Friday, August 30, 2013

Sponsor Post: Wholeport

This is a sponsored post and complimentary samples were provided. 
What I love most about my blog sponsor Wholeport is that they have such a huge variety of crafting supplies.  Last time I featured their awesome collection of decorative packing tape.  Those are so great for not only packing up gifts but also for papercrafting.  I am excitedly waiting for my next shipment of goodies.  Can you guess what kind I picked?
Yep, I requested some of their amazing fabric!  The cute design at the top is cotton fabric my daughter picked out.  We are going to try some no-sew projects with that.  The Purple Childhood Dream shown above I have ear marked for some pillows for her bed.  I love the soft colors and whimsical print.
I also requested this hand painted Little Bird and Cut Houses fabric.  I love the saying, the blue bird, and darling houses and am planning to make an accent pillow for myself out of it.

As you can tell from my choices Wholeport has a wide selection of styles, colors, and materials and are a great source for your fabric needs!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

GIVEAWAY: VTech Switch & Go Dinos® Review

This is a sponsored post, the VTech product, information, and additional gift pack have been provided by VTech.   The experiences and opinions related are my own personal ones with this product and yours may differ. 

We have some new toys to play with that my little guy thinks are just awesome.  They may have even been what helped teach him to say the word, "Mine!" as in, "Hands off sister!"  He added that to his vocabulary around the time they showed up and is quite vocal about not wanting to share them with his big sister.  This big guy is named Jagger the T-Rex™ and he's the ultimate Switch & Go Dinos® from VTech, and by ultimate I also so BIG.  He is 16 inches tall!

What makes this line of toys such a hit is that they can be played with a both a truck and a dino.  Jagger the T-Rex™ is extra special because in both forms he not only has has movable parts, but he also responds to over ten voice commands for a total of over twenty ways to interact with Jagger.

Truck Mode Commands Include:
Go Forward!
Go Back!
Start Your Engine!
Fire the Drill!
Turn on the lights!
Let's make some noise!
Talk to me!
Let's race!
Sound the alarm!
Wrecking machine!
Monster truck!
It's quitting time.

My little guy is two years old and he's at the top of the charts size wise, but as you can see in truck form Jagger is a super vehicle.  He really enjoys pushing the buttons to make the headlights shine, talk, beep, and using the extendable crane that can rotate and lift.  You can even choose the drive image that shows up behind the windshield.  There are a lot of neat features built into the truck that would make it a cool toy even if it didn't switch into a dino.

As you can see in the video above, LB also loves to shoot off the drills.  My son is just beginning to talk a little bit so he can't use the voice commands yet, but there is plenty to keep him busy.  It's a great toy for him and Daddy to play with.

Like I said before, the truck by itself is super cool, all that AND there's even more ways to play once you switch it into Jagger the T-Rex™.  Now I'll admit, I have to read the directions to switch between truck and dino, however, my husband and the boys down the street need no such instruction.  They were able to switch it in no time at all.  My brain just doesn't think that way. 

I could go on and on about the features like the motorized jaw that chomps and roars or the stomping feet, and you can change your dino's eyes but I think a video will show you a lot better!  Here is a short clip of my husband giving Jagger the T-Rex™ some voice commands.

Now you know it wouldn't be a VTech Toy without some fun educational features build in.  Jagger the T-Rex™ also knows some educational facts about himself that he's happy to share!  One thing I've always liked about VTech is how they make learning fun, so along with the facts, Jagger also has some jokes to.  They are kinda groaners but my daughter thinks they are hilarious.

T-Rex Mode Commands Include:

Go forwards!
Go back!
Roar with me!
Fire the drill!
Go wild!
Snack time!
Talk to me!
Make me laugh!
Change your voice!
You're not so tough!
Go to sleep!
Teach me something!  
 A handy voice command list comes included so you can remember all the things Jagger will do.  There is also a command mode button on Jagger that you can press and he'll prompt you with commands.  Just press the button again and again until he says the one you want.  I like this built in feature, it's like a cheat sheet for when your clueless mother aka me is trying to play it!

Wee also received a selection of three other VTech Switch & Go Dinos®.  They are the perfect size playing both at home and on the go.  As you can see, he likes to put them into his little backpack and travel with them.

I love their dual functionality as both vehicle and dinos as they are like two toys in one and they keep my busy two year old occupied for longer periods of time when we are out visiting family and friends without a stock of toys.

Win a VTech Switch & Go Dinos® 
Gift Pack with 3 Dinos!

The winner's gift pack will include three VTech Switch & Go Dinos® similar to or the same as the ones shown above.  A Rafflecopter entry form is at the bottom of the post for you to enter in, but before we get to that, let's take a look at each of the ones we were sent.  Each one has a sound effect and voice buttons, over 30 wild sounds and phrases, on/off switch & volume control, and light up dino eyes but each is also unique.  Let's see what makes each one different.

Torr the Therizinosaurus™ transforms from a rugged, off road vehicle into a Therizinosaurus™. With the longest claws in dinosaur history, Torr loves to smash and slash his way through the forest.  He also has tough tires, a powerful body, and an open roof.

Stompsalot the Amargasaurus™ transforms from a classic hot rod to an Amargasaurus.  He has a cool windshield, hot exhaust pipes, a long neck, and wicked spines!  The long neck and powerful body,  make him a formidable foe and his spikes help protect him.

Quiver the Stygimoloch™ transforms from a super speedy race car to a Stygimoloch.  He's so fast that if you blink, you just might miss him! On top of having speed, he's also a walking battering ram with a a hard head with spiky horns.  Check out his sleek racing tires and driver's seat!

Before you enter the giveaway here on my blog, I wanted to let you know of another chance to win Switch & Go Dinos®.  Only this time the chance is to win the ENTIRE line!  That's more than 15, including  Jagger the T-Rex™, each of the 3 my family got to review, and many more!

Just go to the VTech® Facebook page to and enter the roar-tastic photo sweepstake.  Snap a pic of your little one doing his or her best dinosaur impression and enter the Dino Roar Photo Sweepstakes. One lucky grand prize winner will receive the complete line of Switch & Go Dinos®.

Enter with Rafflecopter

I've enjoyed introducing you to VTech Switch & Go Dinos®!  These unique 2 in 1 toys provide kids with lots of imaginative play experiences.  Their high-quality electronics, realistic dinosaur sounds, and phrases that teach facts about each dino make them a fun and enriching playtime.  They are a great addition to any child's toy collection.

Connect with the Sponsor:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Project Life 2013: June 19-21, Vacation Part 2: Northern Michigan

Hi Friends! It's good to be back after an unplanned absence.  Summer is coming to an end and we've been trying to squeeze as many fun things into the days before we go back to school on Sept. 3rd.  We've had something nearly every day and while it's been great, it's also meant long days and being too exhausted to blog at night.
I am still working on our pages from our first summer trip back in June!  I've got a little bit more left to go but I have completed a bit more so today's share is Part 2 and hopefully, I have the last bit done for Part 3 next week and we can finally move onto the rest of the summer!

Part 1 ended with the left side of this spread.  In between are two inserts.  The first is this Discovery Map that's illustrated and really fun to look at.  I put it inside the page protector this way so the title would show as you first flip to it.
Here is the front of the second insert, it's a trimmed down Project 365 page protector, that was the first incarnation of Project Life when it was a monthly kit through Creating Keepsakes Magazine.  This part of our road trip from Traverse City up to Mackinaw City actually happened after the West Grand Traverse Bay portion that you see below it. 

Part of another Discovery Map was cut up to show just the portion of Charlevoix where we were and I collaged it onto some Bella Blvd. paper along with a Recollections journaling card and some stickers from the same Sand & Surf line as the wave paper and Jillibean Soup.  The cute flip flops filler card is MAMBI.
This is the back of the second insert.  Both sides have photos from our brief stop in the city of Charlevoix.  I had hoped to buy some fudge at the Murdock's there, but sadly - for me anyway, it had closed during the past year when it's owners retired.  No fudge for me :(  We took the kids and walked along the pier instead. LB caught sight of some ducks swimming by and got really excited.  He also enjoyed looking at the boats and it was a nice stop to stretch our legs.

I had a stamping mishap with the Road Trip insert card from MAMI and mixed up where I was supposed to stamp the DATE: and FROM:.  I don't have another so I am letting it stay as is.  In the end it doesn't really matter, you can figure things out from looking at it.  The Anchor's Away filler card is also by MAMI.

What happened with the stamping was, I was watching the Video Music Awards and Miley's number was on.  I was so distracted by that train wreck, I goofed up.  Did you see it?  It was just awful, I felt bad that I thought such negative thoughts about someone who is still quite young and who I can only think needs some guidance.  I hope her parents gave her a good talking too.  There was absolutely no need for all that, it was horrible and she sounded terrible too.  I hope there isn't something seriously wrong with her, and I hope her family steps in. 

But I digress, back to Project Life...the Anchor's Away filler card is also by MAMI.
The right side of this spread uses a WRMK page protector, one of my favorites because of the space for a 6X12 enlargement.  The smaller photo spaces are each 3X3.  I used this style of page protector last summer for that year's trip up north but used the space to make a mini layout.  I have seen Jessica use it with an enlargement and really liked the look so I was determined to work that into my album too.

The photo I selected to use in the space might not be the best I've ever taken but it's special because it's the first time LB has willingly got into the water.  He sometimes has issues with new situations and textures.  I think having his knock off crocs on helped, because his feet weren't actually touching sand but he enjoyed himself enough to not want to go.

I knew I wanted to highlight this particular memory so I printed it as enlargement because I knew it would force me to use it.  It did kinda mess up the chronology of the album since the insert had to come before this page and I like things to be in order as much as possible.  If I hadn't already had it printed I know I'd have been sorely tempted to put these pictures on a more typical page protector.

The Go Jump in the Lake card, that's been cut in half, the other papers, and circle journaling spot are leftovers from the last post's Great Wolf Lodge pages. You can find links to the sources in that post, if you're interested.  The stickers are bits and pieces leftover from various older sticker sets in my stash and the rub-on words are Making Memories.  The Kick Back rub-on with gems is TPC Studio.
{Left Page - WRMK, 5X& Insert, Trimmed Page Protector Insert}

The next few pages are from when we got to Mackinaw City.  Since we stopped a couple places on the way north from Traverse City and started the day with a little swimming at the Great Wolf Lodge, it was early evening before we got there. 
We went to the lighthouse but it was already closed for tours.  They were getting set up for a wedding and I remember thinking it would be such a lovely place to exchange vows.  There's a nice park around the lighthouse so we walked it a bit and took some pictures of the Mackinac Bridge to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

I had a nice picture of Brad with LB that I wanted to use for the enlargement, it reminds me of how quiet and peaceful it was, and I put a picture of the kids with Brad in front of the lighthouse right over a blank space in the photo.

Next is a 5X7 with a favorite shot of E along the water.  On the back of that I did a bulk of my journaling about this day.  I also noted the correct order of the day's events there, this is how my Type A personality could get around things not being in order in the album.  I didn't show it because it's essentially a big block of text and not that exciting to look at.
{Trimmed Page Protector Insert 9X12}

This insert was made out of another Project 365 page protector.  It's similar to Design A, except that the row of 3X4 slots are all along the bottom.  The middle portion is made up of two 4X6.  I wanted to include several 3X4 pictures and not cut down one of my few remaining Design F pocket pages.  I trimmed off the right most 3X4 pocket and everything above it.  This left me with more 3X4 spaces but they were all open on the right.  To remedy this, washi tape to the rescue!  I also stapled on a tab to seal it up just a little bit more.

We took the kids across the bridge and to the Upper Peninsula (UP) for the first time.  E was really excited to finally get to cross the big bridge.  I took some photos while on it and as we approached the toll booths on the UP.  Once there we walked around St. Ignace, along the boardwalk and out to a lighthouse.  I'll have those pictures in Part 3 of our vacation.  We also went to Bridgeview Park to get some views of the bridge from the UP side before crossing back over and going to our hotel.
I took a few back at the hotel's pool and thought I was done photographing for the day.  Then I noticed just how big LB looked in the co-sleeper and I had to snap a quick one.  Guess his days of being in the portable bed while on vacation are numbered!  The filler and journaling cards in the Design G insert are all MAMBI.

Thanks for coming by to see how my vacation pages are coming along!  Do you include your vacations right in your Project Life albums or do you do something separate like a mini book?

Linking up with Jessica at The Mom Creative.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Project Life 2013: June 19-21, Vacation Part 1: Trip to Great Wolf Lodge

Jessica's delay in posting her weekly Project Life blog hop over at the Mom Creative, where I like to link up, worked in my favor as I am also a day behind in getting my post ready to share.  Like last week's post, this one is also on the long side as it covers our first mini trip back in June.  It was actually kind of bittersweet getting them ready to share because I remember how at the time it seemed like we had the whole of summer stretched out before us and now it's coming to an end.

Vacation: Great Wolf Lodge, Page 1

We only spent one night at the Great Wolf Lodge but it takes up two double page spreads and half of another, along with three inserts!  Here is the first one giving an overview of the Lodge and location itself.  There are three inserts between these two pages in my album.  I'll show you those in a bit.
Left side has a title section at the top and some pictures from inside the Lodge.  I am not at all outdoorsy and I hated camping as a child.  There are lots of really cute camping lines out right now.  Since my daughter is always asking to go camping I told her this trip with it's outdoor lodge type theme was our version of camping or "glamping" if you like, and indulged my love of supply shopping by picking up a few themed papers and stickers to use especially for these pages.  These are mainly Imaginisce with a little Jillibean Soup thrown in.
I also tried to incorporate some memorabilia from the Great Wolf Lodge as well.  On the right side I used part of a tag from a toy we bought to incorporate the official GWL logo. On this side I added part of the MagiQuest brochure.  The camping stories card is for my daughter to add her own journaling on, something she's keen to do.  We have been working on her own Summer Fun type mini book the past couple months and now she's more and more interested in helping me with Project Life.
My son was just under two years old at the time of our visit and wanted noting to do with any of the costumed characters.  He was interested enough to hid behind a sofa in the lobby and peer around at them from time to time.  As the very end he consented to take a card from Wiley the Wolf, but still wouldn't take his picture with him. Both sides of the card are printed so I made a little envelope for it so we can still take it out.

Vacation: Great Wolf Lodge Inserts

This is the first page with all three inserts in the middle of the spread.  I had to trim down these super cheap and thin regular 8.5X11 page protectors (Target's brand - avoid, because they are terrible) as I was out of the nicer ones.  I can't stand the white and may end up redoing these.
We purchased this large postcard, which was really helpful because otherwise I would've had no idea what any of their characters were named and we saw each one during our visit.  On the blank side meant for writing I made a little mini page with my daughter meeting the three girl characters, the only ones she really cared about seeing.
The lodge life brochure you get upon check in and it has a map, essential numbers, etc inside the booklet.  I wanted to use it but I didn't want to see the girl's face printed on it each time I turned to this page.  To remedy this, I stuck in it backwards and put the activity guide facing the front so the photo of the characters is what you see when you first look at the page.
The third insert has two double sided travel brochures that I wanted to keep because they have good information about where we were and what you can do there.  These aren't precious to me, just a nice to have kind of thing.  So I just stapled them into place.  Both this insert and the Activity Guide/Lodge Life inserts were sealed with washi tape to fit the contents more snugly.

Vacation: Great Wolf Lodge, Page 2

Since the first spread was more of an overview of the Lodge with pictures of the lobby, our room, playing MagiQuest, etc. the second page is all about the actual water park. 
The Vacation is Awesome and the little stickers on this page are from Bella Blvd.  The first day I only had my daughter's inexpensive point and shoot digital camera so the pictures aren't the best.  I made up some photo collages so the picture quality, or lack thereof, wouldn't be as noticeable.  The bottom cards are both from the Honey core kit.  E still has to add her own thoughts.
I trimmed down one of our wristbands and included it on the page.
I went a little crazy and ordered more pictures than I really needed and rather than store them in a photo box I decided to add these full sized photos of my daughter on this side of the spread.  It worked out because they're all of the water park.  I resisted the urge to do too much embellishments and kept it simple so I could move on and get through documenting the trip.  The "Splish Splash" card is M&MBI.
Then because I added an extra page of photos and because of how I planned out the rest of the trip I had extra space so I filled it with more pictures that might not have made it into the book otherwise.  The top left picture of my daughter had some pictures of fellow waterpark visitors in the background so I covered them up with some label stickers.  The water pouring down reminds me of how the day before it had been strong enough to knock her clear over.  At the bottom are some pictures of the last thing we did before leaving, getting a cupcake at the Bear Paw.

Next week I'll have the second half of our trip up north to share.  We stayed in state or nearby this summer but I think by next summer I'll be ready to travel farther.  Do you have any recommendations for family friendly places you like to go?  Let me know if there's something out your way that we should add to our Must See Travel list!


Monday, August 12, 2013

13 Years - Happy Anniversary!

Here's a rare picture of just the two of us as we get ready to head out for date night to celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary with a night out on the town without the kids.  Thirteen years is a long time and yet at times it seems like the time has gone by in a blink of an eye.  We've lived in three states and three time zones, had two kids, and countless adventures and I know many more priceless memories are in store for us.  It's been wonderful traveling this path together with you Brad, love so so much!


Saturday, August 10, 2013

Saturday Project Life Blog Hop Feature

Hi Friends!  Today I'm part of the Saturday Project Life Blog Hop over at Michelle's blog Busy Being Happy.  Michelle is an amazing photographer and Project Lifer who features fellow Project Life participants each week.  I'm thrilled to be part of this fun way to share, encourage, and inspire.  I hope you'll take a moment to click over and visit's Michelle's!

Thanks for featuring my pages Michelle!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Cafe Press Review: Custom Tote Bags, Ornaments, & Water Bottles!

Disclosure: This is a product review post, complimentary products were provided.  The following relates my own personal experience and opinions about CafePress and may differ from others who try their service and products.

If you've read this blog for any length of time, you are probably aware that I love to be able to personalize anything and everything.  As you can imagine, I was very excited when I recently tot to work with CafePress, where it's super easy to design your own gifts!
They have an adorable collection of  baby hats, that you can add all sorts of cute sayings and images to.  They'd make a great shower gift or be perfect to take along to give to the baby when you meet him or her for the first time.
They also have a wide selection of coffee travel mugs.  My husband is notoriously hard to buy for, but there are some really cool designs in the Science Rules category that would be perfect for him. I really like the variety and unique choices there are.
CafePress very generously provided me with a gift card so I could design my own gifts.  I knew just what I wanted to get and am really pleased by how everything turned out.
The personalized tote bags are normally $18 but are currently on sale for just $10!  I have done enough price comparison to know that is a great bargain, especially since you can customize your bag on both sides!

As far as I'm concerned you can never have too many of these handy bags.  They are perfect for quick grocery shopping, taking to the farmer's market or library, or for bringing a small project to work on out and about.
I made this bag for my mom, who's Grammy to the kids.  We used it as the gift bag for her birthday present last month.   It's great how it was our wrapping and part of the gift.  She loved the photo of the kids and the personalized message.  I really liked how easy it was to change the font and color to match my project and I was even able to use a floral digital image from one of my scrapbook kits to add to the front.
We went on vacation in June and while in a museum shop my daughter wanted to an ornament.  It was kind of cheap looking and overpriced.  I knew I could make a much better one so we passed.  When I saw the selection of personalized ornaments at CafePress I had found what I was looking for.  Ours is printed on aluminum and is just beautiful.  We have an active little guy so another plus is, it's harder for him to break.  I love it so much, that it's now my favorite out of our custom photo ornaments ever!   

These are also currently on sale, for $8 instead of $12.50, so now is the time to make a bunch for the holidays!  Mine was made using the Brush Splat photo theme.  I thought the colors went nicely with my daughter's bright sweatshirt and gave it a fun and youthful look.  This theme also leaves room to add some text, perfect for making it our yearly ornament.

While I started with a theme from CafePress, you can build your own design using their graphics or your own and get a completely customized look.  Isn't that great, now you don't have to look for the perfect ornament, you can make it yourself for anyone.  I was thinking that this be perfect for teacher's gifts.  Add his or her last name and it's an inexpensive yet very thoughtful present. 
The third gift I created was for my daughter's birthday last month.  She'd seen my photo mugs and since she doesn't need a mug, she really a bottle with her own picture or name on it.  It was so easy to make one up using the water bottle designer and since I could add whatever I wanted I could include both!  She was thrilled and now I'm pretty sure I need one of my own for Christmas.

This was my first time using CafePress and I was really pleased by the variety of products - so many it was a little overwhelming at first!  It was just awesome to have so much control over the design, with the phrases and images available and the ability to upload your own, you truly can get exactly what you want.  I didn't realize a service like CafePress was out there, or just exactly how great it is and am so glad I got introduced to them through this review.  I highly recommend checking them out!  I'm already thinking of all the hard to buy for people on my gift list, cause now I know exactly where to go when shopping for them!

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