Saturday, August 28, 2010

I Won!

Last week I won a Facebook giveaway from Pink Dandy.  I love Pink Dandy!  I've now tried 6 different lotions and a lip balm.  I would really recommend visiting Janae's shop.  You won't be disappointed.  I even have a 15% discount code for you lovely readers.  Just enter hot123 at checkout until September 30. 

Spotlight Saturday Blog Hop #5

It's Spotlight Saturday Hosted By

Between the Lines

Welcome to our new blog hop with a twist!  Every week swing by to link up your blog and one you want to spotlight!  Did you find a new blog you liked this week?  Is there one you visit on a daily basis?  Well, simply link up your Spotlighted blog right under yours.  We will Spotlight our favorite blogs of the week in spots 4, 5, and 6.  

This week I'm Spotlighting Jodi from The Magical Mouse Schoolhouse!

How it Works

1) Link up your own blog.
2)Link up a blog you want to spotlight for the week.(ex. Spotlight: I Spot You)
3) Follow your three hosts.
4) Grab our button and post it on your sidebar or in a Spotlight Saturday Post.
5) Follow as many blogs from the list as you like and leave a comment so they know you stopped by.
6) Return the favor by following blogs that followed you.
(Be aware that URL's cannot be duplicated so please have a second spotlight choice in mind. If your blog's URL has already been spotlighted, just add one you'd like to spotlight. And don't forget to leave a comment with the blog you spotlighted so they can come and join the blog hopping fun! )


Another Fun Blog Hop you may be interested in!

That Girl's Deals

Friday, August 27, 2010

Our Week in a Nutshell!

We had a busy, yet wonderful week.  Big sis started school and loves it..YEAH!   Little sis is learning to ride without training wheels (can last 20-30 secs)...YEAH!  And Mommy joined a gym after the sad death of my beloved treadmill....YEAH!   Poor Daddy worked long hard hours, as always.  Can't wait for the weekend to start tomorrow!  I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Fabulous Food Friday with NancyCreative

Welcome to Fabulous Food Friday! While exploring the blogosphere, I realized that there were many great recipes to share. So every Friday, I am going to try to feature an awesome blogger with their great recipe! Today’s feature blogger is Nancy from NancyCreative. When you get a chance, swing by Nancy's yummy blog.  I’m sure you’ll find a recipe you and your family will love.  My daughter is so excited to try her Blueberry Sherbet recipe from yesterday.

Happy Fabulous Food Friday to everyone! I’m Nancy from NancyCreative and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to do this guest post at Kelly’s wonderful blog, Between the Lines, and share a favorite recipe with you! I am a designer for DaySpring Cards by day, and a blogger by night. :) My blog is kind of like my on-line recipe collection and creative journal of different things that inspire me, from decorating, to gardening, to inspirational thoughts and quotes. It’s a place where I can share about things I’m inspired by and love doing...and my hope is that those who visit find a recipe, idea, or encouraging thought that inspires them, too!

The recipe I am sharing here is called Caramel-Banana Muffins. I always test my recipes out on friends and co-workers who give me good, honest feedback. They loved these muffins and I think you will, too!


This is one of those recipes that I've had in my "stack of recipes to try" for some time now, meaning to try it and just never getting around to it. But the good news is, I finally got around to it, and I'm glad I did–this is a really good muffin recipe! It's from Midwest Living. I only tweaked a few tiny little things in the recipe, which I've noted below. The recipe makes 12 regular muffins or 6 jumbo muffins. The only thing the recipe was missing was the baking time for the jumbo muffins, but I just added about 8 minutes to the baking time for the regular-size muffins, and they turned out great! My friend Ann sampled one and said the caramel in the muffin was a nice touch–and added that you could almost call it a "Bananas Foster Muffin." Isn't that a great name for a muffin? It sounds so gourmet! :) Whatever you call it, it's good!

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 3-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium banana, peeled and mashed (1/2 cup) NOTE: I just had some small bananas, so I used 1 1/2 small ones which came to almost 2/3 of a cup, mashed.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. caramel-flavored ice cream topping
  • 1 medium banana, peeled and thinly sliced (if you're making the 6 jumbo muffins, 1/2 banana will be enough)
  • 1 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • Caramel-flavored ice cream topping for drizzle
Line 12 regular-size or 6 jumbo-size muffin cups with paper liners. In a small bowl, mix pecans, 2 Tbsp. sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, blend softened cream cheese, softened butter and 2/3 cup sugar until well combined. Add egg and mix well. Add in the mashed banana and vanilla until combined.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the banana mixture and blend well, but don't overmix. Then stir 1/4 cup of the pecan mixture from the small bowl into the batter.

Spoon half the batter into prepared muffin cups (1 rounded Tbsp. for each regular muffin cup or 2 rounded Tbsp. for each jumbo muffin cup). Drizzle 1/2 tsp. caramel topping over batter in each cup (you can drizzle a little more if you're making the jumbo muffins). Top with remaining batter. Then top each muffin with 2 thin banana slices. Drizzle each with a little melted butter and sprinkle with remaining pecan mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes for regular muffins, or 25-28 minutes for jumbo muffins, or until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan. If you want to eat the muffins while they're warm, drizzle with more caramel topping and serve. If you'll be serving the muffins later, you can let them cool completely and then add the caramel topping; that way the topping won't all soak into the muffin. They taste good either way!

Tricky Trivia

Blueberry Jelly Bellies were created especially for _______________.

Take a guess in the comments below.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Webkinz Jr. Giveaway Ending Tonight!

Don't miss your last night to enter the fun giveaway from Webkinz Jr.!  Enter HERE.  The giveaway closes at 10pm.

First Day of School!

We all made it through the first day of school yesterday!  Yeah us!  It was an on the go type day.  My oldest was up and dressed for the bus at 6 am.  Unfortunately, the bus doesn't come to 8:30am, so she had a long time to wait.  When the bus finally arrived, I was expecting some sort of hesitation on her part.  I mean, this was her first time getting on a bus and driving away from me.  But no.  She saw the bus pull up and didn't even glance backwards in my direction.  She just walk right in and took a seat with her friends.  This completely devastated her sister, who began crying.  I was proud that my older daughter was so ready for school, but so sad for my younger one who had to watch her best friend drive away.  We did manage to get a little wave from the window.  So that was something. 

My youngest and I kept busy all day by going to the gym, playing games, reading books, and playing Webkinz Jr.  I think with all the Mommy one-on-one time, she is going to get over missing her sister real soon.  This also gives me about two weeks to help prepare her for preschool.  She is so excited about school, but she has never been anywhere without her older sister so it will be a little different. 

At 4 pm, we went back to the bus stop to pick up our very proud little first-grader.  She was so excited to be home, but so excited about school too.  She had so much to tell me, but kept forgetting what she was saying because she was so tired.  So we had a snack, and took a short rest while we watched a cartoon.  After the show, we were off to gymnastics.  She had just been moved up to the advance class, so she didn't want to miss it even though she was wiped out.  All in all, it was a good day.  I hope she comes home today just as excited. 

Tricky Trivia

It would take ________________rolls of wallpaper to cover the Great Wall of China.

Take a guess in the comments below!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Stepping Stones Together Review and 50% Off Offer

I believe that giving your child an early start to reading is important.  The ability to read opens  a plethora of new opportunities for them.  Stepping Stones Together is an online parent/child reading resource created by Erica Burton, PH.D.that helps teach children to read.  The Stepping Stones Together reading program is personalized for each child that joins.   There are numerous online reading activities as well as some that can be printed off.  Parents are able to help their children choose themes of interest and the appropriate level of difficulty.  The program claims that I can teach my child to read in 90 days.  The reading program consists of:
  • A choice of 30 high interest themed stories from our beginning reading library, which is comprised of 3 difficulty levels.
  • Over 100 reading comprehension questions designed to build your child’s reading comprehension skills, along with thinking, reading fluency, speaking and writing abilities. (early reading benefits)
  • A daily writing program linked to your child’s daily reading to extend your child’s reading and writing abilities.
  • Extension games that encourage your child to use their newly acquired reading skills as well as explore the benefits and joys connected with being a reader.
  • A personalized behavior incentive chart for each series of stories to motivate your child to record their daily progress.
  • A personalized certificate acknowledging their achievement after completing a leveled series every 10 days. Each reading series is comprised of 5 stories at a given level read twice. E-alerts to keep you on target with the program, which are directly linked to your personalized profile.
  • Access to Blogs and Newsletters to provide you with current reading research tidbits and best practice tips to parents of new readers.

The above book is my 4 year old daughter’s favorite.  She loves reading, but she loves it more when it involves a princess.   I love that this program allows us to print the book, as well as using them online.  My daughter would rather have the book in her hand and since the pages are black and white, she also enjoys coloring the pages.  I also love the repetition of the high frequency words within each book.  The repetition allows my daughter to get comfortable with a group of words so that it is less intimidating to learn one new word on each page.  Stepping Stones Together  has developed a program with beginning reading activities through first grade reading activities.  Among their activities are flash cards that correspond with their books.  We have not used their flashcards yet, but my older daughter and I used flashcards all the time while she was learning to read.  They were very beneficial. 

 Of course, not all children love reading about princesses.  This is why Stepping Stones Together provides various themes to attract the interest of all children.   Once you and your child choose your first theme and starting level, take the time to look through the pages together.  Many parents are surprised that illustrations play such an important role in beginning reading.  By discussing the illustrations together, you are helping your child to learn how to analyze, imagine, and predict.  After flipping through the pictures, the child can read the book independently or with assistance.  Stepping Stones Together provides comprehension questions to be completed after the child has read the book independently. 

If you are interested in giving your child a jump on reading, “the program will offer a very affordable ($19.99 for the 60 day program but access for 90 days) way for parents to get their child on their way to reading success. There is also a full year access to the program for $39.99.  It offers high interest text (superheroes, sports, transportation, animals, princesses, fairies) repetitive syntax, helps develop print awareness, and utilizes all 220 high frequency words and more that 200 vocabulary words inclusive of the 95 most common nouns in children books." 

Does this sound like a great program that you and your child would like to join?  Well Stepping Stones Together is offering the lucky readers of Between the Lines 50% off a year membership.  That's a $15 savings!  Simply visit Stepping Stones Together and use the code "I want the deal" when purchasing your membership.  Happy Reading! 

Disclosure: I was given access into the Stepping Stones Together website to facilitate my review.  No other compensation was given.  I was not required to give a positive review.

Tricky Trivia

Americans on average eat _________acres of pizza every day.

Take a guess in the comments below.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Meet The Teacher

Yesterday, my little first grader was able to meet her new teacher.  She was excited to see her first desk and her new friends.  Although I've heard nothing about her new teacher, she seemed very organized and very friendly.  I'm praying that these to traits will help make for a good year.  I cannot believe that today is our last day of summer.  The last day I get to spend the entire day with her until next summer.  (sniff, sniff)  Here's hoping to a fun year of learning, exploration, and friendship!

Recipe Corner: Fruit Curry Salad

 With summer coming to a close, I thought I post one more delicious picnic side dish.  This low-fat Fruit Curry Salad is easy to make ahead and actually taste better the day after you make it.  Don't forget to find some more great recipes at Crazy Daisy's Tuesday's Taste Party.  Enjoy!


  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cooked and diced (Perdue sells it ready made)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 Golden Delicious apple - peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup seedless green grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3/4 cup non-fat mayonnaise


  1. In a large bowl combine the chicken, celery, onion, apple, raisins, grapes, pecans, pepper, curry powder and mayonnaise. Mix all together. Serve!

Tricky Trivia

How much would a 100 pound person weigh on Mars?

Take a guess in the comments below!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Lucky Reader!

 Congratulations to Pris who is our lucky winner of a signed copy of The Magic Warble!  Pris won with comment #49, "I subscribe."   Our winner has 48 hours to claim her prize before I randomly select a new winner.  Thanks to everyone who entered and a BIG thank you to Victoria Simcox for introducing us to her new world!

Weekend in DC

There are many weekends where my husband works in either D.C. or Baltimore and has to leave the girls and I behind.  Much to our surprise, this weekend he invited us to go with him.  Since he doesn't start work on the weekends until 7pm, we had the whole day to hang out together.  This weekend we decided to take the girls to the National Zoo.  They loved it, but I think their favorite part of the day was either riding the 200+ foot escalator or riding the Metro.  I wish that I could share with you all the looks of pure joy on their faces when they first stepped on to the "monster" escalator or when they felt the wind blow their hair as the first train whizzed by.  Unfortunately, it was too dark to get any great photos, but I love how happy these little things made them.

When we first got to D.C, I tried pointing out all the monuments and cool buildings, but they really weren't all that interested.  I think they were more fascinated with it a few years back when it was new to them.  Hopefully, when they get a little older, they will be able to appreciate the architectural wonders that stand in our Nation's Capital.  But for now, the excitement of the Metro will suffice.

Now if you asked my girls what their favorite part of the zoo was, they would probably answer you, "We got to see the panda poop!"  That's right...they are the perfect ladies! :)  Actually all the dads in the room were cracking up more than the kids.  The panda walked right up to the glass, looked at everyone, turned so its bottom was facing us, and let it go.  Then he turned back around, looked at everyone again, and walked to the outside enclosure.  It was pretty funny actually.  Here are some of our favorite zoo pictures:

Watching the Meerkat
Checking out the Huge Sea Stars
Wondering why the Komodo dragon isn't breathing fire
Cooling Off!
After the zoo, we took the girls swimming at the hotel that was across the street from my hubby's work.  The hotel was an old bank and we were able to show the girls the HUGE locks on the doors to the bank's safes.  As always, they loved swimming and splashing Daddy.  Who wouldn't?  We ended the night by having a great dinner and saying goodbye to Daddy as he headed to work.

We actually watched my hubby walk all the way from our hotel to his work.  The girls thought it was so funny to watch him get smaller and smaller, until he closed the door.  We also had a lot of fun people watching.  The streets of D.C. are quite the sight!

Our Hotel View

Sahale Snacks Review

Both my daughter and I are huge nut fans.  She tends to like peanuts and walnuts the best and I usually grab a handful of cashews, almonds, or pecans.  However, when it comes to Sahale Nuts, we love them all.   The generous people from Sahale Nuts sent me three of their newest flavors to try.  My family, friends, and I were able to sample Barbeque Almonds, Southwest Cashews, and Tuscan Almonds.  Everyone enjoyed all the flavors, but our top two were definitely the Southwest Cashews and the Barbeque Almonds.  They both had a little bit of spice, but they weren’t overbearing.  I would definitely recommend you stopping by your nearest Starbucks to grab a bag. 

We enjoyed the new flavors so much, we decided to go out and pick up a few bags of their other flavors.  We tried Cashews with Pomegranate and Vanilla (my girls love these), Pecans with Sweet Cranberries, Black Pepper and Orange Zest (my favorite), and Almonds with Cranberries, Honey and Sea Salt.  We actually found these flavors on the shelf of our local Super Wal-mart.  Much to our great surprise, we loved these flavors even more.  I will admit the bags didn’t last as long as they should since we were constantly snacking on them throughout the day.  You can read more about the other great flavors from Sahale Nuts on their WEBSITE.  Try a bag today.  You won’t be disappointed!

Disclosure: I received sample products for this review.  No other compensation was provided and a positive review was not required.

Tricky Trivia

In Massachusetts, it is forbidden to put __________in clam chowder.

Take a guess in the comments below.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

NOVICA and Photacular!

We have two new winners today on Between the Lines!  Our first winner is Glenda.  Congratulations on winning the $30 gift certificate to  Glenda won with comment number 254, "I subscribe to your email with Feedburner."  I will be emailing Glenda shortly and she will have 48 hours to claim her prize before I randomly select a new winner.

Our second winner today is dolls123. Congratulations on winning the $25 (plus free shipping) gift card to  dolls123 won with comment number 41, "I follow you on Twitter."  I will be emailing dolls123 shortly and she will have 48 hours to claim her prize before I randomly select a new winner.  

Thanks to everyone who entered these fantastic giveaways and thanks again to NOVICA and Photacular for sponsoring these giveaways.   I hope everyone has a fabulous week!

Silent Sunday

See how much my girls have grown!

Simple Sunday Twitter Hop

Welcome to the
Simple Sunday Twitter Hop .


Grab a cup of coffee & join us every SundayYou can gain new Twitter followers, find some great blogs & bloggers in the process.
Have Fun !!!
Plus every week we will draw a random guest host to fill our #5 seat :)
How it Works
1. Follow blogs 1 -5 ( we will follow back )
2. Add your Twitter URL ( not your blog url or giveaways)
3. Snag our new button to use in a post about the Simple Sunday Twitter Hop
4. Follow as many ppl. as you would like & follow everyone back that follows you :)
( This is not a giveaway linkup & anything other than your Twitter url's will be deleted )
Link up every Sunday at 12:00 am est !!