Great Kids Book About Abe Lincoln by Brad Meltzer

A fantastic book about Abe Lincoln written for kids by Brad MeltzerHappy Birthday, presidents!  Your kids are probably home today.  Your husband may even be home.  Because some pretty cool men were born a long time ago.  I really like presidents.  I’m not 100% sure why.  I think it might have something to do with the fact that it the most pomp and circumstance our country has.  I also think it is super interesting that people get so crazy about politics and certain presidents in particular.  Presidents are human beings, who make mistakes just like us.  They have families and friends and hobbies and interests.  And some are known for doing GREAT things.  Abraham Lincoln and George Washington are two of my faves.  That Lincoln was a stylish figure and George had curls for days.  I will generally stop to check out anything presidential themed.  So color me happy when I spied this ‘I am Abraham Lincoln‘ book at Target.  The moment I spotted the book I thought about not really knowing why I like Abraham Lincoln so much and I wondered what they say about him to the kids at school.  But I digress.  This book is freaking amazing. You MUST get it for your kids.

slavery is dumb.  thank goodness for abe lincoln.First off, Brad Meltzer is a legit writer.  But from the day his son was born, he knew that he wanted to share people he considered heroes with him at an early age.  Read more about his “Heroes for my Son” book here.  I believe this book was born out of that. These books show these important historical figures as young people not when they were famous.  This really helps the kid to connect with the amazing characteristics these exceptional people possessed.  The focus is also on ordinary people changing the world.  YES!  Let’s get our kids to know that they can make a difference!  The drawings are great, the writing is great and Abe Lincoln was great.  I read the book, standing in Target and knew I had to bring it home for my boys to read.  Abe truly stood up for what he believed in and stood out for fighting for the rights of others.  This book discusses that and shows great character.  All written in a way that children can easily understand.  And if they can’t, it is a great starting point for a family discussion.

Happy birthday Abe Lincoln.  And thank you! This book makes me so happy.  And we’ve read it several nights.  I am so glad I feel like I know a little bit more about this fine president.

other great kids books by brad meltzer about heroes.Turns out Brad Meltzer has written a few other books that I am sure are equally amazing.  I would love to pick these up as well.  Have you run across these?  I encourage you to pick these up and even think of donating these to your school library.  They are absolutely fantastic.

You can order the book here

HVD!

red hots and pink lipsHVD guys!  I hope your day is filled with romance and yummy sweet treats.  Daddy’s of boys, training begins now.  Teach them what it means to be a good husband by example.  No sexy time needed.  Wash a dish, maybe?

*We will return to our regularly scheduled ‘Dirty Side of Blogging‘ next week.

How to Buy Last Minute Gifts for Your Wife or Girlfriend

how to buy last minute gifts for your wife or girlfriend.  Ladies - forward this to every man you know. Ladies.  We are just 2 days away from Valentine’s Day.  It’s crunch time for the men in your life.  Forward this to any man you know who could use some tips for shopping for their significant others.  And feel free to add your own tips in the comment section.  Let’s help husbands and boyfriends give better gifts!  (Really this post is just suggesting they put some thought and a little effort).

Hello, men

Valentine’s Day is in two days.  Do you know how you will celebrate it with your wife or girlfriend?  P.S. bookmark this site for future occasions (Do you even know when your anniversary is?  Her birthday?  The first time you held hands?  HOT TIP:  you will get even more brownie points for doing any one of these things for no reason at all.

First off, use your noodle.  You need to think for a moment about how your woman is.  Would she scoff at, what some might consider to be, smaller gifts, then this post is not for you.  Grab your wallet and head to your nearest luxury department store.  Buy a $400 pair of sunglasses, have them wrap them up for you and you are set.  But if your gal likes you to put a little bit of thought in to the gift, read on.

champagne and leopard is always a winning combo.  Add one little extra touch to make a so so gift, great.My husband and I decided early on in our marriage that the only real gifts that we would buy for each other, each year, would be birthday and Christmas.  We will potentially enjoy a nice meal out for our anniversary but we feel we have a lot of nice things already and don’t need any more stuff.  Depending on how your significant other is, choose one or more of these items to gift her.

If your gal likes to have a cocktail, grab a bottle of bubbly, something that most people do not splurge on or buy for themselves.  The Veuve is a nice, recognizable bottle and crowd (in this case, your lady friend) pleaser.  In my opinion, it is far better to purchase gifts that fit in to your price range than just trying to impress someone (who knows how much you really make).  So if you can’t swing the $40 bottle, look for the La Marca.  It is an Italian prosecco, $12-$14, and tastes delicious.  But how much effort does grabbing a bottle of alcohol really take?  Consider adding on an auxiliary gift.  The auxiliary gift can be inexpensive but should be something that either goes with the drink you are giving or be something that the gal would love.  These leopard print coasters actually came from the Dollar Tree.  Remove all packaging and tie up with string.  Simple.

Stance socks are super fun and a great quick gift idea for your lady friendSocks?!  You say.  Yes, socks.  Browse the internet for a humorous saying to go on the gift tag or use the old stand by, “cold feet, warm heart” or say something about snuggling.  While socks are a practical item, there are some really fun, design forward pairs out there.  You can’t go wrong with Stance socks.  You can find these at most of your local skate or surf shops including the larger chains like Zumiez.  Look for pairs that remind you of her.  Pick a flower from the garden to give along with one -3 pairs of socks and get ready for a hug.

jazz up store bought flowers for your sweetieStore bought flowers are totally ok.  This particular bouquet came from Wal-Mart.  But she doesn’t have to know that.  Most women like their men to put in a little bit of effort to make them feel special.  This was seriously the tiniest bit of effort.  First, remove the store-bought wrapping.  Then cut part of  a paper grocery sack, wrap it around the stem and wind some pink nylon string (found at both Home Depot and Lowe’s) around it.  How easy is that?

fill her favorite candy in a cute box.  Show a little tiny bit of effort.Does your gal have a sweet tooth?  Chances are you know a few of her favorite candies.  This box was from the Target dollar bin. All you have to do is repackage things to make them look like you spent time on it, even if you really didn’t.  She likes something salty instead?  Take a moment to look around for a larger divided container (perhaps in the home decor or kitchen areas – even a divided dish would work) and fill with savory snacks.  Add a note that says something about her being sweet and you are totally getting lucky tonight.

A gal loves a pedicure, so give her some cash and send her to pamper herselfThis one is especially great for women with children.  Sometimes the best gift for a mom is getting some time by herself.  It might seem tacky to just hand her some cash but hear me out.  Most women love to get pedicures.  And there are little nail places all around town.  Chances are, she has a favorite.  She may have even mentioned it to you before.  But wait, was it Lucky Nail, Nail Lucky, Happy Nails…the chances of you getting that one wrong are high.  Tell her that you know how much she does for the family and that you want her to go pamper herself.  The fact that you be taking care of the kids and planned this out will show her that you care and she will be beyond excited.  And she will have the choice of where to go.  Nail places are not created equal.  Are you seeing some gifts or combos of gifts that might work for the lady in your life?

Have your significant other set up a 'wishlist' on pinterest for easy gift buyingThis last suggestion is not something for last-minute purchases but will surely help you on your gift giving journey.  Suggest that your gal pal make a “wish list” board on her pinterest.  You can look at this like a personal gift registry.  You can ask her to begin pinning things that she would like to get as gifts from you or even others.  Then whenever you need to, you can check out her list and potentially buy them straight from the link.  What is also cool about this is that it still leaves a little bit of the surprise factor for her when opening gifts.  Do you see that, up there?  I have 40 things on my wish list so I would never be able to guess what things I might get.  I’m sure she will happily show you how to navigate to that board (but you really should bookmark it or save it as your home page).

I hope this has helped you learn how to give gifts to your significant other.  All we really want is a little thought and effort to know that you care.

*Ladies, feel free to leave other suggestions in the comments section!

 

Easy Gift Giving with Store Bought Treats

*This post is sponsored by Rich’s Products as part of the Bakery Because “Give the gift of deliciousness” campaign.
Easy gift giving with store bought treatsIf you know me well, you know that I over think everything.  Often, I get an idea and it spirals out of control until it is so big, and such a production that I don’t have the energy to do it anymore.  But if I can get out of my own head, I can simplify things and not lose the intention behind it.  Take for instance, sweet treats.  I love sugar.  And most other people do too.  But I don’t need to spend days baking special treats to show someone my appreciation or love.  Store bought treats are there for me, ready to use.  While they might be a little plain for my liking, all it takes is a moment to jazz them up and put a little “me” in it.

cinnamon-rolls-and-sugar-cookiesYour local grocery store’s bakery section is an untapped resource.  For real.  Mine has a crazy amount of baked goods, decorated cakes, cookies, and even accessories (the coolest candles and sprinkles!)  So why not embrace it and take some of the stress off of yourself.  And guess what else?  These things taste amazing!

use duct tape and cardstock to create cookie pouchesI decided to pick up some goodies and give them a little repacking makeover.  All I needed was some cardstock and Duck tape to get me started.  Super easy.

store bought cookies are perfect for gifting to othersThese little cookie pouches were really quick to make and I LOVE how they look!  Who wouldn’t want to get a bright pink cookie package?

Repackage store bought treats to share the love easilyI used plain cookies and then picked up other supplies at the store to create individual cookie decorating gifts.  For no other reason than to make someone’s day.  But of course these would work as Valentine’s too.  But guess what?  The store also has frosted cookies!  Instead of these kits, you could just pop the pre-decorated cookies in clear cello bags – letting their cuteness show through.  Even easier.

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Beer Chocolate and Chile Ice Cream

beer chocolate chile ice creamYup, I made beer ice cream.  Well, it totally had chocolate and chile in it too.  And it was good.  And it is another great recipe for game day.  People seem to get excited about game day.  But I get excited about ice cream.

Beer Chocolate and Chile Ice Cream

Ingredients

  • 1 large pasilla negro chile, stemmed, seeded, deveined (I found this is the International Foods Aisle at my grocery store. It was not called exactly as it is written above, but look for key words…)
  • 1 1/3 cups half-and-half
  • 2 ounces Mexican chocolate, chopped in to small pieces (I could not find Mexican chocolate so instead I used a bittersweet chocolate and added a touch of cinnamon to the recipe)
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4″ pieces
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla, preferably Mexican
  • 1/4 cup Bohemia beer

Instructions

  1. In a small skillet heated over medium, toast the chile, pressing it flat against the skillet with a metal spatula until it is very aromatic—about 10 seconds per side. Place in a small saucepan and add the half-and-half, Mexican chocolate and the semi-sweet chocolate; heat over medium until steaming (but not boiling). Remove from heat. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes, then pour into a blender jar and process until the chile is completely pureed.
  2. Set up a 4-quart saucepan, filled halfway with water, into which you can nestle a 3-quart stainless steel bowl. Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat while you’re preparing the custard base. Reduce the temperature under the pot of boiling water to maintain a gentle simmer.
  3. In the 3-quart stainless steel bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thoroughly combined, then whisk in the chile-infused chocolate mixture. Set the bowl of custard base over the simmering water and whisk frequently, scraping down the sides of the bowl regularly with a rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens noticeably, about 5 minutes. The custard is sufficiently cooked when it reaches 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (You can also test it by dipping a wooden spoon into the custard, then running your finger through the custard: if the line holds clearly, the custard has thickened sufficiently.) For the finest texture, strain the mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl.
  4. Fill a large bowl halfway with ice. Nestle the bowl of strained custard in the ice bath. Whisk the mixture until it is completely cool. Refrigerate if not using immediately.
  5. Stir the heavy cream, vanilla and Bohemia into the base. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s directions. Scrape into a freezer container and freeze for several hours to firm.
  6. Recipe courtesy of Bohemia Beer
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/beer-chocolate-and-chile-ice-cream/