OzoBot Bit Robot

2015-Holiday-Gift-Guide

Are you looking for a hot toy this holiday season? Well you need to check out the Ozobot Bit, the world’s smallest programmable robot. This little robot gamifies STEM and computer science learning for kids through game based activities and digital apps! When I first received this robot, I have to admit, at first I was really nervous that I wouldn’t understand the toy and be able to explain it to my kids, but the Ozobot Bit is very easy to operate!

ozobot-bit

About Ozobot Bit

The robot is programmed by users using its custom block-based programming editor, OzoBlockly. If you are familiar with Scratch, Hopscotch, App Inventor, Tynker or Tickle App, then OzoBlockly will fee very intuitive to the users. Essentially, block-based programming is very similar to brick building toys in that you assemble bricks of commands to build your program. OzoBlockly offers five modes from Novice (with icon-based blocks) to Master (with loops, logic and other advanced programming concepts).

My absolute FAVORITE part about this robot (and I just paused writing this post so I could send all of the info to my daughters teacher) is how this can be incorporated into the classroom. On the Ozobot website, there is a section with free STEM/STREAM lesson plans and workshops. Now I will admit, at first I was like “I really don’t see how my daughter would be using this in her 3rd grade classroom”, but I was SOOOOO wrong. Besides the computer science aspect of this Ozobot Bit robot, in that educators section, they have a lesson plan for using this robot in a literature lesson. As soon as I saw that, mind started going a mile a minute thinking about all the cool things kids and teachers could do with this little robot! Kids learn by doing. Thrown in a little technology and not only are they learning the material, so in this case, the story, but they are also thinking logically, working together in small groups and solving a problem (programming the robot).

Other Cool Features

  • Program is loaded using light communication. No cables or Bluetooth — simply load through flashing lights!
  • Built-in interactive reference guide, examples and challenges to get you started.
  • OzoBlockly works in most modern web browsers running on PCs, Mac OS X, Windows and Linux and iOS and Android tablets.
  • JavaScript preview mode (coming soon).

About Evollve, INC.

Our journey began in the spring of 2012 with an idea of finding creative ways to engage young minds and prepare them to succeed in an evolving digital world. Technology is an essential component to daily living and is integrated in almost everything we use and consume. At its core is computer science, critical thinking and programming and we believe it is our responsibility to teach our kids to not just be users of technology but makers of it. 

We also believe that the best way to learn is to have fun, so we set out to create Ozobot, a robotic gaming ecosystem that promotes social interaction, computational thinking and confidence building through competitive play and interactive games.

Since its launch, Ozobot has garnered over a dozen of top industry awards such as 2015 KAPi Awards, CES 2015 Editors’ Choice Awards, and the 2015 Brain Toy award.

If you are still looking for that one cool toy to get your kids this holiday season, definitely pick up one of these! Not only will your kids love it, but they will be learning while they play!!

Buy Ozobot Bit HERE!

Gluten Free Lasagna Recipe to Die For!

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

Winter is finally upon us and with winter comes the urge to eat delicious comfort food. When I had to start eating gluten free, I was a little worried that I would have to give up some foods that I really enjoy…like lasagna. Not too long ago, a friend of mine told me about oven ready lasagna noodles that were gluten free. I knew I had to make a gluten free lasagna. I just had to!

gluten-free-lasagna

Normally I am not one to want the cold weather. However, this year we’ve had a really strange start to Fall and Winter. Rather than gradually get cooler until we’re at freezing temperatures, we’ve held on to the 60 and even 70 degree temps…in November! I know…crazy! Since the colder temps seemed to finally be here, I decided to take a ride to my local Walmart store and pick up the different Hunt’s products needed to make a delicious gluten free lasagna!

hunts-walmart

Before we get started with the recipe, I can’t stress enough how important it is to get oven ready lasagna noodles. No boiling necessary. It’s awesome. I promise!

gluten-free-lasagna2

In your skillet, with your stove on medium-high heat, pour about a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Place 2 1/2  lbs ground beef (or any combination of meat you prefer) and 2 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic. Cook until the meat is completely brown. I really like using my ground meat chopper. Makes browning the meat so much easier! Once the meat is completely cooked, drain off the fat.

gluten-free-lasagna3

Now add two 14.5 oz cans of Hunt’s Diced Tomatoes, two 6 oz cans of Hunt’s Tomato Paste, 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley flakes, 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil, 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (or more if you like it really spicy), and salt to taste.

gluten-free-lasagna4

Mix everything together really well. Even when you think it’s mixed, keep mixing because it’s not. Trust me! Cover and let this simmer for about 55 minutes, stirring occasionally.

gluten-free-lasagna5

While your delicious sauce is simmering, mix 2 beaten eggs with 3 1/2 cups cottage cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 tablespoons parsley flakes, and 1 teaspoon salt.

I chose to go with cottage cheese over ricotta cheese for a couple reasons. First of all, my kids aren’t all that fond of ricotta cheese. While I try to make things my kids like, the main reason I chose to use cottage cheese is because it gives a much creamier texture to the lasagna. It’s absolutely delicious!

pam-cooking-spray

Now you’re ready to start assembling your gluten free lasagna! But…first things first…spray your pan with Pam Cooking Spray. You don’t want to have all your hard work stick to the pan! Also, it’d be a good time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees!

gluten-free-lasagna6

Now it’s time to start layering! Place a little bit of sauce down on the bottom of the pan. This is important if you are using oven ready noodles. I think it helps the noodles cook better. On top of the sauce, place your oven ready gluten free lasagna noodles. Then place a layer of your cottage cheese mixture. On top of that, place a generous amount of sauce. Next you want to place the secret ingredient…PEPPERONI! My husbands mom makes lasagna with pepperoni and it’s delicious so I wanted to make sure I added that to my recipe too!

gluten-free-lasagna7

I’ve made lasagna with shredded cheese and using the mozzarella slices and I prefer to use the slices. If you want to go with slices, just stop by your deli counter and ask for about 1 lb of mozzarella cheese sliced thin. However, shredded is perfectly fine too! Cheese is cheese!

gluten-free-lasagna8

Keep repeating your layers. Make sure to finish with a nice layer of meat sauce on top. Sprinkle a generous amount of Parmesan cheese on top. Cover with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes. Uncover and bake for about 10 minutes more.

The nice thing about this recipe is that it freezes well. I would probably cook it, let it cool and then freeze it. If you haven’t added pepperoni to your lasagna before…do it! I’m telling you, it adds to the dish very nicely!

Capture

What’s your favorite winter comfort food? Comment below. Also be sure to check out some other really great Yes You Can recipes!

Double Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies

One of my favorite things about this time of year, besides buying gifts for everyone, is the peppermint everything! I love peppermint. In fact, I have been known to buy candy canes for dirt cheap after Christmas just so I can hang on to the peppermint a little while longer! I even made a peppermint lip scrub…that’s how much I love peppermint! When you can throw a little chocolate in there too…it’s heaven!

Double chocolate peppermint crunch 4-2

Double Chocolate Peppermint Crunch Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups Chocolate Chips, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1/4 cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 cup Unsalted Sweet Cream Butter, softened
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Andie’s Peppermint Crunch Chocolate

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a double broiler, add the 2 cups chocolate chips and stir until melted and smooth. Place melted chocolate into a metal bowl.
  3. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Using an electric mixer, beat butter in a large bowl until creamy. Add the sugar and vanilla extract. Then beat until smooth.
  5. Add in the eggs and beat until well incorporated.
  6. Next add the melted chocolate and the dry ingredients. Mix until well blended. Stir in the Andie’s chocolate.
  7. Scoop out one tablespoon of dough and form a round ball. Place on a cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-9 minutes.
  8. Cool cookies on baking sheet for about 5 minutes.
  9. Transfer the cookies on the parchment paper to racks to cool completely.

Double chocolate peppermint crunch 4-1

Santa will be very happy to get these cookies on Christmas Eve!

What is your favorite holiday cookie???

Please note, if you do not have a double broiler, that’s OK! Simply place the chocolate in a microwaveable glass bowl and microwave in 15 minute intervals. Be sure to stir after each 15 second time frame.

 

Quaker Oats 100th Anniversary Giveaway!

QKR_BrandFlag_Med

Quaker Oats has been around a long time. Right now they are happily celebrating 100 years of their iconic oats canister. It was 100 years ago that Quaker managed to prove that it’s hip NOT to be square and they introduced their cylinder shaped canister.

Henry Crowell, who purchased the Quaker Mill in Ravenna, Ohio, and with it the Quaker brand name, is credited for the canister debut. Canned foods were a hot new trend in 1915, and Cronwell noticed the public’s growing appetite for colorful, conveniently sized packaging, so he began selling his oats in distinctive round cardboard cartons decorated with the bran’s trademark image. Today, Quaker produces approximately 120 million canisters annually at it’s Cedar Rapids plant.

Evolution of the Quaker Brand (1)-page-001

Fun Facts about Quaker Oats

  • In 1891, Quaker was the first to feature a recipe on their packaging (Oatmeal Bread).
  • The first cookie recipe, Oat Cakes, was introduced on packaging in 1908.
  • For the last 20 years, the Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, remains consumers favorite recipe on the canister.
  • In 2015, the Quaker Quick 3 minute Steel Cut Oats lineup launched (this cut cooking time from 30 minutes to just 3 minutes).

Quaker Oats was nice enough to send me a wonderful box full of Quaker products. One of the items in the box was a bunch of recipes. Bella told me that the Baked Cherry Almond Oatmeal is one she would like me to make her. See the recipe below:

IMG_5731

GIVEAWAY!!!

How would you like to win your own Quaker Oats prize pack?!? Entering is easy. Simply comment on this post telling me what your favorite homemade cookie is. That’s it! Told you it was easy!

Rules

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. You must answer the above question in a comment in order to be eligible. Simply commenting “Pick me” or “I love Quaker Oats”, while comical, it will disqualify your entry. This giveaway will close on 12/7/15 at 8pm EST. One winner will be chosen at random and emailed. The emailed winner will have 48 hours to respond with their shipping information or a new winner will be determined. 

Quaker Replica Canister 5 (not available in stores)

Bring the Minions Movie Home for the Holidays!

2015-Holiday-Gift-Guide

Every year, on Christmas Eve, my husband and I give the kids a new pair of pajamas to wear that night. For the last couple of years, we have decided to stay home on Christmas Eve and do stuff as a family. In past years we’ve ordered Chinese food and watched a movie. However, this year I thought it would be fun to put together a family fun night basket together for the kids with their pajamas, the Minions movie and a new board game. This years board game will be Say Anything Family. I’ll also throw in some microwavable popcorn and candy to watch the movie.

Doesn’t this sound like a good idea? The kids crave family time. Shoot…who am I kidding, so do I and what better way to spend time together as a family than to watch a movie and laugh over a board game?!?

This year, if you are looking for a movie to give your kids for the holidays or just because, you really need to pick up the Minions movie. It is currently available right now on Digital HD, but if you are like me and you prefer to have the Blu-Ray­™, if will be hitting stores on December 8, 2015! Just in time for the holidays!

Minions-movie

About the Minions Movie

Since the dawn of time, Minions have served (and accidentally eliminated) history’s most despicable villains. After their latest explosive mistake leaves them without an evil leader, the Minions fall into a deep depression. With the tribe on the bring of collapse, three unlikely heroes–Kevin, Stuart and Bob–embark on a journey to find a new big boss. When their quest leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill (Academy Award® winner Sandra Bullock), our three heroes must face their biggest challenge yet: saving all of Minionkind…from annihilation!

Bonus Features (exclusive to Blu-Ray™ and Digital HD)

  • Three all new original mini-movies
    • Cro Minion
    • Competition
    • Binky Nelson Unpacified
  • Deleted Scene – Me, Myself and Stuart
  • Around the World Interactive Map – Explore the world of the Minions with this interactive map featuring a collection of games, trivia, featurettes, storyboards, and more all themed to movie locations.
  • Behind the Goggles – The Illumination Story of the Minions – Get a “behind the goggles” look at the history and evolution of everyone’s favorite yellow henchmen.
  • Illumination MacGuff Animation
  • Jingle Bells Minion Style
  • The Secret Life of Pets theatrical trailer

DVD Bonus Features

  • Deleted Scene – Me, Myself, and Stuart
  • Jingle Bells Minion Style
  • The Secret Life of Pets theatrical trailer

For more information about the Minions movie, you can check them out on the web at:

Official Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

YouTube

Pinterest

Tumblr

Have you seen the Minions movie? What’s your favorite part?