Easter Puppy Chow with Robin Eggs

If you are looking for a quick way to add a little seasonal holiday fun to a sweet treat then this recipe might be a good fit. I used the traditional Chex recipe for Puppy Chow, but made a slight variation in order to add a little Easter-inspired goodness. Technically this recipe is called Muddy Buddies according to the recipe, but I've always called it Puppy Chow.  I added a few {1/4 cup} of Cadbury Mini Eggs to the chocolate chip mixture. It takes a bit longer to melt these eggs, but stirring about every 30 seconds helps. And then of course additional Cadbury Mini Eggs to the … [Read more...]

Best Places to Hike with Kids in the Twin Cities

Let me preface this post by disclosing that I've only really explored hiking opportunities in the South Metro. It is quite a drive to make it to the north side of the area, so this list is clearly biased to the south side. There are so many different parks and reserve areas to explore in the Twin Cities. I'm constantly amazed at all the areas I have left to explore. The options seem limitless.  Based upon my experience to-date here are the four places I see as a must visit destination for hiking with kids. These places are great in the spring and summer, but fall is without a … [Read more...]

Easy Chocolate Almond Bars

These bars are deliciously sweet and a great accompaniment to a strong black cup of coffee. Or if your taste-tester is freckle-faced and still in elementary school, like mine, a glass of milk would do. Consider this a warning, these bars have equal parts flour to sugar. Enjoy!  … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Stay Motivated to Run

I've been an intermittent runner throughout my adult life, but in the last three years I've become a dedicated member of the jogging club.  It's safe to say I'm entirely addicted now. The leap from casual to committed running is an evolution that I wish had happened earlier in my life.  Unfortunately while I was pregnant with each of the boys the thought of exercising never crossed my mind. What was I thinking? Sure, I would lace up my track shoes between each child, but that's just a lot of stopping and starting. No traction was ever truly gained.  About three years … [Read more...]

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

This fall we took a late season hike to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. With all the fall leaves crunching at our feet rather than dangling from the tree tops, the woods seemed almost eerie. The park is best suited for hiking as there is not a ton of additional offerings, though there are camping spaces.  The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Hidden Falls. I'm not sure why this place is named Hidden Falls, as they the area didn't seem so hidden to me. I'm sure there is a story of some sort to provide an explanation.  While our visit lacked the beautiful fall colors … [Read more...]

PLAYMOBIL Space Rocket with Launch Site

I received the following product for review purposes, all opinions are my own. The links below may contain affiliate links.  During this era of flashy, digital toys it's important for parents to make sure to purchase toys that can captivate the imagination of children. I've long been a fan of PLAYMOBIL toys for inspiring creative play for my boys. Through the years my boys have enjoyed a variety of different thematic toys from this quality company. There is just no beating our personal favorite the Pirate Raiders' Ship Playset.  One of the newest sets to be … [Read more...]

A Visit to LeDuc Historic Estate

Hastings is a quaint little town hugging the shores of the Mississippi River just southeast of the Twin Cities. Through a couple of visits I have managed to explore the town, but there is definitely more to discover. I'll have to highlight some additional sites in another post, but first on my list to share is the historic LeDuc Estate.  Built during the Civil War this mansion was part of the ultimately folly of owner William G. LeDuc. As a businessman without a lot of business common sense, he created this magnificent home only to be house poor for the rest of his days. Because of … [Read more...]

FREE Window Decal from COUNTRY Financial

This post was created in partnership with COUNTRY Financial. All opinions are my own.  I own a thoroughly unoriginal vehicle. It's practical. It's dependable. It has a lot of room for three growing boys. Apparently lots of other suburban moms think the same thing, because we see our exact same vehicle {model and even color} everywhere.  I've attempted to add a little distinction to my conventional car with some unique decals on the back windows. It's probably the only thing that keeps me from unknowingly trying to actually enter a vehicle that isn't my own. In a … [Read more...]

Cinnamon Pecan Baguette Bites Recipe & a Giveaway

This post was created in collaboration with Disney-Hyperion in support of Nanette’s Baguette. All opinions are my own. Nanette is very excited to eat her first baguette. But when she eats it.....uff da. Too much bread! This quirky book could be written with my youngest son in mind. In anticipation of a delightful treat he is giddy, excited and over-the-top thrilled. However, once he has devoured most of it, his glee has turned to gloom. Perhaps it's not just a mistake made my the young? I know I have had the same experience as well..... Full disclosure this book is a tongue twister … [Read more...]

Hotel Bruce Prize Pack Giveaway

Thanks to Disney for sending me a copy, and for providing a prize pack! Continuing the Mother Bruce story those lovable geese and crabby bear are back! Hotel Bruce is the newest book from Ryan T. Higgins. My boys really enjoyed the picture book Mother Bruce, but I was truly stunned at what happened when Hotel Bruce arrived at our house. I cuddled up with my youngest son to read him the book. Not too surprisingly my 3rd grader came on over to listen as well. While he is an accomplished reader in his own right, he still enjoys a good picture every once in a while. … [Read more...]

Strawberry Chocolate Hazelnut Mini Toasts

The following post may contain affiliate links. Sometimes desserts don't have to be heavy and in large proportions. These appetizer-sized treats make for a quick and delicious dessert option. It really doesn't get any easier than this.  Three ingredients- fresh strawberries, mini toasts {I used a French brand-Esprit De Liberte} and a chocolate hazelnut spread. I purchased this Justin's spread to give it a try. It's definitely not my favorite variety from the brand. I think I might be addicted to their Maple Almond Butter . It is literally one of the best things ever. But I … [Read more...]

Candy Corn Thanksgiving Turkey Lollipops

I have the solution for candy corn overload this coming holiday. Take those Halloween treats and turn them into Thanksgiving turkeys! Through a little bit of trial and error I was able to perfect this recipe to turn candy corn into Thanksgiving turkey chewy lollipops.  I'm not normally cutsie creative, I don't know what came over me. But my littlest son was delighted by these colorful turkeys. Of course, he was more excited about the prospect of a sugared treat. This guy is all about dessert, all the time.  I did a little experimenting with the baking the candy corn to … [Read more...]

Cirque du Soleil’s Toruk – The First Flight in Minneaoplis & a Giveaway

This post is in partnership with Cirque du Soleil, all opinions are my own.  This September 28th - October 2nd, Cirque du Soleil's show, Toruk – The First Flight will be performing at the Target Center in Minneapolis. If you've never seen a Cirque du Soleil show before I definitely recommend attending a show. The performances are a visual feast with beautiful movements, colorful costumes, and phenomenal acrobatics. Each performance tells a story and this new creation is inspired by James Cameron's Avatar.  {photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil} TORUK – The First … [Read more...]

Cinnamon Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies & a Giveaway

This post was created in collaboration with Disney-Hyperion in support of the new series Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! All opinions are my own.  This year is such an important school year for my youngest son. Both of my older boys became what I call "super readers" after completing the first grade. I'm hopeful the same will happen this year for my six-year-old fella. At this point he can read, but it's rough. The best solution to shape an awkward reader into a super reader is practice. Or at least that's been my experience.  While parents need to take the time to … [Read more...]

14 Best Things to Do at Honey Creek Resort State Park

My visit to HoneyCreek Resort State Park was complimentary, however all opinions are my own. I've lived in the state of Minnesota for 16 years. During this time my exploration of Iowa has been fairly limited. Yes, we made a short trip to Decorah to embrace all things Norske. And we also visited Burr Oak so I could visit the lesser-known Laura Ingalls Wilder site. I've also been camping at Pikes Peak State Park, along the Mississippi River, which is a must-see destination during the fall. But my recent visit to Honey Creek State Park Resort was my first true adventure into Southern Iowa. … [Read more...]