Momma Told Me

Saturday, September 20, 2014

What I'm Streaming: Arrested Development Seasons 1-4 on Netflix

Arrested Development on Netflix
Momma Told Me: You can't always pick your family.

I've been working a lot recently, and trying to get the house transitioned for Fall, so having a binge show I can stream in short half an hour segments and follow along without being fully invested in is great. And that's precisely how I landed on the 'did they really just say that?' laugh-out-loud comedy, Arrested Development. Now, you may recognize this series from the early 2000's, as it was actually first put out by FOX for a 3 season run, until it was ultimately canceled. As it turns out, the show had an amazing cult following, in part thanks to the wide range of cameos and guest stars that appeared through the years. Luckily for those of us, like you and I, hopping on the bandwagon late, it was purchased by Netflix in 2013 and renewed for a new season!
Arrested Development on Netflix
Arrested development is Seinfeld (TV) meets We're The Millers (film, 2013); and not just because Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a recurring character. It's the story of a once wealthy family run to the poorhouse on the feet of a major political and business scandal. With the patriarch of the family jailed and in prison, the eldest and most responsible son is left to help keep the helpless, and arguably certifiable, family together and the company afloat. The characters are beautifully composed with such absurd flaws and exaggerated personalities one never quite knows what is about to unfold next. And, while the story has the greater arc of the family journey, each episode brings a new zany scheme or plot.
Liza Minnelli in Arrested Development on Netflix
I'll admit, I never paid much attention to Arrested Development because I tend not to watch FOX programming (outside of Gordon Ramsay series,) as it tends to be overly crass and largely skewed. However, this particular show has such a supporting cast of core actors and recurring stars it's hard not to give it a chance. I suggest trying out the first 4 episodes before you cast a verdict either way- one of the things this show is brilliant at is recurring inside jokes and jabs that truly lend themselves to true comedy gems. What I find most fascinating, however, is how some of the original characters are portrayed by actors (Michael Cera, Mae Whitman) that were relatively unknown at the origin of the series and sprinkled amongst the big cameos of greats like Liza Minnelli and Henry Winkler.
Arrested Development on Netflix
Sadly, the first season is the longest, with the most recent ending at just 13 episodes- but this makes Arrested Development a quick binge. My best suggestion? Watch it with someone who will later get the many references and qoutes you'll likely be dropping. Several of the themes an challenges the family face are recurring and every time the outcome is hilarious. Thanks to witty writing, I might even give the series another go through down the line.

What Daughter Says: Not only will this show make you feel so much more fortunate for the family you have, but you're sure to appreciate the hilarious ways these characters seem to make things work!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

"The King" Waffle Sandwich And I Explore The Keurig 2.0 K550 Brewer

**I received a K550 Keurig 2.0 Brewer directly from the company in hopes I would share my honest opinions here on the blog. All statements and images below are copyright Momma Told Me 2014.
The Keurig 2.0 K550 Brewing System: Brew up to 6 cups in the Carafe, Digital touch screen operation, change the size and strength of single cups, save favorite brew profiles, and change ambient lighting.
Momma Told Me: New technology, new headaches!

Of course there was a coffee maker in our house growing up; compared to a modern single-cup brewer it was an antique, and I'm pretty sure Momma laughed out loud the first time I asked if her 'coffee machine' could make me hot chocolate. My parents also indulged primarily in the topic of kitchen appliances, which I've touched on before, and I'm quite sure the 4 buttons on our little KitchenAid coffee maker were in them-self overwhelming as functions. Let's just say Momma fed her caffeine addiction outside the house at coffee shops and grocery store 'complimentary' displays. So, when I tell you I've inherited my mother's fascination with coffee, and my parents obsession with appliances, I literally mean I have owned 4 Keurig brewers. (And yet that cherry red Keurig, that would match my kitchen appliances, still eludes me.)
The Keurig 2.0 K550 Brewing System: Brew up to 6 cups in the Carafe, Digital touch screen operation, change the size and strength of single cups, save favorite brew profiles, and change ambient lighting.A new Keurig 2.0 'Carafe' K-Cup can brew up to 6 cups of your favorite beverage at a time!
I could be all 'Rah! Rah!' and tell you the newest in the Single Cup Brewing Revolution; the Keurig 2.0 K550 is astoundingly intuitive and a must have convenience for anyone who drinks fluids (yes, let's be that broad.) But, as a modern consumer I also realize not everyone is going to drop $200 on an appliance most associate with brewing coffee when one CAN get by with a $20 coffee maker and ground coffee. And making the leap from a standard Keurig system to the 2.0 range will offer a range of perks and changes that you should understand when deciding whether this model is right for you. First, you must know that Keurigs are much more than 'coffee machines,' but 'brewing systems' that offer a range of hot and cold beverages brewed by the cup, or now with a 2.0 compatible carafe (up to 5 cups at a time.)
The Keurig 2.0 K550 Brewing System: Brew up to 6 cups in the Carafe, Digital touch screen operation, change the size and strength of single cups, save favorite brew profiles, and change ambient lighting.
Unfortunately I don't think the company quite considered that their main consumer of this new 2.0 machine would be existing owners and brand consumers. If you are reading this right now there is a high probability that you either own a Keurig or have used one on several occasions at the office or a friend's home. The K550 2.0 brewer, and other 2.0 range models, offer an enhanced intelligence of properly brewed cups and varied 'strength' selections. In order for this technology to be integrated the brand had to put in place a readable system for the machine to identify the type and size of K-Cup. They did this in a way that the 2.0 and all previous brewers could brew standard single K-Cup size cups.

The unfortunate snafu, is that this 'redesigning' and modern innovation in 2.0 systems means that the system is unable to 'communicate' or 'read' K-Cups that were previously produced without the communicative colored outer rim. While the brand has been working for months prior to launch to get 'old' K-Cup packages off shelves so the transition would be smooth I had to toss out 146 K-Cups that were no longer compatible with my new 2.0 brewer- some of which had best by 2014 dates and were bought as recently as August. If you purchase incompatible K-Cups (with the old labeling) you will receive and 'Oops' message when attempting to brew, and are advised to contact customer service asap. Read more about the important labeling and K-Cup identification on my Facebook discussion.
The Keurig 2.0 K550 Brewing System: Brew up to 6 cups in the Carafe, Digital touch screen operation, change the size and strength of single cups, save favorite brew profiles, and change ambient lighting.
Part of the appeal in upgrading to a new Keurig 2.0 system is the digital intelligence built into the functions which promises several exciting options as the development team progresses. I also look forward to learning more about brewer 'skins' which will help personalize the look of your 2.0 brewer externally. For now, the colorful touch screen navigation is playful an offers customizable colored wallpapers. Among the new features and frills for the K550 brewer are 'profiles' which let you pre-save strength and brewing preferences, a (multi-color) exterior tank lighting feature for night ambiance, and enhanced strength and portion control.
A cup of coffee and "The King" Peanut Butter, Banana, Bacon Waffle Sandwich= Heaven!
A cup of coffee and "The King" Peanut Butter, Banana, Bacon Waffle Sandwich= Heaven!
Of course, most notable is the Keurig 2.0's ability to not only brew in various single serve sizes (4, 6, and 8oz) but a compatible carafe (pot) that brews up to 6 cups of coffee at once, thanks to the new Carafe K-Cup Packs. In order to brew 'carafes' you must have the compatible Keurig branded carafe, at this time, which triggers a 'docking' sensor and informs the machine of it's presence. Carafes are most functional when paired with Carafe K-Cups, which are larger in appearance (and currently pose a storage conundrum for me) and available in a limited number of varieties an brands at this time. While we, personally, don't entertain often in our small condo, the carafe has found a home on the top shelf of our fridge over the past week, as we brew a pot of iced coffee once a day. I hope to see the Snapple and Tea range expand into Carafe K-Cups very soon- as having a 'pitcher' around would be great!
There's a lot we haven't covered; and I've cooked up a devilishly sweet Hallow's Eve themed coffee infused treat to share- so keep your eyes peeled for a follow up post soon! In the men time, let me break down some of the biggest questions an concerns with the new Keurig 2.0 system as I enjoy a cup of freshly brewed Donut House coffee and 'The King' waffle sandwich (Pinterest Image at bottom):

*You said the new Carafe K-Cups are larger, how does the machine brew both the smaller and larger K-Cups? The new 2.0 systems have a spring loaded K-Cup compartment that expands to accept the larger Carafe K-Cups during use. No buttons are necessarily to switch to this function, simply insert the Carafe K-Cup in and the system will recognize it!

*Are all of my old K-Cups compatible with the new 2.0 system? I suggest you read up a little on how to identify compatible K-Cups prior to buying a new system, and use any old K-Cups first. While the brand has worked hard to ensure all K-Cups on shelves are compatible, stock issues and individual chains may not have removed old inventory. A newer 'best by' date does not guarantee your K-Cups have the compatible 'rim.' Look for the "For Use In All Keurig K-Cup Brewers' stamp on boxes, and 'Keurig Brewed' band on K-Cup rims. For more information see my discussion here.

*The 2.0 brews Carafes, does that mean it is larger than my current/old Keurig? My first Keurig was a 'mini' the most compact and not compatible with tumblers, and my most recent was the K75. We have our K550 in the same space as our old unit, it is only an inch or so wider, and about the same depth. The tank on the K550 is larger, but comes forward to wrap around the unit more. Check measurements of your model before buying, but I do not anticipate the size will be an inconvenience if you currently own a brew outside of the compact Mini or Elite systems.

What Daughter Says: As with any new technology there will be some bugs to work through in the first few productions; if you're on the fence, wait- However, I think it's well worth the money.

A cup of coffee and "The King" Peanut Butter, Banana, Bacon Waffle Sandwich= Heaven!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bucket List Tuesday: #27: Garlic (And Other) Festivals

So, life wouldn't be much without the 'living,' right? If there's one thing my Momma, and Grand-Momma taught me it's that life is meant to be lived. Live hard, live fast, live without regrets. Nobody wants to find themselves in their golden years wishing they'd jumped out of a plane before they'd replaced their hip, or eaten that extra slice of pizza before the bypass. Of course, not everything we want to do is good for us, and those are the compromises we make as we move through life responsible for family and friends. It's never really 'just you' in your life, right? So today's bucket list is all about activities, festivals really, that can be enjoyed with others. Some of my best memories, so far, are from exploring life and all this crazy world has to offer with the ones I love!
Gilroy Garlic Festival
1.) Gilroy Garlic Festival: (July) Gilroy, CA-

Whenever my father's parents come in from Massachusettes they like to take a week-or-so trip up the California coast sightseeing. The Redwoods and National parks are among their favorite must see attractions, in addition to plenty of photo-opportunities along the Pacific Coast. Unfortunately, I'm at the prime of my 'working' years and never can work the time out to take such a big chunk off and explore the state I live in with them. Along with the Winchester House, Gilroy, CA is one of their favorite stops along the way.

Known as the Garlic Capital, this sleepy little town is mainly a quiet tourist and trucker stop on the way to bigger and better things. However, much like my hometown is transformed with the California Strawberry Festival once a year, Gilroy comes to life every July to host the Garlic Festival. (There's also a gorgeous botanical gardens in Gilroy if you're ever just passing through.) This past festival was actually on BlogHer weekend (the 64th annual event,) and I found myself so close to checking this must off my Bucket List as I drove past on Friday night! It's your standard festival, really, sprawling and massive with a royal 'Garlic Court' of local beauties residing over garlic eating contests and an assortment of food vendors making heaping piles of garlic fries and even garlic ice cream!
San Fermin Neuva Orleans
San Fermin in Nueva Orleans: (July) New Orleans, LA-

Also in July, and in it's 8th annual year, San Fermin in Nueva Orleans is more of a (race?) style event that pays homage to the Pampalona, Spain Encierro (Running of The Bulls) event. It is probably one of the most unique annual events you will find in the U.S., and I dare think how it got started. Sure, the patrons dress up in traditional 'runners' white and flee the streets running for their lives, but this reenactment has one particularly peculiar caveat; the 'bulls' are local 'Big Easy Rollergirls' dressed up with plastic horns and bats, in red, on roller blades!

It sounds, and looks quite chaotic, as I'm sure it is, but the event is not considered dangerous in any way. In fact, the event's website wants you to know "no one has ever been hospitalized," which puts this crazy lifetime event on my radar for a must try experience!
Idiotarod Human Sled Race Now in 19 US Cities!
Idiotarod: (Currently 19 Major US Cities) Year Round-

The Idiotarod, named as a spoof on the famous Alaskan dog race, is a 'race' often held in colder weather months, with no real official branding hub. That is to say various major home cities have adopted the event through the past 10 years and on the ground teams have promoted and organized festivities. Before you go judging the ridiculously fun photos, this cross between a shopping cart team relay and costume contest/pageant is actually almost always charitable in nature. Most major towns require the participants to bring donations (in specific quantities and items) in exchange for free entry and participation.

The point of the event? Aside from raising charitable awareness, which you an imagine is done in droves of free event 'press' as costumed participants march down main streets, it's generally a good time. Take the 'sleds' and turn them into decorated shopping carts, and the 'dogs' turned into costumed people and you have yourself on crazy, but surprisingly well mannered race. As you can imagine a great deal of creativity and planning goes into themed costumes and carts, and I suspect I'd most like to attend as a photography and spectator. After all, where else can you spot the robot and mother from 'The Jetsons' cartoon running to catch up with a team full of human pigs?

What 'annual' style events are on your Bucket List?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

How To Bring The Team Celebration Home With #SamsClubTailgating Essentials

Thank you to Sam’s Club for sponsoring today’s post and helping me get ready for tailgating this Football Season.
#SamsClubTailgating Essentials #Sponsored
Momma Told Me: Take that racket outside!

I'll admit, in my adult years, I'm more of a baseball fan; my days of sitting on tailgates in the stadium parking lot were short-lived by my young graduation age and complete lack of direction. More often than not, in Southern California, we find an excuse to tailgate at any event involving a stadium, or even arena; hockey, wrestling/UFC, and concerts are a big draw. I know how to tailgate right, no matter the theme or season, but few incite such enthusiasm as American football. And, let's face it, the older we get the less time we have to pack up the truck bed and travel on site to support our teams in person. But just because you have a growing family doesn't mean you have to stop rooting for the home team or your alma mater.
Velveeta Doritos Casserole Chicken Dip and Velveeta Fudge- Grab your ingredients online at #SamsClubTailgating headquarters! #sp
This season why not throw a backyard tailgating party like none before? On the block I grew up on, which my father still lives, every weekend there are several 'front yard' tailgates with couches on driveways, big screens in garages, bbq's smoking, and neighbors mingling. Each household wears their team colors, and from the flagpole, beneath the American Flag, waves their teams of choice. Whether you're looking to start a tradition of your own, or simply have the biggest tailgating block party of the year, you need to stop by and check out #SamsClubTailgating Essentials, where you'll find all the hottest tailgating essentials grouped in one easy to shop online interface. From NCAA must have team gear and gifts, to the powerful Samsung Soundbar home audio support, and grilling essentials like KC Masterpiece sauce and Velveeta Cheese!
tailgating team spirit
Of course there are a few rules about tailgating at home, especially when it comes to the food. Some regions get pretty intense when it comes to serving up authentic team grub (can you say Louisiana gumbo, yum!) but the general rule of tailgating is the food must be able to be prepared outside, and in large quantities. Never turn a friendly face away from your team celebration! Sam's Club members can stock up on fuss free disposable plates and cups, as well as game day Hormel No Bean Chili, and Hidden Valley Ranch (for all those buffalo wings) with the free online Click N' Pull service. You may recall this service lets busy tailgaters shop online and pick up their order at customer service in between running around looking for team body paint and glitter.
Grab this 54oz Skittles zipper pouch and be ready with your team colors come game day! #SamsClubTailgating Essentials #sp
Need a little inspiration when it comes to what to serve? Anytime you can match team colors it's a win; and what better way to do that than big buy portions of your favorite candies? Put out a bowl of mixed team color Skittles with the 54oz Skittles value sized bag found on the Sam's Club Tailgating landing page. Don't worry the holidays are right around the corner and we're sure you'll find some other crafty use for those leftovers, just zip them back up in that bag! If you're really adventurous, you an even make team colored vodka, or other light spirits, by infusing them with a handful of these fruity candies one week prior to your tailgating event! Or try one of my liquid gold (Velveeta) recipe ideas; Dorito's Chicken Dip and Velveeta Fudge!
#SamsClubTailgating Essentials #sponsored

But tailgating is much more than great food and colorful clothes- you'll want some killer activities for your guests to participate in. Consider planning a tag football scrimmage at the end of the block, some old fashioned beer pong or darts, or even a soda chugging (or wing eating) contest! Most importantly, it wouldn't be a tailgate without the big game, so be sure you've got plenty of juice to bring the big game experience to you garage, living room, or backyard. Might I suggest a humble Samsung 65" 1080p 3D Smart HDTV? After all, you want a reason for your guests to keep coming back, and the eye-splitting detail of this color rich display if sure to help you smell the grass on the field as your favorite team kicks off this weekend!

What are some of your favorite tailgating (or football watching) traditions?

What Daughter Says: Bring your tailgating party home; it's just more fun with more friends!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Certified #Organic Pasta And White Cheddar #HorizonMacAndCheese Dinner

**I received 2 packages of Horizon Organic macaroni and cheese as part of BzzAgent. All opinions and photos are original and copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2014.
#HorizonMacAndCheese #Organic White Cheddar Shells with no preservatives or artificial colors! #GotItFree
Momma Told Me: That's for little kids!

There are few foods that can be considered a side dish or an entree for children; macaroni and cheese is one of them. Why? I've always wondered this when taking my nieces and nephews out to eat. Grilled cheese is almost identical, grain and cheese, yet seems much more substantial. Neither of them, as an adult, is a viable meal option for me, however; and I feel even more guilty when reading the labels and realizing I should be more concerned about all the 'extras' put into a dish that should be so simple.
#HorizonMacAndCheese #Organic White Cheddar Shells with no preservatives or artificial colors! #GotItFree
#HorizonMacAndCheese #Organic White Cheddar Shells with no preservatives or artificial colors! #GotItFree
Sabrina, now 11, has been raised on Macaroni and Cheese, it's one of her favorites. In fact, she happily grabs a 'blue box' from the pantry and begins prepping an after-school snack, or lazy weekend lunch. It's a process so simple we've begun trusting her to do it herself, under adult supervision. And as much as she loves building box robots out of the leftover packages from our, very cheap and affordable, blue box cubes; she is smart enough to ask burning questions like "Why is the powder neon?" Something I've taught her to ask when considering a food group's place in nature and the pyramid.
#HorizonMacAndCheese #Organic White Cheddar Shells with no preservatives or artificial colors! #GotItFree
Let's face it, noodles and cheese should be a fun dish for kids; but why do I feel guilty when I sneak a bowl as an adult? Shouldn't the things we feed our children be as healthy, or even more high quality than that which we knowingly consume ourselves? So I recently embraced the opportunity to try a range of Pasta and Cheese shells from well known Organic Milk brand Horizon. The 3organic pasta shells with White Cheddar had Sabrina skeptical, after all, she was used to eating the neon brand.

As a compromise I made one box of the 'blue stuff' and one box of #HorizonMacAndCheese Pasta Shells with White Cheddar. As we added the magical 'flavor' powder into our cooked noodles, with butter and organic milk, Sabrina scrunched her nose. "Color means flavor!" she declared as the noodles turned a faint white. I could have tried to explain that the 'white' noodles have no artificial colors, preservatives, or flavors; but I simply placed the two bowls in front of her and held up my end of the deal. If she did not like the 'new' stuff she would not have to eat it.
#HorizonMacAndCheese #Organic White Cheddar Shells with no preservatives or artificial colors! #GotItFree
In fact, the idea of doing a taste test had Sabrina so excited, she willingly put a spoonful of the Horizon Mac in her mouth without further complaint. Even better, she finished half the bowl before coming up for air. When I asked if she wanted me to finish for her she was quick to tell me she could finish the bowl on her own; and that she preferred the White Cheddar organic over the blue box! Now, if only I can convince her to taste test different types of veggies mixed in with her macaroni and cheese! At least, with Horizon organic pasta boxes we both can feel a little less guilty eating like a kid again!

How do you compromise when it comes to your kids favorite foods to make sure they are more nutritious?

What Daughter Says: Bring fun back to your table without the guilt, choose high quality sides the whole family will love.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Speck iGuy Case Makes Almost Any iPad Kid Friendly~ Giveaway 9/28

**I received product samples from *Speck for the purpose of this feature. Regardless all opinions are genuine and all photos are copyright Momma Told Me Blog 2014.
Speck iGuy kid friendly case for iPad 2/3/4 includes a camera cover and easy carry handle 'arms.'
Momma Told Me: That's coming out of your allowance!

Growing up we had many forms of modern electronics; they were much more bulky, and significantly slower, but just as expensive. One of the nice things about having really large expensive electronics was their lack of portability, which made them relatively kid-safe. The biggest thing I often had to worry about was spilling a beverage of food on or around a keyboard or stereo. Unlike modern times, there were few electronics intended for both kids and adults to be able to share and enjoy. I had my Game Boy, and Momma had her (function only) cell phone. The only real family shared devices were the Walkman, and later, CD player. I still remember how many portable CD players our family went through in the first year. Do you remember what it was like to have to stand still to listen to music without skipping?
Speck iGuy kid friendly case for iPad 2/3/4 includes a camera cover and easy carry handle 'arms.'
Speck iGuy kid friendly case for iPad 2/3/4 includes a camera cover and easy carry handle 'arms.'
Today it seems the modern child has increased access to tablets; Sabrina's middle school even issued them this year, and what I call mini tablets (or Phablets) the modern smartphone. Parents rely on these devices to help occupy children on long car drives, when the power is down, at Dr's office visits, and even for educational programming and apps. And, while the modern tablet is becoming more and more affordable, no parent wants to see their tech sprawled out with a cracked screen or peanut butter prints. Luckily, Speck makes an entire range of tablet cases for popular brands like Samsung and Apple.
Speck iGuy kid friendly case for iPad 2/3/4 includes a camera cover and easy carry handle 'arms.'
Few are as adorably functional, however, as the iGuy case, which houses the iPad 2, 3, and 4 generations (no mini yet!) Available in Orange and Red (currently sold out in the ironic Android Green hue and Blue) the iGuy is a simple 'stretch on' style flexible foam casing. Not only does he go on easy, his thick layers of foam help absorb shocks from minor tumbles and everyday child use. You'll want to invest in a basic screen protector of your own, to help further child-proof your tablet, and Speck can help you there too.
Speck iGuy kid friendly case for iPad 2/3/4 includes a camera cover and easy carry handle 'arms.'
iGuy's adorable arms and legs not only function as easy to grab appendages for children playing games, and moving about with the device, but also let the tablet stand in 'television' mode for cartoons and as decor. The squeezable EVA foam material is also easy to clean (we use a simple Windex solution to remove scuffs and stains,) and only has a faint odor when fresh from the package. Aside from being plain adorable, we especially loved this case for how lightweight it was while on the tablet, and how easy ti was to transition out of the iGuy back into 'adult' mode for my own use. This is definitely a must have for holiday shopping and any household with smaller hands!

What Daughter Says: Protect your iPad with a kid friendly alternative that will make tablet computing less stressful for you and your child.

Speck iGuy kid friendly case for iPad 2/3/4 includes a camera cover and easy carry handle 'arms.'
One Momma Told Me reader will win an iGuy case from *Speck, fitting iPad 4, 3, or 2!