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.
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