Thursday, August 29, 2013

Giveaway: Family Four Pack of Tickets to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

I was given tickets to Ringling Brothers in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.
I told you to stay tuned for a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus ticket giveaway and it is finally here! Today I am giving away a 4-pack of Circus tickets in Salt Lake City. If you are looking to buy ticket read the rest of the post for information. To enter the giveaway use the Rafflecopter widget. 
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be in Salt Lake City September 26-30th, at the Energy Solutions Arena, with the following shows. 
  • Thursday, September 26               7:00 PM
  • Friday, September 27                     3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, September 28               11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
  • Sunday, September 29                  1:30 PM & 5:30 PM
  • Monday, September 30                7:00 PM

Ticket prices are $20, $25, $45 (VIP), $60 (Front Row) and $90 (Circus Celebrity)
You can save 50% on Opening Night tickets on certain tickets (select seating only; not valid on VIP/premium levels)

Can't go on opening night but still want a discount? Buy your tickets online and use the code MOM at checkout. You can use the code on the following shows. 
  • Thursday at 7PM
  • Friday at 3:30 PM
  • Saturday at 11:30 AM
  • Sunday at 1:30PM and 5:30 PM
You can print out this Free Circus Train activity to color with your kids before the big night.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WotW: Organize Your Life with Mynd: the Calendar App That Knows Everything

My coworkers think I'm insane. For a number of reasons. But the one eccentric feature that puzzles them most is my phone. It's an ordinary iPhone by all accounts, but the thing that sets it apart is my notifications.

You see, I have multiple calendar apps. So, when my phone decides to notify me about an upcoming event, it beeps five different times for the same event. This makes for a chaotic cacophony of panic every time an event approaches, but it's important to me.

I'm not worried about missing an appointment or anything, I just have a hard time narrowing down which calendar app is my favorite. But I think I may have found the winner. It's called Mynd, and it seems to know far more than my own mind does.

This free app, currently only available on iOS, is a cross between the look of Windows 8 metro and the smartest app ever. It slurps in calendar events from the native calendar app on the iPhone, and in fact, works in conjunction with it – something I find to be quite a strength.

The "Mynd view" shows your day at a glance, by breaking it down into

  • Your next upcoming appointment
  • The local weather
  • People involved with your day
  • Locations you will visit
  • Miles you will travel
  • and how many remaining events you may have.
With one quick glance, you get a good feel for your day. I love the trendy tile look and it makes it super easy to quickly digest what's happening. If you're more into traditional calendar views, you can select the Day or List views at the bottom to easily switch, and you will notice these look quite similar to the native iPhone calendar app.

Making a new event or appointment is as easy as clicking the plus sign at the top, which will launch the familiar new event screen from the native calendar app.

You can quickly see a month view by clicking on the current date bar at the top of the screen. One thing I love about the month view is how dots are added to each day to visually show you how packed the day is. There's even spacing between the dots so you get a feel for if the events are close together or far apart.

Now for the really cool features. First, there's the ability for you to setup your favorite places, such as home, work, church, etc. Once you set these up, you simply have to type in the common name for the place, instead of the big long address, and Mynd will figure it out.

Because Mynd works so closely with Locations, it automatically calculates the distance between locations on your appointments and calculates the driving time you will need in order to get to your next appointment on time. Plus, it will even tell you when to leave!

Another feature I love is the ability to link up your Evernote and LinkedIn accounts. The LinkedIn connection automatically searches for the LinkedIn profiles of the people you interact with during the day. The Evernote tie-in will attempt to fetch notes Mynd thinks are relevant to the appointment. You can also create a new Evernote note right from the appointment. How's that for organization!?

Finally, let's say you're running late to a meeting. By opening up that meeting's profile, you can quickly email, text or call all people (or select members) associated with the event.

While not bursting at the seams with cool features, Mynd still has plenty of unique features that makes it an easy favorite in my mind. In the few days I've used it, it has already become my app of choice. My one complaint is I would love to have the ability to change the color palette, but that's definitely not a make or break issue for me.

As I said earlier, I have a number of other calendar apps on my phone, but Mynd takes the cake. So give it a try.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Most Memorable Secondary Characters From Books

Sometimes in a book, even when you love the main characters, they aren't who you remember the most. Sometimes a secondary character takes over and makes the whole book or series what it is. Here are some of my favorites. Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish

1. Adrian from the Vampire Academy Series - Adrian seriously steals the show in this series. He is funny and engaging. As much as I loved the other characters, at time Adrian took over the story. He is just that fun to read about. I was thrilled that he is in the Bloodlines series as well.
2. Magnus Bane from The Mortal Instruments Series- The character that has taken on so much life of his own, that he now has his own short stories. I absolutely love this character, he is charming and over the top. I wish he was real, so we could be friends.
3. Amma from Beautiful Creatures- The more I found out about her, the more I wanted to know. I would love to read her back story. She is fascinating.
4. Polgara and Belgarath from The Belgariad- They are an important part of The Belgariad, but I was thrilled that each of them eventually got a book detailing their back story. If the present day in the series wasn't so interesting, the bits and pieces you get of their stories in the Belgariad would steal the show.
5. The Other Children in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children- I found myself wanted to know more about each of the children's abilities and where they came from. They were all so fascinating, I couldn't help but wondering.

Who are some of your other favorite secondary characters?
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7 Tips for Back to School Shopping

“This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and KuKee, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #KuKeeapp”

Back to School shopping can be frustrating and expensive, but it can also be a lot of fun. Follow these 7 tips to less headaches and more smiles for the beginning of this school year!

1. Shop the sales. You can imagine my delight when I found this darling line of Hello Kitty clothes for 30% off at Macy's. We were able to stretch our money twice as far. 

2. Prioritize- My mom always let us pick one thing we had to have. One year it was the designer jeans, another year it was the in-style shoes. We picked one thing and then shopped for the rest of our clothes according to budget. I loved having that one item that made me feel like a million bucks, even if I couldn't have everything. 
3. Let your child have a voice. I remember one year my mom bought we a stack of shirts that I hated. We spent that entire school year with rough mornings because I didn't like what was in my closet. Let them have a choice in colors and patterns when you can, so they are more willing to wear it. 

4. Shop your closet first. Does your child still have jeans from last year that will work? Make a list of what you already have, so you know what to buy. I knew this year my daughter was good for pants, but we needed some shirts and a couple of dresses. She was thrilled to find these Hello Kitty Dresses. 
 5. Make compromises. There is no way I can buy my child every piece of clothing she wants, but I can let her pick out her notebooks and folders. 

6. Purge your closet. To have room for all of the fabulous clothes you are going to bring home, clean out your closest before your shop. This is especially important to do before you shop if you have multiple children the same gender close in age. What can you hand down? 
 7. Think of seasons. What items can you buy to make your clothes last through the seasons? For instance when it starts to get cold, instead of putting these cute dresses in the back of the closet, we will pair them with a pair of white leggings and a jacket. Think knee socks, leggings, long sleeve shirts underneath and the like. 

 One of the reasons my daughter was so excited about buying these Hello Kitty clothes from the Evy of CA line, is that they come with tags that unlock features in an interactive app. Each piece of the Hello Kitty Let's Play clothing line comes wither either a finger puppet or two Hello Kitty tattoos. Here is how to unlock the interactive features of these clothes with the KuKee App

My Daughter and I playing with the KuKee App. 
  • Download the KuKee app from either the App Store or Google Play 
  • Find a Kukee Marker or a Hello Kitty Marker, here is one to get you started: 
  • Open the app and Scan the Marker (You can see the Hello Kitty Fabric tag on the bottom hem of my daughter's dress in some of the photos.)
  • Play! With regular Kukee markers you can take pictures, add fun graphics to them and share them with your friends. The Hello Kitty Markers will let you create a fun puppet show with your puppets and take some awesome pictures.  Check out the KuKee Instagram and Twitter for more inspiration. 
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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Weddings and Pie- Creative Link-Up

It is cooling down here and I am starting to feel fall in the air. I am so excited for leaves, apple cider and cool days. Fall is my favorite time of year, there is something so beautiful about it and it is my my favorite time of year to photograph. Here are my favorite link-ups from last week. 
 I love these Tips for a DIY Wedding at Ashley's Dandelion Wishes.
 This Darling Owl Knitting Bag can be found at Will Cook For Shoes.
 You can download this cute Never Been Kissed Quote from Allons-y Kimberly.
 I love these Pom-Pom pens from The Crafty Blog Stalker.
This cute Welcome Banner can be found at Lakeshore Stamping.

Now to this week's Creative Showcase. Want to be featured? Link up below!
Housewife Eclectic Creative Showcase

Some guidelines for linking: 
Become or be a Follower of Housewife Eclectic 
Visit other links
Link back to Housewife Eclectic with a button or a text link. 
Link up your favorite crafts, recipes, book reviews, outfits. Anything goes. 

What have you been creating?

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Friday, August 23, 2013

What I Have Been Reading

I am a bit of a readaholic. While I love to read, I don't always get around to writing full reviews for the books I have read, so here are three books I have read lately and a short review.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Jacob makes the journey to Cairnholm near Wales, to visit the orphanage where his grandfather grew up to discover it was bombed out during the last World War. How can that be? His grandfather received a letter from the Headmistress, just a few years ago. It is a mystery that Jacob is determined to solve. I really liked this book. It is the first book in a series, but I felt like it was fun and intriguing and I love where the story headed. Some of the photos were a little spooky, especially for late at night reading. I wouldn't label it a favorite but I will read the next books.

Dualed- In Kersh, everybody has a twin. Each twin is raised by a different family and sometime before their 20th birthday they will be given a month to find and kill their twin or Alternate. I really loved this book, the main character, West was strong, smart, but no invincible. She realized her weaknesses and grappled with them for a long time before she took action. One of my favorite reads of the year.

Shatter Me - One touch can kill you. For some reason, touching Juliette is fatal. Her parents cursed her and the government has locked her up, until they realize she might just be the perfect weapon. Now Juliette has a choice, destroy or fight. I really loved this book and the following book Unravel Me. It was interesting, with some twists and turns without getting completely off track. It was a read straight through kind of book.

What have you been reading?
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Thursday, August 22, 2013

1st Day of School Picture and Graduation Year Shirt

I can't believe that summer is over. We have one more weekend and then it is back to school for us. Even though my husband is no longer a school teacher and he is not going back to school, this month has seemed busier than ever. Last year we started a picture tradition, and I am excited to continue it this year. I can't believe how much bigger my little girl looks in just one year. I made a shirt that has her graduation year on it, and every year we will slip it on for a picture. 

To Make the Graduation Shirt You Need:
An Adult Large Shirt 
Freezer Paper
A Craft Cutter or Scissors 
A foam brush 

Cut the year your child is graduating out of freezer paper. I used my craft machine, but you can print letters as a template and then use scissors to cut them out. 
 Iron the freezer paper stencil onto your shirt. Make sure to spend a little extra time on the edges.
 Using acrylic paint and a foam brush, blot paint over the numbers. Allow it to dry and then do one more coat. Wait until the paint is completely dry and then peel off the stencil.

Dress your child in the shirt. It will be very large, but it needs to be, so they can still wear it in high school. Use a small chalkboard or a sign to state what year they are going into in school. I like to add the date too, but that is up to you. Years from now when she is a senior in high school, I am going to make a collage with all of the pictures from her first days of school. It will be a great project, but I am still hoping that day doesn't come for a long, long time.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#Ad Miniature Malibu Chicken with Tyson Chicken Nuggets

I made these Miniature Malibu Chicken Nuggets as part of a sponsored post with Collective Bias.  

Malibu Chicken is one of those things that I can't get enough of. I am not really a chicken person and  yet I find myself making them over and over again. Last week, I needed something small to use as an appetizer and I didn't have things on hand for my normal go to recipes, so I made these Miniature Malibu Chickens with Tyson Chicken Nuggets and they were a huge hit. Bite size and really delicious. 

You will need:
Tyson Chicken Nuggets
Sliced Ham
Provolone or Swiss Cheese

Bake the chicken nuggets according to the package directions, about 12 minutes. Cut the sliced ham and cheese into smaller pieces. Add a piece of ham and a piece of cheese to each nugget. Return them to the oven until the cheese is melting, about 3 minutes. Remove and serve with sauce that is equals parts mustard and Miracle Whip. 
We have long been Tyson Chicken Nugget lovers in our house. They are high quality and delicious enough that even my picky eater loves them. I also know that by purchasing Tyson Chicken Nuggets, I am supporting a good cause. With the Be a Hunger Hero program, for every bag of Tyson Chicken Nuggets purchased at Sam's Club, Tyson will donate a meal ( 4 oz of protein) to a child in need. I love knowing that by buying my child something she loves I can help another child.  
Sam's Club is doing demos for Tyson Chicken Nuggets on 8/24 & 8/25 and 8/29, 8/30 and 8/31 from 11 AM until 2. We attended the demo last weekend and I am glad we did, you can see our entire experience at the demo here. There you can sample the chicken nuggets and pick up your own bag to be part of the program and a Hunger Hero. You can find more information at or on Facebook at Club Tyson or on Twitter at Club Tyson Live
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Personalized Scrabble Pencil Boxes

I can't believe that summer has come and gone. We have one more week in this house until school starts, but in essence it is over. We have been school shopping and bought new clothes, shoes and school supplies. As sad as every child is that summer is over, that is how excited I am for school to start. I have always loved getting my all of my school supplies together and of course, new clothes. I did it every year up until I graduated college. The first fall that I didn't go back to school, even though I was happy to be done with school, I still missed getting ready for school. Now I just get my little girl ready for school. This is here second year of preschool and she couldn't be more excited.

For the little ones, the hardest part of school starting can be the fact that their big brothers and sisters get to go to school and they have to stay home. I have twin nephews in just that situation, so I made them fun pencil boxes filled with school supplies, so they could pretend to go to school at home. These boxes are super easy and come together in minutes.

You will need:
A pencil box- I found these at Target for .50 a piece
Scrabble Letters- You can get these at the craft store, or do what I do and scour the thrift store for old games
Hot glue

Arrange the letters the way you want them on the box and then hot glue. Fill the box with all sorts of fun supplies and take them to school, or use them at home for the littles or home school!
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Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Discount Codes and a Free Train Activity

I was given tickets to Ringling Brothers in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. 
I have never been to the circus. Somehow I missed that childhood milestone. Every year, when the circus would roll into town, I would see classmates the day after their circus adventure and it was all they could talk about. That is when it became a life long dream to make it to the circus. Fast forward a lot of years and I finally have tickets for when the circus comes to Utah in September. I am so excited to finally go the Circus and to be able to take my daughter. 

We have spent hours on the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus website watching the videos and looking at pictures. My daughter is most excited to see the elephants! 
Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus will be in Salt Lake City September 26-30th, at the Energy Solutions Arena, with the following shows. 
  • Thursday, September 26               7:00 PM
  • Friday, September 27                     3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, September 28               11:00 AM, 3:00 PM & 7:00 PM
  • Sunday, September 29                  1:30 PM & 5:30 PM
  • Monday, September 30                7:00 PM

Ticket prices are $20, $25, $45 (VIP), $60 (Front Row) and $90 (Circus Celebrity)
You can save 50% on Opening Night tickets on certain tickets (select seating only; not valid on VIP/premium levels)

Can't go on opening night but still want a discount? Buy your tickets online and use the code MOM at checkout. You can use the code on the following shows. 
  • Thursday at 7PM
  • Friday at 3:30 PM
  • Saturday at 11:30 AM
  • Sunday at 1:30PM and 5:30 PM

 Want to get into the Circus Spirit? You can print out this Free Circus Train activity to color with your kids before the big night.
Looking to win tickets? I will be giving away a family 4-pack of tickets later this week, so stay tuned!
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Monday, August 19, 2013

Jello Poke Cake

I am not usually a huge cake fan, but there is something about the cool, refreshing flavor of Jello Poke Cake that I can't get enough of. My mom used to make this for me growing up and I haven't had it in years. I decided it was time for my little girl to try one of my childhood favorites.

You will need:
A cake mix (and the ingredients that your mix needs such as eggs and oil)
a small box of Jello
a fork
whipped topping

Bake your cake in a 9x13 pan according to the box directions. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Poke holes in the cake with the fork, across the whole cake.
Add 1 cup of boiling water to the Jello and stir until dissolved. Stir in 1/2 cup of cold water. Pour the Jello mixture over the the entire cake. Refrigerate the cake for 3 hours, until the Jello is set. Top with whipped topping. You can use any Jello flavor you want, I personally used Strawberry Jello and yellow cake mix. 

The delicious dessert requires some prep time, but comes together really easy and it is a fun crowd pleaser. 
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