December 18, 2014

My Holiday Traditions: Tamales, Baby Jesus and Santa!

This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Sears and Latina Bloggers Connect.
I am so thankful to have only wonderful memories of the holidays. As a kid you mostly look forward to the presents, but the gifts aren't what last. The memories are what last a lifetime. I feel so blessed to be able to remember and share some of my fondest memories with you all, starting with one of my favorite holiday traditions: shopping for that special dress just for Christmas. A few days before Christmas, my mom would take me and my sister to Sears to buy our special Christmas dress, tights, and shiny new shoes. Going to Sears is a tradition, since my Grandpa Lara worked there for more than 50 years, Sears was also where mi abuelita would take my mother and her siblings as children. 
Each year of my childhood, Christmas Eve was spent with my Mother's side of the family, my grandparents, many aunts and uncles and about 20 cousins. The house would burst with the laughter only cousins could share, the smell of my grandmas tamales, and the alcohol induced adult conversations that as a child, made no sense whatsoever. At 11:45 p.m on Christmas Eve, one of the older cousins would pass around a ceramic baby Jesus doll for all of us to kiss. I don't know the origin of this tradition of ours, but it is still alive. All these years later, our children now kiss baby Jesus before any presents are opened. 
Christmas morning was spent with just our immediate family and since I was the baby of the family, I would wake everyone up shouting "Santa was here!" The rest of Christmas Day was spent with my Dad's side of the family complete with another set of traditions. After dinner all the kids would gather around the Christmas tree and sing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and just as we were finishing up Jingle Bells, Santa would come bursting through the door and everyone would take turns sitting on Santa's lap and taking pictures. 
I love that for the most part our family still gets together to spend this special time together. Although some have grown and gone down their own path, it seems that Christmas always brings us back together and now the next generation, our children, are making their own memories. Each family has their own traditions that they hold close to their heart. The article How My Latino Family Does Christmas Differently, talks about the different ways this particular multi-cultural family celebrates and how they have adapted over time.

Let's talk Christmas, tell me: 
What traditions do you hold close to your heart? What traditions have been passed down from past generations? What is your favorite holiday memory? 

December 16, 2014

Help Luvs Donate Diapers to Children in Need #LuvsLeakFreeHoliday (Giveaway)

This is part of a sponsored collaboration with Latina Mom Bloggers and Luvs. All opinions are 100% mine.

The holidays are such an exciting time, especially when you are celebrating for the first time with your littles. It would be amazing if you could remember the first time you see a lit Christmas Tree or hear Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Luckily, as a parent you can remember the look on your little's face when they experience the magic of the holidays for the first time. 
Now that my girls are not that little anymore I can look back at the holidays over the last few years and remember all the good times. It can be so easy to get lost in the craziness and hustle of the holidays. Holiday photo sessions, multiple family gatherings, and of course early morning present opening can all be held up with a leaky diaper. Leaks can disrupt even the most routine baby’s sleep schedule during the holidays. Keeping baby leak-free through the night will make for a merrier morning. 
It all happens so fast. My little lady's first Christmas seems so long ago now, I'm so glad I have the pictures to help remember the little moments. Luvs diapers, a trusted name in baby care, knows that the holiday season is full of moments, but they don't want diaper leaks be one of them. This holiday, Luvs wants everyone to celebrate a Leak-Free Holiday. Luvs with NightLock offers its largest absorbency area EVER to help lock wetness away, which means less leaks during the holiday season for baby and more time for parents to enjoy the festivities.
These tiny little faces take me back to the diaper stage in a heartbeat. Luvs Leak Barrier Leg Gathers ensure leaks are kept away from holiday outfits and in our diaper - where they belong! 
Watch and share the “Will It Leak?” Video to help increase diaper donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. From December 9th - 25th, for every view their Will It Leak "Santa Suit" video receives on their social media channels, Luvs will donate diapers to children in need through the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Luvs was generous enough to provide a great prize package for me to giveaway to 1 lucky reader!

GIVEAWAY:  
o Branded Luvs tote bag
o #LuvsLeakFreeHoliday travel coffee mug
o Hot chocolate
o Luvs branded purple star ornament
o My First Kwanzaa book
o Plush Musical Dreidel
o Hanukkah gelt
o Two packs of Luvs diapers
o A tub of Luvs wipes

It's easy to enter, leave me a comment below telling me about a holiday mishap. Hey, they happen to all of us, tell me about the time your little one screamed during Santa photos or the time the dog knocked down the Christmas tree. 
Make sure to watch and share the video above since every share provides diapers for a baby in need. The holiday fun doesn't stop there! This holiday, Luvs is also inviting parents to whip up a baby book for their child in a few quick clicks with Luvs and Tweekaboo. Get yours here: https://www.tweekaboo.com/luvs and like Luvs on Facebook and follow Luvs on Twitter.



Giveaway Guidelines:
Entrants must be 18+up and live in the contiguous U.S. No Puerto Rico and have until January 1 to enter. 

December 15, 2014

(Recipe) Warm Cream Cheese Marshmallow Pastry #TasteTheSeason

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias

For me, the best part of the holiday season is the gathering of family and friends and of course, the baking. The first step in Party Planning, is recipe planning and grocery list making. I love coming up with new ideas and recipes, but I always have to make sure to stay within budget. One of the ways I stay under budget is to buy products I'm familiar with and are already on my regular shopping list and build my recipe around them. Today I'm sharing a recipe for a Warm Cream Cheese- Marshmallow Pastry, oh yeah!
We do a lot of our grocery shopping at Walmart, not only for the convenience, but the prices are definitely budget friendly. We regularly buy and use Kraft products not just for baking, but for everyday use. I have always wanted to use puff pastry and on this shopping trip I found some in the freezer section right next to the cool whip.
For this recipe you will need:

Frozen Puff Pastry
Philadelphia Cream Cheese
Jet Puffed Marshmallows
Bakers Chocolate (Semi-Sweet)
Cool Whip
Kraft Caramel or Strawberries (optional)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Thaw and roll out puff pastry (follow instructions on the box), cut into even amount of squares and separate half. Set aside half of the puff pastry for the tops.  
Step 2: Spread a tablespoon of Philadelphia Cream Cheese in the center, add a Jet Puffed Marshmallow and add a piece of Semi-Sweet Bakers Chocolate. 
Step 3: Top with the other half of the puff pastry and press down along the edges to close. 
Step 4: Bake according to directions on the puff pastry box. For me, it was 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Let stand for about a minute, the warmer the better.
Step 5: While the pastries are baking, melt Semi-Sweet Bakers Chocolate in a double boiler for the drizzle.
Step 6: Top with Cool Whip, sliced strawberries (optional) and drizzle with chocolate!
Step 7: Enjoy! 
If you have never tried cream cheese and marshmallow together, you will not be sorry. Trust me, it is such a treat together, during the Summer, I use melted marshmallows and cream cheese mixed together for a fruit dip. On this trip I accidentally grabbed the Unsweetened Chocolate, so I skipped it for the baking and sweetened and melted it for the drizzle.



One of the ways I have started to make my grocery shopping easier is having a shopping list for my girls to use. When we get the ads in the mail, I let them look through them and cut out what they would like along with the items they know we use all the time and then glue them on their own shopping list. I have created a blank shopping list for you to download and print available here.

If you need more inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website. It has recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! What's not to love? If you're looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out!