Christmas Cookies Kids Can Make

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One of my favorite holiday activities to do with the kids is to bake cookies together. It’s fun and easy and we get to enjoy our yummy creations too! When it comes to kids in the kitchen though, it’s important to provide them with simple recipes they can create with minimal help from parents. The more they can do by themselves, the happier they are! Today, I’m sharing with you a very easy and super cute reindeer cookie recipe that kids will love to make and Santa will love to eat on Christmas Eve. Enjoy!

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Reindeer Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 roll refrigerated cookie dough (any flavor you like; we like to use either gingerbread or peanut butter because it’s brown like a reindeer)
  • Small pretzel twists (for the antlers)
  • Milk chocolate chips (for the eyes)
  • Red M&Ms (for the red nose)

Directions: 
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. With hands, shape the cookie dough roll into a triangle-shaped log. Make sure that cookie dough is well-chilled before handling.

With thin sharp knife, cut dough into ¼ inch triangular slices and place on silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets.

Place 2 pretzel twists on each triangle near corners for antlers.

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Bake 7 to 11 minutes or until set. While warm, lightly press 2 chocolate chips into each cookie for eyes and 1 red M&M for nose. If necessary, use a little icing to “glue” red M&M as the nose.

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Get the Holiday Products Pictured Above

Dear Santa Message Plate by Personal Creations. Start a new Christmas Eve ritual by leaving Santa a special message on the cookie plate. He can even write back! Includes soapstone chalk.

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Can’t Miss Black Friday Deals at Kmart

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The Christmas shopping season officially begins this week! Did you know that the term “Black Friday” was coined in the 1960s to mark the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season? Even though the holiday shopping season can get a bit crazy (read: traffic and lines are terrible), it’s still so much fun to go out and begin checking everyone off my list. There have been many years that we’ve even braved shopping on Black Friday – kids and all!

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Lucas with us shopping Black Friday deals at Kmart

Today I wanted to share with you a few of my Black Friday Shopping Tips – hopefully they will help you shop smarter this holiday season.

  1. Be prepared. Put together a holiday gift list  and do your research online before Black Friday to find out where to shop and where to find the best deals. Then, make a plan that includes the stores you will be shopping, their opening times, etc. You should lay out a detailed schedule.
  2. Take advantage of loyalty programs like the Shop Your Way program, which offers members rewards points for shopping or even special perks. For example, right now Shop Your Way members can shop doorbuster deals online BEFORE Black Friday. This allows you to shop the same deals without standing in line, traffic, etc!
  3. Get apps for your favorite stores. For instance, Bluelight Specials are available in stores, online and for the first time ever, via the Kmart mobile app. Download the app HERE (for Apple devices) or Google Play (for Android).
  4. Create a budget. Make sure to have a set budget that you want to stick to so that you don’t over spend.
  5. Black Friday is not just on Friday! Kmart will be open for doorbuster shopping beginning at 6 a.m. local time on Thursday, November 26 with deals lasting till 10 p.m. on Friday, November 27.

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Kmart Black Friday Deals

This year, shoppers will see Blue on Black Friday as Kmart celebrates the return of Bluelight Specials – every single store, every single day and online and via mobile app! Plus, they are offering fun activities for kiddos with Freebie Saturdays and visits from Santa. Kmart shopping = fun!

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Kmart has everything you need for everyone on your list! They have everything from toys to small home appliances and so much more.  Take advantage of some ridiculously awesome doorbuster deals at Kmart including:

  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens Extendable Lightsaber; sale price $4.99, reg. price $9.99
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens Classic 20” Figures; sale price $9.99, reg. price $19.99
  • Dakota Spruce 6 ft. unlit tree; sale price $15.00, reg. price $49.99
  • Poinsettia; sale price $0.89, reg. price $2.99 – $4.99
  • BE and Piper Faves Kids’ Denim; sale price $6.00, reg. price $12.99 – $14.99
  • Up to 50% off holiday lights; reg price $2.99 – $29.99
  • Proctor Silex appliances; sale price $3, reg. price $9.99
  • Swift Stream Z-9 Camera Drone; sale price $59.99, reg. price $99.99

 

There are so many ridiculously awesome ways to shop at Kmart this holiday season. Score super cool deals on Black Friday at Kmart, on Kmart.com and the Kmart mobile app.

Remind Others the Reason for the Season with #TheGivingHat

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The holiday season is all about giving. Giving of our time, love, friendship, and service. Of course, these are things we should all do year-round, but the holidays are a special time. Every year, we always look for any way that we can give back. We bake treats for our local firehouse. We donate toys and food to a local family in need. We do whatever we can to give back in some way.

Over the past nine years, Kmart shoppers and associates have embodied the holiday spirit with their generous support of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®’s Thanks and Giving® campaign.  Since 2006, Kmart has raised more than $76.7 million dollars to support the patients and families of St Jude.

This year, St. Jude and Kmart collaborated to design The Giving Hat™ – sold exclusively at Kmart stores or online at Kmart.com/StJude. When you purchase The Giving Hat™ for just $5, $1 from each hat sold will be donated to St. Jude.

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The gray and lime green winter knit hats are one-size-fits-all (adults and kids ages 9+) and are available with three different embroidered messages inspired by St. Jude patients and their families:

  •  SMILE
  •  LAUGH A LOT
  •  GIVE THANKS

Both of our kiddos are always making everyone around them smile so we chose the “Smile” hat. It represents their personality and also reminds others to “Smile” this holiday season. Lucas looks so cute and pretty cool in his new hat and I love knowing that we are helping to generate awareness about childhood cancer.

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The Giving Hat™ is available exclusively at Kmart and Kmart.com/StJude while supplies last.

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Put the FUN Back Into Shopping Again

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“Attention Kmart Shoppers!” Bluelight specials are back! Every single store. Every single day.

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I can vividly remember shopping at Kmart with my grandmother and mom when I was a kid and they would get so excited when they saw that blue light flashing because it meant a must-have deal. Plus, it was fun anticipating when that blue light would come on! Now, it’s our turn to have fun! Here’s how it works:

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I love a good deal…especially around the holidays and these Bluelight Specials are REALLY GOOD deals. For example, you may see a deal like this: 16 piece comforter set regular price $119.99 on sale for $79.99 and Bluelight Special price is $19.99 

That’s more than a deal. That’s a steal.

What I love (besides the really great deals!) is that Bluelight Specials are available in stores, online and for the first time ever, via the Kmart mobile app. Download the app HERE (for Apple devices) or Google Play (for Android).

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In addition, Kmart is also bringing family fun back to stores with the introduction of Freebie Saturdays every Saturday and other in store events like Santa visits during the holidays! Every Saturday Kmart will have a freebie for kids 12 and under such as popcorn, a box of apple juice, a small toy – starting at 8am and while supplies last. I don’t know about your kids, but mine aren’t usually excited about a day of shopping, but it’s these little things that make it more enjoyable for the kiddos. I love that Kmart is doing this!

Visit Kmart.com for additional information.

Take a Fall Family Break with Wyndham Extra Holidays Deal (Coupon Code)

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One of our favorite things to do during the holiday season is travel. Whether it’s taking a trip to see family or going on a short weekend getaway, holiday travel is the perfect way to spend time with loved ones. We have made so many unforgettable memories!

If you’re thinking about getting away this Fall, you should consider staying at Wyndham resorts. Wyndham resorts offered by Wyndham Extra Holidays are your ticket to the perfect vacation! With spacious and comfortable suites plus all the amenities of home, you can be sure your Fall vacation will run smoothly. These suites include fully equipped kitchens and private decks. I personally love that they include kitchens because I hate eating out all the time when we travel. I prefer to cook some of our meals. It’s healthier and it’s more affordable, which is a WIN-WIN in my book!

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Best of all, you can stay at select resorts for as low as $84 a night this season! Hurry—offer ends October 31. For more information, visit Wyndham.

OFFER DETAILS: Book by October 31, 2015. Travel by November 24, 2015. Mention code FALL15. Two-night minimum length of stay required. Valid for new reservations only. Reservations subject to availability. Reservations not valid over holidays and special events. Cannot be combined with any other offer. All monetary amounts are noted in U.S. Dollars unless otherwise noted.

Make sure to follow Wyndham on Facebook and Twitter to get additional information and get the scoop on promos and offers!

 

Make Halloween a Family Affair

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Did you know that more that 67% of American’s believe that Halloween isn’t just for kids? More and more people consider Halloween to be a family event and this year since Halloween falls on a Saturday, it’s a great excuse to dress up and take part in the fun fall events and activities! Halloween is actually one of our favorite holidays because it’s really the start of the holiday season. From now until the end of the year, we are in full “holiday” mode and I love every second of it. It’s the perfect reason to gather the family and spend quality time together. That’s what it’s all about! Today, I wanted to share with you a few of our favorite activities to do around Halloween.

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  • Visit a local pumpkin patch or corn maze. This is an annual tradition for our family!

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  • Check to see if your local area offers any ghost tours. Most old cities have a “haunted” past of some sort!
  • Invite the whole family over and host a laid back Halloween party. On the menu: a big pot (or cauldron) of soup, crusty french bread, and candy for dessert, of course!
  • Pop some popcorn, grab the Halloween candy, and make it a “scary” movie night with the kids! There are lots of awesome family friendly Halloween movies that the whole family can enjoy (i.e. Hocus Pocus, It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown).
  • Have fun planning your costumes as a family! Choose coordinating costumes or everyone can be whoever they want.

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Looking for the perfect costume?

At Kmart, they make it easy to find ridiculously awesome costumes that are a treat for the entirefamily. They have more than 5,000 awesome costumes – from Minions™ to Marvel’s Avengers™both in store and online at Kmart.com/Halloween.

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Treats, please!

What’s the trick to making Halloween a treat? The candy of course! Kmart also has your favoritecandy on-sale from 10/25 – 10/31. You can grab two Hershey, Mars or Nestle fun size candybags for just $5, while supplies last.

Halloween at Kmart

On Saturday, October 31st, Kmart is your destination for Halloween fun! The first 100 kids 12years old or younger will receive a free fun size candy bar at every Kmart store location. Plus, if you wear your costumes, you will receive a coupon for 5% off of your total purchase of $30 or more that day.

Visit your local Kmart store or check out Kmart.com/Halloween all your Halloween needs!

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Brownies Recipe (VIDEO)

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So I’m trying to lose weight. Again. This does not mesh well with my love of fall baking and all things pumpkin and chocolate though. That’s why I have been hard at work finding yummy, low calorie baking recipes that will not break my diet. One of my new favorites are these 3 Ingredient Pumpkin Brownies. Yep. 3 ingredients. Brownie mix, canned pumpkin puree, and pumpkin pie spice. These three things come together to make a fudge-like brownie that feels like an indulgence, but has none of the fat of regular brownies. Instructions below and in the video. Enjoy!

3 Ingredient Pumpkin Brownies Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 package brownie mix
  • 1 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Directions: Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Lightly coat square pan with cooking spray. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven, allow to cool to room temperature, and cut into squares. Serve with a cold, glass of milk and enjoy!

Video Tutorial

For more personalized serving pieces, make sure to visit PersonalCreations.com!

NEW Toys by Blaze & the Monster Machines

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As the holidays quickly approach, we are already starting to think about gift-giving. On our list to give this year are the adorable and fun new line of Blaze and the Monster Machines toys available at Target and other major toy retailers. Why do we love them so much? Besides being cute and lots of fun, these toys are also educational. They teach kids about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) concepts. It’s really important that we encourage children to learn more about these subjects. We need more scientists, inventors, and engineers – they are our future!

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The new Blaze toys offer a cool way for kids to learn while they play! That’s the best way, right?! We are super excited to introduce you to two brand new toys in the Blaze line. First up is the new Blaze Monster Dome Playset (RV $29.99), which is a race track that allows kids to create side-by-side races between Blaze and Crusher.

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The STEM concepts learned via the Blaze Monster Dome, include speed and momentum, which are illustrated by using the two launchers. Basically, kids place the two vehicles on the launchers, push down, and off they go! Kids of all ages love toys that allow them to race each other, so the Blaze Monster Dome will be a definite hit among young Blaze fans. Two children can race the two vehicles or one child can play on their own too. Kids can even take the set apart and piece together their own stunt set. As a parent, I really love that it doesn’t need any batteries and relies on pure imagination.

 

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The Super Stunts Blaze (RV $39.99) is full of action – just like on the TV show – and is A LOT of fun. This toy can do some really impressive stunts that will wow kids and even adults.

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It speeds up, does side-wheelies, back-wheelies, and even does a 360 degree spin on his rear tires. Kids press Blaze’s side to choose the stunt and then push down on the spoiler to get Blaze revved for action. The more you press the spoiler, the more power Blaze gets. The Super Stunts Blaze teaches kids all about acceleration.

Both of the toys featured above can be found at Target and other major toy retailers. To see the rest of the Blaze and the Monster Machines toy line, visit Target.com/Blaze.

Start Your Holiday Shopping Early

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It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost November. Holiday decorations have begun to show up in store aisles and my kiddos are already talking about their Christmas lists for Santa. Time flies and it will continue to fly through the holidays, which is why it’s a good idea to get a jump start on holiday shopping. Kmart’s No Money Down Layaway makes it easier for shoppers to get everything on their Christmas gift list by planning and budgeting early. No Money Down Layaway is returning for its second year and is available now through Sunday, Nov. 29. You can place the hottest items across dozens of categories on layaway including toys, home products, apparel and electronics, with no down payment for in-store contracts and only one penny down for online contracts. It’s pretty much a no-brainer way to shop!

I recently tried Kmart’s online Layaway Program to purchase Amelia a powered ride-on toy – the Disney Minnie Mouse Quad Trax. It is an adorable beginner powered vehicle for a tiny driver like my baby girl. And…it’s Minnie Mouse! She loves Minnie Mouse! I can’t wait to see her face light up on Christmas morning!

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Putting the toy on layaway was very easy. All I did was add the item to my cart, choose the “Pay with Layaway” option, review payment schedule terms, and then pay $0.01 (for online layaway) or NOTHING for in-store layaway.

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Layaway Process At-A-Glance

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Cancel anytime!

Kmart’s layaway online service is low-risk; you can cancel at any time to receive a full refund, minus a small cancellation and service fee.

Additional Information

For more information and to start holiday shopping early, visit Kmart.com/Layaway.

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Our Favorite Fall TV Shows + $100 Amex #Giveaway

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It’s Fall and that means the beginning of all the things that I love. Cooler weather. Chunky sweaters and knit scarves. Turning leaves. Soup bubbling on the stove top. The holiday season. Oh, and of course…Fall TV. Today I want to share with you our favorite Fall shows!

Top Fall Shows To Watch

  1. The Blacklist
  2. Grey’s Anatomy
  3. How To Get Away With Murder
  4. Scandal
  5. Quantico
  6. The Affair
  7. The Walking Dead
  8. Homeland
  9. Modern Family
  10. American Horror Story: Hotel
  11. The Muppets

 

For a full listing of all Fall shows and their premiere dates, click HERE.



All of the above shows are scheduled to record on our XFINITY X1 system. Honestly, without our X1 DVR we wouldn’t be able to watch all of the shows we love. We have to watch many of our shows after they air when we have time (i.e. the weekend).

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The XFINITY X1 system has so many cool features too! Check them out below:

  • The Top 100 shows preloaded onto your system. This is the perfect way to find a new show to binge watch!
  • Access to XFINITY’s extensive On Demand library, refreshed daily with new episodes
  • Personalized recommendations on what to watch. This feature looks at the shows you already watch and makes “smart” recommendations based on your watching preferences. Pretty cool!
  • With Cloud DVR from X1, you can record up to five of your favorite shows while watching one live and even take your recorded shows with you on the go, so you can always stay up to date! This means you can watch while you are traveling, at the gym, in the car, waiting in line, etc. The Cloud DVR is our new favorite thing!
  •  What are your must-watch Fall TV shows? Tell me to enter the giveaway in the widget below!

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XFINITY partnered with bloggers such as me for their Fast Life program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. XFINITY believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. XFINITY’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.