Wednesday, December 24, 2014

15 Dangerous Toy's You Should Get Rid of NOW!

*This Guest Post is brought to you by Robert Reeves Law.

The holidays are a time of year when children can think of little else but Santa Claus, wish lists, and tearing into a new batch of toys while Mom and Dad try to stay awake. But even the most well-intended toys can be subject to hidden dangers that, if left unchecked, might cause injury or even death. In fact, the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, reports that toy-related injuries in the U.S. alone have risen by 40 percent since 1990.

That’s where the Consumer Product Safety Commission comes in handy for parents. By staying current on recalls and other critical product information, you can keep hazards like these 15 Dangerous Toys that could Actually Kill You, away from your children.

1. Dream On Me Play Yards
Dream On Me issued a recall for their Incredible Play Yards on December 9, citing a strangulation hazard as the motive behind the move. The play yard’s rails proved capable of collapsing — a potentially fatal flaw for parents whose children are trapped inside. There were around 10,000 products that the recall affected; thankfully, there haven’t been any injuries or deaths reported in this case, but similar issues from other companies have resulted in deaths.

Image: CPSC website

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Morning Breakfast

*This post is brought to you by Hormel.

Every family has Christmas traditions and my family is no different. One of our traditions has been to have a special breakfast on Christmas morning. Sometimes we do waffles or biscuits and gravy, but this year we are making some special Christmas houses out of breakfast food. Each kid will get their own and we'll all have a lot of fun with it.

Christmas Morning Breakfast Cottage

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Last Minute Christmas Gifts

With less than a week till Christmas now is the time to get those last minute gifts. Sometimes the perfect gift is difficult to find for the special people in your life. Luckily The Coffee Beanery has you covered. When you place an order, they can have your item delivered in as little as 2 days.

Gift Baskets from The Coffee Beanery

Right now they are offering coffee baskets roasted and packaged in Michigan. These baskets contain a variety of coffees that any coffee drinker well love you. Starting at just $15 there's something for every budget. When the coffee arrives it's nicely packaged in an attractive basket and decorated beautifully for the holidays.

The basket I received, the Taste of the Season Basket, contains 12 different flavors of coffee all freshly ground before shipment and ready for my drip coffeemaker. The basket is adorable and will be reusable throughout the season with snowflakes and let it snow on the sides. Handles on either side aids carrying.

To place an order now, go to the Coffee Beanery. You can also check them out on Facebook to keep up-to-date on all the latest great deals.

Camera Shopping at Best Buy!

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

When you're a parent, you immediately become an amateur photographer. From the moments before your child is born to every new smile in the months after, it's important to capture those moments, because they don't last long. Even though in the long, sleepless nights, when you're praying that the phase would pass, you don't realize until much later how precious those times are.

When my first child was born, my husband and I took the time and expense to purchase a nice digital camera, because in addition to wanting to capture the special moments - photos, emails, and phone calls were going to be our only contact for most of our son's first year. Mostly Together Dad was deployed with the United States Navy. Photos became his main connection to our little guy.

Now, we are still glad that we took those measures, because now we have some excellent memories and clear pictures to look back on. At the time, a digital camera was a newer concept for personal use. Using cameras with film was the norm and there was a learning curve when making the switch. Once I learned how to use it, however, I found that I really liked being able to check my pictures immediately after taking a photo, to see if I needed another shot. It was also much easier to send pictures and it was certainly faster - especially with a deployed servicemember!

Digital cameras have come a long way since our first. There are more features, even more clear pictures and much better digital video quality. The Canon EOS Rebel T5i from Best Buy would have knocked the socks off of my old 20 year old new mother self!

"Best Buy is the ultimate destination for the latest cameras to capture your holiday memories. The Canon EOS Rebel Ti5 is one of the best-selling DSLR's. This camera makes advanced photography easy and fun, and gives you exceptional image quality, along with a host of features to enhance your creative expression. "

  • Capture Hollywood caliber full HD video
  • Continuous autofocus while taking HD video
  • Features and 18.0 megapixel CMOS sensor and a DIGIC 5 image processor to ensure vivid, crystal-clear images
  • The 3" vari-angle touch screen simplifies navigation
For a short time (12/7-12/20), Best Buy is offering a $150 coupon off of this camera! Visit Best Buy to learn more. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Making Bathtime Fun Again

*This post is brought to you by Oxygenics.

When my kids were babies, they all hated the water. Of the three, none of them have liked taking baths until they've gotten to be around 3 years old. Until that time, they will scream, kick, cry, and generally make it well known that they are about as happy to be in the water as a cat would be.

I will use each and every thing I can to keep them in the bath long enough to get clean. I've used toys, bubble bath, I've put my daughters in the tub together to keep the younger one happy - it all helps a little. One thing that I had not ever thought of doing, until now, was installing a fun shower head. Disney now has both a Mickey and a Minnie Mouse combination shower head.

Each of these saves on water and are WaterSense certified.  Both shower head use Oxygenics technology to infuse oxygen into the water, thereby saving water and increasing water pressure. In addition, they have several other great advantages to other shower heads:

  • 15 Total spray combinations
  • Non-slip  rubber grip
  • Comfort control lever to easily adjust water pressure
  • Installs in minutes
  • Easy to clean nozzles
  • 72 inch hose to extend handheld reach
  • Non-stick internal parts prevent clogging or corrosion
This is the type of convenient, easy to use, product is just the thing that can turn a stressful event into a fun one - for parents and kids!  For those with only one shower, like in my house, parents will definitely appreciate the fact that they can have one pressure setting for kids and then easily adjust it for themselves.

You'll find both the Micky Mouse and the Minnie Mouse shower heads at Sam's Club for the very reasonable price of $39.98. You can also find them online at Oxygenics! Be sure to follow Oxygenics on Facebook to keep up-to-date on new developments!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Early Learning with InnoTab! + a Giveaway!

A few months ago, we brought the VTech InnoTab 3 Plus into our home. It's been a lot of fun for my kids (and I get the fun knowledge that they are learning while they do it!). One area where I had wanted to do more was with my youngest. Most of the InnoTab games are geared more for slightly older children.

My wish came true when I was sent three new cartridges for the InnoTab from VTech! They are all meant for younger users, all they way down to age 1. My daughter is having a great time with them and it's been a fun way to distract her and get her trying some new things.

Berenstain Bears - God Loves You! Review + $25 Family Chrisitan Giveaway!

*This post is brought to you by Family Christian.

My little girl, Shari, is in first grade this year. Her reading skills have grown by leaps and bounds and she has developed a love of reading that I was hoping she would. This Christmas I am giving her several new books to help foster that love. One of those books and is the Berenstain Bears God loves you!

This book series was a favorite of mine when I was young (Fun fact: Stan and Jan Berenstain introduced the first book in 1962) so it is a fun thing for me to watch her enjoying it. One of the things I love about these books is that it teaches lessons that are important for every child to learn, like getting along and using manners.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Starting a Small Business in the Midst of Being "Mom"

*Todays guest post comes from Kris Cospito. She started her own small business, but not without her challenges! I know that I could certainly relate to her story and I'm betting that most of you can too! when you're done reading, hop on over to her Etsy page and show her your support!

When Renae asked me to write a guest post for Mostly Together Mommy, about being a small business owner and a young mom, I was on that like a monkey on a cupcake.  But as I began to ponder, primarily in the middle of the night, what I wanted to say to you fine people, panic ensued . How in the world can I, little, tiny, fake-it-till-ya-make-it, worry about every little detail, Kris Cóspito possibly hope to sit here and type wonderful words of wit and wisdom that other, already stressed for time, women are going to find use and value in reading!?!  Now that cupcake was starting to feel like a trick rather than the initially perceived treat, and those familiar feelings of self doubt and pressure for perfection sat down next to me and looked at me sideways and laughed under their breath.  Who am I anyway?  Well.... (Cue the backstory music)

I'm Kris Cóspito and I started a little business, called SAGEandLAUREL, named after and inspired by my daughters, you guessed it, Sage and Laurel.  By trade I'm a fine artist, a painter, but with a growing family I took time off from painting. As the legend goes my first daughter, Sage, was born a baldy.  In fact she didn't really grow what I would call reliable hair until she was two. Shortly thereafter my second daughter, Laurel, was born with this mind of its own shock of almost shoulder length hair!  In true feast after famine fashion I went hair accessory crazy!  And I was so let down.  Who decided that kids had to be fashion-less, character laden, tacky, walking advertisements for cartoons? Where was the black and white?  Where were the hand felted flowers? Where was that cute funky retro bohemian chick vibe I liked?  So I made it, loved it, everyone I know wanted it, and a snowball's ride down the hill later an enterprise was born!  Here's the part where you click on the link, fall in love, buy 700, and we all leave happy....

Cute no? Sheesh, thanks. I do try and I'm learning so much and sometimes stressing less and occasionally earning money and always having fun.  So what can I tell you smart discerning readers of an intelligently written and well researched blog like Mostly Together Mommy?  Well scoot over self doubt and need for perfection.  Make a little more room on the couch.  Mommy thinks she has something to say.

One of the many things I've learned along the way here is the importance of finding your niche by knowing your product, knowing your customer and knowing your limitations. In that real, outsider's POV, honest, kind of knowing way. It can be hard for me to take an honest look at myself. I can be so self critical that I tend to cover my eyes and ears during self examination in order to avoid a self doubt spiral and I therefore lose a valuable opportunity to make constructive edits and thoughtful additions to my business or life.  I do this kind of "la la la, it's all fine, it's all fine" and then later if it's proven that it wasn't I give myself the aforementioned terribly hard time.  It's not super effective.

So when I try to take a gentle, but honest, look at my product I see that it's not for everyone, and that's ok. The clips are classy and they're not super "kidsy" so they're geared more to co-ordinate with a mini pea coat than with a cartoon character tutu. I like that, I want more of it!  Felt an old vest from the Salvation Army and die cut rosettes!  Yes!!!  Sponge bob square pants motif?  Pass.... 

Now as an artist I found the construction part of this process to be a very favorite - taking second place only to the fun of the creative "idea" phase. I have found a tiny emotional snag, though, that I've learned to watch out for. As my products evolve and improve I have that same tendency to give myself a pretty rough go about the shortcomings of earlier versions. So I'm trying to let go of the growing pains and instead give myself props for an evolving process and an improving product. I actually had a "seconds" bin at a recent holiday fair!  I was so proud of myself for being willing to present a less-than-perfect product at a reduced price. I found they sold very well yet didn't distract from my originals sale. Score!

Secondly knowing your customer. This was a real surprise to me.  As a bit of a narcissist I assumed, especially after the intense interest of all my friends, that everyone would fall in love with my clips and would form raucous lines in crazed anticipation of getting their greedy (money filled) hands on the little beauties. Even though I knew they were different, I still thought their funky appeal would change even the most staunchly tacky mind.  I would convert them all!  And THEN after my very first craft fair, at a ritzy hotel ball room was a screaming success I thought this is it, I have arrived.  All I have to do is get these little puppies as much exposure as possible and they are going to fly off the shelves. My quick little fingers won't be able to keep up with the demand.  I am famous. So I signed myself up for as many local fairs as possible.  One sunny Saturday I packed up my wares and arrived bright eyed and bushy tailed at a local "fun fair".  You know one of those events you bring your kids to so they can jump themselves silly in a bouncy house, eat a wheelbarrow full of sugar and fill a large string armed "backpack" with as much plastic, logo-ed, glowing crap as it can hold?  And busting at the seams you leave exhausted and dizzy but you haven't spent a cent?!  I bet you know where this is going, it just wasn't a good fit. Painstakingly handmade adorable hair clips just weren't on the menu there. I spent the whole day telling people they were in fact not free and though I made $125 the table at this event cost $90. It was a depressing day but a lesson learned. Know your customer, got it!

So, on knowing your limitations, I feel I have a few. But rather than launch into another self-deprecating rant I think that I'll let you know that this post right now is me trying to get comfortable with one of them.  I'm not very technologically savvy. I don't have a Facebook page, I've never tweeted, and I couldn't tell you what Instagram was if my life depended on it.  I know, right?!  Prepare the gallows or at least one of those medieval public humiliation deals that trapped you by the neck and wrists. It's true, one of my limitations is a lack of social media presence, and I'm trying, as we speak, to change that.  Honest efforts to a better end without too much self flagellation about my original shortcomings. And it all comes together....

Another limitation I face is that eternal balancing act of being a wife, a mother of two young children and a small business owner.  It's a dog-and-pony show for sure, or a dog-and-chicken show in my case. I have a small (read large) chicken obsession that is the fodder for another rant on another day, preferably one where you don't have a lot planned, and I can talk a lot about chickens - but I digress.

Anyhoo- I feel my life is kinda like an ocean, go with me on this one, it's like my kids are the huge body of water that take up the most of me.  I'm always giving everything I can to them and always thinking about them. They are priority number one. Now if they are the water, my husband is the storm. He's mostly good and he's strong and he stirs up the stagnant parts of the waters and ends the doldrums but he can be a little noisy and pretty messy. Finally my own personal pursuits are the waves. They come and they go, they ebb and they flow, sometimes they're big and powerful and strong and other times they fade to the calm I need to focus on the ocean and the storm.  I don't know if you are following me down the path of this analogy but to me it feels really apt. I know that the waves are going to be irregular, and in so knowing I feel less of the pressure/guilt combo that plagues me.  When I have the time and the energy and the gumption I ride that wave like a wicked awesome surfer, making clips and adding to my Etsy page, booking craft shows and writing a guest spot for a killer mom blog, until I don't. And then I rest and regroup and gather a bit of that spunk I'll need for next time. It works for me.  I like it. Captain Fits-and-Spurts they'll call me.  I'll have a spy glass and a cape and a kid on each hip (both well accessorized) and I'll be rocking it!

Well friends, I think that's all I have to say, I'm learning to know my product, know my customer, and to know my limitations. I hope it was useful or funny or at least makes a good "you won't believe what I read today!" story.  Ok, scoot back over self doubt and pressure for perfection, mommy's going to hit send. Yikes!

Ps- another limitation?  Time!!  I got this blog post done by offering my iPhone up to my two year old like a sacrifice. She has irreparably, to my redemptive tech skill level, changed it.  She also rode the dog.  But I did it!  Good times.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Family Traditions with Reed & Barton + a Giveaway!

*This post is brought to you by Reed & Barton.

Every year my family chooses a special ornament to represent the past year and our love for each other. Our tree has become a beautiful symbol of our family life and history. It is fun to see it grow and change each year as our family has also grown and changed.

This year, we purchased our first home in what we affectionately call, "The Great Frozen North". So this year our ornament is a beautiful snowdrop snowflake from the annual Williamsburg sterling ornament collection. It is made of sterling silver and a red ribbon allows it to hang on the tree, catching and reflecting the light from the Christmas lights.

The Williamsburg collection is a special one from Reed and Barton in that every purchase of a Williamsburg product supports the preservation, research, and educational programs of the colonial Williamsburg foundation. If you've ever visited Colonial Williamsburg, you'll know what a great program this is.

I also love that when Christmas is over, there is a beautiful red velvet box to place the ornament in, so that it will stay nice and safe throughout the next year, ready to come out again the next Christmas.

You can find this collectable ornament and more from Reed & Barton. There are several collections that come out every year, including an annual star, cross, bell, angel and more. There is also a wide price range, so everyone can find something special at any budget!

Now for a Giveaway!

One lucky winner will take home a special ornament from Reed & Barton. To enter, simply use the Rafflecopter form below. Must be 18+ to enter. On entrant per household, please.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255:  "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising:):  Many thanks to Reed & Barton for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Party Planning Starts in the Bathroom!

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Charmin. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Today, I wanted to take a moment and talk about an aspect of party hosting that no one really talks about - the bathroom. When planning the food, games, music, decorations and more for your party, the bathroom usually gets neglected and is more of an afterthought rather than something you put time and planning into. It's usually not something you think of at all - until there's a problem, that is.

It's only when something that goes wrong that anyone thinks of what they could have done better. Hindsight s 20/20, after all. Let's face it, there is a lot that could go wrong. Clogged toilets, running out of supplies, atrocious smells, even nosy guests can all create embarrassing moments for both hosts and the guests themselves.

To prevent a mishap, be sure to give some thought to your bathroom before party day. Make sure you clean it thoroughly, paying close attention to areas that tend to get overlooked, like the back of the toilet. Next, place a candle or air freshener on the back of the toilet or somewhere visitors will be sure to see it. You can even install an automatic spray that will mist the air every so often, allowing every party pooper the privacy and freshness they'll need. Place a plunger in spot where a guest could find it, but in a place that isn't overly noticeable. Place some extra supplies for the ladies in a discrete drawer, and if your party is going to include little ones, think about including a kiddie seat or potty in your bathroom. Lastly, consider your toilet paper. Be sure that you place extra supplies in an easy to access location.

When choosing a toilet paper, there are several things to consider. You don't want to choose something so cheap and thin that it chafes, but you also don't want something so thick that it clogs your toilet. Consider using Charmin. Did you know that consumers who use Charmin ensure that their plumbing will stay clog-free even during the busiest of times, such as the holiday season.

Charmin and Roto-Rooter, America's largest provider of plumbing and drain services, have teamed up again this year to remind consumers of the clog-free and septic-safe guarantee that only comes with Charmin. Roto-Rooter plumbers recommend Charmin more than any other brand. Not only does Charmin have Roto-Rooter's stamp of approval to be clog-free and septic-safe, but it is also used by plumbers more than any other brand.

For my family of 5, we certainly can go through a lot of toilet-tissue! I have found that when choosing Charmin, we are able to use far less (up to 4x less!) than when using other brands. Sometimes, kids need to be reminded of this, but it's far easier to remind them, than to have to plunge your toilet day after day.

#IC #TweetFromTheSeat #MC #

A Charlie Brown Christmas + a Giveaway!

*This post is brought to you by Santa Snoopy's Holiday Gift Guide!

Christmas calls for lots of great family traditions, but one especially fun one that my family has done since I was a little girl was to cuddle up and watch A Charlie Brown Christmas (Can you believe they've been around for 50 years?!). We loved it so much that we even had a cardboard cutout of Charlie that lived in our living room year-round! This year, the beloved movie has already aired once, but it's not too late to get in on the action, with another showing on December 16th.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Messy Marvin! Review and Giveaway

*This post and giveaway is brought to you by Messy Marvin.

Messy Marvin sounds one of my kids! In reality, though, Messy Marvin is the brainchild of the fabulous Rebekah Woodard - a mom and interior designer who is only too familiar with how dirty children can be. In response, she designed a line of products with families in mind.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Introducing the Mantry

*This post is brought to you by The Mantry.

The Manty - the 'Man's Pantry' is a unique monthly box subscription service for the unique man with a discerning palate. The boxes contain artisan foods made all over the country that are geared towards the men in your lives. Mostly Together Dad and I were sent a box to discover what the Mantry is really all about.

The box arrives in a normal cardboard box, but inside that is a stained dark brown wooden crate filled with items. The box that I received had a them, "Coffee and a Smoke". Mostly Together Dad is a coffee fiend, so this was right up his alley!

The crate contained Granola Jones Mocha Haze, (which is Hazelnuts, cocoa & espresso), Lark Fine Foods Whole Grain Espresso Chip Shortbread, La Quercia Smoky Borsellino, Sweet Georgia Soul BBQ sauce, Dave's Coffee Syrup, and my personal favorite, Coffee Buttermilk White Chocolate. It was immediately apparent that each item was chosen by someone who really cares about what they do. Glass was wrapped or boxed with care, even the chocolate bar came wrapped in an extra paper, to protect the contents (it arrived unbroken!).

This Christmas, if you are struggling with finding the perfect gift for the men in your life, consider Mantry. You can buy one crate for $75, or  you can get a monthly subscription (3 months for $225 or 6 months for $450). The monthly subscription includes free shipping.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Disney's "Olaf" White Chocolate Caramel-Filled Truffles

*This post is brought to you by Chocoley.

Have you ever seen a project coming together in your head and then you set out to do it with super-high expectations, then next thing you know, you've got a mess on your hands and nothing close to what you expected? That's basically what happened when I teamed up with my sister-in-law to make truffles that were supposed to look like Disney Frozen's Olaf. We certainly had a mess at the end and they didn't really look too much like Olaf, but at least we had chocolate!

Making the balls for Olaf's body was the absolute easiest thing ever. We simply melted our Chocoley chocolate chips, rolled some caramel into balls and dipped them in. Then we set them to cool and dipped them again to get a really good coating. When they were cool enough, we stacked them and held them together with a toothpick.

Again using toothpicks, we broke some in pieces, covered them in chocolate and used them to simulate Olaf's crazy hair. We also used toothpicks for the arms and hands, but it was a bit trickier. Using a knife, I cut the toothpicks in half, then used just the tip of the blade to slightly separate small sections of the wood to give the appearance of fingers. We then covered these in milk chocolate as well and set the arms in Olaf's body.

The hardest part of Olaf is making his head. Olaf's head is mishapen, which allows a lot of room to mess up! After that, though, it all goes downhill. Trying to get all of his features just right takes a lot of time. We worked on it for a total of 4 hours - a fact that I'm not proud of given our end result!

To make the eyes, we took one of the white chocolate baking chips and cut it down to just a small circle. We then put a dab of milk chocolate for the eyeball and a larger dab for the back to make it stick to his head and to give it some contrast against the white of his face. A toothpick (are you noticing a theme here?) was used to draw on his eyebrows and smile. I definitely recommend using the milk chocolate for this, rather than the dyed black chocolate, as it didn't end up looking so great using the black.

To make both Olaf's "coal" buttons and nose, required some chocolate oils.You have to remember that Olaf's nose is kind of crooked. You would think that the fact that it's already imperfect would make it easier to make - nope! If anything, it was more difficult, trying to make it bulge in the middle.

In the end, our little chocolate snowmen did end up sort of looking like Olaf or at least a "Pinterest Fail" version. It was fun to do and we had some delicious chocolate to eat in the end - totally worth the 4 hours we spent on it!

For recipes and supplies, check out Chocoley. You can also follow them on Facebook and Pinterest, to keep up with all the great new items and discounts! I would love to hear from anyone who is brave enough to try making an Olaf of their own. Pictures are a must!

Welcome to hiku

It happens to everybody:  you're at the store and you're wandering up-and-down aisles trying to remember why you're there in the first place, what the one thing was you were supposed to get. The older I get the more I seem to do this. It happens even when I'm not at the store. Many Times my husband will call as he's leaving work to ask if we need anything. I can never remember in the moment.

I realize I need things as I'm cooking or packing a lunch. That's the time I need to write things down. When I run out of something that's when I should write down so I'll know to buy another. When I'm cooking though, I'm often too busy to sit down with and and paper. it would be much easier to simply tape-record each item as I need it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Living it Up with LivingSocial

*This post is brought to you by LivingSocial.

What a busy year it's been! With Christmas fast approaching, who's done with their Christmas shopping? I still have a few items to get still, but I just made a huge leap forward by shopping on LivingSocial. Luckily, there is still time between now and Christmas to grab the best deals and get them under the tree on time.

LivingSocial is a shopping site that is similar to websites like Zulily or Groupon. The difference is that with LivingSocial, you have a way to earn your product purchase for free. To earn your deal free, simply purchase the deal, then share your link on your favorite social media site (or you can email your friends). If at least three friends make a purchase through your link, then your item is refunded to you and it's FREE!

So far, I've grabbed a heck of a deal on a Leapfrog Quantum Pad Spanish Learning System. It usually sells for $129.99, but I got it for under $30! That's a hundred dollars off! I've also gotten a Zen Memory Foam Pillow with Aromatherapy Scent for only $24. It usually sells for $90, so I'd say that it's an amazing deal. It's going to make the perfect Christmas gift for my sister-in-law. There are also things on there that are really cool, but you'd never have thought of on your own, like a Cheese Making Kit. Who knew?

Another way that LivingSocial is different is that they feature local deals in your city where you can get out and get social - while scoring a great deal, of course! Some of the really cool deals in my area are really experiences. Take for instance, the 'Ferrari or Lamborghini Autocross Experience' or a '3 course Murder Mystery Dinner'.

While Mostly Together Dad would love the chance to drive a fancy car, I would love to take advantage of one of the wonderful Spa deals. You moms know that what we really want for Christmas is a relaxing day off. Spas are usually pretty expensive, but not if you know where to look! LivingSocial has lots of great deals on massages, laser hair removal, nails, facials and more. Point your man to the Healthy and Beauty section of LivingSocial and tell him to "surprise" you. You won't be disappointed!

So often, it is the experiences that life offers that we remember for years to come - not the "stuff" that we unwrap on Christmas morning (though it's certainly fun!). This Christmas, consider giving the gift of an amazing experience to the ones you love and make a lasting memory.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Light it up with Old Factory Candles. Review + Giveaway

In the midst of all the holiday craziness, The parties, the shopping, the family gatherings, the tree trimming, and cookie baking, sometimes you just need a moment to relax and  forget about everything. What better way to do that in with the beautiful candle and a good book? The old factory Candle company puts together a beautiful gift set of their hand poured natural soy candles.

I was sent the vacation gift set which includes three scents. Sea breeze  Hawaiian Lei and Awapuhi. Though they are smaller than the other candles each candle is guaranteed to burn for 20 hours. You can feel good knowing that they contain Pure fragrance oils.

I also love that it is a made in America product and you love that it has a 100% moneyback guarantee. Of course, I don't think you'll need it. These candles are delightful. You can Order yours on They make the perfect gift for anyone in your life.

Now for a giveaway!

One lucky winner will take home I three candle gift set of their own. To enter use the raffle copter form below. One entry per household. Must be 18 or older to win and living in the United States. Good luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway *I received a gift set to facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Disney's Frozen Bed and Chair Giveaway!

Everything Mommyhood has teamed up with a handful of bloggers to bring you this fabulous giveaway just in time for the Holidays! Special thanks to our co-hosts Our Piece of Earth, Bayou City Mamas, Metro Detroit Mommy, The Stuff of Success, and Found Frolicking.

Sponsored by Delta Children!

Everything Mommyhood received both Disney's Frozen Upholstered Chair & Canopy Toddler Bed, make sure to check out her review! Disney's Frozen Upholstered Chair Review Disney's Frozen Canopy Toddler Bed Review

Friday, December 5, 2014

Come On, Get Happy!

Here in the 'Great Frozen North', winter lasts a really, REALLY long time. If you love the snow and cold, not only are you a very strange person, but you probably like spending your time outdoors even when it's cold outside. For those of us who are (mostly) sane, these winter months are a time to stay inside, crank up the heat and grab a mug of hot cocoa.

The downside to staying indoors for most of the day is that you are more prone to the "winter blues" or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). What happens is that your body is not getting enough exposure to the sun, making you moody and tired more than you normally would be. Rather than simply taking an anti-depressant to stabilize mood, it is now being reported that light therapy can be even more effective and a far more natural way to improve mood and functionality to your life.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Cam Animate

It seems crazy, but my little Sophia isn't quite so little anymore! She will be two years old in just a matter of months. With that in mind, I am determined that I won't be caught off guard this year. Now is the time for me to start planning and finding fun new things for her and to announce her birthday. Luckily for me, I was recently introduced to a new app called Cam Animate.

What the app does is take a picture either from your phone or tablet and it allows you to add animation, banners, and music to a photo to make it go from good to great! It's a fairly simple app to operate, simply open it up, either select your photo or take a new one and then you are given the option to add the special effects.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What's In The Bible? Review and Giveaway!

Before a few weeks ago, I had never heard of this DVD series for kids. It's already on the 10th volume and it's made by one of my favorite kids DVD creators, Phil Vischer, who also writes for VeggieTales. You can see some of the same influences from that series in this one, but they are also very different!

While VeggieTales focuses on telling a story, What's in the Bible focuses more on learning and teaching in a way that kids can relate to and retain information. While watching, I even learned a few new things! Now, I'm definitely going to have to keep a lookout for the other volumes.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

My Poor Pores!

Winter weather is brutal on my skin. It gets so dry and flaky that I have to exfoliate and moisturize just about every day. I was worried, though, that exfoliating so often was not only ineffective, but hard on my skin. It wasn't until I was introduced to the Soniclear that I knew how to change it up.

The Soniclear is a cleansing system that helps clean deep into pores up to twice as effectively as other methods and up to 6 times as effective at removing makeup. Even though I don't wear much makeup, my poor pores are like magnets for dirt, oil and other pollutants so I decided to give it a try.

Imagination, Imagination, Imagination!

Imagination, imagination, imagination. That is what a good childhood is full of. My children are always telling me about the latest pirate battle, fairy princess tale or some other adventure that is over the horizon. I love hearing them having fun and exercising their brains in this way. I know that they will have wonderful memories of the time spent while they are little.

The play mats from Imagination Play Mats are a wonderful way to give your children another dimension to their own make-believe worlds. My daughter, Shari, is a first grader this year, so she has really been focusing on reading a lot and I've been impressed with her progress. I take every opportunity to reinforce what she is learning, so I really loved the Jungle Imagination Play Matfrom Ultra Pro.

The material the mat was made from was very different from many others I've seen. I've seen some that are a carpet, and some that are more like a plastic tablecloth. This was more like a giant mousepad. The surface is washable and the backing is sort of a rubber, meaning that it will stay in place when children are running around (with our hardwood floors, I was very glad that it doesn't slip all over the place!).

 Letters and animals dominate the Jungle mat, which is perfect for my daughter. She knows all of her letters, but the reminder is always a plus. Another thing that I really liked was the fact that the letters corresponded with the beginning letter of the animal they are near. For a first grade child, this is the perfect way to remind them to sound out words and letter sounds.

The mat costs $25.99 on Amazon, making this the perfect present for anyone looking for something fun for a child between the ages of 3-7.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.