Archives for October 2016

Our Favorite Bedtime Stories

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Random House Children’s Books. All opinions expressed about favorite bedtime stories are my own.

Every night a half hour before the kids go to bed, we lay down and read. Ethan’s now reading chapter books, and recently finished the first Harry Potter book. He’s also anxiously awaiting the new Diary of A Wimpy Kid book, Double Down. We take turns reading pages to each other. With the girls, they still like me to read to them. While they occasionally want to read a book from school or one they found on the bookshelf, the majority of the time they will pick from our go-to favorite bedtime stories. These are the stories that we have read so often that the books show signs of love; ripped pages, bent corners, and other signs of a well read book.

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Our Favorite Bedtime Stories (And Why We Love ‘Em)

Love You When You Whine 

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This is probably our all time favorite…so much so that I wrote about Love You When You Whine a couple of years ago! We love this story because no matter how much trouble the little one gets in to, or how much of a monster she’s being, her mom tells her that she loves her. “Love you when you whine,” “Love you even when you say that you don’t love me,” and “Love you when you throw a tantrum” are some of my favorites from the book. And at the end, the girls always want to read the last page to me: “Love you always. Yes I do.”

Goodnight Moon

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I’ve read this one so many times that I have it memorized; that’s a sign of favorite bedtime stories! We used to read this one a lot when the kids were younger. Now that the girls are learning to read, they like to read this one because they can read it all by themselves without any help. This is a book I always like to include with baby shower gifts because it’s so sweet and such a classic.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

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When I say Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, I mean the original one, not the new movie version! This is one of my favorite books of all time, and the kids love the silly town of Chewandswallow. The story is actually about a grandfather telling his grandkids a bedtime story, so it makes a perfect bedtime story!

Side Note: Did you know there are two other books in the series? If you liked Cloudy, check out Pickles to Pittsburgh and Planet of the Pies!

Guess How Much I Love You

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If you’ve ever head the phrase “I love you to the moon and back,” this is where it comes from. It’s the story of a little rabbit telling his dad how much he loves him, but his dad always tells him that he loves him even more. This is one of those stories that never get old, and that parents adore as much as kids do.

The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep

Want to get your kids to sleep fast by simply reading them a story? Check out The Little Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep - it will get them to sleep FAST!

Last year at about this time, I told you the one of my favorite bedtime stories ever was a book I had heard about called The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep. This book got major media attention since it reported that just by reading it, you’d be able to lull your children to sleep by employing positive-reinforcement techniques to promote relaxation. So of course I had to try it, and was shocked that it completely worked on both girls!

Want to get your kids to sleep fast by simply reading them a story? Check out The Little Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep - it will get them to sleep FAST!

The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep will do the same. This book features Ellen the Elephant, who is on a journey through a magical forest that leads to sleep. Along the way, she meets different characters and has soothing experiences. These experiences will also help your children relax and fall asleep.

Want to get your kids to sleep fast by simply reading them a story? Check out The Little Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep - it will get them to sleep FAST!

Don’t worry….the author includes tips on how to read the book the correct way to help your child fall asleep. The instructions are easy to follow and understand, and they will definitely relax you, too.

Want to get your kids to sleep fast by simply reading them a story? Check out The Little Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep - it will get them to sleep FAST!

And fair warning: you may just fall asleep yourself!

Want to get your kids to sleep fast by simply reading them a story? Check out The Little Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep - it will get them to sleep FAST!

The book also includes tips from the author for using the techniques successfully.

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And it works!

I love that the author, Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin, wrote this book because the girls were getting tired of hearing about the rabbit…they wanted something new. This book is perfect, and over the two books, they now prefer The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep!

Want to get your kids to sleep fast by simply reading them a story? Check out The Little Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep - it will get them to sleep FAST!

If you have a child between the ages of 3 and 7, I suggest you check out The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep

You also have a chance to win one for your children! Simply enter below and a winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday, November 2nd. US residents only. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins 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.

My Life In Pictures: October 1 – 15, 2016

Over the past six months or so, twice a month I share my Instagram pictures since I can’t seem to find time to write! I call it My Life In Pictures. You can see all of my previous posts here.

Here’s what we’ve been up to the first half of October…

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Everybody says that Ethan is my mini me, but I just don’t see it! What do you think?

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Well, there are probably not too many adults who lose to 7 year olds when playing Hangman, but Lila legitimately beat me. She even gave me extra guesses by putting a face on the poor guy! And I’m even more embarrassed to admit that the word she stumped me on was our last name!

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Ethan was lucky enough to get a picture taken with Jon Pritikin at the Simple Acts of Care & Kindness conference. I spent a great day with E and his 4th grade class (and a gazillion other 4th graders.) I loved SACK’s message and Jon’s message…so glad that our school makes sure that all of our 4th graders get to hear it!

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Got the newest Thug Kitchen cookbook, Thug Kitchen 101: Fast as F*ck. I have all three Thug Kitchen cookbooks, which I love because the recipes are clean and healthy and DELICIOUS.

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Even if you don’t like to cook, you’ll have fun reading the recipes! Check this one out (this recipe is yummy, by the way!)

Ethan has a question… #wouldyourather #wouldyouratherkids

A video posted by Natalie H (Mommy of a Monster) (@nataliehoage) on

This kid is such a ham for the camera. I’m thinking about having him start his own vlog on my blog. He has lots to say and talk about and he’s so good on camera!

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And he’s starting to love soccer! He’s finally putting a lot of effort into it, and his hardwork is paying off.

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This whole clown thing is out of control, yet I’m fascinated by it! So much so that I wrote a short piece of fiction about it called One Yellow Balloon.

What have you been up to this month?

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins 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 and/or other affiliate sites.

Vampire Dip Recipe (Not For Date Night!)

I am a huge fan of appetizers, especially hot ones. I have shared a ton of appetizer recipes here on my blog and have a board dedicated to appetizers on Pinterest. Anytime I find a recipe I can’t wait to try, I demand a family get together so I can make it. Over the weekend, I shared a picture of a copycat recipe I made for Slater’s 50/50 Vampire Dip that my pregnant sister-in-law asked me to make for her.

If you love garlic, you will love this copycat recipe for Slater's 50/50 Vampire Dip! It's a spin on a classic artichoke dip...with LOTS of garlic. Includes links to other copycat recipes.

Slater’s offered me a job, which I’d happily take, and others on Instagram, Facebook, and at school chatting with moms asked for the recipe. So I thought I’d share!

Copycat Recipe For Slater’s 50/50 Vampire Dip

This Vampire Dip recipe is super simple to make, and absolutely delicious. It’s basically a classic artichoke dip recipe with a twist. Why’s it called Vampire Dip? Well, there’s 9 (or more!) cloves of garlic in it…it’s definitely NOT an appetizer you want to make for date night!

Vampire Dip Recipe
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Ingredients

  • 9 cloves garlic, minced (use more or less to suit your taste)
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 4 ounces mayonnaise
  • 14 ounces artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Sprinkle a pinch of salt onto the minced garlic, and mash with a fork to get make it smoother. It doesn't have to be perfect, but make sure you get any big chunks.
  3. In a large bowl, combine garlic, half of the shredded cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, artichokes, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
  4. Spread into a greased 8×8 baking dish. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until the cheese is browned and bubbly on top.

Notes

Serve with tortilla chips, French bread, pita wedges or chips, or any veggies you love!

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http://mommyofamonster.com/vampire-dip-recipe/

The dip was absolutely delicious as is. My siblings also gave me some suggestions for improvements to kick it up a notch. The most popular suggestions were more artichokes (or chunkier pieces of it), adding roasted garlic, jalapeño, Italian sausage, spinach, and/or more raw garlic!

If you love garlic, you will love this copycat recipe for Slater's 50/50 Vampire Dip! It's a spin on a classic artichoke dip...with LOTS of garlic. Includes links to other copycat recipes.

If you love garlic as much as I do, you won’t want to miss my recipe for Garlic Bread, made with fresh garlic and basil. It’s delicious, but not date night friendly! As a matter of fact, you could cut this bread into pieces and dip it into the Vampire Dip. YUM!

I have lots of copycat recipes on my blog and on one of my favorite Pinterest boards!

I love copycat recipes…like this one for Spaghetti Factory’s Pesto Salad Dressing and this one for Olive Garden’s Zuppa Toscana (it’s a family favorite!) What are some of your faves?

One Yellow Balloon

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She sighed in relief as she turned the key to the deadbolt, glad the day was finally over. Her normally friendly, happy customers all seemed to be grouchy and in the mood to complain. Maybe it’s a full moon, that would explain it, she thought to herself.

Although her walk home was a short one, about 6 or 7 minutes if she walked the couple of blocks down Main Street, she decided to take a shortcut through the field that runs between the school and a forest of trees.

Normally at this time of the year, when it started to get dark earlier and earlier each night, she avoided walking through the field because it was unlit. But she was tired and just wanted to get home to Real Housewives of Orange County, leftover spaghetti, and a glass (or two) of wine.

The moon was bright and she could almost see from one end of the field to the other. She walked along, pulling her jacket closer because of the chill while she hummed a song she couldn’t quite place.

She heard a noise behind her and quickly turned around. There was nothing there. She walked a little faster, not realizing she stopped humming so that she could listen to the sounds that make up the night.

There it was again! The same sound. Maybe it was footsteps on the leaves of the trees in the forest? She didn’t stop this time, but turned her head quickly towards the forest. She didn’t see anything.

I’m just being paranoid,” she said to herself under her breath. She was on high alert now, the silence screaming in her ears. She stepped up her pace again. Then the hairs on the back of her neck stood up. Somebody was watching her – tracking her – she was sure of it.

She stopped again, this time turning in a slow circle peering into the darkness towards the school, again towards the forest, and then behind her. There was nothing. She turned towards home, wishing she would’ve just stayed on the sidewalks and the safety of their street lights.

That’s when she saw him. Standing directly in front of her, about 20 feet away. His face was smiling but it wasn’t a friendly smile and his eyes were glaring straight into her. Hate. His costume was stained and dirty. The face makeup was painted on quickly, messily…almost as an after thought. A blood-red frown, not a smile. Black around the eyes that ended in sharp points.

He just stood there smiling that awful smile while her feet seemed to cement themselves into the grass on the field. She was so confused. “Hello?,” she said and she was frightened even though he hadn’t said or done anything. She noticed that in one hand he held one yellow balloon, and something shiny in the other.

The clown didn’t move or respond. He just glared at her, smiling. He let the balloon go and said in a sing-songy voice, “Look at my balloon, as yellow as the sun. 1, 2, 3, you’d better run.” Then he held up his other hand and she saw that he was holding a knife. A very big knife.

She turned back towards the safety of Main Street and started to scream. She ran, so fast that she lost one of her shoes.

She looked back to see if he was chasing her, but he wasn’t. He was walking. Then she heard the clown start to laugh a vicious, terrifying laugh, as he yelled “This is gonna be fun!”

I wrote this for Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop for Prompt #5: Write a blog post inspired by the word: paranoid. I thought it would be fun to write a spooky story centered around all the creepy clown stuff going on!

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