Hand Painted White & Copper Pumpkin

August 28, 2016 in crafts, holidays, Play

pumpkin5Fall will be here before we know it and I love to decorate. I’m just not into all of the traditional orange. I decided to be a little untraditional and go for a copper and white decor. I couldn’t find anything at the store that I really liked so here is my DIY tutorial.

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What I used:

PAPIER MACHE

The process was really quite simple. I am far from crafty so I would say this is definitely a beginner level craft!

I started off by spray painting the pumpkin outside. Of course it was a little windy that day so I got a little messy. When the pumpkin was dry I used the three different sized sponges to make a random pattern with the copper paint. And that is pretty much it. I did add some twine to the stem that I had laying around.

I love how it came out! The white and copper are a perfect combination and it really stands out. In total this project only cost me about $8. The pumpkin was $6, the sponges were $2, and I already had the spray paint and copper paint.

 

Pick 4 with Rita’s #IceFlights!

August 24, 2016 in Brand Partners, Eat, Giveaways

Rita's Ice Flight

Rita’s Ice Flight

Next time you head to Rita’s, don’t worry about choosing just one flavor. Don’t worry about ordering four, because with the Ice Flights you can do just that!

I know I’m a creature of habit and I usually order the same thing whenever I am at Rita’s. My boys are a different story. They can never make up their mind and they want to sample every flavor. As a mom, I’m loving the Ice Flights. It makes ordering so much easier and my boys can’t wait to come up with fun flavor combinations.

My oldest ate his so quickly and he was so happy with his Ice Flight that I didn’t even get a chance to snap a picture. How dare he! My boys know how I love to take pictures of food. I know I can’t be the only mom that does this.

Well, my youngest knew to sit and wait patiently until I could get over to the table and document this momentous occasion. He chose Pear, Cotton Candy, Cherry and Sour Patch Kids.

We found three problems with the Ice Flight:

  1. Which flavor to start with
  2. Do you eat one at a time
  3. Do you put a little of each flavor on the spoon at once

Have you tried an Ice Flight yet? Have you been able to answer these tough questions? Please let me know. We’ve been arguing about it at our house for days! Okay not really :)

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Rita’s Ice. All opinions are my own.

GIVEAWAY: One lucky reader will win a $25 Rita’s Gift card!
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Citrus Berry Salad!

August 23, 2016 in Eat, recipes

Citrus Berry Salad

Citrus Berry Salad

One of the hottest healthy foods right now is Kale! So, I decided to make a refreshing Berry Citrus Salad! I love how this salad came together with the sweet, tart, crunchy and smokey flavors.

Here’s what I used:

  • Chopped Kale
  • Blueberries
  • Sliced Strawberries
  • Candied Walnuts
  • Grapefruit
  • Smoked Cheddar
  • Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing (I used Bolthouse)

This salad is so good and it is so easy to put together. It would be perfect as a side dish at a party and if anyone tells you that don’t like Kale, make sure they give it a try. With all of the flavors profiles in this salad, the kale takes a back seat!

You could always change things up a bit and use raspberries or instead of a strawberry vinaigrette try a balsamic. The possibilities are endless.


End of Summer Air Conditioning Deals!

August 22, 2016 in Shop, sponsors

Large LOGO_ADDRESS

We still have a few months before the cooler weather arrives so now is the perfect time for some awesome end of summer air conditioning deals! You do not want to have your AC unit die in this heat! I’ve heard some stories of this happening this summer and I can’t imagine how miserable that would be.
AC units are a big investment and so necessary here in Phoenix. Having them serviced and maintained is so important.
SMW Refrigeration and Heating is having some amazing end of summer deals!
System Being Charged With Freon For Repair

System Being Charged With Freon For Repair

*Free ac repair diagnosis between 9am to 5pm

ac replacement

One of SMW’s Awesome Installs

*Free estimates for a new AC unit

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*Maintenance check-up – 1st unit $39 and each additional unit only $20

With so many companies to choose from, how do you know you are making a good choice? I’m excited to tell you that SMW is family owned and operated, NATE certified, BPI certified, they have a good BBB rating and excellent reviews online! They are also Certified Trane Comfort Specialists; check out their repair, maintenance, and new AC unit page for more information!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of SMW Air Conditioning and Heating.

Kubo and the Two Strings Review

August 19, 2016 in Movies, Play, reviews

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

“If you must blink, do it now.”  This is the first line in the movie, delivered by Kubo.  This line sets us up for a whirl-wind story of a young boy named Kubo, a storyteller of the magical kind.  Kubo is a kind-hearted and fun-loving boy who tells magnificent stories of a Samurai warrior and his battles.  Kubo’s stories come to life as he narrates using his two-stringed instrument and origami paper.  I was instantly captivated by this boy and his musical stories, the magic behind it and what was to come.

Kubo unknowingly unleashes more magic that soon takes him into another world, on a journey searching for magical items that will help him defeat his enemy and take him home.  In this world he is protected by Monkey – an incarnation of a monkey charm he held as a boy.  Monkey (Charlize Theron) is a no-nonsense character who is focused only on protecting Kubo.  But we soon see that behind her seemingly hard-nosed ways she is a loving and quite witty creature.

KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS

Kubo and Monkey later discover Beetle – a large, bulky beetle who has the bravado of a warrior but has suffered memory loss from a sorcerer’s curse.  Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) quickly became my favorite character in the movie with his pleasant and funny personality.  The chemistry between Monkey and Beetle is quite entertaining and the two really make the movie.  Between Monkey’s wit and dry humor and Beetles slap-stick style these two characters keep us laughing throughout the movie.

Through many battles and challenges Kubo learns the pain of betrayal and the value of family.  He even learns forgiveness over hate – a difficult lesson to teach in an animated movie, but one that was done beautify.

The movie is enveloped in delightful music.  The animation is superb.  The story, however, felt long in the middle and seemed to drag out before getting to the meat of the story.  I did feel that after the drag, there was a bit of a rush to wrap up the movie, making the ending feel a bit abrupt.  The story line is also a little dark (think Tim Burton-like). That being said, it as a good movie to see and one that would be enjoyed by kids and adults.

  • Sara

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of the movie Kubo and the Two Strings.

Cilantro Lime Rice Recipe!

August 16, 2016 in Eat, gluten free, recipes

Cilantro Lime Rice

Cilantro Lime Rice

One of my favorite restaurants has some killer cilantro lime rice. I can’t always go out to eat and get my fix so I decided to try and make my own version at home.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups basmati rice (I love the nuttiness of this rice)
  • 3/12 cups of water
  • juice of 4 key limes or one regular lime
  • 1/2 cup minced cilantro
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Cilantro Lime Rice Ingredients

Cooking Directions:

  1. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add rice and stir consistently until the rice is lightly browned and toasted. Make sure it doesn’t burn.
  2. Add water, salt, pepper and lime juice. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Don’t lift the lid until the 30 minutes is up. You want to keep all the moisture in there so that the rice cooks properly.
  3. Fluff rice with a fork and add the minced cilantro.

We decided to make burrito bowls with our rice but you could use it as a side dish with some grilled chicken or steak. It tastes so light and refreshing with the flavor of the lime juice. If you don’t have any basmati rice, you could always use long grain or even brown rice. You just may need to adjust the water to rice ratio and the cooking time. Be sure to check the instructions on the packaging.

Enjoy!


Movie Review: Disney Pete’s Dragon!

August 12, 2016 in Disney, Movies, Play, reviews

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

As a child I remember watching Pete’s Dragon (the 1977 version) and loving the goofy, lovable Elliot, singing “Candle on the Water” and wanting to live in a lighthouse.  It was one of my favorite movies growing up and currently in my movie collection for my boys when they are older.

When I heard that a remake was being released, I will admit to mixed feelings.  I really loved the original and remakes of movies that are loved can quickly fall short of their predecessor.  In addition, the goofy animated lovable Elliot of the original becomes a large, scary, somewhat life-like creature in the remake.  Not exactly appealing to my inner child.  That being said, I was excited when presented with the opportunity to view the new Pete’s Dragon.

Sara Pete's Dragon

I LOVED IT!  First, the story line is completely different from the 1977 version.  We see an early Pete with is family and quickly learn how he comes to befriend his dragon, Elliot.  And the love between Pete and Elliot is instant and so pure and sincere – much like the love a young boy has for his dog.

Elliot is a truly lovable giant dragon with the personality of a playful dog.  When watching him you just cannot help but want a dragon as a pet, snuggled up in a giant ball of green fur.  Pete is an adorable child (played by Oakes Fegley) accustomed to life alone in the forest, perfectly happy with his dragon.  Life for Pete and Elliot becomes complicated as Pete is discovered by a little girl and is taken to the city of Millhaven.  As Pete tells his tale and mentions Elliot he is met with disbelieve. Only an old man, Mr. Meachem (played by Robert Redford) believes in the myth of dragons and Pete’s story.  The others struggle to make sense out of what Pete is telling them.  Who could blame them?  Dragons are mythical creatures known only in stories.  But the magic of this movie makes you want to believe in them.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Pete’s Dragon is what we think of as “Disney Magic”.  The story line is beautifully touching, evoking laughter, tears and hope.  The underlying theme is love – the love that Pete has for Elliot, the love that is for the forest and the love that the community has for Pete.  While Elliot is a giant toothy dragon he is not scary, making Pete’s Dragon a perfect family movie for kids of all ages.

This movie is a must see, and will quickly take its place in my movie collection!

  • Sara, Phoenix Mom Blog contributor

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Disney Pete’s Dragon. Two tickets to pre-screen the movie were given in exchange for an honest review.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Murder Mystery Dinner Review!

August 8, 2016 in Uncategorized

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Last Sunday, I was given an amazing opportunity to attend a murder mystery put on by the Murder Mystery Company! I am super excited to share this experience with you, and I hope you will try it out for yourself one day. My husband and I have thrown several murder mystery dinners for birthday parties in the past, so we were especially excited to enjoy something done by the professionals. For those of you who have never attended a murder mystery party, it is a semi scripted mystery in which there is a “murder” that has taken place, and it is up to the party goers to figure out who is the murderer.

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This murder mystery was held at The Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Phoenix, it’s a charming venue, perfect for the setting of this Billionaire’s Masquerade Ball, which was the theme for the evening. Before the event, you’ll receive an email with your ticket information, entrée options and information you’ll need for the night. You’ll read about what to wear and what to expect. There were attendees who were dressed more casually, however, I think it’s rather fun to get dressed up and ready for the part! These murder mysteries are great for couples, large groups, or even a few singles wanting to meet some new friends. I saw several elementary aged children present, but it was mostly appropriate for high school aged young adults and above.

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As we entered the privately reserved room, we were greeted by one of the Murder Mystery Company actors. They do not break character, and you’re transported to your setting immediately, so I encourage you to go along with the acting! You’re taken to a small photography area, where you’ll be given props and some posing instruction from the photographer. You’ll have the option to purchase these photos later on in the evening, I believe it was $25 or if you’ve previously purchased the Gold Package, these photos are included.

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We were seated at our table, and soon the rest of our tablemates arrived. I highly recommend introducing yourselves and becoming comfortable with the people you’re sharing your table with. They are your teammates for the evening.  The actors will come around and give instructions on the how to play the game, and you or someone else at your table will be made into suspects! So be ready to get into character! I was a suspect that night, which was really fun for me because I’m usually the hostess and don’t get to participate as much as I’d like. From there the murder mystery will begin! The actors will give you a storyline, play a few fun games, and will make sure you know what you’re doing! Each round, you’ll have the opportunity to get up and mingle, and ask other suspects questions based on the clues you’ll be given. You and your tablemates will work together to figure out the suspect’s motive and opportunity. At the very end, you’ll write down your answer and the winners will be announced!

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The actors were all very professional, hilarious, and took their parts very seriously to make it fun night for all. We would absolutely do it again, and we will recommend it to friends and family. They are available for every kind of private events you can think of, they always have under 18 appropriate events as well.

Thank you Murder Mystery Company for this opportunity and a fabulous evening. My husband and myself will not forget it!

– Autumn

For more information, please visit www.grimprov.com

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of The Murder Mystery Co.

Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions at Gila River Arena

August 3, 2016 in Family Fun, Giveaways

USA Gymnastics

The 2016 Olympics are officially in full swing. One of our favorite events to watch is definitely the gymnastics! Gila River Arena will be hosting Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions on September 22, 2016!

Tickets start at only $35 and can be purchased at gilariverarena.com by phone at 800.745.3000 or at the Gila River Arena box office.

The 2016 Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions cast will also include members of the both 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic Gymnastics Teams. How awesome to see your favorite athletes on television competing for America and the watching them live and in person!

How would you like to win a pair of tickets to this awesome event? Be sure to enter and share with your friends! I will be giving away (2) tickets to 4 lucky winners!

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Golden Island Jerky Giveaway!

July 30, 2016 in Brand Partners, Eat

Golden Island Jerky

My boys love jerky, so I’ve teamed up with Golden Island Jerky for an awesome giveaway!

I love that each handcrafted piece of Golden Island Jerky is individually sliced and marinated, a unique industry process, and is made from high-quality premium cuts of beef and pork. Also, Golden Island is created from proprietary spice blends authentic to the brand’s Asian heritage and small-batch cooking methods. Pork jerky is fire-grilled and beef jerky is kettle-cooked to maximize intense flavors and to create a moist, tender texture.

jerky out of packaging

For those of you with food sensitivities or those eating healthy – Golden Island Jerky is all natural, gluten-free, made with no artificial ingredients and no added nitrates or nitrites of any kind.

These grab and go packages are perfect for summer road trips! Whenever I’m traveling I just want to snack. Well you don’t need to feel guilty about snacking on Golden Island Jerky because it is high in protein and has no artificial ingredients!

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Here’s where you can find Golden Island Jerky:

  • Golden Island Jerky is available at Costco Club stores on the west coast, Ralph’s grocery stores in Los Angeles, Safeway and Albertson’s in Portland and at Amazon.com. Golden Island is also available in West Coast Target stores.

Disclaimer: This giveaway was facilitated by Golden Island Jerky. I was not compensated for this post but did receive free product samples, all opinions are my own.

Now for the giveaway! Here is what you can win:

Prize:

  • Two packages of each variety of Golden Island Jerky ($65)
  • Four popular brand name, highly insulated Rambler 18 oz. bottles ($160)
  • $100 Visa gift card for gas
  • Hiking Backpack ($40)
  • Giveaway value – approx.: $365

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