Monthly Archive for August, 2015

LEGO Brick Fest – Denver

LEGO Brick Fest

Okay, I need to post a couple disclaimers. First, I was given free tickets in exchange for writing about this event. The tickets were $25 a person. We did pay $5 for parking out of our own pocket. That means, had we just been regular ol’ people off the street, this would have been an $80 event.

Second disclaimer: We love, love, love all things LEGO. (I daresay we’re LEGO snobs.) A few years ago, we went to LEGO KidsFest at the Convention Center in Denver. We loved it. We felt like we got our money’s worth, and then some. (That event was SO much bigger AND cheaper to attend!) Also, my husband and Claire love going to MAKER Faires, and the pricing to get in there was a fraction of the cost of this event, and some of the same groups were there.

So, what about this event? Honestly? I don’t feel it was worth the $80 we would have spent to go. I feel ungrateful writing this, because we were given free tickets, and we did enjoy ourselves, but I’m under no obligation to twist the truth about this. I appreciate it when people are straight with me, so I try to do the same.

As I said above, we’re LEGO snobs, and even we thought this event paled in comparison to other LEGO events we’ve been to. If you’re NOT a LEGO snob, I have a feeling you’d be even more upset about the price.

Was it fun? Sure. We had a good time, as you can see by the photos below. Did we have $25-a-head worth of a good time? Nope. Did I keep thinking about how MIFFED I’d be had we actually paid full-price to go? Absolutely, and that’s what I want to be clear about in this review.

There was a lot to do, but even after doing everything we wanted to, we were only there for two hours.

LEGO Brick Fest Collage

Click photo to enlarge.

Some LEGO creations glowed in a blacklight!
We built and raced our own race cars. (Red is the fastest color, but Claire’s car won!!)
Dad and Claire created masterpieces on a LEGO wall. (A Pirate, an Alien Dude, and a Fox.)
Mini-golf!
Claire free-built a creation to add to the city.
The signs warning people not to touch other creations were hysterical!

The event was well-run. The location was relatively easy to get to. We did enjoy ourselves.

…but we enjoyed ourselves even more because we had free tickets. 😉

DIY Hand Cream

“Hand Cream,” I wrote on my grocery list, because I wanted a small tube for my purse.

Wait… The last time I wrote “Foaming Soap Refill” on the grocery list, I ended up making it myself, and it was SO easy. Maybe this could be easy, too?

I started poking around online and found oodles of different recipes. I’m more of a lotion kind of person (**isn’t that right, Precious!?), and I like my lotions to be creamy. I found some that didn’t include beeswax (which would make them a more solid substance), so I picked some elements out of the various recipes and put together my own potion with things I had on hand. (Get it? On hand! Oh, the puns!)

The only thing I didn’t have was Shea Butter, so I stopped at the store on the way home after School Drop Off and picked some up. Earlier in the week, I’d also purchased the wrong granola bars (*Sigh* Mom! *eye roll*), so I used that as an excuse to make the extra stop for a potion ingredient.

Here is the recipe I used. It seems very simple, so I was skeptical. I’m also not confident at ALL in the kitchen doing these things, so I figured simple & easy was a good place to start.

DIY Hand Cream

INGREDIENTS:
–   4 oz. Shea Butter (I used two 2-ounce jars.)

–  2 TBS Sunflower Oil (I have this one on hand. It has a comedogenic rating of 0 (meaning it won’t clog pores) AND naturally has Vitamin E, so no need to add that, which a lot of recipes have listed separately as an ingredient. None of the recipes I researched used Sunflower Oil specifically, but they listed a myriad of different oils and said “etc.” at the end. Sunflower Oil is my version of “etc.”)

–  However many drops of whatever Essential Oil you want. I used 10 drops of Young Living Stress Away Essential Oil, and it’s very subtle. You can do more if you want. I was afraid to do too many in this experiment! (If you’ve dabbled in Essential Oils at all, you know that one drop can go a LONG way.) We love the way this Essential Oil Blend smells, so I figured this would be a great one to try. You can use whichever ones you want, just be careful about using ones that cause sun sensitivity, etc.

DIY Hand Cream Steps

DIRECTIONS:

1. Melt the Shea Butter. (To help with getting the solid Shea Butter out of its jars, I put an inch or so of water in a sauce pan on the stove and placed the jars in that long enough to make it soft and easy to remove from the jar. I dumped the water and then used the same sauce pan for Steps 1 and 2.)

2. Add the oil and stir.

3. Transfer it to a glass bowl.

4. Put it in the freezer to “solidify”…NOT freeze. (This took about 20 minutes.)

5.  When solidified, add Essential Oils (if desired) and whisk. (I used my hand mixer.)

6. Whisk until creamy. (for 1 to 2 minutes, or so. Be careful not to over-whisk.)

7. Transfer into a mason jar (or other container for storage).

8. Label your potion. (I cleaned & re-used one of the Shea Butter glass jars to use until the lotion tubes I ordered online arrive.)

AND VOILA!

THE VERDICT:

It’s INCREDIBLY easy to make! It smells great! (To me, it smells like Shea Butter, the Essential Oils, and Smugness.) Just kidding. Kinda. 😉 It’s the consistency I like.

It goes on a tad greasier than I prefer, and I was hesitant, BUT it absorbs so quickly that it doesn’t even bother me. I’m PICKY, PICKY, PICKY (did I mention picky?) about greasy hand cream. I can’t stand getting it on my phone, etc. This absorbed really quickly, and my hands are so soft! 🙂

Clean up was super-easy, too!

Once again, I’m left with an amazing DIY project result, and I’m wondering why it took me so long to try this myself.

**Bonus points to those who know the movie reference. I just couldn’t help myself. 🙂

DIY Foaming Soap

Foaming Soap

Click to see more detail. The recipe: 2-3 TBS Dr. Bronner’s, 5 drops of Thieves, 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerine, and water.

 

Today, I tried my hand at making Foaming Soap. We like the brand we’ve been using, but it was time to buy a new pouch of the refill solution, and a friend had made this recipe with great success, so I picked up some Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap and some Vegetable Glycerine when I was grocery shopping today and thought I’d give it a try. (I already had the Thieves Essential Oil* and the foaming bottles on hand.)

Result? I love it!

I’m not sure why it took me this long to do it! It’s easy. It’s simple. When you figure in the cost of the components, it’s cheaper than what we’ve been doing.

Amazing!

*I use Young Living Essential Oils. You can learn more about them here.

First Day of 4th Grade

The obligatory First Day of School (4TH GRADE!?) pictures. Note how she REALLY feels in a couple of them...

The obligatory First Day of School (4TH GRADE!?) pictures. Note how she REALLY feels in a couple of them…

The Power of Poison – DMNS

Friday, Dad played hooky, and we all ran off to our favorite place: The Denver Museum of Nature & Science! We checked out the new Power of Poison exhibit. It’s fantastic!

Here are some of the pictures I took. Click to enlarge.

Here are some of the pictures I took. Click to enlarge.

Yes, those are real, live poison dart frogs!

My favorite part? The look on the elderly gentleman’s face when he scanned my ID card at the entrance, and I asked him if they were handing out free samples.

They weren’t.

Sadly.

Uh, I mean…allegedly.

🙂

A Purse for Essential Oils

I’m a clutch kinda girl. In college, I carried everything I needed in a small wallet on my key-chain. When I had Claire, I didn’t carry a huge baby-bag, and by the time we ditched the diaper-bag, I was able to just get by with a well-stocked smaller purse. For the last few years, I’ve just carried a clutch. I love it!

I don’t like big purses. I do like having what I need with me, but I just like those things to be compact.

As you know, we’ve jumped into the world of Essential Oils. Prior to July, I never gave them a second thought. Now, I’m trying to figure out how to take them with me and still not have a big purse!

I did some searching online and discovered Borsa Bella. They have purses in this line that are created especially with Essential Oils in mind. There are a few different shapes and sizes, and I went with this one. It has a small handle that can turn into a wrist strap, or it can be re-attached to a longer strap, if you want. (A long strap is sold separately, but I have one of those that I keep in my glove box if I want to be hands free.)

Borsa Bella Wrist Strap

NO, this is NOT a paid ad! I wish… 🙂

Borsa Bella Desert Bloom

I opted to go with the Desert Bloom material, because it spoke to me the minute I saw it.

I opted to go with the Deluxe Take Along, because it’s roughly the same size of my clutch.

 

Inside the purse is an elastic band that has been sewn to make compartments that will protect Essential Oil bottles. I have the 5ml bottles in here now, but the 15ml ones fit, too.

Because there are bands on both sides, you can either fill both sides up with oils, or fill one side up with oils, or use any configuration you want to fit your other things.

Both ways seem to work with the wallet I have, but right now, I’ve got my oils on one side and my wallet on the other. (Because it’s got some padding to it, you can fill the whole thing up with oils and put this in a larger bag, or use this as your purse like I’ve done.)

Borsa Bella Outside Pocket

There is a waterproof pocket in the front that is perfect for my phone!

As for the oils I’m planning on taking with me to the park and when I’m out & about?

Peppermint
Lavender
Purification
StressAway

There is an extra spot available for either the Thieves Spray or Thieves Hand Sanitizer. I haven’t decided which of those (or both!) I’ll keep with me.

I’m so glad I found a way to keep my oils with me AND still have a small purse!

Brick Fest Live will be in Denver!!

bfl-denver-468x60

Brick Fest Live is coming the Denver August 28-30 at the Denver Merchandise Mart.
Get inspired, educated, and entertained with LEGO bricks! Play with huge attractions built to set your imagination free and witness mind-blowing creations made entirely of this timeless toy at Brick Fest Live.

Brick Fest Live is coming Aug 28-30 to the Denver Merchandise Mart.
Save $2 with code: DENFAMGUIDE Click here for the coupon! #brickfestlive @usfg

**Oh, YES, we’re getting to check this out in exchange for sharing the word. Do anything for LEGO? Probably… I mean, allegedly. 🙂