Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Gift Idea For Your Budding Artist

Reese absolutely loves art and last year I got her the best gift- a set of 5 how-to-draw books along with a personalized sketch book from Harptoons.

Want to get your kids away from the video games and iPod and start using their imaginations? Then you really need to check out this series of how-to-draw books. Start with a number or letter, add a line here, a shape there andvoila, an animal, monster, or cartoon sea creature. These drawing books are super easy to use and a great way to get your kids involved in creating something from their imaginations. 

These books are amazing and so much fun! One of the neatest features of the set is that the artist/author, Steve Harpster, personalizes your purchases for you.
Here is the cover of Reese's sketch book. 

And the inside cover.

 Inside each how-to book, Steve does a special drawing for your child and adds a special message for them. Reese thought this was the coolest part.

Here is a monster she recently drew for me from his Spiderbite book. 

And I prefer the baby animals book myself..... they are so cute! I drew these for her. (Note: I am about as far from an artist as you can be, but you can see with his step-by-step instructions, I was able to draw some pretty cute stuff!)

I think this set, or any books from Steve, would make a great Christmas present!

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose here. I am just a satisfied customer and wanted to pass on!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes..... Gluten Free!

In 2010, I made Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcakes with a recipe from the blog Kevin and Amanda. They turned out amazing (definitely dessert contest material) and once I found out I needed to eat gluten free I went to work modifying because I knew this was a recipe I still wanted to be able to make.

Here's the finished product. Everyone from my kids to my coworkers agreed they were delicious.

Betty Crocker makes a GF yellow cake mix that is pretty easy to find in places like Walmart or Target.It's a standard mix that you add water and eggs to, along with some gluten free vanilla extract.

I found this GF cookie dough at my local organic grocer- they were a bit expensive at $5 for 12 cookies, but I only used 6 for the recipe since I cut each cookie dough ball in half to get enough for 12 cupcakes.

I topped the cupcakes with Duncan Hines Creamy Home-Style Milk Chocolate frosting since it's GF. It's so nice to find that some everyday products are already GF!

Luckily I am finding that having to eat GF is not all that bad. It is definitely an adjustment and requires quite a bit of pre-planning, but I am finding it do-able!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christmas Library

I am so ready to get out my collection of Christmas books for the kids! I love reading to them at bedtime, and I especially enjoy reading holiday-themed books this time of year. Here's a list of our family favorites.

Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas - Nancy is a family favorite, and this book doesn't disappoint. This book is heavy on family and traditions, and the illustrations are delightful. It always fun to look closely at the pictures and see what we can discover

Merry Christmas, Curious George - I have loved Curious George as long as I can remember, and this book is a favorite in my collection. George is as adorable as ever.

Mater Saves Christmas - Such a cute story- Santa is a car of course, and his reindeer cars use special fuel that helps them fly. Chick Hicks is stealing the fuel, in hopes of using it to finally beat Lightning in race. Mater saves the day!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! - Such a holiday classic- and Dr. Seuss stories are such fun to read.

The Night Before ChristmasI've already got a more traditional copy of this story, but I just ordered Mary Englebreit's illustrated version today- it looks beautiful!

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - Of all our Christmas books, this is my favorite. The story is funny, easy to read, and touching. Some of the references are dated, but my kids still enjoy it. We also got the movie last year and they absolutely love it.

Do you have a favorite book we need to add to the Sasha Family collection?

Disclosure: This post contains Amazon referral links.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Yay for Christmas Music!

Last night we noticed a house in our neighborhood had their Christmas lights not only up, but on, and the kids were so excited. I think that means it's time to pull out the Christmas music!

If you have been a Sasha Says readers for a while, I am sure you know about our love for the Suzy Bogguss song "Two Step Around the Christmas Tree". I actually have to hide this CD in January every year because I really think the kids would listen to it year-round if I would let them! Suzy's entire album, called Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, is a great holiday offering.  

A favorite of mine is Michael Buble's album Christmas. That dreamy voice! Amazing.

And of course I own Blake Shelton's Cheers, it's Christmas. The whole family loves Blake, and there's even a special shout-out to Oklahoma beer on one song: "I've even got a six pack of 3.2". Ha!  

New for us this year is Duck the Halls: a Robertson Family Christmas. It should arrive at our door today and I'm excited. It's got great reviews and since my family loves the Robertsons, I am sure this will be a big hit.

I think no matter how old the kids gets, Curious George will always be a favorite. Curious George: A Very Monkey Christmas is absolutely darling and the songs are so fun! Back in 2009, we were having trouble figuring out some lyrics, so I left a comment on George's Facebook page, and they posted the words for us! The kids thought that was pretty neat!

I think I will get Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped in Red. Does anyone have this? It looks like it has great reviews.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

GDA: Complete Full House Series for $55

Amazon has the complete Full House series for $55! Wish I had gotten it for that good of a deal! We love this show and especially love that we can watch it as a family. I love me some Uncle Jesse. This would make a great Christmas present!