August 28, 2018

Perfect Spots For Family Camping in Connecticut

Perfect Spots For Family Camping In Connecticut

Camping is a favorite past-time all across America including in Connecticut where the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection provides approximately 1400 campsites throughout the entire state, including 38 quaint cabins for your family's enjoyment. With children spending an increasing amount of time with their eyes glued to television and phone screens, a family outdoor adventure may prove to be just what the doctor ordered. While adequate planning is obviously an essential part of any successful and fun-filled camping trip with the family, location is of equal importance. Luckily Connecticut residents are fortunate enough to be surrounded by a host of top-notch family-friendly camping facilities such as the following that will help ensure your first camping trip with the kids in tow is a memorable one.

Mystic KOA Campground – North Stonington
This KOA (Kampgrounds of America) site is situated on a 250-year-old site in Southeast Connecticut and effortlessly combines the best traditional New England has to offer with all the latest family camping conveniences. The family resort with its ancient maple trees and picturesque stone walls provide both Connecticut natives and out-of-state visitors with gorgeous views of rolling hills, breathtaking sunsets and an unlimited amount of crisp, fresh air. If you don't have an RV or aren't quite ready to attempt tented living with the family you can take advantage of the campground's Camping Cabins and Deluxe Cabins while reveling in modern-day amenities such as a sparkling swimming pool, dog park, Wi-Fi facilities and mini golf course. After an exciting day of enjoying everything Mother Nature has to offer, the whole family can partake in Campfire Theatre where employees engage in storytelling and other kid-friendly entertainment around the fire while s'mores are being roasted.

Nelson's Family Campground - East Hampton
The Nelson's Family Campground is located in central Connecticut and has been owned and operated by the Gustine family since back in 1964. The campground is located on 175 acres of scenic land and allows visitors to either bring their own RV or rent one. Apart from regular amenities such as a swimming pool, pool table, basketball, volleyball, hiking and fishing, Nelson's also offers various themed weekends including Bingo Mania, Happy Days and Mad Scientist. If you are looking for a fun-filled family camping experience paired with a hint of nostalgia, Nelson's should undoubtedly top your list of dream destinations.

Nature's Campsites – Voluntown
Tucked away in the Pachaug State Forest, Nature's Campsites offers families the opportunity to enjoy the Connecticut natural scenery at its best. The large campground is covered in soaring pines and boasts access to one of New England's most renowned rivers for family fishing and canoeing. If you bring another family along for your camping trip you can make use of the grounds' group tent sites or you can merely pick a charming spot to park your RV or pitch your tent. The children will love running around under the trees while the entire family will undoubtedly enjoy spending time in the pool or at the playground while also keeping in touch with friends and family back home thanks to the very nifty Wi-Fi hotspots situated around the grounds. The campsite is open from May to October so there is still time to book your weekend away before we bid a sad farewell to summer for the year.

Regardless of where you choose to camp, and how well you plan (or fail to plan), time spent outdoors with your family will undoubtedly be memorable. Enjoy every minute as a family as children grow up so fast and before you know it they will be spending weekends and holidays with their friends instead of the family. Make the memories while you can – they will last you a lifetime.

August 22, 2018

FastAsleep Playard

FastAsleep Playard

Chicco's NEW FastAsleep playard is expertly engineered to simplify both travel and everyday life for parents and their little ones. Designed to be portable and used on-the-go, the FastAsleep requires no assembly thanks to its convenient snap-open set-up. When folded, it's compact and easy to maneuver so it's not a headache for parents to pack or carry along with them. Adding to its convenience for parents, the FastAsleep features zip-and-wash fabrics to ensure clean-up is a breeze.

The FastAsleep is a comfortable play and nap spot for baby, complete with a full-size padded mattress. It also offers parents the versatility of a 2-in-1 changer/napper innovatively designed to flip between the two without any hassle. The changer/napper duo clicks directly into the playard's frame and travels seamlessly as well.

Available online at and in-stores, the FastAsleep retails for $179.99. A GO version, which omits the 2-in-1 changer/napper, is also available for $149.99.

May 8, 2018

5 Ways to Celebrate Mom Without Breaking the Bank

By Brian O'Connell

Mother's Day 2018 spending is expected to remain near record highs, according to the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation.
Mother's Day spending "is expected to total a near-record $23.1 billion this year", according to the NRF. "Additionally, the average American will spend an estimated $180 for Mom's big day, no doubt on pricey niceties like brunches, flowers, and maybe even a shopping spree for the family matron."
"This year's Mother's Day forecast is one of the strongest we've ever seen," notes Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the NRF. "With spring in full bloom, Americans are looking forward to splurging on their mothers and retailers are prepared to offer a variety of options that will allow consumers to find the perfect gift for the occasion."
Yet the fact is that many mothers don't want family members to spend all that cash. Instead, they'd appreciate their loved ones getting creative and getting busy with Mother's Day gifts that are heavy on memorable experiences and lighter on the wallet.
"Some of my favorite Mother's Day memories with my kids were the inexpensive ones," says Allison Radkay, founder of the lifestyle blog, "Come to think of it, most of my Mother's Days were inexpensive when my kids were little. My favorite ways to celebrate were either working in our gardens as a family or taking a day trip to Starved Rock State Park in Illinois."
"Spending those special moments"—for the cost of a tank of gas, a picnic lunch and an ice cream treat—"with my daughters is something I will always cherish, especially now that they are young adults," she adds.

For a frugal and fulfilling Mother's Day this year just like the one Radkay remembers, here are 5 creative ways to give Mom what she really wants—a great holiday experience she'll cherish.

1. Just Show Your Thanks
Instead of heavy doses of cash, say "thank you," says Sarah McVanel, chief recognition officer at Greatness Magnified, a speaking and coaching services firm. "Make it your own, make it surprising, make it unique and make it fun," she says. "Write the 20 reasons you are grateful to your mom, the 15 lessons she taught you—that you're finally ready to admit, your fondest memories of her, or anything else that recognizes in specific, meaningful ways what she means to you."
Simply write a note, post it on Facebook and print it, and film yourself on a video. "You can even ask for submissions from others in your family about why she's an amazing mom and compile it in written, video or picture form," McVanel says.

2. Write a Pure Love Letter
"As a mom who lost her only child four years ago, I can tell you the most precious gifts are memories and love letters from my son," says Roni Lambrecht, an author and speaker based in Castle Rock, Col. "Planning a day full of games at home, such as board games, card games, or outside games, along with cooking together and everyone helping to clean up together are awesome. But the most prized possessions I have now are the words that my son wrote to me."

3. Make Mom a Visual
For less than $10 you can print 50 photos at retail outlets like Walgreens or Walmart, says Alex Cook, co-founder of NanaGram, a photo services company. "Going through photos with your Mom or Grandma is a wonderful activity," Cook notes. "Like vinyl records, the printed photos are amazing conversation pieces. Unlike looking at photos or videos on your phone, printed photos stay with your Mom or Grandma after you go home, on the fridge, in frames, and in albums, and serve as a constant 'I love you' message."

4. Cooking and Cleaning
A lot of moms will appreciate a little help around the house, says Kelan Kline, co-founder of the Savvy Couple blog. "Give her a coupon that she can redeem to clean the bathrooms, kitchen floors, or even her car," Kline says. "Another great Mother's Day idea is planning out a meal and cooking for her."

5. Give to Charity Together
Working together to support a favorite charity is yet another creative way to enjoy Mother's Day. "We offer Mother's Day gift bag that tie to the National Breast Cancer Foundation," says Kelly Anne Parker, founder of Send Ribbon, an online gift shop that gives back to charities via specialized gift bags. "It's two gifts in one and you can start from a budget of $10 to $100 dollars; 50% of the proceeds go to charity."

The takeaway? Mom's want you on Mother's Day—more than they do flowers or plush brunches.

The message is clear, says Denis Devigne, founder of Vidday Media, Inc., a video services company. "They're saying 'please don't buy me anything—I don't need any more stuff," he says. "The truth is, mothers value relationships and experiences over possessions."

This post originally appeared on the Experian blog.

March 29, 2018

Beautiful gifts for the woman in your life

This Spoken by Chamilia collection is really jewelry reinvented through the influence of social media," said Chamilia Vice President, Global Merchandising and Marketing Catherine Ottaviano. "Personalized jewelry ideally lends itself to this lifestyle trend, because it is already a social expression for women. We are simply expanding the options women have to work with when inventing their own jewelry message."

Spoken by Chamilia will launch five Emoji Petites charms, including:
• Chamilia Petite Blowing Kisses Charm—This sterling silver charm with polished finish features a smiling emoticon blowing a kiss (MSRP $25 U.S.).
• Chamilia Petite Smiley Face Charm—This sterling silver charm with polished finish features a smiling emoticon with heart-shaped eyes (MSRP $25 U.S.).
• Chamilia Petite Crying From Laughter Charm—This sterling silver charm with polished finish features a smiling emoticon crying happy tears (MSRP $25 U.S.).
• Chamilia Petite Laughing Out Loud Charm—This sterling silver charm with polished finish features a text bubble silhouette with the letters "LOL" in black enamel (MSRP $25 U.S.).
• Hashtag Chamilia Petite Charm—This sterling silver charm with polished finish features a representation of a hashtag and can be paired with Spoken by Chamilia Initial Petites in any combination for a personalized message (MSRP $25 U.S.).

New earrings in the Emoji Petites collection include:
• Chamilia Petite Smiley Face Stud Earrings—These sterling silver earrings with polished finish feature a smiling emoticon with heart-shaped eyes on a sterling silver post. (MSRP $35 U.S.).
• Chamilia XO Stud Earrings—These sterling silver earrings with bright finish send hugs and kisses in the shape of the letters "xo" in a vertical orientation on a sterling silver post. (MSRP $35 U.S.).
• Chamilia Petite Lips Stud Earrings—These sterling silver earrings with bright finish feature the silhouette of luscious lips on a sterling silver post. (MSRP $35 U.S.).
Chamilia is introducing two new Spoken by Chamilia ID Bangles this season:
• Chamilia YES SI OUI ID Bangle—This 100% recycled sterling silver bangle displays the message "Yes Si Oui" and features Chamilia's iconic hummingbird logo charm. The bangle is available in sizes S/M and M/L in a silver satin finish (MSRP $39 U.S.).

• Chamilia Arrow ID Bangle—This 100% recycled sterling silver bangle features an image of an arrow. The bangle is available in sizes S/M and M/L in silver satin finish (MSRP $39 U.S.), as well as 14 karat yellow gold electroplating over sterling silver (MSRP $xx U.S.), and 14 karat rose gold electroplating over sterling silver (MSRP $59 U.S.).
The brand is introducing one new Spoken by Chamilia sterling silver Soft ID Bracelet:
• Chamilia So Loved Soft ID Bracelet—This sterling silver bracelet with bright finish displays the message "So Loved" along a horizontal oval bar with cutout filigree detailing on both top and bottom of the plaque (MSRP $39 U.S.).

Items from Chamilia's Spoken by Chamilia Spring 2018 collection will be available starting January 14, 2018, and will be sold at the brand's more than 1,000 retail partners worldwide and on the Chamilia website. For more information about the Chamilia brand, please go to

About Chamilia
Based in Cranston, RI, Chamilia is an American company that was established in 2002. Since its purchase in 2013, it has been owned in full by Swarovski, a world leader in quality and innovation. Each of the more than 400 exclusive charms and wide selection of fine jewelry available from the brand are made from .925 sterling silver or 14 karat gold and feature genuine Swarovski Crystals or Zirconia, or Italian Murano Glass. The brand follows strict Swarovski guidelines for quality and aesthetic excellence. For more information, please go to

About Swarovski
Swarovski delivers a diverse product portfolio of unmatched quality, craftsmanship and creativity. Founded in 1895 in Austria, Swarovski Crystal Business designs, manufactures and markets crystals, natural and created gemstones, finished products such as jewelry, accessories and lighting. The company's film division, Swarovski Entertainment, produces artistically accomplished feature films with global box-office appeal. The Swarovski Foundation was set up to honor the philanthropic spirit of the company by supporting creativity and culture, promoting wellbeing and conserving natural resources. Now run by the fifth generation of family members, Swarovski Crystal Business has a global reach, with over 2,350 stores in about 170 countries and more than 25,000 employees,

March 16, 2018

The latest Spring and Summer toys!

The latest from Amloid – a fourth-generation, family-owned toy company that's been making a wide range of fun, innovative and value-driven toys for more than 100 years – include the all-new NextWave™ Jumbo Beach Basket, Aqua Creatures Swim Masks & Squirterz and the Play Day™ Character Beach Basket, all of which are now available at retail. Fun fact: Since 1916, Amloid has sold a whopping one billion beach shovels and pails to date!

For connected, tech-savvy kids, KD Interactive has been making innovative electronic toys for more than 20 years, and is well-known globally for its best-selling Kurio line of kid-safe tablets and smart devices. Perfect to keep children busy and entertained in the backseat or on a flight during summer adventures and travel are the Kurio Watch 2.0 smartwatch for kids and Kurio Snap digital camera!

NextWave™ – Jumbo Beach Basket
Get ready to have tons of fun in the sun with the all-new, totally redesigned NextWave™ Jumbo Beach Basket from Amloid! This bright and colorful activity set is packed with play value with all the accessories kids need to spend hours at the beach or in the sand box with new sand forms and a collection of multifunctional sand tools. New features include a sturdy nylon shoulder strap along with a comfort grip handle for easy on-the-go portability. And the collapsible folding case makes clean up a breeze by shaking out water and sand when its time to go. Plus, the cover detaches from the basket to double as a super-sized animal sand form! Whether little ones are creating cool castles or sculpting masterpieces in the sand, parents will love the quality and value of this Jumbo Beach Basket set from a trusted brand name in Amloid. The 15-piece set comes complete with assorted sea creatures and nautical forms, bucket with handle, castle molds, rake, roller, sand spinner, sifter and shovels in a variety of sizes. Available in 3 styles: Flamingo (pink), Whale (purple) and Shark (teal).
Ages: 2+
MSRP: $14.99
Available: Now @ Sam's Club

Play Day™ – Character Beach Basket
Amloid's newest beach play set packs fun with functionality at an amazing value! The new Play Day™ Character Beach Baskets features a trio of creatures to choose from to take on any adventure: Turtle, Clown Fish or Crab. Children will have a super fun time with the assortment of brightly-colored, durable and essential sand tools to add endless enjoyment to any beach escape. The collapsible folding case cover detaches from the basket to double as a large-sized animal sand form, while the enclosed basket makes clean up a breeze by shaking out water and sand when its time to go. Plus, a comfort grip handle makes for easy on-the-go portability and travel. This 6-piece activity set is the perfect accessory pack to start shaping creations in the sand with a pail, castle mold, shovel and sifter. Available in 3 styles: Turtle (green), Clown Fish (blue) and Crab (red).
Ages: 2+
MSRP: $4.96
Available: Spring 2018 @ Walmart

Aqua Kidz - Aqua Creatures Swim Masks
Take a dive on the wild side and discover the underwater world in a whole new way with the Aqua Creatures Swim Masks from Amloid! Kids can explore their animal alter-egos with a quality mask that will keep their eyes protected and will surely bring loads of fun to pool and water activities. Each version features unique creature characteristics as the shark mask comes complete with a fin on top, realistic eyes and jagged teeth over the lens, while the crocodile mask is decked out in reptile scales, spooky yellow eyes and spikey teeth. The one-size-fits-all mask features an adjustable strap to fit kids ages 5-and-up along with a durable, high-quality kid-safe lens. Available in 3 styles: Crocodile (green), Shark (pink) and Shark (blue)
Ages: 5+
MSRP: $9.97
Available: Spring 2018 @ Walmart

Aqua Kidz - Aqua Creatures Water Squirterz

Talk about a wet and wild sneak attack! With Amloid's Aqua Creatures Water Squirterz, kids will have a blast battling each other to see whose predator is the pack leader. Just place the hand-held launcher under water and squeeze the compression pump to fill it up, then squeeze again to soak your target. Available in ferociously playful shark and crocodile editions, each squirterz can launch a steady stream of water up to 10 feet! Whether outside in a pool or inside in a bath, the Aqua Creatures Squirterz will take the fun to a whole new level. The one-size-fits-all squirterz are the perfect accessory to add to any water toy box this spring. Available in 3 styles: Crocodile (green), Shark (pink) and Shark (blue)

Ages: 5+
MSRP: $7.68
Available: Spring 2018 @ Walmart

Kurio Watch 2.0
The next generation of The Ultimate Smartwatch Built for Kids is here – Kurio Watch 2.0+! Now comes with two (2) interchangeable bands to match your style, including a bonus band that changes color right on your wrist! The front-facing camera is perfect for selfies and recording videos—make a silly face or add to the fun with photo filters & frames, then customize the watch face with your photo! Play the included single and two-player games on one watch, or connect two watches together via Bluetooth, plus motion-sensitive games that get kids moving! Message friends via Bluetooth to share texts, emojis, selfies, doodles and voice recordings with other Kurio Watches & Android devices. Plus, everything you need in a smartwatch – activity tracker, music player, alarm/stopwatch, calculator, calendar and so much more. Connect to a parent's smartphone via Bluetooth as a hands-free way to make and take calls. With scratch resistant and splash proof protection, plus an "In Case of an Emergency" (I.C.E.) app where parents can enter their child's medical and contact information.
Ages: 6+
MSRP: $59.99
Available: Now @ Amazon

Kurio Snap
Kurio Snap is the ultimate digital camera built especially for kids that makes it simple to snap, edit and share fun photos and videos. A swivel camera lens easily switches from regular camera mode to taking selfies and YouTube-style videos, so kids will never miss the perfect shot. The large touch screen makes photo editing easy, and kids can use more than 100 fun photo filters, frames and stickers to personalize every picture. Create fun slideshows and even add your own custom soundtrack or sound effects. Safely share photos and videos with friends and family over Wi-Fi using the free Kurio Snap app (Snap to Snap or compatible with both iOS and Android devices). Or print your custom creations to give them out using the included USB cable (subject to printer compatibility). Kurio Snap also comes pre-loaded with fun games where you can be the star – just snap a selfie and you're in the game! A splashproof bumper protects the device from drops and spills, and a wrist strap makes it easy to carry.
Ages: 4+
MSRP: $69.99
Available: Now @ Amazon

February 8, 2018

Not all Spices are created equal

Whether this year your culinary debut or you're a seasoned chef looking for a fresh take on some seasonal favorites, you can take some notes from the pros. Every good chef has an arsenal of tricks and techniques to create amazing dishes every time, and the perfect blend of spices is one of those winning secrets.
Spice Islands®, the 75 year plus seasoning brand allows home cooks and master chefs to explore and share new flavors, recipes and cuisines. The Spice Islands® line of premium seasonings ensures that the highest quality flavors are always added to dishes. With the exciting array of spices sourced from across the globe, Spice Islands® opens your kitchen to an international world of possibilities.
Spice Islands® recognizes that not all spices are created equal. Spice Islands® buys many spices whole and then mills them in its facility to release their rich flavors and capture them in each bottle. Spice Islands® premium spices and seasonings adhere to strict specifications to ensure high volatile oil levels, meaning a higher quality and more flavorful product. From cultivating long term relationships with farmers throughout the world, to handpicking many of the spices, to maintaining traditions of drying many of the herbs and spices in the sun - tender care is put into each harvest to ensure the highest quality product.
Some stand outs from the Spice Islands® line up sourced from all over the world include:
Pumpkin Pie Spice – A warmly sweet blend of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, mace and cloves, Spice Islands® pumpkin pie spice captures the quintessential flavor of pumpkin pie. Not only does it give pumpkin pie a premium twist, but it can also be added to pancakes, apples or to make delicious seasonal drinks. (See Pumpkin Pie recipe, below.)

Dill Weed—Spice Islands® Dill Weed looks different than others as we wait until the plant blooms before harvesting. This is when the plant reaches its peak in flavor and why you'll see little yellow flower buds in each bottle
Bay Leaves—Spice Islands® sources a unique genus of Bay Leaf with a vibrant look and even more vibrant flavor than other burnt bay leaves in the market
Cumin— Spice Islands® cryogenically freezes Cumin Seed before milling to capture every bit of flavor for the finished product
Garlic Powder—Spice Islands® grinds Garlic to a true powder to release more flavor, unlike many Garlic Powders on the market that are really granulated and add grit to recipes, Spice Islands® Garlic Powder has the consistency of flour and incorporates easily into recipes
Saigon Cinnamon—Sourced from a different region than other cinnamons on the market, Spice Islands® Saigon Cinnamon has a red-hot candy flavor rather than the subtle woody flavor of traditional cinnamon
Turmeric—A hot trending spice due to its many great qualities, Turmeric is from the Ginger family and can be added to diets in numerous ways, including sprinkled on eggs, added to shakes, or as the star of our Golden Milk Latte recipe
These spices join the full line that includes Black and White Pepper, Capsicums, Rosemary, Thyme, Marjoram, Sage, Oregano, Basil, Parsley and more.
"Spice Islands® brings premium spices to another level," Says Julie Gould, Brand Manager. "We search the world for spices and herbs of the highest quality. Then we craft and package them to deliver the most authentic and intense flavor possible. Our line of premium spices helps give consumers the confidence they need to allow them to explore more in the kitchen. Our spices make a difference."

From the appetizers to the main dish to dessert, flavorful seasonings can make a good recipe great. Find more ideas for spicing up your holiday menu at

Cranberry Apple Chutney
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 45 minutes
Yield: 2 cups

1 bag (12 ounces) fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup water
2 large apples, cored and chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup finely chopped onion
2/3 cup golden raisins
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Spice Islands Minced Garlic
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Allspice
1/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Saigon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Cloves
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup chopped pecans

In large saucepan, combine cranberries, water, apples, sugar, onion, raisins, ginger, garlic, salt, allspice, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; cover, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes. Add corn syrup, vinegar and pecans. Cook uncovered 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Serve with lamb chops, roast turkey, pork roast or baked ham.

Butternut Squash Soup with Thyme Butter
Prep time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon Spice Islands Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Spice Islands Cayenne Pepper
3 pounds (about 7 cups) butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 medium cooking apples, peeled, cored, coarsely chopped
2 small onions, coarsely chopped
2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands Thyme
1/2 teaspoon Spice Islands Garlic Powder

Heat oven to 425 F.

In large bowl, combine oil, ginger and cayenne pepper. Add squash, apples and onions; toss to coat. Transfer to 15-by-10-inch baking pan. Roast in single layer 35-45 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven.

Working in batches, combine squash mixture and chicken broth in blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Transfer pureed mixture to large saucepan. Stir in remaining chicken broth and water. Bring soup to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.

Combine butter, thyme and garlic powder until well blended. Spoon onto wax paper and roll into 3-inch log; wrap tightly and refrigerate until firm.

To serve, cut butter into thin slices. Ladle hot soup into individual bowls; top each with slice of butter.

Tip: Puree can be made in advance, covered and refrigerated up to 2 days.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Yield: 18 mini cheesecakes

18 paper baking cups (2 1/2 inch diameter)
18 gingersnap cookies
12 ounces cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon corn starch
1 teaspoon Spice Islands Pumpkin Pie Spice
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup light corn syrup

Heat oven to 325 F. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups. Place 1 cookie in each cup.

With electric mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, corn starch and pumpkin pie spice. Add eggs and mix well. Add pumpkin and corn syrup; beat 1 minute.

Pour filling into liners, dividing evenly. Bake 30-35 minutes until just set.
Chill 1 hour.

For more recipes, visit

About B&G Foods, Inc.
B&G Foods and its subsidiaries manufacture, sell and distribute a diversified portfolio of high-quality, branded shelf-stable and frozen foods across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Based in Parsippany, New Jersey, B&G Foods' products are marketed under many recognized brands, including Ac'cent, B&G, B&M, Baker's Joy, Bear Creek Country Kitchens, Brer Rabbit, Canoleo, Cary's, Cream of Rice, Cream of Wheat, Devonsheer, Don Pepino, Emeril's, Grandma's Molasses, Green Giant, JJ Flats, Joan of Arc,Las Palmas, Le Sueur, MacDonald's, Mama Mary's, Maple Grove Farms, Molly McButter, Mrs. Dash, New York Flatbreads, New York Style, Old London, Original Tings, Ortega, Pirate's Booty, Polaner, Red Devil, Regina, Sa-són, Sclafani, Smart Puffs, Spring Tree, Sugar Twin, Trappey's, TrueNorth, Underwood, Vermont Maid, Wright's and now, Durkee, Spice Islands, Tone's and Weber. B&G Foods also sells and distributes Static Guard, a household product brand.

January 22, 2018

Preparing for the IEP Meeting; Tips to Help Parents of Children Coping with Special Needs

Preparing for the IEP Meeting: Tips to Help Parents of Children Coping with Special Needs
Episcopal Center for Children, a Treatment and Special Education Center, Offers Advice for Families

One of the most stressful experiences many parents or guardians of children coping with special needs face, is going to a meeting about their child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This plan is very important because it outlines goals for the child’s education and treatment, and it guides how services will be provided. An IEP is created by a team and reviewed at a minimum annually at an IEP meeting.

“These meetings are very important because the IEP guides how the child will be educated and outlines goals for the child, interventions, and any accommodations and services that will be provided,” said Dodd White, president and CEO of the Episcopal Center for Children (ECC), a nonprofit organization providing therapeutic and special education services to children ages 5-14 in the greater Washington, DC area,

“It’s important to review IEP meeting documents in advance before the meeting,” said White. “An IEP meeting brings together the entire IEP team assisting your child – educators, treatment providers, parents, the Local Education Agency (LEA) representative and others. The parent(s)/guardian(s) is an important part of that team. You are an advocate for your child,” said White. He offers the following tips to help parents or guardians preparing for an IEP meeting:

Tip #1 – Confirm meeting attendance. At least 10 days before an IEP meeting, you should receive a letter of invitation. As soon as possible, RSVP for the meeting in writing. Inform the school if you will attend the meeting in person or by phone. If you are not available to attend the meeting at all, propose alternative dates and times, even locations.

Tip #2 – Review draft documents before the meeting. At least 5 business days before the meeting, you should receive drafts of the documents (e.g., IEP, Behavior Intervention Plan, evaluations) to be discussed during the IEP meeting. Take time to review these documents before the meeting.

Tip #3 – Carefully review draft documents and write down your questions and notes. Make sure you understand your child’s diagnosis. Ask for clarification of education or treatment jargon if needed. Goals and objectives should be clear. Make sure you understand start date(s), how long services are offered, and the procedures involved. If your child is not progressing toward a goal as you had hoped, ask how this will be addressed, or if a goal should be revised. If you want more frequent updates on progress during the school year, you can request additional updates. If you think something else might help your child, come prepared to discuss it. Write down any proposed changes to the IEP and any information you would like to add.

Tip #4 – Invite additional people to the IEP meeting if you want them there and think they can contribute. An IEP meeting takes a “team” approach to helping your child. Take the initiative to invite individuals who have relevant knowledge or expertise regarding your child (such as, family members, coaches, community support workers, social workers, attorneys, advocates, etc.). Let the school team know additional people will attend the meeting.

Tip #5 – Strive to build a healthy working relationship with the school, treatment providers, and the entire IEP team. Developing healthy and professional relationships with the school and treatment providers can help your child. Be open to discussing issues promptly, directly, honestly and courteously.  Ask questions and listen carefully to answers. This will allow you to respond appropriately and avoid misunderstandings.

About the Episcopal Center for Children
The Episcopal Center for Children (Center) is a nonprofit, nondenominational school and treatment program for children contending with emotional challenges from the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Accredited by the Joint Commission, the Center serves children who are 5-14 years old in grades K-8. The goal of the Center’s treatment, therapeutic milieu, and individualized special education program is to empower each child to function productively within his or her family and community. Building on strengths within children, the Center partners with families in treatment and focuses on enabling its students to access and become their best possible selves. More information is available at and on Twitter and Facebook @ECCofDC.

January 16, 2018


valentine's day 2018


This season, Chamilia (, a Swarovski company, will feature three new charms and two fun-loving gifts sets for Valentine’s Day 2018. The entire Chamilia line is made from sterling silver or 14 karat gold and features genuine Swarovski Crystals and Swarovski Zirconia. The brand follows strict Swarovski guidelines for quality and aesthetic standards.

“The theme for 2018 is ‘Let’s not take style so seriously,’” said Chamilia Vice President, Global Merchandising and Marketing Catherine Ottaviano. “The Chamilia woman is celebrating herself and choosing jewelry that is as special as her life is. Our Valentine’s Day product offerings this year are our ‘hugs and kisses’ to her.”

The Chamilia Valentine’s Day 2018 Collection will be available starting January 14, 2018 and will be sold at the brand’s more than 2,000 retail partners worldwide and on the Chamilia website. For more information about the Chamilia brand, please go to

January 10, 2018

Disney on Ice - XL Center

Discover the full story of Disney’s Frozen like never before at Disney On Ice presents Frozen! Be a part of Anna’s adventure to find her sister, Queen Elsa, whose icy powers trapped the kingdom in an eternal winter. Join Olaf, Kristoff and Sven as they encounter wintry conditions and mystical trolls in a race to bring back summer. Hosted by Mickey and Minnie, your whole family will sing along to unforgettable music and be delighted with special appearances by the Disney Princesses, Woody, Buzz, Dory and more. Experience magic at every turn and create memories to last a lifetime at Disney On Ice presents Frozen - the show worth melting for!

November 8, 2017

4 Ways To Inspire Kids To Turn Off Electronics and Turn On Their Creativity

4 Ways To Inspire Kids To Turn Off 
Electronics And Turn On Their Creativity

Children love their electronic devices.

Television, video games, cellphones and laptops keep them occupied for hours, in some cases acting as live-in babysitters while parents finish chores or just relax.

But while all those devices have their advantages, they also can stifle creativity as children become absorbed in what’s happening inside those screens instead of exploring the real world and letting their imaginations soar. 

There are ways to turn that around, though, and get the creative juices flowing in those young minds, says Colleen Miller, a veteran teacher with 15 years of fulltime and substitute experience in both elementary and middle schools.

“You can always just tell a child to put down the electronic device, but a much better strategy is to give them something else to do,” says Miller, who also is the mother of two teenage sons. “If you can provide an alternative the child can get excited about, then you’ll have a better chance of avoiding those battles over electronics.”

One option for young children is toys that require a little artistic inspiration, she says, such as Legos, the popular plastic building bricks, or Magic Sketch, which allows children to doodle or draw on a liquid-crystal-display screen, then clear their work with a push of a button to start over.

This is especially important with children just returning to school after the summer break because many of them may not have kept their brains as sharp as they should have during that time off, Miller says. Being creative helps children develop mentally, emotionally and socially, aiding them in becoming better students.   

Miller says there are a number of ways parents can help inspire children to embrace their creative side, including:

•    Spend time in nature. Head to a park and spend a little time on a hiking trail, checking out the plants and the animals, then suggest the children write about the experience or draw something they saw along the way. They could even take along a drawing pad, a Magic Sketch or something similar and draw while they are there.

•    Use holidays as inspiration. Children love holidays, so suggest they draw a picture related to whatever holiday is coming up or create a homemade decoration. Either option can stimulate their creativity.

•    Be supportive, not critical. This is not the time to play art critic or literary reviewer, Miller says. Let this just be fun and give them freedom with their imagination. If they want to color grass orange or put polka dots on a dolphin, let them. Remind them that’s it’s OK to make a mistake. Plus, with a Lego creation, a Magic Sketch drawing or a construction-paper decoration, they can always just start over. 

•    Let them choose their passion. Sometimes parents are too insistent that their children learn piano, take ballet lessons or become involved in an activity that the parent is sure will be fun, Miller says. “Giving children the opportunity to try many things is great,” she says, “but make sure you let them have the final say on what it is they are passionate about.”  

“Children don’t need to give up their electronic devices completely,” Miller says. “But it’s important to put some limits so they also have time to devote to reading, climbing a tree in the backyard or drawing a picture. They need the opportunity to unleash their creative potential.”

About Colleen Miller
Colleen Miller, a veteran teacher and mother of two teenage sons, serves as a national spokeswoman for Magic Sketch, ( which uses a liquid-crystal-display screen that children can doodle, draw, sketch and trace on just like pen on paper. Small children can also use the board to learn their letters and numbers. Miller worked as a fulltime sixth-grade teacher for nine years, and has been a substitute teacher for grades 2 through 8 for the last six years. 

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