Monday, December 31, 2012

Tired of Boring Gifts? Check Out These Ideas...

Are you sick of giving and getting the same old boring gifts every year for Christmas and New Year's? So many gifts are overdone. There is nothing like watching the recipient of your gift's face light up with unexpected surprise upon opening your gift. Get a little creative and do a little thinking to come up with some fun and new end-of-the-year ideas this year.

Pay attention to the person. You can come up with gift ideas that you may not think of--or they may not ask for--just by really watching and listening to them. Maybe in conversation they will talk about favorite hobbies or things they'd like to get or do in the future. Hedge around the topic without being obvious about it if you are struggling for ideas.

Get them what they really want. Most people hate answering the "What do you want for Christmas/New Year's?" question. They either feel bad asking for things or don't want to appear selfish. Tell them you really want to get them something they will enjoy. Ask them to ruminate on it and email a few ideas to you. If you really want it to be a surprise, ask their close friends and family for ideas.

Homemade Edible Gifts

Do it yourself. People love handmade items. This lends them to being unique and people will appreciate the time and care you put into it. A handmade gift is going to mean a lot more than a generic gift certificate or other random item the person probably doesn't want or need. This can be particularly sweet if you have a skill set that they don't, like knitting or woodworking. Think outside of the box. Do you know their car stereo isn't working but are handy with electronics? Buy them a new one and install it yourself. Bake them off the wall treats and gift it to them in a mug or tin.

Throw in a gag gift. Go to a store like and look for funny or collectible gift items. Bring a smile to the face of a Chihuahua lover with an Aye Chihuahua Shopper Bank. Or if you know they are a huge fan of a particular series or movie, look for fan collectibles that will get them excited. You could pick out a silly gag gift and make them think that is all you got them. Then surprise them with other gifts and tease them about their response. Huffington Post talks about some fun gag gifts like "Zombie Killers", Breathalyzer Key Charms and Superman Socks.

Decaleco Wall Decals (Review and Giveaway)

On this New Year's Eve, I am looking forward to the new year, and a few simple upgrades to a few areas in our home. One of the fastest, easiest temporary upgrades can be made by applying a nice wall decal to different areas of your home. We've been fans of a few different decals we have tried in our bedroom, bathroom, and have seen some seriously beautiful displays in other people's homes, as well.

Decaleco Logo - Wall Decals - FINAL w1080.png

We were recently given the opportunity to work with Decaleco, a wonderful company started by a young couple who wanted to be able to decorate their rental home, but weren't allowed to paint the walls. Creating their own vinyl wall decals became the evident solution to their home decorating woes, and Decaleco was born!

We were able to select a Decaleco Removable Wall Decal to review, and the timing couldn't have been better. We've been trying to make a few small upgrades in Balian's bedroom- trying to transition from baby themes to big boy cuteness. We started out with a Noah's Ark theme, and have sort of been moving more toward animals, and safari scenes. Decaleco's mascot, Keezy, the adorable monkey, seemed like a perfect choice for Balian's jungle room.

Our Decaleco Wall Decal arrived all rolled up, and came with instructions, a tester decal and a small application tool.

Our decal was protected by plastic packaging, and our tester decal
 and tool were in this cute little organza bag.

As I rolled out the decal, I found detailed application instructions, pointing out all of the super easy-to-follow steps for applying our new decal to the wall in Balian's room.

Instructions, and tips...

Our two piece decal set...

Before I did anything, I made sure that the area of wall that I'd be applying the decal to, was clean, and dry. After that, I removed the backing paper, and placed the decal where I wanted it. I started with the green vine, and would later add the monkey. Once I was sure the vine was right where I wanted it, I pressed the decal (sticky side) aginst the wall, and then gently rubbed over the entire decal with the small tool, to help the transfer. 

After placing the decal on the wall, I slowly removed the paper...

Very carefully, I started at the top left corner and gently rubbed and pulled the paper at the same time, making sure to smooth out any tricky spots or bubbles. The trasfer was very easy, and went right on the wall, smoothly.

After the transfer, we were left with a bold, green vine-
 just waiting for an adorable little monkey to swing from it!

It was very easy to place Keezy the monkey in the right spot on the vine, and I followed the same easy steps to transfer Keezy from the paper to the wall.

When I was finished applying the wall decal, I stepped back to take a look at it, and loved it! Keezy looked so cute hanging from the green vine, and the entire decal was the perfect size to tie in with the valance that was already hanging on the wall. Now, Balian has a bright, cheery monkey friend hanging over his big boy toddler bed!

Keezy says hello!

I couldn't wait for Balian to meet Keezy! He climbed up onto his bed, and introduced himself, and spent the next hour playing in his bed, pointing out all of the animals on his bedding, and just gazing at the new decal on the wall above his bed.

As for me, I couldn't be happier with the way this little project turned out. From start to finish, it took less than twenty minutes for me to clean the wall and apply the decal from Decaleco. I love how this brightens up the room, and it makes it feel much more like our home, than a rental house.

Keezy says hello!

I love the selection of decals from Decaleco, and would love to use a few more of them around our home! They're so easy to apply! Take a look...

Decaleco has great decals for every area of your home or office! From decals for the bathroom to beautiful map decals, there's something for everyone!

[DCL] 024 Whales INT1
Whales for the bathroom...

[DCL] 016 Roses branches INT
Roses Branches...

[DCL] 084 Life begins wall quote INT
Family Wall Quote...

[DCL] 046 Large US Map INT1
USA Map for home or office...

[DCL] 088 Monogram with dots INT1
Monograms and Baby Names...

If you're looking for a quick, easy, inexpensive way to upgrade your living space, think about adding a pretty or funky new decal to your walls, mirrors or cabinets from Decaleco! These are so easy to apply and remove, you can change them as often as you like! Which area(s) of your home could use an upgrade?


Want It? Buy It!

Head on over to the Decaleco website to browse their entire selection of vinyl wall decals for the entire family. They even have a fabulous Under $20 category! Great for bedrooms, nurseries, offices, and dorm rooms- never stare at blank walls again! Decaleco would love for you to connect with them on Facebook and Twitter, too!

Want It? Win It!

One lucky MBP reader will win a $25.00 Gift Certificate to Decaleco! Just use the easy Rafflecopter entry form below to enter for your chance to win! First two fields on the Rafflecopter are mandatory and the rest are optional- just remember, the more you do, the greater your chances of winning are!

Special thanks to the team at Decaleco for allowing us to try their wonderful wall decals, and for offering this super giveaway for our readers, as well!

Good luck!

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Disclosure: Other than the above mentioned products, which I received directly from this sponsor for review purposes, I was not compensated for facilitating this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Your experience may differ. Mommy's Block Party and its team members are not responsible for prize fulfillment or shipment- this is the understood responsibility of the giveaway sponsor.

Nuby Bedlite Buddies (Review)

Cameron loves to have toys in his bed to cuddle and play with before and after he sleeps.  He loves music and is fascinated with lights, the Bedlite Buddies from Nuby seemed to be the perfect addition to his crib toy collection.

The Bedlite Buddies are really cute and soft.  The face lights up and it plays soft sleepy music for about 40 seconds.  Cameron’s Bedlite Buddies plays 4 songs;  "Go To Sleep My Baby" and "Hush Little Baby", "Rock A Bye Baby" & my favorite “Pachelbel's Canon in D major”.  My only issue is I wished it stayed on just a tad longer, but nonetheless my issues are not Cameron’s issues.  He loves his Bedlite Buddies.

Cameron’s turtle Bedlite Buddies

Nuby suggests that the Bedlite Buddies is for 6+ months.  It is BPA free and the body is really soft.  The face is “soft” but still a harder plastic like material.  It has a velcro back where the music box/battery holder goes in.  Personally, if Cameron was younger, I see no reason that a smaller child couldn’t play with one. (thats MY opinion).

The back of Cameron’s Bedlite Buddies

Cameron napping with his Bedlite Buddies

Bedlite Buddies come in 3 super cute and super soft designs; turtle, bee and a frog.

Want it?? Buy It!!

Want your own Bedlite Buddies?? They can be found online at Amazon or in store at Kmart, Burlington Coat Factory and other retailers.  Make sure you “like” Nuby on Facebook or “follow” on Twitter to see what new products and specials they have.

Disclosure: All products for review were received free of charge through my affiliation with Nuby. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Your experience may differ.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Mowhawk Home Area Rug (Review and Giveaway)

I can hardly believe that Christmas is over. It rushed right in, and just like that- it's gone! Truth be told, I am looking forward to getting my house back to 'normal,' and sprucing it up a little bit, before our family leaves for a 10 day vacation. I usually leave all of the Christmas decor up until mid-January, but I think I'll take it all down before we head out, so I won't have to deal with it when we get back. 

One of the nice things about going ahead and cleaning up, is that I can get everything back to a simple decor type mode. To me, one of the best ways to avoid the 'after the holidays blues,' is to do something simple, like add a new area rug to a room in your home, or put a new duvet cover on your bed. 

Description: mohawkhome

Our friends over at Mohawk Home were kind enough to send our family a brand new area rug to review. Mohawk Home sells beautifully crafted floor coverings and textiles- for every room of your home, fit to work with your spaces, and fit in with your style. From area rugs to carpet and tile, Mohawk Home has everything you need to get your floors covered!

We have beautiful hardwood floors through out our craftsman style home, but I am always concerned about the floors being scratched by toys, or Balian hurting himself. I like making sure that he has the option of a soft, warm space to play on, if that's where he wants to play. Aside from safety and functionality, area rugs can easily break up spaces, or make small spaces come together, and appear much more intimate, and cozy- or even stately, if that's what you're going for.

I chose to review the beautiful Staunton Brown 40x60 Area Rug. This lovely area rug from Mohawk Home, was delivered right to my door, and was tightly rolled up, and protected by heavy gauge plastic covering. At first, I had thought that this rug would look nice in our family room (and it would have), but it was just a bit too small to cover the area we needed to have covered.

For plan B, I decided to place the rug in my dining room. Now, we have a huge farmhouse style dining table that my uncle built, and the table is much, much larger than the rug, so placing the rug under the table wouldn't make sense. Instead, I placed it in front of an old sideboard (that used to belong to my parents). Not only does it look nice, adding depth and texture to our dining room, it provides yet another soft area for Balian to play cars, or sit and read, etc. 

Here's Balian, opening up a blog package on his favorite new rug from Mohawk Home...

...and playing on the rug, too!

About the rug...

The Staunton Area Rug features neutral tones- tans, creams and browns, perfect for just about any space. It's a low pile rug, but not super low, like the other area rugs that I own. This area rug is tightly woven, and very soft to walk, or sit on. We love the neutral tones in the rug, because it can be used in pretty much any area of our home, without clashing with out color choices. The scrollwork design withing the squares, featured on the rug, is modern, traditional, classic, elegant, yet casual.

We love how this rug looks in front of our sideboard...

Cleaning and Care...

This rug is the easiest rugs to clean that I have ever owned. We've had a couple of spills on it (from sippy cups), and those were just spot cleaned with a little soap and warm water- nothing too major. As for foot traffic dirt and debris, that's easy to vacuum right up, with no snagging or pulling.

Easy to clean, and ready to go...

We love how durable the Staunton Area Rug from Mohawk Home is, and we can tell that it's going to be around for a long time. We've received lots of compliments on this lovely rug, and family members have noted how it adds a little something extra to our dining space.

Mohawk Home has such gorgeous rug designs, and lots of funky, modern choices, too! Here are a few other selections that I'm lovin'...

This would look great in my parent's living room!

I'd love this one for my living room!

My sister needs this wild one...

I love the simple elegance of this one...

Mohawk Home cares about providing their customers with high quality products: area rugs, carpeting, laminate, hardwood, vinyl, tile, and more! If you're looking for a little way to spruce up any space in your home in the new year, consider one of these beautiful rugs! There are tons of kitchen mats, bath mats, outdoor rugs, and more to choose from! Looking for something permanent? Don't worry, with so many beautiful flooring options to choose from, Mohawk Home will have your floors covered in no time!

Want It? Buy It!

Head to Mohawk Home to browse their floor covering selections, and area rugs, as well! I wouldn't be surprised if you found several things you could see in your home! You'll definitely want to connect with Mohawk Home on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, to grab decor and design tips, see the latest additions to their wonderful line of products, and much more!

Want It? Win It!

One super lucky MBP reader will win their very own Staunton Area Rug from Mohawk Home, just like the one I received for review! Just use the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter for your chance to win!

If you're not already a fan of Mommy's Block Party on Facebook, please take a minute to give us a 'like,' if you'd like to connect with us over there- we appreciate it!

Special thanks to Mohawk Home for allowing us to spruce up our home with a beautiful new rug, and for offering this wonderful giveaway, as well!

Good luck to all!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: Other than the above mentioned products, which I received directly from this sponsor for review purposes, I was not compensated for facilitating this review. All opinions expressed are my own. Your experience may differ. Mommy's Block Party and its team members are not responsible for prize fulfillment or shipment- this is the understood responsibility of the giveaway sponsor.

Get your child the perfect fancy dress outfit

Children love dressing up and with fancy dress parties becoming more popular, the pressure is on to get even more innovative with the outfits. When selecting the fancy dress outfit, you need to be creative to help your child to stand out from the crowd. Don't panic if you're not sure what outfit to get next, though. No matter what the occasion, there's an outfit to match - here are some top tips...

Fancy dress birthday parties can be great fun! For this, it's great to dress your child up as their favourite celebrity singer. Whether they love Britney or Beyonce, your daughter will look great in big hair and some bling. Dressing up as their favourite star will also give them an excuse to put on some make-up. Let them try your lipstick and eye shadow for the day. Plus, if the party needs some entertainment, at least Britney or Beyonce will be there to sing a song!

It might be predictable, but dressing your child as Santa Claus at Christmas is a great idea! They can dress up in the white beard and fat suit; carrying with them a sack that contains gifts and treats. If your child doesn't want to dress in the full gear, then you can buy them a red and white outfit. This sticks with the general theme and will help them look festive regardless.

Dressing as one of the wise men or a shepherd is also a great choice. It will require a cane and they can get into character by going barefoot - only if the party's inside, though.
Sadly, some Christmas parties won't require any fancy dress costumes - but you can still buy some fancy dress accessories to liven up an outfit. Reindeer ears are always a hit, as is the old favourite - tinsel. Wrapped around a kid's wrists or ponytail, this can add some real pizazz to an outfit.

Kids love dressing up at any time of the year, but Halloween is an extra-special day. Not only do they get treats at the end of the night, but they also get a chance to dress up; scaring their friends, family and neighbours. They can become a witch, a vampire, a ghost or a zombie; entering a fantasy world.
Dressing up on Halloween doesn't always have to involve a really scary outfit though. They can also dress up as a character from their favourite book or movie. A great idea is to go as Harry Potter. Buy some fancy dress accessories - including the cape and the wand - then use makeup to recreate the famous lightening-shaped scar that Harry Potter has.

The above are fancy dress ideas, but you also need to consider the following when selecting outfits and accessories. Choosing an outfit isn't just about how your child looks - it's also about how comfortable they will be in the fancy dress gear. In order to ensure comfort, make sure it fits well. It doesn't have to be a perfect fit but it does have to keep them safe. Try to avoid getting a costume that drags on the ground and make sure the costume/accessories aren't too tight around the neck.

Author Byline:
A2Z Kids aims to provide the most comprehensive range of children’s fancy dress and accessories available in the UK online market-place. Birthdays and other special occasions return year after year but each time it becomes increasingly difficult to come up with new and original ideas. So we've come up with our best party ideas and articles to give you a little inspiration.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bloggers: Grab a Baby Growth Chart Widget for Your Blog

In today's busy blogging world, some of us often forget why we may have started blogging in the first place- our children. I started blogging because I wanted to be able to share about products and services I thought other moms would be interested in knowing about, as well as wanting to stay home with my baby, while doing something worthwhile.

Today, so many parents cannot afford health insurance, which means that they may not be able to get to the doctor's office for a regular check-up with their children. One of the biggest concerns moms have is that their children are growing and developing at the appropriate rate for their age. BabyCalculators is now offering a free Baby Growth Chart Widget for bloggers to place on their blogs, offering moms everywhere the opportunity to track their child's growth, anytime.

Benefits of using the widget:

-The Growth Chart uses international standards, as developed by the WHO. This represents child growth rates in an optimal environment.

-The widget itself is very easy to add to your site, and for others to use. After the growth rate is calculated, it can be saved and/or printed out.

-It's also easy to integrate this into your blog, and configure for your specific audience. Depending on your location, you can choose to configure the widget's metric or measurement system.

-For bloggers, having this widget in a sidebar will be a great tool for your visitors, and will encourage them to stay longer, as they use it, and come back often, to use the widget again and again. This may increase your blog or website's traffic, therefore increasing the search engine ranking for your site.

Other widgets available for your consideration:

I can't wait to add these widgets for the moms who visit this site to use. 
Won't you consider adding one, too?

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Disclosure: This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of hzfweb for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Visit Sponsor's Site

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Be Brave- Ring in the New Year with a Hogmanay In Your Home!

Looking for a unique way to ring in the new year with the kids this year? Why not be Brave and bring the Scottish Highlands to your home and celebrate a traditional Hogmanay? Cleaning up around the house, hanging good luck charms in doorways and singing 'Auld Lang Syne' are just a few ways that Scots encourage good luck to come through their door on the last night of the year. See more ideas below and have a happy new year!

Disney/Pixar's Brave is available on
 Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Platforms!

Download Celebrate Hogmanay In Your Home

This is a sponsored post.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate Review

All moms know its important to have the right tools for the right job, same thing goes with feeding accessories.  We all need things that are appealing to our little ones to encourage them to eat all the “yummies” but are strong enough and durable enough for the everyday challenges of life i.e. the dishwasher, being tossed of the floor, chewed on or used as a musical instrument.  The Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate can withstand all of your daily challenges for years to come.

The Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate is ideal for children who are beginning to feed themselves, its suitable for warm or cold foods and is microwave safe!! (taken from Nuby’s product information sheet).

The adorable Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate has feet on the back side to keep it flat and steady on the table or high chair while your little one eats.  It has cute hands that come over the side of the Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate which act as a sort of “handle” for your little one to hold onto, as they carry the Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate.

The bottom of the Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate, this is the underside of the “feet”

We have used the Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate several times in the microwave and dishwasher, and it seems to be holding up just as I hoped.

Cameron’s dinner one night, with his Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate & iMonster Fork

The Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate is part of a complete collection of iMonster pieces.  The Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate has a matching fork/spoon set & a bowl (keep an eye out for future reviews on those products).  You can even get an iMonster snack keeper, which is too cute!

Cameron & Daddy using the Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate

Want it??? Buy it!!

Want your own
Nuby iMonster Toddler Plate??  You can find it online at or, you can also find it at a local Nuby retailer near you. Don’t worry if you have a little princess there is a set just for her the Nuby Flower Child Feeding Set. Happy feeding.