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Fun Friday: Chocolate Bark from “American Girl” Magazine

22 Aug
A very kid-friendly recipe from "American Girl" magazine provided our whole family with a yummy treat all week!

A very kid-friendly recipe from “American Girl” magazine provided our whole family with a yummy treat all week!

I love that my kids love to read, they love to get magazines in the mail and they love to cook and bake. Each of them receives two magazines in the mail geared to their age level, and as soon as they’re out of the mailbox, the kids are looking for any great new recipes that I might say “yes” to.

It’s not that I say “no” about trying out a new recipe very often, it’s more of “Not now, we don’t have time to do that today,” or “I don’t have all the ingredients for that right now, but remind me later.” The girls have even learned to preface their immediate “Can we make this today?!?!?” with more of, “Do we have any plans later today?” or even, “Do we have flour, sugar, butter, and apples?” for example.

Quick studies, they are.

Earlier this week one of my daughters received her latest edition of “American Girl” magazine, which she absolutely loves, but which only comes every other month. Clearly not often enough.

As soon as she opened it, she began looking for any easy recipes for which we had the time and

There were several versions of bark to choose from, and she found one for which we had all of the ingredients.

There were several versions of bark to choose from, and she found one for which we had all of the ingredients.

ingredients, and lo and behold….she found a great one! It was a quick, easy and kid-friendly recipe spread containing several Halloween-themed chocolate bark recipes. We had all the ingredients for one in particular, and she made it for our family the very next day.

We had limited time on this particular day, just a couple of hours in the afternoon to clean up from lunch and prep for dinner. I personally had no time to be making a dessert, so I was thrilled when we realized that she could do this recipe 100% on her own.

She used a 12 oz. bag of milk chocolate melts that we had on hand. The recipe called for two cups of dark chocolate meltsĀ  and our bag worked out fine. She needed 1/2 cup of crispy rice cereal and 1/2 cup of marshmallows. We used the same measuring cup for both items, less to clean later on!

The recipe gave instructions for covering a baking sheet with wax paper and melting the chocolate melts in the microwave. She melted 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each time. Once melted, the mix-ins of rice and marshmallows were stirred into the chocolate and the chocolate was spread evenly onto the wax paper and carried down to the freezer.

I love to see how proud my kids are whenever they make something for the whole family to enjoy.

I love to see how proud my kids are whenever they make something for the whole family to enjoy.

As we left for the rest of the afternoon, I knew that my daughter couldn’t wait to get home so that she could check the freezer and see if her bark was done.

Sure enough, after being gone only a few hours, we came home and she went straight down to the freezer, carrying up the tray of hardened bark. It was ready to eat! She was so excited!

After dinner, she grabbed a tray, broke the bark into semi-even pieces and served the family her dessert. She was so proud as everyone complimented her tasty dessert and her hard work.

As we talked later on about how great the recipe was, we came up with some other mix-in ideas, including graham crackers instead of the crisp rice cereal, which would make more of a S’Mores type of dessert.

The “American Girl” magazine also showed five other types of bark, so be sure to check it out! I know that we’ll be making this again soon!

Halloween in….February!

20 Feb

Caroline was thrilled when I told her she could be the one to choose a costume from Costume Discounters to review.

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a representative at Costume Discounters, asking me if I would be willing to do a product review of one of their Halloween costumes from their website. I’d be able to choose any costume I’d like within a certain price range, and they’d send it to me for review. I agreed, and here is the review. The opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own and I was not paid to provide a positive review.

If you remember, I posted way back in October that we no longer buy Halloween costumes for our kids because we’d accumulated so many from dance class and other things, but that I felt bad for Caroline because most of what we have, she’s already worn, and being the oldest, many no longer fit her.

Therefore, when Costume Discounters contacted me, I decided to let Caroline be the one to choose a costume, which she could then wear for this coming Halloween. I also knew that by doing that, the costume would be handed down so that ultimately they’d all get to wear it if they wanted to. She was thrilled.

The Costume Discounters website had tons and tons of costumes to choose from. I was amazed by the huge selection and very pleased with the selection in our price range ($35 and under). Caroline and I scrolled through probably every single category and might have even clicked on every single link. I liked the fact that you could click on the category and then click on the costume itself for a better view. Being that we live in New England, where it tends to be chilly at the end of October (last year we even had snow the weekend before Halloween) we were trying to choose a costume that she could wear and still be relatively warm when she walked the neighborhood that night. I was also keeping an eye on the styles, since she’s a 12 year old but doesn’t fit into “kid” sizes, which can be hard when we go shopping, finding something “appropriate” in an adult size.

Ultimately, Caroline chose the Renaissance category and picked out a gorgeous Lady in Waiting costume to try. The “Popular Themes Renaissance” category had a large variety of costumes to choose from with a large price range as well. We sent the company our choice and were excited for the costume to arrive.

Caroline couldn't wait to try on her new costume!

We didn’t have to wait long! The costume arrived in less than one week’s time, and Caroline was so excited! When she took it out of the package, it was exactly as we imagined, beautiful dark green velour and good quality material. I’ve done “cheap” in the past, so I know that you get what you pay for.

The only problem that we had was that when she went to put on the costume, there were gold ties that were supposed to tie and hang down the front of the costume and as she put the costume on, one of them fell right off. However, I contacted the company right away and got a response immediately. I was offered an exchange of the costume for a new one, but we opted just to keep the one we had, and cut off the other tie to match, as we liked it just the way it was. Costume Discounters does have a good exchange and return policy though, should you need it.

You can tell the quality of the fabrics used in the costume were good, just by looking at it.

All in all, I was very pleased with my experience using the Costume Discounters website to choose a costume and I’d recommend it to someone else looking to purchase a costume online. I know that Caroline is already looking forward to Halloween in the fall, and I know she’ll enjoy her new costume when she goes to the various Halloween parties and trick or treating on October 31!