Dove Chocolate Discoveries #HolidayGiftGuide100Bloggers

 “Dove Chocolate Discoveries” 

I’m participating in the Holiday Gift Guide and these sound divine!
Nicole Cowen, our personal Dove Chocolate Discoveries Rep has been living the sweet life DCD for the past 7 years. Nicole will help you find any gift for anyone on your shopping list who has a sweet tooth for fine chocolates. Dove Chocolate Discoveries can make your gift giving easy for gifts for moms, dads, grandparents, or your family and friends afar as well as your coworkers. Sweeten your Boss with a grand corporate gift this year.

 Dove Chocolate Discoveries , will make hosting your holiday parties so easy. Right down to their scrumptious cocktails. Surprise your guests with “White Chocolate Daiquiri’s” to toast the night away, or a chocolate spice rub to season any meat dish. Experience the favorite products and learn easy, elegant recipes that will quickly become your family’s favorites, too!
Visit Dove Discoveries and let Nicole help you find that perfect gift. Everything from Chocolates, Sauces, Beverages, Baking treats and gift packages. 

 Visit our Holiday Gift Guide online at:

Comfort Food // Crock Pot Beef Stew Recipe

I remember a time when the only thing I knew how to make was Ramen noodles! Well, that time is long & gone, I’ve learned to master quite a few tricks in the Kitchen.  Lately it’s been harder and harder to make those complicated recipes I used to make, I have a huge folder with recipes upon recipes.  Being a first time mom has led me to become more resourceful in the kitchen and bringing out the crock pot. I can prepare it ahead of time while the baby naps during the day and it will be ready by the time the husband gets home.

So let’s get to it.
Crock pot Beef Stew Recipe

2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup Flour
1 teaspoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Garlic powder
2 lbs. of stew meat of choice
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups beef broth or bouillon
1 tsp. salt or to taste
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
2 bay leaves
Handful of baby carrots, cut in pieces or 2 carrots
6 medium potatoes, cut in pieces
1/3 cup cold water blended with 3 tablespoons flour

    Combine flour, paprika and garlic powder in a food storage bag; add stew beef and toss to coat. 

    Brown coated beef in hot oil in a large skillet; transfer to the Crock pot. 

    Add the remaining ingredients except for water and flour mixture. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours, until vegetables are tender.

    About 30 minutes before serving, add flour mixture to the pot. Turn to high and cook until thickened.
    Serves 6 to 8 people.  I served it with rice and a green salad the first time around, since the recipe yields quite a lot for my family of 2.5 I also made some pasta for it.

    I wasn’t planning on actually documenting this meal, it was a bit impromptu, no fancy photos here and the finished product, well? I ate it. No pictures to show. But I can assure you it was delicious. 

    I’m always on the lookout for crock pot recipes so If you have something yummy you make for your family, post some links in the comment section. I will love to give them a try.

    Thank you for stopping in!

    Holiday Gift Guide 2014 – Brought to you by over 100+ Bloggers #HolidayGiftGuide100Bloggers

    Holiday Gift Guide 2014
    Brought to you by over 100+ Bloggers

    We know, it’s not even Halloween , and you are still not ready to think about basting a turkey for Thanksgiving . But the holidays are so close, I can taste the eggnog latte’ from my favorite coffee house. But here we are , over 100 bloggers ready to dig in, jump for joy, shout out at the top of our blogs to bring you a fantastic, Fun Interactive -2014 Holiday Gift Guide with some really cool twists this year…  

    We are just kicking off so many more items will be added to our gift guide. Even Santa will be handing out some really nice prizes in our Gala Holiday Giveaway Bash and fun Social Media Facebook and Twitter Game nights too . You might just find yourself the lucky winner of some gift cards and cool gifts, to help ease those shopping woes.. We truly are looking forward to all our fan participation from a huge blogger family – Yes over 100 of our fabulous bloggers will bring you their best holiday recipes, tips, tricks, money-saving ideas and even some great DIY decorations and gifts too. Who knows even a Secret Santa + much more.

    This year we are including something for everyone. Kids will love the ” Bear on the Chair” and the Hot TheO Smart Ball, this year in our Gifts for Toddlers and Kids Section. Need a gift for your boss or coworker , then be sure to stop by , and let our personal Dove Chocolatier, Nicole who has a huge assortment of sweet tooth goodies to hand out in our Gourmet Food Gifts Section . How about your hard to buy for guy in your life? Stop by our Gifts for Guys section, With Sports Tech you can’t go wrong , or give a great Craft Beer monthly gift to your Dad. Moms we have so many gift choices from Beauty Care Choices and Michelle with her hot wanted, 3D Moonstruck Fiber Lashes in our Gifts for Ladies section, and new Moms will love the Boho Momma Breast Feeding wraps. So many will help you with the perfect stocking stuffer– your girlfriend will be so surprised you came up with that one. sure to make any more jump for joy. Picky Teens – don’t stress it , come see all our Hot Teen Gift Ideas. We have a wonderful line up for them as well. Great Holiday Decorating Gifts for the Home, Let Forest Christmas dawn your door with a real wreath sent free ! 
    We have so many gifts and specific gift guides for everyone on your shopping list. Way t0o many to mention in just one blurb, so more to come for sure ! Visit our 100 Blogger’s Holiday Gift Guide 2014 today, book mark it to keep coming back for all the new gifts being added to and some Great FUN Time over the next two months ! If you have a product you would like to have listed and featured on our gift guide – contact us today !

    Visit the Holiday Gift Guide 20014- 100+ Bloggers 

    Special Thanks to one of our 100 co-host bloggers Ramblings of a Bad Domestic Goddess , for helping with this post. 

    Babywearing 101 – How to Safely Use Carriers

    Women have been wearing their children for a very long time, in fact centuries. Being a mother means being able to do things simultaneously and baby wearing has come to the rescue. While I was pregnant I searched for items that would be most used by me and the baby.  I didn’t want to be stuck with a bunch of things I wouldn’t put to use.  So what exactly is baby wearing? To put is simply, exactly what is says. There are so many infant carriers and slings out there. I’ve only tried two so I’m partial to them but you can always try different ones with your little one and see which is most comfortable to you and to your baby.
    My first experience with baby wearing was with a Moby wrap.  Nico really enjoyed being in it when he was a newborn. But I could say honestly that I’ve never tried with him bigger. There’s not doubt the comfort level of the Moby wrap is unbeatable. But for me, having all that fabric to wrap around me was a bit of a turn off. I didn’t get to fully experience it’s benefits.  I don’t know if I’ll give it another try now, but since then I’ve been really using the Ergo Baby. It’s easy to put on and take off.  And I couldn’t be happier with it.  The only thing I dislike about it is the fact that my son will always bite and drool on the shoulder straps.  But I solve that by sticking a pacifier in his mouth.

    Script below care of Baby Wearing International 

    It is very important to understand basic babywearing safety before ever putting on a carrier. As with any baby product, baby carriers can pose potential safety hazards if they are not used carefully and correctly.

    Make sure your child’s airway remains open at all times while babywearing. The best way to do this is to keep him or her in an upright position, high enough on your body to monitor breathing and ensure that her chin is off her chest. Babywearing International recommends that infants only be held in a horizontal or cradle position while actively nursing (if desired) and return to an upright or vertical position as soon as they have finished.

    It is also important that your carrier provide adequate support for your infant’s developing neck and back. Ideally baby should be held with his knees higher than his bottom with legs in a spread squat position and support from knee to knee although with older babies and toddlers full knee to knee support is not always possible or necessary. An ergonomic carrier (whether a soft structured carrier, Asian-style carrier, sling, or wrap) will provide better support for baby and will be more comfortable for the caregiver as well.

    Always inspect your carrier for wear or damage before use examining it for weak spots, loose stitching, worn fabrics, etc. BWI recommends purchasing a carrier from a reputable manufacturer to ensure that it meets all current US safety, testing, and labeling standards.

    Practice all carries—especially back carries–with a spotter, over a bed or couch, or low to the ground until you are completely confident. A BWI meeting is the perfect place to learn new skills with the assistance of a Volunteer Babywearing Educator. In most cases it is best to be comfortable with front carries before attempting back carries.

    Always exercise common sense while babywearing. Baby carriers are not an approved child restraint or floatation device and should not be used in moving vehicles or boats. Avoid babywearing in situations where it would not be safe to carry an infant in-arms.

    Here’s an illustration on how to safely wear your baby in an infant carrier.

    Here’s an illustration on how to safely wear your baby in a sling.

    Whichever way you choose to wear your baby, be sure to wear them safely. I hope this has been a helpful post and that you’ll wear those babies proudly. Want to know more about baby wearing? Click here to learn more about it’s benefits.

    So, what about you? Do you wear your baby? Which carrier is your favorite?

    Thank you for stopping in.


    It’s Not Easy Being Green // 5 Easy Ways of Going Green

    frugal living

    Hi everyone!

    I’m sure you’ve come across a few blog posts with this title. How could I not use this phrase? But it’s so true in today’s world. 
    Aside from my husband fighting me on any and everything green. I have to fight my own little monsters. 
    After I gave birth to my son I began researching obsessing over “green” things. What cleaning products to use, vaccinations, diapers, foods, any and everything organic, recycling, homeopathic treatments, I mean. It’s a lot. And can be very overwhelming but I’ve gathered a few tips together on how to start at least. Being more conscious about what we use and put in/on our bodies it a great start!

    I’m nowhere near being “green” but I’ve slowly been changing my mindset and making a few changes here and there. So here’s a little list of where to begin.

    1. Recycle! This one is one of the easiest ones I think. Although I don’t separate bins in my kitchen for recyclable items, I do use a grocery bag to place bottles/cans and other plastic items.  The plan is to stop using plastic altogether. But that would mean getting the hubby on board. And that ain’t happening anytime soon.

    2. Change out cleaning products. We all know cleaning products have a bunch of chemicals in them. And if your little one were to get into your cleaning cabinet there would be trouble, but just the fumes of some of these products alone can be harmful. So I’ve began to use safer products.  I’ll sometimes just use water, vinegar and essential oils, add it to a spray bottle and make my own cleaning agent.

    3. Food items.  This one is tricky, organic food is pricey!  But organic doesn’t mean free of anything bad, gotta always read the labels. But there are things you don’t necessarily have to buy organic, see chart below.  I’ve been switching up a couple of staple items.  I.E. Eggs, butter, cream cheese, some fruits & veggies. I have yet to fully convert to organic meats.

    4. Reduce! This includes, using less water, less electricity, less disposable items. Well, just less. This one I’m working harder on. Turning off lights when leaving a room, use less water (turn off faucet when brushing teeth, doing the dishes). Energy-star rated appliances are always great to have, although I think with T.V.’s you have to switch that mode on. Switch all or a few of your light-bulbs to CFL’s.

    5. Sign up for e-bills. This one is SIMPLE!! Who wants all that paper anyways? You’ll save some trees and no need for stamps! win-win.  Also, get rid of those pesky credit card pre-approvals. Did you know you can opt out of those? Click here to do that.

    BONUS: Got a green thumb? Herb garden. This is next on my list. I know they are pretty simple to maintain. I love fresh herbs when cooking.

    Ta-da! Wasn’t that easy? Hope you’ll get some of these started right away! Let me know in the comments below what other easy tips you might have on going green the easy way.

    Thanks for stopping in. Happy Friday!

    Baby Update // Nico is 9 Months Old

    The day is here. Nine months in and nine months out with the little guy. I can’t begin to describe how awesome it is to have him around, despite all the work. (and it’s work, lots of it)

    I decided to take Nico to the beach to take his 9 months photos.  I’m no photographer but having the beach as a backdrop surely helps. All of my photos have been taken with my iPhone. (I really need to invest on a camera! Got any suggestions as to which?Maybe a photography class should be on a to-do list soon.) But I did take his “official” white onesie with corresponding age sticker.  These are getting harder and harder to take. He is all over the place. Keeping him sitting down for a photo is next to impossible. I get a lot of blurred movement shots.

    Baby Stats:

    Height: 29.25 inches
    Weight: 21.4 pounds
    Teeth: 6 but working on a new bottom one (2 on the bottom and 4 on top)
    Mobility: Climbs on top of everything, will stand up for a few seconds but he isn’t walking yet. I can’t imagine the damage he’ll do when he is able to.
    Will now go to my family’s arms even if I’m the one holding him
    Naps: 2-3 (40 mins to 2 hrs)
    Bedtime: 6:30-7:30 pm (Will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night around 3-4 or will wake up around 5:30-6:30 am and eat and go back to sleep till 8 am)
    Words: Mama (Which he calls out anytime he wants to be picked up) and words that make no sense, I should really post a video of him blabbing. It’s hilarious.
    Foods: He really is into anything I’m eating. He ate a lot of different things on our little trip. I’m really enjoying seeing him eat it all up.

    Here are a couple of shots of our trip!

    Thanks for stopping in.

    Accepting Bloggers 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

    Bloggers 2014 Holiday Gift Guide Sign Up

    Bloggers sign up Today to get listed on the “2014 Holiday Gift Guide” that will roll out full force Oct 25 thru Dec 25, 2014 . Many bloggers will be participating so its going to be huge !
    Right now Sign up is Free and Limited !
    ** Why Should you Sign Your Blog Up?**
    Most of the Business’s that have listing on here are ones who hire bloggers for Reviews and PR Jobs through the year, so a great way to get noticed as a PR Blogger and get on the Reps Blogger Lists for when they have reviews and sponsor post jobs etc.
    ** Does My Blog have to be a Big Blog **
    NO – this is the great part, any size blog , any nitch is welcome. The only restriction we have is , your blog can not have pornograph
    ic material on it. If it does – Do not sign up – we are Family Friendly ! ** Where will my Link to my Blog Be Seen **
    We will have a page specific listing ” PR Friendly Bloggers ” on the 2014 Holiday Gift Guide Web Site – Visible to all on the landing page and other guide pages. Your Link will be linked to your blog or media kit page ( your choice). This Gift guide will be promoted by many bloggers, as well as the businesses on their sites and social media too during the 2 months. Also we may even feature YOUR Blog in our Special Mailings from time to time.
    ** Perks **
    • PR Marketers for Businesses See Your Page – These are the people who Hire Bloggers to promote Products for reviews, sponsor posts, ambassador programs, etc- all year long !
    • There will be special giveaway promotions during this time , Fun Secret Santa for Bloggers Only. ++

    ** HOW DO I SIGN MY BLOG UP**Click HERE to Sign UP Today !

    And We’re Back!

    Baby at the beach, motherhood , mommy blogger

    Hello Everyone! Happy Monday?

    After being almost a month away in Jacksonville visiting my parents we have returned.  It’s so good to be home! Hopefully we’ll get to spend some longer visits with my parents. It was so much fun, Nicolas loved having everyone around all the time and I loved that I got to get some pampering done and some going out at night.

    Although I didn’t set out to stay that long there it just happened that way, but my mother’s birthday was coming up in a couple of weeks and I had promised I would go there for her birthday. So I figured I’d just stay.. I mean I work remotely! LOL #Nicoonthego #hashtagsdontworkhere #ohwell.

    I went to the movies, something I hadn’t done since I was pregnant! I love going to the movies.  We went bowling! I got my nails done TWICE!!!  I even got a full body massage. GO ME!  All in all, a fantastic time was had and I’m gonna miss everything about it. Nico had fun too! My parents have two small LOUD dogs around. Nico didn’t really play with them but he didn’t cry around them. He really just enjoyed watching them.  He met all different kinds of folks. Went to the St. Augustine, but mostly he spent time with my family. He’s such a happy kid. They loved hanging out with him!

    But now that we are home, it’s time to catch up on all the house chores (and let me tell you, hubby left it the way it was) He pretty much just ate out or delivery. So I came home to a home needing to cleaning and groceries needing to be restocked.  But I am glad to do it. I missed my daily chores. I’m not a big fan of change and my schedule completely went haywire by being away. Now I have to find my groove again

    One little BIG change that was made was our sleeping arrangement.  Nicolas co-sleeps but when I arrived I moved our mattress to the floor in between his glorified play pen (crib) and our bed. So it’s a big fort. He’s surrounded on all sides except for one.  Since he is so active, I had to resort to this. It doesn’t look pretty but he’ll be safe and that’s all I care about at this point.

    Now I’m on to the HUGE do-list I’ve made for myself.  I usually do daily lists but I couldn’t get myself to narrow down the most important things to do. So I’ve created a week-long to do list. There are auto insurance quotes to look for, appointments to schedule, play dates, cleaning, organizing, buying a few gifts I’ve yet to buy for some friends! It’s coming, I promise!!!!  I’ve also scheduled some Bible reading and exercise in the midst of it all.

    I haven’t been SUPER strict about me losing weight but so far I’m down 2 pounds!  Hey! I’m not complaining. But I am looking to buy a juicer so I can TRY doing a juice fast for a few days.  Get my body right on the inside and get things moving.  Any juicers out there? Need your input on which to buy.

    This is what’s been up in the Oliveira household.  Looking forward to getting lots of things done now that I’ve had a much needed rest!

    Have a great week everyone and I’ll update you on my healthy progress again soon, I hope you are taking part in my Healthy Challenge.  Let me know if you are in the comments below. Need lots of encouragement.