The Importance of Being Reese: January 2016

6 Children's Books To Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Happy MLK Day Lovelies,

Martin Luther King Jr Day is a big deal in my home. I grew up with two parents who were alive during the civil rights era. I hear the tales of the race riots they endured. They often talked about how they were some of the first students to be integrated into all-white schools. Those were not easy times. We never shied away from discussing the Civil Right Movement, or slavery and I fully intend to discuss these things with my own daughter. After all, those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

If you enjoy celebrating the life and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, this year, why not let your kids join in the fun? Interested? Here are 6 books that are a great introduction into the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr.

1. Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Ages 5-10

This picture book is the perfect introduction for young readers to learn about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  It offers a mix of vivid imagery to go along with some of MLK's most pivotal speeches, essays, and poetry.

2. As Good As Anybody

Ages 5-10

As Good As Anybody follows the story of Abraham Joshua Heschel a Jewish minister preached and marched alongside Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. This classic chronicals how he and Martin Luther King Jr. formed a remarkable friendship and turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of love and equality for all.

3. I Too, Am America 


Ages 4-8

I Too, Am America is poetry picture book based on Langston Hugh's most celebrated poem. With it's flowing poetry and stunning illustrations, I Too, Am America serves as a reminder to all Americans that we are united despite our differences.

4. Nothing But Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson 


Ages 3-7

Nothing But Trouble follows the story of Althea Gibson, the first African American ever to compete in and win the Wimbledon Cup. In addition to the historical significance of Gibson's story, this book also proves that even "troublemakers" can aspire to be great, and that through hard work and dedication, anything is possible.

5. If A Bus Could Talk


Ages 4-8

If A Bus Could Talk, is the story of how one woman sparked the Civil Rights movement. On her way to school, a young girl named Marcie embarks on a magical bus ride where she meets Rosa Parks and learns about the bus ride that changed America.

6. My Daddy, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. 


Ages 4-8

Written by Martin Luther King III, this memoir gives an inside look into one of this nation's most beloved leaders. Through the eyes of his son, readers a given an intimate look at the man and leader behind the Civil Rights movement. 

What are your plans for Martin Luther King Jr. Day this year? Do you have any favorites you like to read to your children? Sound off in the comment section below! 

If you liked this post, please feel free to repin this for later on Pinterest or share with friends and family on Twitter!

Until next time!

Valentine's Day Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sticks

These quick and easy Valentines Day Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Sticks look amazing and taste even better.

Valentine's Day is nearly here, and I'm getting started a bit earlier than I typically would. Working a 45+ hour a week job, keeping up with a busy 4 year old, finding the time to blog, and trying to keep my house from falling apart leaves me little time to spend in the kitchen. So when I actually get the chance to experiment and play around with a new recipe, I try to make it count.

So onto the recipe that brought you all here! Today I'm sharing a super simple, but incredibly adorable recipe for Chocolate Covered Pretzel Sticks, These pretzel sticks are not only pretty to look at, but they taste amazing. Bonus: this is the type of recipe that's requires few ingredients, and is the perfect way to introduce your kiddos to the kitchen. It involves no real heavy lifting or stove-work, so you can rest assured that your kids can't get into too much trouble.


Dipping Chocolate (of your choice, but strawberry or white chocolate will look best)
Pretzel Rods
Wax Paper


Break off a few chunks of chocolate and place in a bowl, the narrower, the better. Heat chocolate according to package instructions. Once your chocolate is done heating, check to make sure it's not too runny. If it's runny, allow it to cool down and stiffen up a bit.

Once your chocolate has reached the constancy you would like, dip and twirl one end of your pretzel stick into the bowl. Apply an even amount of chocolate on the pretzel rod. Shake pretzel rod to remove any excess chocolate.

Holding your pretzel rod over and empty bowl, carefully shake the sprinkles over the chocolate covered pretzel. The empty bowl underneath will catch any excess sprinkles, which can then be used again. Repeat this process as many times as necessary to ensure your pretzel is fully covered.

Place pretzel on wax paper and allow to stiffen for at least 15 minutes.

Serve with a smile!

These pretzel sticks are the perfect inexpensive gift for loved ones and friends. They can be packaged up and tied with a matching ribbon. They're incredibly simple to make, but they look and taste amazing, so whoever is on the receiving end of this tasty treat, will cherish the personalized touch.

As always, if you enjoyed this recipe, please feel free to repin it for later, or retweet to share with friends and family!

Until next time,


Pineapple and Jasmine Fried Rice

Tracking Pixel

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Success® Rice. I was compensated for my post, however, all thoughts and opinions are uniquely and deliciously mine. Enjoy! 

Throw away your takeout menus! With this super simple Pineapple Jasmine Fried Rice recipe, you'll never have to order takeout again. 

As I've mentioned a time or two before, I'm a big fan of keeping it simple and delicious. If I can find a way to whip it up and serve it in less than 30 minutes, I'm all about it. Enter this Pineapple and Jasmine Fried Rice recipe. It has everything needed to keep my family happy-- ham, pineapples, soy sauce all tossed in Success® Jasmine Rice and topped with a heaping of vegetables.  Fried and cooked to perfection.

Pineapple Fried Rice recipes

This dish takes about 10 minutes once all of your ingredients are chopped and measured, so it's the perfect last minute dinner idea. For this dish, my secret ingredient is the brand of rice. Success® Jasmine Rice has a buttery, nutty fragrance that tastes even more delicious than it smells. It’s comes pre-measure and prepackaged, so all you have to do is toss it into a pot of water, and let the stove do all the work. The best part? It’s a low-cost meal that taste just a great the next day (can anyone say leftovers?!?)

easy Pineapple Fried Rice recipe


2 packs of Success® Jasmine Rice
1 package of Diced Ham
2 20 oz cans of Pineapple tidbits
1 package of frozen corn, peas and carrots
1 medium onion
1/4 cup of soy sauce
2 tbsp of sesame oil
1 bunch of green onion
a pinch of ginger powder
1 teaspoon of minced garlic

healthy Pineapple Fried Rice recipe


Cook rice according to package instructions. While the rice is cooking, prep the vegetables.

Add one teaspoon of olive oil to a large skillet and turn the stove to medium heat. Once the pan is hot, toss in the garlic. Cook garlic for 2-3 minutes, and then, add corn, peas, carrots, onions and diced ham, soy sauce and sesame oil to the pan.

Turn the heat to high and add the rice, stirring carefully. Sprinkle ginger powder on top. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until desired temperature is reached.

Plate and serve with a smile.

I'm a big fan of experimenting, so I've made this recipe with just about every type of rice known to man, Jasmine Rice seems to taste the best. The nutty aftertaste seems to pair perfectly with the sweetness of the pineapples.

Like this recipe? Check out Success® Rice online for more scrumptious dinner and lunch ideas. Be sure to pin this post on Pinterest for later, or retweet and share with friend.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Success® Rice.

Until next time,

25 Free Photo Resources for Your Website or Blog

Happy New Year Loves!

Today's topic is one that every blogger should pay close attention to. If you're relatively inexperienced at blogging (and in some cases, very experienced) odds are you may not be aware that randomly grabbing images from google and using them on your site is illegal. That's right, taking a photo, even when giving credit to the owner in the form of a link or attribution, and using it on your site is considered theft.

If you didn't know, don't worry, it happens A LOT. If you get caught, sometimes it can be reasonably hashed out by adding a link back to the owners site, other times however, it can come with a hefty price tag.

Don't believe me, in their own words, these bloggers talk about the cost of using unauthorized images on their blogs:

Blogger Beware: You Can Get Sued for Using Photos You Don't Own on Your Blog

"Like most of you, I'm a casual blogger and learned my way into blogging by watching others. And one of the things I learned early on was that a post with a photo always looked nicer than one with just text. So I looked at what other people were doing for pictures.

...On one random post, I grabbed one random picture off of Google and then a few weeks later I got contacted by the photographer who owned that photo. He sent me a takedown notice, which I responded to immediately because I felt awful that I had unknowingly used a copyrighted pic. The pic was down within minutes. But that wasn't going to cut it. He wanted compensation for the pic. A significant chunk of money that I couldn't afford. I'm not going to go into the details but know that it was a lot of stress, lawyers had to get involved, and I had to pay money that I didn't have for a use of a photo I didn't need...."

Read more of Randi's story here

The $8,000 Mistake All Blogger Should be Aware Of

 Q: What’s lamer than a crappy photo of Nebraska? A: Having to pay $8,000 in copyright infringement penalties for it. This is a lesson we recently learned the hard way, and if you have (or contribute to) a blog you might want to read about our story so that you never, ever make the same mistake we did. 

 Read more of this story here


Scared yet? You should be. Taking photos off the web can be a costly mistake. Even if you link back to the site, unless you have paid for the photo, or have expressed permission, it is still considered theft.

It was nearly two years before I discovered this very common blogging faux pas. Once the shock cleared, I had to go back to most of my older posts, and replace the images. Now nearly every single photo on my site I have either taken myself, purchased or have received written consent from the owner to publish on my blog. There's still a few stragglers here and there that have to be fixed, but I'm certainly feeling much better.

Luckily, free stock photos are also a dime a dozen. Sometimes the clarity isn't all the great, and it takes a bit of digging, but you can often time find what you need without having to put yourself at risk.

Here are 25 of my favorite free photo resources!

Pic Jumbo
Negative Space
Life of Pix
Fancy Crave
Travel Coffee Book
IM Free
Lock and Stock
New Old Stock
Free Digital Photos
Photo Rack
Open Photo
Free Photo Bank
Image Free
Stock Vault
Flicker (select creative commons)
Image Base
Death to The Stock Photo

Honorary Mention

This next resources isn't free, but it's incredibly affordable and offers thousands of options. Typically if I can't find what I'm looking for, I'll head here to buy what I need. Most images here range from $1-$5 with a $1 Pay Pal fee included.


Don't get hit with that dreaded "cease and desist." Use this awesome list of free photo resources for your website and blog.

Do you have another free resources? Feel free to link it up in the comment section below and I'll add it to the list. Have you ever gotten in trouble for using unauthorized images? Share your story below.

Until next time,