Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's Party Time!

Christmas time = party time for pretty much everyone I know.  The entire month of December is a great time to gather with friends, drink wine, eat too much food, indulge in sweets, and bake your buns off.  Am I right or am I right?
So it's no surprise that I was excited to take part in the Pillsbury Potluck Party brought to me by MyBlogSpark.  I gathered with a few friends and family members to try out some easy and delicious Pillsbury recipes.  We tasted, talked, shared ideas, and then tasted some more.  These recipes were seriously gooooooood.  Here are a few of the yummys that we enjoyed:

Crescent Cranberry Wreath, made by yours truly. (me!)

Monkey Bread with Caramel (this is to-die-for... not kidding!)

*Images are from the Pillsbury website... my card reader is not currently working so I don't have any photos of the actual food I made and served.* 

My guests and I had a great time making and tasting these recipes, and I'm planning to whip up a few more for my upcoming cookie swap this week.  There are many other delicious recipes that ya'll should check out over at Pillsbury.  Guaranteed to save you time, your guests will think that you were a slave to the kitchen!

I was sent a gift card to help purchase items for my party, as well as money saving VIP coupons for me and my guests.  Lucky for you, I've got a few coupons left so I've decided to turn this into a giveaway!  To enter do the following:  Head on over to The Pillsbury Website and return here to leave me a comment telling me what recipe you'd like to try.  Here's what you'll be entered to win: (2) lucky readers will receive a set of 5 VIP free Pillsbury product coupons.

You can do some or all of the following to earn some extra entries:
  • Become a follower of Thou Shall Not Whine (3 extra entries!) *Just click the little "follow" button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave me 3 additional comments stating, "follower #1, follower #2, etc."
  • Follow my blog on Facebook (2 extra entries) *click on the networked blog button on the right-hand sidebar, then leave 2 additional comments stating that you did!*
  • Grab my button and display it on your blog (2 extra entries!)
  • Mention this giveaway on your blog with a link back to it. (2 extra entries!)
  • Leave a comment on a non-giveaway post. (leave an additional comment here to count as your entry!)
This giveaway starts now and will conclude on Monday, December 19th at 11:59pm. -Yes, this giveaway will only last for 2 days, so hurry up!  Winner will be selected via and contacted via email. Winner will have 48 hours to respond before another winner will be chosen.

*Disclosure:* The Pillsbury product, information, food ideas, online coupon link, and prize pack have been provided by Pillsbury through MyBlogSpark.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Don't want to wait to see if you've won?  Want a $1.10 coupon now?  Here ya go:

Cheerios Cheer Winner Announcement

Sorry I'm late in finishing this giveaway.  We've had a lot going on lately, and my computer time has (sadly) suffered greatly.  Anyway, congratulations to Post #2, Tammi, who said: "I was married to a Marine. We had four children and made lots of sacrifices for our country. My children and I know firsthand what military families go through when their family deals with a deployment and separation." -Right on, Tammi.  Thanks for all that YOU did.  I've sent Tammi and email requesting shipping info.  Thanks again to General Mills and MyBlogSpark for offering this giveaway to my readers!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Cards of Christmas Pasts

Christmas cards are super important to me.  I love creating just the right card with just the right picture to send out to all our family and friends near and far.  I love receiving them just as much as I do giving them, and I save all the photo cards to revisit in years to come.  Ever since I can remember I've loved Christmas cards.  As a kid the month of December was very exciting to me.  (aside from the fact that the guy dressed in a red suit delivered a whole bunch of new stuff at the end of the month)  I always tried to be the first to the mailbox so I could open the cards that came that day.  I didn't care if it was addressed to the whole family or just my mom and dad, I opened and cherished them all.

This enthusiasm over Christmas cards has only increased as I grew up and started a family of my own.  I remember our first Christmas with Joey, then 5 months old.  I propped up my cute little redheaded baby day after day in cute Christmas onesies until I got just the right picture.  Seriously, I'm not exaggerating... I think I have over 200 photos of Joey for our first Christmas card.  Here are the (surprisingly ordinary) ones we ended up using:

Now to you (the untrained eye) these two pictures probably just look like any other happy little baby dressed in red & white.  And with just 1 kid... how hard could it be?  But believe me, I had to work for those smiles.  Any mom will agree that it isn't easy to get your non-sitting little one to look at the camera, not drool, not droop their head, keep spit-up at bay, and smile

The following year Joey was a crazy little toddler with 2 baby sisters on the way.  (Yes, just 12 months after his first Christmas I was 5 months pregnant with twins. -you do the math!)  My patience was tested as I tried to get yet another just-right Christmas card picture.  Here's a few that didn't make the cut:

Look closely; Not even a cookie could convince him that this was OK.

"I am Joey, hear me rooooooaaaaaar!"

"You want me to do what?"

"Ooooooh... smile!  Don't think so, mom.  How's this?"

And finally one that did land on the Christmas card:

Oh how I love that little guy.  Sigh. 

2009 was a challenging year for so many reasons.  Getting the right Christmas card photo was no exception.  My camera was stolen the day after Thanksgiving right out my car.  We were in a tough financial situation and didn't have the means to replace it immediately.  With a borrowed camera I managed to get 3 individual shots of my kids to piece together a Christmas card, although I was not overly excited about the fact that it was our first Christmas with 3 children and I couldn't get a picture of all 3 together that looked halfway decent to send out.  Here's my attempt at a group shot of our 2 year old and 7 month old twins:

Yeah, no.  That was clearly not going to work out.  So I settled for these poor-quality images instead:




Last year I was determined to get a picture of all three kids in their Christmas outfits for an adorable Christmas card to send to my list of 50 closest family and friends.  After a night of Christmas parties and sugared sweets, my kids were in the perfect mood for a group photo shoot.

Or maybe not.

I instead opted for some great individual images of my sweeties that I took during the month of November at a local park.  Perfect blue eyes, happy smiles, and clean faces made my card almost perfect.  I loved the fall colors in the background, and the girls wore a couple of momma-made outfits!

As for this year's photo, I did manage to get one of all three together.  Hurray!  It's not completely perfect, but what picture of 3 crazy kids is?  So I guess it not being perfect makes it perfect for me.  I know that statement probably doesn't make sense but this is my blog and it makes sense to me, so there.

I'm not sharing the picture here because I haven't sent out the cards yet, and I don't want to ruin the thrill factor for any other Christmas Card Enthusiasts out there.  However, once I'm sure all the cards have reached their destination I will post the picture here for all you lovely blog readers to see. (crafters beware... I see some inspiration coming your way!)

Well, this post is significantly longer than I anticipated and my hubby is off to go watch Football so I'm back to my mommy duties.  Since I worked so hard to share these pictures with you, I think ya'll should do a little work and leave me some comment love... tell me about your Christmas card adventures!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cheerios Cheer Giveaway

Cheerios have been a huge hit in my house for a long time.  This wholesome cereal is probably a "first food" for pretty much any baby, and my kids were no exception.  They still love a bowl of Cheerios with or without milk, in a baggie in the car, or as a snack while waiting for dinner to be ready.
One of the reasons I was excited to participate in this giveaway provided by General Mills and MyBlogSpark is because not only does my family love Cheerios, but now through November 2012 you can purchase specially marked boxes of Cheerios to support and honor our service men/women and their devoted families.

When our troops are called to serve, their families are called upon as well.  Military families live a different life than most of us, with extraordinary commitment to our country.  To thank them, Cheerios and the USO have partnered in a postcard campaign that spreads Cheer directly to these honorable military families and supports USO programs.  Here are the details on how you can get involved:
  • Now through November, 2011 at your local grocer, specially-marked boxes of Cheerios cereal will feature Cheer postcards on the front of the box. Consumers can simply cut out the postcard from the Cheerios logo, write a message of thanks on the back, add a stamp and mail the pre-addressed card to the USO. The USO will deliver the Cheer card to military families across the country.
  • For each postcard received through November 2012, Cheerios will make a $1 donation to the USO to help fund programs that support military families.
  • To kick off the campaign, Cheerios has already donated $150,000 to the USO and will donate up to an additional $100,000 based upon the number of postcards received from specially marked boxes now through November 30th, 2012.
To spread the word about this awesome way to spread "Cheer," I've got a great prize pack to give away to one of my awesome readers from General Mills through MyBlogSpark.  One lucky winner will receive a specially marked box of Cheerios, a Cheerios bowl, spoon, and cool dispenser.

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment telling me how a Military member or family has affected your life.  I'm keeping this one short and simple... one entry per person.  The giveaway starts now and will end on Friday, December 9, 2011 at 11:59pm.

Disclaimer: Cheerios cereal, information, and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.


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