why I fell in love with essential oils

You guys, I was the biggest skeptic ever.  Until now…

Why I Fell In Love With Essential Oils

I have been hearing about essential oils for years and have just been ignoring all the ‘kooks’ (yes, my friends) that use the stuff.

I dabbled here and there in the last several months…  a little clove oil (mixed with coconut oil!) on my babies’ gums when they are teething is a lifesaver.  And yes, lavender is very soothing, I give ‘em that.

But beyond that, I took everything in one ear and out the other, smiling and nodding as I went.

But then, I just couldn’t ignore it anymore.  More and more people, that I know, love and trust, were telling me their stories and ‘oily testimonies’ and I finally figured I needed to really dig in and see what all the hype was about!

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favorite foodie gifts, Christmas 2013 edition

Ok, so I love doing these gift roundups for you guys.  I know it’s a little silly, but I just love sharing with you the things that I enjoy most in my kitchen!

(If I was Oprah, I would be giving you all one of each of these!!  As it is, I can only give you my thoughts.  But I still want to share!)

If any of you are still trying to figure out what to give the foodies in your life, here are some ideas for you!

(And if you have or sign up for a trial of Amazon Prime, you can get these to your door in 2-3 days.  Plenty of time for some last minute Christmas shopping!)

The very very top of my favorite things list, is my beloved Cuisinart 3-in-one Multi-Cooker.

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I know I’ve talked about this before, but you guys, this thing is amazing.  Not only is it a great 6qt slow cooker, it is also an electric skillet and steamer.  You know how many slow cooker recipes still want you to brown meat on the stove before you put it in the slow cooker for the day?  Well, now you can do that all in one spot.  You really can’t beat that!

The next item on my list is my beautiful, dreamy, 7 qt. Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.  It is a piece of art, really.  More than that, it is my friend.  I couldn’t work without her!

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And really, any Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer is a great gift.  If your loved one has a small one, upgrade them!  If they don’t have one, spoil them!!  This is my favorite classic mixer, if you don’t need a 7 qt. powerhouse.

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Ok, that’s enough of the big guys.  On a smaller scale, here are some more of my kitchen favorites.

This wooden pastry board (or rather, one similar to it that I have had for years!) is one of my most treasured kitchen items this year.

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With the constant chaos of feeding my family 24/7 (or so it seems!), I can always have a clean, ready to go workspace with this board.  I wipe off a counter, pull this beautiful board out and I am ready to go, no matter what the state of the rest of my counters.  I love it!

On a similar note, I am completely in love with my bench scrapers.

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If you have ever tried to clean up a flour and dough covered counter, you know what I mean when I say that it is not fun.  Flour+water=glue, right?  These bench scrapers solve that problem perfectly.  They also cut beautiful, uniform brownies and bars!

And my last favorite kitchen item this year…  is my beloved Cuisinart Hot Water & Coffee Maker.

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I know most everyone these days is head-over-heels for their single-serve Keurig-style machines, and I think they are fun too, but in my life, a cup of coffee at a time is just not going to cut it.  I drink my coffee by the bucket-full.

(I do have 3 little kiddos who are allergic to sleep, you know!)  

I also use my hot water every day.  Instant oatmeal, hot tea, hot chocolate…  cup-o-noodles.  I actually tossed out my hot water kettle, because this is just so much easier!

And there you go, friends!  These are a few of my favorite things (I hope that song is playing through your head like it is mine!) and last-minute gift ideas…

Now I want to hear yours!  What are some of YOUR favorite kitchen items?

*This is NOT a sponsored post.  I just love these items and want to share them with you!  I do earn a small affiliate fee if you buy these items, or any Amazon items, once you have clicked through my store.  I appreciate your support!

what makes life easier…

I have so many good things to say about my new Maytag Kitchen.  I could really go on and on about all the things I love about my new appliances…  but the bottom line is, my life is that much easier now than it was 6 months ago, and I am so grateful to Maytag for that! As a busy, overwhelmed mom, I am all about making life easier.  But do you want to know what I have loved the most about Maytag?  The amazing customer service I have received! We have had a few very minor issues, and they were handled so well and so quickly I could hardly believe it!  I was seriously in shock at how fast and well our glitches were resolved.  10 gold starts Maytag!! There is not one of our new appliances that is not used every single day. I bake or cook something on our range every day.  I reheat my coffee in the microwave multiple times a day.  :o)  We run the dishwasher at least once a day!  And obviously…  the fridge is well loved and used! I have never been much of a microwave user, but I have to say, it is so nice to be able to reheat two plates at once in this gigantic beautiful microwave.  When I do need it, I am so grateful that it’s there…  if you have little kids close in age, you know how hard it is for one of them to wait there turn for the other.  Two plates of mac & cheese heated up at once = happy kids and happy mama! The fridge has still not worn off its novelty…  the littles love opening the middle drawer and getting their own apples/carrots/string cheeses out for a snack.  I love that they can grab something healthy, without me having to do it for them!  And I have yet to run out of room in the fridge, even after major Costco-stockup trips! The dishwasher is… well…  a dream.  I barely ever remember to rinse any dishes and have yet to have one dish come out less than perfectly clean.  My kids think it’s the funnest game to load and unload the dishwasher, and you know what?  After not having a working dishwasher at all for about 6+ months…  I think it’s a pretty fun game too!!  (My other favorite feature of our dishwasher?  The “extra dry” function!  No more drippy dishes or leaving the door open for an hour before you can put stuff away!)

Check out Maytag’s website, Twitter and/or Facebookfor more information and reviews from other moms in the Maytag Moms program!


“I wrote this post participating in an Maytag Moms Dependable Kitchen Ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with a Maytag kitchen appliances set, including a refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and range to facilitate my post”

the cutest ice cream cakes you’ve ever seen…

Baskin-Robbins has some super cute little holiday ice cream cakes right now.

Santa, Frosty, and a little elf…

Aren’t they cute??

I got a chance to try out a few of these cakes for our holiday gatherings this year and they were a big hit.

Although I must admit, cutting into our sweet little elves heads on Christmas Eve felt a little funny.

(Please don’t order one of these with a red ice cream inside!)  ;o)

Really though, who doesn’t love a good ice cream cake?  And Baskin-Robbins definitely knows what they’re doing in this area!

I know the holidays are kind of over, but if you still have some last celebrations coming up like we do (or even some winter birthdays to celebrate!), how about trying one of these fun cakes for a change??

Or you know, Baskin-Robbins gift cards/certificates are always a good thing.  I’m pretty sure I’ve never met a person who doesn’t like ice cream, have you?

I have to tell you, they didn’t have to twist my arm to far to get me to say yes to reviewing some delicious Baskin-Robbins ice cream. My family sure loves ice cream!!  :o)

By the way, if you don’t have a Baskin-Robbins near  you, and you would like some ice cream cake goodness in your life, may I suggest this?  It won’t disappoint, I promise!

Also, just out of curiosity (and because I love useless trivia!) What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?

Mine is coffee, cardamom, or swiss orange chip!  Yum!!

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Baskin-Robbins.  I received a gift card to facilitate my shopping experience and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.”

Loving our new Maytag fridge!

I sometimes don’t know how we survived without this beauty in our kitchen.  Even just the ice & water in the door, something we’ve never had before, seems so essential to us now.

Spoiled maybe?  Yes, absolutely.  But I’d rather think of it as a blessing than as a ‘spoiling’!

I had no real problems with my old fridge, but I would never choose to go back after trying out this big beautiful new Maytag Ice20 French Door Refrigerator.

Yes, my whole family loves the ice and water in the door (Hello?  Dr Pepper poured over a big glass of freshly crushed ice?  Heavenly!)…  but do you wanna know my favorite thing about this fridge?

I just love how deep and roomy it is!

I love that I can go grocery shopping, come home, put away all the groceries, make a big pot of soup, and still be able to fit that whole pot of soup easily into the fridge to reheat the next day.

I can thaw roasts & turkeys, and I can prep slow cooker meals the night before, without ever even worrying about wether or not I will be able to fit that stuff into the fridge!

I also love the extra middle fridge drawer.  We keep it stocked with fruits and veggies, and even Bjørn & Haakon (3 1/2 & 2 years old!) love to grab their own apples and carrots.  They feel so grown up, and all of a sudden eating veggies is fun for my picky toddlers.  How is that not a great thing?!

With the holiday baking season in full swing, this beautiful fridge is getting a workout.  And I am grateful for it every single day when I walk into my kitchen!

Want to hear some other moms’ thoughts on their Maytag appliances?  Check out Maytag’s facebook and twitter pages!

“I wrote this post participating in an Maytag Moms Dependable Kitchen Ambassador program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Maytag. I was provided with a Maytag kitchen appliances set, including a refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, and range to facilitate my post.”