My #CookedPerfectParty Party Kit Arrived! Planning Continues…

Disclaimer: I received the party pack, including coupons for (3) free packages of Cooked Perfect Fire Grilled Wings, and the items shown in the picture below (koozies, bottle openers, temporary tattoos…).  I received no monetary compensation, and all opinions are my own.

I was fortunate to be selected to host a #CookedPerfectParty through HouseParty and received my party package today! The package is sponsored by Cooked Perfect and features their Cooked Perfect Fire Grilled Wings.

#CookedPerfectParty pack that I received free from HouseParty & Cooked Perfect

Prior to applying for the #CookedPerfectParty, I had no idea that Cooked Perfect had chicken products ~ I’d purchased their frozen meatballs many times in the past, but the chicken offerings were new to me.

When I was notified that I was selected to host a party, I set off to Wegman’s to scope out the product beforehand ~ Wegman’s has a great selection of the wings as well as thighs and chunks.  I picked up a couple to try ~ you know, in the name of quality assurance prior to the party 😉 .

The Cooked Perfect Fire Grilled Wings are available in a nice variety of flavors, from Bourbon BBQ to Zesty Herbs and Spice. The Wildflower Honey BBQ sounds especially appealing!

If you’re interested in checking them out, swing by Wegman’s, or the Cooked Perfect website.

Be sure to check back for my updates as party day approaches ~ I’m going to be testing the wings out in the new Power Air Prfyer XL that my older son recently bought.  I’m eager to do a side by side comparison between oven baked and air fried 🙂  I’ll also be working on party favors and decorating ~ lots to do for the party!

*NEW* 1-2-3 Trade with Me ~ Pin Trading at Sesame Place

My older son has been collecting and trading collector’s pins at Walt Disney World since he was a little boy.  He’s amassed quite a nice collection, displayed in portfolios and on lanyards now as an adult.  It’s a treat when we visit Disney and see the new pins available, and we thought of it as pretty much our “Disney” thing.

That is, until now.

I’ve learned that this year, Sesame Place is introducing their own pin trading program, 123 Trade with Me.  With my 3 year old being a Sesame Place super-fan, I am excited that he will carry on the pin trading love, much closer to home 🙂  With Sesame Place being nearby, I have a feeling my younger son will be enjoying the pin trading fun a lot!


Pins and lanyards will be available for purchase within the park at Mr. Hooper’s Emporium ~ lanyards are priced at $9.99 each, and pins ranging in price from $8.99 to $10.99.  Currently, there are 32 unique pins to purchase/trade/collect, with more to come in the future.

As with Disney, Sesame Place appears to be releasing core pins, as well as “limited edition” and “Season Pass Member” pins.  “Special Edition” pins will be sold for a shorter period of time. [I’m eager to see which pins will fall in to this category – my thought is perhaps some relating to holidays and peak events, such as Elmo’s A Very Furry Christmas.]  Once pins have run their course, they will be “retired” and then only available through trading (or I suppose eBay 😉 ).

Of course, there are some basic rules that have been cited for pin trading.  Most importantly, make sure your pins have the Sesame Place logo and the trademark  TM/© Sesame on the back of the pin.  [There have been a fair amount of ‘fake’ Disney pins circulating on eBay and elsewhere, so I suppose there may be knock-offs of Sesame Place pins at some point – be mindful that a ‘good deal’ you encounter online may not be that terrific if you cannot trade them after all.]  Once you have your pins, find a Sesame Place Team Member who is wearing a trading pin lanyard, and ask if you may see their pins.  If there’s one you’d like, ask for a trade.  You may trade up to 3 pins per Team Member per day.

The new 123 Trade with Me pin trading program is definitely a highlight of the season this year for my family, and I look forward to both seeing the pins available and my younger son’s carrying on the pin-trading

Opening Day at Sesame Place this year is April 29th — so get ready — for the usual Sesame Place fun, plus some pin collecting and trading 🙂


Disclaimer:  All views herein are my own. I’ve not received any compensation nor free/discounted items for presenting my viewpoints.  I was not asked to represent Sesame Place in any manner – I’ve presented the information and opinions solely out of my enthusiasm for Sesame Place and their new trading program 🙂

The Father Effect

Have you ever had an issue plague your heart and mind for a long period of time, struggling with the doubt, never being able to fully move beyond a point in healing, and feeling as this is just the way things will always be?  I’ve experienced this for nearly all of my years of life.  I reached a point where I just accepted it, and lugged it around as if it were a part of me: an unwanted part, a part that didn’t fit, didn’t belong – much like a third arm that served no purpose, wasn’t useful in any manner, and just hanging there, a lifeless impediment.

I thought this was just the norm ~ and then, in an instant that all changed with a simple stumbling across a television program (of all things).

A mindless moment quickly turned in to a deep and revolutionary experience.  It sounds so dramatic; I suppose because it truly was.  I sat hinged on each scene, relating to so much of it. The Father Effect movie addressed so many of the emotions that I had deeply felt for decades.

photo credit:

It did much more than that though.  It presented the “other side.”  I had always seen the situation through my eyes, from my perspective.  This movie presented the larger scope, and I sat genuinely in awe of the reality that there was far more to the issue than I had previously understood.

By the end of the movie, I can honestly say my perspective had changed.  It had morphed from one of resentment, loss, and mourning to one of forgiveness, acceptance, and healing.

I’d heard people mention in the past about how one day an issue melted away, freeing one after years of being weighed down by it.  I never understood (or quite honestly even truly believed) the testimonies.  That afternoon though, I did understand, and genuinely believed.  That weight, that extra lifeless impediment that was always present, was no longer there.

My feelings of utter worthlessness and not belonging anywhere were put in to perspective.  Their source wasn’t grounded in truth about my worth or ability to be loved. Rather, the source was grounded in someone else’s pain.  My father’s tossing me aside, his most recent wife’s not even giving me the courtesy of knowing he had passed away (I learned about that through Google), and the hurtful words uttered by others were not reflections of me. Rather, they were reflections of pained individuals seeking to assuage their own feelings with little to no regard for how it was impacting anyone else, including me.

The truths shared in this movie, and the way in which they were presented, are so very powerful, and healing.  I am thankful for the men and women who participated in the movie, and for the gentleman who created the project.  They, in their sharing, have aided in my healing and growth ~ for that I am sincerely grateful.

It’s with this renewed sense of self, and fresh understanding, that I can say without hesitation or lack of honesty, that regardless of what happened in the past, I love my father ~ and I choose to believe that in his own way, he loved me too.

photo credit:


   May your memory be a blessing, (A)(B). 


Watchitude – a terrific gift or stocking stuffer!

Watchitude is a fun, trendy slap-on watch that would make a great holiday gift, birthday present, or stocking stuffer. 

I was recently given the opportunity to receive a watch from Watchitude, and am eager to share my thoughts.  All opinions presented are my own, based on my experience with the product, and the experiences of my younger son and 8 year old nephew.

The first thing that I noticed about the Watchitude that we received is the quality: it far exceeded my expectations. 

My initial impression was positive when it arrived in a very sturdy, textured decorative gift box, with clear, dense molded plastic protecting the watch. 

The Watchitude slap-watch has a thick, sturdy band, in a comfortable, water-resistant material (it stands up to splashing, rain, and sweat).  The printing is high definition with a durable gloss finish. 


Photo Credit:

The band self-adjusts to the wrist when tapped to the skin – no buckles to fumble with while putting it on or taking it off.  A gentle tap is all that is needed to put the watch on.  My younger son was able to wear the same watch as my 8 year old nephew with no adjustment needed on our part.  There’s no guessing as to whether a watch band will fit a particular child, and no fiddling with the watch to get the right fit – that is accomplished with a simple tap to the wrist.

A main factor for my being so happy with the ease of putting the watch on and taking it off is that my nephew has a physical limitation that prevents him from being able to wear a traditional watch.  He was elated when he was not only able to put the watch on by himself  (a real watch, just like his peers would wear; and not something that had to be adapted for his physical limitations) but to also be able to comfortably wear it.  He wouldn’t have been able to do that with a traditional watch – this slap-on watch from Watchitude allows him to wear a real, quality watch, and that is something very special for him to be able to do.

Though it’s geared toward children ages 4-12, this is a real, functioning analog watch.  The watch has a sturdy zinc alloy case with glass crystal and quartz movement.  The case is protected by a clear housing that easily slides on to the watch band.  The housing is easily removable for setting the time, or cleaning.  The case also slides on to the watch band easily, and stays in place once paired with the band.

There are a large variety of designs available, including sports themes, animals, building blocks, and even cupcakes!  

watchitude-planets     watchitude-dolphins

                          Photo Credit:

If there’s a design that you’d love to see but isn’t currently in their product line you can present your idea through the site’s Design Studio.  When you’ve completed your design, it advances to the voting stage. You’ll receive a link to the design to share with friends and family so they can cast their vote.  Watch designs that receive the most votes will be produced.  If one of those new designs is yours – you will receive a free watch in that design, and will also have your name (with designer credit) on the back of each box sold in that design. 

The price point is very reasonable at $21.99 on Watchitude is also available at variety of local retailers (you can find a store in your area by visiting their website,   

Watchitude, with it’s self-adjusting band in fun themes, would make a great gift for the children on your shopping list.  

watchitude-cats watchitude-bandana               watchitude-pink-camowatchitude-stripe

Photo Credit:

Disclaimer: While I received a sample of the Watchitude at no charge, I was not compensated for this review or post.  All opinions presented are my own, based on my experience with the product, and the experiences of my younger son and 8 year old nephew.

Adventures in Potty Training

My younger son is at that age of transitioning from diapers to potty training.  It’s been quite awhile since we’ve been down the potty training road since there is an 18 year age gap between our sons, and I forgot just how long of a transition this can be.

I’ve re-familiarized myself with assorted books and articles, perused blogs addressing the topic, and spoke with his pediatrician.  What I gleaned from all of that was — he will be potty trained when he’s good and ready 🙂

We began over the Summer, thinking that warmer weather would mean donning fewer clothing items to shed when the potty was calling.  We planned for a successful transition: potty timer; videos; rewards; potty themed books featuring Elmo, Daniel Tiger, Caillou, Thomas the Tank Engine, and Thomas the Tank Engine Easy-Ups.



The Pampers Easy-Ups were appealing as he adores all things Thomas the Tank Engine, and the newer material has great stretch and better forming fit than the previous design.  The books, featuring his favorite characters, were terrific with holding his interest and reinforcing the goal of using the potty.

It was going well for quite awhile – then, after two and a half weeks of doing well, having absolutely zero accidents – and only wearing an Easy-Up for naps and overnight, he decided he was done with the whole potty experience.

Soon, we were back at the starting line.  I remind myself of his pediatrician assuring me that children will work within their own time frame, and his earlier medical issues did indeed play a role in a bit of a delay – so relax and allow him to move at his pace.

Since we were starting again, we began to rethink using disposable training pants so frequently.  While the toss-away training pants have been handy, especially for travel, I wanted something more friendly to both his sensitive skin as well as the environment.  When my older son was little, there were a lot of options for cloth training pants – not so when I headed to the baby store for my younger son.

I took my search online, during which I found the classic Gerber training pants, some popular character varieties, as well as a brand I had never heard of before, Dimore.  Feeling adventurous I opted to try a sampling of each.  I ordered the Thomas and Friends, Disney assortment, Mickey Mouse, plain Gerber, and the Dimore (with cars, trucks, and dinosaurs).


    Image: Dimore training pants

My initial observations were of the fit and quality of the fabric and padding. Both the character pants and the Gerber were much, much thinner than the Dimore, which led to accidents producing larger messes to clean up. The fun characters faded quite quickly after being washed/dried as frequently as needed during the potty training process.  The thin padding in both of these varieties also bunched after awhile, and there was noticeable shrinking after multiple washes in hot water.

The Dimore training pants have held up the best with multiple washings: the colors remained vibrant, the padding stayed in place with no bunching, and the size remained true (no shrinking as with the others).

Of them all, I have to say I am most pleased with the Dimore.  They’re absorbent, but not too much so that he doesn’t realize he’s had an accident.  They’re soft, and though they do have the thicker padding, they fit well under jeans, dress pants, and sweatpants.

The price point of all of the cloth training pants that I tried were about the same, with the overall value (in my estimation) being in favor of the Dimore training pants.

While I’m hoping that by Christmas we’ll have more progress with potty training, I do feel that the Dimore training pants will see us through to whichever point in time he finally masters potty training 🙂


Disclaimer:  I’ve not been compensated in any manner for the post, and the opinions herein are my own based on my personal experiences with the products mentioned.  I’ve paid full price for all of the items cited.