A Sparkle of Genius 2014-09-18T18:58:10Z http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/feed/atom Melissa Au <![CDATA[Thanksgiving Turkey Handprint Craft]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10257 2014-09-18T18:35:06Z 2014-09-18T18:35:06Z   I think Handprint Crafts are a really cute way to not only celebrate the holidays, but also document our kids cute growing hands. I have so many handprints saved from my kids and my favorite ones are always the most creative ones. These also make great preschool crafts or home school crafts because kids […]

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ThanksgivingTurkeyHandprintCraft

 

I think Handprint Crafts are a really cute way to not only celebrate the holidays, but also document our kids cute growing hands. I have so many handprints saved from my kids and my favorite ones are always the most creative ones. These also make great preschool crafts or home school crafts because kids have so much fun doing them and they are so cute.  You can make one for different letters you are studying, holidays or animals.  There are so many fun handprint craft ideas.  Since the leaves ares starting to change I want to share with you are Thanksgiving Turkey Handprint Craft.

What you need:
White Cardstock
Scissors
Orange Marker
Red Marker
Brown Marker
Paint in fall colors (we used brown, red, purple, blue, orange and yellow)

Directions
1. Paint child’s hand. Palm is brown and all fingers are different colors.
2. Place Thanksgiving Turkey Handprint on piece of cardstock.
3. When dry, with markers draw beak, eye, gobble and turkey feet.

This would be fun to do with all of your kids so you can see the difference in sizes. Don’t forget to write the year on the back so you can repeat year after year and see your kids hand sizes grow!
TurkeyHandprintCraft

Check out our other handprint crafts:

LittleMissMuffetSpiderCraft

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Ahoy, me Hearties! Avast, meet ye, me crew. #chasingtreats2014]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10243 2014-09-15T17:21:12Z 2014-09-15T17:14:47Z In normal, adventurous Au style, we spent me the day at the lake with me Buchaneers.  We pillaged, we plundered, had adventures,  sword fights and even found treasure.  We pillaged this thar Crew Bounty to review from Chasing Fireflies. All mayhem, doubloon and opinions be ye my own.  Go ye now and walk the plank. My kids count down […]

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PirateAuFamilyIn normal, adventurous Au style, we spent me the day at the lake with me Buchaneers.  We pillaged, we plundered, had adventures,  sword fights and even found treasure.  We pillaged this thar Crew Bounty to review from Chasing Fireflies. All mayhem, doubloon and opinions be ye my own.  Go ye now and walk the plank.

My kids count down the days to Halloween, every year.  They love dressing up in fun costumes, going to Halloween parties, and trick or treating.  I love Halloween because I get to see how cute my kids are and see them excited and happy.  This year, we had brainstormed just about every costume possible for my kids and couldn’t come up with the perfect costume idea.  We decided that it would be fun to have a Family Costume.  The holidays are about families and being together, and I thought the idea of a family costume was perfect in building holiday memories.  Plus we would look so awesome, right? :)  I don’t know if you have ever checked out the Chasing Fireflies Halloween costumes because they are all amazing.   We knew as soon as we saw the Pirate Costumes, though, that we wanted to be a family of Pirates.

ChasingFirefliesLilyPirate

Meet ye our littlest crew member. She may be small, but this laddie is fierce.  Her Girls’s Pirate Costumes is incredible.  I love that these adorable dresses start as small as size 4 because then my youngest daughter could join us in the fun.  Her costume came complete with this stunning dress and hat.  The sword and choker are sold separately, but they add so much to the costume.  She loved having a sword and wouldn’t have it any other way!  I’m sure you can tell from the picture that the details on this costume is incredible.  Everything from the lace underskirt, to the stylish belt and beautiful fabric. 

ChasingFirefliesBenjamin

Meet ye our lad. My son called himself the Pirate Captain of our crew.  This costume is very elegant and definitely worthy of being the captain.  I love that it coordinated with the other family costumes, but yet was more dashing and handsome of a Pirate costume.  It fit his personality perfect.  This costume comes with the shirt with attached vest, pants, boot covers, jacket, hat, eye patch, sword and earring. The quality of this costume is amazing.  It is made out of high quality fabrics and has incredible details to make him the best dressed Pirate Captain around.

ChasingFirefliesLauren

Meet ye our Pirate Princess. My daughter made the most stunning Swashbuckling Scarlet with her thick curly hair and bright blue eyes.  She loved her costume and was ready for some High Seas adventure.  The scarlet dress is the same style that her sister wore. The beautiful dress has an attached lace-up brocade vest, tulle and lace petticoat, black belt and pirate hat with a bandana and feather.  I especially love the tulle and lace petticoat that goes underneath these dresses.  It adds so much dimension and pirate-y look to the costume and really coordinates nicely with the lace of the sleeves and trim.

ChasingFirefliesRobbie

Meet ye our oldest Matey. My son is definitely a mini version of his father, so it was very fitting that his Captain Skullduggery was a mini version of his Father’s costume.  He is definitely a feared pirate in charge of the pillaging and plundering for the crew.  I am completely amazing with the quality of these costumes.  They really don’t miss any detail.  The buttons, trim, and style is perfect.  This boys costumes not only coordinates with his Father’s, but the vest fabric coordinates with the girls costumes.  This costume comes complete with long coat with gold button accents, a brocade vest, shirt collar, belt, sash, pants, pirate hat and boot covers. This set does not come with the eye patch, sword or earring but you can buy it separately from Chasing Fireflies.

ChasingFirefliesMelissa

Meet yer me.  A fine Pirate Lass. It is not often that you will find me in costume on Halloween.  I love dressing up my kids and putting them in their favorite costumes.  I always going trick or treating with them, but typically I just wear my regular every day clothes.  This year though, I could not pass up on the Women’s Swashbuckling Scarlet.   This costume is stunning.  The different layers and details make for a fun Pirate look.  The lace up brocade vest allows you to fit it to your size and how you are comfortable.  I thought it was adorable how it coordinates with the girls styles with a little more of a grown up feel, while still staying classy and elegant. The dress is made with a stretchy material so it is comfortable to wear.  All of the girls paired our costumes with the perfect Skull Cameo Choker.

ChasingFirefliesRob

Meet yer our true Pirate Captain. I think had the most fun in the role of a Pirate. He led his little laddies on Pirate adventures and it really was a lot of fun.  His Men’s Captain Skullduggery was very comfortable to wear and looked fantastic.  He really makes a great pirate.  And a handsome one, too, I might add.  This set comes with a long coat with gold button accents, a brocade vest, shirt collar, belt, sash and bootcovers.  I think it is important to mention that the pants are not included but you can buy them separately.  Our Pirate Captain and little mates all looks spectacular in their costumes.

ChasingFirefliesGroup

I don’t think I have ever been more impressed with the quality of Halloween Costumes.  I love that were able to find such a great selection of Family Costumes that fit our families personalities perfectly.  The quality of fabric, details and styles are so much fun and the best I have found.  I love that they have so many great accessories that help make the costume complete.  We chose swords, jewelry and eye patches, but you could also get fish nets, boots and more.  Chasing Fireflies has such a fun selection of costumes for men, woman and kids for those who are not looking for a Family Costume.  This halloween, why not consider Family Costumes.  It really is a lot of fun! Check out Chasing Fireflies for all of your Halloween Costume needs.  And don’t forget to follow them online on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

Off we sail on our Pirate Ship to our next adventure…

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Taming Curly Hair for the perfect Back to School style! #SoCozyBTS]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10229 2014-09-13T04:54:24Z 2014-09-13T04:54:24Z I received product from SoCozy for review.  All opinions are my own. I have straight hair.  The kind of straight hair that when you use a curling iron or curlers, magically, your hair still is straight.  I can’t hold a curl, not matter how hard I tried. My husband has straight hair, too.  Imagine our […]

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SoCozyBacktoSchool

I received product from SoCozy for review.  All opinions are my own.

I have straight hair.  The kind of straight hair that when you use a curling iron or curlers, magically, your hair still is straight.  I can’t hold a curl, not matter how hard I tried. My husband has straight hair, too.  Imagine our surprise when our first two kids had curly hair.  And when I say curly, I don’t mean wavy.  They have the most amazing, beautiful curls.  With my son, it is really easy for me, because when we keep his hair short it is easy to take care of.   My daughter on the other hand, even after 9 years, I struggle on taming her curls.  I was excited to work with SoCozy for a review in hopes that I would be able to finally find a product that worked with my daughters hair. If you have curls you know that if you don’t have good product, your have potential for some seriously crazy, unmanageable hair!  Here are the items that I received to review:

SoCozy3in1Shampoo

Cinch 3 in 1 Shampoo + conditioner in Mango-Go.  $11.95 for 8 oz.  An easy way to be squeaky clean from head to toe.

SoCozyConditioner

Cinch Super Hydrating Conditioner in Berry-Whip. $11.95 for 8 oz.  This super-luxe hydrating conditioner moisturizes and nourishes hair while it detangles.

SoCozyDetangler

Cinch Detangler + Leave in Conditioner in Fruit-tutti.  $11.95 for 8 oz.  Just spray in, comb and you’re done.  No tugging, no pulling, no tears or tangles.  This gentle, weightless conditioner detangles as it nourishes and hydrates for the soft, silky tresses.

SoCozyMousse

 

Behave Styling Mousse in Peachy-Keen. $11.95 for 6 oz.  Boosts volume, defines curls and tames flyaways and frizz while leaving hair soft and manageable.

The first thing you will notice when you use SoCozy product is that it SMELLS AMAZING!  Seriously, the best smelling ever.  I opened the box when we received our package and it smelled fantastic.  My daughter commented on this the first time she used the product, too, was how good it smelled. I love this product because it is salon-quality, but also contains to harmful chemicals, toxins, or parabens.  SoCozy is free of gluten, wheat and nuts so as a parent you can feel good about using this product on your kids.

SoCozyHairstyles

 

As part of this review we received a fantastic book called Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls’ Hair that teachers you lots of great tips for hair as well as cute hairstyles.  The best part was many of the hairstyles look adorable and are easy to do.  Going back to school, my daughter loves cute hairstyles but with all her curls, sometimes it is just too hard to do.  I found the style above, in the Cozy’s Complete Guide to Girls’ Hair book and it looked cute, took thirty seconds and she was happy.  For me, her hair does not take thirty seconds.  I typically takes a while to comb through the tangles and manage the crazy, but after washing with SoCozy product and following up with their styling mousse, her hair was soft, tangle free and manageable.  I had to send her to school though with wet hair.  The real test is to see how her hair is when she gets home.  After a long day of school, her hair often gets frizzy and out of control.

SoCozyCurlyHair

 

She came home with managed, beautiful soft curls!  The SoCozy product really helped her have the perfect Back to School hair style!  My daughter was happy and I was thrilled to have a product that not only made her hair look fantastic, but cut down our getting ready time because her hair was manageable and tangle-free!

For more information about SoCozy, you can follow them online on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

 

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[BonBon Ice Cream Brownie Bite]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10223 2014-09-13T04:10:49Z 2014-09-13T04:09:49Z When going back to school it is so important to me to find opportunities to spend time together as a family.  Between school, baseball, scouts, dance, and homework I feel like the end of the day comes around quicker than I am ready for it.  That is why I like to have a special treat to […]

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BonBonBrownieBitesDreyers

When going back to school it is so important to me to find opportunities to spend time together as a family.  Between school, baseball, scouts, dance, and homework I feel like the end of the day comes around quicker than I am ready for it.  That is why I like to have a special treat to end the day with.  Okay, any excuse for a delicious dessert is a good excuse.  I received compensation from Dreyer’s to create an easy recipe that can make family time when going Back to School enjoyable.  I love chocolate so incorporating chocolate in to family time is a big win/win.  My favorite way to end a long day is by scheduling in a few minutes for family.  We love playing games so sometimes at the end of a long day, we like to take even 15 minutes to play a quick game and enjoy a treat.  The BonBon Ice Cream Brownie Bite is a delicious treat that the kids can help you make and you can enjoy together.

BonBon Ice Cream Brownie Bite

Ingredients
Brownie Mix
Dreyer’s Ice Cream (I used Cookies and Cream)
Chocolate Chips

Directions
1. Bake Brownies according to the directions on box in cupcake liners.  Allow to cool completely.
2.  Use an Ice Cream scoop and scoop out individual scoops of Ice Cream onto Wire Rack.  Place Rack in freezer.
3.  Melt Chocolate Chips.  I do this by microwaving chocolate chips at half power for 30 seconds.  Stir then repeat until melted.
4.  Pull out Ice Cream scoops and place wire rack over wax paper.  Pour melted chocolate over each scoop of Ice cream and return to freezer until hardened.
5.  Place one Ice Cream bonbon on each brownie cup.
6. Enjoy!

IceCreamBrownieBite

Pin our BonBon Ice Cream Brownie Bite:

BonBonIceCreamBrownieBite

Here is another delicious Dreyer’s Ice Cream Recipe that you might like to try:

SmoreIceCreamSandwichDreyers

Dreyers.com/inspiration has great recipes for the whole family to create together! Now for more creative, family fun inspiration, you can visit Dreyer’s NEW Pinterest page at pinterest.com/DreyersIceCream.

“This blog post is part of a paid The Motherhood and Dreyer’s blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.”

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[S’more Ice Cream Sandwich]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10214 2014-09-13T04:10:18Z 2014-09-13T03:52:38Z Did you know that Dreyer’s has S’mores Ice Cream?  Yeah, awesome, huh! When I saw this I knew that I had to buy it.  I received coupons from Dreyer’s to come up with a great back to school recipe and I was excited for the challenge.  We love making s’mores during the summer. There is […]

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SmoreIceCreamSandwichDreyers

Did you know that Dreyer’s has S’mores Ice Cream?  Yeah, awesome, huh! When I saw this I knew that I had to buy it.  I received coupons from Dreyer’s to come up with a great back to school recipe and I was excited for the challenge.  We love making s’mores during the summer. There is nothing better than the warm night air, stars in the sky and enjoying time together as a family eating s’mores.  Now as we go back to school, the weather has started to cool down and we don’t do it often enough.

With the kids back in school, it is even more important to me to find time in the evenings to create memories and spend time together.  I feel like they are so busy with school stuff that the moments we do have together, I want to make them special.  One great way to enjoy time spend together is through dessert.  You laugh, but really, how many happy family memories do you have with dessert.  Ice Cream makes me very happy.  :) I like to find recipes that are easy enough that my kids can join me in the kitchen while we make it and then we can enjoy eating it as a family. I decided to make a S’more Ice Cream Sandwich using the Dreyer’s S’more Ice Cream and it is a winner!

S’more Ice Cream Sandwich

Ingredients
Graham Crackers
Chocolate Candy Bar
Marshmallows
Dreyer’s S’more Ice Cream

Directions
S'moresIceCreamSandwichRecipe1. Line Cake Pan with Wax paper and spread Dreyer’s S’more Ice Cream in a layer on top of wax paper.  Store Cake pan in freezer.
2. When you are ready to assemble your Ice Cream Sandwiches, pull out Wax Paper and lay flat on top of a cutting board.  Lay your graham cracker square on top of the ice cream and with a knife cut the exact size in the ice cream.
3. Add a graham cracker top and bottom to the Ice Cream and store Ice Cream Sandwiches in the freezer.
ToastedS'mores

4.  There are many ways that you can toast your marshmallow but I prefer to toast mine using my stove top.  I stuck my marshmallow on a fork and held over flame until toasted.
5.  Add a square of chocolate on top of graham cracker then add marshmallow on top of chocolate.
6.  Finish with a final graham cracker on the top.

S'moreSandwich
7.  Enjoy immediately.  If you are wanting to return to freezer and enjoy later, add chocolate at the last minute because freezing the chocolate makes it hard to eat.  :)

My favorite part about this recipe is not only does it taste delicious but it is super easy to make.  My kids love helping in the kitchen and this is such a great back to school dessert recipe that everyone will be excited to help make!  After a long day at school, it is fun to sit down with the kids and be able to enjoy such a tasty treat.

Pin Our S’more Ice Cream Sandwich:

DreyersSmoreIceCreamSandwich

Here is another easy recipe that you can make using delicious Dreyer’s Ice Cream:

BonBonBrownieBitesDreyers

 

Dreyers.com/inspiration has great recipes for the whole family to create together! Now for more creative, family fun inspiration, you can visit Dreyer’s NEW Pinterest page at pinterest.com/DreyersIceCream.

“This blog post is part of a paid The Motherhood and Dreyer’s blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.”

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Gummy Drop!, the newest game from Big Fish]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10156 2014-09-12T06:45:41Z 2014-09-11T03:06:17Z Big Fish has released yet again, another winner. I really enjoy playing games on my phone.  I find it relaxing to play one of my favorite games when I have a few minutes and right now my game of choice is Gummy Drop.  I have many that I like, but this one I really enjoy […]

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IMG_1211

Big Fish has released yet again, another winner. I really enjoy playing games on my phone.  I find it relaxing to play one of my favorite games when I have a few minutes and right now my game of choice is Gummy Drop.  I have many that I like, but this one I really enjoy because it brings a much higher level of a challenge than others.

In Gummy Drop, the goal is to “rebuild famous landmarks across the globe, players much match gummies in groups of 3 or more to collect building resources.  Each landmark may require more than one building resource and, unlike most other Match-3 games where you simply move on from level-to-level,  Gummy Drop allows players to replay completed levels to collect special additional building resources.  Gummy Drop is a unique, highly repayable game releasing with hundreds of levels and new levels being added each month.”

As mentioned, there are hundreds of levels and I have only had the opportunity to get through about 50 of them.  I am already impressed though with how challenging, different and enjoyable each different level is.  Each new level brings different challenges that need to be accomplished.  The most difficult for me, are the timed levels.  Somehow my match solving mind requires time and those quick moving rounds really work your mind! Here is an example of some of the fun levels you will encounter in Gummy Drop:

GummyDropLevels

At the end of completing different levels, you have the opportunity to earn different Boosts. They are great to have and very welcomed because some of the levels are really challenging and I have found that without a boost it takes playing the level again and again to win! There are a lot of great boost that you earn right at the perfect moment to help with a challenge.  Once the boost is used you have the opportunity to pay to use the boost again.

Boosts

At the end of each level you earn Rewards.  These rewards are important for continued play.  You want to earn as much as you can to continue to higher levels in the game.  I have found that if I don’t have enough bricks or other required items I have to replay levels in order to continue.  I enjoy trying to beat my previous scores and getting a new high score!

IMG_1250

When you have enough of the required reward items, you will be asked if you want to Build it.

IMG_1224

If yes, you will spend the required items and the building will be built and new levels will open up for you to play.

IMG_1216

Since the goal of the game is to rebuild famous landmarks across the globe the rewards you earn will help you to do this. I find this part of the game really fun because you can learn about Australia in the process.

IMG_1225

One of my favorite features is the wheel that you can spin to try to get either more lives or more turns.  I have had so many times when I am one or two turns away from winning but I use up all my turns.  This gives me the chance to try to win a few more turns so I can win the level.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.  :)  

                  IMG_1246

Gummy Drop is a lot of fun.  It really is a thinker game that you have to make sure that the move you are about to make is the best one to make.  I love the variety of levels that I have come across. They are all so different but all very challenging.  My kids love trying to steal my turns from me and it is a fun game for all.  Here is one of my best scores:

IMG_1281

Gummy Drop!, the newest game from Big Fish, is available now in the App Store

Gummy Drop! iPad Sweepstakes

Enter for a chance to win a free iPad Mini!  Beginning midnight on September 15th, fans can visit the Big Fish on Facebook or Twitter to enter to win a free iPad Mini! The sweepstakes will end at 11:59pm on September 21st at which time a winner will be chosen at random.  The winner will be announced on Facebook and Twitter on September 26th and contacted by Big Fish for contact and shipping details

Entry details are below:

Facebook

Visit the Big Fish Games Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bigfishgames and COMMENT on the Gummy Drop! iPad Sweepstakes post with the phrase “The world’s gone gummy!”.

Twitter

Tweet @bigfishgames with the phrase #theworldsgonegummy.

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Casting Call: Married Couples to Compete for Trust Fund for their KIDS!]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10153 2014-09-10T19:04:58Z 2014-09-10T19:04:58Z   Here is a fun opportunity for you: Casting Call We are casting active and adventurous PARENTS who are willing to take on any challenge and compete in an elimination-based, eight-episode series to test both physical stamina and mental acuity. *Filming dates would be November 2 – December 13 (subject to change) in an undisclosed […]

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TEMhires

 

Here is a fun opportunity for you:

Casting Call

We are casting active and adventurous PARENTS who are willing to take on any challenge and compete in an elimination-based, eight-episode series to test both physical stamina and mental acuity.

*Filming dates would be November 2 – December 13 (subject to change) in an undisclosed tropical location. Production would be dark over Thanksgiving.*

Readers that would like to apply should send an email to msterbacasting@gmail.com with the following information:

Names & Contact Info (Phone, email)

Occupations and/or any involvement in organizations (PTA, Scouts, Army, Navy, etc)

How long you have been married?

How many children do you have and ages?

What makes your (love, family) story unique?!

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Halloween Crafts and Recipes]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10143 2014-09-10T18:41:59Z 2014-09-10T18:41:59Z It’s never too early to start planning a ghostly get-together! Count down to Halloween with the October issue ofWoman’s Day, now on newsstands nationwide. Full of recipes and family friendly activities, your fall will be jam packed with seasonal fun. Keep autumn spook-tacular and stress-free with charming pumpkin carvings, DIY front-door decorations, and wickedly delightful […]

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Woman'sDayOctober

It’s never too early to start planning a ghostly get-together! Count down to Halloween with the October issue ofWoman’s Day, now on newsstands nationwide. Full of recipes and family friendly activities, your fall will be jam packed with seasonal fun. Keep autumn spook-tacular and stress-free with charming pumpkin carvings, DIY front-door decorations, and wickedly delightful recipes! Be sure to take note of these simple, budget-friendly, fun-filled ideas to be the spookiest house on the block.

Halloween Crafts and Recipes

WomansDayANimals  Fantastic Fox:

Start with an oval-shaped variegated squash for the body, a teardrop-shaped orange pumpkin for the head and a long, bell-shaped orange gourd for the tail. Attach them with skewers, centering the stem of the pumpkin as the nose. Etch out a smile and hollow holes for eyes. Layer a small acorn top as eyeballs; glue in place. Quarter a small pumpkin for feet, gluing on pumpkin seeds as claws; use the rest to cut out pointy ears. Attach all to the body with skewers.

Complete the family with a curious raccoon, adorable turtles, and a playful porcupine.

WomansDayPumpkins

Plant People:

Pick two stout pumpkins. Cut off the tops and hollow them out. Draw a face on each with a washable marker; carve. For hair, use plants like grass tuffs or ivy. Wrap each plant pot in a section of orange plastic tablecloth; hide it inside the pumpkin.

WomansDayTurtles

Happy Haunters:

Choose three butternut squashes of varying lengths. Trim ¼” off the larger end; hollow out and cut a zigzag along the bottom. Draw on faces with a washable marker; carve. Inside each, make a simple platform with skewers to hold a tealight.

WomansDayWitch Smashed Witch:

A witch crashed on her search for candy! Recreate this eye-fooling idea with hardware store finds (brooms, spray paint), party store picks (the witch’s costume, plastic cauldrons, a black cat) and craft supplies (batting for the bubbles, construction paper for the mice cutouts, ribbon to trim the brooms). Make sure to secure the witch so she’s nice and flat-better to give a funny “splat!” effect.

no-bake-peanut-butter-cheesecake-recipe-wdy1014-xl

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake:

Perfect for peanut butter and cheesecake lovers alike, this no-bake dessert contains a hidden layer of Reese’s cups and is topped with Reese’s pieces.

Serves: 10

Total Time: 2 hr 15 min

Prep Time: 15 min

ingredients

  • (Cooking spray) for the pan
  • 1 package(s) (9-ounce) chocolate wafer cookies (we used Nabisco’s)
  • 1/2 cup(s) (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 package(s) (8 ounces each) cream cheese
  • 1 cup(s) heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
  • 17 peanut butter cups (we used Reese’s)
  • 2 ounce(s) Reese’s pieces, roughly chopped

directions

  1. Lightly coat a 9-inch spring form cake pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the chocolate wafers to form fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse to combine. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and 2 inches up the sides of the pan and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the heavy cream, mixing just to incorporate. Increase the speed to high and beat until thick and stiff, about 2 minutes.
  4. Arrange the peanut butter cups on the bottom of the prepared crust, breaking them to fit, as necessary, to fill any large gaps. Spread the cheesecake filling over the top of the peanut butter cups and sprinkle with Reese’s pieces. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

WomansDayHouse

Home, Scary Home:

Chocolate cookie walls and candy decorations make this haunted house frightfully delicious.

Windows – Attach windows to house with royal icing, then affix candy eyeballs ($3.99, wilton.com) to windows with melted hard caramel.

Stairs – Cut 3 wafer cookies to the width of the door, and arrange as stairs.

Shingles – Starting with the top row, stick Golden Graham Cereal shingles on the roof using melted hard caramel.

Headstone – Cut the bottom third off a Milano cookie and pip RIP on the top using tinted royal icing.

Dirt – In a food processor, pulse 6 chocolate cookies (such as Famous Wafers) until they’re fine crumbs.

Paved Ground – Make a path to the front door with white M&M’s; attach to the cookie base with royal icing. Stick gray, black, lavender and purple M&M’s around the house.

Spiders and Web – Affix mini M&M’s to the walls using royal icing. Then pipe royal icing legs and eyes and draw a web.

Recipes and Photo Credit provided to A Sparkle of Genius by Woman’s Day.

Photo Credit: Pumpkins: Antonis Achilleos; Smashed Witch: Jonny Valiant; Haunted House: Emily Kate Roemer

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Apple Announces iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch #AppleLive]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10129 2014-09-09T20:01:00Z 2014-09-09T19:37:11Z We have been counting down the days to the Apple announcements for their new products.  There have been so much talk and speculation and a lot of which was correct.  Personally, I was hoping the speculation for an Apple Watch was going to be accurate.  I had been holding out on buying competitors brands in […]

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We have been counting down the days to the Apple announcements for their new products.  There have been so much talk and speculation and a lot of which was correct.  Personally, I was hoping the speculation for an Apple Watch was going to be accurate.  I had been holding out on buying competitors brands in hopes that Apple would release one.  This morning Apple Announced iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch!  Looks like I will be waiting until next year for the watch!  Here are the highlights of the Live Event, in photos:

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus

Apple Pay

Apple Watch

Love it.  Just wish I didn’t have to wait until early next year to own it!  And we can’t forget my favorite TWEET of the event:

AppleTweet

For complete details of this event and all specs on product announced visit: http://www.apple.com/live/2014-sept-event/

Last but not least:

“We’re giving U2’s new album to every iTunes Store customer in 119 countries.

The album is already in your iTunes music library. All you have to do is tap to download it.”

All photo credit: http://www.apple.com/live/2014-sept-event/

What do you love most about this products?  What don’t you like?  Features, price, look?

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Melissa Au <![CDATA[Getting fit really CAN be FUN! #FitMadeFun]]> http://www.asparkleofgenius.com/?p=10112 2014-09-08T21:40:17Z 2014-09-08T21:40:17Z I received promotional items to throw a #FitMadeFun party.  All opinions are my own. On September 6th, coinciding with the global launch of the LeapBand™, the new wearable activity tracker from LeapFrog, I had the opportunity to throw a #FitMadeFun Party!  And let me tell you, we had fun!  Kid were all smiles.  We have been a […]

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FitMadeFun

I received promotional items to throw a #FitMadeFun party.  All opinions are my own.

LeapBandLeapFrog

On September 6th, coinciding with the global launch of the LeapBand™, the new wearable activity tracker from LeapFrog, I had the opportunity to throw a #FitMadeFun Party!  And let me tell you, we had fun!  Kid were all smiles.  We have been a fan of the Leap Frog brand for a long time so I was very excited to hear about the release of the Leap Band.  This is really cool.  My son had the opportunity to try one out and then we gave a second one away as a prize at our party.  The LeapBand is a wearable activity tracker that encourages kids to get active with customizable virtual pet pals. LeapBand tracks kids’ every movement and suggests fun active challenges – and the more they move, the more points they earn to unlock virtual rewards for their pets and get to new levels! My son has worn his non-stop since he received it and its fun seeing him run extra laps around the back yard or do jumping jacks and really enjoying moving around.

My favorite features:

  • Tracks their movement
  • They can earn rewards
  • Watch can be locked during night time and school hours
  • They learn to enjoy getting up and moving around!

Benjamin wore his Leap Band to our Fit Made Fun party so we could show the other kids all about the cool activity tracker and tell them about Leap Frog and Clif Kids.

As part of the Fit Made Fun event, LeapFrogs goal was to break a world record in helping get kids up and active.  As part of these, Fit Made Fun parties were hosted where kids got up and exercised! We had 12 kids show up to our party to exercise.   My awesome sister-in-law who teaches Jazzercise agreed to teach an hour long class to the kids.

We did a warm up stretch:

DancingKids

We Danced:

 Played Muscial Hula Hoop:

MusicalHulaHoops

Danced some more:

Dancing

Played Fruit, fruit, Veggie (duck, duck, goose)

FruitFruitVeggie

And cooled down with some stretching:

Cooldownstretch

    Benjamin was very excited to discover that with all this fun working out, he had earned over 500 jewels!

LeapBand

We ended our party with the perfect after workout at snack.  These Clif Kid Protein Bars were a huge hit!  Each kid got to snack on one and then take some home with them for later!  Yes, I know they say Clif “KID” but, man I really loved the Chocolate Mint!  :)

ClifKids

Thank you Leap Frog and Clif Kid for hosting a fun Fit Made Fun Party!FitMadeFunJazzHands!

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