12.02.2016

14 Awesome Stocking Stuffers For THE FAMILY | A 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

 
Can you believe this is already my last gift guide for this holiday season? I hope you've enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed putting them together, and I also hope that you've found some amazing gift ideas and some great items to purchase. This fourth and final gift guide of the year is all about Stocking Stuffers! Stockings are one of those little "extra" things that are always a lot of fun, you can be as creative as you want and add as little or as much as you want (personally I always love filling them with tons of little goodies). Stockings are the final added touch to Christmas and as a parent, it's almost as fun filling them as opening them later on! I've gathered up some great items in this curated Stocking Stuffers For The Family Gift Guide that are perfect for last minute stocking additions and are sure to make the entire family smile. Read all about them below!

 
One | Bushwick Kitchen | Trees Knees Gingerbread Maple Syrup
Let's just throw this out there that I am a little obsessed with maple syrup. Someday I want to travel to wherever they make it and help make it too! And then let it also be known that I love gingerbread. After peppermint, it's my most favorite winter/holiday flavor, so when I seen that the amazing Bushwick Kitchen (based out of Brooklyn New York) made gingerbread maple syrup, I knew I had to have it lol. I have a feeling this is going to go so perfectly over my husband's homemade pancakes, and in coffee, and in hot cocoa, and in cookies, and over chicken and waffles and on errrr-thang. Maybe that's getting a little carried away haha, but this is one thing I'm for sure definitely excited for. And we all know from Buddy The Elf, that maple syrup is a necessity of life, I mean "candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup", we can't ignore that amazing bit of advice. Go buy alllll the gingerbread maple syrup.


Two | Rose & Rex | Origami Bath Boat
This just completely brings me back to my childhood. I remember making paper origami boats like this one from newspapers that my grandparents gave me. So it's so exciting to get Bella a bath toy like this from Rose & Rex. This origami bath boat is made from all natural, plant based rubber (100% natural latex from Hevea rubber trees) and is the sweetest little toy. It's perfect for babies and toddlers alike and is great as a bath toy or a regular toy! Endless fun for the little ones and bringing back endless memories for parents and grandparents. It comes in pink, vanilla (which is kind of a beige) and white (shown in photos). The perfect stocking stuffer for little ones!


Three | The Little Flower Soap Co.Natural Lip Balm (Set of 3)
We are all a little lip balm obsessed in our home. Bella is always asking for "more lippies mama" and Frank and I both always seem to be applying it as well. Lips that are moisturized the natural way always seem to be chapped less and are healthier in general, so I was super excited at the chance to try this lip balm out. They smell so amazing and are some of our favorites now. The raspberry is my personal favorite with the lavender right up there with it, and hubby is loving the tangerine and vanilla. These make the best stocking stuffers, secret Santa presents and hostess gifts!

 
Four | Raw Spice Bar |  Monthly Flavor Kit
My husband and I both love spending time in the kitchen. Cooking, baking, prepping, eating, snacking... We love it all. That's why this little spice subscription is perfect for us, and really anyone you know who loves spending time in the kitchen. Every month, a little package is delivered to your door with three packets of spice mixes, completely different and delicious and with little recipe cards to go with it as well! It's pretty much perfect for anyone who loves trying new foods and getting adventurous with their food. For $8 a month (only $6 if you sign up for 12 months), you totally can't pass this amazing deal up, Ya know?! Yum! Another amazing thing about the monthly flavor kit from the Raw Spice Bar? Their spices are completely organic, vegan, paleo, sugar free and gluten free!

 
Five | PujPuj Bath Treads
If you've ever almost slipped in the shower or bathtub or if you're wanting to go the extra mile to keep your little one safer, these are the product for you! Not only are they actually really pretty (I'm simply loving that watercolor look) but they're also really functional as well. They're grippy and are made from BPA/PVC free material , they have just enough traction to prevent slipping, but are also gentle and soft on sensitive skin. And they're super easy to install as well! Parent will love the practicality of these while babies, toddlers and children will love the bright colors!

 
I think we can all agree that oral hygiene is pretty important, especially with all of the cookies and pies and cakes and sweets we all consume right around the holidays. But it's even better when our toothbrushes are fashionable, am I right? Brushing those ivories two to three times every day and also every night before bed was never more enjoyable than with these beauties from Quip! I chose the gold metal tooth brush and my hubby chose the copper metal toothbrush and we couldn't love them more. With a simple design, pretty colors and metallic, these electric vibrating tooth brushes are not just the coolest, they're really awesome too! They come with a 2 minute timer with 30 second pulses, so you never have to guess whether you're brushing your teeth for long enough anymore, getting them perfectly clean and healthy while you're brushing away. Oh! And I can't forget to mention that they have a subscription service that you can sign up for that ships new toothbrush heads every 3 months, or you can sign up for a year! Yay! Tooth care made easy!


Seven | Sweet Oil Social by Ashley (@Ashley_sweetoilsocial) | Christmas Spirit Essential Oil
I've loved essential oils for almost my entire life, my mom was introduced to them when I was a young child and I remember watching her use them, and even using them myself a few times (there was that one time I used an entire bottle of tea tree oil on a mosquito bite as a child lol). Essential oils are a big part of our lives now as well, I introduced my husband to them, and at first he was a big skeptic, but as he used them more and more, he began loving them and seeing results, he even asks for them now, and so does our little girl! She's always asking to have some lavender oil in her diffuser or rubbed on her back before bedtime. That's why I was so excited when Ashley from over at Sweet Oil Social asked if she could send me some oils! Christmas Spirit is one I've had my eye on for a while now and you guys, and when I opened up my mailbox I could smell Christmas! Literally, even though it was completely shut and sealed up, you could still smell how amazing this oil blend from Young Living smelled! Ashley is a Young Living Essential Oils independent distributor (you can sign up under her here) and is also a wife as well as a mama to three little ones! Click here to head to her website and learn more about essential oils, if you haven't heard about them before, I promise you they'll change your life! Essentials make the perfect stocking stuffer and the best Christmas gifts!


I'm so excited to add these two items into my husband's stocking this year. The muscle Rescue Balm is the perfect gift to give him after he  has worked a long day and has sore muscles, just use some of this rescue balm! It's filled with so many great and natural ingredients and is simply the best for soothing sore and tired muscles, plus it's moisturizing! Now this Skin Rescue Balm I might just have to swipe haha. It's so great for any skin issues you might have and has been known to clear skin and heal chapped lips. Definitely looking forward to trying this one out!


This tee is so comfortable and is the perfect shirt for mamas! I love finding "mama" shirts to wear, especially if they have the word tribe on them and this shirt could not be more perfect for me. It's soft, comfortable, flattering and definitely a conversation starter. You can show the world that you are raising your little ones, your tribe, and you're doing a good job all the while looking great in this shirt. Little Adi & Co. offers this shirt in sizes small through extra large, as well as a ton of other shirt options for women with this phrase. Tees, sweatshirts, tanks... you name it, they got it. You could even get one of each so you can wear this sweet design all year round!
 
 
Ten | The Silver Loft | Personalized Swivel Clasp Luggage or Backpack Tag
I've felt for a while that my husband needed a nice keychain, and though this is technically a luggage or backpack tag, also it doubles as a keychain! When I spied this one that I could customize from over at The Silver Loft, I knew he had to have it. Customized with a monogram of his initials, this luggage tag/ backpack tag/ keychain could not be more perfect. So many different personalization options offered for this product alone, not to mention that it can be customized with up to 25 characters! What a great gift for that hard to buy for person you know, or if you want to give someone an extra special personalized gift!
 

Eleven | The Little Design Co. | "Kate" Pigtail Leather Hairbow Set
I recently shared a little about The Little Design Co. and the Rosa Adventure Backpack over in the Children's Gift Guide, and now I'm thrilled to tell you about these hairbows also from The Little Design Co.! They're the perfect matching pair of little leather hairbows for pigtails, braids, twins, sisters, friends and even mama and mini matching! These little hairbows measure approximately 3" from tip to tip and come in a variety of adorable colors.
 
 
Handmade soaps are always one of my favorite things and these definitely do not disappoint. These are made with  the best and highest quality natural ingredients that you don't have to worry about putting on your skin. They boast an impressive line up of ingredients used in the making of these sweet smelling cold pressed soaps such as coconut and olive oils, essential oils, French pink clay and chlorophyll. You'll definitely want to grab  a few bars before they sell out!


I mean, how adorable are these little undies? Perfect for little girls or boys, they're great for kids that are learning to potty train and kids who have already mastered the toilet. These brief style undies are made from 100% cotton, feature super-smooth flat-lock seams and the encased elastic never touches the skin (which is great since children have such sensitive skin). They come in sizes 2-3T and 4T and are the cutest little undies ever.


When it comes to keeping our children safe, we are always trying to be vigilant. When summer is here, we slather them up in sunscreen, when it's cold out we wrap them up nice and warm, but what do we do when it's sunny out? What will we do to protect their delicate little eyes from sun damage? Why buy Real Kids Shades of course! When it comes to eye protection, sunglasses aren't just an accessory, they're a necessity. And these children's sunglasses are some of the best I've come across so far. Real Kids Shades are doctor recommended because they boast an awesome 100% UVA/UVB Protection! Their design is a flex-fit design (literally unbreakable and they're amazing) with a professional grade polycarbonate lenses. Not to mention their iconic and classic styles. Bella has both "Sky" and "Surf" Shades and loves them both. I love how the Sky Shades look just like mini aviator glasses and that the Surf Shades have that classic wayfarer look to them. Your little one will feel 10 times cooler wearing these!
 

Happy Shopping, Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas!
 
 

12.01.2016

Dark Chocolate Peppermint Oreo Brownies

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

 
Christmas is my most favorite time of year, so it's only normal that I have some easy holiday recipes to grab in case guests show up without notice or I forget that I need to bake something for a get together. This recipe is also a great one for last minute parties as well! In fact, all of these products will help you deck the halls and be quite jolly!

As I've mentioned previously, Giant Eagle is pretty much our go-to store when it comes to groceries or really anything we need. We have two very close to where we live and there always seems to be one close by wherever we are. So not only are their stores pretty great convenience wise, but they also always have the best selection of, well, yep, you guessed it... everything! Yep, Giant Eagle is the place to go for all your holiday shopping needs. Everything is super easy to find and they have some of the largest selections of not only their own branded products, but big vendors and brands as well, making it the one stop destination for all of your holiday needs, whether it be meals, holiday parties, or you just caught a baking bug. Plus their team members are always super helpful if I can't find something, and have some of the best suggestions for other items if I can't find what I'm searching for.

 
I decided to throw an impromptu holiday party a few days ago and I only had to make one trip to the store since Giant Eagle had everything I needed (which is great for a super busy mom like myself). Oreos and Oreo Thins, Dannon Oikos Yogurt Drinks and Single Serve yogurts, Keebler Townhouse Club Crackers, Giant Eagle Tortilla Chips and of course Hallmark Holiday Cards were all on my "to buy' shopping list. Everything was so easy to find and I had so much fun picking out the Hallmark Holiday cards, they had sooooo many to choose from and they were all so cute it was hard not to choose them all. I settled on an adorable Snoopy themed one and also one that came with a little golden Christmas tree necklace!
 
When we got home from the store and unloaded the car, I started whipping up some brownies in the kitchen, everyone knows that holiday parties need Dark Chocolate Peppermint Oreo Brownies, right?! They were so easy to make, fast to throw all the ingredients together and super delicious to eat! They're sure to be a crowd favorite and something that guests ask for again and again and get seconds of. I'm sharing the recipe below in case you want to make them too!

 

 
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Oreo Brownies
 
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

2 cups white sugar

1 cup melted real butter

1/2 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups crushed peppermint candy canes

1 cup crushed Oreos

1 cup crushed Oreo thins


 
WHAT YOU'LL DO:
Melt the butter in a medium sized mixing bowl and then mix in all of the ingredients in the order given. After your brownie batter is completely mixed and is a nice consistency, add in your crushed or chopped peppermint (use about half of what you chopped up; I used a food processor to chop them) and your regular Oreos (I also used a food processor to chop these), mix thoroughly. Pour into a greased pan and top with the rest of your crushed peppermints and with your chopped Oreo thins. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
 
 
The Vanilla flavored Dannon Oikos Yogurt Drinks  were the perfect addition to the brownies, kind of like cookies and milk, but a grown up version, ya know? And the Giant Eagle Tortilla Chips and Keebler Townhouse Club Crackers both paired perfectly with some store branded red pepper hummus I grabbed at Giant Eagle. They plated so beautifully and were literally the easiest thing ever! I also put out some more regular Oreos and Oreo Thins on a plate in case someone wanted plain Oreos and also a couple of vanilla Dannon Oikos Yogurt Single Serve yogurts (perfect for dipping Oreos in to).
 
Are you throwing any last minute parties this Holiday season or looking for any great new recipes? The Giant Eagle Hub is the place to be! Head over there now (direct link found here) and check out all the great recipes to choose from! Have fun baking and Happy Holidays!