I received the following products in order to write a review.  No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.  Enjoy the Holiday Gift Guide!!!

For Grownups

The Dirty Vegan #ad

Man, I am not even a vegan and this cookbook has me drooling!!!

Dirty Vegan lets you prepare delicious vegan cuisine that anyone and everyone can enjoy, and showcases the sheer variety of amazing recipes you can create, all while remaining vegan. For too long, the vegan lifestyle has been seen as limiting–a laundry list of all the things vegans can’t or shouldn’t have.
Providing healthy, vegan alternatives to the sorts of delicious comfort foods that everyone craves, Dirty Vegan makes it easier than ever to live the vegan lifestyle, featuring delicious recipes that use common ingredients available in any grocery store.
Dirty Vegan features over 100 rich, indulgent recipes that are sure to delight, including: Vegan Ravioli Dippers, Avocado and “Bacon” Chees, Cheddar Bread Ring, S’mores Pancake, “Steak” Tips and Sweet Potatoes, Italian Wedding Soup, Vegan Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Blossoms and many more.
With simple, delicious recipes, Dirty Vegan is not just for vegans, but is perfect for anyone who wants to prepare nutritious dishes using minimal equipment and processing.
Self-styled as “vegan junk food”–healthy vegan food that doesn’t skimp on taste–Dirty Vegan is a celebration of all the amazing tastes and dishes available to those on vegan diets.”

If you know a vegan, or just someone wanting to eat healthier, then check out this cookbook.

Valerie's Home Cooking #ad

As the current star of her Food Network show, Valerie’s Home Cooking, and co-host of the network’s Kids Baking Championship, as well as having spent years acting on television, Valerie Bertinelli has made a name for herself in households across America. But to really know Valerie, is to spend time in her kitchen.

Inspired by her family’s cooking legacy, Valerie specializes in showing fans how to make dishes their own families will love that are for the heart and soul. As she often says, there’s a story behind every recipe and Valerie shares them in this gorgeous cookbook, where home cooks will find more than 100 recipes that are easy to make and innovative–they’re just as fresh, vibrant and down to earth as Valerie herself. Many of these classic comforting recipes have an original twist like Bloody Mary Tea Sandwiches, Lobster BLTs, Quick Rotisserie Chicken Gumbo, and S’mores Popcorn. These mouthwatering dishes will become your go-tos, whether you’re having breakfast or lunch on your own, friends are joining for last-minute cocktails and small bites, or the whole family is coming together for a hearty dinner and dessert.

I actually discovered her while at the gym (ironic, I know).  They have her show playing during the time I am there working out.  I love watching her and am super excited to dig into this cookbook!

For the Kids

Snowie Rolie #ad

Rolie Polie Olie wishes his world would turn snowy, but it’s forever sunny—until one day when the sun blows a bulb. Olie’s wish comes true, and—joy, oh joy—it snows! Rolie and his sister Zowie build a snowman buddy, Mr. Snowie, to join in on their snow day adventures. But when the sun gets a new bulb, all is not bright: Mr. Snowie is in danger of melting! There’s only one solution: a rocket trip to Chillsville. Past the dangerous North Wind, Rolie, Zowie, and Mr. Snowie find a cool world filled with frosty friends to eat snowball pie and dance a chilly cha-cha with. And then they get the greatest surprise of all—a visit from Klanky Klaus! Talk about one awesome snow day!

Above the Timberline #ad

When it started to snow, it didn’t stop for 1,500 years. The Pole Shift that ancient climatologists talked about finally came, the topography was ripped apart and the weather of the world was changed—forever. Now the Earth is covered in snow, and to unknown depths in some places.

In this world, Wes Singleton leaves the academy in search of his father, the famed explorer Galen Singleton, who was searching for a lost city until Galen’s expedition was cut short after being sabotaged. But Wes believes his father is still alive somewhere above the timberline.

Hatchet #ad

Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson, haunted by his secret knowledge of his mother’s infidelity, is traveling by single-engine plane to visit his father for the first time since the divorce. When the plane crashes, killing the pilot, the sole survivor is Brian. He is alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present.

At first consumed by despair and self-pity, Brian slowly learns survival skills—how to make a shelter for himself, how to hunt and fish and forage for food, how to make a fire—and even finds the courage to start over from scratch when a tornado ravages his campsite. When Brian is finally rescued after fifty-four days in the wild, he emerges from his ordeal with new patience and maturity, and a greater understanding of himself and his parents.

The Glass Town Game #ad

Charlotte and Emily must enter a fantasy world that they invented in order to rescue their siblings in this adventurous and fiercely intelligent novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

Inside a small Yorkshire parsonage, Charlotte, Branwell, Emily, and Anne Brontë have invented a game called Glass Town, where their toy soldiers fight Napoleon and no one dies. This make-believe land helps the four escape from a harsh reality: Charlotte and Emily are being sent away to a dangerous boarding school, a school they might not return from. But on this Beastliest Day, the day Anne and Branwell walk their sisters to the train station, something incredible happens: the train whisks them all away to a real Glass Town, and the children trade the moors for a wonderland all their own.

This is their Glass Town, exactly like they envisioned it…almost. They certainly never gave Napoleon a fire-breathing porcelain rooster instead of a horse. And their soldiers can die; wars are fought over the potion that raises the dead, a potion Anne would very much like to bring back to England. But when Anne and Branwell are kidnapped, Charlotte and Emily must find a way to save their siblings. Can two English girls stand against Napoleon’s armies, especially now that he has a new weapon from the real world? And if he escapes Glass Town, will England ever be safe again?

Together the Brontë siblings must battle with a world of their own creation if they are to make it back to England alive in this magical celebration of authorship, creativity, and classic literature from award-winning author Catherynne M. Valente.

Little Bigfoot #ad

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Weiner comes the second book in the “smartly crafted” (BCCB) and “heartwarming” (School Library Journal) trilogy about friendship, furry creatures, and finding the place where you belong.

Twelve-year-old Alice Mayfair has a secret. She’s not human. But who—or what—is she? While Alice goes in search of her past, her best friend Millie Maximus, a tiny Bigfoot with a big voice, prepares for her future. Together they plan to sneak off to New York Citywhere Millie hopes to audition for The Next Stage, the TV show she’s sure will rocket her to stardom and free her from the suffocating expectations of her tribe.

Meanwhile Jeremy Bigelow’s Bigfoot research has put him on the radar of a shadowy government organization led by a mysterious man named Trip Carruthers. The Bigfoots have something, a chemical so powerful and dangerous that the government will do anything to obtain it. And Jeremy is tasked with securing it once and for all.

In an unexpected twist of fate, Jeremy, Alice, and Millie find themselves facing off at a crossroads. But in order to determine where they’re going, they have to first figure out where they come from—and draw the line between what is good, what is evil, and what it means to be a hero.

Kid Stir #ad Kid Stir #ad

Kid Stir is subscription service for kids.  They get a monthly box.   The box had a few recipes in it, an apron and one kid-sized spatula.  The spatula was actually really nice!  But I was disappointed at the lack of product.  Obviously, the goal is to keep you as a subscriber, so in that first box you get a nicely bound cookbook that they add their recipes to.  So for a one-off gift it is not great at all, but if you were to do a year long membership, then the child would get a box each month and get to add recipes to that cookbook, slowly building a nice collection.  The recipes are easy to read and easy to follow and a nice mix of really easy (for younger kids) and challenging for the older ones.  Learn more about them at kidstir.com.

Modarri cars #ad

This is one of our most favorite items in our Holiday Gift Guide!!!! These are fantastic.  They are called Modarri cars.  Here is what the maker says:

  • Design, build, and drive your very own creation!
  • Mix and match building system allows for BILLIONS of car designs
  • Finger-driven with real steering and suspension mechanics
  • Super quick assembly times – less time building, more time playing!
  • Screws are retained in the components, they don’t fall out – no lost screws!
  • Real 2-step automotive paint for a beautiful, dazzling finish
  • Durable construction – real metal frames, heavy duty plastic, and strong mechanical linkages
  • 11 interchangeable pieces per car
  • Assembled with the included swivel-tipped hex tool (quick turn action!)
  • Modarri is a STEM toy that educates through open-ended play
  • Satisfaction is guaranteed. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, return it for a full refund. If a part breaks, we will send you a replacement, free of charge.

But here is what I can tell you.  The minute our boys saw these, they were hooked.  After Cliff opened the Modarri Delux 3-pack the boys immediately got to work.

Modarri cars #ad

They assembled the cars and built a play area for them!!

Modarri cars #ad

They are having so much fun with these.  It is hard to say enough about them.  It spurs their creativity and keeps them building and playing for hours.  Make sure you check them out and you can cross of the rest of your Christmas list with these great Modarri products!!!

For the Whole Family

 

Contigo Water Bottles #ad

Contigo Water Bottles make great gifts for anyone on your list.  Every member of our family has one and we love them! The AUTOSEAL Gizmo Sip is literally the ONLY spill proof bottle I have ever found that works for lunches. Benjamin uses his in his lunch every day (and has for 2 years) and we have never, ever had a leak.  And it’s got a great price point, currently 9.99! The Spill Proof Kids Tumbler is great for use around the home.  We let Benjamin keep it in his room for when he gets thirsty at night and it has also never leaked or spilled. Our girls favorite is the AUTOSPOUT Ashland.  It is a nice glass water bottle AND has a hook that attaches easily to their backpacks.  I love knowing they have access to water all day at their schools.

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 receive these Neat-Oh! toys in order to review them, but all opinions are my own.  This post may contain affiliate links.

Holiday Gift Guide

Being a blogger is a lot of fun!  Even though I have been blogging for several years, I still get surprised sometimes! Just recently a contact reached out and asked me to review Neat-Oh! Toys.  To be honest, I had not heard of Neat-Oh! before but they are an awesome addition to the kids wish list!

Neat-Oh! Toys #ad

We got the Neat-Oh! Dinosaur T-Rex Projector and Room Guard.  Jack LOVES this.  And I mean LOVES this.

Neat-Oh! Toys #ad

It sits a bit over 15″ tall and can project 24 different dino images in your kids room!

Neat-Oh! Toys #ad

The boys LOVE switching the images around.  They love playing with their T-Rex at night time and doing different dino images on their wall.  It’s cute to hear them making all of those dinosaur sounds.  Speaking of sounds, this cute dino can ROAR too!

Neat-Oh! Toys #ad

When you flip the switch, this dino becomes a room guard and will belt out one of five different dino roars!  This is just the neatest toy!!! Kids will definitely love it, but also I think teachers and pre-schools would love this too! So much fun and the boys haven’t tired of this after a few weeks so that’s definitely a winner! So far we are on the original set of batteries, so it seems to be good on battery life too!

Our boys also got this cute 5-piece Neat-Oh! Dinosaur play set.

Neat-Oh! Toys #ad

The 5 dinosaurs are a Velociraptor, Triceratops, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Brachiosaurus, and Stegosaurus. 

Neat-Oh! Toys #ad

They are just the right size for our 3 and 6 year old’s hands.  They would make great Christmas gifts, stocking stuffers or a gift to take to a birthday party.  I loved the selection of dinosaurs.  They are all the boy’s favorites.

Neat-Oh! Toys #ad

You can buy the Neat-Oh! Dinosaur Projector and Room Guard on Amazon or online at Neat-Oh!.com.  You can buy the Neat-Oh! Dinosaur Play Set on Amazon as well or online at Neat-Oh!.com.  Additionally  you may find the Neat-Oh! Toys in neighborhood toy stores nationwide!

 

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.

Looking for some fun gift ideas for Valentine’s Day?  We’ve made it easy with this Valentine’s Round up.  Some of these items we received for review and others are just products we love!

First up, we have enjoyed the Way Better line of snacks for quite some time.  We frequently pick up their variety packs at Costco.  But Way Better sent us a package of some of their newer flavors to try out.

Way Better snacks #ad

Our kids loved them!  They would make a great gift idea for Valentine’s Day and are definitely healthier than candy and conversation hearts.  Way Better snacks are Non-GMO verified and are very upfront about their ingredients.  Your family will love receiving these and you can rest easy knowing it is a very healthy option to give them.

Chop Saver chapstick #ad

Another cute gift idea is ChopSaver chapstick.  Invented by a musician it is specifically designed to protect your lips inside and out when playing.  Plus it has SPF.  Even though our kids play piano, they do live in Michigan and we have been using when we go ice skating and sledding.

Chop Saver chapstick #ad

For your fashionista… Old Navy Jeggings.

Old Navy Jeggings

Grace loves these and she will be excited to see she is getting a new pair on Valentine’s day.  They fit so nice and have held up so well for us.

For the absolute best Valentine’s Day cards for kids, turn to Peaceable Kingdom.

Best Valentine's Cards for kids #ad

Their Valentine’s Cards are the best I have found. Ever.

Best Valentine's Cards for kids #ad

What makes them so great?  The messaging!  They are all sweet messages like “You are Cool” (on a photo of ice cream or “Slam Dunk” on a basketball card.  No love messages etc.  I don’t personally believe kids should be handing out cards that say “Be Mine” etc.  Yes, I know they are innocent, but I just love the sweetness of the cards from Peaceable Kingdom.

Best Valentine's Cards for kids #ad

All our kids from 3-12 loved these and are handing them out to friends.  Plus the kits came with cards, envelopes and stickers…all we needed was the pens!

Best Valentine's Cards for kids #ad

 

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.

2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Like most parents, every Christmas we get the expected, yet dreaded, question… “What can we get the kids for Christmas”?  I am a bit Type A and like all of the kids toys to fit in containers and be part of collections.  We don’t have much storage space so it really makes sense.  They also don’t usually need clothes.  Books are nice and the kids all love them, but one can only buy so many books.  Thankfully this year, I had an easy answer for the boys.  They boys would love a subscription to Citrus Lane.

Citrus Lane is another company that puts together boxes and mails them out for you, but what really sets them apart is the quality of the brands that are included in your box.  They work with amazing companies like Skip Hop and Aden+Anais.  Really, really nice products.  They offered to send a box for Jack, our almost 3 year old and I was curious what they would choose to put into the box.  The day it arrived we anxiously opened it up.  The first thing we found was….

Citrus Lane #ad Citrus Lane #ad

This is really nice and it was something we needed.  I love the blow hole that allows us to keep this on and still have access to our shower as well.

Jack’s favorite surprise were these cute boats to play with during bath time.

Citrus Lane #ad Citrus Lane #ad

These boats have already entertained him for hours and I love that they stack for easy storing.  My favorite item was what Jack has now to get OUT of the bath with…

Citrus Lane #ad

This hooded towel is the quality you expect from Aden+Anais.  I love wrapping up Jack in this towel after his bath.  He loves it too!

One feature I really love from their site, is that you can shop the box.  If something in your box really caught your eye, you can easily shop the collection and order products individually as well.

Citrus Lane can do boxes for babies through preschool aged kids.  And if you have a family member who does not know what to get, I highly recommend you send them to Citrus Lane.  You and your child will be glad they did!

 

 

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

The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.

My husband says I am really difficult to buy presents for.  I certainly don’t think I am.  I think he can be difficult to buy for.  Oh sure. I usually know things he wants/needs but he always wants a very specific this or a certain feature like that or a very specific model ect…. Over the years we have definitely learned each other’s preferences better, but it is still difficult.  Recently we learned about the Best Buy Online Gift Ideas Experience.

best buy gifts #wishlist #giftideas #ad

I sure wish this had existed when we first got married!  The new feature on the Best Buy site, helps you do two things.

1. Their new program helps you create your own birthday wish list.

2. Gives you ideas and inspirations for finding that perfect gift!

Creating your own birthday wish list is a cinch.  You simply log on, and browse their website.  As you find items you would love, you add them to your list.  And don’t worry.   You can easily manage your wish list and add items or delete items as needed.  For husbands, friends and family members this makes shopping SO much easier because they know this is something you want and would use and appreciate.  For my husband especially, it honestly lowers his stress level over choosing something from me.  I can go add in different items and then he can surprise me with one…or more =)

Additionally, if you are looking for a gift for a friend and they do not have a birthday wish list, you can still use the Best Buy Online Gift Ideas Experience to help inspire you.  They have the items broken down by price range so it is easy to find something amazing and affordable.  You can further search by guys gifts, teens and more to help narrow down the selection even further.  Since Best Buy has the latest in tech gear. you are sure to find the right gift for the right person.

Since my birthday is right around the corner, I am going to go create my own birthday wish list at Best Buy right now.

What Best Buy items would you place on your wish list?

 

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