Thursday, December 30, 2021

The Salad Shouldn't Get Prepared First

Salads can sometimes lose their freshness relatively easily or quickly. The people who are planning to take these salads outdoors may need to avoid taking them outside when it's still too early. 

Fresh Salads

The salad is sometimes the very last part of a meal that people will prepare. Most salad recipes can be followed quickly. Putting together a salad will sometimes only take a few minutes. If the vegetables for the salad have already been chopped, people may only need a minute to combine everything using the salad tongs. Even cutting the vegetables might not take all that long.

Once everything else is on the table, it could be time to mix the salad and remove the vegetable ingredients from the refrigerator. The people who approach salad preparation like this will often have salads that won't start to wilt at any point during the meal. Getting rid of even one wilted lettuce leaf will also quickly improve the quality of the entire salad. 

Vegetable Choice

Lettuce tends to be a moist vegetable. Washing the lettuce long before it's used to make the salad can help people avoid issues with lettuce that is too damp. It is also possible to dry the lettuce with a paper towel, which can help reduce some external moisture without making the lettuce too dry. 

Some salad toppings may also be comparatively dry, which will make the overall salad less moist than it would be with different toppings. People who use too many of these toppings may end up with a salad that seems too dry.

However, if they add those toppings to the salad later, they might absorb less of the water from the salad's other components. Those toppings will stay dry, and the lettuce won't become less moist than most people will expect. 


Monday, December 27, 2021

I Hope You All Had An Amazing Christmas

Christmas has changed now that the kids are older. In some ways it is better and in other ways so sad. I miss the kids being small and excited about Christmas morning. 

Fortunately as a preschool teacher of toddlers I get to experience the excitement of kids just learning about the holiday. Which is fun too but seeing Christmas through a child’s eye is special. 

There are fewer gifts than the past but the kids know and understand about needs and wants and are respectful. Nothing they asked for was impossible so they got many of the things they wanted. 

My favorite part of the morning was the quest my husband created for my daughter. He had her open a box which contained a burnt scroll with a map. She had to follow the map to a “pot of silver” an ice cube holder under blue lights which contained another scroll with a map where she had to open a floor vent for her package. I love that he did it all on his own! He never does any thing for Christmas except get my gifts! 

This Best Homemade Gift I EVER Got

My daughter was asking about gifts for weeks up till Christmas. After telling her I wanted World Peace I mentioned  that her homemade gifts are my favorite. 

I love this card she created.

She always told me she doesn’t work well with watercolor but this tells me differently. 

What was your favorite gift this year?

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Things To Do on a Friday Night


Everybody enjoys that fresh weekend release when you finally have time to do whatever you want to do. After a long week at work, you're probably thinking of what you're going to do come Friday night to let loose and relax. If you're short on ideas for what you can do, here are some choices you might want to consider.

Enjoy Unique TV

There are many popular TV shows on regular channels or on streaming services these days. It's sometimes hard to sift through the list and find the hidden gems. Search engines are often your best bet on finding the perfect binge-worthy shows, intriguing documentaries, and tear-jerking movies.

Go Out With Friends

If you're in need of some social connection beyond the interactions you have with coworkers at work, try taking some time to reconnect with friends over the weekend. When trying to get in some friend time, it doesn't usually matter what you do together. You can stay inside and just have a chat, or you can go to a club and really let loose. Whatever you choose, make sure you are spending the time with those you are close to.

Relax at Home

Many people wish that they had time to just relax and do whatever they want to at home, without feeling guilty like they need to get things done. If you want to sit in bed and enjoy a nice book or relax in the tub with a glass of wine, now is your chance. Friday nights are the perfect night to do whatever you wish you could do more often.

It's ultimately up to you how you spend your Friday night. Remember that the weekends are not just time for you to get your to-do's done, they are also for you to relax and enjoy yourself after a long week so you can start your workweek fresh and rejuvenated come Monday.

Thanks to Michael Discenza @mdisc for making this photo available freely on Unsplash 🎁

Sunday, December 19, 2021

WOW It's Been Crazy


The past few weeks have been insane. Actually, the past 4 months have been ridiculous.

 September my kids returned to school and everything that comes with that but as a preschool teacher, I got a few new students and that has its own learning curve but then there was no assistant in the class and still actually isn't. They sent floaters to cover the time which sometimes meant I had 4-6 different people with my class on any one day. That isn't good for me and it isn't good for toddlers who need consistency. I've had someone in my room for the past three weeks and it has really made a difference, but it came too late. I am DONE! Exhausted and WIPED!

October my family was planning for a trip to Disney. Or very first trip on a plane but with Halloween coming it meant weeks of planning for my class to have a fantastic Halloween and do a lot of arts, crafts and activities all while working with random assistants who honestly could care less.UGH!

November, we came back from Florida and before you knew it I was planning Thanksgiving for my family but also for my class. The holidays are so much fun in preschool and I love doing things with them but the days were long and sometimes I bite off way more than I can chew because I want my class to experience anything and everything. 

December is ridiculous! Thankfully I've got a really, hard working assistant at the moment. She wasn't planned or hired for my room, but I have requested to hold her until they have someone in there. She is a Godsend. I have spent the past three weeks working on the kids gifts to their families. We are doing a snowglobe and magnets kinda like last year. It takes so much time. 

So between school stuff, home stuff, holidays for my class and holidays for my family along with everything else that happens in life I am OVER it. 

I pray for the day I can handle all this and actually enjoy the holiday. You know, head out with my daughter to see the lights, Santa, town things, friends, etc. I feel like each day just flows into the next day with it all being kinda the same. 

Anyone else feeling stressed, over worked, stretched too thin and guilty for not enjoying the best part of family during the holiday time? 

The photo above is our grinch hands and our melted snowman. Working with 2-3 year olds is so much fun!

Saturday, December 18, 2021

:LivBar Yummy Nutrition Bar


My family are loving these bars. I have taken them to lunch as a meal replacement many days. I have only a half hour and as a teacher I need my prep time. 

My husband asked for a box as his stocking stuffer! That's easy and I don't mind. I had to hide the review ones because everyone was eating them before I could try them. 

Sorry for the terrible photo. Look at all those seeds. You actually feel full afterward and instead of a soft bar you get this nice size bar that you eat slower. I LOVE IT!


Thursday, December 16, 2021


A good performing artist has put in the hard work and training necessary to succeed. True performing artists' passion for what they do will supersede their desire for money or fame, although these may also follow after increased fans. If you are looking to become a performing artist, then it does help if you have a healthy dose of the below traits:


Creativity is among the most important traits of a good performing artist. This is because their creativity will push them to experiment and try new things to create something great; it allows them to use their imagination to develop original ideas like Dan Avidan. Without creativity, true art cannot be made.


Passion is key for any artist, performing or not. Without it, the drive to continue when times get tough will be absent, and the artist's work will suffer as a result. A performing artist must have the passion for spending countless hours rehearsing and perfecting their routine. They must also have a passion for pleasing their fans by putting on the best show possible.


No one ever became a great artist without discipline. This quality allows artists to push themselves beyond their limits and achieve things they never thought possible. A performing artist must have the discipline to maintain their focus during long rehearsals and stay in top condition; this quality will also help them deal with any setbacks.


Without imagination, a performing artist would be limited to what already exists and could never dream of anything new. They will rely on their imagination to create something unique, powerful, or influential. 


A performing artist must have the charisma to engage with their audience and connect emotionally. This quality will help the artist create a rapport with the audience and feel like part of the show.


A performing artist must be confident to put on a good show. They cannot let their nerves get the best of them, or they will stumble and fall during their performance. A performing artist must also be confident in themselves and their abilities, which will give them the drive to push themselves further.


An artist's opinion separates them from the rest of the world. They must have an opinion on everything they do to give their work meaning and purpose; this unique opinion will define who you are as a performing artist and allow you to get noticed over other artists.


Without versatility, a performer can only be limited to one style or theme of performing art. An artistic performer needs to perform traditional tasks easily and know when and where to try something new and innovative instead.


The performing artist's vision allows them to see beyond others' eyes and think about things differently. This trait is necessary to succeed in any field, but especially so for performing artists who need to see the potential in their work.

Work Ethic

Last but not least, a performing artist must have a good work ethic to succeed. This means that they must be willing to put in the time and effort necessary to achieve their goals. It also requires them to be professional and reliable.


Working hard, taking criticism well, and having patience are all qualities that a performing artist should have, as these allow them to stay composed during stressful or difficult situations. It also allows them to show respect toward others even if they are not treated respectfully. 

These qualities will allow performing artists to succeed at whatever they set out to do, whether it be becoming rich and famous or simply doing what they love for their reasons. While not all performing artists will have every quality listed above, having most is a good foundation for building a successful career.

The photo is owned by Maria Gagliano and may not be used without permission 

Monday, December 13, 2021

Christmas, Here I Come by D.J. Steinberg Book #GIVEAWAY + A VIRTUAL READING WITH THE AUTHOR

I am so happy to host the Christmas, Here I Come by D.J. Steinberg, humorous poet for kids and author of many award-winning children's books. 

About the Book:

Celebrate Christmas with a collection of funny and festive poems from the author of the hugely popular Kindergarten, Here I Come!

christmas here i come.jpgMy sweater’s just ridiculous
with pictures of Saint Nicholas.
The right sleeve sports a massive hole.
It smells like green bean casserole.
It’s so big, it’s preposterous.
It might fit a rhinoceros.
But my sweater’s still the snuggliest—
who cares if it’s the ugliest?!

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit! From writing letters to Santa to picking the perfect tree, these heartwarming poems -- plus a page of stickers! -- from author D. J. Steinberg are sure to delight even the most sullen Scrooge.

Previous titles include Preschool, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Easter! Let me know if any additional titles are of interest. Passover, Here I Come will be released in February 2022, with Hanukkah, Here I Come to follow in the Fall. Future planned titles in the series include Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, and more!

Disclaimer: NO monetary compensation was offered to host this giveaway. 

Barn At Night Book And Stuffed Tabby #GIVEAWAY


Barn at Night by Michelle Houts and illustrated by Jen Betton (Feeding Minds Press; 9/14/21; Hardcover $17.99; ISBN: 978-1948898058; Ages 5-7; 32 pages). Your winner would receive a hardcover of this beautiful picture book, and an adorable stuffed animal of a yellow tabby just like the one on the cover!

Let me know if you're interested and I'll send over all the details! We'd love this to run ASAP to ship in time for the holidays. I'm also happy to provide a review copy.

"Quiet and peaceful – an antidote to the daytime hustle and bustle of city life."
Kirkus Reviews

About the book: A beautiful and sweet celebration of a barn at night will help children fall asleep and also learn more about life on a farm. This after-dark journey out to the barn, even on the coldest winter evening, can be a warm and welcoming scene. The young narrator gently details what actually goes on in a barn at night. Who is awake, who is asleep, and who is just making their first appearance in the barn? Smells, sounds and sights are quietly revealed to young readers.

Michelle Houts' lyrical poetry paired with Jen's glowing watercolors create a warm and wonderful bedtime story - best shared together.

Downloadable coloring pages can be found at: Barn 

at Night Activity.


About the author:
Michelle Houts is the author of more than a dozen books for young readers. Her debut novel, The Beef Princess of Practical County, has been featured by the American Farm Bureau Foundation and won a Best Book of the Year from Nebraska Farm Bureau. Houts writes from a restored one-room schoolhouse in Ohio. Find out more at

About the illustrator:
Jen Betton grew up playing on friends' farms in Pennsylvania. Illustrating Barn at Night gave her a delightful excuse to lurk around old barns and feed goats. Her other books include Hedgehog Needs a Hug (winner of Pennsylvania’s Keystone to Reading Award), which she both wrote and illustrated, and Twilight Chant, written by Holly Thompson. She now lives with her family near Dallas, Texas. You can see more of her work at

Feeding Minds Press is a project of the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The mission of the Foundation is to build awareness and understanding of agriculture through education. The goal of Feeding Minds Press is to publish accurate and engaging books about agriculture that connect readers to where their food comes from and who grows it. Learn more at: Feeding Minds Press. 

2 Book Giveaway _ Born to Sparkle & Book of Hugs

Born To Sparkle by Megan Bomgeers

About the book: Author Megan Bomgaars, who has Down syndrome, is an activist, TV personality, and entrepreneur. This Fall, she adds “published children’s book author” to her list of accomplishments with her debut title arriving in stores nationwide.

Inspired by Megan’s moving “Don’t Limit Me” speech, Born to Sparkle encourages young readers to dream big and work hard to make those big dreams come true. Whether you dream is to become an astronaut, firefighter, dancer, teacher, chef or anything you can imagine, you can achieve it because, just like Megan, you were born to sparkle!

Never condescending or preachy, Megan’s pitch perfect story reassures, that there are no limits and anything is possible if one follows their dreams and works hard. It’s about doing your very best to make dreams happen. Be brave. Study. Learn. Practice. Ask questions. Educators and parents will revel in this uplifting, inspiring picture book with a cast of stuffed animals leading by example at each turn of the page.

About the author: Megan Bomgaars is an amazing woman who works hard to achieve her dreams every day. She starred on A&Es Emmy Award-winning and Critic’s Choice Real TV Award-winning reality television show Born this Way. Megan currently attends college and has already started her own business, starred on a TV show, and travelled the world as a public speaker. She was even invited to the White house by Michelle Obama to attend the “Beating the Odds Summit.”  This is Megan’s first children’s book.

About the illustrator: Peter John Olcyzk was born in Manchester. He studied art foundation at Manchester Metropolitan University and then illustration at Stockport College. He uses his own experiences and memories to put himself in the mind and shoes of a child when he illustrates, as well as being greatly influenced by stories, music and nature. He currently lives in the Highlands of Scotland with his wife and two young children.

About the author: Tim Harris is a motivational speaker, business owner, and disability advocate. He is really good at giving hugs. For a long time, Tim owned his own restaurant and he even had free hugs on the menu. They were so popular that Tim has now hugged over 75,000 people, including the president of the United States! Tim really does love hugs, mostly because he loves LOVE and that is what hugs are all about. This is Tim’s first children’s book.

About the illustrator: Charlie Astrella graduated from the University of Teesside with a First Class Honors Bachelor of Arts degree in Computer Animation. He now works in 3D modeling, animation, and 2D illustration to create works of art he is proud of. 

About Flower Pot Press: Since 2005 Flowerpot Press has been planting the seeds that help young minds grow, offering a broad range of books.  The Hayes family has been in the publishing and media business for two generations now. The family members grew up living in the midst of the golden periods of publishing and media distribution.

Watching and participating in the growth of their father’s children’s publishing business, they learned from the ground up and understood the unique character and needs that publishing for young children demanded. Anne and Pat served in every role from warehouse operation to acquisition, design, licensing, printing production, and editing to name a few areas.

As entrepreneurs, they separately and together founded companies still owned, integrating other media such as video and music. This well-rounded creative team uses a hands-on approach in every aspect of the business, first and foremost because they love it. Pat is also a published author in his own right. Anne (our publisher and CEO) lives in the Toronto area with her husband and family operating the Canadian office of Flowerpot Press, while Pat and his family live in Franklin, Tennessee, and operate the US office of the company.

The 411:

We read both of these books to my class three times last week. They loved them. As a teacher of 2-3 year olds these books speak my language. I am constantly playing cheerleader to my students as well as teaching about limitations. "Keep your hands to your own body is said at least 15 times a day if not more. Hugging is encouraged but only if "your friend" wants to be hugged. It's a hard concept to get. 

I highly recommend both these books. 

On the weekend of January 21st – 23rd, Tim and his family are relaunching the Hug-a-thon. The goal is to get ONE MILLION hugs and ONE MILLION dollars in donations, all to benefit the Hearts of Joy International charity. This incredible non-profit provides life-saving heart surgery for children born with Down Syndrome. Learn more at Hearts of Joy International.

To Enter this giveaway:

Bring Home the Magic When Encanto Arrives on Digital December 24 and 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD February 8 #encantomovie





– Andrea Towers, IGN



Bring Home the Magic When Encanto Arrives on Digital December 24
and 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray™ and DVD February 8


Includes All-New Animated Short, Far From The Tree, Plus Sing-Along Version With On-Screen Lyrics and Never-Before-Seen Bonus Features


LOS ANGELES, CA (December 13, 2021)  Encanto marks the 60th animated feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios and will soon be available to audiences to enjoy at home. Fans can enjoy a sing-along movie version, never-before-seen bonus features and deleted scenes when Encanto arrives on all major digital platforms this holiday season on December 24 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD February 8.


Encanto will also be available on Disney+ starting December 24.


Film Synopsis

Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Encanto, with all-new songs by award-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, tells the tale of the Madrigals, an extraordinary family living in a magical house in the mountains of Colombia. But when Mirabel, the only ordinary Madrigal, discovers the magic surrounding their home is in danger, she may be her family’s last hope.


Bonus Features*

  • Sing Along with the Movie – Sing along with your favorite songs with on-screen lyrics as you watch the movie.
  • Familia Lo Es Todo – Members of the Disney Animation “Familia” cultural trust share real-life experiences in this exploration of the lovable Madrigal family members. We learn what inspired each character, and about how the artists’ designs bring realism to their personalities.
  • Discover Colombia – The filmmaking team discusses how the multiple cultures, biodiversity and vibrant colors of Colombia are expressed in Encanto. They describe how satisfying it was to fully celebrate this beautiful country and support the theme of magical realism.
  • A Journey Through Music – The filmmakers invite us to discover how each character came to be represented musically. We follow the creation of Encanto’s Colombian-inspired music, featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda’s songs and Germaine Franco’s score, from concept to final recording.
  • Let’s Talk About Bruno – Learn how the song “We Don't Talk About Bruno,” with its intriguing undertones, was created. Discover the extensive collaboration between Lin-Manuel Miranda, choreographer Jamal Sims, the voice cast and animators in bringing it to the screen.
  • Our Casita – La Casa Madrigal is alive with magic, and its emotional state is affected by other family members. From its colorful doors to its fine stonework, the magical house was designed using principles of Colombian tradition.
  • Outtakes – From the thrill of “nailing” a take in the presence of an entertainment industry icon to the hilarity of losing a wrestling match with tongue-twisting dialogue, join the cast for some good-natured fun from behind the microphone.
  • Journey to Colombia – With the help of the Colombian Cultural Trust, a dedicated team of consultants, the filmmakers of Encanto embark on a journey of discovery to learn more about Colombia and how best to reflect the country’s cultures and environments on the big screen.
  • An Introduction to Far From the Tree – Writer and director Natalie Nourigat introduces the Walt Disney Animation Studios short film Far From the Tree.
  • Far From the Tree – Parenting is hard, especially when curiosity tugs at a young raccoon whose parent tries to keep them both safe. In the Walt Disney Animation Studios short Far From the Tree, this youngster learns to live with an open heart… even as danger lurks. 
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Introduction – Heads of Story Jason Hand and Nancy Kruse present four scenes not seen in the film’s release, but were part of the journey toward the final version of the story.
    • Chores! – Abuela has sent most of the family to town on various assignments that bring them acclaim, while Mirabel, her father and uncle are asked to clean the house.
    • Another Way In – Mirabel attempts to understand a clue found in her uncle’s vision. To make this happen, she must go through Antonio’s room, where adventures unfold.
    • Isabela Goes Into the Woods – When Mirabel sees her sister head for apparent danger in the woods, she races to save her, and encounters the surprise of a lifetime!
    • Back to the Mural – Feeling rejected, Mirabel goes back to town. Abuela seeks her out and reveals a part of her personality that her granddaughter has never seen.
  • Song Selection  Jump to your favorite musical moments, with on-screen lyrics.

o    The Family Madrigal 

o    Colombia, Mi Encanto 

o    Waiting on a Miracle

o    Surface Pressure

o    We Don’t Talk About Bruno

o    What Else Can I Do

o    Dos Oruguitas

o    All of You


*bonus features vary by product and retailer


Voice Cast

Stephanie Beatriz as Mirabel

María Cecilia Botero as Abuela Alma

John Leguizamo as Bruno

Mauro Castillo as Félix

Jessica Darrow as Luisa

Angie Cepeda as Julieta

Carolina Gaitán as Pepa

Diane Guerrero as Isabela

Wilmer Valderrama as Agustín

Rhenzy Feliz as Camilo

Ravi Cabot-Conyers as Antonio

Adassa as Dolores


Directed by

Jared Bush

Byron Howard


Co-Directed by

Charise Castro Smith


Produced by

Yvett Merino, p.g.a.

Clark Spencer, p.g.a.


Screenplay by

Charise Castro Smith

Jared Bush


Story by

Jared Bush

Byron Howard

Charise Castro Smith

Jason Hand

Nancy Kruse

Lin-Manuel Miranda


Original Songs by

Lin-Manuel Miranda


Original Score Composed by

Germaine Franco


Product Specifications

Street Date

HD Digital: December 24

4K UHD Digital: January 26

Physical: February 8


Product SKUs

Digital: 4K UHD, HD, SD

Physical: 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital Code), Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + Digital Code) & DVD


Feature Run Time

Approx. 102 Minutes



U.S. Rated PG

* Bonus Feature – “Far From the Tree” is Rated G


Aspect Ratio

Digital: 2.39

Physical: 1.85:1


U.S. Audio

4K Ultra HD: Japanese 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, English 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos, English AD 2.0 Dolby Digital

Blu-ray: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English AD 2.0 Dolby Digital

DVD: English 5.1 Dolby, Spanish 5.1 Dolby, French 5.1 Dolby, English AD 2.0 Dolby

Digital: English 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)


U.S. Subtitles

4K Ultra HD: English SDH, Japanese, Spanish, French

Blu-ray: English SDH, Spanish, French

DVD: English, English SDH, Spanish, French

Digital: English SDH, French, Spanish (some platforms)