Saturday, October 25, 2014

Waring Pro Review #HolidayGiftGuide

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Movie nights happen quite frequently in my household.  Since my husband and I have Netflix, we love being able to scroll through the varied selection of titles offered to choose something that we both enjoy.  Snacks are vitally important during movie night.  My philosophy is that if you don't have snacks, it's not a legitimate movie night.  I'll either pop up some popcorn or we'll dig into some kind of sweet treat together.  You can't forget large glasses of your favorite beverage either.  When's the last time you had a movie night with your family?

Waring Pro is a global leader in premium kitchen electrics.  Their professional quality appliances bring a new level of performance to home cooking. I've seen Waring Pro products in my local big box and department stores, but have never owned anything from the brand before.  I like how the products are so diverse and there's something for everyone's needs. Waring Pro offers blenders, countertop cooking products, food prep products, drink mixers, popcorn makers, waffle makers, toasters, and much more.  There's even a fun novelty collection which includes snow cone makers, hot dog grillers, and a cotton candy maker too! I know I'd have a lot of fun with a cotton candy maker.  I doubt my dentist would be thrilled to hear that statement.  As you do your holiday shopping, please keep Waring Pro in mind for gifts for your friends and family.

My husband and I recently completely furnished our third floor loft, which is primarily for guests and will be a future playroom too.  As soon as our sofa bed was delivered we went out and bought a new TV and TV stand.  I knew I wanted to do something unique and different with the space but wasn't sure what exactly.  When I had the chance to review the Waring Pro Classic Kettle Popcorn Maker, I knew it would be the perfect addition to my loft. Move over microwave popcorn, movie theatre style popcorn is taking over! 

Pop, pop, pop! All you have to do next is pour some melted butter on top and enjoy.

This popcorn maker really brings the theater into the comfort of your own home.  You'll love how you can pop up to 10 cups of popcorn in just minutes.  Whether you're interested in kettle, buttered, or plain popcorn, Waring Pro will make your popcorn dreams a reality.  It all stays fresh and crisp thanks to large vents in the popper for steam release.  It comes with a scoop, oil-measuring spoon, and kernel-measuring cup.  

When the popcorn maker arrived, it went on a small table next to the new TV in the loft.  I love how it completed the room and brought an element of fun at the same time.  You can never go wrong with fun in my opinion.  My husband and I found a movie that we hadn't previously seen on TV and movie night was initiated.  Since it was just us, we didn't need to make a large amount of popcorn.  I settled on two cups of popcorn as I thought that would be enough.  The popper was very easy to use for the first time and in moments beautiful popcorn pieces were popping up.  It was exciting to watch it pop and even my dog was curious as to what was going on! 

The popcorn was extremely fresh and delicious.  We poured some melted butter on top to compliment it and it certainly was a fabulous decision.  In practically no time, the entire large bowl was polished off.  To say we enjoyed it would be an understatement.  I definitely look forward to using it for future movies night with my husband as well as my friends.  

The Waring Pro popcorn maker would be a fabulous addition to your upcoming holiday parties, game nights, or movie nights.  Gather everyone around the couch and pop up your favorite kind of popcorn.   Don't forget to serve something sweet to balance out the saltiness too.  I can guarantee your house will become the new permanent hang-out spot!

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Waring Pro for providing me with a complimentary popcorn maker in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 




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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cate and Chloe Review #HolidayGiftGuide

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If you haven't started your holiday shopping yet, now is the perfect time to begin.  The stores won't be crowded and you won't have to stand on long lines waiting to pay.  Over the years I've begun to prefer to shop online for holiday presents rather than in store.  Who wouldn't want to shop online in their pajamas from the comfort of their own couch? Don't forget a steaming mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows to accompany your shopping spree either. If you're looking for the perfect Christmas present for a friend or family member, Cate and Chloe is there to assist.



Cate and Chloe is one of the hottest brands for fashionable jewelry and accessories.  If you're the kind of woman who enjoys buying new jewelry on a frequent basis, then a Cate and Chloe subscription would be right up your alley.  Signing up for a subscription is easy. You choose the specific plan that interests you and then you're asked to take a style and personality quiz.  Based off of your answers you're sent jewelry every month, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months.  If you don't want to sign up for a subscription, you can still buy an individual piece of jewelry.  Cate and Chloe offers necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, and more.  Whether you're looking for simple silver stud earrings or a beautiful bangle bracelet, there's surely a piece that will catch your eye.  Why not plan ahead and pick out a gorgeous necklace to wear to your upcoming Christmas party? Any piece of jewelry would make a wonderful Christmas present for yourself, a friend, or family member.  

I was sent the stunning Callisto "Protector" Statement necklace for review.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it had to find its new home in my jewelry armoire.  

Look at me! I'm shiny and fabulous all at once. 

My jewelry style wouldn't be classified as simple or even close to it.  I enjoy anything large, chunky, or dangly.  The necklaces in my jewelry armoire are all bib style, my cocktail rings feature large stones or jewels, and my earrings are big or dangly.  This piece has my name written all over it. I'm very drawn to oversized pieces.  I've worn it a few times and have received so many compliments on it.  Everyone wants to know where I bought it! 

The silver hardware shines and glimmers with each turn and movement you make. You'll definitely radiate style every time you wear it.  The necklace is designed well and I can tell is a quality piece since it has weight to it. The clasp is easy to open and close.  It looks excellent with practically anything you wear and transitions from day to night with ease. Pair this necklace with your favorite holiday dress and heels and you'll be the talk of the party.

Since I'm pregnant, I won't be wearing anything this holiday season except sweats as I take care of a new baby who's due soon.  I will definitely be wearing it out for my first date night out with my husband after the baby's born.  This necklace certainly deserves to be worn at all times.  Don't let it sit in your jewelry box or armoire for too long!

If you're looking for gorgeous pieces that are full of beauty and personality, I highly recommend Cate and Chloe.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Cate and Chloe for providing me with complimentary product in exchange for this post.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cluck 'n Moo Giveaway

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I feel like I'm constantly making the same things for dinner all the time.  Since I'm pregnant, I don't always have the motivation or energy to make very involved meals.  Choosing favorites that are quick to prepare like chicken breast, chicken burgers, or even pasta works for my family.  I do switch up the way I cook the meals so my husband and I don't get bored. I consider myself semi-adventurous and do enjoy trying new foods.  If you're looking to give dinner a little kick of personality, Cluck 'n Moo is there for you.



Cluck 'n Moo produces tasty, healthy beef and chicken burgers that are made with kale.  I know you might be thinking that beef is anything but healthy, but in this case it's true.  These burgers are the better-for-you burgers and are crafted with humanly raised, antibiotic and hormone free grass fed beef and chicken.  Not only do they taste delicious but they offer 52% less fat, 34% less calories, and 57% less saturated fat than a regular beef burger. Go ahead and indulge without guilty and worry.  If you follow a gluten-free diet, you'll be pleased to know that these burgers are perfectly acceptable for you to eat.  Pair Cluck 'n Moo burgers with a whole wheat bun and grilled corn for a crowd-pleasing meal.  Don't forget to season it well.  You won't miss the taste of a regular beef burger at all, I can guarantee it.



I know some might think burgers are a summertime food, but there's no reason why you can't enjoy a fantastic burger year-round.  You also don't have to feel like you have to serve the burgers with fries either.  There's many healthy side substitutes instead of fries.  How about delighting your taste buds with a vegetable salad, sugar snap peas, or even fruit? If you do want to partake in the traditional burger and fries combo, why not serve sweet potato fries? They are just as big on flavor and taste.

I suggest piling the lettuce and tomato high on the burger and taking a big bite.  You'll go cluckin' crazy for Cluck 'n Moo.


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Make Your Mealtimes Easier With These Top Family Cooking Tips

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Let’s face it, cooking for a family can be tough. Kids are notoriously fussy eaters and you might struggle to find the time to prep meals. However, there are ways to make family mealtimes run more smoothly. Here are some top tips that could help you to nail this aspect of household management.
Choose simple and healthy recipes
Firstly, it’s important to choose the right recipes. You no doubt want the meals you prepare to be healthy. There is also convenience to think about. You may not have time to spend hours slaving away over a hot stove.
The good news is, there are plenty of recipes that are perfectly tailored to family cooking. Chicken casserole is a great example. This dish can be simple to prepare and it is packed full of nutritious ingredients. Fish pie, beef stew, spaghetti bolognese and ratatouille are also ideal.
As long as you find easy-to-follow recipes, you can create these dishes relatively quickly and you can rest assured they will be tasty and wholesome.
Cook in batches and freeze

Make full use of your freezer too. By cooking big batches of food and then freezing portions, you can make your life much easier. This is by far the most efficient way to prepare meals for a family. It means that when you need to, you’ll be able to get all the food you need straight out of the freezer and simply heat it up to feed your brood. This is perfect after a busy day at work or when you’ve been run off your feet at home.
If you have a spare few hours one afternoon, you could set to work preparing a few dishes to freeze. Planning ahead like this can make things simpler and it can also help you to budget more effectively.

Bear in mind that some foods may have a limited freezer life and some aren’t suitable for freezing at all. If you’re unsure about any issues to do with food safety, look for advice and information over the web.
Order food online
Doing the weekly shop with your kids in tow might be a nightmare. Trying to find what you need between tears and tantrums isn’t easy. Rather than putting yourself through this ordeal week in, week out, why not order the items you’re after online? It’s now simple to buy food over the web. To help you take your pick from the various goods available, you can take a look at web-based reviews.
Ordering goods at the click of a button from the comfort of your home could revolutionize the way you restock your fridge.
Know when to delegate
Last but by no means least, know when to delegate. It’s important that everyone in your household plays a role in making things run smoothly. For example, don’t be too proud to ask your partner for help when you’re preparing meals. If you have older kids, you can get them involved in washing and clearing up too. This should make it easier to cope and it will help to teach your youngsters some valuable life skills.
Cooking for a family will never be easy, but by following advice like this you can make the task much more straightforward.

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Cool Hobbies to Try With Your Kids

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Hobbies are fantastic tools for educating your child. Not only does having a hobby give them a way to express themselves, it also allows them to discover what they like to do. If you openly encourage their hobbies and make them feel good about it, they’ll build plenty of confidence! The following hobbies are all great to try with kids:

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Baking

Baking with kids will teach them about food, food safety, and cooking techniques. They’ll learn all kinds of things, from what ingredients do to how to use kitchen appliances. You can bake cakes, cookies, and even savoury dishes if you like. Kids love helping grown ups cook, so make sure you let them!

Gardening

Gardening is a great hobby for kids to try, as they get to plant things and watch them grow. Why not take them to the shop and let them pick some seeds to plant in the garden? Watering them and watching them transform will be so much fun for your child. They’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment too. You could even get them a ready grown potted plant and help them transfer it to your garden soil.

Pet Grooming

If you have a pet, why not teach them how to groom it and help look after it? They’ll learn all kinds of important things about animals, how to treat them, and how to keep them in good shape. This will also take some of the pressure off you, as you won’t be the only one taking care of your pet. You know they’ll be great pet owners later in life too.

Collecting

Collecting can come in many shapes and sizes. Work out what your child’s interests are and go from there. They may like to collect dinky cars, or even dolls. Having a collection is very exciting for a child, even if it’s just a collection of pogs or trading cards.

Drawing

Drawing will help your child to peak their inner artist. Make sure you let them draw whatever they like, and encourage any originality. Don’t make a big deal if they draw a dog with no legs - praise their originality.

Writing

Writing is so much fun for kids and will teach them all about the English language. Encourage them to write different kinds of stories and poems to read to you and see what they come up with. They might shock you!

Sewing

Sewing is a great skill to have, although you will need to supervise your child with the needle. There are sewing kits available especially for kids, so you could start them off by making their very own sock bunny. They could even use cross stitch to create a picture of their favourite cartoon character. Whatever they create, make sure you display it proudly and praise them for it!

These hobbies will all teach your kids valuable things about life. You can be sure that they’ll grow up to be creative, well rounded individuals if you encourage them to do things like this from a young age. Good luck!



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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Aldona's Boutique Etsy Shop Review

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It won't be that much longer before I start preparing a bag for the hospital.  Of course I will pack essentials for myself, but the most important contents will be for the baby.  I'll be including an outfit or two for her to come home in as well as other things she'll need. You can't have an adorable outfit without an oversized headband, it's practically mandatory. When I stumbled upon Aldona's Boutique, I knew I had to have one of her headbands for my daughter's first hospital pictures!

Aldona's Boutique is an Etsy shop specializing in handmade French and vintage inspired headbands, garters, hair clips, onesies and more.  Aldona certainly creates pieces that are unlike anything else I've seen before.  Her oversized headbands are my absolute favorite.  I love how she pairs large rosettes with feathers, beads, and pearls in gorgeous colors.  All of the colors and material work together well and look extremely beautiful.  Any headband or hair clip would look excellent in newborn or toddler professional pictures.  Aldona's open to custom orders if you can't find exactly what you're looking for from her shop.  How about creating your dream headband of an oversized black rosette with pink pearls and tulle behind it? That would certainly be beautiful. Aldona's talent surely shines through in her work as every piece is made with love and care.  Go ahead and surf on over to her Etsy shop today, I can guarantee you'll love everything.

The combination of the blush and grey together is stunning.  The small pearls inside the rosette offer a surprise finishing touch.

From the minute I started browsing around her shop, I instantly fell in love with the Blush and Gray Vintage Inspired Headband.  The old fashioned vibe drew me in and I knew it would be the perfect choice.  How can you go wrong with lace, pearls, and ribbon? I did ask Aldona to change the blush band to white.  I thought it would help to make the actual rosette piece pop.  The headband came very quickly and I was impressed with the quality and detail of it.

I tend to be drawn to oversized items whether it's jewelry, handbags, or even sunglasses. There's just something about larger than average items that I love! The rosette seems to be glued on very securely to the band and I don't see any issues with it separating.  You can tell a lot of time and effort went into creating the many layers of the rosette. As I mentioned above, the colors are so gorgeous together.  Pearls, ribbon, and lace are such timeless materials and I really enjoy how they look when used at once.  I certainly wish I had as much talent as Aldona does! The band is stretchy and offers a secure fit around baby's head.

I'm already planning what my daughter will wear in her newborn pictures.  You can guarantee that this headband will make an appearance in the pictures.  It's just too beautiful to not include it.  I won't have to wait much longer as she'll be here in 6 weeks or less!

If you're looking for gorgeous, one-of-a-kind pieces that will certainly spark conversation, please check out Aldona's Boutique.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Aldona's Boutique for supplying me with a complimentary headband in exchange for this post.  All thoughts are strictly mine.  

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Dreft Review and Giveaway #DreftHypo

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Since I'm now due in a mere 6 weeks, I've really been trying to get absolutely everything ready for my daughter's arrival.  This past weekend I filled up the remaining drawers of her dresser with freshly washed clothes. I love to be organized, so this was a real treat for me.  Is it excessive that she has clothes up to 6 months in her dresser? What can I say, I like to plan ahead! Go ahead and trust Dreft for all of your baby laundry needs, they will protect sensitive newborn skin like no other brand.



Dreft is a hypoallergenic baby detergent that is specially formulated to be gentle on baby's skin.  It's also tough against stains which is a big bonus for new moms.  I've heard of Dreft previously but never had a reason to use it until recently.  I know that using Dreft on baby clothes is an absolute must in the mom book.  It is comforting to know that you're using a laundry detergent that is safe against fragile skin and won't cause breakouts.  Not to mention it smells great too! If you know someone who's having a baby shower soon, it would be a great idea to give them a bottle of Dreft along with your main present.  You can never have enough laundry detergent when frequently washing baby clothes.

I was sent a wonderful package from Dreft which contained items that will be helpful in just a few more weeks! My big box contained 2 bottles of Dreft, 1 container of Dreft wipes, 1 laundry stain remover, 1 to-go stain remover, 1 odor eliminator and fabric refresher, 2 pairs of Little Me pajamas, and a $30 gift card for Little Me clothing.  If you didn't already know, the brand is the #1 baby laundry detergent choice of pediatricians.  

Baby Essentials 

Since I've only recently started washing and putting away my daughter's clothes, I had a small bottle of Dreft on the shelf in my laundry room.  Having two large bottles will make my life so much easier when I'm constantly washing baby clothes in the first few months. The smell of Dreft is so comforting, it's like wrapping yourself in a constant state of warm coziness.  Did you know that the brand has been trusted for over 80 years? The babyhood scent is beloved by moms and leaves fabrics clean and smelling great.  I've already caught myself smelling some of my daughter's clothes because I really enjoy the scent of Dreft! As everyone who is a regular reader of my blog knows that my daughter will be born in December, and I'm sure it will be absolutely freezing at that point.  I'm sure other moms are having winter babies too.  It's imperative that as parents bundle up their little one this winter that they use detergent that is gentle on baby's skin. 

The first time I used Dreft I was very impressed with the product.  Not only did it leave my daughter's onesies and pajamas clean with a pleasant scent, but there were no harsh chemicals used in the product at all.  I can put the clothes on her and not have to worry about her breaking out or having a rash from the chemicals or unnatural ingredients.  As a first time mom I'm sure I'll be worrying a lot.  It will be fantastic to have one less worry on my list!

I don't think my daughter will get the opportunity to wear the pajamas that were included in the package.  They are size 6 months and she'll be 6 months in June.  It'll be too hot at that point for long-sleeves, but you never know!

The stain removal products will be excellent in making sure any spit up stains or other baby messes are magically erased.  I'm sure I'll be dealing with my fair share of stains in the beginning months.  I've heard that Dreft is fantastic at getting tough stains out, so this will be my go-to product when needed.  The on-the-go small bottle will be in my car or diaper bag at all times. You never know when you'll need it!

I'm sure I'll be getting a lot of use out of the wipes and fabric refresher too.  All fabrics need a little refreshing from time to time, not everything always smells good! Just a quick spray or two will envelope my daughter's clothes into a Dreft dreamland.  Before receiving the Dreft wipes I didn't know they were made.  I love that I can safely clean surfaces or toys that my daughter touches.  The best part is that there are no strong fumes and all ingredients are derived from natural sources.  

If you're a new mom, take the headache out of life and make sure that you always have a bottle of Dreft in your laundry room.  Just think of it as your pink and white lifesaver. Head on over to Dreft's website to receive a $2 off coupon to try the detergent yourself! 

Looking to win some prizes? How about joining a #DreftHypo Twitter party on Thursday, November 6th from 9-10 pm EST? There will be a discussion from Dr. Dyan Hes, a New York Magazine 2013 top doctor, about the best ways to keep baby safe and comfortable from the cold this winter season.  Valuable information will surely be discussed.  Don't miss the conversation and of course the chance to win great prizes like Dreft prize packs and Little Me gift cards! RSVP here

One lucky winner will be transitioning into a Dreft dream world as they will have the opportunity to win the same prize pack I received!


This review and giveaway was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Dreft. I received product free of charge, but all opinions are 100% mine."






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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Check out my Premium Advertising Section!

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If you haven't noticed all of the ads on my sidebar, please take a look.  Go ahead and click on over to their Etsy shops and give them some love!



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Have You Heard about Huggies Snug and Dry Diapers? #Sponsored #MC

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“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Mom Central for Huggies and Target. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

I recently went to an infant care class at my local hospital.  The speaker told us how newborn babies go through about 280 diapers a month.  I was shocked at how high the number was.  It's essential to stock up on diapers before baby comes so you have a stockpile to use in the beginning. Huggies Snug and Dry diapers will keep baby and mom very happy.



Huggies Snug and Dry diapers have a surefit design that guarantees for up to 12 hours of leakage protection. Any new mom will love to hear that!  The diaper offers a flexible waistband for added comfort.  I highly suggest pairing the Snug and Dry diaper with Huggies Natural Care Triple Clean wipes.  The layers of the wipes are thick enough to handle any mess, with a texture that's soft against baby's skin.  You can feel good about using the wipes on your baby as they are fragrance-free and provide a gentle touch of aloe and vitamin E.  If your baby has sensitive skin, this would be the perfect wipe choice for you as they won't irritate.   An interesting fact about the wipes is that they come in designer tubs to match any nursery.  Both the wipes and diapers can be found at your local Target. 




Target has launched a new subscription program for automatic shipments of diapers, wipes, formula, and other household essentials.  This is the most convenient thing I can think of for new moms.  Go ahead and re-order your baby items as soon as you discover you're running low on them.  The fact that you don't have to load baby and other children into the car and drive to Target to purchase the items desired is fantastic.  Some people don't live near Target and the fact that the items can be delivered to their homes is a lifesaver.  I will definitely be trying out the subscription program as I don't live extremely close to Target.  The last thing that I want to be doing is going out into the freezing winter air once my daughter is born to buy diapers and wipes.  I highly recommend any new mom take advantage of the Target subscription program, you'll definitely notice how much easier it makes life.  Let the UPS man do the hard work for you! 

Make sure you check out Target's coupons where you can score $1 off a package of Huggies Snug and Dry Diapers.  All savings helps when you have a new baby!

Don't forget to follow Huggies on Twitter and Facebook




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How to Choose the Right Stroller For Your Tot

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Selecting the perfect stroller for your tot can make your life as a parent much easier. The trouble is, there are so many different products to choose from that it can be difficult to know where to begin.
The following guide should help you to purchase the right buggy for your youngster.
On the move
One of the things you’ll need to think about when you’re perusing the array of popular strollers on offer is how you’ll get around. If you travel a lot on foot, you’ll need a product that is easy to push on a variety of surfaces. It should also be simple to manoeuvre over curbs and up and down stairs. In addition, the item should have effective protection from the sun, wind and rain. Ideally, it should feature plenty of storage for shopping bags too.
If you’re a frequent public transport user, your buggy must be quick and easy to fold and it should also be lightweight.
Meanwhile, if you mainly get around by car, the product and its accessories must be able to fit into your boot. It’s also worth considering getting a stroller that comes with a detachable car seat.  
Storage
Another key issue to bear in mind is storage. You’re unlikely to go to the effort of folding your buggy up each time to you get back to your home. Therefore, it’s important that the unfolded item can fit comfortably into your hallway without blocking access.
If you have an especially narrow hallway, you might want to get a stroller that stands upright independently when folded as these tend to be easier to store.
Know your options


Once you know what criteria you want your buggy to meet, it’s time to choose a specific model. However, before you start shopping, it’s important to ensure that you’re aware of all the various different types of stroller on offer.
Fully reclining versions are intended for new babies who need the back support that these products give. Meanwhile, sitting up buggies are designed for youngsters aged six months and above.
Some buggies feature travel systems that include a child car seat. These can be handy if you want to be able to transfer your tot from stroller to car or vice versa without waking them up. It’s also possible to get buggies with reversible seats. These products enable you to see your baby’s face as you’re walking along.
If you’re planning to walk over rough ground, a three-wheeled buggy is worth considering. These can be more sturdy and manoeuvrable. However, bear in mind that you shouldn’t use these products over uneven terrain until your child is around six months old. This is because newborn babies’ necks aren’t robust enough to withstand a bouncing head.
You can visit parenting websites such as http://www.essentialkids.com.au/ for more information on strollers.
It’s also worth checking out online reviews before you splash your hard-earned cash on any one particular item. This could help you to avoid potentially costly mistakes and it will ensure you can buy with confidence.


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The Complete Guide To Planning A Romantic Trip (When You Have Children)

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When you have children, keeping the romance in your relationship can be difficult. Children change every aspect of your life in ways you can't imagine. That means that your relationship with your partner changes. You are no longer a couple; you are mommy and daddy. That means that you start acting more like parents than people. You need to take some time out now and then. Spending quality time with your partner will help you to revitalize your relationship. Remember, relationships take hard work. Nobody has a perfect relationship straight away. You need to work at building a successful relationship. Many parents feel guilty about leaving their children and taking a mini-break. That feeling is normal. If you have never been away from your children before, the idea of leaving them will terrify you. You can't be great parents if you have a bad relationship with one another. That is why it is so important to spend some time together. Here is the complete guide to planning a romantic trip when you have kids.

Choose the right time to travel

Choosing the right time to travel is vital. The important thing is not to disrupt your children's lives. Make sure you think about the right time to go away. Check that your children don't have any important events coming up and that they won't need you for anything. For example, if your child is in the school play, make sure your travel times don't overlap with their opening night. Making sure that you choose the right time to plan a vacation will make a huge difference. Going whilst the children are at school will mean that the trip is cheap.

Keep things short and sweet

Whilst it is important to get some time away together, you must make sure that you keep the trip short. You may want to travel Europe for three or four weeks, but doing so is not practical. Your children will miss you if you leave for too long. The fact that you are not around could have a negative impact on their school work. You should make sure that you keep the trip short and sweet. Plan a trip for just a few days. Your children will be fine without you for that period, and you will still get a great break.

Tell your children why you're going without them

The fact that you're going away without your children might be a little hard on them. If you, usually, vacation as a family, your children might think they've done something wrong. Explain to your children that they have done nothing wrong. Tell them that you guys need to go away without them this time, but that next time you will all be together. Make sure that your children understand why you're leaving and tell them when you'll be back. Tell them you'll bring them presents when you return.

Find the best childcare

You have likely left your children with a babysitter for a night before now. Leaving your children for an extended period can be difficult. It is vital that you find the right childcare for your children. Make sure that you choose somebody who you can trust while you're away. You will not enjoy your vacation if you spend all the time worrying about your children. Look for potential candidates on http://www.findababysitter.com.au. Hold interviews for babysitters who you like the look of, and see whether you can find the right person. When both you and your partner are happy with someone, hire them for the role.

Make a schedule for your children

You need to make sure that your children are busy while you're away. Leaving everything up to the babysitter isn't fair. You know your children, and you know their usual routine. Keeping a level of stability in your children's lives while you're away will make the process easier. Make a schedule for your children that you can leave with the babysitter. Include things like bedtimes, meal times and study times. When your babysitter knows the schedule, he or she can make sure that your children stick to it. Your children will be more likely to obey your babysitter when they can see that you've told him or her all the rules.

Choose a destination

Choosing a destination is not just about picking a place you want to go. When you have children, it is important to stay close by so that you are near if they need you. Choose a destination from which you can easily return if you need to do so. Finding a romantic place that is not a million miles from home will mean you are on hand when your kids need you. Look for romantic breaks in nearby states or countries.

Find cheap fares and hotels

If you travel when the children are at school, you will find that everything is cheap. Travel companies boost their prices during the children's school break. That means that if you travel during term time, you will get a great deal. Talk to a travel agent about the best deal for you and see what they have to offer. It is worth going to a range of different companies before you book your vacation. Doing so will mean that you can compare prices so that you know you are getting the best deal. Look at reviews online to find the right hotel for you.

Call to check on your children (but not too often)

When you're on vacation, there will be a temptation to call home every ten minutes to check up on your children. Of course, you need to call home a few times while you're away, but try not to call too often. Calling once a day is plenty. You need to trust the babysitter to do a great job. He or she can't do their job if you are calling all the time. You should also remember that this is a vital time for your children. If it is the first time you've left your children for more than a day, it will be a learning curve for you. You don't want to teach your children to be completely reliant on you. If you call too often, your children will believe that is a normal thing to do. Instead, make a few calls while you're away, but focus on enjoying your break.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

From Scratch Giveaway

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The Food Network is a TV station which I'm convinced has magical and captivating powers. No matter what show is on it leaves me completely hooked.  It's very impressive to watch someone finely dice or chop a tomato with ease while my knife skills look like a small child's.  I love to watch the chefs or cooks create fabulous mouth watering meals and desserts that I would gladly gobble up in five seconds flat.  Has anyone figured out a way to take a fork to the TV screen successfully yet? Please alert me when that happens.  If you haven't tuned into a Food Network TV show lately, you should really do so today.



From Scratch: The Uncensored History of The Food Network is the first book about the network that covers the whole story from the beginning.  It includes a brand new afterword with behind the scenes information about your favorite Food Network personalities.  How about learning of a bullying Robert Irvine as he confronts a rising rival, or Paula Deen trying to rebuild her brand against all odds? So many Food Network names are covered in the book including The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, as she struggles to adapt to being a TV star.



Illuminating one of the most notable cultural and media trends of recent decades, the rise of a food-obsessed culture, the book also tells a powerful business story.  Turn the pages to discover how creativity, chance, technology, and money sometimes work together when building a brand.  

There are some interesting facts in the book including:

-A hedge fund billionaire paid Guy Fieri $100,000 to be his friend for the day.  
-Rachael Ray almost burned down Emeril Lagasse's set during her first screen test
-Paula Deen's agent pushed and cursed the president of the network to give her a shot after a programming executive who was biased against Southerners kept rejecting her.

This would make a fantastic Christmas present for yourself, or any other Food Network fan.  Let the book answer all of your burning questions about the network.  There will surely be some secrets and surprises on each page.





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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fresh Nation Review

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I was just thinking recently about how I don't go to as many farmers markets as I should. The fresh produce, delicious baked goods, and juicy fruits are always a favorite in my book. Over the summer I purchased a 2 pound bag of green beans and roasted them.  They came out phenomenally and were gobbled up in no time.  If you have never been to a farmer's market previously, you should make a mental note to visit one this fall.  You will not be disappointed, and the quality of the food is stellar.



Fresh Nation is a first of its kind farmers market delivery service.  It works by connecting neighboring markets through an online marketplace where consumers can shop from the convenience of their home.  The best part is that the farmers market comes straight to your door! You can choose from various kinds of produce including peppers, carrots, tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli and so much more.  Don't forget about ordering a fantastic pie or some fresh apples either.  During the ordering process you're able to input how many pounds of each item you want to purchase. A Fresh Nation gift card would be an excellent present for a friend or family member, especially if they're interested in eating healthier.  This is such a wonderful service that brings healthy eating to the palm of your hand.  Fresh veggies are so versatile and work well in soups, stews, casseroles, salads, and so much more.  Be creative and let your imagination flow and create a fabulous dish today.  

I was able to review the service which was extremely exciting to me.  Eating healthy is always on my agenda and I loved that veggies would be coming straight to my door! The online ordering process was very easy and in no time my order was complete.  Today was my lucky day as my order was delivered.  I wasn't home at the time of delivery, but the service had no problem leaving my order on my door step.  This is a convenient feature because not everyone is able to be home when their order comes.  

I received broccoli, carrots, kale, raspberries, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, and green beans.  What I noticed instantly was that some of the produce was a little smaller than what I was used to.  There's nothing wrong with this at all, you'll just have to order more to compensate when cooking.   The only thing I wish was different was that more fruits and baked goods were available, along with breads.  It would have been nice to have been able to include those in my order.  I am not sure if the selection was just not available in my area or what.  Possibly others would have more of a variety than I had?

Produce Party! Look at all of the delicious veggie options to choose from. 

The first thing I wanted to try was making kale chips.  Kale chips are one of those things that I've heard positive things about, but have never tried them.  I looked up a quick recipe online and I got started.  Flavor is imperative when making the chips, so I cut up the kale and seasoned it with olive oil and seasoned salt.  They came out fantastic and my husband didn't believe they were kale at first.  We both enjoyed their crispiness and of course devoured the entire plates in seconds flat.

Crispy, crunchy, everything you could want


From the minute my order arrived, I knew I wanted to make a big salad and eggplant parmesan for dinner tonight.  I cut up tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers for the salad.  To switch things up a bit, I covered the carrots and beans in rosemary and olive oil and roasted them.  This was honestly a fabulous decision as they came out so wonderful and full of flavor.  I want to roast every vegetable possible now when I cook, it's that good. 

Veggies, meet my belly

The vegetables in the salad were so fantastic and full of flavor.  I can't stress enough how fresh they were and how much my husband and I enjoyed them.  We feel spoiled now because we know the produce from our local grocery store is not this fresh! Everything went together wonderfully and we dressed it with a light Italian dressing.

I love you salad

Lastly, I made a delightfully cheesy eggplant parmesan to go along with the salad.  You can never go wrong with marinara sauce and cheese in my book.  Italian dishes are also a dinner staple in my household.  I assembled the dish and stuck it in the oven for 35 minutes. When the timer buzzed, I was met with a beautiful bubbling dish of deliciousness.  My mouth watered and I knew it was time to eat! The eggplant was not bitter at all and was very tasty. My husband didn't even want to speak in-between bites.  :)

We're in a relationship, and I think it's serious.


A meal made in heaven


I highly recommend Fresh Nation for any of your future veggie needs and meals.  I was thoroughly impressed with the service and the produce received.  I'll certainly be ordering from them again in the future.

*DISCLOSURE* Thank you to Fresh Nation for providing me with a complimentary gift card in exchange for this review.  All thoughts are strictly my own. 



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Jif To Go Dippers Makes An Excellent Snack #GetGoing #Sponsored #MC

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“I participated in an Influencer Activation Program on behalf of Influence-Central for Jif To Go Dippers. I received a sample to facilitate my review and a thank you item for participating.

Kids have tons of after school activities these days.  Take a look at your weekly planner and you'll most likely see that your daughter has piano and ballet lessons, while your son has soccer practice.  Once you pick them up from school it seems like everyone's on the go for a few hours.  It's never fun when children are hungry either! Luckily Jif can satisfy your children's stomach and taste buds when out and about.



While I don't have a child who's in school just yet, I know what it's like.  For many years, I babysat children who had to be picked up from school and taken from one various after school activity to the other.  The biggest challenge was making sure their hunger was addressed before we left.  You don't want to give them a messy snack in the car, but having something that's portable is a lifesaver.  Jif To Go Dippers are the answers to your snack prayers. 



If you don't already know about Jif to go Dippers, you're missing out! These handy and portable snacks are just the what you need if you're craving something delicious.  Choose from Jif creamy peanut butter or chocolate silk with pretzels.  Everything is self contained to make snacking on-the-go a breeze.  Throw one in your purse for a mid-day pick-me-up at work, or they make the perfect treat for your child's lunchbox too.  My favorite is surely the chocolate silk with pretzels, but would you guess any differently? I absolutely love the sweet, rich chocolate paired with the salty mini pretzels.  It's a life changing experience for sure! Children will be delighted when they see the Jif packages in their lunchbox or given to them after school. 

Making Jif To Go Dippers as part of your family's snack routine would be a very smart decision.  The next time you or your child is looking for something tasty and quick, let Jif address that hunger.


Check out Jif on Facebook and Twitter



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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Modern Family's "Fall for All" Event Takes Over Union Square + Giveaway

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If you're local to New York City and looking for something fun to do with the family next weekend, I have the perfect event for you.

Stop by Union Square in Manhattan on Sunday, October 19th from 12-8 pm to be treated to a fall extravaganza.  It's certainly not common to see an interactive corn maze that's over 60' long and 8' foot tall in the city! As guests journey through the corn maze, they will be met with several activities that allow them to test their Modern Family knowledge.  Modern Family is a hit show on ABC that allows packs a lot of laughs.  You'll also be able to retrieve iconic show clips through an augmented reality experience, and strike a pose before exiting into a pumpkin patch full of surprises.  



The event will have numerous photo and video friendly opportunities for families including a seasonal pumpkin patch with hundreds of art pumpkins, a 20' interactive gallery wall with clips from the show, and of course snacks and face painting too! 

Skip the routine Sunday afternoon activities like going to the movies or a museum with the family.  It's time to do something fun that will put a smile on everyone's face!



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