Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Justina Pelletier case - PLEASE READ

If you are not familiar with this story please take five minutes and read. This should scare the hell out of any parent, especially as this is NOT an isolated incident. This can happen to ANYONE.

Photo credit from A-Miracle-for-Justina FB page
In summary Justina is a teen who was diagnosed by doctors at Tufts with a rare Mito syndrome.  This is especially difficult to diagnose but her sister has a similar diagnosis so it appears to be hereditary.  Tufts is a highly respected institution and the doctors that diagnosed her were experts in the field. 

After diagnosis, Justina was taken by her parents to another hospital, Boston Children's, for a completely unrelated issue - complications from a cold or virus. While under their treatment, the team at Boston Children's disagreed with the other diagnosis saying that the symptoms were psychological, not physical and accused the parents of "medical abuse". Keep in mind that none of the doctors at Boston's who examined Justina are experts in Mito disorders and a proper psychiatric exam was never fully conducted.

 Long story short, Boston Children's called in MA DCF and gained custody over the girl so they could keep Justina under their care.  Their "care" reportedly involved stopping all medical treatment for the Mito issue so during this time (several months) the girl, Justina, has not been getting the treatment that she needs. The parents have had limited visitation and Justina has literally been wasting away over the last few months.  If she does not receive the proper care it is very likely that she can die.  The before and after pictures of how she looked right before admittance to Boston Children's and how she looks now are alarming.

In a final custody battle, the state of Massachusetts "permanently" stripped the parents of custody, not based on the medical facts, but based on the fact that the father had been extremely vocal during this process. The judge claimed that he was "verbally abusive") to DCF staff, drawing attention to the incompetence of DCF and Boston Children's. This has NOTHING to do with the medical reasons of the case or their ability to parent their children.

 One concession and positive outcome of the new ruling is that is that she will finally go back to Tufts to receive medical care but as a ward of the state, not under her parent's custody.  In an even bigger powerplay, the parents are being denied any type of visitation which is unprecedented for this type of situation. This has completely torn the family apart.  This entire situation shows an abuse of power by both DCF and Boston Children's.  This includes a misinterpretation and deliberate abuse of laws which have been put in place to protect children.  A disagreement over a medical diagnosis between medical professionals should never result in this sort of outcome

This has received wide media attention.  The thought that this can happen today in a democratic society is terrorizing. Even worse is that there are children who are truly being abused. The time that DCF has spent on this case could have been spent where it is really needed. Think of all the cases where children were hospitalized or died and it comes out that social services was involved but missed a visit or did not probe deep enough into a case because of huge caseloads and a shortage of staff.  Here are parents who are obviously loving and caring yet being denied access to their child.

Other Americans are completely disgusted and distressed that this can happen in this day and time.  Some people are even threatening DCF and Boston Children's.  I do not agree with threats of physical harm but it is imperative that people bring attention to this matter until the situation is resolved.   That includes signing petitions, writing letters, placing calls, etc.  Many people are calling for individuals to boycott the state, including the upcoming Boston Marathon, which brings in a huge amount of money.

 Justina belongs back at home with her parents.  Ask yourself if we do not do anything, who or what is next?   More importantly ask yourself how you would feel if this was your child.   Here is how you can help:

Official Website:
Follow on Facebook for updates from the family:  A Miracle for Justina  This site includes a list of websites and numbers posted by users that people can visit and call to protest


Thursday, March 27, 2014

American Dream Builders - Information and Giveaway!

The American Dream Home is something everyone fantasizes about. Whether it’s a new closet, a larger family room, or simply a place to put all your stuff, there’s always something we want to change about where we live!

AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS – a new show on NBC airing on Sunday at 8/7c – and Lowe’s want to make your dream a reality. Hosted by famed interior designer and best-selling author, Nate Berkus,

AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS follows the nation’s top 12 designers and home builders as they compete to be crowned the Ultimate Dream Builder and take home a $250,000 cash prize. It’s the home competition that will change everything! From the producers of Survivor and The Bachelor, don’t miss

AMERICAN DREAM BUILDERS, Sundays at 8/7c, only on NBC. 

You can enter for a chance to win $100,000 in products and services from Lowe’s and a consultation with the winner of American Dream Builders!
- Enter to win your dream home -  You will have the opportunity to earn 5 bonus entries when you “Dream It Yourself”!
- Upload a photo and description of a home project you are working on and EARN 5 BONUS SWEEPSTAKES ENTRIES.
-  Finally, follow the show on Facebook and Twitter for a chance to win more prizes from American Dream Builders and Lowe’s!

Interested?  #DreamBuilders Get Social With It!
 • You can LIVE TWEET with the judges - Nate Berkus, Eddie George and Monica Pedersen! #DreamBuilders - Join the judges and contestants on Twitter as they LIVE TWEET along with the show.

What if you could make your home into your Dream Home?  

What I would do:
- New Flooring
- New Window Treatments
- New Furniture
- New Throw rugs.
- Remodel the kitchen
- Get rid of the ugly popcorn ceiling!

What would you do?  Thanks to Lowes and American Dream Builders look what I have to share with one very lucky reader!  Simply comment here on one change you want to make and then fill out the rafflecopter form.  Extra entries available.  I DO verify so make sure you follow the requirements.

Have fun dreaming of your design wishes and good luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I did not receive any form of compensation for this post.  This giveaway information and gift card will be provided directly to one qualified random winner from American Dream Builders.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Divergent Movie - Review

If you missed opening weekend for Divergent and have not read the books you may be wondering what all the fuss is about.  I was lucky enough to see and early preview last week.  Because I knew the movie was coming out, I made sure to read the book.  Why?  I watch the movie first without reading the book it is unlikely that I will ever read it because what is the point if you know how the story ends?   I took my oldest daughter to the movie with me and she did NOT read the book (she does not like to read period).   We both loved the movie.

Reading the book helped somewhat with understanding the plot but it is definitely not a pre-requisite to seeing the movie.  I answered maybe one or two questions for my daughter early on but after that she got the gist of the story and enjoyed the film.

Divergent is a story about a young teenager living in a post apocalyptic world,.  In this future there is little left of the US outside of Chicago, IL.  The lakes are dried up and the land surrounding the city is destroyed - miles and miles of wasteland surround the city.  In order to keep peace, a system has been established where at the society has been split into five factions - each member is to be aligned to one faction, selected at the age of 16.  The factions are as follows:
Abenation - selflessness
Amity - peace
Dauntless - the protectors
Erudite - knowledge
Candor - honesty

For each individual to commit to a faction there is annua ceremony
- First all 16 year old children are tested for predisposition to a certain faction
- Later at the celebration they select the faction they belong to regardless of the test results.  The testing is simply given to guide them.  Many, despite their predisposition to another faction, will chose their home faction.  To chose a faction outside of the one you were raised in means turning your back on your family (thus the mantra faction before family).   Selecting a faction does not guarantee acceptance however.  The faction must also accept the individual - those that are not accepted by their faction cannot join another and essentially become factionless - this is very similar to being homeless.

Tris, the lead character shows us early on that she is not cut out for the faction that she was born and raised in (Abenation).  She is not naturally selfless and struggles with having the innate instinct to help others - for her it is always an afterthought.  Tris is really counting on the test results to help her determine what faction she is best suited for but when she takes the test, the results are inconclusive.  In panicked secrecy the test administrator tells Tris that she is something called Divergent and that it is very dangerous - if the government finds out that she is Divergent her life will be in danger.  Tris has never heard of Divergence before and is not sure what it means and why it is dangerous.  The test administrator purposely "loses" the results of the "inconclusive" test.

Not being a natural fit for a faction makes Tris anxious about the ceremony.  She is still not certain what she will do but she is confident that her twin brother will stay with Abenation as he is naturally selfless and has always seemed "in place" at home.   Her mother encourages Tris and her brother to follow their hearts but she struggles with this as she does not want to turn her back on her family.  Tris soon finds that she does not know her brother's heart - or her own - as much as she thought.

From this point on we see Tris fight and struggle to find her place and fit into society.  While she acclimates to her home, she tries to hide any indications of being divergent, she discovers that being divergent is only one danger.  There are many who wish to change the structure of the factions but these plans are built on corruption, repression and inequality.  With the help of four, her group leader and mentor, she starts to learn more about herself.

I felt like the movie stayed mostly true to the book - there were a few notable differences but overall I was pleased with the results.   Many people were mixed on their feelings of Shailene Woodley being cast in the lead role.  I do have to say though that after reading the book I can see why she won the part - The character Tris is a complex one - on the surface she seems reserved, quiet and plain.  Her personality seems flat and she keeps her emotions to herself.  Underneath though there is a fire inside Tris.  As she grows as a person and gains confidence in her abilities and her place in society, she begins to find her voice and her purpose.  Shailene seemed to understand this and was able to bring the character to life.

The most important thing that Tris learns about herself is that being diveregent means not being able to be stereotyped or put into a category - as a divergent she is multi-faceted and less likely to conform.  This ends up being critical to her place in fighting repression of the government.

I found that I actually enjoyed the movie better than the book - this happens almost never.  I find that the book is consistently better than the movie,  This was a pleasant surprise because although I enjoyed the book, I found myself constantly comparing it to the Hunger Games which is unfair.  Both series have similar themes but they are separate and should each be weighed on their own merit.

My teen daughter LOVED this movie.  She definitely identified with the Dauntless faction so it was interesting to see her response to watching others who were a little wild and crazy but ultimately want to protect others (that is completely her!).  She was also assigning each of us their factions.  My husband would be Dauntless too, while I would be Erudite and my youngest would be Candor.  We still are not sure where my middle daughter would fall - (maybe she is Divergent!)

There really is too much to put in a review - there are so many other pieces to the story that are best revealed by viewing the film.   If you are looking for a good movie I do recommend this one.  Some movies I wait for the DVD but others I categorize as worth a theater visit - this is one that is worth a trip to the theater.  Please keep in mind that this is not appropriate for younger children as it is geared towards young adults.  There is quite a bit of violence and other content that is more appropriate for mature audiences.        

Want more official details?  Divergent goes digital!  Check it out....
Official Site: "

Disclosure:  Movie passes were provided to me for review purposes.  I did not receive any form of compensation nor was I required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, March 15, 2014


I love Goodreads. Most people are familiar with the site, but if you are not you should visit ASAP. Goodreads is a social network for readers - it is a comprehensive database of published books that you can mark as read, currently reading or to read. For books that you have read you can rank and review. Your reviews are available to anyone on the site but your lists can be available to only your network or the public depending on your privacy settings. I sometimes will receive an advanced reader copy (ARC) of a book for review purposes. You will be able to read reviews on books not yet published so you can plan accordingly.

What else can you do on Goodreads? You can also import your wishlists from other sites like with your wish list. In addition Goodreads has author newsletters you can subscribe to and you may even be invited to ask questions from your favorite author. There are also lists and group discussions that you can vote on and participate in. So many books - so little time!

If you are a Goodreads member already or want to register (FREE!), here is my profile and list so you can follow me. I will follow back:

 Here is my "read" shelf: 
MaryBeth Isaac's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

My "currently-reading" shelf:
MaryBeth Isaac's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (currently-reading shelf)
 What is odd is that I used to read 1 book at a time but now I may have 2 - 3 going at once.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Orkin Bed Bug Prevention Giveaway

Recently my daughter Miss E. (11) was waking up with what looked like huge bites on her face and arms.  Initially we thought it may be hives but one of the welts stayed for days.    Of course I was worried about bed bugs.  With global travel, many diseases and critters have made it from other countries to ours (and vice versa I am sure).  One of the more recent problems is the epidemic rise in bed bug infestations.  Unfortunately many people unknowingly bring Bed Bugs home from a hotel stay or simply from someone else's home.  I am constantly cleaning the house but I knew that it does not matter how clean you are...   Anyone is susceptible.

Back to Miss E.  - We of course were very concerned as she kept waking up with huge red bumps on her face and arms.  We kept checking her room for bugs but did not find anything.  The problem mainly seemed to happen in her room. After numerous occurrences we finally ditched her bed, deep cleaned her room and bought a new bed with a bed bug mattress protector.

Long story short is after all of that, Miss E. spent a night in her bed and woke up with more welts.  At this point I realized that we did NOT have a bed bug infestation and that she was breaking out in hives do to an allergic reaction to her sheets.  (One of the welts I believe was a spider bite but the rest were hives) As soon as we got rid of the sheets the problem was solved.  Yes, I wish we figured that out before spending a small fortune on a new bed and mattress pad but ultimately we were glad that she did not have to endure this any more.

Even though we did not have a bed bug problem, we very easily could have.  We both occasionally travel and I always check hotels for bed bugs but that is not foolproof.  We went through the same seemingly endless challenges that many who do.  It really opened my eyes to how devastating this can be to a household, especially when it involves your kids.

Anyone that travels is really at risk.  There are things you can do to minimize your chances of being a victim however:

- Before traveling check to see if the hotel has been reported for a bed bug problem and what (if any) efforts have been made to resolve.  There are different websites that you can go to to look this up.

- Wben you arrive at your hotel make sure that you check the bed.  Many websites will instruct you on how to do this.

- Be careful what you purchase from thrift stores or garage sales.

- If you DO unfortunately find yourself with a bed bug problem, early detection is key to resolving the problem quickly.  Yes it can be embarrassing because of the stigma attached to the issue but bed bugs reproduce quickly so the more time that passes, the more difficult the problem will be to treat. (the bugs may spread from one room to another, to couches, rugs, other beds, etc).  Call a professional as soon as possible to have your home inspected and see what your options are.   Your Orkin professional will inspect your home thoroughly and design a treatment that’s right for you. Visit or call 877-412-6806 for a free estimate.

Thanks to Orkin, I have two mattress safe Pillowcase protectors to share with one reader.  To enter toi win simply  take the “Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite” QUIZ and post your result in the comments section for a giveaway entry.  Extra entries also available.

I certainly hope that none of my readers goes through what we went through (whether or not there is a bug problem or not) but if there is an issue, I hope that the information provided here is helpful.  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  Information was provided to me by Orkin.  I did not receive any compesation for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.

Veronica Mars DVD Giveaway!

Are you a Veronica Mars fan?  Well if so, the story continues..... Following a record-breaking Kickstarter campaign that ended on April 12, 2013, Veronica Mars was shot over 23 days during June-July 2013. It will be released in selected theaters nationwide on March 14th, 2014.

On the eve of graduating law school, Veronica Mars has put Neptune and her amateur sleuthing days behind her. While interviewing at high-end New York law firms, Veronica Mars gets a call from her ex-boyfriend Logan who has been accused of murder. Veronica heads back to Neptune just to help Logan find an attorney, but when things don't seem right with how Logan's case is perceived and handled, Veronica finds herself being pulled back into a life she thought she had left behind. 


 See it In Theaters MARCH 14
 Pre-order on DIGITAL HD


 Why you will LOVE The Veronica Mars widget ....
• Veronica Mars: Purity Test Marshmallow Super-fan Trivia -
• Think you know all there is to know about Neptune, California? Test your Veronica Mars knowledge with all 3 levels of super-fan trivia and find out if you are the ultimate Marshmallow!

 Thanks to Warner Brothers I have a great prize to giveaway to one lucky winner.  To enter simply take the 3 levels of “Purity Test Marshmallow Super-Fan Trivia” and post your results in the comments section below as your main giveaway entry. Extra entries available.   One entrant will win a Veronica Mars DVD.  Please note that each household is only eligible to win One (1) Veronica Mars DVD via blog reviews and giveaways so if you win off of another blog you would not be eligible to win one here as well. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway.

Have fun with the quiz and best of luck on the giveaway!

Disclosure:  Warner Bros. supplied the information and giveaway materials.  I did not receive any compensation for this post nor was I required to write a positive review.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own.  .


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Being Heart Healthy with Campbell's - recipes and savings information included

When I was growing up if I wanted to research something I headed to the library, looked in the card catalog and/or encyclopedia until I gathered all of the information that I needed.  Now days if I need information I simply look on my computer.  Because information is so readily available, I consider myself better educated in many areas, especially anything health and diet related.  Easy access to information means that I am paying closer attention to how the choices I make have a bigger impact on me and/or my family.   This knowledge has changed my grocery shopping habits and the way that we prepare food for our family.

I now frequently buy veggies and lean meats.  We bake or grill and use less fat but more flavoring.  Even my kids are starting to appreciate eating right -  tonight my 11 year old asked me to make brussels sprouts for dinner tomorrow!  (This was totally a proud mom moment for me!).  Although our diets are much more veggie-centric,  because we both work it is sometimes more realistic to use a combination of fresh and canned ingredients versus cooking everything from scratch.

I certainly encourage anyone interested in a better diet to do their own research and consult with a physician and/or registered dietitian.   Here is some additional information to get you started
Health is foremost on people’s minds, keeping your family in tip top shape can be a challenge in these busy times. Campbell’s Soup wants you to “Address Your Heart” with Heart Healthy Tips, recipes and more!
Visit to get heart-healthy tips, including 21 Campbell’s recipes that are certified by the AHA and product coupons, as well as for the latest Campbell’s recipes and offers.  

Here are some "heart healthy" recipes provided by Campbell's that I personally selected to share with you (Heart-Check Certification does not apply to recipes or information reached through links unless expressly stated).  I hope that these may inspire you!  If interested simply click on the picture to be taken  to the recipe details:

Interested?  Before you run off and start cooking, make sure that you check Campbell's website and check out what savings are available to you! .

Disclosure:   This post is sponsored by the Campbell's Soup company.  Information and recipes were provided by Campbell's.  I did receive a gift card from Campbell's as a thank you for sharing this information with my readers.  Any opinions expressed are my own.  

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