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Cookie Dough Brownies for my Valentines

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Valentine's Day Treats

 

 

This is the year of me trying to keep things simple (she says with maniacal laughter).

 

No.  Really.

I’m trying to realize there are simpler ways for me to get things done and I don’t always have to go with my initial, usually dramatic, ideas.

For instance, while I would love to make chocolate double-heart cookies decorated with royal icing to look like candy hearts for the kids’ school parties next week (for those counting … that would be 50 cookies)….. I’ve decided to pare it down and go with something much more simple.

These Valentine themed cookie dough brownies are just the treat!  Last year my friend Misty shared this idea with me and after tinkering with it a little bit I came up with this Valentine version.  Perfect for school … or just for the family.  Never fear, if you have friends/family that are gluten free/dairy free like I do…. I have also included a gluten and dairy free version of the recipe!

Enjoy!

 

Valentine

Valentine

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Add the milk, vanilla and flour, mix until combined.
  • Fold in the M & M's.
  • Spread the cookie dough mixture over the cooled brownies and chill until the dough is set.
  • Melt together 1/2c. white chocolate chips and 1 TBSP shortening. Drizzle it over the top of the brownies. (You will want to skip this step or substitute with Enjoy Life chocolate chips if you are making the recipe dairy free)
  • Roll out a small amount of fondant and use a small heart cookie cutter to cut a heart to top off your brownies.
  • Place the fondant heart on top, using a bit of the melted chocolate to secure it.
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Monday’s Magical Moments: You’re Such a Character!

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Disney Pictures

 

One of my favorite parts of the Disney experience was very unexpected:  the parades.  I absolutely loved them everywhere we went.  The music and the enthusiasm of the characters combine to make a more than memorable event.  With all of the people in the crowds I somehow seemed to get tons of pictures with the characters looking “right at me” …they are so into what is going on around them…playing their parts and not just waving to a crowd.

 



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Monday’s Magical Moments: Sleeping Beauty

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Disney Pictures

 

After two weeks off I’m back to share some of my favorite Magical Moments with Disney!

The very first thing we did at Disney last spring was to take our kids to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique where they were properly “Princessed” and “Knighted” for our adventure.  They were so adorable and all of the cast members around Walt Disney World played along:  they greeted SuperGirl with a bow and a “Hello, Princess” … and random strangers graciously commented to her on how adorable she was.

We returned to our room mid-afternoon so I could get ready for the first of many amazing Disney Social Media Mom events; I spent maybe 15 minutes getting ready and when I looked over to the bed… this is what I found:

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Sleeping Beauty

 

Nobody said being a princess was going to be easy.

 

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Make Holiday Memories with Rice Krispies Treats: A Twitter Party!

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Photo courtesy of Kristen at Dine and Dish

Last year I participated in the Rice Krispies Making Memories Challenge with my good friends and fellow Kansas City bloggers, Kristen from Dine and Dish and Kelly from Kansas City Mamas.  We created four different Rice Krispies treats that were unique and a whole lot of fun!  We made Kettle Krispies  …a twist on the salty goodness that is kettle corn, then there were the Tangy Watermelon Treats …these tangy treats were an ode to all things summer and fun!  Halloween brought around a fun monster craft and Cinnamonster Treat Snack Mix…where we turned traditional Rice Krispies treats into a snack mix that frankly, we just couldn’t stop eating!  Finally, we rounded out the year with Snap.Crackle.Poppers!  We rolled and twisted our Rice Krispies into the traditional New Year’s Eve poppers toys that children and adults both love!

While I’ve always loved Rice Krispies treats, I really hadn’t begun making them for my kids yet before this challenge started.  Now?  I’m forever coming up with a new idea that would make them a little different and a lot of fun :) At our house, we also make them with Earth Balance and Gluten Free Rice Krispies to make sure that all of our dairy-free/gluten-free dietary needs are met.

Well, Rice Krispies wants to keep the memories going and has scheduled a Twitter Party with all of the previous contestants from the Making Memories Challenge as we talk about to make Kellogg’s Rice Krispies Treats for the holidays that will  spark memories with your kids that last a lifetime.

The twitter party will take place on Wednesday, December 19, 1-2 p.m. CST. (You can RSVP here or follow the hashtag: #RiceKrispies on Twitter.)

Even better?  Of COURSE there will be prizes!!

Rice Krispies will give away five total prizes, each consisting of a Rice Krispies Treat making kit with all the ingredients you will need to create yummy Rice Krispies Tree Trimmer Treats at home with your little helpers, plus additional holiday-themed goodies. Winners will be chosen randomly from among participants who respond correctly to trivia questions.

It will be a good time… I know this because not only will I be there … but the ladies joining me?  I could sit in a room and chat up for hours!  If you don’t already, follow me, @JennHethcoat , on Twitter along with these wonderful women:

  • Amy, She Wears Many Hats – @WearsManyHats
  • Ashley, Cute as a Fox Creations – @CuteasaFoxBlog
  • Kelly, Kansas City Mamas – @KCMamaKelly
  • Joey, Real Mom Media – @joeyfortman
  • Julie, Mommie Cooks – @mommiecooks
  • Kristen, Dine and Dish – @DineandDish
  • Kristyn, Lil’ Luna – @LilLunaKristyn
  • Sarah, Genesis Moments – @DIYFrugal
  • Wendy, Around My Family Table – @MyFamilyTable

 

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Manage All of Your Rewards Cards in ONE Place with the New LOC Card

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There is an episode of Seinfeld where George has an “exploding wallet”.  His wallet is so full that he can barely close it …and sitting is a matter of circus-level balance and chiropractic expertise.

My wallet is starting to feel that way.  I obviously don’t carry it in my back pocket… but it is starting to bulge at the seams.  Closing it is becoming a bit of a struggle.  I keep thinking something is caught in there…but that isn’t the case.  It is just full.

Want to know what is in there?

My driver’s license, of course.  My 3 debit cards for three different accounts and my Target debit REDcard.  One or two receipts, stamps, a MTA Metro Card (cause we all know I could ride the NYC subway system at any given point in time) and my loyalty cards.

My what?

My loyalty cards.  You know, the ones that get you a discount, or earn you points towards free stuff?

I’ve got a cards to Dillons, HyVee, Hancock Fabrick, Panera Bread, Best Buy, LEGO, Toys R Us, Hallmark and CVS.

Those are the ones I found.  I’m pretty sure I’ve got more…one to Chico’s and White House/Black Market …but I can’t find them.

This seems a little crazy…but a girl just can’t give up on her dreams of discounts and points for free stuff.

I recently learned about a NEW loyalty card called the LOC card.  This is one card that will replace all of your other cards, literally.  The LOC card will managed your current loyalty cards for you.  You show/swipe the LOC card when you make your purchase and the points/rewards are automatically added to that store’s account, and if there is an in store discount it will register with the swipe of the LOC card as well.

You can go online at loccard.com and manage your different accounts.  Check to see the balance of your rewards at BestBuy before they expire (I mean, I’ve heard that people actually let those things expire because they can’t remember how to log on and check on them….), see what coupons are available at White House Black Market, check the balance of your CVS Extra Care Bucks….all in one place.  Once address, one password.

The other bonus?  If there is a loyalty card that you would like to have (like that Michael’s rewards card you keep thinking you should have when you spend $100 on crafting supplies…..), swiping your active LOC card will automatically register you for the program.  No filling out papers in store or taking home something to fill out that you immediately forget about and never return (again, I’m hypothesizing here). LOC does the work for you.

This is a new program that launched in October of this year.  They are currently working on contracts with many different stores.  If LOC is something that you would like to use, you can suggest your favorite stores to them on their website: www.loccard.com.

The LOC card will be available in a good old wallet sized card (if you are a traditionalist), a key fob (if you like to swing your keys around and hear the extra jangle) or as a smart phone app (if you prefer to scroll through your phone looking for the right app instead of searching through your purse for the right card…. just sayin’ …there’s not a lot of hope for true organization for me …).

 

The LOC card is a free service to use and I’m really excited as I watch it getting ready to take off!  You can follow along on their Facebook page and watch for announcements as they add new stores to their service.  You can also follow them on Twitter: @LOCCard.

If my many musing and constant rambling didn’t quite make sense … you can also watch a quick video on how the LOCCard works over on YouTube.

One more thing:  LOC Card is having a “Show Us Your Cards” contest on their Facebook Page.  By showing them a pic of your pile o’ cards…you could win a $50 Visa gift card.  Now who couldn’t use a little extra cash about now?  Get the details here.

Me?

I just want the use of wallet back.

 

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478 Hearts to #ThankATeacher

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This weekend I wrote a post about getting up … standing up and doing something about the pain in my heart after the SandyHook tragedy.

I’m following up today because after it all came together…. my #ThankATeacher project was so much more than I had hoped for!!  Baking and preparing all afternoon I spent my time thinking about the teachers.  Much like a prayer shawl… I baked and created with these teachers in my heart..pouring my gratitude into my actions.

So I baked 4 different kinds of muffins.

And then I cut out 478 hearts.  (No fear, I used my Cricut …so it only took a few hours ;) )

 

 

After almost no reaction to the  limited version of events that I shared with him, SuperBoy was insistent on coming with me to help on this project.  He understood exactly what we were doing and why we were doing it.  So at 6:30AM I drug a very sleepy boy out of his bed and poured him into his clothes and we loaded up the van.

We met our friends at school and got to work.  We worked so quickly I only had a chance to grab a few quick photos on my iPhone…but you’ll get the idea.

First we laid out our breakfast treats, made sure the designer coffee made it into the appropriate pots and then we started on the door:

 

 

478 paper hearts… one for each child that attends our elementary school… littered the door to the staff lounge.

 

We had a good time.  We felt better.  We were doing something positive, something nice for someone else…and it eased the pain and helplessness that we were feeling.

We had to leave before the teachers began to arrive.  Assuming this was going to be a difficult day for them we didn’t want to add to the pressure they were already under….and I don’t think I could keep it together when I looked into their faces.

But we left this message for them:

 

 

“Every morning pieces of our hearts walk through these doors.  You educate them, you care for them, you help them to grow.  Thank you.”

 

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