Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Weekly Winners List #winners

We're having some technical difficulties this week, but I am creating this post and notifying winners, regardless. We're excited for our latest round of winners from recent MBP hosted giveaways!

Congrats to...

Pacific Rim BluRay- #550: Stephen N.
Halloween DVD: #210- Sam B.
Dez Designs Keepsake Plate: #1240- Amber L. H.
$25.00 NOVICA Gift Code- #610- Gail W.
Barnyard Book Club: #90- Dandi D.
Spoiled Sweet T-Shirt: #1600- Traci B. 
Chalking It Up Boards- #380- Ann N.
Heads Up Designs- #520- Kristen
UBA Hero- #750- Michelle E.
Fall Fashionista- Lucky Brand Jeans Coupon: #8750- Amy B.
Fall Fashionista- Azuli Skye: #5570- Carolann L.
Grace Unplugged: #50- Mindy C. Gift Code: #350- Michelle D. H.

Winners have all been e-mailed and have 48 hours to claim their prizes, or we will draw for new winners. Congrats to our winners! Didn't win this time? Don't worry- we have lots of other giveaways going on right now, and more coming soon!!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lightning Fast Sips & Slurps from Scraps of Love by Jen #Review & #Giveaway

Balian's 3rd Birthday Bash

One of the fun things about watching your children grow, is realizingg that every day, they want to be a bit more independent. Boy, does Balian make that clear. He lets me know when he wants me to do something with him, and when he wants to do something all by himself. Sometimes it makes me yearn for him to be a sweet little baby, who needed me 24/7, but other times, I am so happy to see the little person he is becomming. One of the things we've been trying to do is ditch the toddler sippy cups. Drinking from a real cup makes Balian feel like a big boy, and having his own special cups really makes him feel like a super big boy!

I was excited to find Scraps of Love by Jen on Etsy before Balian's 3rd birthday. I was really looking for some fun, unique items that centered around the Disney CARS theme we were using, and Jen had something super special in her shop that I kew Balian would just love! Scraps of Love is owned and operated by Jennifer Cotten, of Grand Meadow, MN. Jen is a busy wife and mom to three children, who enjoys making one of a kind items. She opened her shop in 2008, and truly loves what she does.

Jen kindly offered to send us a personalized Lightning McQueen tumbler to review, and to help us celebrate B's birhday. Balian is forever after my reusable tumblers, so I knew he'd be thrilled to have one all his own.

B's new Lightning McQueen Tumbler in action during creative play time...

The tumbler arrived safely, and featured a large vinyl cut out of B's favorite character, Lightning McQueen! Lightning appears bold and bright on the cup, and it truly unmistakable! The tumbler is a 16 oz double walled acrylic cup with a screw on lid, and straw with stopper. The tumbler's double wall helps to keep the beverage cool, and the cup sweat free. Balian's name appears underneath the McQueen decal, in a cute font with black letters. Several color options are available for personalization.

Adorable personalized tumbler...

Balian was quite excited when I presented him with his very own Lightning McQueen tumbler. We did take it with us to Grammy and Papa's house when we had Balian's birthday party, and it really came in handy. Balian was playing really hard with his friends, and some of the neighbor boys, so it was the perfect thing to fill with cold water, and offer him sips from to make sure he stayed hydrated!

Great for kids and adults, too!

I won't lie, I've already swiped this tumbler a time or two and used it. It's the perfect size for me! It's easy to clean, just give it a hand wash and let it dry on a dish rack. We take this cup all over the place. Balian loves having a cup with his own name on it, so everyone knows it 's his and not to take it. He definitely feels like a super big boy when he drinks out of this special tumbler!

'Mommy, get your own cup!'

Jen makes some really adorable personalized items for gift giving, special occasions, etc. Check out some of her handiwork...

Personalized Unity Candle Set with verse with Faith in the Lord
Personalized Unity Candle Set

Initial and name with crown and gems for wall vinyl decal
Vinyl Wall Decal

Wedding and Family Personalized 12 x 12 inch ceramic tile
Personalized 12x12 Ceramic Tile

Handpainted Parasol Customize with your choice of wording
Handpainted Parasol

If you have a special event coming up, such as a birhday, wedding, anniversary, etc, you'll definitely want to check out what Scraps of Love by Jen has available! All items are fully customizable, and Jen is happy to take your requests. Scraps of Love by Jen also has lovely housewares for gift giving this holiday season. Why not give your friend a personalized popcorn bowl, a snack gift basket and a gift card or a few movies to enjoy for a movie night at home? Need a gift for newlyweds? How about a personalized serving tray? Want to change the look of a room in your home or add a special little touch without changing the wall color? Jen would love to create a special wall decal for you!

Want It? Buy It!

Head on over to Scraps of Love by Jen on Etsy to browse all of her lovely designs for the home and beyond! You'll love the selection! 

personalized Tumbler with Cinderella

Want It? Win It!

One lucky MBP readers will win a personalized tumbler of choice from Scraps of Love by Jen! Just use the Rafflecopter entry form below to enter for your chance to win! This giveaway is open to US residents, 18 and older.

Special thanks to Jennifer Cotten if Scraps of Love by Jen for helping to make B's 3rd birthday so special by sending him this special tumbler, and for offering this super giveaway for our readers!

Good luck!

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Personalized Jewelry for Moms from #NamePlateDepot #HolidayGiftGuide

One of my very favorite types of gifts to receive for a special occasion, or for no reason at all, is jewelry. I didn't really appreciate personalized jewelry until I became a mom. There's just something special about wearing a beautiful reminder of what makes life so meaningful. There is no person more precious to me than my son, and every piece of jewelry he has given me, or I have had crafted to remind me of his sweet personality and the day that he came into my life, is one that I treasure. I remember presenting my mom and my grandmother with personalized jewelry when I was a girl, and feeling so proud to see them wearing a pretty token of my affection.

Name Plate Depot proudly offers beautiful personalized jewelry gift options for your holiday gift giving needs this year! Each and every gift is made to order, and is handmade with great love and care by Name Plate Depot team. There are so many ways to fully customize a special piece of jewelry for someone you love this holiday season!

Our top three choices for gift giving this season from Name Plate Depot include...

mother necklace hand stamped
Mothers Birthstone Necklace, $70.00

This gorgeous gift option features hand stamped, gold filled discs, with customization 
options available, such as:
1. Personalization for hand stamped disc (front side only)e.g. Disc 1: Mary, Disc 2: John etc.
2. Month/color of birthstones by disc
3. Font Script (As shown) or Typewriter)
4. Font Letters darkened or not darkened (shown not darkened)

pearl pendant with initial and charm
Initial Necklace with Pearl and Symbol Charms, $85.00

This classic and classy gift option allows both personalization and a bit of creativity.
Options include:
1. Your Initial on Disc e.g. Disc1-M, Disc2-G, etc.
2. Font Type - Allura (default), Monogram, Typewriter or Script
3. Choose Pearl (White-default, Pink or Cream) or Month/ Color of Gemstone (cost extra).
4. Charm Type - Anchor(default) (One Is Included in Price)

personalized necklace tree of life
Family Circle Tree Mothers Hand Stamped Necklace, $95.00

A beautiful symbol of family togetherness, this gorgeous showpiece certainly makes a statement!
Options include:
1. Provide Names - anti clock wise - e.g. Roman, Gianna, Nicholas, Joseph (as in picture) 
2. Provide symbol between the names e.g. dot, heart etc. 
3. Select your metal for center tree charm -.925 Silver Tree Charm or Gold Over Silver

These gifts would be so special coming from children or grandchildren, or to a wife from her husband, showing appreciation and love for being a wonderful mom! Any mom would be proud to receive and wear any of the beautiful mothers jewelry selections from Name Plate Depot! One of my favorite things to do when giving a gift that is small in size, such as jewelry, is to wrap it, place it in a larger box, and wrap that one as well, and repeat this process two or three more times, to really throw the recipient off! Try it- it'll be really silly and fun!

Want It? Buy It!

Head on over to Name Plate Depot to browse all of their beautifull designed pieces of jewelry and to personalize a special gift for someone you cherish this holiday season! You can also connect with Name Plate Depot through their social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +. Please note that the order deadline for Christmas delivery is December 1, 2013.

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Name Plate Depot, written by me. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Home Entertainment Made Even Better with Aperion Audio #Review #AperionAudio

When my husband and I got married in 2007, I promised to love, honor and cherish him through sickness and health, good times and bad. I accepted him as he was, wonderful qualities, faults and all. I even accepted his addiction to stereo equipment, which I thought would taper off and perhaps even disappear as the years passed. It's now almost six years later, and my musician husband has nearly doubled our collection of speakers. I can't fault him too terribly much for loving them so... he is a classically trained musician, and tried his best to give me actual reasons as to why we need all of these speakers- for our listening pleasure when we listen to classical music, and for our enjoyment when we watch movies at home. He's built quite the home theater system over the years, and the fact that we're running out of room for all of the equipment never seems to keep him from looking at or wanting newer, better speakers, receivers, etc.

Home Theater Speakers - Aperion Audio

When we received the opportunity to work with Aperion Audio, my husband's eyes lit up. I have to admit that neither one of us had ever heard of Aperion Audio before, but when we began browsing their product line, and my husband started reading descriptions and reviews, he liked what he saw.

Aperion Audio was born in 1998, after owner/founder went on a hunt for an awesome home theater system with a meager budget of $1500.00. Not particularly liking what he found, he was prompted to start building his own speakers, and essentially, build an awesome business that would later lead to award-winning products!

 I had no idea where in the world we would squeeze in another set of speakers in our living room. We already had three pairs of speakers, a middle bookshelf speaker and a sub woofer in our rather small living room. He assured me that we would find a place for them.

Delivery Day: Happiest I've seen my husband in months!

Our new speakers from  Aperion Audio, in box.

Packaged and well protected during shipping...

My husband was probably more excited about the arrival of our new speakers from Aperion Audio than he's been the past several Christmases. Like I said, speakers are his addiction. We were offered the Intimus 4B Satellite Speaker Pair for review from Aperion. These are bookshelf speakers that can easily be placed atop a shelf, pretty much anywhere in your home. 

Our Intimus 4B Satellite Speakers, wrapped in plastic...

...and fully protected by lush black velvet bags.

My hubby couldn't wait to take the speakers out of the box, out of the plastic and get a look at his new, beautiful speakers. It didn't matter that we were in the middle of a Saturday afternoon project at home... he dropped everything and was drawn to the speakers, like a magnet. He 'Oooed and Ahhed' as he lifted the speakers oh, so gently from the box. After he removed the plastic and found the velvet bags, he was incredibly impressed. 'They can't be just any old speakers... these have got to be good!' he exclaimed. He wasted no time clearing a space on each end of the shelf directly above our media console for the television for these speakers.

Sacha (hubby) carefully lifted the speakers from their velvet bags and practically drooled over them. I can't blame him, the speakers feature a black glossy finish, and are truly beautiful to look at. I was basically instructed not to touch them and get my fingerprints all over them, so I let Sacha have his fun getting the speakers all set up.

Key Features of the Intimus 4B Satellite Speakers:

4" Woven-Fiberglass woofer delivers lush mid-range sound
1" custom designed silk-dome tweeter for smooth, clearly defined highs at even the highest volume levels
Hand-polished Gloss Black laquer finish
Contoured front edges and small form-factor to blend seamlessly with your d├ęcor
Anti-resonant cabinet
Ten year warranty
FREE SHIPPING - a $17 value per pair*
FREE lifetime technical support

When hubby gave me the green light, I was finally allowed back into the living room to see the speakers all set up.

One of the Intimus 4B Satellite Speakers, sitting beautifully on the media shelf.

Side view... pardon the dust, and take note of that shine!

A closer look at this dazzling beauty...

...and of course, the way my husband loves to view and enjoy his speakers- with the covers off.

I have to admit, I was excited to see the new speakers set up in the living room. I liked that they looked pretty, and best of all, they fit on the shelf. Their description promised big sound from small speakers, so we were ready to put them to the true test, which included a few different parts. We first had to see how they handled classical music, because certain stereo equipment doesn't always bring forth quiet instrumentation in music. Sacha has been after a super audio receiver for a long time, for this very reason. After we listened to some parts from his favorite movements, Sacha seemed truly pleased with the sound. 

Next, we listened to some heavier sounding music, rock and even a bit of techno/electronica. The speakers sounded great to me! I could easily pump up the music and have a dance party in the living room, without having to mess with the crazy channels on the receiver, and without having an overwhelming roar through my house. The last test, was to see how the speakers handled the sound for home entertainment during movie night. We turned on all of the speakers- all nine of them, plus the sub, and and were completely blown away by the sound quality. I felt like I was sitting in the movie theater, with surround sound coming at me from every angle. Most people don't realize the impact surround sound can have on a person when they're watching a movie- it almost changes your perception and experience.

Our three year old son Balian, enjoying movie night at home with mommy.

Since we received the Intimus 4B Satellite Speakers from Aperion Audio, we have come together in the living room much more often for family night to watch a movie, and hubby and I are saving money by enjoying movie at home, with a true in-theater viewing and listening experience. My speaker connoisseur of a husband has been nothing but impressed by these little beauties, and is so infatuated with them, that he insists we keep them covered with the velvet bags when they're not in use, so they won't get scratched. If that's not love, I'm not sure what is? These speakers from Aperion Audio offer their owners an incredible sound for an extremely reasonable size and price! If you have a dad, husband, boyfriend, etc, who enjoys speakers, home theater building or just enjoys watching movies or listening to music at home, these would be an incredible holiday gift!

My husband gives the Intimus 4B Satellite Speakers by Aperion Audio two thumbs up, and his Daddy Seal of Approval!

Intimus 4B Satellite Speaker Pair

Want Them? Buy Them!

Head on over to Aperion Audio to browse their award winning speakers and home theater systems! You can also connect with Aperion Audio through social media on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Special thanks to Aperion Audio for allowing us to become more familiar with their amazing products!

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Sweet Party Treats by Sophie's Chocolate Creations #Review

Part of Balian's 3rd Birthday Bash

No party is complete without a myriad of delectable offerings for your guests. When we party it up with our little man, we usually forego the typical cake and ice cream, and instead have a sweets table, where we offer a chocolate fondue station, cookies, treats, fruit, and even sweet favors to take home! This year, we had some wonderful treats to share with our friends, which they could enjoy while they were celebrating with us at the party, or take home and enjoy later!

I was fortunate to connect with the uber talented and simply sweet Darys Avalos of Sophie's Chocolate Creations. Darys is a busy wife and mom, who has a passion for creating delicious looking and tasting sweet treats that will leaving you longing to taste them, but not wanting to, because they are so adorably decorated! Darys hails from San Diego, California and makes everything from cake pops and chocolate covered cookies, to brownies and mini cheesecakes. Let's just say that Sophie makes just about all of my favorite sweets, and it's probably a good thing that I don't live near her, or I might be ordering from her all the time!

Sweet Darys created several treats for Balian's Disney CARS themed party, and sent them to NC all the way from CA! Of course, when sending chocolate anything through the mail, one worries about melting and such. Darys tooks care to package the treats so the they wouldn't get melty, and when they arrived, they were safe and sound!

Our package of treats from Sophie's Chocolate Creations was protected by bubble packaging, and gel packs to keep the treats at a desirable temperature during shipping.

Coolest little gels packs I've ever seen!

Darys was sweet enough to send us 20 CARS themed chocolate covered Oreos. The chocolate was colored- red, brown and yellow, in matching Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater colors. Darys sent us a mix of cookies topped off with sugar characters of Lightning McQueen and Mater, and then the rest of the cookies were decorated with chocolate 3's to signify Balian's age. She also sent along some of her business cards, which we set out at the party for our guests.

Our big package of cookies from Sophie's Chocolate Creations!

Not only did the cookies look festive and stunning, because they were so aorably decorated, and matched our party theme exactly, it was hard for both Balian and myself to keep our mitts off of these treats, knowing they were covered in delicious chocolate. I didn't dare tell my son that underneath that chocolate, laid yummy Oreos.. his favorite 'blue cookies' of all time.

Special tags on each and every cookie!

Darys wrapped each cookie treat individually, and added a special 'Thanks for Coming!' tag with a bow to each little bag. This way, if our guests were too full from the party food to have a cookie at the party, they could grab one of these as a thank you favor on their way out the door. They looked so cute, and I couldn't wait to set them out at the party for our guests to see, taste and enjoy!

Our tray of treats at the party...

These cookies look so sweet and yummy!!

On the day of the party, we put the cookie favors out for our guests, and I had so much fun watching everyone's reactions to these cookies. I happily let them know that not only were they beautifully decorated, they were in fact chocolate covered Oreos. My sister in law noticed the edible gold sparkles dusted onto the chocolate and just about fell over... she loves sparkles. Not only did the adults think these were adorable, the kids at the party couldn't wait to get their hands on these cookies! They loved seeing their favorite CARS characters on the cookies, and when they bit into them, their eyes widened with delight when they discovered the Oreos!

'All for me!'


Balian was in absolute heaven when he tasted his first cookie from Sophie's Chocolate Creations. We had just a few left after the party, and B and I saved them for a special mommy/little man date and enjoyed them with a glass of milk one afternoon. The cookies are so deliciously rich, that I couldn't eat more than one in one sitting. The Oreos were still as fresh tasting as if they'd just come out of a sealed package, and the chocolate was oh, so good! Balian's response to these was 'Yum-eeee!'

Darys is extremely talented, and has a treasure trove of delectable treats just waiting for you! Take a look at some of her other treat specialties...

Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
Chocolate Covered Marshmallow Favors

Mustache & Owl Chocolate Covered Oreos
Mustache Chocolate Covered Oreos

Cupcake Cake Pops

Jack Skeleton Cake Pops (These are so cool!)

'Thank You' Treat Boxes

We really can't thank Darys enough for sending us those wonderful treats to serve and share at Balian's party. They definitely added to our the fun and excitement of our day, and went right along with our party theme! Our guests were talking about those cookie favors from the moment they saw them until they were ready to go home. Balian had fun helping me hold the tray of treats as our guests were leaving, and telling his friends to take another one for the ride home!

If you're planning a special event, like a party, shower, a special celebration, or you'd just like to surprise a friend or loved one with a special treat, you'll definitely want to take a look through Dary's photos of past creations to see what she can do! There are a ton of photos on the Sophie's Chocolate Creations Facebook page, so be sure to look through them to really get a good idea of just how talented this wonderful lady is, and to see what she might be able to create just for you!

Want It? Buy It!

Darys is offering MBP readers 10% off all orders from Sophie's Chocolate Creations through December 31, 2013! Just mention MBP at the time of order placement! These treats would make wonderful additions to your Thanksgiving tables, or your holiday parties, as well as make wonderful gifts! Head on over to Sophie's Chocolate Creations on Etsy and have a look around, and don't forget to connect with Sophie's Chocolate Creations on Facebook and look through all of the beautiful photos of Dary's work! Darys will be standing by to take your order and answer any questions you may have!

Special thanks to Darys of Sophie's Chocolate Creations for sending these treats to us and for helping to make Balian's party so memorable! 

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