Monthly Archives: November 2013

Jamberry Nails Review & Giveaway!

About 6 weeks ago I was invited to an online Facebook party for Jamberry Nails. I had seen a friend post pictures of her “Jamicures” on social media and thought her nails looked pretty but really didn’t think much else about it. But I decided to “attend” her online party just to support her and to try to win a free sheet of nail wraps. 🙂

And then that friend gave me a sample to try so I knew what Jamberry Nails wraps were. And then I got hooked.

See, I used to do my nails ALL. THE. TIME. I painted them every week, touching up chipping nails mid-week, and buying new colors whenever I saw something new. (I have probably 50 bottles of varying colors in our closet upstairs.) And then I had kids.

I no longer had the time to keep up with my manicures. And I just couldn’t justify spending the money to have them done professionally since I was only working part-time. So my pretty nail days were over.

And I mean really over. Because every time I decided to do my nails, two days later they looked like hell. Polished nails cannot stand the wear from dishes and baths for several kids. Plus, each night I tried to paint my nails, without exception, someone would wake up while my nails were still wet and they’d get ruined. Or I’d forget I had to get laundry done for dress uniform day the following day and I’d remember RIGHT when I was done painting my nails.

But then I found Jamberry.purple pinstripe matte

Jamberry Nails are a new and innovative way to avoid nail polish drying time, chipping and pricey visits to the salon. They are a DIY DREAM. They come in over 300+ designs (plus a nail art studio where you can design your own!), last up to 2 weeks on fingernails, 6 weeks on toenails and WILL NOT CHIP. They are a vinyl adhesive wrap that is heat activated and pressure sealed to the nail. Bonus: they will NOT damage your nail when removed properly. They also have Junior wraps for little girls!

I’m in love. 

My nails have never looked so good for so long with so little work. For $15/sheet of wraps, I can get 2-3 manicures. And my nails are still healthy. Gray & Silver Horizontal Stripes

I love these wraps so much, I even made the jump and became a consultant. I’ve never done anything like this before. But having my nails done makes me feel good. Makes part of me feel pretty when I definitely don’t feel that way about any other part of my body. And I wanted discounted wraps. 🙂

Want to win a sheet of your choice? Well, today’s your lucky day! I’m giving away a free sheet of nail wraps to one reader to celebrate my new adventure (and pretty nails!). Simply enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Details: The contest is open through Monday, December 2nd. The winner will be chosen and contacted via email on Tuesday, December 3rd. (so please make sure your email address is correct so I can reach you). The winner will have 24 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen. No exceptions. Winner will receive the standard $15 sheet of nail wraps listed in the mandatory blog comment entry.

Already love Jamberry? Then you’ll love the exclusive styles being offered on Black Friday only! These wraps are part of the Buy 3 Get 1 Free promotion AND you get free shipping on these styles only. Buy here: Plus, if you place an order by December 6th and select “My First Party” when you check out, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free sheet of wraps to be given away on December 7th! (This giveaway is separate from the giveaway above.)

black friday collage


Celebration Crossing at Indiana State Museum

So I kind of take pride in that I’ve taken my kids to most all of the museums in Indianapolis. And we try to hit each of them at least once a year (with the exception being the Children’s Museum that we go to ALL THE TIME). And in order to keep my kids interested so we’re not just looking at the same things over and over, we try to visit at different times of the year.

But I have a confession: We’ve never been to the annual Celebration Crossing festival at the Indiana State Museum.

I really don’t know why. Sometimes I feel totally overwhelmed by holiday exhibits because SO. MANY. PEOPLE. go to them. And I don’t really like being around ALL. THOSE. PEOPLE. Especially with ALL. MY. KIDS. So we generally stay away from holiday exhibits.

But for some reason, I’m super excited about Thanksgiving and Christmas this year and it’s overflowing into my desire to go to all the holiday exhibits we’ve totally missed out on.

Like Celebration Crossing!Celebration Crossing

This November and December, the Indiana State Museum will host its annual Celebration Crossing festival from Friday, Nov. 29th through Tuesday, Dec. 31st where visitors can enjoy holiday food, fun, sights and sounds. Below are the top eight reasons not to miss Celebration Crossing this year, according to the museum:

1. Celebration Crossing Opening Day: On Friday, Nov. 29th, the celebration opens with holiday merriment from the sounds of bands and choirs to the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus on the front lawn by helicopter. Children of all ages are invited to ride the Santa Claus Express, make crafts and rekindle memories of holidays past as they gaze into the recreated L.S. Ayres store windows.

2. L.S. Ayres Tea Room: This year, the historic L.S. Ayres Tea Room will be converted into the perfect holiday place to have the perfect holiday meal. From Friday, Nov. 29th through Tuesday, Dec. 31st, walk-in diners will be invited to celebrate the season with friends and family and select from a menu of amazing appetizers to devilish desserts, all while enjoying the festive decorations, music and scheduled entertainment. Reservations required.

3. Santa’s Holiday Breakfast presented by Macy’s: During the first, second and fourth weekends in December, guests will get to start their mornings off with delicious holiday breakfast as Mrs. Claus, Raggedy Ann and other holiday characters entertain the young ones before they visit Santa Claus and ride the Santa Claus Express. Reservations required.

4. Santa’s Holiday Brunch presented by Macy’s: On Sunday, Dec. 15th, adults and kids alike will join in the fun during this holiday brunch featuring traditional brunch dishes and festive holiday mimosas(!!). Brunch also includes a visit with Santa and access to the rest of the Celebration Crossing activities. Reservations required.Santa Smiling

5. Santa’s Playground: Throughout the month of December, guests will be treated to Santa’s (Imagination) playground in the Earl Goode Education Center on level 2. In addition to the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-based activity area, there will also be crafts and a place for caregivers to sit and relax while their children play.

6. Hoosier Radio Hour : A 1940’s Christmas: During the first, second, fourth and fifth weekends, guests will get to join the Indiana State Museum Legacy Theater Troupe as they celebrate the holidays with “Hoosier Radio Hour: A 1940’s Christmas.” Original skits and familiar carols are part of this heart-warming production, suitable for Hoosiers of all ages. Audience members will be invited to join the fun onstage as members of the sound effects staff.

7. Holiday Sounds: School and community choirs, bands, ensembles and soloists perform holiday music in the museum’s Governor Frank O’Bannon Great Hall each day. Enjoy holiday sounds in a spectacular atmosphere.

8. Celebration Crossing: A Family New Year’s Eve: End the year with a bang with a family-friendly, alcohol-free celebration in the Governor Frank O’Bannon Great Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 31st from 6 to 9 p.m. Activities include face-painting, arts and craft, games, door prizes and a special musical performance by Indianapolis band The Tides. A balloon drop at 8 p.m. allows little ones to celebrate the New Year in style. Reservations recommended.

I know the kids are going to love visiting Celebration Crossing. And for the first time since Alaina was little, I’m going to have the kids’ picture taken with Santa. I can’t wait.

Seriously, for some reason I’m really excited about this. I don’t know why. It just feels good. It feels magical. And I can’t wait to share this feeling I have with my family. Won’t you join us?


Disclosure: My family is receiving free entrance into the Indiana State Museum to visit Celebration Crossing and the rest of the museum. I was not paid for this post and all opinions are mine.


Goofballs, Space Cadets & Super Weirdos (Giveaway!)

I make the girls’ lunches most school days. And with few exceptions, their lunches consist of the same four things each day: sandwich, chips, fruit, yogurt. Plus milk.

Yeah, yeah, I know there are tons of blogs out there sharing great, fun, new things I could put in their lunches each day. You go ahead and do that. Ain’t nobody got time for that in this house.

But I do try to sneak little notes in every once in a while. Okay, so maybe once a month. Lunches aren’t my forte, don’t judge. It’s just that mornings are crazy nuts and trying to find a napkin and a marker (because pens and pencils are hard to write with on napkins without ripping them) to make a sweet little note to my kids who NEVER say “Hey mom, thanks for that sweet note to let me know you love me in my lunch today” is just NOT WORTH IT.

And then I heard about Lunchbox Buddies. Oh my gosh. They’re awesome.Lunchbox Buddies

Lunchbox Buddies are little pads of goofy cartoons with funny little captions. You tear one off and pop it in the lunch box. The one above makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. “Give me five!!!” Ha!

Lunchbox Buddies was developed by Jim & Monika Adorney, when Jim would draw goofy cartoons on his daughters’ lunchbox notes, which quickly became a hit at school. So the family began developing new characters and themes for Jim’s designs.Goofballs & Space Cadets

The first two character lines – Goofballs and Space Cadets – were launched in 2012 on the East Coast. Now you can pick them up in one of my favorite toy stores in Indy – Mass Ave Toys. And later this fall, a new character line of superheroes called Super Weirdos will launch. All three lines define my girls completely. 🙂

What did the girls think? I got the exact reaction out of each one: “WHAT did you put in my lunchbox today?!” with huge smiles on their faces. They cracked up. Cami said “I’m going to keep them all and make a collection.” She made all the kids at her lunch table high-five her character. And since they come in black and white, she informed me that she’s going to color them. They both wanted to look at the rest of them, but I wouldn’t let them so they’d be surprised each time they found one.

Want to test some out with your kiddos? Win some here! One lucky reader will win a 2-pack of Lunchbox Buddies characters! Just enter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Details: The contest is open through Thursday, November 28th. The winner will be chosen and contacted via email on Friday, November 29th (so please make sure your email address is correct so I can reach you). The winner will have 24 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen. No exceptions.

Want more chances to win? Visit my friend Michelle’s giveaway on her blog over at Gotchababy and Crystal’s giveaway at Mom for Less.

Disclosure: I received two packs of Lunchbox Buddies for this review. I was not paid for this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are completely mine.

Indiana’s hidden graveyard

It was a dark and stormy night…

Heh, just kidding. 🙂

But It seems like a fitting intro when I read a pamphlet about the Indiana State Museum’s newest exhibit Ice Age Giants: The Mystery of Mammoths and Mastodons. It starts with: “Underneath Indiana’s soil lies a hidden graveyard of Ice Age giants.”

I was surprised to learn that mastodon bones have been discovered in most of Indiana’s 92 counties. I was even more surprised to see how FREAKING LARGE these animals were. I was expecting an elephant-sized animal. I was wrong. This is a picture I took of the rib cage of a mastodon that was found in Indiana:Mastodon rib cage

I tried to get Lucas to stand in front of it for scale, but he wasn’t cooperating. But this was probably 10 feet tall by 7 feet wide. It’s a RIB CAGE.

And look at a single tooth from a mammoth! Lucas didn’t think it would fit in his mouth. 🙂 Maybe because it was AS BIG AS HIS HEAD.mastodon tooth

I was completely amazed the whole time I was in the exhibit. Totally in awe at the size of these animals and even more in awe that all of these bones and fossils were found in Indiana. These huge animals lived (and died) In my state!

The exhibition explores the animals and their environments, what happens at a real dig site and the research that helps us to understand prehistoric mammals. The exhibit also features real mounted skeletons and casts of Ice Age animals, as well as fossil tusks and skulls. You can:

  • Dig in a terraced, hands-on worksite.IMG_5755 (1280x960)
  • Explore Ice Age forensics as you determine mastodon from mammoth, male from female, age and cause of death.
  • See the wonder of these creatures first-hand as a mammoth and Fred the Mastodon tower over you. (Oh! And Fred is on Twitter! You have to follow him. He’s a hoot.) big mammoth

The Ice Age Giants exhibit runs through August 17, 2014 so you have plenty of time to visit and visit again. Admission is included with your Indiana State Museum membership or general admission to the museum.

There are two other special exhibitions at the Indiana State Museum right now too. When you visit the museum for the Ice Ages exhibit, you should also check out The Fiery Trial: Memorial Prints of the Civil War (through March 2, 2014) and Fearless Furniture (through May 27, 2014). The latter is one of my favorite exhibits in the museum and I left wanting all new furniture in my home. (Like this chair that is held together only by friction and weight!)chair

The museum is also getting ready for its annual Celebration Crossing exhibit that runs from November 29 through December 31, 2013. (More info coming on that next week! I can’t wait to go to this one for the first time!!)

For more information about the special exhibits, special events, online ticket sales and more, call 317.232.1637 or visit


Disclosure: The boys and I were hosted to a sneak peak of the exhibit prior to opening and my family was also provided with admission on opening day to visit the exhibit and museum. I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

We had some pretty nasty storms in Indy yesterday afternoon. And while some were nervous, I felt strangely calm. I actually love storms. I grew up watching them roll in from the front porch with my parents. And since these storms were coming from the opposite direction of my front porch (and honestly, way too quickly to be safe out there), I stood in the kitchen and watched through the windows.

And then I decided I really wanted muffins.

I’ve had a can of pumpkin sitting in the cabinet for weeks waiting to be baked, so I grabbed the bag of cranberries out of the fridge (which I had actually bought to make cranberry sauce) and a basic pumpkin bread recipe and started in, modifying and adding as I went. What I ended up with was some delicious gluten-free pumpkin cranberry muffins.

You guys, these are seriously the best muffins I’ve ever made. They aren’t super sweet dessert muffins, but have just enough sugar in them to counter the tart cranberries. I want to eat all of them, all the time.

Gluten-free Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 24 muffins

Gluten-free Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins


  • 3 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 1 c granulated sugar
  • 1 (15 oz) can 100% pure pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 c vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 c orange juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 (12 oz) bag fresh, whole cranberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350*. Grease muffin tin(s).
  2. Combine flour, xanthan gum, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in large bowl.
  3. Combine both sugars, pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil, applesauce, orange juice and vanilla in large mixer bowl. Beat until just blended.
  4. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and stir until moistened.
  5. Fold in cranberries.
  6. Spoon batter into muffin tins (3/4 full).
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool in tins on wire racks for 5-10 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.

You can easily make these muffins non-gluten-free by using regular all-purpose flour and omitting the xanthan gum. And decrease the cranberries to 1 cup if you prefer a less tart muffin.

Besides tasting so great, they look great too. The cranberries have such a bright color once baked and the contrast with the pumpkin muffin is beautiful.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. (My kids actually love them too, tart cranberries and all. Lucas ate two for breakfast this morning.) Enjoy!

The Advil Shake

Isaac is a pretty happy kiddo, but he just doesn’t laugh very often unless I’m tickling him for some reason. But Friday night, I was carrying him down the stairs with a bottle of Advil in my hand and Isaac started giggling like crazy. I realized that he was laughing each time the bottle of Advil shook.

So I share, because there are very few things that beat a laughing baby.

You’re welcome.

Celebrating Lucas with Turbo

This baby?lucas baby

He turned three today. So crazy. He brings me so much joy, this one.Me & Lucas

Lucas wanted to celebrate his birthday with a Turbo party. Specifically, Turbo cupcakes. And since I started making the kids birthday cakes about five years ago, I had some Pinteresting to do in order to find something I could make. The problem? I’m scared of fondant. And everything I found required some crazy fondant skills or Turbo rings stuck in the top of a cupcake. So we came up with our own Turbo cupcake vision.The vision

The plan was chocolate cupcakes baked in blue cupcake liners to mimic Turbo’s racing shell with orange icing for his head/face and raised orange marshmallow eyeballs.

Lucas and I made the cupcakes and right after baking I realized the liners had darkened so much they didn’t look blue anymore. If I would have known that the bright Wilton primary blue liners I bought wouldn’t hold their color, I would have bought blue foil liners (like these) instead.

While they cooled, we dyed miniature marshmallows orange. I made a concentrated dye from only water and orange food coloring. I wanted the dye to be really concentrated so I didn’t have to soak the marshmallows for too long since I didn’t want them to disintegrate. Then Alaina and Lucas stuck 48 marshmallows (2 eyes for each of the 24 cupcakes) on wooden toothpicks. We dipped the marshmallows in the dye for 10 “Mississippi” seconds, then stuck them upright in styrofoam to dry for about an hour or so.Dying Marshmallows

Once the marshmallows were dry, I used frosting to “attach” a candy eyeball to each marshmallow. I laid them down on a plate so that the frosting could harden to keep the eyeball from falling off.Turbo eyes

I then tinted my frosting to match the orange of the marshmallow snail eyes and frosted the cupcakes. I stuck two eyes in each cupcake and added a little grin on each Turbo face with an orange glitter icing tube I found on clearance after Halloween. And since the party store didn’t have Turbo birthday supplies (even though their website had them), we went with checkered flag plates and Indianapolis Motor Speedway napkins (since that’s where Turbo races in the movie).Turbo Cupcake

I think they turned out pretty cute. And Lucas liked them, which is all that really matters. 🙂

I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store for Lucas. He’s such an awesome little boy who adds so much joy to our family. Here’s to another year buddy.birthday boy


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