2016 - My WAHM Plan

Wordless Wednesday Treasuring family time

It's the last Wordless Wednesday post of 2016. I hope you are treasuring family time today right on through to the new year!


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Kinsman's #Nashville
Treasuring family time



Get home décor inspiration from Santa's house this holiday

This guest post from the folks at Zillow is such a happy, festive one. I hope you enjoy checking out Santa’s home décor and the Zillow listing.



More than harried shopping and hanging stockings, Christmas is about spending quality time with family and friends. Invite relatives to feel merry and bright in your home by taking inspiration from Santa's house



Zillow Santa's house listing
Source 


Create a cozy mantle filled with lush greenery, spruce up your table with gold embellishments or incorporate treats into your decor with fresh-baked cookies.


Expanding your trimmings beyond the Christmas tree is one of the many ways to make your home festive this holiday season. 



Festive centerpiece at Santa's house
Source


If you’re looking for projects to work on with your family, consider mixing up some cookie dough or crafting holiday ornaments



Holiday decor and cookies at Santa's house
Source

Curious to see the inside of Santa's house? Take a look to discover how Santa and Mrs. Claus indulge all year long. Hint: Their gourmet kitchen features an oven with 12 different cookie settings!


Here's a handy infographic to save so you can easily capture Santa's look for yourself!



Zillow Get Santa's loo infographic


I'm loving all the pops of red and the greenery through out Santa's house! I will be incorporating several items to my holiday decor now.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from us and all the folks at Zillow!



Please share in comments: Which home decor look will you borrow from Santa's house?

Easy peanut butter toffee cookies you’ll love to give

We are in the home stretch, friends! With Christmas just 5 days away, I thought it was the perfect time to share an easy, tasty cookie recipe that doubles as a great last minute hostess gift or a special show of appreciation to a teacher, bus driver or neighbor. 


Peanut butter toffee cookies make perfect gifts #recipe


I love baking from scratch whenever I can, but sometimes this busy work-at-home mom needs to streamline the baking process, too and that’s when I turn to premade cookie mixes. Mixes like Betty Crocker's help me keep calm and whip up a batch or two of these easy Peanut Butter Toffee cookies in no time. Trust me when I say, these cookies are so quick and delicious, nobody will believe they aren’t from scratch!


Here’s my quick and easy recipe for Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies. 


Ingredients:


  • 1) 17.5 ounce peanut butter cookie mix
  • 1) 8 ounce bag English toffee bits (found in baking aisle of most grocery stores)
  • 3) Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2) Tablespoons water
  • 1) Large egg


easy peanut butter toffee cookies you'll love to give #recipe




Directions:


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In large bowl mix oil, water and egg in peanut butter cookie batter until no longer grainy.
  • Gently fold in toffee bits.
  • Shape dough into 36 small balls or make drop cookies like I did by gently sliding off tablespoon-size dough balls onto parchment paper.
  • Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes for regular size cookies, or 9-11 minutes for large cookies.
  • Allow to cool.


If you are giving cookies as gifts like I am, get your cookie container ready while the cookies cool. I prefer using Ziploc containers because they are sturdy and reusable, which truly comes in handy this time of year! Sometimes, I even receive my container back with a goody inside as thanks

easy peanut butter toffee cookies you'll love to give #recipe



I’ve found that a dozen cookies fit perfectly in the 1.25 quart size plastic containers. Sometimes you can get lucky and find the holiday containers, but if not, you can decorate your container as festively as you want.  It really is a simple and easy way to spread kindness and cheer at this special time of year!


I hope you enjoy these cookies and all the joy that this, the most wonderful time of the year, brings.



Merry Christmas from middle Tennessee!

Merry Christmas from us to you!



SF Bay Gourmet Coffee review and giveaway


It is no secret that we are a coffee loving family here. My husband and I enjoy regular blend coffee that we buy at our local grocery store during our work week and that is perfectly fine. On the weekends though, we like to treat ourselves to a cup or two of specialty coffee roasts and flavors, so when SF Bay Coffee invited me to review their coffee and host a giveaway, I was only too happy to oblige. 

I received complimentary product to facilitate today’s post and giveaway, however, all opinions and love of a good cup of coffee are my own. 


mornings need coffee try SF Bay Gourmet #giveaway


I love learning about small family owned businesses like SF Bay Gourmet Coffee  based out the San Francisco Bay area.  Not just because I grew up near this area of northern California, but also because I know from first-hand experience all the hard work and dedication to takes to keep small businesses going! Both my husband and I have years of experience in the small business industry so, I applaud the Rogers Family on a job well done. 


About SF Bay Gourmet Coffee and the family behind it:

SF Bay Gourmet Coffee logo



Established in 1979, the Rogers Family Company's steadfast mission is to search out the world's finest Arabica varieties and roast the richest, most flavorful coffees available anywhere while making the world a better place at the same time.



Growing Coffee for Good!

SF Bay Gourmet Trolley


SF Bay Gourmet Coffee stands for premium, sustainable, fair and direct trade coffee and tea at prices you'll love! SF Bay Gourmet Coffee likes to say their products are grown for good. Their Community Aid Program has restored thousands of acres of rain forest by farming only with shade grown farms, and planted their own coffee on our own organic farms!  Their mission to help their communities and the world at large is something my family and I support. 


Coffee Choices:


SF Bay Gourmet Espresso Roast was my choice #giveaway



SF Bay Gourmet coffees come in regular, Espresso and decaf varieties in flavors like Amaretto Milano, Caramel Crème, Chocolate Almond, and Chocolate Raspberry, Cinnamon Crumb Cake, Dark Habits Dark Chocolate Caramel and more. 




My Thoughts:

I chose the Espresso Roast to try because my husband prefers a full-bodied cup of coffee without added flavoring and we were not disappointed in this smooth, easy on the stomach coffee.  We really could “taste the difference” with SF Bay Gourmet Coffee.  This roast pairs well with breakfast or brunch, and I found myself wanting to make a coffee cake to serve alongside this coffee when holiday company arrives- it’s that good!



I want to purchase the Dark Habits Dark Chocolate Caramel coffee next and experience some of their East India teas. The Apricot Orange herbal blend caught my eye as did the Earl Grey loose leaf tea. They offer a Java Perks club and affordable prices, making this a fantastic company to shop with this holiday. I invite you to learn more about them here and by following them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.



Win It:

Win a bag of SF Bay Gourmet Coffee on My WAHM Plan


Thanks to today’s sponsor, one lucky reader will receive 1 bag or single serve box of SF Bay Gourmet coffee in your choice of flavor.


Good luck!


Terms: 

No purchase is necessary to enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  My WAHM Plan is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winners will be notified by email used on entry form and have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is not associated with nor endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or any other social channel. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Please share in comments: If you win, will you keep this coffee yourself, or gift it?

Three fun ways to spend quality time with your teen daughter

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


This time of year is all about the kids and making memories that the whole family will treasure for years and years. But setting aside special bonding time with my seventeen-year-old daughter has gotten trickier this year as she navigates her senior year of high school and prepares for college. I brainstormed for fun ways to spend quality time with her and found to my delight that several ideas came to mind simply by thinking of her likes. Read on to see if my ideas will help you too.



Spending quality time with my teen daughter #outside #WhatMonthlyPain #ad


1. Do what your teen likes with them:

One of the easiest ways to spend quality time with your teen is to do what they like with them. My daughter loves being outdoors. Whether it’s going for a jog or a walk, helping with yard work, or taking photos, she is always happy to put on her shoes and head out. Going for a walk around our property is a special time for me, and I hope for her as well. Sometimes we walk in companionable silence and other times we talk over the birds. 



Holiday and family traditions keep your teen engaged and happy



2. Let your teen take point on activities:

We decorate for Christmas together every year and no decking the halls will be done without Christmas carols at our house, so I asked my oldest to pick our tree-trimming music, which she was only too happy to do.  Then she and I hung the garland together while singing and chatting to kick off our night of holiday decorating.  By suggesting my oldest take point on a couple of our holiday traditions, I’m showing her a little extra TLC which helps keep our teens engaged and in the moment. Notice there aren't any phones in this photo which is a total win! 



Manicure time with my teen daughter #WhatMonthlyPain #ad


3. Show your teen some extra TLC:

My next fun idea presented itself when I overheard my daughter state that she wanted to do her nails before school the next day, but wondered if she should get a jump on homework instead. Knowing that her schedule has been so full, I offered to give her a manicure, saying I’d love to spend more time with her. 



Showing my teen some extra love by doing her nails


Sometimes our almost adult children need us to take the lead and allow them to revisit activities that were fun for them when they were younger. I always loved doing my daughter’s nails, but as soon as she got old enough to do them herself, I stopped to allow her to grow independent. Doing her nails for her is a love gift that we both enjoyed.  



Advil menstrual helps your teen say #WhatMonthlyPain #ad


Being a teenager on the cusp of graduating high school is an exciting, wonderful, and yes, stressful time for my older daughter, so the last thing I want her to fret about is menstrual pain. Sure, she’s almost an adult and could push on through, but thankfully, there’s a new product I found at Walmart. Advil® Menstrual Pain can help her stay on her regular, busy routine and even add in some more fun activities, so she’ll be saying, “What monthly pain?”When used as directedAdvil ® Menstrual Pain can alleviate aches, pains and headaches she may have during this time. 


I can feel confident about her taking this product because Advil ® Menstrual Pain is caffeine-free, antihistamine-free and easy to swallow. Many other menstrual pain relievers contain caffeine, which can make it difficult for our daughter’s to fall asleep if taken at night, or antihistamines which can make them drowsy during the day.



Find Advil Menstrual Pain at Walmart #ad #WhatMonthlyPain



Finding Advil® Menstrual Pain at Walmart is easy. Just head over to the pain relief section and look for Advil. My store had the menstrual pain tablets on the bottom shelf. My daughter was thankful I found them and that we got to spend quality time together. I think she enjoyed the extra TLC as much as I enjoyed giving it.  I plan on continuing to find ways to bond with my teen daughters and will share this product with my younger daughter too. 



Please share in comments: Do you have a teen daughter? How do you like to spend quality time with her? 

Amy Grant Tennessee Christmas CD Giveaway



Happy December and happy holidays readers! We are on a countdown to Christmas at our house and while we deck our halls, we have to listen to Christmas music. It’s tradition. I jumped at the chance to receive a complimentary copy of Amy Grant’s newest CD, Tennessee Christmas from my friends at FlyBy Promotions because I LOVE this song and I live in Tennessee, so I really do know about the tender Christmas’ Amy sings about. 




Tennessee Christmas CD by Amy Grant


Did you know that Amy recorded Tennessee Christmas when she was just 22? Crazy at this may sound; this beloved holiday classic was recorded in the summer of 1983! Fast forward to 2016 and Amy is still performing this song. I think you are going to love hearing it on her new CD too, which was recorded at her home in Nashville, Tennessee



This CD has a casual, warm laid back vibe that I love.  I turned it on while I’m working on my greeting cards and found it to be the perfect companion, so I know I’ll be adding it to my play list all season long.  All the warmth of family and friends gathered round’ comes through in track after track. I especially love Amy’s and husband Vince Gill remake of Baby its Cold outside. 


Here are the songs on Tennessee Christmas:

  • Tennessee Christmas
  • To be together
  • Christmas for you and me
  • Melancholy Christmas
  • December
  • White Christmas
  • Joy to the World (Amy says she’d never sung this song so slowly. I think you are going to enjoy that she did!)
  • I’ve got my love to keep me warm
  • Baby, it’s cold outside (featuring Vince Gill)
  • Christmas don’t be late
  • Still can’t sleep



Here’s a video of To be Together to get you in the holiday mood!








Share your Holiday Spirit with Amy Grant:




Amy Grant at home for a Tennessee Christmas (on her CD)



Have you got a video or photo of you surprising a loved one during the holidays? Amy Grant wants to see them, so upload a video, share a photo on Amy’s social channels and tag them #TNChristmasSurprise. Those chosen will be part of a compilation video that Amy herself will share on her large social media outlets!  Find Amy Grant here on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook





My Thoughts:


I will always love the original cut of Tennessee Christmas, but just like Amy, I understand growing and changing in your field. She’s not 22 anymore and that is reflected on this paired down, mellow collection. This is one of those CD’s that can unobtrusively play in the background while you visit with family and friends this holiday season, and I think that is exactly what Amy was trying to achieve with this one. I think you’ll like it! You can purchase Tennessee Christmas, learn more about Amy Grant and see her whole music collection by visiting here.




Win It:

Tennessee Christmas by Amy Grant CD


Thanks to #FlyBy Promotions, one lucky reader will win #TennesseeChristmas just in time for the holidays!  Entering is easy using the Rafflecopter form below. 



Terms:

No purchase is necessary to enter using the Rafflecopter form below.  My WAHM Plan is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Winners will be notified by email used on entry form and have 48 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. This giveaway is not associated with nor endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, or any other social channel. 


Good luck and from our home near Nashville, Tennessee (where we enjoy tender Tennessee Christmases) to yours Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Tennessee Christmas from Flyby Promotions to facilitate this review and giveaway, all opinions and love of Christmas music are my own.

Three easy ways to give back to your community on #GivingTuesday

This is my third year as an ambassador #GivingTuesday,  the global day of giving back to our community, or the world depending on which causes and organizations you choose to support. My family and I choose to support globally during most of the year, but during the holidays, we love to give our support locally. Read on for my three easy ways to give back starting today.


#GivingTuesday


1. Donate Funds:
The first way we give is by putting a donation in nearly every Salvation Army bell ringers collection. Sometimes it’s just the change in our hands from our recent shopping trip. Other times we give a more meaningful amount, it really depends on where we are in our lives. Every little bit helps!  We smile and thank  the volunteers who are out in all sorts of weather promoting the Salvation's Armies promise to America to “Do the most good”. Our daughters, now in their teens,  have watched us do this so often over the years, that now they reach in their purse or pockets to see what they can give as well. This makes us very proud parents because we never asked them to give, they want too.  If you would like to learn more about volunteering this holiday season as a bell ringer, please visit www.ringbells.org where you can do a search to find local volunteer opportunities. 


2. Donate Food:
Feeding America #GivingTuesday
source

The second way we give is by supporting local food banks. The need is greatest this time of year, second only to summer when kids are out of school. The idea of not having enough food is a scary and growing situation on our country.  It’s hard to fathom that 42 million people in America face hunger each day- that’s 1 in every 8 Americans!  Sadly, school age children are the most severely affected by hunger. 
One of the easiest ways to help is to look for a collection bin at your local grocery store and put one of your BOGO’s in it all year. If you have the resources, perhaps you can adopt a family in need off of the giving tree in your community.  My local stores have them up all season. If your grocery store doesn’t, just look up your local food bank at Feeding America  and ask what they need.  


3. Donate Time:

Volunteer #GivingTuesday
source

Last but certainly not least, we want to help seniors in our community this year. I’m contacting a local assisted living community today to see how we might help brighten residents days. Simple acts like visiting for 30 minutes, smiling and saying hello to each resident we see, writing greeting cards for a hallway of residents, giving out free hand massages since I’m an Avon lady.
If you don’t have an assisted living center in your community, contact your local senior center or visit the National Center on Aging  which has a wealth of resources to help you plug in and help.


More Ways to help:

find local events #GivingTuesday

My three ways of helping may not be the best fit for you, so I invite you to visit the #GivingTuesday website where you can find countless ways to get involved today, next month or next year.

 Freebie:

The one thing you can give freely, multiple times a day is your smile. It costs you nothing, but to the receiver it may mean everything, especially in our social media savvy world! Look up from those phones when you are in public and Smile! Speaking of smiling- are you following me a.k.a. ismilefirst on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest? I'd love for you to join me! 


Please share in comments: Which way do you and your family help give back to your community?

Win a One-Year Subscription from Groovy Lab in a Box!

I'm taking a few days off for Thanksgiving, so I wanted my post for the week to be a fun one, so here is a giveaway for subscription box lovers. This post does contain an affiliate link, so I may receive a small payout depending on your participation. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog! I am thankful for each and every one of you. 


Win a One-Year Subscription from Groovy Lab in a Box!

Our friends at Groovy Lab in a Box are hosting a sweepstakes where you can win a one-year subscription! All you have to do is type in your email address, and you are entered. Read on for details!



About Groovy Lab:

Groovy Lab in a Box, the award-winning educational kits about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is presented in partnership with Popular Mechanics for kids. Their STEM subscription box is interactive, hands-on and incorporates scientific inquiry and the engineering design process. Science made FUN for kids ages 8+.



About Groovy Labs Subscription Boxes:


Groovy Lab subscription boxes

Each month, they send out a themed box filled with investigations that are fun and hands on. The investigations culminate into an Engineering Design Challenge, where your STEMists must apply what they've learned from the investigations (and use their critical thinking skills) to complete the challenge. 

 Unique Gift Giving Idea for kids on your list:

The boxes contain everything you need to complete all of the activities, including a groovy retro-themed lab notebook. The box activities are supplemented with their Beyond...in a Box web portal where your children will find videos, interactives and additional activities. Head over to Groovy Lab in a Box's website to learn more about this great service! 



Win It:


Win a One-Year Subscription from Groovy Lab in a Box!

Click here to enter to win a one-year subscription from Groovy Lab in a Box!


Sweepstakes ends 12/18/2016; 11:59 pm EST. 

Good luck! We hope you win!

From our house to yours- we wish you a happy, safe and fun Thanksgiving!

Please share in comments: If you won, who would you give this gift too?

Nourishing Meals- 365 Whole foods recipes book review

My husband and I love to cook good, wholesome meals for our family of four, but lately, we’ve fallen into a bit of a mealtime rut.  We both agree that adding more fall vegetables and good for you grains was a must- but even those small changes didn’t feel like quite enough to get us back on a healthy eating track. While working online one day, a cookbook title caught my eye- Nourishing Meals by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre (husband and wife) and I thought this would be a great way to add fresh ideas to our meal planning.



Read on to learn about Nourishing Meals 365 Whole foods, allergy free recipes for healing your family one meal at a time


Nourishing Meals book cover



Clearly this book was written for those who are trying to eat better, I expected that from the title. What I didn’t expect was that all those inviting meals I’d seen on the cover were really gluten-free, dairy-free and soy free dishes. Nobody in my family has a dietary restriction, so you may be wondering why I would select this type of cookbook. It was the promise to help me ditch the processed foods one allergy-free meal at a time that grabbed me and honestly, I couldn’t be happier with what I’ve learned so far.




Nourishing Meals offers 365 whole foods, allergy-free recipes for healing your family one meal at a time. I’m educating myself, or rather, re-educating myself while reading this cookbook, starting off with the preface-   7 steps to sustainable dietary change. These are do-able steps that aren’t meant to be hurried through, or done all at once. The author’s idea is restorative nourishment, which can gently and gradually nurture our systems until unhealthy foods and habits naturally fade away.



My family and I are spending more time on step one, which is Add more vegetables. We know we eating vegetables is good for us. Our parents told us to eat our vegetables when we were kids and chances are if you are a parent- you are saying it to your kids now. Sometimes though, it can be challenging to get kids to eat their veggies. Never fear, this book is loaded with tips- from pregnancy through childhood- on how to deal with and prevent picking eating behaviors. 



Chickpea curry recipe- Nourishing Meals
Source

You are invited into recipe chapters during the 7 steps. For instance, in step 1, there is a Smoothie chapter that can aide in getting kids to eat their veggies. look at the tasty Chickpea vegetable curry recipe highlighted in the photo above. Doesn't that look like a delightful way to eat more vegetables?


Step 2 talks about making your own salad dressings while step three- (where I am this week) discusses the importance of replacing processed grain foods with whole foods. In this step, the recipes I’d like to try are Fluffy Cashew Pancakes and Chicken Breakfast sausages.



Another chapter I’ve found very helpful and timely is Packing a healthy lunchbox. Now that my daughters are teenagers, they pack their own lunches. Keeping a variety of good for them lunch foods on hand can be daunting, so I’m thankful for the fresh ideas in this chapter. With their easy to read lunch and snack lists, I can just turn to this chapter and make my shopping list, choosing what I know my kids will eat. Same goes for my husband’s lunchbox. He’s always pleasantly surprised when I add celery stalks or pepper slices to his lunch, and now I’m armed with even more healthy lunchbox ideas.



If one of your goals is to feed your family healthy, nourishing, tasty meals, I am happy to suggest this all-inclusive book. I’ve learned so much already in the short time I’ve had it.  I’m educating myself on why living a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free lifestyle is perfect for some and that it may not be perfect for me and mine- it is always good to know the WHY behind each choice. The next time I am hosting a dinner or sleep over and learn that one of our guests does have a food allergy, I will be better equipped to cook and serve them food that tastes good and is nourishing to them. 



Another great part of this book is how hands on it helps you become. Check out this cool DIY recipe for homemade herbed sea salt on the Nourishing Meals Facebook page. 


DIY homemade herbed sea salt Nourishing meals
Source

Learn More: 

I invite you to learn more about the authors by visiting their website and by following them on Facebook and Twitter.  



I highly recommend this book and will keep this book as an eating healthier recourse and may even gift a copy or two this holiday season. You can purchase a copy today on Amazon




Please share in comments- Do you or somebody in your family have a food allergy? How has that impacted the way you cook?


Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions stated are my own.