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March Madness

Can you believe that March Madness is already underway? If you’re planning to throw a party to celebrate the occasion, here are a few ideas you might want to try:

1.) Invitations

Send out game brackets as party invitations. Ask guests to fill out the brackets prior to arriving at the party so you can compare them when everyone arrives. This fun icebreaker provides a great first activity while you’re waiting for the game to begin.

2.) Decorations & OutfitsMarchMadnessDecor

If all of your guests are cheering for the same team, you can decorate with jerseys and colors from that team. If everyone is rooting for a different team, consider decorating with generic basketball colors (orange and black.) You can also decorate with banners and basketball items found at a local craft store. Decorate miniature oranges (cuties) to look like basketballs by drawing seams on them with a permanent marker. If desired, you can put the basketball cuties in a glass vase alongside orange flowers. If you’re looking for more cute ideas like these, subscribe to Real Simple. The magazine is filled with numerous tips and shortcuts that help you simplify your life without sacrificing style and elegance.

If your guests are cheering for separate teams, encourage them to wear their team’s jerseys or colors. The differing jerseys will promote some fun rivalry among your guests as you watch the game together.

4.) Food/Snacks

basketball cakeCreate themed appetizers such as cheese “balls,” cheese ball snack mix, and miniature meatballs. Place the drinks you’re serving in a cooler to add to the basketball game feel. You can also create a basketball cake as both a conversation starting center piece and delicious dessert. To make the simple yet creative cake, prepare a chocolate cake mix according to package directions. Pour into a greased and floured 2-1/2-qt. ovenproof bowl. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from bowl to a wire rack to cool completely. In a small bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups vanilla frosting and orange food coloring. Place cake on a serving plate. Spread with frosting. Gently press a meat mallet into frosting so texture resembles a basketball. For seams, gently press pieces of black licorice into the frosting. (For more creative recipes like this one, subscribe to Taste of Home.)

5.) Games

Plan a few fun games for guests to enjoy during commercial breaks. For example, you could create a basketball trivia game with little known facts about previous coaches, players, and games. If you have a basketball goal, see who can score the most three-pointers in a minute. Of course, the main event will be watching the games, but it’s also fun to have some planned activities in case your guests want to do something else. After the party is over, keep up-to-date with March Madness by subscribing to ESPN magazine (check out our special deals–they end 3/23!)

With these simple yet creative ideas, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a fun and memorable March Madness party.

cherry blossom

Celebrate the First Day of Spring

cherry blossomDid you know that March 20 is the first day of spring? Although the Polar Vortex may have kept many of us inside all winter long, warm weather is just around the corner. Why not consider celebrating the arrival of spring with some of these activities?

1.) Gardening

Few things say “spring” like planting flowers and vegetables in warm, freshly tilled soil. With the worst of winter behind us, it’s time to start thinking about planting a garden! If you’ve never planted a garden before, this spring is the perfect time to start. Subscribe to Fine Gardening in order to get helpful tips and information about tending to your garden. The magazine is filled with detailed instructions, colorful photos, and informative articles about techniques, landscaping projects, garden design, and more. You might also enjoy a subscription to Country Gardens magazine. The magazine gives information on flower, vegetable, and herb gardens. It’s also filled with planting diagrams, design ideas, and color photos. Planting a garden guarantees that you can enjoy fresh, healthy, delicious vegetables all summer long. Consider subscribing to Vegetarian Times so that you will receive delicious and nutritious recipe options for your fresh produce.

2.) Traveling

Spring is the perfect time to travel to a new location, because the weather is gorgeous and the scenery is breathtaking. If there’s a tulip festival or cherry blossom festival near you, why not visit it over a weekend? If there’s a charming, old-fashioned town you’ve been wanting to visit, pick a weekend and explore it. Whether you go on a week-long spring break trip, a weekend trip, or a day trip, make it a priority to travel to a new place. If you need ideas on places to visit, pick up a copy of Travel + Leisure or one of our other travel magazines. They’ll give you plenty of great ideas about the best spots for a spring getaway.

3.) Enjoying the Outdoors

Why not celebrate the beautiful, warm spring weather with a host of outdoor activities? If you’ve been cooped up inside all winter, a hike and picnic is the perfect way to enjoy the warmer weather. Horseback riding, golfing, and flying a kite are also great activities. Don’t forget to wade in a creek, feed ducks, draw on the sidewalk with chalk, or visit the zoo as well! There are countless activities you can partake in, either with your loved ones or by yourself. Regardless of what you do, make it a priority to get outside and enjoy the weather.

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St. Patrick’s Day Ideas

St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, which means it’s time to think about festive recipes, decorations, and crafts for the special day. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

1.) Recipesrainbow-cupcakes

Let your inner leprechaun out by creating some of these fun recipes. If you’re looking for a festive recipe to make with your kids, consider Rainbow Cupcakes. First, make a white cake mix according to package instructions. Then divide the cake batter between five bowls. Put a different color of food coloring into each bowl of batter. Spoon some of each colored batter into cupcake tins. Bake according to package directions. After the cupcakes have finished baking, they will look like the colors of the rainbow. Frost them with blue frosting. Pipe white frosting on top for clouds. Decorate them with Airhead Extremes Sour Belts for rainbows and Rolos for gold coins. Kids will love these colorful and creative cupcakes! If you want more fun recipes to make with your kids, subscribe to Yum for Kids. For a classic corned beef and cabbage dinner, combine 4 cups of water and 1 corned beef brisket with spice packet (most grocery stores carry the brisket around St. Patrick’s Day) in a pressure cooker. Close cover tightly. Turn regulator knob to pressure and select high pressure. Cook for 45 minutes. Next, cut a head of cabbage into 8 wedges. Combine the cabbage with 2 chopped red potatoes and 1 can of chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add 4 chopped carrots and 1 chopped onion. Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender; drain. Release pressure cooker according to manual instructions. Remove beef to a serving platter. Discard cooking liquid. Serve beef with cabbage, potatoes, carrots and onion. This recipe serves around 4-6. You can find more classic, traditional recipes like this one from Taste of Home.

 

2.) Decorationsst. patrick's day jars

Trying to add some Irish flare to your home? For an easy-to-make decoration sure to add extra St. Patrick’s day charm to your household, use puffy paint to draw shamrocks and write sayings on Mason jars. Next, spray paint the jars green. Fill them with flowers or other decorations. You can also spray paint wooden blocks and stencil Irish sayings onto them. If you’re hosting a party at your house, consider making a green yarn wreath to stick on the front door. You could also hang a horseshoe on the door. For more simple ideas like this one, consider a subscription to Real Simple. The magazine is filled with easy decorating, craft, and recipe ideas designed to simplify life for today’s busy women.

 

3.) Craftsst. patrick's crafts

If you have young children, make finger paint rainbows with them! To complete the craft, you will need white and black construction paper, rainbow paints, glue, scissors, and gold glitter glue. Start by cutting a black “pot of gold” out of the black construction paper. Glue it onto the bottom corner of a piece of white construction paper. Then, have your child dip their pointer finger into one of the paints. Starting at the pot, make an arch across the rest of the page. Continue making arches with different colors, wiping off their finger before switching to a new color. After you’ve finished the rainbow, use the gold glitter glue to decorate the “pot of gold.” For a fun craft to give their teachers or friends, put a layer of gold-foil wrapped chocolate coins on the bottom of a Mason jar. Top the coins with a row of blue skittles, then a row of green skittles, then a row of yellow skittles, then a row of orange skittles, then a row of red skittles. Put some miniature marshmallows on top for clouds. Tie a gold ribbon around the lid. This is a cute, creative, and simple craft idea! For more details like this one, subscribe to Decorating Digest Craft & Home Projects.

May the luck of the Irish be with you!

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Magazines for National Nutrition Month

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month?garden

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the day was created to remind people of the importance of “making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.” This year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” The goal is to combine taste and nutrition to create healthy meals that individuals will enjoy. “It is important that we find the balance between choosing the foods we like with those that provide the nutrients we need,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Dr. Glenna McCollum. “This year’s ‘Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right’ theme reinforces that the two choices are not mutually exclusive.”

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

1.) Strive for Balance

Rather than trying to go cold turkey on day one, aim for proper balance. Instead of completely cutting out all sugary sodas and desserts, begin by reducing the amount that you consume. Instead of swearing off pizza forever, start by serving pizza with a healthy vegetable salad and fruit. Remember that it’s okay to enjoy portions of your favorite foods in moderation, as long as you’re also eating proper amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. (The Academy recommends making sure that half of each meal consists of fruits and vegetables.) Try to reduce the amount of calories you eat each day by cooking with reduced fat ingredients. Remember that healthy habits are achieved over time, not in the course of a day.

How we can help: We sell subscriptions to Cooking Light, a magazine with reduced-fat and low-fat recipes. It’s a great asset for anyone wanting to enjoy healthy renditions of their favorite foods.

2.) Prepare Your Own Food

Bringing lunch to work or cooking dinner at home is often much healthier than dining out. Try a new fruit or vegetable each week so that you can find healthy new foods that you enjoy eating. You can also consider preparing old favorites in new ways. For example, rather than making French fries, you can roast potatoes. Rather than boiling vegetables, you can saute them. Experiment so that you can find new ways to make old foods.

How We Can Help: We sell subscriptions to several magazines such as Vegetarian Times and Eating Well, which are packed with healthy and delicious recipe options. If you’re dedicated to eating better but aren’t sure what to cook for each meal, these magazines will be perfect for you.

 3.) Exercise Regularly

In order to achieve a healthy and balanced lifestyle, eating properly and exercising regularly must go hand-in-hand. Mayo Clinic recommends aiming for at least 30 minutes of exercise per day. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, “When it comes to physical activity, some is better than none, and more is better.” If you don’t currently exercise, then any increase in physical activity will be beneficial for you. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to work out for 30 consecutive minutes. You can also exercise for shorter intervals throughout the day. The most important thing is just to make sure that you are beginning a lifestyle of regular exercise.

How we can help: We sell subscriptions to several health magazines that give important information and helpful tips about exercise and workouts. Women would enjoy a subscription to Health, a women’s fitness magazine that features informative articles on how to stay fit and feel great. Men would benefit from a subscription to Men’s Fitness, a magazine filled with workout routines and suggestions for healthy food.

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Celebrate National Oreo Day With Deals & Recipes

url102 years ago, American baking company Nabisco decided to create a new kind of cookie by pairing two chocolate disks with a rich crème filling. The delectable result: the Oreo cookie that we all know and love. Today, Oreos are so well-loved that they are now the best-selling cookie in the United States!

March 6 is National Oreo day, so why not celebrate with some delicious recipes from Taste of Home? (And, to make this day even sweeter, we have deals on several popular cooking magazines!)

 

1.) Oreo Cookie Truffles

truffles

These chocolaty Oreo truffles require only three ingredients and are ready in minutes, so they couldn’t be easier to prepare. The tiny truffles are the perfect fancy finish to a nice meal, and they also make great gifts.

Ingredients:

1 package (8 ounces) softened cream cheese

3 cups finely crushed Oreo cookies

16 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces and melted

Instructions:

1.) Mix the cream cheese and cookie crumbs until blended.

2.) Shape into 48 (1-inch) balls. Freeze 10 min. Dip balls in melted chocolate; place in single layer in shallow waxed paper-lined pan.

3.) Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

 

2.) Cookies-and-Cream Cake 

cookies and cream cake

You know that moment when you experience something that’s almost too good to be true? This Oreo cake is such an occasion. Not only is the cake laced with cookie crumbs, but the frosting is decorated with crushed Oreos and topped with whole ones. We would say it’s an Oreo overload…but the truth is you can never have too much of a good thing!

Ingredients:

1 package white cake mix (regular size)

1-1/4 cups water

1/3 cup canola oil

3 egg whites

1 cup coarsely crushed Oreo cookies (about 8)

Frosting:

1/2 cup shortening

4 to 4-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Oreo cookies and crushed Oreo cookies

Instructions:

1.) In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, water, oil and egg whites; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on high for 2 minutes. Gently fold in crushed cookies.

2.) Pour into two greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

3.) For frosting, beat the shortening, sugar, milk and vanilla in another large bowl until smooth. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides of cake. Decorate the top with cookies and the sides with crushed cookies if desired.

 

3.) Oreo Cookie Pie

pie

This delectable recipe combines two of the best things in life: Oreos and peanut butter. The result is a rich, smooth, pie that will have your family and friends clamoring for seconds. Although it looks like you fussed, the reality is that you can prepare this pie in less than half an hour.

1-1/4 cup Oreo cookie crumbs (20 cookies)

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling:

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped

Additional crushed Oreos

Instructions:

1.) Combine cookie crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-in. pie plate. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

2.) For filling, beat the cream cheese, peanut butter, sugar, butter and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Fold in whipped cream. Gently spoon into crust. Garnish with cookie crumbs. Store in refrigerator.

Americans have eaten over 350 billion Oreos since their invention in 1912. Somehow, though, the age-old question still remains: what is the best way to eat an Oreo cookie? Do you dunk it in milk? Twist it apart and eat the cream first? This question may be debated for centuries to come, but one thing is for sure: you don’t want to miss out on trying these delicious recipes, or on our great deals!

highlights

Magazines.com Celebrates “Read Across America” Day

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“Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.You can steer yourself any direction you choose!”

Those opening lines from Dr. Seuss’ classic book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” have both entertained and inspired children for decades. Although the catchy book is a beloved children’s story, it’s also a popular graduation gift for young adults preparing to embark on new life journeys. The book was one of over 60 that Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, penned throughout the course of his prolific literary career. From “The Cat in the Hat” to “Green Eggs and Ham,” his playful, entertaining books permeated American culture so deeply that The Denver Post pronounced he had influenced nearly every American who learned to read.

In 1997, when the National Education Association (NEA) came up with the idea of hosting a nationwide day focused on children’s literacy, they decided to hold it on Seuss’ birthday. Today, their initiative, the Read Across America program, helps children cultivate a lifelong love of reading. The program kicks off in early March with a Read Across America day, where teachers, librarians, writers, celebrities, and athletes gather at community events and pep rallies designed to get kids excited about reading. While Read Across America day is a fun tradition, NEA’s true goal is to encourage children to read 365 days a year.
If you’re looking for ways to cultivate a love of reading in your child, why not consider giving them a magazine subscription? Receiving a new magazine about one of their favorite topics can motivate them to continue reading all year long. Here are a few that they are sure to love:

1.) American Girl magazine
Based on the popular American Girl doll series, this bimonthly magazine provides an age-appropriate alternative to other teen magazines. The issues are filled with articles that encourage girls to bolster their creativity and develop a healthy sense of self-esteem. The magazines feature sections on crafts, contests, photos, snacks, parties, and advice. It’s perfect for inquisitive young girls.

2.) Sports Illustrated for Kids magazine
If you have an athlete in their home, this sports magazine will be perfect for them. The magazine profiles famous athletes, provides extensive coverage of games and sporting events, and offers advice for young athletes. The magazine is chockful of beautiful color photographs, tips about warm-up and workout routines, advice from professional athletes, and information about the rules of various games. If your child loves sports, they’ll look forward to receiving this magazine each month.

3.) Highlights magazine
This beautifully illustrated magazine is designed for children ages 6-12. Highlights magazine encourages children to learn, play, and enjoy being a kid. Filled with jokes, crafts, advice columns, puzzles, riddles, comic strips, drawings, poems, and stories, Highlights magazine will keep kids entertained for hours.

This year, Read Across America day is on March 3. To help celebrate this special day with your kids, buy them a magazine subscription they can look forward to all year long. For, as Dr. Seuss himself said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”