Saturday, July 31, 2010

Christmas in July Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed, congratulations to Holly- Girls At Heart, comment #6, who said: Hi, Katie! I'm glad you lost track of what you own! :)Thanks for a chance to win!It depends on the year but last year, the fav thing I made was a little bitty kitty gift tag. ♥
It's the last day of July and I, like many a crafter, am already thinking about Christmas crafts. Hey a girl has to start early in order to get everything done in time! Nothing is lamer than giving a half done project with a note that says, "To Be Finished" on it.

I love Gooseberry Patch Christmas books, especially after I recently checked out the eleventh edition from my library. I wanted my own copy but the 30 dollar price tag stopped me in my tracks. (BTW: It just went down ten dollars in price, because book 12 is about to come out. Maybe I'll be able to add it to my collection after all!) But I digress...anyway, a while back I ordered the 10th anniversary edition because it used to be bargain priced at only ten bucks, a steal for a hardcover, right?!

Well it's only a bargain IF you don't already happen to have it in magazine form, WHOOPS. Never going to hear the last of that one from Brad! Maybe I DO have too many crafting books and magazines, if I'm beginning to forget what I already own...nah, that can't be it! I'd love to pass my magazine version, Christmas 2009 on to a crafty friend. It's packed with delicious recipes and creative ideas: 112 pages long, retail price $10.99.

Tell me your favorite thing to make around the holidays for a chance to win. I'll pick a winner August 9th and pop it right in the mail. The winner will have plenty of time to be inspired by the first snow fall!


Friday, July 30, 2010

Giveaway! Jumpstart Get Moving Wii Game

This giveaway is now closed, thank you to everyone who entered! Congratulations to degood, comment #43 , who said: I follow your blog as degood with google friend connect.
the box
As you know, for years, JumpStart has been creating the best learning games for kids. Now, with Get Moving: Family Fitness, JumpStart is making fitness fun too! Discover the ultimate family sports game with fitness expert and mom of four, Brooke Burke. With more than 15 sports challenges in 11 exotic arenas, Get Moving is the fun, new way to keep your family active!Iceskating
Some key features in the new Wii game make it all the more exciting! You can design your own character to race and play, build customized routines for an extra challenge, compete head to head or play solo, play underwater, on a farm, in Egypt or in 8 other exotic locations, and access expert tips for more ways to stay healthy!
Volleyball Bumping
To see the a short video of the game in action and to learn more click here. It looks like so much fun, I especially like the settings for the activities! I don't have a Wii so I wasn't able to review it personally, but I did an extensive review of their online Jumpstart community so I know this will also be a quality product! My co-founder at ABC & 123, Katie from A List Maker's Life does have a Wii, click here, to read her review.Basketball 3-point Shooting


The game hit stores June 15th, rated E for Everyone with Comic Mischief by the ESRB. Suggested retail value is $29.99.

One lucky reader will WIN a copy of Jumpstart's Get Moving!

Football Tire-run

To Enter:

Tell me what is your family's favorite way to stay active together.

Extra Entries:
I'd love it you'd like to follow me via Google Friends Connect, email, Facebook, or Twitter so you'll be the first to know about giveaway opportunties in the future! Spreading the word is also appreciated. Just let me know what you do in a separate comment for each.

Giveaway open now until August 13th midnight EST to US residents. If your email address isn't visable through your Blogger profile please make sure you leave in in your entry comment(s)


Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, a giveaway, and information in this post from Jumpstart. No other compensation was received. Opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Fairy Wonderland Birthday Part 2: Family Celebration

Here are my favorite pictures from ER's 4th birthday party last Sunday. Things went quite nicely, we had a break from all the rain and it wasn't too hot.
Our family and friends could enjoy our back deck while the burgers and sausages grilled. That's my Aunt Barb and my Godmother Annemarie above.
Here's Grandma Norma and our friends Margaret and Eric. They're enjoying a few kid free moments. It's nice that their daughters and ER are old enough to play together in ER's room while we visit and get dinner prepared.
This isn't the best picture of my mom but makes me laugh. We'd all be relaxing and enjoying some munchies for awhile. My mom and I had a chance to sit on the deck and chat too. Then I realized I should take some pictures before things got too crazy with eating and opening presents. I got everyone else outside in the sunshine, and then here's my mom sweatin' over a hot stove. I promise she wasn't working the whole time!
In this picture you can see the fairy banner again, if you missed the Fairy Wonderland Birthday, Part 1, don't forget to click over and see how pretty all the decorations came out. Judging by the gift bags alone, can you tell someone likes princesses just a little?

If you are wondering, is ER wearing a crown because it's her birthday. The answer would be no. She wears one along with dress up shoes, necklaces, and bracelets and has multiple choices to pick from for each category. I think I'll miss this phase a lot when she's older. When she wants to wear jeans every day and black from head to toe, I'm glad I'll have all these pictures to remind me of the princess days.
I love the animation on her face in this one as she explains the joys of Calico Critters to my mom and anyone else who was unaware that the Furbanks Squirrel Family isn't complete without the babies too! She's been wanting them for A LONG time and I do mean she's obsessed with these things. My parents also got her this cute girl's bedroom set. She'd like the Cloverlear Manor for Christmas, but I think the Deluxe Village House or Luxury Townhome is much more likely to show up under the tree.
One of the other big things on her wish list was this Cinderella ballerina Barbie doll. Which we tried to hold off getting her, after all how many different versions of Cinderella does one little girl need? We finally caved when Brad noticed how, much to our amusement, she'd always move all the Cinderella's to the back on the shelf. Hiding them so other people wouldn't buy them before she could get one.
Plans to make a cake rapidly changed when ER spied this cake at Costco during our last shopping trip to stock up on party supplies. Perfectly decorated for ER, it was a no brainer to get it and cross one more thing off my to do list. I thought it might be bland because it was white cake with vanilla mouse but it was good, nice and moist. That's my brother Dave with ER.
Obligatory picture of the birthday girl with her grandparents: Grandma Norma, Papa, and Grammy.
ER and her two little friends. I've been seeing all three around the kiddie table for a few years now and in this picture it really struck me, how grown up they're all looking. Can't believe the oldest is going to be in first grade this fall!
I'll leave you with these flip flop cookies Margaret and the girls made. Aren't they super cute? That's a Milano cookie as the base. I think they got the idea out of a Family Fun magazine.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Product Review: Pop On Pals

We just got an Amusement Park Playset from the new toy line: Pop On Pals from Spin Master. It's a lot of fun with lights, sound, and music. There are lots of fun things to do at the park, like testing your strength at the strong man striker and making the bell ring or playing the milk toss game. How about a ride on the dragon swing followed by a spin on the musical ferris wheel before an exciting time on the roller coaster? I think the only thing the Amusement Park Playset is missing are the smells of popcorn!

The playset definitely gives your new little pal a fun place to hang out and provides a setting for your little one's imaginative play. ER liked the ferris wheel best out of the things to do at the Amusement Park Playset. There is a place to push down to move it, but she prefered to spin it around by hand. The roller coaster is a bit bumpy, plan to hang onto the car as it slides down. It might take a few tries for the younger kids to get the car aligned properly in the rails.

Right now it's the only playset shown on line and I assume it's the only one currently released, although some vehicles appear to also be available. I hope there will be more playsets because with so many ways to configure your pal it seems like they'll need many more places to visit!The Amusement Park Playset was certainly fun and included all the best parts of any real life Amusement Park but for me the most interesting part of the set was the Pop on Pal. This little guy comes with three rings so you can choose to have his arms up, like you would when enjoying the rush of a roller coaster going down a big drop, or holding a hammer so he can play the games. In both variations he can wear his cool yellow belt. He also can be played with without any rings and it a little top heavy, as to be expected, when wear all the rings. It's easiest to pop on and off rings on a flat surface as opposed to the carpet.

The ability to change the pal is what makes this toy unique. Several additional pals are available with mix 'n match rings for endless combinations that can represent jobs, favorite hobbies, or be just plain silly and fun. Some even come with hats, providing more combinations for play time. There are even pet pals. Mixing the pet packs and pals would really make for a gigglefest of fun.
I think Pop on Pals are best suited kids as they turn 2; most will out grow it by age 4. Great for children as their first leave the baby toy phase, the pals are easy for little hands to handle and switch rings. Just press down on the pal and pop on mix n' match rings. And yes, there's even a fun "pop" sound as they change rings.

The main downside I can see to this toy, is that since younger children will be playing with it, losing the rings may become an issue. Plus, if you get a playset you will probably need to get more pals. It'd be more fun with more than just the one that's included.

Overall, I think it's a very fun toy that will enourage imaginative play and give parents countless things to talk about with their child as they play together. The ability to change up the pals makes this an innovative variation on toy sets.


Disclosure: A Pop on Pals Amusement Park Playset has been provided for review by Team Mom and Spin Master. This post relates my own personal and unbiased opinion and experiences with the products. Yours may differ.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Fairy Wonderland Birthday: Part 1, the Decorations

On Sunday ER celebrated her 4th birthday with the family and some close friends, this time with a Fairy Wonderland Party! I used the second printable party I won from Paper & Cake to make it memorable.
Guests were greeted with this sign. It's customizable and would also make a great place mat. If you replaced the "Welcome" with a little guest's name and erased the rest of the printing, the kids could draw on it. Each could create their own little fairy drawing, while waiting for food.

A blank full page line drawing of each fairy for the kids to use as a coloring page is the only thing I wish this party kit would've included, so the little kids could've had some kind of fairy themed activity to do. ER and one of her little guests were too little to make the pin wheels without a lot of adult supervision. There are full page color fairies, if I hadn't already put together the favors, I'd have used those with iron on paper to make t-shirts or to decorate a little bag. For our kitchen table we used the pinwheels, I created ahead of time, as our centerpiece and spread out a few of the fairy standees. Cupcake picks also make great table confetti, and mini drink coasters as ER figured out. You can customize several of the picks on the page before printing. ER's name was added to them, which she loved.Here is a close up of the fairy standees, I plan on using these as scrapbook embellishments when I do the layouts for ER's birthday. They were printed on acid free cardstock and are ready to go! The favor baskets, without the handles, were turned into little candy dishes that held pretty chocolate mints. I double printed the papers to made the favor baskets and pinwheels. So as not to waste anything, leftover scraps became paper napkin rings.The rest of the full patterned paper scraps were used to make food labels for our buffet, along with more cupcake picks. We had grilled burgers, chicken apple Gouda sausages, fruit salad, and baked beans. Plus my friend Margaret brought her fabulous bean dip for us to munch on ahead of time. I'll share that recipe soon!It was a pretty simple menu with old family favorites like my mom's pasta salad and new ones, like strawberry spinach salad with lemon poppy seed dressing. I'm still bugging her to give me so I can share it with all of you!ER requested party straws for her birthday so I turned the cupcake picks into straw decorations. They served the dual purposes of making the party fairy-licious AND more importantly, helping everyone keep track their cup. I put them out in a photo mug made with pictures of the birthday girl. We made those last Christmas as gifts and for once I even ordered one for myself. I love mine and high recommend you make one for yourself, pronto!The last thing I made for ER's birthday was this fairy banner. ER really liked the fairy illustrations and along with the happy birthday pennant banner were some with just the fairies. I used them with some favorite photos of ER playing dress up and in her dance recital costume to make a banner for our fireplace mantle.

Thank you again to Paper & Cake for offering such a great giveaway over at Kendra's blog My Insanity. I was so fortunate to have won! The printable parties, like Fairy Wonderland, are truly wonderful with many special touches and there are so many ways to use the components! You can see how I used the Fabulous Flowers Printable Party in my beach bucket party favors and birthday cupcakes posts.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Review and Giveaway: Breyers Smooth & Dreamy

This giveaway is now closed, thank you to everyone who entered and congratulations to Kim C., Teena, Amber, and Laura PARING DOWN. Enjoy your ice cream treats, ladies! Don't worry if you're not one of my lucky winners! There are many more chances to win, try Anita's Antics for one and see her list of several other giveaways still going on!
Lately it's been hot and steamy outside! It's the perfect weather for a sweet frozen treat. It seems like we are constantly restocking our ice cream selection, because in my household we're all big fans of it. I have been enjoying the new Breyers Smooth & Dreamy ice cream bars and sandwiches. They're my choice for relaxing with at the end of a long busy day.

There are six rich and creamy flavors, including Chocolate Caramel Brownie, Vanilla Caramel Chip, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Covered Strawberry, Vanilla Fudge Brownie, and Triple Chocolate Chip! All of them sound absolutely yummy to me! We tried the Vanilla Fudge Brownie.
At two servings of carbs (30g per bar), I do have to plan ahead for my treat to make it fit in with my diabetic meal plan. But it fits nicely if I have something light like a main course salad, which to be honest is about all I feel like most days with it being so humid! The ice cream sandwiches are good, hit the spot, while not blowing my diet. They aren't too rich and you'll feel refreshed after having one.

Breyers Smooth & Dreamy bars and sandwiches offer something for everyone. And with no artificial flavors or colors, 160 calories or less and 4-6g of fat per serving, and delicious mix-ins and swirls, these bars and sandwiches make for refreshing snacks and desserts. Hello summer!


I have FOUR coupons for a FREE Breyers Smooth & Dream Mulitpack! That means 4 Winners of a coupon each!

To Enter:

Tell me which flavor of Breyer's Smooth & Dreamy you want to try the most {or} tell me your favorite flavor of ice cream!

Good Luck! Giveaway open for ONE week until August 2 at midnight to US residents.


Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Breyers and received products necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Let's Etch!

On Friday I tried glass etching for the first time. I am thrilled by how cool the end result is! It was very easy too, for how fantastic the results are. All I did was make a stencil with my Cricut machine out of contact paper. Laid that down on the glass, smoothed out the air bubbles, spread on the etching cream, and let it do all the work. Sixty seconds later I was peeling off the contact paper and voila, I had a super cute and personalized gift!

It would make a really great hostess gift around the holidays, especially if it came filled with some freshly baked cookies! Filling it with biscotti and giving it along with some gourmet coffee beans would also be a good way to gift it. I have a lot of etching cream left and an itch to use it on everything in sight. I have a feeling my family and friends are all going to be finding something underneath the tree that's been etched in some way!

If I'd had more time I would've staged the picture better with cookies and a cute Christmas tag for Kendra's Christmas in July party. I planned on making it all week long, but of course it wasn't until the day I needed it that I bought all the supplies and etched the cookie jar. I had to wrap it almost immediately after I finished. I can say, it's a great last minute gift!
Here's the birthday girl at our fun Mom's Night Out at The Melting Pot! Yummy!!! She loved the cookie jar, with its contemporary three-initial monogram for couples: Wife's First Name Initial – Couple's Last Name Initial – Husband's First Name Initial. I figured her birthday, so her first initial should come first.Here I am right before leaving, just thought some of you might like to see the solution I finally came up with after asking for your fashion advice before. I feel a lot better with my shoulders a bit more covered up and the shorter length of the cardigan makes me feel a little hipper than the longer blue one. For me, this is all gussied up...note the lipstick, low heels and is that...why yes, even a bit of mascara, LOL! Did you notice my super cute new Vera Bradley Frill handbag? LOVE IT, the rosette is my favorite part.

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