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Friday, February 13, 2015

What is the most popular post on Momanthology?


It would be this gem >  CLICK HERE

Apparently this is much more common than I thought when I initially posted.  I do appreciate the comment from Charles which gives a great scientific explanation.   Thanks Charles!!!! :) 


2015 updates

It has been so long since I posted so I am sharing several random musings.  Sorry for the long post!

I am still in the process of re-posting old reviews.  It is tedious but I did figure out how to backdate these to the original date they were published.

Speaking of old reviews, embarrassing but funny story...   I had reviewed Fusion Peel from Skin-Peel.com in November 2010. I liked the product so much that I recently purchased a new kit to replace the original one that I reviewed.    I did a treatment this past Saturday thinking there was enough time for my skin to recover between then and Monday.  Sadly this was not true - I had applied an extra layer of product and it definitely worked!  I looked in the mirror at work yesterday and realized that my skin was VERY noticeably peeling.  Next time I will do a treatment on a Thursday or Friday - Apparently at least a 2 - 3 day recovery period is best.

2015
What else has been going on?   I have been very busy at work -  after the first of the year my work load increased significantly (as did everyone else's).  This was expected and I have been trying to get as much done as quickly as possible to avoid becoming buried because new work will continue to come in.  I have been in my current role for close to a year.  Leaving the company that I worked at for 15 plus years was a bit of a journey but in the end it could not have worked out better.  I love the company I now work for and feel very fortunate.


On to the family...  I look back at earlier posts from 6 years ago and I cannot believe how quickly the girls have grown:

- Miss C. left home over the holidays to live with her girlfriend and is busy living her own life.  

- Miss N. has a boyfriend.

- Miss E is 21 mos younger than Miss N but has surpassed her in weight, height and shoe size!  Miss N. has always been tiny for her age but she has leveled off.  I am thinking that she should have one more decent growth spurt but only time will tell.

The girls are back in soccer already.Below is a recent picture of  Miss N., 14, and Miss E., 12,  taken at the mall around x-mas time.  This picture cracks me up - both are wearing Hollister jeans, Ugg boots and Victoria's Secret shirts.   I did not buy them these - I refuse to spend a fortune on kid's clothes for the brand name.  That is where their grandmas step in - they do not have the same objections I do :)



RESOLUTIONS
At the beginning of the year I went back on Paleo and quickly lost 5 pounds.  I took a break for a few weeks and am now back on.  I will probably continue to do an on again / off again plan but in moderation.

Pros:  Eating much as I want of Paleo friendly foods.  I feel better.  I have more energy.  It is amazing how much one can eat and still lose weight on this diet.

Cons:  Food choices are limiting.  It takes dedication and creativity to come up with ideas of what to make / what to eat.  I have finally come up with a 90/10 plan that seems to work for me.  (90% pure Paleo and 10% "cheats")   As long as I am not loading up on refined sugar and carbs, this seems to be working.

Making a few New Year's resolutions, another one is to spend less.  One place I have discovered locally is The Scrap Exchange, a non-profit organization where people can donate items that would otherwise end up in a landfill.  I have visited at least 1x per week since discovering it. Usually I stop by on the way home for work - it is a hidden jewel for finding art supplies, storage items, etc.  (in addition to thousands of other items).   I purchased a ton of high quality art items for a fraction of the cost. I purchased several colored pencils, pastel pencils and embossing powders

I have started a wish list on Amazon for items I want but do not plan to immediately buy.  I love using wish lists because it is a great way to keep track of what you want to buy and monitor prices so you can plan accordingly.

I have a horrid habit of buying art supplies.  It is a problematic addiction and my craft room / art studio is absolutely full to the brim.  Somehow I keep managing to squeeze a little more in there though.  My goal is to limit what I buy and especially what I buy new but there are times you cannot find what you want or need gently used.

Here are my top wishlist items (click on the picture to navigate to the site):
http://www.amazon.com/Huion-Inches-Artcraft-Tracing-Light/dp/B00J3NRAV2/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1423623017&sr=1-1
light box from Amazon














This would be great for outlining general shapes

Zig writers from Amazon














http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00134ZBP6/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_img?_encoding=UTF8&colid=2FB56S112MF8W&coliid=I3UKPPIDDGUZU3
Caran D'Ache Classic Neocolor
from Amazon










I also have a books wishlist that I have integrated with GoodReads.  (LOVE GoodReads) and a generic list for other "want to have" items for myself or others.

I have a giveaway and a few layouts to post which I will do soon.  I am not blogging as much as I hoped - between work, my commute to and from work, soccer, home, reading, art, etc.  Hopefully I can blog more as I keep promising myself to do so.



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 :)

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 momanthology.com 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 Amazon.com.   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 Amazon.com 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.



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. http://bit.ly/Fandamonium 



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

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:

HONEY



APPLES


GINORMOUS PUMPKINS


THE CUTEST VEGGIES AT THE FAIR!



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:
FRIED OREOS



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.

Polish Pottery from Artisan Imports - Holiday 2014 Review



I have always loved art glass and various types of pottery.  A recent find at goodwill of a Bristol leaf pitcher from The Wizard of Clay was one of my thrift store success stories.  (I remember touring his studio outside of Bristol NY in the late 80's).    I also love Italian and Polish pottery but it would be a little bit more difficult logistically to tour studios that produce authentic pieces unless I was planning a trip to Europe.  I was recently given the opportunity to review an authentic piece of Polish Pottery of my choice from Polmedia however.....  Polmedia imports goods from overseas - in this case from Poland.

Polmedia is a family owned business that has been in business since the wall came down and free enterprise was allowed (post communism).   You can find out more about the company HERE

What I find most impressive about Polish pottery and what I feel sets it apart from other types of pottery is the intricacy in the designs.  Most Eastern European countries have similar types of design - very detailed and colorful, typically painted in cobalt blue.   You can find out more about Polish Pottery HERE.

 www.artisanimports.com 

I absolutely love the stoneware plate we received.  It is a little smaller than a salad plate but larger than a saucer.  The detailing on the painted design is wonderful.   Retailing at under $28, this is a great value.  Some ideas:
- Purchase a variety of plates in different patterns and use for your daily dinnerware
- Use for entertaining.  Simple appetizers or a small dessert would look lovely displayed on one of these plates
- Use when preparing food - I have used my plate as a spoon rest or to set small diced veggies during food prep.

With the holidays approaching, this would make a beautiful hostess gift or present for the person who has it all! The selection on the artisianimports.com site is immense and there should be a design to accommodate all tastes.  Who would not appreciate a beautiful, unique handmade gift?  This would be a memorable and appreciated gift!   

Thank you to Polmedia for this review opportunity.




Disclosure:  I received product for review purposes.  I did not receive any monetary compensation nor was I required to write a positive review.  For more information on this blog and on my posting practices, please refer to the disclosure policy at the bottom of this page.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Blast From the Past "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Natural Soaps" review

Due to a technical issue, earlier posts on this blog were deleted. These posts are being re-shared with Momanthology.com readers on a daily basis. This blog post was originally published on November 6, 2011





I was very, very happy when I was contacted about reviewing The Complete Idiot's Guide to Making Natural Soaps by Sally Trew and Zonella Gould. I have always been interested in making my own soaps but everytime I tried to research how to do it I felt buried in information.  There are different types of soap, different ways to make soap, different formulations, etc.  and it was overwhelming to figure out where to start, what to buy and what do do.

The very beginning of the book gave a brief overview of how soap is made, and what materials are needed and how to store the finished product.  There was a strong emphasis on safety and what measures are.

The next chapter covered Oils and Butters and what is appropriate for which varieties - some are lathering, others are moisturizing and others have medicinal benefits.  There are also different forms for certain varieties  of oil depending on how refined the material is. 

Chapter 3 covers fragrance oils - not all oils are good for the skin.  Find out which ones are wonderful for your skin and what properties they will bring to your soap. 

The rest of the book focuses on making the soap - learn how to use molds, the difference between hot process and cold process soap making.  From calculations to curing, you can quickly and easily learn the ins and outs (and do's and don'ts).  You can even learn how to make liquid soap or whip up a batch in your slow cooker!

"Soapmaking has always been a popular craft with a dedicated group of followers, but with the explosion of urban homesteading and people looking to go green, noncrafters are now joining in on the fun. Whether it's making natural soap to live greener, give as gifts, save money, or make money, The Complete Idiot's Guide(r) to Making Natural Soaps has everything the new soap maker will need to create organic, natural soaps of all kinds. 

Includes recipes to make a wide array of molded, poured, and liquid soaps"

Part I - The Basics of Natural Soap-Making
1 - Introduction to Soap Making
2 - Oils and Butters
3 - Fragrance and Essential Oils
4 - Hello to Soap Calc
5 - Soap Molds

 Part II - Making Cold and Hot Process Soaps
6 - Cold Process Soap
7 - Hot Process Soap
8 - Cold and Hot Process Soap Recipes
9 - Goat Milk Soap
10 - Liquid Soap

Part III - Getting Creative with your Soap
11 - Coloring Your Soap
12 - Taking Your Soap to the Next Level
13 - Fun with Melt and Pour Soap.

Overall I really love this book and cannot wait to try out natural soap making!  These women are obviously experts and through their trial and error experiences, even beginners can learn what works and what doesn't. 

ARV is listed as $14.95 USD but is is currently on sale for under $10.  This would be a fantastic gift to the crafter, DIYer or eco-conscious recipient on your gift list.  Even better, buy it for yourself and make fabulous soaps for those on your gift list!   Either way this book will be well-loved and well-read :)

Disclosure - I did not receive any compensation for this post.  I did receive a book for review purposes.  For more information on this blog and on my posting practices, please refer to the disclosure policy at the bottom of the page.  

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