How to Care for Your Winter Wear

A great way to wash away the winter blues is to give your winter wear a good cleaning. Freshening up your coats, jackets and scarves will help everything feel more sunny. Here are some great tips to care for your winter clothing:

Down-filled Coats and Parkas: Always follow the cleaning instructions on the inside labels of your coats. Most down-filled coats can be machine washed. Pop three fresh tennis balls into the dryer with the coat, which will help keep the feathers evenly distributed as they dry. For good measure, give heavy coats two full cycles in the dryer to insure that the inside down is thoroughly dry and fluffy.

Wool Coats: Brush coats with a stiff brush to loosen and remove thin layers of dirt and grime. A lint roller will remove threads and pet hair, and at least once a season, treat your wool coat to a trip to the dry cleaner.

Fleece Jackets and Coats: This fabric absorbs more, so it will need more frequent washings. To keep fleece fabrics from pilling, wash it inside out on a delicate cycle and then line dry.

Leather Coats and Jackets: Leather is durable and shouldn’t need more than one dry cleaning per year (the end of the season is a good idea). Spot clean leather with a rag and leather conditioner. For suede, spot clean with a dry, stiff brush. Avoid using water, which will stain leather that is untreated.

Scarves, Gloves, and Knit Hats: Because these items have the most contact with your face, they are likely the dirtiest of your winter wear. A weekly washing will help keep them fresh, and keep you healthier too by washing away winter germs.

Sweaters: Wool sweaters need very little washing since the fibers naturally repel dirt and water, not to mention that the texture encourages the use of an undershirt. One cleaning per season will suffice. Cotton, cashmere and silk sweaters should only be washed after every three or four uses.

A NOTE ON COATS: One of the easiest ways to keep winter coats smelling fresh is to allow them to “breathe” after a wearing. Don’t shove them in a crowded, dark coat closet. let them air out on the back of a chair or on a coat rack. The natural air flow in the room will help carry away odors and moisture that can otherwise get trapped.

{Image via Pinterest.}

10 Fun Family Games for Your New Gadgets

Got a new gadget for Christmas? Get to know it with the whole family. Here are some great apps that can facilitate family fun:

1. Family Feud – Based on the popular TV show, this will help you and your family duke it out (and make great memories along the way).

2. Just Say It – Similar to the popular game Taboo, this two-team game is perfect for family parties, or a lazy holiday afternoon.

3. Marble Mixer – You may have grown up playing with real marbles, but this virtual edition is fun for every generation and (bonus!) no marbles get lost!

4. Party Doodles – Similar to Pictionary of the past, this game will test artistic ability and creative thinking, with a huge helping of laughs.

5. Reverse Charades – A great new twist on an old classic, this version has a whole team act out a clue while only one person guesses. Hilarity ensues.

6. Backwords – The app plays a word or phrase backward and it’s up to you and your team to decipher the correct version.

7. Ramses II – This is not your old-fashioned memory game. It’s so much cooler. Fun for little ones and big ones too!

8. Puerto Rico – This board game-gone-mobile is a serious game of strategy and (uh-oh) chance. Having everything digital keeps this board game moving fast!

9. The Game of Life – This classic board game has a modern upgrade and is so much fun for the entire family.

10. Mad Libs – Your favorite fill-in-the-blank game from childhood is back and easier to use than ever! Gather the family around and give me an adjective!

Do you have a favorite game app? Share your ideas in the comments!

10 Fun Activities While The Kids Are Out of School

If you’re worried about a little cabin fever over the holiday break, here are 10 fun ideas to keep everybody entertained:

1. You’ve got an abundance of snow and an abundance of time, which can only mean one thing: it’s time to build a proper snow fort. Gather up your shovels and buckets and get to work. Need some inspiration? Start here.

2. Have a movie marathon. Pop the popcorn, gather your favorite stuffed animals, and watch two or three movies in a row. It’s a blissful indulgence, perfect for a winter afternoon.

3. Are you sure you know the best cheeseburger in town? Pile the kids in the car and choose four places to compete. Buy one sandwich at each stop, share it, and tally the votes.

4. Arrange a progressive play date with your kids’ friends and their parents. Kids can spend 1-2 hours at each house, giving all the parents a short shift, and a lot of peace and quiet after!

5. Visit a different library and discover new titles, new reading nooks, and new ideas.

6. Play “restaurant” with the kids. Plan a menu, write it up, let someone play cook and waiter and serve the other family members. It’s up to you whether to charge real money.

7. Spin the globe, pick a random spot, and take a virtual vacation. Jump on the Internet and find out what to do and see while there. Where would you visit? What would you eat? Find YouTube videos about it and enjoy a virtual escape.

8. Turn the house into a full-service beauty salon. Manicures, pedicures, hair styling, and makeup are just a few of the services you can offer in a day full of fun.

9. Almost every digital gadget these days has a camera, so have the kids make their own movie or recreate one of their favorites.

10. When was the last time you built a house of cards or made a domino chain reaction? You’re due.

Introducing the Mrs. Fields Basketball Team (And what’s in it for you!)

Mrs. Fields Secrets Basketball Team
We are so honored to introduce to you the Mrs. Fields Basketball Team! Our delicious cookies are the fuel behind this incredible team, coming to you from the Pinoy Asian Basketball League in the San Fernando Valley of California! This group of serious (part-time) ballers is dressed for success in the bright signature red of Mrs. Fields and ready to do some serious dunking. (They are equally adept at basketball and cookie dunking.) The new season begins this week and we’re inviting all of our Mrs. Fields cookie fans to become fans of this amazing team and follow along during the season. We’ll keep you updated with game highlights and player bios and treat you with fun giveaways to help celebrate the team’s success.

And speaking of treating you, local fans are invited to attend games where Mrs. Fields will have FREE cookies available for fans. So show up in your bright red, bring your posters and cheer on the team and enjoy a fresh Mrs. Fields cookie for free while you get to know Papa J, Boom, Dolph, Lolo and all the other players on the team.

You can keep up with the team on our Facebook page and Twitter feed as well as right here on the blog.

The first game is tonight, November 21.  Time: 9:15PM Location: Francis Polytechnic High School. Be there if you’re a smart cookie!

Recipe: Mashed Cauliflower

Mrs. Fields Secrets Mashed Cauliflower
This twist on your traditional Thanksgiving potatoes will knock your socks off and probably even fool those who mistake it for mashed potatoes. Mashed cauliflower has all the creamy texture of mashed potatoes, all the robust flavor of mashed potatoes, and almost none of the carbs. Give them a try and see for yourself. They are an amazing vegetable side dish for your Thanksgiving table or your weeknight table too!

Mashed Cauliflower

1 medium head of cauliflower
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon chicken bullion
1/4 cup half and half
salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter

Directions
Start a stockpot of water on high and heat until boiling. Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Add cauliflower to boiling water and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until pieces are soft. Drain cauliflower and then pat excess moisture off with paper towels. Place cauliflower in a food processor (or a mixing bowl if using an emulsion blender) and add the remaining ingredients, except for butter. Pulse until ingredients are incorporated and texture is creamy. Salt and pepper to taste. Add three pats of butter to the top before serving.

HINT: One of my favorite ways to serve mashed cauliflower is with a generous topping of cheddar cheese melted on top. Delicious!

HINT: Add roasted garlic for your favorite garlic mashed potato flavor!

Homemade Sidewalk Chalk Paint

I can’t let summer slip away without sharing this very easy recipe that makes for hours and hours of outdoor fun! All you need is a few quick ingredients from your kitchen, a muffin tin and some old paint brushes. Set the kids loose on your driveway and sidewalk and see what masterpieces they can create!

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

1 cup cornstarch
1 3/4 cups water
food coloring
muffin tin(s)
paint brushes

Directions
Mix cornstarch and water with a whisk until dissolved and milky in appearance. Pour equal amounts into the muffin tin, then add drops of food coloring into each individual pocket and stir. Keep in mind that the dried colors will appear much lighter than the paint, so add plenty of coloring. Use paint brushes to paint sidewalks, driveways, or even little legs and feet! (It washes right off!)

HINT: Why let the kids have all the fun? Invite your friends to take a square of sidewalk to paint this weekend at your Labor Day party and have a sidewalk art show!

{Image source.}

Gift Guides for Her, Him, and Them

Selecting the right gifts for the people on your list can be one of the greatest joys (and one of the greatest stresses too). That’s why I’m so excited to share some gift guides with you over the next few weeks. Today, let’s focus on great gifts for ladies, gents, and couples.

For Her Collage

1. Little Black Pajama Set - It’s like a LBD in pajama form.
2. Festive Flakes Box - A box of gourmet cookies all to herself? YES!
3. Matroyashka measuring cups - Fun to stack and display, plus they’re useful!
4. Asymmetry Brass Cuff - Beautiful, bold, and affordable.
5. Custom Lichenstein-Style Portrait - Turn a favorite snapshot into a custom treasure.
6. State Pendant Necklace - Let her keep home close to her heart.

For Him Collage

1. Firewood Storage Rack - Perfect for the family fire starter.
2. Battery Pack - Small enough to carry in his pocket.
3. Treat Time Tool Box - A tool box full of gourmet cookies is every man’s dream.
4. Noise-Isolating Ear Buds - A perfect non-bulky accessory for air-travelers.
5. Beer After-Shave Lotion - Smells amazing and works wonders on irritated skin.
6. All-in-One Urban Tool - Screwdriver, level, tape measurer, and LED light, just to name a few.

For Couples Collage

1. D&G La Lune Unisex Fragrance - Fragrance that smells completely different and amazing on him AND her.
2. Mrs. Fields Treat of the Month Subscription - Choose 3, 6, or 12 months of freshly baked and delivered goodies.
3. America Cutting Board - Cheese and crackers will feel right at home at a party.
4. IMAgiNiff Board Game - The latest must-have board game that everyone can enjoy.
5. Remote Control Container - Functional, beautiful and capable of preventing dozens of fights.
6. Subway Map Art - Commemorate a favorite place with some modern art.

4th Annual “Give Thanks with the Gift of Cookies” Giveaway

It’s time, once again, for my absolute favorite giveaway. I can hardly believe that it’s the fourth year of our “Give Thanks With the Gift of Cookies” giveaway! It has become one of the highlights of the holiday season for everybody here at Mrs. Fields Secrets Blog. We love reading the entries, and we especially appreciate the time you take to nominate special people in your life who are deserving of thanks. (If you need some inspirational reading, check out years onetwo, and three.)

This year at Mrs. Fields, we are celebrating our 35th anniversary, which is 35 wonderful years of being part of special moments in your lives. From casual moments of a shared cookie at the shopping mall, to helping you celebrate babies, birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays with your loved ones, we love to help make the moments sweeter. It’s an honor to be part of your lives, and we thank you for the opportunity.

With Thanksgiving approaching, we have much to be thankful for and we know that you do too. We also know that the perfect way to express your gratitude is with the gift of cookies. Once again, we are giving away three fabulous prizes to deserving people nominated by you! We’ll deliver them, along with your thanks, just in time for Thanksgiving! Why? Because the only thing better than winning a Mrs. Fields Secrets giveaway is winning one for somebody else!

How does it work?

Leave a comment answering this question: Who would you like to thank and why?

The contest will run from now until Sunday, November 18th, after which three winners will be selected to receive one of three incredible prizes.

First prize is our Classic Cookie and Brownie Bonus Tray with 48 cookies and 24 brownies. We like to refer to it as an instant party.

Cookie and Brownie Bonus Tray

Second prize is our Bites of Fall Box. It’s an elegant gift that arrives with a variety of our bite-sized cookies and melt-in-your-mouth frosted cookies.

Bites of Fall Box

Third prize is our Tastes of Fall Box filled with an assortment of our bite-sized cookies and brownies, plus our ultra-decadent frosted cookies.

Tastes of Fall Box

Without further ado, let the thanking begin!

One entry per person, please. Entries will be accepted until midnight, Sunday, November 18, 2012. Winners will be chosen and notified via email. 

Mrs. Fields Trivia is HERE – Win FREE COOKIES!

Mrs. Fields Trivia – Nov 8th, 2012

Here’s your chance again to win another amazing gift of FREE cookies from Mrs. Field

Enter the contest by leaving a comment on our blog.  If we pick you as our winner, we will contact you via the email you’ve provided.

We will draw 1 name from the correct answers given and that person will receive a FREE Mrs. Fields Fall Bites Box 2012 ($30.00 Value, with shipping). Answers will be accepted until midnight (Nov 8th, 2012). Limited to one win per month per entrant. Winner will be notified via email.

Prize Details:

This week we’ll be giving away one of our special edition Mrs. Fields Fall Bites Box 2012  – item #12F649, a $30.00 value, including shipping. It contains 24 Nibblers® bite-sized cookies, 18 Brownie Bites and 2 hand-frosted pumpkin cookies. Perfection!

 

Question:

What shape are the hand frosted cookies in our Merry Moose Jar?

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