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It never failed when my kids were young that an oversized packing box created much more excitement than whatever came inside the box. While they may not have played with whatever gift we got them right away, we couldn’t be that upset because it was amazing and entertaining to watch them burst with creativity, letting their imaginations and that box take them places that no toy ever could. Out came markers, scissors, crayons, flashlights, snacks, pillows and blankets, as part of the big box project. And by the way, no adults allowed!
The holidays always bring out the best in both party and between-meals grazing. Eventually, I start to tire of the monotonous chip and dip appetizer and crave something new. Dean’s Pretzel Dips provide the refuge from another scoop of greasy French onion dip, offering up two delicious variations: Cheddar Cheese and Honey Mustard. Both flavors classically pair with the salty crunch or doughy warmth of hard or soft pretzels. If you desire a low fat alternative to the usual holiday dip, then choose the Honey Mustard option to feel good about your delectable indulgence. If you prefer something heartier, try the Cheddar Cheese dip which can also be served up warm. Dean’s wants to share their pretzel dips with you and become a new holiday party staple for you and your family, so they have provided us with a party pack to a give away to one Mom Central reader.
Whenever I purchase gifts for the holiday, I love being able to buy something that gives back, and as a Mom, I tend to have a soft spot in my heart for those that give back to charities benefitting children in need. With every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair to a child in need. This “One for One Movement” embedded into the very essence of their brand has made it possible for over one million children to receive new shoes. This holiday, when you buy a gift for a child in your life, if you buy them a pair of TOMS shoes you will be gifting an additional pair of shoes to a child in need.
Indulging on sweets and goodies makes the holiday season that much more exciting- and best of all has to be making cookies with my kids. Spending time in the kitchen, whipping up batter (and tasting it of course!), rolling out cookie dough and picking out our favorite cookie cutter shapes has enabled us to bond while making a holiday tradition. This season, Crisco shares the best of their holiday treat traditions by providing delicious cookie recipes to amaze your friends and family. Crisco came up with a wonderful idea for users on their site to create their own jars of Homemade Cookie Mix and give it as a gift to their friends and family. All of the recipes include the Homemade Cookie Mix so once you mix up a batch, the rest of the recipes are quick and easy to create. The recipes range from classics like Chocolate Chip Walnut and Peanut Butter to exciting flavors like Frosted Banana Nut Cookies and Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookie Bites. Here’s the Cookie Bites recipe: Prep time: 20 mins Cook Time: 10 mins
This holiday, why not take a break from filling up on turkey and tryptophan and indulge in the other white meat: pork. The National Pork Board and Chef Michael Symon have created amazing recipes perfect for holiday celebrations bursting with savory seasonal flavors.  From cinnamon to pumpkin, Chef Symon’s recipes include flavors that everyone will enjoy and techniques that enhance the taste and texture of your dish. In order to create a perfect holiday pork dish, we received “Pork’s Perfect Pairing Holiday” which included a wide range of tools and gifts to aid in cooking our meal. We received a gift card to purchase pork, an assortment of aromatic spices perfect for holiday cooking, a holiday serving platter to add style to a celebration, a signed copy of Michael Symon’s new cookbook (my personal favorite), a digital meat thermometer, Hershey’s chocolate (as chocolate and pork make a great combo) and two festive aprons. Many people tend to overcook pork, but with a digital meat thermometer you can monitor the temperature for the perfect moisture and heat.
As we age, we begin to notice more and more unwanted skin imperfections. Crows feet, laugh lines, and bags under the eyes just skim the surface of our daily skin battles. I personally can’t stand the dullness and age spots that each birthday brings, especially as make-up can only cover so much before it starts to look unnatural and noticeable. We all want to still feel our vibrant and beautiful 24-year-old selves as we add on the years, not dulled and covered up, and new innovations like Skin Brightening Daily Moisturizer by Dr. Patricia Wexler can help jumpstart vitality to our skin.
A favorite sweater can bring such simple joy to getting dressed in the morning. Especially in the cold winter months when all you want to do is bundle up and get comfortable, a cardigan or pullover can bring that extra desired warmth throughout your day. But while we may love to wear our favorite sweater, we often tire of its style.
A number of years ago while hanging out with fellow Moms watching our girls play soccer for Newton, I found myself in conversation with my friend Naomi who when not cheering on the soccer strikers worked as a medical researcher at Harvard. She confided to me in a whisper: “We’re on to something big - dark chocolate has health benefits we’re only beginning to realize.”
Everywhere you turn, the coolest home single brew machines have popped up as not only brilliant technology but also on the must-have list for coffee and tea lovers like myself. The new Tassimo T20 Brewer by Bosch takes everything over the top. This little brewer features forty varieties and flavors for the pickiest coffee (or tea) drinkers. Forget the expensive lattes and the long lines at Starbucks, Peets or Caribou when already running late to work; the Tassimo T20 whips up gourmet lattes, cappuccinos, cremas, espressos, steeped teas, and forthy hot cocoa, all within one minute’s time.