NOTE: This giveaway is now closed.
The lucky winner is #1327, Lynda M. Congrats Lynda, we’ve emailed you!
So last week while Sara was surfing it up in Hawaii, I had the chance to spend a few days in Ohio to attend the Around the Family Table with Smucker’s event. I had such a fabulous time meeting all the incredibly nice people associated with Smucker’s, other bloggers, and taking a peek behind the scenes.
Right after I arrived, I had time to change my clothes and then we all met in the lobby so we could go to dinner. I was so excited to run into some of my favorite bloggers like Laura from Real Mom Kitchen, Shelley from Cookies and Cups, and Lesley from The Hungry Housewife
(just to name a few!) Dinner was a delicious blur, but there was lots of incredibly delicious food (hello, mozzarella tomato basil cheese bread) and TV talk (hello, fellow Friday Nights Lights fanatics!)
The next morning, we were a chipper bunch when we boarded the bus at 6:45 am. That’s right. We were all delightful. We drove to the Smucker’s store in Orrville, Ohio. So, um, remember my glass jar obsession?
Um, yeah, that’s an entire wall of jars. Shiver me timbers.
Now…I’ve got a little confession to make: I’m kind of a scrooge. The Christmas season stresses me out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE fan of Christmas, but usually when I find places have decorated for Christmas a second earlier than the day before Thanksgiving, I feel the need to slip a little Xanax into my system. So it was entirely possible that between the presence of a Pillsbury Doughboy that waved at me when I walked in the door (I’m not big on life-size mascots–they freak me out) and the fact that the Smucker’s store was fully decorated for Christmas, I could have become rather unpleasant to be around. But I found it charming and adorable and I wished they’d decorate my house for Christmas and then take it down for me before 2012 starts.
After a quick breakfast, we headed on all sorts of tours and experiences. I gleaned a plethora of information about coffee, especially for a non-coffee drinker. I even got to be my own barista with Melissa from Stockpiling Moms, and since neither one of us drink coffee, we had lots of fun playing around with the different coffee drinks that were photographed and then poured down the sink. We also got to make this amazing two-ingredient ice cream and add any combination of mix-ins we could think of.
We learned about all sorts of things like viscosity, the differences between jams, jellies, and preserves, and different types of olive oils. We even had the chance to swish and spit different olive oils, which I respectfully declined to do (although I bet the guy sitting next to me on the plane ride home who chewed and spit tobacco into a clear plastic water bottle may have participated). We got to see how Smucker’s products are developed and tested and then we got to make our own pie crusts. Tired yet? Yeah, I was having a lot of fun and also wanted to curl up in the corner and take a nap.
That night, we went to dinner at Fahrenheit in Cleveland, which, apparently, is right around the corner from The Christmas Story house (which caused my mother-in-law to scream. Literally.) The food was awesome and it was great to meet Chef Rocco Whalen.
The next morning, we were up and on the bus super early again. First up (that is, after I spilled a Diet Coke on my lap and kicked a bottle of water over) was meeting Kelsey Nixon from The Next Food Network Star.
She was completely adorable and funny and (I’m totally not sucking up here) meeting her was definitely one of the highlights of this trip.
Especially since she knew who Sara and I were, which was kind of hilarious. Remember the Sloppy Joe post? Yeah, we talked about her serving Sloppy Joes to Martha experience. It was all I imagined it would be (and I’m not being sarcastic here, I completely mean it!)
We also did a really cool food photography seminar where we got to take pics of the pumpkin pies we made the day before.
And then we got to shop in the Smucker’s store. I was very tempted by all the Orchard’s Finest preserves because I am not a store-bought jam fan, but these were deeeeeelicious. I was conservative in my choices (Triple Berry, Cinnamon Apple, and Cherry) because I figured I could buy it at home, but I was wrong and now I am sad. In retrospect, I would have bought more jam. Life lesson: When in doubt, always, always buy more jam.
Everyone else was heading home that night, but because I live in the boondocks, I couldn’t get a late flight into my little airport, so we said our goodbyes and I headed back to the hotel and got to meet one of our sweet readers in the hotel lobby (thankfully she wasn’t a big, scary man that was going to steal my jam). The next morning, I had to (unfortunately) break my never-set-my-alarm-before-4:00 am (it’s actually 5:00 am, so it was very unfortunate!) so I could head home and see my kiddos and the husband. I had such a wonderful time and can’t thank Smucker’s enough for including Our Best Bites around their family table!
But this post isn’t JUST so you guys can wish you could set your alarms for 3:45 am so you can sit next to a nausea-inducing tobacco-spitter–we’ve got a giveaway. I’ve seen this basket in real life and it is huuuuuuuge. Apparently they LITERALLY need two people to carry it.
Wanna know what’s in it? We’ve got…
- Crisco Baking Sticks (butter-flavored)
- Crisco extra-virgin olive oil
- Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee (mocha mint)
- Eagle Sweetened Condensed Milk
- Folgers (small red can)
- Folgers (stick pack)
- Hungry Jack Funfetti Pancake Mix
- Hungry Jack Wildberry Pancake Mix
- Jif Natural Peanut Butter
- Jif-to-Go 3-pack
- Martha White blueberry muffin mix
- Millstone hazelnut K-cup
- Natural peanut butter stirrer
- Pillsbury Easy Frost cream cheese frosting
- Pillsbury Pumpkin Cookie mix
- Smucker’s Hot Caramel Topping
- Smucker’s Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
- Smucker’s Orange Marmalade
- Smucker’s Orchard’s Finest Strawberry Preserves
- Uncrustables sandwich keeper
- Uncrustables VIP coupons (2)
- White Lily All-Purpose Flour
Wanna win?? Tell us what you’re most looking forward to this holiday season. The giveaway will end next Saturday, 11/19/2011 at 10:00 pm and the winner will be notified by email and announced on Monday’s post. One entry per person, and please be sure to use an email address that you check on a regular basis.
Spending time with family. They mean the world to me
I love taking the kids to see Santa Claus and ride on the little holiday train at the mall. It’s the silly traditions that make the holidays so special!
All the glorious food!!
I’m most looking forward to time off in between Christmas and New Years! I’m also planning a lot of baking, so I need to get on my list and checking it twice 🙂
I’m excited about my Mom’s amazing cooking!
I’m looking forward to spending time with family & reflecting on the true reason for the season!
I am looking forward to the pie!!! I love pie. It takes me to a happy place.
I’m looking forward to splurging on an SLR for myself…I mean, getting an SLR from Santa! 😉
i’m most looking forward to showing my gratitude and appreciation to those around me (having a little instead of a lot last year really changed my perspective on the whole season)…. and christmas break away from my fabulous jr. high students. 🙂
I’m looking forward to spend it with my family!
My Husband is in the Army and was gone (again) last year for the Holidays, and he is HOME this year! So no matter what else, he’s home and that has to be the VERY best thing about this Holiday season!:)
Oh my when I read your post, I screamed out loud. I live in Wooster, Oh, right next door to the Smucker Store. The thing I am most looking forward to this holiday season is all my family being together.
The Christmas Eve candlelight service at our church!
I’m looking forward to Christmas morning with my 9 little ones around the tree. They make it all worthwhile!
I love seeing my kids faces on Christmas morning.
This year we are letting our 2 and 3 yr olds decorate the christmas tree. We will be making salt dough ornaments, stringing up popcorn and making paper chains. I am just looking forward to them being old enough to actually enjoy this time of year.
Being with all of my extended family, which only happens at Christmastime. 🙂
I’m looking forward to seeing the grandchildren open all their gifts and enjoying the wonderful Christmas feast my son and daughter-in-law will be making.
I’m looking forward to either the chance to go to my parent’s house for Christmas or going to Idaho to see my siblings for the first time in a while!
This is the first year we are having thanksgiving dinner with my father-n-law. He is too old to drive to us so we are driving to him and I am making him thanksgiving dinner. He has been the dad to me that I never had, I call him Pop. I couldn’t be any more grateful than I am for falling in love with a man whose father loves me like I am his own daughter! I am making 4 pies for just 5 people.
Sweet giveaway! I’m so excited for the food and the family time 🙂
Baking with my college daughters, and 12 year old son, who will be home. Love the baking more than anything else about all the festivities surrounding the holidays.
Your blog post;-) Oh alright seeing my kids faces on Christmas morning, and eating!
I am looking forward to cooking with my children.
The thing I am most looking forward to this holiday season, is having my husband home. He is in the Army and was scheduled for a deployment, but it was postponed. Now we get him home for Christmas :).
I’m most looking forward to the week AFTER Christmas, when all we have to do is stay home, relax and eat leftovers!
This holiday season I have so much to look forward to. I think I’m most excited about all the change! My husband and I both graduate Dec. 16th, after that we might be moving. We’ll enjoy spending this year with our family, since it might be the last time for a while, and we’ll enjoy getting ready for the next stage of our lives.
Coming home from college.
I am so excited to be with my parents this year for Christmas, there’s nothing like Christmas in the house I grew up in!
just being with family!
I am so thankful ALL my girls AND their hubbies AND my two
Adorable grandkids will be home for Christmas! For us, it truly
Is not about gifts, but about family, Jesus, and food of course!!