I Got A Cricut Explore Air 2 For Christmas, Now What?

I had been wanting a Cricut cutting machine for years. It was always something I put off to the side a not a need but a want. I’m not super crafty but I loved the things some of my friends and family would make with theirs.

Honestly I was a little intimidated. Would I be able to use it? I didn’t want to pay for the machine then not be able to use it, get frustrated, and let it gather dust. Then there was the idea of space I knew I’d need a desk or table to work at. I have a desk for my laptop but could it be a work desk/craft desk? And it’s in the living room, I didn’t want it getting cluttered or messy all the time.

Cricut Explore Air 2

Well my dad asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I would have never asked him for a Cricut. I would have felt guilty asking him for something that cost so much money. So I found a hoodie I liked and a smaller make up set for ideas and told him either of those would be fine. Well Christmas Day at my dads house there was an unusually large gift that definitely did not look like a hoodie or small make up set. When I opened it, I couldn’t believe it. He must have saw my facebook conversations with friends enough times to know I wanted one. He got me a Cricut Explore Air 2 bundle so it had some basic tools, vinyls, cutting mats, and transfer tape with it.

The first chance I had I started looking at Youtube videos, tiktok, etc for beginner advice, tips and tricks, etc. I finally felt confident to start it up. The guide that came with it was helpful too. I did my first practice project with the cardstock sample paper they had in the box. I messed up the first time, but got it the 2nd time.

My middle son was shouting out ideas of things he’d like me to make him. While I was excited, I was also a little bit “whoa slow down there” I mean I’m brand new to Cricut. I had bought his girlfriend a custom boba glass as part of her gift (she loves boba). My son says “Maybe you can make me my own boba glass” So I got a glass to practice on from the dollar tree. I bought a few permanent vinyls on sale at Michaels. And found some SVG files on Etsy I wanted to use and purchased them. He’s a big Miami Dolphins fan so I was excited to find Miami Dolphins SVG files. Not only that but I was able to upload them to my design space with ease. After watching some helpful videos on youtube again for layering and transfering I went to work. I made mistakes but learned with each one. In the end I created my son’s custom boba glass and he loved it.

That project boosted my confidence a bit. While at Michaels I had bought some insert cards to try because I had seen them in some of the videos and though they looked great. But again I thought I messed up because the ones I bought said “Cricut Joy” on them. Again after watching several videos with several ideas of how to use them on a Cricut Explore Air 2, I went to work. Believe it or not this project was much harder for me as a newbie. I wasted several cards until I figure out how to do it. Why? because most of the insert card videos showed to use the Cricut 2×2 card mat or showed an alternative way with a piece of cardstock. All great ideas but I spent the money on the insert cards so I was determined to use them. I did not want to have to purchase yet another accessory (the card mat) to be able to do another project. After wasting those several cards I finally figured it out. I was excited to have figured out an alternative without a helpful video this time.

So my question for other, more seasoned, Cricut users….What are some beginner friendly Cricut Explore Air 2 projects you think I should try? I did get some iron on vinyls with my Cricut so I’m thinking maybe a t-shirt. Or maybe a decal for my car with removable vinyl. But I’m open to suggestions.

I’d also love to know what your first project was and did you have trouble like I did or were you a pro right out of the gate? In your opinion, what are your must have tools? Do you have any tips on where or when to find the best deals on Cricut accessories?

This post does contain affiliate links. I will earn a small commission from sales made through my links

Monte Cristo Sandwich With Thanksgiving Leftovers

Here it is November again. I’m in the midst of trying to plan my Thanksgiving dinner as many people are. We usually have a fair amount of people over for Thanksgiving. They usually come in waves. For that reason, I set my Thanksgiving dinner up buffet style and people can just eat where they land, so to speak. Some guests have already been somewhere else earlier in the day so they may only have dessert or an appetizer. While for others, this is the main stop in my family.

Thanksgiving dinner

I’m someone who would rather have too much than not enough when it comes to holiday meals. Plus if there’s leftovers that can be a night off of cooking, or some delicious Thanksgiving leftover recipes.

Are you looking for inspiration for a new Thanksgiving leftover recipe? About 10 years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Chef Scott Schmucker at a social media event at Art Institute of Pittsburgh. He shared a Thanksgiving leftover recipe with us that I still use to this day. It’s one of my family’s favorites.

Monte Cristo Sandwich

by Chef Schmucker

6 slices of bread

3 oz turkey sliced (can use sandwich turkey if you prefer)

3 oz ham sliced

6 oz swiss cheese sliced

4 eggs

8 oz milk

1/4 tsp salt

2 oz vegetable oil

1/4 c powdered sugar

6 oz cranberry sauce

3 leaves of lettuce

Maple syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place 1 slice of turkey, 1 slice of ham, and 1 slice of swiss cheese on a piece of bread. Then top with a 2nd slice of bread
  3. In a bowl, thoroughly mix eggs, milk, and salt
  4. In a saute pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat, add half the vegetable oil. While holding sandwich together, dip entire sandwich into egg batter making sure to soak both slice of bread. Place dipped sandwich into heated pan/skillet.
  5. Cook until golden brown as you would french toast. Turn sandwich and repeat on other side
  6. Place sandwich on a parchment lined sheet pan/baking sheet and place into preheated oven. Bake 8-10 minutes or until heated to 165 degrees throughout
  7. Once removed from oven, place cooked sandwich onto cutting board and cut into 4 triangles corner to corner.
  8. Lightly dust sandwich with powdered sugar and shingle on a large plate. Garnish with lettuce and cranberry sauce.
  9. You can top sandwich with maple syrup or place in a dipping cup to dip sandwich triangles while eating.

Recipe makes 3 sandwiches

What do you think, would you try it? What is your favorite Thanksgiving leftover recipe?

This post does contain some affiliate links. I will earn a small commission from sales made through my links

$180 Paypal Holiday Cash Giveaway

It’s the holiday season once again, and Black Friday and CyberMonday are right around the corner! We want to help you get the gifts you want without having to spend a dime (or not as many!) with our Happy Holidays PayPal CASH Giveaway!

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We greatly appreciate each and every one of our sponsors for their generous donations for our readers and theirs. From all of us, we wish you a joyous holiday season filled with love and laughter.

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Giveaway Dates: The giveaway begins on November 5, 2021, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern and ends on November 22, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern.

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Hot Holiday Toys To Watch For: Magic Mixies

I had the absolute pleasure of attending The Toy Insiders Virtual Day of Play for Holiday Toys. The one thing that was mentioned in the opening is that the toy industry is facing many of the issues that a lot of other industries are this year. That includes: delayed ship times, labor shortages, difficulty getting certain materials, etc. So the message this year is to buy early and buy “the” toy item your child wants when you see it. (If you are able to of course)

One of the items expected to be a hot holiday toy this year is Magic Mixies from Moose Toys.

During the Day of Play virtual event I showed the how-to video to my daughter and she was mesmerized. I posted a little info about it on my private facebook page and several of my friends and neighbors were telling me this is already on their kids’ wish lists.

What Is It?

It’s an interactive toy. You’ll receive a cauldron, wand, and ingredients to create a Mixie creature (included).

The short version: A magic cauldron that lights up, bubbles, and more. Your child adds all the ingredients and uses their magic wand to stir and tap the pot. Once all ingredients are added and all steps are complete, watch as the cauldron mists an reveals their Mixie creature.

The Mixie itself also interacts with your child and their wand. They can even do assist with the cauldron and spell book. Your child’s Mixie has 50+ sounds and reactions!

My favorite part? This isn’t a one and done thing. You can recreate the magic of revealing the Mixie over and over again.

I love that it has so much entertainment value and quite simply is adorable.

When and Where Can I Get It?

Depending on the site Magic Mixies will be released October 3 with Amazon listing October 1 for ship dates on pre-orders. Here’s some places and links you can find Magic Mixies.

Magic Mixies at Target Pink not available for pre-order here

Magic Mixies at Walmart Rainbow

Magic Mixies at Walmart pink

Magic Mixies at Walmart blue

Magic Mixies on Amazon Blue

Magic Mixies on Amazon Pink

Magic Mixies refill pack (good for 20+ mist reveals)

Magic Mixies How-To

You can check out the Magic the exact Magic Mixies video I saw right here:

I have more Hot Holiday Toy info coming up so be sure to subscribe to my emails, rss, and follow on social media!

This post does contain affiliate links. I will earn a small commission from sales made through my links.

Christmas in July: 10% off Holiday Cards at Lovepop

I’ve posted about Lovepop cards before. They’re one of my favorite cards to send. They don’t often go on sale so when you see a sale, better grab it while you can.

If you don’t know what Lovepop cards are, they are handcrafted 3D pop up cards. Each and every time I’ve sent or given one I’ve received such positive reactions on them. My dad still has one of the Game of Thrones cards I got him pinned to his corkboard.

hummingbird_popup_card

Right now you can save 10% of holiday cards at Lovepop by using code: XMASINJULY and using my link below.

Get 10% Off Holiday Cards using code XMASINJULY

While you’re visiting Lovepop, stop by the Lovepop Vault for retiring designs. Lovepop doesn’t just have holiday cards though. They have 3D cards for birthdays, weddings, love, sympathy, and more. See which designs you can grab in the vault before they’re gone!

The Vault

If you’d like to see the cards in action, I did a short instagram reel around the holidays you can check out:

Lovepop also offers free shipping on orders in the US. There cards are a little pricier but the reactions I’ve received have been priceless.

Free US Shipping

Which card is your favorite?

This post does contain affiliate links. I will earn a small commission from sales made through my links