Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happy Birthday, JLK!

Today would have been Jennifer Lynn Kranz's 7th birthday.  But she is forever 6.  I wanted to share a message her mom, Libby Kranz, sent out in the Unravel Newsletter.

Tomorrow is Jennifer's birthday... The first of far too many we will have to endure without her. Tomorrow also marks one year since I became a cancer mom. A year ago today, I had no clue that just 3.5 months later my daughter would be gone.
Tony and I decided to take our 3 youngest out of town. To do something "for them because of her." We invite you to do the same tomorrow. The "them" is up to you, and the options are endless! It can be your kids or your neighbor. It can be the person behind you in line at Starbucks or your entire office.

I truly believe the things we can do "for them because of her" can change our world.

{Share your #forthembecauseofher on Facebook and Instagram.}
What kind of beautiful, wonderful, kind, and special things will you do to pay tribute to JLK?  Today, for me, is a reminder that we need to have those FUN FUN FUN days because we will never know when things will be cut short.  I have a couple ideas for things to do with my kids and a couple of people I would like to do nice things for.  I hope you will be inspired to go out and do something FOR THEM BECAUSE OF HER.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Minecraft Birthday Party (Photo Heavy)

Hi friends!  I hope that you are well.  I've been better.  Not going to lie.  Fingers crossed that I'll be a-okay for Halloween.

Today, I'm doing an extremely overdue blog post.  I'm posting about the boys's Minecraft Birthday Party that happened four months ago.  I don't know why but I always drag my feel on blogging about parties.  I think it's all the editing photos and figuring out what I want to say about the crafts.  Also, let's take a moment to mention that I know NOTHING about Minecraft.  I had to run these things by D and the boys to make sure they were in the game.  If I say something wrong about the game, I'm sorry.  Ok, here we go!

As per usual, Dustin made the invite.  Honestly, it was nicer when he made it but I went in and edited out our personal information and made it not as good.  But you get the idea.
Sorry for the blurry picture.  Actually, none of these are pictures I took.  I get really overwhelmed doing everything for a party that I forget to take pictures.  Brady wanted a portal into the party.  Apparently, Minecraft has portals.  Dustin printed out the sign in this font he found and then we used black and purple streamers to make it look like the portal.

Also for decoration, we had these spiders.  It's just a black balloon and I cut out red rectangles for the eyes.  Then D did the legs with streamer.
For food, we had all food that could be found in Minecraft or food that looks like things from Minecraft.  For example, we had pretzel sticks for sticks, we had gold wrap chocolate pieces from gold ingot, swedish fish for fish, etc...  D created signs for all the food including what you can use them for in Minecraft.  For example, you can use coal and sticks to make a torch.  I think.  I'm trying to read tiny signs in pictures.  

 For the party favors, I bought Green Paper Party Favor Bags and colored Creeper Faces on them.  The kids got to fill a bag with all the Minecraft "supplies" (aka candy) to take home.  Sorry parents but this idea was too good to pass up.

For drinks, we make a Brewing Stand which is a thing in the game.  Our friends had made a lemonade stamp for their daughter's birthday and we asked to use it.  We covered up the top with poster board and our sign.  We added balloons and streams.  On the left is "Creeper Aid" which is lemonade with green food coloring.  On the right, we have "potions" which were a bunch of those favorings you add to water bottles.  We had the drops and the single packet powder things.  There was a tub next to this with ice and water bottles.  This was a HUGE hit.  
My bestie Summer made the boys this cake for their birthday gift.  She spent DAYS cutting out the little fondant squares and making it all fit.  It looked AWESOME!  The kids loved this cake!
Since the cake only feeds 20, I made some cupcakes to look like the cake in the game.  I couldn't find red square sprinkles or candy so I used hearts.  No one seemed to mind.  
For games, I made a Pin the Tail on the Pig.  I just made this out of a poster board and some card stock.  You know you love your kids when you pull out your nice Bazzill cardstock for a pig game.  I put numbers on the tails and had the kids remember their numbers.  
We also had a craft station where you could make your own mask.  We cut 10x10 pieces of foam board and duct taped tongue depressors to them.  I cut out a BUNCH of different colored squares from construction paper and provided glue sticks.  D had to sit there and cut out the eye holes with a pocket knife during the party.  We also had a contest where a judge picked the best mask and they got a prize.  My step brother was in the other room doing homework and he randomly picked the smallest kid to get the prize, it was adorable.  
We also set up a Photo Booth for the kids.  We bought the Minecraft Creeper Head and the Steve Head.  I just used construction paper to make the tree and clouds for the background.  It was the world's easiest photo booth and the kids LOVED it!

 I spent HOURS making this sword because I didn't want to spend the money buying one.  It was an extremely frustrating project and I do not recommend it at all.  I cut all the squares, Dustin cut the foam then it wasn't thick enough so he had to cut another piece of foam and it was STILL not thick enough so he had to put cardboard in the middle.  Yeah, it probably took close to 13 hours to complete.  Do yourself a favor and BUY Minecraft Diamond Sword for the $12 instead.  Seriously.
 This is Brady and Dustin in their matching shirts.  Teehee!
It was a fun party and everyone had a great time.  I told the boys that this was the last year that I'm doing a huge DIY craft party for them.  Sigh... we'll see when next year rolls around.  Plus, I still have a little princess to plan a party for in December...

***This post includes Affiliate Links.***  

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Quick Tip: How to See Page Likes on Facebook

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well.  I am, alas, still sick.  Boo!  I'm hoping to get better soon.  I'm sure I will.  Everyone else in the family is doing pretty good so I can't ask for much more.

Today, I wanted to share a super quick tip with you that has been asked of me a few times in the last couple weeks.  What good is knowledge if I can't share it right?  Are you ready to figure out how to see ALL the people who like your Facebook fan pages, not just your friends?  ;)  I'm not gonna lie, it always takes me FOREVER to figure this out so I did a picture tutorial to send to my friend and I wanted to share it here too just in case it can help anyone.

Tada!  I hope that was helpful for you!  Have a wonderful week, friends!  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cute Little Polka Dot Elephant

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well!  We are ok.  I'm still really sick and I'm on my second round of antibiotics for sinusitis and bronchitis.  I'm not gonna lie, it's kicking my butt.  All of it.  The illnesses and the medicine.  But it will get better and hopefully I've paid my "sickness dues" for a while.
I made this card at a crop last month and I never blogged it.  I absolutely fell in love with this sweet little stamp set from Close to My Heart which I got through my friend Rachel.  It was a hostess special and I was able to buy it since I had a party.  The tiny animals are too too cute!  I pulled out some Carta Bella paper and some WRMK washi tape and this is what I came up with.  I love this card!  However, I haven't made any cards since.  :(  Maybe someday...

Have a great day/week, friends!  Hope to blog again soon!  ***PS I picked my winner from the earring drawing and posted it to the Rafflecopter below.***

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mani Monday: On the Fringe

Hi friends!  I hope you're all doing well.  I'm still a bit under the weather.  I don't know what I have but it's kicking my bum!  I did five days of antibiotics and I'm still not feeling good.  Hopefully, it will clear up soon.  Everyone else here seems to be better though.  It never really hit the kids that hard.  
I'm posting another Mani Monday this week even though I don't have anywhere to link it up to.  :(  I went completely out of my comfort zone for this mani.  I'm not usually into the whole tribal vibe but when I saw these Jamberry wraps that are exclusive for October, I just had to have them.  They are called On the Fringe.  I really love the dreamcatchers on this sheet!  This is the first time I've gotten a sheet with mixed designs on it and I love it!  It's nice not to have to think about mixing and matching my own patterns.

Let me know if you know of a Mani Monday linky party.  Have a great week, friends!  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Super Easy Taco Soup

Hi friends!  I hope you are you all doing well!  We have had better weeks.  I'm not going to lie to you.  I'm sick and hubby is sick.  The boys need parent teacher conferences.  The baby is... oh so very two. And we are having car issues.  But next week will be better, right?  Promise?

You know what helps on those weeks like this??  Super quick meals that everyone in the family will eat without complaining.  This is a taco soup recipe that I got from my mother in law that I've made tiny changes to.  It is so easy and fast!  The kids LOVE this soup!  It's perfect for during the week when you need to throw something together and run out the door to scouts, sports, or whatever you do.

Taco Soup
1 pound of ground turkey
1 packet of taco seasoning (you can also sub in your own homemade taco seasoning)
2 cans petite diced tomatoes in juice
2 cans of corn
1 can of black beans
1 can of pinto beans
Toppings of your choice (we like cheese, salsa, chips, sour cream)

1. Brown turkey in a large pot and drain the fat.
2. Open all the cans and dump ALL of them in (with liquid).
3. Season with taco seasoning.  I usually use a whole packet or the equivalent of homemade seasoning.
4. Cook for about 20 mins to let the flavors meld.
5. Ladle into bowls and top with your favorite taco toppings.

If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it!  :)  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Just Jewelry Spotlight and Giveaway

Hi friends!  I hope you are doing well.  We are a little under the weather around here but at least it's finally starting to cool off.  I'm so thankful that fall seems to be coming to our area!  I'm really sick of being hot.

Today, I'm continuing my spotlight of companies that donated to our Flutter Page.  I think this might be my last one.  I got a donation from my friend Elly of Just Jewelry by Elly.  Elly introduced me to Just Jewelry earlier this year when she signed up to be a consultant.  I'd always appreciated how nicely accessorized Elly was but I didn't realize that she had wearing a bunch of Just Jewelry she bought from her friend who is a consultant back East.  Elly showed me a catalog and I immediately booked a party.  ALL the fashionable jewelry they sell is under $40 a piece!  I don't know about you, but I can't afford those super expensive jewelry companies that charge $98 for ONE necklace.

I wanted to share some of my favorite pieces with you so you can get a feel of what Just Jewelry has to offer.  Also, you can read my thoughts on the pieces if you like that kind of thing.  ;)

First up, Make a Connection Rose Gold Bracelet.  I love this Rose Gold trend!  I feel like the way gold is super trendy in crafting, rose gold is trendy in jewelry, makeup, and nails.  I love this bracelet because it's so pretty and I love the "diamond" accents.  It's a lovely pinkish shade and I wear it dressed up or down.
 Second is the Pearl Power necklace.  I love that you can wear this two ways!  It makes me feel like I'm getting more bang for my buck.  I feel like this is a great piece to dress up really plain outfits.  I often just wear a plain black top, jeans/slacks, and then a fancy necklace to make a statement.  It offers me a lot of comfort in my clothing but I don't feel underdressed.
 Third is the Hit the Gem necklace.  First off, I really love the gold.  It's been years and years since I've had gold jewelry.  Probably at least 20 years.  I feel like silver, platinum, and white gold have taken center stage for a VERY long time.  It was time, people, it was time.  I love the jewel toned accents on this necklace.  Again, I've worn this dressed down with just a black top and jeans and also very dressed up with a navy dress for a wedding.
I mentioned that I had a couple Just Jewelry parties in the past.  You have to see what I got at the last party!  I did a "Battle of the Hostesses" where Elly pitted hostessed against each other to see who would get the most sales and the hostess with the most sales got an additional $50 of credit.  I WON! It was so easy!  It was just a Facebook party.
And you know what?  I offered to buy some earrings from Elly for a giveaway and she REFUSED!  She told me that SHE would offer up a giveaway on my blog, no charge to me.  How sweet is that?!  Here are the amazing earrings you can win (retail value $15!)  If you don't have pierced ears, please feel free to enter and give them away!  Christmas is coming.  

You MUST use the Rafflecopter to enter!  I will be drawing the name directly from there!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To purchase, you can contact Elly on her Just Jewelry Page or her Just Jewelry by Elly Facebook Page.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jamberry Winner

Hi friends!  Super fast post.  I picked a winner and posted on the widget.  Stephanie B, you are the winner.  Please contact me within 72 hours to claim your prize or I will have to draw a new winner.  You can email me via the "email me" link in the right sidebar.  Thank you everybody for entering and I have more giveaways coming!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fluttering 2014 Wrap Up

31 Days.
29 houses.
4 Starbucks.
61 Fluttering Donations.
7 Flittering Donations.
1 bake sale.
4 dozen cookies delivered.
$1774 raised.

I'm almost in tears writing this post.  I could not even imagine at the beginning of September that we would raise SO much money for this amazing cause.  Our original goal was $500.  I was scared that we wouldn't even make that goal since when you think about it, $500 is A LOT of money.  Making over $1700 wasn't even on my radar.

Then we started.  I let B read the pamphlet that we were handing out.  He learned a lot.  And sadly, he learned at KIDS die of cancer.  He learned that cancer KILLS more kids than than any other disease.  And he learned that JLK died.  I had sheltered him from this.  He was only 6 himself when it happened and he's a sensitive child.  But we were going to do this campaign and he needed to understand why it was important.
Next, Brady made us a plan and we were on our way.  We went to 29 different houses sometimes together, sometimes not.  We Flittered a car, 4 Starbucks, 1 It's a Grind, 1 office cubicle, and our church.  We got greedy at the last minute and threw together a last minute bake sale and made $114.  Our community (local and online) opened their arms to us and cheered us on with constant emotional support and donations.
Every time we started to lose momentum or fumble, we would get a reminder or a gentle nudge telling us that we needed to keep going.  JLK's anthem Brave would come on the radio.  Dragonflies (real ones) would come hang out in our yard for 20 minutes, they would park on our car, they would land right next to us on the fence when we were parked, or Libby would leave me a comment.  Her words and knowing that she could see what we were doing pushed over that finish line.

Libby Kranz.  That woman is a gift to the world.  I could not imagine anyone handling all this grief with more grace and more courage.  She stirred people in 49 states to get up and spread awareness.  350 families were changed forever like ours.  Families that bonded together to raise money and awareness.  Almost everyday, she rips my heart out with her truth.  Her Love4JLK Blog.  She's been to Washington DC.  She refuses to stop until she HELPS people.  She inspires every single day of my life and I cannot thank her enough for awaking my dormant heart of service.  I cannot beginning to express how much I owe her for stirring my passion and helping me find purpose.  And she inspired me to get my kids started since it's never too early to give back.  Because of her, we are better people.  And I will always always be grateful.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Mani Monday and a Jamberry Giveaway!

Hi friends!  I hope that you are all well.  We are ok.  We have a heat wave and that's really annoying because we still don't have air conditioning in the van.  It's AWFUL when it's 100 degrees.  Seriously.  I hope this is the last of the heat for this year.

Today, I'm featuring a Jamberry manicure that I am loving!  How cute is this combo?  I really love mixing and matching for a fun and funky look!  I'm wearing the Leopard, Midnight Sky, and the gold and white glittery letters was a special for August.  It's so cute and it lasts just under 2 weeks.
Soooo, if you are looking for a Jamberry consultant, check out my friend Ali's Site.  She is AMAZING!  She had a fundraiser for Unravel last month to help out my Flutter Campaign and she donated $125!  Can you believe that?!?  She also has GREAT tips and tricks on how to apply Jamberry for the best wear and she even has a GIVEAWAY going on her Jamberry Facebook Page where when she hits 100 likes, she's giving away a Jamberry Nail Lacquer.

I have a giveaway for you too!  I got this nail wrap (not my picture) for hosting a party in Sept and I want to share a half sheet with you guys!  A half sheet is enough for 1 manicure and 1 pedicure.  To enter, check out the Rafflecopter below!  (US residents only.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spotlight: Gold Canyon Candles With Susan

Hi friends!  I hope you are well!  We are wrapping up the month here with our Flutter Campaign.  Just a couple more days!  I've decided that if our Flutter Page reaches $1600 in donations for childhood cancer, I will be dying my hair PINK to celebrate.  Pink was JLK's favorite color so I find it suiting.

Today, I got a donation from my friend Susan who is also doing a Gold Canyon Candle Fundraiser and will be donating the money to Unravel.  She needs to sell 10 more candles to be able to close out her fundraiser.  Gold Canyon Candle is a direct sales candle company whose mission is to help people become their own boss and stay home with their kids.  They offer candles, scent pods and warmers, diffusers, fragrance oils, and more.  Susan's fundraiser is for the candles shown below.  They are $22 each and 40% of all sales with go to Unravel.  You can order by going to SUSAN'S WEBSITE and emailing her directly since all the fundraiser candles must be ordered together.  Just tell her Ashley referred you to make sure it goes to the correct fundraiser.
Have a great day, friends!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Younique Makeup Review

Hi friends!  I hope you are well!  We are doing pretty good.  It's RAINING in California!  HOORAY!  We are in a drought so every drop of rain we can get is needed.  I hope it rains a lot more.  Mostly because I like fruit and vegetables and not paying an arm and a leg.

Ready for another makeup review?  I'm excited for this one!  It's the Younique makeup line that's super new.  First some disclaimers: my friend De sells Younique and she sent me some samples to try out since I'd never heard of the brand before.  I'm a makeup enthusiast so it's thrilling to try new makeup for me!  I also joined De's Younique Facebook Group where I WON the 3D Fiber Lashes in a giveaway.  (Seriously, join the group for these amazing giveaways!)  While I didn't pay for any of those products, all the opinions are mine and completely honest.  That's how I roll.

Here's a photo from her website to show you the kinds of things they sell.

First, De sent me a sample of 5 of the Moodstuck Mineral Pigment Powders.  All the shadows are talc free, chemical free, paraben free, 100% natural, and CRUELTY FREE!  I asked her to send me some matte ones because I've never even heard of matte pigments.  Usually pigments are super sparkly.  The ones she sent me from left to right are: Innocent, Beautiful, Infatuated, Risqué, and Corrupted.
Pros: I love that they are natural and cruelty free.  I think that's awesome!  They are also highly pigmented and wear beautifully.  They do not irritate my eyes at all.  They are easy to blend.
Cons: You need to pick the right colors for you.  The lightest shade I got is white/cream and it does not show up at all on my skin.  You can barely see it in the swatch but it really doesn't show up on my eyes.  I'm also medium skin toned so I would just need something that doesn't blend into my skin so much.
Would I Repurchase: Yes.  At a $10 price point, these are very inexpensive for what you'd get.  You would probably NEVER finish using one pot.

Next, De also sent me the Lucrative Lip Gloss in Loveable.
Pros: This is extremely smooth and very comfortable on the lips.  It has good pigmentation.  There's no strong smell.  They have a nice amount of gloss without being over the top.
Cons: They cost $15.  That's out of my price range for lipgloss.
Would I Repurchase: No.  Lipgloss isn't important enough to me to spend $15 on.  While it's super nice, I just don't put the focus on my lips.

Lastly, the Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes.   This is a combo of Transplanting Gel and Natural Fibers.
Pros: Oh my gosh, the volume and length is amazing.  After one use, I was sold.  I love love love big lashes!  I also dislike putting on false lashes.  I'm not good at it, it takes forever, and they weigh my eyes down.  3D Fiber Lashes do none of those things.  There's no dry time.  There's no glue.  You brush on the gel, then add the fibers, and seal with the gel.  If you apply mascara, this will be an easy task for you.  I also feel like I can wear this every single day whereas wearing a full set of false lashes to the grocery store might be overkill.  Maybe.
Cons: My skin is super oily and though this product is water resistant, the oils on my skin cause it to smudge a bit under my eyes after a few hours of wear.  I usually just top this with a waterproof mascara from the drugstore so keep the black from getting under my eyes.  Also, please take your time with this product.  Don't be applying it while driving the car.  If you get fibers in your eyes because you are distracted and rushing, it will hurt.  I got some when I was rushing and it was not fun.  This isn't really a "con" as much as a warning.
Would I Repurchase: Yes.  The $29 price tag kills me but I love it so so much.  Plus, if I bought enough falsies to wear for a few months (that's how long you should keep mascara), it would cost more than this product.

This is me with the eyeshadows, 3D Fiber Lashes, and lipgloss on.
I also wanted to say that De did donate to my Flutter Page as well though not for the purchase of being featured on my blog.  Just because she's nice.  I love nice people!  If you don't have a Younique consultant, check out De's Page.  She's the best and super efficient.  Seriously, one of the best people you'll ever work with or talk to.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Flittering Cookie Bags

Hi friends!  I hope you're doing well!  We are pretty good over here.  I'm getting excited for fall.  I don't know that I'm usually so ready for fall but a summer with no air conditioner in a black mini van will get you ready for some cool weather.  Let me tell you!  ;)  

Today, I'm sharing another project I made for the Flitter/Flutter Campaign.  On Facebook, I told my friends that if they donated $15+ to our Flutter Page, I would gift them with 1 dozen large chocolate chip cookies and a handmade paper Flitter dragonfly keepsake.  This is what I came up with for the packaging.  The top bags are Whisker Graphics Diagonal Stripe Bigger Bitty Bags and the bottom one is a Polka Dot Bigger Bitty Bag.  I took the free Flitter graphics from Unravel and printed them out.  I only have a black and white printer so I took out some of the grey on the wings so that I could fill them in.  I cut out the dragonflies, matted them on pink card stock, and colored in the wings with Stickles glitter glue.  I added Wink of Stella in clear to the dragonfly bodies and some pink rhinestones on the antennae.  I wrote #Love4JLK on the pink card stock and wrote everyone's name in white gel pen on the dragonfly.  If I had a laminator, I would have laminated them to make them a REAL keepsake but I was working with what I had here.  I adhered them with washi tape to the bag so they can be taken off and used on a fridge or memo board.  

In closing, I'd like to do a last push for the Unravel campaign.  My friend Libby is a very special lady and Jennifer's passing has had a massive impact on my life.  Please consider donation $7 for the 7 children that will die today in the US.  You can donate HERE.  Until there's a cure...

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ready to Pop Baby Shower

Hi friends!  I hope you're doing well!  We are ok.  This last week was super busy.  I'm hoping not to have a week like that for a while.  I just overcommitted and that's ok.  Live and learn.

One of the events I had last week was a baby shower for my friend who is due to have her baby next month.  Today, I'm going to share the projects that I made for the shower.  I'm really getting into making things for parties.  (I actually still need to blog the boys's birthday party.  Who knows when that will happen.)

This is the invite that Dustin pretty much made on his own.  I gave him an idea of what I wanted and he makes it happen.  

This is the sign I made for the front door.  

Here are all the elements of the party favors.  I made a sign, decorated some favor bags, and had 3 different kinds of popcorn.  The favor bags are Whisker Graphics White Horizontal Stripe Middy Bitty Bags with Scrolly Square Sweet Sticky Labels in Pink on top.

Here are the drinks and some little "POP" themed treats.

And here's the banner I made with some Spellbinders rectangles and circles.  The letters were cut for me by my friend Elly on her Silhouette.  The onesies are a die from Taylored Expressions.  I added a few little rhinestones to the onesies to dress them up.  The banner was strung together by my friend Cynthia using Cotton Candy Divine Twine and Purple Plum Divine Twine to match the party colors.

We also had balloons and streamers for decorations and some great games!  It was such a fun shower and I'm so glad that people seemed to have a really great time.  Have a great day, friends!