Friday, January 29, 2016

Kung Fu Panda 3 (movie review)

  Hurry go now don't even wait for my review.  Take the kids and catch that show.  I was going to skip taking my kids to this one because face it kids want to see everything but parents personally don't want to see everything so I was going to pass the buck on this one but, I'm so glad I went!

  Kung Fu Panda 3 is rated PG and runs for 1 hour and 35 minutes.  The cast includes: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman and Seth Rogen to name a few.

  This movie starts with one panda and ends with plenty.  Po is tasked with saving the day again in this movie.  He has to increase his talent and teach others to aid in his defense.  The world is being attacked by Jade monsters.  There are a lot of teaching quotes and motivation take note and enlighten your child.

  The movie is easy enough for all ages to follow.  There are not to many jokes above the children's head but various one liners more on a deep heart touching level.  Unlike a lot of animated movies there is a plot, there is a purpose and even lying has its consequences.

  My children sat glued in their seats through the whole movie.  My daughter mentioned how much she really liked the movie.  Even while watching it I said to myself I could watch it again at the theater and even watch it on rental.  DreamWorks made a great sequel.  This one may be my favorite yet!

Ore-Ida Totchos with BBQ Pork

  Most of us grew up eating these lovely little bits of Tater Tots.  Crispy outside with a soft hot inside.  Usually covered with ketchup.  That was just fine and I still ate it like that until I saw all the lovely recipes from kraftrecipes for these potato tots.

  I made a mound of goodness!  I hid some bbq pork under it so you even had some protein.  Side dish of some veggies and I think your good to go for dinnertime.

(Pork never made the picture)
1 5lb bag Ore-Ida Tater Tots 
1 8oz block of cheddar cheese
shredded pork

I cooked the Tater Tots per instructions. Cooked pork tenderlion per our preference.  After the tots were done I placed the pork on the bottom and layered it with cheese and Tots and covered the top with sour cream a sprinkle of leftover cheese and placed it in the oven until the cheese melted.

My family enjoyed this as much as I did partly probably because it was a new way to eat tater tots but also because this new combination of flavors elevated the tots.  

I received this product complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster and all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Ride Along 2 (movie review)

  Caught a matinee the other day and may be subjected to another on Friday but let's focus in the present time.  I saw Ride Along 2 the other day.  Ride Along is rated Pg-13 and runs for 1 hour 41 minutes.

  This comedy stars Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, Ken Jeong, Benjamin Bratt and an appearance by Tyrese Gibson.  The two cops are back at it again. Protecting and serving the city until they get a tip that their perp is in Miami.  A detective finally gives in to bringing a certain rookie cop with him in hopes of his ship publicly sinking leading to a new career for said rookie cop.

  Of course in this movie we have the conclusion to a successful dating couple as there is a lot of wedding arrangements being made.  A bride is anxious of the apporaching date and no fiancee in sight.

  This is a comedy so keep that in mind.  Don't focus on a particular plot just loosen up and watch the banter between the "brothers in laws".  Kevin Hart throws out some sassy comments and Ice Cube is always quick to shut him down.  If Kevin wasn't busy saying something funny I found amusement in his uniform choices while on assignment in Miami.

  Again I wouldn't go with high expectations of guns, drug lords and high speed chases in this cop movie.  This is a comedy. Comedy first law enforcement second.  Loosen up and relax.

  I made it to the movies this time early enough for the previews and boy they were a bunch of doozies.  I can't even begin to tell you what is coming.  Go see Ride Along 2 so you can see those.  I don't want to spoil to much.  I must have been there too early as I didn't sit through the previews on this one.

  You don't need to wait for Redbox to catch this movie. Sneak out and see it during matinee times.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Cookie Time

  Everyone has a weakness.  Mine just happens to be all things dessert.  Dessert is the reason I work out (worked out still nursing that foot).  Dessert in my opinion is what makes the world go round.   What are two dessert that you can make together to make something even better?

  Ice cream and cookies! I made a delicious ice cream cookie and saved myself the cookie baking and took my ice cream to a higher level by making it healthy.

  I choose to make banana ice cream.  It's something I have done before and everyone here enjoys it.  This time we added peanut butter and vanilla.

  Throw your bananas into the food processor.

  Look what happens when you blend frozen bananas.  It turns into a delicious, creamy ice cream! 

Enter cookie to compliment the ice cream.  I choose a Biscoff cookie.  I received them in my #JingleVoxBox free from +Influenster 

These cookies came in a package as a pair.  That makes a great sandwich for my ice cream cookie.  They have a nice cinnamon flavor and nice crisp crunch to go with it.  The perfect combination of sweet and crunch.  Hmm, how convenient.

Don't mind that crack.  It's driving me up the wall but, I will tell you that it didn't compromise the taste at all.

This coffee biscuit has now just been promoted to a dessert with a healthy twist!


2 bananas frozen
Splash of vanilla extract
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 Biscoff cookies

Put everything in a food processor and blend together.  Smear a nice dallop of ice cream onto one cookie.  Place the other cookie side on top of the icecream covered cookie and place in freezer.  Freeze until ice cream solidifies.  Enjoy!

  I was provided this product for free for testing and review purposes.  All opinions stated are solely my own.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Weekly Dinner Menu (Jan 24 week)

  Finally dinner time!  We went grocery shopping and I have food in the house! Food I can base recipes around and food I bought for specific recipes.  This week will include: soup, meatless and a Mexican dish to list a few.  I am also not going to label which day is what.  A majority of the pressure is off already just shopping for the ingredients and having a meal already figured out!

3 Cheese Zucchini Stuffed Lasagna

Black Bean and Rice Burritos

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Creamy Corn Fettuccine with grilled Shrimp

The American classic without the fuss
Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans
My recipe consists of something scribbled down from my mom and then twisted to fit my taste.

  There it is folks! That's what we will be eating here! Happy eating at your home!

Simple Lashes

  I recently received a Kiss brand pair of natural plump eyelashes in my Jingle VoxBox from Influenster.

I was excited at the opportunity this brought me but also a level of anticipation rose in me as with this challenge came the task of not only putting them on but to take pictures, review the product and discuss the process.  This would make only the second time I actually attempted to put these on. 

  Well I am always up for a challenge.  So game on.  I must tell you that the last time I tried to put them on I didn't find the process easy and was really quite clumsy.  However thankfully this time around it was as if I was almost a pro.  Probably not but definitely closer.  I was aware of the process and prepared to take on the challenge.

I had all that I needed to make this a successful challenge!

                  Eyelashes- check!

Eyelash adhesive - check!

There is actually nothing to it. Measure it against your eye lid and clip it if it's too long.

Apply a thin line of adhesive to your eyelash line and apply the eyelash.

Allow a few seconds to dry then apply your makeup accordingly.  

Viola! Eyelashes in a flash!  I choose not to add mascara but that's always an option.  However these lashes blended in with my natural ones and I didn't think it needed any additional touches.

So next time you want to add a little flare in the makeup department pickup a pair of false eyelashes and some adhesive and bring your eyes to life.   

I received this product complimentary for testing and review purposes from Influenster and all opinions are my own.
I receved this product complimentary for testing and review purposes from Influenster, but all opinions are 
  1. Please disclose that you rece
  1. Please disclose that you received this product complimentary ng and review purposes from Influenster, but all opinions are your own.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Ore-Ida Tots Review

  Last night I used my coupon to pick up a bag of Ore-Ida Tater Tots.  Tater Tots are little mouthfuls of bits of potato.  If cooked right (or my preferred way) there will be a crunch to the outside and soft on the inside.  My last voxbox from Influenster I received a coupon for a free bag.  I personally do not need a coupon to pick up this product as my family and I have enjoyed them in the past and probably eat them monthly!

  However this time I was challenged with a task of reviewing them and completing a recipe!  Stand tune for the recipe!  In keeping with a brand you will find yourself always getting the same quality, quantity and taste everytime.  Sometimes you may be able to catch a product on sale saving you some money but otherwise everything stays the same.  That is the same with the Ore-Ida brand and Tots.

  The 2 lb bag that I purchased in the freezer section was filled with enough tots for my large family.  You may have a few half tots or squished ones but for the most part the tots are presentable!  They are only sold in the frozen state and are also available in a 5 lb bag.

  Ore-Ida Tater Tots are easy to prepare for your family and are cooked in a fairly quick amount of time.  You can pair them up with any item and even make them in your crockpot.  They are great alone with ketchup or even doused in gravy or cheese!

  I have only cooked them a few ways but my eyes were open to the many more possibilities offered on the +Kraft Recipes site.  Check it out and bring your tots to life.

Creative Action

  So growing up in NY your accustomed to snow and what it's full potential is.  We had winter carnivals and snow sculpture contests.  Went to school even when it snowed, lol.  My children have this concept drilled in their heads snow equals no school.  This misconception comes from the nearly 2 weeks of interrupted school last year.

  Raising kids in Virginia when it snows leads to the need to be more creative.  It's amazing how cold it actually is when it snows.  This leads to a huge dread on my part to get outside with the kids but they are so excited to see the white stuff we have to move and act quickly before it disappears.  One day already this snow season it snowed then stopped.  Nothing stuck and therefore there was no playtime!  What's the point of snow if you can't play in it?

  Enter potato pieces and snow!

 I bring snow in from outside and you insert the pieces just like you would with Mr.Potatohead.

 Depending on your snow it may be easier.  Sometimes her snowball was too packed for her to put pieces in.

Even the boy had fun playing with the snow and pieces.

Anything goes! 2 snowball pets!

The makings of a miniature snowman!

This lady was walking her dog!

We even enjoyed some snowcream.  Mint and vanilla flavored!  This is a rare treat based on the quantity of snow we get.  There have been years when the children have been deprived.

I will tell you what she played with the snow inside a whole lot more than she did outside.  Maybe all the winter clothes are too constricting.  It can't possibly have to do with the temperature of  30°.

Monday, January 18, 2016

January's Target Beauty Box

  Last year I decided I would check out subscription boxes this year and other random boxes.  So for my first box of the year I decided to start with the +Target beauty box.  This box gets sold out rather quickly so you need to keep an eye out for it and purchase it as soon as you find out.

  The box comes out a few times a year and  ranges from $7-$10.  This month there were two choices.

     Target Refresh Beauty Box

Target Renewal Beauty Box

I choose the Renewal Beauty Box.  It came with 9 items and the box retailed for about $30 and had a variety of full size as well as samples and deluxe size products.  

The box contained a variety of items for your hair, skin and face.

A closer look:

A full size Degree anti-perspirant spray in Fresh Energy scent.

 A 2 oz of Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer and a 1.8 oz Caress Love Forever Body Wash.

Makeup and face care included:  Revlon color 501 Black, Hada Labo Tokyo Anti-Aging Facial Mask, Laneige BB cushion in 3 skin tones.

Attitude shampoo and a 2 in 1 Shampoo and Body Wash, Scunci No Slip Grip headwrap

Lastly is a $3 coupon off a $15 beauty purchase!

I have seen many subscription boxes with a lot of variations but with all the Target beauty boxes with an exception of the color of the headwrap all products were the same.  

I am pleased with the contents of the box and will use everything in it.  I look forward to more boxes and trying new products I haven't tried yet and finding new things that might work better than what I'm currently using.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Snow and Fun

  Yesterday we got our 2nd snowfall of the winter and new year.  This may not be a big deal to a lot of people but snow is a rarity here.  Also I think all children want to play in the snow.  This one granted us a little more than last time and actually stuck to the ground.

  Having it snow first thing in the morning is the best.  There is plenty of day light to play outside in and take advanced of it for all its worth.  Although the temperature is not the warmest you compensate for that.

  We got bundled up as you know it's frigid at 35° in VA!   Our "winter" coats do not match the "winter" coats of our neighbors up North.  For the most part it does get cold just not as cold for as long.  Also they do sell winter boots but you make the decision to buy a new pair every year (because the kids outgrow them) or just wear different boots.  My kids use rainbows or sneakers double and tripling socks.

Seeing the snow is a welcoming event!  Seeing it actually stick makes the day!

We must act quick!  You get dressed, run, play, snowballs and snowman.  All in a timely manner.  Sometimes as much as 15 minutes because it's cold outside!

  We have made record size snowman before but, today was not the day.  This is our dirty snowman.  There wasn't much snow so scrapping/rolling the snow collected the dirty and grass less than an inch under the snow all a soggy mess from the rain we had all day 2 days prior.

  Stay tune for other fun we had with the snow!


Friday, January 15, 2016

Norm of the North (movie review)

    Opening day for Norm of the North got me out of the house this morning for the first showing at my local theater.  The last commercial yesterday that I saw told my daughter it would be out tomorrow.  It must have said tomorrow 3 or 4 times and by the time the preview was over it hit her that although on January 1st she didn't know when January 15th was exactly (she's  5) she did know when tomorrow was.  She was so excited then that she told me, " You need to call the movie theater because they didn't tell me what time the movie was playing!".  I reassured her that I would look up the times and we would venture out appropriately.

  We arrived slightly early (privileged enough to see an abundance of other kid previews which equals me noting all the movies in my future) and  had plenty of seating to choose from. We had our popcorn, drinks and made our last stop at the restrooms.


  Norm of the North is rated PG and runs for about 1 hour and 26 minutes.  PG  in this instance may be towards the word "twerk" being used (lucky for me my daughter did not ask what that was nor ask for a demonstration) lemmings (look them up for a nice education) peeing in a fishtank or maybe I overlooked some other comment or gesture.

  Norm is the main bear of the story.  He decides he will save Arctic from housing developments and travels to NYC to the source of the problem.  He travels with an entourage of lemmings which are very entertaining creatures.  Norm gets a gig to be the spokesbear for the builder which puts him in the best position to bring light to Arctic and how it's not the place to build new homes.  He gets into and out of trouble and finds out something smells familiar to him in his new environment.  There are areas where he sings and you may know the songs which gets you in the mood.  You obviously see how the movie will end but kids don't necessarily know how.  There's even some tense issues towards the end.  In all the bear who is the underdog wounds up on top!

  I laughed at parts, as did my kids but I'm not sure my daughter was "into" the movie.  She laid on my lap and maybe if it was longer could have even fell asleep.  I asked her if she liked it, asked what she liked or didn't like and what it was about.  She could answer everything but even when she got home she just wasn't talking about it.  I don't think she hated it; it she just wasn't that good to her.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Peek into School

  I have 2 little ones and although I have taught my 5 yo right along its an amazing challenge to work with two little ones say anything about one fun loving 3 yo who has other plans.  Lucky for him he has a permanent "I'm a boy card!". However we squeeze it in when we can.

  This week we are working on the letter "A" and although his sister already knows her letters she is more than happy to participate in his lessons.  That's fine by me.  It helps her learn patience and helps her to refrain and take turns.  She is also able to learn more phonics, learn capital and lowercase letters and words.

  These are some of the crafts we completed to incorporate "A" and reinforce the letter.  We will work on another craft but will concentrate on sound, various words, items, finding and writing the letter the rest of the week.  Mission is considered accomplished when he can identify, say, and tell you what starts with said letter.

 A is for alligators!

 A is for airplane!

  The alligator idea came from:  (yes, I know it says crocodile)

The airplane instructions vary and can be found on various sites to include pinterest!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Weekly Housekeeping and Stuff

  I am starting out my week already behind by not having a menu plan ready so let's get a little more focused for the rest of the week.  All goals set each week no matter their value are of some kind of importance.  Not necessarily for the year but definitely  for the month!

  My goals will give me inner peace and a feeling of accomplishment.  It's always nice to be able to check stuff off your list.  Make your list small. Start with 5 things. Laundry (2 loads), clean the whole bathroom top to bottom, plan 2 dinners, walk your neighborhood for 30 minutes, read 2 chapters (get up early and sip on some tea).

  You can get your to do list done. Keep you eye on the prize.

My goals this week:
  Make 2 new snacks
  3 days of working out! It doesn't have to be at the gym I just need to move
  3 crafts with the kids
  Make 1 you tube video.
  2 movies (one is a definite but want to see another)

  How do you stay motivated to complete you goals for the week?  Any incentive at the end?

  How high do you set the bar?  How many tasks do you set for yourself?

  I have so many things to do but the only way to complete them is to take things slow, make a list and keep going.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Weekly Recap

  This week I am pretty pleased with my week.  All 4 planned meals were a success.  Although only one of them was a new recipe for me to try there's nothing wrong with that.  We still ate at home and used the pantry as a resource!

Chicken Potpie

Stuffed Shells

Blackbean Bugers

 Falafel and Couscous

I even actually had the teenager make all the meals this week.  This provided her with a first time using the food processor as well as frying.

I saw the Star Wars movie this week.  Of course going now allowed me to select any seat I wanted except 3 as that's how many other people were in there with me!  It was interesting. I definitely wasn't bored.  I was entertained through the duration and love any scene where there's a girl kicking butt!  I left once for popcorn which sometimes I use as an indicator of the movie but not this time.  I need to go back and watch the other movies though so I can get caught up in my mind. Not knowing/remembering about the others leaves a big gap.

I made a few projects this week both by myself and a craft with the kids.  This keeps me on track for my overall goal for the year.  Along with I did try a new hairstyle but I'll show you at the end of the month when we have met our goal.

Exercise was not met by a day.  Water is a conscious effort! My followers on other social platforms grows a little everyday.

I even managed to get caught up (ignoring present book) on an old book I needed to review!

So as its Saturday; it's time to make a new weekly goal!

The Library At Mount Char (book review)

  This fiction book was the first book by Scott Hawkins.  The story is a combination of thriller, suspense, fantasy and mystery.  The story starts out with a series of characters that all play a different role in a larger takeover.  Each character is like a soldier with their own speciality.  They study a focused area and advance to the next level. Making each of them stronger and a more dangerous group of individuals the more they read.

  Carolyn is visibly the main character in the story.  She is in charge of learning languages and has a secret mission of recruiting.  She is not the leader of the said "soldiers", she too is just a soldier.  However her self declared job is a main focus of the story.  She is the good student.  She goes above and beyond her job of reading in order to complete a bigger mission. 

  The characters seem to be a hodge podge of misfits if not misguided unsupervised teenagers.  Although I am not very sure how old they really were.  They did however lack in the fashion department as their was a tutu, bicycle shorts and leg warmers mentioned more than once.

  Now imagine if the world you lived in was slightly different.  Not flying cars and robots but having a pet lion or food falling from the sky.  Does that sound safe or inviting?  Would you be concerned enough to call the helicopters and tanks in?  This story will make you wonder about the future of the country, or universe.

  I invite you to entertain your conscious.  Read this book and let your imagination flow.  Follow the story closely as there are some twists and turns that require your undivided attention.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Diy Project

One of my last DIY projects from last year sparked my interest in making the upcoming 2016 year a more hands on kind of year.  I wanted to expand and challenge my capabilities.  I shared with you the ornaments I made and I wanted to show you another type of ornament I made.

  For this upcoming project you needed some basic supplies.

  A glue gun, extra glue is always a good thing, ribbon and scrabble tiles.

  I actually had leftover ones from another project I did a few months ago.  So this was a great project to use the majority of them up.

  I purchased my tiles with the actual complete game of Scrabble at the thrift store.  You can however purchase just the tiles at various places.

For this project I assumed names pertaining to the holiday.

However you could easily make words pertaining to anything.  Based on what your going to use it for, when (holiday or not) and to whom your giving it too.

Glue the letters together and attach a ribbon.  You know have an ornament! Hang it on the Christmas tree, wall, a dresser knob, a gift tag for a present or even a rear view mirror.

 This was a super easy project to make; the hardest part was getting the tiles but once you get them you have unlimited possibilities.

I have a few of these ornaments left and what doesn't get distributed throughout the year will be given out for Christmas!

Be sure to keep following me as I share easy DIY projects.  Projects to keep or pass on as gifts.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Kids Crafts

  One of my resolutions this year is to make more crafts with my kids and start and finish DIY projects.  I think if I practice all year round by the end of the year I may have come up with some pretty cool gifts that are acceptable to pass out over the holidays.  As well as a bountiful array of cards for various occasions through the year.

  Todays craft with the kids was a card for next month.  It is a simple card that you can share with anyone your child may think is extra special!  

Supplies: glue, a heart and paper you plan to shred any color or texture

I choose to use tissue paper based on what I had on hand and what kind of paper I was putting it on.   I actually had some hearts from a previous project so I cheated and used those.

Little hands need to get busy ripping up the pieces of paper.  Size doesn't really matter.

We choose to use 3 colors! (although my daughter let me know mid way through she wasn't going to use the red since her heart was already red).

Glue the bits of paper to the heart! Any colors, styles or patterns they choose.  This craft is an all 100% kid made project.

Two hearts created by two different kids with 2 different styles.

  They are 98% complete I just need to write or have my daughter write

   I love you to pieces

Get it?  Cute idea,huh? I'm not sure on where I'm going to write the sentiment yet.  I think these came out pretty cute though and everyone will know they are made by kids with minimal adult help!