Watkins Original Gourmet Baking Supplies Review

Recently Watkins contacted and sponsored me to review their baking supplies. I jumped at the opportunity. I love baking and trying new things.

Watkins has been around since 1868 and have a headquarters in Minnesota. They make a variety of products; extracts, spices, food coloring, soaps, lotions, cleaners, pain relief, and body scrubs. I had never heard of them before, but the more I have learned, the more I love this company. I love that their products are pure and high quality. I am always on the lookout for good baking products.

I received the following in my box; baking vanilla, pure lemon extract, pure almond extract, pure coffee extract, pure ground cinnamon, and food coloring. I was especially excited about the food coloring because it does not have dyes in it. I have been trying to avoid food dyes with my kids.

The first thing I decided to try was the vanilla. It came in an 11 ounce bottle. I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies.

I used the King Arthur Flour Chocolate Chip Oatmeal recipe for the chocolate chip cookies. The turned out fantastic. I even had someone comment to me they could taste something different in the cookies and asked if I had used something special. I told them I used Watkins vanilla.

Next up I made almond cinnamon cupcakes with an almond cinnamon buttercream frosting that tasted amazing!

Here is the finished product and they tasted as amazing as they look here. I will definitely be making these again. I took them to a function and someone had two at the event and wanted to take more home with her.

 The last thing I tried was the lemon extract, the food coloring and the vanilla again. I made lemon sugar cookies with a lemon buttercream frosting.

The lemon cookies turned out delicious and the frosting colors were amazing! The red was a little pink, but that is typical with red food coloring. I would probably just have to put in more dye to make it darker. I will definitely be using this dye in the future because it was so good and I like that all the ingredients in the dye were natural and not artificial. I let my kids frost the rest of the cookies and they had a lot of fun.

All in all what did I think of Watkins baking products? I LOVED all of them and will be using all of them again. My kids kept begging for all the treats we made this week. I have not really cooked with almond and lemon extract and was excited to go out of my comfort zone and try something new. I would definitely recommend picking up some of these products for baking.

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The Speaker That Changed My Life: JBL Clip + Speaker Review

Earlier this year I had never heard of a wireless speaker. I did not even know they existed. I entered a contest on Instagram and Directv Now when they were promoting a Taylor Swift concert in Houston, Texas. They told me they were sending me a surprise and much to my amazement I got this JLB Clip + wireless speaker.

How It Works
This speaker is amazing for what I use it for. We love listening and dancing to music in our home; Moana, Frozen, and of course Taylor Swift. We have invented so many ways to make our phones louder, putting them in cups to echo, putting them in our pockets with the speakers out...etc. But that does not even compare to this speaker.

The speaker works through blue tooth technology. It blinks blue when waiting for a connection. When the connection is made it turns to solid blue. And it is super easy to do. On the phone side I went into bluetooth settings and searched for the speaker and hit connect. Easy as that.

The songs and such are controlled from phone, the same as always, but the sound is transmitted through the speaker. The volume can even be controlled from the phone or from buttons on the sides of the speaker.

There is also a power button on the side of the speaker. When the speaker needs to be charged, which is not very often, the blue button on the side will turn red.

The charging port is universal and can be charged with a firewire cable. I use my Amazon kindle charger for charging the speaker.

The speaker can also be attached to a belt loop. The next model of JBL clip has a carabiner instead of this loop making it possible to attach to more places.

What did I think?
I was amazed to say the least! The sound quality inside is very good, much better than a cell phone propped in weird positions. The battery lasts forever, we hardly ever have to charge it. It is SUPER portable, I can take it anywhere. It has transformed how we listen to music in our house. We love it. I honestly do know why we did not get one sooner. It was probably because I did not know they existed!

I would highly recommend this speaker to anyone. Let me know if you get it, your life will never be the same.

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Everything You Need To Know About Lego Dimensions: Game Review

Lego Dimensions Game Review
Do your kids love Legos? My kids love all Legos. They love the Lego sets, Lego Movies and Lego Xbox games. To say they love Lego's is an understatement. We also have multiple sets of Legos and even bought a custom set so we would have even more Lego's to build with.

We also have a few Lego Games; Lego Jurassic Park, Lego Hobbit and Lego Lord of the Rings. They have also played Lego Harry Potter, and Lego Star Wars.

A while back we were shopping in Kansas City. We saw a great deal on the Lego Dimensions Xbox 360 game and had to get it (Yes it is the old Xbox). My kids love the game. It comes with three standard characters, Gandolf, Batman and Batmobile and Wyldstyle. More packs can be added to add even more characters to the game. We also bought Princess Unikitty, Legolas, Gimli, Chase McCain, Emmet, and Mr T.
These are the bottom tokens for each character.
Who can play Lego Dimensions? 
Lego Dimensions is available on many gaming system platforms; PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox One, Xbox 360. It is recommended for ages 10+. My kids are 4 and 6 and have no problem playing it.

How does it work?
Lego Dimensions is sold as a separate set for each gaming system, but the game is the same for each system. This unique disc is installed to the gaming system. There is a blue unassembled USB Lego Toy Pad that comes the basic set. There are three standard unassembled characters and one vehicle that come in the basic set;  Gandolf, Batman and Batmobile and Wyldstyle. These characters and their vehicles can be used in the game by placing them on the blue platform. There are 14 levels in the game based on different movies and shows and a new Lego Dimension world. The object of the game is to complete each level by completing tasks.

To add even more levels Story Packs, six levels and Level Packs, one level can be purchased. To use more characters/vehicles in the game character packs can be purchased. The Story and Level packs come with more characters. Characters are also sold separately with their own vehicles.

What are the levels and characters?
The games feature characters and settings from; The A-Team, Adventure Time, Back to the Future
DC Comics, Doctor Who, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters (2016), The Goonies, Gremlins, Harry Potter, Jurassic World, Knight Rider, Legends of Chima, The Lego Batman Movie, Lego City, The Lego Movie, The Lord of the Rings, Midway Arcade, Mission: Impossible, Ninjago, Portal 2, Scooby-Doo, The Simpsons, Sonic the Hedgehog and The Wizard of Oz

The levels take place in the following locations.
Follow the Lego Brick Road, the setting is the Wizard of Oz
Meltdown at Sector 7-6, the setting is the Simpsons and Doctor Who
Elements of Surprise, the setting is Lego Ninjago
A Dalektable Adventure, The setting is Doctor Who
Painting the Town Black, the setting is DC Comics
Once Upon A Time in the West, the setting is Back to the Future
GLaD to See You, the setting is Portal 2
Riddle-Earth, the setting is Lord of the Rings
The Phantom Zone, the setting is Ghostbusters
All Your Bricks Belong to Us, the setting is Midway Arcade games
Monster Mayhem Mash-Up, the setting is Schooby Doo
Prime Time, the setting is Lego Dimensions world and the Lego Movie
The End is Tri, The setting is Lord of the rings and Batman
The Final Dimension, the setting is Lego Dimensions world

What did we think?
My kids love the Lego games. I love the Lego games for them because they are generally very clean. They are a little sarcastic. Kids can work on; building skills, teamwork and following instructions when playing. They also get to play along with a fun story. I like that the game is a finite game unlike Minecraft which goes on forever. The only way to expand the game is to add more finite levels.

I love this game because it is expandable. More unique characters and levels can be added. I love that the game is the same for all the systems and a new base game does not need to be purchased to expand the levels. This saves space and money.

What would I change?
Because the game takes place in so many universes I would only change to have some of the levels optional. For example I would opt to not let my kids play in the Simpsons universe. I would love to have a kid version of the game where it was more centered on characters younger kids know. Then it would be perfect. I would love a Disney themed Lego Dimensions.

What is available in the Expansions?
Story Packs
Here are the story packs available. They come with 6 additional levels and characters.
Ghostbusters, Ecto-1, Zhu's Chinese Restaurant, and Abby Yates.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,  Niffler, MACUSA, and New Scamander.
The Lego Batman Movie, Batgirl, Robin, Batwing and Bat computer.

Lego Packs
Here are Lego Packs available. They come with 1 additional level and characters.
Back to the Future (Back to the Future Level), Marty McFly with DeLorean Time Machine and Hoverboard
Portal 2 (Apeture Science Level), Chel with Companion Cube and Sentry Turret
The Simpsons (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer Level), Homer with Homer's Car and Taunt-o-Vision
Doctor Who (The Dalek Extermination of Earth Level), Twelfth Doctor with TARDIS and K-9
Ghostbusters (Ghostbusters Level), Peter Venkman with Ecto-1 and Ghost Trap
Midway Arcade (Retro Wreckage Level), Gamer Ki with Arcade Machine and G-6155 Spy Hunter
Adventure Time (A Book and a Bad Guy Level) Finn the Human with Jakemobile and Ancient War Elephant
Mission: Impossible (Mission: Impossible Level), Ethan Hunt with IMFScrambler and IMF Sport Car
Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic Dimensions Level), Sonic the Hedgehog with Sonic Speedster and The Tornado
The Goonies (The Goodnies Level), Sloth with One-Eyed Willy's Pirate Ship and Skeleton Organ

Team Packs
Here are the team packs. They come with 4 additional pieces, characters/vehicles and/or gadgets.
Jurassic World, Owen, ACU Trooper, Velociraptor, and Gyrosphere
Scooby-Do, Scooby-Doo, Shaggy with the Mystery Machine and Scooby Snack
Lego Ninjago, Kai, Cole, Blake bike and Blouder Bomber
DC Comics, The Joker, Harley Quinn, the Jocker's Chopper and Quinn-mobile
Adventure Time, Jake the Dog, Lumpy Space Princess, BMO and Lumpy Car
Harry Potter, Harry Potter, Lord Voldemort, Enchanted Car and Hogwarts Express
Gremlins, Gizmo, Sripe, R.C. Racer, and Flash 'n' Finish
The Powerpuff Girls, Blossom, Bubbles, Octi and PPG Smartphone
Teen Titans Go!, Beast Boy, Raven, Speelbook of Azarath, T-Car

Fun Packs
Here are the Fun Packs. They come with one pair.
The Lord of the Rings, Gollum and Shelob, Legolas and Arrow Launcher, Gimli and Axe Chariot
The Wizard of Oz, Wicked Witch and Winged Monkey
Lego Legends of Chima, Laval and Mighty Lion Rider, Cragger and Swamp Skimmer, Eris and Eagle Interceptor
The Lego Movie, Emmet and Emmet's Excavator, Bad Cop and Police Car, Benny and Benny's Spaceship, Unikitty and Cloud Cuckoo Car
Lego Ninjago, Ja and Storm Fighter, Nya and Samurai Mech, Zane and Ninja Copter, Sensei Wu and Flying White Dragon, Lloyd and Lloyd's Golden dragon
DC Comics, Wonder Woman and Invisible Jet, Cyborg and Cyber-Guard, Superman and Hover Pod, Aquaman and Aqua Watercraft, Bane and Drill Dirver
The Simpsons, Bar and Gravity Sprinter, Krusty and Clown Bike
Back to the Future, Doc Brown and Traveling Time Train
Doctor Who, Cyberman and Dalek
Ghostbusters, Stay Puft and Terror Dog, Slimer and Slime Shooter
The A-Team, B.A. Baracus and B.A's van
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Tina Goldstein and Swooping Evil
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, E.T. and Phone Home
Adventure Time, Marceline the Vampire Queen and Lunatic Amp
Knight Rider, Michael Knight and KITT
The Lego Batman Movie, Excalibur Batman and Bionic Steed
Lego City, Chase McCain and Police Helicopter
Harry Potter, Hemione Granger and Buckbeak
Beetlejuice, Betelgeuse and Saturn's Sandworm
The Powepuff Girls, Buttercup and Mega Blast Bot
Teen Titans Go!, Starfire and Titan Robot

There you go everything you need to know about the Lego Dimension game. I would highly recommend it. My kids have a lot of fun playing it.

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Homemade S'more Cake and Churro S'mores SoBakeable Review

Have you ever had a really good S'more? You know the kind where the chocolate and the marshmallow is melted? We were on vacation in Utah a few weeks ago and had S'mores, but by the time the marshmallow got in the graham cracker, the marshmallow was cold and the chocolate hard. That reminded me why I generally do not eat S'mores. Not that I do not love the ingredients, I do not like the hardness of it all. Well today I just tasted the best S'more I have ever eaten and I want to eat some more. Notice the pun. :) And want to know why? Everything was perfectly melted, the way a S'more should be!

This very yummy post was sponsored by SoBakeable. (I love doing posts like these btw, ones where I get to eat yummy baked items)
What is SoBakeable?
I am so excited to share with you today my review of SoBakeable. They are a San Francisco based company founded by Chloe, who is from Australia and Jocelyn, who is from South Africa. They both moved to the US when their husbands started working here. They spend a lot of time together and really enjoy baking. They decided to start SoBakeable so others could eat the yummy things they made too. They focus on dessert items.

What do They Make?
SoBakeable has kits available on their website for different baked goods. The kits are for beginning to advanced bakers. They even have an app to download for videos and instructions on making their baked goods. Right now their offerings are; S'more Kits, Cookie Cups, Salted Caramel Brownies, Chocolate Lover, Crazy About Coolies, Fresh & Fruity, Fancy Celebration, Vanilla Cupcakes, Sprinkles and Baking Tools. They range in prices from 19.95 to 49.95.

I received the S'mores kit and I can tell you it was delish. The S'mores kit came with instructions for S'more Cake and Churro S'mores.

What's In the Kit?
Each kit comes with all the dry ingredients packaged nicely, a list of wet ingredients to buy, and instructions on how to make the dessert. Here's what came in my kit.

The S'more Cake Kit  came with chocolate chips, sugar, cake mix, crumbs, and meringue mix.
The Churro S'mores Kit came with delicious Smash Mallow Cinnamon Churro, Graham Crackers, and Chocolate Chips.
I was not too nervous to make the Churro S'mores. They looked pretty easy, melt the chocolate and warm the marshmallows. I was however nervous to make the S'more Cake. I kept putting if off scared I would mess it up. I have never made homemade marshmallow and I was super nervous about browning the top. I thought I would burn it. I decided to finally be brave and went to work. And am so glad I did.

I love to get all the ingredients and tools together before I start so I do not have to look for anything while I am cooking. I love my Breville mixer because it has a scraping mixer attachment so I do not have to scrape the sides.

Here's the finished cake. They even included a liner for the bottom for easy removal. They said to test the cake by toothpick. I did that, but I also like to feel the firmness of the cake. When it is springy everywhere, ie it pushes back up when you press it, it is done.

They had me make a ganache and melt the chocolate in the microwave. I usually use the double boiler method, but the microwave was super easy. I used a Wilton wand to spread the chocolate just like the instructions said.

Here I am starting the homemade marshmallow, so far so good.

And guess what? It turned out! I really surprised myself.  To get the little ridges I spread out the marshmallow and then dipped and raised wherever I wanted a ridge. I could have left it in a little longer, but I was nervous about burning the top. It was hard to tell if it was golden brown in the oven.

And here are the S'mores. They turned out amazing as well.

What did I think?
The food was delicious. The cake was to die for! The sponge was fluffy, the topping was sweet, but not too sweet and the chocolate added a nice layer in between. The S'more was so good. The marshmallows they use for the middle are covered in cinnamon and sugar. Yum!

I was super surprised how well I did. Their instructions helped me develop some more baking skills I did not even know I had. I made homemade marshmallow for goodness sake. I loved that the ingredients were premeasured so I did not have to measure anything. I just opened the bag and threw things in. The cake was super easy to make. I probably made the batter in 6 minutes using my mixer. The only thing I would change is to have more graham crackers. I only got enough for crackers to make three S'mores, but I definitely have enough chocolate and marshmallows to make 14. I will go buy some more graham crackers to finish the S'mores, because they were delicious. Other than that it was an amazing experience baking. I loved everything I made and surprised myself. Hurry to sobakeable.com, enter BAKINGFUN to save $5 dollars, and get baking! You will not regret it.

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Michael's Camp Creativity Review

Last summer I looked for local art classes for my kids who were 3 and 5 at the time. They were all full in my area. After searching I found Michael's Camp Creativity for my kids. I decided to give it a try. By the way Michael's did not ask me to post this, I am posting it all on my own.

What is Camp Creativity? 

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List of Disney Animated Movies

Disney Animated Movies
If you are like me, your kids love Disney animated movies. When my kids started getting old enough to watch them I was disappointed by how few of them I could find in stores and on streaming services especially the princess movies. It seems like the only way to make sure my kids can watch these movies is to purchase them myself. And with Disney keeping their movies in a "vault" it is hard to know what movies I already have when I am staring at them in the store or searching Amazon. I put together this list to keep track of all the movies that we have, and what type we have. I added Blue-ray and Digital HD, because it is nice to know if you can put it on your phone or tablet. Also if friends want to borrow a movie and they only have a certain player it is easy to know. One day I would love to turn this into an app. But I tried making apps once and realized I need an apple computer to do so, so until then here is the next best thing. You can print it out and keep it in your purse. Here is the printable version.

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