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Classic Snacks Made from Scratch {Review & Giveaway}

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I grew up eating what most consider junk food but since I’ve been committed to living a healthier lifestyle I haven’t in many years. I won’t deny that I do still get cravings for those snacks. Maybe it’s more nostalgic in being tied to fun childhood memories than the actual taste of the snack that I recall. Though there’s no way I would ever go back to eating them now. At least that was the case until I discovered Casey Barber’s cookbook Classic Snacks Made from Scratch – 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats.

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Intrigued and delighted, knowing that I as well as my family could re-create these snacks all-naturally without the addition of artificial flavors and undesirable ingredients, I was sold! Instead of telling my kids (myself as well) no we won’t be purchasing those snacks at the grocery store, I can now let them know I’m taking the action of making them ourselves thanks to this book!

The classic snack categories are Cookies, Cakey Treats, Cheesy Snacks, Salty Snacks, Ice Cream Treats, Sweets & Candies, Fruit Filled Treats, Fried & Frozen Snacks, and ending with Dips & Spreads. A few of the treat recipes include those for Oreos, Nutter Butters® cookies, Pop-Tarts, Cheetos®, Twinkies, & Jalapeño Poppers to name just a few. Truly many of the recipes covered are known by many Americans.

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The book layout is easy to navigate and instructions clear and concise. The beginning of the book has an introduction followed by a Useful Tools & Ingredients section. This area I found beneficial to make ones self familiar with before getting started. It’s not completely necessary but I believe you should read it if you want to take advantage of all the important information to making the most of your cooking! Near the back, there’s Helpful resources which list links and certain ingredients you may have trouble locating at your local grocery store. I haven’t ran into that issue but I’m so glad it’s included. Techniques is a section that instructs you how to master cooking know how that you may not be comfortable with just yet. There is a conversions chart to become familiar with in the very end.

There are 70 recipes in this book. Throughout the book there are facts and food history as well a full color photographs. I love being able to learn stories behind foods we like! The author introduces each recipe with a few words. I really like the personal touch. Each recipe has a difficulty level from 1-4. One being the easiest to make and four on the more skilled level. I appreciate that the skill level is listed so if aiming to make a snack with my kids, I can pick one with minimal difficulty to make. How long each recipe will keep after made is mentioned for every recipe most lasting a week others a little longer if frozen.

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One of our favorite snacks to make from this book is the Caramel Corn! Who know making this classic treat could be so easy. The verdict was that it was even better than the caramel corn we are used to getting from the store. I don’t think we’ve ever had this tasty treat taste so deliciously fresh! I even thought about adding peanuts to the recipe and it would be just like having Cracker Jacks!

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I would highly recommend this book! I will say that though it takes more time to make these than to just picking up these snacks, you are going to get a far better version by making these yourself. You can’t beat the freshness and the fact you know every single thing going into them. This would be a great gift for anyone and a fabulous book to use together if you are aiming to get the kids in your life excited about helping in the kitchen!

Interested in Purchasing?  Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats is available on Amazon.com in hardcover ($14.85) or digital format($9.99).  Prices are subject to change.

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Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience with the product.

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Chuggington: Snow Rescue {DVD Review}

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We all know that Christmas is well on the way as well as Winter. So, we’ve been in-cooperating lots of themed DVD’s to watch during family time. Recently to DVD, Chuggington: Snow Rescue has been what’s been watched by my nearly four year old son. This collection was his very first viewing of the Chuggington series and it appears to have gone over very well.

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The DVD runtime is a little over an hour, 64 minutes in all. The animation is very colorful and done exceptionally well! There appear to be a lot of characters with great personalities. The episodes teach important lesson like the importance of teamwork, being responsible, and of being safe.

The Snow Rescue Special is one of the episodes you’ll want to make sure to see during the month of December. This episode has a Parade of Lights and how the trains make do during a Winter Storm. The rescue mission was full of lots of action and kept my son on the edge of his seat wondering what was going to happen next!

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Episodes Included:

* Snow Rescue Special
* Iron Chuggers
* Deputy Chug Patrollers
* Movie Maker Brewster
* Toot’s Tall Tale

Special Features:

* Bonus Badge Quest Episode: Wilson Winter Feed
* New Character Montages: Fletch, Cormac and Tyne
* Coloring and Activity Sheets (DVD-ROM)

Viewing it myself, I believe it’s great wholesome entertainment that the whole family can enjoy together. It’s quick paced and full of a lot of action and adventure. If that’s what appeals to your kids, this one will definitely be a winner! Chugginton is appropriate for children ages three to six years old. There’s been no fear of anything askew! We’d totally recommend Chuggington: Snow Rescue!

Interested in Purchasing? Chuggington: Snow Rescue can be purchased on Amazon.com for $9.99 as of this posting!


 

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Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience with the product.

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Adventure Time Crafts: Flippin’ Adorable Stuff to Make from the Land of Ooo {Book Review}

 

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Expressing your appreciation and total love of Adventure Time has never been so fun! If you call yourself a crafty person and tend to dabble in a little bit of everything in the craft world, you’ll love this offering! The bright and cheerful crafts perfectly embody these well loved characters from the Land of Ooo! Sure as a fan you could go out and purchase pre-made accessories and decor but there’s really something special about making it yourself!

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There are 23 projects total in this book. What kind of crafting? Well, there’s sewing, crochet, knitting, needle felting, sculpting, painting, and more. The craft pattern categories are Total Toytopia, Bling-A-Ding-Ding, Rhombus Home Decor, & Geek Chic Fashion. Crafters can create felt finger puppets, plushies, jewelery of all kinds, wall art, super cute nail art, pillow, cozies, and much more! I really like the variety!

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The patterns are very easy to follow! What I love is before you start a project, each is talked about. That just gives it a more personal touch in which I quite desire in any instructional arts & craft book! Next there’s a “You’ll Need Area” followed by the numbered steps to create the project. Some of the patterns have detailed illustrations as well as full color photographs. Throughout the book there are helpful Adventure Tips to encourage you to try another method if you aren’t comfortable with a certain technique. You’ll also find characters from the show on many of the quoting memorable lines from the show.

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One of my favorite and by far the simplest project in the book is the BMO’s 8-Bit Fuse Bead Coasters! There are six designs for these and so easy that younger kids could create them with little help. It’s an excellent craft to do during a Adventure Time marathon to me? Who couldn’t use another coaster or two? But really, you don’t have to stop there. How about a Slumber Party where you have a painting nails sessions and follow the Oh My Glob, Nail Art pattern? If you love to cosplay, the are many projects you can use to create an amazing outfit! There’s no doubt that much creative fun is to be had!

Other things to note is that the book helpfully explains where to buy supplies for the crafts and there are templates that can be copied and enlarged per pattern instructions. The back of the book features a section of helpful website links such as crafty websites to show off your work and the links to the D.I.Y Heroes whom are the artist that created the wonderful projects found within!

Adventure Time Crafts is an awesome craft book that fans of any age is sure to enjoy! If your up for a challenge and an amazing adventure in crafting, you’ll be certainly pleased! I know, I was!

Interested in Purchasing?  Adventure Time Crafts: Flippin’ Adorable Stuff to Make from the Land of Ooo can be purchased in paperback ($13.89) or digital format ($11.84).

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Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience of the title.

 

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Picture Cook: See. Make. Eat. {Book Review}

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Picture Cook: See. Make. Eat. by Katie Shelly is truly an original and exciting cookbook. The uniqueness completely drew me in. Instead of giving word for word directions, you’ll follow unique & original illustrations of each ingredient needed and of what steps to take. I love that it’s not your every day average cookbook. Not that there’s anything wrong with those but this is different and that’s good!

picture-cook-cookbook-infographics-02-581x630Improvisation, Experimentation, and Play in the Kitchen. This book completely speaks my language! Everything you need to know to create all of the dishes is included. There’s a Legend section, Basic Techniques, and Metric Conversion. The Basic techniques are great! If you have no idea how to easily mince garlic, chop an opinion, dice round things, or slice an avocado you’ll soon see how with step by step illustrations!

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The recipe categories are Breakfast, Soups & Stews, Hefty Meals, Sides & Salads, Fast Snacks, Sauces & Dips, Drinks, and ends with Desserts. There are Thoughts On pages throughout as well as tips to make preparing something easier.

The Thoughts on Tacos which is one of my favorites gives an elaborate page full of ingredients you can mix and match to make you own unique recipes. Other pages like these include Omelets, Pizza, etc. The combinations certainly are fun suggestions and encourage you to try something new! The recipes are easy to read and uses a minimal amount of words.

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Not just me, but my kids like this cookbook too! We’ve made Sparkle Toast, Home Fries, Hungry Enchiladas, Banana Bread & Eggplant Parmesan and each were hits with my family! We are pretty excited to try more of the recipes soon! There’s 57 total recipes.

Picture Cook: See. Make. Eat. offers a fresh and fun approach to creating recipes of all kinds! The appeal is great for all ages and cooks of any level! Be prepared to have your cooking be inspired visually! Highly recommend this cookbook. It would make a great gift too!

Interested in Purchasing?  Picture Cook: See. Make. Eat. is available on Amazon.com in hardcover ($13.13) or digital format($9.99).  Prices are subject to change.

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience with the product.

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Educational Insights Kanoodle Game {Review}

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Kanoodle is a fun game that challenges you to use your brain! Critical thinkers and those that love puzzles are sure to enjoy it quite a bit. Age recommendations are for children ages seven and up but even those younger will benefit. I say this because my nearly four year old son that is somewhat of a puzzle genius has enjoyed it for hours! Patience is key and a child that easily gets frustrated might not enjoy it so much.

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This game challenges you to solve missing piece puzzles of both the 2D and 3D persuasion. You basically decide what puzzle you’d like to solve in the book, set up the pieces as instructed, then figure out where to place the remaining pieces. The combinations are many but only one can solve the puzzle. There are skill levels in which you can work your way up or randomly pick any puzzle to start with. There are 101 puzzles to solve offering a lot to do.

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The 12 game pieces are colorful balls in which no shape is exactly like the other. These pieces as well as the 48-page illustrated puzzle book fits inside the case easily! The case isn’t very big and since it snaps shut tightly, makes for a good choice to bring along when traveling. Major props for easy clean up and storage too.

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My children age 6 & 3 really liked Kanoodle. My son enjoyed putting the Pyramid puzzles together and has said that this is fun! I like it a lot because it provides for brain boosting and building activities during those much needed quiet moments of the day. I would highly recommend it and am eager to check out the other Kanoodle games out there once the playability of this one wears off (which i don’t think will be for awhile).

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Interested in Purchasing?  Educational Insights Kanoodle is available for $10.51 as of this posting on Amazon.com. You can also find this product on the Educational Insights site.

Get Connected: Educational Insights can be found on Facebook,PinterestYoutube and Twitter

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample of the product for review purposes. The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience with the product.

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Knitting Block by Block by Nicky Epstein {Book Review}

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Knitting Block by Block by Nicky Epstein is a must have for needle knitters of any skill level. If you enjoy learning new techniques and creating your own original designs from them, you’ll adore this book. It’s really an extremely well laid out block stitch dictionary that gives you the freedom to mix and match to your hearts desire. I believe one could grow in their knitting needle skills by whipping up one block at a time and in turn the end results could be a beautifully unique afghan of all those blocks!

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This book features 150 block patterns that can be used to create a plethora of projects. Aside from the instructions for the numerous blocks there are also over ten patterns which include a bag, scarves, pullover, vest, afghan, shrug, sweater, a few toys, a tote bag, and several hats. There are many pages worth of different types of edgings and joining techniques which are essential in completing all sorts of projects.

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The Chapters in this book are as follows;

Chapter 1. Basic Building Blocks
Chapter 2. Ornate Appliqué, Embroidery, and Cords
Chapter 3. Creative Colorwork
Chapter 4. Special Techniques
Chapter 5. Cables and Counterpanes
Chapter 6. Eclectic Styles

Fullscreen capture 1222014 121527 PMDo note aside from the chapters that are several other areas in this book that explains to readers the important of gauge, how to mix-and match blocks, abbreviations to know, handy techniques, & resources. I feel that the book is laid out quite well. In each of the chapters, the first few pages are filled with full color photos as well as the name of each block to be knit in that section. The block instructions and charts are easy to understand and follow.
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If you are not a fan of seaming knitted projects this book may not appeal to you. Though I would say that it opens the door for many interesting pieces. In the back of the book there’s copy the pages, cut out the blocks, and try them out on the assembly diagrams in the instructions. It makes for some fun combinations! I really like all the texture and raised designs quite a bit. It’s shown me you can make truly amazing looking things when knitting! I’m looking forward to growing my skills starting with the more simple textures and moving up to dabbling in cables, exploring color work, and much more! I would highly recommend this book for any knitters collection!


About the Author: Beloved knitwear designer NICKY EPSTEIN is the bestselling author of numerous books, including Knitting on Top of the World, Knitting on the Edge, and Knitting a Kiss in Every Stitch. Her designs have also been featured in Vogue Knitting magazine and many other knitting publications, on television, and at art exhibitions. She currently resides in New York City and travels extensively, teaching and lecturing.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.  The opinions are my own or my immediate family members, based on our personal experience of the title.

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