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No Batteries Required: Getting Kids to Play the Old Fashioned Way! Submit an Idea to Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

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Timestamp: 2011-11-23 19:50:22 UTC

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Review: Create Authentic Coffehouse Drinks at Home With Torani!


 Torani has been helping coffeehouses create deliciously  flavored coffee drinks for their customers since 1925.  With over 120 flavors in regular and sugar free varieties, Torani flavored syrups are perfect for flavored lattes, mochas, coffees, cocoas, Italian sodas, teas, lemonades, cocktails and smoothies. Torani uses only the highest quality ingredients, like natural flavors and pure cane sugar, and they offer sugar free flavors that are sweetened with Splenda.

The bad news is that it can be expensive to enjoy one of those flavored coffee drinks at most coffeehouses. The good news however, is that now we can buy our own Torani Flavored Syrups at the grocery store and online to create those yummy drinks ourselves at home.

We recently tried out both the Torani Classic Hazelnut Syrup and the Torani Sugar-Free Pumpkin Pie Flavored Syrup. Since I am a certified coffee nut, I was very excited to try these syrups out in my coffee. (see my review and others' reviews as well at SheSpeaks!)

Both Torani flavors are strong, so I found I only needed only a couple of drops in my cup. Hands down my favorite was the Classic Hazelnut Syrup, and the hubby chose it as well as his first choice. While the Pumpkin Pie gave the coffee a soothing homey aroma, I just didn't quite appreciate the pumpkin flavor in my drink. I guess I would rather have Pumpkin Pie on a plate with whipped cream on top of it. But I digress. The Hazelnut was aromatic as well, and added a nutty decadent flavor to my coffee that I just love. I enjoyed that first cup (and the one after that) even more than normal with that added flavor in it. Next on my list to try is the Caramel...that sounds so so yummy, doesn't it??

The Torani Flavored Syrups should be a big hit for holiday gatherings and parties-especially the Pumpkin Pie and Gingerbread flavors. I was also thinking what a cute gift idea these can make - just put a bottle or two in a basket with a nice package of coffee and a new coffee mug!

You can check out all the yummy flavors available at, and be sure to use the special discount code - shespeaks - to get a 10% discount on your purchase!

Torani Flavored Syrups can also be purchased at ~

Cost Plus World Market
Smart and Final
Most major grocery stores (wide assortment of flavors)

Disclosure: I received complimentary samples of Torani Flavored Syrups to facilitate my review as a member of SheSpeaks. No monetary compensation was received, and all opinions expressed are my own.

For the Men in Our Lives: Small Changes Can Bring Big Health Benefits

Although I read this article on a men's health site, I think women will find it just as interesting and helpful!

Bill Phillips from Men's Health points out that making small changes-easy stuff, really- in our daily habits can make big differences in our health. The changes he lists are super easy to incorporate, plus he specifically points out why and how each will improve our health overall.

For instance, did you know that if you dry-brush your teeth (sounds weird, yea, but I am going to do it anyway!) before brushing with toothpaste, you will cut tartar by 60 percent??

And two to four servings of tomato sauce a week can cut your man's prostate-cancer risk by 34 percent. Not to mention making spaghetti makes the budget happy (and my ever picky eaters happy too. So this is a win-win one for me!)

We all know how important it is to drink water, but Bill explains exactly why so succinctly that it really makes sense and sticks-which for me anyway will make it easier to get myself to drink the water and say no to the soda.

The list has 14 small changes our men can and should make everyday, and a couple like I said that we women can benefit from too. So if you have a moment or two free this Monday, go on over and take a peek.

And remember, put down the soda, reach for the water and get up and move for at least 20-30 minutes today.

Happy Monday!

No Batteries Required: Getting Kids to Play the Old Fashioned Way! Submit an Idea to Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Our living room and family room floors are both strewn with various different toys throughout the day (and many nights too when I skip clean-up detail!)

And most of these abandoned toys have been left alone because the batteries ran out. So while I am certainly not bashing all toys here, after all, many of them do provide educational fun too, I admit I get tickled when I see my kids leave those aside for a while and choose instead to play imagination-based games instead. Balance is a good thing, after all.

I love hearing them lay out the 'rules' of their latest role-playing games, and then watching (while pretending not to watch, of course!) them as they take on their roles and play their game. This kind of play brings them closer together, encourages them to solve problems together and share ideas. Plus they are moving, not sitting on a couch!

 Good old fashioned playtime is hard to beat. So in brainstorming "No Batteries Required Activities for Kids," this is what I have come up with (so far):

Kick Ball
Hand Ball
Hide 'N Seek
Duck Duck Goose
Hop Scotch
Hula Hoop
Jump Rope
Blind Man's Bluff
Musical Chairs
Indoor Camping
Pillow Fights!
Start a Story- each person continues a 'Once Upon a Time' story with a new word
Imagine a Monster - each person adds a characteristic to an imaginary monster
Have a Tea Party/Hot Cocoa Party
Bake Cookies

But this list is just a mere starting point.

What old-fashioned kid games and activities you would add to the list?? 

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card!

Submit your suggestion by November 20. Winner will be drawn November 21. Please leave a valid email with your entry.

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Giveaway: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 DVD

 Do you have a Harry Potter fan on your Christmas list, or are you one yourself? Then you probably know that the final DVD of the epic series - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 - was just released November 11.

 But if you have not purchased a copy yet, or would love a second one for a stocking stuffer, you can enter to win one right here!

To Enter:

Take the quiz on the widget above, and leave me a comment with your results! That is it. Please include a valid email address with your comment.

Extra Entries: (Receive an extra 3 entries for each one you choose to do):
  1. Like Happy Healthy Families on Facebook. 
  2. Share your quiz results in a comment on Happy Healthy Families Facebook Page. 
  3. Follow HHF on Twitter. 
  4. Tweet this giveaway on Twitter. (For this entry, receive one extra tweet for each daily tweet)
  5. Tweet your quiz results on Twitter, linking to this giveaway.
  6. Post about this giveaway on your blog.
  7. Subscribe to Happy Healthy Families. 
  8. Follow HHF on Google Friend Connect.
  9. Share this giveaway on another social media such as stumble upon or tumblr.
You must leave the URLS to your links, tweets and posts in your comments for entries to be counted,).
  • Giveaway will end December 7, 2011 @11:59 EST.
  • Winner will be chosen via December 8,and be notified by email and posted on HHF (so check back on that date!) Winner will have 24 hours to confirm or a new winner will be drawn.

Giveaway sponsored by PartnersHub, who will deliver prize via FedEx or UPS. No P.O. Boxes, please. No compensation was received for this post, and all opinions are my own.

Check out our $10 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Got Dessert? Enter the Creative Thanksgiving Dessert Contest!

Do you have a super creative and delicious Thanksgiving Day dessert recipe to share? Then head on over to Better Homes and Garden and enter their Thanksgiving Dessert Photo Contest! They are giving away a $250 gift card to the most creative dessert photo submitted. (Read the official rules here.) *Closed*

 Got some cute holiday photos of your family? BHG is also having a Family Photo Contest! Ten (10) weekly winners will each receive a $250 gift card and signed winner certificate from Better Homes and Gardens. Gift card subject to issuer restrictions. And one grand prize winner will get $2,500!! See the official rules here.

Got your camera ready??

This Contest is Closed.

(Looking for a work-from-home job? Check out our work at home moms page for today's newest job listings!)

Celebrity Babies Celebrating November Birthdays

Heidi Klum and Seal's son, Johan, turns 5 November 22

John Travolta and Kelly Preston's baby boy, Benjamin, turns 1 November 23

Usher's namesake, Usher Raymond V, turns 4 November 26

Drea de Matteo and her fiance, Shooter Jennings will celebrate with their birthday girl, Alabama, when she turns 4 on November 28.

Sofia Coppola and Thomas Mar's daughter, Romy Mars, turns 5 November 28

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have a November baby- Pax Jolie-Pitt is turning 8 on November 29

Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson's curly blond cutie- Bronx - is turning 3 on November 20

Model Adriana Lima has a birthday girl this month as well- little Valentina Jaric celebrates her first birthday November 15

Claudia Shiffer's daughter, Clementine, turns 7 November 11

Tobey Maguire's little sweetheart, Ruby, will turn 5 November 10

Happy Birthday to all the 'November Pumpkins' out there!!

Cheddar Potato Soup (A 'Perfect for Fall' Recipe)

Cheddar Potato Soup is soothing, warm and just tastes so good on cold days. My kids like adding veggie bacon cut up in small pieces to this soup, and sometimes a bit of broccoli even. This soup recipe is inexpensive and very easy to make, so it is one of my favorite dinners this time of year!

Cheddar Potato Soup

In a large pot, melt 2 Tbs. butter or margarine. Add in some chopped celery and onion (my kids don't like onions, so I skip it, but they do add flavor so if your family likes onions, I would suggest you add them!) - about 1/3 cup of each.

Cook about 3 minutes stirring frequently- until tender.

Add about 4 cups of diced peeled potatoes and 3 cups chicken broth.

Boil over high heat and cook until potatoes are tender (about 15-20 minutes, roughly.)

Reduce to heat to medium and add 1 cup milk, 1 cup half and half, and 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded. Also add some pepper/salt to taste.

Stir until cheese is melted and soup looks smooth.

Add bacon, extra cheese, broccoli, croutons, or whatever else you might like as garnishes on top!

Garlic bread, fruit and/or salad goes great with this soup too!

Here is a recipe for lentil soup too!

(Looking for a work-from-home job? Check out our work at home moms page for today's newest job listings!)

Cute Homemade Turkey Decoration To Make With the Kids

This cute turkey is so easy to make you (or your kids) may want to make more than just one this Thanksgiving. It comes from Parent's Magazine, and I wanted to share it here because it is so s-i-m-p-l-e!! And I am all about simple, cheap homemade decorating!

All you will need are two Styrofoam balls, some brown yarn or twine, a bit of felt and some construction paper. Cover the smaller ball with light brown yarn, and the larger with dark brown yarn. Attach the head to the body with a wooden craft stick. Create simple facial features using felt: white circles (approximately the size of a quarter, with 1/8-inch pom-poms for pupils) for eyes, yellow triangles for the beak, and long red felt teardrops as the wattle. Cut feather shapes from colored craft paper and bend in half lengthwise to create seam. Have kids write what they are thankful for on a paper feather, then glue wooden craft stick to the bottom third of the feather and insert in a fan shape on turkey body.

And it is easy enough to figure out some substitutions if you do not have all those items available. For example, you could use a tennis ball for the turkey's head-even use a brown sock for the covering of the head instead of yarn as well. Eyes and nose can always be made out of construction paper or buttons. But the basic ideas is so easy and cute it would make a fun Thanksgiving Day craft for kids and a pretty simple centerpiece for tables too!