Marissa’s Commercial: Milk Life and Quaker Oats

quaker-oats-the-almost-late-button-large-10Congratulations to Marissa on her Milk Life commercial! It has been airing the past few months in Spanish on Univision Hispanic TV and just recently started airing in an English version and is a now a collaboration with Quaker Oats! We just found out earlier this week when family members were texting photos of their TV during Dancing With the Stars on ABC! We’ve seen it on NBC, Nickelodeon, Fox Sports and according to a website that tracks commercials, it’s been on a few other networks. This is Marissa’s first SAG national gig. Very exciting news!

The Milk Life campaign has been sharing the benefits of milk and its 8 grams of protein per serving. While partnering with Quaker, it shows consumers the option of mixing Quaker Oats with milk instead of water to get that added benefit.

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the commercial from the MilkLife website.  Go Marissa!!!

Snow White at Ebell Theater


What:  Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

(Director: Laurie Holden / Choreographer: Amanda Murphy / Musical Director: Elena MacDonald / Costumer: Julie Onken / Sets: Lewie Stier, Clay Davison & Paul Holden)

When: Oct. 12, 2014 (closing show)

Where: Ebell Theater – 625 French Street, Santa Ana, California

Cost: $10.00 show only / $15.00 with Tea Party (pre-order online)  or $12 show only / $17.00 with Tea Party (at the door, check or cash)

I was sorting the mail on Sunday morning, and came across my Ebell Theater post card and realized it was the closing show for Snow White. Since it was Jessie’s (age 6) last weekend of her Fall Break, I thought it would make for a fun Mommy-Daughter outing! So we put on our dresses and headed out for a Tea Party and Show.


Jessie picked out her dress.

Jessie was so cute as she picked out a dress in her closet. It was a pink and fancy! We haven’t been anywhere dressy in a while and I noticed we didn’t have any dress shoes that fit her. We found some ruffle socks and paired them with her sparkly sneakers. Perfect! I braided her hair and finished it off with a bow in the back. Jessie looked like a Princess! She was so happy to have some Mommy time.


Pretty hair!

We arrived at the Ebell Theater at 12:30. They have an optional Tea Party that is held in a separate room at the theater, one hour before the show. It’s from 1:00-2:00pm. Cookies, tea and lemonade is served. The characters walk around the room and greet the guests. There was a fun Q&A game, similar to the game show “Jeopardy” with kid friendly categories related to princess and Disney stories. There were a couple of large groups celebrating birthdays and some wore tiaras as part of the birthday party theme. How fun! Even the Mommies wore tiaras.

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We sipped from our tea cups and had a lovely time. Pinkies up!

Soon it was time to enter the theater and take our seats. Before the show started, there was a raffle ticket drawing and 2 winners won a Princess themed goody bag and a 3rd winner received a cash prize. We didn’t win anything, but Jessie politely clapped for the winners. I prepared her for the fact that we may not win anything, and it’s good manners to clap for others if they win. A good lesson to teach the kids.


6 tickets for $5.00!

Speaking of learning opportunities, attending shows also gives our kids opportunities to behave properly and practice their etiquette. It’s not only fun, but a great place to be polite and social. 🙂

The show was an hour long. Perfect for little ones. Not too long and very entertaining. The cast is young and talented, ranging from 5th grade to 12th grade from schools all over Orange County. Jessie loved the story and laughed a lot! Carmella Manapat, who played Snow White was so cute and sang like an angel. The Evil Queen, Bria Booth was mean and hilarious!

After the show, the characters were lined up, sitting in chairs and guests could wait in line for a Meet and Greet. The actors autographed the playbill or cast photo, which was available for sale for $1.00.

Actors signing autographs

Actors signing autographs

For more information about the shows at Ebell, visit their website:

You can also look into auditions if your child loves Musical Theater! Next show:  “Christmas in Neverland” opens December 13th!

What a fun day with Jessie! Next time we’ll plan ahead and attend with some friends!

Tea Party & Show at Ebell!

Tea Party & Show at Ebell!



Fall is here!

halloween-2011Fall is here! The weather is finally cooling down. Pumpkin Latte’s at Starbucks. Pumpkin patches are getting set up all over town. Halloween costumes and decorations are in all the stores. Candy! Knott’s Scary Farm! Trick or Treating with the kids! I love all the Fall traditions. Marissa (12) is working on her costume. Jessie (6) is going to be a Princess! With each year, the kids get a little taller, a little wiser, and more beautiful than ever. I’m so proud to be their mom. I’m so thankful we have our health, our family, and another holiday to celebrate together.

Enjoy Fall with your family!




What kinds of things do you enjoy in the Fall?

Feel free to comment below!


In memory of Tyler Kirkland

The unthinkable happened. On the night of Tuesday, September 2, 2014… Tyler Kirkland texted his parents & friends, then took his own life. He left this world way too soon. A 10th grader at Irvine High School. Son to Dean and Kristi. Big brother to Ashley. Friend to many at his school. He played baseball, made films, played video games, did all the things most boys his age do. He had the biggest and sweetest smile. I never had the opportunity to meet Tyler. We are friends with Dean and our daughter Marissa is friends with his sister Ashely. I just recently became friends with his mom, Kristi. This tragic event has hit our community very hard. It doesn’t even seem real. You don’t think this sort of thing could happen to you or anyone you know. I learned more from his mom, that it was a combination of things he was going through. Tyler internalized his feelings and was having a hard time for years. But the bullying didn’t help. I can’t even imagine what he must have been feeling inside. And the heartbreak that his parents are feeling during this difficult time. I am so sorry for their loss. I pray for them. We aren’t supposed to outlive our children. We are supposed to go first. Not the children. They should never feel such a pain that they don’t want to live any longer. Bullying. It’s just a thing we read about, we tell our children if this happens to them, tell someone. It’s not easy to tell someone. The fear of making things worse by telling. All those fears. This bullying has got. To. Stop. Hug your children tight. Tell them they are beautiful. Tell them it’s okay.

The Memorial Service for Tyler is on Saturday in Lake Forest at Saddleback Church at 10am.
If anyone is interested in attending, the event details are on Facebook:

Here are some photos that I came across, shared by Dean and Kristi:

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I thought about Marissa’s Talent Show performance when she was 10. She dedicated this song to anyone who has been a victim of bullying. Rest in peace, Tyler Kirkland. xoxo

Never Forget. 9/11

Today is a somber day. As we reflect on this sad anniversary of 9/11/2001, I pulled some clips from our NYC trip that we took 4 months ago to share our visit to the Freedom Tower. It’s now called One World Trade Center. This magnificent structure soars into the clouds, standing at 1,776 feet tall.

One World Trade Center

One World Trade Center

Here’s the video:

What have we been up to lately?

As you can see, I haven’t been on PurpleWays lately. It has been a crazy past few months. What have we been up to lately?

Why This Ride – my other website where I get to have fun with my friend James reviewing cars. We have articles and videos and all kinds of fun stuff in the works. You can check us out there.

2014 Dodge Charger SRT burnout

2014 Dodge Charger SRT burnout

Reviewing cars with James and Roxy

Reviewing cars with James and Roxy

I know, I'm not handsfree. I was only using my phone to hit record on my GoPro app.

I know, I’m not handsfree. I was only using my phone to hit record on my GoPro app. At a stoplight! (2014 Cadillac ELR)

Our family has a new addition! My sister Adrianne and brother in law Adam just had their 2nd child, Maya in July. She’s beautiful! Their first child, Gunnar is in the 2nd grade now. Our big crazy family just got bigger.

Baby Maya at 2 months old.

Baby Maya at 2 months old.

OCSA – Marissa’s in the 7th grade at OCSA for Integrated Arts! So exciting. Thanks to our 6-family carpool and 8-seater SUV, I don’t have morning drives to OCSA. I pick up Marissa and her schoolmates in the afternoon. She is loving school, always keeping up with her homework and thinking of creative approaches to her assignments. In addition to her academic classes, her conservatory includes Acting and Creative Writing classes. For P.E. she takes Jazz Dance. Outside of school, she still takes vocals and guitar classes. Busy girl!


Marissa at registration day at OCSA

Marissa's OCSA ID!

Marissa’s OCSA ID!

Jessie is in the 1st grade now! How time flies. Our little Jessie is now a first grader and is loving school. She has good friends that she sees on the playground at recess and in our neighborhood.  Jessie’s first karate tournament is coming up 9/14. Wish her luck! Jessie also wants to learn how to play golf. We may be signing her up for lessons soon.

Crazy princesses! Jessie and her friend Tessa.

Crazy princesses! Jessie and her friend Tessa.

Jessie's an orange belt! Her and her Sensei at Tajik Karate.

Jessie’s an orange belt! Her and her Sensei at Tajik Karate.

Jim’s sister (in Colorado) is a published author! Laurie just launched her first children’s book, called “The Crabsderbill & The Pot of Gold.” We were so surprised to see the character’s names in the book, Marissa and Jessie! Thanks, Laurie for including the kids in there! The book is available on Amazon.


The Crabsderbill & The Pot of Gold by L.A. Bisel

Marissa’s latest recordings – Marissa was in the recording studio this summer at 17th Street Recording in Costa Mesa with the legendary musical genius Lewis Richards. She recorded a cover song called “Trouble Sleeping” by Corinne Bailey Rae. It was her first time to sing with a live band. She was so at home in the studio. We’re very proud of her. The musicians are from Lew’s band called The Outriders. They are amazing! Her track is available on iTunes, GooglePlay and CD Baby. She also shot a music video during the recording. It’s on YouTube.  She also worked at another studio doing background vocals for Sesame Street Live. 🙂

"Trouble Sleeping" cover by Corinne Bailey Rae

“Trouble Sleeping” cover by Corinne Bailey Rae


Marissa’s first paid gig as a filmmaker – Marissa also makes movies. Jim’s company gave Marissa a small budget to hire actors and produce a video for the company to pitch their products. She took on the task like a pro. Wrote, directed and edited the whole thing, complete with green screen effects and music with custom lyrics. What a story teller, this kid. I hope one day I’ll be allowed to share her final project publicly, but for now it’s still in stealth mode. (I can share offline… if you are interested in seeing an unlisted link let me know!) All I can say is the video was shown to the potential customer and it was one of the pieces of the presentation that helped land the business! Wow! So cool.

Marissa and her actors.

Marissa and her actors.

Marissa’s commercial – Her Milk Life commercial hasn’t aired on Hispanic cable in a while. We are keeping our fingers crossed that they will make an English version of it. They keep sending Marissa holding fees, so that must mean something good right? Meanwhile she still has auditions in Los Angeles every so often. It’s a drive, but worth the opportunities!

Milk Life commercial in Spanish

Milk Life commercial in Spanish

Me – I volunteer in Jessie’s classroom twice a week and I’m also the PTA’s Financial Secretary. We recently had our Ice Cream Social and it was a lot of fun! Our PTA President Phoebe is awesome.

With PTA moms, President Phoebe and Parlimentarian Jennifer

With PTA moms, President Phoebe and Parlimentarian Jennifer

Jim – He’s been working hard at the same company, doing Internet marketing, E-commerce, social media and SEO. He works hard. His friend Dana just came for a visit from Texas and they enjoyed a day on the golf course with their friend Ed. Jim also enjoys cooking and photography. He just shot some big wave photos in the recent swell that hit Orange County.

Jim, Ed and Dana

Jim, Ed and Dana

Big waves at the Wedge in Newport 9/8/14

Big waves at the Wedge in Newport 9/8/14


Jim and I are very proud of both our children. We are here to support them and help them go after their dreams. If you work hard and stick to your goals, anything can happen.



If anyone is interested in more information about auditioning to OCSA next year, how to find an agent and go out for commercial auditions, etc. Anything at all, I would love to share any experiences with you! Just sent me a message in the contact form. Or just drop me a line and say hello!

Love, MaryAnne. xoxo

Knott’s Berry Bloom to bring in Spring!


Spring has arrived! Where can we bring the whole family and have all kinds of fun? Knott’s, of course!Enjoy Knott’s Berry Bloom is happening April 12 – April 27, with extended hours of 10am to 10pm! We’ll be there this Saturday to enjoy the Boysenberry Festival at the Ghost Town, dancing at the Bloomination Dance Party and Jessie can’t wait to join the kids (ages 3-11) at the Easter Beagle’s Enormous Egg Hunt! There will be food and wine tasting as well. Entertainment by Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies at the Birdcage Theater will be awesome! Play giant board games at the new Boardwalk near Xcelerator or make a splash at our family favorite, the newly renovated Timber Mountain Log Ride. There really is something for everyone!

Would you like to take a virtual ride on the Timber Mountain Log Ride? Here it is!

Purchase your tickets or….  even better —> Season Passes to enjoy Knott’s all year round! Click here for info:

See you there!

Knott’s Berry Farm
Address: 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620
Phone: (714) 220-5200

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.  

Five Reasons to purchase a Knott’s Season Pass

It’s no secret our family loves spending time at Knott’s! Conveniently located in the OC, we can get to Knott’s in less than 30 minutes and we’re ready for a good time! Over the years, we have collected so many fun memories that the kids will keep in their hearts forever. Every season, there’s something exciting to celebrate!

Having a Season Pass means instant fun, all the time… and with NO BLACKOUT DATES! All year long, you can visit the park and enjoy, without checking the calendar if your pass is valid that day. It’s the most affordable annual pass you’ll find of all the Southern California attractions. The entry level pass starts at only six payments of $14.00.

I just wanted to share our “Wendt Family Top 5 Moments at Knott’s” with you:

1. Halloween 2012 – Jessie and Marissa decorated the cutest pumpkin cookies for Halloween. Camp Snoopy is so much fun when it’s Camp Spooky! Non-spooky and perfect for the little ones!

Cookie decorating!

Cookie decorating!










2. Grand opening of the Boardwalk Pier! June 2013 Knott’s opened a brand new area with family friendly rides! The kids loved the Coast Rider. With a minimum height requirement of 54″ it’s great for most school aged thrill-seeking children.

Opening of the Boardwalk Pier!

Opening of the Boardwalk Pier!










3. Our kids laugh so hard on the Timberline Twister at Knott’s. I will always remember their infectious giggle as they zoomed by!

Timberline Twister at Camp Snoopy

Timberline Twister at Camp Snoopy










4.  Our 12-year old Marissa loves to sing and perform on stage. The best place to cool off and take a break from all the excitement is at the Calico Saloon. After the Calico Saloon Show, the singers came out to greet their audience. Marissa was all smiles as she met the stars!

Calico Saloon Show

Calico Saloon Show












5. We have so many holiday memories at Knott’s Merry Farm. The entire park is always decorated beautifully. I will always remember the hot cocoa, cookies and snuggles with the kids during a holiday event that we attended. Jessie even sang and danced on stage with the Peanuts Gang! So cute!

Snoopy and friends for the holidays!

Snoopy and friends for the holidays!










So many fun memories! That’s just five of them. Five of many reasons why you should purchase a Knott’s Season Pass!

Check out this screen shot:

Knott's Passes are so affordable!

Knott’s Passes are so affordable!










For more info click here:

And guess what? Knott’s is having a Season Pass Giveaway on Facebook! Click here for a chance to win a family 4-pack of passes! —>

Good luck and see you at Knott’s!



Knott’s Berry Farm
Address: 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620
Phone: (714) 220-5200

Halloween Fun for Families in OC: Knott’s Camp Snoopy #CampSpooky

Camp Spooky logo

Looking forward to spending time at Knott’s Camp Snoopy for Halloween! During the month of October on weekends, Knott’s transforms Camp Snoopy into “Camp Spooky” with plenty of fun activities for the whole family. This daytime, non-scare celebration is best suited for kids ages 3-11.

Highlights include:

  • Snoopy’s Costume Party – kids can show off their costumes and hang out with friendly monsters and the PEANUTS Gang.
  • Charlie Brown’s Spooktacular Show – at Camp Spooky Theater, enjoy singing and dancing to fun Halloween music
  • Monster Factory – the whole family can explore a fun interactive maze
  • Trick-or-Treating location throughout Camp Spooky – 5 locations to pick up some sweet treats
  • Creepy Crawly Critter Cave – check out slimy, crawly critters here, if you DARE!
  • Scary Stories at the Lodge – creepy, silly tales read by a spooky story teller
  • Kooky Cookie Painting – yummy cookie decorating (small fee for this activity)

You can enjoy all of the above plus exciting kid-friendly rides at Camp Spooky!
Our 5 year old daughter, Jessie just loves all the rides.
{{ Check out her happy face on every ride in photos from my blog post last year. }}

What’s even better than enjoying Knott’s for the day with the family? Access to the park all year round! 2014 Season Passes offers unlimited access to Camp Spooky, exclusive event invites that happen year round and other cool perks. You can purchase Season Passes online at Prices are so affordable, starting at $72.00 or take advantage of the installment payment program of just nine payments of $8.00!

See you at Knott’s Berry Farm!!

Here’s my footage from Camp Snoopy 2012.. Enjoy!! XOXO



Camp Spooky runs weekends October 5-27 and is included with regular park admission.
Knott’s Berry Farm Theme Park hours are 10:00am-5:30pm.
Address: 8039 Beach Blvd, Buena Park, CA 90620
Phone: (714) 220-5200



Happy 4th of July! Cake Batter Rice Crispy Treats


Cake Batter Rice Crispy Treats!

Cake Batter Rice Crispy Treats!

Happy 4th of July! We are going to a pool party later today, so I looked up this simple Rice Crispy Treat recipe made with dry cake mix and sprinkles. It’s the perfect kids (and adults) treat and easy to eat at the pool! My friend Armi made some recently and it reminded me of the recipe I had saved on my “Baking” Board on Pinterest.

I copied the recipe from

Cake Batter Rice Krispies Recipe
(Slightly adapted from How Sweet Eats, updated in June 2013)


  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 (10 oz.) bag of mini-marshmallows
  • 1/2 cup yellow cake mix (the dry cake mix, not prepared into a batter!)
  • 5 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 1 (1.75 oz.) container of sprinkles


Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat and add marshmallows. Stir until they begin to melt, then remove from heat. Whisk in the (dry) cake mix, then stir in cereal so it is completely coated with marshmallow mixture. Sprinkle in half of the sprinkles and briefly stir. (Don’t stir too much or the sprinkles will bleed out their color.) Press the mixture into a baking dish (any size will do) and top with remaining sprinkles. Let sit for about 30 minutes before cutting. I find spraying a knife with nonstick spray helps to cut them cleanly.

*Disclaimer: You consume dry cake mix at your own risk.*