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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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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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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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10 Ways to Say Thanks

There are so many people who come in and out of our lives. When it comes to thanking those who have helped us along the way, there are many ways. Although it’s good to thank those who have helped us, I think thanking the people who’ve helped our children is even more important. Here are ten ways to say thank you to a teacher or anyone.

  1. Say it with a gift card for a coffee. This is cheap and simple for any coffee, tea, or drink drinker! These printable teacher thank you gift card holders are easy to purchase ($3) and to print from home using a color printer.  You can purchase one here. Thanks a Latte gift card holder
  2. A simple phone call. Although a thank you card is nice, sometimes just a quick call to that special person is all you need to do. Calls are more personal than thank you cards and it will give you a chance to show meaning in your voice.
  3. If you’re thanking someone who’s helped a lot of kids – like a teacher or girl scout troop leader – there are lots of fun ways to thank them. Put together a booklet with all the kids pictures and little notes. This is where you can get crafty and get all of the other moms and dads to help.
  4. I love this guest blog and its list of funny ways to say thank you. Check it out.
  5. Do something in return. Talk to that person’s friends and family. What do they need? See if it’s something you can do even if it’s just running an errand.
  6. Use social media. Facebook, Google+, twitter, any of them work. This will give a very public shout out to that person. Sometimes people like the public recognition.
  7. Bake a thanks. Make cookies, candies, cake. Or, do what I would do and buy something sweet. Nothing says thanks like homemade cookies.
  8. Send flowers. This may be very traditional and a bit formal, but it would do the job.
  9. Send an edible arrangement. I’ve never gotten one of these, but have always wanted one.
  10. Just in case that wasn’t enough, here are twenty more creative ways to say thank you.

 

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Pokémon Go Cards and Announcements

I didn’t think I’d fall into this world of Pokémon Go. Right now, I need to get to one of those big blue things to get more Pokeballs. I’m all out. In case you don’t know how (which I doubt), here’s how to get more Pokeballs.  I’ve found that if you drive around a hospital parking lot at night heading toward a Pokestop, the hospital security guards will start following you around like a terrorist. I drove into a park at about ten o’clock at night and there must have been 10-12 cars there with the occupants roaming outside their vehicles, phones in hand, chasing invisible creatures. When you think about it, it’s really very bizarre. I do agree with most, however, that there are some places where Pokestops and Pokémon just shouldn’t be (i.e., Arlington and the Holocaust Museums).

I have fallen prey to this Pokémon phenomenon and now my work has caught this Pokémon craze, too. In case you want to celebrate a child’s birthday with a Pokémon-themed birthday invitation or announce your pregnancy using a Pokémon pregnancy announcement, here you go. Thanks, Nintendo.

Pokemon Pregnancy Announcement.jpg

pokemon party invitation.jpg

 

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Pretty Pelicans and Nice Nautical Images

I don’t know why I felt nautical today, but I did. My aunt and uncle have a great fondness for pelicans. They collect them and own quite a few. Obviously I am referring to pelican memorabilia and glass figurines, but I’ll bet you pictured a house full of caged pelicans for a second. I made this invitation today because I decided that, if storks can bring babies, so can pelicans. Anyhoo, that was the inspiration behind this pelican pregnancy announcement and the free marine images to follow.

 

Pelican Pregnancy Card red stripes stork pelican.jpgYou can purchase this nautical pregnancy announcement by and hopping over to my Etsy site. The nautical font I used is called Sailor Scrawl. You can get it, and ten more ocean-themed fonts, here.

Below are a few higher quality images I found online while getting into the ocean mood. Of course, I had to use a little pirate language in the announcement. Did you know that there is an online pirate translator that will translate any text you type into it into pirate language? I didn’t know a pirate language translating machine existed and I think it’s quite awesome. It will come in quite handy on September 16, 2016 – Initernational Talk Like A Pirate Day.

Colossal_octopus_by_Pierre_Denys_de_MontfortI also learned the definition of a Kraken while doing my marine images search. The Kraken is a legendary sea monster of giant size that is said to dwell off the coasts of Norway and Greenland

The below gallery has some free nautical clip art images including some really great pelicans and one pretty cool sea monster. The sea monster to the left is an 1801 pen and wash drawing of a colossal octopus by Malacologist (I need to now look that one up), Pierre Dénys de Montfort. You’ll have to find a large print of that one. I did dig further to discover the illustration to the left was inspired by an 1783 account of an eight-metre long tentacle found in the mouth of a sperm whale. It seems Pierre is a bit more of an interesting man than I gave him credit for. Sorry, Pierre. The below gallery includes higher resolution marine clipart. They are mostly open source, as far as I know.

The image below was too great to include in the gallery. I love whale illustration. It is from Wikipedia commons and came from the Tokyo National Museum.

Illustration_of_Whale_1,_Edo_period,_18th-19th_century,_color_on_paper_-_Tokyo_National_Museum_-_DSC05512.jpg

 

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Unique Gifts for Pet Lovers

I’ve always loved vintage photographs and ephemera. I’ve made several of these as gifts for friends and family in the past and so I decided to start selling them in my Etsy Shop. You can purchase one here. Each one is different and customized using your pet. I needed to enlist the help of my friends via my Facebook page in order to get some examples going. These things may be silly but they sure make cute, unique gifts for pet lovers. Right now and until the end of June, you can get 50% off any order in my Shop. Just use the code SOCIAL50 at checkout until June 30th.

Vintage-Cat-Portrait

Cat Paiting portraitDog-portraitLizard-PrintThe-Graduate