Tuesday, July 29, 2014

American Dream Mocha Cocktail Recipe

Summer is finally into high gear now and things have been heating up! Every week it seems like we are going out to a friends party or having friends over to party with us! Matter of fact, next weekend we will be hosting a backyard barbecue for 16 adult guests!

During our get-together's we like to make and serve a wide variety of cocktail drinks. After all, everyone has different tastes, so we always offer several varieties when we are entertaining. Do you have any favorites?

The great folks over at RealBeanz sent over this cocktail recipe for me to share with all of you. I love mocha flavored drinks so I am definitely going to try to whip up a few of these for our upcoming party. It looks delicious and very elegant! I think my guests will love it!

American Dream Cocktail Recipe

3 oz. RealBeanz Mocha
2 oz. raspberry liqueur
1 oz. vodka
Frozen Raspberries

Add RealBeanz Mocha, Raspberry liqueur, vodka, and crushed iced to a shaker and shake vigorously. Pour into martini glass and garnish with frozen raspberries.

Disclosure: The photo and recipe is courtesy of RealBeanz. You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Best Friends Coming to DVD Sept. 16th

Strawberry Shortcake has been around for many years! Matter of fact, when my daughter was a little girl she used to watch Strawberry Shortcake all of the time on TV. When she was 6 years old she dressed up as her one year for Halloween and I remember that same year we got her a set of Strawberry Shortcake bed sheets for Christmas. She was a huge fan!

Now that she is a mother and I am a grandmother we have been sharing our love for this adorable character with her little 5 year old daughter. It is nice to know that quality children's programs are still around for all of us to enjoy.

Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Best Friends is coming to DVD on September 16th, 2014. Just in time for the upcoming holidays! Mark your calendars now and pick up a copy to tuck away for the holiday season. Here is some additional information about the upcoming release.

Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Best Friends

It’s friends first for Strawberry Shortcake and her favorite gal pals in Berry Best Friends! When Orange Blossom’s general store overflows with a new line of fruits and veggies, she tries to handle all of the details without any help from others, and, as a result, she’s exhausted! Strawberry is excited to be building a new marketplace, but has a tough time learning how to graciously say, “no, thank you.” Both soon learn that talking about what you need is the berry best thing to do. When the BFFs form a new band called Strawberry and the Sweet Beats, they’re all jazzed to head out on the road...except for Orange, who is afraid to admit that she doesn’t want to leave home. Once she tells her friends how she feels, she’s ready to set out for a rockin’ good time!

Bonus Digital Copy of Strawberry Shortcake: Berry Best Friends Included!

Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. Shelly Hill is a member of the Fox Home Entertainment Insiders Club and is providing this information for FREE to her blog readers.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Homemade Black Raspberry Popsicles Recipe

I have been making a wide variety of homemade popsicles for over 20 years. Matter of fact, I rarely buy store bought popsicles any more! Making your own popsicles is a very easy process and you control 100% of the ingredients going into them. You can make super simple ones or go with a more elaborate recipe.

Today's recipe comes to us courtesy of the great folks over at Sparkling ICE. I love using their flavored sparkling waters to make homemade popsicles!!!
Ice Pop Sparklers (Homemade Raspberry Popsicles)

Ice Cube Tray (or your favorite ice pop making molds)
Toothpicks or popsicle sticks
1 bottle Black Raspberry Sparkling ICE
1 container of fresh raspberries, chopped

1. Fill you trays or molds with Sparkling ICE, topping each with a scoop of chopped raspberries.
2. If using ice cube trays cover tray tightly with tin foil.
3. Poke a popsicle stick through the foil into each cube.
4. If using an ice pop maker place the handle sticks into the molds.
5. Place in the freezer for about 2 hours or until frozen.
6. This recipe works with any of your favorite Sparkling ICE flavors and fresh fruit. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Other Woman - Coming to DVD on July 29th

Usually I am not a comedy fan but my husband is. When "The Other Woman" was playing in theaters I did go along with him to see it and thought it was totally hysterical! It is the type of movie that many women can relate to and makes a great date night movie or girlfriends night-out.

The Other Woman is coming to blu-ray and DVD on July 29th, 2014 and I wanted to give you some information about the upcoming release. Mark you calendars now ladies! If you love comedy or chic-flicks...this movie is definitely for you!!!

It’s time to get even! Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment takes girl power to a whole new level with THE OTHER WOMAN, debuting on Blu-ray & DVD July 29. With Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann as the leading ladies and newcomers Kate Upton and Nicki Minaj bringing the jokes left and right, ladies all over better be ready for the perfect movie to end their summer in style!

Cameron Diaz leads a knockout cast in this irreverent comedy about love, lust and the laws of karma. New York attorney Carly Whitten (Diaz) is nobody’s fool. So when she accidentally discovers that her too-good-to-be-true boyfriend Mark (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is married, she’s less than thrilled. Not only that, she and Mark’s wife Kate (Leslie Mann), learn about yet another mistress (Kate Upton)! Before long, however, the betrayed beauties have become unlikely pals who’ve decided to teach their three-timing man a lesson. The more the trio learns about Mark, the worse he seems, and the more fun they have without him!

With eight deleted scenes, THE OTHER WOMAN Blu-ray™ kicks up the comedy even more! Extras on the Blu-ray and DVD, including a gag reel and “Giggle Fit,” will have you and your girlfriends cracking up for the rest of the summer.

ABOUT TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the industry leading worldwide marketing, sales and distribution company for all Fox produced, acquired and third party partner film and television programming. Each year TCFHE expands its award-winning global product portfolio with the introduction of new entertainment content through established and emerging formats including DVD, Blu-ray™ and Digital HD™. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox.

Friday, July 18, 2014

How to Use an Old Chiminea as a Flower Planter

Several weeks ago my neighbors were moving out of their home and tossed this old Chiminea to the curb. I had seen this outdoor fireplaces before but never thought about owning one because we have a fire pit.

Anyway, hubby saw it sitting at the curb and went over to ask them if we could have it. They gave it to us but left us know upfront that it had a hair line crack. That crack didn't bother us at all because we were going to clean it up and use it as a flower planter in our garden.

The old Chiminea comes in two parts...the base and the chimney portion. We separated them and gave them a good cleaning. To clean them up we used a product called Krud Kutter that easily removed all of the dirt, grime and soot. We then hosed them down with our garden hose and left both pieces dry in the sun for 3 days.

We then decided to seal them by spraying the outside of each piece with clear acrylic spray. You can find this in the spray paint section at your home stores and it comes in several different types of finishes. We chose the matte finish for our project and gave both pieces two coats of the clear acrylic finish and left them dry for 24 hours.
We then assembled the two pieces together. We measured the chimney opening and found a plastic flower pot at the home store that perfectly sits down inside it. We filled it with some good dirt and then placed several trailing plants inside it (along with a small mound of ornamental grass).

In the bottom of the Chiminea we used two plastic flower pots and turned them on their sides. Each one has several "trailing" type of flowers inside it. We also placed some river rocks into our base which helps to keep the flower pots (turned on their sides) from rolling around.

Now that it is finished...hubby moved it down into the backyard near our outdoor swing & flower bed. It really looks nice sitting there and it really adds so much needed color to that area in our yard. We are very pleased with how this turned out and we saved another item from going to the landfill! We love to upcycle and turn nothing into a pretty something! What a pretty addition to our flower garden!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Sweet Berry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe

I am not much of a bourbon drinker but my husband loves various cocktails made with a good bourbon from time to time. Today's recipe is courtesy of Voga Italia and would be a great cocktail to serve at your summer parties, backyard barbecues and family get-togethers.
Sweet Berry Bourbon Cocktail Recipe

· ¼ oz. simple syrup
· 1 ½ oz. VOGA Italia Dolce Rosso
· 1 oz. bourbon
· Fresh Berries

Mix equal parts water and sugar until sugar is dissolved to make simple syrup. Muddle fresh blueberries and raspberries into a cocktail shaker. Add ice, simple syrup, VOGA Dolce Rosso, bourbon. Shake well and strain into glass. Add fresh berries and mint sprig for garnish.

Disclaimer: You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly and always use a designated driver.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Keep BBQ Fare From Becoming a Dieter’s Nightmare

My husband and I have been on diets since January 1st, 2014. For the past 7 1/2 months, we both have been losing weight. So far, I have lost about 15 lbs. and my husband has lost over 22 lbs. I admit, it hasn't been easy and we did slip up a few times, especially on our last vacation.

Today I wanted to share an article with all of you on how you can stay on track with your diets and healthy eating by following these tips. If you have any tips to share with us, please leave them in my blog's comment form below. Enjoy!

Keep BBQ Fare From Becoming a Dieter’s Nightmare

This Summer, don’t let the BBQ become your diet downfall. Even the healthiest of eaters can be overwhelmed by the array of dips and fixings at a typical summer bash. According to the Daily Mail, the average BBQ diner eats more than 3,000 calories in a single sitting – the equivalent to a day and a half’s worth of food for the typical woman. Life Time – The Healthy Way of Life Company’s Registered Dietician Laura Burbank suggests six simple ways to keep BBQ fare from becoming a dieter’s nightmare.

Skip the Chips

Salty, crispy, grab-able snacks such as chips, pretzels and snack mixes are everywhere at summer social gatherings. To counter the temptations, fill up the buffet tables with healthier foods with a crunch like salty kale chips or strips of bell peppers to dip in spicy hummus, guacamole, or sour cream. Produce such as broccoli florets, carrots, jicama, cherry tomatoes and baby cucumbers also make great snacks.

H2O Isn’t Just for the Pool

Juice, sodas and sweetened teas are often made with high-fructose corn syrup and may contain brominated vegetable oil, which can wreak havoc on our bodies. Instead, pack coolers with sparkling mineral water, unsweetened tea, or offer a water cooler filled with chilled cucumber – mint or berry/citrus-infused water.

Banish the Bun

Despite the fact that bread products raise blood sugar as quickly and as much as eating two tablespoons of pure sugar, we still seem to fill these picnic staples with anything we can throw on the grill. Try going bun-less by eating with a fork and knife to slow down your eating. Use a lettuce-wrap approach to put some color into your meal or toss your grilled goods on top of a plate of hearty salad greens.

Eat Your Hotdog Naked

Most condiments are packed with unsavory additives to enhance flavor, shelf life, texture, or appearance. Season with fresh or dried herbs and seasonings and try dry rubs for chicken and ribs, pack some fresh herbs and spices into your grass-fed burger patties, or marinate your poultry or seafood with olive oil, citrus, and herbs before searing them on the grill. Fresh salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or hearty mustard are great toppings for your bun-less burger, chicken, or brats.

Make Faux Salads a Faux Pas

Potato salads, macaroni salad and pasta salad do not offer our bodies any true nourishment. Replacing these sides with some roasted vegetable salads or crisp, lightly-dressed coleslaw or use Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise or sour cream when making your own side dishes.

Don’t Chase the Ice Cream Man

Popular summer desserts such as gelatin and colorful ice pops include artificial coloring agents that could just as easily dye our hair, clothing, or crafts. Instead, choose to naturally sweeten up your party with fruit kabobs, frozen berries with heavy cream, or homemade real-fruit popsicles.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Brides: 6 Steps You Need to Take When Changing Your Last Name

Our daughter is getting married on September 6th, 2014. We are super excited about the upcoming wedding and are ready for the big day to arrive. I know one the things she has been searching for information on is how to safely & legally change her last name to that of her husband's.

Just recently I was asked to share this timely article with all of you and I thought today was the perfect day to do that. My daughter is definitely following all of the steps outlined below.

The wedding is approaching, or just behind you. Before you go writing checks you can’t cash, or booking that honeymoon in the married name, here are 6 important steps you need to take to save time, money, and convenience down the road.

1. Banking – Before checks are made out in a brides newly married name, brides should file for their new social security card and bring it along with their new license/ID in their name and their certified marriage certificate to change their name on their bank account(s) or open a joint account with their spouse in their new name.

2. Credit Reports – Many brides are curious about what happens to their credit when they change their names. You DO NOT need to notify the 3 main credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax and Experion) when you change your name. When you update your name with creditors (bank, credit cards, etc…) the bureaus will add the new name to your account, but they will also keep your maiden name on file too. This ensures that your established credit remains with you even as your name changes.

3. IRAs - Couples need to add each other to the IRAs as beneficiaries and make sure to use the name(s) taken post marriage.

4. Taxes - A woman's name must be changed legally before it can be listed as a new name on her taxes. She must file for her name change with Social Security, using the SS-5 form. If a couple is married prior to December 31st, they can file jointly on their taxes. File the IRS 8822 form to ensure that they are aware of the new name. Note: if the IRS is not informed of the bride’s name change prior to tax season, but she has been paid in her married name, they will hold her returns until they can verify her legal name. If the bride is paid in her married name, but has not legally changed it with the Social Security/IRS, there can be major snags in tax returns as well as social security benefits/payouts.

5. Honeymoon Flights – If the bride or spouse books flights for the honeymoon in the married name, but the driver’s license and/or passport has not been updated, most airlines will require the ticket to be repurchased in the maiden name without a refund. Take the time to get your name changed properly.

6. Change Your Name Properly - You could wait in line for hours and file mountains of paperwork, and there is also a lot of misleading information out there about how to change your name when you get married.

MissNowMrs.com, the first and leading name change site for brides-to-be, cuts down more than 13 hours of paperwork and costs only $29.95. And, if you know a bride-to-be you can pick up a MissNowMrs.com card at your local Rite Aid store. It’s the perfect budget and time-saving wedding gift -- every time she writes her name she’ll remember you!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Delicious Greek Salad Recipe

One of the things I really love about the summertime is all of the different vegetables that are currently in-season. We planted a large backyard garden this year and have been enjoying all kinds of different vegetables. We love to steam them, toss them into a casserole, throw them onto the grill or whip up a delicious tasting salad like this Greek Salad Recipe. I would certainly enjoy this with some freshly made Greek Salad Dressing or with some Honey Mustard!

The recipe and photo is courtesy of Maria Zoitas, creator of Maria's Homemade prepared foods sold exclusively at Westside Market NYC. Looks delicious!!! What kind of salads do you enjoy?
Greek Salad Recipe

2 vine ripened tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1 large cucumber, peeled and cut into chunks
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/4 cup Kalamata olives
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and black pepper to taste
4 ounces feta, cut into small pieces
Extra virgin olive oil

1.Combine tomato, cucumber, red onion, and olives in a salad bowl. Add oregano, salt and pepper. Add feta and toss to combine.

2.Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Just before serving add olive oil and adjust for seasoning.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Colman's BBQ Sauce Recipe

This July, as our country celebrates the 238th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence's adoption, the most iconic English mustard is celebrating its 200th birthday. Just 38 years after the signing of America's most distinguished document served to mark the founding of our country, Colman's Mustard was born.

One of the things I like about their recipe is that it can be used with a wide variety of meats and in a wide variety of recipes. Plus, it is really easy to prepare!
Colman's BBQ Sauce Recipe

8 tsp. Colman's Original Prepared Mustard
6 tsp. sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. white pepper
1/2 tsp. light soy sauce
2 tsp. salted butter

Combine all ingredients, except soy sauce and butter, in a saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes then remove from heat. Stir in soy sauce and butter to combine. Serve with BBQ pork, beef or lamb.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

6 Ways to Find a Charity that You are Passionate About

Hubby and I have a strong conviction to always pay-it-forward whenever we can. On the weekends, you can often find us volunteering at nearby senior centers, assisted living centers, our local pet rescue groups and several other charities that we like to support. Giving your time and/or money is very rewarding when you give to a great cause!

If you are looking to get involved in some charity work here are some great tips from Theresa Roemer.
6 Ways to Find a Charity that You are Passionate About

Charity work is a labor of love and can provide you some of the most rewarding experiences of your life. While the decision to actually dedicate your time to a charity might be a seamless one, the hard question is where and what charity do you devote your time and efforts towards? There are many charities in the world that support good and reputable causes. You just need to discover, which one is the right one for you.

Business Philanthropy expert, Theresa Roemer offers the following tips on how to find the best charity for you:

1. Ask Yourself the Hard Questions – Reflect on what tugs at your heart strings. Is it your children or your animals? Were you or was there ever a person near and dear to you diagnosed with an illness? Write down a few moments, experiences, and events that have impacted you both positively and negatively. This way you can see where you stand.

2. Do Your Homework - Based on your passions, go out and research charities that relate to your interests. Find out if the charities you are interested in are large or small in scope; are they national or international? what makes them unique and what are their goals and mission, where does the money that they earn go? Your research will allow you to figure out if you actually want to get involved with that organization.

3. What Can You Bring To The Cause? - Your own background and skills is key to your personal success and sense of reward when you begin to volunteer your time. Make a list of your own skills and what you think you can offer the charity. By going in with a mission you will allow the organization you are partnering with to best benefit from your time. For example, if you have a background in accounting, you may be a great asset with bookkeeping; whereas if you have a marketing background, your skills at promotions and events would really help them soar.

4. Time Management – Philanthropic activities can be rewarding, yet time consuming. Figure out how much time you can give to this new commitment in your life. Like anything, you want to schedule this just as you would a business meeting or new project. These groups rely on the generosity of their member’s free time, so if you cannot commit, do not take on more than you can chew!

5. Ask Questions - Once you have found a few charities to get involved with, find some of their local events to participate in. Attend a meeting or annual fundraiser and get to know some of the members. Find out why they like this particular charity and what they feel the goals of the organization are. By understanding how the other members and volunteers see it you will get a really good sense of this new “family” you would be joining and if it is a good fit for you.

6. Commit Yourself - When you know that the charity you have discovered is a good fit for you, be in it to win it, or as they say in my home town of Houston, Texas, “Go Big, or Go Home.” Make friends and involve yourself to the fullest extent. Bringing all that you can to those in need with like-minded people is a very rewarding experience that can only be experienced by doing. Enjoy it fully!

Keep in mind, too, that you can always start your own charity. Rally up your friends and see how you can improve other people’s lives.

Bahama Breeze is Your Summer Destination for a Fun Time! #SummerBeachBash

This post brought to you by Bahama Breeze. All opinions are 100% mine.
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I live in Pennsylvania and I am very fortunate that in my home state there is plenty of fun things to do during the summertime! We can visit local parks, the zoo, go boating, fishing, swimming, camping and all kinds of other activities that our city has to offer.

How many of you have visited Bahama Breeze in Pittsburgh? It is a really fun place to visit and right now they are having a special event called the Bahama Breeze Summer Beach Bash. This is the "HOT PLACE" to be if you want to have some fun!

The Beach Bash features live island music which helps to set the festive mood! You will feel like you are visiting one of those tropical island paradises! In addition, they have a brand new signature cocktail called the Bahama Breeze Ultimate Pineapple. This is the MUST HAVE frozen drink of the summer and it is served in a freshly cut pineaapple! How fun is that? Totally fun!
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This Summer Beach Bash started on June 23rd and runs through August 3rd, 2014. That gives you plenty of time to visit your local Bahama Breeze to experience the fun festivities! If you visit on a Saturday you can enjoy their mojito bar and choose your favorite fruit, rum and watch the bartenders muddle the perfect mojito cocktail just for you!

Do you love the current "selfie" craze? If so, you will want to enter their #MyBBSelfie Instagram Contest for a chance to win some fabulous Bahama Breeze Swag & $25.00 Gift Cards! Cool beans! You will want to make sure you use the #MyBBSelfie and the #BahamaBreeze hashtags when participating. All you have to do is share a creative selfie of yourself enjoying some time at the Summer Beach Bash at Bahama Breeze!

Bahama Breeze is the summer destination for good times! Get together with your friends & family and relax! Have some great food & drinks and celebrate the summer season together! I am looking forward to spending some time with my very best girlfriends and having a fun "night out" together.

I would love to know how many of you have been to Bahama Breeze and for those who have...what is your favorite drink to order? I would LOVE for you to try out their new signature Ultimate Pineapple drink this summer!!! Check out their web site to find locations near you!

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Red White and Blue Cocktail Recipe

It is hard to believe but the July 4th holiday is only a few short days away! For many people, July 4th marks the point that we are now halfway through summer (in reality it is NOT the halfway point). For me and my family...we will be hosting a summer backyard party at our home next week and then heading off for another fun vacation.

If you are going to be hosting some guests this July 4th holiday, how about a great cocktail recipe from the great folks over at Three Olives? Well, I got one for you today and it looks absolutely delicious and very appropriate for any of the Patriotic Holidays!!! It utilizes the Three Olives Cake Vodka which is absolutely yummy!!! If you have never tried it, you should!

Red, White and Blue Cake Cocktail Recipe

2 parts Three Olives Cake Vodka
1 part blue curacao
Splash of grenadine
1 part club soda

Mix first three ingredients in a shaker filled with ice & shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a lemon.

Disclaimer: The photo and recipe is courtesy of Three Olives. You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.