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Monday, December 14, 2015

Making Holiday Memories With Preschoolers #HolidayMoments

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HolidayMoments #CollectiveBias

Holidays with three small children is all about candy canes, wrapping presents, hot cocoa, ornaments, stockings...

Scratch that. Holidays with three small children is all about the short-cuts.

Now, I don't want to short-cut the kids out of making special holiday memories, but cutting a corner here and there never ruined a Christmas, right?

costco, #HolidayMoments, #ad, cbias, christmas lights, children at christmas

When the Christmas songs start playing on the radio, my girls automatically turn into little baking elves. 
 
"Let's Bake Cookies, mama!" 

I can blame it on their grandma, who is a recipe contest winning machine! She's taught them how to wield a rolling pin with excellent mastery - for preschool aged bakers, that is. 

While, their grandma may have the patience for measuring spoons and mixers, it's hard for me to coordinate three girls mixing in one bowl, so it's time for a shortcut.

 

 

 

Baking Cookies With A Preschooler - The Shortcut Edition

 
costco, #HolidayMoments, #ad, cbias, christmas lights, kids baking

 


 Step 1. Stock up on cleaning supplies at Costco

 

costco, #HolidayMoments, #ad, cbias, christmas lights, children at christmas

It's no secret that during the holidays between visitors and baking projects, I have to take a shopping trip to Costco to stock up on toilet paper, paper towels, and of course cleaning products.

Having just moved into a new house with laminate/wood flooring, I'm a big fan of Swiffer products from P&G to keep my floors shiny.

The second reason I love Swiffer, is that my girls can join in the cleaning. Rather than pushing around a heavy vacuum, my girls enjoy taking turns with the Swiffer, learning how to clean up their own messes while having fun and practicing responsibility.   



Step 2. Buy a box of baking or cake mix!

 

costco, #HolidayMoments, #ad, cbias, christmas lights, children at christmas


Instead of measuring out flour, butter, sugar and hunting for multiple tiny spoons for spices - get to the baking and decorating faster by purchasing a baking mix.

If you can find a baking mix that only requires water, oil and an egg, you'll save yourself a lot of time and headache!

Preschoolers can measure water and crack an egg without making a huge mess, right?

Well, at least it will be less of a mess than they'd make with flour, salt, baking soda and cinnamon, yes? Yes! 


Step 3. Invite them to choose only 1-2 cookie cutters


costco, #HolidayMoments, #ad, cbias, cookie cutters, christmas cookies, children at christmas



Limiting the quantity of cookie cutters used, meant that my preschoolers had more repetition and were able to master the variables of those particular shapes. 

Rolling the appropriate thickness of dough, and using the spatula to transfer the cookie to a baking sheet takes coordination and changes with each shape used.

Choosing only their two favorite holiday shaped cookie cutters seemed to do the trick to boost their confidence as they practiced on only these shapes. 

costco, #HolidayMoments, #ad, cbias, christmas lights, children at christmas


Step 4. Be sure to have plenty of flour within reach

 

costco, #HolidayMoments, #ad, cbias, christmas lights, children at christmas

Any type of cookie dough you end up using will inevitably become sticky in those little preschooler fingers.

Having a little bowl of flour for the kiddos to dust the dough with will help limit meltdowns and frustration at dough sticking to the rolling pin, cutting board, spatula, etc. 

Step 5.  Take a deep breath and expect a mess


costco, #HolidayMoments, #ad, cbias, christmas lights, children at christmas


As long as you expect the worst, you'll be pleasantly surprised at anything short of disaster! 

Despite choosing a baking mix that didn't require a lot of measuring or dry messy ingredients - the above mess is what happens with preschoolers even if the flour is just for dusting the cutting board.

Just remember, you are creating memories that will last a lifetime. Flour on the floor can be cleaned up and your house returned to normal in a matter of minutes.


Let it be.

 Step 6. Use Swiffer Wet Mopping Refills to clean up


costco, #HolidayMoments, #ad, cbias, hardwood floor, children at christmas



There are many options for cleaning up with Swiffer. Both wet and dry mopping pad refills are available at Costco, as well as the whole sweeper kit if you don't have one yet!

Easy peasy!

Step 7. Relax and enjoy the #HolidayMoments you've made


costco, #HolidayMoments, #ad, cbias, gingerbread cookies, christmas cookies, children at christmas



Can't remember what you need to prepare for holiday visitors? 

Check out this list of must-have P&G products available at Costco, you won't want to be left without: P&G Necessitities

Tell me.....

What do you think is a MUST-HAVE for baking with preschoolers during the holidays?

 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

#Popples Appearing on #Netflix and Round Table Pizza

I was given samples of these products for review purposes and a gift card to enjoy pizza with my family as a thank-you. All opinions are 100% my own and may not reflect that of the company described. 

Popples, netflix, walmart, round table pizza

If your kids are NETFLIX junkies like mine are (yes, we also go to the library, park, ride bikes and enjoy being outdoors daily) then they've probably seen the new Popples series "POP" up on their screen recently. 

You might remember Popples yourself, if you were a kid in the 80's. I remember wanting one of those cute, cuddly little guys that can roll themselves up into balls myself!

I was sent some awesome Popples swag which I surprised my little girls with today, and they were fans of the funny little furry creatures that can be folded up into their own pouches, right away.

Popples, netflix, walmart, round table pizza

I made them close their eyes before they got their surprise...

See how excited they were! 

What's better is that once they were holding their new buddies "Bubbles" and "Yikes" I let them watch their first episode of Popples, which is now streaming on Netflix.
 

mckinney mommas, Popples, netflix, walmart, round table pizza

While the content of the show might have been just a little over their heads (3 and 4yrs old) they had a fun time trying to find and point out their plush characters "Bubbles" and "Yikes" on the screen!  

So, if you have young kiddos who are looking for some new fun characters to watch, find Popples on Netflix, and to double their fun - the Popples plush toys are coming to Walmart.com in mid-November and will be in stores in December (just in time for the holidays).

mckinney mommas, Popples, netflix, walmart, round table pizza

Also, Round Table Pizza is partnering with Popples and Netflix to host a Family Buffet Night every Tuesday in November from 5-8pm, where families can enjoy unlimited pizza, salad and breadsticks for an affordable price!

We're going tomorrow....with our new Popples buddies - especially "Yikes" (pictured above) since his favorite food is....pizza. Duh. 

Did I forget to mention you can join me? Well, figuratively anyway. Have fun entering my giveaway for a FREE VIP pass to Round Table Pizza in your town!

~ GIVEAWAY ~
Prize: Free Pizza - any size/type
  • Giveaway ends 11/30/15
  • Must be 18+ US/Resident

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

First Week of Preschool Dannon® Danimals® #FuelTheirAdventures

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FuelTheirAdventures #CollectiveBias 

preschool, smoothie, dannon, danimals #ad

It's finally here (sniff, sniff). 

She's off to school for the first time and we're trying to figure out who is going to have a harder time with it.

Yeah, I think we all already know the answer to that

The day before school started, we had lots of errands to run in preparation and were happy to have these cute little Dannon® Danimals® Smoothies with us as a great snack on-the-go! 

Come follow me today on our adventures before I fall in a sobbing heap on the floor school starts for my munchkin:

walmart, dannon, danimals, smoothie, shop


































First Stop? Groceries!

We all piled out of the car at our local Walmart, for some organic fruit for snacking and Dannon® Danimals® Smoothies.  My girls were super excited to go on a mini"treasure hunt" to find these silly looking little characters, all dressed up in their sports gear in the Packaged Deli aisle. 

After checking out the package, I saw that Dannon is running a promotion called Fuel Up To Play 60 where if you find a "Golden Bongo" hidden in specially marked packages, your school wins a Field Day with NFL Pros, a $5k grant and more!  

Now, I'm not sure how much these NFL Pros would want to attend a "field day" with a bunch of my daughter's bumbling preschool classmates, but hey a golden ticket for anything is worth looking for!  

(if you must know...we didn't find a "Golden Bongo" boo-hoo. We'll have to try again!)


Panaderia Mana, mexican bakery, concha, smoothie, danimals



Next Stop? The Bakery! 
 
Okay, since I'm in a bit of a sentimental mood about "Big Sister H." going off to school, I let them strong-arm me into taking them to our local Panaderia Mana (Mexican bakery) where they picked out a pastry for breakfast.

I figured, since Dannon® Danimals® Strawberry Kiwi Smoothies are made with low-fat milk, don't contain any artificial flavors or colors and don't have that nasty high fructose corn syrup they'd be a good addition to our extra special breakfast treat!


mexican bakery, pan dulce, mckinneymommas



Nom, nom, nom. 

Sorry, I just couldn't leave out this awesome shot of "Baby O." making her best Bongo impression - that's the Danimals mascot, if you hadn't figured out who "Bongo" is yet.

Okay, truth?  She wasn't trying to make any impression, that's just how dedicated she is to her craft of eating mexican pastries.  That's my girl! 


library, children's literature


Third Stop? The Library

The girls love to read stories with daddy at night before bed, and with me during the day, and when they wake up, and when they sit on the potty, and.....okay.....you get it.  

So, we typically make at least one weekly trip to the library to stock up on all the best reading material.

Mostly, the girls just fight over who gets to pull open the book drop door and place the books inside, where they magically appear back on the shelves the next week. 

storytime, library storytime, craft, mckinneymommas





Next Stop? Story & Craft Time

Our trip to the library happened to run right into a preschool story and craft time in the Children's Library area - BONUS! 

The girls got to listen to a story about a misbehaving dog, sing some silly songs, throw some scarves around, socialize with other kiddos and do a cute doggy craft.

I don't think you're supposed to have snacks or drinks in the library, but they were getting hungry again.  Shhh, so I had them sit carefully and share a smoothie. I won't say whether or not I had the remaining one. Oh wait. I did.



home, bongo, danimals, smoothie, dannon


Final Stop? Home

Now, if we're being honest, we did have one other stop before home.


Lunch.

But, really I don't think you want to see the mess my one-year old can make of rice and beans all over the entire mexican restaurant. Or, maybe you do. I'll just move on.

When we got home, as if the entire day of errands wasn't enough, the girls wanted to "make something with momma" - so I figured something simple and fun and quick - because it was naptime for "The Bookend".


popsicles, dannon, danimals, popsicle molds, easy popsicle recipe

Yeah, summer is over folks, but in this house popsicles live on throughout the year!

I let the girls pick their fruit - raspberries - and pour their smoothies into popsicle molds for a fun, fruity, refreshing treat that included some Vitamin D and Calcium. 

popsicle, raspberry, danimals, dannon, summertime girls
























After a few hours in the freezer, the girls had a frozen treat that they totally loved. Plus, they always enjoy a treat even more when they made it themselves!

Can't get any easier than this, can it?


only the good stuff, danimals, dannon, mckinneymommas


Thanks for joining me and the girls on our Dannon® Danimals® fueled adventures today! 

Looking for inspiration for your own kiddos on how Dannon® Danimals® can #FuelTheirAdventure?  Visit them here!



Thursday, September 3, 2015

America's Farm-To-Fork Capital in Legends of Wine - Sept 17

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, however I may receive complimentary tickets to a future event hosted by this organization for review purposes. As always, all opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by the company stated. 


sacramento, farm to fork capital


Some kind of alien structure?

The building blocks of new genetic code?

Expensive bubblewrap? 

No. That's a bunch of very happy people, staring into the bottom of their empty wine glasses from Sacramento's Farm-to-Fork Legends of Wine event last year.

Sound depressing? Not so, because Legends of Wine is back, and ready to make a believer out of you!

- Legends of Wine - 


Where?
  • Set against the backdrop of the west steps of our beautiful California State Capitol.

When?
  • Thursday, September 17th, 2015 from 6:00-8:30pm.

What?
  • Enjoy a variety of award-winning wines from the local region, paired with some delicious artisan cheese and other homegrown bites!

Who?
  • Two of Sacramento's internationally recognized culinary powerhouses, Darrell Corti and David Berkley have selected the varietals that will be offered for sampling. 

Will you join me?


wine glass, red wine, wine festival sacramento

 
Come celebrate with me at the 2015 Legends of Wine at America's Farm-To-Fork Capital - Sacramento, CA 


Get your tickets for Legends of Wine for $59 a person here! 

 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Free Emergency Contact Cards - Katrina 10yr Anniversary

This post is part of my commitment to be a good human in conjunction with Mom Bloggers For Social Good. I received no compensation for this post. Just a whole lot of feel good for spreading the word about an important issue like this.
 
Tomorrow will mark the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

Ten years ago, over 5,000 children were reported missing from their parents due to the disaster, and it took over 7 months to reunite the last of the children to their families.





One mother, affected by the disaster, who was separated from her toddler now is spreading the word - encouraging all families to have their children #getready and carry emergency contact cards in case of a disaster like this in the future.

Hear this mother's incredible journey here: 




Now, don't you think a simple thing like creating an emergency plan and contact cards are a small thing you can do with your family that could make a huge difference in being reunited?

If you are interested in getting started, click on the graphic below to create your own cards and preparedness plan.


www.savethechildren.org/Connect



It's so much easier to spend some time NOW to prepare for the unexpected, rather than wait until it's too late to take action.

Wouldn't you rather know that you've done all you can to help secure an emergency plan for your family, instead of leaving it up to luck and chance. 

I'm going to go create my emergency contact cards now. 

Won't you join me?





Friday, August 21, 2015

String Cheese FTW! Back To School Favorites #HorizonBTS

This post was sponsored by Horizon, however all opinions are 100% my own and not influenced by the company described.


 
Seriously?

She's getting this excited about string cheese?

No, this photo wasn't staged. I just got out my camera and got ready to snap when introducing my 4 year old to Horizon Organic Mozzarella String Cheese Sticks.

What a wackadoodle!






 
As the end of summer is coming near. Umm, very near. We're starting to get excited about my oldest daughter's first adventure into preschool.

I'm having a hard time thinking about her being away from us for a few hours a day, but it's a great opportunity for her to socialize and start figuring out what school is all about.

In preparation for her academic adventures, I've been trying to experiment with different snack foods that I know she'll eat while she's away at school, so my mind will be at ease that she's at the very least having some wholesome food while away from home. 




All three of my girls asked for more Horizon Organic Mozzarella Sticks today on the back patio, so I'm sure if I pack them for school, they'll be enjoyed.

Also, the Horizon Cheddar Snack Crackers were a hit with....err...me. Okay, my girls also liked them too, but I think they're my favorite evening snack now! 

To find more snacks that your kids might like from Horizon, check out:  Horizon Snacks here!


Yes, we've been practicing spelling and the alphabet to help "Big Sister H." feel confident entering preschool - so figured HORIZON was a good word to start with.

She had fun finding all the letters from our set of wooden blocks and helped me put together some of her favorite words while munching on some of her new favorite snacks for school! 

Horizon has lots of snacks and treats that are sure to be a hit with your back-to-school kiddos like, chocolate milk, fruit snacks with DHA, and good ol' mac n cheese! 

So, if you want to stay in the loop on new and tasty snacks for your kids (and you):

Check out Horizon Brand on:



What are some of your household's favorite Back To School snacks?


This conversation is sponsored by Horizon. The opinions and text are all mine.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

My Plan To Get Lean and Toned With EAS #PowerInProtein

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are, however 100% mine alone. #PowerInProtein #CollectiveBias 

At the beginning of the year I made the choice to sign up for my first fitness event, ever.

It wasn't an easy choice.

I hadn't been to the gym since my college years, and even then it was sporadic.

One back injury, and three babies later, I couldn't seem to find time to focus on my own health and needed a kickstart to get healthier.

mud run, protein shake

So, I registered for a local women-focused mud run and began to train.

The mud run website had lots of great resources for doing your own training and strength building at home, but with three tiny tots jumping all over me, I decided to join a local gym, Get Fit Davis that provided childcare.

I started taking a high-intensity cardio class twice a week, cutting down on carbs, replacing one meal with a homemade protein shake, and drinking AdvantEdge CarbControl Ready-to-Drink protein shake to rebuild muscle after my workouts.


protein shake, mckinneymommas



































I absolutely despise artificial flavors and sweeteners, but the EAS AdvantEdge CarbControl shake, in Rich Dark Chocolate flavor honestly worked out great for me.

It was super smooth and not fake tasting. I would pack one in a little insulated lunch box, so it would be cold and ready when I got back to the car from my workout at the gym.

I like variety, so was happy to find the CarbControl shake is available in the following flavors:
  • Strawberry Cream
  • Rich Dark Chocolate
  • French Vanilla
  • Chocolate Fudge
  • Cafe Caramel

protein shake, mckinneymommas, #cbias

See how gross and sweaty I am?

For some reason, genetics I guess, I turn 50 shades of red during my workouts!

I quickly realized that your body needs lots of protein after exercise - to rebuild muscle - and when you don't get it, your body gets really sore. With the kids always on the go, we don't always get home for lunch right away and found out I needed a protein boost to help recover from my workouts.

AdvantEdge CarbControl Protein Shake was a perfectly easy way to get my protein without having to stop at some greasy fast-food joint or drive all the way home to help my body recover from exercise.

#cbias, kale, protein shake
We typically eat pretty healthy in our home for dinner, but sometimes fall short during breakfast and lunch.

So, I started to make my own breakfast shakes with lots of protein, veggies, fruit and chia seeds in the morning with my Tribest Blender.

Also, I've added in even more greens for lunch and dinner, like this Massaged Kale Salad, which the entire family loved! 

Something is seriously working for me, since I was able to clock 6 miles at the gym (photo above) on the elliptical machine in just under an hour! Whereas working as hard as I could at the start of this journey, I could barely do 2 miles.


Walmart, #pharmacy, #cbias

If you want to supplement your protein intake, like I am currently doing. You can find EAS AdvantEdge Carb Control shakes and bars at Walmart in the Pharmacy area - under the Diet and Nutrition Bars Section.

For under $1.50 per shake, the price is really pretty good if you're using this as a way to keep your carb intake in check, and increase your protein.

I really don't believe in traditional dieting - as I've seen too many trends that don't work and diets that aren't good for the body long-term.

 I've made it my mission rather, to simply get healthier and build muscle. 

I have lost about 6lbs so far while increasing exercise and cutting down on carbs.

I have noticed a huge difference in my leg & back strength and have noticed friends and family saying how they thought my legs and arms were more defined than they remembered.

Hey! I'll take it.

McKinneyMommas, #cbias, fitness


This is me.

I am stronger than I was 5 months ago.

I am not skinny.

I have three beautiful baby girls to run around after. 

I am getting stronger. 

I am the best me I can be. 

This is me, and I'm okay with that.

If you want to explore your ability to get healthier, leaner and fit, go find the right EAS products for you here at Walmart!