Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Merci Chocolate Review and Giveaway #MeaningfulMerci (Closed)

Ah, the holidays.  What do you give or have on hand as a nice present if someone unexpectedly drops by the house?  I don't know about you, but we usually have a box or two of chocolates wrapped and ready to go.  How can you go wrong, really?  So, when asked to review a box of Merci chocolates, I could not refuse. (My job is really tough sometimes.) 

I am overly impressed with these delicious chocolates! Merci chocolates are probably the best chocolates I have ever tasted. They are a European chocolate that are made in Germany.  I found these chocolates to be smooth and creamy, not too rich or overly sweet. The assortment of flavors offered was nice, too. There are 7 flavors, each one with a creamy filling inside: Milk Chocolate, Coffee and Cream, Hazelnut-Almond, Hazelnut-Cream, Dark Cream, Dark Mousse, and Praline Cream. 

When choosing a box of chocolates, I usually go with the variety pack.  But, I always find that there are weird nougats or cream filled candies that no one wants to eat.  These usually get hard or melt and wind up in the trash.  I can assure you that none of my Merci chocolates will be trashed.

What did I really like about Merci chocolates?  I like that each stick of chocolate is individually wrapped with the flavor clearly marked on the wrapper.  No more wondering who picked up a chocolate, smooshed in the center, and put it back.  Each stick of chocolate is also divided into two pieces, making it easy to break apart.  I didn't feel cheated when eating these chocolates either.  After eating the first half of chocolate, I was satisfied, When I realized that I still had the other half to eat, I didn't have to feel guilty about going back for seconds!

Merci chocolates also have a guarantee with each box: Merci states that their chocolates are "produced under the strictest quality control and should reach you in perfect condition.  If you are not entirely satisfied with the product, you can return the box and its contents".  There is also an expiration date printed on each box to maintain the best possible taste of the chocolate. 

Merci chocolates would be great for a present this holiday season.  Whether you are looking for a present for someone else, or a little treat for yourself, you won't go wring with picking up a box of Merci chocolates.

We have one box of Merci Chocolate to give to one lucky Mama Cheaps reader!
Enter this giveaway using the Rafflecopter widget HERE.

Thank you to Merci for providing a box of chocolates for review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Chasing Tiny Feet

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Softsoap Scentsations Holiday Scented Body Wash Review

Ah, one of my favorite types of reviews to complete....body wash.  If you are a busy parent, you will understand what having 5 minutes to yourself is like.  Besides being almost non-existent, time to yourself to relax is great for your overall well being.  When I do get those rare moments of peace to myself, I like to make sure I can indulge in one way or another.  Whether is be a great new hair product, or in this case, body wash.

I love to use body wash in the shower.  I find that soap alone not only dries my skin out, but leaves me feeling cheated.  I don't know if it is the refreshing scents or the moisturizing I crave but, for me, using body wash is a simple indulgence that will go a long way when facing a long day.

I was so excited to try Softsoap brand Scentsations limited edition body washes.  This was just what I needed to get into the holiday spirit!  Softsoap has created two amazing seasonal scents: Wintermint Wonderland and Enchanting Sugar Plum.

I first tried Wintermint Wonderland.  Wintermint Wonderland is a pure white pearlescent formula that is moisture rich.  I wasn't sure how I felt about using a minty scented body wash, but once the wintermint scent hit my senses, I changed my opinion.  I was immediately relaxed by the minty smell that, for me, was reminiscent of the Christmas nougats I ate as a child.  Plus, this formula left my skin feeling soft and smooth!

I then tried Softsoap's Enchanting Sugar Plum.  This Enchanting Sugar Plum body wash will fill your shower with an amazing scent of festive berries.  This body wash is formulated with suspended moisture beads to help skin stay soft and supple.  I loved the rich lather that left my skin feeling extra soft.  My skin was moisturized, far from that dry feeling that bar soap leaves me. 

Softsoap Wintermint Wonderland and Enchanting Sugar Plum are only available for a limited time at Walmart.  Each bottle retails for about $3.48.

We were provided with a sample of the products reviewed above in order to facilitate the review. All opinions are 100% our own.

Chasing Tiny Feet

Monday, December 10, 2012

Reindeer Food

Here is what Mason and I will be doing this afternoon!  This is a fun way to get the kids involved in preparation for Santa's big arrival.  Everyone remembers to put cookies and milk out for Santa each year, but what about the hard-working team of reindeer?  Before your cherubs go to sleep on Christmas Eve, have them sprinkle some magic reindeer food on the front lawn or by the front door so the team can keep its energy up to make it to all the boys and girls homes before morning.

Here is what you need:
  • Oatmeal
  • Magic reindeer dust (gold or brightly colored glitter or bakery sprinkles)
Put the ingredients on a snack-sized bag, shake it up, and it's ready to give to your child to put out before going to bed.  The magic dust will glisten in the snow or grass, making it easy for the reindeer to spot. 

If you live in an area where you are concerned about wildlife eating the glitter, substitute bakery sprinkles or even sugar (colored with food coloring, if desired).

Use these two links below from in you want a cute reindeer poem to put on your bag of food.

On Christmas Eve, sprinkle this wonderful Reindeer Food on your lawn. The shiny glitter or sprinkles will sparkle in the moonlight and the smell of oats will guide Rudolph to your home.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Birthday Freebies!!!

Someone celebrated their birthday this weekend!  I won't say how old I am, but I have to say I had a great time with my family.  I was treated to a special dinner and Mason and Amanda bought me a beautiful necklace with their birthstones on it.

Did you know that when your birthday comes around, restaurants and retailers give away a ton of coupons and free stuff?  You have got to check out this list of freebies you can get on your special day.  Some require you to simply join their email list, others don't.  I have been receiving coupons and freebies all month long from various retailers!  Not too shabby.

Check out his comprehensive list from Mama Cheaps.  While you are there, you might find some great deals too!

Chasing Tiny Feet

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving and Quick Corn Bread Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving!  In case you are on short notice and need a good cornbread recipe quickly, here you go!  Every year it is my job to make the corn bread.  I have taken many, many recipes and tweaked it to how I like it.  Most are too dry or not sweet enough for my liking.  Here is the recipe I have developed over the years.  I hope you like it as much as my family does!


4 tbs butter or solid vegetable shortening - softened
1 and 1/3 cups cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar (I have used up to 3/4 cup if you like it sweeter)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 8oz can of creamed corn


1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Lightly grease 11x8 inch baking pan with the butter or shortening.

2. Stir the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until mixed.  Beat the milk, oil, and eggs in a separate bowl until blended.  Pour the wet ingredients into the center of the dry ingredients and mix with a fork until just blended - a few lumps won't matter.  Stir in can of creamed corn and mix slightly.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven until golden brown and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 minutes.  Since ovens vary, it may take longer to cook thoroughly.  Remove and cool 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Free Thanksgiving Printables

Want some new Thanksgiving activity pages for the kids?  Head on over to or to print out the latest coloring pages, word searches, mazes, and connect the dot pages!

Want more??????

Click HERE for free printable activities from

Click HERE for for free printables from

Click HERE for free printables, activity sheets, decorations, coloring pages and more from

Click HERE for free printables, word searches, turkey mazes, flash cards, bingo, and more from

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Melissa & Doug Terrific Twenty List and Giveaway (Closed)

We LOVE all Melissa and Doug products!  The quality is superb and stands the test of time of little hands.  You can find just about anything that your little one might want from puzzles, to art supplies, to fun dining sets. 

Now Melissa and Doug have released their Terrific Twenty List just in time for your holiday shopping.  This list compiles the “best of the best” holiday gifts for the 2012 holiday season.  To celebrate, they are having a “20 Days of Terrific Twenty” Giveaway their Facebook page! Every day (starting November 6) they will be giving away one item from their Terrific Twenty list to at least one of our lucky Facebook fans!

What do you have to do?  Simply visit Melissa & Doug on Facebook to enter to win a gift every day from the Terrific Twenty list.


Would you like another chance to win one of the Terrific Twenty from Melissa and Doug?  Fill out the form below for a chance to win!  The Giveaway will run from 11/7/2012 at 9:00am until 11/28/12 at 9:00am.  Good Luck!

Thank you to Melissa & Doug for providing the prize for this Giveaway!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Free Election Day Printables

I did it!  I casted my vote in this year's Election.  Even though they cannot vote yet, don't forget to include the kiddies in this years Election excitement!

Click HERE for free Election Day printables from

Click HERE for an awesome list of free Election Day printables from

Click HERE for free Election Day activities and presidential printables for kids from the

Click HERE for free Election Day printables including, worksheets, coloring pages, and puzzles from

Click HERE for free printables from

Chasing Tiny Feet

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sweet Pototo Cornbread

I love cornbread this time of year!  I searched and searched for a recipe that included everything I had in the house.  It was near impossible, so I made my own recipe.  Below is the final recipe I came up with.  Enjoy!!!

Prep Time: 20 min

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons of butter 
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons of honey (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a loaf tin with cooking spray.
  • Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  • Peel sweet potato and chop into large pieces. Boil until tender. Drain and mash. Add melted butter, milk, and egg and stir to combine.
  • Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until a dough forms.
  • Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  • Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pan.

For this recipe, I used sweet potato that I oven baked and pureed in a blender.  It works that same as boiling and mashing the sweet potato.
Chasing Tiny Feet

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Xylitol Products Review

Xylitol..hummm.  I have heard of it, but I do not know a lot about it.  What is it and how does it work?  Are there advantages of using it and is it safe?  I am here to answer some of your questions.

Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar substitute that research has shown can improve the health of your teeth and mouth.  It has been clinically proven to be a natural enemy of bacteria.  Where does Xylitol come from?  It is referred to as wood or birth sugar because it typically was manufactured from birch trees.  Today, it is mainly extracted from corncobs.  Interesting....other natural sources of Xylitol include plums, strawberries, and raspberries.  Pure Xylitol looks like sugar because of the white crystalline appearance.  It even tastes like sugar but has 40% less calories than sugar.  Plus, only one-third of the absorbed Xylitol gets metabolized by the body.

So. how does Xylitol work?  Xylitol is not metabolized by mouth bacteria, and as a result, no acids are produced in the mouth that can cause tooth decay.  The sweetness stimulates saliva flow, which neutralizes any acids that have been formed and rinse away excess sugar residue. 

Are there any side effects of using Xylitol? Xylitol was approved by the FDA in 1963, and it has no known side effects for humans; up to 40 grams per day have been noted to have little more than a mild laxative effect.

So what products are available that use Xylitol?  Xlear makes all things Xylitol and are the Xylitol experts. 

The first products I tired was Kid's Xlear Saline Nasal Spray.  Just about since the day Amanda was born, her nose has been perpetually stuffed.  Like many infants, Amanda also suffers from reflux.  My doctor told me that babies with reflux often will have a stuffed nose as well and the best treatment is to use saline.  It is the best way to helps to improve mucus flow and relieve nasal irritations without medication.  So, in trying Kid's Xlear Nasal Saline Spray, I noticed that it did help to soothes and moisturizes the nasal passage and sinuses while washing away dust, pollutants, and irritants.   The bottle was easy to use on Amanda too.  The easy to use squeeze bottle specifically designed for children and infants.  It is safe for all ages and non-habit forming. 

I also tried Spry Dental Defense System.  This System combines Xylitol with other wonderful flavors to create a wide range of products, including gum, mints, and toothpaste. 

I started off with the Spry chewing gum.  The gum is available in Cinnamon, Spearmint, Peppermint, and fresh fruit flavors.  This sugar free gum is sweetened with 100% Xylitol.  I enjoyed each flavor more than the next, with the fresh fruit flavor being my favorite. 

I moved onto the mints.  These are also sugar free and made with 100% Xylitol.  I enjoyed these mints very much.  With flavors like Lemonburst, Peppermint, and Berry Blast, there is something to choose from no matter what your mood is.  I loved the fruit flavored ones, but prefer the peppermint to freshen my breath throughout the day. 

Spry Xylitol Peppermint toothpaste comes in a tarter control formula and is fluoride and sugar free.  This minty paste tasted great and left my teeth feeling like I "just came from the dentist clean". 

I think my favorite product was the Sparx Xylitol Candies, of course.  This candy was a great way to satisfy my non-chocolate cravings.  Sparx candies are small candy "dots" that are high in Xylitol and have natural fruit flavors and natural colors.  I loved the sweetness of the candy and the cool, refreshing feeling it left in my mouth.

To ensure the effectiveness of Xylitol, you should "strive for 5".  That means you should try to get 5 exposures of Spry Xylitol per day using any combination of gum, mints, toothpaste, Sparx candy, etc.  Finally, I can enjoy my candy while helping to reduce the risk of tooth decay!

Thanks to Mama Cheaps, Xylitol sent us a free sample of the products reviewed above in order to facilitate the review. All opinions are 100% our own.

Chasing Tiny Feet

Monday, October 15, 2012

Nomie Baby Review

This Summer my family traveled to the shore to enjoy a few days of fun in the sun.  We took Mason to the beach at 5 months old, so we figured we could handle Amanda at 6 months old.  Well, there is one major difference between my two children...and it can get messy. 

I'll keep the story as "clean" as I can.  However, I am sure there are many of you that can relate to what I am about to say.  On the way home from our most recent family vacation, after 4 days of not pooping, Amanda decided to unload.  No problem, right?  We will just pull over to the Arby's.  We were planning on stopping anyway to get lunch.  I'll change her there.  Well, little did I know that at this particular Arby's location, that there was no changing station.  Ok, no problem.  Back out to the car I go.  I decide that I will just change her there.  Easier said than done! 

I unbuckle Amanda and take her out of her seat.  Not only did she leak through her diaper, she completely destroyed her clothes and car seat.  Have you ever tried to clean a car seat with wipes?  Not fun, my friend.  And, not only did she get the car seat, it leaked through the belt slots and I had to totally take apart her seat to clean it.

So, here we are.  A hot summer day, in a parking lot trying to change a very messy 6 month old.  Not ideal to say the least.  If I had my wits about me, I would have taken pictures of this ridiculous scene.  I can laugh about it now, but when me and my husband were in the middle of it, I didn't see the humor. 

Why go through this story?  There is one thing that would have made this scenario so much better..a car seat cover.  If I had one, all I would of had to do was take the cover off, put it in a bag to wash when we got home.  Plain and simple! 

Nomie Baby car seat covers would have really come in handy on this trip!  The Nomie Baby infant car seat cover is mess-proof, spill-proof, and leak proof.  More than that, they are super easy to put on and take off your car seat.  Made to slip on your car seat, all you have to do is bring the straps through the velcro openings for a perfect fit.

I was lucky enough to review the toddler size/convertible car seat cover.  Like the infant car seat cover it is washable, mess-proof, spill-proof, and leak proof.  Nomie Baby toddler seat covers also have a protective waterproof lining. 

The light blue color car seat cover fit perfectly over our Britax car seat.  I had to adjust the straps a little when I first put the cover on, but once I got the straps through, I was ready to have Mason jump on in.   The quality of this cover is superb!  This I loved that the material is super soft and comfy for Mason.  He loved it and was very excited to see the face lift that his seat received.

What more do I love about Nomie Baby car seat covers?  They are:
  • Protective: Spill-proof, waterproof, leak-proof
  • Soft: breathable cloth on toddler's skin
  • Easy: Remove cover in 5 seconds. Velcro and elastic make it easy!
  • Safe: Fabrics have passed flammability and lead tests.
  • Washing Machine & Dryer Friendly

Nomie Baby also makes an infant and toddler cozy stroller blanket.  Since the weather has turned cooler, I have been bundling Amanda up before putting her in her car seat or pacing a blanket over her.  I hate to put her in a coat, then in a car seat.  I find that the straps never really fit properly.  I also hate tucking a blanket around her.  Inevitable, she kicks out of it and it winds up on the ground.  That is why I LOVE Nomie Baby's cozy stroller blanket.  Not only can it be used for the stroller, but it can double and be used in the car seat.

Since receiving this blanket, I have had Amanda nice and cozy in her car seat.  I honestly do not have to worry about a coat or jacket when she is in her seat because this truly keeps her warm.  The infant stroller blanket is fleece-lined with a wind resistant outer layer to keep your baby warm.  The stroller blanket zips around your baby, keeping your infant safe from harsh winds and the cold weather.

Like the car seat cover, the stroller blanket goes on and off easily for cleaning.  It is also washing machine and dryer friendly!  I would recommend this blanket for anyone with and infant this winter.  We will definitely be using it on both her car seat and stroller when out and about.

Thank you to Nomie Baby for sharing thier wonderful products for me to review.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Chasing Tiny Feet

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Firmoo Review

So, a couple of weeks ago, I received an email from about receiving a free pair of sunglasses. If you are anything like me, I go through at least 2 pairs of sunglasses a year because I either lose them, break them, the arm of the glasses loosens up, or I scratch them. I thought that this had to be a scam, because really, who gives away free sunglasses?

I checked out and found out that they are a totally legitimate company, where you can get your first pair of glasses or sunglasses for free -you just pay shipping. I was part of a Blogger promotion in which I was offered a free pair of sunglasses in exchange for a review of the glasses.

I decided to check out the sunglasses offered on and found not only a wide selection of fashionable glasses, but many affordable options for glasses and sunglasses. There are many glasses to choose from, including glasses for both men and women. Offered are everything from classic to fashion styles of frames. The fashion frames ran somewhere between $40.00-$60.00, on average, and this does include everything you need. I saw frames for as low as $8.00 and as high as $70.00. So there is really something for everyone!

Since I don't wear prescription glasses and never actually sat down with someone who helped me pick out the perfect frames for my face, I wasn't too sure about picking a pair of glasses online. I was pleasantly surprised to find that has a virtual try-on feature in which you can use a preloaded picture or upload your own picture so that you can get an idea of how the glasses will look before you buy them.

I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised when I received my FREE sunglasses in the mail. I received them within a week or so of placing the order. When I opened the box I was greeted by a very nice pair of high quality sunglasses! They were packed and wrapped in a soft cleaning cloth within a a hard carrying case. Also included was a black, soft carrying case, and a little screwdriver kit! This was everything I needed to keep my sunglasses scratch free and in working order.

I have been wearing these sunglasses non-stop for the last few days, and the more I wear them, the more I love them!  They fit very comfortably and the tinting on the glasses is perfect.  They are great for driving or just wearing while I am out taking the kids to for a walk or to the playground.

I guess you are wondering how you get your free pair of glasses????  Here is what you have to do:
  1. Be a first-time buyer
  2. Go to
  3. Choose a pair of glasses or sunglasses
  4. Provide your prescription information (if applicable)
  5. Wait for your FREE and awesome glasses to arrive!
If you love Firmoo's website, don't forget to check out on Facebook too! provided me with the otem above in order to facilitate this review.  All opinions are 100% mine based on my experience with the product.

Chasing Tiny Feet

Monday, October 1, 2012

TeenyMates Review and Giveaway (Closed)

My husband says that I think that anything that is small is cute.  If that is the case, TeenyMates follow suit and are just about the cutest little Quarterbacks I have ever seen! 

Don't know what TeenyMates are?  TeenyMates are one inch tall collectible sports figures from each of the 32 NFL teams.  These tiny little NFL football quarterbacks are perfect for your child to collect and play.  Tiny enough to fit in your pocket, Teeny Mates come in a package that includes 2 NFL Quarterbacks and 2 two-sided puzzle pieces.  If you collect all 35 of the puzzle pieces, you will be able to create a double-sided puzzle with a TeenyMates football field on one side and a collector mini-poster of all the Quarterbacks on the other side.  

PLUS there are 3 rare figures to collect: a Glow-In-The Dark, a Houston Oilers Throwback, and a Metallic Gold Finish!

Mason loved playing with the packs of TeenyMates.  He loved lining them up, one by one, and ran them down the field.  Although he ran them up and down the field, he mostly crashed them into each other having lots of fun!  He sat, playing for a long while with the little figures and kept asking if we could get more to play with. 

Mason also loved the puzzle.  It is a bit too difficult for him to complete himself, but with a little help from me, he was able to take it apart and put it back together.  He loved counting the TeenyMates on the collector mini-poster.

TeenyMates retail for about $3.99 per pack.  I can see these being a hit this holiday season as a stocking stuffer.  These little Mates would also make great incentive prizes for those who might be using an behavior chart
Here is a quick summary of TeenyMates:
  • 1″ tall, officially licensed NFL figures for kids and collectors alike, ages 4 and up.
  • Entering the immensely popular mini-collectible market as the only official NFL figures available.
  • Amazing detail for such tiny figures. Great for play, and fun to collect and trade!
  • Each foil bag pack comes with 2 random quarterbacks and 2 puzzle pieces, adding mystery and excitement to each purchase!
  • Collect all 32 NFL quarterbacks and all 35 double-sided puzzle pieces.
  • Plus: 3 hard-to-find rare figures – a Throwback QB, a Metallic Gold QB, and a Glow-in-the Dark QB!
  • Double-sided puzzle allows you to build either a collector mini-poster featuring all 32 QBs, or a football field display set.
  • Now available at Target, team shops, and sporting goods, gift and toy stores across the nation!
  • MSRP: $3.99
Don't forget to check out TeenyMates online where you can print out a football field page and several other coloring pages.  Plus, you can find TeenyMates on Facebook for even more pictures and updates.

Because TeenyMates are so small, they could pose a chocking hazard.  TeenyMates are  recommended for children aged 4 and older. 

Would you like to win some TeenyMates of you own?  Fill out the form below for a chance to win.  Three winners will be chosen and will each win a set of 3 TeenyMates packages!!!  The Giveaway will run from 10/1/12 at 12:00pm until 10/8/12 at 12:00pm.

Thanks to Party Animal Inc for providing samples of TeenyMates for review and the Giveaway.  All opinions are 100% mine.

Chasing Tiny Feet

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pumpkin Pancakes...A New Tradition

So, Mason has started pre-school! I am so excited for him and so far he LOVES it. Each day he goes to school, he comes home singing another song and babbles on and on about what he did.

I remember the first day of school with fond memories and would like Mason to have the same memories.  I wanted to make the first day of school extra special so I decided to make him a batch of pumpkin pancakes that just screams the first day of school.

I can't take credit for coming up with this recipe all on my own.  I looked around for different recipes, but in the end, I decided to use the recipe from Martha Stewart.

  • Whisk 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour; 2 tablespoons sugar; 2 teaspoons baking powder; 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt; 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg; and a pinch of ground cloves.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together 1 cup milk, 6 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and 1 egg;

  • fold mixture into dry ingredients.

  • Melt some butter in a skillet over medium heat; pour in 1/4 cup batter for each pancake.
  • Cook pancakes about 3 minutes per side; serve with butter and syrup.
  • Makes 8 to 10.

These pancakes turned out to be quite delicious.  They were a big hit with the whole family.  The pancakes were fluffy and moist, not at all heavy.  The pumpkin taste was just right and the spices added a feeling of fall that was perfect for the first day of school.  They were very simple and I wound up freezing the leftovers so I have them handy whenever I need a quick breakfast.

Chasing Tiny Feet

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

A New Favorite Recipe..Pumpkin Muffins!

Recently, I was perusing some of my favorite sites for super easy and quick recipes.  Here is a great recipe I found on That's Country Living for Pumpkin Spiced Muffins that require only two ingredients.  Yes, you read that right, two ingredients!

  • 1 box of Spiced Cake Mix
  • 1 can Pumpkin (15oz can)

  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine both ingredients in a bowl.  I also added about 1/4 to 1/2 cup water to moisten it a little.  You can add it to your liking if you wish.
  3. Blend until well mixed together.
  4. Spoon batter into greased cupcake pan.
  5. Cook for about 20 to 25 minutes (or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean)
  6. Let cool and enjoy!

We have been enjoying these treats for a couple of days now.  They are so yummy and don't last long, so I will be making more next week!

Monday, September 10, 2012

FREE Fall Printables

The leaves have already started to fall off of our trees, a sure sign that the seasons are changing.  Not only are the leaves falling, but the kids are going back to school, and I am pulling out all my Fall decor and best pumpkin recipes. 

Here is a roundup of some free Fall and Autumn printables to enjoy with your kids.

Click HERE for free Fall coloring pages from

Click HERE for free Fall printables including dot to dot, word searches, mazes, coloring pages and more from

Click HERE for free Fall printables from

Click HERE for free Fall printables from

Click HERE for free Fall coloring pages from

Click HERE for free Fall printables from

Click HERE for free Fall activities from

Chasing Tiny Feet

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Getting Back On Track With Back To School

It's the most wonderful time of the year.....oh wait, that's not right.  Unless you have spent the entire Summer, everyday with your kids, you might not be happy that the kiddies are going back to school.  Then there is the group of parents who are dancing as the school bus pulls away, taking their loves off for another school year. 

I am somewhere in between.  I LOVE being at home everyday with Mason and Amanda, but on the other hand, Mason is ready for pre-school.  The benefits of pre-school far outweigh Mason being home with me everyday.  This is the first time we will really have to follow a schedule.  I mean, I loosely follow one each day, but we kind of just go with the flow. 

Mason and sleeping have never gone together.  Since he was a baby, he was a cat napper and is still up several times through the night.  So, I know that getting him to bed and having him get enough sleep will be our biggest challenge.  We have a bedtime routine of bath, pj's, brushing teeth, stories, etc.  And we have always tried to stick to it, even through the Summer. Most days we were successful, others we gave in to a later bedtime. So how do we get back on track?

A gradual transition of establishing your child's school routine is probably best.  It will allow for your child to reset their internal clock and in turn, get enough sleep.  Hopefully, this will put off the dreaded bedtime battles that surely ensue.

According to a recent article from, most elementary school students need 10 to 11 hours of sleep, while most teenagers need 8 to 9 hours of sleep nightly. Inadequate sleep leads to irritability, impaired focus, and can heighten symptoms of ADD/ADHD
Here's some additional suggestions from on how to re establish your child's bedtime routine just in time for school:
  • Begin the transition by setting up a 30-minute routine of pre-bedtime activities.
  • Use a checklist to help your child take ownership of her routine.
  • A good pre-bedtime routine helps a child slow down and prepare for sleep. Plus it helps set the stage for a smooth start in the morning.

Here are some ideas for pre-bedtime activities:
  • Review the next day's agenda
  • Pack the backpack and set it out
  • Set out clothes for the next day
  • Bathe
  • Put on pajamas
  • Do a quiet activity that does not include the computer, video games, or TV.

Transition gradually. Start the pre-bedtime routine 10 to 15 minutes earlier every few nights. It may take two weeks to adjust to going to bed an hour earlier. But consistency is important in establishing the routine, so try to follow the schedule on weekends as well.

Following a transition plan will help prepare your child for a new school year with as little stress as possible -- for the whole family.

Chasing Tiny Feet

Monday, September 3, 2012

Homemade Granite Counter Top Cleaner

I have recently come across some interesting information regarding the chemicals in household products we use everyday.  I will be discussing this in another post.  But, I have been inspired to become more green conscious in my home.  OK, I have all said I am going to do it, but do I ever really? Is it worth the time, hassel, and money? I am here to say it is and it is so easy that I am sorry I never did this before.

Recently, my husband and I remodeled out kitchen. With that remodel came the decision between a granite counter top, another natural stone or formica. In the end, we chose the granite. For us, the benefits of granite out weighed the other natural stones or formica.

On the day of installation, the counter top was so shiny and perfect. Then the reality of keeping it clean set in. I only use a soft cloth with mild dish soap and water as suggested, but I find that it leaves water marks and that drives me crazy! I decided to go to the local hardware store and purchase granite cleaner. On the tune of $9.00 per bottle, decided that I needed to find a better solution to cleaning my counter tops and fast.

I completed my research of what to use and what not to use on granite counter tops. Here is my summary:

Like marble, granite, and most natural stones, using acidic cleaners, citrus based cleansers (such as lemon) or vinegar will dull and etch the counter top. Check. Warm water and mild detergent or alcohol seem to be the best cleansers. Check. Using Windex will take the sealing agent off sooner that it would normally wear. Check. Granite cleaning cloth or chamois are recommended because of the ultra smooth nap, it will make for a streak free finish. Check. If you do not have a chamois or cloth, paper towels will work just fine and leave a streak free finish as well. Check.

Ok, now that I am armed with the proper knowledge and feel like I am back in chemistry class, I was ready to mix the solution. Below is the receipe I liked best:

     1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (you may also use vodka)

     3 drops of dish detergent

     1 cup water

     a few drops of essential oil (to help mask alcohol smell). I used Caramel

Add the ingredients to a spray bottle, gently mix, and you are done!

I tested this new concoction and could not believe how pleased I was with the results. An added bonus I noted was that the counter top was not prone to fingerprint marks after cleaning with this solution. This is so easy, cheap and the greenest way I know how to clean a counter top. You can also use this natural cleanser on appliances. But, most importantly, it is effective. The alcohol will kill bacteria and this is safe to use around children and pets, as long as they do not drink the mixture. So go ahead, save some money AND make a green cleaning product for your home!

Disclaimer: ALWAYS check a small spot for effectiveness before you clean any surface.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

All-Natural Facial

Since Amanda was born I have been neglecting my regular beauty routine.  Well, it isn't much of a routine, but every so often I would pamper myself with a facial or scrub.  I have used ones that I bought from the store, but they always leave my face red and irritated. 

This recipe, created by KIWI magazine contributing editor Todra Payne, is best suited for normal to dry skin.  This recipe uses apricots, which are full of Vitamin A and C.  It will help to soften skin and stimulate cell turnover.  If you are looking for an all natural (and inexpensive) facial, give this one a try.

Here's what to do:
  • Bring 2 tablespoons whole milk to a gentle simmer in a saucepan. 
  • In a blender, add the milk, 1 ripe apricot (pit removed) and 1 tablespoon raw honey.  Blend until smooth. 
  • Apply to face and neck.  Leave on for 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water. 

Yields enough for two facials.

Chasing Tiny Feet

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

CuddleTug Review and Giveaway

I love nursing Amanda and I wouldn't have it any other way.  It works for us and I love the special time we get to spend together, even at all odd hours of the night.  What I don't particularly like is her pulling at my clothes, and especially, my hair while I am nursing her.  Somehow, her little fingers mange to get a few strands of hair and pull them out each time I feed her.  I remember Mason doing the same thing to me and I wound up cutting off my hair and donating it to Locks of Love. 

I was just about to make another donation and chop off my hair when I was introduced to CuddleTug.  Could this simple necklace be the answer to my problems?  Since I didn't want to cut my hair off just yet, I had to check it out.

So, what is a CuddleTug?  It is a "stretchy ribbon necklace" that can be used while feeding and playing.  The CuddleTug claims that it will "keep your baby from pinching skin, tugging on jewelry and pulling hair".

The first day I got it, I slipped it on around my neck while nursing Amanda, and guess what?  Her little fingers went right to the CuddleTug and not my hair.  I thought maybe it was just a coincidence since it was something new for her to play with.  I thought, it can't be that easy.  So the next time I nursed her, I slipped the CuddleTug around my neck and again, Amanda played with the tags on the CuddleTug.  Not only has this been so helpful for nursing Amanda, she also loves to play with it while doing tummy time. 

Each day, I sit with Amanda and lay her toys around her and let her play.  The CuddleTug is almost always one of the first toys she goes for.  She loves to suck on it and chew the tags.  I can play with her and gently pull at the necklace and watch her go for it when I hide it in with her other toys.  I feel comfortable knowing she is chewing on something safe, all while entertaining her.

There are so many uses for the CuddleTug, too.  The CuddleTug can be attached to a high chair, car seat or stroller and your child can't toss it on the floor.  The CuddleTug can be used while breast feeding or bottle feeding.  The CuddleTug also makes a great shower gift!

There are so many cute designs to choose from too.  With over 20 designs to choose from, there is a CuddleTug for just about anyone.  I also love that the CuddleTug is machine washable.  After a few times sucking on it, carrying it around, playing with it on the floor, etc., it's time for a washing.  Another perk of the CuddleTug is that it is proudly handmade in the USA.  Love it!

CuddleTugs are $15.75 (plus tax and shipping) and if you are looking for a customized CuddleTug, that will run you $19.99 (plus tax and shipping). It's nice to have that option too. Check out or find them on Facebook or you can also find them on

Discount offer – Pick up a CuddleTug today at and use promo code MAMACHEAPS20 to save 20% on your order! Offer valid through 9/30/12.

If you would like to get a chance to win a CuddleTug of your own, head on over to Mama Cheaps and fill out the form to enter.  Good Luck!

Chasing Tiny Feet

Sunday, August 26, 2012

How To Explain the Loss of a Pet to Your Child

This is a hard topic for anyone..death...especially for kids.  We have a chinchilla.  Let me rephrase that...we had a chinchilla.  Unfortunately, our chinchilla, Nugget, passed away.  She was a great little pet and Mason just loved to help change her cage, feed her and help give her dust to bathe in.  So, now I wondered, how do I address this with Mason.  He is only 3 years old and he thinks she is just sleeping.  But when she is buried and the cage is put away, how do I explain this to him?

Well, it looks like I did it all wrong.  I told Mason she was sleeping.  I told him to say good bye to her before he went to bed and that she wouldn't be here in the morning.  He looked in the cage and said, "Bye Bye, Nugget" and that was that.  He went to bed and my husband buried Nugget the next day.  Well, Mason has only asked for her twice since he said good-bye and I am not even sure that he realizes the cage is gone.

Luckily, I feel like Mason will not suffer all ill effects from my feeble attempt at parenting on the issue of death.  I guess I should have read the articles sooner on how to handle death with a toddler to prevent any damage and misunderstanding. 

The best sites I have come across with dealing with the loss of a pet (or loved one) include:
Whether it is a pet or a loved one, here are some tips from the above listed websites on how to talk to your child on the topic of death so you don't make the same mistakes I made.

Tip 1:  How we handle this event can have a far-reaching impact on our children's understanding of death and dying. At all ages, honesty is the best policy. That means using the words death and dying, and explaining the permanence of death. You do it gently but without confusing what dying actually means.

Tip 2: A child's ability to understand what death means depends on his/her emotional and cognitive development.  Here's a breakdown:

Under 2: A child can feel and respond to a pet's death, based on the reaction of those around him or her. A child picks up the stress felt by family members, no matter what the cause.

2 to 5: The child will miss the animal as a playmate, but not necessarily as a love object. They will see death as a temporary state – something like the way leaves fall off a tree in fall but grow back in the spring. As they perceive the trauma around them, however, they may regress in their behavior (e.g., thumb sucking).

5 to 9: Children begin to perceive death as permanent, but they may indulge in "magical thinking," believing that death can be defied or bargained with. This is also the period when children recognize a correlation between what they think and what happens. For instance, a child may resent taking care of the pet and wish – however briefly – that the pet would die. If the pet then dies, the child is often consumed with guilt. Parents need to reassure children that they did not cause the pet's death.

10 and up: Children generally understand that all living things will eventually die, and that death is total. Understanding and accepting are two different things, however. They may go through the normal stages of grief that grownups do: denial, bargaining, anger, guilt, depression and acceptance.

Tip #3: Depending on the age, the child may regress (sucking their thumb or temper tantrums that they had outgrown).

Tip 4:  The worst course of action is to lie (to say the animal went away) or to use confusing euphemisms, such as the phrase "put to sleep." Children will eventually learn the truth, and lying can breed resentment and destroy trust between parent and child.  It probably won't alleviate the sadness about losing the pet either.  Likewise, euphemisms can cause anxiety or confusion because children take what you say literally. "If you say a pet is put to sleep, the child may suffer sleep anxiety.

Tip 5: Be available to let your child discuss his/her feelings about what happened.  Children often become intensely curious about death and what happens to the body. They may ask for details that you may find uncomfortable to explain. These are questions you should answer in a straightforward, gentle and careful manner.

Tip 6: Show your own feelings. This tells the child that the pet was special and that they are not grieving alone. You can also encourage your child to open up, which can help the healing process.  Grieving is an important part of healing, for both children and adults. Don't frighten your child with excessive grief, but don't make the subject off-limits, either. 

We all know our children best.  Use these tips along with what works for your family in helping to deal with loss.

Chasing Tiny Feet