Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Holiday Traditions: Pumpkin Paradise Layered Dessert

This is my favorite time of year for making pumpkin treats for family and friends. I created this recipe for a fun alternative to traditional pumpkin pie on the holiday dinner table. This time of year, Jell-O comes out with a seasonal pumpkin spice pudding flavor and I have found it delightful to use in dessert recipes. If you cannot find it at the grocery store, you can use instant vanilla pudding and add 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice for each 4-serving package. I love the texture the gingersnap crust creates and Promise butter spread is a great healthy alternative to the standard stick butter used so often in baking. The regular versions of the ingredients will work well, but I used the lighter choice ingredients in the recipe below for a light and fluffy pumpkin treat. 

"Pumpkin Paradise Layered Dessert" 

1 (14 oz.) package gingersnap cookies

1 stick butter, softened

1 (8 oz.) package light cream cheese, softened

1 8 oz. container Cool-Whip whipped topping, thawed

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

3 cups milk

2 ( 4 -serving size) packages Jello-O instant pumpkin pudding 
* If you cannot find the pumpkin flavor, use vanilla instant pudding and add 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Spray 13 x 9 baking pan with cooking spray. Place cookies in sandwich bag and use rolling pin to crush the cookies Combine together until moistened and press into bottom of pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Allow crust to cool. In large bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioner's sugar with mixer for one minute. Fold in 1 cup of Cool-Whip and mix until well-blended. Reserve remaining Cool-Whip for top layer. Pour cream cheese mixture over cooled crust until mixture covers crust entirely. In separate mixing bowl, add pudding mix and milk. Stir or mix with hand mixer until thickened. Pour over cream cheese layer, covering cream cheese layer completely. Top with remaining Cool Whip in container. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Cut into squares to serve. Enjoy!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Sponsored Post: Reinvent your spring look with Divatress

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.

Divatress offers thousands of wigs and hair care products to a wide variety of clients ranging from professional stylists, beauticians, working mothers and students. 

One of the wig options they offer are a large selection of human hair wigs. This collection includes brands such as Viveca A. Fox, Bobbi Boss, Janet Collection and Outre Duby. I love that their selection of human hair wigs features quality human hair that has been specially selected for each wig and only the top and utmost of quality hair productsI also love the variety of cuts, colors and styles available to suit so many unique and individual styles.  

One of my favorites is the fun, wispy bang look paired with the cut of this style: 
I love the striking color combination in this style and color pairing: 

I also love the variety of hair shades available with the human hair wigs, such as the colors available in this human hair wig style

Another favorite is this style, a bouncy, flouncy cut with bangs.

This style is made from unprocessed human hair and it is Salon Remi Brazilian virgin hair, which means you can use your heat appliances to change the style and make it all your own! 

Divatress offers a line of human hair wigs that can bring a chic new look to your spring style.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Book Review and Giveaway: "When We Last Spoke" by Marci Henna

I enjoyed the opportunity to review the book "When We Last Spoke" by Marci Henna, a part of Marci's Fireside, Texas book series. This 232-page softcover book takes the reader on a heartfelt memory journey spanning decades in the lives of two sisters, orphaned when their father was killed in the Vietnam War. I laughed and cried at different times throughout this book, and to me that is a sign of a story being the perfect mix of life itself, both times of happiness and sadness.  

Humor, heartbreak, and triumph are served with whipped cream and lots of local nuts in this heartwarming tale of family, friendship, and forgiveness in Fireside, Texas.
Meet Juliet Cranbourne, local radio personality and owner of a whimsical kitchen gadget store, and her sister Evangeline, a fruit tree geneticist who works for Oregon State University. When a rift due to their orphaned past affects their sisterhood, Juliet convinces Evangeline to come home for Christmas and choose headstones to honor grandparents Walt
(a tenderhearted, good looking rancher) and Ruby (a blue-ribbon fiddler, fabulous cook, and expert in the art of making family feel loved).  As they cruise through Fireside in Ruby's Thunderbird, Juliet hopes that healing memories will somehow smooth rough roads ahead. Does the tremendous love that marked Walt and Ruby's lives still have the power to renew their sisterhood and help them find their place in the world?"
Here is a beautiful preview trailer about this book:

As a longtime Oklahoma girl, the Texas connection in this story appealed to me from page 1. The author paints through her words a vivid picture of the joys and difficulties faced by this family not only during one stage of their lives, but through several periods in their lives. Juliet and Ruby are colorful characters I immensely enjoyed and they reminded me of several special women throughout my life. It was a beautiful read as a family memory journey and it comes with my highest recommendation. I now look forward to reading the other books in this Fireside, Texas series. 

About the author:

Marci Henna was born in Austin, Texas and lived as a child in Kenya, East Africa with the Wakamba tribe where her parents managed a medical research station. She later moved to the Hill Country ranch which has been in the family since the 1800's and currently lives in Austin.

Marci will be giving away a free Kindle version of this book from Feb. 20-24 on Amazon. 

You can find out more information on purchasing a softcover copy of the book here and information on purchasing a copy of the book for Kindle here.


One of you will win a copy of "When We Last Spoke" (ARV $11.38) with an introduction DVD for the film based upon this book that is now in development.

To enter, please leave a comment below to let me know you would like to win. Giveaway closes Sunday,  February 19 at 5:00 pm EST. Open to US and Canada residents only. 

If you are not able to leave a comment on this blog post, please e-mail me at with "Giveaway Entry" in the subject line and that will count as your entry.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sponsored: Groupon Coupons for Saving Money

Disclaimer: I was financially compensated for this sponsored post. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.  

Groupon is one of my favorite money-saving websites for deals at area restaurants, local services and special attractions both while on vacation as well as where I live. It was an invaluable part of my Las Vegas vacation last fall. Did you know that Groupon offers a free coupon resource that allows you to find coupons from many well-known retailers? Even better, the coupons are verified. You can use the deals right on your mobile phone device.

Groupon Coupons is a completely free resource. I love that you do not have to pay for a membership or other fees. One of my favorite features is being able to search for coupons in my local community and nearby cities I visit often.  

Right now, I am getting my Valentine's Day gift list ready for friends and loved ones, and Groupon Coupon has an entire section of deals for Valentine's Day Gifts that is an invaluable part of my money-saving experience. Today I found great deals for FTD Flowers, Shari's Berries and Zales sure to make the Valentine's recipients on my list smile.

Speaking of treats, one of my favorite stores on Groupon Coupons to seek out available deals is their site for Target coupons and deals. I found a great Valentine's Day promo code for $5 Off Valentine's Day Candy With $20+ Order and free shipping on any order of $25 or more! 
For my husband's valentine gift, I found great deals on men's clothing by visiting the Jos. A. Bank page on Groupon Coupons. With that, my gift list is done!

What stores are you looking forward to finding money-saving deals with Groupon Coupons?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Sponsored: Great Gifts for Guys at Groupon

Disclaimer: I was financially compensated for this sponsored post. All opinions expressed in this blog post are my own.  
For me, this time of year, when the holidays are coming full throttle, usually comes with the question what to get the guys on my list. 
Especially this guy: The Southern Fried Husband, who likes a perfect combination of gifts with a purpose and gifts at a good price. Here he is making a gingerbread house earlier this month.  

It seems to be becoming increasingly difficult to seek out this perfect combination of gift in this day and age without spending lots of time either going from store to store or searching the internet...or both. I'm nearly giving out just typing this thought. 
I am a fan of Groupon because of the money-saving deals I find on this free site year-round. When it came to this holiday season, I used Groupon for one-stop shopping for the perfect gift for my husband. I went straight to the Men's Fashion category and there it was, the perfect gift for Craig. One of my favorite Groupon site is the categories feature for ease of locating the items or services you are looking for.
Behold, a gift he has been wishing for, at an amazing price: a leather wallet. Alpine Swiss Men's Genuine Leather Wallets at a great price and features my husband is looking for in a wallet, including a bifold wallet with slim profile, 12 card slots with three additional oversized card slot pockets and a large receipt/card pocket (my husband could very well be king of utilizing that feature!).

This wallet makes a great guy gift at a great price and ships in 2 days. My hard-to-find gift shopping is done! 
A favorite area on the site is Groupon Goods , where you will find so many great items organized into categories.  Check out this perfect couple gift idea with the Wexley Home All-Seasons Down-Alternative Comforter at an amazing price.

Have you saved money with Groupon?

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Review and Flash Giveaway: Hallmark Heritage Collection Ornaments

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned in this post in order to do a review of said item(s) for my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."     

Earlier this season, Hallmark debuted their newest collection of heirloom-worthy ornaments. Hallmark Heritage Collection Ornaments are designed by Hallmark artists and inspired by the rich history of Hallmark. Each ornament is hand-blown and crafted by artisans in Poland. I opened my latest Hallmark package to find an exquisite blown glass Santa Claus.

Santa's boots, coat and belt are all decorated in shiny gold, and his sparkly beard and mittens add a twinkle to anywhere he is placed. There is additional glitter embellishment on his coat and hat. 

One of you will win a Hallmark Heritage Collection Santa Ornament, valued at $29.99! To enter, leave a comment below and let me know if you have a favorite Christmas ornament from your childhood or present day. Entries close on Monday, December 12 at 5:00 pm EST. 

If you are not able to leave a comment, please e-mail me your entry at with "Giveaway Entry" as the subject line.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Sponsored: A Holiday Recipe and How to #GetReliefFromTheFeast with IMODIUM®

Every December since my cross-country move from Oklahoma to New York on that June day 5 1/2 years ago, I am very fortunate to be able to fly home to Oklahoma and visit my loved ones for a Christmas visit. It is a time for treasured memories made with loved ones, but lengthy air travel and lots of road miles driven paired with a hectic schedule and holiday celebration overeating with menus overflowing with rich and sometimes spicy foods can catch up with you very fast, says the voice of experience.

Beginning with the airport food you encounter along the journey, no matter how you plan to avoid certain types of foods, certain symptoms from your body being thrown out of whack from the travel rush can cause discomfort and made the rest of your travel miserable if you are not prepared. I have found a tried-and-true travel sidekick to help me during the holiday hurry with whatever digestive issue comes my way with IMODIUM®

Let IMODIUM® help you be empowered to take on the holiday season and FEAST on the food, not FEAR it!

I am a third generation in my family to rely on IMODIUM®, an effective and reliable for frequent digestive sufferers to restore your body’s natural digestive balance, without causing constipation. It is the #1 brand with frequent sufferers, and the #1 doctor recommended brand. IMODIUM® has been helping diarrhea sufferers for over 35 years, with many products to choose from to help treat your symptoms in just one dose.

You can find IMODIUM® and and all the products you need to be prepared for the holiday at your nearest Walmart!

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New IMODIUM® A-D Softgels- the same proven, powerful diarrhea relief you have relied on for years, now in a fast liquid gel form that works within 1 hour to soothe diarrhea symptoms. 

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This recipe is my favorite go-to for incorporating Meatless Monday into the holidays with a creamy pumpkin penne dish.

 "Creamy Pumpkin Penne"

Serves 4

1 (12 oz.) package penne rigate pasta 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon chopped oregano

  • 2 cups fresh pumpkin, pureed OR 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree 
  • 1/2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar 
  • Optional garnish: chopped oregano 
In pasta-size cooking pot, add water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring salted water to a boil and add pasta, cooking pasta according to directions on package. Reserve 2 cups of the pasta water; drain pasta and set aside. In same pasta pot, add olive oil and oregano. Cook on medium heat for 1 minute.Carefully watching pot to avoid hot oil spattering, add pumpkin puree, minced garlic, half-and-half, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese,  vinegar and 1 cup reserved pasta water to pot. Stir until well-blended and heated on medium heat for through 2- 3 minutes, stirring after each minute.  If sauce is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of remaining reserved pasta water until sauce reaches desired consistency. When ready to serve pasta in individual dishes, pour 1/2 cup of sauce over pasta. Garnish each before serving by sprinkling, if desired, with 1/2 teaspoon of oregano. Enjoy!
Do you have favorite holiday foods you hate to skip during this season because of trying to avoid digestive issues? Let IMODIUM® be your ally to put your life back in rhythm as it naturally should be.