Saturday, July 23, 2011

Movies for kids!

If you’re like me often you’d like to know something about a movie before you watch it with your kids, especially if you’re going to be spending a million dollars   a lot of money to take them to the theater.  Even here at home if I’m looking for something new to watch with my daughter on Netflix I found this website I just love…   Common Sense Media

They have book reviews, movies, music, apps, and video games along with recommended age appropriateness.

See below I checked out the Winnie the Pooh movie (which I have zero concerns about taking my daughter to but thought it would be a good example). 

From the green slide bar you can see it’s recommended for ages 3+… the yellow around the 2 indicates use caution with children this age.  If it were not recommended for any age range those ages would be in red.


Then it breaks down ratings on violence, positive message, product placement, etc, followed by parent/kid reviews of the movie.

Check it out the next time your kids want to see something. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Great New England Attractions… FREE!

A friend just sent me this link… FREE admission on Fridays in Massachusetts to these great attractions… planning a Boston get-away, or live in New England… a lot of these are worth the drive!

Free Fridays!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Corn Season!!

One thing I love about living in New England is all the local farm stands to get fresh produce, and corn is finally in season… YUM.

We had our first taste of the season today… it did not disappoint.


Let me stop for a moment & comment on the corn holders.  I had a Pampered Chef party a few months ago & ordered these, and then forgot about them… getting ready to make the corn tonight I though oh yeah… I got those corn holders.  So I took them out… GET THIS… you put them on BEFORE you cook the corn!!


Make sure your helper doesn’t eat any before it’s cooked.


They’re a bit of extra work but I think worth it… you have to trim off the ends, and then these little green gems screw into each end… the bottom half looks like a screw, and the top looks like a game piece from the board game “Sorry”.  They go right in the water… or the grill, or the microwave.


The info with these says they are cool within seconds of coming out of the water… I’d say it was about 90 seconds after coming out of the water they weren’t uncomfortable.  By the time we sat down at the table they were completely cool.


They were a hit… as was the corn!!  BTW… dishwasher safe too!


Happy husking!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

National Teddy Bear Picnic Day!

Did you know today is National Teddy Bear Picnic Day?! I had no idea… but how fun!!  My daughters favorite-must-have-at-bedtime-worn-down-fur-because-he’s-loved-so-much toy is her “Winnie-The –Pooh” bear… I love that when she gets sleepy she rubs his paw back & forth under nose…

If I’d known ahead of time I would have planned some of these fun crafts with my daughter…  Now that I’m looking at these ideas & recipes I’m thinking this could be a fun theme for a kids b-day party too… have all the guests bring their bears… run wild w/ the ‘picnic’ theme… too cute!

These adorable little treat bags… so easy to whip up…


These little paw cupcakes…


This website has some great craft ideas to get ready for your own Teddy Bear Picnic!!  How cute are these ‘fancy’ hats?!



It doesn’t have to be today… any nice day will do for a Teddy Bear picnic.  Maybe we’ll do a last minute one today… if we do I’ll post pics!!

P.S.- Don’ t forget the honey!!

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’ “ – Winnie the Pooh


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cool Jewelry…

I found this jewelry business by another adoptive Mom, and I just LOVE her jewelry… it’s so vintage inspired (which as a shabby chic girl is right up my alley)… particularly the “Garden Collection”…


Also, as an adoptive Mom of a Guatemala cutie I LOVE the “Guatemala” collection, and wish I’d found this website in time for my daughter’s b-day… definitely for Christmas!!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

S’mores… sort of!

I wanted to get this post up before the July 4th weekend, but alas the weekend got away from me.  I made these s’more bars for a cookout yesterday, and they were a BIG hit!!  Super easy too.

First grease an 8x8 pan (I used cooking spray, but you could also give it a crisco rubdown).  Preheat oven to 350.


Add 1/2 cup of room temperature butter to mixing bowl… I’m thinking this butter was a little warmer than room temperature… it was hot this weekend… can you tell?


Add 1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, and 1/2 cup white sugar.


Beat until fluffy & creamy…Ahhh… at thing of beauty!!


Beat in 1 egg, and 1tsp vanilla…


Or… have your helper do it for you!!


In a separate bowl add 1 1/3 cup flour


3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (I bought the box of pre crummified ones, but if you have graham crackers just stick some in a ziploc bag, and crush w/ a rolling pin).


Add 1tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt.


Whisk until blended.


Add slowly to mixing bowl on low speed.


Once combined you should have a good thick cookie like dough… should be just thick enough to ALMOST roll into a ball but still fall apart slightly.


Divide dough in half, and spread into bottom of 8x8 pan… pressing with your fingers out to the corners so it’s covered.


Now spread 5 Hershey bars (or 2 king size bars)… I just fit in the whole ones as I could, and then broke sections to fill in out to the edge.



Then measure out 1 1/2 cups of fluff (melted marshmallows aren’t recommended… I’m thinking after they cooled the marshmallows would get hard).


Spread across the chocolate (this is where using 2 king size bars would come in handy… as the smaller chunks of chocolate would stick sometimes but it still worked).


Now top with the remaining half of the dough… the easiest way to do this was to piece it… I made square size pieces, and pressed them together.





Bake 30-35 minutes until golden brown, and have your helper assist in the clean-up!


Allow to cool completely before cutting.


Post for the s’more cup recipe (pictured above) coming soon!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Great Resource…

Every time I walk into Barnes & Noble with my daughter I get so overwhelmed with all the choices… I have no idea even where to start selecting books for her (aside from the classics… there’s nothing wrong with the classics… I love the classics… I’m a classic kind of girl… it would just be nice to open her up & myself to some new classics… I digress).    So… I couldn’t wait to check out this website featured this morning on “Today w/ Kathie Lee & Hoda” (don’t judge me).

The author James Patterson started this website  On it are book reviews broken down by age…


Then after you click on each age group it’s broken down further… what a great idea!! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Unique Personalized Gifts…

Check out this custom invitation, announcement website Little Ladybug Designs

They’ve just  launched a new line of customized products for your little ones called “Just Like Me” !! So cute… she’s got stationary, lunchboxes, plates/bowls… SOOO fun. 

Little Ladybug

The best part is, not only can you have your child’s name printed on these products, but you can design the cartoon to match your child’s skin tone, hair color, eye color, hair style, and even put a pacifier in his/her mouth!!

As an adoptive Mom I’m always looking for products that my are reflective of my daughter’s physical characteristics…. something she can relate to, identify with, and see herself in.  I LOVE that I can do that with these.

I ADORE this little lunchbox, and know Madalynn would flip over it… she loves any little thing you can put items in… the BEST part is it says it’s a chalkboard INSIDE… so if you use it as a lunchbox you can leave an encouraging note for you child at school…. I CAN’T even handle it!!!



I think some of these would also make great newborn gifts, and WONDERFUL for families welcoming a child through adoption.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I’ve mentioned before (I think)… this amazing free software from Google called Picasa that you can do simple edits, that can add a bit of pop to your photos, and it’s FREE!! 

Below is a small example of how you can enhance a photo.

So, this is the SOOC (straight out of the camera)… gorgeous day at the lake!  But this picture is a bit flat & gray.


Once you download Picasa it will import the pictures on your computer… so find that folder, and double click on the photo you want to edit…

Pic tut 5

This is the edit screen… see the pane on the left, with some simple edits, and the 3 tabs across the top for “Basic Fixes”, “Tuning” & “Effects”.

Pic Tut

Once open… the first thing I usually do is ‘Auto Contrast’ (highlighted in yellow) which usually greatly improves the flatness & the greyness of a photo.

Pic tut2

Now, the only other thing I’m going to do to this photo is bump the saturation just a bit… this will make the blue bluer & the green greener.  So I click on the effects tab.


Pic tut 3

Then the left pane will change with a slider tab to adjust the saturation, and as you slide it you will see how it affects the photo in the middle pane… so play with it until you get to where you want… careful though don’t make it look  alien… unless you’re going for an artistic look!  I just bumped it ever so slightly.

Pic tut 4


End result…


Once that’s done… click on ‘file’, and ‘save’ to save your changes.  The beauty of this program too is you can ALWAYS open the photo back up, and undo EVERYTHING you did… including the save.

Before.                                                           After.

IMGP3337                        IMGP3337-1

This took me all of 2 minutes to do, just makes the photo pop a bit more.

Sometimes with the saturation I also like to bump it down… below is a photo I did that with my daughter… I think it gives the photo an old-fashioned feel… almost a sepia tone…


Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer World Travel…

Loved this idea over on “Mommy’s Idea Blog” to keep kids busy this summer!!

Favorite Casserole….Yummy

Another inspiration from the Betty Crocker cookbook that I’ve tweaked a bit…  The original recipe is Turkey Tetrazzini but I usually end up using chicken as I rarely have turkey on hand… just the 2 of us a turkey is NOT practical.  This can also be doubled or tripled… it’s always a hit, and rarely is there any left.


Start some water onto boil for the pasta. Preheat the oven to 350.


While that gets heated up… chop 2 cups of chicken.


  • I’ve found those pre-cooked roasters you can buy at the grocery store is usually just enough chicken for this recipe… so I’ll use that if I’m in a rush to throw this casserole together.
  • I will also buy an uncooked roaster, bake that… use a good portion for this recipe, and then store the rest in the fridge for chicken salad sandwiches, or freeze it for this recipe in the future.
  • You can also poach or roast 2-3 chicken breasts and use those.
  • I also think there is pre-packed cooked chicken you can also buy although I’ve never done this so I don’t know how much chicken it will give you.


Once the water is boiling add the pasta & cook according to package directions.  I prefer to use egg noodles although the original recipe has spaghetti.


I prefer to put chopped broccoli in this but peas would work or any veggie you prefer really.  I buy the frozen & get it par-cooking in the microwave… mostly defrosted & soft they don’t need to be fully cooked as they’ll cook more in the oven.


So… now you’ve got the pasta water boiling, and the veggies cooking…

So, now in a large saucepan (at least 4 qts) combine

2 cups chicken broth (1 can is exactly 2 cups… one of these boxes is 4 cups)



Then add 2 cups 1/2 & 1/2


Then 1/2 cup flour.


Then 1/4 cup butter… I also chop into about 1tbsp pieces so they melt evenly.


Add 1/2 tsp salt & 1/4 tsp pepper


Then it will look like this mashed up mess…




Heat this to boiling over medium-high heat… stirring constantly… once it gets to boiling continue to stir for 1 minute.  It should have a slightly thinner consistency than an alfredo sauce or a gravy.



Add chicken to flour/butter/broth mixture.


Add the egg noodles.


Add the broccoli.


I add chow mein noodles, but almonds would also be good.


Give it all a good stir.


Put into a 2qt casserole. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese… I prefer the sharpest I can find, and fresh grated is better, but pre-bagged will work.  Again, use whatever kind of cheese you prefer.


My feeling too is don’t skimp on the cheese…


Put in the oven and bake 25-30 minutes until hot & bubbly… serve with some nice rolls or bread, and a nice side salad.


Comfort food IS served!!

For these pictures I was making a double batch so if the pictures don’t match the measurements I mention go by the measurement.  Full recipe below.

Terri’s Tetrazzini

7 oz spaghetti or egg noodles

2 cups chicken or turkey broth

2 cups half & half or whole milk

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2-1 cup broccoli, black olives, or peas (or any veggie you may prefer)

1/2 cup chow mein noodles (or almonds)

2 cups cut up cubed chicken or turkey

1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese.

  1. Heat oven to 350.  Cook & drain pasta according to package directions.
  2. Mix broth, half & half, flour, butter, salt & pepper in at least a 4qt sauce pan (closer to 6 if you double the recipe). Heat to boiling over medium-high heat, stirring constantly… once at a boil continue to stir for one minute longer.
  3. Stir in noodles, chicken, chow mein noodles, and veggie.  Spread in ungreased 2 qt casserole. Sprinkle with cheese.
  4. Bake uncovered 25-30 minutes until hot & bubbly.