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GIFTS UNDER $40 THAT GIVE BACK!

TIS THE SEASON FOR GIVING AND IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR a truly ‘feel good’ gift here are four that will keep on giving locally and globally beyond the holidays thanks to some terrific companies I’m partnering.  Best yet they are all under $40-so it’s a win win for all!

GIVE LOCALLY WITH THE GREAT AMERICAN MILK DRIVE! 

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You probably don’t know this nor did I but milk is one of the most requested but rarely donated items that food banks ask for each year. AND, this year you can give the gift of a gallon by donating to  The Great American Milk Drive in partnership with Feeding America, dairy farmers and milk companies.  It’s the first nationwide program to help deliver nutrient-rich gallons of milk to hungry families including 16 million children whom are food insecure in the US.  Just go to MilkLife.com/give and enter your zip code to insure milk is delivered to a local food ban near you and they’ll match your donation through the end of the month.  It’s a terrific way to also get kids involved too– just have them go on line with you The Great American Milk Drive to donate the glass of milk they would leave for Santa…Gotta love that!

 

PAY IT FORWARD WITH A HEALTHY ‘N SWEET ACT OF KIND…NESS!

KIND Cube

Next, this idea gives real meaning to acts of kindness and paying it forward to those around you. It’s the limited edition KIND Holiday Cube—It’s filled with 20 of KIND’s nuts and spices chocolate flavor bars plus it’s a healthy alternative to all our holiday indulgences since each only contains 5 grams of sugar or less. Better yet inside the cube, you’ll find a #KINDAWESOME card which you simply hand to a person you see doing a kind act like and that person can redeem the card for three FREE KIND bars, The cube is less then $40…so pay it forward and go on line to be Kind @ Kindsnacks.com !

 

IMAGINE THERE’S NO HUNGER: JOIN YOKO ONO LENNON ‘N HARD ROCK INTERNATIONAL TO HELP MAKE JOHN LENNON’S DREAM COME TRUE!

Imagine 2014 Earbuds

Here’s a a mind blowing stat: more than 16,000 children across the globe die each day from hunger-related causes….But for 7 years now Yoko Ono Lennon and Hard Rock International have teamed up for The Imagine There’s No Hunger Campaign. To date, IMAGINE has helped communities grow enough food to provide more than 9.7 million nutritious meals to children globally through donations and merchandise. This year, you can purchase Hard Rock’s Imagine earbuds which are only $10 and 50% of net revenue goes directly to charity partner WhyHunger.  Makes a great stocking stuffer too! Imagine that!  

 

SAVE A PET WITH THE PAW-FECT GIFT FROM PETSMART!

Pet Smart Logo

Lastly, here’s another staggering stat which is a paw-fect gift for the pet-lover: each year Over 8 million pets that end up in shelters are euthanized because they can’t find a home –That’s about 11000 pets a day. Yikes! And, it’s one of the reasons I saved my doggie Bagels a 4 year old Beagle last year.

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But for those who aren’t rescued and for as little as a $25 donation to Petsmart charities you can help save one pet’s life while they wait for a home by covering things like shelter space, food and vet services.   Plus 90 cents of every dollar goes to help these pets. Woof that! And, For the 11th year in a row, PetSmart Charities earned Charity Navigator’s top 4-star rating and remains in the top one percent of all charities ranked. Woof that! So please visit petsmartcharities.org to make a donation online.

Happy almost holidays!!!

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HALLOWEEN TIPS ‘N TREATS TO SATISFY ANY BOY’S OR GHOUL’S SWEET TOOTH

Halloween is a holiday packed with scary goblins, spook-tacular activities and lots of our child’s favorite treats (and ours too!).  And, half the fun of the day is the time spent going door to door seeing how many treats they can collect. The trick as parents is making sure that our children wait until they get home to go through and enjoy their bounty.  Allowing your children to enjoy their candy in moderation is ok and don’t get too concerned with the type of sugar in the candy (sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup) as experts agree i’ve learned from research and partnering with the Corn Refiner’s Association, that it’s all about balance and moderation as sugar is sugar and all sugars are nutritionally the same.

So here are a few tips and treats to help you balance the sweets they eat and satisfy their sweet tooth:

TIPS

  • Don’t send them out hungry
  • Satisfy their ‘sweet tooth’ pre trick or treating
  • Instruct them not to eat ANY items before they arrive home
  • Compromise ‘n remember you were a child once too and Halloween was a day  for eating a few more candies then usual J

TREATS

YUMMY MUMMY Makes 4

What You Need:

  • 1 8 oz. can of refrigerated crescent roll, seamless if available
  • Cookie sheet
  • Aluminum foil to fit sheet
  • 4 slices of American or cheddar cheese
  • Plastic knife
  • 4 Pre-cooked sausages
  • 1 raw egg, scrambled or cooking spray
  • Mustard

How to Make Them:

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Unroll dough on tin foil
  3. Use knife to cut 4 even sized squares
    1. If not seamless dough connect two crescents together to create four mummies
    2. Place cheese slices on dough before cutting ‘wrapping’ strips and cut at same time as ‘dough’.
  4. Place cheese slices on dough before cutting ‘wrapping’ SP from center
  5. Place ‘mummy’ i.e. sausage in center and wrap strip over strip
  6. Brush with egg or cooking spray
  7. Bake per dough package instructions or until brown:  approx. 10-12 minutes
  8. Use mustard to make the eyes and mouth

TRICK OR TEETH:

What You Need:

Pear or Apple cored and sliced in approx. 1/4 inch slices width-wise

How to Make Them:

  1. Cover the ‘jaw’ i.e. fruit slice with a thin layer of ‘gum glue’ i.e. peanut butter or Nutella
  2. Place the ‘teeth’ i.e. mini marshmallows around the edge of the ‘jaw’ (fruit)
  3. Open your mouth wide and enjoy!
  4. Optional:
    1. Make an upper ‘jaw with teeth’ and place on top
    2. Dye one or several of the teeth using food dye

i.     Red for blood

ii.     Black or blue for rotten

 SPOOK-TACULAR SPICED TEA-Makes a Quart

What you need

Gummie worms

Ice cup trays

2 cups water, boiled

2 caffeine free, apple cinnamon spice tea bags

8 ozs. Apple cider

8 ozs. Ginger ale

4 tsp. sugar

How to make it:

Put a gummy worm in each ice cube compartment and cover with water.  Freeze 2-3 hours.

  1. Dunk the tea bags in the hot water (which should be in the measuring cup) until it turns dark.  About three minutes, and, then, throw them out.
  2. When the tea has cooled, pour it into the pitcher.
  3. Add the apple cider, ginger ale, and sugar.  Stir with the wooden spoon.  Pour over ice, and get ready to enjoy a spook-tacularly spiced drink.

BLACK CAT CUPCAKE CONES Makes 12

What you need:

1 box (1l.25 oz) cake mix

12 flat bottom ice cream cones

12 cup muffin pan

1 16 oz can vanilla frosting

Black gel coloring

Decorative icing tubes in assorted colors

Assorted Candies:  red gum drops, twizzlers, Reeses Pieces, Red and Black shoe laces; Candy cones; M & M’s

How to Make Cupcakes:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 325
  2. Prepare batter per box instructions
  3. Fill each cup 3/4 way up with batter
  4. Stand cones straight in muffin pan
  5. Bake 25 mins on center rack…use toothpick to test doneness.. it should come out clean
  6. Cool for 10 min.

How to Make Cat’s Face:

  1. While cupcakes are baking make ‘black paint’ for face with frosting and adding black gel per instructions
  2. Spread on black paint with a plastic knife
  3. Suggestions on making CAT face:
  • Ears:  Candy cones
  • Eyes: White icing to draw slanted football shaped eyes and use colored M & M of choice for pupils
  • Nose:  Red round sugared gum drops
  • Whiskers:  Red shoe lace candy or icing color of choice
  • Mouth: Red icing or red twizzlers torn into 1 “ pieces.

 Goes purr-fect with big glass of milk! 

SPILLIN’ ‘N CHILLIN’ AT BLOGHER12 NYC

Happy almost  first friday in August Happy Hour 🙂 Can’t believe it’s already August though i always feel once the Fourth of July passes the summer flies by…and so does the time before my son leaves for his freshman year! Yikes only TWO WEEKS…a blog or two or three about that is coming to a laptop near you in the days ahead!

But this blog’s about the amazing fun I had hosting a private soiree  for Carpet One Floor and Home where pomegranite martinis, pedicures (with or without your stilletos on!),

Life is good!! Cheers!

a  SPILL ‘N CHILL BAR showed how their Relax it’s LEES carpet is the perfect accidental housewife way to go since all you need to clean almost any stain is with good ole water whether it’s grass, mud, pee pee or red wine.   And though you know i like to use and have had great success with some everyday household items like white vinegar, Arm & Hammer baking soda, vodka (Of course and no not because if i drink some the stain doesn’ t look so bad LOL! it really works but use the cheap stuff 🙂 ), shaving cream and so on some stains just don’t come out…which is why i rearrange my furniture every few months to cover those stubborn ones up!  Kidding aside…i like my other gal pal bloggers were amazed.  

I’ve got more pix and things to share from that in the next day or so ..having some tech probs so apologies, as you’ll see by these fuzzy pix:  One of a very appealing fellow I met there!  And the other of me trying out a new vacuum to replace my good ole broom and fly home on from Samsung 🙂 Come to think of it maybe it’s not my camera but the person whom took it who may have had a few too many ‘tinis at the Spill Bar 🙂  Spread the glove!  http://www.juliestips.com  

Trying out a new ‘travel’ vac-broom 🙂

Goin bananas 🙂

SCUZZA ME THAT ‘S AMORE: MOONSTRUCK IN LEWES, DE

WOW! Where does the time go? I can’t believe it’s May 7th and in two days my baby boy is going to be 18….yikes…pictures to follow!! Today, though i’m finally getting back on the bloggin trail having been quite remiss due to an incredibly busy/whirlwindy kind of month…So let’s see, where doth this accidental one’s month retrospective start….

In Lewes, Deleware where on a unusually warm April Day my loving matey and I set sail on the Cape May/Lewes ferry with bubbly in hand to help calm the somewhat choppy Delaware Bay seas Arrrrrr 😉 We were on our way there for a few reasons:  1) we love Lewes.  2) we love Lewes 3) we love Lewes 🙂  It’s a quaint town that unless you take the ferry from Cape May might never stumble upon as it seems to be the forgotten sister to better known ReHoboth Beach, DE.  Lewe’s main street, Second Street,  is about 1/2 mile long but on it you’ll find just about everything one needs/wants…A great Mexican restaurant -Agave, a continental one- The Buttery; a fab jewelry store: Chatelaine’s and Doug and my fave place TOUCH OF ITALY http://www.touchofitaly.com/ which is owned by Joe and Bob the Builder (not to be confused with Bob of Nickolodeon fame!).  It’s a spot where we have spent much wine (and no that is NOT a typo!) and time.

We discovered it a couple of months ago as we were walking along Second Street and spotted what looked like those good ole fashion Italian delis you saw in The Sopranos, Moonstruck (one of my top ten movie faves)

or imagine in Italy.

So we went inside and if our eyes could eat we would have devoured everything in sight …Italian cheeses hanging from the ceiling, fresh mozz in the case, an array of heart don’t fail me after eating those fatty, yummy italian meats and sausages, marinated artichoke hearts on stems, seafood salad complete with squid that had their tentacles in tact (love them!), authentic Italian desserts and on and on..

Mama Mia…That’s Amore! Yum!!!

But our delight and surprise didn’t stop there when out of the corner of my eye I saw folks sitting at tables eating these incredible italian sandwiches and brick oven pizzas that i would soon forget watching my girlish figure for! And, it got even better:  set in the far back corner of this cozy epicurean oasis I saw a bar… now that’s amore!

Doug and I immediately planted ourselves on two stools and per Henry’s suggestion (Henry runs the place and I am thinking of kidnapping him to take care of us) we ordered what he considered to be the best white wine in the world; a true antipast,  meatballs, then a bottle of red wine and 3 hours, 3 pounds, one major buzz and one pair of early anniversary diamond and sapphire earrings later  from my amore D we exito-d.  Now you know why we love, love, love Lewes. Spread the glove!

FROM NYC TO NO PLACE TO GO BUT MARS ‘N BETTER TV

Been a ‘better’ few days…so to speak…this week.  For one, i ppeared on BETTER TV with my bud and it’s co-host Audra Lowe.  

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I always love ‘spreading my glove’ of housewifely wit ‘n wisdom  because of the folks on and off camera and particularly  Audra.  She and I bonded a few years back when she was having her first child and who is THE MOST adorable baby girl.  Audra is one of the real peeps in this world, she is incredibly genuine, always has a welcoming smile and put’s being a human being before anything else.  And, though we see each other half a dozen times a year, when we do it’s like seeing an old friend you’ve grown up with and  seems like no time has passed when we reconnect.  

The other ‘better’ part of the week was that my buds at MamaDramaNY once again invited me to see a quirky yet incredibly timely one man show called “NO PLACE TO GO” at the Public Theatre in NYC…It’s a clever and irreverant musical journey starring Ethan Lipton who is also the show’s creator, writer and chief bottle washer (kidding).  The show’s premise is that Ethan’s company is relocating from New York to Mars…yes Mars and Ethan really doesn’t want to go…can you blame him? But what I enjoyed most about it aside from the scruffy Woody Allen meets Dylan with a better voice Ethan and the amazing base, guitar and sax trio behind him, (forgive I know this is a run on sentence and my college English professor would kill me!) was how he balanced the woes of the economy, politics and personal angst in an entertaining and uplifting way with lines like “Anxiety is just excitement in disguise” to lyrics/songs like “Three Tear Plan” which literally is about his plan to ‘cry, weep, then go to sleep”….

to LOL songs like “Shit Storm Coming”.  

Both funny and philosophical, No Where to Go was tons ‘better’ and far more original then many shows I’ve seen on THE GREAT WHITE WAY so please make your way to this limited run production and support Public Theatre in NY at Joe’s Pub if you’re in town…Food and drinks were terrif there too! Spread the glove! 



I LOVE LUCY, ELLEN DEGENERES, ‘N JCP’S NEW ADS!

I am a huge fan of Ellen Degeneres and have been since her days right before, during and after her ‘coming out of her closet” TV show “ELLEN’ ran from 1994-1998.   She’s funny, bold, smart, sexy in her Ellen D kinda way and I love the joy she gets out of doing her second fave thing ‘dancing’!  

Unfortunately, as a working mom i don’t get to tune in to her current afternoon talk show unless my son or I am home sick, but I did catch her new spots for JC Penney which are a hoot!  They’re really clever and not your same ole retail store ads. For those who haven’t seen them they take Ellen back in time to Ancient Rome to return a toga, to Edwardian London to buy a hat a la My Fair Lady and my personal favorite is when she finds herself in a Lucille Ball like 50’s bedroom setting talking about having to get to store sale at 6 am.  

As much as I’m a huge Ellen fan, I am a huge Lucille Ball fan.  I love how she was always trying to find ways to improve her life while trying to balance home, family, marriage, friendships and a career …sound familiar!!   Thought clearly much funnier then I, I have often been compared to her particularly by my X for my ‘off the wall’ housewifely antics. . . hmm and which in retrospect might have been one of the nicest compliments I got from him 🙂  That said, my accidental housewifely antics and the pink with black ‘n white polka dot gloves I wear in particular are my way of paying homage to her. Any way, seeing Ellen’s spot reminded me of an I Love Lucy excerpt from my book “The Ultimate Accidental Housewife: Your Guide to a Clean Enough House” which I thought i’d share with you as we begin to think about spring cleaning or have a sloppy man or child (who doesn’t!) in your home:

In one episode called “Men are Messy”, Lucy decides to teach Ricky a lesson since she’s tired of him constantly messing up their living room.  

She starts by divindng their apratment into his messy half and her neater half. Then, she takes it a step further by turning their home inta a real pigsty.  What she doesn’t know is that Ricky was bringing home a photographer from LOOK magazine to do a feature about their home and them! Ricky and the photographer enter their home to discover clotheslines hanging in the living room, chickens flying around and garbage everywhere.  And, to top it off, Lucy and her best bud Ethel are dressed in flannel shirts and overalls preparing to  ‘hunt’ for a black bear in Lucy’s bedroom. The photographer took pictures of all this and the good news was, Lucy made it on LOOK’s cover.  The bad news was it showed a shot of Lucy with her bear!   I guess the moral of this story is ” Men are messy so you to bear with them”…LOL! 

By the way I think the next time travel spot JC Penney should have Ellen spoof  is the Doris Day classic “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” …

That’s fair and square” don’t you think??

Spread the glove!

GETTING INTO THE GROOVE WITH SPRING ALIVE AND ABBOTT ‘N COSTELLO

Last eve my best bud Marla, Franky, Doug and  I ventured into NYC to see an Off Off Off B’way musical called Spring Alive starring Spring Groove (I know quite a name!) which I learned about and saw thanks to Mamma Drama NY’s co-owners Erin Leigh Peck and Holly Fink.  

The show is a one act, one person terrific musical  of one Jewish woman’s journey/evolution from a typical NY gal to a rasta haired Yogi ….Or as the booklet described, its the ‘sing, pray, love’ version of  the wonderful book, “Eat, Pray, Love“.  Marla loved it and could relate totally as she’s a certified Yoga instructor.  I on the other hand am not a Yoga person and though I have dabbled in it my idea of doing The Sun Breath or Crouching Dog Position(forgive me if I’ve got the name of that pose wrong) is to crouch on my couch breathing in the bouquet of a fine wine..But i love theatre and particularly entertainment that elevates and inspires which is exactly what Spring did…along with an ensemble of dancers who brought another level of calm, grace and energy to the production.

o

Spring de joie...love those pants want a pair

But part of the fun of the eve was simply trying to find the theatre after eating at a hip enough restaurant called “Inoteca” located on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Not only was the food and wine terrific but Marla and I agreed that the lighting was perfect too:  as in low enough to make one look good no matter how tired or over 30 you are!

Anyway,  pleasantly stuffed and with a slight buzz on ’twas time to find the theatre…As you may be aware NYC is filled with theaters all over the place and peeps trying to make it here cause as  Liza Minnelli has sung time ‘n time again if “You make it here, you’ll make it anywhere.  It’s up to you .New York. New York”. And, while most of us are familiar with Broadway shows and some off broadway hits like “The Fantastics“, there are lots of hopeful gems like Spring Alive which are Off Off Off Broadway.  And, for we New Jerseyians who were off, off, off our beaten path, we couldn’t find  the theatre since it had a dual address: Dawson Place and 179 A Christie Street. So as time tick ticked and we walked up and down the street again and again, each of us taking turns asking ‘where’s dawson”, “who said it was on Christie” , I felt like we were somehow living a version of Abbott & Costello‘s famous baseball routine “who’s on first?”

Now, past 8:00 and curtain time, we decided  to call for help. Marla buzzed her son  Zach whom lives nearby and is, I might add, the coolest twenty something year ole, successful hard-working hipster living the NYC dream that I know and have known since he was five. Well, within seconds,  Zach quickly pointed us in the right direction which was  right across the street from where we were standing!!!

But we weren’t home free yet since being late we were directed to the back stage entrance.  As we went down the stairs, I began to get that ‘something’s not right here’ feeling, and did my own version of crouching dog laughing when I saw that the next door said “Stage Members Only”.   At this point, my wine buzz now a distant memory, we decided to throw caution to the wind and hope the door didn’t lead us to Spring on stage and our Off Off Off Broadway debut.  Well, the good news is it didn’t.  Nope it led us onto the balcony and we took our seats without disturbing anyone.  Within seconds we settled into the calm and got into the Groove with Spring. And, the rest as they say is Namasta…Spread the glove!