#WW – A Little Indoor Enjoyment On A Cold Rainy Night

Ww Playing at Mcd

We stopped at McDonalds and had a little indoor enjoyment on a cold rainy night.

What do you and your family do for fun when you’re stuck indoors? I’d really like to know, please leave a comment!

Thanks for stopping by! If you have a picture up for Wordless Wednesday, leave your link below! Feel free to head on over to my food blog From Val’s Kitchen, or to my Mom’s blog Here And There, for more Wordless Wednesday fun.

Blu-Ray Review And Inside Look At Disney The Pirate Fairy #PirateFairy

The product(s) featured in this review was provided free of cost to me for the sole purpose of product testing and review. This review has not been monetarily compensated and is based on the views and opinions of my family and/or self. Please note that the opinions reflected in this post have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way.

Some of the posts on this site, such as this one, contain an affiliate link. This means I MAY get paid a VERY SMALL commission if you purchase the product or service.

Disney The Pirate Fairy Blu-ray

The Pirate Fairy

  • Blu-ray/DVD Release Date: April 1, 2014
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Language: English (DTS-HD High Res Audio), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • ASIN: B00H5RYN5Y

SYNOPSIS – From the world of “Peter Pan” comes “The Pirate Fairy,” a swashbuckling new adventure about Zarina (voice of Christina Hendricks), a smart and ambitious dust-keeper fairy who’s captivated by Blue Pixie Dust and its endless possibilities. When Zarina’s wild ideas get her into trouble, she flees Pixie Hollow and joins forces with the scheming pirates of Skull Rock, who make her captain of their ship. Tinker Bell (voice of Mae Whitman) and her friends must embark on an epic adventure to find Zarina, and together they go sword-to-sword with the band of pirates led by a cabin boy named James (voice of Tom Hiddleston), who’ll soon be known as Captain Hook himself. With laughter, heart, magic and thrills, “The Pirate Fairy” sets sail April 1, 2014.

Disney The Pirate Fairy Nyc Luncheon

A little over a week ago I had the good fortune to be able to go into New York City to have lunch and participate in a roundtable discussion with Disney The Pirate Fairy producer Jennifer Magee-Cook. Since most, if not all, of us had seen the movie, it was a treat to be able to get some quality one on one time with one of the women behind the movie.

The most commonly asked questions all had to do with the actual making of the movie. They worked long and hard in group meetings to decide what the storyline would be. They made extensive use of the Disney Animation Library to envision both the forward and backward stories, as well as locations and character appearance. The feeling behind this, and other Disney projects, is that the “world” of the movie is very important. Folks involved with the movie had to learn about the topics it involved in order to have sufficient knowledge to put together a solid story.

Disney The Pirate Fairy Nyc Luncheon

Pirate scenes in this movie were obviously key. A pirate expert was hired. The crew visited a pirate ship in order to make sure pirate scenes were as authentic as possible. The biggest challenge with the scenes with pirates and on the pirate ship was scale. Keeping 6 inch fairies in proper scale to life size real men was a challenge. To meet the challenge, they relied on 3D camera images shot with a 3D camera while visiting the pirate ship.

We touched on the subject of the cast. For example, we learned that actor Tom Hiddleston was very passionate about this project. In order to bring some of Hiddleston’s character to the character of James (later known as Captain Hook), the crew relied on voice recordings and live reference recordings. Hiddleston was very animated when recording. The crew was able to transer some of that to the character of James by watching the live reference recordings so they could observe and use some of Hiddleston’s movements for the James character.

Here’s a clip of Tom Hiddleston recording one of the songs where you can see what I’m referring to.

We learned that a lot of thought went into the fashion of the movie. In Pixie Hollow everything is organic. By leaving Pixie Hollow, Zarina became the first fairy whose costume included man-made materials. Disney worked with designer Christian Siriano to get just the right look.

Disney The Pirate Fairy Nyc Luncheon

The other big topic we discussed was animation. For example, Crocky is a young Tic Toc Croc. They knew that they wanted to connect Crocky with the original Tic Toc Croc we all know from Peter Pan, but they wanted him to be cute. Crocky was intentionally designed to move like a baby waddling in a diaper. In the end they kept the teeth of the original Croc and altered everything else.

Disney The Pirate Fairy Nyc Luncheon

By the way. Ever wonder how Tic Toc Croc got that clock inside hi? Here’s how.

I really enjoyed hearing about all of the time, work and energy that went into Disney The Pirate Fairy. I also really enjoyed watching the movie. This is the fifth installment in the Disney Fairies movies collection. It’s a lot of fun. It’s very different from the others in that it introduces the fairies to the pirates, something we know happened because let’s face it, we’ve all seen Peter Pan. Also by involving the pirates not only do we get our conflict of good vs bad, but we also get characters that both girls and boys will enjoy. The color, cast and animation are all spectacular. The positive messages of accepting your mistakes, being a good friend and forgiving are all subtle and well-delivered. This movie is a must have for all Disney fans both young and old.

If you click the picture below you’ll be taken to a neat Pirate Fairy and Peter Pan Infographic.

Pirate Fairy and Peter Pan Infographic

Have you seen The Pirate Fairy? Who was your favorite fairy or character? if you haven’t seen it yet, are you planning on seeing it? I’d really like to know, please leave a comment!

How Do You Put Your Socks Away? Not Very Wordless Wednesday #WW

Ww Socks

Hubby folded some of my son’s laundry recently. It was a big surprise, and a nice one. I couldn’t help but notice he puts socks away completely differently then I do. When I buy socks, especially for my sons, they’re all the same. So when I put them away I just stack them in the drawer, no pairing required. Hubby folds one top over the other. I don’t personally like that technique because I think it stretches out the tops. I know some people also knot them. my Mom even used to have these plastic thingeys that slid over both socks.

Anyway. The idea of the top of one sock being folded over the other bugged me so much I undid them when I put them away. Petty I know. What can I say. I was putting them away so I did it my way. I don’t even know how many other ways there are to store socks, but I did get to wondering about that.

How do you put your socks away? I’d really like to know, so please leave a comment!

Thanks for stopping by! If you have a picture up for Wordless Wednesday, leave your link below! Feel free to head on over to my food blog From Val’s Kitchen, or to my Mom’s blog Here And There, for more Wordless Wednesday fun.

#WordlessWednesday with Linky – The Face Of A Silver Medalist

Over the weekend my youngest son bowled in the bowling sectionals tournament for Special Olympics. His games got better and better and his third game was 26 pins over average. He got second place and took home the silver medal! I am so proud of him! We stopped at the playground on the way home to celebrate. He moves on to the next level of competition later this month.

WW - Fun at the beach after winning the silver medal!

WW - Fun at the beach after winning the silver medal!

Thanks for stopping by! If you have a picture up for Wordless Wednesday, leave your link below! Then head on over to From Val’s Kitchen and Here And There.

Why It’s Hurtful To Use The Word Retarded – Spread The Word To #endtheword

2014 spread the word badge

Anyone that knows me knows that I hate the abuse and misuse of the word retarded. It’s so offensive. I hear it a lot from kids and teens, they are the ones I always take the time to try and explain why it’s wrong and offensive. And I hear it from adults, many of whom say “I don’t mean it that way”. I try and explain why it’s hurtful to them. Some listen (or pretend to). Others say I’m not hurting anyone, I don’t mean it to be mean.

Well, I know how I feel when I hear someone misuse the word retarded. I can only begin to imagine how someone with Down syndrome feels when they hear it. To be picked on and ostracized by people that don’t even know you personally, just because you have an extra chromosome. To be treated as though you can’t have an opinion. To hear implications that you aren’t smart. Those things must hurt an awful lot. I have a child with Down syndrome and I know that I still can’t give the proper words and give the feelings he must feel justice.

Well, there is someone that can. For anyone that thought people with Down syndrome couldn’t have an intelligent thought or conversation, I have something to say to you. Well, many things, but I’ll go with this one – you couldn’t be more wrong or farther from the truth.

John Franklin Stephens, a Special Olympics Global Messenger, and a man with Down syndrome by the way, has written an article that was published today on Huff Post. The article is entitled “I Am the Person You Hurt When You Say the R-Word“. He explains how use of the word retarded hurts him and others. It is truly magnificently written. It’s brilliant. The analogies he uses describe how I feel perfectly. It is worth the two minutes it will take you to read it. It’s truly the best post I’ve read in a very long time by anyone. Anyone who thinks people with Down syndrome don’t understand things that are being said needs to read this. Anyone who thinks people with Down syndrome can’t think intelligent thoughts needs to read this. And above all else, anyone who misuses and abuses the word retarded needs to read this.

If you haven’t already, I hope you’ll take the pledge to not use the r word. Just click on “pledge now” on the right hand side. You have no idea how much of a difference you as one person can make.

The Connection Between My Two Great Loves – @FordMustang And @OleanderBand Music

No compensation or product was received for this post. I wrote this post because I love the things mentioned in it – the Ford Mustang and Oleander.

You know, we go through life learning about many different things. We develop likes and dislikes. Sometimes we develop a favorite, something we just can’t get enough of. Something we are so crazy we can’t imagine a day without it. Something we never ever tire of. For me there are very few things in life that have this effect on me. Two to be specific (unless you count cheesecake). One of them is the Ford Mustang. I can’t name a single day in my life where I didn’t pass a Mustang on the street that it didn’t make me smile and make my heart beat a little faster. I like cars in general, and I love Mustangs, they are just a beautiful car.

In 1988 I bought my first new car. Actually, it’s the only brand new car I’ve ever bought. It was a 1988 Mustang LX convertible in pale canary yellow. Her name was Betsy. She was something beautiful and she looked almost exactly like this.

88 mustang convertible

I loved Betsy. I paid for her myself, at one point working three jobs to cover the payments. I never tired of that car, not ever not even for a single day. I’d get in, turn the music on and just go. My Dad would often get reports from his friends that they saw me all around town, speeding around with the music turned up loud. I’d always enjoyed listening to music, but somehow it was just better in my car. (I’m a rock n roll girl, by the way.) In the car the music sounded better. The words meant more. And, I could sing, which if you know me personally you know I don’t sing unless I’m alone in my car or out at a concert. I had certain cassettes (yes, this was way back in the day, before CDs and MP3) that lived in the car. I even had a select few cassettes that I owned two copies of, one for in the house and one for the car. One of those cassettes was by the band Oleander, who was just starting to appear on the rock scene in the late 90s. I fell in love with them the moment I first heard them on the radio.

By now it was the late 90s. Over ten years had gone by and I was still driving Betsy. I had accumulated a lot of memories with that car. Going on an extended family vacation to Disney World and driving all over the place with eight people piled in and on top of my tiny Mustang. Spending so much time with one of my brothers in the car that he knew lyrics to some of my favorites, songs from Cinderella, Motley Crue and yes Oleander. Breaking the rear window because I simply had to have the top down one day and forgot that my son’s car seat was in the back preventing the roof from collapsing completely. But by that time I had a child and unfortunately the car simply wouldn’t fit my family any more. So I decided to let her go. The day that the tow truck came to take it away was hard for me. I watched the truck drop the car I’d worked so hard to pay for in the middle of my lawn and broke down into tears.  I missed Betsy terribly for years. I still miss her. It was so much fun to drive, and there was just something so freeing about it.

1999 brought about big changes. A new body style for the Mustang that I absolutely loved. A second child for me. And a new Oleander album. I was able to afford the Oleander album, actually once again two of them. I coveted the car but realistically didn’t even consider it as with two children it was even less practical then it had been before. The children? Well we know how expensive they are. My youngest was born in July. I didn’t know he was going to have Down syndrome before he was born. His arrival brought many feelings and emotions with it, and was where the idea for my nonprofit came from.

Through all of this few things were a constant. The biggest constant was my parents. My champions. When Oleander released another album in 2001 as soon as I heard the song Champion I related it to my parents. (I’ve actually blogged about that one.) I still think of my parents when I hear that song today. Another constant was the way a Mustang could still make me turn my head and bring a smile to my face.

2003 brought another new Oleander album. Titled “Joyride”, it featured a Mustang on the cover. You see the whole six degrees of separation thing happening with me, Mustang and Oleander music, don’t you? A favorite from that album was “Hands Off The Wheel”, which aptly describes life at times.

In 2004 Oleander officially took a break making music, going on a self-imposed hiatus so the members could get back to living their lives.

2005 brought an update to the mustang with the introduction of the fifth generation body style. It was sexier then ever. I truly almost drooled when I saw it for the first time at a race at Watkins Glen. The desire to drive one stayed with me for many years, but the opportunity did not present itself.

2011 was a big year. The Mustang was getting updates to its engine. I was sick and getting sicker and they thought I had lung cancer. And as fate would have it, Rich Mouser started mixing a new Oleander album. I underwent lung surgery and they removed half of my left lung. After a few tense days of waiting it was confirmed that I did not have cancer. The healing process from lung surgery took a lot longer then a few days. I lost my job while I was out on disability. It took months just to be able to function. I spent many of my hours listening to music. My Oleander collection was one of the constants. All those years and I had never tired of their music. They are the second thing I have never tired of, by the way.

Once I was released from disability I took losing my job as a sign and decided to stop waiting for life to happen and to go after things. I went back to school, determined to finally get my degree. As the end of the year approached I was broke as a spoke. I can’t blame that entirely on being a student, I mean aren’t we all broke a month before Christmas? On Black Friday my Mom and I were returning from a trip to the cemetery when I saw this car on the side of the road. It’s a 1999 Ford Mustang. It was a steal of a deal. Despite the fact I really didn’t have the money I returned that weekend with my Dad to check it out and bought it anyway.

my 1999 mustang

I’m still driving that 99 Mustang today. When I’m not trying to pry the keys back out of my 18 year old son’s hands, that is. It’s got over 235,000 miles on it and it definitely has its issues. But I still love driving it every single day. And I still love music, now more then ever. Oleander is still very much a fixture. How can it not be with awesome music and relevant lyrics. I bought their latest album “Something Beautiful” last year and not one single day has gone by that I haven’t listened to something on that album.

To me the Ford Mustang and music are synonymous. Recently the Mustang 50-year anniversary exhibit at the North American International Auto Show featured a jukebox full of Mustang-inspired tunes that would take more than 10 hours to play. Those songs included:

  • Martha and the Vandellas: No Where to Run
  • Vanilla Ice: Rollin in my 5.0
  • Tim Workman: Ford Mustang
  • Dick Dale and the Del-Tones: Wild, Wild Mustang
  • The Rip Chords: Hey Little Cobra
  • Tom Waits: Burma Shave
  • Power Supply: My 5.0
  • Keith Urban: Sweet Thing
  • The Triptides: Go Mustang
  • Walking Concert: Mustang Ford
  • Serge Gainsbourg: Ford Mustang
  • Wilson Pickett: Mustang Sally
  • Chuck Berry: My Ford Mustang
  • T-Rex: Mustang Ford
  • The Chesterfield Kings: Shelby GT 356
  • Pop Machine: Mustang
  • Patty Loveless: You’re So Cool
  • Bob Dylan: Highwater — For Charlie Patton
  • Rod Stewart: You’re Insane
  • Steve Sutherland: Mustang
  • Jo Dee Messina: Saturday Night
  • House of Pain: Feel It
  • Swervedriver: Son of a Mustang Ford
  • The Fantastic Baggys: Move Out Little Mustang
  • Katy Perry: The One That Got Away
  • David Bowie: Young Americans
  • Vanilla Ice: Ice, Ice Baby
  • Jack Ingram: Mustang Burn
  • Mr. Big: Road to Run
  • David Olney: Little Mustang
  • Five for Fighting: 65 Mustang
  • T-Rex: Hot Rod Mama
  • Too Short: Top Down
  • Jimmy Buffett: Quietly Making Noise
  • Eddie Angel: Mustang
  • Elton John: Shoulder Holster
  • Toby Keith: Whiskey Girl
  • Bruce Springsteen: Prodigal Son
  • Tori Amos: Don’t Make Me Come to Vegas
  • Pam Tillis: Tequila Mockingbird
  • Blues Traveler: Last Night I Dreamed
  • Webbie: How U Ridin’
  • Alabama: Changes Comin’ On
  • Bad English: Rocking Horse
  • Rebecca Lynn Howard: Tennessee in My Windshield
  • Arlo Guthrie: Oklahoma Nights
  • Bun-B: Pushin’
  • Ludacris, Fergie: Glamorous
  • John Wiggins: Somewhere in Love
  • Primus: De Anza Jig

I propose that some of the Oleander catalog be added to the list. Songs like “Joyride”, “Hands Off The Wheel”, “Something Beautiful” and “Never Too Late” (amongst many others) are just made for driving.

One more thing. Speaking of the 2015 Ford Mustang.

It’s one sexy looking beast of a car.

2015 Ford Mustang

2015 Ford Mustang

It isn’t even out yet and my hearts beating faster in anticipation of seeing it out on the road, making me smile again. And this time I do plan on driving one at least once.

Do you have a favorite band or type of music to listen to in the car? Leave a comment!

Networking Is No Longer Nauseating Thanks To The #IntelAIO PC

#spon: I am in a partnership with Intel. Through this partnership I gain access to content, product, or other forms of value.

I love tech. It’s no secret. If there’s a new computer or gadget, chances are good that I’d love to get my hands on it and play with it. I just can’t get enough of tech. When it comes to computers I believe that there’s room for everyone, and everyone can learn from everyone else. The biggest downside to tech for me for a long time was the cables. If you’ve ever networked an office (which I have) or even your home you probably shuddered when it came time to deal with cables. It’s amazing how a bunch of cables behind a desk that never get touched can turn into spaghetti over time. The thought of having to work around those cables is not a pleasant one.

We’ve had internet in my home for many, many years. For many of those years a router of some sort was involved. You know how they always say restart the computer if you’re having a computer issue? Well the same principle applies if you’re having an issue with your internet connection. First two things you do are restart the computer and then the router. The last time I had to call Verizon for an issue with my FIOS I had to tear my desk apart. The computer had to be moved, which traditionally has always been easier said then done. Then I had to access the router and cables. I couldn’t tell what cable was what. I almost pulled the computer off the desk in an effort to move it without disconnecting things. It ended up requiring two phone calls to get the internet up and running again that time. The whole thing was simply nauseating.

That being said, when my internet connection stopped working on me yesterday you might think I got upset. Not this time. No need to bite my tongue. No need to channel my inner yogi. No need for anything.

See the Intel AIO PC there? I’m referring to the HP Envy Rove 20 All-In-One Computer on the right side of my desk.

#IntelAIO PC on desk

When I called Verizon and they told me that I had to access the router I didn’t bat an eye. Literally. I simply unplugged the ac adapter from the lower left corner and slid the Envy Rove forward.

Voila le router.

Internet Router

I was easily able to access the router and had plenty of room to see how many lights were on and what color they were and so on and so forth. Getting my internet working again only required one phone call. I didn’t even have to turn off my computer. I have never had a computer by any brand that could do that.

I have really enjoyed using the Intel AIO. Networking is no longer a nauseating experience.

Do you love Intel? Become an Intel Advocate! Anyone can join this network. After joining you’ll be able to access fun content filled, stay up to date with the latest Intel news and more. You can even win prizes for sharing Intel content! The Intel Fan Advocate Experience is a great opportunity for you to share your enthusiasm for all-things Intel.

Our #Listerine 21-Day Challenge Kickoff And How A Selfie Can Help Kids In Need #spon

I received a Target gift card to purchase LISTERINE® Brand products from Johnson & Johnson Healthcare Products Division of McNEIL-PPC, Inc. and The Motherhood as part of my participation in the LISTERINE® 21-Day Challenge. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

I have been to the dentist over six times in the last twelve months. In that time I’ve had two cleanings, a filling, two sessions of scaling and root planing, an extraction, a crown fitting and a crown insertion. So eight times, none of them what I would call a good time or a fun time. And it was all for issues I have developed that the dentist associated with gum disease. And I’m not alone in having that diagnosis. According to the folks at Listerine, more than 75% of American adults suffer from some form of periodontal (gum) disease and may not even know it. Why? Well, it’s partially because brushing alone doesn’t cover about 75% of your mouth. That’s right. That’s a lot of people with mouths that probably aren’t as healthy as they could be. What to do? A good place to start is with a regular routine that includes brushing your teeth, flossing, and using an antiseptic mouthwash.

I don’t really want to spend 2014, or any other year, getting tons of dental work again. I have always thought I took adequate care of my teeth but realize now I could have done a better job. I have to teach myself a better habit when it comes to my oral care. It takes about 21 days of repetition to form a habit. Which is how long the Listerine Challenge is.

Now I’m almost always up for a challenge. But a challenge is usually more fun, or at least more interesting, when you have other people participating. The first person I thought of was my oldest. He’s 18 and doesn’t do as good of a job with his oral care as he should. I really want him to understand that the teeth he has in his mouth now are the only ones he’s getting. He’s no baby anymore, so if these fall out they’re not going to be followed by more. He has to take the best care of his teeth as possible.

Mouthwash is no issue for me, I like using it. My son, on the other hand, is not a fan. Why? That’s simple. He doesn’t care for minty flavors. While at Target picking up our supplies for the 21-day Challenge I was sure to select a mouthwash I knew he wouldn’t turn his head at. Which one do you think I chose?

Listerine 21-Day Challenge - shopping at Target

In case you didn’t guess, I chose the Fresh Citrus Antiseptic. It is the only mouthwash I have ever encountered that my oldest son will willingly seek out and use. I prefer the blue mint flavors, but I want to do all I can to keep him participating in the challenge.

Swishing twice a day is a really great start, but you can do more.

Listerine 21-Day Challenge - shopping at Target

You can use a Smart Rinse, which helps prevent cavities by reaching areas brushing missed. I’d never tried a Smart Rinse before, and was glad to see they had varieties just for kids.

Listerine 21-Day Challenge - shopping at Target

And of course, you can floss. There are all different Reach flosses, I stuck with an unflavored waxed floss as an effort to ensure the man child wouldn’t turn his nose up at the mint flavor I prefer.

I’m a little excited and a little nervous about the Listerine 21-Day Challenge. I’m excited because I know my teeth are “good to go” right now because I’ve had a ton of work done. I’d like to keep them that way. I’m nervous because I worry about my son. He’s got a great smile (when he shows it), and I’d like for that to be the case for years to come, which will be more likely if he gets into a good daily habit.

Listerine 21-day Chellenge

So to summarize, this is what I purchased at Target to use for the Listerine 21-day Challenge.

  • LISTERINE® Antiseptic
  • LISTERINE® WHITENING® Original Gel Fluoride Anticavity Toothpaste
  • REACH® Floss

We’re improving our own oral care by participating in the 21-Day Challenge, which is a good thing. At the very same time we can help children in need, which is a great thing. How, you ask? That’s simple. For every person who posts a “Swish Selfie” to the LISTERINE Brand® Facebook page, LISTERINE® Brand will make a $5.00 contribution to Oral Health America’s Smiles Across America® program, up to $85,000, toward their goal of connecting 210,000 children with needed oral health services in 2014.

So now I’m challenging you! post your own “Swish Selfie” to LISTERINE® Brand Facebook page. While you’re there you can learn more about the challenge, the partnership with Oral Health America, and check out a roundup of the best “Swish Selfie” photos of the week. Oh and, be sure to check back with me next month, to see how our challenge went!

What is the biggest challenge you (or your child) face in terms of oral health? Leave a comment!

10 Easy DIY Valentines Day Wreaths #Crafts

10 Easy DIY Valentines Wreaths Crafts

One of my favorite Valentine’s Day decorations is a wreath that I got years ago. I thought it would be fun to find some DIY Valentine’s Day wreath craft tutorials, in the hopes that I could make one myself. I found 10 so far, and am sharing them with you, with permission.

Beginning at the top left corner, going clockwise:

DIY Shades of Pink Yarn Wreath

Valentine Sweater Wreath

Valentine Cupcake Liner Wreath

Valentine Wreath Made With Paper Rosettes

Heart-shaped Doily Wreath

Feathered Heart Wreath

Love Arrow Valentine Wreath

DIY Valentine’s Day Deco Mesh Wreath

Sweet Surprises Paper Loop Valentine Wreath

Sweetheart Button Valentine Wreath

Have you ever made a wreath? Was it easy? Leave a comment!