Maryland Mommy Blogger | Mommy 2K

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reese's Pieces Basketball Cake for My Birthday Boy



I suck at baking. Most of the time, I burn the bottom of my cookies, forget to include an ingredient in the batter or fail to get something to rise. Let's just say that I am THAT mom who brings in store-bought cupcakes for school parties for the sake of everyone's health. Besides, no one wants to bite into a beautiful treat only to be greeted with texture of an eggshell. Yeah. No!

There are a few times that I make an exception and put on my baker's hat for special occasions. Those few times, more like two times, are for both of my boys at their birthday. It's a way for me to release some of my creativity and show my love for them. It is also the one time that the contents on the outside are greater than the ones on the inside...in my case, of course.

Yesterday, Liam turned two. Poor second children...and third, fourth, fifth and so on. It seems like I am a bit more relaxed and easy-going with this kid. We kept it simple and skipped a birthday party this year. Not our Kaden, though. He had themed birthday parties for a few years in a row. This time around, I just don't have the energy to plan, wrangle in RSVPs, offer gift suggestions, the financial means and desire to entertain people.

Party. Pooper. But, I'm just being honest.

I did have time to make my toddler a cake. And I wanted to do this with all my heart. I knew exactly what I wanted to do.

Liam loves basketball. Every round object that comes into contact with him is usually dunked, thrown, bounced or shot. He is constantly saying, "Ball. Ball. Ball." He makes sure that he has a front row seat to all the action when his big brother is playing basketball on a gaming system. Liam also mimics the players at his brother's basketball game whenever they take a shot. Lately, he has been attempting to draw circles and calling each picture a ball. He may be a bit obsessed.

I have recognized his obsession. It is in his blood. He has relatives – particularly his grandfather, my father – who have all contributed to a lot of wins at both the high school and collegiate levels. Liam also frequents his brother's basketball games and has been going since he was just an infant. He is familiar with the culture and has no problem expressing his enthusiasm for the sport.

That is why I chose to make him a basketball cake covered in Reese's Pieces.

It was so simple. Here is how I did it:

2 round cake pans
Cake batter
chocolate icing
All the utensils you need to prepare a cake
2 bags of Reese's Pieces

1. Prepare a cake as you normally would. Obviously, it works best with a round cake to get the effect of a basketball shape. I used two eight inch round cake pans. To make sure that I would have a cake with a little height, I poured one bowl of batter in one pan, and 3/4 batter into the other pan.


2. Let the cake cool first. Remove both from the pan. Cut the shortest cake horizontally to level it off. Cover with chocolate icing. Just enough to serve as a "glue" for the top layer.

**I prepared my cake at 3 in the morning, sooooo I forgot to take my own advice. I even skipped a layer of icing. Doh!



3. Place the highest cake on top of the piece you just covered in icing. Make sure that it is level. Then, generously ice this piece of cake, covering the top and the sides. Make sure there is enough icing to hold the Reese's Pieces.


4. Dump out one bag of Reese's Pieces into a bowl. You only need the orange and brown candies. I only said one bag because you can get a feel if you will need more candy as you start to place them on the cake. Also, I chose not to cover the sides of my cake because it was for my toddler and I knew we'd eventually pluck them off.



**Yours will be more neat than the picture above. It's best to place them directly beside each other in an organized fashion.




5. Starting with the brown candies, find a center point of your cake. Place a brown candy there. Then, create a line of candy going horizontally on the cake and one going vertically, using the center of the cake as  guide.

6. Count a few pieces over from the center line to decide where you want to start with the curved line. Make sure you lay these Reese's Pieces out with a slight curve.


7. Fill in the spaces with the orange Reese's Pieces. You will have to manipulate a few of the pieces to get them to fit. Just gently squeeze them in, but maintain the shape of the brown lines as well.

It may look like it takes awhile, but it wasn't so bad. I just chose to create this at 3AM in the morning, thus causing unnecessary frustration. In the end, it was all worth it.






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Friday, March 20, 2015

#AD Spring Into Carter's for Great Deals and Clothing + Coupon #SpringIntoCarters, #IC


I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.


It's snowing here in Maryland...on the first day of Spring. My toddler's thoughts of hitting the outdoors to run, skip and play has been drowned out by the sound of raindrops and snowflakes knocking against the window. Lucky for him, I sneaked in a little retail therapy the other day at our local Carter's store to check out their new Spring line. The colors and prints were just enough to brighten up his wardrobe and the deals made this dull weather somewhat tolerable. Here is why you need to Spring into Carter's, especially by March 25th (special coupon savings):

Doorbusters



Upon entering the store, there is a center aisle lined with clothing tables. I gravitated to these tremendous savings immediately. I noticed there were tee shirts and shorts for $6 for two or $8 for one. With prices like this, it was impossible to choose. I must have held up every tee shirt there was, to examine its cuteness. Carter's tees and bottoms are great essentials for my active toddler. They are easy to put on and go, all while still being stylish. I wanted them all!


Spring Break and Vacation Essentials

We rarely take vacations out of state. I know, bummer. But we do get to experience local beach treasures like Ocean City and Sandy Point right here in Maryland. My family loves the water. Carter's has a Swim Shop that will meet your little one's vacation needs. I like swim pieces that can go from beach to the street (after drying off, of course). The less that I have to pack, the more time that I can spend preparing for fun times during our staycations. Confession: I let my boys wear their swim trunks as fashionable shorts. They are too cool not to.  Don't forget to check out Carter's for essentials like towels, sunglasses, goggles, swimwear (now in sizes 7 - 12) and protective footwear


Easter

Oh, you fancy, huh?! We all know that Easter brings out the most fabulous outfits at church and other events. I for one don't have the pleasure of dressing up a little girl in a frilly dress with lace socks and patent shoes. But, I do have a little guy that I can outfit in vibrant colors, button-down shirts and an awesome hat. I'm not a huge fan of stuffy Easter suits (anymore). I like a more casual, preppy look. Carter's has great pieces to mix and match so that you can achieve the perfect look. We may have to work on the sizing of this hat (and the milk-stained mouth), but a fedora is always a great addition to any Spring wardrobe.


Speaking of essentials, you cannot leave Carter's without picking up a pair of sunglasses for your kid(s). If you're anything like us, it will be too hard of a decision to make and you'll leave the store without any. We had to sleep on it and think about which one was most suitable for Liam. If you have a second (obviously...you're reading this post), can you help this little guy out, please?


Did I mention that accessories were on sale during our visit? Well, they were. And you can save even more when you combine this lovely coupon with the sale (not valid on doorbusters and clearance; other exclusions apply). Just click on the picture to make it larger and print it. If you're shopping online at Carters.com, just use code MARBLOG25 to save 25% of your purchase of $40+.


Don't let the fact that this coupon does not work on clearance deter you from browsing those racks either. There were great prices on clearance, too. We lucked out and made it in when it was an additional 30% off the lowest ticketed price.


After spending a ridiculous amount of time in Carter's (because we have nothing but time, right?!), we finally settled some items.


By the time we got to the register, Liam was over shopping. He let me know he was upset. Thank goodness Carter's had some entertainment to occupy his time.


I came in just under $100. Thanks to a gift card from Carter's, I spent nothing out-of-pocket. I almost wanted to go back and look for more, but I practiced restraint. I can't say the same for my addiction to looking at girls clothing.  It's going to take a lot of restraint to keep me from that.


So, what are you doing this weekend? You should probably make some time to get to your local Carter's store to take advantage of these deals. Don't forget to your coupon  and make sure you're arm is strong enough to carry away your bag of savings.

**I will update this post with pictures of Liam wearing his fashions. Hoping for actual Spring weather so that we can go outside. 

Be in the know! Follow Carter's online.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carters
Twitter: https://twitter.com/carters
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/cartersbabykids/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/carters/
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I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Carter’s. I received a complimentary gift card to facilitate my review and thank me for my participation.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Disney's Cinderella Special Screening with @DisneyParks in Washington, DC #DisneySide #DisneySMMoms



As parents, we provide guidance and give advice to our children on a daily basis. A lot of this wisdom is ignored because of its perceived irrelevance at the time. But, "Ella" took heed of her dying mother's advice to, "have courage and be kind", during one of the many fragile moments in her life. Ella's unwavering dedication to honor her mother's wishes is what kept her character consistent throughout Disney's "Cinderella".

If you aren't familiar with how Ella was crowned the name, "Cinderella", you will find out in the movie. This is a classic fairy tale from ages ago, so most of you do know. Therefore, I will briefly summarize for you. Ella spent a lot of time keeping the fire in her home. She would often get dirty and stained from the cinders (small pieces of burned wood or coal), leaving her clothes and skin covered in ashes. Her evil stepsisters made fun of her and added "cinder" to her birth name, thus creating Cinderella. By the way, if you take away the cruel intentions behind the name, I think it's rather pretty.



I had the pleasure of taking my two cousins to attend a Disney Parks special screening of the movie at AMC Theatres at Mazza Gallerie in Washington, D.C. From the moment we arrive, our group was treated as royalty. We received a placecard with our family name and were announced as we entered the room. This was done for every family and it was a great added touch.  I could see a few of the children getting a kick out of it.

After sitting down, eating a light breakfast and catching up with local friends, we headed to the theater to get ready for the screening. Of course we made a stop at the concession stand for popcorn and drinks, all compliments of Disney Parks.


Before the movie started, we listened to introductions from some of the people behind the "social" side of Disney. A few of them I recognized from Twitter and was delighted to hear from them. We learned about great things coming to Disney – renovations, celebrations and adventures – that I will share at a later time. It doesn't take much to get excited about this company, but they always find a way to take the magic to another level. I cannot wait!

Right before the movie, there was a special treat. A mini feature called, "Frozen Forever", was the perfect attention grabber for our group of children. My girls were getting a little restless while sitting during the presentations, but were quickly revitalized when this animation began. It did not disappoint. You will be delighted to know that there is another song to learn the lyrics to.


Then, "Cinderella" finally hit the screen. It took some getting used to at first. Most of the movies that I watch are animated. Both the girls and I had to focus on every detail so that we did not miss a thing. From there, the movie had our attention.


I liked a lot about the movie:
  • It was funny and I did not expect this. I definitely laughed a little too loud and often.
  • It was simple. The plot was easy to understand and stayed true to the story.
  • The actress playing Cinderella was refreshing. I enjoyed seeing her on screen.
  • The choice of blue chosen for the dress was beautiful. 
  • The message was great – have courage and be kind,
  • I teared up a few times, so that means it tugged at my heart. 
If you are going to take your child to see Cinderella, you may want to consider a few things. 
  • There are not a lot of musical selections. If you are used to singing along to catchy tunes, leave that dream at the door. 
  • This movie is suitable for boys and girls. It's a classic fairy tale. Don't limit it to girls. 
  • It may be hard to understand a few of the lines because of the accents, but it won't take away from the movie.
  • The movie runs just under 2 hours, in case your little one can't sit that long. 
  • There are scenes surrounding death (I had to explain it to the 6 year old).

We had a great time watching "Cinderella" and being treated like royalty by Disney Parks. It was a box-office hit over the weekend, bringing in over 70 million dollars. This experience sparked some great conversation on the car ride home that was priceless as well. After witnessing Cinderella lose both of her parents, my 6-year-old cousin had questions about death. I also borrowed from the movie to settle a sibling fight over Disney goodie bags. I told them the importance of being courageous and kind.


Thank you to Disney for the fun morning (and forcing me to get out of bed on a rainy day). The girls will forever cherish the memory.

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My family and I were invited by Disney to attend a complimentary screening of Cinderella. The opinions and views are my own.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I'm a thredUP Ambassador! #sponsored


Do you believe in second chances? I do, especially when it comes to the clothing that I wear. My love for thrift stores and consignment shops runs so deep that I can barely see what is in my closet ('cause most of the items are still packed in fancy polka dot boxes).

Over this past year, I have been hugging my heart with amazing pieces found on "the largest online consignment & thrift shop" – thredUP! Somehow, my passion spilled over tremendously through my social media channels and alerted the wonderful people at thredUP, who in turn invited me to become an ambassador for their awesome company. It took me a whole 4,5 seconds to accept their offer.


So, what does it mean to be a thredUP ambassador?


Well, for the most part, I am just doing what I was doing before I added the title of "ambassador" to my name. It was such an organic partnership; it made perfect sense to represent a brand that I was already so in love with. The only difference is that now you will see more sharing on my social media channels about the great findings on thredUP.

I will probably share tweets like this:


You may see me post a picture on my Instagram account when I find an incredible deal like this:



There may be a few video hauls on Youtube of what's inside of my lovely polka dot box:


I will even share some pins on Pinterest and point you to some of the hottest items (that usually don't last long after I share them).

I should let you know that all of this hard "work" does not go without compensation. As a 'thank you' for being cheerleaders for thredUP, each ambassador receives monthly credits and a special discount code to share with immediate family members. Over the course of this program, which runs for the entire year, ambassadors will also host events and parties in an effort to promote thredUP and encourage others to clean out their closets.

This brings me to another great benefit of joining thredUP: selling your unwanted, gently used items for CA$H. Currently, thredUP is accepting Spring wardrobe pieces like dresses (especially maxis), sandals, and light layering pieces (denim jackets, light sweaters/cardigans, etc.). Always check the to see what is acceptable to send in.

For those items that are clogging your closet, collecting dust (do clean them first before sending in) or were impulsive buys, get rid of them. The worst thing that can happen is you'll make some money or have your unaccepted items donated to a charitable cause. If you don't want to part with your items, thredUP even has a feature that will return your unaccepted items back, for a fee. It's a win-win situation.

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Since having a baby in 2013, a lot has changed. Gone are the days where I can just jet out of the house, get in the car and go. Now, I have to get a sippy cup, change a diaper, pack a bag and possibly remove a stain from my clothing before I can even make it to the door. I'm beat before I even reach my destination, which is part of the reason why I rarely leave the house anymore.

thredUP makes it convenient for me to find fashionable and affordable pieces online without having to step foot outside. Check out my great Colin Stuart boots (Victoria's Secret) that I scored on thredUP for $11.49 (see pic below). They make it easy for me to spruce up a casual get-up so that I don't fall into the trap of dressing like a frazzled mother. I literally put this outfit together in 5 minutes.


If for some reason you are deathly afraid of purchasing clothing items online in fear that they won't fit or look like you expected, thredUP now has FREE RETURNS FOR STORE CREDIT. I know what brands work for me and my sizes, so I rarely return. But, just in case:


I know that my postmaster is probably overwhelmed with the amount of polka dot boxes that have made it's way to the front step over the last few weeks. I just cannot help myself. Some of these deals are just too good to pass up on. The thredUP app gets the most usage on my phone, even it's just for fashion inspiration or to see what trends are out there.

Are you curious to give it a try? Well, here is a free $10 credit to thredUP if you go here. It will be applied to your cart once you sign up. I guarantee you there will be something for you...or a friend. In no time, thredUP will have you reaching new heights in the fashion game. Go ahead, give clothing a second chance.



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Disclosure Information:
I am an ambassador for thredUP Inc. For my participation in this program, I am given credits to shop their site. Some of the links in this post are referral links and will possibly give me credit if you choose to use them. All opinions and views are my own. 

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