Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Celebrity Apprentice

Every year I watch Celebrity Apprentice and this season was no exception.  I haven't had a lot of time to blog on it, but I wanted to comment on the finale.  This year it was nice to have two finalists who both seemed like great folks and had wonderful charities that they were supporting. 

As it came down to the wire, I was pulling for team Clay Aiken and his charity National Inclusion Project. It you aren't familiar with it, which I wasn't, it is a charity he started almost a decade ago after his experience with working with special needs children.  The charity works to help kids get to participate in programs in their community.  "Our mission: The National Inclusion Project serves to bridge the gap that exists between young people with disabilities and the world around them. We partner with communities and inclusive programs creating awareness about the possibilities that inclusion can bring."

I love the work this charity is doing. I have mentioned before on the blog that my oldest son was a 25 week preemie.  He has some issues as a result of his premature birth, and I have felt left out as a parent that he isn't always able to participate in the same activities as his peers.   So far he has been too young to realize this, but I know with him going to school next year, I am staring down the barrel at him becoming more aware of this.  And as a parent it hurts your heart. So the idea that there is a charity out there who can help make your child feel included and in a way that isn't awkward, or separated is a wonderful thing.

Of course back to the Celebrity Apprentice, Arsenio Hall's charity, The Magic Johnson Foundation has a great cause as well.  And I have to say he is such an interesting, likable character, I'm sure a lot of good will come to his charity as a result of his winning the Celebrity Apprentice title.

So those are my thoughts on the recent Celebrity Apprentice. How about you, have you been watching the show?  Which of the finalists did you want to win?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Love the moment in Virginia Beach!

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, things have been a bit stressful around my house so naturally as I'm having a "Calgon take me away" moment, my mind turns to thinking about vacations past and future. 

So today I wanted to share with you some information about a great destination to consider for your next trip, whether it be a quick weekend get away, or a week long trip with your family or friends.  Virginia Beach is a wonderful travel destination to consider.  I've teamed up with SocialMoms and the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau to share my experience with vacationing in Virginia Beach.

I have to say I'm proud to live in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Living here we have access to so many historical and cultural attractions. It is so nice to have so many wonderful places to visit.  Virginia Beach is one you should definitely consider, especially if you are a beach lover. 

The last time I visited Virginia Beach, my husband and I went for a weekend get away.  It was so nice to get some rest and relaxation.  At the time we went, the North American Sandscuplting Championship was taking place.  As someone who likes to build sandcastles, I can tell you that this was an incredible site to behold.  Teams enter this competition and the sculptures they make out of sound are nothing less than pure genius.  I was amazed at the level of detail they were able to achieve out of sand.  And some of the tools they used were pretty incredible as well.  If given the opportunity, I would highly recommend checking out that event.  Of course that is just one of many activities and events going on in Virginia Beach.

During the summer, there are a myriad of things that you can do when you go on a trip to Virginia Beach.  One thing I found on the website is that you can take a culinary tour of Virginia Beach with Coastal Food Tours.  As an avid watcher of Top Chef and the Food Network, this sounded like a fun thing to do and right up my alley.  I can just imagine a girls weekend getaway eating my way through Virginia Beach.

Or, if your trip is going to be family based and your little one is into cooking, the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau website has information on getting your little one to attend a Young Chefs Academy where kids three and up can taste and create recipes.  What a great experience for them. Can you imagine the cute photo op for your trip scrapbook of your little chef making a new recipe?

A great way for the whole family to experience fun and learning together would be to visit the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center.  Can you imagine the awe and wonder you'll experience as you learn about all those things you've been swimming with during your time at the beach?  And if your husband is like mine and swims out, it might make him think twice before he swims out too far. LOL

So, have you ever been to Virginia Beach and if so, what do you like to do when you visit and where do you like to eat? 

Be sure to "Like" the Virginia Beach Facebook page so you can be in the loop on all the great things going on at the Beach. 

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Virginia Beach blogging program. For more information on how you can participate click here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Strawberry Pie

Oh blogging, how I've missed you.  We've had a lot of stressful doctors appointments recently, so things have been a bit chaotic.  For those new to my blog, my five year old son was a 25 week preemie at birth. So as you can imagine, there are lots of things we deal with as a result of his prematurity.  I could write a book.  And may one day.  But in between all of that stuff, we had a chance to go and pick strawberries at the strawberry patch over the weekend. 

In years past, I've posted about making freezer jam with the strawberries we've picked at the patch.  This year I made a batch as well, but my favorite thing I made this year were 4 strawberry pies.  Two we ate, one we gave away, and one went to Bunco with me. 

I love having strawberry pie at this time of the year. Recently I shared a recipe and a story about my childhood neighbor and friend, Ann.  Well, when I was growing up my neighbor Ann would always make this pie for my mom's birthday.  We had a neighbor who live beside Ann who had a large garden.  He would always plant strawberries and plant them at the end of the garden closest to our house and Ann's house.  So we all could go and pick strawberries whenever we wanted.  It is one of my fondest childhood memories. 

So here is Ann's Strawberry Pie Recipe

Ann's Strawberry Pie


1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 tbsp cornstarch

Cook until it thickens and changes from white to translucent.  Remove from heat. Add a few drops of red food coloring (I omit this and it is fine).  Add 4 tbsp of strawberry jello.  Stir well.

Pour over strawberries in baked pie shell.

Chill in refrigerator before serving.

If you are wanting to make this recipe and use store bought, a pint of strawberries will easily fill one deep dish pie shell.  That is what I used. And I don't recommend over filling because when you pour the liquid in, it will overflow. I'd recommend having your baked pie shell on a small sheet pan in your refrigerator. 

Have you had strawberry pie before?  Do you like it?

Hope you are having a great day in your neck of the woods!