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.
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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.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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.

 

DIY Easy, Affordable Floral Arrangements from Bloominous for Weddings & Special Events

by EJ on 10/27/14


When planning floral arrangements for our wedding back in 2007, we were simply overwhelmed. The wedding florist markup was insane: $5 boutonnieres, $40 centerpieces and $50 bouquets. Due to budget constraints, we opted for a near-everything DIY wedding. These days it's totally cool for brides to lean more toward DIY to cut costs. As with most DIY projects, there's a ton of research, purchasing and arranging to make it work which can prove just as overwhelming and more time-consuming than hiring someone to do it for you. Thanks to Bloominous, however, there's an easier way to handle the DIY floral aspect of wedding and special events without having to overwhelm yourself or your budget.


What are the advantages of using Bloominous DIY Floral Arrangements for your wedding or special event?

1. Save Money. With Bloominous, brides can save anywhere from 30 to 50% off their original floral budget. Each piece is priced without the typical 300% markup of wedding florists.

2. Bloominous provides easy DIY floral projects. Most DIY services do not send prepped flowers. Bloominous flowers come cut-to-order, dethorned and trimmed, saving you a ton of time. Each kit comes with step-by-step photographic instructions for easy assembly. Each piece takes ten to twenty minutes to assemble and includes flower care products and design tips. 

3. Collections featuring specialty flowers are designed by a florist with 10+ years of experience in event and floral design. Trends, vases and favor ideas are offered on the blog to inspire a complete look.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters was compensated for this promotional post.

 

Five Star Home Foods, Inc. Food Delivery Serving PA, DE, NJ and MD, FREE Sample Pack of Meats and Veggies

by EJ on 10/27/14

Fellow moms and dads of many, imagine this: top-quality, natural meats, poultry and more delivered right to your freezer without you having to step foot into a grocery store, eliminating the grocery store markup. Imagine that you get to pick from over three-hundred food items and change the menu as you please. On top of that, you also get a free deep freezer, allowing you to store four to six months of food at a time. Imagine all that time saved. Impossible? Not at all. With Five Star Foods, this can be your reality. 

Five Star Home Foods, Inc. FREE Sample Pack
Food choices include over three-hundred natural-growth, hormone-free meats and poultry, wild caught seafood, pastas, organic vegetables and juices, whole grain breads, cookie doughs and desserts. New choices are added monthly. Food orders are customized with the help of a Five Star representative using your budget, family size and food preferences. Delivery is completely free. There are no membership fees. You order when you want and you are not locked in to order again if you choose not to. Food is portioned perfectly, vacuum sealed and flash frozen. 

Request a FREE SAMPLE pack and sit down with a Five Star Home Foods representative who will explain the service in the comfort of your own home.

Five Star Home Foods Pork Sample
Our sample pack, shown above, included two perfectly sized portions of chicken breast, two pork chops, two chopped steaks and one bag of broccoli. If you live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware or Maryland, request your free sample pack HERE.

We cooked the pork first, which was perfectly portioned at 6 oz. for each serving. We fed two adults and four children. This might be pushing it for some families but our kids are not huge meat eaters - yet - so the portions worked out perfectly for us. Plus, we're used to buying the thin-sliced pork in the grocery store so these were a feast. Our Five Star pork was not thin-sliced at all. Each chop was thick and juicy. 

I cooked our pork in a pan, using a red pepper, garlic marinade with crushed mustard seeds and paprika, topped with buttery sauteed onions and chives. The difference in the meat compared with what we normally buy at the grocery store was remarkable. The pork was paired with Five Star broccoli and a homemade garlic-butter sauce. The whole family really enjoyed the meal.

The Five Star Home Foods Process has many built-in advantages.

When you request your FREE Five Star Home Foods sample pack, a culinary consultant will contact you to schedule a meeting time at your home. The consultant will assist you in customizing a meal plan based on your family's needs, budget and preferences. If you place an order, it is delivered within two to three weeks. A Five Star delivery specialist then arrives at your home and packs your orders' contents into your freezer, moving items remaining from any previous orders to the front. You can always follow up on the Five Star website for recipes with great accompanying pictures.

The Five Star Home Foods Safeguard operates under the highest standards. Following proper aging, all meats are trimmed, portioned and packaged. Each portion is labeled, vacuum-sealed in airtight, transparent wrap that prevents against freezer burn and also prevents dehydration and color changes. After wrapping, meats are flash frozen to seal in vitamin-rich juices and maintain freshness. Unlike grocery stores, which are inspected maybe once a year (and are warned ahead of time), the Five Star facility is federally inspected daily by the USDA. An on-site USDA office guarantees the safest and highest quality of food. 

Save on food prices the longer you remain a customer with Five Star Home Foods.

If you're married but don't yet have kids and are planning to, you might consider beginning food delivery now. The longer you're a customer, the bigger the savings on your orders later on. As your family grows, your food costs decrease. Plus, you'll earn savings on appliances like commercial freezers or protection plans on existing freezers over time, too. Check out the rewards program HERE.

Check Four Little Monsters Blog later on this week for more on our meeting with a Five Star Culinary Consultant. Keep checking back over the next three months for continued updates on our Five Star experience.

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters received a free delivery of Five Star Home Foods product in exchange for promotion and honest reviews. For every new customer referred by Four Little Monsters, Five Star Home Foods, Inc. will donate $100 to the blog. All opinions do belong to the blogger.

 

Delaware Kid Stuff Coupon Book, Review & Giveaway

by EJ on 10/09/14


I'm not a huge fan of fundraiser season in schools. I groan when all four kids come home begging me to sell, sell, sell so they can win some plastic light-up thingy. Of course I want to raise money for kids' education but all the fundraisers that come home from school and extracurricular activities gets overwhelming. Plus, it's hard to ask friends and family to buy products like candles and wrapping paper - not that enticing and way overpriced. However, I just discovered a fundraiser product that really did impress me and that I believe parents and families will want to buy. It's the KidStuff Coupon Book, a leading fundraiser coupon savings book sold exclusively through schools.

The KidStuff mission is to raise money for education. Since 1993, KidStuff has raised over $55 million. Schools earns 50% of the profit from the coupon book sales. That's $12.50 or more for every book sold that goes right back into your child's school. The Delaware edition costs parents $25 and is good through next December 31st of 2015. The savings inside spanning hundreds of vendors far exceeds the money spent on the book. The vendor selection is huge and with the holiday season sneaking up on us, families can use the KidStuff Coupon Book to save on the products they actually want to buy and of course, save money doing so.

This year's Delaware edition of KidStuff includes savings for families on shopping, activities and food at these fabulous locations: Toys“R”Us, Babies“R”Us, Macy’s, Acme Markets, Sears, Food Lion, Payless, Pathmark, Superfresh, Children’s Place, Loft, Ulta, Bed Bath & Beyond, Dick’s Sporting Goods, H&M, Sports Authority, Party City, Aéropostale, Dorney Park, Crayola, Six Flags, Sesame Place, Franklin Institute, Academy of Natural Sciences, Adventure Aquarium, Maryland Zoo, Maryland Science Center, Port Discovery, Stratosphere Trampoline Park, Brandywine Zoo, Delaware Art Museum, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Wilmington & Western Railroad, Subway, Dairy Queen, Papa John’s, Saladworks, Domino’s, Carvel, Pizza King, Auntie Anne’s, Rita’s, Little Caesars, Cold Stone, Texas Roadhouse, Dunkin’ Donuts, Taco Bell, Hardee’s, Applebee’s, Wendy’s and hundreds more. You can visit www.KidStuffCouponBook.com to see a full list of vendors and attractions. 

The KidStuff Coupon Book fits nicely in your car or medium-sized purse. Plus, it's super easy to navigate. It's divided into three color coded sections: Blue for Shopping & Services, Yellow for Activities and Red for Food. Whether you want to save on admission to Adventure Aquarium or spend a day shopping at the beach outlets, KidStuff has savings coupons for you. Plus, you can grab a .99 cent latte at Dunkin Donuts on the way. I love that there's a huge selection of coupons for local attractions. We are always out and about and this section will definitely come in handy. Some of the Delaware attractions include the Brandywine River Museum of Art, Brandywine Zoo, Centre Ice Rink at the Delaware State Fair, Christiana Skating Center, Coastal Kayak, Delaware Museum of Natural History, Delaware Theatre Company, Dover Symphony Orchestra, DuPont Theatre, First State Golf Center (Hello, Dad!), Jolly Roger Amusement Park, Lightship Overfalls, Old Pro Golf, Pond Ice Arena, Rookery Golf Club, Wilmington & Western Railroad and so much more!

WIN a copy of Delaware's KidStuff Coupon Book 2014-15

Want to win a copy of the Delaware 2014-15 edition of KidStuff Coupon Book!? THREE lucky readers will WIN a Delaware edition KidStuff Coupon Book. Enter using the widget below.


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Monster Jam at Wells Fargo Center, Review

by EJ on 10/04/14

My boys and I experienced our very first Monster Jam show last night at Wells Fargo Center in Philly. Monster Jam, a mixture of sports, monster truck stunts and performance, promised high-intensity entertainment for families. Honestly, I didn't expect to love Monster Jam as much as I did. My sons were enthralled from the very first moment to the last. Apparently, due to the smaller venue (Wells Fargo Center doesn't have the room that some of the other Monster Jam shows do), the stunts weren't as amazing as some of the videos we found online, but my boys didn't care. Each time a truck jumped up into the air, my four year old would stand up and throw his hands up with excitement. It was pretty cool to see him so into the show. They loved that each Monster Truck had a name and very unique look. We picked our favorites and cheered like mad.

I've got two very different boys. My four year old is the rough and tumble, beat everything up, yell everything he says kid. He just loves trucks and anything with wheels. My six old is more reserved, more into characters and super heroes and story lines. He doesn't care too much for trucks and things that go. However, Monster Jam was the best of both worlds, pleasing them both. Each truck had a "personality" and my six year old thought that was great. It was a little bit like wrestling when the drivers made their victory speeches and taunted the audience but not on a ridiculous level like wrestling. It was kid-friendly. He couldn't wait to get his hands on his favorite souvenir truck to take home. My four year old, on the other hand, loved the stunts and the cheering and all the noise.

Rule number one when seeing Monster Jam... bring ear plugs! Make sure they're good and tight in your ears when Grave Digger is out driving because that truck is INSANE CRAZY FRUITCAKE LOUD. If the good Samaritan behind us hadn't handed me two sets of extra ear plugs he had, we wouldn't have survived the whole performance. My ears still hurt today. My boys, however, were totally comfortable with their ear plugs. Of course, they sell Monster Jam licensed ear covers and stuff inside, but they definitely weren't cheap.

Oh yes, we'll definitely check out more Monster Jam in the future. We had a really good time. Like... a really good time!


There's still time to check out Monster Jam tonight at Wells Fargo Center. Check it out tonight at 7:30 PM!

Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters Blog received Monster Jam tickets in exchange for promotion and review. All opinions belong to the blogger.

 

Monster Jam Opens Tonight in Philly at Wells Fargo Center

by EJ on 10/03/14

Monster Jam hits Philly at Wells Fargo Center beginning tonight October 4th through Sunday, October 5th. The coolest Monster Trucks from all around the world including Grave Digger, Monster Mutt Dalmatian, Captain's Curse, Spider Man, Team Hot Wheels, Black Stallion, Overkill Evolution and El Toro Loco will come together for this action-packed event. Monster Jam is an awesome blend of sports and entertainment showcasing amazing stunts using the world's coolest Monster Trucks. 

I'm taking my Dad and my two boys so we'll be back to the blog this weekend with a review of the event. I'm assuming that my rough and tumble, toy smashing, destroy-everything-in-sight four year old is going to think the whole thing is amazing. He loves trucks. He also loves to smash them into things likes walls... and his little sister. Sigh. Therefore, Monster Jam is right up his alley. I'm slightly more than a bit excited to take him.

Save on Tickets to Monster Jam at Wells Fargo Center
There's still time to check out Monster Jam with our exclusive discount code. Enter promo code "BLOG" to save $10 off $25 and $35 tickets for tonight's performance using this link.
 
Disclaimer: Four Little Monsters Blog received tickets for a Monster Jam performance in exchange for promotion and review.

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