Monday, September 30, 2013

Betty Crocker Does It Again with Reese's, Hershey's and more!

Have you noticed the new packages of Betty Crocker mixes and icing in stores lately? I admit, I had not run across them before I received them for review, but now that I have, I can't wait to try them all!

I received a box of Hershey's cookies and cream cookie mix, a box of Reese's premium cupcake mix and a can of Hershey's chocolate icing. Yum! I was excited by these alone, so imagine my response when I discovered there are six varieties of mix and six icing options available including S'mores and Almond Joy too. This allows you to mix and match for your favorite flavor combinations. I am thinking some Reese's cookies with Hershey's icing would be good, or maybe Almond Joy frosting on S'mores cupcakes. I would love to see them add more options, especially a Reese's icing!

I wanted to try the cookies first. Just the thought of them made my mouth water. I loved the nice sized pieces of candy in the mix. As they baked, the candy mixed well with the batter and cookie bits for a nice creamy flavored cookie.

I love using Betty Crocker mixes because they are so simple to use. I normally have everything I need on hand anyway, which makes mixing one of them a snap. I use them for desserts and snacks all the time, so I was thrilled to see these new options!

I was also sent a cute cupcake decorating station and a plunger too. These allow you to remove the centers of cupcakes for filling, then use the station to decorate your cupcake creations. The plunger can double as an icing applicator and the station features two pieces, one for filling the included icing bags and the other for decorating. It is simple to sue and takes just minutes to clean up. 

“Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by Betty Crocker® through MyBlogSpark.” All opinions are my own from personal experience. 

Friday, September 27, 2013

First Look at Into the Woods with Meryl Streep!

Meryl Streep ventures “Into the Woods” as the Witch who wishes to reverse a curse so that her beauty may be restored. The humorous and heartfelt musical, a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, explores the consequences of the quests of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel—all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, and the witch who cast a spell on them. 

Like INTO THE WOODS on Facebook

INTO THE WOODS opens in theaters December 25th 2014!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Does A Projector Screen Material/ Fabric Make A Difference In Picture Quality?

When people design their projection environment, selecting the right screen can sometimes be more vital than the projector. The size of the room, the type of presentation and budgetary restraints will often dictate whether the projection screen is a motorized, fixed or pull-down type. However, the actual kind of fabric that the screen is made from can be very important. This is because every projector screen fabric has various properties that set it apart from others. Therefore, choosing the right fabric can be the main difference between a high quality and an average image. Today, there are several types of fabrics that are used in projection screens.
Matte White Projection Fabric

Over 80 percent of all projection screen set-ups utilize matte white screens. This is because it is the most versatile and cheapest
projector screen material available. Its main advantage is that it projects colors vividly without any type of hot spotting while maintaining strong image clarity.

At the same time, it boasts wide viewing angles due to the way it distributes light evenly in a very large area. However, the fabric’s main drawback is that the room’s lighting should be well-controlled to make sure that the image is projected at its best. This fabric is utilized in many situations in order to deliver a quality and strong image.

High Contrast Grey Fabric

High contrast grey fabric is another very common material used in projection screens. This is a very popular projection fabric due to its ability to provide a high resolution-image while improving the depth of blacks. Additionally, it is good at maintaining the quality of lighter colors.

This fabric also has a low gain rating along with a very wide 180 degree viewing angle. However, it should be used in an environment that has low ambient light. This makes it a very solid choice for any home theater enthusiast.


Polyester is another fabric that is often used in projection screens. This is because it is acoustically transparent and has a 5 percent weave that allows sound to easily pass through. Due to this, it is great for people who want to place their speakers behind their projection screen. At the same time, this material is perfect for a fixed frame screen even though it can be safely rolled.

Translucent Gray

This is the great material in situations that does not allow the projection equipment to be placed in front of a screen. Translucent grey also works perfectly with tensioned mounting and bright lighting. Additionally, it can be repeatedly unfolded and folded to make it perfect for portable screens.

This material has components that help provide a clear and natural image. It can also be easily spot cleaned. However, people should not use harsh abrasives that could destroy the material.

Silver Fabric

Silver fabrics can also be used for projection screens. These are highly reflective materials that are perfect for many passive 3D applications while providing high contrast clarity. At the same time, they are great for either tensioned or fixed frame projection screens.

Michael Alvarez has been working in the electronics and technology field for over 20 years.  He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise of projector screen with others; while continuing to grow his knowledge.



Download the first look image here:

Starring Lily James, Richard Madden, Academy Award®-winner Cate Blanchett and Oscar®-nominee Helena Bonham Carterand Directed by Academy Award®-nominee Kenneth Branagh

Burbank, Calif. (September 23, 2013)—Walt Disney Pictures announced today that principal photography has begun at Pinewood Studios in London, on “Cinderella,” Disney’s first-ever live action feature inspired by the classic fairy tale.

Directed by Academy Award®-nominee Kenneth Branagh (“Jack Ryan,” “Thor”), the film stars Lily James (“Downton Abbey,” “Wrath of the Titans”) in the title role, Richard Madden (“Game of Thrones,” “Birdsong”) as the Prince, Oscar®-winner Cate Blanchett (“The Aviator”) as the infamous stepmother Lady Tremaine, and Academy Award-nominee Helena Bonham Carter (“The King’s Speech,” “Alice in Wonderland”) as the Fairy Godmother. Holliday Grainger (“Great Expectations,” “Anna Karenina”) and Sophie McShera (“Downton Abbey,” “Waterloo Road”) play Ella’s stepsisters Anastasia and Drisella, respectively. Stellan SkarsgĂ„rd (“The Avengers,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and Nonso Anozie (“Game of Thrones,” “The Grey”) play the Arch Grand Duke and the Prince’s loyal friend, the Captain. Tony® Award-winner Derek Jacobi portrays the King.

“Cinderella” is produced by Simon Kinberg (“X-Men: First Class,” “Elysium”), Allison Shearmur (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”), David Barron (“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” “Jack Ryan”), from a screenplay by Chris Weitz (“About a Boy,” “The Golden Compass”).

The filmmaking team includes three-time Academy Award-winning production designer Dante Ferretti (“The Aviator,” “Hugo,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”), three-time Oscar-winning costume designer Sandy Powell (“The Aviator,” “The Young Victoria,” “Shakespeare in Love”), director of photography Haris Zambarloukos (“Sleuth,” “Thor”) and Academy Award-winning editor Martin Walsh (“Chicago,” “Clash of the Titans”).

The timeless story of “Cinderella” dates back to 1697 when first created by Charles Perrault, although it truly came to life for millions all over the world in 1950 with Walt Disney’s celebrated animated feature.

Director Kenneth Branagh says: “It is impossible to think of Cinderella without thinking of Disney and the timeless images we’ve all grown up watching. And those classic moments are irresistible to a filmmaker. With Lily James we have found our perfect Cinderella. She combines knockout beauty with intelligence, wit, fun and physical grace. Her Prince is being played by Richard Madden, a young actor with incredible power and charisma. He is funny, smart and sexy and a great match for Cinderella.

The story of “Cinderella” follows the fortunes of young Ella whose merchant father remarries following the tragic death of her mother. Keen to support her loving father, Ella welcomes her new stepmother Lady Tremaine and her daughters Anastasia and Drisella into the family home. But, when Ella’s father suddenly and unexpectedly passes away, she finds herself at the mercy of a jealous and cruel new family. Finally relegated to nothing more than a servant girl covered in ashes, and spitefully renamed Cinderella, Ella could easily begin to lose hope. Yet, despite the cruelty inflicted upon her, Ella is determined to honor her mother’s dying words and to “have courage and be kind.” She will not give in to despair nor despise those who abuse her. And then there is the dashing stranger she meets in the woods. Unaware that he is really a prince, not merely an employee at the Palace, Ella finally feels she has met a kindred soul. It appears as if her fortunes may be about to change when the Palace sends out an open invitation for all maidens to attend a ball, raising Ella’s hopes of once again encountering the charming “Kit.” Alas, her stepmother forbids her to attend and callously rips apart her dress. But, as in all good fairy tales, help is at hand as a kindly beggar woman steps forward and, armed with a pumpkin and a few mice, changes Cinderella’s life forever.

Production on “Cinderella” will take place at Pinewood Studios and locations throughout England.

“Cinderella” will be released through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures on March 13, 2015.

New Food Coupons 9/23


Get Your Free Halloween Tote Bag!!

Halloween is coming and that means trick or treat for many kids across the country. Make them a one of a kind Halloween tote bag for FREE now through October 31st!

York Photo Free Tote Bag. Great for Halloween, groceries, beach vacations, trips to the park, picnics, and more! Plus get 40 free prints.
  • Use Code: TRICKTREAT
  • Expires October 31st
  • New Customers Only
  • Shipping for Tote Starts At: $3.99
For just the cost of shipping you can have a bag that can be used over and over or saved for a keepsake. Either way this is a super cute addition to any trick or treat costume!

Vistaprint - 50% Off Custom iPhone Cases

Description: If you are in need of a case for your iPhone 4, 4S, or 5, now is the time to get one! Vistaprint is offering 50% off iPhone cases for one week only giving you an opportunity to customize your favorite accessory with designs that reflect your personality starting at $9.99. Vistaprint has a lot of different designs to choose from, whether you want to upload just one memorable photo, a series of pictures (there is even an option that turns each photo into a mini Polaroid), or just pick a fun pattern, like chevron, which you can personalize with your name or a personal message.
These customizable iPhone cases are fun gift ideas for the iPhone owners in your life. The cases range from sports memorabilia for your sports fan to princess crowns for your girly girl, giving you options that can make every iPhone user happy. This could also be a great way to get ready for the holidays and be your one stop shop for stocking stuffers. Or, you can customize the cases with pictures of your kids (or pets!) and keep it for yourself! Even sweeter, there is no upload fee for these cases, so take advantage of this Vistaprint deal and personalize away!
Shipping starts at $5.52

Have You Tried

I hate going to the store to purchase something and having to pay with my boring old debit card. It is plain black and has nothing fun or interesting about it. I always have the desire to add stickers, but they seem to get stuck in the card readers after awhile, and people aren't so fond of that. When I saw the fun cards I could get from, I was excited to finally have an interesting new card. Not only could I have a fun card, but it makes it much easier to spot in between all the other cards in my wallet.

Using a card from allows you to have the freedom of plastic, without the hassle of credit. Their cards offer a variety of services to make using it simple and affordable-

  • Free to order, activate and load
  • Free app and check deposits from your smartphone
  • Free direct deposit
  • Free card-to-card transfers, any time, anywhere, in seconds
  • No overdraft fees -- never goes negative!
  • Safer than cash - 24/7 support, Visa fraud protection and 100% FDIC insurance on funds
  • No debt, financially responsible, no interest/credit/APRs
  • No credit check and approval in seconds
  • 22,000 in-network ATMs
There are a huge variety of cards to select from too.  I found Garfield, Bettie Page, Beetle Bailey, The Walking Dead, animals, flowers, flags and many more. You can search if you have something in mind or browse the selected categories. That is the one thing I would change about the site. I would prefer a more narrowed way of browsing because there are so many cards that it took me forever to go through them all. I would have loved more than just the suggested categories or some alternative way to choose.

As you can see my card looked exactly as the image did when it arrived. I love the detail in the picture and how much attention it gets when I use it. Activating the card was simple and it worked the first time I tried it. There is a fee of $5.95 per month, which can be waived if you deposit at least $800 within the first month. I am not so fond of fees, but this is less than the checking account fee for my debit card, so I can't complain.

These prepaid cards are perfect for those on a budget, anyone wanting to avoid overdraft fees, people just starting out or anyone who wants a fun style card of their own

*I was provided with a sample card and compensation for this post. All opinions are my own with information supplied by the sponsor.

Back to School Tips from Children's Claritin

With the cold weather upon us, allergies are often in full swing. With the hectic days of returning to school, the last thing anyone wants to deal with is allergies. A school is filled with germs and places to spread them. In an average day your child with touch doors, desks, paper, tables and much more that has already been touched by a ton of other students. This means germs are running rampant and we have to stay one step ahead of them. I try to follow some simple tips from Children's Claritin to be as prepared as possible.

1. Be sure to have Children’s Claritin, the #1 pediatrician-recommended non-drowsy allergy brand, on hand!
2. Multi-vitamins are building blocks to having a strong immune system. Make taking a multi-vitamin part of your
child’s daily routine.
3. Let there be light! Mold doesn't like sunlight, so try to keep your curtains open during the day. Should be easy
during the summer months!
4. Did you know that most pillows trap allergens, dust mites, and bacteria? Monitor the cleanliness of the pillow
your child with allergies sleeps on and replace if necessary.
5. Back to school season means lots of laundry for many moms. Be sure to remove laundry from the washing
machine promptly. Allowing wet clothes to sit in the washer means mold can quickly grow there.
6. Monitor pollen counts and adjust outdoor before and after school activities accordingly. Dry, windy days
can be particularly high in pollen.
7. Showering or bathing at the end of the day as opposed to the morning can be helpful in removing allergens
from body surfaces and hair.
8. Stay hydrated! Always send your child to school with a bottle of water. Drinking lots of clear fluids through the
day can help get rid of toxins and flush out body.
9. Peak pollen production typically occurs in early morning, so try to plan outside activities at other times of the

Taking steps to stay clean and avoid germs and allergens can reduce the chances of sickness later. I remind my children to wash their hands often and use sanitizer too. We also make sure to keep some in their backpacks for extra protection while at school and we try to avoid public restrooms and fountains at all costs to stay clear of high traffic germ areas.

I was sent some cute back-to-School sample packs to share. They included a shopping list, notepad, pen, memo clip (or bag clip) and a reminder to vote for Play with Children’s Claritin & KaBOOM!  

"As a member of the Children’s Claritin Mom Crew, I receive product samples and promotional items to share and use as I see fit. No monetary compensation has taken place and any opinions expressed by me are honest and reflect my actual experience." 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

HP ElitePad Giveaway

Enter to win an HP ElitePad. This would make a great Christmas gift or just something fun for yourself!

Giveaway brought to you by Bepoz. Visit the giveaway page here.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Another Load of New Coupons 9/19

$1.00 off ONE Pantene Styler or Treatment Product$0.50 off ONE Crest ProHealth Toothpaste

$3.00 off any one Triaminic product


Meijer Fall Fashion Looks and Pinterest Contest!

It is starting to get cool here in Ohio and that means it is time to put away the summer clothes and unpack the cold weather ones. At the end of each season, I sort through our clothing and decide what to do with it all. I try to keep whatever I think can be used again the next year, but there is always something new that I need or want when a new season rolls around.

Meijer is helping me with that issue this year, thanks to their new Fall Fashion looks. The new 2013 lookbook features a variety of styles to complete your fall wardrobe. From dressy to casual, around the house to on the town, they have something that will work. This is a great way to replace those old items and grab a few new ones for less.

Personally, I prefer a more relaxed style for normal daytime wear. A nice pair of slacks coupled with a warm sweater and boots is a classic winter look that works for just about anyone. I like to change it up by adding fun accessories like jewelry or a scarf for added flair.

For evenings or more dressy occasions I go for a cute dress and heels with a catchy bag. Fall offers a whole new selection of colors and I love the option of adding a wrap or jacket for extra warmth. Putting up my hair with a fun new clip is the perfect way to finish the look.

You can visit Meijer to see all the items they have to offer and don't forget to enter the Fall Fashion Pinterest contest to win one of five $100 gift cards. Click the above banner and enter your Pinterest name to begin. Simply pin any five outfits or items from the Meijer Fall Fashion board for your chance to win. Winners will be selected the first week of October so hurry over and enter!

* This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own from personal experience.

Help Your Student Succeed with PowerMyLearning

I am tough on my kids when it comes to school. I expect them to do their best and I will take no less from them. because I want them to go far in life, and having an education is the first step in that goal. I feel that is it just as much my responsibility to educate them as it is the teachers at school, and I encourage them to do more than just the basic school work.

Sometimes, it can be trying to go over and over the same problem or subject. When that happens, kids can become frustrated and bored. To prevent this, I look for tools and programs that allow them to learn in a new way. This breaks up boredom and still gets the wanted lesson across.

Recently, I had a chance to try an educational site called PowerMyLearning. Focusing on both education and fun, PowerMyLearning offers a variety of games and activities covering subjects kids are taught in school. Students can watch videos, explore lessons, create charts and graphs, play games and more, all while enforcing current school lessons, or preparing  for future ones.

There are selections for grades K-12, letting students learn at their own pace and challenge themselves to move ahead when they feel comfortable. Courses include Math, Science, Art, Technology and more and are divided into sub-categories for easy access and selection. Once on a selected category page, simply hover the mouse over each icon to see grade, type and other details. There are over 3000 activities on the site, allowing a wide coverage of topics and methods.

One of our favorites was Monster School Bus. This math game features monster characters that are school bus drivers. Players must pick up all the students and get them to school, but they can only take 10 at a time and they can't split up the groups. They get stars for getting full loads and for fewer trips. It teaches hand eye coordination by using the arrow keys to control the bus as well as math and reasoning skills.

I like that the site is broken down so well. It eliminates confusion for younger students while opening options for older ones to try new things. Using Common Core lessons enforces what they are already learning and offers help to those who may be struggling or falling behind.

PowerMyLearning offers accounts for parents, students and educators and allows you to connect your childrens' accounts to your own for easy access and is FREE for everyone to use! Sign up for your own account and let the learning begin.

*This is a sponsored post and I will receive compensation for writing about the site. I was not required to give a positive review. I did join and use the services and plan to do so in the future because my children enjoy it and I see a benefit. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Weird Neighborhood Kid and Her Even Weirder Mom

I told you about the crazy little girl who told my daughter she mutilated a cat for fun. Well, of course, being who I am, there was no way I was just going to let that go.We had searched for the cat and couldn't find it anywhere, which only made my daughter that much more upset.

I waited until morning and decided to approach her mom about the issue at the bus stop. I waited until all the kids were on the bus and asked her if I could speak to her for a moment. I really try not to judge people but this lady with her pajama bottoms and wild hair looked like she was a little off her rocker anyway. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with pjs and wild hair in the morning but you had to see her to really understand.

I told her what her daughters had said and that they had continued to come to our home after being asked not to come back. I asked her what kind of children made up such disgusting things just to terrify another child. I also informed her that if I saw any of her children harming cats I would personally call the authorities and write a statement against them, I don't care how old they are. Maybe they should do a better job of watching their children so those kind of things wouldn't happen.

I cannot even begin to describe the look she had...blank is about all I can say. I am not sure she even comprehended what I had said to her, she looked that out of it. All she kept saying was that their dad had yelled at them for it. Really, wow, so you just yell about something like that? Of course,her husband had taken off as soon as I approached them so I couldn't speak to him too.

I suppose I will have to speak to the property management. You aren't even allowed to rent here, you have to own your home, which they do not and should not be allowed here at all. Geez.

Another Ton of New Coupons 9/17

$3.00 off one JENGA or TABOO Game from Hasbro

Games + Toys
Baby Stuff
Clean & Deodorized