Why I Care What My Son Is for Halloween

IMG_4604We are what we are today based on the millions of experiences we have had up to this point.  People have touched our lives, we were taught fundamentals from our youth, and successes and failures have made us more brave or more hesitant to continue or discontinue the path we were once on or have always been on. I believe that, as parents, our job (among a million other things) is to protect our children from people and things that will harm and hurt, and steer them in a way to leads to success and happiness, whatever that means to you and your child.

One of the ways that I am personally guiding my son is in the way of emulating positive role models instead of harmful ones, and one way I can do that is by putting particular interest in who my boy is portraying for Halloween!  Call it minial and unimportant, but I think who we allow our children to dress up as and act like is certainly an opportunity of great direction.

First of all, let’s talk about weapons.  We don’t let our children play with guns, for obvious reasons, but primarily so that they never accidentally get ahold of a real and loaded gun and wave it around like they have in play time and inadvertantly do some great damage.  Likewise, how do you feel about play knives, axes, and saws, when these very dangerous items are found in most homes?  Most children who have seen their dad make repairs or do serious yard work know where these tools are, and getting to them isn’t entirely difficult.  So what’s my point?  I think we should be careful with what we let our children play with, even and especially ‘play’ versions of very dangerous things.

Take this to a level above weapons, and what are we doing by allowing our children to roam around the neighborhood masked as villians, ax murderers, grim reapers, and evil spirits?  We are letting them feel comfortable in this costume and this role of evil and thus allowing them to experiment with this feeling of being a bad thing on the outside while remaining incognito.

This might sound a little extreme, and I hope this doesn’t bring on an entourage of angry mommy comments, so let me wrap this up.  I will not be allowing my son to EVER be a character of masked wrongdoers.  Captain Hook is the farthest we go.  I will closely be monitoring and heavily influencing what my son dresses up as for as many Halloweens as he is in my home!  Lets keep a track record of cute animals, wholesome professions, and super heros for as long as we can!  You don’t need to be extremely creative to find a costume that you both can agree on.  In fact, Pure Costumes carries hundreds of these exact costumes I’m talking about: dragons and frogs, fire fighters and policemen, and every super hero you could think of.

Let’s keep Halloween fun and safe for our young and impressionable youth!

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored giveaway on behalf of Pure Costumes.

$50 Amazon Giftcard Giveaway from Dunkel Bros!

Who doesn’t love a big, fat gift card giveaway?!  Today’s prize is sponsored by Dunkel Bros, which is a machinery moving company.  They specialize in using forklifts, cranes, air-ride truck and trailers, etc. to crate and transport your equipment!  They can handle domestic or international shipments and they have over 200,000 sq. ft. of space in their warehouse to store whatever it is you need moved.  They’re pros in dealing with sea containers of all types, as well as bulk freight.  They serve aerospace contractors, auto racing development, food and beverage plants, theme parks, universities, and laboratories, to name a few.  If you need any machinery moved, Dunkel Bros.’ machinery moving services are going to take care of you!

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And now for our killer prize:

One winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

This giveaway is open to US and Canada!

Thank you, Dunkel Bros.!!!

Dandy Giveaway is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

Summer Blow-Out Sale on Kids Digital Apps!

I love this time of year when school supplies go on sale and we close that wonderful summer chapter and anticipate all the things we’ll learn in the upcoming year!  If your child’s school year includes a lot of time waiting in car pools, sitting outside of ballet class, or waiting for the soccer game to start, you might consider stocking up on some new apps for your kids to keep their little minds and fingers busy!

Starting today, and running through Aug 17th, here are five great apps that are normally priced between $1.99 and $4.99, but are all discounted to $0.99!

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These apps involve more than just flipping pages on a screen.  They include games, coloring pages and narrative stories to keep your child learning and engrossed.  I don’t know about you, but when I have to bring the kids to doctors appointments, there is just no way on earth I can keep them from tearing the room apart, unplugging phones, and logging off computers, so a friendly app available in those situations is a must-have.

So check out these five apps that are available!

Yo Gabba Gabba! Music is Awesome!

This app is composed of musical activities where you can make your own music and paint your favorite characters.

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Strawberry Shortcake Jumbo Coloring Book

Here you can color 70 different pages of color masterpieces!  The pictures include holidays, princesses, pets, ballerinas, etc.  Perfect!

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Strawberry Shortcake Summer Fun

This is a storybook with summer-themed coloring pages, 15+ stickers, and two fruity games!

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This one looks so fun!  You can play an action-packed game of sky soccer against macaws, and brought to you in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox

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These five apps are available on the App Store, Amazon Appstore for Android, Google Play and Barnes & Noble App Store for NOOK, as well as for Tabeo and Nabi devices.

Stock up now!  Remember, this sale only runs through the 17th!

 

Untitled-19Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Cupcake Digital.

 

Its not too early to start thinking about Christmas!

My family recently drew names for this year’s Christmas gifts, and I got the name of my little teenage brother.  I know I still have plenty of time, but since then, I’ve been thinking constantly about finding the perfect gift!  I think teenage boys are so tough to shop for!  I came across this shower speaker that connects through your Bluetooth device, and I thought “Perfect!”.  If you are also on the hunt for the perfect gift and you’d like to cross something off your Christmas shopping list early, read on.

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This is the Bluetooth Water Resistant Shower Speaker.  This is not just a radio that sits in your bathroom, but a speaker that hooks up to your Bluetooth function so that you can listen to YOUR music favorites, and all right in the shower.  (Just don’t drop the speaker into the water).

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This speaker also allows you to make hands-free calls!  You have a microphone and volume control that is portable, so you can pluck it off the shower wall and take it with you wherever you go.  In the car, you can utilize the option of hands-free phone calls and amplified music in the car.  This really would have come in handy when our toddler fried our car stereo system!

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Something this fancy is bound to a little pricey, yes?  $9.99.  Honest!  After a 3-hr charge, you’ve got 6 hours of play time, and it comes with a wall charger.

This is compatible with MP4, PSP, MP5, Laptop, Mobile Phone, Tablet PC, PC, MP3, TF/Micro SD Card, iPod, and iPhone.  It comes in blue, red, green, and yellow!

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What a great little gadget for little brothers, teenagers, music lovers, and everyone in between!

You can find this speaker on Gearbest for $9.99!  Merry early Christmas!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored giveaway on behalf of Gearbest.

Anatomie Travel Clothes {Review}

When I’m getting ready for a trip, I start packing a full week ahead of time!  I just get so excited about the vacation, and I want to be prepared!  Often, I’m so worried about bringing the right earrings for this outfit and the right shoes for that outfit, that I don’t even think about which clothes are going to wrinkle too easily, and I have to hunt down an iron, which can be hard to do, depending on where you’ve gone, believe me!  There is nothing worse than trying to feel your best at an event with important people while wearing something horribly wrinkled!

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If I could even further tailor my list of important qualities of travel clothes, it would include being extremely lightweight, fashionable, and easy to care for.  Good thing Anatomie carries travel clothing that embodies all of these!

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I’m thrilled to show you two favorites from Anatomie’s collection: the Monte Carlo Top and Serena Top, sold for $175 and $195 and respectively.  Both are exquisite in design, fabric, and functionality.  Below is the Monte Carlo Top.  It is made with different layers of silky opaque and sheer layers along the front torso and long sleeves.  It is airy, breathable, high fashion, and it looks fantastic!  I wore this out on a chilly summer night and it was the perfect item: enough to keep my arms warm, without feeling too thick in the humidity.  The key is in its high-performance European textiles.  This would be an excellent travel piece to almost anywhere you want to go.  It could even be a gorgeous cover up over a swimsuit that you could take to a fancy resort or cruise.  Its easy to see why this is a best seller.  It comes in six different combinations of navy, white, black, and red.  And then, to address the obvious belly and ultrasound pictures, guess what Dandies, I’m pregnant!  Family of five, here we come!

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The Serena Top is so elegant!  Does it look like I’m wearing $195?  Because it definitely feels like it.  They’ve taken the common front-lace look, and tailored it a bit at the sides, creating a slimmer silhouette, even with this baby bump.  Again, it must be the  high-performance European textiles that make this feel so smooth and breathable, yet sturdy and durable.  I love how the front is lined with a skin-tone tan, which makes it easy to pair with any color.  It is so easy to dress this up, but it could even be part of a more casual look with jeans and sunglasses.  I envision this is something that celebrities go shopping in.

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I love these tops!  I’m so impressed with the fabric, style, and wearability and will be quick to give all my compliments to Anatomie.  Be sure to check out Anatomies full collection of tops, dresses, pants, and jackets, especially if you’re planning any upcoming vacations!  Be prepared with a suitcase full of things you know won’t wrinkle and will always look terrific on you!

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*The product(s) in this review was provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting this review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own are not influenced by monetary compensation.  

Sprint Sound Session with Jermaine Paul and the new HTC One Device! #sponsored #MC #SprintMusic #SprintMom

“I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Sprint Sound Session. I received a sample of the HTC One to facilitate this review and a promotional item to thank me for participating.”

You guys!  I just had a blast in NYC last weekend!  I was totally jazzed to hear about the latest new devices when it comes to music and audio with Sprint.  A few of us bloggers were wined and dined at the ritzy Lamb’s Club right off Times Square.  We had a private room where we were completely enveloped with crystal clear music and some hands-on demos with the latest and greatest from Sprint!

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A few weeks ago, my toddler jammed some coins into our car’s cd player and totally fried the system.  Since then, we’ve been driving around in silence and it was absolutely killing me!!  I tried to pump up the volume on my phone to get some Pandora flowing through the car, but it just wasn’t cutting it.  I never realized how music plays a HUGE role in my life, and not only that, but excellent quality music.

With these frustrations on my mind, I was even more enthralled, sold, smitten and wooed by the new Harman Kardon speaker!  What you see below is the Harman/Kardon Onyx Studio, which is a companion to all Bluetooth devices.  It is portable, lightweight, powerful, and offers the most crystal clear music I’ve ever heard from a speaker this size.  The same technology that went into this speaker has been incorporated into the HTC One Hardman Kardon edition, which I’ve had a chance to play with over the last week!  I received this phone at no cost to facilitate this review, along with the opportunity to try out Spotify, which is just a part of the portfolio of music services that Sprint offers, including Sprint Sound Sessions, Sprint Music Plus, and NextRadio.  Visit the Sprint Music Page to learn more!

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Since I’ve had this hot little phone in my hands, I’ve been taking it anywhere I can to enjoy music on the go.  Its been playing in our car replacing the lame radio stations we used to listen to, and since we live just a block from the beach, you can bet we’ve taking it to the sandy beaches a couple times already.  The sound!!  10x better than any phone I’ve used or seen.  The key is in the duo speakers (on both sides) and on the front of the phone.  The audio sound is unreal!  It can fill. the. room.  You’d never believe this kind of sound was coming from a phone.  I play this in the car and it sounds like its coming from the car speakers.  Spotify is new favorite way to get my music.  I can listen to it on any device, I can download music and still listen when I’m offline, there are no ads like Pandora, and the sound quality is supreme.  You’ve got 20 MILLION songs at your disposal.  You can visit Sprint.com/Spotify to learn more about that and how you can a few months for free!

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More about the phone: This phone is valued at $679.99.  My husband can’t keep his hands off it.  He keeps saying “this is such a sexy phone”.  The gold plating and the dual speakers really get me too.  We love the premium headphones (which are priced at around $80 on their own), but have found that you really have to jam them into your ears to enjoy the sound at its fullest potential with the rich base and crisp high frequencies.  The screen is clear, bright, and rich in color with full-HD resolution.

This is my kind of phone and I will be 100% recommending this phone to my friends, specifically those who take their music seriously.

Now surely you’ve seen those odd and memorable Sprint commercials about the Framily Plan.  The hamster?  The animated birds?  Gordon?  Of course you’ve seen them.  I think the Framily Plan is a genius idea.  We’ve already played that “family plan shuffle” where we hunt for family members or friends with that 5th wheel slot open.  Currently, my husband and I are on two different family plans with other in-laws.  The Framily Plan doesn’t limit your family size to 5 for the best deal, and lets you customize your plan.  Bills are separate; everyone’s happy.  I’D be happy to be on that plan.

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Ok, the cherry on top of the already fantastic day was getting to hear Jermaine Paul live!  Jermaine was Season 2 winner of The Voice, and oh does he have a voice.  Like butter.  He was literally less than 5 feet away from me, serenading us all with his original songs and charm!  What a voice!  I came home and downloaded one of his songs he sang, “Next to You”.  Current ringtone?  Maybe so.

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I appreciated getting to spend time chatting with HTC and Sprint representatives at the Sound Session Event.  I loved how family-friendly the team was, how excited they were about the products, and that they all had extensive experience with them in their homes.  Sprint, you have wooed me, and I can’t get enough of this HTC One!  Thanks Sprint and Mom Central for such a great event!

 

Portable Pilates Studio from Empower {Review}

I feel like every day is either an “I’m really motivated to go to the gym today” or a “There’s no way I want to drag myself and the kids to the gym today” kind of day.  For days that sound more like the latter, I’m all about home gym type equipment, especially things that don’t take up prime real estate in tight quarters.  I also love equipment that comes with dvds or other instruction because if you just handed me a barbell and said “exercise”, I wouldn’t know the first thing to do, and I would get bored.

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Add all this together and you can see why the Portable Pilates Studio and I are a good team.  This ‘kit’ comes from Empower, who supplies all sorts of work out equipment along with videos, many of which I’ve reviewed and all loved.

With that, here is the Portable Pilates Studio, sold for $24.99, which contains one bar with bungees and attached foot straps:

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The two pieces of bar fit together very snug, and I highly doubt I’ll ever be able to get them apart again, though I think that is what the white circles are intended to help you do.  The seal is so tight and so strong that I’m not going to bother.  The contraption is very well-constructed and I don’t have a sliver of fear that this will ever come apart while in use.  The bungee cords are thick and very well secured at both ends, and the straps are large enough to fit any tennis shoe while also being totally comfortable with bare feet, which is how I’ve been using it.

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For the most part, I really like this workout.  Pilates, by nature, isn’t very sweaty or aerobic from the get-go, but if you’re doing it right, a few minutes into it you’ll really feel the burn and start to sweat.  This video workout does just that.  My first time through, I found myself bugged by all the time spent sitting and listening to explanations, but I can see how the next time, I can jump straight to the exercises and get more toning in the same amount of time.

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The instructor, Gin, is helpful and kind and easy to understand.  There are four different sections to this workout video, each focusing on a slightly different area.  The actions are simple and easy to follow, and provide much more of an arm workout than I anticipated.  IMG_0485If you’re a home-gymer, this is a great set!  You can purchase this on the Empower website for $24.99, along with MANY other products for all sorts of toning and exercise.

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*The product(s) in this review was provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting this review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own are not influenced by monetary compensation.  

 

 

 

Orglamix Mineral Makeup {Giveaway} – CLOSED

I was able to review a few eye shadows from Orglamix a few months ago, and since then, I’ve been using those colors non-stop. In fact, I’ve really come to see the light when it comes to mineral makeup, especially color cosmetics that are healthy and natural, and when I recently sat down to inventory what makeup I actually own, I threw out a LOT of crap I’ve collected over the years, and then put my Orglamix colors at the top of my ‘favorites’ pile. While writing my first review, I noticed a set of colors intended exclusively for blue eyes–just the right colors to make the blue pop and look complimented.1470008_10152098970114236_767694217_n

Before I show you this dream set, check out all the gorgeous colors from Orglamix! They carry DOZENS of shades–a full spectrum of subtle to vibrant, soft to intense.photo-4_large

Whatever you’re going for, you’re bound to find just the shades of highlighters, base colors or accents you have in mind. I literally have over a dozen favorites that I would LOVE to get my hands on. Ok, let me know you my new favorite set of three: the Blue Eyes Play Collection, which includes the colors Buttercup, Silk, and Fig and sold for $19.95. Purchasing a set is a smart choice considering the bought separately, these are priced at $10/each.Sprite_810_large copy

I love that experts have combined these three to create the best enhancement that features blue eyes, and that I didn’t have to do the guesswork on coming up with the best trio of colors. This set for blue eyes includes Fig, Silk, and Buttercup. Buttercup looks a little more yellow (vs. cream) in person, but it still works great with the other two.  IMG_0200I think the three are so pretty together, and this makeup is top-notch. It doesn’t clump or crease, and it lasts the entire day. It goes on easily, blends well, and the rich colors keep their intensity.  Know that only good stuff is going onto your delicate eyelids.  Orglamix makeup is healthy, natural, cruelty-free, PETA approved and free from harsh chemicals, synthetic dyes, fillers and nano-particles.

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One super lucky girl will win a $20 gift certificate to Orglamix.com!  If you’re a blue-eyed babe, go for the Blue Eyes Play Collection ($19.95)!!

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*This giveaway is open to US entries only *The winner of this giveaway will be drawn and emailed.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. *The product(s) in this review was provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting this review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own are not influenced by monetary compensation.  

 

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*This giveaway is open to US entries only *The winner of this giveaway will be drawn and emailed.  If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. *The product(s) in this review was provided to me free of cost for the purpose of conducting this review.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own are not influenced by monetary compensation.  

Fulcrum Gallery Canvas Art {Review}

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Sometimes I feel like I am at a standstill with my interior decorating.  Especially while living in a rental where basically nothing is allowed, especially no nails in the walls, which in my mind, implies decorating the walls with vinyl decals and very lightweight prints on canvas–no heavy frames.  I knew I wanted a large canvas for one of our main, large, and empty walls, and my husband and I agreed that we needed more religious art in our home.

fulcrumgalleryWe found a real treasure at FulcrumGallery.com, and I’m pleased to show you the newest piece of beautiful artwork in our home!  First off, while perusing the Fulcrum Gallery site, I was continually impressed and really just amazed at the inventory.  You can search by room or by intended category, such as “Museum Art”, “Photography”, “Modern Art”, etc. or by topic.  I put in the search word “Boston”, and hundreds of items came up.  I could refine my search to the location, Boston MA, and my list was pared down to 74 gorgeous pictures of the city I love most right now!  If artwork like this is something you’d like to become more familiar with, I would suggest learning more about art through courses, books, and even online sites about art history.

My husband and I went back and forth emailing each other one morning with our favorites and agreed on this breathtaking print called “Walking on Water” by Melanie Ewing.  This print starts at only $19.79, put there are four different options of how you’d like this mounted/finished: print, laminate, canvas, or frame, and each goes up in price.  We chose the canvas option, in a Gallery Wrap, with .75″ bars, and no brushstrokes, so that with shipping, our total came to just over $100.

When the canvas arrived, I was really impressed and pleased with the amount of protective packaging provided, and then even more worried when I saw that there were some places where the straps actually did more damage to the canvas than intended.

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Eeek, right?!  I’ve been hoping that with time, these impressions will be smoothed out, or at least less noticeable.  These trouble areas are relaxing a little, but my eyes still zero in on these imperfections every time I look at the print, unfortunately.

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The picture itself is gorgeous, though!  I think the style and photo filter are perfect for our home, and especially this cream wall.

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The finished dimensions are 20″ by 30″, which is plenty large to make an impact, but not so much that it overwhelms a small-to-medium sized room.  The image is crisp and very detailed, and I love the fact that I haven’t seen this anywhere before.

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I really want to fill our home with religious art, but not the same standard pictures that I see in the homes of all my friends and chapels.  I love how this is unique, but still breathtaking, meaningful, sacred, and symbolic.  Besides the packaging damage, the canvas is perfectly built with a sturdy wood frame behind it.  The canvas has been wrapped with smooth corners, clean cuts, and a nice protective finish.  I really think this is a treasured work of art, beautiful and meaningful, and I hope to keep this up on our walls for decades to come!

Connect with Fulcrum Gallery!

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I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

California Kitchenware Silicone Cupcake Molds {Review}

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I love that we have reached the point in our boys’ lives where they fully grasp what birthdays are and what they mean: a party, presents, and treats!  They FLIP for the opportunity to celebrate anyone’s birthday, and will talk about it incessantly for days.  With their aunt’s birthday last weekend, good thing we had these adorable silicone cupcake molds from California Kitchenware to really make the party fun!

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I’m really into baking, and I’ve been looking for a set of baking cups like these for years and years.  Trying to get cupcakes out of a standard muffin tin intact is a pain, and the cost of paper liners can add up, so even though these require the extra effort of washing them afterwards, they much such a cute treat!  These really look like a mess, but that was all my fault.  The brownie batter I was working with just so drippy!

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Besides baking cupcakes (or brownies, in our case), these are excellent snack cups.  They’re perfect for a small serving of candy, small marshmallows, goldfish crackers, etc. and a simple rinse is all you need to keep these in rotation.  Because these are stackable, easy to store, and weigh nothing at all, they make a great alternative to storing muffin pans.  As you see above, you can place them directly on a baking pan, and they work great in a freezer or microwave as well.

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My opinion:  I love these!!  I’m a big fan of silicone, and being able to carry around these individually-sized cups and bust them out at parties is going to be so fun!  The kids think they are a special treat, and I’m going to love having these for all the upcoming birthday parties we’re going to celebrate.  I’d love to try making individual cheesecakes to bring to baby showers or something similar.  They feel sturdy and thick enough to handle continuous washings and bakings, and even though they are kind of a pain to wash, the vibrant colors are so happy and refreshing.  We’re going to get good use out of these, for sure!

This set of 12 liners is also available in all white and can be found on Amazon HERE for only $7.99.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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