Archive | September, 2013

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

27 Sep
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Image from IMDb

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 was released in theaters today.  My daughters and I had the opportunity to see it at the MOMS Cloudy 2 Mamarazzi Event Wednesday!  Initially, my oldest was fighting to go into the Theater but a little popcorn and Subway Kids meal Packs helped her make it into the theater. Once Bill Hader, voice of Flint Lockwod, started a Q & A with the guests she wanted to leave because she knew the movie was starting soon.   She was scared because she didn’t know what to make of the “Foodimals” from the movie poster.   We only saw bits and pieces of the first movie so were unfamiliar with the story line.  We were ready to leave when someone else told her it wasn’t scary.  She thought about it for a bit and decided to go back in and give it a chance.  Half way through the movie, she leaned over to me and whispered “thank you for making me stay mom, I love it”.  From this experience, she has learned she needs to give things a chance before she decides she doesn’t like something, (more below images).

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Both of my girls sat through the entire movie and absolutely loved it.  They laughed and occasionally grasped my hand anticipating a scary part.  They fell in love with the Foodimals.  Since seeing the movie, they talk about them all of the time.  My youngest loves Barry the strawberry, my oldest loved the Flamangos, and my personal favorite was the Cheespider!  My oldest packs her school snacks in the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 Subway  lunch bag she received at the movie preview.  Because they love the Foodimals, I have tried to incorporate them in their lunch and have them come up with their own creations!  Check back next week for meal ideas inspired by the Foodimals.

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Image from IMDb

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An entertaining and adorable  film for the entire family.  Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is rated PG and is 95 minutes long!   Watch the trailer for a preview or search for a theater and show time near you!

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post.  Ideas and opinions expressed are my own.  I was invited to the screening and my girls received a small gift for attending.

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Keep Your Child’s Art Forever

25 Sep
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Image from Keepy

My daughter loves ART.   Last year, she came home from school with so many art projects I had no idea what to do with.  I started folders, bins, and stacking them away in the closet because anytime I wanted to toss something out my daughter would notice.  She also has a great memory, and occasionally asks for projects and when I couldn’t “find” them she gets upset.  I also have a hard time parting with them because she is very creative and puts so much effort into her projects.  However, apartment living isn’t conducive for storing stacks of artwork.   At one point we were so inundated  with her artwork, she decided to sell it to her uncles so it wouldn’t get thrown out.  I told her we need to keep her very best pieces and we would have to give away the rest.

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Last week, I attended a back-to-school breakfast in her classroom.  Just a side-note, she has been in school 2 1/2 weeks and the artwork is already starting to pile up on top of the stack from last year.  She was showing me around her classroom and took me to her cubby.  There was a picture with a sentence about what she hopes to do in school this year (see below).

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When I saw the picture and that she hoped to DRAW in school, I was so thankful I learned about Keepy at the Fashion Forward Conference a few days prior.  Keepy is an App that creates a gallery to organize, enhance, share, admire and save your child’s schoolwork, art and mementos.  It’s easy to use, just download the App to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, and start the set-up process.  You can sign-up or log-in through Facebook.  Once you log in you can set-up galleries with a photo for all of your children.    Snap a shot of their artwork, enhance the image, comment and add the date then save.  The coolest feature is the ability to record a video to go with the picture you are saving.  In addition, loved ones can use the keepy-cam to comment on the work or memento. Keepies can also be shared on Facebook, Twitter and on the Keepy Gallery.  I no longer have to throw out artwork, I can keep them by taking pictures and saving them to Keepy.

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In addition to saving your child’s work, you can turn your favorite pieces into a case for your iPhone case with endless possibilities, once in image format, on Zazzle.  These keepsakes would make fabulous gifts for friends and family on birthdays or for the Holidays!

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Keepy is free at the iTunes App Store and includes an option to increase storage with an in-app purchase. It will be available on Google Play in the fall 2013. The platform provides the space and the storage on the Keepy cloud forever.   To learn more about Keepy visit Keepy.me, watch the YouTube video, find on Facebook, or follow on twitter.

Disclaimer: I did not receive compensation for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Information in italics came from keepy.me or a press release. Images, unless noted, were taken by Tastefully Childish

 

Trick-or-Treat, Give Me Something COOL to Drink… (Cool Gear Halloween Giveaway)

22 Sep

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Happy First Day of Autumn!  Although, we are sad summer is over, the crisp fall air is refreshing and it means time for pumpkin picking and Halloween.  My girls are anxiously awaiting Halloween!  They started planning their costumes over the summer and are already making plans with friends for Halloween night!

We recently received a Cool Gear Inc 14 oz Light Up Skull Mug and set of Glow Eyeball Ice Cubes.  My daughter opened it immediately and wanted to leave a “spooky” drink in the fridge for her dad when he came home from work.  We looked in the fridge and came up with “The Eye Socket” (below).  The mug features a flashing light that is turned on and off with a button on the bottom and the eyeballs glow once they are charged with light, adding extra festive fun perfect for night.

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Our favorite berries are Driscoll’s

We have made this drink several times, and every time my girls enjoy it.  It makes about 2 servings.  They enjoy measuring and mixing the ingredients themselves.  They also love smashing the blueberries.  We plan on having a few friends over for pizza before trick-or-treating and will be serving this fun Halloween drink!  DSC_0994

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Another Fall favorite is Apple Cider.  Our favorite apple cider is  from Red Jacket Orchards, found at Whole Foods.  I received a sample of SINFIRE Cinnamon Whiskey from Hood River Distillers not long ago, and decided it might be a good combination.  It sure was tasty.  A great drink to cozy up and relax with after the kids are in bed.  An easy drink to have at an adult Halloween party.  Serve it in this awesome mug and keep it cool with the eyeball ice cubes to “light-up” your night!

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Make this Halloween extra “Spooktacular” for you and your kids and enter to win a Cool Gear Light Up Mug and set of Glow Eyeball Ice cubes by clicking the link HERE!  Giveaway ends on 9/30/2013 at 11:59 p.m.

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More information about the products  below:

Image from Cool Gear Inc

Please note that these eyeball ice cubes are intended for adult use.  My girls asked to use them in their drinks and I explained the cubes were for their cups and not to be put in their mouths.  Because of their size and shape, they could be a choking hazard.  If you choose to use these eyeballs, supervision is required. Image/ Information from Cool Gear

Image/ Information from Cool Gear

Image/ Information from Cool Gear

Disclaimer:  I received a Light Up Skull Mug and set of Glow Eyeball Cubes for this review.  All photos, recipes, and opinions, unless noted, are my own and require permission if used on another site.

The Gift of Art: MD Anderson Children’s Art Project

18 Sep

Over the summer I learned about the MD Anderson Cancer Center Children’s Art Project.  The project started in 1973.  A volunteer thought it would be a great idea to turn the artwork from the pediatric center into Holiday cards.  In the thirty years the project has been around, the product line has expanded to not only cards but iPhone cases, jewelry, stationary, clothing, home decor, and more for purchase on the Children’s Art Project site. Through the sale of merchandise featuring designs created by young cancer patients, the program funds important programs that touch more than 26,000 pediatric patients and families, current or past to help them return to normalcy.   Every year, new artwork is selected, voted on, and turned into new products for the shop.

Images from  childrensart.org

Images from childrensart.org

While I was looking at the online store, my oldest was sitting on my lap and stopped me when I came to the Hearts and Flowers Domino Necklace designed by Kierra.  She asked if I could buy her one some day because it is very pretty and she really likes it.  Each artist has a bio on the Children’s Art Project to let you know his/her story.  We sat together and read the story of the artist, Kierra.  I didn’t really tell her what cancer is but I explained that the necklace started as a picture that a little girl who was sick drew while she was trying to get better.  I told to help raise money for the center she went for treatment, her picture was chosen to go on this necklace.  Her artwork was on other products as well and we looked at those.  My daughter received a sample in the mail, which happened to surprise her on her birthday! It has a wire clasp chain.  She LOVES it.

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Cancer.  It’s touched many of our lives whether we had a loved one, a friend, a parent, or even a child who has battled the nasty disease.   Every time my daughter wears the necklace, it reminds me to cherish every day with my girls.  I’m happy to learn about this uplifting Project and will be making future purchases to help the programs they fund.

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To help programs at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, shop or donate by clicking the links.  Learn more about the  Children’s Art Project: MissionFAQ’s, Artist Bio’s, News and Events, Facebook, Twitter

As we get closer to the Holiday’s, check back for a Holiday edition featuring The Children’s Art Project Products.

 

Disclaimer:  I received sample products to review.  All opinions, unless noted, are my own.

 

Party Like A Princess!

16 Sep

Picture 4I don’t usually do birthday parties for my girls.  We did a big party with a friend when my oldest turned one and the rest of the birthdays have been cake or cupcakes with family.  I don’t like having them because I feel like I have to invite EVERYONE, feel guilty when I can’t, and then miss the whole point of having one in the first place.  Not to mention, planning a party is stressful, and a lot of work.  This year my daughter turned 5, kind of a big deal.  She is a September birthday and the youngest in her group of friends.  As she was attending parties for her friends, she kept telling me she wanted to go back to Magic Kingdom for her 5th Birthday to see the Princesses again, we went a year and a half ago when visiting my brother in Florida.  I knew Magic Kingdom wasn’t happening because she was starting so we came to an agreement that we would have “real” Princesses at her party.  After researching “Princess” in the New York area, I found New York Princess Party.  Our party started with just a few girls but my daughter later decided it wouldn’t be complete without a Prince for the princess.  She invited a few boy friends and asked to have a Prince visit for them.

The entertainment is the main piece of planning a party- what is going to keep the kids busy and be fun at the same time. I was very impressed by Maria, founder of New York Princess Party.  It was very easy to book with her and she was accommodating and flexible with the number of kids.  I also thought they are priced well compared to other entertainment I had researched.  “Prince Philip” and “Sleeping Beauty” showed up right on time and were professional.  The kids were so excited and in awe when they made their grand entrance.  The “Prince” and “Princess” were excellent at keeping the kids engaged and redirected them if anyone got upset.  There was a list of activities to choose from  Activities included:

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Face Painting with Magic Crayons.  The kids had to blow on the crown to make it magical paint.

Royal Crown Decorating: Each child received a gold crown and was able to decorate it with foam stickers.

Royal Crown Decorating: Each child received a gold crown and was able to decorate it with foam stickers.

Stories, Songs, Princess Hokey Pokey and lot's of Royal Fun!

Stories, Songs, Princess Hokey Pokey and lot’s of Royal Fun!

After I decided I was going through with the party and booked the entertainment, the next task was figuring food.  I wanted to go with the Princess theme and after some searches came up with this menu to be displayed on the table:

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Some of these menu ideas came from internet searches. When I went back to get links I was unable to find them.

For the “Jasmine’s Magic Carpet Pizza”, I ordered square pizzas from Harry’s Italian and had it cut into smaller slices.  For “Ariel’s Seashell Sandwiches”, I order the croissant sandwich tray from Costco.  “Rapunzel’s Cast Iron Chips” were a bowl of Stacy’s Pita chips.  For this I wanted to put out a pan to serve the chips in, however, I didn’t have one large enough.  I ordered a vegetable tray from Costco for “Tiana’s Mardi Gras Veggies”.  “Jaq & Gus’ Cheese and Cracker tray” included brie, cheddar, and Gruyère cheese.  GoGoSqueez provided Apple Sauce pouches for “Snow White’s Not-so-Poisoned Apple pouches”.  My girls love the pouches but they were also perfect for all the young siblings that aren’t on solids yet.  I put together a “Royal Jewel Salad” with grapes, strawberries, and blueberries.  Each salad was in an individual plastic decorated with silver and pink ribbon with a pink jewel heart sticker in the center.  Once each cup was finished, it was placed on a cupcake stand for display.  The “Magic Spell Cookies” were made by my mother-in-law.  “Aurora’s Birthday Cake” was the vanilla princess cake from Costco. Fruitable’s acted as “Sleeping Beauty’s Enchanted Juice”.  The “Queen’s Poisonous Punch” was a mixture of Prosecco and Orange or Cranberry Juice.  There was a variety of beer for all the “Kings” present.  I made place cards for each item on the menu but it happened to be a windy day so they kept blowing away.

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Next up, decorations and favors.  My girls have accumulated a lot of princess stuff over the years.  I used some of their toys as decorations, purchased a back drop from Party Depot, and bought balloons from balloon saloon to attach to the favors.  The favors were light-up star wands for the girls and light-up “swords” for the boys.  Attached was a heart-shaped note which said “Thank you for celebrating with me, have a magical day”.  My daughter signed each note for her guests.

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After the Prince and Princess left, the princess and princes remaining headed to a little area designated as “The Royal Ball” and danced until is was time to depart.  The party was a success and tons of fun.  It was a Magical Day for my 5 year old Princess!

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Do you have birthday parties every year?  Do you keep them small or invite everyone?

Disclaimer: I received GoGoSqueez pouches for the party.  All photos and opinions expressed are my own.

Fun Friday: A Pancake Party

13 Sep

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Over the summer, the girls had a blast having Pancake Parties with their friends-morning, day, or night.  My oldest had so much fun she requested one for her 5th birthday, which happened to be last Friday.

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Pancake Parties are easy!  All you need:

  • Aunt Jemima Complete Pancake Mix (make a head of time)
  • Small bowls for you favorite “mix-in” ingredients.  Our favorites include; strawberries, blueberries, bananas, sprinkles, and chocolate chips.

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  • Tea cups for the pancake batter, one for each child.
  • Spoons for each child to stir ingredients and one for each “mix-in” bowl (to prevent pancake batter from getting into the fruit, sprinkles, etc.
  • Plates (if you use paper you can write names on them with permanent marker, if you use a regular plate use Wilton icing gel or writers for names

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  • Skillet or non-stick pan

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Some tips and suggestions for a successful Pancake Party:

  • Prepare a head of time.  Cut fruit, make batter, and put everything into bowls before children arrive.
  • Include a variety of “mix-in” ingredients.  My girls like very different ingredients in their pancakes and we want to make sure there is something for everyone.
  • Watch and make sure the kids aren’t putting too much in their batter because some kids like EVERYTHING in their pancake and it makes it hard to cook if there it too much in there.
  • Place teacups on the plate with their name so their batter doesn’t get mixed up.DSC_0650
  • Include activities for the kids to do while you clean up and cook the pancakes.  Putting on a cartoon for the kids to watch is always a good one or they play dress-up in their room.
  • Read a story about Pancakes while they are eating.

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Whether you are looking for something for a Fun Friday Night or something to do over the weekend, Pancake Parties are always a hit.  Happy Friday!

Snack Time: Enjoy Life Decadent Bars (Review)

12 Sep
Image from Enjoy Life Foods

Image from Enjoy Life Foods

Yesterday was the first full day of school.  My daughter has lunch at 11:20 in the morning.  A little early for her, especially since school doesn’t get out until 3:05.  In addition to packing a lunch, she needs to pack a snack for the afternoon.  My daughter, has a peanut allergy and it’s hard to find easy snacks that are allergy friendly.  I have been a huge fan of Enjoy Life Products and was excited to learn more about the Decadent Bars.  The bars are the perfect size snack to add as a special treat in your child’s lunch box or for an afternoon snack.  Enjoy Life Decadent bars are gluten-free, free from the top eight allergens, verified by the Non-GMO project and available in four flavors (below).  Each bar is topped with a white or dark drizzle (depending on the flavor)-YUM.

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Cherry Cobbler:

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Chocolate Sunbutter:

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Cinnamon Bun:

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S’Mores:

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Of the four flavors, S’Mores was the hit.  My daughter ate them all before I could snap a picture of the bar itself.  They satisfy her sweet tooth and are filling to hold her over until the end of the day!  She requested more for her school snack! Off to Whole Foods we will go for another box!  Find Enjoy LIfe Decadent Bars near you!

 

To learn more visit Enjoy Life or follow on Facebook and Twitter!

Disclaimer:  I received samples of all flavors for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.  Any information in italics came from Enjoy Life.

Back-to-School Emotions!

10 Sep

20130910-075853.jpgMy daughter started Kindergarten yesterday. We have been so excited about the start of the school year.  I was teary eyed because my baby is growing up so quickly but she was teary eyed because she was going to school with an empty book bag.  We received her teacher assignment last week with a note about school supplies. To her disappointment there wasn’t a list of supplies, instead parents were asked to write a check to the PTA so they can buy supplies in bulk for the school. As a parent, I was relieved that I didn’t have to make a last-minute trip to the store and pick through half empty shelves.  When she headed off to school she asked if she could bring the pencil box case she loves so much, “just in case”. I can’t blame her for being upset. When I was a child, school supply shopping was one of my favorite outings with my mom. For the past couple of weeks, anticipating the standard back-to-school supply list, she wandered Barnes and Noble, Target, and local stores pointing out many supplies she hopes to get for back-to-school. Items included:

Happy Charmz Starter Set and Charmz:

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Image from Happy Charmz!

Smencils, Smens, & Smarkers:

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Goof Proof Markers:

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Image from Amazon!

So So Happy Notebook and writing pad from Hallmark:

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Hello Kitty Pencil Case from Bitz Kidz TriBeca:

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So she didn’t  feel like she was missing out on the fun experience, we have decided to shop for some supplies for desk at home.

Did you have to buy supplies?  What cool back-to-school stuff did you find?  Did back-to-school shopping make transitioning easier?

Disclaimer:  I did not receive compensation for this post.  I received the So So Happy Notebook and pad from Hallmark for back-to-school.

 

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Lotty Dotty: Unique Shirt Girls Will Love!

3 Sep

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My girls love dolls.  I haven’t met many girls that don’t like dolls.   For my girls, one of their favorite activities is picking out what their doll is going to wear  whether they are dressing Barbie, an American Girl or one of their magnetic doll sets.  If you walk into their room they have dolls half-naked trying to figure out what outfit to dress them in next.   When we are out or traveling they use magnetic dress up activities to keep entertained. They love creating their own looks and love having their dolls dress for an occasion.

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My daughter recently received a Lotty Dotty t-Shirt.  The t-shirt has a screen-print doll with a velcro body suit to attach interchangeable designer outfits.   Lotty Dotty shirts, available for both women and children, are very soft and comfortable. Lotty Dotty uses organic and recyclable materials as much as possible.  Choose your favorite doll and pick a few outfits to dress her up.  The gorgeous interchangeable outfits are created by talented and unknown designers worldwide.  Tote bags are also available with your favorite Lotty Dotty doll on the front.  Use them as a diaper bag, your child’s dance bag or carry your child’s favorite things while on-the-go or traveling.   They will love dressing up the doll.

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Images from Lotty Dotty,  Top two images  for women: Je t’aime Paris and Romantic Lace Dress. Bottom two are for children: Gone Gaga and Little Flowe Dress.

When my daughter wore it out for the first time, she received many compliments and questions about where the shirt was from.  It is her favorite shirt for back-to-school.  She changes the two outfits multiple times a day.   Lotty Dotty clothing and accessories would make a wonderful gift for the holidays as well as upcoming birthday parties.

Women’s shirts cost $50 and come with one interchangeable outfit.  Additional outfits are available for $12-$15.  Children’s shirts cost $35 with an outfit included.  Additional outfits are available for $7-$18.  Tote bags cost $40. For more information, please visit www.lottydotty.com.

Disclaimer:  I received a sample shirt for review.  All opinions expressed are my own.  Information in italics came from Lotty Dotty. Information in Italics came from Lotty Dotty.