June 29, 2012

California Grapes make the perfect family snack!

 My family and I live right in the heart of grape country here in California, where there's a full bounty of the locally grown grapes to pick from each season. It's pretty neat to just walk down the street and pick them off the vine, which really helped out for this recipe. 
  I received The Green, Black, Red cookbook, recipes for cooking and enjoying California grapes, by Susan Volland to use in a really creative food contest. 

Selected bloggers were challenged to come up with a healthy   family snack using California grapes. While it seemed rather easy, my kids picked this challenge as the one to be extremely picky about. All they wanted to do was eat the grapes fresh from the vine and that was about it. Not helpful kitchen testers that's for sure. That was up until I came up with this fun make your own Yogurt Grape cup. They are able to choose what goes in their own servings which leaves little room for them to complain.  

 This is the recipe I came up with for the California Grape challenge. 

The sweet plump grapes and crunchy granola makes a great addition to your favorite yogurt, my kids enjoy the red grapes in this the most. 

Yogurt Grape Cups

Makes about 3 servings (depends on how much the kids use up)

Your choice of grapes, whether red, purple or green
2 cups favorite light plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup Granola
Almonds, chopped pecans or your choice of nuts

I make homemade granola all the time so it’s on hand if you do not have it, you can pick up a bag of choice in the breakfast section. Or make some granola yourself., simply take about two cups oatmeal, mix with ½ brown sugar and half a stick of butter. You can add in other things like coconut, dried fruit and so forth, nuts, up to you. This recipe is pretty much for "toasting".  Mix spread evenly on a pan and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure you mix it around about three times so it all gets toasted. Take out and let completely cool. This makes a great addition to desserts or yogurt for the kids so keep it handy.

Directions for Yogurt Grape cups.
Mix the vanilla extract in with the yogurt . Have your kids pick a topping of nuts or granola and have them drop a good sized spoon sized portion into the bottom of a 6-8 ounce cup. The kids can spoon two good spoonfuls in till it reaches the center of the cup. Add in about 6 grapes before adding granola or nuts on top of the yogurt. Top with a final dollop of yogurt and your choice of toppings again. Sit back and enjoy!
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June 28, 2012

DreamWorks Pictures “People Like Us"

From DreamWorks Pictures comes “People Like Us,” a drama/comedy about family, inspired by true events, starring Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) as Sam, a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman, whose latest deal collapses on the day he learns that his father has suddenly died. Against his wishes, Sam is called home, where he must put his father's estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. In the course of fulfilling his father's last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie whom he never knew about (Elizabeth Banks). As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about his family—and re-examine his own life choices in the process.

The film also stars Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Duplass and Michelle Pfeiffer.

A DreamWorks Pictures presentation, “People Like Us” is directed by Alex Kurtzman, produced by Roberto Orci, Bobby Cohen and Clayton Townsend, and written by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jody Lambert. The film releases in U.S. theaters on June 29, 2012.

Let me know if you go see it this weekend!!  It looks great!
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June 25, 2012

“Will O’ The Wisps” featured in BRAVE


Travelers—particularly those who venture out after sunset on unfamiliar pathways—beware of the will o’ the wisps.

It is said—though by whom is a bit of a mystery—that on certain days for certain travelers in certain parts of the world, little lights dance on the horizon, whispering tempting invitations… pledging the answers to lifelong questions, the realization of dreams, a key to secret treasures—a change of fate.

Charmed and curious, unsuspecting travelers follow the floating lights, mesmerized by their whispers, their promises. Yet no matter how long or how fervently they follow, they never quite touch the beautiful beacons whose flickering lights eventually fade and disappear… leaving the inquisitors, the dreamers and the treasure seekers lost… and alone.
* * *

In “Brave,” Merida spies tiny blue lights after escaping into the forest in search of a change of fate. Forming a path that dares her to follow, the lights lead Merida to a mysterious location that holds the power to change her destiny—just not in the way she imagines.

“The will o’ the wisps are in a lot of Scottish folktales,” says “Brave” director Mark Andrews. “They were said to lead you to treasure or doom—to change your fate—but they’re an actual phenomenon of swamp and bog gas seeping up through the earth and interacting with the natural resources to create the blue flames. People would follow these lights thinking they were little fairies, and basically drown or get sucked down into the bogs.

“We made the wisps like actual little spirits,” Andrews continues. “They’re almost like Marley’s ghost in a way, because Marley’s ghost isn’t an evil spirit—even though he’s frightening, he’s trying to warn Ebenezer to change his ways. That’s what the wisps are doing. There’s a duality to them, because they’re either good or evil—they lead Merida into more and more trouble, but in the end, they’ve led her exactly where she needs to go.”

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June 24, 2012

New Project and Garden update

The weather is on a crazy streak, it's gone from scorching hot to a couple days below 70 and completely windy. It felt like fall today, and it's driving my kids nuts. They want pool weather, not sweater weather.
Even though we haven't enjoyed the pool in a day or so, the change of weather has given me time to mess around in the garden without burning up in the heat. 

Beans all over the place. These are planted around a dead tree, and happily climbing up. I can't wait for it to be in full bloom and will show you a picture later on, instead of making more room or digging the dead tree up, I've used to to my advantage for the climbing beans. 

Kidney beans! Cannot wait for these!

Raspberries galore, the kids pick them fast and I rarely get a bite myself. 

New project in the works! 
I am a seed collecting fool, so much so that I've finally convinced my husband to build me a seed box. Stay tuned for those updates, it's going to be awesome! 

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June 23, 2012

Disney/Pixar's Monsters University


 I cannot wait for it to come out!!
U.S. Release Date:                    June 21, 2013

Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn't stand each other. “Monsters University” unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.

Screaming with laughter and fun, “Monsters University” is directed by Dan Scanlon (“Cars,” “Mater and the Ghostlight,” “Tracy”) and produced by Kori Rae (“Up,” “The Incredibles,” “Monsters, Inc.”). The film opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2013, and will be shown in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

·        “Monsters, Inc.,” originally released on November 2, 2001, was nominated for four Oscars®: Best Animated Feature Film, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing and Best Original Song—“If I Didn’t Have You,” for which it won.
·        “Monsters University” will hit U.S. theaters nearly 12 years after the “Monsters, Inc.” theatrical debut.
·        Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprise their roles in the prequel as the wise-cracking Mike Wazowski and lovable Sulley.
·        “Monsters University” features a host of new faces and a few returning favorites from “Monsters, Inc.

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June 22, 2012

Frozen Lemonade Squares

Super easy summer treat for the whole family! No baking required you mix this together and freeze it. Before you know it the pan will be empty and everyone will be wanting more. The next time I make this think it'll be with strawberries or even raspberries! The original recipe used two cups of sugar, which I cut in half. There's really no need for all of it and it came out perfect.

1 cup graham crackers crumbs
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups plain nonfat yogurt
1/3 cup lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup lite whipped topping

Grease or spray a 8x8 baking pan
 In a medium bowl mix together the graham crackers and butter. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the greased pan . In a large bowl whisk together the yogurt, and 1 cup sugar, lemon juice, zest, and extract. Combine it will then fold carefully the whipped topping. Pour the mixture onto the pressed crust then cover and freeze for about 4 hours.

It will cut better if you run a knife under some warm water.

Enjoy your cool summer treat : )

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June 21, 2012

No Kid Hungry This Summer #Take action #NoKidHungry

Summer is a particularly tough time for kids facing hunger. No school means there’s no safety net of school meals for kids who don’t get enough to eat at home. No Kid Hungry has developed a wonderful flyer to share around your community. Share it through twitter, Facebook, even Pinterest, or even on your blog. Print it out to give out throughout your neighborhood and keep people informed!

By sharing the flyer, you can help personally ensure that kids and families facing hunger in your community know that there’s a resource available to them during the summer months.

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June 20, 2012

Disney's New animated series "The 7D,"


Accessing a classic fairytale and finding new ways to bring it to audiences, Disney Television Animation has begun production on the new animated series "The 7D," a comedic take on the world of Seven Dwarfs, this time in a contemporary storybook world designed for viewers age 2-7 and their families. The series is slated to debut in 2014 on Disney Junior channels and programming blocks around the world.  The announcement was made today by Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide. 

The executive producer is Emmy Award-winning Tom Ruegger ("Animaniacs").  Alfred Gimeno ("Tiny Toon Adventures") is the director and Sherri Stoner ("Pinky and the Brain") is the story editor. The characters are designed by Noah Z. Jones ("Fish Hooks").

Kanter said, "Our goal for Disney Junior is to engage kids with stories and characters that represent the very best of Disney storytelling. With 'The 7D,' we look to continue Walt Disney's legacy of reinterpreting classic folk and fairy tales in ways that delight new audiences. We're excited to re-imagine these familiar characters and put them in a new humorous setting that we think will entertain kids and parents alike." 

The series takes place in the whimsical world of Jollywood, where Queen Delightful relies on the 7D – Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Doc – to keep the kingdom in order. Standing in their way are two laughably evil villains, Grim and Hildy Gloom, who plot to take over the kingdom by stealing the magical jewels in the 7D's mine. With seven very distinct personalities, the 7D always manage to save the day and send Grim and Hildy running back to their evil lair to try another day. 

Disney Junior reflects the emotional connection generations of consumers have to Disney storytelling and Disney characters, both classic and contemporary. It invites mom and dad to join their child in the Disney experience of magical, musical and heartfelt stories and characters, while incorporating specific learning and development themes designed for kids age 2-7. Disney Junior's series blend Disney's unparalleled storytelling and characters kids love deeply with learning, including early math, language skills, healthy eating and lifestyles, and social skills. Disney Junior launched in February 2011 with a daily programming block on Disney Channel. In its first year, Disney Junior posted the network's biggest yearly audience in the daypart in Total Viewers, Kids 2-5, Boys 2-5 and Women 18-49, increasing by double-digit margins among preschooler demographics over year-ago levels. On March 23, 2012 Disney Junior added a cable and satellite channel in the U.S. bringing the total number of channels to 30 worldwide.
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June 19, 2012

(in)spired Deals Tote- Review

As a Mom on the go I am always in the need for a bag to carry around a number of items I love finding new bags to tote around and just happened to review two wonderful totes from Inspired Deals.

"Hope for the best. God's in the habit of giving it." 
Hope for the Best - Oil Cloth Tote
It says it all in the quote, "Hope for the Best' That's what circles my mind most days. My kids send me running in circles all the time, keeps me busy on my toes and laughing endlessly. I enjoy it so much!  Don't often get my me moments so I do hope for the best , that one single moment in the day where someone isn't calling me to wipe, clean up, or making something. This bag makes me smile ,  may not have my "alone" moments to the day but I certainly can enjoy whatever is thrown at me even if it's chaos which I do each and everyday!

 This bag is my favorite, not too big but not too small and just perfect for any outings with my kids. I normally carry it to the park and it is so different from any other bag I have tugged around with me, including old diaper bags. Ugh, well we have all been there and done that haven't we? We're at the park every day, and with four kids you tug around items. I love how this bag can fit so much and is easy to carry. It makes toting around my books to read at the park a breeze.  The outside can be wiped down if needed, sturdy handles and a beautiful lining inside.
I'm not normally one for pink but this design lining made it pop and I just all out love it! 

 The other bag I received to review helps me with shopping! I use it to help when I drop by the store real fast and can carry it easily out. The bag is super sturdy, and the nice lone handles don't hurt my shoulders as other bags do. I am now and forever in love with my two tote bags It's called God's Idea - Jute Tote Bag. Cute as can be, my daughter like this one the best, it's just all around playful. It can be cleaned as well, another great thing about both bags. 

In need of a cute tote? Check out the June Special - Buy 2 Get 1 Free Totes  right here http://www.dayspring.com/sale_and_clearance/june_special_buy_2_get_1_free_totes/ . You'll find yourself a perfect match and more !

**Disclosure- I received the products mentioned above , in order to write an honest review. No monetary compensation was received for this post. I did not have to write a positive review, Any and all opinions are and will always be my own.*
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Garden Report- A tragic end for the Sweet Peas!

Peas, those delicious and cheerful looking green vegetables that make you just want to smile. They rise above growing towards the sky inch by inch. Along their way perfectly white flowers bloom attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. At their peak they burst out a green pod which holds so cozy and tight cute peas that are waiting for that very moment to ripen. Their sole purpose is to mature and they await to be plucked by hand at harvest time before gracing our dinner tables. 

Such an adorable vegetable had it all and so much more!  

Then it happened! 
The peas never saw it coming.....

The discovery was made  over the weekend. It was a horrible site, peas everywhere on the ground. Drying up, shrinking in the already blistering suns heat. They never had a chance, there were no survivors! Hundreds of peas had suffered a horrible slow death. Clean up was slow and filled with sadness, making everyone remember a happier time.
When peas were bright and cheerfully green.

The Beans now fear for their lives and we are left with a daunting thought.....

What vegetable will be next!?  

(The heat killed the peas over the weekend, blistering high 105+ degrees wiped out two whole harvests) 

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June 18, 2012

100 deadliest days: Key risk factors for teen drivers

Bendix Brakes for Teen Safety Warns Young Drivers that Summer is No Time to Take a Vacation from Safe Driving Behaviors

While most people may assume that teens driving in the thick of winter – when it’s dark, cold and wet – would be more dangerous than driving on sunny, warm days, a recent study from AAA states it is actually the summer months that are the most dangerous. In fact, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers.
“Teens are spending much more time in the car during June, July and August – since they’re out of school and traveling with friends more often,” said Shannon Lara, senior manager, marketing communications for Honeywell Friction Materials. “Sadly – on July 4 alone – an average of 28 teenagers die in motor vehicle crashes.”
Check out this quick Video 

Bendix Brakes for Teen Safety, a campaign aimed at educating parents and teens on safe driving and vehicle care, is launching its third video to help bring attention to this dangerous driving season, and alleviate potential problems by making parents and teens aware of three key risk factors that could affect their summer driving.
1.        Teens are more likely to speed and tailgate, yet they do not react as quickly as a more experienced driver. A Honeywell Friction Materials study also suggests teens are driving vehicles that average at least 10 years or older and may have a badly worn braking system if not properly maintained. That means new drivers are potentially relying on outdated brakes, along with inexperienced skills, to stop their vehicles.
2.       Teens are less likely to wear their seatbelts. According to Honeywell’s survey, even though 90 percent of parents have talked to their teens about the importance of wearing a seatbelt, these young drivers are not following through. Yet having to stop suddenly at 30 miles per hour would have the same impact as if a teen fell three stories out of a building.
3.       Teens admit to doing multiple tasks while driving. Distractions – in the form of both mobile devices and other passengers – are probably the most dangerous risk factor as they account for more than 80 percent of all crashes, according to AAA.
During summer, there is no shortage of teens driving together – but Bendix Brakes for Teen Safety suggests parents limit the number of passengers in their teen’s vehicle, as data from AAA reveals that having one teen passenger could double a young driver’s risk of getting into a fatal crash, while having three or more quadruples their risk.
                “Helping teens and parents become more aware of how dangerous these risk factors are is key to curbing the number of accidents and crashes,” said Lara. “That’s why we will continue to promote safe driving habits that start before teens even turn the key.” 
Visit Bendix Brakes for Teen Safety on Facebook or YouTube for the latest educational video and for more useful tips and information on being a safe teen driver. 
Friction Materials LLC, a business unit of Honeywell International Inc., is headquartered in Glinde, Germany. Serving both original equipment and aftermarket customers, products offered include Bendix® and Jurid® friction materials and hard parts. For more information, log on to www.bendixbrakes.com.
Honeywell International (www.honeywell.com) is a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, serving customers worldwide with aerospace products and services; control technologies for buildings, homes and industry; automotive products; turbochargers; and specialty materials. Based in Morris Township, N.J., Honeywell’s shares are traded on the New York, London, and Chicago Stock Exchanges. For more news and information on Honeywell, please visit www.honeywellnow.com.
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June 14, 2012

White Beans with Spinach & Sausage

This is such an easy recipe to put together. My kids can and have eaten this as a meal if I add sausage to it, but in most cases I do not add anything but vegetables from the garden. Instead of Spinach if I have mustard greens, kale or even collards (left overs or baby collards( you can switch it up however you like. You can also use any tomatoes you have on hand, my favorite to use are grape or cherry as they add a sweet flavor to this dish.
  I rarely use canned beans, since I grow my own and or use dried beans. How I do it? Always soak over night then cook in the morning. These white cannellini beans are small and can cook up within an hour or two depending on your heat. My suggestion if using dry is to soak over night rinse in the morning. Cook in left over broth  or plain water seasoned with pepper. Cook for about an hour and  half on medium low then set aside to cool. There really shouldn't be any left over liquid in there but if there is use or discard it's up to you. When it comes time to cook your dinner you can simply add all the ingredients to you beans and it will cook up quicker as the beans are already tender.

3/4 pound kielbasa (turkey or chicken work great if you don't' want to use beef!)
2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth works great in a pinch as well!)
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups Cannellini beans (you can use canned if needed make sure you rinse them as well)* see my suggestion above if using dry beans
Two medium sized tomatoes diced up really small, it should come to about 1 cup or more
6 cups baby spinach leaves
Freshly cracked pepper to taste

Directions ** I can't believe I never told you how and when I add the sausage in! I am so sorry everyone I've been without a computer for several weeks so I couldn't add it in.
Sausage- I cook the sausage in a cast iron skillet before adding to the beans. I like to sear it well on teh sides then cut it up ( if using sausage links). Once it's all cooked I add it along with whatever juice/grease that the sausage made from the pan and add it into the beans. If you cook in anything other than a cast iron skillet a little oil would help in the pan but I never add anything in the cast iron .  *** 
Pour chicken broth and garlic into a large pot. Place on medium high heat and bring to a simmer. Add in the oil and oregano then beans. Stir it up before adding in tomatoes. Heat through till the beans are tender. If using canned it won't take long at all. Once beans are tender add in the spinach and cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir it in and sprinkle cracked pepper on top.

Simple dish you can dress up or dress down. I like serving this along side ribs, or any BBQ dish. I also mash up the beans that are left over and make quesadillas out of them, perfect for lunch time.

I also cook this without Sausage and it tastes just as good but my kids enjoy it more with the meat

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DreamWorks Pictures 'PEOPLE LIKE US"

In a story inspired by true events, Sam, a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman, is tasked with fulfilling his estranged father’s last wishes—delivering an inheritance to a sister he never knew he had.

From DreamWorks Pictures comes “People Like Us,” a drama/comedy about family, inspired by true events, starring Chris Pine (“Star Trek”) as Sam, a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman, whose latest deal collapses on the day he learns that his father has suddenly died. Against his wishes, Sam is called home, where he must put his father's estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. In the course of fulfilling his father's last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie whom he never knew about (Elizabeth Banks). As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about his family—and re-examine his own life choices in the process.

The film also stars Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Duplass and Michelle Pfeiffer.

A DreamWorks Pictures presentation, “People Like Us” is directed by Alex Kurtzman, produced by Roberto Orci, Bobby Cohen and Clayton Townsend, and written by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jody Lambert. The film releases in U.S. theaters on June 29, 2012.    
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June 12, 2012

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island on DVD and Blu-Ray Giveaway!

Welcome to the Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Blog App!

Choose Your Own Adventure!

Spin the wheel to get your own personalized adventure! Will you brave the wilds of Family Movie Night or map your house and have your own treasure hunt!

Would You Survive The Mysterious Island!? 

Are you a Wilderness Warrior or a Timid Trekker? Take the Mysterious Island quiz and find out how you would fare in the outback of Atlantis!

Have you seen the movie yet? Want to see the movie? Now is your chance to WIN Journey 2: The Mysterious Island on DVD and Blu-Ray. Simply enter the Rafflecopter below !

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The prize will be sent via FedEx or UPS. No P.O. Boxes please

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June 11, 2012

Garden- A Slow Process

Everyone knows how much work goes behind a garden, it's a daily task that some enjoy so much like myself that they don't even mind the slower more longer tasks that take up a chunk of your time.

Some tasks like the one I've been doing this past week is becoming more of a pain more than anything though. The birds have jumped in to help in their own way and it's becoming a bother. They have taken it upon themselves to harvest my mustard seeds.

I threw netting over it, which they quickly yanked off. A blanket which blew away in the wind and then I just up and gave up. Let them have seeds, I'll take what's left over!

There's plenty to share but they take so much so fast I'd love to know their secret to make a slow process look like a no brainier.  While  I sit and pluck each seed pod from the stem, I also have to open each pod.  All they do is nibble on the thing and they get their treat.

A long and slow process but it's worth all the seeds! 

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June 10, 2012

Disney Channel’s - Doc McStuffins


The doctor is in -- "Doc McStuffins," TV's newest hit for kids age 2-7, has been ordered for a second season on both Disney Junior, the daily programming block that posted Disney Channel’s best fiscal second quarter ratings ever in the daypart, and the burgeoning 24 hour Disney Junior channel. The channel is available to Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Bright House Networks and Verizon subscribers and soon, via additional affiliates nationwide. The announcement was made today by Nancy Kanter, Senior Vice President, Original Programming and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide.

The animated series about Doc, a little girl who can talk to and heal stuffed animals and toys out of her playhouse clinic, is 2012 to-date's #1 cable series among Kids 2-5 and the #1 preschool cable TV series among Total Viewers and Women 18-49.   Its March premiere is the #1 preschool series launch in cable TV history among Adults 18-49. "Doc McStuffins" joins Disney Junior's other hit series "Jake and the Never Land Pirates" and "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" which accounted for the Top 3 preschool cable telecasts of the quarter among Women 18-49.

          Kanter said, "The series is resonating with boys and girls across our demo kids ages 2-7. And we've heard that the show, particularly as parents watch with their kids, has opened up a family dialogue about the importance of good health and compassion.  Importantly, we are also hearing that the show is helping to take the worry out of going to the doctor that so many young children experience. We are delighted that kids will now be able to extend their love of Doc and her toy friends beyond the screen and encourage their inherent, nurturing play patterns."

Created and executive-produced by Humanitas Prize and Emmy Award-winning Chris Nee (writer on "Little Bill" and producer of "Deadliest Catch: Crab Fishing in Alaska") and directed by Emmy-winning Norton Virgien ("Rugrats"), "Doc McStuffins" is a production of Academy Award nominated Brown Bag Films in association with Disney Channel. The Hollywood Health & Society division of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center serves as the series' health and medical consultants, advising on basic health issues that are relevant to young kids and families. The series carries a TV-Y parental guideline.

"Doc McStuffins" airs daily during the Disney Junior programming block on Disney Channel and on the 24-hour Disney Junior channel. The series stars Kiara Muhammad as Doc; Loretta Devine as Hallie; Lara Jill Miller as Lambie; Robbie Rist as Stuffy; Jess Harnell as Chilly; Jaden Betts as Donny McStuffins; Kim Brooks as Mom McStuffins; and Gary Anthony Williams as Dad McStuffins. The series' theme song is performed by the star of Disney Channel's hit series "A.N.T. Farm" and Hollywood Records recording artist, China Anne McClain.

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June 9, 2012

1st Step Liquid Vitamin B12 Complex- Review

Many people today buy into the hype of caffeine-charged energy drinks, which contain harsh stimulants and can induce an unpleasant "crash." I know several in fact even my husband has fallen into that. I am a outspoken person when it comes to those "high energy" drinks. Take one and it'll last all day. Sorry but I've seen first hand what it does to people and they are horrible. That's being polite as well.

I was very skeptical when I received the 1st Step Liquid Vitamin B12 Complex. You would take half the bottle once a day which says it will give you the natural energy you need to conquer your day . No unpleasant side effects. I researched it endlessly to tell you the truth. Since I know many friends that already go in for B12 shots I know that's where I needed to start. B12 Helps convert food into energy, it's also Essential for red blood cell formation. Without it, long-term deficiencies are known to lead to more rapid brain degeneration, leading to the suspicion that such B12, folate, and niacin vitamins play a role in the development of dementia.

1st Step Liquid Vitamin B12 Complex quick facts-

  • Gluten Free
  • Lactose free
  • Sodium free
  • Trans fat free
  • Caffeine free

There were no sudden "highs" which would normally happen with a caffeine fix. I drink decaf coffee as it is so I would defiantly feel that. No highs mean no sudden crashes either. What was noticed was I wasn't as tired mid day as I normally get. Running after four kids and being such a busy mom on the go I do have those low moments in the day. On the B12 complex though it was not as noticeable.

I think anyone who is searching for a natural and nutritional supplement that will do what it says without the endless list of side effects would enjoy 1st Step Liquid Vitamin B12 Complex. You can find the entire line of 1st Step Pro Wellness at Walgreen's, Kroger and Bi-low.

To find out more visit http://1ststepprowellness.com/healthy_energy.html.

Disclosure: I received these products at no charge through Family Review Network in exchange for my honest review.
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Sweet Treat Friday- Cheesecake

I cannot live without cheesecake. There I said it, I admit it, cheesecake is my weakness of all sweets in the world. It was perhaps the first dessert that I started to make on my own after tasting one at a restaurant. Ever since then, there's been recipes saved for the cheesecake folder. Yes, Cheesecakes have their own folder here at my house , mock if you will but once you've tasted that rich, creamy velvet dessert you just cannot get enough of it. Which is also a major reason I don't' bake it very often.

 My husband as you know is diabetic, one who will admit full heartily he has no control over portions for food. It's not something that's easy in anyway shape or form for anyone who has to control what they eat.
It just isn't, which makes it more difficult for him. It's also made me revamp desserts in this house. Usually any sweets of any kind happens once a week, which is indeed Sweet Treat Friday. This week I had a craving for cheesecake and the second I mentioned that one dessert you could tell I'd hit the jackpot when my husband started searching the fridge for something that wasn't even made yet.

This lead me to my trusted fallback recipe. No it's not "healthy" as in zero fat or no sugar. Cheesecake wouldn't be cheesecake if it was completely healthy I think that's the entire point!

This recipe is however a better choice and it is health(ier). It's if you will more diabetic friendly. Instead of sour cream , it uses yogurt, less sugar and only egg whites. I enjoy this just as much as my husband but it's made specifically for him.  One slice equals about 175 calories, Food Exchange is 2 Carbohydrate, 1 fat.

Creamy cheesecake heaven! 


1/2 cups crushed wafer cookies (can be either chocolate or vanilla) Use the reduced fat cookies as well
2 packages , 8 ounce each reduced fat cream cheese softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup fat free cholesterol free egg product (it equals 3 eggs white)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups vanilla low fat yogurt
2 tablespoons all purpose flour

Heat oven to 300F

Spray a spring form round pan (9x3) with cooking spray. Sprinkle your cookie mixture over the bottom and press firm.
 Beat cream cheese in a medium bowl on medium speed with an electric mixer. beat until smooth. Add sugar , egg whites and vanilla. Beat again on med until smooth- about two minutes. Add yogurt and flour. Beat on low until smooth, should only be a minute. Pour batter over your cookie crumb mixture in pan. Bake 1 hour at 300F. Turn oven off and let it cool in the oven for 30 minutes before taking out. (keep the door closed) Remove from oven and cool another 15 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Last but not least, try not to eat the whole thing yourself!

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June 7, 2012

Walt Disney Animation Studios- “Wreck-It Ralph"

 “Wreck-It Ralph” crashes onto the big screen on November 2, 2012, in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

Walt Disney Animation Studios and Emmy®-winning director Rich Moore (TV’s “The Simpsons,” “Futurama”) take moviegoers on a hilarious, arcade-game-hopping journey in “Wreck-It Ralph.” Ralph (voice of John C. Reilly, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby,” “Step Brothers”) is tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix (voice of Jack McBrayer, “30 Rock”), the “good guy” star of their game who always gets to save the day. But after decades doing the same thing andseeing all the glory go to Felix, Ralph decides he’s tired of playing the role of a bad guy. He takes matters into his own massive hands and sets off on a game-hopping journey across the arcade through every generation of video games to prove he’s got what it takes to be a hero.

On his quest, he meets the tough-as-nails Sergeant Calhoun (voice of Jane Lynch, TV’s “Glee”) from the first-person action game Hero’s Duty. But it’s the feisty misfit Vanellope von Schweetz (voice of Sarah Silverman, “The Sarah Silverman Program”) from the candy-coated cart racing game, Sugar Rush, whose world is threatened when Ralph accidentally unleashes a deadly enemy that threatens the entire arcade. Will Ralph realize his dream and save the day before it’s too late?

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Temps de Flors 2010 White Wine- Review

Temps de Flors reigns from the Sumarroca winery, just north of Barcelona. The Sumarroca family has dedicated their passion and resources to caring for the vineyards and winemaking for over two decades. Family patriarch, Carles Sumarroca, has partnered with the Rovira i Virgili University in Catalonia to cultivate and study over 360 different grape varieties in his experimental vineyard.  It certainly has paid of when you taste their wines, we have had the privilege of tasting some of them.
Temps de Flors 2010  is an aromatic white blend of sweet Muscat, native Catalan Xarel.lo and lush Gew├╝rztraminer grapes. This special white wine captures the floral essence of its namesake easily.

The name Temps de Flors means "the time of flower" and shares the moniker with the name of a famous spring flower north of Barcelona which is the inspiration behind the wine.

This white wine is perfect for warm weather but you can enjoy it year round. Suitable best with lighter meals such as, salads, fish, starters or fruit.  We enjoyed this with a light grilled meal and fruit dessert, which it complemented very well. It's balanced and well rounded taste really has you enjoy the different grapes used as well as catch the floral aroma. Sweet tasting but not overly sweet in anyway it left me wanting more. Very different from other whites I've tried in the past and highly enjoyable, I'd love to serve this at dinners for guests as I know they'd love it.

Retail Price of Temps de Flors is $13.99 . 12% alcohol. Imported by Spain Wine collector, Congers, New York.

**Disclosure- I received the products mentioned above , in order to write an honest review. No monetary compensation was received for this post. I did not have to write a positive review, Any and all opinions are and will always be my own.*
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Vegetables and Cheese Frittata

I love the entire idea behind Frittata. Toss in eggs, cheese, milk, some vegetables and whip it up before emptying the entire thing in a  pan to shove in the oven. Go do something else for about fifteen minutes and come back and the dish is done . Easy, simple you can't go wrong with it.
Frittata is also one of my "make it up as you go" kinda recipes. Not even sure I measure out ingredients come to think of it. It's one of those recipes you can literally just eye ball everything and can't mess it up. Unless you add too much milk anyways, then you'll have soup- Egg soup- Not appetizing so don't add too much milk.

My kids enjoy Frittata for the same reasons I do, it's never the same, you can eat it however you want and the best thing- they think it's a great afternoon snack! It's best to eat it warm but I do enjoy it straight out of the fridge, slap some hot sauce on it and I'm a happy camper!

This is a great low carb breakfast, and switch up your vegetables to whatever is on hand. I use mostly zucchini as it's growing right outside my door 


2 cups fat free cholesterol free egg product 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
2 tablespoon butter
2 cups your choice of vegetables (a great mix is peppers, zucchini and mushrooms)
1/2 chopped onion


Beat eggs salt and pepper in a medium bowl with a fork until well mixed. Stir in cheese. Heat butter in a cast iron skillet . Add your vegetables including your onion, in and cook till just about tender. Pour egg mixture over the pepper mixture. Cover and cook over medium low heat for about 8-10 minutes. Eggs should be set and lightly brown on the bottom. You can broil the top to get the top golden brown if you wanted.

Oven version is the same, use a cast iron skillet and once you pour your eggs into the skillet transfer to the oven set at 350F it should bake up in about 10 minutes. Stick a fork or toothpick in the center to check if eggs are cooked through. My eggs were done in a baking pan as I didn't heat my vegetables. I shredded my zucchini and diced everything else up really small so it would heat easily and not be raw. As I said already I rarely follow the directions for Frittata, but it also never fails. Play with it, make up something creative! 



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June 5, 2012

Check Out the Journey 2: The Mysterious Island Blog App

Choose Your Own Adventure!

 Spin the wheel to get your own personalized adventure! Will you brave the wilds of Family Movie Night or map your house and have your own treasure hunt!

Take the Mysterious Island quiz and find out how you would fare in the outback of Atlantis!

I can't wait for the movie to  come out!
About the movie- 
Sean Anderson (Josh Hutcherson, The Hunger Games) finds a hidden signal that he believes will lead him to his long lost grandfather (Michael Caine, Miss Congeniality). With the help of his new step father (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Scorpion King), Sean finds a map and starts his adventure which leads him to Kailani (Vanessa Hudgens, High School Musical) and the island of Atlantis! Sean and his friends battle giant bees, killer lizards, a volcano of gold, and electric eels to escape the lost city and make their way home!
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No Kid Hungry- Summer #NoKidHungry

School is out summer is here! Those kids that have relied on the free or reduced price meals at school are faced When school lets out this summer, families who rely on free and reduced price meals at school for their children find themselves uncertain of where they’ll get their next meal. 
Did you know more than 21 million get free or reduced priced lunches at school? Just over 3 million get free meals over the summer. Just because summer is here those children and families shouldn't have to miss meals and go hungry. 
We can all make a different for those that do end up going without meals this summer by donating what we can. Every dollar given can help one child get almost ten meals. Think about it!  There's several ways you can help not just by money either. Write your congressmen, sign the petition, hold a bake sale and raise money for the campaign
Though more than 21 million kids get free and reduced price school lunch, just over 3 million get free meals in the summer. If we don’t act now, these kids will face missed meals and hungry stomachs instead of the fun childhood summers they deserve.
You can make a difference for hungry kids this summer by making a tax-deductible gift to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. Every dollar you give can connect a child with 10 meals and when you give today!
It doesn't stop there , every dollar you donate will be matched by the Arby's Foundation up to $100,000. Your donation of $50 becomes $100, $100 becomes $200 and $250 becomes $500!! This means with that support we can connect more kids in need with up to 2 million meals!!  the Arby’s Foundation will match your gift, dollar for dollar up to $100,000, to double the impact of your donation.
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June 3, 2012

Saving a memorable Garden

We have lived in this house for several years, but know sooner or later we must find a new home. With four growing kids it's bound to happen- running out of room. My worst fear isn't about anything most people even worry about when your moving. Instead of worrying about packing or perhaps the hassle of changing the mail, I worry about my garden.
 All that hard work year round I put into planting. After all I have nurtured those plants from seed so it's alarming to think I would actually have to leave it all behind. A vegetable garden would be hard to lose but half my garden can and will (if needed) be moved easily. Other parts I've considered taking with me are flowers that have grown around the house. There's certain flowers in my yard even from my area that I'd like to take with me if and when we move to a different house.

This amazing bush of cute tiny flowers is one of my favorites at my house. It's "Profusion", white Santa Barbara Daisy.
It was here before we moved in and was well established. It starts blooming right before spring and doesn't really stop until about December. It was also one of the first plants I tried to grow a cutting from. A cutting is just a piece of it's branching system, some with or without leaves depending on what plant your working with. I picked a cutting from underneath that had new growth to it and was able to start my own little bush elsewhere in the yard. Cuttings can be challenging to grow but this plant took off quickly. Since then I have started others and  plant them or giving them away to people I know. It's really easy now for me to start a entirely new bush from one single cutting. This way I can up and take it where ever we go!
 Up until recently it never crossed my mind to start saving the seeds from it! Silly I know considering I collect endless seeds from plants all around me.

 It's easy to over look the seed process with this because while the entire bush is in full bloom you can almost  miss the flower heads that are already going to seed. I collect a bag full of their fuzzy seeds nearly each week and made sure they are completely dry before storing them. I planted a few seeds to see how well they would start.

It took two weeks for them to sprout, and if your not even careful, you may even miss that. They are so very tiny
The seeds themselves are small as well, so be careful when collecting. They have the same little "fuzz" that dandelions have so they can catch the wind and fly. 

 I've never seen them in stores but have seen them growing in yards once or twice. The strange thing is though, that the plants I see are so small which makes me wonder how old the bush in my yard is. Or maybe the plant is slow to grow from seeds. I am not sure. My cuttings remaining growing at a steady pace around the garden. This will be the first start from seeds.  I will keep marking it's progress as I'd like to bring them along with me whenever the time comes to move. It will be interesting to find out what the plant can do!

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June 2, 2012

Slow cooker Pulled Pork Tacos

 My kids enjoy any food that they can pick up with their hands so it's been a creative challenge to incorporate this into meal time. I came across a slow cooker pulled pork recipe a long time ago and have always used it for summer sandwiches. It's not always cooked the same and I change up the seasoning as well but it never fails. Using pita bread my kids can pick this up and not have to worry about a mess. Set it up so the family can pick and choice their own toppings.



1 boneless pork shoulder roast between 3 and 4 pounds
1/3 lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1 bay leaf
6 cloves garlic minced up
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion diced

 Cut the roast in half. Pierce several times with a fork. Place in a large resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Combine all the other ingredients (expect the onion and oil ) and pour over roast. Cover the roast and refrigerate overnight turning  once or twice to coat.
  In the morning , drain reserving the marinade. In a skillet over medium heat , heat the oil and onion. Add the roast and brown on all sides.  Take onion and the roast and place in slow cooker. Pour marinade over roast and cover to cook. Cook on high for about 2 hours. Then bring down the heat to low for the remaining 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender. Discard the bay leaf.  Shred of thinly slice for sandwiches or pork tacos.
 You can use the juice in the cooker, skim off the fat and bring the juice to a boil in a sauce pan on the stove. It's great for dipping if your having sandwiches. I sometimes use this juice when I make beans, brings a great flavor.


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