The Chirping Moms

October 24, 2014

Vote for the Truvia Baking Star (& Giveaway)!

Cast your Vote for the next #TruviaBakingStar!

A couple weeks ago, we shared with our readers that Truvia® launched its new Brown Sugar Blend, a mixture of Truvia® and Brown Sugar that offers a brown-sugar-like taste, texture, and volume, with 75 percent fewer calories than regular brown sugar. To celebrate the launch, the Truvia® brand gave all baking enthusiasts the chance to share their talents in the Truvia® Baking Star contest.

Well, the entries were submitted & the semi-finalists are picked!  From now through October 29th, fans can vote for their favorite of 10 semi-finalists on www.TruviaBakingStar.com.  Fans can vote for videos once a day.  There are some great recipes shared in these videos.  Cupcakes, muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls, & more which are all created with the new Truvia Brown Sugar Blend.  There is some major cooking inspiration so make sure to take a few moments out of your day to sit back, watch these videos, & submit your vote!

Shortly after October 30, 2014, the three finalists with the most votes will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City with a  guest.  They will compete in a live bake-off event on November 19, judged by YouTube stars April Moore, Byron Talbott, Joanna Ozug, and Gaby Dalkin.  The winner will be awarded the titel of Truvia Baking Star, and a professionally produced and promoted video.
To help celebrate the #TruviaBakingStar contest, we are giving away a Truvia prize package including: a package of Truvia Brown Sugar Blend, a package of Truvia Baking Belnd, one Truvia spoonable, one Truvia 40-count package, & a Truvia glass.  All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter at the end of the post & good luck!
Win a Truvia Priza Package Giveaway
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This post was sponsored by Truvia. As always, all opinions are our own. 
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October 23, 2014

Two 5-Minute Halloween Projects


Halloween is just a week away! I'm still wondering when baby will arrive and whether or not i'll be home to do things like trick or treat and carve pumpkins with the kids on Halloween night. So, we've been doing some fun Halloween things ahead of time. This week we made 2 Halloween projects that were so easy and quick. We have a 5 minute way to decorate pretty pumpkins and a 5 minute Halloween snack/treat. You may have seen a sneak peak of the pumpkin on Instagram earlier this week! 

5 Minute Glitter Pumpkin
Supplies: pumpkin, glitter & Elmer's glue
Directions: Take glue and make about 4-6 circles of glue around the top of the pumpkin. Using your fingers, spread the glue to cover the top part of the pumpkin you want covered in glitter. Sprinkle glitter all over, shake off access and you're done! We did the glitter part outside because it can get messy. 


5 Minute Marshmallow Ghost 
Supplies: Sandwich bag, mini marshmallows, black ribbon & black Sharpie
Directions: Fill a sandwich bag half way with marshmallows. Push the marshmallows down into one corner of the bag and tie tightly with the ribbon. Draw on a ghost face. These would make cute treats for a Halloween party or to bring in for the class. 


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October 22, 2014

An Awesome Alternative Use for Dawn Soap

I haven't been this excited about a new household trick in long time. Did you know you can use Dawn dish soap to pre-treat a stain? On my way downstairs to the laundry, I pass right by our kitchen sink and Dawn dish soap every day. I head down to use overpriced stain removers on my kids clothes. My kids clothes are a mess every day after playing outside, eating every meal, etc. Now I just pre-treat the stains with a little Dawn, and I have far better results than I used to. It's this easy:
How To Pre-Treat A Stain Using Dawn:
1. Apply Dawn directly to any cotton/polycotton fabric, covering the entire stained area
2. Rub it in using your fingers.
3. Wash it normally with Tide in your washing machine (Do not reapply Dawn to the same spot and wash again.)
I took some pictures on a particularly messy day in our house. One shirt was trashed by the Strawberry Monster and the other attacked by the Chocolate Monster (i'll let you guess who was who). I treated both the strawberry and the chocolate stains with nothing by Dawn dish soap, put them in the wash with our regular Tide and they came out like new! I love our new way to use Dawn beyond the sink. 

GIVEAWAY: We hope this new laundry pre-treating tip helps in your laundry room. We're excited to announce that we've teamed up with some other "Laundry pre-treater bloggers" and Dawn to give away a Clothes Steamer + $300 IKEA gift Card for a Laundry Room Makeover(ARV $600)! 
Please enter using the Rafflecopter below. 
You can also win more prizes and join in the Dawn fun at the #DawnBeyondtheSink Twitter Party on October 28th at 8pm CST (please RSVP here) and in the Dawn Pinterest Party. The Pinterest party starts October 27th and ends on November 24th.  Prizes include: weekly prizes of $250 Target Gift Cards and a Grand Prize of a $700 Home Depot Gift Card! Details here. 
This is a sponsored post. As always, all opinions are our own. 
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Simple Tips to Get Kids To Eat Their Vegetables

Today we are talking about kids and vegetables.  I don't know about you, but I am ALWAYS looking for new ways to get my kids to eat their vegetables.  Did you know that today, 9 out of 10 people in the United States do not get the proper amount of vegetables, according to The State of the Plate report?  Thankfully, I was raised by a mom who instilled a love of vegetables in myself so I am happy to use my mom's own tips and tricks to help develop a love for veggies in my own children.  In this post,  we are sharing some simple tips & an easy recipe to help encourage those kids to eat veggies!
Tips to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables : The Chirping Moms

10 Tips to Get Your Kids to Eat their Vegetables
1.  Take them shopping & let them pick their vegetables.  Let them pick the vegetables while you are at the store.  Knowing that they picked the vegetable might make them more likely to eat it!
2.  Serve a variety of vegetables often.   At almost every meal or snack time (besides breakfast!), I try to make vegetables an option.  This is one thing that my mom did for us growing up so I have it instilled to serve vegetables at every meal.  I try to offer a variety of vegetables & thankfully I often buy what is part of the weekly specials at the store, which often rotates & allows me to provide a variety for my kids at an affordable price.
3.  Let them help you cook & prep meals.  Allowing my kids to help dump the peas into the soup & attempt to peel the carrots gives them more hands-on experience with the vegetables & hopefully makes them more likely to eat what they make!
4.  Add them to meal favorites.  Add vegetables to kid favorites which you know they will always eat.  Put peas or chopped broccoli into mac & cheese.  Serve grilled cheese with tomato soup.  Add peppers to quesadilla.  Since they already love the meal, a few vegetables hopefully won't turn them away!
5.  Give them the choice of vegetables.  Often for lunch, I pack a vegetable as a side dish to their meal.  I just let them choose between what we have.  For example, carrots or celery OR tomatoes or cucumbers.  They pick one & that's what they get!
6.  Serve with dips.  My kids love dip so they will eat about anything with dips.  Serve vegetables with ranch dressing, hummus, spinach dip, or other favorites in your house!
7.  Try different "sneaky" recipes.  There are so many great "sneaky" recipes out there where you can mix purees & chopped vegetables into meals and kids won't even notice.  Pick ones that appeal to you and the kids and try them!  We love some of the hidden veggie breads and always add greens to our smoothies.
8.  Be willing to try new things with your kids.  Try new vegetable recipes & preparations along with your children.  Let them see you eating the veggies & they may want to try it to!
9.  Make veggies visually appealing.  Make a vegetable kabob or make a smiley face out of your vegetables.  Try to plate the vegetables so kids will want to eat them.  Be creative & have fun!
10.  It's okay to say "no" :  If there is one thing that my mom has taught me, it's okay if they say no and don't like it.  Keep offering & trying new things.  Their taste buds will grow & change and don't ever give up on those veggies!

Today, I want to share one of our favorite after school veggie-packed snacks with you:  Southwest Salsa Dip.  This dip is perfect for appetizers, served with tacos and quesadillas, & perfect for a fun and veggie packed snack for kids!


Southwest Salsa Dip : The Chirping Moms

Southwest Salsa Dip is awesome.  Not only does my husband & love it, but it's perfect for my kids.  It's not too spicy AND the dip includes two things that many kids don't love to eat:  an array of vegetables and a protein source, the beans.  This recipe can be made in five minutes, perfect for busy moms.  By using the Birds Eye Southwest Blend bag of vegetables, there is no more prep work in chopping onions and peppers.    

Southwest Salsa Dip : The Chirping Moms 

So now, here's the recipe for Southwest Salsa Dip!
Southwest Salsa Dip : The Chirping Moms
Southwest Salsa Dip
Ingredients:
  • 2 bags of Birds Eye Recipe Ready Southwest Blend, thawed
  • 1 cup of Birds Eye frozen black eyed peas, thawed
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with mild green chiles
  • 1 tsp of chopped garlic
  • 1 cup of Zesty Italian dressing
Directions:
  1. Stir all of the ingredients (except the Italian dressing) in a big bowl until well mixed.
  2. Add the Zesty Italian dressing & stir.
  3. Let chill overnight or for several hours before serving.
For more veggie-loving tips & a few easy simple recipe ideas , make sure to check out the video below from the host of FoodNetwork.com's web series The Picky Eaters Project, Melissa d'Arabian.   I can't wait to try her tip on roasting frozen vegetables & adding parmesan cheese, because roasting fresh vegetables is one of my go-to side dishes for dinners!


Birds Eye has partnered with Melissa D'Arabian, celebrity chef & mom of four, to make a difference and help moms with the dinnertime dilemma of getting a balanced meal on the table every day.  With over 40 unique blends year round at great prices, Birds Eye frozen vegetables are a nutritious, affordable, and tasty item to have on hand in the kitchen.  Birds Eye and Melissa are teaming up to encourage families & kids to eat more vegetables, one bite at a time.  Step Up To the Plate is Birds Eye's long-term commitment to reshaping kids' veggie perceptions and getting children to like veggies for life.  So take a stand to step up to the plate & encourage a love for vegetables in your own kitchen.  We would love to hear your own "veggie-loving" tips that you try with your own children, so please feel free to leave a comment  with your own tried & true veggie-loving tips and recipes!

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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

October 21, 2014

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

We are excited to share this awesome guest post with you all today from Ida who writes the blog, Second Chances Girl.  This is the perfect recipe for your family this fall!  Make sure to visit & follow her blog, Second Chances Girl!

Do you like muffins? In our home, we love them! There isn't a better time of year for muffins than fall. So many delicious fruits and veggies that can be baked in, it's impossible to find a muffin that you won't love. My kids favorite: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip! They devour these muffins and love to pack them as snacks for school!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

These muffins are so easy to make. The worst part is the waiting while they bake!! 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

I mean look at this deliciousness!


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins!

Today, I will share the recipe to make these yummy muffins. This recipe makes about 36 muffins so there are plenty to eat right away, save for school lunch snacks, have for breakfast and even freeze for a later date!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins Recipe

See how easy? I really hope you give them a try and if you have any spins on this recipe, please let me know! I'm always up for trying something new!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins Recipe

Second Chances Girl

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October 20, 2014

Halloween Bucket List (Free Printable)

For more Halloween inspiration, visit our Seasonal tab at the top of our page or follow our Pinterest boards for our latest pins!

Less than two weeks until Halloween & today we are sharing some fun ideas for your family to do as you count down towards Halloween.  Print off the Halloween Bucket List below & check off the list as you count down towards Halloween!

Halloween Bucket List (Free Printable) : The Chirping Moms
Click here to download to save & print or Right click on the image below open in a new window.  You can either save it or print it from there.  Make sure you scale it to the size you would like when printing!

1.  Decorate a haunted gingerbread house.  We did this the past weekend & the kids loved it.  Look for kits at your local store (we found ours at Trader Joes).  The kids loved putting on the mini bone candy & the spooky black cats!

2.  Trick or Treat somewhere in your community.  Watch your local newspaper & websites for special Halloween trick or treating.  Lots of malls, communities, museums, & other places hold their own special trick or treating time before Halloween.  Last year, we went with our local moms' group in town & did some trick or treating in a nursing home.  This year,  I know that we are heading to a local outdoor shopping area for a little  early trick or treating with the kids!

3.  Have a costume dinner.  Some kids may be nervous or anxious to put on a costume so to get them prepared for the big day, have a special "costume" dinner earlier in the week where the kids can wear their costumes to dinner.  Dim the lights & light some candles and have a fun and festive dinner!

4.  Make sure to carve the pumpkins.  This is one of my kids' favorite Halloween activity-scooping the pumpkin seeds & watching their pumpkin turn into a jack-o-lantern.  Let the kids play with the pumpkin goop & roast the pumpkin seeds for an extra special fall snack.  For young kids or if you don't have time to carve as a family, then take some time to do some quick pumpkin painting!

Halloween Book Picks for Kids : The Chirping Moms

5.  Read some Halloween books.  Some of our favorites include:

6. Visit the pumpkin patch.  Or a garden center.  (Or even the grocery store, if you are busy!)  Pick a pumpkin out together  & make it a fun adventure for the kids!

7.  Have a Halloween Crafting Session.  Pick several craft ideas & spend some time together making Halloween projects with the kids.  We have lots of craft ideas in our post, 30 Halloween Projects for Kids!

Fun Halloween-Themed Movie Night Picks : The Chirping Moms

8.  Have a fun Halloween movie night.  Kids can wear their spookiest pajama wear & have a festive snack!  Some movie ideas include:

9.  Take an early evening walk with flashlights.  Now that it's getting dark out earlier, embrace the chance to bundle up after pajamas are on & take them out for a walk with flashlights to check out the night & the neighbor's Halloween decorations.

10.  Find a local Halloween parade.  We are already looking forward to attending ours next week where the kids can wear their costumes & watch the parade go by!

11.  Make a special Halloween dessert.  One of our favorites is the Candy Corn Cake, but we also love to make the super simple slice & bake Halloween cookies!  Other ideas that we have featured include the simple Halloween dessert cups, Halloween Oreo Truffles, & the Pumpkin Spice Cookies

12.  Have a fun Halloween breakfast the morning of Halloween.  Here are two simple ideas:
A special Halloween cereal, such as Boo Berry or Count Chocula with orange colored milk (thanks to a few drops of food coloring).  
Ghost Pancakes.  Make abstract ghost pancakes with batter & add chocolate chips for eyes and mouth.

13.  Have a fun & festive photo shoot.  You can make it Halloween themed and let them wear their costumes early.  It's easier to get the Halloween costume pictures before the big day arrives!  If your little one isn't big into costumes, take photos in the falling leaves or by the pumpkins.
Halloween Handprint Ideas for Kids : The Chirping Moms

14.  Make Halloween handprints with your kids on canvas to save those little handprints in  a fun & festive way!  Some ideas include:  Candy Corn Handprints, Handprint VampiresBlack Cat Handprint, Handprint Witches, or Spider Handprints.

15.  And last, head out and trick or treat!  

Happy Halloween!

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Disclosure:  This post does include affiliate links.

October 17, 2014

Friday Favorites: Our New Way To Stroll

We walk around our town a lot. The girls are on opposite school schedules this year which means 4 trips to & from school on their school days. Most of the time, they are still both in the double stroller, but they are starting to like to walk a lot more. Often, the one who just got out of school is really tired and wants to be in the stroller and the other one is energized and wants to walk. I've brought just a single a few times, but you know how that works: bring the single and of course both kids want a ride and no one wants to walk!


So, we have a new way we like to stroll around town: The Joovy Groove Ultralight umbrella stroller with the Joovy Bumprider attachment. This is an awesome combo. The stroller is lightweight, well made and much more comfy than most umbrella strollers (more details below). The Bumprider is a stroller board that you attach to the back of the stroller. The "standing child" can hop on and off and catch a ride when they get tired of walking. 
The Joovy Bumprider is the most universal board on the market, so you can use it with many different strollers. Once the new baby arrives, I plan to try it out on a double stroller, so I can stroll around town with all 3 kids. What I love about our new stroller/ stroller board combo is that the Bumprider easily fold up and clips when you are not using it. So I can walk to school to get Maggie pushing Alex in the light weight Groove Ultralight, with the kick board folded up. Then, when we get Maggie, she can walk a little while and then I can quickly unhook the Bumprider and she can hop on and ride the rest of the way home. This has been a great part of our daily strolls around town. 
As far as the stroller itself goes, the Joovy Groove Ultralight is the best umbrella stroller I've used. It's the lightest stroller we own but still seems very roomy (even Maggie fits comfortably in it at 4.5 years old). 
These are the top 5 Reasons I'd recommend the Joovy Groove Ultralight:
1. It's very lightweight. It weighs under 13lbs and is the lightest stroller I've had. To make it even easier to carry, there's a great built in strap. 
2. There's a large storage area underneath. The storage area under the Joovy Groove Ultralight is a lot bigger and easier to access than most umbrella strollers we've used. This is great for school pickup because the girls backpacks, coats, etc easily fit under the stroller. 
3. It has a large sunshade. You don't see a sunshade this big on many lightweight umbrella strollers. There is a regular sized sunshade with an extra visor piece that comes down further. It's great for sunny days or sleeping kids! 
4. The side mesh pockets are a hit with kids and convenient for extra storage. My kids put their water bottle on one side and favorite toy on the other side. 
5. My kids love it. The most important feature for me is that my kids actually want to sit in it. At 3, Alex still needs a stroller for travel and long walks. She's also my "runner" so when we are walking around busy streets, it makes me nervous to not have her in a stroller. She hasn't been crazy about being in a stroller the past few months, but hopped right into the Groove Ultralight. It's easy for her to get in and out, roomy enough for her to be comfortable and she never complains while riding around in it. The features of the stroller are geared towards a comfortable ride for kids, while the weight and ease of use are a hit for parents. 
With the Joovy Groove Ultralight and Bumprider, we are really enjoying our new way to stroll around town! 
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