Friday, November 11, 2016

Stocking Stuffer Ideas for Pre-Teens

As the kids get older, it seems like it's harder and harder to fill their stockings with things they'll like! The Bigs are 11 and 12 now; not quite teenagers, but not little kids anymore! I hate buying piddly-crap just to fill a stocking, it seems like such a waste of money! 

So here's a list of Stocking Stuffer Ideas to help keep your holidays stress-free! 

Beauty Essentials
Lip balm
Nail polish
Nail polish remover
Fun nail stickers
Cotton balls/swabs
Nail files/clippers
Mini scented hand sanitizer
Hair ties
Head bands
Mini comb/brush
Hair Chalk
Travel sized lotions
Novelty band-aids

Ear buds
Charger cords/bricks
Portable chargers
Phone case

Fun & Games
Playing cards
Hacky sac
Travel sized games
Finger lights
Head Massagers
Bouncy balls
Silly string
Water balloons

Art Lovers
Sharpie markers
Colored pencils
Coloring books- small, obviously
Duct tape
Washi tape
Fabric Markers

Sweet Treats
"Fancy" hot cocoa packets

Gift cards in small amounts
Various "coupons" ie: ice cream with dad, extra screen time, etc.
Cold Hard Cash

Stocking Stuffer No-No's!
toothbrush/toothpaste/mouth wash
body wash

Pre-teens tend to be sensitive and can embarrass easily... nothing more embarrassing than opening a stocking full of things that say "Santa thinks you stink!"

What did I miss?
Do you have family traditions when it comes to stockings?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Simple Butternut Squash Baby Food

Baby will be 6 months in just a few weeks so I am preparing for BABY FOOD! I am so glad she is getting her first foods during the fall season because that means delicious fall flavors are readily available and super inexpensive. She's already had some pureed pumpkin in her rice cereal so now we're ready to try some butternut squash.

The doctor suggested to start her with vegetables instead of starting with fruits. She said that some babies will get a taste of that sweet fruit and then will want nothing to do with the vegetables. Don't want that!

By the way, want a workout while you're cooking? Peel and chop a fresh butternut squash. Holy moly, y'all, my shoulders were burning! Be sure to use a really sharp knife and be very careful!

The good folks over at Hamilton Beach sent me this little beauty. It's their Rice and Hot Cereal Cooker. This cooker can do not only all types of rice, but also other whole grains such as oatmeal, farro and quinoa. It will also steam cook vegetables and proteins. It's sleek, user-friendly, quiet, and takes up very little space in the cupboard. I'll be using mine to steam up all sorts of delicious and nutritious vegetables to puree for homemade baby food. Couldn't be simpler!

Simple Butternut Squash Baby Food

4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
4 cups water

Pour water in the grey pot and set in inside the rice cooker.
In the white steamer basket add your peeled and and butternut squash.
Close the lid of the rice cooker and turn it on.
Press the 'Steam Cook' button. Press and hold until it shows 18.
Set and forget! (but don't really forget it!)

When the timer beeps check the squash. It should be fork tender. Allow to cool and then mash or puree in your Hamilton Beach food processor until smooth.
Blend with a small amount of water if needed.

*Hamilton Beach sent me this rice cooker in exchange for my honest opinions. All opinions are mine, I was not compensated in any way.*

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hamilton Beach Easy Reach Toaster Oven Review

The wonderful folks over at Hamilton Beach reached out to me recently and asked if I would be interested in testing and reviewing their Easy Reach Toaster Oven.

Well... we already have a pretty nice toaster oven that we got for our wedding, BUT, I had JUST had a conversation with the husband about getting double ovens in our kitchen and so I thought, "until I can get double wall ovens, why not have double toaster ovens!?"

So heck yea, Hamilton Beach, I'm in!

This toaster oven is pretty standard as far as toaster ovens go... all the normal controls and it does what it's supposed to. However, what makes this baby special is that roll top door.

Y'all, it's not called EASY REACH for nothing. That door opens up WIDE and makes it so much easier for grabbing whatever you've thrown in there! This makes it kid-friendly for girl-child and boy-child. Whatever helps them to cook for themselves, I'm all for!

I should also mention that the roll top door comes all the way off! Easy cleaning! Seriously, you just slide it right off, rinse and dry it, and slide it right back on. Super handy feature, Hamilton Beach, bravo.

So if you're in the market for a new toaster oven... or a second toaster oven to complete your "double oven" dream, you should definitely check this one out. You can find it at your local Target.

Disclosure- all opinions are mine and are not influenced by any compensation from Hamilton Beach. I was given this product free in exchange for this post containing my honest review.