Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Harry Potter Quidditch Cornhole

When I was planning our my daughter's crazy Harry Potter party at the end of last year, I knew I wanted the kids to be able to play Quidditch. I designed several different versions of Quidditch for the kids to play. 

This Cornhole version was one of my very favorites, with a mini Cornhole board it is compact and a lot of fun! I ended up building an entire Quidditch Pitch for the party, but I knew I eventually wanted to make Cornhole Quidditch too! I love that this version is just something we keep in the game closet and the kids can play it whenever they want. 

You will need: 

I found these fun miniature cornhole boards at a local game store. You can find the same ones I used on Amazon here, make your own or look around a local stores for your set. 

Sand down your cornhole set until you reach the natural wood. After you have sanded down the board, paint it white. 

Download the image above by right clicking and saving it. This is what you will upload into your design software for you cutting machine to make your Quidditch hoops. I use a Cricut so my instructions are for the Cricut. 

One of my favorite parts of my Cricut is the ability to upload any images I want into the program. There are plenty of images that you can search their program and use for a small fee but no more cartridges! 

Uploading your own images 

First hit the big Upload Images button on the left hand menu in Cricut Design Space. The next image will pop up. Hit the Upload Image button on the left.

After you hit upload image, the browse screen will come up. Hit browse and find the image you want on your computer. This will let you upload any (.jpg, .gif, .png, .bmp, .svg or .dxf). I always search for images that I want to use in future projects and then save them to my computer so I can upload them. Some of the easiest shapes to trace are ones are silhouettes of something (such as a witch hat) or a line drawing.

 After you select the image on your computer, you will be asked to select the image type. There are three different kinds of image types.

Simple Image- a image with high contrast colors with a monotone background.
Moderately Complex Image- a image with simple detail and colors with good contrast between subject and background
Complex Image- images with fine detail, blended colors or low contrast

A image like the Tardis I uploaded is a simple image because it has clean lines and a black shape on a white background.

After you select your image type, it is time to clean up the image. There are a few different tools to help you get the image you want.

Crop- This tool will let you crop out any unwanted portions.
Select & Erase- This took is like a little magic wand that will select entire sections. For instance if you click on one of those little white boxes on the Tardis, it will delete the entire white box leaving a transparent background.
Erase- This is like the erasing tool in paint or other programs where you will physically need to draw over every part you want gone.

In most images, you want to erase the background and make it transparent so the Cricut knows what lines to cut. It is really easy to use the Select & Erase tool with this Tardis image. Select each of the boxes and zoom in to select the white lines as well.

Next name you image and select what kind of image you want Design Space to save it as. Do you want to be able to print the image or do you want to cut all of the details. We want to be able to cut it all out, so we select Save as a Cut Image. This is also a good place to make sure you image looks the way you want it to cut. The Cricut is going to cut everywhere is there is white, so double check in this stage to make sure you have white lines or boxes every where there should be one.

 After you save your image, Design Space will take you back to the first Insert Image screen, but this time the image you uploaded will be in the library ready for you to insert it. Insert it into your project and now you can move it, resize it and add any text that you may want for your project.

Measure you cornhole board and then resize the Quidditch hoops for the middle hoop to fit around the center of the cornhole board. S

Once everything looks right, set your machine to vinyl and hit the Go button. Weed off the excess vinyl by pulling up a corner of the vinyl.  After you weed out your image, place a piece of transfer tape over the top of it. Using the edge of a scraper or credit card, smooth the transfer tape over the design until it pulls up from the backing. Lay the design down on your cornhole board and use the credit card to smooth it down again.

After you vinyl is smoothed down, you are ready to play! I made bean bags in the colors of the different houses so we can play Gryffindor versus Ravenclaw! 

What house team would you play on? 
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Monday, February 27, 2017

Lemon 7UP Basketball Cake

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #JustAdd7UP

Over the last year I have become quite the baker. I have tried just about every kind of bundt cake out there, slowly perfecting it. I discovered the best bundt cakes have a secret ingredient: 7UP®. Seriously, there is something about this lemon lime soda that takes your cake to the next level. I love it in any of my bundt cakes, but it's truly incredible in this lemon version. It adds the extra little bit of lemon flavor this cake deserves. Who knew 7UP was so versatile?

This five-ingredient cake is amazing, with or without frosting, but since my husband's favorite time of year, THE tournament, is coming up, I thought I would give this cake a fun basketball spin. This is a great cake for a basketball birthday party or, if you are like us, you will enjoy it when you are watching all the games that make March the best month in the year.

For the cake you will need:
  • yellow cake mix
  • 1 small box of lemon INSTANT pudding
  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 C. vegetable oil
  • 3/4 C. 7 UP

Mix all the ingredients for the cake together until smooth. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and pour in the batter. Bake for 45 minutes at 325 degrees, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting you will need:
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 C. butter
  • 2 C. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the frosting ingredients together until they are light and fluffy. Put the frosting in a large plastic bag and cut the tip off one of the corners.

Pipe the "net" of the basketball cake over the top of the cake using diagonal lines. Let the cake frosting set while you make the crispy rice cereal treat basketball.

You will need:

  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 bag marshmallows (10 or 16 oz)
  • 1 box crisp rice cereal
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • non-stick cooking spray
  • red food coloring
  • yellow food coloring
  • black cake writing gel
This recipe makes an entire pan of  treats so you can make only 1/4 of the recipe or you can do what I did and make two treats at once.

Melt the butter in the bottom of a large bowl. Pour the marshmallows on top. Microwave in 30-second intervals until the marshmallows are just melted. It is possible to scorch marshmallows, so watch them closely. They are ready when they are mostly melted with a few visible lumps still left in them.

Mix the marshmallows until smooth, adding the vanilla. Pour a small amount of red and yellow food coloring into your marshmallow cream and whisk the cream until it is a nice orange color. Pour your cereal into the cream and stir until it starts to come together.

Spray a 10x13 pan with non-stick cooking spray. Dump the mixture into the pan. Wet your hands and shake off the excess water. Take a handful of the treats and form into a ball. Let the ball rest on parchment paper while you press the rest of the treats into the pan as a fun second treat.

After the basketball is set, grab a tube of cake writing gel and draw your basketball lines on top of the basketball treat.

Add the basketball to the bundt cake and you are ready for a day full of basketball and good food!

My kids keep telling me since I bought a 12 pack of 7 UP I need to make 12 cakes, and this 7UP cake is so easy and good we might have to make some for the neighbors, too.

So go on and make a 7UP cake. It will forever change the way you bake!

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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Disney on Ice in SLC March 9th-12th

Disney on Ice is headed back into town! I have been taking my youngest daughter since she was an infant. This is our absolute can't miss event every year. There is so much action and entertainment that even my 2-year-old can't help but watch. This year's show features Toy Story 3, Frozen, The Little Mermaid and Cars! These are all AMAZING segments and I can't wait to see how they have changed them up! Find ticket information below and enter to win TWO tickets to Opening Night! 

Rev up for non-stop family fun with four of your favorite Disney stories when Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment comes to Utah! This action-packed ice spectacular showcases beloved characters from Disney•Pixar’s Cars, Toy Story 3, Disney’s The Little Mermaid plus the enchanting Academy Award®-winning Frozen. Produced by Feld Entertainment, Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment is performing from March 9th – 12th at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Thrill to high-speed stunts and high-octane fun, as Lightning McQueen, Mater and the crew of Disney•Pixar’s Cars race across the ice. Dive into adventure with Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid, as she explores her undersea kingdom.  The toys are back in town with heroic action when Buzz, Woody, Jessie and the Disney•Pixar Toy Story gang escape Sunnyside Daycare in a daring adventure to get back to Andy’s room.  Plus, enter the wintery world of Arendelle with sisters Anna and Elsa and pals Olaf and Kristoff from Disney’s Frozen as they learn that true love comes from within.

Plus, get warmed up for the show right in your seats with exclusive dance moves taught by the mouse that started it all during Mickey’s Dance-Along Pre-Show Party, as the Disney On Ice skating athletes remind everyone that getting active can help you be your best!  Then you’ll be ready to enter a dazzling world of Disney magic to see some of your family’s favorite Disney moments come to life in Disney On Ice presents Worlds of Enchantment, with dazzling skating, special effects and timeless characters certain to create a lifetime of memories.

WHEN:           March 9 – 12, 2017

Thursday, March 9                  7:00 PM
Friday, March 10                    3:30 PM & 7:00 PM
Saturday, March 11                11:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:00 PM
Sunday, March 12                   1:00 PM & 4:30 PM

WHERE:              Vivint Smart Home Arena – 301 West South Temple Salt Lake City, UT, USA, 84101

TICKETSTicket prices start at just $20 each! Discount Opening Night tickets available for only $15 each on select seating (not valid for VIP/Front Row premium levels)

All seats are reserved; tickets are available for purchase online at Smithstix.com, charge by phone at 800-888-TIXX or visit the Vivint Smart Home Arena Box Office.
*tickets prices are subject to change; additional venue/ticketing fees may apply

So who wants to win a 2 Free Tickets for opening night?  Just enter on the Rafflecopter below.  The more things you are able to do the more entries you will get!  I can’t wait to see you at Disney on Ice!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, February 24, 2017

Pregnancy and Baby Products That Will Change Your Life

Some of the products in this post were provided for review purpose. 

When our older daughter was born, we were dirt poor. Like dollar menu items were considered a splurge. We had the very bare necessities, and most of them were used. When it came time for our second daughter, I knew I wanted some fantastic items that would make my life easier and healthier this time around. I have rounded up some of my very favorite baby products. From bath toys that don't get moldy inside to the ultimate in pregnancy comfort. You NEED these. 

The Multi-Use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow - It is no secret that I am a Boppy Lover. I have used their products for years with both my kids and my photography clients. I love their nursing pillows and the newborn lounger was one of my very favorite products I discovered with my last baby. It allowed me to spend more time hands free, knowing my little one was safe. You can read more about my love for those products here.

When I discovered Boppy's prenantal pillows, I knew I had to have one. I have The Multi-Use Slipcovered Total Body Pillow and it is amazing. It is the best sleep I have ever gotten pregnant or not pregnant. There is a reason this pillow is the most popular choice among expecting moms. Filled with 100% virgin fiber, this one-piece pillow features a unique contour shape and offers full body support from head to toe. This one-piece pillow can be used in bed for sleeping or to prop yourself up on the couch. It also comes with a removable, machine-washable cover for easy cleaning.

Even not pregnant, I find myself sleeping with this pillow. It really was designed with the comfort of women in mind.

The Playgro Ball Activity Nest - One of my biggest frustration with baby toys is that babies can usually one use them for a short time before they outgrow them. That is why I love the The Playgro Ball Activity Nest because it can be set up four different ways depending on how old your little one is!  The gym offers engaging hanging toys, featuring a water-filled teether, mirror for learning reflections and soft plush characters with click-clack beads. The gym also comes with 32 colorful plastic balls that can be secured around the edge of the gym or loose in the gym for play. For Birth+. 

I pulled this out for a friend coming over with a infant and I literally cannot get the 2-year-old out of it. She keeps telling everyone that she has a circus in her house now. I LOVE that it is so space friendly, the ball goes round the edge of the nest and it folds almost flat. I love this toy so much! A great option for people in small spaces because you can fold it down and then stash it in a closet.

Marcus and Marcus Bath Toys- Did you know that a lot of your kids bath toys are filled with mold. I actually wrote an entire post on it. There is nothing worse than squeezing your child's bath toy and having gross mold come out. Worse is when you know your kids have been sticking them in their mouth!

These toys prevent mold,Marcus & Marcus’ NEW Mold Free Squirting Bath Toys that allow parents to clean and air dry the toys after each use to prevent mold growth inside. The soft silicone material also makes it perfect for babies to hold and play with providing hours of bath time fun!  I am in LOVE with these. I typically hate bath toys because of the mold and so both my kids are I are so happy with these.

Smarttemp by Infanttech - There is nothing more stressful as a mom than to have a sick little one. I have spent many hours rocking sick little ones and more than once I have woken up a sleeping baby to take a temperature. That is one of the reasons I love this thermometer so much.  The award-winning smarttemp by infanttech is only thermometer uses new Bluetooth thermometer  to track body temperature continuously in real time through a smartphone without disturbing your  sick little one! It is absolutely amazing! No try to get an accurate reading in a mouth or even more uncomfortable place. I adore this thermometer.

Oxyled BN05 Apple LED Night Light- I love this simple and fun night light you can choose from 4 white brightness levels to make sure you have the light you need without waking up your baby. I kind of love the on/off switch it is designed with an air inlet, so to turn it off to simply blow it out like a candle, which is perfect for a mom with a baby in her arms.

 Hydaway Bottles- These collapsible water bottles make sure you have the water you need for your kids on the go.  You can expand the bottle full size to bring some water with you and then collapse it when it is gone. The bottle features an easy-to-use, flip-up straw for quick sips, carabiner-friendly carry handle, and a watertight guarantee. BPA-free, taste and odor-free, and dishwasher safe. Comes in 12 oz. and 21 oz. sizes and 8 colors.

I adore these water bottles. It means I can always have a bottle with me but not necessarily the weight if I don't need it to be full. I love that I can stop at a drinking fountain when we are out and about, fill it up and then throw it back in my purse when it is gone.

Chemical-free Cleaning Home Starter Kit from Baby Care by e-cloth® -  As a mom with a child who has severe eczema and asthma, I work to keep as many chemicals out of our home as possible.   Harsh chemicals can pose serious risks to kid’s health such as eczema, airway irritation, eye irritation, allergies, and even poisoning! The set includes the three core cloths to clean all major hard surfaces in the home without chemicals using just water. Set comes with Bathroom Cloth, General Purpose Cloth, and Glass & Polishing Cloth.

You can watch a video on how an e-cloth works here.

Wee Blessing- Wee Blessing is kind of like Stitch Fix for kids and it is amazing. It provides hand picked outfits from the nations top retailers for 40-80% off retail. It is available for newborn to 14-year-olds.  Fill out a personal profile on your child including favorite colors and animals. Each box comes with four outfits, keep what you like and ship back what you don't. New and cute clothes without dragging your kids into the store. If you keep all four outfits you get a 10% discount.

We tried this service out and I absolutely loved it. You can see the four outfits we were sent on my 2-year-old in the photo above. I loved every single outfit and my normally picky daughter loved each and every outfit and begs to wear them. I love that we were sent things that I wouldn't have normally picked out myself but were totally my child's style. I adore this service.

Milkies Milk Saver- These amazing milk savers help nursing mamas save every drop of breast milk. You put the milkies on the opposite side that you are nursing on to collect any leaking breast milk. Patented design allows you to save every last drop of precious breast milk! Tested to ensure zero chemical leaching; contains no BPA or phthalates.

The Miracle Blanket- The Miracle Blanket guarantees your baby will sleep better, longer and will be less fussy!  The Miracle Blanket® is 100% high-quality cotton blanket mimics the tight quarters of your womb, keeping your baby comfortable and calming any fussiness. My babies LOVE to be swaddled and this blanket is just perfect for helping them stay asleep. For Birth- 14 weeks.

Marcus & Marcus Rocket themed Feeding Spoon Dispenser. This food-grade silicone container holds up to 3 oz of baby food so you don’t have to double dip! The spoon can be safely warmed directly with hot water or a microwave oven, has a soft edge for baby's tender gums and can dispense one bite at a time. The hygienic stand up base allows the dispensing spoon to stay upright and not touch surfaces. For ages 6 months and up.

Baby Change-N-Go Diaper Changing Station-

Did you see this video when it was going around Facebook? This product is BRILLIANT! It hangs from bathroom stall doors and folds up small enough to fit in your diaper bag or stroller. No more putting your baby down on the bathroom changing table, the same place a million other babies have been changed. This is  convenient, sanitary, and safe solution for changing your little one is a necessity for crowded restaurants, airports, rest stops and more.

So many times my husband would get up to change our little one only to realize that the bathroom in the restaurant we were in didn't even have changing stations in the men's room. This is an incredible way to combat there not being adequate changing facility in men's rooms.
Can hold up to 40 lbs. Available in 3 colors including Pink, Blue and Black.

Purl Lamb Clothing- These fun and comfortable clothing items are what childhood is all about. They are designed to let your kids play and be themselves. The best part? They are so darn cute! My daughter loves her star hoodie. 

With dinosaur scales or ears on the hoods, and bright prints, stripes or ruffles on the pants, these mix and match pieces for both boys and girls make playtime look cool.  The clothing is is made with soft, organic fabrics that stretch for ease of movement. The organic hoodies now feature a lined hood for added warmth and comfort with a pop of fun! The jumpers, hoodies and sweats are available in a wide selection of cheerful prints, including Peach Party Ruffle, Donuts, Stars, and Stripes. 

 Janiebee Personalized Nap Mats - I am completely obsessed with these nap mats from Janiebee. I love how gorgeous and well made they are. They are comfortable made with minky on the inside for comfy naps and are personalized on the outside. 

I never knew that I needed a nap mat. My kids don't go to daycare so it is a product that I have always skipped over when shopping for baby items. We got our first this last week and my mind has been completely blown. It is the perfect little bed to put on the floor next to mom and dad's bed for the little one who doesn't sleep well (ahem, my toddler). It is the perfect "sleeping bag" for a child spending the night at grandma's and of course it is perfect for day care. 

The fabrics on the mats are coordinated well and simply gorgeous. My daughter's mat has anchors and narwhals on it with soft pink minky on the inside for the blanket and pillow. It has ties on the outside of it so when nap time is over you can roll it up and tie it closed for storage. 

Janiebee Nap Mats are made in the USA with quality fabric, stitching and care. Personalization and custom nap mats are available, and designs change seasonally. Machine washable and dryer safe, too! 

The nap mats have a carrying strap for easy transporting to grandma's or just around the house.

So what are you waiting for? Make you life easier and check out these amazing products! 

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