The Avengers:Age of Ultron Has Invaded Our Home

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

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1 Mom + 1 Dad + 3 Daughters = 5 MARVEL-LOVING FANS

I don’t know how to even begin to tell you how MARVEL and The Avengers have invaded our home. When we ended up with three daughters, I think my husband’s hopes for anything remotely boy-oriented went out the window. My girls are all pretty “girly” and it’s unusual for any of us to sit down and watch sports on the TV with my husband. But… for some reason, we have ALL become MARVEL addicts. Yep… ADDICTS! Since The Avengers: Age of Ultron is inching toward opening day on May 1st, we have gotten all giddy again over our favorite characters and can’t wait to see them again on the big screen.

We thought it would be fun to have an AVENGERS day where we re-watched all the movies leading up to attending the new film this weekend. Yes… we DO have them all. I also thought we would absolutely need to have a few “things” in order to watch our film-fest at home. Off to Walmart to pick up some supplies.

The marketing for this is phenomenal. Despite the fact that I don’t have sons, I knew my daughters would love some Avengers toys. But honestly… I didn’t realize how much they would love them!

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STOP FIGHTING! I picked up Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk and Thor dolls… and who did they all fight over? Captain America! Even my husband, who insisted HE was Captain America and as the head of the family should have the doll for himself. Honestly… a 50 year old man fighting with 3 little girls over a Super Hero doll! Have you ever?

I also purchased a bunch of snacks to tide us over as we spent a marathon day watching movies.

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Before you head to the store, download the awesome The Avengers: Age of Ultron app. It’s currently available in iTunes and the Google Play store. With this app you’ll be able to keep up on all the latest movie and behind-the-scenes action. You can scan Avengers displays throughout Walmart and Walmart.com to become your favorite Avenger, and you can bring MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron characters to life with augmented reality.

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Also, remember to scan in-store signage and all your favorite products that contain The Avengers: Age of Ultron images (Kelloggy’s, Hasbro, Dr. Pepper, and Marvel) to reveal super-secret content. If you scan any 12 packs of Dr. Pepper Avengers or scan the in-store signage, you will be able to unlock a digital comic book. Wow… thanks Dr. Pepper!

Welcome to our MARVEL The Avengers movie marathon!

It all started with an awesome banner (not to be confused with Bruce Banner). I found some foil stars in the craft store and cut out white letters to glue in the middle of them. I outlined the letters in red and tied the stars together with twine.

bannercollageThen I set the table.

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We had Cheez-Its with The Avengers logos on them (how cool are these?), Thor’s hammer pops, made with krispy bars and melted chocolate, Iron-Man cocktails (orange soda and grenadine) and a Captain America inspired fruit tart. Those darn blueberries weren’t cooperating… they kept sinking into the custard.

All ready to snack and watch movies.

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Of course, my girls decided to get involved and created their own miniature version of The Avengers using their dolls. The only problem was that there wasn’t a Hawkeye, Fury, or Black Widow doll. No worries… my girls created their own. Because in our house, it’s all about the dolls.

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How are YOU celebrating the release of MARVEL’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron?

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This Mother’s Day… Make it Personal with Zazzle #Giveaway

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Zazzle.com.
Products featured were chosen by me and all opinions are entirely my own.
This post does contain affiliate links.

Mother's Day

I’ve got issues with Mother’s Day. The thought of one day out of the year where you are kind of forced to celebrate Moms kind of bugs me. Oh sure, it’s nice to get gifts and go out to dinner and have everyone be nice to you… but really, ONE day out of the year? Being a mother is hard, messy, annoying, joyful, rewarding, and exhausting… all at once. But it’s EVERY day of the year. I would much rather get little homemade cards and gifts (and I do) throughout the year than all on one day. When my husband asks me what I want… I just kind of tense up. I just want him to know me well enough to know what to get me. Is that too much to ask? This year, I thought I’d order myself some of the things that I really wanted. Why did I have to wait for someone else to figure out what makes me happy? Zazzle came to the rescue.

A few weeks ago we had a huge accident in the house. My favorite coffee mug was broken. Truth be told, it was my daughter who was in such a rush getting the plates out of the cupboard that she dropped one right on top of my coffee cup. The glass plate was fine… my ceramic coffee mug, not so much. Of course, it was just a mug… but it was MY mug. And my favorite one. I was heartbroken. I knew I wouldn’t find the exact same mug so I thought that maybe I would create one of my own. At least, that was the plan when I came across this one on Zazzle. Sorry, guys, but this just spoke to me.

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I was also surfing around the site looking for something I could put up in my new office. I kind of had an idea of what I wanted but wasn’t sure if Zazzle carried it. Of course… they did! LOVE THIS!

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I  bought a frame for it, but it wasn’t quite the right size. With all the Zazzle posters, you can actually have it come already framed if you want. I probably should have done that.

And then when I took a look through the Stationary section, I kind of fell in love with this note paper. I never have anything to write on when I want to send someone a personal note. And seriously, shouldn’t we do that way more often than we do? There are some times when an email or text just doesn’t cut it.

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Love the antique typewriters. The best part about Zazzle’s stationary is that you don’t have to order a ton of it. This one came in sheets of 10 so you can mix and match, because if you’re like me… you get kind of sick of using the same stationary all the time.

I literally could have made a list of about 20 things I wanted. The beauty of Zazzle is you have the option of choosing the perfect gift, or creating one of your own.

Need some more ideas?

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Did I also mention they were super fast with their shipping? Mother’s Day is only 2 weeks away, I know you’ll be able to find something perfect for your Mom, Grandmother, Aunt, Friend… or even yourself… at Zazzle. You can win a $50 Gift Card from Zazzle to purchase your own gift. Enter today.

Giveaway open to participants 18 and over. You will receive the equivalent of $50 USD. Potential winners will be bound by the Terms & Conditions of the Zazzle gift certificate: http://help.zazzle.com/articles/support/ar435/

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My First Stitch Fix – Not a Bad Way to Shop

This is NOT a sponsored post. I signed up for Stitch Fix on my own after realizing that a) I really hate shopping, and b) I have no idea what to look for when I do shop. It does, however, contain affiliate links. That just means that if you click on one and then place an order… I get credit.

I have a pretty small wardrobe by anyone’s standards. The last time I cleaned out my entire closet, my mother was even surprised by how few clothes I really had. I don’t like to shop. I don’t have time to shop, and I never find anything that fits or that looks good on me. About a year ago there was a huge blogger influx of posts and photos online about their Stitch Fix boxes. For the most part, all the reviews were positive. There was a little snafu when someone discovered that Stitch Fix might have been sending outfits that were heavily discounted at some popular discount stores… but really… who cares? If they can save me the trouble of sorting through all the clothing racks myself, then they move up to the top of my shopping list.

I decided to go for it. Signing up was easy, and kind of fun. You go through a pretty extensive questionnaire all about your taste and lifestyle. You also can put down your social media handles so the personal shoppers can take a look to see what you normally wear and what types of things you do on a regular basis. It took about 3 weeks for my first Fix to arrive.

I was extra excited when the USPS driver dropped the box on my front porch. I was a little surprised at how small the box was. I figured since they were sending me 5 different fashion pieces that the box would be bigger… but no worries, everything came very neatly folded and wrapped in tissue paper.

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I was struck by the color of the first shirt… exactly something I would have picked out for myself. As I worked my way through the box, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. I had this fear that I would absolutely hate everything in the box. Wrong. So… here is my little fashion show. I only have a few days to decide what I’m keeping and what I’m sending back. What do you think?

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I always have a hard time finding jeans that are really comfortable and sit low enough on my waist. I am short waisted so either everything looks like Mom Jeans (ugh!) or are so low that I end up with the muffin top going on (double ugh!). These fit just right. Win!

The shirt was a really pretty color, was soft and comfortable. I was so-so about it, but my husband and daughter really liked it. Maybe.

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When I took this out of the box I instantly loved it. When I put it on, I wasn’t so sure. I love this style of clothing (kind of boho chic) but I wasn’t in love with how boxy it made me look. I also can’t wear a regular bra with it because the fabric is pretty sheer. My husband liked it and thought it would look cute with a pair of shorts during the summer. I’m on the fence.

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The feel of this dress is amazing. Super comfortable. I love the whole color block idea and this is something that would have caught my eye in a store. The dress is great, but it was a little big on me. They sent a medium, but I could have used a small. I think if the dress had been tighter it would have looked better. Not in love.

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The last piece I got was a silver necklace. It is actually much nice than it shows in the photo, but it’s also not something that I would probably ever wear. A cool piece to have, but I love wearing my traditional jewelry… I don’t do a lot of costume jewelry. Probably not.

So… I definitely want to know what you think. What should I keep? What should I send back?

FYI… if you want to try Stitch Fix for yourself, you sign up and commit to paying $20 for a personal stylist to choose 5 fashion pieces for you. If you decide to keep any (or all) of the pieces, your $20 gets applied to your balance. If you decide to send them all back, you forfeit the $20. If you keep ALL of the pieces, you get a 25% discount on the retail price of them all. If you only keep some of the pieces, you pay full retail price. Now, pricing is going to be a different ball game for each person. For me, I wasn’t that surprised by the prices. For others, they might be a little on the expensive side. But… for the convenience of having someone else select clothes for you… I think it was definitely worth it.

I am definitely keeping my membership and am really looking forward to my next month’s Fix.

 


LA Summer Camp – Explore, Imagine, Learn, Have Fun

I remember vividly getting on the bus to go to sleepaway camp for the first time. Another girl, about my age and height was wearing the exact same shirt I was: an orange and white tie-dyed short sleeve shirt. Hey, it was the 70’s. I was leaving home for a month, a really long time since I had never been away from home before. I was excited and nervous and anxious and I cried as the bus pulled out of the parking lot, heading for an all-girls camp in New Hampshire. Summer camp here I come.

That summer I learned a lot of things: that I had an intense love of horses and horseback riding, I discovered a passion for fresh picked New Hampshire blueberries… and I went skinny dipping for the first (and last) time ever in a lake so clean you would swear you were in a bathtub. I also learned that it was okay to be alone and I could take care of myself. While I never went back to that particular summer camp, I count it as a pivotal experience in my life.

Summer is the perfect time to explore interests, go in educational directions that might not be possible in a traditional school, uncover creativity, and passions for learning. Choosing the right summer camp can give parents huge anxiety, but there are so many great options out there.

One summer camp that is providing the perfect combination of fun and education is Galileo Camps. With camps for pre-K – 8th grade in the Los Angeles area and the San Francisco area, there are a wide range of hands-on learning programs your kids can sign up for. Things like digital photography, fashion design, inventor’s workshop, go-kart design, video game design and chefology. And more!

I sat down with my daughter, Lauryn, to give her a taste of some of the imaginative projects the camp provides. We learned a little about positive and negative charges and how they are used in electricity.

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Want to make your own Illuminated Cards? Download directions HERE.

New families can save $30 when you sign up for Camp Galileo or Galileo Summer Quest at one of the Los Angeles locations. Enter promotional code 2015GALILEOCAMPSLA. Limited to one use per family. Not valid in combination with additional offers or for previous purchases. Offer valid through 5/31.

New families in the San Francisco area use promotional code 2015GALILEOCAMPSF. Same rules apply.

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RITZ® Snackify Challenge: an Audrey Hepburn Inspired Souffle

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

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Enter for a chance to win one of forty $100 Walmart e-Gift Cards (10 per week) by uploading an Instagram photo of your RITZ®-topped creation with #putitonaritzcontest. Purchase of RITZ® is not required.

Ritz Snackify Challenge Instagram Contest
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I have this strange affection for RITZ® Crackers. Bear with me… After I graduated college I did the “Tour of Europe” with a group of friends. From England to France to Italy we traveled by bus along with a group of strangers from all over the world. Since this was my first time in Europe, I was soaking it all in (meaning… I was eating my way through foreign country after foreign country). One evening after partaking in a 10 course fish meal in Burano, Italy I found myself up at 3am praying to the porcelain God. Dear God please let me die now! I literally thought I would keel over and die any moment and my friends were in a panic over what to do with me. We were in a chalet in the Italian Alps where no one spoke English and we were probably 60 miles from a hospital. After waking up the hotel manager, they checked the hotel register and noticed there was a doctor staying overnight. They rang his room and luckily he showed up at our door with a black bag and everything. Turned out he was a pediatrician from San Francisco (SCORE!), took one look at me (pretty sure I was green by then), and pronounced that I had food poisoning.

 

The problem was that we were due to board another bus in the morning and head to Austria. How was I supposed to sit on a bus for an entire day… a bus without a bathroom? My friends came to the rescue again by finding a box of RITZ® Crackers. Yep… RITZ® Crackers were found somewhere in the Italian Alps and those crackers got me through the entire next day. It was all I could physically keep down… and no cracker has EVER tasted so good.

 

That’s probably why I am excited about the RITZ® Snackify Challenge. I’ve been checking out all the amazing entries they have gotten and when I thought about what I would make, I didn’t have to think for long. I knew exactly what I would make and my first stop was at Walmart to pick up my most important ingredient.

 

You kind of can’t miss the RITZ® when you walk down the cracker aisle. What did surprise me, however, was how many different flavors they now come in. I’m partial to the original flavor, but the kids had their own favorites.

 

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Luckily, Walmart was holding a RITZ® demo and I got to have a little snack while I was shopping.

 

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I didn’t have to think too hard about what I would make because every time I hear the word “cracker” I jump to my all-time favorite movie… SABRINA. Who doesn’t love Audrey Hepburn? So… her character, Sabrina, is the chauffer’s daughter on a huge Long Island estate that is the home to two brothers… David (played by William Holden), who Sabrina is madly in love with… and Linus (played by Humphrey Bogard), who is the older brother and pretty stodgy. The gist of the movie is that Sabrina starts out loving David, but by the end of the movie she falls in love with Linus. Meanwhile, Sabrina is sent off to Paris to learn how to be a cook. Now anyone who knows anything about French cuisine knows how difficult it is to make the perfect souffle. Although Sabrina fails miserably at it while in cooking school… she seems to have figured out the secret by the time she meets back up with Linus in his office.

 

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In the tiny office kitchen, Sabrina whipped up a souffle with nothing but a few crackers and eggs. Every time I think of grabbing something from the pantry, it usually includes crackers and eggs.

 

For this recipe, I needed a few more ingredients, but chances are pretty good you’ll already have everything you need in your fridge and pantry. This particular recipe was originally from Epicurious and I changed it up to make small, individual souffles with RITZ® Crackers.

 

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Ingredients:

 

RITZ® Crackers (any variety you like, I used the original flavor) 1 cup whole milk or half & half 4 egg y0lks 5 egg whites 2 1/2 tbs butter 3 tbs flour 1/2 tsp paprika 1/2 tsp salt pinch of nutmeg 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

 

I used a muffin tin for my individual souffles. Grease them very well and coat the bottom with some parmesan cheese (adds immense flavor).

 

(1) In one saucepan you will heat the milk until hot but not boiling. (2) In another saucepan, melt the  butter. (3) When the butter is melted, whisk in the flour and pour the heated milk into the flour mixture and whisk very well. Add in the salt, nutmeg and paprika. Add each egg yolk one at a time and whisk after each one. (4) Transfer to another bowl and let sit until it reaches room temperature.

 

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Meanwhile, use an electric mixer to blend your egg whites. Fold mixture into the cooled flour mixture alternatively with the Gruyere cheese.

 

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Pour mixture into muffin tins. Now this is where making a souffle becomes difficult. You do NOT want to mess around with the oven, but with mini souffles you need to be careful that you are cooking them exactly right. A large souffle will take longer, but mini ones should only take about 10 minutes to cook. Every oven is slightly different so you might have to experiment with yours. You want to cook the souffles until they are slightly browned.

 

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Let cool a bit (but not too much) and then carefully use a fork to take the souffle out of the muffin tin. Lay on top of a RITZ® cracker and you have yourself a gourmet meal or snack. These would be great for a party, but I served mine to my family for dinner along with a caesar salad and it made for a fabulous meal.

 

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Click HERE to enter the Snackify Challenge with your own RITZ-topped creation for a chance to win a $100 Gift Card!

Want more snack ideas? Check out RITZ® on Facebook and Twitter.

What are you going to make for your Snackify Challenge entry?

RITZ® Snackify Challenge: an Audrey Hepburn Inspired Souffle
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This mini souffle recipe was an Epicurian recipe for a larger souffle. The same recipe works just as well for these mini ones.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: French
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • RITZ® Crackers (any variety you like, I used the original flavor)
  • 1 cup whole milk or half & half
  • 4 egg y0lks
  • 5 egg whites
  • 2½ tbs butter
  • 3 tbs flour
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Heat milk in a saucepan until hot, not boiling.
  3. In a separate saucepan, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour.
  4. Add the hot milk to the flour mixture and then add in the spices.
  5. Add in the egg yolks and mix well.
  6. Let cool to room temperature.
  7. Meanwhile, use an electric mixture to beat the egg whites until firm.
  8. Fold the egg whites and the Gruyere cheese into the cooled mixture.
  9. Grease a muffin tin generously with butter.
  10. Add some parmesan cheese to the bottom of the tin cups.
  11. Spoon a large amount of cheese and egg mixture into each muffin cup. Don't fill completely to the top.
  12. Bake for approximately 10 minutes, until the top is golden brown.
  13. Let cool for a few moments and gently lift out with fork.
  14. Sit on top of Ritz Crackers and serve slightly warm.