Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Promoting Parenting with Baby Magic - Giveaway

I received no product or compensation for this post.  This post is in partnership with PR firm.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Parents' Day is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Sunday of July each year to recognize and promote parenting as a crucial part of families and the wider community.  Although Parent's Day has already officially passed for this year we can still, and should still, advocate for positive parenting.

For 65 years, Baby Magic has been creating magical baby smiles from one generation to another, and bonds that last a lifetime. As a family owned and operated business, they understand the importance of caring for little ones. They don't put anything in their products that they wouldn't use on their own babies. Baby Magic has loyal followers because they care, and they want to keep it that way. Their products are made with love by their family, for yours!
Win It!

One person will win Baby Magic products that include:

Original Scent Baby Lotion
Original Scent No-Rinse Wash
Soft Powder Scent Hair & Body Wash

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

It's National Creme Brulee Day

It's not often that I have creme brulee, but I sure know how to scarf some down when I do.

For those not in the know, creme brulee is a dessert that consists of a rich custard base that is topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel and served at room temperature.
In celebration of its day, here's a recipe for Creme Brulee (found at allrecipes).

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks
6 tablespoons white sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Beat egg yolks, 4 tablespoons white sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy. Pour cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil. Remove the cream from heat immediately. Stir cream into the egg yolk mixture; beat until combined. Pour cream mixture into the top pan of a double boiler. Stir over simmering water until mixture lightly coats the back of a spoon, about 3 minutes. Remove mixture from heat immediately and pour into a shallow heat-proof dish. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to broil. In a small bowl combine remaining 2 tablespoons white sugar and brown sugar. Sift this mixture evenly over custard. Place dish under broiler until sugar melts, about 2 minutes. Watch carefully so as not to burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate until custard is set again.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Could a Landline Be Your Lifeline? - #ooma Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe This Summer

I received products in exchange for this post.  The opinions within this post are of my own.  Please do your own research before purchasing products or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

I've been working as a 911 Dispatcher for almost twelve years now.  It's a very demanding, yet rewarding, job.  In my employment I'm responsible, among many other things, for dispatching police, fire, sheriff, and ambulance agencies.  I'm also responsible for taking calls from the public and screening them for what emergency has occurred.

Although most people rely on cell phones when calling 911, I can personally vouch that it's not always a surefire way to communicate during emergencies.

Picture this: It's the end of July—smack in the middle of summer. Your kids are at home with a caretaker while you toil away at your 9 to 5. Then, disaster strikes. There's an emergency at home, and your kids have to call 911 for help.

Are your children calling from a cell phone or a landline? And does it make any difference? Surprisingly, the answer is yes. According to the latest data, if you don't have a landline in your home, it could be putting your children in grave danger.

Here's a shocking fact: According to an investigation by the USA Today the chances of 911 dispatchers being able to find you based on your cell phone's GPS can be as low as 10% in some parts of the country. With a significant share of cell phone-to-911 calls being placed from within residences—and 45% of Americans opting out of landline coverage at home—countless people are left vulnerable in emergencies. The question then becomes not why you should have a landline in the home, but why haven't you gotten one yet?

In the spirit of keeping you and your family safe, I recently partnered with Ooma - leading Internet home phone service with reliable E911 technology—to deliver three tips for keeping your home safe this summer in addition to owning a landline.  You can check out Ooma on their website, follow Ooma on Twitter, or visit the Ooma Facebook page for more information.



TIP #1: KEEP A FIRST AID KIT AT THE READY
Whether it's for a small scrape or something far worse, it's always a good idea to have a first aid kit handy. People who call 911 from their cell phone are often surprised at how long emergency workers take to arrive on scene. According to the recent Ooma.com 911 Emergency Response Study, more than one in five cell phone callers feel it takes too long—that's seven times higher than for people who call from a landline. If you're often in situations when only a cell phone is available, consider keeping a first aid kit nearby.

TIP #2: WRITE AN EMERGENCY CONTACT LIST Make sure that no matter where you are, it's easy for the people around you to call your emergency contacts. Consider posting your own number, as well as first response numbers, on your fridge so your kids know how to reach you and your family, family members who live close by, or the authorities. Post the name and number of a trusted friend or neighbor, too. With Ooma's home phone system, up to three of these contacts can be notified by text message automatically when a 911 call is placed. In situations when every second counts, this reliable Internet-based technology could save tens of thousands of lives.

TIP #3: RECOGNIZE THE FIRST SIGNS OF DANGER Educate your kids about the sights, smells, and sounds of danger. If they hear a smoke alarm or see an appliance overheating, advise your children to get outside as quickly as possible. Planning an exit strategy is key to getting a safe distance away from the house so you can alert a neighbor and have them call the fire department. Consider making a detailed fire plan with multiple escape routes and keeping a printed copy of your fire plan on visible walls around your house.

For many people, money is understandably a legitimate concern—but when it comes down to it, we really can't put a price on ensuring that the people we love are safe. Luckily, first aid kits are both lightweight and budget-friendly, while the price of a secure Ooma landline pays for itself in just three months and costs less than a Netflix subscription on a monthly basis.

Got any 911 emergency stories of your own?
Do you own a landline or rely solely on a cell phone?
What are your thoughts on the Ooma home phone service?

Fiber One Cheesecake Bars - #FiberOneCheesecake Review and Giveaway

I received products for review.  The opinions within this post are of my own and I was not influenced in any way.  Please do your own research before purchasing product or using services.  Your opinions and results may differ.

Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts, and I'm in for almost anything with a cheesecake taste. Last year, Fiber One introduced Cheesecake Bars to their product lineup and, I've got to say that they are simply divine. Recently Fiber One added two new flavors to the bars, Key Lime and Chocolate.  The irresistible layers of graham cracker-y goodness and creamy cheesecake come together for a delicious flavor.


Each bar contains only 150 calories and 20 percent of your daily value of fiber. Each box contains five cheesecake bars. The bars are individually wrapped. The little square bars are rich and delicious, and they are enough to satisfy my sweet tooth craving. Sometimes it's hard to package a food product and have it come out tasting very much like what it claims. Fiber One has done an good job of creating cheesecake bars that taste almost like the decadent dessert itself. They are soft and fresh, with great flavor combinations.

 Both the Chocolate and Key Lime varieties were delicious, and go well with the other two flavors of Salted Caramel and Strawberry that's already on the market.  My teen kids are fans of snacking on them when they want a treat.  I'll be purchasing more to snack on while at work or when I want to satisfy my sweet tooth.

July 30th is National Cheesecake Day (and you know I'll be posting about that!).  Celebrate by getting your hands on Fiber One Cheesecake Bars.
Win It!

One person will win a free product coupon for one box any flavor Fiber One Cheesecake Bars.

*This is a Rafflecopter giveaway open to residents of the USA.*

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Random Tuesday Thoughts - Restaurants and Volunteer Work

It's been a few weeks since I've joined up with Stacy Uncorked for Random Tuesday Thoughts.  This week, I'm back in the game.
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By looking at this eclectic doll/figurine collection, would you guess that it belongs to someone who's almost 40 years old?  My teens were giving me crap about it the other day.  What can I say, I'm still a kid at heart.  #DontJudge
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Chicks on the River meal

This past couple of weeks we've either been eating out at restaurants, or grilling food and entertaining at home.  I took Logan to Chicks on the River for his birthday.  We dined on Fettuccine Alfredo and garlic bread.  The food was alright.  Not bad, but not great.

 For Emma's birthday we went to Golden Corral.  That particular restaurant opened up less than a month ago.  We were packed in like sardines but I thought the food options were great.  Although, I won't be taking Emma there again anytime soon.  She dined on a strawberry, a cookie and a piece of chicken.  Not bad, unless you're paying $13 for it.  Which I did.

Hyvee Market Grille meal

Me and Logan also dined out for the first time at Hyvee Market Grille.  I had a Colby Jack cheeseburger with steamed broccoli.  It was delicious and I'd dine there again.  And because we hadn't already been to enough eateries, I went with Logan and Adam to Mi Jalapeno, a local Mexican restaurant, this week.  Their food is always awesome and I've never found anything I don't like.
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Thursday evening I volunteered to help during the church's Family Fun Night.  I served ice cream topping options to over 1000 people in just a little over an hour.  #SpeedServer
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Friday evening I went with a gal pal to Blues in the District.  It's a free event in the park that goes on every month in the summer.  A different Blues band plays every time.  That kind of music isn't my thing but I enjoy the atmosphere.
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Saturday our Small Group got together and volunteered at a local food pantry.  My particular role involved stocking and bagging personal and hygiene items.  To show our appreciation for our Small Group's help, Jason and I hosted a feast in our home on Sunday.  Jason smoked a ham while I whipped up some pasta salads and other foods.  
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As you can see, we've been keeping quite busy.  How have you been?
What randomness do you have to share?
Do you enjoy listening to Blues music?
What are some of your favorite restaurants to dine at?

Four More July Winners

A few of my giveaways have ended and the winners have been randomly drawn.

The winner of the Finlandia Cheese and Butter giveaway is #66, Eloise Carlson.

The winner of the Finding Dory Fun on the Go Activity Set giveaway is #46, Kim Reid.

The winner of the Finding Dory Design A Vinyl giveaway is #46, kathy pease.

The winner of the FlipaZoo giveaway is #99, Russ1934.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all who entered.  Be sure to check out my current giveaways, listed at the top left hand side of my blog.  There's no limit to how many you can enter or how many you can win.

It's National Aunt and Uncle's Day

I have great respect and huge admiration for my uncles and a couple of aunts. Unfortunately, I don't get to see them very often.  When I do, it's cherished memories that I treasure.

uncle John and aunt Selma
Although they are not Amish, they mostly play the part.  They are very old-fashioned in their ways.

I can't speak highly enough of my three uncles on my mom's side.   They are some of the most talented and caring men I know.  I could gush on and on about how wonderful they are but I'll keep it at bay.  I also have an aunt, but her lifestyle is one that I don't care to partake in.  

uncle Curt playing original hymnals on the acoustic guitar

I didn't know any aunts or uncles from my father's side and I'm not even sure if any are still alive.

In addition to having the greatest uncles in the world, I'm blessed to be an aunt and great-aunt to several kids.  One niece was even named after me.

uncle BJ and uncle Curt

Are you close to any of your uncles and aunts?  Are you an uncle or aunt yourself?