Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NEW Romeo & Juliet Trailer #ForbiddenLove

Every generation deserves to discover the lasting love of ROMEO & JULIET. On behalf of Relativity Media, we are pleased to share the new trailer for the upcoming film, starring Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth as the star crossed lovers. Also starring Ed Westwick, Stellan Skarsgard, Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti – this story of innocent hearts, forbidden desires and sworn enemies is bound to keep you on the edge of your seat!

This definitely looks like an adaptation worth seeing in theaters! I love the story of Romeo and Juliet, and will look forward to seeing this- plus, I love Ed Westwick and can't wait to see him on the big screen... even if he's a bad guy.

Mark your calendars- Romeo & Juliet hits theaters on October 11th!

Be sure to check out ROMEO & JULIET on:
Instagram: Romeoandjulietthefilm
Twitter: @romeojulietfilm

Get Building with CitiBlocs #Review & $75.00 GC Giveaway #citiblocs #RedTricycleLA

MBP's Back to School Blast

We've been having a fabulous summer, full of fun trips, vacations and lots of outdoor play and fun in the sun. In a few weeks, however, we'll be winding down and getting back into the swing of our normal school year routine. It's sort of funny having a toddler, who is nearing being ready to head off to preschool. I am suddenly finding myself much more aware of what my son's daily activities consist of and how he plays. Making sure he has the right learning toys, even here at home is still very important to me, and part of my role is to be parent and teacher.

CitiBlocs: build anything !

I was thrilled to learn about CitiBlocs, classic wooden construction blocks for ages 2+. CitiBlocs prides itself on offering safe and environmentally friendly wooden blocks for preschool children, older kids, and even architecture students. Building with CitiBlocs is easy... there's no glue, there are no magnets or sharp edges. CitiBlocs simply allows the builder to use their imagination and build their dream structures.

I was very excited to connect with the CitiBlocs family, who offered us the opportunity to review their wonderful Little Builders Rattle Blocks and their CitiCars set.

Our CitiBlocs arrived well packaged and protected with air pocket filler in the box.

Balian was beyond excited to check out his new CitiBlocs. He has only built with large plastic blocks, so the wooden blocks were a totally new concept to him. He was quite eager to take the packages out of their box and open them up!

Balian, already getting excited about the colorful CitiCars!

'Come on, mommy- let's open these! Here, give it a try!'

Our friends at Citiblocs not only sent us their award-winning Little Builders set, they sent us their 8-pc CitiCars set. A wonderful accessory to the blocks, this set includes eight colorful vehicles- cars and trucks, etc, which can be used in conjunction with the blocks, for a true city-feel to your child's masterpiece! Not only can your little one build their own little city, they can play on after the building commences, making their CitiCars zip and zoom past tall buildings and little houses!

CitiBlocs in their spiffy package...

All of your child's favorite vehicles, in a safe block form...

One of the things that I love about the CitiCars, is that there are no little plastic wheels. My child can use his imagination to make vehicle noises, and he can move them manually. I don't have to worry about little pieces of things falling off and being chewed or choked on. Plus, these don't scratch the floors! The CitiCars are lightweight, and wonderful! They add a lot of extra fun to building time!

CitiBlocs Little Builders Set

The CitiBlocs Little Builders set is so cool! This fun 22-pc set features wooden blocks, stair sets, roofs and more- everything your little one needs for open-ended building and play! The blocks have fun painted windows on their sides, and the stairs roofs and smaller blocks come in fun colors like yellow, blue, orange and green. 

Balian, checking out his CitiBlocs for the first time...

The Little Builders Set comes in a sturdy pail with handle, for easy clean-up, storage and transport!

The CitiBlocs Little Builders Set features large wooden blocks that actually rattle when you shake or move them. It's a wonderful learning tool for little ones! Balian happily began shaking the blocks and stacking them on top of each other, and then side by side (he loves to line things up). I asked him if he wanted to make some tall towers, like the ones he got to see in New York City earlier this year, and he excitedly answered with s big 'yes!'

Discovering that he can add a roof to a block and make a little house...

Lining up the blocks to make a row of buildings...

Proud creator, Balian- showing off his super tall tower with two sets of stair, and CitiCars zooming around...

CitiBlocs are so wonderful! I love the simple, safe design of the building pieces. There are no sharp edges, the wood doesn't peel back or flake apart, and there are no tiny pieces to be easily lost or stepped on. These blocks and accessories encourage little ones to use their imaginations- building little cities and towns, communities, tall towers, etc. Balian loves knocking his towers over, and hearing the rattle sound as the blocks crash to the floor. CitiBlocks Little Builders are appropriate for ages 2+.

As a mom, I love these blocks, because they're safe, eco-friendly and educational. CitiBlocs offers an entire line of building sets that can be added on to as your child grows. My husband loves to build, and he's having a lot of fun playing with these blocks, with our son, and I know he can't wait until B is a little older, and can play with some of the other block sets from CitiBlocs.

Check out some of the other wonderful products available from CitiBlocs...

50 pc Set- Cool Colors

500 pc Natural Blocks

100 pc Neon Set

10 pc CitiTrees

CitiBlocs has won various awards and accolades, and we are thrilled to give these products two thumbs up, and the MBP Mommy Seal of Approval! The Little Builders set is wonderful to have for playtime at home, and they're also a perfect toy to have in the classroom at day care, preschool, etc. This year, I am happy to have CitiBlocs in my home for my son to play with, as he experiences true imaginitive constructive play with safe and eco-friendly wooden blocks.

Want It? Buy It!

Head on over to the CitiBlocs website to learn more about these wonderful products, check out their numerous awards and more! You can also find where you can purchase CitiBlocs, here. CitiBlocs is social and they would love to connect with you through their page on Facebook.

CitiBlocs has also been nominated for a Red Tricycle Award, and they would be honored to have your vote! Cast your vote here.

Want It? Win It!

Thanks to our generous friends at Citiblocs, we are pleased to offer MBP readers the chance to win a $75.00 gift card to CitiBlocs! 1 winner will receive a $75.00 GC to purchase their favorite CitiBlocs products for their kiddos or their classroom! Just use the handy Rafflecopter entry form below to enter for your chance to win!

Special thanks to our friends at CitiBlocs for allowing us to experience their wonderful building blocks, and for offering this truly awesome giveaway for our readers!

Good luck!

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Instilling Strong Study Habits in Your Teen

When children are young, it can be rather easy to start them off on a good path with their studies. However, maintaining these healthy study habits throughout their adolescence can be even more difficult, especially when they start to find other distractors. Friends, part-time jobs and the opposite sex can take your close-to-graduating student off on a different path, one in which studies are not exactly at the top of the list. So, how can you instill strong study habits in your teen that they can carry into college? 

Take a look at some techniques of moms who don’t have to worry about their child studying:

Help them to get organized – Organization in school and their teen years can help your child to develop the skills necessary to become organized as an adult. Encourage your student to keep a calendar or student planner and to write down everything, including school assignments and extracurricular activities.
Create a place that they will want to study in at home – Part of a student’s studying success has to do with having an inviting environment to do so at home. Help them to create a space in their room that is ideal for homework. This place should be quiet, free of clutter and offer plenty of natural light (so it doesn’t turn into a nap space).

Establish a legitimate study time – Set guidelines for your student so that they know when it is time to study and when it is time to socialize or participate in extracurricular activities. For some students this time is best done when they get home from school, while others prefer to study before or after dinner. You both can be the judge of what works for your student.

Teach time management – Time management skills are perhaps the hardest skills to develop for any teenager. According to 11 Solid Ways to Improve Your Time Management Skills, the best way to build these skills it to help them to create a plan of their day, make lists and guide them so that they can avoid procrastination whenever possible. Building these skills will help your child when they enroll in a South University program in Savannah or any other college or university.

Show them how to create and follow through with goals – Part of their future success will be based on their ability to identify their goals and work towards actually attaining them. You can help by encouraging them in anything they do to get to the career or future they dream of, even if it is just a minor step in that direction. Encouragement from a parent certainly goes a long way with any student or child.

If your student has never been interested in studying, implementing these techniques can take time and will be rather difficult. But, with patience and dedication you can help to instill these techniques in your teen so that they can carry them not only through their college career, but throughout their life as well. 

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Tasty Tuesdays: 1-2-3-4 Mac and Cheese #recipes

1-2-3-4 Mac and Cheese

Presented by Senior Star Rising Designer, Ondria Witt

We love Mac and Cheese, and to me, homemade mac and cheese is so much better than anything you could get from a box of dried noodles and powdered cheese mix. I have a couple of Bean Pots from Celebrating Home, and love using them to prepare everything from side dishes to main dishes, appetizers and desserts. 

Venetian Home Oval Bean Pot, Spice by Celebrating Home - $44.00

This Mac and Cheese recipe is EASY to make, requires just four ingredients and a few simple steps!

You Will Need:

1 stick melted butter
2 cups uncooked macaroni
3 cups shredded cheese
4 cups of milk

Add 2 Cups of your favorite uncooked pasta to your Bean Pot

Melt 1 stick of unsalted butter...

Add melted butter to pasta and stir...

Add 3 Cups of shredded cheese (I used a mix of Mozzarella and Cheddar Cheeses)...

Stir all together in the Bean Pot...

Add 4 cups of milk and stir...

Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Most of the milk should be absorbed at the end of cook time. You may want to stir half way through the cook time to prevent sticking. I added 1 extra handful of cheese and added 1 tsp. of flour to thicken ours a little bit.

Remove from the oven and stir...

There are so many delicious add-ins for this mac and cheese. My hubby asked if I could add bacon to this the next time we make it, and I thought that would be a great idea! This is a yummy mac and cheese to serve for your family, or to transport in your Bean Pot to a family gathering, a picnic, a church luncheon, etc. The Celebrating Home Bean Pot keeps food warm for up to 3 hours after it's been baked!

Mac and Cheese served with homemade meatballs and steamed broccoli!

Look how smooth and creamy this Mac and Cheese! Delicious!

This 1-2-3-4 Mac and Cheese is by far our family's favorite Mac and Cheese recipe! I hope that you'll give this recipe a try and serve it up to your loved ones! One of the very best things about using a Bean Pot for making dishes like this, is that there is virtually no clean up. I simply wipe my Bean Pot clean by running it under the faucet with hot, soapy water, and dried bits loosen right up! If I don't want to hand-wash it, it can go right into the dishwasher, too!

Simply Summer Bean Pot- $39.00

If you don't have a Celebrating Home Bean Pot, and you're interested in purchasing one for yourself or a friend, you can find more styles, colors and sizes here. You'll also find accessories like the Bean Pot Basket, and the Insultated Bean Pot Tote, which can be personalized!

For daily recipes, special sales and more, please visit my personal Celebrating Home page on Facebook: Celebrating Home with Ondria Witt.

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Kohl's Back to School Shopping Review + $100.00 Gift Card Giveaway! #Kohls

MBP's Back to School Blast

For most families, Back to School shopping includes much more than just filling up a shopping cart with supplies for the classroom. There are a lot of things that need to be purchased for the upcoming school year, and new clothing seems to be at the top of the list. Moms want their children to be extra presentable when they head back to school, and often times, they wind up spending hundreds of dollars on new clothes and shoes! We only have one little guy, and we're only talking about preschool, but even little B man needed some fresh knits for the back to school season and I was dreading what we might end up spending on them.

Kohl's � Expect Great Things�

I didn't really give much thought to shopping at Kohl's for back to school shopping until I was driving by our local store a couple of weeks ago. Kohl's actually started out as a small department store, first opened by Max Kohl in the 1960's in Wisconsin. By the mid-1970's, Kohl's had already expanded to five department stores, and has remained highly successful through the years. In 2007, over 100 Kohl's stores were opened across the US, and several well known brands added to Kohl's merchandise collection, including a project with ELLE magazine, offering their own fashion label, available exclusively at Kohl's.


The more I thought about Kohl's, the more I realized that it was definitely the place to begin our Back to School Shopping adventures! Kohl's is a one stop shop for Back to School Needs! We headed to our local Kohl's store to see what types of sales they were having, and what we could snag for just $50.00.

Gearing up for Back to School- Backpacks were on display and on sale!

We headed straight for the toddler department, where we knew we would be able to find some great deals on Back to School clothing for Balian, who is wearing anywhere from a 3T-4T, depending on style and cut of the garments.

No surprise- a big, big sale on Back to School clothing for the kids...

I had a lot of fun mixing and matching some Back to School outfits for Balian. Preschool is just a couple of mornings a week, and we'll spend one afternoon a week at Weekday Church School, and there are no uniforms required (yet). So he'll be able to wear some cute prints to school, and then knock around in his everyday clothing at home, as well.

Our shopping cart, loaded up with great deals at Kohl's!

There were a lot of sale signs all over the store, which is one of the things I love about Kohl's- they're always having sales! I picked out a couple of outfits, and then headed for the clearance racks to see what we could snag for even bigger savings! I found a couple of $5.00 or less shirts and added those to our cart, too! I also found Balian a pair of pj's at a great price- just $10.00 for a 3 piece pj set!

Candle sale!

After we left the clothing section, we walked through the rest of teh store to check out even more great deals! I found sales in the home living department on everything from candles to photo frames and bedding. I stopped over to the kitchen textiles area to look through tablecloths, and found one that I had been eyeing weeks earlier, and it was on sale for 60% off the original price! We also needed to pick up a birthday card for my sister-in-law, so we headed to the gifting area, and even found a bonus pair of Vera Wang sandals to add to her gift!

I had a bit of frustration when I finally wound up at the check-out. Some of the sale signs were misplaced in the store and confusing, so I wound up putting a couple of things back. The lady in line behind me was sort of annoyed, but I tried to explain that my goal was not to go over a certain amount on the back to school items. We got it all figured out, and the customer service was beyond excellent!

Total spent- $81.89 & Total saved- $97.25!

Now, I paid for just right around $50.00 for the back to school outfits with a gift card that Kohl's sent to us. The overage- $31.89, was spent on the tablecloth, shoes birthday card and tax. I made my goal of just spending $50.00 on Balian's clothing!

Bonus- Kohl's Cash!

I also earned $10.00 Kohl's Cash, because I spent a certain amount of money. I can now use this in store or online. I think I'll order another set of pj's for Balian! I also received a $10.00 off my next purchase coupon by e-mail, for signing up for Kohl's e-mail alerts! Thanks, Kohl's!

Back to school outfits for Balian...

When we got home, I was eager to lay everything out to see what we really got for the money we spent at Kohl's. In total, Balian got two complete outfits for fall (tops and botttoms), two t-shirts on clearance, and one set of pajamas- all for $50.00!

Adorable 3 Pc PJ Set by Carter's- $10.00!

Long Sleeved T-shirt, originally $12.00, for $4.80!

Cute Helicopter T-shirt, originally $14.00, for $5.80!

Dino T-shirt and Jeans...

Rocketship Shirt and Jeans...

We love shopping at Kohl's and this experience was wonderful for our family! My husband was able to take Balian to the toy section of the store, while I shopped for his clothing, and they were still closeby if I needed to do a size-check. Kohl's truly is the one-stop shop for back to school shopping. They have everything your kids teens, and college students need from clothing to backpacks, shoes, dorm room bedding and accessories, electronic accessories, etc! Hey moms- they have great things for you to de-stress with, too! Back to school time can be a little crazy, so don't forget to take some time to relax!

Balian has been loving his back to school picks, and he was so excited about the helicopter shirt and new pj's, that we went ahead and let him wear them.

B, wearing his new helicopter shirt...

B, modeling his favorite new pj's!

We can't thank Kohl's enough for providing our family with such wonderful deals, and a terrific shopping experience in their store! I can't wait to head back to Kohl's this weekend, because it will be Tax Free Weekend here in NC, and I know that Kohl's will be offering more fantastic sales! 

Ready to Do Some Back to School Shopping?

Head to your local Kohl's store, or visit Kohl's online to find great deals for your family as they head back to school this year! You can also connect with Kohl's on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Don't forget to check out Kohl's Cares! A $5.00 purchase on a Kohl's Cares item goes toward supporting various charities. We love snagging $5 books or stuffed toys to donate to children in our community, while supporting a Kohl's Cares charity, at the same time!

Kohls GC

Want to Win a Gift Card?

We've teamed up with some of our favorite bloggers to offer our readers the chance to win a $100.00 Kohl's Gift Card! Just click here to head to the giveaway page to enter for your chance to win!

Special thanks to our friends at Kohl's for providing us with a Kohl's gift card to do a little back to school shopping with, and for allowing us to share our experience with our readers!

What do you love about Kohl's?

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