Sunday, January 30, 2011

Valentines Day at Branson Hilton

This post brought to you by Hiltons of Branson. All opinions are 100% mine.

I love staying at Hotels

I could spend everyday sitting in a hotel room and be completely happy

 

The Hilton Hotels in Branson Missouri are offering some fabulous specials for spending Valentine's day with your loved one!

Even if you don't have a significant other (like myself) I think I would spend my time being ALONE, a wonderful way to relax and spend some well needed alone time. Or maybe I'll find a new person by that time, a hotel is a great way to get close to that new somebody. I would love to book a room at the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing and get away from the snow in a nice cozy bed complete with clean sheets and mini soaps and shampoos (yaay)

Pregnant? Take a break!! Make a mess and leave it for someone else to clean up (hee hee) Sleep in a comfy bed and hey if you want more pillows? Sure just call up the front, ahh the satisfaction of getting whatever you want whenever you want.

This sounds like a fabulous idea for taking a nice break from the usual house, wouldn't hubby or your significant other just love to get a change of scenery and get to chill in the hot tub for the night?

Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing as well as Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel are offering some great packages to spend time with that special someone.

You get EARLY CHECK IN!!! I for one love to pregame at the hotel and if you're going to spend a weekend there, why not get there early? I mean the pool usually closes by ten and isn't it nice to be able to swim in the pool all day long? You do have to ask for it, but I wouldn't mind!

Also in-room sparkling wine! Champagne? Umm yes, of course if its not permitted or you have a baby on board (in your tummy) they'll provide you with some sparkling cider! Bubbles I do believe personally that they add joy to the world. 

Full Breakfast is also offered and at certain Hiltons, you can get it in your room! As the early riser in my group of friends, I always end up going to the breakfast bar and struggling to bring back food for everyone in the room (yes I know, but people are hungry when they get up and at a hotel who wakes up before ten except for mamas?)  I would just love it to get breakfast delivered to the room!

The Valentine's menu at the Level 2 Steakhouse also makes my mouth water; 5 courses Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Tartar, carmelized pineapple puree and sesame sweet potato crostoni for an appetizer? Oh my goodness that sounds AMAZING! A Askinosie CHocolate Butter Cake? Wow I don't even know what that is but I know its probably fabulous. They are even serving Chateaubriand Wagyu Beef Tenerloin with seared foie gras! Personally, I love foie gras. I know some could take it or leave it, but ever since watching a special on them, I'm a big fan of the stuff.

This Valentine's day, check out the Hilton Promenade at Branson Landing or the Hilton Branson Convention Center Hotel for a magical and fancy evening. Or check out the Hilton near you!

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Giveaway Reminder!

Don't forget to enter our awesome giveaways!

Only three more days to enter the 

You'll get 25 custom cards in your choice of design!
I made this one, and I can't wait to get it! It was processed and shipped in two days!!
Hurry! This giveaway end February 3rd 2011 at midnight!
You'll have till March 1st to use your coupon!
Low Entries!!


And get your own copy of 


This book is so much fun!
All you need is a gluestick and you or your child can create 50 unique and colorful monsters
Everybody in my house has been enjoying this book

This giveaway ends
 February 7th at Midnight,
 so be sure to enter soon!



Friday, January 28, 2011

Five Question Friday



1. If you had $1,000 to donate to a charity, which would you choose?
  I would donate to La Leche League. I'm a big breastfeeding advocate and would love to see more money and more funds put into it by our government, parents just don't know these days and its so important!

2. Snow days: Do you welcome them happily or are they a pain in your butt?
  Well loved them in school, then hated them later on cause I couldn't go out. I loved them when I first moved back to CT, but now I hate them again,there has just been WAY TOO MANY!

3. What talent did you wish you had and why?
  I really would love to play guitar, its such a wonderful instrument that you can take to campfires, I just want to learn some Grateful Dead tunes to play while camping

4. Are you a news, politics or celebrity gossip junkie?
  If I had to choose one I guess it would be celebrity, but to be honest I'm not a big fan of any of those. I have enough drama in my own life.

5. What is your favorite "cocktail"? (Are you a beer person, a kiddie cocktail junkie, or perhaps your more the "Cosmo" kind?! Anything flies...doesn't hafta be alcoholic!)

  Lemonadies... haha our friend invented them, Vodka, Sour Mix and Sprite, try it you won't forget it!

"Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred" Review

Hello!
Any future handymen out there in those households?

Well let me tell you I have the book for you!

Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred: Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids

"Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred... Seriously Geeky Stuff  To Make With Your Kids" by David Erik Nelson is a great book for parents looking for new ways to interact with their kids.
Or just for folks who are looking for some new projects to make.

When I received the book I was super excited about all the projects that there were to make, they are useful things that you can make with your kids so that they can not only have new toys or games to play with, but they also learn about what goes into making things!

Take the  $10 electric guitar, perfect for my cousin Kolt, you'll remember him  from this post about him playing guitar for Annabella. This was the perfect project for us to make together and I think I had just as much fun making it with him as I did learning about how a guitar works!

Not only can you make an electric guitar for $10, but it teaches you how to play the guitar that you just made, of course its a bit different from a regular electric guitar (Kolt was sure to point that out) But its amazing to see how all the simple parts of the guitar come together to make music!

These projects are easy, they do require some time and a few tools. Of course usually a trip to the hardware store to get the required elements. But they are almost always cheap and the projects that you can make from the book are fantastic.

Another great project?  How about a "dirt cheap amp"? Yes, we do focus on music here in our neck of the woods. Lean how to work with circuits (yep I 'm learning too) If you hit up yard sales (or in our case the basement) for old speakers and switches you can make it for about $2

My favorite project in the book? The "Cheap Mesh Screen Printing" So simple I had everything I needed except for the mesh screen. Which was easy to find. Using the screen and an old embroidery hoop (who doesn't have one of those hanging around?) I was able to create screens and use them over and over to create screen prints that were the same (whoo-hoo summer vendors here I come!) Such a cheap way to make screen prints, personally I like the handmade look that they get over the professional screen prints that are available.

David Erik Nelson has written and amazing book for kids of all ages to do great projects with their parents, older siblings or even grandparents. The projects like the shut-the-box game are sure to provide for hours of learning and fun even after the projects are complete.

So yes I absolutely recommended this book, its amazing, its fantastic, its creative! Its fun! Its sure to last for years of do it yourselfing.

Get your own copy Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred: Seriously Geeky Stuff to Make with Your Kids

I received a free copy of "Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred" for this review, all the opinions are my own, I did not receive any cash payment for the review.


Tips for Bloggers

Hey everyone!
Today I'd like to share with you some of my tips for bloggers.
Its a tough internet out there and it can be hard  to keep on top of your blog and get readers
So here are a few of my tips

  • Stick with it: do a post everyday or at least try to, I don't always get to doing a post everyday, but I try, readers like to see you stick with it
  • Post Pictures: I know that we don't always have pictures to go with our posts but they do help
  • Talk about the tough stuff: People like topics that aren't always about sunshine and roses, its good to see that bloggers have problems and it makes readers relate to you
  • Do reviews for products you like: This can be hard, its tough to turn down free stuff, but sometimes something just doesn't fit your blog or its just not worth it.
  • Talk to other bloggers: leave comments and you'll get comments back!
  • Giveaways: give stuff away! If you get offered something to review, ask if you can give one away! People love free stuff, and the worst thing someone can say to you is 'no' if they don't want to give one up
  • Focus, focus, focus be sure to make your blog posts on a subject, if you have more then one thing that you want to blog about, write two posts, people usually don't complain about too much posting
Hope these tips can help a little!

This blog topic was suggested by Social Moms, for more great topics to blog on check out Social Moms Daily Blogging Prompts

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Celebrating the Superbowl with TABASCO Original Red

This post brought to you by TABASCO® Original Red. All opinions are 100% mine.

Is it just me or does Superbowl just scream, manly, spicy food?

I'm here to talk about TABASCO® Original Red  hot sauce. I usually have a bottle in my fridge cause I tend to make chili a lot around here, especially in these chilly winter months. I try to cook warm meals that keep warm on the inside to help us ignore the cold weather on the outside!

Personally I like to serve my chili with rice (my ex taught me this one and they really go great together.) But a common chili problem? How do I keep it mild enough for my little one to eat, yet spicy enough so that the big men feel like eating it is somewhat of an accomplishment? 

TABASCO® Original Red is a great solution for this, not only can each person add the amount of spice that each of them likes But the combination of salt, red pepper, and vinegar can bring out the best in a simple dish such as chili! I just found out that its even aged for three years!!

Okay I'll be honest, I don't know how that works but it makes wine taste great so I'm sure that aging probably has a beneficial effect on chili peppers as well. 

So I've been surfing around the TABASCO® Original Red site, and I've found some amazing recipes that I'm thinking about trying for Superbowl Sunday,  I'm thinking about trying a new wing recipe, since I saw this one for "Smoking" Hot wings, i think that the sweet flavors in this sauce will really add some great flavor to my Superbowl festivities. And they seem simple enough to make for a large crowd. (Which is nice because since moving into my mother's house I have  a much larger living room to fit a much larger crowd)

I also want to try out this recipe for Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya  again, it looks really simple but yummy to make.  The TABASCO Game-Day Party Menu has plenty more great ideas like this one that are simple and easy to add into your menu!

But what about those of us who don't want to cook for the Superbowl, those of us who would rather order drink beer, sit on the couch and a man for the day? Check out the Pizza Perfected page by TABASCO®. I never would have been able to come up with all these ideas off the top of my head. Now I have a whole list of  ideas to make my pizza seem gourmet, when really all I did was grab it out of the box (I guess I'll be shopping for some pizza trays this week to keep the secret)

If you don't have time to serve one of the options from the Pizza Perfected website, just try adding some hot sauce to your pizza, really! Even if there is just cheese on top,  the TABASCO® Original Red will bring out the flavors in the sauce by adding just the right amount of spice!

Well I hope that these tips and recipes help you with your Superbowl menu, I know that the Game-Day Party Menu is certainly going to help with mine!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Shutterfly Valentines Giveaway!

Hee hee!! I'm absolutly giddy with all the great giveaways I've had the privelidge of hosting in the last month or so. I can't wait to see what else comes up.!
Orange Uglad Valentine's Day Card
Modern greeting cards and party invitations by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.




What do we have today?
25 FREE 4x5 cards from Shutterfly in whatever design you choose!

Thats right one of you lucky readers is going to win 25 Free cards!!
(they expire March 1st 2011)

Isn't that great?
Be sure to leave your email address in your comment so I can reach you!

To win just let me know your favorite thing about Valentines day!
For an extra entry blog, facebook or tweet about this giveaway!
We're going to end this on February 3, 2011 at midnight so that the winner has plenty of time to order their cards!

Good luck and thanks for entering!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Papertoy Monsters!! Review and giveaway!


So Its snowing here in New England, and there isn't very much to do on the outside of the house.

I was looking for a way to kill time, that was until I received "Papertoy Monsters!" A book of punch out, fold and glue pages!

Whats so cool about that? 

These monsters are seriously cool, its kind of like a 3D paperdoll, only you don't dress it.
Need an example? Check out this Valentine's Day Papertoy Monster which is available to download and print out right from your printer!

Or try the Superbowl Papertoy Monster also available for download on the site!

Now I will note that when I made the first monster, I was weary that a nine year old could make these as well, its tedious no doubt, small spots to glue, and little areas to fold. However, after I made the first one, and then the second, I realized that its a book thats habit forming. In fact, I made total of five of the monsters this morning and my sister made one.  I just couldn't stop (in fact I'm thinking about doing another one after I'm done with the review) 
A few of my new buddies

Its easy for me to see how a child or anyone for that matter could spend hours making these.  These folks have also made the book interactive by putting a quiz online to find out which "Papertoy Monster" fits your personality! You can take the  "Papertoy Monster" Quiz on Facebook as well as join the "Papertoy Monster" Facebook page. I got the "Zombunny" a bunny that thanks to a government experiment gone wrong, raids farmer's trash heaps as well as supermarket  parking lots.

More adorable monsters

I really have to say I am enjoying this book, I was a bit weary at first and thought that maybe it was more hype then anything, but after building a few of these colorful toys, I think that they would make a great addition to a desk or locker. They would also be fun at parties because all the kids could make them and then have monster fights!

Not to worry though, not all these monsters are evil, some of them are nice and spread love and joy around town. 

To see these guys live in action check out this video from Brian Castleforte

This book is a collaboration of the top 24 papertoy designers in the world! Which means that I have lots more fun projects to keep making!

To get your own copy:
 Papertoy Monsters:  Check out Amazon.com and other major retailers!

WIN ONE!!

The fabulous folks over at Workman Publishing have offered one reader of Mommypants! a free copy!!
To win!! (Please leave a separate comment for each entry)

  1. Who is your favorite monster (it doesn't have to be one from the book)
  2. Become a follower of Mommypants!
  3. Blog about this giveaway
Giveaway ends February 7, 2011

Good luck and thanks for reading!

I received a free copy of  "Papertoy Monsters" from Workman publishing for this review. All the opinions are my own

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Saltwater Taffy" Review

Pirates
Who doesn't love them, or fear them, or well secretly want to be one?

Saltwater Taffy

When I was offered to review the book "Saltwater Taffy" by Eric DelaBarre,  I was a bit excited, I'm not going to lie, as much as I love reading about mystery and romance, I would much rather hear about adventure.

"Saltwater Taffy" fits this mold perfect, its full of suspense, mystery and a group of middle schoolers who want to find the lost treasure of Jean Laffitte.

But they're not alone in their, search, the whole town has been trying to figure out where the lost treasure is for years!  So this rag-tag group of middle schoolers has to outsmart quite a few people in their hunt. Will they ever solve the mystery ciphers will they discover where the treasure is?

I really enjoyed reading this book, which is why I am such a fan of it, not only did it entertain my daughter, but it was a fantastic book to read out loud to her before bedtime. I had to stop myself from going further in the book as she fell asleep. I'll be honest, I really wanted to read the whole thing in one night!

This book is great  for middle schooler to read on their own, but can also be read aloud to much younger children because its easy to read and understand. It's story is captivating and its written at a level of reading that they can understand. This book is also a great way to spend family time together; rather then watching a movie, I chose to read this to my daughter and we were both caught up in the adventure. 

I would recommended this book to anyone who likes pirates and anybody who wants to read a book that will take them places! This book is about friendship and sticking together, as well as letting kids know that they can do anything if they put their mind to it!


To get your own copy of "Saltwater Taffy" check out the Amazon Book store, as well as Barnes and Noble and other book sellers!

Don't miss out! Its been a while since I've recommended a book like this to adults, but really you'll love it!
Check out Eric's Site for more info on "Saltwater Taffy"
http://www.whatagreatbook.com/
And be sure to check him out on Facebook!
http://www.facebook.com/whatagreatbook


I was sent a free copy of "Saltwater Taffy" for this review, all the opinions are my own. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weekend Band Practice with Uncle Kolt

Its no secret the my cousin Kolt and I are close
We spent much of his early life together when I would take the bus to my Auntie Mary's house after school when he was a baby

Needless to say we formed a special bond, this bond was apparent when he was younger because as a baby he and I were always close. 

When I left to go on tour when he was three, I feared that bond might break a little bit, that I would come back and he would have forgotten the time that we spent together. Of course, I never forgot this bond.

I'm happy to say that now that I'm back Kolt and I still hang tough, he loves to play guitar, and we are always talking about or listening to music together.

Something that I didn't anticipate was how close he and Annabella would be.

When I say that he is Annabella's favorite person I'm not kidding! From the, moment she met him his name has been her goal, and at eight years old, he is a wonderful uncle.

Her eyes light up at the sound of his name or when she sees him (which makes for some great photo ops)
Here they are for Annabella's first trip to Pumpkintown!

They also had a blast this year at Christmas, Uncle Kolt is always down to do some rough housing which is fun especially when nobody else wants to play around on the floor.

He is always happy to help with her and when he see's that I am busy with something he calls her over to play with a toy or a guitar.

This weekend, Annabella got some super exclusive guitar lessons from her favorite Uncle, who is so kind that he even lets her play his guitars! Yes thats right, its not often you'll find somebody who is willing to let a one year old touch his guitars, but not Kolt, he is happy to have someone to teach

He has even picked out one of his Acoustic guitars that he is going to let Annabella practice on when she gets older, he is always showing it to her saying "I'm going to paint this and its going to be yours one day!"

It makes me so happy to watch them play together because I got so much experience from watching Kolt, every time she does something new I can associate it with something that I watched Kolt do at that age.

I try hard to do things with just Kolt, because I want us to still share that special bond that we always have, and its fun to be the "cool" older cousin, he loves to ask me about Jerry Garcia and tell me about the guitars that he had and we compare those to his, I love having someone who shares in my music interests especially someone this age!

Based on practice this weekend though, the local acts better watch out for these two

Annabella singing while Kolt jams out on his electric guitar, I think that we may be in for some trouble once she learns to form her words!

This picture, pretty much sums it all up.

Another milestone this weekend
PIGTAILS!!
=



Friday, January 21, 2011

Advice for New or Soon to Be Parents

When I was pregnant I thought that everything would be great, I thought that when we had our baby, my boyfriend at the time would step up, I listened to his stories about getting a job,  helping with the baby and moreover providing a safe enviroment for our daughter to live in.

Maybe I should have gotten that in writing.

I thought that the video games would slow, that the television shows would become less important then our family and our daughter, I thought that drinking everyday would come to an end.

I was wrong. So when I think of advice to give to new parents I have some that other people may not even realize are important.

First Tip
Spend time together, away from video games, away from television. Start having dinners together not in front of the TV, cut down video game and internet time to a few hours a day.

When I got pregnant my ex started playing more video games then he used to. It bothered me, it frustrated me, instead of coming to bed and laying with me, he stayed up in the wee hours of the morning playing video games with friends. Of course my sleep was horrible being pregnant, so I would awaken at all hours of the night to see him sitting on the couch playing video games.

Then we moved, I thought that by moving into an area where there was lots of things to do, like a pool in the neighborhood and music playing on the weekends that we would be able to spend time together like we had when we first met.  Instead, he turned the room across from our room into the "video game room" a tiny room with two chairs, a small TV, and an xbox 360

I'm not sure if this was because he wanted an escape from me, now five months pregnant and viewing video games as the enemy I tended to get a bit butt-sore at the sight of them.

At this point I have realized that I should have made him get involved, I should have made him be active in my pregnancy. I should have made him sing my belly songs, or just talk to her inside. But I was too afraid that he hated me and he would leave

Spend time together,  do things with your significant other that you want to do with your kids. You are a family now, and if you want your family sitting in a room not talking and playing video games. I now think that this was a greater underlying problem that my ex faced, some sort of anxiety to having a baby and not knowing how to handle it. It was something neither of us were ready for.

Get on the same page with your partner, figure out what you want to do with your life, figure out what he wants to do with his. Most importantly talk about how you want the baby to be raised, talk about how many hours of screen time are acceptable and how much each person will help with the chores and taking care of the baby.

Require him to help, my ex didn't help, I can think of four times that he washed dishes, a handful more that he changed a diaper. He took Annabella out without me five times in his entire time as being a father, and never fed her a bottle or put her to sleep.

This was partially my fault, I never made him do anything that he didn't want to do for the first part of our relationship, and when we had a daughter I had expectations that he would step up and grow up. Instead it seems that he went backwards in his head and became younger, the video games didn't stop or wind down, they got worse, now it turned into computer video games and at any given time he would be playing on the laptop as well as the computer.

I never talked to him about it, I held it in and it always became a huge fight when I brought it up partially because of frustration and holding it all in. Partially because he didn't want anybody telling him what to do.

Make your partner help as soon as the baby is in your belly, make them set up the crib, wash bottles and clothes, read baby books to your belly. Help your partner connect with that baby just as much as you do so that he feels like he is a part of that baby.

Other friends that we have that had babies around the same time had the father read to the baby, and help get the baby's room ready and they seemed to have a closer connection with the child and therefore be more apt to help them mother.

New moms get stressed out, especially when it feels like the other person doesn't really want to be a part of this parenting thing. Having an infant all by yourself is hard, and it makes it harder when someone is sitting across the room ignoring you.

So my two tips for parents?

1. Get Daddy involved from Day 1! He's in there too!!
2. Lay off the screen time, it just puts you in a life outside your own, when really you should be focused on the life that you are living, and the one that you are creating!


If you would like some blogging inspiration check out  list of SocialMoms daily blog prompts

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tips and Advice for New Bloggers

Blogging, it can get frustrating when you start;
Is anybody looking at my blog?
Why do I have no comments? 
Does anybody care?
What do people want to read?
Is my blog getting out there?
Am I just wasting my time?

Well I had all these thoughts too. So I decided to put together a list of tips for new bloggers based on my discoveries!

Navigating the blogosphere can be difficult, but with a little direction and hard work, you can have your thoughts out there for the world.

  1. Take Pictures: Everybody loves looking at pictures, not everybody loves reading lengthy entries that don't have any picture to bring a face or item to the mind. Try to include at least one picture at the beginning of the post, especially if you are writing about something that happened in your life that readers might not be able to understand without a picture.
  2. Review: Review stuff you already have, talk about stuff that you would love just be sure to be detailed and be honest.  Add the product name to the labels at the bottom of your site and be sure to include a link to the page, this will give readers and prospecitve companies to see how you review your products and decide if they want to send you thier product for review
  3. Use Google Analytics this site allows you to track traffic on your site, everything from how many page views you get a day, to what content they are looking at and reading!  I love how I can see exactly where my readers are coming from and how many views I get a month. Its as simple as installing a tracking code on the bottom of your site and then logging into the Google Analytics site so that you can see who's seeing you.
  4. Don't Give Up: I'll be honest, I blogged for about eight months before I got something free to review. I would just post on other people's sites leaving links to mine. I would send letters to companies of products I liked asking to try them. I would post tutorials for projects and recipes that I made, I would talk about what Annabella and I did for the day. I would talk about anything just to keep writing every day. Viewers and companies want to see bloggers that blog at least daily if not more.
  5. Join up blogging groups! My favorite is Socialmoms, formerly twittermoms, this site is chock full of great ideas for topics to blog on and they have sponsored posts. If you read my blog often you're familiar with the tips I post, most of these are a result of a Socialmoms suggestion. Other great blogging sites are SheBlogs, and Mommybloggersclub
  6. Make friends with other bloggers: This is a great way to keep up with the latest blogging trends leave comments for other bloggers and they will most likely do the same for you!
  7. Advertise: Did you just write a new post? Share it with your facebook and twitter followers, they will be happy to have a new post to read, and since I started doing this my traffic has gone up a lot! If your link is too long to put in a tweet, simply use tinyurl to make it smaller but still click-able!
  8. Open Ended: Ask open ended questions at the end of your post, you may just get some answers!
  9. Make your contact info easy to find: Put a contact/about me page on your site, it will make it easy for your readers to contact you as well as learn a bit about you and your blog.
  10. Don't overdue it: The worst thing about some blogs these days is meaningless and boring posts, I hate seeing posts that are just a link to a coupon, why are you linking to this product or coupon? Do you use it? Have you tried it? Have a friend that thinks its amazing? I don't like seeing posts that are otherwise just for advertising. I will do sponsored posts for companies if I like thier product, but only  if I like it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Valentines Day; what it means to me.

I have some mixed feelings about Valentines day, most would think that since I'm in the first few months of being a single mom I would be upset. 

But not really

I don't think I've ever had a boyfriend do anything special for me for Valentine's day but do you know who always did?

My mom

My mom would always greet us in the morning, boxes of chocolates and some sweet treats like new pencils to bring to school. We would have a great breakfast one of our favorites, pancakes or French toast.

To me, Valentines day is about sharing with the ones that you love, if that happens to be your significant other, then thats great! But if its just somebody that means a lot to you, even better because they will probably be celbrating Valentines day with you for longer then your significant other anyways.

I think, to be perfectly honest, that I would rather spend it with family, people that truly love me, and always will.

Shutterfly has some greatValentine's Gifts that would be great for a husband, boyfriend or anybody that you love! 

I have my eye on a couple of personalized mugs for the family, filled with candy or hot cocoa mix, mugs can be used all year round so they're a favorite gift of mine to give to friends and family.

Valentines day is a great day to spend time with the people that you care about, its a fun day to cozy up and watch some great movies and spend some true quality time together.

Its a great excuse to make a new tradition, I try to make one for every holiday so that every year can have special events that we do together and can be passed down from generation to generation. I try to make cards that are old fashioned with sparkles and doilies. 

Another fun craft I like to make is heart shaped cardboard covered in peanut butter and then bird seeds, another great way to have your gift count, as well as feed some hungry and cold birdies!

For those that live far away, I get a bit weary of sending handmade cards because you never know how they will be treated! So shutter-fly has some Valentines Day cards, that will be great to send to family and friends that aren't so close!


I wrote this post for a chance to get 20 free shutterfly cards! No cash was received for this review. All the opinions and experiences are my own

Wordless Wednesday

Sewing Machine Lint

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ECO clean!


Good morning blogworld!

Today I'm going to talk with you about ECO clean

As a mama that tries to be enviromentally friendly, I am always looking for Ecofriendly products that can make my life easier. As well as smell better then the pungent vinegar and water mix that I usually am cleaning everything with.

I really like EcoClean because if you go to Alice.com you can see ALL the ingredients of the products, this is one of my favorite features of EcoClean! I know that I am using a quality product if they aren't afraid to tell me whats in it.

Enter: Ecoclean


A line of great smelling and ecofriendly cleaners that are available ate DUANEreade and Alice.com
I'm a huge fan of DUANEreade, since I was a New Yorker for a little while. I'm glad to see that they are carrying ecofriendly cleaners because when I lived in the city it was always nice to be able to get most of my things there. 

I was sent the EcoClean hand wash, dish wash and glass cleaner. There are lots more products available by EcoClean. The best part is that they all retail for under $5.00! Now thats pocket and eco friendly!


The hand wash in Lavender was delightful. I loved how the lavender scent wasn't overpowering while I washed my hands but I could still smell it when I lathered up and it left a light scent on my hands. I thought that it smelled very clean and light, not like some lavender scents that can seem heavy,

I also liked how after I dried my hands off they didn't seem to be dried out. I attribute this to the hand wash having no alcohol in the formula (you can see whats in ALL the products at Alice.com. I try hard not to buy bath and body products that contain alcohol because often times the alcohol dries out your skin and it defeats the purpose of a moisturizing wash or lotion.

Another thing that I liked about the hand was was that it WORKED! It got my hands feeling super clean even though it didn't have the same amount of suds that other cleaners have!

The Glass Cleaner in white tea and sage wasn't a scent that I normally would have chosen (to be honest I've never tried to get scented glass cleaner) But I loved this scent! I would love to get more of the product in the white tea and sage.

The cleaner has a cap on the top that can make the cleaner foam or spray! I really love the foam feature and the versatility of being able to use foam or just the window cleaner. I wanted to show you just how great the window cleaner works (because myself I tend to be weary of ecofriendly window cleaners)

I had some help!

The window before cleaning, a combination of dog slobber and kid prints.

During, notice the foam that we used to get the tough greasy spots

Its nice to have someone so eager to clean!

She is very pleased with her work!

WOW! What a great job! Okay so maybe I helped Annabella a little bit with the wipe on wipe off feature but still the EcoClean did its job! The window was streak free and had no residue left! It left my house smelling like the wonderful white tea and sage that am newly in love with! 

The final product for review is the Dish Wash in Apple and thyme. I enjoyed this wash, I really liked the shape of the bottle, it was short and squat rather then tall like most soap bottles. I also really liked the control I had over the amount of soap, it has a top like most dish detergents but it seems more secure and leak proof because I didn't end up squeezing too much out of the bottle, maybe because of the shape?

The scent was nice, I really like how they added the thyme to the apple to make it a little less fruity, as I don't really like super fruity smells. I prefer the herbs to the fruits when it comes to scents.

I liked this dish soap, the only complaint that I received (from my mother and grandmother) is that it doesn't have as many suds as they like. I find however that this is a common complaint of ecofriendly products.  Most of the time chemical laden products contain a chemical that makes the soap sud up and therefore leaves the consumer thinking that they get the dishes cleaner because of the bubbles. This is not always the case and personally I don't mind the lack of suds, usually I use the sink method of putting all the dishes in a basin and washing then rinsing them. So lots of suds don't mean that its getting cleaner, it just means it has more of a "sudsing agent" (is that the correct terminology?)


To buy or not to buy

I really loved the window cleaner, I think that I will probably buy another bottle of it when it runs out, the scent was so amazing (in case I haven't told you yet) and the foaming feature really gets those tough greasy fingerprints off!
The hand and dish wash are also great products and I would recommend them to people that are trying to stay ecofriendly, but want their house to smell great as well! I'm a believer in aromatherapy so I like different scents depending on my cleaning job, EcoClean is great for this.
Also you can know exactly what you're getting in your products, which is wonderful for houses with kids!
Its also Affordable!

Where to get it?

To find a DUANEreade in your NYC neighborhood try their store locator

Don't live in the city? You can buy EcoClean from Alice.com

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Giada De Laurentiis

Is anybody else a fan?

I watch the show, I have her cookbooks and I just love her specials when she goes to italy.

It seems as though we just have the same taste in food.
She makes light italian dishes that are full of color and flavor.

The recipes are not only beautiful and tasteful, but most of the time SIMPLE!

I think I also love Giada because she was born in Rome, and I love all things Italian, shes seems so authentic and really knows how to combine flavors!

She started her career with Wolfgang Puck, then got her own catering company GDL Catering. Her career with the Food Network started in 2002. She now has her own line of cooking oils and products as well as kitchen tools! (I've seen them at Target)

You can catch her on the Food Network a few times a day
Or just grab one of her Cookbooks
Which are available on amazon.

You'll find recipes that feature quality ingredients 
but are full of flavor!

I have a beautiful butternut squash sitting on my counter waiting to make her
I love how she's not afraid to throw some Amaretti Cookies in the mix.
 I was a little weary at first
But the flavor they give to the squash is nothing short of amazing

I also ADORE her recipe for Chicken Florentine,  it comes out SO good, I like to serve it with homemade spinach pasta, I have been also wanting to make that this week.

Her Balsamic Chicken Drumettes are great for kids and serving at parties

If you get the Food Network check out her show or find her on the food network.com

Thanks to Social Moms for providing this blogging prompt, to get prompts for your blog daily check out
The Social Moms Writing Prompt Forum

The Great Snowstorm of 2011



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

We Have a Winner!!

Remember my 

Well it ended yesterday and I have selected the winner via Random.org


The Winner IS......

#5
Joshlin


Joshlin said...

I'm a follower and would love to win this for my son. We have cows a fence next door. My son (and dog) love them. I tell him, when they are looking at him they must be saying "What's up, buttercup?". He thinks that is so funny!
savingmomssanity at gmail dot com

Getting Your Furniture Clean with Guardsman Products!

As Larry David once stated "I Respect Wood!"

So I'm always on the lookout for some great new products that can protect and clean my wood, but won't further damage it! 

The Guardsman company has been around helping people care for their furniture for over a century, so I felt confident when they asked me to try their products that they would work. 

Not only do they have products to clean and protect furniture but also to repair it and keep it feeling like new!

Gaurdsman believes that you don't have to work all day to make your home sparkle, but with three simple steps you can get your furniture looking like new! (or at least looking like it hasn't been living in a daycare center)

Step 1: Dust

Be sure to get every area
Cracks and crevices usually hold the most dust, and they can make furniture look old and dingy if they are full of dust, so be careful to get those places as well as the obvious surface areas


The cloth is SOFT, and is specially treated to lock the dust into the fibers, rather then just pushing it around like ordinary towels. Its 100% cotton which means it won't scratch the surface. Its also washable and reusable, always a plus for us eco-friendly mamas!

Don't forget to dust your shelves, take everything off and move stuff around!

Here is my table after dusting it with the cloth


As you can see its free from dust and debris, there are still a couple of finger prints, but the dust is gone!

Step 2: Clean

Guardsman has TONS of products for keeping your furniture in tip top shape, I was sent the


This stuff was wonderful! I put it on a soft cloth and then wiped away the fingerprints. I liked how I didn't have to  'scrub' to get the prints off the table, which can damage the wood. Immediatly after using the cleaner I dried it with another soft cloth.

Alright, now due to the picture below you may think that I don't clean very often, but I do! All this residue is from my table, goodbye fingerprints and dirt!

And here is my sparkling clean table! Doesn't it look like new!
I really love how this table turned out, I continued to dust and clean the rest of my house and it turned out beautiful!

I was also sent the Guardsman Leather Cleaner Wipes, just $7.99

We decided to do the leather in my sister's car with this since it really needed to be cleaned!

My sister's dog doesn't really know how to treat leather so as you can see here there are lots of stains and tons of dirt! The Leather Wipes are premoistened so they are simple and easy to carry around in the car for easy cleaning at any time!

 But do they work? Well we used 4 for her ENTIRE CAR!!
Here you can see the first two

And here are the second two! As you can see they really got the dirt out!
 Here is the back seat after cleaning them with the wipes! As you can see all the dirt is off the leather, I can't begin to tell you how much softer it felt after using the wipes!


Gaurdsmen has some great other products for cleaning, take the Water Ring Remover.

 I was sent one of these and really love using it on all my problem areas

Its a small cloth that takes away blemishes in your wood that can be caused my a number of things, in my house its usually sippy cup rings on my tables!  (I don't know when kids learn to use coasters)

It will also remove stains that are caused by heat, alcohol and cosmetics. Is this not the perfect item for any house with wood? I think so, I'm adding it to my "must keep on hand" list, I have even used it on stains that have been there for a while and they came off with ease! The price? Just $4.99!

I was also sent the Guardsman Fabri-Kleen sudsless cleaner.

 This is great for couches, or carpets that need some stain removal. Simply dissolve one of the four, 8oz packets in some VERY warm water, and wet a portion of cloth with the cleaner, then test on an area that you won't see often to make sure it doesn't damage the fabric.

Then gently work the cleaner into the stain until the soil is loosened, (about 15 seconds depending on the stain) Then gently blot with a clean cloth.

Yep, thats it! Gone are the days of trying to rinse the oxyclean suds away from my furniture only to be disappointed later when I have leftover soap on the surface making my couch or carpet look dingy! Or spending hours trying to rinse the suds off the fabric. It was so easy. I used it to take some make-up stains off my carpet (yes I'm guilty of making the messes too!) It was so much easier then my usual method and it  got the stains out quick! At $3.49 thats less then a dollar per cleaning!

So at this point, your house is looking pretty great but there is one more step in getting everything exactly how you want it to look, as well as keeping everything in good condition!

Step 3: Protect and Maintain


Polishing furniture is my favorite part, I love everything looking shiny and new, as well as the good feeling I get knowing that everything is being conditioned and protected.

The Guardsman Wood Polish, is a great way to condition your wood without silicones or waxes that can cause build up on your wood. Its even available with a UV inhibitor to protect that wood that sits by your windows from the sun's harsh rays which can damage and lighten the surface and color of your wood furniture!

Its best applied with the Multi-purpose Polishing Cloth.

Which in addition to wood can be used to polish everything from windows to boats to jewelry to shoes, and those aren't the only items on the list. Now thats what I call a multi-purpose product! Just like the other cloths from Guardsman, its  100% Cotton and reusable! At just $1.49 a piece you really can't beat that price!

Now that your wood is polished go ahead and get rid of all those areas where the finish has come off and left unsightly marks on your wood.  They are non-toxic and come in three colors! They can be blended to match just about any wood color. I found that the were really good for my baseboards and doors because I am guilty of letting my vacuum cleaner hit the baseboards as well as knocking the huge thing into walls and doors.  I was able to match up the colors with ease and had my baseboards looking like new!

To protect that carpet from further makeup stains (thank you guardsman for helping me FINALLY remove them) I used the Guardsman Fabricoate Fabric Protector. Selling for $9.99 this product is designed to help keep the furniture cleaner for longer. It helps to keep stains off the fabric. It takes about two hours to dry.  But you have to test it on a hidden area to make sure it doesn't alter the color!

I put it on the carpet in front of my mirror to help to avoid other stains, and though I haven't had any problems with spilling make-up, I'm waiting for the day and I'll let you folks know how it turns out.

Finally I'm going to talk about the Guardsmen Leather Protector Wipes.

 For just $7.99 these were amazing, they made the car look, smell and feel like a brand new car. They were also so simple to use, below you can see my sister super excited about how wonderful these are making her car look!

And a picture of the back seat after using the protector, notice how shiny and clean everything looks! It creates an invisible barrier on your leather so that in the future its EASIER to clean! Wow a product that makes future cleaning easier, how could we NOT buy it? I loved how easy it was to use the wipes on the car and we only needed to use six of them to do the whole thing.



To Buy or Not to Buy:
Buy! With the most expensive product priced at $9.99 (the fabric protector) these are a great bargain compared to most products. These are quality cleaners and they come from a company thats been around since  1915, thats something you can count on!

The Ring and Stain Remover is must have for any household and I would say the same for the Fabri-Kleen Upholstry Cleaner, which includes four packs of cleaner for  $3.49! Thats less then a dollar per cleaning!

I also recommend the Leather cleaning products for anyone with a leather interior in their, car these are perfect and come in packs with disposable wipes to make it easy to keep that leather soft and new anywhere!

Get Some For Yourself!


To get your hands on some Guardsman products check out
http://www.shopguardsman.com/


*I received a free Guardsman Cleaning kit for this review, no financial compensation was received for this review* 


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