Disney Brings Smiles In Our Home

I never know what mood my 14 year old daughter will be in.  Sometimes she’s laughing and enjoying her time with me while we sing a song together from the car radio and other times I’m completely embarrassing her in front of her new friend and could I just hurry home.  Gulp.  To be honest, I remember having those feelings myself, wanting to still be youthful and playful with my mom but wanting to appear in control, more mature in front of friends.  I try not to take it to heart.  Not too much anyway.
The other day she had a friend walk home with her after school.  Just after walking in the door she completely surprised me by going through our shelves of movies looking for a Disney title that she just had to see.  And this was the same friend who she felt the need to shield from my lovely car-radio-sing-a-long voice.  They were talking about their favorite Disney DVD’s.   Yay!  Fun and joy can still be had from our Disney collection.  That is something I’m never going to give up, I don’t care how old my girls get.
Katie was looking for The Hunchback of Notre Dame and we couldn’t find it.  It seems that a neighbor pal had borrowed it and hasn’t returned it.  What’s this?  Another teen is enjoying her Disney time too?  That makes me so happy.   When Katie wants to take a break from studying for her upcoming Algebra test or writing another (brilliant! ;-> ) English paper, I have no problem sitting and watching a sweet show with her.   And if she doesn’t mind me singing along, that’s a bonus for me!
(*Disclosure: This sponsored post was made possible by SheHeard. I have been compensated for my time and work on this campaign, however all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.)

Buying Dresses Online: Good Idea or Bad Idea?

Shopping for wedding dresses can be a stressful time when it is supposed to be one of the best times of your life. Everyone dreams of their perfect wedding, with the perfect groom, guests and of course, the most beautiful gown that they have ever seen.

But, the reality of this particular dress is that it is expensive and the right one may take days, weeks and sometimes even months to find. Shopping online is one way of saving some money on this gorgeous dress but that may not be the perfect solution for a number of different reasons.

Size Matters: Why You Must Try on This Special Dress Before Purchase
While you might know your regular jeans size or the size of all of your blouses, the wedding gown is a completely different thing. Sizes may run differently between each designer making it difficult to choose the right size from an online site.

If you can find the dress in a local shop and then buy the same model and size online then you have found the best of both worlds. Make sure that the site will be able to ship the dress quickly so that you have the time to get any needed alterations before the wedding day arrives.

Color, Special Touches and Materials: What Online Shopping Lacks is Touch Appeal
There is something about shopping in a wedding boutique that makes finding the right dress that much more spectacular. You are in a shop, surrounded by gowns of every length and style, in a variety of colors and they are right there for you to touch. It allows you to feel how each type of material lays across your skin and how it drapes.

You get a better idea of how beads or pearls will catch the light. You can see the difference between white, off white and antique ivory, something that may not be as obvious on a computer monitor.

Feeling Like a Princess in a Boutique?
In some bridal shops, the customer service is top notch. They bring you glasses of champagne or bottles of water while you shop. They help you in and out of the various gowns, gently suggesting the right style for your body type in the process. Of course, they want to make a sale but they make you feel like you are their only customer.

In other shops, you might be ignored by sales staff who sigh and roll their eyes when you ask questions. Shopping for your gown in a bridal shop is not always a Hollywood movie montage, after all.

Skipping the Crowds and the Frustration
Once you know the right size for your gown, you can go to one of the online shops- whether you go directly to the designer’s site or look for a site with far better prices. Many have virtual models that will allow you to see the full view of the dress from every angle without having to put on and take off a dozen dresses in front of total strangers. It will save you time and money as well as the frustration that goes with shopping for something so important.

(*Disclaimer:  This is provided content)

America's Favorite Nanny Jo Frost Is Back! TLC Now Casting

America’s Favorite Nanny, Jo Frost,

is Back and TLC is Now Casting

TLC and the producers of The Biggest Loser have come together to bring you an EXCITING new show! America’s favorite nanny, Jo Frost, is back and ready to use her expertise to help families that have run out of options and need her help.
Are you a family in crisis? If you are a parent with kids ranging from toddlers to teenagers in need of desperate help, we are SEARCHING for YOU!!!! Are you at your wit’s end??? Are your kids lying, bullying, drinking, failing out of school or even something worse? Or are you just overwhelmed with your family’s circumstances and don’t know what to do? If so, Jo Frost CAN and WANTS to help immediately!!!!
If you are interested in our HELP or would like to nominate a family and are located in California, we would love to hear from you ASAP as casting is currently underway!!!!
To be considered, email the below information to:
Phone Number:
Current City You Reside In:
Children Names, and Ages:
A brief description of why you need Jo’s help:
Thank you and we look forward to meeting some amazing families!!!
(* This information shared by request from Media Giants*)

Halloween Recipes with Schwan's!

With Halloween being on a weeknight that can make for a quick turn around from school/homework, to costume transformation of the ultimate Ninja warrior or Monster High school girl. Throw in just arriving home from work only to have to eat something before you head out with your Princess or Avenger and it’s stressful.

Here are some quick, fun and tasty Halloween recipes courtesy of Schwan’s, that will add more joy to the evening. Also, they’re great for kids to help make as well. (Schwan’s delivers right to your door. It doesn’t get any easier than that!)

Mummy Dogs

1 can (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 slices American Processed Cheese Slices, thawed
10 links Skinless Franks, thawed
Ketchup or mustard
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Unroll crescent dough and press to seal the perforations. Cut dough vertically into 20 strips.
3. Cut slices of cheese into 5 strips.
4. Wrap each hot dog with 1 stip of cheese and 2 pieces of dough.. Leave about ½-inch from one end to make a face.
5. Place on ungreased baking sheet and bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until golden brown.
6. Draw a face using ketchup or mustard.

Spider and Eyeball Poppers

1 pkg Icing
1 pkg Sweet Cream Cheese Pretzel Poppers, prepared
1 small pkg black licorice lace
1 cup Whole Blueberries
1. Place small teaspoon of icing on top of prepared poppers.
2. Cut licorice into thin strips for legs. Secure the licorice legs with extra icing.
3. Top with black candy or blueberries.
3. Make eyes with colored icing.

Vampire Slush

1/2 bag Whole Strawberries, thawed & crushed
2 cups (8 fl oz) Cherry Italian Ice
2 Tbsp chocolate or strawberry topping
1. Mix crushed strawberries and Italian ice cups.
2. Serve in glasses decorated with strawberry or chocolate hardening topping.

Book "Room for Children" Review and Giveaway!

My daughter’s shared a bedroom until the ages of 14 and 11.  (This would mean, until 6 months ago.)  Their styles, color preferences could not be more dissimilar.  I have the daughter who loves Pokemon, Bakugan, dogs, Harry Potter and the color blue.  My youngest loves Barbie, Princesses, white, fluffy kittens and just about everything pink.  I did what I could to create a symbiotic room for the two of them short of drawing a line down the middle and saying ‘Pretend the other side of the room isn’t here, OK?’ Now that they have their own space I’ve been looking for inspiration on how to create a lovely space while keeping the decorating costs reasonable. 
Ann Again... and again Reviews
The book Room for Children, written by Susanna Salk, contributor on NBC’s Today Show and iVillage.com, provides sweet inspiration through attractive photos, eye-of-an-Interior-Decorator tips, and a conscientious reminder that this is the children’s room, ask them what they like.  Not only will you find wonderful inspiration from Susanne Salk’s children’s room designs, she includes her special touches for nurseries.  Oh, how I wish I had this book when my girls were born!  These nurseries use items that aren’t your typical infant furniture findings. Susanne incorporates gorgeous pieces that you would find in a formal dining room.  Chandelier over the crib?  Sure!  Why not?  (It’s really a beautiful, serene look).

Susanne Salk shows you rooms that are creative and functional.  This book provides delightful inspiration for fellow Interior Decorators and for those of us trying our hand to achieve that professional touch.  
*Giveaway Time!*  Room for Children is such a beautiful collection of images and information and I am thrilled that I have a copy to share with one lucky winner!  Please follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter win a copy of Room for Children by Susanne Salk.  Good luck!

Giveaway brought to you by Stockland. Australia’s largest diversified property group, with a range of home, land and retail developments across Australia. From houses for sale in Craigieburn to land for sale in Mernda, there is sure to be a place to find or build your perfect home. And, as a leading sustainable organisation, Stockland’s developments are designed to enhance the environment – not to spoil it. Stockland gives your family a place to truly call home – a place where your family can live and grow.
(*disclaimer:  This giveaway is a paid opportunity.  The product descriptions are my true thoughts and feelings.)

A Place For Luxury

Clouds.  Grey.  Rain.  These things aren’t making me very happy right now.  Yes, in order for the lush greens of the Pacific Northwest to greet me most days of the year I need to deal with this weather.  However, I’m not ready!  I am in the mood for sunshine, blue sky and a warm breeze.  Time for a little daydreaming.
I haven’t visited South Florida but after checking out the real estate website for Sotheby Miami I feel as though this is the spot for me right now.  What gorgeous homes!  I could easily see myself, and my whole family, enjoying relaxing days just lying about.  These homes are so lovely I could imagine walking out the door just so I could turn around, look at the beauty and walk back in again.  I’ll take the house on the left, please?
Just looking at the perfectly manicured lawns and bushes and well-kept homes inspire me to create a better living space for my family.  However, our old house would have to have a major over-haul to look even half as beautiful as the offerings in South Florida at Sotheby Miami.  I do believe I’ve added a destination to my Wish List.

Bertolli Meal Soup Review and Giveaway!

My husband was having his own “commercial moment” after eating two spoonfuls of the latest flavor offering from Bertolli Meal Soup.  “You know, I don’t usually like packaged soups, but this tastes delicious!”  I laughed thinking he was joking, but he wasn’t.  And neither were my girls!

Bertolli is known for their packaged dry pastas, jarred pasta sauces and olive oils.  Recently they expanded their line to include Meal Soups that you can find in the frozen meal section of your grocery store.  We gave the Chicken Minestone a try some months ago and I thoroughly enjoyed the ease of preparation and the tasty results.  The pasta was a lovely “al dente” texture and the broth was full of flavor.

Well, this venture seemed to do well for them because now they have expanded their Meal Soup line and I am hooked on these offerings.  Even when I was in the check out line the Cashier said, “Oh!  I didn’t know they had a new flavor?  I love these!”  I agree.  This is the easiest, most tasty soup you will ever find in a pre-made form.


Honestly, the hardest part is deciding which dish to create.  Bertolli has expanded their Meal Soup line to include:

  • Tomato Florentine & Tortellini with Chicken
  • Tuscan-Style Beef & Vegetables
  • Ricotta Lobster Raviolli in a Seafood Bisque
  • Italian Style Wedding 

Preparing this meal soup couldn’t be easier.  Open the freezer bag, pour the entire contents into a soup pot, cook over medium heat for 12-15 minutes.  You’re ready to enjoy!  In the meal soup bag you’ll find;  frozen vegetables, pasta and bouillon cubes.  It’s all there.  If you choose to have some wine with your meal they provide a wine pairing on the packaging.  My husband isn’t a food snob exactly, but he is particular about his ingredients, tastes and textures.  He liked Bertolli meal Soup a lot.  And I agree!  Would you like to try Bertolli Meal Soup for yourself?  How about winning a giveaway of two packages of Bertolli Meal Soup?  If that sounds good to you, enter to win through the Rafflecopter below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

(*Check out another wonderful giveaway offering I have; 1-Year Membership with LifeLock.  So necessary!!!) 

Clarisonic Skin Care – My Experience

For the past 3 months I’ve been using a skin product that I have found to be so true to its claims, so good for the appearance of my skin that I’m ready to share with my readers why I feel it’s worth the buy, the Clarisonic skin cleansing system.

Ann Again... and again Reviews 
After hearing how wonderful the Clarisonic skin care system is for the longest time, I finally gave in to purchasing one.  I wasn’t sure it would do anything remarkable for my skin because I’m a faithful skin washer, a faithful skin moisturizer and a very faithful spf applier, whether through my moisturizer or in my make-up, so what more is there to do – other than serious procedures?   I’m in my mid-40’s and have been at this “skin care” regime since I was in my Teens.  When young it was more for fun, slathering on the Noxema at slumber parties and pretending we were at our own little spa  As the years went by it was more a necessity – especially if I wanted to fool myself into actually believing that cute bartender was truly carding me because I looked so youthful ;->

After seeing a good deal on a home shopping channel I thought I’d get myself a birthday present.  If it didn’t work out, back it goes.  Well, let me tell you, it works and it’s staying with me for as long as possible!  If you don’t know about the Clarisonic, it’s an electronic cleansing brush which, at the push of a button, will guide you through a cleansing routine – 20 seconds forehead, 20 seconds nose & chin, 10 seconds on each cheek.

You apply your skin cleansing cream/gel to the wet brush, push the ‘Start’ button and the Clarisonic beeps when it’s time to begin cleaning, beeps when it’s time to move to the next area and stops when time is up.  So easy!  The claims from their website:

  • Removes 6X more makeup than manual cleansing
  • Leaves skin feeling and looking smoother
  • Removes impurities that keep creams and serums from working their best
  • Gentle enough to use twice a day
  • Reduces oily areas, dry skin patches and blemishes
  • Minimizes the appearance of visible pores

I started using the Clarisonic in July and have received more compliments on my skin in the last month than I did when I wasn’t using this product.  Two days ago a woman at the grocery store stopped me mid-deli order and asked what products I used on my skin.  I shared my joy of the Clarisonic and she said that she’s going to order one for herself as a birthday present.  She told me her age as if she was “so much older” than I was, I didn’t have the heart to tell her I was the older one.  After this conversation that’s when I knew I should share my experience with my lovely readers.  If you are looking for an incredible skin care product you should try the Clarisonic.  Let me know your experience!

(*disclaimer:  This is a true review – I purchased this product and have received no compensation of any kind, other than better looking skin!)

Protect Your Identity With LifeLock – Giveaway!

Here we were, on a sweet evening out to the theater, walking back to our car when – wait – where is our car?  We had been talking about the play we just saw and stopped where we thought we parked.  My mind started racing with thoughts of what I had in the back seat.  I left my purse behind because I didn’t want such a big bag for the theater, I just needed my lipstick and a few dollars.  My wallet!  My wallet was in my purse which is in the back seat of the car we aren’t seeing.  My husband stayed calm and started walking back down the street.  I’m trying not to panic when he says, “Here it is!  We walked right past it!”  *whew*

After laughing at ourselves, and our lack of attention, I started thinking about the possible reality of having our car stolen that night and what that would have meant to our lives.  We recently had false charges put on our credit card and even with the banks help it was still a mess to correct.  I don’t even want to think what it would take to clean up my entire wallet being stolen!

Recently I received the timely opportunity to try the services of the company that is #1 in Identity theft protection, LifeLock.  From the instant I signed up they show me a comforting message, “From the moment you joined, we started protecting you”.  Nice.

I found the Customer Service agent incredibly helpful and made sign-up quick and easy.  LifeLock is securing the safety of my personal information with regards to credit cards, drivers license and insurance cards and offers a $1 Million Total Service Guarantee if a member falls victim to identity theft due to their failure. 

I am thrilled with the services LifeLock offers:

  • WalletLock – Helps you cancel or replace contents of a lost or stolen wallet
  • eRecon – Patrols more than 10,000 criminal websites for the illegal selling of personal information
  • Reduced Credit Offers – Requests your name to be removed from these mailing lists
  • 24-Hour Member Service – Seven days a week, 24 hours a day they are available

Not only am I a new member of LifeLock, I am able to share a 1-Year Membership for the LifeLock Plan ($110 Value) with one of my lucky readers! (U.S. Only) Wouldn’t you like to have your identity protected too?  Enter below to win. Good luck!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Write On!

I enjoy writing.  This venture came about due to the fact that I would share stories about my young children with my mom and she would say time and time again “You need to write these down”.  After many months of sharing stories of silly going’s on with my kids, or retelling an event in our family life, I realized that I truly enjoy writing!  Some people tell me that they find it difficult, or just don’t know if they could sit and focus on a thought, but they know they have something to share and are curious to give it a try.  I know that everyone has a story to share and that you will always find someone who wants to hear it, so start clicking those keys and your thoughts will come to you.  Trust me.
If you enjoy writing, and would like to look into programs that will help you earn an income from your words, you should check out American Writers & Artists Inc.  AWAI has wonderful guides that can help you either begin your writing career through various services that will pay you for your work, increase your skills as a writer or help you expand your knowledge to grow your current writing business like a professional.
If you choose to write to please yourself, than that’s wonderful, keep it up!  If you would like to take your writing to a professional level then look into AWAI.com for ways to generate income from something you enjoy doing.

Wonderful Kids Halloween Costumes

When it comes to Halloween my girls are always surprising me with their costume ideas. Over the course of 14 years I’ve had a Baby Pumpkin, Vampire Queen, Black Widow Spider (I even made that costume – I was creeped out the whole time, but it turned out well!) Unicorn Princess Kitty, and variations of Barbie this-and-that. My youngest recently claimed that Halloween is her favorite holiday, and not because of the candy but because she loves creating different looks and finding just the right costume. She’s one creative girl, that’s for sure.

This year she wanted to veer from her typical pink lovin’, Unicorn and Princess styles and become a Gothic Cheerleader for a day. Instead of crafting the entire cheerleader costume myself, I checked out the costumes at WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com. There were so-o-o many great choices for kids and the prices were surprisingly affordable. What a treat!

With Lily looking over my shoulder she found just the look she had envisioned:

Cheer-Less Leader
Is it the Middle School mentality that has guided my precious 11 year old girl to find this her costume of choice? Probably. “Cheer-Less”. Funny. However, I wanted to show her some history on cheerleading and why it’s supposed to be a happy thing.
Lily is so excited to wear this costume on Halloween! Her school has a parade that day and all classes dress up and have harvest parties. The school calls the day “Grandparents and Special Friends Day” and it’s so fun to see the Grandparents with their precious little Goblins. And the fact that I was able to find just the right costume at WholesaleHalloweenCostumes.com helps me feel that I’ll be having more fun this season too. (Please, not another spider costume!)