Mommy Katie: December 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

Stay Connected: Making Time for Friends and Family This Year (Guest Post)

Whether you live in the same town you grew up in or have moved to the far stretches of the world to see what lies ahead, staying connected with those closest to you is one of the most important things in life. Your loved ones are the ones who help you through it all and without making the time to get together with them they’re likely to get lost in the shuffle of your hectic life. So here are a few tips that will make keeping in touch with friends and family that much easier.
  • Explore your options. If dropping by your parents’ house isn’t feasible right now, take the time to find a solution that works for both of you. Whether it’s contacting one another by phone or by social media (you can use low-cost mobile broadband provider mobi-data.co.uk to keep in contact even when on the go). If you simply can’t find the time to be on the same page, consider regular Gmail exchange so that you can respond on your own time. Whatever the case is, make time to make it work and your friends and family will do the same.
  • Make dates. Schedule a time to see your friends and family and stick to it. Too often someone will ask to talk again later because something comes up. Or you might try giving someone a call and reach only their voicemail. Set a day of the week to make phone calls and get caught up and don’t let it slide through the cracks. Treat your time with your friends and family as if they’re important appointments you can’t afford to miss – because it’s true! Your loved ones are worth the extra effort so you should put in what you can to the relationship.
  • Get together in person (or close to it) as often as possible. Take the time to visit family and friends in person. Your grandparents will appreciate you taking the time to see them and you and your friends will have a much better time grabbing a drink or a bite to eat. When getting together is impossible for geographic regions, try Skype or another video chat option to see their smiling faces. Being able to see someone’s face will make the experience much richer and you’ll be glad you ended up doing it.

If you’ve had a hard time connecting with the people you love most in the past, make a point of trying to connect with them on a regular basis. It can be tempting to let relationships fall by the wayside when you get busy knowing they’ll still be there when the dust settles, but your life will be much more worth it if your loved ones are there to share it with you. And keep in mind that people will only put into a relationship what they expect to receive back. Being there for your friends and family means that they’ll be there for you when you need it. And that’s never a bad thing.  

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How Can You Ensure Your Child Is Using Technology Safely? (Guest Post)


Since technology has become an integral part of every day life and children will, in one way or another, be exposed to technology, it’s important to talk to them and take measures to protect them so they can feel safe when using technology and you can feel confident they’re using it responsibly.

For more information on eSafety there are many websites out there offering tips on child safe websites such as Quib.ly: a community website for parents and professionals to ask questions and get answers about raising happy, healthy children in this super-connected, global age.


What is eSafety?

ESafety, online safety or electronic safety are the measures taken to ensure that younger people aren’t exposed to age inappropriate materials on the internet and are protected from schemes, fraud and people who may have the intention of hurting them.

Why you should teach your children about eSafety

Some of the most common concerns that come with Internet use are:

  • Cyber stalking and Cyber bullying
  • Potentially damaging websites or links that can infect your computer with viruses
  • Distasteful and vulgar content
  • Identity theft
  • Illegal activity like downloading music or movies

What measures you can take as a parent

  • The first thing you can do as a parent is ensure that your home computer and technological devices have up-to date antivirus software running on them as well as a firewall active (included in most antivirus software packages).
  • Determine at what age you feel your child should be entitled to privacy. Before this age you could make it so you have access to their social media accounts, emails and phone records. This way you can monitor their activity and know if they’re engaging in any illegal or potentially dangerous activity as well as if there is someone harassing them. It can be difficult to monitor teenagers as this may fuel arguments about mistrust so maybe find a compromise that unless they give you a reason not to trust them you should allow them to have privacy.
  • Look into parental control software that can filter, set time limits and monitor sites your child is accessing.
  • Don’t allow for them to access your credit card information.

Some important lessons to teach your children

  • Teach them not to open links they receive by email from contacts they do not know.
  • Not to share personal information like their age, national insurance number, address or phone number with people they do not know very well.
  • Explain to them that what they post on their social media profiles today can come back to haunt them in the future.
  • Show them how to alter privacy settings on websites they are signed up on.
  • Explain to them that they should uphold the same moral values and socially acceptable behaviours online as they would in real life. Ie. Harassing their peers and engaging in illegal activity like downloading media.
  • That posting their location can prove dangerous in the event they are being cyber stalked.
  • Tell them they aren’t allowed to make any purchases online without your consent.



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Sunday, December 29, 2013

#Giveaway Tommee Tippee 360 Sealer Diaper Disposal System

Product Received
When people see a baby, they think, oh how cute, but what most do not think about is that stinky part of a baby, a dirty diaper. It seems that when it is time to change a diaper, that oh how cute goes right out the door and the baby gets passed back to mom or dad to hurry up and change the diaper. I know that in a nursery, even with all of the odor eliminators that you can put in there, you still get a foul smell from the diapers. We tend to take them straight to the dumpster after bagging them to avoid any nasty smells hanging out in the room. I have tried the different diaper disposal systems out there, and I have found ones that I like, but they are all basically the same, at least that is what I thought until I was sent the Tommee Tippee 360 Sealer Diaper Disposal System to review.

With Wyatt, well he is like most babies who are eating food, he stinks. I mean the boy can really clear a room, and it never fails. Friends and family can come to visit and want to play with him and hold him, but as soon as he poos, they hand him right off, and will leave the room until the smell has dissipated. Then due to the dirty diaper not being just a pee diaper, I have to bag it up, and take it right out to the dumpster. Well with the Tommee Tippee 360 System, I can eliminate some of that awful smell that can come from a diaper pail, because when I place a dirty diaper inside, it is bagged separate from the other diapers. You just put the diaper in, twist the dial to seal it! I also do not have to put my hand inside the pail to push the diapers down, making it more hygienic for those changing diapers. And the pail can hold up to 30 diapers! This system seals each diaper all the way around in a antimicrobial film, which helps lock in any nasty odors. The film is easy to tear and the EasiSlide drawer makes the pail easy to open when it is time to empty it! I found this diaper disposal system a sinch to set up, parent friendly when using it, and easy to empty, giving me less time on the whole diaper change and more time to enjoy my Wyatt! Well, to help with those dreaded diaper changes in your house, the wonderful people from Tommee Tippee would like to give one of my amazing readers their ow Tommee Tippee 360 Sealer!




This was not a paid post and honest/original opinions were used and they are my own. Thank you to the company and/or pr agency who supplied the product for review.
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Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-Ray Combo Pack

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I can remember when I was a little girl, watching The Muppets. I loved all of their antics and I also enjoyed the movies as well. The Great Muppet Caper was one that I watched over and over again. Recently I was sent the Blu-Ray Combo Pack with both The Great Muppet Caper and Muppet Treasure Island for the family to watch! In The Great Muppet Caper you have the reporters Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo, who are ready to cover the big story. I love the humor, especially with the scenario of Kermit and Fozzie being twins, then Gonzo, obsessed with taking pictures of a chicken. Well the reporters get their big break when they head to London to cover a story about the world's leading fashion designer, and her missing necklace. When they arrive, they take Miss Piggy for the fashion designer by mistake. Miss Piggy finds herself smitten for Kermit, and goes out of her way to try and convince Kermit that she is the fashion designer he thinks she is only to be embarrassed when she is found out. And the capers go on from there, leaving you and your family laughing and watching along as they try to solve the case! I think one of my favorite scenes would have to be the bicycle scene, which I have in a clip below.



Then in the move Muppet Treasure Island, the crazy Muppet crew is back, and in a whole new adventure! Jim, Rizzo and Gonzo are a group of friends who dream of the sea and pirates after hearing the stories that their friend Billy Bones tells them. When Billy Bones dies, he reveals to the boys a map, a treasure map that went along with his stories of pirates and buried treasure. When their friend dies, they find themselves having to escape the hands of pirates with the map so that they can start a sea adventure of their own. They head to a harbor town and meet up with the daft son of Squire Trelawney, who funds the journey along with my favorite characters, Beaker and Dr Livesey! They then set out to hire a crew and ship, the Hispaniola, along with the captain and the rest of his crew! The group face starvation which leads to a mutiny and double crossing. This is another great Muppet movie to share with the family, keeping you on edge as well as laughing throughout the movie! We enjoyed being able to share these movies with our kids and with the Blu-Ray Combo pack you get an amazing sound and picture quality, along with some great bonus features that include the sing alongs and music video that my kids look forward to! Muppet Treasure Island & The Great Muppet Caper Blu-Ray Combo Pack is available to bring home now!

This was not a paid post and honest/original opinions were used and they are my own. Thank you to the company and/or pr agency who supplied the product for review.
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Saturday, December 28, 2013

Conquer Those Resolutions In Style This Year With Famous Footwear

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It is that time of year, the end of the year, the time to make those resolutions that you will carry out in the new year. I know that there are many resolutions that we might make, then break after the first couple of weeks or months into the new year, so one thing that I am doing when it comes to my own new years resolutions is, creating resolutions that are reasonable and should be fairly easy to keep. I find that there are a few that I will focus on, but in my house, we have a tradition where we will help one another keep their resolutions. Some of my own resolutions are to continue to loose weight by being more active and create a healthier lifestyle not only for myself, but also for my family. My kids enjoy adding their own resolutions to the list each year, and as in past years, my kids aim to do their best in school, both with grades and behaviors. One that Robert added to his list is that he wants to be more of a super hero, by learning to jump higher and run a little faster! To help with these resolutions when it comes to loosing weight and even with school, I find that assuring everyone is comfortable in the clothing and accessories they wear that can in hand help them achieve goals like being more active or even being able to run a little faster, does help! So this year, as the kids head back to school in the new year after the holiday break, I will be sending my kids back in style, so that they can feel confident and good about themselves, as well as focus on their own resolutions instead of what they are wearing! With Estrella, she has her own sense of style, she likes to stand out and be the "Star" she was born to be, so when it comes to dressing her, I have her find her style and let her go with it! Then with Robert, he is all boy, from the sports he enjoys engaging in to his fascination in super heroes and such. To get Robert off to a good start this coming semester, I will be sending him back to school with his favorite colors and characters, and of these, he will have that pair of shoes, the ones he believes will make him jump higher and run faster. He will be heading back to school with the Skechers Podz from Famous Footwear. You can see one of his new outfits that I put together in the board below or on my Pinterest!

I was able to find the Skechers Podz as well as athletic shoes for the entire family over at Famous Footwear and at amazing prices, which will help my husband and I keep those resolutions to exercise more, the kids resolutions to be more active, and as Robert believes, to be able to jump higher and run a little faster! So this year, as you make those resolutions to get more active with your family, be sure to get the equipment you will need to keep those resolutions by first heading over to Famous Footwear and gearing up with stylish athletic shoes from the brands you love, for your entire family!




This was not a paid post and honest/original opinions were used and they are my own. Thank you to the company and/or pr agency who supplied the product for review.
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Clean Up Your Media Files With Leawo #Giveaway

This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.
With Christmas come and gone and a new year quickly approaching, I find myself cleaning. Cleaning the house, and putting away all of the holiday decor. Cleaning out the photos in my files and creating photo books so I can free up more space on my computer, and cleaning out the other files that I have added so much to over this past year alone. With the holidays, birthdays and other special occasions, I am one who not only enjoys taking and uploading hundreds of pictures, but I also enjoy adding music to our iTunes account, either as a gift or for us to listen to when we have parties. I am also not the only one in my house that utilizes our iTunes account. My daughter has her iPod and enjoys receiving gift cards so that she can go on and purchase new songs to add to her iPod, my husband is the same way, so as I go through the pictures that have been added to my computer along with other files that I can purge from my system, there is something that tends to get overlooked, our music files.

Recently I was introduced to some software programs that will not only help me greatly when it comes to cleaning up our music and other media libraries, but improve my media library greatly! With the Leawo Tunes Cleaner for Windows, I can get a professional iTunes cleanup, which I desperately need! When I utilize this software for cleaning out my iTunes library, it will find and delete any song duplicates we might have, find the album artwork from the iTunes files as well as download and add music tags like album and song name as well as so much more. Oh it does not stop there because right now when I go to purchase the Tunes Cleaner for my computer I will only pay $14.95 for a lifetime of use, and I can also purchase the Mac version for my husband's Mac at the same amazing price! Aside from being able to clean up and improve my music library with the Tunes Cleaner, we also found the Blu-Ray Ripper to be a great product to have as well. I can purchase the Leawo Blu-Ray Ripper software for my husband's Mac and get a lifetime of service at $19.95 right now.

I found the Blu-Ray Ripper to make a great end of the year gift for my husband. He will be able to do so much with this amazing program, like convert some of our Blu-Rays and 2D Blu-Rays into 3D Blu-Rays! We can also put some of our movies on our portable media devices as well as put them onto his computer and so much more!! In all, we found the software that we can get from Leawo to all be products that are going to be very useful for us, and you can get both the Leawo Tunes Cleaner and Leawo Blu-Ray Ripper for either your Mac or Windows computers during the giveaway that is going on right now, where you can get 1 year of service or get these amazing products for a lifetime of service at unbelievable prices, making the products from Leawo the gifts that keep on giving, even after the holidays are over!

This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own. Thank you to the PR and company for sponsoring this post.
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A New Year and a New Family: Great Resolutions and Ways to Celebrate 2014 (Guest Post)


The New Year is just around the corner, and that means thinking about ways to make the most of 2014. Here are some excellent ideas for starting out the New Year right.

Eat More Veggies Together
One great resolution you can make as a family is to eat healthier in the New Year. Creating a goal of incorporating more vegetables and whole grains with less junk food in your family diet can help kids and parents to keep each other accountable. It will also allow you to all enjoy the experience of healthier eating together.

Try Something New in the New Year
A great way to challenge yourself and your children in 2014 is by setting a few goals to branch out and try new hobbies. Sign up for online acting classes or a few ballroom dancing lessons. Tackling a new challenge might result in discovering a fun pastime or even passion to enjoy as a family. And making a family resolution will help encourage your kids to experience the arts and develop their cultural awareness.

A More Active 2014
The New Year is the perfect time to start exercising more and incorporating physical activity into your weekly routine. Families, too, can get in on the action by setting fitness goals together. This might include charting out an exercise plan, registering at a gym or YMCA or finding creative ways to have fun outdoors.

There are many fantastic ideas for to get the family outside and moving at the same time. Browse through an adventure gift guide to find ideas for family ski trips, day hikes, rock climbing and more. You can also plan family adventures by season. Try snowshoeing in January and surfing in August.

Be Kind to Everyone
Perhaps the best resolution your family can commit to is trying to be kind to more people. Whether it is younger siblings, peers at school, adults or elderly neighbors, everyone can use a little more kindness in their day. Set up a few endeavors as a family to smile more often, to be nice to the people you come in contact with and to go out of the way to show you care. This might mean baking cookies for a lonely neighbor or cutting the grass for an older friend. There are lots of creative ways to be kind, so put your heads together as a family to generate new ideas.

Celebrating the Noon Year and More
Once you have discussed your resolutions, it is time to decide how to celebrate the New Year. For families with younger children, deciding when to celebrate is often an important discussion because most little ones either can’t or shouldn’t be up until midnight. PBS Parents recommends celebrating the noon year at 12 pm in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve. You can pull out the noisemakers and toast with apple cider right before lunch time. This way, children don’t feel left out of the fun when going to bed on time in the evening.

Another fun tradition involves setting alarm clocks for each of the different time zones around the globe and celebrating as each region reaches midnight.

With these tips for ringing in the New Year, your family will be off to a great start for 2014.


Image from www.timeout.com

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Getting Your Child Interested in Sports (Guest Post)

Most parents are interested in encouraging their children to be active and healthy. The benefits of playing sports for children are well documented. Their physical health will be improved and they can gain valuable social skills in the process. If you encourage your child to get involved with sports early, you are setting them up for healthy physical habits throughout their lifetime. Think of the benefits for their muscles and bones, weight control, better sleeping habits, and the decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Confidence Boosts

Playing a sport can vastly improve your child’s self-confidence and allow them to feel real pride when they achieve something. Learning to stick with a certain sport or activity is important because it teaches children the importance of practice and hard work when achieving their goals. An element of competition can be beneficial and being part of team can increase feelings of belonging and a sense of cooperation. Playing a sport can also foster valuable skills like responsibility, as they must care for their equipment and attend practices and training sessions.

Let Them Choose

It might take a while for your child to settle on the sport that is most suited to them, so allow them to try a range of different activities. After all, they won’t know what they really want to do unless they’ve tried it. Don’t be disheartened if your child doesn’t hit upon their preferred sport immediately and try not to push them towards a particular activity that is more about your personal preference than theirs. If they don’t feel passionately about the sport, they are much less likely to stick at it.

The Cool Factor

If your child doesn’t show interest in a traditional team sport like football, netball, rugby or hockey, perhaps suggest a more alternative activity. Skateboarding, BMX biking and rollerblading have gained a great deal of popularity in recent years, think about pro-skateboarder Tony Hawke and Drew Barrymore’s feel-good roller derby hit Whip It. It’s easy to find the equipment and clothing necessary online, from sites like Skate Hut.

Expense


To participate in many sports, your child will need the right kit and equipment. Some activities will prove more costly than others and will depend on the facilities that are available in your home town. For example, there’s not much use in encouraging your children to try figure skating or ice hockey if there’s no rink nearby. Your job as a parent is to be as encouraging as possible and to financially support your child’s sporting passion as much as reasonably possible. 

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How to Choose a Gift for your Host or Hostess (Guest Post)

If you’ve been invited for an elaborate meal or to stay for a couple of days, it’s always a good idea to show your host or hostess how much you appreciate their hospitality with a small gift. What you bring doesn’t have to be very expensive or showy, but it should be meaningful and well thought out. Chances are that your host or hostess will have worked very hard to prepare things for your arrival, so by surprising them with a gift, you are giving something back.

Make it Personal

If you know the hostess well, a personal gift with always be well received. You can add an extra special touch to any gift just by having it personalised or engraved. So, if you have a failsafe, go-to gift that will delight the pickiest of people, go that extra step and get it personalised. Monogrammed coasters, napkins or a wine stopper are all thoughtful ideas.

Beautiful Blooms

A bog standard bouquet may not be the key to your hostess’ heart but that doesn’t mean that beautiful blooms are out of the question. Flowers are a clichéd gift but there are plenty of ways that you can make your gift stand out. Include a beautiful vase to complement your flowers or bring prosperity to their home with a Bonsai tree.

Do It Yourself

Nothing shows your appreciation like a handmade gift. Why not whip up a batch of homemade brownies or present your host with a trio of homemade preservatives? Presentation is the key if you want to give your homemade gift the wow factor. Gingham material and pretty labels are all you need to create a show stopping gift.

Wonderful Wines

Delicious, drinkable wines are a usually a no brainer but there are a few things to keep in mind if you want your gift to stand out. Before you decide that you don’t have the budget to splash out on a fabulous bottle of wine, rest assured, a great gift doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune. Try and choose a wine that boasts a significant date, either for you or for the recipient as this will show that you have put thought into the gift and make it that little bit more special. This Infographic will make the choosing process simple.

Humorous Gifts

Humorous gifts from somewhere like The Discovery Store are often the best kind of gifts as they are usually the most memorable. Quirky kitchen gifts or any kind of novelty home ware gift will make a refreshing change from chocolate and other clichéd gifts.




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In a Timely Fashion: Choosing Your Watch (Guest Post)

A good watch is meant to last the wearer a lifetime. It is both useful and a stunning piece of jewellery in its own right. Many wearers say that their watches make statements about their personal style and even about facets of their character. Your timepiece can be as big and flashy or as slim and discreet as you like, but make sure you know what you want from your watch before you even walk into a jeweller’s. If you’re sporty, pick something with large, easy to read dials, timers, alarms and the appropriate level of water resistance. There's nothing wrong with choosing a watch purely for its aesthetic value as long as you've done some research into the brand. Established names are meaningful when it comes to superior timepieces.

Swiss is best 

'Swiss made' means that the watch's movement (the mechanism that powers the watch) is Swiss, the movement is cased up in Switzerland and the final inspection of the timepiece is carried out in Switzerland. The Swiss have a long tradition of watch-making, beginning in the 16th Century. They are responsible for making the first wristwatch, the first quartz watch, the first water-resistant watch and, unsurprisingly, the most expensive watch in the world. Combine a 'Swiss made' with a reputable brand, and you have a quality timepiece, well worth its price.

Dimensions

When looking at watches online, it's unlikely that the weight of the timepiece will be shown. By all means browse remotely, but go into the shop and try the watch on before you spend any money. A watch that feels heavy or uncomfortable will end up being barely worn. Choose an appropriate size for your wrist! If you want a large face and a more masculine style, Michael Kors has a range of women’s watches that have an attractive chunky look whilst still remaining feminine due to the rose gold plating. 

Don’t rush

Never let sales staff pressure you into a purchase. When investing in a lifetime item such as a watch, you want to deal with staff who are knowledgeable about their products and who will allow you to take the necessary time during the selection process, rather than trying to make a quick sale and moving on to the next customer. This will also save you the hassle of returning it when you realise you've made too much of a snap decision. Don't feel you have to go for the first thing you see. There are so many variations in designs and brands and price ranges that it's definitely worth doing your research and finding the watch that feels and looks right for you. Try the timepiece on, wander round the shop and see if you can imagine yourself wearing it regularly. If you can, it’s the watch for you. 

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Finding Your Fairy-Tale Engagement Ring (Guest Post)

If you and your partner are picking out an engagement ring together or even if you’re just dropping helpful, subtle hints on the subject, start doing your homework so you can make the most informed choice. Archduke Maximillian of Austria is credited with giving the first engagement ring in 1447 to Mary of Burgundy, but diamonds have been symbolic and revered since the Roman Empire. Due to the variation in the look and quality of diamonds and how incredibly expensive they can be, it’s useful to shop around and choose to buy from somewhere that has a solid reputation. Look for staff who have gemmological knowledge rather than those simply trying to sell you the most expensive ring on display. 

The four Cs

The cut, clarity, colour and carat of a diamond work in combination to determine the value and beauty of the gem you choose. Some buyers decide to sacrifice one of these elements in favour of the other but it’s an entirely personal choice. You may be more concerned about the colour of your diamond than its carat measurement. Carats are a measure of the weight and size of a diamond and shouldn’t be confused with karats, a measure of the purity of gold. H. Samuel offers a detailed guide to the four Cs, complete with diagrams.  

Be mindful of shape

The engagement ring will eventually sit beside your wedding band, so bear this in mind and imagine how the two bands will fit together. The diamonds themselves come in many shapes, including pear, princess, marquis, emerald, oval, heart and the most popular, round brilliance. Make sure you’ve had a look at all the shapes available before deciding because one might be much better suited to your hand than the others. 

Don’t let him overspend

You might have been wowed by the size of Kim Kardashian’s rock but if your partner ends up overspending on the ring then you won’t have as much money for the actual wedding or your wedding bands. Getting married and getting set up for married life can be very pricey, so don’t break the bank before you even start out. Forget the old ‘two months of salary’ guide, decide on a reasonable budget and don’t look at rings outside of it, however tempting that might be! 

Create it yourself

If you can’t find the ring that perfectly expresses you and your partner’s love for one another, why not get creative and design your own ring? Diamond Boutique offer a bespoke ring service that allows you to choose an entirely unique engagement ring. Not every girl thinks that diamonds are her best friends and other precious gems are becoming popular for engagement bands. You can also have your diamond set alongside rubies or emeralds. 

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Money Saving Tips: Plan the Perfect Budget Party (Guest Post)

As the New Year approaches, we are all beginning to feel the squeeze. For this reason, if you’ve got a party coming up, planning and budgeting could be a nightmare. In this current climate, every last penny, cent, nickel and dime matter and, for this reason, you need to be looking for those all important bargains. Here’s a collection of our handy hints and tips so that you can party on a budget: 

Make Your Home the Hub

Nowadays, room hire has become extortionately price, and merely renting a room at a local club can cost you hundreds; and that’s before you’ve even started decorating it and paying for a buffet. 

If you use your home instead, you lower the cost massively. In addition to saving you money on room hire, you can also save on the cost of catering and, because you can buy your alcohol/ drinks in bulk yourself, you’ll also save on a potentially huge bar bill. They may all be little additional costs but they certainly add up. 

Cheap Catering that Suits Everyone 

By doing your own catering you can save hundreds. Although in itself this seems like a huge task, it actually isn’t when you get started and it can be just like cooking a big family meal. Firstly, double check the dietary requirements for your guests so that you can make something suitable for everyone and then you’re ready to go. Usually, three main meals is an ideal number and it is advised to keep these as simple as possible. So called one pot meals like stews or chilli con carne are perfect because they’re hard to get wrong, easy to reheat and save on the washing up. Although not strictly necessary, it is also wise to pick up nibbles as, when the hot food has gone cold, your guests will still have an option to eat that saves you reheating. 

Lower Decoration Costs by Selecting a Theme 

If you select a theme for the party, you have the option to make your guests the decorations and save on the price of decorations themselves. With companies such as Ace Fancy Dress now stocking incredibly cheap fancy dress options online, you can look out for a cheap theme and, although you’ll have to buy your own costume, this will be your only decorative outlay. In addition, fancy dress has the added bonus of providing entertainment and ensuring that all of your guests are in the mood to party when they get to the doorway. 

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Pushchair Safety in Winter (Guest Post)

Winter can be a treacherous time of year for pedestrians. This is even truer if you’re a pedestrian with a small child in tow. The heightened challenge of walking in snow or on ice is further compounded by the added concern for your child’s safety, and many mothers will opt instead to push their children in a pushchair, rather than running the risk of their falling over.

What many mothers may not realise is that pushchairs come with their own set of particular safety concerns in winter, which you should be on the lookout for at all times in order to ensure your safety.

Year Round Safety

With regards to pushchairs, there are some safety tips which should be observed all year round. Firstly, it’s important that when you purchase your pushchair, you buy one which complies with regulation safety standards. These standards describe the minimum requirements that a pushchair must adhere to in order for it to be deemed safe for use by a little one. Reputable companies such as Britax Excelsior will clearly display information about their safety standards, so be on the lookout for this before you make a decision.

Once you’ve found your pushchair, it’s important to know how it works. Get to grips with the brakes, the harness and the stability of the pushchair. Learning about how the different parts work will help you to decide whether or not your pushchair is safe to use. Most importantly, your pushchair’s locking system should be easily to apply and work 100% of the time.

Walking Safety in Winter

Once you’ve got a good, reliable pushchair, it’s time to make sure it’s safe to use in winter. All of the measures you would normally take to keep yourself safe in winter must be carefully observed and applied double to a pushchair, especially when it’s carrying your most precious cargo. Walk extremely slowly and with great care. A slip won’t just hurt you, it may also send the pushchair flying out of your hands. Make sure you’re wearing appropriate footwear and talk shorter steps.

A stable pushchair will be able to navigate slippery footpaths, but even if you find it difficult, don’t be tempted to step into the street. Vehicles will not be able to stop as quickly, and they may not see you in time thanks to the low light and poor conditions. Affixing reflective strips to you buggy will help to keep you safe both on the pavement and in the road. 

Take Care on Steps

Finally, never attempt to carry your baby up steps in the pushchair. Remove your little one and carry them up first, then bring the pushchair up afterwards. Steps can be lethal when covered in ice, so keep your little one out of harm’s way by putting their needs before your own desire to accomplish a task more quickly. 

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

#ad $50 Gift Card #Giveaway Protecting Your Purchases This Season

This is a sponsored post, all opinions are my own.
This time of year can be draining – waiting in long lines, running from store to store, and wrapping gifts for under the tree.

One tip I generally live by is saving for the holidays ahead of time. This way, I can afford to buy gifts for my family and friends and even reward myself with a holiday vacation after the shopping is complete. One question many of us do not think to ask ourselves is what if something were to happen to one of those gifts? For example, what if someone were to break in to your car and steal the gifts that you paid for with your hard-earned money? Possibly, one could experience the unfortunate occurrence of a gift getting damaged. These scenarios are real, they happen, and they happen a lot more over the holiday season. I know I would be devastated if the gifts I worked so hard to save for, stood in lines for, and anticipated giving to my family on Christmas Day were stolen or damaged.

You might think the holidays are ruined if you don’t have enough money to replace a stolen or damaged gift, but this does not have to be the case. In fact, if you are a Discover cardmember, you can take advantage of the free Purchase Protection benefit if you experience a damaged or stolen item. Another added bonus is that the Purchase Protection benefit is a complimentary feature of your Discover card when you use your card for the entire purchase! With this protection, you are automatically eligible for up to $500 reimbursement for a recently purchased item that is stolen or damaged within the last 90 days of purchase. You can start your claim process as soon as possible after a covered incident occurs by calling 1-800-DISCOVER.

This gives me peace of mind and even more of a reason to enjoy all of the perks of being a Discover cardmember! Therefore, this holiday season when you are making your purchases, use your Discover card so you can enjoy your holidays and know that your purchases are covered! Well, since we are celebrating the holiday season, I would like to give one of my amazing readers a $50 Gift Card!!


This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. This post is sponsored by Discover since I am a member of the Discover Preferred Blogger Program. Thank you to Discover for sponsoring this post!


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Saturday, December 21, 2013

#Giveaway Deck The Halls With 1-800-Flowers (Holiday Guide)

Product Received

With Christmas quickly approaching and the New Year right behind the big day, I find joy in insuring that any guests who might come by the house, can enjoy the decorations that I put up. I think one way to really get that response that some of us look for when it comes to decor, is having fresh floral arrangements for everyone to enjoy! One place that I like to find floral arrangements at for any occasion is 1-800-Flowers.com. There, I can find a variety of floral arrangements and gifts, and I can also have them delivered to my own home or to the recipient of my choice. Well since Christmas is literally around the corner, I was sent a great arrangement to review.

I chose to go with the Holiday Flower Tree for many reasons. As with other holidays, we all have our traditions. When it came to the holidays with my grandparents, they always went all out when it came to decorating and making their home stand out. Since their passing, my mom has continued with the holiday tradition of trying to make her home look extravagant. From the tradition of having that center piece that stands out at both the Thanksgiving table and Christmas table, to the beautiful holiday arrangements that she places around the home. One decoration that I can remember my grandma always putting out on the Christmas table was this musical Christmas Tree. It was all decorated with playful elves and other ornaments and as we waited at the table for the meal to be brought out, my grandfather would wind up the tree for the kids to watch as it played music and spun around. This is a tree that my grandparents had put out every year, and my mom now has the tree, but as the years have taken their toll on it, it no longer spins correctly when the music is played. So instead of putting it on the table each year for the kids to look at, my mom has it on top of the piano, so it can not be damaged by curious little hands. Now I have searched for a tree similar to give my parents to put on the table, but I have yet to find it. Well when I was asked to do the review on a arrangement from 1-800-Flowers, and I saw the Holiday Flower Tree, I knew that I had found an arrangement that would be worthy of placing on our holiday dinner table this year.

In fact, I not only found this beautiful tree with red carnations, roses and candy canes, but I found a few other arrangements that would also make great fits for placing around my parents house this year! This year, I found the Winter Wonderland arrangement to be one of the other pieces that would look amazing in my parents home. With the many pieces to choose from, we will not only be able to celebrate our Christmas this year with 1-800-Flowers, but we can continue with the celebrations by adding other holiday pieces that will look great for the New Years celebrations as well! So as you are making your final preparations for the holidays, whether if you are looking for that one piece to stand out for your guests to see, or if you are looking for a gift to send that someone special, be sure to check out the amazing arrangements available at 1-800-Flowers.com and enjoy the holiday season!!! Well to help with your own celebrations, the wonderful people from 1-800-Flowers.com would like to give one of my amazing readers!!



This was not a paid post and honest/original opinions were used and they are my own. Thank you to the company and/or pr agency who supplied the product for review.
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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Finding Joy In K'NEX This Holiday Season (Holiday Guide)

Product Received
With the holiday shopping in full gear, I like to find products for my kids that are not only fun, but also get their gears running. One brand that I adore is K'NEX, and with K'NEX products I can find those toys that will keep the kids busy, creating and having fun. Recently I was sent a great set of products that will make this holiday season extra fun! In the pack of products I was sent was a classic that I adore and my kids enjoy playing with, the Tinkertoy. My kids and I can enjoy hours of fun, making fun creations with the Super Tink Building Set! The pieces are durable and with 150 pieces, the things we can create with this set is endless. Robert loves making buildings, the bigger the better, so with this Tinkertoy set, he can build his skyscraper, and Estrella can create fun little creatures, who are ready for an adventure! They can also build vehicles driven by masked heroes and so much more! I like the guide that is included with the set, so we can get so many great ideas and the kids and I can either recreate what we find in the book, or make our own using the ideas as inspiration!

Another fun set of products that my kids and my husband found to be a load of fun building over and over again, as well as watching them go, were the thrill rides and roller coasters! With the K'NEX Roller Coasters, we were able to create our own indoor amusement park, building some great roller coasters and amusement park rides, then watching as the cars on the coasters went round and round. These sets were not only fun to build but the kids found it to be so much fun to watch their roller coaster creations really work, and sitting there watching as the cars went over and over again on the rides, imagining that they were on the rides themselves which made these sets fun for the whole family! I love seeing the kids work together as they put together these K'NEX Thrill Rides products, and seeing those little gears really going in their heads as they constructed an amazing mini amusement park right in our family room make the K'NEX Thrill Rides a perfect set of gifts to put under the tree this year!
With Robert, he has really enjoyed collecting and building the different video game inspired sets, like the sets from the Super Mario collection! We were sent the Ghost House Building Set for Robert and Estrella to build and play with. With this set, once the kids have it all put together, they can have fun creating their own video game scenarios. There is a disk jumper on this set, which allows Mario to run and jump, just like he does in the game! Once he jumps inside the house, he can collect coins and try to avoid any ghosts that the kids can have pop out! The goal, like in the game, is for Mario to get the Star Medal, avoiding being taken down by Big Boo! This is a set that really gets those imaginations going, from the building process to the playing.
Then with the K'NEX Investigating Solar Energy Set and the K'NEX Simple And Compound Machines, we found a whole new look on the K'NEX products we love. Estrella loves science and engineering and she loves to explore and create, so she can experiment and find answers to questions she might have. Being the hands on girl she is, these sets were perfect for her! These were sets that we found to be a great fit for not only her and her friends to build and explore together, but we ultimately found them to find their home in the classroom! They included a teachers guide and CD so that her teacher could look them over and experiment with the products herself before presenting them to the rest of the class. My mom is a teacher and having a daughter of my own, we are huge at encouraging Estrella's interests in STEM! These great hands on sets make for a product that makes a good fit in the middle school classroom setting as well as a home school setting. There is so much exploration, questions for both teachers to ask and students to find the answers to. In all, we found the entire package of K'NEX products to be a lot of fun, and I like seeing my kids explore and create while having fun with toys, and the products from K'NEX do all of that and more! My kids have fun working together on projects with these sets, playing together and also enjoying the building sets with their friends, building those important social skills. So this year, as you are looking for gifts for your kids, be sure to add K'NEX to the list for your kids and even their classrooms!




This was not a paid post and honest/original opinions were used and they are my own. Thank you to the company and/or pr agency who supplied the product for review.
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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Effective Tips For A Clean And Hygienic Bathroom (Guest Post)

The only room in the house that you shrink from scrubbing is the bathroom but not anymore. Here are some tips to make your bathroom real clean and sparkling without taking too much of an effort.

Regular cleaning saves time

Daily wiping of the toothpaste blobs cleans the sink right away, if you allow it to stay on the sink or the mirror especially the hair or spilled powder, that will take away the beauty of your toilet. All you need is a pack of paper towels, or wet wipes that comes in handy every time you create a mess and there will be no deposition of dirt. Go for a weekly scrub down, this will make the place even more hygienic.

De-clutter the place and not just clean

Remove all the toiletries that are not in use for long. All those creams that make promises, those leaky bottles of shampoos and soaps that might be affecting the bathroom fixtures. Products beyond expiry date can be harmful for you and creating a clutter in the bathroom making you impossible to clean it properly by taking p extra space.

Cleaning products that are a must

There have been times when you simply pick a product because it was shown good in an advertisement. For the bathroom you need something that not only give you sparkling shine and kill germs. If the product says that apply it for 10 minutes, the suggestion is to heed the advice of the manufacturer. You need to be well armed to fight your battle with the germs, take the cleaning solution in a portable tray so that you can carry it everywhere. Buy cleaner for multi-surface because your bathroom is a mix of many surfaces and choosing four different products at a time might not be feasible. Next you need is a bowl cleaner, tub and tile cleaner, and abrasion cleaner in a powdered form.

Cleaning gadgets that can help

Choose soft and easy products that can good for the bathroom fixtures, like cotton cloth to wipe dry fixtures, double duty sponge, squeegee that is rubber lipped as that is good for glass and mirror, title brush for tub and shower, toothbrush for nasty spaces, mop for cleaning the floor, rubber gloves and an apron to protect you.

The biggest offender of the bathroom


There are so many things that actually keep your bathroom dirty but we are not talking about the users of your bathroom. The biggest offender here are hard deposits of soap scum, mildew, mold, splashes, hard water, shampoo residue and body soil etc. All this when gets accumulated is tough to clean if you leave it unclean. The last person to use the bathroom must have the habit to wipe the floor; all these things are daily tasks to perform. To deal with factors like ammonia deposits on the shower and mineral deposits on the floor, you can always get in touch with the best plumbers in Simi Valley that can help you with all kinds of cleaning process. 

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

#Giveaway Moshi Monsters: Katsuma Unleashed

Product Received and reviewed in previous post found here.

I recently reviewed the new game Moshi Monsters: Katsuma Unleashed for the Nintendo DS and 3DS. Well the wonderful group that sent me the product to review would like to give one of my amazing readers their own Moshi Monsters: Katsuma Unleashed for either the Nintendo DS or Nintendo 3DS!!!




I was provided product in a previous review, the sponsor for the review has chosen to offer a product for giveaway for my readers!
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#Giveaway Preparing For The Next Semester With YakPak! US & Canada (Holiday Guide)

Product Received

The holiday break that the kids are so looking forward to is literally around the corner. I mean, not only are the holidays here, but once the break is over, we are headed into the second half of the school year. For me, not only do I shop for those gifts to put under the tree each year, but I also do another round of back to school shopping so I can prepare the kids for the next semester of school. It seems that after these first few months of school, the kids supplies have dwindled down, their notebooks, pencil bags, lunch boxes and backpacks have also taken quite a beating. I personally know what it is like to have a notebook or folder fall apart on you, I also know what it is like to have all of my books fall right through the bottom of my book bag due to a hole that has been working its way to get bigger and bigger. So, I like to make sure my kids are ready to head back to school after the holidays with a clear head, not having to worry about taping their folders, notebooks, and book bags, hoping that the fix holds up and they do not end up loosing everything as they are rushing to class or out the door. To help with those back to school needs, the wonderful people from YakPak sent me a very fashionable and durable backpack that will suit Estrella well, and get her through this coming semester! I was sent the Pink Ombre Leopard Backpack from the YakPak line. With this backpack from YakPak, Estrella will not only be heading back to school with a book bag that will get her through the rest of the year, but she will be able to head back to school in style! I also like that when I shop the YakPak line of products, I can find designs for Robert as well, which will make this back to school season after the holidays easier on all of us! So, as you are out getting all of the holiday shopping done, be sure to equip the kids with the products they need from YakPak! Well to help with those needs for the kids, the wonderful people from YakPak would like to give one of my amazing readers their own YakPak of choice!



This was not a paid post and honest/original opinions were used and they are my own. Thank you to the company and/or pr agency who supplied the product for review.
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#Giveaway Flash&Go Hair Removal by Silk'n (Holiday Guide)

Product Received
With the holidays coming, I enjoy finding those products that are must have products of the season! For me, being able to find items that will make life easier, by like say, cutting that extra trip to the salon every so often would save me time, money and save me from any pain. I am one who does not like pain, and when I head to the salon for hair removal, well it is painful, but it is also something that I can not bring myself to do to myself. So, I gather the courage when I need to, and head on to the salon so the ladies there can take care of those not so nice hair removals, like in bikini area and such. To help me out this holiday season, to not only save me money at the salon, but to also save me from any unwanted discomfort, I was sent the Silk'n Flash&Go Hair Removal system to review.

Now we have seen those hair removal systems on TV that are advertised, and it is something that I have thought about looking into, but I was not sure if it would work. I am not so sure about the systems that are advertised all of the time on TV, but with the Silk'n Flash&Go Hair Removal, I was surprised on the time that is saved, as well as the pain that I can save myself from, in this easy to use tool. Oh and the best thing is, I can use this great device in the comfort of my home!! With the Silk'n Flash&Go Hair Removal, the hair is removed in a flash, literally, and the hair removal is permanent! I can shave my legs, or should I say remove the hair from my legs since there are no razors involved, using the gentle pulses of light that disable hair growth. Then the results are smooth legs, with no stubble and no skin irritations due to the fact that there are no razors or wax involved! I can even get those sensitive areas like my underarms and bikini areas, and this tool can even be used to remove unwanted facial hair! For me, being able to cut the time to shave, cut the salon out of the picture, and get results that last, makes the Silk'n Flash&Go Hair Removal system not only a great gift to give, but also one to get! So this holiday season while you are out looking for that perfect product to get those on your lists, check out the Silk'n Flash&Go Hair Removal system today!! Well to help with any last minute holiday shopping, the wonderful people from Silk'n, would like to give one of my amazing readers their own Flash&Go system!!!







This was not a paid post and honest/original opinions were used and they are my own. Thank you to the company and/or pr agency who supplied the product for review.
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