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Magic Tracks Review

My two children saw the commercials for Magic Tracks on television and were wowed by them. They bugged me for several weeks before I went out and purchased them from Walmart. You can get them online easily from Amazon by clicking this link.

magic tracks

So what did we think of them? Well, getting the battery into the car was a little bit difficult. It sort of felt like the car was going to fall apart when I did this. I bought two of them, one for my son and one for my daughter. Turned out that only one of the cars worked. So, we returned the defective product back to the store and got a new one (which actually did stop working again after a few weeks). It could be the roughness of a toddler and a four year old. Or, the product could just be a bit defective.

The tracks themselves were the neatest part of this toy. You have to interlock them when you’re setting it up, which isn’t hard to do. The way that they bend and move is amazing. I think perhaps someone invented the tracks first and added the car later.  Once you have your track set up you set your car on the tracks. There’s a button on top of the car that gets it going. It’ll shoot off pretty fast and it whips around these awesome tracks in an amazing way, staying on the tracks the whole time. The more track length you have, the more fun it will be. So, it may be worth investing in two of these. Get two of them for less from Amazon here.

Would I buy them again, yes. Scale of one to ten? I give this product a seven (only because the cars broke and needed to be returned on several occasions).

Here’s a great video advertising Magic Tracks.

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Collection of Little Golden Book Party Ideas

A Little Golden Book Party

A Little Golden Book Party is a great theme for a storybook baby shower or birthday bash. There are so many cute ideas for decorating. Here are just a few creative ways to help make your Little Golden Book Party more memorable. Although this theme is great for a birthday of any age, it’s terrific for a first birthday party (the golden birthday).

Little Golden Book Invitations

Before you can have your Little Golden Book Party, you definitely need the invites! I have a huge variety of one-sided and two-sided invitations to match any occasion. Check them all out here. Below are a few examples. Click on any of the images below to purchase one now.

invitations
This invitation comes with free thank you notes and labels.
bambi invitation
A Bambi Baby Shower Invitation!

 

disney invitation
A more modern style with Disney characters!
Pokey Little Puppy Invitation
Who doesn’t love the Pokey Little Puppy! Click the image to shop for this invitation now.
little golden books
A slight variation to the invitation above.
little golden books cover
Click this image to get an invitation using any Little Golden Books cover you can dream up!
diaper raffle tickets
If you’re having a Little Golden Book baby shower, here are some adorable diaper raffle tickets. It’s an instant download via Etsy. Just click the image to download them now!

The Decorations

There are so many different ways to decorate using Little Golden Book pages.

 

little golden book table setting
A table setting idea from Northshoreparent.com.
little golden book cupcake toppers
Little Golden Book Cupcake Toppers. Click to purchase this instant download now.
banner
An instant download via Etsy – a Little Golden Books Happy Birthday Banner!

wreath
A Little Golden Books wreath. Adorable!
banner
Pokey Little Puppy Banner
Little Golden Books Cake

Party Favors

Give away things like bubbles, water bottles, and Little Golden Books themselves.

 

Little Golden Book Party Favors
Party favors! Courtesy of Northshoreparent.com.

 

water bottle labels
Printable Happy Birthday Water Bottle Labels
spinwheel favors
Spinwheel Favors
treat bags
Little Golden Book Treat Bags

 

 

Below are a few more articles on Little Golden Book parties from other blogs.

 

 

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Free Minimalist Recipe Cards (Regularly $2.75)

Printable Minimal Recipe Card Template is made to keep all of your favorite recipes in the same place with these printable recipe cards. In an easily accessible PDF format, each card can be printed as many times as you would need. This recipe template is available in 2 different sizes according to your needs:

4 × 6″ and 5 × 7″

► WHAT YOU’LL RECEIVE:
Click on the links below to access the 5×7 and 4×6 versions of this card.

Here they are in PDF format layed out (2 up) on an A4 and Letter sized Sheets:

A4 4×6

A4 5×7

Letter Size 4×6

Letter Size 5×7

Want these cards personalized? Visit my Etsy shop and send me a message to request a custom order.

5 x 7

4 x 6

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How to Stay Calm When Punishing Your Kids

How do you stay calm when punishing your kids?

As a parent of a 5-year-old and 2-year-old, I’ve fixed fights and got into many shouting matches. One of the hardest things to do is to learn how to TEACH my children.

Here’s an excerpt from an article mentioned in the last sentence of this post sums up what happens to your kids when you get angry with them…

Imagine your husband or wife losing their temper and screaming at you. Now imagine them three times as big as you, towering over you. Imagine that you depend on that person completely for your food, shelter, safety, protection. Imagine they are your primary source of love and self-confidence and information about the world, that you have nowhere else to turn. Now take whatever feelings you have summoned up and magnify them by a factor of 1000. That is something like what happens inside your child when you get angry at him.

  • Don’t spank. Hitting teaches kids to hit. Period. The last thing we want is for our children to fear us. This is why I don’t spank anymore. Although I’m definitely tempted, especially with my son, I hold back the urge and put them in their room for a timeout instead. I met with a child psychologist once and she told me the same thing. After that, I quit spanking my children. This includes grabbing their arms, etc. Studying the long-term effects of discipline can be difficult, because kids aren’t punished at random; those that are spanked may be more difficult to discipline than those that aren’t, creating a chicken-and-egg problem. Nevertheless, researchers tackling the problem in different groups of kids from different angles have consistently found that spanking is likely to create more problems than it solves.
  • Remember that punishment is for learning, not hurting your child. Sometimes you feel like you just want to “get back” at your child. I felt that same way when my two year old threw my iphone into the toilet on purpose. (Here’s an article on how to fix a cell phone dropped in water in case this happens to you, too!). He also broke my laptop but that’s a different story. The main point in this tip is that you should never act angry when you punish. Instead, stay cool and calm. This will teach your children to stay calm and collected in the face of obstacles. If they learn to freak out and yell every time something bad happens, that’s what they’ll do as adults.
  • Use timeouts. There is virtually no disagreement among psychologists, psychiatrists and other child development professionals that sending kids into a timeout is head and shoulders above spanking as a disciplinary technique Now, not everyone is in agreement on time-outs. You’ll have to decide for yourself. As an opposing viewpoint, here’s an article on why you SHOULDN’T give timeouts. On my side, here’s an article on why you SHOULD give timeouts. As you probably know, it’s one minute per year of life. So, I give my five-year-old a five minute timeout and my son a two minute timeout. I had to install top locks on the outside of my children’s doors in order to lock them in their rooms. That may seem extreme, but it’s better then standing their, yanking on the door handle to keep it shut. One good tip I got from my daughter’s psychologist (I went to see one when me and her father were going through a difficult time. I wanted to make sure she was going to be okay. I went by myself to learn parenting tips and didn’t bring my daughter – the psychologist’s idea, not mine) is that, when you are putting your child in timeout, don’t talk to them. They’re going to be hysterical so trying to tell them what they did wrong will be pointless. They know what they did. The time to talk about their negative behavior is AFTER the timeout has ended and they are allowed out into the house. The good news for parents is that timeouts get results, said Ennio Cipani, a clinical psychologist in California and author of the book “Punishment on Trial,” available free online. Most of the research on the basics of timeout dates to between the 1960s and the 1980s.
  • Take five and breath. Before you punish, close your eyes for five seconds and breath in and out slowly. Feel your breath as you do so. This mini-meditation will help to calm you so that you don’t let anger cloud your parenting judgment.

    For more advise on how to not get angry with your kids while punishing them, read this article or do a simple Google search on the subjects. There’s a lot of information out there!

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Tips to Sell More On Etsy

Do you want to know how to sell more on Etsy? Here are 15 Etsy seller tips. This amazing marketplace helped bring my dreams into reality when I started selling invitations, announcements, and digital goods. I’ve been selling since 2013 and I’ve learned a few tips to sell more over the years. Here are some great tips to help you make the most of your Etsy shop!

  1. Customer Service: Good customer service doesn’t just mean being nice to your customers. It means going above and beyond… all the time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to shout at a customer through an Etsy convo, but I don’t. I know better now. Above all, be honest! If their order is delayed, let them know. Let them know even if it’s an outrageous delay. Always respond to customer questions and thank them for their positive reviews. Be nice. Always.
  2. Ask for positive reviews. It’s totally okay to ask them for this. If I didn’t ask, I wouldn’t have half of the reviews I have. Most people don’t think to leave a review unless it’s a bad experience. However, I find that, if they’ve had a great experience with me, they’re more than happy to leave a review. How to ask for an Etsy review? It’s simple! When you know this might be your last conversation/email to that person (such as when you’re thanking them again – and always be sure to thank them one last time), use verbiage similar to mine: “Thanks again so much for your order. Though not necessary, I would greatly appreciate your review for my shop. It’s still a relatively new shop and every review counts! To leave a review, just click on your ‘my account’ link to the top right. Then, visit ‘purchases and reviews.’ The item you purchased from me should be there soon if it isn’t there already. Thank you again and I hope you shop with me again soon! I’d love to help with anything you can dream up!” Make sure you tell them HOW to leave a review if you’re asking for one. Also, encourage word of mouth about your store!
  3. Work with people on price! If someone asks you if you could make something for them and are surprised to hear how expensive it is, see if you can work with them a little. Perhaps offer free shipping or an extra freebie (such as with digital items).  However, never go too low that it isn’t worth it to you to do. I’ve found that I undervalue my work and I’ve suffered some in pricing before I realized that people will pay more.
  4. Have a good bio and store story. Etsy is a community. We know these are real people making things and selling vintage items. They want to know the person they are buying from. Points for pictures of yourself and your real name!
  5. Don’t price your items too cheap. People may be willing to spend more if they think that item is of a better quality. More expensive = better quality.
  6. Take some great photos! This one is a must have. You have about five photos that you can upload. Use them all. If you are selling actual items and not digital downloads, invest in a good camera for photo taking.
    Etsy Photos Upload If you really want to capture some great photographs, create a lightbox. Here’s how you can make your own light box from home.
  7. Build your brand. Use shop announcements, shop logos, header images, listing images, and more to set yourself apart as a unique and coherent brand. Ask yourself these questions. What message are you communicating? Who’s your target customer? Is this message carried through in your logo, shop banner, tagline, and photographs?
  8. Use SEO. Use search engine optimization. You’re allowed 13 tags in each listing. Use ALL OF THEM. Ask yourself what people would search for when trying to find your item. Use this language in your listing title and listing description. A lot of people just copy and paste their title to the top of the listing description. Although this can work for some items, I think it looks better to use a brief paragraph describing the items – while including those tags. To find words to use in your SEO, visit your detailed stats on your dashboard and view the keywords people are using to sell your items.
  9. Social Media. Social Media. Social Media. Social media is free marketing for your business. Almost all social sites don’t cost a penny! Put your social media URLs in your Etsy profile. Using platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you can interact with your customers and answer their questions. It also gives you the opportunity to tell people about any SALES you may be having. Use an Etsy Coupon code and spread the news via all your social sites. Some people may use their own, personal sites. I prefer to have separate sites (for example, I link to my shop’s Facebook page as opposed to my own profile) for each social platform.
  10. Target your customers. After you’ve made more sales and talked with lots of customers, you should have a very good idea of who you’re selling to. For example, my target audience is moms ages 25-50 years old. I know this from the past experience I have. So, I don’t try to target men (aside from little boys’ invitations for their moms to pick out) or anyone too young. This saves you time and a great deal of effort if you know who you’re talking to.
  11. Study successful shops. Search for something similar to what you’re selling. Visit that listing as well as that shops home page. You can see their sales numbers up top and, if you visit their reviews, you can see exactly what people are loving to buy. Don’t steal their ideas, but it’s fine to use some of their verbiage and other ideas from visiting other sites.
  12. Have accurate item descriptions. This says it all. Be honest. Tell the buyer EXACTLY what they will be getting if they purchase that item.
  13. Set clear policies. Be very clear when you state your policies. One way to make sure buyers read your policies is to write, “Read my shop policies before purchasing.”
  14. Use your own word of mouth. Tell friends and family what you sell and ask them to tell others!
  15. Think of a creative shop name. Remember, although it can be a hassle to change everything, shop names CAN BE CHANGED.

    Above all, the best way to become a great Etsy seller is to communicate clearly and sell products people want to buy. If no one wants to buy what you’re selling, you’re not going to start selling.

 

 

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Free Halloween Images and Halloween Clipart

vintage halloween image

Free Halloween clipart for you now… Here is a collection of vintage and modern Halloween clipart. Many of these are PNG files and some are JPEG. To download, simply click on the image. It will open up in a new window. From there, right click with your mouse and save the file to a location on your computer. Use these Halloween images and Halloween ephemera in your scrapbooking, card making, party decorating, etc. Some I’ve photoshopped the words out of so that you can add your own.  All of these are full-size, high-resolution once clicked and linked to the media page. Enjoy!

vintage halloween sign or tag
Halloween Label With Pumpkin, Cats, and a Witch – Insert Your Own Words!
witch on broom
Vintage Witch Flying on Her Broomstick
owl sitting on a pumpkin
An Owl Sitting on a Pumpkin
halloween image
Grim Reaper or Skeleton Holding a Sign
Halloween Card Vintage
Halloween Card with Bats

 

black cat PNG
Black Cat Silhouette
large-apothecary-labels-3
Apothecary Labels
Vintage Halloween Card
Joyful Halloween Card
spooky black cat PNG
Black Cat PNG
full spider web
Full Size Spider Web PNG
Halloween paper dolls
Halloween Paper Dolls

 

 

2x3 Halloween Tag
2×3 tag I created for classroom treat bag labels or anything you like
Halloween card
Halloween Card
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Free Halloween Fonts

I love Halloween – from the smells of fall to the sounds of the leaves falling – I love just about everything. I also love designing around a Halloween theme. To do that, one needs fonts that are spooky and macabre. Here is a collection of free Halloween fonts.

Free halloween fonts

Jack Lantern Font

Ricky Vampdator Font

Feast of flesh Font

Nemo Nightmare Font

Halloween Too Font

Halloween Spider Font

Zombie Holocaust Font

Werewolf Moon Font

Black Asylum Font

Wild Wood Font

Casper Font

Witches Magic Font

Fiddums Family Font

Sketch Bones Font

If you’re looking for more, you can find them here and here.

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Funny Pregnancy Announcements

What better time to be funny and silly than when telling the world you’re having a baby. Announcing a pregnancy gives you the opportunity to show your humor. Some might think it distasteful, while others get a kick out of announcing big baby news in creative and funny ways. Here are a few funny pregnancy announcements I’ve created.

funny pregnancy announcements

Purchase the one above here.

funny pregnancy announcements

Purchase the one above here.

And one of my all-time favorites, to commemorate the 2016 November election, a funny election year pregnancy announcement. This one features images from each major party, plus an image of our own party – a baby bottle!

funny pregnancy announcements

Purchase the one above here.

Here is my Pinterest board on creative ways to announce your pregnant and a post I did a while back on quotes to use while announcing you’re pregnant. My inspiration for some of these was a brilliant pregnancy announcement that’s been done several ways (now copied over and over again) that has a pregnancy test and above it, reads, “Shit just got real.” Here is what I’m talking about.

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20 Quotes to Announce Pregnancy

pregnancy announcement card

There are lots of ways to announce that you’re pregnant. Here are a few pregnancy announcement wording examples. View all my pregnancy announcements here.

  1. New Year. New Baby. With baby’s due date and signature line.

  2. Double the Trouble, Twice the Fun! Dad’s Name has just knocked me up with two and not one!

  3. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Guess How Far Along We Are.

    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

  4. (Your Pet’s Name) has been keeping a secret! Guard dog duty begins (your due date).

    pregnancy announcement wording

  5. Starlight, Starbright. We’re expecting some sleepless nights! Find that card here.

  6. We’d like to announce to you, we’re due!

  7. Our dreams have come true! We’re due!

    pregnancy announcement wording

  8. (Husband’s name) is going to be a daddy and I’m pretty sure it’s mine.

  9. First comes love. Then comes marriage. In February we will be pushing a baby carriage.

  10. Here’s to hugs and laughter as we welcome (baby’s name) to our happily ever after.

    pregnancy announcement card

  11. Please welcome with love (insert ultrasound photo), Baby’s Name. Due (due date).

  12. We’ve waited quite a while to share our happy news. It looks like we’ll be shopping for some very tiny shoes.

    baby shoes card

  13. I’m getting a new best friend (with dog or pet’s photo).

  14. Baby makes three!

  15. For a police officer or firefighter – “Call dispatch! Baby _________ is coming (due date here).

  16. Joy and happiness is near. Our baby will soon be here!

  17. We’ve waited so long to say, (baby’s name) is on his/her way!

  18. Shit just got real (with ultrasound photo).

  19. For Christmas – Santa’s not the only one coming to town (with ultrasound photo).

  20. For specific weeks, “We’re very merry. Baby’s name is the size of a blueberry!”

Here are some great pregnancy announcement examples on my Pinterest board.

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How to Find High Resolution Photos Online

PNG of a spider's web

Finding high resolution photos on Google, Yahoo, and other search engines is simple. If you’re not using search terms and search tools, then it’s time to start.  First off, when you do a google search, you should always use this first trick:

  1. Using the * – Put a * after the word. For example, instead of searching “Cow” or “Cows”, search “Cow*”. What this does is expand your results, giving you both search results from the plural and singular cow searches. This works in everyday searching as well as image searching.

To find a high resolution photo on Google, use the SEARCH TOOLS box.  I’ve illustrated this below.

using google search tools

When you search for size, make sure you’re searching for something at least larger than 2MP (1600×1200). This will almost certainly help you find the search results you want.

Google has a nice relatively new feature that includes colors with searches. As you can see illustrated above, you can now pick which shades you want your results to come in.

The same goes for a Yahoo search, as you can see below.

yahoo image search

It’s not just the “size” search tool you should be using, utilize them all for the best results. As you can see in the yahoo picture above, you can search for only photos, graphics, GIFs, face photos, etc.

Usage rights also matters. With google and many other search engines, you can search to get only results with the usage rights you want. For example, searching only “commercial use okay” or “reuse with modification okay” searches.

So, the internet is not just full of low resolution photos. If you know how to find them, you can find almost anything you’re looking for.