Monday, November 30, 2015

It's Not Over Yet! {Giveaway}

Just when you thought all the American Girl fun we had last week was finished, we decided to surprise you with one more thing. We are so excited for all of our winners last week, but would couldn't let it end there.

Did you know that Williams-Sonoma carries some awesome American Girl products? We didn't either until we were doing some shopping over the holiday and saw some of the super cute products in the store.

They carry so many adorable products to get your own little American Girl baking.
{ Yummy Cupcake Mixes and Baking Sets- How cute are those liners and toppers? }
{ And no American Girl baking party is complete without a matching apron set for your little girl and her favorite doll - check out that tiny oven mitt! }

Other fun products available: 
- Special edition No Kid Hungry spatula

We were so excited to see all of the adorable items that Williams-Sonoma carry, that we just couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a little more fun with American Girl this holiday season. We have partnered with The Avenue to give one lucky reader a Williams-Sonoma gift card so that you can get your little American Girl and her doll a little something to bake with. Winner will be announced next Monday. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What will your little one want to make first? 

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**Winner has 30 days to claim prize or the next available winner will be chosen. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

Creating Quiet Time

I've come to realize in a world of constant go-go-GO! and stimulation with our electronic devices, everyone in my house needs a little quiet time. Like most families we are constantly on the move between activities, errands, school, and just life in general. Life is rarely quiet and I realized that not just mommy and daddy need a little quiet time, but also The Cutes.

They both get naps or rest periods each day, but the rest of the day is filled with playing, extra circulars, and a social schedule that rivals the President's. While being busy is good, so is learning to relax.

So a few weeks ago I set out to make a little quiet time in each of our days, or even choosing quiet activities, where each of us had to be by ourselves and key word here - quiet.

Cute has a space in his room that we have planned for such activities. A bean bag next to his library to sit and read, and some floor space to play. However, Little Cute's room is still set up as her nursery. So I decided to create a similar space in her room for her at home quiet time.

L.C. is still way into all things Minnie and Mickey right now so when I saw this Minnie chair, I knew it would be the perfect piece to add to her room for her quiet space.

The moment she saw it she was super excited, and wouldn't let the box out of her sight.

The nice thing about the Minnie Mouse Club chair it is storable - so we can inflate/deflate as needed. It only took a few seconds to set it up, and her little space was ready to go. (P.S. - If you don't have a Minnie fan, don't fret - this chair comes in a ton of cute options I noticed...Ninja Turtles, Paw Patrol, Frozen & Cars!)

She loves her new space, and actually uses it way more than I thought she would. She picks out a few of her books, grabs her "Ellie Bear" and simply reads in it for a bit. A few times I have caught her just lounging in the chair with her paci.

This week I noticed that even though we were home for Thanksgiving Break, and things were a lot less hectic than normal, The Cutes were beginning to tire of being around the house and playing outside. All that extra energy was being channeled into mass destruction of our home. The quiet space wasn't working, so I decided to take the party elsewhere.

Normally, I would have taken them to the local bounce house place and let them wear themselves out, but I figured flipping off the couch and bouncing endlessly on our indoor trampoline would have done the trick. Instead I decided to switch gears, and thought of a quiet activity.

We brought this party to the library. I hadn't taken Cute to the library since an unfortunate Story Time incident that made me decide that  I might need to move zip codes and never show face there again. Now that we are older, wiser, and and much more insane I felt like we could make an appearance once more (still at a completely different location).

The Cutes surprisingly loved it and we spent an entire hour hanging out quietly in the children's section. I was amazed. They were even excited that they could bring a few books home (we will see how it goes once we have to return them). And... to my amazement, once we returned home they were so excited about their books they instantly brought them to their quiet spaces.

Now, I not only had a successful activity logged and an extra hour of quiet time - I just hit the mommy lottery!

Here's hoping that the quiet space continues to be successful and in the meantime I will be brainstorming for some more "quiet activities".

What do you do to create more quiet time in your little ones day?

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***I received these products as part of the Savvy Sassy Moms Product Scout Group.  All opinions are my own.***

*This post contains affiliated links.*

American Girl Doll Giveaway {Winner Announced}

We have been so thrilled to be able to offer this American Girl Doll giveaway and the time has come to announce the winner of Grace, the Girl of the Year.  

Congratulations to Sarah Withey!!!!!!  

You have 72 hours to claim your prize so email us at ASAP so we can get this doll to you!  

Thank you all for entering.  We hope to have some other exciting giveaways in the near future so keep checking back for more fun!  

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving

We just wanted to pop in and wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!  


We hope you all are enjoying the day with friends, family and loved ones.  We hope you watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, we hope you eat a little too much turkey and pie, and we hope you give thanks for the many blessings you have because that is exactly what we will be doing this day!  

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Hot Chocolate Bar for Kids

Some people love celebrating Thanksgiving and others just skip right over it and head straight into Christmas.  No matter what your preference, hot chocolate is always in order.  We are sure that if your kids are anything like ours, they love hot chocolate this time of year.

We had fun creating a hot chocolate bar that is just for kids (although we are sure adults will enjoy it, too)!  Click HERE to check out all of the details on Savvy Sassy Moms.  

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Perfect Playdate

Brrr! It has gotten so cold outside! Carrie Beth and I planned a fun playdate for the kids today, but with being so cold we decided to move our playdate party inside.

We have tons of toys at our house and lots of space for the kids to play around in, but thought it would be fun to introduce them to something new - the Wii! They are all getting so big, and mine have never really played a video game before that it would be the perfect time to introduce them to it. We quickly rearranged plans, and came up with a fun popcorn and dance party playdate - something we knew they were sure to love!


We chose to kick off the playdate with the new Just Dance: Disney Party 2. We let them open it and they were so excited!!

Not only were they thrilled to be playing something new but they were excited to see that it had 20 hit songs from some of their favorite shows - The Descendants, Liv & Maddie, and Teen Beach 2 just to name a few.

As we were setting up their characters, they were already planning what songs they were going to dance to first.

One of the great things about the Wii and video games like Just Dance: Disney Party 2 is that the kids are constantly moving. We love that they are getting exercise and having tons of fun at the same time.

Plus, I'm not going to provides quite a ton of laughs for moms and dads too! I mean check out these moves...

The kids loved being able to see some of their favorite Disney Channel characters brought to life, and to be able to learn some of their dances and sing along with them made for such a fun experience. We were shocked at how realistic some of the characters were too. The boys aren't able to read yet, but even they were able to recognize the characters they were dancing with right away. 

The popcorn portion of the playdate most definitely came in handy. All that dancing and singing worked up quite an appetite. After even just a few songs the kids were so hungry and thirsty!

Plus it provided a good way to occupy the little ones who weren't playing the game at the time because trust us, it was so fun everyone wanted to play all at once. Especially once they heard the music - everyone wanted to play their favorite songs. 

The boys loved the song "A Billion Hits" by Austin and Ally and played it several times, while the girls locked onto perfecting the moves from the Liv & Maddie hit "Better in Stereo".

The girls were so excited when they surpassed the boys (and their surprisingly great ability to follow the dance moves), and finally come up with the high score. 

This was the perfect way to spend our playdate, and we already can't wait to play Just Dance: Disney Party 2 again with the kids. 

We own the Nintendo Wii system, but know that the game is also available for the Wii U system as well as for Xbox 360 and Xbox One. After seeing how much fun everyone had we would highly recommend Just Dance: Disney Party 2. Not only was it an entertaining and fun way to spend our playdate, it was something active to get those little bodies (and their copious amounts of energy) moving. What more could a parent ask for? 

Now watch out kids, next time the mommies will be taking the stage. We might be mommies, but we have been known to have a few dance moves of our own. That high score won't be yours for long! 

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Christmas Shopping {Women's Gift Guide}

Is anyone else starting to stress out about Christmas?  I know Thanksgiving isn't even here yet, but this is a big week for shopping and I feel like it's time for us all to start thinking about gift giving.  Today I'm going to share some ideas for all of the women in your life.  Maybe you are looking for ideas for your own list or maybe you need ideas for your mom, sister, friend, or cousin.  My hope is that some of these ideas will get you thinking and give you some help to start your shopping, if you haven't already. 

Monogrammed Bag
I have this monogrammed bag and I absolutely adore it.  I think it would make a fantastic gift and I know someone would be very excited about receiving a bag like this.  It's shape is classic, but the big monogram adds a little extra something special.  It zips closed, which I really like and has pockets on the inside to help keep all of my stuff organized.

Latitude/Longitude Leather Bracelet
I saw a friend with a leather cuff bracelet on a few days ago and have been thinking about it ever since. Then I saw THESE that can been personalized with coordinates of a place that is near and dear to the recipient.  Maybe the location of a wedding, the birthplace of a child, or a location of a special vacation spot or even a first home.  There are so many options!

Mox Shoes 
If you have been reading our blog for a while you might remember when we first wrote about Mox shoes.  You can read our review about them HERE.  

I have worn mine SO much lately and I still stand by what I said about them being super comfortable.  Last week I loved wearing them with colored denim and my leopard belt.

Every time I wear them I always get compliments and I am always excited to tell people about them.  Our friends at Mox shared some of their special buy one, get one 50% off discount codes with us that are coming up this week and next. You could buy a pair for yourself and one as a gift!  

Good on 11/27 only: BLACK2015 (buy one, get one 50% off)
Good on 11/30 only: CYBER2015 (buy one, get one 50% off) 

Mox is now offering: 
*Free shipping and free returns! 
*2 new colors (Gold & Grape)
*The addition of 2 new sizes: women's 4 & 5

And for our readers through the end of the year they are offering a special discount code for our readers.  Just enter MAGNOLIAMAMAS10 at check out for 10% off each item!  

This next idea is something from my personal wish-list and would be a perfect gift or any pet owner.  We love our sweet dog Walker, but I do not love all of the dog hair.  I sweep daily and should vacuum  every other day, but it doesn't always happen.  I feel like I waste so much time cleaning the pet hair and would love, love, love to receive this Roomba. If you aren't familiar it is a vacuum cleaner that cleans by itself. You can set it for certain times or tell it to clean.  Basically it's a robot.  That cleans your floors.  Yes please!

Personalized Stationary
Who doesn't love receiving personalized stationary as a gift?  It is one of my favorite things and I Just love the though of sending notes of appreciation to friends and family on special personalized note cards.  The monogramed options from Preppy & Personalized are classic and timeless.  They are also something most people don't buy for themselves, making it the perfect gift! 

Glitter Earrings
Most girls love to accessories and what better way to do that than with these Kate Spade glitter stud earrings.  They come in so many colors and are so affordable.  They would be great gifts for teachers, girlfriends, sisters or moms.  They are super sparkly, but since they are studs, they are perfect for everyday wear.

Timex Watches
When I asked Jen about something on her list she told me a watch and I shouldn't have been surprised.  That girl loves her watches and she always finds the best ones.  This year she is eyeing these Timex ones and y'all, they are all way less expensive than I would have imagined and they are all adorable.  The different colored and patterned bands are so fun and you could totally pick ones to match the recipients style and personality.  (Click pictures for links) 

Well there you have it.  A round up of some of our favorite gift suggestions for all the ladies in your life.  Have any great gift ideas?  Please share them with us in the comments because we all need to get on the ball with our Christmas shopping!

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Kitchen Confessions: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

With one quick snap of Mother Nature's fingers we have officially stepped into winter here! Brr! While not a fan of the cold it does get me in the mood for the holiday season, and with hosting Thanksgiving this week, I have been in full on prep mode. 

I thought this would be the perfect time to join in the fun they are having over at Savvy Sassy Moms for their Holiday Blog Hop. We will be hosting in a few weeks, with all the yumminess that was being shared last week, I just couldn't help myself. This time of year there are so many great recipes to enjoy with friends and family! 

One of my favorite yummy sweet treats to make for the holidays is this yummy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip. It is super easy and a crowd pleaser for all ages. Sometimes I will will use it as an appetizer, but it is perfect for a quick dessert after a large meal and everyone wants something a little lighter. 

Now just to reign in my pregnant lady need to consume all things sweet, and resist eating it all myself...

- 1 8oz. pkg of cream cheese
- 1/2 cup of butter
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
- 1 cup of chocolate chips

1: Mix together cream cheese and butter.
2: Add in sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and chocolate chips.
3: Mix until well combined.
4: Serve with pretzels, graham crackers, or apple slices

**Substitute out chocolate chips for any crushed chocolate candy for a fun new flavor.**

Serve and Enjoy! 

For more holiday fun and mouthwatering sweet treats, check out the SSM Holiday Blog Hop and say hi to all of the fabulous hostesses! 

What sweet treats will you be making this holiday season? 

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Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone! We are so excited about this Friday because it means that we are officially out of school now for Thanksgiving Break for a whole week!! Wahoo!! We have tons of fun things planned next week (other than that whole potty training thing), and I can't wait!! I am ready to shut off my alarm and just get the chance to sit around and be. Ahhh!!! 

To wrap up this week I am going to share some of my favorites and link up with some of our favorite bloggers. Checking out everyone's favorites is always so fun and this time of year it gives me so many great ideas for gifts! Tis the season! 

My favorites this week are...

This week kicked off with getting to see Cute perform in his Thanksgiving program followed by a yummy lunch with all his classmates. It was beyond adorable and I was so proud of Cute. He definitely loves singing and even showed us a free style move or two during the show. I loved hearing in person the songs that we've been hearing for months!

The tables were decorated with tons of fun stuff the children had made. I loved reading what Cute is thankful for. Some of the answers were heartfelt and some were flat out funny.

It was adorable and I am so thankful that I was able to attend and have that moment with him. It is definitely my number one favorite this week!

If you've been a long time reader you know we live by the rule "monogram everything". I felt the bump needed a little monogram action too and was so excited to find this fun monogrammed tunic sweatshirt. I ordered it on a whim one size larger than I normally wear (but realized I probably could have ordered my own size once I received it). It is everything a sweatshirt should be...warm, cozy, and monogrammed! It is definitely a favorite this week, and will be all winter!

(Side note: Apologies for the awful selfie. How do people do that without getting their arms in the shot??)

Speaking of fashion, I have been loving two new beauty favorites. This new nail polish color I picked up has been so fun. I usually lean gold, but am loving this fun silver. It will be perfect for all the festive holiday activities we have coming up. I also love how fast these metallics seem to dry!

This lip gloss we received in our goodie bags from our Las Vegas trip and I have been loving it! Carrie Beth and I were comparing lip glosses last week and she said the same thing about hers. This shade is called "Go Gloss or Go Home".

We are officially winding down soccer season here (thank goodness - weather permitting!). This week we've had two games and have two more to go this weekend! I have enjoyed watching Cute play this Fall, and especially have enjoyed watching how excited he gets during each game. This season has been long, but seeing his sweaty smile at each game and practice makes it worth it.

We also received his official season photos back from the photographer. When did he get so big?!?

Because of all the soccer we've had scheduled this week, my fifth favorite is most definitely an important one. The crockpot is still making my list! ;) I've been loving seeing what recipes people have been sharing for Crock Pot Confessions, and this week I tried a few new ones myself. As busy we have been it's been a life saver! This yummy Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry was a huge hit for everyone in the family.

Chicken Teriyaki Stir Fry

- 3 to 4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
- 1 bottle of Teriyaki sauce
- 3 cups of rice (I used brown)
- 2 cups of stir fry vegetables (pepper, carrots, beans, broccoli, etc.)
**I used the pre-cut/packaged vegetables that are available at my local grocery store in the fresh produce section. Ask your grocer if they have these. It's a huge time saver!**

1: Place chicken and 3/4 of the sauce in the crockpot. Set for 4 to 6 hours.
2: About an hour before it is finished, take two forks and shred chicken.
3: Approximately 30 minutes before place vegetables in the crock pot.
4: Cook rice accordingly.
5: Place cooked rice on plate and scoop chicken and vegetables on top.
6: Serve and enjoy!

With hosting Thanksgiving next week, I have been trying to figure out what to make, and what I should go ahead and order. Taste testing has definitely been fun! A favorite of mine will always be pecan pie!

I have been reading our book club book this week in carpool line and at night before bed and have been loving it. That Nicholas Spark's - he might know a thing or two about writing a good book.
Can't wait to hear your thoughts about See Me in a few weeks!

Our American Girl giveaway has definitely been a favorite of mine this week. It has been so fun to see all the little girls who love American Girl. Some people on our Twitter feed have even shared pictures with us and we've absolutely loved that.

We can't wait to see who wins next week!

What were some of your favorites this week? 

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