Sunday, July 27, 2014

How to Make Gum Paste Daisies

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Here is the video demonstrating how to make gum paste daisies (ignore my hubbies lack of editing skills at the end)! You will need the following materials as described in this post:


How to make Gum paste Daisy



In case you have difficulty viewing the video, here is an outline of the steps:

Step 1: Roll out gum paste to 1/16 inch thickness on a greased roll and cut mat. If you are using the Wilton 9 inch rolling pin, then you will want to use the pink bands.

Step 2: Using the medium daisy cutter, press 2 daisies. Just like cookies, it is best to wiggle the cutter a bit to make sure that there is a clean cut.

Step3: Using a tapered spatula, carefully remove the daisy from the mat and place on pink shaping foam which has been lightly dusted with your prepared dusting pouch.

Step 4: Using a ball and veining tool (teal tool from the modeling tool kit) and press lightly with the heel of the small end of the tool and pull gently toward you. If the tool sticks, press it into the dusting pouch in between presses on your gum paste.

Step 5: Repeat this for each petal on both flowers. Then, using a decorating brush, place a small amount of prepared gum paste glue in the center of one of the flowers and place the other one on top. You can use the ball and veining tool to help center and secure in place.

Step 6: Roll a small pinch of yellow tinted gum paste in a small ball and adhere with the gum glue.

Step 7: Place the finished daisy on a flower former to dry (optional).


Here is a wedding cake that I made using this technique. Instead of doing two layers of petals, I only did one for this specific cake:






Saturday, July 26, 2014

Last Chance: Live Happy Magazine Subscription Giveaway Ends Sunday!


Sunday is the last day you can enter to win a one-year subscription to Live Happy Magazine. You can read my full review and enter to win here. 

Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango Review and Giveaway (3 Winners)!

Dial coconut water mango

Dial is happy to introduce the newest product in their line of Coconut Water Body Washes: Coconut Water Refreshing Mango. Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango is the first of its kind to contain coconut water and mango for clean, healthy and hydrated skin. Coconut water is the leading trend known to be rich in antioxidants ad electrolytes that help provide replenishing  hydration. Mango is known for being nutrient rich and adds a touch of tropical freshness. 

Review: I am always looking for great products that will help with my overall skin care and I have rarely been disappointed with Dial. I used to stay away from body wash until I had the opportunity to try Dial's other Coconut Water Moisturizing Body Wash. Ever since, we have always had a bottle in our shower. So, I was thrilled to have the chance to review the Refreshing Mango which just so happens to be one of my favorite summer scents. Seriously, it smells soooooo good! 


Dial coconut water mango


Thanks to the amazing, fresh Mango scent I love this body wash even more than the original Dial Coconut Water body wash. I have sensitive skin so I was thrilled that the body wash helped me achieve healthy and hydrated skin without any reactions.  It suds up easily and I found that a little but went a long way. I really appreciated how well it rinsed from my skin as well. There was no filmy or sticky feeling - only clean and soft skin (that smells incredible)! 

Lathering action

Connect Here: You can find Dial on Facebook

Win it here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*The Dial brand provided me with a sample of Dial Coconut Water Refreshing Mango body wash in exchange for a product review. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

BornPrettyStore Review + Exclusive Discount Code!




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BornPrettyStore is a online shop dedicated to offering an amazing assortment of fashionable and trendy accessories at  prices that you have to see to believe. They offer an incredible selection of nail art as well as tons of other great fashion items to include jewelry, clothing, cell phone cases, and more. You can also buy in multiple quantities (sometimes for further discounts) so their jewelry can be used for wholesale, gifts, party favors, and more.

Review: 




My daughter, Bella, will be turning 9 soon and she is started to show a real interest in jewelry.  However, she is not quite responsible enough yet to not lose jewelry pieces (I keep hoping mismatched earrings will come in style and she will be set for a while). A site like BornPrettyStore is perfect for her because I can get her a ton of jewelry pieces for what 1 piece would cost at our local mall. In fact, the following items can all be purchased for a less than $12 (total):

British Style Retro Jewelry Earrings: These love/hearts/stripes earrings cost only $0.99. These dainty and attractive earrings are the perfect size for Bella and she really liked them a lot. Not surprisingly, she lost her last pair of heart earrings so these were a welcome replacement. They were extremely light weight which made them quite comfortable to wear.They are available in red, white, and blue.


7 Piece Ring Set:  Rings have become her newest obsession so I was amazed to see a 7-piece set for only $4.30. They come in a variety of sizes so some can be worn above the knuckle and some below.  Each ring has a different design that complement each other nicely but each can also be worn separately. Bella felt like a rock star with all her "bling"!

Red Cherries Pendant Bracelet:  This youthful and fun bracelet has a clasp closure. The clasp is a little tricky to operate and it is probably not a bracelet that you can get of and on without assistance. It is a bit on the larger size (I would recommend for teenagers rather than younger girls because of the size).  It is very bright and fun and would certainly make a great accessory to a toned down outfit.

Buy it here: You can find these items and tons more on the BornPrettyStore website. Cake Mom readers are able to receive a 10% discount off their order with the code AAIW10!

*I was provided with the above mentioned products for the purpose of facilitating this review. All opinions expressed are my own.  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

First Things First Family Prize Pack Giveaway!

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Summer is all about family and spending quality time with the ones you love. And the more skills you develop the more time you invest in your family and your relationships. First Things First (FTF) is an award winning not-for-profit organization dedicated to strengthening families. 

FTF is a resource that collaborates with and is supported by a broad cross-section of community organizations, groups and individuals.FTF accomplishes it mission through meaningful media messaging and skill building classes.
Did you know:
• 24 million children are growing up in homes without their biological fathers.
• Only 30% of divorces are due to infidelity, addiction or abuse, 70% of divorces are due to couples feeling disconnected.
• Couples who manage to devote time specifically to one another at least once a week are markedly more likely to enjoy high-quality relationships and lower divorce rates, compared to couples who do not devote as much couple time to one another.
• Fathers provide unique benefits to their daughters through their active and positive presence from the time of birth all the way through adulthood.


As someone who values family above all else, I was so happy to hear about this organization. As a therapist, I have seen many couples with marital problems and they often have a very difficult time seeing that differences in each other can actually strengthen family dynamics rather than ruining them. Take the video at the beginning of this post, for example.  It is so easy to get into an argument about parenting styles; however, it can benefit the children and the whole dynamics of the family in many situations!In the video, the kids had a great time and no one was hurt. While mom may have not engaged her kids in these types of activities, the whole family has benefited from dad's play style.

Win it here: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Compensation will be received for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Groovy Lab in a Box Review and Giveaway!


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Each month through the Groovy Lab in a Box subscription service, young STEMists (your children!) will receive fun, hands-on projects and an engineering design challenge – all focused on that month’s STEM topic. All STEMists will receive a Lab Notebook, where they can read about that month’s topic, perform investigation activities and document their findings. They will investigate, brainstorm, plan, build, test and redesign their own creations.

STEMists also receive access to the “Beyond…in a Box” online learning portal. This is a unique feature of Groovy Lab in a Box because it gives STEMists a deeper understanding of that month’s topic. “Beyond…in a Box” has videos and more interactive activities to supplement what they are learning from the box projects, which also helps the STEMist even more when completing the design challenge. Additionally, the monthly box contains bonus supplies exclusively for the activities available through “Beyond…in a Box.”

While the investigation activities have step-by-step directions, STEMists won’t have detailed directions to complete the Engineering Design Challenge. Instead, they must rely on their critical thinking skills, and what they’ve learned through the investigation process from the Lab Notebook and online activities. The Engineering Design Challenge is the culmination of your STEMist’s learning experience – the ultimate project where he/she must apply the knowledge gained from that month’s activities.





Review: Subscription boxes have become very popular so I was very happy to see one offered that is educational and fun at the same time. My children, Jackson (11) and Bella (8), disagree on most things but they do have fascination of science in common. A kit like this is perfect for them and I absolutely loved that there were multiple experiments contained in the box and that everything was included (there is nothing more frustrating than my kids showing an interest in something that is not electronic and then having to disappoint them when I tell them that we don't have some obscure item on hand to help them with their experiment). 


The Here Comes the Sun kit we received had several different experiments with a common theme: the sun. To make the kit even more fun, the activities also pose the following challenge: "You're shipwrecked on a deserted island with only your Groovy Lab in a Box. Inside your groovy box are the materials to design and build a solar balloon, solar oven, conductivity tester, and desalination plant. How can you eat, drink, and get someone to rescue you using only your Groovy Lab in a Box material?" How fun!! 


My husband and daughter had some great father-daughter time bonding over these activities. The directions were easy to follow and I really loved how there were thought-provoking questions and basic illustrations that helped with the overall instruction but did not ruin the surprise of the outcome.  The activities took just long enough to keep her engaged, but not too long that she lost interest. She also loved showing off her finished product to the kids in the neighborhood. I would definitely recommend this subscription box if you have a little scientist in your home! 

Bella and her solar balloon
Buy it here: You can join the subscription service from the Groovy Lab in a Box website.
$26.95 / Month - Billed monthly
$25.95 / Month - Billed every 3 months
$24.95 / Month - Billed every 6 months
$23.95 / Month - Billed every 12 months
Non-recurring packages and Single Boxes are also available for purchase.

Enter the code GROOVYNOW20 for a 20% Discount off the first month of your Monthly Subscription!


Win it here:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Back to School Essential: Carmex Moisture Plus Lip Balms

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As you are stocking up on back to school supplies and uniforms, don't forget that your daughter will need to keel her lips moisturized during the fall and winter and she might as well do so with style! Carmex offers some adorable Moisture Plus Lip Balms in great styles that will be perfect for the in-between-class touch-ups. 

I was thrilled to receive each of the lip balms along with a locker mirror to try out for myself. I am not a huge fan of the sticky or caked-on feel that comes with applying lip glosses and lip sticks so this line of lip balms is perfect for me. I cannot tell you how great my lips feel after applying Carmex Moisture Plus. They are extremely moist and soft and it adds a slight shine that makes them look really healthy. The length of moisturization is comparable to similar products; however,  I can't say that other lip balms in the market come in such fashionable tubes. Pre-teens and teens alike will likely love these products that are both functional and stylish. They could have fun matching their tube of lip balm to their bag, outfit, or even locker decor. These are definitely a back-to-school must! 




*I was provided with the above mentioned product for the purpose of facilitating this review. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Celsius Cola Review and Giveaway!

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Whether you drink soda or not, you probably are certain about one thing: sodas are not good for you. What if there was a healthy and tasty alternative to traditional sodas that allow you to have all the flavor you have come to love without the guilt? Celsius Sparkling Cola is a cola drink from the makers of Celsius (the world's first and only negative calorie drink, backed by multiple clinical studies). Studies show that drinking a great tasting Celsius before exercise helps you burn up to 100 calories and more per serving, boosts metabolism, reduces body fat, increases endurance and provides lasting energy.

Celsius is powered by MetaPlus®, a blend of ingredients designed to work together to increase calorie burning over a three-hour period. The formula is the result of years of research and testing and while the mix is proprietary, consumers readily recognize and trust the healthier blend of its ingredients such as: Green Tea with EGCG, Ginger, Calcium, Chromium, Caffeine, Guarana, and Vitamins B & C.

Review: I am all for any drink that will help me boost my metabolism and burn extra calories during my runs. I have tried Celsius flavor packs in the past and loved the energy I received. I am not a big fan of soda, so my distaste for the bubbly drink probably tainted my view of this drink so I enlisted some help from my family. My son, who loves soda (and is rarely allowed to actually drink it) really loved the Celsius Sparkling Cola. He commented on how much it reminded him of classic sodas and he was very impressed that it was a negative calorie drink. I was most impressed that there was a cola and energy drink available that does not contain any artificial ingredients. Personally, I will stick with the Celsius flavor packs, but you would probably love this if you are a cola lover. 




Buy it here: You can purchase Celsius Cola by the case from Amazon.

Win it here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*I was provided with the above mentioned product for the purpose of facilitating this post. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dorm Room Essential: Taylor Mini Bath Scale

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If you have ever had the chance to see the inside of the teeny-tiny rooms college campuses call dorms, then you know that space is at a premium and students need to get very creative about having essential items on hand without taking up too much room.  The new Taylor Mini Bath Scale, available in black and white, is perfect for people who are heading off to college. It is designed to take accurate weights but is so compact (9" x 5") that you can store it in a drawer, purse, etc. 


Features:
  • Digital scale with expandable display for easy reading
  • 9" wide x 5" high x 0.8 " deep - expands to 7" high when display is pulled out
  • LCD digits in 1" overall readout
  • Tempered glass platform
  • Instant on, auto zero, auto off, low battery indicator
  • Capacity 350 lb
  • Lithium battery included

Review:  I was amazed at how teeny-tiny this scale actually is.  My husband and I both weighed ourselves on our current scale and then weighed ourselves with the Taylor scale and they were exactly the same indicating that the scale is accurate. The weight calculated instantly and was very easy to read on the LCD screen. It was a bit strange to stand on such a small surface and my husband had a difficult time balancing himself on it. I had an easier time because I have smaller feet but I could appreciate the uneasy feeling he had. However, if you need a compact scale or one that can be mobile, this is definitely a great scale. Plus, it is affordable at only $20. 



Buy it here: You can purchase the Taylor Mini Bath Scale from Target or from Amazon

*I was provided with the above mentioned product for the purpose of facilitating this post. All opinions expressed are my own. 

How to Make Graduation Cupcakes

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graduation cupcakes

Yesterday was my brother's graduation party and we celebrated with a party and some graduation-themed cupcakes! I made two dozen of three different flavors (chocolate with peanut butter filling and chocolate buttercream, white with Oreo filling and buttercream, and yellow with Bavarian cream & blueberries and buttercream) and they were a real hit. To help dress them up, I put chocolate molds of graduation caps and books and also made some adorable fondant diplomas!

Here is how you can make your very own graduation cupcake toppers:



Step One: Make Marshmallow Fondant
Ingredients
8 oz white marshmallows
1 Tbsp water
4 cups powdered sugar (though you will not use all of it)

Instructions
1. Melt the marshmallows and water in a double boiler or melt in the microwave.
2. Place half the sugar in a bowl and make a well in the middle.
3. Add remaining sugar slowly using a kneading method. Add sugar by the tablespoon as you are kneading until the mixture is no longer sticky. (I use my KitchenAid mixer for this last step and it works well).

Step Two: Roll out fondant 
Using a rolling pin, roll out white fondant to a fairly thin consistency on a surface that has been greased with shortening. Make sure any fondant that you are not currently working with is covered to prevent it from drying out. This will also mean that you will only want to work on rolling a few diplomas at any given time. 




Step 3: Cut out shapes
Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut out strips of 1 inch by 3 inch slices of fondant (approximate).





Step 4: Roll the diplomas
Using your fingers, roll one end of the diploma (like a roll of paper towels) so that the fondant is completely rolled. Using your fingers, slightly press on the center of the rolled fondant so that the finished piece will show additional dimension that resembles paper that is wound tighter in the middle thanks to binding. Roll out as many diplomas as you will need.




Step 5: Color the remainder of the fondant

If you do not know how to add color to fondant, Wilton has a nice tutorial.  I would suggest using school colors for the remainder of the fondant which will be used to make the ribbon.

Step 6: Roll fondant to make ribbon

Pull sections of the fondant into a long, thin piece and then place it on a hard surface. Roll the fondant back and forth to create a rope. 


Step 7: Tie the Ribbon

Cut the "rope" with a knife or pizza cutter so you have just enough to wrap around each diploma. Drape the ends of the rope across each other. 


Not too hard, right! These can be made ahead of time, just make sure they are kept in a sealed container. 
 
DIY Cupcake Stand Tutorial: You can also make your very own cupcake stand by following the instructions here, using graduation themed ribbon.