Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beauty Pageants!!!



The other day I received a letter in the mail from NAM - National American Miss. For those of you that don't know what that is, it's a Pageant system. My daughter has never participated in one before but when this letter came in she expressed an interest in participating. It's an open call to come and find out more about the National American Miss Michigan Pageant held here in Michigan. We will be going to the open call this Wednesday and if she decides that it sounds like fun, we will be participating! I'm not going to lie - I am super excited about it! I had wanted to put her in pagaents when she was little, but had no idea how to do that and I was leary of all the 'glitz' involved. Now that she is older I'm not so worried about it.

This letter and her interest sparked my curiosity about pageants. I did some searching and found a 'natural' pageant that is being held down in Grand Rapids MI on April 14th. It's called Rock the Stage and it's being put on by Michigan Royal Miss Pageants. It sounds like super fun and it will be small compared to the other one we are going to the meeting for so, I entered her in it!! I think it will be perfect for her first ever pageant!!

I have started doing some homework on how to best prepare her for it. I am totally obessed with watching Toddlers and Tiara's on Netflix - lol!!!

So far I have set up a Photographer - who does some awesome work!!! You can check it out here. I have found a 'coach' to help her with how to do the beauty section and to choreograph a piece for her rockstar piece and because it's not a glitz pageant, I will be doing her make-up and I have a friend doing her hair for me. We also have been looking at dresses and rockstar outfits! I will be doing her nails and we will go to a salon to get her eyebrows done and, I'm thinking we should do a facial too.....

Any of you Pageant Moms or Pageant Judges out there have any advice? I know it's late in the game to start pageants, she will be 13 in July, but I have no doubt she will do well! Everyone has told me since she was little I should enter her in pageants or some type of modeling work, so beauty is not an issue lol!

I would love to hear any tips or tricks on how to prepare for pageants that you might have! If she likes them I will enter her in more! It opens up so many new opportunities for her!

*Disclaimer* The crown in the picture above is NOT the one that Sam would receive if she places - I found it online and reposted it here to make the post 'shine'! lol

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fun Hand and Foot Card Game Directions With Pictures!!





Looking for a fun card game to play? I've got just the one for you to try. It's called Hand and Foot. Some of you may have heard of the board game, canasta rules spin-off or online version - this may be similar but we have perfected it - lol! This game can be played with 2 or more players - we usually play with 4. Now I have to warn you, it seems difficult at first but once you play a game or two it's super easy and super fun!

What You'll Need for 4 Players:


Paper and Pen - to keep score
4 Decks of regular playing cards, jokers included!









Optional Needs for 4 Players:
Healthy snacks to munch on as you’re playing - nothing sticky; you don't want your cards sticking together!
Beverages
Music playing in the background for ambience

Set Up:

Have the 4 players sit down at the table 2 on one side 2 on the other :: Now the person crisscrossed from you at the table will be your card Partner - so make sure you choose your spots at the table carefully!




Divide your score keeping paper in half and pick your team names. We always use the shirts we are using, like if I am wearing a t-shirt that says shark bait and my partner is wearing a buffalo chicken t-shirt we would name our team 'Chicken Bait' or 'Buffalo Sharks' or some other variation. Put the team names at the top of their perspective columns.



On the left hand side of your paper put a 1 with a circle around it and the number 60. This indicates that you are on round 1 and the point value needed to go down for round 1. After each round you will change this to read as whatever round you are on ie; round 2 would have a 2 circled with the number 90 next to it.


Shuffle your 4 decks - including the jokers - all together really well. Once they are all shuffled each person needs to deal 2 stacks of 11 cards in front of themselves and put all the rest of the cards in the middle of the table in a big stack.




Then take the 2 stacks of 11 and give them to the person on your left. Those will become their hand and foot. Of the 2 stacks you receive, one stack is going to be for your hand and one for your foot. Without looking at the cards in each stack pick one and set the other one off to your left. The one you choose will be your hand and you will start with that stack.

Pick one person to be first and put thier first initial next to your circled 1 and number 60. This helps you keep track of who went first and who goes first next round. Once you pick that initial person to go first the next 'first person' will be to their left. (clockwise)

Now you’re ready to start the game!

First let’s go over the objective and points then we will get into the game play.

Objective:

Be the team with the most points after 6 rounds of play.

A round begins with the dealing of the cards and ends when one person plays all his cards (hand and foot). Each round gets more difficult as you progress. In order for you to lay out in the first round you have to have at least 60 points worth of cards i.e.; 3 Aces or 2 Aces and a wild







Round Lay Down Points:

Round 1 = 60 points
Round 2 = 90 points
Round 3 = 120 points
Round 4 = 150 points
Round 5 = 180 points
Round 6 = 210 points


Points:

2 cards are wild (they become whatever you need them to be EXCEPT 3's) = 20 points each
4 - 9 cards = 5 points each
10 - K cards = 10 points each
Aces = 20 points each
Jokers are wild (they become whatever you need them to be EXCEPT 3's) = 50 points each
Black Sets = 300 points
Red Sets = 500 points
Black 3's = 0 points (they are worth nothing, they do not take away points or add)
Red 3's = 300 negative points (you don't want to have one of these at the end of a round!)






Red Sets:

To make a Red Set, you must have at least 7 of the same number i.e.; 7 Aces (color and suit do not matter). Once you have at least 7, close up that line-up and place a RED Ace on the top. You or your partner can always add more Aces to the pile under the red one.







Black Sets:

To make a Black Set, you must have at least 7 of the same number using the wild 2's and/or the joker cards. You must have more 'naturals' than wilds in your set though i.e.; max number of wilds to make a set would be 3 with 4 same numbered cards. Once a set has been made and closed with a card on the top you can only put cards that match the set in that pile.





Partners may play on each other’s boards to complete sets.

Partners may NOT have the same card numbers on their board as their partner has on theirs i.e.; if partner A has Queens laid down partner B cannot lay Queens down on their own board, any Queens partner B has, has to go to partner A.

Game Play:

The first player picks up 2 cards from the middle of the deck and puts them in their hand. Then they must decide what to keep and what to discard. You discard 1 card at a time. You must always have a discard unless you are 'going out' - winning a round. In that case you may play your last card onto yours or your partners’ board. After you discard the play then moves on to the person to your left.

In the first round you must have at least 60 points to lay down on your board. This can be accomplished simply - like with 3 Aces - or it could be something like 4 nines, 4 sixes and 4 twos, or any combination of point cards that equal 60. Strategy Hint: You don't want to lay too many different things down before your partner does especially if they haven't gotten down yet. It makes it harder for them and takes longer to save up enough points. Remember they can't lay down the same numbers as you. After your down you have to wait till your next turn to play on your partners’ board.


After the Discard pile has 5 or more cards in it you may start to take cards from the discard pile. You have to take the top 5 cards and you have to be able to use the very top card from the pile. For example say the person before you discards a 6 and you want it, you pick up the 6 AND the next 4 cards from the pile. You have to play the 6 on your or your partners’ board before the end of your turn. The extra 4 cards you took can be played on either board or kept in your hand, and then you discard 1 as usual. *You may not pick up the pile if a 3 is on the top of the discard pile! 3's cannot be made into sets or placed on your boards!! Do not collect them! Discard red 3's as soon as possible, they are negative points!!


During game play you are working towards getting all your cards down on either your board or your partners. Once you play your whole hand you can then pick up your foot. If you discard the last card in your hand you cannot play from your foot until your next turn, if you play your last hand card on your or your partners’ boards you may start playing from your foot right away. Your turn does not end till you discard or play the last card you have from your foot.


Doing it this way will allow you to 'set' the other team. You could get through your hand and foot pretty quickly and go out leaving the other team with them not having been able to play from their foot. This is great for you because any cards left from their hand and foot are negative points for them.

*You may not want to go out if your partner still has a lot of cards still. I would not recommend going out if your partner has not either started their board or played from their foot still. Also you must ask permission to go out from your partner. You never know if they might have a red 3 or two in their hand still. This does not mean table talk!! Your partner should not know what you have in your hand and vice versa. You cannot ask if they are saving Aces for example because you want to lay them down on your board. They can only respond with answers like 'yes you can go out' or 'not yet'.

As you are playing you need to keep track of your board. Once you hit 7 cards of the same you must pull it into a set. A Black set has some combination of jokers and face cards. If you have this type put the cards in a pile with a black card of your number on top. You may still add as many more cards of that number as you can get, just put them under the top card. For example if I had 5 Aces and 2 wilds, I would pull them into a stack with a black Ace on top and every Ace me, or my partner, got would go in that pile but under the top card. At this point you can no longer put wilds in that set. There is a maximum of 3 wilds for each black set on your boards.




Try not to ever discard a wild!! If you have to discard something discard a play card that plays on your partners’ board! As the rounds get harder you will find that when your partner goes down before you, you have to save those play cards for his board but still save others to make the point mark so you can go down!

All rounds are played in the same manner; the only thing that changes is the point value to get down on your board.

At the end of each round you first add up any sets you and your partner have and put that number on the score board - so if you end the round with 3 black sets and 1 red set you would have a total of 1400 points). Then you take any remaining cards you and your partner have and subtract that from the cards on your boards. After that you take all the cards left remaining on your and your partners boards and add them together (including all the cards in your sets! Those are points as sets and as regular card points! For example the 3 black sets from above were Aces, 4's and 7's - each with 1 wild and only 7 cards - you would have 240 points there). Put the card total under your set total and add the 2 numbers together. That is your score for that round!

Reshuffle and deal again to begin the next round. At the end of all 6 rounds whichever team has the most points is the winner!




Like I said, it seems pretty complicated but once you start playing it is a blast! Gameplay gets much easier after you play a time or two!

I would LOVE to know what you think of this game! Did you try it? Did you love it? Did you find the directions above confusing? Have you played this game with different rules? If so what was the difference? What were some of the team names you came up with and how did you come up with them?

***Disclaimer*** These are NOT the official Hand and Foot rules. This post is directions for how me and my friends play! It is just for fun.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Aerosoles Review




"Slip into a pair of Aerosoles and watch what happens. There is more spring in your step, more color in your life, simply stated more comfort. With more than 20 years of experience creating shoes we are passionate about our product and our core values remain the same…comfort, style, quality and value." - Aerosoles


Wow! When I contacted Aerosoles about doing a Blog review on their shoes, I wasn't quite expecting how much more I'd fall in love with their company and products! From the beginning email to looking into the company for background info, I was pleasantly surprised with how easily everything flowed. Their website is easy to navigate and understand, and there is a ton of interesting info on how shoes become 'Aerosoles'. I was impressed to say the least.

For my review I chose the Bentwood in Black Patent, these normally retail for $69. I wanted to try a trendy dress shoe that would be versatile enough for day and evening wear AND be comfortable! I don't know about you but I have the hardest time finding a comfortable pair of dressy shoes! Usually there isn't enough arch or my toes get squeezed so tightly that by the end of the day my feet hurt so badly I have to take an Ibprofin!



Once I received them - which was super quick!! - I had to try them on with everything! I tried them on with jeans, dress pants and a skirt. I LOVE the way they looked with all of it! The whole time my soon to be 13 year old was begging to try them on too, so we held a little fashion show with them!









After the first day admiring all the sweet detail work and new shoe smell - lol! I decided to 'break them in' by wearing them around the house while doing housework. Ten minutes into tidying up and vacuuming I realized that I had forgotten I was wearing them! There was no need to even break them in!

Now it was time for the ultimate test... wear them out to a function. Even though the test run with them went better than expected, I was nervous. So me and the family took a trip to the mall. We were there, walking around the stores, for a good 3 hours or so. By the time we left the only thing that hurt was my pocketbook! After that, I HAD to go out dancing!! Would they hold up to shaking my groove thing? Yep, they did! They passed all the tests I gave them!!

Navigating through the Aerosoles website I found some really cool information here
all about what makes Aerosoles so great! Here are some highlights from that page that I thought were interesting.

The soles are flexible enough to twist and fold with the natural movement of your foot. "As you step, the front of your foot bends, so we create shoes that bend with you and offer ultimate flexibility in the toe. By stitching the upper – not gluing it – to a soft flexible insole we eliminate stiff, hard boards that other companies use. Then, we add a flexible rubber sole" (for better slip resistance!) "with our unique diamond pattern. You will feel the difference in every step." I LOVE this feature! Usually when I walk, especially with new shoes, my toe gets 'pinched'. With these I didn't have a problem at all!

There are cushy comfort beds of foam and cotton inside! "Cushioned insoles; comfort foam footbeds, and our sumptuous padded insoles soothe and pamper your feet." It was heaven wearing these shoes! They had a super soft inside that made me feel almost like I was wearing slippers.








Aerosoles employs a technology, unique to their company, in which their custom shoe design "distributes your body weight toward your heel, and away from the ball of your foot. The result, superior comfort in both high heels and wedges so you look and feel great."

Aerosoles design team is committed to innovation in footwear and that is obvious by the look and wearability of these shoes! Their mission is to be the #1 product-driven footwear company in the world and they have more than 20 years experience creating comfortable, decently priced, wearable shoes. Not only can you purchase their shoes online but also in over 100 Aerosoles stores and outlets all across the world - with more opening this year! To find a store near you check here.


The shoes that I chose were from Aerosoles new Spring Line-up. I had so much trouble deciding what I wanted to try; there are so many different fun styles and colors to choose from! Next pair of Aerosoles I want is a pair of their sneakers - I started working out more recently to get into shape for the summer and I really need a comfortable pair for the gym!



You can check out Aerosoles on Facebook
They regularly have awesome deals posted for their Facebook fans! Let them know that Nicolie-Olie's Meanderings sent you!

Or check them out on Twitter!

Want a Catalog that you can browse through at your leisure? Click here
to have one sent to you.

Aerosoles also has an exclusive member option on their webpage. When you sign up you get bonus rewards like earning a $10 certificate when your purchases total $150 or more, they offer a birthday bonus of 15% off your next purchase during your birth month, you get pre-sale previews - preview and purchase new collections before they’re available to the public!, and there are online benefits like receiving special online offers for future footwear purchases. You also get to 'hear it first' - find out about limited-time offers before they’re promoted in-store or online. And if all that isn't enough you also will get invites to special in-store events!


So in conclusion, here are all the reasons why I LOVE my new shoes, and why you should try out a pair yourself!!!!


*They are ultra comfortable! After a night out, my feet are usually killing me! With these on, I was able to dance, walk around and have fun all night as my feet didn’t hurt at all. If fact I forgot I was wearing high heels!
*Great with jeans, dress pants, skirts/dresses.
*Both for office and night life wear.
*I received a ton of compliments on them.
*My daughter wants to steal them!
*The design on these is exquisite.
*I love how soft the inside felt against my skin.
*My feet did not get sweaty.
*The little peek a boo in the toe is so sweet.
*Even the wrapping and box they came in were pretty.
*I have a wide foot and usually have trouble finding the right size, but I used the sizing guide on the website (super easy!)and these fit perfectly.
*I didn’t even have to ‘break them in’!

Now that you read through this review and visited Aerosoles various media outlets I provided, I'd love to hear your thoughts!! Have you ever bought Aerosoles? What style did you purchase? Do you love them?
Do you love the new Spring Line-up? Which pair is your favorite?
Are there any shoes you have on your wish list for this year?
Has your opinion changed of this company because of this review?
Had you heard of Aerosoles before reading this review?

Leave some comment Luv below!

P.S. For all my fellow OLS'ers out there - I couldn't find any current sweeps running for them right now. Hopefully soon though!

***Disclaimer*** I was given the choice of a pair of shoes from the new Aerosoles spring line-up to review for this blog. All opinions are my own. I was not told what to write here. All company information within is interpreted by me (except when quoted) from the various Aerosoles websites and written here to give you, my readers, some background information on the Aerosoles company.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Der Struwwelpeter - The German Fairy Tale Book





If you have never heard of this book you are not alone. Outside of my family, everyone I have talked to about this book had no idea what it was. Let me start out by telling you that I am of direct German descent. My mother was born in Germany, her mother (my grandmother - we call her omi) was born and raised in Germany and all of her family is still living there. Needless to say I had a lot of German influence while growing up! Der Struwwelpeter is one of the fairy tale books that were read and ingrained into my memories as a young child. The 'tales' in the book aren't very long but their shocking and harsh endings are unforgettable.

Here is a little background on the author...

This book was written by Heinrich Hoffman (1809-1894) in 1845 as a Christmas present. Hoffman was a German psychiatrist who reportedly was upset he couldn't find a good book about teaching manners to children so he made his own for his then 3 year old son.

His friends persuaded him to publish the book anonymously as Lustige Geschichten und drollige Bilder mit 15 schön kolorierten Tafeln für Kinder von 3–6 Jahren (Funny Stories and Whimsical Pictures with 15 Beautifully Coloured Panels for Children Aged 3 to 6), but it wasn't until the third edition in 1858 that the book was published with the title Der Struwwelpeter and it became a household name.

Below is a short synopsis of each tale:

1. "Struwwelpeter" is about a boy who does not groom himself properly and is consequently unpopular.

2. "Die Geschichte vom bösen Friederich" - (The Story of Bad Frederick)is about a violent, mean-spirited boy who terrorizes animals and people. As the tale progresses he is bitten by a dog, becomes bedridden and the dog gets to eat the boy's dinner.


3. "Die gar traurige Geschichte mit dem Feuerzeug" - (The Dreadful Story of the Matches) is about a girl who plays with matches and burns to death.

4. "Die Geschichte von den schwarzen Buben" - (The Story of the Black Boys)is about three boys teasing another boy about the color of his skin. Nikolas (that is, Saint Nicholas) catches the three boys and to teach them a lesson, he dips them in black ink, to make them even darker-skinned than the boy they'd teased.

5. "Die Geschichte von dem wilden Jäger" - (The Story of the Wild Huntsman) is about a hunter getting his musket and eyeglasses stolen by the rabbit he is hunting and begins to be hunted by the rabbit. In the chaos, the rabbit's child is burned by hot coffee and the hunter falls into a well, presumably to his death.


6. "Die Geschichte vom Daumenlutscher" - (The Story of the Thumb-Sucker) begins with a mother warning her son not to suck his thumbs or a man will come and cut them off. The boy does not heed the warning and after the mom leaves the house he begins to suck his thumb when suddenly a man appears and cuts off his thumbs with giant scissors.

7. "Die Geschichte vom Suppen-Kaspar" - (The Story of the Soup-Kaspar) is about a healthy, strong boy who proclaims that he will no longer eat his soup and over the course of five days of refusing to eat his soup, he wastes away to nothing and dies.


8. "Die Geschichte vom Zappel-Philipp" - (The Story of the Fidgety Philip) is about a boy who won't sit still at the dinner table and accidentally knocks all of the food onto the floor, to his parents' great displeasure.

9. "Die Geschichte von Hans Guck-in-die-Luft" - (The Story of Johnny Head-in-Air) is about a boy who doesn't ever watch where he's walking. One day he walks into a river and his writing-book drifts away.

10. "Die Geschichte vom fliegenden Robert" - (The Story of the Flying Robert) is about a boy who goes outside during a storm. The wind catches his umbrella and sends him to places unknown, and presumably to his doom.

Variations on the tales in this book have been made into a musicals, plays and even small films throughout the years!

Here is a link to a page that has translated the whole book into english and it even has all the artwork with it! http://www.gutenberg.org/files/12116/12116-h/12116-h.htm


Here is a link to Amazon if you have to have this book for your very own!!


What is your opinion of the tales? Would you read them to your child in this day and age? Which one did you find the most horrific? The most fascinating?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Win Some Coupon Green! *CLOSED*


Love coupons?? Me too! I’ve decided to give my blog readers a great new giveaway with coupons! Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter! Good Luck!!

***CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.... WINNER IS SARAH R. FROM OREGON!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!***

PRIZE (all in coupon form – earliest expiration date is March 31, 2012 and there are only a couple of these, most expire later on this year):

1 free package of any Idahoan Flavored Mashed Potatoes
1 free any flavor 16oz can of Monster Energy
5 free your choice of either a Snickers Bar or bag of M&M’s
66 various coupons for a wide range of products (food, household, personal, pets)
2 money off clothing store coupons

Total ARV of all coupons = $151.07 !!!!

Who couldn’t use savings like this??


Rules:
Ends March 11, 2012 at 12:59pm
There will be (1) one random winner chosen using Rafflecopter. Winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to respond or new winner will be chosen.
Winner will be posted here and on Nicolie-Olie’s Meanderings Facebook Page.

Disclaimer: All coupons were clipped and gathered by me from magazines and newspapers OR I received them as a ‘win’ from a sweepstakes. I have not been compensated in any way to do this giveaway or to use these specific coupons.