Monday, August 25, 2014

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return {Giveaway}

Faith and I are so excited about this DVD!

We both love the Wizard of Oz and we both love Wicked the musical.  I watched Wizard of Oz every year when it came on tv (back in the Dark Ages before we had things on demand).  The very first musical I took 4 year old Faith to see was Wicked, back when we lived in Dallas and had season tickets to the Dallas Summer Musicals.  So come August 26th?  We are going to have movie night and watch Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return.
The cast on this one is amazing--Lea Michele from Glee as Dorothy, plus Dan Akroyd, Martin Short, Jim Belushi, Patrick Stewart, and Kelsey Grammar.  It's seriously an amazing group of voices, and the music is from Bryan Adams. I'm not quite convinced I could go wrong here.

In this sequel to my beloved Wizard of Oz,a devious new villain, the Jester, rules over Oz. Dorothy must return from Kansas to rescue her old friends: the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man.  And from the pictures, Toto is there too.  He was always one of my favorite parts of the movie.  I'm partial to dogs.

Getting excited for the movie too?  Click on the below pictures for some fun pre-movie activities for your little ones!

Want to win a copy of Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return for your kids?  (Or for yourself, since ours is kind of for me too.)  Just use the Rafflecopter below to leave a comment telling me your favorite Oz character to enter.  Tweet about the giveaway for a second entry too.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given the opportunity to receive an advance copy of Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return for myself and a copy to giveaway as part of my relationship with Fox Home Entertainment Insiders. All opinions expressed are my own.
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Cleaning Messes with Viva Vantage & Walmart

If you've got kids or pets, then you've got messes!  That's where Viva Vantage Paper Towels come in.

I've got muddy paws (thanks Dante), messy counters (thank you kids) and numerous other messes to clean up (thank you all furry and non furry family members).  And since I'm always cleaning up those messes, I'm cleaning messes with Viva® Vantage.

Must-have half sheets! Faith offered to help me.

After picking up an 8 pack at Walmart (we were almost out of paper towels), we decided to put our Viva Vantage to the test. Viva® Vantage towels are made with a revolutionary V-Flex Weave, which provides stretch that helps deliver great scrubbing power.  I also love that they come off the roll in half sheet size, I hate wasting paper products.

We started with the coffee pot morning clean up.  Extra easy!  Next up, we managed to find a spill of blackberry pomegranate tea.  Also tackled with just a single Viva Vantage towel. The sponge-like absorbency helps you soak up major spills, definitely a plus for me.

After that, we tried out the stretchiness, tugging them this way and that to see what would they could take.  I was very impressed with how much stretching the towels hold up to, before our real test.


We grabbed a towel and headed out to the garden where I picked a zucchini, a cucumber and two tomatoes.  We rinsed them, set them on the paper towel to dry, then picked up the towel with veggies on top.  Would it break???

The veggie test!

Ta da!  It did not, although we nearly dropped a tomato during the process.  So after a quick pic for proof, I tucked my veggies away safely.

The next test?  Dante's paws during the next rain storm, but I have a feeling Viva Vantage towels will hold up to that one too!  And I'm tired enough of muddy paws to not be hoping to try this soon.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Walmart and Viva Vantage paper towels, all opinions and photos are my own!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Chili’s® at Home Heats Up the Frozen Food Aisle

This week, with the husband out in the field, the kids and I are enjoying the big, bold and tasty flavors of Chili’s® at Home with a family date night!

We try to do something fun and special when Daddy isn't around, so this project came at the perfect time.  We decided to have a fun family night in, and Chili’s at Home frozen foods was our dinner of choice.

The kids joined me at the store so we could peruse the various kinds of meals available! Chili’s at Home offers two main types of meals--single serve entrees and multi-serve meals.  We headed to our commissary, coupon in hand, to choose a few.  We picked two multi-serve meals for later in the week, but decided to choose four of the single-serve entrees to serve dim sum style so we could each sample them.

Sampling all 4 kinds!

Our picks?  Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese, Cajun-Style Chicken Alfredo, Chicken Bacon Ranch, and Pepper Jack Mac ‘N’ Cheese!  Since they are extra easy to prepare, I just preheated our oven to 350, vented the  tops and baked them.  The instructions are simple, and they are also microwavable.  Can you say work lunch?  I need to pick up some more for the husband on his busy days too.

Out of the oven and ready to serve!

We each made ourselves a sample plate and sat down to a lovely dinner.  The verdict?  The kids loved the Bacon Mac & Cheese the best, with the Chicken Bacon Ranch Rice coming in second.  My favorite was the Pepper Jack Mac & Cheese.  We all agree that the husband would have loved the spice content on the Cajun-style Chicken Alfredo, although it was spicier than the kids could handle.  We want to try the other flavors for sure!

My goofy dates!

What other kinds of Chili's at Home meals are there?  So glad you asked?

1. Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese
2. Cajun-Style Chicken Alfredo
3. Cheesy Chicken Pasta Florentine
4. Chicken Bacon Ranch
5. Chicken Fajita Rice Bowl
6. Island Chicken & Rice
7. Mango Chicken with Rice
8. Pepper Jack Mac ‘N’ Cheese

1. Bacon Mac ‘N’ Cheese
2. Chicken Bacon Ranch
3. Chicken Fajita Rice
4. Nacho Potatoes with Beef & Bacon
5. Seasoned Chicken Bites with Honey Chipotle Sauce

Which one would you love to try?  We've got the Chicken Fajita Rice and the Nacho Potatoes with Beef & Bacon for later in the week, and I'd love to try the Seasoned Chicken Bites with Honey Chipotle Sauce!  That just sounds awesome!  Don't forget to print a coupon before you buy!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Bellisio Foods, for Chili's at Home, all opinions, photos and yummy flavors were my own!
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Monday, August 18, 2014

Buffalo Joe's Whitewater Rafting {Review}

For Ben's 9th birthday, we decided we needed to do something fun as a family, since it was the end of the husband's block leave from deployment.

Thankfully, Ben's birthday is in the summertime and the outdoor options in Colorado are plentiful.  After giving him a few choices, he decided he wanted to go whitewater rafting!

From the Springs where we live, we can go a little over an hour in one direction or two hours in another and find some great rafting areas.  We chose to head up to Buena Vista to raft Browns Canyon which is part of the Arkansas River with Buffalo Joe's Whitewater Rafting.

Our kids have rafted before, but only as passengers in the boat, so this time, we wanted a trip where they were able to paddle too.  Since Browns Canyon was a little cooler that day, we opted for wetsuits, booties and splash jackets, all available from Buffalo Joe's.  We got a quick lesson from our guides and headed off to the river.

We had a raft for the four of us and our guide, which was perfect since the kids really wanted to paddle.  Our guide gave Faith and Ben a few more lessons and we headed off into the river.  The first part of the trip is relaxing--light paddling, a few itsy bitsy Cat1 rapids, and gorgeous scenery.

The second part was Ben's favorite, and that was where the Cat3 rapids started.  Both kids absolutely loved it with the drops and the rapids!  This part of the trip goes through approximately 9 major sets of rapids which was great for my little daredevils.  They got soaked and stayed in the boat, so all in all, a perfect trip.

The pictures were a gift from Buffalo Joe's management to share on the blog, but each raft was able to see and purchase photos from their trip after returning to the main office.

Is this something your kids would love?  We highly recommend it!  We're all about living it up during our time in Colorado and rafting is a must-do event.

Please visit the website at or call  866-BUFF-JOE for more information about which trip would work best for your group!

This post was written as a part of my ongoing relationship with US Family Guide. Our family received a rafting tour in appreciation for this post, all opinions are my own.
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Friday, August 15, 2014

Bacon Wrapped Cheesy Campfire Hot Dogs

How can hot dogs roasted over the campfire taste even better?  By adding cheese and bacon to them!

According to Ben, everything tastes better with bacon, so at Cub Scout camp this spring, we made special campfire hot dogs, stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon.

All you need is hot dogs, string cheese, bacon, a knife, and roasting forks.

  • Cut a packed lengthwise down the hot dog.
  • Cut the string cheese into quarters (also lengthwise) and place one quarter into the hot dog pocket.
  • Carefully wrap the bacon around the hot dog, securing the ends with a toothpick if necessary.
  • Spear the hot dog onto the roasting fork.
  • Roast over the fire, turning frequently until the bacon is cooked.
  • Place in a bun and eat!

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mountain Resorts in Steamboat Springs

It's hard to believe we are heading back towards wintertime in Colorado!  I just told the husband last night that opening day where we ski most weekends is October 31.  Since the kiddos and I were still skiing in April (and one resort was open till the end of June), I'm kind of wondering where summer went.

On the flip side, I absolutely adore skiing and we want to explore a few more resorts this year (I took the kids to 4 different ones this past season).  The husband really wants to head back to Steamboat since that was his favorite as a kid and I'm looking forward to trying it with our kids too.

Mountain Resorts offers a wide variety of attractive, well-maintained accommodations at prime locations in Steamboat Springs, Colorado surrounding the Steamboat Ski Area, with rates ranging from affordable to indulgent. If you're planning a winter vacation to Steamboat Springs there is no better time to book your trip. When you book early you have access to the best properties at the greatest discounts.

Check out these early booking deals. Up to 35% off lodging and 25% off lift tickets! For more information and reservations call 800-995-6049 or visit us online to book!

Disclosure: This post was written as a part of my ongoing relationship with US Family Guide, no compensation was received, all opinions are my own.
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More from the Adventure Company: Whitewater Rafting

Colorado could have a new national monument and there is an overwhelming amount of support for it. Mark Hammer, owner of Colorado white water company, The Adventure Company, and 28-year veteran rafting guide declared his support for the Browns Canyon and Wilderness Act of 2013, written by U.S. Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) to establish a 22,000-acre Browns Canyon National Monument and a 10,400 acre area of wilderness around the Arkansas River south of Buena Vista as a national monument. Udall's bill is derived from the input of rafting outfitters, local business leaders, fishing guides, and ranchers. Hammer said he and other business owners support the bill because it will provide increased wildlife preservation, sustainability of the local outdoor recreation economy and the ability for future generations to enjoy pristine scenery and clean water.

Browns Canyon between Buena Vista and Salida is a favorite destination for outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, anglers, and boaters. This rugged environment provides critical habitat for eagles, elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain lion and black bear. Browns Canyon was recently designated Gold Medal status by the state of Colorado making it the longest stretch of Gold Medal waters in the state.

"Colorado and the Arkansas River valley depend on tourism and recreation for economic health. Browns Canyon is one of the most popular stretches of river in the country for whitewater rafting. This Colorado resource is also known for its rugged beauty, gold medal fishing, abundant wildlife, and world class outdoor recreation. As a company that annually contributes a percentage of our rafting income to the Land Trust of the Upper Arkansas (LTUA), The Adventure Company believes that river conservation is of the utmost importance in protecting this special area for the future, " said Hammer.

The US Bureau of Land Management currently manages Browns Canyon as a wilderness study area. This designation temporarily prevents mining and some development in the area. Udall's legislation provides permanent protection for the region, its habitat and for tourism and recreation including whitewater rafting in one of Colorado's most popular river rafting spots. Upwards of 100,000, people raft through Browns Canyon each summer, accounting for almost 40 percent of Colorado's entire river rafting activity.

The Adventure Company is open until 8/31/2014 while water levels on the Arkansas River are still fantastic! Rafting through Browns Canyon is a spectacular experience and should not be missed. Their trips on the Arkansas River meet at their Adventure Base Camp in Buena Vista, CO, an easy and scenic two hour drive from Denver.

Call 800-497-7238 or book online at

Disclosure: This post was written as a part of my ongoing relationship with US Family Guide. Our family received a rafting tour in appreciation for this post, all opinions are my own.
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