Stone Mountain Christmas Magic!

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Making the Most of Stone Mountain Christmas

Recently, I was the delighted to be invited back with my family to experience Stone Mountain Christmas.  Last winter, we played at Snow Mountain, but hadn’t yet gotten to see the magic of Stone Mountain Christmas, so of course we jumped at the opportunity to go.  Suffice it to say, it is now on my list of family-friendly things to do in Winter in Atlanta!

From the whimsical sing-along Christmas train ride with The Gift (my Thomas-loving son’s favorite, of course!), to the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in 4-D (seriously, 10 minutes of fun and cuteness!), visiting Santa, the great variety of live performances peppered throughout, or my daughter’s absolute favorite: meeting the Snow Angel – there’s something for everyone at Stone Mountain Christmas.  The evening is topped off with the Snow Angel Fireworks Finale.

How can you make the most of your time at Stone Mountain Christmas this holiday season?  Here are my top tips for doing so:

Making the Most of Your
Stone Mountain Christmas Experience

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Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Studio Movie Grill Groupon – $5 movie ticket

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



The Studio Movie Grill Groupon is BACK!  You can also check out this movie deal for Dealflicks – or check out other Atlanta Groupon deals. You can also check for movie deals over at nCrowd and Goldstar.

Studio Movie Grill Groupon


The Studio Movie Grill Groupon is BACK!  This is a great one, y’all — you get movie admission for $5!!  Studio Movie Grill has two Atlanta locations, and thus this Groupon has two options:

  • $5 for one movie ticket to Holcomb Bridge Studio Movie Grill at 2880 Holcomb Bridge Drive (up to $11 value)
  • $5 for one movie ticket to Duluth Studio Movie Grill at 3850 Venture Drive (up to $11 value)

Each offers a dinner and movie experience.  This is the lowest I’ve seen this Groupon offer, and it’s even better because they just recently revamped their menu, and it is full of ahh-mazing food and drink options!

Studio Movie Grill Groupon Food
Hurry and grab this GREAT deal before it’s gone!

Studio Movie Grill Groupon

Are you not yet signed up with Groupon?  No problem — sign up here, then go snag this great deal!

Legal-Mumbo-Jumbo:  Promotional value expires Jan 5, 2017. Amount paid never expires. Limit 10 per person. Must use promotional value in 1 visit. Not valid for Star Wars Rogue One. Not valid for movies at 5pm or later on Friday-Sunday. Not valid toward special event movies, or alternate programming. Extra fee for 3D movies. Must redeem and use movie tickets by expiration date. $1.50 convenience fee/seat applies to online redemption. Never valid for alcohol, beverage, or food. Limit 1 per person per visit. Not valid towards buyouts. Not valid in combination with promo codes. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services. Offer is not eligible for Groupon promo codes or other discounts.

Studio Movie Grill Groupon Food - PIN ME

You may also wish to check out these other great deals around town:

Legoland 1/2 off admissionLEGOLAND discount tickets

Georgia Renaissance Festival (1/2 off!)Goldstar Georgia Renaissance Festival

College Football Hall of Fame & Chick-fil-a Experience
Groupon - College Football Hall of Fame

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Why I Gift Photo Books – And Why You Should, Too!

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Why I Gift Photo books

Let’s face it, in this digital age, we scarcely take the time to print pictures these days.  My kids get printed school pictures, and any photos grandparents print some out.  Otherwise, I consistently FAIL to print pictures.  So, this, honestly, is why I gift photo books.  I have found great satisfaction in compiling photo books for my kids from various occasions, like vacations or special events.  Two years ago, I even did utilized Shutterfly’s photo book option to “publish” the book my then 5 year old daughter and I wrote.

Now is a great time to put together photo books, they make a great class gift idea for teachers, but also for a wide variety of other people in your life.  We created a photo book as part of our keepsake for my daughter’s first trip to Disney World when she was younger.  My sister-in-law created a photo book a few years ago for my in-laws to remember the family cruise we went on – we all still enjoy thumbing through it to remember how much we enjoyed the cruise!

Gift Ideas for Photo Books:

[Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Toy List for Kids – Newborn to 24 Months

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



toy list for kids - newborn to 24 monthsAmazon has a nice list of top toys for kids this year based on age. The following toys are on the Amazon Holiday Toy List for Kids – Newborn to 24 Months. Prices shown were accurate at the time of posting. Be sure to check the price before you order.

Special thanks to Become a Coupon Queen for sharing this list!

Under $10

Munchkin Twisty Figure 8 Teether – $4.49

Munchkin Ocean Squirts Bath Toys, 4 Pack – $6.98

$11 – $20

Bright Starts Safari Beats Musical Toy $12.39

Munchkin Float and Play Bubbles Bath Toy, 4 Count $12.67

Tomy Hide N Squeak Eggs Learning Toy – $12.97

Manhattan Toy Winkel Rattle and Sensory Teether Activity Toy – $12.99

Nuby 10-Pack Little Squirts Fun Bath Toys, Assorted Characters – $12.99

Baby Einstein Discover and Play Piano – $14.39

LeapFrog Count & Crawl Number Kitty Musical Toy $14.96

Skip Hop Bandana Buddies Activity Toy, Puppy – $14.99

Skip Hop Explore and More Accordion Toy, Hedgehog $14.99

Gund Pusheen Plush with Cookie – $17.79

Fisher-Price Moonlight Meadow 5-toy Activity Set – $19.99

VTech Zoo Jamz Piano – $19.99

$21 – $30

LeapFrog Scout’s Count & Colors Band $20.48

Gund Tucker Giraffe Comfy Cozy Baby Blanket – $22.56

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Greetings Globe – $22.97

Bright Starts Baby Light and Colors Driver – $23.97

Fisher-Price Beat Bow Wow – Pink $24.45

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Grow ‘n Learn Garden Caddy – $24.99

Gund Baby Sleepy Seas Lights and Soothing Sounds Whale Toy – $25.67

VTech Count and Colors Bouncing Frog Toy – $26.39

Fisher-Price Little People Noah’s Ark $29.99

Fisher-Price Bright Beats Build-a-Beat Dance Mat – $29.99

Fisher-Price Little People Sit ‘n Stand Skyway – $30.39

$31 – $40

VTech Sit, Stand and Ride Baby Walker – $31.99

Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother – $34.75

Playskool Explore N’ Grow Busy Ball Popper – $33.43

Oball Go Grippers Car Carrier – $33.92

Fisher-Price Dance & Move BeatBelle – $34.00

Little Tikes Light ‘n Go – 3-in-1 Activity Walker – $34.99

VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Launch and Go Ride On $35.99

Fisher-Price 3-in-1 Sit, Stride & Ride Lion – $37.95

Kaloo Perle Plush Toys, Cream Chubby Bear $37.97

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Crawl-Around Learning Center $39.99

Over $41

VTech Go! Go! Smart Wheels Treasure Mountain Train Adventure – $54.73

Step2 Hot Wheels Push Around Racer Ride On – $49.99

Oball Go Grippers Bounce ‘N Zoom Speedway – $52.69

Olive Kids On the Go 4 pc Bed in a Bag – Toddler $52.98

Playskool Sesame Street Love2Learn Elmo – $49.99

VTech Go! Go! Smart Friends Enchanted Princess Palace $44.44

Little Tikes Princess Cozy Truck Ride-On – $71.99

Manhattan Toy Tree Top Adventure Activity Center $72.79

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Home Play Set $89.99

Power Wheels Nickelodeon Blaze And The Monster Machines Lil’ Quad – $94.97

Radio Flyer Big Red Classic ATW – $129

You may also like:

Frugal Baby Gift Ideas

10 Essential Newborn Items

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Frozen Gift Ideas for Boys

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



Frozen gift ideas for boysFrozen Gift Ideas for Boys

Someone asked me recently if Disney’s Frozen was still ‘relevant’ among kids.  As a preschool teacher and mother of a 4 and 7 year old, I confidently confirmed indeed, Frozen remains quite relevant and popular among kiddos.  In fact, I can further share it’s not just for girls: little boys have also -ahem- caught Frozen fever.  So if you have a little boy in your life, consider these adorable Frozen gift ideas for boys.

[Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Coca-Cola’s Strong Military Commitment

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Coca-Colas Military Commitment - soldier

I recently spent the day at The Coca-Cola Company headquarters, helping to stuff care packages to send to the military.  This is a sponsored campaign for Coca-Cola; however, as always, all opinions and bad puns are 100% my own.

I never thought packing tubes of toothpaste would lead to such humbling, drop-to-my-knees revelations, and yet, that’s exactly what happened to me the other day.  I was invited to work alongside hundreds of Coca-Cola employees who volunteered to help stuff care packages for the USO to send to our troops.  It was an assembly-lined process, and in its seventh year, ran like a well-oiled machine.  I happened to be in front of the large bin of toothpaste tubes, at the front of the assembly line.  Next to me were packages of disposable razor blades, and a few bins down from there were bottles of eye drops.  Knowing the service members offered feedback and helped determine what items were NEEDED for these care bags made the eye drops all the more of a reality to me.

Eye drops.

I mean, I have eye drops at my house, and shortly after LASIK, I kept eye drops on me at all times, and recall the insane discomfort of dry eyes, and thus the necessity of carrying eye drops with me at all times.  But my discomfort was short-lived (and elective).  Enough of our service members expressed a need for dry eye relief, to necessitate carrying it with them at all times.

Coca-Cola's Strong Military Commitment - USO care packages

It both blew my mind and made my heart hurt just a little, but also gave me a sense of pride in my friends, my family, and complete strangers who have selflessly served our country.  Such a simple thing as dry eyes also made my heart swell with pride, knowing the sacrifices these brave men and women face everyday, and the men and women who went before them.  It’s but one small indication of what our military go through on a daily basis while deployed, and a small token of the sacrifice and discomfort they face in order to serve our country.

This made the experience at Coca-Cola earlier this week all the more real, and all the more worthwhile, in knowing that the work we did that day would make an impact on our men and women serving our country.  Also, I was pleased to learn more about Coca-Cola’s ties to the military, as well as the USO.

Coca-Cola's Strong Military Commitment - USO stuffing party

The Coca-Cola company’s rich history of supporting the military stretches back 75 years when the company began a unique partnership with the US military.  You see, Coca-Cola has been working alongside the United Service Organizations (USO) since its beginning back in 1941, when then company president Robert Woodruff committed “to see that every person in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for 5¢” (wouldn’t it be nice if those prices were still in effect?!).  In fact, when General Eisenhower reached out to Woodruff in 1941, it was to ask for Coke to be sent overseas during the war.  Plants followed military theaters, which greatly helped launch Coca-Cola on to the international stage.  By the end of the war, over 5 billion Coca-Colas had been served.

Now, Coca-Cola remains committed to honoring our nation’s heroes through veteran hiring and mentoring programs, which I learned more about first hand in a sit-down with Mark Rahyia, Chief US Sales & Operations Officer, Coca-Cola Refreshments, who has been with the company for 19 years, and proudly served in the Navy.  Most impressive were these facts:


Fun Facts: Coca-Cola’s Military Commitment

  • In 2013, Coca-Cola made a 5 year goal to hire 5,000 veterans.  The company had already been hiring veterans, but wanted to focus specifically on this goal.  As of October, they’ve exceeded this goal, more than a year ahead of schedule.
  • Veterans looking for information about career opportunities at Coca-Cola can visit http://www.enjoycareers.com/military/.  They also participate in the Department of Defense’s Military Spouse Employment Partnership, among other recruitment programs.
  • Coca-Cola is part of Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS), which is a recruitment program for youth military, which guarantees job interviews for 3-4 companies (Coke included) upon leaving the military.  The group works to support veterans both inside and outside the company.
  • Since 2014, Coca-Cola has partnered with American Corporate Partners (ACP), a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting veterans in their transition from the armed services to the civilian workforce. To date, more than 100 Coca-Cola employees have served as mentors to 124 veterans making this transition.
  • Coca-Cola is part of the U.S. Army Training With Industry (TWI) and U.S. Air Force Education With Industry (EWI) programs, which bring service members into the company (to a department commensurate with their military career) to learn business perspectives and best practices and share their unique military experience and backgrounds.
  • “7” is the magic number this year for Coca-Cola.  They are celebrating the 75th birthday of the USO and 75 years of partnership with the organization to support our military.  This week marked 70,000 care packages Coca-Cola assembled over the last 7 years to help boost morale overseas.
  • Active military personnel and veterans are always offered free admission to the World of Coca-Cola.  Surrounding Veterans Day each year, a discount is extended to family members, as well, so military families can enjoy the World of Coca-Cola together at a deep discount.
  • Every year Coke recognizes employees who are veterans, or employees with family in the military.  Many historic pieces of military art are displayed along the hallways of Coca-Cola headquarters.  Peppered in with posters of employees include the artwork proudly depicting military med and women from the 1940s campaigns, original artwork by Haddon Sundblom.Coca-Cola's Strong Military Commitment - artwork

As a Georgia girl raised in Atlanta, I’ve always felt a strong loyalty to the Coca-Cola brand, not only because it’s always been the “local brand”, but because I strongly see the company’s presence both in the local community AND on the global stage.  Seeing now the strong support Coca-Cola extends to our men and women who serve our country only strengthens my loyalty and love of the brand.  Both my grandfathers were in the Navy, along with my father-in-law (a Vietnam vet), several uncles and cousins also served, as well as childhood friends who proudly still serve our country (a few taking on multiple tours, God bless them!) – all this drives Coca-Cola’s commitment a little closer to home for me, and making me proud to support the company and thus also the military.

This Friday is Veterans’ Day.  Please thank a veteran or military member in your life, not just on Veterans’ Day but any given day.  Share with them all the great ways companies around the country are thanking them, and share below in the comments with ways YOU can thank our fine men and women who serve our country.

Coca-Cola's Strong Military Commitment

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Veterans’ Day Freebies 2016

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Veterans Day Freebies 2016

November 11 is Veterans Day, so make sure you pass on this information to anyone you know who is a Veteran or Active Duty so they can snag a free deal and/or a free meal! All places require proof of military service, proof of service includes Military ID, Discharge Papers, DD214 and being in uniform. What proof of service required depends on the individual establishment.

Special thanks to Gimme Freebies for contributing to this list of Veterans Day Freebies 2016.

Veterans Day Freebies 2016

Center for Civil and Human RightsThe Center offers discounted admission to both active duty military members and veterans with a valid veteran ID or DD-214 form.  [Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

15 Books You Should Read with Your Kids

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids

Recently I shared with you reasons WHY you should read to your children, now let me offer a selection of great books you should read with your kids.  Remember, whether you’re reading aloud, reading together, or reading the same book separately and discussing, the important thing is to simply READ.

Do you agree with this list?  Do you see any books you’d add?  Do you see any books you would not have included here?  Any surprises?  How many of these books have you read as a child, or TO your child?  Would love to know your thoughts.  🙂

15 Books You Should Read with Your Kids

  1. Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – My kids LOVE hearing this one at bedtime – they’ve got it memorized, and my two-year-old son will “read” it to himself frequently.  There’s a little bit of Max in all of us, I’d say.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Where the Wild Things Are
  2. Charlie and the Charlie Factory by Roald Dahl – I’m frequently floored when folks seem surprised that there’s a book to go along with the movie Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.  (Check out more  Books No One Knew About Until the Movie, if you’re curious.) I am a collector of Roald Dahl, and have enjoyed just about anything he’s written – including the charming tale of Charlie and his adventures that begin with the Golden Ticket.  This was the first book I read aloud to my 4th graders, many years ago – daily, they sat, perched at their desks listening, anticipating what would happen next.  <3 it!15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  3. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by James Dean and Eric Litwin – (Confession: I added this book, replacing another book I wasn’t familiar with.)  When a book ends with “no matter what you step in, keep moving along and singing your song because it’s all good”, I’m sold.  The accompanying catchy tune you can find on YouTube is but mere icing on the literary cake here.  Should you skip over Pete the Cat?  GOODNESS NO!
  4. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss – This was the first book my daughter read to us, from beginning to end.  (Yes, at age four, she is a reader!)  It’s a great “gateway” book for beginning readers to gain confidence in their budding skills.  And if they learn a thing or two about trying new things along the way, well, consider it a bonus.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Pete the Cat
  5. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown – Sometimes a classic is a classic for a reason.  Goodnight Moon is certainly no exception here.  You’ll scarcely find a parent who doesn’t fondly think about how they read it to their babies, likely long after they were babies.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Goodnight Moon
  6. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling –  Yes, your kid will likely want to read this series when he’s older, but this is a fantastic read aloud book to introduce your kids to the magical world of Harry Potter at an early age.  And then take them out back and play a li’l Quidditch together, followed by a few rounds of butter beers.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Harry Potter
  7. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney – Perhaps this story holds more meaning to parents than their children, but every child should hear the tale of just how very much a parent loves his child.  And that’s all I’ll say.  Go read it for yourself.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Guess How Much I Love You
  8. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst –  The ultimate “bad hair day” book remains a classic, as Alexander shares his (obviously) bad day – and even moving to Australia won’t make things better.  Or will it?15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day
  9. No David!  by David Shannon – If you’ve ever spent any amount of time living with a two year old, you will catch a glimpse of him or her in this sure-to-be classic story, based loosely on the author’s childhood days.   It’s adorable illustrations complement the simple text, together painting a rich, sometimes devious picture to which both parents and children will relate.  And you may just find yourself calling your child “David” when they start to resemble a holy terror.  Also don’t forget David Goes to School and David Gets in Trouble, to round out the lovably mischeivious collection.15 Books You Should read with Your Kids - No David
  10. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey – Again, it’s a classic for a reason.  The adorable tale of Sal picking blueberries with her mother will delight readers -both young and old- as they watch the paralleled story of the mother bear and baby bear collecting blueberries for hibernation.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - Blueberries for Sal
  11. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff – I still remember sitting in the library in Kindergarten, hearing the librarian read this to us.  I love the cause and effect, and how it all ties back together at the end.  I’ve collected all the other “If you Give a…” books by Numeroff.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
  12. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne – What child (or adult) doesn’t have some degree of affection for the willy, nilly, silly ol’ bear?  The classic tales take kids back to a simpler style of children’s literature, which require a little more imagination, and less illustrations.  Nonetheless, they are absolutely worthwhile.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - Winnie the Pooh
  13. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter –  Not unlike David Shannon’s main character (see #9), Peter Rabbit finds himself frequently in sticky situations, particularly with the ornery Mr. McGregor.  Watch how Peter Rabbit’s leanings towards naughtiness make for great adventures.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - Peter Rabbit
  14. My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie and Rosemary Wells – No child’s library is complete without a little Mother Goose. Period.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - Mother Goose
  15. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – This was the first chapter book my daughter and I read together.  She was four at the time, and was so fully-engaged throughout – which honestly surprised me.  She loved hearing about Charlotte, Fern, and even rascally Templeton.  Her eyes welled up with tears when Charlotte passed away, but a smile crept up over her face when her babies were born, and then floated away.  As a treat, we enjoyed watching the movie, and comparing it to the book.15 Books You Should Read With Your Kids - Charlotte's Web

[Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Halloween Activities in Atlanta 2016

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kroger. The opinions and text are all mine.

Halloween Activities in Atlanta 2016Mark your calendars, y’all!  There’s plenty to do this week and next weekend as we prepare for Halloween!

Moonlight Madness at Kroger

IN-STORE EVENT

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27TH

4PM-7PM

  Different Kroger stores throughout Atlanta will be hosting Moonlight Madness.  Activities may include:

  • Costume Contest for Kids
  • Trick or Treat Street ~ Each Department will pass out candy
  • Cake Walk
  • Pumpkin Carving Contest
  • Cookie Decoration Station for the Kids
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Coloring Station or Contest
  • Family Friendly Open House
  • Samples Samples Samples!!

Last year, by chance we stumbled into Moonlight Madness after school, and the kids enjoyed participating in a cake walk, and were delighted to get to go for several go-arounds.  In the end, we walked out with our very own caramel cake, which I may have shared with the kids (hee hee), and they enjoyed the fun and festivities.  And the cake.  Check with your individual location to see what activities they  may have for Moonlight Madness at Kroger.

Halloween Activities in Atlanta 2016

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Other fun Halloween activities around Atlanta:

[Read more…]

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

Kid-Friendly Southwest Dip

**This post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**



This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Kroger. The opinions and text are all mine.

My kids love to eat.  Anything in “dip form” will get demolished in a matter of mere seconds with this crew.   Moreover, I love to find ways to create things with them.  ….and if I happen to sneak in some extra little nutritional boosts, well, then that’s even better.kid-friendly southwest dip

So this week, we headed over to Kroger, and created a fun, delicious southwest dip.  We even got creative and made it into a cat-faced southwest dip.  ….unfortunately, I first created another installment of “How Not to Cook”.  (Remember my infamous meatball debacle?  Or the overly-cinnamon’ed Vitamix applesauce?)

When I was asked to create a kid-friendly activity using things I got at Kroger, it seemed like a no-brainer.  I decided to go with a southwest-style dip and home made baked tortilla chips, which is an easy recipe for the kids to get involved with, AND which I could get everything I need at my neighborhood Kroger store.  Y’all already know I love Kroger, not only because they have competitive prices, but because Kroger helps me to find healthy options for me and my family.

kid-friendly-southwest-dip_baked-tortilla_banner

Making our own tortilla chips was a snap. It was basically what we did when we made tortilla strips for our chicken tortilla soups. Using Halloween-themed cookie cutters just added to the fun, too!

But first I had to “pull a Barbara”, and take too many liberties in what I created.  I found a handful of taco dip recipes, calling for cream cheese and refried beans, along with salsa, and other garnishing.  But I decided I wanted to make a healthier version, and replaced the refried beans with black beans and added corn, as well.  It didn’t turn out too well, but it made for a great conversation about how we dust ourself off and try again when things don’t go as planned.  This was actually perfect timing, since I’m trying to work with my 4 yo son on tackling the monkey bars at school.  He’s been reluctant to try them because he’s afraid of falling.  I’ve been encouraging him to try them, and that the worst that would happen is he drops to the ground and gets up and tries it again.  (His feet dangle about a foot from the ground on the monkey bars at his school, fwiw.)  So when my initial crack at this recipe was less than stellar, I made a big stink about getting right back in there and trying the recipe again, figuring out what I did wrong, and how I could make it better the next time.

I digress.

kid-friendly-southwest-dip_makingseasoning

We made our own taco seasoning for this recipe, thanks to a super-simple recipe I first heard about from Krystyn of Really Are You Serious. It was an easy and delightful task for my son!

Here’s what how we did it.  There are plenty of opportunities along the way to get the kids involved with each step, depending on their age, your comfort level, and their abilities – and perhaps your threshold for messes.

Kid-friendly Southwest Dip

  • 8-oz sour cream
  • 1 tbs. chia seeds
  • 1 tbs. flax seed
  • 2 tsp. taco seasoning mix (Did you know how easy it is to make your own??)
  • 1/2 c. salsa
  • 1/4 c. sliced ripe olives (+4-5 individual olives on reserve)
  • 1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese (4 oz)
  • 1/2 c. black beans
  • 1/2 c. sweet corn
  • 1 c. chopped lettuce or spinach (or let the kids use scissors to snip it in to strips)
  • 2 cherry tomatoes
  • tortilla chips  (It’s super easy to bake your own tortilla chips!)

Mix the sour cream and taco seasoning until well-blended.  Spread as bottom layer of dip in your deep dish.  Next evenly spread salsa over cream cheese mix, then sprinkle chia and flax seed over the salsa.   Layer the beans, then the corn.  Top with shredded cheese.  ….now for the fun part.  Have kids create a face: use the tomatoes (cut in half) to create eyes, then place olive slice over tomato.  Cut olive slices in half to create a mouth.

kid-friendly-southwest-dip_pin

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I ended up sticking ours in the oven with the baked tortilla chips for about 5 minutes to melt the cheese.  This is completely optional.

Giveaway opportunity:
I want to give one of y’all a chance to create something with your own kiddos, so I’m offering you a chance to win a $50 Kroger giftcard.  Simply comment below with your favorite Halloween activity or recipe to do with your kids.  Then fill out the form below.  See?  Simple!

Remember, you can earn extra entries daily, so make sure to stop back in and update your form to increase your chance of winning.  Good luck, y’all!  🙂


Kroger $50 Giftcard

Keep on saving!  :o)
--Barbara

**Remember, y'all, this post may contain affiliate links. I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I"ll totally blow on waffle fries and sweet tea, y'all!**

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