden!

You can get this coupon right here.

Present the coupon at your nearest Olive Garden location where you and a guest will then enjoy $6 off a delicious dinner for two.

Olive Garden Coupons #ad

What is your favorite entree at Olive Garden?

 

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.

Baby it’s cold outside! As in 5 with windchills of -20.  Every night when I get home from work I am knee deep in snow and cravings.  Cravings for comfort foods.  Traditional comfort foods though are not healthy to have on a regular basis.  So I’d like to share we are surviving the winter with Stonyfield and doing so without sacrificing our health, or waistline.
I shared this recipe awhile back and we still love this.  Plus, you can use the leftovers to make a healthier version of shepherd’s pie….
In a casserole dish place a layer of leftover turkey.  Next mix some cooked veggies with 3/4 cup of plain Stonyfield yogurt and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.  These are totally your choice…peas, carrots, corn, mixed veggies…whatever you have available.  We add in green beans, water chestnuts, corn, peas…it’s all good!  Spread the yogurt/veggie mixture over the turkey.  Finally, top it with your healthier homemade mashed potatoes.  Place it uncovered in the oven at 350 and bake for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes are browning and the food is heated through.

Another great item…homemade tomato soup.  I LOVE a steaming mug filled with tomato soup but ONLY if it’s homemade.  You can use your favorite homemade tomato soup recipe but instead of using cream or milk, substitute with some plain Stonyfield yogurt.  It makes it so creamy and makes it healthier.
We love making this spicy Greek yogurt dip too.  Sometimes in the Winter I will add extra cayenne pepper to really warm me up.  But this dip can be used with homemade sweet potato fries, grilled fish and as a healthier topping on baked potatoes etc.
How do you survive the long Winter?
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