Sunday, March 1, 2015

Valentine's Day with Red Pack

This year we celebrated Valentine's Day over the entire weekend. We had our traditional pink heart pancake and pink milk breakfast that morning, but postponed our "fancy" Valentine's supper until the next night. Andrew had plans with his friends at night on Valentine's Day and George had to work, so we planned on it that way this year. Breakfast was a success!

One of our favorite family meals is chicken parmesan! I always make two big dishes of it to freeze some and have some leftover for lunch. We decided to have that to celebrate love day for our family as our supper.  I have an easy peasy recipe that I make that has made my family happy. Generally, I use our local store brand tomato sauce or tomatoes. This time I didn't share with anyone that I had used any different ingredients and no lie, they noticed. My husband is one of the pickiest eaters ever, so when he says "I don't know what you did different with that chicken parm, but it was more delicious than ever," I know I have found something to stick with!

Redpack tomatoes was the difference! Redpack tomatoes are grown in the Midwest, where true seasons positively impact flavor-with just the right angle of the sun, perfect temperature, and soil that seems made for growing tomatoes.

Redpack sent me a kit with a few cans of different tomato options to make some of their fun, Italian recipes featuring Redpack tomatoes that are great for celebrations, big or small! You can find these recipes at

Right now Red Pack is having a celebration of Italian Carnevale and sharing that love with you and chances to win a Redpack tote bag– a total of 3,000 tote bags! There will also be a grand prize winner that will win a pasta stock pot, pasta-related serveware and Redpack products. The total value of the prize is more than $300! Enter on their facebook page for your chance to win! (This runs through March 4)

I'd say RedPack is now our new go-to for tomato products based on my family's reactions!

Disclosure:  I was provided products in exchange for this review and post.  All opinions are my own. Please see my full disclosure. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

What is Your Destiny? #StreamTeam

February is one those months that seems to pull me in and remind me how much I miss living in Arizona compared to Pittsburgh! This year is now the 2nd coldest February on record in Pittsburgh, only behind 1979--which ironically was the winter my parents moved to Arizona from here! I was 6 years old then.  My mom laughs that I ended up back here and I just tell her it was my own destiny to return to the place I was born.

My husband and I have been talking about this way of thinking a lot lately. I absolutely grew up believing I could do anything--that my destiny was limitless!

He did not grow up with that gift.

As a result, he is adamant that we instill the same belief in our children that I was blessed to have been given by my parents.  While I'm certain they didn't plan on some of the choices on my path, they were supportive and guided me as well. I packed up my Jeep and moved to Nashville, Tennessee to try my hand at singing country music. I didn't know a soul there, but wholeheartedly believed it was something I could do.

Of course, y'all have never heard me on country radio because I didn't make it big, but moving and pursuing that dream was one of the best decisions of my life!

In February the Netflix Stream Team has been focusing on destiny. Are you destined to follow the expectations of others or are you free to chase your own destiny?  The new original special on Netflix Ever After High: Spring Unsprung, celebrates that you have the power to determine your own destiny! Lily and Reagan are enjoying this show!

Lily is all about princesses, Reagan even took Ever After High valentines in for her class party, and they are both super excited about our upcoming Ever After party! Be sure to check back to read all about it soon!

While Lily some days says she wants to be Ariel when she grows up or a princess or a queen on others, she also is fascinated by learning about space and math.  Peg + Cat is still a favorite for her {which is largely about math}, she has also found a new show she's loving on Netflix called Monster Math Squad!  Maybe my princess loving little girl will be an astronaut or a mathematician?! I hope she chases her passion and never loses the excitement she has now when she talks about something she loves!

And not to be forgotten, Violet is also "Princess Pippi of Pittsburgh," per Lily

Create Your Own Destiny

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Need more ideas? Here are a few other ways to get your kids' wheels turning:

Someday, I will...

For your little kids:
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1. Build and fix things: Handy Manny
2. Make a discovery: Sid the Science Kid
3. Walk on the moon: Justin Time: Blast off!: S1E13
4. Explore the ocean: Octonauts

For your big kids:
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1. Make sweet treats: Cupcake Wars
2. Get into show biz: Fame High
3. Represent Team USA: The Gabby Douglas Story
4. Master the kitchen: Chopped

And for teens and parents:
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1. Get the corner office: Undercover Boss
2. Travel the world: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown
3. Walk the red carpet: Liz & Dick
4. Run my own restaurant: Wahlburgers

Disclosure: As a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam I was provided subscription to Netflix and also exclusive insights or other products. All opinions are my 100% my own and I was already a proud Netflix subscriber prior to this opportunity. Please see my full disclosure.

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Night at the Theater!

Last Saturday night, Lily and I had a date at the theater!

It was her first visit and her first musical! It was my first time at The Byham Theater in Pittsburgh. Thanks to Groupon, we were able to plan a night out for one of my favorite activities.  The show? The Little Mermaid!

We met up with our friends, Stef and Tracy and their daughters and ended up with a lovely girls night out doing something we've never done.  Lily wasn't happy that Violet didn't come with us. "She's a girl too, Mom!"  I explained that she's too little for something like this and I wanted to do something special with just her.

It was a cold night, of course --January in Pittsburgh isn't much other than that! We bundled up and hurried in to take our seats for the show to begin!

Lily loved seeing Ariel and always loves music. It was sweet to listen to her singing along to "Part of Your World."  The cast was superb! Every character was just brought to life from the movie! Ariel was beautiful and engaging! Sebastian was perfect! Prince Eric's voice had such an amazing tone, it was a pleasure to listen to him sing. Skuttle was hilarious, Ursula was incredible, and Flotsam and Jetsam were honestly creepy. The set was so well done, transitioning from underwater to being on the beach. The songs were fun and entertaining. Truly everything you'd expect if you love the movie!  The only thing I didn't love was Flounder's costume--a yellow sweatsuit & blue hair. It was just pretty lame compared to the entire set and other costumes, but the actor was great along with the others!

 Under the Sea

Kiss the Girl

Take a bow, Ariel!
You entertained us and we loved you!

Lily fell asleep shortly into the second Act, but I woke her up to see the wedding which is something she always plays at home with her Ariel and Eric Little People in their carriage.  Her short nap did nothing for her mood, however.

After the show, the main cast had a meet & greet.  The cast members signed Lily's program and we got a picture with Ariel, as well, although I had to be in it.  Ariel's face in the 2nd picture is hilarious! What a great sport she was!

The girls wanted a snack and a drink, so we had a late night stop at Eat & Park after the show for milkshakes.  Lily didn't last long.

Looking forward to our next mom and daughter date next month!