It’s a puzzle. It’s a maze. It’s a hands-on study in gravitational pull. lol We love it and your family will, too. I get excited about educational toys and games – ones that stretch the mind and challenge my kids to strategize and think. When a company not only accomplishes that, but creates a game [...]
It’s a puzzle. It’s a maze. It’s a hands-on study in gravitational pull. lol We love it and your family will, too. I get excited about educational toys and games – ones that stretch the mind and challenge my kids to strategize and think. When a company not only accomplishes that, but creates a game that is addictingly fun, I call it like I see it. WIN! It’s no surprise to me that Perplexus Original has been nominated for the Toy of the Year Awards. (You can use that link to cast a vote for them, yourself.) It’s produced by the makers of the Plasma Car, so when I was given the opportunity to review and host a giveaway of this totally contained, no-tiny-pieces-to-swallow, lose, or end-up-in-the-vacuum game, I jumped at the chance! I’m so glad I did AND so is my family – young and old. They literally wait in line, (some patiently, others, not so much ) for a turn to solve the puzzle and once they get ahold of it, they’re reluctant to pass it on to someone else. I can envision tournaments where multiple players, each with their own Perplexus Original ball, speed through the bendy, gravity-defying puzzle/maze to reach the finish, first. We’re definitely going to need a couple more of these! lol The great thing is that they are less expensive than the average board game, and a huge savings over other toys and video games, at only $19.99 each!
The list of reasons I love this game just goes on and on, not the least of which is that no batteries or electricity are required! It has it’s own stand, which gives it a place to be, instead of rolling about. Ours sits on the end table next to the couch and gets picked up and used several times a day. It’s portable (only 8″ in diameter) and would be great entertainment on long car trips. Kids will fine tune their motor skills and eye-hand coordination while stretching their brain and having a blast! It’s simple to understand, but challenging to complete. It requires some thought, problem solving, dexterity, perseverance and patience — fantastic skills for kids (and big “kids”) to acquire. How does a toy get better than that?
Now, because of the silly world we live in, I am compelled to say,”This toy contains a small metal marble. It is sealed inside the round plastic ball, but if your child is a diligent engineering marvel, who enjoys disassembling sealed objects, or someone who would likely place the ball on the floor and smash it with their foot or blunt objects, there IS the potential that said child COULD eventually crush the ball, sift through the rubble and place the marble in their mouth, in which case they would likely swallow it. So, as a parent, use good judgement and don’t leave children under 3 unsupervised with this toy.” I feel so much better, now, that you have been warned about the obvious and the ridiculous! lol It’s like all those little warnings they have to print on hair dryer packages. “Do not operate this appliance in the sink.” “Do not use the hair dryer in bed.” Seriously? It’s so sad that somewhere along the line, some foolish and irresponsible person made such warnings necessary, but they have, so, now consider yourself forewarned. lol
You’re totally going to LOVE this toy! You’re also going to get a kick out of the deeply focused looks of concentration on the faces of anyone playing it. It’s amazing how serious they get about solving this puzzle!
We’ve definitely cast our vote for Perplexus as the Educational Toy of the Year and I hope you’ll take a minute to cast your vote, as well! We are having a blast with Perplexus and I anticipate many more hours of fun and competition with it in our family! I’m so excited to be able to share a chance to own one with your family! Just use the easy entry form below.
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I received Perplexus in order to test it and conduct this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
First of all, let me say that if you have a picture frame lying around the house, this cute and simple project will likely be less than $2! I spent $5 on a frame, used a few cents-worth of Elmer’s Double-Sided Scrapbooking Tape and added a dry erase marker; so I spent a little under [...]
First of all, let me say that if you have a picture frame lying around the house, this cute and simple project will likely be less than $2! I spent $5 on a frame, used a few cents-worth of Elmer’s Double-Sided Scrapbooking Tape and added a dry erase marker; so I spent a little under $7. I also purchased a pair of X-ACTO Precision Scissors, but since they will be used over and over again for many projects, it didn’t seem right to factor them into my cost for the dry erase board. I love that I didn’t have to go anywhere but my local WalMart to find what I needed. No unscheduled trips to the craft store in the city. Another big savings! Whether you spend $2 or $7, this is definitely an inexpensive gift option for something that will be decorative, personalized AND functional. You will also be able to substitute fabrics, papers and design ideas that fit your existing craft stockpile and the decor and personality of the person you are gifting the dry erase board to. The possibilities are absolutely limitless! I definitely won’t be leaving any old frames behind at garage sales any more.
I started with the frame I bought, fabric and scrapbooking paper from my craft stash, double-sided tape and scissors, plus my big tub of colored pencils and crayons. Later, I grabbed some satin ribbon from my sewing box to finish things off. I opted for the double-sided tape because I wanted an adhesive that would not bleed through my fabric background and would not create bumps or raised areas under the fabric. The Elmer’s Permanent Double-Sided Scrapbooking Tape worked perfectly!
I opened the tabs on the back of the picture frame and removed the cardboard insert. Then on the back side of my fabric, I traced around the cardboard to get the correct dimensions to cover the cardboard. The X-ACTO Precision scissors were perfect for cutting that out.
Then I put double-sided tape all around the perimeter of the cardboard insert from the photo frame.
Once I had peeled off the backing and exposed the adhesive on the other side of the double-sided tape, I simply laid the fabric over the cardboard and pressed it snugly into place against the tape.
Next I wanted to create a design for the board that wouldn’t interfere too much with the actual writing area, but would add some personalization and help to match it to the decor of the person receiving the gift. I hoped that by utilizing some of my scrapbooking papers and cardstock I would be able to make it appear somewhat dimensional. I started with a scrap of light-brown, textured paper and sketched out a birdhouse shape. As you can see, there was nothing precise or skilled about it.
Then I cut out the roof, cutting just above and then just below the line I had traced. The tracing line will disappear into the “shading” that creates a faux wood grain.
Once I knew everything would fit well, I shaded the roof and birdhouse, adding some colored pencil lines to give the appearance of wood planks or wood grain. Then I cut a small strip of the double-sided tape in half and used it to attach the roof to the birdhouse.
To decorate the birdhouse and add more detail, I used scrapbook paper and cut some flowers, leaves and a yellow swirl, along with a dark circle for the birdhouse door. I used colored pencils to outline and shade the flowers and bent the petals slightly upward to add some dimension. Then I affixed all of them to the birdhouse with dots of Elmer’s White Glue.
I decided to add one more element to the birdhouse. I used another piece of scrapbook paper and sketched out a circle, a slightly larger oval and two skinny hearts.
To attach the birdhouse to the fabric background of the dry erase board, I used one strip of double sided tape and pressed the house into place.
I found some satin ribbon in my sewing box and decided to “frame” the board with it. I used double-sided tape to attach it and tied a bow to add to the lower, left-hand corner.
Once the ribbon frame and bow were attached, I inserted the entire board behind the glass in the frame and bent the tabs on the frame back in place to hold everything together. The layered paper and ribbon elements create dimension and a “3-d” effect and the glass keeps everything clean and protected. Plus, glass is a perfect surface for use with dry erase markers. I also discovered something called wet erase markers and I’m pleased to tell you that they work just as well. As a matter of fact, the wet erase markers don’t leave the gray residue film that is common with dry erase markers. Very cool! Now the finished board was ready to keep track of shopping lists, schedules or jot a note for family members. In this case, it’s ready for me to wrap and stick under the tree.
This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #ElmersHoliday #gluenglitter #collectivebias #cbias.
I don’t drink coffee -at all. I never have. So, of course it stands to reason that EVERY member of my family can’t get enough of it – my husband and ALL the kids. lol When I was given the opportunity to try the new International Delight Iced Coffees the excitement in our home was [...]
I don’t drink coffee -at all. I never have. So, of course it stands to reason that EVERY member of my family can’t get enough of it – my husband and ALL the kids. lol When I was given the opportunity to try the new International Delight Iced Coffees the excitement in our home was actually palpable. A shipping carton arrived at the door with three half-gallon cartons of the delicious beverages, nestled carefully inside a dry ice filled styrofoam cooler. My husband was still at work, so I had to monitor very closely to make sure he would get a chance to try some, too!
It may seem really silly, but I love the packaging! Something about it seems so festive and special. It almost looks like it should be an ice cream carton. I like the cool blue and white colors, and the product featured front and center in a very inviting presentation. If packaging can sell a product, this certainly can. I don’t even care for coffee and I wanted to try it.
Each flavor of the International Delight Iced Coffees is creamy and smooth. To me, they immediately seemed like beverages to be served at a special dinner or a party, but they are a perfect refreshing treat, over ice, after a workout or a long day at work, too. My kids definitely picked Mocha as their favorite, with Vanilla running a close second, and my husband, our hard-core coffee drinker, preferred the original and said Vanilla was his second choice. So, is this non-coffee drinker a convert to these sweet, creamy versions of iced java? Not so much, but the Vanilla was definitely my favorite of the three. I’m still not a coffee drinker, but there is no doubt that for those who enjoy coffee, International Delight Iced Coffees are delicious treats that are perfect for everyday refreshment or for holidays and special gatherings! I have a sneaky suspicion that they would be amazing in several recipes that call for coffee, too. Imagine the Mocha in your favorite chocolate cake recipe or the Vanilla baked into tiramisu!
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias I received product samples in order to test them and write this review. A positive review was not required. The views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
Our family loves to host movie nights with our friends and their families! We especially enjoy when the movie is something that old and young, alike, can enjoy together. Cars 2 fits that description perfectly! Combine that with some great gifts and educational material from Crest and Oral B and you have the makings of [...]
Our family loves to host movie nights with our friends and their families! We especially enjoy when the movie is something that old and young, alike, can enjoy together. Cars 2 fits that description perfectly! Combine that with some great gifts and educational material from Crest and Oral B and you have the makings of a fun get-together for everyone involved. We recently had the opportunity to do just that and share some of these fine products with our friends, as well as enjoying the antics of Mater and Lightening McQueen!
Oral B Stages has oral health care products and educational material for children from 4 months old up to 7 years old. The products are designed to make brushing and caring for teeth fun and feature characters the kids will recognize, like Disney Princesses and Toy Story or Cars 2 characters. Crest/Pro Health FOR ME products are for kids 8 to 12 and with their specific oral care needs in mind. Both sets of products encourage good oral care with products designed especially for the age group they serve. We had children of all ages at our party and their was much excitement over the generous gift bags!
We also baked cookies, with my son supervising the kitchen and helping to bake the yummy movie snacks with the children. The kids were so excited to see everything included in their gift bags! There were toothbrushes, flossers, toothpaste, gummy vitamins, fluoride rinse and balloons! We also received some excellent educational material about kids’ oral health. It was fabulous fun to get together with friends and to share some fine products with them at the same time.
Thank you to Oral B Stages and to Crest/Pro Health FOR ME for sponsoring this fun and educational event with a Cars 2 DVD and full-size product samples for the guests!
Sloppy Joes make a perfect quick supper that is filling and generally enjoyed by most people. It’s a staple in most kitchens and easy to fall back on in a pinch. The canned sauce varieties offer an even quicker alternative when I’m in a hurry to get a meal on the table, but my husband [...]
Sloppy Joes make a perfect quick supper that is filling and generally enjoyed by most people. It’s a staple in most kitchens and easy to fall back on in a pinch. The canned sauce varieties offer an even quicker alternative when I’m in a hurry to get a meal on the table, but my husband is not a fan of those. He prefers my homemade version. I recently came up with a compromise version that he liked and got me out the door to AWANA and Jr. High Youth Group in plenty of time. All I did was start with a base of an inexpensive canned sloppy joe sauce and then added the extra zip necessary to satisfy David’s discerning palate.
Fortunately, we’ve been testing some delicious products from Country Bob’s that added the perfect “kick” to our sloppy joe supper. The gift pack I reviewed contained a cookbook, Country Bob’s Seasoning Salt (which my daughter now has to have each evening when we make popcorn), Country Bob’s Barbecue Sauce (It was absolutely delicious on chicken.), Country Bob’s All Purpose Original Sauce (already one of our family favorites for burgers, steaks, chicken and pork), Country Bob’s Apple Chipotle Sauce and Country Bob’s Honey Habanero Sauce. We have loved Country Bob’s for years, but this was our first opportunity to try the seasoning salt and the two spicy sauces. We’re hooked ! They truly are “all purpose” sauces with so many possible uses in everything from meat, poultry, and casseroles to soups and stews.
You and your family will have the chance to try a couple of these yummy sauces for yourself, if you win our Country Bob’s giveaway. Country Bob’s has generously agreed to send our winner TWO bottles of All Purpose Sauce! Register, below, to win!
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I received a Country Bob’s Gift Pack in order to test the product and write this review. no monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
Okay, it’s finally going to happen, because I’ve promised it so many times, but you have to know this is a little intimidating to a “cook by feel and looking at it” kind of cook. -lol- You know what I mean. I use recipes, but for the ones I use most often, the ones I [...]
Okay, it’s finally going to happen, because I’ve promised it so many times, but you have to know this is a little intimidating to a “cook by feel and looking at it” kind of cook. -lol- You know what I mean. I use recipes, but for the ones I use most often, the ones I have made tens or even hundreds of times, I “just know” how it should look coming together or how the dough should feel to have the right texture and moisture content. At that point, it is less about measuring and more about “when it’s right”. Homemade noodles are one of those things for me. People ask for the recipe and I have never actually written down a precise formula, so I can’t give them specific details. I’m happy to tell you that I made myself measure what I did as I went, last weekend, just for you! So, now I can show you the steps to what is actually a very simple process. Once you make noodles from scratch, it’s going to be hard to accept something from the pasta aisle, again, and the timing couldn’t be better, since you’ll be able to use them to make a FABULOUS turkey and noodle soup after the holidays.
I have to warn you that this is the recipe for the noodles only. I forgot to get any pictures of the finished dish, which is one of David’s all-time favorite meals – homemade chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes. So, I will snap a few shots the next time I make this dish and post the recipe of how I use these noodles in a favorite meal that has been passed down for generations in our family. In the meantime, you can use these noodles in any of your favorite dishes, boiling them and using them just as you would store-bought noodles. You can also make them, dry them and flash freeze them in a single layer on cookie sheets. Then transfer them to ziptop bags and keep them handy in the freezer for whenever you want one serving or a dozen.
Have you ever had one of those days where you are busy, busy, busy – doing, doing, doing; and at the end of it you feel as though not much has gotten done? Have you ever been at the weary end of one of those days and been faced with putting a tasty meal on [...]
Have you ever had one of those days where you are busy, busy, busy – doing, doing, doing; and at the end of it you feel as though not much has gotten done? Have you ever been at the weary end of one of those days and been faced with putting a tasty meal on the table for your family, but not having anything prepared? Fortunately, that isn’t a frequent occurrence around here, but when it does happen, it is definitely unsettling. I have several go-to recipes to get the main dish/meat on the table in a hurry, but I am often challenged to come up with quick side dishes that will satisfy my meat and potatoes guy. Peeling, boiling and mashing potatoes for our crew definitely takes some time and doesn’t really fit with the idea of getting a “quick” meal on the table. Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes are a great option to have in the fridge for those hectic evenings.
These potatoes were creamy, smooth and buttery and ready to put on the table in 6 minutes! That’s speedy and though my sweet (and incredibly intelligent) guy says they’re not quite as good as my homemade , I noticed that he enjoyed seconds. They were a perfect accompaniment to my crispy baked chicken and spaghetti squash.
One lucky Busy-at-Home reader will get to experience the Bob Evans convenience for themselves! They will receive two coupons for a FREE Bob Evans product (up to $5 each). That means the winner can select any two from the Bob Evans line of refrigerated or frozen products at their local grocer - Mashed Potatoes, Macaroni and Cheese, Sausage Egg and Cheese Burritos, Sausage Links, Ground Sausage or Sausage Patties or one of the other fabulous Bob Evans products! It’s as easy as entering the giveaway, below. You just may win a “quick-fix” dinner surprise of your own!
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I received Bob Evans Original Mashed Potatoes, through BFPR, in order to test the product and write this review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.
Guess what? You can create some inexpensive, and yet very personalized gifts, for Christmas. Yes, you can! It’s super simple. Think positive! I just made three adorable pillowcases for our grandkids, in a little over an hour, and THAT included stopping to take pictures and to start some rye bread rising! Here’s all you’ll [...]
Guess what? You can create some inexpensive, and yet very personalized gifts, for Christmas. Yes, you can! It’s super simple. Think positive! I just made three adorable pillowcases for our grandkids, in a little over an hour, and THAT included stopping to take pictures and to start some rye bread rising! Here’s all you’ll need to get started on your DIY pillowcase project:
- a sewing machine, of course
- 1 yard of 44/45″ wide fabric, choose a print or pattern that fits the personality of the person who will receive it
- thread, choose whether you want it to match your fabric or to be a contrasting color
- straight pins
- ironing board and iron
Fold the yard of fabric in half, right-sides-together, so that it will measure about 22″ x 36″. Pin the long edge and the short edge that will be the bottom of your pillowcase, to hold them in place while you are stitching.
Start sewing the 5/8″ seam at the folded corner on the bottom edge of your pillowcase. Be sure to back-stitch to lock your stitches in place.
When you are 5/8″ from the long edge of your fabric, leave the needle of your machine down in the fabric, lift the presser foot and pivot the fabric, so that the unstitched edge is now ready to be stitched on your machine at the 5/8″ guide mark. This will create a perfectly sharp corner.
Now stitch the long edge of your pillowcase and back stitch to lock the seam when you reach the end.
If you have a serger or a newer machine than mine, finish your edges in the way that works best for you, but I zigzag my seams to help keep them from raveling when the pillowcase is laundered. Run the presser foot along the stitching in the seam you just made, to zigzag the edge of the seam.
Trim the seam, as close as possible to the zig-zag stitches, without cutting the stitches. Trimming the seam removes extra bulk and gives a nice finished edge. If you have a pair of pinking shears, even better. Mine are so dull they wouldn’t cut hot butter. Definitely time for a new pair!
Using a steam iron, press under 1/2″ on the unfinished top edge of the pillowcase. Turn the fabric toward the inside of the pillowcase. Press the 1/2″ hem around the full-circumference of the pillowcase top.
The 1/2″ inch you already pressed under has created a nice clean edge at the top of your case. Now, you need to fold it over one more time to create the final finished 3″ hem. Press the hem in all the way around the top of the case using a steam iron.
Now, line the edge of your presser foot up with the folded under edge of the hem you created and stitch around the circumference. Be sure to overstitch the seam when you get to the end or back-stitch to lock the seam.
Turn your finished pillowcase, right-side-out and press out any wrinkles. You’re finished! It’s that simple!
So, are you done with your Christmas projects? What’s left to do? I still need to sew a couple skirts, plus some aprons and hotpads. I already have published a simple DIY Christmas stocking tutorial, so I hope you’ll keep stopping back at Busy-at-Home, now and again, for a visit and to check out my new projects and recipes or to enter a giveaway or two. Have a blessing-filled Christmas!