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Monday, August 3, 2015

Creative Inspiration - Week 8

 Because we are "on" 24/7 as mothers it is exhausting to keep up using all the parenting tools we stock in our tool belt. Just in case you needed to see this message today:



And there is no such thing as perfect. It is all in our head. So just keep going. The more we dwell on those days where we lost our shit, the more we feel like shit and that just doesn't serve anyone, especially our children. I have to remind myself of this often, so when I saw this quote on a friends facebook wall and she explained the day she had had, I made sure to snag it right away to share here. We've all been told not to compare our children and that makes perfect sense. What might be an even more important message to new mothers is not to compare themselves against other mothers and that they will indeed lose their shit from time to time. We all do. Someone who doesn't is losing it on the inside, which isn't any healthier. 


And to go along those lines.... 



I remember someone telling me that whenever they see me I am smiling. And then one day I they saw me and I wasn't, they knew something was wrong. This image quote hit me because I do try to see the glass as half full, it just doesn't make sense to me to see it as half empty. Eeyore gets portrayed as gloomy but this quote means he is at least trying. And trying keeps you moving one foot in front of the other. Gives you purpose. Keep looking for the sunshine. I need to use this mantra from time to time. I've been finding that I need to share it with my kids. Despite my efforts to demonstrate positive thinking, sometimes it is as if they are poo-pooing all over my great idea to do something new and get out as a family. I have some ideas tucked away for these last two weeks of summer and know I'll just have to smile through their complaints about not wanting to do said activity and "why can't we do this instead" because in the end they enjoy new experiences too. My husband says that they get it from me... the whining. Hmm....  I think for now I'll just grab a glass of wine because:


Image used with permission via In Mama Maggie's Kitchen


I'm guessing it is the last couple weeks of summer that has me juggling all of these ideas and feelings; moms losing their shit, keep looking for sunshine and grabbing a glass of wine. Two more weeks until school starts! Tell me I'm not the only one feeling a weird mix of elated and bitter all at the same time?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Back to School, Glasses are Cool



I received a JCPenney gift card for the purpose of this review. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.


One of the things on our Back to School list each year is an eye exam and new glasses. It is so important to stay on top of this annually because as our kids are developing their eyes may get stronger and their glasses need to adjust for this. Obviously the same is true if their eyes get weaker, but the point is that a current prescription is super important.

Amberly started wearing glasses in 1st grade. At first it wasn't easy for her to transition to wearing glasses and I could relate because I remember getting glasses for the first time in 2nd grade. Luckily these days glasses are so much more stylish that they are seen as a fashion accessory even by elementary aged kids. I try to remind her that wearing her glasses is her responsibility and her choice. Being able to see is an integral part of being a successful student.

Now that Amberly is going into the 5th grade she cares far more about her wardrobe and fashion than she did just a few short years ago. When we arrived at the JCPenney Optical Store she was headed right for the kids frame selection.





As I completed the one page of paper work she tried on several frames. She even learned that they had an entire drawer of additional frames in case she didn't find what she was looking for on the wall.





She is very particular about finding frames that highlight her personality. She absolutely loves purple and gravitated towards all the purple frames. There were plenty to choose from. Comfort is of great consideration too. And of course they have to look good in the reflection!






Because of the great selection at JCPenney it was easy for Amberly to find something that fit her criteria. I just love the flair of color on the side and think she is going to look very smart wearing these on the first day back to school!



In fact there was another frame that she liked so much that I thought about it and told her when we go back to pick up the first pair of glasses that we will get a second pair. The back to school promo running until Sept 15th just makes it easy on the pocketbook. A complete pair of glasses for under $30!

I know a lot of parents do this anyways for kids because, well, they're kids and sometimes things get lost or broken. But they will have their child pick out a really cheap pair of frames that often don't look as nice. It is so nice that I can get Amberly a "back up" pair that will more serve as an interchangeable accessory. She's pretty excited about that!

Because our regular Optometrist was on vacation we chose to see the Optometrist at JCPenney Optical and had the most pleasant experience. Not only was she very thorough in narrating what she observed with the overall health of Amberly's eyes, but she took the time to pause and answer questions I brought up, such as eye patching. She was very encouraging to Amberly and encouraged her to rest her eyes or blink when needed. I felt a lot of anxiety taking Amberly to her very first eye exam because I still remember the frustration of feeling like I couldn't see those tiny little letters on the eye chart. I think we lucked out with seeing a new eye doctor on this trip. One of the most important things for me as a mom is that my kids feel comfortable with the person who is trusted to check on their health and well being and that objective was definitely satisfied.


You can get in on the JCPenney Back to School promotion too! Hurry though, offer ends Sept 15th.

Find a location near you.

PLUS, JCPenney Optical has a really fun social media contest going on that can make getting ready for going back to school a little more fun (my kids like when I'm entering their photo in a contest!)

Glasses 4 Classes Photo Contest:
  • Snap a picture of your child getting ready for Back to School
  • Share your photo on Instagram, Twitter or the JCPenney Optical Facebook Page
  • Use the hashtag #PicMyKidContest with your submitted photo
  • Twitter and Instagram accounts must be public for the entry to be official
  • 12 winners! Each win a $30 JCPenney gift card to purchase new frames for their child.
  • Dates for entry: 7/8 – 8/16
I love seeing kids get excited about preparing for back to school so I plan to follow that hashtag and see what kind of back to school shenanigans you all are posting for the contest. Hey your kid doesn't even have to wear glasses to participate in this contest.

What is your child's favorite part of back to school?



I received a JCPenney gift card for the purpose of this review. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pinterest Game #4a

Welcome to The Pinterest Game #4a

Oh my goodness, I have been loving Pinterest as of late. And not just to pin pretty stuff, but as a great search engine / resource for real life "how to" from other bloggers and finding delicious treats to sample. Maybe that is why I have been so busy creating these roundups to share:





All of the items I included came from pinterest! I said it before and I'll say it again, it makes for great window shopping, but it also makes for great idea sparking too. So, go on and get your links in this week and get more pins!


Promote your pinterest

#4a Friday 31st July 2015


Our lovely host is Kathleen





Game is open Fridays from 1 am ET(US) 3 pm(AUS) and Closes Wednesday midnight ET(US) 2 pm(AUS)


Please welcome our new co-host Charissa

co-host the Pinterest Game

Charissa blogs at Cook with a Shoe



Also Welcome to Wendy

Wendy

Wendy blogs at The Art of "WhyNot"



Welcome back Joann

Joann

Joann blogs at Mommy's slice of the pie


We love it when out Pinterest Game players stop by our blog and say HI. See what we've shared recently. Blogging, whether you're an avid reader or an avid blogger is about connecting with people, so let's do that!

The Pinterest Game is looking for more co-hosts

For those serious about wanting to increase traffic and social media - get more info here.

How the game works - The aim is to be FEATURED

You are all wonderful bloggers who would love all the re-pins - so STOP and read this!
1. Pin up to three (3) of your Pinterest pins ie use the pins URL. To find the URL click on your pin and copy the address that comes up in your browser - it will look something like this: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/494270127832143595/

2. You now must re-pin the five (5) specified pins to your own boards (you will see them below)

3. You now have an equal chance of being a winner. The program Inlinkz chooses three winners randomly.

That is all there is to it. Submit your pin URL's > Re-pin two (2) pins from the Group Board > Re-pin the three (3) features >

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

What is in it for you?

1. You get to display your pins here for all to see. 2. If you are a winner you will be FEATURED the next week. To be FEATURED means that your pin will be one of pins that everyone has to re-pin. How good is that! When your pins have re-pins, it is like sending Pinterest a message that you are popular and then Pinterest promotes you to others so they may pin or follow you. 3. Pinterest brings traffic to your Blog. //////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Note: only do the 5 re-pins once, even if you put three of your own in the Game.

Get The Pinterest Game banner and the Winner banner here. The Pinterest-Game-winner

Note: By linking up to this game, you give the hosts permission to share your posts and images via our Fridays Blog Booster Party Pinterest Board and other social media or as a feature, all with links back to the original source. If you have entered an email address into the link up, an email reminder will be sent to you when the game goes live. Please check your spam box as some report that is where the email goes.

Learn to be smarter Pinterest Pinners

Blog partyPinterest Tip - If after you re-pin a pin, it is not productive ie does not get re-pinned from your board - just delete the pin.

This Weeks Three Awesome FEATURES

Pinterest game hit and run blog booster party #16

Use the Links Below to do your re-pinning (Total 5)

1. Re-Pin two (2) pins from the Blog Booster Group Board

2. Take one, Leave one #2

3. Summer Date Outfit

4. Spicy Asian Zucchini

You need to re- pin all 5 above. Thank you for doing the right thing to make the game rock along and benefit everyone.
  When Pinterest Game 4a is full - [caption id="attachment_4619" align="alignright" width="250"]The Game Go to Go to the next game b[/caption]
Take this teleport to Game b (ONLY POST HERE IF 4a IS FULL)
After the Pinterest Game #4a is full - increase your chances of winning by also posting pins in Game b    

Click here to go to Blog Booster Party #17

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Never Ending Cheesecake Love Affair

Cheesecake and I go way back. I remember as a child thinking how deliciously fancy cheesecake was. And that was before I'd ever seen any exciting variations of cheesecake. I only knew of original, New York style and strawberry. And those were enough choices for me. It quickly became one of my favorite desserts, right up there with brownies and cookie dough. Yes, you read that right, cookie dough, not cookies. In fact all 3 of these played a role in my pregnancy cravings or should I just be honest and say indulgences? I didn't have cravings in particular, but boy did I have an excuse to indulge! Yes, I know you're supposed to eat extra healthy when pregnant, and for the most part I did. I just took full advantage of that 80-20 rule. Eating 80% healthy and 20% not so much. 

With my first pregnancy we celebrated each pregnancy check up by going to The Cheesecake Factory after every O.B. appointment. It was the perfect way to forecast our future (HA!) and enjoy some delicious eats. And of course wrapping up with a slice of their famous cheesecake! Their slices are so generous that we always shared and that took care of any sliver of guilt I had about satisfying my sweet tooth.

So, with National Cheesecake Day being this week I wanted to find some of the most tantalizing cheesecake recipes and invite you to join me in trying each one (metaphorically speaking). I purposefully did not put a number on this roundup collection because I know that as I continue to peruse pinterest, my taste buds will beckon my fingers to add "just one more". Keeping that in mind, I recommend pinning this post so you can have one amazing collection of "I gotta have it" cheesecakes that will continue to grow.... much like my pregnant belly did!





Combining 2 of my 3 favorite desserts.... you just can't go wrong. It's like meeting the man of my dreams.... and then marrying him 7 years later. (Yes, that's the short version of our love story). How many of you heard "and then meeting his beautiful wife" in your head? A little too ironic, don't ya think?


Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars via Rasa Malaysia


Now I am no red velvet cake snob, but it was hard to find a red velvet cheesecake image that made me want to get my hands on it.... until I saw this one. Come to mama!


Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies via Southern Bite


I never hear people say 2 things go together like "lemon and blueberry". But they should, right? A good lemon bar is just wonderful in it's own right, but turn that concept into a cheesecake and throw in some blueberries and you've got 3 good reasons to cheer!


Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars via Sally's Baking Addiction


So, I have a thing for s'mores too. And then of course anything bite size then becomes cute. Cuteness factor, check. S'mores factor, check. Cheesecake, check. Dessert heaven right here, baby.


No Bake S'mores Mini Cheesecakes via Handle the Heat


Now, I didn't mention Reese's peanut butter cups up there at the top because I was strictly talking desserts. But as far as candy goes.... Reese's wins hands down. And this is not just me, this is a legit thing that has been polled and we all love that fake peanut butter and chocolate combo. And again, these are mini so there you go.


Chocolate Reese's Cheesecake via Inside Bru Crew Life


Until I was doing recon for this post I had never heard of a cheese ball that was of the cheesecake variety but it is in fact a thing and from the looks of it on pinterest, quite popular. And again, I love brownies so this one won. Did I just break a grammar rule right there? Honestly, I don't care. It's a cheesecake roundup!


Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake Ball via Chocolate Covered Katie


Mojitos are the bomb. Yes, I'm a child of the 90's and I think some things are the bomb. Now add cheesecake to that and it must be for real, the bomb. And, again with the tiny. What is up with that being so appealing? I just can't help myself (I'm acting like an animal.... 10 points if you kept singing the lyrics!)


Mojito Cheesecake Pops via Sprinkle Bakes


Every time we go by the bakery at the local grocer my kids ask if we can get cinnamon rolls. Somehow I am able to repress the urge to buy them and lick our sticky fingers in the parking lot. But, if they were cheesecake cinnamon rolls, well, there would just be no hope for me. Memo to my local grocer's bakery department... do NOT start making these!


Miniature Cinnamon Roll Cheesecakes via Chelsea's Messy Apron


I can totally imagine having this at a tea party (by the way I am in my late 30's and have never been to a tea party). How delicious would this be for breakfast in bed? Think I need to put in my request for Mother's Day with the hubby. I wonder if he could pull this off?


Strawberry Cheesecake Danish Braid via Olga's Flavor Factory


Oh and this one. I included it in another roundup I did and everyone comments on this one! Not the uber decadent cupcake that I showcased in the pinterest collage, but they are all suckers for this beautiful s'mores cheesecake. Yes, I'm fully aware there's already a s'mores cheesecake highlighted above. Those were mini. This one is not. How did she get those marshmallows toasted so perfectly I wonder?


S'more Cheesecake via Will Cook for Smiles


I seriously love me some no-bake desserts. (Don't worry a roundup on that is coming very soon.) And I don't know anyone who doesn't love the classic caramel, chocolate and pecan combination that seem to show up in all types of desserts under the name "turtle" which has an interesting story by the way. While I don't wet my pants over a traditional turtle candy.... let me tell you how hot and bothered I get over this image right here:


No Bake Caramel Turtle Cheesecake via Sprinkle Some Sugar

Alrighty then. This is the start to the never ending love affair with cheesecake so be sure to check back here for more cheesecake food porn.

Did you pin this post? Well, what are you waiting for?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Bloggers Brags Weekly Pinterest Party - Week 89

This has been a busy summer! We've been able to enjoy many of the things from our Summer Bucket List and summer is starting to wind down. I think the kids go back to school in just 3 weeks. We've been working on our Back to School list.... it seems like a lot to tackle but since we're starting early we're going to avoid a lot of the typical back to school stress! Be sure to check out how to save more minutes with your child's back to school haircut (there's a $25 giveaway so be sure to head over and enter!)

Last week I paid homage to the chocolate banana dessert from my childhood with this kiddie parfait. The kids loved it and we now know granola is not the only option when it comes to giving your parfait a little crunch.


I finally got this post finished about our Minion Movie Party at the Drive In complete with a Minion inspired snack, drink and party hats! If your kids love the Minions then you need to pin this post for future party ideas. We have definitely discovered a new family summer tradition. Going to the drive in has always been fun, but this took it up a few notches.



I'm looking forward to pinning your awesome posts this week! Pinterest is not just for window shopping, it's for inspiring you to do new things and inspiring others to do the same... so link up!

Welcome to the

Bloggers Brags logo 
The hosts and co-hosts are trying to remember to tweet, share on Facebook, and share on Google+ using the hashtag #bloggersbrags. We'll try to like, +1, or favorite your posts too! We would love it if you shared a tweet:
 

Here are this week's 

Featured Posts from the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party

The following two posts received the most clicks at last week's party! Thanks for clicking on at least the two posts before yours and pinning them!

Featured post from week 88

Here is my favorite post from last week's party:




Catherine over at Smart Party Planning compiled 13 Amazing Easy Muffin Recipes and I want to try them all! I have a soft spot for muffins sine it is one of the first things Amberly learned how to bake. This roundup will keep us busy in the kitchen for awhile as I intend to try them all!


 
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rules of the Bloggers Brags Weekly Pinterest Party 
LET'S GET OUR PARTY ON!  
  • Be a follower of your hosts on at least one of their social media
Pinterest Party Hosts Are...hosts of Bloggers Brags
{Misty from  Denverista @ Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or Google+}       
{Tammy from Creative K Kids @ Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or Google+}

Please follow our co-hosts on at least one of their social media accounts.  They will be pinning and commenting on 35 posts a week for both July and August.

Cohosts for the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party for July and August 2015
  • Pin our Pinterest party button or a visible link onto your sidebar, post, or party page. This will help others to find our party and will bring more visibility to your links! 
Creative K Kids
  • Please make sure that you link directly to your post’s URL and not to your blog’s URL. 
  • Pin the two links before yours! If EVERYONE pins, then everyone will get more Pinterest love.    
  • Link up a maximum of 3 links. They can be old or new–they’re all new to us, and we want to see them!  Please link up posts only one time to the Bloggers Brags Pinterest Party.
  • All posts must be family-friendly.  If you link up an post that contains alcohol, it may not get pinned if it goes against the hosts/co-host's beliefs.
  • OPTIONAL: Follow our Bloggers Brags Board on Pinterest. You don’t have to do this; but of course, you’ll want to! We will be pinning all of these links to that board which will also gain more exposure for you! You can find the Bloggers Brags board here. 
          Here are just a few more details! 
  • If your post is featured, you can grab this button!
Creative K Kids
  • Disclosure: By linking up and including a picture, you agree to Creative K Kids and Denverista and any co-hosts to use your pictures and links in any future posts on any of their personal blogs. Your photo may also be used for promotion on all social media outlets of Creative K Kids and Denverista as well as any future co-hosts.  We also may link your printables and other resources up to our permanent linkys to gain you more exposure. 
  • If you include your e-mail in the linky form below you will be added to a weekly reminder e-mail when the link party goes live. Your e-mail will not to added to any other lists or given out.  
  • If you would ever want to co-host this party, please contact Misty or Tammy.  You would have to pin 35 posts from this party a week and comment on those 35 posts.  You also would schedule this party on your blog every Monday for 7 am CST.  We would give you the script every week, and you would just add a featured post from the week before.  We ask that people follow you on at least one social media.  It is a two month commitment.  We are currently looking for more co-hosts for September and October.  You can email Tammy at creativekkids@creativekkids(dot)com if you are interested.  Thank you!
  • Please do not add any shops, reviews, giveaways or link-up parties.  Links that do not comply may be removed and will not be pinned or commented on.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Minions Movie Party at the Drive In

We were looking forward to the release of the Minions Movie since the first preview last summer when we were at the drive-in so it was only fitting that we go to see it at the drive-in. The bonus is that you are totally allowed to bring your own snacks to the drive in. And if you're kids are talkers, you don't have to worry too much about disturbing the other movie goers.

Getting to the drive in early is imperative if you want to be front and center. And especially if you go with friends like we did. Our friends joined us at the drive in a few weeks ago and the kids had a blast! Since they have 3 kids too, things just balance out. 

No matter how well we feed the kids before going to a movie, the kids always want to snack. I planned ahead this time! It had been on our Summer Bucket List to try this S'mores Trail mix and when I sent my husband to the store to pick up the necessary items I had to give him a high five for making an audible and grabbing these Minion graham crackers! Minions are the hot thing right now, so they're everywhere.

Minion S'mores Trail Mix Recipe:



Ingredients:

3 cups Minion graham crackers
3 cups mini pretzels
1 cup mini marshmallows
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Mix everything in a bowl and viola! It's done. 

Nothing could be easier, right? 

Next I wanted to make sure the kids' thirst would be quenched. Lemonade sounded perfect and I'd been wanting to experiment with different fruits in our lemonade so of course.... blueberries! I called this Minion Punch and it was a hit. I don't let the kids have straight lemonade so this time was no different. And I debated about mashing the blueberries or leaving them whole. After thinking about it I decided mashed blueberries would turn the whole drink more of a purple color and that would not fit our Minion theme. 

Minion Punch Recipe:



Ingredients:

3 cups Organic Lemonade
3 cups water
2 cups Organic blueberries
1 can of pineapple tidbits (juice and all)
Ice (optional)

Directions:

Pour liquid ingredients into a large pitcher. Pineapple will fall to bottom. Add blueberries, they will float on top. We chilled ours in the fridge for an hour before departing to the drive in and didn't need ice... plus my pitcher couldn't hold anymore!


To get the kids uber excited about the movie, I asked Amberly if she would be able to come up with some type of Minion hat. She's my crafter and if you give her any kind of project, she will create something. 

She made hats for 5 of the 6 kids.  What I have learned is that if a kid really doesn't want to participate in something it is best not to make them and make it no big deal that they are choosing their own path. So even though I really wanted to get all 6 kids wearing Minion Party Hats for a photo it really was not the end of the world to have one kiddo opt out. Plus, Amberly was glad to have one less to make!

DIY Minion Party Hats:



Materials:

Yellow construction paper (extra long size to fit around the head)
Blue construction paper
White paper
Black marker
Tape or glue
Scissors

Instructions:

The yellow construction paper served as the Minion body and head of course.
Cut out the shape of the Minion overalls out of the blue construction paper. 
Tape the overalls to the yellow construction paper
Cut circles for eyes out of white paper and use black marker for pupils and goggles if so desired.
Tape the eyes towards the top of the hat.
Draw mouth with black marker.
Size the Minion Hat around child's head and cut to size in the back of the hat.
Use tape to secure complete circle hat.

After making her first hat Amberly realized that the eyes need to be right next to each other rather than set apart.

The kids sure had a lot of fun with our Minion Movie Drive In party! Here are the pictures to prove it:


As we pulled up to the drive-in theater




There's always a double feature but we don't make it through two movies.



Owen and his buddy hiding under their Minion hats.



Amberly and her friend turn their stuffed bears into Minions.



The Minion S'mores Trail Mix was a hit!



A quick Minion Movie selfie before sunset!

We will have to make this drive in movie party a new tradition! It really wasn't too much effort and everyone loved it! What kind of fun family traditions have you created this summer? Share your fun ideas in the comments!