10.28.2011

Halloween 2011: Tempting Treats for Adults

The big day is almost here. The day when parents trudge out to watch over their little monsters while they ask strangers for candy. Uhm, why do we do this again? :P

Because we get to dress up too? Well, that's my reasoning I suppose.

Sometimes though, the folks handing out treats put an extra one in there for mom and dad too. At least they do where we go for our evening of tricks and treats. Which got me thinking... if adults were the ones knocking on doors what kind of treats would be passed out? Aside from the obvious amusing suggestions of alcohol and prophylactics that frat boys would suggest I've collected a handful of items few kids would want but adults will love.

From wasabi peas and black licorice pipes to classic chewing gum such as the wintergreen flavor of Beemans and fiery ginger candies you could easily stock some of these to pass on to the weary parental units guiding the herd through one of the most loved and hated holidays of the year.

My personal favorites are Metromint's Chocolatemint water and Theo's Fantasy chocolate bars. The Chocolatemint water sounds disgusting but is refreshing, calorie-free (contains no sugar or artificial sweeteners!), and has all of the flavor minus the sweetness. Meanwhile, Theo's chocolate is fair-trade, organic, and comes in both milk and dark varieties with flavors including Bread & Chocolate, Coconut Curry, and Fig Fennel with Almond. Treats no proper adult could pass up.

Weigh in ye adults! What other treats would you want to see dropped into your pillow case or pumpkin bucket that your kids wouldn't want to steal from ya?


Links for adult friendly treats:

10.27.2011

Book Rhi-view: Ruby, Violet, Lime: Looking for Color by Jane Brocket

Ruby, Violet, Lime: Looking for Color (Jane Brocket's Clever Concepts)
Nonfiction, Toddler, Child, Colors
Library Binding $25.26 (31 pages, MILLBROOK PRESS) Ebook $18.95
Ruby flowers, violet quilts, lime frosting--colors are all around us. How many colors can you find in the pages of this book? (Ages 4-8)
Publisher Site: www.lernerbooks.com

Refreshing Approach to Teaching Colors (5 stars)

When it comes to teaching small children the basics such as numbers, shapes, and colors there aren't a lot of books out there that bring anything new to the table. On title alone, RUBY, VIOLET, LIME, is stimulating. As a writer and art lover I was very excited to get an early look at what this book had to offer my toddler. Neither of us was disappointed.

Brilliant, full-color photography graces this book with a subtle elegance that might be lost on young readers but parents can appreciate. Covering a broad spectrum of hues as the title suggests this isn't a dull color wheel spewed onto the page. No, this book shows colors in practical situations. The shades on socks, cakes, fruits, doors. As a parent to an extremely verbal and curious 2-year-old RUBY, VIOLET, LIME satisfied her need for words and associated examples and my need for a book we would both enjoy multiple times.

While currently only available in ebook and library bound formats I feel that this is well worth the price. I'm going to be refering the title to the elementary school my children attend for their library and look forward to trying out Brocket's SPIKY, SLIMY, SMOOTH: WHAT IS TEXTURE? very soon!



Notes: Received digital review copy via NetGalley.


More great books for parent/child bonding:

10.20.2011

Halloween 2011: Candy Alternatives Part Two

Finally have time to write this second part up. *phew* It's been the season for bad weather and bad health around here so I do apologize for this not being up sooner. In Part One I offered some nice candy alternatives that won't end up in the trash the next day (with the exception of the glowing goodies). Today I wanted to suggest some alternatives that are still noshable. A couple of hours walking around your neighborhood can work up an appetite so why not have some not-so-sugary goodies for the kids to break up the glut of chocolate and bubblegum?

1. Pretzels

My father-in-law is always telling me what to feed my kids. We don't always see eye-to-eye but he cares and that's what matters to me. When he hits the warehouse store in town we inevitably get a visit from grampa with fruit and snacks he has deemed essential to the survival of his grandbabies. Last year he surprised us with a pumpkin shaped 'barrel' of Halloween shaped pretzels.

Now let me tell you these are a huge hit with my kids and I dig into their snack drawer for some from time to time. They're great dipped into Nutella or peanut butter. I also bought an Olive and Herb Cheese Ball Mix at a Tastefully Simple party that I'm going to make into their Creepy Peepers idea that I think would be great with the pretzels.

You can pick these little bags of pretzels up in lots of places but I know I saw them at Walmart last year. I even saved the plastic barrel for storing dog brushes and toys.

2. Baby Carrots

No really! I saw them last year and did a double-take. Almost bought some but since we don't get many trick-or-treaters I skipped them. Maybe not the most exciting thing a kid could find in their treat bag but toss them in the fridge for a packed school lunch with a little ranch dressing and most kids will eat them. I know mine will.

Scarrots are also packed with a temporary tattoo! How is that not fun? I haven't seen them in our local stores yet this year but if I do and my budget permits I might buy enough to send these for my son's 6th grade class. Their teacher is anti-sugared-snacks in class and I heartily approve.

3. Juice Boxes

I've seen cute little cans of soda that change color when cold (a treat from the in-laws) and mini bags of chips. Both non-candy treats kids love but if you're looking for a healthier alternative you can't go wrong with juice boxes. There are many different types from flavored waters to chocolate milk but you can't go wrong with an organic apple juice. My father-in-law likes to pick up the Fruitables from Apple & Eve for my kids as they're a fruit and veggie mix. Sneaky grampa!

What's also great about juice boxes is that if you're thinking they're not very festive it's easy to decorate them with printable juice box sleeves—like these awesome ones from Centsational Girl—or make some of your own.

4. Popcorn

Honestly... microwave popcorn is the bane of my existence. I loooove popcorn but hate the smell and mess of the microwave variety. Convinient? Yes. Pleasent? No. Yet the facts are that popcorn is one of the less caloricly dense snacks for obvious reasons. It's crunchy and salty, a movie-time staple. Yep, this one is the kid-favorite in our house.

Around this time of year you can find mini-bags with Halloween themed packaging but really any mini bags are a great option. Half the child-friendly factor is that this lets them have their own bag and not sharing with a sibling or parent.
5. Apple Slices

The more expensive option here but I'm finding them popping up here and there. Even the fast food franchises are switching to apple slices in place of french fries. I've never been an apple lover. Something about growing up in the heart of apple country might have solidified my lack of craving for apples but whatever it is my desire for a juicy bite of autumn is rare. My passion for caramel, however, is ever aflame so the idea of apple slices with caramel sauce as a candy alternative seems a no brainer.

Crunchpak makes mini bags of sliced apples with and without caramel sauce for dipping. Is it bribing kids to eat fruit with a candy sauce? Maybe. But there are far worse options and this one will still pack some vitamins into their gobs before the rest of the junk-food fills the rest. My kids would eat these without me suggesting them to so I think they're a big win.


*****

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10.19.2011

Book Rhi-view: Fall Pumpkins: Orange and Plump by Martha E. H. Rustad

Fall Pumpkins: Orange and Plump by Martha E. H. Rustad
Toddler, Child, Seasons, Science
Paperback $6.95 (24 pages, MILLBROOK PRESS)
It's time for a trip to the pumpkin patch! Find out how pumpkins grow. See the many things we do with pumpkins. Let's carve a jack-o'-lantern. Spooky! What happens in fall? Find out in the Fall's Here! series, part of the Cloverleaf Books(tm) collection. These nonfiction picture books feature kid-friendly text and illustrations to make learning fun! (Ages 4-8)
Publisher Site: www.lernerbooks.com

Autumnal Festivity, Simple Science for Young Readers (4 stars)

Learn about pumpkins from spring planting to fall harvest and beyond in three short, educational chapters. Warm hued, cute illustrations show the science of seeds, explain the basics of pollination, and show the changing seasons as the pumpkins grow. Post-harvest kids learn a few uses for pumpkins including pie, jack o'lantern carving for Halloween, and even saving some seeds for planting next year. Included are is a recipe for Roasted Pumpkin Seeds.

Our family is fanatical about fall. It's a very short season for us so we make the most of it by decorating for Halloween and enjoying the changing weather. One of our favorite activities is choosing pumpkins for carving and deciding what to do with them. With a toddler in the family some of these activities are a great chance to teach while having fun. FALL PUMPKINS: ORANGE AND PLUMP is exactly what I was looking for. Teaching our tot where the big, pretty pumpkins she adores came from might be a little over her head at just 2 but she loves the illustrations and this book will be enjoyed for several more years.

I know some families do not like or celebrate Halloween and would like to note that it is only mentioned for a single page where the children in the story are dressed up as a pirate and a witch.

If you're looking for an educational, interesting read for a pre-schooler or young reader with a curious mind this is a terrific book. Science made simple but retaining its factual basis, this book is both cute and smart!


Notes: Received digital review copy via NetGalley.



Buying from Amazon.com? Pair it with these for the 4-for-3 promotion:
 

10.18.2011

Beauty Rhi-view: Zom-body to Love (Glow-in-the-Dark) [OPI Halloween 2011]

OPI 2011 Halloween Zom-body to Love (Glow in the Dark)
More info: opi.com

Finally one that REALLY glows! (5 stars)

I can't even find ZOM-BODY TO LOVE locally because the spa I go to didn't bother getting enough for customers. They had it sitting amidst the other polishes available for mani-pedi clients but didn't even have it swatched so not even the cosmetologists knew they had it. The bright green caught my eye and since I loooove green I asked what it was and I am so glad I did.

The color is gorgeous in the bottle but you won't achieve the same hue even with multiple coats. This is a thin polish to allow for the glowing effect. At three coats I can still see through my polish a little and the color reminds me of surgical scrubs. It's very flattering on my very fair skin and I wish she'd given me just one more coat. She wasn't sure that the polish would be very glowy and I forgot all about it. Later that night I turned the light out to go to bed and startled myself when my toes made a nice green streak jumping into bed.

I bought a cheap-o glow-in-the-dark polish last year and even with several coats got only a very faint glow. This polish, however, is full-nail bright glow. I absolutely LOVE it and suggest it to anyone who is looking for a high-quality glowing polish that's still pretty by daylight. Grab it fast because it's going-going-gone everywhere!


More Mani-Must-Haves for Fall:

10.04.2011

Book Rhi-View: The Digital Mom Handbook

The Digital Mom Handbook: How to Blog, Vlog, Tweet, and Facebook Your Way to a Dream Career at Home by Audrey Mcclelland and Colleen Padilla
Blogging Resources
Paperback $15.99 (256 pages, HARPER)
Ebook $9.99
From the founders of ClassyMommy.com and MomGenerations.com comes the ultimate guide to helping moms build successful careers at home by doing what they already do online—just better. To work or not to work—it’s the toughest question for most mothers today. But Audrey McClelland and Colleen Padilla have found the coveted “middle ground,” creating successful careers from home via the Internet. They’ve literally Skyped, blogged, vlogged, tweeted, and Facebooked their way to the top—and in this eye-opening book they show other moms how to find success through these seven basic steps: 1. Find your passion. 2. Hang a digital “shingle” and start typing. 3. Find your tribe. 4. Make opportunity knock and learn how to answer that door. 5. Manage the Benjamins. 6. Don’t forget the children! 7. Live happily ever after by living your values.
Book Site: digitalmomhandbook.com

Valuable Information for Moms Who Blog (4 stars)

I know this is quite a bit off-topic from what I blog about but when I had the option of reviewing it I felt like it was something I might want to check out.

Mommy-Blogging—as in blogs by moms about mom topics for moms—is the central focus of the book so at times it can feel a little outside the areas of expertise that moms-who-blog about other topics (ie. couponing, books, photography) might need. But for the most part the info here is actually very helpful to anyone thinking of starting a blog (or doing etsy or starting a TTC forum, etc.) because much of it is universal no matter what your central topic is. Depending on what areas you're needing some insight on you'll find hints at the very least. If you're in need of tips and trick for social media that is one large focus of the book as well as how to make money (or basically don't expect to make millions).

Realistic and pretty straight-forward I was pleased to see that the one are I was concerned would take a back seat didn't... how to balance being a mom to your kids AND still have time for blogging. Every mom is different and the authors have several sections where other moms-who-blog give some information about their experiences.

If you've been considering starting a blog and have no idea how to go about it or where to start this book would truly work for any woman (with kids or not) who wants some girl-friendly advice. Having now been blogging for over three years I can say with confidence that most of the info within this tome is spot on or can be adapted to book bloggers as well. I took away several things I want to put to good use and am really glad I waded through the Mommy-Blogging stuff to see if I couldn't find some kernels of wisdom I could apply to both my book blog and product reviewing blog.

Overall, I think this is a great place for a newbie to gage what they want from their blogging or someone like myself with several years of experience to considering the next level (ie. vlogging). Worth every cent!

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley. Cross-posted to my other blog.
The Rhialist (Rhianna Walker) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.