Monday, August 31, 2015

Books, Back-To-School & Barnes & Noble Mastercard! #BNschoolsavings #spon


Today's post is sponsored by the Barnes and Noble MasterCard!


Barnes and Noble is a huge part of our daily learning and weekly family trips - always has been.  As the kids get older and moms get busier, I cannot tell you how much I appreciate easy online shopping experiences!  Seriously.  Please understand, I much prefer to stop by Barnes and Noble, grab a coffee and pick up my most favorite magazines that are not available anywhere else. 
  


Lately though, that seems like a luxury that is just not happening at the moment.  For back to school and our in-house learning I look forward to using the Barnes & Noble Mastercard.   I save money, time and spend my driving time with little one, who is needing extra attention lately with all of the changing of schedules.  A mom must have priorities!  The Barnes & Noble Mastercard is of course, for cafe, NOOK, music, movies, games, bargain books and everything else found at Barnes & Noble!  Yay!



  • Barnes & Noble MasterCard is the best credit card for parents and college students purchasing textbooks, books, and supplies during the back-to-school season and beyond
  • Get 5% back when you use your Barnes & Noble MasterCard to buy school supplies and textbooks at any Barnes & Noble store or at BN.com
    • This also applies at campus Barnes & Noble bookstores
    • 5% at back-to-school time can really add up
      • Average cost for books and supplies last year was $1,225 at public colleges and $1,244 at private colleges*. Using the Barnes & Noble MasterCard for those purchases at campus Barnes & Noble bookstores or at BN.com could give you an immediate $60 savings.
  • Receive a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card after your first purchase with the card
  • Receive an additional $25 Barnes & Noble gift card every time you reach 2,500 points
  • No annual fee for the Barnes & Noble MasterCard
    Make kid's books accessible and visible at all times to encourage reading!

What are some of your favorite picture books for kids?

Workbooks, Eye Wonder Books, First Readers and Wordcards are just a few of our go-to learning supplies from Barnes and Noble over-the-years!  

I have so many books for kids and learning purposes, they add through the years and are constant resources for our entire family! (and the neighbor's kids)



Yes, this is a sponsored post.  Any my opinions of Barnes and Noble being a must-stop-shop for back to school…and year-round educational and pleasurable places is my own!  We love Barnes and Noble and completely appreciate the Barnes & Noble Mastercard credit card with no annual fee and money back! 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Win Blu-Ray Set of The Vampire Diaries Or The Originals! #TVD #spon

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We are so pleased this post is sponsored by WB and TVD.

The Vampire Diaries continues its sixth season with more delicious drama to sink your teeth into. In season five, after a passionate summer with Damon, Elena headed to Whitmore College with Caroline, not knowing Bonnie sacrificed her life for Jeremy’s. Meanwhile, Stefan and Caroline’s friendship deepened as they stood up to the Travelers, a nomadic witch tribe driven to strip Mystic Falls of magic and cast out its supernatural residents. In the shocking season finale, Damon, fearing he would lose his loved ones on the crumbling Other Side, made a huge sacrifice to bring them all back — with catastrophic and heartbreaking results. Season six follows the characters’ journey back to each other as they explore the duality of good versus evil inside themselves. Matt Davis reprises his role as Alaric Saltzman, recently returned from The Other Side. Plus, the season will make you misty-eyed as the departure of a major character will turn lives upside down and leave us asking what happened to Mystic Falls.

Contains All 22 Episodes From The Sixth Season Plus Two Featurettes, An Audio Commentary, The 2014 Comic-Con Panel, Deleted Scenes, And A Gag Reel 
The Vampire Diaries on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thevampirediaries
The Vampire Diaries on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cwtvd


The Originals - As Original vampire-werewolf hybrid Klaus Mikaelson returned to the vibrant, supernaturally charged city of New Orleans in season one, he was stunned to learn — along with his siblings Elijah and Rebekah — that Hayley, a werewolf, was pregnant with his child, and his vampire protégé, Marcel, whom the Original siblings had thought long dead, was ruling the French Quarter. Soon, a bloody war escalated between vampires and witches — the stakes raised by powerful teenage witch Davina and by Klaus’s bond with Cami, a student with a painful past — and a ruthless pack of wolves seized the opportunity to stage a violent coup. Now, in season two, a new status quo must be adjusted to, as the newly empowered werewolves control the city. Klaus struggles with weaknesses as Elijah desperately tries to save Hayley — now a hybrid — from a vicious spiral of self-destruction. Meanwhile, with the re-emergence of several Mikaelsons, “family is power” takes on new meaning.


Own The Originals The Complete Second Season on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD September 1, 2015
Contains All 22 Episodes From The Second Season Plus Never-Before-Seen Featurettes And Much More!
The Originals on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cworiginals
Ask The Originals on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cworiginals

Have a Bloody Vampire Diaries party! 



Please note this giveaway is for only ONE set.  I do not choose, it's random. We have either The Vampire Diaries The Complete Sixth Season OR The Originals The Complete Second Season (CHOSEN AT RANDOM) – to award to a lucky reader!  US & Canada only for this giveaway.  We are not responsible for shipping or use.  Prize is shipped via company.

a Rafflecopter giveaway 


This is sponsored by The Vampire Diaries. Opinions are my own.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Disney Junior's Miles from Tomorrowland On DVD! #DisneyJunior #spon

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Yay! Today's post is sponsored by Disney Junior! 

Now on DVD, Disney Junior's Miles From Tomorrowland - Let's Rocket is fun adventure for the whole family.  Ok, perhaps not the teens, but we absolutely love this show and putting Miles From Tomorrowland on DVD - makes me happy we don't have to wait for specific times! Yay!  The DVD is approximately 121 minutes long and has some of our favorite episodes on it - Runaway Shuttle/Surfin' The Whirlpool," "Ocean In Motion/Explorer Exchange," "Game On/How I Saved My Summer Vacation," "Who Stole The Stellosphere/Rock N' Roll," "To The Goldilocks Zone/Hiccup In the Plan!~ 

Disney Junior's "Miles from Tomorrowland" is an intergalactic adventure that charts the outer space missions of young adventurer Miles Callisto and his family – mom and ship captain, Phoebe; mechanical engineer dad, Leo; tech-savvy big sister, Loretta; and best friend robo-ostrich pet, Merc – as they help connect the galaxy on behalf of the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Miles, Merc and the Callisto family explore wondrous and diverse new worlds, taking young viewers and their families on a futuristic journey designed to fuel kids' natural interest in space, and at the same time reminding them of the importance of what lies close to home – the family bond.

Join Miles, his family and his best friend and pet Merc on a super-galactic adventure!  This value-packed DVD includes the premiere episode plus 4 additional episodes, nearly two hours of fun! Plus FREE inside every DVD is an exclusive Clip-on Blastboard Flashlight that you can’t get anywhere else! Buy your little space explorer “Miles from Tomorrowland: Let’s Rocket” on Disney DVD on August 11th!

This is a sponsored post with Disney Junior. Opinions are my own! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Movie Night Nachos Bliss & Game of Thrones!

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Movie night is time for comfort snackie food, but that doesn't mean it has to be bad for you or be a guilty pleasure!  We enjoy these super cheeses and completely delicious nachos on a weekly basis - they are not to be missed!  Grab your family fun movie.  Or put the kids to bed and watch Game of Thrones…anyone else watch this?  I had never seen and started the first season.  Um…a bit obsessed with it and I do not normally watch things like that.  Let me know if you have seen it, but don't tell me what happens! 


Skip making dinner - these nachos are amazing on their own and add avocados, fresh heirloom tomatoes and who needs a "proper" dinner?!  Not me!


Ingredients:

Obviously, go with what you have, but these are one of our favorite versions.

Torts - Tortillas chips are made of corn, so make yours are organic! 
Grass Fed Cheese - we buy Kerry Gold from Ireland
Hemp Seeds
Chia Seeds
Sunflower Seeds 
Olives
Sea Salt
Pepper

Tomatoes - chopped
Avocado

Sauce 

We made a sauce from Stonyfield Greek Yogurt, Salsa and Sir Kensingtons Chipotle Mayo!
1 cup of Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup of salsa
1 tbs of Chipotle Mayo

Taste and tweak!


Serve your nachos with iced tea or Kombacha! 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread your torts in the pan.  Shred the cheese in your food processor.  (my Cuisinart takes all of twenty seconds! )  Layer the chips and the cheese so that no one goes with out the ooeey gooey cheese!  Add all of your toppings, tweaking to taste and preferences.  Bake for 5-8 minutes.  Watch closely - burnt cheese makes no one happy.


My Notes:

I buy organic food.  If you cannot find organic, look for the Project Verified Non-GMO label!
Nutiva Chia Seeds
Manitoba Hemp Seeds
Que Pasa Torts 
Simply Organic Spices
Stonyfield Organic Greek Yogurt
Sir Kensingtons Chipotle Mayo

I happily use Cuisinart Food Processors!

And the cute heart napkins are from Susty Party!

Check out some of our movie selections from Netflix! 


Happy movie night to you and eat well!

This is not a sponsored post.  We are part of Netflix StreamTeam (so that is sponsored)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Disney's Short Films Collections - Don't Miss Our Favorites! #Disney #spon

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We are so pleased to partner with Disney and their new Short Films Collection on Blu-Ray!


Whether you want to watch the whole blu-ray or just pick your favorites, Walt Disney's Short Films Collection has something for everyone!  And to be honest, the holiday short and the Tangled short are worth the collection alone!  We absolutely enjoyed them all, but everyone has their favorites in the family - and they're all different picks!  What are your favorites?

Personally the Prep and Landing short with Betty White voicing Mrs. Claus…absolutely spectacular!  I'm sorry if you don't laugh out loud with her talking about man caves and messes Santa keeps rather than in her house.  Trust me, it's quite amusing!


From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes an extraordinary new collection of award-winning and beloved short films featuring Disney's Frozen Fever, starring Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Sven and Kristoff, and the Oscar®-nominated Lorenzo (Best Animated Short, 2004).  The Short Films Collection includes contemporary shorts starring classic characters, such as the groundbreaking 2013 Mickey Mouse cartoon, Get A Horse! And the holiday treat Prep & Landing: Operation: Secret Santa, as well as celebrated Oscar winners Paperman (2012) and Feast (2014). Enjoy them together for the first time in this must-own collection with all-new extras including an inside look at the Disney Animation shorts, featuring introductions and interviews with the acclaimed filmmakers themselves.

Shorts (and filmmakers appearing in each Shorts Introduction):
Frozen Fever (2015) – Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho, Aimee Scribner

Feast (2014) – Academy Award® Winner, Patrick Osborne, Kristina Reed

Get A Horse! (2013) - Academy Award® Nominated, Dorothy McKim, Eric Goldberg, Adam Green

Paperman (2012) – Academy Award® Winner, Kristina Reed, John Kahr

Tangled Ever After (2012) – Nathan Greno, Aimee Scribner, Mark Kennedy

The Ballad of Nessie (2011) – Kevin Deters, Stevie Wermers-Skelton, Dorothy McKim

Tick Tock Tale (2010) – Dean Wellins

Prep & Landing: Operation Secret Santa (2010) – Kevin Deters, Stevie Wermers-Skelton, Dorothy McKim

How to Hook Up Your Home Theater (2007) – Kevin Deters, Stevie Wermers-Skelton, Ian Gooding

The Little Matchgirl (2006) – Academy Award® Nominated, Dave Bossert, Tom MacDougall

Lorenzo (2004) – Academy Award® Nominated, Mike Gabriel

John Henry (2000) – Mark Henn


We would love to hear your favorites!  Leave a comment.


We are so pleased to connect with Disney on this post.  Opinions are my own!  


Monday, August 17, 2015

Back To School With Netflix! #StreamTeam #spon

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We are happy to be a part of the StreamTeam at Netflix!

As moms and kids are shopping for school supplies (already?), Netflix has some great shows and movies that will put you in the back to school mood!  Here are some great picks to add to you watch list this season!


DinoTrux is new from DreamWorks!  We have put this new show for kids in our watch list and cannot wait to try it! 

Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius - wicked smart is coolest! 

16 Love is a fabulously fun family movie - the teens will love it…even if they don't play tennis!

Crooked Arrows  we like for ages 10 and up -  These members of a Native American lacrosse squad gain confidence as their coach inspires them to take pride in their cultural heritage.

I'm still peeved they canceled The Wild Thornberry's show years ago - one of the best cartoons for kids!
We have always loved The Wild Thornberrys Movie and SO pleased it is on Netflix.  The music for this movie is also amazing - so amazing we bought the CD!  Enjoy!



If you're not ready for summer to end (who could blame you?)  - Blue Crush is one of my all-time favorite movies!  Have you seen it? Watch it and love it! ages 15 and up.  There is one party scene with teen drinking (a short scene) and a scene of a party mess needing to be cleaned and a condom is pictured.  (nothing graphic at all)



Enjoy these movies, I know we do!  Again, we are so pleased to be part of the Netflix StreamTeam.  Opinions are our own (I use my family's opinions for these posts)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Purple Asparagus' Corks & Crayons Event Coming To Chicago!

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Fun for all ages, Corks & Crayons is Purple Asparagus’ annual signature event. Taking place in the gorgeous Greenhouse Loft, this year’s event will feature tastings from some of Chicago’s top chefs, beer from Ale Syndicate and wine from Candid Wines. The event will be hosted by Momma Cuisine Johanna Cook, a national cooking personality and host who has been captivating audiences with Momma Cuisine for many years. During the event there will be many activities to keep the entire family entertained including a mini farmers market, tours of the LEED Certified Green Exchange, a photo booth, singing and dancing with Miss Jamie, balloon twisting with Miss Jamie’s Farmhand Scott, an art experience for the kids, a silent auction, raffle prize drawings, specialty cocktails, beer and wine and more!


Featured restaurants include TrenchermenHoney Butter Fried ChickenBig JonesFarmhouseBrowntroutBar PastoralUncommon GroundWhite Oak GourmetFlorioleHewnKatherine Anne Confectionsde Quay, with more participants being added each week! (Check the Corks & Crayons website for an up-to-date list!)

Purple Asparagus is dedicated to sustainability, which means the annual gala is waste-free! Guests can enjoy a fun afternoon for the whole family while savoring sustainable and scrumptious offerings from some of Chicago’s best chefs—all to benefit Purple Asparagus’ nutrition education programming!

WHEN:
Sunday, August 23, 2015
3:00pm to 6:00pm.

WHERE:
Greenhouse Loft
2545 W. Diversey
Chicago, IL 60647

ADMISSION:
$75 for adults, $15 for ages 5-18, kids under 4 are free
Tickets can be purchased HERE!


Founded in 2005, Purple Asparagus is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that educates children, families, and the community about good eating for the body and the planet. With a board of equally dedicated farmers, community organizers, advocates, and food aficionados, the aim is to change the way children and, by extension, families and communities, relate to food and all things associated with it.

 

The organization was also a key partner in Chicago Chefs “Move to Schools” program of the White House's “Let's Move” initiative, received the International Association of Culinary Professionals Culinary Youth Advocate of the Year award in 2012 and was recently named one of the top 15 Crusaders of Health in the Food Industry on Greatist.com. In addition, founder Melissa Graham received a 2011 Good Eating Award and was included in New City’s Big Heat 2015 as one of the dining and drinking cultural leaders of Chicago. For more information about the event and Purple Asparagus, visit www.purpleasparagus.com.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Best Buy, SanDisk & Back-To-School Must-Haves! #SanDisk #spon

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Today's post is sponsored by Best Buy & SanDisk

Are you ready?  The summer absolutely flew by and we are now thinking of back-to-school needs coming up.  Pencils, colors and folders are basic but, don't forget your SD cards!  There is nothing worse than trying to save important project pictures and there not being enough room on your computer or phone!  I would know, I have forgotten my micro-SD card and lost multiple pictures!  Not cool and could cost me a project.  Add SanDisk SD cards to the top of your supplies list and you'll be set!  SanDisk is what I personally use, regardless of sponsor.


Best Buy is the place to grab a memory card for your back-to-school projects, class notes and pictures of your adventures!

SanDisk for Digital Imaging: SanDisk products, from professional-grade camera memory to point-and-shoot SD cards to microSD cards, deliver industry-leading performance and reliability. SanDisk SD cards are also designed to meet the security, capacity, performance, and environmental requirements of next generation devices—because your stories span generations and your memory solutions should too.



Capture more fast action , Record more 4K Ultra HD and Full HD video, AND Transfer speeds up to 60MB/s for smartphones, tablets and action cameras! And Over 10X faster than ordinary cards and  transfer speeds up to 80MB/ for DSLR cameras and camcorders!

Add a SanDisk microSD™ card to your smartphone (you have no idea how pictures I store, this is a must have!) or tablet, and you can carry more of the media and apps you love. Thin and light computing devices, tablets, and smartphones demand the compact form factors of SanDisk microSD cards.


We are pleased to be a part of the Best Buy Blogging Team!  Opinions are our own.  (and yes, SanDisk is absolutely what I use)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Invisible Man Who Slept in My Garbage Last Night.

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Perhaps you may see him as invisible, but he is in fact, a homeless man sleeping in my apartment's garbage.   You see, I have been staying in Baltimore for most of the summer and I am completely baffled at the sheer amount of homeless people just in the neighborhood I am in.  I am not talking about the somehow freshly showered people holding signs up as you pull into the touristy part of town (the same group of people) and not about the angry people saying the homeless shelter is ten dollars a night and they have two….could you spare eight.

I am talking about men that look like grandpas and women younger than I am who feel so hopeless that they can barely look you in the eyes if you dane to give them a icy water bottle on a ninety degree day.  Such a small act of kindness should not be so rare that they look upon you as a saint or likewise.  

I simply do not understand our lack of humanity of it all.  It is late and I am heading to a new project soon and out of Baltimore.  Their faces haunt me at night.  I do not understand how everyone in this apartment building is not at their windows tonight contemplating how they can help this man tonight.  Perhaps he is invisible to everyone but me?  My heart aches for him and all like him.  What has he done to deserve such a fate?  To think no more of himself than garbage.  To sleep with the rats and roaches.   No matter what someone has done or not done, no one should be without the basic human rights - real food, clean water and a safe bed to sleep at night.


I have watched wealthy people sit at the outside cafes by the water and run hundreds of dollars in alcohol tabs and not offer a sandwich to a homeless man walking by.  I have watched doctors and nurses turn their heads away and cover their coffee as they scoot to the other side of the sidewalk as they walk by.  I have watched people trip over themselves to get doggies at the cafes with their humans a bowl of water.  We would never want the dogs to be thirsty. (Yes, I did this too)  But, these same people did not offer the homeless person walking by a drink of water.  

The woman at Whole Foods last week, that truly no one seemed to see or looked toward -  save a tall regal looking, Indian man who walked over to her, gave her what money he had and looked her in the eyes with respect.   She was younger than I am, skin darkened like leather from too much exposure from the sun and she had such despair in her eyes, I could not bare it.  I found her in the store after I paid and offered her a small token to pay for her lunch and she raised her head just enough to mouth the words "thank you".

I think about her.  About all of them.  The man that my son affectionately calls Santa Claus is so very kind and clear minded, I think about him most.  Is he someone father? Someone's grandpa?  Has he worked his whole life and lost it all in the economy?   Most Americans are two paychecks away from being homeless.  So, some compassion for those who are, may not be a bad thing.

Early this week a fundraiser for two puppies was posted, the puppies had incurred twenty thousand dollars in health costs and they are raising money to replace it.  Now please understand and before you reach for the comment button to write me an "animals are people too" comment.  Please don't.  Humans come first and until we take care of and are compassionate to our own, we will never take care of the animals.   How do we pick and choose what animals and people to care about?

A lion is killed and you have movie stars raising money and petitioning to stop the "bad" people.  But we all go through the drive through and get ourselves a factory farmed, tortured burger on the way home from the fundraising and patting ourselves on the back from donating to the poor puppy.  Are the cows not worthy of humane treatment?    You do understand that most humans in the US, if they do not have the proper insurance that pays their specific medical needs with a specific physician  will go without care and suffer long before anyone raises money for their health and wellness. (if ever)

The city has removed half the benches in the area lately.  Is this supposed to deter the homeless from staying?  This is unacceptable.


Yes puppies and lions are great and I have respect for all life.  Truly.  But we must be compassionate and have kindness for everyone. and starting with humans.  No exceptions (save Monsanto.  I have no love for them and they will rot in the fifth ring of hell for what they have done to the farmers and children, moms and dads of the US and around the world.)  Pardon me, but if you know me….you knew I'd have to throw that in.  

This summer I have reached outside my "normal" zone and it feels good and one should always move forward to 'evolve' and grow.   Please understand that through all of this I am not saying empty your pockets to everyone you see.  You must be smart and you must be safe and your children's needs come first.  But, it did not take long in the city to see who needed help and who was running a bit of scam or the like.  Open your hearts and be kind.  Try to let your preconceived opinions of the homeless go.  They are not all "scam artist", drunks or that they are all looking for a free ride.  The vast majority are not and they do not deserve this fate.

Have kindness and gratitude in your day, in your life and help when and as often as you possibly can.  


(please note that big game hunters that kill for the "sport" of it and not to feed their families, deserve nothing less than Monsanto's fate.  Just saying)

Monday, August 3, 2015

Nova Lox with Everything & Open-Faced English Muffins!

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You are in for a treat if you have never had cold smoked salmon!  These open-faced English muffins are completely amazing, you'll add them to your favorite weekend recipes!


We are traveling and we ordered a lox everything bagel with everything and it was amazing, but not organic.  I wanted to add some healthier condiments and sprouts to it.  Feel free to tweak according to your family's likes and what's available.

Ingredients:

Choose one:

Sir Kensington's Chipotle Mayo (just the perfect amount of spice)  OR
Cream Cheese (organic)

Add All or Pick and Choose - (we added all)

Sea Salt
Red Onion - sliced thinly
Pepper
Heirloom Tomatoes
Cucumbers - thinly sliced 
Sprouted Greens
Capers (optional - mix in with cream cheese)
Avocado is amazing, if you have one ripe

Spelt Organic English Muffins - one package

Nova Lox Salmon (cold smoked) - 10 oz (or more, knock yourself out!)

Toast your English muffins in the toaster.  
Place a cookie sheet.
Add the cream cheese OR the Sir Kensington Chipotle Mayo
Top the English Muffins with veggies and spices and lox (salmon)

You can warm in the oven on low or just eat as is - cold.
We prefer to eat them as soon as the last ingredient is added and I've taken pictures.

Now, the family does not like to wait for the pictures…things like "can I eat the ugly muffin" can be heard by the hugriest family member. (usually the teen)

Enjoy and this is such a great party food for summer and back to school weekend fun!

Happy Summer, Lovelies!

As always, I use organic and Verified Non-GMO foods.  I shop at my local farmer's market as often as possible and I buy from farmer's I have developed relationships with.

Simply Organic Spices and Organic Valley Cream Cheese are what I bought for this recipe.


This is not a sponsored post.