The Importance of Being Reese: May 2016

Win Tickets to See Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Out of the Shadows


Heroes in a half shell, Turtle Power!

This Summer, see Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). Supervillain Shredder (Brian Tee) joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE Superstar Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly) to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and crew, they find themselves facing an even greater evil: the notorious Krang.

Excited about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Out of the Shadows? Starting today, you can enter to win two tickets to the screening of the upcoming Summer blockbuster! In total, there will be FIVE WINNERS! That's right FIVE winners, so the odds are in your favor.

But there are a few stipulations of course...

One: You have to live in or be willing to drive to DC, LA, or Chicago

Follow TMNT via Twitter: Follow Here

Follow me via Instagram: Follow Here

Fill out the Rafflecopter below using an email address you can be contacted at.

Good luck to all!

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How to Make a Killer Chocolate Brownie Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich

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

A simple recipe for these killer brownie waffle ice cream sandwiches

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.” ― Charles M. Schulz 

It's safe to say I spend quite a bit of time experimenting in my kitchen with various recipes. Sometimes they're a complete flop, and sometimes they exceed expectations. This Chocolate Brownie Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich is definitely the latter. If you're a fan of brownies and homemade vanilla ice cream, you're going to want to bookmark this yummy recipe to reflect upon later, but be warned, these killer Chocolate Brownie Waffle Ice Cream Sandwiches are so painfully simple to make it's almost criminal. In fact, they should come with a warning.

Surgeon General's Warning: This recipe can cause a chocolate/ and or vanilla ice cream addiction. There, you've been warned, continue to read at your own risk.

blue bunny ice cream


These delicious treats can be made using 6 ingredients, in about 15 minutes- so basically the ultimate "schools out" celebratory treat. For this recipe, I specifically chose Blue Bunny® Homemade Vanilla ice cream because of it's consistency. Plus, the new clear packaging allowed me to see the flavor swirls in all of their glory, which is important when you live in a household that has different tastes in ice cream, which is how we ended up with Blue Bunny® Mint Chocolate Chip and Blue Bunny® Blu's Birthday Party® as well. The Smucker's Chocolate or Hot Fudge Ice Cream Topping also mysteriously ended up in the cart. Not that I'm complaining...



So, let's get on with the main attraction. Here's how to make a killer Chocolate Brownie Waffle Ice Cream Sandwich.

Ingredients 


Brownie mix
2 medium eggs
1/3 cup
Blue Bunny® Homemade Vanilla
Non-stick spray

Optional 
Whipped cream
Rainbow sprinkles

Instructions

Heat your waffle iron and prepare brownie mix according to package instructions.

brownie waffle mix


Spray waffle iron with non-stick spray. Pour brownie mix onto waffle maker and cook until waffle maker beeps. Carefully remove brownie waffle from waffle iron. Set waffle in freezer and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes.

brownie waffles


Once waffle has cooled, slice into fours. Remove ice cream from freeze and scoop onto waffle. Spread evenly with knife. Place another brownie waffle on top of ice cream. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles. Serve with a smile and a side of milk.

Enjoy!

brownie waffles recipe


Loved this recipe? Be sure to use these links to Re-tweet to share with your Tweethearts, or Repin so you can indulge later. You can also download and print a recipe card to add to your recipe box.

Until next time,


What Every Parent Needs to know about Pediatric Cancer

neuroblastoma
Update: Baby Jordan gained his angel wings on Wednesday, May 18th shortly after this article was published. He was completely peaceful, and randomly smiling in his sleep, letting us know he is okay. He not in pain anymore. He is free from suffering.

Earlier this year, my cousins became members of the club every parent knows exists, but few like to talk about. The “my baby has just been diagnosed with cancer club.” As you can imagine, it’s a devastating club to suddenly find yourself a member of.  It’s a club that we often deliberately ignore out of fear. But sadly, it’s a club that 46 parents will find themselves inducted into today. And that number is growing.

As I sit here typing, a father sits holding his daughter for the final time. A mother lays curled on her son’s floor, her heart as empty as his bed. These are not nameless, faceless people. These people are your friends, your neighbors, your family. Perhaps cancer has not touched you personally, but it could. And that should scare you into action. 

But before you leap blindly into the fray, there are several important things you need to know about pediatric cancer:

Cancer Doesn’t Care
Every year, 263,000 children under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer. And of those 263,000 children, 91,250 of them will not live to see their 20th birthday.  Childhood cancer is the number one killer of children under the age of 18. It does not discriminate based on your race, financial status, or how much you love your children. Cancer doesn’t care.

neuroblastoma in babies


Pediatric Cancer is Severely Underfunded
And it’s no secret. Childhood cancer receives only a paltry 4% of U.S. federal funding for research, while adult cancers research receives 60%. In dollar terms, pediatric cancer clinical trials receive $26.4 million in funding annually from the federal government, while AIDS research receives $254 million in funding and breast cancer averages roughly $584 million. And while it’s true that pediatric is less common that adult cancers, there is still a major funding disparity in childhood cancers. Simply put, pediatric cancer is not profitable enough.

Which brings us to my next point…

Not every Charity is Charitable
Before you open your wallet to make a charitable donation, you should take the time to know where your money is going. For every dollar the American Cancer Society raised in 2010, only a single penny was spent on childhood cancer. But they’re not the only offenders. The Childhood Leukemia Foundation spends just 27% of its annual budget on programs and research. Only 25% of donations fund programs for the National Cancer Institute.

Conversely, the Cancer Research Institute funnels a whopping 85% of their donations and funding into programs that benefit cancer patients. On average, over the last three years, 83 cents of every dollar received has supported the research and treatment at St. Jude.

If you’re considering donating to a cancer charity for children, Charity Navigator is a great place to begin your initial research. Donations, although well-intended, do nothing if they’re not being used appropriately.


A Cure Is Possible
Researchers say that a legitimate cure, with reduced long-term effects from chemotherapy and radiation treatments is possible without our lifetime. It can happen. But only if we work together.
Contact your local congressman. Start a local fundraiser. You don’t have to be the parent of a child with cancer to get involved. Make noise. Make waves. Just whatever you do, don’t stay silent.

Because one day, you may be one of the 46 parents who suddenly find themselves on the bad side of those unthinkable statistics. Don’t wait until it’s too late to join the fight. We owe it to our children. We owe it to ourselves.

baby eating pizza




To learn more about Jordan and his fight with pediatric cancer, visit his Facebook Page Go Gold for Jordan.

To donate to Jordan's medical fund, visit his Go Fund Me page.

To learn more about what you can do within your own community, visit the Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

5 Ways to Travel Cheap This Summer

budget friendly travel tips


Traveling with a family can get pretty expensive very quickly. This summer enjoy spending more time having fun on your vacation with your family and less time worrying about the cost with these 5 awesome and creative ways to travel cheap this summer. This simple tips are sure to make your next family vacation much more enjoyable!

1. Use Discount Sites Sites 

Groupon and Living Social often times offer super affordable discount rates for traveling. Sometimes you can save as much as $1000 on a cruise or overnight stay in a luxurious hotel. Sign up for weekly alerts so that you know when they're offering a good deal.


2. Avoid Traveling on the Weekend 

Although weekend traveling is more convenient, it's also a bit more costly. Studies show that Wednesday is actually the least expensive day out of the week to travel. If possible, try to plan your vacation during the week. Not only will you cut the cost, but you'll also beat the weekend crowds.

money saving travel tips

3. Take Advantage of Last Minute Deals 

Snagging last minute deals can be difficult at a moments notice when you have a family, but the savings you could rack up would be well worth the inconvenience. If you really want to save some money, keep your eyes peeled for sweet last minute trips. Airfare Watchdog is a great site to keep in mind when looking for those last minute deals.


4. Call BEFORE Booking Online 

Sure booking hotel accommodations online is convenient, but did you know that most of the time you miss out on great deals? Call the hotel and ask to speak to a manager or supervisor. If you're celebrating a special occasion, be sure to make mention of it. You might just get lucky and swing a really great deal this way. Bonus: this method applies to airlines as well.


5. Book Rooms with Kitchens 

Although you may pay a bit more out of pocket right away for the hotel accommodations, booking a room with a kitchen will allow you to dine in instead of spending tons of extra money hitting up expensive restaurants. Pack your own food or go to a local grocery store for a few days worth of food. This alternative is not only cheaper, but probably healthier.

 Have travel plans for the summer? Do you have creative ways to travel cheap you'd like to share? How do you and your family save money when going on vacation? Sound off in the comment section below.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out my recent post 10 Tips For Camping with Toddlers!

Until next time,



How to Save Money with Groupon Coupons

groupon coupons savings


This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Groupon Coupons, however all opinions and thoughts are mine alone.

Summer is just around the corner, and if you're like me, you're probably looking for inexpensive ways to keep your family busy and fed. That's where Groupon Coupons come in. Odds are by now you're no stranger to Groupon, and if you are, you need to remedy that immediately. But for now, let me give you the skinny. Groupon is a global e-commerce marketplace that connects millions of users with local merchants by offering steep discounts on local and international activities, travel, services and goods in more than 28 countries. In laymen terms, it's an awesome resource to use if you are on a budget, but still like to live big.

I currently have several (and by several, I mean close to 10) active Groupons. I use them for everything. That fabulous hotel I stayed at in Chicago last year? Booked it through Groupon at at 60% off. All those exercise classes I attend? Got 30 for $18. My nails? Booked a manicure for $10.

 But still, there's always room for improvement. And that's where Groupon Coupons come in.

Groupon Coupons take savings to a whole other level by compiling amazing coupons from some of your favorite retailers all in one central hub. You can choose from hundreds of coupons daily, and there are plenty of amazing deals to choose from. To give you an idea, Walmart currently has 53 coupon available today! Sprint has 13 available coupons, including one for $75 in credit and a $30 waved activation fee. You can also currently save $180 on a Levano Ideapad. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. As you can imagine, those savings begin to add up quickly.

Here are just a few of the places you can use your coupons: 

Macy's
New York and Company
Ulta
Payless
Walmart
T-Mobile
BabiesRUs
Best Buy
Walgreens

I've shopped at every single one of these retailers this year alone. It's incredible to think that I missed out on major savings. But that won't happen again.With Groupon Coupons, you can save on more than experiences, you can save on products and groceries from all of your favorite retailers with the click of a single button. That's my kind of savings!

What are some of your favorite ways to save during the Summer? Have you tried Groupon Coupons yet? Feel free to comment below!

Until next time,

10 Tips for Camping With Toddlers

Toddler camping ideas


So you're heading into the Great Outdoors with your toddler in tow? There's no doubt about it, camping with toddlers for the first time can be a daunting experience. What if they wake up in the middle of the night and wander? What it they get hurt and you're not close to a hospital? How to you keep their little toddler brains occupied?

Before you overwhelm yourself with worst-case scenarios, take a deep breath, grab a cup of hot tea, and let me walk you through 10 tips that will make camping with toddlers a breeze.

Safety First

Before you even begin to pack your gear into the vehicle, sit down with your toddler and lay down some ground rules. Talk to them about the importance of camping safety. Show them pictures of poison ivy so they know what not to touch. Realistically they may not retain everything, but if you make it fun-- they're more likely to remember the basics.

Scout Out Your Location

As soon as you arrive at your camp ground, take a moment or two to thoroughly scout out your location. Are you right next to a patch of poison ivy? Is your campsite next to a lake? Pay special attention to your surroundings. Make sure you set up boundaries for your tots and pay extra attention to them. Enforce strict rules. If they step outside the boundaries, punish them accordingly. Otherwise, they'll ignore your boundaries and toddle straight into danger.



Camping trip checklist


Use a Checklist

You know how you go shopping without a checklist, and then inevitability end up at the grocery store 3 or 4 times within a week? Camping without a checklist is much worse. Because once you're in the wilderness, odds are their won't be too many 24 hour Harris Teeters for your to run to for extra baby wipes, or God-forbid, bug spray. Though your campground is likely to have a small grocery store for necessities, the highly inflated prices will make you wish you had used a checklist.

Because I believe sharing is caring, I've put together this FREE printable camping checklist so you can ensure that you've packed everything you'll need for your camping adventure.


free printable, free camping printable, camping checklist, free camping checklist


(To download, simply click on the image. The image will open in a secondary window, where you can hit save or print).

Don't Forget the Potty

Nothing is worse than stumbling through the woods,  wailing toddler in tow while you're attempting to locate the "pit of doom toilet" in the middle of the night. You can avoid this simply by remembering to pack your child's potty. This is especially important if your child is in the middle of being potty trained. You don't want to interrupt their potty-pattern or worse, traumatize them by forcing them to use a camp-ground potty pit. Take my advice and pack your child's potty. You'll thank yourself later.


Tent camping with toddlers and babies

The family that Lays Together...

Stays together. Or something like that. When you're camping with toddlers or small children, it's always best to keep them close by when sleeping. Position your sleeping bag between your tot, and the tent entrance. This way if your tot has any ideas about taking a midnight stroll, they'll have to get through you first.

Mind The Fire

Kids, and adults for that matter, all love a good campfire. But those flickering flames can spell trouble for young children who don't quite understand that playing with fire isn't the best idea. Set up a perimeter around the fire and make sure that an adult (more specifically, a sober adult) is always on watch.


Toddler fishing on camping trip

Play Time Ideas

Camping is the perfect time to ditch the electronics in favor of fun, family- oriented games. Now is the time to dust off all those old board games that have been stuffed into the dark crevices of your attic. Fun toddler approved games and toys to consider:

Go Fish
Checkers
Candy Land
Chuttes and Ladders
Cards
Rope (for learning how to tie knots)
Frisbees
Footballs
Kickballs
Kites

Bring Along Playmates

Let's face it, while your child may love you, they also love spending time with their peers. Turn your camping trip into an adventure for the whole family by going camping with another family. With more adults, keeping your eyes out for your little ones will be a bit easier. Besides, if you forget to pack the sunscreen or extra wipes, odds are the other mother has you covered and vice versa.

Layer Up

Mother Nature can be a mean, well, Mother. Come prepared by packing multiple layers for your family, but especially your toddlers. Keep in mind that toddlers like to get messy, so while one jacket might be fine for yourself, you may want to pack an extra for your tots, just in case.


Camping first aid kit essentials

Stock up Your First Aid Kit

Let's face it, toddlers are potential hazards with adorably chubby cheeks. Though you may not want to use it, in the event that you have to, it's incredibly important to make sure that your first aid kit is properly stocked. The Red Cross recommends that your first aid kit include the following:

2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
5 antiseptic wipe packets
2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
1 blanket (space blanket) [Available on the Red Cross Store]
1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
1 instant cold compress
2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each) Scissors
1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches) [Available on the Red Cross Store]
5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches) Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
2 triangular bandages
Tweezers

So there you have it, camping with toddlers doesn't have to be a nightmare! If you prepare and pack accordingly your first camping trip with your tot will be a cherished childhood memory you both can reflect fondly upon.

Like this post? Feel free to re-tweet to share with friends, or pin on Pinterest for later!

Also, be sure to check out one of my most popular posts, 10 fun science experiments your kids will love!

Until next time,