Tips for Perfect Christmas Cookies + Boston Family Entertainment Giveaway!

Christmas is right around the corner and boy has it sneaked up fast! It’s always hard coming up with gift ideas for family and friends… but these days we’re personally trying to cut back on the amount of “stuff” we buy and give, and focus more on homemade items and experiences for gifts. What better gift than something made with love and the opportunity to create lasting memories? Read on for my tips to make the Perfect Christmas Cookies and then be sure to enter the amazing Boston Family Entertainment Giveaway at the end of the post for a chance to win some spectacular tickets to Boston-area events!
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Tips for Perfect Christmas Cookies + Giveaway!

5 Tips for Perfect Christmas Cookies

Sift

Make sure to sift all your dry ingredients. Doing this breaks up any clumps of flour or baking soda, combines everything evenly, and helps make your cookies light and fluffy.

Parchment Paper

Always line your cookie sheet with parchment paper, this is key to getting the cookie bottoms that perfect light golden brown. If you're planning on doing several batches of cookies make sure to round the corners of the parchment with some scissors first, as the sharp corners of the paper can start to burn after a few times in the oven.

Cookie Scoop

A cookie scoop is probably one of the best little investments you'll make in the kitchen and I don't know how I ever lived without mine. Using a cookie scoop ensures you get uniform-sized cookies every time and makes the whole process of getting your cookies ready for the oven go so much faster.

Time

Always bake your cookies for the lower suggested time.  Cookies that are just cooked all the way through make for the softest, chewiest cookies.  If they aren't cooked in the middle yet you can always put them back in for another minute or two, but it's best to start with the lowest time.  

Your Secret Weapon - the "Bread Trick"

Accidentally over-cook the cookies?  Forget to cover them on the counter?  Believe it or not, the magical solution for over-cooked or stale cookies is just a slice of sandwich bread and a big ziplock.  Put all the cookies in a gallon ziplock bag, throw in a slice of bread, seal, and leave for a few hours - the cookies will get softer as the bread gets staler.  Magic!  


Boston Family Entertainment Giveaway
There is so much to see and do for families visiting Boston. We have an amazing Boston Family Entertainment Package that will mean loads of family fun for one lucky winner! Get those Perfect Christmas Cookies Ready! Today's giveaway has been brought to you by the following sponsors: This holiday season, consider experience such as tickets to a show, museum passes or a gift certificate for other fun family entertainment. Experience gifts are a great way to help families create lasting memories.

Ultimate Boston Family Entertainment Package

One lucky winner is going to receive the Ultimate Boston Entertainment Giveaway Package that includes:
  • (4) tickets to Bricktacular at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Boston (every weekend in Dec.)
  • (4) tickets to Blue Man Group (to be used after Jan. 1st)
  • (4) tickets to American Girl LIVE, a new musical featuring the iconic American Girl characters playing at the Boch Center, Feb. 22-24 (for Friday, Feb. 22 at 7:00 pm)
  • (4) tickets to Archery Games Boston (can be used anytime)
  • Dinner for 4 at South Street Diner (can be used anytime)

Boston Entertainment Giveaway

Official Rules and Conditions: One winner will receive the Ultimate Boston Entertainment Prize Package. No cash value. Open worldwide to adults 18+. One (1) winner will be chosen. Prize must be claimed within 48 hours of announcement or a new winner will be drawn. Prize will be delivered electronically. All entries will be verified. This giveaway is in no way associated with Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Rafflecopter, or any other entity unless otherwise specified. Giveaway ends 12/16/2018. Enter using the widget below. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out all the 12 Days of Christmas Giveaways!

Click to Enter More Giveaways

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Fall Morning at the Lake with Harding Lane

Fall this year has been a crazy weather-wise in New England - it’s rained practically every-other-day for the last two months and we even had a Nor’easter, complete with snow, before Halloween. The weather hasn’t lended to us getting out of the house much lately, so when there was a break in the rain this weekend (finally!) we ran down to the lake to enjoy the quiet docks. | This post contains affiliate links and an honest review of product provided by Harding Lane |

New England Style | Harding Lane

Typically the docks are bustling with boats, people fishing, and kids swimming at the beach nearby, but now that November is here most people have closed up their camps and put the boats away for the winter - leaving the docks and the lake all to ourselves. After a busy summer, it’s nice to enjoy the peace and quiet.

With the cool breeze down by the water, this hat from Harding Lane is the perfect finishing touch. I really love the needlepoint design which makes it so unique. Harding Lane is a Massachusetts-based company with many hats and other accessories to choose from, all with beautifully (and ethically!) made and manufactured needlepoint designs most of which are New England and coastal-inspired.

New England Style | Harding Lane

Another thing that I love about Harding Lane is they give back - donating a percentage of annual profits to The Trustees of Reservations which helps preserve land and cultural treasures of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Giving back and supporting businesses that give back is something I feel is very important. So if you’re looking for the perfect finishing touch to your weekend or everyday look, be sure to check out this wonderful and caring New England-based brand!

New England Style | Harding Lane
New England Style | Harding Lane

Shop my Outfit:

- This post contains an honest review of product provided by Harding Lane but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please see our full Disclosure Policy for more information -   

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Getting Ahead on Our Christmas Cards with Basic Invite

Typically I am such a procrastinator when it comes to ordering our Christmas cards. I always have good intentions on getting a jump start on them but things always get busier and busier as November comes along. — But not this year! This year I’m happy to say I got them done early - and perfectly - with some help from Basic Invite.
| This is a sponsored post with my honest feedback of Basic Invite |

Our Christmas Card!

^ Our Christmas Cards 2018 !

This was my first time using Basic Invite and I can honestly say that I was very impressed! Basic Invite has tons (over 500 actually) of Christmas and holiday card designs to choose from so the hardest part was picking my favorite design! I decided to go with a cute elf design for our unique holiday photo cards to compliment our own little elves.

But what really blew me away with Basic Invite’s designs? You can customize just about every single detail! Want to make the elves’ shoes purple? You can do that, and choose from many shades of purple to boot. The ability to change all the colors on their card designs - from the background, to the text, to the details - is just incredible with over 180 color options to choose from. This feature is incredibly useful, especially for something like wedding invitations since you can customize all the colors to your exact theme. They also offer over 40 colors of self-seal envelopes to choose from too, so even your envelopes can be on-point.

Basic Invite is also one of the few websites that gives customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual invitation - that way you can see exactly how it will print as well as feel the paper quality before placing your final order. And when it comes time to place your final order, you can order exactly how many you need - that way you don’t get stuck purchasing card sets in wasteful large lots (a huge pet peeve of mine).

Basic Invite also offers lots of great holiday cards buisness to choose from too! Sending out cards from your business is a smart marketing move and can help boost sales and repeat business in the coming year.

Right now Basic Invite is offering 30% off with the coupon code “HOLI30” - order now and get ahead on your Holiday cards too!

Here are some great holiday card examples from Basic Invite:

Keep up with Basic Invite

- This post was sponsored by Basic Invite but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please see our full Disclosure Policy for more information -   

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Why I Love New Hampshire - with The Home T

I'm a born and raised New Hampshire-ite.  I love this state and everything it has to offer - from the mountains, to the ocean, to the historical cities and villages - I feel like NH is just the perfect mix of everything and I'm honored to wear my NH pride.  | This post contains affiliate links and features product provided by The Home T |

The Home T - New Hampshire
  Sugar Hill Lupines - by Adrian Pelletier

Sugar Hill Lupines - by Adrian Pelletier

This weekend I was excited to wear my new New Hampshire Home T t-shirt to our annual pilgrimage to the Lupine Festival in sleepy little Sugar Hill, NH. The whole town is sprawling with the colorful blooms and getting up early to drive around and see the flowers (and of course grab some breakfast at the famous Polly's Pancake Parlor) before heading home was a must. I was excited to sport my new shirt to one of our state's fun annual events.

The Home T - New Hampshire
The Home T - New Hampshire
The Home T - New Hampshire

My Home T t-shirt is probably the softest shirt I have by far.  It's super comfortable and perfect for everyday adventures in-state and afar.  The Home T offers shirts, other apparel, and home goods for every US state and some international locations, as well as fun novelty shirts for Disney, regions of the US, sports, and more - and they're made in the USA.    

My favorite part about The Home T? 
They donate 10% of profits to Multiple Sclerosis research.  I love any company that makes it a priority to give back and the Home T does just that.  

I got plenty of compliments on my NH Home T shirt on our Lupine Festival adventure and I know this super-comfy shirt will be on regular rotation for my day-to-day wardrobe from now on.  

The Home T - New Hampshire
The Home T - New Hampshire

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Shop my Amazon Favorite Finds with Ease!

Amazon Influencers now have categories which makes browsing my Favorite Finds so much easier!  Check out my lists and let me know if you have any questions on the products - I have different lists for Home, Kitchen Favorites, DIY Supplies + Tools, Fashion + Beauty, Outdoors, and Baby + Kid Items. 
| This post contains affiliate links |

Shop Birch Landing Home's Amazon Favorites with Ease!

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Bottle Feeding Tips with Nûby

Introducing a bottle can be difficult at first, especially if your baby had been exclusively breastfed.  Here are a few quick tips on ways to make bottle feeding easier.  | This post contains affiliate links and an honest review on products provided by Nuby |

Bottle Feeding Tips with Nuby

When our little one was about 3.5 months old we had no choice but to make the switch from exclusively breastfed to formula fed because she was unable to digest my breastmilk (if you'd like, you can read more about that HERE).  Going cold turkey from breast to bottle was hard on everyone and I definitely learned some lessons along the way.  

Bottle Feeding Tips

Use a "natural-shaped" bottle

In the beginning we tried a lot of different kinds of bottles to see what our baby would take. It was a lot of trial-and-error at first but we quickly found that she took best to bottles in a natural shape that mimics the shape of a breast, like Nuby's Natural Touch Bottles - rather than the traditionally-shaped narrow bottles. For her, latching on to a natural bottle was easier and more instinctive.

Nuby's Natural Touch Infant Bottle

Use bottles with fewer pieces to clean

One of the first bottles we had tried was a specialty bottle that literally had 7 pieces to it that had to be taken apart and cleaned every time you used it.  It was such a daunting and tedious process and ain't nobody got time for that!  Thankfully using a simpler bottle system (like Nuby's Natural Touch Bottles), was a lot easier since they only have three easy-to-clean pieces - the bottle, the nipple, and the collar.  

Using Nuby's Natural Touch Infant Bottle

Find a comfortable and consistent place to feed in the beginning

When we first introduced the bottle, our baby just wouldn't have it.  I initially tried bottle feeding her in the rocking chair I always nursed in but it just made her so mad because she was reminded of nursing.  I quickly realized that in our case she needed somewhere new and comfortable to be her new feeding spot so we switched to a little bouncy chair on the floor which really helped.  She sits in the chair at a comfortable, somewhat upright angle that's perfect for her and I sit on the floor facing her to feed her.  

Introduce the bottle when baby is well rested and not starving

When you first start introducing a bottle to your baby, it can be very overwhelming to them so it's best to set yourself up for the highest chance of success!  Your baby will likely get easily frustrated because it's something new, so try not to push the matter when they're overtired or starving.  A calm baby will be more likely to try to figure out the bottle rather than just melt down at the first sign of frustration.  

Be Consistent

Consistency is key.  Even if your baby hates bottle feeding, keep trying and keep offering it regularly until they get the hang of it.  It can be so hard in the beginning but hang in there!  

Nuby Natural Touch Bottles - 3 Pack
Nuby Parent Blogger

- I received this item for review from Nûby but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please read our full Disclosure Policy for more information - 

Nûby's Natural Touch Infant Bottle with Easy Latch Nipple can be found at Wal-Mart, Babies 'R Us, and Amazon.  

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Bath Time Staples with Nûby + Giveaway!

As a mom, I'm always looking for ways to make the everyday must-dos a little easier and more fun.  So I was so excited when Nûby offered to let us try out some of their bath time staples - and give away a set to a lucky follower too!  
| This post contains affiliate links as well as an honest review of Nûby products |

Nuby Bath Bundle Product Review + Giveaway

With both a toddler and a baby, I feel like we're constantly doing baths or trimming nails and any way we can make these chores easier is a huge help. Our toddler really loves Nûby's Foam Bath Letters and Numbers set - she's really into spelling and loves putting random letters together and asking "what does that spell?", even when it doesn't make a real word. She's really starting to get the hang of it though, and can spell several short words all on her own!

Nuby Tear Free Rinse Pail

The Tear-Free Rinse Pail has also been a huge help at bath time, for both our toddler and our baby. No one likes getting soap or water in their eyes - especially little ones. So it's great that we can easily rinse the shampoo away without any tears. The rinse pail is BPA-free and features a soft rubber edge so you can comfortably fit it against your little one's forehead. It also holds a generous amount of water for quick rinsing!

Nuby Bath Letters and Tear-Free Rinse Pail
Nuby Bath Letters and Numbers Set

Finally nail cutting... ugh. Probably one of the most nerve wracking tasks a parent has to do for their baby! Thankfully Nûby's 6-Piece Nail Care Set has everything you need including scissors, nail clippers, and four emery boards sized for taking care of baby and toddler nails. Their perfect size helps make taking care of your wiggly baby's nails a little less intimidating.

Nuby Nail Care Set

*Giveaway!*  

Make sure to enter our Giveaway over on Instagram for the chance to win this great Bath Bundle from Nûby!  The winner will receive Nûby’s Tear-Free Rinse Pail, Nail Care Set, and Foam Bath Letters and Numbers Set. 
Just look for this photo in my Instagram feed and follow the directions to enter!  Good luck!  

  Giveaway ends 2/28/18 at 5PM EST.  

Giveaway ends 2/28/18 at 5PM EST.  


Nuby Parent Blogger

- I received this item for review from Nûby but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please see our full Disclosure Policy for more information -   

Nûby's Foam Bath Letters & Numbers, Nail Care Set, and Tear-Free Rinse Pail can be found at many retailers including Amazon, Buy Baby Direct, and Babies 'R Us.  

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Recharging Postpartum Hair with Maple Holistics

Having a baby really changes your hair, and after having two babies my hair is nothing like it used to be.  Hormones have totally changed the color and texture of my hair... in the past few years it's gone from bright blonde and wavy to ten shades darker and stick straight.  After our second baby my hair definitely needed some recharging and I was excited to try something new. 
| This post shares an honest review of products provided by Maple Holistics |

Recharging Postpartum Hair with Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner

Recharging Postpartum Hair

Give your Hormones a Chance to Settle Down

Those first two months after baby, your hormones are raging and just about anything goes.  Don't be surprised if your hair suddenly gets super dry or super greasy, or starts shedding like crazy.  As frustrating as those first two months can be (and for so many reasons - dealing with a new baby and a healing body isn't easy!), try to roll with these hair hiccups and know that a lot of it will improve or get more predictable once your hormones settle down.  

Get a Haircut

Getting a new haircut or even just a trim can really help refresh your hair and give you a boost of confidence.  Getting rid of those split ends will give you a fresh start to learn about your new post-baby hair.  

Try a New Shampoo/Conditioner

Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo

With all the new things going on with your hair, your old shampoo routine just might not cut it anymore. Now's a great time to switch it up and try something new! My hair really needed some perking up so I was super excited when Maple Holistics reached out to me and asked if I wanted to try their Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner.

Maple Holistics uses all-natural ingredients, and is both chemical free and cruelty free, which I love.  Using their tea tree shampoo gives you a cool, tingling sensation on your scalp that really helps you and your hair feel more refreshed and awake.  Afterwards my hair felt clean and lighter - I loved that the conditioner didn't leave it feeling heavy!  

If you want to try Maple Holitics' Tea Tree Shampoo or another one of their products, make sure to check out their Free Samples Program.

Recharging Postpartum Hair

- I received this item for review from Maple Holistics but all opinions expressed are my own.  Please read our full Disclosure Policy for more information - 

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