Monthly Archives: December 2014

Monk Fruit in the Raw MommyParty

Thankful that I was able to host an In The Raw MommyParty.  I loved learning about this zero calorie sweetener and whipping up some fabulous recipes to share with my family and friends.  Hot Cocoa, Honey Green Tea, Sweet Lemon Tea, Sweet Lemonade were part of the beverages in my MommyParty Beverage Bar.  Raymond and Emma Marie helped me make some allergy-free(no egg, gluten and nut-free) chocolate chip cookies.  I was definitely interested in how “sweet” the cookies would taste, and I was definitely not disappointed. There were fresh veggies, cheese and crackers, and of course some more baked goodies(can’t have enough during the holidays) and everyone walked away with big smiles on their faces(and lots of leftovers tucked away in their goody bags).

Monk Fruit In The Raw Packets: Just one orange packet packs the sweetness of about two teaspoons of sugar.  Sweeten tea or coffee- hot or cold.  Mix up a cocktail(or mocktail), blend a smoothie, or sprinkle on cereal.

Monk Fruit In The Raw Bakers Bags: Since it measures just like sugar, the Bakers Bag formula is perfect for use in your favorite sweet recipes!


Raymond may or may not have had a dance party in the kitchen when I told him he would be helping me make chocolate chip cookies that HE could eat. With so many food-allergies it is hard to find winning recipes that work for us with all of the substitutions we need to make and how safe the ingredients are( nut-free facility…)- so this was a treat.

He was beaming when we put on his apron and couldn’t wait to get his “hands”-as he calls them- on to help bake.


My Big Helper






Declaring himself the official taste-tester.  Don’t worry- this is perfectly safe- he is allergic to eggs-therefore this egg-free concoction is his for the picking.


Old school? He high-fived the parchment paper. Yep, he made hand-print cookies.  But guess what? They tasted just like the round cookies.





Best. Day. Ever


Emma Marie- the climber in the family couldn’t wait to don her apron, grab her baby, and see what all the commotion was about.  My fearless girl got to the top, took two bites out of a cookie, and then quickly decided she was “too high”.  She scales, non-climbable(I swear) things all the time, so this was a shock to us… but at least she enjoyed the two bites.

Pirate Tattoo that my husband put on her from a birthday party that is actually quite hard to remove… I didn’t know she was tatted until bath-time that night-she had been wearing long-sleeves all day-and it was quite the surprise to me and her.  Yep, she forgot he had put that on her and tried to run away from it. Not kidding. Yep. Take a second to picture a toddler being terrorized by an object on her arm.  We’re winning at this parent thing I tell you.

After a morning spent baking, getting the cheese tray out, and cutting up veggies it was time to prep for the party! Beverage Bar for the Win!



Beverage Bar



 Assortment of lemons and limes.


 Hot Cocoa Bar

Hot Chocolate

White Marshmallows

Rainbow Marshmallows

White Chocolate Chips

Chocolate Chips

Definitely the fan-favorite as we are actually enjoying some cold weather here in Arizona.  I loved that the Monk Fruit In The Raw made our homemade cocoa just that much sweeter!


 Sweet Lemon Tea

Honey Green Tea


 Sweet Lemonade


 Hide ‘n Sweet Game:

Before the guests arrived, I hid packets of Monk Fruit In The Raw throughout the downstairs…. Raymond definitely is ALL ABOUT Hide ‘n Seek these days so it was pretty priceless to see him take this game so seriously.


S.W.E.E.T Word Game:

Guest’s flexed their vocabulary with this fun word game with a “sweet” twist!

We used a timer to see who could get all the fields filled in the fastest- pretty hilarious ice-breaker for the party.

The prize was a fabulous purple flowered head band!




Each guest walked out with their bellies full of goodness and this sweet cotton sack with their own assortment of Monk Fruit In The Raw samples.  Love being able to give little goody bags to all of my lovely friends and family!



Loved hosting this party and can’t wait to do another beverage bar over the holidays with our family that is flying in from Hawaii and Washington State!

I feel like I need to perfect a “theme” for future beverage bars… felt like there may have been too many flavors I was trying and that might have ended up being more work on my end because of that… over zealous? Perhaps.


What are your go-to beverages when you host company? 

I would love to hear about any tips, tricks, or recipes you have. Please share.




You can connect with  In The Raw on TWITTERPINTEREST, INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK for all of the latest news and announcements.



I received free products in order to host the In The Raw sponsored MommyParty. As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.

A True Gift- A College Education

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and while you are thinking about what you can get for those little ones in your life you may want to keep this in mind- instead of buying another toy or sweater(that may never be worn) you could donate to the child’s 529 College Savings Plan.  Give them a gift they won’t outgrow. Learn how you can give the gift of education and receive valuable tax breaks at This is an incredible alternative to buying “just another gift” and is truly going to a great cause- their educational future.

The ACPE is working with three financial partners to help make college dreams come true.  Toys don’t last. An education does. Learn how you can give the gift of education and receive valuable tax breaks at If you would like to open a 529 College Savings Plan for your child, the time is now. The money in the account will be used for qualified higher education expenses and grows tax free!  Goodness, when I think about how much money I spent out-of-pocket for books each semester… it would have been quite wonderful to be able to use those funds saved over the years to help pay for my education.  Giving the gift of knowledge is truly admirable.

Many of my friends opened up 529 College Savings Plans for birthday contributions instead of another toy(that inherently blares music and flashes lights). My husband and I are opening up ones for Raymond and Emma Marie so that our family and friends can choose to donate if they so wish. We also plan to contribute a certain amount per year and realize that every bit counts!

A future is the best gift you can give a child. Learn how you can give the gift of education and receive valuable tax breaks at



The ACPE has financial partners you can choose from to help with all of your questions about 529 College Savings Plan. If you would like to open a 529 College Savings Plan in person you can go to Waddell & Reed.  Fidelity, and College Savings Bank offer online enrollment.


Help make college more than just a dream this holiday season!



This is post is sponsored by  the ACPE.  All opinions as always are 100% my own.

Just Like Her Brother: Nuby Pop-Up Cup

Emma and Her Grown-Up Cup
If you want your littlest to do something… have their older brother do it first. BOOM. Works Every.Single.Time.  After trying to have her be successful with straws in a big-girl cup(just like her brother) on her insisting, but she just wasn’t ready. So we introduced this Nuby Pop-Up Cup to Emma and after letting Raymond have a sip- she IMMEDIATELY asked for her own. WIN. I love that she was able to use the cup AND that the cup can take her biting. Great quality of a cup!
The Nûby™ Pop-Up™ Cup features the easy pop up action sipper that is easy to use. The snap on cap will keep the sipper clean while on the go. Available with fun character prints and colors to make cup drinking more fun.
The Easy-Grip design makes it easier for a child to hold.  Emma Marie loves having her own cup of milk at the table and we are happier than ever that she can successfully use this all on her own.
After not being able to use a straw cup like her brother she got incredibly discouraged and stopped accepting milk.  She doesn’t each cheese and rarely eats yogurt so I knew we needed to make something work.
This cup looks like a fancy water bottle.  Emma learned quickly how to take off the top(so much fun, I swear-priceless) and reveled in being able to actually put it on her pant line-like an old school beeper(anybody??? anybody???) and boy do those tricks make her feel like one grown-up little lady. I definitely think this is a smart buy and one that personally works for our little family!
Available at these  fine retailers:
    • DD’s Discounts
    • Meijer
    • JC Penney
Connect with Nuby on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Pinterest to stay up to date with all of their new products and promotions.

*Disclaimer – I was provided a product for review as a Nuby Parent Blogger. No other compensation was received. All opinions are honest and 100% my own.

5 DIY Holiday Baked Goods in a Jar

Gifts in a Jar for the holidays, hostess gifts, and teacher appreciation days. Five easy to make recipes that look as good as they taste. There are five different cookie, brownie, AND cake recipes that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth and delight those that you gift these too.  I have a set of old-fashioned recipe cards that I punch a hole in and hand-write the directions and extra ingredients listed for each gift.

As a food-allergy family, when gifting to one of our friends that has food allergies or for using ourselves we substitute brown rice flour, coconut oil(instead of eggs), and we make sure all of the chocolate and other goodies are from nut-free facilities.  Peace of mind my friends.  Our creations without the added goodness sometimes leaves something to be desired in the looks department-but does it really matter what it looks like if your children can eat it? I don’t think so. But I am a bit biased.

My husband was the designated taste-tester for all of the recipes below and he gladly gobbled up the batches over the past couple of weeks. Would be a shame to make a fabulous looking gift and then the recipe doesn’t turn out for them… color me awkward and embarrassed.  But I can tell you that these work like a charm!

Grab a set of Ball Glass Jars, recipe cards, and ingredients!

I have the ingredients listed so that you can easily make your own Jar Gifts and then attach the recipe card.

Please enjoy these easy customizable gift ideas!

 Gingerbread Cookies


1 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp  cloves
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar


1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup molasses

1 egg


  1. Cream together 1/2 cup butter, 3/4 cup molasses and 1 egg. Blend in the Gingerbread Cookie Mix. Stir until well blended.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Roll out dough to 1/4 on a lightly floured surface. Using cookie cutters, cut out shapes and place on a greased cookie sheet.
  3. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.

 Hot Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies


devil’s food cake mix

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup mini-marshmallows


2 eggs

1/3 cup oil


  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Empty the cake mix into a mixing bowl and add the eggs and oil.
  3. Stir (or mix with a mixer) until blended. Add the mini chocolate chips.
  4. Using two small spoons, measure out and shape each cookie into a small ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Add three mini marshmallows to the top of each cookie, pushing them lightly into the raw dough.
  5. Bake for 8-9 minutes.



Chocolate Brownies


2/3 tsp salt

5/8 cup flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup flour

2/3 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup white sugar

1 cup chocolate chips

1 cup white chocolate chips


1 tsp vanilla

2/3 cup oil

3 eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a baking pan.
  2. Pour the contents of the jar into a large bowl and mix well. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla, 2/3 cup vegetable oil and 3 eggs. Beat until just combined.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.




Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal, and Pecan Cookies


1 cup all-purpose flour 

1 1/4 cups rolled oats 

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup light-brown sugar

1 cup chopped toasted pecans

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 large egg

3/4 cup  unsalted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar on high until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat to combine.

  2. With mixer on low, gradually add mixture and beat just until combined. Fold in pecans and chocolate chips.

  3. Bake cookies until puffed and golden around edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through.



Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies


1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips-chocolate & vanilla

1 cup miniature marshmallows


1 cup butter

2 eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 300F. Grease cookie sheets.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips and  marshmallows. 
  3. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes.



Emma Marie snuck into my photo session to steal some of the props for her big brother… sharing is caring.

 Our friend’s favorite? Chocolate Chip, Oatmeal & Pecan Cookies


Happy Holidays Friends!



I am linking up with 71 other fabulous bloggers to bring you three posts a day of recipes, crafts, and holiday traditions during the #countdown2xmas!  You can catch-up on all of the fun at A Whimsicle Life. You can also join in our daily Instagram Challenge- follow along with me at AsCuteAsABugsEar.  I’ve loved connecting to so many wonderful people this holiday season!

What do you like to gift during the holidays? 

Do you have a go-to recipe for the holidays?

I would LOVE to hear from you!

A Day at the Farm



On Saturday, after a week of an awful case of the flu we finally ventured outside!  We visited one of our favorite local farms to just enjoy the cooler weather, splash in puddles, and devour their fabulous goodies. YUM.


Every time we go to Schnepf’s Farm we take a picture on this bench.  They have already grown so much since the Pumpkin and Chili Festival and this past spring’s Peach Festival. Cue the mom sigh. Oh, and since we watch The Grinch- Raymond thought he would be just like him at the beginning of the movie with a piece of straw in his mouth. Pretty hilarious.

A boy and trains.  He has been wishing for a train set for the last couple of months and it’s what he plans on asking Santa for this next week.

This sweet jacket was mine when I was just a year old- if you do the math quickly that means it is at least 29 years old- so it’s vintage. Emma Marie LOVED wearing it and the bear on the zipper is something she always “oohs and aahhs” over.

Two months ago we were picking out pumpkins by these trees.  They played in real leaves- many of the trees here do not lose their leaves-so this was a real treat for them.  Wearing their boots-playing in the leaves-stomping in puddles.


Raymond grabbed her hand and told her that they were, “Going this way!” and they took off.  But not before Emma Marie turned back to check to see if it was okay.  She isn’t hesitant about much-why she is the one scaling furniture that you would never believe could be climbed.  Such sweet moments.






Right outside the country store. My husband and I were eating a cinnamon roll-goodness was it delicious-and they just wanted to hang out by the Christmas lights in their big chairs.



Schnepf’s Farm sells all sorts of homemade treats- fresh bakery goodies-salsas-jams-jellies-and more!  We picked up an ice-cream come full of goat feed and trekked to the back of the farm to feed the goats.  To our surprise their were lots of baby goats! Raymond and Emma Marie could not contain their excitement and we spent easily an hour feeding the goats, saying “hi” to all of them, and watching the babies play.

I can’t wait to take my neices to the farm when they arrive from Hawaii for the holidays!  Two Hawaiian baby girls at the farm! Perhaps a cousin picture with all of them in the frame? Yep, one can hope!


Are there local farms that you can go to?

Any fun plans for the holidays?


I would love to hear from you!

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