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Category: KJ

Christmas Countdown Activity Chain

Christmas Countdown Activity Chain - Kids Craft Project One of the things we love to do at my house is a Christmas Countdown Paper Chain to help countdown the days until Christmas. It’s a neat way to help young kids understand how many days are left until Christmas. We make it an activity chain by putting a “Christmas” activity on the inside of each link – such as have hot chocolate by the fire, bake cookies, sing a Christmas song, etc… The kids look forward each day to tearing off a link and seeing what we will be doing that day.

At my house, now that the kids are old enough, they make the chain. I am still the one who makes the numbered activity list on the computer. That way I make sure that the more time consuming activities fall on weekends.

This project is great because it’s more economical than the normal advent calendars, and the kids can participate in the making of it. However, what I love most about adding the activities to the links is that it helps us to be sure to do fun family activities even when things get really busy as they always tend to at this time of year.

Supplies

  • Paper
  • List of Activities – I like to number mine to correspond to the day so that the more involved activities can be scheduled to fall on a weekend. The kids put them in order based on my numbers
  • Glue, scissors, pencil

Steps

  1. Cut strips of paper for the chain. We usually use the width of a ruler to measure the size, tracing with a pencil and then cut.
  2. Cut your list of activities into strips.
  3. Glue activity strips onto links.
  4. Start with the link for one end of the chain and glue it into a circle.
  5. Take the next link, put it through the middle of the first one, and glue it into a circle.
  6. Continue until the chain is complete

Then, just hang it up and tear off one link each day to countdown until Christmas. Enjoy the family activities!

TIPS

  • I like to number my activities as I type them onto the list so that activities that take more time (like baking cookies or watching a movie happen) will be on links for the weekend. It also gives the kids a challenge to make sure they have them in order.
  • Get the kids to help suggest family activities that they would like add to the chain
  • If you have a little one who is practicing counting, while putting the chain together, have him count while holding the link until it sticks.
  • We usually use construction paper for our chain, but scrapbook paper can make a VERY cute chain.
  • Suggestions for activities (we repeat favorites more than once)- dance to Christmas music, decorate, make ornaments, have hot chocolate by the fire, make a Christmas card for someone, watch a Christmas movie, play a board game, make a reindeer family (hand and foot reindeer), draw a Christmas picture, read a Christmas book, go around the neighborhood and look at Christmas lights, make cookies, have Christmas cookies and milk, read “The Night Before Christmas” or whatever else your family might enjoy.

Christmas Kid’s Craft – Reindeer Food and Holder + (Printable)

This  is a fun Christmas Craft of  reindeer “food” to sprinkle on the lawn for Santa’s reindeer to eat, and a cute little reindeer holder to hold the bag of food until Christmas Eve.  Here’s instructions for both projects:

Reindeer Holder to Hang onto the Reindeer Food ’til Christmas Eve

This reindeer holds your bag of reindeer food until Christmas Eve.

Supplies

• 1 piece of construction paper (brown or tan or funky reindeer color of your choice)
Smart and Trendy Printable for eyes, antlers, etc
• Crayons or markers, scissors, glue, tape

Steps

1. Fold the construction paper lengthwise, and cut down the center.
2. Fold in the corners at one end

3. Make a fold about an inch down from that

4. Print the Smart and Trendy Moms Reindeer Food Printable (click here for the printable)
5. Color and cut out the pieces on the printable.
6. Glue the pieces onto the reindeer (antlers are glued behind so they stick up over the back)
7. Tape the bag of reindeer food into his mouth so the reindeer can hold it until Christmas Eve when it’s time to spinkle the reindeer food on the lawn.

Reindeer Food

You leave cookies out for Santa every year. Why not make some “reindeer food” to sprinkle on the lawn for Dasher, Dancer, and the rest of the team?

Here is the recipe:

• 1/4 cup oatmeal
• 2 teaspoons of cake decorating sugar ( It’s coarser than regular sugar. You can also use glitter – it looks pretty, but it’s not as environmentally friendly)
• a paper heart for love (a heart printable is included in the reindeer holder directions)

Add the ingredients to a plastic sandwich bag and shake to mix.
Then on Christmas Eve, you head outside before bed and sprinkle it on the lawn for Santa’s reindeer to eat.

Smart and Trendy Moms finds products, ideas, projects, recipes, and other information that we have personally found helpful or interesting.  As always, it is up to you to determine what is appropriate for you, your children, and your situation.  See our Disclaimer

{Back to School Shopping – With Printable}

It’s almost time for the kids to head back to school. My kids have grown quite a bit and need to do some serious clothes shopping this year.  I always try to fit lessons into the activities that we do and back to school shopping is a great opportunity for that.  As soon as the kids were old enough to understand addition, I started involving them in making decisions about how to spend their school budget.


This printable is the one that we use for clothing shopping.  I think its great to get the kids thinking about budgets and their spending.  Plus, it makes it much easier to explain why you can’t buy ten Abercrombie shirts when they can look at the numbers themselves.

Here’s what we do:

1.  We sit down together and come up with how many of each item of clothing they will need and fill in the first column.

2. Then, kids need to go through all their clothing and try things on and write in the numbers for the “have” column.

3.  Now that they are old enough, I have them do the math to fill in the “buy” column with the number they need to buy.

4. Then, we sit down together and I help them divide up their budget for an approximate amount that they will have to spend on each of the item categories.

5. After that, we head to the mall.  They use a pencil to fill in the amount they spend on each item (They round to the nearest dollar, and I don’t make them figure in tax) and check off each category when they have gotten what they need.

6. The “extra” column is filled in if they buy all the items they need in that category for less than the total budgeted.  They can then apply the “extra” money to other categories if they need more.  Dear Daughter is planning to spend her extra at Abercrombie.  Dear Son is asking if he can use his extra to buy Legos. I think I’m going to have to say no or he will end up with one pair of jeans, one t-shirt, and a room full of Legos, lol.

7.  I also have them total up how much they spend to make sure they stayed within their budget.

I know it sounds a bit complicated, but it really has taught the kids a lot about budgeting and spending.  And it has been GREAT for helping to explain why they can’t buy all designer brands.  They are also learning the if they spend a little less in one category, they can spend a little more on some brand name that they “have” to have.

This method has worked great for us over the years.  If you’d like to use our printable, you can find it here.  If you have other methods, please leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you!

 
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Smart and Trendy Moms finds products, ideas, projects, recipes, and other information that we have personally found helpful or interesting.  As always, it is up to you to determine what is appropriate for you, your children, and your situation.  See our Disclosure

ExtremeSteam™ Professional Hand Held Garment Steamer


I absolutely hate ironing.  I usually do the hang-up-quickly-out-of-the-dryer method to avoid it, but there are times when something has been in the closet for a while and ended up wrinkled or creased or some special occasions where ironing can’t be avoided.

So, as you can imagine, I was super excited to try the ExtremeSteam Professional Hand Held Garment Steamer .  It’s a dual temperature steamer that you simply fill with tap water and press the trigger and it will provide 15 minutes of steam.  It’s got 3 attachments – a brush, a soft cushion attachment for delicate fabrics, and a creaser. I was really pleased with how well it works.  It heats up quickly and nicely removed the wrinkles.  It also has a nice long cord which lets you hang the article of clothing that your steaming and easily move around it (I used the shower door to hang it on) and  it even lets you steam your drapes easily.

It quickly and easily steams my husband’s shirts and the other day I used it on a pair of my capris that had been folded up too long.   You just make a couple of passes over the wrinkles and they disappear.  I also steamed my valance in the bathroom (yeah, I know, its summer – a bit late for spring cleaning, but better late than never)  It worked great and was totally easy to do.  The steamer even has a little button on the trigger that you can use to get it to keep it pressed without having to hold it.

I think my favorite thing about it other than how easy it is to use is that you can’t mess up.  I’m not the best at ironing (I guess I don’t really apply myself since I hate it) and I have a track record of leaving accidental creases on some things.  But with the Fabric Steamer, you don’t have to worry about that.   Overall I was very pleased with how well it works, and very happy that I may never have to touch my iron again!  You can see a video of the Conair Garmet Steamer in action or find out more on their website.

Princess Diaries 2-Movie Combo Pack

Princess Diaries 2-Movie Combo Pack

My daughter was too young to watch Princess Diaries when it first came out.  But now, with it’s recent 10th anniversary re-release, we got to watch it together.  And it was re-released as a box set with Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement, we watched both together to turn in into a mom/daughter movie marathon.  The first movie was as cute as I remember it being when I saw it the first time, and my daughter loved it.

This was the first time that I had seen Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement.  Both movies have some positive messages which I really like.  I was a big Sound of Music Fan as a child and in the second movie, it was great to see Julie Andrews singing again!  There are also some great outtakes and a cute Find Your Inner Princess Personality Quiz.  Definitely time to break out the popcorn and settle in for a mom/daughter movie marathon.   You can read more about it below!

To commemorate the 10th anniversary† of a cherished family classic, Disney proudly presents a special movie collection featuring two modern-day fairy tales, The Princess Diaries and The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, for the first time ever on Blu-ray!

Starring Academy Award®-Winning Actress Julie Andrews (Best Actress, Mary Poppins, 1964) and Academy Award-Nominated Actress Anne Hathaway (Best Actress, Rachel Getting Married, 2008), these two heartwarming and hilarious movies will touch your heart. As the future queen of Genovia, Princess Mia has everything a girl could want – except the enchanting romance she’s always dreamed of. Comic complications rule the day in these delightfully engaging stories about finding out who you really are and discovering what it takes to make your dreams come true!

Relive all the magic and excitement of these two belovedfavorites on this 3-Disc Combo Pack, which includes a DVD of each film. Share the laughter and the love for the first time on Disney Blu-ray.

The Princess Diaries – Mia Thermopolis is the average teenager – sweet, a little geeky and pretty much invisible to everyone with theexception of her mother, best friend Lilly and Lilly’s older brother Michael. Making it through high school without throwing up is a challenge in itself for Mia, so it doesn’t come as welcome news when her estranged grandmother shows up out of the blue and calmly informs her that she is in fact the heir to the throne of a European country called Genovia. Suddenly Mia’s life is thrown into complete overload. She’s being taught about scarves, waves and pears in order to become a perfect princess, she gets a makeover and a tough looking yet sweet bodyguard/limo driver called Joe. Things get out of hand when the media gets a hold of the story and suddenly Mia is thrust into the spotlight in both thenewspapers and in school. On top of all that Mia has a choice to make. She must decide by Genovia’s Independence Day Ball whether she longs to relinquish her claim on the throne or to become the princess and heir to the throne and father and grandmother want her to be.

The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement – Starring the irresistible Anne Hathaway and Academy Award winner Julie Andrews (Best Actress, Mary Poppins), this modern-day fairy tale picks up right where The PrincessDiaries left off!  As future queen of Genovia, Princess Mia (Hathaway) has everything a girl could want – except the magical romance she’s always dreamed of.  But soon, Mia’s shocked to discover that she needs to get married right now or her family will lose the crown! Comic complications rule the day in this delightful family story about finding out who you really are and discovering what it takes to make your dreams come true!

If you have seen The Princess Diaries or The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the movies.

 

 

{The Chore Cup}

{The Chore Cup}

I am trying a new idea at my house. I get tired of my elementary aged kids fighting over chores. I hear a lot of : “It’s not fair! I vacuumed/dusted/took out the trash/insert-chore-name-here last time.”   In an effort to curb the fighting, I am trying a Chore Cup. I don’t remember where I heard about the idea, but I figured it would be a great time to try it as we are adjusting to the new back-to-school routine.

What you do is put the chores on popsicle sticks and put them into a cup. At chore time, each child pulls out a stick and does the chore on the stick. I am trying a color coding system since my son hates some chores that daughter likes and vice versa. So some chore sticks will have a green dot for my sons chores, some a pink dot for daughter, and some will include both dots for either. I suppose the colored dots could also be used to label them for age (like pre-school chores on the orange dotted sticks, middle schoolers on the red dotted sticks.)

In order to make it fun, I also am including some other things that aren’t chores like play your favorite video game for 10 minutes, run a lap around the yard, draw a picture, etc…
I’ll keep you updated with how it works out for us.  If you try it, let me know how it works in your house.

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Smart and Trendy Moms finds products, ideas, projects, recipes, and other information that we have personally found helpful or interesting.  As always, it is up to you to determine what is appropriate for you, your children, and your situation.  See our Disclosure
Healthy On the Go Snacking - Stretch Island Fruit Co and Bear Naked Foods

Healthy On the Go Snacking – Stretch Island Fruit Co and Bear Naked Foods

We have a very busy schedule.  It seems like we are frequently running from one event or practice to another, and often the kids need a snack in between so we frequently grab a quick snack on the go.  Unfortunately,  quick and healthy don’t always go together especially when you are trying to find something to keep in the car for those unplanned “snack emergencies.”  So I’m always excited to find easy, healthy snacks that we can eat between activities.  So I was super excited to try some items from Stretch Island Fruit Co. and Bear Naked Foods.

Stretch Island Fruit Co. has all natural fruit strips that are the nutritional equivalent of ½ serving of fruit in tons of flavors (Apple, Apricot, Grape, Mango, Cherry, Raspberry, and Strawberry).  All the flavors are good, but my favorite is the apricot or the cherry.   These are one of my new favorite “on the go” snack foods.  They are designed for more “grown up” tastes since they are a bit more tart than the FruitaBu Fruit Rolls that they make for kids (which have a full serving of fruit) in the flavors apple, grape, and strawberry.  Unfortunately, I have competition for the fruit strips because my kids love those more than the fruit rolls.  I have to hide them in the pantry or they would eat them all, lol.   Both the fruit strips and fruit rolls are great for snacking on the go, and can be kept in the car or in a backpack much easier than fresh fruit can.

Stretch Island Fruit Co has also partnered with the Fruit Tree Planning Foundation to make “Fruit Tree 101” which plants schoolyard fruit orchards to education students about the importance of eating fruit and caring for the environment.

Bear Naked Foods is an all-natural food company with a line of granolas, trail mixes, cookies, and cereals.  My favorite is the granola.  I love can’t decide between the “oats and honey with blueberries” or the “triple berry crunch” – both are delicious.  One of the snacks I love is vanilla yogurt with granola.  Both of these are perfect for that.  Trail mix is another great snack I love to keep in the car for the kids when they need a little something while on the go. Their Chocolate Cherry flavor trail mix is great – it’s cranberries, almonds, cherries, raisins and chocolate granola clusters.

Another awesome thing about Bear Naked Food Company is their partnership with TerraCycle in a program that encourages people to save their used bags that are then “up-cycled” into eco-friendly products such as shower curtains, umbrellas and other accessories.

I’m very happy to have found both Stretch Island Fruit Co and Bear Naked Foods to add to my list of healthy on the go snacks.

Scala Pronto Wool Cloche Hat

Scala Pronto Wool Cloche Hat

When I got the opportunity to review the Scala Pronto Wool Cloche my first thought was, “What’s a Cloche?”  I had never heard the term.

In case you are like me and are wondering, here’s what I discovered: A cloche is a close filling bell shaped hat that first became popular in the 1920s and is still fashionable today.   The shape of the cloche is flattering to just about everyone which makes it an awesome gift idea.

A hat is one of those things that can really make an outfit fashionable.  Scala Pront’s Wool Cloche is made of a soft wool knit and is soft and not scratchy. It fits snugly, yet has some give to it so it is very comfortable. It’s both fashionable and warm, which is a great combination this time of year.  It comes in charcoal, black, camel, wine, plum, and red.

Throughout the month of december STM readers can get 20% off at www.women’s hats.com and can get free ground shipping in the US by using the promo code: ScalaPronto.

 

Keurig Elite B40 Brewer and Kcups image

Coffee Cow Keurig B-40 Elite Brewer Giveaway

coffeecow.com logo CoffeeCow.com is an internet coffee supplier for home and office.  According to their website:

Coffeecow.com was developed by a small group of coffee professionals who have over 37-years of experience in fulfilling any coffee service need. Last year CoffeeCow.com customers enjoyed over 26-million cups of our great coffees and teas, so whether it is from the comfort of your home or your corporate office, Coffeecow.com has it all. At Coffeecow.com, our goal is to provide you with the highest quality products, the fastest service, and the deepest discount prices you will find anywhere.

They carry many different brewers, coffees, teas, hot chocolates, cups, flavorings and creamers and more.  We got the opportunity to try the Keurig Elite B40 Brewer, along with a variety pack of K cups, and a Green Mountain Coffee Roasters variety box.

The Keurig Elite B40 Brewer brews coffee, tea, or hot cocoa in under a minute.  You have your choice brewing two different cup sizes (7.25 ounce and 9.25 ounce).   It has a removable water reservoir and a removable drip tray.

Keurig Elite B40 Brewer and Kcups image There are several things that impress me about the Keurig B40.  I am impressed by the variety and flavors of coffees and teas that are offered (according to Keurig, it’s over 200 different varieties)  I also love the K-Cup variety packs that let you sample the different kinds to find your favorite without having to commit to buying a whole box.  I also love the fact that they sell the “My K-Cup” re-usable filter basket so you can use your own blend of coffee if you like.   It’s also neat that you can run it without a k-cup in place to get hot water to use for tea or for cup a soups.   In addition to all that, it also brews a really good cup of coffee!  When I was brewing the first cup, my son said that it smelled really good, just like our local coffee shop.  My husband who is an avid coffee drinker says that it makes a really good cup of coffee.

I was disappointed by the fact that they don’t offer latte or other specialty drink K-cups.  However, when I looked into that, I discovered that they have designed the Keurig machines to do one thing- make a single serve coffee – and do it incredibly well.  They do that.  And I discovered that with a milk frother, you can use the Keurig to brew an extra bold espresso blend.  Then froth some milk to make a latte.

Overall, the Keurig is great for us.  It is perfect for making a single cup.  My husband likes dark roast and I like light and flavored coffees (my favorite so far is Van Houtte French Vanilla) so with the Keurig, we can each have exactly what we like.

To see the variety of Keurig brewers and K-cups available, you can visit the coffeecow.com website or connect with them on facebook.

Giada for Target Collage

Holiday Entertaining with Giada De Laurentiis for Target

Giada De Laruentiis for Target I have found a whole new reason to love Target – the new line of bakeware, cookware, and food items by Giada De Laurentiis.  We got a chance to try some of Giada’s recipes, grocery items, and a sampling of her bakeware products and we’re completely impressed!

The Holidays can be a stressful time of year with parties and guests and entertaining.  Giada De Laurentiis Target collection can help with the food preparation part of that, and she has lots of great tips for entertaining and some awesome recipes.

I love the food from her line.  It’s absolutely perfect for the holiday entertaining.  It makes it simple to quickly prepare gourmet foods that taste terrific.  We got to sample the Black Olive Tapenade, Giada Blend Coffee, Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes, Roasted Red Peppers, marinated mushrooms, Genovese Basil Pesto, Eggplant & Pepper Pesto.  My favorite is the Black Olive Tapenade on a slice of toasted baguette with some melted fontina cheese.   — Look at that, I’m not a gourmet cook by any stretch of the imagination, but Giada can make even me sound like a gourmet chef  : – )

Giada for Target Collage My husband and I had a great time sampling some of the new food items and some of Giada’s recipes.  I made the Pea Pesto Crostini.  (Yes, pesto made with peas – I had to try it).  My husband was trying to place the flavor; he knew it was familiar, but couldn’t quite place it thinking it was some herb that he was tasting and not peas.   It tastes fresh and not at all like you think it would.  Plus, with the green pea pesto and the red tomatoes, it’s perfect for Christmas.   Here’s the recipe in case you want to try it:

Pea Pesto Crostini    –   Recipe Courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis
•    1(10oz) package frozen peas, thawed
•    1 garlic clove
•    ½ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
•    1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
•    2/3 cup olive oil
•    8 (1/2 inch thick) slices whole grain baguette or ciabatta bread, preferably day old
•    8 cherry tomatoes, halved or 1 small tomato, diced

For the pea pesto:
1.    Pulse together in food processor the peas, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
2.    With the machine running, slowly add 1/3 cup of the olive oil and continue to mix until well combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.
3.    Transfer to small bowl and set aside.

For the crostini:
1.    Toast the bread for 2 – 3 minutes on an oven’s broil setting.
2.    Transfer bread to platter and spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of pesto on each slice.
3.    Top crostini with 2 tomato halves, finely chopped herbs or parmesan cheese and serve.

Yield: 4 – 6 Servings/ 8 crostini
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 minutes

We also got to sample of Giada’s cookware including  a 2 quart Ceramic Oval Baker, a 9 ” ceramic Pie Pan, a silicone Spoonula, a 3 piece plastic bowl set, a Stainless Steel Whisk, and Stainless Steel Measuring cups and it’s all terrific.  I love the oval baker and the pie pan.  They are nice quality and affordable.  I especially like how they are functional  yet are still pretty enough to look great on the table.  The mixing bowls are great as well.  They are durable yet lightweight and have non-slip rings on the bottom.  I love the pour spout and the ledge to hang on to, which is awesome to hold the bowl while mixing and while pouring.   These have quickly become my favorite set of mixing bowls!

Since I’m sure everyone is looking to reduce stress this Holiday Season, here are a few of Giada’s entertaining  tips:

•    Plan ahead!  Prepare most of your dishes ahead of time, rather than trying to cook everything at once.  You’ll feel less stressed and will be able to enjoy the party.  Giada recommends leaving only one item for last minute prep – this brings everyone into the kitchen and sets the tone for a cozy, comfortable evening.

•    Don’t overdo your menu – keep it simple!  As a general rule, Giada suggests offering four to five appetizers.  During the holidays, choose foods that have vibrant colors for an added festive touch.  Also select foods that are beautiful to serve and easy for guests to eat.

•    For guests who pop-in unexpectedly, keep ready-to-serve delights in the pantry such as Giada De Laurentiis for Target Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes, Marinated Roasted Red Peppers and Marinated Mushrooms  for quick entertaining options. The Giada De Laurentiis for Target Genovese Basil Pesto and Eggplant & Pepper Pesto are also easy and delicious treats.  Serve with toasted bread or crackers and display on a festive serving platter.

•    Create less work for yourself by using multipurpose kitchen tools.  The Giada De Laurentiis for Target Ceramic Bakeware can go directly from the oven to the table.  The bakeware beautifully displays the dish and makes less clean-up for you!  Kitchen and food items also make wonderful gifts.  Add a personal touch to a hostess gift by baking your favorite homemade pie in The Giada De Laurentiis for Target Ceramic Pie Pan.

We are impressed with Giada De Laurentiis’ bakeware and food items are definitely planning on using some Giada products for our New Year’s celebration this year.  I’m going to be getting more of the Black Olive Tapenade and am excited to go to Target to check out the rest of the items.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Giada De Laurentiis for Target and received product samples to facilitate my review.”
Picasso Hair Feathers Image showing Colors

Picasso Hair Feathers

 

Picasso hair feathers logoJust in case you haven’t already seen it, the new trend with hair accessories is hair feathers. My daughter came home from school a few weeks ago and said that “everybody is wearing them.” We recently got a chance to try some animal-friendly hair feathers from Picasso Hair Feathers and they are awesome.

Picasso hair feathers are totally adorable and are easy to apply.  I absolutely love their plastic loop that helps you apply them.  It makes it so easy to get them onto your hair.  Prior to these, we tried a brand from a local beauty supply store and they aren’t nearly as easy to apply.   I am also very pleased with the ring that you attach them with.  When applying them to my daughters hair, we had to reposition one three times (Hey, it’s got to be perfectly positioned right?) and it was very easy to remove and re-apply (make sure you keep the little plastic loop to help re-apply them if you decide to move them).  You can see more about how to apply them on the Piccasso website here.

It’s really neat that once you apply them, you can just wash and style like normal.  They are also heat resistant so you can use the straightening iron or curling iron too just like on your real hair.

Picasso Hair Feathers Image showing Colors The company has tons of great color combinations that you can see on their website.  We got the “breaking dawn” pack, and I was very pleased to see that the colors of the feathers are just as rich and beautiful as they are in the photo on the website.

These would make a great stocking stuffer or an awesome way to update your look.  I love that you can get a fresh and trendy look that you can put in and forget about, but still change up whenever you like.

Stop by the Picasso Hair Feather’s website yourself and have a look around or you can connect with them on facebook and twitter.

Logo for Diamond Candles

Diamond Candles Giveaway

Logo for Diamond Candles I love scented candles.  There is something about burning a wonderful smelling candle that makes your home feel so cozy and relaxing.  We discovered a great new candle company called Diamond Candles.   They have all natural soy candles, and the reason they are called Diamond Candles is that each candle has a ring hidden in the wax that is worth $10, $100, $1,000, or $5,000.

The company was founded in January of 2011.  The founder came up with the idea of putting rings in candles when he was looking for a gift bag at the store for the ring, but he saw some candles and decided to buy her one to go along with the ring.  The company website says “On his way out of the store, he looked down at the ring in one hand and the candle in the other, and the idea of Diamond Candles was born.”

I got the chance to try the Lavender Lemon scent and I love it.  It’s a clean relaxing scent.  It’s mostly lemony with a hint of the lavender.  It’s pleasant, but it isn’t overpowering. I do wish the scent was a bit stronger though since you can’t smell it except for the room that it is in.  I’d love for the scent to fill the whole house.  It is in a very pretty glass container with a lid.  I can see the foil pouch of the ring in the side, but haven’t gotten down to it yet.  (I’m resisting the urge to dig it out, lol)

Photo of Diamond Candles These candles would make a totally fun gift for someone since not only are they getting an awesome candle, but also a pretty ring.  If you want to see some images of the rings, you can go to the Diamond Candle Facebook page and see photos that customers have posted of the rings that they have gotten.   I’ll update this post with a photo of the ring once I get it out.

You can see all of the scents that they have to offer for yourself on their website.  They have lots of different scents and even some Christmas ones.

Website: www.diamondcandles.com

Facebook:   www.facebook.com/diamondcandles

Twitter: http://twitter.com/diamondcandles


Myachi Hand Sack and Battle Pad

Myachi Hand Sack and Battle Pad

We got the chance to try Myachi and the new Myachi Battle Pad and we are having a blast with them!  Myachi is a small rectangular handsack that you catch using the back of your hand and anything else with the exception of your palms.  It reminds me of a hacky sack only better since it’s rectangular shape makes it easier to deal with.  (I never did learn to do hacky sack and spent most of my time picking it up, but the myachi was fun right away) You “catch” it and do tricks.   Our favorite right now is holding the bottom of your shirt out and bouncing it off trampoline-style then catching it on the back of your hand.

The new Battle Pads are very cool also.  They attach to the back of your hand and let you play some other games using the Myachi.   I also love the Battle Pads because they are great for younger or less coordinated kids that have trouble catching it on the back of their hand.  The battle pads larger flat surface area makes it easier to catch so even younger kids can play.   There is a video here that shows how they are used.   They are using a neat funding website called kickstart to help with funding for their new battle pads.  You can see more about that in our other post about Myachi.

This is one of the most fun “family-time” toys we’ve gotten in a while.  We are having lots of laughs tossing it to one another and trying different tricks (our record is currently 14 catches without dropping it).   It’s also turned into a great incentive.  The kids love it so much that it’s become great incentive – “Sure we can play Myachi right after you finish cleaning your rooms”  :-)  Another very cool thing is that the myachi website has lots of videos showing tricks that you can learn to do.  You can see those here,  and to see even more they have lots of videos on their Youtube channel.

To find out more and see some videos of Myachi in action visit the Myachi website or you can connect with them on facebook and twitter.

Inktastic Giveaway

Inktastic Giveaway

Inktastic is a fantastic website that offers lots of preprinted and custom designs that you can put on lots of different types of clothing and other fun items including stuffed animals, cell phone skins, signs, banners, stickers and more.  They have an easy to use product designer, you can choose from hundreds of products and thousands of great graphics (or upload your own images and digital photos).  You can get quality printing at affordable prices with no setup fees and no minimum order.

When I first went to their website to look for a t-shirt for my daughter, I was totally interested in the “upload your own image” idea. Then, I started looking around at all of the designs they offer. There were so many unique designs that I’d never seen before, I saw a lot of designs that I loved! Lots of sports designs, music and instrument designs, cute animals, baby items, holiday designs. It actually might be hard to find something they don’t have.  Here is just a few of their categories to show you the wide variety of what they offer.

Eventually, I decided on a design, but was tough to choose just one with all the awesome unique graphics. I found a basketball-themed design that says “Forget about it Princess, not even Cinderella is getting to this ball” – totally her sense of humor. (They also have the same shirt for soccer as well.) I chose a cap-sleeved shirt with bright pink sleeves. I am very pleased with the quality of the shirt and the with the printing. The ink is embedded into the fabric not just stuck on. We have washed it many times already (she loves wearing it!) and it is holding up well and looks like it will continue to do so.

I was going to try to put more of their cute designs in this post, but there are just too many to choose from.  You’ll just have to visit their website  to see all of unique designs for just about any interest you can think.

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Conair Xtreme Heat Hot Rollers Giveaway

Conair Xtreme Heat Hot Rollers Giveaway

As a busy mom, I don’t have much time to curl my hair. Lucky for me, with the Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Multisized Hot Rollers, you don’t need much time. The rollers are heated and ready to use in 75 seconds.  Not kidding – just 75 seconds.

I was very pleased with how quickly the rollers heated and with how well the they work. The set includes 20 ceramic multi-sized rollers: 8 jumbo rollers, 6 large rollers, and 6 medium rollers and 20 lightweight heated clips. My favorite size is the jumbo roller to get a nice wave.

The base unit has space to put on three clips at a time to heat them up to make the curling even more effective. I’ve never been great at rolling my hair, but I found the clips very easy to use. The rollers have a nice flocked coating on them and the end rings stay cool to protect your fingers. They have tourmaline ceramic center to allow for better heat transfer and help your curls last longer. One roller has a color-changing “ready dot” to let you know when they are ready to use.

The rollers are great when you want a different look, but don’t have much time.
You can find out more about the Conair Xtreme Instant Heat Multisized Hot Rollers on their website or connect with them on facebook or twitter.

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