Four Little Monsters Blog
The adventures of a Mom and her monsters.
Four Little Monsters is your source for family friendly event, product  and travel reviews in Mid-Atlantic USA. We find fun wherever we go, even right here at home.
Philly, Baltimore, Wilmington, DC, In Between and beyond. 
Kids, Family, Family Events, Philadelphia Theater, Pennsylvania Events, Maryland Events, Delaware Events, Kids Events, Kids Have Fun, Kids Clothes, Kids Rooms

Inspiralize the Spring by Tuttorosso and Ali Maffuci, Great Prizes and Recipes

by EJ on 03/19/15

Tuttorosso has teamed with Ali Maffucci, who blogs at Inspiralized for an "Inspiralize the Spring" promotion that runs from March 25th through April 15th. This promotion, which will run on Facebook, will give fans the chance to win great prizes, perfect for the springtime cooking season. Prizes include 750 Tuttorosso aprons, 15 copies of Ali's cookbook Inspiralized, a signed copy of Inspiralized as well as fun kitchen gadgets packed in a picnic basket. The promotion will also host a Virtual Dinner Party to exchange Spiralizer ideas and recipes. 

The Inspiralizer Tri-Blade vegetable spiral slicer is a fun way to get more fresh veggies and fruits into
your meals. Using firm fruits and vegetables, the spiral slicer can turn apples, onions, carrots, zucchinis, cucumbers, beets, turnips, rutabagas, cucumbers and more into spiral slices or "pasta" strands. 

Head over to Tuttorosso on Facebook for details on chatting with Ali Maffucci and to stay up to date on the Inspiralize the Spring promotion!

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received Tuttorosso products in exchange for this promotion. All opinions belong to the blogger. 

 

Harlem Globetrotters Coming Back to Philly, #WIN tickets Family 4 Pack, GIVEAWAY

by EJ on 02/26/15

The Harlem Globetrotters visit the greater Philadelphia area from March 5 - 8th, ending at Wells Fargo Center on March 8th. The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters will bring back some of the greatest athletes on the planet to show off their innovative ball handling wizardry, amazing rim-rattling dunks, trick shots and side-splitting comedy when they visit the Greater Philadelphia region for five games, including stops at The Liacouras Center on the campus of Temple University on Friday, March 6 at 7 p.m., Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, NJ, on Saturday, March 7 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday, March 8 at 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Use our Harlem Globetrotters Ticket Discount Code

Use our exclusive discount code "HGBLOG" to save money on these events. Get your tickets HERE.

Win tickets to see the Harlem Globetrotters at Wells Fargo Center

Four Little Monsters is giving away two sets of 4-pack tickets to the Wells Fargo Center performance on March 8th at 12 pm. Yes, TWO winners will win FOUR tickets! Enter below and good luck! 

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters is hosting this giveaway in partnership with Comcast Spectacor. All opinions belong to the blogger.
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Kids and Theater Sets the Stage for Strong Life Skills, Empathy, Compassion & All Kinds of Good Stuff

by EJ on 02/18/15

Live theater is one of those things that makes me me. So much of who I am and what I believe in, goes back to something I saw on stage. When I attend a live theatrical production, my whole being feels moved, like I've had a spiritual connection to the stage and everything that happens on it. Maybe that's because I dreamed of being onstage myself as a child, but was too shy to push myself to be involved. I was first inspired to love and appreciate live theater when my father took me to see Cathy Rigby starring as Peter Pan when I was six years old. My whole life since, I've been drawn to the art of live theater. Whether it's the musically and visually beautiful Beauty & the Beast or the complicated and amazing puppetry of War Horse, I find something completely real and meaningful in every show.

I've had my children involved in a local live theater group for the last three years for these reasons. I'm not pushing theater as a career goal on any one of them (most of them want to be scientists), but I do think that the act of being on stage and being involved in theater teaches them so much about themselves and life. When kids play make-believe at home, it's so important. Theater is a great place to hone a ton of skills while kids find meaning in playing make-believe.

Theater Rocks For Kids and Here's Why:

1. Theater improves children's ability to listen, communicate and engage in dialogue and understanding with other people. Everyone must do this in life and theater is a great place to nurture this skill from a young age. Lauren Gunderson writes in her article, How Theater for Young People Could Save the World, "...so much of the toxicity in this world comes from a collective draining of empathy. We don't understand each other, and we don't want to. But theater invites us -- no, forces us -- to empathize."

2. Theater allows kids a place to practice public speaking. It teaches courage! I was still mortified about giving a speech in front of a class in high school. My kids are so comfortable on stage that I know with continued participation in theater, that likely won't be an issue for them.

3. Theater encourages literacy and education. In many cases, it teaches history. Kids have to pay attention, read and remember scripts, make quick decisions and movements and learn and practice language skills. Why does a character say this? What does this line mean? Then, when did this character live and what did they go through? Theater encourages the asking and answering of all kinds of questions.

4. Theater encourages practice, which is important if you're to get better at anything in life.

5. Theater brings children together to accomplish a task. Play dates are okay but it sure is amazing when kids come together to create something as a group. Every individual involved brings something to the table.

6. Theater allows a huge amount of self-expression. It's art on stage! Kids learn to create art through language, song, movements, tone and the list goes on.

7. Theater doesn't have to be a career goal for a child to enjoy it and find usefulness in it. A friend once assumed, "You must want your kids to grow up and be actors." Well, no, that's not the point. It's an activity that will serve them their whole life long, just like sports. I push my children to have a sport to participate in and they also need to be involved in theater. I believe it's that important.

8. Kids can participate in live theater as audience members, too. While I never made it onstage as a kid, I did find myself in a lot of audiences and I'm pretty sure that did me a ton of good. I take my kids to as many live performances as I can. I'll never ever forget taking my then six year old to see Cathy Rigby as Peter Pan over twenty years later from when I'd seen her when I was six.

9. Kids can do all kinds of stuff backstage. There's more to live theater than who's on stage. There are sets to be built and changed, as well as lighting and sound to be organized and managed.

Delaware Theater & Acting Programs for Kids

Here in Delaware, families have a great selection of theater centers to choose from. Delaware is a great state for families and kids who want access to theatrical programs and workshops and here are a few of our favorites:

Premier Center for the Arts with locations in Middletown and Milton, Delaware.

Delaware Children's Theater in Wilmington, Delaware.

Rehoboth Children's Theater in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Do you know of a great theater program for kids in the Mid-Atlantic area? Please share info and links in the comments below.


Winter Wonderland Frozen Queen Elsa Themed Birthday Party Ideas

by EJ on 02/17/15


With Disney's Frozen the birthday theme of the season (and every season, it seems), our Elsa-obsessed youngest monster would settle for nothing less than a house turned winter wonderland for her second birthday.

Every Snow Queen must have a royal gown on her birthday.

First on the list: our Snow Queen's royal birthday gown. I found a handmade, flowing tutu dress from Lavish Too. There are a ton of handmade Snow Queen inspired gowns available on Etsy to fit every personality and size. The one we chose featured little fabric snowflakes over blue tulle and soft, white feathers along the bottom hem. The accompanying cape also featured snowflakes in the embroidery and was an instant hit for our little lady.
 

Paper snowflakes can turn any room into a winter kingdom.

With the gown's blue and white colors in mind, I pulled in the same white and blue using paper snowflakes I picked up from the teacher's section of the Dollar Store. One dollar bought me a huge pack of these snowflakes so I stocked up on these and plastered them all over the main level of our home. They were also great  accents when hung from the ceiling. I doubled up the hanging snowflakes so they would appear on both sides when they twirled.

Balloons are a great way to display bursts of color.

I then brought in some purple and pink using Disney's Frozen Latex 12" printed balloons. I placed clusters of balloons, featuring Olaf cut-outs over the base of each cluster.

Free Frozen Printable Banners can be used as photo backdrops.

We found a great site, PoshTartParties.com, with free Frozen banners and other party printables. I put together a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" and "LET IT GO" banner, one for the main party area and the other for a backdrop where photos would be taken. Our little queen loved getting photographed while sitting on a cozy, white comforter in front of her backdrop of snowflakes and decorations.

Dress up your winter wonderland guests with printable crowns and antlers.

I found several free printable Frozen crowns and games when searching online. The crown and antler headbands were a huge hit as well as a printable Pin the Nose on Olaf game. 

Do you have a great idea or link for a Winter Wonderland Frozen party? Share in the comments!

Philadelphia Flyers and Chaddsford Winery Valentine's Date Pack

by EJ on 02/10/15

Photo Courtesy of Chaddsford Winery
It's the week before Valentine's Day and if you're looking for an awesome experience to share with your Valentine, then check this out. The Philadelphia Flyers have teamed up with Chaddsford Winery to offer the ultimate Valentine's Date Package. Package includes two tickets to a Flyers home game plus a wine tasting at any Chaddsford Winery. Starting at $99, the Valentine's Pack includes one pair of tickets to select Flyers home games in February and March, plus a bottle of Chaddsford's Flyers Wine (red or white), a Flyers chiller bag and wine opener accessories, specialty hockey puck choclates and a free wine tasting at any Chaddsford Winery location. 

Valentine's Date Packs include a pair of hockey tickets, a wine tasting, a bottle of wine and accessories. 

Valentine's Packs can be purchased at PhiladelphiaFlyers.com or by calling 215-218-PUCK. 

The five available game dates for the Valentine Packs are February 17 vs. the Blue Jackets, February 19th vs the Sabres and Flyers Hall of Fame Induction of Eric Desjardins, March 3 vs. the Flames, March 5 vs. the Blues, and March 10 vs. the Stars. All games begin at 7 p.m. 

Wine and accessories are redeemable at any Chaddsford Winery location in Chadds Ford, PA or Peddler's Village in Lahaska, PA now through April 30th, 2015. Reservations are required. Instructions are included on your tickets when mailed. 

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received a Valentine's Pack in exchange for promotion and review. All opinions belong to the blogger.

Be A Dino's Valentine at Paleopalooza! The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

by EJ on 01/30/15

Do your kids love dinosaurs? Then head over to The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University this Valentine's Day weekend for Paleopalooza. This event features dinosaur fossils, paleo-illustration classes, live animal shows and more. Academy scientists will be available to show off fossils collected in central Pennsylvania. Dig for real fossils to take home and interact with a paleo-artist. 

More Paleopalooza activities include:

·         See a real duckbill dinosaur fresh from the field as it is prepared in the Fossil Prep Lab.
·         Dance to hip tunes by the Diggity Dudes band. Noon and 2 p.m.
·         Take a guided tour of Dinosaur Hall.10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., and 4 p.m.
·         Watch paleo-illustrator Jason Poole bring dinosaurs to life and try drawing your own dinosaur.
·         Make a dinosaur food chain and other paleo-perfect crafts to take home.
·         Enjoy four different live shows: “So you want to be a paleontologist?” at 11 a.m.; “Snakes Alive!” at 1 p.m.; “Old Bones, New Technologies,” with Drexel University Professor Kenneth Lacovara, who discovered Dreadnoughtus, at 2:30 p.m.; and “Birds of a Feather” at 3:30 p.m.

Paleopalooza is free with museum admission and runs from February 14th through 15th. 

Replacing Ground Beef With Ground Turkey using Five Star Home Foods Super Lean Ground Turkey

by EJ on 01/22/15

Now that the holidays have passed, we're all looking for ways to lower the amount of fat in our diet. A great way to do this without sacrificing flavor, is to replace ground beef with ground turkey in some of your recipes. When replacing ground beef with ground turkey, however, you should consider the fat content in both. Look for ground turkey in the 90% lean range. We've been using Five Star Home Foods' super lean, chemical and hormone free, 100% ground breast turkey. Here are two of the ground turkey dishes we've made over the past several months that we absolutely love. 

Ground Turkey Tacos

Ever since we had taco seasoned ground turkey at a friend's house last year, we made the switch and never went back. With proper seasoning, the kids never realized that we weren't using beef anymore and they've gobbled up their dinner on Taco night without fail.

Ingredients:

1 lb. Super Lean Ground Turkey Five Star Home Foods
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. onions, chopped
1 1/2 c. tomato sauce
3/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1 clove garlic, pressed
4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
Taco shells or flour tortillas
 
Heat the oil in a skillet. Add ground turkey and chopped onion. Saute until meat loses raw color. Add tomato sauce, garlic and the seasonings. Mix well and simmer for 10 minutes or more to allow flavors to blend. Serve in heated taco shells, sprinkled with cheese or wrap in flour tortillas, sprinkle cheese over and warm in the oven or about 5 to 10 minutes. We also use shredded lettuce, fresh chopped tomatoes, low-fat sour cream and guacamole.

Ground Turkey Pasta Sauce

Ingredients:


Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 tbsp
Garlic, 4 cloves  
Green Peppers, 1 cup, chopped
Onions, raw, 1 cup, chopped  
Turkey, Ground turkey, Super Lean Five Star Home Foods, 1 lb.  

Oregano, ground, 3 tbsp  
Basil, 2 tbsp 
Parsley, dried, 1 tbsp  
Hunt's Tomato Sauce, 2 - 3 cup 
Garlic Salt, to taste

Heat onion, peppers and minced garlic in oil in a skillet until onions soften. Add ground turkey and cook until it loses its raw color. Add seasonings and continue to brown. Add tomato sauce and stir. Simmer for 10 minutes and add garlic salt to taste. 

If you're in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey or Maryland, you can try Five Star Home Home Foods Super Lean Ground Turkey, too! In fact, request your free food sample to get started. With over three hundred food products to choose from, you can have healthy, organic meat and poultry products delivered right to your door, allowing you to skip the grocery store and make the most of your time and cooking!

Disclaimer: Five Star Home Foods provided us with food samples for the purpose of review and promotion. All opinions belong to the blogger.


Give the Gift of Volunteerism This Season, Donate to Local Homeless Shelters & Food Banks

by EJ on 12/12/14

Through Girl Scouts, my daughter and I recently volunteered at a homeless shelter, Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing in Dover, Delaware. Although we've volunteered for other causes over the years, this was our first experience volunteering at a homeless shelter. The girls prepared an enormous variety of foods in the kitchen, set the tables and served the food. We also wrapped additional meals for those men who were working during the meal. The experience made such an impression on us both. Prior to serving dinner, all volunteers and guests joined in a circle of hands and thankful prayer. Anyone who wanted to speak was able to say something, whether it was offer news of a local job opportunity or give a short speech of thanks. While my daughter was serving each guest, I could see her mind working as she looked into the eyes of strangers she didn't know, who had so much less than she. Each person's situation was different and a variety of ages of adult men were served, all of whom were extremely thankful to our group of girls and to the facility.

A huge part of the success of local food pantries, shelters and food banks depends on volunteerism. This is the perfect time of year to get your family started on a path of volunteerism. If you are unfamiliar with how to get started volunteering in a shelter or food bank, here are some helpful tips.

1. Find A Local Homeless Shelter or Food Bank. Search for local homeless shelters and food banks using websites like HomelessShelterDirectory.org or FeedingAmerica.org. Visit the various websites to find contact information.

2. Prepare a meal for a local homeless shelter. Spend an evening at a local homeless shelter preparing and/or serving a meal. Many facilities offer breakfast, lunch or dinner services that depend on volunteerism.

3. Donate clothes, supplies and food to your local homeless shelter.

Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing's mission statement is as follows: We are an interfaith community organization addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of homeless men in the Greater Dover area by providing them with shelter and sustenance, fostering self-reliance, and offering encouragement and a vision of hope for their lives. 

If you're in the Dover area this holiday season, consider volunteering at Dover Interfaith Mission for Housing. Contributions can be a full dinner or part of the evening's meal. The building houses a full-size kitchen where meals can be prepared or you can bring contributions from home. You can also donate clothing, food, bicycles and other items.


CHARM IT! Charm Bracelets Make Perfect Gift for Girls, Giveaway

by EJ on 12/03/14

This Christmas I'm on the hunt for creative, special gifts that my girls will appreciate long after the holiday season is over. Here's a great gift for girls that will put smiles on the faces of girls of all personalities. We featured CHARM IT! on the blog last year and my nine year old has had so much fun building her charm collection ever since. Perfect for gifting all year long, the CHARM IT! collection is the "it" product for girls this holiday season and I cannot wait to give my six year old her very first charm bracelet this Christmas. The greatest part is that you can continue adding charms all year long, for all occasions.

I just love the colorful, creative designs featured in the CHARM IT! collections. Each charm is super detailed and there are many categories to choose from, making it super fun to find the perfect charm for the occasion. Categories include: Animals, Birthday, Disney and Frozen, Fashion, Food, Friends, Family, Hobbies, Letters, Peace on Earth, Princess, Sports and Dance, Sweets and more. Every charm is different; some charms even feature little "secrets" and super special details. For instance, the firefly charm glows in the dark. The treasure chest charm opens and closes on a hinge and includes beautiful little jewels inside. The gumballs inside the gumball machine charm move around and shake. CHARM IT! even has new Frozen charms available now which are so perfect for the season.

Give the gift of self-expression this holiday with custom detachable charm jewelry for girls ages five through fourteen by CHARM IT! A favorite product of celebrity moms like Sarah Jessica Parker and Heidi Klum, CHARM IT! bracelets are fun, modern and super creative, with charm options for many interests and accomplishments. Each charm is colorful, highly detailed and feature little surprises that girls will simply love. Charms are $6 each and bracelets range from $5 to $14 each.

CHARM IT! Available at Gap Kids
"Empowering girls with the gift of self-expression is the heart behind the brand. Our number one mission is to inspire individuality through our collection that celebrates creativity," says Renee Levy, president of High IntenCity. 

Join in on the fun over on Instagram for a chance two win two CHARM IT! Bracelets. Here's what to do: 

1. Follow us on Instagram.com/charmit_
2. Post a pic on Instagram featuring a smile (get creative!)
3. Tag us @charmit_
4. Include #spreadsmiles

Just in time for the holidays, one lucky Four Little Mosnters reader will win the bracelet and charm collection shown. Enter below and good luck! Giveaway is open to US residents of the 48 continguous US states only. Must be 18 years or older to enter.


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All About That Beef! Five Star Home Foods Grocery Delivery #FiveStarHomeFoods

by EJ on 11/28/14

When you visit the grocery store, there are so many unhealthy options to sidetrack you from your dietary health goals. Potato chips, ice cream, pie, oh my! When you have Five Star Home Foods on your side, you choose from over three hundred all-natural meat products, breads, fruit and organic frozen vegetables. The options are so diverse that you won't get bored with your options. Choosing Five Star Home Foods Delivery service is a great way to spend less time at the grocery store and avoid those snack aisles.

Now that we're all nice and sick of poultry post-Thanksgiving, let's see what Five Star Home Foods has to offer in it's beef department. Remember, Five Star focuses on portion control and all excess fat is trimmed for you.

All About That Beef with Five Star Home Foods

Check out these great beef options when you order frozen food delivery from Five Star Home Foods.
  • Beef Fajita Strips
    •  Fajita style slices of tender sirloin, 16 oz. per pkg.
  • Beef Kabobs
    •  Tender Sirloin cubes skewered with fresh peppers, mushrooms and onions, 3 kabobs per (16 oz.)pkg.
  • Beef Stew
    •  16 oz. of tender beef chuck cubes per pkg.
  • Beef Tenderloin Tips - Filet Mignon
    •  16 oz. of gourmet tender filet mignon cubes per pkg.
  • Sirloin Sandwich Steaks
    • 16 oz. of thinly sliced real sirloin steak, two individually wrapped 8 oz. portions per pkg.
  • Sliced Beef Liver
    • Four individually wrapped 4 oz. slices of delicate beef liver per 16 oz. pkg.
  • Gourmet Steak Burgers
    •  Ground steak seasoned with onions and spices, 87%. Four burgers per pkg
  • Ground Beef Patties
    •  Four individually wrapped 4 oz. patties per pkg. 87% lean
  • Ground Beef, Lean
    •  16 oz. of 81% lean ground beef per package.
  • Ground Bison
    •  All natural, premium ground bison. Raised without antibiotics. No added hormones. 1 lb. pkg.
  • Meatloaf, Ready to Bake
    •  16 oz. of 90% lean ground beef seasoned with onion, red pepper, celery and garlic, per pkg.
Five Star Home Foods makes eating smart super easy. Here's how it works:
  1. Contact Five Star Home Foods to request a complimentary Five Star Home Foods sample package consisting of all-natural beef, chicken, pork and organic vegetables.
  2. A Culinary Consultant schedules a visit with you at your home to build your custom meal plan. There are over 300 healthy options, with new food products arriving monthly. 
  3. Your order is scheduled for delivery to your home within two to three weeks on a day and time that works for your schedule.
  4. A Five Star Delivery Specialist arrives at your home and packs and organizes your new or existing freezer with your order. Every time you place an order, your Delivery Specialist will rotate remaining items to the front of your shelves before packing your most recent products.
  5. Tell them that Four Little Monsters Blog referred you! They'll donate $100 to our blog!
Disclaimer: Five Star Home Foods provided Four Little Monsters Blog with their products in exchange for promotion and review. Five Star Home Foods will donate $100 to Four Little Monsters Blog for every new customer referred. All opinions belong to the blogger.

Transform Your Home with Xfinity Home Security, X1 TV Platform and Apps, #XfinityMoms Lunch & Learn

by EJ on 11/19/14

Ever since I attended Xfinity Lunch & Learn last week at the Philly Magazine Design Home with Real Mom Media, I've been bugging my husband to switch our TV over to Comcast Xfinity. He's hesitant to give up the satellite routine that we're all so familiar with in our home, but I'm fed up with the rising cost of DirectTV and getting less and less for all the money we throw into it. The Xfinity X1 television platform is certainly cool. For me, it's not about television. With Xfinity TV, Home, Phone and Internet, you get a ton of services right at your fingertips and Xfinity Home is my absolute favorite feature of their whole package.

Xfinity Home lets you keep eyes on your home no matter where you are.

Xfinity Home offers impressive home security options beginning at $29.95 a month. You can turn your house into a "smart home" using your phone, tablet or computer. The platform combines electronics, appliances and security technology to bring you video monitoring, online control, text and e-mail alerts about what's going on at home. You can download an app using the X1 television platform to get a snapshot of your home on TV. Using your tablet, phone, or work computer, you can access your home's settings from pretty much anywhere. Some of the possible security features include water sensors, glass break sensors, door/window sensors, small appliance control, cellular back-up, wireless keypads, smart thermostats, indoor and outdoor cameras and smart light switches.

Xfinity X1 Television Platform gives your more control, more search options and more shows and movies to choose from. 

Xfinity X1 features new guide views, an advanced remote control and apps that allow you to control your TV from your device. I liked the cloud-based DVR system which allows you to take your DVR shows and movies on the go. Once they're in your cloud, they're with you wherever you go. As the Xfinity reps were describing this, I was imagining a major kid freakout in the grocery store and me handing over the tablet or phone to the crazy youngin', thus calming them immediately.

Xfinity Apps connect you to the content you love. 

Xfinity apps allows you to watch television on any device anywhere you go. You can watch a ton of shows and movies without having to connect to the Internet. You can also connect your tablet or phone to Xfinity TV and use it as a remote control, browse TV listings and more. Use your device to change channels on your television, schedule your DVR remotely, view or change recordings and more. 

You can bundle all this great stuff starting at $119.99 per month with a 2 year agreement. The second year increases to $149.99. This includes 140+ channels, access to millions of wi-fi hotspots nationwide, download speeds of up to 25 Mbps, unlimited nationwide talk and text as well as the Xfinity Home Secure 300. 

The Xfinity Lunch & Learn setting was fabulous, of course. Located in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, the $3 million Philadelphia Magazine Design House 2014 sits amid a community of old stone Tudor homes, huge trees and luscious country landscapes. Inside, the Design Home literally went on an on, surprising us at every turn. You could probably fit twenty people in the master shower... and we were all trying to come up with creative scenarios where that would be appropriate. Zombie apocalypse? Who cares. Who wouldn't love all that space? Personally, I would hang out forever in the girl's bedroom. The light and color was amazing and I would totally want to be a kid in that room.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters Blog received a product from Xfinity Comcast in exchange for promotion and review. All opinions belong to the blogger.

 

Snyder of Berlin New Packaging Pays Tribute to Pennsylvania Landscapes

by EJ on 11/18/14

Snyder of Berlin Potato Chip New Packaging 2015
Some of the best snack foods are made in Pennsylvania and Snyder of Berlin Potato Chips are no exception. With the football season progressing and the holidays coming, you'll want to start planning your appetizers and snack menus for all your gatherings. When thinking of snacks, be sure to grab some bags of Snyder of Berlin Potato Chips and check out the brand-new packaging. Beginning with their 2.75 ounce potato chip bags, the new packaging will extend throughout all their products by 2015. The new packaging pays tribute the landscapes of Berlin, Pennsylvania and each flavor's bag features an informational panel on a different location in Pennsylvania: the Ohiopyle Falls, the Wolf Rocks in Linn Run State Park, the Great Allegheny Passage Bike Trail, the Somerset Historical Center and the Lower Humbert Covered Bridge.
 

Snyder of Berlin Potato Chip New Packaging 2015
The Snyder family chip business began in a small Pennsylvania town in 1920 in the home kitchen of Edward Snyder II and his wife Eda. As the chips' popularity grew, the business expanded toward Pittsburg. Potato buyers and farmers joined together with the Snyder family and built a self-sustaining chip factory in the fields of the Laurel Highlands. The plant opened in 1947 and the company has grown to include other products such as cheese, snacks, popcorn and more. Snyder of Berlin is available in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Ohio. Having been to several of these locations, I think the new packaging is a great draw for Pennsylvania residents. I'm imagining that many a Penn State tailgate includes Snyder of Berlin Potato Chips! My kids gobbled up the BAR B Q chips!

Here's a text sample off the back of the Original BAR B Q Flavored Potato Chips by Snyder of Berlin: 

Westward pioneers called them the "Endless Mountains". We call them beautiful, fun and home. 

Wolf Rocks is just one of many sandstone outcrops of 2,500 feet. From many perches along the summit of Laurel Ridge, the skyline of Pittsburgh is visible -  nearly 50 miles away.

Snyder of Berlin Potato Chips New Packaging 2015
More than half of the land along the ridge is public land set aside for conservation. The Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail twists along the ridge for 70 miles. The trail is thick with Mountain Laurel, Eastern Hemlock and Rhododendron, plus boulders as big as houses.

"With the introduction of the new packaging, consumers are not merely eating a snack, they can learn about and discover Pennsylvania's sights while bringing Snyder of Berlin snacks along for the adventure," says Jeff Leichleiter, Vice President and General Manager of Snyder of Berlin. 

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received product samples in exchange for this promotional post. All opinions belong to the blogger. 


Cranberry Apple Butter Pan Cooked Chicken, Cranberry Walnut Balsamic Spinach Salad, #FiveStarHomeFoods

by EJ on 11/17/14

With our freezer just packed by Five Star Home Foods, I've been totally inspired to cook up some great things. Since cranberries are my absolute favorite food in the world and they're the perfect fruit for the season, I decided to use them in my food creations this week. So I stocked up on cranberries and got to cooking. I came up with an amazing sauce, perfect over our Five Star chicken breast and then a cranberry packed salad served alongside a Five Star London Broil.

Cranberry Apple Butter Pan-Cooked Chicken

Ingredients:

4 - Chicken breasts (we used Five Star Home Foods chicken)
1 cup of Apple Butter Spread
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T Olive Oil
1 can of whole cranberry sauce

In a large skillet, add olive oil and garlic of medium-high heat. When garlic is slightly brown, add chicken. Add half the apple butter over top of each chicken breast. Cook for four to five minutes on that side. Flip chicken and add the remaining apple butter and cook for four to five minutes on that side. Lower heat to simmer and add half to all of the cranberry sauce (depending on how much sauce you like - we like A LOT). Cook for about twenty minutes, allowing sauce to bubble and thicken. 

We served our Cranberry Apple Butter Pan Cooked Chicken alongside Local Honey and Brown Sugar Carrots and Seasoned Roasted Potatoes.

Cranberry Walnut Balsamic Spinach Salad

Ingredients:

1 bag Fresh Spinach
1 block Feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup dried cranberries 
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp pepper
1 - 2 diced tomatoes
Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Toss spinach, Feta, cranberries, walnuts, pepper and dressing. Top with tomatoes. Chill before serving. 

This is a gorgeous, simple salad that packs a ton of flavor. We served our Cranberry Walnut Balsamic Spinach Salad with a Five Star Home Foods London Broil and Garlic Red Skinned Mashed Potatoes.

While these recipes are my own, you can find more great recipes from the Five Star kitchen on their website and Facebook page.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received Five Star Home Foods products in exchange for promotion and review. All opinions belong to the author. Five Star Home Foods will donate $100 to Four Little Monsters Blog for every new customer referred through the blog.

A Full Freezer by Five Star Home Foods Grocery Delivery Service

by EJ on 11/17/14

Five Star Home Foods Freezer List
Our Five Star Home Foods delivery arrived last Thursday and our freezer is now full of poultry, seafood, beef, pork and desserts for the season. Five Star's three hundred food product menu allowed us to stock up on a great variety of foods. We really love to cook, come up with new seasoning and sauce combinations but  sometimes we're just too busy to go the distance. That's why we chose some prepared, marinated foods for those busy nights when we're running the kids to theater group, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts. We also chose some unprepared foods for those times when we really want to cook up something all our own. We also stocked up on desserts for the holidays when we'll have family over for dinners. 

A stocked freezer by Five Star Home Foods
 

A stocked freezer is a thing of beauty. This normally never lasts in our family of seven. I'm eager to see how far our Five Star Home Foods delivery goes since we ordered in bulk, rather than purchasing for one to two weeks at the grocery store. Having a stocked freezer is going to save us a ton of time, which is incredibly convenient for a big family that's always on the go.

We're excited to partner with Five Star Home Foods over the next few months to bring you great recipes, photos, foods reviews and more. Also, for every new customer referred by Four Little Monster Blog, Five Star will donate $100 to the blog.

Receive a FREE Food Sample Pack from Five Star Home Foods

Request your FREE sample pack of Five Star Home Foods poultry, beef, pork and veggies and speak with a food consultant to learn all about this grocery delivery service that serves PA, DE, NJ and MD. A food consultant will visit your home and sit down with you to discuss all the built-in benefits of having your freezer food delivered. Plus, you're not locked into a delivery schedule. You order what you want, when you want. 

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters Blog received Five Star products in exchange for this promotion and review. All opinions do belong to the author.

Mandatory Chores: Teaching Our Kids to Clean and Take Pride In Their Home

by EJ on 11/05/14

This past October, my husband and I hit a mental and emotional parental bottom. It was the kind of bottom that involves crying like babies (okay, that was just me that cried like a baby) because every day of our lives includes cleaning up after a gaggle of sloppy kids - like, constantly. We cook seemingly endless meals, scrub endless dishes (Our dishwasher broke last month, Okay? Not cool, man. Not cool.). We're always washing and folding endless laundry and carrying it upstairs to put it all away in dressers that get unloaded (and sometimes filled with water) by toddlers at nap time. We steam clean the god forsaken kitchen floor almost every day, pick up bits of cereal, macaroni, broken crayon tips, shredded paper and many a mystery object. We scrub bathroom floors, clean disgusting toilets and disgusting floors around toilets over and over because a certain seven year old can't aim - and a certain five year old prefers to tinkle in cups and leave them in strange places around the house. The flipping list is just getting started.

We really, really love these kids - but dang it, we'd allowed them to become major slobs and disrespectful toward our home and each others property. We thought we'd tried everything to motivate our children to want to help keep this house in order with absolutely no success. They were the kings and queens of mess-making and we had become slaves to cleaning every bit of it up. It seemed hopeless and we knew that somehow it was all our fault.

For the past two years we've been trying to get our kids to help out around the house. We've known all along that when there are so many of us in one household, the maintenance of daily life builds up super quick. At times, we've gone from asking nicely, to yelling, to literally begging for them to listen and respect their home and to clean up after themselves. Last week, the hubby and I sat down and admitted that we simply can't keep doing this all by ourselves. Maybe it was all the toys constantly impeding on my home-office space or all the dish scrubbing that finally sent us over the edge, I don't know. My will to just keep going as we were going was at an end.

Where did we go wrong? Two years ago, we started with the allowance thing for chores that were completed each week. The littlest kids, toddlers at the time, cared nothing for money and therefore, did nothing to help. In fact, they did everything to make more work for us. Some would say, they're too young for chores. At times, we agreed. Our oldest child, eight, ended up doing all the chores and cleaning up after the others because she was the only one that wanted to save up for the things she wanted. After a while, she grew irritated with cleaning up after her siblings and chore time became her angry, stomping of the feet time which never got us anywhere without yelling matches ensuing.

With every failure, we tried something else. We moved on to a chore chart to separate each child's tasks in a place where it was visible to all who needed to do what and when. In addition to earning a small allowance, each chore completed earned a smiley face magnet. The little ones loved earning smiley faces but eventually everyone just lost interest and the messes started piling up again. After a while, the chore chart evolved into a system where if all four kids completed a certain task together (which required them to encourage each other) they could all earn the reward together. The catch was that they alone were responsible for completing their tasks. If they didn't encourage each other and complete the chores, then no one earned anything. Eventually, no one cared either way.

After my brief and much needed mental meltdown, my husband and I decided something. We'd let the toddlers get away with being "too young to take responsibility" for their home way too long. We'd let allowance become the ultimate goal for the older ones. We just plain did it all wrong. It was time to turn the tide. 

When the kids came home from school that day, we sat them down and said, "There's a new routine around here. You're going to come home from school, take all of the laundry that we've folded that is yours and take it to your room. Then you are going to complete a chore. It won't be a silly, quick chore. You may actually have to clean a bathroom, scrub the counter tops, do the dishes, steam mop the kitchen floor, vacuum the downstairs, main floor or upstairs, scrub every kitchen and dining room chair from top to bottom and so on.

WHY? BECAUSE WE, YOUR PARENTS, ARE TIRED OF DOING IT ALL ALONE. YOU ARE PART OF THIS HOUSEHOLD. YOU HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES TO THE PLACE THAT YO LIVE AND TO YOUR FELLOW FAMILY MEMBERS AND YOU WILL ALL TAKE PART IN TAKING CARE OF OUR HOME. EVERY ONE OF US WILL DO OUR PART. YOU MUST CLEAN THINGS. YOU GET NOTHING FOR DOING THESE CHORES. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! ... EXCEPT OUR SINCERE THANKS AND A SENSE OF RESPONSIBILITY TO YOUR FAMILY, TO YOUR BELONGINGS AND TO THE PLACE THAT YOU LIVE. YOU MIGHT EVEN FEEL PROUD OF YOURSELF. WHEN YOU HAVE MET YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES, YOU MAY DO FUN THINGS. THE END.

Guess what? All four of these silly creatures have been cleaning like they've never cleaned before and without too much complaint. In fact, some of them have asked for more chores (not all of them, I said some). Yes, I am totally confused. After seeing how successful this new routine has been, I'm even more confused by our past treatment of chores and our kids. Why the heck were we handing over money to our son and daughter without ever establishing a sense of natural responsibility? We're a family of seven for goodness sake! We all have to help keep this ship afloat.

There will be a lot more cleaning going on around here and I will be doing a little less of it. BECAUSE THAT IS HOW IT SHOULD BE. I'm hoping with all my being that this cleaning without monetary reward thing, because-you-have-to thing will be the glue that finally sticks.

 

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Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_popocorn'>popocorn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>
Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_popocorn'>popocorn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>