Showing posts with label Giveaways. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Giveaways. Show all posts

March 28, 2023

Easter Goodies from Stubby Pencil Studio {Giveaway}

I'm sure if you're a regular reader here, you'll know that I used to be an art teacher, and therefore have a fondness for art supplies, both kid and adult oriented ones.  I also like to think of myself as ecologically-minded, so when there's a craft or art material that involves recycling or uses natural ingredients, I'm all for it.
Stubby Pencil Studio is an online store I discovered a few years back which offers quite a variety of eco-friendly art supplies and craft materials. The products are not only safe for the environment but for people as well, using ingredients like soy and beeswax (not petroleum), as well as 100% recycled paper sketchbooks (not virgin trees), and pencils made from sustainably harvested wood and recycled newspapers (not vibrant forests).
Kate, owner of Stubby Pencil writes:  "I started this arts and crafts supply store to bring the safest, highest quality art materials to other families. You see, when my twins were toddlers, I wanted them to enjoy arts and crafts, but I didn’t want them exposed to chemicals. I tried to buy toxic-free, quality art supplies and I really had to search. Once I found products I was confident enough to give my own kids, I realized other moms would want these safe products for their kids, too."
Not only are their products ethically made, but they're cute and colorful too.  Wouldn't these make great Easter basket stuffers? 
My boys especially like the crayon rocks, but I definitely need to pick up some Smencils for them too.  Browsing their website is like being a kid in an eye candy store.
Who knew that such things as eco-highlighters existed?
This finger puppet robot is pretty cool too (there's a mermaid available too!)
Mary's Softdough is always a hit, and it's made with natural ingredients
And if you're thoughts are set on Easter, this kit is really adorable
My 6 year old loves to paint wooden objects, so I know he'd love this.

One very lucky reader is going to win this adorable suitcase filled with art supplies, all ready to give as a springtime or Easter gift!
Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below, and best of luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

December 11, 2023

Give the Gift of Essential Oils {Giveaway}

As much as I like the smells of the holidays (baking, evergreen, citrus) I prefer natural scents to perfume-y candles and air fresheners.  I use eco-friendly cleaners in my home, so I am drawn to products made from all-natural ingredients.

I keep an assortment of essential oils on hand to use in everything from personal skin care to massage to cleaning.  When Puritan's Pride, an online provider of supplements, vitamins, natural beauty products, healthy snacks and more, contacted me about trying out some of their essential oil products, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to create some all-natural, handmade gifts for the holidays.
Aromatherapy is a way to manage stress during this often-stressful season, so I was delighted to try their aromatherapy products.  I was sent a bottle of their Wonder Oil (an amazing citrus-y fusion of oils, herbs and fruits for the body, including Olive, Sunflower Seed, Wheat Germ, Sweet Almond, Sesame and Jojoba Oils, a ScentBall plug-in aromatherapy diffuser, and three 100% essential oils in lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus.
Puritan's Pride began over 40 years ago, with the mission of making the finest quality nutritional supplements available at the best value to their customers. Today, the company remains true to its original commitment and serves millions of loyal customers. Puritan’s Pride manufactures thousands of  vitamins, minerals, herbs and other nutritional supplements in their state-of-the art facilities located throughout the U.S. As part of the company’s commitment to quality, Puritan’s Pride only uses ingredients from suppliers worldwide that meet their Quality Assurance Standards, as well as Good Manufacturing Practices food quality standards.
I love all three of these scents, and thought that used alone or combined could make a wonderful gift set for a teacher, friend, or neighbor.
Packaged in a decorated clementine box, this gift basket is both inexpensive and easy to make, and is a handmade, thoughtful gesture.

You just need a few plain or fancy jars to put the items in, as well as a spray bottle for the room spray.  Here are the recipes I created.

  • baking soda
  • 100% essential oils (I used peppermint, eucalyptus and tea tree oil, which I had on hand)
  • Parmesan cheese jar, or just save the cap from a plastic Parmesan container and screw it onto a mason jar (it works!)
Fill your jar halfway with baking soda, then add 5 drops of each essential oil to the jar.  Cover the top and shake well.
Fill the rest of the way with baking soda and shake again to combine.  Add a pretty label, as well as an instruction one on the back that says something like "sprinkle on your carpet, wait 5 minutes, and vacuum as usual."

  • 1/4 cup Wonder Oil (a blend of olive oil and other great-smelling essential oils) or plain Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 5 drops of eucalyptus oil
Combine all ingredients in a glass jar.
Cover and shake well.  
Add a pretty label as well as instructions to "Shake well.  Pour one tablespoon onto a clean, soft cloth and wipe onto wood.  Buff with a dry cloth. Repeat process monthly."

  • Distilled water
  • Lavender essential oil for soothing spray and peppermint and eucalyptus for refreshing spray
Add enough distilled water to fill your spray bottle halfway.  Add 8 drops of essential oil into the water, then top with more distilled water.  Shake well and include instructions for user to shake well before use.
The addition of a diffuser into this gift basket is a really nice touch.  The ScentBall diffuser plugs into the wall and comes with reusable pads that you add 5 drops of essential oil onto.
It plugs into an outlet and gently warms the pad, releasing a subtle, pleasant scent.  I have mine in our bathroom, where it works to mask unappealing odors without the chemical cloud that typical air fresheners use.

I packaged all these home care items in a clementine box that I had decoupaged with scrapbooking paper, and added a scrub brush and a cloth diaper (for cleaning, they make the best reusable rags).
Tuck in a few evergreen branches, some pine cones and tie on a pretty ribbon, and you have a lovely seasonal gift that will make the recipient's home smell fresh and clean.
Puritan's Pride has so many other delightful essential oils to choose from, as well as other products to create a holistically healthy lifestyle.

You can learn more about Puritan's Pride via the Puritan's Pride Facebook page as well on Twitter @PuritansPride.

One lucky reader will win an assortment of aromatherapy products from Puritan's Pride.  Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received sample products from Puritan's Pride for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

December 10, 2023

Salted Caramel Hazelnut Shortbread Bars {Hodgson Mill Giveaway}

Caramel. Salt. Savory/sweet goodness.  My all-time favorite dessert flavor is caramel.  Since I was a kid I was always drawn to caramel--Twix bars, caramel sundaes, turtle candies.  To add another layer to my love of caramel is my love of savory flavors.  Actually, my salt tooth is more intense than my sweet one, so I've really become enamored of the salted caramel trend--I hope it sticks around for a while.

Thus, while experimenting in the kitchen with some products from Hodgson Mill as part of their Have a Grain Holiday campaign and contest (you should enter, you can win great prizes every day until Christmas), I came up with these Salted Caramel Hazelnut Shortbread Bars.
They're a blend of one of my favorite cookies, shortbread, and my friend Shana's obsessively delicious Saltine Toffee recipe.  Topped off with hazelnuts, they make a lovely cookie/bar that would be stellar at a cookie exchange, as a gift, or simply to devour at your own table.
It's a recipe of few ingredients, lots of butter, and a bit of finesse in the kitchen.  Here's what you'll need:


(makes roughly 18 bars)
For the Shortbread:
  • 1/2 cup Hodgson Mill Organic Unbleached All Purpose White Flour
  • 1/2 cup Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
For the topping
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup half and half (you can omit this if you'd like, but I think it adds a creamier texture)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 bag chocolate chips (whatever kind you like; I prefer dark chocolate)
  • 2 oz. chopped hazelnuts
  • pinch of good quality, flaky sea salt (like Maldon)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a 9x13" pan with parchment paper with about a 2" overhang on each side. 
I used two pieces, layered.  This will make it easier to remove and cut the bars when they're done.

In a food processor or with a pastry blender, combine the flours, sugar and salt and blend well.
Add the 2 sticks (!) of softened butter along with the teaspoon of vanilla and process until crumbs form.

Press the crumb mixture into the pan.  I use the butter wrapper to keep my hands clean.
Once it's evenly spread in the pan, prick the surface with a fork to enable even baking.
Pop into the oven for 20-25 minutes or until browned.
About halfway through the baking, heat the last stick of butter, the half and half and the cup of brown sugar in a sauce pan over medium high heat.
If you really want to multi-task, toast the hazelnuts while you're making the caramel.
They're fine raw, but toasting them for a few minutes adds so much more flavor.

Back to the caramel: bring to a rolling boil and cook for one minute.
Add the vanilla and stir well.  Spread this mixture evenly over the shortbread, and stick it back into the oven until the caramel bubbles (about a minute or two).
Remove from the oven and pour the bag of chocolate chips over the hot caramel. 
 Spread with a spoon or spatula to evenly cover the caramel layer.
Sprinkle the sea salt over the melted chocolate.
Finally, top it with the toasted hazelnuts.  I press them into the warm chocolate so they'll stick better.
Allow to cool completely (or even stick them in the freezer, since they're easier to cut when cold).  Remove from the pan and cut into squares, rectangles, triangles, whatever you'd like.
These are addictingly good.  Watch that you don't eat too many, though a small square goes a long way.
They'd make a great gift, stacked in a jar and tied with a ribbon, if you're willing to part with them.  Tis the season to be giving though.
You can print a coupon for $1 off Hodgson Mill products by visiting this page on their website.  And don't forget to enter their Have a Grain Holiday daily contest, where you can win Hodgson Mill prizes every day until Christmas.

Want to win $25 worth of great products from Hodgson Mill?  You can choose either a whole grain or gluten-free package.  To enter, simply leave a comment here about what item you'd like to try from Hodgson Mill.  Extra entries for sharing this giveaway in some way (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest--just leave me the link in your comment).  I'll randomly choose the winner  next Wednesday December 18th.  Good luck!
Disclosure: I received samples of Hodgson Mill flours to create this recipe, which I am entering into the blogger Have a Grain Holiday contest.

November 26, 2023

Holiday Cards from Minted {Giveaway}

'Tis that time of year again, when we go nuts trying to get it all done--decorating, baking, wrapping and making.  One thing that I enjoy doing is creating holiday cards to send to my large extended family and friends.  Picking the perfect photo of my kids from the year and choosing a holiday card to go with it is one way that I like to enjoy the holiday season.
Merry Berry Mix Photo Card
For the past few years, I've gotten my cards from Minted, and I have never been disappointed.  In fact, I even have a few art prints from them and am pleased to admire them all year round.

As usual, Minted has a new assortment of gorgeous holiday cards for this time of year, whether for Christmas, Hanukkah (no Thanksgivukkah though, but that doesn't seem their style), or New Year's.
Preppy Stripe New Year's Photo Card
I've always liked how easy it is to create your own card on the Minted website.  You can easily change photos from color to black and white or sepia.
and in some cards, like the one above (which was actually one of the winners of their annual Design Challenge) you can even change the color and text of the sentiment.
Minted's holiday cards truly are customizable, including changing the edges, choosing a flat or folded design, adding special envelopes and more.  With the huge variety of styles and messages, you'll definitely find one that fits your personality.  And if you're not up for a photo card, they have non-photo cards too.  The hardest part of the process is choosing your favorite design; seriously, it's so difficult!

Some of my favorite include
Hand Painted Branches Holiday Card

Joy, Peace & Love Holiday Card

Quilted Holiday Card
Though it's a little hard to see, the text on the one below uses real foil, either gold or silver, your choice.
The Little Dove Foil-Pressed Holiday Card
A tough decision, definitely.  Which one would you pick?
One lucky reader will win a $100 Gift Certificate to Minted!  Please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a gift certificate to Minted for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

The Sounding Joy from Elizabeth Mitchell {Giveaway}

You might know that my kids and I are big fans of Elizabeth Mitchell's music.  We listen to it over and over in the car, and I can honestly say I don't tire of it.
When I saw that she was releasing a new album from Smithsonian Folkways, filled with seasonal and traditional Christmas tunes, I was eager to listen.
This album appeals to all ages, and taps into the collection of folk carols from Ruth Crawford Seeger's (mother of musicians Mike and Peggy Seeger and stepmother of Pete Seeger) 1953 songbook, American Folk Songs for Christmas, which I had not heard of before listening to The Sounding Joy.
 Seeger's music shares the spirit of community and Christmas prior to the commercialization of the holiday.  I admire that Elizabeth Mitchell is working to keep such songs in our collective American songbook, rather than letting them fade into oblivion.
Here's a sneak peek at one of the songs, Little Bitty Baby:
There are so many songs on this album that I was unfamiliar with, but was pleasantly pleased to hear.  Joining Mitchell on this album are quite a few other musicians and artists like Natalie Merchant, Dan Zanes, Happy Traum, and even special guest Peggy Seeger.  It's truly a collaboration unlike Elizabeth Mitchell's other albums (which tend to have just one or two guests) in that there are so many different voices and styles here.  In January, February, the Last Month of the Year, the vibe is more of a gospel choir than a folk ballad, which is a refreshing change.

The setlist is quite extensive for a Christmas album.

The Sounding Joy Tracklist:
1. Oh, Mary and the Baby, Sweet Lamb
2. Mary Had a Baby
3. Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow (feat. Mike Merenda)
4. January, February (Last Month of the Year) (feat. Amy Helm and Marco Benevento)
5. Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree Carol) (feat. Natalie Merchant)
6. Shine Like a Star in the Morning (feat. Simi Stone)
7. Joy to the World (feat. Jay Ungar)
8. Christmas Day in the Morning (feat. Peggy Seeger)
9. Mother’s Child (Child of God) (feat. Peggy Seeger)
10. Sing-a-Lamb (feat. Dan Zanes and Suzan Lori-Parks)
11. Great Big Stars
12. Baby Born Today (feat. The Silver Hollers - Amy Helm, Ruthy Ungar and Chris Wood, with Larry Campbell)
13. Ain’t That a-Rockin’ All Night
14. Cradle Hymn
15. Bright Morning Stars Are Rising
16. Sing Hallelu (feat. Elizabeth Clark-Jerez)
17. The First Noel
18. The Blessings of Mary (feat. Larry Campbell)
19. Oh, Watch the Stars (feat. Aoife O’Donovan)
20. Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
21. Mary Was the Queen of Galilee (feat. Gail Ann Dorsey and Joan Osborne)
22. Silent Night
23. Singing in the Land (feat. Natalie Merchant, Happy Traum, and John Sebastian)
24. Children, Go Where I Send Thee (feat. Natalie Merchant, Amy Helm, Ruthy Ungar, Gail Ann Dorsey, Dan Zanes, Aoife O'Donovan, Simi Stone)

I'm sure you'll see some songs or some singers you recognize. It's a lovely and meaningful audible treat for the holiday season, especially if you're interested in cultivating traditional Christmas values and a folksy back-to-basics celebration of the season.

And if you'll be in New York on the 14th of December (Saturday), she's playing an 11am concert at Symphony Space.  You can get tickets HERE.

One lucky reader will win a copy of The Sounding Joy!
Please leave a comment here about which song you'd like to hear.  I'll pick a winner randomly on the morning of December 4th, so that I can hopefully get the prize to you before Christmas. Good luck!
Disclosure: I received a sample copy of The Sounding Joy for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

UPDATE: #2, Tara is the winner via Thanks for entering!
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