Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars Review

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ignore the author's note in the beginning - don't let it turn you off of this wonderfully sweet book.Even more well written and absurdly different than Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars tells the story of Hazel and Augustus, two teenagers who happen to have cancer as a part of them. Similar to LFA, the characters are a bit too "perfect" and seem to say the correct things more often than not. But they are also more realistic in dealing with their cancer and living a regular type life. I do recommend this book - solid 4 stars - and am looking forward to the movie.

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Monday, May 20, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 5/20/13

 When I hear people say that teachers only work from 8 to 3, I laugh and laugh. Last week J. worked late four nights, and this week he is going back twice. That is just for night school and events. I an go on and on about how he works weekends and after school hours, but somehow people think teachers do nothing outside of 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Just a minor rant of the week!!

Monday:  pulled pork, served on  Soft Pretzel Buns (got pushed back to this week)

Tuesday:  homemade pizza SERIOUSLY I AM MAKING IT THIS WEEK!!

 Wednesday:  leftovers - J has night school

Thursday: Creamy Rice Casserole (trying it in the slow cooker)

Friday: leftovers

Saturday: We are going out on our annual Memorial Day weekend outlet shopping trip, so we will eat a big lunch and a snacky dinner

Sunday:  leftovers

Dessert of the week: We seriously still have cake balls from Mother's Day!!

Fine more recipes at OrgJunkie

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Allstate Foundation Drive It Home Show

On Tuesday, we attended the Allstate Foundation Drive It Home event in East Islip, NY. This event is intended to help you keep your teen driver safe. Research from The Allstate Foundation shows nearly half of parents express regret about not monitoring their teen driver after they get a license, and more than two-thirds wish they spent more time practicing driving with their teen in high-risk situations. To educate parents on driving risks, the Allstate Foundation is helping NSC launch Drive It Home, a new program offering specially created resources to help parents keep their teens safer on the road, especially after a teen gets a driver’s license. Designed by parents for parents, the unique program includes an interactive website – – featuring engaging videos, practice tips and other valuable resources. It included a skit by the Second City Communications comedy troupe and speeches by local Allstate agents, John Ulczycki from the National Safety Council and a woman who lost her teenage daughter in a car accident.

Allstate Drive It Home event

The evening started off on a fun note with a skit from Second City Communications. The skit included a mother and teenaged daughter on a talk show discussing the teeanger's driving. The funniest part of the skit was what the talk show host called the "Biscuit Show" where the mother and daughter were pretending to drive while the host made comments. The skit helped to illustrate that teenagers have been learning how to drive from their parents since they were very young - watching their parents on their cell phones, speeding, yelling at other drivers, etc.It was a good way to show parents that they need to communicate with their teens and give them some ground rules for driving. Research shows that inexperience is the No. 1 cause of teen crashes, but in New York, only 18 percent of parents say a teen's lack of driving experience is the top cause of crashes. Despite the fact that nine in 10 parents say it's very important for teens to learn to manage night driving and driving with passengers, nearly 31 percent of parents in New York are not setting rules around some of the most dangerous behaviors including nighttime driving and passengers in the car.

John Ulczycki spoke of the statistics about teem driving and gave parents ways to help their teenagers drive more safely. Just driving with a new licensed teen 30 minutes a week can be very helpful. Parents can also practice specific skills together and provide teens with feedback in the following critical areas: 

  • Scanning the road ahead to recognize and respond to hazards. 
  • Controlling speed, stopping, turning and following distance. 
  • Judging the gap between vehicles in traffic – such as when exiting parking lots and making left-hand turns.
  • Managing the highest driving risks, such as nighttime driving and with young passengers in the car.
The evening was fun and informative. Second City set the tone while John and the other speakers gave out valuable information.  There are 5 more dates, so please check it out if you have a teen driver. Also at, parents can sign up to receive weekly driving practice tips and suggestions via e-mail, and print, discuss and sign a Parent-Teen Driving Agreement.

While I did not take any pictures of the show itself, (since I would have had to use flash while the theater was dark) I did take this picture of my kiddo sitting the seat all by himself. This was before he fell down into the crack where the seat part folds out. Yup, that's my kid!!

He never sits still!!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 5/13/13

So last week I didn't plan my menu until Monday morning - this week I planned it Friday night! Had to get the idea in my head out! LOL We are heading into J.'s busy time at school, so more crock pot and freezer leftover meals are on the horizon.

Hope everyone had a good mother's day!

Monday:  Chicken Pot Pie, using potato soup as a base! (idea by my friend Lu)

Tuesday: Chicken Giardino (did not get to last week)

 Wednesday:  leftovers - J has night school

Thursday: leftovers - J has a concert

Friday: homemade pizza (yup still haven't made it!)

Saturday: pulled pork in the crock pot, served on  Soft Pretzel Buns

Sunday:  leftovers

Dessert of the week: I made cake balls for Mother's Day, and we have TONS leftover!!

Find more menus at Org Junkie :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

ZzzQuil Review

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of ZzzQuil. All opinions are 100% mine.

 photo ZzzQuilIZEAPostcardpdf-1_zps70314197.jpg

My 2 year old has never been a great sleeper. He finally, FINALLY started consistently sleeping through the night in Feb - after a month and a half of waking up 3 to 5 times a night 4 to 5 times a week - no exaggeration. So, I have had many many sleepless nights myself, and that has totally messed up my sleep schedule. Even now, after almost 3 months of uninterrupted sleep, I am still waking up several times a night then taking awhile to fall back asleep. This mom is tired!!

The makers of Vicks NyQuil now have the perfect solution for occasional sleeplessness - ZzzQuil! ZzzQuil’s active ingredient, diphenhydramine HCI, helps reduce the time it takes for you to fall asleep when you have difficulty falling asleep, so you can sleep soundly and wake up refreshed. Not for colds, not for pain relief, ZzzQuil is just to help you sleep. It is non-habit forming as well as safe and effective when used according to package directions.

ZzzQuil is available in both liquid and  LiquiCap® forms. I used the liquid. The packaging looks similar to NyQuil, excerpt it has purple undertones. The liquid does have the usual medicine-ish taste, but it also had a hint of berry flavor. not hard to swllow at all. It is a warming liquid, and I could defiantly feel it warming my stomach right after I took it. ZzzQuil started working almost right away, making me sleepy. I fell asleep quickly, and only woke up one time in the middle of the night - then fell back asleep right away. I did have a little bit of a "sleep hangover" but it went away fairly quickly, and I did feel more awake and refreshed as usual.

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Monday, May 6, 2013

Menu Plan Monday - Week of 5/6/13

Where did this week go? At 10:30 last night, I turned to J. and said "I didn't plan my menu tonight!" D'oh. Since it is hard to get anything done on the computer when E. is up, here is a hastily thrown together menu - hey it is better than nothing!!!

Monday:  really, I am stumped lol J. has night school, so I'll probably just pull out something from the freezer!

Tuesday: Stuffed Shells (by request!)

 Wednesday:  leftovers

Thursday: Chicken Giardino

Friday: homemade pizza (made quesedillas and churros yesterday instead of pizza)

Saturday: leftovers

Sunday:  Mother's Day! Dinner with J.'s family

Breakfast of the Week: The instant oatmeal packs are a HUGE success! I need to post the recipe this week. I think I will make Overnight Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Dessert of the week: Need to make something (still) to use my frosting, so maybe cupcakes for Mother's Day. What other dessert uses frosting other cakes?

Extra of the Week: Did not make the Soft Pretzel Buns last week, so today is the day!

Find more menus at Org Junkie :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Christian Mama's Guide to Parenting a Toddler Book Review

The Christian Mama's Guide to Parenting a Toddler: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Your Child's Terrible TwosThe Christian Mama's Guide to Parenting a Toddler: Everything You Need to Know to Survive (and Love) Your Child's Terrible Twos by Erin MacPherson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My son is an awesome kid - but he is almost a 2 year old, and he is great at acting like one! And this is all new territory to me. I was hoping that the Christian Mama's Guide to Parenting a Toddler would help me get through this new stage with patience and grace. And I think it will!

This is not a straightforward parenting book - MacPherson adds in humor and real life experiences that help remind you not to take this parenting thing too seriously! She also has useful tips to help with things like tantrums (what I need the most help with!), getting your toddler to eat healthier (including recipes!), potty training (not looking forward to that!) and my favorite - learning a growing with your toddler. That chapter includes tons of activities to do with your toddler broken down into how you want to inspire your child i.e. to be an artist, to be a mathematician, to be a great reader, etc. I loved how each chapter included prayers in sections called "time out for mom" Very appropriate! This is a book I will definitely refer to as my son goes through his 2s and 3s!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookSneeze to review.

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