how ruined my christmas

SCREENSHOT 2010-12-21 at 10.50.19 AM

Okay, well maybe the title is a bit of an exaggeration. I'm not the kind of person that would let an online store define our holidays, but I have been steaming about the situation for too many weeks now and I'm going to "make a fist and let it go"  in my little space here in the webisphere. I'm the type of person that does all my Christmas shopping early. While I would normally wait for the best sale prices on things, I justify purchasing ahead of time so that I don't have to deal with the stress of shopping last minute and can therefore enjoy my time more and I also don't have to worry about an item that I really want not being available. I placed an order for a little piggy Pillow Pet, among other things, on on 11/7. The website said that the Pillow Pet would ship separately from the other items in my order in 2-4 weeks, which would allow me plenty of time to receive it before Christmas, even if there was a bit of a delay beyond that. My order confirmation gave me an … [Read more...]

merry christmas and a happy new year


I wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! As far as this little blog goes, I will be sporadic - at best - over the next 10 days as I enjoy my precious time with my little family. I will answer emails, draw and notify giveaway winners, and so forth, but posting will most likely be slim. I hope that you will have the best holiday season ever and your new year wishes all come true. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a reader, follower, commenter, and friend! … [Read more...]

New Cinnamon Burst Cheerios | Coming Soon!


Our family recetly got a sneak peek of the newest flavor variety from Cheerios - the all-new Cinnamon Burst Cheerios! Not only does it taste great, it's got the all-important ingredients fiber and whole grains. It's got a taste that everyone in the family can appreciate. Check out our family's vlog below to find out just how much we've enjoyed it! Cinnamon Burst Cheerios and a Flip camera were provided to me from Cheerios and MyBlogSpark. For complete disclosure, click here. … [Read more...]

Chex Mix | Holiday Recipes + Giveaway!


"Christmastime is here...." The Charlie Brown song has been in my head all week! The next week is going to be busy with get-togethers and visiting friends, good food and even better desserts. One of the staples at most holiday gatherings I've ever been to is Chex Mix. Did you know, though, there are so many more recipes than the traditional flavors? Bringing a special blend of Chex Mix to a party is a sure way to stand out from the crowd and get your taste buds going creatively! Recently I made Cranberry-Orange Chex Mix for some goodie bags and I thought it turned out so well! It was a perfect blend of those special holiday flavors, and it was really easy to make (although, I modified it a bit from the "official" recipe, as I don't care for almonds). There's recipes and flavor selections for nearly every taste bud and every situation, whether you're in a hurry or can take your time experimenting, you can check out all the options available at I also thought it might be … [Read more...]

Progresso | Good Soup!


By now I'm sure everyone's seen the cute Progresso soup can commercials. I love the one with the woman who is talking to the chef and they realize that they knew each other. I'll admit, every time that one comes on, I'm not even aware of what's being advertised I'm so involved in what the actors are doing! That said, in case you are otherwise involved during the commercials, too, I thought I'd let you know that Progresso is actually advertising their delicious soup varieties, albeit disguised in the clever commercials! Check out the "soup can" commercial my little Emma and I made: Progresso has an abundance of flavor options, as well as varieties for healthy eating, so you're bound to find something to compliment any meal. We recently tried the Chicken Tortilla Progresso Soup and, let me tell you, the house smelled soooo good while it simmered on the stove, and it even tasted good. I added some fresh avocado slices and cheese to the top and it was a great meal for a cold night. … [Read more...]

Got Gift Cards? | There’s an App for That!


This holiday season, let's take the opportunity to lighten our wallets and keep our gift cards and rewards cards safe and at hand. Thankfully, there's a new app for that! Swagg, available for iPhones and Android phones, is the all-in-one tool for keeping your gift cards and store reward cards literally right at your fingertips. Download the app and then simply add your store card numbers so you can simply show your phone at the register rather than hand over a card. While this convenience is not new, there are other apps that help manage retail loyalty cards, the thing that makes Swagg unique is that you can purchase and send gift cards over the app! Seriously, I doubt gift giving can get much simpler than that! For instance, I was sent a $20 Swagg credit and I can choose from a number of stores to use that in as a gift card. I simply choose which store I want (examples of stores include American Eagle Outfitters, Wet Seal, 1-800-Flowers, etc.) and load my credit to that store … [Read more...]

Head Chefs for Little Kitchen Helpers | Review & Giveaway


It's not hard to get my oldest daughter to help in the kitchen, usually it's only hard to get her to stop wanting to help. Part of the problem has always been the awkwardness of the cooking utensils I have - they're too big for her or she can't use them properly because she doesn't have the dexterity of an adult. Head Chefs has stepped up to solve this problem for moms and kids like us. Head Chefs is a line of fun and innovative kitchen tools for kids, perfect for little helping hands! As you can see from the picture, each Head Chefs tool is bendable, grippy, and has suction cup feet. Plus, they're all bright colors and look fun to use. Using them has been a great way to teach about proper food prep and baking. One of them is a measuring spoon which has 1 Tablespoon on one side and 1 Teaspoon on the flip side. Being able to explain to Emma that Tablespoons are bigger measurements than Teaspoons has been extra easy because she can see and have a practical application of the … [Read more...]

“Ruby’s Studio: The Feelings Show” from The Mother Company

Mother Co logo

Every once in a while I come across a company that I am blown away by. I have no other way to describe The Mother Company than a company for smart moms who foster smart kids. I am so impressed with their quality of products, content, and mission, I wanted to pass along information on their new DVD, Ruby's Studio: The Feelings Show. The DVD is the first in a series that aids in social and emotional learning, targeted at kids ages 3 to 6. It helps them understand, express, and move through their feelings. That's one of the things that I appreciate most about The Mother Company, their effort to “re-invent” the time kids spend at the television with positive images and discussion. "Ruby" is absolutely adorable, she's someone I would want to be friends with, and certainly someone I would want my kids to spend time with! You can get a sneak peek at the DVD here: You might want to check out the DVD and CD of “Ruby’s Studio: The Feelings Show” for yourself,, it … [Read more...]

Expressions Gift Factory | Review

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Gift baskets are fun to give, and an easy go-to gift for a variety of occasions. Expressions Gift Factory has brought to the table a new approach to gift basket giving...a variety of completely customizable gift giving options. And when I mean customizable, I really mean it. From picking out the candy to choosing the color of filling, you can make a gift basket to suit all your desires. At Expressions Gift Factory, you can choose from four main gifting options: Cookie Bouquets, Candy Boquets, Bear in a Balloon, and Baby Lollipops. Once you've made your choice, you can customize your creation from the bottom to the top, quite literally. I created a Candy Bouquet with a fun butterfly garden theme in mind. I chose the bucket and a cute bear dressed in a butterfly suit, then I proceeded to choose two butterfly lollipops and four daisy lollipops. That choice was only after I played around with all the other options on the took me a while to finally decide what to order. It … [Read more...]

Don’t Miss NBC’s “Community” Stop-motion Animated Holiday Special TONIGHT

My husband and I are HUGE fans of NBC's Thursday night comedy, Community. We watch it every week, and because it falls during the hour I'm putting the kids to bed, I usually walk in on him watching it without me, to which I scold him, and he will say, "It's not like I can't watch it again!" Oh, how we love DVR in this house :) While Community rarely does wrong, in my opinion, I'll admit I wasn't looking forward to this week's episode, which was teased last week as being a "stop-motion" holiday special. I didn't think watching these characters as stop-motion animated would be enjoyable, I thought it would draw from the story, it would be a boring parody like so many shows are this time of year. The opportunity came up yesterday to preview "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" and post my thoughts, so, of course, I took it and am so happy to say that I was blown away in a manner that only Community is capable of. If you are a fan of this show, then you will understand when I say … [Read more...]

Old El Paso’s Family Taco Night | Say “Feliz Navidad” for Dinner!

old el paso logo

Christmas Eve dinner is somewhat it's own holiday meal tradition. Some people I know enjoy soup together, and in our home we order pizza every year. What do you do for Christmas Eve dinner? If you are looking to "spice up" your holiday dinners, then may I suggest a less ordinary idea for a new tradition ~ Family Taco Night with Old El Paso! My husband has a "secret family recipe" for tacos, which I'm not able to share, but let's just say they have been called the taco version of the Big Mac. Part of the "special sauce" for these tacos is taco seasoning, and Old El Paso taco seasoning works perfectly! We love it when Michael makes these for us and I really think it doesn't happen often enough (hint, hint)! I will share, though, my personal favorite Mexican-inspired recipe - which is perfect for busy families because it's a crock-pot recipe! It is so easy and so yummy! TEX-MEX SLOW COOKER CHICKEN 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch-wide … [Read more...]

Rubbermaid & Sharpie | Holiday Goodies with Personal Style


Creating holiday goodies for friends and family is easy...presenting them in a thoughtful, personal manner is even easier thanks to Rubbermaid and Sharpie Markers. Over the weekend I made brownies with a holiday twist (crushed candy cane and semi-sweet chocolate shavings on top) to give to friends and neighbors. I decided to try my hand at making personalized goodie containers using Rubbermaid TakeAlongs and Sharpie Markers. Michael and I settled in for a movie on Saturday night and I brought out my set of 15 Rubbermaid TakeAlong containers in various sizes and a rainbow of Sharpie Retractable Permanent Markers as well as silver and gold Sharpie Oil-based Paint Markers. While we watched the movie, I went to town trying to decide what designs were "us" and and here are my favorite three: Of course, using the Rubbermaid TakeAlongs is perfect because the person you give it to doesn't have to worry about returning it (bonus gift for the recipient!), and it can be decorated to fit … [Read more...]

abc family’s 25 days of christmas: a family tradition continues

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One of my favorite things about this time of year is being able to watch those holiday-themed movies without feeling off! We used to have a family tradition of watching one "Christmas-themed" moved a day through the month, but, unfortunately, all our DVDs are still boxed up (yes, that's one of the last things we haven't pulled out since our move, sad to say). Not only that, but everyone and their dog likes to watch those kinds of movies this time of year, so getting them from Netflix of your local video rental store can be tricky. Thankfully, ABC Family comes through with another year of their 25 Days of Christmas, airing fun and family-friendly movies leading up to Christmas, which, in a way, becomes a whole new family tradition. Highlights for me include the Harry Potter movies (much to my husband's dismay, though), which we don't have on DVD anyway, Willy Wonka (the original, which we all love), Rudolph, The Grinch, The Santa Clause films, Home Alone, and so many more, including … [Read more...]

A Candy Apple Unlike Any Other | Mrs. Prindables Review


O. M. Goodness. Now, I've had candy apples before...homemade, from a fair or carnival, or even gourmet chocolate-dipped apple slices (which I thought were gross, by the way). Though I knew a gourmet candy apple from Mrs. Prindable's was coming, in hindsight I can tell you now that I really had no idea what was actually coming. My ho-hum attitude about this all changed when one of the most beautiful treats I have ever seen in my life arrived on our doorstep. Packaged impeccably and to the 9's, we received a Triple Chocolate Caramel Apple and I was completely taken aback. This was an enormous chocolate- and caramel-covered apple, unlike anything I have ever seen. It wasn't something I could just open up and take a bite from and consume in one sitting, it was a dessert that would need to be divided and shared - it was that big and that gourmet (the Mrs. Prindable's website says that the jumbo apples serve 8-10 people!!). For our family dessert one night we cut the Mrs. Prindable's … [Read more...]

$35 CSN Stores | Giveaway


Let's get this party started! A HomeBaked Holiday is all about the wonderful things we love to eat, bake, and share during the holidays. What could you use this holiday season to help you spread Christmas cheer? has a plethora of choices for holiday baking and giving. From measuring cups to popcorn makers, kitchen utensils to food containers, you will without a doubt find what you are looking for. I'm very pleased to offer one lucky commenter a $35 gift certificate to be used at To enter, you can do any or all of the following, which each count as one entry: Follow this blog on Google Friend Connect Follow me on Twitter (please leave your Twitter handle in the comments) Tweet this giveaway and leave me a comment with a link to your tweet. You can copy and paste the following if you would like: Join "A HomeBaked Holiday" on AMLO! Enter to win $35 GC to Share this giveaway on Facebook using the … [Read more...]

Chocolate | A gift you can never go wrong with ;)


Who doesn't love chocolate? It's an easy go-to gift for the holidays and I wanted to let you know to whom and why I will be giving it this year. In years past I have been the giver and the recipient of chocolate. A big box of various chocolates is great to bring to the office for everyone to share, it's perfect for a teacher or bus driver, and no stocking in our home goes without a few chocolate treats! Ya'll know I'm a huge S'mores fan, so last year one of my very favorite Christmas presents was a special S'mores gift pack from my sister. Mmm-mmm. You can never go wrong with something like that! How do you give chocolate? Do you make it personalized with baked goodies, or do you go all out with the fanciest box of chocolates there is? I'd love to hear! For ideas on who to gift chocolate to, and what to give, visit! By posting this, I am entering a contest for a Hershey’s Pot of Gold prize pack as a member of the Mom Bloggers Club. For further … [Read more...]