Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve...and some Blog Hoppin!

Merry Christmas Eve!  Hope all of your plans and preparations are going good!  I spent four hours last night wrapping presents (with a couple of breaks of course) and still didn't finish.  As a matter of fact, I ran out of wrapping paper and have to go get more this morning so I can finish!  Having my family over tonight for Christmas Eve and need to finish cleaning the house and making food.  Hope whatever you are doing today, you have fun!  Here is another Christmas poem that I would like to share and then take a little break to do some Friday blog hopping!

Recipe for Christmas All Year Long

Take a heap of child-like wonder
That opens up our eyes
To the unexpected gifts in life—
Each day a sweet surprise.
Mix in fond appreciation
For the people whom we know;
Like festive Christmas candles,
Each one has a special glow.
Add some giggles and some laughter,
A dash of Christmas food,
(Amazing how a piece of pie
Improves our attitude!)
Stir it all with human kindness;
Wrap it up in love and peace,
Decorate with optimism, and
Our joy will never cease.
If we use this healthy recipe,
We know we will remember
To be in the Christmas spirit,
Even when it's not December.
By Joanna Fuchs

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thursday Blog Hopping and a Twitter Hop too!

Merry Christmas eve eve!  Hope you are all enjoying your time off and getting prepared for the holidays.  I am getting ready to head out to the store to pick up my last minute food items.  We are having around 15 family and friends over tomorrow for Christmas Eve and we never seem to do anything small.  We always have a ton of food and drink for sure.  Then Christmas Day we are spending the whole day home just hubby, the girls and I.  This is the first time that we have ever done this and I am hoping it will be a family tradition every year from now on.  We always spend the day with hubby's family over here, but realized last year with both girls how hard it is to open presents and stockings, have our traditional Christmas breakfast, clean up the house and ourselves and get ready to have family over. We just decided to try this out this the dismay of my mother in law who is quite perturbed with the whole idea.  I am looking forward to a day without having to rush and worry about things being out of place.  If I want to spend the day in my pajamas, drinking hot chocolate and watching the girls play with their new toys, that's what I get to do!  Let me share this great Christmas poem that I just found with you in hopes it will make your holidays bright!  Then take a break from the hustle and bustle of the season to do a little blog hopping!

Christmas Joys

Evergreen boughs that fill our homes
With fragrant Christmas scents,
Hearts filled with the loving glow
That Christmas represents;
Christmas cookies, turkeys stuffed,
Festive holly berry,
Little faces bright with joy,
Loved ones being merry;
Parties, songs, beribboned gifts,
Silver bells that tinkle,
Christmas trees and ornaments,
Colorful lights that twinkle;
Relatives waiting with open arms
To smile and hug and kiss us;
These are some of the special joys
That come along with Christmas.
By Joanna Fuchs

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday Blog Hopping!

Good Tuesday morning and Happy Holidays!  It has been crazy busy around my house as we all get ready for Christmas on Saturday.  Thankfully, I have the week off from work so I can get some of these preparations done including housework and maybe a little computer work too.  Hope everyone is getting ready for your special celebrations!  Here's a little blog hopping for you to take a break and check out some great blogs!


It's everyone's favorite day of the week again, Tuesday..
So that means it's time to link up & follow for
Follow Me Back Tuesday

This week joining us as our Guest Host is:
Angela from Mommy Time Out 
 How F.M.B.T Works

  • Follow all 3 Hosts & Guest Host - Spots 1-4   leave a comment w/ link so we can follow back  ( only leave a comment that you follow if you actually follow )
  • Snag our button & make a F.M.B.T. post. 
  • After you post use that link to add your blog to the hop along with blog name  
( NO BLOG HOPs & GIVEAWAYS PLEASE  ) These entries will be deleted.
  • Follow the blogs you like & Follow Back who follows you

Link up every Tuesday at 12:00 am est

Monday, December 20, 2010

Follow Me, Chickadee Tuesdays! 12.20.10

*~*~Welcome to our newest hostess, Carrie With Children!!*~*~

Each week, simply stop by at any of these three blogs for a chance to link up and m
eet new and exciting bloggers out on the interwebz! 

All we ask is that you follow a few simple guidelines:
  • Add a main link to your blog each week (Linky will open every Monday night at 10 p.m. EST and close at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday mornings EST).
  • Follow whichever blog you like; all we ask is that you leave a comment telling them that you found them from Follow Me, Chickadee!
  • You don't have to follow every blog that follows you...but make sure that you follow the blogs that really interest you!
  • If you want to put the blog hop code or the Chickadee button on your Tuesday post on your blog, we welcome it!

*~In The Spotlight This Week~*
About With Just a Bit of Magic:
I’m a mom, a wife, a product manager, a sister, a daughter, and a friend. So let me try to elaborate on that!

I’m married to a great man and we’ve been married for 3 years now. 3 years you ask… with 4 kids? Yes, this is my second marriage and his first. I have 3 daughters that he has fully accepted as his own and he loves unconditionally. I also have a 9-month-old son! Talk about starting over! Whew.

My oldest is Caitlin who’s almost 15. She incredibly intelligent loves sports, community theater, playing her sax and the piano. She has goals for her future, knows what she wants, and probably won’t let anything stop her!

Next is Natalie who’s 11. She my blond haired, blue-eyed baby! She’s always been the child that would sit and entertain her self for hours. She’d sit at the table and draw, color, or play with Play-Doe and really she still does to this day. She’s very outgoing, loves talking with her friends, and has her own unique fashion sense and doesn’t care what others think about it.

Lauren is next and she’s 8. She’s just Lauren! Always concerned about people and doesn’t like it when people are upset with her. She’s pretty easy going and is the one who’s always excited to go to school.

Andrew is the baby. He’s a mama’s boy right now, but I’m sure that will change, as he gets older. He doesn’t really do a whole lot right now. But he’s cute, cuddly, and adored by his sisters! Poor kid doesn’t stand a chance.

They’re my life and I love them more than anything. I would love to be able to stay home with them, participate in school events more, take part in the school PTO, and all the things that I feel I miss out on by working. Maybe someday.

Work. Ahh…. yes. I work full time. It makes things more challenging, but who doesn’t like a good challenge? I work for a small software development company as a product manager. It’s similar to a project manager, but it follows an Agile methodology as opposed to the traditional project management style. On occasion I do some UX (usability/user experience) and QA (quality assurance) work to help out the team get things done on time. I could help the developers, but that’d be really bad. My programming skills are slightly lacking!
Well, that’s me in a nutshell I guess.

Stop by and say hi to this Chickadee and her family!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Saturday Spectacular-Link Up Your Giveaways-12/11-12/18

Good evening!  It's that all important time of the week again.  With the holidays coming up, there are a lot of spectacular giveaways and Holiday Gift Guides going on right now.  I have spent A LOT of time today entering some giveaways for some great prizes!  Do you have giveaways going on right now on your blog?  How about sharing some of those giveaways that you have come across?  Link them up here tonight, tomorrow and all week here on the Saturday Spectacular giveaway linky!  Have a great weekend!

Friday Blog Hopping!

Good Friday morning, hope this weekend is starting out good for you all so far!  It has been a crazy, busy and trying week for me for sure.  The weather here has been up and down all week.  One day it is cold and 23 degrees and like today it is drizzling and almost 40, typical Michigan weather.  My oldest daughter was diagnosed with ADHD this past week and we will be starting her on medication this weekend to help monitor it.  I have really been struggling with this and have had a hard time accepting even though I know a lot of other kids that have gone through this too, yet it doesn't make it any easier for me as a mom.  She has been going through so much with this and I am hoping things change around here for the better for all of us.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend and now onto the blog hoppin!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hamburger Helper-Show Your Helping Hand Review and Giveaway

One of my favorite go to meals around my house is definitely Hamburger Helper.  My favorite flavor has always been Cheeseburger Macaroni, there's nothing better for us than to cook up a box (sometimes two) along with a fresh tossed salad for a quick, easy and satisfying week day meal.  With so many flavors available and new ones always being added, there's definitely a variety for everyone.  I know that my oldest daughter is always excited when I make Hamburger Helper for dinner, as a matter of fact she asks for it on quite a few occasions.  She loves to eat the Cheeseburger Macaroni and scoop it on top of a piece of buttered bread (her dad taught her how to do that).   

Hunger is such a national and worldwide issue today.  According to Feeding America, approximately 5.7 million different people receive emergency food assistance from the organization in any given week.  I know that around my part of town, we have a lot of homeless men and women as well as organizations and shelters that help out people in desperate need of food.  The week of Thanksgiving, we had a local organization that helped hundreds of people with free turkeys and fixings so that they may have food for their families and themselves to enjoy the holiday.  It's so hard to believe that we have so many people that are going hungry and don't get the benefits and luxuries that a lot of us do on a daily basis.  To me, it is absolutely heartbreaking and I love to do my part to help out as much as I can.  
To raise awareness about this national issue of hunger, Hamburger Helper is partnering with one of my favorite country and GRAMMY award winning singer, songwriting and actor; Tim McGraw to help Feeding America deliver millions of meals to local food banks through the Show Your Helping Hand campaign.  Tim McGraw will lend his voice to the campaign through a Public Service Announcement which will be distributed nationwide.  Want to hear this announcement?  Please click HERE or click play below.

You can support the campaign yourself by submitting codes from specially marked boxes of Hamburger Helper at or by logging on to make a donation.  This holiday season, every penny helps and you could make a difference.  Hamburger Helper has already donated more than half a million dollars and will contribute up to an additional $100,000 to Feeding America through this program.  Don't think that just one code will make a difference?  The 17 cents that Hamburger Helper donates for just one code is enough for Feeding America to deliver one meal to a local food bank.

Share your voice and lend a helping hand in the fight against hunger!  You can also win an autographed copy of Tim McGraw's Southern Voice CD by visiting  

I received a wonderful prize package from Hamburger Helper and My Blog Spark consisting of a box of Cheeseburger Macaroni Hamburger Helper, a Hamburger Helper foam "Helping Hand" (which is so cute and the little one loves to play with it and wave at me!) and a copy of Tim McGraw's Souther Voice CD.  In addition to all of this, Hamburger Helper also made a $10 donation to the Show Your Helping Hand campaign on my behalf.  Would you love to win this prize pack for yourself?  Here's what you gotta do!

MAIN ENTRY-Mandatory and must be done before any extra entries.  Please make sure that your email address is either visible in your comments or Blogger profile so that I have a way to contact you if you win.

Comment on how you will encourage others to participate to submit codes and join the Hamburger Helper/Feeding America fight against hunger.  Also tell me your favorite flavor of Hamburger Helper.

EXTRA ENTRIES-Please leave a separate comment for each.
*Follow my blog through Google Friend Connect
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*Tweet-You may do this once daily (use the hashtag #myblogspark in your tweet, please)
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*Subscribe to me via email newsletter (2 entries)
*Grab my NEW button and add it to your sidebar or blogroll (3 entries)
*Blog about this giveaway with a link back to me and (5 entries)

Giveaway will end on Sunday December 19, 2010 at 7pm EST.  Winner will be chosen via and notified by email as well as posted here on my blog.  Winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Open to US residents ONLY!  GOOD LUCK!
Disclosure- The above prize pack, information and all images were provided to me via My Blog Spark and Hamburger Helper.  I comply by all FTC rules and regulations.  The words expressed in this review and giveaway opportunity are not influenced in any way.  No purchase necessary to enter and void where prohibited by law.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Saturday Spectacular-Link Up Your Giveaways-12/4-12/11

Saturday Spectacular is back after the holiday!  Have some great giveaways or a Holiday Gift Guide going on right now that you would like to tell everyone about?  ind a giveaway or two on another blog that you would like to share?  Link them up her today and all week on my Saturday Spectacular giveaway linky!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Lawry's Complete Meal Ideas Review and Giveaway

As a newly back to work mother, I always seem to be in a hurry as well as always stuck in a rut when it comes to making dinner.  I try to look for new meal ideas, but seem to make the same thing it seems week after week.  I'm not sure if its because I am fresh out of ideas, don't have a whole lot of time to prepare a great meal, or just plain tired.  There are so many great options out there in the stores, yet sometimes I would rather go out than to make a meal and do all of the clean up afterward.  I was so excited recently to get the opportunity to do a "spark" from My Blog Sprak for Lawry's.  We use A LOT of Lawry's products around out house, especially in the summer with all of the great grilling marinades and spices that Lawry's provides to us.  Here is what I received:

A large glass marinating dish with lid and FOUR varieties of Lawry's new seasoning mixes, perfect for cooking that fast and easy meal that we all crave as busy mommies (and daddies!).  Hubby and I were excited to try these varieties of seasoning mixes, OK I was quite excited to try the big marinating dish as well!  The first one we tried was the Tuscan Style Chicken Marsala with Garlic and Basil.  We are lovers of anything garlic and the kids love their chicken.  This was so easy to make and talk about quick, we were all sitting down for dinner in no time.  All I needed to do was cut the chicken in thin slices, brown it with a little olive oil, add fresh mushrooms, a little water, and the seasoning packet and let the sauce cook until it is thick.  We serves it over some extra wide egg noodles and had a tossed salad with it for an absolute complete and satisfying meal.  The flavor was amazing and everyone couldn't stop raving about it.  It sure made my night a lot easier and not a whole lot of clean up was involved.  Less than a half an hour from start to finish!  

These great seasoning flavors from Lawry's include:
*Asian Style Beef & Broccoli- This easy to prepare stir fry meal will remind your family of their favorite Asian restaurant.  This dish combines beef, broccoli, and seasonings with a hint of garlic.  Serve it over rice for a complete and satisfying meal.
*Chimichurri Burrito Casserole- Lawry's gives the Burrito casserole a new twist with this Latin American sauce.  With a few simple fresh ingredients, mealtime just got a little more exciting!
*Mediterranean Sun Dried Tomato & Garlic Chicken- Add a taste of the Mediterranean to your family's casserole.  This easy to bake casserole combines chicken, pasta, tomatoes, and Feta cheese for a flavorful meal any night of the week.  
*Tuscan Style Chicken Marsala with Garlic & Basil- This effortless version of a restaurant favorite comes together on your stovetop with just a few fresh ingredients.  Flavorful garlic and basil gives this meal it's own Tuscan flair, perfect for serving over pasta and rice.  

I am looking forward to trying the Chimichurri Burrito Casserole for dinner this weekend.  If you have little time during the week like I do for making dinner , these great seasoning packets from Lawry's will not only save you time but will make delicious dinners for you and your family as well. 

For more information about Lawry's and their seasoning mixes, please head on over HERE.  You will also find some delicious recipes as well.

Want to win a Lawry's Complete Meal Ideas Prize Pack like the one I received?  You will win the large glass marinating dish with lid and one packet each of the Asian Style Beef and Broccoli, Tuscan Style Chicken Marsala with Garlic & Basil, Chimichurri Burrito Casserole and Mediterranean Sun Dried Tomato & Garlic Chicken.

MAIN ENTRY-Mandatory and must be done before any extra entries.  Please make sure that your email address is either visible in your comments or Blogger profile so that I have a way to contact you if you win.

Please tell me what you would do with the time saved by cooking with the new Lawry's seasonings.  Also let me know which flavor you are most excited to try.

EXTRA ENTRIES-Please leave a separate comment for each.
*Follow my blog publicly through Google Friend Connect.
*Follow me on Twitter (@furygirl3132) or click on the cute Twitter button on the right sidebar
*Tweet-You may do this once daily
*Like me on Facebook (Eloise Bowen Carlson or click on the cute button on the right sidebar)
*Follow me on Networked Blogs
*Subscribe to me via RSS feed
*Subscribe to me via email newsletter
*Place my NEW button on your sidebar or blogroll (3 entries)
*Blog about this giveaway with a link back to me (5 entries)

Giveaway will end on Tuesday December 14, 2010 at 7pm EST.  Winner will be chosen via and notified by email as well as posted here on my blog.  Winner will have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.  Open to US residents ONLY!  GOOD LUCK!

Disclosure- I received this Lawry's Complete Meal Ideas Prize Pack, all information, and additional prize pack through My Blog Spark and Lawry's.  I comply with all FTC rules and regulations.  The words expressed are that of my own and not influenced in any way.  No purchase necessary to enter and void where prohibited by law.

Friday Blog Hopping

Good Friday morning all!  Sorry I have been MIA for a while, with the holidays, work and everyday life going on, my time has been quite limited on the computer for sure.  Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Now onto some fun Friday Blog Hops!

New Friend Fridays

Created by MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

*It's not about getting thru's about getting something out of it.
Bob Harper
*I can't save you, you have to save yourself.
Jillian Michaels
*Stand up and finish what you started.
Bob Harper
*This isn't about winning a game, it's about fixing what's broken.
Bob Harper
*Can't is just a reason to quit.
Jillian Michaels
Hard Work, Dedication...-Dolvett Quince

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