It's Wednesday night and I just got home from a preview of BRAVE by Disney/Pixar. I can't post this review until Friday, but I have to write it now. I am so excited about this movie. Disney/Pixar has created another movie that is destined to be a classic. I'm so impressed that Disney/Pixar and Disney find a way to introduce new cultures to today's youth in a way that makes them want to learn more. For example, Aladdin piques interest about life in the middle east and Finding Nemo introduced a whole generation to things like the EAC (dude). BRAVE introduces us to Scottish traditions and legends. BRAVE reaches into the hearts of young girls, teaching them to dream, to follow their dreams, yet to stay connected to who they are and where they come from.
BRAVE reaches into the hearts of moms everywhere, reminding them they are all Mama Bears. BRAVE touches the pride of dads, reminding them that no matter how much they love being a dad, they also love being rough and tough and studly. BRAVE will make you laugh out loud. BRAVE will bring you to brink of tears. BRAVE will make you realize, remember, and relate to how hard it is to parent. It's a great story, lots of fun, and lots of pure honesty. Regardless of your age, you will love this movie. I can't wait to add it to my library of dvds. I LOVED this movie! It starts today and you absolutely, positively, definitely MUST GO!
Parenting is THE hardest job. I should know, I've raised three of my own, a son, a daughter, and a bonus son from my current marriage. Lucky for me, I've almost survived...one more year and the youngest two will be 18 years old and graduated. Since I work with preschoolers, I've always got little ones around too. I wish I'd had the book Parenting with Scripture by Kara Durbin years ago. It's a wonderful guide parents and children can use together to focus on specific topics that all of us encounter in our lives. From A to Z, the book touches on things like Anger, Discipline, Gentleness, Integrity, Procrastination, Tolerance, and Worry. Okay it's only A to W, but there are many lessons in here that children need to learn and parents need help to teach them. I love how each topic is first defined, then touched upon by scripture verses so that parents and kids know what God thinks about the topic. The topic is followed up with discussion points and questions, suggested actions and even parenting tips. As a parent and a teacher, I found myself reading and re-reading, trying to commit these ideas to memory, but I'm glad I have the book on hand for future reference as well. Well written and adaptable to children of all ages. Disclosure: I received this book at no charge in exchange for my honest opinion.
What a great approach to a book! Marshall, a ten year old boy, decided he was tired of people picking on him because of his weight. He decided he was going to lose weight and sought out his family's help. Together they embarked on a plan that kicked the "super size me" idea to the curb and Portion Size Me was created. Rather than a strict diet, they came up with a month long project that has six goals:
Eat as many real foods as possible.
Read the ingredients to understand what you're eating.
Pause before you eat and consider why and what you're eating.
Get moving and get some exercise.
Help out in the kitchen.
Watch portion sizes.
The first half of the book is set up sort of like a daily diary, filled with practical tips, recipes, and insights. There is so much great information about food and healthy eating, written in a way that both kids and parents will appreciate. There are even pages for the reader to record their own journey. The back half of the book is set up in three sections: breakfast, lunch and dinner...ten of each. Let Marshall and his family teach your family about becoming healthier and growing closer together as a family. An awesome book!
Disclosure: I received this book at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
I am so excited to own this stunning piece from Denby. The Denby Imperial Blue Cast Iron Oval Casserole measures 13.5" from handle to handle, 9" wide from front to back, and 6" from bottom to the lid handled top. The cast iron pot and lid are both covered with a high quality enamel, blue/black on the outside and white on the inside. I couldn't wait to try it out. I created a new recipe in honor of my new Denby and I'm calling it my Denby Baked Spaghetti.
First, brown one pound of ground beef in a skillet with salt, pepper, minced onions, and garlic powder. Be sure to chop up the ground beef as it is browning so the meat is in small pieces. While the beef is browning, bring a big pot of salted water to a boil for the noodles.
Gather up two eggs, 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese and 5 tablespoons of butter, along with a mixing bowl. Drain the grease from the ground beef, rinse it slightly with hot water to remove residual grease, then return it to the skillet and set aside for now (no need to keep it heated).
Toss 16 ounces of spaghetti noodles into the boiling water and add a tablespoon of virgin olive oil to the water and noodles. Stir occasionally so the noodles don't stick together. I used a whole wheat spaghetti.
While the noodles are cooking, melt the 5 tablespoons of butter, then whisk it together with the two eggs and the 1/3 cup of Parmesan. Set this bowl aside for now.
Go back to the skillet of beef and add a 29 ounce can of tomato sauce, a small can of sliced black olives, a handful of sliced mushrooms, and a tablespoon of Italian seasoning. (Still no heat required at this point.)
When the noodles are done (usually about 10 minutes in boiling water), drain the noodles and return them to the pot. Add the buttery, cheesy, eggy mixture to the noodles and stir it all around until the noodles are coated in it. Now I finally get to use my Denby Cast Iron Oval Casserole! Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
Lightly spray the inside of the Casserole with cooking spray and put half the coated spaghetti noodles in the bottom, then layer shredded mozzarella cheese over the noodles (I didn't have any shredded moz so I grabbed the mozzarella cheese sticks and peeled them apart to use).
Layer half of the beefy tomato sauce over the cheese. Put the other half of the spaghetti noodles on top of the sauce, then another layer of mozzarella cheese. Layer the rest of the beefy tomato sauce over the cheese, then add more cheese on top.
Cover the Casserole with the lid and put it in the oven at 350F degrees for 50 minutes. With an oven mitt, remove the lid and continue baking the spaghetti for another 10 minutes to brown the top cheese a bit.
Using two oven mitts, remove the Casserole from the oven and set on a pad so you don't burn your counter. Do not touch the dish or lid or handles with bare hands! Cast iron cools very slowly, so your food will stay hot longer.
The Denby Baked Spaghetti came out absolutely delicious! The consistency of it is thicker than traditional spaghetti and can be served right out of this gorgeous Oval Casserole with a big spoon. This recipe will serve 8-10 people, unless you have two teenage sons. Both the Oval Casserole and the lid cleaned up quickly and easily in soapy warm water with a washcloth, thanks to the enamel finish. My family is already begging me to make it again. You can shop for Denby at www.denbyusa.com and you can connect with them on Facebook and Twitter. And you can enter to win below! Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Win a Denby Imperial Blue Cast Iron Oval Casserole!
To enter, fill in the Rafflecopter form below. Only the first entry is mandatory; but all those bonus entries will increase your chance to win this fantastic prize. You must be at least 18 years old and live in the US. This giveaway ends at midnight ET on 7/14/12. Good luck!
Laura Schaefer has created a wonderful EGuidebook for ages 8-12 years for exploring Epcot 2012. This fascinating book is filled with a complete tour of all the unique attractions, including facts and tips that will entertain and teach. Helping children become experts as they explore and discover is Schaefer's goal. Imagine walking around Epcot as your child tells you what's cool about every one of the exhibits! Beautiful photos and her style of writing easily appeals to her target age group. Parents and children will better enjoy the experience of Epcot with her newest book!
She has also created guides for Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, London, New York City, Orlando, Chicago, Philadelphia, LEGOLAND, SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Disclosure: I received this ebook at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
1. Protective gear. Oftentimes, protective gear is overlooked, but companies like EvoShield have stepped in to make items with the dangers of specific sports in mind, to prevent some of the most-common injuries. EvoShield products are unique because they are custom-made to suit the size and build of the individual child, guaranteeing the best fit and highest level of injury protection on the market. From custom-made wrist guards and chest and back guards to protective arm sleeves and thigh guards, EvoShield makes the items that should be at the top of the packing list.
2. Appropriate clothing. Most camps provide a list of recommended clothing. Make sure your child has enough of the right apparel packed to account for one or more changes a day.
3. General Sports Equipment. Equipment goes a long way in making your child feel confident on the field. Make sure he/she has all the necessary equipment for the specific sport.
4. Eco-friendly water bottles. Many camps are moving away from supplying bottled water and instead are keeping jugs of water on hand. Make sure you pack several easily refillable water bottles, so your child can stay hydrated.
5. Sunscreen. It isn’t just for a day at the beach anymore! Pick up a sunscreen made especially for athletics and sports use. It goes on lightly and still stays strong during the sweatiest of conditions.
6. Hand towels. Hand towels are perfect for carrying to the field. By providing your child a few small hand towels for wiping his/her face, you can help keep things sanitary. Your young athlete also can soak the towels with cool water and hold them to the neck, to bring instant relief from the heat.
7. Bedding. Generally, camps will provide a list of necessary items to bring, like sheets. And it’s always a great idea to send your athlete with his/her own pillow, for sanitary and comfort reasons.
8. Personal Items. Don’t forget to pack your child’s toiletries and even a few stamped, self-addressed postcards. You’ll want to hear all about the adventures!
HonestBuildings.com announced today that it is releasing comprehensive information for over 95,000 commercial and mixed-use buildings in Austin, Dallas and Houston as it rolls out its beta platform in the Lone Star State.
The rapidly growing real estate network launched three months ago and now has a detailed online profile for 475,000 buildings across the country, including pictures, square footage, building ownership and management, projects and renovations, LEED certification levels, ENERGYSTAR ratings, and much more.
Honest Buildings helps people find and compare information about any commercial or residential building in the U.S., simply by typing in an address. The website provides users a rich source of valuable building information—from square footage, to building ownership and management, to the projects and renovations that have been performed on a building—and a platform where owners, managers and tenants can connect with service providers, brokers and vendors so they can do business faster and more efficiently than ever before.
I love when I carry around a new bag that makes complete strangers walk up to me and gush over how gorgeous it is! Gigi Hill has a beautiful new line of chic, modern handbags that make a real statement. If you love bright feminine floral prints or dramatic animal prints, you've got to check out Gigi Hill. Their new 2012 spring line also includes ocean-inspired prints, bold tribal patterns, and striking black and white designs.
I totally fell in love with this Audrey bag. It is total fashion combined with total function! The materials are sturdy enough that I can take this to the beach filled with lotions, towels, and cold water. The design is pretty enough to wear with a dress to church. It's even big enough to carry a small shopping haul of groceries! There's even a zipper pocket inside for my cell phone and lip balm. The zipper pocket outside has a darling heart charm dangle too.
Check out this fabulous Bette phone wallet! It's THE cutest cell phone carrier I've ever seen. It's also very reasonably priced, starting at just $20.00. The design is so pretty and I can tell you from experience that the Bette is padded enough that it protected my phone from breaking when I accidentally dropped it.
When I take all my daycare kids outside to play during the day, I've been carrying my phone in this phone wallet and it keeps my phone from sitting in direct sunlight as well. The top tab is a velcro closure and the strap is attached in back with a bit of elastic to fit varying sizes of phones, music players and other small devices.
Their collections are really diverse with small and medium handbags, wristlets, wallets, garment bags, large totes, makeup cases, luggage tags, coin purses, and even flip flops, apparel and sunglasses! These fabulous products were designed by busy moms who needed to be able to go from home to work to soccer games to a dinner date with dad.
Find your perfect bag at www.gigihillbags.com and find out how you can host a party or even join Gigi Hill and share these amazing collections with your friends. Be sure to follow them on Facebook too!
Disclosure: I received these products at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
I love decorating with light. It's amazing what can be done with light. With a single light, you can create a spooky atmosphere or a romantic atmosphere. A spot light can be used to focus attention on a single point in the room, like a fireplace mantle or a famous piece of art. I love Christmastime because I can string lights all over my house and all over my yard. I love to light the Christmas tree at night in my living room and turn off all the other lights in the room. One of my favorite "cheap" decorating ideas is to put a string of Christmas lights in a bowl or a vase. In more recent years, battery operated LED lights have given me many different decorating options!
Decorating with candles sometimes worries me because of the fire hazard. Plus I can't light candles during my daycare business hours because it's against regulations. As a child I remember getting a new housekeeping set for Christmas one year, swinging the toy mop around and catching it on fire with a lit candle. My parents were mad, I was sad and scared. I love the new battery operated candles because I can get the same kind of ambiance without the fear of fire. In fact, there is so much more that can be done when using battery operated LED lights like beautifully lit year-round trees that can be used inside or even outside on the patio. Don't try lighting a real cherry tree with candles!
Summer health tips from Life Extension Research Institute (LERI), a division of EHE International, America's oldest and largest preventive health company. Skin cancer does not just affect our older population. According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults 25 to 29 years old and the second most common form of cancer for adolescents and young adults 15 to 29 years old. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) estimates that more than 3.5 million new cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Please take precautions when on vacation. Whether your vacation plans involve domestic or overseas travel, general health and safety measures can help you and your family prevent illness and injury.
1. Watch What You Eat. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers these healthy eating suggestions while you are on vacation: Sample small amounts of high–calorie foods. You do not have to avoid these foods entirely; just reduce the amount that you eat to a few bites. Share large portions. Many restaurants serve very large portions, so do not hesitate to split orders. Space meals throughout the day. It can be easy to "graze" while on vacation. Try to set meal times and stick to them.
2. Drink Plenty of Water. Children become dehydrated more easily than adults, so pay extra attention to children. Drink bottled water, especially if you are in a foreign country where tap water may not be safe to drink. If the tap water is not safe to drink in the area you are visiting, do not use it to make juice, to rinse fresh fruits and vegetables or to brush your teeth.
3. Wash Your Hands Often. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one of the most important ways to reduce infectious disease transmission is to wash hands carefully and frequently with soap and water. Carry antibacterial hand wipes or alcohol–based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol for situations in which hot water and soap are not available.
4. Get Adequate Sleep. When you sleep well, you wake up feeling refreshed, alert and ready to enjoy the day. Do your best to stay on a regular sleep schedule. Being awake and alert can help you get the most enjoyment out of your trip.
5. Pack a First–aid Kit. Include the following items: Bandages, sterile gauze pads, instant cold packs, a thermometer, scissors, tweezers, a needle, moistened towelettes, blister pads, assorted sizes of safety pins and latex gloves. Antiseptics, over–the–counter pain relievers, anti–diarrhea medication, antacid, a tube of hydrocortisone cream for itchy skin reactions, allergy relief, cold and cough medicine, motion sickness medication. Syrup of Ipecac (used to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center), a laxative, petroleum jelly or other lubricant and a cleansing agent/soap.
6. Protect Yourself from Insect Bites. Be sure to use insect repellent that contains DEET (30 to 50 percent) or picaridin (up to 15 percent) whenever you are outdoors in areas where disease–carrying insects are active.
7. Protect Yourself from the Sun. The sun’s peak hours are from 10 AM and 4 PM. Liberally apply a broad–spectrum, water–resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 15 thirty minutes before going outdoors. Sunscreen should then be re–applied every two hours or after physical activity. Loose–fitting, tightly–woven fabric offer the best protection from UV rays. Sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB rays offer the best eye protection.
8. When Traveling Internationally. See your doctor or specialist six weeks prior to your trip. Most vaccines take time to become effective and require more than one dose in a series. Take a list of U.S. embassies and consulates with you in case of an emergency and find the hospital or medical care facility that is located closest to your destination. Remember, when you leave the United States, you are subject to the laws of the country that you are visiting. Carry a written copy of your medical history and check with your health insurance provider to see if you are covered for medical care and medical evacuation while on vacation.
9. Be Aware of Recreational Water Illnesses (RWIs). RWIs can be found in swimming pools, lakes, rivers, hot tubs, decorative fountains and in the ocean; and can be spread by swallowing, breathing or coming into contact with contaminated water. Take your children on bathroom breaks often. Change diapers in a bathroom and not near the pool or shoreline. Germs can spread to surfaces and objects in and around the water. Avoid swimming in the ocean for at least 24 hours after a heavy rain. Storm–water runoff from the streets and drainage areas may wash pollution into the water.
10. Traveling With a Health Condition. Keep your medications in their original prescription bottles and keep all medications with you in your carry–on luggage. Pack copies of all of your prescriptions, including the generic name of each medication. If you are carrying a controlled substance and/or injectable medication, be sure to have a note--on letterhead--from the prescribing physician indicating that you are allowed to have them in your possession. You should also leave a copy of your prescriptions at home with a friend or relative.
The last few days, I've had some pretty bad upper back pain, so I was excited to try the new Tiger Balm Neck and Shoulder Rub. I've used their gel for many years, but the Neck and Shoulder Rub is more like a lotion. Yesterday, I asked my husband to rub it all over my upper back (sneaky way to get a backrub, I know) and of course he was more than happy to help me.
It's really convenient in the tube and it's not greasy at all. It comes out of the tube white, but rubs in completely and leaves no residue. It has a great menthol/camphor smell that is so calming and as it soaks into the skin, the pain melts away. With all the stress of doing daycare all day and blogging at my computer all evening, it's awesome to have this handy bottle around to help reduce tension. The bottle shape is also fairly flat which means I can toss it in my purse without taking up much room and have a massage on the go if I want one! The Tiger Balm Neck and Shoulder Rub was very effective in relieving my upper back pain and I feel much better today!
Tiger Balm products are sold at Rite Aid, Walgreens, Walmart, and other fine retailers and health food stores. Plus, when you LIKE the Tiger Balm US Facebook Page you'll be able to download a coupon to save $2.00 on your next in-store purchase of Tiger Balm Neck and Shoulder Rub. While you're on their Facebook page, be sure to enter the Tiger Balm Sweepstakes to win a trip for two to Mendocino County in Northern California, including airfare, hotel and $1000 in Tiger Balm products! Sweepstakes open to US residents only, sorry. I totally recommend Tiger Balm products!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.
I'm so glad to be back on track with Nutrisystem. I've lost another pound this week for a total of 24 pounds lost. I've also started a new daily exercise program and I've increased my water intake. I WILL reach my weight loss goal! Be sure to check out the Summer Sales Event going on right now. You can save 40% on the most popular plans plus there's an offer for 3 weeks of free food. You can even try it risk-free for two weeks!
I'm so excited to get these tote bags from DaySpring! The Daughter of the King Oil Cloth Tote is so soft, like a buttery leather. The scripture verse in the corner is Isaiah 51:11: Everlasting joy will crown their heads. The bright pink and orange dots on the front of the tote coordinate with the stripes on the sides and the orange-checked satiny liner.
Inside there is a zipper pocket on one side and two large pockets on the other side, alongside a cell phone pocket. It has a magnetic closure, is big enough for carrying extras for a shopping trip, yet is classy enough to be used as an everyday handbag. The silvertone brads on the handles and silvertone handle loops give it even more personality.
DaySpring surprised me with a second tote in my shipping box. It's a big, roomy jute tote bag that says "Crown of Beauty. Joy and Praise." It's lined with a pretty pink material and I've decided to use this one to bless someone else. I'm going to fill it with inspirational books and some infant toys, then drop it off at our local pregnancy resource center. When I was pregnant with my two children, there were several local agencies that blessed me and I'm grateful to DaySpring for this chance to inspire hope in someone else.
DaySpring is offering you a chance to inspire hope in someone as well! Right now, they have a special opportunity on their website to purchase two totes and get one FREE! You will love the quality of their products. You can shop at http://www.dayspring.com and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosure: I received these products at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Win a Daughter of the King tote!
One lucky Planet Weidknecht reader will receive a Daughter of the King tote. To enter, just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. You must be at least 18 years old and have a US address. This giveaway ends at midnight on 6/30/12. Good luck!
Carrie Ward has written a wonderful book that will help overworked and overwhelmed parents find a real way to share in God's word together with their children. As a busy mom herself, she struggled to find time to read her Bible and so she started reading a chapter every day to her kids. She was pleasantly surprised as her family began to transform and grow deeply in God's word. The book itself is written almost as a devotional for parents, combining personal experiences with scripture, and providing practical tips on ways to help children understand the Bible. Her encouraging words really inspire a desire to read in the Word with family members. Every Christian family should have a copy of this book. I loved it!
Lazoo is such a wonderful company. Not only do they offer a full line of the cutest kids' clothes, they also offer books, plush dolls, accessories, and more.
These adorable clothes on my little model are designed to foster a child's creative process, encourage self-expression and empower the imagination, just like all of their products. Lazoo was founded by two New York City dads, with eight kids between them. The products are inspired by an internationally best-selling series of Japanese children's books.
The children's clothing is available for boys, girls and infants. You can find high-quality dresses, shorts, pants, jackets, and even adorable rain boots. Lazoo is a quality-conscious lifestyle children's brand emphasizing award-winning design, creativity, and play. One of my favorite items is the little boys' tshirt with the rocket pack design on it. This little mermaid dress inspired my little model to twirl for the camera! You can shop at http://www.lazoo.com and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure you download their new app for your child too! Disclosure: I received these products at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Win a $25 Gift Code to Lazoo!
To enter, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below. You must be at least 18 years old and have a US address. Only the first entry is mandatory; bonus entries increase your chance to win. This giveaway ends at midnight ET on 7/7/12. Good luck!
King Arthur Flour is teaming up with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer to raise thousands of dollars this summer and beyond for pediatric cancer research.
As the official flour of Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, King Arthur Flour will provide up to 2,000 free bags of flour to bake sale hosts. In addition, starting July 1, the first 25 hosts to raise $1,000 or more will each receive a $100 King Arthur Flour gift card.
Philanthropy plays a critical and essential role in funding research in the ongoing battle against childhood cancer. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer inspires individuals and communities to raise funds for research through local bake sales and online cookie sales. Funds raised are then granted to researchers developing promising new therapies at top pediatric cancer centers nationwide. Get involved HERE.
Check out this gorgeous Weekender Tote from Miss Lucy's Monograms! I take a few road trips every summer and this big tote is the perfect size for a couple of outfits. The quilted material feels smooth and cool to the touch and gives this bag a subtle shimmer that definitely makes people notice.
There are so many different choices of Quilted Tote Bags at Miss Lucy's Monograms...both medium and large sizes, lots of material choices, and even more monogramming choices. The quality of the monogram is top-notch and there are lots of colors to choose from. Plus you can personalize it with your name, your initials and more.
The inside of my bag has lots of pockets and is made of a darling pink and white check material. It's big enough for a weekend travel bag but stylish enough to use as an everyday handbag. She also offers backpacks, cosmetic bags, diaper bags, duffel bags, Bible covers, flannel pants, caps, iPad cases, baby rompers and sleepers, and many other items. I spent hours on her website!
I love my new black and hot pink Weekender. All the products at Miss Lucy's Monograms are very reasonably priced and mine arrived very quickly, packaged carefully, and in perfect condition. If you'd like to win your choice of Monogrammed Quilted Weekender Tote with monogramming, you can enter to win below! Disclosure: I received this product at no charge in exchange for my honest review.
Win a Monogrammed Quilted Weekender Tote from Miss Lucy's Monograms!
To enter to win, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Only the first entry is mandatory; bonus entries increase your chances of winning. You must be at least 18 years old and have a US address. This giveaway ends at midnight ET on 7/7/12. Good luck!