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Category: J

Giada for Target Collage

Holiday Entertaining with Giada De Laurentiis for Target

Giada De Laruentiis for Target I have found a whole new reason to love Target – the new line of bakeware, cookware, and food items by Giada De Laurentiis.  We got a chance to try some of Giada’s recipes, grocery items, and a sampling of her bakeware products and we’re completely impressed!

The Holidays can be a stressful time of year with parties and guests and entertaining.  Giada De Laurentiis Target collection can help with the food preparation part of that, and she has lots of great tips for entertaining and some awesome recipes.

I love the food from her line.  It’s absolutely perfect for the holiday entertaining.  It makes it simple to quickly prepare gourmet foods that taste terrific.  We got to sample the Black Olive Tapenade, Giada Blend Coffee, Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers, marinated mushrooms, Genovese Basil Pesto, Eggplant & Pepper Pesto.  My favorite is the Black Olive Tapenade on a slice of toasted baguette with some melted fontina cheese.   — Look at that, I’m not a gourmet cook by any stretch of the imagination, but Giada can make even me sound like a gourmet chef  : – )

Giada for Target Collage My husband and I had a great time sampling some of the new food items and some of Giada’s recipes.  I made the Pea Pesto Crostini.  (Yes, pesto made with peas – I had to try it).  My husband was trying to place the flavor; he knew it was familiar, but couldn’t quite place it thinking it was some herb that he was tasting and not peas.   It tastes fresh and not at all like you think it would.  Plus, with the green pea pesto and the red tomatoes, it’s perfect for Christmas.   Here’s the recipe in case you want to try it:

Pea Pesto Crostini    –   Recipe Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
•    1(10oz) package frozen peas, thawed
•    1 garlic clove
•    ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
•    1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
•    2/3 cup olive oil
•    8 (1/2 inch thick) slices whole grain baguette or ciabatta bread, preferably day old
•    8 cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 small tomato, diced

For the pea pesto:
1.    Pulse together in food processor the peas, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
2.    With the machine running, slowly add 1/3 cup of the olive oil and continue to mix until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
3.    Transfer to small bowl and set aside.

For the crostini:
1.    Toast the bread for 2 – 3 minutes on an oven’s broil setting.
2.    Transfer bread to platter and spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto on each slice.
3.    Top crostini with 2 tomato halves, finely chopped herbs or parmesan cheese and serve.

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings/ 8 crostini
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes

We also got to sample of Giada’s cookware including  a 2 quart Ceramic Oval Baker, a 9 ” ceramic Pie Pan, a silicone Spoonula, a 3 piece plastic bowl set, a Stainless Steel Whisk, and Stainless Steel Measuring cups and it’s all terrific.  I love the oval baker and the pie pan.  They are nice quality and affordable.  I especially like how they are functional  yet are still pretty enough to look great on the table.  The mixing bowls are great as well.  They are durable yet lightweight and have non-slip rings on the bottom.  I love the pour spout and the ledge to hang on to, which is awesome to hold the bowl while mixing and while pouring.   These have quickly become my favorite set of mixing bowls!

Since I’m sure everyone is looking to reduce stress this Holiday Season, here are a few of Giada’s entertaining  tips:

•    Plan ahead!  Prepare most of your dishes ahead of time, rather than trying to cook everything at once.  You’ll feel less stressed and will be able to enjoy the party.  Giada recommends leaving only one item for last minute prep – this brings everyone into the kitchen and sets the tone for a cozy, comfortable evening.

•    Don’t overdo your menu – keep it simple!  As a general rule, Giada suggests offering four to five appetizers.  During the holidays, choose foods that have vibrant colors for an added festive touch.  Also select foods that are beautiful to serve and easy for guests to eat.

•    For guests who pop-in unexpectedly, keep ready-to-serve delights in the pantry such as Giada De Laurentiis for Target Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes, Marinated Roasted Red Peppers and Marinated Mushrooms  for quick entertaining options. The Giada De Laurentiis for Target Genovese Basil Pesto and Eggplant & Pepper Pesto are also easy and delicious treats.  Serve with toasted bread or crackers and display on a festive serving platter.

•    Create less work for yourself by using multipurpose kitchen tools.  The Giada De Laurentiis for Target Ceramic Bakeware can go directly from the oven to the table.  The bakeware beautifully displays the dish and makes less clean-up for you!  Kitchen and food items also make wonderful gifts.  Add a personal touch to a hostess gift by baking your favorite homemade pie in The Giada De Laurentiis for Target Ceramic Pie Pan.

We are impressed with Giada De Laurentiis’ bakeware and food items are definitely planning on using some Giada products for our New Year’s celebration this year.  I’m going to be getting more of the Black Olive Tapenade and am excited to go to Target to check out the rest of the items.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Giada De Laurentiis for Target and received product samples to facilitate my review.”
Journal 10+

Journal 10+

Years and years ago I kept a journal. At the end of everyday I would take that time for myself to write about my day and thoughts. I always had a sense of accomplishment that I was able to keep it up for years. Then motherhood happened to me. I stopped writing in my journal. I guess after becoming a mother I just didn’t have the time for myself to write a page or two everyday. I look back on those days and entries and really miss that time for myself.

Recently I found something really cool. The Journal 10+ is a dated ten year journal that only takes up to 5 minutes a day. Since having it, I have been able to use it everyday without feeling like I have to fill up page after page. I am able to write many things down it like dates, kids first happenings as well as just a quick thought to look back on later. I love that one day I can look back on it and see ten years all in one journal. This would make a great gift for someone else or as a gift to yourself. You can find out more about the journals on their website.


I have heard of subscriptions to just about everything. Well almost everything. I have never heard of a a subscription for underwear. That why I am really excited to tell you about Frankley.com. They are a underwear subscription service for women, men and children. At first I was skeptical until I gave thought to how many people I have to keep in underwear. With three kids and a husband there is always one of them in need of new underwear. Not too mention never bra shopping, that sounds like heaven! That is where Frankley comes in. You can receive your subscription every two months, three months or six months. And I love that they offer items for the whole family.

I was able to try out of few of their items and I love them. I received their Frankley Signature Elle Short in Black. They are really soft and cute. They are also durable, great quality and very comfortable. Definitely something I would buy for myself in person.

I also received one of their bras in white. I normally have a hard time with bras but this one had a great fit and looks great. It is also very comfortable and durable. I could not be happier with their items.

I think their service would make a great gift. And with their selection you should have no trouble in finding something for the whole family. You can find out more about their selection on their website and find out how it all works here! Also connect with them on Twitter!

Green Toys™ Pizza Parlor

My kids have always loved playing with food themed toys. Mom and dad ofter sit down to be served with pretend food that our little chefs whip up. Their newest addition to their pretend food toys is the Green Toys Pizza Parlor. Who doesn’t love pizza? My kids have had a great time taking orders and customizing pizzas to mom and dads choices. Their are enough options with the toppings that everyone gets a slice just as they like. This a really durable toy that my kids will enjoy for a long time!

Each set includes 4 pizza crusts, 20 pizza toppings (4 sauce, 4 cheese, 4 sets pepperoni, 2 sets mushrooms, 2 sets onions, 1 green pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 red tomato, and 1 green tomato), pizza cutter, Pizza Parlor order forms, and pizza “delivery” box.

Green Toys has many really cool products available and the best part is that their toys are made with 100% recycled materials. Their products are not only cool but ones that you will feel good about your kids playing with. Here are a few more of my favorites.

You can find out more about their products on their website and be sure to connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.


Kid Concoctions Magic Bubble Art Kit

Kid Concoctions Magic Bubble Art Kit

This year like most I will be getting my three kids toys for under the tree. With three my house often feels like a messy toy store. More and more I try to find my kids gifts that that can enjoy while also being creative. One of my kids newest favorite products is the Kid Concoctions Magic Bubble Art Kit from Growing Tree Toys. My kids have never had anything like this before so they were very excited to try it out.

The Magic Bubble Art Kit features 3 bottles of color drops, liquid soap, assorted paper, 90 stickers and punch outs, 4 mixing cups, 6 straws, 6 pipe cleaners, 4 craft sticks, string, a plastic stir stick and easy instructions. Kids can create up to 16 bubble themed projects.

My kids thought this product was a great idea. I love that it kept them busy creating. It is recommended for ages 6 and up and is at an awesome price of only 15.95. You can find so many great toys from Growing Tree Toys and enjoy easy shopping by using their Shop by Age, Department or Specialty Feature. You can learn more about their products on their website, and be sure to connect with them on Twitter and Facebook!



My kids and their friends love Hexbugs!  By now I’m sure you’ve heard of Hexbug Nano, the cute little robot bugs that move around their track. Just when we thought hex bugs couldn’t get any cooler.  They did.  They now have glow in the dark Hexbugs, glow in the dark Hexbug track, Halloween Zombie Hexbugs, and a new one in the larger Hexbug collection – the Hexbug Larva.  The kids just love them.

We had an awesome time having our Hexbug party last week and all the kids had a blast! I love watching the kids play with these.  The kids find creative ways to put together the habitat tracks and have fun building and rebuilding them.  I think it’s so neat how the bugs seem to have different personalities as they move around their habitats. The kids loved the glow-in-the-dark Hexbugs, Halloween Zombie Hexbugs, the HexBug Nano Glow-in-the-Dark Habitats, and the Hexbug larva.   Our party was during the day (and everyone couldn’t fit in the closet) so it wasn’t dark enough to see the glowing track, but even just the black track when it is not glowing is still very cool.  That night we did shut out the lights and the glowing track and bugs are awesome!

If you are having a Hexbug party, we found tons of great themed food ideas.  The kids favorites are the worms and dirt (pudding with crumbled oreos and of course gummy bugs), and buggy brownies ( powdered sugar dusted brownies with plastic bug decorations) . I’m not sure what it is, but something about bugs on food kids just love, lol.

The Hexbug larva was a big hit too.  These amazing little robotic creatures can sense objects in front of them and will change direction.  The kids love watching them and putting their hands in front of them to make them change direction.  The way they move is very cool, and the way they react to stuff in front of them makes them seem alive.

My favorite is the Halloween Zombie Hexbugs.  They each come in their own little coffin and have a skeleton that clips onto the bug. So cute and the kids loved them.

All of the new Hexbugs and tracks are perfect for Halloween and as we discovered at our party are sure to be on many Christmas lists as well :-)

You can find out more about Hexbugs on their website.

Thanks to Mommy Parties, Mom Select for supplying samples for our party!

Bissell “Stomp Out Stains” Blog Tour

As a wife and mom of 3 sometimes very clumsy kids and husband we have tons of spills. You never seen me run so fast as when one of my children knock over a cup of juice or milk on the floor. More likely then not it will result in a stain. Cleaning it up with a towel or paper towels only soaks up the wetness but not the stain. I am always willing to try a new product that can tackle the stains and was excited to hear about Stomp ‘n Go®  stain lifting pads from Bissell. They are one of the most convenient and effective things I have used on stains. And they are really easy to use. You cover the soiled area, stomp and go. Leaving the pad on there for 30 minutes. It not only removes the stain but leaves the carpet smelling clean and fresh.

I love using them and keep them handy in the kitchen. I love not stressing out every time one of the kids spills something. It is perfect for homes with kids, pets. One of the other places I have used them on is the floor in my motor home. Often while we are in it and something spills I do not have what I need on hand. I love that these pads already have the cleaner on it and do not need any other products to get the stains up. If you have spills you have to try them out! Be sure to also like Bissell on Facebook!

“I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting and received samples and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Dinosaur Train Lights and Sounds Train Giveaway

Dinosaur Train Lights and Sounds Train Giveaway

My kids love Dinosaur Train. They watch every episode everyday. They love the DVDS, toys and everything related to Dinosaur Train. They sing all the songs and and both of their favorites is Buddy! I knew my son would be excited to get the Dinosaur Train Lights and Sounds Train from Learning Curve. The toy train is just like the one from the show and even comes with Laura Gigantosaurus. The 3-car plastic train features lights and sounds with over 5 different phrases and is sure to be loved by any Dinosaur Train fan.

Lady Antebellum’s Own The Night CD Giveaway

Lady Antebellum’s Own The Night CD Giveaway

One thing many people do not know about me is my love for country music. I love listening to music while I clean, exercise and love that most country music is kid friendly making it even easier for me to listen to my favorite tunes. One of my favorite artists is Lady Antebellum. I love all of their songs and always find myself singing right along! Their newest album was released 9/13/2011 and is called Own the Night and includes one of my favorite songs Just a Kiss. I was totally excited to get this album with that song and even more excited to listen to the other songs on the album. I thought they all were great and I find myself listening to it daily! You can buy the CD here for only $9.99!

{Monday Giveaway Link-up 9/12}

Link up as many as you like. Find and list great giveaways. Check back every Monday for a fresh linky.We’d love it if you could help get the word out about our linky by tweeting{Tweet Button, right side bottom of post:}.Post Giveaway item and end date. Anything other than giveaways will be deleted! Have a wonderful week everyone!

{Fooz kids}

Fooz Kids Happy Kids are Fooz Kids
Thank you to Fooz Kids for providing me with an All-In-One pack to review. The opinions I’ve expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint.

As the parents of three kids my husband and I have had the conversation about whether or not our kids should be on the internet, and if so how much? We clearly have both agreed that we feel it is ok to allow them on the internet to play games, activities and more. I have always been concerned about them on the internet and the content they might come across. Another concern we have had is limiting their access to just an hour or two per week. For the last week or so we have been using Fooz Kids.

Fooz kids is downloadable application that allows children to play games, find activities and crafts, browse the web, watch videos on some of their already favorite websites. My kids love to play games and watch videos so this is perfect for them. Once I got it downloaded my kids could not wait to get started. I was able to set them up a account as well as the parents dashboard. I could not wait to see the features of the parents dashboard, and I was not disappointed. I am able to approve websites, games, crafts, view friends and more with just a touch of the button. I love that their time spent on there is recorded, making it super easy for me to set limits with them.

For me the real test was the kids! It was not 30 seconds before they had found some sites and games that they are already used to going to. From Curious George to Powerpuff girls they had so many of the games my kids love. My five year old really took control and explored all that she had access to, based on the settings in the parent dashboard. She loved it and has played a lot since having Fooz Kids. There are so many great features of this program, it is perfect for kids of most ages and gives them a chance to explore the internet without all the worry!

Kid-Safe Apps. Controlled By You.
Fooz Kids is a downloadable Adobe Air application that allows children to create, connect, discover and learn through hundreds of kid-safe apps and games.

Fooz Kids is available in 36 different languages across 56 regions and is compatible for both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems as well as Android tablets.
2011 Media of the Year Award (Category: Parenting Aid-Internet Safety) by Creative Child Magazine
Fooz Kids Creator – Allows children to create a virtual look-alike.
Fooz Kids Places – A virtual room that children can personalize.
Fooz Kids Mall – Thousands of virtual goods for children to personalize their avatar.
Fooz Kids Books – Helps children create art-inspired stories.

Fooz Kids Friends – A kid-safe, parent-managed friend list for connecting safely with friends and family.
Fooz Kids Mail – A kid-safe, parent-managed, e-mail solution just for kids.
Fooz Kids Video Mail – Allows children to children safely record, send or receive personal video messages from pre-approved friends and family.
Fooz Kids Cloud – Allows children to store and share their favorite pictures, videos and music for free.

Fooz Kids Web – Allows children to browse hundreds of websites of their favorite characters.
Fooz Kids Videos – Allows children to watch hundreds of family-friendly videos.
Fooz Kids Games – Allows children of all ages to play hundreds of interactive games.
Fooz Kids Crafts – Hundreds of coloring pages and simple crafts for children to make.

Fooz Kids University – An interactive app that encourages skill set development through common core state standardized math curriculum for grades Pre-K through 5th. Provides parents with a report card, insight & analytics, and recommendations.
Fooz Kids Treasure Box – Learn and earn platform that motivate children to complete activities and lessons by rewarding them with redeemable items.

Please click here to learn more about Fooz Kids. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #cleverfooz

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Smart and Trendy Moms finds products, ideas, projects, recipes, and other information that we have personally found helpful or interesting.  As always, it is up to you to determine what is appropriate for you, your children, and your situation.  See our Disclosure

{Coffee-mate Natural Bliss Creamer Giveaway}

With so many things going on in the mornings one thing I enjoy for just me is my coffee. I have always loved coffee and try to enjoy it as much as possible. But a bad cup of coffee to me means no creamer.I can not drink my coffee without creamer and have always loved Coffee-mate creamers. My favorite has always been the French Vanilla. It makes my coffee taste so yummy! I was very excited to learn that Coffee-mate is adding some new ones to their collection. The Coffee-mate Natural Bliss Creamers are all natural and made with no artificial ingredients. They are made with milk, cream, sugar and natural flavors. I never really gave much thought to what was in my creamer, but the idea of all natural sounds great and is a great reason to switch. Right now there are three flavors available. Sweet Cream, Vanilla and Caramel.

I knew that the Vanilla would be one of my favorites as I already love their French Vanilla so much. I thought that it tasted really smooth and sweet with a really great vanilla flavor that made my ordinary black coffee so much better. My husband is more of a Caramel guy and he says he loves it. We both enjoyed the Sweet Cream but are in love with the Vanilla and Caramel. I personally have always thought that all natural products may not taste as good as good, but these creamers really are very yummy and now I am enjoying my coffee even more. Right now on their Facebook page they are giving away 50,000 coupons for my fellow coffee lovers to try the new Coffee-mate Natural Bliss Creamer! Head on over and claim yours now.


Leave a comment on which Coffee-mate Natural Bliss Creamer you would like to try! One winner will be chosen to receive a coupon for a free bottle of Coffee-mate Natural Bliss Creamer!

“I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Coffee-mate and received coupons and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

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Smart and Trendy Moms finds products, ideas, projects, recipes, and other information that we have personally found helpful or interesting.  As always, it is up to you to determine what is appropriate for you, your children, and your situation.  See our Disclosure

{Hanes ComfortBlend EcoSmart® T-shirts Family Pack Giveaway}5 Winners

We wanted to let our readers know about a new program where they can earn cash for schools—such an important subject right now. As back to school also means Back to Box Tops, anyone with children in grades K-8 likely participates in Box Tops for Education® and has probably clipped their share of Box Tops. Now, they can put down those scissors, and learn about Hanes4Education – a whole new way to earn Box Tops every time your school orders printed shirts.

Hanes® is partnering with Box Tops for Education so that K-8 schools can earn valuable Box Tops for every T-shirt, polo shirt or sweatshirt they order for class shirts, clubs, teams, school events and other programs. The new Hanes4Education partnership represents an easy way for schools to earn hundreds of Box Tops with each order—with no clipping involved!

Note: Hanes4Education does not apply to Hanes products purchased at retail (underwear, socks, outerwear T-shirts, casualwear, etc). For additional details on Hanes4Education, go to www.Hanes4Education.com.

Plus, to kick off the new school year, Hanes4Education is giving away 1,000 Bonus Box Tops every day between August 24 and September 30 with every winner also receiving a family pack of Hanes ComfortBlend EcoSmart® T-shirts. To enter, go to http://bit.ly/HanesBTFESweeps. You can enter daily.

This year Hanes introduced Hanes® ComfortBlend EcoSmart® T-shirts and fleece made with polyester from recycled plastics. Hanes estimates that this product will reuse the equivalent of more than 10 million 20-ounce plastic water bottles each year. This gift basket is filled with a selection of EcoSmart T-shirts from Hanes.

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Smart and Trendy Moms finds products, ideas, projects, recipes, and other information that we have personally found helpful or interesting.  As always, it is up to you to determine what is appropriate for you, your children, and your situation.  See our Disclosure

{Aurora Softy Soakers Giveaway}

If you have read our blog then you may have read some of our reviews on Aurora toys. We have always loved their products and all my kids do. My kids love their YooHoo and Friends and Milly the Pinkest Kitten. And right now they are celebrating their 30th Anniversary this year, and are releasing a plush collection. These however are not regular plush toys. They actually grow when placed in water. The first in the collection is the Fanta-Sea assortment. This collection will include Dolphin, Seahorse, Turtle, Hammerhead Shark, Octopus and alligator.

My kids were excited to get the Seahorse and all my kids had to do was place the Softy Soakers in water and the plush expands from practically nothing into a full size, eight-inch plush animal. With a little towel drying they soon had their very own sea creature. They really had fun trying them out and could not be more excited about trying the others in the collection. They are really affordable at only $10 each and can be found on their website!

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Smart and Trendy Moms finds products, ideas, projects, recipes, and other information that we have personally found helpful or interesting.  As always, it is up to you to determine what is appropriate for you, your children, and your situation.  See our Disclosure

{Back to School Book Review The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses children’s series}

My oldest daughter loves to read. She can always be found with a book in her hand. So for this post I thought I would share her thoughts on the books from The Adventures of Everyday Geniuses children’s series. She has the four of them and could not wait to read them.

If You’re So Smart, How Come You Can’t Spell Mississippi?

I liked this book because she is a very curious girl. She seems to like finding out facts. I thought it was funny that her smart dad couldn’t spell Mississippi. She was very surprised. I really enjoyed reading this book!

Stacey Coolidge’s Fancy Smancy Cursive Writing

I thought the book was very interesting. I have had that feeling of being left out. In the end she learns some lessons and finds a way to be more confident. It is a great book on things that most kids have been through.

Last to Finish

I liked this book because I remember when my 3rd grade teacher made us do 30 multiplication problems in 60 seconds. I was always good in math and terrible when timed. I was totally last to finish! That is the same situation that Max is in. It’s funny how you can struggle with different things that you can also be good at. Another really good book.

Mrs. Gorski , I think I have the Wiggle Fidgets

I really like this because I can totally relate to it. I have been distracted many times by things in school. I also think the reminder cards are a great idea .

For more information on any of the four books in the series, Last to Finish: A Story about the Smartest Boy in Math Class, Mrs. Gorski, I Think I Have the Wiggle Fidgets, If You’re So Smart, How Come You Can’t Spell Mississippi?, or Stacey Coolidge’s Fancy-Smancy Cursive Handwriting, please visit their website, www.mainstreamconnections.org.

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Smart and Trendy Moms finds products, ideas, projects, recipes, and other information that we have personally found helpful or interesting.  As always, it is up to you to determine what is appropriate for you, your children, and your situation.  See our Disclosure
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