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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Getting my shopping on

Found some clearance while shopping for brownie ingredients.... 

July FREE Lego build event is coming up

In case you haven't already, don't forget to register for July's FREE Lego build event. Your child can build a mini whale. 
Just go here to get started! It will make it so much easier to get in and out without a long line and waiting. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Iced Cupcake store review

I recently went out of town to visit a friend. We went to Katy, Texas. While there, we passed by a cute little cupcake shop that I suddenly had the urge to stop in. Granted, I didn't want to just spring my sudden desire for a rich cupcake on the two guys I was hanging out with, so I was thrilled when one of them said something about the shop instead. Yay! Of course I offered to buy everyone a cupcake if they would agree to walk across the parking lot with me and get them. Who is crazy enough to turn down a free cupcake?? Inside did seem a little dark, I'll admit. But it was a nice, clean shop with friendly staff who were very patient with my little group or undecided cupcake buyers. Prices may be considered a little high for someone who is used to making their own, but after tasting one... I can live with $3.00 a cupcake. Of course that's only applied if you buy 6 or more. And since I wanted at least two flavors (let's be real, I wanted to try almost all of them), I decided to give each of us 2. If you buy 1-5 cupcakes, they are $3.25 each. They also have sugar cookies and can do custom cakes. The presentation of each one was appealing, the taste... superb! So moist and rich in flavor. I got the Sassy Strawberry and Triple Chocolate ones. Probably shouldn't have eaten both in one sitting, but I just couldn't help myself. 
So if you are ever passing through Katy, I suggest you take a few minutes to stop by and show some love to The Iced Cupcake. I tried to check out their website, but its getting a face lift at the moment. Instead, check out their Facebook page. And where was this cupcake beauty when I was at the shop?!? 

AdoramaPix discount promotion via US Family Guide

"AdoramaPix helps people turn their digital photographs from abstract computer files into beautiful keepsakes designed to last a lifetime. Their custom photo books display your captured memories in rich color and vibrant detail. Thick, durable, professional grade photo paper resists fading and ensures that your photos will be just as colorful for future generations. The binding is lay-flat, so even panoramic images can splash across two pages without any separation.
Your memories deserve to live in a stylish, archival home with AdoramaPix photo books.

25% off our square photo books (6x6,8x8,10x10,12x12). Use code: pxusfam25 ends 09/30/2015 11:59 pm EST"

I hope you are able to save and get an awesome memory book printed. A review may follow later. Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2015

This has been a fun summer so far

While stores are getting ready for back to school sales, I'm still finishing up the summer activities with my kiddos. The Lego store started giving away the second Lego Star Wars poster in the once-a-month promotion they run. Now until the 28th I believe, buy ANY Star Wars merchandise and you get the newest poster. 
Next one comes around July 20-26. 
Any I do mean ANY Star Wars purchase. I bought a small keychain for $5 to get mine. Plus Carlos hooked me up with a Ninjago dual-sided poster. 
After the Lego store we went to Barnes and Noble to turn in our book list and get our free books. The kids picked out some cool ones. I wish I could've gotten one...
Sadly it's one per child, per summer. They do have a great variety of books though. So get reading! And enjoy the last bit of summer. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A busy weekend, but full of fun!

I spent Thursday night after work cleaning and making the cake. today, Friday has been spent catching up on reviews and finishing up laundry. While I was at it, I started some organizing to clean up what I have. 

This is what happens when I'm stuck with the kids at home and don't have to work. 
My oldest also finally lost that second tooth. Both of his adult teeth grew in behind his baby teeth. He was updating me daily and even hourly today on how much more "wiggly" it had gotten. Along with asking, "Mom, do you want to feel it move?" 
My daughter wanted to color her princess pictures. It has been determined that pink is most definitely her favorite color. Can you see why? 
I've taken some breaks in between. We watched John Carter since it arrived from Disney Movie Rewards. Soon we will be chasing bad guys through the wild west with the Lone Ranger! 
I love my new Star Wars book mark too! I found an article about the future Star Wars movie. December will be a special month for sure! 

I also had a chance to surf the internet. My mom clued me in to a channel on YouTube that I have now fallen in love with. Check out Story of This Life. The video for today? This is probably why divorce rates are so high in America.

Tomorrow I will take the kids to Toys R Us for a Lego building event.
And  then perhaps get a visit from my dad who flew in from Florida. And I've made a special treat for a get together with friends from my job. 
This is what I started with. 

This is how they ended up. 
They didn't come out just like they should have. 
But hopefully next time they will. 

One more thing I found that I wanted to share was this link with some very helpful hacks for cleaning. This was on the Krazy Coupon Lady blog. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Subscription box savings

Bramble Box is offering 30% off your first box purchase.
Just use the code SUMMER30 at checkout. These boxes are designed for kids 3-8 to encourage exploration and imagination. They also come with free shipping. 
Time Saving, Creative Fun
Do you wish you had more time to pull together creative activities for your kids? Let us save you some running around. Bramble box monthly subscription boxes and pretend play prop boxes for kids age 3 - 8 contain all the materials required for hours of open-ended fun; building and strengthening essential development skills. Including themed, pretend play props, crafts, activities and more! We save you time by sending mom designed activities to your door every month or just once.

Encourage Open-ended Educational Play
Materials are carefully selected to be versatile, to allow children to extend and elaborate on their play. Hours of fun and learning.

Hand's On
Activity ideas are included for additional inspiration. Each kit is designed to nurture the imagination and allow children to explore the world around them.

A new theme - like post office, detective, scientist, florist or community helper - every month.
Lots of Options
Buy a single box or a monthly or 3, 612 month subscription for extra savings.

Graze is another one with a deal going on.
Right now you can get your first box free to try some snacks and also get free shipping. You sign up for the subscription like normal and just have to cancel future subscriptions or if you like what you see, it will automatically deduct the amount from your payment information in the subsequent months. Its certainly a neat idea. Snacks by mail! 

Mediterranean Snacks have a new product review

I love being a brand ambassador for Mediterranean Snacks. They always send such yummy treats to try out. The latest big box they sent out was filled with what they call Bean Stalks.
These are straw-like chips made from beans! Extra crunchy with that salty flavor that is still better than your leading brand chips. Plus the beans give these snacks added fiber value which is better for your digestion. You won't have colorful fingertips for your kids to decorate the furniture or their clothing with either. They use cannellini, green and pinto beans to make these. There are three flavors; BBQ,
and sea salt.
My kids definitely devoured the BBQ and cheddar ones first. I love the crunchy and flavorful addition they bring to our snacking habits. They have 50% less fat than regular chips. This is how its put when you pose the question, Why beans? 

"Beans have been a staple in the Mediterranean region for centuries, packed with protein and nutrients our bodies crave.
This modern day superfood, allows us to create better-for-you snacks with simple, ancient ingredients."
As a bonus, they sent me this nifty little notepad with pen.
Its perfectly pocket-sized and good for someone constantly writing while on the go! 
I sent some out to friends and family. One bag accompanied my friend and her family on the road from Texas to Florida. They sent me this picture when they stopped to snack. 
So check them out!

Inside Out movie review

I was a bit skeptical of this movie when I first heard about it. Its about an 11 year old girl named Riley and how her feelings or Emotions are on the inside. Suppose each emotion was a being. What might that be like? This movie explores that question. It was adorable, humorous, exciting and even sad. Riley has everything. She has two loving parents, a great home with a big yard, childhood friends, is on a hockey team and couldn't be happier. Then her father is given a new job opportunity. They must leave Minnesota to go all the way to sunny California. Her Emotions keep her having relatively good days. She has Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust, and Fear. Joy was the first one in Riley's mind. She's been watching over Riley from the second she was born. Sadness came next with Riley's first cry. As Riley grew, her Emotions team expanded. Fear keeps her safe. Anger is how she learns boundaries by keeping things fair. Especially with her parents. Disgust is how she learns what is good and what is not so that she doesn't end up poisoned. Like broccoli. Disgust said that was no bueno. Definitely dangerous. 

This move is an upheaval for everyone. The Emotions team doesn't always agree on how things should go. Sadness... no one knows what she is for. What her job is doesn't seem clear. I mean, why would you want anyone to be sad? Especially a pre-pubescent girl. Yet, she's drawn to touch and mingle the feelings of certain Joy moments and causes trouble. Joy and Sadness are suddenly taken from the Headquarters of Riley's mind and thrust out into the long term memory bank where all her memories are stored. They begin trying to get back to HQ to fix everything. Meanwhile, the rest of the team is struggling to make things stay right until Joy returns. But they aren't Joy and things just go wrong for Riley. She can't function at school. She can't play hockey. Her parents rely on her to stay happy as they also struggle to make the transition. She's feeling so alone, scared and unable to cope without Joy to remind her about the good things she still has. Joy and Sadness are learning more about each other and what roles they have as teammates instead of as individuals. And as a team, they will be responsible for getting Riley back on track when she decides to run away and shut off all her Emotions. 
Definitely loved this one. I took my middle son who got bored and wanted food the whole time. My friend brought her daughter and they enjoyed it. Just hope that you don't have the same issue we had where the movie wasn't focused for the 3D showing and we ended up watching the short movie Lava twice. Don't get me wrong, its a cute Hawaiian themed short about two volcanoes in love. Or in "lava". But still... only so much ukulele you can handle in one sitting.  Definitely enjoy the very very end! You get to see what happens in other characters minds. LOVED that part!!! 

Gotham's vigilante comes in cake form

A friend posed a challenge to me. He knew I loved baking and that I did it quite well. So he sent me a picture of a cake with the Batman silhouette and a skyline silhouette along the sides.
He needed it for his brothers bachelor party. Of course I agreed to take his challenge. How could I not?! It's Batman, chocolate and cake all in one. First of all, it took more money and time than I anticipated. Fondant comes in a box for $10 a pop. Seriously?? And its like a brick that takes a muscled arm to get flat. I work out. I work hard. And yet, I wanted to cry. It took two days with interruptions to get everything done. And there were several bumps along the way. 
First I went searching for the images I'd need to use as stencils. 
Batman was hard to find. Everyone had protected images... Then the skyline... 
I had to re-size the images to make them cake ready. I did this two nights before needing the cake ready because I'd had practice before and knew what a pain it would be.
It takes a lot of time to get so much detail done right. 

Then came making the chocolate cake. That is usually easy. Find your favorite recipe and make it as you normally would.
My problem? The cake didn't want to exit the cake pan. Even though I sprayed it with non-stick cooking spray HEAVILY. What do my cakes do? Crumble out of the pans in pieces. 
So start over I did. Made two more round cakes. 
Finally I had two rounds to work with. I found a tip on putting fondant on cakes that said if you lightly frost the cakes, the fondant would hold better. So that's what I did. Plus it adds flavor and sweetness to a bland fondant cover. First comes the black cover. Then the white shapes over it. I also added decorating gel to the backs to hold the cutouts in place. I found that heat makes the fondant melt slightly so that it sticks better. Granted I discovered this by leaving a cake like this in a hot car while watching a movie. But still... 
It was an experience I won't soon forget. And I'm not in a rush to try again. I hope the guys enjoy it. My hands and arms are paying for it this morning. 
As a bonus, I salvaged some of the cake that I plan to enjoy later. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Schneider pen review via Shoplet.com

Shoplet.com sent out some wonderful Schneider pens for me to review.
These Schneider pens come from a company called Stride, Inc. Stride, Inc. is a small, family owned business that is owned and operated by women. They are  an integrated workplace with 50% of their colleagues being adults with intellectual and developmental delays. These colleagues package and ship the products and when possible, hand assemble the Schneider line for distribution in the United States. They included stories with my products about how Stride, Inc. got started and how one successful employee bettered his life. They seek to help their disabled employees make "Strides" toward being independent and successful members of society. These people are able to be integrated into a more normal life without being considered a burden. Stride formed a relationship with Schneider in Germany to be the exclusive agent in the United States. They seek to be as "green" as possible to leave the "campsite better than you found it". I'm definitely loving these pens. I believe every professional should have a set of cheap pens that don't matter when they walk away. But you also need a set of nice pens that never leave your sight while leaving an impression on anyone who borrows it. Better even if that pen has an amazing story that leaves other in awe of what you support. Now to tell you about each pen. 

The Schneider Xpress .8 mm Porous Point Pen Black is a soft feeling pen that grips well in your hand.
The ink flows smoothly like velvet on the paper. It's made for documents that require a comfortable but professional look.

The ink is still smooth and effortlessly applied. It has a great grip too.

The Slider Memo XB 1.4 mm Viscoglide Ballpoint Pen 4 pack colors feels the same as the Basic XB but comes in colored inks. It has a full body grip that keeps your hand comfortable.
I'd use the red one for making notations or grading papers. The other colors are purple, green, orange and pink. Those are great for notating and fun notes. This uses the same ball point Viscoglide Technology as the Slider Edge. 

The Slider Rave 1.4 mm Viscoglide Retractable Ballpoint Pen black is another ball point pen.
It has a sleek housing that offers better grip than the Basic, but writes the same. 

Lastly, I have the Slider Edge 1.4 mm Viscoglide Ballpoint Pen Black.
This one is triangle-shaped as part of the Viscoglide Technology. It allows for better fitting in your fingers and a full bodied grip to make writing comfortable. This pen is made completely without adding to the carbon footprint

Schneider is the first pen manufacturer in the world to be EMAS certified. They seek to do more to protect the world and resources. 
Want to get some pens for yourself? Or other office supplies? Check out Shoplet.com and see everything they have to offer. They also have medical supplies, office stationary, and promotional products to get your business name out there! 

Sweet Pea's sword from Sucker Punch review

I think I'm ready for comic con! I just received the Sweet Pea sword for review which completes my cosplay look. This sword is really sturdy, which surprised me. It's not the bendy rubber I was expecting. It's a slightly hard plastic. The detail is exactly like the movie as this is a licensed version of the epee she used. 
Summer is nearly over. Before you know it, Halloween will be here. But even outside of that there are other opportunities to dress up or cosplay for. Here in San Antonio there is San Japan, Alamo City, SciFest, and more. All of them within the next few months. I've been preparing by piecing together my costume to cosplay as Sweet Pea from Sucker Punch.
I'm going to use this sword with my costume that I previously reviewed.
I might even try taking one of my kids with me this time, though they tend to get bored easily after just an hour.... So if you are looking for costumes or accessories, check out the Wholesale Costume Club. You can sign up to be a member and get the discounted price as well. Let's dress up and be someone else for a little while. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Toys R Us FREE Lego event!

July 20th is going to be such a great day! I'm taking the kids to the nearby Toys R Us for the FREE Lego building event. Its all about Jurassic World and they get to take it home. According to the information found here, this Saturday 12-2 PM at ANY Toys R Us store Lego is teaming up to allow kids to make and take a Jurassic World gate. 

On a side note... If you haven't seen the movie, you should.
I went for nostalgia sake and because others with the same idea were going. I wasn't disappointed. This time around, it wasn't just another stupid dinosaur movie. The plot took on a new perspective finally. Yes, there was bloodshed. Yes, there were those moments of "What are they thinking?!" But it was fun. All about how the creators are playing God and trying to make new and exciting or even scary dinosaurs to fill their pockets better with more wow factor for the new Jurassic World park that draws in 20,000 visitors daily.
But as with every movie that has someone tampering with genetics, things go wrong. Very wrong. Greed and pride often cut into the dance and this movie was no different. The humor though lightens even the dark moments. I have a feeling there might be something following.... So that's my take. Don't want to spoil it for you. But I do suggest you leave the weak stomach and easily frightened ones at home. Little ones might have nightmares. And remember kids, don't try to tame the raptors at home....