This Is Where I Leave You In Theaters September 19



Fabgrandpa and I have not been to many movies in the last few years. As a matter of fact, I can not remember the last one we went out to see. However, for some reason, I am really looking forward to This Is Where I Leave You coming out in theaters, and hope that we can get to a theater to see it. The story line just speaks to me:

When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens. Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide—driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.

This Is Where I Leave You stars Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Rose Byrne, Corey Stoll, Kathryn Hahn, Connie Britton, Timothy Olyphant, Dax Shepard and Jane Fonda

It could be because of the plot, or because of the many actors in the movie, both new and old, that I like to see on the screen. Jason Bateman and Adam Driver are two of my favorites!

One lucky reader of is going to win a prize pack for This Is Where I Leave You. The prize includes a $25 gift card, and a copy of the novel “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper, that the movie is based on.

Win this prize pack!

Win this prize pack!


Meet Julius Jr. At A Simon Mall Near You! Also, A Giveaway

kidgets club julius jr

The Simon Kidgits Club is a fun and informative program that focuses on health, wellness, education, safety and entertainment for children ages 3-8. The Simon Kidgits Club has kept children and parents alike amused for over a decade with various events and activities while providing incentives for club members, such as special offers, rewards and games. For more information about the Simon Kidgits Club and Back-to-School events, visit

Kids can get creative while making character masks to wear for a ‘Julius Jr. and friends’ photo opportunity. They will also have the chance to dance and sing along in the viewing area with screenings of an upcoming episode and Julius Jr. music videos. At the following location everyone’s favorite monkey, Julius Jr. himself, will be stopping by to meet and interact with kids as well! Check here to see if there is a Simon Kidgit Club and Julius Jr. Mall Tour appearance in your area!

Even if there is not an opportunity to meet Julius Jr. in your area, your kid can still win a gift basket of Julius Jr. toys, a Julius Jr. book as well as other items for DIY activities. Use the Giveaway Tools form to enter!

East Alabama Wine, Art & Cheese Festival, Heflin, Alabama

The East Alabama Wine, Art & Cheese Festival is in Heflin

The East Alabama Wine, Art & Cheese Festival is in Heflin

My sister and I went to the East Alabama Wine, Art, & Cheese Festival last weekend. It was held at Smith Farms Store, at exit 205 off I-20 west in Heflin, Alabama. Admission to the festival was free, but the tickets to the tasting were $25 at the gate. We were given free tickets to the tasting in exchange for this post.

Smith Farms Store sign. You see it when you get off at the exit.

Smith Farms Store sign. You see it when you get off at the exit.

The Smith Farms Store has been in business since 1955. The sell smoked meats, cheese, candy, jams, jellies, imported beer & wines, and spices and sauces.

Inside Smith Farms Store

Inside Smith Farms Store

Their advertising says it is the home of the best smoked meat, wine, and cheese. You can see more about the store at their facebook page.

Bamawise had products for tasting from Holmsted Finest; Merry Cheese Crackers; and Pickled Pink

Bamawise had products for tasting from Holmsted Finest; Merry Cheese Crackers; and Pickled Pink

There were several tasting booths at the festival. One of the first ones Linda and I stopped at was Bamawise. Bamawise is a specialty food supplier that believes products made in Alabama are the best available. They represent some of the finest products from small businesses from all over Alabama. We tasted some Peach Chutney from Holmsted Finest; some Watermelon Pickles from Pickled Pink; and some Cheese Cookies from Merry Cheese Crisps. We talked for a few minutes with Patrick Davis, who is one of the owners of Bamawise. He said they help individuals with a good recipe or idea for a product get it produced and into stores so they can make money. With this arrangement, the small producers can focus on their products, while Bamawise helps them get sales. It’s a win win partnership. All of the products we tasted were very good.

Patrick Davis and his partner

Patrick Davis and his partner

Next, Linda and I went on to what we went for–the WINE! And, there was plenty of that. We tasted wines imported from Italy, wines made in California, and wines made in Alabama. All were good, and I would have bought a bottle of each one I tasted if I had had a pocket full of money, but alas, I did not. So, here are the ones we tried and loved:

From World Wine Imports: Mango Moscato Premio Italy: An aromatic Sweet sparkling wine with natural mango flavors.  A very sweet, bubbly wine that I loved. But then I love sweet wines.

There was plenty of wine to taste

There was plenty of wine to taste. This group had a Riesling and a red wine, Gemini.

I also like a good Riesling, which is a white, sweet, bubbly wine. Can you see a pattern here? My sister and I both tried the Northport Gemini, because we are both Gemini’s. It was good for a red wine.

Jules J. Berta Winery from Albertville, Alabama. They have the Smith Farms, SF label on their wine.

Jules J. Berta Winery from Albertville, Alabama. They have the Smith Farms, SF label on their wine.

We talked to Jules from Jules J. Berta Winery in Albertbille, Alabama. They had many varieties of wine available for tasting. Jules, show in the blue shirt above, said the winery has been in his family for over two hundred years. He and his wife, Becky were representing the winery at the festival. I tried their Riesling and loved it. We may go to Albertville for a tour.

The last booth we stopped at was for the Fruithurst Winery. This winery is just a few miles from my house, and I will be going there for a tour soon. I met Joshua and Dylan Laminack who own the winery and make the wine. They were fun to talk to, and posed for a picture for me:

Joshua and Dylan Laminack of Fruithurst Winery

Joshua and Dylan Laminack of Fruithurst Winery

Their wine offerings include several Muscadine wines, Blueberry, Peach, Strawberry, Blush and Blackberry wines. I tried the Sweet White Muscadine and it was so delicious. It tasted just like white muscadine grapes picked from the vine.

All of the wines, cheeses, and other treats we tried at the East Alabama Wine, Art, and Cheese Festival are for sale at Smith Farms Store in Heflin and Cullman, Alabama. For more information:

Smith Farms Store in Cullman, Alabama is located at 1-65 Exit 308  256-737-0505

Smith Farms Store in Heflin, Alabama is located at 1-20 Exit 205    256-463-4400

Oh! I did bring home one bottle:

Moscato D'Asti Viva Italy, a sweet fresh wine low in alcohol and considered a great dessert wine.

Moscato D’Asti Viva Italy, a sweet fresh wine low in alcohol and considered a great dessert wine.

Depend Protects From Light Bladder Leakage #underwareness #dropyourpants

Many thanks to Depend for sponsoring this post, and encouraging people to #dropyourpants for #underwareness.

Hi, my name is Karen, and I used to have a bladder leakage problem. When I was about thirty five years old, my body started protesting, randomly just falling apart. It was at that age that the birthing of big babies (10 lb 8 oz; 8 lb 6 oz; and 8 lb 4 oz) caught up with me and I started having a problem with a leaking bladder. If I laughed, or sneezed, or coughed, I wet my pants. And the floor. Or the chair. I had to keep a towel on my seat in the car. It was embarrassing. I had no idea what to wear for bladder leakage. It was normal for me to change my pants several times a day, every day.


My “behind”. It’s not wet back there! Did you REALLY think I was gonna #dropyourpants”

A few years later, I had surgery, and part of that surgery included a bladder tack. That cured my leakage problem, but for someone, man or woman, who has a light problem, that would be a pretty drastic solution. Thank goodness that Depend products can be used for bladder leakage protection. Depend makes a variety of descreet products for both men and women, that help people just like you, to regain their freedom and get their lives back.


Depend Underwear with Fit-Flex protection: Features more Lycra stands for a smooth and comfortable close-to-the-body fit.


Depend is an incontinence protection product, made for both men and women who suffer from light bladder leakage. If you are looking for a product that will let you live your life, without having to depend on being able to change your pants several times a day like I used to do, then this is the one you have been looking for.

To help spread “#Underwareness” , Depend is supporting the ” #DropYourPants” movement. Depend will donate $1, up to $3 million, over the next three years to charities that advance the research, education and awareness of bladder leakage for:

-Every pant drop, photo and video shared Using #Underwareness and #DropYourPants; and
-Every personal video made about what Underwareness means to you that is uploaded to YouTube and tagged #Underwareness and #DropYourPants.

What is your #Underwareness story? Do you plan to #DropYourPants to support #Underwareness? Have you ever tried Depend undergarments? Visit the #Underwareness landing page to join the movement and request free samples of Depend.

Fabgrandpa’s MOHS Surgery

Fabgrandpa and I in 2010

Fabgrandpa and I in 2010

This photo of us was taken in 2010. Looking at this photo, I think I can see the first skin cancer even then, on the right side of his nose. A spot just a little darker than the rest of his nose. Maybe I’m just imagining it, because I know where it appeared first. He had the first basal cell cancer removed at the VA in Prescott Arizona on July 1, 2011.

mohs surgery for skin cancer

At Mellow Mushroom in June 2014

Several months ago, we both noticed another place on his nose, this time on the bridge right in the middle. I asked him to go to the VA to get it checked out, but he said it was just a pimple. You can see it in the photo above. And yes, it did seem to go away, and come back, then go away again, several times. A couple of weeks ago, he had an appointment with a dermatologist at the VA in Birmingham. They did a biopsy on three spots, and all three came back as cancerous. There were two basal cell carcinomas and one squamous cell carcinoma, in a cluster on Fabgrandpa’s nose.

excellent cancer treatment at the kirklin center in birmingham

The Kirklin Clinic

Fabgrandpa was referred to The Kirklin Clinic in Birmingham by the VA, because the VA did not have anyone on their staff who could do the MOHS surgery that was needed. We did not know anything at all about The Kirklin Clinic, but it turns out that it is one of the best cancer treatment clinics in the southeast. This is from their website:

With over 257 exam rooms and many nationally-ranked specialties, the Clinic’s staff combines clinical care with teaching and research to produce an environment that is in the best interest of the patient. In order to tailor our treatments to our patients and families’ needs, we collaborate and communicate with them to provide them with the ultimate patient experience and highest quality care

When we were checking in to our hotel on Sunday night, there was another couple checking in at the same time. She has breast cancer, and was referred by her doctor in Florida to the Kirklin Clinic. So, we felt that we were in good hands there.

Waiting to be called back for his surgery.

Waiting to be called back for his surgery.

On Monday, we took the hotel shuttle over to the clinic. We found out first hand that they really do take the patient’s best interests into consideration. There were four doctors, two of whom were students, and three nurses assigned to Mr. Fabgrandpa. They welcomed me to stay in the room while they operated, and must have asked me a dozen times if they could get me anything. They brought coffee and snacks, and still asked if there was anything they could do for us.

Dressed for the occasion

Dressed for the occasion

They got Fabgrandpa suited up in his open backed gown and on the table, then drew some lines and dots on his nose where they would be operating. Next, they started the anesthesia, which was shots into his nose. They did all they could to make sure it hurt as little as possible.

basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma

Ready for surgery to start

Dr. Huang was the doctor in charge. He and the other doctors perfomed MOHS surgery, which is “accepted as the single most effective technique for removing Basal Cell Carcinoma and Squamous Cell Carcinoma (BCCs and SCCs), the two most common skin cancers.” (from Skin website). In MOHS surgery, tissue samples are sent to the lab during the surgery, not after. The surgeon can know for sure that they have removed enough tissue right there while they have the patient on the table. Unfortunately, Fabgrandpa’s lesions were deep, so they had to take a lot of tissue to get all of the cancerous ones. Then, they had to take skin from his upper chest to make a skin graft to close the two largest wounds.

mohs surgery for skin cancer

He was still smiling though it all.

Those skin patches will never match the color of his nose, but they look a lot better than the deep wounds that were there. When it heals, it will be just another sign of victory over cancer, and that is what counts for me.

If you suspect that you have a skin cancer, don’t wait to get it treated. There is a whopping 97% to 99.5% cure rate for basal cell and squamous cell skin cancer when treated with MOHS surgery.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends that everyone practice monthly head-to-toe self examination of  their skin, so that they can find any new or changing lesions that might be cancerous or precancerous. Skin cancers found and removed early are almost always curable. Learn about the warnings signs of skin cancer and what to look for during a self examination. If you spot anything suspicious, see a doctor.

Because someone loves your cute little nose (or your big ol snozz!), do it!

Friday Product Roundup

It’s Friday again, and time to talk about some products that I received this week. I have some good stuff here! I received samples of each of these from the company so that I could use them and talk about them. These range from heartburn relief to a childrens’ book, to vanilla. Let’s get started!

Relief OTC

relief otc

Did you know that 40% of the population of the U.S. suffers from heartburn at least once a month? Does heartburn increase as you age? Are men or women more likely to suffer from heartburn? Whether you or your doctor call it hearburn, GERD, esophageal reflux, it still has the same uneasy, burning sensation in your throat and chest. When it happens, you feel like you can’t get relief fast enough.

Relief OTC is a new, liquid over the counter solution for heartburn relief. It is a drinkable clear liquid that does not leave you with a chalky aftertaste. It works as quickly as you can drink it, for immediate relief of heartburn pain.

The active ingredients in Relief OTC neutralize acid quickly to provide fast relief. Relief OTC does not contain aspirin, gluten, or aluminum. It is recommended that you check with your doctor before taking Relief OTC if you are taking other medications or are pregnant, and it is not recommended for children under 12 years old.

Active Indgredients:

  • Each 2 oz. dose contains: calcium 109mg

  • Each 2 oz. dose contains: potassium 177mg

  • Each 2 oz. dose contains: sodium 320mg

  • Store below 86°F (30°C)

Inactive ingredients: magnesium hydroxide, methyl paraben, natural flavors, propyl paraben, purified water, sucralose

Gluten Free

Distributed by: Tummy Company, Inc, Phoenix, AZ 85054 USA

For more information, check the Relief OTC website, or their Facebook page.

Relief OTC products are available at most chain pharmacy stores, and at


Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract

nielsen massey vanilla extract

Nielsen Massey Madagascar Vanilla

Nielsen-Massey has been producing the finest vanilla extracts since 1907. The found, Richard Massey, partnered with Charles Nielsen, and the company is still family owned by the third generation of Nielsens today. They take pride in manufacturing only the highest quality extracts for consumer, industrial, and culinary customers.

In addition to Madagascar Vanilla Extract, Nielsen-Massey also produces Organic Madagascar Vanilla Extract, Mexican Pure Vanilla, Tahitian Pure Vanilla, Pure Vanilla Extract, vanilla pastes, powders, and sugars, and whole vanilla beans.

You will be amazed at the difference in flavor of Nielsen-Massey Vanilla and that of other brands. I have used the Madagascar Vanilla Extract as a flavor enhancer in my chili recipe, and my husband has always remarked on how good the chili was, but he couldn’t put his finger on what was different about it. It just IS better.

Other extract flavors include Pure Almond, Pure Chocolate, Pure Coffee, Pure Lemon, Pure Orange, Pure Peppermint, and Orange Blossom Water and Rose Water.

To find out more about the company, their products, and where to buy them,  visit the Nielsen-Massey website. You can also purchase their products on

A Bucket Of Blessings

A Bucket Of Blessings

A Bucket Of Blessings

If you have children ages 4-8,  “A Bucket of Blessings” is a very cute story to teach them determination, and what it means to be a blessing.

this storybook is the perfect way to teach young children about the environment as well as a valuable lesson on determination.

Beautifully illustrated and simply narrated, A Bucket of Blessings tells the story of Monkey in his quest to resolve a drought by helping peacock perform a rain dance. The tale reminds readers that with perseverance and positive thinking anything is possible and helps families recognize that, as Dr. Maya Angelou expresses in her beautifully crafted Afterword, “it is a blessing to be a blessing.”

In addition to a good story for children, the mother & son authors of the book, Surishtha Sehgal and Kabir Sehgal, are donating a portion of the proceeds to charity: water, an organization that provides clean drinking water to communities in developing nations. You can purchase A Bucket of Blessings at Simon& Schuster, or at

By Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Seghal, illustrated by Jing Jing Tsong  $16.99  ISBN: 9781442458703

Cookies Con Amore

cookies con amore

Cookies Con Amore Gluten Free Assortment

If you eat a gluten free diet, and are looking for some really special cookies for a gift or a just as a treat for yourself, then you need to get some of these Italian cookies from Cookies Con Amore!  It is hard to find the words to describe these cookies. Perfect. Delicious. Scrumptious. Do I need to go on? The assortment package contains all of these varieties of cookies:

Our gluten-free biscotti are made with a special blend of wheat-free flours. They are crumbly and crunchy rather than hard, making them edible without the need to dunk them in coffee (not that we don’t enjoy dunking!).

The Ricciarelli is a traditional Tuscan wedding cookie that combines orange with almond flavors. Finely ground almonds and whipped egg whites form the base of this cookie. We add sweetened orange peel, fragrant orange zest and fresh almonds to provide a flavor that lingers lightly on one’s palate.

We use a special gluten-free cake flour to give this traditional and much loved cookie a softness with a touch of crunch. Lemon zest tempers the sweetness of the sugar (nothing tempers a grandma’s sweetness!).

Made of corn flour, then rolled with raspberry jam for a crispy and slightly sweet treat. One of our most popular gluten-free delights, this traditional Tuscan recipe is naturally gluten-free because the cookie is made with polenta rather than wheat.

Our gluten-free version of our popular sesame and lemon flavored Regina has a rich, buttery flavor and crunchy texture.

Amaretti are delicious, chewy almond macaroons made without flour. We use fresh almonds, almond and macaroon paste and almond extract to give our amaretti a full and complex almond flavor. Legend has it that a bishop from Milan paid a visit to the town of Saronno in Lombardy where a young couple presented him with some of their homemade almond macaroons. The bishop was so taken with the flavor of the cookies that he blessed the couple with a happy marriage and the cookies became a local favorite.

Raspberry Linzer Cookies
Gluten-free flour and butter batter combines with fresh lemon peel for brightness and extracts of vanilla and almond for their mellowing qualities.
After a light dusting of confectioners sugar, we add a dollop of raspberry jelly for a festive, slightly tart treat that is traditional for special events such as birthdays, weddings and Christmas.

Every country has their own version of the wedding cookie. Our melt-in-your-mouth Wedding Cookies are unquestionably Italian with their lemon zest. But we’ve made the flavor more delicate by using fresh ground pecans rather than almonds in the shortbread.
When the cookies come out of the oven, we dust them with confectioners sugar making them as white as a bride’s dress and as light as her step towards her beloved.

Our gluten-free Cuccidati are tender butter cookies filled with figs, dates, raisins and chocolate chips. We love Cuccidati cookies so much that we made this gluten-free version so that everyone can enjoy them.
These cookies hail from Sicily where virtually every family has a fig tree in the backyard and winter evenings are spent by the fire enjoying seasonal dried fruits and nuts.

If I had to pick my favorite from the assortment, it would have to be the Raspberry Linzer Cookies. They have a “thumbprint” filled with raspberry filling that is soooo good. I also loved the Wedding Cookies. Whatever your favorite may be, you can be assured of a quality gluten free cookie with an amazing taste. Amore! Love!

To see more about these wonderful cookies and check the ingredients, see the Cookies Con Amore website.

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