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No Hassle Potatoes

October 16, 2016

I was offered a VoxBox through the Influenster program for Idahoan instant potatoes. I have never been a fan of instant rather making them from scratch was my choice due to the taste, not the convenience. Making mashed potatoes isn't easy or quick so we don't have them often. One meal I had growing up and my kid's love was fish sticks with mashed potatoes. I was hesitant but thought I would give the Idahoan version a try. They were very easy to make, boil water and butter, add milk and the mix. Stir and let them rest for a bit and they were done. 

To my surprise, they tasted buttery, fluffy, and ever bit like homemade (without the lumps). I am sold! From now on, these Idahoan brand potatoes are on my shopping list, thanks to Influenster. 

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Chick-fil-a Mom's Panel

September 22, 2016

I am so excited to once again be a part of the Chick-fil-a Mom's Panel. This is my fourth year participating. As a part of the Mom Panel, I ’ll have the opportunity to hear about exclusive Chick-fil-A news and participate in special promotions which I will share with you here on Try it - Like it. 

If you'd like to be in the know, you can join Chick-fil-a email insiders. [email insiders]


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Fake Spaghetti Recipe

August 20, 2016

Weeknight, back to school, busy schedules...sometimes you need a quick go to recipe that everyone likes. This recipe is full of flavor and very kid friendly. My daughter often asks for this meal. 


  • 12 oz Rotini Noodles
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce


  • Boil water and add noodles, drain when fully cooked
  • Brown ground beef
  • Add all four ingredients together and mix. It's ready to serve. 

I know the ingredients sound a bit strange and don't seem like enough but this is one you are going to have to trust and just try it. 



Stuffed Cheese Dumplings :: A Back To School Lunch Recipe

August 18, 2016

 This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser.
All opinions are mine alone. #BacktoSchoolSimple #CollectiveBias

Back to school shopping includes grocery shopping at our house. I do shop differently at the grocery store when school is in session. We buy a lot more conveniently packed items. We had a Market District/Giant Eagle store open in our area recently. It makes shopping convenient since they have a variety of options available for packing school lunches. If you are looking for other back to school themed recipes check them out here:

inside store
inside our Market District store

You have probably heard me state before that my girls go to a non-traditional classical education school. They attend school three days a week and homeschool the other two. On those days at home, I like to make the day a bit special by serving a hot lunch. One of the recipes we will use this year is Stuffed Cheese Dumplings or Pizza Dumplings. I stumbled across the idea for this recipe and my daughters and I made the recipe. They both enjoy helping and request them often. It is a great way to include the girls in the kitchen while teaching life skills.

convenient packs
convenient packs for lunch


  • Roll of refrigerator biscuits
  • String Cheese
  • Pepperoni (optional)
  • Butter
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning


Preheat oven to temperature designated on the biscuit package. (ours was 350 degrees)

Place foil on a cookie sheet and flatten the biscuits. 

cheese on biscuit
Cut the string cheese with kitchen scissors to fit the biscuits.
​(One package cut down to three pieces for us) Place the Pepperoni if desired.

rolled biscuits
Cover the ingredients with the biscuit. Rolling them into a ball makes them look like Dim Sum!

butter mixture
Melt the butter and add Garlic powder and Italian seasoning to taste.
Approx. 1 Tbsp of butter and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Paint this mixture onto the biscuits. 

Bake in the oven for the time stated on the biscuit package. (Ours was 15 - 17 minutes)


  • Use a variety of ingredients for inside the biscuits. 
  • Serve with pizza sauce for dipping.
  • Can be served hot or cold. 

Additional Resources:

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City Barbeque

July 6, 2016
Have you tried City Barbeque? I have, but I was still grateful to be invited to a blogger promotion at the Fishers, IN location. We had a great tasting event and they took such great care of us. Here are a few things I learned about City Barbeque. 
  • City Barbeque has no freezers and no microwaves - can you say fresh!!!
  • Pork and brisket are cooked overnight on site while Chicken and Rib are cooked all day long. 
  • City Barbeque first started 17 yrs in a garage in Ohio but now has 25 locations with 5 in Indiana. (Greenwood, Avon, Carmel, Fishers, IUPUI)
  • City Barbeque is in the community with the opportunity to hosts fundraisers in stores where you get 25% to the organization.
  • City Barbeque at their IUPUI location has an event room you can reserve without a fee. 
  • Consider hosting a party or event at City Barbeque or plan a catering event. Dine in, carry-out, bulk order, or fancy catering. 
  • City Barbeque can also prepare action stations for your events, think candy apple bar, lemonade station or a s'more station.

The Sides:

hush puppies, corn bread, baked beans, greens, coleslaw, mac and cheese, corn pudding, potato salad, green beans, summer salad (seasonal)
The Meats:
smoked turkey, ribs, brisket, smoked sausage, shredded chicken, shredded pork

Triple chocolate cake, yes they replace the water in the recipe with Hersey's chocolate syrup!

The App:

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Bacon Maple Crack Recipe Review

June 28, 2016

I saw this scrumptious video on Facebook from Get in my Belly. I knew I needed to try it so we put it together tonight. I wasn't really sure if it was an appetizer, breakfast, dessert or a treat. After trying it, I am still not sure. It could really be any of those things. If you like dipping your bacon in your syrup, this recipe is for you. 



  • cooked bacon
  • crescent rolls
  • brown sugar
  • maple syrup

before baking at 375 degrees for 25 minutes

after baking

You might wonder if you serve it hot or cold. Yeah, me too, I am not sure. It tasted good hot. I am sure it will be good cold if there is any left. 

I have to admit that after seeing the video, I didn't really measure the ingredients but just guestimated. My 10-year-old daughter helped me. She opened and spread out the rolls and poked it with a fork. I poured the syrup on and she spread it out. I cut the bacon up with a kitchen scissor (my favorite kitchen tool) while she put it on the dough. I put the brown sugar in a cup and gave it to her to spread out. We added another layer of bacon (which the recipe doesn't call for) and then more syrup and brown sugar. 

Indiana Pork Patties + Recipe

May 20, 2016

 Indiana Pork Patties

If you have ever visited the Indiana State Fair, you are familiar with the Pork Patty Sandwich. Hoosiers wait all year for that famous sandwich. We love visiting the Fair and affectionately call it grazing rather than visiting. And we don't miss the pork patties either. 

Thankfully, we no longer have to wait for the State Fair to roll around in order to enjoy a Pork Patty Sandwich. Indiana Pork Producers are releasing a frozen package of 8 patties available in Central Indiana Marsh Supermarkets just in time for Labor Day. This is an Indiana grown product. 

Each pack comes with eight individually separated patties, a recipe card, and a featured farmer's information. 

I found about this wonderful opportunity through attending an Indiana Pork Blogger Day where we learned about the patties, we got to cook patties for lunch, and were challenged to create our own recipe  to "dress your burger". I was sent home with a package to experiment with my own recipe. 

I have a favorite pork roast recipe that I thought might translate well to a patty. So here is what I tried. 

Applesauce Pork Patties




  • 1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons mixed spices (I used roasted garlic and herb)

measuring cup with ingredients
Honestly, I have made this mix so often, I no longer measure. I measured for this specific application but normally I just throw the ingredients together by sight. 


You can grill the patties directly from frozen. I suggest a grill pan or on the barbeque. Although you might be tempted to cook them on high, don't. The grease causes a lot of smoke and can easily burn you or the patty.



After the first side is done and I flipped them, I added a tablespoon of the applesauce mix and continued to cook them. You'll want to cook them to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.


I wanted the sauce to get crunchy, similar to what happens when I cook a roast with the sauce on top so I placed the cooked patties under the broiler.


finished pork patty
Here is my finished patty and yes, it was tasty. My daughter likes hers plain, without the sauce, my husband liked his with the sauce and added mayonnaise. I would love to know how you would "Dress your burger."

Social Media for Indiana Pork Producers:


~A special thanks to Indiana Pork Farmers and IFOF for this post

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Honey Marshmallows Recipe

May 10, 2016

I will admit, I have never made marshmallows. They seem easy to make but I had never thought to do so. We have a local company that makes gourmet marshmallows that are to die for, so I know the handmade kind are wonderful. They would make great gifts around the holidays, in a cup of cocoa or even a s'more. This recipe uses honey instead of sugar, doesn't that just sound yummy?


  • Canola spray oil
  • 2 (0.25-ounce) packages unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 1 cup honey
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • Other flavoring options:*
  • 2 teaspoons very finely chopped fresh lavender
  • 2 teaspoons very finely chopped fresh mint
  • 2 teaspoons very finely grated lemon or lime zest
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • 3/4 cup potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Lightly coat an 8- or 9-inch-square pan with spray oil. Line the bottom with parchment paper, allowing it to hang over two sides, and lightly coat the paper. To keep marshmallow from sticking as you transfer it to the pan, lightly coat a wooden spoon or rubber spatula with spray oil. (NOTE: To cut marshmallow into shapes instead of squares, make a thinner layer of marshmallow by using a 9x13-inch pan.)

Pour 1/2 cup water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin evenly over the top and let sit until gelatin “blooms.” Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, stir together honey, salt and 1/2 cup water. Clip a candy thermometer to the inside edge of the pan and bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat to medium and boil, without stirring, until mixture reaches 240°F, 6 to 8 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from heat.

Working quickly, turn mixer on low speed and slowly pour in hot honey syrup. Increase speed to medium-high and whisk until mixture reaches room temperature and is shiny white, very thick and fluffy, 10 to 15 minutes total, adding any flavoring or coloring during the last minute.

Use the prepared spoon or spatula to transfer marshmallow to the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Let sit at room temperature until cooled, set and slightly dried out, about 4 hours.

Put potato starch in a medium bowl. Using the overhanging parchment paper as handles, remove marshmallow from the pan and place on a cutting board. Lightly coat a large knife with spray oil and cut marshmallow into generous 1-inch squares, spraying the knife as needed to keep it from sticking. As you go, toss a few marshmallows at a time in potato starch, shaking off the excess. (Alternatively, lightly coat cookie cutters with spray oil and cut marshmallow into shapes.) Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

*Replace the vanilla with fresh herbs or citrus zest, if you like.
Nutritional Info: 

Per Serving: Serving size: 2 marshmallows, 70 calories (0 from fat), 10mg sodium, 17gcarbohydrates, 1g protein.


How much water should you drink in a day?

April 28, 2016

You've probably heard the adage drink 8 - 8 oz glasses of water a day. It's a popular saying and easy to remember, but not necessarily true. The Institute of Medicine has determined that all liquids count. Your coffee in the morning, a can of soda, basically anything liquid you consume in a day counts towards your daily total. It is also true that you will drink more if it is a flavor you like. So, no longer do you need to force yourself to drink up glasses and glasses of water if you don't like it. Instead of 64 oz of water in a day, a woman needs 72 oz of liquid and a man needs 104 oz of liquid. Remember all liquids count towards your total daily intake. This standard is for a median climate and should be adjusted for extreme physical activities as well as variations in temperatures. So don't forget, get this free PDF printable for your house or office. [Drink up printable]

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Lemon Muddy Buddies with Just Jan’s

April 24, 2016
  • Lemon is such a great flavor for spring and summer. There is so much you can do with the flavor, but lemon screams desserts to me. I was invited to participate in a home party for Just Jan's. One of the offerings was Lemon Curd. I remembered a recipe I had tried for a lemon version of Muddy Buddies, so I knew exactly what I was going to make. I had the opportunity to share them with a group of ladies from KDP, a philanthropic sorority. Thankfully, we were having our yearly luncheon to benefit the local food pantry. I made and brought the snack to share with these wonderful ladies who spend their time volunteering in our community.

  • Ingredients:
  • 8 c. Rice Chex cereal
  • 1 c. white chocolate chips or candy melts
  • ¼ c. Just Jan's lemon curd
  • ¼ c. butter
  • ½ tsp. lemon oil (or lemon extract)
  • 2 c. powdered sugar



Combine the Lemon Curd, butter and candy melt in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stir occasionally until all ingredients melt and combine.


Watch the mix and make sure the candy melt doesn't burn.


In a large pan or paper bag, add the cereal and pour the melted mix over the cereal. Stir or shake the bag to incorporate it together. Allow it to cool a bit and add half the powdered sugar. Stir or shake again to coat the cereal. Add the remaining powdered sugar and stir or shake again. Store the finished Muddy Buddies and an airtight container.


The above photo shows a table at the Luncheon with the Muddy Buddies in place and ready for the event to begin.


For more recipes, visit:


I was provided Just Jan's product in order to create a recipe and share it. Thanks to Tryazon for the opportunity. 


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Storks Movie Review

September 21, 2016
Storks deliver babies…or at least they used to. Now they deliver packages for a global internet retail giant. Junior (Andy Samberg), the company’s top delivery stork, is about to be promoted when he accidentally activates the Baby Making Machine, producing an adorable and wholly unauthorized baby girl.
We saw the screening for Storks the other night. I admit, it was much better than I expected. I laughed out loud at a number of different scenes. My daughters, 10 and 13, really enjoyed it and would go again if their friends wanted too. My husband thought it was slow in a few spots, but enjoyable. The animation was seamless showing huge advances in hair and water. 
There are strong messages about parents spending time with their children. Not to miss out on those quality times before it is too late. Pay attention to the wolves, they steal the show and the laughs. Be prepared, you may need to have a discussion about where babies come from after seeing this flix. 
Release Date: September 23, 2016 
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Director: Nicholas Stoller, Doug Sweetland
Screenwriter: Nicholas Stoller 
Genre: Animation / Comedy
MPAA Rating: (PG) for mild action and some thematic elements.
Official Website:
Cast: Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Katie Crown, Danny Trejo, Stephen Kramer Glickman, Anton Starkman, Ty Burrell, Jennifer Aniston

Voiceless Movie Review

September 5, 2016

The discussion about Pro-choice/Pro-life is a heated battle. I was offered the opportunity to review the movie Voiceless before it's theatrical release. I was hesitant, to say the least. I didn't want to watch something that was going to be heavy on the side of trying to persuade me. While the movie was focused on the ministry of one man driven to follow his calling, the movie was really more about how one life can make an inpact. How change takes getting involved, one personal relationship at a time. As well as how doing good, doing what you believe in isn't without getting messy and how small victories can make a difference. One of my favorite comments in the movie is from the woman who runs the health clinic and she states how just wanting to help people can look so different. I think this speaks volumes about how people often view a single situation so differently, and while not said, it is important to remember that fact.

  • VOICELESS hits theaters October 7, 2016. New theaters being added daily.
Film Synopsis
Battling his own inner-demons, Jesse (Rusty Joiner: Last Ounce Of Courage, Dodgeball, “Days of Our Lives”) encounters a young, pregnant teen overcome with grief that, after an impulsive abortion, has her family blaming Jesse for more than just her final decision. Jesse’s wife Julia (Jocelyn Cruz: Strike One, This Is Our Time) must come to terms with her own choices and decide if she can support her husband as opposition mounts against him. Comedian Paul Rodriguez also stars as Virgil with James Russo as Pastor Gil.

Review of Toruk - A Traveling Cirque du Soleil Peformance

August 11, 2016

The mission of Cirque du Soleil (Circus of the Sun) is to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world. Their touring show Toruk, does that and more. 

A quick overview of the show: “TORUK - The First Flight, inspired by James Cameron's AVATAR, a live experience by Cirque du Soleil, envisions a world beyond imagination set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film. The word Toruk, in the Na'vi language, refers to the great leonopteryx, the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Central in Na'vi lore and culture, this fascinating creature is crucial to the Na'vi clans' sense of destiny and interconnectedness - and is about to be ridden for the very first time by a Na’vi."

I enjoyed a “sister date” and we went to see Toruk in Indianapolis. We both have seen other Cirque du Soleil shows so we had a sense of what to expect. Toruk was a bit different in that it was heavy in storytelling with the English language being used more than in other shows I have seen. Since Toruk is based on the popular film Avatar, you might benefit from reviewing the movie first. 

I tried to view the show with an objective eye so I could share information in this blog post. Here are a few topics I noticed unique to the performance. 


Physical space
I have seen another traveling Cirque show. While traveling events tend to be visually focused on a set stage performance, Toruk was different in that they utilized the arena more than other similar events. Performers entering into the audience isn’t unique and Toruk did do that, they also used the arena floor better and visually activated the entire space.  

Toruk relies heavily upon video projection. With that said, you might be thinking more like a movie screen, that isn’t the case. The entire arena floor and their props are all one large video screen making this a unique experience where the performers act on top of the projection. 

Cirque do Soleil typically uses a lot of acrobatics. Cirque celebrates the human figure and it’s unique physical abilities. While Toruk uses some acrobatic segments, they are far less than other Cirque shows. 

Unlike anything else I have ever experienced, Toruk has an app that you download on your cell phone. The app interacts with the performance. At times you can control some of the projections onto the performance surface. Most of the other interaction with your cell phone becomes one of the lights being projected and a part of the performance. You will definitely want to download the app and join in on the participation. This was so unique and the more people that participate, the better the integration with the show. 

The Tour Continues:

  • Indianapolis, IN,  August 10 to 14, 2016
  • Birmingham, AL,   August 19 2016 
  • Nashville, TN,   August 24 2016 
  • Evansville, IN,   September 2 2016 
  • Brooklyn, NY,   September 7 2016 
  • Newark, NJ,   September 15 2016 
  • Milwaukee, WI,   September 22 2016 
  • Minneapolis, MN,   September 28 2016 
  • Winnipeg, MB, Canada October 5 2016 
  • Fresno, CA,   October 27 2016 
  • Ontario, CA,   November 2 2016 
  • Los Angeles, CA,   November 11 2016 
  • Phoenix, AZ,   November 16 2016 
  • San Diego, CA,   November 23 2016 
  • Sacramento, CA,   November 30 2016 
  • Portland, OR,   December 7 2016
  • Philadelphia, PA,   March 8 2017

Social Media:


Try it - Like it was provided complimentary tickets in order to write this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.



"Frozen" Games Coming to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park

May 9, 2016

For the first time in forever, Olaf’s wish to experience summer fun with his friends will come true when he and Kristoff, stars of the hit Disney animated film “Frozen,” host the inaugural “Frozen” Games this summer at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park.
The “Winter Games Committee” has decided to take advantage of the magical snowstorm over Blizzard Beach and host daily activities this summer. The committee members have even invited Kristoff and Olaf to lead teams of guests in a fun day of “Frozen” activities.
From May 27 to Aug. 21, 2016, guests of all ages visiting Blizzard Beach may choose to join Team Kristoff or Team Olaf to participate in a variety of winter-themed activities throughout each day, including:


  • Ice Pail Relays – teams will line up and pass pails of water quickly from one person to the next, trying to fill a container and the team that fills their container first is the winner.
  • Snowball Toss – pairs compete in a snow-themed water balloon toss from progressively greater The pair that gets the farthest apart without breaking its water balloon is the winner.
  • Ski Pole Limbo – guests play limbo, using a ski pole as the
  • Slide Races – teams race down one of the signature water slides at Blizzard Beach, and much more!

Olaf and Kristoff will take part in the “Frozen” Games’ opening and closing ceremonies by appearing on the Observation Deck near the Summit Plummet attraction each day, accompanied by 
trumpet fanfare, banners, and music. Additionally, one lucky guest will be chosen each morning to be the Ski Captain and thus the first guest to take the plunge down Summit Plummet, signaling the start of the “Frozen” Games.
From the observation deck, Olaf and Kristoff will give regular updates throughout the day on their teams’ progress and achievements, as well as announce the winning team of the “Frozen” Games.
The “Frozen” Games are an all-day event at Blizzard Beach, beginning shortly after the park opens. Guests can sign up at the park entrance, and all activities are included with regular park admission.
Blizzard Beach is a 66-acre winter-themed water park. The park offers water activities suitable for all ages, including signature attractions such as Summit Plummet, one of the world’s fastest free-fall water slides that
plunges guests from 120 feet high at speeds up to 55 mph; Toboggan Racers, an eight-lane water slide that sends guests racing over exhilarating dips down a 250-foot “snowy” course; Tike’s Peak, a kid-sized version of Blizzard Beach designed for kids ages 2-5; and Ski Patrol Training Camp, designed for pre-teens with a twin inner tube slide, crinkle slide and a challenging ice-flow walk along slippery, floating “icebergs.”

What is a craft/DIY conference? -- SNAP Conference

April 16, 2016

Have you ever wondered what a crafting and DIY conference is like? Well, I am wrapping up my time spent in Salt Lake City, Utah where I attended the SNAP conference. This was my second year attending. There are many things that are similar to other conferences and some uniquely different to a crafting, DIY, blogger conference.

Each day was filled with sessions. These sessions vary. There are lecture style sessions, panel discussions, round-table discussions and hands-on workshops. There are sponsored meals with swag items and guest speakers. At night, there are sponsored parties usually based on a theme with a bar, appetizers, and sometimes more swag. There are sponsor booths with make and take items, samples of products and hands-on training. SNAP also has sponsors that provide lounge rooms. In these, expect a bit of pampering. This year we were treated to chocolate by Lindt, High Tea by the Laughing Cow, Dirty Drinks from Rustoleum and Swig, and finally a candy bar by Darice. A couple of other unique experiences are a Secret Sister program where you are given a person to spoil with a gift each day and then reveal yourself at the end of the conference. There is a book exchange. And they also do something called room drops where sponsors provided more swag that is brought to your room. (swag means free items, gifts, and samples)

Yes, it is overwhelming at times. Yes, you get tired and feel like you are dragging yourself around. But the best part of the conference this year; for me, was making personal connections with people I had come to know online. Meeting them face to face was special and added another level of depth to our relationship. The past year, it was all about what I learned. So going to the same conference year after year can bring new experiences each time. The images below will give you a small glimpse into my conference experience.

Please keep in mind, conference lighting isn't great and I am taking quick snapshots with a phone.

SNAP is a three-day conference held each April in Salt Lake City, Utah, targeting makers. We’re joined by the best bloggers representing modern handmade, contemporary craft, mind-blowing home-based events, and DIY, along with dozens of creative entrepreneurs.

Would you like to see the room I stayed in?

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Do You Know Talking Ginger?

April 7, 2016

Talking Ginger is celebrating his birthday April 8th

TALKING GINGER is the cutest, most mischievous kitten you’ll ever meet (the gold one on the end).  He’s a boy, played by girl Maria Bamford.  Maria, who grew up in Minnesota, but now calls Los Angeles home, is a comedian and animation voice-overachiever known for her quirky style and vocal impressions. She is also a well-known voice actress for animated series like "Adventure Time,” “Word Girl,” “Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness,” and as mentioned Outfit7’s hit YouTube series Talking Tom and Friends:  The Animated Series.”  You can find Ginger causing a ruckus each week on the Talking Tom and Friends YouTube channel.

Talking Tom and Friends: The Animated Series features an all-star voice cast. In addition to Bamford the series stars Tom Kenny (“SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Adventure Time With Finn & Jake”) as Hank, Golden Globe®-nominee Colin Hanks (“Life In Pieces,” “Fargo”) as Tom, Lisa Schwartz (“Party Girl”) as Angela, and James Adomian (“Comedy Bang Bang!,” “Gravity Falls”) as Ben.  Created and produced out of Vienna by Outfit7,  Tom Martin (“The Simpsons,” “WordGirl”) serves as head writer.

Photo Credit:  Outfit7 Limited (used with permission)

He Named Me Malala Review

February 22, 2016
I wasn't familiar with Malala's story when I watch the film. I enjoyed the personalization of her that was presented instead of the vicious military actions associated with her story. Malala's story of survival from a gun shot is miraculous but it is just a blip in her story of advocating for girls' education. You will find her story to be something she considers not miraculous or worth singling out from all the other families that have suffered similarly. However, she uses her platform to spread her message for those not able to speak. I kept focusing on her desire to "just go to school to learn and be with friends" so taken for granted in our society. It is a true reminder of our blessings and how life can be so different.
He Named Me Malala
Global Broadcast of He Named Me Malala
Monday, February 29th
8 pm est/7 pm cst
About the Movie:
HE NAMED ME MALALA is an intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, who was targeted by the Taliban and severely wounded by a gunshot when returning home on her school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The then 15-year-old was singled out, along with her father, for advocating for girls’ education, and the attack on her sparked an outcry from supporters around the world. She miraculously survived and is now a leading campaigner for girls’ education globally as co-founder of the Malala Fund.
Acclaimed documentary filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth, Waiting for Superman) shows us how Malala, her father Zia and her family are committed to fighting for education for all girls worldwide. The film gives us an inside glimpse into this extraordinary young girl’s life – from her close relationship with her father who inspired her love for education, to her impassioned speeches at the UN, to her everyday life with her parents and brothers.
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media for 20th Century Fox. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

The Choice Movie Review

February 3, 2016

Tonight a friend and I went to see a review showing of The Choice. The weather outside was rainy and depressing. We were looking forward to a romance movie to warm our insides. It was enjoyable. Let's face it, a night out with a good friend and no kids is enjoyable in itself. But we were entertained with beautiful scenery and beautiful people, I really didn't need a plot. I could've sat in the movie theater for two hours just watching the scenery. But I digress..."The Choice," based on the novel by Nicholas Sparks, claims to reveal the secret of life, as explained by protagonist Travis Parker (Benjamin Walker): "The whole damn thing is about choices." Benjamin, one of the beautiful people, puts forth a solid performance as easy going southern boy with charm, that never disappoints. Gabby Holland  played by Teresa Palmer is also one of the beautiful people but her acting skill wasn't quite up to par and left the pairing feeling a bit awkward. The Choice is definitely this season's top chick flick that will give you emotional ups and down and darn it if you don't cry a bit too. As all good chick flick should make you do. Grab your best girlfriend and enjoy a night out. 

The Choice Synopsis: 
When feisty medical student Gabby Holland moves in next door to perennial ladies’ man Travis Shaw, they embark on a surprising romantic journey neither imagined possible. Travis has always believed a serious relationship would cramp his easy going lifestyle while Gabby is preparing to settle down with her long-term boyfriend—until an irresistible attraction between the unlikely couple upends both of their well-planned lives. Spanning a decade and tracing the evolution of a love affair that is ultimately tested by life's most defining events, this story features a memorable ensemble of friends and family in Sparks's beloved North Carolina setting, culminating with the question that every couple must ask themselves: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

Release dateFebruary 5, 2016
Drama film/Romance ‧ 1h 51m

The Finest Hour Movie Review

January 29, 2016

Last week, my family went to see the screening of The Finest Hours. Prior to viewing, I didn't know a lot about the movie. I was a bit worried it was going to be too scary for my kids (age 10 and 13), thankfully, it wasn't. On the ride home, we discussed the movie. My 13 yo said it was her new favorite movie. My husband and I discussed the aspects of it being a true story and how we had some questions and needed to research the facts more when we got home. Which we did, and then we discussed it further. A few things we realized was that Disney made an action packed thrilling movie without blood and gore or bad language. It kept our attention throughout the entire movie. We fell in love with the characters. Yes, I am sure there was animation, but nothing over the top or unbelievable. We saw the movie in 3D and during the viewing, I forgot we were watching in 3D - a good sign of how to use the technology to benefit the movie rather than for sensationalism. (at first, there was a few focus, out of focus film techniques that I noted that didn't add to the scenes.) The film did a great job of taking you back in time and placing you into the story.

A heroic action-thriller, “The Finest Hours” is the remarkable true story of the most daring rescue mission in the history of the Coast Guard. Presented in Digital 3D, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, the film will transport audiences to the heart of the action, creating a fully-immersive cinematic experience on an epic scale. On February 18, 1952, a massive nor’easter struck New England, pummeling towns along the Eastern seaboard and wreaking havoc on the ships caught in its deadly path, including the SS Pendleton, a T-2 oil tanker bound for Boston, which was literally ripped in half, trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly-sinking stern. As the senior officer on board, first assistant engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) soon realizes it is up to him to take charge of the frightened crew and inspire the men to set aside their differences and work together to ride out one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast. Meanwhile, as word of the disaster reaches the U.S. Coast Guard station in Chatham, Massachusetts, Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) orders a daring operation to rescue the stranded men. Despite overwhelming odds, four men, led by Coast Guard Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), set out in a wooden lifeboat with an ill-equipped engine and little, if any, means of navigation, facing frigid temperatures, 60-foot high waves and hurricane-force winds.

Disney’s “The Finest Hours” is the unforgettable story of the Coast Guard’s courageous mission, which is directed by Craig Gillespie and stars: Chris Pine; Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominee Casey Affleck; Ben Foster; Holliday Grainger; John Ortiz; and Eric Bana. Produced by Jim Whitaker and Dorothy Aufiero, the screenplay is by Oscar® nominee Scott Silver and Oscar nominees Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson based on the acclaimed non-fiction book of the same name by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias. Doug Merrifield serves as executive producer. “The Finest Hours” storms into U.S. theaters on January 29, 2016 in Digital 3D, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D.

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Genre:                                     Heroic Action-Thriller
Rating:                                     PG-13
U.S. Release date:                  January 29, 2016

10 Best Theme Park Resorts for Families

January 10, 2016

Sometimes, the theme park resorts are just as thrilling as the theme parks themselves, with whimsical restaurants, pools (or full-on water parks), activities and more. Let's face it, park admission every day adds up. It is nice to have additional entertaining options built into your stay. Going to a theme park in 2016? Consider one of these fun theme park hotels for your family.

1. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort

Opened in 2015, Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort features several swimming pools, two dining options, a game room, kids’ club, live entertainment, a spa with kids’ and teen treatments, and fire pits for making S’mores. Families enjoy a wide variety of accommodations, too, including family suites and rooms with bunk beds. The biggest perk of a stay at Dolly Parton’s hotel is door-to-door shuttle service to Dollywood and Dollywood Splash Country, plus early access to both parks on Saturdays.

2. LEGOLAND Florida Hotel

If you’ve ever been a fan of LEGOs (and really, who hasn’t?), a visit to LEGOLAND Florida Hotel should be on your travel bucket list. The hotel, which opened in 2015, receives rave reviews for its LEGO-themed everything: pool, décor, restaurants and more. The fun includes a treasure hunt in your room, along with Master Building Sessions (a program previously offered at the park), where families learn how to build the best LEGO models. Parents -- grab a drink at the Skyline Lounge while your kiddies play in one of three visible areas -- and don’t forget to visit LEGOLAND, just steps from the hotel.

3. LEGOLAND California Hotel

Of course, the LEGOLAND California Hotel is just as much fun as the LEGOLAND Florida Hotel, with themed play areas and suites -- some of them sleeping up to seven people! When you’re not at the park -- mere steps from the hotel -- you can relax in the pool or visit the hotel’s junior concierges (seasonal) for tips and ideas for other things to do in the area. Hint: Carlsbad Beach is just a few minutes away.

4. The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

Perhaps the most popular place to stay in Disney World, The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge combine luxury and coziness in units with one or two bedrooms, kitchenettes and balconies. Guests enjoy all the same perks as those staying right at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, too: themed swimming pools, bike and boat rentals, onsite dining and more.

5. Disneyland Hotel

The Disneyland Hotel features stunning suites with magical themes: Adventureland, Big Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean and Fairytale, to name a new. It’s also famous for the Mickey Mouse Penthouse, equipped with a theater and animator’s station. Other features include three pools, a kids’ club called Pinnochio’s Workshop, movie screenings and meet-and-greet experiences with Goofy, Pluto, Donald, Mickey and Minnie at Goofy’s Kitchen.

6. Hotel Hershey

Anyone who’s been to Hersheypark has wanted to visit the grand Hotel Hershey. Sure, the hotel is luxurious, with a spa that’s famous for its chocolate treatments and decadent chocolate buffets at its restaurants (particularly during the holidays), but the hotel also caters to little ones, with a separate kids’ check in and Cocoa Clubhouse, where little truffles enjoy arts and crafts, games and even ice cream making. Of course, the pools are always crowd pleasers when it’s time for a break from the main attraction: Hersheypark.

7. SpringHill Suites Philadelphia Langhorne

Didn’t expect to see a chain hotel on this list? Here’s why we love it: SpringHill Suites Philadelphia Langhorne features a private walkway right to Sesame Place, so you never have to go far to get to the park or get back to the hotel when everyone needs a break. And when it’s time for those inevitable breaks, you can take a dip in the indoor pool. Complimentary breakfast, a seasonal kids’ play room and laundry facilities add to the appeal for families with young children who want to meet Cookie Monster and friends.

8. Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

The first value-category hotel at Universal Orlando Resort, Cabana Bay Beach Resort seems anything but budget, with a sprawling water complex that includes a beach, lazy rivers and dive-in movies; an arcade; outdoor games; bowling alley and several onsite dining options. Guestrooms can accommodate up to six guests, with dual sinks and kitchenettes especially convenient for families. Shuttles provide transportation to the parks, but you can easily walk to Universal CityWalk.

9. Knott’s Berry Farm Resort Hotel

Knott’s Berry Farm started as a small amusement park and has since grown to become one of the most popular parks in California and the U.S. That’s why it has a theme park resort nearby, with shuttle services to both Knott’s and Disneyland! Knott's Berry Farm Resort Hotel has an on-site restaurant, where kids can meet Snoopy, as well as an outdoor pool and separate kids’ splash area. Opt for a Snoopy-themed room, too!

10. Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark

Did you know Six Flags Great Escape in Queensbury, New York, has its own hotel? Better yet, did you know that hotel has an indoor water park? Situated just seven minutes from the amusement park, Six Flags Great Escape Lodge has rooms that sleep up to 12, plus onsite dining options, an arcade, and spa. There’s a resort fee, but discounts to Six Flags Great Escape are included.


Have you been to any of these great resorts? Is there one on your list for 2016?

Source: BlogsRelease and Family Vacation Critic

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