Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The END of 2013

This year has blown by. With lots of changes in my life over the course of 2013, I am excited to see what 2014 holds for me and my family.

I thought I would wrap up the last day of 2013 with my most popular posts. I'm surprised at a few, but overall I think I've got some great readers that LOVE the same things I do!

crazylou's Top 10 Posts of 2013

Starting from the bottom and moving closer to the most popular post...

10. 40 Blows!

9. S'more Popcorn

8. Easy Breakfast Casserole

7. 40th Birthday Gifts for Men

6. Healthy Protein Shake

5. Recycled Wine Bottle Craft


2. Hot Cheesy Dip

And the most POPLUAR post on Crazylou in 2013 was...

Awesome Dill Pickle Dip

Now...technically these aren't all originally from 2013. Some are from 2012, but because I finally figured out how to promote my blog and ever since I became active on Google +, these posts have found new life!

Be sure to follow me!






Many thanks to all my readers. Thank you for giving me a reason to keep up with this blog. I love your comments, emails and interaction on the different social media outlets. I look forward to growing and expanding Crazylou in 2014!

Here's to a fabulous ending of 2013 and a joyous beginning to 2014!



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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tasty Tuesday--merci Chocolates Giveaway

Happy Tuesday! Today for Tasty Tuesday, I'm not sharing a recipe. It's better. I'm sharing chocolates! Have you heard of merci Chocolates? Have you tasted them? If not, you are surely missing out. These are amazing little chocolates. The folks over at merci gave me a box to sample and to give away!! How sweet are they?!

merci Chocolates! Giveaway!
My husband and I had the lovely chore (wish I had more chores like that!) of taste testing these--my favorite is the Hazelnut-Almond. I think my husband enjoyed the Cream Truffle the best.

Each box of merci includes a delicious selection of rich, European chocolates made from the finest ingredients. Flavors range from Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut-Almond to Dark Cream and Praline-Crème and are truly scrumptious.  I love the cute packaging too--there are plenty little chocolates in the box--so you could easily gift the entire box or package it up into multiple gifts!

merci Chocolates! Giveaway!
I love there message, too--a delicious thank you. Check out their website for more ways to tell someone thank you.

Check out their Facebook page too-- they have a really cool app, the Thank-You-Maker! You can send a friend a meaningful thank you, and in return receive a Buy One Get One Free coupon!

So, today is your lucky day, my way of saying thank you! I will be giving away a merci Chocolate gift package to one lucky CRAZYLOU reader!

It's simple to enter, simply leave me a blog post on who you would like to give a big THANK YOU to this holiday season!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

HO HO HO...it's a review of the Nexus 7 #Staples


Thank you to Staples for providing me with the Nexus 7 to review. All opinions are my own.

I was excited to receive the tablet in the mail and it came super fast. We opened up the box like it was Christmas! My kids were super excited! Thankfully, it was easy to set-up and it was already (somewhat) charged so we could start using it right away!

I'm a big fan of Google Products. I love my Android phone. The apps, the look, the feel of the device suits me perfectly. The coolest thing that happened when I started setting up the Nexus 7 tablet was that once I plugged in my Gmail account, it started to load up the apps that I had on my phone! So awesome--and for a busy mom, a HUGE timesaver!

The kids took it over and loaded up on some of their favorite games. Now I knew it was going to be hard to get my hands on it! They love the size of it. They love how sleek and cool looking it is. And they love how fast everything loads.

Once I was able to use it for awhile, I browsed Pinterest, checked Facebook, cleaned out my email and also posted a few pictures on Google + ! This is now my new favorite toy! I love the size of it, too. It fits into my purse and isn't bulky.

It comes loaded with Google Now--which is super cool! From knowing the weather before you start your day, to planning the best route to avoid traffic, or even checking your favorite team’s score while they’re playing, Google Now brings you the information you want, when you need it.

Every Home screen shows the Favorites tray - another quick way to get to your apps and more.
At the bottom of every screen, no matter what you're doing, you'll always find these three navigation buttons:
  • Back: Opens the previous screen you were working in, even if it was in a different app. Once you back up to the Home screen, you can't go back any further in your history.
  • Home: Opens Home. If you’re viewing a left or right Home screen, opens the central Home screen. To open Google Now, swipe up.
  • Recent apps: Opens a list of thumbnail images of apps you’ve worked with recently. To open an app, touch it. To remove a thumbnail from the list, swipe it left or right.

It really makes navigating around your tablet SUPER easy! Another reason I LOVE Android products!

Here are a few pictures I took with it--so much better quality than our other tablet!

Anyone else behind on wrapping gifts? Ugh!

Here is our lazy dog...just thinking about playing with his ball!

And the kids had fun taking pictures with it too!


If you've got a hard-to-buy for person on your gift list, this would be an awesome gift! I highly recommend it. Head to Staples.com to get yours shipped to your doorstop quickly and just in time for gift giving!

Gotta go--the Nexus is calling my name and it's time to play!!

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tasty Tuesday -- Pinata Cake

I'm not sure about you but I am FREEZING!! We certainly didn't ease into winter here in Illinois. However, with the cold also brought snow. It was a beautiful sight to see, but man, I hate the cold.

Remember the post on my son's Bowling Birthday Party? Click here to find out all about it.

Well, I attempted my first Pinata Cake because thought it would resemble a bowling ball. So, today on Tasty Tuesday, I will show you how easy it is to make one of these! And...how fun it is to eat!

Pinata Cake #bowling #cake #pinata #birthday #party #cake #kids

 Even though it looks a bit complicated, 
it really easy fairly simple.

Grab two boxes of cake mix--your choice of flavor. Prepare as directed and place batter into glass bowls. Bake as directed on the box or until golden and set in the middle. Mine took about 10 minutes longer than the box suggested.
Pinata Cake #bowling #cake #pinata #birthday #party #cake #kids

Allow cakes to cool slightly. Carefully turn cakes over to release from bowl. Allow to cool completely.

Next scoop out some of the center of the cake. About a 1/2-1 inch border around the perimeter of the cake and down into the center of the cake.
Pinata Cake #bowling #cake #pinata #birthday #party #cake #kids

Next, fill with candy. We used Sour Patch Worms, M-n-M's, candy corn, Skittles and Gummy Bears. Next frost the edge of the cake. Not too much frosting, this is used like the glue for the top and bottom of the cakes.

Pinata Cake #bowling #cake #pinata #birthday #party #cake #kids

Now carefully place the top onto the base of the cake.

Pinata Cake #bowling #cake #pinata #birthday #party #cake #kids

Frost as you would like. For us, I wanted it to look like a bowling ball, unfortunately, it looked more like a ghost. I didn't want to frost it all black because I didn't want to send all the kids home with black-died lips, tongue and mouth!

Pinata Cake #bowling #cake #pinata #birthday #party #cake #kids

I still love how it turned out and I loved the reaction from the kids! This is definitely worth trying for an upcoming celebration!
Pinata Cake #bowling #cake #pinata #birthday #party #cake #kids

Have a fabulous day! 
If you liked what you saw, please share it!

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Jingle Bell Shadow Box! Guest Posting over at {i love} my disorganized life

Hey! Happy Friday! 

Are you decked out for the Holidays yet? We finally got the decorations up and finished this week! Whew--what a project! But, I love the coziness of it!

Today I am guest posting on the 25 Days of Christmas Series at {I Love} My Disorganized Life, where Rachel is featuring projects from other bloggers!


I created a cute little shadow box--perfect for keeping or gifting! To find out how I did it--just click the picture!


There is also a great give-away Rachel is hosting too! 

Have a great weekend!

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Opening the Vaults: Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair

Any chance our family can go and spend time together at a World-class facility, we are game. I was excited to hear about the newest exhibit at The Field Museum in Chicago. I haven't been to The Field Museum in ages, so I was excited for this day and to experience it with my family.

One the way, I downloaded the Museum App which is available for Apple or Android. This was a cool tool to have for the entire museum visit, not just for this exhibit.

Opening the Vaults--Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair at The Field Museum #ChicagoWorldsFair

Once we arrived to The Field Museum, we headed straight to Wonders of the 1893 World’s Fair exhibit. This Totem Pole is located right on the outside of the exhibit and the app gives you a cool 360 panorama experience.

Opening the Vaults--Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair at The Field Museum #ChicagoWorldsFair

Wow, we were impressed. This exhibit takes you back to 1893, to the World’s Columbian Exposition. The exhibition shows what visitors to the Fair saw 120 years ago.With over 200 artifacts and specimens on display, you really get a rare look at the items that thrilled fairgoers so long ago.
People came from all over the world to see the Fair, which we learned welcomed more than 25 million visitors. 

Opening the Vaults--Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair at The Field Museum #ChicagoWorldsFair

Fair promoters created special “days” to advertise and engage the locals. “Chicago Day” was held on October 9th to mark the anniversary of the Chicago Fire. Resources tell us that day set a world record for attendance with more than 700,000 visitors.

The exhibit offers a few cool items for the kids to check out. My kids were having fun playing with the Indonesian gamelan. Because of digital technology, we learned how to play it. The Indonesian Gamelan is an ensemble of musical instruments featured in performances at the Fair's Javanese Village.

Opening the Vaults--Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair at The Field Museum #ChicagoWorldsFair

The kids also enjoyed looking beneath the wrappings of the Peruvian mummy. It was perfect timing because my daughter was learning about mummification at the same time.

Some highlights you don't want to miss:
  • Fair memorabilia, such as one of the financial ledgers and tickets (my kids couldn't believe they used to keep track of line items in those big books--what, no computers?!)
  • Two digital interactives allowing visitors to explore and engage with the earliest Museum’s collections through new technologies--the kids really enjoyed this part!

We learned so much from that exhibit, which gave us a good base for the rest of the day that we spent at The Field Museum. Here's a few things we learned:
  • The Field Museum was founded to commemorate the Fair
  • The Museum’s original collections are formed by objects that were all displayed at the Fair
  • The Field Museum has the single largest collection of items displayed at the Fair
  • The Field Museum is the legacy of the Fair: scientists conduct ground-breaking research on the ever-growing collections, and exhibitions display objects from its vaults for the public to see

I mentioned that we downloaded the app to use during our visit--it was super cool. Here is a screenshot of just one of the items we visited.
Opening the Vaults--Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair at The Field Museum #ChicagoWorldsFair

After the exhibit, we headed out to get a picture of Sue, I mean, what would a visit to The Field Museum be without that!
Opening the Vaults--Wonders of the 1893 World's Fair at The Field Museum #ChicagoWorldsFair

We ventured around the rest of the museum checking out the other exhibits. The kids enjoyed looking at all the animals on exhibit as well as the Egyptian Tombs. It was a fun, educational filled day that the entire family enjoyed.

I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, however all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

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