Category Archives sponsored post

Looking for Love Online

This is a no kvetching zone. So let’s get all of our oy veying out of our systems. Dating is not easy – that is a fact that I remember from long ago. This is especially true with the fast paced world that we live in. As someone that found her nice Jewish guy online over sixteen years ago, I want the same for my family and friends. From here on out, we have a mission. We shall call it Operation Heading to the Chuppah! I am working with JDate to help them to get the word out about the new JDate experience, but first I have a little story to share with you.

Operation Heading to the Chuppah

In May, my brother and sister-in-law will be celebrating their tenth anniversary. They now have two young children who add beautiful memories to their family.

How did Uncle I and Aunt M meet?

For some time, we never heard the whole story. Back during that time, people often avoided the topic of online dating websites. They were around and one in particular helped this part of my mispucha to meet. Why yes, Uncle I and Aunt M went to JDate to search for someone within the Jewish community that they were living in. They are not the only family members that have used JDate and gotten married. Several of my cousins have also successfully found their husband or wife using this popular online website. My family members are just some of the success stories thanks to JDate. JDate is responsible for more Jewish marriages than every other online dating networks combined. That’s a whole lot of simchas over the years!

TechyDad and TheAngelForever under the Chuppah

Are you or a loved one looking for someone special, but shy about taking the first step? Let me introduce you to the new JDate with a new look and easier navigation. There is a new “daily matches” featuring a simple curated view of their best matches. Tablet experience is improved and the JDate mobile apps are available for iOS and Android.

What I like about JDate is that you can narrow searches based on your personal preference. Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, and Chabad singles will be able to set up their account to match up to the right synagogues, neighborhoods, or travel and events on JDate within their area. Thanks to JDate, there is a network of Jewish non-profit organizations working together to help people like your single brother, cousin, or nephew to find love. Of course, nothing says Happy 2016 like giving the gift of JDate to that special single someone in your life.

JDate worked with Saturday Night Live’s Jon Rudnitsky to create a hilarious video about a dating app called “Eh” to celebrate the new look.

So, who do you know that could use a gentle nudge and help setting up a JDate profile? Talk to them about the great new features and if you have JDate success stories, I would love to hear about them below. With a little Jewish guilt tossed in, may you be heading to the chuppah one day soon!

Oh and don’t forget to join us for a chat at 9 ET on Monday, December 21 to celebrate the new JDate website. Be sure to head over to Married My Sugar Daddy to RSVP for a chance to win an HTC One M9 Smartphone. Tweet you all there!

It's Me

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post where I am being compensated for sharing information about the new JDate website. Of course, all stories of successful JDate marriages in my family are true and I hope many more will follow.

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Make and Take Apple Ale Cake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HouseofBBQ #CollectiveBias This content is intended for readers who are 21 and over.

Apple Ale Cake

The summer is here and that means we often get together with family and friends for a BBQ. While everyone is home from school, the focus is away from our usual structure. We take it day by day and you never know when we may make plans to head off to the lake to enjoy the sun and fun. Time at Saratoga Lake

Typically, I am asked to bring dessert. I love to make sweet treats to share with everyone. While we always bring a watermelon, cherries, and other juicy summer goodies, cake is a nice touch to make it extra special. The kids love cookies, there is something beautiful about cutting into a freshly made cake to share with those you love. In the warm summer months, heat and humidity mean heavy cakes are not the best choice. Recently, I decided to make a twist on a recipe that we enjoy. I wanted to see how apple ale would lighten up or change a beloved autumn favorite for the summer. Not everyone enjoys other fruits in cake, so apple is a nice safe item that most people will enjoy.

I went to our local Price Chopper Supermarket to look at my adult beverage options for this baking project. The in-store solutions center was full of great House of BBQ products.

Price Chopper Solution Center

From this area, I decided to get the Redd’s Green Apple Ale to use in the cake and extras for adults to enjoy. In addition to this, I picked up some of the Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy and for those that would prefer something without alcohol, a Gold Peak Tea. Then I picked up some granny smith apples to pair up with the Green Apple Ale in the cake.

Apple Ale Cake Ingredients

Ingredients you will need:

  • 4 granny smith apples sliced thin
  • 2 cups of sugar, plus 5 tablespoons extra for on the apples
  • 3-5 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 3 cups of flour
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup of Redd’s Green Apple Ale
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Preheat your oven to 350. Be sure to grease and flour your bundt pan. Valuable lesson from me, really, really, really do this because apparently my nonstick spray was not working properly. Lesson learned and IF your cake sticks don’t panic. You can cut it out and make it into a delicious crumble with whipped cream to make it pretty.

  Making the Apple Ale Cake

Peel and slice the granny smith apples into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle them with the cinnamon and five tablespoons of sugar. Set this aside while making the dough. Later on you will need to drain any liquid that settles out of the mixture.

Pour all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour the remaining wet ingredients into the center. Mix with a large spoon (no need for a mixer) until everything is mixed. The dough will be quite thick.

Spoon approximately a third of the batter into the bottom of the bundt pan. Drain the apples and put a ring of the apples on top of this batter. Then, put another third of the batter on top of the apples. Use more of the apples in a second layer of fruit and top this with the remaining batter.

Please note: If your granny smith apples are huge likes the ones we had, you will not use all of the apples in the cake. We tossed them into baking dish with some rolled oats and pats of butter on top to make a quick apple crisp for the kids.

Ready to bake apple ale cake

Bake the cake for about an hour. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the bundt pan. Cool completely before taking cake out.

So how did the Redd’s Green Apple Ale change our apple cake? It made it lighter and a lot more moist. The inside has a different consistency that is much more summery. It smelled amazing before and after baking. Oh and it was delicious to say the least. Certainly a new favorite that we will be making and taking when invited places.

Make and Take Apple Ale Cake

Do you cook or bake with adult beverages? I would love to know how you use them. For more ideas for your grilling needs head to the Price Chopper Pinterest House of BBQ board.

It's Me

Additional Disclosure: Thanks to the great experience purchasing Redd’s and Leinenkugel at Price Chopper, and the great drinks & fun times shared with friends, I always make sure to get a Redd’s or Leinenkugel at Park View Pub,   River Street Pub, and Swifty’s Restaurant & Pub in the Capital Region.

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Going After Your Dreams #SwitchersRemorse

Going after your dreams

Imaginative play was huge for me when I was growing up. I can still remember playing house for hours when I would have a friend over. If I was alone, I would often pretend I was a teacher and set up my room like a classroom. I had old school books, attendance logs, and more. I dreamed of being a teacher thanks to the role models I had in elementary school. I wanted to teach the next generation of learners.

In my junior year of high school, my love of science and a subtle push from my mother changed my immediate goal. Since I was a strong science student, pharmacy looked like a wonderful career. The teaching profession was highly saturated in our area and pharmacists had 100% job placement upon graduation. At the start of my senior year, I was in a first ever health explorations class and applied for early acceptance to our local pharmacy college.

Early in the fall of my senior year, I was one of the first students that had already been accepted to the college of their choice. I continued learning and watching my teachers, always dreaming of being in their shoes in a classroom of my own.

At 19, I started pharmacy school with several hundred other naïve college freshman. Freshman year was NOT what I imagined. The ideal college experience was turning into more of a horror story. Our freshman Chemistry professor had to leave because of a health emergency. This class is crucial for everything that follows. The school had other faculty members trade off portions to teach our class while they looked for a more permanent substitute for the second half of the year. This meant learning new styles of teaching and getting used to different types of tests. 

Secretly, I still dreamed of teaching. I wanted to make it through with the goal to possibly teach in a pharmacy school rather than go to a retail store and or be with patients.

Enter Organic Chemistry and second year.

I may have made it though my freshman year with too many professors to recall and wracked my brain over Calculus, but Organic Chemistry would quickly become my nemesis. Tears were shed by many of us. Many of those days were only bearable because I started to go to hockey games to scream, shout, and escape the reality that I was living in.

Fear of failing was real.

Fear of disappointing my parents was in my mind.

Fear of my dreams disappearing were also a reality.

Somehow, I made it to my third year of pharmacy school. This is the time when you switch to professional courses. I still remember a lab where we learned how to punch capsules. Each day we were told that a mistake, even a small one could kill a patient. I was withdrawing more and more.

At the end of the first semester of my third year, I was burned out. I knew I had to grow a back bone and admit to switchers remorse. While I switched and sold myself on becoming a pharmacist, my heart was not into it. The reality was that I did not want to be a pharmacist, I did not enjoy school, and I still dreamed of teaching young children. One of the hardest days was confessing to my parents just how miserable I was. They knew because they saw how I avoided being at the school and had been struggling because I was so unhappy.

That winter break, I signed up at the local community college to retake Organic Chemistry and Biology. My what a difference it was when I knew I would be following my dreams. In August, I started back to school for my undergraduate degree in elementary education. I was more grown up, focused, and ready to make my dream of teaching a reality. Being happy made such a difference. I was focused on a goal. When I made it to student teaching, I was able to breathe and know I had made the right decision.

Photos of my classroom

Going back to my dream of teaching and switching colleges was the right choice for me. I had to let go of the wrong choice I made and know that it would make me a stronger teacher and adult.

No matter what, nobody should be forced to stick with something because they are afraid of admitting to switchers remorse. Remember to follow your heart and reach for those dreams that you may have pushed aside for one reason or another. .

It's Me

Disclosure: This is a paid post for Verizon’s #SwitchersRemorse campaign. If you switched away from Verizon and are regretting it, don’t worry. They’re making it easy for customers to come back. For more information, head over to your local Verizon store. Oh and don’t wait three years to conquer your switchers remorse, do it now!

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Kid Friendly Hanukkah Holiday Recipes

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone

Kid Friendly Hanukkah Holiday Recipes

The holiday season usually means that the boys want to share something Hanukkah related with their friends at parties. While I often go into school to read a story and/or play dreidel with the kids, I wanted something new and different this year. The kids and I saw some holiday recipes and baking ideas that we hoped to personalize for The Festival of Lights. To get ready for Hanukkah, the boys and I went to Price Chopper together. We were on a mission to get baking supplies for kid friendly #HolidayAdvantEdge recipes. Thanks to #CollectiveBias we were looking for ingredients to make Marshmallow Dreidels and Hanukkah Cookie Pops.

Shopping for Holiday Baking

When we arrived at Price Chopper, we went right to the baking aisle. The boys immediately found the Betty Crocker cookie mix that would be perfect for our project. We also grabbed some marshmallows, icing, powdered sugar, and gel for decorating. That’s where we saw a sign that let us know to head over to the front of the store where there was a Favorites for Baking section with additional items for the holidays. In this area, we found the Crisco Shortening Sticks (alternative to butter), holiday Hugs and Kisses from Hershey, along with winter sprinkles. The only items we had to go back for were pretzel sticks and Hanukkah gelt. 

No Bake Marshmallow Dreidels

Making Marshmallow Dreidels

For years, we have seen photos of people that made Marshmallow Dreidels, but we have never made them. We had planned on making our own glaze, but it did not want to work. Thanks to our oven dying the night before Thanksgiving, I was lucky when Nana and Papa had frosting that we were able to use. This ended up being a great substitution because I can see making these as a snack with kids in a classroom.


  • Large Marshmallows
  • Hershey Hugs or Kisses
  • Frosting (food coloring optional)
  • Pretzel Sticks
  • Sprinkles or Colored Sugar Crystals

Marshmallow Dreidel

We set up bowls with all of the ingredients so the kids could just grab what they needed. Knives to spread the frosting was the only additional item that was needed. First, we took a marshmallow and put a pretzel stick about 2/3 of the way into it. Once this was secure, it was time to frost the outside of the marshmallow. We selected blue, but any color would work, including regular chocolate or vanilla frosting. Once a thin layer was all the way around the marshmallow, a slightly larger amount was placed onto the bottom. This acted as the glue that held the Hug or Kiss into place. The last step was to put some sprinkles or colored sugar on the outside to make it more colorful.

Hanukkah Cookie Pops

Making Hanukkah Cookie Pops

Cake pops are still really popular, but they are more time consuming and not as kid friendly. We decided to make cookie pops for Hanukkah that the kids would decorate for themselves. If I was taking these to a party, I would make the cookie pops ahead of time and pack them to bring with supplies for the kids to finish making at the event.


  • Betty Crocker Cookie Mix
  • Cookie Icing
  • Egg
  • Water
  • Crisco Shortening Sticks (Butter Flavored)
  • Crafting sticks (soaked in water for 20-30 minutes)
  • Sprinkles, Hanukkah gelt, and other decorations
  • Parchment Paper

We followed instructions on the package of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix. Since we were using Crisco instead of butter, we read how to substitute that on the side of the Crisco box. For the half cup of butter, we used half of a Crisco stick and a tablespoon of water. This was mixed with the egg really easily to form the dough. JSL then helped me to make tablespoon sized balls of dough while our crafting sticks soaked in water.

When it was time to put the sticks into the dough balls, it helps to flatten them ahead of time with a water glass. Then you place the wooden pop stick at least half way into the raw cookie dough. It is crucial to keep these spread out on your cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Baking Cookie Pops

The cookie pops baked at 375 for 8-10 minutes. They should just get a little brown on the edges and need to set. Once the cookies were baked and had cooled, it was time for the kids to decorate. They used the cookie icing and then put sprinkles, gel, and Hanukkah gelt on them to make them festive.

Hanukkah Cookie Pops

What are some of your favorite holiday recipes to make with your kids? Be sure to let me know and leave links to your posts to share in the comments below.

It's Me

Disclosure: I am a member of Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and its client. I am a frequent Price Chopper customer and have written about them on my blog in the past.

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Apps to Work on Math Fact Fluency and Counting Money

VZEducation disclosure

Over the last few years, the focus of math education has changed drastically at the elementary school level. Students used to spend a lot of time learning math facts and other basics, now children are diving deeper into mathematics at an earlier age. As a parent and teacher, I see a major difference in these automatic math skills from my oldest son to my younger son. At open house, my son’s teacher noted that they wanted kids to work at home on math fact fluency. They had also seen a decline in the ability of kids to just know the math facts in recent years. To help my second grader with this, we are using the online program that was suggested, but I wanted some more fun items to have on his tablet.  Thanks to Verizon Educational Tools, I was able to search for just what I was looking for. I selected two apps to try with JSL. One would work on math fact fluency and the other would practice with counting money.

Apps to Work on Math Fact Fluency and Counting Money


Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2 is a free app that you may pay to upgrade.

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2

The app that you get free includes addition facts for sums up to 10 and sums to 20. After this, you can pay to unlock subtraction, money, and time categories for additional math skill practice. These additional bundles cost 99 cents each or you can get the three for $1.99.

Lakeshore shares that the app was made to meet these objectives:

  • Use strategies to add and subtract fluently
  • Tell and write time in hours and half hours using analog and digital clocks
  • Add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies; know from memory all sums of two and 1-digit numbers
  • Tell and write time to the nearest five minutes using a.m. and p.m.
  • Solve word problems with dollar bills, quarters, dimes, nickles, and pennies using dollar and cent symbols

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2

There are eight levels of play for each area of the app. As kids move along they earn points and the pace continues to increase. So far, JSL has only tried the free portions of the game, but he likes it enough that we will probably spend the $1.99 to allow him to do more in the upcoming weeks. He really likes that you simply look at the math problem and pop the bubble as fast as you can to get points within 60 seconds. Your goal is to get as many points and keep bubbles from hitting the water where they pop.

Bubble Pop Math Challenge 1-2 - addition

I appreciate the simplicity of this app. It does not make JSL anxious as he works on fluency of math facts. Some educational apps go too quickly, increase music volume, and can make even an adult nervous. The cute frog blowing bubbles that you need to pop while doing math is perfect to keep kids practicing over and over again. Another item to think about is that Bubble Pop Math Challenge 3-4 is also available and works with children on multiplication, division, rounding, and fractions.

Freefall Money – Coin Math

Freefall Money – Coin Math is a free app that is available to help children work on counting money.

Freefall Money - Coin Math

While JSL can count money, he needs a bit more practice. This seems to have been covered only a little in previous years, so I wanted to make sure that JSL could go shopping and count money on his own. The nice thing about Freefall Money is that you can adjust the settings. Kids can work their way up from problems using only three coins to ten.

Freefall Money – Coin Math

The coin illustrations are wonderful and do a great job for kids to recognize. If the coins are too close together, you are able to move them apart to make it easier to count the amount of money easier. Kids can match coins to amounts, tell the amount, and fill the piggy bank with a specific amount of money. The level of difficulty can be adjusted from three to ten coins at a time.

What apps have you used with your children to increase their math fluency and comfort levels? Please share any math level because kids of all ages can use practice to keep their skills in check. The key is to find something that your children like and does not seem like extra work, but is more fun while they learn.

It's Me

Disclosure: I am participating in a paid campaign about Verizon Educational Tools. I will be sharing how I have used this with my family.  I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.

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