Wednesday, October 31, 2012



Sunday, October 28, 2012

7 Signs That I'm Watching Too Much TV

I'm the first to admit that I love to watch me some tv. I can almost always pick up the remote and find something on the tube to watch. And, when I find a show that I really love, I get totally invested in the series. Keeping up with the weekly episodes becomes a priority. My DVR often goes into overtime, recording the shows that I simply cannot miss.

While there are a lot of programs that I enjoy watching, currently, there are a few main shows that I'm obsessed with...

  • The Walking Dead
  • Sons of Anarchy
  • Parenthood
  • Grey's Anatomy
  • Scandal
  • Homeland
I know, I know. You might say I have no life. But, I say that I have a very exciting life - one filled with zombie infestations, biker gangs, crazy families, important medical careers, scandalous events centered around our nation's capital, and danger & espionage.

The other day I found myself daydreaming about working as some type of secret government agent. If you knew me at all, you would be rolling on the floor laughing at that because I'm pretty sure I would be way too timid and meek to ever be a secret government agent. But, watching Homeland makes me think, "hmmm, it would be pretty cool to surveil someone or thwart a major attack." That got me I watching too much tv?

Here are 7 signs that, yes indeed, I am probably watching too much tv:

1. I often check my surroundings to plan my escape route in case a herd of "walkers" gets in my way

2. I think it's kinda hot when Daryl uses his cross-bow and hits a zombie right between the eyes

3. When paying my bills, I realize I signed my check "Mrs. Jax Teller"

4. I actually think I'm the 5th Braverman sibling

5. I think that April is pretty darn stupid for worrying about losing her virginity to Jackson. I would've gave it up to him in a second!

6. Olivia Pope is my hero. I'm not at all offended when she makes out with the president of the United States, right in front of his secret service guys

7.  Even though the SAMCRO gang is a bunch of violence-prone guys who dabble in gun-running, drug-hauling, porn-business endeavors, I think they're really pretty nice

There ya go! I told you I get way too immersed in my tv shows. What about you? Do you have any shows that you absolutely obsess over?

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Heart of Christmas - Movie Review

I recently had the chance to review a movie called The Heart of Christmas. This inspiring movie, based on a true story, was released on DVD on October 16, 2012. It's the story of Austin and Julie Locke and how their life is changed when their young son, Dax, is diagnosed with cancer. While enduring long and difficult treatments at St. Jude Children's Hospital, we see how love, faith, and courage help see this family through. And, when Dax's prognosis seems hopeless, we see an entire community come together in support.

My thoughts:
This story is so sad, yet also conveys such a message of love and hope. I found myself crying almost through the entire film. Seeing the deep love and conviction that these young parents felt for their son was awe-inspiring. Watching the community rally around them in their time of need was also very moving. One thing that really impacted me was the relationship between the mothers of children being treated at St. Jude Children's Hospital. Each was going through a similar situation - watching their child fight for their life against cancer. Yet, they were such a source of strength and support for one another. They definitely formed a special bond.

While this story was inspiring and heartfelt, I did feel that the acting was sometimes a little over-done. It didn't feel entirely natural or real sometimes because of that. But, that being said, it's still a good family film with a very powerful message. Learning to cherish every moment with those you love is something we all need to do and seeing this movie is a great reminder.

If you would like to learn more about this inspiring true story, visit the Dax Locke Foundation.

This film is Not Rated
Genre: Family/Kids, Drama, Faith/Spirituality, Holiday, Christmas, Based on True Story

Image Entertainment sent me a free DVD copy of this movie. I was not obligated to write a positive review and I did not receive any compensation. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and my differ from others.


Aloha Friday - Fill in the Blank

Welcome to this week’s edition of Aloha Friday, hosted by Kailani over at An Island Life. In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day to take it easy and look forward to the weekend. So, on Fridays we can take it easy on blog posting, too.

I’ll ask a simple question for you to answer - nothing that requires a lengthy response. If you’d like to participate, visit An Island Life where you can link up with your own question and also visit the other participants! It’s a great way to make new bloggy friends!

How about a fun fill-in-the-blank for today?

Complete the following statement...

You couldn't pay me to ________________________________________.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

McDonald's New Cheddar Bacon Onion (CBO) with Giveaway

Giveaway Over
Have you heard about the newest addition to the menu at McDonalds? They now have the Cheddar Bacon Onion (CBO). It's available as an angus burger or as a grilled or crispy chicken sandwich.
The CBO is stacked with the premium toppings of white cheddar and grilled onions. The sandwich is rounded out with hickory smoked bacon and a creamy mustard sauce. It's definitely something new & different and the rich, smoky taste is sure to become a fall favorite.

I tried the angus burger version and it was delicious (and very hearty & filling, I could hardly eat the entire sandwich).

McDonald's kindly sent me some free coupons to share with my blog readers. I'm giving away a pair of coupons to three lucky winners! If you are in the U.S. and would like to enter, simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite McDonald's menu item.

For optional extra entries, you may do any or all of the following (leave separate comment for each):

*Follow @McDonalds on twitter
*Follow @alas3lads on twitter
*Tweet the following message once daily (leave link to tweet):

I want to try the new Cheddar Bacon Onion for free from @McDonalds and @alas3lads - to enter giveaway visit

U.S. entries only please. Entries will be accepted until 10:00 pm EST on 10-29-12. Three random winners will be selected from all eligible entries.

McDonalds provided me with free Cheddar Bacon Onion coupons for myself and to share with my readers. I was not obligated to write a positive review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and may differ from others.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Purex Plus Oxi Sweepstakes

Purex Plus Oxi is the latest in the line of affordable, stain-fighting laundry detergents from Purex. Right now, they have a great sweepstakes going on -- Purex wants to give one lucky winner $1000! But, that's not all...250 second place winners will win $25.

Visit the Purex Plus Oxi Sweepstakes page to enter. Good luck!

*This post contains referral link


Monday, October 22, 2012

Powerful and Affordable Stain-Fighting with Purex Plus Oxi (with Giveaway)

Giveaway Closed

I'm a long-time fan of Purex laundry detergents. They're a favorite product not only because they are affordable, but, because they do a great job cleaning our clothing. As a family of six, I feel like our laundry is never-ending - from my three tween/teenage boys who always seem to come up with stains, to my teenage daughter who changes outfits every time her mood changes, to my firefighter husband whose work clothes can be very dirty, grimy, and stinky - there always seems to be piles of dirty laundry waiting for me!

I recently tried out another laundry detergent in the Purex family - Purex Plus Oxi.
This new product is the most powerful Purex detergent available. Amazingly, it's effective against over 101 different stains. There are three stain-fighting enzymes in Purex Plus Oxi and each work against different types of stains. It's a hypoallergenic formula with a light, fresh scent. It can be used in both traditional and high efficiency washing machines. Use Purex Plus Oxi as a pretreater for tough stains as well as for everyday loads.

As always, I was very happy with the job Purex did on our clothing. Everything came out clean and fresh - I love that the fresh scent is there but not overpowering.

Would you like to try out a bottle of Purex Plus Oxi for yourself?
I have some coupons to share; each is good for a free bottle of Purex Plus Oxi laundry detergent.

For a chance to win please leave a comment below telling me something about your laundry habits - it could be about your toughest stains or how often you do laundry or anything laundry related.

For an extra entry, you may choose to tweet the following message once daily (leave link to each tweet in comment below):

I entered to win a free bottle of Plus Oxi laundry detergent from @alas3lads  Learn more & enter here

*Entries will be accepted until 10:00 pm EST on 10-29-12. U.S. entries only please. The random winners will be selected and notified from all eligible entries.

As a Purex Insider, I received a free bottle of Purex Plus Oxi laundry detergent. I was not obligated to write a positive review. Any opinions expressed are my own and may differ from others. Purex provided me with coupons for free bottles of detergent to share with my blog readers.


Dinner with Progresso Recipe Starters

Sitting down together as a family for dinner at home is something we strive to do as often as possible. We are a busy family of six (three of which are teenagers) and the dinner table is a great place to catch up and reconnect. Because we are so busy and our schedules can vary, I'm always looking for easy and tasty meals that I can prepare in a hurry.
Progresso has recently come out with a new line of products called Recipe Starters. These canned cooking sauces help you get a head start on making a delicious dinner. They are available in five flavors:
1. Creamy Three Cheese
2. Creamy Roasted Garlic
3. Creamy Portabella Mushroom
4. Creamy Parmesan Basil
5. Fire Roasted Tomato

Each sauce can be used as a starter for a variety of home-cooked meals. You will find a recipe on the label of every can as well as a QR code - scan the QR code to unlock 30 more dinner ideas. Or, visit the Progresso website to take a look at 80 Recipe Starter recipes. Progresso kindly sent me some samples of the Recipe Starters to try out with my family. I loved checking out all the different recipes on the website and was happy to find that so many of them were quick to prepare and did not require a long list of ingredients (my favorite way to cook). I found that the sauces are very versatile and there is a really nice selection of recipes to choose from. There's everything from burgers and casseroles to soups and skillet meals...something for every taste!

I've used two of the cooking sauces so far and both recipes were a big hit at my house. I thought I would share one of our favorites...

Cheesy-Mushroom Joes
The kids and I all loved this one! I made it last week and they are already asking when we'll be having it again. Just like the name suggests, it's a cheesy-mushroom flavored sloppy joe. It was super simple to prepare and I had it on the table in no time.

Short list of ingredients: 1 lb. ground beef, 1 can Creamy Portabella Mushroom Recipe Starter, 8 oz.prepared cheese cut into cubes, hamburger buns (*optional ketchup, mustard, dill pickle slices)
Cook the ground beef and drain; then stir in cooking sauce and cubed cheese 

Heat to boiling, stirring frequently until cheese is melted; reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, until thickened

Spoon onto bun; top with ketchup, mustard, and pickle slices if desired

As I mentioned, we all loved this recipe. I served it with fries and a salad for a quick meal. I made this for four of us, but if I were preparing it for my entire family of six, I would probably double the recipe.

The other recipe that I tried is the Chicken Enchiladas. It uses the Creamy Garlic Sauce Recipe Starter. It had a great taste and was another easy recipe to prepare. Click over to read the recipe details.

Be sure and look for the new Progresso Recipe Starters in your grocery store. And, right now you can visit their Facebook page for a .50 off coupon. Check out all the recipes on the Progresso website and let me know which one you would like to try.

Progresso sent me free samples of the Recipe Starters. I was not obligated to write a positive review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and may differ from others.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Random Updates

Hello, bloggy friends!

I know I have not been posting very often here on my blog. Our computer did its last bit of computing last week and is now totally out of commission for good. I knew it was coming, it's been giving us problems for awhile. For now, I'll have to share my teens' laptops - which means my computer time will be quite limited. I really don't think we will be able to afford a new computer until after the first of the year. We have also been without a dishwasher since June, so it's a tough choice which I would rather spend the money on first (washing dishes by hand for a family of six gets old real quick - what can I say, I'm spoiled and really miss my dishwasher). I'm thinking that while I'm without a computer of my own, I should get busy with my fall cleaning and such. It's no telling what I could accomplish when I'm not distracted by being online all day. I have visions of myself becoming Susie Homemaker and cleaning, baking, and decorating up a storm (I'm not saying it will happen, but I can dream, right?)

In other news...yesterday I was in the car with my 16 yr. old daughter. We were having a nice little chat (I love those times when we are in the car alone together - it's a great time for talking). Anyway, we were talking about college and careers and how she has no idea what she wants to be "when she grows up." She is so funny because she said her minimum income standard is $150,000.00 per year (I said, "you go girl!). In my sage and motherly wisdom, I advised her to get a good education and a career that she loves, that also pays well, before she ever considers getting married. She agreed with that advice and then proceeded to lay out her plan - after finishing college and getting her dream job, she intends to travel the world, having a love affair in each of the countries she visits. Then, when she returns from her travels, she's going to write a memoir, detailing her adventures. That girl! I had to laugh and appreciate her lofty ambitions. And, I think she just might really do exactly what she says!

Update on our puppy, Piper. You may remember that soon after we got her I was having "puppy remorse" and not really bonding with her at all. Then, her behavior started improving a little, she became more affectionate, and I started to actually like her. I can now report that I'm back to stage one and I do not like this dog. I feel terrible saying it but it's just the truth. She is so wild, bites and chews on everything in sight (seriously, she will walk up to the wall and try to chew on it), she follows at my feet constantly, and if I'm not giving her my undivided attention, she barks and barks. We still doing the puppy obedience classes are now officially puppy obedience class dropouts. I don't know what to do - I've never had to deal with something like this and do not really have any ideas on how to find her a new home without upsetting my kids.

So, what's been going on in your corner of the world? Are you having nice fall weather yet? Do you want a puppy?


Monday, October 8, 2012

BIG Fun Fall Giveaway Going on at The Vintage Pearl

There's a BIG fall fun giveaway going on over at The Vintage Pearl. You may be familiar with The Vintage Pearl for their beautiful hand stamped jewelry and keepsakes.

Right now, to celebrate fall, you can enter to win your choice of pieces from The Vintage Pearl plus...a Kitchen Aid Mixer in the color Ice (it's the most gorgeous light baby blue color you've ever seen!)

Make sure you stop by and enter today. She will be choosing a winner later this week.


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Skylanders Giants Event in Los Angeles

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to go on a really cool PR trip. I was able to bring along my youngest son, Zachary, who is 12. I went on behalf of 5 Minutes For Mom (I do occasional writing/reviews for their site). The event was held in Los Angeles. We were invited to Activision Headquarters to check out their new, soon-to-be-released video game, Skylanders Giants.
Skylanders Giants will hit stores on October 21. It is the sequel to the highly popular Skylanders: Spyro's Adventure. Not only did we get to meet the team behind the creation of Skylanders Giants, but, Zachary was able to get a first-hand look at the game and try it out.
He loved it, as did all the kids that were at the event. I predict Skylanders Giants is going to be one of this year's hot holiday toys! For more about our visit to Activision and my review of the game, please be sure and check out my full post at 5 Minutes For Mom.

We stayed in Santa Monica and were able to enjoy some free time of our own before and after the Activision event. We had a great time getting out and walking around, exploring the area a little bit. I thought I would share a few pics with you...

We were only a short walk away from the Santa Monica Pier.

There were lots of fun things on the Pier -- shops, games, rides, food & treats, etc.

After we took in the sights on the Pier, we hit the beach to get our feet wet. The water was freezing!

One of the most memorable parts of our trip happened when we were on our way to Activision. As we were riding to the event, we suddenly saw lots of people excitedly running around outside and on the sidewalks. They were all looking upward and pointing. This was the day that the space shuttle Endeavor was being flown over LA on it's way to LAX. When we looked out the car window, there it was, flying right over us...complete with a fighter jet escort. I cannot tell you how exciting this was to see! My photo didn't turn out that great, but we really got an excellent view.

It was a fantastic trip and I'm so lucky to have been able to share it with my son. Many thanks to 5 Minutes For Mom for letting me represent them on the Activision Skylanders Giants trip.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We Finally Like Our Puppy

A few weeks ago, I posted about our new puppy, Piper. I confessed to you that I didn't really like her and was having regrets about even getting a puppy.

Well, she must have realized that she needed to shape up or be shipped out because she has finally started to get her act together. In her defense, I think her bad behaviors were just part of being a really young puppy and we needed to give her a little time before judging her so harshly. We adopted Piper from our local shelter, thinking she was about 4 months old at the time. When we took her to our vet and to a dog trainer, they both agreed that she was much younger.

Anyway, we now have her enrolled in weekly puppy classes (working on basics like sit and stay). She has made drastic improvements on house training and she is much more affectionate. Chewing is still a big issue but we are working on that, as well. We still have a long way to go, but Piper is finally fitting into our family!

She is pretty cute, don't ya think? (Here she is, "sitting" for me. She has that command down rather well)


Movie Trailer Tuesday - Real Steel

We happened to catch this on tv the other night and loved it! It was a movie that we could all enjoy together as a family. There was something for everyone -- plenty of action (there are giant fighting robots, so my boys were really into that). There's also the "tug-at-your-heartstrings" story of a father and son (a pair that have never spent any time together or gotten to know one another). And, there's even a teensy bit of romance (did I mention it stars Hugh Jackman *sigh* he really is totally scrumptious). This futuristic film is a lot of fun and sweet to boot.

Rated PG-13 for some violence, intense action, and brief language.