Make Memories Year Round with Candy Cottage


Candy Cottage Logo

I can’t believe the summer is just about over. Not only is it back to school time but the stores are also displaying Halloween decorations and candy.

I happen to love Autumn. Not only is the weather cooler and the outdoors comes alive in an array of beautiful colors, but it’s also the start of the holiday season – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas (Hanukkah) and New Years.

I love to decorate for the holidays. I also love to do holiday related things with my family, such as decorate the Christmas, baking cookies and decorating gingerbread houses.

Decorating gingerbread houses is a great family activity, just like decorating Easter eggs. I have never made my own gingerbread house. I’ve always used kits where the house is pre-baked, you just have to assemble and decorate it. My family has also made mini-houses out of graham crackers.

FYI… Marshmallow Fluff makes great “glue” to hold house pieces together. :-)

Imagine making gingerbread houses for other holidays. How would you decorate an Easter house? Or how about a spooky Halloween house? Perhaps you could make a tropical house for summer. The possibilities are endless.

I think one of the reasons why more people don’t enjoy making gingerbread houses is because they are not easy to make, bake and assemble. What if making one was as easy as 1-2-3, would you make the houses more often and perhaps year round?

I received to review a fabulous product called Candy Cottage. It’s one of those products that makes you wonder why no one thought of it sooner.

Candy Cottage is a plastic house that assembles in about a minute or two. There are four walls, a roof and a base. Once assembled all you need to do is decorate it.

Country Cottage

It’s hard to tell from the photo but it’s a decent size house. It’s made out of plastic.

Once assembled you simply need to spread frosting (or what ever you commonly use) on the house then decorate it with candy, cereal, crackers or whatever comes to mind.

My kids and I made one using watermelon flavored frosting because it was colored green and my kids wanted a green house. You can use any frosting you want (chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, store bought, home made…).

The messy part (as with any gingerbread house) is getting the frosting on. Once frosted you can begin decorating.


I picked up a variety of candy for the house. I tried to buy things I thought my kids WOULDN’T eat, but it turns out the liked it all. That is usually the problem when we make houses – the kids eat the candy before we finish. LOL!

I lucked out and found some gummy flowers which I thought were perfect for this summer-time home.

You can find inexpensive candies at your local dollar store. Or you can stock up on after holiday sales.

Here is our finished product.


I had wanted to make another house but it’s been crazy between trying to squeeze as much summer as we can into the final days of the season, getting the kids ready for back to school and some other things.

My family is planning on making a Halloween house. I’ve already been checking out Halloween candy to see what we can use. I’d like to find something “spooky”. I was thinking marshmallow PEEP ghosts (have one pop out of the chimney and one coming out of a window) and maybe some gummy spiders if I can find some. For that house I’ll use a dark chocolate frosting so I can make it dark and creepy. I would love to get those Candy Corn Pumpkins to put around the house too.

Candy Cottage can be enjoyed year round. Use it to celebrate the holidays, seasons, a birthday, wedding or even “just because”. It’s a great activity the entire family can do together or you can do it with your child/grandchild for some fun bonding time.

Here are some great ideas from the Candy Cottage website.

House ideas

How adorable are these houses? I love the “Crab Shack” one. That would be fun for a backyard barbecue. The pink one (pictured above) is a castle (the top part was cut off in the photo). You can see the entire house on the Candy Cottage website.

The house is pretty sturdy and can handle a lot of candy.

I love that it has a base. Not only does it add to it’s sturdiness but it also serves as a platter/tray so you don’t need anything to put it on.

Candy Cottage comes with a idea booklet too.

The Candy Cottage can be used over and over and over again. It washes off well. All you need to do is wash it, dry it off and put it back in it’s box for the next time.

Here’s ours after we disassembled it (removed the candy, washed off the frosting). Once it dried I put it back in the box.

Candy Cottage washed

Candy Cottage sells for $29.99. It can be purchased online or at several retail locations around the country (there is a store locator on the website).

Candy Cottage would make a great gift or rainy (or snowy) day activity.

For more information visit www.CandyCottage.com. They even sell party packs where you can buy a 4-pack of mini houses for party guests to decorate and keep (they make great party favors!). Party packs are only $19.99.

For inspriation be sure to check out the Candy Cottage Facebook page.

What do you think about Candy Cottage? Are you inspired to create your own one-of-a-king house?

Mini Cottage - Part of the Party Pack.

Mini Cottage – Part of the Party Pack.


*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinion expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Red, White and PEEPS!


Red White and Blue Peeps

The Fourth of July is coming up. What do you have planned for the day? Hamburgers? Hot Dogs? Grandma’s Potato Salad?

No party would be complete without some sweet treats to follow up a great meal. If you are looking for something festive to serve your guests (or bring to a 4th of July party) let PEEPS provide you with some sweet inspiration.

Most people associate PEEPS® with holidays like Easter (no Easter basket is complete without PEEPS!), Halloween and even Christmas. Did you know that PEEPS® has a 4th of July themed marshmallow goodie.

PEEPS® Patriotic Vanilla Crème Marshmallow Chicks are dressed for the holiday in red and blue sparkling sprinkles. They are sure to add a festive touch to your holiday cupcakes, brownies or cake.

I love their creamy flavor. My kids really like how sparkly and colorful they are.

The Patriotic PEEPS® can also be used in the following recipes which are sure to please your guests.

PEEPS® Red, White and Blue Pudding Cup

PEEPS® Americana Fruit Parfaits

PEEPS® “Salute to the U.S.” Smoothie

PEEPS® Crispy Stars

My family and I have been enjoying PEEPS® S’mores. We don’t have a barbecue so we’ve been making them in the microwave.

You can follow the office PEEPS recipe or you can make them the way we’ve been making them.

Patriotic PEEPS


  • PEEPS® Patriotic Vanilla Crème Marshmallow Chicks (or your favorite PEEP)
  • Graham Crackers (1 full one/2 halves per person)
  • Chocolate Bars (1/2 of a bar per person)

Place one half of a graham cracker on a microwave safe dish. Top with 1/2 of a chocolate bar. Place it in the microwave 10-20 seconds (depending on your microwave). Carefully remove from the microwave and top with a PEEP. Place it back in the microwave for 5-10 seconds. Watch out because the PEEP will blow up in size quickly. Once you see the PEEP is “growing” remove the dish from the microwave and top it with the other graham cracker half and enjoy.

Be careful because the S’more will be very hot and you don’t want to burn yourself on hot marshmallow or chocolate. It’s best to let it sit for a minute or two before enjoying it.

Peep Smore


You can stop off your S’mores with chocolate drizzle and red, white and blue sprinkles if you want to dress them up a bit.

Try the S’mores with dark chocolate and use Cinnamon graham crackers instead of the regular ones for an extra special treat. YUMMY!

PEEPS® Patriotic Vanilla Crème Marshmallow Chicks are only available for a limited time. You can find PEEPS at many retailers across the country.

For more PEEPS® recipes, where to buy PEEPS, fun things to do with PEEPS and more visit www.MarshmallowPEEPS.com.

You can also find PEEPS® on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest under PEEPSBrands.

Do you have a favorite flavor, or shape, PEEPS®?

Have you ever made recipes that included PEEPS®?

Feel free to share your recipes and thoughts in the comments section.

Peep Cupcakes


*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Father’s Day Gift Ideas from GourmetGiftBaskets.com


Father's Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day falls on June 15th this year (2014). Are you still looking for a gift for that special man in your life?

When it comes to Father’s Day gifts many people use the good old standbys – mugs, ties, cologne and tools. I’m sure most men appreciate these gifts, but there are only so many mugs you can use.

One gift idea that not many people would think of for Father’s Day are gift baskets. I think most people associate gift baskets with women. Many times gift baskets are filled with products and goodies that women like. However there are plenty of great gift baskets available specifically with men in mind.

GourmetGiftBaskets.com has about 80 gift ideas that are perfect for Father’s Day including numerous gift baskets.


Does that special man in your life enjoy beer? Why not give him the Around the World Gift Bucket.


For the dad who loves to barbecue there is The Barbecue Boss gift set.


Dad’s who love to fish might enjoy the Caught the BIG One Father’s Day Fishing Gift Basket.

These are just a few ideas. GourmetGiftBaskets.com also has available popcorn gift sets, gift sets filled with yummy snacks, Father’s Day cakes and more.

My family has a gift basket from GoumetGiftBaskets.com called the Father’s Day Chocolate Gift Basket. It was overflowing with chocolate delights. Notice how I said “was” – that is because my whole family has been nibbling on the goodies.

Father's Day Gift Basket

The Father’s Day Chocolate Gift Basket came with the following treats;

  • Chocolate Dipped Chocolate Moravian Cookies by Salem Baking Company 
  • Cara Mella Peanut Butter Chocolate Squares by Jer’s Chocolates 
  • Signature Dark Chocolate Bar by Lake Champlain 
  • Dipped Toffee Peanuts by Old Dominion 
  • Chocolate Cherries by Marich 
  • Milk Chocolate Smothered Graham Cracker by Asher’s 
  • Hazelnut Truffles by Koppers Chocolates
  • Chocolate Wafer Squares by Dolcetto
  • Dark Chocolate Smothered Pretzels by Asher’s 
  • Sweet’s Raspberry Sticks

Our gift basket varied from the website’s photo and the contents were slightly different.

Our basket arrived wrapped in plastic to keep the contents from bouncing around during shipping as well as a colorful tie. The basket it’s self is a really nice quality and I plan on re-purposing it.

gift basket

So far everything we’ve tried from the gift basket has been delicious. Everything tasted pretty fresh – not like it’s been sitting around a warehouse for many months. We enjoyed the variety too. There was something for everyone.

Contents 2

contents 3

Gift basket contents 1

I am very pleased with the gift basket and I would order from GourmetGiftBaskets.com in the future, especially around the holidays.

GourmetGiftBaskets.com has been featured on bon appetite, Food Network, Gourment and Food & Wine to name a few.

If you like to check out all the Father’s Day gift ideas, or gift ideas for other occasions, visit www.GourmetGiftBaskets.com. You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest (social media links found on their left side bar).

What do you think about giving a gift basket for Father’s Day? Do you think it’s a great idea? Have you ever received a gift basket as a gift? Feel free to share your thoughts.



*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift?


Father's Day

Father’s Day is just around the corner. Are you stumped on what to get that special guy in your life?

I have a hard time getting anything for my father. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s just that he doesn’t have a need or a want in the world. If he wants/needs something he goes out and buys it. He never has to go without.

The same applies for my husband. He’s not my father (of course) but my kids like to get him a gift. It’s hard to figure out what to get him because he won’t vocalize or even give hints as to what he wants or needs. He’s not one to want frivolous things either. He knows we have a budget to stick to. He’ll also wear shoes until they are falling off his feet so as not to “waste” money. Sigh…

I’m sure most father’s have more ties and mugs then they can ever use.

The Huffington Post has a great article worth reading - What Dad Wants For Father’s Day According To 9 Real Dads. This article gives a lot of great ideas – some I would never even think of like a camera or a satellite radio receiver.

HP has an interesting infographic to give you some gift suggestions too.


I love the idea of a personalized card and gift card to his favorite restaurant or store. My hubby will use gift cards – especially for local eateries. Usually he brings his lunch but he gets bored eating the same old thing day after day. Sometimes he would rather enjoy a deli sandwich or a slice of pizza.

By the way… we have the HP Pavilion x360 and LOVE it! It’s a cool laptop/tablet hybrid. If you do a search on my site you can see a few posts I wrote about it. I’ll also be giving one away in the next few weeks. Please keep an eye out for that giveaway.

What are you planning on getting your father or that special man in your life for Father’s Day? Feel free to share. Perhaps you can help someone else find the perfect gift too.

Father's Day Gift Ideas


*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Fun Father’s Day Gifts from Calendars.com


My Dad

If I were to ask you what kind of products you would find at Calendars.com, what would you say? Chances are you would say the obvious – calendars.

Calendars.com DOES sell calendars (naturally) but did you know that they also carry a lot of fun and unique gift ideas too?

With Father’s Day fast approaching I thought I would share some fun gift ideas that special man in your life might enjoy. All items are available at Calendars.com. I have included a link to each one for your convenience.

Moustache Mug

Great Moustaches Mug – $12.95

Our Mustachio Mug celebrates 14 of the world’s most celebrated mustaches and the men that made them famous. The mustaches of Mark Twain, Lao Tzu, Leon Trotsky, and Groucho Marx are just some of the great mustaches featured on this cool and quirky mug. For extra fun, each mustache is numbered. Try to guess who each mustache belonged to, then check the bottom of the mug to find out if you’re correct.


Tank 2

Chi-Ha Tank Metal Earth 3D Laser Cut Model – $14.99

The Chi Ha tank was built by Mitsubishi and designated the CHI-HA. It used the Mitsubishi air-cooled 170 horsepower diesel engine and was regarded as the best tank that Japan had produced during World War II. The main armament consisted of a single 57mm gun mounted in the turret and supported by two 7.7mm self-defense machine guns. These amazingly detailed DIY models start as 4″ square steel sheets and finish as amazing 3D models. Use easy to follow instructions to pop out the pieces, bend the tabs, and connect them at the attachment points. Build your collection today!


John Wayne Cards 2

John Wayne 2-Pack Playing Cards in Tin – $12.99

 Iconic John Wayne is captured in this 2 Deck Set of playing cards in a collectible tin.

Darth Vader and Son Book

Darth Vader and Son Book – $14.95

In this hilarious and sweet comic reimagining, Darth Vader is a dad like any other—except with all the baggage of being the Dark Lord of the Sith. Jeffrey Brown’s delightful illustrations give classic Star Wars® moments a fresh twist, presenting the trials and joys of parenting through the lens of a galaxy far, far away. A great Father’s Day Gift!

Mini Golf Book

Mini-Golf Book – $12.99

This Extreme Desktop Mini-Golf set is perfect for everyone—if you love the sport or hate it—you’ll love this extreme desktop version. The set includes two golf clubs, a ball, five card putting challenges, and a how to play book. The book shows you how to set up the putts so you can start practicing the gravity-defying loop the loop and get your score down on the complete course challenge. Start a tournament with your friends, photocopy the tournament tables in the back of the book, and liven up even the most boring days. So, whether you’re at work or at home, just clear a desk … and tee off!

Lab Pale Ale

Labrador Pale Ale Art Wall Sign - $12.99

Decorative Plaques are a ready-to-hang version of printed art. We take the printed page and encapsulate it between a UV blocking sheet of vinyl and a 3/8 inch thick sheet of MDF wood. We then finish it off with a decorative beveled edge and a keyhole hanging system. Once finished, this decorative plaque can hang in any indoor environment—from kitchens and baths to man caves!

Darth Vader Wisecracks

Darth Vader Father Wacky Wisecracks – $14.99

If you love Star Wars, the Funko 6-inch tall Darth Vader Galaxy’s #1 Father? Wacky Wisecrack Bobble Head is either the most sincere or best ironic gift for dad this season! This collectible bobble head is molded in plastic, with painted details bringing out the sculpting of the outfit and classic helmet. It’s packaged in an open front displayable box. Add to your Star Wars collection today!

Jeff Gordon Notecards 2

Jeff Gordon Notecards – $8.99

Enjoy taking notes with these Notecards featuring 4 time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, Jeff Gordon and his #24 DuPont Chevrolet! Each notecard set includes 10 cards and 10 envelopes.

Star Wars is very popular among men (and women!). With new Star Wars films on the horizon I’m sure more and more people will be Star Wars fans.

We have the Darth Vader and Son Book book. It’s adorable! It’s also funny and an ideal gift for the Star Wars fan. Each page shows a scene with Darth Vader and a young Anakin Skywalker that deplicits a typical father/son situation but with a Star Wars twist.

The book goes great when paired with the Darth Vader Father Wacky Wisecracks bobble head. The bobble head is not too big which makes it a welcome edition to any work space/desk especially for a die hard Star Wars fan. He looks exactly like Darth Vader, but not as menacing.

I love how the bobble head reads “Galaxy’s Best Father”, because let’s face it, Vader was probably the worse father ever. LOL!

Not only are the Star Wars gifts fun and unique they are also affordable too.

My husband has both of them (pre-Father’s Day gift) and he likes them both. He has the bobble head on his desk at work and he tells me people are always commenting on it. He keeps the book next to it on his desk and tells me that he flips through the pages from time to time. It’s not a big book. He just finds the pictures amusing and entertaining.

In addition to these wonderful gift ideas, Calendars.com also carries a variety of calendars (desktop, wall mount…) in every subject you can imagine – from fine art to adorable pets and from favorite sports teams to weird & interesting subjects.

For more information visit www.Calendars.com. You can also check them out on the various social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter…). All the links are found on the bottom of the website pages.



*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Spring Celebrations with SUBWAY and Party City (Giveaway ends 5/25/14)



Is May a busy month for you? It sure is for my family. We have many birthday’s this month (nieces and cousins) as well as my birthday, my daughter’s birthday, Mother’s Day, weddings, bridal showers, baby showers and several First Communions. I’m not exaggeration when I say we have been invited to parties every weekend in May, not to mention my birthday and our daughter’s birthday.

When you host a party there is a lot to take into consideration from the decorations to what foods and beverages to serve. You also have to think about cleaning your home, party prepping, decoration and allowing time to prepare the foods you want to offer guests. It can be very overwhelming at time. Especially parties where you have many guests. Even a dozen kids running around your home and trying to keep them entertained can be daunting.

When I host parties I also have to take our cats and dog into consideration (our dog barks at everyone).

When it comes to hosting parties I am always on the lookout for ways to make thing easier on my while still making the party enjoyable for guests.

Catering is always an option. The trick is to find something everyone would enjoy – both young and old.


Most people enjoy sandwiches that is why ordering from SUBWAY Catering is an ideal choice. You can order as much as you need and you can cater the sandwiches for your guests, or you can order variety platters so there is something for everyone.

Ordering from SUBWAY Catering takes the pressure off when it comes to what to serve guests. SUBWAY Catering offers several options from platters to giant sandwiches. They also offer SUBWAY to Go meals which include a sandwich, a cookie, and a bag of chips. In addition you can order cookies, soda and apple slices. You can customize your order to suit your needs. 

I prefer the sandwich platters because it offers my guests a variety of choices and I don’t have to worry about slicing up the giant sandwich. You can choose from the following platter options;

  • Subway Fresh Fit
  • Flavor Craver
  • Classic Combo
  • Customize Your Own Platter

I tend to go with the Flavor Craver because is has flavors most people enjoy – Roast Beef, Italian, and Turkey & Black Forest Ham.

In addition to the meats and veggies you can choose the flavor of  breads and any additional toppings you want such as cucumbers, peppers, onions, olives and more.

I like that they offer dressing on the side so that there is no worry about the bread getting soggy plus people can choose what dressing they want. Mustard and mayo usually come with the platters. In addition I get oil and vinegar.

I order on the phone and everything is taken care of. I can even pay for the order online so that all I need to do is visit my local store on the day and time I want to pick up my order. It’s that easy!

We recently had a celebration where we ordered our food from SUBWAY Catering. It was so delicious that we had nothing left over.


I LOVE SUBWAY Gingerbread cookies.








Even one of our cats couldn’t resist the yummy aroma from our SUBWAY sandwiches. LOL!


SUBWAY Catering has also paired up with Party City to help with your celebrations. Consumers can get a $10 off discount at Party City with a $50 order at SUBWAY Catering. To take advantage of this great offer visit the SUBWAY Catering website. Hurry! This offer ends on May 30, 2014. 

Whether you are celebrating a graduation, birthday, anniversary or even hosting a book club or business meeting, look to SUBWAY catering to help. Your guests will have delicious sandwiches to enjoy and you’ll have one less thing to stress about. Don’t forget to take advantage of the special Party City deal too. Party City is where I picked up supplies for our party event. They have everything you need no matter what you are celebrating.




I love the happy sunshine. I need to get that for my next summer party.



To find a SUBWAY location near you visit www.SUBWAY.com. To find a Party City location near you simply visit www.PartyCity.com.

SUBWAY would like to help a lucky reader with an upcoming celebration by offering a $50 SUBWAY gift card. Thank you SUBWAY!

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on May 25, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winner will be chosen from all eligible entries. The winner will be notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me what upcoming event or celebration you would like to have catered by SUBWAY Catering?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement (I do check) or the additional entries won’t qualify. Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I received free gift cards to help me do this review. There was no other compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. SUBWAY will provide the gift card. 

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