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Thursday, February 14, 2019

Making Valentines Day Goodies With Gramma In A Box

Check out this month of goodies in the Gramma in a Box

 My boys are always happy to see the familiar red box that comes in the mailbox every month. The boys know that this is their monthly box of sweet treats that they get to make all by themselves. My boys can't wait to open up the box and tear through the red polka dot tissue paper to see what food crafts Gramma has made for them this month. I love that Gramma in a Box does all the work of gathering up all the supplies and puts just enough frosting and sprinkles in the box so I don't end up with leftovers that sit in my fridge for months. Having just the right amount of frosting also means that my kids don't eat too many sweets.

use code 10off to save $10 off your first box

Cute Valentines treats to create in no time

 I love that Gramma thinks of the projects for my boys and does the shopping for me. I try so hard to create those items that I see on Pinterest but it never seems to happen. I pin plenty of creative treat recipes every month with good intentions to make them but time gets away from me and I always forget to buy the ingredients. So this monthly make it box allows my boys to make treats for the holidays. This month's box of sweets was Valentines Day themed. Every box always contains three recipes for my boys to make and I love that step-by-step instruction with pictures are always included. When I saw the candy canes in the box, I said to the boys that Gramma is a smart shopper. I love that she repurposed holiday candy canes into a Valentine's Day craft.

I love that she repurposed holiday candy canes

 My favorite recipe craft in the red box is always the cookies. I love frosted sugar cookies and ones made into cute shapes like hearts taste even better. My boys know to put lots of frosting and sprinkles on a cookie for me to enjoy. The other crafts in the box always involve melted chocolate. The boys are a pro with melting the chocolate melts in the microwave. They know to never lick the spoon that they are using to stir the chocolate with. I once did just that and the water made the chocolate turn into a bunch of unuseable crumbs. I love my chocolate and I hate to see it go to waste.

Candy hearts are my favorite Valentine candy

There was candy hearts in the yummy box of make and eat treats this month. I tried sneaking one but my boys would not let me. They said that I had to wait until they made the treat with them. Do you like reading the sayings on the candy hearts? I remember as a kid and how I would enjoy reading the messages on those delicious candy hearts. That reminds me, I need to go buy a bag of Valentine's candy hearts from the store. I like the big hearts the best.

use code 10off to save $10 off your first box

Monthly subscription box filled with cookies and candy treats 

 This monthly subscription box is filled with plenty of fun items like cookies, candy, frosting, and sprinkles so kids can make some delicious treats. Each box makes plenty of treats so my boys can share them with others. Each month the box has a different theme. Last month my boys had a blast dressing up in clothes that matched the cookie box theme. You have to go check out how cute my boys looked while making their treats- click HERE to see what the theme was.

The boxes are making my boys excited about cooking

 These delicious monthly boxes are inspiring my boys to want to be in the kitchen more. Every weekend, my boys want to help me with cooking and baking. Last week my son helped make healthy pancakes for breakfast and it was so cool to see my husband show him how to tell when to flip the pancakes over. I think my son is ready to make pancakes on his own and maybe I will get breakfast in bed on Mother's Day.

Head on over to Grammas Instagram page to see some past treat boxes and get a sneak peek on what will be in the next Gramma In A Box. Make sure to use code 10off to save $10 off your first box 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Understanding Life Insurance Settlement Options

Today’s blog post on Mom Knows Best is about understanding  life insurance settlement options as part of a sponsored post with Mason Finance

  Having life insurance is always a good thing as it is a way to protect the ones that you love after you pass away. You never know when an emergency might take the life of someone, so being prepared for an emergency is always a good thing. Having life insurance is a piece of mind that the ones you leave behind will not have to worry about things like bills and other things. Like everything, it has its season and the day might come when you feel you no longer need that life insurance policy. If you, decide that your life insurance policy is no longer needed, then maybe a life insurance settlement may be the answer. When my husband became the caregiver for his dad, we discovered that his dad had an unneeded life insurance policy on his deceased wife. His dad could no longer afford the rising premiums as he needed his money for retirement expenses and health care expenses.

What is a life settlement?

  A life settlement is the sale of a life insurance policy to an investor for an amount more than the policy’s cash surrender value, but less than the death benefit, or payout value to the beneficiaryIt is simply a transfer of a life insurance policy to another person who takes over the premiums of the policy and becomes the new owner to the policy. The former policyholder receives a cash payment that is larger than the surrender value of the policy.

Read on to learn more about life insurance settlement options

Am I eligible for a life settlement?

 You may have a policy that is no longer needed and you would like some cash for bills or retirement. The first thing that one needs to do is to first see if your life insurance policy is eligible to be sold to an investor for cash. Things that investors look at before buying a policy is the age of the person and

 Age/Health: Is the policyholder 65+ or have a serious medical condition?

Policy Type: Is the policy universal, whole, and convertible term? These are all great candidates for a life insurance settlement.

Policy Size: Does the existing policy have at least $50,000 of face value?

Reasons to sell my life insurance 

  You may be wondering why you should sell your life insurance policy. Some of the reasons people sell a policy are due to the fact they can no longer afford the premiums or they no longer need to protect the spouse or children on the policy. Perhaps the policy is approaching its expiration date or you are looking to supplement your retirement. You may also need money to pay unexpected medical bills. These are just some of the many reasons people sell their life insurance policies. Before you sell your life insurance policy, make sure to check out the pros and cons of a Life Settlement. You may be getting some much-needed cash but it may affect things like taxes and Medicaid.

Is a life settlement right for me?

 The first step to determine if a life settlement may be talking to your life insurance agent to see if your policy can be transferred or sold to an investor. Then look at all the available options. Make sure to look at the pros and cons before you decide to sell. A life settlement may be a good option for a loved one that you take care of.

Do you have a life insurance policy that is no longer needed?

When you decide the time is right and you want to sell a life insurance policy, it is always good to do some research. One needs to know the life insurance settlement options that are available before they decide to sell a life insurance policy. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Dairy Free Mardi Gras King Cake In The Bread Machine

A King Cake is a perfect treat for the Mardi Gras Season

 This year the Mardi Gras Carnival season is going to be a long one since Easter Sunday is not until April 21st this year. The last day of the Carnival Season ends with the big Mardi Gras celebration and that is always the day before Ash Wednesday. So that means more opportunities to enjoy a delicious King Cake. This super yummy cake has the texture of a cinnamon roll and is best served with a delicious cup of coffee. My favorite coffee for the Mardi Gras season is Community King Cake Coffee. I just love how this sweet coffee has flavors of vanilla and cinnamon in to remind me of a slice of sweet King Cake.

The history of the King Cake 

 The Mardi Gras or Carnival season officially begins on January 6th to coincide with the Epiphany. The Epiphany is a day to celebrate the three Wise Men's visit to baby Jesus. The King Cake tradition is thought to have started in New Orleans in 1870. The colorful wreath-shaped cake is a cross between a coffee cake and a French pastry and is colored with the royal colors of purple, green, and gold. These colors have special meaning. The purple represents Justice, The green is for Faith and the gold is for Power. The colors as represent the jeweled crown of the Wise Men that visited the Christ Child on Epiphany.

Why is a plastic baby in the King Cake?

 The baby that is hidden inside the King Cake is a symbol of the Holy Day and the baby Jesus. In the past, such things as coins, beans, pecans, or peas were also hidden in each King Cake. The person who finds the baby in their cake is named "king" for the day and they have to host the next party and provide the King Cake. Some workplaces in New Orleans like to enjoy this delicious cake once a week from the beginning of the Mardi Gras Carnival, January 6th all the way to Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. This year Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras is March 5th so that is a whole lot of King Cake to be enjoyed.

Why a big celebration before Ash Wednesday?

 For most people, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and during this time people choose to give up things like alcohol, sweets, coffee, and many other things that they enjoy. So it makes perfect sense to have a big celebration and party before you have to give up things.

Each year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection. 

Today, over half a million king cakes are sold during the beginning of the year until Fat Tuesday.

 King Cake that my husband brought home from New Orleans

 Last year my husband traveled to New Orleans during the Mardi Gras Carnival season and he bought a King Cake while he was there. While the cake was tasty, it was a bit on the crunchy side. I think that you will find my recipe for King Cake so much more tastier. My King Cake recipe results in a moist sweet cinnamon roll taste with a sweet icing on top. This cake was so much fun to decorate also. The colored sugars added even more sweetness to the cake. If you don't have purple, green, or gold sugars, just use any color sprinkles as it will still look and taste great.

Make sure to place a small round oven safe dish in the middle of the dough while it is rising and baking. The round dish is needed to prevent the hole from closing.

Yield: 12 

Dairy Free Mardi Gras King Cake In The Bread Machine


For The Cake
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons vegan butter, softened, cut into 12 pieces
  • 4  cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, gently beaten
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dark green, purple, and yellow or gold sugars, if desired
  • Miniature plastic baby, if desired


  1. Oven 350F
  2. 1. Place all the cake ingredients, except egg,  in the bread machine in order and set the machine to the dough setting. 
  3. 2. When the dough is finished, take it out of the machine and knead it to form a soft ball, adding flour as needed.
  4. 3. On a baking sheet that is lined with a silicone sheet or parchment paper, form the dough into a large donut shape.
  5. 4. Place a small round oven safe dish in the middle of the dough and place the dough in a warm place to rise for an hour. The round dish is needed to prevent the hole from closing.
  6. 5. Once the dough has risen, brush it with the egg.
  7. 6. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly brown. Let cool ten minutes before decorating.
  8. Icing Directions
  9.  In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth (add additional milk if the mixture is too thick or powdered sugar if too thin).
  10. Spoon icing over top of the cake. Immediately sprinkle on colored sugar, alternating between the three colors.
  11. If a baby is desired, cut a slit in the side of the cake and push the plastic baby in the cake
Created using The Recipes Generator

Celebrate Mardi Gras With A Unique King Cake Coffee

Grab a package of King Cake Coffee and start the celebration

I was sent samples of coffee to facilitate this post.

 This year the Mardi Gras does not happen until March so that means the celebration will be a long one this year. The official kickoff of Mardi Gras Carnival starts January 6th and ends with the famous Fat Tuesday parade, the day before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday marks the first day of Lent, a time that people choose to give up something to represent the 40-day period of Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness. So the celebration of Mardi Gras is a time to not only party but it also has some other unique traditions. So grab a cup of coffee and learn some unique facts about Mardi Gras. If your store carries Community Coffee, you will want stock up on their Mardi Gras King Cake coffee for the long Carnival Celebration. 

 Mardi Gras King Cake is a sweet blend of cinnamon & vanilla

  The one thing NOLA is known for beyond their food is knowing how to party. Did you know that their biggest celebration Mardi Gras actually starts in January? Called the "carnivale" season, it officially begins each year on January 6. This Feast of the Epiphany, 'King's Day', starts with traditional balls occurring in the weeks that lead up to the big event- Mardi Gras. The people of NOLA love to celebrate weekly with the delicious King Cake. This is a traditional sweet cake that has a plastic baby(the King) in it and whoever finds the baby has to bring the next cake the following week. We all know that coffee goes great with cake, so Community© Coffee introduced Mardi Gras King Cake coffee so people could have a great cup of coffee to go with their cake.

My son and I made a Kings Cake-Get the recipe HERE

Its party time so grab some a mug of King Cake Coffee 

Mardi Gras is also known for its colorful beads and fun masks. Here are some other unique facts.

1. The Mardi Gras colors are purple, green and gold. 
Remember to coordinate your outfit appropriately. Rex, the King of the Carnival, selected the signature colors of Mardi Gras in 1892. The purple represents justice, green represents faith, and gold indicates power.

2. Any beads shorter than two feet long are unacceptable unless they are made of glass.
 The bigger and longer the beads, the better. The beads are tossed from parade floats and balconies but you don't have to flash anything to get the pretty beads. So keep your shirt on as this misconception came about after some late night parties and a few spring break-aged tourists who had too much to drink.

3. Cool Coconuts
 Beyond the beads, a coveted souvenir from Mardi Gras you may not have heard of is the Zulu krewe's decorated “golden” coconut, which is tossed out to crowds during the parade. So stand close to the floats and you might just catch this lucky souvenir.

4. Mardi Gras Masks
 The signature look of the celebration, masks, are more than just a colorful decoration. Masks were used as a symbol of hiding from social and class constraints and were considered a way to hide from the “evil” deeds that were done on Mardi Gras.

5. First U.S. Mardi Gras
 While New Orleans is now considered the home of Mardi Gras, it actually did not begin in the Big Easy. In 1699, French-Canadian explorer Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville declared what is now known as Mobile, Alabama, the "Pointe du Mardi Gras" after he and his men realized they landed there on the eve of Mardi Gras.

6. King Cake Baby
 Why is there a baby in a cake? The King Cake continues the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts to the Christ Child, with a special cake to honor the Three Kings. This tradition originated in Europe where a bean or a coin would be hidden inside of the cake for good fortune to the finder.

7. Shrove Tuesday
 Mardi Gras is also linked to Shrove Tuesday, a tradition that is now informally known as “Pancake Day.”Pancake Day is a way to use as much milk, fats, and eggs as possible before Ash Wednesday begins. Coffee is the perfect drink for pancakes,

8. King Cake
 What is a King Cake? King Cakes are a delicious sweet braided dough that is covered with purple, green and gold sugar, the traditional Mardi Gras colors. Some cakes make be stuffed with different flavors like cream cheese and fruit fillings. Community Coffee knew that this delicious cake needed a delicious coffee to enjoy with it. So they made Mardi Gras King Cake coffee, a delicious blend of cinnamon and vanilla flavored coffee that is made from only 100% select Arabica coffee beans.

 So grab a cup of coffee and celebrate the season of Mardi Gras! The Mardi Gras King Cake coffee is only available for a limited time in stores and then it is gone until the next Mardi Gras year.

A slice of Kings Cake deserves a delicious coffee

Do you want to taste this delicious coffee and celebrate?

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