Pound Cake French Toast

One of the things I love the most about the Rochester area is the abundance of locally owned, amazing restaurants. I mean, who wants to cook for one with all of this goodness at my fingertips? I tend to do the healthier thing during the week, by eating a bowl of oatmeal or a Clif bar for breakfast at work. But come the weekend, I want something big and satisfying and a little unique. Thank you, Country Club Diner, for teaching me about pound cake French toast!

Wait, pound cake French toast?

Yes, and it is just as lovely as it sounds. Continue reading “Pound Cake French Toast”

30 Spaghetti Recipes for National Spaghetti Day

Did you know that January 4th is National Spaghetti Day? I personally don’t think that you need to have a special holiday dedicated to this food, as it is one of my favorite quick and easy meals to make. Okay, I guess I should confess that I often end up making thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta, instead, but that’s because I am impatient and want to eat dinner! Nevertheless, there are so many spaghetti recipes out there that go beyond your simple box of pasta and jar of sauce. Let me tempt you. Continue reading “30 Spaghetti Recipes for National Spaghetti Day”

#Giveaway Pampering Pregnant Mom for the Holidays #SMGN Ends 12/25

Pampering Pregnant Mom For The Holidays

 

Welcome to the 2016 Epic Holiday Gift Guide Pampering Pregnant Mom For The Holidays Giveaway!

Mamas work really hard to make sure that everyone is having the best holiday season ever. A pregnant mom may feel like she is under even more pressure. What better way to make her feel better than to give her yet another chance to relax with some special pampering? Keep on reading to find out more about these products and how you can win them!

This contest is hosted by the Social Media Gurus Network!

Michigan Saving and More

Deliciously Savvy

Tales From A Southern Mom

Heartbeats ~ Soul Stains

My Crafty Zoo

Adventures of a Nurse

Welcome To My Kitchen

Life in a House of Testosterone

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Now more about our sponsors in this giveaway!

Belli Skin Care

WEBSITE ~ FACEBOOK ~ TWITTER ~ PINTEREST ~ INSTAGRAM ~ GOOGLE +

Pampering Pregnant Mom For The Holidays

Cleanse & Glow Facial Duo

See review HERE.

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My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear

WEBSITE ~ FACEBOOK ~ TWITTER ~ PINTEREST ~ INSTAGRAM ~ YOU TUBE

Pampering Pregnant Mom For The Holidays

Winner’s Choice of Bear

See review HERE.

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I would also like to say Thank you to all the promoting bloggers!

Just Like the Stars

THE GIVEAWAY

This giveaway is in no way endorsed, affiliated, or associated with Facebook, Twitter or any other Social Media Networking Site.You are not eligible if you have won a prize from the sponsor in the last 12 month. This Giveaway is valid in the Continental United States Only and Entrants must be 18+ years of age to enter. This giveaway event will end at 11:59 PM (EST) 12/25/16. The winners will have 48 hours to email their information back to las93063 at gmail dot com or a new winner will be drawn, you may want to put this email address as safe as it could go to spam. The sponsors are each responsible for shipping of the above prizes. No blog associated with this contests are responsible for prize fulfillment. If you would like to be a sponsor in a giveaway like this please email Laura Smith at las930 (at)gmail (dot) com. If you take an entry you must stay following for the entire contest or you will be disqualified.

Also we all “love it if you like us” on Facebook! If you like our blogs on social media it helps us bring you only the best giveaways and more of them!

Enter below and Good Luck!

Preview the movie Sing and win a $25 iTunes GC! Ends 12/22

This is a sponsored post, however, the opinions are my own.

sing-logo

The holiday season is a great time to make new movie memories with the kids. Who isn’t excited for Sing to release later this month? It’s just in time for winter break, providing an afternoon of fun!

Keep on reading to find out more about the movie, preview some of the songs, have fun with some printables, and get your tickets to the movie now! And then, of course, enter the giveaway!

Illumination has captivated audiences all over the world with the beloved hits Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, now the second-highest-grossing animated movie in history. Following the release of this summer’s comedy blockbuster The Secret Life of Pets, Illumination presents Sing this holiday season.

The event film stars Academy Award® winners Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon, alongside Seth MacFarlane, Scarlett Johansson, John C. Reilly, Taron Egerton and Grammy Award-nominated Tori Kelly.

sing-reesewitherspoon-as-rosita

Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, Sing stars Buster Moon (McConaughey), a dapper koala who presides over a once-grand theater that has fallen on hard times. Buster is an eternal—some might even say delusional—optimist who loves his theater above all and will do anything to preserve it. Now faced with the crumbling of his life’s ambition, he has one final chance to restore his fading jewel to its former glory by producing the world’s greatest singing competition.

Five lead contestants emerge: Mike (MacFarlane), a mouse who croons as smoothly as he cons; Meena (Kelly), a timid teenage elephant with an enormous case of stage fright; Rosita (Witherspoon), an overtaxed mother run ragged tending a litter of 25 piglets; Johnny (Egerton), a young gangster gorilla looking to break free of his family’s felonies; and Ash (Johansson), a punk-rock porcupine struggling to shed her arrogant boyfriend and go solo.

Each arrives under Buster’s marquee believing that this is their shot to change the course of their life. And as Buster coaches each of his contestants closer and closer to the grand finale, he starts to learn that maybe the theater isn’t the only thing that is in need of saving.

Featuring more than 65 hit songs, Sing is produced by Meledandri and his longtime collaborator Janet Healy. Together, they have produced all of Illumination’s films since the studio’s inception. Released by Universal Pictures, Sing arrives in theaters on December 21, 2016. www.singmovie.com

sing_activitysheets

 

Sing hits theaters December 21. Get your tickets today on Fandango!

Check out this awesome giveaway brought to you by SING!

One (1) winner receives:

$25 iTunes gift card to download the Official Soundtrack

Headphones

sing-prizepack2

Open to US mailing addresses only

Prizing and samples courtesy of Universal Pictures

SING – In Theaters December 21

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr | #SingMovie

Remembering Grandma

I am sitting here watching my beloved Michigan Wolverines stomp all over Penn State, and I can’t help remembering Grandma. Six years ago today, I went to work extremely excited. I was leaving right after work to head home for the weekend. A friend of mine had given me tickets to the Michigan-Bowling Green game up at the Big House and I was taking my mom. I have been a Michigan football fan since I was a little kid and I went to BG, so the best of both worlds. Plus, my mother’s Alzheimer’s was starting to show more and more, so I knew such outings were quickly going to end.

Halfway through the morning, my phone started screaming, because I had forgotten to turn off the sound. I saw it was my aunt, and I cringed. I looked at my assistant and said, “I know what this means, but I will wait until after dismissal to listen to it.”

My grandmother was 95 and had just come down with pneumonia after trying to recover from a broken back. We all know what usually happens with people at that age who get pneumonia. I was just so grateful that I had made it home not even two weeks prior to see her for her birthday. In fact, she kicked me out after lunch because the Michigan-Notre Dame game was on, and she thought I needed to home to watch it.

After morning dismissal, I sat on the bench and pulled out my phone to listen to my voice mail. As I had feared, Grandma had passed away that morning. She got up, went to the bathroom, got back into bed and never got up again. I am still teary thinking about that moment, which I had literally dreamed about many times, sitting in that exact spot and getting that message.

I touched base with my father and made arrangements to miss the entire next week of work. It was going to take time to get everyone together to have the memorial service. My coworkers made sure I had food before I left and gave me their well wishes. I headed home and I fumbled as I tried to now pack for a full week instead of just a weekend. Robotically I got into the car and headed west, remembering Grandma and 33 years together.

Soon after I was born, my parents decided to take a new road in life, opening their own furniture business. They had actually met at Dad’s family’s furniture store. And for many reasons, Dad wanted his own. So, while they were building the store and apartment, we moved in with my grandparents and stayed for about a year or so.

Visiting the store in progress with Grandma and Grandpa
Visiting the store in progress with Grandma and Grandpa

After my parents started their store, I still spent a lot of time with my grandmother. If our parents were busy at the store, she would pick us up from school. Mom played the church organ, so Grandma picked us up after first service and fed us lunch, then we played games or read until Mom or Dad would come pick us up. She took us to the library and to Disney movies. I played dress up with her shoes until I outgrew them. I was fascinated by the differences between my city grandmother and my mom’s mother, who was a farmer’s wife.

She had a great smile.
She had a great smile.

As I started getting older, she was patient while I pored over family albums and asked a million questions about all of these people I didn’t know. My only regret is that I never wrote them down.

In high school, I still enjoyed spending time with my grandmother, which isn’t really a normal thing. My parents sold their business at the end of my senior year of high school and moved us 25 miles south. I still wanted to spend time with friends, and my grandmother let me stay over at her condo, even though I was coming in at 2 and 3 a.m. Our agreement was she wouldn’t tell my mother how long I had been out, as long as I didn’t tell my parents that her boyfriend was spending the night.

me-with-grandma-at-graduation

In college, I still cherished our family time at holidays. When I started teaching Montessori, I was at a school just a couple of miles away. We often got together for dinner. The only time we missed our dinner was on her birthday, September 11, 2001. We decided considering the circumstances, I was better off heading straight home as soon as possible.

That last birthday of hers that we spent together was extremely difficult. I knew when I hugged her goodbye and said that I would be back at Thanksgiving that we weren’t going to see each other again. And I remember the look in her eyes that said the same, though neither one of us would voice it.

Christmas 2009
Christmas 2009

Even after I moved to New York, I made regular visits back home. I never missed her birthday. We spent all holidays together. I would spend hours at her apartment, just sitting there. We would chat, but then sometimes sit in silence. In fact, after she died, she came back to me in a dream and told me I had to just sit there. We were just going to sit together, and if I spoke, she would leave. I opened my mouth and said, “But I have so many more questions for you.”

She replied, “I told you not to speak. Now I have to go.” And she vanished.

When my mother started showing signs of Alzheimer’s, I often confided in my grandmother, as I knew my father was also doing. She really became a surrogate mother for me at that point. We were so close, that when her brother took a turn for the worse, having contracted pneumonia after knee surgery at the age of about 88, I was the one chosen to deliver the bad news and to drive her to Hospice to say goodbye to him. When she passed away, I was nominated by the cousins to represent all of the grandchildren in a eulogy.

Losing my grandmother meant losing a part of who I was. She’s the one who taught me to love reading. She taught me to love taking walks in nature. She taught me to be strong and to help people. I lost a confidante and a friend. It also kickstarted the worst year of my life, losing my mother to the depths of Alzheimer’s, and my father then passing away eight months later. It’s always a tough anniversary for me to acknowledge, yet I do. It’s who I am. It’s my way of acknowledging my loss while celebrating her life.

I have moved on, of course, though I still miss her every day. It isn’t a choice. When life gets tough, you put one foot in front of the other and keep soldiering on. I think she would be proud of me and I still often feel her presence, especially at this time of year. I’m going to leave you with the poem that I read at her funeral. Thank you for remembering Grandma with me.

Grandma Was…

Grandma was grilled cheese sandwiches

And freshly sliced tomatoes.

She was a half glass of milk

And eating her bananas was a no-no.

Grandma was chocolate pudding fresh on the stove

And chocolate chip cookies in the oven.

She never seemed affectionate,

But was full of so much lovin’.

Grandma was Shirley Temple movies

And lots of board games.

She knew every single card game,

Even if not all their names.

Grandma was Disney movies on the big screen

At the local movie theatres,

Always eating all of my popcorn,

And never let me treat her.

Grandma never let me climb her trees,

But I blew bubbles in the back yard.

She never seemed to discipline me,

On my best behavior I worked hard.

Grandma was walks in the cemetery

Or around her condo’s block.

She would tell me lots of stories.

I loved to hear her talk.

Grandma was Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy

And Wimbledon with Federer.

Never interrupt her TV time!

All of us knew better.

Grandma was an avid reader.

She even dabbled as a writer.

My whole life’s aspiration has been

To be just like her.