5 Fun Activities While the Kids Are Out of School

Looking for a way to entertain the kids (and yourself) on a rare day off from school? Try one of these five fantastic ideas to make the most of your day:

  • Build a giant fort together then fill it with blankets, snacks and books, or watch a movie together on a laptop or tablet. Flashlights are a must.
  • Venture outdoors for a nature walk. Equip each person with a camera if possible and have everyone look for beauty and details in nature. Then, put together a slide show with all the photos set to one of your favorite songs.
  • We use the phrase “like a kid in a candy store,” but when is the last time that actually happened? Look online for an old fashioned-style candy store nearby and take the kids on a field trip. Encourage them to try something different.
  • Escape winter by finding an indoor pool and spend the day barefoot in swimsuits. Go all the way by stopping for ice cream cones on the way home.
  • Preheat the oven, roll up your sleeves and bake batches of cookies together. Cookies are a perfect beginner’s course for young bakers. Read the recipe together, measure ingredients, explain the process, and most of all, remember to lick the beaters! Bake the cookies and let the kids bask in a job well done. (Looking for recipe recommendations? Try our Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies or Melting Snowman Cookies.)

Fun Facts on Olympic Eating

If you’re caught up with the rest of the world in the Olympics, here are some fun facts about what’s on the menu in Sochi for athletes and guests of the 2014 Winter Games:

  • The US Olympic team has a private chef to prepare familiar, healthy food for the athletes. Chef Allen Tran says the US athletes prefer spicy ethnic foods.
  • Mexican food is the favorite among US skiers.
  • The US brought maple syrup and Sriracha hot sauce with them for fear that it couldn’t be found locally in Sochi.
  • Inside the Olympic Park, the most popular food items are pizza, hot dogs and baked potatoes.
  • Favorite local foods in the Olympic Park are blini (buckwheat pancakes served with sour cream) and grilled shashlik (lamb kebabs).
  • Sochi is famous for a spiced meat dumpling called khinkali.
  • Craving  a Big Mac? There’s a huge McDonald’s right in central Sochi and another right on site in the Olympic Village for the athletes.
  • A favorite drink in Sochi is cha-cha, a grape vodka from Georgia that is usually illegally imported.
  • The concession stands at Olympic events sell Russian staples like cabbage coulibiac, meat coulibiac (a stuffed puffed pastry) or salmon and cream cheese bagels.
  • Snowboarder Sean White says he always eats a big steak the night before a competition.
  • After a big competition, some of the favorite “recovery foods” of Olympians are chocolate milk, pickle juice, sweet tart cherries, and beet juice.
  • The daily calorie intake for athletes varies greatly by sport. Downhill skiers need around 4000 calories per day, compared to half pipe athletes who need around 2000 calories.
  • Almonds are always on hand for snacking since they provide quick energy and protein.
  • Greek yogurt is a go-to ingredient in the Olympic diet. It’s perfect for breakfast or a snack, plus it’s a protein-rich substitute for mayo and sour cream.
  • Although sugar and candy are not a big part of Olympic diets, Chef Tran says that a box of oatmeal cookies has gone missing from his kitchen. Good to know our athletes have their cookie priorities straight!

The Best Homemade Valentine Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Homemade Valentines

A homemade valentine is extra special, but doesn’t have to be extra hard. We’ve rounded up the best homemade valentine ideas on the Internet for you to try with your kids. Make them together and create some fun memories along the way!

(Clockwise from top left)
Homemade heart puzzle
 - Pretty paper, glue and scissors are all you need to get started. Try using old wallpaper sample books for interesting patterns and textures.
Handprint valentines - Super simple, but oh-so-cute, these sign language “I Love You” hands traced from your little one say so much.
Robot valentines
 - A little more time intensive, but ridiculously cute, these mini candy bars-turned-robots are a ton of fun.
iPod valentines - If you’ve got a little music lover, this valentine is perfect. Wrapped candy heart boxes with silver kisses for earbuds!
Illustrated valentines - Have your little one draw a heart design, then turn it into a coloring activity with this sweet idea.
Scratch-and-win valentines - This clever idea could be used in so many creative ways! Share a valentine wish or reveal a secret prize.
Homemade crayon hearts - Recycle your old crayon pieces in heart-shaped silicone molds, a perfectly useful valentine.
Paint strip bookmarks - A simple heart-shaped hole punch and some ribbon turns paint swatches into a sweet valentine bookmark.

And of course, we’re still partial to this idea we shared a couple of years ago…

Hooray for National Popcorn Day!

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Today is National Popcorn Day! Did you know?

  • Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popcorn per year.
  • U.S. popcorn comes primarily from only seven states.
  • Popping popcorn is the number one use for microwave ovens.
  • There are two shapes of popped popcorn: snowflake and mushroom. Snowflake is used for movie theater popcorn and mushroom is used in confections because it holds its shape.
  • Kernels can pop up to three feet into the air!

Popcorn is such a fun and versatile ingredient. It’s delicious on its own, sprinkled with a touch of butter and salt, or completely decked out in flavors both savory and sweet! Some of our favorite popcorn recipes are Caramel Sea Salt Popcorn Balls and Popcorn and Peanut Cookies. And did you know that you can bypass all the strange chemicals and pop your own microwave popcorn using a simple brown lunch bag?

And most importantly, did you know that Mrs. Fields has a delicious assortment of gourmet popcorn tubs and tins? If you haven’t tried them before, use code 14AEB at checkout for 20% off any of our incredible popcorn gifts. Because, really, is there a better way to celebrate National Popcorn Day? We think not!

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Kitchen

Want to start your new year off with some great resolutions for your kitchen? Improve and organize the most important room in your home by incorporating twelve simple resolutions. Try a new one each week or even each month and reap the benefits of a better kitchen (and a better you, too)!

1. Keep the kitchen sink clean. Instead of using the sink as a holding cell for dirty dishes for hours (or days), commit to washing dishes immediately or loading them into the dishwasher. It takes barely a few seconds more to move the dishes along, and now your sink is always ready for food preparation.

2. Clean the garbage disposal. Eliminate odd smells coming from your disposal with this simple remedy. It’s worth doing once a month, or whenever you notice odor Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the drain immediately followed by 1 cup of white vinegar. Allow it to bubble and fizz. Once it’s quiet, turn on hot water and allow it to run for 3-5 minutes. While the water is running, cut a lemon into quarters and turn on the garbage disposal. Put the lemon pieces down the disposal, one piece at a time until it is gone. Enjoy a fresh, clean scent.

3. Switch to reusable grocery bags. If you’re not already in the habit, start now. Clear out your old grocery bags, take them to a local recycling collection site, and invest in some durable grocery bags. You’ll save money, clutter, and the planet! Plus, the heavy duty reusable bags come in handy for much more than groceries! Another hint: after unloading your groceries, store your reusable bags in the car. That way you never forget them.

4. Replace baking soda boxes. If you use baking soda to keep your fridge, freezer, and cupboards smelling fresh, it’s probably time to replace them. When you buy replacements, pick up an extra set and set a reminder in your email or smart phone to replace them in 3-6 months.

5. Clean your appliances. When is the last time your stand mixer, toaster, or coffee maker was cleaned? Never? Ouch. Grab some disinfectant wipes and give it a thorough wipe down. Use toothpicks or Q-tips to get gunk out of hard to reach places.

6. Toss out old spices. How old is that paprika? Take inventory of your spice rack and toss anything Jurassic. Use this helpful guide to know how long spices last.

7. Defrost your freezer. If you have a deep freezer, take time to defrost it at least once per year. It will help it last longer and will also keep your frozen foods better preserved with even temperatures.

8. Wash cupboards and baseboards. You’ll be surprised at the fresh gleam in your kitchen after taking a warm, soapy rag to cupboard doors, handles, and especially baseboards. This is an especially good idea during cold and flu season!

9. Clean your oven. No need to dread this task. Most modern ovens have a self-cleaning function, but if not, there is no need to buy dangerous chemical cleansers. A spray bottle of water and a box of baking soda will do wonders.

10. Clean your dishwasher. If you’ve never done it, it’s time to give your dishwasher a break and a special clean cycle. Think of it as a spa treatment for your hard working machine.

11. Toss old plastic containers. They seem to breed in the dark cupboards and drawers, and soon they are falling out and overtaking everything. Find matching pairs and keep no more than two or three containers and lids of each size. Donate or recycle extras.

12. Use menus and shopping lists. This simple habit will save you time, money and space in your fridge and pantry. If you need help getting started, download a menu-planning app and commit to using it for a month. You’re likely to notice that you spend less, eat healthier, and have a more organized fridge and pantry because everything that goes in and out has a purpose.

May your new year and your kitchen be clean and bright!

Tastiest Gift Guide for Everyone on Your List

Let’s be honest, the people on your holiday gift list are not the easiest to shop for. Well, until now. This year, treat them with cookies and treats from Mrs. Fields! Think about it, have you ever had someone frown when you give them a cookie? Has anybody ever complained that a cookie didn’t fit right? Or was the wrong color? Cookies are the easiest, most welcome gift, and nobody does it better than Mrs. Fields! Check out some of my favorite gift ideas, something for absolutely everyone on your list!

Holiday Mini Ribbon Box

Our Holiday Mini Ribbon Box is a bestseller year after year. It’s just the right size for a thoughtful, personal gift. Think teachers, co-workers, neighbors and friends.

Twas the Night Teddy

Kids today have every conceivable electronic gadget and tablet and e-whatever, but just imagine their delight at the sight of this cuddly Twas the Night Teddy who arrives with an armload of freshly baked treats!

Holiday Bark Trio

Our Holiday Bark is a customer favorite and this year we’ve got it going in a big way: three delicious flavors (Peppermint Bark, Grasshopper Bark, and Almond Toffee Bark) in one great gift or easily divided into three great gifts! Maybe one for you and two for your in-laws? Two for you and one for your in-laws? We’ll let you figure out the math. (And by the way, individual boxes are available too.)

Red Holiday Personalized Tin

Grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles go gaga over our Personalized Holiday Tins. The cookies are delicious and the tin is an absolute keepsake. (HINT: Use a picture of the cutest family member for ultimate brownie points!)

Smiling Santa Cookie Cake

One of our most popular gifts all year round is dressed up for the holidays. Kids and adults alike will enjoy a slice of the tastiest Big Cookie Cake around! This is perfect as a holiday gift, or a hostess gift for your next holiday party.

Polar Pals Duo

Your BFF will love the charm and flavor of this adorable Polar Pals Duo, loaded with a variety of our holiday best. It makes a darling holiday decoration, too!

Popcorn Tub

Our Popcorn Tubs are family favorites, filled with three delicious flavors: Dark Chocolate, Almond and Cashews, and Milk Chocolate Almond and Cashews. This is also a great gift idea for an office.

Ultimate Snowman Bundle

Sometimes you need a big gift, something really over-the-top spectacular to wow your favorite crowd and nothing does that better than our Ultimate Snowman Bundle. Every layer of this jolly fella reveals more and more of our gourmet goodies: cookies, brownies, candy, popcorn, nuts, cocoa, and peppermint bark. This will keep them happy for weeks on end! This is our favorite pick for families, holiday parties, office gifts, or just that favorite person on your list with a really big sweet tooth!

Mrs. Fields Sto-N-Go

And finally, is there a baker in the house? Because if so, you’re going to want to treat them to a gift from our incredible Mrs. Fields Bakeware Line. These useful gifts can be sent with or without our freshly baked goodies. (We suggest with.)

Of course, you can find even more amazing gifts for literally everyone on your list at Mrs. Fields. Check back frequently for the latest offers and specials all season through, and most of all, have a happy holiday season. From all of us at Mrs. Fields!

Happy Thanksgiving + Black Friday Special

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From all of us at Mrs. Fields, we want to wish you a wonderful (and delicious) holiday! And congratulations to the winners of our Thanksgiving giveaway. Our grand prize winner came from this nomination:

I want to thank my amazing mom for all that she has done for me, and continues to do every day.

After my dad passed away very suddenly ten years ago my mom was crippled with an ungodly amount of medical debt resulting from the incident. Nearing her golden years when she should have been settling in to retirement, she had to go back to work to pay off all the debt, knowing that she’d have to work the rest of her life to pay it all off (all while dealing with the grief of losing her partner).

Two years ago, my husband and I finally became pregnant after years of trying when things suddenly took a terrible turn. It was a complicated pregnancy the entire way and we were told our little one (if she made it) could be mentally challenged, have heart defects, lung defects, possibly blind and/or deaf. We were at the mercy of fate, and I could only be comforted by the arms of the woman who had seen me through all of life’s challenges: my amazing mom.

Being a 2-income family by necessity, the idea of finding childcare for a special needs child became overwhelming, to say the least. It was an added stress that was weighing me down emotionally and financially… Then, my loving, thoughtful, never selfish mom came to me and declared that she had put in her notice at work and was going to stay home to be our “Granny Nanny!”

The day our daughter was born gave me new insight into the love my mom has felt for me all these years: undying, selfless and eternal. AND, knowing that our little one was going to be cared for by the most amazing person on earth gave us so much comfort that we were able to go back to work with peace of mind.

Here’s the happiest part of all: our daughter came out 100% healthy, and now she and Granny get to play and learn together all day long! They are the best of friends and I couldn’t be more thankful for the most amazing mom the world has to offer: mine!

And now for tomorrow’s fun–we have three fun offers for your Black Friday shopping!

In our stores:

Online:

And at a Walgreens near you:

Now go have a slice of pie!

5 Tips to Make Houseguests Feel Welcome

If you’re hosting houseguests over the holidays, there are simple things you can do to help their stay go off without a hitch. I’ve got five great tips that will make all the difference:

1. Keep a well-stocked bedroom. Anticipate your guest’s needs by stocking their room or sleeping area with a few essentials: bottled water, tissues, a packaged snack food, and a magazine or book. If there is a TV in the room, leave a channel guide near the remote control. Leave a note with the wi-fi name and password, and extra pillows and blankets are a must. A nightlight is helpful, as is a small flashlight in case they need to find the bathroom in the night and don’t want to turn on lights.

2. Keep a well-stocked bathroom. No guest wants to quietly tap you on the shoulder and ask for a bathroom item, so have your bathroom well-stocked and organized. Have ample toilet paper, fresh towels, fresh soap, cotton balls, Q-tips, feminine products, and even a new toothbrush and toothpaste just in case. My other favorite bathroom item to keep stocked is a bottle of this little gem. It really works!

3. Plan for free time. Both you and your guest will likely need and want some time apart, especially during the busy holidays. Equip them with helpful information like maps and transportation information so that they can get around independently. Pick up free brochures of local attractions ahead of time so they can browse options. Supply them with an extra set of house keys, so they have the freedom to come and go as needed.

4. Have accessible snacks and food. Keep a bowl full of fruit out for snacking and a jar full of cookies out and ready for enjoyment. Make sure they know where to find a drink if they need one, and have easy self-serve breakfast food options in case they wake up earlier or later than you.

5. Let them help out. Nobody likes to feel like a burden as a houseguest. Invite them to help you make dinner or read to the kids while you’re  running a quick errand. If they offer to help, have a short list of tasks in mind that would be easy for them to do: wash the dishes, walk the dog, take out the trash, or even vacuum.

Do you have any other tips? Be sure to share them!

Fall Wreath Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Fall Wreath Ideas
Looking for ideas to dress up the front door for fall? Check out these inspiring autumnal decorations filled with bright colors and textures. (Left to right)

Rich mums line the stairway / Pinecone wreath with golden ribbon / Wreath with green bow / Bright yellow flowers and brown ribbon / Leopard print ribbon wreath / Mossy wreath with mini pumpkins / Upcycled aluminum can wreath / Twig wreath

Gift Ideas for Grandparent’s Day

Mrs. Fields Secrets Grandparents Day Gift IdeasGrandparent’s Day is coming up this weekend on September 8. If you’re looking for some fun, creative gift ideas, we’ve got you covered! Grab the kids and check out these fun ideas:

1. Some simple plaster poured in a sandy handprint to make a beachy keepsake gift.
2. Handprint trivets are useful and oh so cute.
3. Speaking of cute and useful, these handprint potholders are perfect for getting grandma’s goodies out of the oven.
4. This simple card opens up to hold a heart. (Get ready to hear oohs and ahhhs.)
5. A pretend restaurant with grandkids as the waitstaff and cooks is a grandparent’s favorite dining spot.
6. Is there a grandparent alive that wouldn’t like a Grandparent Photo Book? Answer: no.
7. Silhouettes of the kids are easier to make than you might think and such a special keepsake.
8. Flower pots with photos of the grandkids? A fun project that will earn big brownie points.

And speaking of brownie points, another way to earn them with G&G is with one of our amazing gifts. Don’t forget a personalized note inside!

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