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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Rainbow Loom Layout

Here is a fun Project Life layout I did of the Rainbow Loom craze with a plain sheet of rainbow paper on the left.   X-mas 2013 she received a tote that held 3 - 4 plastic organizers and plenty of bands to fill it up.  What fun it was sorting thousands of bands (NOT!).  I ended up doing most of the work but it was a labor of love and I love the picture of her little hand sorting the bands.

Miss E. loved making bracelets on her loom and you could find her weaving away any day of the week.  She still does love making the bracelets, but not obsessively like she did about a year ago :)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Blast From the Past - "Keri Review and Giveaway " (ended)

Due to a technical issue, earlier posts on this blog were deleted. These posts are being re-shared with readers on a daily basis.  This blog post was originally published on October 9, 2011

Keri is so very.....

That is the slogan I remember from the 80's.   Well Keri is very much still around with a new mantra of "All day soft, All day smooth" .  Keri is relaunching their high quality lotions that have been around for generations.  In celebration of their 50th anniversary Keri has updated their packaging for a more fresh and modern look but brings the same lotions that have been loved for years.

On Keri's website you can view and select products that are best for you. 

Keri® Original Daily Dry Skin Therapy – Enhanced with five essential moisturizers, this product is for daily dry skin therapy for smooth, healthy looking skin.

Keri® Advanced Fast Absorbing Lotion – This non-greasy, lightweight formula is fast absorbing for silky, soft skin.

Keri® Shea Butter Conditioning Therapy – Provides a conditioning therapy that penetrates deep into skin to nourish with naturally rich Shea Butter.

Keri® Basic Essentials Hypoallergenic Fragrance Free Lotion – Made with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E for a lightweight formula that provides optimal hydration.

Keri® Luxurious Deliciously Scented Nourishing Lotion – A total indulgence for the skin, with a light apple scent and Vitamins A, C and E.

My review:
I have tried Keri in the past and was looking forward to getting re-introduced.  I actually opted to review the Shea Butter formula.  In our home we suffer from dry skin in the cooler months.  My daughter is already starting to display some of the signs.  I also suffer from dry skin on my hands when cleaning and washing dishes.  Yesterday we cleaned the house and my hands were irritated towards the end of the day.  I used the Keri and it quickly moisturized and soothed my skin.  I noticed that it absorbed immediately and left just the hint if a nice, light and fresh scent - not overpowering at all and appropriate for men or women.  I have the bottle conveniently sitting in the entrance to the kitchen so we can all use it.

Please refer to the FAQs posted on their site about best uses and suggested practices.

You can purchase Keri at national retailers - see HERE for a listing of stores.  One lucky reader will have a chance to win as well.  Please see the Rafflecopter form for details,  rules and to enter.  EASY ENTRY.



Disclosure:  I received the opportunity to review this product and provide a prize to one of my readers through the Family Review Network.  I did not receive any compensation for my initial review or for this giveaway.  For more information on this blog or on my posting practices, please refer to the disclosure policy at the bottom of this page

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Get Your Betty On - Review and Giveaway

I have a long standing partnership with Betty Crocker and am pleased to be sharing another fantastic giveaway with my readers.

I have been blogging since 2008 and during that time I have worked extensively with Betty Crocker and General Mills.  I have shared this before but for those of you who are new, in 2010 I was one of an extremely fortunate, select group of bloggers who was invited up to the General Mills facility to tour the campus, learn about the company and bake in the test kitchens.  I am not really sure how I got invited because I am a home baker - most of the ladies I shared this adventure with were hard core bakers :)  Regardless, I had such a wonderful experience that I will treasure forever.

Here are a couple of pictures from the event:

Me!  Posing as Betty Crocker
Photo Credit Matt Holland

Baking with Betty Bloggers
Photo Credit Matt Holland

The Betty Crocker name has always been synonymous with baking to me - I inherited my grandmother's 1960's Betty Crocker cookbook and it is my absolute favorite one.  I refer to it quite often - especially when I bake from scratch.

Thanks to Betty Crocker am thrilled to be sharing another awesome giveaway - #GetYourBettyOn.

This holiday season make sure to set aside time for baking.  It is a tradition in our house.  I love making frosted xmas cookies, pizzelles and pumpkin bread.  I also usually try to bake a new recipe.

Betty Crocker created a basket filled with baking goodies for me and one lucky reader. The basket  includes:
- Kitchen tablet stand
- Betty Crocker™ Mixing Spoon
- Betty Crocker™ Oven Mitt
- “Get Your Betty On” Apron
- Gingerbread Cookie Cutter
- Betty Crocker™ Sugar Cookie Mix
- Betty Crocker™ Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix
- Betty Crocker™ Whipped Vanilla Frosting
-  Betty Crocker™ Holiday Recipe Booklet 2014 – featuring The Top 10 Cookie Decorating Ideas of 2014

I look forward to trying one of these recipes when I bake next weekend.  I WOULD have already tried one and shared it with you but my kiddos already baked both the Betty Crocker™ Sugar Cookies AND the Betty Crocker™ Chocolate Chip Cookies (both of which were delicious by the way)!

Here are just a few of the recipes you can try:
- Holiday Blossom Cookies
- Cookie Wreaths
- Melting Snowman Cookies

The fine folks at Betty Crocker are all about sharing the memories of baking cookies with kids this season, and pulled together a helpful online Kid's Cookie Corner featuring their Top 10 cookies for kids and short, inspirational/how-to videos on each.
This will be a quick giveaway.  I will select a winner next Monday (12-22) so make sure to  #GetYourBettyOn and check it out!

To enter to win, you must follow me via one one of my pages (blogger, twitter, facebook, google plus, etc).  To win, simply post how you follow me and your favorite holiday recipe from Betty Crocker.  Once you have done that, fill out the rafflecopter form below.  Extra entries are available!

Thank you to Betty Crocker for this review and Giveaway opportunity!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I did receive a gift basket for review purposes.  I did not receive monetary compensation nor was I required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

2014 Last Minute Holiday Gift Ideas (Kids) - Review

I love reviewing products or simply sharing great finds with readers.  Here are some amazing last minute gift ideas for children.

Jump on the "Frozen" bandwagon.  If you celebrate Halloween I am sure that you lost count of the number of Elsas that ran into.  If you are looking for a fantastic Frozen themed gift, look no further!  · Disney Frozen Poster-A-Page: Magical Moments is a fantastic gift for kids.

With wintry scenes and cherished characters, this book follows Anna and Kristoff as they encounter Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman, in their epic journey to find Elsa.

This book is really great - each page features a different scene.  The book is thick and heavy so there are a ton of pages to thumb through.   There are character and story synopsisis through the book and the images are also suitable for cutting, cropping and hanging on a wall.  Miss E. claimed this for herself and loves it!

Disney Frozen Poster-A-Page is currently available on   If you are a prime member, get it within 2 days!

Not a Frozen fan or have a little boy that prefers sci fi?  Star Wars Poster-A-Page: The Skywalker Saga is a great option also.   Someone at work has a little Star Wars fanatic so he was the lucky recipent of this book.    If you are interested in buying you can also use the Amazon coupon code for this purchase

Check out the fantastic deal below posted today (12/13/2014) that expires tomorrow.  This could be used on either book!

  • Take an Extra 25% Off Any Book: Use promo code BOOKDEAL25 at checkout to get an extra 25% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply.Learn more.
If you are more interested in games than books, here is fun option. Battle Sheep Game is involves strategy and is great for kids and adults. I sort of works the opposite of checkers. Each player starts off with a stack and the idea is to split the stack and try to occupy as much of the board as possible. The strategy comes in with determining how you will split your stack, how you plan to occupy the board and how you try to block your opponent.

What I like about this game is that it is something the entire family can play.  It is fun for kids but challenging enough that adults or older kids will not get bored. For more info watch the informative video below or visit the following link.   Battle Sheep Game is currently available on on sale (12/13/2014).   Prices may be subject to change so if interested act quickly!

Disclosure:  I received sample products for review purposes.  I did not receive any form of compensation and I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blast From the Past - "Carmex Healing Lotions and Creams - Review and Giveaway" (ended)

Due to a technical issue, earlier posts on this blog were deleted. These posts are being re-shared with readers on a daily basis. This blog post was originally published on October 27, 2011

As part of the Carmex Blogger Squad, I get to try and share new products with our readers.  The newest addition to the Carmex family is a fabulous  line of Healing Lotions and Creams!

I was able to review the following:
1 Carmex Healing Lotion
1 Carmex Healing Cream
1 Travel size Carmex Healing Lotion
1 Travel size Carmex Healing Cream 

For over 70 years people have come to love the healing power of Carmex® lip balms. Finally, Carmex® Skin Care is here with a new solution to heal, soothe and moisturize your dry skin. 

CARMEX® HEALING LOTION Carmex® Healing Lotion is made using a patent pending process that delivers healing and moisturization without a greasy feel. 

  • Use anywhere skin feels dry; 
  • available in tube or NEW pump 
  • Daily use will help protect skin and keep dryness away 
  • Rich healing ingredients, including Aloe and Vitamin E, nourish and moisturize skin Absorbs fast for a non-greasy feel; 
  • has a light, pleasant scent 

CARMEX® HEALING CREAM Carmex® Healing Cream is made using a patent pending process that delivers concentrated healing and moisturizing for your driest, roughest skin. 

  • Use on your driest skin— especially hands, feet, elbows and knees; 
  • available in tube or NEW handy little tin 
  • 9 healing ingredients penetrate and help repair your very dry, rough or cracked skin Concentrated—use a small amount 
  • Absorbs fast for a non-greasy feel; has a light, pleasant scent

Both my husband and I love, love, love the scent.  It is a fresh, sweet but not overpowering scent with a hint of the scent of Carmex.  Even though it is sweet, it is appropriate for use by men or women.  Both products smell the same - the main difference is the cream is a heavier concentration than the lotion.  Both are absorbed into the skin quickly.  I think that this is my favorite Carmex Product so far (in addition to the original lip balm).

My hands get soooo dry in the winter so I will be keeping a small tube of the cream in my purse and a larger tube in the kitchen for the entire family to use.  My husband is taking a travel sized tube of the lotion to work with him as well.

I have one identical set to giveaway to one of my readers.  Enter below!


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

General Mills "Cereal Box Prize" Review and Giveaway

Growing up I remember fighting with my brother over who got the toy in the Cereal Box.  I don't remember how we worked it out but I recall having my fair share of prizes.  

Right now each participating brand of General Mills cereals is offering a free Mega Bloks car with a set of Hello Kitty and Power Rangers stickers and instructions to cut out a pattern to construct a cardboard jump from the cereal box. This car is COMPLETELY customizable.   Let the arguments commence!  

When we received our sample, Miss E. opened the box and found the toy.  At first she was upset because the car was completely bare.  I explained that she could decorate the car - she then noticed the "Hello Kitty" stickers and her eyes lit up.  We are both big fans of Hello Kitty :)  Within minutes we had a completely jazzed up car!

Oh, and a great way to prevent those pesky arguments?  Buy two boxes!

This promotion is running through Monday 12/01.  While you are out holiday shopping this weekend, don't forget to stop for groceries!  Make sure to pick up a box of your favorite General Mills Cereal.

Participating Brands:
- Honey Nut Cheerios
- Reese’s Puffs
- Cocoa Puffs
- Lucky Charms
- Golden Grahams
- Cinnamon Toast Crunch

For a little fun, check out the video below!  General Mills partnered with Maker Dad – Mark Frauenfelder – to rev up the breakfast table with a Rube Goldberg style contraption seen in this video made entirely of General Mills Mega Bloks cereal boxes. 

Thanks to General Mills I have a giveaway for my readers - One lucky, random winner will receive a a $50 Target gift card, an exclusive Mega Bloks collective car kit and participating Mega Bloks cereal boxes. 

If you would like to enter to win, please follow the prompts in the rafflecopter form below:

Disclosure - I was provided with products to review as well as a prize pack for my readers.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, November 21, 2014

Blast From the Past - "American Horror Story"

Due to a technical issue, earlier posts on this blog were deleted. These posts are being re-shared with readers on a daily basis. This blog post was originally published on October 26, 2011

I am so glad a coworker mentioned how fabulous American Horror Story (AHS) was.  I discovered Entertainment on Demand on my DVR, quickly caught up and am already addicted.

A few online critics/commenters expressed concern that true horror fans will probably be turned off by the lack of gore.  Although I love psychological thrillers -  fantasy, suspense or paranormal -   I am NOT a fan of horror or violence.  As such, I actually found the gore to be very graphic and excessive so found it amusing that this was just simply not enough for some.  It was more than enough for me!

From the FOX website / Press Release:
American Horror Story revolves around the Harmons, a family of three who moved from Boston to Los Angeles as a means to reconcile past anguish. The all-star cast features Dylan McDermott as “Ben Harmon,” a psychiatrist; Connie Britton as “Vivien Harmon,” Ben’s wife; Taissa Farmiga as “Violet,” the Harmon’s teenage daughter; Jessica Lange in her first-ever regular series TV role as “Constance,” the Harmon’s neighbor; Evan Peters plays “Tate Langdon,” one of Ben’s patients; and Denis O’Hare as “Larry Harvey.” Guest stars for the series include Frances Conroy as the Harmon’s housekeeper; Alexandra Breckenridge as the Harmon’s housekeeper; and Jamie Brewer as Constance’s daughter. 

The pilot episode of American Horror Story, shot in Los Angeles, was written by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, and it was directed by Murphy. In addition to Murphy and Falchuk, Dante Di Loreto will also serve as Executive Producer of the series. American Horror Story is produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television.

The first thing AHS reminded me of was Carnivale. I googled "American Horror Story" AND "Carnivale" and quickly discovered that many other fans share the same sentiment.     American Horror Story (AHS) has the same creepy but intriguing quality of Carnivale.  Of course this is what will keep me obsessively coming back for more.......   Carnivale and LOST were, up until now at least, my favorite television shows.   Hopefully we will get a full run of AHS for several seasons and not a lackluster ending (LOST) or, worse, no ending at all (Carnivale). 

AHS is definitely more obvious with what the underlying "mystery" - aka "I see dead people -  compared to that of LOST, Carnivale, or other similar psychological, paranormal thrillers.  The more interesting mysteries of AHS are actually slowly revealed through the back stories of previous residents/visitors and in the "uncertainty" of what will ultimately happen to the newest residents of the Murder House.  I am fairly certain however that I can bury any notions of a fairy tale farewell at The End of THIS story.

WARNING- Most of what is featured on is family oriented.  This is an ADULT show and has a MA (mature audiences) rating due to implicit sexuality, violence and numerous other reasons.  It is not at all appropriate for children nor is it appropriate for any adults that are easily offended.  Please watch at your own discretion.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blast From the Past - "Cheerios® Cheer Giveaway" (ended)

Due to a technical issue, earlier posts on this blog were deleted. These posts are being re-shared with readers on a daily basis.  This blog post was originally published on November 19, 2011

We all need pick me ups.  It is easy to get worn down from day to day responsibilities and pressures.  For the millions of military families manning the fort at home while their loved ones are away serving, a gesture of Cheer is especially welcome. 

When our troops are called to serve, their families are impacted as well.  They must rise to meet the challenges of service as well.  To thank these families, Cheerios® and the USO have partnered in a postcard campaign that spreads Cheer directly to these honorable military families and supports USO programs.

Here´s how it works: Now through November, 2011 at your local grocer, specially-marked boxes of Cheerios cereal will feature Cheer postcards on the front of the box. Consumers can simply cut out the postcard from the Cheerios logo, write a message of thanks on the back, add a stamp and mail the pre-addressed card to the USO. The USO will deliver the Cheer card to military families across the country. For each postcard received through November 2012, Cheerios will make a $1 donation to the USO to help fund programs that support military families. 

To kick off the campaign, Cheerios has already donated $150,000 to the USO and will donate up to an additional $100,000 based upon the number of postcards received from specially marked boxes now through November 30th, 2012. Sending a "Cheer" postcard is a simple way to say thanks and lift the spirits of our country´s military families. So, take a moment out of your day to spread some Cheer and send a message of thanks!

Cherrios wants to spread the word about this program. As a result I will be hosting a fun giveaway to promote Cherrios cheer.


Disclosure: Cheerios cereal, information, and giveaway have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.   I did receive an identical prize pack from General Mills through MyBlogSpark to thank me for sharing this information. For more information on this blog or on my posting practices, please refer to the disclosure policy below

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2014 NC State Fair Fun

We came.  We saw.  We conquered.

For the first time in SEVERAL years I attended the North Carolina State Fair (October 2014).  We actually had a great time and I was glad that I was able to document most of it.  Here are some of the highlights.

We marveled at the elaborate balloon display:

We salivated over the fabulous food exhibits:





We oohed and ahhhed over the adorable farm animals:

We went on rides (even me!):

We played games:

 We went "people watching":

We ate YUMMY food:

AND....  dun dun duuuun....  We won Blue Ribbons!
I entered 2 rubber stamping categories in the Novice Category for Rubber Stamping - Card Making.  Next year I will qualify for the "Professional" category if I choose to enter again. 

Novice Category / Rubber Stamping - Embellishments:  First Prize

Framed at for temporary display at home in my craft room / art studio:

Novice Category / Rubber Stamping - Layers:  First Prize AND Best of Show.  The layers and detail were hard to photograph.  I will share the techniques in a later post but I would like to get a better photo so the layers are more visible.  

Until next year....

Key West Health and Beauty - Review Holiday 2014

Recently I was asked by Key West Health and Beauty to review two of their products - Raw Shea Butter and Retinol Face Cream.  I think it is important to try new skin care products so I am usually open to reviewing new items.  As we age, our skin needs change.  I personally have found that my skin is much drier now that I am older, especially in the fall and winter, so I was looking forward to testing these items.

Retinol Night Cream - I was interested in trying this cream because I have problematic skin.  The main thing I have noticed with this cream is that it is very rich and emollient but is also very absorbent.  Some of the benefits per the Key West website

  • Diminishes or removes age spots, hyper-pigmentation, sun damage and more
  • Unclogs and deep cleans pores
  • Restores brighter, more youthful skin
  •  Boosts collagen production which:
     - Firms, plumps and tightens your skin
     - Eliminates fine lines and wrinkles
    -  Diminishes large pores

I have not been using it long enough to determine any long term results but so far I am enjoying the product.  The night cream is what I would consider a higher end / high quality product and has an ARV of $79.99.  It currently (November 2014) can be purchased at 50% off of retail.  At $38 this is an affordable luxury.

Organic Unrefined African Shea Butter - I have reviewed several skincare products through the years.  I have been blogging since 2008 and have been fortunate to work with several companies - small independent brands to large corporations.  I have reviewed a variety of skincare products and always post an honest review but I do not typically compare products.  Obviously some products I will prefer more than others and I do have to say that the African Shea Butter one of the BEST skin care products I have used... ever!.  I love it.  My entire family loves it - even my daughter with super sensitive,m eczema prone skin.   We will be purchasing this body butter regularly.

In the winter my skin does tend to get dry, especially on my legs, hands and feet.  I have used it primarily on my feet and hands - a little more liberally to my feet though.  On my hands I found that just a small dab is enough to moisturize. Too much and it will be a little too oily.

The key to applying is to thoroughly rub between the hands as it is semi-solid out of the tub.  The rubbing motion melts the butter to where it is smoother in consistency and both  easier to apply to the skin and easier for the skin to absorb.

I always wanted to try Shea Butter but did not know much about it outside of hearing how great it moisturizes.  I am embarrassed to admit that I did not even know what Shea Butter was.  Apparently Shea Butter is extracted from the nut of the African Shea Tree.

What do you get?  Close to a full pound of Shea Butter (14 oz).  This is a lot especially as a little bit of shea goes a long way!  This typically retails for $39.95 but can currently be purchased now (November 2014) for only $14.95.  That is SO affordable and such an incredible value.  At this price I really think this would make such a great gift for anyone on your holiday list.

Thank you to Key West Health and Beauty for this wonderful review opportunity!  

Disclosure:  I received a product for review purposes.  I was not required to write a positive review.  For more information on this blog and posting practices, please refer to the disclosure policy at the bottom of this page.  Posted prices are effective the date posted.  Prices are not guaranteed and are subject to change.

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