Momma Told Me

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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Love Bug Headband Tutorial, You Make My Heart Glow Printable + YumEarth Allergy Friendly Valentines

YumEarth provided some allergy free treats in adorable Valentine's Day packaging to help inspire this post, no further compensation was provided. All thoughts and photos contained below are copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2016.
Make Valentine's Day fun for everyone with allergy friendly celebration solutions. PAss out YumEarth Organics all natural nut and gluten free gummy bears, make Love Bug headbands, and grab our FREE "You Make My Heart Glow" Valentines printables! #AD
Momma Told Me: Share the love.

With the exception of dairy, our immediate family is fortunate enough not to have any allergies or food sensitivities, which allows us to indulge in holidays with little refrain. However, when it comes to the topic of children, holidays become much more than  an extra treat here and there, but a social event which is often celebrated among many peers at parties and school functions. Do you know that an estimated 8% of K-12 children have some form of major food allergy or sensitivity? Holidays are about sharing the love, not singling people out- so we've put together a few amazing, and simple, ways for kids to share the Valentine's Day spirit in a more including manor.
Make Valentine's Day fun for everyone with allergy friendly celebration solutions. PAss out YumEarth Organics all natural nut and gluten free gummy bears, make Love Bug headbands, and grab our FREE "You Make My Heart Glow" Valentines printables! #AD
First up is YumEarth Organics gummy bears in special seasonally packages Valentine's Day serving pouches. These .40oz (approximately 6 bears per serving) Gummy Bear pouches are individually packaged and ready to pass out. You may recognize YumEarth from their previous features here on Momma Told Me for their Naturally Flavored, NON GMO, Synthetic Free, Real Fruit Juice candies and snacks that really put the 'sweet' back in 'sweets.' These delicious bears are not only made with real fruit juice, but real cane sugar as well, and come in a variety of delicious flavors like Mango Tango, Perfectly Peach, and Strawberry Smash. Best of all these are Nut and Gluten Free, making them a great sweet option and alternative to mainstream candy when sharing with classmates.
Many of the children at the daycare are on strict diets for gluten sensitivities or behavioral issues.  While I love them like my children, they aren't my children, so I am always extra picky with what I'll share for snack time and holiday treats. YumEarth Gummy Bears and Sour Beans pass the parent test of approval in front of a very tough crowd, and the kids NEVER know the difference between YumEarth and 'mainstream candy.' Of course, depending on your own child's dietary restrictions, or perhaps your own parenting rules, you may wish to discourage sugar all-together as a group element., so we've come up with a simple sugar-free Valentine's idea and a fun craft everyone will love celebrating with.
Sugar Free Valentines- You Make My Heart Glow glow stick Valentines
There are few things as exciting to the kids as a glow stick, and glow stick are entirely cheap and affordable. You can pick up a container of 50 mixed glow sticks for about $7 at the local party store, more than enough for an entire class. So grab the FREE "You Make My Heart Glow" Valentine Printable at the bottom of this post, use a hole punch to put a hole in the bottom and top and you've got instant Valentines sure to be a kit at any party or school event. If you want to get really fancy you can even print them on card-stock for a keepsake that's sure to last. Just don't bend those glow sticks while putting them together!
Of course, growing up, one of my favorite things about any holiday was the special craft projects I'd make at school and take home to show off to my parents. A simply art or craft project can help open a great dialogue for discussion of the holiday's origin, which relationships we're thankful for, and how we can show our love every day of the year. Some of the youngest kids in our group began the afternoon repeating how Valentine's Day was 'just for married people and moms and dads,' but we soon explored how love for a new baby brother, special grandmother, and even a best friend can be worth celebrating too.
Love Bug Headbands- Make Valentine's Day fun for everyone with allergy friendly celebration solutions. PAss out YumEarth Organics all natural nut and gluten free gummy bears, make Love Bug headbands, and grab our FREE "You Make My Heart Glow" Valentines printables! #AD
With a few poster boards from the dollar store, a pack of colored pipe cleaners, a pair of scissors, a roll of tape, and some markers you can easily make these Love Bug Headbands. I began by cutting our poster-board in 2" strips length-wise. Next each child picked out a heart sticker and wrote 'Love Bug' as close to the center of the strip of paper as their dexterity skills allowed. Then they twisted and bent their 'antennae' and taped them on the inside of the paper at either side of their lettering. Next an adult wrapped the headband around their head to measure for fit and cut two interlocking notches to help size. Of course you could just staple or tape the back of the headband if desired, too.
Each and every child enjoyed making their Love Bug headbands, and not a single one was alike. Some boys drew their favorite sports team symbols on the sides while another child drew a portrait of his family, and even the 4 year old scribbled her lettering on the front with complete pride. Smelly markers always help make craft time more fun, of course- but we managed without any painted noses this time. And, when we were all done, we sat down to enjoy a nice all natural nut and gluten free YumEarth treat- our favorite YumEarth Organics Gummy Bears in Valentine's packaging. Grab your YumEarth Organics treats in time for Valentine's Day online at Amazon.com or locally at a Walgreens, Whole Foods, Albertsons or more near you. See the complete store list here.

What Daughter Says: Be sure to include everyone this Valentine's Day with some allergy friendly Valentine's Day ideas and treats!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-4tjJzvAMc9T0pQdWhhRG02UlU/view?usp=sharing

Upgrade Your Cat's Comode With the Power of Febreze + D.I.Y Cat Scratcher Vase Tutorial

This post is sponsored by Fresh Step® and the BlogPaws® Influencer Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Fresh Step® with Febreze® but I only share information I feel is relevant to my readers. Fresh Step is not responsible for the content of this article. All photos contained below are copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2016.
Ditch your old cat litter with this affordable D.I.Y Cat Scratcher Vase, and experience the odor control and low dust formula of all new #FreshStepFebreze at PetSmart. #Sponsored
Momma Told Me: It's time to graduate to the big leagues.

There comes a time in every cat's life when you need to sit down and have 'the talk.' If you have human kids the potty training discussion flows from training pants and potties to 'big boy undies.' Your kids will eventually tell you when they feel comfortable enough with their training to progress to more advanced powder room, erm box, skills. The problem with feline children is that we, as their human parents, become complacent. We start out with fancy litter and grow a little lazier over time. I doubt you use the cheapest toilet paper, so why should your cat suffer the indignities of inferior litter?
Experience the POWER of Febreze in #FreshStepFebreze at PetSmart #SponsoredOf course your cat doesn't pay the bills. Truffles earns a fair income for someone 13" tall with a speech impediment, but at the end of the day I'm the one pulling out the plastic to pay for that litter box spread. And I've made her ensure some awful litters in the name of financing or human entitlement. Yet it always seems to be HER fault when the commode requires a 'second flushing' or a little bit of 'toilet paper' gets tracked out of the restroom. So, when Truffles suggested I look into new Fresh Step with the POWER of Febreze I thought she was getting all high and mighty with her bathroom decor. A Febreze infused commode? Wasn't that the lap of luxury?
Ditch your old cat litter with this affordable D.I.Y Cat Scratcher Vase, and experience the odor control and low dust formula of all new #FreshStepFebreze at PetSmart. #Sponsored
But it turns out I was actually able to pick up this new Fresh Step variety on my regular stop at PetSmart, and the POWER of Febreze Fresh Step varieties came in several litter formulations such as Extreme Clumping, Extreme Lightweight, and Multiple Cat. I was a bit resistant to pick up some new treats, on the back of the swanky new litter, but I caved to the images of Puss In Boots eyes and my better conscience and walked out with a cart of goodies for both the kids. Of course, as soon as I got home Truffles was eagerly waiting to inspect the new Fresh Step with the POWER of Febreze litter I'd selected, and demanded a fresh box.
Which brings us to the dilemma of what I was to do with all that OLD unused litter. Truffles now had the odor busting POWER of Febreze on her side with a fancy pants low dust formula litter, but I was left with about 40lbs of sub-par litter I was now NEVER going to go back to. Surely it had to have SOME use; storm drain sandbags, kitty litter paperweights, abstract sand art. None of these ideas were good enough to make immediate use of all that litter. Until Nora had a genius idea. Why not make the cat, who's always scratching on things, a piece of furniture exclusively designed for her to tear it up?
Ditch your old cat litter with this affordable D.I.Y Cat Scratcher Vase, and experience the odor control and low dust formula of all new #FreshStepFebreze at PetSmart. #Sponsored
So we hit the local flea market, Nora, Jay, and I, and scoured for the most inexpensive, potentially hideous, second hand vase we could find. It had to be tall, with ample surface area, and tapered to discourage burrowing and other 'cat behaviors.' At last we came across a metallic painted steel vase that was lightweight and several feet tall. For under $20 we assembled (2) 100' Sisal Rope rolls, a decorative tile from the D.I.Y store, and a few hot glue sticks. Tacking the rope to the vase at the very bottom, middle, and top with super glue we wrapped the vase as tight as we could, just 1 foot short of our 200' length.
Ditch your old cat litter with this affordable D.I.Y Cat Scratcher Vase, and experience the odor control and low dust formula of all new #FreshStepFebreze at PetSmart. #Sponsored
Ditch your old cat litter with this affordable D.I.Y Cat Scratcher Vase, and experience the odor control and low dust formula of all new #FreshStepFebreze at PetSmart. #Sponsored
We then used some heavy duty Apoxy to secure and set the vase to the tile- the tile being necessary to help stabilize the base, in addition to filled weight, and prevent it from tipping in use. Next we filled the vase with 25lb of that 'old' kitty little and added a few festive fake branches to encourage Truffles' mischievous instincts. A little dash of fresh catnip inside and out, and voila, instant home decor and stylish cat furniture.
Ditch your old cat litter with this affordable D.I.Y Cat Scratcher Vase, and experience the odor control and low dust formula of all new #FreshStepFebreze at PetSmart. #Sponsored
I couldn't be happier how this project turned out for just about $30, and the piece itself is a wonderful addition to our home. We set it up by the Truffles' normal destruction hangout for the first few days for her to get the picture that it was 'scratch approved,' then moved it to a less cat central part of the home where it is otherwise completely camouflaged as a piece of human furniture. Best of all, if a section of rope begins to tear off or look particularly ratty it's an easy repair for just a few feet of rope, with 100' running around $8 normally.
Ditch your old cat litter with this affordable D.I.Y Cat Scratcher Vase, and experience the odor control and low dust formula of all new #FreshStepFebreze at PetSmart. #Sponsored
Of course, if your cat isn't as picky about their personal space, and lavatory, as you are- you can always introduce Fresh Step with the POWER of Febreze into your home with gradual 50/50 litter changes. You'll likely notice a decrease in litter dust almost instantly (#win) and they'll be less discerning. I'm lucky enough to have a refined feline for a daughter and we're both enjoying the new powerful odor control thanks to Fresh Step with the POWER of Febreze at PetSmart. The scratching vase is pretty darn snazzy too. Let's face it, sometimes being a cat parent gets us a bad wrap- how do you make your cat's presence a little more subtle? Do you keep your litter box in a special cabinet? Do you buy modern pet furniture?

What Daughter Says: Don't settle for litter trained, conquer the litter box with the odor busting POWER lower dust Fresh Step with the POWER of Febreze.


Ditch your old cat litter with this affordable D.I.Y Cat Scratcher Vase, and experience the odor control and low dust formula of all new #FreshStepFebreze at PetSmart. #Sponsored


This post is sponsored by Fresh Step® and the BlogPaws® Influencer Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Fresh Step® with Febreze® but I only share information I feel is relevant to my readers. Fresh Step is not responsible for the content of this article.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

D.I.Y. Smarty Phone Valentines With Free Printable + Hershey's Conversation Candies

The following DIY Smarty Phone Valentines content has been sponsored by the Hershey Company. All photos contained below are copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2016. #HSYMessageOfLove
Share the #HSYMessageOfLove with these #NerdLove DIY Smarty Phone Valentines made with Hershey's Conversation Candies, exclusive to Target. Click to grab the free printable! #Sponsored
Momma Told Me: You're sweeter than kisses.


We've already established that my family has a history of saying 'I love you' though Hershey's Kisses chocolates. Whether it was my grandparents sending seasonal Hershey's Kisses clear across the country or my father and I pushing bedtime limits with an after dinner game of Chockers (the official Hershey's Kisses Checkers game,) I grew up with these little chocolate drops unwrapping a message of love. So it's absolutely delightful to me that this year, for Valentine's Day, Hershey's has released new Conversation Candies in Hershey's Kisses and Reese's Cups, exclusive to Target stores nationwide.
#HSYMessageofLove Hershey's Conversation Candies from Target. #Sponsored
#HSYMessageofLove Hershey's Conversation Candies from Target. #Sponsored
The limited edition Hershey's Kisses Conversation Candies feature an array of heart flecked pink, purple, and blue foil wrapped Milk Chocolate Kisses with sweet little messages printed on the bottom of the wrapper. There are at least 10 unique messages, I've counted, and they range from fun and flirty 'Let's Kiss' and "XOXO" to simply "BFF." Hershey's Conversation Kisses bring home the fun of traditional Valentine's conversation hearts without the chalky aftertaste; who doesn't love to enjoy a melt-in-your-mouth Hershey's Kisses?
#HSYMessageofLove Hershey's Conversation Candies from Target. #Sponsored
#HSYMessageofLove Hershey's Conversation Candies Reese's Peanut Butter Cups from Target. #Sponsored
Of course my father, who has always maintained the only way chocolate can be made butter is with peanut butter, is a Reese's Peanut Butter Cups fan- so I have plenty of Reese's Conversation Cups on hand for Valentine's Day too. Unlike the Conversation Kisses, these special edition cups, also exclusively available at Target, have fun heart messages printed ON them- so you can unwrap a surprise with every cup. The wrappers also have the perfect writing space on top for a "To and From" label- they're literally ready to pass out this Valentine's Day. Really, what could be better than chocolate WITH conversation messages?
#HSYMessageofLove Hershey's Conversation Candies from Target. #Sponsored
Okay, there is something, maybe- I DID hit the personal lab and create something extra special for all of you, my Valentine's- too bad the delicious Hershey's chocolates don't transfer through the screen to your printer too! Inspired by our previous Nerd Love Hershey's Valentine's Basket theme, and D.I.Y Robot Box of Chocolates, I kept the techy love alive with some adorable printable Valentine's Day wrappers that transform a couple Reese's Conversation Cups and 2 Conversation Kisses into a sassy Smarty Phone Valentine! These are easy to make in seconds with the FREE Printable wrappers, featured below, and a little bit of colored yarn. You truly can spread the #HSYMessageofLove in no time!
Share the #HSYMessageOfLove with these #NerdLove DIY Smarty Phone Valentines made with Hershey's Conversation Candies, exclusive to Target. Click to grab the free printable! #Sponsored
Obviously I still had my teenager (I can't believe I'm calling her a teen now!) niece in mind when I made these colorful and playful Smarty Phone Valentine's, complete with delicious Hershey's Conversation Kisses earbuds. Because, what teenager or tween ISN'T plugged into their smartphone these days? Of course these fun Hershey's Conversation candies are sure to spark a few fun conversations between classmates or co-workers this holiday. Just be sure to remind them there's no warranty on those earbuds should one get eaten!
Share the #HSYMessageOfLove with these #NerdLove DIY Smarty Phone Valentines made with Hershey's Conversation Candies, exclusive to Target. Click to grab the free printable! #Sponsored
My favorite thing about holidays, such as Valentine's Day is sharing the love and fun with friends and family. Pleasing tweens and teens can be tough- they never seem to want anything anyone else has. Go ahead and print out our Smarty Phone Valentine's Wrappers and let them have their say with hand picked Hershey's Conversation Candies from Target, each and every Smarty Phone is guaranteed to be unique! As for me, I'll be passing some of these Smarty Phones out to my league-mates next week at the alley! Be sure to get the FREE Smarty Phone wrapper printable and grab your Conversation Candies from Target. Now tell me, who in your life gets a Valentine every year? Are you a traditional cupid who only shares the day with your other half, or do you like to spread the love around with family and friends?

 For more #HSYMessageOfLove information, including recipes, visit CelebratewithHerhseys.com.

What Daughter Says: It's hard to out-sweet these kisses when they're made of delicious Hershey's Milk Chocolate!


Wednesday, February 3, 2016

National #CarrotCakeDay- Carrot Cake Truffles Recipe

National Carrot Cake Day is February 3rd- Make these Carrot Cake Truffles and convert even the biggest chocolate cake fans to carrot!
Momma Told Me: Let them eat cake!

When polled, people worldwide agree that Carrot Cake is a favorite flavor- It ranks 3rd, behind 'Chocolate' and 'Vanilla,' a full 4 spots above Red Velvet and 6 above German Chocolate. But what, really, is the fascination with a cake chocked full of a vegetable? Zucchini Cake exists, but it's widely regarded much more as a bread or loaf, than a dessert. One might argue carrot cake is a favorite because people feel they are enjoying a 'healthier' treat- which is true in a sense. It's believed carrot cake was first make in medieval times during sugar shortages as carrots were found a suitable sweetener. But modern carrot cakes, at least the sort ordered at mass grocery retailers and main stream bakeries, are actually loaded with extra sugars- particularly the frosting.
Maybe it's the texture? You can hide a whole lot in a good carrot cake and have your guests be none-the wiser. In fact, ingredients such as raisins, coconuts, and shredded carrots help this cake keep it's wonderful moisture throughout many recipe variations. And, while I consider Carrot more of a Spice Cake and make mine on the low sugar end, I am constantly surprised by the number of people who clamor for a slice when I bring one of these cakes by. I have NEVER left a social event with a slice, or even some generous sized crumbs, of carrot cake on my serving dish- and I honestly can't say that about ANY other cake recipe, no matter how fancy.
Why? It's an easy cake to eat- it satisfies a sweet tooth craving without going over the top. As delicious as mud pie cakes and black raspberry truffle cakes are they are quite rich and only a small portion can be consumed before guilt and feelings of over indulgence kick in. I also prefer to serve my homemade frosting on the side- a great carrot cake doesn't need frosting at all, it is moist and perfectly sweet on it's own. Most importantly, your average carrot cake fan is NOT a huge sweet eater, and likely prefers to determine the amount of frosting they inhale themselves. This reminds me to try my hand at carrot cake cinnamon buns sometime, my frosting recipe would make a delicious icing!
But all of this is to say that today, February 3rd, is National Carrot Cake Day! I'm not sure why so many of these 'National Days' seem to be so off balance with the natural season of the topic. It would seem more fitting that this would fall in March, or more towards Spring at least- but the Groundhog has emerged from his hole, and I suspect the National Holiday Calendar is quite full- so I'll take the excuse to enjoy my favorite recipe in a while new twist.
So, today, I'm sharing Carrot Cake Truffles. They're more like carrot cake balls- but the word 'truffle' demands a bit of respect, so we'll go with that. The recipe is simple- you can take your favorite boxed carrot cake mix (for that I recommend Duncan Hines Supreme) and substitute it for my Carrot Cake Base- or prepare the recipe as it is. Essentially you're going to add a few extra texture and moistening ingredients to your usual carrot cake, bake it up, smash it into some fresh cream cheese frosting, roll it into balls, freeze, and dip in tempered chocolate. Hopefully your chocolate tempering goes better than mine- as this particular afternoon my chocolate didn't want to cooperate.
National Carrot Cake Day is February 3rd- Make these Carrot Cake Truffles and convert even the biggest chocolate cake fans to carrot!
I like to double my cake portion of this recipe because the 'truffles' are very rich in condensed form and not everyone who enjoys carrot cake wants such a sweet bite- besides, I made these yesterday with a full SHEET of cake, and I don't have a slice left to show for it. That's how big a deal carrot cake is in my circles! So, since we're on the topic of cake, why don't you dish what your favorite cake is!

What Daughter Says: Carrot Cake may not be 'better for you' but it's definitely a good enough excuse to enjoy a slice now and then!


National Carrot Cake Day is February 3rd- Make these Carrot Cake Truffles and convert even the biggest chocolate cake fans to carrot!
Carrot Cake Truffles
***Click here for printable Carrot Cake Truffles recipe