Superbowl XLVIII 2014 Party Prop Bets

Despite the fact that the best team in the NFL is not in the Superbowl this year, we’re still going to have a big party. Only the Superbowl makes a shopping list of only Cool Whip and tater tots acceptable.

One tradition is to have prop bets at the party. I like bets throughout the game to keep things interesting, even if the games slows down. For $1 a bet, everyone gets in on the action, including the kids. This year we’re adding commercial bingo, too.

Here are our prop bets for Superbowl 2014. If clicked, they should enlarge. If not, let me know and I’ll email a larger file.

Superbowl2014propbets2

Superbowl2014propbets1

Superbowl2014propbet3

P.S. If someone from the government is reading this, we play with Monopoly money.

P.S.S. Go Broncos!

Shutterfly’s Custom Path Makes Photo Books Easy (Review Plus Giveaway!)

By plan, I make four photo books a year – one for each set of grandparents as Christmas gifts and one book of each of the kids for that particular year. However, plans don't always work out and I end up making more and more. Last year I made one for my sister of her wedding photos (bridal showers, rehearsal, the morning after brunch – basically the stuff that the wedding photographer wouldn't catch), and one of a special birthday party as a gift for a cousin. I always use Shutterfly because I like their quality, and I always order 8.5×11 hardbound books, giving our shelves a uniform look when the books are stacked together. Typically I'd spend hours on each book, changing the backgrounds, resizing fonts, and always getting upset over the layout restrictions. It would almost be like a game of chance: I'd open the layout options hoping that the right combo would be there. "I need two verticals and a horizontal! No?! (Bad word, bad word, bad word)." The cursing would go on and I'd wish aloud that the layouts could be tweaked just a little to make them work for my photos.
 
31115_whatsnew_photo My wish came true in April when Shutterfly asked if I'd like to test the new beta version of their Custom Path photo books. I didn't quite know what they'd be unveiling and I assumed it would be more backgrounds and themes, which would be nice, but I was overjoyed when I got to play with the new Custom Path and found it to be a lot closer to Pagemaker. I started playing with the different layouts immediately, before their explanation of the new features was complete, because I loved it so much. It was hard not to play with different layouts. Not only are there more layout options, but the options are now almost limitless because the user can move around the photo boxes on a page and add text boxes wherever needed. While I've never been a scrapbooker, the embellishment addition is a lot of fun and brings a new layer to the design. Another feature that I love is the as-you-go pricing. In the upper left corner, is the price of the book in its current form. I like to start with a standard book, then add a handful of pages at a time. The as-you-go pricing means I can just look up to see how much the book will run me, rather than waiting for the surprise at the end.

Before I knew it, I'd completed two new books in no time at all. 31115_whatsnew_auto

Now that Shutterfly has made photo book-making so simple, the hardest decision is only which photos to use.

Interested in trying it out? I've got good news…

Giveaway! Shutterfly is letting me give away a code for a free 20-page 8×8 custom path photo book, plus free shipping! Woo! The code is good through the end of the year, so you could make a book of the school year now, maybe a summer book in August, or save it for a year-end book in December. To enter: leave a comment below by midnight June 15. For extra entries, follow me on Twitter @tippytoes, and leave a comment letting me know you did. A winner will be picked randomly from the entries. Good luck!

Update: We have a winner. Random.org picked JI Johnson. Congratulations!

Tiny Prints Amazing Holiday Cards + Giveaway!

Tippytoes-holidaycard

Is it narcissistic of me to want to frame my holiday card? What if I send them out pre-framed for recipients to hang on the wall? Because that's what I want to do, I love them so much.

This year I wanted Tiny Prints to do my cards because I've had tremendous success with them in the past with other cards, birth announcements, and business cards. My business cards are heavy thanks to quality card stock, which I think and hope adds professionalism to the cards. When I made my business cards, I had trouble fitting a logo into the right box. It was too big, but I was unable to shrink it without reducing the resolution too much. I placed the order with the logo cut off a little, which looked okay, but not great, then a few hours later a proof appeared for my approval with the logo perfectly sized into the space. It was as if I had a graphic design specialist on call. It turns out I did, as does any Tiny Prints customer, even though I like to believe I'm special and they only offer this service for me.

Tippytoes-tinyprintssalad
Salad served in Chinese food containers. I'm stealing this idea.

Recently Tiny Prints opened up their main office to a group of us for a tour, lunch, and preview of their holiday line. (I couldn't work at Tiny Prints because they have an open floor plan to encourage collaboration, but I'm a loud talker and my co-workers would quickly unite to have my desk moved into the room with the giant printer.) It was during this time that I fell in love with a tri-fold card. Happy Everything is a great card. I love the multiple picture options, that the card wasn't Christmas-specific, and that the backside has space to write something more than "Happy Holidays." Generally, I've always picked flat cards that can be easily displayed in a card holder or…(don't judge me)…taped to a wall, but the Tiny Prints tri-folds were so creative that I was quickly won over.

Happy Everything was my choice for our Christmas card this year, but as I started selecting photos, I began looking at other cards. I take a lot of photos throughout the year, making it impossible to select only a few photos for the card that were nice, but also reflective of our year. Quickly, Checkerboard Chic became the card I had to have. It has a ton of photo spots (12!), room for writing more than a simple holiday greeting, it is downright gorgeous, and totally reflective of us. It has professional portraits of the kids and pictures from Disneyland, Muir Woods, the beach, Times Square, Dylan's Candy Bar, the Maker Faire, my sister's wedding, and the pumpkin patch – all at sizes large enough to see without squinting. I love this card.

There were spots to write something about each of the kids, plus two places for a holiday message. (Spoiler alert for those receiving my card!) In the first spot, I wrote: Merry Everything and Happy Always, Love Kevin, Kimberly, Clover and Rocket. Personally, I like a general greeting, so I can send it to all of our friends without being offensive to anyone not celebrating Christmas. This left me unsure what to write in the second spot, which is smaller and holds less text. Kevin suggested using the exact message in the example on the Tiny Prints website, "The Foxmeyers send their love and wishes for a great 2011!" but I knew my personal designer at Tiny Prints would catch it as a possible error and then I'd have to explain it was intentional and that my husband has a warped sense of humor. Because the card was so personal, I wanted to write something that would reflect that. I ended up with "May 2011 be full of sunshine, cupcakes, and The Daily Show. Go Giants!" It's not Shakespeare, but it's us. I LOVE this card.

(P.S. I don't care if Dodger fans are offended. Maybe their team should try harder next season. Oh yeah, I just wrote that. Go Giants!)

Giveaway: Tiny Prints is generously offering 50 free holiday cards to one lucky reader, regardless of baseball team affiliation. The contest is open to non-baseball fans, as well (confused face emoticon). Leave a comment by midnight Dec. 7 and I'll pick a winner the next morning using random.org. I know we're getting close to the holidays, but Tiny Prints has lightning fast service. If really pressed for time, Tiny Prints can even send the cards out directly for you. Selecting your holiday card from Tiny Prints' vast collection will be the hardest part. Trust me.

Disclosure: My holiday cards, lunch, and a set of personalized thank you cards, were all free from Tiny Prints.

Update: We have a winner! Lucky Lisa is taking home the 50 cards! Enjoy them, Lisa! I'm sure the recipients of your cards will.

My Ultimate Family Vacation – Road Trip!

Sponsored By

Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine, Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.

Between our junior and senior years of college, my roommate Angie and I struck out across the country in a white rented sedan. We camped, maybe stayed in a motel or two, slept on a floor or two, and stayed in one really nice hotel (in New Orleans), while we took three weeks to loop the country. It was a great trip, and an even better life experience. We lived through a serious tornado, camped next to a man Angie insisted was a murderer, visited the museums and monuments in each state claiming Abraham Lincoln as their native son, slept right next to fields of corn that went on forever, and attended Sunday Mass in other parts of the country, confirming that no matter the region, Catholics always dress casually to church and on average, give $1 during collection. During that trip, which was 10 years before I'd have a child, I knew what my dream trip would be: a family RV tour of the U.S.

My plan for myself was to visit all 50 states before traveling abroad. As I got older, I realized it was ridiculous to pass up opportunities to visit other countries because I hadn't yet visited North Dakota, but I still believed in my overall premise, which was that one should really know their own culture before comparing it to others. As an adult, if I were to fly into, say Houston, I'd experience a much different Houston than I did as a college student, not only because time has passed, but because we were on the ground during our college tour. Now, I'd probably fly in, stay in a nice, air conditioned hotel, and go out to nicer restaurants. That's not the Houston we saw from the KOA during the heat of summer. We met more locals than one would imagine at the KOA, who had checked in (if that's the word for a campsite) because it had a swimming pool. We all crammed into the small, kidney shaped pool, standing with only our heads above water, to survive the heat and humidity. We learned more about the locals than we would have any other way. While it was at times uncomfortably hot and dirty, it's the experience I want for my kids.

I'd love to take a semester (instead of Semester at Sea, I'd call it Semester on RV) to drive the kids from place to place, stopping in each state, seeing the big, well known attractions, but also the tiny museums or sights advertised by old billboards on the side of the highway. We'd eat at diners or other small restaurants. Sure, we'd homeschool along the way, but the education from the road would be so much richer than anything read from a book. It would be an immersion course, taught by living.

The United States is becoming more homogenized – with Starbucks and Targets dotting the national landscape – but local flavor and customs remain. There is as much beauty to be found in Louisiana as there is in Italy. You just have to look.

I wouldn't try to drive to Alaska, even though that was my plan after my college cross country trip. We'd fly to Alaska, then end the dream trip with a long vacation in Hawaii. Even though we've been to Hawaii as a family, after a few months on the road, I'll need some time on the beach with tropical drinks.

Don't forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes, for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.