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Birthday Party Tips: The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Hosting A Party

This shop featuring the lazy mom’s guide to hosting a party has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #WipeAwayHolidayMess #CollectiveBias

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My gorgeous little girl is turning 6 on Wednesday. Yup. 6. I remember when she was first born. She came so fast. Like she was ready to be here after waiting 5 days after her due date. Always on her time. And always like a whirlwind. 

She insisted on a Shopkins themed party and I had to deliver. I mean come on, you only turn 6 once, right. In the 6 years of throwing parties for her, I’ve come to learn a thing or two about throwing together a party. And each year has gotten simpler and simpler with a few easy tricks I’ve learned. 

Throwing a birthday party doesn’t have to be complicated. Or expensive for that matter. it just takes some creativity and a little bit of prep. And if cleaning isn’t your thing, I have some tips for that too! 

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The Lazy Mom’s Guide to Hosting A Birthday Party

1. Pick a theme

Now I normally leave themes up to the kids, but then I work on coming up with a basic color scheme to go along with that theme. In an effort to keep costs down, I only select a few character or themed items and coordinate those with solid color decor. I try to stock up on solid color plates and napkins, etc when I see them on sale so I don’t have to spend too much right before the party. 

2. Do any prep work ahead of time

About a week out I like to do the simple things I may not find the time to do on the day of the party or the day before. I fill goodie bags, make sure I have the pinata ready to go, and do a quick cleaning of the main areas of the house. I also print out any printables I’ve made or found and assemble anything that needs to be assembled (like when I make my own happy birthday signs). 

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3. Only commit to making 1-2 food items

My biggest time saver and stress reliever is to only make 1-2 of the food items I serve at the kids parties. This year it was hot dogs and pasta with two different sauces (alfredo and marinara). We purchased the pizza, fruit, veggie tray, and cupcakes from the grocery store. And I added a little flair to the store bought cupcakes by purchasing some character rings and cupcake decorations online. Way cheaper than custom cupcakes or cakes! 

4. Set up the night before

So that everything is ready to go, I always try to set up everything the night before. I lay out platters, make little notes about where I want things to go, and come up with a day-of game plan so I don’t forget anything. That way there’s less stress on me the day of. I also make sure my husband is in charge of picking up all of the food on the day of so I’m home to do any last minute tidying and to greet any early guests. 

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5. Don’t clean up during – or right after – the party

My biggest suggestion when hosting a party is to not worry about clean up. Especially when there are guests still at your home. We set out trash cans outside and inside so that guests know where things go (including recycling). And sometimes guests are so inclined to help pick up here and there. Let them! But don’t you dare pick up that piece of trash! This is your time to enjoy the fun your child is having with their friends. 

When the party has ended, I simply put away any food items that are still left out. And that’s all I do. I leave the mess for the morning. Because by then I’m exhausted and why work more when it’ll all be there in the morning? The next morning I conquer and divide. I have one kid with a bag to pick up trash and the other with a bag to pick up recyclables. 

Then I go around clearing any plates or dishes that may not have been put away. Next up is the dishes. Now you may be worried that because you didn’t clean up the night before, you might have some leftovers stuck to the dishes. That’s nothing a handy dandy Scotch-Brite® Scrubbing Dish Cloth can’t handle. The scrubbing dots on the one side of the dish cloth allow you to take on tough messes in the sink and across a variety of surfaces. Squeaky clean! 

Then I unleash the best tools of all! Our dogs. We let them search around and find anything we may have missed. And it works like a charm! 

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So the next time you’re hosting a party remember to keep it simple! Choose a theme, but use solid color accents, do some prep work ahead of time, only make 1-2 items for the party and purchase the rest, and come up with a day of game plan (including NOT cleaning). Looking for some help in the kitchen? Just grab some Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloths to help you out! 

What are your tips for making party planning easier? 

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Head over to your local Ralphs to score an In-Store Clip Strip Offer for $1.00 off a 1-pack of Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloths starting on 12/4! We found our Scotch-Brite Scrubbing Dish Cloths in the cleaning aisle. 

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Perfect Last Minute Movie Stocking Stuffer Ideas

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One thing I always forget to get until the last minute are the stocking stuffers for the kids. It’s a task I normally will just give to my husband the night before Christmas eve and then we end up with too much or too little. So I’m going simple this year! Each of the kids will get a DVD in their stocking, an apple & an orange (tradition in our home), a See’s santa chocolate, and a Christmas lego. Simple but fun, right? Now what DVDs should I stick in their stocking? 

Here are some ideas: 

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The BFG

Disney and Amblin Entertainment, in association with Walden Media, present the fantasy adventure film “The BFG,” the first-ever motion picture adaptation of Roald Dahl’s resonant tale of childhood, the magic of dreams and the extraordinary friendship between a young girl and a big friendly giant. Directed by three-time Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, the film reunites the director with his Oscar®-nominated collaborator on “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial,” Melissa Mathison, who adapted the children’s author’s timeless adventure for the big screen. 

This magical tale of an extraordinary friendship loaded with exciting extras will brighten the holidays for the whole family! “The BFG” comes to Digital HD, Blu-ray™ and Disney Movies Anywhere Dec. 6.

Purchase it on Amazon (through my affiliate link) here: http://amzn.to/2hLaReu

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Elena of Avalor: Ready to Rule

Disney’s newest princess comes to DVD with the release of Elena of Avalor: Ready to Rule just in time for the Holidays! Join Elena as she learns about being a princess who will one day become a queen and rule her kingdom. She’s saved her kingdom from an evil sorceress who was trying to destroy Avalor, but that was the easy part! Elena’s journey leads her to understand that her new role requires thoughtfulness, resilience and compassion, the traits of all truly great leaders.

This DVD is packed with laughs, new characters to cherish, and heart, Elena of Avalor: Ready to Rule is a must-own for the entire family! Includes Four Full Episodes and a FREE Exclusive Projecting Scepter – A Great Holiday Gift! Bring home this charming series on Disney DVD December 6th!

Purchase it on Amazon (through my affiliate link) here: http://amzn.to/2hLf4Pr

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LEGO Star Wars The Freemaker Adventures

Are you ready for more fantastic and fun LEGO Star Wars adventures? Of course you are! LEGO Star Wars The Freemaker Adventures Complete Season One arrives in our galaxy on Blu-ray and DVD on Dec. 6th.

Taking place between THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and RETURN OF THE JEDI, this new Lego Star Wars series follows a family of scavengers who build and sell starships from battle debris strewn throughout the galaxy. When their youngest discovers a natural connection with the Force through an ancient artifact – the Kyber Saber –he and his family are thrown into an epic struggle against the Empire to restore peace and freedom to the galaxy. The Freemakers explore new worlds, meet new and familiar characters and discover the strength of family.

Now you can relive all 13 action-packed episodes in LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures Season One, with new bonus features and 6 exclusive Lego Star Wars magnets available nowhere else! This is a must-have release for fans!!

Purchase it on Amazon (through my affiliate link) here: http://amzn.to/2hLauAz

What are your top stocking stuffer ideas? 

Creative Ways To Find Bonding Time With Your Kids



This post featuring creative ways to find bonding time with your kids is sponsored by K’NEX. 

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As the kids grow older they start to become more of their own person. Family game nights aren’t always as easy as they were before and choosing something each child likes to do can be downright hard. So I’ve started thinking outside the box when I want to find bonding time with the kids. When we were sent the K’NEX Wild Whiplash Roller Coaster I knew  I could get creative and find a way to turn this fun toy into a way to spend more time with my oldest.

You can find a few tips on more creative ways to find bonding time with your kids below. 

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Creative Ways To Find Bonding Time With Your Kids

When I had my son I was so excited to start planning all of the fun activities we’d do together. I planned zoo trips, playdates, and as he got older, I purchased games we could play together. But as he got older, and as his siblings arrived, I realized that one on one time with him was getting fewer and farther between. So I started to make an effort to spend time – quality time – with him (and his siblings) one on one. Sure we have a lot of family outings and activities, but spending that time just the two of us is so important. And every time I’m with him I learn more about the person he’s becoming. 

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Plan Ahead

The first step in making sure bonding time actually happens is to schedule it. Look at your family calendar and talk with your significant other to plan a day or a few hours where they hang out with the other kids so you can enjoy one on one time. If this is something you want to do regularly, keep it on the calendar and repeat it once a month. 

Find Fun Activities

While it may be hard to find fun activities that both of you enjoy together, there’s always something out there. I start by seeing what my son is interested in and suggesting we do something centered around his likes. Then after a few times of playing video games, or building fun K’NEX sets, I start suggesting other activities. And by planning ahead, I can find projects we can work on together, places we can visit, and other things we can do just the two of us. 

Get Outdoors

When all else fails, get outdoors! My son loves staying holed up in his room playing on the tablet but when I actually get him outside the house or doing an activity, he starts opening up and actually enjoys himself. Even when we’re short on time, I’ll grab him and ask if he’ll go for a walk around the neighborhood with me. Pretty soon he’s finding a bug or tracking a lizard and talking about everything he knows about them. I love it! 

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Over the past weekend my son and I tackled our next project together. We built an awesome roller coaster! The Wild Whiplash Roller Coaster stands over 2 1/2 feet high when built and provided hours of amusement for us. We worked on problem-solving with plenty of brainteasers for my son and I to tackle together. And while my head may have hurt at times, it was so worth it to complete this set with my son and watch his joy as the roller coaster finally worked and took the car up and down the tracks!

You can find this set exclusively at Walmart. It’s a great gift for kids ages 9+. But my 7 year old was able to complete it with my help which made it even more awesome. 

How do you find bonding time with your kids? 

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DIY Star Wars Rogue One Night Light

This post featuring a DIY Star Wars Rogue One Night Light is brought to you by Kleenex brand via Momtrends.

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In just a few short weeks Rogue One: A Star Wars Story© TM Lucasfilm LTD will be coming to theaters everywhere and I’m pretty sure that my family may be looking forward to that more than Christmas this year. We’re huge Star Wars fans and have been for… well… ever! And it’s not just one or two of us, it’s the whole family. Including Grandpa. My dad may be the biggest Star Wars fan I know and he’s passed that down to his kids and grandkids. So as we wait patiently for the next story to come to life on the big screen, we’re biding our time with fun Star Wars themed crafts. 

In partnership with Lucasfilm LTD, Kleenex brand will launch limited edition boxes featuring Rogue One: A Star Wars Story designs, perfect for Jedis of all ages. They’ll hit store shelves this Fall. Once they do, you too can create your own Kleenex brand ft. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story designs night light. This DIY craft turns a Kleenex box with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story designs into a fun room accessory, simply by removing the tissues, poking small holes in the sides of the box (using a thumbtack) and inserting an electric tea light, creating a “night sky” in a dark room. So easy that my 7 year old son was able to complete this craft on his own! 

This craft, just like the Star Wars movies, brought my family together. Spending quality time together is an easy way to show you care. And we can take this idea outside of the home by showing others we care as well. We can all be heroes by banding together to combat indifference with gestures of care, like sharing a tissues from a Kleenex box featuring Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

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DIY Star Wars Rogue One Night Light

What you’ll need: 

  • 1 empty Kleenex box with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story designs
  • 1 thumb tack
  • 1 electric tealight

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What you do: 

1. Grab your Kleenex box and use the thumb tack to poke holes on all sides of the box. 

2. Turn on your tealight and drop into the empty Kleenex box

3. Enjoy the light show! 

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You can find more great kids crafts by checking out my Pinterest boards! And for more fun with Kleenex, check out their boards too here

Do you have a caring moment to share with Kleenex? 

Disclaimer: Compensation was provided by Kleenex brand via Momtrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of Kleenex or Momtrends.

Find Kleenex on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram

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Squirt’s Kelp Forest Smoothie Recipe + Finding Dory Now On BluRay/DVD

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Finding Dory picks up shortly after the original Finding Dory. As you can recall Dory suffers from short term memory loss which prevents her from remembering how she become alone in the ocean. Dory suddenly remembers a place from her childhood and sets off to find it with her new adopted family Marlin and Nemo.

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This movie followed the classic sequel formula. It revisited memorable places, interacted with favorite characters, introduced new memorable characters, and added a new environment for the characters to conquer. The movie does a good job of telling an entertaining story and is a solid new adventure. If you enjoyed Finding Nemo you will enjoy this too.

My kids enjoyed the new character Hank the octopus. There was scene in a kids touch pool involving Hank and an ink release that my Daughter thought was funny. She also liked the use of sea shells to that served to guide Dory back home (used as a memory aide for Dory).

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Squirt’s Kelp Forest Smoothie

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach
  • 1 ripe frozen banana
  • 1 pear, cored and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4-6 ice cubes
  • 2 fresh strawberries for garnish

Combine coconut water, baby spinach, frozen banana, pear and cinnamon in blender and process until smooth. 

Add ice cubes, as needed, blend until desired consistency is reached. 

Pour into two glasses and garnish with a fresh strawberry to resemble squirt’s red spots. Kids can help with this. Enjoy immediately! 

Print PDF of recipe here

Finding Dory Hank and Dory

Overall a solid family movie and one that will find a spot in your kids movie rotation. Plus it makes a great stocking stuffer!

Purchase it on Amazon through my affiliate link here: http://amzn.to/2fRdCLs

If you’re considering getting a pet, make sure to do your research! You can get help from this great resource here. And remember, while clown fish who resemble Nemo may be good pets with the proper set up, blue tang fish like Dory should not be purchased as pets

FINDING DORY is now on store shelves everywhere!

25 Holiday Cocktail Recipes

Spiced Citrus Sangria Pitcher

Tis the season for amazing holiday cocktail recipes! Whether you’re celebrating at dinner with family, or having a few friends over for an ornament exchange, these festive drinks are the perfect way to tie everything together. What I love about this list of drinks is that there’s something for everyone! Warm, cold, blended, or on the rocks. You pick your favorite flavors and re-create these delicious drinks. 

Grown Up Hot Chocolate Drink Recipe with peppermint stir sticks

25+ Holiday Cocktail Recipes

Spiced Citrus Sangria – Simmworks Family

Apple Ginger Screwdriver – Simmworks Family

Grown Up Hot Chocolate – Simmworks Family

Golden Pear Champagne Cocktail – A Spectacled Owl

Pink Peppermint Russian – Kleinworth & Co.

Cranberry Ginger Holiday Cocktail – Domestic Superhero

Sparkling Pomegranate Christmas Cocktail – Happy Hour Projects

The Grinch Martini – Happy Hour Projects

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Bad Santa Cocktail – Who Needs a Cape?

Boozy White Chocolate Peppermint Mocha – Who Needs a Cape?

Cranberry Mimosa – Who Needs a Cape?

Crock-Pot Apple Pie Moonshine – Crock-Pot Ladies

Gin & Appletiser – Fuss Free Flavours

Spiced Snowflake Cocktail – 52 Kitchen Adventures

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Santa Hat Martini – Pomegranate Martini – Oh My! Creative

Sparkling Christmas Tree Cocktail – Floating Kitchen

Grapefruit and Sage Champagne Cocktails – Floating Kitchen

Hot Buttered Latte with Kahlua – Major Hoff Takes a Wife

Cranberry Wine & Hibiscus Mint Cocktail – A Worthey Read

Easy Party Cocktail or Holiday Cocktail: The Blitzen – A Worthey Read

Easy Christmas Cocktail: The Santa – A Worthey Read

Christmas Cranberry Cocktail – Simply {Darr}ling

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Spiced Cranberry & Orange Cocktail – Erren’s Kitchen

Lemonade Mint Cheer Holiday Cocktail – A Magical Mess

Glitter Champagne Cocktail – Simply {Darr}ling

Peppermint Dream Holiday Cocktail – Mom’s Endeavors

Jingle Juice Cocktail – The Farm Girl Gabs

Cranberry Honey Blossom Cocktail – Cooking in Stilettos

What are your favorite holiday cocktail recipe flavors? 

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Thanksgiving Napkin Ring Placeholders

This shop featuring Thanksgiving napkin ring placeholders has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HandsOnCrafty #CollectiveBias

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While spring may be my favorite season, I love the fall for the way it brings friends and family together in thanksgiving. We celebrate the month of November by sharing what we’re thankful for and spending time around the table together. And every year for Thanksgiving, we head over to my mother in law’s house to share a meal. 

My mother in law loves creating a beautiful table scape and, after making these napkin rings a few years back, I’m in charge of the napkin rings and place holders. And my daughter loves helping out so I always try and find something a. that she can do and b. that’s easy and quick since we usually have to make at least 20 of them. 

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Well this year my mother in law will be heading out to Boston to celebrate with my husband’s brother so we’re still trying to figure out what our plans are. But no matter where we go, we’ll be prepared with these awesome thanksgiving napkin ring placeholders that my daughter and I put together this past weekend. 

She was dying to get started and make them so we got a head start and prepped about 10 of these bad boys (no names yet on half of them). We’ll be ready for whatever house we end up at on Turkey Day.  

Thanksgiving Napkin Ring Placeholders

What you’ll need: 

  • Scotch® Expressions Brown Glitter Tape
  • Scotch® Expressions Green Glitter Tape
  • Scotch® Create Double-sided Tape
  • 1 piece 8.5 x 11″ card stock (solid or patterned color)
  • scissors
  • chalk marker in fall colors
  • fake fall leaves
  • cloth or disposable napkin

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What you do: 

1. Grab the Scotch® Expressions Green Glitter Tape and, with your paper in the portrait position, place a row of green tape about 1/2 inch up from the bottom of the paper. Repeat once more with a second row of green glitter tape directly above the first. 

2. Cut a straight line about 1/2 inch from the top of the second row of green glitter tape. This will be your napkin ring base. Repeat as many times as you need to in order to get the desired amount of napkin rings. 

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3. Grab the leaf and write the name of the person this napkin ring placeholder is for. 

4. Position the Scotch® Expressions Brown Glitter Tape in the middle of the two green tape lines. Place the leaf in the center of the paper and use the brown glitter tape to secure it. Leave a small tail at the end of the brown tape to secure the placeholder around the napkin. 

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5. Wrap the napkin ring around the napkin and secure in place with tail of the brown glitter tape and reinforce with some Scotch® Create Double-sided Tape underneath the overlapping paper. 

Tada! You’re all set! 

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How do you celebrate Thanksgiving in your home? 

I was able to find all of the crafting goodies I needed, including the Scotch® Expressions Glitter Tape, in the craft aisle in Walmart. So easy to find everything in one place! With a perfect combination of versatility, function & fun, Scotch® Expressions Tapes turn everyday projects into simply inspired creations. I love how simple and easy it was to make these Thanksgiving napkin ring placeholders with my daughter and how fun and sparkly they ended up! How awesome is that? 

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Marvel’s Doctor Strange Hits Theaters: A Dad’s Review

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As I waited in the theater for Dr. Strange to begin I heard someone behind me mussing out loud about his Marvel Universe knowledge. He was amped-up enough to shout out to those of us waiting “What was Dr. Strange’s full name?” I inferred two things; this guy was excited and at least one person in the audience knew the story that was about to be presented to us and what we were in for.

Dr. Steven Strange is medical doctor gifted with photographic memory and really steady hands. His specialty is working on the brain and spine. He lives the kind of nice plush life that being a highly sought after Doctor in a specialized field commands. After a major career setback that stops him from practicing medicine he seeks out non traditional healing methods. From here his transformation to a super hero begins and he must defeat a bad guy that once again thinks he is doing right by trying destroy life as we know it.

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Creating A Super Hero

By now you realize that the number of super heroes we have been introduced to has grown considerably. Dr. Strange the movie follows the same pattern of the Ant Man movie, a one off stand alone super hero movie that will tie into the Marvel Movie Universe in some way later. I am very impressed with the way these movies have all dove-tailed together. For a small example, in the city views of New York you can see the Avengers/Stark tower.

So far the new characters have been interesting and intriguing. Dr. Strange is no exception. His character grows and changes from the medical Doctor we are introduced to into the super hero he becomes at the end. I think it is safe to say that he is rather self centered and all about what is best for him and his career. By the end he has opened his eyes and sees that he must act for the greater good. The story is simple enough to follow and some complexity is added with mystery surrounding Dr. Strange’s mentor. This movie contains humor as is now a standard trait in these Marvel movies. It also has all the special effects we are used to seeing. When the credits roll, make sure to watch them for two extra scenes that setup future events.

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Heros and Villians

In the last movie I saw Benedict Cumberbatch in he was the villian, Khan, in Star Trek: Into The Darkness. As an actor he has a very striking persona. A deep voice and he is tall and slender. I find him a bit different. In the part of Dr. Strange he played it well and the characteristics probably help. 

Rachel McAdams character, Dr. Christine Palmer, was there to help setup the Dr. Strange character in the beginning and help out a little bit later. Really any actress could have done the part, but she was fine. 

The villian played by Mads Mikkelsen kept making me think back to his role in James Bond’s Casino Royal for some reason. No complaints with his performance here. 

Finally Dr. Strange’s associate Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, did a very good job with his role. I think the librarian, “Wong”, steals the scenes he is in.

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Thinking back over the movie that is rated PG-13, I don’t recall many (or any) bad words or excess blood and guts. I think a 10 year old or older would probably be okay to see this movie with parental guidance.

As we approach the holidays and will be enjoying some time off, if you have not already made it a priority to see Dr. Strange, you should pencil it in on your movie list. By the way his full name was “Dr. Steven Vincent Strange.”

Like DOCTOR STRANGE on Facebook | Follow DOCTOR STRANGE on Twitter 

Follow Marvel on Instagram | Visit the official DOCTOR STRANGE website

DOCTOR STRANGE is now playing in theatres everywhere!

Who will you be heading to the movies with to watch Doctor Strange?

Tips On How To Navigate Health Care Plans + $100 Amazon GC Giveaway

This post featuring tips on how to navigate health care plans is sponsored by UnitedHealthcare. 

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Having kids can be expensive. Even from the very beginning. Throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the first year of life, if you haven’t chosen the right health care plan for your growing family, health care costs can skyrocket. That’s why it’s good to know your options when open enrollment comes around so you know what health care plan to choose and how to get the best plan for your family. 

When I was pregnant with my second child we switched over to a completely new health care plan. We had switched over from our old provider and weren’t quite sure what to do. Luckily UnitedHealthcare was there to help us out and show us the ropes. 

Now UnitedHealthcare is here again with a fun way for families to find out what health plan is best for them with two games to play on their website:Are You a Health Plan Pro andWhat’s The Word.

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What’s The Word

Our family’s health is something that’s very important to us but navigating the health care system can seem daunting. Luckily UnitedHealthcare is here to help make those choices a little easier. And they have a fun way of doing it too! 

Right now they’re running two fun activities where you can learn more about the world of health plans AND enter for a chance to win prizes. Pretty cool huh?  These contests both run until November 30th. 

The first activity you can participate in is an interactive crossword puzzle called What’s The Word.  The concept is pretty easy to understand. It’s a terminology game where viewers have to fill in the correct word in the puzzle for the definition that it matches with. 

While you’re doing your crossword puzzle, print out this FREE printable so your kids can play along as well! 
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Are You A Health Plan Pro? 

Done with the crossword and ready for more of a challenge? Then play Are You a Health Plan Pro? and jump into this 4-stage game: 

Stage 1: Answer a few quiz questions about health care (mostly terminology)…if you get an answer wrong, it tells you the right answer so you are learning no matter what.

Stage 2: Play a matching game surrounding the three different types of health care accounts—the FSA, HSA, and HRA. You will be given three different descriptions of the accounts, and will have to drag and drop each account label to the description it matches.

Stage 3: Use United Healthcare’s slide configurator to learn more about premiums versus out-of-pocket ratios. You will be given a family description and their health care needs (family of four / children 8 and 14, occasional need of prescriptions, visits ER once or twice a year, etc.) and must use the sliders to figure out the correlation between the premium and out-of-pocket costs for that specific scenario.

Stage 4: Use United Healthcare’s ranker to organize 8 health care situations from least expensive to most expensive (examples are having a baby, going to urgent care, having a surgery). Once you rank them, it will correct any mistakes you made so you know which item belongs where in the list…it will also tell you how each item affects your out-of-pocket costs.

After you have completed each stage (should take a total of around 5-6 minutes) you will enter your name and email to be entered to win a prize. Then you will receive a score on a scale of 1 to 5 stars for how ready you are to purchase a plan. That way, you know whether you need to do more research or that you feel confident in yourself to purchase the best plan for you and your family.

There are prizes given for both the crossword puzzle and the Health Plan Pro game. There will be a $100 weekly winner chosen and $500 monthly winner chosen for each sweepstake. So on top of learning more about the health plans out there, you can win cash money as well. How awesome is that! Are you ready to play? 

These are two separate sweepstakes and two separate chances to win prizes!

Play Are You A Health Plan Pro by clicking here | Play What’s The Word by clicking here

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How do you decide on a health care plan? 

Want another chance to win big JUST for checking out these sweepstakes? Enter to win a $100 gift card to Amazon below! 

Open to US only, 18+. Giveaway ends November 30th at 11:59pm PST and a winner will be randomly chosen December 1st and announced right here. 

Are You A Health Plan Pro?

*Important: By completing any entry in our giveaways, you agree to ALL of our giveaway terms and conditions. Comments such as “Thank you for the giveaway” “I want to win” etc will not be counted as the mandatory entry and will be deleted. Please be aware that comments are moderated and may not appear right away. Make sure you use a valid email address so we may notify you if you’ve won! Giveaway winners will receive their prize through email directly from the sponsor. Winner must provide email address to receive this gift card.

Ways to Reduce Stress During The Holidays

This post was developed in partnership with Tom’s of Maine. All opinions are my own.

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The holidays are upon us and the countdown is on to get all the things done before the end of the year. And for some that means a lot of stress all at once. Trying to get everything done, go to every event, and get everything one needs to make a great holiday season. But you don’t have to stress yourself out during the holidays! 

I see my kids watching me, learning how to act and react by observing me. And I want to make sure they know what’s truly important in life. As they’re taking in everything I do, I want them to know that they are why I do everything I do. I also want my girls to know that it’s ok to think about themselves. To take time to care for themselves so they don’t get burnt out. And they’re really starting to pick up on it. 

With these simple tips you can reduce stress during the holidays and enjoy more time with your family and friends. And that’s all that matters, right? 

Ways to Reduce Stress During The Holidays

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1. Exercise. 

One of the first things I try to remember when I feel stress coming on is the last time I took a walk or worked out. I’ve found that I’m a lot less stressed when I burn off the extra tension I have built up. Plus it helps to have something to think about other than the long laundry list of to-do’s. 

2. Meditate. 

I know it sounds silly but taking just 5 minutes out of your day to focus on something positive really helps. Just sit down in a relaxing position, close your eyes, try to clear your head, and repeat a positive affirmation of your choosing. Allow it to help you focus on what you need to get done. 

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3. Eat Better. 

Yes, I know, I know. It’s the holidays and the sweets are everywhere. But overindulging will only drag you down. Make sure not to skip meals either! While you may be busier than usual, keep a good high-protein snack at hand just in case you start to get hungry but aren’t able to get a good meal in. We’re all becoming more conscious of what goes in our body so try to make good eating decisions. 

4. Sleep. 

While it’s tempting to stay up all night checking off every box of your to-do list, sometimes it’s better to just start over in the morning. You’ll be more refreshed and your mind clearer. Consider trying to go to bed just 1/2 an hour earlier than normal and see if your body reacts to the change well. Make sure you’re giving yourself time to decompress at the end of the day before going to sleep. 

5. Be Prepared. 

For me, lists and calendar notifications are my friends during this busy season. I write everything down so I don’t forget it and if I do forget, I’ve already set a reminder on my calendar to pop up and tell me. Another great thing to do during the holiday season is meal plan and meal prep. By having freezer meals on hand, I don’t have to stress about feeding my family. And I always keep a stick of Toms of Maine natural deodorant in case things get… a little stinky… due to all of the running around I’ve been doing. 

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All of these tips have one thing in common: Take care of yourself! 

Tom’s of Maine harnesses the power of nature for a more naturally effective way to care for yourself and your family. Tom’s of Maine natural deodorant is the best-selling natural deodorant and has been for decades. And it helps me stay smelling great even under stress with it’s clinically proven, 24-hour odor protection using odor-fighting hops and the mineral zinc and only natural fragrances.

Tom’s of Maine is introducing a new deodorant formula with new and improved scents, and as always, is free of aluminum, artificial fragrances and petrochemicals. And I have to tell you – it works! I’ve switched from my deodorant of many years to Tom’s over the past few weeks and I’m impressed with it’s ability to keep up with me. 

Whether at the gym, in a PTG meeting, or while I’m working away at home trying to get everything done, I know Tom’s of Maine deodorant is right for me. And Tom’s of Maine products are right for my family. 

Why am I so focused on staying less stressed and more “in the now” this holiday season? My kids. 

My kids watch everything I do and are already starting to mimic me. So when I head into the bathroom in the morning to put on my deodorant, they want to as well. By switching to a natural, preservative and petrochemical-free deodorant I’m keeping the stink away without putting “bad stuff” on my skin and near my kids. And when my daughter wants to put it on too to be just like me, I don’t have to worry about her sensitive skin.  

How are you de-stressing this holiday season?

Share in the comments below how you destress and be entered to win an assortment of three Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting deodorants!

Open to US only, 18+. Giveaway ends November 7th at 11:59pm PST and a winner will be randomly chosen November 8th and announced right here. 

Want to enter to win more? Click here to enter to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card, a Tom’s of Maine tote, plus six Tom’s of Maine deodorants: Lavender, Tea Tree, Natural Powder, Unscented, Apricot and Lemongrass!

Thank you and good luck!

*Important: By completing any entry in our giveaways, you agree to ALL of our giveaway terms and conditions. Comments such as “Thank you for the giveaway” “I want to win” etc will not be counted as the mandatory entry and will be deleted. Please be aware that comments are moderated and may not appear right away. Make sure you use a valid email address so we may notify you if you’ve won! Giveaway winners will receive their prize through the mail directly. Winner must provide mailing address to receive these tickets.



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