Tuesday, January 31, 2017

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST: Final Trailer is Here! #BeOurGuest

The new trailer for Disney’s live-action adaptation of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST debuted last night on ABC’s broadcast of “The Bachelor” featuring new footage and Ariana Grande and John Legend’s duet of the iconic song Beauty and the Beast. Directed by Bill Condon, the film brings the story and characters audiences know and love to life in a stunning, cinematic event.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST opens in theatres everywhere on March 17th!

Meet Our Newest Contributor, Tarren Pruitt

Hello! My name is Tarren, a follower of Jesus, wife, mom, postpartum nurse, and health coach. I love encouraging others in living a purposeful and fulfilled life that shines into service to family, careers, and hobbies. I live in North Carolina with my family, and enjoy writing, blogging, cooking, and spending time with my family! 

Looking forward to sharing my journey with all of you!


Crunch Away with Snacks from New York Style #review

I love a crunchy, salty snack and I am loving the New York Style samples I received.  These are Bagel Crisps, Pita Chips and Panetini They are so much tastier than grabbing a pack of crackers or bag of chips.  I received several flavors and so far, they have all been delicious.  I just happened to have some veggie dill dip in the fridge and it was so good with the Chia Seeds & Quinoa Pita Chips.  And for breakfast on Sunday morning, I had the Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Crisps with a little dab of cream cheese!  Wow...Yummy!!  Aiden really likes the Panetini Original flavor.  These delicious snacks would go perfect for your upcoming get togethers.  I can't wait to try some of the fun ways to eat them that I saw over on the Facebook page.  Check these out and stock up on some goodness!

Garden Fresh Ranch

Aiden's favorite

Garlic Parmesan

Red Hot Chili Pepper

Everything...which is my favorite bagel

Sea Salt and Black Pepper

So good with cream cheese

Roasted Garlic

My favorite with dip

Chia Seed and Quinoa Pita Chips

Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Crisps

The irresistible taste and aroma of authentic New York bakeries is in every bag. Except we added our world famous CRUNCH to the plain old bagel! Who knew that such a simple idea born 30 years ago in a small cheese shop would become a household name that people are enjoying with their dips, salads, soups, and anything else imaginable?

Now with 5 unique products in flavors ranging from sweet to salty to spicy to savory – New York Style® gourmet snacks has become The Thing to Bring™. You can dress them up, dress them down, or leave them, well, undressed. So whether you bring them to a party – or snack on them at home – you’ll discover New York Style is more than just a snack food…it’s an experience.

Want it?  Buy it!
Head over to the webpage to learn more about these delicious snacks and find the location nearest you to purchase them.   You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Special thanks to my friends at New York Style for the amazing treats and allowing me to share all about them with you guys.  I hope you all enjoy them as much as we are!

5 Ingredient Crock Pot Applesauce #Recipe

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Are you a fan of applesauce? I sure am, and now that my baby girl is loving to eat all sorts of different foods, applesauce is one of our go-to's for her. Applesauce is a healthy snack, but have you ever stopped to take a look at what kind of junk is in the jarred stuff? It's chock-full of preservatives, tons of sugar, and other stuff you probably don't even realize you're feeding to your littles. How about those organic baby food pouches? Baby S loves them- but my wallet doesn't. They are super convenient, but you can save money by making your own quick and easy applesauce at home. Buy the reusable squeeze pouches if your kids like those, and just fill then up with your own homemade applesauce.

To make the applesauce, you'll need a few basic things...
A crock pot
Several apples (8-10), peeled and chopped or sliced
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1/2 cup water
3/4 Cup Sugar * optional
1 tsp Cinnamon* optional

First step- peel and slice the apples. Toss them into the crock pot.

Add the lemon juice to the apples, and stir. Next, add the cinnamon and sugar.

The cinnamon and sugar are optional. If you want fresh, natural applesauce, omit the cinnamon and sugar. You could also use brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice, as an alternative.

Coat the apples in the cinnamon and sugar.

Add the water, put the lid on the slow cooker, and let cook for 6-8 hours on low.

Let the aroma of the cooking apples fill your home and enjoy!

You're going to want to make applesauce in the slower cooker all the time after you try this and realize how easy and delicious it is! Your house will smell delicious, too! After the applesauce cools, serve it up with a meal, jar it, use it in the food pouches, divide into reusable cups with lids for lunch boxes, etc. You're going to save so much money by doing this, and you'll feel good about what you're feeding your family.

This is hands down the best applesauce I have ever had, and I made it myself! I hope you'll give this homemade applesauce a try. Let me know your thoughts on the recipe in the comment section!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Home Hazards You've Never Heard Of: Act Now!

We regularly hear about all kinds of dangers and threats that the everyday world poses to us. These can range from the trip hazard posed by icy weather to the threat of online hacking and scamming. But the one place we all expect to be safe from any kind of threat is within the home. Our homes are our castles, and we put our faith in them to protect us. But in reality, it could be our homes themselves that are actually posing a lot of potential risks to our health and wellbeing. Here are just some of the examples and how you can change your home for the better. 

Your refrigerator

It's very easy to take our fridges for granted, as we are now so used to having them in the home. The market for refrigeration products is always developing too. Once upon a time a fridge with a built-in freezer was considered revolutionary - now, fridges quite literally come all singing, all dancing. Just take 'smart fridges', for example. These clever pieces of kit can tell you remotely what food you have in the fridge at any given time, come with built in LED displays and can also distribute ice and water. Pretty neat, right? But, it's also important not to forget the basics of fridge and food storage. It is ultimately your responsibility to keep your food safe and contamination free - and while some smart fridges can tell you if your food's gone off, there is way more to it that that. Of course, we all forget about something at the back of our fridge and it eventually goes moldy. After all, it's hard to keep on top of all your weekly ingredients when you spend most of your time rushing round after the kids. Thankfully, a bit of moldy food isn't going to do anyone much harm - just bit the offending fruit/vegetable and say no more about it. However, if the mold has spread onto other bits of food, you will need to throw out everything and give the whole thing a really good scrub. Another common food storage issue is cross contamination. If you are storing raw meat and fish in your fridge, make sure it is in a sealed, airtight container. 

Your water 

Having running water in our homes is something most suburbanites expect these days - and when you think about it, we are very lucky to have it. However, despite this, not all faucet water is as safe as people would have you believe. The Clean Water Act has gone to great effort to improve the quality of water that is circulated through homes across the country, but many wonder if our running water is actually completely safe to consume. Despite the act, toxins are still able to infiltrate our water system, which means your faucet water could contain anything from old pharmaceuticals to radioactive substances! This is pretty scary, so it's no wonder so many people are choosing to filter their water in order to purify it as best they can. If you are thinking of doing exactly that, have a read of this in-depth review of the Berkey water filter. Drinking faucet water is not all bad - it is reported to having beneficial higher levels of fluoride than its bottled counterpart - but it is still worth taking the extra precaution. 


Have you been noticing lots of condensation in your home recently? Or does the air just feel 'thick' and heavy at times? Don't just ignore these things as they could be one of the first signs of mold and damp. Both of these things are caused by excess moisture within the home, and can potentially have devastating consequences, both on your family's health and on your home itself. For example, it can worsen or even cause conditions like asthma and other respiratory issues, and in terms of your home, it can weaken certain structural aspects. The rooms most at risk of damp and mold damage are the kitchen and the bathroom, as  a lot of moisture gathers here when you are showering or cooking. Make sure that both of these rooms are well ventilated - opening a window during/after showering and installing an extractor fan over your stove can help to circulate the air, thus preventing a human atmosphere being created. If the problem persist, you might want to invest in a dehumidifier for your home. 


One of the last things we think of as a potential threat is the paintwork in our homes. We all know the difference that a lick of paint can make - it can completely transform a room from something dowdy into something bright and welcoming. But beware if you weren't the one who painted your home. If you have moved into an older property, you need to be aware that some of the paintwork might include lead paint. Lead based paint was popular in the 1970s and earlier, so if your home dates back to this period and hasn't undergone much renovation work, there's a strong chance the paintwork is lead based. So, what's the big threat? Well, lead paint can be highly poisonous to humans if consumed. Obviously, no one goes around licking walls. But over time paint can chip, crack and flake, with the particles ending up in the air and on surfaces in your home. This makes it very easy for your children to accidentally ingest the poisonous substance, even if they don't realize they are doing it. It could even happen to you, no matter how vigilant you are. In order to keep yourselves safe, hire a professional to come and test the paint in your home. If traces of lead are found in it, the professional will have to remove all the paint in your home - never attempt to do it yourself. This is a messy and disruptive process, but is all worth it to keep you and your family safe.

Make Some Noise with 'Best of Raffi' CD #Review + #Giveaway

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Thank you to Sugar Mountain PR & Rounder Records for providing me with a sample copy of this album in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions shared are my own.

Okay moms and dads, it's time to get moving and shaking with your kids! We love music, and we love to move. I have two little wiggleworms, and one of the best ways for us to get the wiggles out before bedtime, is to play some music and have a dance party at home. I cherish these types of moments with my kids. I love making these special memories that I know we will all look back on one day. When it comes to the types of music that we listen to, it really varies, but I love introducing children's classic songs to my kiddos... you know, like the songs we gre up singing when we were kids, ourselves. One of our favorite artists to listen to when I was growing up was Raffi. I remember playing his tapes and singing along to popular songs in my grandmother's station wagon. Now Raffi has a new album of children's music, and I am so excited to be able to enjoy it with my kids!

Beloved Children's Troubadour Raffi Celebrates 40 Years of Music with
'Best of Raffi'


Rounder Records is thrilled to announce the forthcoming release of Best Of Raffi, a career-spanning collection, celebrating 40 years of hits from the legendary children’s entertainer. Due out February 10, 2017, Best Of Raffi will mark the first, curated collection of Raffi’s music to be released outside of his native Canada. Best Of Raffi will include such classics as “Down By The Bay” (1976), “Bananaphone” (1994), and, perhaps his most iconic hit, “Baby Beluga” (1980).

Having released nearly 30 children’s albums, beginning with 1976’s Singable Songs For The Very Young, pioneering troubadour Raffi Cavoukian (better known simply as “Raffi”) is one of the world's best-selling and most influential children's entertainers, having brought joy to successive generations of kids—and their parents—with his playful, exuberant personality and his irresistibly infectious songs. Along the way, he has performed countless sold-out shows at concert halls across North America and beyond, and has received a string of Platinum and Gold certifications by the RIAA.

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Best of Raffi includes so many songs that my sister and I grew up singing along to!

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This beautiful album is brightly colored, and fun for kids of all ages to enjoy and explore!

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I love the album art and the CD sleeve!

This album includes so many favorite songs, like Baby Baluga! One of the ways we enjoy this awesome CD is to put it on at home, grab all of our musical instruments, and have our own parade, while singing along! We also like to take this one in the car. The music is fun to sing along to, and both my 9 month old and six year old enjoy it. My hubby and I take trips down memory lane, as we recall childhood memories that we associate with Raffi's music!

This CD is definitely one you'll want to add to your collection of kid's music. It's perfect for the pick up line at school, for listening to when running boring errands, or for family road trips! Need to brighten up a gloomy day? Just pop in the Best of Raffi, and I promise you and the kids will be laughing, singing, and dancing in no time!

More about Raffi...

Raffi has also emerged as a respected advocate on behalf of children and the Earth, lending his voice, insight and experience to a number of issues, often through his Centre For Child Honouring. The Centre advocates a children-first approach to healing communities and restoring ecosystems, promoting the idea that early childhood is the gateway to building more humane societies. Child Honouring has found high-profile recognition, connecting Raffi with such luminaries as Nelson Mandela and The Dalai Lama, as well as being the focus of 2012 TEDx Talks by Raffi. The artist has also published several books – including 2013’s Lightweb Darkweb, which focuses on the need to reform social media, especially for young users. Over the course of his career, Raffi has received recognition for both his musical achievements and his tireless advocacy work, including the prestigious Order of Canada in 1983, numerous Parents’ Choice awards and Grammy nominations, a Juno Award for Best Children’s Album (Bananaphone, 1994) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

The liner notes for Best Of Raffi confirm Raffi’s cross-generational appeal:  “There are now millions of ‘Beluga Grads’ — adults who grew up with Raffi’s music and are now experiencing it through their childhood memories and through their own children and grandchildren.”

Raffi's albums consistently make the U.S. sales charts, and he continues to perform and record actively: his most recent award-winning title, Owl Singalong, was released earlier in 2016 to critical acclaim, and he is currently in the midst of an extensive North American tour.

With 40 years’ worth of favorites, Best Of Raffi will bridge the gap between parents who grew up with his music, and their children, discovering many of these classics for the first time.

Best of Raffi would make a super sweet Valentine's Day gift, or Easter basket treat for the kids!

Want it? Get it!

Preorder Best Of Raffi: http://smarturl.it/BestOfRaffiCD
For Raffi's upcoming U.S. tour dates, please visit raffinews.com/raffi/concerts/

Want it? Win it!

One lucky MBP reader will win their own copy of Best of Raffi. This giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older. Just use the handy RC entry form below to enter for your chance to win. MBP is not responsible for prize fulfillment. Please see our policies page for details.

Special thanks to Rounder Records for allowing us to share about this new release, and for offering this fun giveaway for our readers!

Good luck!

The Perfect Valentine's for Your Gals from Ulysses Press! #review #MBPVDHGG17

Who likes to color?  I love coloring because it is so relaxing to me!  These cute Valentine's Cards are perfect for your girlfriends.  And I absolutely love Galentine's Day.  There is plenty of space on the back of these cards to write a message to your Gal Friends.  I can't wait to slip these into my co-workers Valentine's Boxes at school.  I am really enjoying coloring them for each friend I plan to give them too.  This is a new release book from Ulysses Press.  Head over and check it out along with many other books they have available.

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Galentine’s Day
20 Hand-Drawn Cards to Tear, Color and Share with Your Favorite Ladies
By Eva Marie Taylor
Stylish, hand-drawn cards featuring cute messages for gals to give to gal friends
What’s Galentine’s Day? Only the best day of the year! Every February 13th, women leave their significant others at home and spend the day admiring each other. It’s all about ladies celebrating ladies. Perfect for best friends, mothers, coworkers, and more, these cards offer women the chance to show how much they appreciate and love every woman in their life. Each beautiful card has a black-and-white line drawing set on a matte cardstock—ready for you to tear out, color, and share. Along with whimsical designs, they include playful messages like, “You’re the chicken to my waffle;” quirky compliments such as, “You are a brave, radiant unicorn;” and inspiring notes like, “You’re crushing it!” Coined by popular TV character Leslie Knope of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, Galentine’s Day has become a widespread holiday for celebrating the women in your life on February 13th—or any day of the year.
Beautiful book of Galentine's Cards

How cute is this one that I'm working on?

Love this!

The back with plenty of space for special notes.

Want it?  Buy it!
Be sure to check out the Ulysses Press webpage and get your own Galentine's Day cards.  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  

Special thanks to my friends at Ulysses Press for allowing me to share Galentine's Day with all of you!  I hope you enjoy these as much as I am!

Motivational Monday: Becoming the Man your Parents Raised

Sometimes we take for granted what our parents have done to make us who we are.  We grow up and move away from home and we get busy.  We forget to thank our parents for all the struggles they helped us with.  This man showed his father a selfless thank you to his dad and made his whole world brighter.  What will you do to make someones day brighter?

Mind The Bump: How To Have A Healthy Pregnancy

If there is ever going to be a time in your life to get fit and healthy, it’s pregnancy. Not only are you taking care of your body and your health to be able to nurture your precious little life in the best way you can, you’re actually also taking care of your body post-baby. Really! For some women, their health is important anyway, but more so when it is time to try to conceive. A baby needs you to have a certain level of health and being in a healthy weight bracket can really go a long way to ensuring that your pregnancy is healthy all the way through. The earlier you adopt a healthy eating and exercise routine, the better your body will recover after labour. Once you’ve carried a baby in the womb for nine months, your body changes irreparably in terms of its shape, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep extra and unnecessary weight on. You decorate a nursery for the arrival, but until then it’s up to you to keep the baby safe.

Granted, with symptoms and side effects like morning sickness, sometimes being healthy is difficult. Sometimes food aversions that come with pregnancy means that the only thing you can stomach for the first early weeks is toast – and that’s okay! You can only eat what your body allows and hope that once the first trimester has passed, your hormones can settle and you can eat a balanced diet again. Foetal development depends on you eating correctly, lightly exercising and taking the right prenatal vitamins. There’s going to be a lot of changes happening to you during pregnancy, other than the bump you’ll grow housing your child, and you should anticipate your life changing big time.

Before you even begin trying to conceive a baby, look at your health. Do you drink? Do you smoke on a regular basis? If yes to either of these, it’s time to start cutting down, quitting and detoxing the chemicals out of your body. You can gently move your alcohol consumption to one glass of wine a week and you can take champix tablets to help stop smoking. There are studies you can read to see the effects of both alcohol and cigarettes on your baby and if you make a start with quitting, you’ll be in great shape when you start trying to conceive. When you take the plunge to begin trying for a baby, start out with folic acid and eating a balanced diet before you’ve even conceived. If you are overweight, striving to get to a healthier size will mean less risks during pregnancy and labour and you can avoid gestational diabetes and further strain on your heart. 

Taking folic acid up to the twelfth week of pregnancy will optimise your baby’s development of the brain and reduce the risk of neural tube defects significantly. Your body will undergo a lot of change in the early trimester, as you are effectively building a human from scratch. You’re building bones, cartilage, a heart, a brain and limbs and this particular stage will make you exhausted! Extra blood is pumping around your body and your hormones are working overtime to help this little scrap of life develop into your piece of immortality in the world. The sickness you may be feeling is your bodies way of trying to rid itself of an invader. That’s not to say you would lose your pregnancy, but technically it’s a foreign body inside you and until the placenta takes from the corpus luteum in around the ninth week, you may find yourself hugging the toilet bowl. Eat what you can here and try and stay as hydrated as possible. In extreme cases, you may need hospital treatment for sickness. This is called hyperemesis gravidarum and it basically translates to sickness around the clock.

As the pregnancy moves closer to labour, you may be thinking about breastfeeding. Taking classes and understanding which foods are best for milk production is important and knowing that oats and fenugreek can help you produce good quality, fatty milk will help! You want your baby to grow correctly without you putting on unnecessary pounds through the pregnancy. Some weight is okay – in fact, some weight is imperative for the baby to grow healthily. But if you stay active and you eat a good balance of fruit and vegetables, you’ll not have a harder time in labour. You may even find that you lose some weight during pregnancy as you shift from your usual diet to consciously eating better. Eating for two? That’s just a myth! You only need 500 calories more per day in pregnancy to accommodate the blooming life inside. Ensuring external factors like painting a nursery and heavy lifting are all done by someone other than you can also help you during the pregnancy as you won’t be putting your body under any undue strain. You also wouldn’t be breathing in any chemicals that can make you sick!

Your pregnancy can be healthy, your body can be healthy, you just have to make the time to take steps to make it so. Pregnancy is a beautiful gift and if you treat your body as the temple it is, you can ensure your child grows as well as it can do inside. It’s important to remind yourself that you are sharing your space. If you crave chocolate cake, have some – never deny your body what it wants. Speak to your doctor about what your cravings mean. If you crave ice, you likely are anaemic. I know that sounds bizarre, but it’s so true! So try and curb the ice craving with some leafy vegetables and if that doesn’t work, fill up those ice cube trays!

A healthy baby is the end goal and a labour that progresses peacefully is an empowering experience that all women should anticipate excitedly rather than fearfully. Enjoy your pregnancy knowing you have taken every precaution and made every provision for your health, and you’ll find you’re less likely to succumb to postnatal depression. Congratulations on your pregnancy and good luck!