October 29, 2014

Kid's Gift For the Holidays: Petz Beach Review

Do you like to shop for Christmas or other holidays early?  I do.  I'd rather spread the cost out over several months instead of waiting until the last minute.  Plus this way, I have plenty of time to look for the best prices!

If you have kids ages 7 and up that have a Nintendo DS, I can confidently recommend to you a brand new game that just launched in stores this month: Petz Beach!

This game is perfect for the child who loves taking care of electronic pets, completing adventures with their online friends, and connecting with other Petz owners.
I knew my 9 year old daughter would love this game, so she happily tested it out for me.  She was so enthralled I could barely get her to look up and tell me about the game.  

We did chat later, though, and I thought I'd share with you what my 9-year old loved about Petz Beach.
  • There are lots of animals to choose from (over 50 including everything from dogs and cats to dolphins and whales!)
  • The game always changes!  As you explore the "town" and meet new "neighbors", the game expands and grows.  There's always something new to do.
  • She's learning things along the way.  (Okay, that might be my favorite thing!)  But really, since it is partnered with Encyclopedia Brittanica, the kids learn as they complete missions, learning facts about animals, insects, and plants.

A sister game also launched this month, titled Petz Countryside, which is basically the same type of game in a completely new environment.

As I said, I knew my daughter would love the game, but my 7 year old son also really enjoyed playing it!  We actually have to have a schedule for whose turn it is to play Petz Beach.  I know this game will be fun for your children too, whether you have boys or girls.  

You can purchase the game here and put it away for a birthday or holiday.  We also love to give out a new game for a road trip, so if you're traveling this season that might be a great time to present your children with Petz Beach.

Do you have kids or nieces/nephews/grandkids who would like this game?

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

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October 21, 2014

Halloween HOME Letters!

A few months ago Valerie shared her HOME interchangeable letters from fingersnapper.com. If you're just starting out you can buy an H, an M, and an E, and then you change the O for different seasons of the year!
I've gone a little crazy with Halloween this year, and I decided try these letters out too! They come unfinished and you get to decorate it which ever way you want! (I was brave enough to do some straight cuts with my jigsaw, but nothing like this on my own yet!)
The perfect place for my letters is on the banister right near the front door. Now when my piano students and guests come in the house, this is the first thing they see!
I painted the H, M and E a neutral ivory color and gave it a little sparkle. Hopefully this will work well with most holidays and other O's. 
I painted my Halloween "O" black and covered it with some spider web and of course, a spider.
This is my last Halloween craft for this season! I've loved adding to my collection, though now I might need a bigger box to store everything in...

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October 20, 2014

Easy Weeknight Dinner: Cheesy Buns

I pretty much can't stand making dinner.

I don't know why.  I don't mind cooking.  I just never feel all that excited about what I'm making.  I'm pretty busy once school gets out, with carpool, after-school activities, teaching piano lessons, and helping with homework.  Often it hits 5:30 or 6:00 and I have NO CLUE what's for dinner.

That's when I make bad choices.  Mac n Cheese.  Pizza.  Hop in the car and hit the drive-through.

So I am thrilled for today's blog hop, hosted by Sarah at Becoming Martha, which is all about Easy Weeknight Meals.  I hope it gives me (and you) some great new ideas!

I'm sharing a staple for my house of three picky kids (and two busy parents).  This is based off an old Taste of Home recipe for Cheeseburger Buns, but the dough is simplified for time's sake.

All you need is ground beef (or turkey if you'd like), a little seasoning, cheese slices (or you can use shredded cheese), tomato sauce, and canned biscuits.  If you don't like using canned stuff, you can make your own yeast or biscuit dough too.

To start off, brown your ground meat with some minced onion, salt, and pepper.  Add a can of tomato sauce and stir until meat is well coated.

Roll out each biscuit until it is flat and round.  Place two small squares of cheese in the center, then pile your meat sauce on top of the cheese.

Carefully stretch the dough around the filling and pinch closed.  Place dough ball seam side down on a cooking sheet lined with a silicone liner or something similar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

These are simple to make, kid-friendly, and easy to customize!  We've done ours with taco meat and cheese, mozzerella cheese and pizza sauce, or even added in some veggies.

Easy Cheesy Buns

   Click here for printable recipe
2 cans 8-ct. Buttermilk Biscuits (Pillsbury Grands work the best)
1 lb. ground beef
2 tsp. minced onion
2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
8 slices American or Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Sprinkle ground beef with minced onion and a dash of salt and pepper.  Brown ground beef, 
then drain off any extra grease.
Stir tomato sauce into ground beef until well combined.  
Open biscuit cans and remove biscuits.  Use a rolling pin to flatten each biscuit into a thin circle.  
Remove cheese slices from packaging.  Break or cut each slice into four small squares.  Place two 
small squares in the center of each biscuit.
Next, place about 2 tbsp. of ground beef filling on top of cheese.
Gather edges of each biscuit circle into the center over filling and pinch closed.  Place filled biscuit 
seam side down onto a baking sheet lined with silicone baking sheet or sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake in oven for 8-12 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove and let cool for a few moments 
before serving.

Makes 16 cheesy buns.  Our family of five (including picky preschooler) eats about 10 of these 
for dinner.  They make awesome leftovers!

Hop around to my blog friends for some more awesome ideas for a quick and easy weeknight meal!

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