Mommy Katie

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Destiny 2 Collector's Edition for XBOX ONE


When it comes to gaming and finding the latest and greatest for my husband and his friends to enjoy, I like to seek out the ones that offer adventure. And like many gamers, who enjoy the game play that they got with the game of Destiny, my husband had been anticipating the release of the new game that is now available for console play, Destiny 2! So when we were sent the Destiny 2 Collector's Edition for XBOX ONE to review, I was very excited to share it with my husband and he was excited to check out what was all included in this limited edition collectors pack!


The packaging comes ready to be gifted for Destiny fans. Once opened, we found the box was filled with a great selection of Destiny 2 exclusives that are the perfect selection of must have collectible gear. This includes some very cool gear along with the Destiny 2 Game for the XBOX ONE and extras that can be used within the game.


The items in the Destiny 2 Collector's Edition set for the XBOX ONE comes with the following collectibles and gaming products:

Includes:

  • Destiny 2 base game
  • Destiny 2 Expansion Pass: Get access to both Expansion I and Expansion II, offering brand new story missions, cooperative activities, competitive multiplayer, and a wealth of new weapons, armor, and gear.
  • Premium digital content:
    • Legendary Sword
    • Legendary Player Emote
    • Cabal Empire Themed Emblem
  • Destiny 2 - Frontier Bag
    • Customizable bag that can be worn as a backpack or messenger bag
    • 15" Laptop/Tablet Sleeve with protective pocket slip
  • Frontier Kit, featuring:
  • Solar panel USB charger with built-in light
  • Paracord
  • Solar blanket
  • Limited Edition Steelbook® Case
  • Cabal-themed Collector's Box, containing;
    • Booklet with secrets into the Cabal Empire
    • Cabal Schematic
    • Collectible Postcard Images
    • Cabal Military Pawns
Then when it comes to the game of Destiny 2, it takes players on a epic journey to help keep humanity from being annihilated. Players create their "Guardian" avatars then embark on a adventure that takes them across the universe as they fight battles alongside those who have been devoted to the universe since the beginning! Players find that the last city on Earth which offered a safe haven has fallen, and now taken over by new occupants who are part of a very powerful army of enemies. And as players gain and master new abilities and weapons they acquire, they find that must help to reunite forces in the city so together they can fight back and take back their home! We found both Destiny 2 the game along with this amazing Destiny 2 Collector's Edition for the XBOX ONE to be the perfect gift to get any gamer who is a Destiny fan and find that it will make for the perfect gift to give this coming holiday season!



Product received, thank you to Activision as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

#Giveaway Monogrammed Backpacks from August Lane


With the kids back in school and the routines back in place, we find that aside from the schedules we keep that we also need the gear on hand to help make this new school year a successful one for everyone. For me, I have found that with a teen in school that when it comes to her gear that fashion is a not a question it is life. And when it comes to her backpacks, she likes to have a selection on hand that she can use throughout the school year. So when we were given the chance to review a backpack from the line of backpacks at August Lane, my daughter was excited to pick one out and have it personalized by having it monogrammed as well!

When shopping at August Lane, I found that with the backpack selection that they had designs to suit each of my kids, allowing us to find backpacks that we could customize as well. I also found the other items from the list of school supplies available at August Lane to offer us ways to add coordinating pieces which include lunch totes, notebooks and more. And after looking over the selection, my daughter found the Navy Seersucker Backpack to be perfect for her! She liked the color and the leather like trim, along with the space and padded laptop compartment.

Then when it came to adding a personal touch, she liked that she could choose from the selection of thread and the embroidered monogram options. Giving her options on how to make her backpack unique to her and making the choice to shop the line of backpacks from August Lane a great choice to go with when seeking out trendy backpacks for your kids that you can have monogrammed and even coordinate with other pieces from the August Lane line! And to help with getting your kids that backpack that they are sure to adore, the wonderful people from August Lane would like to give one of my amazing readers their own backpack from the August Lane line up!


 



Product received, thank you to August Lane as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.

Capturing Moments with Hello Canvas

With the summer come and gone and the fall approaching quickly, like many families, we find that we like to look back on those memories we made over the summer. For my family, this means looking back on the special occasions like the birthdays, anniversaries and holidays we celebrated together, along with the adventures we went on and the time my kids spend with their grandparents each summer. We look back on these memories by looking over the photos we took while making the memories together, saving some of those photos to put in albums and by even having prints made to hang up for all to see. So when we were given the chance to set up a review on a framed print from Hello Canvas, I knew that it would be a great way to display a photo of my kids with my parents from the summer break.

I found the process of setting up a print to have framed was a very simple one when shopping at Hello Canvas. I also found the print options to be a great selection, allowing us to choose from wood and metal prints to the traditional framed prints like I went with for this review. After choosing the way I wanted my print to be displayed, I was then able to upload my photo, choose the frame I wanted to go with, along with the size, effects and more! Allowing me to not just get prints made without the hassle of going to a print shop or framing store, but also customize my choice as well.

Then when it came to the finished product, I was pleased to see that it did not take long for my framed photo to arrive, and I was very pleased to see the quality of the framed print. Giving me a completed project that was ready to be hung up for all to see, and also giving my family a great framed memory that we can all look back on each time we see it! Making the choice to head to Hello Canvas for your print needs when it comes to those photos you want to have displayed nicely to be viewed and cherished for years to come, a choice that you are sure to appreciate!




Product received, thank you to Hello Canvas as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.

Make Work Easier with the Epson EcoTank ET-2650 All in One Printer

When it comes to working from home and having kids in school, I have learned that aside from having a great WiFi signal in the home along with various security devices protecting our home network, that the printers are also a huge part of the home office space. In my house, I use my printers daily, and with the kids, when they have projects due or when they want to print off activity sheets, we find that the printers in our home get quite a bit of use out of them. And like many who have printers that are used regularly by multiple users in the home, the ink issue seems to be something that we were unable to avoid, that is until recently. I say that because recently we were able to upgrade the home office space and also come up with a solution to the ink issue when we were sent the Epson EcoTank ET-2650 All In One Printer to review from Epson.



With the EcoTank line of printers that you can find from the products at Epson, you get a selection of cartridge free printers which feature a revolutionary ink replacement technology that you can not find anywhere else! The ET-2650 is one of the printers available in this line, and is designed to be able to handle high capacity projects where we can print up to 4,000 pages in black and color without having to constantly replace the ink. In fact, when it comes to the ink that is included, I like that it can last for up to 2 years, allowing us to print without worrying about a whole lot other than ensuring we have plenty of paper on hand.



Then when it comes to the set up and the filling of the ink, well that is also made to be very simple too. I say that because I was able to simply take the printer from the box, take off all of the tape and protective plastic, place the printer on the desk, plug it in and set it up on our home WiFi network. Once it was set up, I then opened the ink tank, and filled each compartment using the ink in the bottles that were provided with our printer. After everything was set up on the network and the printer was ready, I was able to then go on my computer, locate the printer, and begin printing right away! We also found that we could print from our phones and tablets, allowing anyone in our home on our network, to print what they needed without any hassles! Which for us, has made the choice to add the Epson EcoTank ET-2650 All in One Printer from the line of EcoTank printers at Epson to our home office, a choice that everyone in my home can appreciate!




Product received, thank you to Epson as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

7 Useful Tips For Introducing Solid Foods To Your Baby

Once your baby reaches six months, be prepared to go through another exciting phase: feeding your baby solid foods.

According to nutritional advisors, when your baby can hold his head up, opens his mouth when food comes his way, and can swallow small amounts of soft food, then it’s time to expand your child’s diet to solid foods.

Starting Your Child on Solid Foods


Introducing solid foods to your child is an important stage in the whole baby development process. However, it can sometimes be one of the most daunting or challenging processes you and your child will have to go through.

To help you have a fruitful, less stressful, and more enjoyable time introducing solid foods to your baby, here are some tips that you can follow:

1.     Don’t rush the whole process


If you’re new to motherhood, getting your child to eat solid foods means more than simply preparing a bowl of pureed vegetables or fruits and feeding your child until he finishes everything. For the first six months, you have been solely breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby; as such, he doesn’t know any other type of food yet. Take things one step at a time.

If it’s your first time to feed your baby something solid, you can help him become more receptive by giving him a little breast milk or formula first then switching to small or half spoonfuls of food. After a while, breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby again. Follow this technique until your baby becomes more interested in solid foods. This strategy will also help prevent your baby from getting frustrated when he becomes really hungry.

In case your child cries or turns away when you bring a spoonful of food near his mouth, stop feeding him. Breastfeed or bottle-feed him exclusively for some time first before trying again.

You need to make sure your child perceives mealtimes as something fun and you won’t get to do this if you keep feeding your baby when it is clear he doesn’t want to eat at all.

2.     Introduce only one type of food at a time


Single-grain cereals are usually introduced to babies first. However, there is nothing wrong with giving him other types of foods first. If you choose to go with baby cereals, make sure you get ones that are made for babies and iron-fortified.

Once your child learns to eat and appreciate one food, gradually give him other foods. However, give him only one new food at a time. You can start by giving him mashed potatoes or bananas, then move on to pureed carrots and other fruits and vegetables. You can introduce meat, fish, eggs, and legumes and fresh veggies (carrot sticks, celery, etc.) as well.

Keep in mind that meats and vegetables contain more nutrients per serving than fruits and cereals so it will also be great if they develop a liking for these foods early on.

3.     Allow your child to set the pace of his meals


Regardless of the type of food you give your baby, let him decide how quickly and how much food he can eat. This is something that is easier to do if your baby is eating finger foods.

If you are spoon-feeding your child, be on the lookout for cues that he wants more before pushing the spoon into his mouth. If he leans forward and opens his mouth when you put up the spoon, this means he’s ready for the next bite.

4.     Include your baby during family meals


Once your baby can sit safely in a high chair, feed him during family mealtimes. You can still give him mashed potatoes, avocadoes, and other typical baby foods. However, you can start giving your child other baby-safe finger foods as well such as steamed fish and veggies and fresh fruits. But make sure you give your child foods that are easy to swallow and are not too salty, since babies’ kidneys will have problems processing excessive salt.

5.     Be a role model


Even if your child is just several months old, he will always look up to you and will soon follow and mimic things you do. As such, if you’re still in the initial stages of introducing solid foods to your child, you will encourage him to try them more when he sees you tasting and enjoying these dishes.

Don’t forget to smile and show that you appreciate every bite your child takes, even if he doesn’t swallow everything you put in his mouth.

6.     Make your baby’s food interesting


Introducing solid foods to your baby means helping him explore and learn new things, too. As such, make sure your baby tries different textures and flavors. You don’t have to keep giving your child mashed or pureed veggies and fruits.

He can handle some natural spices and crunchy foods so include these in his meals every now and then.

7.     Expect some mess


Lastly, teaching your child to eat solid foods will be messy. The earlier you learn to accept this, the better it will be for you and your child. The important thing is that your child gets to try and eat new and more nutritious foods, so a few drops or splashes on the floor and table shouldn’t be a huge problem. You can easily clean up afterward anyway.

There is nothing easy about introducing solid foods to babies. But by following the right techniques and tips, mealtimes with your baby can be fun (even if they still get messy).



Lunch Box Notes with NABISCO Multipacks + Giveaway

This post was sponsored by Nabisco as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.


With the kids back in school and routines back in play, we are finding that things are starting to run a little smoother than they did that first week back. For me, I enjoy being able to get through the week without a lot of surprises. Where we know the schedules, have times set for certain activities, and menus ready to go each week. And when it comes to the menus, especially the school lunches, I find that I like to ensure that my kids get a lunch that they will enjoy. I do this by seeking out the foods that I know they appreciate seeing in their lunches, like the different cookies we get with the NABISCO Multipacks, and by also offering a fun note of inspiration to help them get through their days. 


This is because lunch time at the schools is like the half way mark for the kids school day, and like many kids, mine are not only hungry and anticipating what I have packed for them, but they also enjoy the little things too. Like the little notes I pack in their lunches, that let them know I am always thinking of them, and offer a little inspiration to help them get through the rest of their busy days at school. And when they see those little notes as they enjoy some of their favorite cookies from the NABISCO Multipacks 12-pack which include the Oreo minis, Nutter Butter bites, and mini Chips Ahoy, it can help to bring a smile to their faces!


As a parent with a busy schedule, I like that I can pick up those items I need to pack in the lunches when I head to my local Walmart and find what I have on my lists, very easily! I also like that when it comes to the snacks the kids like in their lunches and for after school, that I can locate the NABISCO Multipacks in the Cookies and Crackers isle alongside other favorites of ours from the NABISCO line up.


Then when it comes to those lunch box notes that offer a little midday inspiration for the kids while they are at school, I like to create printables that I can print off and cut out each week like the printable above. This allows me to find fun and inspiring quotes to put in the lunches, and also gives the kids something different to read each day! So as you go to pack those school lunches and stock the pantry with after school snacks, be sure to head to your local Walmart where you can pick up the NABISCO Multipacks 12-pack which include the Oreo minis, Nutter Butter bites, and mini Chips Ahoy, and feel free to download the free printable above to add a little midday inspiration to your kids lunches that is sure to bring a smile to their faces!

Also be sure to enter below now through September 29th, 2017 for your chance to win one of 2 grand prize $200 Walmart Gift Cards or one of 12 $50 Walmart Gift Cards!

Nabisco Snacktime Sweepstakes

I-C will randomly select 14 winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes.





Peanuts by Schulz: School Days on DVD

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the DVD I reviewed in this Blog Post. The opinions I share are my own.



The kids are back in school, and even though we adjust our schedules going from summer schedules to the school year schedules, in my house, we always make time for family movie night! With that said, like many who enjoy those family movie nights each week, my kids look forward to our night. A night where they can take turns choosing a new movie or show to share and a night where we can all relax and enjoy watching one anothers picks together! So when we were sent the new DVD,  Peanuts by Schulz: School Days, I was excited to share it with my kids and share it during our family movie night!


In this DVD, just like the kids, the Peanuts gang is back in school and taking those comical antics to the books! There are 19 shorts included on this DVD, giving you and your family over 3 hours of laughter and lessons as those comic strips come to life in the collection. The friends show their various sides from the class clown in the group to the teacher's pet, you can follow along with the friends as they take on the adventures the school days ahead have to offer! Making the choice to add the new DVD, Peanuts by Schulz: School Days, a great choice to add to your next family movie night and to add to your Peanuts collection!





P. King Duckling: Seize the Day on DVD


When it comes to our family movie nights, we like to ensure that everyone in the house has a chance to share some of their favorite shows and movies. This includes those shows that my preschooler enjoys watching on Disney Junior, like P. King Duckling. So when we were sent the DVD, P. King Duckling: Seize the Day to review, my preschooler was excited to not only add it to his collection but also share it during our family movie night!



In this DVD, we get 7 episodes from Season 1 which include P. King Duckling and his friends! Each episode gets kids engaged in problem solving and creative thinking as the friends team up to seize the day. P. King's friends are Chumpkins, who is a sarcastic pig and Wombat who is a good friend and follows along with the various escapades that P. King goes on, but offers insight on the various situations. Making the new DVD, P. King Duckling: Seize the Day, a great choice to go with for your next family movie night as well as a great choice to go with and bring home for any P. King Duckling fan!




Product received, thank you to Shout Factory as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.

How to get Out of the ChexSystems Before the Holidays


Is the neighborhood bank offering a generous cash bonus for new account holders? Too bad you don’t qualify because you’re in ChexSystems and can’t get approved for an account. Even worse, money’s tight and you need the extra funds to get through the upcoming holiday season. Or maybe you are looking to open a standard account so you can apply for a loan or credit card.

The good news is you may be able to get clear your ChexSystems record in time for the holidays.
Error or Factual Information? 
This is the first question you must ask yourself to determine your next course of action. 
Dealing with errors in ChexSystems
If you’re in ChexSystems due to a reporting error:
Step 1: Get an updated copy of your ChexSystems Report. Were you denied because of what was in your report but you know for certain that your banking history is squeaky clean? Now’s the time to analyze the contents of your report to identify errors. To get a free copy of your report:
Go to ChexSystems.com.
Click on “Consumer Disclosure Report”.
Hit submit.
You should receive your report within five business days.
Step 2: Review the report and highlight errors. You should also highlight any accounts that are over five years old as they should not be included in the report.
Step 3: Complete a “Request for Investigation” form. You can mail it in or fax it to ChexSystems using the information listed below:
Address
Fax number
Step 4: Submit additional documentation as needed. 
Unsure of how ChexSystems works or having trouble understanding your report? Take a look at this comprehensive guide from http://aaacreditguide.com/
Dealing with accurate reports
What happens if there aren’t issues with your report? Maybe you’ve struggled with banking issues in the past but have turned a new leaf and gotten back on track. It’s still possible to get the negative remarks removed from your ChexSystems report.

Start by reaching out to the bank and inquiring about settling the account in exchange for removal from ChexSystems. But be sure to get the agreement in writing from the bank before forking over your hard earned cash so you’ll have a paper trail.

If the entry is a few years old, you can try filing a dispute to see if the bank will bother responding to your claim. There’s a chance they won’t bother responding in the allotted timeframe and your report will be cleared of negative information. 
A Few More Tips 
There’s a possibility that your dispute could get lost in the shuffle. Or maybe ChexSystems didn’t receive a response from the financial institution and are taking their time getting back to you. Either way, you have options:
Request that negative reporting be removed since the 30-day timeframe has passed
Confirm that ChexSystems added a note of dispute to your file within 30 days, even if your claim is still under investigation. Otherwise, they are in direct violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the negative information must be removed. 

Still no luck? Visit a branch and ask to speak with the manager. They may be able to override the rejection and open the account if you plead your case and they decide you’re worth the risk. 

You can also try a credit union or community bank as they have lower barriers to entry and may be willing to work with you. And as a last resort, a second-chance bank account may be your best bet if you need to open an account right away. It’ll also help you establish positive banking history until you can clear up your ChexSystems account. 

5 Ways to Keep Your Home Safe Over the Holiday Period


You would think that when something doesn’t belong to someone, they wouldn’t take it. Unfortunately, that’s not how the world works. In most cases, it doesn’t matter whether your property is well secured or not, the sign of vacancy over the holiday season can be enough to encourage a thief to enter - and bring his friends too! It’s critical to keep your home safe over the holiday season. Below are five ways you can help to secure your home properly while you’re away:

Know who has access to all your spare keys

It can be difficult to remember who has access to your keys or knows the hiding spots around your property. Do you know whether that distant relative handed your key back after fixing your plumbing three years ago? What about the boarder who used to live with you?
If you’ve had various keys cut over time but no longer know who has access to them, it might be time to call upon the services of a locksmith in Melbourne. Around the holiday season, it pays to be extra vigilant. If you don’t know whether your home is fully secure, choose to have your locks changed and reduce the quantity of cut keys lying around.

Have someone collect your mail

The festive season is the busiest time of year for many retailers. It’s a time when circular deliverers are rushed off their feet, delivering pamphlets in bulk to entice potential customers into a sale. While collecting your mail throughout the year might be the least of your concerns, it should almost certainly be on your mind over the Christmas period. In a matter of days, your mailbox can be at full capacity, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.
Did you know that theft in Victoria has risen almost 20 percent in just one year? Career criminals are looking for any sign of house vacancy to make their move. Reduce the risk of theft by having a friend, family member or neighbour collect your mail every second day.

Don’t leave keys hidden around the property

The old ‘key under the rock’ trick may have worked ten years ago, but it certainly won’t work now. While retailers believe they are getting clever by selling fake rocks with nooks for keys to sit within, they aren’t fooling anybody. The easiest way to avoid having your house key found and your home’s security compromised is by removing the key from your property altogether.
If you have arranged for someone to tend to your goldfish, the mail and the lawns while you’re away, physically hand them the key. The last thing you want to be doing is providing easy access for criminals. This may, in some cases, even void your insurance.

Set lights on timers if you can

The easiest way to tell if someone’s not home is by their lights. If you drive down any street at night, it’s clear to see who has either a) gone to bed early or c) isn’t there. To reduce the risk of theft, invest in timer technology. Many lamps and appliances can be set up to turn on or off at particular times. This is invaluable, cost effective technology that can even be found locally.

Arrange for a house sitter

And lastly, arrange for a house sitter. You can more than reduce the risk of theft by asking someone to house sit for you. Free accommodation in exchange for your home’s safety is a small price to pay.
Follow these guidelines, and you will be able to enjoy far greater peace of mind while you’re enjoying a well-earned break at the end of a hard year!


Monday, September 18, 2017

4 Signs That You Might Need to Invest in a New Mattress


While most people are fully aware that they need to replace their mattress regularly, not everyone knows when it’s time to part with theirs. Some will wait until something major happens to switch, but a bad mattress can affect your life quality in many ways, and not changing an old mattress can also lead to a variety of other issues.

As a matter of fact, according to a study that was published by Best Mattress Brand, students who average 8 or more hours of sleep per night outperformed those who slept less than 5 hours by as much as 5% on their scores. Quality of sleep is not something to be taken likely and bad sleep can have repercussions on all aspects of your life. Here are some of the tell tale signs that you should get a new mattress today.

Waking up is Downright Painful

If you’re waking up with back pain and you have a sore neck and/or shoulders, then this might be a sign that your mattress can no longer give you the support that you need. With time, all mattresses develop lumps and dips that can cause major issues.

An uneven mattress can lead to misalignment of your spine during sleep, and more stress will then be put on the pressure points on your body, which eventually leads to pain which can become chronic over time.

You’ve Been Using the Same Mattress for More than 8 Years

The age of your mattress is one of the most critical factors when deciding when it’s time to make the switch. It can be difficult to know exactly when you bought your mattress and most people don’t keep these kinds of things on record, but it is recommended that you mark the date of purchase on the mattress label for reference. If you may feel like the mattress is more than 8 years old, then it is advised that you change it immediately.

Some Spots are More Comfortable

One of the most common issues with aging mattresses is that they start developing a sweet spot. You may start noticing that one part of the mattress might feel more comfortable than the other. In many cases, it is one of the edges as most people have a tendency to crowd the middle.

If you notice this, don’t try to alleviate the situation by changing your natural position or sleeping on one of the edges. Not only will you increase your chances of falls, but you will naturally tend to roll back to the middle during sleep, which might result in aches and pain in the morning.

Your Box Spring and Mattress are Squeaking and Creaking

If you bought your box spring and mattress at the same time, and one or both start creaking and squeaking, then it is a definite sign that you should change them.  A large portion of the support your mattress provides has to do with what’s supporting it. A box spring that doesn’t support the mattress correctly can affect the mattress’s support, comfort and shape. Similarly, if the frame doesn’t give enough middle support, the mattress might dip in its centre, leading to awkward sleeping positions and possible complications.


Changing your mattress is inevitable, and if your mattress fits any of the criteria above, it’s time to change it immediately. A new mattress will give you the support and comfort you deserve and will allow you to improve your sleep and life quality tenfold.



Friday, September 15, 2017

Protect Your Home with the CUJO Smart Firewall available at Best Buy



When it comes to our homes, families and the ways we protect them, we find that aside from having home security that we also need to protect the devices we use in the home as well. This is because, like many families and homes, when you look at all we might be using, we find that there can be a lot of devices used in the home that are on the network and that access the internet. With that said, we then find that this then leaves our families vulnerable when it comes to threats such as identity theft, virus's that can affect our entire network, hacks into our home network, and more. So like many who have a home that contains a lot that runs off of our WiFi, I seek out ways to protect my home by adding security devices like the CUJO Smart Firewall which can be found at Best Buy.


See with the CUJO Smart Firewall, I can not only protect my home business by utilizing the security that this device offers but also protect my family. This does not just include devices like our computers and cell phones, but also other connected items like our security cameras, thermostat, our gaming consoles, streaming devices and whatever else we have connected to our home WiFi.


I also like that when it comes to the protection that my family and I get with the CUJO Smart Internet Firewall, I like that I can use the parental control features as well. Giving me the access to control what my kids can see online, set limits, schedules, and even the sites that are okay for them to access. And I can do it all from the CUJO app that I can download on my phone as I monitor the CUJO both at home and when away from home, giving me remote administration of the features. Which allows me to have business level security for not only the home business but also for my family.


Then when it came to the set up, it was very simple by just hooking up the CUJO to my WiFi router, downloading the app and setting up my account to access my CUJO! Making the choice to add the CUJO Smart Firewall to your home network, a choice that allows you to have that sense of security that we seek when it comes to our homes and our families!



The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free. 

LEGO Inspired Parties at Oriental Trading

When it comes to our kids and their birthdays, we find that they really look forward to that day, and as parents, we seek out ways to make their special days even more special. We do this by letting them know how much we care about them, appreciate them, and by inviting their friends and other family members to celebrate their special day. And like many parents, when it comes to my kids birthdays, I like to set up the themed parties that incorporate my kids favorite characters and or interests. So when it was time to plan my sons birthday, I knew that we would go with a LEGO inspired color brick party and I went online to Oriental Trading where I know I can find the supplies we will need to make his party a success! 


When shopping at Oriental Trading for the items that I would pick up for my son's party this year, I liked that I was able to not only find some of the basic items I was looking for like the table cloths, plates, napkins and cups, but I was also able to find the favors as well! With my preschooler wanting to assist with finding the supplies he wanted for his party, he was able to find some color brick party supplies like suckers, bubbles and water bottles, along with other items to add to the favor list like some fun bows and arrows and trucks.


Then when it came to ensuring we had all we needed to make his party a success, I liked that while shopping the selection of color brick party supplies, that I could jump to the various tabs to make sure we got all of the extras to help bring the party together! Which in all, made our choice to shop online at Oriental Trading for my preschoolers LEGO inspired party a choice that was proven to make his party a success!





Product received, thank you to Oriental Trading as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.

Decorating Projects You Can Get the Kids Involved in


One of the joys of having kids is seeing them learn new skills and grow in confidence. Most parents realise that giving their children the chance to help them with DIY and home decor projects is a good way to encourage them to try something new.
Creating artwork for your walls

There are plenty of ways you can get your children involved in decorating the walls of your home. For example, you can order some nice Hello Canvas prints using photos that your children have taken. If they are old enough you can get them to edit the images and actually place the order. This is a great way of starting to teach them graphic design skills. Later, they can use this ability for other DIY projects as well as for their school work.

Let them do some painting

Potentially, even quite young children can help you with painting. Start them off with a small project like painting a chest of drawers or a table. When they are older and understand how to load a brush or roller with paint you can let them move onto other projects.

Get them involved in wallpapering

If you prefer to wallpaper your home you could potentially get your young ones to help. However, it is best to cut the wallpaper into the right size strips without the kids being around, especially if you are working with a double drop pattern. Kids can be very distracting, so any complicated tasks that require a lot of concentration need to be done before you get the children involved.

However, they will enjoy tasks like mixing up the paste and applying it to the paper. When they are older they can move onto simple tasks like cutting the bottom off of the wallpaper. However, it is still wise to let them do the bits that don’t show, for example, behind the sofa or other furniture. Once you are sure they are good at it, you can let them do the more visible parts.

Tiling

Kids are surprisingly good at tiling. They just need to be old enough to understand the importance of checking they are level and using the tile spacers. Again, set everything up before you get your children involved, and lay the first run yourself. That reduces the chances of things going wrong. Periodically check their progress, and continue to do the tricky jobs like cutting the tiles. Grouting is another job you can let the kids have a go at.

Where to get more inspiration

If you like the above ideas, you can find more here. I particularly like the Lego table idea. It is an easy project to complete, as well as a great way to encourage your kids to keep their building blocks tidy. This greatly reduces the risk of your treading painfully on a piece of Lego, which is an almost daily occurrence in some homes.

Don’t overdo things

The trick with getting the kids involved is to let them do a little bit. You want them to enjoy learning about DIY and want to do more the next time you have a new project. So, if they get bored it is usually best to let them do something else while you carry on.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

RC Fun with Little Tikes RC Wheels Bumper Cars


When it comes to playtime in my house, it seems that just about anytime can be playtime according to my kids. And as a parent, I find that I like to encourage playtime in my house by finding toys that they can engage with and even have fun with together. So when we were sent the RC Bumper Cars set from Little Tikes, I knew that it would be a toy set that not only my preschooler could enjoy, but one he could play with with his older siblings as well.


With this set of bumper cars, my preschooler along with whomever he chooses to go up against, can race and bump into one another over and over again. And when the cars bump into one another, the toy drivers that are in the bumper cars fly out, giving my kids a toy that gets them playing and laughing together over and over again!



The set comes with two bumper cars which each have their own remote and driver that is simple to put back in when they get launched. I also like that when it comes to the fun, my kids can race with their bumper cars, spin them as they do tricks, and bump into one another or even bump into walls to watch as their drivers get thrown from their seats. Making the Little Tikes RC Bumper Cars from the RC Wheels collection, a great toy to get your kids when you are seeking those toys that are both fun and engaging.


Product received, thank you to Little Tikes as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.

Doodle and Sketch Books from Quarto Group


Finding books for my kids to enjoy is something that I like to do. I like finding both the books for them to read as well as the books that offer fun activities as well. So when we were sent a selection of fun artistic activity books to review from Quarto Group, I was excited to share them with my daughter who enjoys doodling, drawing, and painting!


To get started, Estrella found the Cat Lovers Drawing Book, Catdoodles by Akiko Masudo to be right up her alley! In this book she gets fun prompts for drawing, sketching and decorating hundreds of different cats. These include cats with different feelings, cat dances, and even cat clothing, this book has lots of great ideas that is perfect for giving to the cat lover in your life!



With the book, Kawaii Doodle Class by Pic Candle and Zainab Khan, Estrella gets a book that is totally Kawaii and another one that is right up her alley when it comes to the items she likes to draw! The book includes steps on how to draw cute items like tacos, milk cartons, rainbows, clouds and so much more. Giving her 75 characters that she can learn to draw with the simple step by step instructions.


Then with the book, Playful Painting: Pets by Faye Moorhouse, Estrella can take to painting some very adorable dogs and cats. In this book, my daughter can take on more than 20 fun projects that take her through the steps of drawing, coloring and painting some very cute and playful pets. Which in all, makes this collection of art books that can be found from Quarto Group, a great selection to go with when seeking out art books to get your doodlers, painters, and sketch artists!


Product received, thank you to Quarto Group as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

#Giveaway Thumbs Up Johnnie Family Night Adventures + Ovation Brands Prize Pack


When it comes to the family nights where we enjoy going out to eat, we like to seek out the restaurants that offer a variety of menu options. We also like to go to the places that have family friendly environments and even family fun while we eat. So like many, we enjoy heading to our local Ovation Brands Restaurant like the Old Country Buffet, where we can not only find food choices for everyone to enjoy but where we can join in on the Thumbs Up Johnnie Family Night Adventures!


See starting tomorrow night, and continuing every Thursday night from 5 - 8 pm through October 19th, when we head to our local Ovation Brands or Furrs Buffet Restaurants, we can join in on the family night fun! This fun will include the Thumbs Up Johnnie books where the characters reinforce positive and healthy lifestyles. And each week on Thursday evenings during the family night fun, we can engage in the various themes which include:
  • September 14 - Thumbs Up to RED, WHITE & BLUE!
  •  September 21 - Jimmy Jam Germ & The Happy Handshake
  • September 28 - Buckaroonomics
  • October 5 - Adventures Through the Wild West
  • October 12 - Macro-Heroes Save Field Day
  • October 19 – Zipp, Little Digit & The Happy Signs
Making the choice to go with the Ovation Brands Restaurants and Furrs Buffet locations during your nights, a choice that everyone can appreciate! And to help with making that Family Night fun even better for you and your family, the wonderful people from Ovation Brands would like to give one of my amazing readers their own Family Night Prize Pack! This pack will include four (4) free meal passes for you and your family to enjoy a meal at any of Ovation Brands’ locations as well as six (6) Thumbs Up Johnnie books autographed by author Michelle Bain:
  • The Adventures of Thumbs Up Johnnie: Johnnie Finds a Buddy
  • The Adventures of Thumbs Up Johnnie: Jimmy Jam Germ & The Happy Handshake
  • The Adventures of Thumbs Up Johnnie: Thumbs Up to Red, White & Blue!
  • The Adventures of Thumbs Up Johnnie: Zipp, Little Digit & the Happy Signs
  • Thumbs Up Johnnie’s Buckaroo-nomics
  • Thumbs Up Johnnie and the Macro-Heroes Save Field Day





Product received, thank you to Ovation Brands as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.

Magical Toy Line Up from Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom

When it comes to playtime and my preschooler, I have found that he enjoys a lot of the toys that incorporate the characters from some of his favorite shows. I have learned that by adding some of his favorite characters to his toy line up, they help to bring his and his friends imaginations to life! And like many kids his age, he likes to tune into Nick Jr and watch that magical show, Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom. So when we were sent the collection of toys that are available for Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom fans, we were excited to check them out and begin playing with them!


After looking over the selection we were sent, we set up the Little Castle with Holly, Daisy & Poppy. We found this fun portable castle to have all of the items needed for pretend play that my preschooler and his friends can play with. The set includes four rooms filled with furniture that Holly, Daisy and Poppy can use while they are in their magical castle. The castle folds up easily and allows my son to store all of the items from the castle inside, and when he wants to take his play to go with him he can carry his castle with him using the handle. As the characters take their play to head out on adventures with Nanny Plum, they can do so in the Royal Car with Nanny Plum and Holly. The characters fit easily into the seats, the doors and the top open and close and when the crown on the front of the car is pressed, it plays the music from the show!


Then to go along with both the Royal Car and the Little Castle, we found that the characters can take on even more play as they engage little imaginations with the Fairy Tea Party and the Magic Movers 4 Pack! The Magic Movers 4 Pack includes 4 buggies with the characters, Holly, Ben, Barnaby, and Violet, and move up and down as the kids push the buggies along. And with the Fairy Tea Party set, you get Holly and Violet along with a slide, toadstool and items needed to make their tea parties a success! Making the magical toy line up from Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom, a great collection that is the perfect addition to add to any Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom fans collection of toys that are sure to engage little imaginations! You can find the toys from this collection at Target and online.






Product received, thank you to Jazwares as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.

Cleaning Made a Little Easier with the nugeni STEAMPAC+ Handheld Steam Cleaner


When it comes to the home and the cleaning, I have learned that it can be a never ending chore. I mean between the kids and pets and the constant of the pet hair, dirt and dust, I find that there is always something that needs to be cleaned. And like many out there, I seek out the products that can help make the cleaning a little easier for everyone and also seek out the products that offer safer solutions when it comes to the cleaning products we use. So when we were sent the nugeni STEAMPAC+ Handheld Steam Cleaner to review, I was curious to see how it worked and also learn how it can help to replace some of the chemicals we might use in the home when it comes to the cleaning.

First off, after unboxing the nugeni STEAMPAC+, I noticed that it came with several tools. These include the steamer itself along with attachments that are easy to utilize and change out as I go along cleaning the home. There are also cleaning and water filling tools included, a strap I can attach to make carrying my nugeni easier as I go from room to room, and even a hanging storage bag to store my nugeni and all of the parts in when I am not using them!


From there, I found the use of the nugeni STEAMPAC+ Handheld Steam Cleaner to be very simple, where I just fill the chamber with water, attach the tool I will be using, plug and begin cleaning. The unit is very light weight and with the strap, I can carry it around and move items out of the way without the issue of having to then life a heavy steamer to get to those hard to reach places.

I found that I have been very impressed on all that I can clean with this handheld steamer. I mean, I can not only clean my showers and tubs using the nugeni, but I can clean the sinks, counters, mirrors, grill and even use it to steam my floors, which includes around the toilets in the restrooms!

Then when it comes to the health benefits my family and I can get from having the nugeni STEAMPAC+ Handheld Steam Cleaner in the home, I like that it not only cleans without the need for any chemicals, but it also helps to reduce any allergens and kills germs! The cleaning process is also a faster one for me, because the only thing that might take time is moving items around in the home as I clean, but other than that I found the cleaning time to be cut in half which is always a big plus in my book! Oh, and for those out there like myself who have kids who can help with the cleaning but worry about the products they might come in contact with, well this tool is one that even my 9 year old has learned to use. Giving the kids access to a cleaning tool that can help make their chores a little easier to get done as well without parents worrying about issues with any chemical products being used. Making the nugeni STEAMPAC+ Handheld Steam Cleaner, a must have in my book when it comes to seeking out cleaning tools that offer a safer cleaning solution for the home!




Product received, thank you to nugeni as well as the PR for supplying me with a product for this review, all opinions are my own.