Momma Told Me

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Welcome-A-Cure With The Pink Ribbon Welcome Mat Project + Giveaway

Momma Told Me: Cancer sucks.

In general, I have very strong, negative, feelings about the commercialization of cancer causes in general. Few forms of cancer seem to be as exploited as Breast Cancer, a disease which took nearly 40,000 lives last year, alone. As the daughter of a Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor, some of my very first memories are of my mother and the transition she underwent from diagnosis to recovery. At the time the number of cases which had reached her progression, and went on to survival were counted on a hand. I did not live through her ordeal, I was but a bystander who stood witness. I have since used these images as motivation and inspiration daily in every moment since.
Cancer, as a whole, is a vicious, un-yielding, faceless enemy. It does not have the form of bone marrow, breasts, the prostate, or a rainbow of ribbons. It is darkness, uncaring of your age, your race, or how many people do or do not love you dearly. It does not care how rich you are, how healthy a lifestyle you have lived, how old your children are, or what you have yet to accomplish, it will attempt to steal all of that without a second thought. Yes, I have been touched by cancer; I have felt it's impact all around me, as so many of us have; but I do not buy into ribbons and months. Do you take the time to realize how much of what you spend on trinkets and baubles with ribbons actually goes to the cause, or even finding a cure?
Is shaving your head in solidarity of a friend a show of support, or a reminder of their own struggles and loss? Perhaps you should ask them first. When you get that trendy ribbon tattoo on your ankle stop to think whose story you will be telling when strangers ask about your struggle. And when you post your bra colors, or go topless for 'Breast Cancer Awareness,' are you doing it to get attention, or to flaunt the one thing so many women who have survived have lost? Cancer is an enemy, but are so many of our soldiers lost in the sparkle of the war?
Every year I am approached by countless companies and asked if I will write about their Pink Ribbon product. I typically delete them all. Any research into the fine print usually reveals a less than 1% return of proceeds to any actual cause. Further frustrating, the fundraising efforts 'from products sold' ends at the end of October. Does cancer have an off season? It most certainly dos not. If you've been touched by a particular form of cancer, please, do support it's cause through education and awareness. No one form of cancer is identical, and each deserves a cure. But, remember, when you're reaching for those ribbon clad accessories, to double check where your 'support' is going.
This year, I decided I would support the cause of Welcome-A-Cure mats, but Carpet One, for their 10 years of dedication to breast cancer research and fundraising. They were taking donations before it was cool, before every product on the shelf in October had a darn pink ribbon. A generous 25% of the proceeds from each of this year's 12 mat design's sales will go directly into research for the fight against Breast Cancer, and they won't stop until every mat is sold. You can find yours as a perfect reminder, or gift, online at the Carpet One website or in their nationwide stores, today. If you prefer to support the fight against cancer in a direct manner, you can donate directly to the Susan G Komen foundation or Cancer Sucks-Cookie For Kids Cancer.

What Daughter Says: Whether there's a ribbon attached or not, we all need to support every form of cancer awareness and research, every month of the year.






One Momma Told Me reader will win a Welcome-A-Cure Mat, from Carpet One of their choice OR equal value donation to their cancer cause of choice.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Poisoned Pepper Candy Apples + Heads Up 7Up Punch Recipes #DrinkTEN

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias
Momma Told Me: Just try it, you might be surprised!

Growing up, Momma was a wizard in the kitchen. She excelled at taking ordinary, boring, ingredients and transforming them into fun and exciting new dishes. What I especially loved was the way she'd play with well known and loved flavors and treats to make something illogical in presentation and taste. Every year my friends and I would request her famous April Fool's 'Hamburgers,' made with a brownie 'patty,' sweet brioche 'bun,' frosting 'ketchup and mustard,' and shredded coconut 'lettuce.' It never got old eating dessert for lunch in April 1st, and it's a tradition I try to take into my kitchen to this day. And this Halloween, when I'm serving up delicious TEN varieties, like Dr Pepper TEN and Canada Dry TEN, I'll feel especially tricky myself knowing that I'm serving them all of their favorite soda flavor, with just 10 calories per serving.
All the BOLD flavor, no words needed....#drinkTEN #shop
Speaking of flavor, Dr Pepper is no stranger- with it's blend of 23 distinct flavors (some of them quite unexpected themselves) it's an International favorite with a cult following. I should know, Jay and his buddy are constant hunting down Dr Pepper flavored products and recipes to post on Instagram. And if you didn't think he was 'Super Fan' enough, check out the finish shot from our recent trip to the 2014 Ventura Color Run! Does the can look a little 'different' to you? That's because the Dr Pepper TEN variety is one of 4 TEN varieties taking popular soda brand flavors and twisting them upside down with just TEN calories per serving. All the flavor, not guilt!
Sparkling Dr Pepper TEN JELL-O Worms Made with sugar-free JELL-O, Dr Pepper TEN, Gelatin, and Heavy Whipping Cream. #DrinkTEN #shop
Sparkling Dr Pepper TEN JELL-O Worms Made with sugar-free JELL-O, Dr Pepper TEN, Gelatin, and Heavy Whipping Cream. #DrinkTEN #shop
As you can see, we don't need an excuse to #drinkTEN sodas, but I was a bit inspired by Momma to bring home some of my own unique flavor and fun to our upcoming Halloween bash. While at our local Kroger, stocking up on 7UP TEN, A&W TEN, and Dr Pepper TEN, for our guests, I also grabbed a few harmless apples and some gelatin for a 'mad scientist' kitchen creation, or two, of my own. My first order of business? Combining sugar free-JELLO, a packet of gelatin, heavy whipping cream, and Dr Pepper TEN to mold some frightfully delicious Cherry Dr Pepper gelatin worms for our punch.
Homemade caramel- sugar melting. #DrinkTEN #shop
Having dabbled with, and enjoyed great success, on the topic of cooking with soda, I became determined to find a suitable recipe to craft a homemade caramel dip for our candy apples. Dr Pepper s known for it's bold sweet and tangy flavors and often lends itself to caramel notes. Baking with a TEN soda was bound to be a little tricky in texture, but I was fairly surprised with our success. You'll find the complete recipe, down below; but I'll give you the basic rundown of the process. One begins by bringing sugar to a melt in a heavy saucepan, over medium heat. Once the sugar begins to turn clear around the edges a constant stir is required to keep the sugar from melting.
Dr Pepper TEN Caramel Syrup for dipping candied apples. #DrinkTEN #shop
When the sugar has dissolved into an even, light brown, consistency, begin adding the cream a little at a time. The mixture will bubble up a bit so it is important that you stir between pours until all of the cream is introduced and the mixture is even. At this time you will add some of your Dr Pepper TEN- just a little goes a long way to add flavor and tint to your caramel base. You may add red food coloring if you desire a color a little richer. Lastly, add honey and salt, stirring over medium-high heat until your caramel has reached the soft ball stage (about 225F.) Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Caramel will thicken as it cools.
Dr Pepper TEN Caramel Syrup #DrinkTEN #shop
Dipping your apples with a homemade caramel can prove tricky. If you wait too long the caramel can get thick and tough to work with- thankfully, the Dr Pepper TEN variety helps keep this caramel on the fluid side. I chilled my apples in the freezer while I prepared my caramel to help the dip set faster. When dipping your apples use a gentle twisting motion, with the apple at an angle, to help coat the entire apple from top to bottom. Store dipped apples on wax or parchment paper. Some caramel will run down and pool at the bottom, and you may desire to dip the apple a second time, after cooling. Be sure to let your dipped apples chill before adding and decorative chocolate drizzle, as extra heat could cause decorations to run.
Poisoned Pepper Candy Apples made with Dr Pepper TEN #DrinkTEN #shopPoisoned Pepper Candy Apples made with Dr Pepper TEN #DrinkTEN #shop
With our Poisoned Pepper Apples ready to be plated (do not cut apples until you are ready to serve, as they will brown quickly once they touch air,) I began working on the rest of our table's setup. Though this was a stage run, for the following weekend, the apples will store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, in cellophane bags or uncovered; so I was free to play with my punch recipe and decorations. I took a few large mason jars and affixed some fun labels to them, then layered them with tapioca pudding, slices of zucchini 'fingers' and tomato 'brains' to make a devilish jar of mad scientist leftovers. The pudding really clumped in the dyed water base for maximum effect.
Heads Up 7 Up Zombie Punch- Strawberry Sherbert and Green 7Up TEN with JELLO Worms- Sparkling Dr Pepper TEN JELL-O Worms Made with sugar-free JELL-O, Dr Pepper TEN, Gelatin, and Heavy Whipping Cream. #DrinkTEN #shop
We had a few plastic test tubes laying around so I filled them half with cooking oil and half with red colored water to make some vials of blood the kids would love playing with. The result is quite mesmerizing (think of one of those colored oil frames from the 90s.) For our 'punch' we used some plastic beakers filled with ice to offer a special drink in addition to our cans of TEN beverages. I topped each beaker off with a scoop of organic strawberry sorbet (the perfect texture of brains with it's clumps of strawberry seeds!)
Heads Up 7 Up Zombie Punch- Strawberry Sherbert and Green 7Up TEN with JELLO Worms- Sparkling Dr Pepper TEN JELL-O Worms Made with sugar-free JELL-O, Dr Pepper TEN, Gelatin, and Heavy Whipping Cream. #DrinkTEN #shop
Adding a little bit of green food coloring (just a few drops) to a 2 liter of 7UP TEN really gave our 'punch' a great color when poured atop the sherbert brains. Lastly, our JELLO Dr Pepper TEN worms turned out an equally creepy mauve color, with slippery, wriggly, texture to top our brains! The result was a creepy, delicious, Heads Up 7UP Zombie inspired Punch perfect for ghouls and goblins of all ages. Naturally, this could be adapted into a shooter if one wishes, though I quite find it intimidating enough with the jiggling worms and fizzing brains!
Heads Up 7 Up Zombie Punch- Strawberry Sherbert and Green 7Up TEN with JELLO Worms- Sparkling Dr Pepper TEN JELL-O Worms Made with sugar-free JELL-O, Dr Pepper TEN, Gelatin, and Heavy Whipping Cream. #DrinkTEN #shop
The moral of the story, folks? It can be awful fun to play around with flavors and textures to deceive the eyes and palette. If the TEN range of beverages is any testament, with their bold flavor at just TEN calories, then you don't need an excuse to pick up that Zombie Punch and give it a whirl. Not everything that sounds scary is quite so terrifying- why not pick up your favorite soda in it's TEN variety, from a Kroger, today and see what other delights you can bring to your guests this Halloween? Check out more low calorie recipes and pairings on the TEN Weeks of TEN Pinterest board!

Do you like to play tricks with your treats when entertaining? What's your secret to flavorful fun?

What Daughter Says: Not everything different is quite so wicked, find new ways to enjoy your favorite flavors.





Poisoned Pepper Candy Apples made with Dr Pepper TEN #DrinkTEN #shop
Poisoned Pepper Apples- AKA Dr Pepper Candy Apples
Heads Up 7 Up Zombie Punch- Strawberry Sherbert and Green 7Up TEN with JELLO Worms- Sparkling Dr Pepper TEN JELL-O Worms Made with sugar-free JELL-O, Dr Pepper TEN, Gelatin, and Heavy Whipping Cream. #DrinkTEN #shop 
Heads Up 7Up Zombie Punch with JELL-O Worms
***Click here for printable worms and punch recipe.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Brownie Ghosts- So Simple, It's Scary!

Simple Brownie Ghosts: Simple Directions: Start with brownies- I do not care how you get brownies, I won't tell if you slaved over them for hours or not. Cut them into squares about 2" in width. Place 1 Jumbo Marshmallow atop each brownie square. Place the pre-made frosting of your choice into a microwave safe bowl and heat on high at 5 second increments until it can be stirred into an even liquid format. Spoon melted frosting over your mallows, allowing it to drip down the side like flowy ghost 'sheets.' Squirt some black food color or decorating gel on a plate and daub the end of a chopstick/skewer/cake pop rod (etc) into the black and daub tiny faces on your ghosts. Refrigerate until serving and enjoy!
Momma Told Me: It's almost scary how easy it is.

If Momma taught me one thing in the kitchen it's that, as good as it is to go all out and impress people with your mad skills in the kitchen, it's even better to enjoy the praise knowing you've created something amazing with hardly any effort at all. Some people call them 'hacks' or shortcuts, but there's no shame in grabbing a boxed mix from the baking aisle when your 4th grader announces she needs treats for a class of 25, by tomorrow morning. You still want to be the cool mom, right- but you don't want to be the mom who's cool because she's perfected her 'living zombie' walk after slaving in the kitchen until 4 am.
Easy Brownie Ghosts Recipe
Yes, there are things, awesome, amazing, life changing, things you find on Pinterest and file away for 'next year,' thinking one day you'll get around to them. And, of course, you never do. How many of those ideas on Pinterest look so easy and logical until you're several hours into a '10 minute' recipe and scrubbing dough off the ceiling? This, my friends is not one of those concepts. Anyone, yes, even your 5 year old, can assemble these Simple Brownie Ghosts, whether you bake the brownies from scratch, use a box mix, or hack up some squares from store-bought brownies, I'm not telling....
This idea is so simple, my friends, that I adapted it to an (almost) sugar free version for the sugar intolerant folks in my Thursday night bowling league. Am I Betty Crocker? No! I caught some Pillsbury Sugar Free Brownie Mix and Sugar Free Frosting on sale at my local grocery store. Viola- the only sugar ingredient was my Jumbo marshmallows! Are you ready for the super simple directions to these adorably wicked treats?
Simple Brownie Ghosts- Simple Directions: Start with brownies- I do not care how you get brownies, I won't tell if you slaved over them for hours or not. Cut them into squares about 2" in width. Place 1 Jumbo Marshmallow atop each brownie square. Place the pre-made frosting of your choice into a microwave safe bowl and heat on high at 5 second increments until it can be stirred into an even liquid format. Spoon melted frosting over your mallows, allowing it to drip down the side like flowy ghost 'sheets.' Squirt some black food color or decorating gel on a plate and daub the end of a chopstick/skewer/cake pop rod (etc) into the black and daub tiny faces on your ghosts. Refrigerate until serving and enjoy!
Simple Directions: Start with brownies- I do not care how you get brownies, I won't tell if you slaved over them for hours or not. Cut them into squares about 2" in width. Place 1 Jumbo Marshmallow atop each brownie square. Place the pre-made frosting of your choice into a microwave safe bowl and heat on high at 5 second increments until it can be stirred into an even liquid format. Spoon melted frosting over your mallows, allowing it to drip down the side like flowy ghost 'sheets.' Squirt some black food color or decorating gel on a plate and daub the end of a chopstick/skewer/cake pop rod (etc) into the black and daub tiny faces on your ghosts. Refrigerate until serving and enjoy!
Simple Brownie Ghosts- Simple Directions: Start with brownies- I do not care how you get brownies, I won't tell if you slaved over them for hours or not. Cut them into squares about 2" in width. Place 1 Jumbo Marshmallow atop each brownie square. Place the pre-made frosting of your choice into a microwave safe bowl and heat on high at 5 second increments until it can be stirred into an even liquid format. Spoon melted frosting over your mallows, allowing it to drip down the side like flowy ghost 'sheets.' Squirt some black food color or decorating gel on a plate and daub the end of a chopstick/skewer/cake pop rod (etc) into the black and daub tiny faces on your ghosts. Refrigerate until serving and enjoy!
It's really as simple as that- you can't go wrong. In fact, the messier the better, so go ahead an let your children pour the frosting and daub those faces. Some of my faces 'ran' from the warmth of the frosting and added even more character. These were a huge hit at my league, and just $5 served about 40 people a brownie bite each. If you want to get REAL fancy, use some seasonal toothpicks to decorate and make picking up the bites a little simpler for your guests.

What Daughter Says: If it tastes great and looks adorable, nobody will care how long it didn't take you to make them!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Are You Among The Living? Day of The Dead Nail Art + Fall Nail Trends

***I received product samples to help facilitate this post. All photos and images below are copyright Momma Told Me blog 2014.
Fall Nail Trends with Sinful Colors- Splatter Spell, Glow In The Dark, Mystery Moonshine, Pumpkin Spice, and Cauldron Couture
Momma Told Me: Don't be afraid to live.

Momma used to tell me there's no such thing as normal. That 'normal' is a setting on the dryer, and not a label for people, places, or things. To define something as ordinary does nothing more than depreciate the true wonder of every achievement, every feature, every difference that goes overlooked. Because of this, I've always marched to the beat of my own drum. Yea, I was the sort of kid in preschool who begged to wear mismatched socks. And I was much more content making up fantastical adventures with Legos than joining in on the neighborhood tea parties.
Fall Nail Trends with Sinful Colors- Splatter Spell, Glow In The Dark, Mystery Moonshine, Pumpkin Spice, and Cauldron Couture
What is life if you forgo the things you want solely on the premise of fear or discomfort? I say if there is something you can do that you've been dying to do, do it. We only get so many days on this Earth, and we can never have enough memories, laughs, or smiles before they're over. Sure, we have to live the life of an 'adult' in order to keep the lights on and the clothes on our family's backs- but is it really going to hurt anyone if you tell that stylist to go for the purple streak you've always wanted, or pick a Halloween costume because it's adorable/wacky/fun, rather than sexy or adult?  What's the worst that can happen? You move on to another day, another experience, a new memory.
Day of The Ded Nail Art- Fall Nail Trends with Sinful Colors- Splatter Spell, Glow In The Dark, Mystery Moonshine, Pumpkin Spice, and Cauldron Couture
Regardless of your beliefs, most all of us can agree, life is about collecting experiences; and every moment offers a new piece to add to the collection. Halloween is a commercial 'holiday'- and one, in America, we highly target towards kids. For me, this time of year is a vivid reminder to live each moment I can, for those who cannot. When I go, some day far from now, I hope my departing resembles The Day Of The Dead. I rather envision a giant party springing up in my wake, where people gather around to enjoy my favorite food and music, share their favorite memories that I have left behind, and rejoice in knowing that I never held back.
Day of The Dead Nail Art- Fall Nail Trends with Sinful Colors- Splatter Spell, Glow In The Dark, Mystery Moonshine, Pumpkin Spice, and Cauldron Couture
And therein lies the inspiration for my Day of The Dead Nail Art- a blend of beauty mixed with mortality that so poignantly illustrates this. Speaking of the taboo, SinfulColors has released 14 devilishly playful shades of their popular lacquers, just in time to dress those nails up for the holiday. Pumpkin Spice and Cloud 9 will even help you get through the blustery Fall months with a little extra pop of color! However, I must admit 'm dying to get my claws on the candy apple red GoGoGirl Hue, a true Halloween Favorite.
Day of The Dead Nail Art- Fall Nail Trends with Sinful Colors- Splatter Spell, Glow In The Dark, Mystery Moonshine, Pumpkin Spice, and Cauldron Couture
For this Day of The Dead Nail Art look I paired SinfulColors Black On Black french mani with a layered sugar skull taking pops of the brand's Spring Collection. For an overcoat, on my thumb, I highlighted the sugar skull with Glow In The Dark, and finished the remaining nails with a Mystery Moonshine top coat. These shades and more are available for just $1.99 each at Target retail locations nationwide. What was the last act of randomness, or indulgence you partook in?

What Daughter Says: Every moment is a chance for a new memory.



Day of the Dead Nail Airt- Fall Nail Trends with Sinful Colors- Splatter Spell, Glow In The Dark, Mystery Moonshine, Pumpkin Spice, and Cauldron Couture

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Nora the Ewok, Darth Truffles, and Halloween Pet Tricks + Treats

Nora the Morkie as an Ewok for Halloween #TrickOrTreatEm #Shop
Momma Told Me: Pets are like children.

If you share our mentality, then your four-legged friends are just as much family as Aunt Jeanie (you know, the one who's aqua eyeshadow hasn't changed since the 50s, and her lipstick marks require a Brillo pad.) We love Jeanie despite the messes she leaves behind, or the over-enthusiastic greetings she may give us at the door. Momma always said having a pet was like having a child that never grew up, and in the sense of care-giving she is right. Now, you wouldn't let your child wander the streets alone on Halloween, eat candy from strangers without inspection, or wear a costume they felt humiliated in, would you? So Truffles and Nora have urged me to put together this simple reminder of how to best enjoy the upcoming festivities with your fur-children.
Darth Truffles Star Wars Cats HalloweenDarth Truffles Star Wars Cats Halloween
While we may see the adorable costumes lining pet-store shelves, as early as September, many of us pet parents get carried away with the thought of adorable, rather than the practicality. I'll admit, I once fancied Truffles daydreams mirrored the top photo, but her enthusiasm for playing a dark Sith Lord really was much closer to the below shot. Not to worry, your pets can still dress up and get in on the fun, it's simply a matter of knowing your fur friend. Even the most seasoned of 'costume' or clothing wearers should always go through an introductory period where they wear the new costume/clothes for a few hours a day in a supervised area, before being paraded around a crowd or strangers.
If your pet seems needlessly stressed in costume, to the point they refuse to move while wearing the costume (after 2-3 trials), shake/tremble, or try to eat their costume off, forgo your traditional costumes for something festive yet less foreign. Most pups can choose from a variety of decorative, and even dress up, harnesses that celebrate the fun of the holiday without putting them through any needless stress. As a general rule of thumb, never cover your pets head in a hood or 'mask' unless for a brief photo. Being dressed up is stressful enough without fighting to see what's in front of you.
Of course if it's food that motivated your little critter then be sure to have lots of pet-safe treats on hand whenever human food (especially candy) will be present. Do not store pet treats or gift bags with human candy/treats, as a pet may become wise and try to 'steal' the wrong treat! Handing out dog treats in the form of Milk Bone biscuits, or the below Carob dipped biscuits will truly be a special treat for pets trick-or treating, and can even be made in advance and used throughout the month as  training mechanism. Brushing up on training, and ensuring you have a secure perimeter is a must for households with dogs when strangers are coming to the door. Learn more about the carob dipped biscuits on Aimee Broussard's adorable Halloween post (and check out her crawfish pups!)
Aimee Broussard shares her Carob Dipped Milk Bone biscuits for Halloween #TrickOrTreatEm #shop http://aimeebroussard.com/halloween-treats-dogs/
If you don't feel so fancy in the kitchen, but do want to have treats to pass out to pups, or simply celebrate the festivities in your own home, A Daily Dose of Paige shares her simple secret to tissue paper wrapped Canine Carry Outs treats! You can really use any leftover tissue paper to twist up your dog treat of choice, then keep them in a bowl on the counter to Trick or Treat your pet all month long. Just remember, never give human treats to your pup, and always be mindful of where you store the human candy too!
A Daily Dose of Paige shares how to Trick Or Treat Em with tissue wrapped dog treats! #shop http://www.adoseofpaige.com/tag/halloween-pet-treats/
As always, safety is the most important aspect of any holiday involving your pet. Please remember to put proper reflective clothing, or markers, on your dog Halloween night, keep anxious dogs away from open doors, and work on costume comfort before the big day. If you're looking for an excuse to have a little fun with your dogs this Halloween visit the #TrickOrTreatEm website where you can find out your dog's personality, upload a photo in a digital picture frame, and print out a coupon for some yummy treats.

Have you ever dressed a pet up, as what? If not, what would you like to see your pet dressed as?

What Daughter Says: Pets are family, keep them safe and happy this holiday.






Check out these adorable pet costumes and #TrickOrTreatEm ideas!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Charlie Brown Christmas Giveaway, Good Grief Smoothie + David Benoit Interview

***This content is brought to you in part by my role as a Peanuts Ambassador, celebrating 40 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Celebrate 40 Years of A Charlie Brown Christmas with all new recordings of the timeless classic, OPI nail art gift sets, Hallmark 2014 ornaments and our Good Grief Smoothie Recipe. #Sp
Momma Told Me: Like jazz at a circus.

From the very moment we are born we are moved by site and sound. Some might argue that sound moves us about all else, as it i not a sense we can shut off or turn down, like sight and the closing of one's eyes. Even s a babe napping in my parent's room I remember the sounds. The gentle hum of her old ceiling fan, clicking every third rotation, the sound of my father's voice as he spoke back to the television, the gentle slosh of the water mattress as my mother climbed into bed, exhausted from a hard days work. There are simply some sounds we cannot alter, they are forever engrained into our memories by environment and circumstance, but others are skillfully paired with emotions and images that transcend languages and generations.
Jazz artist David Benoit helped bring The Peanuts Gang to life with recordings of Vince Guaraldi's music compositions. #sp
As part of the continued A Charlie Brown Christmas 40 Years celebration a group of bloggers and myself recently had the chance to interview a very integral part of what I call 'The Charlie Brown Experience.' We often think of Peanuts creator, Charles Schulz as the singular mastermind behind the icon Charlie Brown, and his friends. In truth, in visual form and expression he was the sole creator, and his vision stretched far over the characters as they evolved into animated shorts and even ice shows. His children, today, still take an active interest in ensuring his vision for the characters is properly expressed. But, where would A Charlie Brown Christmas Be without Lucy's Snarky voice, or the melodic piano intro of 'Linus an Lucy' (The Charlie Brown Theme Song?)
OPI's Seasonal A Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown Nail Art Gift Set #sp
Gifted Jazz musician, performer but first-most Peanuts fan, David Benoit, took over the ginormous task of bringing Vince Guaraldi's Peanuts jazz compositions to life after the passing of the great pianist. At the time, Benoit was beginning to extend his Jazz roots into piano and Charlie Brown was ready to expand it's approach beyond traditional cartoon composing to a melodic branding that best emphasized the character's sophistication. Here are some notes I found especially interesting from Mr. Benoit's interview:

So you feel jazz is the right genre for Peanuts music?

I do. The kids are very sophisticated, their emotions, their vocabulary. Peanuts was one of first strips to do that—to have kids speaking intelligently, expressing deep emotions. Jazz, because of its sophistication, seemed to work very well.

After Vince Guaraldi died, they tried using other composers; many of them, like Judy Munson, were very good. But she approached it from traditional cartoon composing, and it wasn’t the same. Upbeat jazz just hit a spark. They were looking for another jazz pianist to start writing music, that’s how they found me.
Good Grief! Smoothie- 2014 Charlie Brown Hallmark Ornament #sp
 What makes the Linus and Lucy theme so memorable?It’s one of those immediately recognizable motifs—you’ve got the left hand movement, then the right hand comes in, and it’s highly syncopated. It just gets everybody happy.

The power of music.

Why has the special remained so beloved?

It might be the simplicity in its message, that Christmas has become so commercial. It’s so simple and heartfelt. It has the makings of a classic because it’s so simple and so heartwarming.

Artist David Benoit will actually be doing a tour of The Music of Charlie Brown, beginning in December, and touring the country- you can learn more and find dates on his website, Benoit.com.
Charlie Brown Nail Art
The Peanuts gang is definitely an example of the perfect creative marriage of sentiment, sight, and sound- their exploits and stories are instantly recognized worldwide. In my humble opinion, it speaks volumes that such simple animation, and a singular piano melody can continue to move modern people today. That is one of the reason's I love Charlie Brown so much, I can see him walking down the street today stopping in front of the iPhone24 advertisements muttering 'Good Grief!' If you love the music of Charlie Brown as much as I do then you'll be excited to know the 40 Years A Charlie Brown Christmas has just been released on CD, perfect for holiday tree-trimming! Speaking of tree-trimming, we've got an exclusive giveaway below, for you, and keep scrolling for the Good Grief Smoothie Recipe!

Tell me, what about Charlie Brown and The Peanuts Gang do you love most? The music, a character, a certain story?

What Daughter Says: As iconic as Linus And Lucy is, I can't imagine Charlie Brown any other way!







This simple Good Grief! smoothie is refreshing and easy to replicate- Pineapple, bananas, coconut milk and a little zig-zag of chocolate syrup! #sp
Good Grief Smoothie
**Click here for printable Good Grief Smoothie Recipe