Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Every Jewelry Box Needs A Piece From Six Sisters Beadworks

Along with buying clothes, purchasing jewelry is something that's always on my list.  If I'm out and I see a cute pair of earrings or a fun bracelet, you can guarantee I'll most likely be buying it.  I know my jewelry box will appreciate t.  My style of jewelry is unique and sometimes eclectic.  I don't wear what the average everyday woman wears.  What I enjoy most is big chunky earrings, unique custom pieces, and jingly bangle bracelets.  Custom pieces are my favorite because you can't just go to any local store and buy it, it's original and only you have it.

Six Sisters Beadworks offers beautifully crafted and stamped jewelry that children and women will absolutely love.  Delight a gift recipient with necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that they will remember for years to come.  The company uses high end materials such as .925 sterling silver, 14k gold filled, Swarovski birthstone and freshwater pearls in their pieces.   Choose from chokers, name plate and gemstone necklaces among many others.

Their personalized custom made jewelry is sure to become a new family heirloom as well as a perfect gift for a new bride.  Whether you use beads or have the item hand stamped with a name, it will turn out beautifully.  Why not personalize a bracelet or necklace with a friend or family member's name and birthstone for a unique and thoughtful birthday gift?  The jewelry makes a perfect baby shower or 1st birthday gift for a lucky baby girl.  Keep Six Sisters Beadworks in mind for any of your future gift giving needs. 

Scarlett was fortunate enough to receive a stunning sterling silver personalized bar necklace with her name on it.  Although she's too young to appreciate it now, I know in time she'll want to wear it.  The necklace does come in gold and rose gold too, but I prefer silver.  You have the option of choosing the font, letter color and even accent stamp.  Let this necklace be the custom item of your dreams.

The piece is ideal to make women and girls alike smile.  The long rectangular bar stamped with Scarlett's name in a classic font is something that will be in her jewelry box for years to come.  You'll notice the attention to detail with the handstamp work.  This is not a flashy or in your face kind of necklace, it's delicate and feminine.  Adjust the chain to make it longer or shorter depending on your needs.  I do feel like this is a quality necklace that will last for years to come. 

Since Scarlett is an active toddler at two years old, she doesn't wear jewelry on a regular basis because it would be lost or broken.  I would want her to wear this necklace for special occasions like the holidays or her birthday.  Surely, she'll love seeing her name on the necklace and it would make her happy. 

If you're looking for a unique custom piece of jewelry that nobody else will have, Six Sisters Beadworks is waiting for your order.  


Monday, January 23, 2017

Family Photos Are Priceless Memories Thanks to Candid Moments Photography

Photography is something that I'm very passionate about.  If any important event or celebration is going on with friends or family, you can guarantee I'm walking around with a camera snapping pictures.  Capturing the moment in hard copy form is something that I take seriously, and I love going back and looking at pictures from time past.  I have many collages and framed pictures of my my family around my home and they rare special to me.  When's the last time you had a photo taken of your entire family?

Candid Moments is a photography company based out of South Florida ran by Carly and Chantelle.  The team shoots weddings and they truly love love and the sanctity of marriage.  All of their wedding photography packages include two photographers who stay with the bride every step of the way to ensure all details are covered for the special day.

You usually only have your big day once and you want to document everything to remember it all! They have upcoming specials and will be showcasing their work in Weston, Florida at the Bonaventure Spa and Country Club on February 4th. Contact them today and they'll be happy to share their photo package information and pricing with you.

Candid Moments Photography Example Picture

Candid Moments Photography Example Picture

Although I'm already married, Carly and Chantelle were interested in shooting my family even though it wasn't a wedding feature.  I conversed with them through email and they were very responsive and eager to please for a lifestyle feature.  An added bonus about them is that they've won a Wedding Wire  award online, so you know they have fantastic work! I'm always up for new family pictures especially since Scarlett grows and changes so fast, I want to document every stage as best as I can.

Since Chantelle wasn't available on the day of our pictures, Carly was there to take them.  We met her at a park with ample space and a playground, which of course thrilled Scarlett! Carly was very friendly, easy to work with, and interested in making sure we were happy with her shooting ideas. Scarlett is very active and it's hard to keep her still, so I was concerned about how we'd be able to get decent pictures of her.  While I wrangled her, Carly did a great job of engaging with Scarlett to have her smile and cooperate for pictures which was not easy.

Carly was creative in suggesting different poses and areas for us to make the pictures fun and exciting.  She shot each picture multiple times to ensure that we'd get at least one great shot.  Since Scarlett was a typical two year old and wanted to be on the playground, Carly used that opportunity to make her happy and get some fun candid shots of her going down the slide and playing.

I was shocked at how quick the editing time was when we received 10 pictures the next day.  The photos turned out so fantastic and Carly did a really wonderful job.  We have two family pictures, one of Scarlett and my husband Jay, one of us, and then some of Scarlett playing. The variety of what was taken was great and I'm very satisfied with how the pictures came out.   I'll have to buy some new frames to display them around my home. I'm already thinking of where to put them!

I'm very impressed with Candid Moments Photography and would highly recommend them for anyone's future wedding in South Florida. You'll smile at your photos and the memories they evoke for years to come.

Contact them on Facebook and Instagram.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Candid Moments Photography for providing photos in exchange for this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Scarlett's Experience With Preschool

Before Scarlett started her 2's program at her preschool in September, she went to camp at her school all summer long.  She absolutely loved the activities and the socialization aspect of being with other kids her age.  This was also the first time that she had been away from me in her life and it was an important milestone for us both.  She did fabulous throughout the summer and I knew she was comfortable and ready for preschool in September.

Scarlett at her school's Christmas party.

Once she began school in September, she was 21 months old.  What I like most about her school is that it's play-based learning.  Children learn best through play and she has been able to be educated about weather among many other subjects through play.  The kids play outside all year round and are taught about rain, sunshine, snow, nature, and so much more.  Isn't it fantastic to learn about different kinds of leaves while making an arts and crafts project involving leaves? Scarlett has been able to play with snow and learn all about it too.  The activities are very unique and interesting and the kids are always doing something out of the ordinary.

Scarlett always comes home with a cute art project and my fridge is running out of room! She goes to school once a week at the moment, but will eventually transition to two days.  Education is very important to me and I want her to learn as much as possible.  She has recently started singing the ABC's which go in conjunction with a special dance that she was taught.  It's funny when she will randomly burst into song and sing the ABC's, it seems like it will happen whenever the mood strikes her.

She absolutely loves her teacher and is always hugging her.  I'm happy she's close with her and is comfortable.  I always get reports that she does well at school and is very happy to be there.  Although she does have a lot of activity and is very hyper.  Scarlett has fun interacting with the other children and I know being around them will help her too.  She's not around other kids all the time, especially since she's an only child.  Let's just say that Scarlett is not happy when I pick her up when it's time to go! 

I hope Scarlett enjoys the rest of the school year that she has left.  I can't wait to see what else she learns.  


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

We Are Not Safe From the Terrible Two's

Well, it's official.  The terrible two's have entered our household and we may never be the same.  Since this is my life right now, I'm inspired to share my story and have other parents relate.

Right around the time Scarlett turned two, we noticed a big difference in her behavior.  The slightest things set her off and made her throw tantrums that were for the record books.  My sweet little child can go from smiling and happy to screaming and then calm again in 1.2 seconds.  This phase is very stressful on me. She doesn't like to hear the word "no" and will let you know it in a very loud way. 

We've started implementing time out and making her go in there when all else fails.  A warning is first given to have her know what's coming, and then if she still doesn't listen or calm down, then she goes into timeout for a few minutes to calm down.  We re-iterate why she's in time out when we put her in there and we explain it again when we take her out.  She usually goes in timeout for throwing food, ignoring us when we ask her to help clean up a mess she made, or her newfound love of hitting us.  She usually comes out happy and refreshed and all is well. 

What's difficult is that when Scarlett becomes upset, she is violent and seems to lose all control of her emotions and just sees red.  She will start throwing toys, the TV remote, anything that is within her reach.  Lynnie is also a target and had a hardcover book thrown at her head the other day.  It was terrible.  Also, she will have a huge meltdown and fall on the ground screaming and hitting her head on the floor.  It's awful and happens a few times a day.  I can tell she's frustrated partly because she's not talking, but it's also the age.

The terrible two's can strike at any moment, and you never know when which is the scary part.  Even a simple request of "Scarlett, can you put on your jacket?" makes her erupt into hysterics.  You never know what you're going to get on any given day.  Sometimes she puts on her jacket with no issues and then other days she doesn't want to wear a certain pair of shoes.  As Scarlett gets older, she's getting more independent and becoming more of her own person.  

This stage makes you feel like a terrible parent.  Honestly, it truly upsets me and I feel like I can't control my child and have to resort to timeout.  I know that isn't true and sounds ridiculous, but it's how I feel.  I'm doing my best to ensure that I'm raising my child as best as I can.  I have fears that she'll grow up and be the worst behaved out of control child, and it'll be my fault.  I hope this is not the case!

Lately, Scarlett has had so much energy and seems to have to burn it off or she will become destructive.  We have to take her to indoor play gyms or outside to run off her excess energy.  Once she does this, she's much more calm and relaxed.  This is new to me as well.  She will run amok in my house opening and closing drawers, taking everything out, ripping pages out of books, jumping and running wildly, and many more fun antics.  Why don't you just baby proof your cabinets and drawers, you ask? Oh we did, but the Incredible Hulk is too strong for us and broke all of the baby proofing including our gates.  That's another story! 

My husband and I's philosophy is to take each day by day.  We can only do our best and what we're capable of.  I do see other children who seem to be perfect children on the outside and do everything their parents ask.  I know there must be something else behind the scenes that the parents are dealing and struggling with.  All parents can reunite in the fact that raising a child is the hardest thing a person will ever do and the job never ends.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Puzzle from Games2Puzzle Brings The Family Together

This is a contributed post on behalf on Games2Puzzles.com

Nothing is more popular and brings a family together like a jigsaw puzzle. Whenever there is a puzzle going in my house it draws everyone in like a magnet, a piece here a piece there and before you know it you are sitting down and working on it for hours. Sometimes we can have three or four sitting around the table at once. The edges are the easiest place to start and then we move to those sections with distinct patterns and colors usually leaving the harder single color areas like the sky and the water for last. I just completed a picturesque 750 piece puzzle of the Maligne Lake in the Rockies. A beautiful scenic puzzle that was a little challenging but was a lot of fun. It has good quality pieces and is panoramic so it really makes the picture pop. The Rocky Mountains in the background are very beautiful but were challenging to put together.

Another great puzzle is the Master of Photography Panoramic Hot Air Balloon puzzle by Masterpieces Puzzle Company. It is a 1,000-piece puzzle and is not too hard to do because of all the different colors and contrasts. The box opens up to give a bigger picture of the whole puzzle which helps out a lot since the reflection off the water will cause some confusion.  This puzzle is o lot of fun but be warned it will take a little while to complete. Probably will need a good couple of weeks to complete or if you are a binge puzzler maybe a good couple of days.

Of course, we can’t forget about the kids puzzles. There is a nice Frozen puzzle by Ravensburger that is just challenging enough for the little ones and looks great when complete. It is recommended for kids 4+. The pieces are high quality and fit together nicely. A must have for any young fan of Frozen!

If you are looking for a good place to buy some puzzles like these, try GamesPuzzles.com, an online store specializing in Jigsaw Puzzles for adults and children. They have thousands of different puzzles to choose from with lots of different themes: Sports Stadium, Scenic Landscapes, Pets, Cars, Trains and so much more. Puzzle piece counts vary from 50 pieces all the way up to 5,000 pieces. Be sure to check out their children’s puzzles and games as well.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

Entertain All Year Round With Beautiful Melamine Plates from The Plate Shoppe

I frequently entertain friends and family for lunch or dinner throughout the year.  It's harder to do so now that I have a 2 year old, but it's something I really enjoy.  You can find me in the kitchen preparing a delicious meal like chicken parmesan with garlic bread and a side salad.  Of course you can't forget a delicious dessert either to end the meal with.  To me, presentation is just as important as the food itself.  When you serve a meal on beautiful dishes or a platter, your guests notice and remember your efforts.  When's the last time you updated your dish ware?

The Plate Shoppe is an online shop started by owner Gail Sarasohn who sells plates and platters that are made of break resistant BPA-free melamine.  She completely hand-designs and produces the items herself and they couldn't be more stunning! You'll enjoy the fact that they are made in the USA.  Gail is very talented and surely has an eye for design.  She worked in fashion for over 10 years and made the decision to refocus and go back to her love of colors and design.  The plates are perfect for indoor and outdoor entertaining all year round, but just don't put them in the microwave! They are dishwasher safe and make every table setting a true work of art. 

Gail's plates are not just ordinary solid colored dishes, but vibrant and bursting with magnificent colors and patterns such as flowers, dots, and butterflies.  Her pieces are full of life and ready to be used or displayed in your home to make you smile all the time.  You'll love the range of colors that the plates come in making them easy to pair existing dishware with.  If you live in a warmer area of the country, invite your friends over for a fun outdoor BBQ and serve them lunch on the pink or blue Byzantine Dinner Plate.  They'll love the plates just as much as their meal and mealtime will certainly be enjoyable.

The beautiful platters make a wonderful housewarming gift as well as an ideal choice for a dinner party and to bring cookies or baked goods on for a little something for the hostess.  The Byzantine pink platter would be an perfect choice for this in my opinion.  
If you have an active toddler like I do, you'll be grateful for the break resistant melamine if your little one gets a hold of a plate accidentally! 

Plates from The Plate Shoppe would be ideal for college students living on their own for the first time, or if a child or relative recently moved into their first house or apartment.  

Gail's plates would be the perfect addition to any celebration or event, both big and small.  They'll look and fit well in both your kitchen cabinets and your heart. Go ahead and give your dishes the makeover and upgrade they deserve today.


Switching From A Nursery To A Child's Bedroom: Help For Moms To Create The New Room

Disclosure: This is a contributed post.

It only feels like five minutes ago that our little one was in nappies. But now they are becoming a little person, it’s time to make some changes in the house. After all, the bedroom can no longer be a nursery for your toddler. However, it can be a challenge to make a room which will not need changing for the next few years for your child. Therefore, here is some help for moms to switch the nursery to a child’s bedroom.

You need to repaint the room

When you created the nursery, it’s likely that you went for a yellow or cream if you didn’t know the gender of the new baby. Or perhaps a blue or pink if you did choose to find out. But now that your little one is growing up and developing a personality, it’s time to change the color of the room. After all, they are bound to have a favorite color now that they are becoming more talkative. Of course, you want a color which will last your child over the years. After all, you don’t want to have to repaint the room in a couple of years time. Therefore, choose something which is going to grow with your child. And if you decide to go for a wallpaper, make sure you go for something that your child will not hate in years to come. After all, they might be a huge fan of Peppa Pig now, but in a couple of years, you might have to change it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to go for a patterned wallpaper and then you can always accessorize with your kid’s favorite characters. That way, you can swap these out without much trouble once your child has got bored!

It’s time to upgrade the bed

As much as a cot is good to start with, it’s not viable once your child has become a toddler. Therefore, it’s time to upgrade the bed to ensure it’s more fitting for your child’s new bedroom. There is so much choice around when it comes to beds for little ones. You can get a bed which has been designed specifically for toddlers. That way, it will be the right size for your child. But if you want something they can grow into, you ought to consider a single bed. Or you might even want to look into something like a mid sleeper or cabin beds for your child’s bedroom. These are fun beds which offer a lot more than sleeping. They give you space for your kid’s belongings as they have drawers and shelves. And they really are a feature piece as they stand out when you walk into the room. Whichever bed you do go for, make sure you get an appropriate mattress which will protect your kid’s growing bones. And here is some more advice on switching from a crib to a big-kid bed!

Look into a mini table and chairs

As your child gets older, they will take part in more creative activities like painting and drawing. And while they can do it on the kitchen table (get a cover to protect it), it might be more fun to let them get creative in their own room. One way you can do this is by getting a mini table and chairs for their room. It can sit in the middle of the room and will be perfect when it’s time for some drawing. It’s also a good idea for when your little one is having a playdate. And it will last them for a good few years as they will use it to do their homework too. Just make sure you clean it to remove the pen marks quickly so it doesn’t get ruined.

Buy some book shelves

Reading is such a vital thing in a toddler’s life. After all, it’s teaching them basic skills that they need for the rest of their life. And reading books gives the child a wealth of knowledge about the world. Therefore, to ensure they have access to all their books, you should consider buying some book shelves for their room. That way, you can display all their books in the room. And when it comes to reading a bedtime story, you will be able to quickly pick out a novel for your child. They will need the bookshelves as they get older and bring home books from school. So it’s something that can grow with your child over the years!

Consider adding some pictures on the walls

When the bedroom was a nursery for your child, it’s likely that you just had wall art decorating their room. After all, photos weren’t really a must for your baby. But now as your child is getting older, it’s a good idea to add some pictures of the room. For one thing, it will make the room feel more personalized for your child. And not only this but if they wake up in the night, they will feel a lot more comforted seeing photos of their family. Therefore, add pictures of your family to the walls in your child’s room. And you could even add some pictures of your kid with their friends to the wall.

Look into adding a TV to the room

As much as the bedroom should stay a place where sleeping is the top priority, it also needs to be a room where your kid can have fun. After all, there might be times where it’s necessary they need to be in their bedroom. And it can also help to let them chill out in the room before they head to the land of nod. So one thing you should consider adding to their room is a TV. That way, they can watch the television before they go to sleep. In fact, you might want to put on a DVD when they head to bed, and they will drift off while watching it. You could even set a standby on the TV so it will turn off after a particular time. Just make sure your kid doesn’t get up in the night to watch the television!

Make sure it’s not overcrowded

It’s also vital that you make sure you leave enough space in your kid’s room for playing. After all, you don’t want them to end up having no space for them to play with their toys. In fact, you will end up with the living room filled with all their toys if there is no room in the bedroom. Therefore, make sure you think carefully before adding large items to your kid’s new big bedroom. And if you are limited for room, you might want to consider putting them in a different bedroom and then using their old nursery for a playroom. And then it can become a nursery again if you go on to have another child!

Add some toy boxes

When your little one is a newborn, it’s not necessary for them to have a load of toys in the room. But as they get older, they are bound to want the toys in the room. But then their bedroom can end up filled with toys. Therefore, when you are creating a new bedroom for the kids, you should consider getting some toy boxes. That way, they can hold all your child’s essential toys. And you can get lots of creative toy boxes which will look great in your kid’s room. And make sure you still have plenty of storage options like drawers and shelves in the rooms for your kid! They are bound to have more clothes than you before they are four!

And always think about safety when creating the perfect bedroom for your child. After all, you don’t want an accident to occur as the furniture wasn’t properly fitted or was poor quality!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Routines and Consistency Makes for A Happy Child

I do believe that the key to a happy child is a routine and consistency.  Children need structure to feel safe and secure and grow into healthy, successful adults. 

From the time that Scarlett turned 6 months old, I finally had a breakthrough and was able to put her on a sleep/eat schedule.  Life is so much easier when you know when your child is hungry or tired and there's no guessing.  

Now that Scarlett is two years old, she's been on the same schedule for some time now.  She wakes up anywhere from 7:15-7:45 AM and has breakfast and milk immediately.  Lunch is 11 AM and then a nap follows at 12 PM.  The block I have scheduled for nap time is 12-3 PM.  She used to sleep for 3 hours solidly, but now may sleep only 2 or 2 1/2 hours.  She's tired at nap time and goes down usually instantly.  When she wakes up we have a snack and then dinner is at 5 PM sharp.  Scarlett takes a bath every day and I do bath time right after dinner.  When we're done with the bath, she has wind-down time and we play or read books.  She has a cup of milk around 7 PM and then we brush teeth and she goes to bed at 7:30 PM.  She sleeps in her own crib. 

I've read horror stories about parents having their children go to bed at midnight and then wake up whenever they want.  My husband and I enjoy having some time to ourselves at night and I wouldn't be able to function if I couldn't decompress.  You can't be the best parent for your child if you don't have time for yourself.  

Scarlett knows exactly what to expect with her daily routine and I think the structure that it provides her makes her a happy child.  


Adorn Your Walls With Something Beautiful From Fracture

When I look at the walls in my home, I am presented with pictures of our family and artwork that my husband and I enjoy.  Walls are meant to be filled with love and memories, and that's what I aim to do.  I enjoy seeing pictures of my daughter when she was younger and the memories they evoke.  Family means everything to me and I always enjoy adding new collages with meaningful pictures.  When's the last time you updated the family photos in your home?

Fracture is not your average traditional framed paper picture.  These beautiful pieces are made by hand and very different.  The company prints directly on pure glass, instead of paper and provides a beautiful finished product.  By doing this, the technique combines all three onto a beautiful, lasting final product.  The uploading process is simple, just upload a photo, place the order and in a few days you'll review your order ready to be mounted on the wall.  An order from Fracture makes a beautiful housewarming gift as well as a wonderful present for just about any occasion for friends or family.  Go ahead and make an order today!

The possibilities are endless for deciding what to display on your walls.  Whether you want to choose a recent family picture, your family pooch, or even a gorgeous picture of the mountains that you took, it will all look wonderful.

You'll notice the vivid and bright color printed directly on your glass photo for a lifetime of happiness and memories. The sizes range from small to extra large on portrait, landscape, and square and would look perfect in any room of your home.  Why not display some of your favorite pictures on long-lasting glass today?

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Your Child Can Ride in Style Thanks to Diono

Scarlett has a busier social calendar than me and she's only two years old! Between driving her to school, activities, and playdates, it feels like we're always in the car.  A reliable and safe car seat is mandatory when you're transporting your children around town.  You want the car seat to not only fit your little one well, but have them ride comfortably in it too.  Diono knows all about providing a quality car seat that grows with your baby.

Diono offers a full line of the highest quality safest car seats, convertible+ boosters, and accessories to meet all of your family's needs.  Whether you're looking for a car seat that offers rear and forward facing for your little one, or a just booster for your older child, Diono has you covered.  Diono's products are quality made and built to last.  The best part about the company's car seats is that they are offered in many different colors and styles depending on your needs.  Keep the brand in mind for future baby shower gifts.  I know any new mom would love a car seat to drive their baby around in. I wish I had one on my registry!

Scarlett frequently visits Grandma and the car seat that Grandma currently has is getting too small for my growing girl.  Scarlett is small for her age and has been able to ride in this current car seat for a lot longer than probably most children could.  She finally is starting to outgrow it and it's certainly time for a new one.  We have a Diono car seat in our car for almost a year now and absolutely love it. I knew Scarlett would be happy about having a similar carseat in Grandma's car too.

Grandma's car has been recently upgraded to the Diono Radian RXT in the beautiful black mist color.  It's one upgrade I'm not complaining about! 

The Radian RXT is a convertible+booster car seat which is every parent's dream come true. This seat allows your child to rear-face from 5-45 lbs, forward face from 20-80 lbs, and then converts to a booster seat for children up to 120 lbs.  As you can see, it's really a product you can use for years and years.  Scarlett rides forward facing since she's now 2 and she's happy to be able to see everything outside when we drive.

My husband easily was able to install it in the car.  It's very tall so it did take up more room in the backseat than the old car seat.  Scarlett seemed very excited about the new addition and instantly wanted to sit in it.  The straps fit her snugly and securely and I had no concerns at all about her safety.  I think all of her baby friends are jealous of her new ride! There's a cup holder on the side to hold her water or juice when she's on the go.

There's dark grey on the top of the carseat and it meets with a dark black on the bottom.  Scarlett's stroller is also black so it's nice to have matching baby gear.  I know she'll be able to use this for some time to come when at Grandma's.

I'm very satisfied with this car seat and feel confidently that my daughter is safe and secure when in the car.  You can't ask for anything more than that as a parent.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Diono for providing me with a product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own.  


Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Ninja Coffee Bar is Just What Your Kitchen Needs

Most people's mornings cannot begin without a cup of their favorite liquid caffeine to help them get through the day.  While some cups of coffee are better than others, wouldn't it be nice to have coffee house style coffee each and every day in your home? No this isn't a dream, it's reality.  It's time for you to delight your taste buds and treat yourself to only fantastic coffee from here on out.

The Ninja Coffee Bar Brewing System offers a coffee house experience in the comfort of your own home.  Forget the standard cup of decaf or regular coffee, it's time to change your coffee experience for the better.  This brewing system is exactly what you need for amazing coffee drinks all the time. The multi-serve dial lets you choose the precise size you need to make your taste buds happy.

With the special thermal flavor extraction technology that allows you to dial up the flavor richness level and choose a brew that fits you, you'll always be happy.  Whether you select classic, rich, over ice, or speciality brew, you can have the drink you want anytime of day.  If you have a family member who doesn't drink coffee, they'll be delighted to have a single cup of hot chocolate, iced/hot tea, or a caramel option without coffee.

Choose from simple rich brewed coffee all the way to speciality drinks like pumpkin spice latte's or chocolate hazelnut coffee.  It's time to stop spending money on expensive coffee drinks daily when you can make anything you want at home.  If you're having a party, make a full carafe of a Colombian coffee blend that will pair well with biscotti's or pound cake for dessert.

The Ninja Coffee Bar was very easy to set up and in moments it was ready to go.  It comes with a travel mug, beautiful glass carafe, frother, and permanent filter.  I love the beautiful black and brushed chrome display, as well as the easy to push buttons.  There's an included manual for being in the know about everything the machine does.

My husband Jay is the big coffee drinker in our family, and I'm more interested in speciality drinks like caramel macchiatos.  The unique thing about this machine is that you can brew coffee in several different options including half carafe, full carafe, XL mug, regular mug, or a travel cup depending on your needs.  It's very convenient to have exactly the size you need if you're serving guests at a party, or just want some coffee on your morning commute to work.

Before you make your first cup of coffee, you have to run the machine through 2 cycles to prepare it. After that, you're free to make the drink of your choice.  Jay made a standard cup of coffee using his favorite blend and brand.  He filled the water reservoir and placed a large mug underneath the spigot and chose the classic brew and the XL mug setting.  In a matter of seconds, the machine came alive and filled the mug with steaming hot liquid goodness.  In my opinion, the coffee bar machine was relatively quiet and did not make a lot of noise.  The coffee was rich, brown and smelled wonderful.  Jay really enjoyed the coffee and said it was fabulous yet bold.  He's a coffee connoisseur and always enjoys a good cup of joe.

The unit came with a big recipe book filled with wonderful single cup hot and cold drinks that I can't wait to try.  There's a drink featured made with Oreo cookies that has my name written all over it, as well as a caramel one too.  Go ahead and make a single cup of blueberry iced coffee for your friend, while your mother has a Thai iced coffee.  The coffee options are endless and you can have a new drink everyday of the week.  The best part is that you don't have to make a whole pot if there are just a few people over, and everyone can have exactly what they want. 

If you want to make an ordinary cup of regular coffee exciting, you can use the frother to add whipped cream or make the milk frothy for specialty drinks too.  Add a dash of cinnamon for some additional flavor to make your tummy smile.

What I did notice about the unit was that it's very tall and doesn't fit flush underneath my cabinet.  I do wish that it wasn't as tall so it could fit directly underneath.

The Ninja Coffee Bar is going to revolutionize my family's coffee experience for the better and I'm happy to go along for the ride!

If you're looking to upgrade your coffee machine for good, the Ninja Coffee Bar is waiting for you.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Ninja for providing a product sample in order to facilitate this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Put Some Cracker Barrel In Your Mouth Today

As many of you know, I grew up in the south and lived there for 17 years. Due to this, it's made me no stranger to classic Southern fare like mac and cheese, chicken and dumplings, biscuits, and of course sweet tea.  Now that I live in New England, there's not many restaurants that cater towards southern cuisine around.  There's just something so comforting about digging into a plate of something warm and delicious that reminds you of childhood.

Cracker Barrel is an American chain of a combined restaurant and gift store that has a Southern country theme.  You'll enjoy bringing the whole family to this eatery where you can make your belly happy with such menu choices as grilled pork chops, hickory smoked country ham, rainbow trout, or even roast beef.  There's something for everyone including sandwiches, salads, soups, and even breakfast all day! Don't forget the delicious sides like mac and cheese, buttermilk biscuits, fried okra, country green beans, fried apples, and so much more.  You can't leave without finishing the meal with a sweet treat such as fruit cobbler with ice cream, a slice of pie, or even double chocolate fudge coca-cola cake!

Cracker Barrel will leave you happy and satisfied and you can walk off that meal afterwards by shopping in the gift store.  There's always something uncommon and interesting to see in the shop.  You'll love the housewares, unique food and candy options, as well as clothing and toys.  It's next to impossible to walk into the store without buying something.  

My family recently visited Cracker Barrel last night for dinner on our way down to Florida to visit my parents.  Scarlett had not previously been before and I knew she'd love it.  I hadn't been in many years and was really looking forward to the dining experience.  From the minute you walk in, you're welcomed warmly by the staff and it feels like home.  The atmosphere is cozy and offers vintage ads plastered on the walls featuring beverages, food/candy, and even car ads.  I love vintage ads and they really appeal to me.  It's fun to see all of the old signs which certainly are not like today's ads!

We started off the meal with drinks and the most delectable biscuits I have ever had in my life.  I could eat my weight in these biscuits, they were that good. Who could resist round and fluffy buttery circles of heaven? I enjoyed each and every bite of these warm beauties.  I wish I had one right now!

My husband Jay ordered country fried chicken covered with buttermilk gravy for his entree.  The three sides that came with his meal included pinto beans, fried okra, and a tomato, cucumber, and onion salad.  With 20 sides to choose from it can be hard to pick just 3! The portion size of the chicken was large and completely blanketed with the gravy.  He said the chicken was perfectly crunchy, juicy and cooked well.  The gravy gave it a nice boost of flavor that he loved.

Jay said the tomato, cucumber and onion salad was cool and refreshing as well as a nice addition to the warm chicken. The juicy tomatoes complimented the chilled cucumbers and onions and it was the perfect mix.  The pinto beans and fried okra are a classic combo and you can never go wrong with them.

I decided to be adventurous and order something completely out of the ordinary from what I normally  order.  The apple cider BBQ chicken breast caught my eye and looked like something I could enjoy.  An added bonus is that it's on the lighter section of the menu at only 330 calories.  I chose fresh apple slices and macaroni and cheese for my sides.  The chicken is seasoned with a smokey southern spice and topped with zesty apple cider BBQ sauce and a fresh gala apple and dried cranberry chutney.

My dish turned out to be beyond delicious and more than I expected!  I couldn't get over how fantastic it was and I gobbled it up in record time. The chicken was nice and thin and I loved the uncommon apple cider BBQ flavor that it offered.  It was sweet and zippy at the same time and a flavor combination that I've never had before.  The chutney consisted of a nice chunky mix of apples and cranberries and it really was a fantastic addition to my dinner.  I want to try to replicate this meal at home as soon as possible!

The macaroni and cheese that came as my side was a surprising size for a side.  They really gave you a lot which was welcomed by me since I'm a big lover of mac and cheese.  To say that I enjoyed it was an understatement.  I inhaled that cheesy goodness like it was my job.  The level of cheese provided for this dish was very generous and really made my taste buds happy.  I couldn't get over how tasty the mac and cheese was and I couldn't stop eating it. The pasta was perfectly cooked and packed with cheesy flavor that you won't soon forget.  I could have certainly eaten my weight in it!

My apple slices were fresh and flavorful and perfectly crunchy.  This was a good way to continue the apple theme from my chicken.  Scarlett also enjoyed them as that's one of her favorite fruits.

Scarlett had the kid's mac and cheese for dinner and loved it as well.  She's just like her mom and enjoys a lot of the same foods as me.  What child doesn't love mac and cheese though? She took a few bites and said "mmm" after each bite and smiled.  I think it's safe to say that she enjoyed it!

At the end of the meal, we had to follow it up with sweet treats of course.  It's a sin to finish dinner without dessert in my eyes.  Jay had blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream while I opted for the double fudge chocolate coca-cola cake.  I'm a chocolate lover through and through so this appealed to me more than the cobbler did.  Not long after ordering, a large piece of warm cake came with a perfectly round scoop of vanilla ice cream to accompany it.  The cake was moist and flavorful while the thick double fudge frosting was sweet and rich. I wanted to dig in as soon as I saw it.

I think the soda helps moisten the cake and make it more soft and fluffy. There was no trace at all of the soda flavor.  Cake and ice cream is a classic pairing and I loved having a bite of cool and creamy ice cream with the sweet cake at the same time, it made for a fabulous tasting!  I let Scarlett have a bite of each and she was in absolute heaven.  It's rare that she has sweets but I knew I couldn't deny her this.

Jay enjoys fruit desserts much more than I do and was excited to dig into this fruity beauty.  The blackberries were prevalent throughout the dessert and paired well with the delicious sweet crust on top.  You can't forget the generous scoop of vanilla ice cream that's on top either! All in all, Jay was very satisfied with his dessert choice.

We left the meal with full stomachs and a positive dining experience.  I bought my daughter Scarlett a cute dress in the Cracker Barrel store that I couldn't pass up as well as some candy for me.  We loved the restaurant so much that we went back for lunch the next day! Two meals at Cracker Barrel in two days is a win-win for me! I can't wait to go back again sometime soon.

If you're looking for a delicious restaurant that the whole family can enjoy, it's time to make a visit to Cracker Barrel.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Cracker Barrel for providing a complimentary visit in exchange for this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Secure Your Property, Or Else!

Do you know what the best career path for a criminal is? Well, it’s stealing from you. They could stick up stores and rob banks for high-risk with a high return. Chances are they will get caught, though.

So why you? Well less than fifteen-percent of home intruders are caught and you might have some valuables on offer. In 2010 alone, professionals estimated that there were over seven-hundred thousand incidents of home burglary in a year. Some go un-noticed, some go unreported - for whatever reason.

Now, estate agents use terms like ‘curb appeal’ to describe appealing properties. The more curb appeal your property has, the more value it should have. The same applies to criminals. When they are casing the property, curb appeal applies and will have an effect on their decision to steal from the property. They will take a close look at your property, multiple times over and make a move based on what they know.
So what are they looking for? Well, they are looking for something risk free. If your lawn is overgrown, it might suggest that the property is vacant. If your property is vacant, criminals are going to target it for obvious reasons. An overgrown lawn may invite the criminals to take a closer eye at your property to asses its worth to them as a target.

Now, this - above all is what you want to avoid. When criminals start taking a closer inspection, that’s the point of no-return. One criminal might be desperate enough to chance the risk when others might not. Letting criminals inspect your home or giving them reason to do so is the biggest mistake you can make.

But, you might say, it’s not in my hands! But it is. If you take simple precautions, you’ll make your property less of a target. In fact, some precautions might deter criminals altogether.

Firstly, lock your doors and windows. We all want to live in a safe world, but there’s a reason for this article. Locking your doors isn’t going to hurt you, but it is probably going to deter a break-in. Secondly, invest in a security system - there are plenty of options but a site like alarm-reviews.net can help you sift through them. A security system is going to not only deter the crime, but will actively assist you in the event of a break-in by notifying the authorities. Replacing fragile points of entry is also a good idea. Not only can older doors and windows be forced open, they are easier to destroy and break. Criminals will chance making noise and damage if they believe the reward is worth it.

It’s all about advertising your property. If you make it clear that it’s worth a criminal looking at, they are going to. Don’t make it easy. Secure your property before it’s too late.


Monday, January 2, 2017

Save Money At Garage and Consignment Sales With a New Baby

Let's face it, babies are expensive.  Between diapers, wipes, clothes and formula along with all of the other gear that comes with having a baby, it adds up! Of course you can find regular coupons to save on diapers and formula, but beyond those coupons there's not much retail savings on everything else a baby needs.

If you're currently pregnant or just had a new baby, garage sales and consignment sales are the best way you'll save money with a baby.  I remember when I was pregnant in the summer of 2014, I drove myself all around my town going to every garage sale I could find.  My town also frequently has consignment sales geared towards children.  You can save anywhere from 50-80% off retail prices.  Hello, savings!

Stocking up for Scarlett and getting everything she needs was what I was looking to do before I had her.  Obviously we preferred to have some things new like her baby furniture and travel system, but it makes sense to buy some things used.  I remember getting her changing table pad for $5, and knowing that they sold for about $30 online.  Why pay $8 or more for children's books when you can pay a quarter or 50 cents each? Just wipe them down and you're good to go.  I don't think any book in Scarlett's bookshelf was purchased brand new.  We have a whole collection of books for her that we paid practically nothing for.

My best purchase was an entire gigantic Rubbermaid container filled with clothes from newborn to 12 months that looked brand new.  Some of the clothes had tags on them and were never even worn! I paid $25 for the entire tub and the seasons of the clothing matched up perfectly to Scarlett.  It was truly like winning the baby lottery! I can't even tell you how many pants, dresses, shirts, and pajamas were in that tub.  That saved us so much money and was probably worth a few hundred dollars.

I buy most of Scarlett's toys from garage sales.  Of course I see so many toys that look very used and dirty, I don't buy those.  Anything I buy has to be in excellent condition.  I wipe it down with disinfectant wipes and then let her play with it.  Why pay $30 for a toy when I can pay $2? She has a whole playroom of toys for the fraction of the cost of what they would be new.  She's happy about it and so am I!

Over the summer, I went to a garage sale and bought her a $3 Halloween costume that looked in excellent condition.  I washed it and put it away in her closet.  I saw a similar giraffe costume online for $35.  There's no reason that I would pay $35 for her to wear something for just a short amount of time.  I saw a bag of a package of 10 brand new pacifiers too for $5.  Each package cost about $5 in the store and there's 2 pacifiers in each package.  So instead of paying $50, you're saving $45! 

It's such a thrill to find a good deal that you know your child could need or want.  Saving money is so enjoyable and I really love doing it.  Every weekend you'll find me at garage sales in the morning during the warmer months of the year.  I hope Scarlett will come with me when she's older! I don't think people realize how much money they can save for their kids at garage sales.  There's always a good deal to be found, and it's time you find yours today!


Friday, December 30, 2016

New Year's Eve Traditions

I always get sad as the holidays wind down, it never fails!  This time of year is really magical and I absolutely love it.  New Year's Eve is the only event left of the holiday season and it's always a fun time for everyone.  How do you celebrate this special night? Maybe you and your family make special New Year's Eve snacks or drinks? I'd love to hear your traditions.

This year, my husband and I have a two year old to celebrate with.  Even though Scarlett is far too young to understand, I hope when she's older she will enjoy the fun event.  For this New Year's Eve, I think we'll snack on some cheese and crackers and maybe a few chocolate treats.  I'm sure Scarlett will have some of the goodies with us.  Don't worry, we won't forget a glass of pink champagne either.  I'm not sure we'll be up at midnight when the ball drops, but it might be possible.