The Traveling Sisterhood: September 2017

Friday, September 22

Win a Box of Historical Romance Books! Winner's Choice


I'll be sending one of my readers 3 books of their choice from any of the books above! I've read and loved them all. But first, I want to tell you about My Readers Rewards Club, a totally free club that sends you complimentary books just for being a member and taking part in their surveys. You can sign up here and check it out! That way, even if you don't win the box of books, you'll still get 1 for free.
Enter below by Thursday, September 28. Just comment below with which 3 books you would like most along with your e-mail address. Each comment will be deleted after the giveaway ends for security purposes. Best of luck!

Thursday, September 21

Llama Llama Red Pajama, Art and Music You Have to See! Penguin Books Brought to Life


**I was compensated for this post. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.
Watching this clever music video/picture book rendition will start your day off with a smile! When I saw it, I realized I had also recently seen an art print for the book Llama Llama Red Pajama.
Framebridge has teamed up with Penguin to create 10 limited-edition framed prints from beloved children’s books, old and new. The Animals' Vacation, Max and Marla, Wonder Bear, Dragons Love Tacos, My ABC Book, Llama Llama Red Pajama, Mitford at the Fashion Zoo, The Not So Quiet Library, and Corduroy are all included.
Each of the Penguin Young Readers prints is a limited edition of only 100, with a Certificate of Authenticity included in a custom pocket on the back of the frame. Each work of art brings something so enchanting to your child's room.
While Framebridge does sell art prints, they specialize in custom framing. It's very simple, costs $39-199, and shipping is free. You can mail your art (or ballet slippers!) to their studio (they send prepaid packaging) or upload an image. You use their simple preview tools to view your art in their framing selections. Their design team crafts and assembles your frame from the highest quality products. It's the simplest way to custom frame everything you love.

You can get $20 off your first order of $175 or more when you use the promo code: TWENTY175 at Framebridge.com. Frame your heart out!



Wednesday, September 20

Meet the Newest, Little Additions to our Family!

Who is peaking out of her new Carnival Play Barn? It's our sweet, little mouse, Peanut Butter!

And here is her sister, Cupcake! Named for the sprinkle on her head. We bought our fancy mice at Petsmart a couple of weeks ago. We had mice before and we loved them, but they passed away when we had them for about 3 years. Mice are the most wonderful pets. They are sweet, easy to take care of, and have fun little personalities. During my childhood, and while taking care of mice with my own children, never once has a pet mouse bitten me. They are sweet, charming little pets.

While we anticipated adopting our mice, I ordered this Small Animal Play Barn from Chewy.com. We didn't want white feeder mice (you know, the kind you often see in stores) so I called around until we found a place that sold Fancy Mice, which "fancy" as they may be, only cost about $5 each. Girl mice are best, as they live longer and don't have the odor boys do.

Cupcake and Peanut Butter's new Play Barn is great for any small animals and came so stuffed with hay that I had to take 2/3 of it out and save for later. They love their barn, running and playing in it for hours! And it only costs about $7! The mice can't wait til I order them some more goodies from Chewy.com!

Lucy's Chewy Picks for September!


Special thanks to the wonderful people at Chewy.com for providing us with these goodies to review and giveaway! All opinions are honest and our own.
Lucy knows there's something in there for her! She looks forward to every single box from Chewy.com. They have the best of everything she loves to enjoy and the best prices, too!

She's so excited about her first surprise, she's smiling! "Mom, please may I have a treat?" What nice manners! Of course you may have a treat, Lucy!

What's in the bag (and in Lucy's mouth)? True Chews Premium Jerky Cuts with Duck! This big bag of 100% natural treats costs $6 less at Chewy.com than at our local, big box pet store. Lucy gets 1 treat a day based on her size, and this bag lasts us almost 2 months with around 50 treats in the bag! For $17, that's a gonga deal!

Maybe you saw the other box within the box. On top, that one said "Chewy.com Canned Goodies". A dozen cans of Stewlicious Grain-Free Chunky Chicken Stew by Dave's Pet Food. Dave's is known for delivering healthy food at a great value, and this recipe combines mouthwatering (or so Lucy tells me) chicken with sweet potatoes, carrots and peas to create a nutritious dinner cooked just for your pooch. The stew is robust with a rich chicken broth andh chunks of chicken and veggies you can actually see. There are no grains, which means this wholesome meal is lower in carbs with more tasty meat for our pups to enjoy. Okay, I've convinced myself! I'm going to feed her another bowl, or should I let my daughter feed her in the high chair?

You guys, is there anything cuter than a dog licking her lips in a highchair after a satisfying meal?! And have you ever shopped at Chewy.com? What's your dog or cat's favorite treat?

Tuesday, September 19

Cute Cupcake Spiders, A Fun Halloween Recipe



I have to admit, I have SO MUCH FUN around Halloween and what's not to love about cupcakes?!  Donsuemor's minis are the cutest! Well, they were the cutest until we made them into the cutest little spiders ever!  They're also incredibly delicious... we played with them for a little while and then we ate them up. Check out our super fun recipe, get some Cute Cakes (the most delicious packaged mini-cupcakes) to try it for yourself, or simply turn store bought cupcake mix into adorableness.
 

CUTECAKE SPIDERS

Ingredients

Mini Cupcakes 
(or big ones will work, too, but they are not as cute)
Powdered Sugar
Pretzel Sticks
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
*Small tube of black icing (optional)

Making the Spider's Legs

1. Heat a bowl of 1 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave for 45 seconds.
2. Stir the chocolate until it's well mixed and melted.
3. Bite tips off the pretzels so they'll poke into cupcakes easily. Coat the pretzels in the chocolate.
4. Lay the chocolate covered pretzels on a baking sheet covered in wax paper.
5. Stick them in the freezer for about 5 minutes to quickly dry them.

In the meantime...

1. Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 tbsp. water. This is going to be "glue."
2. Dab 2 spots of "glue" onto each cupcake where the spiders' faces will be.
3. Stick one chocolate chip onto each spot of glue to make the eyes.

Then...

1. Stick the pretzel legs into the cupcakes. Everyone knows spiders have 8 legs but 6 legs fit much better around a cupcake. Don't worry. They'll be just as cute & just as delicious!
Note: Don't stick the pretzels in too far or the cupcakes will split in the center.
2. Draw little mouths on the spiders with the black icing if it suits your fancy.
3. Eat them up... if you don't think they're too adorable for eating!

Monday, September 18

The Kids Who Learned Their Times Tables in 1 Hour! 2 Years After Times Tales


Two years ago, my twin daughters were in 5th grade when I stuck Times Tales in the DVD player for the 1st time. An hour later, they were playing the game that came with it and another 10 minutes later, they were acing their test! I had heard things like, "My kids learned their times tables in an  hour with Times Tales" but I was wary. Still, for just about $15, it was worth a try. When it actually worked, I was blown away! Now it's 2 years later, we did one review of Times Tales about 6 months after the 1st time watching, and it's still sticking! I had noticed that my now-7th graders were having a hard time recalling their 8 facts, but that's the only issue. Plus, my son was only in 2nd grade at the time we watched the show so I needed something for him... and he isn't fond of learning by watching TV. It turns out there's a new product offered by Times Tales and it is equally amazing!

Times Tales offers a brand new workbook set which comes with a 104 page workbook that includes memory stories, crossword puzzles, the dice game (video of us playing below), quizzes, and even a division section. It's very fun as you can see here--my son suddenly enjoys his math time which is amazing in itself! The workbook incorporates math, reading, writing, and art so that one lesson can triple for three different subjects. The set is only $16.50!

When I first purchased the Times Tales DVD, I didn't realize it also incorporated division! Of course, division is the opposite of multiplication so it's perfect. The math facts gained from learning the times tables totally work with division, too. The program simply teaches kiddos how the two go hand in hand so that they can apply their memory stories to division. Since my twins needed brushing up on their 8 facts and division, I made copies of those sections out of my son's book. They had fun with it and now they're right where they need to be, now that they're doing pre-algebra and this is stuff they need to have at the ready!
  

There are a variety of ways you could use Times Tables:
  • In a homeschool setting, like we did.
  • After school with kiddos who are having trouble memorizing their times tables (I really wish we'd had this when I was a kid!)
  • For kiddos with learning disabilities.  There are so many succeess stories of this working for kids when other programs have failed.
  • In an elementary school classroom.  I can't even imagine how many less papers my 5th grade teacher would have had to grade!  We did multiplication drills every single day during our 2nd semester!  This really beats that.
The best deal on Times Tales is at Educents. I price-checked both products and they cost significantly less there than Amazon! I highly recommend not only this set, but the DVD program as well. If you can't afford both, I'd purchase the workbook set. After trying each of them, I like this better. However, as a pair it would make for the best possible comprehension and the fastest learning. You can find the workbook set here and the DVD set here. If you'd like to save a couple dollars, you can buy the downloadable DVD set here. Happy Math!
Note to my Canadian and International readers: Educents' shipping is high outside the U.S. BUT they offer a downloadable version of Times Tales which includes everything the hard copy does. You can find it here.

Saturday, September 16

Make Lunchtime Fun with Dinosaur Nugget Kabobs!


My kiddos and I had so much fun with lunch the other day! Introducing something simple but different... Dinosaur Nugget Kabobs!
The Ingredients: You'll need 1 package of Tyson® Nuggets (original or dinosaur), 2 cups of grapes, and 1 can of refrigerated biscuit dough.  I conveniently found all the goodies at Wal-Mart.
The Recipe: Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Place chicken nuggets in pan. Roll biscuit dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter.  Cook with nuggets for 12 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown on top.  Wash your grapes and prepare your skewers while they cook.
The Finishing Touches: Arrange cooked chicken nuggets, grapes, and biscuits on 12 (9-inch) wooden skewers. Voila! Super cute and easy protein powered snacking!
What's your favorite way to make lunchtime fun for your kids? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Thursday, September 14

Sleepyheads Sale and Winner Announcement!


Congrats to Elizabeth M., the winner of this giveaway! Scroll down for the link to purchase our super cute matching PJs for $10 off!

My girlies are so excited about their new Sleepyheads Pajama sets! Each Mommy and Me set even came with a matching nightgown for their dolls. The pajamas are wonderful quality and the fit is perfect!
Here are my twinsies getting ready for bed with their gorgeous baby dolls. We've always loved the Mommy and Me line of outfits so it's really cool to see them offered in the Sleepyheads family line! I was especially impressed with the prices because doll outfits for 18" dolls even at WalMart are around $9! For $14.99, you get a doll outfit and actual, really nice pajamas for your kiddos!

And I even got a matching set of Nautical cotton pajamas! I love them! Not only are we the cutest little family in them, but my PJs even have pockets and are just sooooo cozy! They come in a couple different styles for moms, and there's also a kids' set without the ruffles for little boys. Dad has a pair of pants, too! My hubby totally loves his, but he's not much into blog-picture-taking. ;)
There are so many really cute Sleepytime Mommy and Me PJs at Sleepyheads.com! We love them and my daughters want them all! I have to admit, it's super fun matching with them and these are our favorite, most cozy PJs! I can't decide if we'll get the flowers or the mermaids next... Which would you choose?
One of you will win a set of Family Matching Pajamas from Sleepyheads for your family! Enter below by June 27th at midnight.
Follow Sleepyheads On:


Special thanks to the wonderful people at Sleepyheads for providing me with this review and giveaway opportunity. All opinions are honest and my own.

Thursday, September 7

Meet Wishing Star and her Friends, the Most Beautiful Dolls who Love to Share their Stories with You!


My daughter and I are so in love with her new Starpath Doll, Wishing Star! She is an oriental beauty with a personality to match, as shown in her chapter book. The books are incredible, fantasy stories personalized to include your daughter in them. Each doll comes with a gift code for one free e-book which is something the company has recently added. (For those like me who love old-fashioned, paper books, those are also available.)
I love that the Starpath Dolls come in a variety of ethnicities. Now all they need is an Irish redhead beauty! Wandering Star is so lovely in a classic India setting with her Tiger-cat, one of the plush pets you can purchase separately.

Here are the girls, getting ready for bed in the matching pjs I found for them. Starpath Dolls doesn't sell matching girl and doll outfits (maybe that could be in their future?) but they do sell a variety of other dolls styles, plush toys, and personalized books.
Starpath Dolls are all crafted beautifully, and can even stand on their own as seen in the photo above. My daughters have wanted a higher priced brand in the past but we could never afford them. Now that Starpath Dolls are here and only cost $79, they are so much more affordable and just as wonderfully made. We can't wait to see what new dolls are in Starpath's future!

Follow Starpath Dolls On

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Starpath Dolls and Kidstuff PR for this review opportunity! All opinions are honest and our own.

Wednesday, September 6

Fresh Produce Fashion: Both Gorgeous and Comfortable!




Fresh Produce creates colorful, comfortable and fun styles for women and girls. I was so excited when they said they'd like to work with me on a blog review!  With their gorgeous selection of dresses, tops, tunics, capris, skirts, and everything else, it was hard to decide what I'd like.  I decided to choose their classy Hi Lo Dress in black. 

Inspired by the carefree days of summer, Fresh Produce Clothing is made especially to fit you and your lifestyle.  They have fresh, effortless styles with an upbeat spirit. My dress is breezy and comfortable.  I can't tell you just how soft this cotton is!  It looks so pretty, but it truly is "effortless".  It's the kind of thing I can use to go to the park or the opera.  I absolutely love it!  Most of their clothes are proudly made in the U.S. and that makes me even more proud to be an owner of my first Fresh Produce dress!

You can find Fresh Produce throughout the country by using their store locator here.

You Can Also Find Fresh Produce On:
Twitter
Facebook

Shop this week's sale for 20% off all their tops! 

Special thanks to the wonderful people at Fresh Produce for providing me with this review opportunity!

Sunday, September 3

Wonderland, Popsicles, and Doing Fun Stuff! #CannonballCollective


Cannonball Collective is a quarterly subscription box that is meant to inspire you to "Do fun stuff!" Each Cannonball Collective mailing is called a 'Zine "full of inspiration".  Well, it doesn't get much funner than popsicles, right?! My kiddos definitely think that's the case and they were super excited to make some.
This one included a Grade A ice pop maker (truly grade A--this is the nicest popsicle maker I've ever seen), three flavors of organic, small-batch syrups from Royal Rose Syrups, and other accoutrements so you can do things yourself which really impressed me. The presentation was fun--truly "Wonderland" in its look. 


These Royal Rose flavors smelled amazing (especially the Vanilla Orange) and I thought, "Wow! This is really going to be fun."  But fun became homework as I searched on-line to find out how much of these syrups to add, recipes for popsicles including said syrup, found some at RoyalRoseSyrups.com and every single recipe is for a mixed drink for one person, all the measurements are in ounces (do any of my lovely followers know how many tablespoons 1/2 an oz. is?! maybe this is a thing mixed-drinkers know or maybe it's a NY thing?)  Not finding what you need for your inspiration no is fun...
...and suddenly, I was no longer Alice in Wonderland but Donald in Mathmagicland: a place for numbers and conversion and research and multiplication.  As I was in neither a researcher nor a mathematician mood, I decided to leave that place by dropping the idea of using these amazing-smelling syrups.  I also dropped a message to Royal Rose and told them it would be wonderful if they'd add some family-friendly, or I-don't-like-alcohol-but-your-syrups-are-amazing recipes to their website and "P.S. Adding tbs/tsp measurements in parenthesis would be lovely." 


We ended up saving our syrups for when I'm motivated to do research (um... I don't think they have an expiration date).  We used the traditional apple juice and made popsicles everyone raved over and enjoyed--definitely fun when all was said and done!  A great motivation to "Eat all your dinner, kids, or else no popsicle for you!" Next time, we're going to make pudding pops.  Yum!  I am inspired for these in numerous ways and there are a ton of recipes available all over the metaverse. This kit was meant to bring you back to your childhood, and I have such fond childhood memories of pudding pops.  One of my earliest memories is of sitting on the kitchen floor licking a pudding pop (I must have been about 3 or 4), then letting my dog, Misty, have a lick--me a lick, her a lick and so on with no worries of doggie germs. Oh, to go back to when life was so innocent and sweet!
I was surprised the 'Zine didn't include a variety of family-friendly recipes (or at least one?).  That would have been especially wonderful! I can't remember if it included any recipes since I was led on a Google-fu expedition of ones I could use.  The 'Zine was mostly filled with colorful pictures of places you'd love to visit and things you'd love to do.
Cannonball Collective is definitely an experience box. A gift subscription for the person you know who has everything and is always looking for something fun and new would be ideal.  Their first box (Torn and Frayed) was very different from this one so I'm interested to see what they come up with next!


Have you tried any subscription boxes? What was your favorite theme or what theme would you like to see?

  You Can Find Cannonball Collective On  
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 Special thanks to the wonderful people at Cannonball Collective for this review opportunity.  All opinions are honest and my own.

Friday, September 1

Win a Box of Emergency Food from Valley Food Storage! #Giveaway

Every year, I practice emergency preparations with my kiddos. We go all out, making sure we have Go Bags filled with everything we might need (just Google "go bag" for a list), evacuation plans with different emergencies, and we even try some of our emergency foods just to see what they're like. We've tried quite a few brands and the most delicious definitely comes from Valley Food Storage!
 
With all of the hurricane activity this year and the threats by North Korea, there's uncertainty all around us. Most of us know that it's important to be stocked up, and we know we should purchase some of those emergency food kits that last up to 25 years. But how do you know which brand to buy?

Well, with Valley Food Storage you can be sure that no matter what happens you will have a hot great tasting, wholesome meal ready when you need it. I was so impressed with their wide variety... and even more impressed once we tried everything! The dried fruit and yogurt was absolutely delicious, and the fettuccine alfredo dinner was so easy to prepare and tasty!




I had a crazy dream the other night that we were in the Hunger Games and the only stuff in our survival bag was peanut butter, crackers, and a pop gun. Thanks to Valley Food Storage, we're actually much more prepared than that!
 
We want to be prepared for anything. And we want our readers to be prepared, too! Thanks to the generous people at Valley Food Storage, one of you will win a box of emergency food! Enter below by Friday 9/8 at 11 pm anyone's time.

 And in the meantime, click the box in the righthand corner of their site for a free sample pack! Just pay the shipping and take that next step towards being prepared. Please also be sure to keep Florida in your thoughts and prayers as they prepare for Hurricane Irma!
Special thanks to the wonderful people at Valley Food Storage for providing me with this review and giveaway opportunity. All opinions are honest and my own.