Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas Gift Giveaway

Christmas Gift Giveaway 2014

As we are all well aware, Christmas is just around the corner, less than a month away in fact. If you are still on the hunt for some great gifts for your family, may I suggest you check out this giveaway hosted by My Starlight Blessings. 

Welcome to the Christmas Gift Giveaway from My Starlight Blessings Christmas Holiday Gift Guide 2014. Christmas is a time for gift giving and a time for showing our loved ones how grateful we are to have them in our lives. Christmas is also a time for winning giveaways!!

Enter for your chance to win a Plasmart Toys "Squashed", a blue orange "Spot It Disney Frozen", The Orb Factory "Pulsar Powerballs", Wild Kratts Activate Animal Power 2-Pack - Lion & Wild Life Plush - Spot-Swat and Briefton's Instant Veg Spiral Slicer. Good Luck Everyone!

Disclosure My Starlight Blessings and Tots and Me are not responsible for prize fulfillment on the giveaways. (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to the sponsors for providing the prizes for the giveaway. Choice of winners through giveaway tools and opinions are 100% my own and are NOT influenced by receiving a product. The Winner is subject to eligibility verification.” The winner has 48 hours to reply back to the email or a new winner will be selected. The giveaways are not associated with any social media they are shared on.

Penwizard Peppa Pig Personalized Book Giveaway {8 winners!}

Sponsor: Penwizard
I'm thrilled to be joining in with the host: Mom Powered Media to bring you this giveaway!

Are you looking for a unique gift for your child this year? How about a personalized book from Penwizard? I invite you to continue reading to find out more about this wonderful prize. Oh, and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of the post!

Personalized books are great for getting kids involved in reading. You can choose from their range of personalized children's books and see your child in the pictures and story of their own personalized book!


Penwizard is an amazing company. They offer a wide variety of books for both little boys and girls. The nice thing about their books is that you can literally customize the books to fit whatever your child looks like AND put in their name! These books are so easy to create and order. They are also pretty reasonably priced. They range in the 14.99 to 19.99 UK (so about 30-40$ Canadian). Considering your child is going to be able to have that book for the rest of their lives that's a pretty good deal! Check Penwizard out HERE!

Penwizard has offered 8 fans a chance to win a personalized Peppa book for themselves (a 30.00 Canadian Value each!) Rules:
    • Open to USA/CAN
    • 18+
    • ends Dec 9th, 2014
    • one person per household can enter
    • Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc are NOT responsible or liable in anyway for this giveaway
Disclaimer: Participating Blogs were not compensated for this post. No purchase is necessary to enter. One entrant per household, per address. Void where prohibited by law. Winner(s) will be contacted by email and have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. Penwizard will be responsible for product shipment to winners of this sweepstakes. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. if you have any additional questions or comments.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen #101: Apple Pie

Time for Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen
(A weekly linky to share what you and your children have created in the kitchen.)


The linky is at the bottom.

I would like to apologize that Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen is late this week. We celebrated our Thanksgiving yesterday, and I couldn't put it up early because our Apple Pie was made on Thanksgiving in preparation for last night's dinner.  The children and I have made apple pie before, but never as a Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen, so I thought it was about time to rectify that oversight. In the past we have used an apple pie recipe from the book, The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall. Unfortunately, I can't find the book, so I adapted a recipe I found on


6 cups thinly sliced apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbs flour
1 Tbs butter
pie crust
(There is vanilla pictured because one of the suggestions I saw called for adding vanilla. Unfortunately, I forgot to put it in, mainly because it wasn't a part of the recipe and I wasn't sure when exactly I was supposed to put it in.)

Harold poured the sugar into the large bowl.

Tabitha measured the cinnamon in.

Hannah added the flour.

Then Amelia stirred (though she really wanted to add an ingredient).

Mommy then peeled, cored, and sliced the apples. 

Hannah and Amelia helped to dump them into the sugar mixture.

Then Amelia helped me stir the apples into the sugar mixture.

We lined the pie plate with the first crust (we use store bought to save time and because I have yet to perfect pie-crust-making). We poured the apples in, then I dotted the butter on top. I then covered it with the other crust.

 All ready to go in the oven!

I baked it in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes, then I lowered the temperature to 350 degrees and baked it for another 30 minutes.


1- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2- Prepare pie crust.
3- Combine sugar, cinnamon, and flour in a large bowl.
4- Pour into pie plate lined with pie crust.
5- Dot with butter.
6- Cover with second pie crust and seal edges. 
7- Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees for an additional 30-35 minutes.

Do you have your children help you in the kitchen?  What lessons do they learn? Do you have any kid friendly recipes to share?
I'd love to see your posts, whether you have done something this week or some time in the past. Just link up below. This is a weekly linky.

I am linking up to:
PhotobucketMore the Merrier MondayFull Time Mama

Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Try a New Recipe Tuesday at Home to Four Kiddos
The Gathering Spot at Mamal Diane
Friday Food Frenzy at Close to Home
Fantastic Thursday at Five Little Chefs
Foodie Friends Friday at Robyn'sView
Family Fun Friday at Happy and Blessed Home
Find a New Recipe Friday at Almost Supermom

And here is my Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen linky

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #24: November 27, 2014

Welcome back to... 

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around November 27th from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook. 

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. I'm thinking I may be seeing lots of Thanksgiving posts, but I could be wrong.

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post:

Originally posted November 26, 2011
Kids and a Mom in the Kitchen: Cranberry Bread

Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday:

Rebecca from Raventhreads shared her post:

To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

If you would like to help spread the news:

Tots and Me
Happy Throwback Thursday!

Melk the Monkey ebook Flash Giveaway {3 Winners!}

Melk the Christmas Monkey would love to join your family for the Christmas season this year. This Sunday, the first day of Advent, our Melk will be back from wherever Christmas Monkeys go when they are not with their families. He is going to help us prepare our hearts for Christ while we focus on God's character through fun crafts and activities. We will be reading God's word and learning how much he loves us. 

Melk the Christmas Monkey is an ebook written by Katie Hornor of Paradise Praises

There are 30 days of lessons that Melk will help teach your children each day leading up to Christmas. The lessons are flexible, and you don't have to do all of them or do them in the same order as written, though some work best if not taken out of order. You will have to purchase your own monkey or other stuffed animal, preferably one that poses easily. You can also use a Christmas friend you already have and adapt the lessons to that friend. 

If you would like to learn more about Melk, I invite you to read my review

You can purchase your own Melk the Monkey ebook for $11.97 from Paradise Praises.

I have been given the great privilege of offering my readers their chance to win a copy of Melk the Christmas Monkey. In fact, there will be 3 winners, each of whom will receive the ebook. Please remember, you will have to supply your own Melk. Katie has listed some suggestions on her site, however, it shouldn't be that hard to find one in a local store. In fact, we found ours at the dollar store and the children just love him.

As Advent is just around the corner, this will be a flash giveaway.
The giveaway will run Thanksgiving Day and the day after (Black Friday).
Don't miss out on your chance to win your copy of Melk the Christmas Monkey. 
Let Melk help make your Christmas more meaningful this year!

You can find Katie over at Paradise Praises. Additionally, she can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

All you need to do is enter in the Rafflecopter form below. There are only 3 simple mandatory entries, with the remainder of the entries being optional. Remember, you do not have to do the extra entries, but they will increase your odds of winning. 

This giveaway is open to US residents 18 and over. 
The giveaway runs November 27 and 28 only.

Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

Disclosure: I received the Melk the Christmas Monkey ebook from Paradise Praises in exchange for my honest review. I received no further compensation. This did not in any way influence my review. I only recommend products I use personally and feel will be a good products for my readers.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Safety 1st Carseat Giveaway

Keep your child safe this holiday travel season!

Enter to win your choice of Safety1st carseat!
Hosted by The Link Fairy
Enter to win a carseat from Safety1st on!

I'm excited to be able to bring you this giveaway hosted by The Link Fairy. Check out the wonderful selection of carseats from Safety 1st. The winner of this giveaway will get their choice of carseat to keep their child safe this holiday season and beyond.

It's holiday travel season and with so many others heading to be with family, every parent should make sure their kiddos are safe. Whether you are traveling by car or plane this year, it's always important to make sure your children are riding in the proper car seat. Take a look at some great travel tips from Safety1st on How To Survive The Holidays With Kids and make sure you're travels are merry and safe!

Enter through the widget below. 
Open to US residents 18+. 
Ends 12/10.
This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other social media. Tots and Me is not responsible for the fulfillment or shipment of prizes. If you’d like to have your product hosted through a Link Fairy giveaway, please contact Rachel at

Wordless Wednesday: November 26, 2014 (w/linky)- Tired Children

We arrived home late from the Harvest Dinner we attended a week and a half ago. When I walked into the living room, these are the sights that greeted me.

Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.


Creating Christmas Memories with Melk the Christmas Monkey {A Review}

It's almost the end of November which means Christmas is right around the corner. A time when families are busy participating in traditions and making memories. We have quite a few Advent and Christmas traditions that we have accumulated through the years.  In our family, we desire to focus on Jesus, the reason for the season, so all our activities revolve around Him. There are popular traditions we do not participate in, putting up a Christmas tree and having the children believe in Santa are a couple of them.  Which of course means we have never had an elf visiting us and hanging out on our shelves. However, I discovered that my children really enjoyed the idea of a little friend that comes to visit when we had a homeschool elf stop by on the first day of school.

Enter Melk the Christmas Monkey by Katie Hornor from Paradise Praises.

Melk the Christmas Monkey is a book meant to go along with a cute stuffed friend for the Christmas season. You could choose to use a different animal friend to be Melk or even adapt the activities in the book to be used with a Christmas friend you already have. As we have never done anything like this before, I opted for purchasing a little monkey. I was fortunate to find one all dressed for the Christmas season with a red hat and scarf. If you aren't sure where to find a suitable friend, a few options have been suggested on the Paradise Praises site. With this little monkey and the book in hand or... well... on my computer as I was provided the ebook version for review, I was ready to introduce Melk into our family traditions.

The book is arranged so that each day is a lesson in learning about God's character and how He is involved in our lives. The children will discover Melk each morning as described in the beginning of that day's lesson. He might be surrounded by craft materials, or be getting ready to make a snack. There are times he may even be stuck in quite the predicament. Along with Melk the children will find a letter that he wrote to them, explaining what he is up to, what they are going to do that day, and the Bible verse(s) that explain how this relates to the character trait of God that is being learned that day. Here is a sample of a daily lesson.

In large red letters, we are told what we are going to be doing on that particular day. Then there are the following sections:
  • Melk- Which describes how the parent is to arrange Melk for the children to find.
  • Activity- Tells the parent the specific activity including a link to any needed resource.
  • Materials- Lists the needed supplies needed for the activity.
  • Lesson- Explains what we are learning about God.
  • Scripture- The entire Scripture passage is printed out from the King James Version
Next to this inset lesson you will find, again in red lettering, the character trait of God that is being learned in the lesson, along with a dictionary definition of the word. Under that, a picture has been provided showing an example of how Melk could be found. Finally, at the bottom of the page, a copy of the letter from Melk to the children is provided. This can be read directly from the lesson or the printable letters in the Appendix can be used. Here is a sample of those printable Melk letters:

These letters print out 2 per page. And you can opt to print the logo on the back. There are letters provided for each of the 30 lessons, plus an optional "goodbye" letter.  In addition to the lessons and the letters, there are many resources provided for recipes, craft directions, book suggestions and other activities. The links to these are all found in the book. 

We had one week with Melk before he had to leave. The reason we had such a short time was because we are reviewing the book before Advent starts, so I wrote an extra letter for the children from Melk where he told them he was visiting to see if our family was the right place for him to spend his Advent with. 

Melk was found outside our door, after I received a phone call that he was here. 

We welcomed him into our home and found a basket seat he could relax in. Then we read his letter.

We discovered that he is nocturnal, so he would be active at night. He is also a mute monkey who communicates through his letters.  He is very sensitive and doesn't like to be touched, so only mommy and daddy are supposed to be moving him. The children were so excited to have Melk here. They worked on making a tent for him to sleep in, which was Amelia's idea.

The first day he was here he gave us a coloring sheet of himself to color. These coloring sheets are one of the many resources that are linked to in the book, though there is a 99 cent charge for them.

When they were done coloring, Harold stopped by Melk's tent to give him the picture, then the girls followed suit.

Each morning when the children woke up, the found Melk ready to play with them. They did have to remember not to touch him, something Harold had a hard time with. The first day we found him on our dining table, ready to make a craft. The second day he was waiting on the stove to make a snack. On day 3 he was stuck because he had tried getting on the couch to hide the last candy cane. The next day he was again on the table ready to make a different craft.

 Each day Tabitha or I would read the letter. Then we would have breakfast before doing the activity. However, as soon as we were done eating, we cleaned up and did the activity so Melk could go back to sleep. He hung out with us in his basket. 

Through the week, we made star ornaments out of pipe cleaners and S'mores Bites for snack. We went on a candy cane hunt. And on the last day, we made a candy cane wreath to give as a gift to a friend. 

At the end of the week Melk wrote them all letters, grabbed his belonging, and headed out to where ever little Christmas Monkeys go. I have it  on great authority that he enjoyed spending time with our family and will be back on the first day of Advent. 

The children absolutely enjoyed spending time with Melk. They had a blast finding him each morning and spending time with him before he went down for his "nap." They understand that he has to sleep during the day seeing as daddy works nights. In fact, there were times Tabitha went a little overboard, trying to get her younger siblings to be quiet so he could sleep. Daddy explained that regular day-to-day noise would not bother Melk, but they should refrain from being too loud, jumping around and screaming. 

The older girls did realize that mommy was the one setting everything up and printing out the letters. I'm not sure about Hannah and Harold though. All I know is, they love Melk and can't wait for him to come back. In fact, little Harold asks, "Where's Melk?" several times a day. To them, he is a real friend. 

Mommy loves that Melk focuses on God's character traits and that the focus of Melk is teaching about God and helping out, not getting into mischief. We are getting to make fun crafts, try new recipes and just have a fun time with activities. When Sunday rolls around we will be bringing out our normal Advent activities and adding in a new tradition. I love that we are going to focus even more on God and his character this year.

The ebook itself contains 30 lessons which means if you start on the first Sunday on Advent you will not need all the lessons. This works well for us because there are some lessons we would be unable to do, such as the lesson where they sleep under the Christmas tree. I could also see combining some of the lessons if you would like to complete them all. For instance, there are several that involved candy canes. I could see going on a candy cane hunt while learning if we seek God we will find him, and then using the candy canes to make a wreath while remembering that God gives good gifts. 

You can purchase the Melk the Monkey ebook from Paradise Praises for $11.97. For an additional $4, you can also receive monthly emails from Melk with new Bible lessons. The coloring pages can be purchased for 99 cents. Don't forget, you will have to purchase your own monkey or use a friend you already have. It is recommended that the friend is easy to pose.

If you are looking for a way to keep Christ in Christmas and learn more about God while having a fun-filled creative Advent season, I would highly recommend Melk the Christmas Monkey.

Disclosure: I received the Melk the Monkey ebook from Katie Hornor and Paradise Praises in exchange for my honest review. I received no further compensation. This did not in any way influence my review. I only recommend products I use personally and feel will be a good products for my readers.
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