Michigan residents are invited to donate no-longer used devices at corporate Verizon stores


EAST LANSING, MI — Verizon Wireless, a technology leader with the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network, announced today a statewide drive to collect 3,000 no-longer used wireless phones, accessories and tablets between now and Nov. 30, 2014. The launch of the drive coincides with Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. Michigan State University Athletic Director Mark Hollis, and law enforcement officials met today at Spartan Stadium to discuss the need for increased awareness.


“Verizon Wireless’ goal is to place phones in the hands of as many domestic violence survivors across Michigan as possible so they can call for help when needed,” said Verizon Wireless Region President Lauren Love-Wright. “Our customers are crucial in helping us make this happen.”


In 2014, Verizon Wireless donated $107,000 to six Michigan nonprofits that work to end domestic violence. At today’s event one of those partners, MSU Safe Place, received a $25,000 donation. MSU Safe Place provides free and confidential advocacy, emergency shelter, counseling, support groups, safety planning, information and referrals to survivors of violence and their minor children.



“Organizations that assist domestic violence survivors in Michigan, including MSU Safe Place, continue to experience high call volumes as more individuals and families come forward in need of help, support, programming and housing,” said MSU Safe Place Director Holly Rosen. “Donating a previously used device is a simple way to make a small donation that could save a life.”


“Together with Verizon we can raise critical awareness of this issue, and to engage our fans and the greater community,” said Tom Izzo, Head Coach for Michigan State University Men’s Basketball team. “Anyone can help. Anyone can clean out the junk drawer and donate those old phones for good use. We invite the community and our fans everywhere to donate their phones at Verizon stores across the state of Michigan, and we thank Verizon for their partnership and for raising awareness to this important cause.”


“MSU, through our partnership with Verizon, is committed to this cause in a number of ways including supporting Verizon HopeLine,” said Mark Hollis, Director of Athletics at Michigan State University. “Domestic violence is something we take seriously because our actions in the community and in our daily lives serve as a model to so many people, including many kids and young people who have been empowered and positively impacted through participation in athletics.”


“It is so valuable to have organizations such as MSU Safe Place to follow up with victims after the law enforcement response, to offer emotional support, shelter, safety planning, court support, assistance with Personal Protection Orders, and Verizon Hopeline phones,“ said First Lt. Gabe Covey with the Michigan State Police.


Historically, domestic violence organizations and police departments report an increase in domestic violence surrounding the holiday season. Shelters are often pushed to their capacity. Donated phones can help victims of abuse feel safer and less isolated by giving them a way to call emergency or support services, employers, family and friends.


Wireless phones given to HopeLine are refurbished, generating proceeds for the program through both cash grants and phones to those who need help. Refurbished phones from HopeLine — complete with 3,000 minutes of wireless service and text-messaging service — are provided to local domestic violence agencies or local government and law enforcement agencies for use with their domestic violence clients. If donated phones are unsalvageable, they are recycled in an environmentally sound way under a zero-landfill policy.


Since 2001, Verizon has collected more than 10.8 million no-longer-used wireless phones nationwide to assist programs that help the nearly one in four women and one in seven men affected by domestic violence. The cash grants generated through HopeLine are significant — amounting to more than $21.4 million since the program began 13 years ago. Phones can be dropped off at any Verizon Wireless corporate retail store. To find a nearby company-owned store, visit




The primary purpose of MSU Safe Place is to ensure the personal safety, welfare and dignity of those who experience relationship violence and stalking within the MSU community. 

Goals include:
(a) Providing temporary and safe shelter, advocacy, support and referrals for MSU students, staff, faculty or their partners, as well as members of the Greater Lansing community, who experience domestic violence, including minor children of those who are abused.
(b) Increasing community awareness about relationship violence in the hopes of improving prevention efforts and community responsiveness to this issue.
(c) Offering a learning environment for members of the community, through volunteer and internship opportunities.

(d) Michigan State University Safe Place is the only relationship violence shelter on a college campus in the nation.




Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network.  As the largest wireless company in the U.S., Verizon Wireless serves 104.6 million retail customers, including 98.6 million retail postpaid customers.  Verizon Wireless is wholly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ).  For more information, visit  For the latest news and updates about Verizon Wireless, visit our News Center at or follow us on Twitter at

Top 5 Netflix Movies for Blended Families


Last year was a year of big transitions and transformations for our family.  We went from broken to blended and three kids to five. There were times of sorrow and times of great joy.  Homes and families split and new ones formed.  In some ways it was a milestone I do not wish on any family, and in other ways, I am grateful for how things turned out.

Now that we have a year behind us, we have found that movies (especially comedies) about blended families are fun for us to watch and very relatable to our own experiences.

Here are our favorite blended family movies:

#1 Blended with Adam Sandler and Drew Berrymore

In this romantic comedy, Jim and Lauren find themselves on a dreadful blind date. Afterwards, the two single parents cross paths once again — but this time at a vacation resort with their kids in tow.



#2 The Parent Trap starring Lindsay Lohan and Dennis Quaid 

When Hallie Parker and Annie James meet at summer camp, they think they have nothing in common — only to discover that they’re identical twins. Soon, they’re up to their freckles in a scheme to switch places and get their parents back together.

The Parent Trap


#3 Yours, Mine and Ours starring Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo

Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo take on the roles made famous by Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball in this remake of the 1968 comedy about two single parents who plan to marry and merge their broods into one “happy” family.

Yours, Mine and Ours

#4 Mrs. Doubtfire starring Robin Williams and Sally Field

Loving but irresponsible dad Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams), estranged from his exasperated spouse (Sally Field), is crushed by a court order allowing only weekly visits with his kids. When Daniel learns his ex needs a housekeeper, he gets the job — disguised as an English nanny. Soon he becomes not only his children’s best pal but the kind of parent he should have been from the start. Not surprisingly, the film won an Oscar for Best Makeup.

Mrs. Doubtfire


#5 The Boxtrolls

In this animated fable, young orphan Eggs lives in an underground cave with his adoptive family, a band of impish creatures called Boxtrolls. When a malicious exterminator sets out to destroy them, they look to Eggs and a plucky rich girl for help.

The Boxtrolls


Disclosure: I am a part of the Netflix Stream team. All opinions are my own and not influenced by Netflix.



CP14-694 HalloWeekends Infographic_web

As many of you may have read about a month ago, HALLOWEEKENDS began at Cedar Point. To read more about it, Please see the write-up below!! Now, for the BEST NEWS EVER!! I was lucky enough to score 4 tickets for OUR READERS! This is going to be a quick giveaway! I will be drawing the lucky winner’s name on Friday at 1pm. Please check your e-mails then, because you may want to go on Saturday OR Sunday this weekend!! 

To enter the giveaway: COMMENT BELOW – Tell me who you would take with you to Cedar Point & YOUR favorite ride!!! The giveaway starts NOW (10/14/14) and will end Friday, October 17th @1pm!! I will be conducting a random draw!!  Winner must reply ASAP and I will then provide Cedar Point with your information!!! 


WINNER UPDATE: Congratulations Gina Bova!! Random Chose . Org chose comment #5 and it’s you!! Have a fantastic time!! 


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“Double, double, toil and trouble; fire burn and caldron bubble.” If the thought of a group of wicked witches working on a mystical brew sends shivers down your spine, you may want to stop reading now. However, those with no fear of flying broomsticks will delight in the announcement that Cedar Point’s annual festival of fright, HalloWeekends, kicks off its 18th season of thrills and chills this weekend. This year’s event promises to be bigger and better than ever, with even more family friendly fun during the day and frightfully haunting experiences after the sun goes down.

Highlighting the lineup of scares this year will be Hexed, Cedar Point’s new witch-themed haunted house. Decrepit witches and their gaggle of small minions roam around this sinister new attraction working on spells and potions that have gone horribly wrong. Hexed will be located next to the exit of the GateKeeper roller coaster and will be Cedar Point’s fifth haunted house, joining Zombie High School, G. A. Boeckling’s Eerie Estate, Eternity Infirmary and Eden Musee.

Cedar Point’s Frontiertown will transform into a ghost town after dark with the addition of the new Tombstone TERROR-tory. This terrifying new fright zone will leave those brave enough to travel through it with a new fear of ghosts. Tombstone Terror-tory will be the sixth outdoor fright zone, joining other haunted attractions such as Maniacal Mechanical ScreamWorks, CornStalkers, Cut Throat Cove, CarnEvil and Blood on the Bayou.

Spooktacular live (or dead) entertainment also abounds during HalloWeekends. This year’s star attraction will be “Midnight Syndicate LIVE! A Legacy of Shadows.” This musical group from Ohio is known for creating haunting melodies and “soundtracks to imaginary movies” by combining instrumental music and movie-quality sound effects on their albums. Performing live for the first time ever, this performance will blend music, theatre and film into a spellbinding concert that will wow and amaze. But beware; this show may be too intense for younger viewers and those afraid of the dark! Additional HalloWeekends entertainment includes “Sideshow – A Carnival of Magic” in the Jack Aldrich Theatre, “Spooky Shenanigans, A Halloween Hullabaloo” in Lusty Lil’s Palace, “The Edge of Madness…LIVE” in the Red Garter Saloon and “Gypsy Fortune Tellers” in the Enchanted Encampment (near the Gemini roller coaster).

There is plenty of fun for your little ghosts and goblins too. From shows and performances to special areas and attractions just for them, kids will find both tricks and treats during HalloWeekends. New this year will be an expanded Howl-O-Palooza kids’ area, now located along the Wicked Twister Midway and in the Planet Spooky and Kiddy Kingdom children’s areas. Howl-O-Palooza will feature cornstalk and hay bale mazes, pedal tractors, trick-or-treat stations and much more! Kids will also delight in special live entertainment that is suitable for the entire family, including the always-popular “Monster Midway Invasion Celebration” parade, the hit “Skeleton Crew” show in Celebration Plaza, “The Monsters’ Trick-or-Treat” and “Peanuts’ Halloween Show & Kids’ Costume Contest” on the Howl-O-Palooza stage, “The Pumpkin Patch Party with the Peanuts” in the Camp Spooky Theatre and “Snoopy’s Halloween Hijinks” in the Planet Snoopy Gazebo.

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Looking for the ultimate HalloWeekends experience? Then Fright Lane is just for you. Fright Lane allows guests to bypass the lines at all five of Cedar Point’s haunted houses and the CornStalkers fright zone. And if that weren’t enticing enough, Fright Lane includes access to an exclusive Skeleton Key Room in each haunted house that is only available for them to enter. But be warned, all who dare to venture in may not escape!

Cedar Point celebrates HalloWeekends from 6 p.m. to midnight on Friday nights, 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays through Nov. 1. For more information, log on to…if you dare!


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Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion on Disney XD

starwars rebel

Did you see the new STAR WARS REBELS: SPARK OF REBELLION on the Disney Channel?  The series premiered yesterday on Disney XD.

 We caught a sneak peak a few weeks ago and my son really liked it. We both thought it was  action packed and exciting to watch from beginning to end.   The animation was outstanding!


Here is the quick run down:  


A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away….

Against the might of the Galactic Empire, an unlikely band of heroes emerges to renew the fight for freedom. Witness the epic debut of the riveting animated series Star Wars Rebels, in this one-hour movie event – showing on the big screen one time only!

The story unfolds during a dark time when the evil Empire is tightening its grip of power on the galaxy. Imperial forces have occupied a remote planet and are ruining the lives of its people. The motley but clever crew of the starship Ghost — cowboy Jedi Kanan, ace pilot Hera, street-smart teenager Ezra, the “muscle” Zeb, explosives expert Sabine, and cantankerous old astromech droid Chopper — is among a select few who are brave enough to stand against the Empire. Together, they will face threatening new villains, encounter colorful adversaries, embark on thrilling adventures and become heroes with the power to ignite a rebellion.


Star Wars Rebels is created by Dave Filoni (Star Wars: The Clone Wars), Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past, Sherlock Holmes), and Carrie Beck. The Lucasfilm Animation production is also executive-produced by Filoni and Kinberg as well as Greg Weisman (Gargoyles).


The talented voice cast includes Freddie Prinze Jr. as Kanan, Vanessa Marshall as Hera, Steve Blum as Zeb, Tiya Sircar as Sabine, Taylor Gray as Ezra, David Oyelowo as Agent Kallus and Jason Isaacs as the Inquisitor.


Leave us a comment and let us know what you thought of it.

 Star Wars Rebel Premier




Candy Corn Cookie Recipes

Candy Corn and White Chocolate Chip Cookies


It’s the time of the season when I love to bake!  I took advantage of the Halloween month to bake a few batches of candy corn cookies.  One batch had candy corn and white chocolate chips and the other had candy corn and peanuts.  They were both good, but the majority liked the candy corn with white chocolate chips.

Candy Corn and Peanuts Cookies

My candy corns melted more than then ones where I got the recipe, so if I made them again, I would put the candy corn and peanuts or white chocolate chips inside and form the dough around the candy.  They still tasted great!


I used this recipe as my base for these cookies:

DIY Halloween Mantle

Large 31

It’s been a little over a year since we’ve been in our home and I feel like we are finally feeling settling and moving past the “needs” where we can now choose the “wants”.  This is my first year decorating for Halloween; I decided to start with my mantle.  I bought wooden numbers from Hobby Lobby. I sanded them down and spray painted them black. I next used Modge Podge to attach the chevron scrapbook paper to the “3” and sparkle black glitter to the “1”.  I love how they turned out. So simple to make!

I bought some old books from a thrift store, and stacked them up and placed a skull on top that I purchased at Big Lots last year around Halloween.

31 frame

Next, I took another piece of scrapbook paper I found at Hobby Lobby and cut out the “31st”.  I place it in a frame I already owned and used an easel display it.

Trick or Treat Pillows

These two teal chairs sit in front of my fireplace and  desperately needed some Halloween inspired pillows. I went back to Hobby Lobby and picked up some burlap pillow covers.  I was going to paint “trick” and “treat” directly on the pillows, but then had an idea to get chevron burlap ribbon and paint the words “trick” and “treat” on the ribbon.  That way I could use the same pillows when I decorate for Christmas.  Using stencils, I painted the words onto burlap ribbon (that I found at Walmart) with acrylic paint and attached Velcro to the backs to hold the ribbon in place.

Back of Trick Pillow


The “BOO” blocks started up on the mantle and made their way to in front of the fireplace after I ran out of room for my Halloween craft projects. You can find the BOO block instructions here.




WDIV-TV 4 news reporter and former weatherman Chuck Gaidica has donated 20,000 copies of his books, Tommy Starts Something Big: Giving Cuddles with Kindness, and Cuddling is Like Chocolate, to help raise funds for Grace Centers of Hope.  One of southeast Michigan’s oldest and largest homeless shelters, Grace Centers of Hope provides homeless and rehabilitation services for nearly 200 men, women and children on any given day.  Luckily, we have been given 10 sets to giveaway to our readers!!! Continue reading to find out how to win YOUR set! 

            “We are so blessed to have an ally like Chuck Gaidica who truly cares about making a difference in his own community,” said Pastor Kent W. Clark, CEO of Grace Centers of Hope.  “Through his generous donation, we will be able to raise funds to help support the life-saving programs and services for the men, women and children who call Grace Centers of Hope home.”

            Tommy Starts Something Big: Giving Cuddles with Kindness is a heartwarming children’s story about a young boy named Tommy who faced his own challenge in life by deciding to inspire others in their times of need.  The book, which features beautiful watercolor illustrations by Mary Gregg Byrne, reminds children and adults about the positive change that can happen when people help people.  Gaidica penned Cuddling is Like Chocolate as a short book for adults to address the many health and wellness benefits of cuddling.  It includes inspiring stories, cuddle facts and humorous illustrations by Jeff Covieo to encourage readers to reach out and cuddle with someone they love. 

            Gaidica is an Emmy Award–winning television and radio personality who created the phrase “Cuddle Alert” as a fun call to action during cold-weather outbreaks.  The alert is a platonic reason to cuddle with somebody for warmth and much more: a healthful connection of two souls.  Gaidica has spent years researching the connection between cuddling and wellness.  As a former weather forecaster, Chuck has issued “Cuddle Alerts” on TV and radio for nearly 30 years.   

            “I am so happy to use my books to help touch and restore the lives of others,” said Gaidica.  “My children’s book encourages kids to think bigger than themselves to help other people.  It’s like I wrote a book about the mission of Grace Centers of Hope.”

            Tommy Starts Something Big: Giving Cuddles with Kindness and Cuddling is Like Chocolate can be purchased throughout the year at all Grace Centers of Hope Thrift Store locations: 23105 Coolidge Hwy., Oak Park; 43584 Van Dyke, Sterling Heights; 26740 Dequindre Rd., Warren; and 5919 Highland Rd., Waterford Township.  The books also can be purchased online by visiting or by calling 1-855-HELP-GCH.   

            Grace Centers of Hope provides a comprehensive range of programs and services to help individuals and families overcome issues of homelessness, addiction, neglect, physical abuse, poverty and spiritual emptiness.  One hundred percent of the nonprofit’s revenues are generated through private support, fundraising initiatives and its four thrift stores.  Last year, Grace Centers of Hope provided more than 45,000 nights of stay for men, women and children who sought help from the nonprofit organization. 


Now, all you have to do to win YOUR OWN SET of these books is comment below the title of YOUR favorite children’s book! The giveaway starts TODAY and ends Sunday, October 19th @ 8pm (EST). Winners will be chosen randomly! GOOD LUCK!!! 

About Grace Centers of Hope

Giving hope to the helpless since 1942, Grace Centers of Hope is considered one of the leading faith-based organizations in Southeastern Michigan, daily confronting issues of homelessness, addiction, poverty, abuse and spiritual emptiness. On any given night, Grace Centers of Hope provides transitional and emergency shelter to 150-200 men, women and children, in addition to serving more than 100,000 meals each year. Grace’s $5.7 million yearly budget is maintained solely through corporate and private donors, exclusive of any government assistance.  To learn more about Grace Centers of Hope or to make a donation, please visit



Halloween Wars Returns to Food Network

Halloween Wars Logo

Halloween Wars returns to Food Network for its fourth season, premiering Sunday, October 5th at 9pm ET/PT.


Witness five teams, consisting of a pumpkin carving expert, a cake decorator, and sugar artist, as they battle it out over four episodes to create heart-stopping Halloween-themed displays, guaranteed to scare the daylights out of viewers.


Hosted by Justin Willman (Cupcake Wars), each week the teams go head-to-head to create different themed pumpkin displays. One team is eliminated each episode by the judging panel, made up of renowned cake decorator Shinmin Li and Emmy®-nominated make-up artist Brian Kinney, and a rotating panel of celebrity guest judges, including Naomi Grossman (American Horror Story: Asylum), Francia Raisa (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), Adi Shankar (film producer of The Grey and Dredd), and Lew Temple (The Walking Dead and The Devil’s Rejects).The last team standing wins the title of Halloween Wars champion and a $50,000 grand prize.

Fun Date Night: Bahama Breeze Rumtoberfest

Looking for a little fun?  Take a break from your regular Thursday evening routine, grab your partner (or your best friend!) and head over to Bahama Breeze to celebrate #RumThursday!  With its ultra-cool island atmosphere, Bahama Breeze is one of my favorite restaurants.  Especially when I’m longing for a break from the winter doldrums.  It’s like taking a mini vacation without having to go very far!

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Every Thursday in October, Bahama Breeze guests will be treated to special live entertainment and a chance to win a getaway for two to the Super-Inclusive Breezes Resort & Spa in the Bahamas.  While you are there, you can indulge in the food & drink offerings created just for #Rumtoberfest.  You may want to try one of their hand-crafted drinks featuring fresh-pressed sugar cane juice and fruit such as the Strawberry Mojito crafted from Bacardi DragonFruit rum and fresh strawberries and the Mango Jalapeño Mojito made with Cruzan Mango rum, mango puree and fresh jalapeño peppers or the premium rum flight featuring  Seven Fathoms, Pyrat XO Reserve and Zaya Gran Reserva 12 Year rums.


The chefs at Bahama Breeze have created two new rum-infused dishes for the occasion. Inspired by the classic cocktail, Rum and Coke Wings feature Bahama Breeze’s signature chicken wings smothered in a house-made sauce with Myers’ Original Dark Rum. For a sweet finish to any meal, the classic Rum Cake is made with Bacardi Oakheart Rum and topped with raisin butterscotch sauce and vanilla bean ice cream.  If those don’t sound good to you, try their cuban sandwich.  It’s the best my husband and I have tried outside of Ybor City, Florida!

You can find out more about Bahama Breeze and find a location near you by visiting their website.  


It’s Ladies Night in Milford!

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Ladies Night Out welcomes shoppers, diners on Oct.2

Downtown Milford’s Ladies Night Out returns this fall for an evening of shopping and dining in the Village, from 5-9 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2. Gather up your gal pals and enjoy giveaways, discounts, storewide sales, freebies, complimentary snacks and beverages at some of your favorite downtown stores and eateries. Plus, get a first look at Milford’s newest addition, Green Envy, an all-natural skincare boutique and spa located at 345 North Main Street.


While exploring downtown Milford, ladies can collect stamps for the official Ladies Night Out postcard at any of the participating businesses. Attendees who collect 10 stamps may enter to win one of 40 gift certificates, worth at least $20 each, by dropping the completed booklet off at any participating location.


This year ladies are invited to bring new women’s hygiene and beauty products for donation to Community Sharing. Designated donation boxes will be located along Main Street in downtown Milford.


Ladies Night Out is sponsored by the Milford Business Association.