Get the Facts! Get Checked! Get Healthy!


© Destinyvispro | Dreamstime.com – Kidney Organ Donation Icon

The older I get the more and more concerned I get about my overall health. I want to be healthy and live a long life. Who doesn’t?

I regret (terribly!) not taking better care of my health growing up. Take for example my obesity. I have been obese since I was a toddler. I have lost, and gained, and lost and gained over and over again the past forty-something years. Right now I am still considered obese, but I’m not as heavy a I once was (I’ve lost about 40+) pounds.

I had an appointment this past week with a Cardiologist for a check up. I have never been to a Cardiologist before, but my husband felt it was a good idea. At least to get a baseline so that the doctor can keep check on things and make sure my “ticker” (heart) is in great shape for years to come. Unfortunately the appointment had to be rescheduled.

When most people think of their overall health I’m sure they worry about things like their heart, joints and eye sight, to name a few. How many people think about their kidney health? To be honest with you, I don’t ever really think about my kidneys… do YOU?

Did you know…

A staggering 1 in 10 people have kidney disease – an estimated 26 million Americans – and most do not find out until their kidney disease is advanced.

WOW! That is SHOCKING news!

I know my brother-in-law had kidney cancer. He ended up having the effected kidney removed. The surgery was a success (thankfully).

Actor Paul Rodriguez and actress Gloria Garayua are staring in a multi-award winning patient education series called Fixing Paco. It’s sponsored by the Mendez National Institute of Transplantation Foundation (MNITF).

On the FixingPaco.org website, the general public can get information about kidney disease and prevention, becoming an organ donor, and kidney transplantation.  In addition, the Fixing Paco web series provides comprehensive education about being proactive in one’s healthcare as well as valuable information including how to access transplantation, what it takes to maintain a transplant, and how a positive attitude and lots of support can create the power of hope.

There is an extremely high need for organ donors. Currently, there are approximately 120,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S., and of these, approximately 100,000 need a kidney transplant.

I’ve thought about being a bone marrow donor. And it is listed on my driver’s license that I am an organ donor. I know you can survive with one kidney. I would consider being a kidney donor, but being Diabetic I don’t know if that would make me an ideal person to donate a kidney. If someone was in need and the doctor’s said it was OK for me to donate, I would consider it.

Please take a moment to learn more with this brief Public Service Announcement.


You need to learn the FACTS about kidney disease, as well as have your doctor give you a simple test each year to make sure your kidneys are healthy and stay that way.

When it comes to diseases such a kidney disease its best for find out right away when there is a problem so that it can be treated rather than wait to find out when it’s too late.

The tag line for this campaign is “Get the Facts! Get Checked! Get Healthy!” I think that is a wonderful tag line. WE ALL need to learn the facts. WE ALL need to get checked out by our doctors and WE ALL need to do what we can to get healthy and stay healthy. Even if you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones who care about  your health and well being.

To learn what YOU can do NOW visit FixingPaco.org. There you can learn more about the campaign and kidney health as well as learn more about becoming a transplant donor.

You can also learn more about the campaign on the campaign’s official Facebook page.

Have you or someone you know been touched by kidney disease?

Did you or someone you know ever received, or donate, an organ?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.


*I have partnered with MNITF to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Celebrating 50 Teachers & Viral-worthy Videos with zulily!


Happy Teacher’s Appreciation Week to all the teachers out there. Did you thank your favorite teacher this week?

I’ve always appreciated teacher, both the ones I had growing up and my kid’s teachers. It’s not until I became an assistant to a teacher in a Kindergarten program did I realize just how much goes on “behind the scenes.” Coming up with lesson plans, grading tests, projects, parent/teacher conferences… its A LOT of work.

THANK YOU to all those wonderful and amazing teachers out there.

For the first-time, the fabulous online shopping destination, zulily, has created an entire campaign all around supporting and celebrating amazing teachers across the country!

For Teacher’s Appreciation week, zulily is highting the 50 winning teachers of their “Thank a Teacher Contest”. They had a whopping 8,000+ entries in their contest. They even ran six educated-themed events, curated by teachers.

FYI… you and teachers get an additional 15% off if you shop product from these events. Nice!

In addition, zulily created beautiful videos where parents and their kids were asked to “thank a teacher” and share their appreciation.

Check out some of those touching videos (below).



Awww… I love how emotional some of the people in the video got talking about the teacher’s that touched their lives the most.

I also agree with that one teacher in the second video about how teacher’s have many “bosses” including parents and students. I can certainly relate to that.

Did you know the average teacher spends $500 in their classroom. I can believe that. Even I, as an assistant, spends money on our classroom. What’s even more impressive, one in ten teacher’ spend $1,000 or more. WOW! Talk about commitment and dedication.

Winners of zulily’s “Thank a Teacher Contest” were given $500 to use towards their classrooms on zulily.com.

I know that some people think zulily offers consumers boutique style clothing. While that is true, zulily offers consumers so much more. They have plenty of shops for teacher supplies and so much more. They also carry plenty of brand name items as well as small “mom and pop” type products/stores – all up to 70% regular retail prices.

“Educators are a cornerstone of our community and great teachers have encouraged and impacted everyone in meaningful ways, big and small. What makes teachers unique is their passion and dedication to go above and beyond, personally investing time and money to better their students and their environments,” said Darrell Cavens, CEO of zulily. “We wanted to bring visibility to everything that teachers do and spotlight a few stories that are emblematic of all teachers who have moved our customers and employees. A heartfelt thank you, from all of us here at zulily.”

I think it’s wonderful that zulily took the time to highlight and reward dedicated teachers across the country.

Here are a few of the contest winners.

Marina Collier, 2nd Grade, Gilmore Elementary, League City, TX. Marina has gone above and beyond for what she considers her children in her home away from home. I have seen Mrs. Collier literally give a little girl one of the shirts off her own back when she was cold. She goes above and beyond to make each student realize they have potential for all things and while they may alone sometimes in this world they will always have her and her love for years to come. She’s not just a teacher, she is someone people should strive to be more like. – Meagan Molina

Crystal Schroeder, Special Education Work-Based Learning Coordinator for Hiawatha Valley Education District, Winona, MN.Crystal serves students within all disability areas, including Emotional Behavioral Disorders, Specific Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and other such disabilities. In rural Minnesota, she travels to about 13 schools in the district to teach emotionally challenged and autistic students job skills, find them jobs, and works with employers to monitor their job skills and performance. – Cynthia Miller

Lisa Gifford, Language arts, Keller Primary School, Peoria, IL. Lisa has been teaching for Peoria School District 150 in Peoria, IL. for the past seven years.  She mixes art, drama and reading to engage the students because she truly believes all children can learn when given opportunities to experience learning through their strongest ability, talent, and interest.  She gives 110% daily in all she does and especially while teaching.  Teachers everywhere give their all daily with little recognition or appreciation and Lisa is no different; but I feel she does an awesome job due to her ambitious desire to teach every child to their highest ability level. – Eva Balek

If you would love to learn more about the 50 inspiring winners of zulily’s Thank a Teacher Contest and how they have impacted lives everywhere, visit The Find.

Visit zulily.com. You can also check them out on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. For more #zulilyThankATeacher inspiration and news you can also check out their social media accounts.

Did you have a special teacher growing up that you’d love to thank? What about your child/grandchild’s current teacher/teachers?

Are YOU a teacher?

Feel free to share your thoughts and your story in the comment section of this post.


*I have partnered with zulily to bring you this compensation. I’ll be receiving a zulily gift code in exchange for my participation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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PEEPS… they’re just not for Easter baskets anymore


Our son at Easter time many years ago.

I have very fond memories of the Easter holiday from my youth. I miss the excitement of waking up Easter morning and racing my sister to the front door where the Easter Bunny left our baskets. Each year the baskets got better and better.

One year the Easter Bunny brought me a basket made out of solid chocolate – including the handle. The only non-edible thing in that basket was the grass and the packaging for some of the treats that were inside. Sadly, when I was taking it downstairs into the playroom (where I spent most of my time) I slipped and fell down the stairs, making the basket fall on the floor and shatter into a million pieces. I never had the change to enjoy it.

Easter was no Easter without a basket that contained marshmallow PEEPS. They were a staple in every Easter basket. My husband’s Easter was the same way. He never had a basket that didn’t contain PEEPS.

PEEPS have come a long way over the years. They used to come in bunnies and chicks in just a few colors (white, pink, yellow…). Now they are available in a rainbow of colors, a variety of flavors and even ones dipped in chocolate.

PEEPS are no longer just for Easter. PEEPS are available year round for most major holidays (Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Halloween…).

Here are some fun “creations” and recipes I have made over the years using PEEPS.

Adding a PEEP to a mug of hot chocolate is SO GOOD!!!!

Christmas S’mores

Cupcake “toppers” for Halloween

Celebrating the 4th of July with PEEPS!

PEEPS as a fun addition to a floral bouquet.

I used a gel icing tube to write out “Love You” and added a lollipop stick for a marshmallow lollipop.

I made a gift basket with holiday PEEPS using the plastic “sticks” they use in floral shops to hold cards.

Summer time means S’mores time! These were made for the 4th of July.

I think most people still think of PEEPS as an Easter thing. I went so far as to create an Easter basket made out of PEEPS. I think it turned out really good. Everyone who saw it loved it.

It was so easy to make and you can make one quickly and easily too. Why spend money on a pre-made basket from the local drug store when you can create something fun (and edible!) like this.

Pick up large PEEP packages (any flavor/variety). Tape them together (using clear tape) to form a “box” shape (four sides and one on the bottom). Then fill with “grass” (I used edible grass) and other treats.

I found the cutest plastic eggs at the local dollar store that looked like chicks. I filled them with jelly beans.

The plush PEEP bunny can be purchased from the Peep store. There you can find a fun array of PEEP related products including toys, home decor and of course PEEPS you can eat. PEEPS can also be found at many retail locations around the country.

I have a special discount code for the PEEPS store too. Keep reading for the code.

Here is the basket that I made.

A fun thing you can do with the plush PEEPS toys are to use them like you would an “Elf on a Shelf.” Pick up a PEEP bunny or chick and place it in different spots around your home. Tell your child/grandchild that he (or she) is keeping their eye on them, looking for good behavior, so they can report back to the Easter Bunny.

PEEPS are not only for crafts and recipes, they can also be used as an educational and science “tool.”

I am a big fan of Pinterest and I check out the site a few times each day. I came across a lot of super cool ideas that utilize PEEPS. I even found some that are great for STEM activities.

I also found some PEEP activities on the Teachers Pay Teachers website. One in particular looked like it could be fun for the kindergarten class I work with. It involved having the kids take home a PEEP (I was going to put them in snack sized bags to protect them) and taking care of the PEEP all week and documenting things (mostly drawing since the kids can’t really write yet). It reminded me of when my daughter had to take home a fake baby for her home economics class and write a report about it.

Sadly a health issue popped up that prevented me from following through with this activity. In fact, I had planned on doing a whole post about it.

If you are interested in learning more about what I had in mind you can find it here – PEEP Day: It’s a PEEP thing. You can also do a search on the site for more PEEP activities.

PEEPS are so much more than a fun treat.

I am also truly amazed at how far PEEPS have become. They keep coming up with mouth-watering new flavors.

Years ago I would have told you that PEEPS were a “kid” treat. Not anymore! PEEPS are for anyone who loves marshmallows. PEEPS are just as much for adults as they are for children. My husband and I love them I think more than our kids to (LOL). Our kids are 17 and 20 and they still enjoy them as much as they did when they were little.

It’s hard not to love those sweet, colorful, adorable bunnies and chicks.

PEEPS are available in flavors such as Sour Watermelon, Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch and Party Cake. They also available in “dipped” flavors such as Coconut, Orange, Lemon, Blueberry and Chocolate Mousse.

If someone wee to ask me what my favorite PEEP flavor is, it would be hard to pick just one. I like them all, but a few stand out to me the most including Party Cake, Sour Watermelon, and Orange Dipped.

If you are a fan of all things PEEPS then you’ll want to check out the PEEPS online at MarshmallowPEEPS.com. You can also check out their online store for A LOT of fun PEEPS products (pillows, plush, blankets…) and more at PEEPSandCompany.com. There you can also learn about other brands under the PEEPS “umbrella” including Mike & Ike, Hot Tamales and Peanut Chews. On both sites you can find more fun recipes and craft ideas using PEEPS.

You can save 25% off your order on the PEEPSandCompany.com website using the discount code “eastertreats.”

What is YOUR favorite PEEP? What do you like to do with them? Do you eat them, use them in recipes or something else? Feel free to share your thought in the comment section. I always love to hear from readers.


*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 


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Coming to theaters Earth Day 2017 – DisneyNature’s Born in China



Coming to a theater near you on Earth Day, 2017 (April 21, 2017) is a new film from DisneyNature – Born in China.

Born in China is the seventh theatrical release for Disneynature. Other DisneyNature titles include Earth, Oceans, African Cats, Bears, Monkey Kingdom and Chimpanzee. The are among the top seven highest grossing feature-length nature films of all time. That’s pretty amazing. Based on trailer for Born in China, I have a feeling this film will join their ranks too.

Check out the trailer for yourself.


Here is a brief synopsis.

Narrated by John Krasinski (“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi,” NBC’s “The Office,” “Amazon’s “Jack Ryan”), Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure film “Born In China” takes an epic journey into the wilds of China where few people have ever ventured. Following the stories of three animal families, the film transports audiences to some of the most extreme environments on Earth to witness some of the most intimate moments ever captured in a nature film. A doting panda bear mother guides her growing baby as she begins to explore and seek independence. A two-year-old golden monkey who feels displaced by his new baby sister joins up with a group of free-spirited outcasts. And a mother snow leopard—an elusive animal rarely caught on camera—faces the very real drama of raising her two cubs in one of the harshest and most unforgiving environments on the planet. Featuring stunning, never-before-seen imagery, the film navigates China’s vast terrain—from the frigid mountains to the heart of the bamboo forest—on the wings of red-crowned cranes, seamlessly tying the extraordinary tales together.

That baby Panda is SO CUTE!

I have seen all the other DisneyNature films and I have loved them all. I am super excited to see this film.

If you would like to learn more about this film, visit Nature.Disney.com/Born-in-China. You can also follow DisneyNature on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Tumbr and Instagram. You can also check out the hashtag #BorninChina on social media.

What do you think about this film? Are you planning to see it when it comes to a theater near you?

Disneynature "Born in China"


*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of site readers. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Movie Review: Who Gets the Dog?



Now available on Digital Download and DVD is the romantic comedy Who Gets the Dog?

Who Gets the Dog? stars Alicia Silverstone and Ryan Kwanten. It was nice to see Alicia in a new movie. I can’t remember the last movie I saw her in (Blast from the Past I think?).

Olive (Alicia Silverstone) is a top doctor with high hopes of starting a family, but her out-of-work husband, Clay (Ryan Kwanten), is too busy concentrating on his dream to be a big league hockey star. On the brink of divorce, the couple can’t agree on who will take custody of their beloved dog, Wesley. Things go from bad to worse as they battle it out in court. Resorting to cheap tactics and dirty tricks, Olive and Clay pull out all the stops to win back Wesley, with hilariously disastrous consequences.

As silly as it sounds, pets can often get caught up in divorces and break-ups. It’s just as bad as when there are kids involved (pets don’t get the same considerations).

Many years ago, a boyfriend and I adopted a dog together. When we broke up I was dead set on having full custody of our dog (which I got).

I think the story will resonate well with people who love their dogs and/or pet owners.


It’s clear that both parties love their dog Wesley. Throughout the movie I found myself leaning towards one pet parent over the other. Initially I was leaning towards Olive, but as the movie went on I felt like Clay might be better for Wesley.

The movie is a bit predictable. It strikes me as something you would see on the Hallmark Channel – which is fine (I watch a lot of movies on that channel). Even so, it was still very enjoyable to watch.

I think the star of the movie is Wesley, the dog. I love movies that feature animals. I am a big time animal lover and Wesley is a beautiful Retriever. Kudos to Wesley’s fine acting too. LOL!

The film is not rated. I didn’t see anything wrong with it. There is no sex, drugs, nudity or anything like that. I would consider it a family friendly film (PG?). Young viewers might not understand the couple’s separation and why they are fighting for custody of their dog, but they should still enjoy the film simply because it features an adorable dog.

This film is more of a comedy, but there are some dramatic elements too. After all, a couple divorcing is not something that should be taken lightly. Those parts of the film tugged at my heartstrings a bit. Thankfully the adorable Wesley broke up those moments and gave the movie a more light-hearted flair.

Look for Who Gets the Dog? on iTunes or where ever movies are sold.

Below is the film’ trailer for your enjoyment.



*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Head back to school with great deals from Staples


Back to School

It’s that time of year again – back to school!

Many students have already returned back to school. Our daughter heads back to college this week and our son returns to high school (he’s a senior this year!) next week.

Heading back to school can be a source of excitement for some students and parents, and a stressful time for others.

Back to school shopping isn’t like it used to be when I was little. Our shopping lists were much easier back then. These days you need specific colored notebooks or folders, pricey calculators, flash drives and other supplies you wouldn’t expect to find on your back to school shopping list (for example, Ziploc bags).

Thank goodness for Staples. Staples is your “one stop shop” for all your back to school supplies. They carry a large assortment of colors and styles to suit everyone’s needs and tastes too.

Check out what happened Staples CEO, Shira Goodman, recently visited a Staples store in Westborough, Massachusetts. She met with over two dozen mothers, fathers and children regarding the upcoming school year. She gave them an extra special surprise to help them out during the school year.


Here is another video I think you might enjoy.

Staples brought in a group of students to find out what they thought about the back to school supplies available at Staples.

As a parent I fee like your child should have a say in what they want when it comes to back to school items like notebooks, folders and backpacks. After all, they are going to be looking at – and using – these products almost every day for the next 10 months. They should enjoy these things.


What do you think of the videos?

Do you do all your back to school shopping at Staples?

Staples offers convenient ways to shop in more than 1,300 stores, online at Staples.com or through their mobile app. Staples has also expanded their back-to-school selection on staples.com/backtoschool by hundreds of retail-only items to make back-to-school shopping easier than ever to buy online and pick-up in store.

Don’t forget to check them out on social media too.

Staples Logo


*I have partnered with Staples to bring you this information. Although compensated the opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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