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30 December, 2013

Magic Feather #BoardGame Review

     This year for Christmas I wanted to shop in places I normally wouldn't.  I had decided to do that even before realizing that even Walmart was too rich for my blood this year (Seriously, Walmart... I couldn't afford ANYTHING you sold this year.  Not if I wanted to shop for everyone on my list.  That is NOT what I have come to expect from you.  How's about we put on some better deals next year, mmmkay?)  Anyway, I had to shop at surplus/salvage type stores for the most part, which is fine by me since I wanted to shop more frugally regardless.
     One of my finds this year was a board game.  I get way too many board games each year, it's an addiction.  And if it is at the right price then hey!  This board game I found at T.J. Maxx for a steal, it's called Magic Feather and it is a Wiggity Bang Games game.  It didn't look like your typical point A to point B, "won" and done game.  It looked like it was actually really fun.  Not that I would know that by reading the description, cause I didn't read it at the time.  I almost always judge the game by it's pictures.  And as I said, it LOOKED fun.  So I grabbed it up.
     Fast forward a few days and one marathon wrapping frenzy later and we are finally able to sit down and play it.  Now, I will say that the directions left it very unclear to me on where the crows should start and whether they move at all between crow cards.  The rules said to read the story cards for that information, but the cards did not say where to start them off.  Even watching people play it on Youtube did nothing to clarify, in fact I don't think they knew either.  So I just put the crows on the same starting space as the player who brought it to the game and allowed people to move a crow as well as their own player each turn if they so chose.  This allows them to try to block other players or get the crows out of the way of themselves or others without using a whole turn.  The game rules say that someone could use their turn to get a crow off the board completely.
     Once we made ground rules for the crows, it all went smoothly.  At each start of a new turn, someone would choose a card and have to do a silly challenge in order to get ahead.  One of our favorite cards was the one where The Streaker had to make The Big One laugh without using any words.  Turns out, it was super easy because The Big One is quite bashful when all eyes are on her.  And The Streaker LOVES the spotlight so any turn she has is fun for everyone.  And it also so happens that the girls had fun using the crows to their advantage in blocking other players, so we are making that a permanent rule.
      Overall, my kids and I adore this game.  We LOVE the game board, the player pieces, the feather placement, pretty much everything.  Normally this game retails for $19.99, which is still a pretty good price for such a game.  It inspires children and adults alike to have fun and let loose.  It was a nice change from the typical goal-oriented games.  Sometimes this game requires all players win together encouraging teamwork and togetherness.  While other times it is every creature for himself.
     Unlike most games, children and adults are pretty much on a level playing field with Magic Feathers.  There are no super hard questions.  They hardest I have seen asks you to make as many words as you can using the letters in a separate word or to write as many words as they can that does not contain a specific vowel.  My 5 year old was able to do that one, so it's pretty child friendly.  I definitely recommend it and so do my kids :)
     Also, not that we needed any other reason to love Wiggity Bang Games, but as it turns out, they are the original Masterminds behind Quelf!  Yes, that awesomely terrific game of silly fun, though it is now being managed by a different company.  What do you think?  Would you give this game a try?

This product is one that I acquired on my own or through friends or family members. All opinions are 100% my own.

I feel human again! #GarnierFructis Review

     My.  Poor.  Hair.  Let's just say that I have NOT been very kind to it lately.  I am officially in the Mommy Rut.  And to be bluntly honest, I feel very scrubbish lately.  I have been so tied up in dealing with my dental pain, the house being ready for the holidays, the gifts I still needed to get done and still getting the kids ready for school that I have completely lost track of taking care of myself.  And when I didn't have to worry about getting the kids ready for school, a whole new set of stresses came about.  Vacation *shudder*  My days have all been running together and I have gotten nothing of any importance done that I can feel good about.
     Thank you, Garnier Fructis for the kick in the pants that I needed.  For Christmas, we were surprised by a wonderful donation to our family of many toiletries and kids' gifts.  It was such a blessing and it helped so much.  Inside one of the boxes was Garnier Fructis Daily Care Shampoo and a matching conditioner.  I'm pretty sure I may have kissed the bottle when I picked it up.  I was so grateful to have one of THOSE shampoos.  You know... the ones you see and want but never get because the extra $3 you use on just the shampoo could be toilet paper, wipes, and a pack of toothbrushes.  The extra $3 on the conditioner is some disposable razors, dish soap, and a much needed sewing kit from the Dollar Tree.  I can't be the only one.
     I knew I loved Garnier Fructis and I remember feeling like it had magically transformed my hair to silk last time I used it.  But then, last time my hair was in pretty great condition to start with.  This time, I almost just wanted to shave my head and start over.  I had used nothing but Suave, which I admittedly normally love.  I had my hair in a pretty constant ponytail for weeks while I survived the holiday bustle the best I could, sometimes passing out at the end of a long day and forgetting to shower altogether.  Suave just wasn't cutting it.  Even thinking about trying to fix my hair made me want to crawl back into bed.
     But I had Garnier Fructis now.  If anything was going to fix it, it was this.  So I brushed my hair, then made my way into the shower with a little bit of hope that I might have human-like hair when I came back out.  And after shampooing, I let the conditioner sit for a bit while I tended to other things.  Then when I rinsed, I saw the light.  The light at the end of the Mommy Rut tunnel.  My hair felt SOOOO nice.  And after air drying, which took almost no time, my hair was alive again.  It felt like I had never thrown it to the wolves at all!
     I am in love with Garnier Fructis and all of the shampoos and conditioners that I have tried.  I absolutely fully recommend them to anyone with normal hair types.

Have you tried Garnier Fructis?  Which is your favorite?


This product is one that I bought or acquired on my own or through friends or family members. All opinions are 100% my own.

09 December, 2013

Sweet Fun with Good Cook - Review and Giveaway!

     This year was the first in several years that I was not able to attend the silent auction at my church.  It is a really fun event for a great cause and I get lots of Christmas gifts for a great price.  Last year, I got a cupcake maker.  It's previous owner didn't see it's practical side like I did.  I used it several times a week for a while after we first got it.  Muffins for breakfast, biscuits with lunch and cornbread with supper, I was obsessed.  It renewed my love of baking and for sweet warm breads.  I had forgotten how much I loved that type of thing.
     This year I have a new love and it is helping me keep my love of baking.  It is the Sweet Creations Mini Loaf Pan.  It's a great non-stick must-have that creates four perfectly adorable mini loaves that are perfect for giving out this holiday season.  I was fortunate enough to get to try this pan out along with a package of festive parchment paper.  Here is how it all went:
     When I first opened it, I was literally jumping for joy.  My kids were laughing at me, but I didn't mind because when they saw it they were also excited.  We immediately went into recipe mode.  What were we going to bake?  I knew I wanted to incorporate fruit somehow and I wanted it to be sweet but not overwhelmingly so.  I ultimately decided on a simple yellow cake with a twist.  Instead of the usual milk, I used a can of tropical fruit mix, pureed.    It went together very easily.

First, I mixed the eggs and the sugar together until fully blended.  Next, I added the fruit puree, vanilla, and oil.  Lastly, I added the flour and baking powder.  It was all ready in a matter of minutes.  I used one bowl, one blender and a mixing blade so there was minimal clean-up.
The actual recipe is as follows:

Sweet Yellow Cake
3 jumbo eggs (or 4 regular)
2 c. organic sugar
2 1/2 c. All purpose flour
3/4 c. vegetable oil
1 (15 oz) Tropical Fruit Mix, pureed
2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

As the oven preheats, add the eggs and sugar in a medium mixing bowl and blend thoroughly.  Next, add other liquid ingredients and mix well.  Lastly, add dry ingredients and mix one more time until well blended.

Fill loaf pans 3/4 full and bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Remove from stove and let cool completely before removing from the pan.
I used a traditional mixer, but I think this recipe would work well with just a spoon.  After it was all mixed, I simply filled the loaf pans 3/4 full and baked it.  I will say in the spirit of honesty that the loaf pan did not release the loaves as well as it did when I used the cooking spray, though the product is non-stick.  So in the future I will be definitely using non-stick spray for guaranteed easy release.

The pan is approximately 10"x13.25" and is 2" deep.  It had 4 mini loaf pockets that you can use to cook anything from brownies to lasagna or even fudge. The possibilities are almost endless.  I will be using my pan often, very often.  And luckily for you, the pan is on sale right now!  Not only that, but you can take an additional 25% off the pan with the coupon code SWEETLOAF.  How awesome is that!?
Good Cook was super sweet to allow me to try this pan and the parchment papers, which are PERFECT sized by the way.  And now they are being even more generous and allowing me to give one pan and one package of parchment papers away to one of my readers!!!  You know you want one *wink*.  So below is the wonderfully awesome Rafflecopter Gadget that will take you through the giveaway process.  As always, I fully appreciate every one of my readers and I wish you all the best of luck.  The giveaway ends Saturday, December 21st at 11:59 pm EST.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

02 October, 2013

Rileyroos Shoe Review

     Baby Man has FAT feet.  It's true.  In fact, I think all of my kids have had fat feet.  There have been some shoes that we had through all 4 girls that I saved and with each child, I sighed dismally as I tried to put their feet into them just to find that yet another one of the girls would never wear the beautiful shoes.  I had 4 or 5 pair that never fit any of them and went unworn for 7 years in my home before I finally got rid of them.  It was a sad day.
     So finding shoes can be a struggle.  Of course they recommend soft shoes for little babies and with wide feet it is best to have giving shoes anyway.  That's why I was particularly interested in Rileyroos.  Their shoes are all soft and giving with soft leather/rubber soles.  Their soles are actually pretty fantastic.  It was the first thing I noticed about the shoes when we got them.  Take a looksie!
     Isn't that cool!?  Rilyroos says this about it's shoe design:
"Rileyroos footwear is designed for the best development of a child’s foot using a flexible, cushioned rubber sole which allows little feet to respond to the natural environment below them."  And, "Our unique bottoms are designed with rubber inserts extending heal to toe beneath the leather, offering greater traction and durability than leather only soles. And the soles curl above the toes to provide leverage as a child navigates through the early developmental milestones – crawling, cruising and early walking."
 
     They also boast that parents love the looks of Rileyroos shoes.  Yes, yes we do.  They have this great look to them.  Maybe it is the handmade appeal, maybe it is the way the toes curl up for better crawling traction, or maybe it is the beautiful colored leather and accent stitching.  Whatever is is, the shoes really are gorgeous.  There are so many that I would love to just snatch right up.
     What I love most is that the shoe has give.  Because it is made from leather, the sides aren't stiff and rigged making it easy for little (or large) feet to get into it.  Mr. Man is a big baby with big feet, but the shoes are not to narrow for him, and that is a huge deal for my family since most shoes are.  These shoes fit him so well.
     The colors are great.  I adore the several shades of blue.  They match many of his pants perfectly.  The colors are rich and full, not faded or fake.  The closure is Velcro and the shoe stretches nicely to make room for baby feet.  The shoes never once fell off while we were using them, but they were not too snug either.
      The shoes we got are Brooks in Sail and they just happen to be on sale right now.  I love these and Taylor in Grasshopper the best as far as little boy shoes go.  You'll notice that the toe of the shoe curves up to the top.  That is so that the shoe can provide traction for little babies like mine who are just learning to crawl and to stand.  I know especially for someone with floors as slick as mine, this is a good thing.
     I just can not express enough how much I love these shoes.  They are definitely one of my very all-time favorites.  I think anyone would love these shoes.  There's really no reason not to :)

What did your baby's first shoes look like?
    

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

27 August, 2013

Signazon Window Cling Review


     So I am not the kind of person who can just strike up a conversation with someone I don't know.  I wish I were, but I am not, I'm working on it.  I am also not the kind of person who can just say "No, thank you.  I am not interested at this time."  If I said that I would have such a guilty feeling that you would think I had just run over someone's dog.  I never want anyone to think little of me to the point where it really interferes with my life.  It is so very sad but also so very true.  But hey, I can laugh about it.  I know it's dumb.
     So imagine how I feel 2-3 times a year when that unfamiliar knock is at my door and it is religious solicitors or book salespeople, talking about what they are most passionate about and I need to turn them away.  I shudder just thinking about it.  Actual human interaction!?  With strangers!?  Trying to sell me something!?  OH NO!  Yes, there is panic, I won't lie.  I have been wanting to find something for a while that will discourage them.
Behold, Attack Dog!
     I was told that if you answer the door naked, the religious ones won't come back.  But even if I were the owner of a smoking hot body (which to my disappointment, I am not), I would feel terrible flashing church people!  I was told that maybe answering the door with a gun or a knife that may or may not have suspicious looking strawberry syrup on it would do the trick.  Gosh, I don't want to talk with the cops either!  I was told to bring my dog to the door to scare them into leaving quickly.  Did that, stood in the middle of winter with the door cracked open holding back a hair-on-end, growling, ferocious, terrifyingly loud and throaty barker of a dog for like 10 minutes.  And even when I lost grip and he almost slipped through the door, they stood firm at the door step.  One time they even brought a child to ward off people who might scream and curse at them!  WHAT!?  Who ARE you people?  Don't bring the child into this!
     Then of course someone had a brilliant and stupidly simplistic idea.  A NO SOLICITING SIGN!  Give me a second to smack my head, mmkay?
.......
Okay.  Yes, a sign, it's brilliant in a 'duh' kind of way.  But that involved money where as none of the other options did, so it has been a long time coming.  And yeah, a piece of paper with crayon writing is free, but really... I want it to look like I mean business.   And I don't mean any business, I mean Step-any-further-and-I-will-bring-your-bottom-to-court-and-end-your-tyranny-on-my-emotions type of business.
     So it had to be yellow.
SHABAM!
     And lucky for me, Signazon had just what I needed.  Isn't that the loveliest thing you have seen all day?  Yes, I realize that I could have squeegeed better.  To be honest, I just wanted it on the door, to heck with how perfectly.  But it did go on very easily and the squeegee worked well when we did use it.
     You might notice a few scuffs on the bottom there.  That is not how it came.  That was because my husband thought he would help squeegee by using the cardboard tube that came with it.  Yes, I am serious.  I love that man, but sometimes... well sometimes he is just like me, oblivious.  That said, the cardboard sucked the color right out of that sign.  It's probably why the squeegee that came with it wasn't made of cardboard.  However, if the sign does get scratched, it will leave scratch marks, just in case you thought it wouldn't.
     It came in a box and was wrapped around the aforementioned tube.  The squeegee was also in the box.  It came very quickly, I should know because I counted the seconds til it arrived.  I was not disappointed.  So far, we haven't had any solicitors.  I hope it deters them.  If not, well, I guess I be making myself a nice little panic room in one of our closets.
     Signazon has WAY more than Custom signs though, they have pre-made No Soliciting signs as well as for sale signs, store sale signs, and other business clings.  They even have clear clings, so you could make yourself one of those stick families in Photoshop and put that bad boy on your window.  Bonus: It peels off!  Divorced?  Cut the husband out and stick it back on!
     I kid, I kid.  But seriously, the possibilities really ARE endless and the design process is so easy!  Please try it, if for no other reason than to just kill 20 minutes while you wait for Facebook to get more interesting.
     The signs are pretty reasonable too.  This one would set you back less than $37.  But you could order a custom sized smaller one for less or a bigger one for more.  Awesome note:  You can order a full car window cling for your back window.  The site will help you choose your Make, Model, and Year to find what size you need!  How awesome is that!?  I was totally impressed with the site and how easy everything is.  Please check them out for any sign that you may need.  Think book sale, baby shower, memorial sticker... what do you need?
    



Disclaimer:  I wish that I could say that  this sign is completely false and that I in no way would actually avoid my own home for weeks if I thought a salesman might come back... but I totally would.  I would find SOMEWHERE for my kids and I to be for every second that I could afford to be using the family vehicle.  Would I hide in a closet?  No, but I would hide behind curtains as I peek to see if you have left yet.  Will I cry?  No.  That one is false.  At least I think it is.

Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
 

Eyeglass Factory Outlet Review

     I had a feeling that my eyes had been getting worse over the past year.  But I had no idea how much worse.  It's actually embarrassing how much worse they have gotten, and actually, I almost doubt the accuracy of it.  I should know better than to lose track of my glasses but, with five kids at home, sometimes things get lost.  And so I was without glasses AGAIN with progressively worsening eyes!  And then the prescription came and I had to get new ones anyway, so even if I found the old one ones I was out of luck.
     Thank goodness I was pointed in the direction of Eyeglass Factory Outlet!  They are a very easy site to maneuver and the glasses are priced reasonably as well at just $34.50.
     When I first went, I knew that rectangular frames are the only ones that I look half decent in, so that is where I started.  I could have chosen to search by Men's, Women's, material type, frame type, or style, but I chose to search by frame shape.
     I was given fifteen choices that were rectangular.  most of them would have looked good, but I decided on these unisex glasses:
     They are a coffee color.  Mmmmmm.  They have a nice solid frame that has a spring open type action in the hinge that I love.
     The first thing I noticed when I put them on is that there was glare.  I think this is the only pair I have had without the anti-reflective coating, so is it more glare than can be expected?  I can't say.  I got fairly used to it pretty quickly, but it can sometimes be a nuisance, especially while on the computer.
     After that, I noticed that they were very comfortable and I loved the color.  They are not bulky at all which is great and they are light weight.  They are over-all a very nice frame.
     It came with a sturdy, hard case which is ALWAYS better than a flimsy soft case and also a cleaning cloth, which works wonderfully.   I do adore those cleaning cloths!
     The glasses shipped and arrived quickly, they were in great shape and I was very pleased with the whole ordering experience.  The process on the site is very easy and user friendly.  I was able to choose lens material, lens features and put in my prescription with no trouble at all.  But just in case you get confused about anything, there is a FAQ page as well as email and phone contact options on the site.
     Eyeglass Factory Outlet also has a pretty good deal going on.  You get 25% off of a 2nd pair (of equal or lesser value) and one low shipping charge of $5 for both pairs of glasses.  Not bad!
     So in closing, I think these glasses would be my favorites if it weren't for the glare.  I would get them again, but have anti-reflective lenses put on them.
     You can check Eyeglass Factory Outlet out on Facebook or Twitter as well as on their site.

What is your favorite feature in a pair of glasses?


Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
 

Yochi Yochi Rattle Socks Review


     Rattles on your feet!?  Talk about sweet!  You know what rattles consisted of when I was a baby?  Here, let me show you a picture:
     Cute?  Yes, I love the whole barber shop post deal going on.  But from my experience watching my own children play with rattles, I shudder to think how many times I smacked myself in the head with it.  No kidding, I count the bruises in my nightmares.  Not to mention, have you ever lifted one of these?  Did babies under the age of one even ever get these off the floor?  They are bulky and heavy for tiny arms.  And big for tiny hands to grasp hold of.  And the phone!  Don't get me started on the phone rattle!  I can see it now.  "Ring, ring!  Mommy's calling the baby!  Now raise the phone ever so elegantly towards your face... on purpose."  Yikes.
     Now don't get me wrong, I may have been too young to remember the barber shop rattle, but I recall using the phone well into childhood with fond memories.  But it really is nerve-racking when in a baby's hands.
      One solution to this are the wrist rattles.  GREAT idea!  The baby has a soft rattle that you don't have to pick up over and over and over when little one is feeling comedic.  You don't have to worry about people thinking you abuse the poor child from all the little bruises on his face, and it rattles any time the baby moves his hand with no real effort on his part.  But being on his wrist, it kinda gets in the way of drinking from a bottle or holding toys or other things, like getting him into anything with a five-point harness.
     So of course, it only makes sense that the rattles should go on the feet!  I suppose you could put the cuff rattles on ankles, but one good kick and I imagine they would come right off!  So what solution is there?  SOCKS!  Heck, yes!  Why have I not seen these before now?
     Yochi Yochi is the same company that makes those ADORABLE squeaker shoes.  You know, the ones that squeak so that you KNOW where your child is.  That is a good thing to have when you have little escape artists in your home.  Especially little escape artists who can climb gates, maneuver stairs, and open doors (been there, not fun!).  Well now they are bringing you rattle socks that match!  Did I mention how insanely cute the designs are?
     The skull ones that we got are called Captain Zuga, The lady bug ones are Miss Mushi, The panda ones are Princess Sakura, and the Frog ones are called Prince Kairu.  Can we just talk about these Princess Sakura ones for a sec?  Cute, are they cute!  I want a pair desperately for Baby Bee.  In fact, I want a pair of these shoes for all of my children.  Sadly, they only go to size 10 toddler.
     But on to the socks.  It was the socks that we actually got to try.  Let me first tell you how crazy soft they are.  I wish they fit me because I would live in them.  They don't have a traditional cuff at the top, they roll down instead.  And besides the "cuff", they feel like regular knit socks on the outside and squishy loopy clouds on the inside.  Okay, not real clouds, but they sure do feel nice.  Your baby will never want them to come off!
     The skull itself has a very thin material (I'm not even sure what it is) for the teeth and bones.  It almost looks like felt, but feels like half paper and half fabric.  What is THAT!?  But because of the thinness, our skulls actually have teeth that are kind of crooked in the center, which we adore.  The skull itself is soft and fuzzy and has an upside down heart for a nose.  Awwwww!  And two very large eyes.  It almost reminds me of Tim Burton's movies.  I just wanna snuggle with it, it looks so friendly.
      My son loves them, or at least he is indifferent while wearing them.  He loves them while holding them.  He likes to look at them.  The rattle is a sweet little rattle, much like the wrist rattles that you find.  Baby Man seems to like the sound as well.
     Overall, we are very satisfied with the rattle socks.  Now we just need to get him some shoes to match ;)
Except for the product(s) given to me for the purpose of reviewing, I received no compensation for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
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