Wii Star Wars Review

Wii Star Wars Lego the Complete Saga
by Heidi Lovell
Certified Business Moms

Average Score:
4.29 out of 5
(Read more about our scoring system)

This game really brings a different perspective to the galaxy far, far away straight to your living room. This game will entertain everyone even if they are not playing! Even when our kids were not playing they loved to watch what the crazy Lego characters did next.

Buy Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga at Amazon

Fun Factor 5 out 5
This game will have you laughing from the start. It is full of slapstick comedy and quirky videos which are based on different Star Wars movies. However all the characters have been replaced with Legos who add their unique goofiness to the saga!

Family/Group Factor – 5 out of 5
You can work as a team or by yourself. We had some who wanted to play and some who liked to watch either way everyone involved had a blast. The only difficult part is deciding who will go where, because the screen at times did not know who to follow. This made some of the characters fall off cliffs and crevices, which may cause younger children to argue who should follow who.

Too Easy or Too Hard – 2 out of 5
The Controls take some time to get used to, but in the end you do not have to think about it at all. The younger kids seem to understand the controls much faster than the adults. Once you overcome the difficulty of the controls it really is a blast!

Activity Factor – 4 out of 5
Unlike the majority of Wii games, there was not an abundance of movement required. However we have found that if you stand while you play you will want to move around naturally.

Child Friendly – 4 out of 5
As far as violence goes this game is pretty mild due to the fact that the Lego characters fall apart into little pieces instead of dying. The game has some problem solving which may make it a challenge for younger children.

Variety – 5 out of 5
For those of us that were fans of the first Star Wars this game really hits the spot! Every section is based on a different movie which contains 6 levels full of secrets and bonuses to unlock making it worth playing each level more than once. In addition, after you have completed a level you can return and play the level as a different character and even change between characters during the level, making it an entirely new experience!

Addiction – 5 out of 5
All things considered this game is extremely addicting. With all the bonuses and hilarious secrets to find this game will have you laughing and exploring for hours!

Additional Comments
If you are a Star Wars or Lego fan this game is definitely for you and your family. Sit back and enjoy it or grab a remote and jump right in to a new world of action and comedy bundled up into one unforgettable package!

Buy Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga at Amazon

Sticker Books for Toddlers

What easier way to keep a toddler entertained than with a big book of stickers? They’re easier on walls than crayons, that’s for sure (and if you have never had the pleasure of scrubbing crayon off the wall, may I just say you are lucky… so far).

Sticker books aren’t hard to come across. You can run to your local dollar store, but if you want to bring out the big books of stickers, you might need to look elsewhere. We did some digging and found some excellent sticker books for toddlers available on Amazon, and have listed some of them below.

Melissa & Doug Sticker Collections
Each of these featured sticker books contain THOUSANDS of stickers for a little bit of nothing. By far one of the best prices we’ve ever seen on sticker books. Plus you have you choice between pink, blue, purple, and green books for a kid with any taste. (Note – there’s some other fun products from Melissa & Doug mixed in this page, not just sticker books. Check them out!)

My Big Book Of Stickers
Yup, you guessed it. A big book of stickers. The best part of these particular stickers, though, is you can reuse them. This book will cost you a bit more, but it’s better in the long run to get the most bang for your buck. Includes over 400 stickers, and can be a great learning tool for toddlers.

Sticker Activity ABC (Sticker Activity Fun)
What better sticker book for a toddler than one that teaches them the ABCs? I’m a sucker for learning toys, and this one nails it. Includes coloring pages as well. Cheap price, which I’m also a sucker for.

Giant Sticker Activity – First Words
Another learning tool. More specifically, teaching toddlers how to read with the use of stickers. Fun and educational. It’s never too early to start teaching a kid how to read!

Winnie the Pooh (Ultimate Sticker Books)
What toddler doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh? I had to list this one, just because my oldest son was so in love with anything Pooh bear when he was little. This sticker book has somewhat of a purpose, where you put the stickers in specific places.

My Giant Sticker Activity Book (with CD)
Need something a little extra? This giant sticker book comes with a CD full of games, puzzles, and coloring pages. The price is right on this product too, costing less than some CDs alone full of activities. I love learning tools, especially when they can be done on the computer!

Make Your Own Pizza Sticker Activity Book
Not ready to let your toddler help you in the kitchen? Then let them make their own pizza with this fun (and cheap) sticker book! Includes all kinds of toppings to help them make the best pizza ever.

Still need more sticker books for toddlers? See more on Amazon.com!

Easy Dinner Ideas with Ground Beef

You’ve got a pound of ground beef. Now what to do with it? Here are a few of our favorite easy dinner ideas with ground beef:

Tacos
This is our favorite meal around here, and it’s made on a regular basis. Not just any taco meat will do though! See our suggestions on cooking perfect taco meat.  If you have just a pound of hamburger, this is usually enough for 2 kids and 2 adults if your serving a few sides or load up on the toppings. The taco meat recipe can also be done with 2 pounds without problems.

Hamburgers or Beef Burgers
No duh right? But sometimes we forget that sometimes ground beef can be just ground beef. You can make it interesting by adding different sauces or veggies. One of my favorite restaurant meals is a hamburger with avocado and mushrooms. YUM!

Meatloaf
Not a very complicated dish, and recipes are usually pretty easy to find. If your missing specific ingredients, there’s always room for improvising. Such as crackers for bread crumbs or adding your own special flair to the dish. If you need a basic meatloaf recipe, try this Amish meatloaf.

Chili
This ground beef dinner idea doesn’t have to be complicated either. Sometimes all we add is a can of beans (any kind on hand) and a can of Italian diced tomatoes. Really easy, really fast. Plus both the kids will eat it without complaints. You can add your own ingredients and really get to experimenting with this too.

That’s it! Pretty simple right? If you have any easy dinner ideas with ground beef you’d like to share, please feel free to leave your comments!

3 Bath Bomb Recipes for Kids

I absolutely love bath bombs. I’m a complete sucker for them, and they are my most favorite of all bath products (aside from homemade soaps!). Idea Queen managed to latch on to a few bath bomb recipes for kids and adults, and I’m excited to share them with you.

Each of the bath bomb recipes listed below are from our collection, and haven’t been tested out by us personally. They also do not have an author, so we weren’t able to give them proper credit.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

Bath Bomb Recipes

Use the bath bomb recipes below to make your own bath bombs. As mentioned, these bath bomb recipes have not been tested. If you use any of these, please be sure to let us know how they turned out.

Bath Bombs/Bath Fizzies
2 tbs. citric acid
2 tbs. cornstarch
1/4 cup baking soda
3 tbs. coconut oil (or any other carrier oil like almond, avocado or apricot kernel oil)
1/4 tsp. fragrance oil
3-6 drops of food coloring (if desired)
Paper candy cups

Place all of the dry ingredients (first 3) into a bowl and mix well. Place coconut oil into a small glass bowl and add fragrance and food coloring. Slowly add oil mixture into dry ingredients and mix well. Scoop up small amounts of the mixture and shape into 1″ balls. Let the balls rest on a sheet of waxed paper for about 2 to 3 hours, then place each ball into a candy cup to let dry and harden for 24 to 48 hours. Store bombs in a closed, air-tight container. To use, drop 1 to 3 bombs into warm bath water.

Scented Bath Bombs
1 1/2 cups baking soda
1/2 cup citric acid
8 drops essential oil — your choice of scent 1/2 teaspoon sweet almond oil
2 drops food coloring — your choice of color

-Combine all ingredients.
-Press into muffin tin or mold of your choice.
-Release from mold.
-Wrap in colored plastic wrap and tie with a ribbon.

Fizzes when dropped in water. This may quickly become one of your favorite bath bomb recipe for kids because of how very easy it actually is to make. When selecting an oil for scent, read warnings about use. Some oils are not intended to have direct contact with skin.

Surefire Bath Bombs
Dry ingredients:
1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup citric acid
1/2 cup cornstarch
Sieve dry ingredients until you get a nice smooth blend.

Wet ingredients:
2 1/2 Tbsp. sunflower or other light oil
3/4 Tbsp. water
2 tsp. essential oil
vegetable or other natural colorant
1/4 tsp. Borax

Combine wet ingredients and borax in a jar, cover tightly and shake vigorously. Drizzle onto drive ingredients and blend thoroughly. Pack tightly into molds and slide out. Dry overnight.

Where Do I Buy Ingredients?

Citric acid and certain carrier oils aren’t always easy to find, and citric acid happens to be the main ingredient in any bath bomb recipe. Mountain Rose Herbs is a trusted site which carry citric acid, essential oils, and carrier oils for all the above bath bomb recipes. Be sure to buy the smaller quantities of these ingredients, since a little goes a long way! Be sure to click on the banner below to check out their ingredients for the bath bomb recipes above.

Have fun!

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

Wii Play Review

Average Score:
3.86 out of 5
(Read more about our scoring system)

If you are looking for a great follow up game to Wii Sports, Wii Play might be just right. For the price when purchased with the extra remote, this game is a family fun winner! It was tested by a mom, an eight year old boy, and a six year old girl.

Buy Wii Play with Wii Remote at Amazon


Detailed Review of Wii Play

Fun Factor – 4 out of 5
Because there are several types of games to play, there’s a little something for everyone. We all seem to have our favorites, and games we strive to beat our own best score on. The movements are fun, especially with the Cow Races.

Family/Group Factor – 4 out of 5
This is only for two players, but it’s still fun gathering around and picking out different games to play against eachother. After each game is played, one of the players gets a “point”. You can do this for a few games or all night if you choose.

Too Easy/Too Hard – 4 out of 5
Since the real purpose of the Wii Play is to get you use to some of the movements with the remote, it’s not too difficult to get some of the motions down. We still have some issues with a few of the others games, but over all it gives you pretty clear instructions and isn’t hard to master.

Activity Factor – 2 out of 5
Unfortunately there aren’t any “get up and move” games offered here, and some are even best played while sitting (the fishing and shooting, for example). The cow races are even low energy games, but still extremely fun.

Child Friendly – 5 out of 5
Wii play gets 5 stars for being child friendly across the board on all games. Even the shooting game is mostly shooting balloons and pop cans, with a very quick option of shooting ducks in a few of the rounds. My 6 year old daughter doesn’t like shooting the animals, and luckily her score isn’t effected if she doesn’t.

Variety – 4 out of 5
In all there are nine games, so it’s pretty easy to find enough to do. The only thing it lacks is different options for the specific games (such as the shooting game only has a set amount of round that are the same every time, and the cow races only have one track). Still without the extra options, there is still enough games to play.

Addiction – 4 out of 5
Much like Wii Sports, you are given medals for higher scores. It also keeps track of your scores and gives you a mini score board when you are finished. This alone makes you want to keep playing just to beat your own personal score and get another medal.

Additional Comments

Overall this is a nice game when purchased with the extra remote. The kids like to play it, and so do the adults. Even though slightly low on the fitness aspect, it still offers relaxing family fun for everyone.

Buy Wii Play with Wii Remote at Amazon

Discount Coupons for Joann Fabrics

It’s no secret I’m a frugal mom. I’m a bargain hunter just like my grandma, and often times won’t even think of buying certain items unless it’s on sale. This is especially true with crafting supplies. Fabric and fun toys, I’m all over it if I can buy for less than retail price. Thus why I was so excited to see this new promotion at Joann.com.

Coupon Details: 40% Off the Regular Price of One Item at Joann.com ( Code:AE74 )

Clicking on the link above will also show you a few other promotions and the restrictions around them. There’s a lot of choices here, so if you have some big purchases to make, this code would be great (I did happen to see sewing machines are excluded though on this one, but other higher ticket items might not be).

Hopefully these discount coupons from Joann Fabrics will help you find some items to keep you occupied while the weather has you stuck inside!

Ingredients to Make Lip Gloss

If you read our post on free lip balm recipes, you noticed there was one main sites for places to buy ingredients to make lip gloss we suggested; Mountain Rose Herbs .

Ingredients to Make Lip Gloss

From the recipes there are a few main ingredients to make lip gloss that you’ll need (and may not already have):

Carrier Oils
From the lip balm recipes, it’s pretty easy to spot the carrier oils. Those are the main ingredients and oils are that not essential oils. Examples would be vegetable oil, coconut oil, or sweet almond oil. At Moutain Rose Herbs, carrier oils have their own category. On Kalyx, you’ll have to do a little digging (might I suggest the “search” function here – easier anyway since we’re on a hunt for specific ingredients).

Beeswax
A little beeswax goes a long way, so be sure your buying the least amount possible. A pound is a LOT. When most recipes call for 1/4 – 1/2 oz of beeswax, it’s unlikely you’ll run out soon. On both our recommended sites you’ll need to use the search function here to find a listing of type and quanity listings.

Essential Oils
Skys the limit here, the choice is yours! Some of the more popular oils would include peppermint, vanilla, or almond. Since both of these sites focus on herbs, they have a huge easy-to-find selection of essential oils for you to use in your ingredients to make lip gloss.

Depending on the type of lip gloss you plan to make, you might also need:

Cocoa butter
Often used for a more creamy lip gloss, and not too hard to find on either of our suggested sites. Just do a simple search if need be.

Vitamin E oil
Added to give the lip gloss a little more “purpose”. In other words, makes your lips soft when used. Great for lip gloss used for chapped lips.


Glycerine

May be used instead of carrier oil. It IS possible to make natural lip gloss using glicerine, especially if you use organic brands from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Additional Tips for Making Lip Gloss

When making lip gloss for the first time and starting from scratch with supplies, it’s best to pick just one recipe and stick to it. The main reason is to keep your costs down since not all recipes include the same ingredients. It may be you’ll need a few of the optional ingredients or may not be. Since most places don’t sell lip balm size quantities, your going to end up with enough supplies to make 10 or more. Pick a recipe first, then decide what you need to buy.

Have fun!

Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

Free Lip Gloss Recipes

Homemade lip gloss recipes aren’t as complicated as you may think. With the right ingredients (see below for supply resources) and a little time, you can make free lip gloss for yourself or as gifts.

Each of the free lip gloss recipes listed below are from our collection, and haven’t been tested out by us personally. They also do not have an author, so we weren’t able to give them proper credit. If you have used any of these free lip gloss recipes, please be sure to leave your comments and tell us what you think!

Bulk organic herbs, spices and essential oils. Sin

Free Lip Gloss Recipes

Basic Lip Gloss Formula
1/4 cup vegetable or nut oil
1/4 ounce beeswax
1 teaspoon honey or glycerine (humectants)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Essential Oil.

Heat the oil and beeswax in a double boiler (or microwave) until the beeswax is melted.
Remove from heat and whip with an electric beater until creamy.
Add the honey or glycerine and approx 5 drops flavoring oil; whip some more.
Add more flavoring if desired.
Store in small glass jars, small tupperware bowls, decorative tins or film containers.
Try different oils on your lips to choose the best one for your skin and taste preference.
If the Balm is too hard (waxy), add more oil to your mixture.
If it is too soft, add more wax.

You can add a few drops of beet juice for a beautiful & natural red color. But instead of going to that trouble, you can just shave off a little of your lip stick for that beautiful (not natural) color. Don’t use food coloring, it may contain alcohol base.

Never use extracts found in cooking sections of the grocery stores as they contain alcohol. Use safe essential oils. The good part about them is they have thousands of great flavors. Comfrey, Rosemary, Tea Tree or Camphor Oils are excellent for healing effects.

How do you know if it’s time to throw away your gloss? If it changes color, odor, or texture, though, throw it away.

Basic Beeswax Lip Gloss
1/2 ounce beeswax beads, refined
4 ounces sweet almond oil
2 teaspoons essential oil or food flavoring oil

Put the 4 ounces of sweet almond oil in measuring cup, add beeswax beads and melt in microwave.
Stir with spoon, and when cooled a bit, add essential or flavoring oil. Pour into jars or containers

Chocolate Lip Gloss
1 1/2 tsp grated cocoa butter
1/2 tsp coconut oil
1/8 tsp vitamin E oil
1/4 tsp grated chocolate or 3 small chocolate chips
In a double boiler or microwave heat the cocoa butter, coconut oil, and vitamin E oiluntil melted. Stir in the chocolate chips and keep stirring until melted and well blended Pour into small container and allow to cool before using

Cranberry Lip Gloss
1 tablespoon sweet almond oil
10 fresh cranberries
1 teaspoon honey
1 drop of vitamin E oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a microwave-safe bowl.
Microwave for a couple of minutes or until the mixture just begins to boil. (Bowl may also be heated in a pan of water on a stovetop).
Stir well and gently crush the berries.
Cool mixture for five minutes and then strain through a fine sieve to remove all the fruit pieces. Stir again and set aside to cool completely.
When cool, transfer into a small portable plastic container or tin.

Honey Lip Balm
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. beeswax
1/2 tsp. cocoa butter
1/2 tsp. honey
3 drops essential oil
1 vitamin E capsule

Measure oil, beeswax and cocoa butter into a glass or enamel pan. Melt over low heat. A hotplate works well and reduces the risk of overheating the oils.
Stir the mixture often until the wax is melted. Remove from heat and stir in the honey and essential oil. Pinch open the vitamin E capsule and squeeze the contents into the mixture. Stir well. Pour the mixture into containers.

Vanilla Lip Gloss
1 tablespoon grates beeswax
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
1/8 teaspoon vitamin E oil
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Slowly heat beeswax, coconut oil, and vitamin E oil until melted. Stir in the vanilla extract then cool

Supplies for Free Lip Gloss Recipes

Not all of the free lip balm recipes above have supplies which are easy to find. Luckily here online you can find just about anything if you have the time to search. Idea Queen has made it even easier by finding a great store with great prices for many of the ingredients you see above.

One main shop has basically anything you’d ever need for making your own lip gloss or balm. This shop is Mountain Rose Herbs. To make any of the free lip gloss recipes above, be sure to click the banner below to check out their supplies.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A Herbs, Health & Harmony Com

 

Breaded Pork Chops with Gravy

I thawed out some pork chops for supper, then sat there and looked at them for a minute all naked on the counter. I had absolutely NO idea what I was going to do with them just yet, which is the way I normally cook. Thaw out some meat, then figure it out. Let me tell you, that’s lead to more than one interesting meal, and not always great. Still, seems to work for us for the most part.

I started with a recipe for Chicken Fried Pork Chops, but really this was just to spark some ideas. With it being 4pm, I didn’t have time to mess with the crockpot (which this may be why I never use it – that requires planning). So I improvised with no more than a glance at it.

First, the breading.

I took milk, eggs, and sour cream and mixed them in a bowl. Yes you heard me, sour cream. I’ve had issues in the past with breading, so I thought I’d throw in some sour cream to make a more creamy wet mixture and for flavor, too. Woo hoo it worked, made the flour stick just perfectly. I didn’t use any more than flour, salt, and pepper for the dry mix.

As I was dipping my pork chops in the two mixes (just once each), I had a pan of oil heating up on the stove on high. Now I’m thinking I PROBABLY could have turned down the heat just a smidge, since these browned super fast. Not a bad thing really, just keep a close eye on them.

Next I tossed them in a baking dish, covered with foil, and baked for about 45mins at 400*. Oh, these were so perfect I just wanted to cry. Really thick cut pork chops  that came out REALLY juicy. (Which yes I should mention these were THICK cut chops, and I don’t know how thinner cuts would turn out)

As if they weren’t good enough, I decided last minute to throw together some gravy. I used the same pan, drained of all oil though. I dare not try to make gravy from scratch, I know better. So instead I use Cream of Mushroom soup, adding a little bit of milk and flower to thicken/thin it up a bit. Oh, and a bit of salt and pepper.

Along with the breaded pork chops and gravy, we also had some fresh salad. I’m not sure what it was now, so we’ll just say “the fancy stuff” since it wasn’t the cheap shredded lettuce in a bag. The boy said it looked like a plant. Meh, I thought it was good and so did the girl, so no matter. We added shredded cheese, roasted red bell peppers (from a jar), almond slices, and blue cheese dressing. Obviously we’ve been watching too much Food Network, but oh well. Yum, yum, and yum is all I have to say to that!

I’m sure you could try your own variations of this recipes, specifically using something different than just flower or adding fun ingredients to the breading. Either way this was EXCELLENT!

Cheap Craft Supplies Online

Idea Queen is big on bargain shopping. Why pay full price for the “latest and greatest” when “tried and true” is just as cheap? Sure you could visit your local dollar store for quite a few of your crafting supplies, but if you want to get serious, you may have to do some digging online.

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite places to shop for cheap craft supplies online. Each of these stores have excellent ratings, are trusted, and listed for both their prices and selection. Do feel free to comment and add your own to this list!

CreateForLess
CreateForLess
Probably one of the largest craft supply stores online we’ve ever seen. Doesn’t matter what kind of crafts your in search of, chances are they’ll have it. Everything from scrapbooking to sewing, to casual crafting. There’s some pretty good deals going on here, especially when you take advantage of their bulk offers and clearance items. Since this site is all about the savings, it’s one of the best places for cheap craft supplies online.


Shop Craft Supplies at S&S Worldwide

Kids craft kits at S&S Worldwide One of our absolute favorite place to find cheap craft supplies online. S&S Worldwide tends to focus on bulk supplies though, but the price per individual item is pretty low. They’ve also got a lot of craft kits for sale, making is a pretty nice site for daycare providers, homeschooling networks, and teachers. Also a great site to hit if you need crafts for a birthday party!



CrayolaStore
Don’t write this one off as “name brand is higher priced” just yet. We did some digging and found some prices (and really, really cool crafts) are cheaper here than other places. Do some poking around, I bet you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many cheap craft supplies they have!


Huge Discounts on Art and Craft Supplies!

MisterArt.com
You might have to do a little price comparing here, but there were a few items we’ve cross-checked with other sites and found them lower. They also have more “serious” crafting supplies for those involved in big projects or as a business.


Joann.com

Joann.com
Personally I love this site for their fabric prices. About the only place I know to beat them is Walmart, and I despise the cheap fabric there. Joann has the quality AND the great prices, so it’s mostly where my fabric comes from. They have other crafting supplies too, but more so for the serious crafts or adult projects. Kids crafts on this site tend to run a little high.

Amazon.com
Now we couldn’t forget Amazon, could we? If your a bargain hunter, you must visit this site. They don’t always have the lowest prices, but a lot of times they do. Plus there’s multiple buying options and supplies, so their prices are hard to beat in many areas.

This list of places to buy cheap craft supplies online should at least get you started. No matter what you need supplies for, you should be able to find them at any of the sites we’ve mentioned!