I’ve been working hard to get you all thinking about Christmas, encouraging you to plan ahead, be creative and be frugal. We’re going to be making tons of fabulous items you can use to decorate your homes and tables, as well as give as gifts. Frugal is going to look fantastic, this year! But, as [...]
I’ve been working hard to get you all thinking about Christmas, encouraging you to plan ahead, be creative and be frugal. We’re going to be making tons of fabulous items you can use to decorate your homes and tables, as well as give as gifts. Frugal is going to look fantastic, this year! But, as a special treat, and to really inspire you and put you in the mood for thinking about the holiday season, I have been able to find some outstanding sponsors for Blogmania who will add to your Christmas festivities with some excellent prizes! I know you all have been waiting to hear about this one and so, today, we’re going to talk about Lenox and the unbelievably generous gift they will be sending to one Busy-at-Home reader! You can imagine my excitement when a shipping carton arrived, recently. I opened it, pulled out the generous packing and found this, inside.
That very sturdy and well-packaged box contained a wonderful gift! I have received one place setting of Lenox’s beautiful “Holiday” dinnerware to review. You are going to be seeing it popping up in many posts between now and Christmas, as I share delicious recipes and baked goods. “Holiday” is the classic Lenox Christmas pattern and is the perfect dinnerware for a traditional, formal holiday table. Encircled in lovely Christmas holly leaves and berries, and rimmed in gold, Lenox’s “Holiday” china pattern is definitely the divine “main attraction” on any holiday tablescape. There is something so smooth and elegant about china. I love the way it feels. This beautiful Lenox china is no exception. I lift it and I want to be all dressed up and serving a special meal. Lenox’s “Holiday” dinnerware is also not as heavy and cumbersome as an everyday stoneware or dinnerware. It just “feels” special. The great thing is that even though it has that air of unmistakable quality and a celebration feel, the Lenox “Holiday” dinnerware is strong and even dishwasher-safe. Plus, you won’t believe all the beautiful accessory and serving pieces available to match!
The “Holiday” pattern is made from Lenox ivory fine china and 24 carat gold. Lenox has been producing this lovely pattern in the United States since 1974. It can be purchased in configurations and amounts to fit every household and budget, from a three-piece setting that includes a dinner plate and cup and saucer; to the five-piece place setting, which includes everything I received for this review, a dinner plate, salad plate, butter plate, and a cup and saucer. But the great news is that for a limited time, if you order this beautiful five-piece place setting, you will also receive a sixth piece for free, the lovely soup/pasta bowl.
It’s so new and “hot off the presses” that I haven’t received the review copy, yet; but I will also be receiving Lenox’s fabulous NEW Christmas pattern, designed just for 2010. For those of you who love to set a beautiful Christmas table, but want something comfortable, family-oriented and less formal, “Winter Song” is going to be the pattern that welcomes your family and friends to the dinner table. It is absolutely gorgeous and I believe creates an extraordinary winter tablescape, whether it’s Christmastime, or not! Since, we are still waiting for the first shipments and mine hasn’t arrived, yet, Marianne, over at Lenox, graciously agreed to send me a few pictures, so you could have a sneak peek at the lovely “Winter Song” dinnerware.
I can just imagine this dinnerware on an elegant ivory, or pretty Christmas green, tablecloth. I can’t wait for our set to arrive and to show you even more pictures as I use it in my upcoming recipe preps and displays!
The best news of all is that because of Lenox‘s generosity, one lucky Busy-at-Home reader is going to own 8 place settings of the beautiful Winter Song china!!!! That’s a $688 value! Your entertaining and family dinners will be enhanced by this lovely, detailed dinnerware. It adds color and warmth to your table; and everyone who shares your meal will experience the welcoming, homey feel of the charming winter scenes it displays.
By now you ALL know that Sept 15 and 16 are the days not to miss, here at Busy-at-Home. You will have one opportunity each day to enter a drawing that makes you eligible for over $1500 in prize drawings that will happen at midnight on September 16. Plus, we will be linking you to nearly $40,000 in other prize giveaways across the 125+ participating Blogmania host blogs. You need to be 18 years or older and reside in the US, to enter.
Because you guys are always so great and supportive, and I want you to have every possible chance to be the winner of one of our great prizes, here at Busy-at-Home, I have been making Bonus Entries available to you throughout the promotional period. Today, you can add another entry to your Blogmania chances, by following these two steps:
- Visit the Lenox website and pick your very favorite china pattern. (I promise, the hardest part will be to only pick one.) Come back here and leave a comment telling me what it is.
- BONUS ENTRIES HAVE NOW EXPIRED. Don’t miss the main event! Enter now at our main Blogmania entry page!
That’s it! So simple, and now you’re one chance closer to a beautiful tablescape for your home!
I had such a busy and fun weekend, with packing and my birthday, that it all came and went without me announcing the Sam’s Club Gift Card Winner. I appreciate your patience and now with a great deal of pomp and circumstance, drum rolls and a big brass band, I would like to announce that [...]
I had such a busy and fun weekend, with packing and my birthday, that it all came and went without me announcing the Sam’s Club Gift Card Winner. I appreciate your patience and now with a great deal of pomp and circumstance, drum rolls and a big brass band, I would like to announce that the winning comment is:#35
Sarah, I have sent you an email. Please contact me in the next 48 hours, with the requested information, to claim your $25 Sam’s Club Gift Card. Congratulations!!!!
I have been very curious about a new type of disposable plate that I have been seeing pop up more and more, lately. The name of the company producing them is Verterra. I was recently given the opportunity to try them for myself. At first glance, this is probably some of the more attractive disposable [...]
I have been very curious about a new type of disposable plate that I have been seeing pop up more and more, lately. The name of the company producing them is Verterra. I was recently given the opportunity to try them for myself. At first glance, this is probably some of the more attractive disposable dinnerware I have ever seen. It appears to be wood. Literally, you can see a grain, each piece is similar and yet unique with a the variegated appearance of woodgrain. The plates are square and come in two sizes, dinner plate and salad/dessert plate. Bowls and serving dishes are also available.
The interesting thing about these eco-friendly plates is that they are made entirely from fallen palm leaves. Yes, I did say leaves. The leaves are layered and compressed using steam and heat and pressure. The plates are about the same thickness as a typical styrofoam plate and honestly, much sturdier. They can also stand up to liquids and reasonably high temperatures. I was surprised to learn that they can even be placed in the oven for up to 45 minutes at 350° and microwaved on high for up to 2 minutes.
Verterra dinnerware did not add any taste to the food, which I almost expected. I’m not sure why, but I really did not think this dinnerware would live up to its claims. However, they definitely do and they do it well. Hot food, cold food even liquids were served with no issues. I used a knife to cut food and the plate was not damaged. The company and products have undergone stringent inspections and safety testing, passing with ease. Overall, this attractive disposable dinnerware does all it claims and looks good besides. Plus, surprisingly, it is quite sturdy, as disposable dishes go. It is compostable, naturally breaking down in about two months and actually adding healthy nutrients to the soil, enhancing plant growth.
My conclusion about Verterra products is that they definitely do all that they claim, they’re attractive and environmentally friendly. They can be used in the same ways your everyday dinnerware can, in most cases ,and definitely hold up better than paper plates and are sturdier than styrofoam. The only disappointment, for me, was the cost. It was not something that would fit our budget on a regular basis, coming in at around $4.89 for a package of 8. If it was a “special” dinner, where disposable would be more convenient, but I wanted something more elegant and the number of dinner guests was not too great, then it would be a fun alternative, occasionally. But on an everyday, frugal budget and with the large numbers of people we cook and serve food to, these would not be affordable. I love the concept and think the company is amazing. I’m just not able to consistently justify the cost.
If you would like a chance to try this unique and eco-friendly dinnerware, you can visit the Verterra website and input your zip code to find a location near you that carries Verterra products. You will also find several online options for making the purchase.
… There is nothing like the feeling of breaking open the boxes of Christmas decorations and turning your home into that warm, wonderful family place where celebration, festivities and love abound. It’s absolutely one of my most favorite things. As you all know by now, I will be moving on September 4th and so I [...]
There is nothing like the feeling of breaking open the boxes of Christmas decorations and turning your home into that warm, wonderful family place where celebration, festivities and love abound. It’s absolutely one of my most favorite things. As you all know by now, I will be moving on September 4th and so I am looking forward to all the fun of decorating and celebrating Christmas in a new home. I’ll be looking for the perfect spot for my beautiful Nativity and unpacking ornaments from previous years, remembering all the special times and moments that they represent. I will blanket the house in greenery and Christmas decor and I am going to just come out and confess it, now; I am going to buy a new Christmas tree.
(Okay, as soon as my family stops throwing rocks, booing and hissing, I’ll explain. – lol) Apparently, I am a Christmas tree snob. Personally, I just happen to think I know exactly what I like, but others will comment differently. Anyway, I don’t especially care for pre-lit trees. I want to put my own lights on, where I want them and in the amounts that I want them. I also want a tree that looks real, even though it isn’t. Do you have any idea how hard that is to find? Try going to the local Meglo-Mart, Huge-Mall, or whatever your large discount retailer is and find an unlit tree that doesn’t look like it belongs in a Charlie Brown Christmas. Plus, for the first time in a long time, I can have a tree that I love, not one that “fits” the space I have to put it in. I have room for whatever kind of tree is perfect. (My kind of perfect -lol).
You can see why I have been so extraordinarily excited about Balsam Hill being one of our Blogmania “Christmas at Home: A Celebration!” sponsors. Their Christmas trees are gorgeous and many, many of them are available unlit. The hardest thing is picking the perfect one, because there are so many beautiful trees to decide between. I have a feeling that after this purchase, my Christmas tree and I will be together for a long time and I want to make the right choice. I am very drawn to the Norway Spruce from the Vermont Collection. I love the shape and color, but it doesn’t come unlit. I also love the Vermont White Spruce but the Saratoga Spruce is so pretty, too! -lol- Decisions. Decisions.
There are three types of foliage (needle types) used on Balsam Hill Trees. All of them are beautiful, but each is just a little different from the other and you should have no problem finding something to fit your personal taste. My personal favorites seem to all have the True Needle technology.
- True Needle®: Exclusive to Balsam Hill®, ultrarealistic True Needle® evergreen foliage is created with injection-molded PE plastic and several different colors of pigment to mimic the structure, texture and color of natural evergreen needles. It is simply the best method for creating lifelike artificial evergreen foliage. A unique feature of True Needle® foliage is the color variations within the branches. For example, the branch might be a brown/green while the needles start off a dark green and slowly fade to a lighter green.
- Pine needle: The PVC pine needles used by Balsam Hill® are extruded to mimic the size and texture of long, thin needles of a pine tree. These needles even have the texture of real pine needles: if you roll them between your thumb and finger, you will feel the ridges.
- Classic needle: Classic needles are made from thin sheets of PVC that are cut into fine strands to resemble evergreen needles. Balsam Hill® uses these resilient, flexible needles as the primary foliage of many of its trees in the BH Classics collection and a few trees in the Signature Collections. It is also used as filler for most other Christmas trees because of its superior ability to block light and create a “full” look for the tree.
The other great thing about buying a Christmas tree from Balsam Hill, as opposed to other online retailers, is that you have the opportunity to see close-up, high resolution photos of exactly what you’re buying. They are proud of their products and anxious to show them. That’s the kind of company I can have confidence in. The great news is they are running a fabulous sale until September 15, where many of their trees are up to 40% off. I see that I can get a fantastic deal on that Saratoga Spruce, I love! This may be my perfect pick.
Balsam Hill has been incredibly generous and sent a 24″ lighted Noble Fir Wreath for me to review. It’s how I became so convinced of the quality and beauty of Balsam Hill products! I can’t wait to decorate with this beautiful wreath in our new home. Can’t you just imagine it with a sprinkling of pinecones and/or brightly colored Christmas balls? I love that this company has even given thought to how personal decorating is for a busy homemaker and the products are constructed in a way that will make it simple to add your own touches.
Balsam Hill’s generosity didn’t just stop with a product for me to review. They are graciously sponsoring a giveaway of an even larger wreath for a Busy-at-Home reader. One of you will be able to add the 36″ lighted Noble Fir Wreath (a $130 value) to your treasured Christmas items! I can’t wait for you to see it!
Remember, entering to win ALL of my Blogmania giveaways is super simple! September 15 and 16, everyone will have an opportunity to submit one entry, each day, that will enter them in ALL $1500 worth of my prize drawings. You must be 18 or older and reside in the US, to enter. As readers, here at Busy-at-Home, you get a little extra perk. I have been offering bonus entries with each sponsor review, so your chances of being a drawing winner are dramatically increased! This review for the fabulous Balsam Hill company and their outstanding Christmas decor is no exception. To receive a Bonus Entry in our Blogmania 2010 drawings, just follow the directions, below. You must complete both steps.
- Visit Balsam Hill and pick out your most favorite tree or wreath. Come back here and leave a comment telling me which one you love the best.
- BONUS ENTRIES HAVE NOW EXPIRED. Don’t miss the main event! Enter now at our main Blogmania entry page!
I can’t wait to hear about your favorites! I also can’t wait to show you pictures of MY new tree, all decorated and perfect in our new house. That will have to wait until Thanksgiving evening, though. In the meantime, I hope you all have a blessing-filled weekend. Mine is going to be awesome! My birthday is tomorrow and I just had a phone call that all my kids and grandkids will be home. It doesn’t get better than that.
This opportunity is now closed. I will post again when new openings are available. Pinecone Research is recruiting for their great survey program, again. They need females ages 18-24 and 35+ for some upcoming projects. If you aren’t already registered with them, hurry! These opportunities go fast. I have been with them for years and [...]
This opportunity is now closed. I will post again when new openings are available.
Pinecone Research is recruiting for their great survey program, again. They need females ages 18-24 and 35+ for some upcoming projects. If you aren’t already registered with them, hurry! These opportunities go fast.
I have been with them for years and get paid $3 for every survey I take and another $3 if they need …me to test a product. I usually complete several surveys per month. I get paid by check, but you can also select to be paid directly to your PayPal account.
This is, without a doubt, my favorite online survey company and a great way to earn a few extra dollars each month.
This contest is now closed and the winner is #46, Jen, who says: Jen says: August 26, 2010 at 11:29 pm I follow on twitter and tweeted about it. I have reviewed quite a few products that my family really enjoys. As a matter of fact, I don’t accept review opportunities unless I have a [...]
This contest is now closed and the winner is #46, Jen, who says:
I have reviewed quite a few products that my family really enjoys. As a matter of fact, I don’t accept review opportunities unless I have a reasonable expectation that our family will be able to use and like the product. That being said, I have to tell you that I have NEVER reviewed a product that inspired my family to swarm in like a cloud of locusts and devour it, before I could even get pictures. It was an awe-inspiring and almost unbelievable experience, that left me momentarily perplexed and annoyed. Fortunately, I had taken one of each flavor and placed them in the freezer when I unloaded the groceries. Granted, I didn’t specifically mention that the Yoplait Splitz were for a product review when I placed them in the refrigerator, but it wasn’t even 24 hours! I thought I would have at least 24 hours. Seriously?
Well, at least I know where to get more AND I know that their over-indulgence isn’t going to have any ill effects on my gluttonous tribe. According to their website, Yoplait Splitz are 100% real yogurt, have only 90 calories per serving, no artificial flavors, sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup and in case you missed it above, they are freaking delicious! – lol They are available in three delicious flavors and I got to try them all — Rainbow Sherbet, Strawberry Banana Split and Strawberry Sundae. It is a serious tie for first place when it comes to our favorite, with both strawberry varieties vying for the title. Rainbow Sherbet was great, too, just more tangy and edged out slightly by its strawberry competitors. You wouldn’t be disappointed with any of the three flavors.
Refrigerated, Yoplait Splitz are creamy, sweet and satisfying. They could easily be used as a delectable, yet healthy, dessert or snack and no one would object. As I mentioned before, I also froze one of each flavor to see how the texture held up to frigid temperatures. Removing the cups from the freezer, I allowed them to set for about two and a half seconds before digging in. What a perfect treat with the overbearing temperatures we have been experiencing. The frozen yogurt gives that immediate refreshing, cool sensation as you take a bite and then softens into sweet, creamy perfection in your mouth. I let our eight-year-old open one of the tasty yogurt cups, insert a wooden stick and freeze it for a yogurt pop, too. It was a smashing success and easy for her to eat on the run, as she headed back outside to play with friends.
This yummy new product from Yoplait gets a 5-star rating from our family. Not only did we love it, we will definitely be buying it again. It was priced at $2.80 for a package of 4, at the store where I picked it up. I have no doubt, that I will find it for less, when the larger chain stores start stocking it. And comparing it to what we would spend on other desserts or treats, 70¢ is not a bad value, (if I padlock the refrigerator and limit my crew to eating one at at time.)
In order to complete my review, Yoplait and MyBlogSpark sent me a coupon for one free package of Yoplait Splitz, but they didn’t stop there. They also generously included this fabulous, incredibly HUGE, insulated picnic bag (It would also be great for bringing home perishables from the grocery store or keeping things just the right temperature on your way to a potluck!) and a fleece roll-and-store picnic blanket! The best news of all is that they will provide a Busy-at-Home reader the same great prize package! You’ll receive the picnic bag and blanket, plus a coupon for one free package of the delicious new Yoplait Splitz!
You must be 18 or older and a resident of the United States to enter.
Deadline to enter is midnight (CST) Sunday, September 5. Winner will be selected at Random.org using their comment number as an entry and notified by email on Monday, September 6.
Subscribe to Busy-at-Home’s Newsletter (right-hand sidebar). You will get a confirmation email that you must confirm before the subscription is active. Leave a comment letting me know you subscribed even if you are already a subscriber. (Non-subscriber entries will be deleted.)
Optional Additional Entry:
Follow Yoplait on Twitter and tweet the following message (Limit one tweet per day):
I’m entered to win a great Picnic Prize Pack with Free Yoplait Splitz from @busyathome, @YoplaitYogurt and #myblogspark http://ow.ly/2tL0h
Leave a comment below, letting me know you’ve done it.
That’s it! Simple and quick.
In the meantime, be sure you visit your local grocery store and try the new Yoplait Splitz yogurt sundaes. They get an A++ from our family and I’m willing to bet your family will love them, too!
I received the Picnic Set and coupon for one free package of Yoplait Splitz in order to complete this review. They were supplied by Yoplait and MyBlogSpark. Yoplait and MyBlogSpark will also provide the same Picnic Set and coupon for the winning Busy-at-Home reader. The views and opinions expressed in this review are wholly my own and no payment was received to write it. There was no requirement for the review to be a positive one.
Have I mentioned, lately, that I am not a fan of moving? That I have a strong aversion and dislike for moving? That on a scale of 1-10, one being the worst, I like moving about -2,000,684? Oh, I have? Sorry to be repetitive, but I am having a Monday morning, lack-of-motivation issue. I MUST [...]
Have I mentioned, lately, that I am not a fan of moving? That I have a strong aversion and dislike for moving? That on a scale of 1-10, one being the worst, I like moving about -2,000,684? Oh, I have? Sorry to be repetitive, but I am having a Monday morning, lack-of-motivation issue. I MUST get this house packed. The buyer’s final walk-through is at 5 pm, next Tuesday. Yup, eight little days!
When I am packing to move, I am UGLY! Not that I’m a candidate for America’s Top Model any other day, but when I move, I go into this hiding in the cave, no one will see me anyway mode. NO makeup, hubby’s big shirts, crazy hair and I’m told, though I wouldn’t be able to say for sure, a “snippy” attitude.
This morning I am surrounded by boxes and laundry and lethargy. Pray for me, please. After looking at these pictures, I really think I should be awarded some sort of sponsorship by DELL. – lol - The crazy thing about the boxes is that they are so sturdy and perfect for moving, but my sister used them first, for her move, writing labels on them. I used them for our move 2½ years ago, marking out her labels and making my own. I used them again last August when we had to move again, this time flipping the boxes upside down and using the blank box bottoms for my new labels. Now, there are no unlabeled surfaces on the boxes, so instead of scribbling on them with more marker, I have invested in a label maker. The paper labels make it easy to see what’s in each box and where it’s going without sifting through all the layers of previous labeling. Anybody want some awesomely sturdy and well decorated boxes when I’m done. I hope to never need them again.
On a more positive note, I will have a brand new house to put together after we move. We can all figure out how to decorate it beautifully on a frugal budget, once I am there. I know you can’t wait to help and I can’t wait to show you all the pictures! Thanksgiving and Christmas decorating in a new house — that’s a good thing!
But first, I have to get moved out of this house. I need motivation! What are your best moving/packing tips, a joke that will have me rolling on the floor, or place to hide when you don’t want to do something? No really, we better stick to packing tips. Thanks for being there!
I was introduced, this month, to a fun cooking challenge over at Taste and Create. Blogs are paired and each team makes a recipe from the other teammate’s blog. This month, we are all making desserts. Well, of course I love a challenge; and desserts…um, yeah; plus trying a new recipe — could it get [...]
I was introduced, this month, to a fun cooking challenge over at Taste and Create. Blogs are paired and each team makes a recipe from the other teammate’s blog. This month, we are all making desserts. Well, of course I love a challenge; and desserts…um, yeah; plus trying a new recipe — could it get any better? The hardest part is picking which recipe to try. Decisions, decisions. I was fortunate enough to get paired with Simran, over at Bombay Foodie, and wouldn’t you know, her most recent dessert post showcases a recipe from the Pioneer Woman blog. You KNOW I have to pick that recipe. I just have to. You’re going to be SO glad I did.
Now, Simran doesn’t cook for a multitude, like me; so she halved the recipe when she made it. I went ahead and made the full-sized recipe, in a 9×13 pan.
The Best Coffee Cake
- ¾ cup Butter, Softened
- 2 cups Sugar
- 3 cups Flour, Sifted
- 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1¼ cups Milk
- 3 whole Egg Whites, Beaten Until Stiff
- ¾ cup Butter, Softened
- ¾ cups Flour
- 1½ cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
- 1½ cup Pecans, Chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Separate the eggs. Beat egg whites and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar.
Add dry ingredients and milk. Mix just until combined. Don’t overbeat.
Fold in beaten egg whites with a rubber spatula.
Spread in a well-greased 9 x 13 (or LARGER!) baking pan. A cake pan with higher sides would be best.
In a separate bowl, combine topping ingredients with a pastry cutter until crumbly.
Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top of the cake batter.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until no longer jiggly. Serve warm—delicious!
We loved this cake!! We dove right in as soon as it came out of the oven. It is at the peak of its deliciousness while it is warm and not nearly as appealing after it has cooled. I would definitely recommend reheating it in the microwave a few seconds, if you are fortunate enough to have even a crumb leftover. Premium dessert that doesn’t need coffee to be your favorite. I enjoyed it thoroughly, while drinking a glass of delicious iced-tea!