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December 18, 2014

Yale Digital Door Viewer

YRL just released a new Digital Door Viewer product that not only enhances home security, it lets you skip the whole “who’s there?” routine when answering the front door using an old fashioned peephole. Essentially caller ID for the front door, Yale DigitalDoor Viewers replace a door’s standard peephole with a 3.2-inch screen to provide a clear view of who’s outside. Premium models allow you to record and store video or still images via an internal MicroSD card. 

It’s a simple way to boost home security, and especially valuable for children or those in a wheelchair who typically can’t see out a door’s peephole. 

I recently had the chance to review the Digital Door Viewer by Yale.  I liked several key features such as the ability to record images, the built-in LED for assisted night viewing and the sleek, clean design. This would be a helpful piece of technology for those who want an added sense of security and visually impaired individuals who may have trouble looking into a tiny peephole. It is great for our 2 year old to know who is at the door (ie grandma, mailman or stranger). He usually gets scared when someone is at the door and runs to mom [see photo], but if he could see who was on the other side, he may not be. On the contrary, there were two drawbacks such as the fact you need an existing peephole for easy installation and the door viewer remains tethered to the door.  If I am upstairs or in the basement, it would be much easier to have remote access to the door viewer instead of having to run to the door to see who is there.  Overall, I would give this three out of five stars.  

Find out more, and purchase, here: http://www.yale2you.com/Products/Digital-Door-Viewers/693AYRDRecorder.aspx

GIVEAWAY: Cover Your Hair

Haircoverings.com sells a complete array of headcovering for women, girls and children. From the Pre Tied Bandanas to the hairbands there are many to choose for each style and taste. Their exclusive Pre Tied Bandannas are made in the U.S. There are many different fabrics including lycra, velvet, cotton, velour, cotton lycra, terry and embroidered. Besides for being used as a religious haircovering these banndanas are used for cancer patients who have hair loss due to chemotherapy or patients with alopecia, trichotillomania and other medical conditions.

Hair coverings.com has a beautiful collection of hair clips, banana clips, scrunchies, pony holders and jewel clips. They are great for wedding accessories or any other occasion. Some hard headbands have teeth and some are smooth. The hair bands have stones, crystals, feathers, appliqu├ęs and other unique ornaments.

They carry wide headbands, headbands with tails, untied headbands, tied headbands, elastic headbands and silk headbands. They have also expanded to carry winter weather accessories such as scarves, hats, and shawls to help stay warm in the cold weather! Berets, hats, pull on hats, ski caps, turbans, hairnets, snoods, winter hats and summer caps can all be found here in many different colors.


WIN IT: A Surprise $25 Box Full of Hair Accessories!

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December 10, 2014

Door to Door Organics

So you know that feeling when you come home and a package is waiting for you? The excitement of Christmas morning. Well at least it's like this for me! I experienced this every other week with Door to Door Organics. I could have picked every week, but I wanted to give myself something to look forward to on the inbetween weeks. What is door to door organics? Let me tell you about it.

Door to Door Organics partners with farmers to bring fresh, organic produce and natural groceries right to your doorstep. As a mom of 1 (sometimes 2, sometimes 3, and sometimes 4 kids, with nannying/fostering), it can be very hard to make it to the grocery story or produce store with kids in tow. The place I normally buy my produce from only has those half carts with nowhere to put children [or much else for that matter]. I tried to take my 2 year old with me once, but had to carry him the entire time because he wanted every flower he saw on display, which proved problematic, so I never did that again. I can't even imagine attempting that with more than 1 child with me. What a nightmare! So I was very excited to learn about a service that lets you pick 1) how much produce you want 2) how often you want to get it 3) what is in your box (fruit, veggies or both) and 4) stay in your warm cozy home!!!!

On top of being convenient, it pushes me to try new things. We cooked swiss chard for the first time, and had tangelo's for the first time. One that I didn't enjoy at all, and one that I did. I also learned that we LOVE fingerling potatoes. So this can be an educational experience as well as a convenient one. And don't fret if there is something listed in your box that you don't like. Door to Door Organics gives you a window of time where you can swap out the things you don't want for things you do. Win win!
I really love this service, and would highly recomment it! 
With the craziness of the holiday season, treat yourself to this produce/fruit delivery system, and use this $10 coupon code: MELINDA1415T  Boxes start at $25, so why not give this a try for $15 (after coupon code)???

December 07, 2014

Flowers = Perfect holiday gift!

 About the Bouqs:
"Our flowers never sit in a corner store or a dingy warehouse (where they send you the oldest, most-dead flowers they have in the fridge), and they never show up in a van with a 1-800 number on the side. We ship straight from an active volcano where they are grown or from the sunny surf of California, seriously - we’re putting a little romance back in the Bouq. We also cut only what we sell. Other providers source from a supply chain that sees 1 in 3 stems wasted. Across hundreds of thousands of bouquets a year, that’s a lot of wasted land, resources, labor and fuel. We cut only when you order, so we avoid the waste. Finally, our farms provide living wages, childcare, healthcare and adult education. And our growing business supports farm communities, so you can feel good about shopping The Bouqs Company's flowers."

If you aren't already convinced that this is a great company how about I share my experience with you. I decided to order a bouq for my birthday. I realize this sounds a bit silly, but I love getting flowers, so why not, right? They arrived in the morning and were immediately cut and put into water. The rose buds were closed, but by the next day they were open and absolutely gorgeous. While I didn't intend for them to match my kitchen, they ended up doing so, being yellow with red tips. Lovely!

Even the celebrities are raving about them!!!

If you are looking for a site that offers beautiful bouquets for a loved one in your life, try Bouqs today. Holiday flowers are a great way to say "I'm thinking of you" when you can't be there in person for the holidays. Order them today!

To order a Bouq for someone today, visit THIS SITE Now!!! 

November 28, 2014

Plan Ahead for Emergencies & Get Set for 2015!

So many families live paycheck to paycheck, which may be a necessity. They may only be able to afford the bare necessities, but other families live that way because they don't know how to budget or save. 

When I was single I always had a savings for this and a savings for that, but I didn't really think long term because my expenses were limited. I didn't have a car payment b/c my car was old. I'm talking cassette player old. I never minded because while my friends were complaining about car payments, I was enjoying my old clunker and not worrying about payment deadlines. I had a cell phone bill, car insurance, minimal rent to my mom [yes, I lived at home], and clothing/food expenses.  It wasn't until I was married, a home owner and a parent that financial planning became more important.

Now that we own a home there are repairs that need to be done, fairly frequently. On top of that there's the mortgage and home owner's insurance. My husband and I found that the only way we could have peace of mind was to save up an emergency fund. We took a particular course on financial peace, and the FIRST step in this program was an emergency fund. Most financial planners will suggest you have AT LEAST 3 months worth of expenses saved up, but they encourage you to have more. Having an emergency fund gives you a sense of security and peace. Instead of thinking the world is coming to an end when you need a roof that costs X dollars, you can respond with "thankfully I have enough to cover it in my emergency fund, so I can still put food on the table this month." It gives you a completely different attitude when "emergencies" happen, and they will happen.

In my opinion emergency funds should be for just that: emergencies, but it's also good to have money saved up for foreseeable expenses like holiday shopping or birthdays or back to school shopping. The holidays are always a whirl for me, so it's easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and lose sight of the goals we've set, especially when it comes to helping us achieve financial peace of mind, but this year Capital One 360 is decking the halls with deals you can bank on [see chart below], including new account bonuses, referral bonuses and closing cost credits.

Once the Thanksgiving celebrations are done, be sure to add Capital One 360's Black Friday Sale to your shopping list. 

Visit http://clvr.li/cap1bfs to give yourself the lasting gift of financial peace of mind by taking advantage of Capital One 360's deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products. In addition to taking advantage of deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products yourself, you can give your friends and family the gift of financial peace of mind by encouraging them to take advantage of the deals and refer them to the sale. If they sign up, you may be eligible for a $40 referral bonus. I've done this before and it's great! You get a gift just for sharing a great product/service with someone else you know. You could put it toward your emergency fund, or spend it on a cute pair of shoes ;-).

I am always looking for places that help me make the most of my money AND my time. When looking for banks I search for places that either don't charge me ridiculous fees, or charge minimal fees. Capital One 360 Checking and 360 Savings are fee-free and earn interest. Win win, right? I also look for a place that allows me to do my banking from home. Anyone who has kids knows it can be such a hassle to get them bundled up, put in the car seats, taken out of the car seats and into a store or bank, so convenience is very important. Capital One 360 products are designed to save consumers time and money. From online to our mobile app, Capital One 360 is with customers 24/7. Love it!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

November 17, 2014

Adorable Toddler Elmo Costume

Some things are just too cute to pass up, and this Elmo costume certainly was. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted it for my son. He started out a grover fan, but as soon as he could talk, it was all about ELMO!

Can you tell by this cheesy grin how much he loved this costume? It arrived WEEKS after Halloween, but he thought it was Halloween so he asked mom for his bag of "trick or treats" (aka candy) so he could pose for the picture. Adorable, but I'm biased.

I will only consider warm Halloween costumes if we are going outdoors, but if it's just to play "dress up" then it doesn't matter, but thankfully this one is very warm, but I'll warn you, it sheds more than my three pets combined!!! A week later I'm still finding red fur everywhere!

If you are looking for some reasonably priced Sesame Street Costumes or dress up costumes this would be a good place to start. Can you tell me how to get to sesame street?

About this costume:
This Muppet outfit features a red fuzzy jumpsuit and a headpiece with light up eyes. Not only are the lighting googly eyes on top of this hat adorable, they also function as a safety feature on dark Halloween nights out trick-or-treating. Watch your son or daughter's face light up when they step into our Elmo costume for toddlers. This costume includes plush jumpsuit, character headpiece with light up eyes and 3 LR44 button cell batteries.

Many thanks to Costume review for the opportunity to try out this elmo costume. All opinions expressed here are 100% my own.

GIVEAWAY: Why Do We Call It Christmas DVD

Straight from VeggieTales creator himself Phil Vischer comes “Buck Denver asks… Why Do We Call It Christmas?” movie for kids. In this movie Buck Denver answers the following: Cutting down trees? Hanging stockings? Santa Claus? What do any of these have to do with Jesus' birthday?  More than you'd think! 

Join VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer along with intrepid newsman Buck Denver and all his friends on an amazing journey into the world's most popular holiday! Sure, you know the Christmas story. But do you know the story of Christmas? Don't miss the whimsical, educational, Christmical party to end all Christmas parties as Buck Denver Asks … Why Do We Call It Christmas? 

Contains the following topics:
-Where do we get the word Christmas?
-When was Jesus born?
-What do Christmas trees have to do with Jesus?
-Who is St. Nicholas?
-What is Hanukkah?
-Who is Emmanuel?
-Luke 2 Story

I think this is a really cute movie. My son was captivated. He's almost 2 years old, and usually only stays interested for about 10-15 minutes of any given show or movie, but he watched 30 minutes of this [we broke the movie into 2 parts for him]. While he is still a bit young to understand what Buck Denver was explaining, it was entertaining for him and educational for me. I learned a lot about Saint Nicholas and how we got the nickname "santa claus." I also found the stocking story interesting. That was news to me. The origins of stories are always fascinating to me. It was a very well done film!

Watch the Trailer here:

WIN IT: Why Do We Call It Christmas DVD

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC 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.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

GIVEAWAY: NOAH - A Wordless Picture Book

A hundred years before the Great Flood, a man named Noah came home talking crazy. God wanted him to build the biggest ship the world had ever seen. The future of humanity depended on it. How would his wife respond? What would the neighbors think? Was it even feasible?

This lavish reimagining of one of the greatest stories of all time will fascinate children and adults alike. Nuanced and playful, yet meticulous in following the biblical narrative, Mark Ludy’s world-class art digs deeper than the Sunday-school tale of cuddly animals, exploring noah’s relationship with his family, the natural world, God - and a formidable engineering challenge.

Bonus: Find Squeakers the mouse on every page!

About the author:

Mark Ludy has written or illustrated eight children’s books including The FarmerThe Flower Man, The GrumpWhen I Was  a Boy I DreamedWhen I Was a Girl I Dreamed, and Jujo the Youngest Tribesman. When he’s not immersed in his sketchbooks, you’ll find him in schools promoting art and literacy. He lives in Colorado with his wife, daughter, and two sons.

Mark’s website: http://www.markludy.com
Official NOAH websitehttp://www.plough.com/en/ebooks/n/noah 

 This book is full of beautiful artwork that helps you tell the story. I grew up in church, but I'll be honest and say that I didn't know what I was supposed to be explaining on every page, so it not only helps teach children, but also teach the parents about this famous Bible story.

Just look at some of the stunning artwork pictured here!

WIN IT: You can win a copy for yourself

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GIVEAWAY: Don't forget your dogs this holiday season!!!

Vital Essentials recognizes that dogs naturally crave treats that are made of real, wholesome, healthy meats.  VE Vital Treats are just that – fresh muscle meats and fresh, whole organ meats that have been gently freeze-dried to perfection.

VE Vital Treats are made with fresh, whole, single-sourced USDA animal protein to provide essential nutrition that dogs instinctively crave. Additionally, RAW treats promote digestive and oral health and support overall health – strong bones, thick glossy coats, firm muscle tone and optimal weight maintenance.

Vital Essentials freeze-dried products need no refrigeration and the convenient, resealable pouch makes it easy to take VE Vital Treats anywhere - ideal for training, snacking or traveling.

As the holiday season approaches, consider giving healthy this year with VE Vital Treats. A recent study reports that more than 50 percent of pet owners include pets in holiday shopping. VE Vital Treats are the perfect stocking stuffer or small gift item for all your favorite furry friends.

Our black lab mix loved these, so I have a feeling your canine friend will too!

WIN IT: A complete set of VE treats. One of each of 6 FD flavors

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GIVEAWAY: Baby Sign Language Kit

Need a gift idea for a mom of a little one, or soon-to-be mom? How about a Baby Sign Language Kit? If you are a parent, you know how frustrating it is to try to communicate with your child before they have the language skills to tell you what they want. In our house this communication gap caused many melt downs and tears.  This is why I think that baby sign language is so important. When our son was too young to speak we taught him the sign for "more" and "all done", so that he could tell us when he was still hungry or when he was full. It worked really well. He ended up signing "more" everytime he wanted to do more of something fun, lol. But still, he got it. And now that he's almost 2, he has some language, but can still get frustrated when asking for things, so we're teaching him more sign language with the Baby Sign Language system.

In the week that we've had this kit, he's started using "more" "all done" again and learned "fan" "eat", "cat" and he is learning more every day. We have "school" time and do our sign flashcards, but I only introduce a few new cards each week so he isn't overwhelmed. He enjoys it, and I'm enjoying learning them too! I learned the sign language alphabet when I was a kid, and I still remember it. I even joined a sign language club in middle school and remember some of that too. It's nice to be able to communicate with people across the room when voices just don't cut it, or to communicate with the hearing impaired.

I've also cut up the poster provided and pasted it onto a thick posterboard so it can stand next to us when we're working on "school." He points to the one he wants me to do, and I show him how to sign that particular word. The picture instructions are really easy to follow. It not only teaches him the signs for things, but he's also learning to read the English words for things. When I sign Mommy I point to the word "mommy" so he will recognize it on paper and in sign. It's a really great system!

This would make a great gift for a mom of a 6-18 month old, or a mom who wants to teach their child to sign!

You can purchase it here: http://www.babysignlanguage.com/product/standard-kit/ or try to win it:

WIN IT: One reader will win a Baby Sign Language Kit


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Maybelline - New Products on the Lineup for Fall 2014/Winter 2015

Recently I had a chance to try some of the newer products by Maybelline. I've been seeing advertisements for their dream wonder foundation, and I wanted to see if it really was all they said it was. Turns out, it is! It goes on like silk. You dab the foundation on your finger and smooth onto your skin, and instantly evens out skin tone and provides a great base for the rest of your cosmetics. I generally start with a foundation and then use a light powder to set, bronzer, blush etc, but you really don't need a powder to set this product. It goes on as a liquid, but finishes like a powder/cream. As you can see from the photo below, it blends well, leaving a natural look. So if you are a minimalist when it comes to makeup, I think this is a great product to invest in!

In addition to the foundation I had a chance to try the Eye Studio Color Tattoo Leather in Creamy Beige, but I wasn't a fan. It went on thick, and didn't look natural at all. I guess if you want a bulky eye look, this may be what you want, but it wasn't for me.

Next in line was the Master Kajal liner, which I was very impressed by. It glides on smoothly and the bold pigment leaves a dramatic look. I've just recently started lining my waterline, and trying to create a bold smokey eye, and I think I'm finally getting the hang of it! After you apply your concealer, foundation, bronzer, blush, highlighter etc next are the eyes. This is the order in which I do my eyes: 1) Thick eyeliner pencil 2) liquid eyeliner to get closer to the lash line 3) Apply dark shadow just over the eyeliner for more natural look 4) Apply medium shade eyeshadow to outer edge or eye and crease 5) apply lighter/highlight color across lids and under brows 6) Apply Mascara (try pumped up colossal mascara by maybelline).

I've had a good amount of success with this process in making my eyes appear larger. You can see the difference between photo 1 (without eye make up) and photo 2 (with).

Check out their new products for yourself now! I plan to do a beauty post on contouring my face for added impact, so stay tuned!

November 15, 2014

The Christmas Cat - Blog Book Tour

20665226After years abroad, Garrison Brown returns home to Vancouver to build a new life. When his beloved grandmother passes away a few weeks before Christmas, Garrison goes to her house to sort out her belongings, including six cats who need new homes. 

While Garrison hopes to dispense with the task quickly, his grandmother's instructions don't allow for speed. She has left Garrison with some challenging requirements for the future homes of her furry friends--plus a sizeable monetary gift for the new owners. Garrison's job is to match the cats with the right owners without disclosing the surprise gift. Along the way, he may just meet someone who can make him stay. 

Humorous and heartwarming, this latest Christmas story from bestselling author Melody Carlson is the perfect gift for pet lovers and anyone in whose heart Christmas holds a special place.

Review: This cover had me wanting to read it immediately, as I'm a big cat fan. I've read other books by Melody Carlson, and they are all easy enjoyable reads, this book included. I knew where the book was headed from the beginning, but sometimes that's exactly the type of book I'm in the mood for. It was a light read that I finished in less than a day. There wasn't too much depth to any of the characters, but they were all lovely. 

I loved how every cat had their unique personality, just like people have their unique personalities. I especially loved Harry. The sociably friendly maine coon. I have one cat that is very similar to that, and one that is closer to spooky who hides from strangers but loves his owners. 

If you want a book that makes you think or one you get really invested in, this is not the book, but if you want a nice, quick holiday read, this is it! 

Paperback Swap!!! (get rid of old books and get new ones)

Trade Books for Free - PaperBack Swap.

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