Family Game Night – Giveaway from @MattelGameOn #GameOnParty

We are a family who loves to spend time together playing games. Usually this finds us at the dining room table, split into teams throwing jibes back and forth. Yup we like to refer to this as bonding time. Mattel wants to bring back family game night and I’m all for it. The time spent together, winning and losing has allowed us to bond and help our kids to become gracious losers….and remind myself of this all too often.

The fine folks at Mattel recently asked me to hold a Family Game Night and of course I said YES! They did present me with a challenge, I had to head over to the Mattel Gameology Facebook App which asked me a bunch of questions in order to determine my game sign. I’m a Socialies. Mattel sent me an amazing box of games and party accessories which were based upon my gameology profile.

Game On Family Game Night Kit

Mattel sent me a gorgeous box which included some games, coasters, bottle openers, napkins and colourful fortune cookies. For our game night we decided that we’d invite my Mum and our friend from next door to join the kids, my husband and I.

family game night

After putting out some chips and blending up some Pina Colada Mocktails we were all set for our night of fun.

family game night mattel

We chose to play UNO first, this is a card game we play often. It’s perfect if you have a variety of ages, believe me when I say it can get competitive. Our girls actually ganged up on me and well….I may have come in last…My Mum had never played UNO and it was hilarious teaching her. She caught on quickly and much to my dismay she joined in on the “Get Julie” mantra.

family game night UNO

Because it was a weekday evening we gave the kids the choice of our final game. While we’d love to have gotten to play all of them, it was getting late. It was no surprise that they jumped on Angry Birds, they’d been bugging me to open the box since it crossed the threshold of the front door.

This game is AWESOME, we love the digital version and this one didn’t disappoint. First thing you do is line up the cards and choose form 4 levels of difficulty. You choose a card and build your obstacle as per instructions.

family game night angry birds

Now you line up the birds specified on the card and send them flying towards the obstacle. The idea is to knock off all of the birds to WIN.

angry birds game on

We really enjoyed our Game Night and encourage you all to get one on the calendar yourselves.

Enter to WIN a Game Night Package

In fact…the kind folks at Mattel have provided me with one Game On package to giveaway to one of my Canadian readers! The winner will be drawn on November 29th and have 48 hours to respond. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November Cash Giveaway WIN $185

November is upon us and we Canadian Bloggers have decided to offer you a FANTASTIC giveaway to help offset your upcoming Christmas costs.

Tales of a Ranting Ginger at talesofarantingginger.com and This Lil Piglet at thislilpiglet.net gathered us together and we’ve come up with a cash prize valued at $185 for one lucky reader!

NovemberCashGiveaway

 

This giveaway will run from November 4th – 18th and is open Worldwide. Winner must be 18+ and will have 48 hours to respond before another name is drawn.

Entry is simple, just fill in the form below! Good Luck!

Sick as a Dog Plus a Tooth Abscess = Invalid Julie

I am horrifically sick, like teary-eyed, body aches, nose running and sinus inflamed gross sick. Lovely use of English grammar there I know but you’ll have to forgive me as I’m typing through a haze. This haze isn’t one from pain killers, no-no…although that would be a relief this alcoholic won’t take any kind of addictive medication.

This all started with a gentle sniffle a few days ago and overnight progressed into a cold that knocked me to my knees. One would think that’s enough but nope, add to it some pain in my jaw and you’ve got my current situation. On the morning when my sniffles had turned to the Monster cold I began feeling tooth pain in one of my molars. I put it down to a popcorn kernel, flossed and said a prayer it wasn’t a major sinus issue.

Off to the Dentist

Later that day I was immobilized by the pain in my upper left jaw, I couldn’t even talk anymore. I’d been taking Ibuprofen and Tylenol cold remedies and although my sniffles were in check the jaw pain was not. My husband had enough of my whining and insisted on driving me to our dentist’s office before they closed. Note: I have a serious anxiety issue with the dentist, I wouldn’t go there unless it was a DIRE situation….and this was.

I sucked it up and went in, thankfully they squeezed my aching self in for an Xray.

SoberJulie at dentist

As I sat there one part of me was hoping the Dentist would put it down to my sinus pushing on the nerves because of the cold, another part hoped it would be tooth-related. I had no idea what was wrong but I needed relief from this awful pain.

The Dentist’s Verdict

In the end the X-ray showed that I had a filling which was too close to the nerve. This means that the nerve becomes irritated over time and forms an abscess at the root which sits against the nerve line. Voila = wicked pain and a root canal in my future. (Sorry to the dental professionals of the world for my horrible explanation.)

SoberJulie tooth

The Dentist was in a quandary when it came to helping me with pain-relief. I cannot take codeine and won’t take a narcotic so in the end I’ll have to make do with Tylenol and Ibuprofen based meds. Thankfully she prescribed a strong antibiotic which seems to have begun working I was getting slap-happy from not sleeping. Funny how a lack of sleep can diminish functionality so quickly.

As someone who lives with chronic pain on a daily basis I thought I was pretty hardened to discomfort and pain. Nope, this pain created the perfect storm in my body to over-whelm me. Suddenly all the chronic pain flared up, a wicked migraine came along and I was in the depths of something I can’t properly describe.

I’ve missed a bunch of plans we had a as a family this weekend, lost sleep and am left so tired and weak. But through this there was a lesson….the obvious one is to go to the dentist more regularly because they could have caught this….but the other one is how fortunate I am.

I’ve been too ill to care for my kids or myself and my family jumped in and filled that gap. My husband readily gave me cold cloths, made me cream of potato bacon soup and loved me in every way he could. My Mum (who lives here with us) made sure the girls were loved and was there if we needed anything. Our wagons circled during this time and once again I’m grateful.

Ok now I’ve learned a lesson me thinks it’s time for this freaking cold to move along…..

Banana Pina Colada Mocktail Recipe #YouMexiCan

As you know I’m an ambassador for Old El Paso and someone who is always on the hunt for delicious, fresh Mocktails. Combine the two and you’ll have a need for a delicious Pina Colada Mocktail recipe. Today I proudly bring you my Banana Pina Colada Mocktail recipe which I know you’ll love.

Pina Colada Mocktail

Pair this frozen drink with any of your Mexican meals and you’re in for a Fiesta! Need some ideas for a Mexican dinner? I can help, here are a few of our favourite recipes.

Chicken Fajitas

chicken-fajita-recipe-square-WM

Crescent Roll Tacos

Crescent-Taco-finished-WM

Banana Pina Colada Mocktail

Pina Colada Mocktail

  • 2 frozen ripe bananas
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 can coconut milk – frozen into cubes
  • Fresh pineapple wedges for garnish

Preparation:

Add the first 4 ingredients into your blender. Blend until smooth and creamy.Pour into 4 glasses, garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge and serve! It’s that simple to create this delicious, Mexican Mocktail!

Banana Piña Colada Recipe #YouMexiCan
Author: Julie Elsdon-Height
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 frozen ripe bananas
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 can coconut milk – frozen into cubes
  • Fresh pineapple wedges for garnish
Instructions
  1. Add the first 4 ingredients into your blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and creamy.
  3. Pour into 4 glasses, garnish with a fresh pineapple wedge and serve.

Disclosure: I’m part of the Old El Paso Ambassador program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Easy Halloween Dessert – Timbit Spiders

In preparation of our Halloween festivities I was on the hunt for an easy Halloween dessert when I came across these Easy Halloween Eyeball Donut Holes from ThisLilPiglet.net. What a GREAT idea, she uses donut holes (Timbits here in Canada) instead of having to make her own cake pops…brilliant I say!

EyeballDonutCakePops

Following her lead, I went out and grabbed a 40 pack of Timbits from Tim Hortons, some icing and candies to become the BEST Mom ever!

Timbit Spiders – Easy Halloween Dessert

easy halloween dessert collage

Ingredients:

  • 40 donut holes, no glaze or powder from your favourite donut spot
  • Icing
  • Food colouring of your choice
  • Assorted candies of your choice (string liquorice for legs)
  • Appetizer sticks (we used forks)
  • Toothpicks
  • Cupcake cups
  • Coloured sugar

Preparation:

Put your icing into a bowl and drop in a few drops of food colouring and mix well until you reach your chosen colour. Place your Timbit onto the appetizer stick (or fork) and ice it all around. Pour some coloured sugar into a cupcake cup and the iced Timbit into it, coating it well.

Use the toothpicks to apply the spider’s legs, simply put one end of the toothpick into the liquorice and one end into the Timbit. Put on candy eyes/mouth and you are done!

easy halloween dessert timbit spiders

 

Recovery from Alcoholism – Wordless Wed w/Linky

Today’s wordless Wednesday post was a no-brainer for me when I scrolled across this photo which was taken at a recent photo shoot. I was struck by the lighting, the warm tones remind me of my perspective.

In this image I’m standing in a horribly dirty alley with trash strewn all around me and yet….there’s the perfect lighting which ended up in a lovely photo.

Beauty in the mix is what I’m always seeking in my recovery from alcoholism.

 

SoberJulie Recovery from Alcoholism

Please feel free to link up your Worldless Wednesday posts and thank you for your comments!



Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe

Easy recipes are the key to my dessert success, I openly admit that I’m not the most amazing cook but I’ll tell you when I nail it, I nail it! This Peanut Butter Brownie recipe is ridiculously simple and sure to impress anyone you share it with. This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada and my sister generously offered to host 22 of us in her home. I offered to bring a dessert and had planned to make my Cheesecake Cups when my nephew asked for brownies.

Well I’m not one to back down from a challenge so I did what any good net-savvy woman would do and turned to Pinterest. Once again I was drawn to images of Peanut Butter Brownies and so here I am offering you what I ended up developing after trying a few batches (much to the delight of my neighbourhood children samplers).

Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe

Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe @SoberJulie.com #recipe

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 box (18-19 oz) Brownie mix
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup chocolate frosting

Preparation:

Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe

Preheat your oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine brownie mix, butter, cream cheese and egg. Mix until dough becomes very thick and sticky and spoon into bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin pan cups. Place in the oven for 18 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.

 

Peanut butter brownie recipe filling WM

In another bowl stir together peanut butter and powdered sugar.

peanut butter brownie recipe in cups WM

Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon onto the top of each cooled brownie cup, frost and enjoy!

peanut butter brownie long WM

 

Peanut Butter Brownie Recipe
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Julie Elsdon-Height
A delicious Peanut Butter Brownie
Ingredients
  • 1 box (18-19 oz) Brownie mix
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup chocolate frosting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a medium bowl combine brownie mix, butter, cream cheese and egg.
  4. Mix until dough becomes very thick and sticky and spoon into bottoms of 18 paper-lined muffin pan cups.
  5. Place in the oven for 18 minutes.
  6. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
  7. In another bowl stir together peanut butter and powdered sugar.
  8. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon onto the top of each cooled brownie cup, frost and enjoy!

 

 

 

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2013

Each year Walt Disney World is transformed overnight into the ultimate Halloween experience one can see. Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party takes place on select nights from 7:00 PM to midnight, September 10 to November 1, 2013.

mickeys not so scary halloween party image

In typical Disney style the transformation is magical, it’s more than a few decorations; over 20 truckloads of Halloween regalia is set up to create a magical setting for memories to be made. People leave the park at night and return in the morning to find the entire 30,080 acres has become something different and oh-so beautiful!

Mickeys not so scary halloween party

As we stepped off of the boat at the entrance we actually gasped as we gazed upon the amazing decorations, how could one resist this photo op?

mickeys not so scary halloween family

As you can see my husband was into the mood with Sydney, their “Scary” factor was higher than that at Magic Kingdom.

mickeys not so scary entrance

We arrived in time to catch a good ‘ol fashioned marching band playing down Main Street USA, if you get this chance sit and enjoy, they’re brilliant!

mickeys not so scary halloween main street

We enjoyed the day at Magic Kingdom but we happily headed back to the hotel to get changed into our costumes, the party started at 7pm and we wanted to be ready! Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party entrance is not included in your day pass, it is a separate ticket to purchase but it is one add-on I’d highly recommend. Our Canadian children who attended #HalloweenHaunt were really happy to be dressing in a Halloween costume sans a snowsuit…at home that just never happens.

mickeys-not-so-scary-halloween-party-myorganizedchaos

Image Courtesy of www.myorganizedchaos.net

Mickey’s Not-S0-Scary Halloween Party

When you enter Magic Kingdom for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween you’re immediately surrounded by fog, lights, decorations and even eerie sounds. The mood is set, the kind Disney folks hand you a bag when you enter so you can also Trick or Treat while partying!

mickeys not so scary halloween dancing main st

Entertainment

The park is filled with sights and sound to entertain but there are also extra special things for everyone to enjoy! We were strolling through Tomorrow Land when we came across a surprise! Sulley and his friends from Monsters Inc. were holding a dance party! The joy on our little Chelsea’s face was palpable and my heart jumped as I watched her overcome her shyness and get into the groove.

party

Even the reserved Miss Sydney got into the dancing spirit once she saw that it was cool by Sulley’s standards! During the Halloween Party there are 2 of these dance parties happening every night so mark it down on your itinerary.

Image Courtesy of www.MyOrganizedChaos.net

Image Courtesy of www.MyOrganizedChaos.net

Disney Villains Dance Mix and Mingle! 
Some of your favorite baddies from Disney films rock you with this thrilling opening number in front of a ghostly Cinderella Castle. When the number is over, the villains veer into the crowds for meet and greets.

Frontierland 
Venture into Frontierland where you might even meet a barbershop quartet of dead cowboys who sing songs in the style of the Dapper Dans. They like “axing” Guests questions and answering with puns as part of their “dead pan” humor.

Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade 

paradeDuring the party there are 2 Boo-To-You parades you simply must see. It’s a treat to the eyes, with floats, characters music and more!

Happy Halowishes

Image courtesy of www.MyOrganizedChaos.net

Image courtesy of www.MyOrganizedChaos.net

Get ready to be impressed by Walt Disney World’s Happy Halowishes, a special fireworks party to commemorate the haunting season! With music from past spooky Disney films, a fast-paced light show and fireworks to set you on edge this is a MUST SEE!

mickey no so scary halloween fireworks castle

Trick Or Treating

Throughout Magic Kingdom there are locations where you can offer up your bag to receive some treats. When I say you receive treats, I mean HANDFULLS of high-quality treats (Disney didn’t scrimp on this one). Again the children were thrilled as they watched their bags fill quickly. These treat locations are marked on the party maps which you can find throughout the park. If you don’t have a map, just watch out for cast members carrying the tell-tale Halloween Mickey sign.

trick or treat

If you happen to get caught up in all of the Halloween magic and forget to find the treat stations, don’t worry there’s one on the way out and the cast members are generous!

Mickeys not so scary halloween trick or treatMeeting Disney Characters

Another nice thing about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party is the lessened size of crowds. This means the lineups to meet Disney characters is much smaller than they normally would be. At different locations in Magic Kingdom you can find your favourite characters waiting to meet you, sign an autography and even get a picture or 2. If you’ve forgotten your camera, no worries check out the PhotoPass feature, Disney will snap photos of your family for you to enjoy later.

buzz

If there was one character I was going to get a photograph with, it had to be BUZZ! To Infinity and Beyond!

soberjulie with buzz

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party was a total hit with our family and friends. We all agree it far exceed our expectations and is truly something one must experience to believe. If you’d like to learn more about the party, head over to the Disney website which is stocked with info.

Disclosure: Our stay was provide in exchange for sharing our experience and truthful opinions.

Cream of Potato Bacon Soup Recipe – Cuz Baby It's Cold Outside

I come from a long line of potato lovers, perhaps this is because my Irish Grandmother insisted that potatoes were served with every meal but if I typed that I’d be guilty of stereotyping right? Cough. It’s been 5 months since my fantastic parents moved into our home and knowing my Mum’s love of potatoes I’ve been amassing copious amounts of potato recipes to try. My most recent favourite is a Cream of Potato Bacon Soup recipe which Mum ad I played with until we hit a winner.

Cream of Potato Bacon Soup Recipe

Potato Bacon soup recipe square WM

Ingredients:

Cream of Potato Bacon soup recipe ingredients

  • 8 good sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound of bacon, cut into slices
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, cut into slices
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of sour cream for garnish
  • 1/4 cup green onion for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Begin by cooking the bacon in a dutch oven until it’s at your desired crispness. Once bacon is done, remove it from the pot and drain all but 1/4 cup of the grease. Add the onions and garlic to the bacon grease and saute until the onion turns clear and softens. Add in the cubed potatoes,mix to ensure they’re well coated in the grease. Saute for  4 minutes and add in the bacon. Now you’ll pour in enough chicken stock to just cover the potatoes. Put on the lid and simmer until the potatoes are tender.

cream of potato bacon soup recipe fry

While this is simmering, get out another pan and melt the butter with medium heat. Add in the flour and cook, whisking consistently for 2 minutes. Now add in the cream, continue stirring constantly until it comes to a boil and thickens.

cream of potato bacon soup mixing

Once your cream mixture has thickened, stir it into your potato mixture in the Dutch oven. Next transfer half of the mixture into a blender and puree it.

potato bacon soup recipe in blender

Transfer the puree back into the pot and stir well.

potato bacon soup recipe in pot

Now you simply have to season to taste using the green onion and sour cream. Pour into bowls and enjoy!

cream of potato bacon soup recipe collage

Cream of Potato Bacon Soup Recipe- Cuz Baby It’s Cold Outside
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Julie Elsdon-Height
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 8
A delicious Cream of Potato Bacon soup recipe
Ingredients
  • 8 good sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 pound of bacon, cut into slices
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 red onion, cut into slices
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 cup of sour cream for garnish
  • 1/4 cup green onion for garnish
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Cooking the bacon in a dutch oven until it’s at your desired crispness.
  2. Once bacon is done, remove it from the pot and drain all but 1/4 cup of the grease.
  3. Add the onions and garlic to the bacon grease and saute until the onion turns clear and softens.
  4. Add in the cubed potatoes,mix to ensure they’re well coated in the grease.
  5. Sauté for 4 minutes and add in bacon.
  6. Pour in enough chicken stock to just cover the potatoes. Put on the lid and simmer until the potatoes are tender.
  7. While this is simmering, get out another pan and melt the butter with medium heat.
  8. Add in the flour and cook, whisking consistently for 2 minutes.
  9. Now add in the cream, continue stirring constantly until it comes to a boil and thickens.
  10. Once your cream mixture has thickened, stir it into your potato mixture in the Dutch oven.
  11. Next transfer half of the mixture into a blender and puree it.
  12. Transfer the puree back into the pot and stir well.

Remembering The Beach in Photos ~ Wordless Wednesday w/Linky

It’s been far too long since I’ve written a Wordless Wednesday post. I’ve somehow forgotten how much a photo can move me until I sat trying to edit our photos from our recent Florida trip. Today I’m bringing back the Wordless Wednesday….and hope to continue it throughout the year.

I asked the girls to write a word in the sand that means something to them. Chelsea wrote this, I asked why and she said “Cuz it’s all that matters Mama”…..she’s a wise one!

Jesus

Just one of hundreds I snapped on the beach…..

Sydney waves

Please feel free to link up your Worldless Wednesday posts and thank you for your comments!