Friday, September 30, 2011

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Pancakes

 I did it! I held to my promise of another pancake morning! In my mind one of the best combinations in the world is chocolate and peanut butter! The two are just meant for each other, and then add a little banana and its like a perfect sweet little family. SO I was more than thrilled to try out this recipe, from We <3 delicious food.  I was also really excited when I saw that it called for whole wheat flour and all natural peanut butter!!


CHOCOLATE BATTER

  • 1/4 CUP UNBLEACHED ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
  • 1/2 CUP WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR
  • 1/4 CUP COCOA POWDER
  • 1 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER
  • 1/2 TEASPOON BAKING SODA
  • 1/2 CUP MILK
  • 1 EGG
  • 1 TABLESPOON BUTTER MELTED

PEANUT BUTTER BATTER
  • 1/2 CUP UNBLEACHED ALL PURPOSED FLOUR
  • 1/2 CUP WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR
  • 1 TEASPOON BAKING POWDER
  • 1/2 TEASPOON BAKING SODA
  • 1/2 CUP MILK
  • 1 EGG
  • 1 TABLESPOON MELTED BUTTER
  • 2 TABLESPOONS NATURAL SMOOTH PEANUT BUTTER

BANANA TOPPING
  • 2 RIPE BANANAS
  • 1/4 CUP MILK
  • 1 TABLESPOON MAPLE SYRUP

Directions
  • In a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients for chocolate batter.  Stir in milk, egg, and melted butter until batter comes together.  If batter is still a little thick (should be easily pourable) add in a little more milk.  Set aside and repeat with peanut butter batter in a separate bowl.
  • Heat a skillet over medium heat.  Scoop about a fourth of the chocolate batter and smooth out to a circle.  Take the peanut butter batter and drizzle two lines across the chocolate pancake.  With a knife, swirl the peanut butter into the chocolate part of the pancake.  Continue, reversing every other pancake (so you will also have peanut butter pancakes with a chocolate swirl.)  Cook on one side until little bubbles form on the surface.  Flip the pancake and continue to cook until pancake is done.


  • If you are making a lot of pancakes, turn your oven on to 200˚ to keep pancakes warm until you are ready to serve.


 So..my thoughts on these pancakes?!?! Well...they were good..but the batter was a good bit thicker than I prefer, I actually used about 3/4 cup milk in each batch and they were still thick. The chocolate flavor was good, but really the peanut butter taste was very lacking. More than anything they looked fun so Aaron enjoyed them, but I don't know that I would take the time to make them again...give em a try though and maybe you will have better luck than me  :) I am super excited about tomorrow morning's pancakes though! I actually have come up with an idea on my own, and I hope that it turns out as great as I am anticipating...so make sure to check in tomorrow to see how they turn out!
 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Close to Panera's Broccoli Cheddar Soup

 Ok, first off forgive me....there were no pancakes made today. I know, I know just yesterday I claimed this to be pancake week. Let me explain though....last night Aaron stayed the night with my parents and when he called me before bed so I could pray with him I asked him if him and Mamaws (my mom) wanted to come over in the morning for pancakes and he said YES~ so I woke up this morning at 6, showered and got myself ready and at 7 I set out to make pancakes...but decided I would call my son first to make sure they were coming over. Well..he didn't want to leave Mamaws house and alas I was not making a batch of pancakes just for me! So tomorrow morning I PROMISE~ to make some yummy pancakes. Aaron is home and my hubby is off tomorrow, so we will have a nice family breakfast of delciousness.

   I think you will be very happy with what I do have for you tonight though! DINNER! One of our favorite places to go out to eat is Panera, I love their sandwich and salad combo, but Isaac loves their broccoli cheddar soup in a bread bowl. So when I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it!

    This came from the food network website....

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 7-inch sourdough bread boules (round loaves)
  • 4 cups broccoli florets (about 1 head)
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) grated sharp white and yellow cheddar cheese, plus more for garnish

Directions

Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven or pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
 Whisk in the flour and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes, then gradually whisk in the half-and-half until smooth.
 Add the chicken broth, bay leaves and nutmeg, then season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until thickened, about 20 minutes.









Meanwhile, prepare the bread bowls: Using a sharp knife, cut a circle into the top of each loaf, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Remove the bread top, then hollow out the middle with a fork or your fingers, leaving a thick bread shell.



Add the broccoli and carrot to the broth mixture and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes.


 Discard the bay leaves. Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth; you'll still have flecks of carrot andbroccoli. Return to the pot. (Or puree the soup in the pot with an immersion blender.)

Add the cheese to the soup and whisk over medium heat until melted. Add up to 3/4 cup water if the soup is too thick. Ladle into the bread bowls and garnish with cheese.
'

This soup was delicious, but it was definitely better because of the bread bowl! A wonderful meal that we all loved. I really enjoy "remaking" dishes that we enjoy from restaurants because normally I can make it cheaper than we can eat out~ which is always a plus! 

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Review/Giveaway from My Fairytale Books~CLOSED

 Today I received the most adorable book in the mail for Aaron. It is from a company called My Fairytale Books. They are wonderful! They have several different types of books you can choose from, they have anything from some classic fairytales, to sports, to Bible stories. I chose the book "The 3 Little Pigs"  for Aaron.  Kelly , from My Fairytale Books was fabulous to work with. She took the information I wanted in the book and in less than a week I had the book in my hand!



 My first thoughts when I received the book? I was impressed, honestly I had kind of expected the book to be paperback (just an assumption) but it was hardback which is such a huge plus. Also the pictures in the book were outstanding. They are so fun to look at.

And Aaron loved reading this book! He was actually over at my parents when it came in the mail so I took it over there for him to enjoy. He had so much fun seeing his name in the book.

Then he had my brother read it to him immediately...and when he was done, they read it again. :)

Since it was easy for me to see how much Aaron loved this book, I decided I wanted to review it tonight while he was at my parents and I had the time....however Aaron did NOT want me to take the book home.

So, needless to say this book was a hit! I think My Fairytale Books will be getting lots of business from this family in the future! Not only do they do books, but they make personalized CD's Aaron has this one and loves it. He listens to it every night before bed and almost all day long. 

They also make personalized baby books which I think is a fabulous idea! I absolutely think this is a wonderful company, I love their products! Aaron has always been a child to love books and music, but there is something so inviting to a child when its personalized. I remember the first time Aaron heard his name said by Bob on his Veggie Tales cd and the light in his eyes was incredible & it was that same way today when he got his 3 Little Pigs book and saw his name on that first page. His eyes just lit up and he said "hey, that says my name" and it just made him all the more eager to have that book read to him. A product that makes my child feel so special is wonderful! 

Now, for you. Kelly from My Fairytale Books has so kindly agreed to give one of my readers a personalized book of their choice! Just fill out the form below and I will leave this open until Monday Oct. 3rd.


Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

 So I have decided that this week is PANCAKE WEEK! My oldest is surely not complaining, he asks for pancakes almost every morning. Normally I fulfill his request once a week, this week however....everyday! Or atleast that is my goal, and everyday a different type of pancake :) So yesterday we had the Apple Ring Pancakes . Today I decided to try my hand at some yummy Cinnamon Roll Pancakes... and they were yummy!!


PANCAKES:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
CINNAMON FILLING:
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
CREAM CHEESE GLAZE:
4 Tablespoons butter
2 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Prepare pancake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in milk, oil and egg, just until batter is moistened (a few small lumps are fine).
2. In a medium bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. Scoop the filling into a small zip baggie and set aside. You don't want this to remain super-liquidy. It's best if it becomes a consistency similar to toothpaste.
3. In a medium, microwave-safe bowl- heat butter and cream cheese until melted. Whisk together until smooth; whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla extract; set aside.
4. Heat large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Scoop about 3/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Snip the corner of your baggie of filling and squeeze a spiral of the filling onto the top of the pancake. When bubbles begin to appear on the surface, flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more. Transfer to a baking sheet or platter and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.
 I didn;t use a baggie for my cinnamon swirl, I just used a spoon...it worked fine :)
(while this was cooking up I went to check on the boys, they were being way too quiet in Micah's room. Aaron had got the tub of bath toys took it into Micah's room and dumped them in front of Micah, lol)

5. When ready to serve, spoon warmed glaze onto the top of each pancake.

  These are incredible, Aaron would take a bite and say YUMMY!! He did this till they were all gone. (and don't worry the coffee is mine not his)  ;-)

Contacting Us

If you have any questions, are interested in doing a review/giveaway or guest blogging feel free to contact me!


openhands31@gmail.com

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https://www.facebook.com/pages/Open-Hands/198931740173989

Life's Lessons

When You Know It's Your Last

Why You Should Date Your Kids

What does Beauty look like?

Loving through sacrifice

Forever Thankful

Discouraged

No use crying over broken eggs

Being Courageous

Family Sunday

Sometimes there are no words

Playtime

Where did it go?

Has it ever been you?

Recipes

Breakfast:
Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Cherry loves Chocolate Pancakes
Chocolate and Peanut Butter pancakes
Cinnamon Roll Pancakes
Apple Ring Pancakes
Cinnamon Apple Banana Bread
Cinnamon Toast Muffins
Sweet Zucchini Pancakes

Main Dishes:
Man Pleasing Chicke
Sesame Encrusted Chicken
Tender Flank Steak
Chicken Enchilada's
Shrimp Scampi
Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken
Chicken Cheesesteak


Soups:
Broccoli Cheddar Soup and Bread Bowls
Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken Soup
Taco Soup



Side Dishes:
World's best Mac & Cheese
Honey Thyme Butternut Squash
The Best Broccoli Ever
Mashed Potatoes with bacon & cheddar
Asparagus & Parmesan Cream Pastry


Bread:
7-up biscuits


Treats:
Indoor Smore's
Pumpkin Cookies with Caramel frosting
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Brownies
Hot Cocoa Cookies
Cookie Brownie Cupcakes!
Go Bananas Whoopie Pies
Caramelitas
Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips

Party Food/Appetizers:
Spinach Artichoke Dip

Doing It Yourself

For the Kids!
The No Complaining Jar
Ivory Soap meets Science
Play Doh
Cornocoupias
Making snack time easier
Paper Bag Robot
Marshmallow Shooter
Finger Paint Saver
Extreme Bubble Blower













For the Home:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A fun breakfast treat

So, I know I've said it before, but I looove cooking shows! I am constantly checking out new ones. Well yesterday was the Premiere of The Chew! Did anyone else watch it? I never really know what to think of daytime tv, but yesterdays episode was good and if they all go that way I might have a new "Show" to DVR and skim through when I have time ;-)

Yesterday's show had a couple different things that I thought would be great to try, but one I had everything that I needed to try right away! So for breakfast this morning we had,
Pancake apple rings:

all you do is take your standard pancake mix (you can do box or from scratch) and then you take an apple, peel it , core it and slice it.

(I dont have an apple corer so I just cut the core out, but Aaron wanted me to leave "the stars" on some) Then you dip the apple rings into the pancake batter

and cook em up!

So easy and a fun change from your everyday pancakes! :)

Then just for fun I sliced some banana's to try as well.





My pancake recipe is:
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup of flour
1 Tbsp of sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

(then for this you add a little lemon zest and pumpkin pie spice!) The pumpkin spice and apples made this very fall like :)
I found that the thinner apple slices tasted better than thick ones. It was fun to change things up a bit, Aaron thought they were wonderful and it got his fruit in him first thing , so thats always a good thing!

BosoBuddies Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway! I went to random.org and #6 was chosen. Congrats to Amber Underhile!! :) I will send you an email so I can get these sent out to you asap. Remember if you didn't win you can purchase your own set at Bosobuddies.com I promise you will not be disappointed!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sometimes there are no words....

Everyday my 3 yr old son amazes me. He is growing and learning so much everyday. He impresses me with his eagerness to learn. He is constantly asking me how to spell words, and has within the past week started sounding out words on his own and figuring out how to spell them. Yesterday he learned mommy and daddy, simply amazes me really. Sometimes though, I think that he thinks way too much for a 3 yr old and I have no idea how to respond to some of his questions about life!

Today we were on our way to the Farmer's Market and out of the blue he says "mommy, when will we go to Heaven?" I said "well, when we die or when Jesus comes back" he said "well, mommy, we can't go one at a time, we all need to go together, me, you, daddy and Micah need to go together" I simply had no words to say! Because the truth obviously is, that unless Jesus returns soon we will not all go at the same time. The fact is that one day my children might be left to do life without me or my husband....or even harder for me to imagine we might be left to do life without one of them. This however, is not stuff that I think I can or should be explaining to my 3 yr old. Yes it is true and it is something he has to learn at some point , but at 3?!?

So really.... I have no words to say, but am praying that God gives me the words and wisdom of how to answer the hard questions that are to come in the years of raising children. Do your kids ever ask you questions that kind of just blow your mind, and how do you respond?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Family Sunday

Sundays are one of my favorite days of the week! We go to a church that we just love, the worship is amazing and the people are just like family. Aaron learns something every week and is eager to share it with us and that just blesses my heart! Then Sunday afternoons we either go out to eat or come home and I make a big lunch and we just relax. There really is nothing better than a Sunday :)

Today, went a little differently though. We were all up getting ready for church when Micah (our 6 1/2 month old) went into major meltdown mode. His top gums have been swollen for over a week now anxiously awaiting the arrival of some teeth that refuse to pop through. So we finally got him calmed down and to sleep and decided it was best to stay home.

Isaac (my hubby) suggested that since we were missing church we do a family devotional. Since he didn't have anything prepared he searched the net and found this http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=DP7GZPNX . SO Isaac, Aaron (our 3 1/2 yr old) and I sat down and watched and then discussed. This little 3 minute clip was perfect for us this morning. Aaron has been having a fear of falling asleep at night due to a few bad dreams and after this we talked with him about the comfort he can have in Christ, we can be fearless because of Him. And it was the perfect reminder to Isaac and I to slow down to take the time to remember how wonderful that day will be when we see Him face to face! We so easily get caught up in the day to day that we forget how GLORIOUS that DAY will be!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cinnamon Apple Banana Bread

Continuing in all things fall I stumbled across this recipe for some apple banana bread. I love going to the farmers market for apples in the fall...and I had some bananas that needed to be used up so I went searching. This recipe is for sure a keeper!
CINNAMON APPLE BANANA BREAD
1 cup sugar
1/2 butter, softened
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups flour
2 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped.
Preheat oven to 350. Grease 2 bread pans.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter together. Add egg and vanilla, mix well.


In another bowl, mash the ripe bananas with a fork, then add to the sugar mixture.
In a separate bowl, mix the baking soda & flour together. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture. Mix until all ingredients are moistened. Add chopped apples, stirring until they are incorporated into the batter.



Bake at 350 for one hour, covering the tops of the pans lightly with aluminum foil. Remove the foil, bake for 10 more minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the bread comes out clean.

I made 24 mini muffins and one loaf. Delicious!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review/Giveaway from BosoBuddies~CLOSED

Have you ever seen a product and thought "why didn't I think of that?". Well that was my exact thoughts when I saw this product. SO I was super excited to receive a set to review.

So, what are BosoBuddies? They are your extra hand when getting your baby in their carseat. I don't know how you feel , but one of my biggest annoyances of getting the kids in their seats is the fact that when I sit them in the seat, the straps are in their back!

Making it uncomfortable for them to where they don't want to sit/lie back so I can strap them in and hard for me to reach the straps. Bosobuddies keep the straps out of your childs back and easy for you to grab!


This makes for a very happy baby!! (and a happy mama)

Bosobuddies are super easy to use! (I was able to do it with one hand while taking pics with the other) Just watch for little fingers that will be eager to help ;-)

Then its super easy to buckle baby in

(isn't that picture precious? He was not sad, thats just his sweet baby face) :)

And then they are again very easy to get back out of the way when your done!

I really love this product! If Aaron wasn't at that stage of buckling himself in I would totally order a set for his seat as well!

The wonderful creator of BosoBuddies has been generous enough to send me a pair for one of my wonderful readers! I will leave this giveaway open until Monday Sept. 26th and this is the set that one of you will receive!

If you don't win you can always purchase at BosoBuddies.com! They are wonderful to work with!



Slow Cooker Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

So another thing that I love about fall is soup! I would make soup all year round if it were practical, however...on hot summer days the last thing I want to do is cook soup. When fall comes though, I can't wait for it! I also love being able to use my crock pot! Throwing everything into one dish first thing in the morning and then just letting it cook all day ensures that dinner is on the table at a reasonable time & I love that! So when I found this recipe I knew I needed to give it a try.

Ingredients:

4 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 package of Rice-a-Roni long grain and wild rice


1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
2 cups half and half
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup diced celery

Directions:

Combine broth, water, carrots, celery, chicken and rice (along with seasoning packet) in a large slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Take out chicken and shred with two forks

and then add back into slow cooker. In a small bowl combine salt, pepper, and flour. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in flour mixture by tablespoon to form a roux. Whisk in cream, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth.
(I only used maybe 1/2 the amount of flour it called for...I felt it would of been way too thick if I used all of that)

Stir cream mixture into slow cooker and then let cook on low for 15 more minutes.

This was definitely more of a "stewp" than a soup, but I made up some homemade french bread to go on the side and it was the perfect meal. We all really enjoyed it and I am anxious to have some for lunch today!


source of recipe: http://chefmommy-brandao.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2011-02-24T20%3A56%3A00-05%3A00&max-results=3

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Winner of Tommee Tippee Giveaway

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in this giveaway! Such an incredible response for just our 2nd giveaway! Random.org chose #30, so the winner is Julia Becker!! Congrats! Keep your eye out for an email from me so I can get your info to send to Tommee Tippee! :)

We'll be having another giveaway up at the end of the week, keep your eyes open!

Monday, September 19, 2011

What says fall to you?

It is fall!!! This is absolutely my favorite time of year. I love when you can break the sweatshirts out, when its just the right temperature out that you don't need heat or air on in the house and it feels wonderful (not to mention the electric bill is reasonable), I am not really a "yard work" type girl, but I love decorating outside for fall! I love the colorful mum's , pumpkins and cornstalks. I love the smell of burning leaves, bon-fires and roasting marshmallows. (the only thing I don't like about the weather, is that eventually I have to stop wearing flip flops and my feet are once again covered.)

Another thing I love about fall, is the food that it brings. To me, fall just invites so many foods that aren't as appealing throughout the rest of the year. So this week, I am bringing in a lot of those foods , trying some new recipes and bringing back some that are tried and true in our household. I will share them all with you :) Also, I think it would be fun if you shared some of your favorite "fall foods" with me! :) However, if they have pumpkin....it might have to wait. For some reason its really hard to find this year :( Which is really disappointing because PUMPKIN is probably the thing I love most about fall.

Tonight's recipe is one of the side dishes we had for dinner this evening.

Honey-Thyme Butternut Squash

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup butter, cubed
3 Tbsp. half-and-half cream
2 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp dried parsley flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp coarsely ground pepper

Place squash in a large saucepan and cover it with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until tender.



Drain, Mash the squash with the remaining ingredients.




That's it! So simple, seriously the hardest part of this was cubing the squash.... I need some better knives. :) This was the first time I made this and we all loved it! Definitely will become a regular side in our house. ( I served it with crabcakes and a spinach salad)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review/Giveaway from Tommee Tippee- CLOSED

Earlier this week I got in contact with the wonderful company of Tommee Tippee. I had never used any of their products, but was immediatly impressed with how nice and helpful they were and thought if their products were half as good as their customer service...I would have a new favorite company! Well...my products came yesterday, and I DO have a new FAVORITE company! I am in seriously in love!!

So what did they send me?




So yes, I am in love with these wonderful sippy cups for my boys! As soon as I opened the package Aaron wanted to use his, he loved the fun prints on them. So I went into the kitchen washed them up right away and put water in one of each for the boys. My first test?!?! The leak test! See....this is my issue with the majority of sippy cups...they all say "leak proof" but have you ever really found a great leak proof sippy? I know I am cleaning up water all day from my floors because of dropped sippy's. Well here we go,


now, I didn't just hold these upside down...when I flipped them and there were no leaks (I mean not even a drip) I was impressed, but then I shook em around..still nothing! LOVE IT!!! Because...this....

is what I live with on a typical day with sippy's...and this was no shaking, just a flip! :-/ Also I have to say they stand up to some tossing around, at dinner Micah's sippy was thrown on the floor several times, and still no leaks! Not a drip! SO for this I love these sippy's!

The next big test in our house is coldness! Aaron is at this stage where he doesn't tolerate lukewarm water! He is a big drinker, but if he gets busy playing his sippy could be sitting for an hour or so without being touched, and when he goes back to get a sip if its a little warm he will say "this is gross water, can you get me new water". So...I filled his sippy he drank a little, then went outside to play and when he came back in an hour later he took a drink with no complaints...went back to playing and then at dinner another hour later was still drinking happily from the same sippy, he even said "mom, this is still cold!" YAY!!!

Tomme Tippee exceeded my expectations in a sippy cup!Even little Micah enjoyed his sippy, he was sent the stage 2 sippy's which honestly I wasn't sure how well he would do with, but he did wonderfully. He obviously needed some help holding it, but it was easy for him to figure out how to drink from it. Aaron was sent stage 5 and as I have said he loved it!





Tomme Tippee has been generous enough to offer one of my readers a sippy of their choice! You get to choose the color and the stage! I will leave the giveaway open until Tuesday 9/20/11.

Learn more at http://www.tommeetippee.us/
Buy now at http://www.toysrus.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=3945443
Facebook link: http://www.facebook.com/TommeeTippeeNorthAmerica
Twitter: @TommeeTippee_NA