A Sparkle of Genius 2014-08-29T00:14:04Z http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/feed/atom Marisabel <![CDATA[Pregnancy Keeping You Up at Night? Get Comfortable With the Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow!]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=9951 2014-08-28T22:49:06Z 2014-08-28T22:45:46Z I received a Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow for review.  All opinions are my own. Pregnancy is definitely an interesting adventure as your body tries to manages changes and growing your little baby (OR TWO!!!).  As your belly grows and grows, it seems like the ability to sleep shrinks and shrinks.  The most elusive part, […]

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Boppy1

I received a Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow for review.  All opinions are my own.

Pregnancy is definitely an interesting adventure as your body tries to manages changes and growing your little baby (OR TWO!!!).  As your belly grows and grows, it seems like the ability to sleep shrinks and shrinks.  The most elusive part, of course, is finding a comfortable position to sleep in, especially if you were a stomach sleeper beforehand (like me).  My husband especially enjoys the fact that I have built a fortress of pillows and thereby have taken over nearly 90% of the bed.  Still, nothing seemed to work.  Luckily, I was recently able to get the Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow and it has made a huge difference in my ability to get sleep at night.  The two key areas where the pillow helps the most are in its comfort and its customizable structure.

Boppy pregnancy pillow (From the Boppy website)

The Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow is Comfortable

One of the first things that I immediately noticed while using the pillow is how comfortable each piece is.  The cushioning is perfect as it provides both support and comfort to the entire body.  I mean, how cool is it that you even have a specially designed pillow piece for your belly?!  The Boppy pregnancy pillow is essential for putting yourself into a more comfortable position.

The Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow is Customizable

Another feature of the Boppy pregnancy pillow that is great is how customizable it is.  The Boppy pregnancy pillow is composed of three pieces that can be separated from one another and used in different ways.  This is useful because at various stages in your pregnancy, you will use different pieces of the pillow.  This also helps when you are resting at different times and in different place.  Personally, I prefer to use the top and bottom pieces with my own pillow for the most comfort.  It is a great asset to be able to mix and match pieces based on my needs at that specific time.

The Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow is Machine Washable

We all know how important of a feature machine washable is!  I love that I can use my pillow for a comfortable nights sleep and then when neededI can easily throw it into the wash to keep it clean and fresh to last throughout my entire pregnancy.

Here is a great video that tells more about the Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow:

For those pregnant mommas that are struggling to situated and comfortable when laying down, the Boppy pregnancy pillow is a must have.  Check it out today!  And have a Good night!  The Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow retails for $55 and is available at the Boppy website online.

Boppy Pregnancy Pillow Marisabel

Guess what!  Since I know how incredibly uncomfortable it is to sleep without a Boppy Pregnancy Pillow, I want to give one cute pregnant mom the chance at many good night sleeps!  One A Sparkle of Genius reader will win their very own Boppy Custom Fit Total Body Pillow! Yay!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[The Boxtrolls Featurette]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=9947 2014-08-28T16:20:58Z 2014-08-28T16:20:58Z I think The Boxtrolls is the movie that I am looking forward to most this year.  It looks like so much fun and lots of laughter!  A new featurette just got release which is worth watching because it shows more behind the scenes footage as well as what you can expect in the movie.  The storyline […]

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Boxtrolls Theatrical Poster

I think The Boxtrolls is the movie that I am looking forward to most this year.  It looks like so much fun and lots of laughter!  A new featurette just got release which is worth watching because it shows more behind the scenes footage as well as what you can expect in the movie.  The storyline sounds really fun, I love the actors who were cast for the voices and the look is amazing.  It really is incredible that they build all of those sets.  Now I just need to read the book!!  Enjoy:

Get social with the Boxtrolls:

https://www.facebook.com/TheBoxtrolls
http://instagram.com/TheBoxtrolls
https://twitter.com/TheBoxtrolls
http://www.TheBoxtrolls.com/

THE BOXTROLLS releases in theaters on September 26!

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Celebrating 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=9939 2014-08-28T15:43:45Z 2014-08-28T15:43:45Z Did you know that this year the Peanuts will be Celebrating 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas! Peanuts Worldwide is kicking off a year-long celebration of 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas! As part of this event they are celebrating the: 50th time it will air will be this December 2014 on ABC 50th year since it was created, produced […]

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A Charlie Brown ChristmasDid you know that this year the Peanuts will be Celebrating 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas! Peanuts Worldwide is kicking off a year-long celebration of 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas! As part of this event they are celebrating the:

  • 50th time it will air will be this December 2014 on ABC
  • 50th year since it was created, produced and debuted will be December 2015.

50 years is a long time! :)  I am more than half way to 50(eek :) ) and I remember A Charlie Brown Christmas being a part of almost every one of those Christmases. Charlie Brown has been around my whole time and I have many fond memories sitting in our living room under the lights of our Christmas tree watching A Charlie Brown Christmas.

One thing that I love about being a mom is that we can share these fun traditions with our own kids and share a love and tradition with them year after year.  In our home, every year on the day after Thanksgiving we start the morning bright and early with a special breakfast.  We then go to a Christmas tree farm and find the perfect tree.  We spend the rest of the day decorating for the Christmas season.  We end the day  as a family watching A Charlie Brown Christmas.  This is how we start our Christmas season year after year.  And by the time Christmas day comes we have watched A Charlie Brown Christmas a dozen times.  I love this tradition because this movie is heartwarming, adorable and shares the core of our beliefs.  I love sharing this with my children.

In honor of Celebrating 50 years of A Charlie Brown Christmas here is a clip from my favorite scene of the movie:

I love hearing peoples stories.  Learning about their life.  Listening to the moments of their life that stood out, changed them and were important to them.  Everyone is different and everyone has a story to tell.  I had the wonderful opportunity, with a group of other bloggers, to interview Jill Schulz,the youngest of Charles M. Schulz’s five children.  I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to grow up in the home of the creator of the Peanuts.  I’m sure it was a whole lot of normal days for Jill, but mixed in with a lot of special memories and extra large love for these characters.  You can read the entire interview below and hear from Jill’s point of view how Christmas was in the Schulz household. Here is an adorable photo of Jill Schulz with her family which i’m sure includes Snoopy (she’s the one on the right.) 

SchulzFamily

Q. What was it like to celebrate Christmas in the Schulz family?

“I always had great memories of it, but to us, that’s just how our Christmas was.”

Jill Schulz: “Back then, there was not as much merchandise, publicity, worldwide status for Peanuts and Snoopy.”

“We had a pretty typical Christmas, except that we opened our gifts on Christmas Eve. Typically, we’d have neighborhood friends and kids coming over and my mom cooked a great big dinner. Then we’d wait for Santa Claus, I’d always sneak back down and open a window because I thought there was no way he could fit down the chimney.”

“In the morning, we’d get a special present. One year I got a puppy, but it was a little disconcerting because I thought I was getting an Old English Sheepdog like the one from Please Don’t Eat the Daisies, but my puppy wasn’t furry and didn’t have a tail.”

“Once the TV show came out, that became a tradition: both Christmas and Halloween, they became something we’d gather around TV to watch. But to me, it just seemed like a normal family Christmas.”

Q. Was there anything in the special that was similar to your childhood?

Jill Schulz:“There are elements that are supposed to come from my family. Like Lucy’s crabbiness came from Meredith. I’m told that Linus has a blanket because I always had a blanket.” But I can’t say there’s anything specific in the special.”

cbc“Dad was active in Sunday school when we were much younger, he taught there on Sundays for many years. So the Linus speech was something very important to him.”

“Lee Mendelson tells the story of meeting with the top guys at CBS—they said they loved the special, ‘But you need to take the Linus’ speech out.’ When Lee told Dad that he said, ‘Tell them to just forget it then.’ Now it’s become the most iconic part of the entire TV special. It’s one of my favorite parts because I know how important it was to my father.”

When producing the Christmas ice show at Knott’s Berry Farm, Jill suggested building a show around the special, and having the Linus character come to the center of ice, putting a spotlight on him and having him give the speech.

“The people at the theme park were kind of nervous, just like long ago. ‘Maybe we need to edit it.’ Because it was so important to my dad, I said, ‘We need to do it exactly as it happened in the TV special.’ Now the ice performance has a huge following, and one of guests’ favorite parts is seeing that performed live by the Linus character.”

CBC-Linus2Why do you suppose after 50 years, it’s still resonating with people?

Jill Schulz:“Because the characters, the experiences they have, in the strip and the TV show are things that every generation has, does, and will continue to experience in life. Football with Charlie Brown. Everyone experiences losing. Everyone comments on commercialism. It’s been happening for years, will continue to happen. Siblings teasing each other, fighting, even if they love each other.”

“All of these things are extensions of his own personality or things he would observe in others. He was always observing everybody, whether in the coffee shop at the ice rink, or on trips. He was a great observer of human nature. Like many of us, he hung onto and had a clear vision of his feelings as a child. That comes across in the strip and the special.”

What is Christmas like for your family today?

Jill Schulz:“After those big Christmases as a kid, I had to get adjusted to having Christmases with just my husband and my two kids. It felt so small. I tried to do the same traditions, watch the special, do the presents.”

“For a while would go to Utah with my sister Amy. Amy and Monte are more sentimental about the past. She has nine kids, she tried to and successfully created the same kind of big family meal, friends coming over. It was great to do that for a while.”

“Now we invite good friends and go to Utah to go skiing, have snow, make snowmen, do all of those traditional Christmas things we’ve heard of, even though we live in California.”

“One tradition I didn’t keep: My parents always put an orange in Christmas stockings, I switched that to chocolate.”

Tell me about ice skating and Snoopy.

Jill Schulz:“Way back when I was 9 or 10 and ice skating, they decided to build a Snoopy costume to have him in the ice show. My mom made the first Snoopy costume. Someone else was supposed to be in it, and he didn’t show up. So I was the first skating Snoopy, skating to Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head. It was hard to see—I remember falling over on the ice, but I got up and waved. I’m too claustrophobic now, so can’t do it anymore.”

Involved in overseeing production on ice shows at Cedar Fairs parks; producing action sports shows, All-Wheel Sports. Aerial Life Extreme, based on act on America’s Got Talent.

“Now we just need to get an Extreme Beagle out there. Get Snoopy dropping on the mega ramp.”

Parents built an ice rink in Santa Rosa because they both grew up skating in Minnesota.

For about 20 years, Charles Schulz used to produce big ice shows – with Dorothy Hamill, Scott Hamilton – in Santa Rosa at Christmastime. Jill would skate in the show. “We’d do an entire month of dinner theater-style productions that my dad produced. He’d invite his cartoonist friends, have a special table by the ice, invite friends to be at his table. That was a special memory and you can’t repeat it.”

“The TV special is the one thing that continues to stay with us, which makes it even more amazing. People say, ‘I want my kids to know it.’ Even with all the other media out there for kids, parents are surprised how much it means to them.”

BLOGGER QUESTIONS

Wondering if any other parts of your life showed up in the comics or in your dad’s shows?

Jill Schulz:One of my favorite things that showed up in the strip and in a Broadway show was when my brother Craig was in high school, he had to do an art sculpture made from a coat hanger. He came home 2 days later with his grade, and it was a C. My dad said, ‘How can you grade a coat hanger sculpture?’ That became a funny scene in the show and the strip.”

“My sister Amy always talked too loud, so she had some Lucy qualities. One time she was told to be quiet, and she started buttering toast, and looked up and said, ‘Am I buttering too loud?’ ”

“I said, ‘If you pray with your hands upside down, you’ll get the opposite of what you pray for.’ ”

Did your Dad think the special would be around 50 years later?

Jill Schulz:“He wasn’t one to predict. The most important thing to him was drawing the comic strip. He’d always say, ‘I’m just a cartoonist.’ He was not setting out to make his cartoon famous, or sell merchandise. Those were everyone else’s ideas.”

“One thing he never understood was when people would say to him, ‘Mr. Schulz, you’re so successful now, why don’t you retire?’ He’d say, ‘Why would I spend my whole life to become successful at doing the thing I love to do, and then not do it?’ He passed away immediately after he decided he could no longer draw the strip. To him, it was all about drawing the comic strip.”

What’s your earliest memory of Camp Snoopy?

Jill Schulz:“I remember when it first opened and walking around thinking it was like a theme park in miniature. And I remember thinking that these are rides I’m not afraid to go on! After my kids were born (son 12, daughter 16), I had so much fun being able to take them on rides and seeing Snoopy and introducing them to Snoopy.”

Where do you see the franchise in 10 years?

Jill Schulz:“We’d like to see it grow, to continue the legacy of my dad and keep the characters out there. But there’s a careful line between keeping the integrity of my dad’s characters and creating enough new material to keep it fresh for new generations.”

New movie in fall of 2015. Brother Craig Schulz and his son worked on the script with Fox Studios and director Steve Martino.

“This movie, with the new technology of 4D, mixed with 3D and 2D, is fun and new, done with a lot of class. Hoping it will generate interest from new generations. We have to keep up with where the kids are today—social media, apps, movies. You can’t expect to introduce kids to it without all that.”

Who’s your favorite Peanuts character and why?

Jill Schulz:“My absolute favorite is Snoopy because I like his imagination and his free spirit, how he imagines whatever he wants to be. I had a pretend friend as a kid that everyone teased me about. And because he’s a dog and I love rescue animals. Then it would be Linus, because I like how calm he remains, how philosophical he is.”

When was the first time you realized who your dad was, did it affect you? Aha moment?

Jill Schulz:“He was my dad first, but I can’t deny there were lots of opportunities that have come out of the fact that Charles Schulz was my dad. Things I’ve learned. He was successful with what he did, but I never wanted to feel like I wanted to use that, or that I’m any more special than anyone else because my dad was well-known. I’ve always wanted to carve my own path – such as the shows I produce that have nothing to do with Snoopy. It helps that none of us could draw at all!”

“Once I became a teenager and in my 20s, I did get a greater awareness of the difference between people who are your real friends and those who just want to be your friend because of that. But everybody’s life has an advantage and a disadvantage, no matter who they are.”

“There are too many people who do things because they want to be famous. My dad always said, ‘The joy is in the process, not the end result.’ I’ve always kept that in my back pocket.”

Favorite merchandise item?

Jill Schulz:“There was a board game called the Pursuit of Happiness – don’t know if it’s still out there. And I probably have 200 stuffed animals at home; the 5-foot stuffed Snoopy is one of my favorites. I did get a new sno-cone machine. And the Happiness Is a Warm Blanket book series. Those were great.”

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Launch the holiday joy early, as you anticipate the 50th airing of A Charlie Brown Christmas!  The soft and huggable Snoopy plush brings cheer any time of day or night, while the charming Be Joyful book keeps you in a Peanuts spirit year-round. One lucky A Sparkle of Genius reader will win this adorable plus and book.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Chocolate Chip Brownie Bites]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=9935 2014-08-28T00:08:22Z 2014-08-28T00:08:22Z Chocolate Chip Brownie Bites Ingredients 1/2 c. butter 2/3 c. cocoa powder 1 c. sugar 2 t. baking powder 1/2 t. salt 2 t. vanilla 2 eggs 3/4 c. almond milk 1/3 c. vanilla greek yogurt 2 c. all-purpose flour 1 bag chocolate chips Directions 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2.  Mix first 9 […]

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ChocolateChipBrownieBites
Chocolate Chip Brownie Bites

Ingredients
1/2 c. butter
2/3 c. cocoa powder
1 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 c. almond milk
1/3 c. vanilla greek yogurt
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 bag chocolate chips

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2.  Mix first 9 ingredients in large bowl.  I am lazy and mix them in my Blendtec Blender because it takes 30 seconds and it gets rid of all the chunks.  If you use blender method, pour blended mixture into large bowl.

3.  Stir in flour until well mixed.

4.  Stir in 2/3 bag of chocolate chips.

5.  I used silicone baking cups because  I don’t have to grease them and my brownie bites fall out perfectly. Use an ice cream scoop to add one generous scoop of batter to baking cups.

6. Top with 5 chocolates chips on each.

7. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cooked. (oven temperatures and time varies)

8.  Cool and Enjoy! You can eat these alone or serve warm with a scoop of ice cream.

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[5 tips to making the First Day of School Perfect! #Elmonterey]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=9917 2014-08-27T20:51:36Z 2014-08-27T20:34:02Z I love Back to School time.  There is always something special about getting new school supplies, finding out who your kids new teachers are, and starting a new year.  My kids love school. I miss them, but I am always happy knowing that they enjoying going to school.  Even though they love school, they all […]

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5tipstomakingtheFirstDayofSchoolPerfect!

I love Back to School time.  There is always something special about getting new school supplies, finding out who your kids new teachers are, and starting a new year.  My kids love school. I miss them, but I am always happy knowing that they enjoying going to school.  Even though they love school, they all get nervous for the first day of school.  Here are 5 tips to making the First Day of School Perfect!

5 tips to making the First Day of School Perfect!

UniformClothes

1.Prepare clothes the night before

The morning can quickly get stressful if you are having to run from thing to thing and need to get too many things done.  I find that if my kids lay out their clothes the night before, pack their lunch and do all the things that can be done early, then the morning goes smoothly and everyone is happier.  Kids are often nervous on the first day of school so it is helpful to make sure that this morning is as stress-free as possible.  Being prepared definitely reduces stress in everyone.

FirstDayofSchool2.Write them a personalized lunch note.

I have given my kids a handwritten note in their lunch the first day of school since they started going to school.  Mostly, because they wont let me forget!  It cracks me up because it really is so important to them.  My son keeps his first day of school note in the pocket of his lunchbox for the entire school year.  I love that it is special to them.  I know they are always nervous for the first day of school and a little note of encouragement during lunch can help their day be better.

ElMontereyBacktoSchoolBreakfast

3. Eat a good breakfast

They always say it.  Breakfast is the most important time of the day.  I believe this to be true.  The days that I skip breakfast or don’t have a good breakfast are the days that I am more tired and have less motivation to get things done.  Having a good breakfast on the first day of school (and everyday) is so important because it will give them the energy needed to get through the day.  My kids are used to summer lazy days and a full day of school takes a lot out of them.  Eating a good breakfast helps them to stay alert and happy in their classes.  A protein rich breakfast is important to fill kids up right and fuel them for classroom success.  

BacktoSchoolElMonterey

This year for back to school, I chose to feed my kids El Monterey Breakfast burritos.  They are a hearty and delicious choice and are packed with real hearty ingredients like eggs, cheese, and sausage all wrapped in a fresh-baked tortilla.  There are many reasons that El Monterey Breakfast burritos were my First Day of School breakfast of choice.  First, because my kids would get the need protein rich breakfast for long lasting energy.  Secondly, because they are delicious and full of flavor.  Lastly, because they are fast and easy to prepare.  The first day of school is often busy and I don’t have time to cook anything so I love the convenience and ease of the El Monterey Breakfast burritos.

ElMontereyBreakfastBurrito

With the delicious options of Egg & Sausage, Egg & Bacon and Jalapeno, Egg & Cheese breakfast burrito flavors, everyone is able to find one that they love!  (mine favorite is the Jalapeno, Egg & Cheese)

BacktoSchoolPictures4.First day of school photos

I love this part of Back to School.  My kids may not as much, but I love having their first day of school documented so we can remember what they wore, how big they are and the nervous/excited smiles!  I love to take individual pictures of them as well as one of them all together. Each year, I look back at the previous year pictures and I am able to see how much they have grown.  It really is a treasure!

WalktoSchool

5.Walk kids to school

I know not everyone can walk or drive their kids to school but this is so special to me.  I love holding their hands when I walk them to their new classroom.  I love helping them find their new desk and fill it with their school supplies.  I love seeing their nervous smile as I wave goodbye, knowing that they will be okay but still feeling sad and missing them.

ElMontereyBreakfastBurritos

Don’t forget to start your kids first day back to school right with El Monterey Breakfast burritos.  To help your bring your kids the perfect first day of school we have a great giveaway for you!  One lucky reader will win a stack of free product coupons to try El Monterey Breakfast burritos!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Why the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was just what the Doctor ordered. #ALSIceBucketChallenge]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=9873 2014-08-27T04:21:38Z 2014-08-27T04:19:24Z The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is incredible.  In such a short time our Facebook and Twitter feeds turned to ALS.  Our Instagram feeds were full of videos of athletes, families, celebrities and friends taking the challenge and challenging others to do the same. It is amazing the amount of good that social media can bring.  The […]

The post Why the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was just what the Doctor ordered. #ALSIceBucketChallenge appeared first on A Sparkle of Genius.

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Ice Bucket ChallengeThe ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is incredible.  In such a short time our Facebook and Twitter feeds turned to ALS.  Our Instagram feeds were full of videos of athletes, families, celebrities and friends taking the challenge and challenging others to do the same. It is amazing the amount of good that social media can bring.  The more I watch video after video of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge the more I realize that this challenge has done so much good for ALS but also so much good for the world.

Previous to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge my facebook feeds were filled with sadness and depression.  Filled with the death of celebrities, wars, crime and sickness. The contrast of posts once the Ice Bucket Challenge started was amazing. And I was grateful for the change.

What the #ALSIceBucketChallenge did for the world:

Go to Instagram and search #ALSIceBucketChallenge.  There you will find not thousands, not hundreds of thousands but millions of videos and photos from people accepting the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  All these videos have one thing in common. Laughter.  The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought laughter to the world. To millions of people.  In a world where there is sickness, sadness, and heartache, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge showed us that we could laugh. It doesn’t matter if you don’t use enough ice, if your bucket is too small, or if you are wearing a hat.  What matters is that you take a moment to realize that serving is good. Good for yourself and good for others.

Millions of people accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to help others.  They did this and they felt happy.  And they laughed. Millions of people laughed.  Why is this?  Because doing good feels good.

Laughter

What the world did for ALS:

In less than one month over 50 million dollars has been donated to help ALS.  For comparison, last year, in that same time, they received around 2.2 million dollars. And donations are still happening. This is pretty amazing.  Just as important as donations, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge brought awareness to ALS.  I will admit, when I first found out about the ICE Bucket Challenge I had heard about ALS but really had no idea what it was.  I had no idea what the symptoms were, what those with ALS had to live with, and how quickly the symptoms progressed. My eyes were opened to this sad disease and how important Awareness really is.

Educate yourself. Watch the video above. You will learn more about ALS and about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It is important to be AWARE and know why exactly you are pouring ice water over your head. And then consider donating at http://alsa.org/ or to a charity of your choice. Then, if you so desire, dump a bucket of Ice Water over your head and let more people know about his cause. Because doing good feels good. And sharing the word brings awareness.

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Kindness is Magic- Netflix #StreamTeam]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=9908 2014-08-27T04:07:47Z 2014-08-27T04:04:05Z I can’t believe I am saying this, but my kids are already back in school. The summer went so fast and we had so much fun, but I was exciting to send them back to school because they LOVE school.  They love learning, playing, having lunch in the cafeteria and seeing their teacher.  I love […]

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Netflix_Web_Logo-640x296

I can’t believe I am saying this, but my kids are already back in school. The summer went so fast and we had so much fun, but I was exciting to send them back to school because they LOVE school.  They love learning, playing, having lunch in the cafeteria and seeing their teacher.  I love seeing how excited they are to leave in the morning and I love sitting with them after school and hearing all of their stories of how their day went.  I love that they have a love of learning and that they are happy.

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As a mom of four kids, education is very important to me, but learning is important at home as well as at school.  The teachers do a fantastic job and teaching my kids important skills like writing, math, science and history but at home I try my best to teach my kids the skills that they need to get along with each other as well as with their classmates.  The most important skill that they can learn is to be kind.  We try to practice kindness in our home by using kind words, learning how to share and playing together.  So much of learning with kids is by example and I find that when I show kindness by example they treat each other better.

The Kindness Punch Box is a super cute craft that can teach your kids all about being kind.  Your kids will love choosing which box to punch and then doing the kind deed that they uncover.   For full instructions, click the photo.

As parents, we are busy and can’t always be entertaining our kids every second. When my kids are done with their chores, they get to choose show on Netflix to watch.  I love Netflix.  We don’t have cable tv, so we use Netflix to watch shows.  Here are some great titles that your child can watch that can help teach kindness:

12 Netflix Titles to Promote Kindness and Acceptance

For your big kids:

60002332 4116918
Mulan
70220027 2451179
60031265 3882123
70171969 9650290
70143843 3748395

Want even more titles about kindness and acceptance? Our friends at Common Sense Media have shared a list of TV and movie titles that teach empathy - check out the list here.

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And your little ones:

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[The Bouqs Company Desperado bouquet]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=9899 2014-08-27T03:50:09Z 2014-08-27T03:49:32Z  I received the most beautiful rose bouquet from The Bouqs Company for review.  All opinions are my own. I first heard about The Bouqs Company when I was at BlogHer.  Their booth was beautifully decorated with gorgeous flowers.  It was impossible not to stop and smell their roses because they were all stunning.  When they […]

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TheBouqsCompany

 I received the most beautiful rose bouquet from The Bouqs Company for review.  All opinions are my own.

I first heard about The Bouqs Company when I was at BlogHer.  Their booth was beautifully decorated with gorgeous flowers.  It was impossible not to stop and smell their roses because they were all stunning.  When they contacted me for a review I jumped on the opportunity because what girl wouldn’t want a stunning bouquet of flowers delivered to their door.  I chose the Desperado bouquet which is “a beautiful combination of Pink Roses with Purple Dianthus or similar accent flowers.”  While ordering, I was able to select my delivery date and I was very excited when the box shown above was delivered via FedEx.  I didn’t know what to expect because I previously had never received flowers via FedEx. The flowers arrived on time on the selected date and I quickly ran inside to see my beautiful delivery. 

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The first thing that I noticed when opening my flowers was how well they are packed.  There really is no way that these flowers could come damaged because they were very well wrapped and fit perfectly in the box.  I received two dozen flowers and each dozen was wrapped separately.  Their were easy to follow directions to help you know exactly how to take care of your flowers.

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Aren’t they amazing!  I have never received flowers direct from a box that immediately looked so amazing.  Plus, I was spoiled with 28 roses instead of 24.   I chose to put them together to make one very impressive bouquet of flowers which I received lots of compliments on.  I am so impressed by how beautiful the Bouqs bouquets are. Day one they looked incredible.  Day two, even prettier.  Day three… stunning.  And so on!

BouqsFlowers

There are two main things that set The Bouqs Company apart from other flower shops.  First of all your flowers are always a flat fee with shipping included.  I love this because you never have to wonder how much your flowers are going to cost.  In that past I would order from other flowers shops and feel very frustrated with my $40 bouquet of flowers turned into a $60 bouquet when they added fees and shipping.  I love the idea of a flat rate fee.  Plus, I don’t think you can get flowers quite as stunning as those above at such a great rate.

The second way that The Bouqs Company is awesome is because your flowers are delivered to use straight from being cut from the farm.  Depending on the day you selected for delivery, you can receive your flowers 2-4 days after being cut.  How awesome is that!  Other flower shops take 10-14 days from being cut to get to you.  This truly is a great benefit!

The Bouqs Company has a great selection of flowers that you will definitely find the perfect bouquet for everyone you are shopping for. I would recommend upgrading to the Deluxe for only $10 more!  Really is an amazing deal!

Visit The Bouqs Company to shop and see their great selection!

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Homemade Peach Syrup]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=9895 2014-08-27T03:14:55Z 2014-08-27T03:14:55Z Oh my goodness, our farmers market has the most AMAZING peaches right now.  We seriously have been going back and buying a box every Saturday because they are THAT good!  We will be back this Saturday, too!  :) They are so juicy and delicious and just fall off the pit with the most sweet deliciousness! […]

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HomemadePeachSyrup

Oh my goodness, our farmers market has the most AMAZING peaches right now.  We seriously have been going back and buying a box every Saturday because they are THAT good!  We will be back this Saturday, too!  :) They are so juicy and delicious and just fall off the pit with the most sweet deliciousness!  Hold on while I eat a peach….

I love breakfast foods.  We often eat breakfast for dinner because its an easy, fun meal.  We have pancakes and waffles a lot and we almost always eat them with a selection of bananas and berries.  Since we had so many peaches on hand, we decided to give peach waffles a try. Go try them now.  They are delicious.  My husband made Homemade Peach Syrup to go with the waffles and we also cut up peaches to go on top of our waffles.

Homemade Peach Syrup

What you need

Blendtec Blender
1 1/3 cups prepared peaches
3 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 T Pectin
1 cup sugar

Directions
1. Prepare peaches by peeling, pitting and chopping into slices.
2. Blend fruit and lemon juice in your blender.
3. Add fruit mixture to saucepan, slowly add pectin and bring to a boil.
4. Once at a boil that you cant stir down add sugar. Return to rapid boil for 1 minute.
5. Remove from heat and pour into 2 half pint jars. Allow to cool and refrigerate.
6. When using syrup, microwave for 30-45 seconds to warm syrup.
7. Enjoy!!
HomeMadePeachSyrupRecipe

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Make your own Salt Dough]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=9890 2014-08-27T02:47:37Z 2014-08-27T02:47:37Z My kids love playing with play dough but it can be a really expensive hobby for them.  Plus, it always seems like my kids forget to put it away and then its dry and un-usable.  If you make your own Salt Dough its equally as fun for your kids and fast and easy to make. […]

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MakeyourownSaltDough

My kids love playing with play dough but it can be a really expensive hobby for them.  Plus, it always seems like my kids forget to put it away and then its dry and un-usable.  If you make your own Salt Dough its equally as fun for your kids and fast and easy to make. My three oldest kids are in full day school right now so I am always looking for projects to do with my three year old daughter.  This is a fun activity that she spends hours enjoying!
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Make your own Salt Dough

Ingredients
1 Cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4- 1 cup water

Directions
1. Mix all dry ingredients over low heat in saucepan.
2. Very slowly add water. You may not need the full one cup so add slowly until mixture thickens to a soft dough ball.
3. Remove from heat.
4. If you want colored dough, you could knead in koolaid packets at this point.
5. When completely cool knead dough until smooth.
6. Have fun! :)

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