Archives for May 25, 2017

Are you having a BBQ this Memorial Day Weekend? Heinz BBQ Sauces are a Must!

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Are you ready for Memorial Day weekend? Time to fire up the grill!

This BBQ season, Heinz has you covered with 7 delicious flavors from America’s most famous BBQ regions – Kansas City Sweet & Smoky, Memphis Sweet & Spicy, Texas Bold & Spicy, Carolina Tangy Vinegar and NEW this year, Kentucky Bourbon Rich & Savory, Hawaii Style Sweet & Smoky and Carolina Mustard Style…yum!

I haven’t had a chance to try them all since I am planning to do that this weekend but I did just try the Hawaii Style and it is delicious! I can’t wait to try the others this weekend!

Heinz worked with award-winning Pitmaster Partners and used only 100% natural, locally-inspired ingredients and recipes to craft each delicious BBQ sauce – Kansas CitySweet & Smoky, Memphis Sweet & Spicy, Texas Bold & Spicy, Carolina Tangy Vinegar and NEW this year Kentucky Bourbon Rich & Savory, Hawaii Style Sweet & Smoky and Carolina Mustard Style – each with flavor as distinct as the regional barbecue taste it represents.

 You have to check out these recipes!

Kansas City: “Sweet and smoky” lends to the signature flavor profiles of this city’s sought-after barbeque. A thick sauce shadowed by a sweet tang takes traditional pit-style Kansas City BBQ up a crowd-pleasing notch.

Pitmaster Partner: Joe & Mike Pearce of Slap’s BBQ

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Kansas City BBQ Ribs

 

  • Texas: In Texas, there’s nothing shy about barbecue, and a great Texas style sauce means bold flavors and big personality. This sauce captures the very best of Texas barbecue – combining spices like cumin and chili powder for a sauce that’s bold and flavorful with just the right kick.

Pitmaster Partner: Robert Sierra of S&S Pit Crew competition barbecue team

Regionally Inspired Recipe: BBQ Beef Brisket Sandwiches with Coleslaw

 

  • Carolina Vinegar: Carolina is all about the traditions of whole-hog barbecue slow-cooked over wood coals. Meet a true Carolina style sauce that blends the tang of apple cider vinegar, with just the right balance of sweet and spice to make it the perfect addition to pulled pork.

Pitmaster Partner: Sam Jones of Skylight Inn

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Carolina-Style BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders

 

  • Carolina Mustard-Style: South Carolina’s ‘mustard belt’ is where mustard-based BBQ sauce reigns supreme. From slow cooked pulled pork to ribs on the grill, this deep golden sauce delivers the right balance of sweetness and spice that will redefine swine.

Pitmaster Partner: Bryan Furman of B’s Cracklin’ BBQ

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Carolina Style BBQ Baby Back Pork Ribs

 

  • Memphis: Rock-n-Roll isn’t the only revolutionary combo courtesy of Memphis. The city’s barbecue also shakes things up. With sweet brown sugar and the flavors of the region’s traditional dry rubs, this is a sweet and spicy sauce that’s sure to please.

Pitmaster Partner: Dan Brown of Leonard’s PIT Barbecue

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Memphis-Style Sweet and Spicy BBQ Chicken

 

  • Hawaii: Hawaii is home to a rich food heritage that brings sweet tropical fruit and the smoked flavor of Kalua Pig together in one delicious luau feast. This sauce delivers a mouthwatering balance of pineapple and mango, savory Asian soy, and subtle smoke that is distinctly Hawai’ian.

Pitmaster Partner: Mark “Gooch” Noguchi of Pili Hawaii

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Slow-Cooker Hawaiian Pulled Pork and Slaw Sliders

 

  • Kentucky Bourbon Style:  Kentucky is home to great bluegrass, great bourbon and great barbecue. This rich & savory sauce reflects the deep heritage of Kentucky BBQ – real bourbon, a hint of smoke, and the seasonings of the region’s traditional “dip”.

Pitmaster Partner: John Foreman of Old Hickory BBQ

Regionally Inspired Recipe: Spatchcock BBQ Chicken with Grilled Green Bean Salad

 

Self Disclosure: I received free samples to facilitate this Memorial Day holiday post. Recipes and photo were also provided.

Thirst-Quenching Bevs for Memorial Day BBQs

Memorial Day Drinks

It’s time to start planning delicious drink ideas for all your upcoming barbeques and Memorial Day festivities. Skip the calories and keep the flavor with refreshing drink recipes which can be whipped up in a minute’s notice – how convenient!

I can’t wait to try some of these recipes this weekend!

Melon Mixer

Time to buy that delicious watermelon you’ve been dreaming about all winter! Start with 3oz of Cascade Ice Blueberry Watermelon. Then pour 1oz of club soda. Add several slices of watermelon and blueberries and stir to release the fresh flavor. Voila!

 

Pomegranate Icer

Pomegranates pack a punch of vitamins and anti-oxidants and now that they are in season, it’s a great time for this refreshing drink. First pour 4oz of Cascade Ice Pomegranate Berry and 1oz of Cascade Ice Strawberry Lemonade into a glass with crushed ice. Top if off with fresh pomegranate seeds for the perfect touch and serve!

Grapefruit-Lemonade Refresher

A BBQ isn’t complete without some ice-cold lemonade! Try the Grapefruit-Lemonade Refresher for a new twist. Start with a chilled glass full of ice and add 3oz of Cascade Ice Grapefruit and 4oz of Cascade Ice Lemonade. Garnish with sliced lemons and a sugar rim.

 

Which one will you try?

 

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

 

Self Disclosure: Thanks to our friends at Cascade Ice for the recipes and photo!

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Netflix for Organic Cotton Sheets, Towels & Duvets Premium organic linens that never end up in a landfill starting at $5/month

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Did you know 10 million tons of textiles—e.g. clothes, bedding, towels, etc.—end up in landfills each year. That’s a pile of sheets and towels 150% the size of the Great Pyramid in Egypt!

I recently partnered with Coyuchi—a pioneer in organic sheets, towels, and sleepwear—to explore the importance of sustainable home linens and share the good news about their new linen subscription service.
For 25 years, Coyuchi has been a leader in natural and organic home linens that are good to both you and the planet. Now Coyuchi is launching ‘Coyuchi for Life,’ a first-of-its-kind subscription service for environmentally sustainable and organic sheets, towels, and duvet covers.
With ‘Coyuchi for Life,’ users subscribe to organic bed and bath linens from Coyuchi in 6-, 12-, or 24-month increments. When the subscription period is up, customers send back used linens to be recycled or renewed, and receive a new set. The service allows consumers to subscribe to sustainability and change their sheets for good.
THREE REASONS TO FALL IN LOVE WITH SUSTAINABLE HOME LINENS 
  LESS IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT ON MANY LEVELS
Textile waste in landfills takes up space and decomposing natural fibers release methane gas, a potent pollutant that contributes to climate change. Reclaiming textiles and keeping them from entering the landfill in the first place has many positive benefits.
 ORGANIC, HIGH-QUALITY BEDDING STARTING AT $5/MONTH
Coyuchi sheets, duvets, and towels are made from natural and organic fibers, free of the toxic dyes, bleaches, and finishes used in conventional textiles. Coyuchi for Life subscriptions makes it easy to get new linens every 6, 12 or 24 months starting as low as $5/month for towels or $7/month for sheets and duvets. They are also GOTS-certified—the highest organic standard for cotton, all over the world.
 SUSTAINABILITY WITHOUT SACRIFICE
‘Coyuchi For Life’ subscribers enjoy the luxury of fresh, new organic sheets, towels, and duvet covers, while also making it easy to recycle their old linens (something which is harder than one would think). Beautiful bedding that feels good, supports a healthy home and cleaner environment, for roughly the price of a Netflix subscription? It’s a no-brainer.
To subscribe to Coyuchi for Life, please visit:
I’d love to hear about how you live sustainably! Would you ever consider organic linens? What about an organic linen subscription service?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Self Disclosure: I received some form of a gift to post. 

IFME Shoes are a hit for Children this Spring!

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Are you looking for really adorable and comfy shoes for your little one this Spring? IFME has you covered! Their shoes are just too cute! I love the colors and little girls will love them too! I received a pair of Fuchsia/Lavender shoes for a toddler and she just loved them! They really are her favorite new shoes!

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I wish that they made these in my size! They are also very comfortable (my little reviewer told me so!). The shoe collections are fo baby and young children. Check out their shoes here! There is a great variety for both boys and girls.

 

 

Self Disclosure: I received a free sample to facilitate this post. 

Twirl Away with Kate & Mim-Mim This Spring!

It’s important to foster imaginative play with your preschoolers – and, with the weather warming up, now is the perfect time to head outdoors to have some creative springtime fun together!

Click on the link below fo fun activity and coloring sheets along with printables sure to get young imaginations “blooming.

Kate &Mim-Mim Springtime Fun

Looking for some fun tips to get out and enjoy Springtime? Click the next link below! It’s important to foster imaginative play with your preschoolers – and, with the weather warming up, now is the perfect time to head outdoors to have some creative springtime fun together!

Kate & Mim-Mim Imagination Tips

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And in more mim-tastic news, a pair of brand-new Kate & Mim-Mim books from Penguin are now available! Here’s more on the new titles:

 

        Make-Believe with Kate & Mim-Mim

This 16-page coloring and activity book is filled with fun puzzles and games – plus adorable stickers and friendship cards – that are sure to have little ones’ imaginations running wild!

 

        Happy Birthday Kate & Mim-Mim

Kate and Mim-Mim celebrate their joint birthdays by planning super-secret surprise parties in the magical land of Mimiloo in this captivating new 24-page picture book!

They are simply delightful books!

Self Disclosure: I received free books to facilitate this post.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – The most other-worldly visual effects of any recent movie.

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Captain Jack Sparrow finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar, escape from the Devil’s Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea…including him. Captain Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas.

 

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

By Clayton Pickard, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

 

 

 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is the fifth installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and has the most other-worldly visual effects of any recent movie. The CGI is the most mesmerizing piece of treasure throughout the film.  Johnny Depp again stars as Jack Sparrow and Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa.  It also stars the terrific Javier Bardem as the new villain, Captain Salazar. Brenton Thwaites plays Henry Turner and Kaya Scodelario plays Carina Smyth.  Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley have cameos as Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann, respectively. Full disclosure: I am a huge Johnny Depp fan and I have loved the Pirates of the Caribbean movies since I was 5 years old!

 

At the beginning of the film, Captain Jack Sparrow is presumed dead.  He resurfaces in a most humorous way.  Captain Salazar is Jack Sparrow’s oldest nemesis.  He takes revenge on Sparrow by unleashing the vicious ghost pirates of Devil’s Triangle.  The ghost pirates are hell-bent on killing Sparrow and destroy multiple pirate ships in the process. The only way to break the curse is to find and destroy the Trident of Poseidon. Along the way, we learn the background of Will Turner’s son, Henry Turner.  He’s looking for Sparrow and also trying to find the Trident in order to save his father who is trapped in Davy Jones Locker. Carina Smyth is a young astronomer who is also searching for the Trident.  What ensues is a humorous, action packed adventure on the high seas.

 

The special effects and CGI are astoundingly lifelike. The most stunning visual effects in the film are the CGI animated ghost sharks, which are sent to hunt down Jack Sparrow. The movements of the ghost pirates and sharks are hyper-realistic. Out of all the Pirates of The Caribbean films, this one utilizes the most mythological elements. Johnny Depp again aces his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow. His interpretation of Jack Sparrow is one of the most entertaining and memorable characters in recent film history. The inimitable Geoffrey Rush is again terrific as Captain Barbossa and Javier Bardem, an acclaimed actor from art house and independent films, is riveting as the vicious Captain Salazar.

 

One flaw of the film is how Keira Knightley suddenly appears for one minute during the movie. It’s the one false note because it seems gratuitous. However, it doesn’t distract from the impact and excitement of the film. Compared to other movie sequels, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales flows surprisingly well and moves along at an exciting pace. The film is appropriate for 10 to 18-year-olds.   I give Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales 5 out of 5 stars.  It opens May 26, 2017 in theaters nationwide so be sure to check it out.

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Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

Digimon Adventure Tri.: Reunion – Great Animation, Real Fan Pleaser

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It’s been six years since that summer adventure when Taichi and the rest of the DigiDestined crossed over to the Digital World and nearly three years since the final battle between Hikari’s group and BelialVamdemon. And, at some point, while the peaceful days went by, the gate to the Digital World mysteriously closed. But when a Kuwagamon suddenly appears in Odaiba, its rampage leaves the town in ruins, and the people there in turmoil. Taichi chases after it, in an effort to halt its rampage. But there’s nothing he can do against a Kuwagamon. Not by himself. And that’s where a new adventure begins. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tristan T. comments, “), I have to say that the animation in this DVD is really well executed. It is very colorful, vivid and very realistic.” Benjamin P. adds, “My favorite part of this film is the climactic final battle. Seeing the Digidestined fight against one common evil is very epic. This scene feels like it has real stakes to it. I honestly was unsure of what would happen next.” See their full reviews below.

 

Digimon Adventure Tri. – Reunion

 

By Tristan T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 14 years old

 

 

While I am not a big fan of Digimon (I prefer Pokemon), I have to say that the animation in this DVD is really well executed. It is very colorful, vivid and very realistic. After a slow start, the plot picks up and brings fans right back into the Digital World full of adventure and battles.

 

If you were a fan of the Digimon series in the 1990s and early 2000s, then this is the movie for you. Toei Animation and Shout! Factory have reunited the original characters to produce its first animated feature film.  It has been six years since Tai and the rest of the “DigiDestined” crossed over into the Digital World. The gate remains closed but new adventures await.

 

There is a DVD combo pack option that includes both Japanese and English language versions as well as bonus content. The English dubbing is highly professional. Joshua Seth returns as the voice artist for Tayi Kamiya. He is a well-known voice-over artist, not just for his work on the Digimon series, but multiple other anime and video game projects. My favorite character is Angemon (Dave Mallow).  I really enjoy the way he voices this character, making him sound creative and quirky.

 

Digimon Adventure Tri. – Reunion would not be a good place to start if you are new to Digimon, as it picks up where the series left off many years ago. It is best to have at least some understanding of the back story of the characters and storyline or you will not be able to really grasp what is going on. But the message of working together to achieve a common goal is easy to understand. My favorite scene is when Tai and Angemon stand looking over the cliff. This scene is dramatic and relatable and changes the tone of the film.

 

This is a dramatic, yet lighthearted film reuniting all of the Digimon characters from the original series. I recommend this film for ages 10 to 16 and give this film 3 out of 5 stars.  It is available on DVD, March 16, 2017 so be sure to check it out.

 

Digimon Adventure Tri.: Reunion
By Benjamin P, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 11

 

Digimon Adventure Tri.: Reunion is a fun return to the world of Digimon’s Digital Monsters with epic battles and powerful Digimon that should definitely appeal to fans of the original series.

 

Many years have passed since the original show and the characters are now in high school. Tai encounters a strange Digimon that jeopardizes the reputation of the rest of the magical creatures. Tai is reunited with the rest of the Digidestined and they come together with their Digimon to fight against the destructive monsters that Tai encounters. As this threat becomes more hostile, the Digidestined must work together to fight against it.

 

My favorite part of this film is the climactic final battle. Seeing the Digidestined fight against one common evil is very epic. This scene feels like it has real stakes to it. I honestly was unsure of what would happen next. It is a nice pay-off for what the film has been building up to the whole time. The Digimon really let loose and you finally really get to see the grand scale of their powers onscreen in a rewarding way.

 

I do not like the ending to this film. It might catch you off guard with an ending that feels abrupt. You could argue that they chose to end it this way because this film has two other sequels, but I think they could have at least added one more scene.

 

This film is a little confusing. I know little of the Digimon mythos and there is some exposition that I don’t understand. However, this series’ welcoming nature though makes up for that. Even though I do not know the characters, they interact in a way that made me feel as if I knew them already. I mostly credit the voice cast for this. They have never played these characters before or worked together, but it feels as if they’ve known each other for a long time and their chemistry feels very much believable.

 

I give this DVD an age rating of 5 to 14. It’s pretty much for all ages and, if you’re a fan of Digimon, I highly recommend it. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. Fans of Digimon will really enjoy it. You can find it now on DVD so, go check it out.

 

Credit: KIDS FIRST!

 

 

 

Get in the Mood for Summer Camping with The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Camping!

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It’s the first day of summer vacation and The Cat in the Hat whisks Nick, Sally and Fish off on the greatest great outdoor camping adventure ever! Our gang gets back to nature as they hike through the Fickle Fern Forest, camp out overnight, trek over Mt. Weewobble and canoe down the Tickle Drop River… just in time for Fish to meet up with his family for a grand reunion. Along for the ride are Little Cats A, B and C, who discover there’s wonder in nature once their electronic devices are powered off! Nick and Sally help keep the Little Cats out of trouble, while Fish tries to keep his jacket pressed and the mud out of his fancy fishbowl… all while getting up close to some of nature’s most awesome sights, and learning how best to respect them. After being lulled to sleep under the stars by a chorus of animals, the morning brings Everyone agrees it really has been the Greatest Great Outdoors Adventure Ever! KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Morgan B. comments, “I absolutely love all the different things I learned about from this DVD! The animation is spot on in this show which brings out a lot of cool stuff.” Denise B., KIDS FIRST! Adult Juror adds, “What a great DVD to get you in the mood for the upcoming summer vacation! I’m a big fan of the Cat in the Hat and his shenanigans. This one does not disappoint!” See their full reviews below.

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Camping!

By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 12

 

I absolutely love all the different things I learned about from this DVD! The animation is spot on in this show which brings out a lot of cool stuff. In this collection, the Cat in the Hat, Nick, Sally, Fish, Thing One and Thing Two are all back for new and exciting adventures about camping. It makes the perfect summer DVD for kids who love Dr. Seuss’s terrific characters and stories. I enjoyed watching this so much because it is interesting and enjoyable and shows so many different people from all around the world. I imagine that kids from everywhere will enjoy this since camping is something everyone can do.

My favorite scene features a crafty squirrel who borrows food. We are in the great outdoors and have to remember that humans are in animal territory so, they need to be kind to the animals. The voice actors truly fit their characters, especially Martin Short as the Cat in the Hat. Mr. Short’s energetic voice over suits the Cat so well. His voice is very unique which makes his character always so fun, happy, encouraging and knowledgeable. He makes watching the show a treat.

Electronics rule the world today, so camping is great way to get back to nature.  Leave the phones at home and go outside and enjoy the world. This is the great lesson on this DVD. I would like to go camping this year for a fun vacation. It might even start a family tradition that my family and I would enjoy – time away from electronics exploring the wonderful world we live in. It is so easy to sit and worry that everything will go wrong, but things tend to always work out. Spend less time worrying and more time enjoying life is a message I took away from this.

There is no fishing on this camping trip since the goal is to take Fish to his family reunion. We see family members coming together from all difference places to get reacquainted with one another and connect in new ways.  It is always fun to see our family members from far away, listen to their stories about the past and learn about others in your extended family. I’m going to make this part of my summer plan.

I recommend this DVD for kids ages 4 to 12. You can learn a lot about camping, friendship and family reunions while watching this adventure. It is very catchy and perfect for summer. If you’re looking for something to do this summer, then this will give you some wonderful ideas. I give this terrific DVD 5 out of 5 camping adventure stars. This fun DVD is available now so, go check it out.

The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About Camping!

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By Denise Bloomfield, KIDS FIRST! Juror

What a great DVD to get you in the mood for the upcoming summer vacation! I’m a big fan of the Cat in the Hat and his shenanigans. This one does not disappoint! It’s entertaining for the whole family and children, ages 3 to 9 will love it! I like that all the characters such as the Fish are included in this fun outdoor adventure. It also has a great story line from the beginning to end and it’s just so fun to watch. I found myself laughing out loud more than a few times. I also like that it is rather original and the animation and soundtrack are great. I give this 5 out of 5 stars and think that the adults will also enjoy watching this one with their young children. This comes out on DVD May 26, 2017 so, be sure to go check it out.

Credit: KIDS FIRST!