Mommy Katie: 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

Halloween Parties with Oriental Trading

It is that time of year again, the time to put away the summer clothes and decorations and ready the home for the fall and winter celebrations. For me this means I can finally begin prepping my home for Halloween! I mean, I enjoy the summer and all, but the fall and winter holidays are something I look forward to and enjoy decorating for. So like many who are preparing their homes for Halloween, I like to head to Oriental Trading, where I can find not just the Halloween decorations I will be needing but also the goodies to have in the home and to give out to the trick or treaters this year!

To get started with spooking out my house, I like to seek out those fun Halloween props for both inside and outside the home. And after looking over the amazing selection of decorations from the Halloween Store at Oriental Trading, I was able to find some fun animated props along with others like creepy eyeballs, hands, and other body parts that are great for hanging up in our haunted house this year!

From there I was then able to find other items to help bring our Halloween parties and night of trick or treating together by getting some Halloween Candy, cups to add to this years haunted house to add the candy to for visitors, along with some fun crafts for our visitors to do as well while visiting our haunted house!

Then when it came to finding some of those must have finishing touches to help bring our haunted house theme together, I of course found plenty of the Super Glow Spider Webs to add to the mix. Allowing me to then add some fun plastic spiders and more to the webs as we hang them up around our house, and helping to bring the ideas I initially had thought up when I went to shop at Oriental Trading, a spooky reality! Which in all, made the choice to shop the line of Halloween treats and decorations from Oriental Trading, a choice that I am glad I made!

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.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales on Blu-ray

Family movie night is a night that we look forward to in my house. It allows us to each select shows and movies we are interested in and share them with everyone and also allows us to add those new must see releases to the list as well. And like many Disney fans out there, we find that when there are new additions to add from the movies from Disney, that they are a must watch in our house. So when we were sent the new Blu-Ray, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales to review, we were excited to add it to our family movie night line up and also add it to our Pirates of the Caribbean collection!

In this movie, you see some familiar faces as well as some new ones. One such face is that drunken pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow, who finds that another one of his debtors is coming to collect on what he owes them. You also come across some new faces, ones who are part of some of the familiar faces from the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and who find that they must put their trust in the pirate known as Jack Sparrow in order to find answers that they are seeking.

We found this edition to be a great one to go along with the other movies from the series, filled with humor, adventure and those elements of the fantasy that has enticed fans everywhere! Along with the movie that we enjoyed we also found the bonus materials to be a great addition to the story. The bonus materials that can be found when you get a Blu-Ray copy include the following:

Bonus features include*: 
  • Dead Men Tell More Tales: The Making of a New Adventure – Get unique access into the making of this exciting new “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie with this collection of revealing and entertaining stories that you can view individually or as a “play all.” 
    • A Return to the Sea – Two talented filmmakers, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, team up to bring “Pirates of the Caribbean” back to the screen. Hear how this new chapter of the tale was developed.
    • Telling Tales: A Sit-down with Brenton & Kaya – Meet Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario, the young actors behind Henry and Carina. The two sit down together for a revealing conversation on becoming a part of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise and its continuing legacy.
    • The Matador & The Bull: Secrets of Salazar & The Silent Mary – Oscar-winner Javier Bardem reveals more about his menacing new character and the foreboding ship he helms.
    • First Mate Confidential – Go on-set along with Kevin McNally, the affable actor behind the feisty Mr. Gibbs, Captain Jack’s reliable first mate from all five movies.
    • Deconstructing the Ghost Sharks – Peer below the depths at how these ferocious, mythical monsters were designed and brought to life.    
    • Wings Over the Caribbean – Captain Jack has a memorable encounter with Sir Paul McCartney – rock 'n' roll royalty.
    • An Enduring Legacy – Take one more look at the “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” experience and the impact of “Pirates of the Caribbean” -- the movies, the ride and beyond.
  • Bloopers of the Caribbean
  • Jerry Bruckheimer Photo Diary
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Highwayman
    • Henry Turner Learns a Lesson from Captain Jack
    • A Whale in Poseidon’s Tomb
    • Alternate Coda: Murtogg & Mullroy “Flogging”

Which in all makes the choice to add Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales on Blu-Ray to our family movie night, a choice that we all appreciated and one you can too when you bring home your copy on October 3, 2017!!

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

Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season

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.

When it comes to the movies and shows we enjoy in the home, we like to have a variety on hand. This allows us to not only have a selection to enjoy on our family movie nights but also have some on hand that my husband and I can enjoy watching after the kids go to bed. And like many, we have enjoyed the various shows that come on The CW. So when we were sent Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season to review, I was excited to check it out and add to our collection of shows that my husband and I enjoy watching together!

In this season, you pick up where Season 4 left off, giving Arrow fans the storyline continuation that we all enjoy following. You find Oliver Queen, as the new mayor not only fighting to create a better city but also against the evil that lurks over Star City. He and his team soon learn that they are not the only vigilantes in the town either, and find that after his public defeat of Damien Darhk, a whole new league of masked heroes have stepped up to help defend the city. Though their intentions are good, this new group of heroes find that their inexperience can cause a lot of issues, and also causes the Green Arrow to have to find ways to work around the mayhem they are creating. Oliver also finds himself facing a new evil, which is one that makes him rethink everything and question who he is. We found this season to be a great addition to our Arrow collection and also a great way to recap Arrow anytime we want! Making Arrow: The Complete Fifth Season a great choice to go with to add to your Arrow collection and to get any Arrow fans out there!

5 Tips For Encouraging Kids To Choose Healthy Drinks

A child’s dislike for nutritious foods will have negative effects on their health. If their diet does not cover the essential food groups for children, your kids will be missing out on a lot of important nutrients that play a crucial role in their growth and development.

Aside from various foods, kids can get the right amount of nutrients they require from the beverages they drink. It is important that even at an early age, children know how to make smart decisions regarding the beverages they drink.

Helping Kids Make Healthy Beverage Choices

You can help your kids get the nutrients they need from healthy beverages and avoid the unhealthy ingredients that a lot of carbonated, high-calorie and sugary drinks have through the following ways:

1.     Be a role model

Kids, especially toddlers, love imitating all the actions of their heroes – their parents. As such, use this to your advantage to get your children to drink more healthy beverages.

This means taking the lead in drinking more water and making healthy beverages choices at home, in restaurants, and whenever you go shopping. When they see you ask for a glass of water or buy milk instead of a can of a soda, your kids will likely follow suit. If you just made a fruit smoothie, ask your kids if they want one, too. It’s very likely they will say yes, especially if you make a show of how much you like the healthy concoction you just made.

2.     Stock your fridge and pantry with only healthy drinks

The most effective way to prevent kids from drinking carbonated, sugary drinks is to stop buying them altogether. Instead of keeping a stash of canned fizzy drinks and sweet artificial juices, stock up the pantry and fridge with healthy options only.

Make sure you have bottles of mineral water, milk, a pitcher of lemonade (made from fresh lemons and some honey), and jugs of fresh, homemade fruit juice. Even if your kids are not fond of these beverages, they can soon develop a liking to them, especially if you take the lead in drinking these healthier options.

3.     Encourage your kids to drink more milk

Nutrition advisors always remind everyone that milk is still the most nutritious drink around for both children and adults. It is rich in vitamin D, calcium, protein and magnesium – nutrients that help build healthy bones and teeth. Milk also provides the nutrients kids need when they don’t get them from the foods or meals they eat.

Aside from encouraging your kids to drink a glass of milk at breakfast or bedtime, you can also add it to the foods or dishes they eat so that you can increase their consumption. For instance, you can use milk instead of water if you’re making tomato or pumpkin soup. Don’t forget to add milk to smoothies so that you can get them to consume fresh fruits and increase their calcium and protein intake at the same time.

4.     Teach your kids to read labels and be aware of the unhealthy ingredients certain beverages contain

If your children can read, let them go over the labels of the fizzy or sugary drinks they like. Explain to them that the artificial ingredients are not good for their body. When they know the ill effects of these drinks, your kids will understand the importance of making healthy beverage choices.

Your child’s pediatrician and dentist can also help you with encouraging kids to avoid unhealthy drinks. When you take your little ones for a checkup, ask the doctor or dentist to explain the bad effects of carbonated and high-fructose drinks and how making better beverage choices can benefit their health.

5.     Give your kids rewards when they make the right choices

Lastly, positive reinforcements always work great in encouraging kids to try nutritious foods, and this will work as well in improving their beverage choices. When you give your children incentives to make healthy choices, they will be encouraged to change their habits.

You can give the reward immediately if your kids choose a healthy beverage or you can let them accumulate points so that they can get a grander prize. For instance, if they get the number of stars you require from drinking water and other healthier beverages instead of unhealthy ones all week, the family can have dinner at their restaurant of choice or watch a movie at the local theater.

It can be tricky to get kids to go for healthy beverages instead of extremely sweet and unhealthy ones. Your children, though, will gain more health benefits by choosing water, milk and other natural, nutritious drinks. And the sooner they learn to make the right choices, the better it will be for their growth and development and overall health.

Why Work with Rover

Written by Casey Dickson, community member. Rover is the nation's largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

The Four-Legged Side Hustle

When you think of ways to make extra cash, you probably didn’t figure that there’s a job out there that enables you to determine your own schedule and take care of sweet dogs and cats. But lo and behold, there’s a place that makes that happen, and it’s Here’s what you can expect from this site that’s dedicated to keeping pets well cared-for and giving pet lovers great opportunities to make extra money.

Work how you want to. It’s not just pet boarding. You can provide a whole slew of Rover services — or just one. Whether it’s dog walking, pet daycare, pet boarding or watching furry friends in their own digs for the weekend, Rover offers all manner of pet-related jobs.

Only take clients you’re comfortable with. If you’re a dog lover but only comfortable with certain breeds and sizes, that’s no problem! There are all kinds of prospective Rover clients perfect for care experience.

Work when you want to. As a Rover sitter, you take jobs when it’s convenient for you. If you know you have a vacation coming up, you can block out those dates on your calendar.

Like we said, it’s pretty much a dream scenario for the pet-loving, side-hustle set. And if you don’t believe us, the sweet furry friends you’ll get to hang out with once you sign up will convince you that this is a great decision.

6 Simple Tips for Lonely Moms

Many single moms feel stressful and lonely raising their child. In this article we will give some useful tips for single moms. If you want to read more interesting articles about parenting and raising children, visit our blog Of course, it's not so easy to be a single parent, but you should manage your life and look forward for better. Most of the lonely moms feel stressful about two main things: money and making decisions. Women can feel guilty they didn't make a family they wanted to have, and they also are worried about their future is undefined. Needless to say it's normal to feel anxious about these things, but you shouldn't be involved in the problems all time. Here are some good tips each single mom can read and apply to feel better:
  1. Take care of yourself: eat healthy food, make exercising, rest and sleep enough. Your child needs a happy and healthy mom, but not a stressful and nervous woman that is getting angry every minute because she is not able to do all things she planned for today. Relax and focus on your child, send time together and play. You can take a nap while your baby is sleeping, and there is nothing bad in that you will clean the kitchen later.
  2. Manage your time correctly: don't plan too much for the day, but make sure you have planned your every hour. You will be able to finish all planned things in time and go to bed early. This simple idea will also help to discipline your child.
  3. If you are a working single mom, it means you don't have a lot of time to cook on weekdays. Prepare meals on weekend and freeze them, it will be easy to warm up the food in the microwave.
  4. You may start to think that if you are a single mom, you should do everything alone. But it's not true because you can't do it all yourself. Don't hesitate to ask for help your family and close friends; they will be glad to babysit your child while you are having time on your own making something you enjoy. You deserve for a break and you shouldn't be a full-time mom.
  5. Don't try to focus on things you can't control: for example, if the child's dad says he wants to see a baby, but he doesn't show up, it's not your problem. You shouldn't blame yourself because it's his issues and you wouldn't be able to force him to visit a child. Focus on other things you keep under control.
  6. Be honest and open with a child: you are not alone going through this problem, but your little son/ daughter is doing this too. Try to talk to your child honestly, explain things simple and answer his or her questions. Your child will discover there are a lot of children who live in full families, but there are some children who have only a mom or a dad.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Managing Your Pet's Weight with Petcurean

This post is sponsored and written by me on behalf of Petcurean through a campaign managed by their PR. All opinions are my own.

When it comes to raising a puppy or kitten into healthy dogs and cats, I find that it all starts with their diets. Like many pet parents, I seek out the foods and treats that they not only enjoy but that they also benefit from with the various nutrients and vitamins that are suited for their growing bodies. I also seek out the products that offer healthy choices that fit into the busy lives of growing puppies and kittens. And like many who want the best for their fur babies, I turn to the brand that has proven to us on how their foods can make a difference by choosing foods from the line up at Petcurean!

See a couple years ago when we first made the change to Petcurean with our very overweight, senior dog Chloe, we saw the difference within the first month. Chloe began to loose weight, she gained a little more pep in her step, her health has greatly improved and over the last couple of years, those changes have continued to keep Chloe healthy and happy as she enjoys her life as a senior dog. So much that when we introduced a new member to the family back in the spring, Chloe was able to be excited about a new puppy and has enjoyed playing with Nakoma over the past few months. We also found that by starting Nakoma out right with the pet foods and treats from the Petcurean line up, that she is growing into a very healthy and happy puppy who is very active and enjoys playing with her Chloe when we go out for walks. So when we given information on how we can help to keep our pets happy and healthy by first focusing on their weight from the experts at Petcurean, I was excited to read over the info as well as share with my readers! You can read the information provided by the experts at Petcurean below:

Did you know that 22-44% of pets weigh more than their ideal body weight? Obesity can contribute to major health problems for your pet including diabetes in cats and decreasing the lifespan of your dog. The negative side effects of being overweight can start to appear within just a few weeks of the onset of obesity. As pet parents, it’s our job to keep our furry kids happy and healthy, especially if that means helping Fido shed a few pounds. Here are some helpful tips from Petcurean on how to manage your pet’s weight.

  • Evaluate your pet’s current weight: Weigh your pet at the vet’s office or with your home bathroom scale and check it against this Body Score chart to help you determine the current status of your pet’s weight.
  • Diet: An important rule you should keep in mind when managing your pet’s weight is restricting treats and resisting the urge to give them table scraps. These items make it hard for you to regulate what your pet is eating. For dogs, you can feed them a weight loss recipe with reduced calories. This option allows your pup to eat the same volume of food they’re used to eating, but with less calories. Petcurean’s GO! Fit + Free makes a great diet feeding option with a protein-rich, lower carb recipe. Alternatively, you can simply cut back on the amount of food you’re currently feeding. To ensure your dog still feels full after these smaller meals, you can add canned pumpkin or green beans as a fiber-rich and healthy topper. Cats do the best on low carb canned recipes since the wet food not only promotes weight reduction, but also helps cats feel fuller. GO! Fit + Free also offers canned recipes for cats.  
  • Physical activity: Decreased food intake should be accompanied by increased physical activity. Track your pet’s weight through weekly weigh ins. A rapid decline in weight can be harmful to your pet. As you monitor their progress, continue to check them against the body score chart. That will tell you when your pet’s weight goals have been reached! 
Managing your pet’s weight is an essential part of loving your furry friends. If you’d like help in developing a weight loss plan for your pet, I’d also be happy to coordinate an interview with Petcurean’s pet health specialist Dr. Jennifer Adolphe or Michele Dixon to speak on this health issue further.

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:


  • 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
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:
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
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.