Reese’s Spreads VoxBox

I received a free Reese’s Spreads VoxBox from Influenster. A VoxBox is a box of items that Influenster sends out to its members to try for free.

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The boys were excited to sample the Reese’s Spread so I sliced up some apples and gave them some of the Reese’s Spread to dip their apples in. I never got any pictures but JT really enjoyed it and ate all of his. Connor tried it but didn’t like so he just ate the apples. I was really surprised that Connor was the one that didn’t like the spread because Connor loves both Reese’s and peanut butter.

I also tried Reese’s Spread on toast. I liked it but both boys refused to try it.

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Reese’s Spread is very creamy and very easy to spread. I liked that it wasn’t too sweet. I think it had just the right amount of sweetness. You can see the little clumps of peanut butter in the spread. The peanut butter taste is light so it does taste slightly like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

There are plenty of recipes to try on the Reese’s Spreads website and I really wanted to make some but just haven’t gotten around to it.

Have you tried Reese’s Spreads yet?

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Hogsmeade and Hogwarts

Since we’ve been reading Harry Potter I thought I’d use my Flashback Friday post to write about the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. This was back in December 2012 so it was just Hogwarts and Hogsmeade.

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I wanted to go on the ride inside Hogwarts but didn’t end up going because of the line. The boys were too small to go on it then but we did go through the castle. They had a separate line just to tour the castle.

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We saw the Frog Choir and the boys took a picture with the Hogwarts Express conductor.

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We also went took a look at some of the shops. We did the Ollivander’s attraction rather than just go in the store. Connor bought a Harry Potter wand and then we ate lunch at The Three Broomsticks. We loved the Butterbeer.

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They also had fish and chips.

They also had fish and chips.

The Three Broomsticks had macaroni.

The Three Broomsticks had macaroni.

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Then there was of course the Butterbeer!

Then there was of course the Butterbeer!

It was delicious!

It was delicious!

The last thing we did before we left was go inside Honeyduke’s. JT got a chocolate frog and he was very happy with it. He loves chocolate.

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I really want to go and see all of the new Harry Potter stuff at Universal. We went to Disney World in November and I really wanted to go then but I have a hard time stepping away from Disney World so I wanted to add on days and that would have been more expensive so we didn’t go. If you’ve been to the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter let me know what your favorite part was.

Standard Deviants Accelerate Review

Standard Deviants Accelerate is an online program for kids grades 3 through 12. I’m always excited to try a new program so I was excited to be given a free subscription through Educents.

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Standard Deviants Accelerate currently offers 14 different courses. The courses include math, history, science, English and AP courses. We have only focused on Arithmetic which is for grade 3 and up but I did take a look at some of the other courses.

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The program is really easy to use for both the parents and the kids. When you login it take you to your home page where all of your courses are shown and you can click which one you want to work on. What I really liked was that from the teacher portal you can select a class and you’ll be able to see exactly what the kids are going to see. You can take a look at the videos, vocabulary, diagrams and quizzes before you assign your kids to a class. You can even do the diagrams and quizzes yourself. The only thing I found you can’t preview is the tests. There is a review test after each section and I wasn’t able to preview these.

Standard Deviants Accelerate really tries to make learning fun using their videos. The videos are upbeat and they use examples that kids can relate to. Each section will have a video to watch, vocabulary, a diagram to complete, a quiz and a written answer.

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Another thing I found interesting about the program is that for each subject there is “The Big Question”. They really incorporate critical thinking into each subject and I found that really interesting. The course has you rethinking the question after each new section.

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If you are looking for a new online learning program to use for your kids I would recommend taking a look at Standard Deviant Accelerate. They have an offer on the homepage for a free 2 month trial so you can see if it is something that would work for your kids. I found it easy and useful and I think you could use it either once a week (which is what we have been doing) or everyday.

If you’ve used Standard Deviants Accelerate let me know what you thought about it.

Discover Brookside

*Disclosure: I received a free bag of Brookside Clusters to sample. A blog post was not required and all opinions are my own.*

I was chosen to receive a free sample of Brookside Clusters through Crowdtap. The bag I was received was the Berry Medley flavor. I wasn’t familiar with Brookside before but after I received the sample I noticed people snacking on these and I saw them at the store.

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All of the Brookshire chocolates are dark chocolate and there are four different flavors. There is the pomegranate, acai and blueberry, goji and raspberry, and the crunchy clusters in berry medley. The Crunchy Clusters are clusters of multigrain and fruit centers. They are then covered in dark chocolate.

When I first tried them just out of the bag I liked them. They are crunchy but the bigger pieces are a little chewier. The primary flavor to me is the chocolate and it’s followed up with the slightly sweet berry flavor. The flavor combination works really well.

JT was really excited to try these. He loves chocolate but he didn’t like them. I was really surprised because he will even eat bittersweet baking chocolate if you let him.

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I made some sundaes with the Brookside Clusters as a topping and they tasted even better in the sundae than by themselves. They seemed to be crunchier in the sundae which I really liked. I made sundaes using both strawberry and vanilla. Then I added a layer of chopped strawberries, whipped cream, and then the Brookside Clusters and a cherry.

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I was hoping JT would like them in the ice cream but he didn’t. Connor however is not a big fan of chocolate and didn’t want to try these but he really liked them on his sundae.

I’m glad I got to Discover Brookside and would really love to try the other flavors.

Rawhide, Arizona

I’ve gotten super behind on these Flashback Friday posts but the last time I wrote one I promised a Rawhide post next so here we go.

Rawhide is a western town and steakhouse in Chandler, Arizona which is right by Phoenix. We went here back in March of 2010. I was just taking a look at the website and it seems that there are a couple of different things but you can see how it was when we went. I have a lot of blurry pictures so I’ll try to pick out the best.

This is over the entrance to Rawhide. I took it when we left so it was dark and there were these 2 bright lights right next to the sign so this didn't come out well but I figured I should use it anyways.

This is over the entrance to Rawhide. I took it when we left so it was dark and there were these 2 bright lights right next to the sign so this didn’t come out well but I figured I should use it anyways.

We’ll start off with a few views of the town and as with any good western town there was a general store.

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The first thing we did was ride on the train and then ride on the stagecoach. Looking at the website I don’t think they have the train anymore and the stagecoach ride looks different.

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Here are the horses that pulled the stagecoach. According to the website, the stagecoach is now pulled by mules.

Here are the horses that pulled the stagecoach. According to the website, the stagecoach is now pulled by mules.

We sat on the top in back of the stagecoach.

We sat on the top in back of the stagecoach.

After that Connor rode on some of the little rides while JT watched. Then we went to go eat in the steakhouse.

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Connor had one of his favorite foods- ribs. He also got a sheriff's badge. I don't remember what I ate; I'm sure it was steak. I do remember that it was good though.

Connor had one of his favorite foods- ribs. He also got a sheriff’s badge. I don’t remember what I ate; I’m sure it was steak. I do remember that it was good though.

They also had a band playing in the steakhouse.

They also had a band playing in the steakhouse.

Once we were finished with dinner Connor rode on a donkey and attempted to toast to marshmallows and rope hay bale cattle.

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After that we left. We enjoyed it and had fun and I would go back again.

Discover Campbell’s

I was chosen by Crowdtap to be a part of a group of Campbell’s Tasters. The goal was to discover Campbell’s. I received a bunch of Campbell’s products for free to sample and review.

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Here’s a list of everything that was included:

Campbell’s Skillet Sauces- Creamy Parmesan Chicken
Campbell’s Condensed Soup- Creamy Poblano & Queso
Campbell’s Soups for Easy Cooking- Savory Portobello Mushroom
Campbell’s Chunky- Beer-N-Cheese w/Beef and Bacon
Campbell’s Slow Kettle Style- Roasted Chicken Noodle Soup
Campbell’s Spaghettios Micros
Prego Light Alfredo Sauce
Swanson Traditional Cream Starter
Campbell’s Cutting Board, Wooden Spoon, Tote Bag, & Shaker
There was also a booklet with some recipes and coupons. A coupon for a free bottle of one of the new v8 flavors was included but we didn’t find it in the store.

The first thing I tried was the Campbell’s Creamy Parmesan Chicken Skillet Sauce.

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I just followed the directions on the back exactly. It was super simple, quick and pretty good. They have a bunch of different flavors and I think they are worth a try.

The next thing I made was a dish using the Campbell’s Savory Portobello Mushroom. First I sauteed some onions and then added in mushrooms. After that I cooked pieces of chicken and then tossed it all together with some spinach and then added in the Savory Portobello Mushroom.

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I was really excited to try this one but unfortunately I did not like it all. I use the regular Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom a lot and I love it so I was hoping to feel the same about this one but that was not the case. It had this one flavor to it that I just didn’t like. If I remember correctly I think I looked at the box and saw that it had dill in it and I’m pretty sure that’s what that flavor was. I personally don’t like the taste of dill.

Next up was the Prego Light Alfredo Sauce. I found a recipe for chicken enchiladas using this so I decided to try that but I didn’t really follow the recipe. What I did was cut the chicken into small pieces and cooked it. While I cooked the chicken I also broiled some broccoli, onions, and bell peppers. Once everything was cooked I put some Alfredo sauce on the bottom of my pan and then rolled up the chicken, vegetables, and some cheese in corn tortillas and placed those on top of the sauce. I then topped that with more sauce, more cheese, and more vegetables.

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This was good. They were definitely not your traditional enchiladas but the Prego Light Alfredo Sauce worked really well in them.

The next product I tried was the Campbell’s Creamy Poblano & Queso. One of recipes in the booklet was a recipe for Creamy Poblano Mac & Cheese. It sounded good so I decided to try it. It used the Creamy Poblano & Queso soup, macaroni (we used mini bow pasta), cheddar jack cheese, bell pepper, and cilantro.

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This turned out okay. I think it would have been better with more of the cheddar jack cheese.

The last recipe I made was another one from the booklet. I made the loaded potato soup using the Swanson Traditional Cream Starter. Mine wasn’t exactly loaded because I left out the bacon. I know everyone usually always loves bacon but I don’t. I like bacon by itself but not in anything else.

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Not at all a great picture but I figured a picture of the finished soup was needed.

Not at all a great picture but I figured a picture of the finished soup was needed.

The potato soup was good and Connor said it was yummy. The Swanson Cream Starter made it really easy to use. The recipe for the potato soup is on the back of the box if you decide to try it.

The last picture I have is for the Campbell’s Chunky Beer-N-Cheese w/Beef and Bacon. All I did with this was heat it up and try it with some bread.

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This was fine. I think a lot of people would probably like it. For me though it would have been better if it was just Beer-N-Cheese soup without the beef and bacon.

Moving on to the Campbell’s Spaghettios Micros. They are just like regular Spaghettios but they’re made for the microwave so they are super convenient. The boys ate it, loved it and wanted more.

I didn’t try the Campbell’s Slow Kettle Style Roasted Chicken Soup but the boys did and I hear it was good.

So, that is the end of my experience with some of these new Campbell’s products. Overall I think the are worth a try. Have you discovered any new Campbell’s products? If you have, let me know which ones and what you thought.

Zoku Pops, Shakes, & Slushes

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Last weekend we hosted a Zoku Holiday Pops Party. I was one of 30 lucky hosts chosen by Tryazon to host this party. In exchange for hosting the party and writing a review we received a bunch of really cool Zoku products for free. I was really excited to host this party because the boys love food makers so I knew that they would love the Zoku products.

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The star product in the lineup here is the Zoku Triple Quick Pop Maker. This allows you to make some really yummy pops quickly. The Zoku Triple Quick Pop Maker is really simple to use. Before your first use it needs to be in the freezer for 24 hours but after that you can just store it in your freezer that way it’s ready to go whenever you’re ready to make some pops. You can make nine pops before you need to re-freeze it.

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The Zoku Triple Quick Pop Maker includes 6 sticks, 6 drip guards, and the super tool. To make pops you simply put the sticks (without drip guards) into the mold and then fill the mold with your pop recipe. It takes about 7 minutes to freeze and when it’s ready you use the super tool to loosen the pop from the mold and then you can put the drip guard on and take the pop out. Your pop recipe can be as simple as just using your favorite juice. There are so many other fun recipes that you can make though. I also received the Quick Pops recipe book that had many different recipes broken down by category including chocolate, fruity, and ice cream. You can also find recipes on Zoku’s blog.

With Zoku you also don’t have to limit your pops to one solid flavor. With the help of the Zoku Tools you can use several flavors to make cool designs and add fruits or candies. The tools included are a siphon, an angle tray, a heart stencil, a star stencil, a fruit wand and 3 pour cups. All of the tools come in really handy. The pour cups allow you to easily pour your pop recipe into the pop maker with no mess. The siphon is used when making pops with different angles and also when making core pop that have a surprise flavor in the middle. The heart and star stencil are used to cut out star and heart shapes from fruit and then the fruit wand allows you to place your fruit (or candies, cookies, etc.) onto the sides of the molds. Last but not least, the angle tray helps you make all the different shapes.

I used my angle tray to make pops with a Christmas tree shape in the middle. I used the Kiwi recipe from the Quick Pops recipe book for the tree section and the pineapple recipe for the rest of the pop. I also used a star shaped piece of Kiwi as a star on top of the tree.

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Other pops we made were the Mango, Tartufo, Oh Fudge, and Cookies n’ Cream.

Another fun product Zoku has is the Chocolate Station. They have a really great quick shell recipe that you can make to add a chocolate shell to your pop. The Chocolate Station makes it easy to dip your pops in the chocolate. It also comes with two trays to add sprinkles, nuts, or candies as well. There is also a spoon to drizzle the chocolate rather than dip.

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I also received the Zoku Storage Case. The storage case has an airtight top and can hold 6 pops.

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In addition to all the fun pop items I also received the Zoku Slush and Shake Maker. The Zoku Slush and Shaker Maker can also make smoothies. This can also be stored in your freezer and needs at least 8 hours in the freezer before you use it. Like the pop maker it is also really easy to use. You simply fill it up with the slush, shake, or smoother recipe of your choice then let that sit for about a minute before using the included spoon to scrape the sides and stir. You continue this until your drink is ready, about 7 minutes. The first drink I tried with this was a simple Dr. Pepper slush. For the party I decided to go with milkshakes. The Art of Slush has plenty of great recipes and it has a really great recipe for a root beer float milkshake. You can of course substitute the root beer with a different soda. For the party I gave everyone a choice of Cherry Dr. Pepper or Coke and the Cherry Dr. Pepper won the vote.

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I highly recommend checking out all the Zoku products. They are a lot of fun and so easy to use. I really enjoyed my experience with all of the products I received and the boys enjoyed trying several different pop recipes. I am so glad I was able to host the Zoku Holiday Pops Party.