Holiday Meals – Let Fry’s Do The Cooking! {$75 Giveaway}

Fry's food stores

The holiday season is busy enough, why worry about cooking dinner? Let Fry’s do the cooking! We recently hosted Thanksgiving dinner for my side of the family and thanks to Fry’s Food Stores we were able to order a Turkey Holiday Dinner pre-made and ready for pick-up from our local Fry’s Deli. With all our family coming from a good distance away, this eased the typical kitchen pre-holiday meal prep stress and chaos. Instead, we arranged for everyone to go on a scenic family hike while the meat warmed. By the time everyone got home, dinner was ready and the kitchen looked great!


How It Works

Let Fry’s Do the Cooking!

The site has everything from meal details, ingredients, and ordering forms.


Our Experience

We ordered a Express Turkey Dinner via online and picked up our order from the deli the night before Thanksgiving. As packed as a store can get the evening before a holiday, we could have been in and out of the store in less than 10 minutes, if the deli was our only stop. The Fry’s Deli employee placed our turkey dinner order directly into our shopping cart for us with these two reusable shopping bags.

Fry's Holiday Meals Review

Our Express Turkey dinner included: a 10-13 lb. Oven Roasted Turkey, 1-24 Oz. Mashed Potatoes, 1-32 Oz. Old Fashion Stuffing, 1-24 Oz. Turkey Gravy, 1-12 Ct. Dinner Rolls.

Knowing we were going to be serving 15 people, I knew we did not have enough sides in the order (little kiddos love mash potatoes!). Luckily, they had additional sides in the refrigerated section across from the deli and I could snag enough of the individual sides we needed. We also picked up a ham from the meat department, some corn on the cob from the freezer section, and some paper plates/plastic utensils…all the essential for a great holiday meal!

Fry's Holiday Meals Review

Since the turkey was already cooked, we decided to slice it up and remove all the meat from the bone. We did the same with the ham and placed them in 9×13 pans all ready to be warmed the next day. It felt great to have the majority of the meal prep done before we even went to bed.

When my family arrived at our house (some of them for the first time) the next day, it was so nice to be able to have an entirely clean house, especially a clean kitchen, to show off, have dinner already prepped and not be stressed out. Everyone was able to enjoy just spending time together instead of making a mess in the kitchen and hoping the turkey would be done in time. Awesome!

Fry's Turkey Holiday Meal Review


All the food tasted great! My husband was a little concerned about the way the stuffing looked coming out of the package, but once we fluffed it, it looked fine and tasted pretty good. I do not think we heard a single negative comment from anyone, even our pickiest eaters (see below ;-) )! We did use crockpots to keep the food warm to be served, but we literally pulled them out 20 minutes before serving. We heated the majority of the food (not the meat) in the microwave and then placed them in the crockpots. That way the food stayed warm for those who wanted seconds.

Fry's Holiday Meals Review

We will definitely be ordering another meal from Fry’s in the future. Can you imagine enjoying Christmas Eve Dinner instead of being exhausted from cooking a nice family meal? You have to save that energy for all that Christmas Morning fun, right?


Win a $75 Gift Card

Can you imagine enjoying Christmas Eve Dinner instead of being exhausted from cooking a nice family meal? All that energy needs to be saved for Christmas morning fun, right? Enter to win $75 to order your own Holiday Dinner courtesy of Fry’s Food Stores.

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Elf Magic ~ Creating Christmas Traditions

I did it…I guess I should be saying, we did it! We have three extremely excited children, each with their own Magic Elf and we are embarking on our first Christmas incorporating the Elf Magic tradition thanks to the Elves we received from Elf Magic. This Elf tradition is the only one that lets your child play and cuddle with their Elf, which I am a HUGE fan of. Let me explain…

What is Elf Magic?

First, a little about Elf Magic:

Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 8.45.06 AM

“Elf Magic is the booming tradition where Santa’s “magic” Elves visit children’s homes during the Christmas season. The visiting Elf comes to life at night to embark on all kinds of adventures – the remnants of which surprise children when they awake the next morning. Elf Magic Elves are also very sweet and enjoy being held and loved throughout the day. While some of the Elves have mischievous streaks from time to time, Santa knows which Elf will be the best fit for each family. So whether a family wants excitement or simply companionship from their Elf, Santa will make sure their Christmas wish comes true.”

The Tradition Begins

I will be honest. I was not going to jump into the “Elf” tradition this year. I have heard tales about them from my children’s friends and their parents and they sounded like so much work. And the biggest deterrent to me, was that the elf was not supposed to be touched. My children are the type that have to touch. And so the Elf tradition sounded like added stress and one more thing around the house that I would have to police (keeping the Christmas Tree standing is hard enough!), both of which I would love less of during the Christmas Season.  No Elf’s for us!

BUT then some crazy teacher at school started bringing their Elf to in a couple of weeks ago. I started to see that Christmas twinkle and excitement in my children’s eyes every time they saw that teacher or visited her room and luckily that is when I learned about the Elf Magic Tradition.

How It Works

Step 1: Write a letter to Santa Claus. The tradition begins when your child writes a littler to Santa requesting an Elf Magic friend to visit through the holiday season.

Elf Magic Tradition Review

They even worked together to write a letter for their little sister.

photo 2


Step 2: The Elf appears. Once, the Elf has finished all their work at the North Pole, the Elf magically appears sometime between Thanksgiving and the days leading up to Christmas. I may or may not have told my children that the Elf cannot come unless their rooms were clean because they do not want to get lost in them. Now they have amazingly clean rooms for the start of the Holiday Season. Our Elves then appeared under each child’s pillow and I cannot even describe how surprised and excited they were!!!

Elf Magic Tradition Review

That evening, I kept hearing exclamations of how they thought their Elf’s eyebrow moved or that they thought they saw them smile!


Step 3: Read the poem and tips from Santa that will explain the tradition and what the Elf needs. Each Elf brings Magic North Pole Snowflakes (included) that the child should sprinkle on them each night to bring him or her to life. Then magically when everyone is asleep, the Elf goes on all types of adventurous Elfcapades. Now the Elfcapades were my biggest fear, but they do not always have to be crazy (this is explained more in the poem and tips from Santa). Elfcapades can be something simple like hiding or moving to a different room or something a little more fun like cookie baking, gift wrapping and hiding in freezers (because the Elves love the frosty temperature!). If a small mess is made (also explained in the tips), your children are supposed to help clean it up, which amazingly mine have been more then happy to do!

So for us, one night I was making a pie anyways and let the Elves wrap it up for me…

Elf Magic Tradition Review

…and another night they were found on the couch with the remote in hand.

For more inspiration, click here for Elfcapades ideas or to share your own.

Elf Magic Tradition Review


Step 4: Elf fun is not only at night. Elf Magic Elves love to be held and loved thoughout the day. Their visit is only for a short time, so playing with the Elf Magic Elf makes their stay more special and creates family  memories. Like I said earlier, this is my FAVORITE part. No added pressure on this mom to make sure the Elf is not touched. Love it!

Elf Magic Tradition Review


Step 5: Elves may make surprise visits during the year. All Elves return to help Santa at the North Pole on Christmas Eve ready to return to create more memories next year. But because children get attached to their Elves, they have been known to show up for brief visits thoughout the year as a surprise for a special events, like a birthday, first day of school or a family vacation. My son is super excited about this possibility!


So far we are enjoying our new tradition and it helps me to remember to have a little fun and not to be such a Stress Scrouge during this special and magical time of year.


*I received product in order to help facilitate our experience. Regardless, all opinions are 100% my own!


Travels with Gannon and Wyatt Book Series {Review and Giveaway

As part of our family bedtime routine, like most families, we like to read books. My son is a huge fan of adventure books! Our most recent read has been the first book of  the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt series.

About the Book

“In the tradition of the historic journals kept by explorers such as Lewis and Clark, Dr. David Livingstone, and Captain James Cook, comes the fictional adventure book series Travels with Gannon and Wyatt. From Africa to the South Pacific, these twin brothers have traveled to all corners of the globe. The journals, photographs and video compiled on their real-life expeditions provide the foundation for this action-packed educational series.”

Travels with Gannon and Wyatt is a middle-grade adventure series written by Patti Wheeler and Keith Hemstreet. These adventure books are written different than other books we have read before. The stories are are told from the perspective of twin teenage brothers in journal format, which means that instead of chapters, the brothers take turns writing a few paragraphs to a few pages about what is going on. It is a fun way to read an adventure and keep things moving or stop for the night when this mom simply cannot keep her eyes open much longer.

The Travels with Gannon and Wyatt series include:

  • Botswana (released May 2013)
  • Great Bear Rainforest (released October 2013)
  • Egypt (to be released January 2014)

Right now THREE Kindle Fires are being given away on the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt Facebook page in November.

Gannon & Wyatt Series

Our Experience

Our first book of the series that we read was Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Botswana. Each night my son, without fail, asked to read the book, if that is any indication of how much he liked it!

Gannon & Wyatt Book Review
We had a great time reading about the brothers’ adventures and there were even a handful of pictures throughout the book, which I found especially helpful when they were talking about animals we were not familiar with. Another fun part of the book are the maps that are found on the inside of the front and back cover. My son loved looking at them and asking me questions about the locations we were reading about.

Gannon and Wyatt, Books boys will love

My son has been telling everyone about “his new books” and how he can’t wait to read the one about the bear (Travels with Gannon and Wyatt: Great Bear Rainforest). Lucky for him, that is the next book we will be reading together!


Win your own set of the Travels with Gannon and Wyatt series (all three books valued at a total of $38.85.)

Gannon & Wyatt Series

TO ENTER: Leave a comment below telling me what kind of books you child loves to read.


**Giveaway will end Monday, November 25, 2013 at noon EST. Winner will be contacted via email and have 12 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. 


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Baby Stella {Review and Giveaway}

Both of my girls have birthdays early in November and with my youngest turning 1 I have been on the lookout for a great first doll. A big thank you to Manhattan Toy, because I found THE doll and they were able to send one to us to review and share with you {enter the giveaway below!!!}. Meet Baby Stella!

Baby's first baby doll
When my oldest daughter turned 1, I was super excited for her to get her first baby doll. Unfortunately, I discovered I made a mistake when I received a fat lip from the doll’s hard head before it was even out of the box all the way! It did not take long for her to discover she had a secret weapon and she “innocently” used it to protect herself from her big brother. She carried that doll close and if my son got near her to look at the doll, she would swing it at him! {Oh, so very funny and sad at the same time because he probably had that coming, right?!} Ever since then I have been on the search for a better alternative to the basic hard, plastic dolls typically available at local stores and discovered the Stella doll line from Manhattan Toy.

Below is my baby girl’s reaction to getting her own doll! It is so hard to take pictures of a constantly moving toddler, but I think you can see her excitement! She kept hooting and moving her arms up and down.

The perfect first baby doll
Baby Stella is soft all the way around, which means she has no plastic on her. {You know everyone in our house loves and appreciates that!} She is firmer than a stuffed animal, but just as soft with embroidered features, little toes, a belly button and a plump tummy. She also comes with a pacifier that attaches magnetically to her mouth. Amazingly, my refused-to-use-a-binky 1 year old knows exactly where the binky belongs on her new baby! Her clothes, which include a dress, bloomers and a diaper, are also made of soft fabric and everything fastens with velcro. I thought the velcro from the clothes might stick and maybe even ruin the skin of the baby doll, but I am happy to report they do not. {We made sure to test it!}

My 6 year old loves to change the outfits on Baby Stella and my 1 year old loves to undress her and cuddle with her!

Baby Stella Review
Baby Stella comes in 6 different styles including a boy doll and a Sweet Sounds doll (not pictured below). There are also a variety of outfits and accessories to choose from if you want to add more fun to the imaginative play! I wish I knew about the boy doll when my son was little. I could not find anything other than stuffed animals for him.

Baby Stella Doll - Variety Boy Doll too


About Manhattan Toy – Imaginations at Play

“Play is discovery and exploration, and joy, and growth, and learning, and so much more. And for us play is serious work. So when we bring play to life, we do it with a commitment to the finest in craftsmanship and creativity. All of our products, from the newest concepts to our time-tested classics, are innovatively designed to inspire imaginative play and delight our consumers large and small.”

I love companies that promote imaginative exploration and learning this about Manhattan Toy makes me like them even more! It goes along with one of my favorite quotes  from Fred Rogers, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”



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Halloween with JOLLY TIME Pop Corn {Review}

One of my kiddos favorite treats is popcorn. So when Jolly Time Pop Corn offered to send me a few samples, I could not say no!

Popcorn Fun


Pop corn is usually our go to treat for our Friday Night movie nights and we always love it with a little salt and sugar sprinkled on it. Yum! With sugar everywhere due to the Halloween Season, it is a welcomed treat and snack more than ever. The kids enjoyed their new Butter Light microwave pop corn, but I prefer their plain pop corn.

Jolly time Popcorn


Along with our sample package Jolly Time sent us this Caramel Corn Balls recipe and I think I am going to try and make this for our Halloween party.

caramel_apple popcorn recipe

Jordache Jeans! Mommy and Me {Review}

This season Jordache Jeans is focusing on Mommy & Me looks and sent each of us girls a pair of jeans to try out.

Jordache Jeans Review Mommy & Me


My girls each received a pair of Jordache Flare jeans. As soon as my oldest daughter saw the sparkles she was in love! Jeans are always so hard to find for her because the length she needs always have a large waist. So, we were excited to find these were adjustable in the waist and are now a perfect fit. My youngest daughter is not used to pants/jeans being an Arizona baby. I remember with my other two at this age that when they had jeans on it almost seemed like they could not bend over because of the band. These jeans are made out of a soft and more flexible fabric than previous jeans my babies have worn, so they did not prevent her from doing any of her normal mischief. She is just starting to walk and once we get some shoe on her, the length will not be a problem, either.

Jordache Jeans Review Mommy & Me


As for my pants, I received a pair of Jordache Super Stretch Denim Leggings…Leggings people!! When I pulled out the girls pants and saw they were flares, I thought, “Perfect! So me!” But, when I pulled mine out I was super nervous. I have never tried on a pair of skinny jeans because I assumed they would not look good. I will be honest. I am not into fitted bottoms/pants. I never want to emphasize my curvy than I liked to show off curves and so I avoid fitted. I am happy to report that I was wrong and I now have a new favorite pair of jeans! These jeans are stretchy and so they are super comfy in the waist and seat area. They did come a bit too long for my short body, but nothing trimming a few inches off could not solve. And because they are stretch, the front pockets are just for looks…something I will just have to get used to! ;-)

Jordache Jeans Review Mommy & Me


Here is Jordache Jeans’ new commercial with Heidi Klum…careful, I had this song stuck in my head for days! Enjoy!


*Cute pictures taken by my Little Sis!

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