April 18, 2016

5 Things I Learned at Chuck E. Cheese

Last Thursday Little Miss turned four. Part of me is all, This is so awesome! We can do more fun things now. We can go to Disney soon! and another part of me is screaming, Where the hell has the time gone?! Please stop growing, I need you to stay small forever! Either way, I'm feeling some feels.

I decided that she needed to have a classic birthday "party". And by that I mean we went where all kids dream of spending the day - Chuck E. Cheese's. First, let me just say that when I was a kid, we spent a lot of time here. And by a lot, I mean probably four times ever. The thing is, it was such a magical place. Pizza, games, an animatronic band of mice - no really, they were a band on a stage and you could crawl under the stage because it looked like swiss cheese with the holes and everything - an epic ball pit... it was a kid's best day ever. Then there was that messy nonsense where pretty much all CEC's were shut down. My adult brain says bankruptcy or something but I'm too lazy to Google to find out what really happened. Let's just say that the mice and humans were having negotiation issues and things got a little cheesy {ha...} But anyway, I digress...

The point is Little Miss had never been to Chuck E. Cheese and it's been ages since I was there. So we went. 

Here are some observations:

1| Chuck E. Cheese's is a hell of a lot more expensive than it used to be. Of course, this could be because this time around I was footing the bill, either way, it's not cheap. 

2| When in a place like this, kids have no parents. These little monsters just run around being obnoxious with no regard for other kids. Add to that I watched some kid trip and fall and sit there crying his face off. No parent even acknowledged him, "not my kid? Keep moving!" 

3| The pizza is infinitely better than when I was a kid. Like, if I could order take out from CEC I might actually order a pie from them and call it a night. 

4| The maze that is bolted into the ceiling? It's more painful than I recall. My knees are about 23 years too old to be crawling around in a hard plastic tube. Let's not even discuss that fitting into the tubes, in general, requires some contortionist-like skills. 

5| Parents are failing their kids. Since when do you not pick up a dropped token or pull forgotten tickets from a game? Unclaimed? Correction CLAIMED! I don't get it. Maybe it's just my 90s kid mentality but I can't help but walk into a place like and scan the floor non-stop for dropped tickets or tickets. I mean, that's just what you do! 

Empty wallet, excess calories, and battered knees aside, Little Miss had a great time. My mom and I managed to win her 300 tickets so she picked out a few little prizes. On the way home we stopped for ice cream. Because what day isn't complete without it? 

April 14, 2016

The Power of Clean

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser, Colgate-Palmolive. All opinions are mine alone. #FusionClean #Collective Bias

Spending time in the kitchen is something that has always come naturally to me. From the time I was a kid, no older than eight I would imagine, I would whip up "recipes" in the kitchen pretending I was on a cooking show. Of course, my "recipes" consisted of a mixture of flour, sugar, salt, water, and sometimes hot chocolate mix. What can I say, cooking is in my veins.

As I’ve grown, my skills have improved. Although, there was that one time I accidentally made peanut butter dog treats. In case you’d rather make cookies, please remember to add the eggs and the milk to the recipe. My dog had never been happier. 

Now that I’m in my 30s and I have much more home cooking knowledge under my belt I’m proud to say that I’m a self-proclaimed master in the kitchen. Since today is Little Miss’s birthday – CAN YOU BELIEVE SHE’S FOUR?! – I decided to make a super messy, kid-friendly treat I knew she’d love.

If you’ve got little ones at home I strongly encourage you to make this fun treat with them. You get to bond, share the joy of cooking, and revel in your kitchen prowess. I made a trip to Walmart, hit up the cleaning aisle where I picked up my supplies, and then went to work.

I decided to gear these bars towards my niece’s birthday but you could swap out the candy for anything you prefer. Someone please make these with Rolos and report back! Feel free to print this recipe!  

Marshmallow Popcorn Bars

What you need:
1 Tbs. butter
20 marshmallows
4 c. popcorn
1 c. graham crackers
½ c. chocolate candies
2 Tbs. sprinkles (optional)

What you do:
Spray an 8"x8" (9”x9” will also work) baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl melt butter. Add the marshmallows, stirring to coat evenly and microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth then add the popcorn and graham crackers. Transfer the entire mixture to the baking pan and press the chocolate candy randomly into the surface of the bars, add sprinkles. Let cool for about 10 minutes, slice and serve. Store remaining bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

If there’s one universal fact behind cooking it’s that anything with marshmallow = mess. As messy as these bars were to make, taking care of the mess was a breeze thanks to Palmolive® Fusion Clean™.

Be sure to use this coupon and discover the power of Fusion Clean™.

Tell me, what’s the messiest thing you’ve ever made, and how did you clean it up? 

April 12, 2016

Booked Vol. 9

Hooray!!  It's book day! I slowed it down this month and only read a few. I'm still obliterating my Goodreads goal, though, so that's nice. Here's a look at where my nose was buried since last month.

The AlchemistThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I had picked this up in Target once and put it back because it didn't seem like my kind of book. When I needed an audiobook to drive home I noticed this was a short 4 hours so I gave it a go. I'm so glad I did. You guys, I absolutely loved this book. It was such a great, encapturing story about following your dreams and never giving up regardless of what's put in front of you. Given my own personal journey in the last year, there were so many parts of this book that spoke to me. 
"And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to acheive it."
"There is only one thing that makes a dream difficult to acheive: the fear of failure." 
"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everythign around us becomes better too." 

Yes PleaseYes Please by Amy Poehler

As usual, I had been putting off reading this for a while. This was a really great audiobook. It was funny and engaging, and I loved that there were additions that could only be part of an audiobook. I've never really paid much attention to Amy Poehler. All I really knew was that she was on SNL, was BFFs with Tina Fey and was married to Will Arnett. This was a nice glimpse into her life and upbringing, as well as how she got started and the comedic path she walked.

Deliver Her: A NovelDeliver Her: A Novel by Patricia Perry Donovan

I loved this book. I downloaded it free as a Kindle First selection and I'm glad I did.

After the death of her best friend Alex's life starts spiraling out of control. At the end of her rope her mother, Men, inlays the help of a transporter to get her daughter to a "reform school".

When things go terribly wrong and Alex goes missing, long kept secrets are revealed and everyone is forced to accept the after effects.

And that's all I have to say about that....  Your turn!

April 08, 2016

A Fairy-tale Weekend

Once Upon a Time....

Michael was having problems with her iPhone. You see, Michael isn't exactly keen on drinking the Apple Kool-Aid. She likes and uses the products, but she's not admittedly on Team iPhone. 

One day she wanted to add a meditation album to her phone. This should be easy, she thought. She'd simply connect the phone to the laptop, add the tracks, sync it up and be good to go. Apparently technology had other plans. 

iTunes was not recognizing the iPhone connection. Rather, the laptop was viewing the phone as a USB device. This was a new problem among the others she had been having. This meant a trip to the Apple-Land was in order. Michael dreaded going to the Apple-Land because she knew it would be overcrowded and, most likely, fruitless. She went anyway. 

After having to reschedule her appointment because she was walking out the door 10 minutes before it was scheduled, she drove to the mall and walked around to kill an hour. She even tried on clothes she knew she shouldn't be buying at this time. Fortunately for her wallet, nothing fit just right.

At 11:40 Michael entered the gates of Apple-land. She was hoping that the wizard would be able to resolve all her issues. After an hour and a half of trying to fix things with the iTunes connection, Michael decided it wasn't that important since she's an avid Spotify user. Instead, she chose to fix the other, more irritating issues at hand. Unfortunately, this meant completely restarting her phone. 

As she reluctantly handed over her phone and pressed the dreaded reset button, Michael realized one thing. Maybe Apple isn't so terrible. The thing that was being embedded into her brain by the fabulous wizard (also named Michael) was that if she had a Mac, some of these issues wouldn't be happening. It really was a beautiful thing. 

She decided to travel to Mactopia and give them a try for herself. She immediately fell in love with the 21.5 screen of the iMac. The Magic Mouse would require training. The Air was smooth and pretty, super easy to use, but a 13" screen was disappointing. All in all, Michael left knowing that a Mac was in her future. 

*   *   *

After returning from Apple-Land and foraging for food, she decided to take a bath. She found all her best candles with soothing scents. The Lemon Mint Tea she had recently purchased was a must. She ran the water, lit the candles, and stepped in. The water was less than steaming hot. Not to mention that she barely fit. This was not your standard sized tub. She also found that the body wash she had added for bubbles didn't mix in at all. Instead, she was looking at little blobs of Dove floating around the bottom of the tub. 

Not one to be deterred she put on a meditation track and decided to chill out. After an excruciatingly long 6 minutes, she said, fuck this, as the water had cooled drastically, and took a hot shower instead. 

*   *   *
The next day it was incredibly windy. Her plans of going for a nice long walk would now require all the layers. The same layers that she has begun packing up for the season because it was April and Mother Nature needed to get her shit together and start pulling sunshine out of her ass.

Upon returning from her walking quest, Michael decided to take care of the tedious task of updating, her contacts. 6... hours... later the job was done.

*   *   *
The moral of this little tale is:

  1. Michael is still sampling the Kool-Aid and she may have finally found a flavor she likes;
  2. No matter how tedious the task, she will undertake it;
  3. Layers always win
  4. Michael needs to date a basketball player and all her tub problems will be over.