The Mom Next Door

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

#BehindTheBlogger: My Inner Nerd



Nerd (adjective: nerdy) is a descriptive term, often used pejoratively, indicating a person that is overly intellectual, obsessive, or lacking social skills. 

I beg to differ on the "lacking social skills" part of that definition. Go to any convention and it can bring people who are usually shy and thought to have "poor social skills" out and make them become the most social people you've ever met. I think that us nerds seem this way because we are more intellectual than others and tend to make others think us throwing facts is a lack of social skills. We can socialize perfectly fine, we just choose not to socialize with people who don't quite "get" us. Bring a group of us together and we will talk up our fandoms and current events until the sun comes up the next day. 

Look, anyone who follows me knows my nerd is far from "inner". I don't hide it. I'm a full blown nerdy momma and proud! I go to at least 5 nerd conventions a year. I meet other nerds. I dine with other nerds. I'm a book nerd, a comic nerd, a Star Wars nerd, a Doctor Who nerd, a Disney nerd, and I love weird things. I even dress up in costumes for these nerd conventions, and while I have been called a freak for my love of all these things and for dressing up, I don't care. I have fun. 

Nerds and Geeks are this country's C.E.O's. They are entrepreneurs, inventors, and scientists. Since nerds put such passion into everything, they are great at anything they do. They make great friends, great significant others, and with the growing popularity of comic books and all things nerdy, I think it's safe to say that the nerds rule the world. 

We are outgoing, outspoken, and not at all afraid to have fun. 



I am a nerd.
I cried when I heard the opening to Star Wars: The Force Awakens in the theater on opening weekend.
I cry over fictional book and movie character's deaths and hardships. 
I squeal, jump up and down, and scream for joy over my favorite fandoms. 
I get excited to meet the celebrities that play my favorite characters. 
I debate story lines with my friends.
I watch cartoons.
My home is filled with Pop Vinyl figures, Action Figures, posters, and an entire closet stacked to the roof with comic books. 
I get excited when a new Previews catalog comes out so I can look through it for new comics to read and place my order for my favorites. 
Free Comic Book Day is like Christmas.

Go ahead, call me a nerd. 
It's the best compliment I could ever be given. 



#BehindTheBlogger Sidebar Button 

 Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.  Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this weeks hop. Just click the links below. If you want real and raw emotion, then you will find it here. After you read each post, please comment and share. We want to get to know you too!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Silicone Microwave Popcorn Popper





We really love popcorn in our house. My husband and I eat it while watching our favorite shows after the kids go to bed, and we eat it as a family when we have family movie nights. Lately, it seems that no matter how long (or little) we put a bag of popcorn in our microwave, the bag starts to burn. Even if the popcorn isn't popped inside yet. We chalk this up to just needing a new microwave. 

When I was offered this silicone microwave popcorn popper to test out, I was hopeful. At least now I could pop popcorn without having to deal with the bag catching on fire before the popcorn was even popped. 

To use this popcorn popper, you don't need oil, but you can add some if you like. I would suggest that if you decide to add any salt or powdered flavorings to your popcorn afterwards, to go ahead and add a little bit of oil to coat the popcorn. The oil helps the seasonings stick better. 

The popper didn't come with any instructions, so I had to pretty much wing it, but it's a popcorn popper so how had could it be to figure out, right? 

The only popcorn I had on hand was the bags of Orville Redenbacher  Movie Theater Butter popcorn. So I opened a bag of that and scraped the popcorn and butter into the popper, "snapped" the lid into place on top, and placed it into the microwave for 2.5 minutes (the same amount of time you would put a bag in).  After the 2.5 minutes, I grabbed a kitchen towel and carefully used it to pull the popper out of the microwave because it was very hot to the touch. I then used that same towel to carefully open the lid making sure to open it away from me so as not to get burnt by any hot steam that may come from the popper. 


Initially it appeared that it worked rather well as I started to put the popcorn into our two popcorn containers. When I reached the end of the popcorn in the popper, I noticed that at least half of the bag was unpopped. I put it back in the microwave to pop the last of it, but figuring out how much time would be needed to pop the unpopped ones without burning them, is a method of trial and error as I'm discovering is the case with popping any amount in this popper. It heats up more than a bag of popcorn, however, it's thicker, so that may or may not be the issue here. I'm still trying to figure out the perfect amount of time coupled with the amount of popcorn we put in the popper. Other's have stated that it took up to 5 minutes to pop theirs. 

Overall, I actually do like the popper and feel that once I get the timing right, it will work perfectly for us. It's easy to clean and I like it much more than the single bags you get in a box of 12. It's also much cheaper to purchase a big bag of kernels than it is to purchase the boxes of single serving packages.  


*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .  


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ultimate Ending Choose Your Own Adventure Books

Just a few of the many Ultimate Ending books

Do you remember those fun Choose Your Own Adventure books from when you were a kid? You could read them over and over again and engage in a different story each time you read it based on which paths you chose to take. It was like playing a game while reading. The best of both worlds, right? Well Ultimate Ending books are like the classic choose your own adventure books, but with so much more! 

The Secret of the Aurora Hotel has been my favorite so far!

Each book goes beyond just asking you to choose to go one way or another during the story. For these you may need a pencil and paper to jot down notes and codes, dice to roll, and even a coin to flip all to help you decide which path to take. You can find books on forgotten and forbidden treasures, haunted places, science fiction, and many more. 




There are illustrations and lots of fun puzzles through out the books all leading to the "Ultimate Ending" which lands you a code to unlock more special features of the story on website as trophies. You can use the website to keep track of all the adventures you've read as well. 

These books are fun not only for kids and young adults, but I'm 31 and I actually enjoyed them, myself and are great for anyone who enjoys mystery, adventure, and puzzles galore. The stories are rich and engaging and the puzzles are clever and fun and the endings are exciting. Ultimate Ending books take the classic choose your own adventure stories to the next level and beyond with a story that will take you on a new and different adventure every time you read it. 

Find the entire list of current Ultimate Ending titles at www.ultimateendingbooks.com

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*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .  


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#BehindTheBlogger: Remember When...?



I'm an 80's baby. A child of the 90's. So my generation tends to play the "Remember when...?" game quite often. How do you play the game? Oh, it's easy. You basically just sit around and try to remember significant things from your youth. Some things you forgot all about, other's you'll never forget. 

This writing prompt actually came at a great great time. As I'm writing this, I'm reliving my youth by drinking a cold can of Hi-C Ecto Cooler. The original was popular among my generation and with the Ghostbusters remake to hit theaters very soon, they re-released it in limited markets, albeit without Slimer on the packaging due to copywrite issues, but others say it tastes exactly the same. As for me? I don't remember it tasting like the new stuff does, but heck, it's been 20 years since I've drank it that my taste buds may have just forgot over the years. 



So in honor of this tasty throwback, let's play a little game of "Remember when...?"

Remember when you had to get on your bike and ride, or walk, to your friend's house down the street to find out if they were home and could come out and play? Remember when they weren't home or were grounded and you had to ride back home? Now a "playdate" is only a text away. 

Remember when we set up our own playdates? No parents set up our playdates for us. We went out and made friends on our own. We went out looking for kids on our street and just joined in the fun. 

Remember when kid's shows actually taught us something? I'm not talking about general education stuff like ABC's and 1, 2, 3's, although we had those, too. I'm talking about morals. Our shows taught us what happened when someone we knew got into drugs (Remember Jessie Spano, anyone?) or how dangerous it is to play hide and seek in refrigerators (What a frightening and powerful episode of Punky Brewster that was!).



Remember when kid's books had pictures that made you lose nights of sleep? 
The pictures in the Scary Stories trilogy were scary enough on their own, but those stories? *Shudders*
I still have all three of these in pristine condition as a matter of fact! 
After reading these, I would make a mad dash up or down the stairs in my home if it was dark and would jump from my doorway to my bed and bed to doorway for fear something would reach out and grab me from the shadows. This probably contributed to many children that are now adults who are still afraid of the dark. 

Remember when we had to work to play a game. I mean, blow in the cartridge, insert into system, turn on and off continuously, pull it out, blow in system, start the entire process over again and again and again until it finally worked. Remember when there were no saves in a game? You played that sucker straight through or left that tv on for days/weeks until that game was beat. Remember when you only had one life? We didn't "respawn". It was much like real life. Once you fell into that lava, you were dead. Remember when Mario could swim in some worlds and levels, but once he fell into water in any other level, he was dead? Screw logic, nothing made sense in the 80's and 90's. 



Remember when MTV actually played music? Oh that's a big one! Do you realize most kids in their early 20's probably don't even know what MTV use to stand for. What does it even stand for now? I don't think anyone knows.



Remember when the best days you ever had consisted of a gigantic parachute, yellow scooters, the Book Fair, Oregon Trail, and a TV cart with a VCR? 

Remember when logging onto the internet sounded like nails on a chalkboard, you couldn't connect if someone was using the phone, and to chat with people from school you exchanged your thoroughly memorized ICQ number? 

Remember when a game of MASH meant the difference between marrying your crush (Johnathan Taylor Thomas, of course), living in a mansion while driving a Mercedes, and marrying the weirdo who picked his nose in physics, living in cramped one bedroom apartment while driving a beater car. 

Remember when life was just full of simple pleasures like these?
Pepperidge Farm remembers...


#BehindTheBlogger Sidebar Button 
 Thank you for reading a story from #BehindTheBlogger Hop. Every 2 weeks a group of bloggers is given a writing prompt. These prompts are very open ended, so our bloggers can write about whatever they desire. The main rule is that their blog post directly relates to the topic of that week. The point of this hop is for our readers to get to know us on a personal level.  Please hop along and read all of the blog posts in this weeks hop. Just click the links below. If you want real and raw emotion, then you will find it here. After you read each post, please comment and share. We want to get to know you too!

Monday, June 13, 2016

5th Annual Sci-Fi Valley Con


Sci-Fi Valley Con is in it's 5th year and has grown by leaps and bounds in a very short time. I've seen it take most cons twice, sometimes three times, as long to get this big. One thing is for sure, founder Casey Bassett is definitely doing something right! For starters, the advertising is a genius marketing strategy and probably accounts for a large percentage of popularity. You would have to be living under a rock to have not heard of this amazing event, especially if you live in Central Pennsylvania. 

The convention has grown so quickly that it had to be moved a few times to find a space to accommodate all there is to see and do.  This is the second year the convention was held at the Blair County Convention Center in Altoona, PA and was the first year that the convention spans not one, but two floors. Tables sold out rather quickly and even with two floors of vendors and artist, as well as celebrity guests, they managed to find a little more more by adding some tables to hallway for vendors. Even at that, they had to make a waiting list for interested vendors and artists in the event that someone dropped out of their spot. I have read(and heard)  that a lot of vendors and artists do so well that they are ready to reserve their spot for the next year before the weekend is even over. 

The entire convention is so family friendly and there are tons of activities for every interest. Panels, gaming, a charity auction, trivia, a costume contest, and a ton of amazing food options. There's even a family friendly after party located at the bowling alley. 



I didn't get many pictures at the con, but that's okay because the reason for the lack of pictures was that I was just having a ton of fun. Sci-Fi Valley Con shattered their previous attendance records with a whopping 6,000 attendees at this weekend's show. Not only were the attendees having a good time and impressed with the growth, but many vendors and artists we spoke to held this weekend's show, and the con as a whole, as one of the best conventions they ever had the pleasure of being apart of.

 I cannot stress enough how important it is to have convention staff who are friendly and helpful and Sci-Fi Valley Con nailed that. Rooms and areas were labeled well, with the exception of the VIP autograph area where no one knew the line for John Rhys-Davies actually started back farther than it appeared and out one of the side doors. The only solution I could see for this would be to have his table closer to that door and the line outside in the hallway, or just a sign pointing to where the line started, however, the great thing is that there were staff members there to point attendees in the right direction. That was extremely helpful and rare with a lot of the conventions we usually attend including the larger scale ones. 


Brian O'Halloran, Marilyn Ghigliotti, and Scott Schiaffo of the movie Clerks. Three of the sweetest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet!
I finally got to meet a few people I have been Facebook friends with for quite a while as well as meet new people I hadn't previously known. I've also become pretty recognizable from my blog and found out at this con and the last one we attended that I have a ton of fans and a whole new Mom Next Door army. It's been nice to hear how big my army has grown through the last few months. Especially since my weekend didn't start out so well. Sci-Fi Valley Con was exactly what I needed. 

Conventions are an amazing way to bring people together with similar interests. It's a great way to meet new friends and make lifelong connections. Heck, Sci-Fi Valley Con is actually where I met my very good friend Josh Emerick. I was lucky enough to get a few years with Josh before he passed away, but I am very thankful for Sci-Fi Valley Con for allowing me to have the opportunity to meet and know such a wonderful person. I've met so many people and consider them all lifelong friends. Conventions allow you to be yourself without judgment and ridicule. In normal society, I've been called a freak for dressing in costumes. At a convention, you are surrounded by others who love to dress up as their favorite characters and talk for hours about Doctor Who or Firefly as much as you do. 

One thing I will say about Sci-Fi Valley Con and the newest 3 Rivers Comic Con is that they were started with the intention of bringing people together. The founders didn't start these conventions with the purpose and intention to raise a cash cow. They were started as an annual event for people to bring their family to and have fun. I think this is a huge reason why both conventions have flourished in such a small amount of time. 




We've went from comic book conventions to a sci-fi convention, and next up in August we are off to a horror convention in Cherry Hill, NJ. Stay tuned for my coverage of the 34th Monster Mania Con! And I have to say, as a huge classic horror slasher fan, I'm more than stoked to finally meet Freddy Krueger himself, Mr. Robert Englund! I'm even dressing as a Female Freddy to celebrate the occasion



Wednesday, June 8, 2016

CozyPhones: Comfortable Fleece Headphones for Kids and Adults!


CozyPhones are fun, soft fleece headphones for kids that are made to look like adorable animals. 
These headphones fit just like those headbands you wear in the winter that cover your ears. The headphones themselves are tucked inside and are completely adjustable. You can even remove the headphones so that the fleece headband can be washed. The absolute best thing about these is that the headphones are really soft and you can lay down with them and not hurt your ears like you would with ear buds or other full ear headphones. 


My son really loves them! It not only fit his head, but I was actually able to put them on my own head! Of course, I have a small head, but this just goes to show that they have enough stretch to fit a child of any age. 


The cord comes out the back of the headband which is much more comfortable than having it in the front, especially if you lay down and fall asleep with them on. The cord is also well made and thick. there is a small part of it that your child may be able to pull and break, but you could probably reinforce that with some yarn wrapped and tied around it. The reason this part of the cord isn't reinforced like the rest of it is because of them being adjustable. I think as long as your child isn't pulling on them, they should be fine. They are a little warm to wear in the summer, but even if your child sweats, the headphones are protected and the band can be thrown in the washer. As a matter of fact, if you are worried about them being too warm to wear, you can remove the headphone pads and stick the band in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to cool it. As I think about it, this may be a great solution to headaches as well! 

I have looked into these kinds of headphones for myself in the past because I have ASMR (you can read more about that here) and I like the idea of being able to lay comfortably in bed and listen to something using headphones. Other brands are much, much more expensive and only come in adult sizes with limited colors. That's why I love that i've discovered CozyPhones! They have these in not only children's sizes, but in adult sizes as well and offer many colors in both sizes. The price is excellent as well!

Admittedly, now that I know the children's sizes fit me, I'm going to order myself the adorable panda bear ones. 

You can see CozyPhones kids, sleep, and active headphones at www.cozyphones.com

Follow CozyPhones on the following sites:


*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .  


Monday, June 6, 2016

Churro, Churro, Churro!

#Flavornation #Tastehappiness #Crazycupscoffee

As I keep trying these different Crazy Cups flavors, it's getting harder and harder for me to find just one flavor I love more than the rest. I haven't met a flavor I didn't like, and to be honest, I don't think I ever will. 

The newest flavor I'm drinking is called Cinnamon Churro, and oh my goodness...

If you don't know what a churro is, they are basically donut sticks served in Spain. They are fried dough rolled in cinnamon and sugar and taste A-May-Zing dipped in caramel, chocolate, or vanilla icing. Typically they are eaten for breakfast, but are also popular as a snack. So imagine a calorie free version of this that you can have each morning? Boom! Crazy Cups Coffee did that exact thing. 

The aroma....ohhhh the aroma... pure heaven as it's brewing. The taste? Sweet baby bunnies, it tastes exactly like a cinnamon churro and at zero calories every sweet sip makes you want to cry tears of joy. 


So what do you have with your cinnamon churro coffee? Churros, of course! 
I decided to make homemade churros for the very first time this weekend and followed a recipe I found by searching Pinterest (isn't that where we always find the best recipes?). 

You can find the ingredients and instructions for the exact same ones I made by visiting Everyday Dishes. These ones are baked, not fired, for a healthier option and they are so very easy to make.


Mine do not look nearly as great as the ones on Everyday Dishes, but man-oh-man they taste so good my kiddos housed an entire batch of them within the time it took me to clean up the kitchen and get these photos. 


The best part is dipping the homemade churros into the coffee and getting a little extra cinnamon in your cup. Mmmm yummy! 



*Disclosure: This product was received in exchange for an honest, unbiased, review. The reviews and or opinions on this blog are 100% my own. No monitory compensation was received and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsement and Testimonials in Advertising .