Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

video

Happy 2012!

~Steph & Family~

SomethingSeaBlue Review & Giveaway

Part of Ondria's Travel Feature...

I am a girl who loves to travel. Whether I'm simply heading out for a weekend getaway or a week-long adventure, I love being away from home! When I travel, I like to do it in style. Most of the time, I end up having to pack very lightly, because of limited space. When you're new at being a momma, it's hard to pack lightly, but must be done to make room for all of your baby's gear. If I can only have one to two pairs of shoes, and maybe five outfits to last ten days, how am I supposed to express my individual style?

The best way to spruce up any outfit, and even make two different outfits out of the same grouping of clothing is to accessorize. However, you can't accessorize while you travel if you leave all of your jewelry at home! I often throw several pairs of earrings, and maybe a necklace or two into a tiny little black jewelry box, and everything ends up jumbles, tangled, or worse- gets completely lost in the chaos! There are some pieces of jewelry I never travel without, but I have been in desperate need of a way to keep them safe while on the go.

I recently came across SomethingSeaBlue, a unique shop on Etsy owned by Renee Hathaway. Renee's lovely designs and fabric choices drew me to taking a closer look at the available items in her shop. I'm such a window shopper! I had vacation on the brain, because I knew we would be gearing up for our very long journey to Tulsa, OK from Salisbury, NC in a few weeks. I noticed that Renee had a very beautiful looking jewelry roll for sale in her shop, and decided to inquire about it. Renee kindly offered to send me on of her jewelry rolls to review while on vacation, and my excitement meter hit the roof! I couldn't wait to see the jewelry roll in person, because it looked absolutely cool from the pictures in her Etsy shop.

When my new travel jewelry roll from SomethingSeaBlue arrived, it was wrapped in white tissue paper, and tied off with a pretty blue ribbon. I loved the packaging. I sort of felt like it belonged under my Christmas tree! I examined the fabric, which is a lovely brown and white damask pattern on the outside and a pretty light blue on the inside. I love the contrast in the colors. For the closure, it has long green ribbon strands, which you just simply tie off. 

 Outside cover of my new Travel Jewelry Roll from SomethingSeaBlue...

For a small jewelry roll, it is an impressive size. I fetched the jewelry roll on Christmas Day Eve to pack up some of the jewelry I wanted to bring along on vacation. I selected about six pairs of earrings, one necklace and two bracelets. 

 Inside look at the Small Travel Jewelry Roll...

Now, on the inside of the left side of my jewelry roll, Renee sewed very thin strips of ribbon on top of ribbon for the earring holders. There are small spaces just to tuck or loop the earrings through to keep them in place. I was able to secure all of the earrings I wanted to bring on vacation, and still had room for more. Below the spaces of the earrings on the left side of the jewelry roll are also thin strips of ribbon, but these snap into place, and have larger openings to secure the jewelry. I decided to place my bracelets in these spots. You could also secure a necklace here. There is an addition (identical) space like this on the top right side of the jewelry roll. Below this space, I found two shallow pockets, and this is where I placed one of my tangle-free necklaces. On the very bottom portion of the right side is a pocket that zips closed, which is where I decided to secure my pearl stud earrings. Those are the ones I absolutely don't want to risk losing! On the very left of the entire roll is a long tube-like form, which unsnaps to slip your rings over. I thought this was so neat! I don't usually bring cocktail rings with me when I travel, but now I might, because I have a great place to put them!

Check out some pics of my travels with the jewelry roll...

Small Travel Jewelry Roll- all rolled up and ready to go!


Jewelry Roll all filled up with the jewelry I selected to bring with my on vacation...


Left side of the jewelry roll- holding rings, earrings and bracelets...


Right side of jewelry roll to hold bracelets, necklaces and features a zipper pocket...

What I love about this jewelry roll is that it holds all of the jewelry I could ever want to take with me on a trip! I could even use this at home when my jewelry box is filled (and it is!)! The jewelry roll has three small loops across the top, which means that once I reach my destination, I can easily hang the roll up, so that all of my jewelry is on display and I can quickly and easily find what I'm looking for, or at least easily see all of the options before me! How cool and clever is that? This also makes it really easy for me to unpack everything once I return home from my trip.

I have loved using the small travel jewelry roll from SomethingSeaBlue! I quickly and easily packed the jewelry for my trip, had no problem rolling it up and securing its closure with the ribbon ties. It is soft, so it's 'crushable,' for packing, and it fits into small spaces, which I love! I haven't lost any pieces of jewelry from it. Every single earring has stayed directly where I first placed it, and I have been able to easily removed the pieces I've wanted to use and put them back when I was finished with them. I might just need to pick up a new piece of jewelry while on vacation to take back home!

I really do love this travel jewelry roll, and have been showing it off to everyone all week long! My husband likes it, too, because now he doesn't have to listen to me complain about all of my jewelry being jumbled or tangles when we're out and about! Every girl who travels with jewelry needs one of the jewelry rolls! They would make excellent gifts for birthdays, for Valentine's Day, for bridesmaids, etc! If you love jewelry, you will love this beautiful and functional travel accessory from SomethingSeaBlue!


Want It? Buy It!

You can purchase the small Travel Jewelry Roll from SomethingSeaBlue in a variety of sizes and colors. Just head to Renee's website to browse her beautiful handiwork! Renee also offers beautiful jewelry and accessories, so be sure to check those out, as well!

(Not actual photo of giveaway item)

Want It? Win It!

One super lucky Mommy's Block Party follower will win their very own beautiful small Travel Jewelry Roll from SomethingSeaBlue! Just use our handy Rafflecopter entry form below to enter to win! Make sure you complete all mandatory fields!

Special thanks to Renee Hathaway from SomethingSeaBlue for donating this gorgeous jewelry roll for me to review, and one for a giveaway to our readers!

Good luck, everyone!

~Ondria~

Disclosure: I was sent the above featured product directly from this shop owner. I was not monetarily compensated for facilitating this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Your experience with this product may differ.


Friday, December 30, 2011

Ding, Ding- We Have Some Winners!

The winner of the Norwex with Caroline Giveaway is...

#36- Tami M.

The winner of the Scripted Integrity Giveaway is...

#14- Ashley N.






Congratulations, ladies! You have been e-mailed and have 48 hours to respond and claim your prizes!

Didn't win this time? Don't worry! 
We have lots of super awesome giveaways scheduled for the new year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Family Ties

Well, we've been in Coweta, just a few miles outside of Tulsa, OK for almost two days. The journey by car was extremely long. I can't believe how well Balian did. He's used to being in the car, going on trips, as he's been to the beach (a 3-4 hour drive from Salisbury) and to Knoxville, TN (a 5 1/2 drive from Salisbury), but this was a 17-18 hour drive, and we'll have to turn around do it all again on Monday. He played with some of his new Christmas toys, watched DVDs and slept most of the way. When he was awake in the car, we talked and played with him and he seemed perfectly happy and content. I have the most amazing child!

When we got to Aunt Britt's house, Balian was fascinated by everything, especially her dog, Buddy. They're getting along, but Buddy is a little shorkie, so we think he's actually afraid of Balian. Balian loves to see Buddy run, and oves to pet him... he only gets scared when Buddy barks at him. We're trying to explain that that's just how puppies talk. Everyone is having a grand time. It feels good just to be back in the kitchen with my mom and my sister- feels like old times, when we all lived under the same roof. The guys are enjoying chilling out in the recliners, watching the ginormous LED TV, and Sacha is constantly glued to his new Nook. I also have a new Nook, but have had little time to play with it. I brought an actual book with me to read on Mary, queen of Scots, and I am quite enjoying it.

I don't know that we have a lot of big plans. We may do a little shopping here and there. My dad needs to chill out and rest his poor broken knee. He's been doing way too much walking around on it. I am hoping that we'll spend a dat at the Tulsa aquarium, as I think Balian would like it. As far as shopping goes, we can't do too much of it, because our SUV was filled to the brim on the way here... and Aunt Britt and Uncle Cory got Balian lots of new Christmas toys, so we'll have to make room for those to come home with us! I really just need to find some new pants. Every pair I own is falling off of me. I guess when you chase a toddler around all day, you're bound to shed extra pounds, whether you need to or not. Folks keep telling me to stop losing weight, but I'm honestly not trying to, and can't help it! After the way I've been eating this week, though, I wouldn't be surprised if my pants started to fit again!

All in all, it just feels good to be away. I won't be at church on Sunday, so I don't have to worry about what does or doesn't happen during worship. It's horrible to say or think, but I'm not there... and it feels nice. It's nice to have adults to talk to, too. I love spending my day deciphering toddler babble as much as the next mommy, but every now and then, adult conversation is a good thing. Sometimes I feel like once you've had a baby, your social skills go out the window! Don't worry- they do come back, though! So, I'm going to go and get back to my cup of coffee and check up on a few more things, and then maybe have a bite of breakfast and wake my boys up. I hope everyone has a really great day, whatever your plans may be! And yes- I promise to post some pictures later on. I'm on Britt's computer, and the pics are on my hardrive... you know how it goes!

More later...

~Ondria~

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Boxing Day!

We're in the car, on our way to Tulsa! I find it very cool that I am able to post this from my phone. We left Salisbury around 9 am and are nearing Knoxville now- about 1 pm. Balian just awoke from a pretty good nap and the rest of us have been busy playing with our new Nooks! My dad got a tablet and is super excited about that and being able to do stuff in the car. We are about to have a bite of lunch and then get back on the road.

Okay... stopped for lunch and now we are back on the road. Balian is watching a DVD and we're having a sing along. I hope he'll take an afternoon nap... I could use one, too.

We had an excellent Christmas. Balian got lots of really cool things and had fun playing with his cousin Connor. Now we're ready to see Aunt Britt and Uncle Cory, but we have much driving yet ahead of us... so we'll keep you posted on our trip.

Hope everyone has an excellent Boxing Day today!

-Ondria


Sunday, December 25, 2011

We Wish You a Merry Christmas



Merry Christmas from Our Home to Yours! Have a wonderful day of celebrating!

~Steph, Adam, Beckett, & Scarlett~

Friday, December 23, 2011

Traditions

Well, here we are... two days (well, less than two days, really) from Christmas already. I can't believe how quickly December has flown by. It seems like I just finished cleaning up the Halloween streamers, carving the Thanksgiving turkey, and now it's about time for Christmas dinner!



It's been a busy time, for sure, and it's so easy to let the hustle and bustle of the season take away from what's really important in my life this time of year. Though we're on an extremely tight budget this year, I really wanted to start introducing special traditions to Balian this Christmas. I know that he's way too young to understand all of the things we do and the reasons why we do them, but he's pretty darn smart, and I know that if he sees us doing certain things, he'll remember them down the road... or will at least have memories from pictures. So, I thought I'd share a few our our Christmas traditions with you, and hopefully, you'll share yours in the comment section!

The Advent Wreath

We have two different advent wreaths that were given to us as wedding gifts, and I hold them both close to my heart. One is a traditional German advent wreath- wooden, with four tiny red candles. I never light this one, because you can't buy replacement candles just anywhere! The second one is a lovely pewter ring, which holds four tapers- three purple and one pink. One candle is lit each Sunday of the advent season as we 'watch for Messiah.'

The Advent Calendar

We had an advent calendar growing up. Each little square or pocket holds a special little treat each day. It's a cute countdown to Christmas day. This year, I made a ginormous advent calendar our of felt squares and ribbon so Balian could begin this special family tradition. I filled the pockets with things like socks, a bath toy, etc. We've enjoyed pulling out a new surprise each day.

Putting Up the Christmas Tree
We buy a freshly cut tree every year, and this year was no exception. We brought it home, strung the lights and decorated the tree while listening to Christmas music and sipping cocoa. Balian helped us decorate the bottom of the tree, and he's been leaving the tree alone, which I find pretty amazing! I love decorating the tree as a family!

Sending Out Christmas Cards

Okay, this is my tradition, alone. I like to have a Christmas-y snack and address all of the cards. I have a handy organizer that helps me keep track of who we've sent them to and received them from in years past. Love doing my cards- and I'll always send them out!

Baking

I am not a great baker, but I just can't help but get into the spirit of baking during the holidays. I have one or two things that I make really well, so I stick to those things! Traditionally, I make Russian Tea Cakes, white trash and spanakopita for Christmas Eve, but this year, I added German Spitzbuhm to my holiday baking repertoire! Balian has been enjoying eating my cookies!

Shopping

I have a holiday tradition of shopping with my dad the week of Christmas. We just take a day and hit the stores together... usually consists of me helping him pick some things out for my mom, which is fun for me. This year was a little tricky, because we had Balian with us and dad has a fractured knee, but B was a trooper and so was dad. Missions accomplished! I seriously treasure that time with my dad, though... and hopefully, Balian will feel the same way when he is a little older!

Christmas Eve Dinner

Okay, so being as crazy involved as both mine and Sacha's families are at church, Christmas Eve is always an insane time! My dad and Sacha are both at church from like 4 pm to midnight on Christmas Eve. The rest of us are usually there from 8 pm to midnight or so. We all offer music for the Christmas Eve services at church. My dad is our organist and music director, so he pretty much lives at church all the time, anyway. Sacha is playing with an instrumental group this year for the early service, and all of the rest of us are singing and ringing handbells at the late service. Okay- I don't ring bells, but I am singing the last prelude solo before the service begins, proclaiming the Savior's birth... can't wait. Anyway, in between the two services, we make a mad dash to Sacha's grandparents' house for Christmas Eve dinner. Our families come together to laugh and eat and take lots of goofy pictures, and then we all madly dash back to church in a huge hurry! It's nuts, and insane, but we love it... it's like, okay- Christmas is really here!

Christmas Day

Christmas Day happens differently every year. This year, Sacha, Balian and I will spend the first part of Christmas morning at our house, just the three of us. This is really important to me. We have our family traditions, but I also want us to make our own family traditions- on our own. We'll read the Christmas story together from the bible, and open our gifts together. After that, we'll head back to Sacha's grandparents' house, where his extended family will be waiting for us, and we'll eat and open gifts. Sacha and Connor will build a Lego and the rest of us will keep eating and talking! Later, we'll head to my mom and dad's house, where we'll eat some more and open gifts with them! I love Christmas with my parents because we come up with insane to and from tags on our presents... that's the best part of Christmas Day... reading and laughing at those silly tags!

Christmas Vacation

Every year, my family packs up and heads to a North or South Carolina beach for a week of family vacation, the day after Christmas. This year, instead of heading east, we are heading west... to Oklahoma! Oy, vey! We're driving to Tulsa to visit my sister Britt (yes- the one who reviews stuff for this blog!) and her husband Cory. I'm not looking forward to the 16 hour drive, each way... but I cannot wait to see my sis- I miss her so much! I also can't wait for Balian and Cory to meet one another... that'll be cute and sweet. And... when our family is all together, crankiness and silliness will abound, for sure!

And the very best thing about Christmas for me is celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. And for the first time, I can appreciate Christmas from Mary's point of view, because I am a mother. I cannot wait to be in our sanctuary with 5 or 600 of our closest friends, candles high in the air, singing 'Silent Night.'  

For unto us a child is born...

I love traditions. What are some of yours?

~Ondria~


Thursday, December 22, 2011

No Scrooges here just a WINNER!


Congrats to

Andrea Padilla-Rosas

You are the winner of the Shasky Farms giveaway!
Enjoy your delicious treats! 


Thank you the winner and sponsors. Andrea, you have been sent an email and have 48hrs to respond and claim your prize. It will be up to the sponsors when they will send out the prize to you. Please allow 8-10 weeks for delivery of your product! Thanks!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Santa's little helpers have some winners to announce!






We've got some wonderful winners to announce so get ready and check your email ladies and gents!

The winner of Jamberry Nails is
Heidi Pate! Congrats, Heidi!

The winner of Look Here Jane is
Elaine Brownfield! Congrats, Elaine!

The Winner of Sweet'n Treats is
Amanda Katz! Congrats, Amanda!

The Winner of Just Jewelry with Caryn is
Karen Hargis Foster

Thank you all the winners and sponsors. Winners you have been sent an email and have 48hrs to respond and claim your prize. It will be up to the sponsors when they will send out the prize to you. Please allow 8-10 weeks for delivery of your product!

Everybody Wants to WIN!

 
 
The Sweets Fairy Bakeshop Giveaway Winner is...
#12: Misty W
 
 
Congrats to our winner! You have been e-mailed and have 48 hours to respond with your shipping info. Thanks again to our wonderful sponsors! Be sure to tell all of your friends that you won one of our giveaways by tagging us on Facebook! Send your friends to our blog so they can win great prizes, too!

Didn't win this time? Don't worry! We still have other great giveaways going on now and more coming up right after Christmas! Keep entering, and as always thanks for supporting our blog!
 
 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Winners!

Beachbody--Janette B!!
Two Sisters Designs--Rachel N!!
 
Congrats to our winners! You have been e-mailed and have 48 hours to respond with your shipping info. Thanks again to our wonderful sponsors! Be sure to tell all of your friends that you won one of our giveaways by tagging us on Facebook! Send your friends to our blog so they can win great prizes, too!

Didn't win this time? Don't worry! We still have other great giveaways going on now and more coming up right after Christmas! Keep entering, and as always thanks for supporting our blog!

Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday Movies & Specials

I really look forward to watching a few Christmas specials and movies every year. 
There are so many of them, but here are my top ten...


#1- Home Alone
 Gotta love these cooky criminals and a young Macaulay Culkin!


#2- How the Grinch Stole Christmas
One of my personal all time faves! I love the scene where he makes his santa outfit and puts the antlers on his poor little doggie.


#3- A Christmas Story
'You'll shoot your eye out!' My sister used to start watching this movie non-stop 24 hours before Christmas Day. A family tradition!



#4- Frosty the Snowman
 Gotta love the real Frosty special! There WAS magic in that hat!



#5- Rudolph
I loved this special as a child... I even named my pet guinea pig after Rudolph's girlfriend- Clarice!


 #6- It's a Wonderful Life
 Well, it just isn't Christmas without this one, is it?


#7- Eloise at Christmastime
 I LOVE Eloise! My mom and I watch it together every year!



#8- The Nightmare Before Christmas
This would be my husband's favorite holiday movie... and we even have the soundtrack.


#9- Elf
 Another one of my sister's favorites... Buddy the Elf. She named her dog after this one!



#10- National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Oh, those Griswolds! One of my personal favorites!



What are some of your favorite holiday movies or specials?
~Ondria~





Monday, December 19, 2011

Feliz Navidad!

Scarlett wanted to do some Christmas dancing this morning, so here she is!







Saturday, December 17, 2011

Everything's So Different Now...

You know, I am one of those people who gets totally into the holiday spirit. Even last year, when Balian was just a couple of months old, I was full well into Christmas. Don't get me wrong- I'm there this year, too- it's just different. I never dreamed how different it would be trying to do simple holiday things around the house like putting out a few decorations. The things I used to be able to accomplish in two hours now take two days to two weeks! I sort of feel way behind, but I guess for being a first-time mom and Balian now being fourteen months old, I'm probably right on track. Sacha (my husband) says I should give myself way more credit... but I'm just the sort of person who feels that no matter what I do, and no matter the time frame it gets done in, it'll never be good enough for my personal standards. There ya go- me being vulnerable.

Little Elf... Balian's helping us get the ornaments ready to hang on the tree!

All of that aside, I guess we're ready for Christmas. Cards are addressed and ready to be dropped  in Monday's mail. I have a few gifts left to wrap... and Sacha has many gifts to wrap. I do most of the wrapping, but refuse to wrap my own presents! I've checked off all of my To-Do's and made all of my annual records in my Christmas Organizer... oh yeah- I go there. We got the rest of my Christmas decorations from my mother-n-law's house today (I KNEW I had more stuff stashed over there in the attic), but we can't find our stockings. They must be here at my house... somewhere! That'll be tomorrow night's crisis!

 Our 2010 Christmas photo... Balian's 1st Christmas!

Tomorrow (Sunday) kicks off an incredibly busy week for our entire family. We have two huge church service tomorrow- both services of lessons and carols, one contemporary and one traditional. Sacha and I are musically involved in both. I'll try to take some video clips of parts of the services. From there, we'll head to a family dinner, and then go have a family portrait made... just the three of us. The rest of the week will be filled with more Christmas shopping, baking, making appearances at some holiday parties, rehearsals, and then the glorious celebration of the birth of Jesus on Christmas Eve. 

 We finally got our tree up. 
Sacha insisted on colored lights again.

I can't wait for Christmas day this year. Last year was cute and sweet with it being Balian's first Christmas. Now he's moving and talking and extremely full of personality, so I know Christmas was be a total blast! I can't wait to be with family... enjoy some yummy food, open gifts together, and make some new memories. Oh, and I totally can't wait to see what I got for Christmas! I asked for some weird stuff this year!

And then the day after Christmas, we embark upon our adventurous journey to Tulsa to visit Britt and Cory! I can't wait... Balian and Cory have never met, so it'll be fun to see the way they interact. What I'm not looking forward to is the dreaded 16 hour drive there and back! Pray for us! 

Photo Break!

 Here I am at last week's Wild Women's Christmas Gathering. 
We played White Elephant and I got the Christmas Pickle.

 Someone stole my pickle... so I then picked these nice pinecone candle holders. 
But someone stole those from me, too! So I decided no more Mrs. Nice Witt...

...and now I am very politely stealing this cute 
infinity scarf from sweet Libba Willingham- 
which was later stolen by someone else.

Here's what I ended up with... a pedicure set! 
Needed that!

While I'm gone, I'll be posting some reviews of some pretty cool travel items... or at least, that's the plan! I'll have some giveaways to add from some of these sponsors, so that'll be lots of fun for all of you! And don't worry, Britt, Steph and Jess all have really cool stuff lined up for the coming weeks, as well. Don't forget about us over the holidays! We surely won't be forgetting you! Be sure to interact with us on Facebook. We just added a new Fan of the Week app to our page, so that should add a lot of fun!

Wishing you peace and joy!

~Ondria~

PS- Would so love some comment love from you guys! That can be my Christmas gift from you!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Another Round of Winners!

The Lazy Owl--Leah L.!!

Custom Made Bows--Charlotte!!

It Works--Katie S!!

Avon--Debi J!!

Pleasant Valley Homespun Primitives--Sam B!!

Congrats to all of these winners! You have all been e-mailed and have 48 hours to respond with your shipping info. Thanks again to our wonderful sponsors! Be sure to tell all of your friends that you won one of our giveaways by tagging us on Facebook! Send your friends to our blog so they can win great prizes, too!

 
Didn't win this time? Don't worry! We still have lots of other great giveaways going on now and more coming up right after Christmas! Keep entering, and as always thanks for supporting our blog!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ten Ways to Display Your Holiday Cards

It's mid-December, and by now, the holiday cards have started pouring in... flooding mailboxes with peace, love and well wishes for the new year. I love holiday cards, especially now that most people are sending out family photo cards. The last thing I want to do is hide those cards away, because they are beautiful reminders of how blessed we are to have such wonderful people in our lives. 

I like to find different ways to display the cards we receive so that I can enjoy them during the holiday season. I could quite easily place the cards in one of my many (and I do mean many) card holders, but being the crafty gal that I am, I want to display them in a new way, so that they'll actually be seen!

Here are ten creative ways to display your holiday cards...



#1- Card holders

Buy inexpensive card holders and group a few of them together in different places around your home. Maybe put one in the family room, one in the office, your bedroom, the kid's room, kitchen, etc. Each day, take the one in front and place it in the back, so you get a 'new' card in each holder.



#2- Around a door frame

Use a sturdy ribbon to make a garland, and hang across a door frame- anywhere in your home! You can easily add new cards with scotch tape each time you get a new one! You can even have the garland drape down the sides of the door frame, if you tend to gets tons of cards!


#3- Along your banister

Decorate your banister with some festive garland or greenery. Add bells and whistles to your heart's content. As you receive cards, punch a tiny hole in the left corner, string a pretty ribbon through and make a loop. Hang your cards along the garland so that they hang at the desired length.

#4- Across your mantle

Decorate your mantle as you see fit, using greenery and accents, then simply stand your cards up across your mantle. Be sure not to put too many of them out all at one time, otherwise, it may look cluttered.


#5- Greeting tree

This is a super fun way to get the kids involved and get outside! Head out to your yard, or take a walk in your neighborhood. Collect tree branches of different lengths. Bring them home and stick them down into a piece of flat decorators foam. Add white batting or another craft supply item to make it look like snow around the trees. Using the same method as in #4, hang your cards from the tree branches. You can add little decorative items at the base... think ribbon, mini present boxes, a little Christmas village, etc! Let your imagination be your guide!

#6- Ribbon strands

Cut a sturdy piece of ribbon a little longer than the height of your kitchen cabinet door. Tape each end of the ribbon on the inside of the cabinet- top and bottom so that the ribbon faces on the outside of the cabinet door. Do this on all of your top cabinets, and fasten the cards to the ribbon with clothes pins! This is a super easy and festive way to brighten up your kitchen for the holidays!

#7- Make a wreath

Cut an 8" circle out of a piece of poster board or cardboard. Use a festive colored spray paint to paint the background. Use tape to secure the cards to the wreath form, and voila... instant wreath/display! Hang this anywhere in you home!

#8- Quilt or Embroidery Hoop

Have some old sewing hoops lying around? Add a little ribbon and attach cards with clothespins!  Hang them up on doors or on the wall in your home!

#9- Glass Canister Display

Breathe new life into your glass canisters, hurricanes and apothecary jars! Simply place your cards into these glass containers for an instant display!

#10- Make a Card Board

Have an old bulletin board or message board? Cover it in a pretty or even novelty holiday fabric and pin your cards up! This would work great in a family room, in the kitchen or office!

However you decide to display your cards this year, it'll be beautiful! Just be sure to display them in a way you can see them and enjoy them! And at the end of the season, don't throw those cards away! I'll be posting creative tips for upcycling your holiday cards in January!

Happy card displaying!

~Ondria~

Have your own tips and ideas? Add them in our comment section! 
We'd love to hear what you think!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Norwex Basic Package Review & Giveaway

When it comes to keeping things clean in and around my home, I am sort of anal about it. Call me a clean freak, if you like... that's just the way I am. I want to keep my home clean for several reasons... I like the way a clean house looks and feels- it makes me feel like I can breathe. I hate to think what germs could be lurking about and getting Balian sick if I don't stay on top of things. Also, I grew up in a house where we were charged with keeping things clean at all times, because we never knew who might unexpectedly drop by. Cleaning is even theraputic for me, or at least it was until I became a mommy.

When I clean these days, I have to be extremely careful about what I'm using to clean surfaces, etc. Harsh cleaners are extremely pungent, even burning my nose hairs, sometimes! Our main bathroom has no ventilation, so using cleaners in there is tricky... and trust me, the bathroom is the place to use those germ-killing machines! I wanted to turn to natural cleaning products, and have tried several, but for how often I clean, my wallet just doesn't allow for me to spend big bucks on cleaning supplies week after week.



Lucky for me, Caroline V. with a really cool company called Norwex brought an alternative cleaning product to my attention. She wanted to send me the Norwex Enviro Cloth and Polishing Cloth to try out in my home for a couple of weeks. I have read a lot about Norwex and its claim to fame- their anti-bacterial cleaning cloths, so I definitely wanted to give it a try.

Caroline was kind enough to send me the Basic Package, containing the Enviro-cloth and the Window cloth. I was super excited when my Norwex Basic Package arrived! I couldn't wait to test the cloths out around the house!

 Norwex Basic Package: $33.99

The blue Enviro-cloth is an antibacterial microfiber cloth that can be used wet or dry. I decided to use it dry first. I have dark wooden furniture in my living room, which attracts a crazy amount of dust. I have a microfiber cloth that I usually dust with, and even though it's supposed to pick the dust up, it usually just ends up pushing it into the air, and the dust falls right back into place. Super annoying! So, I started dusting with the Norwex Enviro-cloth, and the difference was absolutely amazing! Not one spec of dust fell back onto my furniture! I used it to dust off the media console, the television, the coffee table, the bookcase, end tables, speakers, and even my base boards! I got the entire room dusted using just one side of the cloth

 Okay- I first dusted with my old cloth, and then swiped from the back left corner toward the front with the Norwex Enviro-cloth. Look at the difference!

Next, I wanted to try it wet and see how it would work in the bathroom. I needed to get the dust gunk off of it, so I rinsed it in running water. I wish I could have had all of you standing along with me to see the dust just ball up and come right off of the cloth! Once the dust was gone and the cloth was wet, I gave it a little squeeze to get excess water out, and took the Enviro-cloth to my bathroom sink. I knew that because the cloth was antibacterial, I didn't need to use a household cleaner... I could just clean with water! I started simply wiping at toothpaste gunk, little pieces of hair from my husband's latest shave, etc... and to my amazement, everything was left clean, smooth and looked brand new! I cleaned by entire bathroom (except the toilet bowl) with the Norwex Enviro-cloth. It wiped away build up in my tub that I normally have to scrub at with harsh chemical cleaners! After I was done, I ran the cloth under water again, and squeezed the dirty water out. I wish I could show you the dirt and grime that rang out of the cloth! It was proof that the cloth really got the dirt up off of the counter, sink and other areas. Love it! I no longer have to leave my bathroom five minutes after I begin wiping down surface areas because of the fumes! I can throw away all of those toxic cleaners if I want to! The Enviro-cloth from Norwex has completely changed the way I clean my home!

Sparkling clean after using the Enviro-cloth and Window/Polish Cloth from Norwex!

In with the Basic Package that Caroline sent from Norwex, was the Window Cloth. Now, she did tell me beforehand not to get the window cloth wet... so I listened! The window or polish cloth is also an antibacterial cloth, so it sanitizes the surfaces it touches. I went back into my freshly cleaned bathroom and simply wiped the window/polish cloth over the handles of my sink. Tell you what- that cloth got the handles to shine like no cleaner ever could or will! I used the polish cloth on my bathroom mirrors, and all of the smudges just wiped away! I used the cloth to clean all of my windows and glass surfaces in the house, and they were all left spotless! I can't wait until spring time, so I can clean the outside windows! I even used it to polish other surfaces in my home. It's great for wiping away little fingerprints left on the tables and television!

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to get to know more about Norwex. I think it's so cool that this company wants to get affordable, reusable cleaning aids into our hands so that we can be environmentally responsible and stop using harsh chemicals to clean our homes! Think of how much safer your home will be once you toss those cleaners! If you don't want to get rid of the cleaning products, they can certainly be used with the Norwex cloths... but please think about switching to all natural cleaning products for the protection of your family.

 Norwex Basic Package right out of the package!

I know that the Norwex cloths would make an excellent gift! My family members have been asking me where they can get the Norwex cloths (because I have been bragging about how awesome they are!), and I've sent them to Caroline's website to have a look at the products and to see how Norwex could benefit them.

Aside from the cleaning cloths, Norwex has tons of other great products, too! They have kid's line, which is really cool! I can't wait until Balian is old enough to have the kids mop! He loves walking around the house with my broom! He's going to be an excellent little helper! They also have bath and body care products, kitchen products, floor care products and more, so you'll definitely want to check those out! I think the Norwex products would make an excellent gift for a bridal shower, for newlyweds, for a housewarming, retirement, etc! My favorite bridal shower gift was a bucket filled with cleaning supplies... those are things you need, that most people just don't think about! Get creative!

Norwex Kids Mop

Want It? Buy It!

Head on over to Caroline V's Norwex website to get familiar with a safe and healthy (for your family and for the earth) way to clean your home! If you have any questions, be sure to contact Caroline! She is so, so nice and she'd be happy to help you!

 
Want It? Win It!

One lucky Mommy's Block Party reader will win their very own Norwex Basic Package from Caroline V! Just be sure to do all of the mandatory entry fields below this post through the Rafflecopter giveaway entry form! We'll double-check- so no skipping mandatory fields!

Special thanks to Caroline V. with Norwex for allowing me the opportunity to give Norwex a try. I am definitely a fan! And we also thank Caroline for offering this awesome giveaway to our readers!

Good luck, everyone!

~Ondria~

Disclosure: I was sent the above featured items directly from this representative. I was not monetarily compensated for facilitating this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Your experience with this product may differ.


Norwex Winner

Congrats to 
Traci R.
Winner of the Norwex Envirocloth. Enjoy!

You have been e-mailed and have 48 hours to respond to me with your shipping info. Thanks again to our wonderful sponsors! Be sure to tell all of your friends that you won one of our giveaways by tagging us on Facebook! Send your friends to our blog so they can win great prizes, too!

Didn't win this time? Don't worry! We still have lots of other great giveaways going on now and more coming up right after Christmas! Keep entering, and as always thanks for supporting our blog!

Two Sister Designs Review & Giveaway

~Part of our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide~


**Giveaway has been extended for another 5 days, please come enter!**

Scarlett's preschool teachers are always telling me they love her clothes and asking where I find them. I have to be honest, I like to find one of a kind or seldom seen clothing for her. I don't want her to look like every other girl at school, she has the rest of her life to want to be like everyone else, especially since she will probably be going to Catholic school and wear uniforms daily in a few years. Now is my chance to dress her how I want.
I was recently introduced to a company called Two Sister Designs. They are two sisters by marriage, who wanted to use their creative skills to make unique handmade items. They make everything from hair accessories to clothing. I worked with Robyn, she contacted me right away to discuss what she wanted to have us review. We got to choose between a dress or a ruffle pant/shirt set, we went with the dress option and gave a bunch of colors we liked. Within three weeks of our first conversation, our dress was at our house. Robyn was very professional and a pleasure to work with.
Our dress arrived in a large shipping envelope, neatly folded, and a business card with all of Two Sister Designs information. We had lots of people over when it arrived and everyone commented on how pretty it was and when S was going to put it on.
S puts on her newest dress

"I a pincess"--Scarlett
This perfect for the holidays dress is so twirly, perfect for a "pincess" and the colors are so rich. It is hard to tell from the pictures, but the dark scarlet red fabric has brown flowers all over it and the cream colored fabric has brown leaves and branches, small red leaves, and light cream leaves. The entire dress seems to be very well made and the sewing looks very professional. The dress has an elastic neckline and sleeves and seems to be very comfortable for S to wear.
S has worn the dress already and will be wearing it many more times in the coming months. It will be perfect for school and church and I can even put leggings underneath to make it a bit more casual for her. I know her preschool teachers will be commenting about this one!
Want It? Buy It!
The clothing from Two Sister Designs is super unique, get over to their Facebook page to check out all of their products and order some of your own. You can also contact Robyn or Michele at twosistersdesign@att.net. Order by December 15th in time for Christmas delivery.

Want It? Win It!
Liking what you see at Two Sister Designs? Want something to call your own? Two Sister Designs is giving away a 4-pair tiny bow clippie set grab bag to one lucky Mommy's Block Party follower. Use our easy entry form below to win! 


Thank you, thank you, to Robyn and Michele from Two Sister Designs, we love your dress and know our lucky reader will love their tiny bow clippies!

Good Luck
~Steph~

Disclosure: I was sent the above featured product directly from the owner of this shop. I was not monetarily compensated for facilitating this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Your experience with this item may differ.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

It's Wonderful to be a WINNER!

We have a few giveaway winners to announce this morning, so check your e-mail! 
Are you one of them?



FB's Country Kitchen: #13- Meg P.
Clever Container: #21- Sarah McD.
Imprecious: #27- Janice T.
Arbonne: #6- Sherri C.
Scentsy w/Caryn: #22- Linda T.


Congrats to all of these winners! You have all been e-mailed and have 48 hours to respond to me with your shipping info. Thanks again to our wonderful sponsors! Be sure to tell all of your friends that you won one of our giveaways by tagging us on Facebook! Send your friends to our blog so they can win great prizes, too!

Didn't win this time? Don't worry! We still have lots of other great giveaways going on now and more coming up right after Christmas! Keep entering, and as always thanks for supporting our blog!

Ondria

Monday, December 12, 2011

We're Nuts About Nuts!



I am nuts about flavored almonds (Get it? Nuts? Yea sorry, I like kid jokes.), I mean how can you resist the smell of sweet cinnamon coated almonds?! You have to have Super Man’s will power to walk by that kiosk at the mall or booth at the fair and not stop and at least taste one! Thanks to Carrie Mitchell at Shasky Farms in Le Grand California I don’t have to wait for the fair or battle the crowds at the mall for a little taste of almond Heaven anymore!


Carrie Mitchell sent me their product so fast that I seriously feel like she dropped it off on my doorstep herself. Inside my box was a lovely pamphlet about the farm and three bags of their candied almonds that I immediately fell in love with! We received the more traditional cinnamon vanilla candied almonds (my favorite), as well as the little more exciting apple pie candied almonds, and the truly new to my taste buds raspberry candied almonds. All three kinds were simply delicious!



I knew I couldn’t eat them all on my own…well who are we kidding, I probably could have polished off the big bag of cinnamon vanilla ones, but lets pretend I didn’t say that. So like I was saying, because I couldn’t eat them all on my own I put them in some containers and took them to our Thursday night bowling league and lets just say, I was the hit of our table! 

Apple Pie Almonds, Raspberry Almonds, Cinnamon Vanilla Almonds 



Everyone that tried the almonds loved them just as much as I did! Our friend Jen was absolutely smitten with the raspberry almonds because she had never tasted anything like them before. My hubby was hoarding all three of the bowls about halfway through bowling and didn’t want to share any of them. My mom and dad really enjoyed the cinnamon vanilla almonds, as did our friends Marcey and Karen. My Uncle Martin really liked the apple pie almonds. We even started to take the apple pie almonds and eat them at the same time as the cinnamon vanilla almonds to make a brand new yummy flavor.



Carrie Mitchell was great to work with! She told me that Shasky Farms is a small family farm business, and that she is the 4th generation working on the farm. She even told me that the 5th generation growing up on the farm! How incredibly cool is that? Even here in the “Corn Belt” a 5th generation family run farm like Shasky Farms seems to be a rarity now a days. On the farm they grow all kinds of fruit, from peaches, oranges, nectarines, and cherries, to the delicious sounding hybrid pluots (plum apricot)



Shasky Farms candied almonds and walnuts would make a great Christmas gift for anyone who loves nuts, or a wonderful addition to any holiday party. Look at all the wonderful flavor choices, Cinnamon Vanilla Almonds, Apple Pie Almonds, Pumpkin Spice, Natural Red Walnuts, Raspberry Almonds, Margarita Almonds, Chili Lime Almonds, Smoked Almonds, Whiskey Roast Almonds, Almonds, Smoke Garlic Almonds, Natural Almonds, Natural Walnuts, and no sugar added candied walnuts and almonds.

I love Shasky Farms candied almonds! They are a delicious, sweet, and crunchy snack that really hits the spot. I really suggest you check them out!

Want it? Buy it!
You can buy your own candied almonds and walnuts at
or

Want it? Win it!
One lucky reader will receive their own yummy assortment of candied walnuts and almonds from Shasky Farms. Please use the quick and easy entry form below.