Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Great New Year's Eve Party Recipes!

We just got back from a trip to visit family in Erie and my Aunt made 2 new things this year that I just had to share!

Here are the links to 2 great, quick recipes that would be fantastic for your next get together.

Cinnamon Toast Pecans from the one and only Paula Dean!

Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps again from Paula Dean

From my kitchen, a dip I make all of the time and is always a favorite. It is a Pampered Chef recipe I got when I was a consultant.

Hot Artichoke Crab Dip
1 pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 can artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
1 pkg. (oz.) imitation crabmeat, chopped
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 tsp. lemon zest
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Just mix everything , put in a shallow casserole dish and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until dip is bubbly.
Makes 4 cups.
Tastes great with sea salt garlic chips!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Marshalls Winter Wonderland of Savings

Okay, so I am a self proclaimed last minute shopper! Anyone with me? So, when I was contacted to participate in Marshalls Winter Wonderland of Savings Promotion I was very excited! They sent me a $25 gift card to use at Marshalls to finish some of my last minute shopping.

In case you haven't heard of Marshalls they are a group of stores that provide the same quality merchandise for 20-60% less than department stores and high end boutiques. These excellent prices are not just holiday magic. While other retailers are cancelling holiday orders, Marshalls buyers are swooping in to make purchases for less, which they then pass on to shoppers. Now that’s spreading some holiday cheer! From great gifts, to designer clothing and shoes to entertaining and seasonal d├ęcor items, Marshalls has everything you need for a holiday season worth celebrating.

So on Christmas Eve (yes I did say last minute!) I headed to my local Marshalls to see what I could find. The store looked great and was playing some really festive music. They still had a really great selection of items even though it was Christmas Eve. I wasn't really sure who I had in mind to buy for, but I did know I wanted to find some great bargains!

First a quick stroll through the shoe department (you can never have enough shoes). If you are looking for great designer shoes this is the place for you! But, I wasn't here to shop for myself, so I moved on!

My next favorite thing, bags and purses! This is where I found these cute little Bring It On bags by Nike.

These cute little bags fold up really small and tight to fit in your purse or diaper bag so you always have your own eco friendly bag when you take a quick trip to store! I'll take 3, one for mom, one for a friend and yep one me! I just couldn't resist! I wish they would have had more.

Next, I browsed through the gift section. Wow, they had everything you could ever imagine! Bath sets, cookbooks, frames, vases, gourmet gift sets, pet items, tons of kitchen gadgets, pots, pans, home decor, books the list goes on and on! The thing I really like about this section of Marshalls is that they have really unique items. Just when I think I can't find something for that hard to buy person on my list, there it is right in front of me at Marshalls and at a great price too! I have to remember to come here next time I need a cool birthday gift.

Next stop, kids section. They had so many nice name brand toys at great prices. I saw a lot of things that looked really neat that I had not seen in the local toy stores. I was already done shopping for all the toys on my list so I figured I better not buy any more! I decided to look at the clothes. I found these 2 really cute Carters items for my 3 month old nephew. As I was heading toward the checkout lines, I spotted a section of Pittsburgh sports items. Lots of Steeler, Penguin and Pirate stuff. My hubby is a huge sports fan and I found this nice Penguin t-shirt for him and a really cool Steeler hat for my son.

My hubby is also a hunter and a baseball coach and I found this really nice Duoflod Varitherm shirt to keep warm on those cold days outside. I looked around a little more and managed not to buy anything else for myself, but I found some really great stuff I want to go back for after Christmas!

So, off to the checkout! Here is the breakdown of what I purchased

3 Nike bags ------------- retail $24.99 ~ Marshalls price $4.99
Carters Christmas onsie --- retail $7.99 ~ Marshalls price $2.99
Carters onsie gift set ---- retail $12.00 ~ Marshalls price $6.99
Pens t-shirt ------------- retail $16.00 ~ Marshalls price $9.99
Steeler fitted hat -------- retail $16.00 ~ Marshalls price $7.99
Mens Duofold shirt ------ retail $24.99 ~ Marshalls price $12.99
--------------- retail $151.95 ~ MY PRICE $55.92!!!!!!!!!

I saved over 70% by shopping a Marshalls. Now that's a deal worth sharing.

Now it's my turn to spread some post holiday cheer! I have a $25 T.J. Maxx gift card to give away to one of you! T.J. Maxx is owned by the same company as Marshalls and they have the same brand name merchandise at rock bottom prices!

Main entry: complete both parts to be eligible
1. Subscribe to my blog via reader (left sidebar) & leave a comment telling me who you would shop for with the gift card 1 entry
2. Follow my blog (left sidebar) & leave a comment that you are following. 1 entry
Bonus entries:
1. Follow me on Twitter Leave a comment.
2. Follow TJ Maxx on Twitter Leave a comment.
3. Post my giveaway on a social networking site like Twitter or Facebook and leave a link to your post in your comment. Can do this 1 time each day.
4. Post a link to my contest on your blog. Leave a link to your post in your comment.

5. Grab my button (right sidebar) and post it on your blog.

PLEASE don't forget you leave your Twitter ID or email address in one of your comments for notification. I will not hunt you down if you win.

This contest will end at 11:59 pm on Saturday, January 3rd. The winner will be chosen by The winner will be posted on this site on Sunday, January 4th and will have 48 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you to Marshalls and TJ Maxx including me in this exciting promotion! I had a great time shopping :)

Good luck!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Exciting Announcement!

I have been invited to be a guest blogger on the Walmart 11 Moms website! My blog will be featured here starting December 31st for 2 weeks. I want to thank John Anderson and the 11 moms for this great opportunity!

If you have a product you would like featured on my blog and you are interested in sponsoring a giveaway during this time please email me at

Do you have a Esty or Artfire shop?
Something I would like to do in the New Year is start an Esty & Artfire shops showcase on my blog. I am always on the Internet, but I just recently started blogging and using Twitter. I NEVER realized what a great selection of handmade goods were available in these types of shops until now. Being that I am craftymamaof4 I would like to bring more attention to these shops and encourage my readers to support these independent business women. I would post a link and a short bio (written by you) of you and/or your shop on my blog for 2 weeks. If you would like to sponsor a giveaway or a offer a discount code for your shop to my readers that would be cool!

I would like to get this started by featuring several shops on my blog during my guest spot on the 11 moms site. If you or anyone you know would be interested, please email me at craftymamaof4@gmail. There is not much time to get this together so respond soon!

Thank you and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Quick Spicy Chili

I'm not much of a chili eater, I don't like the beans, but last weekend I stopped at my brother's house and my SIL had made some and it smelled good so I tried some.

Wow it was really good and I have been craving it all week so I asked her for the recipe and made some today. I'm gonna share the recipe with all of you it will definitely help warm you up on these cold winter days!

1 lb cooked ground meat
1 26 oz jar spaghetti sauce
1 jar salsa - your choice of mildness
1 pkg chili seasoning
1 can chili beans (I made mine without)

Mix it all together and cook until heated through. Top with shredded cheddar cheese and crushed nacho chips.

That's it! Even if you don't cook I think you could manage this, very easy and YUMMY!

Oh yeah, you might want to take some Tums with it :)


Friday, December 19, 2008

Winners of Nintendo DS Zenses Games

And the winners are ......(as chosen by

Comment #51 CarolSue @digicat Congratulations you have won the Zenses Rainforest DS game!

Comment#43 Spooky @spookygirl Congratulations you have won the Zenses Ocean DS game!

Please contact me within 24 hours to claim your prizes!

Thank you to everyone who participated. I hope you all enjoy my blog.

A special thank you to Brittney at The Game Factory for providing these great games to me and my readers! It has been a pleasure working with you :)

Winner Build a Bear Workshop Wii Game

Congratulations to Lindsey @kindred_spirit! chose your comment #23! You are my winner! You have 24 hours to contact me and claim your prize!

Thank you to everyone who participated! I hope you all enjoy my blog.

A special thanks to Brittney at The Game Factory for making this giveaway possible.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Quick Yummy Candy Treat

Looking for something quick to make for a last minute gift? These are so easy to make and the kids can help too!

Here's what you need
~Snyders "Snap" pretzels - they are square and look like graph paper
~Rolo candies
Here's what you do
~Heat oven to 250 degrees
~Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper
~Arrange pretzels on cookie sheet
~Place 1 unwrapped Rolo on top of each pretzel
~Bake just enough for the Rolos to soften, but not melt
~Remove from oven and place another pretzel on top of each Rolo and smash down to make a sandwich

Fill up a jar with candies, wrap the lid in a pretty piece of fabric and ribbon, attach a gift tag, and you are ready to go! Wanna give a little more than candy? Attach an instant lottery ticket to the jar too!

I give these out every year and everyone loves them!

Wordless Wednesday (on Thursday!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bakugan B2 Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations to Plus Size Mommy for winning my Bakugan B2 Giveaway! I hope your boys enjoy this and don't fight too much over it!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Zenses for Nintendo DS Review and Giveaway

This is for all my mom readers! I have 2 more great games to share with you today! They are Zenses Ocean and Zenses Rainforest for Nintendo DS.

I really enjoyed both of these games and would recommend them for a great escape from your busy day (as if twitter wasn't enough distraction!) Zenses forced me to fight my kids for their DS's! I guess I need my own!
Zenses Ocean
Quote from the package "Welcome to active relaxation. Clean, fresh and stylish-with and ambient soundtrack to sooth and relax. Zenses allows you to unplug and experience and active escape, helping you transcend the stresses of your everyday life." Wow I'm sold how about you!

This game consists of 6 VERY addictive puzzle games and challenges. It has over 50 levels of play and you can choose the level you want to escape to. My favorite games are Pearl Diver and Shell Twirl. The directions are kinda vague, but once you play around you can figure out exactly how to play.

Zenses Rainforest
Quote from package "Zenses Rainforest allows players to explore the rainforest while playing games infused with rain drops, exotic flowers, waterfalls and giant trees. Immerse yourself in Zenses while challenging the mind, body and spirit through 6 relaxing games, soothing ambient sounds and authentic visuals that highlight the natural wonders and beauty of the Rainforest." Zenses take me away!

Just like Zenses Ocean,Zenses Rainforest is VERY addicting with over 50 levels to play at your own pace. My favorite games are Stack Jack and Sapphire Wheel. Again the instructions are vague but you will get the hang of it!

Both of these games also come with a bonus downloadable MP3 chill out album!

My 11 year old daughter also really liked these games. Puzzle games are our favorite type of game. My 9 year old son also tried these out and enjoyed them. He is the type that will play a game until he solves everything then move on to the next game! I hope he finishes soon because I want to play more!

These games retail for $29.99 and are recommended for ages 6 & up. My 6 year old had a little trouble playing, so I would suggest a little older.

Now the fun part! The Giveaway!
The Game Factory has given me one copy of each game to give away to my awesome followers! There will be 2 winners. One will recieve Zenses Ocean and the other will recieve Zenses Rainforest.
To enter:
1. Subscribe to my blog via reader (upper right sidebar) & leave a comment telling me how you like to relax. 1 entry
2. Follow my blog (upper right sidebar) & leave a comment telling me which game you think you would like. 1 entry

To be eligible to win you must complete the 2 items above.

You can earn extra entries by doing any or all of the following: Please leave separate comments for each thing you do.
1. Follow me on Twitter
2. Follow The Game Factory on Twitter
3. Post my giveaway on a social networking site like Twitter or Facebook and leave a link to your post in your comment. Can do this 1 time each day
4. Post a link to my contest on your blog. Leave a link to your post in your comment.

PLEASE don't forget you leave your Twitter ID or email address for notification. I will not hunt you down if you win.

This contest ends Friday, December 19th at 1:00 pm EST. The winner will be chosen by the sequence generator at Winner must have a US postal address. Winner has 24 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Build a Bear Workshop for Wii Review and Giveaway

I was fortunate enough a few weeks ago to receive some games to try out from The Game Factory. My kids have been having a blast trying them all out. Here is our review of the first game.

Build a Bear Workshop A Friend Fur All Seasons for Wii
You begin this game by creating the furry friend you would like to be while you play the game. As you play you visit 4 islands each with a different seasonal theme. On each island you must play a series of mini games to collect puzzle pieces to get to the next island. You also receive medals based on your success in the mini game that can be used to buy additional clothes and accessories for your character. Once you have completed all four islands you go to the final island to the big party!

My kids had a great time playing this game! My 11 yr old daughter had fun playing with my 3 yr old son, but I don't know if she would play by herself! Don't tell hm I told you, but my 9 yr old son played his way through the whole game this weekend and enjoyed himself while he played! My 6 yr old son is having a great time playing his way through the game and can't wait to get to the party. The manufacturer suggests for ages 6 - 12. I think children under 6 would like it, my 3 yr old does, but they need a little help to play.

This game is rated E for everyone and can be played by up to 4 players. It retails for $39.99 but you can snag it right now at and for the bargain price of $19.99.
You could snag it right here for FREE!! Yep I said FREE!

The Game Factory has been generous enough to offer a copy of this game to one of my lucky viewers.

To enter:
1. Subscribe to my blog via reader (upper right sidebar) & l
eave a comment telling me what your favorite season is and why. 1 entry
2. Follow my blog (upper right sidebar) & leave a comment that you follow. 1 entry

To be eligible to win you must complete the 2 items above. You can earn extra entries by doing any or all of the following: Please leave separate comments for each thing you do.

1. Follow me on Twitter
2. Follow The Game Factory on Twitter
3. Post my giveaway on a social networking site like Twitter or Facebook and leave a link to your post in your comment. Can do this 1 time each day
4. Post a link to my contest on your blog. Leave a link to your post in your comment.

PLEASE don't forget you leave your Twitter ID or email address for notification. I will not hunt you down if you win.

This contest ends Thursday, December 18th at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be chosen by the sequence generator at Winner must have a US postal address. Winner has 24 hours to claim prize or a new winner will be chosen.

Plastic Bottle Bird Feeder

Here in PA when the weather gets cold, the birds get hungry! We always make sure we feed our backyard friends when the snow falls. This year we made our own bird feeders. By doing this we saved money by not buying any new expensive bird feeders, we recycled because we used plastic bottles, and we had fun! Here is a bird trying out the one we hung on our porch.

They are very easy to make. This is what you need:

16 - 24 oz plastic water or soda bottle with lid
Wooden BBQ skewer
Bird seed
Permanent markers

~About 1/2 way down one side of the bottle cut an opening about the size of a bar of soap. You can cut the flap of or leave it attached on the top and fold it up to make an "awning"

~Cut the sharp edge off of each end of the skewer and cut it in half.

~Under the opening poke a small hole and place one half of the skewer in the hole push it through and cut another hole in the other side so the skewer goes through a little bit.

~Use permanent markers to decorate your bird feeder

~Make a hanger by tying the string around the bottle just under the lid.

~Fill bottom with seed and hang!

I used this as a craft with my Tiger Cub scouts and they really enjoyed it .

You can make a larger version of this by using a 2 liter bottle or 64 oz juice bottle and a dowel rod.


My Precious Kid

Have you heard of My Precious Kid yet? I had not until a few weeks ago when what in my mailbox should appear? A Child Seat Id Kit I won on Twitter. This kit is for emergency personnel to identify crucial information on my child in case of an accident. The laminated card is attached to his car seat like a luggage tag. This is a fantastic idea! As parents we hope that nothing bad will ever happen, but the reality is that you just never know. Don’t you want to be prepared if something happens to your child? My Precious Kid helps you prepare for these emergencies.

My Precious Kid is a company run by Kay Green, a mother of 4 and grandmother of 1. Her company began with her invention of My Precious Kid Id Kits and has grown to include over 100 great products geared toward the safety of children.

Some of my favorites are:
Child Safety Pack $16
· Includes everything you need to ID your child in an emergency situation
Personalized Allergy Labels $16
· Includes 60 labels with your child’s name and up to 4 allergies
Kid Dog Tag $10
· Personalized, waterproof, place on zipper or belt loop
Sippy Cup Name Bands
· Personalized stretchy bands to identify your child’s sippy cup

There are many more items to choose from that are really great! Interested? Visit them at

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Virtual Legos

My 6 year old son is obsessed with Legos! I have to brag that I feel he is very advanced for his age. He does really well following the directions in the large kits and even better dreaming up his own creations. He has amazed many people with his creatitivy.

A few weeks ago he was bored and didn't know what to do (anyone else have this problem?). He asked if he could go on my computer and instead of letting him play the usual internet games I decided to do a google search to find something new. I searched for "virtual Legos" and what do you know, there is such a thing and it's at!

As facinated with Legos as we are I had never been to their site. So we checked it out. When you get there you have to download the program to your computer, which is nice because you don't have to be connected to the internet to play. Once you download, every Lego piece in every color you could ever think of is there for you to create with! I will admit it took a few fustraiting attempts for him to get the hang of it, but now a few weeks later he has gotten quite good.

You can build from scratch or add to starter models. Once you are finished you can view your creation on a variety of different backgounds. Here is a plane he made:

Here is one more, a car complete with drivers:
The coolest thing is you can order your creation from Lego complete with instructions so you can build it with real blocks!

If you have a kid who likes Legos, I suggest you check out this site, it really is a lot of fun.

Fast Fixin' 7 Ways to Save and Year of Breakfast Contest

Consumer Queen just announced to day that Fast Fixin' and Walmart have teamed up to save you some money and give you a chance to win a year's worth a breakfast for your family!

Here are the details

7 Ways to Save

1. Sign up for Fanatics at to print $5 in Savings coupons

2. Purchase the January “All You” magazine for $1.50 Savings (Magazine contains $50 in manufacturer’s coupons)

3. Purchase the Fast Fixin’ Breakfast items and send in the Try Me Free for up to $5 in savings.

4. Cut out the UPC’s from the products and collect 10 to earn a free product coupon. = $7.99 Savings

5. Use the coupon inside the box of Fast Fixin’ Breakfast items for a $1 savings.

6. Use the Coupon in the Breakfast Burrito box for a Savings of $1.50

7. Use the Coupon in the Fast Classics Country Fried Steak for $2 off any 2 Fast Fixin’ Breakfast Items= $2 Savings.
Total Savings: Up to $24.00

Now for the contest!
You have the chance to win 1 of 15 Years Supply of Breakfast from Fast Fixin’ and Fast Classics. Prizes will be awarded as: 24 Free Product Coupons good on any Fast Fixin’ or Fast Classics item up to $7.99 for each family.

To enter the contest go to and follow the instructions

Good luck!
Contest ends on 1/15/09

Fast Fixin’ Breakfast products are only available at certain Walmart Locations.
Coupons listed are on a limited availability basis.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Piano lessons. Big sis and little bro at Aunts house.

Toys r Us Hot Holiday Toy Giveaway

Toys R Us is having a fantastic giveaway right now that is too good to pass up! Go to to register to win.

They are giving away prizes to 40 lucky instant winners each day now thru December 15th. A Grand Prize Winner will be chosen from all of the entries at the close of the contest.

The Sweepstakes Grand Prize includes the following (1): One (1) prize package consisting of the Top 10 Hottest Toys for the season including: One (1) of each of the following: Step2 50's Diner, Thomas & Friends - Thomas Talking Railway - The Great Discovery Train Set, Thomas Wooden Railway Grow-With-Me Playtable, Power Wheels Toddler Fire Truck, Vtech Touch Tablet Pearl Ice, Meade 114mm Equatorial Reflector Telescope, First Act 7 Piece Designer Drum Set, Hasbro Nerf N Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Blaster – Yellow, Lily Castle and FurReal Friends Biscuit My Lovin' Pup.

You can enter once a day and earn 5 extra entries by referring friends to the contest. You will be prompted to do this after you enter.

Don't delay go to Toys R Us today :) You could be the next winner!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Bakugan B2 Giveaway

I was at Target tonight looking for a Wii Fit (no luck) and as I was browsing around I came to display full of Bakugan! I could not believe my eyes. I have been looking for these almost as much as I am looking for a Wii Fit.

A few weeks ago I didn't even know what Bakugan was. One day we were shopping and saw them and my boys begged me for them so we bought 2 packs. I would never believe that a few little magnetic marble like creatures would bring so much harmony to my house. You see, my 2 middle boys ages 6 & 9 can't do anything together without fighting. When we got home, and on several occasions since then, they have played for HOURS with these little guys without fighting! I LOVE BAKUGAN :)

Anyway you can imagine my excitement when I found more tonight. They are so hard to find, I was in such a great mood, and in the spirit of giving, I bought an extra pack to giveaway and spread some joy to someone else's home.

Up for grabs is 1 B2 Starter Pack. The pack includes 3 Bakugan, 3 ability cards, and 3 metal gate cards. These are the new "Bigger, More Powerful" Bakugan. This retails at Target for $10.09.
To enter:

  • Follow my blog and leave a comment telling me who you would give these to.
Want extra entries? Of course you do! Leave separate comments for each task you complete.

  • Follow me on twitter

  • Tweet my contest~you can do this ONCE a day each day until the contest ends.

  • Post a link to my contest on your blog.
Be sure to include your Twitter id or email address in your comment so I can notify you if you win.

This contest ends Sunday, December 14th at 6 pm est. Winner will be chosen by the sequence generator on The winner will have 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. The winner must have a US postal address.

Good luck! Merry Christmas :)

Eco Friendly Present Wrapping

So, are you wondering how you could do your part this holiday season to reduce paper waste? I thought of a great idea while shopping a my local Giant Eagle Grocery yesterday. I was in line and they had a display of their reusable grocery bags. Along with the usual store ones, they also had Steeler bags for sale!

My Mother in Law loves the Steelers, so I figured I would pick one up for her as part of her Christmas present. Then I thought (scary I know) why not use the bag to wrap her presents in instead of wrapping paper or a gift bag! Instead of having a pile of paper to throw away, she will have a bag to use when she goes shopping.

So, next time you are shopping pick up a few and use them to wrap your presents this year. If you really have some time on your hands (haha), you can match the bags up with your friend's and family's favorite stores. Most major retailers have their own versions of these bags, Toys r Us has some cute ones that would be nice to use for kids presents.

Homemade Green Grocery Bags

A few months ago a came across a pattern to make "green" grocery bags from left over material and it has now become an obsession! I made 16 of them for Halloween for everyone to use as trick or treat bags and I am now making them for everyone for Christmas. They are really easy to make and everyone loves them.

The pattern calls for a front pocket, but I don't put one on, instead I embroider the front panel of the bag (when you are making a lot it goes faster without the pocket). If you don't have an embroidery machine, you can just leave the pocket on or do some sort of iron on picture.

Here is a photo of one of the Halloween bags:

Here are photos of the bags I am making for Christmas. I was going to personalize the embroidery according to each person's interests, but that got to be too much, so I decided to go with simple monograms for everyone.

I did make special bags for the teachers.

I did a lot of my sewing the weekend after Thanksgiving while visiting family in Erie. My cousin and I sewed while my mom and aunt watched the kids! I was great. The men in the family were facinated by my embroidery machine. It was really funny. When my uncle realized how much I could do with my machine, he came out of the cuboard with a handful of shirts he wanted my to embroider with his name and business name!Here is the link to the blog where I found the pattern

Someday I am going to have time to actually make a few for myself!

If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I will get back to you. Happy sewing :)

Chocolate Raspberry Dream Cookies

I was really excited when I read about Mommay's Mayhem's Virtual Cookie Exchange, but the weekend got away from me and I missed the deadline! I'm going to share my cookie recipe anyway.

I found this recipe about 3 years ago at the grocery store and tried it because I love anything raspberry! Now every year I get requests from friends and family to bake these cookies. Enjoy!

Swirled Chocolate Raspberry Dream Cookies by Nestle

2 cups flour

¾ cup Nestle Baking Cocoa

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

1 cup butter or margarine, softened

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

½ cup slivered almonds

10 oz package Nestle Swirled Chocolate/Raspberry morsels

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in 1 cup morsels and nuts. Drop well rounded teaspoons of dough onto baking sheet. Top each drop with 4-5 additional morsels.

Bake for 11 -13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes then transfer to cooling racks.

Makes about 4 ½ dozen cookies

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Elf Magic Giveaway

The day after Thanksgiving we got an unexpected visitor at the door from the North Pole. "Who is it Mommy?" rang through the house with excitement! We opened the door together and just outside the door was our very own Elf Magic Elf named Ashby.
What is an Elf Magic Elf, you ask, well these special elves appear from the North Pole between Thanksgiving and Christmas. They are on a break from Santa's workshop and have come to play with your children until Christmas Eve at which time they return with Santa to the North Pole. Each year your own special elf returns to play again.

While you are sleeping, your elf may get into trouble! He's never in the same place in the morning he was when you went to bed! The first night we had Ashby he must have missed the reindeer because in the morning we found him sleeping on my hubby's buck in the morning!

My kids are having a blast looking for him every morning,especially my 6 year old son, he thinks it's a great game. We have to wake up 15 minutes earlier so he doesn't miss the school bus. So far we have found him mixed in with our Webkinz, in the pantry (he must have been hungry), under the bed, and trying to drive a remote control jeep!

My 3 yr old son is fascinated by Ashby. He couldn't stop smiling when we got him

He is so attached he won't go to sleep without him! We went away last weekend and had to bring Ashby with us!

Each elf comes with a name, a letter explaining why they have come, special North Pole Snowflakes and an elf sized Santa sack that they can leave treats in for your child. Their travel ticket from the North Pole costs $26.95. For those who celebrate Hanukkah, there is also a Hanukkah helper elf! You can find out more about these special elves at

I think these elves are a really cute. What I like best about them is that they are tradition you can carry on year after year and even pass on to future generations. I would recommend them for ages 2 -8 depending on the child and his or her beliefs. My kids are really excited about the whole idea. The older kids 9 & 11 are having fun playing along with the younger two. They have even been behaving a little better since there is a Santa Spy (my little addition to the story lol) in our house!!

I am excited to tell that the fine folks at Elf Magic would like to spread some holiday magic to my readers! They have given me 2 Elves to send to loving families! Here is your chance to start your own holiday tradition! Thank you Ryan for making this possible! :)


Complete A and B below. Leave one comment stating that you did both things. Please include your twitter id or your email address so I can contact you if you win.

A) Follow my blog (upper right hand corner by follower's photos)

B) Go to and check out their site. In your comment, list one other thing that can be purchased from them.

Want bonus entries? Leave a separate comment for each one that you do:

1) Follow me on twitter

2) Follow the elves on twitter

3) Tweet my contest , put a link to the tweet in your comment. You can do this once a day for more entries!

4) Post a link to my contest on your blog

This contest ends Wednesday, December 10th at 11:59 eastern standard time. 2 winners will be chosen by the sequence generator at The winners will have 48 hours to respond. If they do not respond a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

We Have Another Winner!!!!

Well, thanks to my extreme craziness in messing up my contest yesterday, you all got another chance to win!

I am happy to announce that Shannon the Coupon Princess is my 2nd winner! Shannon was chosen by the sequence generator at

Congratulations Shannon I will be sending you an email to get your information.
Congratulations to mommyhastoys also, she was the winner that was chosen yesterday. I hope you both enjoy your games!

Thank you all for your understanding with my mistake. Stay tuned I have some more great stuff coming up!

Thanks again to Brittney at The Game Factory for supplying the game for this giveaway!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Yikes!!!!!! I Can't Believe I Did This

I am so embarassed to even be telling you all this, but I was so excited about my giveaway I ended it too early! My giveaway post said it was over on Thursday at 6 pm and I chose a winner on Wednesday. Guess I should read my own blog huh? lol

To make up for this I will be choosing an additional winner on Thursday at 6 pm.

Please feel free to let your friends know there is still time to enter. Please accept my deepest apology and forgive my stupid mistake!

Please leave another comment in my original giveaway post that you read this post and get another entry to my contest.

Again I am So Sorry! I promise I will get it right next time!

Bratz Sleepover Party Wii Game Winner

We have a winner!

Congratulations to mommyhastoys for winning my first giveaway!
She was chosen by the random sequence generator on
I have lots more fun stuff coming up so stay tuned, you could be my next winner!

Thanks to Brittney at The Game Factory for this great giveaway!
Don't forget to check out The Game Factory's Build a Bear Celebrity Auction on Ebay
100% of the proceeds go to The Ronald McDonald House Charity.

Monday, December 1, 2008

My First Giveaway ~ Bratz Kidz Wii Game

I'm so excited to bring you my first ever giveaway, just in time for the holidays!

Up for grabs Bratz Kidz Slumber Party for the Wii!

About the game:

Welcome to the Bratz Kidz Slumber Party! Join your favourite Bratz Kidz characters for a game filled with all the fun of a late night party – no boys allowed. Yasmin is hosting a sleepover. As our 4 girls look through Yasmin's photo album, they remember all their craziest times together and embark on an adventure based on each of the memories in the album! Explore the adventure mode or dip in and out of a series of fun mini games where you customise your favourite Bratz Kidz characters. You can also make a delicious pizza for your girlfriends, take stylish photos, create your very own clothes and much more in this sassy sleepover Select, customize and play with your favourite Bratz Kidz. Jade is really respectful, Sasha is very dynamic, Yasmin is self-confident and Cloe is sweet – and of course they're all sparky, adventurous and cool. Join the Bratz Kidz Slumber Party in this sleepover themed world with an adventure based on Jasmine's photo album full of memories. The game stimulates the player's creativity and imagination with focus on fun, fashion and glamour! The kidz with a passion for fun are waiting for you to arrive. [The Game Factory]

Sounds like a lot of fun for all the little girls on your list!


1) Follow my blog ~ top right hand corner

2) Follow me on Twitter ~ craftymamaof4

3) Post a comment that you are following my blog & Twitter. You MUST include your email address in your comment to be eligible.

BONUS ENTRY ~ post my contest on your website, then post a separate comment with a link to your site. You MUST include your email address in your comment to be eligible.

Contest ends Thursday December 4th at 6 pm EST.

Winner will be chosen at and be notified by email. The winner has 24 hours to respond to my email or a new winner will be chosen.

Thank you to Brittney at The Game Factory for making this (and a few more very soon!) possible!

I am excited to say that this is only the first of several giveaways I will be having over the next 2 weeks! Stay tuned!

Review Policy

Lately, I have been getting a lot of requests to do product reviews on my blog for various companies and on various products. I absolutely LOVE to do these reviews and add them to my blog. It is so fun to write about all kinds of different products and give other people insight and suggestions and idea's of how they work and tell them all about them.

Therefore, I have come up with a set of policies that I request be followed if you or your company would like me to "subcontract" a review on my blog for you.

PLEASE NOTE : these rules do NOT apply to companies I work with or blog for, as they have their own rules I must follow. These rules also do not apply to reviews I choose to do on my own or giveaways I choose to do. Nor do the apply to products that I win off of another blog and choose to blog about.


I will only blog about and review products that I believe in and think will benefit the readers of this blog.

I will require compensation for my time for reviewing your product. This said compensation may be in the form of product or monetary. I take pride in what I do and I spend a lot of time and thought on my blog, so I feel that some type of compensation is only fair. This is to be determined when we set up the review.

I value my readers and the time they commit to my blog therefore, I will request at least 1 additional item from your company that I will use as a giveaway to my followers and readers. This item could be the same item I have reviewed or a gift card/discount code for your company so the winner may obtain an item of their choice from your company. If it is not in your company practice to provide addtional product, arrangements may still be made for a review to be done.

I do, reserve the right to post my whole hearted opinion on a product which does mean the good and the bad. I deem myself as an unbiased reviewer and I will live up to this for my readers. If I have a negative experience with your product, I will notify you and you may decide if you would like the review posted. Items sent to me to complete the review will not be returned.


A timely blog that is presented in a professional edited way from a non-professional mommy blogger/consumer.

Notification as soon as the review is posted. This way if there are errors in my post they can be caught before a whole bunch of people read it, THIS DOES NOT however mean, I will change my unbiased findings to satisfy the company in a bogus way, It is strictly for spelling errors, layout changes, etc.

I will let you know when the giveaway is finalized and report the winners mailing address to you so the product can get to them quickly. I request that the products be shipped directly to the winners from the company unless we have made alternate arrangements.

I will post the giveaway with some way the participants MUST visit your site to look around before they can win, so that you will have potential customers/clients from me blogging about it.

I will make sure all links to your site work so readers can go there to see more product or services.

I would like long term relationships with my clients for promotional reasons, so if in the future you would like me to do another review or another type of service(handing out fliers, tweeting about it on twitter, etc.) for your company, That professional relationship will be built between you and I.

I am trustworthy mother/consumer who cares about products and will go to every extent I can to help get your brand out there and help promote your product or service.

If there is anything I missed or anything you would like clarified, please do not hesitate to ask me. I am very patient and easy to work with. My email address is :

DISCLAIMER : I do not represent in anyway that I am a Professional Reviewer. All Product reviews done by me are based on my own personal opinions and experiences with the product. Monetary or product compensation in no way sways my opinion for any products that I review. I have the right to keep, donate, gift, etc. any product that I review (my copy) after the review is posted. Please ask questions prior to me doing a review if you are unclear about any policies or disclaimer I have written. I have the right to change any of my policies or procedures in any way I deem necessary at any time, as this is my blog, and I am the one that is reflected upon on this blog. I will not in any way go against my personal beliefs, values, views, safety, for anyone or any company in any blog or writing that I do.

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