Monday, September 30, 2013

Chocolate Chunk Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Since we don't have central air, I have an unofficial rule that I won't use the oven from June until September.  It's hot enough without adding to the heat on purpose.  We can grill, eat out or binge all night on cereal and toast.  This has been well established and Hubby knows his summertime dinner options are grim if the grill isn't on.

But now the weather is cooler and I can handle standing in front of an oven.  And this past weekend, I baked up some Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cup Cookies.

To say they were delightful would be an understatement of epic proportions.  They were utterly divine, and ingested in the blink of an eye.


1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, soft
3/4 cup dark brown sugar (light brown works too, I prefer dark)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp cornstarch (this makes a delightfully chewy cookie)
1 tsp baking soda
dash salt
1 bag chocolate chunks (about 2 cups)
8-10 bite sized Reese's peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350.

In small bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt).  In mixer, beat butter on low speed until smooth, add sugars.  Beat medium high until creamy, about 2 minutes.  Scrape down bowl, add egg and vanilla.  Beat medium high about 2-3 minutes, until well blended and fluffy.  Set mixer to SLOW, slowly incorporate flour mixture until JUST combined.

Using wood spoon or spatula, fold in chocolate chunks.

Chill dough about 10-15 minutes.

Unwrap peanut butter cups, and slice each cup in halves or quarters.  Set aside.  Remove dough from freezer, use cookie scoop to drop heaping mounds onto cookie sheet (2-3 tablespoons).  Space cookies at least 3 inches apart.

Add peanut butter cup pieces onto top of each cookie, and bake 10-12 minutes until edges are lightly brown.  I like to remove cookies from oven when centers are still a bit gooey.  Leave cookies on pan a few minutes and centers will set.

Transfer to wire rack, cool.


Friday, September 27, 2013

How to Install a New Font in Windows

Since becoming a blogger, I'm kind of into fonts.  Corny I know.  It's amazing how being on the computer often makes you interested in things like font style.  Hey, to each their own right?

I always thought font installation would be confusing.  It seemed intimating and complicated.  Truly, it's not.  If you use windows, I'm going to attempt to guide you through font install.  I've included five snazzy new fonts below for you to play with. 

Choose a font from my list below, and click on the corresponding link.  A new page will open, click "download."

 Click "save file."

Open your downloads, I open mine from top right arrow.
Open file and select "install."

After installation, the font should appear in your fonts menu when using Word.  Try it, and let me know if it worked!

 5 Friday Fonts

If you're having a Halloween party or event in the next few weeks, Gigi over at Kludgy Mom has Halloween Fonts to download.

Good luck!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rainbow Loom Anyone?

A few weeks ago my daughter was coming home from school sporting bracelets made from hair supplies.  I had no idea how they were made and I never thought to ask. 

I operate on a need to know basis.

Last weekend, these loom bracelets suddenly became a hot topic in the house.  Apparently the girl with all the rubber bands at recess decided only certain kids could use them to make bracelets.  Annoyed, my daughter asked for her own rubber bands.  I went to the craft store and I suddenly understood how big this fad really is.  There were warnings that no coupons were good on Rainbow Loom and there were about a million tiny bags of rubber bands all over the store.

I picked a few colors and went on about my day.

My daughter returned from school that afternoon and was overjoyed with the bands.  She immediately whipped out two fishtail bracelets.  The next day she wanted to go to the craft store and buy the loom.

The what?

I took her to the store and bought (without coupon) the Rainbow Loom.  She hurried home and went right on youtube.  She watched a video for hours on how to make a Starburst bracelet.  The girl instructing in the video couldn't have been more than ten years old. 

It was crazy.

Every time my daughter went to pull that bracelet off the loom it fell apart.  Tears of frustration would stream down her face.  She would start again.  And again.  After six hours, at 11pm, I sent her to bed.  I told her she was certifiable and needed to rest. 

And then I went right on youtube and attempted to make the Starburst Loom.  The first time I went to take it off the loom it fell apart.  I found a new instruction video, because I couldn't handle this girl any longer.  I needed an adult, I needed more detailed step-by-step than tween Ashly was providing. 

I was up until 1am working on that Starburst.  I passed out semi-successful. 

I'm happy to announce the next morning my daughter mastered the Starburst Rainbow Loom bracelet.  She went from frustration and tears to whipping out approximately one bracelet every ten minutes.  She has outfitted all of our arms with bracelets. 

Last night she complained that her younger brother is placing too many bracelet orders and it's getting "annoying."

Isn't that what little brothers are for?  To be annoying?  I spun the situation around quick and told her he's just proud to have a bracelet supplier right in his own house. 

When that didn't work I told her I funded this hobby and she'll make her brother bracelets.  That seemed to settle her down.  After all, I'm headed to the store today to restock the black and yellow bands.  If she wants 'em, she'll weave as many bracelets as her siblings request.

Are your kids Rainbow Looming?  How long is this fad going to last?  I'm thinking by Christmas the kids will be onto something else.

Maybe I can think of it next time and "funding" anything will never be an issue again.

Wishful thinking.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Double Crumb Cake

This is a very important post.  It involves crumb cake.

I have a deep and sincere love for anything that has a crumb topping.  I passed this love to my children, who now also eat Dutch Crumb Donuts and prefer crumb cake with crumbs the size of boulders.

This cake is my version of a crumb cake with crumbs the size of boulders.  You have to look closely to make sure there is actually cake under those crumbs.

Just the way I like it.

For Cake:
3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (can substitute milk)
1/4 c. oil (or applesauce)
3 tsp vanilla

For the Crumbs:
4 c. flour
1 1/3 c. brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 sticks butter, melted and cool
confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350
Grease and lightly flour 9x13 baking dish.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar baking powder and salt.  Stir.

In another bowl, combine egg, milk, oil (or applesauce) and vanilla.  Using mixer mix well on low speed.  Slowly incorporate dry ingredients, mixing slow until batter is smooth.  Pour into baking dish.

To make crumbs, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon, mix well.  Add melted butter and stir until those delectable crumbs form.

Sprinkle crumb topping over cake batter. Bake for 25-30 min, until a toothpick inserted into center is dry.  With so much crumb, you need to make sure the cake is cooked through.

Enjoy.  And don't forget that cardio.

Friday, September 20, 2013


Today is a pretty incredible day.  First, my toddler "graduated" from Early Intervention.  She no longer requires physical or occupational therapy.  It's been a long three years and when I heard the news I almost fell over.

And then I took her for cinnamon sugar pretzels at Auntie Annie's.

It's also the birthday of two of my very best friends.

But most notably, today is the day my sister, who donated her bone marrow to a complete stranger a year ago, received the identity of her recipient.  In college my younger sister, "B", who has a heart of gold, signed up to be on the bone marrow registry. 

Last year B got a call, asking for a blood donation.  All she was told was that she was a match for a woman who was very sick with Preleukemia.  But as the time to donate got closer, the woman's condition worsened.  She was dying.

They called back and wanted to know if my sister would donate her marrow.  She was a match for this complete stranger she's never met.  Without hesitation, my sister agreed.  It would mean time off work and time to heal.  It would mean being uncomfortable and needing help for a few days.  None of this deterred my angel of a sister.

Finally, last September my mother flew out to be with B when she went in to donate her marrow.  The doctors waited outside with the cooler, just like in the movies. 

A few months after the donation, my sister received a letter.  The recipient addressed my sister as "Life."

The recipient was getting stronger.  She was healing.  She had four boys, was 47 and was married a ten short years when she got sick.  The next letter came, and one more.  By the end of march, my sister's blood cells officially regenerated in her, giving the recipient two sets of DNA.  B would live inside her forever, because she was cured.

It's hard not to believe in heaven, and God when you see firsthand the miracles around us.  Last year, my sister saved a dying mother of four boys.  That mother could have been me, or one of my friends.

Today, after one year, she is finally allowed to know her recipient's name.  And where she lives. 

My sister will finally meet the woman who received her marrow.  Today is, without doubt, an amazing day.  Believe in miracles.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Haircuts, Highlights and Plenty of Good Ol' Embarrassment

Yesterday was, to say the least, interesting.  For the first time in a LONG time I was actually embarrassed.  Since I have four kids and a kooky sense of humor I don't embarrass easily.  I roll with the punches, and brush off almost everything quite easily.

Yesterday, for a solid ten minutes I was completely and totally "I can't believe this is happening."

I had a hair appointment at 9:30am.  This was very exciting because I hadn't had a cut and color in about eight months.  Can anyone say roots?  Or mousy, brown unhighlighted hair? I don't have to say it, I was it.  And I was ultra ready to rid myself of the terrible, overgrown "do" I was sporting.

When I sat in the chair, it crossed my mind I might not be out of the hair salon in time to get my daughter from preschool up the street.  Cut and color can take about two hours, and I only had an hour and forty-five minutes. 

Actually, less by the time the foils started going in my hair.

At about 11am, with a head full of foils and fifteen minutes before I was due to pick up my preschooler, I was thinking about how I was going to handle this.  What's a mom to do? 

I did the only thing I could have.  I told the stylist I had to be right back.  I asked for a towel, or anything to cover my tinfoil head.  She laughed and told me to just go, that she's seen women do it before.

You know how when you hear something has happened before it kind of calms you?  Like maybe it's normal?  That's how I felt until I walked out the door of the salon onto Main Street.  On Main Street I knew wearing foils out of the salon was not, in any way, normal.  The reality of the situation punched me right in the face. 

And when I pulled into the preschool?  I sat for about five minutes in my car, wondering if I should just go get in line looking the freak I was or wait until almost all the kids were picked up and run in quick?

I went into the preschool and peeked to see how many parents were in line.  There were too many.  I caved in embarrassment and ran back to my car.  I looked all over the van for a hat, or a hoodie.  I had neither.

I breathed, went in again and turned again to go back to my car.  Still couldn't face it.

On the way back to my car, I ran into one of the moms I've gotten to know better since school started.  We both laughed, and she was all, "oh who cares!"  She walked in with me, and as I turned the corner every mom was in a fit of giggles.  I'm guessing they couldn't believe I had foils in my hair either. 

Join the club.

I made a crack about being in the middle of an appointment, and I have to admit I was suddenly more comfortable.  I'm so not the hiding kind.

When my four year old daughter saw me she looked very, very confused.  I could tell she wanted to ask what the heck was on my head. 

I reassured her I was in the middle of a hair appointment.  Before she could respond, I told her to get used to it, that I'd be embarrassing her for a LONG time.

A very long time.

Happy Trails!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Disney World's Magic Kingdom: Wait Less and Ride More

Ah, the Magic Kingdom.  Is there anything better then walking down Main Street U.S.A., Cinderella's Castle in the distance?

I think not.

Over the years, I've received quite a few questions via my blog email about the Magic Kingdom.  Families traveling to Disney World wonder many things, from whether or not they can bring food in to whether or not their four year old needs a stroller.

Yes and yes.

There is plenty to do inside the Magic Kingdom, and make sure you stop and enjoy the many shops, shows and characters.  If you are looking for advice on navigating the park, and waiting as little as possible, here are my "best tips" for the Magic Kingdom.

1.  I start every Disney World tip list with ARRIVE WHEN THE PARK OPENS.  This is a must if you want to accomplish many rides with fewer wait times.

2.  When the park opens, if you have small children, walk straight down Main Street U.S.A., through the castle to Fantasyland.  This area of the park will be the most congested throughout the day, and arriving when the park opens will save you many headaches.

The headaches being crying toddlers waiting 45 minutes (or more) to ride Winnie the Pooh, and waiting 60+ minutes to ride Under the Sea, Journey of the Little Mermaid.

My advice is to start in the back of the park (Fantasyland) and ride everything possible in that first hour, when wait times are at a minimum.

3.  When wait times pick up in Fantasyland, it's time to either Fast Pass, move on or both.  Fast Passes should be set before you arrive (preferably months in advance).

This shouldn't happen until about an hour and a half after park opens, depending on how busy the parks are.  When we arrive at park opening, we ride 3-4 rides without needing a Fast Pass. Never set a Fast Pass before 11 am. Lines are longest in the afternoons and evenings, save them for when you'll need them most.

4.  After Fantasyland, work your way around the park, going to Frontierland and Adventureland next.  On your way stop and ride the Haunted Mansion.  Next up will be rides such as Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain.  If you have small children that won't be riding Thunder Mountain/Splash Mountain, send the waiting parent to get parent swaps for your group. A parent swap is a Fast Pass ticket for the waiting parent.

Parent 1 waits in the regular line with older child.  Parent 2 has to wait with the kids not tall enough to ride. When parent 1 and older child return, parent 2 can take same older child (or whoever they want) back on the ride through the Fast Pass line. Best part of this system is they give waiting parent a buddy so they don't have to ride alone, and you may have a child who gets to ride the fun rides twice.

5.  When you finish up in Adventureland, stop and eat and enjoy some if the midday shows and/or parades in the Magic Kingdom.  Between 11am and 1pm there is always a parade or show in front of the castle.  While enjoying these shows, use the bathrooms and regroup.

If you need a ride without a line that kills some time,  the "PeopleMover" outside Buzz Lightyear is a great relaxing ride for parents and children of all ages.

After you've finished up in all the "lands," revisit favorite rides or wait for the big 3pm parade.  Don't forget to stop at my favorite shop, the Confectionery, on your way out!

Have any other great Magic Kingdom tips for parents?  Share below!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mrs. Hall, and What I Think of "That Letter"

Before I begin, I'm notifying all of you I'm ten days late to this party.  This is par for the course and I apologize to all my readers who have been there, done that with Mrs. Hall.

Did y'all read her open letter to teenage girls?  Apparently it was quite controversial.  I read many responses to it on other blogs and I'm sure Mrs. Hall is shocked her "letter" caused such a stir.

Here's the thing.  I don't know how to jump into this.  I agree with Mrs. Hall, I do.  There are many times I sit and shake my head at the behavior I see around me.  Some days I shake my head so much I fear it might fall off.  Teenage girls can be quite provocative with the "selfies" and the sharing of their pictures online.  I've seen plenty myself, and I don't even follow teenage girls.  I do however, follow twelve year old boys (not as exciting) and enough adults to see that provocative stretches beyond teenage girls.

Do I like how young girls sexualize themselves?  Hells to the bells no.  I do wonder though, who funded the clothes?  Are teenage girls the only ones who should be in the hot seat? 

Does it upset me that girls will pose, act and do things a certain way just so that a boy will like them?  Of course it does.  How saddening, and it sucks because I've been there.  I wish I could scream to the hilltops, Don't do it!  You're better than that!  One day this boy won't matter!

Here's the thing.  Girls have been acting out for years, there was just never an instagram to catch it all.  Boys have been taking advantage of girls for years, and there was never a Facebook to read the story the morning after.  What it all boils down to is that we, as adults, have to take some responsibility.  Teach our kids they are worth more, and to respect each other.  Let's make a pact to build character in these kids.  Teach them how to have a conversation; insist on manners.  Use the word "appropriate."

I love that word.

Turn off the Miley Cyrus trash on television and talk.  Share your ideals, and even more importantly your values.  Discuss what goes on at school, what the limits are on Facebook and instagram and whatever else the kids are on.

Even better?  Say no to these accounts.  A I've said to my kids, if you're not old enough to have them they only open you up to criticism.  And who the heck wants more criticism?

Mrs. Hall, I thank you for opening the can of worms.  Whether or not people agree with you is another story.  I tend to feel you are shooting the messenger, and focusing only on teenage girls.  What about teenage boys who encourage them?  And the media that fills their impressionable minds with garbage?

Who really is to blame with how crazy this world has gotten?

I think we all are.

Mrs. Hall, I get you.  I do.  I agree with you, to an extent.  I just feel we need to tread lightly, and work our hardest to teach girls their value.  And to teach boys to respect girls.  And to teach society it's time to open the eyeballs and monitor what the heck is going on at school and at home.

I know we've all seen enough to know things have gone a little bit nutty.

And with that, I say Happy Friday.  What do you think about dear ole' Mrs. Hall?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Barn Cats, Kittens and the Front Porch

Over the summer, I posted about the farm kittens that were born under our porch.  I'm not a cat person, never have been.  But those kittens were very entertaining, and the munchkins couldn't get enough kitten sightings.

The mama cat was feral, and wanted nothing to do with any of us.  Naturally, because of our obsession with the kittens, she moved them to the shed next door.  I can't say I blame her, since we did try to kidnap one just to see if it was a boy or a girl.

A few weeks ago, a very friendly barn cat from across the street started hanging around.  In case you're wondering there is no shortage of cats around here.  This cat was friendly, and even followed the kids around.  She came back day after day visiting us.  The kids named her Kit Kat and because I couldn't help myself, I bought some cat food (still NOT a cat person). 

Two nights ago, while at gymnastics practice with my daughter, I received an interesting text message.

We had more kittens under the porch.  Apparently our front porch is prime real estate in the feline community.  Luckily for the kids, the mama is friendly cat.  Which means she isn't afraid of us, and her kittens aren't either.  Hubby fed mama with the cat food I had so graciously provided and even held the kittens.

I'm smelling outdoor pets.  Literally.

Have fantastic Thursday. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The "Lovey"

When my baby "Moopa" was a few weeks old, she was very restless.  She just couldn't settle herself down to sleep without something to hold.  We started dropping burpcloths over her face as she tried to fall asleep, and miraculously, it worked.

She would smooth it to her face, wrestle it and hold it until she fell asleep.

Naturally, my mother was not fond of the whole "burp cloth in the face" routine, so she bought little Moopa a real "Lovey."  It was pink and soft and half teddy bear half blanket. 

It has not left her side since. We've taken that tiny security bear everywhere, and had a few very frightening instances when we thought she was gone for good.  Once we lost her in Walmart.  I walked the store for 45 minutes, sweating, trying to locate Lovey as my toddler cried.  Finally, just about when I was about to give up, I saw her.  She was in a cart in one of the aisles, one of those "clean up" carts with tons of junk that needs to be put somewhere.

Relief washed over me.  Moopa stopped crying.  I promised myself it would never happen again.

Then, two years ago, we lost her in Disney World.  Yes, Disney World.  We got back to our villa after a night of shopping in Downtown Disney and Lovey was gone.  GONE.  Hubby was all "She'll have to live without it...." and I'm all "WE HAVE TO GET ON A PLANE IN A FEW DAYS!!!"

Panicked and determined, I walked back to Downtown Disney.  I will add that I was in my pajamas and it was raining. 

Nothing stops a mom looking for a security blanket.

I went from store to store when finally, at my very last stop, the cashier told me someone found it on the floor of the store.  I'm pretty sure I cried a little, I was so happy to see that little rag again.  In a nutshell, that little story is the difference between most mommies and daddies. 

With all the close calls losing Lovey, we've said many times that we should have bought two.  I haven't seen "Lovey" on a store shelf in years.  I also don't think it would matter anyway, because our Lovey is so "loved" the seams are fraying and the color has transformed from pink to well, something else.

There is no replacement for a blankie that has been carried for four years. 

Last night, Hubby returned home from CrossFit bursting at the seams with excitement.  For a minute I thought we must have won the lottery.  He could barely speak.

Then he told me that in the childcare room, brand new, was a Lovey.  The exact replica of our Lovey.  Naturally, he asked the owners if he could take it home, because never in a million years did he ever think we'd find another Lovey.

After seeing this brand new Lovery, I see there is a significant difference between what Lovey looks like now and what she looked like when my mother gave her to us.  Now, tattered and dull.  Fraying and funky smelling every few days.  Then, bright and pink and soft.  Fuzzy and fluffy.
Since last night, Moopa has gone from "I need my Lovey" to "Where are my two Lovies?"  The original is still her favorite, but "New Lovey" is clearly in 2nd place.  All the other stuffed animal friends fell off the face of the Earth as soon as new Lovey came home last night.

We may have created another monster. 

Wishing you all unexpected surprises today!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Opening Day

Yesterday was opening day for our youth football league.  The sun was shining and the kids were fired up.  The fans were out in abundance and our snack bar sold over fifty hamburgers during the first game alone.

It's a good thing we have plenty of cows in the area. 

For little boys, football is the one place they are allowed to hit other boys.  They're encouraged to tackle and "get mad," and the crazier the kid the better they usually are at football.  Football may very well be the only place moms of hyperactive nutjobs find solace.  They can sit back, breathe and let their little maniac have at it for four quarters while he wears eye black and pretends he's in the NFL.

It's like a vacation. 

The boys get dirty and sweaty and their equipment has a special kind of "stink" few other parents would recognize.  I'm guessing hockey moms know it as well.  The stink is kind of like old feet, but much, much worse.  I would say it's a motivating smell, because it makes me yearn to do laundry over and over again.

After opening day, we came home and settled in for what was left of NFL games.  I used to think missing most of "football Sunday" would get to me, but the NFL has nothing on these little guys.

And I'd choose watching them play any Sunday of the week.

Cheers!  Make today wonderful!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Loaf

Today I'm re-posting my most favorite autumn recipe.  I'm suffering a football hangover (Jr high football opener last night over an hour away) and I'm in need of another Starbucks.

The first one didn't get the job done.

Every fall I get an uncontrollable urge to bake with canned pumpkin.  This urge is similar to Christmas music the day after Thanksgiving and Diet Coke with french fries.

I feel one cannot exist without the other. 

Waste no time baking this because it is delicious and fairly healthy.  And tomorrow morning you could be sitting down to toasted chocolate chip pumpkin loaf, moist with melted butter and dusted with powdered sugar.

You will have died and gone to pumpkin loaf heaven.

This recipe makes two loaves (I'm all about sharing) or one loaf and twelve muffins.  I freeze the muffins for later consumption.

3 cups sugar
1 cup applesauce
3 eggs
1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
dash salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate chips (mini or regular)

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease and flour loaf pans/muffin tins.

Mix sugar, applesauce and eggs.  Add pumpkin.

Slowly blend dry ingredients.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake loaf 35-45 minutes, until center is done.  Muffins bake approximately 15-20 minutes.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Maroon 5

On Sunday I took my three oldest munchkins to see Maroon 5.  I had bought tickets for my oldest for his birthday back in June, and one of my best-est friends also bought tickets.  We were planning to take our two twelve year old boys to their first ever concert. cute.....

On Friday, two other concert go-ers my friend knows backed out, leaving two tickets to be claimed.  Since my two middle children were salivating that my oldest was going to see Maroon 5, I decided to scoop up the extra tickets and make it a grand affair.

Before we get too excited, the tickets I'm referring to are lawn seats, which was the plan because I felt having some space was needed if I took my kids.  Sitting them in concert seats would make a few things miserable.

To note a few:

1. Seeing the show
2. Going to the bathroom
3. General personal space

With much planning in regards to what was allowed inside the gates, to what time the gates opened, we could not have done better taking these kids to their first concert.  From our mini-tailgate to our ziplocks of dry food, we hit the ball out of the park.

The kids experienced inflated concert prices, concert tee-shirt buying, interesting lawn neighbors (to each his own) and exactly how much walking and waiting can be involved in a good time.  They also heard some of their favorite songs live, which was the highlight of the evening.

Well, that and Adam Levine.

All in all, this was a life experience that had much to teach, and we had an incredible night.

Happy Thursday all, enjoy it!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Disney's The Little Mermaid (Enter to Win!)

I was ten years old when Disney's The Little Mermaid premiered in theaters.  While it was *gasp* twenty-three years ago, I still remember the words to the song 'Under the Sea.'

Every single word.

Growing up, my parents had a room in the back for my five siblings and me to watch our shows. It's safe to say that The Little Mermaid would NOT be playing on my Dad's TV in the "big room."  I sat in that back room for hours watching my VHS tapes (yes, VHS).

I can still see the blue canvas cushions that were on the couch.

My oldest daughter is ten now, and my younger daughter is four.  We have every Disney princess movie under the sun, and we watch them any time they are on television.  I do allow these films on our "big room" TV, because I'm completely guilty of loving them just as much as my kids do.  While I have a love for many Disney princesses, Ariel will always be a favorite. 

Raising girls is no easy task.  I deal with freak outs regarding pony tail bumps, clothes that don't "look" right, friends that aren't very friendly and questions about, well, just about everything.  Add in all the influences of social media and television, and raising girls is downright frightening.

Movies such as The Little Mermaid convey very important messages to my girls.  I push my girls to follow their dreams, to be kind and most importantly, to find their voices.  I imagine, as my girls continue to grow, there will be many times where they'll feel just like Ariel, where they try to speak but nothing comes out.

Standing up for yourself and what you believe is not easy.  Neither is standing up to not-so-honest friends and peer pressure.  My hope is that my daughters learn to listen to their inner voice, because this world can be awfully loud.



When I sit and watch favorite characters like Ariel, Scuttle, and Sebastian with my girls, the world disappears and we enjoy time together.  Even more important, my daughters are reminded to follow their dreams, even when the road isn't easy.

Disney's The Little Mermaid will be available for the first time on Blu-ray Combo Pack and HD Digital on October 1st.  If you don't have this classic in your house, I highly recommend treating your kids to this Disney movie.  Even better?  Grab a copy and save it for the holidays (can you believe we're only a few months away from Christmas?).

To be automatically entered to win a $50 Visa Gift Card and a Little Mermaid Diamond Edition Blu-ray Combo Pack, tell us in the comments below:

 “How do you encourage your children to follow their dreams?"

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You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 9/3/13 - 10/15/13.
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Girl's Night Out

I'm thrilled to host another video from Kate, over at The Small Things Blog (love her blog!).

If you've never visited Kate's blog, I highly recommend it.  For Mamas like myself, who are completely out of touch with fashion and beauty tips, her videos and blogs bring you up to speed on how to look your best without a huge fuss.

I just watched a tutorial on creating soft waves and I suddenly "get" how everyone gets their hair to look so effortlessly wavy.  I guess you all didn't really just roll out of bed with that gorgeous mane.  Next time you see me struggling with my hundredth ballerina bun I'd appreciate a little heads up.

It turns out waves are not too complicated.

Enjoy the video, I hope you find Kate as endearing as I do!