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7.13.2016

Cats Are Givers, Really

Purina Cat Chow is partnering with me and several other bloggers for the "Nutrition to Build Better Lives' program.

We are totally cat people. And dog people. But for now, mostly cat people. When Luke was diagnosed with cancer and began his chemotherapy treatments, his oncologist strongly urged us to rehome our feline 4th family member because of the potential for germs. Because chemo lowers you body's ability to fight off germs, Luke was at a greater risk for acquiring an infection from touching or playing with the cat or even having him sleep in the same room in the house. Keeping our kitty was never in doubt and we came up with a compromise that let us keep our mighty orange tabby.

For nine long months Luke could not have the cat sleep in his room, could not snuggle with him at all, and if he touched him - he had to immediately wash his hands. The rest of the family was able to love on our cat as much as we could - but for Luke the cat was pretty much off limits.

This was sheer TORTURE for a little boy who adored his buddy "Kitty"so much.

You can imagine how Luke was overjoyed when his treatment was over and he could finally pick up, hold and snuggle his best bud. When he had his room made over last fall, the one request for his bed was that he have a bed big enough so that he could sleep on one side and the cat could sleep on the other. Having the freedom to play with the cat without restriction was one of the many ways Luke began to heal after treatment.



"Kitty" gives our family so much joy. And just as he gives us so much, our family wants to share how you can give back to every cat that is waiting for a forever home in shelters, humane societies and other welfare organizations. 

Seeking to provide cats who are waiting to be adopted healthy and nutrition rich cat food, Purina Cat Chow has started the "Nutrition Builds Better Lives" program.

Purina has a goal: Five million meals to shelter cats all over the country. And the best news you can help! During the month of July, for every bag of Purina Cat Chow you buy your cat, a meal will be donated to a cat in need. That's a win-win. It can be any size bag too! Healthy food for both your cat and a cat in desperate need of nutrition, so he/she can grow big and strong.




I didn't know that around 3.4 million United States cats are taken in by shelters and only half of those cats are adopted. I also didn't know that Purina has donated more than $845,000 in food, supplies and renovations to aid in the rescue, nutrition and adoption of cats in welfare organizations. That's so rad. Purina is working with Rescue Bank. 



The money you donate goes directly to this non-profit organization that operates like a food bank to gather and distribute quality pet food and other supplies throughout the U.S. Organizations are then able to use the savings from their food budgets for critical veterinary care to increase the adoption of healthy pets. 

We purchased Purina Cat Chow to give back. Our Kitty could smell it as I pulled it out of the grocery bag and devoured the cup we put down! 




You can purchase Purina Cat Chow at your local grocer and almost anywhere cat food is sold. If you would like to donate your Purina Cat Chow purchase, you can buy it via Amazon and have it sent to your local animal shelter - giving twice!

Connect With Purina and follow along with their Nutrition Builds Better Lives" initiative. And follow the #CatChowCares hashtag on your favorite social media platform!


Facebook: Purina Cat Chow
Twitter: @PurinaCatChow
Instagram: @PurinaCatChow 

Disclosure: Purina Cat Chow is partnering with me to participate in its ‘Nutrition to Build Better Lives’ program. As a part of the Program, I am receiving compensation in the form of products and services for the purpose of promoting Purina Cat Chow. All expressed opinions and experiences are my own words. My post complies with the Word Of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) Ethics Code and applicable Federal Trade Commission guidelines.

6.16.2016

Caramel Root Beer Float Recipe

This post is sponsored by ALDI as part of Influencer Activation for Influence Central.





Since my fist shopping trip to ALDI, I've been back several times to shop for our family. We've enjoyed the incomparable savings that ALDI offers. I also love that I can feel good about picking up snacks like the SimplyNature® Organic Honey Teddy Grahams and the kids love them! I even decided to use them in the cool and creamy drink I made the kids. I thought that a sweet treat was in order to usher in summer.

Summertime is the perfect time to indulge in an occasional sweet treat like a root beer float. It was so easy to make this caramel root beer float using ingredients I purchased at my local ALDI store here in California.   

You need just two items to make a Caramel "Caribou" Root Beer Float:

Belmont Caramel Caribou Premium Ice Cream
Sudz Root Beer

Pour some root beer over 1-2 scoops of the ice cream and voila! You are set! If you want to send your caramel root beer float over the top, you can top it with this homemade root beer whipped cream and crushed grahams. 

Homemade Whipped Cream & Topping Ingredients:

1 cup of Baker's Corner Powdered Sugar
1 cup Countryside Creamery heavy whipping cream
Splash of Sudz Root Beer
1/8 tsp Stonemill Essentials Pure Almond Extract
SimplyNature® Kids Organic Honey Teddy Bear Graham Snack Packs 

To make the Almond Root Beer Whipped Cream:

Add 1 cup of powdered sugar to 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 
and then add a splash of Sudz Root Beer.
Whip with a hand mixer or stand mixer until soft peaks form. 
Scoop the whipped cream into a small plastic bag, cutting the bottom tip so you can pipe it on top of the caramel root beer float! 
Add crushed SimplyNature® Honey Teddy Graham Snack Packs on top. 

Drink and enjoy!






Here's a fun video of the Caramel Root Beer Float recipe on Youtube:




Other treats and snacks I purchased at ALDI that our family is loving:

Lunch Buddies Natural Applesauce
 PurAqua Fizzy Fruit Sparkling Water
Lunch Buddies Fruit & Veggie Snacks 
Southern Grove Dry Roasted Peanuts

While we obviously partake in occasional sweets in this house like the caramel root beer float recipe above, I love that our ALDI grocery list can include items that are good for you too like fresh organic produce, organic snacks, and food items without preservatives.

To connect with ALDI:
ALDI website: https://www.aldi.us

6.13.2016

Up Close Look At The New Contour by Cox

This post is sponsored by Cox Communications.

More and more TV viewers are watching their favorite TV shows on demand or streaming. That means the landscape of cable television is changing. Enter in the new Contour from Cox. It takes the best of live, streaming, and on demand viewing and blends them together for a one-of-a-kind cable TV experience. I can now watch your favorite shows, whether live, on demand, or recorded, easier and faster than ever.


Recently, I was invited to attend a Contour demo and find out for myself how the Cox Contour works. I was so intrigued by the demo that I decided to ask the associate at my local Cox Solutions store here in San Diego if he could help me see if the Cox Contour was right for our family. We discussed my current cox cable package and not only was I able to upgrade to the Contour, I was able to save $17 off my cable bill. Crazy!!





Find it Faster
One of my favorite things about the Cox Contour is how the all new interface helps me get to what we want to watch as a family faster. One day a week, we curl up on the couch together and watch our favorite family TV show. I love that I can use the voice activated search to immediately queue up our our show. If we can't decide, the simple, yet visually engaging layout and smooth transitions help me find what we want to watch faster than ever! No more endless scrolling.  No more text only program guide. In it's place, a graphically rich user experience.



KidsZone
With the Contour, I created age appropriate television viewing for my kids within the Contour's Kidszone. I can use a PIN code to monitor and limit the kinds of TV shows and movies my kids are allowed to watch and I don't have to worry about them accidentally stumbling on a show that is too mature.  I love that I can select by rating or age group. And with Kidszone, I can give my kids the freedom to browse and search and view without ever having to worry about what they are watching.


The Last Nine
I can check my cable history with the "Last Nine" feature that allows me to see the last nine shows or movies I or anyone else in my household has watched. This is great for when I, er I mean my kiddos wants to pick back up with their latest binge watching sesh of PJ Masks or Chopped Junior.

Apps
We've already made good use of the sports app in the few days we've had the Contour and we love it. My husband in particular loves that he can get up to the minute stats on players and teams not only while watching the game, but he can pop the sports app up real quick and check the score while watching another show. Along with the sports app, there's a news, weather, and traffic app (and more!).

Portability + Storage
I can take Contour and the 35,000 titles in the On Demand library with me into any room in the house! With the Contour app on my favorite mobile device, my favorite shows and movies can come with me.  Along with portability, the Contour has 2 terabytes of storage. That means 1000 hours of recording and the ability to record six shows at once. And if I had multiple cable boxes, they all work seamlessly together, so I can pause a show in one room and pick it up in another.

Here's the demo via Facebook live if you care to see it in action and you can also visit your local Cox Solutions store in person to find out more. I highly recommend this option as you will be able to speak with an associate who can walk you through your own demo and answer all of your questions.

Take the online Cox Contour tour
Find your local Cox Solutions Store




Disclosure: While this is sponsored, I did decide to upgrade our Cox package and that was not sponsored. All opinions are my own.

6.08.2016

Finding Dory Shrinky Dink Magnets




We can't wait for Disney PIXAR's Finding Dory to swim into movie theaters on June 17th. We've been playing around with our Finding Dory coloring pages and created a this Finding Dory Shrinky Dinks Magnet craft for kids. My daughter, who is a burgeoning artist, helped color Dory and Nemo and then we worked on the shrink dink part of the craft together. Let me tell you, shrinky dink crafts can be a bit challenging, and down right frustrating. But will a little patience, you can have success! 


To make the Finding Dory Shrinky Dinks, you will You will need: 
Colored Pencils in various colors
One thin black sharpie for outlining
Scissors
Toaster oven or conventional oven
Small baking sheet
Magnet tape, cut into squares

Here's how:
Start by finding our Finding Dory coloring pages. Print your Finding Dory coloring pages on to regular copy paper, enlarging the printed area if desired.


Lay your shrinky dink paper, rough side up, over the coloring page you want to trace. Tape the edges so it doesn't slip as you trace. Trace and color dory and any of her friends, like Nemo or Marlin.


It should look like this.


Cut out your Finding Dory shiny dinks.


Place in the toaster oven, rough side up. And bake according to the directions on the shrink dink paper package (usually 2 minutes). Remove using a spatula. Allow to cool. Add magnet to back!

Note: Your shrinky dink may curl while in the oven, try to let it work itself out before removing it. If you remove it from the heat too early, it will stay curled!

For Dory's coloring, we used blue and yellow sharpie for the body, Black sharpie for the outline and shading, and pink colored pencil for the eyes.

For Nemo's coloring we used orange sharpie marker for the body, thin black sharpie for outlining and orange colored pencil for the eyes.



Tips for successful Finding Dory Shinky Dink Magnets:

  • Make two or three just in case one doesn't turn out. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
  • The shrink dink will curl a bit while in the oven, but should uncurl.
  • You want the oven preheated, this will help it heat up evenly. 
  • While a conventional oven works fine, we found that a toaster oven works the best for small hands. If you don't have one, may thrift stores have them. We have found that the shrink dink makers don't work as well as a toaster oven. They don't get hot enough.
  • If you want to make your Finding Dory shrinky dinks into a key chain, add a hole punch before baking. 


Have fun crafting!

For more Finding Dory fun, see our Finding Dory FREE printable coloring pages and Finding Dory Free Printable games and activities

*This is not a sponsored post.



5.30.2016

Easy Patriotic Paper Bag Star Craft



This patriotic paper bag star craft is the result what happens when you go to Target for "just one thing" and walk out with more than you needed. I purchased some festive red, white, and blue small bags from the dollar spot and got so inspired! I think they came out pretty cute!


I made this patriotic paper bag star with just a few items.
10-12 small paper bags.
Glue stick.


If you want to make them just like this, you will need at least 2 packs of the small paper bags from the dollar spot at Target or other paper bags that open in an "A" shape. Run a glue stick along the center of the first paper bag, lengthwise. Stack another paper bag on top of the first one. 


Continue to glue and stack the paper bags until they look like the photo below.


Take the front end and the back end of the stack and have them meet together, fanning the glued paper bags to make a star or pinwheel. Glue the two ends together to secure and there you go!

If you'd like to see how I make the paper bag stars, see my Youtube video below.




Make these easy paper bag star pinwheels for 4th of July or any occasion!