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10 Non-Food Valentine’s Day Ideas

This post contains affiliate links.

Does your school not allow candy or treats? Are you looking for a non-food, allergy friendly Valentine’s Day treat idea? Look no further because Fluttering Creations has you covered! Check out these adorable treat bag toppers and fantastic ideas for non-food treats that are sure to be a hit with all the kids! (Hint: There’s a coupon code at the end of this post!)

That’s right, You’re just “plane” awesome! << Grab the file here.
Kids will love a build-your-own airplane attached to this topper!
These are a pretty sweet deal, and you’ll have enough for the whole class!

Pick up this topper here: Color Your Heart Out!
You can add your own homemade heart-shaped crayons by melting down crayons in these silicone molds.
Get this one here: You make my world COLORFUL!
Don’t have time to make heart-shaped crayons? No problem! These packs of crayons will look just as cute in your treat bag.
Grab this You’re Out of this World topper here!
And tell me what kid wouldn’t love their own little Rocket Launcher?
Get this one here >> Will you “o-fish-ally” be my Valentine?
Add a little fish squirter and you’ve got yourself a cute little treat!
Seriously, all kids love to play in the water!

The bus driver might not love you for this one, but the kids sure will!
I Choo-Choo Choose You to be My Valentine
These are some pretty good train whistles… trust me, my kids have them!
Have a Ball, Valentine!
Bouncy Balls or Inflatable Balls would be great for this topper.
I Dig You, Valentine!
You could add any kind of little construction vehicles to complete this treat.
Hope Your Valentine’s Day is Loads of Fun!
This treat will be loads of fun with these stampers!
Owl Always Be Your Friend!
These just might be my personal favorite topper and I love these little notepads and pencils for this one! Or keep it simple with these erasers!

So there you have it, 10 super cute and super simple non-food Valentine’s Day ideas. Fluttering Creations also has other options available, so check them out and let me know if you came up with another idea. I’d love to hear it! You can also use Coupon Code HAPPY for 20% off your Valentine’s Day topper purchase!

Happy Little Wife 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 affiliated sites.

10 Things Food Allergy Moms Do

My six year-old son is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, blueberries, watermelon, grapes, and red dye 40. He is also severely allergic to dogs (dander and saliva) and cats and has seasonal allergies too. In addition to his allergies, he also has asthma and eczema. I can handle the seasonal and pet allergies because they can be managed to a degree with allergy medicine. But the food allergies… those are another story. Food allergies are a struggle no matter how many you have. Having asthma on top of food allergies is also scary because children with both conditions are more likely to have a more severe reaction. For those who aren’t familiar with food allergies, let me tell you what it’s like being a mom to a child with food allergies.

  1. We worry. We worry every single time our child eats or drinks something new. Sometimes we even worry about things our children have eaten hundreds of times.
  2. We read labels. By reading labels I don’t mean looking for the big bold “contains” or “may contain” statements. I mean reading every ingredient, every bold warning, and every inch of the package to make sure we didn’t miss something. And we don’t just read that box in the grocery store, we read it before we put it in the pantry, and then again before we serve it. It isn’t only food that we check, it’s household products, bath and body products, medicines, and vitamins. (Did you know that many vitamins for children may contain allergens?)
  3. We research. We make phone calls and send emails to manufacturers to find out how products are made. Are the items made in a facility that contains our child’s allergen? Are there shared lines? Is there a dedicated line or facility? We pray that we will get the answers we need, but we don’t always because the manufacturers don’t have to disclose all of that information. They simply have to label for the top 8 allergens if the product actually contains it, but not if it “may contain.” Do you know how frustrating and scary this can be?
  4. We memorize ridiculous codes. Yes, ask me what 24000 means and I’ll tell you it is the number of the peanut free Hostess plant. I can also tell you that ELZ on a bag of Dove Chocolates means those were made in a peanut free facility. I can tell you the code above the UPC for the “safe” butter at Walmart. I could go on, but you get my point.
  5. We cringe every time we are invited to a party or a function where food will be served. We don’t want to exclude our children, but we know that more than likely our child is going to be around his/her allergen. We are going to have to tell them they can’t eat what everyone else is eating and we will whip out a bag of “safe” food for our child.
  6. We become bakers and chefs. That’s right, we are self-taught bakers and chefs. We do our very best to learn how to bake and decorate cakes and cookies so we know exactly what goes in them and that they are 100% safe. We learn how to cook dishes that contain only safe ingredients.
  7. We prepare for parties by using our baking skills. How else will our children be able to attend a party or event if we don’t make their own safe cupcake? Most moms keep a batch of safe treats in the freezer so when a party pops up we can grab a safe treat and go. Imagine the burden we take off the host by making sure our child has their own safe good.
  8. We carry an Emergency Kit. We are always armed with sanitizers that actually wipe away the proteins of our child’s allergen, epinephrine will be within reach, and we will watch our children for any signs of a reaction. You know, in case Susie didn’t wash her hands after eating that peanut butter cup or piece of pizza.
  9. We can tell you every other name for our child’s allergen. Did you know that arachis oil is another name for peanut oil? You do now!
  10. We try really hard every day. We try not to panic. We try to stay calm. We try to let our children live normal lives. We try not to allow them to be excluded. We do our best. We love our children with all our hearts and don’t want to lose them because of food.

So the next time you are asked to refrain from eating something in the presence of a child with food allergies, think how much worry you are taking off that child and his/her mother.

When there’s a party and your food-allergic guest brings their own food, be thankful. Think of the burden they just took from you. Now you don’t have to worry that the child will react to something you made. While we appreciate the efforts that others will make for us to say that they have made something “safe,” know that it is often hard for a food allergy mom to accept. We worry if there was any unintentional cross-contamination. We worry about the brands of ingredients that were used. For example: While flour is flour to most people, as a peanut-allergy mom I know that only King Arthur flour is safe for my child.

Remember this: Food allergy moms aren’t being crazy or rude. We are protecting our precious children. Be understanding and think what you would do if you were in their shoes.

Be on the lookout for another post later today with some non-food Valentine’s Day treat ideas! You can also subscribe so you don’t miss it!

Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken

Having a good home-cooked meal doesn’t have to break the bank, take hours to prepare, or involve every pot, pan, and gadget in the kitchen. And that’s why this Easy Sweet & Sour Chicken is a favorite of mine. I can have this meal on the table in about 30 minutes, which is a complete win in my book.

What you’ll need: 

4 Boneless Chicken Breasts – cut into cubes

1 Medium Onion – chopped

1 Green Pepper – chopped

1 20 oz Can Chunk Pineapple – drained

1 12 oz jar Kikkoman Sweet and Sour Sauce

Corn Starch

Rice

Directions:

Cut chicken into cubes. Place in sauté pan and cook until no longer pink. Cover with chopped onions, peppers, and pineapple chunks. Pour in jar of sweet and sour sauce and stir together until everything is well-coated. (I added a little water to the jar, shook it up, and got every last drop out!) Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. If sauce is too thin, mix a tablespoon of corn starch with 1/4 cup water and stir until thickened. Serve over rice.

TIP: I like to buy a big bag of peppers and chop them up, place in freezer bags and keep on hand for meals like this. It saves me the extra step of washing and chopping!

This meal is not only easy to make, but it’s delicious too!

xoxo,

Denise

Portable Printers for Planners: A Review

Disclosure: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.

As you may already know, I am in love with my Classic Happy Planner – so much so that I purchased a Mini Happy Planner for on-the-go. I didn’t have a Happy Planner Memory Keeper, so naturally when I was asked what I would like for my birthday this year, I quickly said, “A Memory Keeper!” I’ve been keeping little notes in my Classic Happy Planner about things that have happened, but realized I would love a way to document happenings in our little family without it being an overwhelming task — like old-school scrapbooking. Everything seems to end up on social media these days and there’s nothing to actually pick up and flip through. The Happy Planner Memory Keeper is an undated planner that has larger blocks to write/journal, add stickers, washi tape, and photos.

Photos. That’s fantastic. I can add photos to my Memory Keeper, but the boxes are 2×3. I’m completely capable of resizing photos to print two on a 4×6 page or making an entire 8.5×11 sheet of little pics, but this would involve more work. I knew all about portable printers and had hinted for one around Christmas time, so when I said I wanted a Memory Keeper, my husband took that as the perfect opportunity to surprise me with a Polaroid ZIP Mobile Photo Printer. I honestly never expected one and figured that I would be resizing and cutting pics for my new book, but my hubby knows me well and knew that I wanted this to be an enjoyable task and not something that would create more work for me.

I was super excited when I opened up the little box and saw a mobile printer. I couldn’t wait to try it out. I plugged it in and charged it up and printed a photo of my son with his birthday cake. (His birthday is the day before mine and this would be one of the first events I would be documenting.) The set up was very simple – I charged the device for about an hour, downloaded the Polaroid app on my iPhone, loaded the ZINK paper, and printed a pic. For those of you who don’t know, these mobile printers use ZINK technology (Zero Ink) — there are no cartridges, no ribbons, no ink! All you need is ZINK paper. The paper is 2×3 and has a sticky back so it’s ready to stick to your page.

I thought the quality of the Polaroid ZIP was okay and didn’t expect anything super fancy, considering it’s a mobile printer, but the more I thought about the cost ($129.99) and the quality, I wondered if a different device would produce better results. I knew HP also made a mobile printer -the Sprocket – which was actually the one I had hinted for at Christmas. I started looking on Amazon for reviews on both the Polaroid ZIP and the HP Sprocket and it seemed that the Sprocket was the more popular choice. Because I’m a tiny bit impatient and there was no price difference, I texted my husband at work and asked him if he’d like to run to the store after work and pick up a Sprocket for me. I wanted to compare them for myself and I would return one of them tomorrow.  Here they are:

As you can see, both printers are almost identical. Same size box. Same size device. Same ZINK technology. Same size paper – 2×3. Both require you to download an app on your phone to print pics. Now here was the real test. I had already printed two more photos with the Polaroid, so I chose the same photos (to be fair) to print on the HP.

Here are the results:

The photo on the right was printed with the Polaroid ZIP – we look like we got a spray tan and counted Mississippi’s! 😉 (My “Friends” fans should get the reference.) The photo on the left was printed with the HP Sprocket. As soon as the photo was coming out of the printer I could tell it was going to be better because I could actually see the color variations and texture in my sweater.

The only difference with this photo is that I had zoomed in on the one on the right before I printed it with the Polaroid ZIP. The photo on the left was printed with the HP Sprocket. Again, the color is off with the ZIP. Some reviews that I read said that the color issue can be corrected if you lighten the photo on your phone before opening it in the app and printing it. I’m not trying to make this any harder than it needs to be. I want something that I can use with little effort. I want my Memory Keeping to be a hobby – something for me. Something fun and enjoyable. Not another chore. I have enough of those.

You can be the judge and choose which one you like best — and if a more “vintage,” “true polaroid” feel is what you’re after, that may be the device for you, but for me, I want something more true to color with plug and play capability.

xoxo,

Denise

Posts on Happy Little Wife contain affiliate links. When you make a purchase through an affiliate link, your price will be the same, but Happy Little Wife will receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting me.



Get Your Car Ready for Summer

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Cars.com. All opinions are based on my own experiences. 

Summer is right around the corner and if you are anything like me that means you’ll be spending a lot of time in your car whether you’re travelling to the beach, the park, on a family vacation, or taking day trips to soak in the sun. The last thing you want is car troubles to spoil your fun. It’s important to properly maintain your car, especially at the start of the season.  You can take your car to your local mechanic or service center, or you can save yourself a few bucks if you’re the DIY type and check cars.com for some awesome tips and instructions to keep your car running smoothly. I’ve put together this simple list of things to check before hitting the road.

  1. Check your battery. It may need charging or replacing.
  2. Check all fluid levels.
  3. If you live where there’s snow, be sure to give your undercarriage a good cleaning from all the salt build-up.
  4. Check your tire pressure. Remember: Tire pressure changes with the temperatures.
  5. Get an oil change. You want your engine to run smoothly. Check your owner’s manual for your car to see how often you should change your oil.
  6. Replace Windshield Wipers and check Washer Fluid. There’s nothing worse than dirty, streaky windows in the bright summer sun.
  7. Check your brakes.
  8. Check your Air Conditioning. It’s best to have a professional do this! No one wants to be stuck in traffic with no AC!

In addition to making sure your car is properly maintained, it’s also important to pack a few things in your trunk for “just in case!” I always make sure we have a tool kit, a first aid kit, and a flashlight. Of course, you’ll want to make sure the outside of your vehicle is squeaky clean too! And last, but not least, if your precious cargo likes to destroy the inside of your vehicle, you need to check out these tips to manage a messy car.

Be safe out there!

-Denise

 

 

Best Consignment Sale in Gloucester County

So by now you may have seen my Facebook Posts or even my LIVE video with a  quick tour of the Just Between Friends Western Gloucester County Consignment Sale going on at Total Turf in Pitman, NJ. First of all, I have been a consignment sale shopper since 2012 – right before my son was born. He will be 6 in April. I have bought baby equipment, clothing, toys, books, puzzles, and so much more from consignment sales. I have been to sales all over New Jersey and I have to say this one is the best. The space is HUGE which makes shopping so much more pleasant. The aisles are nice and wide, making it easy to carry my big blue shopping bag (which you are given as you enter the sale to keep your hands free) without bumping into other shoppers. All the non-clothing items are spaced out around the perimeter by category. There you will find baby equipment, toys, games, books, puzzles, room décor, ride-ons, baby toys, and so much more! And let me tell you, the standards at this sale are amazing. Everything on the floor was neat, clean, and organized. The clothing is clean and I didn’t see anything stained, ripped or pilled.

As a homeschool mom, I was super excited to snag these great learning resources. Seriously. I paid $8 for this STEM Magnet Set that currently retails for $49.99. It is BRAND NEW! The Life Science and Physical Science Folder Games were $5.00 each — a SAVINGS of $30!  The Brain Quest Questions were $3 and the new Fractions Tile Pack was $1.50. Did I mention that everything in this photo is brand spankin’ new?! All this would have cost me $114.91 and I paid $22.50. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a money tree in my back yard and I get so excited over deals like this!

Of course I picked up some clothing for the kiddos too. Here are a few of the things I purchased. Under Armour shirts – one for $4.50 and one new with tags for $7.00.  A Nike Short Set for $8. A Children’s Place sundress for $4.00. I kept looking for the tag on that one – it must have never been worn! And a Carter’s shirt for $4.00. Everything looks brand new!

Did you know that a lot of items at the sale will be marked down to 50% off on Sunday? Also, items marked with a “D” will be donated to a local charity if they do not sell this weekend. The charity that the items will go to is The Unforgotten Haven in Blackwood. It’s nice to know that unsold items marked to donate will go to a terrific non-profit organization right within our community.

I have personally never consigned at any sales, but I am definitely going to consign at the next Just Between Friends Western Gloucester County Sale. I will let you check out the Consignor details for yourself, but for me it’s a no-brainer. It’s local, it’s a super organized event, and I’ll make some money for cleaning out the kids’ closets! The owners, Jennifer and Michele, are both super sweet and were right there this morning getting everything set up and ready to go! I’m looking forward to consigning at the next sale and will be sure to keep everyone updated when consignor registration opens, so be sure to LIKE, FOLLOW, and SHARE so you don’t miss it!

xoxo,

Denise

Walmart Grocery Pick-Up: Is it worth it?

This honest review of Walmart Grocery Pick-Up is unpaid and unsponsored. I’ve been using the service and wanted to share my experience with you.

I don’t know about you, but going grocery shopping is not something I look forward to — especially with two little kids. About two years ago, our local grocery store started offering Shop from Home, which I found to be a great time-saver as well as a money-saver. There were no impulse buys, no forgetting items, and best of all, I didn’t have to leave the house! It was completely worth the fee when it was freezing cold.  But then I started thinking that $16 ( $10.00 shopping fee + $5.95 delivery fee) was crazy and I would do pick-up and still pay the $10 shopping fee. That was short-lived. I was too cheap. No matter how much time it was saving me, I couldn’t bring myself to spend that extra money. I went back to shopping late in the evening once my husband was home to be with the kids. Again, not something I look forward to because if I get some “free-time” I would rather be anywhere but the grocery store.

Enter Walmart Grocery Pick-Up.

About a month ago, my local Walmart started advertising Grocery Pick-Up. Well, isn’t this just fantastic! I looked it up and guess what? There is NO SHOPPING FEE! That’s right – no shopping fee. Someone will shop for me for FREE. All I have to do is pick up my bags. I should mention that there is a $30 minimum order, but if you are grocery shopping, that’s easy to do.  I’ve used the service several times now and each experience has been great. I decided to document today’s pick-up to show you how wonderful it really is.

Last night I created my meal plan for the next two weeks. I was able to go through my Pinterest boards and pick my recipes, make my grocery list while checking the pantry, fridge, and freezer, and add all the items I needed to my cart on the Walmart Grocery website. You can use the app too – whatever works for ya! My list was fairly short because I only needed the ingredients I didn’t already have on hand. I loaded my cart, scheduled my pick-up time for between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. today and checked out. All I had to do was wait for my email that my order was ready for pick-up.

I received my email at 12:30 p.m. (a half hour ahead of schedule) that my order was ready.

I finished my lunch and when I was ready to go, all I had to do was open the Walmart Grocery App on my phone and “Check-In.” By checking in, I was letting the store know that I was on my way and the app would track my drive so they would know exactly when I would arrive.

 

As you can see, I clicked check-in at approximately 1:07 p.m. and pulled out of my driveway at 1:09 p.m.

I arrived at the store at 1:20 p.m. and within seconds, an associate came out to my car and asked if I was Denise. I said, “Yes! That was fast!” He went back into the building and walked right out with my order. It was raining and I offered to help load my bags into the car and he insisted that I stay in the car and he would get it all. He loaded all my bags, I signed that I received my order and I was on my way at 1:24 p.m.

 

You can see the associate walking back inside with the empty crates where my bags once were. It took me FOUR MINUTES to get my groceries. And I was back in my driveway at 1:35 p.m.

I’ll say that’s a WIN!

You know what else is a win? Saving money. I knew I was saving money because I wasn’t paying a “Shopping Fee,” but I didn’t realize how much I was saving compared to my usual grocery store. So out of curiosity and because I have so much free time (hahaha) I decided to go on my grocery store app and add all the same items to my cart to see what it would have cost me.

Here is my exact grocery list – yes, I made this table to show you.

Do you see that?! I saved almost $30 by shopping at Walmart compared to my local grocery store. I’d say that Walmart Grocery Pick-Up is worth it! Do you agree?

Want to give it a try? If you found my review helpful, you can save $10 off your first order of $50 by using my referral link below and you’ll save me $10 on my next order too! I’d be grateful!

All you have to do is CLICK HERE TO SAVE $10 ON YOUR FIRST ORDER.

♥ Denise

 

 

FREE PRINTABLE for the Beginner Gardener

I have always loved flowers and I love to plant them. I love going to a local greenhouse, picking out my flowers, bringing them home, digging a hole, plopping them in and watering them regularly. That’s about the extent of my gardening skills. I also enjoy growing herbs on my porch and have grown a few strawberry plants. I have had good luck with my plants most years and other years, ehh… I don’t know what happens. So while I enjoy gardening, I don’t consider myself a “gardener.” Now, my one grandmother – she was a true gardener. I wish she were still here now that I’m grown so that I could get her advice. Since that isn’t possible, I’m attempting to teach myself how to truly take care of my flowers, herbs, and vegetable plants.

I can’t tell you how much time I have spent searching the internet and Pinterest for information. It becomes overwhelming, and I don’t know about you, but if you’re a momma’ like me with little ones, retaining any of what you read is just not happening. I take that back. I remember some of the information, but I just don’t know what it applies to… not very helpful! And while my Pinterest boards are filled with lovely pins and all kinds of information, I just don’t see myself standing out in the yard and pulling up info on my phone. I needed a better solution.

Since I’m the queen of making printable organizers, I decided that I would make myself a very simple printable. Something that would work for me — and possibly you. I know that this isn’t anything fancy, but it looks a lot better than my notes jotted on random pieces of scrap paper or list-pads.  I can easily slip these little cards into a 4×6 photo album to keep them all together or if I’m feeling really motivated, I could laminate them, punch a hole in the corner, and put them on a key ring.

I made a few “multiple choice” questions on the right hand side — Annual or Perennial; Sun / Shade / Part Sun;  Frequency of Fertilization and Watering Instructions.

And then for the blank lines I decided that the most important things to jot down were:

  • Specific planting instructions.
  • How to “deadhead” each kind of flower. They don’t all have the same “rules.”
  • How to harvest my veggies and herbs.
  • Best companion plants. (If you’re a newbie like me, this is fascinating to see what should be planted together to optimize growth and deter pests.)

It may seem like a little bit of work and again, this may seem overwhelming, but once you compile your notecards and keep them in a safe spot, you shouldn’t have to look up the information again. You’ll just reach for your handy-dandy gardening book, created by you – for you, and you’ll be all set!

Click here to get your FREE PRINTABLE: Gardening Care Card Sheet

♥ Denise

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Building Block Cake

Hey! Look who’s back! April was crazy busy with birthdays and Easter and I spent most of the month in the kitchen making treats, baking, and cooking. I love to bake and I have been trying to teach myself how to decorate cakes since my son has peanut and tree nut allergies and we steer clear of bakeries. This was his 5th Birthday Cake that took me a few hours to bake and decorate. I have to say, I was pretty happy with the end result. I received lots of messages through social media after I posted a picture of this cake – everyone wanted to know if the blocks were candy and how I made them. I also know that when I was looking for inspiration for a block themed cake, most of the ideas involved shaping cakes or stacking cupcakes on a cake, or something molded from fondant. Well, I’m a pretty good baker, but I need to work on my decorating skills and playing with fondant and shaping cakes really didn’t seem like a challenge I was ready for, so I decided that I needed to come up with something that I could actually MAKE myself and that would make my five year-old happy. I think I managed to do both!

The cake was a chocolate and vanilla layer cake. I bought this awesome Wilton Easy Layers Square Pan to make him his own personal cake and made cupcakes for everyone else. I didn’t want to make a cake so big that it would become overwhelming to decorate, especially since I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do. To be sure that I stuck with his building block theme, I ordered these building block silicone molds and made candy to decorate the cake and cupcakes. This was the perfect way to stick with the theme without making me crazy over how I was going to pull this off!

Since we have the allergy issue here, I had to dye my peanut free white candy with these fantastic powder food colors. None of this was very difficult, but it was very time-consuming. In addition to the candy molds, you just need a Star Tip,  Piping Bags, and your favorite buttercream frosting recipe. Oh, and one of these really makes decorating so much easier!

We are actually excited to use those block and figurine molds again to make gelatin and other fun treats… I think homemade gummy candies are on the list!

So as you can see, this was a busy weekend in April. The following weekend was Easter and dinner and desserts were on my to-do list. And the rest of the month was jam-packed with making orders for my little handmade business. Things are finally starting to return to normal around here and I’m actually looking forward to getting back to writing and sharing with you.

♥ Denise

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